Depression, lies and Class Warfare

September 25th, 2011

Depression, Lies and Class Warfare

~ OK, this is not more about cap credits.

I must have been going a little crazy the other day, writing about HOPE and being born rich.  I thought the plan might “flip” reality, but the fact is that reality is too far gone.  It’s another “Chapter 1” in the unfinished book of life.  Now back to reality, as in “reality sucks”.

I saw “The Beaver” the other night, via Netflicks, but even Netflicks is dying, lying, like a dead dog lying in the middle of the road.  The Beaver is a Jodie Foster movie, about depression.  Maybe that’s not what the movie is about at all.  Maybe the movie is about endangered animals and getting removed from nature and how even a pet dog needs a run, to play in water, time out of the yard and off the leash.

My first thought was that “the beaver” was a metaphor for the internet; not really a puppet, but attached.  Like the internet has become everybody’s alter-ego, fake accent from Australia (down under continent of criminals getting a second chance) – and that’s just the beginning.  We’re not talking New Zealand here, or Canada even.

This post is evidence that I have not severed the tie, the arm, yet.  The last post is evidence that maybe I’m getting a little crazy.  I’m getting cat like, like sleeping 16 hours a day, not the usual eight.  Not really, but the sleep time IS getting longer.  My backyard neighbor seems to sleep at least 16 (hours) and her dog barks most every hour that she is not awake.  The poor dog is bored and that is depressing.

People “hunker down” in a depression.  When there is no money to eat, sleep fills the bill.  When there is no energy, or the house is cold, or when everything there is to do costs more money than there is – then sleep is good, it comes naturally.  Jodie Foster did a movie about the rich and their depression.   Depression is a lot different if you’re poor.

A friend just lost her business to the downturn.  It was a toy store.  Depressions are not time for toys, not hand puppets, not computer games, not bankers playing “to tell the truth“, which is just another version of “who’s lying now?”   Her pain is real.  It’s a lot like “real depression”.

So I read this story from Greece.  There are many others like it from all over.  People are shutting down, beginning to really start spending NO money.  Bears do it, it’s called hibernation.  We might call it Hiber Nation, a people half asleep and hunkered down waiting for the depression of winter to be over.  If YOU are expecting “the consumer” to bring back the jobs and the economy you might forget about greenhouse warming.  There are icicles at the entrance to the cave.  They are going to stay there.  They’re real.

The ending to the movie, The Beaver, suggests that the new meme is that there are no happy endings, just memories, and that much of the time the memories are mostly just bad.  Now THAT IS depressing!   Thanks Jodie Foster.

The cost of the surgery, the rehab for the arm, would put most Americans permanently under.  So what’s the point?  Is the internet really the beaver, or is the beaver more the mainstream news, politics or the government and corporations and all their lies?  The Beaver speaks and all we do is parrot.

If you’ve liked September, you will love October and adore November.  And September is not even over.

There is one thing that I am increasingly sure of.  The way things will unfold, the way that they are unfolding, is going to be different than anyone expected.   There are no crystal balls, no computer models worth monitoring this time.  It’s like being on the yellow brick road in Oz and guess what, “Nobody wakes up“, and nobody ever reaches the Emerald City – and maybe there is no Kansas anymore.  Which is another way of saying that America has lost its center.

2011.09.26 – 05:20.

Cap Credits

September 22nd, 2011

Cap Credits

~ What if it turned out that you were born rich?

OK, I DO need your help.  I have this concept (see?).  It has to do with cap and trade, with wealth redistribution, with creating jobs – and more.  Much more.  The idea is a way to create a whole new world from the ashes and broken dreams and disappointments of the world that has been, or was.

We live in a has been world now.  A lot of ideas were tried, most didn’t work.  It is probably time to move on, to try new things, to make changes rapidly and peacefully without the need for violent revolution.   What I am about to propose is going further than just a simple “thinking out of the box”.  It’s radical (perhaps), but more importantly it is necessary.  It is what is necessary to do if we are to survive on this planet with at least a part of what we value still in tact.

It is also the right thing to do, because the right thing really still is a part of every question.

I was a debater once; for the sake of argument let’s just say that I still am.  I (therefore) propose the following resolution:  “Resolved, that an open system of consumer credits with legally mandated caps on consumption is the only reasonable way to save the planet and to provide for a system of wealth and dignity for all.”  OK, maybe it could be phrased a little better – if so, like I said, I need your help.

Follow along as I define the terms.  “An open system” – This means that no government, no banker, no business or small group of individuals controls the “game”, or the way that the game is played.  By definition everyone is a player, a team member, an owner and an associate all in one.  Everyone is a shareholder, a partner, a stakeholder in the process and the plan.  No exceptions.  Everyone is “born rich” and you can trade your riches for money if that is what you want.

Consumer Credits” – Much of life, or all of it, is about consumption – consuming things or creating “things” that consume things.  Most of nature lives in a relative balance, people are the only real consumers.  As such, in a reasonably fair and just world, people should have rights – should have the right to consume their fair share of the planets resources.  This right, these rights, should be in writing.  A “Consumer Credit” is the written right of a person to buy (or consume) a given thing.  Consumer Credits are a birth right that ensures that every person is truly born equal under the law.

Legally Mandated Caps” – This is where Congress comes in.  The assumption is that the system is basically corrupted, however Congress still gets to make the laws and can still make laws that stick.  The problem is that each Congressperson or Senator sells themselves too cheap.  The other problem is that the citizens are too cheap, too lazy.  The average citizen doesn’t try to outbid the typical special interest group or corporation.  If they did, the nation would be different. 

