Right Up the Middle

On the football field everyone who plays the game knows the hardest route to the goal post is right up the middle. It’s also the fastest way because it’s the shortest distance. Once you break free . . . zoom you’re on your way to a touch down.

Now if you were to take a good look at the game of politics these days and play football like we play politics no one would ever get the ball out of the backfield. The only touchdowns anyone would see would be the imaginary ones you get at the beginning of the game by the bookies and sport casters. The political backfield would look more like a continues ‘end around’ from one side to the other with no one ever even getting enough yardage to earn another set of downs. The stands would soon empty when the fans realized that it would be more exciting to go home and watch Dr. Phil that sit and watch these goons continue to run themselves ragged in circles.

If someone were to ask me to tell them in one word what this country needed the most in order to get something accomplished I would say “balance” because everything I see around me in every direction is out of balance and also out of focus. From the core family to the media to this very planet we live on, we are seemingly drowning in division and most of it is created by us, not God, not the Conservatives nor the Liberals or even the terrorists . . . us. How come? Why are we doing this to ourselves? What does balance actually mean when it comes to living it anyway?

Well, on the one side we have the Rush Limbaughs and his company of true believers, on the other side we have the Michael Moore’s and his company of true believers. In the middle between the two, we have a huge void of emptiness as seemingly there is no longer a middle of the road. These guys are both bright, intelligent individuals, but somewhere along the way and for various reasons, they have fallen out of balance and sadly have taken their large following of sheeple with them.

People who can think for themselves and make a decision based upon their needs and their desires are in short supply these days. Rather then think through the decision making process themselves, the vast majority of our citizens have boughten into the lies, deceptions and half truths of their chosen political guru and have subsequently been drawn into their vortex of negativity.

Officials will say anything these days to get into office, but once in, soon thereafter they say nothing that doesn’t pass muster with the lobbyists and special interest groups that sent them there. So in a very basic way the government of the US is no longer a government of the people, it is merely a front for a mob composed of special interests, the military/industrial complex and their minions. There will never be any hope for balance in Congress so long as our elected officials cater to these groups.

Everybody on the right fears Obama and his ‘socialistic ‘ tendencies. Everybody on the left fears the conservatives and their tea party that is growing amongst us in leaps and bounds. The left hates the right, sees them all as idiots. The right hates the left, sees them all as idiots. While in the center, at the balance point there is a strong, resounding silence. We’ve all been had by this diversion that keeps us at each others throats, until the ultimate changing of our form of government.

What I (and others) see coming down the pike is not a Socialist government, but a Fascist government being ushered in on the wings of acute nationalism.

Nationalism

An important part of belief in “manifest destiny” is “nationalism.” Nationalism holds that human civilization can be broken up into basic units called “nations,” which basically consist of people having a similar origin and unifying culture. Each nation, therefore, should have its own state: this is in fact the rule today. The United States is home to the American nation, Russia is home to the Russian nation, and so on. Theoretically, at least.

Nationalism claims particular virtues for a given nation, and particular responsibilities. Rome believed it had a mission to civilize the world, Russia believed it had a mission to civilize the world, as did the Soviet Union, and as does the United States, at least sometimes. I would say that nationalism is basically a neutral concept: nationalistic arguments have been used to start countless wars, but they have also held countries together.

Although in and of itself nationalism is seemingly impotent enough, once it becomes acute and is pushed to the forefront by an over the top emphasis on patriotism/military might/hero culture/ like that which seems today to be coming from the Right it could grow and ultimately turn Fascist as the Third Reich did.

We in this country have always felt that none of that stuff can happen here. Well of course it can. Was Germany in the thirties an ignorant third world country? No. Germany was a central European country every bit as intelligent and progressive as England and her neighbors. The Germans excelled in art, music, literature and were every bit as advanced scientifically as we ourselves. What drew her in was the very things that are drawing us in, nationalistic pride and the fact that they were broke. Hitler buoyed them up on the wings of rhetorical promise and the rest is history. And if we are foolish enough to follow her path we will also enjoy the fruits of her labors, ending up as she did in 1945.

