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The Continuing Adventures of the Ambiguously Wealthy Mr. Finch

Tomorrow would have been my mother’s 90th birthday, if she could havedeersacrificestocheetah survived another 18 years living with the effects of some of the worst mental health treatments of the 20th Century.  So shattered was her persona at the time of her death that I wandered, wondering, inside my life for days after her funeral.  Had she ever really lived outside of my fantasy-recollections of a mother who, unbeknownst to me, was  declared “beyond the aid,” of medical science long before I was ever born?

Many families and individuals survived some of these experimental, “Hail Mary,” pharmaceuticals and therapies derived during the Nazi Occupations of Europe and Palestine. Continue reading

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Crossing the Borderland

Literal Fork In The RoadClarity is important in life. We need to know what we are doing, how it impacts the world around us and whether we wish to be a party to the consequences of our collective actions.

On a clear day a coyote inserted himself into a community far into the south of Mexico. He drove a nice car, wore jewelry and loved to explain to the local ranchito owners how much better their life would be if they worked a kush job picking oranges in Florida.  The price would be fair and he would hold their property in exchange so no cash would need to change hands.  Simple.  They could pay him back for his trouble from all the money they would make in Florida picking oranges, much more than they could ever hope to make sowing subsistence crops for the rest of their whole lives here on their ranchito.  Or they could just stay in Florida, he would keep their property for himself and they could go on living the good life of an American citizen.

This far south, no one talks or even knows about legal or illegal immigration, the Sonoran Desert, the endless Walk, the Heat, how heat breaks down the body, what dehydration does to the mind, or the parched, anonymous bones it leaves behind, jutting out of the desert sand.   They litter the Sonoran Desert, victims of the not-so-silent battle between rich and poor, the Hopeful and the Hopeless, the border crossers and the coyotes who feed off of their ignorance.  This is the purest, most vile form of capitalism operating at the ass-end of the world you and I live in.

A mother, father and their six year old daughter finally made the bargain with the coyote and by the time they had reached northern Mexico, they were, “all in.”  It was either make it to Florida or lose what little they had to the longest walk of their lives.

Prayers to Mary do not work in the Borderland. They knew that this trek would be difficult, but nothing and no one they had ever seen or met could have prepared them for what still remained between them and the paradise that was picking oranges in the Florida sunshine.

After several days battling dehydration and evading Border Patrol agents, the father became separated from his wife and daughter, leaving them both stranded in the desert with little food or water to keep them alive.

The mother wandered the desert with her young daughter in despair, aimlessly searching for her husband to no avail, crossing paths, inevitably, with another coyote who offered to watch her daughter while she tried to “earn” the necessary funds to pay the coyote’s price for watching her daughter and getting her the rest of the way to Florida.

Or she could pray to Mother Mary.

So she prayed in a world spinning upside down and out of control, leaving the coyote to sun himself in the desert a while longer atop the rocks where he could later hide from the heat of the afternoon.

A man who has lived in the Borderland his whole life soon appeared in the distance with an archeologist walking about and doing a study regarding the migration from north to south and back again over thousands of years. He had a recorder and the two men had been talking about the thousands of backpacks he had collected over the three years of his study, the artifacts of the lost and the dying that seemed to be increasing in volume of late.  The archeologist was creating a story for the Public Radio Exchange Project, a dubious little corner of the worldwide web where some of the worthless artifacts of disaster capitalism are stored, frozen in time with the hope no one can trade for a living wage any longer.

“That is the nature of this place, hombre.”

“What do you mean, Pedro?”

“Prayers do not work here, señor. There is no forgiveness in the Borderland.”

The eyebrows of the archeologist raised and as he turned to shake his head, he caught a glimpse of the woman and her daughter, trudging through the hot sand. “More data,” he thought.

The mother spoke no English, and so Pedro intervened between the two while the archeologist recorded her story for Science, for PRX and for my ears driving home from Austin, from my relatively kush job trying to bring health insurance, maybe healthcare, to my in-laws and countless millions who had nothing only a few short years before.  It was the most I thought I had left to do with my life and my Creator obviously agreed with me.  Working for a Defense contractor before now, while better than starving to death trying to sell cable television and telephone at the age of 50 to a world that no longer needed either, was nowhere near the best possible fit for either me or a culture of people used to blowing two-dollar tents, and their contents, to bits using 100 thousand dollar missiles.  But it was a living, I was slowly returning to the level of income I had been at prior to 9/11/2001, and so when the chance to work on a project that might lead to socialized medicine for all, I felt the attraction of the project and the repulsion of my own karma made my journey to Austin inevitable.  As inevitable as Pedro’s place in space and time translating for an archeologist and Posterity in the Sonoran Desert could possibly be.

