Archive for category Work

Greed


As Paul Krugman’s op-ed piece in today’s New York Times points out, Ireland had a true economic miracle, but over time this “miracle” gave way to a housing frenzy fed by the banks and speculative real estate developers. As the economy prospered they fed on this prosperity and worked together to create a massive housing bubble. When the bubble burst, the country was thrust into economic ruin and is now facing deep austerity prospects that will hurt everyone except the bankers who are international and comfortably insulated from assuming losses or any other form of responsibility for the social violence they have happily wrought. The situation in Ireland mirrors that of the United States and many other nations.

This is how it happens. In stable economies banks are rather boring players on the economic stage. They exist to keep people’s money relatively safe and to lend money in a regulated manner to create and maintain prosperity. The rules of lending need to be regulated to protect all the savers who place their hard-earned cash to the banks in trust. Savers tend not to want to have their money played by a group of gamblers who game the table and stack everything in favor of themselves.

Thus the clever bankers used the nation’s prosperity to express their repressed greed. But here’s the important part. As they made themselves grotesquely rich, they used a very small part of their money to buy their government. Politicians come cheap and they are more than happy to become whores for the super-rich friends. Thus the financial sectors own the governments of the United States and Ireland and most other places that experienced a big housing bubble from which they made their trillions. Greed and wealth made them extremely powerful.

Because they are, in essence, the government itself, they enforce the laws in ways that can only favor them and hurt everyone else. They create the policy that keeps them perfectly secure from criminal or civil prosecution, that maintains gratuitously low tax rates for the ultra wealthy and makes sure that what was the middle class pays for their continued fiscal vulgarities through painful austerity measures that affect the super-rich not in the slightest.

In this way they create a two class society. The middle class is hollowed out and transformed into the upper Lower Class and the wealthy become much richer, even as the local economies collapse into penury. The ultra-rich will scream that we cannot afford large deficits in order to leverage their impact on creating the austerity measures that enable them to get a lot richer even in times of economic crisis and decline.

Thus the bankers and their friends in the healthcare and military industrial complexes get to run the whole show. And then they speak speak as if we’re all in this together. We aren’t.

The truth is, they treat everyone but their class as ignorant rubes. They keep the rubes entertained by the idiotic television shows that are everywhere and through fear that unless we follow the orders they demand of us, that things could get so much worse.

It’s time to see reality. This is all part of waking up to what is real. It’s time to see these people (and they are discrete individuals with names and addresses) as the blood-sucking parasites they truly are. It’s time to express our need for basic justice. We must cease listening to any politician owned by this class. It’s time we take to the streets. It’s time that we refuse to swallow their ceaseless lies.

The point is not to spread the wealth. The point is to live a life that is just and fair. This class is truly a cancer on the world. The time has come to re-invent civilization as something that can exist in harmony with all of our fellow human beings and the animals and plants that make this world a wonder in a very cold universe. That time has come and that time is NOW!

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The War Against the Workers of the World: Labor Day 2010


Today is Labor Day. The day we celebrate the American worker.

Alas, this should be a day of mourning the downfall of the American Worker, for he/she has truly fallen. He has fallen victim to the greed and avarice of top management in America. The captains of commerce and the country’s political leaders have waged an all-our war against the American worker and they have won.

So today we mark the defeat of the American worker. He is broke, scared, and isolated in a distinctly American world absent of opportunity and hope.

There was a time in America when workers had some power. They had unions that made it possible for tens of thousands of workers to stand together and speak in a single voice. Standing as one, they could negotiate with managers and owners for fundamental fairness, due compensation and benefits, and, ultimately the dignity to be a working man and woman in America.

Those days are long over. When the average CEO of a corporations now makes 350 times the average worker, we can say that greed has swept the land and the very few amass wealth that was once more fairly distributed among the many. The shadow of rampant avarice leaves our once thriving cities to be more like empty ghost towns. The stark ruins of our industrial buildings now litter the desolate landscapes of poverty, need, and abandon.

Without unions, workers live in a world dominated by fear – fear of joblessness, fear of losing one’s health insurance, fear of losing one’s home, fear of looking like an abject failure before one’s children. This world of fear has swept away the worker’s dignity. So when the boss yells “Jump” we truly must ask “how high?” and mean it. For we are scared of losing the little we have.

