Friday, November 18, 2016

15 Rules for Living a Self-Reliant, Honest & Compassionate Life (The Hobo Ethical Code of 1899)

Who knew that "hobos" had such a powerful and perceptive ethic sense? Wikipedia points to 1890 as the first known use of the word:
A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is impoverished. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States around 1890.[1] Unlike a "tramp", who works only when forced to, and a "bum", who does not work at all, a "hobo" is a traveling worker.[1][2]
According to a site called Britt, Iowa, the original hobo convention was in 1899, not 1889. They still have a Hobo Days celebration in that town.

At Brk Trail, there is this sobering statistic from Riding the Rails, about hobo life in the Great Depression:
Eighty-five per cent of the white youths said they were seeking work; for the African-Americans the percentage was even higher at 98 per cent. Fifty percent of the African-Americans had been unemployed for two years or longer. ~ Riding the Rails by Errol Lincoln Uys
To the point:

Here is today's post from Open Culture that outlines the 15 rules for living a quality life as a hobo. [Editor's note: Jungle refers to an area off a railroad where hobos camp and congregate, so jungling is living in such a place.]

These are good rules for all of us.
Who wants to be a billionaire?

A few years ago, Forbes published author Roberta Chinsky Matuson’s sensible advice to businesspersons seeking to shoot up that golden ladder. These lawful tipsespoused such familiar virtues as hard work and community involvement, and as such, were easily adaptable to the rabble—artists, teachers, anyone in the service industry or non-profit sector…

It must pain her that so many billionaires have been behaving so badly of late. Let’s hope so, anyway.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with aspiring to amass lots of money, the next generation of billionaires are playing fast and loose with their souls if their primary role models are the ones dominating today’s headlines.

Wouldn’t it be grand if they looked instead to the Hobo Ethical Code, a serious standard of behavior established at the Hobo National Convention of 1889.

Given the peripatetic lifestyle of these migratory workers, it was up to the individual to hold him or herself to this knightly standard. Hoboes prided themselves on their self-reliance and honesty, as well as their compassion for their fellow humans.

The environment and the most vulnerable members of our society stand to benefit if tomorrow’s billionaires take it to heart.

The Hobo Ethical Code

1. Decide your own life; don’t let another person run or rule you.

2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.

7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.

8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling. 
9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.

12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.

13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children; expose all molesters to authorities…they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

References from the Wikipedia entry:

1. "On Hobos, Hautboys, and Other Beaus". OUPblog. Oxford University Press. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
2. Mencken, H.L. (1937). "On the road again". The American Language (4th ed.). (July 25, 2009). Archivedfrom the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-06.

Friday, November 11, 2016

How Clinton Lost, by the Numbers, and More

In order to understand how Trump became president, it is helpful to look at the actual numbers. The following statistics are taken from the United States Election Project.

Voting Eligible Population1:
2008: 213,313,508
2012: 222,474,111
2016: 231,556,622

1. As distinguished from Voting Age Population, which is a much higher number.

Votes cast for highest office (nearly always less than votes cast):
2008: 131,304,731 (61.6% turnout)
2012: 129,070,906 (57.9% turnout)
2016: 119,500,978 (53.1% turnout)

It's important to note how voter turnout has declined since 2008 when the excitement for "Hope and Change" was fueling one of the highest turnouts (by percentage) in the last couple decades. Turnout this time was pathetic--seemingly representing the unfavorable ratings of both candidates (Clinton 59% and Trump 60% as of August 31, WSJ).

Votes Won:
2008: Obama: 69,498,516 (52.9%)
2012: Obama: 65,915,795 (51.1%
2016: Clinton: 59,861,516 (47.7%)

2008: McCain: 59,948,323 (45.7%)
2012: Romney: 60,933,504 (47.2%)
2016: Trump: 59,639,462 (47.5%)

In all three elections, the Democratic candidate took the majority of the vote--yet, this year, Clinton lost the Electoral College, echoing 2000 when Al Gore beat George W. Bush in votes and still lost the Electoral College. According to Derek Thompson at The Atlantic:
Donald Trump won the electoral vote due to a margin of about 100,000 votes spread across Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This critical difference represents about 0.04 percent of registered voters, a statistical speck.
The real issue is that voters did not support Hillary Clinton as they had Obama. Trump received fewer votes than either McCain or Romney and still managed to win the Electoral College because Clinton, although receiving more votes than Trump, received a whopping 6 million fewer votes in 2016 than Obama received in 2012, and nearly 10 million fewer votes than Obama received in 2008.

This would seem to indicate that the most liberal or progressive voters, who long proclaimed their refusal to vote for Clinton, kept their word and stayed home (or voted 3rd party).

