Dec 31, 2013

Auld Lang Syne, of Soul

Deeply rooted truths, realities,
Comapassion, playings, labors, of loves:

Human commonalities are the commons of humanity,
Perennial, mostly buried, by all civilizations.

Source of all Human Revolutions against oppressions.
Not to be aware of buried, human treasure is easy:

Our primal roots and tubers
Of Earth's eco-family-community humanness!

Covered-over by the highways of personal,
Expedient, career and institutional selves.

Soul artifacts: underneath, national,
Commercial and political selves:

Underneath our intellect-egoselves'
Materialistic, diverse empires of domination.

II.
Not to join in the archaeological dig
For the organismic essences of humanity!

Not to yearn for the respringing and enculturation
Of natural, whole, human self and whole being!

To merely accept the ongoing sufferings
And inequities of the bulk of humankind!

III.
Human life (and being) is not a case
of  "to be or not to be".

It is a case of where and what to be,
And how to be that whatness;

And why to be that whyness.
There in our home of human beings.

It is a case of the becoming of,
And sustainment of, human beings--

Beyond the case of mere
Human organisms remaing alive;

Beyond our brains' and bodies' growth;
Beyond health and life, of our brain-body organisms.

IV.
Our human ecosphere-habitat is our where
We journey through our human beingness,

Is where our eco-nature-human being;
Finds what to love, how to love, and why to love.

Should these grown attainments be forgot?
Or, ever be our find!



Copyright 2013  L.S. Heatherly

Nov 10, 2013

Birth of Soul

             by L.S. Heatherly

Soul -- in singing, talking, playing music;
In living, loving, and being human:

Something unbought by diploma's hubris;
Ungained by travel, arts, and science in hand;

Something growing outward, upward and true:
Where yearning stops; Heart throbs; and Earth-love springs;

Enfolding the child, relating love's rule,
Over all Human and Earth brought things.

Soul is mother of family, village, and fairness;
Of bondings, givings, receivings: all this

Old treasure defies the greedy and selfish!
Soul is wonders, splendors, all lovings' sweet bliss!

Soul's a sweet cup, sipped here, in fleeting time;
So unworthy, we, of soul's long presence.

Human heart's vision is Culture's essence.
Soul's decision is pure, ancient, and sublime.

With each arising from our depths,
We are, briefly, born again-blessed.

With each pollution of child's purity;
We pollute, strike short, our futurity.



Copyright 2013 L.S. Heatherly

Sep 30, 2013

Nature of Life

Nature is reckless of the individual. When she has points to carry,
she carries them.
                                                   -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Men argue, nature acts.              
                                                      -- Voltaire

The known universe beyond Earth is not hostile, nor is it friendly.
It simply has no feelings, no struggling selections of life, no joys.
                                                                   -- L.S. Heatherly

Nature, with equal mind,
Sees all hers sons at play,
Sees man control the wind,
The wind sweep man away.
                                                               -- Matthew Arnold

Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in Nature-- daily to be shown
matter, to come in contact with it-- rocks, trees, wind on our
cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! Common Sense!
Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?
                                                         -- Henry David Thoreau

Deep in their roots,
All flowers keep the light.
                                                             -- Theodore Roethke

Give me a spark o' nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I desire
                                                                    -- Robert Burns

Man [has become] a complex being: he makes deserts bloom
plastics, steel, artificial intelligence, many anti-Earth-lifes. He
makes lakes, streams and children die.

Mankind can never hope to see
A living thing more lovely and still free
Than the infant child upon our knee.

Conscious life: the only nature breathing, caring, loving.



2013 All rights reserved

Aug 30, 2013

Pretty Lie

They say a picture's worth a thousand words.
If so, then why do poets write?

Do techno shots on paper and on screen
Lack wht science and art imply they mean?

Is this magic show a seduction without end
To hide some lies on which we now depend?

