Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Threat to Our Democracy

A Threat to Our Democracy

I have long held that the most important political issue in America is not the banks, the economy, jobs, poverty, the environment, ongoing wars, health care, etc. It is campaign finance reform, to remove corporate influence over our politicians and their crafting of our policies and laws.
The Supreme Court decision this past week is the antithesis of campaign finance reform. It expands, exponentially, corporate influence and power.
In 2000, the US Supreme Court’s unilateral anointment of George W. Bush as President of the United States, legitimized and secured a coup d’etat, that signaled the corporate takeover of America.
Last week the same Supreme Corporate Counsel unabashedly made public their inextricable links and allegiance to corporate America in a decision that is a crushing blow to democracy and the American people. The US Supreme Corporate Court is in session.
This decision allows for unlimited funding for political advertising and marketing by corporations, both in support and opposition to, individual politicians (current, or campaigning) and policies. Their timing and intent to influence the upcoming mid-term elections is transparent.
It is not hard, nor farfetched, to imagine an American political landscape of corporate-funded, sponsored and elected politicians, passing corporate-friendly legislation. It will be, in fact, just an accelerated evolution of what currently exists.
The Corporate Executive Branch (President & CEO) meets behind closed doors to broker deals with corporations, ensuring that no programs or initiatives will, in any way, interfere with corporate profits or growth. At the same time, they explore ways to secure and expand corporate interests, at home and abroad, both covertly and overtly (wars).
The Corporate Legislative Branch (the Board of Directors), guided by their corporate sponsors, writes the laws and secures taxpayer funding effecting policies that maximize corporate benefits and interests.
The US Supreme Corporate Court oversees and rules on the corporate laws of the land.
Wake up America! The government is no longer doing the work of the people, but rather the bidding of corporations. Our docility, aided and abetted by our profligate greed and consumerism, has enabled the transition from democracy to corporatocracy.
We have given away our governance, and with it we have surrendered our power, our security, our wealth and the future of our children and grandchildren.
Of this I am certain, the fix will NOT come from our corrupt corporate controlled government.
Reclaiming and restoring our democracy, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, will demand that we unite, as a people, in our vision, cause and effort (vis a vis: the Vietnam War & Civil Rights Movements) to oppose the expanding power and oppression of the corporations.
Until then:

I pledge resistance to the flag
Of the United Corporations of America
And to the corrupt government for which it stands
One nation, under-educated
With insecurity, inequality and injustice for all.
(Democracy: RIP Jan. 2010)

sew the seeds of civil disobedience now

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brain Renewal (Guest Column)

Brain Renewal: A NewApproach
David Dubin, MD
Is it possible to renew the brain? We used to believe that the adult brain’s ability to change was very limited; that we were born with a set amount of neurons and once we reached adulthood that number did not change. Over the last ten years, however, this view has changed dramatically.
We now know that there is no time in our lives when substantial renewal cannot occur. Not only can we increase the connections among the existing brain cells and form new pathways, but we are able to actually grow new neurons.
This changing of neurons, the organization of their networks and function via new experiences is called neuroplasticity. However, most efforts demonstrating neuroplasticity have required a great deal of time and effort: extensive rehabilitation after a stroke, acquiring a new language or learning a musical instrument.
But there is an exciting new way the brain can renew itself without prolonged exertion, called LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System). In fact, with LENS you hardly have to do anything at all. LENS is a passive system, where the participant does not try to change any brain wave and does not feel or know when the incredibly short neurofeedback session is even being given. Other than closing her eyes, the patient does not do anything at all.
Over the last ten years, this new system has been helping with all types of difficult health problems. With a few sensors, we feed back to the brain the very same brain waves that various areas of the brain are emitting and adding the slightest amount of change, called an offset. Then, over a number sessions (averaging between 10 and 20, with a typical session lasting half hour or less), the brain self-regulates and minimizes its dysfunction.
It is as if someone pushed the brain’s restart button, getting it out of stuck patterns and allowing the brain to begin anew. That translates to thinking better, feeling better, and sleeping better. Anxiety, panic attacks and post traumatic stress decrease or disappear entirely; depressive thoughts lighten up; foggy, cloudy thinking gets clearer; headaches are reduced or eliminated. Even emotional issues may be brought to the surface and released, freeing the person in that dimension. Neurofeedback is as effective as Ritalin for ADD and currently the single most effective treatment for traumatic brain injury.
So, to answer the question asked in the first sentence of this article, the brain is able to renew itself, and in truly profound ways.
*Dr. Dubin is one of only a few hundred LENS practitioners worldwide.
THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.
The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.
The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.
Emily Dickinson (1830–86)