The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Andromeda Galaxy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 16, 2013, OpEdNews

The Financial Core of the Transnational Capitalist Class
By Peter Phillips

While millions suffer, a transnational financial elite seeks returns on trillions of dollars that speculate on the rising costs of food, commodities, land, and other life sustaining items for the primary purpose of financial gain. They do this in cooperation with each other in a global system of transnational corporate power and control and as such constitute the financial core of an international corporate capitalist class.

By Peter Phillips and Brady Osborne

Estimates are that the total world's wealth is close to $200 trillion, with the US and European elites holding approximately 63 percent of that total; meanwhile, the poorest half of the global population together possesses less than 2 percent of global wealth. The World Bank reports that, 1.29 billion people were living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day, and 1.2 billion more were living on less than $2.00 a day. Thirty-five thousand people, mostly young children, die every day from malnutrition. While millions suffer, a transnational financial elite seeks returns on trillions of dollars that speculate on the rising costs of food, commodities, land, and other life sustaining items for the primary purpose of financial gain. They do this in cooperation with each other in a global system of transnational corporate power and control and as such constitute the financial core of an international corporate capitalist class.

Not these old guard corporations. (image from Occupy Washington DC, 10/11 by Rob Kall

Project Censored has just finish a year long study on the people on the boards of directors of the top ten asset management firms and the top ten most centralized corporations in the world. With overlaps there is a total of thirteen firms in our study: Barclays PLC, BlackRock Inc., Capital Group Companies Inc., FMR Corporation: Fidelity Worldwide Investment, AXA Group, State Street Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Legal & General Group PLC (LGIMA), Vanguard Group Inc., UBS AG, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Group AG, and Allianz SE (Owners of PIMCO) PIMCO-Pacific Investment Management Co. The boards of directors of these firms, totaling 161 individuals. They are the financial core of the world's Transnational Capitalist Class. Collectively, these 161 people manage $23.91 trillion in funds impacting nearly every country in the world.

The institutional arrangements within the money management systems of global capital relentlessly seek ways to achieve maximum return on investment, and the structural conditions for manipulations--legal or not--are always open (Libor scandal). These institutions have become "too big to fail," their scope and interconnections pressure government regulators to shy away from criminal investigations, much less prosecutions. The result is a semi-protected class of people with increasingly vast amounts of money, seeking unlimited growth and returns, with little concern for consequences of their economic pursuits on other people, societies, cultures, and environments.

One hundred thirty-six of the 161 core members (84 percent) are male. Eighty-eight percent are whites of European descent (just nineteen are people of color). Fifty-two percent hold graduate degrees--including thirty-seven MBAs, fourteen JDs, twenty-one PhDs, and twelve MA/MS degrees. Almost all have attended private colleges, with close to half attending the same ten universities: Harvard University (25), Oxford University (11), Stanford University (8), Cambridge University (8), University of Chicago (8), University of Cologne (6), Columbia University (5), Cornell University (4), the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (3), and University of California--Berkeley (3). Forty-nine are or were CEOs, eight are or were CFOs; six had prior experience at Morgan Stanley, six at Goldman Sachs, four at Lehman Brothers, four at Swiss Re, seven at Barclays, four at Salomon Brothers, and four at Merrill Lynch.

People from twenty-two nations make up the central financial core of the Transnational Corporate Class. Seventy-three (45 percent) are from the US; twenty-seven (16 percent) Britain; fourteen France; twelve Germany; eleven Switzerland; four Singapore; three each from Austria, Belgium, and India; two each from Australia and South Africa; and one each from Brazil, Vietnam, Hong Kong/China, Qatar, the Netherlands, Zambia, Taiwan, Kuwait, Mexico, and Colombia. They mostly live in or near a number of the world's great cities: New York, Chicago, London, Paris, and Munich.

Members of the financial core take active parts in global policy groups and government. Five of the thirteen corporations have directors as advisors or former employees of the International Monetary Fund. Six of the thirteen firms have directors who have worked at or served as advisors to the World Bank. Five of the thirteen firms hold corporate membership in the Council on Foreign Relations in the US. Seven of the firms sent nineteen directors to attend the World Economic Forum in February 2013. Seven of the directors have served or currently serve on a Federal Reserve board, both regionally and nationally in the US. Six of the financial core serve on the Business Roundtable in the US. Several directors have had direct experience with the financial ministries of European Union countries and the G20. Almost all of the 161 individuals serve in some advisory capacity for various regulatory organizations, finance ministries, universities, and national or international policy-planning bodies.

