Thursday, December 30, 2010

Frauds, Fops and Four Letter Words




According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary entitlement is defined as: the state or condition of being entitled: Right. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entitlement)

Entitlement is not a four letter word, except in the gaping maws of slick and oily politicians who have managed to slither into national office on a wave of carefully cultivated selfishness and fear in an ignorant electorate. For instance, take my Social Security which I will start collecting at the end of the year. Am I entitled to it, you’re damned right, for the same reason I am entitled to live in my house; enjoy the beauty of the roses I have nourished for two decades; or benefit from the comfort of a great marriage that my husband and I have built over a good part our lives.

I have worked for 47 years and paid into the Social Security Fund. FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) was taken out of my check every week without so much as a howdy do, kiss my ass, have an apple. I didn’t trash the fund, that would be the power drunk idiots in Congress, and I see no reason why the short fall should be my problem. Every American who has ever paid one dime into the fund has the same right to get it back as I do. Social Security is not a handout; it is a return on an investment. Accordingly, when any citizen who has paid taxes has need of a social program they are utilizing a return on their investment. When a poor person takes foods stamps into a grocery store they are making use of a return on our investment. I have always understood, without qualification, that some part of my tax dollars go to help the needy. If the bloody frauds in Washington have changed the rules then by my reckoning they still owe me 47 years of dividends to the poor starting in November. Our government is perfectly capable of understanding the concept of investments and returns when it comes to every bloated showboat on Wall Street, felonies and compound felonies notwithstanding. Why don’t they get it when it comes to working people?

We must reframe, as the Jungians would say, the debate on social programs. Entitlements aren’t charity. We aren’t parasites sucking on the government tit. That would also be Congress. Those who expect returns on their investments are within their rights, particularly when those returns are underwritten by years of work and a hope for a better future. In whatever way, large or small, that we can begin to insist that the word entitlement be returned to its true definition – a definition that works for the people rather than robbing them – we must try. It is and always has been ineffective to ask the leaders we respect and admire to do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. It is and always has been dangerous to allow leaders who do not deserve respect and are beneath contempt to set the criteria for what must be done.

Language is to meaning as watercolor is to canvas, a fragile often vague image of reality. In a watercolor landscape if the blush of a rose is too close to the sky without proper perspective or definition there is no rose and there is no sky. When the proper perspective and definition of language is used to distort reality then meaning becomes a shill for petty politicians and their lobbyist thugs to rip off the American people at knife point using the Constitution as the weapon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Very Best



“For the good of all, according to the free will of all,” my grandmother and her many sisters in the Craft taught me. To honor the free will and free mind of another person is to honor the highest good of all people. Pagans carry their freedom like a sacred fire. We follow only our path, the God and/or Goddess of our heart – never gurus or mindless mobs. Our fire burns in our soul, keeping us warm in a cold and angry world. We have all moved through a particularly cold and angry time. Soon, with a darkening of the Moon, we will step into the midnight of the year. The earth sleeps. The bright promise of spring awaits its time in the Goddess’ womb. Now we honor the dark and look forward to the light.

The rose featured here is John F. Kennedy. It sits in my sacred circle surrounded by red roses. Some say that a bouquet of eleven red and one white rose means goodbye. So goodbye to the old year, and in the spirit of our beloved 35th President we look forward to Camelot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Murder, Myth and Money


I have always been fascinated by the case of Jack the Ripper. After seeing all the movies (including the silents) and reading everything I can get my hands on the desperate search for information has never abated. Certainly I am not alone in this obsession. From the FBI and some of the finest working detectives in the world to crime fiction and mystery writers like America’s very excellent Patricia Cornwell people have presented themselves at Scotland Yard’s museum to evaluate the evidence and render an informed opinion about the identity of the Ripper. All of this notwithstanding, the mythology of Jack the Ripper as a smoke screen for a series of politically motivated murders refuses to die.

The legend holds that a Royal impregnated a prostitute. Afterward he went through some type of marriage with her while five of her friends, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, witnessed. These five women were the Ripper's victims. The woman who married the Royal died in an asylum, and the child disappeared.

According to the allegory the Ripper was actually one of Queen Victoria’s court physicians acting on behalf of members of the government who were part of a secret society. The motive for the murders was to keep the five women silent.

I believe that this hasn’t been about Jack the Ripper for decades. This is a morality play, a cautionary tale for all those who would suffer an upper class or aristocracy without boundaries and above the law. At the time the Ripper was killing much of London’s East End was slum. Whitechapel was one of the worst. Disease, overcrowding, poverty, starvation, unemployment and crime shaped the environment were the five tragic women lived and died. Sometime after the Ripper vanished from the scene the monarchy and the City of London began to clean up the slums. However, by that time the image of a black-caped aristocrat riding in a Hansom cab, sporting a long blade and stalking prostitutes was already deeply ingrained.

The poor people of Whitechapel and everywhere passed the story from generation to generation until it had the full force of a folk myth. We are on the verge of moving back to a time when we have two classes – the very rich and the very poor. Let the Myth of Jack the Ripper be a lesson – if it is a myth.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Heartache




I went traveling about in my world today. Two Salvation Army Stores around my area are closing. Apparently, the landlords have increased the rent to the point where it is unaffordable. These property-owners gave no warning, but just waited until the little stores’ leases were up. Salvation Army community projects, food banks and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs will suffer accordingly. In the Dollar Store I met a man who said he was a fork-lift driver. I don’t know what that is, but I suspect that it is a fairly high paying job for a skilled laborer. He has been out of work for two years. I met him in front of the coloring book display where he stood selecting a dollar book for his little daughter’s birthday. I see this where ever I go as the Middle Class crumbles and the ever growing poor slip deeper and deeper into despair. Will the American people have to see starving children begging in the streets before their anesthetized social conscience comes up from under layers of deceit, duplicity and delusion?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seven Will Get You Twelve



Some in this country believe that our leaders lead. They do not. Some in this country would have us believe that our elected representatives represent. They do not. Our government and political system are much more akin to a high stakes game of chance then to any management or service organization. In this context it is clear that big money and special interest groups are the bank, and the American people are the chips, the thoroughbreds on the track, or the dice tossed in an alley. Our politicians function like chronic, degenerate gamblers forever hedging their bets. Thus, a prolife platform is supported by the pharmaceutical companies that make birth control preparations and the surgical supplies companies that create the tools to perform abortions. Accordingly, an anti-immigration candidate is funded by business people who count on the labor of undocumented workers, used shamefully and forced to toil for next to nothing. Gay bashing right wingers will take money from the Log Cabin Republicans if they can get it. While Conservadems intent upon undermining a woman’s right to a safe clinical abortion will accept campaign donations from prochoice feminist groups stupid enough to contribute.

None of this is about the American People. To paraphrase the words of an old Bob Dylan song, when will we ever learn? We are like children fed donuts by diseased parents who spend money for good food on the games. But, we are not children. We don’t have to accept sugar in place of nutrition – lies and propaganda in place of a functioning government. We don’t have to accept parents who sink deeper and deeper into addiction. The next time someone promises change we need to demand the kind of change we want. The word change is not a magical mantra. It isn’t magic that we need. It is common sense. We can start by demanding real, meaningful and enforceable campaign finance reform. Let’s get the big money out of politics so the little guy has a chance to have an ethical government. Let’s demand that our leaders stop their compulsive gambling and earn their keep.

