Thursday, July 30, 2009

No wonder life sucks--it's run by sociopaths

Most of us want a world in which we have some control. At least that's my working theory as to why so many are eager to blame the ills of the economy on people who borrowed and lived beyond their pay scale.

They want to blame individual choice when in fact, entire industries are mobilized to influence regular people to make unwise choices. It plays right into the very American belief that the sun will come out tomorrow. If you think you can't be manipulated, you are lying to yourself. Some of the best minds in creation work on it 60 hours a week--middle management and everyone who's below them on the corporate tree. They're good at their jobs, and in the interest of disclosure, I used to be one.

Capitalism got a few out of serfdom and into the merchant class, but let's remember that there never was a stable, large middle class until the balance of power was shifted. That meant bloody and sacrificial battles that brought us unions, civil rights, safety nets and all those things that have systematically dismantled by the Republican Second Coming, Ronald Reagan.

I'm not saying he set out to make life so damn hard for so many, I don't think he really was smart enough to think that far ahead. I'm just saying there wasn't a widespread homeless population until he closed mental health institutions. Everything that gave the little guy something became low hanging fruit, ripe for picking and turning into dessert for them that already had as much fruit as they could eaten in a lifetime. Remember the trickle down theory? It was a brilliant and superficial notion that never really goes away. The rich know how to spend money. The poor don't. The rich do the hiring. So let's give them more money. This notion sounded just plausible enough that it justified the largest transfer of wealth from the many to the few. The little guy bought it. Never mind he did it against his own welfare, not to mention Reagan borrowed most of the money to do it.

In today's edition of AlterNet, this caught my attention:

It's Not Hard to Be a Job-Slashing, Pension-Grabbing CEO -- If You're a Sociopath

By Thom Hartmann, Smirking Chimp. Posted July 28, 2009.

CEOs in America pull in the big bucks because there's a shortage of people willing to destroy the lives of many other human beings.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that "Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US... Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available."

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, "What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?"

Those who won't make an arguments on its merits might accuse me of envy, but really kids, there's nothing to envy beyond a given amount of worldly goods. In a world where babies die of hunger and diarrhea and mosquito bites, who can honestly justify the top guns bringing in a third of a nation's salary?

These are the very same people Obama is trying to appease with concessions that protect their status quo, one that feeds an undeniable urge to have as much as possible and to hell with the greater good. Look at the smiles in Big Pharma. They're funding Harry and Louis commercials in favor of health reform because they'll have it better than ever. At least now, my dad can send off to Canada to fill the hole in donut. Not after reform. No negotiations for lower prices either, and the patent period is extended to 12 years.

The sociopaths yield so much power and influence, they even have middle class folks who won't be able to afford college for their kids that the blame lays with people whose eyes are bigger than their income. Their eyes devour the world.

They hide under the impenetrable fog we call capitalism and damn all else by calling it socialism. There's a place in between. Where no one goes without the necessities and yet personal effort is rewarded. Who in the world is worth more than a million while hunger is widespread, largely due greed and sociopathic inhumanity?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weak and way too feeble for a woman with my strong opinions

Hurrah, I suppose. I've survived yet another near death experience. They'd rallied the family, even my parents' minister and aunts who were; waiting in the wings not on my account, but to catch my parents when they collapse with grief at the death of their eldest, seriously flawed daughter.

Wasn't what happened, obviously. My sister says she's sick and tired of my dying all the time. Either do it or not so they all aren't constantly on the edge of their seats.

Geesh I wear people out, mainly my best people. Shit.

I got out to take a few photos the other day and literally fell into a bed of fossils. Fossils make me happy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breathless and swooning hearts in midamerica

My breathing sounded like blues harmonica, with a staccato urgency to it. The been done wrong man gently urged me through the snow with oxygen, and I gasped eternal truths during the trip to the nearest ER. He hasn't voluntarily spent time with me in years, and our 24th anniversary went unnoticed by either of us. I still make him laugh. He makes me laugh. We want happiness for one another and know togetherness isn't always the recipe.

The intellectual journalist with the wise and gentle heart I married now listens to books on tape as he drives a big rig cross country to keep the rent paid, having lost our house way too long ago. I'm a clever but useless partner. He doesn't care about anything but getting the bills paid and living up to his obligations.

He was for the war. I was on the steering committee of the Instead of War Coalition.

