Simple communitarian spirit, tied to serendipitous moment listening to this artist a month ago talking about climate change, tide-pools and new earth emerging. His name is Bill Kucha, 74, originally from Cleveland. He was trained as a classic artist n Boston, BU, and he married at 18, had a child, and ended up on his walkabout single again. He ended up in Portland years later, new wife, Dorothy, two children, a grandchild, and more than 47 years later, Sitka roots and multi-variant artwork with creator, artist, struggling with the weight of climate like a storm over humanity, over all of nature and over his personal connection to mother earth.
He talks a lot about this new time of chaos, the opportunities for change, pushing the old — fossil fuel “economy,” dreaded Capitalism — into the dustbin of history . . . with the energy of new minds, new ideas, new sense of identity. Where ego desiccates and a new giving gift society rises from the ashes of the Phoenix that once carried the tools of greed and war for the elite.
Here, a piece I wrote about his talk along with a conservation biologist’s posted on several places on the Internet — Tidepools.
I was invited by Bill and his wife Dorothy to their home overlooking the Pacific, north of Depoe Bay, near Newport.
Their home in 1972 was once a broken-down old drafty ramshackle of a beach house, and then 47 years of TLC and a dramatic setting down of roots — spiritual, creative, and holistic. Bill has worked the land, the side of the hill sloping toward the Pacific, moving rocks and pilings and earth to make an amazingly healing place, terraced, gardens, swales for graywater and rainwater for consumption.
The transformation of a man who has gained friends galore but who has worked in solitary brushing on paints and chipping into basalt and welding metal to stone, Bill has been intersecting with youth and old, playing his guitar and composing songs. He helped found 350.org Central Oregon Coast.
The talk we had Sunday Feb. 17 was anchored in transference, a new or very old expansion of the universe talk about evolutionary principles tied to the noosphere, the creative connectivity of humanity in this time of crisis.
I’ll be writing about Bill and Paul’s Lightness of Being Adventure, but yesterday, Dorothy opened up, first a teacher in Portland and then a social worker. Her parents fleeing Austria under the saber of Hitler. Her father has been featured in Portland historical news for his own migration to this new land.
Gentile and Jew, Bill and Dorothy live in balance, as the artist Bill is tied to his mistress: the land he has sculpted nail by nail, stone by stone, shadow by shadow. Their own relationship and lives in Mexico, the lightness of being now calm in a state of upheaval, great lessons passed forward to their family and friends. He is unsettled by the crisis in climate and politics and humanity.
We talked about story, about narratives, and then, bam, we headed in our separate vehicles to Newport to be with Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate, who talked with around 50 people crammed into the Newport library.
Kim talked about story, too, and my interpretation of that two hours will be written about in another blog here soon. For now, read about his father and me here, at Cirque Journal: A Poet, the Pacific Flyway, and a Sonora Flash Flood here!
Kim was kind enough to pair up some of his poems with my non-fiction piece a few years ago in the Cirque issue, which if you open up and read my piece from the hyperlink above, you’ll see it is largely about my own poetic rites of passage tied to his father, William Stafford, and my own life moving from point to point in my as of yet revealed journey back to some imagined place in my literary soul. Three poems, Kim Stafford, Cirque Journal.
Much of what Kim said in his Newport, Oregon, talk I have been practicing all my life — writing, thinking, inventing my perceptions of life, and the daily practice of writing, photographing, teaching, giving, struggling. I look to words as lamentation and personal narrative. The poem below is my spiritual word journey, after Bill and Dorothy shared their lives and home, and ruminating from that point where I listened to and talked with Kim among all these Central Oregon Coast writers and writer-wanna-be’s.
I sent the poem to Bill and Dorothy. I also sent it to Kim, now on a busy schedule as Oregon’s poet of record, a two-year stint where he has to meet with people throughout Oregon; Kim still has his gig as professor at Lewis and Clark University.
I am now intersecting with much of my own scattershot history, unfolding narratives, collapsing believes, a new revised personal relationship, and I am about to be married, yet we’re looking for some solace in Mexico, maybe, but now, living and breathing in Otis, Oregon, near Cascade Head, the shape of life molded into the refracted light dancing in my cones and rods. I am teaching now, and working on a couple of book manuscripts. I am beach combing and photographing and just pushing out some terrible times as a social services professional in the Portland arena for more than a decade. Read at your own peril below!
Rodea Point, Broken Circle, and a Nautilus Shaped from Basalt and Pig Iron
( comiéndose tortillas y frijoles negros en Otter Crest Trail con Bill y Dorothy Kucha
By Paul Haeder, 2/17/19
words like slow trowel
wet alabaster, cupped hands
incantations of synesthesia
as loud as basalt
prodded by lichen
he comes to me with law of time
universal expansion, he feels
drawn into climate crisis
his sensuality cuts, chips, digs
stone, earth to loam, stone to bricks
patterns shaped into lamentations
the weight of geological time
expands, he expresses yin yang
Chinese character “crisis”
a point where things happen
artist from Cleveland flays
canvas with acrylics
the ebb like spiritual
floe, trapped in vortex
this synchronicity, the calcifying
old world new world noosphere
emancipation for him
transmogrifying nature, he paints
biological fractals, polygons of betrayal
conjures up seeds as ghosts-
dances, perennials perma
culture as long as soil
finds impregnation, Gaia
he culls crisis in triptych
weight of Egyptian prophecies
curses, earth flagellated for a new
he covets hope
he watches river burst
flammable memories, Cuyahoga
dreams, Cleveland boy
“jawbone” for Seneca
“crooked river” for Mohawk
white man’s trash heap
emblematic of a million
trails of tears, eviscerated river,
space entropy land of holy
benedictions as interlopers
condemn new rivers to oil slicks
dams slough off unholy
metals, fossil hunters’ distillates
now slower in his gait
overlook of Pacific more
than germination, gestation
new age ancient he holds
paint brush hammer trowel
old hands pushing yanking flogging
weight of 4 billion years
earth lifts to 74-year-old touch,
he flavors temporary home
in poppy lilac cruciferae
bounty shared by wife
air soil water soul
she comes from Diaspora
Austrian Aryans finding
her parents fled in 1939
warnings of Crystal Night
broken glass Kristallnach
weight of futures
she parts words between teacher
social worker, life flowing from
Mexico, weight to his fanciful
ruminations Jew with Gentile
family prayer Shema Yisrael
inscribed on grave of a Jewish
infant in Halbturn 3rd century
Roman slavers tossed Jews
into all corners of empire
Austria, land remembered
now she finds father
recriminating her to
not marry artist
you’ll be working for his art
not a dime he’ll make
migration from Cleveland-Portland
New York-Depoe Bay
islands in the stream
couple’s migratory passage
I his poet one step away
into pure light of chaos
she asks me if pain
of bearing witness
of finding center in political
turmoil takes joy from
living . . . the smile on my face
a million light years back
my future written when
I was nine, earlier
vision quest long walkabout
dreamtime more than
weight of ions breathed in
the soiling people
are minor actors
this artist comes to me
fielding a new love
he calls me brother
we part for another beach town
as we hold another poet’s words
speak to all his relations
we share the amen
as laureate reshuffles our
game, moments trapped
between cerebral connectivity
and laws of co-evolution
sharing food, opening spaces
we stay as one
momentarily, Pacific high tide
receding for another passing —
I want to thank all my relations
for this chance to be on Earth
in her time of flourishing; to thank
the First People of this place,
to honor their sovereignty in long
and continuing relation, still teaching us
how we might be here together; to thank
my mother and father, moon and sun,
for setting me forth before their own
passing on; to thank my grandmother
who listened to me so eloquently I learned
to listen to my own heart and mind, to find
stories and songs there; to thank my family
and friends, and all citizens and travelers
who study and work for deeper kinship
in this place, with one another, and with
all creatures, one Earth, visible, palpable,
fragile, intricate, resonant, in need of our
better stories. I want to thank you
who have gathered to receive what I have
carried here—in hope that something
I have may meet something you need,
so all our relations may be strengthened
for this life we live together.
Amen. – Kim Stafford, “All My Relations”
Look, we are in a deep mess economically, environmentally, ethically, education-wise and tied to our rapacious appetite in the West (and now China) for energy. The 5-e’s!
The masters of the universe are the Oil Companies, the War Profiteers, the Millionaires and Billionaires sacking it to the 90 percent of the globe, talk dodging, illegal acts of war-theft-abuse on a grand scale, the Media owned and rigged by the Point Zero Zero One Percent, the Propaganda Machines of the West to include education and marketing and psychology, and others, which I call FIRE — finance insurance and real estate.
Now we are doing more dirty wars and dirty deeds to a democratically-elected Maduro in Venezuela, and one architect is Pence, self-defined right-wing AngloZionist Christian, and then another, Elliot Abrams, self-described Jewish lawyer and with a 40-year record of supporting rape, torture, military incursions, Contras, drugs for guns.
But then, there is no diff between Pelosi-Gore-Trump-Cruz-Rubio-Schumer. There are no “two parties”; just the Party of $.
A fellow writer at LA Progressive talks about the Holocaust not known by Europeans (where it happened and where it was facilitated and where the Jewish Homeland SHOULD have been colonized, not Palestine.
Look, we have to teach old and young so many things about history,, about the history not revealed. Never to be repeated. Ha.
Here’s the article by Steve Hochstadt and then my responses: Did the Holocaust Happen?
What does this mean, Steve:
Sometimes leftists are criticized, because they can be linked with other people who would like to see less attention paid to the Holocaust. For example, the two women who just became the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, are often accused by Republicans of being antisemitic, because of their criticisms of Israeli policy. Their comments do sometimes veer towards condemnations of Jews as a group, and Omar just had to apologize for some of her tweets. But their criticisms of Israel are echoed by many Jews. I find such conservative attacks misleading, but I am one of those Jews who is critical of Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
Look, I have fought the illegitimacy of the project to kill the world by neocons and slick people like Kissinger or Abrams. We have a terrible history of leaders — many Jewish — proclaiming the right to wage genocide, torture, land theft, rape, and cultural cleansing in many countries. Do our youth and adults need schooling on all the crap that has happened after the Holocaust, now in Venezuela, where youth may end up killing in the name of Capitalism? That’s a lot of history, attributed to a cabal of Jews and Anglos, all white, who want to be masters of the world militarily and economically.
