Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

“If Capitalism is a disease, then it’s one that eats your flesh — and then profits from selling your bones for fertilizer, and then invests that profit to reap the cane harvest, and then sells that harvest to tourists who pay to visit your headstone.”
― Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet

And this was back then in the 1880s:

Recognizing her daughter’s intelligence, Keller’s mother sought help from experts including inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who had become involved with deaf children. Ultimately, she was referred to Anne Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, who became Keller’s lifelong teacher and mentor. Although Helen initially resisted her, Sullivan persevered. She used touch to teach Keller the alphabet and to make words by spelling them with her finger on Keller’s palm. Within a few weeks, Keller caught on. A year later, Sullivan brought Keller to the Perkins School in Boston, where she learned to read Braille and write with a specially made typewriter. Newspapers chronicled her progress. At fourteen, she went to New York for two years where she improved her speaking ability, and then returned to Massachusetts to attend the Cambridge School for Young Ladies. With Sullivan’s tutoring, Keller was admitted to Radcliffe College, graduating cum laude in 1904. Sullivan went with her, helping Keller with her studies. (Impressed by Keller, Mark Twain urged his wealthy friend Henry Rogers to finance her education.)

Even before she graduated, Keller published two books, The Story of My Life (1902) and Optimism (1903), which launched her career as a writer and lecturer. She authored a dozen books and articles in major magazines, advocating for prevention of blindness in children and for other causes.  

Imagine that, no, and she was written off by a majority of society — a woman, deaf and blind.

And now, 2023? Where would Keller stand? Syria, Vietnam, Libya, Yemen, USA, the constant build up military might, the proxy wars, the 20 years in Iraq? Imagine that, even now, we write off people even after all the Americans with Disabilities activism, the Eunice Shriver’s of the world and Special Olympics, inclusion in schools, all the special education. But socialst, radical, anti-war? Death to Helen, 2023?

In 1909 Keller became a member of the Socialist Party; she actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working class from 1909 to 1921. Many of her speeches and writings were about women’s right to vote and the effects of war; in addition, she supported causes that opposed military intervention.

And yet, and yet, there are other sides to Keller:

Many hearing people, Marxists included, are familiar with Helen Keller in one of two ways. Either we see her as the wild child rescued from the prison of deafness and blindness through the heroic efforts of her “miracle worker” teacher, Anne Sullivan; or as the butt of cruel “Helen Keller” jokes. Neither image bears any relation to the actual, politically active Deaf/Blind woman whom that nearly mythical child became.

In these texts, she explains how she came to Revolutionary Socialism after her graduation from college. Despite her reliance on intermediaries to communicate with the outside world, Comrade Helen Keller is fully her own person.

Helen Keller became a member of the Socialist Pary in 1909 and by 1912, she had become a national voice for socialism and working class solidarity. Her articles and speeches take on a harder edge as the war machine gears up and the reformist tendency in the Socialist Party forced a split with its revolutionary wing. We can see her calling for party unity in 1913, and then breaking publically with reformism and siding wholeheartedly with the IWW in 1916 and taking up the struggle against President Wilson’s hypocritical war machine .

Helen Keller’s work for the cause of socialist revolution continued through the years of the First World War up until 1921. She had been long active in efforts to reduce the causes of blindess and provide relief for the Blind. With the collapse of the Socialist Party’s commitment to revolution and the on-going persecution of the IWW, Keller lost her connections to the workers movement and became increasingly isolated among reformers and government bureaucrats who did not share her political perspectives.

Her own self image was that of a Blind woman who also could not hear. Helen Keller never learned the sign language of the North American Deaf community. Instead she had English sentences manually spelled into her hand and then vocalized her responses. This effectively cut her off from the largely working class Deaf population whose native sign language has a grammar all its own. Blindness at that time often meant unemployment, whereas Deaf workers were integrated into the largely non-English speaking ranks of manual laborers. One can only wonder what might have been if Comrade Keller had found a place in the ranks of politically unorganised Deaf workers in the heady years of the late ’20s and ’30s.

