Saturday, July 19, 2014

Critters



We moved into this rattle-trap pile of sticks in the Barrio almost 6 years ago, due to a bunch of craziness(untreated PTSD, among other things) from my stepdad.
The years-long guerilla assault by our lunatic neighbor had taken it's toll, and my body was busy falling apart, at last, and stepdad's Vietnam buddy was whispering into his ear about how my mom was nuts, there was no prowler, and that I, the goddamn hippie, was indeed the root of all of stepdad's problems.
Having 2 little kids, and being tired of such abuse, we evacuated to this place.
Drunk Uncle would be happy with our old RV, and our rent would be to fix the place up, pay off the back taxes, and keep up with the new.
That winter, the continuing chaos out at mom's was added to by her mom, my grandma, falling ill.
Grandma was still in Magfuckingnolia...some 300 miles away...so my mom went there to help out.
She felt that stepdad couldn't be trusted with care and feeding of chickens...so they came here...and lived in the muddy pit of a room, that would eventually become my Library(the one with the serpent).
I also evacuated my Geese, and the three white ducks that we had inherited from a cousin.
We built a hum-dinger of a chicken house, and fenced the place with 8 foot chicken wire, and segmented into pastures, for rotating the birds.(and keeping them out of other peoples' yards)
I planted a bunch of mammoth sunflowers...for birdseed, as well as for their aleleopathic qualities(most things won't germinate beneath them...walnut and mesquite have the same quality.).
The Birds got to work on this place and the Wild Lot next door(another Uncle's), and away we went with gardening and bird ranching and egg production....giving most of the produce away.
Two summers later, we all went to Galveston...mom rented a house, and my brother and his bunch and us all fished and frolicked at the beach.
My mother in law looked after the birds.
At this time, we had about 50 chicks...happily ensconced with 3-4 broody banty hens, in 3 Hutches I had built for stepdad's abortive rabbit raising fiasco.
Some had been purchased, and the rest were homegrown.
When we returned a week later, I went straight to the back to check on the Birds...and the Hutch doors were open...the Chicks were gone, and there were feathers all over the place.
In the very back of the garden, I found a large Mutt...like a hound/greyhound cross, black and white mottled...with a dead hen in his mouth.
I called for my bow, but by the time I had an arrow nocked, he was gone.
Never did find out who owned that dog...but I saw him many times in the ensuing months...running down the street...crapping in people's yards...but he never came to our place. I kept an arrow nocked and the bow at the ready during this whole period.
Dog Catcher, at the time was one of the incompetent ones...somebody's cousin who needed a job.
A friend and I sat out at the little table by the road(the Cafe, we call it) and watched as that Dog Catcher drove slowly down the street...with no fewer than 4 loose dogs...literally running circles around the dog catcher's truck.
It was very surreal.
I lost all but 12 of those chicks...never found the bodies...and a dozen or so hens and roosters.
Two summers later, and the same damned thing happened. Carnage...3 dogs, caught red mouthed, as it were. But I am not quick enough on my feet to retrieve my bow in time.
Then, this past January...20 degrees...boys are both home from school sick...and 8 am one of my neighbors comes to the door...I thought he wanted eggs...but he said, “there's a pack of dogs in your back lot eating chickens.”
I grabbed the bow, nocked and arrow and proceeded to the back...and there they were.
I got an arrow into one of them...in the foreleg...and they all three took off in different directions.
By this time that neighbor was back in his truck...and he followed these three chicken killing dogs down to the end of the street...to D's house...who maintained a sort of unofficial kennel for unwanted canines...to the chagrin of his closest neighbors and to the kids who rode their bikes past his house.
It was well known that his dogs were always loose. At this time he had around 8.
So I was hot...I grabbed a big plastic flower pot, filled it with a bunch of dead chickens, threw that into the back of my truck and hauled ass to D's house.
He was busy putting the injured dog into his truck for a trip to the vet.
I seethed out of my truck, and put the bucket of dead birds in the back of his, and said”tie them around their necks”...and began to leave.
He screamed at me for shooting his dog(!), and for being a terrible dog-hating monster(!)...I left...and the new dog catcher showed up as I was leaving, as well as the idiot deputy.
A little while later, and she(dog catcher) shows up at my door to take my statement...I gave her the bucket of bird bodies...and she said that the idiot deputy was considering filing charges against me for “discharging a firearm in city limits”...and that D had wanted to file charges for animal cruelty and assault(on his dogs)...but that she had talked them both out of these ill considered actions.
D still has way too many dogs down there...and still has piss-poor fences...his numerous animals still get set loose every night to terrorize the neighborhood, and get into garbage and whatnot...and that one competent dog catcher apparently did her job too well...and was fired.

There's hundreds of cats around here...flea bitten and skinny...into the garbage...
There's a skunk that keeps us all company in winter..and we even had a litter of baby opossums that got into my Library, after I had shot their mother...took a week or more to catch them all and relocate them(they're really pretty cute when they're little)
Yesterday, I'm laying here, in agony due to this weird ass weather(the so called polar vortex in July)...and the scanner comes on.
A 3 year old girl, across town, has been mauled by a “pack of dogs”.
She ends up ok...and the dog catcher, cops, ems, and fire department spend the rest of the evening chasing the last dog...a white pitbull..all over town.
It was like listening to one of those radio serials from the 1930's...This bright white largeish dog eluded them for hours.
In the creek...under a house...through the woods...behind the feedstore...they would corner it, then it would rush them and get away.
At one point during the chase, the report came in that the dog had stopped for a rest and refreshment at D's house.
I laughed aloud.
Then he moved on, and was finally shot with a tranquilizer dart, somewhere in the creek...but had slipped away...an hour later, they found him a half mile from where he had been tranked, under someone's shed.
The poor new dog catcher girl had to crawl under there with the catch-pole and drag that groggy pitbull out.
I have taken all but a few roosters back out to moms...things have calmed way down out there.
There are three banty roosters that are mine, but who would be a problem for the hens at moms...so they stayed.
The other roosters and the 2 hens...I don't know where they came from...they all just wandered over here and moved in, at one time or another...before the January dog incident, my hens were always in an uproar, and about half of them moved into the trees and into my shop...crapping everywhere...and wouldn't return to their house. Too many roosters.
There's no grass here...but lots of trumpet vine, catalpa, chinaberry , mulberry and sunflower...

So Drunk Uncle...the landlord, effectively...is given a little white billy goat.
He's staying with my mother in law...who has no fences.
He sees all the riotous growth over here, and...while we were in Galveston again, last week...drops that little goat off in our back yard.
We get home and find him crapping on the back porch and eating the fig tree.
The unwanted vegetation will continue to go uneaten...which I could have told him, if he had bothered to ask.
(as I am cripple, and thus unable to remove it by hand, I broke down and began applying agent orange(2-4-D) and other weapons of mass destruction...to my shame,lol)

So...
what have I learned from all of this?
1.I still loath dogs...as I have since I was a pizza delivery guy.
2.Folks are pretty damned irresponsible when it come to keeping their canines in check...and just plain assholes when I defend my birds by shooting their dogs on my place.
3. dog catchers need to make more money...and nepotism, and other petty small town political bullshit should have nothing whatever to do with their hiring or firing.
4. the ordinances in this town are stupid...and the most draconian of them are focused on the wrong things. D...he of the numerous loose dogs...has had a thousand dollars or more in fines levied against him, that he refuses to pay...and the city can apparently do nothing at all...not even, it seems, take a few of those dogs away from him.
And 5. I hate living in town.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxRc_dwCctM


God Said



So, the hyperfundies who own Hobby Lobby assert that their imaginary friend told them to fight against the provision of contraception in their employee health plans.
And the Solemn Radicals and Activists sitting on the Scotus, swallowed it whole.
Nullification by way of Hearing Voices.

Fine.

The Goddess Kore came to me in a Vision...just the other day...and She told me that Smoking Marijuana was a Sacrament....and that it is Necessary in order to Know Her.
Go on....prove this assertion wrong.
...oh, and by the way...She also mentioned that when someone(a Heretic?) attempts to place a stone Decalogue on the Courthouse Lawn in Mason...that She would require me to build and place a Stone Copy of the Wiccan Rede...right next to it.
Again...prove it wrong.
Prove that this not a "sincerely held belief".
In an earlier conversation with this particular Goddess, She informed me that any laws, made by men, against going about Buck Nekkid...should be Flaunted and Ignored.
Just sayin'...

Kocks go to skool


(riffing on this:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/16/koch-brothers-education_n_5587577.html)

“Corporatism v. Free-market Capitalism
Deregulation is what caused recession in 80s, Economic problems of today
Rich get richer at the expense of the poor
FDR/New Deal brought us out of the depression
Government wealth transfer programs help the poor
Private industry incapable of doing functions that public sector has always done
Unions protect the employees
People with the same job title should be paid the same amount ...
Minimum wage, "living wage," laws are good for people/society
Capitalist societies provide an environment for greed and materialism to flourish
Socialist countries do just fine, people have great lives there (using this as proof that socialism works”


There's the list of “fallacies” that YE intends to “refute” in their classes. A creature of the Kock brothers,the “Young Entrepreneur” wooden horse is an “alternative curricula” that they intend to place in Public Schools.
Well and good, even though I could argue with each and every point...they sure have the right to try to “help”.
But where's the Zinn Curriculum?...
Or something!...
Who shall present one of the other sides of the tale?
That it's presented in the dichotomy: Corporatism vs. Free Market...is silly.I mean, I'm not “corporatist”, and it ain't ME that owns a giant Corporation”...Ha!

