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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Jump.

After the idiots voted in Congress to pass the unknowable health care bill in all its’ amazingly horrifying glory, I was concerned that the sun would come up on the bloated corpses of folks who had decided not to wait for the death panels, and just leap from the nearest bridge now.

There’s a problem with that plan – actually several, which I will attempt to outline here.

You might think – well, the trouble with that plan is that you’d be breakfast for birds and stray cats, and you’d be right. While the sudden deceleration would solve your worries, cure your sleeping problem, and reduce the screaming your television has to endure, jumping does in fact mean you are likely very dead.  No not the fake, BS kind of dead – like the promises of alleged threats being received by members of Congress.

But one of the big problems is that the whole Health Care package is an awfully big ass to try and cover with both hands. Subsequently, I would expect the following weeks to show increasing troubles with a fairly unpopular piece of legislation. You can’t win ‘em all – and indeed this bill is about as “perfectly clear” as a peat bog or a tar pit. The failures will be many and very varied. It will become a thorn in the side of not just the regular people, but also the folks who did it to us.

Are you one of the brilliant porch bulbs who believe this new law is just an extension of your illumination? Pull your head out. We needed some repairs to the system, we didn’t need the government to decide on its’ own to screw us whenever and however it liked – even though that’s what they’re the best at.

So making the leap due to the combined the dirty work of Pelosi, Obama, all the rest of the president’s cookie-squad - the self-serving, insulting skin-bags filled with farts – hardly makes any sense. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I fear this footwear is being worn by a government, resembling a fat, North African centipede. Did you know those critters were poisonous and stealthy and cold, and liked dark places despite their brightly colored worm-like bodies? Sound like a description of those in our capitol? There’s a reason for that.

No, all of these reasons against jumping from the bridge are good, sound reasons, but they are trumped by the grand-daddy of all reasons: In order to jump from the Obama bridge, you have to make the assumption that somehow the starting point is high up there, in the clouds where such high-flying morality and lofty ideas exist. The assumption is as full of hot air as the Pelosi fart bag. The real reason you can’t jump, is that the Obama bridge is below ground level already. In fact, it doesn’t bridge anything. It’s just a hard spot somewhere underneath all the muck.

The only question left is this: Is the hard surface close enough that we won’t sink like dinosaurs and disappear in the bubbling tar.

If so, we’ll make some great museum exhibits for the intelligent descendants of our English Bulldogs.

“Here,” they will say with sweeping gestures of their stubby little arms, “is the remains of Human Republicus and Human Stupidus, preserved in the dark depths of this sticky, gooey place.”

The small Bulldog children will “ooh and ahh,” their jowls flapping against the acrylic windows of the exhibit.

“And here is a completely different species,” will say that docent of the far-future. “This is what we’ve tentatively termed Governmentus Spinelessimus. We are generally of the opinion that this species caused the death of the entire civilization, despite what the global warming scientists are saying.”

Yeah, don’t jump. In this case to get anywhere, you actually have to climb out of the muck.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Day America Died

February 3, 1959 was viewed as “the day the music died.” On that day singer, songwriter, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered plane crashed on the way to Moorhead, Minnesota. Holly had set the pace for all other rock and roll artists to come. He was one of the first that genre to write, produce and perform his own work. Don McLean sang about the dark day of the crash in his famous song, American Pie.

Holly, Valens and Richardson died, as a revolution in civil rights had just begun – a massive storm, which swept across the United States, changing the face of the country and enhancing and expanding freedom for all American people by 1968.

Fifty-one years later, we face a scenario in Congress where freedom is again at stake, where an economy has crashed, and now legislation is being forced through Congress against the people’s will. The protestors are there in large numbers, the anger is there, and members of congress are even re-enacting landmark walks from history in an effort to legitimize their planned violation of the Constitution. Watching it on television, it looks like video footage from protests in the 60s.

Only this time, freedom isn’t being given, it is being taken from us. Under the government plan, everyone’s health care in the U.S. will no longer be controlled by the individual, but instead be distributed by the government. Allegedly the plan will produce huge monetary savings and yet at the same time extend health care to millions of people who currently do not have coverage. None of this can be proven to be real, however.

The vote to pass a massive piece of Health Care legislation through the House of Representatives is ongoing as I write this. Protestors are laying down their signs in Washington and going home. Some remain, and purple-shirted union members who have been violent during previous demonstrations, and stand to benefit from the bill, have just arrived in large numbers.

Sitting here in a small house in the desert in New Mexico, the feeling is tangible, that this legislation represents the start of a government take-over, which one would expect in a Third-World or a communist country. Just one small part of this legislation illustrates the overall flaws: convicts are protected from government fines for lack of medical coverage, but not the spouses or family of military veterans. There are massive problems within this bill, yet it is going to be passed on promises that these issues will be dealt with later.

That seems unlikely.

That the path of this bill is littered with crooked deals, bribes and gifts to unions is clear. That more than 65 percent of the American people are against it, and the provisions in the HC bill are set to harm the average family is also clear. In fact, the biggest winner in all of this, seems to be the Internal Revenue Service which will see the funding to hire thousands of new employees who’s job will be to harass and collect more taxes and penalties from the population.

The representatives each state has sent to do the “will” of the people, are instead doing the will of power-brokers and the president. The anger of the people is being waved away dismissively. Politicians and their staff jeer their constituents, calling them stupid and irrelevant. The president smears each of his speeches with a large helping of arrogance and paternalism. The alleged reform is riddled with budget gimmicks, double-counting and impossible numbers.