Third Party Role

Many had hoped this might be the year of the 3rd party candidate, especially in the spring. But the final numbers reflect an essential binary system in this country: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson won 3% of the vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein took 1% (both of these are considerably, however, from 2012, when Johnson received 0.9% percent of the vote and Stein took 0.3% percent). Overall, roughly 5 million people cast votes for third party candidates this year.

In Florida, with 29 Electoral College votes, Trump bested Clinton by nearly 129,000 votes in the state, while Johnson and Stein took home more than 268,000 votes between them. Winning Florida would not have been the difference-maker for Clinton, but this outcome was likely repeated in many swing states. There are echoes of the 2000 election that Al Gore lost (also winning the popular vote but losing the electoral college), when Ralph Nader (Green Party) won nearly 100,000 votes in Florida while Democrat Al Gore lost the state by just 537 votes--that was the difference maker in that election.

Here are the six states won by Trump where the 3rd party vote could have shaped the outcome (from the Hit and Run Blog at
Arizona: Trump beat Clinton by four points; Johnson and Stein between them collected 5 percent. But most of that went to Johnson (3.8 percent), so it's unclear whether Trump or Clinton was hurt more by the other options on the ballot.

Florida: Trump eked out a win by just 1.4 percent here. Johnson, Stein, Castle, and Rocky De La Fuente of the Reform Party between them collected 3.2 percent. Enough to cover the spread, but how many of those votes would have otherwise gone to Clinton? Stein got only .7 percent.

Michigan: Trump won this ordinarily blue state by about .3 percent, and Stein got 1.1 percent, so Democrats who feel all Green votes are rightfully theirs are going to be seething at her over this one. Meanwhile, Johnson got 3.6 percent.

Pennsylvania: Trump won by about 1.1 percent. Stein's .8 percent isn't enough to cover that spread; Johnson's 2.4 percent is, but again we don't know whether he was drawing more from Trump or Clinton.

Utah: Trump beat Clinton here by about 17 percent. Sounds like a pretty big victory, but it's still less than McMullin's 20.9 percent. In this case you could make the case that the real spoiler was Clinton: If she weren't on the ballot, nearly all of her supporters surely would have preferred McMullin to Trump, perhaps allowing the independent to deny the Republican six electoral votes.

Wisconsin: Here, on the other hand, Stein's 1.1 percent is just enough to bridge the 1-percent margin between the winning Trump and the losing Clinton. But then what does Johnson's 3.4 percent do to the results—or, for that matter, the nearly half a percentage point that Castle won while running to Trump's right?
It seems that between Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the 3rd party votes could have swayed the election in Trump's favor. But that seems less than genuine.

Clinton could not garner anywhere near the enthusiasm among liberals and progressives that Obama generated, and add that to her image (even among Democrats) as a liar who is both greedy and disingenuous about it, and she shot herself in the knee. Or rather, she shot her own party in the knee, and perhaps again in the groin and the chest for good measure. Because, in her mind, IT WAS MY TURN, DAMN IT!

Where Do Democrats Go from Here?

As a progressive and not a Democrat (I have no party loyalty--my vote is based on values choices), the biggest thing that cost the Dems the White House is Clinton's insistence that it is her turn, which began when she lost to Obama in 2008, upsetting her plans and forcing her to wait. So she waited, and over the next 8 years she locked the party down to the point that only Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley (who never was relevant) dared challenge her.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), as Wikileaks as shown, was in Clinton's pocket to the point that DNC leaders were handpicked by Clinton, first Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who was later forced to resign), and then Donna Brazile (as interim-director of the DNC).

Wasserman Schultz was running the DNC when it cut off Sanders' access to the DNC voter database for a supposed access violation by the Sanders campaign. Sanders sued and was quickly allowed full access once again. However, emails made public by Wikileaks show that the DNC (which was in full support of Clinton) was also gathering info about Sanders voters for their database. Hmmmm....

Later, it was Brazile, while still working for CNN, who provided debate questions in advance (see here and here) when Clinton faced off with Sanders.

What would have happened if the system had been fair? It is quite possible, with the youth vote supporting him, Sanders would have defeated Clinton just as Obama had in 2008. But Clinton had learned her lesson, there was no way she was not going to control EVERY detail of the primary election so that she came out on top.

You can search by topic for specific emails on this at The Heavy. You can read ALL of the DNC emails made public here (July, 2016) and here (Podesta).

The Independent (UK) makes a strong case that Sanders would have defeated Trump in a head to head match. The numbers from polls taken in the spring support that conjecture. For example:
A poll by NBC News-Wall Street Journal on May 15 said Ms Clinton would beat Mr Trump by three points, but said Mr Sanders would win by 15 points.

