Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Swine Nation


A couple of things are of such concern to me that they really deserve a post. But it is really difficult for me to write about them. One is the horrific abuses of the police that get worse and worse each day. Examples would be the increased tasering of people, the use of paramilitary force to domestic situations, the outright torture and beating of people, the invasion of their homes, cavity searches of children as well as adults for punitive and “security” purposes. A system of “justice” that imposes impossible fees and debts and obligations that are impossible to fulfill, and then profits when they are incarcerated. Marshalls that are getting rich with the fees paid to foreclose. And privatized prisons and mercenary police profiting from incarcerations and endless court-related fees. Police brutality and the profiteering from it as it has never been this bad before.

For examples of what I am referring to, read Joe Bageant’s site lately. He wrote an essay entitled, “Old Dogs and Hard Time,” with related comments that are eye-opening and crushingly sad. Read Cryptogon, What Really Happened, Raw Story, and numerous other alternative news sites covering atrocities that local police departments commit on American citizens. Breaking into homes unannounced, shooting people in raids to the wrong homes, strip searching women and children and leaving them in cold cells for days at a time, paramilitary responses to civil disobedience, confiscating property. It has become the norm. All brought to you by “Homeland Security” and so-called "progressive" legislation. What a crock.

The other subject is the fact that the United States of America is now officially a torturing nation. Of course, the two subjects are related. Here’s one area that the “trickle down” theory seems to apply – cruelty. “Shit runs down hill”, as it were.

We have had a general testifying that the Bush cabal is guilty of crimes against humanity at Abu Ghraibe, Guantanamo Bay, and 17 or so other secret prison ships, illegally detaining and torturing men and even children all over the world. Stories include tactics of crushing the testicles of their sons in front of fathers to get them to talk and other unspeakable atrocities. The litany of crimes goes on and on.

My problem is that I am so horrified and appalled and outraged by these crimes, that I find myself becoming physically ill when I think of them. My chest tightens up, my stomach is nauseated, my mind gets fuzzy… I tie into perhaps a formative childhood sense of helplessness in the face of abuse of power. Sickening, paralyzing fear makes me want to run, but I feel trapped.

No wonder we are a nation dependent on anti-depressants, antacids, and anti-diarrhea medication, etc. As much as the lamestream media would have us believe, it ain’t just the greasy food that’s making us sick anymore.

We are all hooked up psychically to one another. There is a collective consciousness that links us to each other. This mental and emotional reservoir of pain, despair, and fear that is growing every day is most probably having effects that we only too dimly recognize. The energy spent in denial is exhausting. The paralysis we experience is crippling. It shapes our present and holds the future hostage. How can we create a better reality, with this anchor of agony?

It’s not as though this is new. History is rife with examples of outrageous cruelty. How about the Aztecs ripping out the still beating hearts of captured victims? Thousands of women in the middle ages burned at the stakes, men gutted and torn apart for heresies during the Inquisition. Whippings, hangings, rape, pillage, slavery, crucifixion, the list goes on and on. When these became too much to bear, the whole civilization came apart at the seams.

But, we were taught that we Americans were better than this. We became the hope of the world on the promise that we don’t do that to people. We were taught that we have protection from torture and death and incarceration at the whim of the warlord. We have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We have the police and the courts to protect us against tyranny, don’t we? Not anymore.

What the hell has happened to us? Do we just pass the Prozak and let it all go down? What is the antidote to this system of fascism, brutality, and fear? I don’t want to live in this Swine Nation, this police state. I do not choose to comply. I will resist the temptation to give even lip service to their squeals when they demand more money or shove their programs and laws at us. I will not call a cop for anything.

On the macro level, of course, the same thing has happened nationally, “in this post-9/11 world.” God, if I hear that disgusting self-serving fascist phrase again, I am going to go mad. Our government has become what it purported to hate. It is a force of darkness forged by greed, arrogance, brutality, exploitation, and a false sense of privilege. Those who serve them have their humanity diminished. Witness the epidemic of suicides of our soldiers in Iraq. I would say that (in many cases) it is the ultimate protest against the war, and we should start paying strict attention. After all, it’s not so big a step from a suicide to a suicide bomber. Both begin with a reality that is unacceptable to them.

We must identify these pigs who have taken over our government and our local police departments for what they are. After all, it wasn’t until the freaks (or hippies) began to call the police “the pigs” that problems were identified and some changes were made. It’s more than a word, it is a definition.

So, once again, we are at this point. The pigs are the enemies of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Their masters are even bigger pigs than they are: the banksterz, the corporates, the lobbyists, the representatives, the senators, liars and thieves who would steal our freedoms, our health, and our lives, are all pigs, porkers, hogs, sows, and swine. Let’s just keep it simple, and get clear on this.

Somehow, once I know them to be pigs, they aren’t so intimidating anymore.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


from Murph

I’m not so sure I have found a spiritual guide but I sure have found over time that interesting conversations can come about in strange ways. I suppose there is something to be learned from most continuing conversations no matter with whom or it.