Everything the worker has struggled for in the first half of the 20th century has been lost. And in that loss, we have lost our freedom. We have lost our voice. Our toil is now nearly fully dedicated to the ever-increasing wealth of the bosses and not for ourselves – not for our communities. As we die, as our towns and cities, they thrive in the wealth that is grotesque before any man or woman of conscience.

In a land whose news outlets now cry our for cutting Social Security and Medicare because we can no longer afford these “entitlement” programs, we already know that super-massive wealth and vast entitlements have already been transferred to the wealthiest one percent of Americans. We know that these are savage lies told by their dupes. We know them by their words and we know them by their actions. We know them as our political leaders who are the well paid soldiers of the corporate elite.

We know that they are the servants of fear.

How much longer will we be slaves to the greediest among us? How much longer will we live in the darkening shadows of our own fears?

When will the workers of the world stand up and say, “No. We are done being your slave. We are done with your ugly class. We will not forsake you, as you have forsaken us. Rather we will invite you to join the world of life, where we stand as equals, where we celebrate and honor our diversity, where we place life before class and skin color, where we are as one, caring for each other and our planet.”

When will we wake up to that?

Spread the word my friends.

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The Revolution is Now. The Revolution is You



The same process that invokes depression, helplessness, dangerous anger, interpersonal violence, substance abuse, and endless spiritual seeking have the same root.

I’ve approached this issue primarily through an analysis that I would reluctantly call philosophic and I say reluctantly because I am not a philosopher. I am me.

What is the root of violence, substance abuse, depression, and all the rest? What aspect of our way of life nurtures these conditions?

It is this: the invalidation of babies! And more specifically, it’s your invalidation when you were very young.

Surprised? You should be, but this is the root of all of these conditions. This is something you really need to know. You really need to get acquainted with your own negation by your loving and well intended parents, for they too were negated when they were very young.

Why?

Because unless we wake up to our own invalidation, we will bequeath to all future generations the same insidious Wound that underlies all of these conditions. This is the disease of the spirit – this is the disease of industrial civilization at war with the world and at war with itself.

There is a cure.

There was a time when babies were not invalidated. We would need to return to the hunting and gathering days of our distant ancestors to witness, first-hand, the love of babies as they were and not as we would require them to be. All such cultures view babies as sacred beings complete and whole unto themselves. Each person is perceived as an expression of her/his own unique and distinct journey. This was a time when your own story was celebrated through laughter, tears, wonder, and connection.

This way of life had to come to an end with the development of industrial agriculture, towns, and hierarchies. Men and women needed to migrate away from the freedom to be themselves to become laborers and baby makers. We had to learn to not only negate our own children by believing that they are savages needing the graces of civilization through discipline and punishment (both unknown in hunting and gathering societies), but that the echo of this traumatic invalidation needed to pass through the generations. Without coerced obedience who would sacrifice their lives and their world for the grim life of the factory? Who would exchange love and connection for this world where fear is the common and universal denominator?

To create a universe of unquestioning workers, it was essential that people act against their own interests, to doubt themselves and, most importantly, to seek authorities to tell them what to do and how to do it. Thus we have the development of government and organized religion. The chosen few became empowered to make the iron clad rules for the many. This amazing transformation created two classes; the rulers and the ruled.

All of the energy that had been expressed by the uniqueness of a single life, now went into the monotonous drudgery of working for the ruler. A world that trusted absolutely in the abundance of nature (even in the Arctic and the deserts) could no longer be trusted. So a pantheon of gods emerged and these gods needed to be placated by the sacrifice of our endless labor, our adoring love, and more than anything else, our obedience!

Obedience to order and authority became the paramount requirement of organized industrial life. These institutions of order were replicated in the modern systems of education and work. Obedience is always the first rule. Creativity and being one’s authentic self are revolutionary actions taken by people who must occupy the fringes of society, for it is creativity and refusing to march in order that are the only real, substantive threats to this world of coercion and fear.

This world of order is finally running out of gas. But we will never form a different kind of world until we take the most authentic step that we can, which is to face our own invalidation. That is the first step in the revolution of the self. This is how you save yourself and your world.

The revolution is your revolution.