Pedro explained the mother’s story and her plight to the archeologist, her dehydration making tears impossible and the smell of drinking her own urine for hours seem so desperate, that Pedro, a man who had no money himself, openly weep for this mother and her young daughter in front of this man of Science.

The archeologist watched, recorder in hand, while Pedro reached deep into his pocket to pull out what must have been his last and only hope for a cup of soup that evening, placing it into the mother’s hand with two of his own. Thirty pesos.  Not even American money.  The mother’s knees buckled to the hot sand, the little girl leaning in towards her mother.  Pedro wailed like a baby.

End of story.

You can build your wall, create a few hundred jobs and perhaps even ease your conscience flipping quarters into the tin cups of the hustlers and the homeless who have littered our streets for most of the last 40 years. Maybe even pretend like you can detect the difference between the two better than a subsistence farmer in southern Mexico.  But you are lying to yourself every bit as effectively as all those Jews who filled up all those rail cars thinking that they were finally going to the Promised Land of Israel, only to discover – far too late – that their fate had already been decided for them by one of their own long before they had even left the Ghetto, long before they had given up all of their earthly possessions to pay for a holy trip that was to be their Final Solution.

Their prayers, like ours, are not answered in the Borderland. All we have left anymore are the stories we tell each other about where we’ve been and what we’ve done to get here to this moment in space and time.  Our only prayer is that we are telling one another the honest truth as we see it.

Fat chance.

Cubed

Orange, yellow, red, white, blue, and green

A spinning mess on an axis seen

From distant planets a paradise found

Turning slowly gray at the speed of sound

 

The war drums beat in amber waves

A present for the dreidel debt slaves

Layers heap and lawyers burst

Rules unheeded leave second and first

Without a home to call their own

Unrest is nature’s debt on loan

 

Even with layers second and first

No third is solved without a durst

But come apart to fall together

And the third swings ‘round and sticks forever

 

But go past one and never see

An end to the need

nor the will of the free

But watch ye closely and you will hear

The nimble fingers of Paul Revere.

 

How to Think

When I hear those words echo from outside myself, I get angry, too.

I don’t know where the anger comes from – the fury.  I just know that it comes.  And it becomes.  On grey Winter days it may comeLiteral Fork In The Road at any time.  In the bursts of springtime blossoms it may fester and go rancid for a chance to spill its seed into the life of another unwitting victim.  Beginning anew, a little less angry with each successive generation, it comes forth with the promise of something different, something interesting, something beyond what has ever come before.  But then it just dies in fits of forgetful regret for not having lived out its promise, for never having broken through its own shell to reach out to the Light.  The Light that’s never really there when we need it, anyway.

Such is the fate of stardust and the powder-filled wings of angels.

If there’s anything good to come from the outright theft and betrayal of the sexual identities of fourteen young women, it is the minor wizardry of these words spilling forth in a waterfall of grief, regret, despair, disappointment and utter betrayal.  I cannot believe we gave so much of ourselves, promised to so many for so very little.

I used to blame my father’s Catholicism for the fact that I could never seem to accept the timid, tentative outstretched hand of a woman looking for connection, for shared joy, for relief from the bitter dregs of adolescent angst.  I could never smash the faces of my enemies nor vanquish my guilt over my reticence.  It was because of that old mossy, rusty cross and those eyes cast down upon the world in a familiar fact-filled glance of grief, regret, despair, disappointment and utter betrayal.  I could not bring myself to strike at the face of my own despair and fear; I could never accept the hand of promise stretched out to me from what seemed like miles away because I never felt entitled to the release, the resolution or the reconciliation.  I never felt entitled because…Jesus.  I never felt good enough because He was hung there like carrion for a murder of crows.  Every bloody nose I willed to be theirs, every smashed face that wasn’t mine, every orgasm lost in grievous sin into tawdry linens I sacrificed by being nailed to a cross of my own construction and design because “They” told me to do it when I couldn’t cross myself correctly, serve mass piously, take my torments with humility or confess my sins honestly.  The same sins it has taken most of my life to even recognize much less comprehend in origin.  “How convenient,” I thought, “that they have numbered all my bones and laid the wages of all sin at my feet, in my tawdry linens, in all my unreconciled torments and dreams of vengeance – no matter how long delayed!”  Of course it was the rancid, ancient beliefs of little men in fancy clothing and funny hats sent from a righteous heaven to defile the dreams of resolution and absolution begged for from a laiety so masochistic, so anachronistic that only a fool would pass on the chance to milk so sacred a cow.  Let the carnival barking begin!  Crash my dreams of a normal, healthy existence into the side of bitter mountaintop, never to be seen, nor heard from, again!

