Jul 312012
 

I would like to have one more go at the effects of the core philosophies of the elites among us. I have described those working from an early “Puritan Ethic” of community betterment and their opposite, those working from an early “Plantation Ethic” of being above the law with the freedom to control and exploit others and their property at will. How is this playing out in 2012?

The Republican Party seems to have been seized by elites with the Plantation Ethic during the past few decades. They love their money and privilege and will do anything to protect their private advantages. They have been preaching a host of destructive circular arguments. Here are a few examples:

They describe government as being out of control and being the root of all evil. They say that government needs to be slashed, reduced, and killed. No joke. Grover Norquist, the lobbyist and conservative “No Taxes” activist said, “… I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Then they work to systematically cripple government so that it has trouble doing the good things that government is supposed to do. Finally, they point at this damaged government and say, “See, government really is worthless.”

They describe our government’s financial, pollution, and safety regulations as being out of control and the root of all evil. They say that government regulations are preventing businesses from making a profit and so there are fewer jobs. They have been working to systematically cripple important regulations so that financial, pollution, and safety issues pop up more often. Then they point at these preventable problems and say, “See, government really is worthless.”

They describe our public schools as being ineffective and the root of all evil. They work to underfund schools and lay-off teachers while burdening them with mountains of paperwork. With teaching becoming a thankless struggle against parental and community apathy, overwork, and buying your own books and supplies, good teachers give up. Then the elites point to these problems and say, “See, public education really is worthless.”

What is their alternative? Well, of course: contracts for private companies to provide services that were previously provided by public employees. Now, do you think that a corporation with these private contracts will actually work in the best interests of their employees and of those they “serve?” Or, will they work to maximize profits? Color me real skeptical. I absolutely believe that there are some things that public agencies and public servants are better able to do, and one of those things is caring for neighbors. The “public sector” isn’t just some big anonymous bureaucracy; it’s your neighbors and mine. When was the last time that a big multinational corporation brought you a casserole or tutored your child for free after class?

And, have you forgotten that “the love of money” is named as the root of all evil? While our economy is still struggling to recover from the last big private adventure in financial risk-taking, corporate profits are at a record high and employee wages, as a proportion of our economy, are at an all-time low. Yeah, tell me that the “job creators” need more tax cuts so that they can create more jobs. We’re fools to keep on thinking that the moisture we feel is the start of trickle down from the corporations who love us. I don’t think its trickle down; I can tell when I’m being pissed on.

© 2012, David Satterlee

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May 262012
 

The 2011 debt limit crisis demonstrated beyond any doubt that our Republican-controlled Congress is willing to do damage to America and its people. They behaved like a kidnapper cutting off a finger and sending it back to distraught and fearful parents to get them to pay a ransom. We understand that Republicans speak for their financial and religious-right masters. They want money. They want power. They want full control. And, who knows who these terrorists are willing to shoot in the head and shove out the door next.

Effective government is a good and necessary thing. Good government serves its people. Government is a forum for debating issues, agreeing on compromises, managing common resources, and enforcing public decisions. Government should not be something that you try to destroy – or weaken so much that it can be bought. In 2011, “Young Guns,” Tea Party freshmen, and other leading Republicans actually called for the government to default – refusing to pay the bill for spending they had already approved.

What do these “Young Guns” want? They want to run the town, and they are willing to intimidate any citizen, shoot up any merchant, and face down any lawman to do it. They want to lock up the sheriff in his own jail and take him out at night to lynch him – or “drown it [government] in a bath tub” as Grover Norquist said. Too over-the-top? Extend the metaphor with President Obama in the role of Sheriff and replay Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, “Making Obama a one-term president is my single most important political goal.”

