Why capitalism just doesn’t work.

March 30th, 2010

~ This is Part #2 of the Qwest Wars.

Yesterday we were using the figure of $20,000 per mile for fiber optic cable; the kind of “wire” that’s not wire to get you “wired” to the Internet.  If Mr. Locke capitalizes the word I will too, he ought to know.

But let’s start with simple basics.  An average lot in Albuquerque is 50 feet wide.  There are 5,280 feet per mile.  That means about 100 lots per mile less the width of the occasional street (Yes, Albuquerque, New Mexico really does have streets).  There are two sides of almost every alley, so we multiply 100 lots by 2 and now come up with 200 houses that can be served for each and every mile.

So this looks like a cost of $100 dollars per house to have a fiber optic line right out back that any tech can connect ones service to.  Now lets consider the income and the costs.  My house is nearly seventy (70) years old.  Many homes in downtown Albuquerque are even older.  My house has had telephone service from the start – 70 years of service, bills every month, paying for telephone service every month for 70 long years.  What’s that worth?  In Qwest country  the no extra basic line is about $25 dollars per month.

It has not always been $25, not seventy years ago.  But, with all this talk about inflation, time, appreciation of stocks and what houses are sometimes worth and given what incomes are or were and all that other mumbo jumbo of economic theory let’s just assume that things stay about the same in real dollars.  So $25 bucks now is like $25 dollars then and a bill is a bill and changing or adding a few zeros now and then just really does not make a real difference.  So this house has paid over the 70 years about $21,000 dollars in today’s dollar equivalents for basic phone service to Mountain Bell and to Qwest Communications International, Inc. and all the telephone companies in-between that really are and have been “just Qwest”.

Maybe 50% of the money was costs (I doubt it); the other 50% of all these dollars has been profit (profits, plural).  So we have the figure of $11,500 profits over 70 years under the theory that capitalism makes ones life better, and works, that Qwest can use how they wish to grow the company, lay new lines, and make more money still.

But, what does Qwest do with the money?  You remember that the $11,000 bucks is the profit for almost every house; 200 houses per mile; $2.3 million dollars PROFIT for one mile of houses in “Old Albuquerque”.  Qwest pays executive salaries of $12 million per year with this money, pays a few dividends, uses the rest for what – bonuses and payoffs and expansion to foreign lands like Afghanistan maybe, so that they can do the same shell game there; wire the houses and then let the infrastructure rot away to ruin as every year every Afghan pays and pays and pays like we do in New Mexico, in Albuquerque, where telephones came first.

What Qwest does NOT do is save the money and use profits for the building up of the community and the company.  Qwest thinks they have banks for that; borrow money to build the future; don’t use profits for that.  This is NOT capitalism, but Qwest calls it capitalism and everybody else calls it capitalism, so this is why “capitalism” DOES NOT work.  If capitalism did work Qwest would realize that they had made $11,500 dollars from every older home in Albuquerque and as a result could invest (from profits earned) that $100 dollars needed to bring a fiber optic cable to each house, and my house too.

Is it asking too much to reinvest just 1% of pure profit in order to make America competitive, to make things modern, to keep the competition from Comcast and Verizon wireless at bay?  Qwest apparently thinks so.  They are not content with taking 99% of the money out of the community; they want 100%.
They want the banks to loan Qwest money.  Qwest wants the fed (the federal government) to give them grants and money and “stimulus funds” to build their network, replace 50 year old (or more) copper lines frayed and falling apart at the joints and seams and connection points that make “connectivity” possible.

If the banks and feds won’t do it, Qwest won’t either.  They stole the money in Albuquerque “fair and square”; they’ll steal it from anywhere they have the chance; nobody is looking, Wall Street investors help them by pumping up and buying up their stock while just ordinary people are sucked dry and are left paying too much for far too little.  All we want is a little fiber optic connection to each house; good for Qwest, “good for Albuquerque”, good for New Mexico and the nation maybe.  It would also be good for me (and you, so you could see the photographs you can’t see now).

