Saturday, December 29, 2012

And do I dare?


A Modest Proposal *

Another day, another Mass Shooting.
What is a Freedom Loving Country to do?
Many are calling for, ironically, More Guns…
If only, they wail, there had been Good Guys with Guns, to counter the Lone Bad Guy, the atrocity could  have been, at the very least, Mitigated.
Arm the Teachers! Arm the Principal! Arm the Children!
Call out the National Guard, and Deploy them in Schools, Shopping Mall Food Courts, and wherever else Precious Children gather!(Boxer,of all people)
Just Arm Everyone!
I submit that this will not be sufficient.
Drastic measures are called for…with which all Freedom loving Americans would surely agree.
I propose that we wire every Public School, indeed, every Public Place….Wire them all with Explosives.
Perhaps C-4…and wire these Patriotic Explosives with so called “Gun Shot Sensors”(mentioned on NCIS, Law and Order, et al)….so that, whenever a Gun is Fired in a Public Place by some deranged Lunatic, the whole frikkin place goes up!
Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) has a long and proud History in the American Republic…it worked to keep us from being vaporized by the Communist Threat…it will work, similarly, to protect our Precious Children, as they…learn stuff…or hang out at the Mall.
Pass me the Rainwater and Grain Alcohol….

For a rational critique of the Insanity I sarcastically channel here, see:

Monday, December 17, 2012


“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
We are fortunate to have a relatively unspoiled River, here in Mason...the Llano.
It was named after a mistranslation (likely due to bad penmanship) of the Chama Indians, who once lived along it's banks.
Although I am no longer Able to get to the River as much as I would like, it still holds a large swath of the real estate of my heart.
Under Texas Law, as a "Navigable River", the River Bed is Public Property...and We, the Owners, have guaranteed access...simply put, wherever a Road crosses the River.
With this Privilege comes Responsibility.
At every such Access Point I have been to, there is, as evidence of Human Visitation, a Debris Field.
This is most Unfortunate.
It is also the reason that I habitually carry Garbage Bags in my is my habit to come out of the River with More than I went in with.
I encourage the Folks of Mason to adopt such a habit.
Some lazy Sunday afternoon, load up the kids, grab a few trash bags, and teach the next generation a little about Stewardship.
 This Commons need not be Tragic.

us vs me, II

Endeavor to Persevere(*)

“God will not have his works made manifest by cowards.”-Emerson.
Food for Thought:

The “Way We Do Things Now”, is counterproductive, mean, nasty and stupid.
The beneficiaries are large Artificial Entities, whose sole Moral Imperative is, simply, “More Profit”.
Under their System, jobs and production and Capital are sent to the Third World, and the Profits realized are sequestered in Tax Havens, where they can remain safe from paying their way, here…in the USA.
To get out from under this Cartel System, We will have to do more, for ourselves….not in the fantastical way of Rugged Individualism,…but, instead, by Community.
Protecting Cargill, ADM and Monsanto…let alone Exxon…is Not “Conservatism”; it’s being Suckers.
“Conservatism” implies that we are Conserving something…like, perhaps, a Local Economy.
The  Giant Cartels, and their System, are in the process of coming apart…this is due to their Model’s over-reliance on “Growth”, on a Finite Planet.
It’s also Failing for Us…especially those of us who live in former Farm Country….Small Town America.
When I first moved to Mason County, I drove around, a lot…to get a feel for the place, and because I have a thing for dirt roads. What jumped out at me were the numerous former Towns…Fredonia, Grit, and the like. These places used to Be Something…were once thriving Communities.  In a big way, the Mechanisation of Agriculture was the knife at the throat of these places, ensuring their inevitable Decline.
But Mechanisation was part of a larger story…that of Farm Policy.