Does the poet's eye of spirit mind
Refute the eye of science-gadget mind?

Does this condensation of our speech
Reveal some truth that science cannot reach?

Will the poet rise up to defy
The rampage-mind's illusion, that Pictures don't lie.?

Does the spirit-eye go blind
From techno-eye, so prettily unkind?


(from Ch XI of The Last Human Spring)

Jul 15, 2013

Trayvon Martin Trial: 2 minutes = Scalpeled Justice

Scalpeled Justice, Truth, Reality, Court Trial, and Socioculture

The jury and lawyers were given FALSE and UNREAL instructions,
evidence, arguments, and concept of event.  Everyone, in fact, was told
that the 2 minutes of struggle between two men was the the event causing
the death of Trayvon Martin. Jury and all were told:  that  2 minutes was
the ONLY moments to reach a verdict about: a 2 minute incident.

But, in realty, those 2 minutes CANNOT be divorced away from
the preceding 3.5 minutes that created those last 2 minutes. The
physical life-or-death struggle was CAUSED, was created, by:

1. The defendant's decision to violate instructions given him:
"We do not need you to do that." (about 5.5 minutes before the fatal shot)
2. The defendant's 3.5 minutes -- of following, approaching-- and; thereby
triggering(creating) the 2 minutes of fatal struggle.

To scalpel away most of the fatal event-- the causation 3.5 minutes that
created-- caused and made inevitable-- the climax of the full event: this is a
misrepresentaion of the full event as being reducible down to 2 minutes.

The defendant's actions during the opening 3.5 minutes CAUSED
the closing 2 minutes of deathly struggle. As his group told him: "We
don't need you to do that." Nor did Martin and our country need that.

This scalpeling down to 2 minutes makes the full event equivalent to two
men walking toward each other on a sidewalk, locking eyes and, fearing each
other, engaging in a life-or-death struggle: this is NOT what happened. It makes
this event generally equivalent to a drunk driver being found guilty of another
driver's death; when, in reality, his friends (or social norms) assured him,
"you can do it; you can drive; you can make it home."

The life-or-death struggle was created by the behavior of the defendant--
following and confronting Martin!

The defendant created the life-or-death last 2 minutes. And thereby,
created the death of the loser of that struggle.

He created Martin's death in the starting 3.5 minutes that, innevitably,
in time, created the closing 2 minute deathly struggle. There would be
no death-struggle WITHOUT the opening 3.5 minutes!

The closing of an event cannot be divorced away from the event's beginning.

And this event cannot, in reality, be separated from wider events
creating this one! What really, more widely, happened? The defendant
( and those that think, hold the same feelings, hold the same values, and
behave like the defendant) created the death of Trayvon Martin. The
defendant was an agent, one person, acting on behalf of (at least two) particular,
sociocultural pathogeneses, racism and classism(Zimmerman was
employed).

The larger, bad news is that we, apparently, won't make it home either!
Because we have forgotten that, humanity, innately, had a home; and have
forgotten where it was, and what it consisted of: community, brotherhood,
the golden rule, et.al.



Coptright 2013 L.S. Heatherly
















Jun 30, 2013

Exiting Earth! Come In, Earth! Come In!















..........................................................................................................................................
One Giant Step Toward Colonizing Space!
Looking for Feats Outside of Life(outside Biosphere):
Our Brother's Keeper? Or Psysics-Technology's Keeper!
..........................................................................................................................
"Contact, contact, contact!" -- Henry David Thoreau

Technology -- the knack of so arranging the [artificial] world
that we don't have to experience it [the natural world].
                                                                          -- Max Frisch

Earth did it herself! She experieced the miracle of Life's conception herself!
Life did not have to be transplanted from anywhere--
especially not from the unreachable, known universe!
Impregnated by sunlight reaching her carbon and water at the right time and spot!
A spark of life! Transforming just another llife-less planet into the unfolding miracle!
                                                                                               -- L.S. Heatherly

