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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )

Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

teeth in nasty places

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Pulled this one myself last year – fotos Smith

Since dental students are pulling my last eight upper teeth today, I scanned 50 years of my poetry for tooth references and found eleven, mostly negative, all from the past 8 years . . . the worse my teeth got, the more they crept into my words.

I’m rolling seven dice like dead man’s teeth / and counting all the dots

Teeth are falling out / My muscle body broken / But I am wiser

They lie through their teeth / They crush what is good

what we cannot with grasping / or rending with our teeth

No wailing / No gnashing of teeth / When I go

teeth in nasty places

be made to muse till long in tooth

Oh yes / It’s all tits and toothpaste / A test tease totality / In textbook time

This crown broke off at the gum line last year – foto Smith


Brush your teeth & get checkups regularly

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Smith is getting his eight remaining upper teeth pulled Wednesday, the day before Valentine’s Day. I’m glad that he’s getting this done because it’s been so hard for him to chew properly. When he gets used to the dentures, this will be easier.

I asked how it is he got such tooth problems:

“Number one,” he said, “I have small teeth. Number two, we were poor. Couldn’t afford much dental work unless we had to. Number three, from ’53 to ’60, I was raised on a farm with well water. So I didn’t get the benefit of the fluoride the government started putting in the water ’bout then. Number four, when I went into the Navy, they pulled some bad teeth and said they’d replace them. They lied. Number five: when I finally had some money and started going to dentists, I got stuck with some really bad ones. One dentist even took my straight bottom teeth and made them crooked with a retainer. Number six: since I was a contractor, there were times when I didn’t have any work, yet I had to get teeth fixed. So instead of getting crowns I couldn’t afford, teeth were pulled that shouldn’t have been. Finally, I just had bad luck with teeth. My karma; seems to be.”

“How do you feel about Wednesday?”

“Oh, I think getting false upper teeth is a setback to me. It’s a line I didn’t want to cross. But I’m not worried about it. They’ll pull them, they’ll give me pain pills. The only thing I’m worried about is the temporary upper denture that won’t fit well, won’t feel good, and I have a very high gag reflex. So… it’s not going to be fun.”

I’d not really given much thought to dentures prior to hooking up with Smith. My first memory of them was Grandpa Ireland popping the teeth out at us to freak us out. Grandpa ate anything. He ate salad, he could tear at steak, he could eat corn-on-the-cob. He had dentures most of his life due to having had some kind of illness in his teens.

“I’m not worried about eating,” Smith said. “It’s just a line I didn’t want to cross, losing my teeth.”

As a forty-year-old, witnessing Smith’s tooth problems helps keep me in line brushing my teeth and seeing the dentist regularly for cleanings. Being so much younger than my partner has had some costs but has also helped me to prepare better for the future. I’m starting an IRA, I’m taking care of my teeth, I’m really working on my diet and exercise with my comfort in the long term future in mind.

The downside of being with someone who is so much older is that there is a lot of worry over my partner’s health and sadness over the thought of losing him before I die. And the mysticism of older people is pretty much gone… my parents don’t seem much like parents to me anymore in terms of authority–now they are more like peers.

~ Lady


bad day at black rock, or Zen lesson?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

A pretty picture to prime pretty thoughts;
a rose from my Granny-in-law’s funeral yesterday

Hmmmm . . . bad day at black rock, or Zen lesson in acceptance?

Got so stressed this morning my throat tightened and the watermelon I was eating got stuck in my esophagus and I didn’t realize it and swallowed a couple more bites which got stuck on top of the stuck so it was off to the sink to toss many pre-chewed chunks of mashed red pulp. (Looks and sounds much worse than it is — but I’m a writer and drama’s my beat, although I fare better at humor.)

I was tense before I was tense due to the surprising intensity of Granny’s funeral/funeral lunch/memorial service yesterday with its emotions and hordes of people, but was extra tense today because I was to have nine teeth extracted at Case Dental School. They were to pull my remaining eight upper teeth and a lower wisdom tooth, then my South Korean dental student would slap in a temporary upper denture plate and in six months when the swelling’s down and bone loss finalized replace it with a real denture.

