Monday, November 3, 2014

Myriads of Mavericks

On Steering the Herd.( Cobbled from old and new because they fit together))


Words, and their Meaning. (2012)
One hears an awful lot about Freedom, these days.
It is invoked as the reason for the Wars, as the reason folks run for Office, as the Goal of Life.
The word is thrown about by politicians, and would be politicians, as if the Meaning is so well known as to need no Definition...it is a Given..."Everyone" Knows what Freedom means.
I differ in this Sentiment, as in so many others.
I say that Important Words must be Defined.
Often.
This would entail much Debate, by just about everyone who will be affected by the Defining of such Words.
I think it is instructive that this is not the case.
No one, it seems, feels the need to Define anything, especially Important Words.
I posit that this has led, almost of necessity, to such Words becoming, if not Meaningless,then often meaning the Polar Opposite of what they once were....and what We think they still are.
A few Anecdotes...
My 8 year old Son is at the weekly (in Season) Ritual Battle with a Rival Town (Football game).
He's cattin' around",Socialising with his friends, especially Girls.
A Cop, the Grandfather of one of his friends, playfully handcuffs them, in turn....itself, a stealth form of Indoctrination, but not the most pernicious. That Honor goes to a little later, when a younger kid is caught, by this Cop, buying candy at the Concession,(concession to what?),an then going among the crowd, selling the candy at profit...Adam Smith, or Marx, would say that this boy is 1)showing initiative, 2) in effect, selling his Labor (waiting in line, delivery)....in other Words, being a Good Capitalist. However, this activity is, apparently, Forbidden.
It's not in any of the rules I've seen...and i doubt that it's Codified, at all.
But this Intervention, by the cop, is seen as uninterestingly commonplace, hardly worthy of comment.
My Son includes it as an aside, and only at my prompting does he elaborate.
What Message is this sending?
I don't, for one minute, think that this is an Intentional Message..the cop didn't learn it in Cop Class, didn't receive instructions from his Boss...it flows without comment or thought...just as Natural as Rain.
What I immediately Thought, was that this small act was a very Profound Statement on the Reality of our Modern World. The fact that it was unintentional, and unrecognised, makes it an even more Profound Statement.
In America, in the Early 21st Century, Capitalism is a Secular Religion...seen as the Highest Form of Social Organisation, and as an almost Divine Gift to Mankind...the State that all of Humanity is Reaching for.
The Mythology is Powerful...every man a King...Work Hard, Get Rich....Upward Mobility as an Article of Faith.
American Dream.
There are many examples of this being the case for certain Individuals...very many, in fact.
But what is the Economic Norm?
Most of us work for someone else...be that "Person" an actual Flesh and Blood Human, or the Bodiless, Paper Kind.
Furthermore, with the decline of Manufacturing, the preceding Monopolisation/Cetralisation of the Means...and the later "Off Shoring" of that Means, and the Jobs that went with it...we, in America, normally work in "Service"...be it waiting tables, or selling something made elsewhere.
The Core Service, no matter the Product being Sold, is making folks "Feel" Special...most of whom are anything but...rather ,quintessential examples of Mediocre and Homogeneous. The man at the table,B3, shaking his glass at the Waitress...insisting on a whole lemon with his tea...is made to Feel Special by her attention...(in these instances, she is rewarded with a pittance...which also Speaks Volumes)...he is made to Feel like a King.
This has become the most important "Product" that the vast majority of us sell...be it in a Cell Phone Store, a Wallmart, or on the Trading Floor.
It is a Simulacrum of the Dream...for none of us really have the Power that the Mythology implies is our Birthright.
Rather than Every Man a King, we are Cogs in the Machine of Capitalism.
The Cop's unintentional Lesson teaches this Implicitly.
This Child, with his Initiative, is breaking the Unspoken Rules....which run contrary to the Mythos.
Only those with Sanction, the Concession Stand,may use Initiative.
The rest of us must work for them.
Is this what is being "Conceded" at the Concession?
Probably not Intentionally...I don't know what the provenance of that word, used this way, is.
In this little tale, this Anecdote, that's what I derive.
Another...
The Austin News had 4 lead stories, the other night.
Both "sides" of the (Official, but Unspoken) Political Divide were represented.
What we call "Liberal" was represented by the story of a woman whose Property was "Annexed" by the City...which led to her being Forced to sell her Horses...it being a Violation of the city's Zoning Ordinances to keep Horses.
Busybody, Coercive Government...Lording it over the Individual...with One-Size-Fits-All Rule-Making...and an official "Concession" to the Individual, in the form of an expensive, Byzantine Process of Protest...whereby this woman could, albeit arduously, Contest the application of the Rules to her.
The other 3 stories were about the War on Drugs...which, in Reality and Effect, is a War on Marijuana. This is the "Conservative" portion of the newscast.
Big, Intrusive Government...Imposing Morality and Conformity on the Individual...with One-Size-Fits-All Rule-Making...and an official "Concession" to the Individual, in the form of an expensive, Byzantine Process of Protest...whereby one could, albeit arduously, Contest the application of the Rules to her/him.
One story detailed the Mandatory Drug Testing in School, in order for an Individual to participate in Extracurricular Activities...the "Out" was that no one is Forced to partake, to get Tested...but if an Individual Refuses, they are Forbidden from Participating.(it is better to follow the Rules)
Another, the necessity, according to the Chief of Police, of purchasing a number of Vans, equipped with technology that "sees" through walls, surveills houses from the street, without Warrant, in order to root out Drug Use.(We are Watching).
The last story was regarding a man who was arrested("stopped") for Possession of "Drugs"...which means, usually, Marijuana.
He was caught by a Liar...an "Undercover" Cop, presenting himself as a "Drug Dealer".("Drug Dealers", like the boy in the first story, are the Quintessential Capitalists)
(We will Find You...You Cannot Hide...and you Cannot Trust Anyone.)
These parenthetical Meanings are unacknowledged in the News Cast...
The Sanctioned Intoxicant/Relaxant, in America for most of the 20th Century, and the first decade of the 21st, is Alcohol...
What I derive from this is as follows.
Alcohol is conducive to Violence,Unreason, and a strange mixture of Passivity and Aggression.
It is a Lizard-Brain Drug...making Men into Swine.
Pot is a Front Brain Drug, making Men into Mystics.
The Implication is that we can have only so many Mystics, Front Brained Creatures...
Too many, and the System ceases to work.
The Mythology surrounding Marijuana confirms this.
The Horse Woman's experience is related in that Conformity to Arbitrary Norms is not Optional.
Horses are not allowed in the city, men are not "supposed" to have long hair, unless they're Drug Fiends...
And one must be Sanctioned,... Baptised, as it were...in order to Participate...whether it be in Band, or in Property Ownership,in Capitalism, or in the Management of one's Consciousness.
All of this runs Counter to the Mythological "Reality" we think we live in.
We Believe one thing, and Do another.
The Disconnect is unrecognised.
In this Culture, then, what is "Freedom"?
The Freedom to Conform? To do as you're told?
The Freedom to Follow the Rules...with the Threat of Force and Coercion, often Unspoken/Unthought-About, if one strays from the Path of Righteousness?
"Freedom" as Antipode to Freedom.
...to our reflexive "Understanding" of what "Freedom" means.
The Assumption,... Unexamined, as usual...is that We are a Free People...
So Free that the World is Envious of Us.
Defending this Freedom is the Purpose of the Wars...which leads, incidentally, to further Limits on Behaviour and Speech, as in the whole Matrix of "Support the Troops" Rhetoric...and “Watch what you say”.
To Challenge it is Verboten.
I submit that we have been Sold a Lie...
My , Considered, Definition of Freedom is Codified in Reciprocity...as in the Wiccan Rede, my favorite, most concise example..."An Harming None, Do as Thou Will"...
Given, to Live by this requires much Thought and Consideration...of the Consequences of Our Actions, more than anything.
In it's turn, this Consideration requires a certain Habit of Thought.
It doesn't work all that well without it...
More crumbs of Anecdotal Evidence are to be found in the Marijuana Culture, as opposed to the (more or less official) Alcohol Culture.
Potheads, when relatively Unmolested, are known for their Habits of Sharing...be it Munchies or Weed...Avoiding Unnecessary Conflict...and an Egalitarian Do as Thou Wilt...
Drinkers, on the other hand, are known for Belligerence...and for the guarding of one's drink,girl,etc.
The one is about Us; the other, Me.
Of course, this is not Universal...and there are many Variables that influence the Zeitgeist of a given situation...for instance, when Potheads are oppressed,actively sought out, they tend to become more like Drinkers. They guard their Stash, even from friends...
Conversely, Drinkers, when certain Variables are just so, are Amicable, Sharing, and Tolerant..
I realise that these are Generalisations...and that they come to me, at best, second hand,(one, filtered through the Mind of an eight-year-old)
...but Generalisations have their uses...and I believe that these, particular Generalisations, are ,on the whole, Accurate....from my own Experience.
That given, one is led to ask: why would a civilisation discourage the one, and encourage the other?
Again, I doubt that a "Decision" was made....the Smoky-Room Meme...it simply, Is....a Function of Our Culture, Unexamined, Unarticulated, and Unspoken...but Operative, nevertheless.
The Answer to this Dilemma, it occurs to me, is stated, Implicitly, above...Front-Brain/Lizard-Brain.
Sharing/Guarding. Cooperation/Competition.Aformity/Conformity.
As in the first Anecdotes, our Civilisation requires the latter of all these Syllogisms.
If the Former were allowed to run rampant, Civilisation would Change...and Change runs contrary to Status Quo.
These Musings of mine, on such Commonplaces, might seem Farfetched...Insane, even...which, ultimately Proves the Point.
Examples of this confront us every day...usually Unnoticed, Unremarked...
They are the Jungian Things-Behind-Things...
The Archetypal Soup to our Bits of Celery and Potato.
….....................................
Arguing with Geese. Episode # 10,123 (a Parable)(2014)


I went out to the Library/Monastery, today, bright and early.
We were all out there yesterday, unloading a trailer full of sand for the floor of the shop(fireproof, and the better to see the snakes on).
So I was a little worse for wear this morning.
I set up the ancient kiddie pool in what used to be the garden, between my place and Mom's, then went and opened gates on the way to where the Geese are, now...out behind Mom's, where the goats used to live.
Herded those ninnies all the way around the front, over the little dike, and to the Pool.
They stood there, looking at the water coming from the faucet, and muttered amongst themselves.
Then they wandered around the old garden...all in a knot...nibbling at grass seedheads, and muttering...keeping one eye out of 40 on me, at all times.
Having neglected to place chairs strategically around the route, I pushed them further...all the way into my old yard, under the big Oak.
Set up a sprinkler(one of their favorite things), and backed down the drive, towards Mom's...then back along the road, out of sight, and into the Library that way, stealthily.
I got into reading...checking on them every ten minutes or so.
They stood in a knot, muttering, for an hour.
Staring at the sprinkler.
Panting in the heat.
Then they, as one, waddled on over to Mom's.
I repeated the entire procedure.
Back and forth, in the 100-200 yards between Monastery and Mom's.
Staring at the pool, staring at the sprinkler...and thirsty.
As I've said, Geese will look at a newly opened gate for a month, ere they'll venture through it.
What I'm doing is re-writing their code...or at least attempting to.
As usual in such dealings with Geese, I can't help but think about the vast majority of ordinary rural Texans, as I have known them.
I'll repeat this Goose-Herding activity for a week, or a month...however long it takes for it to become “Normal”.
Put my place on the Goose-Map of their world, that they carry in their tiny brains.
Eventually, they'll just come over here. It will be on the Agenda for the day.
So long as I keep the pool filled, this jaunt to the Monastery will be “What Geese Do”.