A CBS News-New York Times on May 3 gave Ms Clinton a six-point advantage over Mr Trump, but said Mr Sanders would win by 13 points.

At the same time, Fox News said Ms Clinton would lose to Mr Trump by three points, but said Mr Sanders would win by four.
Emphasis added.

Ah, what might have been. Instead, we have at least four years of the most hateful, divisive president in my lifetime. If we thought George W. Bush was bad, we will soon be looking back at Bush as the "good old days."

If there is one lesson the Democrats can learn from the fiasco that was the Clinton campaign, it is to listen to the voters. The GOP did that (against the wishes of the establishment) and they won the White House. Will the Dems learn from this disaster? If history is any proof, likely not.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"It's Still the Same United States," Says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic

I saw this article on Google + so I went to read it, because it sure doesn't feel like the same United States to me. It does not even feel like my country, a place where my values and beliefs can be at least tolerated if not accepted or shared. The actual minority (fuck the Electoral College) who elected Trump are shouting down anyone who is concerned that Trump might actually, you know, do what he has promised.

And I know there are many who share my values, because we have talked and cried together over the last 36 hours. But we feel like such a small minority at this point....

The article is brief, so I am sharing all of it here.

It's Still the Same United States

What did Americans really learn about their country on Tuesday night? 

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

By Derek Thompson

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shocking victory, many liberals woke up Wednesday morning feeling like strangers in their own country, or perhaps, as if they were the familiar ones and it was the country itself that had become the stranger. I heard it in the voices of friends. I read it in texts from family. I found it in newspaper headlines from some of my favorite writers and in tweets and Facebook messages. What kind of a country do I live in? they asked. Something important has changed. This is not the nation I thought I knew.

But America is what we thought it was. It is still a 50-50 nation, dominated by negative partisanship, in which about half of the country will reliably vote to defeat the other half for the foreseeable future. It is still a nation of propositional pluralism—“send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”—crossed with ineradicable xenophobia—“go back to where you came from.” It is still a country teetering on the razor’s edge of both a social-democratic revolution and 1950s-era conservatism. That’s the country Americans knew we had at midnight Tuesday morning. And it’s the nation reflected in the votes tallied on Tuesday night.

Here is what happened 36 hours ago. Hillary Clinton seems to have narrowly won the popular vote, yet narrowly lost the election, because of the geographical distribution of her support. Donald Trump won the electoral vote due to a margin of about 100,000 votes spread across Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This critical difference represents about 0.04 percent of registered voters, a statistical speck. One vote in 2,500 was the difference between electing a liberal Democrat and rewarding a candidate for the most openly racist campaign in generations.

On its own, this dramatic precarity is not an inspirational thing. But it is so much more inspiring than the prevailing idea that Trump’s victory is statistical evidence that the country Clinton-voters thought they lived in has disappeared, or utterly abandoned them, or never existed in the first place.

In some ways, the current liberal mood is the mirror image of how many conservatives felt after Obama’s win in 2008. While Democrats were triumphant, convinced that the cause of modern liberalism had finally achieved escape velocity, many conservatives were despondent, convinced that the country they thought they knew had left them behind. But the future was not an extrapolation of these hopes and fears, but rather a reversion to 50-50 divisions. Eight years later, the nation is as divided as it had been eight years before in 2000, when, after another popular two-term Democratic president left office during an economic expansion, the electorate delivered a statistical tie that surprisingly handed the White House to a Republican.

It is not self-indulgent for liberals to despair about Tuesday night’s outcome. They have many reasons to fear the near future of public policy. But it’s too early for them to despair about America. In a two-party system, the binary outcome of a vote will always be a simplified expression of the complex characteristics of the electorate. The arc of history is long, with many wobbles, and nothing about Tuesday’s vote suggests that the arrow will point in any one direction for very long.
I felt compelled to comment on the article as an antidote to the prevalent anti-liberal, anti-progressive comments that had been posted (and continue to be posted).

While there is merit to the idea that the country has not changed in any significant way, the outcome of this election was about the future of the nation--not merely the next 4-8 years, but the next 50-100 years.

It is in that sense that progressives are weeping . . . for their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

The winner of this election has been given the power to shape the nation far beyond his or her lifetime. That power comes through the ability to shape the Supreme Court.

Here is my comment, which has already been labeled hysterical by one troll.
Trump will have a GOP majority in the House and the Senate, will get between 1-4 nominations to the Supreme Court, and those justices will be there for the next 30-50 years. Add those justices to Alito and Roberts, both younger, ultra-conservative ideologues, and we will effectively be witness to the dismantling of most civil, environmental, and educational reforms enacted over the last 75-100 years, including Roe v. Wade.