We have 5 laying hens, three of them are pretty close to the max laying age, they were the original hens. One is a barred rock and two are araucana. The barred rock we call Henny Penny. Neither Freeacre nor myself are able to easily think about eliminating her when she stops laying her egg-a-day, which we expect to be the case at the end of the summer when she begins to molt. The reason? Conversations. Now we all know that birds are not known for big well developed brains, thus the term bird brain. However, whenever I wish, I can go out to the back yard, sit down on something, and Henny Penny comes over and we talk. Freeacre says I am becoming an expert at chicken talk. I’m not so sure of the expert label, but I have never had that hen end the conversation and walk away. I’m always the one who decides it is enough, usually within an hour anyway.

Now I am not going to claim any big revelations or spiritual counsels, but we do seem to reach some kind of agreement. She is the only chicken that will allow me to pick her up. I’ve had these kinds of relationships with other animals over my life. Horses, dogs, cats, doves, turtles, even snakes. Not sure what conclusions a stranger not familiar with these kinds of relationships is going to come up with. Other people on this site have talked about having these relationships, Montana the most notable and consistent. Got to admit, never had that with a bug. Although I have sat for hours watching a particular lady bug out of thousands that invaded my house in Iowa. Or watched a spider build a web. When they finish they tend to not be very interesting and just cling around for hours and hours at a time. Boring. Henny (HP) is not boring for sure. Maybe it’s the bigger brain then the spider. Norman (from Norman Bates), our white dove, is also an interesting conversationalist, for about 10 minutes, then he repeats himself so much that I have to drop it. Course, he is the only dove I have heard of that can have the tag of being a home defense system all by himself. He is the most aggressive dove of peace I have seen.

I’m not going to relate the verbiage in my conversations, although I have considered recording them for posterity. Both Freeacre and I can watch the chickens going about being chickens for hours at a time, almost hypnotized by them. Interesting social structure and interactions. No wonder we don’t get much done around here and feel like we are constantly behind on all projects. Sigh. We are being chicken hypnotized. I have on several occasions attempted to transfer my fascination with HP to another animal, for which HP scolds me soundly.

Now why do I bring up a subject like this on this site for heavens sake? Well, one of my contentions is that our modern society, actually western civilization, has alienated us from the other life forms that we share this planet with. In the case of domesticated animals, I have always tended to allow them to be their best and to be what they want or are naturally. Most of the time we reach agreements on how we are going to live with each other. Pretty much worked as far as I was concerned with few exceptions. Same with people isn’t it?

But, what I see going on around me is very little acceptance of other life forms, or an attempt to push the life form into some kind of conformity that is usually not very healthy for either, very much a power trip on the part of the human side of the arrangement, although I have seen it go the other way too, where the other life form takes over the relationship. In several cases I think that it was probably best for the other life form to take over, some people seem to have trouble running their lives and while it’s a bad job, somebody needs to do it.

Over time and with some observations, you begin to notice some really interesting personalities. With HP it means that if we leave the back door open and turn our backs for a heartbeat, she is through the door and into the kitchen. Loves the dog food. Strangely, she has yet to poop on the floor. Our dog has taken up TV. Will sit with us and watch movies and TV stuff, although she has shown little interest in political talking heads. Loves the nature shows and cowboy movies. She seemed to get off on The Matrix also which was kind of surprising. Even animated movies she gets interested in. Every time we bring some baby chicks into the house to raise, she will sit and stare at them for hours at a time. If we give her a chance, she will pick one out of the box and lick it till it is a soggy mess and scared out of its chick mind. However, she also will not eat anything with chicken meat in it. Interesting.

Freeacre is more into the plant world. Remember how Montana talks about the two legged, the four legged and the six legged ones? Well, Freeacre talks about the quiet ones. Their personalities seem harder for me to discern. But for instance, tomato plants like to be close enough to each other to touch. Radishes are more aloof and like personal space. Pole beans try to dominate their environment. Last year they took over the greenhouse and made it a jungle. When we close up the greenhouse for the night, Freeacre has taken to telling them all goodnight and that we would be with them again in the morning as soon as it gets warm. The aloe Vera plant in the house has really responded to personal attention and is blooming. When was the last time you saw that happen? First time for me. Freeacre apologizes to it profusely whenever we need some of its leaf for a burn or some other medicinal use. It is the first one we have had that is so big it is taking over the kitchen. TLC and respect seems to go a long way with plants, the quiet ones.

While I recognize that most people in my life will view this essay with quiet tolerance and amusement, I maintain that making the effort to get attuned to the other parts of our environment than just the human side is important. It is all interrelated and I think important. Besides, it makes for lots of amusing anecdotes to lay out for people to snicker at.

An old time 90 year old farmer I knew back in Michigan had been a farmer for his whole life. Had finally decided he didn’t want to work that hard any more and turned the farm over to his kids. He was considered quite eccentric and not sociable at all. Come to find out, he let me know, that he liked animals and plants a whole lot more than most people. They didn’t lie to him, didn’t take advantage of him and kept him well fed. He had just about an acre garden he put in every year and wouldn’t let anyone else tend it, and he only used hand tools. Every morning during the growing season, he would go out to the garden and walk down the rows of plants and sniff them. The ones that smelled right is what he ate that day. I think the term we use is “being in tune”. I sure did like that old man. I imagine he is long dead now. We lost a good teacher for this planet.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oh, This Could Get Good!

by freeacre

Leaving for a moment that I believe that both the Republican and the Democratic Parties have been controlled and bought off by international corporatists and financiers, I can’t pretend that the nominating process has just been Business as Usual. It hasn’t.