As an example let’s assume that we need a law that says that there can be only 310 million cars for the 310 million people (there are only 254.4 million cars now), considering that there are only 4 million miles of roads (and streets).  If 63.6 (64) cars can’t support the maintenance of a mile of highway or street without taxpayer expense then we shouldn’t make any more cars, now should we?  It would just mean more traffic jams, accidents, air pollution and congestion; and more TAXES to rebuild and repair all the roads.

Sure, people could argue the merits of the legislation until the cows come home.  That’s the way things are done now.  Then Ford and GM and the oil companies chime in, spend money, and you have a trillion dollar federal deficit just on roads and kill 34,000 people per year to boot.  But give each and every Congressperson (and Senator) an “instant” $25,000 just to vote one way, the next day, when no one is really looking and the bill is passed faster than a New York minute.  They only make cars and pump oil in a very few certain states.  The $25K is a “campaign contribution” of course, or 25,000 of them to make them all legal.

So we’re finished with definitions.  We’ve started discussing “The Plan”.  Just for fun we’re focusing on cars for the moment, the pros and cons.  The question of course is, “what is in this for me?”  The truth is, that if you’re rich and really like cars, not much.  If you want a stable full of cars, like 17 or 20, you would have to buy 16 or 19 “credits” just to buy your fleet of new cars.   Then there would be a 15% tax on each credit redeemed, and a tax of 15% on each credit sold.  The money goes to the federal treasury to pay down the federal debt.

If you are over 23 or over 19 and unemployed you can sell your 1 (birth right) credit for whatever the market will bare.  If you’re married or partnered it might be quite simple, extra cash and who needs two cars?  Later you can buy the credit back (on the open market) if you need two, or need to change your mind.  The reality is that less than 60% of Americans actually own a car, many Americans own four cars or more, others have entire collections.

For that other 40% (say 100 million people) selling the consumer credit would be easy money, it might be spent to make the economy start to hum.  And at a $1 per car/credit political donation the market would create $100 million dollars to bid against big auto and big oil for the hearts and minds of Congress.  $10 per credit would create a “slush fund” of an even $1 BILLION!, on just this one issue.

Nobody would lose a car they already owned.  No person or government would seize or take away anything.  Life would stay the same for those so interested.  It’s just when you wanted to buy an “extra” car that the market would close in, trade a car without penalty, that’s OK.  It would be like a tax on excessive consumption – that’s all.  Even Republicans think that consumption taxes are fair.

Fear would keep a lot of people from selling their credits, both fear and greed.  “I might want a car someday,” they might say, “I better not sell.”  This is what makes a market (for cap credits) – it’s need versus greed, the near versus fear.  Sure a rich person could try (and certainly will try) to corner the market, and drive the cost of driving a new car way up.  But the wealth would be redistributed, a homeless person could strike it rich by selling high while he was laying low.  The equity market would grow by about 100,000%.  There would be a lot of new opportunities with all the new wealth and all the new players.

All it takes is one business plan, one business and one super computer.  The real ID (idea) of Facebook is already real.  The database is already there.  It’s an open secret on who is a holder and who has sold.  The era of privacy is over.  It was over a long time ago, it’s just that the facts are not open, every corporation already knows what you own, what you desire and how much you will probably pay.  The problem with the current system is nobody gets paid for giving up the rich life for a life of responsibility, economy and social and environmental partnership and reason.

I humbly submit that there is reason to change, that the change would be good, that the good would outweigh the objections.  The affirmative rests.

In reality the affirmative never rests, so tomorrow we (meaning I) will continue the exploration of the argument for a system of cap credits.  Save the economy!  There’s HOPE in the works.

2011.09.23 – 03:50.

Palesrael

September 22nd, 2011

Palesrael

~ This morning, as the world turns.

Hollywood was as dreadful then as it still is now, grade ‘B’ movies and all the “soaps”.  We still buy Tide and Ebb Tide and call the big waves tidal waves and not tsunamis.  Maybe the better title is “market forces” or “consumer sentiment”, which is just another name for not having even one buck, one yen, one Euro.  But if you watched the clip you would see that the question then (as well as now) is whether there would be “a future”.

I always knew that I would have a future.  It took the state and Hollywood to try to take that dream away.  The state warned of war and nuclear war.  John Wayne presented images of an early death on a Tarawa beach, other grade ‘B’ movies suggested that space aliens might come and eat me.  Now it is the Taliban that is said to eat the children, like the cabin in the woods of Hansel and Gretle fame.  Every story gets recycled.

Much of the past week the winds have been from the east, the winds of war.  The winds of war bring in the Corexit.  It doesn’t matter what BP and the “experts” say.  They lie.  Lying is now the way of the world, everyone does it.  Our “leaders” and the politicians all showed us how – and Hollywood had a hand, and the corporations soon followed.  Tide will NOT solve your problems, and neither will bleach.   There is no such thing as “whiter whites”.

So after too many nights of not really breathing I bought a new roll of masking tape, the best width is two inches.  I taped all the doors, a few windows, under the doors and the garage door too.  Dick Cheney was right, if you want Home (not land) Security this is what, in AMERICA, you must do.  “Land of the free” means that BP is FREE to do whatever they want and there’s not a dam* thing that an ordinary American can do about it.  Amen, but never eat the fish.

The market is a little lower today while we still await the space labs fall.  No one will notice.  It will (most probably) be out to sea, not in a place we see.  Who looks inward into the lives of those in Gaza?  I posted about the flotilla once (or more), about an end to peace, about an end to the hope of peace prospects when there was never any peace progress over all those many years.  Oh well.

I may have lost a few friends, a few readers because of the Gaza flotilla episode.  I have tried not posting about Israel and Netanyahu for the sake of peace (at any price).  It hasn’t worked.  War looks like it might come early, or late, or next week or never.  Never say never.