Did Qwest wait too long?  With overpriced static filled lines who needs a land-line anyway?  Monopolies make corporations complacent; there’s no incentive when you can buy off and influence the regulatory commissions; when the commissions don’t do their jobs; when the Commissioners don’t do their jobs.  My father Fred was in that place; “Commissioner” once.  I know a little about the operations, lived it when I was young; saw it then and see the same things and worse even now.

People have been dropping the Qwest land line service like dead flies fall from pesticides.  The smart flies flee and fly away, sign up for cellular, bad-rap Qwest every chance they get, tell stories of how terrible Qwest is and why it’s “a worthless company”, “a bad investment”, an Edsel, a loser among losers.  You get my point.

But, my point is that just this house, this ONE HOUSE has given Qwest enough money to build a fiber optic link to 100 houses all down the block.  My one house has paid enough money to reach almost to the hub at the Qwest central office in Albuquerque with fiber all the way; three (3) houses (me and just two neighbors) have paid enough to get fiber all the way there and back; but we can’t.  Qwest has the franchise, has the MONOPOLY (the telephone monopoly); Qwest will lead us all to ruin.  My opinion, but you just wait and see.

I think I’ve made my point about why capitalism really sucks.  Capitalism does not work.  Harvard business school may teach you differently, but Qwest will teach you by experience what works; what doesn’t.  Qwest does not work.  Don’t be fooled by the ads; don’t support the predatory practices of Qwest because they’ve used old Albuquerque money to build your hot line fiber optic cable in neighborhoods where developers know how the game is played (with Qwest).

My  house has less of a resale value because of Qwest.  Who would buy “old” when old means neglected infrastructure, old poles and wires, old money wasted on parties in Denver for the CEO’s and top brass and big wigs of Qwest Communications INTERNATIONAL, Incorporated.

I hope they see this message, my message, my message to Qwest before it is too late.  I hope they think about it, invest some easy money, make things a bit more right.  I will fight.  I will fight for freedom.  I will fight for truth and goodness and a better America, for a better New Mexico, for a better Albuquerque.

“For those who fought for it freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.”  Warriors are not just military men and women.  Warriors are those that fight for things, good things; freedom to surf the
Web, freedom to compete, freedom to cooperate, freedom to build what’s better and what’s right, freedom to have a phone service not marked by tyranny and greed.  These are better things to fight for than fighting for a beer on Friday, fighting FOR the corporations, fighting for Qwest’s right to exploit Afghanistan.  Qwest is coming, like Genghis Khan; someone has to stop the hoard; stop the madness.  Every sincere person can help.

I don’t know if Qwest Communications can change.  I hope they can, for what hope may be worth.  We’ll see.  But this I know, history grinds down the wicked into nothing, into dust, into the ruins like at Qala Bist, like at Fort Churchill after 150 years, like the soldiers that served there – just a forgotten memory, no monument or memorial in Washington or Carson City.  There will be no memorial to Qwest in Albuquerque, mark my words, not ever.

Tomorrow we will continue with the Series.  We will look at the history and the catalyst and the efforts at solutions.  In time we will understand and listen to each Qwest response.  We will ask for and if necessary petition for redress.  We will speak our piece, make our case, appeal to the courtroom of the common man, the better woman, the warriors and would be warriors of America.  This is the corporate war, bring the war home NOW, it‘s not just about Afghanistan, it’s about HERE and now (the HERE, the NOW).

The pictures, they will shock you.  The Qwest “Q” will cause Qwest questions.  How can a company expand overseas when they don’t have their own house in order?  Progress is “back to basics”, small businesses, big and better people – not “big shots” consumed with incompetence and greed.  You decide the levels of stupidity and greed, my job is just the presentation of the facts.  Some context perhaps, some opinion, some views and viewpoints – but otherwise just the facts.

[Originally written:  2010.03.27 / Tuesday – Why capitalism just doesn’t work.]

Qwest Wars

March 29th, 2010

~ Afghanistan or America – Why we fight!

It seemed like a simple enough idea.  I wanted a faster internet speed, to be able to upload pictures and photographs and maybe maps even.  I wanted to be able to communicate and to link the bigger web sites sometimes that are on the web, but that I can’t read because they take 20 minutes to download on a good day – and that’s without the pictures.