My mother’s bloodied face in 1966 and her long-defiled, swollen abdomen in 1936 had more to do with my tormented-shut libido and my interpersonal cowardice than any religious liturgy oozing out of  ancient Rome.  The sadism was handed down from years of masochism gone unrequited, from beatings so severe and senseless that the beguiled prayed to be set free even onto a snow-filled prairie to take their chances with wild buffalo; buffalo soon to be stacked high near the dead natives left without food to fight the chill of Winter.  No, the Catholics gave these brutal people safe passage into purgatory years after condemning them to the hottest Hell for refusing to eat fish on Fridays, refusing to restrain their coital urges for a public sanctioning of wedlock, for missing a week of mass or a Holy Day.  Or for loving an improper stranger.

The sins of 120 million dead brothers and sisters, of at least as many tears, bore witness then to a brutal savagery yet to come.  A web of interdependent shame so hideous as to make the true character of a people facile in the face of sacrificing any hero or shrew, for they would always be one in the same here.  To Europe and to ancient Rome, the impudent Americans would always be a laughing stock of hollow native outcasts, of fools and of dregs.  We would always care little for ourselves because, for centuries, we would be forsaken by the Crown of Britain for intransigence and singled out for disrespect.  Nevermind that the freedom we sought was only a modicum of what might be deserved for the children of any lesser god.  This callous disregard of our dignity was passed down to all others too taken by our silly clothes and poor agrarian skills to yield to the iron fist our naiveté concealed.

But proof is thus concealed in pudding and murmurs in the mud.

Of one thing my age has granted me some certainty: no deity or reified human being hangs from a tree after being beaten to a point where human death becomes a distant, fond wish and but gives a damn who eats what, who goes where nor who fucks whom.  The look of grief and utter, dismal betrayal in those bloodied, half-shuttered eyes cast down from that effigy beneath which I prayed longingly had nothing to do with anything but the behavior of those who birthed me here and on whose knees my tutelage received.  Beyond that I cannot speak intelligibly, for that is a matter of personal faith which, on a good day, my heart lightens and my smiles abound; on a bad day (or thirty minutes later), well, I wish for you nothing but the cynical fury of a life spent searching for what cannot be found: American dignity.

Fourteen women lost their will to live lives as human beings open to the advances of honest, trustworthy men because a cynical fury, known only to adults, cast onto a child a seething despair so rancid, so irreconcilably lost in the devotion, love and innocence of children, that that child had nowhere left to put their love, had no place to share a joy twisted by fury into sickness and death.  That child turned adult would have you thank them for not murdering these women, but for leaving them broken and not whole inside, that we might reconcile and untwist his sickness into love. Thank you, Bill.  Now go back to the now snow-starved prairie bereft of the buffalo and their brothers, back to the land from which you were fortunate enough to have survived and tell us more tales of laughter and exuberance, if you dare.  Of the wisdom or compassion of a man who hollows out the heart of a woman, eating it but once yet shitting it out sideways into a bag for the rest of his pathetic life, I know precious little but an agonizing despair so deep it cannot be reached.

That was my mother you raped, that was my sister you violated, that was my daughter you betrayed and that was my sex life you utterly destroyed in multiple thoughtless acts of muted revenge for sins beyond any adult ability to reason or scope, let alone a child.  A flaccid awesome lie paints the pants of the American landscape, and we blame you for a child’s disability to communicate a need for reason and for help.

It was not the Catholics after all.  Nor the Crown.  We are where we are because we deserve it.  All power and privilege decreed it so centuries ago.  For that revelation I thank you, Bill Cosby.

No clap of thunder or any tornado-swept hole in Hell matches the jolt of a mind split apart with wattage, laid waste to by countless drugs having side-effects too hideously tormenting to recount, only to be discounted by a community caught in disbelief over its own hypocrisy and loss of moral compass.  It was left to the judgment of a Judge that all power of judgment be taken from a nine year old girl so her goat-copulating father, who freely chose to leave his loose change and burning cigarettes on her nightstand, might continue to work in the community and sustain a family that was rejecting him outright.  The year was 1936 and from 1932 my mother endured the heaving advances, the pathetic breath, the jaundiced eyes and the enormous penis of an entity ten times her weight and orders of magnitude her size.  He was a brutal, drunken heap of human flesh thrown completely clear of a Hell made hot, barren and unwelcoming by his utter presence.  There is a reason the State of Oklahoma continues to quake in ignorant fear of supernatural evil: Jack Shelby lived there once.  He brewed ‘shine fit for Pretty Boy Floyd, lying his way through solid stone, melting handcuffs of righteous lawmen and leaving machine-gun toting criminals in awe of the power of his thunderous, cloven-hooved gait over wooden floors worn down soft by the shuffling feet of the despairing.  He would leave the Dustbowl of Oklahoma just ahead of fate because of the Great Depression, the same Great Depression the people of Texas continue to believe never happened.  They may be right; it may just have been the crater this sucking chest wound of moral ambivalence left in the dirt of Oklahoma when Satan, Himself, threw this Irish asshole to Earth from the hellfire of the Sun.  Steinbeck recounted symptoms for posterity, receiving a Nobel Prize; my mother absorbed a full-frontal moral shock for an entire world terrified by an evil so brutal it defied her ability to remain a whole human being.  For that service she received the scorn of her community, the misunderstanding of her children, and a life that continues to haunt my credulity and stain my credibility with good men who have never had to bear witness to such an empty vastness – to the sheer cold depth – of a moral black hole from which no hope of any light could ever escape.