Sadly, her legacy among Deaf and Deaf/Blind people today is one of opposition to their native language rights. Her name stands for the dominance of spoken English over American Sign Language. This is due to her family’s early contact with Alexander Graham Bell and his campaign to wipe out manual communication in favor of the oral education of the Deaf. Her legacy in the larger hearing world today is one of the saccharine sweet triumph of the individual over personal adversity (with the help of a determined educator-hero). Gone is her call for international working-class solidarity and her clear revolutionary vision. Hopefully, this small archive will go some way to recapturing her socialist legacy for the Deaf, Deaf/Blind and hearing workers of the world. (source)

Yeah, there is an FBI file on her. What a world, what a world.

Now, I am thinking about mortality, for sure. I have been around a lot of interesting folk, people who are considered disenfranchised by the beautiful people, but alas, really, in my work in developmental disabilities, I have seen, as an employment specialist, many situations where I did not have to harp on the fact that people living with intellectual-developmental disabilities have the same aspirations of wanting independence and a job and some worthy place in society. Because: well, many of the store and business owners and managers and hiring honchos they themselves have a family member living with a developmental disability.

So, yes, one thirty-eight year old woman, paralyzed from the neck down, and non verbally communicative, got a job after fitted with a specialized chair and machine that she could use with her tongue, to take tickets at a movie theater, and the tongue-mouth computer allowed her to give the movie goers salutations and even recommendations of the movies playing in the 16-theaterplex.

And yet, and yet, so many people I have run into who think drug abusers and highly impacted individuals who are physically, mentally and psychologically damaged from a bad beating or from alcohol in the womb, that those people do not deserve all these government programs and services. Many have said they would love to put a drug-addict into his boat, with a chunk of cement chained to the waist, and let him go and be useful: crab pickings.

I kid you not!! And, we know, that at least drug users are many times drug dealers, and this is the crap and misanthropy we have to absorb daily from the likes of them all, including Trump:

Donald Trump’s White House plans to stop deaths from opioid abuse by putting more drug dealers to death.

The Trump administration is rolling out its plan to solve the opioid crisis Monday, when Trump is expected to visit Safe Station, a drop-in facility for opioid users seeking help and treatment, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

And according to administration officials, part of the plan will be to tell prosecutors to “seek the death penalty against drug dealers when it’s appropriate under current law.”

You know, all those freaks in American politics looking up at Singapore for lashings and harsh prison sentences. Utah lawmakers are pushing for the firing squad to come back. Oh, 2023! This is the way of the misanthrope:

Singapore resumed executions in March 2022, after a two-year hiatus. According to local activists, there are an estimated 60 inmates on death row, most of whom are for drug-related offences. The 64-year old Nazeri bin Lajim has been scheduled for execution by hanging on July 22, 2022. This is the 9th execution scheduled this year, just shortly after the State carried out a double execution on July 7, 2022. VICE World News followed his family in May 2022 to find out how the capital punishment inflicts the condemned individual and those closest to them.

And so that’s one way to deal with sickness:

October 10 is the World Day Against the Death Penalty, a day when people around the world speak out together to condemn this punishment for what it is – a brutal sanction that violates the right to life. More than half the world’s countries agree with them. But a minority of countries do not, going to great lengths to justify their continued use of it. Among the many justifications they use is that the death penalty deters drug trafficking.

But is the death penalty really the answer to drug crime – or any crime, in fact?

Drug offences can still get you the death penalty in over 30 countries.

If you’re convicted of a drug-related offence, you face the death penalty in more than 30 countries around the world. A drug offence can include anything from trafficking heroin to being caught carrying a small amount of marijuana. So far in 2015, China, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam have all sentenced people to death for drug-related crimes. (source)

But again, eugenics for people born with DD-PD-ID or severe physical disabilities: Sterilization is one of the most frequently chosen forms of contraception in the world; many persons who do not want to have children select this simple, safe, and effective means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy. For individuals who are mentally disabled, however, sterilization has more ominous associations. Until recently, involuntary sterilization was used as a weapon of the state in the war against mental deficiency.
Under eugenic sterilization laws in effect in many states, retarded persons were routinely sterilized without their consent or knowledge. (old source)

Thirty three states had forced sterilization laws on the books.