We behave as if “the Way We Do Things Now” is set in stone, handed down from God, or a Function of Nature. Economics is none of these things, rather, it is the Invention of Human Minds…and, as such, it can be changed.
Remember Hurricane Rita?
That storm went into Houston, in ’05…not long after Katrina. It’s immediate, and unexpected, effect on Mason was a shortage of Everything. Gasoline tanks ran dry, cheapest to most expensive; Store shelves emptied out, until there was little but canned oysters and corn shucks.
Turns out that a whole lot of the things Mason takes for granted, from Fuel to Food, is sourced from the Port of Houston. That’s our Supply Line, and it’s frail and scary enough, just on it’s own…but used as Metaphor, it’s Terrifying.
It was the clearest evidence that I had ever witnessed that our Way of Doing Things was far from Robust…and that, indeed, that it was Foolish, and lacking in Foresight.
Everyone cries and shouts about “Welfare”…the perennial enemy is the “Lazy Poor”, the “Welfare Queen”, and the “Socialist Menace” who pays them to Lay About.
Leave , for a moment, the evident Non-Existence of such creatures(entirely Mythological)….and Think.
Why are so many folks Poor?
Could it be the growing Lack of Decent Jobs?
The Wage Stagnation of the last 35 years, relative to Inflation?
High Costs of Necessaries, like Healthcare, Energy, Durable Goods?
It’s, of course, all of these things.
But Fundamental to the breakdown is one thing, that no one wants to talk about:
We don’t Make Anything, anymore.
We do not Grow our own Food, Provide our own Energy, or even make our own Toilet Paper.
To fix this requires a reordering of how we Think about Economy….and Informed Consumers.
It also requires a commitment, by those Consumers, to Vote with their Dollars.
What I am proposing is a garden of Self Reliance…Toilet Paper, as a Cottage Industry.
Instead of going to HEB, and buying Lamb from Australia, Beef from Argentina, Grapes from Chile, and Eggs from wherever Eggs come from…a way must be found to do these things for ourselves.
Regulations, written largely by the Parasitical Giant Corps(e), hinder these efforts…especially with Meat, milk and Eggs…but these are easily overcome, if Local Government could be persuaded to do so.(see:  )
Another Hindrance is the Purchasing Policy of our One Grocery Store.
Has anyone else noticed that the Produce Sucks?
That the Meat is often sub-par(to be charitable)?
I purchased a loaf of bread, there…just yesterday…and it was dry and hard and well on it’s way to Stale.
But the Local Bakery, if they so desired, could not sell Bread at the one Supermarket.
Similarly, a local gardener…say some retiree who happens to have a surplus of tomatoes,…cannot sell more than a few.
and Regulation by the State.
Instead of continuously, and tiresomely, Hating on “the Least of these”…perhaps some thought needs to be given to the Reasons for their plight.
Instead of “Take Back Mason(before it’s too late!)”… how about, “Make Mason Work for Us”?!

* Chief Dan George in “Outlaw Josey Wales”

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place that divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides , redeemers and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.”
                                                            - R.W. Emerson, from, ”Self-Reliance”.