…....................................................November, 2014
Automata.
We don't Think about what we're doing...or why we're doing it...nearly enough.
There's some evidence that this feature is operative throughout the Human Species...Bottom to Top...just, as I've said, those higher up the Pile enjoy access to better Information...a broader view...and the Leisure Time to sit and Think about such things.
But even they, the “Rulers” are subject to this Automata, just to a lesser degree.
Assumptions, Unexamined.
In order for there to be any chance of conjuring the Great Work --of Reclaiming Our Civilisation from thems that stole it--we'll have to Retrain the Herd.
In the old Cattle Drives, the drovers kept their eye out for the Maverick...the old Bull who took no guff and went his own way...while the Herd would follow.
Control that one, and you control the Herd.
Most of Our Mavericks have been so coopted.
Pressed into service of the Machine.
Since the late 70's this has been so.
Note that there hasn't been a big time assassination of a Lefty Public Figure...that everyone was Certain WAS an Assassination(Paul Wellstone doesn't count, here)...since the 70's.
The Object Lesson was well taught...and well-learned, it seems.
Of course, there are indications that this state of affairs is changing...Occupy...Bernie Sanders...Liz Warren..Alan Grayson...Bill McKibben...the list is growing.
It is to be hoped that the advent of Viral Media...of 'Everyone as Journalist'...that this has made “Falling out of an Airplane”...or Getting “Eaten by Sharks”...or “Suicide by shooting oneself three times in the back of the head”...more trouble than it's worth.
I hope so.
We need Mavericks...Real Mavericks, unafraid to get out in Front...more than ever before.
That's how you steer the Bewildered Herd.
But we require Millions of them.
..................

I often harp on How the Right Wing accomplished their Counter Revolution...by, first, sending out Bulk Mailings of little Questionnaires. Those who were frightened, and therefore Motivated, enough...answered...and were put on the List of Potential Targets.(Remember, Fear is the number one Motivator of the Right...then and now).
These Potential Targets then received closer attention...first through the mail(postage paid)...then by phone(call banks and volunteers(ever increasing))...then, if they fit the Criteria(which had been established at the beginning)...they would get a knock at the door.
Upon answering the door, one would find 2-3 Nice Young Men,,,well dressed, well spoken, clean cut(now, they use women, too)...
And Eager! Brimming with Evangelical Fervor...ready to Spread the Gospel of Conservatism.
These Criteria-Fitting Targets would be Scared Shitless by the Tale Told by the Nice Young Men...not least by Confirmation of what they already Expected.
There was little Surprise Disclosure of New Scary Information.
Just a Comforting, Reassuring, “We think like you. You are not alone. You're Right...””
If they fit a more narrowing , exclusive Criteria, they might be encouraged to Volunteer(licking stamps, cold calling, maintenance of the already faithful.)
Or, if passing the last test, Encouraged to run for School Board...for County Commissioner...City Council.
Through all of this Process, the Message...the Narrative Framework (Hammered Out Beforehand)...was Flogged, Preached, Confided, Whispered and Shouted...
Reinforced.

If any of this looks somewhat familiar, that's because it comes, one could argue, from Saul of Taursus.
It is the political analog of Christian Witnessing...of Evangelizing...Preaching on Streetcorners and in Livingrooms and Kitchens.
Itinerant Preachers, holding Revivals in Tents, in School Auditoriums..
Front Porches.
Back Porches.
...and of course, at Church.

It is all about the Message, and it's Transmission into as many Minds as possible.

They melded Faith with Politics....and even with Economics.
A generic, Lowest Common Denominator version of Christianity, anodyne but with a powerful Subtext,...coupled with a Simplistic understanding of the “Correct” Ideology/Philosophy, Economics and Civics.

This Framework was infectious as hell.
It worked especially well when things were bad, out there in the country...but not too bad.
Just Right.


…................................................................
What about Us?
What's Our Narrative?
We have disowned ourselves from our past.
We were made to be ashamed of the Excess of the 60's...and of the 30's...
Never daring to think that, well, what did we expect, with a sudden release, after maybe even Millennia of Repression?
Explosions happen for reasons...and we can learn from them.
But we didn't learn from them except for the superficial parts that we were allowed to keep around...a defanged environmentalism, a laugh and point back to the land, a now regarded as perverted sexual revolution...We use their Memes ...their Words and Phrases.

Our Narrative currently consists of bits of the Language from those past struggles.
...shorn of Enthusiasm, Disconnected from an Overarching Theme, and almost exclusively in Market Language, Conservative Language:...Social Security, and other such Big Things...Hippies as part of the Fashion and Music Industries...Antiwar, Antiracist,Pro-People Fervor kept on stumps in the yard as quaint relics...the ideal of a Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Family of Humans, sharing a planet in all of our Diversity, placed deep into the closet.
All of this distilled into a Simplistic Caricature...a Cartoon of “The Left”.
(Theirs was a Cartoon, too...Justice League, GI Joe...)

We dropped our Narrative.
And let some folks of our number replace it with “Centrism”...”Third Way”...
Conceding to nearly the whole of the Criticism, fired from the Right. Running away from our Words, and the Ideas they represented.
The most Inspired among Us, we have pushed out...segregated...scattered...
Vegans don't talk to Coop Economists don't talk to Save the Whales don't talk to Human Rights Watch don't talk to Doctors without Borders. Burning Man and the Evolvers and Ravers...all on their little hills.
And all of them are trying to talk to the Democratic Party, separately, who takes their money and their votes, and leaves them exhausted and bedraggled in the morning-- without a goodbye or a working phone number.
It is often said in certain circles that, like all Movements, the 60's and the Hippies and the Radicals of 40 and a hundred years ago, contained within them their own death.
That they were Too Radical...and were, thus, a Failure...to be remembered only as a warning.
I, on the contrary, think that We should take the Good that came out of those Ages of Experimentation...and Improve upon it.
We haven't really had that conversation, in enough places.
We seem to be afraid to talk about it, having internalised the wall to wall caricature:
“Union Thugs” “Dirty Hippie” “Feminazi””Baby Killer””Gay Agenda””Tree Huggers””Marching in Lockstep”(!?)
”Big Government Liberal”
“Stalin”
“Unamerican”
It's near Taboo in almost every Southern place that I've been...Texas to Florida....to have a conversation about those times,about what they Meant, without the perfunctory Denials and Condemnations.
We should have that conversation, any way.
We should Own the Good that came out of those past Struggles.
We...in the broadest sense...must write our Narrative.
For 2014-- For now.
...and stop letting our Foes do it for us.
A Message...Simple... containing fluffy seeds of Bigger, Broader things, that blossom in the Minds where they blow.
They have their Dog Whistles...their Mothership, disseminating Marching Orders--
we need a Conch Shell...a Shofarr...a Tarzan Yell...an Orgasmic Moan.
A Dandelion.

The Right, from the late 70's onward, built and maintained their Movement with the Worst parts of Human Nature...Fear and Loathing, Jealousy and Greed.
Powerful, yet somehow Weak,Enemies and Scary Monsters.

We should build ours on the Best Parts.
Compassion and Reason, Tempering one another.
Diversity and Connection.
Pluralism...Mindfulness...
and the Courage to Experiment.
Talk about them incessantly, Argue about them... because nailing them down is for later.
I'm not talking about Policy...about Planks in the Platform...
I'm talking about Thinking and Talking into Existence the Nebula from which such stars are formed.
About Radical Inclusion...about welcoming all manner of Ideas into the Compost Pile of our Discourse together...and seeing what springs forth.
I'm talking about Philosophy.
We all should be.
Can't have a Movement without it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Take the Handmaid's Tale,

Take the Handmaid's Tale,

http://houseofpublicdiscourse.blogspot.com/2014/04/what-would-christian-reconstructionism.html

and add in Bladerunner:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/18/vote-all-you-want-the-secret-government-won-change/jVSkXrENQlu8vNcBfMn9sL/story.html

and I think that's an accurate representation of where auto-pilot will get us.
Plus, maybe, Aeon Flux.
….....................................
Or:
http://www.newphilosopher.com/articles/prosperity-paradox/
Essentially, Star Trek...with some of the features of Idiocracy.

which world do you want to work towards?

The Stupid and Narrowminded , whipped silly by the Greedy,have been in charge of things for far too long.
Enough!
Education has always been the Left's...the Cooperators'...number one weapon against the Into the Cave! Crowd.
Enough with the Postmodern Ennui...Alienation...all that jazz...
Let us Assert ourselves.
Let us stop being intimidated by the Worst Among Us.
We'll make a Better World.
Period.
All of their fantastical prescriptions have been tried, and found wanting.
Our Prescriptions...the one's we've been able to implement...have worked.
Not perfectly, but nearer to the Ideal, than the alternative.(New Deal, Great Society, etc)
It is way past time to stand the fuck up.
Look them in the eye, and glare.
They'll either punch you in the face, or sit down and shut up.
The current strategy of Polite Retreat is unacceptable.
I wanna see a “Fuck You!” Wing of the Democratic Party.
My flag has a Middle Finger on it.