Because money buys power at the heart of this stupidity is greed. Some people think that greed is a disease, like gambling. I think that greed is a character flaw parallel to deceit, arrogance, bigotry, hatred, manipulation and egotism. This Blog was inspired by Kitty Hunt’s work on Blogger at Kittisplace. Her most recent Blog is about spending Veteran’s Day, called Armistice Day then, with her father. Kitty’s dad seems to me to have been a man of great character and decency, the kind of character and decency that got this country through WWII. The Blog that follows is about the internment of the Japanese people during that same war. This is truly a black spot on our national soul, driven by the character flaw of bigotry. While reading these Blogs I started thinking about what I remember of the American character years ago. It was different. I recall a character with flaws. Today we suffer flaws with no character.

We must change this if we want to survive as a society. We must reclaim our soul that has been covered in lies, twisted to serve arrogance, battered with bigotry, harassed with hatred, nearly murdered by manipulation, and eaten alive by egotism. We must reclaim our character by demanding an end to the partisan propaganda, the viciousness, the cruelty, and the ugly slander hidden under the First Amendment. We aren’t starving children dying for the sins of our parents. We are We the People.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Old Play on a New Stage




Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious. . . Oscar Wilde

If the great Irish playwright was living today, I believe that he would not be speaking of men and women who really love their country; men and women who understand that what is right for the human community that is their nation will be right for them. I trust that he would be pointing out the cruel absurdity of yapping dogs turning up at Presidential venues with guns. I believe that he would be indicating the idiocy of Neanderthals waving the Gadsden War Flag in front of the White House, implying that we are at war with our president as we were once at war with England and George III. He would know this for what it is - racism. I have faith that he would be directing our attention to the monstrous malice of vote whoring politicians waving that same flag from a balcony of the U.S. Capitol. He would be commenting on the sociopathic self promotion of people like Palin, waving the Constitution and stirring up her following with nothing more than vitriol and bitter resentment. Oscar Wilde spoke the truth. It was his job. It is the job of all serious writers.

I am a lifelong conspiracy theorist, and like Chris Carter’s Fox Mulder, I believe the truth is out there, and that it wants to be heard. I am not a glass-half-full woman. Some have called me a professional pessimist – true enough. Expect the worst. Why be disappointed? Still, in these days when Wilde’s vicious patriot has taken control with more money, more noise, more rage, I have a great sense of optimism. I hear the truth fluttering at the window.

Soon the subpoenas will fly, the government will be shut down, and the Tea Party mongrels will begin to draw blood from the ankles of their Senior Senators and Congress People. Presently the structure will begin to shutter like a skyscraper built on an unstable foundation. Hate is weak and cowardly, as love is strong and courageous. It will crumble without doubt because its bricks and mortar are of an inferior material - greed. I refer you to 2008 to see how suddenly that rotten substance deteriorates once it starts. This lousy economy will jump start it.

Call me na├»ve – it has been done before. Call me crazy – it has been done before. Call me stupid – that has never been done before, but hey, be the first. Nonetheless, I intuit and believe that we are in the final stages of labor. It will be hard and painful, but we shall give birth to a better reality.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Lost Vote



My father’s family came to this country in 1911 from Southern Italy. By the early 1920’s my grandfather, by all accounts a gentle man who wielded an iron sledgehammer of control over the lives of his wife and children, insisted that everyone be naturalized. He also insisted that voting was not an option for the male members of the family. Women were not allowed to vote, except for my Irish mother who did pretty much what she pleased. On the night before every election the men gathered for food and fighting, wine and fighting, sweets and fighting - sometimes fist fighting. Although, I could never figure out what the hell they were fighting about, they were all Democrats. Nonetheless, they were at it until time to go vote and sometimes report to the emergency room in that order.

When Grandpa died and my papa inherited the iron sledgehammer, Grandma came to live with us. Since my father was even more fanatical about voting then my grandfather he demanded that my grandmother vote. I remember the day he told her. The look in her eyes was abject terror. This was a peasant, born into a peasant’s world. She told my father that she was afraid the police would come and take her if she didn’t vote the right way. The old man in his infinite wisdom assigned me to help her because she didn’t read English and because my mother, the granddaughter of a Suffragette, was highly suspect of family sedition – being a Republican.

For several elections, local, state and off year, we struggled to gather information, think about it, make a choice and go vote. I went with her into the voting booth because everyone knew she could not negotiate the language. She would often say to me, "What do you think little rabbit?"

"What can I think Granny?" I replied. "I am nine."

Finally there came an election that she got very excited about. We gathered all the information we could from newspapers, television and the radio. She wore a campaign button everywhere she went. I bought her a poster for her bedroom door with my allowance. She told people she met on the street that she was going to vote for the “little Irish boy who wants to be President.”

Four days before Halloween 1960, some 50 years ago on this day, my grandmother suffered a massive stroke and died. She never got to cast her vote. I would have loved to cast it for her, but that wasn’t possible. I am sure there are cynics out there who would say that the election was rigged in Chicago by Daily, or that he didn’t need her vote anyway. I think he would have been happy to have it.

I loved and respected my grandmother. She was a courageous woman, genetically predisposed to optimism and hope. She was born and raised in an Italian vineyard. She worked there much of her life, giving birth to two of her sons on the ground next to the vines. She came to this country with her husband and gave birth to eight more children, burying four of them along the way. She left her quasi
feudal world and traveled several centuries into the middle part of the 20th all in one lifetime. Yes, I think Kennedy would have been happy to have her vote.

Even though her love was unconditional, I don’t know if she would respect the woman I have become. Our sense of duty, family, honor and loyalty are light years apart. She would be terrified of my religion as she was terrified of my mother’s mother who taught me. Still, I believe that wherever she is she understands that every vote I cast is cast in part to make up for her lost vote and all the lost votes of the generations of women who were kept from voting. The Franchise is not a right; it is a legacy, a light in the darkness, a path out of oppression. My grandmother was a peasant who learned to be a free woman. Why in hell would anyone want to stop voting and go backward?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eighteen Days Out




The Grateful Dead called its compilation album, "What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been." They could just as easily have applied that title to the election season of 2010. Long, oh yeah. It started roughly twenty-two minutes after the inauguration of President Obama by the media’s lights, and for the right very soon thereafter as the Republicans began to publicly grind out a chorus of mantras and allegation aimed at his political demise.

Strange? Believe me, this has been one of the strangest off year elections in my memory. Take for instance, the Tea Parties that seem to metastases faster than glandular tumors from state to state. They have no platform other than rage against a disenfranchisement that has not occurred. They see Communist-Socialist-Muslim-Nazis under the bumper of every car, and hate President Obama because he is a Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist-maybe Communist-Nazi. Their philosophy, if that is what you want to call it, is like something out of Serling’s Twilight Zone.

Through their psychosis they have the Republican Party on the ropes and the media in their pocket. I keep thinking of Salvador Dali’s painting, “The Persistence of Memory.” In his vision a clock is draped over a branch, another is wearing a suit and a third is sliding like molasses off a raised platform. Clocks are appropriate - how much longer will we have to deal with the false legitimacy of this distorted mental picture?

Indeed how much longer will we have to live out our political dreams in the theater of the absurd? Consider last night’s debate between Sharon Angle (Tea Party darling) and Harry Reid in Nevada. Ms. Angle’s stupidity is surpassed only by her arrogance, yet she is spoken of as a serious candidate for the Senate. Her entire performance last night seemed to revolve around insulting Reid, squealing about the need for an unrestrained Free Market and remaking Social Security in that Market’s image.

