30 March 2016

Republicans imploding!

We are seeing a number of states governed by republicans getting ready to implode.  

Arizona, with it's oh so blatant disenfranchisement of citizens regarding the right to vote...from the governor on down there is obvious culpability.  In Alabama the governor, a family values republican, now caught in an affair with a co-worker...he is about to tumble as his the entire top of Alabama's state government. Kentucky's new governor is accused of election fraud, though nothing seems to be happening with that at the moment. Rick Snyder, who is responsible for the poisoning of thousands of people in Michigan, will be facing some serious reckoning one way or another in the near future (my personal favorite is street justice for a scumbag like Snyder)...the governor of Indiana just signed a law requiring women to pay for the funerals of their aborted fetuses, and it goes on and on.  

The republican party is about to implode nationally. Christofascist laws and policies are being rolled out willy nilly however most of the actual PEOPLE seem NOT to be in favor of laws that enshrine hate and bigotry. The US is on the cusp of actual progress, or of slipping back into some of the worst human nature has to offer. It's tense! Even though Hillary Clinton is intent upon stealing the presidential election no matter what, it's clear already that, if there were an election right now (a fair one) Sanders would be elected by a huge margin.

I believe that the majority of people living in the US want to move forward with protecting the environment, maintaining a secular state, keep jobs here rather than outsourcing abroad, have schools that actually teach young people, have access to medical care not just medical insurance, have access to wholesome food that is not full of poisons; this list could go on and on.

The only thing standing between humanity and living in a wonderful peaceful world are people who wish to control others, whether it's through religion or economics or indoctrination. We know who those people are, we know they are at the top of the economic and religious pyramid schemes that run so many countries including the US. It seems high time to take back our power from these parasites, don't you think?

23 March 2016

We don't have to allow ourselves to be screwed!

Have you ever been overcharged by the bank or credit union you deal with?  Have you ever been overcharged by a doctor? Have you ever been ripped off by what should be an honorable institution like a bank or doctor or utility or any other service that is pretty much a necessity in this society?  I bet you're nodding vigorously!

I am one of those people who just can't stand injustice. I campaign for justice in much of my life, so when I encounter this kind of chicanery it really gets me going.  I am sharing this with the intention of encouraging others to not allow themselves to be screwed.

Recently the credit union I was banking with charged me for overdraft fees that were not legit.  The funds were there, but they charged me anyway.  I made a stink, filed a grievance with the state agency that regulates banking, who forwarded my complaint to the federal agency that regulates credit unions.  It took about 6 weeks but the credit union called me, apologized, and paid me back.  This experience led me to wonder, how many people are charged fees by banks and credit unions...$25 here, $50 there...that are not legitimate? I bet it ends up being millions of dollars a year.  If it happens to you, you have recourse!  Your state has an agency that regulates banking, and you can contact them, file a complaint, and they will have to deal with it.

Currently I am dealing with a situation with a doctor who charged me $500 for a 10 minute consultation that involved looking down my throat with a scope.  The outcome was that I was told to drink more water.  $500 for 10 minutes?  You have got to be kidding.  Whether a person has insurance or not (I do not due to a snafu at Healthcare.gov which is hopefully being resolved) that is wild overcharging.  That is the kind of overcharging that creates hugely inflated medical costs all around.  Why is this tolerated?  I have filed complaints with the Medical Board and the Consumer Protection Agency of the state I am in, Oregon.  The Medical Board replied telling me they did not find any illegal activity, but they keep the complaint and add it to the doctor's file.  I have yet to hear from the Consumer Protection Agency.

If we do not speak up when we are being ripped off, then we are allowing it.  I, for one, am not inclined to just allow this stuff.  These are minuscule issues in the bigger scheme of things, but the ongoing disenfranchisement of regular folks in favor of institutions is not healthy for people and not healthy for society.

I encourage you to notice when you are being ripped off, and to do something about it.  The mechanisms exist for holding institutions accountable, and it's not difficult to access them.  It can be tedious to fill out the forms, so some patience is required.  Outcomes are not fast, so again, patience is required, however when one is vindicated it is a great feeling, and hopefully the offenders learn from the experience and stop ripping people off!