Only there was no temporary plate. And there was no student dentist. They called around to see if he had the denture and found he was in Korea, hopefully on vacation.

They offered to pull my teeth anyway and then next week when the student theoretically returns they’d slap the temporary in; but the thought of walking around for a week or two with no upper teeth which means a lot less food didn’t exactly appeal.

I don’t even know my student’s coming back. I was told there was a different student’s name on my next appointment.

More important, the initial purpose of the temporary plate is to control and shape the swelling as it heals.

But as always there’s a silver lining. At least I’m not sitting here in pain right now wondering if the swelling will be down enough in four weeks for my quarterly poetry hosting gig.

It’s heck being poor . . . your body pays more along the way.


We don’t have much
Not enough for mouth to month
But wife gives of what we have
To others with less

The poor are more gracious than the rich
Who give bigger
From their greater
Yet matter less

There’s pain in giving
There’s pain in not giving
She’s priming the pump
Betting on living

— Smith, 2011

Another rose from Granny’s funeral
on top of Granny’s shawl


Reconnecting with the lost tribe

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Grandma is dying, sometimes calmly, sometimes poignantly in a bed in my Mom & Dad Green’s living room. “I’m so happy, I’m so happy,” she said several times yesterday. I am too. I am glad that she is not dying slowly and/or painfully in a nursing home, but quickly and surrounded by family.

“Now it’s your turn to hold Reality together,” I told Mom. Me, I’ve been forgetting pots and pans on the stove during this time. Three times in three days. I think I’m taking a little vacation from conventional aspects of Reality to handle some shaman duties like rainmaking.

I’m doing a lot of thinking about tribe, family–the good aspects of it and community. I’d like for us to reclaim community, tribe, family. Not the ill parts of nationalism, but more of a global thing yet also local. Refined, iterative, nuanced, compassionate, discerning. I’d like for us to reconnect with the lost tribe of extended family.

I think social media and the Internet is a great way to reconnect families that have been estranged from each other by virtue of distance and the frenetic pace of how we have been living.

Seeing Dad Green hold my cousin’s head on Skype screen, seeing her talk with Grandma swaddled in bed… “I love you, I love you, I love you” and tears flying at the screen. The immediacy of it so heartwrenching but beautiful. We editorialized a bit and my cousin said, “We don’t yet have etiquette for this, do we.”

It is valid, this part of modernity. We should claim it and know how to apply it wisely. We should. Let us see our families’ faces again. Let’s forget about TV but instead use these other screens–let’s connect face to face again. Slowly, calmly, wisely, discerningly. I am vowing to Reality to do so.


One of the things we used to do when we lived in smaller communities was to talk about tribal matters together. I think one of the big issues facing our tribe is how we obtain energy. So around Grandma’s bed in my Mom & Dad Green’s living room, I talked with family yesterday about the fracking issue, and how it is important to protect our holy waters.


My brother is marrying next month. I am so happy about this. I’m so happy, I’m so happy.


I worked all weekend on Grandpa’s memoir to get it through another edit so that Grandma can see it before she dies and know that the family is getting copies ASAP. The proof will arrive today or tomorrow and as soon as it gets here I’m rushing it over to her.

I am glad that Grandpa’s memoir and Smith’s memoir are both being printed at the same time. I feel so blessed with these projects.

The name of Grandpa’s memoir is “Learning to Swim,” humorously, after his having been born in a toilet. But the title is a metaphor for life. It’s about being thrown into life and making the most of it the best way one can, as he did.

Here’s my back cover blurb:

Thurman James Ireland was born in a toilet in Cleveland and came of age during the Great Depression. Checker Ice Cream Bar vendor, automobile mechanic, World War II Veteran, proprieter of Ireland’s Garage, father and foster father, Appalachian Trail Scoutmaster, de facto engineer for Ingersoll Rand and role model to many, he built his own house and practiced the philosophy of living life completely.

Readers can benefit from his down-to-earth, pragmatic wisdom and self-taught, articulate manner of explaining reality. His tales of problem-solving with Ingersoll Rand show life and work are not just “by the book” but totally hands-on and interconnected with the human condition.