We see our invalidation in how lost our sense of who we are. We see it in all of our compulsive behaviors. And we see it most clearly in seeing our own False-Self. My book Liberation from the Lie, which you can purchase here or at Amazon, is the perfect manual guiding you to see your False-Selves in every conceivable dimension of your life. Until this being is seen on the most subtle levels, you will continue to just spin your wheels. You be a slave to your own unseen fears.

But when it is seen – when you see the manifestation of your own Wound in your life, then you are reborn. Then, and only then, do you become the true revolutionary. Then you will see with eyes wide open. You will see the desperate, agonizing sickness of this civilization. You will be able to separate with beautiful clarity the wheat from the chaff. And how you will laugh at your desperate seeking. You will be alive in every moment. You will fall in love with this life … your life. This I assure you.

We each bring a different gift to this dance of life. But your gift will be yours’ and yours’ alone. Once you see through the veils of your own invalidation, in that moment, the chains that ensnare you with our own false past will break. Your power will be real. Yes, you will face the seemingly implacable walls of this fear-based world, but you will stop recoiling in your fear and helplessness. Instead, your heart will be alive to the challenge. You will never need to depend on a teacher again, for now you can say, I am who I am and I love this energy – my only guide is life itself in this very moment – with all of its directness and challenge and that is a life enough.

Spread the Word! – This is the Beginning of Our Revolution.




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A Master of the Universe Writes a Personal Letter to a Dear Friend


It has been a long time since we’ve had a real heart-to-heart talk, so I wanted to finally break the silence. We must know where we stand and what we still have to gain in these sadly troubled times.

First, let’s take a couple of steps back and review what we have accomplished in the last 30 years, for we have so much to take pride in. Thanks to Reagan we were able to break-away from the mold. The days of the traditional banker in his conservative suit and his erstwhile savings and loan business became a quaint relic. The fetters that kept the beautiful potential of opportunity backed by guts and strategy were removed and we crafted a plan that no one had been able to even imagine. We transformed the community lender and became the community owner.

Unlike our friends in the industrial world, we understood the anchor that factories and labor could be. We quickly came to realize that the way to make money was through money. And even to our friends in the service worlds of insurance and law, we had the foresight that we could also own them to increase our wealth and power. Nothing could stop us, because we started making mountains of money. People may find beauty and grandeur in the Rockies, but they find so much more in the unseen edifices of endless wealth that we worked very hard to cobble together.

And as time passed our capacity to invent and create grew exponentially. As you and I know, there are few people in this age that vainly characterizes itself as the age of information, have the vaguest clue of what we do. And this is an incredible realization because what we do is so huge and vast in scope, yet it is unseen and eludes the prying eyes of losers and do-gooders everywhere.

We have had to sacrifice to make our triumph real. Owning government was the easy part. Senators, Congressmen, and even Presidents are all but free. They come to us with their plaintive begging bowls. They want to be owned and that is all part of what makes our venture together so excellent and terrific. Like the pathetic politicians, the media came begging to us as well, pleading for their crumbs and who are we to disappoint them? And those that didn’t want to play, well those we either bought outright or, much better, made them to appear like ranting fools through our countless think tanks, whoring universities, foundations, and banal TV. Looking back on it, it really hasn’t been all that difficult.

But as you and I know the hard part is to sustain success. But it gets so much easier when you have the best and the brightest by their little balls. They come running out of places like Harvard and Yale joining the flocks of beggars at our doorstep. Who says that a college education is a waste? We’ve profited handsomely on the rapaciousness of these ever-so-eager young well-groomed men and curvy ladies who come to our posh offices in glorious Manhattan willing to do anything for a nickel and I mean anything. What goes for rape in the outside goes for career advancement where I spend my mornings. these ambitious men and women come to us with their magnificent ambition and as long as we keep em’ scared, then we know we’re in the game.