Actually, Republicans seem hostile to the idea of America’s entire administrative branch and presidency. Let’s listen, again to their ranch-boss, Grover Norquist: “All we have to do is replace Obama. We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate. … Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

Since our founders designed our constitution, America has always depended on distributed power, with checks and balances, between three branches of government. Can you imagine a do-nothing rubber-stamp president? Now imaging that president appointing whomever he was told to the federal courts, including the Supreme Court! Well, now we’ve got a deal. The big ranchers now run everything. Because they can make any law, the town is effectively lawless. Now take it another step and imagine that all the preachers were in cahoots too. Yep, that would be the Republican radical religious right.

Of course, all this could never stand. Eventually the citizens would rise up with their sickles and pitchforks and charge headlong into a hail of bullets. We have done it before to overthrow tyranny and oppression and we could do it again. We would do it again. Is that what you really want?

This 2012 election could be that critical tipping point. Are you going to move forward, working together, committed in faith and goodwill, to a better world for our children? Or are you going to sit behind your windows, watching in fear and helplessness while thugs ravage your town, taking anything and everything they want?

©2012, David Satterlee

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Mar 042012
 

A graphic collection with an interesting twist. You know this stuff, but sometimes it takes a bit to start putting it together.

Before we begin, keep in mind that:

  • Jesus showed compassion for the 99%: the poor and the common people including sinners, lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes.
  • On the other hand, he really had it in for parasites such as money changers in the temple (who were making money off others by exchanging money) and Pharisees (religious lawmakers).

 

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John 2:13-16

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Feb 082012
 

Source: Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton
Abstracted from pages 120, 121

First at, we have to get money flowing. Recessions created by financial crashes usually take longer to get over, five to ten years or more, than business-cycle recessions, because banks are reluctant to lend, businesses are reluctant to borrow, corporations are reluctant to hire, and consumers are reluctant to spend.

The good news is that we know where the money is in our distressed economy. And there’s lots of it. Banks have more than $2 trillion in cash reserves uncommitted to loans. And businesses of all sizes have about that much uncommitted to investment.

Since banks can lend, conservatively, $10 for every dollar they have in reserves, U.S. banks have the capacity, in theory, to end the entire global recession. Companies could invest their cash in new products that would increase hiring today or in research and development that would increase employment today and even more in the future.

Unfortunately, banks are reluctant to lend, and loan demand is weak. As for the big companies, many executives have decided, at least for now, not to invest in future growth but to buy back their stock instead, increasing earnings per share and, in the process, earning bigger bonuses for top management, once again widening the gap between themselves and their own employees and doing nothing to put American back to work.

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Jan 312012
 

I read the article in “The Daily Beast” – The Path to Victory in November for Barack Obama and the Democrats by Michael Tomasky. One of the comments pointed out that President Obama doesn’t get credit for all the changes that he has made to support America’s recovery and that he doesn’t spend enough time explaining the economic benefits of focusing on fairness to the wage-earners, just the social benefits. Here was my response:

“Yeah, I thought the connection was more intuitively obvious. Perhaps the dots need to be explicitly connected.

When businesses or investors get more money, they tend to take it out of circulation; they save it (Apple is now sitting on about $100 Billion) or buy things like bonds, mutual funds, or other companies. When businesses or private equity firms buy a business, they often take it apart, sell some pieces, and lay off employees as they squeeze operations for fast profit.

When private citizens get more money, they tend to spend it on products and services. This money continues to circulate multiple times as the people they give it to also spend it on products and services. Eventually, companies and/or taxes reduce the circulation. When the government gets more money it also tends to spend it on products and services. There is no truth to “trickle-down economics;” there is only “bubble-up investments.” However, if you let private citizens and progressive governments spend, you stimulate the virtuous cycle of a recirculating self-reinforcing economy.

There is an exception in the case of some conservative governments. Although a war can stimulate the economy through increased manufacturing and payrolls (as in WWII), It can also damage the economy if its costs are funded by printing money (as in Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan). Plus, at the end of such a war investment, there is no significant tangible domestic benefit such as improved infrastructure.