The problem begins with the notion “I want”, as opposed to thinking about what “I need”.  America is like that, an “I want” society.  In my case the “want” maybe a need.  I need to share the Afghanistan story and the pictures and more letters – maybe maps – with you and others like you who might be interested in “truth, freedom, justice and the American Way”.  Isn’t that why we fight?  Isn’t that why Obama made a secret flight of 29 hours in the air on Air Force 1 in order to spend six (6) hours on the ground in Afghanistan, mostly in Baghram, to see the troops and fly the flag and say “Who ray for our side”?  I didn’t know that my postings about “Going to Afghanistan” would have such a Presidential sway.

Never underestimate the power of the web, of writing, of both web and writing.  You get my point.

I’ve painted word pictures of Afghanistan; of cannons firing, of an ancient Arch at Qala Bist baking in the desert sun, of baking nan and playing Bushkazi and of camels in the snow.  But, I wanted to share the real photos, put up an image, not just paste it together with words and commas and dashes and semi-coloned paragraphs that some find hard in the reading.  But, pictures take power.  Pictures take speed to post and speed to scan and memory and the bigger chips of progress called processors, made by Celeron or Intel or others that are now bankrupt and gone because the American Way is only one way and that one way is the big corporations that make little companies be “damned” and broke and makes them lay off employees and not just hire them.

So we now know what Qwest is all about.  We know that it is Qwest Communication International, Inc.; replacing Qwest Communications, replacing just plain old Qwest, that replaced US West, that replaced Mountain Bell, that was like Bell of Nevada and a part of the Bell Telephone System way back when and all this company wants to do is make “then” look like tomorrow and bring back the one nation, one company mantra that made GM so great and America so great when it was just GM and nobody bought Fords because Ford was an Edsel.  (Edsel being another name for loser).

The CEO of Qwest Communication International, Inc. made $12 million ($12,000,000) dollars (US) last year alone.  He made it because he needs the money, not that he wants it.  He needs the ego rush, the satisfaction of putting others down to build himself up (my opinion based on my experience).  It’s this “up and down” that brings us back to uploads and downloads and all the speeds that Qwest (Qwest something) seems to offer.  They offer 7M, 12M, 20M sometimes; speeds that are painfully slow in South Korea, Taiwan, China often – places unlike the USA that don’t do things in “The American Way”, but do do things faster and more efficiently and in a way that doesn’t just hurt, but helps.

Beware of America and beware of Qwest.  Qwest seems to lie.  But before we decide lets just say that the goal here is for you to decide, maybe a regulatory body to decide, maybe a court to decide, maybe a decision from someone larger, more objective, more honest than Qwest seems to be; but let’s look at the facts first.  “Just the facts, the truth, not the suckers punch of advertising; false advertising; misleading claims that take your money and mine and make $12 mil a year salaries possible by hurting people (like me) and hurting people like you by blocking the posting of pictures by people who live in the wrong neighborhood or on the wrong side of town, or maybe just “downtown” which all of the above is my case.

Much of life is composed of making the best choice among the field of many bad choices.  In my town, in America, the internet is a lot like that.  I have the choice of Qwest (Qwest Communication International, Inc.), or of Comcast as hardline providers.  That’s it, one house, two lines.  Internet is a Qwest telephone line or a Comcast cable line – nothing else at all in the “line” department.  Comcast is $60 per month for basic Internet service, without TV; I don’t watch TV so I don’t need it or want it.  I just need the internet.

Then with Comcast you add franchise fees and taxes and extras that include the annual rate increase and why not pay almost $100 per month just for a 6M speed that steps down to nothing when your neighbors are on and surfing the web and chatting and facing off on Facebook or something almost as wild (or more wild maybe, you don’t know my neighbors).  Many Americans pay more for their internet per month than many in India or Africa or Afghanistan earn in an entire year.  That’s not “green”, it’s nuts!

