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ON BECOMING ILLITERATE

July 4, 2017

ON BECOMING ILLITERATE

If the definition of being illiteracy is “unable to read or write in any language” I am inexorably moving in that direction. In fact I can barely read or write now. I’m typing this as a Word document using 22-point type and a seven-power magnifier close at hand. I make lots of typos and despite using spell check some of them escape my being reminded what books matter to me rarely matter to anyone I know. And while I’ve written some satirical plays and some off-beat stories, I won’t be writing that novel after all.

Age-related Macular Degeneration ARMD) both wet and dry, is causing a steady deterioration of my eyesight. Injections of Avastin arrest the “wet” (neovascular) aspect but nothing halts the more gradual but inexorable, slower “dry” deterioration of rod and cone cells in the macula, the center of the retina.

I can no longer read conventional print in books, magazines or newspapers. Nor can I write legibly or read cursive—including my own. I literally cannot read my own writing. So boxes of old letters, some by departed relatives and friends, decades of journals, sketches, notes and drafts, are closed to me. Me, with my sometimes snobbish pride in being ‘well read,” with two degrees in history and one in psychology & counseling, and a personal library of over 900 bn00ks mostly well-worn paperbacks. About two dozen of those books are ones I bought and never read, squirreling them away for my old age when I would have plenty of time to read all I wanted and “fill in the gaps” in my knowledge of history and world literature. Not going to happen. Still, a few in pristine condition made good Christmas gifts for friends. Some of the others I search for “good homes for” as if they were puppies or kittens but often

I can read the enlarged computer screen with the Sherlock Holmes style magnifier but it is like reading hieroglyphics. It is slow going and that dramatically restricts the sheer quantity of reacing I do every day.

My other longtime interests besides travel, hiking and backpacking, are photography and photo editing, astronomy and stargazing.  Travel and outdoor adventures will soon depend on someone else driving me. I tell myself I can leave the camera on autofocus/shutter priority/1/125th of a second/100 ISO and play with the result in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements and it will be satisfactorily enhanced. I cannot drive myself to or from star parties anymore but I live in a rural area and when the skies are clear and dark, I can see easy things like the Big Dipper, Orion, Scorpios, The Teapot. I’m determined to spot the Andromeda Galway (M31) but that can only be seen under unusually good conditions for viewing. It was while observing the wonderful Hale-Bopp Comet in 1997 under the dark skies of the southern Utah desert that I first noticed that vision in my left eye was blurry and could no t be brought into focus using the binoculars a friend loaned me. The comet was more magnificent with the naked eye anyway, in its ‘expansive cosmic context but I realized something was wrong with vision in my left eye.

The ophthalmologists quickly diagnosed me with ARMD adding encouraging words like “We usually only see it this bad in people over 75, not in their fifties.” They explained that in the “dry” aspect the prognosis is for a gradual, inexorable decline visual acuity. The ‘wet” dimension arises from he body’s misguided attempts to heal itself. Detecting damage to rod and cone cells, it sends out tiny new blood vessels in the layers of the macula to bring nutrients and oxygen to the damaged area. These abnormal blood vessels are very fragile and prone to hemorrhaging. The fluid they leak kilsl any rod and cone cells in comes in octant with. At worst this can be like a dam suddenly bursting and creating a devastating flood whoa damage cannot be repaired.

So I’ve had 20 years of very useful vision since the initial diagnosis. So I guess I shouldn’t complain. I believe I have made good use of my remaining vision.

In February 2017 my opthaenologist told me “You now meet the criteria for being legally blind. If you need to sign some papers for you to get services for the blind, let me know.”

LEGALLY BLIND. That stunned me.  I mulled that over as I drove the 18 miles home from his office.   I live alone in a beautiful rural area five miles from the nearest small town. My primary vehicle has 301,000 miles on it. I have probably driven well over a million miles in my lifetime. Virtually no public transpiration in western Colorado and eastern Utah. Hard to live here and not be housebound if you don’t drive. My driver license expires in a few months anyway and there is no way they will renw it. They shouldn’t. I will lose my travel freedom and become dependent on going where others are willing to take me when they want to go

Last month the ophthalmologist tested mea gain and said “you did better this time” on the eye chart  with some coaxing and coaching to use averted vision and scan back and forth, by tthe tech. So I’m no longer LEGALLY BLIND. For now. I’ll see him again before the year’s end. Apparently my visual acuity is fluctuating around the cutoff level. Weird. I am intermittently disabled, apparently.