So, if you are being ripped off by any provider of a service, you do not have to just take it.  You have the right to seek and to find justice!

21 March 2016

Depolarizing Campaign 2016

The presidential campaign in the US continues to highlight what is at stake in this election.  On the right hand there is Donald Trump playing the part of the blustering strong man who will say anything, no matter how outrageous, for the cheers and applause.  He goes out of his way to appeal to the lowest common denominators of fear and anger.  It is actually people like Trump who have brought this country to this point of moral and ethical bankruptcy, and who have created this shell game of an economic system with it's periodic bubbles (one is about to burst any day now in fact) that lead to increased concentration of wealth among a few while more and more people are impoverished.

I think Cruz and Kasich are the only other republicans left standing, both hideous christofascists who espouse the most medieval policies to punish the poor for being poor while making it impossible for anyone to get out of poverty.  Lovely. Also on the right is Hillary Clinton.  She's running as a democrat, because the democratic party has embraced a right of center position for many years now.  A Clinton presidency would be as repressive and violent as if any of the republican candidates won.  If Clinton becomes president you can count on more war, more privatization of natural resources like water, more "Free Trade" deals which actually create more poverty and  are environmentally unsound.  You can expect more fossil fuel subsidies, since Clinton herself is an investor in fossil fuels. The surveillance state will grow, education will continue to be expensive and the quality will continue to diminish. Basically, Hillary Clinton is a republican.

Then on the left there are two candidates, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein.  Bernie is running as a democrat though he has been an independent for most of his political career. His proposals all stand in stark contrast to those of the rightist candidates.  He wants less war, better education made available financially, proper taxation of the wealthy, an end to the toxic "Free Trade" treaties that the Clintons started us on in the 1990's, renewable energy, jobs programs to employee youth and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and more.

Jill Stein as even more progressive than Bernie.  She would end the US taxpayer's subsidizing of the Israeli occupation, and make deeper cuts into military spending than any of the other candidates.

This whole "right vs left" paradigm is absurd.  It's a way of simplifying things for people, but it does not serve real critical thinking at all.

Rather than think in terms of right and left, how about just looking at each candidate's stated policy proposals and deciding which ones actually would be good for the people?  If you do that there is no question that either Sanders or Stein would be the best choices. Both place the physical environment high on their priority list.  That's good because...hah...no clean air, no clean water, no humans! They also both recognize the need to de-corporatize the government. The folks on the right want to increase the role that corporations have in running the country.  We have already seen what happens when the profit motive outweighs valuing life, and it's horrific.

Discard your labels; republican, democrat, independent, right, left, center, progressive, liberal, conservative; and just think about what would actually be most healthy.

20 March 2016

Vernal Equinox 2016

I find myself stepping back from the fray, a bit. The emotional hooks, to be angry or afraid, are not interesting anymore. I feel them, but really, in stepping back from it and observing a bit, what I see is that we humans keep reliving the same stories over and over, from civilization to civilization, age to age. Love, pain, treachery, trust, social progress, social regress, round and round, and we are now at this point in the story, again. And each of us is in "our" story living a life, also living out cycles, playing our part, in a personal cycle of evolution, regeneration, karma, if you will.

It seems to me that if we want to change the story, we can. It requires each of us recognizing that we are repeating a story, both as a society and as individuals, and making different choices. It's that simple.

19 March 2016

This week's episode of Paradigms

Just to listen to this upcoming episode of Paradigms, people probably wouldn't think that it took me over a month to process my way through what initially felt like an ethical dilemma; only to rediscover, yet again, the organicity of everything, in order to be able to bring this episode together.

It is gratifying to be continuing to learn from putting together this weekly radio program. Sometimes I learn new technical stuff, new production strategies, and sometimes, when it's really good, I am shaken to my core and have to recognize more parts of myself in order to bring something out to people that has depth, that hopefully will touch people and ask them to recognize more parts of themselves.

Making the upcoming episode of Paradigms has been that experience for me.

The episode airs Sunday March 20 at 8 PM ET on WBKM 107.1 FM Burlington, VT (wild cheering for the new FM signal!) and streaming at WBKM.org, and of course the podcast will be available at Paradigms.Life and in iTunes.