That is why you have never heard of Jack Shelby, for as soon as he appeared in your life, your mind demanded you forget him; the sheer gravity of his darkness exceeded human comprehension.  What I realize today is that it was his presence in my mother’s life that sealed her fate long before I was even born.  It was never my grandmother’s fault; it wasn’t even the Catholic Churches’ fault; though responsibility, when it hits the fan, is never evenly nor fairly distributed.  This was all Jack Shelby, my grandfather, an evil-dead non-person who raped my mother from the time she was five until she was nine, defiling the countryside from Oklahoma to California in one, long forgettable visitation to our planet.

The first time they strapped my mother down, shoved rubber into her terrified, confused mouth and scrambled her brain with electricity was when she was 19 years old and had had two children by a man from the House of Canterbury.  He left soon after her stay in the sanitarium never to be seen, nor heard from, again.  Decades later, when his children were fully adults and merely curious, they located Jonathan and attempted contact with him.  He refused the connection.  He insisted they were mistakes and that they never contact him again.  They dutifully complied, a burden lifted from one child and left to rest on the shoulders of another.  That child died drinking a gallon of cheap wine every night just to maintain himself from shaking due to withdrawals, aged 64 years.  The official cause of death wasn’t cirrhosis or poisoning, but cancer.  A mere brush with a black hole sends grown men a full country’s width away from their own children and another man into a bottle never to surface again.  Mental illness caused a terrible fright in the 1940’s, even some 4 decades after a firm commitment from the country to build sanitariums to house the mentally ill, the alcoholic and the terminally misunderstood received cheers for President Teddy the Bullmoose.  If we could not repair broken lives, we could at least hide them, and our shame, from public view.  It was the least we could do since, prior to that time, it was the SPCA – the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – who were the only human beings willing to risk contact with society’s untouchables.  Sydney Cameron, a psychiatrist and admirer of the strides the Nazis had made experimenting on the Jews and others in their “work camps,” not one to miss out on an opportunity, used these sanitariums to find research subjects for his experiments involving the erasure and reconstitution of the human personality.  To relieve suffering, of course.  Dr. Cameron never quite perfected the “reconstitution” aspect of his experiments with “psychic driving” before he was forced underground and his experimentations along with him, but that wasn’t for lack of available test subjects.  There will always be plenty of shame to drive some of us completely mad and in search of some sort of erasure.  I do not know if my mother was ever a formal test subject in the early days of the “Monarch” program – a place where the cleansed records of Nazi doctors found a home and adequate funding for further research – but I do know she was given numerous “shock treatments” on multiple occasions in her many three-month, “convalescent stays,” behind the walls of Santa Clara’s now defunct, “Agnews State Hospital.”  I may never know the actual extent of the procedures my mother endured because the State of California “mishandled” all of the patient records from those days, selling the property to Sun Microsystems in 1997.  But at least I know that of the many “sterilization” operations that were performed on mentally ill women without their consent or awareness, my mother was probably not among them.  That could be considered a stroke of luck since, of the fifty states in these United States, California sterilized the mentally ill far more often than any other State.  Texas, where I now live, the least often.

We have always placed great pride in our mental illness in Texas, as it turns out, burying a wealth of “crazy uncles” and “addled aunts” in trailers and trailerparks spread out across the vast, expansive countryside, as if they were our secret treasure waiting to be mined.  We’ve even sent a couple of our most grievously afflicted to serve as Presidents of these United States.  One from each political party has been sent, so far, just to prove that we are nonpartisan and fair in our admiration and respect.

Both men were, history has shown, equally and predictably destructive.