Thus, President Obama is right to shift the emphasis from the last 30 years’ trend that favors robbing from the wage-earners (who make money by working) and favors making it easier for businesses, banks, and investors to make money from moving money. He is right to shift the emphasis from hoarding the fruits of American’s labors to planting, growing, nurturing, and replanting what we earn in ways that help more people to work and more people to earn more.”

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Dec 292011
 

Source: Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton
Abstracted from pages 12-14

We live in the most interdependent age in history. People are increasingly likely to be affected by actions beyond their borders, and their borders are increasingly open to both positive and negative crossings: travelers, immigrants, money, goods, services, information, communication, and culture; disease, trafficking in drugs, weapons, and people, and acts of terrorism and violent crime.

People everywhere face severe challenges, most of which can be grouped into three categories.

· The modern world is too unequal in incomes and in access to jobs, health, and education.

· It is too unstable, as evidenced by the rapid spreading of the financial crisis, economic insecurity, political upheavals, and our shared vulnerability to terrorism.

· And the world’s growth pattern is unsustainable, because the way we produce in use energy and deplete natural resources is causing climate change and other environmental problems.

Because the world is still organized around nations, the decisions national leaders make and citizen support today determine tomorrow’s possibilities. For poor countries, that means building systems that give more people a chance to have decent jobs and send their kids to school. For rich countries, it means reforming systems that once worked well but no longer do, so people can keep moving forward in an increasingly complex and competitive environment.

That’s what America has to do. We have to get back in the future business. Over the last three decades, whenever we’ve given in to the temptation to blame the government for all our problems, we’ve lost our commitment to shared prosperity, balanced growth, financial responsibility, and investment in the future. That’s really what got us into trouble.

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Feb 012010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 5

Martin Seligman proposes a formula for happiness: H=S+C+V.

Enduring level of Happiness =
Set range + life Circumstances + factors under Voluntary control

H – Enduring level of Happiness

Enduring happiness is not the same as momentary happiness, which can spring from a wide range of positive, but transient events. Increasing these momentary pleasures have no enduring effect on enduring happiness.

In repeated studies of identical twins, fraternal twins, and adopted children, demonstrate that about half of all personality traits can be attributed to genetic inheritance. While some of these heritable traits are rather firmly fixed, some are remarkably malleable.

S – Set range

Traits which are inherited and more fixed establish a “set range” of what is normal or typical for each person. They define areas that may serve as barriers to increased happiness.

Lottery winners study

A study of major lottery winners found that most returned to their previous levels and styles of happiness within one year. On the other hand, the effect also works in reverse, with people usually recovering after adversity.

Quadriplegia study

Even people who become quadriplegics and experience a period of depression usually recover their more-positive mood within months.

Hedonic Treadmill

The concept of a hedonic treadmill describes people who, like lottery winners, begin to take good things for granted. They can begin seeking greater and greater stimulus events, trying to create the feel of an increased enduring happiness out of repeated transient experiences.

In contrast, severe tragedies such as death of loved ones and produce long-term decreases in happiness.

C – life Circumstances

Changed circumstances can sometimes contribute to enduring happiness.

Impacts of money, marriage, social life, negative emotion, health, education, climate, race, gender, religion.

Intractable poverty and other enduring negative circumstances can directly produce higher levels of unhappiness and depression. However, once a certain level of perceived basic needs are met, improving circumstances no longer reliably produce emotional satisfaction. Security is important to happiness; wealth is not.

Marital satisfaction is clearly related to happiness. However, unhappy people may be less likely to become married or stay married. Satisfying romantic and social relationships are also reliably related to reported happiness. It is still unclear that one causes the other.

The mere existence of unhappy situations and negative emotions does not intrinsically deny a person joy. Women tend to experience greater levels of emotion, both positive and negative, than men. Although they experience twice as much depression as men, they also experience more frequent and more intense positive emotions.

Younger people, evidently often report carefree and youthful “fun” as happiness. A close examination indicates that life satisfaction tends to increase with age while extremes of emotional intensity moderate.