~ Lady


Walking on Thin Ice

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Walking on Thin Ice is not about the world losing polar ice caps. We’re going to stop that. We’re going to thicken those ice caps right back up. We’re going to populate the glaciers again. We’re going to make sure there’s an adequate head of snow on the Himalayas and everywhere else that its needed. Cool breezes bleeded.

This blog is named after the Yoko Ono and John Lennon song. It’s the first song by Yoko Ono I ever heard, and smith introduced me to it. In my opinion, it is one of the most far out yearning and tragic songs ever made. They were finishing up the song the day Lennon died. I only learned a long time after naming the blog that such sadness had happened around the generation of the song.

When I listen to it, it brings back the giddy creativity, the yearning sated, the ecstatic discovery I experienced when I hooked up with smith. I listened to it on “The Best of Yoko Ono” album over and over, spooling my Miata around, lost and found. It was novel, yet old. Like smith.

In the months after we hooked up, I’d collapse on his rocking chair sofa and poof into smoke. He told me the rest of his stories for his memoir. I tore down his cancer. I spackled the walls. I barfed as he was irradiated. We made art. Night time was Ono and Meat Beat Manifesto. Morning was Mingus, breakfast and golden sun.

Walking on Thin Ice, in the song, is about daring do on the edge.

Walking on Thin Ice is about adventure.

Walking on Thin Ice, in smith & lady’s lives, is about walking on water.

~ Lady


Cyborg Boy

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Cyborg Boy – foto Smith

My repair shop sheet just might give Lady second thoughts about her second-hand husband . . . on the other hand, she’s deeply into recycling, redemption, re-use, buying used, and second chances.

Today was hernia operation #2, with Lady sitting seven hours either with me or in not-designed-for-human-consumption hospital waiting room chairs.

Taking down our art show last March, I needlessly lugged a heavy awkward sculpture up three flights of stairs and broke something in my groin. My body is 66, but my brain still thinks it’s indestructible teenager.

Brain not smart, but body getting picture.

People probably thought “pervert” when they saw me these past two months walking around with my hand down the front of my pants shoving back the sac something kept pushing through the tear in my abdominal cavity.

Sometimes when I pushed the bulge back in it’d go with a slick almost silent slip pop; but once every couple dozen times it’d gurgle and make squishy liquid sounds, which massively quantumized the probability worry wave table.

My Mexican hernia operation cost $1,500. Bet this one’s at least 10 times that.

Looking through my 49 years of poetry for the word hernia or operation, this was all I found:

I was a football hero in high school once by accident.
Last game we defeated undefeated them.
Major play double fake fooled everyone but me.
I was so confused I missed both.
Stood to see where what was.
Ball runner ran into me and we both fell down.
For one brief bright shiny moment
my stupidity triumphed over their skill.
Been mostly my mode of operation since.

— Smith, 1997 excerpt from Portrait of an Artist as a Young Mutant, or A Life Spent Tap Dancing on the Edge (as arranged by Stephen Reynolds)

Ever since I drank myself to death in 1991 and woke in Intensive Care, there’s been nada — no drink, no doctors — until the love of my life came into my life. Since Lady, I’ve had cancer removed from my voice box along with part of my vocal cord, 8 weeks radiation, polyps sucked from my head (or were those my brains?), an intermittent heart, my Mexican hernia, a hip replacement, and my American hernia.

I sing the body eccentric.

My warrantee done run out, which don’t matter much since the factory that formed me folded years ago anyway.

Lady just sanded and repainted our rusted car hood and fender and is researching bondoing the rust holes in our 226,000 mile Honda to extend its life. She’s also refurnishing me. I’m her 200,000 mile motorman being burnished, fine-tuned and fixed for our next 100,000 smiles.

My latest mythical mask is “Cyborg Boy” since I already have two artificial muscle meshes, a Titanium bone & ball joint, a ceramic hip socket, and a metal screw. Next upgrade I’m adding Wi-Fi and data capture, maybe a pleasure center wire.

And hey Lady, thanks for loving me enough to care. You are my is, my why I’m sticking around.