As delusional as we probably are that our votes matter in the long run, or that we can actually affect change in this country, some departure from historical precedence actually did take place: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ran neck in neck for the democratic ticket, and Obama won.

I consider myself an ardent feminist, but I am really glad that Obama won. Personally, I sense that he has more access to his feminine side than she does. He reminds me of Robert Kennedy. He is intelligent, eloquent, understated, highly competent, and gracious. Plus, he’s a constitutional law professor. And, he’s black. Well, he’s half black. He’s “Tiger Woods black” – which, to some mouth-breathers, is plenty enough reason to hate him.

Which means he is amazing. Despite those odds and a crazy name to boot, he’s managed to appeal to the best side of people and let them vote on the courage of their convictions and ideals, without having to settle for a more “pragmatic” candidate., like Hillary. Not just a woman, a White Woman, just in case anyone needed to be reminded. A white woman who suddenly remembered that she likes to shoot guns and drink beers with shots. Maybe not in that order. And, was she just glad to be there, or was that a salami in her pant leg? (Just kidding…)

Give me a break. If she’s going to be somebody’s vice-president, she should run with McCain. She’d probably make a better Republican than he does. And, she’s twice the man that Lieberman is. The Clinton/Bush Dynasty could continue unabated as they further the international corporate agenda, with Chelsea as heir apparent. (Chelsea, by the way, was on leave from her position as a Hedge Fund manager on Wall Street to enable her mother to pursue the throne.)

Why have I no sadness that the woman lost? So many reasons…but one is
because it would take a DNA test to detect Clinton’s femininity. I put her in my mental burlap bag of “women” such as Margaret Thatcher and Condoleeza Rice whom I consider pricks in pearl necklaces. These are products of what I think of as “neo-womanism.” Like “neo-conservatism,” or “neo-Nazi.” Don’t get me started on what an abortion the “women’s movement” has become. Anybody know if there still IS a women’s movement? I think it died when Madonna came out with that song, “I’m Having My Baby.” The “Material Girl” was off and running with full MTV and media support. Now we have the new, improved version of this abomination of women’s “liberation” - “Sex in the City.” Excuse me, while I barf. Or, maybe they just declared victory once they won the right to be men.

I was sad when Shirley Chisholm didn’t win the Democratic nomination for President in 1972. She was very cool. Brilliant, courageous, uncompromising, ethical, and rooted in her femininity, Shirley Chisholm was everything Hillary Clinton is not. Oh, yeah, and she was black, too.

Another thing that happened is that the mainstream media absolutely outed itself regarding their complicity with and allegiance to the corporatists and financiers who run the show. Their virtual blackout on the candidacy of Ron Paul for the Republican nomination will go down as one of the most shameful episodes yet. They had an opportunity to present his crucial thoughts on our monetary system that is on the brink of collapse, as well as the imperialism that is our foreign policy (with it’s attending Blowback), and the destruction of our civil liberties, and they completely blew it off. Now, the consequences of their journalistic failure will result in the complete cluelessness of the vast majority of our citizenry when they are blindsided by unprecedented catastrophes. Damn them all.

Maybe if Obama can make a tour of the policy disasters of the Bush administration, he can force the media to take a look. I would love to see him hold rallies in the tent cities springing up all over the country, as people lose their homes and jobs. Then he could go to New Orleans and to the tornado devastated areas and ask why there isn’t a drive to design and build wind-resistant homes. Then, he could take questions from those who were at Ground Zero and are now dying of respiratory failure, while the government denies them benefits. Then, he could tour the Veterans Hospitals. Or he could talk to truckers going out of business due to a lack of collective bargaining, diesel close to $5 per gallon, and competition with Mexican drivers. How about looking into the “No Child Left Behind” program, with graduation rates around 40%. How about the military families coping with post traumatic stress, Stop Loss, and suicides? He could attend a Spam Potluck dinner. He could walk the streets of Stockton or Sacramento, California, a real estate No Man’s Land, or a wasted Detroit, looking like the movie set of “I Am Legion”. . .

And, then, just for fun, Obama could go out of the country, and show how much he is already esteemed in much of the rest of the world. He could go to Europe and Indonesia, and Africa where he’d be met with adoring crowds of people who want to believe that America will wake up and exemplify the hopes and dreams of the people of the world again.

Meanwhile, that nattering numbnut, McCain, will be muttering fear-based Carl Rovian slogans while he’s focusing simply on trying not to pee in his pants.

This could get really good. But, first, Barack Obama has to jettison that fingernails-against- the-blackboard annoying opportunist, Hillary Clinton.

And, then, we’ll just have to pray to God, that TPTB don’t throw in some horrific “event” that will be used to declare martial law and suspend the elections.