"Life is all there is, let it flower!"                -- John Ruskin and Lewis Mumford
                                                                  (quoted in The Last Human Spring)

"One just might laugh oneself to death at the space station's implied boast, by action, to
Mother Earth, "Look, Mom, what we did! True; they don't really see Mother Earth!"
                                                                                                     --  L.S. Heatherly

"Some scientists (one on PBS) boast that we don't have to worry about Humans 
becoming extinct: We will have self-replicating machines to carry on for us!"
We now create abuses of human life; as science claims it can make
better use of it. We spend much of it creating cyberneticized machines, toys and
robots, hoping they will out-live mortal humans.We are "cool" and indifferently
watch as their employments artfully destroy pieces of Earth-life and Her humanity, in
the name of the supremecy of the individual(ism) and branches of egoism-empire-
sci-technic-commercial-materialistic delusions of granduer --condescending to Earth's
Life, Spirit and Soul. We worship at the entertaining alters of sci-technic arrogant
usurpations of power-- from Earth-life's ecosystems and her masses of humanity.
                                                                                               -- L.S. Heatherly

"Life is an offensive [on Earth], directed against the repetitious mechanism of the universe."
                                                                                 -- Alfred North Whitehead

"The best defense is an offense; and Earth-life started her's fully with two main forms:
(a) individual and species reproduction and (b) natural selection of physical, mental,
social, spiritual and cultural attributes interacting with mutation, and (c) with
 physical climate, ecological and sociocultural climatic attributes."
                                                                                               -- L.S. Heatherly  
                                                                                                                                                      
"From its first spark, Life went on to conquer one planet, removing it from,
setting it apart from, the life-less known universe, from the unreachable universe.
Earth, through its evolved miracles, especially its self-conscious loving species, is
is a trillion times more phenomenal, meaningful and precious than the known,
unreachable, lifeless universe as we can experience it. More astounding still, educated,
city-fied humankind can no longer, really, reach this wondrous, planet, jeweled with
life and love! They are, now, stranded in civilization as castaways from their
home of yester-time(s) and yester-being(s).
                                                                                           -- L.S. Heatherly

"When Earth-life evolved to social mammalian life, to conscious and self-conscious
primates( human and nonhuman); Earth attained to a sharp, brilliant, wonderful
quantitative difference, as well as a definitional difference, from all known planets.
A trillion times more precious, it should no longer be called a planet primarily. That is
derogatory, disrespectful and insulting to her as home and creater of her many infinitely
most prescious,species of life. She should not be called, merely, or firstly planet Earth.
A planet first in time only; because millions of years ago, she slowly tranformed into
a precious ecophere, biophere, Lifesphere.

We need a debate or stuggle of terms to arrive at a name for our Earth other than a term
denoting her secondary lifeless areas and elements. Yours truly used the term, Earthlifeworld,
some dozens of times in the major work, The Last Human Spring.

Planet, Earth-life, would also be more worthy a name for such preciousness. Surely,
human scientists, social scientists and life scientists that hold the Earth  precious enough,
along with lay people, could bring about this failure of science to make a precious distinction
between Earth and many 1000s of known planets. This misnomer is a major factor in our
long abuse and toxicification of Earth's life and of Her humanity.

We can only do big challenging things if we have the heart to feel they must be done.



---------------------------------------------------------------------
We are loosing contact with the Living Earth.
Will our last call be:
Come in, Earth! Come in! 


All human species live through the inspiriations and relationships of the Living
Earth encradling us. Mother Earth has produced-- has created through Earth-life's
evolution-- millions of species of life, many thousands of sentient and conscious
species, and a fair number of self-conscious, social and loving species.

Post Modern, high-tech civilization has not and cannot create any conscious species
capable of ecological interaction and balance. Especially out of science's arrogant,
creative abilities are the sentient, conscious and self-conscious, social, loving species
seen in the gorilla, orangatan, chimp, bonobo and several human species of the past
and our own Homo sapiens.