Me vs Us

“What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I find it difficult to think small.
Context, broad and deep, is my habit of mind.
The woes of a Raw Milk Producer fits into a larger Context…and makes more sense if thought of so comprehensively. We let our Civilisation, currently, be run by the worst among us…in the service, almost exclusively, of Greed.
The Randians, like Paul Ryan, would have us at each other’s throats over relatively small , personal issues, while the Big Boys run away with what’s left of Our Common Interests. Here is the Speech, by their Hero, John Galt:
Given Ms. Rand’s well known wordiness, let me sum it up:”I am an Island. I need no one. Fuck Everybody, I got mine.”
Run such a sentiment out to it’s logical end, and you will arrive in Somalia…the “Producer’s Paradise”…the Heaven on Earth for Self Made Men.
I routinely make that assertion, and just as routinely, get called hyperbolic for it…but there is never any substantial refutation. Currently, in our country, there is a lot of rhetoric about “Makers and Takers”…but I reckon this is simplistic and silly, and distorts the Reality….who, exactly, are the “Makers and Takers”?
Are the Makers the Ceo’s or the Shareholders and Boardmembers…or, rather, the Workers…the ones who actually Make things, Perform Services, and turn Capital into Surplus Capital?
I’ll warrant that the latter are the Makers…the former, while having a function in the process, are Takers; they Take the Surplus Value, created by the Workers, and run away with it….to the Caymans, or to Switzerland…anywhere they can find, where that Surplus can be hidden from the Tax Man…anywhere that they can avoid paying their Fair Share in the Maintenance of Our Common Civilisation. There’s a word for such people:” Freeloaders.”
This seems upside down, because for more than a hundred years We, as a Nation of Workers, have been trained to think the Opposite.
It is the reason for Red Scares, and “Anticommunist “Hysteria…the Real reason for the Cold War….not because the USSR was such a shining example of “Socialism”, but precisely because it was such a Poor Example. Under this assessment, Stalin could be held out as the Face of Marxism…no matter that he was anything but.
It’s the Real Reason for the “War on Drugs”…all those Hippies on the White House Lawn, refusing to play the Game….what to do?!
“Socialist Europe” is often trotted out as a bogey-man, intended to scare us into handing over the rest of Our Power, as Citizens and Workers…as if Europe’s status as Hell Hole was self-evident…and irrefutable.
What a happy circumstance for the Takers, that so many American Workers have never been to Europe!
Over there, Social Democracy is the order of the day…and they manage to outperform Us in almost all measures of Civilisation, even the Economic ones. Folks are happier, healthier, and much less worried about having to eat cat food when they get old.
Terrible, right?
The recent Economic Woes in Europe can be laid at the feet of those who have brought Our Brand of Neoliberalism there…and injected the same Randian Avarice into the halls of Power. “Lower Taxes”…”Austerity”…the Greedy Few are trying to make Europe into Texas…and the People are having none of it. This illuminates another , fundamental difference between the American People,  and the European People….when Government listens overmuch to the Avaricious CEO and “Investor” Class, the People….the Workers…the Citizens!...go out, into the street, and Burn Shit!
The Class Lines are bright and shiny , there…and Our Plutocrats are well aware of this fact…
So We are trained, from birth, that America is “Classless”…that Working Folks agitating for a Fair Shake is, somehow, “Class Warfare”.
We are harried and harassed and kept so busy that We cannot lift our heads from the Grindstone for long enough to Think about Our situation….nor are We provided, in Our horrible excuse for “Public Education”, the Tools of Mind, let alone the Factual Information, necessary to engage in such Thought.
At the same time, myriad, largely artificial Divisions are fomented among We, the People…in order to keep us fighting amongst Ourselves…Racial and Class Resentment (this, in a “Classless Society”,lol)…Mythological Political Divisions(Dems are “Big Gov Liberals”; Reps are all about “Freedom” and Small Government)
 Where I live, the folks who holler the loudest about the “threat” of Socialism are elderly, and receiving Social Security and Medicare…and, often, various and sundry Veteran’s Benefits.
We are so befuddled and miseducated, uneducated, that even those at the very Bottom of Our Society are often to be found loudly supporting the very same Parasitical Elites who keep them in Poverty.
Here’s Albert Einstein’s take on the matter:

The Focus of Our Collective Conversation has, for far too long, been about Me, Me Me…which only benefits those who already Have.
It has become an anathema to think about We, about Us…about Our Collective  Commonalities…
Anything that would help We…Us…the People, as a Whole…is routinely eviscerated(illogically) as “Socialism”!...
Totally disregarding Our History, Our Common Interests and the Economic Realities We find  Ourselves in.
I want to talk about Us.
If this makes me a Socialist, so be it…as FDR said, "I welcome their Hatred."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cold Shower

The Potential is there…
But it’ll take Work…even/especially in places like Rural Texas, where the Left-Leaning hide in the hills.
 There are so many threads, all tangled together, at this moment…
Confusion and Shock on the Right…the Echoes of Occupy…Demographic Changes…and, yes, the Inspirational Qualities of Mr Obama….
the Ongoing Economic Malaise adds fuel to the glowing coals…take care that the various and disparate Factions of the Wounded Right don’t use any of these Opportunities against Us…
Or, for that matter, the Corps(e) Worshipping Wing of the Democratic Party.
If Folks at the Grass Roots want to see the Dems eschew Corporate Financing, with it’s attendant Strings, those Grass Roots are gonna hafta get out of their Closets…come down from the Hills…and become Visable.
Praxis, from Myriad Directions.
Stuff like this lends credence to a Focus on the Local.
Is there anyone there?