“If nominated I would not run, if elected, I would not serve,” should have been LBJ’s motto before he ascended to the Presidency on the odd coincidence that his predecessor had fallen victim to an assassin’s bullet, not unlike at least one or two other of Johnson’s political opponents.  The Johnson Family might like to parade their favored son’s “Great Society” programs for all to see, but had he not guided and passed that legislation through Congress during his first and only term as President, Bobby Kennedy, the fallen President’s brother, close confidante and a sworn enemy of LBJ and his friend J. Edgar Hoover, would have certainly taken the Presidency and proceeded to right the grievous wrong that had been not just to his family, but to the entire country as a result of his brother’s untimely demise.  As it turned out, the evil that had been done to the United States and to my family up to that point, had taken up deep roots here in the American South, as multiple homicides just happened to take place against every major political opponent who dared to take exception to this country’s economic alliance with Nazi Germany back in 1932.  That would be about the same time Jack Shelby started making his drunken, twisted advances at my mother when she was barely able to walk and not yet able to run.

As for Texas’ other contribution to “whirled peas,” the wound is still quite fresh and infected to the bone as only the bite from the fetid mouth of a Komodo Dragon can be.  I think George W. Bushes’ dubious flight and appearance aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to announce, “Mission Accomplished,” says everything about the purpose and plan the Bush Family had in mind for the United States beginning around 1932 when the President’s grandfather, Prescott, began funneling money and weapons to Nazi Germany and its new Chancellor, “Adolf Hitler.”  The “mission accomplished” banner had precious little to do with “combat operations in Iraq” being complete, because that proved to be complete nonsense.  The mission, from World War I to the present day, has been to bring about a New World Order; the same “novus ordo seclorum” Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler tried to ooze all over the world during World War II.  That mission, to the chagrin of all those brave soldiers and civilians who died during World War II, and their families, has been accomplished.  The dark crown of fascism has been restored on the head where it properly belonged.  God saved the Queen.

The only time I ever saw Jack Shelby, the person, was when he was dying on his bed in a convalescent hospital in Merced, California.  My grandmother couldn’t see fit to keep something like the death of a parent from my mother and, true to form, she gave him more comfort than I was able to comprehend at the age of 12.  True to the nature of these events, I do not recall his face.  I do, however, recall the old man not two beds away pathetically masturbating as my cousins Deborah and Cheryl sat vigil with my mother and grandmother as they said their final “goodbyes” to a hollowed-out shell of a human being.  By this time the evil had left behind little more than an effigy of the man who terrified and terrorized the women in his life four and five decades before.  By that time only Bobby, Jimmy and my mother were left, and they would pass in that order, all from cancer as the official cause.  As I sat there in that room soaked with the smell of Betadine and urine, wondering what I was even doing there, I began to feel the emptiness creeping over me like a hole in my chest that the wind would not leave alone.  Neither Bobby, nor Jimmy, bothered to see their father off with a final fair-the-well.  Over the decades they had seen many men off to Hell in multiple wars as they served in the Navy; the death of their father would be just another hollowed-out shell tossed overboard, the engines of progress full steam ahead.  They had said all they were ever going to say to the man who had terrorized them and raped their sisters.

There was nothing funny or sad about any experience that included Jack Shelby or his clan; these were spiritual trials to be endured, replete with panic attacks, anxiety and terror that seemed to know no bottom.  The terror that I grew up and through, damaging and traumatizing though it was, was nothing in comparison to the fate these poor souls had consigned themselves to.  Enough of my soul and heart was left to allow me to walk through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous at the age of 30, thinking and believing I had been cheated of another 10 good years of drinking and taking drugs, “for fun.”  In those ten years, had I survived them, the disease would have convinced me that life was not about joy but was a trial to be endured.  Only the meanest, coldest and nastiest men lived long or prospered in this hellhole that the likes of JP Morgan, Henry Ford, JD Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie left in their wake.  These four horsemen created a country that will be known not so much for its natural beauty or its kind people but for its unrelenting cruelty against its own and others.  We have been uncompromising in that regard, the scope and depths of our genocidal history so hideously sublime that no history book dare print a word nor utter a sound lest the hounds of hell be unleashed against them and their families.  Such was the case with the Kennedys, such will be the case with any organized resistance against the evil that grows wild here and in places where the Sun never shines.

Just the other day I was reading a recounting of the history of German Uboats of World War II and the various artifacts found in that most impressive submarine fleet of the day.  Among the contents?  Several ticket stubs to movie theaters along the Texas coast.

The point of my story lost in a fog of shame and guilt will be over what shame and guilt I have failed to surface and resolve here.  My responsibility thus adjudicated, I shall suffer that the Queen and Rome might continue their masquerade as unwilling witness to the original sin the publishers of fiction  and contradiction thus contrived.