But what do we expect?
I'd warrant, that such belief systems don't belong in Public Schools...unless presented right along side all of the other belief systems.
This amounts to the same thing as imposing a Baptist or Lutheran, or any other Fundamentalist worldview.
I could spend all day picking their schema apart...but my criticism will never darken a Public School's door. I can't give them thousands of dollars...after helping to buy elected officials, in order to defund the Public part of Public Education...thus making these schools desperate for cash.
For most of my life I've heard myths that, variously, the Russians, the Chinese, the CPA, the “Libruls”, Gays, Feminists , Gangsta Rappers,Hair Bands and everybody else...was trying to Indoctrinate our Youth...to Poison the minds of Americans...and make them (communists,etc).
(Does anybody else recall this?)
Yet here are the most Anti_commie, Anti-Liberal,Anti-Democratic, and even Anti-republican(small 'r'), guys in all the land doing the very thing that they have warned about since at least the 1930's.
To be clear, I think it would be great if we could teach something like Entrepreneurial ism, and at least Basic Econ....I'd go further and require at least Intro. Philosophy, and a couple of classes...say 2nd 8th and 12th grades...on Logic and Logical Fallacies.
But all sides of any controversy would have to be included.
Similarly, I reckon that after all the hollering for all these years, we should at least mention in Biology Class, that there's a bunch of folks that have issues with many of the Foundations of Biology.
(Do the Fundies really want a bunch of Science Teachers “teaching” Creationism?lol.)
I think it's not too far fetched to at least acknowledge the “controversy”, regarding Natural Selection, etc.

In relation to the Kocks' Kurrikulae, go on...teach Hayek...but teach Marx, Habermas, and all of the rest, as well.
I'd be thrilled if some random person on the street knew what Georgism is.
But I would never suggest that we, the People, use our Public Schools to teach ONLY Georgism.
That's what's happening in Kansas, and spreading elsewhere, where the ground has been prepared by Fox, and Tea and all the rest.
Too, while all that Freedom sounds nice...how does such an outlook comport with Objective Reality. After all, Kock Industries is hardly a “Small Business”...it ain't the Mom and Pop Cafe, or Bodega....and it shouldn't be lumped in with those truly Small enterprises.
Funny how that distinction is always overlooked by Fundamentalist Free Marketeers.
Too, it seems to gloss over further distinctions, between the experiences of a Real small business and a super large megacorps(e)...like with “Deregulation”...in all such talk(and it seems, in this Kurrikulae), Raytheon, Cargill and Kock are all counted as Little Guys...just trying to make their way in a hard old world...just like Uncle Jimmy's Auto Body Shop...
...and that mean old gummint just keeps on picking on them.
This kind of false-equivalency is necessary for the Very Large, and the Very Rich that hide in them, to continue to undo the gains made in the last 100+ years, to rein in the Very Large...lest they, themselves, become a Threat to Freedom.
It's always only one side of the coin...and NOT the side that's been laying in shit all day.
In my taxonomy, at least, this phenomenon is right at the root of Right Wing thought.
TINA, again.
Only my one True Religion is to be taught and observed...and the people are too stupid to know any better, so they need me to force them to learn and observe my one True religion.
This particular effort hasn't risen to that level...yet.
And to be fair, neither has the push to “include” Creationism...or the less spooky sounding “Intelligent Design”...in Public School Biology(“teach the controversy”). But moving the goal posts is a tried and true feature of all things Righty.
(see: anti-abortion=>anti-contraceptives=>anti-pleasure, just in the last year or two)(as I am not a Puritan, why should I be subject to Puritan Law?)
I'll even allege that the Fox Effect has all but prepared the minds of a great many people for the idea that One Side is all that is needed, or wanted.
Counter-Enlightenment, at it's best.
I expect to hear about this Kock educational junta in the near to mid-term out here in the sticks.
It's right up Mason's alley.
We already jumped onto the whole “leader in me” jingo ride...luckily, there's been little effect aside from slogans and the over-use of posterboard...but at what cost to the community?
That's a big unknown.
That slick campaign was rejected by the tax payers...and was instead funded by “concerned members of the community”.
This Kock YE initiative is just as odious and just as one sided...but this actually promises to pay the school cold hard cash(if they have a sufficient number of poor kids, apparently) for pushing the Kock Ideology onto the kids...without any debate or rebuttal.
As usual with Fundies of all stripes and spots, they are afraid of Dissent...
...................
I think it's probably obvious to whomever reads me, that I despise Corporations.
I see them, increasingly, as a sort of Artificial Intelligence...like Skynet...or the Machine in the Matrix...Omnius.
Consider the current Scotus...(noticeably absent: all the hollering from the Right about “activist judges”)
The very thought that Exxon has Freedom of Speech...let alone Freedom of Religion...beggars credulity.
(I pick on Exxon, as a stand-in for Corps(e) in general)
Where does Mr. Exxon live?(or Ms.? Mrs.?)
I's like to find this “Person”, in order to slap him/her/it with my glove...
swords...at dawn...

According to these folks(and others):(https://opencorporates.com/)...Mr. Exxon lives almost everywhere...depending on the needs of the moment.
“Headquarters” are in the Woodlands, Texas...according to news reports....just up the road from where I grew up.
Does the “Person”, Mr. Exxon, live there?
This whole morass is one of my major peeves with the current mileue.
It is totally unacknowledged in the Kock Kurrikulum.
Similarly absent, aside from the predictable hatred and fear of “Unions”...is the reality that the Kocks and other Really Rich People, and numerous Corporate Persons, enjoy their own “Unions”.
There's a Pro-Business Union in just about every town in America.
It's known as the “Chamber of Commerce”.
What about the National Restaurant Association? Or the various Unions of convenience stores and retailers?
I'm told, solemnly, “Oh, that's about Freedom of Association...protected by the First Amendment...”
We are to leave aside criticism of such gross hypocrisy, it seems.
YE will pay for our “Public” Schools, and our collective Blind Eye/short term memory loss is the price we must pay.
(at what point are they no longer “Public” Schools?)
Another thing that we must ignore....the Kock prescription for “Liberty” has actually been implemented...since the late seventies, at least, our Nation has run that “Free Market” Experiment.
...and it's been awesome for the few who benefit from such policies...but it's been an unmitigated disaster for everyone else.
This is not merely my Opinion...there is ample Evidence for it.
Global Labor Arbitrage, Stagnation of Wages, relative to Inflation...the increasing share of economic activity enjoyed by the FIRE sector...CEO Pay, relative to everyone below them...Productivity Gains accruing at the top...the Pension Debacle...Tax Evasion...on and on and on...indeed, the results of this 30 year experiment indicate that:”Capitalist societies provide an environment for greed and materialism to flourish “,and “Deregulation is what caused recession in 80s, Economic problems of today “, and certainly that,”the
Rich get richer at the expense of the poor “.(from the top)
And yet the Cheerleaders for Corporate Feudalism can, with solemn visage, call themselves Free Market Capitalists...opposed to the “Corporatism of the Left”.






Thursday, July 17, 2014

Since February



Tax Return allowed me to purchase a bunch of plywood and hardyboard and a whole pile of other things that I normally wouldn't be able to afford...and in February, I set to work on remodeling the old broken down trailer in the Wilderness.
The 3 center rooms...now one big one...are the Library.
I put a wall around what used to be the front yard...now the “Cloister”...and put the Cowboy Pool out there(“Think Tank”,lol).

Above the rather large gate, it says, “Thus I give up the spear”, on one side...and “Non Serviam”, on the other.

The first, of course, are the last words of Ahab, as he's dragged beneath the waves by his Nemesis.
The full quote is:”To the last, I grapple with thee.
From Hell's heart, I stab at thee.
For Hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee...
Thus I give up the spear.”

By this I mean that my Retreat is really an Advance.
More on that, later.
The second is from Lucifer, from Paradise Lost...and should speak for itself.

That part of the wall is 12 feet high, and the boards are 'Irish Beauty Green”, with yellow,red, sky blue and purple, peeking out from between the slats...as if something is trying to get out....at least that was the effect that I was going for.
I'll attempt(Luddite,lol) to get a few pics up of all of this and more.
We've also almost finished the Shop, where the Blacksmith stuff is, and all of the rest of the tools and things.

I hope to learn to make swords...just because,lol...and I've carried around the idea of constructing Aeolian Harps for some time....and perhaps Crucifixes, for purely economic reasons.
This is the Monastery, and Environs...a Secular Humanist Monastery...perhaps the first in History, (Ha!)
An old bunk bed frame is now a “Roman Emperor's Couch”...in the cloister, where the giant pillow goes, and where I've been reading...a lot.

For a year or so, Karl Popper's “Open Society” has been the Truck Book.
Finally got through the first Volume...regarding Plato. I laughed a lot...as I found that I agreed with Popper on the two Plato theory.
I love Socrates, but distrust Plato.
I found myself wondering why, since I've been immersed in Philosophy since I was 8 years old, that I had never even heard of this person, Popper.

Now I'm into Vol.2, regarding Hegel and Marx...and here again, I agree...it's as if I've been channeling Karl Popper for all of these years.
I despised Hegel, when I read through, tortuously, his giant wall of verbiage, all those years ago....and I admired Marx...although I would never call myself a Marxist.
The Gist of the whole thing, is that what we call “conservatives” are attempting...whether they know it or not...to “Arrest History”...to Stop Time.
I'm reminded of Buckley:”...To stand athwart History, yelling, 'Stop!'...”.
The other books I'm into at the moment are Nietzsche's,”Twilight of the Idols”, and Machiavelli's,” Discourses on Livy”.
The former, I've read a few times, over the years...Uncle Friedrich was my introduction to Philosophy(Zarathustra), and has been my favorite, ever since.
Niccolo, I read the Prince a couple of times in the last 20+ years, and always meant to get around to “the rest of the story”...now, I finally have.
There's a lot of things like that...my reading list wraps all the way around the planet.
With the current Refugee Mess at the southern border, I've been thinking about John Rawls...who, it turns out, was a Giant in American Liberal Thought...and whom I had never heard of, till the Internet came along.
The “Veil of Ignorance” thought experiment has been a part of me forever...but I didn't have a name for it...or such an in depth treatment of it..till 2 years ago.
As research, I've re-read Thucydides, and Drury's Jeremiad against the Straussians/Neocons, as well as Cahill's “...Wine Dark Sea..” and “How the Irish Saved Civilisation”...and I came across Ovid's “Erotica”, at long last.
I feel fortunate to finally have a place to go and read and smoke pot and hang around nekkid...far from the hustle and bustle of Mason's Barrio(seriously!).
I've written a great deal in these 6+ months...but it's still difficult to get into a groove. For an unemployed Cripple, I sure stay busy...of course, much of my time is spent recovering from my various efforts.