Abrams? His hands have been involved in so much death and destruction:
Some say history repeats itself. Mark Twain said history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. The January 25 appointment of convicted perjurer Elliott Abrams as the new US Special Envoy on Venezuela is evidence that history just goes on and on and on with ironic cruelty and relentless injustice. That would be especially true if you happen to have the world’s largest proven oil reserve, as Venezuela does.
Adding Elliott Abrams to this team does little to provide hope for the Venezuelan people. Contrary to Pompeo’s assertion, Abrams has never demonstrated “passion for the rights and liberties of all peoples,” least of all Palestinians. But Abrams’s demonstrated capacity for supporting subversion, torture, and mass killing does indeed make him “a perfect fit and a valuable and timely addition.” After all, Abrams represents the continuity of 40 years of genocidal US global policies. And he participated in many of them, as reported with devastating detail on Democracy NOW as well as the terror timeline in The Intercept, but not so much in mainstream media.
We talk a lot about Pence’s right wing Christian background. About the dirty deeds of Catholics and their priests. But what about Elliot? His religious background, upbringing, and the rotten schools he attended? Is it antisemitic to bring up his early years, which might explain his world view? Abrams, like many Jews, despises Palestinians. Is that not relevant?
Am I in trouble for making the connection from his bio from Wikipedia and maybe Abrams’ worldview? Or the worldview of Stephen Miller and his Judaism and how Miller is one major architect in Trump’s House? Who knows —
Elliott Abrams was born into a Jewish family in New York in 1948. His father was an immigration lawyer. Abrams attended the Little Red School House in New York City, a private high school whose students at the time included the children of many of the city’s notable left-wing activists and artists. Abrams’ parents were Democrats.
Abrams received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1969, a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics in 1970, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1973. He practiced law in New York in the summers for his father, and then at Breed, Abbott and Morgan from 1973 to 1975 and with Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand from 1979 to 1981
Which genocide? How many Native Americans killed from Columbus to Trump? Which country lost the most people during WW II? China and Russia? Which genocide, the Belgium Congo, the French Indochina? Post-colonial genocide in most African nations? How much do we talk about that? Millions upon millions dead! By the powers of the West! Directly and indirectly!
Which structural violence, AKA, slow genocide, are we talking about that has been perpetrated by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, World Bank, et al?
Many discuss the Holocaust Industry, and, if you look at Holly-Dirt, Netflix, the entire US media publishing gig, however, we get not one critical look at Israel and AngloZionist illegal bombings of Iran, of Syria, and the open prison of Gaza and the country’s disproportionate response to rock throwers?
Does the average American and European know anything about the Imperial projects many in the current EU have done? Come on.
The banking policies of transnationals have killed tens of millions.
Absurd to think the German Holocaust needs dusting off. There are so many advocacy groups that bring up the dirty truth of Nazi genocide.
Norman Finkelstein states that his consciousness of “the Nazi holocaust” is rooted in his parents’ experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto; with the exception of his parents themselves, “every family member on both sides was exterminated by the Nazis”. Nonetheless, during his childhood, no one ever asked any questions about what his mother and father had suffered. He suggests, “This was not a respectful silence. It was indifference.” It was only after the establishment of “the Holocaust industry”, he suggests, that outpourings of anguish over the plight of the Jews in World War II began. This ideology in turn served to endow Israel with a status as “‘victim’ state” despite its “horrendous” human rights record.
According to Finkelstein, his book is “an anatomy and an indictment of the Holocaust industry”. He argues that “‘The Holocaust’ is an ideological representation of the Nazi holocaust”.
In the foreword to the first paperback edition, Finkelstein notes that the first hardback edition had been a considerable hit in several European countries and many languages, but had been largely ignored in the United States. He sees The New York Times as the main promotional vehicle of the “Holocaust industry”, and notes that the 1999 Index listed 273 entries for the Holocaust and just 32 entries for the entire continent of Africa.
Cynthia Maher says: February 14, 2019 at 9:33 am
I don’t think that they should ever stop teaching about the Holocaust. However, as Mr. Haeder pointed out, the study of genocide should include the various atrocities from all over the world beginning with Christopher Columbus and now Trump killing babies at the border.Reply
And it can be said a thousand times — NPR, National Petroleum Pesticide Propaganda Radio, well, listening to NPR is as difficult as listening to Alex Jones, Rachel Maddow and FOX.
NPR misleads public in report on AIPAC vs Ilhan Omar
Confirm for yourself —
AIPAC: tip of the iceberg
During the broadcast, NPR’s Peter Overby mentions pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson and a few other pro-Israel groups, implying these are largely the extent of the Israel lobby.
Overby and his guests fail to inform listeners of the full range and power of the Israel lobby in the United States: hundreds of organizations embedded in every state in the union and almost every campus, with a combined revenue of well over $6 billion.
Added to this are pro-Israel billionaire donors who regularly deploy their wealth on behalf of Israel, including Adelson and his Israeli wife Miriam, Israeli-American Haim Saban, Paul Singer, Norman Braman, and Larry Ellison, who have a combined net worth of close to $115 billion.
Wednesday’s report is not an isolated instance.
Analyses have shown that NPR has a long pattern of giving listeners Israel-centric reports that fail to give listeners the full, accurate picture of this profoundly important issue.
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.” Her articles have been published by MintPress News, The Link, Project Censored, Dissident Voice, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch, Z Magazine, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and others, including several anthologies.
It’s a call for submissions, for the Oregon Humanities Magazine, and the theme is, adapt =
Features for “Adapt”
For the Summer 2019 issue of Oregon Humanities, we want to hear your stories, ideas, thoughts, and arguments on the word “adapt.” Share an experience about conforming in response to some sort of pressure. Tell us what it takes to alter and revamp a system that needs to change. Explore a historical or current event that shows the process and outcome of adaptation.
We especially appreciate good stories and fresh ideas, particularly if they relate to challenging questions, diverse perspectives, and just communities. Tell us something we’ve never heard before. Show us something from a different angle. Make us feel, see, hear, smell the world anew.
Well, I am in a slipstream of writing this creative non-fiction, possibly to no avail, because in many ways, the Oregon Humanities is parochial and not so cutting edge. The conservative pitch of writing with academic-based writers or MFA-trained folk is something I have always had a problem with.
But I am pounding away on this word processor to invent my own “story” of adaptation, my own personal journey through fiction, ecology, non-fiction, and life, man!
Below, my answer to a short editorial written by the Oregon Humanities’ director — here. “We the People.”
Well, ironically, I am answering the “we” question during Black History month, another “we” in the pot of America (named after an Italian map maker) that is not a melting pot but a mixed salad tied to destroying many great people’s land and existence, the “we” of First Nations, and then the new “we” that this nation of whites decided were “they,” but were in fact the “we” of enslaved people.
Seems like a pretty exceptionalist attitude to ponder the rugged individualism that the myth of America is built upon on, on the backs of so many “we’s” — internment for Japanese Americans, the Old and New Jim Crow, the continual attack of undocumented people this “we” society calls “illegal aliens.” I wonder if those Mexicans and Central Americans see themselves as the “they” in the “we the people” America, or should they believe what “we the white America” call them, “we the aliens?”
I don’t think so.
Here, this is the “we” an African-American math teacher in Mississippi posted on her classroom door: “They stole scientists, doctors, architects, teachers, entrepreneurs, astronomers, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. and made them slaves.”
Jovan Bradshaw is a sixth grade math teacher at Magnolia Middle School, but she decided to teach her students something other than addition and multiplication this Black History Month.
“It all started with this little boy in my class. We were talking and he said, ‘Slaves didn’t do much because they couldn’t read or write.’ He kinda caught me off guard,’ Bradshaw said. “I said, ‘Baby, if I snatched you up and dropped you off in China or Germany or Africa even, you wouldn’t be able to read and write their language either. Does that make you useless or any less educated?’”
Paul Haeder | February 2019 | Otis
by Yves Engler / February 8th, 2019
Long Live a Free from USA/AngloZionist Dirty Tricks Venezuela –Oh Canada, my mother’s home, just as white patriarchal bad as the rest. Klanada, Oh Klanada:
It’s convenient but incorrect to simply blame the USA for Ottawa’s nefarious role in the slow motion attempted coup currently underway in Venezuela.
Critics of the Liberal government’s push for regime change in Venezuela generally focus on their deference to Washington. But, Ottawa’s hostility to Caracas is also motivated by important segments of corporate Canada, which have long been at odds with its Bolivarian government
In a bid for a greater share of oil revenue, Venezuela forced private oil companies to become minority partners with the state oil company in 2007. This prompted Calgary-based PetroCanada to sell its portion of an oil project and for Canadian officials to privately complain about feeling “burned” by the Venezuelan government.
Venezuela has the largest recognized oil reserves in the world. The country also has enormous gold deposits.
A number of Canadian companies clashed with Hugo Chavez’ government over its bid to gain greater control over gold extraction. Crystallex, Vanessa Ventures, Gold Reserve Inc. and Rusoro Mining all had prolonged legal battles with the Venezuelan government. In 2016 Rusoro Mining won a $1 billion claim under the Canada-Venezuela investment treaty. That same year Crystallex was awarded $1.2 billion under the Canada-Venezuela investment treaty. Both companies continue to pursue payments and have pursued the money from Citgo, the Venezuelan government owned gasoline retailer in the US.