We are nothing special, we have no contract or unction from God. We are not the chosen people like we seem to think. This manifest destiny stuff is pure elitist bullshit. We have only been around a couple hundred years for Christs sake. We’re just babies on the world scene. Babies whose leaders are selling out to the highest international bidder. They may as well put the U.S. up on E-Bay . . . ‘For sale The United States of America. . . . make us an off we can’t refuse.’

Shame on us for having argued and fought and laid about while this country has been cunningly whisked out from under our feet. And a lot of people don’t even know it yet. They are the new German Jew sitting in their houses waiting for things to get better. Praying for things to get better, while all the while on the other side of their drawn drapes the noose tightens.

If we are not already out of time we need to get back in shape. We need to find our balance . . . we need to drop the sound bites, fill the middle and become true patriots. Then we can use that new found balance to carry the ball without fumbling while we dodge and weave our way right up the middle, not stopping until we reach the goal line.

Can we do it? Of course we can. Will we do it? Not this way, not sitting around calling each other idiots and dopes while throwing stones across the great divide where the balance point once lived……. neba hachi GI.

It’s Every Man For Himself

In every great battle there is a moment when opposing armies realize that they have either won or lost the conflict they find themselves in. The victor makes one last charge while the loser, realizing his command structure has broken down in disarray, heads for the hills.

So the call is going out to my four readers here and now . . . “IT”S EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!!” Find a way out of the compound, escape to the jungle and utilize the survival skills you have been taught . . . you’re on your own. Good luck.

As I sat before my TV last night watching the incentive debate going on between the republicans and the democrats I asked myself. Where’s the change? Where’s the earnest non-partisan effort of both parties to come together and get this thing done?

Now Obama will get his bill passed, but his own party has pretty much scuttled it’s affect in my opinion. I now know without a doubt (even though I hate to admit it to myself) the battle for change is over. It’s been bored to death by partisan business-as-usual and has gone AWOL.

It would have taken a herculean effort anyways to change anything in Washington politics and it was probably just to much to ask from the very beginning. I mean how do you make a silk purse out of a pigs ear anyways?

I had a lot of hope for Obama and his administration. His cry for change rang true in my ears. I thought maybe, just maybe he could lead this country out of the morass of in-fighting and bickering and do-nothing-but-pander-to-special-interests legislation used by previous elected officials that has brought this country to its knees. I had hope even though I knew Obama was going to have a tough time of it. Even though I knew he would never do much on his own. Even though . . .

Last night that hope dried up and blew away as I watched one Senator after another acting out of his/ her own ego, more concerned with a few moments in the spot light, more concerned with his/her pet beliefs and projects, more concerned with seemingly everything available than the ONLY thing he/she should be concerned with . . . putting together a viable, hard hitting incentive package that would get us out of this hole we have dug for ourselves.

I saw little of that sort of concern. Lot’s of rhetoric, the American people this, the American people that, but all said in the same vein of trying to prove THEIR point.

The democrats trying to fill the incentive bill with enough pork to make a pig sick.

The republicans crying the same old story of tax breaks for business and the rich.

Pelosi and crew aren’t about to give in to their wild liberal demands.

The republicans aren’t about to give up their kneeling spot beneath the Golden Calf of perverted capitalism.

And the beat goes on as together they chew each on others asses even as they fall “together” over the cliff.

The winds of change have even taken on the foul odor of fear mongering as Obama does much the same as George Bush did before him by trying to rush the 900 billion dollar incentive package through congress.

By the way aren’t these (congress) the same assholes who just approved themselves a raise? You would think that the collective wisdom amongst them would have raised a flag on this one. No?

This all equals another no . . . no hope. It’s all being flushed down the drain of self interest.

I believe Obama was the man for the hour, but the Rush Limbaugh (and others) buzzword of “socialism” (remember McCarthy and his “communism” witch hunt?) will prove impossible for him to deal with and he will spend most of his time defending himself and his administration when only a strong offense will win the day for ‘change’.

Is it the republicans fault? Is it the democrats fault? No. It’s everybody’s fault.

Perhaps it’s merely fate. Perhaps it’s just our time to die like everything eventually does and nothing can change it, but for certain history will not be kind to this generation as the record will show that when the ship of State sprung a leak and began to list her occupants were to busy arguing about how to apply the patch and she sunk from lack of attention.

Personally I’m done with politics (so you no longer need to put up with my rants 🙂 and am getting back in survival mode myself.