Much of the time I take pleasure in developing what I like to think are clever work-arounds, like photographing tiny serial numbers I cannot read, then enlarging the image until I can read the numbers.

Other times I dread the thought of a humiliating and increasing dependency on others and  my interaction with the world shrinking and shrinking. I often cannot recognize friends form more than 20 feet away. I cannot recognize or see faces clearly from that distance.

“I’m not sure I’m seeing things accurately” is not only literally true but becomes a metaphorical truth. I heard that we make over 70% of our decisions on the basis of visual information. I sometimes feel indecisive, uncertain, not sure I’m “seeing the whole picture.” If I cannot trust my perceptions, how can I trust my judgment?

I will never be able to read my grand-daughter’s125-page senior thesis, base on original research done in Cartagena, Colombia, that won her Magma cum laude honors. It will not be available in audio format. It looks like I will never read many other works I always intended to.

Yet there is a place for gratitude that involves not denial of loss but continued awareness of a larger perspective that keeps those losses in perspective.

I am very grateful for the Amazon Fire table (only S50) and for affordable Audible Books and Recorded Books I download onto it. I’ve been through everything from a new translation of Don Quixote to Chomsky and Chris Hedges to “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. I can still smell the pines and see the deer on my property as well.

Life is always a series of changes and challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Diagnosis of Malignant Narcissism Confirmed by Many Experts

June 5, 2017

Diagnosis of Malignant Narcissism Vindicated by Many Experts

The distinguished San Francisco-base psychologist & psychoanalyst Michael Bader has a new article on Donald trumps’ mental health posted on AlterNet.org  on June 3, 2017.

He joins other renowned psychiatrists and psychologists, including John Gartner , Ross Rosenberg, James Gilligan, Leonard Cruz,  Bandy Lee, and her collegues in identifying Trump’s malignant narcissism and calling attention to its dangers.

Since I posted on this subject before the election (“Donald Trump: The Face of Malignant Narcissism”),  I have been very pleased to see my diagnostic identification,  and most of my  perceptions confirmed & elaborated on by experts with far more credentials and renown than  I have ever had and speaking out on the same basis: that thee “duty to warn” takes precedence over the soc-called “Goldwater rule”.

Of coerce I can’t take any credit for inspiriting them. I’m sure they never head my obscure blogs and posts, but it is heartrending to see this confirmation from a growing number of other mental health professionals. I knew I was on to something.

Btu Trump’ psycho pathology is less important than hat of his true-believing followers. A leader is not a leader without many voluntarily followers, normalizing and enabling him.  Without these supporters he’s just a powerless lone crank.

Even more urgent is to follow the attack on all citizen rights (“government regulations”), the moves towards police-state measures (“Keeping America Safe”) an removing any obstacle to unbridled looting of the public sector to subsidize the private for-profit capitalist set or (“from whom all blessing flow”).

 

The Transparent Pathology of Donald Trump

May 12, 2017

Those of us who pointed out what a malignant narcissist Donald Trump is were not wrong. So much of his seeming puzzling behavior is readily explained once we understand this is a very rigid, limiting behavior pattern his disorder has him trapped in.

Authoritarian leaders seek total control. He believes he has the power to define truth and reality. “Truth is whatever I say it is! My assertion makes it so!” followed by “If I don’t admit it’s real, it’s not!” Magic belief in the power of denial.

Intensely narcissistic personalities select their inner circle on the basis of blind loyalty to him (or her); that is, “yes-men” who will never disagree or doubt his wisdom. This is a mistake that can be fatal to his ambitions.

Narcissists are obsessed with image, appearance, and given to dramatic gestures, grandiose claims and pronouncements. Lot s of “positioning,” posturing and posing. “It’s all about the façade,” as someone said. There is often little real substance underneath the self-dramatizing  performance he puts  on.

They feel entitled to lie.  Their emotional need to to appear perfect leads them to lie a lot. Their lying is conscious and intentionally chosen. They feel entitled to life and do so without any guilt or shame.

They also believe they have a “right” to demand to be believed in their lies, even when spouting transparent falsehoods. They  either “double down,” repeating and extending the lie, hoping to pound the square peg into the round hole, or they may suddenly drop the lie and adopt another one that blatantly contradicts the first one, without blinking.

