Blog Archive

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do I dare disturb the Universe...


A Modest Proposal *

Another day, another Mass Shooting.
What is a Freedom Loving Country to do?
Many are calling for, ironically, More Guns…
If only, they wail, there had been Good Guys with Guns, to counter the Lone Bad Guy, the atrocity could  have been, at the very least, Mitigated.
Arm the Teachers! Arm the Principal! Arm the Children!
Call out the National Guard, and Deploy them in Schools, Shopping Mall Food Courts, and wherever else Precious Children gather!(Boxer,of all people)
Just Arm Everyone!
I submit that this will not be sufficient.
Drastic measures are called for…with which all Freedom loving Americans would surely agree.
I propose that we wire every Public School, indeed, every Public Place….Wire them all with Explosives.
Perhaps C-4…and wire these Patriotic Explosives with so called “Gun Shot Sensors”(mentioned on NCIS, Law and Order, et al)….so that, whenever a Gun is Fired in a Public Place by some deranged Lunatic, the whole frikkin place goes up!
Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) has a long and proud History in the American Republic…it worked to keep us from being vaporized by the Communist Threat…it will work, similarly, to protect our Precious Children, as they…learn stuff…or hang out at the Mall.
Pass me the Rainwater and Grain Alcohol….

For a rational critique of the Insanity I sarcastically channel here, see:

A Gateway…

.....Out of Addiction....

While I have enjoyed, and willingly partaken, of the Noble Weed for “Recreational Purposes”…since I was 17, or so….it has never Led me, inexorably, to  “Hard Drugs”.
Being of an Explorational Mindset, I have, indeed, Tried various substances… but this was NOT due to Pot. (and the true “Hard Drugs”, like coke, crack, speed and Horse, I have rejected…having confirmed by experimentation, that they are dangerous and stupid)
Pot no more caused this Explorational tendency, than it caused me to Think outside the box.
Those Features of Me are inherent…they were present in my Constitution long before Pot.
The 30+ year campaign to convince folks that Pot is a “Gateway” to the Hard Stuff, is Stupid…and I understood this from the get-go.
What I have found, on the other hand, is just what this Study has found…Pot is a Therapeutic Replacement for the Hard Stuff…in my case, Alcohol.
While I still fall off the wagon…roughly Quarterly…but especially in December…I don’t Drink anywhere Near what I used to…
I firmly believe that Marijuana has helped in this endeavor.
AA, and most of the “Rehab” methodology, considers Pot as a mere Substitute…and, further, as an equally Evil Substance….despite all manner of research and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. The False Equivalency is reflected in the DEA’s Scheduling Schema…Pot, according to the FedGov is equal to Heroin, PCP, and Meth…equally dangerous, equally addicting, and equally irredeemable.
The War on Pot is an almost perfect microcosm, an analog, for what is Dysfunctional about our current Political Battlefield…dismissive of Science and other Evidence, if it disagrees with the Ideology; Based, instead, on Faith…in this case, Faith that Pot necessarily is Equal to Heroin, and that any relaxation of the War will lead, inexorably, to Chaotic Disaster ; the resulting manipulation of the Legal System; denying viable defenses, out of hand, all but prohibiting the Justice System to Function as intended…in apprehension of Truth.
 Vested Interests in the Status Quo, who cynically manipulate the Folks…use Fear and Hatred and Division to prolong their Regime, and reap the rewards of doing so (Prison Industry/Big Pharma/ Cops/ the “Treatment” industry; likely Big Cotton/Tree/other Textile)….
 These Warriors Bully and Threaten and Scare…and the War goes on.
It’s past time for it to Stop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Having kids, it’s difficult to hate, outright, Xmas Morning.
Aside from that early hour, or so, I find it otherwise quite simple to despise the “Season”.
My Eldest figured out the truth behind the subterfuge of Santa, some time ago.
Last night,(Xmas Eve), he indicated that he would like to be an Elf…and would I please get him up at 4 am.
I assented, and he awoke me(!) at 3:55
We dislodged the presents from their hidey-hole, put out a dummy coffee cup(complete with dregs), and jangled the “jingle bells”(usually on the Big Gate), outside the window where Youngest was sleeping…the Psy-Op/Subconscious Manipulation-Phase of the Annual Mythos of Greed/Coersion.
At 6 am, after tending the fires, I put on the whole Nutcracker…hour and a half…(I cheated, and started with Wagner’s Das Vorspiel…an arguably Pagan tune)…
My hobbling around became increasingly incareful…and when Youngest opened bleary eyes, all I had to say was “Merry Christmas” to send him uncharacteristically leaping from bed, to make sure everyone was awake, and then(to his credit, 2nd) checking under the tree.
A Mystic/Agnostic and a somewhat lapsed Catholic apparently make for good kids…little of the rivalry and “Mine!”  that I remember from my own youth.
One Hour…out of around 3 Months!
Imagine if we were all but Required to have Halloween, or Mother’s Day, or Easter…sound and fury and smells and wall to wall…for 3 months out of a given year.
”Here comes Peter Cottontail…” blaring from every TV, and speaker, public and private, for 90 days.
Pastels and Peeps, omnipresent.
How about a yearly fight, on both the Psychological Front, as well as sometimes the Physical, over the “Reason for the Season”…Bunnies or the Risen Christ!
I forbid “Christmas Music” around here, till  Epiphany.
Same with the Tree, and all the other trappings.
Luckily(snort) we don’t have Cable…so I am excused from the incongruity of Gladiatorial Bloodsport…and the Announcers that go with it(!)….in a Season ostensibly about Peace on Earth, already marred by Acquisition and maniacal and crafty Ad Campaigns.
I have no problem with the whole Bethlehem story… nor the many Pagan symbols and accoutrements that have been, somewhat dishonestly, attached to it…Goose Doctrine, and all…
I do have a problem with the Overkill…and the Happy Happy Happy…and forced Expeditions to Houston in the Dead of Winter…and Cinnamon Smell overpowering one’s nose at every turn…and the Insane Rushing About…and the more secular Xmas songs(I detest “Rocking around the Xmas Tree”!!).
I expect, and hope, that the Little Guy figures it out , in the next years…
I’ll cherish the memories of that Hour, or so…but the rest, I’ll not be sad to see go.
Once my cover is blown(as “Santa”), I’ll more than gladly choose to Hibernate for the 3 months of the “Holidays”.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On Secession

