by Jerilyn Bowen
In his bafflement over the role of language in human knowing, twentieth century analytic philosopher Wittgenstein finally concluded that language is a game in which the rules evolve over time through usage practices. As we watch the impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives with bated breath, we are witness to a battle between those who adhere to linguistic rules based on conveying a truth that accords with objective evidence and those who violate those rules by weaponizing language into a means of psychological manipulation and deception. In a culture where we are saturated with advertising designed to do the latter, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the longstanding rules of our major means of human communication have been eroded to such an extent that the more unscrupulous among us seize upon an anything-goes approach to public discourse in pursuit of both power and profit.
Continue reading Mind Games in the US Corral
Medicare for All Act of 2019
U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal
Today’s healthcare system fails to provide quality, therapeutic healthcare as a right to all people living in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans are uninsured, and at least 40 million more cannot afford the costs of their co-pays and deductibles. The quality of our healthcare is much worse than other industrialized countries-the life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than other nations, while our infant mortality rate is much higher. Yet the U.S. spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. We waste hundreds of billions of dollars every year on unnecessary administrative costs, while healthcare industry executives measure success in profits, instead of patient care.
The current healthcare system in the United States is ineffective, inefficient and outrageously expensive. It is time to remove the profit motive in healthcare, to resolve the inefficiencies and to guarantee quality, therapeutic healthcare to every person living in the United States.
The Medicare for All Act of 2019 improves and expands the overwhelmingly successful and popular Medicare program, so that every person living in the United States has guaranteed access to healthcare with comprehensive benefits.
Rest of summary here.
by Jerilyn Bowen
The 1938 play Gas Light tells the story of a man who contrives to make his wife believe she’s losing her wits by dimming the gas-fueled lights in their home on the sly and insisting that her perception of the dimmed lights is a misperception. In our times gaslighting is widely recognized as one of the principle strategies employed by narcissists to undermine and control the people with whom they have relationships. By assuming an air of authority and calling into question the feelings, intuitions, interpretations and responses of their intimates, the narcissist maneuvers to make their unfortunate victims doubt their own sense of reality, thereby psychologically disempowering them so that they will go along with the narcissist’s hidden agenda of domination and emotional exploitation.
What plays out at the interpersonal level of human interaction can be magnified to apply to the collective level. And has been. Across the globe, here and abroad, the diabolical tactic of gaslighting is a key feature of the disinformation playbooks of state authoritarian forces. The aim is to undermine any reliable public standard of truth by which these bad actors can be called to account. In situations where they can’t supplant the truth with their lies, they settle for generating doubt about what is true and what is not. That allows them to escape accountability by creating a narrative in which it’s a matter of competing interests vying with one another for dominance rather than a matter of lawfulness, honorable action, and objective evidence.
Continue reading Gaslighting the Country
by Jerilyn Bowen, 11/3/19
When Maggie Toulouse Oliver suddenly announced her withdrawal from the New Mexico Democratic Senate nomination race on October 29th, her devoted progressive supporters were stunned and stricken. Say it ain’t so, we silently pleaded. We’d had such hopes of her carrying the day despite what she was up against: a corporate Democrat with the full backing of the national party establishment behind him and the money that comes with that. By contrast, Maggie was carrying the flag of the people as vs. the interests of the 1%. Accordingly, like Bernie, she was committed to relying solely on donations from her supporters to finance her campaign.
Sadly for all of us, that turned out to be (as they say) infeasible. Just not enough money coming in to counterbalance the enormous war chest of her adversary. When it became obvious that no way could she mount an effective challenge to his deep-pockets bid, she must’ve felt she had little choice but to accede to this reality.
So it is that her now unopposed Democratic opponent will most likely claim Tom Udall’s Senate seat in 2020, replacing a reliably trueblue progressive with a centrist neither-here-nor-there politico. The irony of it is that we have to hope he does–and do our best to get him elected–because the alternative is far worse.
What we can be thankful for is that Maggie will remain as our New Mexico Secretary of State, a position in which she has distinguished herself by instituting one the cleanest, fairest, most accessible electoral systems in the country. No small feat. We honor her for that, and for the integrity she demonstrates as a public servant who holds the common good close at heart and puts herself on the line for justice.
“Not my time,” Maggie said as she made her graceful exit. The wheel does keep turning. Who knows what the future holds? However that goes, Maggie will no doubt continue to have an important role to play in New Mexico. Her light will not be hid under a bushel. She is young and strong. We have every reason to believe that she will occupy positions of public leadership for years to come, and that our state will be the better for it.
May it be so. Our blessings and more power to you, Maggie.
by Jerilyn Bowen
The whirlwind has descended. We knew it was coming, now it’s upon us and picking up momentum by the hour. It may be a long time before we get back to Kansas, if ever we do.
Up to now, Trump and his band of transactional spintalkers have been emboldened by getting away with egregious violations of both law and decency ever since the Russia-rigged election of 2016 that made this exceedingly poor excuse for a human being ‘the leader of the free world.’ Three years later, the very fabric of our country is being shredded by tiny rapacious hands that take pride in grabbing women by the genitals, aided and abetted behind the scenes by large fleshy hands that take pride in grabbing as much of our national wealth as they can stuff into the yawning maws of their tax-free offshore bank accounts.
What stands in their way? What is going to keep these invisible hands from continuing to exploit and disempower the vast majority of their fellow beings with few consequences to themselves? What is going to prevent the agents of corporate power from transforming our country into an authoritarian state? Beyond that, what is going to stop them from stealing the future of all coming generations by continuing to poison Mother Earth for profit?
Continue reading Harvest Time