So we have a time-warp here, the question is whether to create a nation by simple decree instead of through hard negotiations.  Is it true that a nation so created is “bound to fail”?  The question comes up NOW just as it did in 1948.  Is it legitimate to create a nation with no legally defined borders out of nothing more than a victimized people, a few settlements and an entrenched “will to fight”?

It has been a lot of years and nobody really knows where the Israel or Palestine borders are, or where they ever were.  Sure they make maps, but that is just to show how the borders keep changing.  Here are just a few:

More importantly, we do not know (no one does) the extent of the territorial ambitions of the state created in 1948 by a simple decree of the United Nations.  The point of the State of Israel is that the state has NO LEGALLY FIXED BORDERS.  This means that the borders of all the neighboring states (Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon – to name a few) must always remain in flux; which implies (by argument) that those states have no real right to exist.  So who is fooling who?

This mess of a state with no fixed borders could be resolved (literally) tomorrow (by DECREE).  The solution would be so simple.  Palestine and Egypt and Lebanon and Jordan and Syria all agree that Israel (a state defined by real lawful borders) has a right to exist in return for admitting that all the neighboring states (with real fixed borders) have a right to exist too.  “Such a deal”, land for peace, a nation respecting the rights of other nations.

All that is necessary is to DECREE, not negotiate what the real fixed borders will be.  On this one issue the fate of the entire United Nations depends, because without fixed borders there CAN BE NO nation states that can be permanent members of the U.N.  It really IS so simple.

The issue is not different from that of Korea, also a partitioned state.   The borders were the cease-fire lines, both sides gained equal status accordingly.  It was not something that either the north nor south was required to “negotiate” in order to win either statehood or the peace.  Let’s just be real.  Vote, sign the documents, let’s just move on.

Only Hollywood (and a predatory state) can take away this future.  Stop the cameras and the film.  This is not a movie.  This time “lets not roll“.

2011.09.22 – 21:51. 

Apples and pumpkin pie

September 20th, 2011

Apples and pumpkin pie

~ The safest bet is that all bets are safe.

We (meaning probably the noun or pronoun “I”) spend a lot of time at Qala Bist talking about gambling, gamblers and like-minded others.  It’s probably the Nevada thing, meaning what goes along with being born in a gambling state, being raised in one, not questioning the core values of the base.

Two points, not meaning the two points in basketball, but meaning two points (of view) in the mind.  One, I DO (and have) questioned the core values of Nevada, the gambling and the drinking and the prostitution of the base.  It’s superficial, a surface feature that doesn’t really extend to underground.  That’s what (historically) kept Nevada fairly honest (to be fair) – open air, and not too many closets.

Two, the big stakes in life are rolling the dice with nuclear weapons on the table, not just cash, and even then when the house rules make the cash available something considerably below “the skies the limit”.  Harold’s Club, nor the Nevada Club, much less the Primadonna or the Cal-Neva ever allowed a trillion dollar bet to be made at any table.  No, the high rollers are in Washington and New York and London (maybe), not in Nevada and they never were.

What I have never liked about gambling is the fundamental (meaning underlying) assumption that it is cosmically OK to get “something for nothing”; meaning to get free money without (real) work.  The gambling houses have always seen life in the deceitful way.  “They” play the players with images of “easy” money and cheap thrills while picking their pockets the old fashioned way.

The “players” are those enticed by winnings and by the idea that gambling IS playing and not really just hard work.  Gamblers see others as suckers mostly, as people who really deserve to lose their cash, their houses, their paltry pay for all that “hard work”.

It’s a philosophy of life mostly.  It’s the theory that you sign up for membership in a casino (when born) that you don’t even know is there.  “All life is a crap shoot,” (maybe), or “every business is of course a gamble”, or “there are winners and losers” you know the drill.  So (yes) Mr. Perry (and others) – promise the people Social Security, then take the money and run.  Tell people credit cards are sexy, then ramp up the interest rates like there is NO tomorrow.  Tell them there is a “tomorrow” (land) so that they keep paying (the bills, the bets) when YOU know and THEY know that tomorrow will never come.

I used to work the graveyard shift in a couple of casinos.  People would eat and drink and gamble the evenings and night away.  At the end of each shift there would come the dawn, the real dawn, and not the dawn of correction.  I would go home (with my pay) a little richer – even a casino must pay their dues, and their employees.  The players would almost always go home a little poorer, the big losers would be a lot poorer.  The only real winner was the casino and the electric company that furnished the power for all those lights.  “Tomorrow” is just another word meaning “It’s over“.

I don’t work in casinos anymore.  I don’t wash dishes, I don’t do change.  I’ve changed.

Wall Street, Sandia Labs, Boeing and JPL and the nuclear power of the millions doesn’t interest me, except that I KNOW they are doomed to fail.  They’re charnel houses, places of the dead and not the living.  They are like gambling casinos, including the one at Royale.

So now I’m more inclined to do apples and pumpkins – red, green, orange or yellow.  There are no numbers here, the black spots are worm holes which I usually cut out.  Such is the fall harvest that I will enjoy, simple pleasures (maybe) with family and friends.  Cutting into an apple, carving a pumpkin is very nice, and in both cases the pies are even better.  Where did this country, this world, get so FAR off course?  Or is the real question “when”?

And if the question IS “when”, when will things return to the way they were once charted?  Can we ever go back?  Is there a season, a highway, a road or is there just meaningless “space”, where as I said yesterday we will always be “lost” in.  Where the winners are losers, and the losers are lost.