On Secession
and Federalism

My thoughts on Secession are, for the most part, in line with this guy’s.
I abhor the one-size-fits-all, overbearing qualities of the Imperial USA,inc.
In looking into City and County, and even School Governance, in Texas…I have found, to my surprise, very little opportunity for Local Self Expression, in Political matters.
This bothers me…even though I am currently in the Minority in my own smallest of Political Divisions.
Federalism was a Good Idea…and, in large part due to the Civil War,and other less than admirable struggles, it has gotten short shrift over the last 150 years.Think of the connotations associated with the phrase, “State’s Rights”.
That Dark Pigmented Human Beings are still Human Beings, was an idea that had to be forced down the throats of a large portion of Americans. Similarly, for Women…and Workers, and “Consumers”…now Homosexuals(rather, “nonheterosexuals” it really our business?)
Centralism, as opposed to Localism, has been needed, on occasion, to Force needed changes….and to mitigate the dysfunctions of Democracy.
Nothing’s perfect, after all.
In Theory, I like the Idea of Secession.
It falls well within Jefferson’s Ideology.
Practically, however, and given the Reality of so many People on a Finite World, it becomes Unworkable.
”Balkinisation” rightly has seriously negative Connotations….Internicine Strife, and Ethnic Cleansing, among them.
As always, there’s 3 sides to every story…and We tend to focus on the Ditches on either side of the road, leaving the road, itself, uninhabited.
Any criticism of “Capitalism”…is automatically impugned as “Communism”.
Secessionist sentiments are like this…but nowhere do I see the necessity of such Extremism…
The  periodic flowering of Secessionist Sentiment…as the article says, both Left and Right…is a Symptom of something…something that is often unaddressed, or belittled…be it Federal Drug Policy, or Federal Tax Policy, as the case may be.
It is a Symptom of the Over-Centralisation of Everything.
Some things lend themselves to Local Control…and some, to Central.
Folks agitating for more Local Control of some area of Life seem to start talking Secession, when they feel that they are not being Listened to.
The Problem, of course, is when the Local Issue is indefensible (like Slavery), or is a Reaction to some unpopular, but Objectively Necessary, Central Policy(War and Peace, Taxation, Regulation of large and destructive businesses). (especially given the Corp control of the Fora, when Objection is pooh-poohed, outright)
Often, the Secessionist Trend is Reaction  based on pure self interest…and unwillingness to Play with Others…(Anarchocapitalist, etc)
These interests and perceived Problems are often dismissed out of hand…
They shouldn’t be.
But we are fractured…and have lost the ability to Debate…and rely overmuch on Assumptions. The Polity is so large and unwieldy and diverse, that it is almost impossible to have meaningful discussion…
I really and honestly do not see a way forward…USA inc. is so Large.
And so Diverse….and Unequal in so many ways…not least, access to the Public’s Ear.
I think that a new Federalism is in order…and a De-Emphasis on Centralisation of Everything….but this need not entail a wholesale careening into the Right hand Ditch!  A Middle…the Road, itself…can be apprehended.
But I don’t really see this happening, without some major disruption in the current paradigm…like an Oil Shock.
Then, of course, there will be the tendency, in such an Emergency Situation, of the Worst Among Us rising to the top…because We seem to no longer agree on the Nature of the  Constitutional Floor…”at least this Free, no Less”.
Remove the Fedgov, and we would soon see Theocracies, and Ethnic/Racial “States”…States where Women are Chattel…and on and on.
This was the Purpose of Fedgov, in the first place…a Floor under the People…as well as the (secondary, in my Opinion) mechanisms for Unity in our dealings with the world.
The Corollary, that has been forgotten, is the Fence…around the Fedgov. While I understand the Reasoning behind much of the Federal “powergrab”, of the last 150 years…it has remained in one of the Ditches.
It has become a Taboo to challenge it….and when it is challenged, the challengers rely on faulty reasoning, and lots of Assumptions that fail to hold up under scrutiny…the challengers of Federalism tend to go the whole other direction…”Abolish the Fedgov!”…assuming, ridiculously, an era of Peace and Prosperity and a Virtuous Humanity that never has, and never will, Exist.
As long as that remains the case…and as long as so many of those who chafe under the Federal Yoke do so in the service of Greed and Racism and other Hatreds, Secessionist movements will never enjoy their proper place….that is, Pointing Out Dysfunction….and attempting, by trial and error and experimentation, to find ways of mitigating the Dysfunctions.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Response to an Asshole

