Blog Archive

Monday, February 23, 2015

Prepoke the Bear, #2

This ( will be in the local paper, this wednesday.
I reckon it is accurate and truthful and I managed to not disparage or attack anyone, by name.
I expect the local Tealican Establishment to be on the phone to the Mothership in Austin by that evening, hammering out a Rabid Response.
They're sort of predictable that way.
Prior to the local Party Bigwigs' involvement, last August, any responses that my LTE's generated were of the frothy, spittle-flecked variety...going back years.
We'll see if the new trend is a trend.
I expect, if it is, a well crafted Gish-Gallop of Talking Points and Slick Ad Hominems, as only “conservatives” can craft...I do NOT expect an actual Response to my Charges and Accusations, nor a point by point Rebuttal of my Diagnosis of Our current situation.
They will, as is their wont, Ignore all of the Meat of what I wrote, and focus on Inanity: I deigned to use the phrase “Right Wing” to describe them...I put “liberal Indoctrination” in Quotes...and the like.
They will Attack my Character, and my Intelligence, and my Sources of Information.

In other words, it will be a slightly higher quality of Froth and Spittle.

This, of course, is the reason that I rarely speak directly To them...merely About them.
They are NOT the intended recipient of this Missive...they just happened to be in the way of it, as usual.
I consider Those People to be a Hopelessly Lost Cause...and not worth speaking To.
My intended Reader is, again incidentally, the Invertebrate Local Democratic Apparatus, such as it is...but Especially the Majority...those who are Liberal, often without Knowing it...who see what's happening in the country and want to Do Something...but do not know what...who think that they are alone, out here, on the Perimeter.
Those are the folks I do this for, to the great chagrin of my Wife.
Carry the Fire.

{I'm putting this up today, two days before my LTE comes out, and two weeks + two days before any response or pseudo-response. Just to test my prescient us see how predictable they are. I don't think they know about this place(like to test that, too,lol))

On The Teaching of History

There's a riot quietly ongoing around something called “Advanced Placement History”.
Folks on the Right want to revisit what is taught in schools about Our History.
This seems to involve a lot of Revision, and Omission of many things that really happened that they, for whatever reason, find uncomfortable.
The Rub seems to be fear....fear that if the Warts are included, that students will end up “hating America”. To prevent this, folks on the Right wish to scrub our History Books clean of all of the Bad Things that have been done in Our History; from the Genocide of them that were here, before the European Invasions, to the Myriad Perspectives around and through the Civil War, to Labor Struggles to the Sixties and their Ferment, to the Whole Story of the Cold War, and of Reagan's America.
It is an attempt to set in stone American Exceptionalism, by removing the icky parts...and the parts that disagree with their preferred Mythology.
While it is certainly not pleasant to contemplate that America made use of Smallpox Blankets and MK Ultra and Palmer Raids, these things are a Part of Our History.
They are a part of who We are.
To neglect attempt to hide them in the erase them from Our collective a disservice to Our youth.
Such Erasure is also quite dangerous.
How are We to Improve, if the only things we learn about Ourselves are the Good Parts...the Shiny determined by One Side...One Opinion?
If we leave out the Ugly... the Evil, even...are we not doomed to Repeat the same Mistakes and Shortcomings?
If we neglect the Dissenters, the Opposition, and those who have had Other Ideas, is this not a Skewed Version of Our History?
I have often been confronted with the Strawman Accusation...that I am a part of the “Blame America First Crowd”....
This is a product of that Totalising Worldview that insists that “We are Awesome!”...and that any Criticism...any Critique...cannot be countenanced.
As if Critique somehow undoes the Good Parts.
Negates them.
America is not Perfect...nor is it Complete.
It is a Work in Progress, forever Under Construction.
Discrimination is necessary in choosing Our materials for this ongoing Project.
Not just any board will do.
The rotten boards must be discarded.
This Discrimination can only be effectual if we look at the boards carefully; and for this, we must Open Our Eyes.
Our History, like it or not, contains many Failures, and many very Ugly and Festering Wounds...many, many Rotten Places, that we would do well to discard. Our children need the proper Tools, including their Eyes, to do this hard work of Discernment that is so Vital to the Ongoing Construction of Our Civilisation.
We do them a disservice by sugarcoating and whitewashing and obscuring the Rotten Parts, and by leaving out all those who Disagreed, who Dissented from the Preferred Version.
We should, instead, provide a Comprehensive Context to this thing...this America. Let us Teach the whole story of Us, and let the Individual make the determination for him or her self.
Many folks on the Right seem to wish to leave out large chunks of Our History regarding Thoughts and Ideas and Ideals that they simply do not Like.
From Jefferson's stance on Religion, the Progressive Movement, the Labor Movement,to the Presence in America of people who were different, in thought and deed and Idealism.
What this part of the preferred Revisionism seems to entail, is the excision of all things Liberal from Our collective Memory. The Revisionists insist that this is needed to counter “Liberal Indoctrination” if acknowledging the Other Side of the Story, teaching the Whole of History, is somehow a Political Act, or Plot. To this idea, I counter: if Your Version of Events is so Righteous and Proud, can it not withstand Criticism? Is it not “Indoctrination”, by definition, to Exclude the parts and persons of Our History that you do not care for, or that tarnish somewhat your preferred view that America is, and always has been, Perfect?
If Students learn the Other Side of the Story of Us, are you afraid that your Preferred Side will be found wanting?
True Exceptionalism should stand on it's own you fear that the Approved History cannot endure if the Truth...all sides of the Truth...were to be exposed?
Let us, instead, endeavor to shine the light on the Whole Story of Us;
Warts and rotten boards and festering swamps and all.
To scrub History clean of all that oppose your preferred worldview is is of the worst traditions of Totalitarianism...and it is, inherently, Unamerican.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rudolph's Tiny Soap Box

from the Greek,πατριώτης ,{“Patriotes”} “Countryman”.

Generally considered to mean “love of one's country”...akin to Nationalism.
Does “Loving one's country” mean unconditional love?
Love, no matter what happens?
Or is Love of one's country more complex than such sentiments as “love it or leave it” or “my country, right or wrong”?
Could it be that Rudolph's political opponents also love this country, even while criticizing it?
Is criticism, alone, enough to negate a feeling of love? Of Patriotism?
Or is such criticism, perhaps, an ingredient in a more robust, more perspectival, love?

18 USC : 2340, the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbid Torture by any US Citizen or National or Government or agent thereof.
Torture was done, in Our name, by Our Government.
I hated this...I still Hate this...I am ashamed of these heinous crimes perpetrated by those who I still consider My Employees(and yours, too).
So I criticized the Torture Policy of the Second Bush Administration.
I criticized them vigorously and often.
I then admonished the current Administration to ensure that Justice be done upon the Criminals(to no avail, it turns out).
This criticism did not negate my love for my was informed by it.
Patriotism,Love of country, as I see it, necessitated that criticism.
I would have been remiss if I had remained silent while my country committed War Crimes.

Rudolph, on the other hand...well...I really don't know what he's talking about. It seems he's fallen for the whole Beckian Surreality, where a sitting President with a funny name and a darker complexion than we're perhaps used to is seen as “the Other” Illegitimate.
Does Rudy still believe the whole Birther Thing? That Obama is a Kenyan Commie-Fascist-Socialist Dictator, who is “destroying the country”(by reducing deficits,boosting jobs numbers and attempting to fix so many of the things that the Previous Gang screwed up)?
I pity poor Rudolph his delusions, but I will defend his Right to Believe in whatever nonsense he likes, and to Speak such nonsense.
Speak his Nonsense loudly, if he so desires.
The rest of us enjoy those same Rights...which include the Right to name poor, deluded Rudolph a Fool.
Where we part company, Rudolph and I, is that I will defend his Rights, even if I despise him and his words and actions and beliefs; I do not think that Rudolph would do the same for me.
I infer this from his own long record of saying stupid things in public.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression saw fit to give Rudolph the very first Lifetime Muzzle Award, noting,”He has stifled speech and press to so unprecedented a degree, and in so many and varied forms, that simply keeping up with the city’s censorious activity has proved a challenge for defenders of free expression.”.
It seems that poor, deluded Rudolph has never wanted to share that whole Free Speech is for him ,and those he agrees with, alone.
If an American so despises the First Amendment Rights of other Americans, does he still “love this country”?
“Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard." --Giuliani in a March 1994 speech on crime at a forum in New York City sponsored by the New York Post as quoted by the New York Times (lifted from Wiki)

““over 35 separate successful lawsuits were brought against the city under Giuliani’s stewardship arising out of his insistence on doing the one thing that the First Amendment most clearly forbids: using the power of government to restrict or punish speech critical of government itself.” -Floyd Abrams, 'Speaking Freely',(

Friday, February 20, 2015


Out of all of the Bush people who have been in the public eye in my lifetime, Jeb strikes me as the least odious.
My Vibe Antennae doesn't shriek, “Danger!!”, as much. He seems smarter, certainly...and sometimes steps out of the current Goptea Bubble, which indicates at least a little real conviction.
But he's a Bush.
...and well inside the norm of that Crimen Familia.
As Rachel points out, all that's missing from his “foreign policy team” is Kissenger and Darth Cheney.
Less bad is still Bad, even if he would likely be worlds away better than Ted Cruz—who terrifies me(“waiting for the worms to come”-see below) .
I expect him to be the nominee...and to make Hillary the obvious choice, once all the hilarity is done.
I'll prolly sit this one out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


“If you plan to build walls around me, know this—I will walk through them.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

There's a fine line between Stubbornness and mere Inflexibility, it seems.
10 pages of Google returns indicate a bias against Stubbornness, to the point of regarding it as a character flaw, a disorder, something to be fixed.

I shouldn't have told anyone but my Wife about my house-building plans.
No one but her can understand my aversion to Banks and Mortgages and Homeowner's Insurance and Building Inspectors and other sundry examples of what I see as unnecessary Imperial Entanglements.
Further instance of contradiction is the disbelief that I can do this, due to my body. I can't sleep on just any bed, or walk very far, but I reckon I can build a functional cabin in the woods, given sufficient time and encouragement.

Then there's the widespread lack of faith in my skillset.
When I was 18 or so, I built a shed in the back pasture for the Billy Goat.
It was ugly...constructed entirely of whatever left-over crap we had laying around...and I ended up wiring it securely to a tree.
My stepdad still talks about that whenever he learns that I am building something—always accompanied by endless guffawing.
What is forgotten, is that that particular shed is still standing, and still in use, some 27 years later.
My Shop is similar, without the tree.
“Do your best, and paint the rest”...and from my maternal grandad,”walk by and get it done”...with the necessary corollary,”...using whatever is to hand.”...these are my building ethics and practices.
While I would love to have a concrete monolithic dome, instead of a funky shack, funky shack is what we can do.
While I would love to have somebody...say a this for me, and at my instruction, that is far too expensive...and thus requires a Bank, and all of the regulatory headaches such relationships entail.
Mortgage-Free, well insulated, and no leaks...that's what I care about.
Aesthetics are an afterthought.
That said, I will endeavor to make it not-ugly...according to My and the Wife's ken---and no one else's.
Quick is something to be sacrificed, as well.
And...lest there be confusion...I appreciate all of the advice.
I just don't think it applies, here.
I don't need tips on how to build an ordinary home...because that ain't what I'm shocking as that may be. But none of the erstwhile advisors will be forced to look at it, let alone live in it.
I intend to go my own way, at my own pace.
If you would like to be on the other end of the board at some point, that is welcome, indeed.
But I get to decide where the board goes.
The freedom to make such decisions is the root of what I want, and why I am weary to the point of hostility to all of the unwanted advice, and the negativity I perceive when I reject it.
I'm 45 years old...possess a shining mind, and the creativity to go with it(and with almost nowhere to apply either)...and do not feel the need for approval or permission.
I look at this as an art project, and will approach it thusly.
There is no HOA out there.
So much advice that I have taken in my life, often against my own preferences or instincts, has proven deleterious or wrongheaded or simply inapplicable to whatever situation.
I took advice on my major in college, and have regretted it ever since.
I took advice on the massive expansion of the greenhouse, when I thought we weren't ready...and we weren't.
I took advice from probably 90% of those who gave it with my cafe...
I could go on.
I have a beat up old trailerhouse in the wilderness, because I took advice.
I intend to keep my own council in this endeavor.
I have asked no one for money, or even labour.
It would be cool to receive well-wishes, rather than recriminations.

“What do you mean I have to wait for someone's approval?  I'm someone.  I approve.  So I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nascent Saeculum obscurum

“Superstitious, Xenophobic Morons...”-Dominar Rigel XVI, referring to Homo Sapiens(Farscape)

During my down times, this winter...among other things...I've been in Farscape.
(Season 4,Episode 17, “a Constellation of Doubt”.)

As I'm involved in this, waiting for the medicine to work, I'm thinking about politics.
I'm tired of Conservativism.
I'm weary of those people having a Veto on every damned thing, and of holding Humanity back.
I think about growing up reading National Geographic...Omni...Scientific American...and the Giant Deluxe Encyclopedia Britannica...
All of the wonders of Earth, let alone the Universe..(I'm a NASA kid)
Right here on this little planet,we've got thousands of many languages?
How much history?
All the vibrant variety of Human physiology, behaviour and society.
All those religions.
All that Philosophy.
...and yet we're still doing the same old shit...Empires and war and famine and xenophobia and racism and Fear and Loathing.
We allow the most terrified and backwards cowards to lead us...and when we do not, we still allow them to dictate the terms...based on their fears and prejudices.
Greedy bastards run the show, while ignorance and violent conformism permeates the lower levels.
Anti-Intellectualism, Anti-Education, a Revolt against Reason.
Against Thought, itself.
Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Hyperpolitical...the Politicised variety of Right wing “Christianity”...let's call it Dominionism, for a sort of a tiny minority, as near as I can tell.
That they call themselves “Christian” serves to confuse matters, and to deflect criticism and effective political opposition.
They hide in the largest religion in America.
If one deigns to challenge them on whatever insanity they are proposing, they trot out the Persecution Card.
Teachers are the Enemies of God. Rational, Empirical Thought is “of the Devil”.

Science is Evil.

What could possibly go wrong?
The New Dark Age that I've been lamenting for more than 15 years is well under way.
I have no idea if folks like Scott Walker and Jindal really believe the BS they're pushing...or if it's merely pandering to their “base”.
It appears to me that this is just another iteration of the Corporate Neo-Fascists telling the worst sorts of “Christians” what they want to hear in order to get their support.
The Three-Legged Stool of St. Ronnie's “Conservative Revolution”.:Fundies, Libertarians and their erstwhile Corporate Lords of the Manor.
This putrid flowering of Unthought has been a long time coming. Beginning with the Birchers and others pushing the idea that Education=Commie Indoctrination, to the Homeschooling Movement to hateful lunatics like Fallwell and Oral Roberts forming their own “universities”, and churning out Lawyers who believe that we are, and always have been, a “christian nation”...and then larding the DOJ with such the recent insanity here in Texas, replacing Thomas Jefferson with Moses.
And the rest of us...the non-crazy, the non-stupid, the non-reactionary...we can, it seems, do nothing, at all.
The insidious rise of the Cult of Ignorance, anti Islamic Hysteria, Disbelief in the Science of climate and biology...all of this, fomented by a few very loud nutters, and a few pandering ideologues.
Many people have laughed at me for worrying about this long term trend.
Dismissed as hyperbolic paranoia, even as anti-Christian hatred on my part...this Darkness grows and festers.
From “Repent Amarillo”( to the benign-sounding Good News Club( and the odious Young Life( )...can the Pitch-Forks and Torches be far behind?
Who, pray tell, supports Gov. Walkers desire to destroy Wisconsin's Public University System?
Who likes Rickfuckingperry's meddling and defunding and fuckwittery at UT and A&M and Texas' Public Schools?
Who really thinks that what America really needs is more Morons?
Worse, Empowered Morons, who lift their hateful ignorance to Heaven, who wear their Stupidity with such Pride, who would impose such Ignorance on us all?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Douse the Spark, but let the fire rage on

The Missus and I had big plans.
Fifty Shades of Gray in Austin, followed by a Club, and dinner and whatnot...(limited)shopping in the morning.
Booked a hotel room at a holiday inn in far north Austin 3 days ago.
Kids were due to stay at my Mom's place and eat frog's legs.
This is a rather big deal, for us. We rarely leave the county, save for a monthly grocery run, and the occasional doctor's visit(both are in Fredericksburg, some 38 miles, South).
This afternoon, our eldest kiddo comes down with a's 100.6, at the moment...likely a cold, but perhaps a sinus infection. Irregardless, there's no doctor til Monday.
So the trip is off.
I immediately endeavor to Cancel our hotel reservation.
Even more complexity than the Booking...which was considerable.
I finally managed to wade through all of the nonsense on the website, and got it done.
“Cancellation Email” was forthcoming...wherein I learned that, as Penalty(their word), I would still be charged for the night's stay. A little over a hundred bucks.
I called the front desk, given that theirs was the only actual phone number contained in the email...and asked the lady if I was reading it right.
“yep, they do that...” she told me(I did not jump all over her, as she was merely a manager, and my Ire is directed well above her pay-grade.)
So I called “customer service”...and explained my Ire to that lady...who put me on hold for 20 minutes...then a rather sedate man came on, and after 30 minutes of back and forth(he must be on Xanax), he somehow managed to “exempt” me from the “penalty”.
I told him that I don't have an issue with a “cancellation penalty”, as such...but a penalty that is the same as the cost of the room seemed excessive, if not downright dishonest, to me.
Turns out, that I had booked the room under some “savings” or “smart” something-or-other regime(I had no idea...I had felt lucky just to get into a room, after the hypercomplex shadow-world of the website)...which set me up, somehow, for this very penalty.
I told him that that, right there, is where the rest of my Ire resides...the Corporate Lawyer-ese BullShit that makes it necessary to bring one's legal team and accountancy department along with order to get a cheap hotel room in far north Austin, where one must hike outside to smoke.
The way it works is that the Corporate Overlords know, from focus groups and other research, that only a small percentage of folks will call and bitch about this sort of thing...most folks will just eat the $100...they can either afford such a pittance, or are unaware that they can get an “exemption”.
It's win-win for the Bottom Line(holy, holy).(hence, the title of this post)
I asked if this was the Hotel, itself, or a broader, Corporate Policy...
He first said that the individual hotels(franchises=transferred responsibility, where convenient/profitable) make those policies...and then he let slip that while that was true, it is derived from a Broader Corporate Policy that the individual hotels are encouraged to follow(ass-covering=no-one-is-responsible).
I asked him to further this part of my Beef up the is dishonest and shyster-like.
He agreed(that's the Xanax, again)...and said a bunch of words to the effect of “I'll see that they hear about it”.
All of this, because I deigned to attempt to take my Wife out for a night in the big city, and was unable to follow through.
My next attempt will involve a bed/breakfast...or more likely, one of those Roach Motels on North Lamar...we'll bring bleach and our own sheets and insecticide and fire-arms.
Of course, there's always the pup tent.

{one of the very few jokes I know:”what do ya call 20 layers jumping out of an airplane?” Answer:”Skeet”.}

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Neglect and Invisibility/Totalising and Orthodoxy

I read a lot.
But I haven't read everything.
Growing up in Texas and the South during the Reagan Counter-Revolution and Insurgency, Liberal and Leftist Thought was hard to come had to search it out.
Before the arrival of the Internet, this was a rather daunting task.
I've been involved, passionately, with Philosophy for my whole damned life...but I never even heard of folks like Dewey and Mercuse, Rawls and Richard Rorty, until well after I had discovered the Web, circa 1998.
Much like the way we know about various Christian Heresies solely via their enemies(Iraneus, et al.), I learned of these folks due to my comprehensive review of the American Right, beginning around 2002.
Now, I come to Rorty...and find that I am quite hot to trot to acquire his “Achieving Our Country”.
Where I've been my whole life, all of this sort of thing has been successfully excised from Public School, from College, and from Libraries.
If it's there, one has to know to look for it...there is not a “Liberal Thought Section”, in the basement, or elsewhere.
The fact that these individuals and their Thinking have been so unknown to me, of all people, is both maddening and instructive.
How did I miss them?
If they had been Banned, outright, I would have found them...I have always kept an eye out for Banned Books.
It seems that they were all just quietly removed, somehow, from view.
Of course, since I now have a sort of window into the workings of the local Libraries, both Public and Public School, perhaps I understand how this was accomplished.
Some parent complains that Plato, or whatever, is in the High School...and, rather than make a spectacle, the Librarian, or the school Board, simply has it removed...or placed in a closet.
This does not happen with such high minded gems as Sarah Palin's and Bill Oraly's various collections of discourse...those are, indeed, kept in a sort of cannot help but notice them.
I have considered donating various books to both Libraries...but the common practice is to sell or throw away whatever doesn't get checked out sufficiently.
I think Marcus Aurelius should be available in any Publicly funded Library, just in case someone wants it.
Same with Walt Whitman(whose Leaves of Grass has been challenged due to his perceived homo-erotica, and (no shit) “unamericanism”.)
The Right's perpetual Fear of Information is always on display, if one looks.
How many of the strident screamers in the Islamaphobia Industry have ever actually read the Koran?
The Hadith?
How many of a century's worth of Anti-Commie Ideologues have read Marx?
The Right has a bad habit of taking their various “Leader's” word for what to hate, and never looking into matters for themselves...apparently, for fear of pollution(an admission of weak-mindedness, perhaps?)
I, on the other hand, would never even contemplate attempting to have Sarah Palin's testament to aphasia(yes, I've read it) removed from the Public School Library...although I would prefer that it be removed from the Shrine, and put back on the shelf.
We can have Jonah Goldberg, but not Robert Paxton.
William Bennett, but not Howard Zinn.
Plato gets tossed out(I was there with a big net to catch it all), because it hadn't been checked out in the past year or two...likely because such things are not mentioned in History class, or anywhere else these days.
Anti-Intellectualism is part of the Background, is no more noticed than is the air.
Again, this is how Dark Ages the delimiting of Thought...the de facto and tacit erasure of competing or contradictory viewpoints.
Silently, and without fanfare, removing whole realms of ways of looking at the world.
Somehow, I ended up a Liberal, any way...or, at least a “Left Libertarian”.
This is probably mostly due to Jefferson, and tp not having Religion...and perhaps possessing some innate bullshit detector.
Of course, things of the Left also sometimes fall into this Totalitarian Universalising Habit.
One sees this with various Environmental Movements and Earth First and PETA.( ...and, for clarity, I dig Deep Green Ecology..but not to the extremity of the exclusion of Humanity).
One sees it in(especially Second Wave ) Feminism; right now, I know of some otherwise thoroughly Liberal Women who are upset about the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray. They are talking about boycotting it, because they perceive the BDSM subculture as “demeaning” to Womyn.
Shall we remove Hemingway from the shelves, as well?
What about the Bible?
Augustine and Calvin?
Nope...we're gonna focus on a weird sexual subculture that happens to be ALL about Consent, willfully taking our eyes from the imposing edifice of obvious and blatant patriarchy all around us.

Another instance that comes to mind where otherwise sane and Liberal folks are concerned...a year or more ago, there was a pseudoscholarly article(I don't remember where) about Gandhi...containing the not all that new revelation that he slept in the same bed with naked early teenage “test his resolve”.
A big argument ensued, because my Lib interlocutors wanted to throw out Gandhi because of this.
My whole counter-argument was, essentially, “Jefferson OWNED People! Should we throw him away?”
It ain't just the Right, or the Rabid variety of Christians....
My prescription...that I sometimes fail to follow, my own self(Ha!) that we should tolerate folks for who and what they are...up and until the point that they become a threat to me, and or them and or us.
I've said repeatedly that I will defend, unto death, the Right of the KKK, or James Dobson, or even those neanderthals at Stormfront...I'll defend vigorously their Right to Exist and to Think and to Believe and to Speak.
However, as soon as they...or anyone else...crosses the line and attempts to Impose their worldview on anyone else..well,that's when 'a good man goes to war'.
Evangelicals pepper their discourse with the injunction to “hate the sin and love the sinner”.
I think that's a fine sentiment...and it's very similar to my own Goose Doctrine, and to the Wiccan Rede and the whole ideal of Reciprocity found in not only the three big Abrahamic religions, but in every religion I have yet studied.
Totalising everything, to the utmost extreme on any side, is Illiberal, and counterproductive.
So is Limiting access to information.

Oh, My Dog

Barack just can't catch a break.

(ask Mrs. Tillman)

Again with the Faux Persecutory fantasizing.(please see Matthew 7:3-5, which is what the President said, in a nutshell)
The Right has this terribly annoying habit of Projecting their own secret desires onto whomever the Mothership has identified as the Enemy Du Jour.
The heart of the First Amendment is that they have the Right to believe in whatever kookery they like, but not that they can force the rest of us into their feverish terrorworld.
I once joked that the Eleventh Commandment is “Thou shalt not criticize Israel”.
Perhaps we should add a twelfth:”Thou shall not criticize Christianity(as defined and practiced by the Back to the Cave Crowd)”....because Christianity is so obviously on the ropes in America...I mean in spite of the church on every other corner(at one time, we counted 23 in this tiny town alone, although that number fluctuates, and is currently down to historical mean) spite of the gigantic crosses on hill tops(the one in Kerrville, Texas, is almost frightening...looming over the former artsy fartsy enclave of Hippies( in spite of being forever confronted by people randomly praying( at bookstores, no less). Yup...the lions must be right around the corner.
But we let them do this.
I'm throwing into my virtual cauldron the recent report by my kids: a lot of people say “Oh, My God!”, or “Oh, My Gosh!”, or “OMG!” when surprised or even mildly shocked.
There are, apparently, several kids at school(one is a Preacher's son) who have taken it upon themselves to attempt to police such exclamations.
“You must not take the Lord's name in vain!”
That is, of course, their Right, to hold such views...and even to express them.
However, it is also the Right of whomever is standing nearby, whether the target of such outbursts or not, to challenge the Scolds.
They can exclamate all they want(within reason), but they cannot disrupt...any more than I could do, hollering about the Goddess...
Of course, such Humanistic and thoroughly American things don't happen.
The Scolds are tacitly obeyed.(think what would ensue, if I directed my kids to spread the Good News of...say...Karl Marx...or Bill their friends and classmates.)
This is part of a larger trend in America.
I recently read an article...( ...about the Righty penchant for throwing Hissy Fits. The article goes on at length about the effects of these Hissy Fits in stifling Free Expression and the Promulgation of Ideas that the Right doesn't like.
It's like being chained to a bully.
It is a form of Ad Hominem...mixed with Shunning, Shaming and Punitive well as a generous proportion of simply shouting one's opponents down.
I cannot stress enough how Unamerican this is, in my studied and considered view.
It puts the decision of large and important issues that effect all of us into the sole possession of one faction of the Demos, and one faction ONLY!
In America!
The Righty Fantasy of a Unified America...made manifest(Maranatha!) by simply Excluding all those who don't adhere to the prescribed Narrow World View. (“They ain't “REAL” Amercuns!”.)...
This should be the topic of conversation and outrage in every home and coffeehouse and beerjoint in the land, that isn't already a part of this Totalitarian tendency—this frikking cult!
TINA-- that whole my-way-or-the-highway,end-of-history,tendency to Universalise the Norms of Literalism-- went from Religion to Economics to Politics and is now making sorties on Society, itself.
Under the cover of “Christian”, they are infiltrating nearly every sector of Our Civilisation.
(if I were a Christian, I'd be pissed at such a usurpation)
I'm sorry.
We are NOT...and have NEVER BEEN...a “Christian Nation”.
There is simply no...ZERO....Evidence to back that up.
We are, instead, a nation that includes a lot of Christians...who are Equal to Everyone Else.
Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus in all their variety,Atheists, Agnostics and Pagans, and a hundred Other admixtures and inflorations of the above and all other manner of varieties of systems for comprehending the divine and the awesome, and our place within, or along side, it.

Our governments are wisely forbidden from weighing in on such issues...perhaps not enough so.
It does not diminish me, that the falling-down church on the corner has their own form of worship.
Instead, it enriches me...until, and unless, they attempt to impose their Faith upon me and mine.
Then, I will holler at them...and about them.
This is not “hating Christianity”...nor is it in any way, shape or form, “Persecuting” Christians.
It is simply a reminder that I, too, am a part of this world....and that the world does not belong exclusively to them.
What the President said was entirely factual, and it was entirely relevant to the world, today.
The shameful malapropisms and allusions to a new Crusade on the Right since 9-11...the broad brush of “terrist” and “a violent religion” directed at Islam as a whole...the ignorant spectacles of Koran burning and crazy obstruction of Mosque-building...all of the hysteria, and traveling panels of “experts on Islam”(even here, in the wilderness), the whole industry of Islamaphobia...
all of it should be beneath us.
But there it is...
But let a President inform us of the obvious fact that Islam has no monopoly on violent extremism, and the nutters erupt in frothing outrage.
And, again, we let them erupt, all but unchallenged.
There are, of course, plenty of rebuttals and refutations, all over the web; I doubt that the same can be said of the coffee shop, the beer joint, or the feedstore.
Either from an aversion to often pointless conflict, or from simple fear of bullies, this leaves only one worldview to be represented.
This is how Dark Ages happen.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pig in shit

I've been laboring, intermittently of necessity, on getting the site ready for beginning construction on our Funky Cabin in the Wilderness.
Wife and Mother are, of course, somewhat reticent and circumspect.
Wife is a little less so, since I gave my arm waving visionary presentation a week ago.
The boys are excited...and I expect them to remain so until they come to the realisation that;1. This will be an ongoing project for at least a year, and 2, that they will be required to actually work.
In order for the big trucks to get there to put in my meter(a necessary evil...eventually, I will only use the grid for dryer and the tankless water heater), I had to remove a 20 foot section of fence, and the giant sprawl of opuntia(prickly pear) that had colonised there.
2 days.
About 4 hours, per day.
Then 16 hours of agony.
In the interstices, while I am recovering in the fetal position in my pillow-nest, I've been a-wandrin' in my latest accidental discovery:

and especially, the sub-folder:

Mostly in he Philosophy section.
I've so far skipped over the Leo Strauss offerings...and I note that he seems to be somewhat over-represented, but's free...and he did really know his stuff, if one can separate him from his intellectual and political progeny.
Folks from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and Berkley, and a hundred other Universities...even the Naropa Institute for Disembodied Poetics(!!!) Alan Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac, no less.
All manner of brain-candy, here.

I'm waiting on the pole/meter, and the leavings from the concrete truck(I only need a yard) for the footing for the big ass woodstove. Bits of barbed wire and rusty hog-wire and mangled chicken wire and a beer can or two are stuffed into one of the big metal garden beds, ready for the pour.
Manana, since it'll be warm again, I intend to sit out there with paper and my fancy pencils and a calculator and maybe even a ruler/straight-edge, and get my ducks in a row, and make “The List” of materials.
First Corner Post Day approaches.
Film at eleven.


After all these years, Nietzsche is still my favorite Philosopher.
As I've said, I read Zarathustra when I was 8, or so...after watching Clark/Kubrik's 2001: a Space Odyssey, and becoming enamoured of Strauss' theme music(“alzo sprach Zarathustra”).
That book, and Joseph Campbell's “Masks of God”, vol. 4(“Creative Mythology”), which happened to be on the shelf at home, set me on the tortuous path that led to where I'm at.
I enjoyed Aristotle, especially Metaphysics and Poetics.
I enjoyed Marcus Aurelius even more...his Meditations is the book I've purchased and re-purchased more than any other...I keep giving it away to various and sundry folks I've encountered who were at some crisis point.
Uncle Friedrich turned me on to Schopenhauer, who I found interesting, if not convincing...and to Hegel, who I intuitively rejected, due to his Authoritarian solipsism. I was biased by Nietzsche' in this assessment, and unashamedly.
When I finally got to Popper, just last year(!?), the first part of the second volume of “Open Society..” had me laughing uproariously in the parking lot...I so identified with his hilarious, ridiculing critique of that Court Philosopher and pedantic apologist for Empire and Certainty.
Heidegger had some ideas I liked(Dasein), but this was negated by his embrasure of Naziism(hard to overlook, however, Jefferson owned Humans).
Popper also re-affirmed my intuitive uncomfortableness with the later works of Plato...I had never before been able to put my finger on what it was that bothered me about things like the Republic.
I enjoyed Erasmus, and Aquinas, whom I just happened upon due to my lifelong interest in all things Medieval...these led me into the various Mysticisms of the time: Meister Eckhardt, Abelard, and the like...
Campbell had also quoted those wild eyed folks extensively, and Kerouac, et alia, led me to Beatnik Buddha and Avolonkitsara and the Diamond Sutra.
Diogenes and Carl Jung ride around on my shoulders;
Immanuel Kant, in my front shirt pocket
I found that I agreed with Bertram Russel on his political/religious sentiments, but had little use, generally, for Analytic Philosophy, Positivism, and other Reductionist tendencies...Wiggenstein(sp-2) bored me to tears, almost literally.
Rosenstock-Huessy's 'On Revolution' I found revelatory.
I vacillate, without shame, between Structuralism and Post-Structuralism...depending on circumstance...on what I'm standing on, at the moment( my preferred view is from a tar paper shack on the Moon, near the Mare Crisium)
Descartes seemed arrogant; Hobbes, morose; Kierkegaard, almost suicidal in his dour wordiness(I like him more, now); Augustine, a disingenuous, moralising life-eater...afraid of his own shadow.
I like Origen and Pelagius, Marx and Smith, and prefer J.S. Mill to Jeremy Bentham.
I came to Camus, late...and can really relate to his take on Absurdity, and how he reckons we should respond to it.
Sartre, interesting...but ultimately unconvincing.
Rawls became a favorite, and I'm still toying with Foucault and Deleuze...translations of the latter are quite vexing.
I wish Onfrey would find a decent translator as well.
I'd like to get roaring drunk with Zizek, but have yet to seriously delve into his peculiar outlook.
I prefer “Third Wave” Feminism, and Paglia... I imagine arguing with her on many things...but I find her interesting...and certainly courageous.
I'm enjoying Proudhon, and recently had a pleasant time with Kropotkin, with most Anarchists...I wonder about the general applicability/Practicality of such things.
Ivan Illich,Tolstoy,and Wendell well as Thomas Merton, Gandhi and even Lysander Spooner...Thoreau, Whitman and Walter Benjamin...Adorno and Horkheimer(depressing as they are)...and somewhere foundational in me, Thomas Jefferson.
I am a creature of the Enlightenment, but due to a cursory study of History, and an aversion to Certainty and so called Prophetic Historicism, I'm not so sure any more of it's continuing applicability.
The apparent failure of the Enlightenment...rather, the realisation of that apparent failure...has been a dagger in my soul.
“Progress” just doesn't look like a going concern, any more.
My biggest issue with the modern world(post-postmodern?) is that I know of no-one in real life(meatspace) who has read even a third of this sort of thing. This is likely a function of my allergy to cities, and my stuck-in-amber-ness in this far place, on the edge of what passes for civilisation.
Place engenders Bias...however I attempt to control for it.
I boil all of this continually, along with my bootstraps, and realise that I seem perhaps contradictory and obscure.
I am doubtful that any book I manage to write will clear any of it up sufficiently.
I keep coming back to Uncle Friedrich.
Amor Fati, and all that.
I'd like to unify, at least somewhat, his affirmation of the Individual, with some framework for a workable Society...some synthesis of One and Many, Me and We...but then I look around(virtually, as well as at the Feedstore), and despair of this project.
Tea Party, Steamed Vaginas and David Brooks do not fill me with confidence that Humanity can say nothing of whether or not We Deserve to.

Oh, well.
Σταθερός και αναίσχυντος,
I remain.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The lefty rag, “the Economist”, holds forth on one of America's most idiotic statistics...comparing it to their own numbers.
What I don't understand is why a bunch of “small government” Zealots are so peachy keen on defending cops....that is, the dreaded “Government Thugs”...when they kill folks.
Sometimes in a way that resembles a firing squad.
...and, before my Jedi-Cop buddy get's bent out of shape, there is abundant video evidence. Some of it is rather easy to spin, reciting SCOTUS' ruling from long ago, about deferring to the perspective of officers at the scene.
Most, however, appear pretty cut and dried, to me.
In this article, it mentions that reporting of such killings is Voluntary.
I knew about the federal lack of such a requirement, but have no idea if Texas has a statute like that.
If we do not, we should.
Texas appears to be full of folks who are scared shitless, sometimes to the point of lashing out,of (variously) the Fedgov, the UN, Chinese Troops!, and Dark Skinned Hordes from the south.
But not requiring Police to send a report to Austin when they kill a Human Being is OK?
That particular part of the evil gooberment is so trustworthy,
So beyond reproach, that they can forego scrutiny by their Employers(that's Us,btw)?
What about “getting governments off our backs!” ?
What a ridiculous “oversight” by our vehemently anti-government frothers.
Of course, much of this official slaughter is justified by the equally idiotic and failed “War on Drugs”.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and say nothing of the more esoteric Ninth and Tenth...are shredded. Exceptions and various work-arounds have debased the letter and spirit of those Amendments, but this, too, is OK.
Now what the Drugwar started, is handed off to the “Global War on Terror”.
Also idiotic, and UnAmerican in the extreme, and apparently have the opposite of it's intended effect.
Spying on everybody on the frikking planet, listening to everybody's phone.
Shoeless at the airport.
Executive approved snatch-jobs and black bag ops...Secret Prisons and Torture Cells...
This is OK?
And while we discount all of these actual threats to our Freedoms, we are to be terrified of the IRS, the EPA and the folks who at least attempt to lessen the chance that I will die from irradiated lettuce with Fecal Matter on it, or who warn me of tomorrow's storm.
None of these agencies and departments are perfect.
Usda is incestuous with Big Ag, as FDA is kept in Big Pharma's basement dungeon, and let us not forget Treasury and the Fed, where they have had the revolving door made into a stripper cage (it was in the way...)
But they aren't shooting American Citizens in parkinglots.
They aren't bursting through the door at 5 am, and expecting no resistance.(I am fully aware of the anti_Raw Milk raids, and the like. So the phenomena may be spreading.)
If my compatriots on the Right want to at least seem serious about all that Limited Government rhetoric, they should demand something be done about the parts of government that are a literal threat to Human Life and Liberty.