Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Snake, Boss!" "Kill it, boy!" A World-wide Hippies Soap-Box Proclamation

Hola Hippies and friends around the world. This is John Konopak, citizen journalist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, climbing the World-Wide Hippies Soap box to deliver

An Open Letter to the Anarcho/Libertarian Revolutionary Cube-Rats of the Globe, who yearn for a world free from ALL the constraints of "Government":

Esteemed fellow citizens:

Lemme see if I got this straight...

Amid a life lived beginning daily when you drag your weary, objecting carcass out of bed so you can be there when your BOSSES tells you when to begin work;

And the Bosses telling you what clothes you must, may, may not, or can wear;

And the Bosses telling you what tasks you must perform, and at what rate;

Them saying how long you must, may, or can work, and for what pay;

Saying when you may eat, and break  and how long you may take;

Saying when you may relieve your bodily functions and how long that may occupy;

The Bosses declaring unilaterally what wage you will receive, and under what conditions you will receive it;

Deciding, mainly on whim or prejudice, whether your lot will improve, or decline, your pay rate grow or shrink;

Them deciding what supervisory/regulatory intrusions you must accept, up to and including self-incriminatory drug tests and spying on your on-line communications;

Authorizing or forbidding when you may take a holiday;

Authorizing what medical procedures you may or may not have, including birth control;

Your BOSSES decreeing when you may--or may not--go home;

Approving or disapproving of with whom you may share your life and home, including which benefits they may participate in, and how you may spend such idle time as you are permitted,...

What you're telling me izzat, after absorbing and tolerating all that OVERT, obvious, oppressive, manipulative, unjustified, abusive intrusion and manipulation of your life-world by your BOSSES, still you and your co-workers are complaining about all the control the GOVERNMENT exerts over your lives?


(A Facebook correspondent, Jeff Mincey, inscribed the first version of this; I'v ecribbed some of his points, and added my own.)

I Take Two Votes...

In which Y'r Obs'r'v't P'rt'c'p't extols the virtues of "wasting your vote" on "unelectables" as a way of getting TWO votes for the price of one...
"At my back I always here Time's wing'ed chariot hurrying near." That was the Cavalier poet, sir Andrew Marvell, beseeching his coy mistress to relinquish her favors and succumb to his ardor. It is the archetype of that trope named "Carpe Diem," or "sieze the day." But it also, I think, might characterize how many American voters feel, with the inevitable necessity of voting for President looming ever larger. The choices are horrible and time is running out. It will be on us in a twinkling, though it will seem like an eternity.

Of course, since 2000, there have been apparent, and largely uninvestigated irregularities in the conduct and the counting of the vote--in numerous states, in at least two out of the last three presidential elections. These imputations of "dishonesty, if not out-right vote rigging and miscounting, have somewhat tarnished the luster of our "American birthright," the right to vote, which our bombs and soldiers have carried abroad now to benighted countries all over the world for more than 50 years!  It's a sacred trust...No, really...

So it occurred to me that, when all is said and done, it is the ACT of voting, itself, which matters, is meaningful; not for whom the vote is cast--especially in national 'elections,' where at least two of the last three were stolen by vote-counting software and corrupt officials in different states.

It's a myth that any single ballot "matters." They "count" only in the aggregate, and the importance is regulated by the degree of dispersion. Nobody's single ballot makes a shitting-bit of difference, nationally. It's utterly symbolic.

 That's why, this year, I am encouraging people to "vote" ABD! ("Anybody But Duopolists,");  anybody OTHER than the "approved" candidate of the GOPhux or the DIMS.

So, if you REALLY REALLY wanna vote for Ron Paul, do it! Let me encourage you. Or Rocky Anderson, or Cynthia McKinney, or Jill Stein, or your local weatherman. I'd write-in Budreaux, the dog, if I could.

This tactic seems to me to be preferable to abstaining, for the single reason that, as things stand, nobody NOTICES when you just blow it off.  There's no RECORD of your disenchantment.

 What I'd REALLY like to see is a "significant" turn-out of "Neither of these fuckers." Or None of the above, as it's known in polite company. That expedient is on ballots in Nevada. If just one STATE were to "Just say NO!"

TEN percent would be a huge number. But it's incredibly unlikely. The four top, non-duopoly vote-getters in 2008 managed to capture fewer than TWO million votes, total, out of more than 131 MILLION ballots (allegedly) cast; the total of votes cast for ALL non-Duopolist candidates amounted to less that about one-and-a-half percent of the total.