In the last 20 years and since Comandante Hugo Chavez Frias was first elected in 1998 and came to power in 1999, Venezuela had another 25 fully democratic elections, of which 6 took place in the last year and a half. They were all largely observed by the US based Carter Institute, the Latin American CELAC, some were even watched by the European Union (EU), the very vassal states that are now siding with Washington in calling President Maduro an illegitimate dictator and instead, they support the real illegitimate, never elected, US-CIA trained and appointed, Juan Guaidó. Former President Carter once said of all the elections he and his Institute observed, the ones in Venezuela were by far the most transparent and democratic ones. By September 2017, the Carter Center had observed 104 elections in 39 countries.Venezuela: The Straw that Breaks the Empire’s Back?
by Peter Koenig / February 8th, 2019
Despite this evidence, Washington-paid and corrupted AngloZionist MSM are screaming and spreading lies, ‘election fraud’; and Nicolás Maduro is illegal, a dictator, oppressing his people, depriving them of food and medication, sowing famine – he has to go. Such lies are repeated ad nauseam. In a world flooded by pyramid-dollars (fake money), the presstitute media have no money problem. Dollars, the funding source for the massive lie-propaganda, are just printed as debt, never to be repaid again. So, why worry? The same Zionists who control the media also control the western money machines; i.e., the FED, Wall Street, the BIS (Bank for International Settlement, the so-called Central bank of central banks), the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the banks of London. The western public, armchair warriors, all the way to caviar socialists, believe these lies. That’s how our unqualified brains apparently work.
Absolutely riveting how this country is in a constant state of amnesia and killing. Hard to see local news about frozen cats and one inch of snow strangling Seattle, when we are the architects (we pay taxes and we spew pablum) of illegal and devilish interference in Venezuela’s future.
Thanks to Media Lens, sanity in a sea of corrupt and broken “media”!
Shame on the United Snakes of America! Thank god we have left (which is Right!) writers unmasking more of the dirty dealings of the United Snakes of America (sic)!
Juan Guaidó: The Man Who Would Be President of Venezuela Doesn’t Have a Constitutional Leg to Stand On
by Roger D. Harris / February 6th, 2019
Punching Counterpunch in a wet bag!
The rip roar fun of America is that every sector of the society seems infected by censorship because the people paying the bill, in a sense, are the titans of business, the CEOs, the upper echelon, who take their marching orders from billionaires who have their fingers in every cookie jar, from the Washington Post to some weekly in Phoenix; from the gazillion Starbucks, to the mom and pop that has its note entangled with JP Morgan Chase or Wells Fargo, and has to genuflect to the controllers of FIRE – finance, Insurance, real estate. Academia is colonized, since it’s copulating with the same titans of industry, the biased US government in the form of “defense” industries, and the elite’s gravy train, for instance, coming from a Phil Knight (Nike) or here, the list is big. Read below.
Imagine some lowly anthropology prof, or tenured political science professor, or college organization going up against any of these financial thugs. I list those below.
Remember, in capitalism, you can start small, even poor (most super rich have inherited the goods), but if you continue the oppressive force of vulture investing and parasitic wheeling and dealing, or if you made your billions on medical equipment or in food (like the Kroc’s of McDonald’s), paying off colleges for a slice of the tax shelter, and the huge influence you get from those greenbacks to these colleges, is part of the problem of colonizing the minds and hearts of so called liberal education!
Just typing away on this laptop, Lenovo, and sending this out via the local WAVE internet service, plugging it into OP-ED News’ submission frame puts me in collusion with the controllers, the master of the economic universe who are capitalists through and through. The owners and CEOs and the millionaires running anything I have to intersect with, hands down, are against taxing the rich (themselves), and taxing them big (let’s go with 70 or 80 percent) to redistribute wealth to pay for the externalities they have foisted on man and woman kind.
Self-censoring, check mating, and constant paranoia that the man will gut me for thinking and saying and writing these screeds, that is the way of the Capitalist world.
Now, here’s a thought experiment: can we even in our thoughts be free of the power of the controllers who organize all the services we have to utilize to survive, even our right to exist debt and felony-free, without some heavy breathing down our proverbial necks tied to the elite, the most oppressive force humanity has ever seen?
And, yes, they conspire against the majority, the worker, the down and out, the middle class, us all in the 80 percent! Conspiring means they go to the same meetings and conferences and gatherings like Davos and sit on the same boards and use the same financial institutions to accumulate more tax-dodging wealth; they use the same law firms, go to the same colleges, send their kids to the same sororities and fraternities.
The conspiracy is not coming from some wingnut late night fugue after watching Loose Change or Zeitgeist?
These men destroyed the native cultures, destroyed our constitutional rights, destroyed ecosystems, and put their sick minds to work to foment war, foment imperial overreach and to forward their dream to keep their vast amounts of wealth unshared by anyone except their families and heirs and a few rotten philanthropies.
Now, there have been books and books written about these robber barons above, and a few million articles and plenty of documentaries and even Hollywood blockbusters produced, directed and screened. Many of the comments against these titans include commenting on their zealotry and insanity and religious fervor and megalomania, all tied to their own in-bred belief in their God-given anointed status as takers.
Then, take this thought experiment to the next level: cite the other flavor of insanity and wealth accumulation and culture killing, by parsing out what others in their own tribe have parsed out – the Jewish movers and shakers alive today holding the purse strings.
Can we not criticize the other living robber barons, for instance, who have grouped themselves in a tribe, self-anointing themselves as Israel firsters, who in many cases have dual citizenship – USA and Israel? According to many, of course not. This is the kiss of death for writers like me.
What indeed happens to some of us if we cite insightful people like Gilad Atzmon tied to hisr ex-Jew status and his own anti-fascism as it applies to his former country of birth and religion of the tribe.
By Gilad Atzmon
Baruch Spinoza left the Jews. Heinrich Heine became a Christian. A few others, such as Israel Shamir and myself, a decade ago, simply drifted away.
Recently, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand announced that he too was no longer a Jew. I read his manuscript in Hebrew with great interest but soon realized that while he indeed stopped identifying as a Jew, he still hadn’t removed himself from kosher binaries.
“I don’t write for anti-Semites, I regard them as totally ignorant or people who suffer from an incurable disease,” (How I Ceased To Be A Jew p. 21). Lines like these, echoing as they do the language of the ADL, made me feel very uncomfortable and, when it came to the Holocaust, Sand, who is usually so astute and profound, somehow managed to lose it. The Nazis are “beasts”, and their rise to power metaphorically he described as a “beast awakening from its lair.” Despite my respect for Sand, I would expect a leading, inspirational historian and a former-Jew to have moved beyond such banal Hasbara-recycled clichés.
This week, in the Jewish progressive magazine Mondoweiss, Avigail Abarbanel, an ex-Israeli and anti- Zionist informed us that she too has now ‘left the cult,’. I agreed with most of Abarbanel’s arguments against Israel and Zionism but I was nonetheless alarmed at the intellectual dishonesty at the core of her argument.
“Rarely can people inside a cult see where they are. If they could, the cult wouldn’t be what it is,” Abarbanel points out. “They think that they are members of a special group that has a special destiny, and is always under threat.” Thus, does Abarbanel describe the Israelis, yet she fails to mention that this is also an accurate description of the Jewish left in general and the Mondoweiss/JVP cults in particular, to which she herself belongs. As we now know, just as Israel claims for itself a special place amongst the states of the world, so do the anti-Zionist Jews who, when it comes to Anti-Israeli politics, operate within Jewish, racially exclusive political cells (JVP, IJAN etc.). So, if Abarbanel thinks that Israelis are at fault for being a ‘special group’ perhaps she should inform us what is the criterion that legitimates JVP and Mondoweiss being a special group within the solidarity movement?
Abarbanel continues: “cult members are taught from birth that the world outside is dangerous, that they have to huddle together for safety.” This is indeed a good description of Israeli collective psychosis, but it is also a prefect portrayal of Mondoweiss’ operational mode and it puts Mondoweiss’ campaign against Alison Weir and Greta Berlin in perfect context. It also explains why Mondoweiss banned Jeffrey Blankfort and why the Jewish outlet changed its comment policy just to make sure that it can block any attempt to criticize the Jewish state in the light of Jewish culture and my own study of Jewish tribalism. Just like Israel, Mondoweiss is terrified of the ‘dangerous world out there’. As far as Abarbanel’s definition of cult is concerned, Mondoweiss, JVP and Israel are actually identical.
Now my opinion piece’s thesis (albeit layered under my own stream of conscience gossamer) is clunky, but goes as follows: Should a small group of elites, who call themselves part of a cult or tribe, who have trillions of wealth at hand and, worse, have militaries and nuclear power at their disposal, control supposedly independent left-wing publishers?
Ahh, here, from the Times of Israel trumpeting the power of the cult, or what they call “our tribe”:
As in previous years, Jews are disproportionately represented on the roster of the world’s wealthiest, with 10 Jews among the top 50. (The list, topped by Bill Gates, ranks from richest to slightly less rich.)
Larry Ellison, the founder of the tech giant Oracle Corporation, is the wealthiest Jew in the world and the fifth wealthiest person alive. At age 70, his net worth is $54.2 billion.
With a net worth of $35.5 billion, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the second wealthiest Jew on the list and 14th wealthiest person overall. Mark Zuckerberg, still one of the world’s youngest billionaires at age 30, climbed five spots on the list to number 16 overall.
His net worth has grown to $33.4 billion.
Other Jews in the top 50 include casino magnate Sheldon Adelson ($31.4 billion), Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page ($29.2 and $29.7 billion), investors George Soros ($24.2 billion), Carl Icahn ($23.5 billion) and Len Blavatnik ($20.2 billion), and Dell Computer Founder Michael Dell ($19.2 billion).
There are several Jews among the newcomers on the list as well, including Russ Weiner, the founder and CEO of Rockstar energy drinks, Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox sports franchises, and Ken Grossman, a co-founder of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Weiner is the son of prominent conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage (born Michael Weiner).