At harvest time the fruit hangs, is still attached, by the slenderest of cords.  For a pumpkin it is the vine, for an apple it is a stem.  The connection becomes dry and withered.  Anyone can see that soon it will be no more.  The entire cycle requires a harvest or all you have is dieing fruit, food for racoons and bottom feeders and a little compost for the soil.  There is a mystery to life, and that alone is enough to prove that most scientists are wrong.  The answers are never “out there”, they are always just “in here” – but YOU knew that all along.

2011.09.20 – 19:12.

The sky IS falling.

September 19th, 2011

The sky IS falling.

~ But rejoice, because a “quik fix” is always on order.

So “somewhere out there” is a 12,500 pound, school bus size NASA school project that is about to “fail”.  Let’s face it, America blew its collective wad on science, on science projects, and not on the social sciences and those so inclined.  One reaps what they sow.  The fall harvest is near.

In science there is no failure, not ever.  It’s all just “what happens”, based on physics and laws and a miscalculation or a “blind spot”, which means there is more to science than we ever can see (or know, at a given point in time).

We line up the states as if they were actually stars.  See the flag if you don’t know what I mean:

The blue is the symbol for the sky (or something), maybe it’s space, maybe it’s everything that IS above earth, which means somewhere between standing tall and an orbit “low earth”.  Where (however) does the firmament actually begin?  I mean is greenhouse warming an event in the sky, or an event on the earth?  Are the “root” causes in the minds of men, in the hearts of women or more in their shoes, because all God’s children have to BUY shoes, even if they don’t really have souls (according to “science”).

So IS the sky really falling?  I ran into this graphic this day:

It IS the flag of the United States of Europe (or something); the firmament thing.  It’s all about shoe leather, which brings up the downtrodden, and brings up the scuffing and shuffling (of feet) and that rhymes with physics, which rhymes with friction, which is what you get when the mindset is about THINGS (meaning economies and economics) rather than the simpler things in life, like HEART, TRUTH, and SOUL.

Really?  Is what the world really needs now is another new money, like the Euro, like the Amero, like the Na-sao (the scientific world money of the future)?

The failure of Netflicks (Netflix) is the failure to know that there is a difference between life and money.  The Quick Fix (Qwikster) (Rhymes with Trickster) is about deception and cunning (meaning MONEY), and not about heart, truth or soul.  The idea (like the one driving NASA) is that what once might go UP, will never come DOWN.

There are now well over 10,000 pieces of SPACE JUNK up there, meaning the space station and the satellites that send you Netflix (like streaming, meaning screaming) and other weapons of war.  Science has not really made life much better, it has only made life more endangered – to the detriment of us all.

So does the coyote (in New Mexico it means “trickster”) howl at the moon, or is it it just howling at the reflection of the sun?  Or is the howling (there) just so that we will notice, like the tree in the forest, there is silence unless there is an audience (meaning someone to hear).

Is there a critical mass of bad business ideas, of corporations “too big to fail”?  Will the failure of one send the whole cacophonous mess downwardly spiraling?  Can Netflix survive when all systems have failed?  It’s science – quite simple – What does go up, must always come down, it’s called orbital degradation.  The alternative is to just become “lost in space” as objects just fly out of orbit.

SO, keep your eyes on the skies later this week or this weekend.  What happens up there is a lot like what is happening on earth.  Hearts and minds are connected.  When things are broken everyone can get hurt (sure), but who will be there to fix it?

2011.09.19 – 18:35.  

Pray for Peace

September 17th, 2011

Pray for Peace

~ Or why I’m not praying for peace in the Middle East.

The posts are getting fewer and fewer again.  Google is not picking me up (again).  Things change.  And sometimes things don’t change.

The other day this happened at the Reno Air Races, still held (I believe at Stead, meaning the Air Force Base north of Reno that could probably handle B-52’s but taught desert survival instead, or in Stead).

A photograph:

The news out of Nevada this month has NOT been about survival, but more about perishing, perish the thought.

I’ve posted before about 1964, the first year of the Reno Air Races, when I was paid to sit on top of a pylon with P-51’s and Mustangs and other notable aircraft trying to fly as close to me without hitting me as they could.  It wasn’t “ME” that they were after, it was the pylon (of course).  It was the pylons that marked the course, of course.

I (of course) lived through the experience, “survived” as it is, but was never so sure it would always be so as the aging aircraft (meaning WW II planes) kept eventually crashing (each year) and the pilots would die (too often) and then one would wonder what would happen with an 85 year old pilot flying an 85 year old plane and whether the insurance would over ride the “risk” clause on the tickets they sold for the bleachers, meaning the stands where you sat.

I had a “friend” once, probably more of an acquaintance, that flew in an Israel jet during the 1967 “Israel War”.  He started fighting when he was 7 or 12 and stuffed recycled German grenades (meaning potato mashers) into the pockets of German policemen and troops.  It was messy, but the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto WAS messy, and that’s why you shouldn’t have occupied places with occupied people and a preoccupied ruling class making life difficult for the underlings held behind walls.

His “take” on the jet and the war (in 1967) was that it was fast, short and sexy.  He “hit” his targets, did the “right thing”, meaning “went out” and got laid after his missions were over.  His story.  I wasn’t there.  It was just more flying, more fighting, more crashes – more WAR!

Where to begin?  The rules about God and high places are simple, or so it seems to me.  Man (meaning people) do what they can do to save lives, to create peace, to “do” the real right thing.  If “man” does EVERYTHING she or he can then God might listen to a prayer (or two, maybe three) and do what might be done to help with the peace, or help the flying machines move to museums.

There are other “rules”, like sincerity counts, being good, being “on track” and on course and not flying too high.  Praying without “trying” is like spitting into the wind, it DOESN’T work.

So my point is so simple.  There HAS been twenty or thirty years to negotiate a just peace, to put the antique planes away, to learn from the past and move forward or onward or something equally simple.  Time is the easiest thing to waste.  That’s why they had hourglasses in the old days, you could actually see the sands of time slipping.