The beauty of this plan, from the individual voter's perspective is that it amounts to having two votes, legally.
One for your favorite dreamy idealist or racist scumbag, and one explicltly and unambiguously AGAINST the candidates of Empire.

SO go forth, hippies. SWING THAT BALLOT! VOTE your conscience!

Vote enthusiastically for the Flying Monkey Party, or the Tree-hugger Party. Or Ron Paul. Here's your chance. It's the only way to GO on record as being disgusted with the "choices" they give you, and be secure in the knowledge that it doesn't really matter, at all...

We can follow the returns at a bistro near the beach...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lock and Load

In which Y'r Intr'p'd R'p't'r suggests that "tolerance" is the wrong meme to explain the ineffectiveness of popular plans and programs to throw off the yoke of privilege, and harkens back to an earlier age for a solution.

I know I've been over this patch before, but still: If you want to know what really pisses me off, it is this: the well-heeled, glib, smug, privileged and powerful son-of-a-bitches who sneer at the "people" that we "tolerate" our oppression.

For example, here's FDR's earnest, sincere warning against the onset of Fascism:

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group.”

TOLERATE the growth of private influence? Codswallop! Mebbe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the people don't "tolerate" shit. Tolerance implies a choice.

No one "tolerates" oppression. If you BEAR it, it's because you have no choice. And the people--we, you and me--have NO fucking choice.

How are "the PEOPLE"  gonna STOP the oligarchs from taking over everything, raping the commons, repealing civil "rights," and such, when the whole system is designed to LET them, to help and assist, and  abet them to take over? The Chair of the House Banking Committee, in 2010, some chuckle-headed, gap-toothed yokel with only ONE set of grandparents, from down in Alabama or Mississippi, when he took it over, declared the mission of the committee was NOT to "regulate" banks but to provide the greatest POSSIBLE assistance for the bankers that he could.

I, for one, wish that, sometime, just ONE of these pious, well-meaning, unctuous, public-spirited, rich, powerful, scolding bastards--who get "elected" promising to "protect" average citizens; Just once I want one of 'em to SPECIFY HOW --within or WITHOUT the scope of the law and custom--the "people" were supposed to RESIST the powers of private privilege that are ALWAYS seeking ways to overturn public sovereignty, to dominate their --that is OUR-- state. 

And then offer to lead that movement.

But, no matter their brave, hortatory, inspirational rhetoric, when it comes to throwing the motherfucking, money-grubbing, environment-raping, genetically modifying, shale-fracking, union-busting, CorpoRat capitalists OUT, our "leaders"--the so-called populists included-- are always on vacation or otherwise engaged.

"Well, then we just gotta change the system," you say; but HOW?

All legislative options are already foreclosed by the very people whose votes would be needed to do anything "legally." Electing "better candidates?" When 50% of the country proclaims unshakeable faith that dinosaurs and men trod the earth together?

It seems to ME that only fucking way to stop 'em is the old fashioned way: break out the tumbrils and donkeys, and sharpen up the blade, round 'em up and shorten 'em ALL by about a foot. If there were some, less gruesome solution--some OTHER way to prevent the unscrupulous psychopaths from amassing dangerously huge fortunes and abusing them to gang-rape the polis, I'd prefer it, of course.

But none immediately recommends itself. So, it seems to me, we're left with but one expedient:

Off widdere fuukin HEADZ!

This could, and possibly would be considered "wrong," I know.

But what are the options?

You cannot BUY your sovereignty back, cuz they have all the money; they own all the "voting" stock. They own the Congress, the Whitehouse, the cops, the courts, the prisons, the military. They own the highways, and the phone systems, and the cables, the media, and the rest of the whole civic infrastructure. All of it BELONGS to them, lock, stock, and barrel.

The last time the system changed as radically as is called for here, it was called  the Civil War, after and because of which, the American economy switched almost overnight from chattel-slave/agrarian to wage-slave/industrial.

So, what are you supposed to do?

I'll tell ya: Ya "Tolerate" it, is what you do.

Cuz THEY'll kill ya if you don't, hippies...Or make you wish you were dead...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Iceland's Latter-Day Saga

Tiny Iceland has again bid fair to regain its former place in the machineries of Western mythopoeisis, this time as an icon and at least a prospective model for how, in the current revolutionary narrative, a "people" apparently can arise, in unity, and peacefully overthrow their corrupt, powerful overlords, rein in predatory, international banks, relieve extortionate debts, jail financial and governmental malefactors, and live happily ever after in the middle of the cold ocean, atop a seething sump of volcanic activity.