Gov. John Kitzhaber formally apologized Monday for Oregon’s past eugenics law that led to the forced sterilization of hundreds of people.

Girls in reform school, people in mental institutions and poor women selected by welfare workers were among the more than 2,500 Oregonians subjected to sterilizations under a law that stood from 1917 to 1983.

“To those who suffered, I say the people of Oregon are sorry,” Kitzhaber said during a ceremony in the governor’s office. “Our hearts are heavy for the pain you endured.”

He is the second governor to atone for state eugenics laws after Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who also erected a memorial in May to the first woman sterilized under the policy.

Among the dozens of people who crowded into Kitzhaber’s office for Monday’s ceremony was Velma Hayes, 68, who was sterilized at age 15 while living at the Fairview Training Center, a state-run institution for the mentally ill and retarded.

Hayes called the state’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing “long overdue,” but praised Kitzhaber’s effort to make things right. (source)

“I want to thank you for taking the time to apologize,” Hayes told the governor. “Your apology is appreciated and accepted.”

Not everyone was satisfied. Ken Newman, 61, who said he was given a vasectomy without his consent when he was a teen living at Fairview, said the governor’s remarks don’t erase what happened.

“I want more than an apology. I want to be compensated,” Newman said. The law was based on the pseudoscientific movement that sought to prevent people considered “unfit” or “defective” from having children. After 1967, the Oregon law was chiefly used to sterilize those with mental illness or mental disability.

But I started this short diatribe around visiting the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. Visiting my wife’s mom’s husband, her step-father. He’s 78, and he was diagnosed July 2022 with Glioblastoma Multiforme. It is a death sentence: Glioblastoma (GBM), also referred to as a grade IV astrocytoma, is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. It invades the nearby brain tissue, but generally does not spread to distant organs. GBMs can arise in the brain de novo or evolve from lower-grade astrocytoma. (source)

Now, the fellow opted for brain surgery in July, but unfortunately, after radiation and chemotherapy, he couldn’t get off the toilet last week, and so they went in and gut into the brain. He has advance medical directives stating he wants all measures to deal with a fatal disease. He wants to be resusitated in the event of a heart stoppage.

Now, these are personal choices, and the intervention the second time only allowed the surgeons to get 70 percent of the cancer, as any futher in the 6 hours under the knife might get to that part of the brain that would leave him, well, in a coma or worse, virtually locked in a body that couldn’t do anything, including talk and move arms, what have you.

Until we have reached this level, in 1990: Remember those Death Panels?

Saying they can no longer afford the costly miracles of modern medicine, Oregon officials today announced the centerpiece of a plan to begin limiting medical services for people whose health care is paid for by the government.

After months of public debate over life-and-death questions, the Oregon Health Services Commission made public the main tool for their program: a list of 1,600 medical procedures, ranked by computer according to a formula that balances their costs against how many people would benefit.

Proponents describe the plan as a pioneering effort to balance limited government money against the potential for extensive high-cost, high-technology medical care. But critics say the state is entering the realm of judgments that are best left to patients and their doctors.

Oregon is poised to become the first state to make decisions on health care in a way that gives priority to preventive care. Such policies are already the practice in some countries, such as Britain, whose National Health Service sets up strict limits on patients’ access to specialists and sophisticated medical treatments.

Later this year, Oregon’s Legislature will decide where to draw a line across the computer list. Those ailments and injuries below the line will not be covered by the Medicaid program, which is jointly financed by the state and Federal governments. Conditions above the line will be fully covered.

The Oregon plan would not reduce coverage for the aged, disabled and the blind. All Medicaid coverage to those groups, no matter the procedure, would continue as before.