So I DON’T know what will happen next week or the week after that in the Mideast.  Pakistan did not have to ask India before it became a state, joined the U.N., was granted a charter.  Partition is two.  It all seems so simple.  Sixty-three (63) YEARS is a long time to wait for a state.

Maybe it WILL be like Warsaw, an uprising.  Maybe it WILL be like the air races, this time just with the jets.  Maybe the pylons will hold, maybe there will be no one in the stands (“just watching”).  Some things are NOT, or should not be, “spectator sports”.  Those in the stands may get hurt.  It’s the lesson of Reno, the lesson of Carson City, the lesson of (maybe) this entire week (9/11 included).

So put your lick em and stick em’s back home.  The price of postage and peace has gone up.  We haven’t had a Cuban Missile Crisis type showdown for awhile – “peace”, maybe we’re more in the mood for MORE WAR?

Either way, it probably doesn’t matter.  I’m not marching any more.  I’ve said my piece for peace, shouted it from the rooftops.  Sometimes there is a need for silence.  Maybe nobody is listening, maybe nobody really cares.  I’m getting old, which means I’m getting tired.  And most of all (maybe) I’m just getting REALLY tired of being on the wrong side of war.

2011.09.18 – 02:54.

America on $5 a day

September 14th, 2011

America on $5 a day

~ The debate about poverty is debateable.

It started in the ’50’s, but was still around in the ’60’s, maybe even the seventies.  I’m referring to the nice little guides to Europe, “Europe on $5 a day”.  I never bought a guide, so I never really read one.  I didn’t have the $5 (for the guidebook) to learn how to “do” Europe on just $5 per day.   I suspect that when Arthur Frommer “did Europe” the $5 guidebook sales added up and HE saw Europe the real way, like “Europe on $200 per day”.  I know, it still does sound “cheap” right about now.

So “Rick Perry and the Republicans” (a hard rock band, but not of miners) is having a field day arguing about how well one lives “in poverty” in the “land of the plenty”.   These ‘little people’ can probably even afford Good & Plentys, the candy (not bars) from Hershey that pays slave labor wages to folks from (say) Kenya.

So (Yes!) one dollar per hour pay is a lot like the 1950’s or 1960’s for a lot of workers.  So how do you do AMERICA on just $5 per day?  Or is the whole idea just a lot of Republican Rick Perry “hard rock” and “kisses my ass” candy?  Well the poverty report just came out so maybe we should look in (to it) and take out some lessons.

So the minimum wage is like from $5.25 to $7.25 per hour (“intern” wages are excluded).  A lot of people can’t find actual full time work, but the feds say they ARE full time just for fun.  At 30 hours per week, that is about $157.50 per week to live on, less Social Security and Medicare deductions and “you” have about $150.00 per week to see Europe or to “play” with.  Maybe you can buy a VCR, a big screen, a new car like a Cadillac Escalade all in blue (to show what state of mind you may be in).

So I guess the BLUE STATES are all doing better because those democrats on the dole have learned, like Arthur Frommer, how to stretch a buck, stretch it further (or maybe even farther), even when the bucks you make would not buy fried ketchup in a 10 cent movie.

So what DO you get on $600 per month, $7,200 per year except heartache, misery and desperation?  A tax bill?  OF COURSE!  You will pay more taxes and “pass through” taxes as a percentage of income than Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, and “Twinkie Toes” Palin all combined.  But let’s do better.  Let’s bump it up (or grind it) to $7.50 an hour, the famous Perry jobs “over minimum wage”.

And let’s also assume that everyone works forty hour weeks with no layoffs, no down time, no vacation even (that would eat into the pay).   Gosh, the American middle class worker is making an outstanding $15,600 per year (before taxes and deductions).  Gee, your Escalade payment is only $1,249.  Get ready to drive one home.  No taxes, no down payment, no interest, no insurance – such a deal.  (1,249 x 12 = $14,988) = $612 per year left over for gas.

Actually Rick Perry is just about MY age, actually a little younger (being 61).  He (and I) remember when the same argument he uses now was used in the 1950’s about the need to “up” farmworkers pay.  The neocons (of then) claimed that on every farm worker shack there was a TV antenna and at half of them there was a Cadillac parked right out side.  The added indignity (of the time) was the allegation that the “breadwinner” didn’t even work, but that his wife and children did.  Nobody disputed that children of six, seven or eleven WERE working the fields to make people like Perry’s parents very rich.  Meaning that they had a TV antenna too.

So the beat goes on, and all the Texas bullshit too.  The simple point is that POVERTY really is POVERTY.  You can slice it and dice it any way you want, but the bottom line is that you ARE poor and that being poor is not at all like being RICH.  If the really rich had to work as hard as the poor they would die, they have no idea of what life is like for a bottom feeder, a person in the gutter of the American experience and the American way of life.  There is NO life, not really.  There is no honest way of EVER getting ahead.

You do the math.  Make a budget.  Try and make ends meet when there isn’t the means.   Send it to me, show me, show me the show me state where life in the dumps and in the dumpsters really works.  No folks.  The economy is NOT coming back.  How can it?  How can it when half the politicians “THINK” that everyone is just doing fine?

2011.09.14 – 20:23.  

When America went down

September 13th, 2011

When America went down

~ The post 9/11 post.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with the whole 9/11 meme, the propaganda, the world that was wrought by the 9/11 debacle, meaning the collapse, the wars, the shame.