Audeamus!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tell Me

What is this “socialism” you speak of?
Is it “Obamacare”?....that market based paean to Big Insurance?
Is it your Medicare? Social Security?
The Interstate Highway System?
What is that “capitalism” you speak of?
You mean that thing we do that virtually insures that actual Small Farmers go into perdition?
That Walmart is the only place in much of Rural America to buy toilet paper?
That thing we do that insures that the Big Casino that you all put in charge of the Global Economy gets to externalise it's Fuck-Ups into the Commons? Onto all of us Little Fish?
That “Capitalism”?
Tell me about “Deregulation” ….of the Very Big...and the Hyper-Regulation of the Very Small and even the Medium...How the layering of Laws and Rules onto Everyone except the Aristocracy that “doesn't exist” is a Perfect Expression of Freedom....
Tell me how Honeywell is a “small business”.
How Con-Agra is a “Small Family Farmer”....and the Salt of the Earth....
Tell me how the largest fictional and Supra-National entities on Earth are “just people”...but how Unions are not.
Remind me of how defunding/eradicating Pensions and other Benefits are not Broken Promises...and should be excused as necessary for the maintenance of that Third Lakeside Mansion...
Tell me how Rules for Businesses...especially the Very Large Kind...are somehow a Bad Thing...because Corporate Moguls are Moral and Just...and always do the Right Thing.
How Avarice is the Foundation of a Moral and Just Society...and how a Dude named Jesus said as much....how Deontological Constraints are inimical to True Freedom...and that the Ends Justifying the Means always...Always...leads to the Best Outcome for all involved.
Tell me , again, about the “New Economy” that is waiting in the wings to replace the Manufacturing that just had to leave for the Third World...
Tell me how “Free Trade Agreements” are in Everybody's Best Interest....how the Environment is an Ashtray...and how Perpetual, Exponential Growth is a rational thing to expect on a Finite Planet.
Remind me, again, that the sprinkle I feel on the top of my head isn't Urine from the Corner Office Balcony...that it is instead the Sweet Rain of Economic Prosperity, that the Good God, Market, has sent to fall gently upon us all....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Stupidity



(http://www.alternet.org/media/science-fox-news-why-its-viewers-are-most-misinformed?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark)
(http://www.alternet.org/media/why-conservatives-opt-propaganda-over-reality?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark)

I instruct my boys thusly:
“The first step on the path to Wisdom is “I don't Know””...and “Ignorance is curable with effort...but Stupid is always a Terminal Condition.”
The stories linked above are further proof that a large portion of the folks we share the country with can no longer be considered Ignorant, and therefore Curable. Instead, they are Stupid.
Stupid, and well trained in the usage of a set of rhetorical habits that further confuse and poison the “Debate”, and therefore, the Commons.
How many times has a Right Winger hollered at me to “Do some research”?
Or to “Broaden where I get my information”...the implication being that I, as a self described Liberal, must get my information only from “Left Wing Propaganda”?
Of course, these hollerers never...not once...offer up suggestions to accomplish this end...which is telling, I think.
Never have they told me to watch Fox...or to listen to Rush...or read World Net Daily.
Never.
Not once.
Indeed, when I take this crazy trait into account..per-emptively...in my online arguing, in other words, when I deliberately refrain from linking to Wiki, or Msnbc or Alternet, because I know full well what my interlocutors will reflexively say...when I instead link to the Wall Street Journal, or to Forbes...even to Fox “News”(on the rare occasion that they accidentally get things right)...I am lambasted for those Sources, as well.
You just can't “win” an argument with these people...because they're Stupid...
And not just Stupid, but fucking Proud of their Stupidity.
They wear Stupidity like a uniform, believing(I think) that it is Knowledge.
They wave Stupidity around like a Flag.
...and the hardest thing is that when you present evidence, all but irrefutable to anyone else, that contradicts their Belief in their Stupidity....then YOU are the Stupid one!
You see, Liberals are the ones who “Drink the Koolaide”...just as “Liberals are the Source of Violence in this country”(really,lol)...and “Liberals want to put “Real Americans “ in camps, for seeking “Truth””...and on and on.
It makes me want to become even more of a Hermit than I already am...but it's my fucking country, too...dammit!
It's the place where my kids will grow up.
It's where I live.
….so I feel deeply that I have a Responsibility to counter all of the Stupid and Dangerous Bullshit that is thrown around and believed as “Fact” by so many of my countrymen.
I fear that we, in the “Reality Based Community” have already lost.
That we are already in a New Dark Age of...not Ignorance, that would leave an opening for Hope...but of Stupidity, malicious and evil....regarding itself as Truth and Goodness.
Falsehood, masquerading as the Real World.
I've lamented this for more than a decade, now...but it just gets worse.
Instead of naming our current time as the Anthropocene Epoch, I think it's more reasonable to name it the Age of Stupid.
The poem that's been in my mind since just after 911 is much more apt to our current predicament than I would like:

“”The Triumph of Dulness
from The Dunciad

In vain, in vain,---the all-composing hour
Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the power.
She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying rainbows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
The sickening stars fade off the ethereal plain;
As Argus' eyes by Hermes' wand oppressed,
Closed one by one to everlasting rest;
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after Art goes out, and all is night.
See sulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of casuistry heaped o'er her head!
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defense,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all. “”
-Alexander Pope, the Dunciad.

I tremble for the Future.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Dearest Skippy,

Tony,(perkins)

I just watched you get creamed by Mr Olson on Faux.
Mr Olson, and that other guy, handled the rest of your protestations with dispatch.
But this little snippet:
(from http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/fox-news-host-grills-tony-perkins-whats-the-damage-to-you-if-your-neighbors-are-gay-married/)

“Perkins insisted that his children would be “taught values and morals against what I teach as a parent at home.” “

That is for me to tackle.
So your kids might learn something about this big ol' crowded world that you don't like?
My wife and I are continually re-teaching American and World History, after our boys get home from school.
We are forced to do this, as my parents were, because people like you, and the folks you run with, keep hollering every time any real history sneaks in.
Like how we're a Secular Nation, by design.
Like how Thomas Jefferson was a Deist.(I have all of his writings, including the Jefferson Bible, on the shelf)
The story of the Progressive Movement, the Free Thinkers, the Labor Movement, the Beats and Hippies, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Womyn's Rights...and the Whole History of Religion in the USA, and what came before.
Good, Bad and Disgusting.
We have to teach the Rest of the Story, because timid little power hungry shits like you, scream bloody murder whenever folks like us insist that our Whole Story be taught.
So cry me a river, Skippy.
You share this world with millions of other People...most of whom don't believe in the same tired old mythology that you do.
Get over it.

Thank you,
Amfortas the Hippie

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Privatised Health and Pandemic Stupidity



“There's no such thing as Society.”-Margaret Thatcher.
“Government IS the Problem.”-St. Ronald

The scariest disease on the planet arrives in Texas.
It is met with a near-failure of our Public Health System.
Nurses' computer systems can't talk to Doctors' computer systems.
A Nurse apparently doesn't know that Liberia is in West Africa, where Ebola lives.
Training for such an eventuality is haphazard, at best.
It took nine days for the Public Health System to finally get around to hiring a company to go to Patient Zero's apartment, and remove the soiled bedding and whatnot, and for the man's family to also be removed from that apartment, and into a more secure environment, a house in a “gated community”, apparently owned by the County Judge's buddies.
The CDC is scrambling to get up to speed, after “some people” saw fit to “pay” for exploding Tax Cuts by Cutting the budget of that Agency.
...and we're very busy closing Planned Parenthood clinics, attempting to outlaw Contraception....cutting taxes on very wealthy people...and continuing to Deregulate and Defund everything that still resembles the Commons.
For almost 40 years, a certain strain of Ideology has infected our nation....an Ideology that maintains it's Utopian Fantasy, that the Great God of the Market(World without end...) will solve all of our problems, if we just “get the Government off of our backs”.
The CDC, the NIH, Public Hospitals and other agencies and systems have been defunded-- their budgets cut to the bone—because those who worship “Free Market” are averse to anything Public.
Everyone is an Island, according to this hyper-selfish, Randian worldview.
Patient Zero is...”On his own”...
It's bad enough that, on a normal school day, folks have to send their virus shedding children to school, due to lack of affordable childcare...as well as being unable to take a day off to care for them, lest they lose a day's pay, or even their job.
That's what Market(Holy, Holy) requires of us...never mind the preventable spread of communicable disease.
A handful of ignorant and fearful folks are afraid of Vaccines...and old, nearly defeated diseases come roaring back...Measles, Pertussis...
Speaking of School...thanks to “Governor” Rick and the gang, cleaning staff has been cut severely...how clean are those doorknobs...water fountains?
Nurse's Aids and other essential support staff are some of the lowest paid folks in the country, and entirely lacking even the most basic Worker Rights and Protections.
Anything “Public” is seen with extreme suspicion, if not outright hostility, and the usual logical fallacies are brought to bear to oppose them.
Indeed, tune in next week for what I'm sure will be a fine example of Ad Hominem, Misdirection and the Appearance of Substantive Argument...all the while ignoring the Meat of what I'm on about.
The Ebola outbreak currently raging in West Africa is an excellent example of why Public Health is essential. A Robust Public Health System is what has eradicated Small Pox, Polio, Measles, Dysentery, Typhoid...on and on, for the last Century or more.
It wasn't Pfizer...and it sure as hell wasn't Goldman Sachs.
Public Health is what stands in the way of things like Ebola, or even the Flu.
The essential Primary Research and Development, and often the later “Ordinary” R&D, of many pharmaceuticals and especially Vaccines,comes right out of Taxpayer Funded Systems, and are then handed over to giant multinationals, who patent and profit from them with little or no acknowledgment of the Public on which they rely.
From Public Sewer Systems, to Public Water Supplies...even to Public Schools...Some endeavors are simply Not conducive to “Privatisation”.
A look at Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and , yes, Texas, should be enough to dispel the Mythology consistently peddled by some people, lo these past 40 years. The Results of the Experiment are in, and it sure looks like Dysfunction, to me.
All of that Dysfunction is the result of Choices, made by True Believers in the Great God Market. Those True Believers are currently attempting to cast blame on “Liberals” for every problem arising from their own Mythos ...as if Actual Liberals have had any power at all in my lifetime...unless perhaps one counts Richard Nixon....
It is not only quite Stupid, it is Dangerous, this surreal fantasy world.
So, no...in answer to a question asked of me a month or more ago...this is Barely Civilisation...rather, Civilisation is the thinnest of Patinas. The Maintenance thereof requires work, and funding, and commitment....as well as judicious application of Reason.
Our simplistic, bumpersticker “leaders” in Austin and DC have been found wanting, taking a sand blaster to that Patina of Civilisation, instead of reinforcing it with a few more coats.
To be clear, I don't expect Ebola to become that big of a problem in the USA...even in such “Third World-ish” parts of it like the Valley, or Alabama.
I worry a lot more about the Flu, and the random Gut Bug, and about the families who don't have the luxury of a stay-at-home parent, and must send their sick kids to school to mingle.
Given the constant irresponsible Fear mongering of Fox, et alia, and some of our congressional employees, we worry overmuch about the Wrong Things, and are hampered in any reasonable efforts to tackle the Right Things by an outdated Mythology of Hyperindividualism, and the continuing Destruction of the Commons.
Greg Abbott, and folks like him, share a poisonous Ideology that is much more of a threat to our collective Health than things like Ebola are ever likely to be.