Western governments and international policy bodies serve the interests of this financial core of the Transnational Corporate Class. Wars are initiated to protect their interests. International treaties, and policy agreements are arranged to promote their success. Power elites serve to promote the free flow of global capital for investment anywhere that returns are possible.

Identifying the people with such power and influence is an important part of democratic movements seeking to protect our commons so that all humans might share and prosper.

The full, detailed list is online at: Exposing the Financial Core of the Transnational Capitalist Class

Submitters Website:

Ethiopian Coptic Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013

free press action fund
Stand Up to Save the Internet!

Powerful phone and cable companies are colluding with government agencies to trample on our rights to connect and communicate. These same companies grab every opportunity to raise our rates and pad their profits.

Last week a federal court heard arguments in Verizon vs. FCC — the court case that could overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules. If Verizon gets its way, the FCC’s rules protecting Net Neutrality and shielding Internet users from corporate abuse will disappear.
Congress and the FCC need to know that, no matter what happens in court, Internet users are ready and willing to fight for the Internet we love.

Take Action: Tell Policymakers to Save the Internet.
This court case is just the latest front in the ongoing battle over what we can do and say online. Our rights to connect and communicate — via universally accessible, open, affordable and fast communications networks — are essential to our individual, economic and political freedoms.
But without Net Neutrality, Internet service providers will be able to block websites. They’ll be able to put some sites in the fast lane while letting the rest languish on the slow road to nowhere. Small startups will no longer be able to compete with companies like Facebook and Google. The open Internet will cease to exist.

It’s Time to Fight Back. Speak Out Now to Save the Internet.
The Internet we love isn’t just a platform for corporate speech. The Internet we love isn’t just another tool in the government’s spying regime.
The Internet we love lets us connect and create. The Internet we love is affordable and accessible. The Internet we love rejects censorship and values our right to communicate in private.
In just a few months, a court will decide whether or not to throw out the few protections Internet users have. We need to be ready to fight back.
Save the Internet. Stand Up Now to Add Your Voice.

Thanks for all that you do,

Josh Levy

P.S. The Free Press Action Fund fights every day to protect our rights to connect and communicate. We don’t take money from business, government or political parties and rely on the generosity of people like you to fuel our work. Please consider donating $15 (or more!) today. Thank you!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15, 2013, OpEdNews

America IS Exceptional And That Needs to Be Cured
By Rob Kall

Americans are among the most duped and deluded people in the world-- by our politicians, our economic system and our mainstream media.

From American Exceptionalism, Explained
American Exceptionalism, Explained by JoeInSouthernCA

American Exceptionalism, Explained by JoeInSouthernCA

Russian head of state Vladimir Putin wrote, in a New York Times Op-ed,
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,"
But the need to feel superior seems to be very strong, for many people. Throughout history, writers have spoken of ways that "man" is superior to all the other animals, or species. But primatologist Frans de Waal has said, " humanity never runs out of claims of what sets it apart, but it is a rare uniqueness claim that holds up for over a decade." He has shown that primates demonstrate caring, sharing, fairness and many kinds of cognition that have been attributed to "only humans."

I asked him why people have the need to feel superior to animals. He didn't really have an answer. After all, he studies primates, not people. Of course, there's religion, which puts man ahead of animals, claiming that only man is moral. But de Waal and other researchers have clearly shown that, indeed, animals are also moral, that it's built into the DNA, not just of primates but of all mammals and even birds. Still there are probably hundreds of millions if not billions who feel they are superior to animals, more deserving of being treated specially.

Daniel Quinn wrote a best-selling novel, Ishmael, that described leavers and takers. In my interview with him earlier this year, he described what they are:
" Leavers are people who leave the rule of the world in the hands of the Gods, and takers who've taken the rule of the world into their own hands."

Quinn points out that there have been religions, animistic religions that took that "leaver" approach, but they have not fared as well as religions that advocate that humans are superior, and deserve to be the "superior" "takers." He told me, in our interview,
I have this theory that there have been hundreds of more religions than the ones we know about, and the ones that survived are the ones that fit in with our cultural mythology: that fit in with the vision of humanity as the most important thing in the universe, that endorses the idea that humans are here to rule the rest of the living community. The ones that didn't, for example, Animism, which was the practically the universal religion of Leaver Peoples, and still is, wherever they are still found, does not support it [our cultural mythology], and so it is not one of our religions. It's hardly known, but it doesn't say anything about that. Animism is a religious world view rather than a religion, a world view that sees the world as a sacred place, and humans as belonging in a sacred place. This is not an idea that fits with our civilization's, our culture's vision of the world and humanity, and so it doesn't appear as a religion to us."