Code bar – foto Smith


“One For All” at the Union Hall

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Tuesday evening we participated in “Spring Training for the 99%,” a three hour session of galvanizing brainstorming, case studies and exercises at the Steelworker’s Union Hall on Independence Road in Cleveland.

Perhaps eight people from the Occupy Movement per se were there, yet the meme “99%” is associated with the Occupy Movement and the literature we received frequently refered to the movement. Over sixty people participated, mostly union members.

I was pleased to see many people of color. I am a person of mostly European heritage and I grew up in “white” suburbia, so am always looking to broaden my horizons and become less insular. I am also encouraged that so many people of color are employed in unions. As always, when I talk about “race” issues I kind of worry because I have been so ignorant in my life, albeit full of compassion. My ignorance has been in my kind of awkwardness and lack of comfort in diverse groups. I think this is something that many kind-hearted people experience, and it is important to understand our awkwardness and work on becoming more comfortable in the community on which we are working on becoming more a part, the diverse world community.

I wonder to myself how frequently people get together in union halls and what is discussed. Is it typically union issues, or is there also camaradery and perhaps talk about the larger issues of society?

The most interesting part of the gathering was that we were broken up into groups (we counted off by number), given a large sheet of paper, and asked to brainstorm and draw in twenty minutes all the things we want to see in an ideal community. We named our communities, too–ours was the town of “One for All.” (Later I got a kick out of learning that smith’s group’s town had the name of “All for One.”)

At the center of One for All we drew a community garden. Then one guy said, “We need more jobs here again; we need industry; let’s put in a shoe store and clothing factory.” So we put a shoe store and clothing factory in the upper left. Below that, affordable housing. And a river under the community garden for which we specified “clean water.” Train tracks for high speed rail right through the center of town which the inhabitants can use to zip around to other communities. Free education building, a city hall, a free clinic, a free hospital. We had it made!

The organizer for the evening then came to our table and drew a big “X” right through our free hospital and clinic. “This land is being taken over for WalMart,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.” And then she ripped the section off our map.

We drew a wall and protestors around the torn off area but she came back and tried to take away the paper. I held on to it but then thought, “Oh, perhaps there is supposed to be some kind of lesson here,” so I let her take our beautiful community and she proceeded to rip it up and walked away with the pieces. (I still have it in my head, though, so it’s not gone.)

Later we learned that three of our groups had actually protected their communities by creating a physical blockade so that the “corporate actors” couldn’t get to them. This was what we were supposed to do–think outside the box. And what really would have been great, the organizer said, was if we had called on adjoining communities’ tables to help us defend each other from the attacks. Food for thought.

Many great ideas this evening–and the one I like the most is the “tactic star.” Here’s a version of the tactic star for those who are interested.

The idea of the tactic star is to really think about how to hone one’s tactics to achieve a particular goal. Many good points are touched on–largely related to how the tactic will be received by those we are working on helping and persuading and if this reception aids the goal.

Upcoming events in Cleveland:

Today (April 12, 2012) at 4:45 by the Free Stamp–“Save the Post Office”–rally to prevent cutbacks of Post Office services, locations, budget…

Saturday April 14 @ 9-3 & 5-8 – Community Forum and Dinner events (register and pay at

Sunday April 15 @ 3:30 – Justice for Trayvon gathering at 2917 E. 116 & Buckeye at Second New Hope Baptist Church

Monday April 16 @ 4 – Justice for Janitors Rally at Public Square

Tuesday April 17 @ 4:15 – Tax Day Protest @ NW Quad. Public Square – help stop war spending–instead use the money to help our communities and have a fairer rate of taxation of wealthy people (Buffet rule)



Letter to the Universe: Ironboltbruce and the 15 Issues of the Occupy Movement

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This is a reposting of information compiled by ironboltbruce (he said anyone can repost). He’s mentioned this list of 15 issues that the Occupy Movement has created and has had a creative, personalized take on each of the issues. Am very glad to see this kind of thinking and would like us to think locally in addition to nationally and globally. So I’d like to create my own take on the issues following his example (coming soon). But meanwhile, here’s what he’s said:

The steering committee of the “October 2011 Movement” – the patriots presently occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington DC – published a summary of the 15 issues which are the focus of their protest here:

ISSUE #1. “Corporatism – firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people, only people have Constitutional rights, end corporate influence over the political process, protect people and the environment from damage by corporations.”