Deer Jesus Epistle — Measuring Up As Men

SteubenvilleinTutu

“I call on men and boys everywhere to take a stand against the mistreatment of girls and women. It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”  — Desmond Tutu, November, 2012

Not three months prior to Tutu’s statement, two teenage boys brutally assaulted, humiliated and traumatized a sixteen year old girl who was inebriated past the point of being able to take care of herself, let alone call for help from others.

To this very day, the victim’s family and the victim continue to receive death threats and threats of bodily harm from the victim’s teenage peers in the Ohio town of Steubenville, population under 19,000.

Various reports have attempted to slant the story away from the fact that a young woman, possibly already sexually traumatized before the notorious August, 2012 incident, was a victim of rape under Ohio law.  Some of these reports lay claim to this incident being, “fueled,” by social media.

I beg to differ.

Our society fuels both social media and violence against those who are vulnerable.  The whole of United States culture has been built and maintained by a strict code of exploitation of the temporarily weak by the temporarily strong.  When those temporarily weak grow strong enough, there is war.  This has been our pattern for over two centuries.  As the temporarily strong have used war to exploit the growing strength of the temporarily weak, they have become hollowed-out, rotting caricatures of the men, women, slaves and indigenous people who once founded and built this country.

The people of Steubenville have been demoralized and stripped of anything akin to human decency and what the rape of this vulnerable teenage girl reveals is not just cause, but effect.  This entire incident – the childhood trauma, the teenage alcoholism, the economic exploitation of the middle class, the indiscriminate violence, the media circus, the inappropriate labeling and valuation of cultural symbols by a media circus — all took place in a town too small town to be on any nation-state’s radar as a threat to anyone’s interests.  Steubenville has long since been decimated by “globalization” and the moving of steel mills to lands our uneducated children can no longer name, much less locate on a map.  And so the macrocosmic rape of Steubenville played itself out in a microcosmic incident of despicable human trauma and exploitation with vulnerable children caught in the midst of forces too powerful to be ignored.

Were the boys who victimized this teenage girl of Steubenville victims themselves?  Probably.  We enter into the so-called adult world of bitter realities praying to an ineffable sky-being that the personal coin of our lives will somehow magically land on its edge.  These boys parlayed their alcohol-induced block of feeling and sense-making to mean that, finally – for once – they were neither cause nor effect, neither victims nor victimizers, for their target of opportunity was so clearly incapable of recollection or self defense that they could finally act on their hormone-fueled drive for reconciliation and justice leaving no one the wiser.

Alas, no one in a surveillance culture ever gets completely away with anything.  Now everyone knows the coin landed with “cause” facing up even while a circus of agenda-setters tried to turn “cause” into “effect.”  However, the cellphone camera coverage made the facts clear in this case and gave the judge presiding no recourse but to adjudicate these two boys based on their behavior, rather than as well-intentioned young men who simply happened upon a vulnerable female during a night of alcohol-fueled stupidity.  “It was a case of mistaken identity, your honor, where one of these boys thought he had left his car keys in the vagina of an incapacitated female he thought he recognized.”  Such explanations would fall dead on arrival in the judge’s chambers, as they should have.

Human beings under stress behave no better than the worst-behaved chimpanzees in the wild.  Among the great apes a silver-backed gorilla could have mustered superior behavior to the demonstrated depravity of these two alleged hominids taken together.

What the media confusion of cause with effect displaced, potentially forever, is the idea that an incident like the Steubenville rape could be either cause, or effect, or even both at the same time.  The coin of human experience, constantly spinning in midair, revealed first cause, then effect, then cause again, in an endless cycle that rotated about an axis we prefer to call “time” but we might just as well label, “perception.”  For all humankind knows, there is no such idea as “time,” but simply circadian rhythms that come together only to fall away over periods greater than multiple human lifetimes.

Enter now into the social vocabulary words like, “forgiveness” and “mercy.”

For too long we have contented ourselves to believe that forgiveness and mercy were gratuities we ought to extend to those less fortunate than ourselves.  We linger in pestilence and paucity of spirit when we think this way, for every grievance we hold against one another increases only our own misery and despair.  Confusing cause with effect, we then displace our agony and our anger onto some other victim of circumstance who seems a more fitting recipient of our ire.  Rather than identifying and then forgiving the multinational banker who has made our lives into wretched caricatures of grandeur, we instead direct our rage at unwed mothers too poor or uneducated to utilize contraception during sexual intercourse.  Or, perhaps even a gay male who, in spite of society’s remonstrations against the foundations of his conscience, manages to find a moment’s joy in the arms of a lover he never knew could exist.  How dare such people find solace or comfort in a world as laced with misery as this!  Do they not know that we were chosen, we were first in line to receive social justice when it finally arrived, not these outcasts and piriahs!