So get an Air Phone maybe.  An Air Modem really, an internet device that brings you the internet without the cable, the phone line, the blather of wires when there’s “wireless”; not a bad idea.  Well, yes it IS a bad idea given electromagnetic fields and spectrums and the death of bees and other living things (like insects) (like mice maybe) like who cares if we kill off Rachael Carson’s spring just so we can talk and keep talking and keep talking, talking, talking – hands free or while driving, it wasn’t the pedal on Toyota it was the cell phones in every hand; brain rot and accidents – but you read the news your way and I’ll see it mine.  But there always was a cell phone there every time now wasn’t there?

I had a Cricket modem once; no cell phone, just the modem to bring me internet faster than dial-up which because of Qwest and the quality of their land lines is like cutting letters out of newspapers just to compose a message like “I loVe yOU” because nobody can really write or read or use a keyboard, not just the mouse.  Dial-up in my part of Albuquerque is so slow that one can’t get on the web with it and certainly can’t get on the web without it.  It’s like being “web poor”, like being economically deprived or destitute and without hope or any link to the outside world.  It’s bad.

This third world country type internet reality in “Qwest Country” is causing the feds concern.  On March 26, 2010 the fed announced a grant to the Navajo Nation (in New Mexico – Qwest country) that they would provide $32 million dollars to help the tribe bridge “the digital divide”.  If you don’t think $32 million is a lot of money just remember that it takes the CEO of Qwest almost three whole years of making Qwest decisions to make that much.

Gary Locke is the US Commerce Secretary.  He made the announcement about the plan to provide High-Speed internet coverage to 15,000 square miles of land at a cost of coverage of about $2,133.00 dollars per square mile and that’s not a lot.  550 miles of fiber optic cables, 59 new microwave towers (or modified), real infrastructure to help build a third world Navajo Nation at federal expense because if you think “The American Way” means private companies “can”, you’re wrong!  They “can’t”.

One mile of fiber optic cable might cost $20,000 to lay; less if you string it on poles, less still if the poles are already there, over a paved alleyway, a straight line from down town to a point 1.5 miles up town in the old part of town where people lived first like in Navajo Country  or in Afghanistan or where you can’t get there from here because the webs too slow and a little fiber might make all the difference.

“When you don’t have regular access to high-speed Internet, you don’t have access to all the educational, business and employment opportunities that high-speed Internet provides.”  Locke said it.  It’s true.  “The grant will help fix this glaring inequality, he said, referring to the $32 mil and the fiber it will buy.”  Or is Locke wrong?  Is the Internet really nothing?  I don’t know, I live in an area served by Qwest that has slower speeds than the Navajo nation will ever have, high-speed Internet is “available only in select areas” is the way Qwest Communication International, Inc. says it; some customers may be special, but in my case “you’re not”.

I wish I could move to the reservation.  At least there, there is a ray of hope.  “Who ray” for the other side.

Tomorrow we will continue both Series:  “Qwest Wars” and “Going to Afghanistan”.

[Originally written:  2010.03.26 / Monday – Qwest wars]

Afghanistan revisited

March 25th, 2010

This Post (maybe) is not so much about Afghanistan, but the next one will be.

Yesterday I spent my time rewriting ten years of work and posting it on the web, posting part of it that is – Part 1.  The post was a timeline, a “Teppline” as I call it because a Teppline contains more information than most timelines do; structured dates, clear statement of places, specific events not just generalities.

This is not the way history is usually written.  Most so-called historians go for the “flair”, the frayed edges, the over-statement or under statement or spend time making the point that they’ve missed the point – the point being that they rewrite history to make it conform to their cherished perspectives and beliefs at the expense of facts and truth and all that messy stuff that might come from clear thought and careful research.

The topic is Fort Churchill, Nevada not Canada.  The topic is too the William’s Station Incident which revolves around Simpson and the Pony Express and eastern bankers and the U.S. Civil War, but I get ahead of myself.  It also involves the Pyramid Wars (think “Lake”) and the causes of war and the perils of war and what “peace” looks like when you’re defeated or one just fails to see where things are going and the costs and the consequences and now I’m really getting off the track.

The story is important to me because it is about “Storey” and about the County and about Fort Churchill and the cabin and the Prentice Girls route and Sam Buckland and camels and all those things that when they are discovered makes history, and family history all so interesting especially when these two overlap so nicely.