Article: Corporatism: “Sold Glory”, the U.S. Flag After Citizens United v. FEC (g1a2d0009c1)

ISSUE #2. “Wars and Militarism – end wars and occupations, end private for-profit military contractors, reduce the national security state and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under international law.”

Article: Wars & Militarism: The Real Cause of the Debt Crisis (g1a2d0006c1)
Image: … doggle.jpg
Video: … 421983682#

ISSUE #3. “Human Rights – end exploitation of people in the US and abroad, end discrimination in all forms, equal civil rights and due process for all people.”

Article: Human Rights: No Flame Burns Hotter Than A Human Torch (g1a2d0012c1)
Image: … uazizi.png

ISSUE #4. “Worker Rights and jobs – all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection.”

Article: U.S. Corporations Firing At Home While Hiring Abroad (g1a2d0016c1)
Image: … n_Jobs.jpg

ISSUE #5. “Government – all processes of the three branches of government should be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law, people have the right to participate in decisions which affect them.”

Article: Government: The Kleptocracy and You (g1a2d0007c1)
Image: … nd_You.jpg

ISSUE #6. “Elections – all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers, all candidates have the right to be heard and to run and all votes should be counted.”

Article: Elections: Vote All You Want. The Flight Plan Doesn’t Change. (g1a2d0011c1)
Image: … e_bird.jpg

ISSUE #7. “Criminal justice and prisons – end private for-profit prisons, adopt evidence-based drug policy, prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society, abolish the death penalty.”

Article: Prison for Profit: CCA, GEO et al Put Revenues Ahead of Rehabilitation (g1a2d0018c1)
Image: … omplex.jpg

ISSUE #8. “Healthcare – create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system.”

Article: Healthcare in America: Who’s Paying Who? And Who’s Getting What? (g1a2d0014c1)

ISSUE #9. “Education – all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.”

Article: Students Drown in Debt as Predatory Lenders Bank Billions (g1a2d0017c1)
Image: … ending.jpg

ISSUE #10. “Housing – all people have the right to affordable and safe housing.”

Article: HAMP Disaster Shows U.S. Treasury is “Fully Captured by the Big Banks” (g1a2d0021c1)
Image: … schild.jpg

ISSUE #11. “Environment – adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and radio-active free energy economy and that respects the rights of nature.”

Article: The General Electric Company (“GE”): Misinformation at Work (g1a2d0020c1)
Image: … t_Work.jpg

ISSUE #12. “Finance and the economy – end policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system, reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people.”

Article: Finance & The Economy: A Kleptocracy Tutorial Video in 12 Parts (g1a2d0008c1)
Image: … System.gif

ISSUE #13. “Media – airwaves and the internet are public goods, require that media be honest, accurate and accountable to the people.”

Article: Media: Only Part of What We See is Real, Only Part of What is Real We See (g1a2d0010c1)

ISSUE #14. “Food and water – create systems that protect the land and water, create local and sustainable food networks and practices.”

Article: Mighty Monsanto, King Corn & The End of Family Farms (g1a2d0015c1)

ISSUE #15. “Transportation – provide affordable, clean and convenient public transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel.”

Article: Gasholes: Every Oil Shortage/Crisis/War Could Have Been Averted (g1a2d0019c1)



“Democrat”, “Republican”,
The parties of the system;
Puppets both, for sale their votes,
No character or wisdom.

“Liberal”, “Conservative”,
For change or status quo?
Pick either one, the change is none,
All charlatans and whores.

Far “Left” we place the Anarchists,
Libertarians claim far “Right”;
Yet both decry the government:
False continuum brought to light.

For oil, “We” bomb their mud huts,
Strip them bare, then offer “Aid”;
And fake their retribution as
Pretext–a false flag raised.

Unarmed hundred thousands killed
By weapons of “Defense”,
While rights are lost for “Freedom” sake–
On profit, all depends.

With stroke of pen, the “Patriot” Act,
And patriots’ gifts are taken;
Then “Citizens United” leaves
Our citizens forsaken.