I have no more hope for change or for a fix or for anything else coming from Washington save a bunch of hot air, and it’s going to take a whole hell of a lot more than hot air to keep the folks sitting around their stoves this winter warm so I’m closing with (and I hope I’m wrong). . . one more time.

“IT”S EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!”

Purveyors of Fear

Watching the recent inauguration I was somewhat taken aback by the large crowds and the obviously happy people creating them. There was a distinct air of hope permeating from these millions of people. There was a fire in their belly keeping them warm as they stood in the cold awaiting the change about to take place on a distant podium. A new day was dawning and I believe everybody there realized it. Even Dick Chaney showing up in a wheelchair was a type and shadow of an old way about to be replaced by the winds of change.

Were these people ALL being deceived by this Obama character, this guy gifted with enough rhetorical power to entice the scales off a snake? Or were these people merely moving within the same vibe that lead Obama himself to that podium?

Are these millions of people willing to do what it takes to get this ship of State on course again or are they just looking for a savior to do it for them? Can this huge groundswell of support last when the day dims and their hope is put to the test?…as it surely will.

Who knows for sure, all any of us can do is hope. I am not too optimistic, but with all my being I hope this thing succeeds cause I truly believe this is the last chance we have to get our country back.

There is another crowd though, a crowd filled with people who are cold and fearful of the change this man is promoting. These people wear the compliment to hope, the yin to the yang and are to be expected. To them Obama is the anti-Christ himself.

This crowd feeds off the vibe of fear. Fear of the black man. Fear of the terrorist. Fear of change. Fear of seemingly everything that would vaguely change or reroute this highly touted capitalistic system they have created for themselves.

So, we have two distinct armies growing upon our landscape. The army of hope and the army of fear. Who will win? Don’t have a clue, but for me and my house we will gladly and willingly take up the challenge of hope and stand behind our new president Barrack Obama the half-black senator from Chicago.

I have a friend who is one of Rush Limbaugh’s (who’s a commanding general in the army of fear mongering) most faithful ditto heads. To me this is quite alarming as I consider giving ones rational thought process to fearing anybody or anything is tantamount to defeat by choice.

I find this totally unacceptable and have told my friend so, but as his mind has been clogged by Limbauitis for the last twenty years, he has in essence become a bobble headed minion in Rushes army of nit wits.

So because of his inability to discuss anything beyond the party line I’m going to ask an open question across the internet to my many (4) readers.

What are you conservative right wingers afraid of anyways?

Can you not see that time has risen the oil to the top of our capitalistic system and (the oil) has been siphoned off by the rich and powerful? That because of greed this highly touted system is now out of the reach of the middle class? Can’t you see that the rich patients have taken over the asylum and the playing field has become unbalanced?

It’s not that capitalism is in any way responsible for the collapse of our financial/banking/real estate system. Capitalism is as as good as it gets in a nation of strong, hard working, citizens, but the fine line that keeps it afloat and viable has always by nature been close to the water line.

Now because of the weight of this overwhelming greed the boat is, even with all hands manning the pumps, slowly sinking towards the abyss and the only thing keeping it afloat at this time is hope.

Yet there are those amongst us who are doing their damnedest to see that we fail and the ship sinks . . .why?

Hope sets one free, fear keeps one in bondage. It’s as simple as that.

The status quo is quite comfortable for the rich and the powerful in this country who have captured the whole pie and refuse to share with the rest of us. They don’t go to bed hungry. They don’t get laid off or lose their jobs. They don’t see factories closing all around them. They see these factories merely moving to a different place off shore.

A place where they can forget about all the hindering pollution laws. A place where they can forget about unions and work stoppages and high wages. They merely move to a place where they can make MORE money. This makes sense to them, this is good business and it fits perfectly into their perverted definition of capitalism.

These people use fear like a cattle prod to keep us in line. They promise to protect us from the terrorist. They promise all sorts of shit, but in the end that’s all we get . . . more shit.

These purveyors of fear remind me of the old mob in the Bronx selling protection to all the store owners. They walk in and promise you that for a fee of their choosing your store will be protected and if you comply with their demands you have a safe store, if not it gets blown up . . . simple. Reminds me of the insurance industry and this homeland security crap.

Like I said in my last entry. A rag tag army of terrorists is hardly worth 12 billion dollars a month when all it takes is an alert and well armed citizenry to drive them into the sea.