This could be called a “God-Pole”, an Axis Mundi, a representation of the World Tree...or just a Pole with antlers on top....for pole dancing.(because you never know...)


...and...this will likely remain a construction site for years. Money and Body and Helpers(rather, lack thereof).



Seven months later, and I've run through all of the materials I bought in Feb.
Even the paint...much of which was leftovers from Mom's.
The rest of our former house is still in shambles...although I think I have it relatively snake-proof.
The only plumbing is a new line to the small bathroom...just a faucet over the toilet tank, and one over the sink.
What we used to call “The New Bathroom” is now a sort of kitchenette...dorm room fridge, toaster oven, an ancient Cold Spot for a pantry, and a coleman stove.
The 300 pound clawfoot tub is still in there...until I can hire someone to move it out into the yard.
I have some saltillo tile, left over from my brother's house...I intend to have an outdoor bath, with solar heated water.
Given a proper bed, I could probably live here, again...although there's no heat...but I wouldn't make my wife and kids camp out like this.
It's good enough to keep my books and our museum, but it ain't livable...by any stretch.
I've never seen so many scorpions!
The place is overrun with them.
...and Raccoons have gotten into my pseudokitchen...broken a bunch of plates and antique jars, opened the fridge and munched on salami...
they left the beer alone.
I've fixed that problem....located their egress, and blocked it.
We've had a Coon Problem out here, for years...seems there's a colony of hundreds, somewhere on the neighbor's place.
We're also on a Rattlesnake Highway.
In Spring, they can be seen heading South, through my place..in Fall, North...presumably, to their Winter Den...which I haven't been able to locate in almost 18 years of searching.
The Prowler...that lunatic neighbor who started lurking all around doing weird things at night in 2004...he's been in a nuthouse(where he belonged all along) for a couple of years.
Now, he has finally died and gone to Hell(one of only two people in my life that I have wished for the existence of Hell)...and I have resisted the urge to piss on his grave.
He played a large role in making our lives much, much harder than they needed to be.
Good Fucking Riddance.
It's telling that when he got locked up, all the prowling weirdness stopped.
Oh well.

There's still no internet out here...too expensive to do that.
The window unit is only turned on during the very hottest of afternoons...the Pool is usually for cooling off, instead.
What we call “the Mountain” is still there...and is my only companion, most days.
There's 2 stripey lizards that live in the Cloister...they're always startling me, but I dig having them around.
The Roadrunner is back, too...clacketty-clacketty.
And Hummingbirds, and Deer.
Compared to Town, it's an almost otherworldly Silence out here most of the time.
So, if you've wondered where the Naked Hippie has been..now you know.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Shape of the World

a tentative leap


(Raphèl maí amèche zabí almi )


I'm having difficulty.
The three parts of the Weighty Tome I'm working on...1. Historia(my story),2. The Shape of the World(the framework I've constructed on which to hang my apprehensions of Reality), and 3.what I've labeled “Alamo”...a monument to stubbornness...in other words, what I reckon we should do about it all....
I'm having a hard time with the first two.
Historia is hard, because my life before Mason was pretty painful...it's a real chore to wander around in that history without re-living the pain that went with it. Of course, this can probably be dealt with with the proverbial Time, Distance and Shielding...it's the latter that I'm still working on.
With Shape, it's even harder...but for much different reasons.
The Thing I'm describing is so huge and complex that it doesn't lend itself to descriptions, especially given that the usual, conventional words are almost useless, as descriptors. Too, given the maxim, that all knowledge is provisional...ie. Rigorous agnosticism...and that so much of what we take for granted regarding the shape of our world, our place in it, and the history of us, is simply inaccurate...if not purposefully clouded...I feel the need to start at the beginning....and to define terms as rigorously as possible.
The subject at hand is so large and interconnected that I often find myself lost in it.
I feel like a spider in her web...from me, all of these branching threads go out in every direction...a word stands for a whole host of things.
“Democracy” encompasses a million strands of thought, going back to tribal Neolithic social structures...there ain't a short and sweet.
One of the biggest problems facing our world, today...if not THE biggest...is the destruction of Language as an agreed upon set of definitional symbols.
Our words have been poisoned, often on purpose, and for nefarious and short term ends.
This leads directly to the Ontological Crisis I'm always harping on.
A Politician can say “Liberty”, and mean one thing....but given ten listeners, there are ten definitions of “Liberty”....this is true with so many of our important words, that I find I cannot talk to anyone, any more....without spending a considerable amount of time defining, and arguing about the definitions, of terms.
Assumptions, while necessary for the usefulness of any model, tend towards dogmatism.
Economics comes to mind...especially since the early 70's in the USA.
The myriad assumptions involved with something as grand as the Shape of the World,( socially, politically,economically, ecologically) have been evident to me for some time.
Arguing online with sundry folks, I was often confronted with the brick wall of a different world entirely...right next to the world I inhabit...
It was confusing, at first...these brick walls that I always seemed to run into with folks; especially when engaged in a political argument. I would attempt to tear down their strawmen, and would end up having to go to First Principals...ever so patiently.
It turned out that a great many of the words I was using...and even historical events I was referencing...meant something different,or were remembered by my interlocutors in a completely different way.
This is a cumbersome task, abandoning all of the big words, and historical references, unless one has time and inclination to set out a grand argument.
I had the time, and was so inclined.
An example/digression:
I hit on the idea of Peak Oil independently.
I was curious as to why Lil George and the Gang were so hell bent on Iraq...and why they were so obviously lying about their reasons and desires.
So I stuck an old NatGeo map of the world on the wall, and began sticking a bunch of colored stick-pins into it...blue for oil/gas/coal and it's apparatus, red for the presence of the US Military, white for drugs, and so on.
The way those pins clustered was a surprise.
I intuited that there was something to this...so I went online and rummaged around for weeks...and hit on something called “Die Off.org.”
The implications of Peak Oil (and peak natgas, peak copper, and on and on) were...dire...so, as is my usual habit, I attempted to prove it wrong...to falsify it.
After years of these attempts, I found that I couldn't...lacking some unknown secret and esoteric knowledge.
Peak Everything seems to be “True”.
For me, it is now an Examined Assumption, and as close as I'm willing to come towards anything resembling an Absolute.
But other people don't do this, it turns out.
The violence I was sometimes confronted with was astounding.
Once, during a rather heated argument with an oil-field worker...who believed in the cornucopian version... instead of providing numerous links to numerous sources, all but proving that PO was, indeed, reality...I linked to the Wiki page on PO.
Out came the flaming brands!
Didn't I know that ...”Wiki is a government/liberal/communist plot...and the furthest thing from the truth”?!
Of course, I had already looked into the workings of Wiki...and was satisfied that it was genuine, mostly. It appeared to be as accurate as the physical encyclopedia sets that I compulsively collect...except that it was continually updated, in a democratic fashion...and that if I took issue with some portion of it, I was perfectly free to join up and argue my case.
(as opposed to...say...Britannica...wherein a bunch of all but anonymous “experts” compile that multivolume compendium of “Truth”...with the necessary tacit assertion of trustworthiness.)

The Wiki Page in question had hundreds of links to THEIR sources...many of a scientific nature...it was a shortcut on my part.
But one would have thought that I had shat on the church floor.

The counter=argument consisted of a lot of foul language...regarding communists and hippies...and a link to Fox News, World Net Daily and Drudge.
(because those are so obviously trustworthy sources.(sigh))

Hence, the Ontological Crisis...everyone is in their little Reality Tunnels...their Information Silos...and are perfectly content with their numerous Unexamined Assumptions.
I get discouraged by the enormity of the problem.
I want a bigger and better Reality Tunnel....a better Conceptual Framework than that provided by the “Conventional Wisdom”...or any of the Subcultural crannies that abound, today.(2 kinds of “Biker Culture”, Skate Culture, hot-rods, the various professional and amateur sports,fishermen, the various drug cultures, on and on...all the myriad and overlapping ways we segregate ourselves.)

There have always been Rulers....and those rulers have always had at least some of the regular folks fooled into supporting their rule...
But with the advent of the Information Age...riding on the back of the Right Wing* Counter-Revolution(ongoing since circa 1970)...what I've called the Dark Magicians of the Right* have, essentially, won; they have succeeded in overthrowing Reason and Thought and the Enlightenment Project, itself.
Now that I have a Monastery/Library, where it's quiet enough to get to work on a book or three, I find that I don't want to, any more.
The Confusion and outright Bullshit is so deep, now, that I can discern no way forward.
Locally, it's orders of magnitude worse, of course...I do live in Rural Texas, after all...but this confusion is widespread.
Recent polls(which I always take with a healthy dose of kosher salt...but still...) suggest that around 43% of Americans believe in “Young Earth Creationism”.
Another, from '07 or so, indicates that a majority believes that the First Amendment goes too far...especially regarding Freedom of the Press.
The Non-Existent “Liberal Media” still gets considerable coverage, by everyone from former presidents to the demented old man at the corner cafe.
We are surrounded and penetrated by Myths...myths that are taken as Reality.
Are we a “Democracy”?
Well...I can vote...but what are the actual choices?
Can Mr Smith get to Washington? If so, can he/she really do anything about the gigantic structures that encircle us?

Our language serves to delimit our thought...erect a fence around it...just like in Orwell, but with much more subtlety...and while there are certainly smoky rooms with powerful men in them...and while those powerful men do indeed implement policies that do indeed effect us all...they, too, are cogs in the Machine.
The System has it's own Logic...and it rolls on, no matter who gets to Congress or the White House or the Boardroom.
No one is really in charge...but plenty of people think that they are...and they serve to make things worse, generally...because no one, in power or out, has a clue as to the actual Shape of the World.(!)