They feel misunderstood, attached, persecuted, and/or victimized when their lies are not believed. Anyone not taken in by the lies is an enemy, a persecutor out to ruin him. There are no dissenters, only malicious enemies.

He may flee from those who see through him. He cannot relate to them or engage them in any way except to attack them. Narcissists are full-time salesmen. What they are selling of course, is a (false) image of themselves. If they can’t make a sale they move on.

How sensibly they face unpleasant reality, how they handle frustration or defeat, and how flexible they can be, determines a lot. Their detachment from and denial of reality is what often makes them their own worst enemy and sets them up for self-destruction.

If such a leader has a strong circle of shrewd supporters who expect to profit greatly by propping him up he can keep up the act indefinitely. But if not, such leaders are vulnerable to sudden collapse when the act doesn’t fly anymore.  Once the balloon is burst the fall can be sudden and swift.

I’m not predicting, just sayian’

 

 

 

 

Riverside Church April 4,1967: Fifty Years Ago Today

April 3, 2017

Riverside Church April 4, 1967:

The Fiftieth Anniversary of MLK’s Challenge to America: the Need for a Revolution in Values

April 4, 2017

[I have been reposing this for several years on MLK Day because it remains timely and gets to the heart of America’s dilemma. In 2015 American military forces dropped over 26, 00 bombs on Muslim-majority countries. Imagine our reaction if they had one that to us! Ye Americans persist in this fantasy of fake innocence: “what did we ever do to them?” while continuing to invade, bomb, disrupt, undermine other countries and kill thousands, if not millions their people. One year to the day before his assassination Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made this powerful speech that was both a challenge and a warning. Fifty years later it is still rings true. The names of the countries we wage war in have changed but the dead-end mindset remains the same and we are reaping the predicated consequences. Read this speech, and then tell me he was not prophet.}

Annual observances of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tend to focus almost exclusively on the struggle for juridical equality for southern blacks. Since blacks in the south can now vote, serve on juries, use the public libraries, darkling’s cause is now portrayed as over, as history, safely consigned to the past. They ignore his broader vision, his sweeping vision of the ongoing need for what he called “a radical revolution in values.” This year, I thought I would remind everyone of the broad, continuing challenges he issued to America, challenges that still resonate today, that are indictments of the contemporary status quo in America and the world. In 1967 he warned, “When machines or computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme nationalism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” That is from his magnificent speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. All the quotations in this piece are from that speech, which John Lewis and others considered his single best, most substantial speech.

“I knew I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today–my own government.”

(During 2016 the U.S. government dropped more than 26, 00 bombs on seven nations with Muslim majorities. Imagine the reaction if they had done that to us).
“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.”
“How can they trust us, when now we charge them [the Vietnamese] with violence, while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?”

The US invasion of Vietnam under a false flag resulted in three million deaths and destabilized all of Southeast Asia, paving the way for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a bloodthirsty regime ultimately put down by the communist NVA,  not  the “freedom-loving” Americans))
“They must see Americans as strange liberators.” [Said of the Vietnamese but obviously applicable now to Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis, etc.]
[On how war is brutalizing and traumatizing American soldiers]: “We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know…that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.”

“There is nothing but a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering of our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”
“If we do not act now, we shall surely be dragged down that long, dark, and shameful corridor of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense that on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Not surprisingly, none of these quotes were chosen for the new MLK monument on the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial. A little too much ‘sting’ in them, obviously. But read them again. Who can say he was not a prophet? A prophet for 21st century America as well as for the 20th century. He is a man of the present and the future, not of the past.

A sound recording and the printed text of his 1967 Riverside Church speech can be found at http://4amoreperfectunion.blogspot.com
the entire, detailed exposition of the speech is well worth reading or hearing in its entirety.

 

GOD FORGIVE AMERICA

January 20, 2017

GOD FORGIVE AMERICA:

HUMANITY & HISTORY

WILL NOT

The psycho pathological is political”

 

In what order do you think the following predictable events will occur?

*A “Reichstag Fire” event—a terrorist attack, real or a fake false flag, that is the excuse to give Trump special emergency powers, restrict civil liberties and cow the press, demanding all Americans shut up and blindly follow the leader’s bullshit or be branded “u-un-American” and “unpatriotic.” It will be a huge boost to Trump’s falling popularity, just as 9/11 boosted George W. Bush’s approval rating from below 50% to 90% overnight.

