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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Skiing in the Rain in Vancouver: February 2010

Maybe it's been fun, who knows?

From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs, and hers, dig it, because Gandhi hit the nail smack on the konk when he said:

"We must become the change we wish to see in the world."

Or, in words everyone knows:

"Tag.   You're it."

I've recently started volunteering one day a week as a mentor at a daycare center for children of homeless families run by the Salvation Army in Central Square, and I can't begin to tell you how pleasurable this is, what a relief valve for the psychic pressures screaming for change and progress in one's brain. To have stepped out of the Negative Comfort Zone in which one endlessly gripes and complains and moans AND DOES NOTHING and in which one has been trapped since, it feels like, the beginning of time, has been one of the best things that has ever happened to one.

Michelet wrote:

"In the end, the primary actor is always the people." And why is this? Because we have the numbers. We are the country. We are its life and its soul and its heart, and when we act, history is shattered and social justice is born.

U.S. foreign policy as a whole? Morally revolting, economically unsustainable. Question: How has "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" morphed, grotesquely, hideously, into "a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich." A PBS broadcast a couple years back mentioned in passing that 1 percent of the American population (the people who prefer to have their bread buttered on both sides) possesses approximately 40 percent of the nation's wealth. Since hearing that, one's life hasn't been the same. What serious social ill that we struggle with as a people can't be traced to this disproportionate and irrational distribution of national assets and power? It's disproportionate to a freaking extreme. ABC News reported in April 2006 that when Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond retired that year, he received a retirement package, including a pension, stock options and other perqs, worth $400 million. $400 million to one man. Question: what is it this one man does that's so valuable that he's entitled to that kind of cash? His paycheck for 2005, ABC reports, came to $51.1 million. That works out to $6,000 per hour.

Think he's worth it? Think anybody's worth that kinda pay, when we have people living in the streets in cardboard boxes and kids dropping out of high school at the rate of 50 percent per year in major cities and a suicide rate among the general population of one every two minutes?

Most serious undiagnosed problem in U.S. society? Fragmentation of consciousness by digital technology, fundamental reason this weblog is hereby brought to an end. The average person has lost the ability to investigate any given single issue in depth. And if we do not individually and collectively investigate the custom/institution/"right"/fraud of property, which is fundamental in the extreme because it determines the relationship of human beings to material reality, determining where one may walk and what one may touch, among countless other issues, we will destroy ourselves. As we may in fact be doing.

What will cause the United States, a country steeped in the viciousness and irrationality of capitalism and property, to take global warming seriously? Snowstorms in Florida? No. Widespread destruction of lives and property by hurricanes? No. Rising sea levels? No. Resource wars? No. Permanent U.S. economic recession due to sequential climate-related crises in international commerce? A little. (Cf. Paul Grignon's documentary Money as Debt, Pts. 1 & 2.) Disruption of the five oceans' single, primary circulatory current due to melting ice caps and consequent catastrophic loss of sea life? A little. Famine and starvation in the U.S. caused by persistent atypical droughts? Yes.

Is climate collapse a possibility? Prefer not to answer due to concern about the effects of defeatist thinking.

Is there anything, any social antidote, any social movement, anywhere in the world, capable of detoxifying capitalism and halting its international over-the-cliff momentum? If there is, I don't know what it is. A free, non-corporatist press is probably the only phenomenon standing between human beings and species suicide. (Cf. Chalmers Johnson's Nemesis: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic.) Over evolutionary history, the vast majority of animal species that have existed, homo sapiens being but one of many, are today extinct. Cf. Stephen Meyers The End of the Wild which is the most recent Greek tragedy available in English: The battle for biodiversity has been fought, and it is over, and we have lost."

Quote of the day, from W. Whitman: "O despairer, here is my neck, / By God! you shall not go down! Hang your whole weight upon me."

Greatest cause for optimism? Freedom of speech has not yet by eliminated by a totalitarian police state.

Defining moment of our time? 9/11. Cf. Peter Joseph's documentary Zeitgeist.

Best available book of political science? Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's What Is Property? available from Cambridge University Press, UK.

Marriage equality? A fundamental human right guaranteed by the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If it makes sense to persecute people like John Maynard Keynes, Walt Whitman, Proust, Wittgenstein, Henry James and Michelangelo, then witches deserve to be burned at the stake and the moon is made of green cheese. To interfere with a person's sexual development is to drive a nail into her skull. Or his.

Recommended diet: More plant food, less meat (including milk, which is liquid meat).

Water conservation? More deodorant and one shower a week in winter; state-of-the-art flushless urinals.