To put it bluntly, you are mendacious in your use of numbers, and your Assumptions boggle the mind.
This, “The universe of means-tested welfare spending refers to programs that provide low-income assistance in the form of direct or indirect financial support—such as food stamps, free housing, child care, etc.—and which the recipient does not pay into (in contrast to Medicare or Social Security).”
…is one way of seeing things…but it ain’t accurate.
All of these Programs are, in effect, “Social Insurance”…
Compare them with a regular car insurance policy; I purchase a policy… pay the first installment…and have a catastrophic wreck. The insurance company pays.
Simple, right?
If the insurance company followed your prescriptions, they would not pay anything, until I had “contributed” enough Jack to cover the amount paid by them for that wreck. This would remove the validity of the whole insurance “industry”…better to have a savings account.
“Welfare” is Social Insurance…and, under this system, We are a great big family…We, the People Purchase this Policy, to cover Everyone in Our national family. It’s the sensible and most cost effective way to tackle such problems….unless you get off on the suffering and hardship of your fellow man.
Then there’s this: “The situation Booker presents, however, is not accurate: a low-income individual on food stamps may qualify for $25,000 in various forms of welfare support from the federal government on top of his or her existing income and resources—including access to 15 different food assistance programs. Further, even if one unrealistically assumes that no other welfare benefits are available, the size of the food stamp benefit increases as one’s income decreases, as the benefit is designed as a supplement to existing resources; it is explicitly not intended to be the sole source of funds for purchasing food.”
Where, pray tell, do you get these numbers?
The perennial Assumption is that it’s an awesome experience to be on “Welfare”…and that it’s so freaking Easy to do, that Lazy People are “Choosing” Welfare as a sort of alternative to a Career.
There is No actual evidence for this Assumption.
I am Disabled.
I had a wreck 22 years ago, yesterday…and after hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Repair, I was able to go back to work. The Insurance that I had, up to that time, promptly dropped me…leaving better than a hundred grand in medical bills. I have not been “Insurable”, since.
So, six and a half years ago, when the Pain finally became too much for me to continue working, I took my Doctor’s advice…and applied for Disability.
Four Times I went through that Byzantine process. Apparently, my age at the beginning of this foray(36) counted against me…I was denied, despite all of the Doctor’s(including Disability’s own) being in agreement that I was “Disabled”.
So, since I didn’t Work during all this time (being Disabled, and all), my “Credits” withered away, until I was no longer “Eligible” for Disability…then SSI kicked in….and I am now navigating the screwed up Medicaid System that folks like You have created.
I receive Food Stamps…at first, $300/month…then, for no apparent reason(nothing’s changed in my Situation), the USDA dropped that to $80.(Largesse!)
I am currently having great difficulty finding a Doctor who will Fix me, and who also takes Adult Medicaid…due, I’m told, to the stupid, inefficient way that payments to Doctors are made….which is entirely due to folks like you. The Right has not been able to prevent, or repeal, things like Medicaid,,,so, instead, you all have endeavored to fuck it all up…ensure that it is dysfunctional and stupid.
Good job!
To add insult to injury, you and your ilk have engaged in the propagation of mean and nasty myths…fomenting an unearned and undeserved stigma on those unfortunate enough to have nowhere to turn, save Public Assistance.
Your “Facts” are easily countered ( ( which you will handily discount, since it’s from Alternet…note, that I read the Weekly Standard)
Walk a mile in my shoes…rather, hobble a few feet to the bathroom in them…ere you so blithely dismiss my plight…and the plight of so many other Americans.
The money wasted on Corporate Welfare, including the Subsidies to Exxon, et alia, would more than cover the cost of Medicare for All…as would a Financial Transaction Tax of a penny or two, per the Great Casino of Avarice.
It’s about Priorities.
Who would Jesus Hate?

an Excellent Link


I am continually amazed at the stupidity that rules a nation founded on Enlightenment Principals.

They’re coming for your Guns, again!

LOL.(lol is re: the right's insane response to such insanity)

Another crazed gunman.
Aside from the welcome rhetoric about the Piss Poor Public Mental Health System, the aftermath of this horrible event is entirely predictable.
It occurs to me, lurking as I do in my blind on Townhall(Ha), that the Second Amendment is beyond Debate.
It is Sacrosanct!
Holy Writ!
Not to be questioned!
Well and Good.
I am always in favor of Vigorous Defense of the Bill of Rights.
…which is what I’m on about.
Why only THAT Amendment?!
Aren’t there quite a few more?
I remember when there used to be a Fourth Amendment…or, at least, Most of One.
That particular Amendment has been whittled and wasted…all in the service of Fear…from Fear of Communists…to Fear of Druggies…Fear of Black Men…and, now, Fear of Terrists.
To assuage those Fears, we have allowed most of the Fourth Amendment to be burned away.
You are no longer assured security in your Homes, your Papers, nor Effects.
Every E-mail, every Phone Call is recorded and stored at some NSA “facility”…much is stored, on the Security State’s behalf, by the industries, themselves.
There’s a GPS Thingy in your Cell Phone.
Warrants are a thing of the past, as long as the Magic Words, “National Security” are uttered.
A whole class of Our Employees (Law Enforcement) has been trained to trick you into giving up your Rights (“Rolling Questions”=”Do you mind if I come in/look in the trunk”)
Dogs as arbiters of one’s Privacy….trained dogs, whose validity as “Evidence” is perennially questioned.
Whole Demographics have been preferentially singled out for scrutiny…not only African Americans, but white dudes with long hair.
Naked Grandmothers in the TSA Wing.
Can we maybe redirect some of the Vigor with which we Defend the Second?
Can we talk about the Fourth?

Monday, December 17, 2012


“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
We are fortunate to have a relatively unspoiled River, here in Mason...the Llano.
It was named after a mistranslation (likely due to bad penmanship) of the Chama Indians, who once lived along it's banks.
Although I am no longer Able to get to the River as much as I would like, it still holds a large swath of the real estate of my heart.
Under Texas Law, as a "Navigable River", the River Bed is Public Property...and We, the Owners, have guaranteed access...simply put, wherever a Road crosses the River.
With this Privilege comes Responsibility.
At every such Access Point I have been to, there is, as evidence of Human Visitation, a Debris Field.
This is most Unfortunate.
It is also the reason that I habitually carry Garbage Bags in my is my habit to come out of the River with More than I went in with.
I encourage the Folks of Mason to adopt such a habit.
Some lazy Sunday afternoon, load up the kids, grab a few trash bags, and teach the next generation a little about Stewardship.
 This Commons need not be Tragic.

us vs me ,II

Endeavor to Persevere(*)

“God will not have his works made manifest by cowards.”-Emerson.
Food for Thought:

The “Way We Do Things Now”, is counterproductive, mean, nasty and stupid.
The beneficiaries are large Artificial Entities, whose sole Moral Imperative is, simply, “More Profit”.
Under their System, jobs and production and Capital are sent to the Third World, and the Profits realized are sequestered in Tax Havens, where they can remain safe from paying their way, here…in the USA.
To get out from under this Cartel System, We will have to do more, for ourselves….not in the fantastical way of Rugged Individualism,…but, instead, by Community.
Protecting Cargill, ADM and Monsanto…let alone Exxon…is Not “Conservatism”; it’s being Suckers.
“Conservatism” implies that we are Conserving something…like, perhaps, a Local Economy.
The  Giant Cartels, and their System, are in the process of coming apart…this is due to their Model’s over-reliance on “Growth”, on a Finite Planet.
It’s also Failing for Us…especially those of us who live in former Farm Country….Small Town America.
When I first moved to Mason County, I drove around, a lot…to get a feel for the place, and because I have a thing for dirt roads. What jumped out at me were the numerous former Towns…Fredonia, Grit, and the like. These places used to Be Something…were once thriving Communities.  In a big way, the Mechanisation of Agriculture was the knife at the throat of these places, ensuring their inevitable Decline.
But Mechanisation was part of a larger story…that of Farm Policy.

We behave as if “the Way We Do Things Now” is set in stone, handed down from God, or a Function of Nature. Economics is none of these things, rather, it is the Invention of Human Minds…and, as such, it can be changed.
Remember Hurricane Rita?
That storm went into Houston, in ’05…not long after Katrina. It’s immediate, and unexpected, effect on Mason was a shortage of Everything. Gasoline tanks ran dry, cheapest to most expensive; Store shelves emptied out, until there was little but canned oysters and corn shucks.
Turns out that a whole lot of the things Mason takes for granted, from Fuel to Food, is sourced from the Port of Houston. That’s our Supply Line, and it’s frail and scary enough, just on it’s own…but used as Metaphor, it’s Terrifying.
It was the clearest evidence that I had ever witnessed that our Way of Doing Things was far from Robust…and that, indeed, that it was Foolish, and lacking in Foresight.
Everyone cries and shouts about “Welfare”…the perennial enemy is the “Lazy Poor”, the “Welfare Queen”, and the “Socialist Menace” who pays them to Lay About.
Leave , for a moment, the evident Non-Existence of such creatures(entirely Mythological)….and Think.
Why are so many folks Poor?
Could it be the growing Lack of Decent Jobs?
The Wage Stagnation of the last 35 years, relative to Inflation?
High Costs of Necessaries, like Healthcare, Energy, Durable Goods?
It’s, of course, all of these things.
But Fundamental to the breakdown is one thing, that no one wants to talk about:
We don’t Make Anything, anymore.
We do not Grow our own Food, Provide our own Energy, or even make our own Toilet Paper.
To fix this requires a reordering of how we Think about Economy….and Informed Consumers.
It also requires a commitment, by those Consumers, to Vote with their Dollars.
What I am proposing is a garden of Self Reliance…Toilet Paper, as a Cottage Industry.
Instead of going to HEB, and buying Lamb from Australia, Beef from Argentina, Grapes from Chile, and Eggs from wherever Eggs come from…a way must be found to do these things for ourselves.
Regulations, written largely by the Parasitical Giant Corps(e), hinder these efforts…especially with Meat, milk and Eggs…but these are easily overcome, if Local Government could be persuaded to do so.(see:  )
Another Hindrance is the Purchasing Policy of our One Grocery Store.
Has anyone else noticed that the Produce Sucks?
That the Meat is often sub-par(to be charitable)?
I purchased a loaf of bread, there…just yesterday…and it was dry and hard and well on it’s way to Stale.
But the Local Bakery, if they so desired, could not sell Bread at the one Supermarket.
Similarly, a local gardener…say some retiree who happens to have a surplus of tomatoes,…cannot sell more than a few.
and Regulation by the State.
Instead of continuously, and tiresomely, Hating on “the Least of these”…perhaps some thought needs to be given to the Reasons for their plight.
Instead of “Take Back Mason(before it’s too late!)”… how about, “Make Mason Work for Us”?!

* Chief Dan George in “Outlaw Josey Wales”

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place that divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides , redeemers and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.”
                                                            - R.W. Emerson, from, ”Self-Reliance”.

Me vs Us

“What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I find it difficult to think small.
Context, broad and deep, is my habit of mind.
The woes of a Raw Milk Producer fits into a larger Context…and makes more sense if thought of so comprehensively. We let our Civilisation, currently, be run by the worst among us…in the service, almost exclusively, of Greed.
The Randians, like Paul Ryan, would have us at each other’s throats over relatively small , personal issues, while the Big Boys run away with what’s left of Our Common Interests. Here is the Speech, by their Hero, John Galt:
Given Ms. Rand’s well known wordiness, let me sum it up:”I am an Island. I need no one. Fuck Everybody, I got mine.”
Run such a sentiment out to it’s logical end, and you will arrive in Somalia…the “Producer’s Paradise”…the Heaven on Earth for Self Made Men.
I routinely make that assertion, and just as routinely, get called hyperbolic for it…but there is never any substantial refutation. Currently, in our country, there is a lot of rhetoric about “Makers and Takers”…but I reckon this is simplistic and silly, and distorts the Reality….who, exactly, are the “Makers and Takers”?
Are the Makers the Ceo’s or the Shareholders and Boardmembers…or, rather, the Workers…the ones who actually Make things, Perform Services, and turn Capital into Surplus Capital?
I’ll warrant that the latter are the Makers…the former, while having a function in the process, are Takers; they Take the Surplus Value, created by the Workers, and run away with it….to the Caymans, or to Switzerland…anywhere they can find, where that Surplus can be hidden from the Tax Man…anywhere that they can avoid paying their Fair Share in the Maintenance of Our Common Civilisation. There’s a word for such people:” Freeloaders.”
This seems upside down, because for more than a hundred years We, as a Nation of Workers, have been trained to think the Opposite.
It is the reason for Red Scares, and “Anticommunist “Hysteria…the Real reason for the Cold War….not because the USSR was such a shining example of “Socialism”, but precisely because it was such a Poor Example. Under this assessment, Stalin could be held out as the Face of Marxism…no matter that he was anything but.
It’s the Real Reason for the “War on Drugs”…all those Hippies on the White House Lawn, refusing to play the Game….what to do?!
“Socialist Europe” is often trotted out as a bogey-man, intended to scare us into handing over the rest of Our Power, as Citizens and Workers…as if Europe’s status as Hell Hole was self-evident…and irrefutable.
What a happy circumstance for the Takers, that so many American Workers have never been to Europe!
Over there, Social Democracy is the order of the day…and they manage to outperform Us in almost all measures of Civilisation, even the Economic ones. Folks are happier, healthier, and much less worried about having to eat cat food when they get old.
Terrible, right?
The recent Economic Woes in Europe can be laid at the feet of those who have brought Our Brand of Neoliberalism there…and injected the same Randian Avarice into the halls of Power. “Lower Taxes”…”Austerity”…the Greedy Few are trying to make Europe into Texas…and the People are having none of it. This illuminates another , fundamental difference between the American People,  and the European People….when Government listens overmuch to the Avaricious CEO and “Investor” Class, the People….the Workers…the Citizens!...go out, into the street, and Burn Shit!
The Class Lines are bright and shiny , there…and Our Plutocrats are well aware of this fact…
So We are trained, from birth, that America is “Classless”…that Working Folks agitating for a Fair Shake is, somehow, “Class Warfare”.
We are harried and harassed and kept so busy that We cannot lift our heads from the Grindstone for long enough to Think about Our situation….nor are We provided, in Our horrible excuse for “Public Education”, the Tools of Mind, let alone the Factual Information, necessary to engage in such Thought.
At the same time, myriad, largely artificial Divisions are fomented among We, the People…in order to keep us fighting amongst Ourselves…Racial and Class Resentment (this, in a “Classless Society”,lol)…Mythological Political Divisions(Dems are “Big Gov Liberals”; Reps are all about “Freedom” and Small Government)
 Where I live, the folks who holler the loudest about the “threat” of Socialism are elderly, and receiving Social Security and Medicare…and, often, various and sundry Veteran’s Benefits.
We are so befuddled and miseducated, uneducated, that even those at the very Bottom of Our Society are often to be found loudly supporting the very same Parasitical Elites who keep them in Poverty.
Here’s Albert Einstein’s take on the matter:

The Focus of Our Collective Conversation has, for far too long, been about Me, Me Me…which only benefits those who already Have.
It has become an anathema to think about We, about Us…about Our Collective  Commonalities…
Anything that would help We…Us…the People, as a Whole…is routinely eviscerated(illogically) as “Socialism”!...
Totally disregarding Our History, Our Common Interests and the Economic Realities We find  Ourselves in.
I want to talk about Us.
If this makes me a Socialist, so be it…as FDR said, "I welcome their Hatred."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tar Baby

(or, why we should cease giving credence to the right)

I’ll boil down these thousands of words, interesting as I may find them:
Unless one’s Opponent is, 1. genuinely seeking Truth, and 2, has Good Faith in that endeavor, and 3, agrees to certain Debate Rules…Unless all of these are present, it is not worth it.
Walk away, but keep them away from the levers of Power.
(Worth a read, even given it’s length)

Addendum, after doing a little laundry:We are at a disadvantage...similar to ACLU defending the American Nazi Party,lol...It is in the nature of....shall I say, "non fanatics"? give our opponent the benefit of the doubt, as to their arriving honestly and fairly at Truth.
As such, I reckon that it is counter-productive to, any longer engage the Zealots...until such time as they demonstrate a willingness to fairly engage in debate.
In a nutshell, and pragmatically, folks like Obama, and even Durbin, should avoid Fox News, and Rush, and all the rest of the Great Wurlitzer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mandelbrotian Rabbit-Hole

That’s me.
And, as in numerous prior Lamentations, it ain’t Easy.
I can’t help it, though…my interests are all over the map (see: ;and even this doesn’t circumscribe me,lol)
I don’t intend this as a Lament, however.
There’s a place , here in the Texas Hill Country, Pedernales Falls, State Park.(1) I haven’t been there in 30 years, but I remember it…or, rather, I remember a certain feature…
The trails that run all over the Falls, proper…going along them, there are all these holes in the ground, and in these holes, is the River…the Falls…like miniature Cenotes. Most of the Falls are above ground..but there’s a lot of it that is under…
This is analogous to how I view the world.
An example, from last night:
I’ve been in the XFiles, again…combination of Pain and Boredom and  Bad Eyes(hard to read)…and last night,  this episode had a character from Mexico…an Indio from a Tribe I’d never heard of…so I looked it up. Turns out that Mexico, in the second Article of it’s Constitution, recognizes it’s Indigenous People…not Racially, like we do; but Culturally, and Linguistically….so, there are , in effect, 63 “Official Languages” in Mexico.(“Pluricultural”)
A neat Distinction.
So I end up wandering in Wiki…( ,=>( ,=> ( => and away we go!
IPA( is a confusing morass…I think it’s because I’m doing something wrong with my computer…still, Linguistics is a rabbit-hole I fall into quite regularly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Linguistics=> Anthropology…which often leads into one of my well-worn burrows, Mythology.
I’m currently involved in a sort of Film Festival. (Netflix!) Turns out that I really Dig Italian Neorealism.
I’ve always been a Fellini fan…but Netflix has allowed me to broaden and deepen my exposure to foreign films(we call them films, instead of movies, when we’re being all sophisticated, lol)
So I’m 2/3 of the way through Roberto Rossellini’s wonderful trilogy….Roma;Citta Aperta, and Paisa….the next is Germania Anno Zero….(I recommend them all)
Due to my lifelong, if accidental, relationship with Latin(Dinosaurs!), I have accidentally come to understand, mostly, Italian….and, watching these films, I noticed that, during the dialog, a word would open up a hole….like Pedernales Falls…through which I can see Universes, lol.
(see: Finnegan’s Wake…which is deliberately structured in this fashion)
Some random word, opens up a branching cosmos,  each branch, branching, itself, a la Mandelbrot…(2)
Of course, I cannot chase each and all of these branches…most, I let slide, being satisfied with a mere passing glimpse….(otherwise, I’d never finish anything!).
Wife says that this is why folks get upset with me…I come across as a “Know-It-All”, “Lording” my brain over mere mortals.
Of course, that is not my intention…
(neither is Clarirty,(snort))
When I think about this,(Metacognition) I run into a brick wall.
Is this Learned Behaviour?(perhaps from the Ency. Brittannica? qed,etc)
Are there Physiological Differences in my Brain?
Without millions of dollars and a fMRI, these questions are likely to remain unanswered.
In real life(Meatspace), it appears that hardly anyone wants to talk about such things.
One learns to hide one’s Light…not necessarily out of Fear, but out of exhaustion.
I’m reluctant to put this little meander on my blog…so deep has the Prohibition on Smart penetrated.(3)
If this is, indeed, Learned Behaviour, then there is Potential for the Enlightenment to continue….
and this thought leads me into another Hole…why do we not encourage the learning of this Habit of Mind?
Is it a function of where I’ve lived (as in Huntsville was the wrong College Town)?
Is it a Rural Thing? A Texan Thing? A peculiarly American Thing?
Perhaps it’s a Socio-Economic Thing…a Product of our hectic struggling(which IS a Peculiarly American Thing!)
Is it Engineered, somehow…and to some Degree?
It is likely that it’s due to simple statistical distributions, (6…IQ of above around 140 is actually Maladaptive in most of our systems and institutions. Something that shocked me.), as well as the Taboos associated with Intelligence.(if you don’t toot yer horn, who will?)
 We need more of them, arguably.(4,5,6)


1. Do you have many interests?
2. Do you have many talents?
3. Has having so many interests and talents made it difficult to achieve many of the stereotypical hallmarks of success?
4. Does the question “what do you do” make you squirm?
5. Do some people tend to view you as an underachiever?
6. Do most of the rest of the folks see you as an overachiever?
7. Do you have “issues” with people or activities that seem to waste time?
8. Do you suffer fools badly and have a real aversion to conflict? (See #7!)
9. Do you tend to be compassionate, understanding, and communicative…. when not dealing with #7 or 8?
10. Are you uncomfortable in some social situations? Are you sometimes lacking in skills to tactfully extract yourself from those situations?
11. Are you so comfortable in other social situations that you are sometimes unaware of when it is time to go?
12. Do people sometimes feel you are quiet, un-talkative and uninterested in them?
13. Do the rest of the people feel you are very talkative, energetic and interested in what they have to say?
14. Does the idea of being bored seem completely irresponsible to you?
15. Do many people see you as an “expert” in a particular area? Are there almost as many of these “areas” as there are people who think you are an expert. Is the truth more along the lines that although you are more capable than 90% of people at whatever you pursue, you suspect you will never be part of that top 10% and hence a true expert in any one area. This is because people who are the best at what they do, do what they do all the time and that is the opposite of the Universal Man.”

6.      FTA:” As the IQ of a child increases, the probability that he or she has already learned something by the time the educational system teaches it increases. The more frequently this happens, the more inclined the child is to satisfy his or her curiosity outside of the curriculum. At the same time, as IQ increases, the ability to learn autonomously also increases. Depending upon the child’s disposition, somewhere in the 140’s, these two factors converge and the child becomes stubbornly autodidactic. This usually results in poor school performance which ultimately excludes them from participation in the various elite professions.”
 I didn’t know it, till much later, but this describes me, to a T. It is also one of my greatest Fears for my boys…how to head off the numerous mistakes I made, in dealing with the Lowest-Common-Denominator Problem, and, at the same time encouraging their Natural Curiosity.(Dammit! Word keeps wanting to put all of this in “bullets”.I abhor Automatica.)

 7.(see: FTA:” The majority of the extremely gifted young people in my study state frankly that for substantial periods in their school careers they have deliberately concealed their abilities or significantly moderate their scholastic achievement in an attempt to reduce their classmates' and teachers' resentment of them. In almost every case, the parents of children retained in the regular classroom with age peers report that the drive to achieve, the delight in intellectual exploration, and the joyful seeking after new knowledge, which characterized their children in the early years, has seriously diminished or disappeared completely. These children display disturbingly low levels of motivation and social self-esteem. They are also more likely to report social rejection by their classmates and state that they frequently underachieve in attempts to gain acceptance by age peers and teachers. Unfortunately, rather than investigating the cause of this, the schools attended by these children have tended to view their decreased motivation, with the attendant drop in academic attainment, as indicators that the child has "leveled out" and is no longer gifted (Gross, 1993).”)
(Ha. Thank you, Mrs Doris….and, fuck you.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

the Real Utopians

“Note that it is not required that the agents be rational.”(1)

Is it just me?
Does anybody else find themselves laughing out loud, while taking an impromptu Wiki Refresher in US Economic History?
The recent implosion of this Mythos has the Free Market Fundies in an uproar….a quiet one, given; taking place well out of the evening news…and away from kitchen tables. Straussian Esoterica, again. Do not question the Priests.
The exchange reminds me of the early years of Christianity…all the wrangling and carrying on over whether Jesus was God and Man, God, then Man, Man, then God, and so on….
I’m interested in “What Comes Next”.
What I expect, is that the Neoliberals, though briefly , sort of, chastised, are still in charge.(or , at least, think that they are(Certainty).)
The only significant change has been Late Election Rhetoric, signaling a willingness to Tax the Rich.
I can only Hope that this indicates a broader shift.
Top and Bottom are running along separately, it seems.
Top will act as if nothing happened, if We let them.
Should be an interesting time.
I like the idea of Jubilee, myself.
Get all Radical, and just wipe out the debt.
I realize that this will never happen,lol…our Faith in the Reality of these things, like “Money is Inherently Valuable”, is too strong.
I also like the idea of FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights”…as well as Jefferson’s Eleventh.
Reckon an anti Personhood Amendment, for Corps(e), would shake things up a bit, as well.
All of these things require Popular Agitation, if not a General Strike…which illuminates the reason behind 100 years of Anti Marxist Hysteria.
Can’t have the “Consumers”, ”Workers” or other Euphemisms getting all uppity.
The Problem is, that the actual planet under our feet has changed…Limits to Growth, and all that…as well as the addition of Two Billion People in the last decade and a half. The Models no longer fit, so a new Model is needed.
I like Mondragon…and Ace Hardware.  Community Land Trusts.
I like Charles Eisenstein.
I like thinking that revisits Foundational Assumptions…like “Efficient Market Theory”…
and, instead of being Fearful(that the Market will Smite Us!), are courageous enough to throw out the crap.
Economic Atheism?!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A List, and a Window.

It's good to have a book budget, again.
I prioritize, from the bottom.

If I can manage to acquire all of these, I should be able to remain occupied for several years.(Ack!)(*)

(*) Bill the Cat

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Mr Jones violates the 11th Commandment("thou shalt not criticize Israel")...other than that, I can find nothing, whatever, to refute:The American Trajectory.

I wish I could figger out how to access JSTOR, etc...seems one needs a bit of cash-flow, or some Institutional Membership. I abhor Paywalls for Academic Anti-Enlightenment.
Here's a list of free ones,lol:

Seems that a lot of the Free Ones are kinda dated...nevertheless, interesting.

Also, in this context, think about the idea of "Multinational Corporations"...Exxon is no longer an "American" Company, rather, it is matter that it's "Headquarters" are in Houston. I consider this the Vanguard of Post Westphalianism...Nation States, as we know them, are like a favorite shirt, tattered and torn, that we continue to wear...despite the admonitions of our spouse.
I , for one, haven't felt like a "Texan" for some time...and , since the post 911 Freakout, I haven't felt all that "American", either.
The Demographic Changes, in re Electoral Politics, I've been on about, contain these the case of Mason(as Microcosm), there are at least 4 Communities, existing side by side, White Evangelical, Hispanic, Ranch, and "New Comers"(Immigrants from the Cities, in Texas, and elsewhere). I "belong" to the latter...and there is considerable overlap.
I can posit a fifth, although I don't have a good name for includes members of all 4, and could be considered "Official Mason", or the Face that the Newspaper attempts to present to the world...somewhat ecumenical(in a non-religious sense)...It contains not only City Governance and the Chamber, but the various Book Clubs, Garden Clubs and the Lions...
While this Fifth "Community" is ad hoc, sort of, and disparate, sort presents a kind of accidental Unity...
As usual, I'm in a category of One,lol...
More:World into Globe

Flowing from all of that:The Lost Libertarian Moment

I have always had a soft spot for Ron Paul.
And I've always "Leaned Libertarian"...I can honestly characterise myself as a "Left Libertarian"(rara avis)/
But the Libertarian Party lost me, during the Bush Darkness...perhaps a little before...with their Utopian Bent, and the habitual inclusion of the Corporate Model as the pinnacle of Freedom.(go on, challenge this assertion).
I am in no way, a "Big Government Liberal"...I abhor what the Fedgov(and the State of Texas, for that matter) has become...a meddling Leviathan...up in everyone's business, yet leaning towards the Rich and their Corps(e).
However, I understand the Reasons for such Big Government Interventions, as Foodstamps, Medicaid, etc. Even OSHA.
We have never honestly addressed the Rise of Corporate Power, from the late 1800's till now...and, to counter the sundry Usurpations and Bad Actions by these Monsters, Big Government has been the Default Answer, since at least FDR.
It's not the ONLY Answer, of course...just the one we tried. We got into the Rut, by a lack of Honesty....and a concurrent lack of Imagination...and, since then, as I continue to assert, we've allowed the Marriage of Government/Military/"Intelligence/ and Corporatism to become the Machine...clouding Reality with Mythos and Crazy.
Mr Cincotta continues this Habit of Neglect...
The "determinate x" is a creation of the pragmatically required mutual hypothesizing of singularity.
So, to spell out the Schutzian insight, for two partners in dialogue to obtain a rough-and-ready mutual fix on a portion of the real, a partial overlapping of their differing selections, they have to behave as if they have a perfect one. The psycholinguist Ragnar Rommetveit puts it thus: we "take a perfect intersubjectivity for granted in order to achieve a partial one" (Rommetveit 1978: 31). In Schutz’s own words it constitutes a "reciprocity of perspectives," or "the idealization of the interchangeability of the standpoints," the taking for granted that, if I were in your shoes, your standpoint would seem to be the same as mine, and you and I see "things" with the same typicality."
(Myth of the Summum Bonum )
"To delve deeper here we must ask what "reciprocity of perspectives" and "idealization of the interchangeability of standpoints" mean in this context. We might start with the word "standpoint." What is a standpoint?—one’s inclination, bent, or bias, in other words, one’s current habit of intention, one’s desire, one’s motivation, one’s attitude with regard to forthcoming action. And what is Schutz therefore detecting in the situation of human communication? That the two participants mutually assume, that is, hypothesize together that their inclinations, intentions, attitudes as regards the portion of their sense-fields that they also take to be similarly attended to are, as regards this portion of the real, relevantly the same. The convergence of what each is attending to is presumed to be ideal—did not Schutz use the word "idealization" of the match of the two standpoints?"(Ibid)

(see "Cognitive Bias,list of"...on Wiki)

This is the way I like to spend such cold mornings(I arose, reluctantly, at 3am, and stoked the front fire, kindled the back 2).
I'm glad that there's such a variety of Academia available, for free...but, still, I wish that JSTOR, and others, would get on board...they're the ones Wiki, etc links to in "Sources"...
"Oh give me land, lotsa land, where I can roam around Freely...
Don't fence me in....."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thank you, Mr Spielberg

“The whole fabric of southern society must be changed, and never can it be done if this opportunity is lost. Without this, this government can never be, as it never has been, a true republic.” –September 6, 1865 (Thaddeus Stevens) 1

The new film, “Lincoln” (which I haven’t seen, it’ll come to Mason, eventually), will  have Us talking about these things for the next year, at least.
How fortuitous, that such topics as Slavery, Lincoln, the all-but-forgotten Thaddeus Stevens 2, and the Unfinished Civil War, will be on the Collective Mind of America,  in these first years of Mr Obama’s second term.
These things will, perhaps, draw out the NeoConfederate Sympathy, that lines the dark underbelly of the Right…the Racism, loudly denied, despite all of the Evidence; the whole mess of “the South will Rise, again”…entailing the Revenge Fantasies of the American Right; “Heritage, Not Hate”, and other similar nonsense; and the Politico-Historical Reality of the past near-fifty years, of an actual resurgent South, begun with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”….which has had the effect, in the real World, of Dixifying the whole country.
That the Civil War is Unfinished may come as a shock to many of my neighbors.
Consider that, if it had been finished, decisively, there would have been no Jim Crow, no Segregation, and no need for the Civil Rights Movement, a Century after  Lee Surrendered.(the South Lost…try to remember that.)
Even now, fifty years after that dark time of fire hoses and dogs, set upon Black Americans…and a hundred and fifty years after the “end” of the Civil War, there are Public Figures still calling for repealing parts of the Civil Rights Act…of Undoing the Fourteenth Amendment….let alone screaming about Secession whenever they don’t get what they want.
An uncomfortably large portion of Americans speaks in Coded Language about Race, and we all know what they mean…but when the rest of us call them forth about their  Not-So-Hidden Racism, it is they who accuse us of “Playing the Race Card”.
The Unfinished Business of the Civil War is a large part of the Surreality we are surrounded by, in 21st century American Politics.
I hope that this film is as good as the few clips I’ve seen would indicate…We need to have these discussions. The Racists must be confronted, and called out, at last…then, perhaps, We can move forward.

2  Thaddeus Stevens is one of my minor heroes…minor, not because of his stature, or influence, but due to my arbitrary ranking system, and the relative dearth of information, here, in Texas.I am very happy to see this man, finally, portrayed in film as the Giant he was.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Constituencies, real and imagined

Our Government no longer listens to Us.
This is a Bipartisan Statement…or should be.
It’s one place that everyone, from Tea to Commie, should be able to agree.
The other side to this is, of course, the Power and Influence, of Big Money… especially Corporations.
My Rep’s Aide says that “Corporations are just People”….implying assent to the idea that Money is Speech, and muddying the fact that, under current Law, Corps(e) are Persons, in their own right…..
( if this is the case, then why can’t I join and effective Union(I’m in “right to work” Texas), which should  enjoy the same Rights?  Unions in Texas are, under this argument, being Denied their First Amendment
The above Links are to Folks who are trying to do something about all the corruption and shenanigans that go on so routinely in DC. I support these efforts.

In addition to these Necessary Things, I have long been an advocate for Smaller Polities…which means More Representatives. It’s silly to expect One Representative to “Represent” hundreds of thousands of  Constituents. Heaven forbid, that more of those Constituents actually Get Involved!
I have had in my mind a sort of Political Experiment…where one would spend a few years basically hollering…calling and writing letters to their Rep….make note of the response, if any.(non rubber stamped responses, and the like); then, for the second part of the Experiment, one would Donate a large-ish sum to the Rep’s Campaign…and make note of the response, if any, thereafter.
My Hypothesis is that the second time period would garner a far more tangible, as well as personal, response, than the former.
Some would say, I guess, that it’s a good thing that I possess insufficient Funds for such an endeavor…

It’s interesting to compare the list of who gives money, and the list of  the Bills sponsored and co-sponsored.
There’s a lot of meaningless hay thrown to Tea, of course…but the substantive stuff seems to track rather nicely with the biggest contributors.
I realize that I am somewhat prejudiced against Mr Conaway….due to his long association with the Bush People….But I have tried to remain open-minded, and give him the benefit of the doubt. To his credit, many of my missives have been answered, in some form.
Still, the evidence, such as it is, indicates that those who pay, enjoy the Congressman’s attention.

Imagine if Mr  Mike didn’t have to pay so much for commercials(over Our Airwaves!)…that, alone, would free up a lot of his time…and at least do more than nibble at the need to raise so much money….thus  mitigating the appearance of corruption. “Free” air time could be provided…simply mandate it, and require the various Stations who Use Our Air, to run an equal number of ads for each candidate. The Air Time belongs to Us, to We the People…this could be like a Tax on Media. Simple.
Imagine, as well, if his Constituency included only a Fourth, or less, of the folks it includes, today…less money needed, and more access for constituents. Mason’s Rep, closer than 250 miles away, in Midland.

I think of Star Wars, and the imagery of the Galactic Senate…with today’s Tech, why is it so far-fetched to consider 2000 Representatives in the US House?
Or more?
Our system only works for Us if We participate.
Most reason, Why participate?! They will never listen to Me.
My Rep should be allowed to Listen to Me…currently, he is Not…due to expediency, and the overwhelming ratio of  him vs. 600,000 folks.
Article 1 of the Constitution  says, “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative...[5]” (from: )
Plenty of room, there, for Improvement.

FTA:” Then in 1929 Congress (Republican control of both houses of congress and the presidency) passed the Reapportionment Act of 1929 which capped the size of the House at 435 (the then current number), but allowed temporary increases upon the admission of new states which were to be reverted upon the implementation of the immediate subsequent census.
In truth, the rules prohibiting legislative entrenchment would allow any subsequent legislature (after 1929) to increase or decrease the membership of the House of Representatives if such legislature so desired.”
A Wiki Chart of  Population and Representatives
Congress could Change this.
They might , if We Demand it.