The two types of history always overlap, not always nicely; but with power and intrigue and carrying the potential of insight, hindsight, new inspiration or direction.  But one must do what almost no historian does, integrate and correlate  and find out where ones relatives were and who they knew and compare that to what was written about the time by the writers of the best-selling books, the “histories” of the state and counties, the collective memories of those that got caught up in panic and glory and not in reason.

I did this.  I researched the books that were available.  I searched for articles.  I read through family letters and “histories” and other things sometimes or often poorly written.  I searched for clues, worked around fears and prejudices, and lots of “impressions” not based on fact; lots of “assumptions” without research; the many fears associated with non-conforming that covered up only the fear of truth.

The result was my Teppline.  Paragraphs of specifics cut from here and there and pasted by computer into one long and flowing line (sequential by date) that integrated and correlated and made it necessary to think about exactly when and where and not just the broad brush, broad stroke of history; but “specifics”, lots of specifics as if specific information can make you free.  Specific information CAN make one free!

That was of course years ago, much of it was done after computers but before the web.  Information was harder to get then, but easier to verify.  Some sources were impossible or hard to get, one didn’t know about a resource, one went with the available information at hand to come to conclusions.  This IS the way everybody does it; comes to conclusions based on what they know or think they know that are not based on a larger illumination or revelation of truth or facts.

This is not just about, “The truth will set you free”.  This is not just about the fact that a nation or an action based on lies will always fail.  This is more about the specific, the fact that what is and has been going on in Afghanistan is so like what happened in Nevada 150 years ago (before).  And Nevada is not unlike Montana, Wyoming, maybe Tennessee or Texas if you’ve read my posts.  It’s all the same; people, civilians, an incident or incidents, and then the military and WAR!

It is the war (wars) and troops (troopers) that always changes everything, redistributes the land and wealth, opens up new possibilities for some while extinguishing (or greatly diminishing) the potentials and possibilities of others – not just persons, but whole families, whole peoples.

Information, misinformation, disinformation all works the same.  It is the loudest voice, the squeaky wheel, the imitators and copiers and not the creative ones that get the grease and the audience and get to tell the story the way they want it – “truth be damned”.  This is the role of the mass and mainstream media today – to keep telling the lies until the people believe it; until they accept it; until they love “Big Brother” and then as George Orwell pointed out “you’re dead” (only a metaphor perhaps).

Not just abstractions, you want specifics?  So Goggle (or search engine your search) and put in closed quote “Fort Storey” Nevada.  You will find two dozen or more answers on as many sites, cut and paste copy, stolen copyrighted copy – all lies, repeated often enough to maybe convince you that Fort Storey is in Virginia City, backed up with balloons and pointers and USGS maps.  Its NOT!  Fort Storey is out by Pyramid Lake, on the “Res” or reservation as they say, on Indian land “stolen fair and square” as Ronald Reagan would say it (governor from neighboring California).  Oh, yes “they” did give back the land that “they” stole by treaty with Mexico and Mexico never really had because no one in Mexico ever even knew that the Paiutes existed, or their lands existed, or had ever set foot on these lands so how did the Paiutes know that they were “Mexicans” before the “Dutch” and Germans came in and told them.

They gave back the land by means of another broken treaty, the “rivers may flow” water rights issue.  The way it works is you get someone trusting to sign a treaty that will last forever, or as one says in simple terms “for as long as the rivers flow”.  Then before the ink is dry you start stealing the water, stop up the rivers, build dams and diversions, irrigate areas that once were dry to make them wet.  In no time the rivers stop flowing the way they did, sometimes they’re reduced to just a trickle.  Fish die, animals scale back, the stuff of treaties is not in place for the rivers no longer “flow”, they just drain or trickle or become something one can enclose in cement and run down under a highway or something.  The point is one lifestyle is gone and another takes its place.

This is what Qala Bist and the Pyramid Reservation and the Helmand Valley project and my quote from Mr. Beck are all about.  The cult of irrigation is against peoples and nature, not for it.  It fosters the theft of land, not the living within natural means.  It favors big industry, big agriculture, big dams – the electric society and NO, nuclear is not the answer – bury the waste in your own backyard, not in Nevada on land stolen from the Indians; don’t live the lie.