With Trump and the GOP controlling Congress, we are likely to see the end of minimum wage laws, the destruction of the social safety net, and the demise of nearly every other government program serving the poorest of our citizens. The GOP seems unfamiliar with the notion that a nation is judged by how it treats the weakest of its citizens. Even conservative NYT editorial writer David Brooks gets that poverty is not a condition most people can escape, no matter how hard they try.

At the same time, corporate welfare likely will increase even more, while any and all regulation of Wall Street will end or be severely curtailed (Dodd-Frank will be gone), and most regulations protecting clean air, clean water, and preserving wilderness areas will be eliminated. Renewable energy investments will end so that the Arctic tundra can be drilled for oil. If you don't believe this, look at the people Trump is choosing to lead the transition at the EPA, FTC, etc.

Trump represents the end of American progress. If it were not for the damage he can do with appointments to the Supreme Court, it would only be a 4-8 year set-back. But he can shape the Court so drastically that it could take generations to undo the damage.

On ending progress, Trump's campaign slogan announced as much: Make America Great Again. I'm sorry, when WAS America great? Prior to the admittedly awful Affordable Care Act when millions of  people had NO health care? Prior to Roe v. Wade when women got abortions from unqualified providers, and often died from the procedures? Prior to the Civil Rights Act, when minorities could be denied service, prevented from using the same schools and restrooms, and prevented from voting? Prior to the New Deal when old people died in extreme poverty and workers had no protections from unreasonable work hours and unsafe conditions?

So WHEN was America great? When higher education was only open to the wealthy, when women could not vote, when minorities were not "full" people, when slavery was legal?

Anyone who proposes that the key to dealing with change is returning to the "good old days" has no idea HOW to change, what change is, and how change becomes successful. Trump is one of those people.

So progressives weep for the loss and wasting of American potential. For possible futures that are lost with a Trump presidency.

And just so you actually get it, Clinton was NOT the answer. She was only the slightly lesser of two evils.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

President Trump - The End of the American Experiment, the End of Decency

I blame the progressives who stayed home or voted 3rd party rather than face reality and vote for Clinton to keep Trump from becoming president.

I blame ignorance, fear, hatred, misogyny, racism, nationalism, and the Republican-orchestrated demise of the national educational system.

Only an uneducated and ignorant nation could choose an ignorant and hate-filled man to be it's leader. Well-played.

YOU wanted this - so deal with it.

Trump is not MY president

He will NEVER be my president.

I am anti-violence, and I cannot imagine taking arms against the government. But we have been moving toward this moment for years, and now it is here. We do not have government by the people and for the people - we have fascism.

Look it up - Mussolini defined fascism thus: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

It's time for progressives and liberals to become as well-armed as the racists and the redneck militias. There will be a time, not too far away, when WE will need to retake America from the powers of fascism.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

2016 - Worst Presidential Election [Ever?] - Still Only One Choice We Can Live with as a Nation

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." ~ Douglas Adams


What follows is an expansion of my penultimate Facebook post before I deactivated my page last week. Some of the comments to the original post were disturbingly blind to what I was trying to say. So I am saying it again, here, with more words and (hopefully) greater depth and span.

Here is the original post:
I used to believe that political differences should not be a reason to unfollow or unfriend someone. I am questioning that perspective.

This feels like one of those times in history where people will look back and ask where you stood when hatred and ignorance were chosen to lead the nation, when a ruler was chosen who brings division and destruction, bigotry and violence.

This is truly a "lesser of two evils" choice. One choice is evil as usual. The other choice is evil on a scale that we have not seen since the first half of the 20th Century.
To be clear:

Clinton is corrupt, greedy, and dishonest. She is politics as usual.

Trump is racist, sexist, hateful, narcissistic, greedy, and quite possibly a sociopath. Electing Trump is on par with the elections of Hitler and Mussolini, both of whom promised to make their respective nations great again.

What these two dictators from the 20th Century share with Trump is hatred -- of the "other." Oh, and they all three share many traits of the sociopath/psychopath.

Says Tony Schwartz, who was the "ghost writer" on their joint book (they split the advance and the royalties, nearly unheard of for a ghost writer), The Art of the Deal, the 1987 book that made Trump famous:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” 
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.” [The New Yorker, June 25, 2016]
Emphasis added.

