Blog Archive

Sunday, December 22, 2013

So Many Worlds....

So little time.

Probably my biggest shortcoming in being able to function in this Modern World, is my interest in too damned many things.
I often summarize this as “...everything except sports.”....although this is not entirely accurate,lol.
(I have little interest in the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, for instance...but harbor an almost unhealthy love-from-afar for Jennifer Aniston(Ack!))
Keeping up with Current Events...and with the broad Trends, domestically and sometimes overwhelming...and then, when I vomit forth my interpretations and impressions, it is difficult to Cite everything that I have in my Mind, at that moment.
My Default Position is expecting whatever Disembodied Interlocutor that I'm speaking to(always un-named)(1*), to be as erudite and informed as I try to have read all the shit that I've read, and thought about the same things that I've thought about.
I understand that this ends up making me Obscure, and hard to understand...especially when I engage with the Mundanes; like in Letters to the Editor.
Over the years, I've winnowed down the list of Periodicals that I try to pay attention to...I'm an almost lifelong subscriber to NatGeo, for instance...and Scientific American. I read the Economist, when I can afford to...and Foreign Policy in Focus. I dig “Astronomy” Magazine, and Mother Earth News. I prefer WaPo, to the NYT...Austin American Statesman to the Dallas Morning News.
While I link more often to Liberal Sites(go figger...), like Alternet, I make a point of reading the WSJ, and the Weekly Standard, and even Redstate...I have my opinions, but I don't like the feeling one gets when one is in an Information Silo.
I avoid Fox News, and only go to World Net Daily to throw rotten fruit...I have zero respect for either.
I read AEI's reports and publications, and Cato's...and find that I prefer the former.
Of all the “conservative” places I frequent, in my quest for Godlike Perspective, I like Front Porch Republic the best.
Everyone knows about my love of Wiki...but I don't take anything for granted.
I have always loved Footnotes, and Cf's and EG's...and follow them wherever they lead.
It's a hard row...and takes a lot of time, and effort.
When I say that Cripplehood has been a sort of Blessing, this is what I'm referring to. I wouldn't have time to pay attention like this, if I had to work 40 hours.
All of this doesn't take into account the Books...I usually maintain a Pile of 10-15, by the bed. Poetry, Philosophy, SciFi, and Historical Fiction, mostly.
I'm amazed when I think about what all I've'd I manage that?lol

For a while, there, my eyes were getting pretty my Book intake fell off. I finally got real glasses a year ago...and they worked up until the last 4 months. I'm due to return to the Eye Doctor, next month...and expect thicker lenses. I can't read, at all, without glasses; even on the computer(without the largest font-size,which entails a continuous side to side scrolling(or whatever that's called))
My Amazon Wish List grows at a much faster pace than I can reasonably keep up with(Donations are accepted, as always: )

What gets “published” on the blog is maybe 15% of what I write.
I have several hard drives of rantings and ravings, salvaged from Computers that have crashed and burned...eventually, I'll get around to accessing those...maybe unplug for a while and try to write an actual book of my own.
Again, it's hard to winnow my interests.
It's even harder to slow down my brain, and give a particular subject the attention to detail it requires. (my Ideal Girl Friday will not only be a Masseuse, and Gardener, but a Secretary/Editor/Foil)
The Blog has mainly been an outlet for my frustration...since I have no one to talk to about the “ten thousand things”, save my very busy Wife, and my Mom.
(and all of you nebulously Silent people, out there.)
The Snake has been a setback in getting to the Space for Writing has been disrupted...and that's a pretty large psychological thing.
I sorely miss my Books.
I hope to have the New Library ready for Ingress by Spring...but it will prolly be Summer before I can start moving in.
The Simultaneous oversight of the beginnings of Infrastructure for Trees and Vines will complicate matters.(Need a Golf Cart!)
Once the Vineyard and Orchard and Grove are in the ground, I reckon I can settle into a groove, and begin the Magnum Opus.
I'm considering applying for a Grant...a Writing Grant, or something...although I have Zero Experience with such things, and have little idea of where to even begin.
I only recently learned of the existence of those...and am wary, and leery, and uncomfortable. More research is indicated.(perhaps an avenue for acquiring that Girl Friday/Research Assistant,lol)
Oh, well.
I overexerted myself, day before yesterday...and then stayed at Mom's, where I couldn't sleep, and couldn't get comfortable(I need those 19 pillows!)...and have had about all the sitting up at my desk that I can handle, today.
It's cold, and wet, and unpleasant...and there's several Low Pressure Features wandering around within range of my Skeletal Barometer.
I hate Winter!
So it's To Bed! And Star Trek(Voyager)...
Rest up for another Wood Run to Mom's, manana...
Y'all know that you can comment, right?lol
And Email?
I know you're out there, dammit.
No sense hiding.

(1*) This is an old habit of mind, from my earliest intellectual flowering...I was often alone, and developed a sort of technique of internal debate, where I would carry on “conversations” with my absent best buddy...and later, with various historical figures,and the like.
It was just a more interesting way of talking to myself, and I have found it to be more productive to try to anticipate and give “voice” to an Opposition, in my internal debates.
Does anyone else do this?lol

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What No One Wants to Talk About

From the American Prospect:¤t_page=1#bookmark

This History of Labor's Decline in the USA, and the World, since 1974, is well worth the time.
The Take-Away?

"he decline of the American job is ultimately the consequence of the decline of worker power. Beginning in the 1970s, corporate management was increasingly determined to block unions’ expansion to any regions of the country (the South and Southwest) or sectors of the economy (such as retail and restaurants) that were growing. An entire new industry—consultants who helped companies defeat workers’ efforts to unionize—sprang up. Although the National Labor Relations Act prohibits the firing of a worker involved in a union-organizing campaign, the penalties are negligible. Firings became routine. Four efforts by unions to strengthen workers’ protections during the Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Obama presidencies came up short. By 2013, the share of private-sector workers in unions declined to just 6.6 percent, and collective bargaining had been effectively eliminated from the private-sector economy."

Frikkin Marx was right, again...and if We, as a Nation, are really so against everything Marxist, then this must change....and those at the Tippy-Top must learn again to care about all the folks who work for them.
Otherwise, I predict that at some point, Uncle Karl will prove right, again...and Ordinary Folks will tire of being Shat Upon, and finally see through the artificial Divisions peddled by the Neo-Aristocrisy,and revolt.
Conversation with my Uncle, some years ago:
Him:" You know how Stone Crab Claws are Harvested?.....the Crabber captures them at the Crab-Bed, and removes one Claw....and throws the Crab back. Crabber will return to the same spot, every year...and declaw the same Crabs, every year..."
Me:" of these days, them Crabs are gonna Rise Up..."
I haven't eaten Stone Crab, since.
As I've said a million times...this is exactly why Marx, et alia, are so Verboten in the's exactly why Unions are so's Exactly the Reason behind all the numerous Divisions and Factionalisations of the American it Abortion,"Welfare Queens"/"Lazy Poor",Perennial Anti-Commie Hysteria,the War on Drugs, the Global War on Terrah,the recurring reanimation of Racism, Homophobia, Classism,Anti-Feminism, and on and on...."Liberalism", as a Slur....
Those at the Tippy-Top...the Aristocracy that pretends to Not Exist...cannot abide all us little people finding Common Cause.
Corporate Media(Thanks, Bill Clinton!), will never tell this tale...PBS dances around the edges(Moyers)...
High School Economics...a whole Semester...doesn't actually Teach Economics.
Thought is Discouraged.
Idleness is of the Devil.
All of this will likely continue to work, at least for a while.
But at some unknown Threshold,a Spark will Ignite the volatile gasses of those at the Bottom, and Aristocrat will become the Other White Meat.
...and the great shame will be that, all the Aristocrisy will have had to do to stave off such "disruption", was to be a little Fair Minded...and a little less Greedy.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Little Vulcan in my head

"Someday denying facts, accepting unquestioned assumptions as facts, and emotively beating back facts will no longer be welcome in the parlor rooms of civil society, but relegated to conceptual zoos -- where our denialists, dogmatists, and sensationalists will as always be free to continue burrowing, howling, and screeching, but where such irrational utterances will be ignored by the (in this case rounded) ears of We The Sentients. "

Watching last night's Msnbc lineup, this morning...and the bubbling subtext of all of it is futility...the Mindfuck has been so damned successful that it's hard to determine just what I'm fighting against.
I've sort of danced over the surface of this Thing, for some time...Assumptions, as Fact; Emotion, as Evidence.
on and on.
Whatever the Machine is, it's in all of our heads, to some degree...polluting our Thought Processes, and blurring our Vision.
In the last few months, during my all too common Down Time, when I'm forced into a chair or the bed...I've plowed through several hundred episodes of Star Trek...from TOS, to TNG, to Enterprise, to DS9, to Voyager.
Besides making me Think about all manner of things...(NASA has a whole Unit at JSC in Houston devoted to Warp Field Theory!)...the Take-Away has been that what I've termed my "Executive"...that portion of my Mind, that rides around with me Observing Vulcan.
Coldly Reasoning...and resisting the Myriad Assumptions that dominate our Collective Minds.
The current cloud of bullshit regarding the Bearded Hillbilly, whom A&E sent on vacation, due to his unguarded utterances, confirming that he's a Hillbilly(Shock!)....and the Noise Machine goes nuts.
The response to this whole hysterical bullshit cloud is Nuanced and Reasoned...and that simply won't fit on a bumper sticker...and wouldn't penetrate the Unreason and Emotion and Assumptions.
It's a dead raccoon in the Chicken House of our Collective Mind...and nothing can calm everybody down for long enough to say..."but the Coon is dead..."
Both masquerading as Reasonable Thinking.
We've a rather steep hill to climb...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stranger than Fiction....

“Oh Brave New World, that has such People in it!”-Miranda, in the Tempest.

Arch-Paleo-Conservative Pat Buchannan has a Man Crush on Vladmir Putin.
Not only is the GOP, somehow, the RED Party...but the Far Right has the Vapors over the often shirtless leader of frikking Russia!...the guy who hunts bears with sharpened sticks, and hates Queers just as much as our own Homophobes.
“The great thing about irony is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies and duplicates.”
David Foster Wallace

Here's Himself:(
“While his stance as a defender of traditional values has drawn the mockery of Western media and cultural elites, Putin is not wrong in saying that he can speak for much of mankind. “
and this string of misshapen pearls:
“He is seeking to redefine the "Us vs. Them" world conflict of the future as one in which conservatives, traditionalists and nationalists of all continents and countries stand up against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent west.
"We do not infringe on anyone's interests," said Putin, "or try to teach anyone how to live." The adversary he has identified is not the America we grew up in, but the America we live in, which Putin sees as pagan and wildly progressive.
Without naming any country, Putin attacked "attempts to enforce more progressive development models" on other nations, which have led to "decline, barbarity and big blood," a straight shot at the U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. “
What it must be like, in that tiny little mind!
To be dislodged from the truck anew, each morning!
Pseudo-Birchers, coming out(!!) as Pro-Russia!
Hating on America!(Ha!)
I see an opportunity for a real “Christian” Exodus...Russia as the New Land of the Free, with Unfettered Greed, and little use for all those “Progressive Developments”, like Minimum Wages, Safety Nets and Environmental Laws...
It's almost as perfectly Tea-ish as Somalia.
Self's what Real Amerrcuns do.


Condoms do not Cause Sex.
A Living Wage does not Cause economic contraction.
Unemployment Insurance doesn't Cause Unemployment.
The Social Safety Net does not Cause Poverty.....oh....and Gay People do not Cause Hurricanes.
Similarly, Gay Marriage doesn't Cause the Failure of regular Marriage.
After thirty plus years of believing real hard, I think it's safe to say that Tax Cuts do not Cause Robust Employment, and that a “Rising Tide” does not , necessarily, lift all boats.
That so many can be convinced of these obvious fallacies, is a testament to the effectiveness of the Mindfuck.
There's something to be said for Empiricism,lol.
How about this?
Fifty years of subverting the Persian People's self determination does not endear our nation to the Persian People.
Forty plus years of meddling in Persia and Iraq doesn't engender Trust.
A Century of dictating the Internal Affairs of Saudi Arabia, and screwing with the Sovereignty of the rest of the so-called “Arab World”, from Kyrgyzstan to Mauritania, does not win the Hearts and Minds of the People who live there.
Almost seventy years of one sided, full throated support for matter how they behave...has done nothing to bring Peace in the Middle East any closer to Reality.
Here are the Causes of “Terrorism”.
Closer to home...”Drill, baby, drill” will do nothing to make the USA “Energy Independent”.
That 3000 mile Pipeline is meant for exporting “our” oil...
Marijuana doesn't Cause Heroin Addiction...
Foodstamps(SNAP) are as close as anything to Fraudproof.
Disability is NOT the “New Welfare”.
Globalism is Bad for the Domestic Economy.
Giant Multinational Corporations are the Real Welfare Queens.
Con Agra is Not a Small Farmer.
Walmart is NOT a Small Business.
Neither is Raytheon.
More than Half of the much maligned “Government Spending” is on War and Preparations for War...not “Welfare”....or “Entitlements”.
Critical Thinking is not “of the Devil”.
Ignorance is NOT Strength.
The Book of Genesis is NOT Science.
Finally, “Obamacare” is NOT Socialism...but that Road,the VA, and Medicare, are.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Update on Navigatorgate


So...Hilderbran's “Pat” got back to me...and said she was “On it...”
That was later that day, Dec. 5th.
She also had quite a bit to say about Obamacare and the Evil Libruls infiltrating the State of Texas...specifically, ACORN....
(I kid you not!)
I informed her that Acorn had been disbanded, defunded, and was no longer a “Threat” which she replied (Again, I kid you not!):” Well, that's what they want you to think...they're just under different names, now, and are still out there...”it was implied, Spreading
I asked if she had the phone number to any of these Neo-Acornian Groups, as I would really love to sign on with the Vast Librul Conspiracy to eat all the apple pie.
This seemed to confuse her.
I've dealt with “Pat” before...and this is how it usually goes.
State Senator Robert Duncan's Office was a world away better...Professional, Educated, no brown liquids. The Education Liaison who I initially talked to was forthright and interested...and she got my message to their Healthcare Person,”Kyler”...who called me, and understood...and has been emailing me updates and suggestions.
I was impressed, and told her so.
I don't think Senator Duncan is really Tea...he just has to act like it, sometimes.
Senator Kirk Watson's Person called me, a few days later...we lamented the lonely path of being a Liberal in Texas, and she encouraged me to keep stirring the Tea.
The Governor's Office responded to my e-mail with a few PDF's, regarding all the stuff I had already read, as well as the proper format for “Comments” to the TDI.
Given my history with His Hair, I was sort of taken aback at this Person's professionalism, as well.
Still no word from the Texas Democratic Party, or their Robots....and not a peep from any of the Local Dems, in their Hillforts.(I had sent my initial report out to all of them)
The best thing that happened, that day....was talking to “Stacy”, from the CPPP....a sort of Texas version of Demos or Brookings...
I talked to her for half an hour, and I'm pretty sure she went and read my blog.
I told her that I would happily be an “Outside Consultant” on “Messaging”....translating their usual Legislature-ese into Hillbilly...and maybe a few bumperstickers.
The biggest problem for Liberals is Messaging...and a Narrative...and a Ground Game.
She understood this...
and sent me links to Progress Texas, and a few other groups who are more Ruckus-Friendly.
...and yesterday, she seems to have sent me a PDF about a job opening at CPPP, for “Communications Director”...for which I have no degree, and no experience...
...and no body, and gas money, and patience and
I am, however, Filled with Ideas and Passion.
An occasional Call or Email, to get Amfortas' take on a given issue, from well outside the box, is all I want.
I'll accept no pay and no credit for whatever help I can for perhaps lunch at Chuy's.
I've said before, Texas Dems, and Libruls need me...
In the Background.
I'm not suited for out in front, and door to door...
and certainly not TV,lol.
But that seems to be what they all want.
That, and Money.
Understandable, certainly.
But what they...and We...also need is a Philosopher,Mythologist and Political Scientist...analogous to the fine tradition of Lay Scientists of days gone by...unencumbered by Dogma, and “Establishment” Rote....toiling in his basement, alone...and inventing the Steam Engine, or whatever.
Texas Dems need Balls...and Holy Fools who are willing to throw skunks, and light brushfires in the minds of the People.
Statistics, and dry esoterica has it's place...but it won't fit on a billboard, or a 30 second radio spot.
It won't grab folks by the throat, like the lies and obfuscation of the Right does.
So I'll continue to stir up shit...I've got all of the usual suspects on speed dial, and in my email addybook.
I likely have a Letter in today's Mason County News, refuting last week's Anti-Minwage Screed....
So I expect to hear a few heads popping all over town, this evening.
Tea does not cotton to Facts, and certainly doesn't like Considered Opposition to their Nonsense.

Persevero ad Pugnam!

Monday, December 16, 2013

a link to one of my Favorite Americans

Bill Moyers kicks ass.

On Torture, and GITMO.Redux

My very first Post dealt with this...(
Gitmo is still open, and those who justified it's construction and continued use, are still on TV, attempting to scare us into inaction.
The 180 or so “Detainees” who are still there have not even been charged with a crime...they are still outside the Judicial System...and any attempt by the Obama Administration to send them home, or to bring them to actual Justice, brings forth the same tired old scaremongering...”Terrists”...”Out to Murder Americans”....
The real reason, of course, that these men can never see the inside of a courtroom, is that they are in Gitmo in the first place because of “evidence” gained by 2 kinds of immoral and illegal means; Bounties offered to folks in Afghanistsn to turn in their Rivals, and Torture.
In the case of Bounties,I remember when this was all over the foreign Warlords would collect thousands of US Dollars for turning in their Rivals and local enemies to US Soldiers and CIA Operatives, often on the shakiest of evidence...that shaky evidence won't hold up in a US Court.
Similarly with Torture Victims...CIA went hog-wild, snatching folks up and torturing them, or disappearing them into Syrian or Egyptian jails to be Tortured on CIA's behalf. “Evidence” derived from Torture is inadmissable in US Courts...and rightly so.
So the real reason for keeping these poor sots in Judicial Limbo is to avoid having to face our countries illegal and immoral actions.
This is Cowardice.
I am ashamed to call myself an American, if this is how we administer Justice.
My own US Senator, Ted Cruz, asked a bunch of specious and misleading questions at a hearing...and had as an “Expert Witness” the insane and cruel Frank Gafney, of all people...

Everybody keeps referring to these folks in GITMO as “Terrorists”, as if that had been legally and definitively has not been so settled...none of them has even been Charged with a Crime, let alone seen the inside of a Courtroom. All of the “Evidence” against them remains a state know, because “Terrism!!!”...
Apparently, the American People cannot be trusted to have all of the facts before them....(

I call on Senator Cruz, and all the other apologists for Murderous, Extrajudicial Empire, to allow the American Justice System to Function.
To do otherwise is not only Cowardly, but Unamerican.
I'd like nothing more than to be Proud to be an American, again.
The Senate should release it's report on Torture, and bring these men to Justice, openly and once and for all.


When my neighbor said he needed my Geese, to mow...we set up the big orange temporary fences, and chased them in there.
Put the big water bowl where they could see it, with a goodly drip...and waited.
Geese are the most Conservative of birds.
When they're used to a closed gate, it takes a lot of convincing to get them to realise, and accept, that it's open.

Here, they're trying to decide if the “other gate”....a hole in the open, and where it may lead.
I'm sitting with my coffee beside the big gate.
Otherwise, they'll return to our side, and honk and carry on, and look at all that grass from familiar(and barren) territory.
Strangely, once they get used to the idea that the neighbor's place is Cool...they'll have no problem finding a hole in the temporary fence and moving on down the block.
Investigating the new perimeter, looking longingly at the garden that they're used to.
Chickens and Ducks will follow, once the Geese have learned that they can go and come at will.
The Birds have done what I intended, to our two lots...only took 5 years.
Not a blade of grass, and nothing but Maximilian Sunflowers and those damned Trumpet Vines are left, where there used to be towering stands of brush, and weeds.
I'll likely start moving Hens out to Mom's , soon.
Eat a few more Roosters...
Of those, I've had something of an invasion of Feral Roosters, these last 6 months...I don't know where they came from.
My poor Hens!
Things finally settled down after we butchered a few, and the rest figured out which Hen was who's...Each Rooster has a Harem, and they go their own way, now.
I've given up on Gardening, here...there's something in the dirt...aside from the likely “Persistent Herbicide” that I inadvertently imported with the 3 tons of Manure. Even fruit trees will hardly grow...out of 20+, I have 5 left.
It's bad for my Mojo, and makes me question my lifelong Green Thumb.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

black santa

This is what passes for Discourse?
A Fictional, Iconic Hero, associated with many Magical abilities and traits...
Fat man, fits through the chimney...where I have always assumed that there would be fire and smoke and sparks(it's frikkin Winter!)
Flying, talking reindeer...flying sleigh...all of which have the ability to suspend the laws of physics, and to be everywhere at once...who lives at the North Pole, of all places(Ultima Thule)...and who employs Elves, in order to suspend physics, again, and make all the toys and stuff in the world.
Why can't such a herois and magical figure also be multicolored?
Like the Jewish Elijah...who they set a place at the table for(sim: cookies and milk, set out for the red and white and sooty anti-burgler)
TINA is too much a habit of mind, for some folks, I guess.
"There can be no alternative"...even in Mythological Things...

Thursday, December 12, 2013


From Old English, meaning, “Holy Day”(OED).
It has become a sort of unofficial Tradition in America, for certain folks to lament a supposed “War on Christmas”...largely due to the efforts of business and government to acknowledge this Season without offending anyone, of any Faith...or even those of no faith, at all.
While I, too, find the Hyper-Consumerism that has come to dominate this time of year to be somewhat Petty and Childish, I can find no intention to Persecute anyone in the use of the phrase “Happy Holidays”.
Rather, I find it to be Inclusive,not Exclusive.
There is a lot of confusion, it seems,about Religion in America.
It is often Asserted and Assumed that one version or another of Christianity is the only “True” Faith...and further, that everyone that matters is a Christian; even that the USA is a “Christian Nation”. I find this offensive, as there are many Faiths, represented right here in Mason...the Majority are Christian,of many flavors, but there are also Universalists, and Pagans and even a few Agnostics and Atheists.
Religion is only specifically mentioned twice in the US Article VI, forbidding Religious Tests for Public Office...and in the First Amendment, forbidding the Government from taking sides in Religious matters, and Codifying Everyone's Right to Religious Freedom.
“God”...specifically,”Lord” only mentioned in passing, at the end where they write “In the Year of Our Lord...”...a common way of stating the date, at the time.
The Founding Fathers were very careful in assuring us a Secular Government, having witnessed the wars and endless strife over the matter, in Old Europe.
Hence the much maligned(in some circles) “Separation of Church and State”...wherein it is not the Business of Government what the Individual Believes, regarding the Divine.
Everyone is Free to make those decisions for herself,or himself.
In other words, we are a Pluralist Nation, above all, and by Design.

So go on...celebrate Christmas, this December 25th.
America is, after all, a Christian Nation.
On December 8th, you could have celebrated Bodhi Day, when the Buddha achieved Enlightenment...because America is a Buddhist Nation.
If you are Hopi, you may ritually open the Kiva on December 21st...because America is a Hopi Nation.
From Sunset, November 27 to nightfall, December 5, earlier this month, you were Free to light candles and eat Latkes...because America is a Jewish Nation.
From December 21st, to the 25th, you are Free to celebrate the Pancha Ganapati ,
in honor of Lord Ganesha...because America is a Hindu Nation.
And of course, if you so desire, on the Winter Solstice, you are certainly Free to celebrate the Goddess Rhiannon, giving birth to Pryderi, on what is known in Gaelic as Meán Geimhridh.
For America is also a Pagan Nation.
From the Zuni Elders, gathered around the Sipapu, to the Druid in his Grove; from the Imam in his Mosque, to the Rabbi in her Synagogue; from the Christian in his Pew, to the Atheist walking her dog in the park on Sunday morning...
America has no Religion,
Because America embraces all Religions.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.

αιρετικός ,
(this is a LTE)

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”

“Have they no poor houses?!”-Ebenezer Scrooge,A Christmas Carol.

There's 3 choices.
One, we can Pay people who work for a living enough to actually Live on...
Two, we can maintain a functional system of Social Insurance that takes up the slack, when the “Free Market” falls short..
Or, three...we can get used to stepping over starving people,hungry children and the corpses of the dead as in Dicken's England.
The “Free Market” has , indeed, fallen short.
A great many Good Paying, Stable Jobs have been sent to Bangladesh, Pakistan and China...for the express reason that, in those places, there is no Minimum Wage, and there are no Worker Protections.
The less-than-good-jobs that have replaced these, have been mainly in the so called “Service Sector”...often part-time(at least on paper), without pensions or benefits,and mostly paying at a much lower rate.
It is no longer the case, that Minimum Wage Jobs(McJobs) are exclusively for high school kids. They are, instead, a predominant type of Job available to people these days.
Similarly, certain changes in all manner of laws and rules have enabled the Very Rich to essentially siphon off a greater and greater portion of the nation's economic productivity, while leaving average Wages stagnant or actually falling. The enormous Productivity Gains of the last 30-40 years, have accrued almost exclusively to the top echelons.
I encourage you to play around with this here calculator, from the Fed:

1 in 5 Children in the USA go to bed hungry, on any given day.
Around 1 in 6 Families are currently below the Federal Poverty Line.
You have a Right to Believe that all or most of these People are simply Lazy and on drugs...but I can find no objective evidence to back that up.
You also have the Right to Believe that raising the Minimum Wage will cause unmitigated disaster.
I can find no objective evidence for that, either....quite to the contrary, in fact.
There's something called the “Multiplier Effect”, which when combined with allocating less of the Percentage of National Income to the Top, will actually spur the Market to create More Jobs, to handle the Increased Demand, made possible by all those Non-Rich Folks having a little extra money to spend.
Another pernicious Myth that one hears thrown around, is that it's all the fault of those hordes of Illegal People(!?) streaming across the (southern) Border.
For one thing, since the Great Recession, this Flow has all but reversed...
For another, when these People were making the trip North in such great numbers, what was the reason?
The answer, of course, is that there were many jobs that Legal People were not wont to do, and that Businesses preferred to hire Illegal People, for the same reason that businesses prefer to hire Overseas People...such People have no Rights, or Worker Protections, or Minimum Wage Laws.
These “Savings”, by and large, accrue to the Top, as well.
They are not overwhelmingly passed on to the “Consumer”.
I find it astonishing that we're still hearing the same old arguments against the raising of the Minimum Wage.
The Tea Party, that paranoid love child of Bob Welch and Phyllis Shlafly, sees what it wants to see...There is no reasoned argument, no collection of Evidence to the contrary, that can pry open those eyes.
It is as if they , and their Rich Leaders, prefer that a large proportion of Americans languish in Desperation and Poverty.
Hungry People make fewer Demands.
The question, then, is what sort of Civilisation do We, the People, prefer?
Are we to decide?
Or must we leave it up to the Apostles of Avarice,who have indicated so little regard for those at the bottom, or even in the middle?
(this is a LTE)

Visions, while Frozen

A whole week of bitter least the sun's out, now.
Wave after wave of Arctic air, including 3 days of ice and sleet.
I know it's much worse...and even other places...
But there's a reason that I don't live there...
So I rattle around the house.
Nothing really unusual about that,
But it's so hard to heat this old pile of sticks...
I really miss that third woodstove.
I haven't been to the Former Library (now known as “The Cave”), since Thursday.
All those Books were excellent insulation, it turns out.
Mia Tana e Fredda.
Ma non si sono Serpente...

So I'm plotting and planning...
Figured out the gravity fed drip system, for the back...(I hate algebra)
Head Pressure.
Friction Loss.
Identified a top ten of Olive Varieties that appear to be more or less cold-hardy...and available domestically(South Central Texas.)
I hit upon the idea of Olives, here in Mason, some 16 years ago.
At the time, only 4 varieties were to be had in the US...all from California...and none tolerant of the cold.
To get the cold hardy varieties, I would have had to import them...and deal with APHIS and Quarantines, and a mess of Regulations.
Now, they're everywhere, it seems.
I want about 2 acres of those...perhaps 30 trees..depending on the variety.
We've decided to just leave the POS Trailerhouse where it is..make it into my Library/Monastery/Hermitage...and attempt to build a house at the very back.

I think it suits me....
Perhaps the Kitchen off to the side...
The other 2 acres in the back are for Grapes.
I lean towards Syrah...
But Mom wants something Sweet...Muscat, or something.
I'll test Pomegranates near the House/Tower.
I know they grow here...there's quite a few around town.
I think Pistachios would do well here, as well; but they take their time in reaching maturity.
We're 2 years away from a House...but we're getting Mom's Workers started on the Monastery Environs, just after Winter Solstice.
Rotten porch needs to come down, as well as the Giant Reeds that have taken over the back yard.(Arundo Donax)
I planted them for shade and windbreak...and possibly for paper making, in the event of Doom(And y'all thought I was just funnin' with all the talk of Monastery,lol)...
But this batch must needs be moved over to the gulley, to separate me from the dirt county road.
I intend to go Nekkid with impunity, and the folks at the end of the road have rubber necks.
I felt like a zoo animal, when we were out there, before.
…...I also require a bridge...or a bunch of a part of the gulley, for another drive. As it stands, there's just one long straight, narrow driveway onto that part of the place, making it all but impossible to get a trailer in there.
I need a trailer right up close to the trailerhouse, for to snow shovel the remnants of our 16 year occupation...trash and old clothes, and cast off and broken toys, and just a bunch of junk that we left in situ, when we left so hurriedly.(see:
So much work to do!
...and here I am, in's almost 50 degrees, for the first time in a week.
Mountain of laundry(W/D is on the back porch), and exhaustion from arising at 2 or 3 in the morning to tend the fire, all this last week.
I've kept the fire going, in spite of the relatively balmy weather.
Winter takes so much out of me, these days.
Aside from the intractable Pain in all my joints that cold brings...being forced to wear socks(and clothes,dammit), aggravates the neuropathy in my feet and lower legs.
Feet on fire...burning without heat.
So I'll get the laundry done, and the dishes, and otherwise lay about.
Tomorrow, I have work to do.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bones, in Lieu of Blood

I keep hearing, during the “debate” over economics these last few months, a well worn trope from the Right...that FDR “Made the Depression Worse”.
As with most such assertions, there's very little evidence for this...just recycled hot air and spittle.
There are a great many such planks in the rickety porch, these days...”Lazy Poor”,”Minwage causes Unemployment”,”Unemployment Bennies cause Unemployment”,”Minwage is only for pimply highschoolers”, and on and on.
I am pleased to see that this collection of cowpies is being challenged, more and more.
The first one is what has me vibratory, this morning.(FDR)
Bunch of stuff on Alternet, today:¤t_page=1

Disaster Capitalism, Neo-Mercantilism, Neo-Feudalism, Cartels...
There's lots of shit to be pissed off about.
But the “FDR made the Great Depression Worse” thing...

With the New Deal, FDR arguably saved the country from a violent French Style Revolution.
Unwitting apologists for the Embarrassingly Wealthy...who themselves are often not too far from the Poverty Line, ...seem to have never considered this...that at some point, folks get sick of being Shat upon.
Living Wage, worker protections and a Social Safety Net are not just the Moral positions...not just the Right Things to Do...they are in everyone's interest.
Remove all of that...make more Poors, and more hunger, more destitution, and less chance of redress...and you set the stage for an uprising, if not a revolution.
Is this what my Tea Party neighbors want?
For all their fear and loathing of Commies behind every tree, their own policies all but ensure the thing they Fear the most.

….which is the real reason for this growing trend:

I reckon that it would be much more cost effective to merely Pay the People, and treat them right.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

History Rhymes

Just sayin....

“Third Way”

The Democrats need a Populist Movement.
The Party is in danger of being hijacked, once again, by so-called “Centrists”, just like in the 90's.
Here's an the Wall Street Journal of all places...from “Third Way”...which is a retread of the Democratic Leadership Council of former times:

And here's a sharp rebuttal...of the two, the one with a demonstrable connection to Reality....

There's 2 reasons why we can't have nice, the Right Wing, with their Money and Organisational skills and their Mythology that seems so easy for very busy and economically uneducated Americans to believe...
And 2 the Right Wing of the Left(!?)...embodied in the Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party....that is always at the ready to snatch defeat(for the People) from the steely jaws of Victory.
The People, in the main, are Progressive.
This is borne out in numerous polls and other long as one avoids broad conventional descriptors, like “Liberal”, and “Progressive”...and instead focuses on specific policy points and programs and Ideals.
“Third Way” is the Machine playing both sides of the fence.
As such, it should be resisted just as much as the pernicious Right is resisted.
What these apologists for Oligarchy will bring us, is a continuation of the failed Reaganism we've been laboring under for so long...under the blue flag of Democrats.
It is sort of understandable, that this was seen as necessary in the 90's...under Clinton...
Perhaps the nation wasn't yet ready for an actual Liberal resurgence.
The Mountain of Bullshit was simply too high, at the time.
This is not the case, today.
We do not need a “Third Way”.
We do not need “Centrism”.
We need the Left.
We require Liberals to stand up and fight the Corporate Feudalism that we inherited from the Reagan Revolution.
Argumentum ad Temperantiam gets you Half a Bridge.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Subversion, Countersubversion, and Civil Disobedience

(or...I can Obstruct, too)

Here's the proposed rules out of Austin, yesterday...obviously intended to make it harder to get folks in Texas signed up for health insurance, under the ACA/”Obamacare”.

And here's what I deem the relevant parts of all of this Legalese :
Part I. Texas Department of Insurance
18of 64
Chapter 19. Agents’ Licensing
To address this insufficiency, the commissioner proposes standards
that, under
§19.4003, are
generally applicable to all entities and individuals performing the
navigator function through a health benefit exchange including
: federal navigator grant recipients
individuals employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal
navigator grant recipient; and
entities or individuals who are neither federal navigator
grant recipients, nor employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal navigator grant recipient.
n proposing the registration process, the
department attempts to limit the impact of the section to entities and individuals with the most direct access to consumer information. To this end, the
department proposes that
only entities and individuals who provide enrollment
assistance in a health benefit exchange must register with the department.

Section 19.4003. Applicability.
Subchapter W would applyto any individual or
entity providing navigator services in Texas on or after March 1, 2014.
Section 19.4003 follows the language of Insurance Code §4154.004 in listing
individuals and entities to whom Subchapter W does not apply: Texas
-licensed life, accident, and health insurance agents, counselors, or companies. In addition, Subchapter W does not apply
to an individual or entity providing assistance to consumers in
compliance with state or federal authority other than 42 USC §18031, such as those providing services under Texas’ Health Information Counseling and Advocacy Program, nor does Subchapter W apply to a certified application counselor designated
under 45 CFR

Section 19.4004. Registration Required.
Section 19.4004 identifies the entities and individuals who must register with
the department before they may provide
enrollment assistance in a health benefit exchange.
They are: individuals who provide
navigator services in Texas, entities that provide or facilitate the provision of navigator services in Texas, and employees of navigator entities who provide enrollment assistance in a
health benefit exchange on behalf of the navigator entity in Texas.
These employees of navigator entities must register as individual navigators.
“Navigator services” are those performed under Insurance Code Chapter 4154; 28 TAC Chapter
19, Subchapter W; 42 USC §18031; or any regulation issued under 42 USC §18031
The definition contains a nonexclusive list of possible services.
Section 19.4014. Prohibitions.
Section 19.4014 describes acts that an entity
or individual may not engage in while providing navigator services. Navigat
or entities and individual navigators may not engage in electioneering activities
, charge consumers for providing information about health coverage affordability programs or health insurance concepts related to qualified health plans, sell or negotiate health insurance coverage, recommend a specific health benefit plan, or provide advice regarding
substantive benefits or comparative benefits of different health plans.

Way to make it clear and unambiguous!
It appears to me, after reading and studying this well as rummaging in the actual codes and laws and regulations referenced in that document....that I , in my capacity as “Smart Dude on the Block”, am forbidden from helping my Neighbor to fill out online forms and such on the Federal Exchange Website.
It also appears that I could get in trouble for simply explaining the Exchange, etc to an interested party, in my front yard, or in the feed store.

So, I'm calling the Texas Department of Insurance.

TDI Agency

Specifically, I would like a clear Definition of “Navigator”.
A search of their site fails to come up with one.
….and to clarify that presumably forthcoming definition....I'd love to know if the State of Texas considers me, the Smart Guy in the Neighborhood, a “Navigator”....and therefore subject to all these onerous and expensive rules.

…...which is, apparently, a Bridge Too Far...
“Susan” at the Consumer Division at TDI...was decidedly unhelpful.
She read the page to me, linked above.
We never could get to an actual definition of “Navigator”....and.whether I fall under these proposed rules.
She kept repeating that “These are just PROPOSED rules....”...and that they , therefore, don't apply to anyone.
She also said, more than once, that if I was worried about it, I should cease such subversive activities as talking to my neighbor.
I reminded her that she essentially worked for me(and a few million others), and that I had every right to take part in the making of such rules...her:”No, I work for the Insurance Commissioner””who works for the People of Texas, of which I am one...ergo...”
So I called Harvey Hilderbran's office...he's my state Representative.
The woman who answered the phone(Pat) had no idea, she's calling TDI.
Both of these women, my Employees, had much to say, offhand, about Liberals and Feds and that Damned Obama. Harvey's woman actually asked how anyone from Mason , Texas could be a Liberal...then tried to pass that comment off as “Just Joshing...”
They also both seemed to be surprised that there was any “Obamacare” in Texas, at all...
I await her return call with bated breath.
Next, I'll make the same exact call to my State Senator...Robert Duncan....

….the woman who answered there was a lot nicer..but she is involved with Education Policy, which we talked about....someone named Tyler(?) is supposed to get back to me, from Duncan's Office.
This person was also seemingly aware of the presence of “Obamacare” in Texas, despite the best efforts of Goptea.
Shocking, that Texas falls under Federal Law.
Next, I called Texas Senator Kirk Watson's Office. He's a Democrat, and had pushed through a bill in Austin that was intended to head off some of the Obstruction regarding “Obamacare” in Texas.
The Tex Goptea, however, had other ideas, and used his bill to try to implement these rules.
The relevant Person in his Office has my name and number.
RickPerry's Office wants a written question...which I will include in this little missive.(1)....and the Texas Democratic headquarters is currently occupied by Robots, who send me around and around. I wanted to know if they had any answers to questions like mine....and if anyone else was calling around and bothering people in state government on this.
Here's a Texas Liberal Group's take on this issue:[]

“Individuals who are just helping their children, parent, neighbor, or friend apply for coverage (but who are not soliciting enrollment assistance to the public) do NOT appear to be exempt.  It would be unreasonable to expect people who help a family member or neighbor fill out an application at their kitchen table to register with the state.  It is possible that people who help their family and friends apply and take the additional step to become an “authorized representative,” as provided for in federal regulation for the Marketplace, Medicaid, and CHIP, would be exempt. “ real answer to my question....I've called them, too.
Just because it would be “Unreasonable” doesn't in any way prevent the State of Texas, from doing anything. They do unreasonable things , literally, all the time.

My issue with these proposed Rules, is that they would appear to be so broad and nebulous, that they would have the effect of Potentially Regulating my Speech.
That's gonna be a Problem.
Specifically, this part(also quoted above):
“....the commissioner proposes standards that, under
§19.4003, are generally applicable to all entities and individuals performing the
navigator function through a health benefit exchange including
: federal navigator grant recipients
individuals employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal
navigator grant recipient; and
entities or individuals who are neither federal navigator
grant recipients, nor employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal navigator grant recipient.”

….”Generally Applicable...” and the last part, about those individuals who are not connected with “Entities”, etc.
It's very muddy. intended.
This smells of ALEC, and appears to be yet another underhanded and sneaky attempt to subvert a Bonafide Federal Law that the Right doesn't like...even though it was, essentially, Their Idea, in the first damned place....Heritage, itself seems to have misplaced the 1989 white paper(I'm shocked!)[]
But here's the Liberal take:(
...and here's the Not-Liberal WSJ on the matter:(

Regardless of the provenance of the idea of a “Market Based Approach to Health Care” is now the Law of the Land...but the Right just can't let it go, and have gone way over the shark in trying to undo this thing.
They have even put up Sham Websites to fool people who are looking to sign up.
It's just Ugly and say nothing of Dishonest.
It's also quite effective.
Even the folks in Government(in Texas, at least) who are supposed to know about this stuff, are woefully uninformed, misinformed and living in Faux News Surreality-Land.
Given the acrimony, and the unbridled and shameless lies and hypocrisy habitually and increasingly exhibited by Goptea-Controlled Texas Gooberment, I don't think that this is a silly or specious question, at all.
I see no reason, at the moment, to separate out the Gop/Tea from State Government....right now, they are one and the same.
That's reason enough to stir up this pot of crap, and to treat My Government as an adversary.
Bringing the weight of Government down on somebody like me for helping a neighbor, would fit the would be decidedly In-Character.

Even so, it's more likelythat these Rules are intended to further muddy the water, sow confusion...and make folks think twice about helping their friends and neighbors sign up for the Exchange.
That's wrong, in so many ways.
I'll be back, if and when all these folks get back to me.
I expect hilarity and farce.
Stay tuned.



(1) Letter to Rick Perry:

Mr Governor,
Regarding the proposed rules for “Navigators”, at the Texas Department of Insurance....
Here's the Document I'm reading:

On Page
18of 64
Chapter 19. Agents’ Licensing
“…..To address this insufficiency, the commissioner proposes standards
that, under
§19.4003, are
generally applicable to all entities and individuals performing the
navigator function through a health benefit exchange including
: federal navigator grant recipients
individuals employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal
navigator grant recipient; and
entities or individuals who are neither federal navigator
grant recipients, nor employed by, associated with, or partnered with a federal navigator grant recipient.”

What I'm after is a definition of “Navigator”, and a clarification of that last part.
I am not affiliated with any organisation, federal, state, or otherwise.
I'm just the Smart Guy on the Block, who my Neighbors come to for answers and explanations regarding things such as this.
Under the above quoted language, it would appear that I would fall under these quite onerous rules.
If my Neighbor approaches me and says, “Hey Joe, can you help me navigate the Federal Health Exchange?” I free to do so, under these rules?
Or must I get a license?
Am I exempt, since I'm not affiliated with anyone?
Where does it say that, in these proposed rules?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Assumptions and "Poverty"

Typically, the dude from the Heritage Foundation has no clue what it means to be Poor.
We have 2 full sized refrigerators....and 2 deep freezes...under this guy's criteria, we are not “poor”.
Of course, all 4 of these appliances are either cast offs from some wealthy relation, or inherited, as it were, from my late grandmother.
One of those freezers is full of geese and chickens from our place.
I allege that this does not exclude us from the ranks of “The Poor” is merely evidence of prudence and forethought, on our part, when we have bumped into an opportunity.
Another bullet point in Heritage's criteria for Non Poverty is the presence of things like AC and Computers, perhaps a vehicle and a working front door....Cable and the Internet....maybe a $10 subscription to Natgeo, or something....these are not indicative of Wealth...
This Heritage Guy wants to define “Poverty” as “Starvation” and Homelessness...both of which are, indeed, Rare in our country.

It's easy for me to critique these utterances, as I am Disabled, and certainly feel “Poor”...but I can understand how folks from Heritage, and many other folks, could fall for such a hazy and(from my pov) Ridiculous set of Assumptions...I have often recommended Immersion for folks who want to talk about Poverty, and what it means to be Poor.
None of these guys ever talk about Wage Stagnation, relative to Inflation.
This is likely the biggest factor in Poverty in can work one's ass off, and not have enough money for the Basics...Then you get a windfall and sign up for cable.
The point of Poverty in America is being on the edge....I may have internet, now(Because I paid for a year of it, when the tax return came...which makes me Prudent)...but I could easily be without sufficient gasoline/propane/electricity/car insurance/internet/firewood/and a hundred other things, next month.
You just never know.