I have found new information.  I will update my Teppline about Fort Churchill and Nevada.  But, meanwhile this much I’m sure of, Warren A. Beck is right.  The irrigation WILL fail; the floods will come, the droughts, the failing of the dams and spillways and penstocks and the power lines that seem to make it happen.  Nature always wins; that’s the real science – nature always wins!

So mark my words; I’m for the Paiutes and the Afghans; people who learned to live in peace with nature; did not start the wars or the war on nature.  200, 500, 700, or twenty thousand; five or twenty million troops even, the war will be lost, the intelligence of human nature will always win – learn to live more simply my friend.  John and Illona Lynch were right.

[Post originally written:  2010.03.23 / Afghanistan revisited]

A Million to One

March 15th, 2010

~ If I remember correctly, this IS the Ides of March.

We take a break from Afghanistan today.  There are other things happening in the world.  There is other news.  The morning paper brings us the word from Juarez (Ciudad, which means “city”).  A lot of people are dieing there, the death rate is higher there than anyplace else in the world; any populated place, any place except maybe Marjah – but there’s a war on in Marjah.

There is a war on in Mexico too, not just in Afghanistan.  The US is involved; we pay for troops, we pay for training, we pay for the drugs that make the whole war possible; and we pay with the lives of Americans lost in this war – diplomats and government employees and not just tourists anymore.

There have been 18,000 casualties since the war escalated in earnest after a US sponsored “Crack down” initiated in December of 2006, imposed on the Calderon administration by the Bush administration.  In this case 18,000 “casualties” mean DEATHS, not those maimed or wounded or just injured by the fighting or the economic peril that naturally occurs when one is afraid to go out at night or even out at day.  This is the rapidly growing fear in Mexico; no place to go, no place to hide.

Two years ago I had friends who went to Mexico to see the Copper Canyon and to ride the train.  They had a nice trip they said, beautiful scenery.  They recounted tales of seeing soldiers with machine guns at every rail station and in almost every town; they felt safe, guards with automatic weapons near every place one might walk.  That is the report of Mexico then (2008); you can imagine what Mexico is like today (2010).

The US Department of State (Hillary Clinton at the helm) has issued travel advisories and warnings.  Acapulco is not on the list, but nine people died there just as Spring Break rites are getting going; something about the drugs and the drug trade and it seems a lot about America and Americans too.  Why go to Mexico for Spring Break if not for drugs, for underage alcohol, for a chance to see a nations rapid descent into a full-scale war?  It’s maybe like Spain in the 1930’s, Franco rallies and republicans and communists and the decadence of Salvatore Dali setting the tone for a cultural revolution or the backlash that it might cause.  It’s all just “fun” mom, the children say, and “every one is doing it”.

The Associated Press is not doing a good job of reporting the real news.  Reports are little better than sound-bites written in the typical media lingo: “drug gangs, cartels, turf wars, trafficking routes”; it is as if these armies of the night don’t have access to planes and that people will only buy drugs when delivered to ones door in a Cadillac Escalade; which is an American car and maybe another reason to save GM – “green” in Mexico seems to mean something different, like grass or cash or maybe it’s the blood of the Irish that courses through their veins.  The Irish did go to Spain and from Spain to Mexico; good Catholics facing British persecution.  The point is not ones religion – its more about the blood, or bad blood, or just the blood in the streets as heads roll (literally) often enough to not really be news anymore.

Something IS happening here; or there, or in Manchester, England.  Maybe the Buffalo Springfield (band of the ’60’s) is and was right; it does start when we’re always afraid.  It is the power behind the explosions of September 11th , the piles of rubble, the body parts blown apart by bombs or by grenades or just by the automatic weapons that every policeman and soldier on the planet now seems to carry or at least cherish, which means “wish to carry”, which means carrying a concealed or unconcealed gun and then debating about which creates more fear; the knowing or the not knowing.