Between you and me, we know that what keeps all of this together is fear. We’ve needed to keep the rubes at the begging trays through fear – and really any fear will do. But anything that allows for war and war preparation without end is just good for business. Hallelujah for war! I can hear it loud and clear from the church pews from South Side Chicago to the golden fields of Kansas. God bless the Masters of the Universe. We pledge our lives to you for you are our God, even if there are jews among you (hey nothing’s perfect). Of course they pledge their lives to war, but (wink wink) you and I know who their true master is. Oh it really is fun to be a puppeteer. Who could imagine that you can rake in trillions and remain in a 15% tax bracket? Even I have a hard time believing it. I can’t help thinking what ignorant rubes Americans truly are, but them I’m reminded just how truly giving they have been to us. Christ, they empty their pockets, and lose their jobs and homes just so I can piss in their backyard. Is this a great country or what? They give us their flesh and their blood and we are always free to ask for more. Oh my.

But you know the good times … well, they might be ending for us, at least for now. Of course, we might have over-reached just a wee bit. We might have pulled one string too many, but who gives a shit? There is still time to suck another couple three trillion out of the rubes. The democrats have served their purpose. They sustained the illusion that meaningful dialogue occurs in Washington. They’ve kept the game going and they really deserve a lot of the credit. Our boy had a tough game to play. He had to run on a “change” platform and then do exactly what his predecessors were doing while maintaining the illusion that he was a liberal. You gotta give those guys at Fox a lot of credit. By painting him as a socialist we made the BIG bucks in every conceivable direction. They give us more money than anyone could possibly imagine in their little brains and then we turn it around and lend it back to them at a higher interest rate. They all suck at our green teats and who could be happier? They make us do it for chrissake.

As the country descends into even more massive debt (their loss our gain, of course) the feeding trough just aint’ what it used to be. Our boys on the other side of the aisle we’ll get in and and follow our marching orders all yield all the rest to us. There’s still plenty of dough in those middle class pockets. It will be ours and it will be ours soon. We will suck these coffers dry. And will still be heroes in their oh so wonderfully naive eyes. In their own cold hearts they really dream of being us – but they never will be.

Then we gotta let the chips fall where they may. It’s going to be hunker down time. Those that got fat on our dime we’ll scream and cry. We’ll have to watch some of our most treasured creations go the way of the Edsel, but I got a hunch that we’ll do just fine. It’s a whole lot easier to win at poker when you’re holding all the chips. We’ll let them scream and cry. We’ll throw them a crumb here and there and then we’ll just wait it out. I’ll give you hundred to one odds that they will come crawling back to us on their filthy bellies with their empty begging bowls. But this time, we won’t be so giving – so kind. This time we’ll really make them grovel. And then we might kick in a few well chosen teeth, because soon it’s going to hard ball time and we gotta to be ready for that. We gotta be ready to do what needs doing.

And that’s why I’m writing you to you my very good friend. We might have gotten a little lazy ourselves. Sometimes the money just pours in a little too easily and if we don’t watch out some son of a bitch we’ll knock us off our thrones. We can’t let that happen. I don’t think we’ll even need to play the fear card. They’ll do that for us. And that’s half the battle. But we gotta to get a little more lean and mean. We might have to squash a few heads and rip off some balls – but just as  a last resort.

We don’t have to worry about the politicos. They’re DEEP in our hip pockets. They’ll build the prisons and arm the guards. They’ll come begging to us for a loan to pay for their bullets and mortar and we’ll charge them a hefty interest. We’ll keep on making the big bucks. But they will need us more than ever for we make them possible.

I hope, my friend, that you’re up to the task. If not, then just shit and get out of the kitchen. Storms don’t last forever and I suspect that the sun will shine even brighter on the other side of this one, even if we have to do a little street mopping. It’s all in a day’s work. So when the goin’ gets rough, just hang in there my friend. Hang loose and stay tough. The future is ours’.

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Let’s Relax and Touch the Mysterious


If Awakening has an enemy (and it doesn’t), it is the energy of contraction. What we are is this moment full and allowing without limit. But then we notice another energy, one that is effortlessly linked to the separate “I/me”, it is likely to be the energy of attention (not awareness, which is holds attention).

Things call to us. They demand our attention. This is natural to life. But I’ve noticed that the energy of attention links back to the idea of a separate “I/me”. I am reading this blog, I am focusing on this report, I need to attend to my partner’s needs, etc.

So the question becomes, why is this so? The conditioned self is a direct function of our individual and unique socialization. This process is as real as anything else in our universe. But our pain and suffering, that which is psychologically rooted, is a direct consequence of our family’s and culture’s projection of inadequacy and insufficiency onto us, which we began to absorb even before we could verbalize the experience.

