#151

Merry Christmas 2013

Best Christmas ever… seriously!  It mattered not what stuff was got

what mattered most was the pouring of love, the magic within

each heart. Newborn child’s presence makes light an atmosphere

already bubbling with love.  I love my family, every single one!

All without forgotten for a time, moments of bliss, what life is about.

Drop the want and whining, what Christmas is really about.

Family, happy to just be with one another. This be the best of my

memories had, none before was necessarily bad, but this topped

them all.  I am overflowing with love and joy!

Is There a Revolution Coming? Americans Finally Realize Global Capitalism Is a Murderous Sham

“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkmanwrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”

Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.

It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public’s imagination.

Revolution usually erupts over events that would, in normal circumstances, be considered meaningless or minor acts of injustice by the state. But once the tinder of revolt has piled up, as it has in the United States, an insignificant spark easily ignites popular rebellion. No person or movement can ignite this tinder. No one knows where or when the eruption will take place. No one knows the form it will take. But it is certain now that a popular revolt is coming. The refusal by the corporate state to address even the minimal grievances of the citizenry, along with the abject failure to remedy the mounting state repression, the chronic unemployment and underemployment, the massive debt peonage that is crippling more than half of Americans, and the loss of hope and widespread despair, means that blowback is inevitable.

“Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot ‘make’ a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle,” Berkman wrote. “It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is.”

Revolutions, when they erupt, appear to the elites and the establishment to be sudden and unexpected. This is because the real work of revolutionary ferment and consciousness is unseen by the mainstream society, noticed only after it has largely been completed. Throughout history, those who have sought radical change have always had to first discredit the ideas used to prop up ruling elites and construct alternative ideas for society, ideas often embodied in a utopian revolutionary myth. The articulation of a viable socialism as an alternative to corporate tyranny—as attempted by the book “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA”and the website Popular Resistance—is, for me, paramount. Once ideas shift for a large portion of a population, once the vision of a new society grips the popular imagination, the old regime is finished.

An uprising that is devoid of ideas and vision is never a threat to ruling elites. Social upheaval without clear definition and direction, without ideas behind it, descends into nihilism, random violence and chaos. It consumes itself. This, at its core, is why I disagree with some elements of the Black Blocanarchists. I believe in strategy. And so did many anarchists, including Berkman, Emma Goldman, Pyotr Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin.

By the time ruling elites are openly defied, there has already been a nearly total loss of faith in the ideas—in our case free market capitalism and globalization—that sustain the structures of the ruling elites. And once enough people get it, a process that can take years, “the slow, quiet, and peaceful social evolution becomes quick, militant, and violent,” as Berkman wrote.“Evolution becomes revolution.”

This is where we are headed. I do not say this because I am a supporter of revolution. I am not. I prefer the piecemeal and incremental reforms of a functioning democracy. I prefer a system in which our social institutions permit the citizenry to nonviolently dismiss those in authority. I prefer a system in which institutions are independent and not captive to corporate power. But we do not live in such a system. Revolt is the only option left. Ruling elites, once the ideas that justify their existence are dead, resort to force. It is their final clutch at power. If a nonviolent popular movement is able to ideologically disarm the bureaucrats, civil servants and police—to get them, in essence, to defect—nonviolent revolution is possible. But if the state can organize effective and prolonged violence against dissent, it spawns reactive revolutionary violence, or what the state calls terrorism. Violent revolutions usually give rise to revolutionaries as ruthless as their adversaries. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Violent revolutions are always tragic. I, and many other activists, seek to keep our uprising nonviolent. We seek to spare the country the savagery of domestic violence by both the state and its opponents. There is no guarantee that we will succeed, especially with the corporate state controlling a vast internal security apparatus and militarized police forces. But we must try.

Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves. 

Our shift to corporate totalitarianism, like the shift to all forms of totalitarianism, is incremental. Totalitarian systems ebb and flow, sometimes taking one step back before taking two steps forward, as they erode democratic liberalism. This process is now complete. The “consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. Barack Obama cannot defy corporate power any more than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton could. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Bush, who is intellectually and probably emotionally impaired, did not understand the totalitarian process abetted by the presidency. Because Clinton and Obama, and their Democratic Party, understand the destructive roles they played and are playing, they must be seen as far more cynical and far more complicit in the ruination of the country. Democratic politicians speak in the familiar “I-feel-your-pain” language of the liberal class while allowing corporations to strip us of personal wealth and power. They are effective masks for corporate power.

The corporate state seeks to maintain the fiction of our personal agency in the political and economic process. As long as we believe we are participants, a lie sustained through massive propaganda campaigns, endless and absurd election cycles and the pageantry of empty political theater, our corporate oligarchs rest easy in their private jets, boardrooms, penthouses and mansions. As the bankruptcy of corporate capitalism and globalization is exposed, the ruling elite are increasingly nervous. They know that if the ideas that justify their power die, they are finished. This is why voices of dissent—as well as spontaneous uprisings such as the Occupy movement—are ruthlessly crushed by the corporate state.

“… [M]any ideas, once held to be true, have come to be regarded as wrong and evil,” Berkman wrote in his essay. “Thus the ideas of the divine right of kings, of slavery and serfdom. There was a time when the whole world believed those institutions to be right, just, and unchangeable. In the measure that those superstitions and false beliefs were fought by advanced thinkers, they became discredited and lost their hold upon the people, and finally the institutions that incorporated those ideas were abolished. Highbrows will tell you that they had ‘outlived’ their ‘usefulness’ and therefore they ‘died.’ But how did they ‘outlive’ their ‘usefulness’? To whom were they useful, and how did they ‘die’? We know already that they were useful only to the master class, and they were done away with by popular uprisings and revolutions.”

http://www.alternet.org/revolution

Are you dating a psychopath?