By eliminating a handful of expensive operations, Oregon officials say they may be able to nearly double the number of people receiving some coverage under Medicaid. About 130,000 Oregonians now receive some Medicaid care.

Oregon Draws Praise

”The miracle of medicine has outstripped our ability to pay for it,” said Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado and a longtime critic of current national medical payment practices. ”Somebody has to have the guts to say what policy brings the most good to the most people. Oregon is the first state to face up to it.”

About $600 bilion was spent from all sources on American health care last year.

Ranking near the top Oregon’s new list of ailments and injuries are such things as bacterial meningitis, bone cancer, multiple sclerosis and acute headaches.

But the list does not necessarily reflect the suffering that a particular disease can inflict on a human being. Thus, several other ailments – thumb sucking, for instance – are high on the list, not because they are the most painful or serious but because they are easily treated at a relatively low cost and affect a large number of people.

Among the diseases ranked near the middle are agoraphobia, cystic fibrosis and certain kinds of arthritis.

Near the bottom of the list, and likely to be dropped from Medicaid coverage, are treatments for chronic ulcers, sleep disorders, viral herpes, varicose veins impacted teeth and sex-change operations.

Detection and prevention of AIDS are high on the list, but treatment for advanced acquired immune deficiency syndrome, when a patient is close to death, is near the bottom.

How It Was Done

The list, which may still be changed later this year by a legislative committee, was drawn up computer. It is based on a ranking produced by a computer under a formula involving the cost of care based on the current Federal standard for the treatment in the Medicaid program, the length of time before the ailment would recur and the health of a patient’s after-treament – what Oregon officials called ”the quality of well-being.”

The list was put together by a panel of doctors, consumer advocates, health care administrators and medical-ethics experts. They were faced with such choices as whether a $100,000 organ transplant may be less valuable than regular tests for breast cancer.

Before Oregon can proceed with changes in its Medicaid coverage, the state must get a waiver from the Federal Government. Skepticism about the endeavor has already been expressed by one key member of Congress, Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who is chairman of the House subcommittee that governs Medicaid.

”If they can cover more people, I’m all for it,” said Mr. Waxman. ”But I don’t think we ought to fool ourselves into thinking there’s a lot of fat to cut from coverage of the most vulnerable people.”

Debate Dates to 1987

The Oregon Legislature’s health committee was ordered by the full Legislature to draw up the list after the state cut off Medicaid funds for organ transplants in 1987. At the time, state officials decided to concentrate their medical funds on such things as prenatal care.

The decision spurred a debate over where the state’s portion of Medicaid could best be spent.

”We think this will have a devastating impact on the poor in this state,” said Craig Irwin of Portland, whose mother, Kay Irwin, was denied Medicaid funds for a liver transplant two years ago. The operation was eventually done and paid for by a hospital in San Francisco.

”I don’t consider transplants wasteful,” said Mr. Irwin. ”They’re expensive, but they save lives.”

Public Sentiment Heard

The Oregon list reflects sentiment from more than 50 community meetings in the last year. In the hearings, prevention of illness and early detection were ranked much higher than operations that may prolong the lives of the gravely ill, according to a state study of the meetings.

”We picked up a very strong feeling from the general public that the American system pays too little attention to illness prevention,” said Dr. Michael Garland, a bio-ethicist who is president of a group that sampled opinion in the last year. ”The cost of health care is increasing at a rate that is unsustainable, and people want to put the brakes on somewhere.”

Some consumer groups, which were initially skeptical of the Oregon plan, have hailed the Oregon list.

”Nearly 60 percent of all medical procedures are unnecessary and inappropriate,” said Ellen Pinney, head of the Oregon Health Action Campaign, a consumer coalition. ”If this list draws us closer to identifying what those operations are, it’s a big boost.”

Proponents of the plan say the list, which ranks health care by priority, may eventually be used in all Medicaid programs.