Energy development? Immediate and full-spectrum government support of green technology; that is, if we take the issue of survival seriously, which is debatable.

Transportation? High-speed rail drastically needed and long overdue due to pernicious influence of oil companies and automakers on Congress and the White House.

Rational response to widespread and persistent unemployment due to 2009 crisis of capitalism caused by moral depravity and professional incompetence on Wall Street? Government- managed public works projects to rebuild national infrastructure in the tradition of FDR. How are the people of America bearing up under persistent 10 percent unemployment and the various other benefits of globalism, including but not limited to the wholesale export of jobs by transnational corporations, which has all but obliterated the manufacturing jobs the urban poor relied upon for a half-century or more? According to the weblog of Ryan Crofts, M.D.: "Between 1987 and 1997, the percentage of Americans in outpatient treatment for serious depression more than tripled. The 1985 the total annual sales for all antidepressants was approximately $240 million. Today it is approximately $12 billion."

The truest majority? The dead. They outnumber us by so many votes we don't have a chance. And their number gets larger every day. They're winning.

Best current novel? Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole. Far better than Gravity's Rainbow.

Best current film? Brooklyn's Finest, an entertaining portrait of what capitalism's profit motive, and the artificial scarcity it creates, can do to otherwise rational human beings. The Inferno at a theater near you. Necessary viewing. Delicate viewers should bring a friend whose hand they can hold, desperately.

Control? After Burroughs--Control is never a means to an end. Control leads to one thing and one thing only--more control, like junk.

Best treatment for catastrophic depression? Therapy with a course of medication, lifetime maintenance commonly necessary to prevent relapse, my person favorite being Effexor XR.

Autoerotic diversions? Without improved sex education in public and private schools, the U.S. rape and venereal disease epidemics will go on forever. The current issue of the Boston Phoenix (3-12-10, p. 9) reports that Boston University, a single college, "reported five forcible rapes in 2008 and 22 forcible sex offenses on its Charles River campus in 2006-2008." Down by the water indeed. The Boston Rape Crisis Center is currently sponsoring a billboard above the C. Saloon with the headline: "Every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted."

Meditation? A zen monk is reported to have sat and stared at a blank wall for nine years. Cf. Alan Watts on zazen in The Way of Zen. Highly recommended, along with TM, for detoxifying netheads.

Best diet: All plant food, no meat, the ironic part of this being that one eats better after making the switch because one is forced to rely on one's innate creativity and ends up eating a greater variety of foods, most of which one overlooks as a consumer of animals. Consider eating your favorite pet. Not appetizing. Why do we treat certain animals with love and care, and eat others? Strange. Are animals alive? Do they actually have lives? Or are they just so much walking trash, walking hamburgers? They don't feel pain when they are slaughtered, do they? And they probably don't mind spending their entire lives sleeping in their own excrement in confined pens, indoors and out, on factory farms, which produce 99 percent of the U.S. meat supply. Ever see a picture of an animal in a grocery store? Not too often. Ever watch a YouTube hidden-camera video showing what goes on in slaughterhouses 24/7? Ever see a live cow dangling in the air by one leg, attached to an overhead conveyer by a chain? Factory farms consume 50 percent of the U.S. fresh water supply, account for 50 percent of total U.S. fish consumption, and their waste is an enormous source of fresh-water contamination, since it goes into rivers and lakes raw, Congress graciously exempting meat producers from treating this sewage, at all, in any way. The major source of current U.S. fresh-water contamination is simple runoff from rainstorms which washes the drippings of industrialism and the chemicals of agribusiness into our streams, lakes and rivers. This contamination may be poisoning us and causing a good deal of cancer, but at least somebody's making a profit off it.

Would mention that beer is fully allowable under the Best Diet protocol.

Fox News and AM talk radio? Essential to the political process because a healthy democracy cannot function without clowns, mental defectives and attention-whores.

Crucial sources of news? and

Most serious problem that America, a country that at times has done truly magnificent things and has a peerless documentary foundation, faces today? Profound social irrationality. Why does one say this? One says this because 1 percent of the U.S. population, today, possesses 40 percent of the nation's wealth. Heard it on PBS last summer.

Joke of the day: What's an Irish shishkebab?
Flaming arrow through a garbage can.

How do you sink the Irish Navy?
Put it in the water.

And that will do it.

As a wise person said: "Do something. Do anything."

Aimons nous les uns les autres, aidons nous les uns les autres.

Saying farewell from cyberspace . . . .

- Rick

© negative, R.McN., 2010. Free use to all.



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