Reid for his part stammered and stuttered and demurred like a frightened debutant at her first dance. When Angle snarled at him to, "man up," he could have told her to, "grow up, consigning Social Security to the Free Market and Wall Street is tantamount to financial homicide." Did he? No, he did not. He just kept attempting to elucidate his achievements with ever diminishing effectiveness.

Throughout this election season of darkness and decay lies have bloomed in the halls of power and the hearts of the American people like wild flowers in a field. Obamacare - socialized medicine, death panels, increased taxes, stimulus isn’t working, Sharia Law is taking the place of the Constitution in this country, and our president is a secret Muslim, ad nauseum. In my estimation some of this stuff is laughable, and some is treasonable. Some of it is obviously nuts and some deeply offensive.

Take the fact that within the last day or so the Empress of Deceit, the Queen of Fraud, and the Demigod of Destruction, Sarah Palin, has taken a statement of Michelle Obama’s out of context and used it to imply that the First Lady has never met a member of the Armed Forces nor does she care about them. One of Mrs. Obama’s signature causes is helping the families of service men and women. She has taken more care and done more good for these families then most of us know. I would like to know what Palin has done for them recently other than using them as political fodder.

No matter how outlandish, idiotic, foolish, destructive or Nixonian, the media clings to these lies, these distortions of Palin and her ilk like drunks clinging to a wall because they can’t stand up straight. The media’s powerful voices hardly bother to correct the falsehoods, and this is yet another thing that has made it all so bizarre, so weird, so surreal over this unending election season.

C.S. Lewis said, "Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn." We Liberals have had a brutal political experience. There have been times when it seemed that even the Democrats had no use for us. Still we and we alone carry FDR, JFK and RFK’s banner. That is a heady responsibility and we can’t allow their standard to drop into the mud for buffoons with tea bags on their head to tread upon. We may need another party, a Liberal Party, but not now.

I have learned that many of our leaders are weak, and we must be strong for them. I have learned that our opponents gain strength daily from their deceit, their cruelty and their innate racism aided and abetted by the media. Eighteen days out from the November election and I am sure of one thing, the bitter lesson of the past two brutal years is simply this – if we don’t stand up now and turn out we are doomed to government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich run by Tea Party influenced or intimidated fanatics who consider love a failing and hate a virtue. Please vote!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Goodbye for Now









Soon the sweet scent of the rose will be just a memory drifting out on the West Wind. Pine and wood smoke will replace her gentle elegance as snow covers the grass and the skies turn gray. A true gardener laments the coming of Autumn - the first song of Winter - just a little. The fading of the last mum is like the loss of a rare and beautiful love. Even though the flowers will return in streams of color and joy from spring to summer they are deeply missed at the evening of the year, through its midnight and into the dawn of the next.

When I was a child my father, the finest gardener I have ever known, told me that Heaven's seasons are the opposite of ours. When the pale gown of Winter covers the Earth the souls of all the flowers bloom above to delight the saints. My father and I did not share a faith, but we shared an understanding of the inestimable spiritual significance of the flower.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What is Really Going On - A Rant




What is the hope behind Citizens United and all the subsequent money poured into political campaigns? Is it that the vote of the American people is for sale? We know that our elected representatives have been walking upon and down K Street in their Joan Crawford hurt-me-pumps singing “Hey Sailor” for years. We know what they are, but is it possible that the Republican Front Man, John Roberts, and his masters on the Hill think that we are the same? Are we? If we aren’t does it matter how much money is pumped into cable advertising, internet soliciting or the ever gaping holes in the faces of the legions of pundits? If we aren’t for sale then money is just green paper, like a vampire it has to be invited in to hurt you.

Perhaps, it isn’t money at all. Perhaps, a myth or an outright lie is being perpetrated here. Since there is no real-time benefit for the voter from large amounts of money flowing into the political arena, can we believe that a man or woman will vote against a quality education for their children simply because an expensive ad campaign instructs them to do so? Is a slick commercial enough to induce a working person to vote for someone who opposes the minimum wage? In other words, have we got any reason to believe that people vote on the basis of the money given to others rather than their own self interests?

I ask these questions only because I am sick of the world according to media false prophets, as corporate driven as any Wall Street banker. It is my belief that the anti-intelligence, xenophobic movement is far worse than the money – it is the root cause of voter nullification. Deep, critical thinking, higher education, and a fluent use of the English language are discouraged by many on the Right. No reading Shakespeare – he was British. No reading Voltaire – he was French. The unwashed and malleable masses of the GOP are too extraordinary to ever bother with or learn from civilizations hundreds of years older than their own.

Every election season it starts, the new dummying down of the electorate. Don’t think, don’t question, don’t not do what you have always done. Your betters will tell you what to feel, what to expect, what you need, when you can organize. They will proclaim their love of your Jesus while worshiping their Mammon and calling it all Free-Market Capitalism.

I think of all of this as deliberate, slovenly ignorance. My dear friend Kitty feels that it is a lack of education. I defer to her on this, as I defer to her on many things. Still there are times when I hear some over paid twit disregard the adjective case and refer to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party that I would like to bitch-slap them back to the prom.

Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From the Otherside of the Looking Glass



My father’s favorite song was the old Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea." He was particularly fond of Sinatra’s version. I never could stand Sinatra. He always reminded me of a penis rolling down the street on a wave of testosterone without a body. Still in all, the lyric to the first stanza pretty much sums up how I feel about the Democrats these days:

I don't want you
But I hate to lose you
You've got me in between
The devil and the deep blue sea.

The lyrics to the chorus of one of Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty’s songs are perhaps more timely and succinct:

Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right
Here am I stuck in the middle with you.

Over the last twenty odd months this country has slipped behind the looking glass. Right wing extremists have become respectable and capable of taking over the Republican Party. Liberals have become objects of ridicule, disdain and condemnation by the Democratic Party. The intensity of confusion within the Party leadership is superseded only by the befuddled notion that the Liberal Left can be brow beaten into compliance the way the far Right has brow beaten the Republican Party.

The leadership’s bewilderment stems from the idea that the Left is angry at and withholding its support for 2010 because of what President Obama didn’t do. I believe that the Left is angry about HOW he didn’t do it.

He courted bipartisanship for months with people who had stated their determination to see him fail, indeed who stirred up every vile element in this society against him, at the expense of his legislative agenda. He kicked the Public Option to the curb because a handful of so-called Democratic Senators in districts with a total population smaller than Brooklyn, New York, insisted upon it - even though 61% of the American people supported it. The myopic media won’t tell us this but that is a goodly number of the people who don’t support the Health Care Bill now. He let the Republicans carry the message from the summer of 2009 until recently, while he and his underlings mouthed platitudes like, "Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good." Goddess, if I ever hear that again I will kick the TV screen in. The Democratic agenda regarding Gitmo and the war in Afghanistan have simply slipped into the fierce whirlwind that has become our body politic.

This whole muddle reminds me once again of my father. He had the most astounding ideas which he insisted upon – "hot water freezes faster than cold." "Take one pound of pasta, break it in half and you have two pounds of pasta." "Power makes people hurt themselves." One out of three ain’t bad.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Michael Moore interviews Tony Benn

This is stunning. Please pass it around.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Missive from a World Gone Mad


“The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.” . . . William Shakespeare


Once upon a time under an azure sky a majestic land mass spread itself between two mighty oceans. Dressed in granite peaks, silver streams and flora of every kind and dimension this hunk of terra firma came to support a magnificent nation dedicated to freedom for all – excuse me, almost all. Through the two plus centuries of growth from infant to adolescent to young adult this storied civilization evolved with all the graciousness of a prolonged bout of ulcerative colitis. The pernicious sources of chronic discomfort – greed, avarice, hypocrisy, bigotry, cruelty and generational stupidity – grew exponentially. Fed to the point of stupor with the idea of Exceptionalism the beautiful, clumsy giant went slamming through her own domestic affairs and often the affairs of others like an eighteen wheeler though a schoolyard. Afterward, turning to view the carnage she blamed everyone around her. Other nations came to distrust if not hate her. By the second decade of the second millennium she was shattered financially, morally and spiritually. Desperately the great nation quivered with rage and hate, looking for scapegoats – black presidents, non Christians, same sex partners, anyone would do. Finally bringing full circle the process began long before when it was first understood that espousing a value is more important than owning it, religious conviction became a whore servicing the fear and prejudice of a few, the Constitution became a validation of bigotry and patriotism became the justification for destroying anything and everyone who disagreed with her.