The last is the species we innately, ecologically, sustainably belong to; but, from which 
we are making our exit -- into an artificial, electronic, cybernetic, digital, robotic, virtual
creature. One marked by decline in naturally, ecologic, evolved senses, as well
as, by arrogance, delusions of granduer and ingratitude to Mother Earth (Gaia),
the only eco-sustainable life-creative system on Earth, or anywhere in the reachable
universe.

Unknowingly blind, we are, with escapist excitement, bidding Mother Earth, her human
nature, spirit, being, self-consciousness and natural, human love, farewell. We are
opening our minds and hearts, terminally to artificial, alien, anti-Earth(ecosphere),
and anti-human addictions. Therein, we entice our species along an artificial
pathway, leading toward human decimation/extinction.




Copyright 2013 L.S. Heatherly















May 29, 2013

Eyes of Child Quest Into Thee






(Amazon Child-Eyes)

I
Should we, now, think we'll ever see
A poem more lovely and more free

Than pristine child with seaching eyes
Perched on our urban, hassled knee!

A gift from Earth-life's, human wild,
Born with eyes questing into thee!

A child whose eyes, in vain, still quest
For Earth's pure eco-viillage, nest.

II
Such lifeway eyes, pure once, did find
Earth's free unfolding life did shine.

Our greed, thru might, did conquest,
And laid pure eyes of child to death.

Pure child-eyes now quest in screens,
Bind life and eye to machines.

We cannot wish, again, to see
The pure child-eyes in village free.

III
Child-eyes ask, Always bound? Or was I free?
And what, through art's machines, are thee?

For image and scene, you shoot me;
Never banned, I am the human game, that's free.



All Rights Reserved

Apr 24, 2013

Save the Wild? Save the Natural, Human Child!













.........................................................................................................................................
I.
To save the stream, the sky, the forest tree:
Save the infant child going lost, but once home free.

If children cannot eat? Love ain't served on Culture's table!
If children must now die? We've hit the tab of love: to disable!
Why must we and Earth-life die? We study all; but cease to encradle!

Babe crawls, talks, walks, all in tandem, grow
along the paths that genes turning-ons do show;
and the paths of Mother Nature's nurture-culture means of love.
Dance for rain, Sun, crops, for all outside and sky above;
But first, dance for shoots of primal, spirit-innards-- dance for love!

II.
Stewardship is the scientific substitute for what we've lost,
Natural love of Earth-life, and Her original, true humanity.

In civilization, we learn through mainstream environmentalism, to think
that we are the stewards of the land, of living Earth, even of humanity.
In reality, the opposite is the case, and more.

The Living Earth is far beyond any stewardship of humankind-- She has
created us through the evolution of Life! And She will continue to sustain
us; if we merely renounce and cease our violations of her ecospere's
nurturings, as well as, our violations of our natural, human culture: our
human nurturome, originally, very slowly, selected for us through ions of
humanity's blueprinted map of cultural pathways into
more and more deep-becomings into human beings.

Love is thicker than blood. Blood carries the family through bio-rebirth.
But, there is no anemia of blood so fatal, as loss of love in family-community.
Love deficiency anemia is passed not by genes, but by cycle
of love-deficient culture, the citified, increasing generation to generation.
Our humanity is natural, Earthly-wide-- has no nature to be artificial, citified.

Human beings don't merely grow biologically, into organism-human beings.
They, equally, grow socioculturally into human beings. The new-
born baby is helpless without its sociocultural blueprint for
relationship-born growth. Genome bears forth the brain-body growth;
nurturome(culturome) bears forth the culture-spirit-social-being growth.

Science holds that food+shelter+sexual reproduction+ learning
= human evolution and development. No baby will eat without love!
The proof that love is nurturome-evolution: this is in the pudding not eaten.