”This is a strong dramatic step toward universal access of health care,” said Representative Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. ”I think this is going to be copied everywhere.” (NYT — May 3, 1990)

So, the priorities then are to feed the war machine, to feed the tax abatements and tax giveaways and outright subsidies for all the banks-chemical companies, you know, the MIC, military-chemical-pharma-ag-mining-oil-gas-education-media-prison-transportation-building-Chamber of Commerce COMPLEX.

That was thirty-three years ago, and I was a journalist, newspaperman, and we talked about that in Texas. And, we are no where close to any sanity now, any humanity now, anything of a cultured, smart and giving society, for-by-with-because-in the name of WE the people.

One disaster after another. One paycheck away from eviction and foreclosure and sacking. This is what has occurred on steroids, supercharged, since 1990: the eviceration of agency and humanity, until we have the dog-eat-dog world of rabid canines going after we the people. Fines, tolls, tickets, repossessions, fees, add-ons, taxes, excise, VAT, until we are truly paying just to breathe.

So, one man’s decision to live another month or two, well, it is selfish from many people’s points of view. Having a child or fostering many with develomental disabilities is selfish to many. The system that looks at homelessness, chronic addiction, all the crime, big and small, the offenders in the criminal injustice system, yep, many fascists want them taken out the Singapore way.

This mass psychosis and mass Stockholmd Syndrome and massive general anxiety disorder, and this collective amnesia and then now, actually hating 1.3 billion in China and hundreds of millions in Russia, Mexico, Iran, wherever, this is the script being played out . . . after centuries in this shit hole of land theft and seeding blankets with disease and hangings and forced internment and, well, you get the picture of a totally karmic dead culture.

Oh, priorities. Train derailments. Palestine, Ohio, and Dioxin poising. Love Canal, fenceline communities, cancer alleys, persistent organic compounds, volitle organic compounds, factory farms, feedlots from hell, poisons in our food, soil, air, water. All of the attacks on the fetus, the child, the sick and the weak.

This is the standard for a fascist society, where both red and blue, mean on the outside and mean on the inside, this duopoly, this sick schizophrenia — hating Russians and wanting to invade Mexico, all of it, this is a decayed and cancerous system, capitalism but also nuclear submarine/gunboat un-diplomacy.

This is the thuggery of Americanos, and forced sterilization, and forced pollution thrust onto poor communites, these sacrifice zones here and throughout the world, all part of the Dirty Capitalism of Fascism and Inverted Totalitarianism:

This research focused on the health status of fence-line communities defined as those adjacent to industrial facilities. Previous research has shown that the longer a population is exposed to high levels of pollution, the more deleterious its effect on the health of fence-line communities.  The populations in fence-line communities also typically consist of low-income minorities and present health disparities. Study findings were that fence-line communities demonstrated high rates of premature death, greater number of unhealthy mental days, and COVID-19 death rates. The differences in death rates for Blacks and Whites were staggering. The risk of COVID-19 death for Blacks in the 11-parish study area ranged from 1.5 times to 11.4% higher than Whites. Fence-line communities are an example of environmental injustice and the effects of slow violence from air pollution. (source)

So many countries are America’s fenceline sacrifice zones. (source)

This is just in one state, so multiple it for all states, and then countries:

There are 10 million people in North Carolina, and 9 million hogs. Judging by the smell, the hogs are winning. Or, rather, the giant corporate factory hog farms are. Hogs are the largest agricultural product of the Tarheel State, adding at least $2 billion to the economy there. How the hogs are raised and slaughtered, and how the waste is handled, is making life miserable for many North Carolinians. Billions of gallons of pig feces and urine are collected in lagoons, mixed with blood and rotting pig body parts. To keep these fetid ponds from overflowing, the toxic liquid is pumped skyward with enormous spray devices, aerosolizing the waste, which is carried away by the wind. Neighbors suffer indescribably bad odor and an array of illnesses. The notoriously regressive Republican majority in the North Carolina statehouse has passed a bill—H.B. 467, Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies—to protect the factory hog farming industry from liability, which the state’s recently elected Democratic governor has yet to sign—or veto. In the meantime, impacted communities, mostly African-American, are fighting back.