Identifying our grievances as rage against the international banking establishment and its tendency to treat human beings as chattel at best and dumb animals at worst, we might find the misbehavior and misdeeds our brothers and sisters commit against us as effects and not strictly causes in and of themselves.  While we cannot reasonably hold these banking offenders accountable for the behavior of specific individuals, we almost certainly can hold them accountable for statistical increases in the measurements of social misery – poverty, violence, unemployment, disease, ignorance starvation, war and violations of civil liberties of every sort – as surely as we can place pen to paper to sign a bill into law.

From this day forward, for every middle class and lower citizen who commits a crime and is held accountable, let us also hold accountable those leaders and institutions that failed to provide the childhood support and supervision even a modicum of human decency ought to afford.  For it is not only the youths of Steubenville who have lost their way, it is the entire economic establishment raised to believe that “greed is good” and “only the fittest should survive” while placing their thumb on the scales of justice to favor one sort of “fitness” over another.  No human being at any layer of the social strata will ever be capable of knowing what sort of fitness our future survival might require.  Let us no longer pretend that the crazed and menacing ramblings of a sociopath speaking on behalf of other sociopaths hold out any promise of brighter tomorrows blighted by creatures with less than half the human capacity for empathy and compassion.  Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist” rants and her present-day apologist’s polemics do not advance the cause of human evolution, but would drive us backward to a time when dinosaurs ruled this Earth only to be smited by their own inability to cooperate and ensure mutual survival.

Let this be our response to the people and children of Steubenville, Ohio, and our collective prayer that the wisdom and compassion of Bishop Desmond Tutu should not pass into history unacknowledged or unnoticed.

Your Primary Purpose

The Occupy Wall Street protesters and their partners, globally, have a lot of agendas that they would like to see activated towards the cause of economic justice.

We only need one agenda item activated and it is worth its weight in gold.

Close down the Federal Reserve Banking system.  Do what Andrew Jackson did temporarily and what Kennedy tried to do (but was assassinated for it, among other things) — shut down the international network of bankers and financiers who have made it their business to systematically disempower democracies all over the world while lining their own pockets with the profits of our labor.

The United States is in a good position, but certainly not a powerful one, to end the reign of these rampaging monsters.  With a lot of core industries shipped overseas, we will have difficulty rebuilding our infrastructure, but we can do it and we do not need to pay interest on our own sovereign debt to do so.  Paying interest to bankers for the “priviledge” of them printing our “notes” is completely assinine and always has been.  Now that we can clearly see why these bankers wanted this level of power and control over us, we can permanently dispense with them once and for all.

What will soon follow this missive are a number of global geotectonic events sufficient to bring about a global cooling that will give us all a temporary reprieve from the global warming that has had us all concerned and it will substantially weaken any and all government attempts at stopping us from achieving our goals of national sovereignty, international brother and sisterhood and peace on Earth.

But it must start with a singular focus on the most critical issue of our time: how we value our time and labor, and who, specifically, has the right to control or manipulate the value of that time and labor.  We might believe that two percent per year is not much of a tax to pay for civilization, but what has been done to us over the past thirty years has NOT been civilized.  We have been worked into mindlessness, had our children programmed for complete ignorance and consumption, and have had millions of innocent people murdered in our name and without our consent.

Enough.  The fury of Mother Earth is about to be felt globally and with a rage that is long overdue.

As a first step, trade in all your “federal reserve notes” for Susan B. Anthony dollar coins.  We pay no interest on the coins we mint, only the federal reserve notes we print.  Trade in these coins and give them whatever value we agree on.  For now they are worth their weight in gold.

A Certain Pestilence

Today we celebrate our distress by pretending distress does not exist, that the now familiar pressure in our lives is actually that of earning a living for our families, no matter how outrageous, or even surreal, the pressure on our families becomes. Rather than the effects of nineteen Arab Muslims with box-cutters on the economies of the western world, perhaps a warp in space-time swallowing even the light with which we view our television sets is to blame. Forget that fascism has always been a pestilence since it became the reason we broke from Mother England over two hundred years ago, let us stare, instead, at the fascinating or morbid, strangeness staring back at us as we observe a cosmic black hole in some far-off galaxy.

Before I encourage anyone to snap out of this trance we find ourselves in and become a conscious adult human, let me assure my readers, first, of the many effects a massive gravitational anomaly in our midst might have.