Seth Klarman, an investor in the Times of Israel, is also on the list, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
While men far outnumber women on the list, a few Jewish women are on it, including Shari Arison ($4.4 billion), Karen Pritzker ($4.3 billion), Lynn Schusterman ($3.7 billion) and Doris Fisher ($3.2 billion). With a net worth of $1 billion, Sheryl Sandberg, of Facebook and “Lean In” fame, just makes the cutoff for the list.
Amazing how gloating and unified in the paper’s front in the exceptionalism of these people — their people — on the list. This was for 2015, but when you go to 2018, ToI, this is what we get from the Times:
5 Jews make Forbes’ list of top 10 wealthiest Americans
Forbes published its 2018 roster of America’s wealthiest this week, and five members of the tribe made the top 10 list.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads the Jewish pack at number 4, with a net worth of $61 billion. He is followed by software giant Oracle’s Larry Ellison at #5 with $58.4b and Google co-founder Larry Page at #6 with $53.8b.
Fellow co-founder Sergey Brin falls a bit behind with $52.4b, leaving him at #9. Finally, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg closes out the top 10 with a respectable $51.8b.
The top three spots, by the way, are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet lead with $160b, $97b and $88b respectively.
Now, just highlighting the robber barons of old, that’s okay, in the minds of academics, media pundits, non-profit advocacy groups, and the like. No problem there if you are a leftist, or leaning left. And many Jews and non-Jews – historians, political scientists, writers of another clan – have attacked those 24 Robber Barons listed above but not so deeply the 10 and 5 Jews listed by Times of Israel. Many books have been written about the rape and rapine and destruction by other Capitalists and despots, especially those of empires tied to Christian – Catholic – crusades with the cross, gun and germ, as Jarod Diamond points out in his book, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.
Yet, where are the movies and books criticizing a cult that has accumulated all that wealth and political and military power?
But note, the Israeli newspaper citing those rich bastards – I dare goyim or Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, pantheist, atheist, animist, anyone to attempt to degrade the power, the lust, the greed, the accumulation of so much wealth, the political pimping, the massive control of masses and the unbelievable influence on our futures, the 80 percent/90 percent — calls the five out of top ten thieves (billionaires) part of the tribe –
Their tribe, as in Jewish: “Forbes published its 2018 roster of America’s wealthiest this week, and five members of the tribe (Jews) made the top 10 list.”
Now, since I am not aligned to any religion, and since I believe in blinders off when criticizing or critiquing all religions, and then shedding light on the amount of hate and pathology anyone in any religion gains through power and paranoia, I can criticize the Christian Right, the Evangelicals, the Catholics, the Muslims, the Hindus . . . but, not the Jewish faith or the religious state of Israel. That is, without repercussions.
Any amount of light shed on Israel, or the project of apartheid they in that country are carrying out, or on their despicable role in the middle east, or, well, when someone like me looks at, say, the Times of Israel or any propaganda wing of a government, religion or ideology tied to Judaism and then comes out with both fists pumping shedding light on their “tribe” and “religion” hitting high on the money scale, or influence scale, well, quite simply I then am an anti-Semite.
I can’t go into this in a short Op-ed, since so much has happened in just a few months tied to loyalty oaths to Israel extracted from public servants in the USA in many states, including that psycho state Texas, and all the core values of tribalism in religion leading nuclear states and financial kingdoms. Firing a teacher for not signing loyalty pledge to Israel.
Antisemitic, man! And, for me, even citing someone like Gilad Atzmon in my articles singed me with the Scarlet A, or in the case of the controllers and the controlled opposition, “AS,” for anti-Semite.
I am talking about that bastion of “left” writing, Counterpunch, for now I am blacklisted, I think . . . . I have had a hell of a time getting things published there, and, well, the irony is that the editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, lives in Oregon City, and I have been working in the entire area known as the Portland metroplex/area. The pieces I have solicited involve ground truthing—yeah, a bit stream of consciousness, but real, about my struggle in the matrix, so to speak, and dealing with Portland politics. I come at my subjects with a bit of Studs Terkel and Gonzo mixed in, sort of, but with literary undertones. I publish regularly at Dissident Voice, and have a standing memoir-column at LA Progressive.
I have several intellectuals who read and like my stuff, and, well, here’s one that shall remain anonymous, with a followup from another source who indicates why St. Clair doesn’t answer my emails or publish my stuff. Again, when you get no answer from the editor of the rag, supposition abounds. Here’s my note to one intellectual writer, who does publish over at Counterpunch:
I do wonder, though, why Jeffrey has me blacklisted. I write about the plight of people on the streets, Americans, and in many cases, people in Portland, OR, where Jeffrey calls home (Oregon City is next to Portland). I write about my own struggle, since I am not tenured, am blacklisted from most jobs, and have no trust account or money flow from other sources.
Even environmental stuff, he flakes on. And my book review of women politicals, no go. Very much pisses me off seeing the repetition in Counterpunch railing against Trump, Democrats, Capitalism, when they need ground truthing, too.
Response from intellectual:
Yeah I have no idea but i m in touch with him of late so I may ask. You certainly are better than most of what they publish. Send to Patrice Greanville at the Greanville Post. I’m sure he’ll publish you.
And then another from someone else:
Hey I know this was only accidentally sent to me in a reply all slip up, but I can answer this question: your association with Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and others of that circle and ilk. Counterpunch did a big housecleaning not long ago of all the authors they once published in this general vein and those associated with them.
And then my shot in the woods response to both the intellectuals:
Well, if this is true, then, we can continue to speak of how colonized the minds of so-called arbiters of left news and opinion are and growing everyday with more insipidity. First, my association with Gilad might be my citing him in articles. His publishing of articles on Dissident Voice isn’t enough of an association you speak of since many of the regulars at Counterpunch also are posted/published there.
Housecleaning, I know is your term, but it speaks of a nefarious ideology that is counter to everything I know about radical and revolutionary thinking and writing. Who is in the ear of Jeffrey to even Google search me? I can go on about what that might look like, but without anything from Jeffrey on why I don’t get published in his rag, anymore, I shall stay mute.
Are we — those of us who don’t fit neat little lefty definitions, who are outside the narrative frame of what a good anti-capitalist and pro-socialist and pro-overthrowing of a cancerous government and systems of oppression writer is — going to be sent to Xinjiang to be indoctrinated/reindoctrinated as true blue leftists by Counterpunch through Eric Prince’s outfit? (see below for context). It’s absurd that any of this is even part and parcel what maybe causing the blacklisting of me from CP. I might see him and the editors not digging content of one or two of my articles/pieces that might speak to defending BDS or Gilad or what have you, but blanket censorship, if that’s what’s happening, is both surprising and not. And more reason the echo chambers of the left are rife with the gentry of academia and publishing and trust babies.
I do appreciate your input, and I have no other evidence that Jeffrey at CP is disregarding my pieces for any other reason.
P.S. Funny those Chinese now adopting Prince to ethnically cleanse Muslims. Prince, the evangelical murderer, quintessential American Empire boy.
Independent of UK: A security firm co-founded by former navy Seal and US military services contractor Erik Prince has been awarded a contract by the Chinese authorities to build a “training centre” in Xinjiang, a region where Uighur Muslims have experienced a severe state crackdown.
The Hong Kong-listed Frontier Services Group (FSG), which provides security and logistics for companies in challenging environments, said it had signed a deal to run a training centre in the city of Kashgar, according to a statement posted on its Chinese website.
Here’s just a few days over at Counterpunch, some of the bread and butter of that rag:
It’s great that this line-up delves into global politics, in the deep state and economy, looking at Venezuela and the Brexit. Great that climate change on a global level is looked at. Great. But, is there room for a local voice? For a writer like me.
This is all I got on Counterpunch – Paul K. Haeder.
And what does it mean, cleaning house? Or associations with Atzmon, Israel Shamir and others of that circle and ilk?
Here, the introduction to Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who?
Gilad: The following is Jean Bricmont’s introduction for the French edition of The Wandering Who (La Parabole d’Esther). It was published in English a few days ago by Counterpunch print edition.
The French edition is available here.
“In Defense of Gilad Atzmon” By Jean Bricmont
Pro-Palestinian friends had repeatedly warned me: Gilad Atzmon is anti-Semitic, he is bad for the Palestinian cause, he may even work for Israel. I must have a contrarian turn of mind, because that kind of talk never stopped me from regularly reading his blog (quite the opposite) with a mixture of fascination and amusement. It struck me that an Israeli Jew living in the U.K., a voluntary exile, who is accused of Antisemitism, among others by pro-Palestinian Jews and Palestinian militants, and whose conferences draw protesting demonstrations from “anti-racist” organizations, was at the very least an interesting curiosity. Moreover, having myself “escaped” from the religion in which I was forced to grow up (Catholicism), I have an instinctive sympathy for all those who break, often brutally, with the myths and constraints of their childhood. Atzmon’s themes, the politics of identity and memory, are at the very heart of our contemporary social debates. It ought to be possible to listen to a truly politically incorrect viewpoint on these issues, that of someone who defines himself as a “proud self-hating Jew.”
But coming from a non-Jew like me, isn’t there something suspect, or downright unhealthy, in such an interest? When Atzmon’s editor asked me to write the preface to the French edition of The Wandering Who?, I told myself that this would be an opportunity to answer that question and, above all, to explain why Atzmon should be heard and discussed.
It is ever so easy to “demonstrate” the alleged Antisemitism of Atzmon. Frequently, including at the very start of his book, Atzmon makes a distinction between three meanings of the word “Jewish.” It can apply to persons who adhere to the Jewish religion, with whom he has no quarrel; to people of Jewish origin, with whom he has also no problem; and, finally, to what he calls the third category, that is, those who, without being particularly religious, constantly stress their Jewish “identity” and set it before and above their simple membership in the human race. It suffices thereupon to interpret in the first sense (people of Jewish origin) the word “Jewish” when Atzmon uses it in the third sense, in a style that is often extremely polemical, to “prove” that he is anti-Semitic.