I am not a patriot in the traditional sense, but I love this country. I have no trouble looking at and speaking of her faults, blemishes and warts. I can live with those. What I can’t tolerate is the present day hate, the viciousness, the slander, the greed masquerading as the common good, the self serving, oily politicians who place re-election ahead of governing, the persistent pandering by the Beltway and media ideologues to every extremist turd that floats to the top of the bowl, the unabashed liars-cheats-thieves-frauds-pornographers running for major public offices and finally the desiccation for political gain of the several cardinal and transcendent principles on which America was founded.

I keep asking myself when the profane became policy. How can a so-called Christian rationalize prohibiting abortion on any grounds then wink at health insurance companies denying coverage to children because they can discriminate against the sickest? How the hell is it reasonable to raise the roof over extending unemployment benefits to people losing their homes while holding up middle class tax cuts until the rich receive their “entitlement?” The same rich who made out like bandits during the Bush years and definitely are not hurting now. How can anyone who lived through the Wall Street melt down in 2008 advocate privatization of Social Security? How is it that the people who caused the melt down aren’t in prison, instead they took millions out of the mess they made and went on their way? How is it that one of the smartest men to ever occupy the Oval Office is routinely called out for being too smart and/or too professorial after eight years of being stuck with what Zelda Fitzgerald called, “a beautiful idiot?” How is it that a professional muckraker can write a book about Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan that is touted by the media in such a way as to undermine our president’s authority as Commander in Chief?

I don’t know what is to be done about what seems to me to be a vile collusion of empty vessels, monsters and fools except for those who pray, to pray. Those who write must write. Those who agitate and engage in activism must follow their credo. Those who walk in the sterling moonlight of the Great Goddess’ favor must raise power to flood the earth with the winds of Her Spirit. To become discouraged, check out, sign off, or most importantly refuse to vote is to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

It isn’t easy to keep the faith mind you. Some days I wake up and wonder where I am. This isn’t America, not the America I love. Maybe there never was an America and I was only hallucinating, or perhaps like Atlantis that majestic land mass and its magnificent nation sunk to the bottom of the mighty oceans leaving only a dream-like memory behind.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Morass of Our Modern Times




I have been politically active all of my adult life. From Viet Nam to Afghanistan I have opposed war. From Shulamith Firestone and Betty Friedan to Hillary Clinton I have been a feminist. For over four decades I have passionately supported Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Union Rights, the Right of the Planet and Her Creatures to live in peace and dignity. I am absolutely committed to the precepts of social and economic justice. Further, I refuse to believe that unfettered and unregulated Free Market Capitalism is anything other than a slaughter house for the Working Class and the poor.

It would seem that some people have confused the President of the United States with individuals like me. They call him a radical – he isn’t. I am a radical. He is accused frequently of being a Socialist – he isn’t. I cut my activist’s teeth on Socialism and still stand very close to that line. I have yet to see President Obama in the vicinity and resent the hell out of the misinterpretation of my philosophy. After all, I have walked picket lines in the blazing heat, stood in the cold to demonstrate, raised hell where hell needed to be raised and more than once been carted off to jail for my politics. In view of all of this I demand and have earned the right to define my political doctrines and will not cede the privilege to some corporate funded, sub literate, shady apparatchik of the social emesis known as the Tea Party.

The real problem for President Obama isn’t any resemblance to old Lefties like me. His issue is that he is a black man in the Oval Office and presiding over a nation with a fair number of resentful, intellectually necrotic white people who are furious after suddenly realizing that they are no longer in the majority. This crowd firmly believes that they have a Divine right to rule this country. Their God of rage and wrath, misogyny and murder told them so.

Simply stated Obama’s difficulty with the Right is an acute, old fashioned racism and nothing more. Anyone who isn’t clear on that needs to pull their head out of their ass. The media’s so-called experts facilitate the hallucination of a nonracial political world by prophesying the President’s defeat purely at the hands of a people angry over a failing economy. They have been talking about his losing the House and Senate this November since twenty minutes after his inauguration. Their thesis is always based upon the premise of a deep moral and ideological divide between Obama and the Republican right. Horse crap! In my estimation the disingenuous blubbering of the media is to be taken with a grain of salt since they live only to serve their corporate masters and long ago forgot the public interest.

In addition to the racism, President Obama has the added burden of being an enigma. He has allowed his supporters, particularly those of us on the hard left, to know him “but slenderly,” as Shakespeare said of Lear. That has left the foul mouthed Rohm Emanuel and the rather pathetically snide Robert Gibbs to fill in the blanks – usually by insulting us. This and the watering down of liberal legislation, the loss of the Public Option, the refusal to prosecute Bush and his henchmen for war crimes, the failure to close Gitmo, the seemingly open ended war in Afghanistan, a country that no one has influenced since Genghis Khan, are all so very puzzling.

I have Liberal cronies who call me at least once a week and scream, “Who is this guy? What did he do with Obama?” They are bewildered, stunned and befuddled. Could it be that all the angry, disaffected Liberals the media is constantly bleating about are just really, really confused?

A friend of mine, Max, called the other morning and asked without a greeting,“What in the hell has happened? We elected a Liberal Democrat. We got a Moderate Republican. All the other Republicans hate his guts. Change died in the filibuster. What happened to us?”

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know anybody who knows. There isn’t anywhere to find out. Yellow journalism is the law of the land. Our politicians behave like vote whores (although most whores work for a living) pandering to anyone or any group that will help them get elected, peddling their influence to the highest bidder and lying about it. Lies are produced in mass quantities and never challenged, distributed in bulk in the blink of an eye, shot over the internet on streaming electrons, repeated over and over again until they become gospel.

Our world is enveloped in an oppressive stain of deceit and malevolence. In all the years that I have studied politics I can’t remember a political environment so toxic as to render truth meaningless. Some days it feels as if we are burying the truth so deep that we will never find it again.

Shakespeare said,“Truth is truth, to the end of reckoning .” Experience has taught me that like one of Carl Jung’s Archetypes, it is pure in essence and can’t be destroyed. No matter how long it is shut out of the world and forced into a corner of the abyss it will return. Perhaps when it does we will look back at the first two years of the Obama administration in honest mortification and shame, realizing that gang rape and slander were the rule of the day, and damn few people who could did anything about it. We may even appreciate with integrity and candor that a decent and honorable man who just wanted to help people was stonewalled and crippled by a bunch of opportunistic, grandstanding bottom feeders who had no interest in serving anyone but themselves. It is my hope that we may further realize with sincerity and meticulousness that those Americans who now bear him the greatest malice will suffer the most by what he wasn’t allowed to do.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bedlam



Mark Twain said that a patriot is, “the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” Anyone who is paying a modicum of attention to the world around them today will understand this statement clearly. We have patriots by the bushel, the barrel and the gross spread across this land like maggots on a corpse. They thump the Bible, wave the flag and wipe their backsides with the Constitution all in the name of America – their America, God’s America, American Exceptionalism and America the Beautiful.