Ego sum, Intrepidus,



On Alt Energy

On Alt Energy

Riff on this, specifically:(http://www.vox.com/2014/9/29/6849723/solar-power-net-metering-utilities-fight-states)

Boo Fucking Hoo.
The Giant Utilities' Business Model is no longer viable...and they want the Government to step in and protect them from competition.
After all these years of “Free Market!!!”, and “Deregulate!!!!”...and an insistence that TINA, There Is No Alternative, to gigantic Hydraulic Empires, Centralized Power Plants, with their attendant spiderweb of wires strung across the land....after all of that, now, when a viable alternative presents itself,...now they want “Uncle Sugar” to step in and protect them from the Little Guys.
To stomp down the Individual and Neighborhood level Power Generation with which they cannot compete...
Folks at the American Society of Engineers have been saying for years that the Grid is in terrible shape...that it would cost Billions to Upgrade and Fix.
That Grid, when working perfectly, is prone to ice and tree damage, damage due to Bubba running his truck into a pole, and malfunctions due to the long term failure to maintain all of the myriad parts and pieces that constitutes the thing...let alone the fact that around 40% of the power generated at those gigantic pollution mills(Power Plants), is “Lost in Transmission”...it simply radiates into the surrounding air.
The Grid must be rebuilt...that is a Fact.
But we are not Obligated to Rebuild it in it's existing, 20th Century form.
Rather, we should rebuild it the way the Original World Wide Web was constructed.
Decentralised, Interconnected, and therefore Robust.
There's a better way, if We can get the current beneficiaries of the current paradigm to turn loose, and to get out of the way.

Arguing with Geese. Episode # 10,123



I went out to the Library/Monastery, today, bright and early.
We were all out there yesterday, unloading a trailer full of sand for the floor of the shop(fireproof, and the better to see the snakes on).
So I was a little worse for wear this morning.
I set up the ancient kiddie pool in what used to be the garden, between my place and Mom's, then went and opened gates on the way to where the Geese are, now...out behind Mom's, where the goats used to live.
Herded those ninnies all the way around the front, over the little dike, and to the Pool.
They stood there, looking at the water coming from the faucet, and muttered amongst themselves.
Then they wandered around the old garden...all in a knot...nibbling at grass seedheads, and muttering...keeping one eye out of 40 on me, at all times.
Having neglected to place chairs strategically around the route, I pushed them further...all the way into my old yard, under the big Oak.
Set up a sprinkler(one of their favorite things), and backed down the drive, towards Mom's...then back along the road, out of sight, and into the Library that way, stealthily.
I got into reading...checking on them every ten minutes or so.
They stood in a knot, muttering, for an hour.
Staring at the sprinkler.
Panting in the heat.
Then they, as one, waddled on over to Mom's.
I repeated the entire procedure.
Back and forth, in the 100-200 yards between Monastery and Mom's.
Staring at the pool, staring at the sprinkler...and thirsty.
As I've said, Geese will look at a newly opened gate for a month, ere they'll venture through it.
What I'm doing is re-writing their code...or at least attempting to.
As usual in such dealings with Geese, I can't help but think about the vast majority of ordinary rural Texans, as I have known them.
I'll repeat this Goose-Herding activity for a week, or a month...however long it takes for it to become “Normal”.
Put my place on the Goose-Map of their world, that they carry in their tiny brains.
Eventually, they'll just come over here. It will be on the Agenda for the day.
So long as I keep the pool filled, this jaunt to the Monastery will be “What Geese Do”.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

listserves make me livid






I get all these fucking emails from Tea People....
....................

to me


Right now, conservatives have the opportunity of a lifetime.

Just six seats separate us from control of the Senate. And since that’s decided in November, most Americans are deciding their votes right now.

Josef, this is the most important time to spend on messaging and outreach efforts.

Democrats are on track to outspend us by millions in every state.

Donate right now to help voter outreach efforts like making calls, knocking on doors, sending emails, and hosting events.

This is the hard work that comes with supporting candidates on a grassroots level. Unlike our opponents, we don’t have funds from Hollywood celebrities to rely upon. We have something better: the support of people like you and your neighbors, regular Americans who believe in the conservative message.

Please support a Republican Senate majority.

Thanks,

Senator Tim Scott

//////////////////////////////////
Tim,
(shakes head) Tim, Tim, Tim...
I DO NOT Support y'all.
I'm only on your frelling list because some of my employees are Goptea Creatures(Conaway, Cruz and Cornyn).
I holler at them, a lot...and they put me on these fucking lists.
I get mail, too...which is good in winter for kindling.
You all will never, ever, get any money out of me.
Your policies suck(pissing on us is mean), your philosophy is full of holes(and some oozy brown substance), and y'all are repeatedly caught out in lies, duplicity and outright hypocrisy.
I support space colonization specifically to give people like you something to do...someplace else.
Barring that, please locate the rock you all came out from under, and crawl back under it.
We have a country to repair.
Thanks,

Dope



As I've touched on, by the time my Mom was in College, at Sam, I was well versed in Mythology, and even had a rudimentary introduction to Neitszche under my belt(one would think that I'd learn how to spell Uncle Friedrich's name, after so many years,lol).
By that time, I had also been immersed in Deluxe Encyclopedia Britannica's exhaustive expositions on Counterculture, Mystery Religion, Social Deviance, and the like.
I had read, and re-read, Campbell's dense and erudite Masks of God, vol. 4, “Creative Mythology”, which has determined a large portion of my reading list for the rest of my life.
So there I was, wandering around a college campus in June—a college that had as one of it's focii “Criminal Justice”, and thus had a rather large collection of everything then known regarding psychoactive substances.
Campbell sent me.
I learned all about Marijuana, the Psychedelics, Cocaine, Amphetemine, the various Opiates, PCP, and the numerous Pharmaceutical concoctions.
The former 2 are what intrigued me the most.
Their association with “Mind Expansion” and the “Ineffable”--with “Direct Access” to...Something...variously, the “Thing Behind the World”, “The Roots of Things”, “The Divine Ground of Being”...
I focused on these because of my interest in Mystery Religions, Philosophy and Roots.
So many years later, when I had occasion to sample my first Joint, I knew that it was, 1. Safer than Beer, and 2. worth whatever risk involved.
Wulf and the Cephalopod had picked me up in Wulf's Blue Chevy Van...I got the hammock, swinging in the back.
We went to a buddy of theirs house on the outskirts...a buddy whose parents were “Cool”, in the parlance of the time.
There were probably a dozen or so other dudes in that buddy's Gameroom, and 2 fat Hoglegs were rolled, and began making their way around the room.
Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” was on a turntable, offset lighting with many candles, and a limited supply of beer...from which I abstained.
The first “Hit” made me cough.
I was encouraged to take another, deeper, Hit...which made me cough like I had never coughed before, and I was HIGH.
Viewing the room and it's contents as if through a gauzy veil, Time slowed to a crawl, the Music(at this point, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,2”) was palpable...a Physical Presence in the room, more real than the laughing, more experienced users...The Taste, not only in my mouth...but in my Nose...for the first time, Smell was so intimately connected with Taste...
Here was what I had been reading about for so many years.
I was given “The Roach”...and the next day, alone, (a Sunday), I walked into the woods, between the Water Tower and the Football Stadium, and smoked it in my Dad's ancient Briar Pipe.
Sat there, under a Tree.
After that, I always preferred(Still Do) to partake of such things in Natural Settings(per Leary, at the Sam Houston Library).
Two years later, after I was long done with High School, when Pokey and Roqufort and I were living in the little apartment, I was given a Hit of LSD.
I took it, and went home, fearful of what Pokey would say...and ended up with what I would later understand to be a “Bad Trip”, afraid that she would somehow know, and disapprove.
Some months later, after finally discussing the matter with both of them, we procured three Hits, and took them at the apartment.
Waiting...anticipating...finally getting Bored...we piled in my Little Red Truck and went for a Cruise.
At the Railroad Crossing in the tiny adjacent town, we stopped for a train to pass.
That's when it hit.
The passing railcars melded into each other, and we were flushed....it was time to make our way home.
This was accomplished with giggles, in spite of the apprehension...very careful driving...hyper-aware of everything.
We went skinny dipping in the Pool(it was after midnight), and Pokey and I repaired to our room, and had the best sex ever.
After these two experiences with Acid, I began to treat it, almost almost accidentally, as a sort of Sacrament.
It was serious business...whereas Pot was the “Lesser Mystery”...meant for Relaxation and Sociality.
This “Greater Mystery” was better when approached with Respect and after suitable Preparation.
Set and Setting.