On January 29, 2010 the Manchester Evening News reported that a million books (1 million, 1,000,000) would be sent underground (not just sent to storage, not warehoused, not moved to an alternate but still accessible location).  The “underground” is not a subway in this case, it is a salt mine deep in the earth where secret caverns will become the home of the books that perhaps capture the soul of a (perhaps) dieing civilization.  The books are being moved NOW, on April the first (April 1) “All other service points close”, talking of the library, excluding the main floor reading room which might stay open a little longer.

The books, it is said, will re-emerge in the spring of 2013 (three years hence, if all goes well).  A new library and a new building and a new world maybe.  It’s something to think about.  But, this morning my thinking continued to change.  Another story, another million, another “spring of 2013” catch-line.  This time the story comes from New Mexico, an artist that wants to “Shock” people by displaying a million (1 million, 1,000,000) bones (One Million Bones) on the nations mall, the National Mall, bones spread out from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech.  This is not the “Million Man March”, or is it?  The event is timed, like the return of the books, for the spring of 2013.

So what do bones and books have in common, carbon and calcium, the symbols of all that remain after a civilization dies; or what might have passed for a civilization if things had gone differently, been different – if people had made better choices in their lives, with their lives while they still had a choice.

“What it is, isn’t exactly clear; people carrying signs; hey, what’s that sound?”  Which means I know exactly as much as you.  I know that things may be predictable, but they aren’t pre-destined.  There may be a one in a million chance that things will not turn out the way that things are going.  There may be a one in a million chance that some one will say “Stop” (for what it’s worth).  Or maybe the whole thing is more about fear, “the fear factor” and the potential to motivate and manipulate people by making them “always afraid”.

Neither the event in Washington (DC) nor the one in Manchester is overtly billed to coincide with the transitional “end-times date of 2012”.  The “drug lords” in Mexico are not lopping off heads and emptying their weapons into necks and torsos to overtly create an end-times mania no more than the Taliban type suicide bomber or the Israeli government bulldozer that creates the same amount of fear and grief.  It is not just the Universal Soldier (see song lyrics) that brings fear and pain; but the para-military police, the prison guards, the corrupt judges and lawyers, the local businessman or politician on the take, the whole notion that “every civilian is a fighter” and “what can you do to help WIN the endless war?”

Someone should write a book, take pictures, interview those that Homeland Security would arrest you for interviewing.  Take “in you face” facebook type pictures of the Taliban, or drug lords, of drug users and Israeli bulldozer drivers and policemen in the Burmese villages that aren’t Burmese at all.  Add photos of Arab raiders after the rape of Darfur villagers, add close-up pictures of the faces of nuclear weapons scientists and a US Congress person on the take.  Ask each person what they believe; what they are fighting for; why they do the things they do and if they ever thought of doing things differently; of taking a different path; of the possibility of apologies or of “regrets”.

I don’t know if one would find a publisher.  One could add the publisher to the list.  Ask him (or her) “Why” didn’t you print the book that took so long to make, took such risk, told so many stories on the face with the face of faces like on facebook; your neighbors and YOUR friends and aren’t we all connected?  Aren’t we all far more connected than you think?

If the world were to end at the end of two-thousand twelve there would be no victims.  There would be no one not guilty at least by virtue of their fathers crimes, or mothers; their misdeeds, their shortcomings; their failure to do what good could be done while there was still time.  And if the world were not to end, but to begin again there would be no losers: no one that would not benefit from a better estate, a fairer world, an economic system more just.  And if the world were just to continue just the same there will be no end to war, no end to the burning of books and the demonization of races and the subjugation of cultures different than ones own.

So think about it.  Not one of the Manchester Central Libraries books does not have an ending, a final page, a back cover that ends the book before the cover of the next book appears upon the shelf.  The challenge of the bones, especially for the bonesmen, is whether 1 million bones are enough or whether it will take two; or twenty; or two hundred million bones before it’s over.  The number of bones is not the point; it’s the whole skeleton that gives us lift, is the home for tissue and muscle, holds up the head for the power of it to think and not just to obey; to be fearful; to look away when those we know are doing wrong.

[Originally written:  2010.03.15 / Monday – A Million to One]