Choices? This is the reality of Capitalism — no parent wants plastic in their child’s feces or pig feces in atomized form in their lungs. There are no choices in this economic and commercial fascism.

How much more medical intervention can a 78-year-old afford? And this father in law is religious, so I am not sure why he’s not opting out for a decent cocktail of drugs and pain killers to ease him into the passing?

High level thinking means we have to look at the causes and the effects, the origins of decisions and medical therapies, and the psychology of individuals and the collective. We have to understand what was the option before these medical interventions. The toll on families, loved ones, society. We do not have these higher level thinkers in K12, and we discourage that higher order of thinking, and that solutions gathering discourse, and open dialogue and deep learning and advanced critical thinking and critical feeling: pushing our brains to other higher order levels of thinking—helping us move beyond remembering and recalling information and move deeper into application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation.

I can put myself into this father-in-law’s shoes, but I do not think he has even after 78 years on the planet, the ability to do that deep dialogue with us, his surgeons and with himself.

I taught for more than 40 years variations on the theme: Higher order thinking, or “HOT” for short, takes thinking to higher levels than restating the facts. HOT requires that we do something with the facts. We must understand them, infer from them, connect them to other facts and concepts, categorize them, manipulate them, put them together in new or novel ways, and apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems. Following are some ways to access higher order thinking.

Yet, oh yet, here we are, and the society is in decay, and a few beautiful people and elites rule the 80 percenters, us, even those of us with a higher level of thinking about now, context, competing and contradictory concepts, about history, about systems, and systems thinking and about baselines and shifting baselines.

Are we sort of in this consumerist and retail and consumption-based society in a classic vegetative state? Emotionally arrested? Stunted? Raw and fight-flight-freeze cultivated?

Oh, goddamn, you know my answer if you have read my “stuff” over time, over the years. And where is the best place for lawyers and billionaires and hedge funders and Wall Streeters and Lords of War, and how many circles of hell are there now for today’s new breed of Machiavelli and Eichmann and Edward Bernays and Ayn Rand?

A good start, indeed!!

Inflammed, man: Raj Patel and Rupa Marya, the authors of ‘Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice’, on building an economy focused on care

Rupa: The colonial project was really enacted through the missionaries, the medics and the militaries – medicine played a role in asserting the dominance of colonial forces in other people’s territories.

It was not interested in keeping all the native people healthy and optimizing their wellness. It was interested in keeping the colonizers healthy, so that they could continue to extract the wealth and dominate those people in their lands. When you really understand that, you’re not surprised when you see that Black women have a 12 times mortality rate than white women in the postpartum period in New York City. You understand that, okay these are remnants of thoughts and understandings that have really shaped the structures of modern medicine today – part of the violences are embedded into the frameworks and the institutions and the way that the culture recreates itself.

When we think about words, like the ‘non compliant patient’, doctors interrupt their patients within 11 seconds on average of encountering them. We don’t tend to think: is our patient the expert in their body through their lived experience in their own body with their disease? Doctors who focus on narrative medicine in history taking, can most of the time find out what’s wrong with somebody within 95% of the time by just really listening and asking the right questions and listening to how a person reveals the story of their illness. And then asking some more questions about what’s going on around the body. What are the sum of the exposures from that person? What are their histories, their ancestries? What kind of traumas are they carrying through generations? How is that impacting the cellular function of the immune system?

So all these things are much more intricately tied to the web of life around them. As a practicing doctor, we were used to thinking of the immune system as something that fights off invaders – again, like a very colonial us versus them dichotomy, this Cartesian Dualism that is really a part of our understanding whether it’s in medicine, or how we address ecology right now. These enlightenment era fallacies continue to pervert the way we’re able to understand what we’re seeing in front of us. So those ways of seeing were how I learned about the immune system. But as we studied and read for our book, I started to understand that the immune system is actually our harmonizer with the world around us. So if the world around us is toxic and damaging, the immune system responds with damage, and trying to remediate that damage, sets off its own cycles of more damage inside the body which is registered as chronic sterile inflammation.