I looked up a lot of timelines (on 9/11), started one of my own, looked up old FBI files (posted on the web) and read interviews, police reports, misleading reports about terrorists and guns and who was able to get what aboard 4 flights that were always headed for nowhere.  The only clear thing in it all was that the “Shanksville Flight” was destined for Tower #7 (WTC #7) and when the plane didn’t make it, “they” took the tower down without the plane.  So much for careful planning.

In my research (another name for skateboarding across the web) I found this:  A picture:  It was drawn or charcoaled or colored about 10 years before 9/11 ever happened.

 

It (the artwork) captures clearly the attack upon New York.  There is more here than meets the eyes.  What “we” are witnessing is a nightmare, a dark event, the black hole of the present and future from which (quite possibly) there can never be any escape.  Do you see the lower towers, they look like rolling dice to me.  The whole affair was a crap shoot at best.  Double down (and lose) and it’s time to pay the piper.

There has been much speculation about the roles of “the base” (meaning al-Qaida), “the base” (meaning USA! rogue politics), and “the base” meaning Mossad and various operatives.  The question is who was “rogue”, who was “official”, and who was really “in control” – the point is that the answer is (and always WAS) “obviously no one.”

The whole “planned operation” was poorly planned and poorly executed.  Countless mistakes were made.  By the time the dust settled on 9/11 (meaning on September 12, 2001) it was clear that the whole thing was a blunder.  “They” have been trying to patch together the unpatchable ever since.  It was a boondoggle, a very expensive failure, a disaster whose consequences are still not known and can only (by some) still be imagined.

One million dead Arabs and the destruction of Iraq and the mortal wounding of Afghanistan are only the half of it.  The economic destruction of Europe only adds a little more.  Nuclear war in the Middle East involving Turkey, Iran and Israel is still on the table for “starters”.   The economic obliteration of America is just an appetizer, not dessert.   In a fixed game you’re not supposed to roll snake eyes, but they did.   Now everybody is the loser.

When it started it looked like fun.  Put Operation Northwoods into play.  A few planes here, a little smoke (and mirrors) over there, a few missiles, a few deaths; nothing serious, except we gain a little oil, put Guantanamo to use, and switch a few friends to enemys and a few enemys to friends.  That’s the upshot, the PowerPoint presentation, the “think it through” part pretty much maxed out.

Then (everyone) started “adding”.  They added their own ideas and those of others.  Interests and special interests and VERY special interests came “on board”.  The plan got bigger.  Unseen players started “playing”.  Command and control was soon shot to hell.  Bush couldn’t even grasp the thing.  When asked what the latest was, the Pentagon responded, “how in the hell do I know, this thing now has a life of its own, and I’m warning YOU, it’s not pretty.”

Illustrations:  A puff of smoke, a glancing blow:

 

We just had a 10th Anniversary (celebration) of the travesty.  The idea was to “never forget”.  The question is, “forget what?

How can anyone forget what life was like before 9/11?  How can anyone not see the living hell that life in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in America and the suburbs, in Ireland and Greece and in the Strauss-Kahn Hotel has become.  Everyone now lives their lives between the lies.  The lies of Bush, the lies of Obama – which are the greater?  Is there more truth and consistency in Rick Perry, or in the official 9/11 Commission Report?  It’s a crap shoot.  Believe in either one and all you’ll do is lose.

So I shall let you in on a little secret.  There is no plan for the future, not for the future of the Homeland, nor “security”, nor anything else that has to do with America right now.  Everyone is just “winging” it, flying by wire, aiming high but expecting they might land low (if they land at all).  And the “plan” for Europe?  Forget it, ALL bets are off, the EU is off (and not running).  The horse is stuck at the gate, bloated and fat, bring the medics, put the poor suffering animal down.

In the Mideast the best part of the best work of the past 60 years has been taken out in just the last ten.  To have something to protect you must have something to lose.  Most in the Mideast have nothing to lose now, the dignity’s gone, the wealth is a myth, in each and every country all that is left is the LIE.  Everyone is a bedouin now, or a wandering Jew, or a Christian desperately seeking just shelter.  It’s a storm, a sandstorm, a pending holocaust (if you will).

The truth is that someone in Scotland DID see it coming.  They knew it was THERE before it was even planned.  Life is like that.  You can hear things in the wind, feel them in the breeze.  Things come at you in dreams.  There are (uncomfortable) feelings that you can’t ever touch.  A day is too hot, or another too cold.  One day is too rainy, one day is too dry.  “What does it mean?” (you say).  By the grace of God you DON’T get an answer.

“I have paint.”  “I have oils.”  (YOU say).  I say just leave it, we already know – and if you DID paint, the only color you would need would be black.  10 years and counting – and never look back.

2011.09.14 – 04:36.

Under water

September 12th, 2011

Under water

~ It seems like a relevant post for this day.

When I was in High School, and just after graduating from High school I did a little “mine exploring” in the hills of Nevada.  I had a four-wheel drive vehicle at my disposal; first an International Harvester Scout, later one of the first Ford Broncos made.  Add to this a few friends that had a few trucks with 4-wheel drive too.

The exploring was not for new mines, but old.  We would get out (meaning purchase) old USGS topographic maps that showed the location of the old shafts and tunnels of the old mines from the Comstock Lode days (or later) and then go out across the hills where only four-wheelers dared to go and eat dust for what seemed like hours just to find our treasure.

The gold was gone of course, all of the silver, the other metals too were gone – meaning the picks and shovels and drills and drill bits used to bore holes into the earth in an effort to try to find something that simply put, “often was not there.”  The deserts and hills of Nevada (and elsewhere) are filled with the holes and tunnels and glory holes of lost dreams, often salted, and not always just salted with the tears of regret, loss, wasted time and remorse.