It is all so hideously insane, so brutally hypocritical. I refer now to the geniuses who want to dismantle the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution after spending months insisting that as purists and patriots they needed to defend the Constitution from healthcare reform. Apparently enfranchising sick children who heretofore have been denied insurance coverage under the pre-existing condition rule would undermine the Republic to such an extent that Jefferson, Washington and Franklin would rise from their graves and make haste to the Nation’s Capitol with muskets blazing. However, the dismantling of the Fourteenth Amendment to invalidate the idea that children born in this country are citizens is the patriotic duty of every Constitutional purist. After all people come to this country and have children just to exploit and annoy us. What arrogance – what stupidity.

The most obscene thing that I have witnessed in recent years (believe me that is saying something) is the dance macabre in New York over the Muslim community center. My fellow citizens are jumping up and down like spoiled, dim-witted children in a candy shop because, of course, Glen Beck and Sarah Palin told them that all Muslims are responsible for 9/11. Perhaps I have missed something here, but even though all of the men who flew the planes into the Trade Towers and the Pentagon were Muslim they were also Saudi Arabian. Seems to me that the Right was conspicuously quiet when Bush went walking through the Saudi streets hand in hand with the King sometime after that miserable day in September.

It boils down to this, we seem to need someone to hate in this country. My father was an Italian. When he was a boy it was him – the dirty Diego, the thieving Wop anarchist. The mob mentality, the rage and hatred grew to such an outrageous state that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had no trouble rigging a trial and executing two Italian men, Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, for a crime they didn’t commit. Papa said that it was almost like their blood was the only thing that could quench the thirst of hatred. He also believed that men like Al Capone grew out of that hate. No one ever called Al a Wop and lived to tell about it.

Hatred is in my estimation a degenerative and progressive disease of the mind. While the hater is despicable and disgusting the real monster is the hate monger who stirs it up and feeds off of it for political or financial gain. The fat white men with messianic complexes, the aging beauty queens who couldn’t make it as governor, the Washington hack who will say anything to get reelected are the real threats to the Constitution, the Republic and the America my father wanted so much to believe in.

True patriots stand against the hate making it unfashionable and unprofitable. Eventually they strip the parasites that live on it of their authority and power. Once this is done their slavish followers slink back into the abyss - they always have.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Devil is in the Pantry




Some days ago my husband directed me to an article, “Federal workers earning double their private counterparts, "in USA Today’s online publication. The first link below will take you to the article. The assertion in USA Today’s piece is based upon information gleaned from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a part of the US Department of Commerce. By way of rebuttal Colleen Kelley, National President of the NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union) who is mentioned in the article, stated in a message to her membership that according to “the Bureau of Labor Statistics federal employees are paid an average of 22% less than their private sector counterparts.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics is part of the Department of Labor.

The first question that occurred to me about the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ findings was had they taken into consideration bonuses and stock options in the private sector – if not why not? The author of the article, Dennis Cauchon, seems oblivious to the fact that private sector salaries and other forms of compensation are the exclusive domain of private sector employers. Since greed became the family value of choice in this country those employers have made it a practice to work hard and pay cheap. I can’t see how this is the government’s issue. On a personal note I have been married for twenty years to a government employee. He is an old hippie who, in the manner of old hippies, has spent most of his career handing out food stamps. My husband is not over paid nor are any of his colleagues.

I can’t help but wonder if this assault on government employees with uncertain data isn’t a backdoor attack on the Federal Government itself by the usual government hating wingnuts on the right. They have always been with us, but the modern day hater is disproportionately inspired by the poster child for the bewildered, Ronald Reagan. His famous assertion that government is the problem and not the solution for society’s ills has provided cover for countless megalomaniacs eyeing the institutions of government the way Carrion birds eye a corpse. Reagan never did explain why he spent millions of dollars rising to the top of the government he hated so much. Just as his disciples can’t explain why they resist term limits to suck on the government’s tit year after year hoping to die in office. Odd behavior indeed for people who dislike government on principle.

Regardless of its purpose Cauchon’s article has certainly been well received by the right. It is championed by the Cato Institute and Representative Eric Cantor, Republican from Virginia. The Cato Institute is a Libertarian, often Conservative, think tank. Eric Cantor is a an appendage of the Conservative Right who hates President Obama almost as much as he fears the American people ever taking hold of their power.

Cantor’s yearly salary is $174,000 according to Legistorm (second link below) not including his excellent health care and lavish retirement benefits. This chump is a member of a Congress that as of this writing has a 19% approval rating per Gallup. Exactly who is overpaid?

The dirty little secret here is that this doesn’t have a damn thing to do with salaries. Government haters notwithstanding, this is about dividing and conquering the nearly shattered Middle Class. The public sector is set against the private. The private sector is set against the public, and everybody is beating up on the cops and the firefighters. This is a sadistic circle jerk, a foul experiment in human degradation stemming from a ferocious infection preying upon our social order and body politic. Said another way, many of the people in Congress who swear they love and are sworn to serve the American people do neither.

This Congress and others before it have sold our government to corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. They embezzled our social security and are now trying to take what little is left away from us. They have prostituted, propagandized, politicized, and polluted every sacred thing in this country, up to and including the Constitution. They play fast and loose with the truth then deny responsibility. All of this is the product of a systemic corruption enabled by a corporation controlled and gullible media working methodically to further encumber the prosperity, hopes and dreams of the Middle Class. We are being made expendable in the interests of profit, power and politics.

It is high time to put a stop to all this crap. The Middle Class must organize. We must take a page out of the labor movement’s book, stand together and raise holy hell. Scare the devil out of the pantry, as my wise Celtic grandmother used to say.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-08-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip
http://www.legistorm.com/member_of_congress_salaries.html

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There is Nothing New Under the Sun



When I was a kid I watched the McCarthy hearings with my parents on our old black and white TV. Almost no one had color in those days. During the course of the hearings my father told me that if his father had known such crap would go on in the U.S. he would never have left Italy.

Joseph McCarthy was a Republican ideology, elected to the Senate by the people of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. In my estimation he was a liar, a fraud, a narcissist, and a grandstanding political opportunist. In league with malignant power brokers like J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn, McCarthy used the formidable authority of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Congressional subpoena power to ruin countless lives and careers with the stain of Communism.

Out of the work of this malevolent trinity evolved the infamous Hollywood Blacklist. The link at the end of this piece takes you to an article about the Blacklist followed by the names of those who made the list from 1947 to 1950. It is stunning. These men and women were actors, writers, producers, directors, and they were punished for refusing to name their friends as communists, refusing to confess to being part of a conspiracy that didn’t exist and/or refusing to admit to being members of the Communist Party. It is not an accident that people like McCarthy, political thugs and tyrants, burn books and go after the creative soul of a people. A society that can’t dream loses the ability to see the future and is trapped in the past.

McCarthy couldn’t prove a damn thing and never demonstrated the existence of a Communist cell or a plot. He never proved that anyone was a Communist. Still in all, the accusation was enough - as it seems to be today - and a goodly number of these people never worked again. No one would hire them in this country. Certainly not that bunch of sniveling limp dicks in Hollywood.