II.
Earth-life has created us -- evolved us-- through becomingism.
We can see this, in microcosm, in the fertilized egg's process
of becomings, from zygote into fetus, into embyro, into birth of
a human organism-- baby's crying and reaching out for the baby's
takings in of human being's developmental, relational phenomena.

If some of the new-born baby's developmental nurturome(culturome) is
missing through toxic, pathogenic decay; then, some of human being, in life's
due course, will be missing.

Some four billion years of the evolution of Earth's life is summarized,
and witnessed-- particularly the last 600 million years, the Cambrian
explosion-- in the embryo's process of becoming, thru fish, amphibian,
reptile, and mammal, into becoming a human organism-- becoming
a baby born waiting-- to travel its rightful human pathways, its birthrights,
from human organism into human being, spirit, nature, identity, eco-culture,
reality and humanity's role in Play of Earth-life.



2013  L.S. Heatherly

Mar 27, 2013

O Music, Fail Not Sweet Life on Earth!















I.
Ask not for whom the drum beats,
Guitar strums, fiddle bow rings,
horn blows, and piano man sings.
These should rightly sound for thee--
For Earth's life; for all Humanity.


II.
The Music, then, enters our life's relationships.
From memory's and longing's chord, melody slips

Into balance with life on Earth;
Renditions eco-spirit's rebirth,
Arrangements seek what life unfolds,
Taking stand as band for souls.

Enters natural village-protections,
Enters natural village-selections,
This orchestration, of humanity with Earth?
Music reaches for our natural rebirth!

III.
Take care, new music on artificial wing;
Fail not what soul would sing;
Be not false, elite artifact.
Honor ancient mission, meaning and tact.

Fail not spirit's human sociality, 
Ritual, lore, love and culturality.
Fail not our organismicity's worth;
Fail not life-and-love-jeweled planet, Earth.



2013 L.S. Heatherly

Feb 26, 2013

Robert Reich: Against Inequality













Fighting for the 99 percent: Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
speaks to Occupy San Francisco demonstrators at Justin Herman Plaza on
Oct. 19, 2011. Now teaching at the University of California, Berkeley,
Reich blames anti-union legislation and market deregulation for the yawning
chasm that has grown between America's wealthy and middle class since the
late 1970s. -- AP

Riech's advice for incoming Presidents, "Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit--
a wage suppliment for lower-income people, and finance it with higher
marginal income tax."

His ideas were the basis for Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign slogan,
“Putting People First” (they were both Rhodes scholars and he met Clinton
on board the boat to England; he once dated Hillary too, though he only
realized this when a New York Times journalist rang him up and reminded him).

And they were still there at the heart of President Barack Obama’s inaugural
address last month. America could not succeed, said Obama, “when a shrinking
few do very well and a growing many barely make it.” What Reich, basically,
has been saying for three decades.

And saying how, since 70 percent of the economy is based on the middle classes
buying stuff, if they don’t have any money to buy this stuff, it cannot grow.
Meanwhile, the government has allowed the super-rich, the “one percent,”
to take more of the nation’s wealth. Half of the United States’ total assets are
now owned by just 400 people — 400! — and, Reich contests that this is not
just a threat to the economy, but also democracy. [debilitating to democracy]

At heart “Inequality for All” by filmaker Kornbluff, is a revolutionary film-- in
its dearest desire to precipitate a revolution in the way that we think about
economic matters. "The economy, says Reich, is not like the weather.
An economy does not exist in nature. We don’t have to settle.” And,
crucially, it can be changed.

"I had never done anything political before,” says Kornbluth. “I didn’t consider
myself political. But seeing his example, the way that he has fought this
fight for so many years has been an absolute inspiration to me." Reich's
students "really do walk out of his lectures and want to change the world."
The film is structured around a lecture, or rather series of lectures: Reich’s
incredibly popular wealth and poverty class at Berkeley. But it is only
loosely used as a vehicle

The film threads together evidence that many people know about — the
increasing struggle of the middle classes to just get by, the way that the
top 1 percent of society has unshackled itself from the rest of us and has
seen its income increase exponentially, and the ever-increasing cost of
the traditional avenues of improvement, such as higher education.