Factors such as education, climate, race, and gender do not directly and reliably correlate with sustained happiness.

The exercise of religious faith, and the social support that it often provides, often removes adherents from certain negative life circumstances. This has a noticeable but not reliable protective effect on happiness. The element of increased hope maybe the most significant beneficial factor: increasing happiness and reducing despair.

Increasing Happiness: The Bottom Line

The most influential effects on long-term happiness include: living in a wealthy democracy; having a satisfying marriage; avoiding events that overtly produce negative emotions; developing a social network; embracing a hopeful spiritual path.

Disappointingly ineffective effects on long-term happiness include: materialistic pursuits beyond basic needs; immoderate pursuit of health; pursuit of advanced education; cosmetic surgery; geographic moves.

Dec 182009
 

Source: Amazon.com

“Ed Diener is the Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois. He received his doctorate at the University of Washington in 1974, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois for the past 34 years. Dr. Diener was the president of both the International Society of Quality of Life Studies and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. Currently he is the president of the International Positive Psychology Association. Dr. Diener was the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the Journal of Happiness Studies, and he is the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. Diener has over 240 publications, with about 190 being in the area of the psychology of well-being, and is listed as one of the most highly cited psychologists by the Institute of Scientific Information with over 12,000 citations to his credit. He won the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the first Gallup Academic Leadership Award, and the Jack Block Award for Personality Psychology. Dr. Diener also won several teaching awards, including the Oakley-Kundee Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois.”

Shop at Amazon for:
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
by: Ed Diener

“Happiness is a process, not a place. That’s one of the key concepts that leaps from Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries Of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas- Diener.” (Diana’s Blog: Quirky Words and Book)

“In their sweeping new book Diener and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, distill the results of worldwide research into happiness and come up with an explanation, a recipe, for a sustained state of good feeling, psychological wealth, as they call it.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2008)

Shop at Amazon for:
Assessing Well-Being: The Collected Works of Ed Diener

The collected works of Ed Diener, in 3 volumes, present the major works of the leading research scientist studying happiness and well-being. Professor Diener has studied subjective well-being, people’s life satisfaction and positive emotions, for over a quarter of a century, and has published 200 works on the topic, many more than any other scholar. He has studied hundreds of thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, and the collected works present the major findings from those studies. Diener has made many of the major discoveries about well-being, which are outlined in the chapters.

Shop at Amazon for:
Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology

The book is highly recommendable for those interested in hedonic psychology especially Subjective Well-Being (a.k.a. Happiness). It covers a wide range of chapters which include definitions, measurement, clarifications/reactions, recent findings and researches. Its probable drawback is that, to a certain degree, it is somewhat very technical in approach. Not too many readers might easily grasp some contents/materials presented. Nonetheless, it is a great reference material.

Shop at Amazon for:
Worker Well-Being and Public Policy, Volume 22 (Research in Labor Economics)

In this volume, the authors explain the reasons why subjective indicators of well-being are needed. They describe how these indicators can offer useful input and provide examples of policy uses of well-being measures. The book then delves into objections to the use of subjective well-being indicators for policy purposes and discusses why these objections are not warranted. Finally, the book contains answers pertaining to the measures that are currently in use and describes the types of measures that are most likely to be valuable in the policy domain.

Shop at Amazon for:
Culture and Subjective Well-Being (Well Being and Quality of Life)

This book is based on the idea that we can empirically study quality of life and make cross-society comparisons of subjective well-being (SWB). A potential problem in studying SWB across societies is that of cultural relativism: if societies have different values, the members of those societies will use different criteria in evaluating the success of their society. By examining, however, such aspects of SWB as whether people believe they are living correctly, whether they enjoy their lives, and whether others important to them believe they are living well, SWB can represent the degree to which people in a society are achieving the values they hold dear. The contributors analyze SWB in relation to money, age, gender, democracy, and other factors.
Dec 102009
 

Source O, The Oprah Magazine

Photo: Lori Adamski-Peek

Dr. Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener unlock the mystery of happiness“You can see it glimmering on the horizon: Happiness. And all you need to get there is to practice X, accomplish Y, and believe in Z.