However, when a French essayist, Bernard-Henri Lévy, uses all his immense influence to push his country into a war against Libya and then declares afterward that he did so “as a Jew” and “faithful” to his name – which is not exactly a rational argument, but are wars ever waged for rational reasons? – people who are not of Jewish origin should at least be allowed to wonder about that Jewish identity in whose name they are dragged into a war which, whatever one may think about it, was clearly not a war of self-defense for France.
Is it legitimate to criticize Jews in the sense of Atzmon’s third category? To start with, it is obvious that each individual has a perfect right to “feel” a sense of belonging to a group of which he or she is proud, or which he or she thinks contributes something important to the idea the person has of himself or herself, whether Jewish, Breton, French, Catholic, Black, Muslim, etc. Since all these identities stem from the hazards of birth, such feelings of pride are irrational, but who would try to force human beings to be rational?
The problem arises when these identities acquire a privileged political status, exactly as when religions acquire such a status. When a community, grouped around its “identity,” demands certain rights – or compensations, or privileges – others who do not share that identity should be allowed to challenge the justification of those claims. Just as when a religion seeks to impose its own morality on society as a whole. Identity politics is to be found among blacks, Muslims, women, etc. One may even suggest that politics today is more and more reduced to a conflict between identities, socioeconomic questions having been relegated to the management of non-elected experts. But there is also a Jewish identity politics, whose implications go far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and which affects, among other things, freedom of expression or relations with Muslims.
That said, it is probable that genuine Antisemitism (understood as general hostility toward persons of Jewish origin) is growing, and to a disturbing extent. But that rise of Antisemitism is due primarily to the incredible arrogance of Israeli policy, to the behavior of its supporters in France, to their suicidal determination to impose on the French people both a policy that they don’t want and a de facto censorship which prevents them from protesting. The way “combating Antisemitism” is actually carried out at present – even with the best intentions in the world – only provoked by any kind of censorship and, in this case, increases Antisemitism. Really combating Antisemitism requires giving up the way the “fight against Antisemitism” is waged, through intimidation and censorship. Those who fail to understand that should reflect a bit more on the history of “real existing socialism” and of Catholicism in its heyday.
Jean Bricmont teaches physics at the University of Louvain in Belgium. This text is adapted from the preface to La parabole d’Esther (Editions Demi-Lune 2012), the French edition of Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics.
It’s interesting, that CP would be this parochial and short-sighted. Gilad Atzmon has published at CP, from 2012 to April 2015. Here:
In any case, my association with Gilad includes some emails to him, and liberal use of some of his hilarious and insightful stuff on world politics and around the Jewish State in some of my articles; but there are many who see this cabal of thinkers in the USA, the left versus right dichotomy always harped on over at Counterpunch as the same old saw and same number of axes to grind. Now, I will say some of the writing and the authors are fabulous, and, well, unlike this writer, Steven Church, who vows to not read Counterpunch as much, I am more than willing to look at all sides of the left-left divide.
Patrick Cockburn’s recent article is one example of why I read CounterPunch less often than I used to. Or, at the least, why I have become more critical of their editorial stance. With this article, I have the impression I’m reading a Bernie Sanders speech, of being Judas-goaded into the camp of what I consider a kind of useless caviar Left. While maybe not as bad as The Guardian (I prefer OffGuardian), there are too many weasel words, phrases, and statements that reek of Establishment consensus. That if you’re going to refer to the head-chopping proxies, armed and funded by the US and its good buddies, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and other assorted vassals, as “rebels” rather than the paid lieutenants of the criminal gang in DC, London, Riyadh or Paris, you’re basically saying it’s okay to murder at arm’s length, to somehow plausibly deny any real, true, strong connection to the crime or the perpetrators. Plausible Deniability being spook-speak for basically lying, when timidly asked, about any crime they’ve just committed.
Is it so true that Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn have more and more difficulties getting published if they fail to toe some lines? Probably. For Counterpunch, what lines do they have to toe? Or which ones have I failed to recognize. Well, the cost of their on-line rag has gone up, and the cost of being a radical in America has gone up in price too.
Hell, just being Sy Hersh, not exactly a rad, what is that, he can’t get published? That’s not true, but he has been kettled from the big news outlets. JSTOR interview here:
Well, I mean, look, I’m exalted, you know what I mean, so I’ll get work. At The New Yorker I had a contract every year, but there was a long time when they needed me more than I needed them, so I was being paid very well by them––although insurance and all the other stuff, I took care of myself. That was the downside of not being a staff reporter.
Since then, the pay is ridiculously much less. Don’t forget, there was a period in the 70s and 80s where magazines were flourishing. I can’t tell you how many books I made more money on magazine syndication than I did on the actual book.
Like when Harpers published a 30,000 word excerpt of the My Lai story, right?
Not only that, just even books I wrote into the early ’90s, if it was an Asia thing, there was a Japanese magazine that would pay thirty or thirty-five thousand dollars to reprint. Nobody pays anything like that now. Are you kidding? Japanese magazines aren’t even in the market anymore.
I don’t know what’s going to happen to the media, but somebody told me today that even the editor of the Washington Post is worried that in six or eight or 10 years, everything will be online.
So how do I, a ground truther, struggling, today at 62 who has many many interests, who is hectored in (and out of) the jobs I have for being a “commie” and who cannot work with mainstream small or big media, or so-called alternative media, because of the prescripts the media have in place, and the actual lock-step all news sources tend to have to keep themselves hermetically sealed in their own echo chamber.
I deserve (and many many more than I) a chance at a larger audience (CP) because I am that audience, and I have paid my dues and have the wherewithal to not back down to authority. I know, I know, I deserve is a big statement, one that could easily be ridiculed as naive, or just inane. Sorry.
I say, so the fuck what?
Good luck to the people who think they are free when they have the modicum of power over schmucks like me. Is that the editorship of Counterpunch.
Finally, the list of top donors to universities in the USA I alluded to. Imagine, that youthful reporter of the college newspaper uncovering dirt or stuff on one of these and printing it in the college rag? Look at the variety of colleges, and this is just one list of dozens.
Some of these people are household names, sort of, like Phillip Knight (#30) and Eli Broad (#31), George Lucas, T. Boone Pickens and Michael Bloomberg (#23, #25, #26 respectively) . In the end, though, do we look at how they accumulated their wealth? What deceptions, what inhumanity, what political highjinx, what desecration of human rights and environmental safety have these people and their industries and investments been involved with?
The point being, just where do we go from here, now that the Internet is bought and sold by the power elite? Where do we go with PayPal, which is forced down our collective throats? Do we boycott because PayPal billionaire founder works for Donald Trump on nefarious projects? Can I criticize Thiel for his philosophy and political thought process, or is he triple-off limits: gay, foreign born, Jewish, Trumpy?
Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is reportedly becoming a key adviser to President Donald Trump and is beginning to stock his administration with friends and former associates.
In December, the PayPal founder set up a meeting between Mr Trump and David Gelertner, a Yale University computer scientist and candidate for White House science adviser.
Four days before Mr Trump’s inauguration, Mr Gelertner met at Trump Tower with the president-elect, his chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Mr Thiel.
Towards the end of last year, Mr Thiel organised a meeting between Mr Trump and several Silicon Valley tech leaders, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
German-borne, now given New Zealand citizenship, Thiel is the face of the typical billionaire, but this one is Trumpy-heavy, gay, and emblematic of how deceptive and how in league with the devil ALL rich people are! Thiel, from Germany, hard right gay, believes all media and all members of the Press should be afraid of billionaires who can launch lawsuits against them or their employers to chillingly stop any criticism of their neo-fascist kleptocractic-loving ideals. (Killed Gawker!),
Peter Thiel has made his biggest political contribution since his divisive bet on Donald Trump in 2016, investing $1 million into a conservative advocacy group that is backing key Republican candidates before November.
The donation to the Club for Growth, revealed Thursday in a new campaign finance disclosure, could be a signal that Thiel plans to reassert himself as a political donor despite some unease with Trump. Thiel has been a fairly modest giver in the grand scheme of presidential politics, but his vocal and financial support of Trump in the last cycle made him a real political player in the early days of the Trump presidency.
Thiel cut the $1 million check on Sept. 27, according to the disclosure. He has made contributions of about $350,000 to the Republican National Committee and other GOP groups and candidates earlier this election cycle.
The high-profile investor and Facebook board member has voiced some discomfort with Trump since helping elect him and speaking at the Republican National Convention.
“Obviously there are all sorts of things that are somewhat disappointing,” he said in March, “and at the same time, I don’t know how much one can expect.”
Thiel moved to Los Angeles earlier this year — a change of address that he’s attributed to a revulsion with Silicon Valley’s politics and culture.
In 2016, he gave $1.25 million to a super PAC sponsored primarily by New York hedge funder Bob Mercer — not a massive check in the world of big-money politics, but an amount that stood out in a Silicon Valley that heavily financed Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.
The Club for Growth is a hardline conservative group that has gleefully challenged even Republican incumbents it feels are too far to the left. It has focused almost exclusively on fiscal issues, which should appeal to Thiel, who has described himself in the past as libertarian.
Money money money thrown at the racist, homophobic, anti-Jew Trump. Whew, what a mad mad mad world!
The proposition is that we are all in the sights of the billionaires, millionaires and their sycophants and legal class. Imagine, any amount of criticism of Thiel puts us in the cross-hairs? From the New Republic:
The big legal fight in 2016 between Gawker and Peter Thiel (featuring Hulk Hogan!) was seemingly preordained for movie treatment. It featured an irresistible cast of characters: a vampiric Silicon Valley billionaire, an aging pro wrestler, and a group of dirtbag New York reporters. But Nobody Speak, directed by Brian Knappenberger, isn’t really about Gawker or Thiel or Hulk Hogan’s penis. It’s about inequality.