I asked Quinn, who also wrote a book, Beyond Civilization, " Do you think there's a possibility that the next stage beyond civilization could be a spiraling evolution up towards another bottom up way of being?"

He replied, "It has to be. Hierarchy is the disaster."
Hierarchy is all about superiority in different forms, about power over, wealth, control. We live in a nation that celebrates hierarchy, supposedly based on merit-- a meritocracy. But Chris Hayes, in his book, Twilight of the Elites, and other writers and thinkers, have torn that American claim to shreds It is an illusion and a fraud.

Perhaps the selling job that has been done for capitalism and consumerism has worked to get many Americans to have a greater need than other nationals to feel superior to the people of the rest of the world. I would agree with Putin that this is dangerous, particularly for the ninety nine percenter Americans who have bought into this view of America, tying it to their egos and identities.

Putin says,
"There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too," he wrote. "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
I've come to believe that American exceptionalism is bad for America. It creates a sense of privilege and a dangerous jingoism that American politicians, TV pundits and some religious leaders, in particular, seem to need to manifest.

Putin is far from a saint. But his words are wise and worth heeding, almost spiritual in nature.

We have other models and examples to lead us, besides the "leavers" idea that Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael, which every American should read, describes. For example, the Dali Lama advises that we "practice warmheartedness," which, on reading his writings, means to me, simply being compassionate to others. Robert Fuller former president of Oberlin College and author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, has coined the term "rankism" and is a leader in the worldwide quest for human dignity. He wrote about the problems, how people are humiliated, bullied, describing these " as abuses of rank--more precisely, the power attached to rank."

Perhaps we could set some new exceptional goals-- to be humble, to be kind, to treat all living creatures as deserving to live in a safe, ecologically healthy environment. There ARE visions out there, of equality and justice.

The fact is, the world has radically shifted, over the past two hundred some years from feudalism, monarchy and authoritarianism to democracy. Democracy and regulations and rules have been put into place not just to create fairness-- like Frans de Waal and other researchers have shown "lowly" animals demonstrate, but also to protect the majority of people in the world from the predators-- the psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and paranoids who live to embrace hierarchy and rank, control over and domination.

We have progressed dramatically in the past two centuries. But that progress has always been fought by the top down powers, the "takers," as Quinn describes them, and in the worst cases, the psychopaths.

When it comes to Obama tapping that idea of American exceptionalism to sell his goal of an attack on Syria, he is drawing upon the darker side of America. Mythologists, symbologists and poets explore the "shadow," which we all have. The energy for American exceptionalism comes from America's "shadow." Wise, evolved, mature people get to know their shadows, and learn to manage them. America needs to do the same, starting with our leaders, instead of pandering to our shadows.

Still, there are American exceptionalism realities that we SHOULD face and talk about. There is American execeptionalism we should do something about.

We have more prisoners than any other nation-- and most of them haven't harmed anyone, but prosecuting and jailing them keeps them off the voter roles in many states.

We have the largest military and largest military budget-- which means more money going to expenses that do not grow the economy or build the nation's inner resources and strengths.

We spend more on healthcare than any other nation, yet we are the only first world nation, the only member of the G-20 nations which does not provide health care for all citizens.

We are a nation that spends more on spying on citizens than any other nation.

We are a nation that uses more psychiatric drugs than any other nation.

We are a nation that sets the standard for voting corruptibility, with electronic tallying that is impossible to reliably recount.

The list goes on and on, and then there are all the other list items where we are low, like infant death rate, access to WIFI, educational skills...
* * *

There are people-- conservatives, liberals, Democrats-- who will say that we are the best country because of our freedoms, that we have the best medical system. They say that Obama couldn't have written what Putin wrote and had it published in Russia. That's nonsense. Maybe 200 years ago that was true. But now, there are well over 100 democracies in the world, some with greater press freedoms, where reporters are not prosecuted for reporting the truth, or prosecuted for refusing to provide sources.

Most of the positive American exceptionalism claims apply to the one percent-- and yes, we do have more billionaires than any other nation, and we have some of the worse income inequality and inability to leave the income level you are born in, than other nations.

But most of the illusions of exceptionalism that conservatives think we have are easily disputed when cast in the light of reality.

Perhaps that's another one-- Americans are among the most duped and deluded people in the world-- by our politicians, our economic system and our mainstream media.

Update: Putin is far from a saint. His treatment of gays and critics as abominable. His goals for writing his op-ed probably include protecting Assad and impeding Obama's efforts to support Assad's opposition. That doesn't change the fact that what he's written is true.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the