It's easy to get all pessimistic about the shape of things....and where the various trendlines lead.
Every time I go look at news, it becomes a little clearer that we are fucked.
My usual news-haunts are Huffpo, Alternet, Cryptogon, and the 3 “liberal” Texas outlets,the Tx Tribune, Tx Observer and Burnt Orange Report.
I wander a lot, range far and wide...but these are where I go to keep abreast.
I spend a lot of time wandering in Wiki.
Many will say, “well there's yer problem, right there...all those lefty propaganda sites...”
I have heard this so often, that I habitually check myself ...part of my ongoing habit of mind of rigorous agnosticism.
Of course, those same folks, more often than not, then present as “evidence” something from Worldnet Daily,lol...without a hint of irony.
This whole deal is a mere cobble in the road we're on...but it is near the heart of the Ontological Crisis.
We cannot distinguish the Real....information silos, and Reality Tunnels abound.
If one believes Fox, one cannot believe MSNBC...and vice versa.
I spent a great deal of time, these past 13 years, digging around in data and opinion and purported facts, attempting to assemble a more realistic framework of Reality on which I could then hang my observations, and the numerous data-points I accumulate in a given day.
The result is the conclusion(tentative, of course) that ,again,no one is in charge...although plenty of folks believe that they are, and many of them have definite and falsifiable effects on our collective Reality.(Federal Reserve, or whatever.)
But even they are fallible....a situation made exponentially more damaging, by the fact that they are the most likely to believe that they know what they're doing, and that they have a good hold on what is real.
Most of us little people, also, believe that we, too, have a good idea of what's going on, and that we have some agency to influence our little corners of the world.
It is near intolerable to hint otherwise.
It's bad enough when an ordinary person learns of the more spooky actions of government....all of the surveillance and such.... dystopian visions of Big Brother, Corporate and/or Government, depending on one's political leanings.
It is orders of magnitude worse, when that same person , after following the money and power, learns that those proverbial smoke filled rooms are populated by people who are just as befuddled and confused as they are; given, to different degrees and areas of interest.
The whole of Human Civilisation is on automatic pilot, with myriad humans and groups of humans, scrapping over myriad steering wheels...all of which are connected to the steering mechanism, in ways great and small.
The Big Brothers, all 30 million of them, are as drunk and stupid and borderline insane as the rest of us.
Their steering wheels are just a little better connected than ours.
...and their self image is more positive....they believe more strongly in their ability and agency than we do.
Of course, this has always been the case. Since there's been enough of us, in one place, to amount to a Tribe, Culture or Civilisation, individuals, to varying degrees, have always believed as much. There's always been a few who are more in the know, and who have that much more power than their fellows, out in the fields.
The difference, is that we now have constructed the first Global Civilisation. Unlike in former times....ostensibly, within my lifetime...when one could ,with sufficient effort, get out of a given civilisation...either to another one, or to some barely inhabited area....today, there ain't nowhere to escape to.
Every square inch of the surface of the planet is under the purview of one state or another, and many of those states are either beholden to, or a part of, some larger conglomeration of power...be it Pax Americana, or Exxon(often the same thing)

There are lines and borders and jurisdictions everywhere...all overlapping and interconnecting...from State to city to MUD to HOA, to private enclave.
It's confusing, to say the least.
Of course, some have figured a way to exist sort of outside most of these lines...but it costs a lot of money. Corporations are Supra-National, Very Wealthy Individuals are “Cosmopolitan”, at least in practice, the UN, and the Vatican employ numerous defacto “citizens of the world”...and the “Intelligence “ Agencies, with the US versions safely at the apex, have long ago forgotten about those pesky international borders.
A few very rich “Libertarians” have been threatening to build various structures in the oceans....outside of national waters...floating and fixed.
Pirate Bay, operating on an abandoned oil platform in the English Channel, is another attempt to get Outside.
Folks in America work their tails off, to varying degrees of success, in order to get a place in the country, and to escape...at least a little bit.
The Christiana neighborhood, in Denmark, is an example of the same drive, but (mostly, and tentatively) accomplished through more Social Anarchist means.
A decade or more ago, there was a movement called the Free State Project...wherein a bunch of better off Libertarians would move, en masse, into a county, in order to overwhelm the apathetic voters, already extant, and to thereby shape, up from the county level, “Government”.
I am unaware fo the success or failure of this particular project.
Presumebly, those folks are either 1. busy implementing their plan, serving on school boards and city councils....2.fighting acrimoniously amongst themselves about “purity”, and such...or 3. have been, long ago, destroyed, imprisoned, disillusioned or otherwise marginalised by the Machine and it's agents...(there are many avenues to this, ranging from the rather mundane to the tin-foil.).
It's likely that a combination of these three is the case.
…...........
a tea person on slate sez that nazis were lefties:”The only group that could legitimately claim that the Nazis were to the right of the spectrum would be Communists and Marxists, since they were further to the left of the spectrum.  The National Socialist party had heavy backing from the labor unions in Germany.  They favored communal work programs, high taxes, redistribution of wealth, and the expansion of welfare programs.  The National Socialists also favored tight regulation of personally owned firearms, and the pre-eminence of the state over personal liberties.  All of those things are antithetical to a far right viewpoint favoring limited government and emphasis on personal freedoms.  There is a neo-con element to the TP which does favor military expansionism and restrictions on personal freedoms, however those in the TP who wax Libertarian find onerous restrictions on their personal freedoms and military expansionism to be anathema to their political philosophy. “
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One, Jonah Goldberg's book(“Liberal Fascists”,) has been thoroughly sunk by everyone who ought to know about such things(I'm thinking of Paxton and Neiwert specifically)...but some folks just can't let go of an alligator.
Such nonsense is kept around to knock things over and contribute to the Confusion.
Two, after careful study, it appears to me that the freedom loving Libertarians are not the Teafaction that we should necessarily be worried about...though some of their ideas could be quite dangerous(“corporations=liberty”, somehow).
The Neocons are much more dangerous...their fantasies of Conquering and Laying Waste for “freedom” have already cost the US, and the rest of the world, far too much.
But it's the John Birch Society rejects...the neoMcCarthyists...the Brownshirts wrapped in the Flag and throwing Bibles at everyone who I worry about.
And this, my friend is indeed the “Far Right Fringe”.
The Nazis, and Mussolini before them, used some of the ideas of Socialism, yes...but Socialism is at least as complex a word as “Democracy” or “Republic”, “Capitalism” or “Liberty”.
Consider Social Security.... since it's inception, the Right Wing of American politics has been dancing on a tight wire...attempting to undo that wildly popular program, while appearing to do the opposite.
All politicians do this dance, on at least some issues, and to at least some degree.
The Nazis were no different in this regard.
The Democratic Party, similarly, largely voted for the Patriot Act...and Welfare “Reform”, and too many others for this space....

My point in this little aside, is that things are far too Complex for such Simplistic, often Ignorant, thinking.Left/Right, Conservative/Liberal, D/R...
….........................................
Hakim Bey talks, cryptically, about Temporary Autonimous Zones(TAZ), as in Rave Culture, where a group of folks essentially take over a space, and occupy it for a while...doing as they please...until someone or some thing comes along to run them off or incarcerate them.
Note that every piece of real estate in America, to some degree, is a TAZ....if you fail to pay your property taxes, someone will come and take it from you.
Alodial Title does not exist, for all practical purposes.
“Owning” property is conditional on paying “Rent” to the state.
….and forget about “Privacy” on your rented parcel...anyone with a FLIR or an aircraft(or a drone) can fly 400 feet above you, and look all they please.Cops can. Willy-nilly, wander over your 1000 acre ranch, given the “Open Fields Doctrine”...coming right up to your actual Yard(“Curtilege”)...with no warrant, or by-your-leave.
Your phone and email and web history and financial information are recorded and scrutinised by millions of people and machines.
Satellites in the heavens look down upon you, in numerous spectra.
Even I can access older versions of such technology...and older and cruder satellite imagery... to spy on my neighbor.
The tools of oppression are everywhere, and more powerful than ever....but they are not perfect.
The people who attempt to use those tools are just as fallible as we are, all things considered...they are marginally less befuddled...but only marginally.
I remember being freaked out by “Total Information Awareness”....the nascent agency trying to be born out of Poindexter's head...
Enormous uproar from everyone, from bloggers to sitting US Senators.
...and Poindexter relented...or at least appeared to.
The reality is that TIA indeed became reality, just as a myriad, instead of a monolith. We'll never know the true extent of these activities.
We don't have the “clearance”.
This is terrifying, of course....but underneath and behind it is the fallibility of Human Kind, and their Creations.
Trillions of conversations happen every day outside the field of vision of anyone but those engaged in the conversation.
The dreams of the Thinkers at the NSA, or wherever, can never be completely realised.
The world, and even the Human portion of it, are simply to complex and chaotic.
If a system could be built to have total awareness of the world, it would be all but useless. Too much information.
Here is our Out.


“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to enquire. We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy error, undetected, will flourish and subvert. “- J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Turns out that I'm still a Libertarian.
I had abandoned them after Lil' George went to Washington(Darth was the proverbial Man in the Yellow Hat)...the Libertarian Party had moved even further to the Right...”Free Market” was their god, and the “Perfect Expression of Freedom” was the supra-national Corporation, and the whole zoo of “Finance” that goes with it.
With Lil George and the Gang running the show, it seemed imperative to join up with whomever was in opposition to them...so I joined the Democratic Party.The Local Branch, in their Hillforts, sure liked my fiery letters to the editor of the local paper...but beyond that, had little use for me. Bill Clinton had given me a bad taste in my mouth, ever since NAFTA and Gramm-Rudman.
Taking kitchen shears to the ragged “Safety Net” and calling it “Reform” didn't endear him to me, either.
This is, apparently, in violation of some unwritten rule in (D)-Land.
The presence, near a Democratic President ,of someone like Larry Summers was enough to justify withholding my undying loyalty to Party.
The Bailouts...especially the one's we didn't find out about till years later...the Drone Strikes...the wishy-washiness on everything from Gay Rights to the War on Terra...it all combines to make me leery as hell of the so-called “MainStream”.
So I'm a “Left Libertarian”.
...with Democratic Socialist leanings.(definitions for all of these terms are readily accessible, online. Google is your friend)
I'm a Hyper-Federalist,and keen on Re-Regulating the Very Large, and De-Regulating the Truly Small...local, state and federal.
I'm for Distribution of the Means of Production as far and widely as possible....Democritise Everything...which Idea can be found spelled right out in both Adam Smith and Karl Marx...as anyone who has read both would already know.
Import/Export Controls, Capital Controls, Monetary Controls...all at the Tippy Top....a la FDR.
I'm for Vigorous Trust Busting....a la TDR.
But at the middle to the lowest levels, I'm for much more freedom to be left alone, barring injury to another.
I think that stringent limitations on Corporations, in all their iterations, is absolutely necessary. If I must maintain Liability for my truck, why should the owners of Exxon(indeed, Exxon himself!) be free from responsibility?
….........................
System selects for Psychopathy.

Cheaters and Liars win.
Corruption and Underhandedness are necessary for success.

As usual in Reagan's America, all of us little fish are blamed for the poisoned water we swim in. Worse, we are well trained to blame ourselves.
For all of the hollering about “Small Business” and the Entrepreneurial Spirit, we allow Giant Corps(e) to write the rules, and to trample on truly small business.
When, by some accounting trick, Walmart can be considered a “Small Business”, it should be clear to everyone that something is terribly wrong.
But we are stupid.

We rail against “Big Government”, yet continue to shop at Walmart....to the detriment of actual Small Business(our neighbors).
We bitch about the existence of Minimum Wage...a Floor for what folks make for working...and at the same time, bitch about the tattered Welfare System, that keeps those same working folks above Poverty levels.
I say, at this point, gooberment is all that's standing between giant monoliths and total control...a neo corporate feudalism...however corrupt and dysfunctional that gooberment is...we, after all, allowed our gooberment to be bought and stolen...we abdicated...and we ceased to Think.
We vote ...when we're not too busy eating chips, or something...for heartless assholes who obviously don't give a damn about the ordinary folks who work for a living, but pay half-hearted lip service to “the Values of Work”...These same soul-less assholes, then turn around, and fellate the super rich, and even hand over taxpayer money to the corps(e) and hedgefunds and trusts that these same very rich folks hide behind....being far too dishonest and sneaky to play their games out in the sunlight.(see: Gross, Mills,Domhoff, Chomsky,et alia)
“Welfare Queens” are pilloried...even though they cannot be objectively proven to exist, at all(driving through the Barrio does not count as “proof”, sorry)...but heaven forbid we should also direct our ire at the local rich folks who get “crop Subsidies”..often for running a few cows for “tax purposes”. That Government Handout is just fine, it seems.
The Minions of the Hidden Aristocracy...the one whose defining feature is its insistence that it does not exist...they keep us busy hating on each other, over details and relatively non-issues, in the grand scheme of things...fighting over the proverbial crumbs...an algal mat, floating on the surface of our pond, hogging the light and oxygen, yet blaming the minnows and copepods for the hypoxia and murk.
The Omnipresent and near Omniscient Machine:
A worldview...a Zeitgeist, even...adhered to by the uber-wealthy few, and their minions....then spread perniciously into the Mind of America.
Machine is everywhere.
I read Adam Smith, and then Marx'” Das Capital”(which, incidentally, I keep next to each other on the shelf...along with our true economic bible:Puzio's “Godfather”...)...Ricardo, and Malthus...Rothbard and Mises, Hayek and Friedman.
Many, many more.
All of this sounds pretty good, on paper...and after sufficient scotch...but it is nothing like the system we actually have.
“Free Market” is an all but meaningless phrase...yet another victim of the ongoing destruction of language.
As I've said,I am for Decentralisation...Democritisation...of Everything.
Toilet Paper as a Cottage Industry.
We need to Grow Our Own, instead of importing everything.
A lesson I learned from both Smith and Marx is the bedrock of entrepreneurialism....”Identify a Need, and fill it”.
How can one even try to do this , any more...with walmart just up the road...with economies of scale utterly dwarfing the small actor...with Barriers to Entry larded onto the tax code, the rules of business, and every other layer of government and corporate meddling in the economy??
There ain't nothing “Free” about the way we do things.

I'm reading, among other things, Theodore Roszak's “Where the wasteland ends”...
From Chapter 12:
“....And suppose the reality we live by should experience such a revolution...what sort of political program would follow from that?
Nothing less, I think, than that we should undertake to repeal Urban-Industrialism as the world's dominant style of life. We should do this, not in a spirit of grim sacrifice, but in the conviction that the reality we most want to reside in lies beyond the artificial environment. And so we should move freely and in delight toward the true post-industrialism: a world awakened from it's sick infatuation with power, growth, efficiency, progress as if from a nightmare.”

He then goes on to contrast the megalopolis with ancient Athens...and then into an interesting digression regarding “work”...ie,”jobs”...and the monetisation of everything.
Would you rather buy your next tomato, computer or bar of soap from a giant, global artificial lifeform, who treats it's workers, and the environment, as just so much trash?
Or from your neighbor?
There's no reason, any more, to continue our headlong rush into bigger and bigger institutions and structures and mechanisms.
When we, as “consumers”, choose the latter, in spite of the marginally greater cost, we'll all be better off.
As it stands, and taking Mason as my guinea pig...we export our dollars to, basically, wall street....in order to import the things we need and want.
That leaves fewer dollars in circulation around the truly local economy.
Which is depressive, medium to long term.
This means, necessarily, fewer jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs in the local economy...which means expanding poverty.
This, in turn, leads to greater usage of whatever passes for a safety net...be it food stamps or crop subsidies.
And this leads to a populace divided against each other...when they should find common cause in the business of living together...and be at least somewhat united against those distant repositories of power...both government and corporate...sucking up all of the means of life.
What if these, and other, costs were figured into the price of a banana, or a gallon of gas?
For one, it would likely be much cheaper to purchase the locally grown agarita berries, or the locally produced biofuel.
For another, the price would more truly reflect the actual costs involved in producing and moving things, as well as the costs incurred by damaging the people and the land and water.
This is how I attempt to make my purchase decisions....but it's getting ever harder to do.
We don't make anything that I need.
The local wine industry is exorbitantly priced, and has only one outlet, by law, access to which requires one to submit to the tourist-y “experience” in order to purchase an overpriced bottle of wine.
They are forbidden to sell their wares at any other store...or anywhere else.
The sole milk producer, similarly, is forbidden from selling her wares anywhere but on her farm.
She also is forced to sell at much higher prices than her large, corporate competitors....they have so written the rules, and even the laws, that their milk is highly subsidised by tax money....artificially lowering their prices.
Again, free market, my shiny white ass.
My point is, that we...way out here...could be producing a hell of a lot more of what we need and want.
But it would take effort, and conscience and a little creativity.
Local Currency,for example.
It would also require an educated public...one who, when presented with the cost benefit analysis that reflects the true costs and benefits, sans corpo-governmental obscurantism, would hopefully have enough care for their neighbors to choose them and their products and services, over those of the outside, and far away giants.
Maddow had a long segment last night on the various pseudo-uprisings of the far right, gun fondling militia types over the last 6 years, or so...connect those with the same sort of phenomena that occurred under Clinton, and a pattern emerges.
These outbursts of incoherent rage serve only to alienate the Tea People from ordinary Americans...but there's, as usual, a kernal of truth, somewhere in there.
I supported Tea, in the beginning...when it was a Ron Paul Joint.
But it was quickly gobbled up by the Kocks and other moneyed arms of the Machine, and turned into a Bircher Crazy Town....even though it has had a definite effect at the ballot box, and in state and federal legislatures, it is essentially a negative force...delusional...mindless...it's defining feature is it's Palingenisis...a longing for a national rebirth, in the form that was thought to exist in some mythical golden age, before things got so complex.
This is an understandable sentiment...but it ain't gonna fix anything.
Contrast with Occupy...which, rather than mindless, was headless....so that it couldn't be co-opted by big money and the machine so easily.
It's effect was to shine a bright light on the heart of the Machine...namely, Wall Street.
It jump-started a national conversation regarding the effects of giant corps and the FIRE Economy(finance,insurance, real estate), as well as “Banks” who seem to produce nothing at all but zeroes and ones in a computer somewhere...what effect these have on Our government, and Our civilisation...but it was so decidedly and purposefully disorganised, that it didn't translate into actual change.
Consider what would happen if these two movements found a common enemy,lol...
while I support that, too...it would have little effect...because the Machine has learned to absorb and co-opt it's opponents.
Roszak's program, on the other hand...is a non-program.
It is more akin to the Taoist concept of Wu Wei...action without action.
Water, falling like rain, gathering naturally into rivers...which move mountains.
It's also akin to Deleuze' Rhizomes....and Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones...in other words, it is Anarchism.
Mason is almost perfectly situated, both geographically, and historically, to be a Lifeboat...an Ark....and an Example.
Consider the all but forgotten heritage of the German Freethinkers who first settled out here...
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Just thinking...outside the box...even outside the warehouse where the box is kept:

Taking as given the reality of Peak Resources, Peak Economics and Peak Climate....and taking, therefore, as given, that the Way We Do Things must necessarily change quite radically...
It is incumbent on us to begin to think about what form(s) a post-cornucopian society might take.
If Post Industrial,Post-Cornucopian life is entered into willy-nilly, without Thought, History indicates that some less than ideal forms will likely arise...I'm thinking here of Warlordism, and the sort of Corporate Feudalism that we see the beginnings of, even today.
In periods of Decline, Feudalism, or Manorialism, may be the best that can be hoped for...but these need not be the grinding, authoritarian edifices of the early Middle Ages.
During the European Dark Ages, what we call Feudalism grew out of the Roman Villa...which led to Monasticism...which , in it's turn, influenced what became Feudalism/Manorialism.
(see, among other things, Gibbon)
These were an Heirarchical, Authoritarian System...embedded in a larger System that was also Authoritarian and Heirachical.
The Serfs and Peasants, subservient to the Knights, who were subservient to the Lord of the Manor(Petty King/Strongman)...who was subservient to the High King...who, himself, was often subservient to the Pope...who was, at least theoretically, subservient to God.
The Roman Villa, that set the pattern for all of this, was similarly Authoritarian and Heirarchical.
In contrast, the early Christian Monasteries were essentially Communist, in everything but name....holding property in common, and having a communal and collective way of life.
Later on, most did, indeed, evolve(devolve?) into a more Authoritarian Model, with an Abbot or Prior in charge, even then, such leadership was often chosen democratically, and based on Merit....rather than by heredity, or any notion of Divine Right, Primogeniture, and the like.
The point here is that such arrangements need not, of necessity, be Authoritarian.
Monasteries...which is the model I wish to focus on,personally....were centers of learning, as well as local...or even regional Economic Engines.
(see: Cahill)
I think of the idea of Paruchia...the network of monasteries connected to each other, and to a central Abby...as a sort of Federalism...the same could be replicated, today.
Too, the democratic nature of many Monasteries(or Manors/Villas) from the early Desert Fathers, to especially Irish Monasticism..as well as Hindu and Buddhist Monasticism...could also be instructive.
Autarky...ie: self-sufficiency...was also a feature.
And here's where we get at the root of applicability, in our own time, as we slowly descend into a new dark age.(go on...argue with me on that!)
It occurred to me, while explaining the concept and veracity of climate change to a friend, that our current system of property would likely be unworkable, after the trucks stop.
These thousands of acres of mesquite, for instance, would be denuded in as little as 5 years, without management(coppicing, etc).
Mesquite is not only a renewable fuel source(with coppicing), but the beans are a source of protein and an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, as well as numerous vitamins.
Since they grow here without human intervention....like plowing and cultivation and irrigation...and are naturally resistant to pests and disease...they are an asset, par exellance, for a post-cornucopian environment.
But if left to management by Greed, this resource will soon be depleted.

The Fallacy of the “Tragedy of the Commons” must be dispelled...everyone takes it for granted that property/resources held in Common is necessarily abused and quickly depleted.
There is almost no empirical evidence for this...indeed, there is abundant sociological/economical empirical evidence to the contrary.
I understand that this single part of my Ramble is likely to be the most pitchfork worthy,lol...given the last 30-100 years of TINA(there is no alternative).
But the phenomenon of a sort of Neo-City State is busy being born right this minute...in Texas....indeed, it was the focus of an article in a recent Texas Monthly, as regards to Houston, Dallas, and the SA/Austin “Corridor”.In this, it would behoove Mason, and other rather isolated places to get out in front of that wave...lest they be sucked up into the periphery of one of the megalopolises.
The problem, as with almost everything having to do with decline, is how to transition....how to get from here to there.(overcoming the assumptions and mythos is a pretty big challenge, too)
It is unlikely that a top-down imposition would work, given the long-term focus on rugged individualism, and the concurrent taboo on anything “collective”.
So the way to do it, is by individuals, in groups, doing it themselves...and thereby setting an example.
As I've said, I would have done this, long ago...given the money, and the body and the People...as well as the people-skills,lol.
This endeavor need not be the so-called Hippy Dippy Socialistic Utopianism that is often alleged....indeed, the Current Model of Free Market, World Without End, Top-Down-ism appears to be much more Utopian, when rigorously scrutinised.
There's no reason why a given monastery/villa/city-state, and environs couldn't be capitalist, or authoritarian....or socialist,anarchist ,theocratic...or any other system for Living Together. The model lends itself to the originalist Federalism...a bunch of Laboratories, united by a common federation.(the fence and floor that I've mentioned so often)...even Hayek went on at length regarding this.
The goal, here, is Re-Localisation of the Means of Production....Regional and Local Self Sufficiency. Whether the coming darkness is attributed to Sin, or to impersonal market forces,or just to Limits to Growth on a Finite Planet... the result is the same: an end to the way we do things.
Sustainability needs Arks...a whole bunch of Lifeboats...and an end to the enforced Bigness that is inherent in all of our current endeavors.
Think of the way the Internet/Web is put together...a million Nodes...interconnected...and therefore Robust and Redundant...and thereby all but immune from a Nuclear Attack.
Similarly, from Ecology and Horticulture...the field of weeds is much more robust and resilient than the field of wheat.
Diversity=Strength.
Pluralism.
The Centralisation and practiced tendency to the Very Large...whether in business or government...is like the field of monocropped wheat. One virus, one pest, one minor change in rainfall...and the whole damned thing dies.
Such uniformity is inherently NOT resilient...NOT robust.
The giant power outage, several years ago, in the northeast, is a prime example of the concept. A tree branch fell on a powerline...and since the Grid is pyramid shaped, and since the tree fell near the apex of the pyramid, a whole gigantic region of the country went dark.
Consider what would have happened if, instead, the grid were constructed of networked decentralised nodes...instead of 5-10 central power plants...we had a million small neighborhood power plants...all networked together. One goes down, and the rest stay on.
This is what I mean by resilience.
Instead of Vertical Integration...Horizontal Integration.
(see, again, Deleuze' Rhizomes)

Similarly, in 2005, when Hurricane Rita plowed through the Greater Houston Area, she cut the supply lines for Mason, Texas, 350 miles away. Our Grocer, our Convenience Stores, our Gas Stations....all were without the multiple trucks that usually come every week...the Trucks simply Stopped for almost a whole week.
And what happened in Mason?
All that was left at SuperS was corn shucks and canned oysters..the big gas tanks around town went dry...beginning with the cheapest...until all that was left was a little bit of the most expensive “premium grade”...
All of this after only six frikking days of no supply trucks!
Extend that for a month, and there'd be no natgas for the power plants where we get our electricity...no propane to heat or cook with...
Extend the disruption to a year, and we'd be in Mad Max Mode...no new parts for whatever machinery still worked...and on and on.
Contemplate the supply line connected to everything within 10 feet of you, right at this moment...and, if one is honest, one comes away with an appreciation that Civilisation is the thinnest of patinas.
Read the fine print on that package of toilet paper.
Where does it come from?
How did it get to the store where you bought it?
And why are not our under-and un-employed furnished with the means to produce such a necessary commodity locally? Perhaps from recycled cardboard and newspaper.(Toilet Paper as Cottage Industry)

My big point in all of this, is not only that this state of affairs is coming...whether in 10 or a hundred years....but that it is to our short term economic advantage to at least attempt to do something about it.
Drive around Mason County...look at all of the wide spots in the road that used to be thriving villages:Fredonia, Grit, Katemptcy(sp-2), Hedwig's Hill, Art, Cherry Springs, Doss....why were those places there, in the first place?
The answer, is that there were people there...who needed a dentist in Fredonia...a General Store and Post Office in Art.
Those people were there for agriculture, mostly....but machines made them superfluous....un-needed.
Those machines...and the poisons sold during the concurrent “Green Revolution” in Agriculture...are the same things that led the Farmers into perpetual Debt....and all of those former working folks into penury and uselessness.
One can argue that the gigantic changes in mechanisation and automisation in manufacturing and in ag, have created a huge surplus population...and that things like the War on Drugs, and the Pipeline to Prison...as well as the “volunteer” military as career choice(leading to a tendency for foreign entanglements for justification, btw)....all of these type things were designed to soak up that surplus population.
Since the Machine couldn't kill them outright, and since the Rugged Individualism and Bootstrapping Ideology wouldn't allow some other system...and would only allow a half hearted attempt at a safety net...all of these millions of our fellow Americans were simply forgotten...and taught to blame themselves for their poverty.
I'm positing that perhaps there's another way...one that doesn't rely on “Handouts” and other racialised euphemisms...but on re-organising our local and regional economics...to provide opportunities for folks to provide the sorts of things that everyone needs.

Go you now, and look up “Agorism”, “Counter-Economics”, “Intentional Community”, and “Left-Libertarianism”.
Don't be afraid of Wikipedia...only cowardly creatures who are afraid of everything, especially Knowledge, consider an Encyclopedia somehow dangerous.
Look up, as well, “Hydraulic Empire”..or “Hydraulic Despotism”....there's the fundamental Model for our current Civilisation.
90-some percent of all the chicken eaten in America flows through two gigantic,supra-national, immortal fictions...whose only physical manifestation is a collection of papers in a metal box in the Caymans, and a whole lot of people who believe, implicitly, in their actual existence.
Garden seeds, similarly, flow through a tiny handful of immortal fictions. Gasoline...and electricity...and medicine...food...means of transportation...
All of this is embedded in a system in which a few giant organisational wonders sit astride the supply lines of life, itself...always with the implicit threat of cutting off or restricting the flow, if a sufficient number of us down-stream dwellers fail to pay homage.(now go read “Howl” by Alan Ginsberg...(“Moloch!”))
Don't let me even begin to holler about Money...the Holy Cracker of Moloch...
Or Banks....the Temples.
Look up, again, “Local Currency”, but forget the fever-dreams of the gold bugs.
How about Marijuana as the medium of exchange....(Phil Judah suggested this, over chess, some 2o years ago...)
…...........................................
In my Thought, I sometimes forget to make clear the distinctions that I habitually employ, between Small, Medium and Large in everything from Economics, to Politics to the safety net...On the Broad, Civilisational Scale, I vote Democrat...and lean towards the Green Party Wing of the Big Dem Party.
Given the concentration of wealth ,and of the means of production and distribution..., such things as the Safety Net,including “Obamacare”, are necessary, to take up the slack, as it were...the dysfunctions inherent in the Very Large Systems we find ourselves in.
People need healthcare, after all...and a Living Wage...which is something that our top heavy Systems have difficulty providing...so that lack of income, even when one works full time, is taken up by the various and sundry “welfare” systems.
Again, a necessary evil, till the systems themselves, can be re-worked.
(a fellow named Ron Paul, hardly a “Socialist”, has been saying this very thing for decades)
Locally, I'm all about taking care of our own, and providing, as much as possible for our own individual and collective needs and wants.
And That is what I'm on about.
So resist, please, the ingrained tendency to disregard everything I say, because I happen to vote (D), or mention the word “Collective” without the prerequisite condemnations.
It has become so difficult to even talk about Economics, and the like, because of all of these code words, which cause short circuits in Thought and in Discussion.
This confusion of tongues and it's resulting hatred and acrimony...and divisiveness...is no accident.
It's how the Machine keeps us divided and disorganised...entirely focused on our differences, while missing, completely, our commonalities.
Whether you like or abhor your neighbors, near and far, is irrelevant.
History is pretty clear, that when some folks get too much, while a great many have too little, it always...Always...ends in disaster of one sort or another.
Unexamined, yet oh so comfortable, Assumptions, will do nothing to fix the many dysfunctions evident today.
And given that we Hate what we Fear, and we Fear what we do not Understand, folks are understandably averse to Change....even mere talk of Change.
But Change is likely the only Constant.
Status Quo has long passed it's throw out date.
Please consider the Thoughts behind this ramble, and join me outside the warehouse where the Box is kept.


/////////////////////////////////
“The Future is a different country...and people do things differently there.”-John Michael Greer, Archdruid Reperts.

“Study;Do;Harvest---NOT---Work;Paper;Buy”-George Ure
/////////////////////////

I'll wax poetic about “foreign policy”, at the outset of my next Ramble, as well as the intersection of FP with Globalism and the whole snake pit of exactly the wrong sort of global “governance”
(WTO,et alia)
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-engelhardt/an-exceptional-decline-fo_b_5583939.html)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Texgop and other silliness

(from April...)
Well...
Here we are...
The world didn't end...I stick my head out the window, and for the life of me, I can hear no hoof-beats of the Four Horsemen, I can smell no sulfur, there are no otherworldly Trumpets blaring...but it's all over the news that there are upwards of 7 Million Folks who have gained access to Affordable Healthcare, due to “Obamacare”. That number is just from the Federal Exchange...it doesn't count the millions who have done so on State Exchanges, or through Expanded Medicaid...in more Civilised Places.
But not in Texas.
Here, only those who make enough to qualify for the Federal Exchange are now eligible.
Families of four, making between $231, and around $2400...per month...are completely left out of access to healthcare....not due to the President...or Democrats...or the Federal Government.
They are left out, because of Rick Perry and the Republicans who have so dominated Texas' Government for all these years.
According to the US Census, that's 39.1% of households on Mason, Texas.
(Less those who are Officially Disabled, or Pregnant)
This is the Republican Medicaid Gap....and it's Shameful.
I have read that a Majority of Texans believe that Texas is Exempt from Obamacare...that the new Federal Healthcare Law is “Banned” in Texas.
Even Harvey Hilderbran's person who answers the phone (Pat) believes this nonsense.
The Truth, on the other hand, is that it is the Republican Medicaid Gap that is hurting the people of Texas....and the Fault for that lies squarely at the feet of Texas GopTea.
The pernicious and hateful Mythology that has been so shamelessly spewed regarding this Law, and everything else about this President, has so befuddled the minds of my fellow Texans, that a majority actually believe that there are “Death Panels”....
The reality is that this President, like St. George and the Dragon, destroyed the real Death Panels...that used to be located in the cubicle farms of the Giant Insurance Corporations.
Those Death Panels have been undone.
No longer can one be dismissed from the “Best Healthcare in the World”, due to “Pre-Existing Conditions”...like being Female.
No longer can Gigantic Insurance Corporations suddenly drop you when you get sick.
No longer can those behemoths charge whatever they want to...and no longer can they spend such large mounts on CEO compensation, and Advertising(propaganda).
These parts of the Affordable Care Act , forbidding such dishonest and heartless Corporate Behavior,are in play, even in Texas.
But the part of the Law that would help almost 40% of the folks in Mason, Texas...your Friends and Neighbors...is not.
Thanks, Rick.
Thanks, Texas Gop.
And Thank You, Fox News.
Thanks for Saving us from Affordable Health Care.
Way to go.

http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk

An open letter

to Representative Mike Conaway,11th District of Texas.

Mike,
I received your glossy mailer, regarding the need to “Defend the Constitution”...from Abuse of Power by the Executive Branch.
I couldn't agree more with this sentiment, but I wonder about the timing of this heartfelt concern.
Where were you, Mike, when your former employer was in the White House, engaged in the most egregious abuse of Executive Power in our history? The ongoing effects of the War Crimes committed by the Bush2 “Administration” are all over the news, this morning...a war of choice, sold to us with blatant lies...destabilizing a backwards country, and leading directly to the horrible morass evident there today.
Where were you, when your former boss arrogated to himself the power to spy on, literally, Everyone on the planet, without warrant, and without oversight?
Or when that bunch advocated Torture, Secret Courts and an end to Habeus Corpus?
Remember “Free Speech Zones”, and “Watch what you say.”?
Remember “Rendition”, “Black Sites” and “Indefinite Detention without Charge”?
I have engaged in a somewhat cursory review of your voting history, since 2004, and could find no opposition from you to the “Unitary Executive” Theory of Presidential Power pushed so forcefully by Bush and especially Cheney.
Indeed, when you voted at all on such important matters, it was FOR Military Commissions and Expanded FISA secrecy and the Patriot Act...and AGAINST any attempts to undo such egregious abuses of power.
Now, all these years later, I am graced with your mailing....”Prepared, Published and Mailed at Taxpayer Expense”...a mailing which aims to stoke fear and anger from the lowest common denominator of your constituency....pandering shamelessly to the a-historicity and amnesia of those who continue to support you.
Facile, petty and vile.
The non-issues of Benghazi and the so-called IRS “Scandal”? These have been settled to everyone's satisfaction, save those still lost in the Fox surreality tunnel.
“Obamacare Exaggerations” are a tired horse, nearly dead...but you all just can't help yourself, I guess.(“Obamacare” is the Heritage Foundation answer to “Hillerycare”, circa;1991.)
And as for “a Blind Eye to Illegal Immigration”, this President has deported more folks from Our country than anyone else, ever.
You spend a lot of time whipping the Base into a frenzy over things that aren't there...while totally ignoring the predations of Wall Street, the continuing Crime Spree of the NSA, the Corporate takeover of Education, the continuing travesty of the failed War on Drugs, and seem to support the ongoing assault on Voting Rights for anyone who is likely to vote against your party.
It appears that an Imperial Presidency is just fine when it's your guy...but when it ain't, any ginned up non-scandal will do.
To be clear, I stand firmly against those actions by the current Administration that are clearly unConstitutional...Drone Strikes, and the continuation of so many of Bush2's Illegalities...the wanton spying, the war on Whistleblowers, and on and on.
But those things were initiated by Lil George...with your support.
And those things are not mentioned in your fearmongering Mailer.
Indeed, you appear to still support those abuses of power, as indicated by your Voting Record, as well as your utterances at various Congressional Hearings.
If those ongoing....and Provable!...abuses were the subject of this mailer, I would be writing a much different letter.
Instead, you have chosen myth and falsity, and have merely confirmed my opinion of Goptea, in general.
I just wish that there was someone running against you, this coming November.
As it stands, you can expect to continue to hear from me...for whatever it's worth.

Ab Irato,
Amfortas
Mason, Texas.

Refugees



I came across the video of a gaggle of screaming geese in Murietta California.
They were upset that the evil federal gubmint was intending to process three charter buses worth of “illegal” women and children.
These illegal people had come to the southern border, not for the usual reason, that of obtaining employment picking our tomatoes or cutting our meat...no...
These illegal humans had braved the gangs and the cartels and the intervening hostile governments and pseudo-governments...trudged through the desert in early summer...in order to escape the low intensity conflicts in their own countries.
These three “countries” in central america are in a rather sad state.
Ineffectual local and national governments, infused with rampant corruption, are simply no match...on the local scale...for the Maras...that is, “Gangs”...who actually run the show in these places.
Hunting the Maras is another group....the Vigilantes...
These are former(or current. It remains murky.) police and military men...some of whom were trained at our own Fort Benning...who seem to be just as bad as the Maras. Perhaps worse, due to the tacit support given them by what passes as Officialdom.
This scenario is a direct grandchild of the Reagan Doctrine...but it goes back much further than that. See: Monroe Doctrine.
Our tax dollars have been supporting dictators, training death squads, and funding coups in the region for a century or more.
Since the 1980's, it's gotten orders of magnitude worse.
Nafta, Cafta and other “free trade” agreements have gutted the local economies of these places...mainly by forcing our subsidized corn into their markets, impoverishing their agricultural sector (which is historically composed of what we used to call “small farmers”).Having no way to make money...and seeing as how artificial entities like Cargill,Tyson,and Swift (just to name 3) continue to hire such illegal people, as a matter of policy... these unemployed illegal men, invariably head north.
The Maras and Vigilantes are simply the predators left behind to fill the void.
At every turn in this centuries long saga, we, the American People, have either been blissfully unaware of what was being done for our benefit, and in our name...or we have been complicit.
We elected the legal men who conceived of and enacted the policies that led directly to this current mess.
And what do we do, when the fruits of our apathy and collusion show up on our doorstep, seeking safety, and a more secure life than that we have left them?
We scream at them to go home...we shoot them in the desert...we put them in warehouses...like so many surplus parts.
And when the magnitude and moral repugnance of the situation finally makes us look a little less exceptional than we would like...and our evil gubmint shifts the responsibility for these people from a militarized border army, to the “Health and Human Services” wing, we go nuts.
How dare that bad ol' Obama Huusein, right?
A few things come to mind...
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker”...for instance.
How about,”...inasmuch as ye have done to the least of these my brethrin, ye have done to me.”?
On the Statue of Liberty, it says:
“"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Little of the mythology surrounding immigrants and thrown around as spittle covered “facts”, is true; merely excuses that inflame certain segments into apoplexy.
Go back far enough, and we are all immigrants...even “Native” Americans. They came largely from Asia, at least 14,000 years ago. The rest of us are of a far more recent vintage...and should probably keep that in mind as we continue to argue about who the country belongs to.
Way to go, America.

Ab Irato,
Amfortas
Mason, Texas

Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Vitriol


(in response to:http://www.masoncountynews.com/news/115969/)

While I welcome last week's comments, and largely agree with the commenter on the dire need for more respect and less shouting in our nation's political discussions, I do feel the need to point out one set of phenomena that he seems to have overlooked.
I've been a Liberal for most of my life....a Left-Libertarian, to be more pointed....and have spent most of my time on this Earth in rural Texas.
I cannot count the times that the very word, “Liberal” has been used as a pejorative, and equated with treason, evil and even Stalinism.
The word, and the set of ideas and ideals it entails have been used as a bludgeon, repeatedly, for as long as I can remember.
“Commies”, they called us...or “Terrorist Lovers”...depending on what decade it was, and what group we were supposed to be in mortal terror of, that week.
How many times have I been confronted with hatred and vitriol, spittle and froth, for daring to question the various sacred cows of the Right?
For taking the side of the oppressed and the downtrodden?
And for, especially, being Different in a culture that seems Hell-bent on the very conformity that I was told was the reason we were to hate and fear the Soviets?
At what point, after 40+ years of the Left being ridden roughshod, is it OK to turn around and give as good as we get?
At what point, after our repeated attempts at Dialog, and of Comity, should we turn, and punch the bullies in the face?
I am astounded, that when a Liberal dares to raise her head, and finally lash out at those who have so damaged the discourse, and poisoned the very language, these past four decades, that she is told to, essentially, be nice..and sit down.
She is admonished to respect “our” Elected Representatives...those same folks who routinely and spuriously disparage and lie about the President of the United States....who, seemingly out of habit,continually portray the President as, somehow, Dictatorial and Illegitimate....and continue, to this very day, to lie incessantly about the nature and functioning of that President's signature healthcare law...which he, incidentally, lifted almost directly from the Heritage Foundation's website, circa 1993...making it, by definition, a “Compromise” with Republicans.(!!)
Someone once said, “...and why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”....
Perhaps some of this newfound consideration for “Healing Words” should be directed into the hearts where it is most needed. The usual false equivalency of “Both sides do it” grows tiresome.
The Gop...and especially that Tea Creature they have set loose upon us all...would do better to look in the mirror on occasion, rather than scold all the rest of us who have grown so very weary of their antics.
If Republicans want my respect, they'll have to first show some respect...perhaps take another look at that much ballyhooed “Autopsy” they conducted at such great expense, after their last trouncing.
Maybe some consideration should be given to the thoughts and feelings of Womyn, and People of Color, and Gay Folks, Poor People and, yes, even Hippies...who it still seems are perfectly acceptable targets for bile and ire.
With all of the hollering and screaming, the outright lies and disinformation...so easily disproven...that we have borne witness to of late, is it any wonder that the Party of Reagan is shrinking?
They have managed to alienate, and even radicalise, the very People that they will need, as demographics change...as the country changes...if they hope to remain a major party.
Just this past week, some ill spoken scofflaw who doesn't want to pay his rent on the People's Land makes his stand for freeloading off us Us, and the usual suspects ride their stick-horses out to Nevada to support him...some with unhinged rhetoric, and quite a few with sniper rifles. This episode is then ginned up into a Jeremiad against the usual targets...Poor Folks, Black Folks, and on and on...
That is, until said Freeloader opens his pie-hole one too many times, and confirms what the rest of us already suspected...that he is a racist, too...and suddenly, the usual suspects rear their stick-horses, and run away.

At some point, the GOP will have to come around to the fact that the nation does not belong solely to Them, and to people they like...it belongs to all of us.
You , me and everyone else...Black, Brown, White and every admixture thereof...
Democrat, Republican, Commie, Libertarian, Green, and None of the Above.
We're all a part of it, this nation of ours...and some of us are beyond tired of allowing a minority of howlers to run the show.
If the GOP wants respect, they should show some.
If they truly want a functioning Government(which I have seen little evidence of), they should learn the actual definition of “Compromise”(hint, it ain't “give us everything we want”), and stop screaming at their opponents.
The “Party of Responsibility” should take a little responsibility, for a change.
Race Baiting Euphemisms, and thinly veiled Eliminationist Rhetoric does not occlude their culpability for much of the dysfunction we see, today.





Friday, March 7, 2014

Issa Same Old Shit.



So Darryl(sp-2) the Unpleasant is acting out again...this time, turning off Rep. Cummings' mike in a hearing, and cutting off any testimony that would appear to dissent from the Teabilly Tale of Obama-as-Kenyan-Dictator.
To be fair, Dems have done something at least resembling this, too...although, in the first instance, it was in response to an early example of the Obstructionism that the Goptea has now perfected. They(GOP) were mad that they 1. didn't have enough votes to keep the House in Session, and 2. that none of the Dems wanted to hear any more of the same, repeated endlessly.( http://sweetness-light.com/archive/2-flashbacks-dems-cut-off-lights-lock-out-gop?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sweetness-light%2FsURR+%28Sweetness+%26+Light+-+Articles%29#.UxoWlYV0mXl)
Sorry, that's not what is happening, here.
Here, Issa simply doesn't want a fair hearing...which is sort of his Brand, these days.
I'm reminded of a hearing on the Patriot Act, in 05, where Sensenbrenner turned off the lights.(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/10/AR2005061002110.html)
Just like today,Dems weren't being dick-heads...they weren't trying to hijack the proceedings.
They just wanted a fair hearing.
The Dem and Repug examples of this behaviour are not Equal.
Issa should be reprimanded.
This is just more of the same nonsense...a “dispute”, between those who think of government as a Necessary Evil, and those who think it's just Evil.(at least those portions of it that they don't like,lol. I've seen no Goptea People calling for an end to the Pentagon, for instance...or to Federal Subsidies for Big Oil.)
That's something I'd like to have a Public Debate about.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/debate)
(How utterly sad, that we must define such terms,lol)
Perhaps a Lincoln-Douglas Style Debate...with ball gags for “some people” who cannot refrain from outbursts during their opponent's time at bat?
(Such Outburst and Interruption are a key and defing feature of the O'Reilly/Hannity Style of Debate. Liberals who dare to appear on those shows should remember to bring water guns to shut the host up, for a moment.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crimea in Context.


(off the cuff)
So Ukraine has a sort of Revolution...again....and suddenly the Geopolitical Situation has reverted to Mean (Confusion)...and the Ahistoricity of the American People, and their media and policy institutions is on full display.
Maddow is on it, as usual, with a near comprehensive overview of Ukrainian History, back to 1954, when Krutchev *“gave” Crimea to Ukraine.(* I will unashamedly spell all the Russian names and words wrong)
Rachel is missing a lot of things, though...which I'll get to in a minute.
The Right, however, is still in thrall to hormones, it seems...the Mancrush on Putin(a real Dictator,lol), is on full display. Rudy “911!” Guliani, Marco Rubio, Krathammer, all the usual suspects...falling over themselves to pine for Putinesque “Leadership”. ...saying, essentially, that our President(whom they often accuse of “Dictatorship”, of being a “King”, an “Autocrat”) is a Pussy, because The Shirtless One is a Real Man, and a Real Leader.
Such is American Righty Rhetoric, during the Age of Obama.(sigh)
(Remember, Action over Thought is a hallmark of Protofascism...just saying)
Meanwhile, Ukraine is in turmoil.
Pro European Union vs. ProRussian.
It's confusing, of course, because it's the former Soviet Union.
It appears that this is a continuation of a Ukrainian Civil War/Revolution(see: Euromaidan)...in which many in Ukraine want to further separate from Russian influence, and become, essentially, European(echos, which I'll also get to).
But there's a bunch of others who don't want this, and want to remain a Russian Client.
Crimea is a hotbed of ProRussian sentiment...around 60% of the population of Crimea is Russian...and Russia maintains a warmwater port there, as well as the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy, at Sevastopol, and elsewhere in the area.
This has been going on since the collapse of the USSR, in 91-92...but it has historical tendrils reaching back centuries.
Crimea has been basically Russian for a very long time...the Russians claim it, sometimes overtly, sometimes tacitly, as the political situation warrants.
Were I king of the world, I'd consider giving Crimea to Russia, and being done with all of this mess...but it ain't that simple.
A feature of Russian history, and of the Russian Mindset, since at least Peter the Great, is a deep psychological need to be regarded as either a part of European Civilisation, or at least as on par with that Civilisation. For that whole period, Russia has been thought of as the Hillbilly Cousin of Europe...a backwards and crosseyed place, hopelessly unibrowed. The Appalachia of Europe.
This sentiment, and the resentment it causes in the upper classes, and even the pseudo middle classes of Russia is essential to understanding the history of the entire region.
It's the reason Putin, and his “I vill hunt bear with my teeth” posturing, is so popular...it's the reason he's gotten away with hanging on to power for so long.
It's also the reason behind the belligerent attitude of the Soviets, and of the Tsars, before...chest thumping...what anthropologists might call “Territorial Display”...similar to “little man syndrome” in psychology.
Add to this psychological/emotional mix the strategic need for a Warm Water Port...and the long term Ethnic Russian Majority in the Crimea...and there's the root.
I've seen nothing of all of this in the media.
The EU is limited in it's response matrix, due to it's dependence on Gazprom.
The US is limited by the stupidity and craziness of it's Right Wing....as well as the lingering distrust and lies and duplicity, left over from the Cold War.
The UN may have a chance at brokering a settlement, but I doubt it...would that the UN had a little more functionality,lol.
At root, I think that Russia saw in the latest unrest in Ukraine;1. An opportunity to take back Crimea,for psychology's sake, and 2. a strategic and economic need, backed up by history and ethnic makeup, to defend it's main Warm Water Port, as well as the substantial Military infrastructure in Crimea.
I'd like to see a peaceful resolution...but I do not expect one.

Too, the shameful display of everyone from Lindsey Graham to McCain(who should both know better) to the Shouters and Mouthbreathers in the Right Wing Media, would be cause for our own Revolution, if it were the American Left making such stupid and radical statements.
Pat Buchannan, especially, should apologize, and return to under his rock.