“We’re fighting them there so we won’t have to fight them here” is such a bullshit explanation I cannot even respond to it. Does anybody think in all reality that this country would have the casualties we have suffered over In Iraq and Afghanistan if we were fighting terrorism here in this country?

The towers went down for one reason, and one reason only. The complacency of those charged with defending us from this sort of thing. Using the laws in place and opening their fucking eyes was more than enough to keep us safe. They were asleep at the wheel.

If we started watching the borders. If we got our eyes off the pavement two steps in front of our feet and began to observe our surroundings instead of stumbling around the malls like sheep in a pen. If we actually began to take responsibility for ourselves, and our towns and our nation, the terrorist wouldn’t stand a chance.

We need change. We need to wake up and realize this is a violent and uncompromising world we live in. We need to shove the purveyor of fear off into the night and we need to press forward into the light of day . . . and change . . . and hope.

I pray Obama can keep the vibe going long enough that the people can catch up because if this thing fails we all fail. If it succeeds we all succeed. . . cause in the real world we are the catalyst that will make it all happen. Obama can only lead the army, he can not ever BE the army.

What Is the Future of Suburbia?

“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”

There are many ways of describing the fiasco of suburbia, but these days I refer to it as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.

I say this because American suburbia requires an infinite supply of cheap energy in order to function and we have now entered a permanent global energy crisis that will change the whole equation of daily life. Having poured a half-century of our national wealth into a living arrangement with no future — and linked our very identity with it — we have provoked a powerful psychology of previous investment that will make it difficult for us to let go, change our behavior, and make other arrangements.

Compounding the problem is the fact that we ditched our manufacturing economy for a suburban sprawl building economy (a.k.a. “the housing bubble”), meaning we came to base our economy on building even more stuff with no future. This is a hell of a problem, since it is at once economic, socio-political, and circumstantial.

Here’s what I think will happen: First, we are in great danger of mounting a futile campaign to sustain the unsustainable, that is, of defending suburbia at all costs.
In fact, it is already underway. One symptom of this is that the only subject under discussion about our energy predicament is how can we keep running all our cars by other means. Even the leading environmentalists talk of little else. We don’t get it. The Happy Motoring era is over. No combination of “alt” fuels — solar, wind, nuclear, tar sands, oil-shale, offshore drilling, used French-fry oil — will allow us to keep running the interstate highway system, Wal-Marts, and Walt Disney World.

The automobile will be a diminishing presence in our lives, whether we like it or not. Further proof of our obdurate cluelessness in these matters is the absence of any public discussion about restoring the passenger railroad system — even as the airline industry is also visibly dying. The campaign to sustain suburbia and all its entitlements will result in a tragic squandering of our dwindling resources and capital.

The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins. In any case, the suburbs will lose value dramatically, both in terms of usefulness and financial investment. Most of the fabric of suburbia will not be “fixed” or retrofitted, in particular the residential subdivisions. They were built badly in the wrong places. We will have to return to traditional modes of inhabiting the landscape — villages, towns, and cities, composed of walkable neighborhoods and business districts — and the successful ones will have to exist in relation to a productive agricultural hinterland, because petro-agriculture (as represented by the infamous 3000-mile Caesar salad) is also now coming to an end. Fortunately, we have many under-activated small towns and small cities in favorable locations near waterways. This will be increasingly important as transport of goods by water regains importance.

We face an epochal demographic shift, but not the one that is commonly expected: from suburbs to big cities. Rather, we are in for a reversal of the 200-year-long trend of people moving from the farms and small towns to the big cities. People will be moving to the smaller towns and smaller cities because they are more appropriately scaled to the limited energy diet of the future. I believe our big cities will contract substantially — even if they densify back around their old cores and waterfronts. They are products, largely, of the 20th-century cheap energy fiesta and they will be starved in the decades ahead.

One popular current fantasy I hear often is that apartment towers are the “greenest” mode of human habitation. On the contrary, we will discover that the skyscraper is an obsolete building type, and that cities overburdened with them will suffer a huge liability — Manhattan and Chicago being the primary examples. Cities composed mostly of suburban-type fabric — Houston, Atlanta, Orlando, et al — will also depreciate sharply. The process of urban contraction is likely to be complicated by ethnic tensions and social disorder.