But if the world around us is in balance – ecologically, socially, politically – then the immune system harmonizes with balance. So to just focus on each individual and say, Oh, you just need juice and this probiotic pill and get some more exercise and sleep better – misses the whole point, because you can’t actually get better health outcomes until you start working on the level of restructuring the world around our bodies. And that is not something any individual can do. That is something we must do collectively, and is happening right now collectively, and those are the stories that we have lifted in the book.

4 thoughts on “Persistent Vegetative State?

  1. ann jensen says:

    Sadhguru says gun violence related to mental health Violence culture is rising “because of the content of television shows, movies, and video games.”

    “Mental health and violence are very connected. I am asking — have we not made violence a very popular thing? A 5-year-old is playing a video game. What do you think he is doing? You think he is playing badminton. Most of the time he is shooting something,” he said. “From the age of 5 till 18, if I am that child, if I go on shooting on the screen, when I become 18, would I like not to graduate to something more real,” the spiritual guru, who was recently in the US as part of a global initiative to boost awareness about deteriorating soil health, added. Nashville School Shooting Leaves 6 Dead | Sadhguru on school children shooting …maybe you know – his large center is near Nashville


    1. haederpaul says:

      Higher level thinking posits much around the violence of this settler-colonial society. Karmic, sure, but I have spent many years with students working on research papers around the violence of this country, and debates around “Do violent video games and movies encourage and precipitate violence?”

      What a baseline implosion of perversions since our hunter-gatherer days, those pastoralists. Imagine, 15,000 years ago and no fences, no thugs, no farms and herds of sheep and cattle. You did not work for someone else to get or prprovide food. You moved with the animals, seasons, grasses, and berries and fruit.

      Violence started with the cracking of dirty, planting vast acres of wheat. Then, on and on, until jungle and forests were cleared, and everglades emptied, and rivers dammed, and coral reefs scraped.

      Violence is the seed of watching violent movies, the violence in the “media” vaunting these soldiers of fortune, the uniformed mercenary services, the blood lust, lords of war. The sexual perversion of lapping up missiles, jets, special forces . . . . They are all murderers in their hearts, whether some Holly-Dirt wimp playing macho Iron Man or Platoon character, or the endless seeding of the violent and racist habituation in these Grand Theft Auto 9999.

      I have been in the trenches, with soldiers on their bases and posts, with machos all over, with students who believe that the brain — a child’s brain — somehow is not reconfigured after watching and participating in these sick video game. Right, so we ARE not what we read, watch, eat, drink, say, believe, build, hope for, dream, see, and engage in.

      Nah, the believe, that all the trash, junk, perverted stuff they watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Showtime, et al, all of it is just entertainment, with zero effect on the children’s brains, values, contexts, histories, lives.

      A society that locks down youth, that pushed on-line Zoom schooling, that continues to hobble youth with this and that chronic illness vis-a-vis air, water, food, innoculations, everything, including what their communities’ priorities are — booze, smokes, college football flyovers, and so so much tied to now, these dirty military men and women and LGBTQA+ folk pushing more and more young people, and old, in Ukraine, to go to the meat grinder.

      I’m not sure the connection to the shootings in Tenn., related to this post specifically, but thanks for the comments.


  2. fgsjr2015 says:

    “If Capitalism is a disease, then it’s one that eats your flesh — and then profits from selling your bones for fertilizer, and then invests that profit to reap the cane harvest, and then sells that harvest to tourists who pay to visit your headstone.”

    ―Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet


    Generally, the more we humans make, all the more we need to make next time. And when in corporate-CEO form, we’ll typically become far greedier.

    But, really, there must be a point at which the status quo — where already large corporate profits are maintained or increased while many people are denied even life’s basic necessities — can/will end up hurting big business’s own monetary interests. One can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed.

    Or could it be that, generally speaking, the unlimited profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible, including the willingness to simultaneously allow an already squeezed consumer base to continue so — or even squeezed further?