At least once every day, some version of this fabulous fairy-tale crops up on the web/F-book, usually accompanied by scolding commentary pleading that, if Iceland can do it, so can we.

The people of Iceland have overwhelmingly risen up and forced their government puppets of the banks to resign. Primary banks have been nationalized. The debt scam imposed by Great Britain and Holland money printers was declared null and void. A public assembly has been created to rewrite Iceland’s constitution.
The best part is, all of this happened without violence or bloodshed. A whole country’s revolution succeeded against powers that created the current global crisis without a shot being fired. A very good reason exists for the apparent failure of television and newspapers to provide any publicity on this unprecedented event: what would happen if the rest of the EU and the United States took this as an example?

Every time I see the NEW "saga" (it's an Icelandic word, after all)--how brave, doughty, determined little Iceland cancelled its debt, threw out the bankers, and started over (ALWAYS awash in noble, outraged, hortatory sentiments declaring THIS should be OUR model--I wanna grab somebody and shout at 'em:

PLEASE! What do you mean? There is not the FAINTEST scintilla of similarity between Iceland and ANYPLACE else, least of ALL the USofA.

Sure, it's EASY to see why this new Icelandic is being appropriated: OWS is moribund and without ideas, the duopoly presents us with equally suicidal electoral "choices," and the rich moneyed fux laugh at us and flip us off. The new Icelandic 'saga' is a kind of antidote: It provides the basis for kind of "propaganda for the cause" (internal agit-prop) which motivates people into believing the impossible is possible.

Thanks to some creative writing, Iceland has come to be portrayed as the tiny, insular David  who rose up and struck DEAD the greedy, global Goliath of predatory Capital; or at least tamed it...And truly,  the Icelandic courts did recently send a couple of bankers away for short terms of jail, one of whom was the former leader of the ruling party. But when being exhorted to take up this banner, it's worth remembering how unique Iceland Really is.

In the first place, Iceland's TOTAL population is barely 320,000 people... a much easier place to change things with that populatiuon size, than a place like the USA with a population of over 312 million.

There are more people in Bernalillo COUNTY, NM, (Where?) than in the whole COUNTRY of Iceland. And in Iceland, they're basically all related, all those ssons and dottirs?

As a result, Iceland's society is MUCH more intimately organized than ANY with which we are familiar. It's like a "national small-town," like Pottersville, or Gilligans Island, with pubs and neighborhood shopping malls.

Also: Because there are so few of them, and they are almost all related to one another, they know one another, socially, the "power" of acquaintance--and the immediacy of possible sanctions against alleged or presumed malefactors--is MUCH greater and direct than it would be in larger, more diffuse cultures, like ours...

Also, as befits such an homogeneous society, the Icelandic political culture is familial: It's Parliament consists of nearly SIX HUNDRED members, which is larger than BOTH "houses" of the US Congress, combined. Each Parliamentary member represents just over 4400 citizens; by comparison, in the USofA, our Congress-critters each represent about THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION people. The Icelandic parliamentarian can scarcely afford to alienate ANYONE. He or she SEES every one of their electors all the time.

As to the banking crisis and its resolution: Google it. It's more complicated than I can do justice to here ...there's LOTS of material. In general, Iceland only had one main "national" bank and 2 smaller, regional ones. The were deeply compromised by the banking frauds that brought down economies in 2007-08. Eventually, the main bank was nationalized, the other 2 placed in receivership. Some debts were cancelled.

Here, again the possibility for comparison breaks down: One USer 'mega-bank'--say BoA or CitiGroup--is worth the whole GNP of Iceland. And we're up against FAR more than 3 banks in the USA.

None of this is to diminish, of course, the accomplishments of the Icelanders. They have accomplished much, and continue to accomplish much in the way of sustaining their popular sovereignty. We COULD do it here, too, with a bit of geographic wizardy.

Just break the 300 MILLION of us into a THOUSAND little, independent NATION/States...

We can discuss how you think that'll work out, without the isolation of the large, cold oceans, when I see you at the beach...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Citizen's Dispatch: Burning Up!

At the moment there are three wild-fires ablaze in the mountains of New Mexico. The big one is the so-called "Whitewater-Baldy" fire in the Gila Wilderness, over on the west-southwestern region of the state. As of June 7, at around 3 pm, the fire had consumed around 270,000 acres, an area about eight times the size of Manhattan Island. At the beginning of the day there were almost 1,000 fire-fighters on the job, including 13 hot-shot crews and 7 hand-crews. A fleet of 10 helicopters are dumping water and retardant; they are joined by 40 fire engines, 27 water tenders (water tankers, basically) and 5 Dozers.  The weather has been more cooperative, as the winds which were spreading the fire, have diminished substantially. There is NO precip now or in the immediate future. This fire, which was caused by lightning and was first reported in mid-May. has been burning for about three weeks, and is said to be about 30% contained.