In contrast, all of the Stoners were after Escape...Forgetting...Unthought.
They were seeking Release from the less than Optimal circumstances of their lives; from crazy parents to abusive uncles to broken homes and economic dysfunction.
I was after Enlightenment...and the Acid Parties I'd put on, later, were meant to accomplish just that.
Much later, during my Wild Years, I went way over the line...far from the Reservation...in this Quest.
Tequila, LSD, Pot and Psilocybin...those years on the Road were an exercise in Beyond.
Like Kesey's “Further”.(I didn't read Wolfe's “electric koolaide acid test” or any Kesey, till much, much later...but when I did, I knew exactly what they were talking about.)
After the Wild Years, at Miami Apartments at Sam, the Shroomcicle Summer was a continuation of the Experiment...a three month long Shroomfest participated in by a disparate collection of cultures and races and life-experiences:
Redneck Prison Guards, Rich College Kids, a Tribe of Black Folks, Palestinians, and Future FBI Agents(!!)...all swirling around the Complex, centered on the Pool and on my place.
I had expected to continue all of this once I arrived in Austin...but, aside from a few isolated Psychonautic Excursions, as extreme and intense as any, this period was done.
By the time of the Trailer Park, I was overcome with not only disappointment at the sad, yuppified state of Austin, but with the felt encirclement of being surrounded by too many people.
Add in the Uphill Nature of attempting to “Make a Living”, and I wanted nothing more than to retreat to some Wilderness area.
The PTSD from the Cop Persecution was asserting itself, and the all encompassing Otherness...Alien-Hood...that I had always felt, was growing unbearable.
It is only now, 20 years later, that I feel Strong enough to “Go There”, again.
The problem, of course, is where to procure Psilocybe Cubensis.
Wasson, Hoffman and Ruck's remarkable book, which I haven't read since that Summer at Sam Houston, when I was 13, just came in the mail.
30th Anniversary Printing.
It's been out of print and impossible to find for all these years.
“Road to Eleusis” is essential reading, for an understanding of Myth and Religion, in my own opinion.
I have sort of confirmed their assertions, in my own experiences.
What I have never found in any Church, I found in Psychedelia...and even in the Lingering Long Term “Attitude” that such substances can impart to one so inclined.
The River, the big, sprawling and ancient Oak, the Hilltop...
These are the True Churches, for me...and this is directly attributable to Learning How... taught, with Subtle Forcefulness, by various Psychoactive Alkaloids.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pinchegoat.



Began the day as a garbage man...
no companions... unobtrusive, or otherwise.(Ha!)
I had loaded the bulk of the detritus from what was my nascent Shop, here in town, a week ago.
Half a trailerload.
So out to the Monastery, to gather the strategically placed drums...all 3...now filled with 9 months of beer bottles and other assorted flotsam.
Dumped them in the trailer.
Took a manure fork to the little trash pile from 13 years ago, when the trash man decided he wouldn't come down our dead end road anymore, and I experimented with various methods of incineration.This pile has been deep in a brush thicket for 10 years. A man with a bobcat uncovered it, and other things.
That was a further 2 barrels.
Went to mom's and got her mountain of trashbags from the weird cage on wheels in her barn(to keep the cats out).
Tied netting all over the mess, and took dirt to town.
Parked the truck, as I'll have help manana, and it's Free Dump Day...
And collapsed.

Hours later, neighbor from behind us shows up...says the Goat is loose...after his Nannies.
This Goat..whom I have christened Pinchegoat...was here when we got back from Galveston, last July.
The “Landlord”...wife's Uncle...had dropped it off, and not bothered to tell anyone. I make sure he has water, and dump some pellets over the fence on occasion, but I regard him as a minor annoyance.
Until today.
He hit Puberty, I guess.
Smelled all those girls behind us.
And climbed the six foot chicken wire fence, into a mesquite tree, and daintily
danced away...into a little gap between the fences, that was supposed to be an alley in some distant time.
Then he finds a hole, as goats are wont to do, gets over to my next door neighbor's place, into the watermelon patch...but those don't interest him, today.
He smells those girls.
He's so close, now.
They're right across this other fence, calling seductively to him.
But this fence is that 5 foot welded stock panel.

By the time I locate Pinchegoat, he has worn a trail, all along the back fence of next door neighbor's place...pacing frantically.
As I approach, he jets into the hole and back into the Gap/Former Alley(about 2 ½ feet wide.
So it's back out to the road(these are double deep lots), and all the way back to the back of our place, and poke him with mu stick through the fence, and away he goes...back to next door neighbor's.
I trudge all the way to the road, grabbing the Big Ass Net along the way....and all the way back again, keeping close to my fence so he stays away from the hole.
I plug the hole with random wire and sticks...and attempt to casually sidle up to him...
But No! He runs circles around me, and bolts...butts through the hole...and up the tree.
Then Wife arrives.
We finally manage to corner him in the far back corner of next door neighbor's place...and cut him off, with the help of a large and ancient truck.
So he tries to go under the truck...”git his leg!! Git his leg!!”
Wife is reluctant(she is closer, and I am by now, fit to be shot). But she complies, and I finally get over there and grab both back legs and drag his ass out from there.
I get his horns, Wife gets the back legs, and we carry him to the other side of our place, to the Wild Lot...belonging to another Uncle...and I set to work shoring up the little fence that separates that place from the rest of the place.
I've sent the boys to surveille Pinchegoat twice before they left for the Friday Night Ritual Combat. Both times, he was staring at my newly shored up fence.
It is dark, now...and I am Pain, Incarnate.
I fully expect that Pinchegoat has already escaped, and is bothering the Nannies.
Either Uncle Landlord does something about this, or I'll chase Pichegoat deeper into the Barrio...to what they call Little Mexico.
He'll soon be Cabrito.
I despise Goats.



Scattered Thoughts-9-26-2014



“Give a Republican a fish and he'll think he learned how to fish. Teach him to fish and he'll call you socialist. “= from (https://twitter.com/RepsArePeople)

So.
A Texas Goptea Operative(in a Glass House, no less) begins a sort of meme-flog
informing us that “Republicans are People, too...”(http://www.republicansarepeopletoo.com/)
When I was finished cleaning the vomit, and had settled down a little, I went and looked into it.
I have heard this whining nonsense before.
It's one of the reasons I abandoned Facebook(that, and TedCrazy's Flying Monkeys getting me banned for linking to the Wall Street Journal[Obamacare is really Heritagecare])...a Liberal can't say anything, even on his/her own FB Page, without legions of ignorant and hateful morons emerging from Subspace to challenge one's every utterance...even, on several occasions, threatening my life. Many of these Trolls had “friended” me, for some reason...apparently mistaking my Left Libertarian rhetorical flourishes, and my Arid Deadpan humor, as wholehearted agreement with every jot and tittle of their insane plans for world dominance.
I was called out for exercising my Freedom of Speech, while never threatening anyone, at all.
I hurt their little feelings. Stepped on their overlarge toes.
Goptea just doesn't understand why some folks are fed up with their Bullshit.
It's so unfair.
Ha!
I emailed the guy, with the “quit picking on us” apologia.
Haven't sent it yet...because it won't fucking matter...which is the point, after all.
They...even the relatively sane ones...have jumped onto the Turnip Truck, and held on for dear life, for lo, these 30-40 years...screaming at me for being a Commie and a Terrist Sympathiser, and Unamerican, and much much worse.
Their Weltanshauung has infected every aspect of American Life, making what Progress that had been made all but meaningless.
Pathological Myopia, and a Genetic Predisposition for Cognitive Dissonance...
A hatefully narrow idea of “Real American”...and never shrinking from casting aspersions on our asparagus(I shall plant an Eric Holder Asparagus Bed, once I get around to Gardening, again).
I feel perfectly Justified in lecturing the Rabid Right...especially those who are, in theory, My Employees.
///////////////////////////////

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/sam-brownback-kansas-paul-davis?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_article

The picture, there, of Brownback being pursued by a mob of torch-bearing folks on a combine is priceless...and, I hope, prophetic.
A little meme-thing that I've been consumed with lately is the Right's habit of running Experiments, then ignoring the Results.
Kansas is a perfect example, but there are many, many more.
Texas, for instance.
This is why they must shrink the electorate, and keep the gerrymandered districts.
This is why the Bullshit generators are always running balls to the wall...spreading Manure so thickly that very busy people, who have much to worry about already, remain befuddled...
I know lots of folks...on foodstamps, no less...who think that Obama is a Muslim Terrorist Socialist, and that Welfare is for the lazy...and that Democrats Eat Babies.
It's exhausting.

/////////////////
I've been deep into the Book, for months, now.
Around 400 pages(at least that's what the little counter sez).
It's been cathartic on many levels.
Especially the first Volume, on my life.
When I must step away from writing...usually after week long spurts of Muse Induced back pain and the eventual inability to focus any longer...I've been putting together my Shop. Fixing tools, patching holes in the roof, chasing snakes, and generally piddling, as I like to call it.
Once the Book is done, I intend to back away from the World and it's rampant Stupidity.
Get this election done, Publish the damned thing(likely on my own thin dime), and leave it on cafe tables in College Towns across Texas.(I'll be the Liberal John Galt,lol)
The Ferguson Thing, and all of the ramped up reporting on the Murderous Behaviour of far too many Cops, has the PTSD acting up, again.
Volume Two has an extended section on Cops in America, and the Eyeless denizens of country clubs and all white subdivisions who enable the racist, classist, assholery that ensues whenever a Cop confronts a Black Person, or a Hippie.(why do the Coppers figure that a Hippie is sure to be carrying weapons? Hippies= violent Crazy People? Go figger...)
I really need to finish this...and Retire.
I've given up on the Local Dems.
They cannot be pried from their Hillforts with any crowbar that I have identified...so I look forward to going into the Monastery....for realz...and for good.
/////////////

We have, at long last, Joined the Lower Middle Class.
The long denied Degree...denied unjustly and probably illegally...finally came through...
and Wife is a Real Teacher.(cue Celestial Trumpets)
So we're looking at building a modest abode out at Mom's.
Hope to be out of this Shack in Town, by this time next year.
Poverty is a great educator.
One learns to make money go a long way.
With the first Real Check, of course, we went crazy.
Took the boys to Main Event in Austin, while I went to two Bookstores, and spent way too much on Books. Wife purchased some new clothes.
All of this Indulgence, and we still managed to pay down some debt, and re-stock the pantry.
All these years anticipating this Lower Middle Class-Hood,and I now expect the Economy to Collapse at any moment.
Or an Asteroid....
or the fleet from Vega to land on the football field.
“Take me to your leader.”
/////////////////

Some books that are now in my Library:
Kerouac-Visions of Cody(that I've never read)
Hesse-Steppenwolf(just to have, as it was foundational to my Wild Years)
Kerouc-Scattered Poems(ditto)
Lysander Spooner-No Treason
Richard Hofstdter-Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
Terrence McKenna-Food of the Gods(I've been jonesing for a Shroom Experience, after almost 20 years)
Tokien-Lays of Beleriand
Zen Master Dogen-Moon in a Dewdrop
the Essential Proudhon
Guillaume Apollinaire-The Poet Assassinated
Dardot and Laval-The New Way of the World(on Neoliberal Society)...which I jumped right in to, head first. I highly recommend!

...and I'm still plowing through both Popper's 'Open Society..”Vol. 2, and Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy.
But I need new glasses...if it turns out that we cannot afford to do that on our own(glasses are incredibly expensive), I'll hafta wait til February when Medicaid will allow it...If I'm still eligible by then.(likely not)
I also picked up 2 of my favorite movies: A Man for All Seasons...and my all time favorite film(get ready to be surprised) the English Patient.
Also Dexter Gordon's Stella by Starlight and Thelonius Monk's Monk's Dream.