It was under Daulerio’s byline that Gawker published the Hulk Hogan sex tape that ultimately led to Hogan, a.k.a. Terry Bollea, being awarded $140 million in damages by a Florida jury. Gawker Media, founder Nick Denton, and Daulerio all ended up filing for bankruptcy. It wasn’t until after the trial ended that it was reported by Forbes that Thiel was secretly funding Bollea’s case. Thiel claims that he did so because Gawker “has been a singularly terrible bully,” most notably by outing him in a blog post in 2007. Denton, for his part, is convinced that Thiel was mad that Gawker Media, through its Valleywag blog, was a thorn in the side of Thiel and his powerful friends in Silicon Valley.
But as Nobody Speak points out, these are mere details. The story of Gawker’s murder boils down to the fact that a very, very rich man was able to destroy a publication he disliked with impunity. As Floyd Abrams, a lawyer specializing in the First Amendment, says in the documentary, what Thiel has done is to “potentially imperil entities who upset large, rich, powerful people and institutions. And it’s not limited to individuals. This can be corporations.” By opening with the comically enormous hold on Daulerio’s bank account, the film viscerally illustrates the division between billionaires like Thiel and the rest of us.
But not just Hulk Hogan and his penis or Thiel’s coming out (or forced out) as a gay. We are talking about bread and butter journalism, the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Knappenberger underscores this idea by dedicating the final third of his documentary not to Gawker, but to another media company: the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In January 2016, the paper was mysteriously bought by an anonymous entity—even Review-Journal staffers were kept in the dark. Audio shows Michael Schroeder, the man who helped facilitate the deal, being pressed by the staff to reveal the new owner, to which he fumblingly responds, “We really don’t think … they want you to focus on your job.”
The film viscerally illustrates the division between billionaires like Thiel and the rest of us.
So they did. It was Review-Journal reporters themselves who uncovered their new owner: the billionaire casino magnate and Republican heavyweight donor Sheldon Adelson. After the purchase, it was reported that Adelson barred reporters from writing stories about him and that stories about Adelson’s business deals were either killed or heavily edited.
Finally, the censorship and thuggery of Israel, both Firsters in the USA, and around the world:
The Lobby – USA, the four-part Al Jazeera documentary on how the government and intelligence agencies of Israel work with US domestic Jewish groups to spy on, smear and attack critics, that was blocked under heavy Israeli pressure, has been leaked online by the Chicago-based Electronic Intifada, the French website Orient XXI and the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. To discuss the series, in a two-part interview, Chris Hedges is joined by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, and author and journalist, Max Blumenthal.
Ahh, it’s a mad-mad-mad and wild world that has so many secular Jews like Finkelstein and Chomsky attacking the BDS movement, still wanting a two-state solution which has been a dead-end, literal, dead Palestinians on the road of Israel’s disproportionate response to rock throws and medics attending to the wounded! From the New Republic:
BDS advocates say that the campaign for a two-state solution has brought nothing for Palestinians but a more entrenched Israeli occupation of their lands. They chalk up Finkelstein’s old-fashioned support for a two-state solution to his age or desire for attention. “There was a time when Norman Finkelstein was one of the loudest and one of the only voices on this issue,” says Rania Khalek, an editor at The Electronic Intifada. “He’s done incredibly valuable work, but with BDS growing, other people besides him are at the center who are most important.” “There are a number of people among an older generation of activists and advocates who were not quite prepared by the younger caste who have a strong message but differences in tactics,” says Yousef Munayyer, a leading Palestinian-American activist.
He first gained attention in academic circles in 1984 for exposing the poor scholarship of From Time Immemorial, a book by journalist Joan Peters. The book claimed that Palestinians didn’t exist—that they lacked deep roots in historical Palestine but in fact were Arabs who swarmed the deserted land only once Zionists began developing it in the late nineteenth century. From Time Immemorial was a best-seller initially praised by everyone from Saul Bellow to Elie Wiesel to historian Barbara Tuchman, who called it “a historical event in itself.”
He became politically reengaged by opposing Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. But wary of being duped again, he spent an entire summer in the New York Public Library combing through the population records of historical Palestine and comparing them to Peters’s book. He discovered that From Time Immemorial was, as the Israeli historian Yehoshua Porath eventually put it, “a sheer forgery.” Finkelstein published his findings, and Peters’s book is now widely considered, as David Remnick wrote in the New Yorker a few years ago, “thoroughly discredited.” Finkelstein’s reputation was made.
Here we go with more anti-BDS movement, US of Israel style, North Carolina:
by Paul Haeder / February 4th, 2019
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
There is an American Native game, counting coup, which is both rarefied and possibly the answer to the male testosterone/female co-opting of testosterone that has given rise to Civilizational humanity since the so-called fertile crescent gestated the evil arts of subjugating man, woman, child and ecosystems to a small cabal of landowners (sic) who got humanity to work for food.
I always go to Daniel Quinn and other neotribalists to look at the long-range, way back, to give some justification to a tribal and hunter-gatherer past that for many of us is locked in our genes, accessible to fewer and fewer people daily as the world becomes a landmine of DNA-warping, cell-depleting, culture-sapping madness orchestrated by white men (mostly).
In our cultural mythology we see ourselves as having left tribalism behind the way modern medicine left the leech and the bleeding bowl behind, and we did so decisively and irrevocably. This is why it’s so difficult for us to acknowledge that tribalism is not only the preeminently human social organization, it’s also the only unequivocally successful social organization in human history. Thus, when even so wise and thoughtful a statesman as Mikhail Gorbachev calls for “a new beginning” and “a new civilization,” he doesn’t doubt for a single moment that the pattern for it lies in the social organization that has introduced humanity to oppression, injustice, poverty, chronic famine, incessant violence, genocide, global warfare, crime, corruption, and wholesale environmental destruction. To consult, in our time of deepest crisis, with the unqualified success that humanity enjoyed here for more than three million years is quite simply and utterly unthinkable.
What’s lovely about my own intersection with Gary Brumback – the author of the book this review-dash-screed is enveloping: Life’s Triangles and America’s Power Elites: Can the Living Field be Leveled? — is that Gary reached out to me and solicited my comments and possible endorsement of this book (he’s a regular contributor to Dissident Voice), through the auspices of one of modern civilization’s double-edged swords – the world wide internet.
I think it’s both unreal and uniquely human to reach out across the digital universe, and when someone who is connected to me through my words, and finds some linkage, then I believe that’s sign enough to make some connection deeper, or revealing.
It’s gutsy for this 84-year-old former organizational psychologist to have reached out to me (I’m not now your typical thinker and writer), and the proof is in the pudding when it comes to his writing and then how the diner/reader of those ideas, through the grist of his words and grammar (courses) gets the true taste (or terroir) of the author’s (chef’s) orchestration of ideas and composition.
As many readers of my work know, I am captivated by holism and systems thinking, and many times I am looking at life – universalities — through my own optics. I understand the drive to want to understand how tidal wetlands work and how elephant seals can go down 7,770 feet for up to two hours without succumbing to the bends or nitrogen narcosis.
But inherent in that learning and yearning, I understand the power of attracting forces, both physics and metaphysics, and the value in coincidences, both mathematical and magical, and more and more, daily, I am grasping the reasoning for my own living and thinking and breathing. Here I am on the Oregon Coast (central) just having done my first day’s class to be a certified marine mammal (and to help tourists/visitors understand the other zoological and ecological concerns) naturalist. I was about to fiddle with my short story collection which is coming out in several months from Cirque Press, and I was also prepped to blog from my post here in Otis, Oregon.
Instead, I answered the email call from Gary to take a look at his book and write up something. What interests me most about fellows like Brumback is his tenacity to not only understand the world around him using a variety of tools from his 84 years on the planet, but also his desire to be one among us as writers – anti-authoritarian thinkers who deeply question the role of this country in the upsetting of people and cultures throughout the globe.
“Call of Duty” is what I see my role now turning 62 next week. I have engendered good will and hard learning in thousands of students, at public gatherings where I “ran the show” (a hat off to Ed Sullivan) and in my writing, big and small. I’ve written three-parts to my hell-hole experience working with homeless veterans at the Starvation Army in Oregon. But in reality, the linchpin for me is my call of duty, call and answer, to carry forth in any way possible, the message of revolt. Speaking of revolt, I remember hanging out with Robert Bly on two occasions – one time in El Paso as we made it over to Juarez for tequila, and another time 23 years later in Spokane with bourbon and quietude. I wrote a promo article for his appearance in Spokane as part of Get Lit!. His poem, “Call and Answer,” is powerful, even at 17 years old.
I bring this up as a tangent to describe some of what I interpret as the core value in Gary’s new book:
Call and Answer
Tell me why it is we don’t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?
I say to myself: “Go on, cry. What’s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!”
We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.
Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t
Escape from silence? If we don’t lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.
How come we’ve listened to the great criers—Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass—and now
We’re silent as sparrows in the little bushes?
Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.
It is the Saturday of my life, most likely, as I just spent sometime at Cascadia Head, where the Salmon River and the Pacific Ocean battle it out during the various tides ebbing and flowing. Alone, with harbor seals popping their heads up, and their partner, a river otter, watching me look at two bald eagles looking for seal placenta to gobble up.
Here, visiting Canadian photographer Isabelle Hayeur who is on a residency at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, is shooting the Oregon Coast. The Canadian is here on the Pacific Coast of Oregon for first time, and her residencycontinues her exploration of water and land, people and ecosystems — to show the changes to the ecosystems caused by humans. Here, that Cascadia Head shot and the Salmon hitting the Pacific near Lincoln City, Oregon.
I know for sure as the colluding forces of capitalism – a real misanthropy of both the mind and body – eat at my exterior, the very simple act of movement — with my plodding bag of bones — if I am to survive in this sick world of capitulation of both parties working to mine the last corpuscles of the workers and working class — is sometimes herculean. It’s my Saturday, as Bly states, but I am not sure of this writer Gary’s place in time, if it’s Thursday for him, or Sunday.