As petro-agriculture implodes, we’ll have to raise our food differently, closer to home, and at a finer and smaller scale. This new agricultural landscape will be inhabited differently, since farming will require more human attention. The places that are not able to grow enough food locally are not likely to make it. Phoenix and Las Vegas will be shadows of what they are now, if they exist at all.

These days, an awful lot of people — the production builders, the realtors — are waiting for the “bottom” in the real-estate industry with hopes that the suburban house-building orgy will resume. They are waiting in vain. The project of suburbia is over. We will build no more of it. Now we’re stuck with what’s there. Sometimes whole societies make unfortunate decisions or go down tragic pathways. Suburbia was ours.

James Kunstler, the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century,

Land of the Impotent

Does anybody remember Woody Guthrie? Or Pete Seeger? Does anybody remember the time in this country during the great union movement of the thirties when these guys organized the disenfranchised worker all across this country? Does anybody remember when men actually shoved their heels into their turf and told the massa, “Enough of the shit, we ain’t gonna take it anymore!”

They sang their protest songs, they took their beatings, they stood together with nothing but ball bats as hired company thugs attacked and beat them mercilessly. These men, mostly uneducated, mostly dirt poor, mostly afraid, had within themselves the gumption to stand tall against the established rule and ultimately they kicked his ass. They chose to fight back rather than sit and watch as the ribs appeared in the sides of their children.

Thus began the rise of the worker unions all across this country. And as they grew they became more powerful till at the height of their rein in America they had Boss Hog shivering in his boots at the first sign of a walkout and strike.

Of course history played the game out and the union, once the hero of the working class, has by now become an impotent side show because of their own version of back room dealings and capitulation. The generation of strong men who fought for justice retired on their hard won pensions while the spawn who followed grew lazy and complacent. They began to use the union as their own department of “Get all you can while giving as less as you can” and ultimately destroyed it.

It seems in todays world we are back to square one again, except this time it’s actually worse. This time Boss Hog has merely shoved his middle finger up our noses and with the help of his friends in Washington moved to Mexico. He bought labor from China, India, and had a zillion other ways of getting us back to walking on our knees. He even has us thanking him for his benevolence.

We have in essence become a very large and expanding bunch of winers that no one seems to have much respect for. We don’t even respect ourselves. We complain about the bullshit happening all around us, but are afraid to stir the waters too much cause well, you know, we don’t want to make the man angry with us. We put up with being robbed, suckered, punched in the face and kicked in our ass until we find a soft spot on the hard porch and just sit there complaining into our wine bottle. (why do you think they call it wine?)

Why do our women disrespect us? We don’t deserve any. Why do we send our kids off to fight George Bushes war in some patriotic rush when it was obvious from the very beginning the dope didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and the whole world warned us of the fact?

Why did we listen to the bullshit and downright lies that ultimately got them blown to bits in some desert swamp amongst a people totally foreign and uncaring to our way of life or what we were supposedly doing for them? Maybe they just understood all along why we were there in the first place. Something a lot of people in this country still seem to have problems with understanding. Why did we allow all this to happen?

We were willing to fight for Boss Hog, willing to look the other way when he robbed us, even willing to bail him out. When he got caught going to far in his greed we said, “Oh we need Boss, we must bail him out.”

For this we get a peck on the cheek and the privilege of watching another mom and pop store bite the dust as a Chinese Walmart grows in our neighborhood. The impotence and ignorance of the men in this country today is astoundingly pathetic.

Where are the Woody Guthrie’s of this generation? Where are the people willing to take a stand against the robber baron, to take a ball bat to his face and tell him to fuck off, he don’t get no bailout.

Man, I am getting old. . . and discouraged. What will this country look like for my grandchildren after this generation of knee knockers gets done with it is anybodies guess, but I’m betting it won’t be pretty.

As to your personal survival in all this. The very first thing you must do if you plan to survive any of the stuff thats coming down the pike is to search within yourselves for the manhood that your forefathers bequeathed to you . . . and use it.

Quit with the whining and get on with the New Revolution. The pendulum needs a swing to the left again because in all life there is a waning and a waxing, nothing is stagnant …nor should be we. Life is breathing through the chaos. Don’t be afraid, you can too.