Proof notwithstanding some of the blacklisted artists eventually went to jail for Contempt of Congress, as if that Congress was not beneath contempt. One of these was my favorite writer - Samuel Dashiell Hammett. The nearly Shakespearean irony of this is that Hammett created a purely American detective genera that owed nothing to the British or the European. He was the father of the Hardboiled Detective and had one of those American voices that won the world over with its outspoken clarity and truth. There isn’t a fictional detective of stage, screen or television that doesn’t owe something to Hammett’s Sam Spade and the Continental Op. Nonetheless, the sub-literate Senator from Wisconsin tossed him in jail because he refused to name his colleagues in the Civil Rights Congress as Communists. He was released prematurely after the subcutaneous emphysema he contracted in the trenches of WWI flared sending him home near death.

When McCarthy decided that he had put enough hurt on Hollywood he turned his attention to the Department of the Army. That was a mistake. First, because it brought Eisenhower off the golf course and out of coma. Secondly, because it put him into direct conflict with a little man who had a cherub’s face and a will of iron. His name was Joseph N. Welch, the attorney for the Department of the Army who on June 9, 1954 ripped McCarthy’s legs out from under him with two questions: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch then refused to speak further to McCarthy or to call anymore witnesses. The gallery erupted in applause. My father tapped me on the shoulder and said, “He’s done.”

He was done, and HUAC began a slow and painful decline into oblivion. In 1969 its name was changed to “House Committee on Internal Security.” In 1975 the Committee was abolished, all functions handed over to Judiciary.

Since the McCarthy impersonators are legion today we must ask ourselves, in a country that is forever ranting about Liberty, Freedom, and the Rights of the Individual how does a McCarthy - or a Glen Beck or Andrew Breitbart for that matter -crawl up out of the primordial slime of depravity and become so empowered as to damage or destroy everything he sees? We need only look around us for the answer. To begin with we have a profound cowardice in our Federal Government from the Capitol to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as they did at the height of McCarthy’s red baiting. Just as then no one is willing to stand up and fight back against the Palins, Bachmanns, Hannitys, and all the other modern day McCarthys who level unfounded accusations of racism, communism, socialism and anything else they can wrap their small minds around. Like their predecessor they don’t need proof or even facts. They just need a microphone. That is where the corporate media comes in - following them around like hungry dogs, tail between their legs yapping for the first bite of the next morsel. Finally there are all the people in this country who, as Chris Carter had a character in the "X-Files" say, have an almost insatiable appetite for bogus revelation. It would seem that if they are told something salacious enough and told over and over again they believe it.

The liars and frauds copying McCarthy’s crimes revere him. Perhaps it is because he showed them an easy path to power. Clearly they share his disrespect, distrust, and loathing for the American people. Like McCarthy they pander to bigotry and greed. They use fear and cruelty to redefine realty in their own image. They seem to consider free thinking and anyone who talks back un-American. Maybe that is why when they insist that their antigovernment, antihuman, anti-compassion Christian movement is organic no one counters, “So is bullshit.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Listen to the Earth, Mr. President




Most of you know that I am a master gardener. What you may not know is that in my world gardening isn’t just a skill or even a hobby. It is a spiritual path. Every flower, seed, tree, herb and shrub is my companion along that path. When my grandmother initiated me into the Celtic Witchcraft some 40 years ago she asked me a single question, "What will be your work – will you be a healer or a teacher or a defender of the faith." I answered, "I will tend the earth and in doing so will be all of these."

I have gained a great deal of wisdom on my path. The Earth teaches much that can be applied to our daily lives,indeed it is all part of the same thing or as the Pagans say, "As above, so below." Perhaps the most important lesson the Earth has taught me about gardening and living is to plant things where they grow. I can’t tell you how many idiots plant roses in the shade or impatiens in the blazing hot, high summer sun.

This single lesson has been of inestimable value in helping me to understand any one of a number of conundrums that have troubled me deeply. For instance, the lethargy of the Obama Presidency and his dithering White House. From dumping the public option to watering down the financial reform bill to kicking comprehensive immigration and energy reform under the bus, not to mention Afghanistan and that insipid foolishness of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I find myself vacillating from disappointment to disgust to despondency. I doubt that I am the only Liberal in this country who feels that way.

Looking through the eyes of a gardener I have come to the conclusion that Barack Obama has planted his administration in the wrong soil. He planted it in the soil of bipartisanship and magnanimousness which is okay as far as it goes. However, today that soil has been sterilized even poisoned by the rancor of the opposing party. Men like Emanuel keep telling him to amend soil. Gardeners cannot amend sterile or poisoned soil. We can only wait until the Earth heals Herself. Obama hasn’t that kind of time.

I believe he must dig up his administration, clean off and trim the roots (he could start by washing Emanuel out of the White House)then replant it in a large pot filled with good Progressive soil. The Progressive media and blogosphere - which Obama seems inclined to ignore a good deal of the time - would be slow acting chelates to release nutrients into the soil as their levels begin to fall. This is what a good gardener would do to save a beautiful plant from bad soil.

Finally, if he doesn’t want to limp out of Washington in '12 dragging an anemic and mutilated legacy behind him, he needs to aggressively apply the insecticide and fungicide of sunlight and truth. The insects at Fox News and the systemic fungal infection that is the right wing media and blogosphere have dealt blow after blow to the immunity of his administration. Gardeners must be forceful in dealing with pests or infections and so must he.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Very Strange Irony




Submitted for your consideration: Al Capone was a brutal man, a stone killer, racketeer, pimp and bootlegger. However, in Chicago at the beginning of the Depression hungry people could get something to eat in one of his soup kitchens. They could find a bed in one of his shelters. My dad told me that if you could sneak into a Cubs' game and get up into the stands behind Al's box you could pick up a little milk money when his Lieutenants tossed bag after bag of coins up into the crowd. Men like Frank Nitti, called the Enforcer, known to be a psychopath, spent half the game throwing money to the hungry and the displaced. Now if men like this, violent, unstable, criminal men like Capone and Nitti had the compassion and the kindness to help their fellow humans suffering in the Depression, what in the hell is wrong with that tribe of “Christians” in the Senate?

Capone, Al "Scarface" - The Free Information Society

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Grand Dame



The Greatest Generation as Tom Brokaw called it produced some very remarkable women. They were born to the seclusion of home and family. However, during World War II they were pushed into the factories, foundries, railroads and orchards to do the jobs the G.I.’s left behind. When the war was over and the men came home there was an expectation that their cultural icon Rosie the Riveter would be retired, and they would be banished to their kitchen leaving the work-a-day world to the men once again.

I knew a woman who said, "Bite me!" or the equivalent of the day. She stayed out in the world and became a newspaper woman, a real estate woman, a political activist and a delegate to the 1960 Democratic Convention that nominated John F. Kennedy.

I used to enjoy talking politics with her - her stunning red hair flashing in the light, green gold eyes focused on a point somewhere over my right shoulder. Suddenly she would shout, "Good! We have it now, let’s go write to that idiot in the White House." Off we would go to write to the idiot in the White House, whatever idiot that might be.

She wrote thousands of letters, hundreds of editorials always speaking truth to power - local, national or international. She once wrote to Tony Blair telling him if he didn’t want to go the way of Colin Powell with his reputation in tatters he had better keep clear of George W. Bush and the turds in his administration. She got a charming letter back thanking her for her concern. She was right about that association you know. She was always right.

Her name was Fern Beryl Cook, and she died on July 14, 2010. There was no funeral or service. Fern hated empty rituals almost as much as she hated religion, particularly organized religion. She believed in the Almighty whom she perceived through her own eyes with her own special vision. No damned cheerleader reading from an old morality play was going to tell her differently. That’s a quote.