He left the hospital and drove through industrial ruins to the hub and headed up through Illinois. He got to Effingham when he had chest pain, pulled over and CALLED A FUCKING CAB! They medivaced him back to St. Louis, he'd had a minor heart attack (as if). He was here at least 12 hours before I knew about it because I finally called him and he had to tell me what happened. He didn't want me worrying.

Effingham has earned its name in my book. He's a weird and callous, crusty old booger, but he's my crusty old booger and hero to my children. A cab???; Have I taught him nothing?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

WTF MotherKiller?

So I've come out all international now. I used to be a drunk. And I went to AA and was still a drunk by their standards, though I mostly didn't do shit. That's not fair, and I don't care who you may be.

A kindergartner could figure out what my classy liberal arts education couldn't prepare me for. That they're just fucking wrong. Once a drunk, always a drunk?


A disease?

Wrong. If not, then the scientific model has to go as it's the only ailment for which the only "official" cure is religion. The courts back me on this one, too, so already just shut the fuck up about its being a spiritual, not religious, program. Their roots are culty feely Christiany gone bad. That it's become the American standard for treatment of addiction is more ludicrous than anything even Schizoid the Prez has come up with. We are fucking blind, and we do not want to see, at least mostly, most of the time, most of us. Thank justice that there is a bit of sophiticated thinking to be had on this point.

It is the only way to have either/or sobriety and/or stability and/or life.

Wrong. So wrong. So, so wrong. By its own stats, AA has a five (yes 5) percent population retention at one year. And I can guarantee you that's not the same as sober, happy, free, or anything other than a warm butt in a metal chair.

It works if you work it.

Wrong. Just because it works for a sweet and wondrous precious few says nothing about those steps. It says a lot about those sweet and wondrous precious few being ready to be done with being so nuts. Most folks have issues at one time or another with a substance and almost all get over it because it's time to get a life worth having. This is not a credit to anyone, and I wish we could put someone's good future into their present as much as anyone, but life is not that way. Sucks, doesn't it. Our lack of control over anyone else's interior life. But there you have it.

My [fill blank] has been in AA {xx] years and it's changed their life.

Lucky them. Lucky you. I have a lovely face, and lucky me. Luck. Luck. Fuck.

AA is the source of life for people who attend, and saying otherwise is like shooting the jumper off a building.

A tempting proposition for the truly lovely among us to shut the fuck up, no? Except that people who go to AA have a 29 percent suicide rate. That's because their guilt for trespassing is so enormously overwhelming they can't imagine the humilation of returning to that group with their rank stripped, a base rookie, consigned to the stupid corner until later notice. This happens. It is endemic. It is the primary damage of this program as I have experienced it. Utter humiliation is not good juju for the soul. You didn't work it, it's your fault, you're "constitutionally incapable" of being honest. WTF???

I'm now so angry that i have to go calm down before I go on.

More later.

Killing a mother is unforgiveable, so forgive me already. Please.

So I' ve been so sick. Sick almost to death and it's largely my own damn fault for my love of a good smoke. Even now, with oxygen and a gasp to die for, I suck on these fuckers like the teat of life itself.

I am a deeply flawed individual.

But I have good days, too.

So let me tell you what I think.

I think people are largely mysterious, no matter how rational their self examination may seem. I've noted this outside my immediate gene pool, so I suspect it's not just me.

I happen to be a particularly non-spiteful mystery, as humans go. But I'm not particularly holy at all, and love succumbing to temptation as much as a gay preacher with snakes in a drawer. And I mostly cop to it, so that's something.

See how defensive I am from the get go? I'm defending myself against an assumed thought in your head, even as I write. I am so fucked unto the Lord or whatever that I begin with the reasons I'm worthy. Jeezus would say sheeyut.

But I'm fun to have a beer with and am told I'm smart as they come. Not that it has made much difference.

Smart folks can be so dumb. We think it's a virtue when it's just an adjective. That's unless we're crediting our own hard work, and I know that's mainly a lie. Mainly because when I've worked hardest, I've been my best, most transcendent self. But it's never lasted long enough for any righteous infinite jest, which is William James' definition of transcendent wisdom. I may be an iconoclast, but having read that book, I will adhere to its definitions, as is my right. So do not fuck with the James boys. There's no future in it.

I'd love to live in a world in which my own transcendence delighted me constantly. Since I don't, I rely a lot on substances and such to maintain daily, a sin as big as there is, I'm told. And yet, on this New Years, I'm putting my wide foot down that this is not so bad if it keeps you going mostly without hurting others. That's of course excepting friends and family who love me. They can't help but hurt at my diminishing presence, and they mourn it more than I do, which is something.