Back to work/Knuckle Down...attend to necessity...trod the winepress.
There's an Enclave to Construct.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

On ISIS/ISIL


Just a few random thoughts...
3 articles:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html?utm_hp_ref=world
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-aim-saudi-arabia_b_5748744.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-engelhardt/how-america-made-isis_b_5751876.html

These horrible beheadings...and crucifixions!...are a dead shrimp on a treble-hook, dangled in front of the Western World...and especially the USA.
The media is all over it...the punditry is all over it...the politicians are all over it.
The rhetoric from on high sounds like a weak tea version of the rhetoric of 12 years ago. The rhetoric in the comments all over the place sounds like a Klan Rally.
Really? “Kill them All!”?
“Send in the Air Strikes”?
And if that doesn't work, send in the Troops?
Exterminate!Exterminate!
This has worked so well, in the past.
Perhaps this is exactly what the lunatics want(both theirs, and ours).
Another, very interesting, article:(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-vlahos/what-homers-iliad-tells-u_b_5759312.html)

This lower level rhetoric, in all the comments sections of the web, reminds me of Ferguson, and all of the hate that flooded out of the walls over that...and it reminds me of the Bush Darkness, and the stupid Hubris that led precisely to this very situation..and where a loose presidential lip let slip the word “Crusade”.
...and it reminds me of that Brzxznzski fellow(sorry, Zbig, I am not inclined to look it up, at the moment)...and the US' first foray into Afghanistan, wherein we inadvertently created both the Taliban and the proto Al Quaeda.
I am also reminded of the whole stupid waste of resources that was the “Cold War”...a war whose effects we are still very much feeling.
I think of the fall of the Ottoman Empire(think about this...an “Ottoman” is a footstool), at the end of WW1...Winston Churchill in a room full of maps and some colored markers...perhaps some darts...

And, of course, the thing that comes immediately to my mind when I hear the words “Kill them All”:


Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. ("Kill them. For the Lord knows those that are His own.")
--Arnaud Amalric , Abbot in charge of the Albigensian Crusade.

This was the shoe-horn application of 2 Timothy,”"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." “

We never fucking learn.
Chest thumping Fire Monkeys.
Tear the branch...swing it back and forth.
Then beat what you're afraid of with it.
-

Lil George and the Gang figgered they knew what they were doing...some had read Thucydides, but stopped before the disastrous attack on Syracuse.
Lil George had watched a bunch of Justice League re-runs, while failing to choke on pretzels.
Whatever.
They thought they could just wander into a complex foreign environment and blow some shit up, and all would be well.
What they did,instead, was to destabilise the entire Region.(which I still think was the actual Plan, all along..thereby sequestering all that oil for future use)
...which was already pretty destabilised, but still had several cork-fragments in the neck of the shook up bottle....one was a fella named Saddam.
A Vacuum was created, and Isil is what's filling it.(As Gomer Pyle would say,”Surprise, Surprise...”)
Now, there's very little that “We” can do to Undo our fucking Mess.
Maybe attach some big ass magnets to a few thousand drones, and send them dragging throughout the area, sucking up nails and guns and hub caps.
I don't know.
We'll all probably hafta pay for past mistakes, for a goodly time into the future...until the folks on the ground, there, get tired of the Caliphate's Bullshit, and the Mess wears itself out.
In the meantime, when thoughtful folks tell you that what you are contemplating is utterly foolish, and all but doomed to make things worse, maybe...just maybe...instead of ridiculing them...instead of calling them Traitors or “Terrist Lovers”...maybe you should listen...and revisit your numerous Assumptions.
Sheesh...

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{
Short-Medium Term...Where is Saudi Arabia? Have they no troops?
Where is the rest of the Sunni World?
Aside from breaking it in the first place, is there any good reason why the USA must deal with this, when doing so is 1. what Isil wants, and 2. guaranteed to make things worse?

Long Term...
I would start by beefing up the UN.
Educate all of these Rubes in the USA that the UN isn't gonna invade us, take ar gunz, or turn us all gaycommie.
Shuffle the security council to reflect the reality of a Multipolar World.
Send Kissinger to a nice home, with some robot puppies and no internet access....perhaps a Xanax Drip...
And Internationalise a few important places...starting with Jerusalem.
Take it away from Israel, and the Palestinians...make it a World City, belonging to Humanity.(this was the UN Plan, circa 1949)
Do the same with Baghdad.
New York. Houston, San Francisco.
The point is, Westphalian Nationalism is ever so passe...
The biggest economic entities are Supranational...which causes many problems: inability to tax and regulate, not the least among them.
Why can I not be a Citizen of Earth like Exxon?
Outside the Box, and Outside the Borders, thinking is what is required, here.



(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caedite_eos._Novit_enim_Dominus_qui_sunt_eius)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

45



I am grateful for the disembodied well wishes--received second hand from Mi Esposa,as I am no longer on FB.
I broached the 45 year line at 6:45 PM, CST, today.
However, about 8 years ago, several Doctors told me, solemnly, that my skeleton was 70 years old (then).
That would make my skeleton a ripe old 78, today.
Taking an average of 45 and 78, one arrives at 61.5 years old...which is more in line with how I feel, right now.
I worked all day in my Library, on the Mighty Tome.
Sitting, just to sit.
I did build a fire for the ribs, and place the full pan of chicken in the oven, but there were no extreme activities, today.
I felt fine.
Then, at 4 pm or so, a fast moving line of storms came racing from the south...unexpected ,even by the Weather Service.
When they had passed to the North, it was like flipping a switch.
Every joint.
Like my Mom's house had fallen on me.
I lay here, now, curled into a distorted “S”, in my nest of pillows, glad to have a wireless keyboard and a bigger monitor....and glad to have the leisure to try to decide if I think that Counselor Deanna Troi is hot...or not.
Film at 11.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Poke the Bear

In Re:
http://www.masoncountynews.com/news/117340/In Re:()
Which is in response to my own LTE:(http://www.masoncountynews.com/news/117232/)
….................................................

Wow.
It seems that I have gained somebody's attention, at least.
1. The $231/month upper cutoff for adult medicaid with a family of four that I cited was accurate, when I did the research, 2-3 years ago. I was led to a page on Texas HHS' site by someone at HHS. I stand by that, although it seems to have moved up to a whopping $298/month, today. Per your link:
http://www.medicaid.gov/AffordableCareAct/Medicaid-Moving-Forward-2014/Downloads/Medicaid-and-CHIP-Eligibility-Levels-Table_HHsize4.pdf

This still means that while your kids may be eligible for Chip or even Medicaid, if your household earns more than $298/month, the Mother and Father are not...they are deemed wealthy enough to take care of themselves.
If the adults are either Pregnant or Disabled, this, of course, changes.
Pregnancy is rather easy to prove to the state government. Disability is not, by design.
My point still stands , and was not addressed in your response.
Namely, there is a giant hole in health coverage, for a family of four, between $200-300/month....and the lowest level of eligibility for the Exchange...which is somewhere around $2400/month...last I looked.
That giant hole contains millions of your fellow Texans.
Do you have an answer?
What is the Republican Plan?
2.10th Amendment. The states are intended to be Laboratories, within the Fence that is the Constitution...a Fence around the Governments, State and Federal....and above the Floor provided by that Constitution, protecting our Rights...like the First Amendment Rights that I take advantage of again, today.
I can find no mention of either “Corporation”, “Insurance” or “Capitalism” in the Constitution, as Amended.
Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney, ran an Experiment...and it seemed to work...and was deemed superior to the terrible non-system extant before.
Why run an experiment, at all, if the results of said experiment are to be ignored?
Romneycare is a market based plan that came right out of the Heritage Foundation's answer to Hillerycare, circa 1992.
When President Obama determined that the Gop and it's Tea Party Wing would erupt into hysterics with even the mention of a Public Option(allowing the People to choose between private and public)...let alone Medicare for All...he and the Democratic Party decided to use the Republican Plan. Ergo, from near the beginning of the “debate”,Obamacare was a Compromise with the GOP. It's Your Plan!
( http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204369404577211161144786448)
Does the GOP have another Plan?
If so, what is it? Maybe the “Bring a Chicken to your Doctor Plan”?
3.Someone, in a nation of millions, falls through the relatively small cracks in the healthcare system there, and you use that as an indictment of the entire system. It is truly sad that your friend in New Zealand fell through those relatively small cracks.
However,I know many folks, right here in Texas, who have fallen through the very large cracks in the Nonsystem that came before...some fell to their deaths.
I fell through our large cracks for nigh on seven years, until I was caught by a tattered thread.
This state of affairs was met with complacency...”well, that's just the way things are.”....and with overwhelming Disbelief and a default Assumption of Fraud.
The all but unregulated health insurance “industry” ran roughshod over large parts of the American People.
Again, your letter didn't contain a remedy for this cruel and unusual situation.
“Tort reform”, so that it's more difficult than ever to seek redress for screwups in surgery? “Health Savings Accounts” for the vast majority of Americans who have little to no ability to save, given almost 40 years of wage stagnation, relative to Inflation? “Shopping” in other states for marginally different but still all but unregulated Insurance that still could not guarantee that it would be there when you needed it, even when you were fully paid up? It's Utopian...disconnected from the real world and the real economy...why not just mandate that no one get sick?
What's the Republican Plan?
4.President Obama modified the implementation, yes..as did G. Bush Jr. , before him in the rollout of the Medicare Drug Thing. That website had “issues”, too. I don't remember calls for Bush's deportation, Impeachment or Hanging for that problematic rollout. Dems did not, to my recollection, stymie every single effort to get the thing up and running...nor did they blanket the country with a thick coat of lies about that program.
It is routine for the Executive Branch to do this.
Changing Law is Messy, to say the least.
It would have been a lot less messy, if the GOP had supported their own Plan, instead of going crazy with the hysterical BS and misinformation...which is another one of my Points that you did not address. It was the Movement to which you belong that did all of that. It is disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

5. Ah... Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen would be run out of the GOP, today. He was a Moderate in a party that still had even a Liberal Wing.(I possess an LP album of Sen. Dirksen speaking eloquently and at length about Freedom and it's defense) I should have been more clear, and said “Right Wingers opposed every single advancement for non-rich, non-corporate People, since at least the 30's. “.That's a historical Fact.
My bad.