Meanwhile, since June 4, there have been no fewer than six additional outbreaks of new fires around the State, mostly in the northern sections. The most notable, as of June 7, according to the official State reports,  was the "Bear Springs" fire, located 6 miles NE of Ponderosa, NM, in the Jemez Ranger District, on the edge of the Santa Fe National Forest.  As June 6, the fire is 580 acres (330 acre increase), 75% contained (65% change).  It was occupying the efforts of 192 personnel (4 Type 1 crews, 3 Type 2 crews, 3 engines, 2 Type 1 helicopter, 1 Type 3 helicopter, 2 water tenders, 2 dozers). It's burning in difficult terrain, with a lot of fuel; it was reported June 2, with an expected containment date of June 15, sooner if weather cooperates and brings some rain.

Then, yesterday, a new blaze was reported in the foothills and mesas of the scrub lands and low forests west of Santa Fe. It's called the "Colorado Peak" fire, and its cause is officially under investgation, since there hasn't been any lightning around lately. It's at about 300 acres, and is "Zero percent" contained, as of sundown yesterday. Over 150 personnel are engaged in this one: 3 Type 1 crews, 4 Type 2 crews, 5 helicopters, 3 engines, 2 dozers. The fire folks rate its growth potential as "high" due to the difficulty of the terrain and the plenitude of fuel.

New Mexico has a long history with fire, management and prevention. You may know that America's first fire-prevention mascot, Smokey, the Bear, was found--rescued, actually--after a fire in New Mexico's Capitan Mountins in the Lincoln National Forest, in 1950. The cub had scaled a tree to escape and was injured, and was unable to climb down. A group of soldiers, brought in from Ft. Bliss to help mop up the fire, found the stranded cub, climbed up, retrieved him and brought him back to their camp where he was originally called "Hotfoor Teddy" by the troops who rescued him .

From there, Smokey's story leads to Santa Fe, where New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Ranger Ray Bell, his wife Ruth, and their children, Don and Judy, cared for the cub for some months. Soon the story got out, and the wire services were suddenly full of the ursine survivor. Well on the road to recovery, Smokey soon made his way to the National Zoo, in Washington, where he was ensconced in his own special area, cooed and fussed over, cosseted and loved by all. Smokey passed in 1976, at the age of 26. There's a lot about him, pretty much everywhere you look. He's one of the most recognized icons in US culture, being identified readily by around 95% of people, and recognized also as one of the most powerful and enduring "public service images" in the world.

New Mexico and New Mexicans along with our visitors have gotta be careful. Just about the whole state is under Stage One restrictions, which means: NO building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, except within a developed recreation site, or improved site; no smoking except in closed vehicles, buildings or developed campsites, and no fireworks or firearms discharges.

If you want more information or want to follow the progress of the fire season here in the land of enchantment, go to www dot n m fire info(one string) dot org.

Remember, hippies, and I mean this without IRONY of any kind: Only YOU can prevent forest fires.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hippie News & Stuff: It's Turtles All The Way Down

In which Y'r F'thf'll D'r'st records a bit of "academic humor" told first by the renowned wag and ethnographer, Clifford Geertz about cosmology and the order of things.
Traveling in Bali, a cultural anthropologist encountered a mahout bathing his elephant in a slow-flowing river.

Engaging the fellow, the anthropologist ("A'ist") pursues his academic quest to discover how the regular people understand their religion, and so inquires of the chap his cosmological views.

"My good fellow, this earth of ours? Where we now stand? Do you know how it stands in the vacuum of the stars?" he asks. The mahout without pausing in his labors replies, "Why sahib, every child knows that the earth is borne on the back of an enormous, celestial Elephant."

The A'ist persists: "Yes, that is true. But, but then, where does the Elephant stand?" And the mahout replies: "Sahib, all men know: the Elephant stands on the back of a gigantic Buffalo. Do they not?"

And the A'ist replies, "Oh assuredly. But then, the Buffalo? Where does it stand?" To which the mahout politely replies, "Why, sahib, the wise ones teach us, the Buffalo stands on the back of a Turtle."

"Ah, yes," the A'ist replies. "But the Turtle????" Says the mahout: "Ah, Sahib! You know how it is? After that, it's turtles all the way down..."