I’m not saying this is the 84-year-old Brumback’s position, but I know his clarion calls are what Bly states clearly in these stanzas from this small poem –
We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.
Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t
Escape from silence? If we don’t lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.
Brumback is looking to reach those angels of our better selves, and he is wanting the cries of great writers and thinkers, alive and passed on, to push out the silence that is engulfing the entire body politic and public of this ripped-off-land-and-killing-natives country that has made more than a trillion pacts with the devil, a foundation that daily reverberates as the grand Faustian bargain of keeping silent for the few spoils of capitalism.
Americans are in their own tight spot now: keeping on the lights, fridge half full, Super Bowl projected on plasma TV, the latest model of Jeep in the driveway, work that eats at the soul and the body. The bargain, I believe, Brumback is not so quick to go quietly into the night, as this book uncovers the full weight of an old man’s lamentations and ruminations.
His book is compelling for those young minds that have been colonized and whose hearts and souls have been metastasized by consumer culture, the true bedrock of capitalism. Small intonations of the country’s history and this current manifestation of corruption are the drumbeats to his march forward in this quickly drawn book of very big historical ideas unleashed for the uninitiated mind.
Back to that Native American counting coup allusion I begin with: It’s sort of what I see unfolding as my own literary device while reading Brumback’s book, Life’s Triangles and America’s Power Elites. “Coup” for the Lakota and others was counted to establish position in the tribal honor system. Status mattered, and competition to count the greatest coup was intense. Here’s the beauty of this bravery – getting close enough to touch an enemy with a coup stick without causing him harm.
The self-styled book is by former organizational psychologist Brumback, who counts his own coup many times in this book, as he wanders through the history of the United States, with both whimsy and with a Quaker’s eye toward justice. He uses a variety of wide angle and telephoto angles in order to look deeper at the simple equation of the rich — with military might behind them — controlling the destiny of the country – us, its inhabitants – and the insecurity of the planet, from all the other inhabitants of 192 countries plus the flora and fauna of the planet’s Gaia.
Here, for the Lakota, killing an enemy far away or at long range did not count as a coup. Moreover, winning by overwhelming numbers counted as a “non coup.” Bravery involving a solitary warrior in a headlong battle charge that was climaxed by touching, with no lethal tap of a stick, now that was a coup, as Indians harmlessly touched an enemy with wooden sticks for the purpose of counting coup.
In so many ways, Brumback’s book “touches”—counts coup — upon the enemies of humankind, with myriad of histories of this country since first contact with those Lakota, et al. The writer delves into the mess of the United Snakes of America utilizing quick riffs while cracking open these causal relationships of greed, power, hierarchy, elitism, pathology in this country’s early years and now advancing into today’s predatory capitalism and parasitic economics (or our Shock Doctrine derived from our Monroe Doctrine), Brumbuck is interested in.
He’s also demonstrating another sort of intellectual “counting coup” in a sense since Brumback touches the enemy with his own touchstones and short pithy points connecting to the current state of global affairs.
His goal, it seems, is to consolidate a lot of his writing over his 84 years on planet earth and to codify a body of work he’s studiously read and then to bring himself to some conclusion that there might be some hope for his children and grandchildren. His belief in organizational psychology as a determinant of how bloody sociopathic the not-so-modern corporation is and how that pathology has twisted and turned (morphed) into a gigantic toxic and self-replicating broken set of laws regulating the elite’s projects of domination and extermination is the umbrella covering his writing.
Oscar Wilde is right when defining a cynic in his work, Lady Windemere’s Fan, with Lord Darlington quip : “A person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
From Raj Patel’s first chapter, The Value of Nothing, Patel can help me understand Brumback’s criticism of capitalism and his somewhat of a defense of it in some idealized state that has never yet existed:
From its inception, the free market has spawned discontent, but rare are the moments when that discontent coalesces across society, when a sufficiently large group of people can trace their unhappiness to free market politics, and demand change. The New Deal in the United States and the postwar European welfare states were partly a result of a consortium of social forces pushing for new limits to markets, and a renegotiation of the relationship between individuals and society. What’s new about this crisis is that it’s pervasively global, and comes at the last moment at which we might prevent a global climate catastrophe. But the breadth and depth of both these crises reflect how profoundly our society has been transfixed by free market culture. To understand how this will affect us in the twenty-first century, we need to understand how it began, and to ask why today’s markets look the way they do
Here, the book Gary sent me, in a nutshell, which Brumbuck puts in his own book’s preface:
Here’s a quick overview of this book. It’s a substantial distillation of and addition to my relevant books and articles on the subject.
The first chapter may seem very abstract and academic, but believe me, it is about very real matters, life itself. This chapter lays the groundwork for understanding why the power elite do what they do and what happens when they do it.
The second chapter explains the very nature of power and introduces my concept and illustration of the “power tower” with the elite at the top and the “les Misérables” at the very bottom with several levels in between.
Chapter Three probes what makes the power elite “tick” by looking inside their “black boxes.” When you read this chapter, you will understand that I don’t flippantly ascribe evil motives and evildoing to the power elite.
Chapter Four thoroughly describes and explains the power elite’s “badvantages,” my term for situations and circumstances that give advantage to bad behavior. For example, “our” government gives many handouts to its master, Corporate America.
Chapter Five describes the seemingly limitless bad behavior of the power elite and their functionaries of the corpocracy.
I want to warn you about Chapter Six. It is a true horror story of the consequences of the power elite’s evil doing. By the time you have finished reading this chapter you may be a bit depressed if you believe it is credible. As an antidote I’ll try to inject some homespun humor now and then, starting now. “There is no beating around the Bush, he is what he is.”
And finally, Chapter Seven asks whether the power tower with its power inequality can be changed to the power rectangle with its power equality; in other words, can the living field finally be levelled? This question explains the question mark at the end of the book’s subtitle. Putting there instead an exclamation mark would have been sheer balderdash.
What his book does is galvanize much of his reading – and respect for – other writers who have peered through the looking glass of the Military-Prison-Financial-Ag-Chemical-Education-Legal-Patent-Pharma-Med-IT-AI-Real Estate-Insurance-Education Complex to discover the truths many of us in the anti-authority/ anti-hierarchical/pro-humanity/ pro-universal rights of nature have discovered through our discourse, our deep and fledgling philosophies, and our own experiences in the insanity echo chamber that is modern and post-modern America.
He dedicates this book to Howard Zinn, and Brumback mentions that other books he himself has written could not have been envisioned or codified without the teachings and writings of Zinn:
I am also dedicating this book to the late Howard Zinn, the author of a book on American history that is a must read! I dedicated my previous book to him, which shows how indebted a follower I am. Like my previous book, I could not have written the one you have in your hands were it not for Mr. Zinn’s illuminating history book that tells the true history of America [A People’s History of the United States, 2005]. The power elite understandingly hate Mr. Zinn’s book. The former governor of my home state, for example, was gleeful upon hearing of Mr. Zinn’s death and promptly banned his book statewide from high school curricula. Is it any wonder that my high school history classes in the 1950’s remain the same today, “trivialized, militarized and numbing?”
What I love about this Will Rogersian approach to history Gary brings to this book is the power of his short, deliberate passages outlying the rules and madness that have been fomented in the name of a small elite in this country. He captivates himself in each section, as if new to the material himself, embarking on a self-styled journey to tell what he knows and what he’s read.
This book is a compilation, a Popular Mechanics and Farmer’s Almanac of Brumback’s autobiographical intersection at explaining how capitalism is a game of manipulated vestiges of a global usury past, where Fiefdoms and Kingdoms and unholy alliances of dictators and religions have splayed humankind. No matter where Gary treads, he comes up with the same underpinning for the book, and his other books and probably all his other writings, as well as his own conundrum now in advanced age:
I’ll finally end this long Preface with two questions and an advance notice about my choice of certain nouns and pronouns.
First question: do you think on the one hand that there is a tolerable difference between a handful of evil doers choosing villagers in a far-away land and then bombing them to smithereens in our names and on the other hand the many millions of us letting it happen?
Second question: do you think the surviving loved ones blame the few or us in general? You can tell my answer by my varying use in the text of nouns versus pronouns. For example, instead of writing “the military bombs innocent people,” I will occasionally write “we bomb innocent people” to emphasize that whatever is done by a certain few is being done in our names. Since you might find this practice irritating if I always do it, I will do it only occasionally.
Here in the preface of his book, Brumback sets up the entire tome on a simple proposition – what is done and said by/in Las Vegas/USA stays in/with those living/working/dying in Las Vegas/USA.
The contradiction is blaring, though, as one of my friends, Andre Vltchekstates in his humanitarian and global writing – that the rest of the world, that is, the world other than Western Civilization, i.e. Europe/EU, UK, USA, Canada – pays for its/our so-called “higher standard” of living, higher level of economic/environmental/health well-being, and its/our unlimited (seemingly) time to ponder its/our own rotten and degenerate selves.
Through the eyes of someone (Gary’s unblindered eyes, as he states it in his book) in this country, USA, who believes that capitalism somehow can be fixed or somehow is derived from a fair system of checks and balances (however, capitalism always relies on growth and continual growth, antithetical to anything we know about the limits of growth, the finite systems), I venture close to proposing to Gary another set of principles needed to live as Homo Sapiens in this world, tied to retrenchement and a form of ecosocialism, far from any new and improved or regurgitated capitalism: we are living in a closed system of planet earth, and the fragility of the commons (air, water, sea, land, food) now is even more pronounced with ecosystems collapsing (Sixth Mass extinction on steroids) from over over-harvesting, over-polluting, over-rearranging/razing.