    When it comes to unhindered capitalism, I can see corporate CEOs shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. The shareholders meanwhile shrug their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

    It seems to me that the superfluously rich and powerful essentially have always had the police and military ready to foremost protect their power/money interests, even over the basic needs of the masses. Albeit, long ago there were some successful social/labor uprisings, notably the Bolshevik and French revolutions.

    Even today, the police and military can, and probably would, claim they must bust heads to maintain law and order as a priority; therefore, the absurdly unjust inequities and inequalities can persist.

    Thus, I can imagine there were/are lessons learned from those successful social/labor uprisings — a figurative How to Hinder Progressive Revolutions 101, perhaps? — with the clarity of hindsight by the big power/money interests in order to avoid any repeat of such great wealth/power losses.


  3. haederpaul says:

    To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a heaven in a wild flower,
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour.

    —Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake

    Thanks for the comment. There is another book by Raj, The Value of Nothing. I interviewed Raj on my radio show a while back, too, and I am referencing him since you list the quotation by him.

    “A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness.”–Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

    Opening with Oscar Wilde’s observation that “nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced. He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place. Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.

    If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world’s worth. If we don’t want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.

    This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics. While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one. If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn’t often said who gets to make them. The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable
    economy and society.


    Check it out, five scrolls down:


    Most of humanity was around BEFORE the so-caled fertile crescent, before industrial ag, before locking up the land and water and food for enslavement.

    I do not think the average person in countries other than the collective West want this sort of penury, this sort of devaluing of people-culture-place-ecosystem-spirituality.


    Winters: I read this book as an upending of the traditional historical narrative in the sense that you’re taking a look at the significant events of the past 700 years and looking at them not as what they meant at the time, but how they laid the groundwork for what we are experiencing in right now. When you were researching the book, were you intending to look at the historical underpinnings of our current system and how it got there, or were you working backwards from the present?

    Patel: I think, in a sense, it was a bit of both. And that’s because we knew that the sorts of intervention we wanted to make, and in particular we wanted to bring history to some of the debate and some of the activism. But we also discovered new historical connections based on the kinds of questions we’re asking of our present moment.

    Early on that we knew that Christopher Columbus was going to be an interesting figure, for example, in the stories that we were telling. So we dug deeper and deeper and deeper and found much more about him than either of us had known. For instance, since we’re interested in how finance works today, we wanted to find out more about what Columbus did. The structure of the finance that made Christopher Columbus’ journeys possible, I think, is very interesting, based on a web of promises of future colonization, and financiers made rich through war looking for a high return. It’s very modern. His attitudes toward women and his attitudes toward work … and what he thought of nature. What we found was that by coming at the history of capitalism with a clear analytical agenda and then doing the deep sort of archival work, we were then able to sort of spin it back to the present.

    For instance: here we are in Seattle. Jeff Bezos is one of the kings of the hill in this town. And in many ways, the things that Columbus says and the way he talks investors into giving him money, through which he always manages to get paid and his investors have to wait a long time for their money to come, the ways that he offers new frontiers in which entrepreneurship and civilization will be brought back—that’s almost exactly the kind of language that Jeff Bezos is using right now to talk about going into space and colonizing the moon.

    If you look at the finances, the kinds of promises that (Columbus) offers his bankers, the structure of financing through which that money comes, the way that he swindles his workers out of full payment and relies on slaves, it all looks very contemporary. This is not to say Jeff Bezos is a slaver, but it certainly does say that the kinds of minerals that allow Alexa to order things for you in the shower come from the systems that require modern day slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    There are 40 million slaves in the world today. The persistence of slavery and its compatibility with high finance and with people being paid wage labor, that’s old. You don’t need to be conspiratorial, and one doesn’t need to bend history at all to observe that slaves, alongside wage workers, alongside entrepreneurs, alongside bankers, alongside people offering new things from the frontier, is happening in the 21st century as much as it was in Columbus’ day.

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