Nothing escapes the odd beauty of the event horizon of a black hole. The warp of space-time at this perimeter bends all available light between the observer and what exists beyond the boundary observed, creating a fiery ribbon’s edge composed of the light of things not ordinarily seen. This is the fascination we have with this cosmic anomaly: in one small place we can see what happened a million years ago and compare it with what happened a billion years ago, along with what happened a dozen years prior. A truly vast perspective on reality we behold imbuing us with a sense of godlike vision over the affairs of our lives. The dense and enormous gravitational pull of a black hole lenses reality into a radial focus, giving a sense of eternity to the observer, the observed and the process of observation.

What follows very swiftly as one begins to embrace this most stimulating of horizons is a noticeable difference between the gravity at one’s feet and the gravity at the top of one’s skull, establishing a sensation of heaviness, of importance, such that every step taken towards the fuller embrace of the anomaly becomes a grander, deeper more meaningful encounter with all that can ever be seen.

But what can be seen inside the event horizon of a hole in space so deep that it bends light from a billion years away into itself? For those of us watching this embrace, what becomes clear is not a whit of illumination escapes; there is no light, only a darkness deeper than imagination’s many children. But for those enraptured of the things just seen and their own sense of gravity, the darkness is but a pittance. Look at all that we have seen and achieved so quickly, they proclaim!

More swiftly still the difference in gravity between feet and brain becomes ever more acute as the body of the observer is pulled into smaller and smaller pieces by the embrace of the observed. There can be no escape from this fall, event horizon to core, an end as inevitable as death itself awaits as acceleration pulls apart the very soul of a man or woman into its component parts. No one can see this end for all occurs in the cover of deepest darkness, yet we can know from abstraction and deduction that the end stage disintegration was never the initial intention of the observer viewing the observed. All too soon this End became everything that the observer could speak of as the Madness pulled even life-giving blood from the brain into the feet of an otherwise good man or woman running to catch a train that has long since left the station.

Then, perhaps, a flash of X-rays expelled from the center of the hole reminds us that a drastic transformation has taken place before the event horizon expands ever so slightly to compensate for the mass just consumed.

Fascism, the inevitable result of vast concentrations of wealth and power into the hands of the few, is just such a warping of space and time, pulling apart the very fabric that makes community and fellowship with our brothers and sisters a pleasure and such a joyous possibility. Fascism pulls each of us into our component parts until nothing, not even light, can escape its embrace. We might know of the dangers of approaching this much gravity so brazenly except that all evidence of its presence disappears without a trace in history, its consumption of witnesses and evidence vacuumed completely out of existence.

So what was the essential “sin” in this flirtation with the acceleration of human possibilities and potential? Comprehending as we now do why an individual or a group might be deceived at the edge of the event horizon, why do we not chart a course completely avoiding these cosmic sinkholes, knowing the inevitability of the end?

Why does the addict pick up their drug of choice, again and again, after every painful detoxification, when they know the pain and suffering that must always await them?

Why does the obsessive love partner return, again and again, to a relationship that they both demand be functional even long after they discover the impossibility of the relationship chemistry between the two people involved?

Why do we humans believe that it is possible to behold a “cake” with our eyes while also enjoying the consumption of the same “cake?” Why do we tear concepts to shreds in order to “better” understand them, yet insist on entertaining the expectation that our reassembly of component parts must always yield the initial concept? Is it not a magical belief that our perceptions of phenomena reveal everything relevant to our senses? What has our collection of novel empirical data always demonstrated without fail in the past?

Our great flaw in all these instances is that we have seen only the past in all the light that has ever met our eyes. We projected futures onto what we saw based on what had already come and gone, regardless of how we assembled and structured the meaning of that past. And so our projected futures, regardless of the quantity of the past data we have had at our disposal, suffered from the same observational flaws we used in assembling and systematizing our pasts in the first place. We have become fixated on seeing nothing right here, right now, just as it is to us. We look at scientific data or the video footage of a war atrocity and we have trained ourselves to associate what we observe with what we have already experienced, what we thought about that experience and how we felt about it. What we miss by occupying a past or projected future state based on that past, is the here and now experience of novelty, revulsion or sensory overload that informs those we share our experiences with that we have rendered the rawest possible data to our fellow interpreters for their own interpretation and use.

So we need to encourage each other to “snap out of” the trance we are in regarding the fascist/capitalist/corporatist dialogue we observe spewing forth from the mouths of television pundits and media personalities with specific, money-making agendas not likely to give us the raw data we need to make informed decisions for ourselves. We already know, if we are conscious, thoughtful adults, that two massive steel-reinforced concrete structures do not collapse into nearly their own footprint at near free-fall speed because two large jetliners crashed into them two hours prior. We know this is rubbish. But why must fascists shock us with nonsense before they proceed with their plans to subvert our liberties and our freedoms? Why do they not want us to be at liberty to decide for ourselves about the nature of reality? Does truth not benefit everyone equally? Why not?

Qui bono?