Wrong, says Ed Diener, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and president of the International Positive Psychology Association. "Happiness is not a set of desirable life circumstances. It’s a way of traveling." Diener’s new book, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, written with his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, a life coach, offers guidance for those interested in taking a road trip.

As the Dieners synthesize the latest research—something Ed has steeped himself in as former editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies—they challenge the conventional party line on well-being: Money does matter, they conclude; religion, not necessarily. And marriage is hardly the joy girder it’s been cracked up to be. “

 

Shop at Amazon for:
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
by: Ed Diener

“Happiness is a process, not a place. That’s one of the key concepts that leaps from Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries Of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas- Diener.” (Diana’s Blog: Quirky Words and Book)

“In their sweeping new book Diener and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, distill the results of worldwide research into happiness and come up with an explanation, a recipe, for a sustained state of good feeling, psychological wealth, as they call it.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2008)

Shop at Amazon for:
Assessing Well-Being: The Collected Works of Ed Diener (Social Indicators Research Series)
by:

The collected works of Ed Diener, in 3 volumes, present the major works of the leading research scientist studying happiness and well-being. Professor Diener has studied subjective well-being, people’s life satisfaction and positive emotions, for over a quarter of a century, and has published 200 works on the topic, many more than any other scholar. He has studied hundreds of thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, and the collected works present the major findings from those studies. Diener has made many of the major discoveries about well-being, which are outlined in the chapters.
Dec 042009
 
Making a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and in Life

Source: Amazon.com

Albion, who gave up a teaching post at Harvard Business School and now publishes a monthly newsletter called "Making a Life," has spent the last 11 years preaching that personal integrity is the real ticket to prosperity.

He cites a study that tracked the careers of 1500 business school graduates. In 1960, the year they graduated, all but 255 said they wanted to make money first in order to do what they really wanted later on; the remainder decided to do what they loved in hopes that money would follow. Of the 101 who became millionaires by 1980, only one belonged to the former group.

In chapters with titles such as "Don’t Let Success Stand in the Way of Opportunity," "Bring Your Values to Work" and "Live a Life, Not a Resume," Albion profiles a range of entrepreneurs and high-level employees. His emphasis is on the disparate paths these people took to achieve a sense of purpose and meaning in work that carried over into their personal lives.

There’s Elliot Hoffman, who built the San Francisco-based cafe Just Desserts from a single birthday cake into one of the city’s most profitable and socially responsible businesses. And there’s Albion’s most personal story, that of his mother, which frames the entire book. In 1986, she was diagnosed with cancer, and her doctor indicated she would be lucky to live six months. Now in her 70s, she continues to head the successful manufacturing company she began in 1978.

Albion’s book powerfully illustrates what can be accomplished when, in our work lives, we use our heads while following our hearts. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc

Dec 022009
 

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

image Rev. Gregory Johanson, PhD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Central Connecticut State University where he teaches Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), and Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Counseling at Drew University. He served as an ordained United Methodist Clergyperson and a Certified Therapist and Founding Trainer of the Hakomi Institute with over 25 years of clinical, teaching, and training experience in mental health clinic, parish, college, and hospital settings.

Also see: Hakomi Educational Resources and the Hakomi Institute

Source:

 
  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Pr (March 1984)
  •  
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: C S S Publishing Company (June 1984)
  •  
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony/Bell Tower (February 15, 1994)
  • Grace Unfolding: Psychotherapy in the Spirit of Tao-te ching

    ”A sensible and compassionate book that will help those involved in any form of therapy make the best possible use of their time, effort, and money. "A fascinating blend of Eastern spirituality, Western psychotherapy, feminist consciousness, and real caring."–Riane Eisler