MLK, while purposefully Non Partisan, was a Liberal, by definition.
The “Southern Democrats” included such luminaries as Strom Thurmond...and most switched parties with the “Southern Strategy”.
My issue is , and has always been, with the American Right, no matter what flag they stand near.
6.As far as my Tone, and my Anger, and whether or not I can refrain from preaching to any Tom ,Dick or Jane who wishes to Register to Vote...wow.
For one thing, there is absolutely NO prohibition on Political Speech by a Deputy Voter Registrar(http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/pamphlets/deputy.shtml)
Be that as it may, I resolved when I took the Oath that I would register anyone who approached me, within the rules provided me, and only engage in Political Speech if that Speech was initiated by the other person.

So, despite your insinuations to the contrary, I am holding myself to a Higher Standard than the relevant law requires.
My Tone is mild by comparison to what I, and others , have endured from your fellow “conservatives” over the last 4 decades. The Systematic smear campaign of all things Liberal, since at least 1980, is something that should need no exposition, here. The Violent and Eliminationist Rhetoric is widespread and all too common, and your new found love of “civility” would be charming if not for the reality of the situation, which belies it. Again, your response didn't address, let alone rebut, any of my Points.
I did not mention,however obliquely, Adolph Hitler...nor did I threaten anyone, at all. I presented the Facts, as I have apprehended them, and have been as Rigorously Objective as is Humanly Possible.
My sources in this endeavor included the WSJ, AEI,Heritage, Cato, and a hundred other Non-Liberal outfits. I scrutinized the utterances of everyone from Glenn Beck to our own Mike Conaway. I paid particular attention to the Congressional Research Service, and to Congressional Testimony spanning a century. What sources are currently acceptable to you?
I am well aware that I will likely never convince you three.
I never intended to.
I was speaking to all of the Non-Gop/Tea folks out there,who may need encouragement and even fervor to engage in the choosing of Our Employees, in Austin and D.C..


I stand by my words, whether you like or agree with them, or not.
I am Angry, yes...and I will remain Angry, until My Country behaves in a manner that comports with it's high minded Ideals.
I make no apologies for that Anger.

Ego sum,intrepidus,







Thursday, August 7, 2014

Frustrated



Frustrated Artist?
Never thought of myself thataway...
Coming along on my little Shop, now there's just running power to it, and mounting the big red fan, and repairing the old part of the roof.
So now I'm attempting to clean all of the tools, organise, and fix all of the damned power tools(bench sanders, and the like)...either clean out the mud daubers from the windings, or replace a switch or a motor.
Of course, I'll need supplies, at some point...nuts and bolts and things...sand paper.
That will all hafta wait till I can pay off the hardware store.
I still have yet to finish getting the old small forge in order...mounting the fan, and greasing the ancient geared blower.
There's two very old pieces of a tractor of some sort that I have had my eye on for something.
I reckon they would make fine Limbs for the first wind harps...Need to ask my wood guy to look out for hollow logs for me.
I also have no idea, at all, where one might procure a bunch of piano strings...new or used will do for now.
I'm quite anxious to get started, but the weather, and my responsibilities, not to even mention my body, won't let me. First thing in the morning, when it's cool, and I'm fresh, is the only way, in high summer...but my youngest saw fit to catch the first Pathogen of the school year, at the Lutheran's Vacation Bible School: Further evidence of the absolute necessity of Paid Family Leave.

Eventually, if there's ever any money, I'd like to get one of those little crackle box welders, and a proper oxy/acetylene rig.
New drill bits for the metal side would be cool as hell , too.
This winter, me and the boys will construct the large forge...gotta find an exhaust manifold from a tractor, first.
This will hopefully be for swords.
That's why I got into this, in the first place....and I needed something to do.
Paints and Stains, new saw blades,a pair of loose over-alls(yeehaw),
….........
Next morning:
Walked into the shop, and thought I saw a large crack forming in the big tree stump that the big red vise is mounted to....but nope...it's a damned rattlesnake...about a foot long, squirming his way on top of the stump and into the body of the vise, itself. The Magic Cripple flies back to the Library, and grabs the .22...loaded with rat-shot.
I get around into the old part of the Shop, and shoot...I see the middle of the snake turn all red and meaty...but just then..a hundred wasp-like creatures explode from the ceiling, six inches above my head.
Magic Cripple, again...and it's back to the Library to remember where I put the box of rat-shot...and back again, to very carefully look for dead snake.
But he's gone...could be anywhere...weeds, under the wall and into the metal pile...under the cabinets in the Old Part.
Shit.
I just scattered mothballs all over the place a few days ago.
The fact that Mr Snake was attempting to get himself lodged into such a tiny space means that every motor housing, and every coffee can of nails could contain a serpent.
My absence from this place for almost 5 years means that the snakes..and wasps and coons and scorpions and spiders and rats...have all gotten used to having the run of the place.
It will take time...and a Winter's worth of work...to undo that absence.
Meantime, I'll put in a Goose Pool, and begin the arduous task of convincing that crazy lot that it's Kosher to come over here from Mom's front yard. Geese abhor snakes, and do not suffer them to live...same with Guinea Fowl. But they'll stare at an open gate for a month, before venturing through it.

To, Leticia


To, Leticia Van de Putte ,
(I'm still a little unclear as to how to pronounce your last name.)

(in re:http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/15535/beer-and-economics-leticia-van-de-putte-announces-new-economic-policy-plan-at-st-arnolds-brewery)

Ma'am,

First , let me assure you that you and Ms. Davis already have my Vote.
I'll never vote Republican, even though most of our local elections are decided in the Republican Primary(which sticks in my craw.).

The local economy is something I think about, a lot.
I have some suggestions:
1. We should include Definitions of such words and phrases as “small business”, and “Entrepreneurial-ism”. Forty years of Right Wing Mindfuck* has perverted the Language...especially in regards to Economics, and Government and all things “We, the People”. When Raytheon is considered a “small business” and when AMD is considered a “small farmer”, something is askew in our definions.
In my on-line wrangling with the Right**, I long ago learned the hard lesson, that, especially when Econ. Is the topic, you must Define Everything....or Create New, Descriptive,Terminology, to replace the Poisoned Old.
Both of these avenues are quite tedious, and often overwhelming...but I've had much better luck when I employ them.

2. Local Local Local.
Decentralize, Democratize, People Size,”Small is Beautiful”.
Our current paradigm is a strange combination of “Capitalism”, , Manorialism, and Hydraulic Despotism, which is perfectly content in the fog of meaningless rhetoric and confusion.
Under the reign of “Free Market” Fundies, we have witnessed the decline of what freedom we had in the working side of life.
Barriers to Entry;
In the form of Tax Codes, Regulations and “Industry Standards”( and other euphemisms)....We have fenced ourselves out of making money.
Out here in Mason County, we have a lot of Poor People....even our “Rich Folks” are Poor, compared to Houston, etc.
And yet, we Import almost everything we need and want from outside the county.
I use the grito, “Toilet Paper as a Cottage Industry”.
There are a million things we could do, policy wise, to undo the eternal drive for Bigness.
Economies of Scale, Vertical Integration...all those sorts of thing...have, perhaps, gone beyond their usefulness. Monolithic Business Models had their uses, but at some point, the Cost Benefit Analysis of such Fictions starts leaning more heavily on the Cost-Side.
I think we've reached that point.
Sure, some things are probably easier to do, and more efficiently, by these means...but even those should be reined in,lest they get unmanageable and unaccountable.(we have the results of the 40 year experiment, all around us)
(I can go on for days on this subject. Call me anytime.)

3. We should probably figure out how to stress the fact that “Free Markets” only exist by virtue of Government, and that a free-for-all is anathema to Liberty, and to Civilisation itself. Similarly,I'm with Oliver Wendell Holmes,(paraphrasing):”Taxes are the Fee I pay for Civilisation”. That's a message that unambiguously counters the whole “Taxes=Theft” nonsense that the Thieves and Bandits have convinced us of.

4. We lose something like 40% of the electricity generated in Transmission.
It's just radiated into the air. This alone would indicate that the current model of Hydraulic Despotism should be scrutinized. A few giant powerplants,dams and such, run by giant Corps(e) and “Quasi-Governmental Entities”(LCRA), plugged into an aging and overworked Grid made of Wires, is hardly the most efficient or robust way to do things.
Again, Decentralize.
Since we'll hafta re-build the grid at some point, anyway...why not re-build it smarter? Build it like the Internet/Web...a million “Nodes”, a million little Powerplants. A falling tree or ice storm will never again take out whole regions.
When folks do talk about this, it's usually in regards to Solar. Wind should not be forgotten...and I mean the small to medium size windmills. Few people, out here at least,want one of those giant windmills in their neighborhood. They understand that any electricity generated thus, will likely benefit folks in the city. The necessary powerlines are ugly, too.
But I find a row of little windmills appealing. Make the rules for Grid-Tie-Ins lean towards the small. The very large will be fine, I assure you.
A concurrent investment in appliances and such that take 24-48 volts, rather than just 110/220, would be a job incubator, as well.
We shouldn't continue to neglect the potential of Methane...every living thing is a potential source of Energy. Landfills, Sewer Systems, Septic Tanks, Compost Piles, Feedlots...all emit Methane...which is just the non-fossilized version of “Natural Gas”. We all produce it, every day.
But, again, small is beautiful. Currently, it's rather easy to get a million dollar digester...given the funds...but all but impossible to purchase a small or medium size model. Wouldn't want Exxon to have to compete with an almost free and abundant resource.