Fern was my aunt. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked, but I am proud of her, proud that she was my aunt, proud of what she taught me and proud of what she and women like her did in this world.

I don’t know how many Grand Dames like my Aunt Fern are left, certainly none of my acquaintance. I suspect most of them have slipped into the heaven of their understanding past a society they neither recognized nor respected. The world is not liable to see their like again and is not a better place for it.

A New Justice, Maybe




The Rose above is Betty Boop. She is a shrub rose of the hybrid floribunda (many blooms on one stem) type. Very hardy and a prolific bloomer in most climates, heat notwithstanding, Betty is an ideal rose for a first time rose gardener. She does not require a great deal of pruning or shaping. Her color is white-gold tinged with red, and her parentage is Playboy x Picasso. Hybridizer by Carruth in 1999, Betty Boop is a tribute to the great cartoon siren of the 1930’s and 40’s. I placed the rose here not so much as an information tool for the rose gardeners who follow my Blog but as an acknowledgment of cartoons everywhere, including that brainless burlesque in Washington D.C.

Elena Kagan past out of the Senate Judiciary today and is headed for a vote of the full Senate. John Kyl, The Comedian from Arizona, in baggy pants and floppy shoes cracked foxy for the audience by stating that Ms. Kagan had been unwilling to be clear with him about her Liberal leanings. As if Liberal was a disease a kin to alcoholism, and leaning Liberal was a character flaw. It never occurred to him that she had told him all there was to tell. It takes a lot of nerve for this pond scum who has spent most of his career sucking hind tit in corporate America to question anyone else’s character.

Jeff Sessions (R - Alabama) apparently didn’t have anything to say. Of course he seldom has anything to say even when his lips are moving. They weren’t today.

The Republican from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham coiled in a corner with both eyelids open shocked the room by voting for Kagan. After the vote he hissed, and I am paraphrasing, that the Senate needed to take the partisanship out of the judiciary appointment process (da ya think, Senator?). He also said that he would not have chosen Kagan. However, the person who selected her, President Obama, chose well. If anybody knows what the hell that means I would love to learn.

The Hell You Say



I have studied politics most of my life. The first campaign I worked on was Robert Kennedy's. It broke my heart. I thought I had seen and heard it all until I read yesterday that Sarah Palin has compared herself to Shakespeare. Shakespeare sometimes wrote of fools, and Goddess knows that Mrs. Palin certainly is a fool, but is that a valid comparison? Particularly since Shakespeare’s fools were often wise men charged with being the only subject of the king who could tell him the truth, indeed must tell him the truth. Events have proven that Mrs. Palin wouldn't know the truth if it roared up her ass on a Harley. We seem to be inundated in this country with tiny, infant souls squalling to wear the mantel of glittering, transcendent souls. I have studied Shakespeare almost as long as I have studied politics, and this I know. He was either the first incarnation of Carl Jung or the greatest natural psychologist in the history of the human race. I have no doubt that Mrs. Palin has been reincarnated many times – no one could get that stupid in a single life. Still in all, her only greatness is an immense capacity for duplicity and self service.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The False Prophets of the New Millennium



On this past Fourth of July I found myself thinking about the false prophets of freedom; the Glen Becks, Sarah Palins, Dick Armeys, John Boehners, Mitch McConnells, ad nauseum. These are the Bible waving, Constitution quoting - although not necessarily understanding - peddlers of a cheap salvation and an even cheaper liberty.

Like all false prophets before them these staggering idiot promise an easy way to live without the necessity of thought, taxes, or education. Subjugate your women, chain up your children, exploit the minority peoples and murder the gays. In other words, close the front door and back to the 1950’s.

Most of you who follow this Blog know that I am a proud and outspoken Pagan. As such I am unimpressed with the word evil and its common uses. Evil, like activist judge, currently means, "I don’t like you," or "You don’t agree with me." Therefore, the concept that evil is simply the word live spelled backward makes much more sense today. The backward thinking ideas of people like Beck, Palin, Armey, Boehner and McConnell work only to their elitist good and are completely destructive to the men and women of the working middle class who they are attempting to seduce to their cause and encourage to live in reverse. I am sure that they are fully aware of what they are doing. If that isn’t "evil" I don’t know what the hell is.

I have also come to believe that our persistent need to be told Fairytales is not just foolishness but another form of evil. It draws us back into a way of thinking that we have long outgrown. For instance, we can do away with public education so we don’t have to pay taxes and insist upon promoting "American Exceptionalism." We can live in the greatest nation in the world tax free and be safe in our person and property because our military and police will work for nothing. We can keep all of our toys - all of our money - and continue to enjoy the vast human resources of this country. That is to say enjoy, technology, medicine, clean streets, wholesome food, great universities, fire departments, first responders and it goes on and on. There are days when I want to stand on top of my house and scream, "Pull your head out of your ass and grow up!!!!"

False prophets serve no God and no country. They serve only themselves. The people drawn into their cause and sphere of influence are burned up like fuel and forgotten. To the extent that the media promotes, highlights or features a Beck, a Palin or any of the others the media lights the fire.

I have said and I believe that Democrats use money to take care of people. Republicans use people to take care of money. It follows then that the Glen Becks, Sarah Palins, Dick Armeys, John Boehners, and Mitch McConnells use both – with no distinction in value – to arrogantly and parasitically promote and take care of themselves. As the Bible of the Judeo-Christian tradition warns, "Beware of false prophets."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goat for Azazel




Recently I have heard some Christians attributing the corruption, greed, and deceit within their own ranks to Pagans - specifically Witches. This is BS in the first degree. Whether we follow the Rede or not we have absolutely no interest in distorting Christian values. It seems to me that many Christians are hell bend on doing it themselves.

This particular bit of scapegoating appears to hinge upon our practice of magick and its alleged infiltration into the Christian world. Let me be very clear, Pagans and Witches do not share their knowledge of magick or anything else for that matter with outsiders in an arbitrary and capricious way. There are some damn good reasons for this - the majority of them have to do with fire. Without our knowledge most people wouldn’t know magick if it flew up their butt on a Kaiser roll with mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper.

Christians have no monopoly on ethics or honor. Witches do not seduce or influence people against their will. We do not turn men and women into the Anti-Christ. We also don’t fly over houses on brooms grabbing Volkswagens and small children.

Those who subscribe to this asinine position might do the world a favor and take some responsibility for your own problems. That is the first thing a good therapist would tell them to do. They should find one.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just Joey



Of all the roses I own this is my favorite. She is apricot and gold. A giant fancy bloom on a hybrid tea. She was hybridized in England in 1972. Parentage: Fragrant Cloud x Dr. A.J. Verhage. She has won the following awards: Royal National Rose Society James Mason Gold Medal 1986, Royal Horticultural Society Award Of Garden Merit 1993, Worlds Favorite Rose 1994. Awards won in England are far more prestigious than awards won in the United States. The British have been growing roses longer and better than anyone in the world. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thank You Mr. President




The problem with Blanche Lincoln winning in Arkansas is that even though the people of her state are getting what they deserve, owing to the arcane rules of the Senate the rest of us are stuck with her too. Thus the next time she decides to take a leak on something the people want - like the Public Option - we all need a shower. Thank you Mr. President for putting politics ahead of the good of the working people.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Kind Of Prayer



I haven't had much time to be on line recently. The beginning of gardening season means mulching, pruning and manicuring gardens. As some of you know I have many gardens and over 30 roses. Considering the monstrous thing, the horrible affront to the Goddess and the Earth that is occurring in the Gulf I am working very hard to honor Her in my gardens.