Reich charts the three decades of increasing median income after World
War II, a period he calls “the great prosperity” and then examines what
happened in the late 1970s to put an end to it. The economy didn’t falter.
It kept on growing. But wages didn’t.

The figures that Reich supplies are simply gobsmacking. In 1978, the
typical male U.S. worker was making $48,000 a year (adjusted for inflation).
Meanwhile the average person in the top 1 percent was making $390, 000.
By 2010, the median wage had plummeted to $33,000, but at the top it
had nearly trebled, to $1,100,000.

We hear Reich tell his Berkeley class. “Something happened in the la
1970s. Something happened.” And much of the rest of the film is working
out what happened. Some inequality is inevitable, he says. Even desirable.
It’s what makes capitalism tick. But at what point does it become a
problem? When the middle classes (in its American sense of the 25 percent
above and below the median wage) have so little of the economic pie that it
affects not just their lives but the economy as a whole.

Reich’s thesis is that since the 1970s a combination of anti-union legislation
and deregulation of the markets contrived to create a situation in which the
economy boomed but less of the wealth trickled down. Though for a while,
nobody noticed. There were “coping mechanisms.” More women entered the
workforce, creating dual-income families. Working hours rose. And
increasing house prices enabled people to borrow. And then, in 2007, this
all came crashing to a halt. “We have exhausted all the options,” he says.
There’s nowhere else left to go. It’s crunch time.

People may not be familiar with the theory of income inequality but they
haven’t been able to avoid noticing that they’ve got less money in their
pockets. “I’ve always thought that kitchen-table economics is the most
important topic to most people,” says Reich. “Their wages, their jobs,
getting by. I’ve always tried to relate economics to where people live.

That’s why I was so excited about the film.” The human stories of working
American families struggling to cope are at the emotional center of the film.
He was bullied as a child “because that’s just what happens when you’re
small” and repeatedly beaten up. “It’s never been a conscious thing on my
part but that feeling of being bullied, and feeling vulnerable, has stayed with
me. And maybe it’s because of that that I can empathize with poor people.
Because they are the most vulnerable. There is no one to protect them.”

In the film, he tells how he made strategic alliances with older boys who
could protect him. And years later, he discovered that one of them had
traveled down to Mississippi to register voters and had been tortured and
then murdered. “That changed my life,” he says.
“He’s an incredibly smart guy" says Kornbluff, "and he could have found a
way to correlate that into money as so many people do. But he never has.

He has absolute integrity. He draws a modest salary. He has this absolute
moral compass. Riech is a philosopher trying to rectify economic injustice.

The world has changed in ways unexpected since 50s 60s hopes. We fell
victim to what Reich calls “the huge lie.” That the free market is good.
And government is bad. Government makes the rules, Reich keeps on
reminding us, over and over. And it decides who benefits from those rules,
and who is harmed. And unprecedentedly, the rich are oppressing the poor.

Perhaps the most surprising voice in the film is Nick Hanauer’s. He’s just
your ordinary, everyday billionaire. One of the 1 percent. Except that he
believes — like Warren Buffett — that he doesn’t pay enough tax. And
that hammering the middle class, the ones who buy actual stuff, who create
demand, which in turn creates jobs and more taxes, is simply bad for the
economy. The system simply isn’t working, he says. It’s put the millionaires
and the billionaires, the Nick Hanauers and the Mitt Romneys — the people
that Republican rhetoric describes as job creators — at the center of the
economic universe, rather than what Hanauer calls the true job creators —
the middle classes.