Once we agree with this projection, it becomes who we believe ourselves to be. So begins the life of endless seeking.

For this reason we become hard workers. We try to figure all of this out. We seek pleasant mind states to avoid the pain, We work to become better. It’s important to be heard, to be respected, to prevail in life. We work and work and work. So much of the attention energy circulates around this identification with inadequacy.

Like EVERYTHING else in the universe, every quality is dialectical (it comes in two flavors). There is attention rooted in open love and there is attention rooted in our struggle with inadequacy/insufficiency. All of this can be seen as the interplay of light and dark in our lives.

Rather than work, yet again, on this “problem”, is it possible to just see and experience this without seeking any mind state from the process – without seeking any outcome – without wanting any understanding? Just letting it be as it needs to be?

This calls on us to just relax in this moment, then watch that same inadequacy contraction arising, then we might ask ourselves, what is the beauty of this moment? What if I just love this fragile inadequacy? … What if, I cease being the harsh parent? … What if I see the lost child in this experience? … What if I just reach out and touch this feeling?


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Let's Relax and Touch the Mysterious


If Awakening has an enemy (and it doesn’t), it is the energy of contraction. What we are is this moment full and allowing without limit. But then we notice another energy, one that is effortlessly linked to the separate “I/me”, it is likely to be the energy of attention (not awareness, which is holds attention).

Things call to us. They demand our attention. This is natural to life. But I’ve noticed that the energy of attention links back to the idea of a separate “I/me”. I am reading this blog, I am focusing on this report, I need to attend to my partner’s needs, etc.

So the question becomes, why is this so? The conditioned self is a direct function of our individual and unique socialization. This process is as real as anything else in our universe. But our pain and suffering, that which is psychologically rooted, is a direct consequence of our family’s and culture’s projection of inadequacy and insufficiency onto us, which we began to absorb even before we could verbalize the experience.

Once we agree with this projection, it becomes who we believe ourselves to be. So begins the life of endless seeking.

For this reason we become hard workers. We try to figure all of this out. We seek pleasant mind states to avoid the pain, We work to become better. It’s important to be heard, to be respected, to prevail in life. We work and work and work. So much of the attention energy circulates around this identification with inadequacy.

Like EVERYTHING else in the universe, every quality is dialectical (it comes in two flavors). There is attention rooted in open love and there is attention rooted in our struggle with inadequacy/insufficiency. All of this can be seen as the interplay of light and dark in our lives.

Rather than work, yet again, on this “problem”, is it possible to just see and experience this without seeking any mind state from the process – without seeking any outcome – without wanting any understanding? Just letting it be as it needs to be?

This calls on us to just relax in this moment, then watch that same inadequacy contraction arising, then we might ask ourselves, what is the beauty of this moment? What if I just love this fragile inadequacy? … What if, I cease being the harsh parent? … What if I see the lost child in this experience? … What if I just reach out and touch this feeling?


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Getting the Prescriptions You Need


This blog is dedicated to finding happiness of all kinds in THIS NOW of our life. Healthcare is a key element of living a full life. In keeping with that spirit, thanks to my wife who specializes in this field, here is a strategy to getting the meds you need with or without health insurance. I hope you find it helpful.

It’s going to be a long time before there is real health care reform in the United States. In the meantime, here’s an approach to getting the most from fulfilling your prescriptions.

1. If the prescribed med is denied by your insurance; first find out if your insurance will pay for it, if you doctor submits a prior authorization request;

2. If it’s an exclusion of the policy, ask if they will make an exception.

3. If they still say no, ask your doctor if there is a generic or other medicine that will do what you need.

healthcare

4. Find out if the med is available at Walmart’s $4.00 prescription program (one of about 300 meds Walmarts sells for 4 bucks, regardless of insurance).

5. Find out if you qualify for a pharmaceutically based low or no cost patient assistance program.

6. Let’s say none of these ideas work and you have to pay out of pocket – if your medical expenses total enough of your income – they are tax deductible.

7. Some states have relief programs for people who have high medical costs (the lower your income, the better your chances.

Hope this helps.

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