The featured flower, purple and white, is the viola. She comes in many forms. If you plant her in pots one year you will find her volunteers scattered throughout your garden the next. Viola is winter hardy, and heat resistant to a point. If you plant her in direct sunlight she will stop blooming when it gets hot. She will be back when it cools down. Viola is sacred to the Goddess Hecate.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Media - a Source of Madness



I have often wondered at the insanity of spending millions upon millions of dollars, not to mention millions of man hours, electing a president just so we can spend the next four to eight years driving the poor fool crazy. If he is kind and compassionate then he is weak and too emotional to be effective. If he is brilliant and coolly cerebral then he doesn’t care about people and the great issues of his day.

The other morning I heard Joe Scarborough - not one of my favorite people - expounding upon the fact that Obama isn’t good at symbolism. I had no idea that we needed an Ingmar Bergman in the White House. Also that morning I heard Anne Kornblum of the Times who seemed to imply that since the oil spill in the Gulf could not be stopped by Obama’s rhetoric this proved the limits of Obama’s talent. She must be delusional. No president has ever had the kind of power and control needed to stop an oil plume from pumping out of a badly maintained pipe deep in the ocean with or without rhetoric. If they had Congress would soon take it away from them in its infinite need to urinate on the Executive Branch’s parade.

Nonsense like this proves to me that one of the most corrosive elements in our body politic is the mainstream media. They promote the torture of presidents with cruelty, depravity, stupidity and speculation leading to guilt by association - all of which validates in the electorate a profound confusion, a dance of lunacy, a paranoid schizophrenic’s wet dream.

The 24/7 news cycle produces legions of news performers and precious little else. Their performance de jour often bleeds over into the print media. Thus, people like Kornblum engage in the theatrics and optics necessary to float with the other crap in the toilet. In my opinion these commentators and talking heads aren’t reporters or journalists. They are pseudo intellectuals impersonating experts in order to grind a political axe. Believe them, follow them too closely at your own risk.

Presidents like other societal victims often own a part of their victimization. Obama for instance is brilliant without question, beautifully eloquent and cares deeply for someone - although, I am not always sure who. Nonetheless, he persists with the tenaciousness of an angry teenager in impersonating Gandhi when he ought to try on a little Lucky Luciano.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

. . . and Freedom for All



From December 9, 1946 to August 20,1947, in the American sector of Germany at a place called Nuremberg, a legal proceeding known to history as the Doctor’s Trial convened. United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al, as it was officially captioned was a war crimes trial during which many Nazi doctors and SS officers were accused of conducting or facilitating some of the most egregious and horrifying medical experimentation in history.

At the end of the presentation of evidence and during sentencing the American Judges Beals, Sebring, Crawford and Swearingen laid out their opinions in such a cogent and compassionate way as to create a foundation for modern medical bioethics. At the core of their judgment, as it does at the heart of modern medical practice, sits the tenet of informed patient consent. A patient must be told what is wrong, what can be done, who will do it and what if any good they can expect to experience. They also have the right to refuse any treatment or testing. This is not negotiable. It hasn’t been for a very long time.

Let it be known that the State of Oklahoma has decided to set aside all of this when it comes to women and their pregnancies. In HB2656 the State House of Representatives decreed that it is perfectly acceptable for a physician to lie to a patient carrying a child suffering from birth defects so that she can’t make the choice to terminate. They also overrode a veto by their Governor, Brad Henry, of another grotesque law HB2780 insisting that a woman view an ultrasound of her fetus prior to having an abortion. The Senate concurred.

I haven’t the words to express my anger right now. Suffice it to say that most of us who have spent years honoring the craft of medicine are not likely to take ethical instruction from sleazy politician, two-for-a-penny John the Baptists drumming up votes. Yet, some practitioners will certainly take the law as license to shove their religion down their patient’s throat; Goddess help our sisters in Oklahoma.

To force a woman to look at a child she is terminating is almost as scandalous as some of the evidence in the Doctor’s Trail. Anyone who thinks that women have abortions without thinking or feeling or grieving is too bloody stupid to live. I had an abortion thirty years ago. I had no choice. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think, feel or grieve for that child. That is my burden to bear, and I will be damned if some governmental appendage will define or deny it now based upon a religion I don’t follow. In point of fact, they may not follow it either when it comes time to aid in the care of a child born with a serious birth defect to an unknowing mother.

There is a great authority in the Bible for misogyny and cruelty to women. There is also a great tendency in these God fearing, freedom loving, Constitution worshiping states like Oklahoma to conveniently forget that the right to a safe legal abortion is as much the law of the land as the right to bear arms. When you put religious authority together with selective application of the law you end up with a bunch of hooligans, bullies, who would never consider treating men the way they treat women and might not treat their women the way they treat strangers.

My Irish grandmother, who trained me in the Celtic Witchcraft, used to say, "If men had to have babies abortion would have been a foregone conclusion in the time of Christ. If men had to have every other child in a family there would only be one." Woman gave birth to the race of men. Our bodies belong to us. Our sons need to step aside.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to the Melting Pot




My father’s parents came to this country from Italy in 1911. When they stepped off the boat at Ellis Island some illustrious jackass with the Department of Immigration stamped W.O.P on the back of their hands. Strictly speaking they were illegals, "without papers." If they were in Arizona today they would go to jail and be deported I suppose.

Our immigration policy (old and new) is the craziest mess in the history of societal screw ups, based upon the assumption that immigrants are a threat to America's way of life. It seems to me that the Mexican immigrants are basically after what generations of immigrants have been after before them. My dad used to say that it all boiled down to food and a way to earn it.

Nevertheless, on one side of the modern immigrant is a group of murderous career criminals whose existence in Mexico has become endemic largely because their products - drugs and smuggled human beings - have become endemic in the United States. On the other side of the immigrant population U.S. citizens are feeling frightened and under siege by the breaching of a porous border. Some are bigots. Some are being manipulated by politicians who have used immigration for decades to instill resentment and terror in their constituents. In my grandfather’s day all Italians were greasy criminals and anarchists. I have to believe that there are also some decent people in Arizona who living in the hardest times they have ever known are simply worried that what little they have will be taken from them, including the ability to work and even their lives.

The federal government surrounds this damn muddle like a filthy swamp. Scores of our leaders stand with a microphone in their face posturing, pontificating and promising blindly. The only thing that concerns most of Congress is getting reelected indefinitely so that they might die in office or perhaps be buried under their desks like sacred relics. Thus, it is impossible for many of them to behave with any kind of courage - to recognize the right thing much less do the right thing.

Suckling at the under belly of the immigration issue are legions of employers who support the flow of illegal laborers that they can work to death and pay next to nothing. I don’t hear a lot about these vultures even though they are the catalysts of what I shudder to think is an impending explosion.

There is no question that the law passed in Arizona is a tragedy waiting to happened. I guess a tragedy is what it will take to get the attention of our recalcitrant, insensitive, even negligent lawmakers. I am always hearing Obama and the lawyers in Congress chant that this is a nation of laws, not people - a concept that I find fairly toxic on its face. Having said that, if the lawmakers are not making laws because they are paralyzed with partisanship or terrified of being jettisoned from office do we still have a nation?

The current White House is adamant that they will not get into immigration this year. Let’s not have another health care, Mr. President. This issue is important if not politically correct. Over the last year and some months I have felt the wind of calamity blowing across my heart. I hope that Arizona’s law will not provide the backdrop for that calamity to play out simply because Obama and other politicians are watching their butts when they ought to be watching the racists and the border.