Respected Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner considers Trump a "textbook" narcissist, one of the primary traits of the sociopath.
According to a number of top U.S. psychologists, like Harvard professor and researcher Howard Gardner, Donald Trump is a “textbook” narcissist. In fact, he fits the profile so well that clinical psychologist George Simon told Vanity Fair, “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops.” This puts Trump in the same category as a number of infamous dictators like Muammar Gaddafi, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Saddam Hussein. [Raw Story, January 12, 2016]
Trump is very clearly a narcissist, and his behavior, lifestyle, and collection of ever-younger wives shows this in stark, very public detail.

But is Trump a sociopath or a psychopath?
Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned. 
Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.
So, based on this, he is a little of both--impulsive and reactive, but also able to charm and manipulate. This makes Trump a frightening prospect as president of the most powerful military on the planet.

And, no doubt, the anti-Clinton folks have dozens of examples of how corrupt she is, how she stole the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders (I believe she did), and how horrible she would be as president. Sure, I don't like her, either.

As I said, lesser of two evils.

Given the two options, I have more faith (belief without proof) that Clinton actually does care about some of the social causes she has taken up over the years (women's rights, children, families).

While, in my mind, there is no doubt Trump cares about no one and nothing but himself--his actions and words have proven it repeatedly over the last several decades.

Electing Trump may be looked back on one day as the moment America picked up a gun, stuck the gun in its mouth, and pulled the trigger. Let's not go there.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Donna Zerner: The Shadow Behind The Light (on her experience with Marc Gafni)

Urban Tellers®, May 14, 2016
Donna Zerner on the Portland Story Theater stage at Alberta Abbey for live storytelling
Hosted by Lynne Duddy and Lawrence Howard

Statement from Donna Zerner on performing this piece:
It took me ten years to feel safe enough to speak publicly about my experience with Marc Gafni.  I’m still pretty sure he’ll try to attack and discredit me in any way he can, but at this point the urge to tell the truth is far more compelling than continuing to silence myself out of fear of his retribution.

I’m not on Facebook (last holdout on the planet!), but I’ve been following public FB comments about the story, and am gratified that it seems to be striking a chord for many.

It felt both terrifying and liberating to tell my story.  Of course, in 15 minutes I was only able to reveal the tiniest fraction of my experiences, so it was frustrating what was left out... I could have easily spoken for hours and still barely scratched the surface.

My intention was always that the story be healing for myself and for anyone who’s been affected by a similar dynamic. It definitely has been healing for me so far, though the process of creating it was extremely challenging, a constant surrender to the Feminine. With previous stories I’ve told, I pretty much typed them out at my computer and memorized them, but this one refused to be created that way; it would only come through my emotions and my body (requiring an often excruciating reliving of experiences). I never wrote a word, and I didn’t memorize it either. I also had no idea how it would end until the final words stumbled out of my mouth that night. The process was all about surrender; it ultimately felt like a shamanic initiation.

I used a pseudonym for MG because the intention of the story wasn’t to expose or blame him, but to explore my culpability, to own my own journey. If I had named him it would have changed the tone and felt too much like an attack job. Of course there were clues sprinkled throughout as to his real identity (i.e., when I said “O.M.G.,” what I was really saying was: “Oh, MG”!).

The video doesn’t capture how heavy and intense the energy got in the room— by about two-thirds through it felt like the entire audience was holding their breath with concern and outrage, which is why I felt compelled at one point to puncture the heaviness (too intense for a bunch of Portlanders out for a Saturday night's entertainment!).

My hope at this point is that the story encourages more women (and men) in similar situations to recognize their own worth, honor their intuition, and speak their authentic truth from the heart.

Please know that I hold with me a multitude of other MG-affected women (over a span of 36 years, up to the present day), most of whom are not ready to speak up but whose suffering at MG's hands was often quite profound, and continues to this day. And of course, the damage he has caused and continues to create expands to areas far beyond his exploitation of women.

I pray for truth and healing for all affected, including for MG.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Shrink Rap Radio #496 – Dreaming and the Dialogical Self with Prof. Hubert Hermans,204,203,200_.jpg

Hubert Hermans' Dialogical Self Theory is one of the most robust and usable multiplicity-of-self models available. Dr. David Van Nuys speaks with Hermans on the dialogical self and dreams. The newest book is The Dialogical Self in Psychotherapy: An Introduction, being released today in paperback.

#496 – Dreaming and the Dialogical Self with Prof. Hubert Hermans

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Hubert Hermans is professor emeritus at the Radboud University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He is best known as the creator of Dialogical Self Theory. He wrote books like The Dialogical Self: Meaning as movement (1993), co-authored by Harry Kempen, Self-Narratives: The Construction of Meaning in Psychotherapy (1995), co-authored by Els Hermans-Jansen, and Dialogical Self Theory: Positioning and Counter-Positioning in a Globalizing Society (2010), co-authored by Agnieszka Hermans-Konopka. He is editor of the Handbook of Dialogical Self Theory (2012), co-edited by Thorsten Gieser. 