5. Need I point out that the Rich and their Corps(e) and Hedgefunds and whatnot....and every other business in Texas... enjoy the protection of their own Unions?
There's one in every County...it's called the Chamber of Commerce.
There are many others, of like ilk...the numerous business roundtables, and Associations...all of these are Unions for the Owners.
The National Restaurant Association actually teaches it's members how to screw their employees, minimize taxation, bust what regular unions remain, and get around the various regs... they also lobby government.
And yet the Employees of those Member Cafes and Greasy Spoons are all but forbidden such collectivization.
To my knowledge, no-one else has taken this tack, that if businessmen can get together to work collectively for common ends, then so should their employees...or any other group.
It's only fair.
It ain't “socialism”, it's cooperation.
6. Drilling down on #2, as it pertains to Agriculture and the Food we eat...
Way out here, we can either drive 100 miles round trip to HEB, or settle for substandard, overpriced near-compost for our fruits and vegetables.
We can do the same for meat, driving past 10,000 sheep to purchase high dollar mutton from New Zealand.
But even at HEB, the produce and meat comes from far away...often overseas. There's more than a thousand cattle that comes through Mason's stock yards, every week...and I am free to purchase a steer..but then what?
The only butcher who is allowed to handle such a job is 40 miles away, and exorbitantly priced.
Federal and State Rules forbid small abattoirs and slaughter facilities.
“For safety”....but the big meat packers are hardly bastions of responsibility, when it comes to food safety...neither are the large growers and fruit and vegetable combines and wholesalers.***
And besides...with inevitably rising fuel costs, the 3000 mile tomato, or the lamb-chop from Australia should be in the process of being replaced.
Again...all these Poor People, nothing to do but work at Dairy Queen...so many surplus parts.
But I am forbidden from selling an Egg, anywhere but from my front door. If I wish to sell to the grocer, legally, I need millions of dollars in “liability insurance” and those good old economies of scale.
Otherwise, the local grocer will not purchase my eggs...or my fruit...or anything else....no matter that I produce a superior product.
The whole thing is designed to exclude the Small...and that should change.
7. Perry and the Gang have made a whole bunch of Taxpayer Money available, at low, low cost, to already rich men, and the Fictions they hide behind.
It would be swell to see similar efforts to provide Capital and Exemptions to the other end of the economic ladder, instead of the usual bitching and insults about “lazy poor people” and what passes for “welfare”. Here, again, there is abundant proof that, per Adam Smith, a more widespread distribution of the Means of Production is much better...for everyone...than Concentration of same into as few hands as possible. That radio preacher you're running against should not be let off the hook when he poo-poohs reality in service of his utopian fantasy.

And that, my friend, is what it all boils down to...Mythology vs. Objective Reality.
The latter is firmly on our side...they have nothing at all, save hot air and hollering, strangled 'facts' and charts held upside-down.




I'll stop there, but know you that I could go on and on. There's much to talk about, but we keep letting the greedheads and their vicious pets drive the conversation...and they always ask the wrong questions. It is their Goddess-given Right to believe that the Earth is Flat...but we are not obliged to let them teach Geography.
I understand that we are at a disadvantage, but I'm past tired of being all but unrepresented, and poor , and unable to do anything about it.
Keep kicking ass, please.

“I'm with you in Rockland”****,

Josef
Mason, Texas

amfortasthehippie.blogspot.com
amfortasthehippie@gmail.com










*I use this word after a lot of thinking on the matter. The Ontological Crisis we are currently mired in, didn't just happen, after all...
** I spent a number of years studying the American Right..reading all of their foundational texts, and lurking in their Fora.
Their Dark Magicians have done a masterful job of making great swaths of the American People believe in all manner of insane and dangerous things.
*** I have been in and around all aspects of food production and preparation...from soil to plate...for most of my life.
**** from Alan Ginsberg's 'Howl'.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Citizen Joe

It jess never ends...





From Citizen Joe

to whomever,
the current project you have ongoing on the north side of Mason, Texas, is...charitably...a clusterfuck.
The crew is, apparently, attempting to pave the entire stretch at once, both sides, and have effectively bisected our neighborhood. there's nowhere to go to avoid them.
A detour would have been nice. There's equipment scattered everywhere, blocking egress, and it just could have been done in a more professional and conscientious manner.
The paving, itself, looks nice enough...but I would rather have kept the old road, and been able to get to and from town on it, than to run the gauntlet, like this.
It's spelled,"D.E.T.O.U.R.".
Thanks.
Ramming Paving Headquarters
9020 N. Capital of TX HWY, Bldg II, Ste. 250
Austin, TX 78759

.................
The bossman...who couldn't have been more than 25...told me that he had,"Flaggers at the appropriate points"...lol.
I said I beg to differ.
"How about a Detour...so we know how to stay out of your way?"
Him:"Well...it's a moving operation..."
me:" on this road..."
"Yup".
"But that street over there, not so much?"
"Well...ummm."
Me:" Why not get some spraypaint and some cardboard, and make a sign or 3, and direct all of us'ns over there, and around you?....and maybe don't try and pave the whole damned highway in one day, all at once?"
Him:"We placed Flaggers at the appropriate points..."

Sigh.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sadism, as a Political Strategy

(a LTE)
(some people should hire a Dominatrix, already...and leave the rest of us alone)

When Obamacare was being debated, I went on one of my Research Frenzies.
I read everything.
Delved into Romneycare, the Healthcare Systems of Canada, Britain and France, Hillarycare, the Heritage Plan(circa:1989-91), whence both Romneycare and Obamacare spring...as well as the long and sordid history of Healthcare in America....
I went and read the actual Law...the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
What's interesting about all of this, is how ignorant we are, as a Nation, regarding this subject.
I quickly learned that probably 95% of the folks who attempted to argue with me about this subject, had NOT done any research, at all.
Further, every single Republican Politician, Pundit and Screamer seemed to share that lack of curiosity and intellectual laziness.
What I found, in my Research, was that while Obamacare was certainly not perfect, it was by far Superior to what came before. Market Based(it is, after all, a Republican Plan), almost Universal, and much more Fair and Inexpensive than the Cruel and Exorbitantly priced Non-System that it replaced.
There was literally no argument to be made, rationally, against it...save to argue for Single Payer/Medicare For All, like in more Civilised places.
I was not surprised to see the GOP/Tea gear up to oppose it.
Those people had opposed every single advancement for non-rich, non-corporate People, since at least the 30's.
But this round of opposition to a People Centered Government System soon went right over the top, into absurdity. Much of the rhetoric employed was copied and pasted from previous attempts to maintain the Status Quo: the fight over Social Security and other New Deal Era legislation, the wild eyed scaremongering over Medicare, Medicaid, and all the rest.
Some of the talking Points that fluttered down from the Mothership were almost verbatum to those of 40-100 years ago.
But now, they brought out the really big guns.
The John Birch Society, Committee on the Present Danger, even Joe McCarthy was dug up and reanimated...Commies! Death Panels! “The MOST DANGEROUS PIECE OF LEGISLATION EVER PUT FORWARD!!!!!!!!!”....Obama was a “Dictator,Muslim Communist Fascist from Kenya!!!!”....”Run Away!!!!”
Of course, if anyone hollering thus had bothered to actually READ the thing, all of this hysterical nonsense would have been seen to be just and only that....Hysterical Nonsense.
Much to my surprise, a large portion of My Fellow Americans swallowed this whole.
I guess it shouldn't have surprised me...folks are pretty busy...and the Message was everywhere:”ObamaCare is Destroying the Country!!!”
In Texas, even many Democrats were confused.
So much misinformation and outright LIES were spread so thickly, that many folks to this day, believe that “We don't have Obamacare in Texas,”..even State Congressional Staffers...who should know better.(Pat, I'm looking at you.)
But the Implementation of the Law moved forward.
By now, the whole thing is in place and functioning...mostly.
You see, in places like Texas, the State Government saw fit to leave undone a big chunk of the Law. Texas took the opportunity provided by the Supreme Court to Fail to Expand Medicaid.
This means that those whose incomes fall between the very low Medicaid Threshhold($231/month, for a Family of four), and the lowest level of income eligible for Subsidies on the Exchange(which Texas also failed to do, so it's Federally Run), are simply out of luck.
There's still No Healthcare in Texas, for these People.

All over the country, Millions of People are benefiting from the Law...Millions of folks in Texas are benefiting.
But because of the Cruelty and Malice of Texas Republicans, Millions more People are not...I say Cruelty and Malice, because there's no other explanation.
All...and I mean ALL ...of the dire warnings about this Law have turned out to be nothing at all.
The economy hasn't crashed, jobs haven't withered away, Millions of folks can go to the Doctor, often for the first time in their lives, without going Bankrupt(....seems I remember the GOP changing those rules, too...making it harder for People who got mown down by GOP Economic Fantasies to File for Bankruptcy...I think I see a pattern...)
In fact, the biggest problem with Obamacare is the GOP's Failure to Implement it, In places where they are in charge.
If you live in Texas, and still cannot get access to Affordable Healthcare...blame the GOPtea.
It's their doing.
Now, the GOPtea activists and rabble rousers, having failed to destroy the Law by other means, are out there seeking Activist Judges, in the height of Irony, who will rule their way in numerous Lawsuits. In one of these, the 2 Republican Judges on a 3 Judge panel, found one sentence in the 2ooo page Law that was insufficiently clear.
How much Taxpayer Money will be spent defending this Law from what amount to Frivolous Lawsuits?(another couple of ironies!)
Ted Cruz, Cornyn and our own Conaway are still singing the same song...fearmongering hysterics...cruel, malignant lies.
Perhaps they have nothing else to run on...perhaps their own ideas have been so battered by Reality these past 40 years that they are, themselves, Bankrupt.
I'm sure that if they had an Alternative, they would have trotted it out, by now.
All I can find in the way of such an Alternative, is a single page, put out by the GOP a couple of years ago...a single page of platitudes and nice sounding rhetoric.
They have nothing.
Nothing, that is, but hatred and cruelty, and a whole wall of Lies and Obfuscation, that is crumbling away, almost daily....as the Law actually takes hold.
What it boils down to, is that if you live in Texas, and don't yet have access to affordable Healthcare...the Texas GOP wants it to stay that way.
If you can't afford to go to the Doctor, they want you to wait until you're really sick, and go to the Emergency Room. ER's are forbidden from turning you away if you have no money.
They'll just sue you, later...and if you still can't pay, the Civil Court will try mightily to put a lien on you....and in the meantime, the Taxpayers of Texas, pick up the slack. That slack is much more than it need be...or would be, had the GOP just went ahead with their own Plan(Obamacare).
Turns out those Death Panels we heard so much about really exist...only they're not in Obamacare...they're in the Texas Legislature, and in Republican Offices, across the State.
The Texas GOP/tea wants you to remain without access to Healthcare.
They want you to continue to go broke, if you get really sick.
Bake Sales are the answer, they say!
And yet, we'll likely see a Greg Abbott and a Dan Patrick and a whole host of other cruel and malicious Liars keep their stranglehold on Texas' Government...and continue this travesty.
We'll see this, because too many of You will fail to get out and Vote.
Too many of You still think that Politics is Boring, and that it has nothing to do with you.
I hope that I have convinced you otherwise.
Your Vote does Matter.

Ab Irato,
Amfortas
Mason, Texas.
(I am, by the way, a Deputy Voter Registrar...I would be happy to help you get Registered to Vote)