*Another Middle Eastern war under a false flag, under false pretenses. This one may result in 200,000 American casualties and bring the American Empire crashing down. That might actually be a good thing. Like the Soviet empire in the 1990s, it is more fragile than most imagine. Almost no one saw that collapse coming either. We can only hope it doesn’t bring down the American homeland as well.

*A stock market bubble, which will be euphorically proclaimed to be evidence of strong economic growth until the bubble bursts, resulting in a crash more severe than that of 2008 but not as deep as the 1930s.

*The imposition of a brutal austerity budget slashing services to the poorer 70% of Americans, causing massive suffering, necessitated by endless rounds  of increased corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich. As always, the poor and minorities will be blamed for the greed and rapacity of the rich.

How soon do you think these events will happened (they surely will happen)? Within six months? Twelve? Perhaps eighteen? Are you a betting man or a betting woman?

Welcome to the Trump Era!

 

 

 

*

 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Continuing Challenge: the Need for a Revolution in Values

January 17, 2017

January 22, 2013

 

[I have been reposting this for several years on MLK Day because it remains timely and gets to the heart of America’s dilemma. In 2015 American military forces dropped over 26, 00 bombs on Muslim-majority countries. Imagine our reaction if they had one that to us! Ye Americans persist in this fantasy of fake innocence: “what did we ever do to them?” while continuing to invade, bomb, disrupt, undermine other countries and kill thousands, if not millions their people.]

Annual observances of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tend to focus almost exclusively on the struggle for juridical equality for southern blacks. Since blacks in the south can now vote, serve on juries, use the public libraries, darkling’s cause is now portrayed as over, as history, safely consigned to the past. They ignore his broader vision, his sweeping vision of the ongoing need for what he called “a radical revolution in values.” This year, I thought I would remind everyone of the broad, continuing challenges he issued to America, challenges that still resonate today, that are indictments of the contemporary status quo in America and the world. In 1967 he warned, “When machines or computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme nationalism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” That is from his magnificent speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated. All the quotations in this piece are from that speech, which John Lewis and others considered his single best, most substantial speech.

“I knew I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today–my own government.”

(During 2016 the U.S. government dropped more than 26, 00 bombs on seven nations with Muslim majorities. Imagine the reaction if they had done that to us).
“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.”
“How can they trust us, when now we charge them [the Vietnamese] with violence, while we pour every new weapon of death into their land?”

The US invasion of Vietnam under a false flag resulted in three million deaths and destabilized all of Southeast Asia, paving the way for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, a bloodthirsty regime ultimately put down by the communist NVA,  not  the “freedom-loving” Americans))
“They must see Americans as strange liberators.” [Said of the Vietnamese but obviously applicable now to Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis, etc.]
[On how war is brutalizing and traumatizing American soldiers]: “We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know…that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved.”

“There is nothing but a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering of our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”
“If we do not act now, we shall surely be dragged down that long, dark, and shameful corridor of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

“A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense that on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Not surprisingly, none of these quotes were chosen for the new MLK monument on the Tidal Basin, across from the Jefferson Memorial. A little too much ‘sting’ in them, obviously. But read them again. Who can say he was not a prophet? A prophet for 21st century America as well as for the 20th century. He is a man of the present and the future, not of the past.

A sound recording and the printed text of his 1967 Riverside Church speech can be found at http://4amoreperfectunion.blogspot.com
the entire, detailed exposition of the speech is well worth reading or hearing in its entirety.

 

Bye=bye Obamacare!

December 9, 2016

Bye-Bye Obamacare!

Bye-be Medicare!

Bye-bye Medicaid!

Bye-bye Social Security!

Oh wait! That last one won’t be abolished. It will just be…”reformed”…”restructured”…”strengthened”..And  “privatized”: the $2.6 trillion  dollar surplus it has generated since 1935 will  transferred to the Wizards of Wall street, the ones who brought up the Crash of 2008, to play Casino Capitalism with. And with Dodd-Frank and all regulatory obstacles repealed, think what unlimited prosperity that infusion of trillions will bring about! As they say in Las Vegas, if you don’t play you can’t win!

We will finally “get off government dependency” and get on corporate dependency which is so much better. You can individually negotiate with the giant health insurers to get coverage. Show them your discount coupons (“voucher”)! It might get you 10% or even 30% off your $500 monthly insurance premiums or  that much of a discount on  your open-heart surgery, or that treatment your children need. The Magic Voucher is your Key to Real Freedom! Think how great that will be!