Ecosocialism is Utopian, but so are we as writers and thinkers:
Ecosocialism is a vision of a transformed society in harmony with nature, and the development of practices that can attain it. It is directed toward alternatives to all socially and ecologically destructive systems, such as patriarchy, racism, homophobia and the fossil-fuel based economy. It is based on a perspective that regards other species and natural ecosystems as valuable in themselves and as partners in a common destiny.
Ecosocialism shares with traditional socialism a passion for justice. It shares the conviction that capitalism has been a deadly detour for humanity. We understand capitalism to be a class society based on infinite expansion, through the exploitation of labor and the ransacking of nature.
Ecosocialists are also guided by the life-ways of indigenous peoples whose economies are embedded in a classless society in fundamental unity with nature. We draw upon the wisdom of the ages as well as the latest science, and will do what can be done to bring a new society, beyond capitalism, into existence.
I go back to Andre Vltchek who looks at the polluting effects of capitalism on cultures wide and far, tied to the so-called artist :
You say “European cultural institutions”, and what should come immediately to mind are lavish concerts, avant-garde art exhibitions, high quality language courses and benevolent scholarships for talented cash-strapped local students.
It is all so noble, so civilized!
Or, is it really? Think twice!
I wrote my short novel, “Aurora”, after studying the activities of various Western ‘cultural institutions’, in virtually all the continents of the Planet. I encountered their heads; I interacted with the ‘beneficiaries’ of various funding schemes, and I managed to get ‘behind the scenes’.
What I discovered was shocking: these shiny ‘temples of culture’ in the middle of so many devastated and miserable cities worldwide (devastated by the Western imperialism and by its closest allies – the shameless local elites), are actually extremely closely linked to Western intelligence organizations. They are directly involved in the neo-colonialist project, which is implemented virtually on all continents of the world, by North America, Europe and Japan.
‘Culture’ is used to re-educate and to indoctrinate mainly the children of the local elites. Funding and grants are put to work where threats and killing were applied before. How does it work? It is actually all quite simple: rebellious, socially-oriented and anti-imperialist local artists and thinkers are now shamelessly bought and corrupted. Their egos are played on with great skill. Trips abroad for ‘young and talented artists’ are arranged, funding dispersed, scholarships offered.
Carrots are too tasty, most would say, ‘irresistible’. Seals of approval from the Empire are ready to stamp those blank pages of the lives of still young, unrecognized but angry and sharp young artists and intellectuals from those poor, colonized countries. It is so easy to betray! It is so easy to bend.
Please note I am not comparing Gary or his book to other writers or their books/writing, some of whom he cites liberally throughout this latest one. I believe in a new way of book analysis, or reviewing a book – by putting myself into the stream of consciousness that cascades for someone like myself who in the process of reading will take to heart how closely or far away that content resonates with my own life and my own writing. It is the power of a book like Gary’s to incite not only my own deep introspection about what it means to be an American, someone who has worked (albeit struggled by not getting bought and sold by corporate America, but still . . . sold down the river in the careers I’ve held), but also what it means to be counter to almost anything and everything this country produces or stands for in its national collective consciousness.
His thesis for the book is tied to his own backing of organizational psychology. He uses these equations to illustrate where he’s coming from:
Person + Context = Person’s Behavior + Consequences
Any Organization’s Equation:
Organization + Context = Organization’s Behavior + Consequences
Any Nation’s Equation :
Nation + Context = Nation’s Behavior + Consequences
Of course, every person, every organization, every nation has their own equations, sort of like a unique DNA code. The specific details in any equation can change from day to day, except some of the details for chronic habits like that of America’s endless warring and spying change less.2 A nation, therefore, over the entire course of its history may have gone through zillions of its more significant equations with varying details in the input side.
Thus, what anyone, any organization or any nation do throughout their lives depends on themselves and their contexts. Behavior never happens without both and will never be fully explained without both.
Beyond his background in psychology, Brumback looks to his writing now as a way to express his historical knowledge of America’s bloody programs of subjugation and to militate his belief in non-violence as he was reared as a Quaker.
He sets up the book by talking about his background working with organizations, treating them sort of speak to heal themselves, which in the end he sees as impossible under the current structures of limited liability companies and the bigger transnational corporations that are rapacious in every way.
Brumback alludes to working a long time for industry, the US federal government and non-profit research business. The power of the company man, and his own background in academics (a rather conservative and lock-step group think cabal), he admits, muted his criticism of the Viet Nam War as he was then (1960-75) fearful of endangering his career and his family.
He talks of being a “recovering” academese reader, writer and talker, and his book is far from any sort of style found in the pedantic journals where members of the nefarious American Psychology Association dump their stories on.
Brumback: This book is therefore as deliberate ‘street write’ as I can make it, a conversation, although one-way with you.
Interestingly, he gives us 12 Facts (as seen in a Jan. 23, 2019 Dissident Voice piece) that are not truths that have embedded into the American mindset, the American propaganda of historical warping, lying and outright censorship. There is a reason why this country goes into zombie or dervish mode every year — when two multi-billion dollar organizations, Rams and Patriots, under the umbrella of a white patriarchy elitism called the NFL — watching entitled, redneck or mute millionaire players whose ultimate contribution to society is to sell cars, beer, Viagra and the lies of empire on their way to permanent Traumatic Brain Injury hell.
In many ways, Brumback has both fun moments and sarcastic fluidity with these American exceptionalist delusions throughout his book, but he is serious about launching a straightforward attack on the elite’s continual degradation of the citizenry of this country: hollowing out our “symbolic democracy” through the systematic formula of penury, debt slavery, theft of the commons resources, the rapacious appetite to despoil ecosystems and communities, the socializing of the externalities of their dirty businesses and then in turn privatizing all the profits; and, finally, their basically illegal, unethical and unconstitutional ways of going about their wealth and political power accumulation.
What I like best about this book is the earnestness that Brumback brings to the page. He is there to guide the reader into the hall of mirrors and house of horrors that embody America. He is a troubadour for truth and unraveling the seeming complexities of the elite’s rule over the majority, the 90 percent of us who are not any part of the Point Zero Zero One percent’s project of human annihilation.
In the end, Brumback hits back at the idea of nature versus nurture, at the very end of the book:
Recall in Chapter 3 that I included genetics as an input in the black box. Our genetic history simply can’t be denied. But when it comes to being bad or good morally speaking, what do we know about the role of genetics, and does it really matter?
Psychologist Stephen Mason concludes that “some people are, quite simply, born bad.”
Not so concludes psychologist Dacher Keltner. “He finds that positive emotions lie at the core of human nature.
Two diametrically opposed conclusions. My conclusion is that while babies are innocent at the instant of birth because they have not had time to behave badly, some will eventually do so habitually, and some won’t. What role nature plays in influencing their behavior is immaterial in my opinion. What matters from a practical standpoint is the question of how to deal with the resulting wrongdoing.
What’s your opinion?
While we can argue over epigentics and the complete failure of the human seed and human semen to produce unadulteratedly since the products of capitalism, i.e. toxins, from Teflon to aromatic particulates, from Atrazine to PCBs, from glyphosate to flame retardant, from mercury to cesium, have overtaken humanity and all zoological systems.
Is Donald Trump, the sociopath that he is, friend and abuser with Jeffrey Epstein and Roy Cohn, and that Donald whose father is in a Woody Guthrie song for the old man’s racism, well, is that president (sic-sic) who represents the ills of the father and the unfettered protection of his elite class and the muscle of his casino thugs, is Donald, with NPD (narcissistic personalty disorder), responsible for his hatred, racism, lies, and power hunger? Or is it his upbringing, or his being in mama’s womb for months, or the people around him we should blame?
That’s the crux of the book, really: Brumback is asking the reader to judge for ourselves the depth of the conspiracy of the rich toward absolute control of the majority. Is there true evil in the world, or are all children borne of original sin?
Those toxins and carcinogenics and structural violence systems were created, marketed, sold, defended, patented by men/women, in corporations. The socipathic definition of a corporation is the same as the person, but can we give a free ride to the majority of people in the corporation who are just to recoin my favorite phrase, Little Eichmanns?
In any sense, the embodiment of the Hudson Bay Company is the message in the Heart of Darkness, which reflects the individual as sociopath and the LLC as sociopathic, as the amorality of corporations is obvious from a million cases we all can tap into from the written record. That these companies — polluters — have gained personhood is compelling, from the start of this country’s slide deeper and deeper into the morass of capitalism — set forth 133 years ago in 1886 in the Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, This obscure case set the precedent that corporations have some rights under the 14th Amendment and were given de-facto personhood.
So, then, we have given corporations even higher status in this personhood allusion/legal definition in the Citizens United Case . What sort of person is a corporation?
Are they philanthropic and kind to their neighbors or are they the kind of people who will slit your throat to take your wallet?
For most of us in the Brumback class, we see the very nature of the corporation as both amoral and sociopathic.
They exist to make money, regardless of the social consequences. And they have gotten legal protections from the consequences of their crimes — a true Mafioso or cartel paying off the politicians and the cops and judges to gain unimaginable wealth and power over us, the 90 percent.
A sociopath and a corporation have identical incentive structures and motivations:
In the end, we have to develop both sensitivities and thick skins in the gambit called This American Life. Brumback makes his claim to some of those contradiction and dichotomies in his book. He can be reached by the reader here for more information on ordering the book. Gary Brumback.
I want to be an honest man and a good writer, as James Baldwin was. I greatly admired him. He once told a story that I used in the third volume of Memory of Fire. He was very young, and he was walking down the street with a friend, a painter. They stop at a red light. “Look,” says the friend. Baldwin sees nothing, except a dirty pool of water. The friend insisted: “Look at it, really.” So Baldwin takes a good look and sees a spot of oil spreading in the puddle. In the spot of oil, he sees a rainbow, and the street moving, and people moving in the street; and he sees madmen and magicians and the whole world moving. The universe was there in that little pool. On that day, Baldwin said, he learned to see. For me, that’s an important lesson. I am always trying to look at the universe through the little puddles in the streets.