The problem is, he says, is that they’ve been attacked from every side.
He was one of the initial investors in Amazon, a business of which he’s
“incredibly proud,” but he points out that on revenues in the last three
months of 2012 of $21 billion, Amazon employs just 65,600 people. “If it
was a mom and pop retailer, it would be 600,000 people, or 800,000 or
a million.”

Globalization and technology have played their role. But so has the
government. For decades, under both Republicans and Democrats the
highest rate of tax didn’t dip below 70 percent. Now, Hanauer says he pays
11 percent on a six-figure income. Hanauer believes that if he was taxed
more, he would be better off, because his company — he’s a venture
capitalist and his family own a pillow factory — would sell more products,
and he would, therefore, make more money.

This is inequality that is being led from the top. Reich’s charts show that
for years, chief executives’ earnings kept in step with other employees.
And then in 2000-’03 “It went kerbluey,” by which he means off the charts.
Which is where it still is. This isn’t just an American problem. “If there was
upward mobility it would be OK,” says Reich in the film. “But 42 percent of
children born in poverty in the USA will stay there. In Denmark it’s 24 percent.
Even in Great Britain, where they still have an aristocracy, it’s 30 percent.”
It’s probably a shocking statistic for Americans to hear. The problem is that
by every index you can measure, inequality is worsening in Britain. Its now
taking the same path we took.

One of the key moments for Reich was the underinvestment in education,
particularly higher education in the ’70s. This was when America introduced
tuition fees for public universities and its workforce started to fall behind the
rest of the world’s. When opportunities for those from low- and middle-income
backgrounds began shrinking: precisely where the U.K. is today. It's not
just that wages have remained flat in America — as they have in the U.K. —
it’s that the expenses of everyday life have soared, in particular education
and health care.Last October, an independent commission in the U.K. led by
independent research and policy organization, Resolution Foundation,
predicted that in 2020 wages for low-to middle-income families would be the
same as they were in 2000. And yet everything else will have gone up. Britains
too are facing the crunch.

Reich was bullied as a child “because that’s just what happens when you’re
small” and repeatedly beaten up. “It’s never been a conscious thing on my part
but that feeling of being bullied, and feeling vulnerable, has stayed with me.
And maybe it’s because of that that I can empathize with poor people.
Because they are the most vulnerable. There is no one to protect them.”
In the film, he tells how he made strategic alliances with older boys who could
protect him. And years later, he discovered that one of them had traveled down
to Mississippi to register voters and had been tortured and then murdered.
“That changed my life,” he says.

“He has never cashed in,” says Kornbluth. “He’s an incredibly smart guy and
he could have found a way to correlate that into money as so many people do.
But he never has. He has absolute integrity. It’s almost shocking now for
someone not to do that. He draws a modest salary. He has this absolute moral
compass. And he’s still trying to change the world.”

The world has changed since the 60s and 70s. We fell victim to what Reich calls
“the huge lie.” That the free market is good. And government is bad. Government
makes the rules, Reich keeps on reminding us, over and over. And it decides
who benefits from those rules, and who is harmed. And increasingly, that boils
down to the rich and the poor.

Perhaps the most surprising voice in the film is Nick Hanauer’s. He’s just your
ordinary, everyday billionaire. One of the 1 percent. Except that he believes —
like Warren Buffett — that he doesn’t pay enough tax. And that hammering the
middle class, the ones who buy actual stuff, who create demand, which in turn
creates jobs and more taxes, is simply bad for the economy. The system simply
isn’t working, he says. It’s put the millionaires and the billionaires, the Nick
Hanauers and the Mitt Romneys — the people that Republican rhetoric
describes as job creators — at the center of the economic universe, rather than
what Hanauer calls the true job creators — the middle classes.