The names of the “successful” miners you may know.  Sutro, who brought baths to San Francisco, famous for his tunnel, now a tower, was one.  Hearst (William Randolf’s father) was another.  Mackay (of transatlantic cable fame) was still another.  And everyone remembers Sandy Bowers, his wife, his mansion in the valley.

There were others of course, men of wealth and fame.  The mines we searched for, dropped into, climbed into and around in were dug by lesser men.  The urge to dig in the dirt for wealth, not shelter, is as common and universal as the urge to join the army when “your” nation is at war.  It may be a fool’s errand, but at least you’ll stay in shape.

Nevada is very cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer too.  The mines were always a respite, a refuge, a sanctuary of sorts – the point being they were quiet, as silent as you’ll ever “hear” ensconced in the earth maybe 500 feet below earth and solid rock, 1,000 feet under a mountain (as measured from the opening of the tunnel).  We had the topographic maps to prove it, if you don’t believe me.

Then deep inside (sometimes) there would be a shaft that went up or down.  Down was always the favored course, as if wealth was always deeper, imitating knowledge.

This is where the ropes and ladders would come in.  We brought the ropes, the ladders were almost always already there.  A hundred year old ladder, or even eighty, won’t hurt none (unless it breaks).  Then there is (or could be) the fall for maybe 100 or 200 feet (to the bottom), if there WAS a bottom to what often seemed as if it were a bottomless pit.  We tied ropes around us for safety.  We did not have the fancy climbing ropes that REI and others sell now.  We used clothesline ropes mostly.  They were affordable, would stretch, would “let you down” more easily that a fall or a freefall.  Our trust was mostly in the ladders, nails and metal strips holding them together.  In the warm dry earth metal seldom rusts.

Actually, while the earth always was dry, the weather inside the mines was never “warm”, nor was it “cold”.  It was always like a perfect 68 or 72 degrees, rain or shine, summer or winter.  What a way to live.  No heating or air conditioning was ever required, no fans to circulate the dust.  Sure it was dark inside.  A darker dark you’ll never “see”.  Keeping ones eyes closed was the only way to see any real light (really true).

We brought candles, good for detecting gas (but we never found any gas in any mine).  Flashlights were of lesser use, the batteries were heavy and would go dead, the bulbs would fail, dropping one was unforgiving.  Everything went better with a wick, a bit of wax and a tip of sulfur for the fire.  And candlelight in a “cave” is so nice, it takes one back into the recesses of antiquity to where we lived for at least 10,000 years, a million, maybe less or more.

The Planet of the Apes (first movie) came out in 1968.  The movie depicted the apes living underground, in caves, in places not so unlike the mines, but modified.  By this time I had been in the habit of paying rent for far too long.  The apes didn’t pay rent (in the movie), didn’t have utility bills to complain about, didn’t even have cellphones either.  They just chatted among themselves and took human hostages of the gun nut from the past (or future).  I digress.  But that Statue of Liberty head on the beach was an eye-opener.

I experimented around (in my mind) with living underground, in a modified mine, like in a missile silo (but “natural”) when abandoned missile silos were NOT yet available as we were still in the nuclear cold war.  The mines were available and I knew where they were.  Which brings us to location, location and water.

Nevada is dry (mostly).  A desert (in a lot of places).  I never found a mine with water.  Which brings us to baths and bathing and drinking water and all those things that water can do that are nice.  Every spring was marked on the USGS maps.  Many were dry.  Others were seldom wet.  Most were a fairly long walk from the nearest mine, like often “over hills” and “miles” (as in away).

So this is where I remind you that my mother was an architect (almost), greatly admired Frank Lloyd Wright, took me to see the Maiden Lane Bookstore (in SF), the (Old) Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and a few other places by Frank Lloyd Wright, but NOT Falling Water, although the Old Imperial did have a waterfall right inside or onsite.

By now (meaning maybe 1969), a little privacy was becoming an issue.  I was against the war, knew that the government was coming to get you, get me, get everyone eventually and there were not a lot of places to hide – except maybe under water.

So I came up with the perfect plan, for a house, for a place to live.  “Falling Water” was built OVER a waterfall, my idea was to carve out a house, out of rock or solid rock (maybe) UNDER a waterfall.  Actually, the house would be made in the streambed in a mountain stream and the water would flow over the house after the house was finished.  The ‘front window’ (round) would look out through the waterfall to the valley beyond.  The rest of the house would be totally hidden.  A few trees on rollers and the whole house would totally disappear.

Needless to say I never build my Frank Lloyd Ape house, or is it “Mine Frank Lloyd Ape House”?  I never had the time, the money, maybe not the topographic maps.  All the good streams were in national forests.  The feds would get me there “for sure”.  Now they have ‘bunker buster’ bombs so I guess even now I would not be safe.  There is no place to hide, not really.

Is this post a metaphor, a warning, an admission of failure or just a comment on the changing times?  The best of us, the best in us, wants to live simply.  We are tired of four square walls, regardless of the number of rooms.  We want to be closer to the earth, the water, to be able to see the sky and to breathe air that is pure and clean like in the mountain tops of our childhoods.   We want to go back.  The future holds no hope for us, or little hope.  It’s all water “over the dam” or “under the bridge”, or something.  The electric world has brought us little light.  We miss the sun sparkling on (or through) the water.

I ran into a few posts the other day about “human” mermaids and a few mermen (probably, correctly “mermasters”).  They are people that want to go back to the sea, not stay crawled out of it.  They (internally) long for the water, the waters, the spikes of sun, the glint of day and daylight in a 24/7 overlit world where so often there now is never a difference.  They wrap up their legs to make them useless (except as a tail).  Everything else is made to sparkle.   So I guess that maybe I’m not alone.  The only place to hide is in plain sight.  Now maybe I need to work on the “sparkle”, or is “everything” just 9-1-1 and an economic emergency with no emergency number and no Homeland Social Security to save us all.