We protest loss of liberties,
Put “World Wide Web” to use;
Cloudmark Authority censors us
For “messaging abuse”.

They label us to finger-point,
With labels, “They” deride us;
Their labels keep us all at bay,
For with labels, “They” divide us.




Occupy Wall Street:

Occupy DC:

Occupy LA:

Occupy Together:

Watch these Videos:

Take this Pledge:

View this Image: … yranny.jpg


PUBLIC NOTICE: No talking heads on Comcast/GE’s NBC/CNBC/MSNBC speak for us. No talking heads on Murdoch’s Faux News speak for us. No talking heads at the Kleptocracy’s Compliant News Network (CNN) speak for us (no matter how dull, deliberate or subtle their delivery). No talking heads in the lamestream media speak for us, period. And neither do ANY of the 537 bought-and-paid-for Kleptocracy puppets in Washington DC who will soon be joining our legions of unemployed!


A Real Letter from Me to You

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I attended a meeting last weekend about the “American Dream” movement they are building. Although associated with Democrats, I think this movement also encompasses progressive ideals. Everyone in the room was concerned about sustainability, the environment, peace, universal health care, good work, etc. Several people were very discouraged with some of the things President Obama has done, so there was a lot of conscientiousness and self-examination in the room.

Here’s some bit of news about the Gang of Six in the Senate:

They are trying to raise taxes on us and cut taxes on the rich, and cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But we aren’t going to let them.

For young people reading this, these things might seem like things that don’t immediately matter or that it is useless, but they do, and there is hope that we can change things. I’ve seen the standard of living deteriorate and expectations deteriorate significantly over the past ten years. It is not unreasonable to see this turn around and become healthier. We have the resources and talent to turn things around. I had the pleasure of seeing a Democrat in Wisconsin get reelected last night after having made phone calls to do this; I’ve seen us raise over a million signatures for putting Ohio’s anti-collective bargaining SB-5 bill on the ballot so we can overturn it when we only needed to raise 230,000… I have been involved in these campaigns and it does help and it does matter.

One of the action items of last week’s meeting is to find five friends who will also participate in the movement to a small or large extent. As we are in such a time of flux, I think this is an important opportunity for people to engage and thus am providing this information with the thought that you’ll consider this and participate if you can. You can sign up for some information here: (newsletter signup on the right column of the screen.)

I understand that we live in a fast-paced society, but I think in this time of flux it is especially important to help ensure programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I think also we’d seen a kind of deterioration in community life over the past twenty years, and now people are rebuilding community with local food movements, poetry, music… and activism is another way to rebuild and heal and socialize. I think that many have felt apathetic, estranged and horrified by the insanity of some of the stuff going on in the political realm. A way through this is to step into it and be part of healing via activism.




Saturday, June 25th, 2011

This is a response to a the above video featuring Van Jones for the campaign I first watched the video here:

I appreciate the headline name, “Rebuild the Dream.” I think we need to rebuild the dream and I am glad that is focusing more on positive action rather than despair in this headline.

In the video, Van Jones said, “We are being lied to.” I can sympathize with where I think he is coming from. I think he means well. But I think the phrase “we are being lied to” is a phrase that seems to arouse anger. I can understand why one might wish to feel anger. And I can understand that people seem to want to strike back at injustices.

On a spiritual level, I wish for anger to not be aroused, but instead, cooperation, healing, transcending labels and fixing the situations in this country and the world. I also think that it is appropriate to discuss things in a more complete manner and have sound “bits” rather than “bites.”

I understand the challenges of communicating in a more complete manner though! So, I wish for Van Jones to be successful in engaging people to focus on dreaming, and I wish for these people to be able to transcend anger and feel compassion so that they can engage even more people and help heal our country and the world. I am also not sure that Jones’s points are entirely accurate, but I know he has good intent.

It is understandable why many would perceive the words, “America is broke” as accurate considering the deficit and debt of the United States. On a spiritual and fundamentally practical level, though, the United States has the ability to heal its situation–I believe fairly quickly–by stopping funding of the military and military contractors and/or transforming the military and military contractors into agencies and businesses that implement sustainable infrastructure in an ethical manner inside the United States.