The problem is, he says, is that they’ve been attacked from every side. He was
of the initial investors in Amazon, a business of which he’s “incredibly proud,”
but he points out that on revenues in the last three months of 2012 of $21 billion,
Amazon employs just 65,600 people. “If it was a mom and pop retailer, it would
be 600,000 people, or 800,000 or a million.” Globalization and technology have
played their role. But so has the government. For decades, under both
Republicans and Democrats the highest rate of tax didn’t dip below 70 percent.
Now, Hanauer says he pays 11 percent on a six-figure income. Hanauer
believes that if he was taxed more, he would be better off, because his company—
he’s a venture capitalist and his family own a pillow factory — would sell more
products, and he would, therefore, make more money.

This is inequality that is being led from the top. Reich’s charts show that for
years, chief executives’ earnings kept in step with other employees. And then
in 2000-’03 “It went kerbluey,” by which he means off the charts. Which is
where it still is. And this isn’t just an American problem. "If there was upward
mobility it would be OK,” says Reich in the film. “But 42 percent of children
born in poverty in the USA will stay there. In Denmark it’s 24 percent. Even
in Great Britain, where they still have an aristocracy, it’s 30 percent.”

It’s probably a shocking statistic for Americans to hear. The problem is that
by every index you can measure, inequality is worsening in Britain.

One of the key moments for Reich was the underinvestment in education,
particularly higher education in the ’70s. This was when America introduced
tuition fees for public universities and its workforce started to fall behind the
rest of the world’s. When opportunities for those from low- and middle-income
backgrounds began shrinking: precisely where the U.K. is today.
It’s not just that wages have remained flat in America — as they have in the
U.K. — it’s that the expenses of everyday life have soared, in particular
education and health care.

Perhaps the unlikeliest thing about Robert Reich is how very chipper he is.
Even though, by every measure, inequality has got worse in the United
States since he started preaching his doctrine. He doesn’t seem to let it
get to him.

Riech tries to politely prod its people into looking at the world differently
rather than beating them around the head with a heavy wooden bat marked
“polemic.” But American politics has become so polarized, so ideologically
vicious, that it’s only a matter of time before it’s attacked by the right as
Stalinist propaganda. “But I’m used to that,” he says. “I’ve been attacked
at a personal level for the last 30 years. I’m just excited that this might
trigger a debate. Though I’m trying not to get my hopes up.”

Crunch time in the U.S. is looking ugly. Reich believes that both the Tea
party and Occupy movements spring from the same sense of anger and
frustration that people fear. That politics will become more polarized,
more extreme, more hate-filled. One of the key pieces of research that
Reich cites is a study of tax data by Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty
which shows that the years of peak income inequality in America were in
1928 and 2007. Right before both crashes. “The parallels are striking,” he
says. It’s also striking what happened in the years after 1928. How in
Germany, to take a random example, worldwide depression also led to
a vicious polarization of right and left. And certain other outcomes.

And yet, despite, it all, he remains hopeful. “Change has always been
difficult,” he says. It’s why he teaches. If he can’t change the world,
maybe his students will. Or people who watch the film? I ask and get a
classic, understated, deadpan but not entirely unoptimistic Reichian
reply. “I’m trying to keep my expectations in check.”

-- condensed and edited from an article in
The Obverver by Carole Cadwalladr

Jan 13, 2013

Soul Songs: Humanity Retaken

Taking root, a song again long-stirs,
Freeing up souls of songsters;

Patient is the waiting spirit's hold
On universal, human heart and soul:

These songs, by nature's knowing of what's just,
Sprout from shared humanity deep within us.

Soul songs, deeper than personality, ego, career;
Wider than ethnocentricity and all fetters
Of nations, industries and language- letters.

Listen! Beyond the many ways love hardens,
Songwriters seed soul songs
Outside the annual, commercial song-gardens!

Sprouting sounds from heart's perennial ground,
Ringing out the universal, song-garden,
Singing shared humanity, unbound.

In the end, alone, one call is there:
To share or not to share,
To sing the soul
Or enter-tain a show,
To free or not to free--
To be or not to be.



Copyright L.S. Heatherly 2013