Really, Where is the water, and when will it fall?

2011.09.12 – 18:12.

Gettysburg Day

September 9th, 2011

Gettysburg Day

~ When everything converges all at once it’d called “history”.

If you’ve been reading my posts lately you know that I would argue that “Gettysburg Day” would be the holiday of choice.  That is the day that America would remember, never forget, talk about for generations among the generations.  It was at Gettysburg where “everything” converged, meaning time and space and armies and the fates of nations – all combined.

The “history” of Europe hung in the balance, maybe even the history of Asia; banking certainly, and even today nobody knows how many “side bets” were made on which side would take the field.  The armies were equally matched, though different.  The casualties, a total of 46,000, were virtually identical – 1 /700th of the total population of America killed or wounded or missing in just three days – like 443,000 (KIA, MIA, WIA) today (not just military).

Robert E. Lee was driving north, the war was not just a “southern war” anymore.  Maybe he would circle down and take Washington, maybe strike north at New York while swallowing Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania.  It sounds more like a flood, like water, than like a war.

Had the battle had a fourth day it would have been the Victory Day of Independence – July 4th – the day the nation sued for peace depending upon which side won.  As I get older I get used to all the history being rewritten.  Most of “it” would be unrecognizable to those that lived it, or were there.  It’s like the nonsense that is on TV now, about 9-1-1, the whole “emergency number” meme has been lost, but it WAS that number which got our attention (meaning the irony) the ten long years ago.  “This can’t be real, it’s just too pat, how did a guy in a cave in Afghanistan get so sophisticated as to see the absolute irony of this date?”  “Was he a Pentagon Scholar?”  How did he KNOW that the Pentagon was dedicated on 9/11 and that the New World Order speech of the President’s father occurred exactly 11 years before “9/!!” when Osama bin Laden was just 33 and still an American hero (for fighting the Russians), and President Bush (the first) was planning “Desert Storm”, a storm that is still going on (evidently).  Oh well.

And like in the days of Gettysburg it looks like once again we are “set up” for the perfect storm.  Argentina is ready to reclaim the Malvinas (Islands).  There is no money for Britland to do anything about it this time, and no unity or will (just ruling class rhetoric).  The Turks still claim their “half” of Cyprus, and want it back, peace is NOT really on the table.  The banks of Europe are failing.  Germany is as divided as anytime since the partition.  There’s rioting in London.  Strauss-Kahn has returned to France.  The financial collapse of Italy has been all but assurred.

Would you like to be “long” going into this weekend?

Of course Monday is another day, September 12th, the morning after the hoopla of the 11th.  How easily we forget that “other” 9/11, the one in 2000 and eight.   On the 12th the market was at a nice comfortable 11,400 (DOW), about where it was yesterday.  A month later (10/10) the Dow was at a nice new low of 8,400 – 3,000 points down in less than one month.  What happened?  Just history, meaning history happened.  Do we remember the 10/10 rout?

So it doesn’t take a storm (like Katia, gone out to sea), or Nate (still coming) or planes without an airport (or airport “security”) to create a disaster, a memorable day, a day we all want to forget (but can’t) because of the media and their single-minded spin on things.

So let ME scare you, I’ll write the number “11”, say it again “11”, say it louder “11“, like a cheer “11“; let me know you’re here “11”, “11”.  Give me a “9“.  (softly say,) “11”.   Say nine a little louder, “9”  Scream it out this time, “N9i9!”  Now scream “11”.

Now that’s my take on what is going on.  It’s a cheer.  It’s “cheer”ful.  It’s a lot of loud noise and yelling and screaming and not enough about “al-Qaeda” and “bin Laden” and about how both, or at least the later are DEAD and how we “won the war on terror” and “defeated the terrorists” and it is really time to declare victory and go home (even if the war on terror really never really happened), but WE DID spend a lot of money in Kuwait, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya and in Syria and can Iran be far behind?

It HAS been a lost decade of course.   There used to be “news” that wasn’t just about GOVERNMENT, and what the GOVERNMENT is doing with your underwear, and what you care about, and with the (money, money, money) support of our troops and their weapons and now there is this (about US suicide bombers) and this (about the end of discourse) and this (about the end of everything, that DOESN’T matter).   If Lee had won (the war) YOU would be speaking English right now, and YES, a black man would probably still be President.  Things change.  History (one way or another) does move on.  It finds a way.  No, George W. Bush DID NOT save us from a fate worse than death itself.  He brought death to Iraq and brought America to its knees.  Now that IS something to remember on 9/11.  And remember too, he LIED.

So, yes folks, keep the sound bites simple.  Say it again, 9/11, not 9-1-1.  It’s a “holiday” now, not an EMERGENCY.  Ten years, we HAVE forgotten already.  We’ve forgotten how free we were “back then”, how peaceful the nation was, how little need for troops, for men and women in uniform, for cameras mounted on every street corner and on every store.  We could travel then (freely), we could take a vacation, be happy with our pay.

Come to think of it, about it.  Yeah, it IS like Lee (or Mr. Lee) won.  The “terrorists” DID WIN.  They took America, and everything in it (worth saving), they took it ALL away.   And do you know what?  There is not a damn thing you can do about it.  Your “choice” is Obama or Perry.  Either way, you or I, are TOTALLY screwed.  Could it have been any worse with bin Laden?  Do you really believe that you would be wearing a headscarf now?  Get real!!!!

P.S.  The real cool thing about box cutters is that there is no thing as “thinking out of the box”, because the real meme is that the ‘box’ is totally gone.  Enjoy your ‘holiday’ because Monday really is coming.

2011.09.09 – 21:42.   

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