Since 2002 he is president of the International Society for Dialogical Science (ISDS) and editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Dialogical Science (IJDS). He is initiator and chair of biennial International Conferences on the Dialogical Self, which are organized in different countries and continents. For his merits to society and science, he was, on behalf of the Queen of the Netherlands, decorated as Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2002. 

Some of Hubert’s most impressive memories was when he looked, as a 6-year-old boy, in September 1944, at the passing soldiers of the American 30th Infantry Division “Old Hickory,” who liberated his place of birth, Maastricht, from the German occupation. Some months later, he survived a bomb attack which killed many neighbors living opposite his parents’ house. He describes such autobiographical events in his book Between Dreaming and Recognition Seeking (2012), in which he applies Dialogical Self Theory to his own life.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Martha Stout's Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life

The following is from Martha Stout, Ph.D., in her book, The Sociopath Next Door (pages 156-162). These are good guidelines for anyone who knows, works with/for, or have been involved with a sociopath. As Stout points out, sociopaths are not rare--we all are likely to encounter one (or more) at some point in our lives.

Considering that this blog has been very focused on unmasking Marc Gafni as the sociopath he is, this seems like a fitting part of that process.


1. The first rule involve the bitter pill of accepting at some people literally have no conscience.

These people do not often look like Charles Manson or a Ferengi bartender. They look like us. 

2. In a contest between your instincts and what is implied by the role a person has taken' on--educator, doctor, leader, animal lover, humanist, parent--go with your instinct.

Whether you want to be or not, you are a constant observer of human behavior, and your unfiltered impressions, though alarming and seemingly outlandish, may well help you out if you will let them. Your best self understands, without being told, that impressive and moral-sounding labels do not bestow conscience on anyone who did not have it to begin with.

3. When considering a new relationship of any kind, practice the Rule of Threes regarding the claims and promises a person makes, and the responsibilities he or she has. Make the Rule of Threes your personal policy.
One lie, one broken promise, or a single neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding instead. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you're dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior. Cut your losses and get out as soon as you can. Leaving, though it may be hard, will be easier .now than later, and less costly. 

Do not give your money, your work, your secrets, or your affection to a three-timer. Your valuable gifts will be wasted.

4. Question authority.

Once again--trust your own instincts and anxieties, especially those concerning people who claim that dominating others, violence, war, or some other violation or your conscience is the grand solution to some problem. Do this even when, or especially when, everyone around you has completely stopped questioning authority.  Recite to yourself what Stanley Milgram taught us about obedience: At least six out of ten people will blindly obey to the bitter end an official-looking authority in their midst. 

The good news is that having social support makes people somewhat more likely to challenge authority. Encourage those around you to question, too.

5. Suspect flattery.
Compliments are lovely, especially when they are sincere. In contrast, flattery is extreme and appeals to our egos in unrealistic ways. It is the material of counterfeit charm, and nearly always involves an intent to manipulate. Manipulation through flattery is sometimes innocuous and sometimes sinister. Peek over your massaged ego and remember to suspect flattery.

This "flattery rule" applies on an individual basis, and also at ' the level of groups and even whole nations. Throughout all of human history and to the present, the call to war has included the flattering claim that one's own forces are about to accomplish a victory that will change the world for the better, a triumph that is morally laudable, justified by its humane outcome, unique in human endeavor, righteous, and worthy of enormous gratitude. Since we began to record the human story, all of our major wars have been framed in this way, on all sides of the conflict, and in all languages the adjective most often applied to the word war is holy. An argument can easily be made that humanity will have peace when nations of people are at last able to see through this masterful flattery. Just as an individual pumped up on the flattery of a manipulator is likely to behave in foolish ways, exaggerated patriotism that is flattery-fueled is a dangerous thing.

6. If necessary, redefine your concept of respect.
Too often, we mistake fear for respect, and the more fearful we are of someone, the more we view him or her as deserving of our respect. 

I have a spotted Bengal cat who was named Muscle Man by my daughter when she was a toddler, because even as a kitten he looked like a professional wrestler. Grown now, he is much larger than most other domestic cats. His formidable claws resemble those of his Asian leopard-cat ancestors, but by temperament, he is gentle and peace-loving. My neighbor has a little calico who visits. Evidently, the calico's predatory charisma is huge, and she is brilliant at directing the evil eye at other cats. Whenever she is within fifty feet, Muscle Man, all fifteen pounds of him to her seven, cringes and crouches in fear and feline deference.