I am guilty as I am. I am guilty. I am. There it is. Feed as long as necessary. I am naked and flayed prostate before your judgment, and if you only knew, you'd know which line in this bit is the most central and agreed upon fact ever in the history of my life. Then you would come clean my house for me and love me for having taken this mantle so far so long. Or not.

Me, I'm wondering on all my guilt and its value in a gold-based economy. Not fucking much. And I'm dying. Not today, not tomorrow, but before my time. So?

So I have work to do that is different from other work I've done. I am selfish and narcissistic historically, yet I've lost real interest in my own life except as it is killing my family, mostly those three kids. Damnit. That I probably did it so, so long ago is just dawning on me.

We all have to answer to something, and having given up the traditional subjects of devotion as unworkable in my world, there are those people I love that I wouldn't hurt if I could help it.

And I wish I could help it. I'm a cipher. If I were my own judge, I would not be silent and sanguine, for killing a mother is an unforgiveable act. Yet I have to find a way to forgive myself so I can leave my children without a gaping maw where their ma used to be.

They deserve as much high minded positive projection as my soul can deliver, and frankly, I do too.

My smartness has finally revealed to me, ta-dah that the 25 years I spent in a cult was waaay bad. It hammered me from every direction that I was powerless in the face of my own evil nature, unchangeable in that stain, insane, incapable of rational thought, too smart for my own good, and destined to die a hideous death unless I adhered to their commandments.

Understandably, this took some of my good juju away and kept me on a spiritual search that I only put on the shelf quite recently as impossible and indecent. All those years I sought strength in a soul-zapping death cult without even knowing it. Others have had different experiences, including my two most central menfolk. It was a rebellion I couldn't help and wanted not to have and couldn't live with or without. But, the truth will out.

That I stayed says something about my fortitude, and my leaving says yet more. The demonic corruption of my best years?

Alcoholics Anonymous.

More later.

Caroline Kennedy, let's be reasonable

Maybe it's because I remember her losing her daddy that preps me so well for a Senator Caroline Kennedy. I was only eight at the time and losing my dad was the worst thing I could imagine at that age.

But I think that just makes me an empathetic human from an early age, not a knee jerk Camelotophile.

Am I the only one a bit grated by the comparisons being made to other political dynasties? Hillary, Dubya, Jeb et al have so much more to answer for. Caroline Kennedy seems as close to a saint as I've witnessed in the public eye, though I fervently hope there's more to her story. Saints are ever so boring.

Even so, no on is arguing her endeavors have been less than noble. She has not sought celebrity. She has gracefully and graciously worn the mantle of her birth without exploiting it for base purposes, which has got to take some kind of restraint I'm fairly sure I don't possess, and I think you probably don't neither. Say I'm wrong.

That she has been awkward before the press of the press seems a plus for me. I'm sick of the savvy and yearn for the ideals of the heart put into action. Has Obama leached all our capacity for fine feeling for an individual? Perhaps.

But as of this day, I see everything to love and nothing to genuinely suspect about Caroline Kennedy. That's my story and I'll stick to it as long as the facts back it. Isn't that what critical thinking is supposed to deliver? Geez folks, let's be smarter for once, from the get go.

Such Nice Boys

Proving yet again that point of view can be everything. Don't miss these men of true grit, even though theirs is aimed at our own.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Need Inspiring? Generic Inspirational Speech PDQ

I grabbed this off of Phil Gerbyshak's Twitter feed. Phil's one of those unstoppable optimists I am drawn to, probably because unspottable optimism isn't one of my more obvious assets, I guess. He's the real deal,though. And that's why he's appealing: others try to wear this powerful personality like a trench coat,but it shows. But with Phil, it's the way he rolls.

Here's a mashup of some 40 rile-the-masses speeches in just over two minutes,ammassed by Matthew Berlinke:

I can't say athis inspired me to do squat on a cold Sunday night, but it was entertaining. Thanks Phil.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A digital valium with a glass of wine, kind of

Friends, the world is a heavy place. The buoyancy of Obamahope has sunk under the weight of the extent of the criminal organization still in charge.

I'm tired.

I've been outraged for so long.And now, when we deserve a bit of lightness in our hearts, the news gets grimmer and grimmer.

So, I read Vogue's feature on Michelle Obama and it was a tonic to my soul, better than a glass of wine and a valium, not that I would know anything about anything like that.

See if it helps you feel a bit brighter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008