Also, were the United States government to make reparation payments to the countries of the world it has invaded, these countries could also develop sustainable infrastructures for themselves.

There are more complications to the phrase, “America is broke” when one considers the history of actions, debt and deficit in terms of parties that are in power in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and the particular institutions and corporations and areas that the parties seem to want to invest in and/or fund. However, I am reasonably sure that most reading this particular page are aware of this history so I will not go into it now.

On a metaphorical level and practically implementable level, I love the phrase, “America is not broke.” Jones goes on to point out that were the rich to pay a fair share of taxes, this would help the economy. I believe this to be true and good within a practical threshold of understanding.

The second “lie” Van Jones addressed is the sentence, “Asking the super-rich to pay taxes hurts America’s economy.” Based on the history of economics worldwide, I agree with Van Jones in that that sentence about the super-rich is not accurate. The disparity of wealth that the United States is experiencing has harmed the vast majority of people living in the United States, and has had a significant harmful impact on the people living in other countries as well. I ask for the extreme disparity to be removed. I also ask for free trade agreements between countries to be removed, and instead for fair trade to be implemented. But I ask that the fair trade is implemented in such a way that the biosphere can survive, heal and thrive–in other words, for sustainability.

“Hating on America’s government – and wrecking America’s infrastructure – is patriotic” is the third idea Van Jones calls a lie. I can understand where he is coming from. From a peace perspective, though, I have seen that criticizing the government and wishing for peace has been called “unpatriotic” and “hateful to the United States” as well. I do not believe that criticism of the government and wishing for peace are hateful or unpatriotic.

I do believe that wrecking infrastructure can be hateful, but also can clear the way for a new, sustainable infrastructure that we need. We need an infrastructure for public transportation that has a negligible impact on the environment. We need a new and/or revitalized infrastructure for affordable healthcare for all people. We need for the disparity of wealth between the CEOs of insurance companies and the people who need healthcare to be reduced.

I would prefer it were the health insurance companies disbanded, but with a transition plan for the people who are employed by the companies so that they can obtain more ethical, sustainable work. I want for the CEOs of all companies who are rich to just decide to opt out, retire at a reasonable income, and stop exploiting people. So basically, I want a graceful, gentle parachute for the CEOs so that they and their families are not frightened. Preferably Gaia would provide this naturally for these people so that it just happens without a hitch.

I wish Van Jones success in getting people to engage in rebuilding the American Dream in a sustainable manner and with the goal of long term sustainability, and I ask that this vision include kindness, forgiveness, and that rebuilding include sustainability in terms of wages, health, and especially the environment.

I have sympathy for many of the organizations that Van Jones mentions: AFL-CIO, SEIU,, etc. I have volunteered for an effort that SEIU has helped with, and have contributed to even though I’d seen as being aligned with the Democratic Party. I have great sympathy for many who vote for the Democratic Party but I also have a lot of criticism for the corporate funding and militarism promoted by the Democratic Party. However, I realize that the heart of progressives is still represented in many ways within the Democratic Party, and that the heart of good people is also represented in the Republican Party albeit manifested in unfortunate ways within both. We must recognize common ground, and in a way that is beneficial to the health of most, if not all people and the environment!

On July 5th, Van Jones invites us to go to and share ideas. I think this is good.

There is criticism based on the history of political campaigns and parties, and this is mentioned in the threads of comments below this video but I think we also have to recognize that opportunites are born in mixed circumstance, and that action and progress can transcend circumstance.

Spiritually I like the words, “Contract for the American Dream.” I can see it as a way of making a covenant with a dream, a process similar to “making a covenant with God.” And I also see “reality” as a long dream, one that needs to be repaired, one that can be repaired.

I would like us to transcend “they” and “our” in the phrases “their turn” and “our turn” that Van Jones says. I would like “them” to be “us” and “us” to be “them.” I know this is so in so many ways. “We’re going to rebuild the movement that stands for liberty and justice for all,” Van Roy says at the end, and I think the “all” part if this is good and the intent is good. I’d also like for us to consider mercy. 🙂

So this is my long, yet brief analysis of this video!



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