Muscle Man is a splendid cat. He is warm and loving, and he is close to my heart. Nonetheless, I would like to believe that some of his reactions are more primitive than mine. I hope I do not mistake fear for respect, because to do so would be to ensure my own victimization. Let us use our big human brains to overpower our animal tendency to bow to predators, so we can disentangle the reflexive confusion of anxiety and awe. In a perfect world, human respect would be an automatic reaction only to those who are strong, kind, and morally courageous. The person who profits from frightening you is not likely to be any of these.

The resolve to keep respect separate from fear is even more critical for groups and nations. The politician, small or lofty, who menaces the people with frequent reminders of the possibility of crime, violence, or terrorism, and who then uses their magnified fear to gain allegiance, is more likely to be a successful con artist than a legitimate leader. This too has been true throughout human history.

7. Do not join the game.
Intrigue is a sociopath's tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psychoanalyze, or even banter with him. In addition to reducing yourself to his level, you would be distracting yourself from what is really important, which is to protect yourself. 

8. The best way to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication.
Psychologists do not usually like to recommend avoidance, but in this case, I make a very deliberate exception. The only truly effective method for dealing with a sociopath you have identified is to disallow him or her from your life altogether. Sociopaths live completely outside of the social contract, and therefore to include them in relationships or other social arrangements is perilous. Begin this exclusion of them in the context of your relationships and social life. You will not hurt anyone's feelings. Strange as it seems, and though they might try to pretend otherwise, sociopaths do not have any such feelings to hurt. 

You may never be able to make your family and friends understand why you are avoiding a particular individual. Sociopathy is surprisingly difficult to see, and even harder to explain. Avoid him anyway.

If total avoidance is impossible, make plans to come as close as you can to the goal of total avoidance.

9. Question your tendency to pity too easily.
Respect should be reserved for the kind and the morally courageous. Pity is another socially valuable response, and it should be reserved for innocent people who are in genuine pain or who have fallen on misfortune. If, instead, you find yourself pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath,

Related to this--I recommend that you severely challenge your need to be polite in absolutely all situations. For normal adults in our culture, being what we think of as "civilized" is like a reflex, and often we find ourselves being automatically decorous even when someone has enraged us, repeatedly lied to us, or figuratively stabbed us in the back. Sociopaths take huge advantage of this automatic courtesy in exploitative situations. 

Do not be afraid to be unsmiling and calmly to the point.

10. Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.
Second (third, fourth, and fifth) chances are for people who possess conscience. If you are dealing with a person who has no conscience, know how to swallow hard and cut your losses.

At some point, most of us need to learn the important, if disappointing, life lesson that, no matter how good our intentions, we cannot control the behavior--let alone the character structures--of other people. Learn this fact of human life, and avoid the irony getting caught up in the same ambition he has--to control.

If you do not desire control, but instead want to help people, then help only those who want to be helped. I think you will find this does not include the person who has no conscience.

The sociopath's behavior is not your fault, not in any way whatsoever. It is also not your mission. Your mission is your own life.  

11. Never agree, out of pity or for any other reason, to help a sociopath conceal his or her true character.
"Please don't tell," often spoken tearfully and with great gnashing of teeth, is the trademark plea of thieves, child abusers--and sociopaths. Do not listen to this siren song. Other people deserve to be warned more than sociopaths deserve to have you keep their secrets.

If someone without conscience insists that you "owe" him or her, recall what you are about to read here: "You owe me" has been the standard line of sociopaths for thousands of years, quite literally, and is still so. It is what Rasputin told the empress of Russia. 

We tend to experience "You owe me" as a compelling claim, but it is simply not true. Do not listen. Also ignore the one that goes, "You are just like me." You are not.

12. Defend your psyche.
Do not allow someone without conscience, or even a string of such people, to convince you that humanity is a failure. Most human beings do possess conscience. Most human beings are able to love.

13. Living well is the best revenge.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Regularly Updated List of Current Articles on the Marc Gafni Controversy

Marc Gafni (Screenshot from YouTube)

Here is a listing of all known (at this time) articles about Marc Gafni that have appeared since the December 25th New York Times article.

After the list of current articles, there is a list of articles on Gafni that have appeared on this blog, dating back nearly a decade (May, 2006).

And now, below that, is the beginning of an archive of other posts/articles from around the Web about Gafni and his abuses. These articles go back to the first known piece in 2004.