Are you in a relationship with a psychopath? You might think that’s something you’d know right away by the red tint of evil in the person’s eyes, the swastika tat on the forehead, or the insistence on discussing serial killers over dinner. But nope! Psychopaths can be extremely charming and come across like Prince Charming at first. So unless you know the signs, you’d probably get sucked into the life of a psychopath and not know who he or she really was until you are completely sucker punched. Here are 10 signs you should look out for to quickly identify a psychopath.

1. Flattery like you’ve never heard before. Psychopaths move extremely quickly. On the first date, he’ll probably tell you that you are stunningly beautiful, unbelievably intelligent, and uproariously witty. He will play into every fantasy and insecurity you have. If you think you’re fat, he will tell you how much he loves your body. If you think you’re shy, he will laugh at every lame attempt at a joke and tell you you should have been a comedian. This is called “love bombing.” It’s the idealization phase he gets you hooked on, and it’s the phase you will spend the next however-many months or years trying to get back once he abruptly shuts it off.

2. He is just like you. Psychopaths will try to convince you that you are soul mates, just alike. He loves all the things you love and you have all of the same interests. If you had a tough childhood, he will say something like, “We both had it rough. That’s why we understand each other.” If there’s an obscure book you love, he will make sure he loves it too. What he’s doing is called “mirroring.” He has no real identity, so he sucks yours up and mirrors it back to you.

3. Pity plays. Pay careful attention to what a psychopath says on the first few dates about his exes and other people in his life. Is his ex girlfriend crazy and stalking him? Did another girlfriend rob him blind? Is his mother controlling and horrible? Does he seem like he’s had a tough time with people, who always use and abandon him? Whatever he says about the other people in his life is pretty much exactly what he’ll be saying about you at some point, so listen carefully.

4. Illnesses and injuries. Psychopaths absolutely love pity, so pay attention to how many illnesses and injuries he’s had. Did he miraculously beat cancer but it could come back at any minute? Does he break his foot on your second date and has to cancel? (But strangely is okay for the third date?) Did he lose his first wife in a car accident that left him with brain trauma (yet he talks fine and seems fine)? Try to check out his stories — call hospitals if you need to — but don’t be surprised if he has an excuse for why you can’t find any record of any of his traumas.

5. Great sex. Everyone wants great sex, but those who have been with a psychopath often say it’s the best thing they’ve ever experienced. A psychopath goes out of his way to please you. It’s just another way of getting you hooked. Once he has you hooked, you’ll find yourself begging for sex because he suddenly won’t want it anymore.

6. Cracks in the mask. A psychopath will sometimes blurt out something odd about himself, apropos of nothing. Like you might be cooking dinner and suddenly he blurts, “I’m crazy you know.” Or “I’m cheating on you.” He will then either deny he said it or play it off as a joke. A form of keeping you off balance — but also possibly an unconscious slip of the mask of his persona.

7. Silent treatment. Once psychopaths have you hooked after the “love bombing” and “idealization” phase, they then begin to devalue you. The first step in that is usually to give you the silent treatment over something. Psychopaths are also known to disappear for days at a time. Be sure, the silent treatment and disappearing act will be laid squarely at your feet. In reality, he is off sizing up his next target somewhere.

8. Triangulation. Psychopaths love to work you up into a state of obsessive frenzy, so to do that, they idealize you, give you fabulous sex, and then begin pulling away and “triangulating.” This is when they introduce other people into the mix to make you jealous. It could be an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, a friend of the same sex, or even a celebrity. In the psychopaths mind, everyone else wants him, so you better be on your best behavior, or he will move on to one of his adoring fans.

9. Discard. The final phase of the psychopath is the “discard” phase. After he sucks you in with idealization, then begins to devalue you, he will suddenly discard you as if you never had a relationship. You are suddenly completely worthless to him. He will usually move on to another target at this point.

10. “Hoovering.” Although a psychopath will discard you, he doesn’t quite want you moving on either. If he senses you are done with him, he will suddenly do an about-face, and begin bombarding you with pleas to stay together. He will try to “Hoover” (named after the vacuum cleaning company) you back in by saying everything you’ve ever wanted to hear, making a million promises, and suddenly being on his absolute best behavior. It’s all an act so he can get you back into the fold.

The only way to get rid of a psychopath is to completely go no contact. It’s the only thing that doesn’t fuel his games and ego. He will make that difficult for you — some psychopaths will stalk you, most will Hoover. But to engage him in any way, even just to tell him off, only leaves you open to more mind games, which he will win, because he has no feelings. (Those who have children with psychopaths must develop low contact, and keep in touch only as much as absolutely needed as regards the children.)

Of course, nobody is perfect, and some people are just immature and go through periods of giving the silent treatment, or “devaluing” you with critical comments. Other people may triangulate to create jealousy because they’re insecure or bored or don’t even quite realize they’re doing it. There are also plenty of garden-variety jerks out there who will engage in a lot of “psychopathic” behavior without being clinical psychopaths. But if your lover engages in much or all of this behavior, then he or she is likely psychopathic, and you should run for the hills!

Have you ever been with a psychopath?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/07/dating-a-psychopath_n_4378946.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular