Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kill the Bill!!!

First, Congress should kill this sorry excuse for a Health Care Reform Bill.
Second, Joe Lieberman should be stripped of his Chairmanship, then Kicked the Fuck out of the Democratic Caucus….loudly and soundly.
Third, Democrats should abandon Bipartisanship, come up with a Single Payer Bill, and ram that fucker through…
Reconciliation sounds good.
Dems have the Majority…what’s the fucking problem/?
A much slimmer Majority of Republicans held us all hostage during Lil George…
Is it that the Dems are too nice?
Or is it, as I suspect, a lack of Spine/Stones?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Silence

The main reason that we are NOT a Democracy, but a Republic, is that the Founders feared Pure Democracy.
They had been in the Political Minority, and wanted to avoid Mob-Rule, the Tyranny of the Majority.
Thus, we have a Constitutional Democratic Republic, where the Minority (or Minorities...) are protected, under Law.
I wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments...they sound great.
What a wonderful country that would be, that enjoyed such Egalitarian Freedom.
Sadly, that's not how it always is "on the ground".
I live in a Red County...the last 20 years have seen the Republicans gain the Majority.
The problem is that the Democratic Remnant is afraid to speak.
They feel intimidated, I think...judging by my Wife and the few other Liberals I am acquainted with.
The Right walks around, spouting their eliminationist, racist,dishonest rhetoric...and noone calls them on it.
Kids in the high school call the President a "Nigger" on the way to class...and nothing is said.
Teachers provide their captive audiences with the vilest of misogynist, anti liberal rants.
Regular folks,good Christian women, talk of the need for public executions and a return to Prayer in the Public School.
I have overheard talk of "running the Socialists off'...and, indeed, have been nearly strangled by a member of the local American Legion, in a bar, for relplying to his query,"what do you think about George Bush"...with "I think he's a War Criminal."
The local paper is filled with columns, and the occasional letter,with a decidedly "Conservative" slant...but any "Liberal" reply is demeaningly labeled "Politics as usual"...as if to say "how dare they"...or"see, we let the crazies speak, too..."

And the "opposition" lies down.
They are too polite, it seems, to actually call any of this what it so obviously is...Fascism...lest they offend their neighbors.
They are as shocked as the Right when someone has the temerity to stand up and call "Bullshit!".
So the eliminationism, the racism, the underlying violence of the rhetoric of the Right goes unchallenged...
And they begin to believe that "everyone" believes as they do...
And ,eventually, they will think that they are within their "God Given Rights" to "get rid" of any remaining Liberals...or Queers, or voting Mexicans,or...well, you get the idea.
These things must needs be challenged, ere they grow and fester, and turn into a new Civil War.
It is the Duty of the Minority to be vocal and unafraid...to stand up and speak out...whether the Right likes it, or no.

Another reason why we shouldn't torture people...

...I mean besides the troublesome fact that it's inherently immoral, uncivilised and beneath what we ,as a Nation, purport to hold dear.
Seems the Obama Administration wants to bring 3 Al Queda "Detainees" out of Guantanimo, where they have been safely out of reach of Justice.
So now the Right has a conundrum.
In fact we all have a conundrum, just the Right's hands are a little more sticky.
You see, during the Bush II Years, we abandoned the Rule of Law...we took these "Enemy Combatants" and placed them on a US Base, on a Communist Isle...Placed them in a kind of Legal No-Man's-Land.
We stripped them of all Human Rights...
Then we Tortured them, in violation of our own laws, international law and human dignity.
They are tainted men, not only for their horrible crimes, but for how their accusers have treated them.
Now that they are being brought to a Court in New York, the Right would have us fear that they may escape, or (ludicrously) get off on a "Technicality"....
Which translates as,"get off scott-free because our torturing them rendered our "evidence" against them unusable..."
What really has the Right worried is the prospect of the sordid details of the Guantanimo Experience all over the Media.
What was done in the seven years, Post 9-11, of the Bush II "Administration" will be once again laid on the dinner table, as it were, where it can quiver and ooze.

The Right will argue that it is so much better, and more likely to remain forgotten, if we just keep them in Cuba...out of sight, out of mind.
What the present Administration is doing will ensure that these 3 men, and their stories, will be right in front of everyone...just in time for the start of the 2010 campaign season.

Should be very entertaining to watch the contortions of logic, the stammering and righteous indignation that are sure to ensue.

Monday, November 9, 2009

tangled

"All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue."
-Bob Dylan
Copyright ©1974 Ram's Horn Music

Suddenly, after 20 years of exile, a drunken, half-hearted web search finds 2 old friends...
The other hair-farmer from HS and the lead singer in my first band...
20 years+- ago, I was on the road...mostly.
Couch-surfing, VW Van living, wandering....
Ended up in Austin, Texas....And didn't really tell anyone...
I had lost connection.
And what I knew of the other's lives pointed to them being very different from my own.
Oat Willie's "Onward through the Fog" and Kesey's "Further" were ingrained in me....
So I didn't even try to go back....save once...

Made an appearance at my 10 reunion, but the former Jocks and Bowheads didn't remember me, and I wasn't on their list....so couldn't get in..
(!)
Clinched the deal for me....
I inadvertantly disappeared into the Texas Hill Country.
(All of the dates, chronologies and timelines are approximate, at best....I am Timeless.)
Had a few contacts, over the years...usually during an exceptionally inebriated phase...Proved my theory, that I alone still harbor the Wildness that defined us, back then...
'Normal" lives, all of them...
I can't say I haven't thought about at least attempting a "Normal" life....Just don't think it's in me.
I've strayed too far from the reservation,it seems....and can't be found.
Our experiences constitute who we are, and how we define the World.
My experiences have been singular, and far outside the norm...ergo...
Strange duckness.
I've had a wild and interesting life.
(only 2 regrets...not sticking to my guns on a Philosophy degree, and not seeing more of the world)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pain makes ya bored

A "Stop health Care Reform!" advertisment appears next to my Blog!

What can one do in the face of such incredible, well-funded, rediculousness?
I managed to plant 2 beds of Garlic and set 2 (very heavy) steel posts...in the last week.
Rest of the time, I've been laying here, in a vicodin haze....
Neck-down pain.
I'm doing good to do the laundry and dishes.
And cook.
Gotta earn my keep, after all.
My wife is very understanding....
The Depression that inevitably results from being a couch creature is almost as bad as the pain.
Daytime Tv...sucks.
I've watched all the dvd's we've collected over the years....and I read, a lot.
Now, it appears that my eyesight is in trouble.
The walmart magnifyers (x2.5) no longer do the trick.
Add "real glasses" to the list of health related things I can't afford.
sigh.
Still waiting for the county "indigent care" chick to get back to me....perhaps she'll have good news.
And I reapplied for Disability/SSI...for what it's worth.
Preemptively, I asked the (very nice) woman if i could get my employment records.....
Last time I applied, I got all the dates and stuff wrong...only to find out that they had the correct info right in front of them.(duh! they're Social Security...)
I was told it would cost me $57 to get my records.
Not gonna matter, anyway...my "credits" have decreased in the last 3.5-4 years...and I am probably not eligable for Disability/SSI.
Won't know for sure for a very long time, I suppose...given the glacial pace of these things.
One good piece of news...Doc upped my dosage of Vicodin...so I can take what's necessary without running out.
I'm still quite miserly, tho....Titration, and all.


With news being the only, somewhat, intelligent thing on TV during the day....I surf through all those channels.
Even Fox.
The "Debate" on health is an endless source of hollerin' at the boob Tube.
Bachmann's nutty Tea Party at the capital, yeaterday, marked the end of my Tolerance.
I switched it off and attempted to sleep.
Today, I've been sending irate e-mails to the AstroTurfers...including the RNC.
And I know that it will not make a difference.
They don't even hear contradictory opinions.
It's like arguing with Geese.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

response to ignorant diatribe

This is a letter to the editor of my local paper, never sent(no internet at the time), in response to another letter, in which a woman fawned ond masturbated over Glenn Beck...and called on us to "Wake Up" and resist the "Socialist Menace".....


Gerry,

I read the three-column diatribe in "Letters" last week, and felt it needed a response...

Where was the outrage, for the past 8 years, as the Right's poster-boy subverted the Bill of Rights, handed out no-bid contracts to his corporate pals, wiretapped all and sundry, etc. etc. etc.?
I guess that when a Republican endeavors to destroy the very Foundations of this country, that's somehow OK?
And that all us who disagree must sit down and shut up?
Love it or leave it, and all….
But Heaven forbid that a "Liberal" gets into office (sans "voting irregularities" or unprecedented "help" from the Supreme Court)...Then it's "Man the barricades!!!"

Heaven forbid that a "Liberal" try to repair the damage done by 30+ years of "conservative" policy...like reregulating Wall st., putting giant, multinational corporations back in their box, and endeavoring to make the Super-Rich pay their fair share.(the Horror!)
And Heaven forbid that someone attempts to rebuild our station in the world, renounces torture or puts an end to these stupid, wasteful wars.
And, please, Heaven forbid that anyone would attempt to see Justice done, and our former Employees punished if they have broken the Law.
For 30+ years, the Right has poisoned the mind of America...with lies and disinformation, fear-mongering and ad hominem.
And, for those 30 years, we have heard the ceaseless cry of “Deregulate!” and “Free Market!” and “Trust Business!”
“Drown Government in a bathtub.”


The Bush II "administration" was the horrible fruition of "conservative" policies that have brought us to the very edge of ruin.
And now that a majority of Americans have opened their eyes to the folly of such nonsense, the Right has no choice but to get up on it's hind legs and holler...
It has no other recourse with which to fight the Truth.
It's "ideas" have been shorn of their Glamour, laid bare for what they are, and always have been:
Government by, and for, a self-selected handful of Elites and the corporations they hide behind.

And, all my counterparts on the Right, I challenge any of you to define “Socialism”.
I’ll bet that you can’t.
Your’ studious ignorance, your’ emotional reactionism, plays right into the hands of those who would rule us all.
Those aren’t reins in your hands,
But chains.
Wake up, indeed...then look in the mirror.
And look into getting a dictionary.

Thanks,

Whores and Weasels and Mossadegh.

Whores and Weasels

The Senate has caved....
Passed a "health bill" that "contains a public option"...
Except that it allows States to "Opt Out"....
And would only "cover" a smidgen of folks who need or want such an option.
I guess the money was just too good.

And even with such a cowardly, niggardly bill...the Dems lost Olympia Snowe...their sole product of months of "Bipartisan" handholding.

sigh.

Missing in all of this is examination of fundamental assumptions....per usual.
For instance, (and most importantly)...
Why the percieved necessity of preserving the Health Insurance Industry?
TINA.
(!)
The Parisitical Corporation has no business being in the business of "providing" access to Health , for Profit.
This isn't hard to understand.
What do they do?
They don't "lower costs"....this would be against their very Nature.
Everything in their Being leads them to cut expenditure in order to increase Profits...
Expenditure, here, is read as "Providing Health".
Why not do away with them....for the very same reason we don't (so far) Privatise water, sewer, Interstates (and other roads), the Air Force, the cops, the courts, and the fire Department.
There are efforts to Privatise these things, I know...Toll Roads and Military Contractors, etc.....
Luckily, these have been limited, almost experimental....and disasters.(see the record of the Bush II "administration")
(Hardy Toll Road, in Houston was great when it was government run...I think it wa privatised, I don't know)

The Profit Motive is anathema to some endeavors.
Really wan't "cost-cutting efficiency" on that bridge?Or would engineering overkill be more confidence-inspiring?
What about the fire crew rushing to your' aid?
Why send 3 trucks, when one might do?
Costs money to be proactive and preemptive, after all...might harm the Bottom Line.(There is actual history regarding private fire departments...ugh!)

Healthcare should be a Human Right, not a "Product"....that we "Consume".

A perennial problem with Corporations is even more egregious when it involves Health and Life....
Recourse.
Bodiless...Soulless...Artificial Creations that ultimately turn on their Creators.
Where does one place the bullet?

That is one reason we have Government.
To rein in, and kill when necessary, these Vampires.
Corporations are extensions of Human Avarice into the Realm of Myth....almost a magical cloak, behind which greedy men can hide.
Government, almost alone, has the Power to destroy them...or keep them on a leash...since it is Government that facilitates their creation.
(The other Entity that has this Power is the People....but, I fear we are too ignorant and fractured to be effective...)
(and Government is supposed to be an extension of the People, anyhow...)

So....
Obama should abandon the Republicans....and the "Blue Dogs"...to the Political Wilderness.
Abandon "Bipartisanship"....the Opposition abandoned it 30 years ago.
Pull a Mossadegh!
Nationalise the Health Insurance Companies!!!

The Right will wail....and maybe even rise up...
But then, at least, we can all choose sides.....inject a little honesty into this fight.
Who sides up with who.
Abandon this horrible pretense that Politicians are not Whores and Weasels...that they work for us, not Vampires....
Put it to the test.
Nationalise, and see what happens.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More ranting from my web exile

10-02-09
Got my shop (that I insist on calling the Barn..."Boy outta the country"...) just about set.
Office area, w/ computer, guitar stuff,etc...a little place for fly-tying, which my almost 8- yr old is interested in...
Fishin' poles on the wall, a large workbench....etc.
All that's left is removing the nasty couch and armchair that Drunk Uncle left in here...Prolly hafta take the Sawzall to the couch...
The woodstove is intended for the place currently occupied by that detritus.
Back porch is finished, except for the roof...which will hafta wait ( as will the Smithy roof) until the debt to the Hardware store is paid down.
Internet will be cheaper than I first thought...
After these few things, all I'll have left of the heavy lifting will be the rest of the fence (around the back lot), and the chicken house....
The latter will be constructed from material recycled from porches, etc at the country place.
When I get to it, I'll take the large "load-center" from the Greenhouse to replace the small one in the Barn...more illegal electrical work...LOL.
After the City "Inspects" the Smithy and Porch, and eventual Chicken House, I figger I'll be free to run power (covertly) ...
So, soon, I'll be able to lay off the construction work...which is causing a hellova lot of Pain!...and work on Blacksmithing, Poultry Ranching and Gardening.

The Government, in it's Wisdom (?!), has deemed me " Not Disabled"...final appeal fell on deaf ears....
Despite MRI images that a blind person can see, and the determination of 4 doctors...
Now I get to start all over..except that my "eligability" runs out in 3 months...(haven't worked in almost 4 years...)
What's left in the quiver of options is the County "Indigent Program" (run by the most beautiful woman in town, at least..), and several ideas that border on Fraud, and/or illegality..
I can "establish residence" in San Antone, in order to get into their county health-care system,
Or, my Wife and I can get a Divorce, so I can act homeless and destitute, to meet the rediculous requirements of Medicaid...(Adults in Texas must make below $231.00/month to qualify)
Or, as a last effort, I can borrow $$$( yeah, right) or (more likely) rob a bank...then steal a boat and run off to Cuba, and get fixed there...
Even without the Grand Larceny, this last is illegal...

I'm probably just plain Fucked.
And should resign myself to the remainder of my life being one of increasing pain and decreasing mobility...
Considering getting ramps in while I'm still able...for the eventual wheelchair...

There is consolation in the knowledge that Blacksmiths in Mythology were, all of them, Lame...
I have a barstool at the Anvil...
What worries me is the pain in my arms...peripheral damage, from falls when I was relearning walking, wear and tear from the cane., compensating for my legs,.etc.
The Lame-God aspect and the prospect of building upper-body strength ( and the high price of swords..) are what got me into Blacksmithing in the first place.
All this construction/remodelling work I've been doing these past 2.5 months has left me a bundle of irritated nerves.
I hurt from the neck down...and it's Fall.
Cold fronts are beginning to find their way to within 1000 miles of my Barometer (my skeleton)...and every bone and joint that I've ever broken, bruised or otherwise damaged is crying out.
Shall I ennumerate?
The obvious: R. Hip, L. Ankle, R. Knee....these are the primary complains, and the root-cause of all the others.
Both wrists, both thumb-joints, both elbows,(old, untreated fractures from falls due to bad legs)
Neck, from a truly ancient injury,
Back ,from compensating for legs,...right between the scapuli is the worst...
R. shoulder, I assume from leaning a little too heavily on my stick.
Left Hip, now...don't know why...
Left knee, for the same reason as the right(locking knees onto the brake pedal during my encounter with the sweetgum tree)...

Sigh.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

river

10-14-09
The only problem I have left with this town-living, having gotten used to the rest, is having nowhere to retreat to...away from Humanity.
Barring earplugs, that is.
I just returned from White's Crossing , on the Llano river.
There is what amounts to a road, now filled with mud, that winds a mile or two upriver, through the pecan bottom.
One passes between, and through, deep oxbow gullies,quiet meadows,and beneath towering limestone cliffs.
This morning, i saw a deer, and a coral snake devouring some smaller, unfortunate snake.
It was quite nice...and peaceful.
I flyfished for a while, till I realised that the river was full of snakes....(!)
Recent rains must've stirred them up...I saw around 10 of them in the water...a.nd decided it wasn't an opportune day for standing in the river
As I was putting my dry shorts on, I heard the arrival of Humans, 3/4 mile away, at the bridge.
It was hard to miss....
Booming bass, echoing off the cliffs, shouts, gunning engine...
So I packed up my gear and headed out,(I was starting to hurt,anyway) hoping to get back to the truck ere they opened fire.
(This has happened before;idiot rednecks with machine guns, shooting up the woods...where I happen to be fishing.)
These folks had left before I had picked my way back....too muddy to run down wildlife with the truck, I guess.
(I have witnessed this behaviour, on more than one occassion, as well...)
There was a new bag of garbage near my truck....I tossed it in the bed.
(This is nothing new either...whereever the public has access to Wildness, around here, there is a debris-field from the encounter.
I regularly bring several bags of trash out of the river...even carry trashbags in my truck....At least this lot was already bagged.)
I had wanted peace and quiet and Nature.
I had the first two, for a while...and I am thankful of that...
And Nature was all around me....
But now that I don't actually live in the Wilderness, there's nowhere to go to get away from people...and their noise and trash and nosiness...

latest health rant

10-13-2009

Well, here I am...40 years old...and denied my final appeal for Disability.
Borrowed $$$ and got an MRI that a blind man can read....to no avail.
Right hip is trash.
Avascular Necrosis...(that means dead bone due to lack of blood supply)
Left ankle is toast...one pound of metal and numerous fractures and "Loose Bodies"...X-Ray looks like a gravel pit.
Right knee is screwed as well....damage from the wreck, 20 years ago, plus wear and tear from cooking all these intervening years...damaged ligaments from falls, no cartilage to speak of.
My lawyer says to reapply...start all over.
Only problem is i haven't worked in almost 4 years (I’ve been disabled…duh.)...my "credits" will run out in December, and I will no longer be "eligible" for Disability.
But i can't work...at least at a real job...
Sure, I can do things that need doing around the house/farm (within limits)...but "working" for 4 hours then laying there, in pain, for 2-4 days isn't exactly what most employers are looking for, I think.
4 hours is what I can generally handle...if I stay clear of heavy lifting, ditch-digging, etc...and if I have the option of sitting or laying down, when needed.
I'm talking here about housework....laundry, dishes, cooking.
If I am required to do "real" work, (because if I don't ,it won't get done. like slapping together a porch/future utility-room, patching the roof, etc)..I'm worthless for several days.
The Judge at the video-hearing had an “expert” with him, who determined that I was capable of two jobs….”Cut and Paster” and “Order Clerk”. The former, I have no idea….seems like computers do that kind of thing. The latter is usually found in a warehouse…and in my experience, requires lifting and walking and 8 hour shifts. No one seems to have noticed that most employers have not exactly been pillars of social responsibility these past 30 years…and, regardless, there are no such jobs within at least 40 miles of me.
So what am I to do??
A Doctor I know suggests that I "establish residence" with a friend or relative in San Antonio, or somewhere...and get into the County Health System.
Of course, this would be Fraudulent...at least to me.
I can't afford to move to the big city....let alone live there.
Another tack...
Divorce my wife (on paper)...
In Texas, where we are all Christians, following His Teachings to the letter (snort),an adult must make less than $231.00/month in order to qualify for Medicaid.
My wife brings in around $900 every month....ergo, we are deemed too well off for Public Assistance.
So, we reasoned, we could pay the $300 for a divorce, and I could "live in my truck" with "no income' and, theoretically, qualify for healthcare….save that I’m pretty sure that one needs an address to get Medicaid.(How someone making under $231/month can maintain a residence is beyond me…)
And, once more, fraudulent...
The three surgeries I need would cost around $18,000 in Cuba, I'm told....
as opposed to $100,000+ , here...
But, I have no money...
In theory, the Emergency Room is forbidden from turning someone away....one hears this on the news all the time.
I'm not sure I'm confident enough in that assertion to test it....I mean, I could jump off the roof, thus (inevitably) breaking my damaged hip, and calling for an ambulance.
With my luck, they'd check my credit score, or something, before handing me an advil and pushing me out the door.

I have been uninsurable since I was rebuilt, after that wreck, almost 20 years ago...the insurance I had then paid all but $100,000, and dropped me.
Haven't had insurance, since.
And....now, it's not only the big three...(hip/ankle/knee)...
It's my back, my neck, my wrists, my elbow, my thumbs, my shoulders....and my "good" hip.
Wear and tear...compensation for my damaged parts.
You're suppose to lift with your' knees...but what if your' knees are fubar?
Ergo, damaged back,etc.
Of course, I have no "proof" of all of these newer ailments...MRI's. X-rays and doctor's visits are expensive. Too, when I fractured my thumbs in a fall, for instance, I wrapped them up, drank tequila and endured…no records….no documentation.
So when I reapply for Disability, I'll just have my word.
And if my previous experience with the system is any indicator, they won't even process my application until I'm no longer "eligible".

So, while my "Representatives" are yelling about "Socialism" and generally standing in the way of any real reform of this fucked up "system", I deteriorate.
And get more broke, and broken.
And wonder why my country has abandoned me.
At this rate, I don't think I can make it another 23 years, till I am eligible for Medicare....assuming that that program hasn't been misused and defunded and destroyed by that time.
It is disappointing, in the extreme, that my best "option" seems to be to rob a bank, steal a boat and make my way to the nearest Communist country.
What does it say about our System that that becomes a more and more reasonable choice?
When varying degrees of Fraud and Grand Larceny are the best, most cost effective path to health? Or even the only path.
What does it say about us? A self-described "Christian Country"?
When I review the four Canonical Gospels, I can't find any mention of taking care of giant Corporations at the expense of the Poor and Sick.
Nowhere is it mentioned that we must make sure the rich get richer.
Jesus didn't buy stock options in the money-changers....he kicked them out of the Temple.
The various Parables don't say the Rich will inherit the Earth, but the Meek.
Jesus was a Liberal...
And it is the height of hypocrisy to call oneself a Christian while supporting a political party that, at every turn, does just the opposite of what Jesus would do...as deduced from His Words.
War is not Pro-Life...neither is the coddling of the Super Rich...
But Universal Healthcare is.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

3am

3am 9-6-09


So, "L" is taking shortcuts through the back yard...
He's real slippery...such that I haven't been able to confront him.
I noticed him standing at the property line, looking into the back, as I was out front taking trash out.
By the time I got in and to the back door, he was already through the yard....he was waiting for front door noises...
Clever.
I don't think he means any harm...except maybe to any material I neglect to lock up....
I surmise that he's trying to avoid the road...he's a wanted man.
(for dope and petty theft)
If caught, he'll be deported.
So I have a cheat-sheet stapled to the back door jamb......
""Te puedo ayudar?","Alto!","No traversar.""Privado propiedad.","Camina alrededor." and "Vamos!"..
I think a tall fence would speak volumes...in any language..
I'm decent at Spanish, in a kitchen...but my grammar sucks...and I'm better suited (as w/ all languages) to reading.
Give me text in Greek, German, Latin....even French...and I can figure it out.
At least the gist.
Spoken, it moves too fast....
Most, I've never heard spoken out loud.


New problems have presented themselves regarding the house...
Sewer. (!!!)
Borrowed a mechanical snake from FIL...switch don't work...gotta rig it somehow...it's Labor Day...so noone's open till Tuesday.


I had intended to be blacksmithing on all these weekdays that everyone’s at school…
First “free time” I’ve had since my oldest was born almost 8 years ago….
Alas, Moontime Don has thrown a sizeable wrench into those plans…

I’m to the point in my dismantle-out-there/build-here regime where I must either dismantle the big stuff…or purchase new material.
Too, I’m having the propane tank moved…so there’s a ditch to be dug…a wild peach tree to be cut…
And more $$$ I don’t have to be spent on the gas-man to get ‘er done.

Roof/walls of the Smithy (integral to the fence) will come from the porch out there…I hope.
Roof , and posts, and long boards…for the new back porch for W/D,etc will hafta be new.

And my Dad is coming…
He’ll cast his critical eye on all aspects of the property….
And, hopefully, approve….
And be open to helping us purchase it.
My Brother is getting all manner of help to get into a “real” house in Kingwood….his down payment would buy this place, outright…

Brother did everything right…finished school, and college…worked diligently in a career track…makes upward of $80K/year.
…And can’t make ends meet.
While, I …the “crazy one”…have been a Chef/Musician/Farmer (and now, Crippled Philosopher)
Never made more than $25K….mostly much lower…
Quit when I got pissed off at stupidity/unnecessary drama…
And, generally, went my own way.

I think it says a lot that we’re both in pretty much the same boat.
This is NOT our Grandad’s America.

Haven’t had time to think about Doom…or social/political issues…
Hollered at the TV, a lot…
But haven’t had it in me to bitch/ hold forth…

Perhaps we’ll have an opportunity this winter…

Lawdy...

Lawdy,Lawdy….

Turned 40, yesterday…at 18:45 CST.
Awoke at 4 AM…. By 5;30, I’m out back…digging holes for psts..for gates.
I dig “Pi-Gates”, my own invention…two uprights, and a lentil….very Megalithic…
Crossties…
So I’m up at 2, this AM, feeling like I’ve been run over….

Hafta lay around and watch movies, today….
Sucks…not least cause I got all this work to do…

Uncle has been surprisingly civil…and quiet.
I suspect it’s the regular evening meals I’ve been providing.
Better than he’s eaten since Grandma died.
Too, nourishment, and a belly full of lasagna, mitigates the drunkennesss.
Whatever…I’m just glad there hasn’t been any BS from that quarter.
L, however, is back in town…sneaking furtively through my back yard to avoid arrest/deportation…(hence the perceived need to finish the fencing: Gaucho is a particularly nasty variety of barbed wire…lol.)

Still, makes me a mite jumpy..him being around….doing the staring thing.
His brother ,B, is a real piece of work…
Prolly my least favorite part of the barrio.
Fat, mean and hypermasculine….stereo in his (overly loud) dually can be heard for blocks…and he spends most of his time w/ the drug-slinger next door…truck parked out in the road, doors open, conjunto blaring…bass penetrating.
Nervewracking for a dog-eared hillbilly.

Besides that, it’s not that bad being in town….
Proximity to so many folks (compared to the last 16 years) will take some getting used to.
Intellectually, I know that noone is “watching”…but their mere presence ( and the Mexican “staring” thing) makes it feel as tho I’m on stage,,,
(More good reasons for fences…especially the opaque kind…)

No more wanton nakedness….someone will surely call the Law.

Sigh.

8-26 observations:manana/machismo

8-26-09 Observations:Hippie,into the Barrio

So there was this dude, "L", friend of Uncle...who moved into this house in Febuary...
Same Deal as me..."fix it up."
Did just the opposite...then went to jail...now deported, as far as I know.
Drug addict,etc.
Been cleaning up after him, since i arrived, almost as much as after Uncle.
Old Chevy pick-up, in pieces, in the back yard...I want it gone.
So, I (repeatedly, over 2 months) keep on Mother in Law, the Liason, to contact L's people to get rid of the junker.
Brother, Girlfriend, etc...no luck.
No action....
Manana.

To be clear...I wouldn't know L from Adam.
To me L = "someone I've cleaned up after."
Don't know any of his people, don't really care to.

So MIL says, finally, "get rid of it"...so I call the wrecker who will scrap it for free.
After 2 weeks, the wrecker finally shows up last night at 7pm...
Hooks a chain up to the wreck and has one (what's left of a) wheel on the edge of the truck, when a dude shows up...
" where are you going w/ my truck?!"
I've seen him , and waved, for 2 weeks next door....They told me his name,"B", but never mentioned that he was L's brother...
So wrecker guy goes back ,pissed at the waste of time, and B says, w/ bluster, "I'll move it tomorrow"...

I'm a "walk-by-and-get-it-done" kind of guy...my inheritance from Pop, my Grandad..
The Manana Phenomenon is a source of endless frustration, to me.
I just don't get it.
Manana, coupled with extreme drunkenness and drug use, is why this house has been allowed to fall down around Uncle.
Hence the contrast between the last 5 years, and the last month or so...
Cultural trait....the Anthropologist in me is intrigued...
The Husband/Father/Doer is frustrated and bewildered.


Another cultural thing that intrigues and bothers me is Machismo.
I have spent most of my life in kitchens...hanging with the women.
I'm Bi, and comfortably removed from all the testosterone-poisoning....never been comfortable with the whole Man-thing of Football,violence,"Honor" and "My Dick Is Bigger"...
Among Hispanic men, this dick waving is taken to the extreme...
Inherant Misogyny...and the worst culprits, from my studiously objective standpoint, are the ones who have the least to brag about.(!)
Most of my experience w/ this phenomenon comes from Wife's family holidays...Xmas, etc.
The Women, inside in the kitchen...
The Men, outside...with beer.
Talk is about football, pussy...and put-downs.
I tried, for years, to at least hang...
But I will, it seems, always be the sissy white dude...tolerated, and joked at.
Individually, the men in Wife's family are alright...I can engage them in almost conversations about what I regard as more important/interesting things...
But gathered into a group...impossible.
I suspise that it has something to do with male perceptions of powerlessness…
The Hispanic Culture is, essentially, a Matriarchal one…
(at least as far as I can see, and read..)
The Women carry the purse, control the money, raise the kids, and do all the things, big and small, necessary for the continuance of the species/culture.
The men, on the other hand, either work (hard and diligently), and hand over their $$; or they hang around and drink…
The individuals who hang around and drink, are more Macho…more blustery and rooster-like.
It seems there is an inverse relationship between the amount of gainful work done/versus amount of drinking and the prevalence of the Mach attitude.

Can't wait to get internet....I have lots of questions...lots to learn...
My anthropologist hat shall remain invisible.

8-25-09 into the Barrio

8- 25-2009

Have we really been here for a week?
The Barrio is not as bad as I had feared…Folks are ,generally , quiet…it’s the constant traffic, not even on our street, necessarily …any where within a mile, or so…
Damned country-boy dog-ears…
When one lives down a dirt road in the Wilderness for so long, the ears get sensitive.
A car coming down the road, there, is most likely coming to you, or lost…
Here, one has to consciously resist that habit of looking…else ya spend your whole day looking out the window.
Very frustrating.
I’ve got the place mostly livable,tho it still needs considerable work…
I plan on getting a back porch in, for the washer/dryer, and fixing the electrical in the boy’s room, and calling a moratorium on construction for a while.

On the house, itself, at least…
I still require fences, and a chicken house, and a place to blacksmith.


Sometime, ere Winter, I must insulate and repair the kitchen ceiling.

After all that, I’m done…till I can gain greater security…
Ie Buy the damned place.

I’m taking a Pain Day, today…
All this labor has caught up to me, it seems…
I don’t think the MRI helped, either…
The two gigantic magnets I got between, two days ago, hurt just like a cold front…
I could feel them pulling at the screws and plates in my legs.
The images look ominous…
I’m no expert, but I am a Genius…and have a working knowledge of anatomy…
Where the left femur is filled with white (marrow), the right is black.
The acetabulum, trochanter and the whole top part of the femur is obviously deformed…hopelessly marred.
I can’t wait for the report from the actual experts…


I got a lot of dismantling ,and cleanup, yet to do out at the country place…
I just haven’t had the body…or time…or gas money…
And it’s been so fucking HOT! At least 100 degrees, every day, for 66 days…
Hottest Summer on record.
I’m looking out the front glass door at the little park across the street…baking….waves in the air from the heat rising…rusty tin roofs and white clapboard houses with peeling paint…old trucks in backyards…chickens and goats…
Conjunto in the afternoons…and folks driving past, looking…
It’s a Mexican thing, I think…
The staring…
I just wave, to everyone…and they generally wave back.
On the weekends, one can smell Bar BQ…folks cooking goat, ribs,what have ya…
Lotsa music and beer-drinking going on…
Quite lively.
Thankfully, they seem to start early…and, thus, are passed out and quiet by 10…only heard one “domestic incident”…

Drunk Uncle got drunk last Saturday…threw a hissy (about what, I couldn’t determine)till his girlfriend hauled him off to Menard…
He came back Monday, been quite docile…staying in the RV I set up for him.
Seems happy with it…It’s cleaner than this place was, and has everything a Drunk Uncle needs…TV, fridge, AC, and a place to take a leak…
Anyhow, that was the Deal…
And he’s only here for 2 more days, then he’s gone for the Winter.
He seems kinda surprised what a crippled Guero has been able to do to this place (and the RV) in such a short time…
We fed him and let him into the shower yesterday…he was looking around in obvious amazement that it looks like a real house.

His buddies have mostly got the memo that he’s in the RV, I think…although there were two who banged on the door at 11:30 last night…they figgered it out quick enough…never knowing that there was a naked hippie with a 357 mag on the other side of the door, watching them.
I expect that behaviour to stop as soon as he’s gone.

All in all, things are moving right along…so long as Uncle holds his end of the Deal, we’ll be fine.
And I’ve endeavored to coat him with honey, without appearing to…so he ain’t got a thing to bitch about.
Till I can make an offer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

True colors and the Origins of Clinical Depression

So it finally comes out...
The "Majority" party is no better than the current minority.
Corporations are more important than people.
"Change" is what the Dems rode in on.
But, it seems, only the rhetoric has changed.
Whores and Weasels.
Prostitutes in 3-piece suits.
What is the price of getting your way in Washington?
Where's my lobbyist?

Once again, Fear trumps all.And the Republicans are masters at Fear-peddling....Get all the Ignorant fired up...
Get them out in the streets, at the Town-Halls, with egregious falsehood and scare-mongering.
Socialism!!!
Stalinist Healthcare!!!
They gonna "pull the Plug" on Grandma!!!

Obama is just like Hitler!!
(Along with the unspoken subtext that they are really just pissed that a Scary Black Man is in their White House)
What a fucking world we've made!
And in the face of this, the so-called Majority Party lies down,supine....as usual.

And one can't, it seems, counter any of this with Facts and Reason.
It just doesn't penetrate.
Only shouting and stupidity will serve.

$60,000+.
That's what the nearest hospital tells me it'll cost to fix me...so I can work, again.
Cuba says $18,000....with recovery at a beach resort, with a private nurse/physical therapist.

Which Bailed Out Bank should one rob?
Which CEO's yacht to steal?
If I were to wash up into the Bay of Pigs, would they take me?

I've got an appointment for an MRI...estimated cost:$1000-2000 in money I don't have...
Last ditch effort to prove to some faceless panel of "experts" that, despite my age and appearance, I am "disabled".
That I really do need a hip/ankle/knee.
That, after almost four years, they should grant my request.
So I can get on with my life...perhaps sans debilitating pain.

++++++++++++++++
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
We're halfway moved in to Grandma's house...
Which is really Drunk Uncle's House...
He's a migrant worler, as near as I can tell...sheep-shearing and concrete work...depending on the season.
In essence, I'm trading one beligerant drunk for another...except, perhaps, this one can be bought...given enough weed/beer/whiskey.
Moved the ancient RV next door for him to crash in whenever he breezes through town....he says this is cool ,one minute....
The next, he's on about crashing in his house...in my son's room...whenever he comes to town.
A lifetime of drugs and alcohol have withered his mind...he can't remember one minute to the next....perpetual NOW.
Makes it somewhat difficult to make plans...have some modicum of stability...

So I've spent the last month,or so, getting that house more liveable...
Fencing the yard, cleaning, patching, putting in floors, etc.
Been drinking more, too...doc cut me off from the Vicodin...finally got that sqared away...
Pain!
Held up by clenched teeth,
Endure.
Endeavor to perservere!
Get it done, so I can get my boys someplace safe.


Except that I don't know if it is safe.
I don't know when Drunk Uncle is leaving (it's been "9 days" for more than a month), or when he'll be back.
Don't know if the RV/crash-pad will suffice.
Or if he'll push his way in...or what I can do about it.


++++++++++++



The Belligerant Eunich, Moontime Don, is to blame for this current uncertainty.
His untreated PTSD/Bipolarism...
I hope he's happy.
( I know he's not)
He finally broke down and took the mountain of trash that had accumulated since I quit to the dump...
Don't know how he offloaded it..
I wonder who used to take care of that particular chore?
I wonder if he wondered the same as he was dealing with his stinking garbage.
Mom says he's admitted to going too far...except where it come to me
I am, still, the source of Evil....the irredemeable cause of all his problems...the quintessential Scapegoat, placed on the altar of war in the stead of the King.
(?!)

++++++++

And the other perennial roadblock...
Wife's degree.
School told her, 2 years ago, that she could take a course ( The LAST FUCKING COURSE!) online (they only offered it sporadically), then, when it was complete, denied it...
It didn't count.
And there was no recourse, of course.
So she took it again...waiting to see what they'll do...
And the one, primadonna professor (who apparently sleeps w/ the Dean) is in Spain...and she is the one who schedules and gives the Exit exam....no word on when that may happen...
So, for at least the last year, we've been waiting for this last course, and this last test, for Wife to (finally) get her degree....
Hopefully by December....
Then she can apply for a "real" job somewhere....and we can start moving on getting our own place...
This, along with my health issues, is what we've been working towards for 4+ years.

+++++++++++++++++++++
I worry that the country won't hold together long enough...
That the folks behind the "Conservative" movement will finally succeed in getting their population reducing Civil War II.
That the combined effects of Peak Resource, Climate Chaos and Financial Ruin will doom us all to a new Dark Age.

I fear that the Enlightenment has run it's course...
And that I've run out of time to get where I need to be to weather the aftermath.
Until Father's Day, I had thought that we would stay here....I was under the impression that here was the Homestead, the bulwark against the vagaries of the world outside...
The Land was the one, tangible thing I could count on...
But no longer.
Now, we are adrift.
No tangible things, at all...
Noone, save my Wife, to trust...to count on...
To expect to keep their word.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Themes and Memes

Themes and Memes

If i had to pick a "theme" for this blog...for what it is that I'm driving at...
I think it'd be the Myth/Reality thing..
This has, under it like it was an umbrella, things like Justice (as a Platonic Form)..
Honesty (ditto)...and finding a Model of Reality that fits better.(.my rants on Healthcare falls under there somewhere.)
And I can't help but see all of this through the filter of my own experience and thoughts.
I try to overcome this last part...I try for objectivity...but i am, in the end, merely human.
Civilisations are interesting creatures.
I adhere to the idea that they resemble life-forms.
Superorganisms.
As such, they have behaviour patterns and life-cycles, and are subject to stimuli and macro-psychology.
For instance, and pertinant to what I'm driving at;
Barzun and Toynbee's idea of Decadence...the decay of, not only Morality in a given civilisation, but a decay of that organism's Will to live and continue.
Not the petty "who's fucking who" tabloid idea of decadence.
It's bigger than that.
And not the narrow Morality of the Hypocrites who would rule us.
Barzun and Toynbee were referring to something like the Social Contract...the Glue that binds us together,into a Civilisation.
We are in a period, I think, of Global Decadence...we have a Global Civilisation, after all.
And we are a Civilisation in Decline...not because iof Peak Oil, or Queers, or whatever the Fearsome Thing is today...but because we have lost our desire to innovate, to reach and to better the world.
We have forgotten the reasons behind our being a Civilisation..
We have lost our Collective Soul.

Complacency.
Laziness.
Greed.
Fear.
One can argue that 9-11 brought to the surface a latent, Civilisational PTSD...it had been there since at least WW I...but had lain quiet, behind the scenes...beneath our common conciousness.
Longsword, over at Darkage Blog, calls it Nihilism...in a Nietzchean sense.
(and he has much better grammer and spelling than I do..)
I'm getting at something a little different...I think Sociology, as currently practiced, is insufficient..
We must invent a Macropsychology.
(we may have, but it hasn't jumped up and bit me...)
Erich Fromm goes there...but that was a long time ago.
We are in such massive denial, about just about everything, that we are trapped....like the folks in Plato's Cave....
Afraid to look outside our comfortable delusions....the Warm Herd...the Satisfying Myth.
As I've said, Cognitive Dissonance as Policy...as every-day-go-to-work fare.
We are Insane....and confuse our insanity for sanity.
And as a drunk must see that there's a "problem", and then must WANT to fix it...so we, collectively, must have the sight to see the problem, and then WANT to try and amend it.
There are many factions and forces that seek to prevent such soul-searching and repair...we call them TPTB...or the Illuminatii...or Corporate America...or just Government.
Many scapegoats..."it must be the Queers"...or "illegals"..or Satan.
But these things are merely symptoms of the overall disease.
Convenient things to lay blame on, and shelter our own fragile egos....for if we "go there", and open those doors just a crack, as i've said, Reality comes flooding in and all our Myths are washed away...leaving us Naked and Alone.
And we seem to be too fragile for that.

My all-time favorite TV show is the recent reworking of Battlestar Galactica.
Get past all the high-tech spacefaring Robots-who-look-like-us stuff...and there's a Philosophical motif...
(actually, I think there are more than a few...)
"Do we, as a Species ,"Deserve" to Survive"

Read that again.

Can you make the case for us?
I question whether the existence of an Einstein or a Michelangelo or Chris Cornell can justify all the damage we have done over the milennia.
For all our feats of Tech...our Higher Math and Microwave Ovens...the Goddamn Internet!!!
For all that we have accomplished, have we yet earned the right to survive?
And I'm not talking about God, or gods, or any of that stuff...
The Criteria should be Reason.
No superstition is needed (or wanted, by me at least)
We go around, as we have forever (in our timesense), doing as we please...and then justifying the damage done..like the rapist saying, in all sincerity
"She was asking for it."
The European/JudeoXian Civilisational Branch is particularly odious...
God's chosen race, after taking that moniker from the Jews...we may do as we please.
We consider ourselves the Pinnacle of Progress...the Reason for the World...the Fulfillment of God's Plan.
What an arrogant creature Man is!!
What Hubris!
We have even secularised this idea.
Progress!!!
Manifest Destiny!
Capitalism!!!
But for all our prancing about, can we back it up with Reason...Objectively?
(can we BE objective? )
I question all of these assumptions.
The fact that we all aren't questioning them (and this is all a big bummer, I know)...the fact that we refuse to even consider these things means that we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes and atrocities, in different clothes, again and again...
Why is there still Genocide in the World?
I mean, after the Nazis?
Have we learned nothing at all?

And speaking of nazis...the Bush II "administration" brought us, arguably, Benevolent Fascism, shorn of Jack Boots and tanks in the street...but their Ideological Foundation rested on Fascism.(read Leo Strauss, "Natural Right and History")
And we allowed this...either because we actually supported it, or were too fearful to stand up or didn't notice or care, in the first place.
We continue to believe the Lie, and the Liars that push it...."it's too hard", we whine when confronted with an Evil that is obviously within our responsibility to set right.
Why?
That's what I'm driving at.
We persist in our Mythology...ignoring anything that contradicts it.
The Mythology is so vast and all-encompassing that we cannot just chip away at it.
We can't just "fix" a portion of the Evil...and leave the rest for another day...
The whole thing must be torn down.
Can't get rid of a fire-ant mound one ant at a time.
And this thing we've built, over milennia, is much more complex that that.
But before we can even contemplate it's dismantling, let alone what gets built in it's stead, we must recognise that there's a problem.
There's an aphorism on my door:

"Is God willing to prevent Evil,but unable?
Then He is Impotent.
Is God able but unwilling?
He is malevolent.
Willing and able?
Whence Evil?"
(I think it's from Epicuras)

We can no longer rely on Supernatural Saviours.
We simply cannot wait.
It is up to us, to fix our own mess.
And I fear that we won't, while there's time.
Entropy will beat us to it.
sigh.

The War on Pain Management

So Michael Jackson kicks the bucket....presumeably due to prescription pain medicine abuse...and suddenly the old Crusade against pain management is roaring, once again...
I suffer from chronic pain...
Hip/anlke/knee are the main culprits, due to catastrophic injuries, near 20 years ago...
But I also have widespread, peripheral pain...every bone I've ever fractured...back, due to compensating for the other injuries..(Lift w/ yer knees...unless yer knees are hopelessly marred.)
When the weather changes, especially in the Fall and Spring,..or when I overdo some necessary activity...or, sometimes, for no apparent reason at all...I'm knocked flat by severe, debilitating pain.
Hurts to lie in bed.
I took all kind of NSAIDs for the first 15 years...till I connected them with the heartburn and other digestive difficulties.
This caused me to do a heap of research...find out all about the drugs I was taking.
Turns out, that Tylenol and other NSAIDs are some of the most dangerous drugs available.
There are, it seems, hundreds of varieties of NSAIDs readily available...the stronger they are, the more scary side effects are associated with them.
"Sudden Death", "Catastrophic, lower GI bleeds, without warning.." etc...
I realise, being terminally skeptical, that these side effects are "merely" statistical...coming out of clinical trials...
Perhaps .01% of the sample had these horrible symptoms...
Still.
Too, these drugs are well known Liver Killers.
Read the label...read the PDR...
I began searching for alternatives...
Alcohol works...lol.
However it, too, is a liver killer...and has other, undesireable, side effects...i.e. Drunkenness.
"Golly", I thought..."there sure aren't many choices"
Then I looked past the propaganda...and found the Panacaea.
Opiates!
Specifically, Vicodin.
Now, in the US, Hydrocodone only comes with the equivalent of an Extra Strength Tylenol attached to it.
This is, ostensibly, to prevent abuse.
Turns out that opiates, when closely monitored and managed, are some of the safest drugs on the planet.
The main side effects, constipation and addiction, are avoidable with careful management...
And the scary stuff associated with them, like CNS Depression, Coma and Death are really easily avoided...(Just don't take a shitload of them.)
So I acquired a Vicodin presription from my Doctor.
For more than a year, I've been taking 1/3 of the maximum dose allowed on the presciption...and only when the pain becomes unbearable...or preemptively, when I know I must walk the pasture to find lost baby goats, or whatever...
With a healthy respect for this drug, I've managed to cut down on drinking (the Tylenol portion made this necessary as much as the hydrocodone did...)...Ilve slept better...and ,overall, my quality of life has improved.
I still hurt all the damned time, and I'm sometimes knocked flat by pain,and I can't handle any of the jobs to be found out here, but things are mostly a lot better.
I have guarded against addiction...and, even more, guarded against developing tolerance for this drug.
The last thing I want is for hydrocodone to stop being effective.
The next steps up the ladder are things like Oxycontin...I don't want to go there.

Well, Michael Jackson died...and the issue of prescription pain killers is all over the news...
Stories about folks who "doctor shop"...folks who take a month's worth of Vicodin per day...etc.
Nowhere have I seen an examination of causes...why are these people doing this?
And even more frustrating, nowhere have I seen an examination of simple methods of preventing this kind of behaviour....i.e. Some kind of registry, that can be checked by a doctor to determine if the person seeking these drugs is a "shopper".
Now, my Doctor (who I have a great relationship with) has apparently caught the bug.
Is it media influence?A reminder from the DEA?
I've been cut off from the only medicine I've found that 1.works 2.doesn't mess up my belly and 3. doesn't scare the shit out of me when I read the info the Pharmacist icludes with every refill.
I've been reserving my last 3 pills (I only take a half at a time) for 4 days...Figger I might need them when the pain gets too terrible...
I haven;t licked the pill bottle...haven't sought out illicit supplies...I have felt no withdrawal symptoms, save increased pain...
I'm even willing to suffer for a month in order to prove that I'm not an addict...like they show on TV...

I hope this tactic works...Fall is approaching...
Along with Hurricane season...(I felt Katrina and Wilma like they were in my room, from 3000+ miles away..)

This whole thing is more a result of politics, and a Puritan outlook on suffering (Suffering is Good(!!?!)), than it is of science.
The Drug War...(Pot, by the way, helps a little, too...esp. for the depression that inevitably comes from not being able to fish or fuck or play with my kids...)
The Drug War IS a War on People.
Instead of taking a rational approach to mitigating the undesirable effects of many of these drugs, we demonise them...and anyone who uses them...and anyone who is thought likely to use them.(Hippies)
Consider pot, for a moment...
The Party Line of the Drug Warriors, for 80 years, has been that Pot is as bad or worse than Heroin...that it makes ya' violent and crazy...that it is a "Gateway Drug"(ie if you smoke Pot, you will ,as day follows night,end up shooting Heroin)...
All of this has been proven, scientifically and repeatedly, to be wholly untrue.
Information and studies (conducted, in many cases, by our own Government) is widely available...yet the lies persist.
The Mythology endures...and , again, trumps Objective Reality.
I can take $10,000 and clean out a liquor store...take it all home, and drink myself to death...and it's perfectly legal.
But heaven forbid I smoke a joint in the yard...or manage my pain with quasi-legal substances.

Being a long-haired hippie, I have been chased by cops my whole life...
Since i've been taking Vicodin, I must go to the only Pharmacy where the folks who work there actually know me...anywhere where I'm anonymous, I can't get the presciption filled due to my age and appearance..
Seems I fit some kind of "Profile"...which is of course rediculous and hopelessly outdated.
All the drug dealers I've known in my life have been clean cut Frat Boys...
They have NOT been long haired, bearded hippies in camo shorts, driving a garish, spray painted pick up truck,an walking with a stick and a noticeable limp...
Mythology trumps Reality.

I could, I guess, grow Opium...chew the sap, or whatever...
But I don't want to...
What I want is to take a relatively safe medication, with few side effects, and under doctor's supervision...in order to have a reasonable facsimile of a Normal Life.
As it stands, I can't have the surgeries that would (hopefully) take care of the worst pain...and I can't have the medicine I need to mitigate that pain.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Certainty

I first read Homer's Odyssy in 6th grade...and I was hooked on all things Greek.
Got into Bullfinch,soon after...and that led to Plato.
The Cave has stuck in my mind ever since.
A little later, I saw (then read) Kubrick/Clarke's 2001...and the theme (Alzo sprachen Zarathustra, by one of the Strauss' )became my favorite song..and led to my first involvment w/ Neitzche...
I know I probably come off as certain, when I'm ranting and raving....most of what I write is the same thing my family hears on roadtrips...stream of conciousness (thanks, Jack...)...it's how I talk...and a good approximation of how i think...
However, for all the seeming certainty in my tone or manner, I am always anything but...
Everything is tentative.
Provisional.
Lots of things I've settled on, to my own satisfaction...many more I've either rejected as Magical Thinking or so reliant on unproveable assumptions, that they must be relegated to the overstuffed "Jury Is Still Out" drawer.
The things I've settled on are by no means set in stone..new data could come from nowhere...or a new interpretation of the foundational assumptions could be presented...and the whole damned thing will hafta be revisited, reworked...or put in the JISO drawer.
I've said a lot about my negative experience with Authority, and recieved Wisdom...and the Myriad Unexamined Assumptions we employ to get through the day...(I realise that the way I see the world cannot be the easiest way..lol.)
Socratic Perplexity is something I, somehow, took to heart...and incorporated into my being.
Just seems the most honest and Truthful way to approach things..even if it gets tedious and unwieldy.
This whole approach has made all kind of trouble for me in attempting to interact with folks.
Took a long time to realise that they were operating from Certainty...Built on a foundation of Unexamined Assumptions...and that whatever it was I was saying was built on my own, mostly, Examined assumptions. We were inhabiting much different worlds.
I had always wondered why it seemed every non-pothead I got to talking with would end up, sooner or later, looking at me askance.
(on a continuum...from "he must be having a stroke, or something"---to: "it's like he's masturbating in church!")

Small relief, this discovery...
When I must get something across...like say talking to the Sheriff, or some cubical dweller in the machinery of government...I have to conciously (I don't want to say "Dumb Down"...some of these Models are quite sophisticated..)...I have to try to figger out what assumptions THEY are operating under...What their model of Reality is.
Makes my head hurt, sometimes...
I simply don't understand the reasoning behind Bureaucracy(hated word!)....I have never been able to navigate institutions...
So i don't know what to say...how to approach.
If I make my approach in a way that makes sense to me...I'm met with blank stares...or,worse, a jungle of unintended fact-finding and questions about where I worked and for how long and everything else...15-20 years ago...like I keep those kinds of records.
So I endeavor to avoid "Imperial Entanglements"(Obi Wan) and do my own thing.
There's an analog that anyone can try...go to a small town in Texas...sit down and strike up a conversation w/ a local about the weather,etc...when they,inevitably, ask "So, what church do YOU go to?"...tell them you're an Atheist.
Watch their body language!
Does not compute!
You have just removed one of their Prime Foundational Assumptions!...and it'll take 'em a minute to reboot.
When they do, they'll prolly just move on to some other topic, like nothing happened.
This is how a LOT of my interactions with the world go.
It is unintentional....i swear.
Since I figured out the probable cause of the impasse, I usually just keep my mouth shut.
Sometimes , tho, I forget myself...
Then, I'm reminded of why I'm a hermit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More on Moving

More on Moving

We decided on making the jump a coupla days ago, tho we had been contemplating it for a coupla years.
In between my constant struggle to get us as materially self-reliant as possible and the escalating Cold War at Mom's, and Wife's almost completed teaching degree and my lameness (thus her Breadwinner Status) we felt, but never made the cognitive leap, that the situation wouldn't last.
Mom will prolly "reconcile". if only to "gather evidence"...
And I can't stay where I'm Hated (?!) by the self-described "Owner" of the land.(Mom, technically ,Owns it)...
Kinda exciting, I guess.
I spent 4-6 years of my life "On the Road"...couch-surfing...travelling...living in a van...playing music...partying....reading...and digging everything.All over Texas and the Deep South.
I guess those Wild Years have never really left my blood...although I had wished I could continue in my nice, stable (if not exactly safe) environs...
I happened to see a documentary on "Ovation" last week, about the Beats...Kerouac and all them dudes.
I haven't read any of that lot's, save Howl, since I moved here...too dangerous to read "On the Road" if i've got a family and a farm,etc.
Well, this last weekend, I had a Dad-Day...wife and kids were off looking at Tennis, or whatever...
And I'm naked in the Cowboy Pool with margharitas and time to read....105 degrees, and I'm reading On the Road" in a water trough!
As Mr. Ure says...perhaps it was the Universe tapping me on the shoulder...
Hey,Am...it's time to go!

And circumstance builds momentum..and at critical mass of Serendpity, we both come to a conclusion....and things begin to fall into place...

The Ephemeral Nature of Life

ephemeral nature of life in america

15 years ago, I was living (barely) in Austin.
We had just purchased a Trailer House, to try and lower the cost of living...and were having great difficulty keeping things together...even with 3 jobs between the 2 of us.
My Step Dad called up, when he heard we were looking to move to the country.(I was looking at the bastrop area)
He begged and cajoled us to move out here with him and my Mom...he'd pay for moving the house, he said.

I took the bait...
The "understanding" was that we would all be in this together.
A unit...trying to make a go of it on the Farm
He's a Disabled VietNam Era Vet...and, thus, gets a whole lot of Jack from the Gooberment.
This would be the "Funding" for all our various endeavors to become like unto our own (20 acre) country...out here in the Wilderness.
This was the "Deal".

I had known this guy my whole life...he lived down the road back home...and when my Mom married him, it was alright.(I had a few misgivings, but kept them to myself)
I have known him to be a kind, if simple, man....generous and caring...wise in his simplicity.
I learned that first year that he had a Dark Side.
Every six weeks, or so, he'd go "On the Rag" (as the rest of us came to call it) and turn into his Daddy.
Vindictive, abusive and violent.He was easy to get away from...being in a wheelchair...so after these storms passed (in a week, or so) he was forgiven....and we all moved on.
Me and Mom figgered it had to do with VietNam and his own Asshole Father(who is a real piece of work...may he burn in Hell!)
During these Phases, I became the Scapegoat...the (literal) Red Headded Stepchild...the percieved source of everything wrong with the World.
I accepted this with tolerance and understanding...he had been through a lot...and was my Mom's choice of mate...and was so kind and generous the rest of the time.
So I moved the whole kit and kaboodle to Mason, Texas..and set about working to improve the Farm. My Exwife got a job right off the bat.
Soon, during his Moontime, he was chewing me out because I didn't have a "real job"...and was thus lazy..a leech.
So I got a job at Pizza Hut.
Next Moontime, I was lazy and a leech because I didn't do "enough' work on the Farm and slept till 10am (I worked at night)...
I decided there was no pleasing Moontime Don...I learned to avoid him when I detected the Rag coming on.

Now, 15 years later....my Mom's back home, 300+ miles away, helping my brother bring his 2nd daughter into the world...and Moontime Don comes to stay.
I am to leave.
Mom is "cut off" from any access to $$$...
and he is the Boss, Goddammit!( he hasn't considered that I will, actually, leave...and take "his" grandkids with me...or that Mom may have finally had enough, and will soon start divorce proceedings)
So me and my Wife and 2 little boys are left with the land cut from under us.
All the work I've done here was for naught...all the On Call handyman services I've provided, forgotten.
My getting out of bed at 2am to pick his drunk ass off the floor....forgotten.
For 15 years, I've been on call, 24/7; handyman, electrician,carpenter,plumber,vet, medic, shrink,confidant, security-agent,farmer, rancher,etc,etc..
For the 3 weeks my Mom has been gone, I've been sneaking over to Mom's to feed and care for the animals...
He lay in wait to holler at me the first few days, the belligerant eunich...so I learned to vary my times and routes.
I snuck in when he was gone one day, and hid all the guns...unlocked a few windows he can't get to...etc...just seemed prudent.

So we're stuck...6 months till my wife finally gets her degree...a year (from now) till she gets a "real job"...(Teaching...they hire in late summer)
So in September, we're moving to town...to her late Grandmother's little house in the Barrio.
My Real Dad has offered to "help" with a down payment to get us a coupla acres, wherever wife's job turns out to be...and there's always the possibility that Social Security will miraculously grow Sense and grant me Disability...fix my bones so I can get a job...hopefully.
And I'm left to dismantle all the porches, barn and addition to the house...the fences, my shop, etc etc and pack it all into my single wide...
21st Century Tom Joad...
15 years...gone...undone...
and so many aspects of our lives have become intertwined with his...
How many strands must simply be cut?
And is my body capable of all the work to be done?
I'm 40 years old, Broken and Broke, wife and 2 little kids...
And I have to start all over....at the very time that it seems the economy is crashing and the world is trying to come undone...
Sigh.

Eat the Rich

eat the rich
"Oh Noes!!!The Socialists are Coming!!!"
And, since that tired old thing seems to have lost it's effectiveness...
"Oh No! They want to Tax The Rich to pay for Healthcare!!!"
It's entertaining to watch these whores and weasels contort to try and convince the People that taxing very wealthy people is a Bad Thing...and will ruin the Nation.
The rich have it so hard, after all...
Fox is all over this...flinging the Threat to Small Business onto the table...where it quivers mindlessly.
"Small business" is never defined, precisely, of course...that would put an end to it's usefulness.
Near as I can tell, "Small Business" means anything smaller than Raytheon and GE.
McDonalds is considered "small", due to the practice of Franchising.
This is dishonest , at best.
Rich = more than a third of a million dollars a year.
But they are not called "rich"...in the lexicon of Fox, they are called "Successful".
And it is implied that anyone (even you!!) can join these lofty ranks.
So, it follows, that it is "in your interest" to protect these very wealthy folks...since "you can be wealthy, too.."
This is all BS on so many levels, I'm hoarse from shouting at CSPAN.
Again....Mythology.
American Dream.
Never mind the objective reality.
For that, see the "left wing" site: inequality.org
The Rich, and their Corporations, have had enough lucky breaks at the expense of everyone else, me thinks.
The Richer one is, the fewer taxes one pays...the easier it is to get around regulation, oversight and even criminal law.
Yet, none of the Very Rich got there on their own.
Even if ya discount the Inheritance/Trust Fund Factor...they got there with enormous "help" from the rest of the world...Human and NonHuman.
Conventional Economics completely ignores "Environmental Services"....those "services" provided by the biosphere.Like air.
It also ignores the input of the worker.
I'm thinking of the Janitor at AIG...who cleans out the liquor bottles and used condoms from the boardrooms for minimum wage.
Or the Illegal Immigrant "Farm-Workers" who pick produce for pennies.
The Commons is discounted.
The Highways, that we all are supposed to pay for are never figured into the equation.
In fact, the taxes to pay for such vital "services" are avoided like a leper by the very rich.
Let the Proles pay.
Or, even better, let the proles pay and then get whatever it is (water system, highway,etc)handed to you to harvest Profits from.
Avarice.
Aerosmith had a song, in the 90's..."Eat the rich"...
That song plays in my mind whenever I see the Apologists for Wealth and Power and Priviledge get on their high horse in defence of the Rich Folk's Exceptionalism.I think of Guillotines lining Wall Street.Gallows on Madison Ave.
We might, rather, bar-b-q them in the ghetto.

Three Types of Folks

3 kinds of folks

My 7-year-old son asked me,yesterday,"Why did the Indians loose?" and then, "Why are there so few left?"
This served to launch into an Exigesis of the Lie that permeates Western Civilisation.
I told him that they "lost" for at least 3 reasons....Biology, Philosophy and Politics.
Biology, because of their inability to fight off European disease, and their low tolerance to alcohol.
Philosophy and Politics can best be explained as one topic....At the very beginning, Native Americans (and I'll call them "Indians", as I'm part Cherokee...fuck political correctness.)...Indians had no Philosophical Framework with which to understand the concept of "property".
Some smelly, pasty, obviously unhealthy wierdos come up out of the ocean in great canoes and want to "buy" Manhattan for a sack full of Shiny....they said "Yeah...OK...".
Same reaction I have to the rantings of streetcorner preachers and mentally ill street-people.
They thought the very Idea of "owning" the Earth was insane.
This, among other things, put them at a disadvantage.
The other big thing that disadvantaged them was that the Europeans were, almost to a man, fanatics...Manifest Destiny, and all that....even before they put a name to it, the Europeans thought that God was on their side...and that gave them leave to do whatever it took to take whatever they wanted.
This Exceptionalism allowed them to sleep the sound sleep of the Righteous...they were certain that they were doing God's work.
Indians couldn't compete with this, as they were, mostly, Democratic in Social structure...and they were Philosophically Egalitarian and Moral.
Europeans, as a result of this, were at an advantage...they could be ruthless, sneaky and dishonest....they could kill with impunity.
How does a Moral person compete with such Evil?
So time marches on....Europeans repeatedly break Treaties and Agreements (only one Treaty between White and Red was never broken...at Fredricksburg, Texas...)
Their Greed and lack of morality (under the color of "Morality") compelled and justified more and more taking...when the Indians resisted...waving Treaties or simply fighting back...they were massacred.
Their retaliations were labelled as uncalled-for violence...even to this day.
We live in a former "frontier" area....I know folks whose Great Great Grandaddy fought the Indians...and for all the talk about Free Speech, it is considered Heresy to take the Indian's side.
I told my son that these descendants of White Settlers and Soldiers must maintain the Myth, that what their Ancestors did was Good and Just....even if an objective case can be made that this is less than completely true.

They must maintain the myth, because if they allowed reflection, from an objective standpoint, regarding the Morality of what Grandaddy's Daddy did to intrude, the myth explodes.

Now, expand this Idea to modern day politics.
Consider Operation Ajax...one of my favorite examples of Imperial Meddling by a Superpower.
Iran elects a Populist Pesident...he sees the poverty of his people, sees the great wealth being exported from their country by British and American Oil Companies...and Nationalises the Oil.
Kicks out the Quasi-Imperialists....
"Communism!".
"Socialism!"
The cry goes out...we must defend the "interests" of the American people...
We must defend "Democracy!"
We must help overthrow the Socialist Dictator!
So the CIA, in their fist big op, orchestrate the overthrow of the Iranian president, and install a puppet, Pahlavi, as Shah.
The Shah will do the Empire's bidding....he knows who butters his bread.
His Savak secret police/death squads are trained and armed by American and British dollars and personell...to quell the inevitable dissent at this hijacking of a once proud country.
he Shah immediately undoes the "Socialist" stuff and invites the Western Oil Interests back into Iran.

This is the very beginning of "our" "Problems" with Iran...which continue to this day.
Don't even need to mention Iran/Contra and the Hostages walking free the moment Saint Ronald's hand touched the bible on Inauguration Day....(surely Divine Providence...or mere coincidence...)
Just one instance out of many...of Meddling in other people's business...then creating gigantic lies about it to justify "our" actions.
Machine wants what you got?
It takes it, and at the same time, presents a smiling face to the world...twisting the facts, drumming up fears, justifying it's rapaciousness with tall tales of some "Great Enemy", an existential "THREAT" to all that is Good in the World.
The above tale of Operation Ajax is history.
It happened.
But make mention of it at the cafe in town, and one is likely to be shouted down as "Unamerican", "Traitor"....or simply beat up in the restroom.

Mythology.
The Great Edifice of Lies is so Gigantic, so all pervasive, that it's hard to discern wht the truth is.
It is possible, however.
Our Civilisation really can't "handle the Truth."
Let a little bit of it in, and the whole damned enterprise is laid bare, revealed for what it is.
Pseudo-Fascist Empire.
The Machine.


All of this is leading to my point....3 kinds of folks.
1; Those of us who value Truth...even when it's uncomfortable or embarassing or casts us in a bad light.
Little things like calling Republicans "racist, hypocritical, corporate whores."
I think that is Objectively True...just turn on the TV, and their own words and actions condemn them.
But almost noone says this in the Mainstream.
2; Those of us who are Afraid...of Everything....
Black people, Brown people, Hippies, Queers, Secular Humanists, "Socialists" ,"Commies"....all manner of the "Other".
These Fearful ones are even afraid of Knowledge, that would dispell their fears.
To these folks, the Mythology is all that counts...have evidence that Black Folks are NOT an Existential Threat to them?
Well, ya better keep that to yerself.
Can't abide honesty, objectivity...it might shatter our comfortable mythology.
Then we might have to Think...and thereby be compelled to revisit other predjudices and Myths...
Atheists and Scientists? Heresy....might have to consider that there might not be a Vicious but Helpful Bearded Invisible Dude sitting on our shoulders...ready to smite our enemies, and reward our suffering after we finally succumb.


The Fearful Herd calls itself, by turns, "liberal" and "conservative"...depending on what passes for the individual and on the times.

3; Those who use the Fearful for their own wealth and Power.
They are not Left or Right, Dem or Repub...although they DO "lean" to the Right, when viewed objectively, I think...
These are the ones who designed the Machine.
It serves their purpose:the maintenance of Wealth and Power.
These are the ones who have demonised and/or absorbed every percieved threat to their position...Socialism, Liberation Theology,Hippies,Independant Media...
"Conspiracy Theorists".
These are the REAL Enemies of mankind.
The 1st group, mostly, knows this...but their warnings get them killed or marginalised.
The 2nd group is too busy being Afraid of the Enemy Du Jour , and doing the dirty work of the 3rd, to notice.
Fear, and a concurrent dislike of Knowledge, make them willing coconspirators in their own enslavement.
They have come to love their chains...and will bite and claw and otherwise lash out at anyone who questions the Wisdom of wearing them.

(As an aside, many will say "but the existance of your diatribe, Amfortas, gives the lie to your' assertion that we have no Freedom..." To this i say, I am not a threat....I doubt many will read this, and if they do, and concur, they will not be threats, either.
The Machine can accomodate a number of "Lunatics" shouting down wells.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Llano River

















River

For a time, till a coupla years ago, I was a river rat.
My Dad gave me a canoe,some fly-rods,etc...and away I went.
The Llano River flows through the lower half of Mason County Texas...
I had been fooling around the edges for years, but now I had a boat..and an excuse (fly-rod)..to become a modern day Lewis/Clark...and go explore this wild and somewhat pristine river.
The Llano was named after the Chana indians who lived here, up until the time of spanish incursion...
The name is a corruption, due to illiteracy, etc of their name.
One can find rock art, middens, all manner of artifacts...from these, and other, more ancient...as well as more recent...denizens of this part of the Texas Hill Country.

(I'm attempting to upload pictures I took...on my ancient machine..using dialup)

"My" part of the river runs from White's Crossing down to the 87 Bridge...but especially from White's to Martin's Crossing..
The section between Martin's and 87 ends with a 2 mile long rockgarden..impenetrable maze of dead end pools and snakes and bullrushes...Real pretty, and full of fish, but too hard to drag if your' legs are giving in to a degenerative joint condition.
There are a few class 1 rapids...and a few of these are notorious for trees falling into them...but on the whole, one finds oneself floating through great pools of green water, under billion year old cliffs of sandstone, limestone and granite.
The river is mostly empty...only a coupla houses along my whole stretch...and one hardly ever sees another person.


You sometimes see evidence of Humans...beercans and whatnot...usually at the swimming-holes that are accessable by car.
I've seen coon, deer (swimming!), porcupine,bald and gold eagles,osprey,kingfisher,beaver,wild ducks,and a hundred other birds.
I've seen spoor of Mountain Lion...enough to convince me to carry a gun..along with wild hogs(which can be more dangerous..)Nutria...

It's a beautiful river...I miss those excursions.
Seems my days of exploration are over..(sigh.)
Sucks...just as I had the idea of becoming a guide...my legs finally gave out.
Mostly just give advice...and livery service to the few who find my ad.
Still fish some...just can't get to the really out of the way places...and it takes a lot out of me.
Hope the pics load...

Oklahoma Secede!

Oklahoma Secede!(Please!)

http://repsallykern.com/html/news_details.php?id=36

Golly!
I had hoped that we were beyond this.
Guess not.
Several years ago, there was a pseudo-Libertarian movement called the Free State Project.
Members, all of a libertarian bent, would vote on a state, then move there.
The effect, it was hoped, would be to have a concentrated voting bloc of libertarian-leaning folks in a given area.
They hoped, long term, to overwhelm the indigenous voters with libertarian Ideals and thus, slowly, make the first Free State.
I thought it was a great idea!
If I had had more love of snow, I might have joined them.(the state that won the vote was either Vermont or New Hampshire.)
Few years later, a group of Right leaning Xians attempted the same thing....moving to one of the Carolinas...
Again, I thought it was great!
They hoped to eventually secede...thus providing an Xian Haven...God's Own Country...where nascent theocrats could go, and impose Xian Law on their fellows.
Presumeably, they would eventually kick the Godless Heathen out...Never saw any mention of stakes, or burnings.


One of my biggest fears, under the Bush II "administration", was it's cozy relationship with the Xian Right.
I'm as big a supporter of the First Amendment , and it's Religious Freedom, as the next guy...maybe even more so...since I am not an Xian...or a member of any organised religion.
I've studied religion (I call it Mythology) my whole life...
It is such an interesting subject, in part, due to it's diversity...
There are, really, Billions of religions...one for each human that has ever lived.
It's when religion is used as a political weapon that I get nervous.
I don't care if you worship my geese...just don't impose it on me..(or unduly irritate my geese).
Certainty about such things in Law is a recipe for disaster...and I refuse to live under Theocracy of any kind.
I won't do Loyalty Oaths...of any kind.
(this is why we don't do Boy Scouts...they turned into a pseudo Fascist,Theocratic organisation...and I won't lie to join.)

If Oklahoma is really and truly behind this nonsense, I will support their secession whole-heartedly...
Those who feel they need to live under Biblical Law need a place to go...so that they may attempt it...and so that they may leave off attempting to impose such madness on the rest of us.
I think it would be a great test-case...that's what Federalism was for in the first place...to have 13 (now 50) laboratories in which to try out new ideas.
I support the People of Oklahoma in trying out Theocracy...

Of course, the Border to God's Kingdom should be open...at least for a while...
We must allow time for like minded Theocrats to migrate...and for any nontheocrats, now residing there, to get the hell out.

I read somewhere, a few years ago, when I was researching the Dominionist Movement, that they comprised only about 10-15% of the populace.
For such a small minority, they sure make a lot of noise!
(some 20% of Americans, including the President, still smoke, after all...and smokers have no political power to speak of.)
A lot of this noise has to do with the support given by the political Right, these last 30++ years...
The Fascists who would rule us saw a useful bunch in those Xians who were afraid of Freedom...Gay Agenda, and all that...
Money poured in to Right Leaning Superstitionists...from Mellon-Scaife, Coors, etc...
Same folks who were instigating the Conservative Revolution that has brought such goodness and Light to Our Fair Nation...(cough.)
Enough, already!
The USA was NOT founded as a Christian Nation!
That is merely revisionism...quotes by Deists, taken out of context, in much the same way as these same folks cherry-pick passages from the bible to support their misogeny, racism and bloodlust.
They seem to forget that some of the rest of us can read, as well...(evil, socialist public education, and all...)
Indeed, I have no fewer than 10 "versions" of their Bible, not 3 feet from where I sit.
Too long has this screeching minority held the rest of us in thrall...we dare not call them what they are (pseudoFascist Theocrats) lest they label us "Godless", or whine about how they are being persecuted.
Never mind that they would be quick to engage in their own persecutory crusades, if given the chance.
Let them go to Oklahoma...or wherever...and build their Xian Utopia.
I expect it will be a truly enlightening experiment to observe...from the outside.....with beer and pizza.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Energy

The (current) Energy Policy Debate

I've been aware of Peak Oil since Bush II , incredibly, invaded Iraq.
I had heard of this before...but placed it in the "Interesting Tinfoil" file...along with UFO's, etc
When Lil' George conflated Iraq with Al Quaeda, with tortured "reasoning", I went to my big map of the world...armed with colored thumb-tacks...
I placed a red one wherever the US military was, a white one wherever there were drugs, or drug transits...and blue where the oil and Natural Gas (methane) was located..and pipelines/refineries.
Yellow went wherever there was a brushfire conflict, "terrorism" or other unrest.
It was amazing to see how those little pins coagulated.
That set me on a research frenzy...and Peak Oil was where it led.
I'm not gonna lay out the case....the info is abundant....and you're either honest to yourself, or you're not.
You do the work.
What I'm on about is the current Energy Bill...and all the rhetoric surrounding it.
Taking as given that PO is real..and that oil shale, tar sands, and other "unconventional" oil do not possess a positive EROI...(energy return on energy invested)....we, as a planet, have a huge problem.
We simply cannot continue Business as Usual.
That's reality.
The Perpetual Growth way of doing things is OVER!
But we have never done anything, except in that way.
For 10,000 years, since we took the first tentative steps toward 'civilisation', Humanity has been all about Perpetual Growth.
We don't know how to do Negative Growth or Steady State....we have never needed to.
Very soon, however, we will be forced to learn how...or suffer the fate of the deer on Plum Island.
It's not simply a matter of fueling our cars with alcohol (negative EROI)...it's much more fundamental than that.
What is required is a wholesale reordering of how we do everything.
There are many things standing in the way of even realising that there's a problem.
Not least among these is Big Business.
Especially Oil Companies.
For a long time, these monsters have driven our foreign and domestic policy.
And to add shit to their record, they have been fully aware of PO since at least the 70's.
This is more of that TINA I'm on about so often.
(There is No Alternative)
A new, Post Oil world means much less power and $$$ for them.
So they obfuscate...purposely muddy the waters.
Po was relegated to Tin Foil.
Republicans are the worst when it comes to being bought by big Oil...but Dems are just as guilty, having lay down for fear of being called...well...being called a lot of things.
Now I hear R's bemoaning the current Energy Bill...that it will kill the economy, hurt oil companies, that it sets up a Nanny State...forcing us Plebes to buy fancy lightbulbs...that it will tax energy.
All these are true, to an extent.
To wit:
1 Economy: News flash! Without cheap, abundant oil...the economy will never "recover" to the place it was at in the late 90's.
We've run up against the edge of the petrie dish...no more 'perpetual' growth...remaining resources must be allocated to preparing for a Post Oil Future...no matter what that does to the Giant Corporations.
2 Oil Companies:.....will suffer tremendously...as will almost every other Corporation.Long run, this is a Good Thing....these Artificial Immortal Monsters have a weakness, after all.(Yay).Short run, it'll be painful for everyone.Everything we do relies on cheap, abundant hydrocarbons...and the last 30 years can be viewed as a desparate attempt to deny the reality of the Oil Age's End...cooking books on a Global scale.Ponzi Schemes as National and International "Monetary Policy"....Hidden Inflation...Petrodollar Recycling.....
All this to delay the inevitable.
And it Failed.

3.Nanny state...I'll only mention, briefly, the hypocracy of this statement: Drug War...Anti Queer Crusade...the inherant Racism of the Right (even though the 'opposition' politely looks away)...
Republicans must get off that horse before it throws them.
&4...A Nanny State is exactly what we need.
Energy tax! Europe did this 20 years ago....and they are as ready as they can be (despite our constant meddling)...railroads everywhere...public transportation that actually works.Overall a much more sane energy policy.


We must be forced to get up off our collective asses (literally) and get out and dig up our yards for gardening.The 3000 mile tomato is an insult to farmers everywhere.
We must be forced to put in efficient appliances, light bulbs,etc.We waste more energy, unnecessarily, than many countries use in the first place.
Corporations must be forced to build more efficient products...cars, fridges, etc (same way they were forced to put seat belts in cars)
They ain't gonna do it on their own.If they can't compete in the new world of less energy, so be it...I thought that was one of the tenents of Free Market-ism, anyway.
We must be forced to drive less...so that we may clamour for much more public transportation....and, hopefully get past NIMBY (not in my back yard) regarding rail, wind turbines, etc.

I don't like the idea of forcing (even nonviolently, with tax policy) anyone...I am a Jeffersonian Liberal, after all...
But reality intrudes.
We are not Good Thomas' informed public.
We have become a mob of fat, lazy, whiny idiots.
Prove that statement wrong, if it offends you!
If Republicans (and Democrats) really, truly give a good God damn about the fate of this country, it's inhabitants, the environment, and even the long term survival of Humanity...they must leave off the fear mongering that amounts to defending the paradigm and get right with reality.
The clock is ticking.


If anything, this Energy Bill does'nt go far enough.
We should end the de facto prohibition on home and neighborhood-scale energy production.
Look up Hydraulic Despotism....that's what we have now, with everything...food, fuel, toilet paper.
Every time you take a crap, and the product finds itself in a bacterial soup, in a processing plant or a septic tank, it ends up giving off copious amounts of Methane....that's Natural gas.
The vast majority of this is simply allowed to escape to the atmosphere...thus contributing to Climate Change and doing no work.
I found a company in Georgia, 10 years ago, that made "home/villiage scale" digestors...like a septic tank that captures the Methane for use in cooking/heating/electrical generation.
This company was selling these things, in Tanzania, for around $800...but I couldn't buy one.Never got a good reason why I was not allowed to purchase this device, thus saving $700-1000/year in Propane costs...but I reasoned that that last bit was the reason.
The "Regulations" had been tampered with at the behest and for the benefit of the Propane/ NatGas "Industry"..
When you set about trying to do these things for yourself, you find all manner of such roadblocks in your' way.

Consider all those wires...high-voltage transmission, stepped down to regional, stepped down again to neighborhood level...
Fully 40% of what's generated is lost from these miles of wires, to the atmosphere.
Add in the fact that the American Engineer Society (or something, don't remember...look it up) said a few years ago that the "Grid" would require several years of GDP (ie: Trillions of $$$'s) to just maintain at current levels.
Perhaps, instead of spending all that Jack to fix a system that wastes almost half of what it generates (When Working As Designed!!!)...perhaps we should go the other direction...and encourage (and help pay for) home/villiage/neighborhood-level power generation.
No more tree-branch-across-a wire= several states w/out power.
Cheaper, and more efficient, in the long run.
Once again, we are not gonna do this on our own initiative...Look at the folks around you...sorry. Not Jefferson's Informed American.
Too, the power companies are not, out of the goodness of their hearts (Corporations don't have hearts...) remove their "hands" from our collective throats...willingly.


If you think you see a developing "theme", here...good on ya'.
Democratisation of Everything.

DEMOCRATISATION of EVERYTHING!!!

Centralisation is an artifact of Cheap, Abundant Energy...and Perpetual Growth.
It is OVER...and the sooner we, and our "Leaders", get our heads around that, the better.
We need Decentralisation...of everything from food production, to shoe making, to energy, to Government.
Need to "Create" jobs?
There lies the means...


If anyone ever reads these missives,(Hello??) I expect to hear why none of this can be done...
I welcome such comments.
I am merely stating what is painfully obvious, to me...after much research, and after trying mightily to prove all this wrong, myself.
This is NOT about some Hippy-dippy Utopian Paradise...well, it is, kinda...but regardless...it is an answer to a very real collection of problems that are looming over all of us right now...no matter how assiduously the Machine tries to convince us otherwise.