December 26, 2015:
December 27th:
December 29th:
  • Soon followed a second article from Oppenheimer at Tablet Magazine, part 2 of the NYT article.
  • Also on the 29th, the Jewish Telegraph posted 4 quotes by ex-Orthodox rabbi Marc Gafni not in The NY Times article.
  • Matthew Gindin posted Some Thoughts On Marc Gafni at his blog, Seeking Her Voice.
  • Joe Perez "leaked" the supposedly "official" Integral Institute Report on Marc Gafni: Summary and Conclusions (circa 2008) , then deleted it. It became fully available online on Dec. 30th. To its discredit, there are several issues with this document, not least of which is the inclusion of material post-2008, with an addendum noting that it had been updated in 2011 and 2014. An "official" document of this nature is not updated, unless of of course it's NOT official. There is also the issue that those who know Gafni and his writing see his language and perspectives all over the text, again confirming it as unofficial, and in fact, pro-Gafni propaganda. What this DOES show is the lengths to which Gafni will go to cover his ass - forgery, lies, manipulation. 
December 30th:
Also on December 30th:
NOTE: In all fairness, Robb Smith and Corey DeVos made Integral Life a Gafni-free place in 2011, a decision that had been in the works for a year or more, but coincided with Gafni's affairs that cost him his book contract with Sounds True, as well as damaging two wonderful women I had the privilege of speaking with and getting to know.

December 31st: 
January 1st:
January 2nd:
January 3rd:
January 4th:
January 5th:
January 6th:
January 7th:
January 8th: 
January 9th:
  • The post you are reading appeared. As of 1.20.2016, it has more than 1,800 views.
January 10th:
January 12th:
January 13th:
January 14th:
January 17th: 
January 18th:
January 19th:
January 20th:
January 21st:
January 22nd: 
January 25th:
    January 26th:
    January 30, 2016:
    January 2016:
    February 2, 2016:
    February 3, 2016:
    February 8, 2016:
    • From Hevria, by Gafni's 3rd ex-wife: I Admit It, I Was Using Gafni Too - The last half of this article contains a survey of Gafni's victims (up to 2006) give by the author as part of her research for her MA in Clinical Psychology.
    February 18, 2016:
    February 22, 2016:

    February 29, 2016:
    March 1, 2016:
    March 2, 2016:
    March 3, 2016:
    March 4, 2016:
    March 7, 2016:
    March 12, 2016:

    As readers of this blog are well-aware, I have been tracking and reporting on Gafni and his predatory behaviors since May of 2006, when three women (Gafni was 46, they were in their 20s) in his Israeli Jewish community came forward about him having affairs with each of them and swearing them to secrecy. [Other reports placed the number at five women, three of whom filed complaints with the police, as well as others from the community and from Jerusalem who came forward when the story broke.]

    Here are some old posts from this blog:
    Marc Gafni on the Web, prior to this recent episode. [In progress]

    While Marc Gafni's sexual abuses (2 statutory rapes in the 1980s) go way back (as well as a series of incidents in Boca Raton in the brief time he was there), the 2004 story by Gary Rosenblatt in the Jewish Journal was the breakthrough piece.

    September 30, 2004 (The is the first known article that exposes Gafni's abuses):
    October 4, 2004:
    October 12, 2004:
    October 13, 2004:
    October 14, 2004:
    December 20, 2004:
    2004 - 2008:
    May 11, 2006:
    May 15, 2006 - September 13, 2011:
    • Rabbi Marc Gafni and Sexual Improprieties at NHNE Pulse - This post covers Rabbi Marc Gafni & Sexual Improprieties by Ken Wilber (Ken's original statement, May 15, 2006, the letter from Bayit Chadash, Gafni's apology and claim to sickness, Gafni's recanting of his original apology and now total denial of wrong-doing, and links, most of which do not work now); Love and Suffering: Dr. Marc Gafni Reemerges by Robb Smith in Integral Life (November 3rd, 2008 - includes Spiritual Teachers Letter From Sally Kempton, Gabriel Cousens, M.D., and John Kesler); Marc Gafni's Sexual Impropriety Re-Emerges – Will Integral Leadership Step Up this Time? by William Harryman at Integral Options Cafe (September 12, 2011); and Where I Stand by Robb Smith at Integral Life (September 13, 2011)
    May 18, 2006:
    May 19, 2006:
    May 23, 2006:
    May 25, 2006:
    June 16, 2006:
    June 27, 2006:
    May 1, 2007:
    July 17, 2008:
    July 20, 2008:
    • Trial by Internet? An “archetypal spiritual drama” by Jeff Bell and Greta DeJong at The Catalyst (This was Gafni's article, written by him with Bell; the rumor is that he seduced the editor/publisher/founder of the magazine, Ms. DeJong, to get this published. Gafni frames himself as "the hero of a spiritual epic.")
    January 9, 2009:
    May 26, 2010:

    February 13, 2015 (with several updates):
    September 1, 2015: