Chant of Renewal

Quietly, I awaited the sunrise today. Standing at the edge of a freshly harvested cotton field I basked in the renewing energy of the solstice. Damn this global warming thing. This is the coldest winter I have spent in Arizona. 100 plus degree differences between summer and winter is not right. It was 20 degrees the other morning and I damn well remember 120 degree days in July and August.

Marvin, Marvin...
"What's going on, tell me what's going on?"



I have no time for Time magazine, or the National Review, or People, or the Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or TV (Take an alphabet any alphabet,) or radio, or Republicans, Christianists, Libertarians, Neoliberals, Neoconservatives, fascists (old definition mixing totalitarianism and corporatism,) Nazis, crackers, the Stars and Bars, warhawks, chickenhawks, Pro sports, NASCAR, empire apologists, empire enthusiasts, Big Macs, Whoppers, franchise this, corporations (trusts, monopolies and tax breaks) lawyers, doctors, top heavy government agencies and departments, incompetent/incorrect (you don't appoint oil company executives to regulate oil companies) leadership at government agencies and departments, war machines and their profiteers, bloated beyond common sense defense budget, the insurance and medical businesses (HMOs, drug companies, hospital chains,) the money and real property industries, Wal Mart, alcohol distributors, tobacco companies, Pepsi, Coke, Anheiser Busch, Coors, overpaid actors, private armies, DEA, ICE, Disney, Ford, and any other dynastic family that has perpetuated itself on the coattails of thieves and beggars, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and any other club (because they are all self serving,) religion, cults, wars on verbs and inanimate objects, Food conglomerates, Private prisons, cops for hire, lima beans, private highways, Mcmansions, political judges, KKK, canned hunts, billionaires, Chevrolet and Firestone (for "paving" the way to auto dependence in L.A.,) organized crime, thugs, bullies, "experts," US presidents, lobbies, "think tanks," college tuition, NCLB, "Clean Air Act," "Healthy Forest Initiative," Drug Czars, all hunting*, overfishing, Xmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, profit over "reasonable return," stock markets, casinos, bingo halls, copyright and patent law, millionaires, middlemen, capitalists, corruption, greed, elitism, jingoism, patriotism, personality cults, hero worship, Awards and the ceremonies they spawn, banana republics, puppet states, guests and associates, genocide, outsourcing, factory worker displacement, job cuts, layoffs, restructuring, leveraged buyouts, viruses, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, HP, usury, ...

If I left you out, I ran out of time.


Dune: The Bush Corollary

Feyd-Rautha is the younger nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and figures heavily in the Baron's plans to gain power. He is, for a while, the Na-Baron, or heir to the throne. The Baron favors the handsome and charismatic Feyd-Rautha over Feyd's older brother Glossu Rabban, "The Beast," because of Feyd's extreme intelligence and his dedication to the Harkonnen culture of carefully-planned and subtly executed sadism and cruelty, as opposed to Rabban's outright brutality. To promote Feyd's power, he is to be installed as ruler of Arrakis after a period of tyrannical misrule by Glossu Rabban, making Feyd appear to be the savior of the people.

Diddy: Nature's Way

It's incredible how easily we justify greed and applaud theft in our selfish little worlds. It is equally amazing that there are people who truly believe in myths (Affluence is produced by "hard work.") and fairy tales (America is the greatest country that ever was.) Why not? We have been subjected to this gloriously limiting world view our whole lives.

All thoughtful criticism of the status quo is resented by the affluent and ridiculed by its "intellectuals" not on the merits of the criticism, but on some esoteric collective belief that there is this "real world" where their economic rules are universal and that its primacy is due to the historical proof of its Darwinian "survival." This could be possible if capitalism is truly the penultimate economic theory. However, those who argue in favor of this conclusion will inevitably "cherrypick" history and proclaim superiority based upon the great benefits that this system has produced for the world through the "invisible hand" of competition and efficiency.

I have no doubt that these thoughts will be criticized and I will be labelled as an idealist, at best, a socialist or, at worst, a crackpot. Fine, the fact that these words have a negative connotation and are used as slurs displays a subconscious understanding that something is wrong. I also have no doubt that a great many of you, like me, see the inherent flaws within capitalism and are concerned at some level. The system, represented by corporations, depends upon ever increasing amounts of energy and other non-renewable raw materials to sustain itself. It must constantly maximize its profits through growth and/or downsizing for survival. It is relatively immune from serious consequences for negligent or criminal actions. (Pay the fine, raise prices and let the taxpayer clean up the mess.)

Free market capitalism is primarily represented by corporations. The corporation (a legal entity) is not beneficial, and is efficient and competitive only in the most cynically superficial way.

Beneficial: conducive to personal or social well being.

Efficient: productive of desired effects, especially without waste.

Competition: the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure favor.

A corporation is an economic entity that is hierarchical and totalitarian. It is protected/promoted by governments through overt/covert naked brutality and graft. Finally, it is marketed with propaganda disseminated through a compliant mass media which is controlled by the corporation directly (through ownership) or indirectly (through advertisement money.) It is but a modern version of the ancient latifundium. Economists are its "high priests" and its existence is perpetuated by greed and fear.

If history is a guide then the final collapse of this system will be dramatic and widespread. The signs of decay are visible and the decline will likely be gradual. Repair is impossible and the alternative (replacement) will be unacceptable to the privileged as they will violently protect their booty(s)in a game of winner take all and nothing. Class war is a possibility, but the diminishing middle class and the poor are quite easily swayed by "bread and circuses" and very resistant to radical change. The slow creation of a police state and the gradual loss of liberties is a signal that our plutocrats are nervous.

"History shows again and again,
How nature points out the folly of man."


Dirge: Imagine

Christianist logic is a gift that keeps on giving only because of its innate "rightness." "What would Jesus do?" the christianist asks himself and in typical boy-man fashion the answers are easy; death/destruction to anyone who doesn't believe in his world view. I have to admit I'm skepticle that this will catch on, but my inner five year old loves it. Imagine a world that you can make up as you go along without any thought or remorse because, well... Jesus ain't around anymore to refute it (he'd be for it because he was a man's man,) so let's go kick some ass because, dammit, those pansy liberals have just messed everything up for us men and it ain't right.

Now, let me see if I have this next one right. A "bi-partisan" group of former and present government officials have made a study on the "Iraq Fiasco" and have published their conclusions and suggestions in something called the ISG Report. OK... Everyone of these "experts" supported the invasion of Iraq. Either I am missing something and political logic is different from common sense logic or there is not one word that I'm interested in because these are not the people who could make a credible study to begin with. Are we that far gone as a society that simple common sense (you don't ask any of the doctors who misdiagnosed an ailment, which was wrongly treated based upon their faulty diagnosis, to study your worsening condition and then make conclusions and suggestions for a cure) is no longer even an alternative? What could these "experts" have to say that would interest me?

I'll give you a hint. "We were absolutely wrong in our original position that invading Iraq was the only solution we had to counter whatever it was we had to counter (I still don't understand any of the rationales for this war so I'll assume for argument's sake that they had one.) The war is a catostrophic failure and we believe that the only solution available is the immediate withdrawal of our armed forces and that an investigation of ALL activities derived from this war be initiated." That you or I will ever hear anything even remotely resembling these "conclusions" and "suggestions" is fantasy and we should put it out of our rational minds.

Conclusion: We are witnessing the decay of institutions that have shared power and authority since the dawn of civilization. "If the obstacles of bigotry and priestcraft can be surmounted, we may hope that common sense will suffice to do everything else." (T. Jefferson)

Happy Death Day, John.


Idylls of a Dreamer

There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there, telling me I've got to beware. Sometimes I feel like I've been here before and you know it makes me wonder. What's going on down under you. Although your world wonders me with your majestic and superior cackling hen. Your people I do not understand, so to you I shall put an end and you'll never hear surf music again. We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow. The hammer of the gods will drive their ships to new lands. To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming! The human race was dying out. No-one left to scream and shout. People walking on the moon. Smog will get you pretty soon. Everyone was hangin' out, hangin' up and hangin' down, hangin' in and holdin' fast, hope our little world will last. On a boat in the middle of a raging sea she would make a scene for it all to be ignored and wouldn't you be bored? Strange brew -- kill what's inside of you. How does it feel, how does it feel? To be on your own with no direction home. Like a complete unknown. Like a rolling stone. I saw her today at the reception. In her glass was a bleeding man. She was practiced at the art of deception. Well I could tell by her bloodstained hands. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you just might find you'll get what you need. Sinister purpose knockin' at your door; come and take my hand. Burn away the goodness; you and I remain. Did you see the last war? Well, here I am again. Oh what a life of luxury to be like an ape man. I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man. I'm a king kong man, I'm a voo-doo man. I'm an ape man. And the seasons they go round and round. And the painted ponies go up and down. Were captive on the carousel of time. We cant return, we can only look behind from where we came and go round and round and round in the circle game. Did you find the directing sign on the straight and narrow highway. Would you mind a reflecting sign just let it shine within your mind and show you the colors that are real.


Interlude: Words

I am a person who loves words. I love the way they form in the mouth and project meaning, feeling and understanding. Words are both trifle and serious. They are the playthings of actors and comics, and the marrow of philosophers and those of their bent. A word spoken with true intelligent earnest is powerful, yet, as with most things, a demagogue may utter untruths, lies and propaganda with the same force. Words have little or no meaning by themselves, but when strung together they harmonize and blend into a melody of unimagined enlightenment. A pun is fun. A well constructed metaphor is uplifting. An artfully constructed alliteration is magnificent (e.g. V for Vendetta.) An idiom betrays the abstract while a fable teaches a lesson. The point is that we must place a value on our words and to use them with thoughtfulness.

Words are history. They are the form our memory utilizes to place ourselves within our world. A word spoken in anger is usually a word regretted. The choice of the words we speak illuminate who we are. They are the crux of our being. They also can be the abyss of our failings if our actions contradict them.

I can't say when it happened exactly, but it did happen when I was very young. It has profoundly effected my tolerance for those whose professions depend upon the use of words. I realized that words were power and if you were clever enough you could create a language within a language and use it to enslave the ignorant. Our world rots with the corruption caused by the specialization of language. I have only to listen to a political speech for a minute or two before I am disgusted. It is advertising and propaganda concealed behind a smiling used car salesman who would "eat a bug" to sell you something you don't need.

Apathy and cynicism are the byproducts of our benign ignorance. For the truly ignorant we have arrogance and thoughtlessness as these are the ones who are led by the nose to their doom and heavenly reward.

Words to brighten our lives and words to blacken our minds.
Holy words to worship both god and mammon.
Mutterings by the sacrosanct in their pursuit of more and more and more.
Soothing sonnets to satiate our settled selves with surreal settings and sit-coms.
From the blackest lies to the brightest truths.

Hope springs eternal as I again take my seat in the theatre of life. I am not optimistically pessimistic for nothing.


Solo: Won't Get Fooled Again

The Preamble to our Constitution outlines the purpose of government as it should be in a free and just society.

This is also the fundamental claim of Aristotle's constitutional theory:"constitutions which aim at the common advantage are correct and just without qualification, whereas those which aim only at the advantage of the rulers are deviant and unjust, because they involve despotic rule which is inappropriate for a community of free persons."

Since the end of the Civil War we have seen our Constitution slowly corrupted by the few (plutocrats) for their own self-interest and advantage at the expense of the many. The history of this calamity is well documented and, sadly, hidden from our educational curriculum.




Part Three: Tomorrow Never Knows

Reality bites sometimes, but it is all part of the grand show. I was told as a young lad that there are three ways to handle a crises: fight it, flee it or flow with it. I'm beginning to tire of getting along and waiting for something to improve. Washington is a parody of a satirical joke. It is my belief that if given the facts about the lobbying (legal bribery) and the rampant cronyism that takes place in our capital under the guise of government a fair majority of our citizens would be appalled.

So, what's preventing them from finding out? How do I begin to even explain "bread and circuses" to an overfed and arrogant people who have been told since they were tykes that the US is the greatest country that ever was. Tell that to the Native peoples. Explain it to the descendants of enslaved Africans. Justify to the Mexicano the theft of their lands. Remind the wave upon wave of immigrants (Ireland, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe) and Asia who toiled as wage slaves to make our bourgeois into an aristocracy.

Americans are non-historical; they have to be or their world view crumbles. To make this point I give you a president who has a history degree and who has little or no regard (knowledge) for its use other than to revise it to conform with our national delusion.

She said, "I know what it's like to be dead.
I know what it is to be sad."
And she's making me feel like I've never been born.



Part Two: With the Eyes of a Child

December's cold is upon us and it's time to add another blanket to the bed. In my most childish dreams and delusions I can not make up the stuff I've been reading from the right? conservatives? mouth breathers? Fundies? etc... It seems that all history books are wrong, the news media only tells us lies and the Christian era is the only Enlightenment there is.
My god, I need another blankie. How do you even begin to even talk to these people? You don't and just hope they go away. Logical discourse is for sissies and everything I learned in kindergarten is true.
"I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."