Smoke and mirrors and liars and fools – that’s what we’ve got in Washington tonight, and that’s why we are in the place we are. The collapsed economy and the destruction of the jobs market screams for attention and none of these problems are being dealt with in this bill. But I believe if this bill passes, we may face a much more profound crash.

It all makes me think about that plane crash in ’59. McLean’s feelings about the day – which he sang about - may have proven true. It was “the day the music died.” But it was eventually followed by a time of rebirth. After all, Holly inspired The Beatles and the Beach Boys and the Stones and so many others all now a part of our colorful history.

So perhaps if this despicable action passes today – as it seems it will – it could be marked as the “day America died.” I wonder, if that happens, who will sing about it and what will be born from it? Who will be inspired and what great works will come because of this disaster?

Because, we will stand.

 Even against this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Demon Pass

Where do we go next?

If you accept as an axiom, what I was taught in schools when I was a kid – that the Pilgrims left England for the new world because they just simply could no longer accept the religious restrictions and persecutions being heaped upon them there, then my question stands: Where do we go next?

The administration holds a weapon of mass destruction they are calling “deem and pass,” but which I spell “demon pass.” Essentially one-sixth of the U.S. economy will be decided without any accountability. Know this – the guy you always see in the disaster movies, standing on the corner with the disheveled appearance, swinging an old bell, holding a sign which reads “the end is near” – he might be right. Once health care passes, the administration will have lit the fuse to an economic bomb of incalculable proportions.

It’s like you’re on a railroad to Hell – next stop, the really warm place.

So we come to the place of Bret Baier’s interview with President Barack Obama. How much is the president claiming this health care package will save all of us? According to Baier’s talk with the man today, the administration “knows…that this is going to reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars.” And that should be a relief, right? Because the commitments the U.S. government has already made, amount to 12 trillion dollars (they’ve already managed to spend $2.5 trillion). Yet the alleged one trillion is held aloft and waved around like a flag. Subsequently, the president says today, “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.”

In other words, he doesn’t care how the bill gets to his desk, as long as it arrives there – preferably this week.

And he doesn’t want to answer any questions about the situation – despite receiving as many as “40,000 letters or e-mails a day,” according to the president himself in today’s talk. He’s got the exact same e-mails Baier has – he says so… it must be true! In fact, he offered to show them to Baier! But the difference is that Obama’s e-mails are different. His e-mails – all 40,000 of them, apparently – are asking why they can’t get health care. The servers must be overloaded with the sheer mass and moans of the multitudes who are just begging for health care relief.

It’s ridiculous, but here’s the words of the president: “What I’m saying is whatever they end up voting on – and I hope it’s going to be sometime this week – that is going to be a vote for or against my health care proposal. That’s what matters.”

I would humbly suggest that what matters are the numbers as being reported by many different segments in polls and media. People are angry. People are fed-up. They are tired of the posturing and they are tired of the focus being placed on health-care and not on the economy and the fact that terrorists are enemies and not criminals with rights. We the people, want the government to focus on taking care of outstanding business – ie. the war on terrorists. We the people, want the government to deal with getting some of the money back which we so merrily handed corrupt bankers and glad-handers in the past year. We, the people want our representatives to actually represent us.

And we’re tired of the warm, fake smiles, the lies, derision and paternalism we are being saturated with, anytime we hear one of these elected representatives speak.

So where do we go next? Where’s the “new world” for us now?

I’m afraid it isn’t a destination measured in miles

The trip to the new world is simply measured in time. How much time is unclear – we have just days before Demon Pass.

What follows may indeed be Hell.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Simpler times - harder solutions

This article first ran in September of 2009. It probably is even more relevant as the U.S. Government seeks to ban fishing by private citizens.

It used to be a pint of minnows would bring you 40 cents.
I know, it doesn’t seem like much in either regard – not many minnows and not much change, but if you’re 7 to 10-years-old and you live next to a salt marsh in a tiny coastal village, that 40 cents is serious money.

All you needed was a few bucks for a minnow trap – which would be serviceable for a few seasons, some old bread, and a float. And that added up to serious wheeling and dealing at Jim’s Dock – and even better, the purchasing of candy with your bankroll at Skips dock. Since they were and still are right next to each other, you didn’t have far to walk, and you didn’t need to wear any shoes.

I don’t know what made me think about the slog out to pull in the minnow traps, so long ago, but the thought reminded me of another thing – the year that salt marsh was discovered by teens with dragnets. As you can imagine, it slimmed down the minnow population a bit, and the trips to Jim’s were less frequent and a bit leaner for quite a while.

Of course, dear reader, you may choose to take a variety of lessons from this article. I suppose you could equate the teenagers’ minnow over-fishing to some kind of larger-scale environmental slant. SAVE THE MINNOWS! I can see the posters and the Greenpeace protesters – or the fleets of Sea Sheppard rowboats doing battle with the evil dragnet folks, even now. Or you and Al Gore might band together and take a revisionist point of view. You could claim that it wasn’t the teens with their dragnet, but rather, global warming which depleted the minnow population to dangerous bait-fish levels, thus destabilizing the marsh and impacting in some arcane way, the ozone layer. Worms, which the minnows eat, are blooming unnaturally and the resulting increase in worm farts is killing Al Gore – or something like that.

But myself, I like to just look back on that time fondly.

Because, for a short, golden age, all I had to worry about was checking that trap, bargaining with Jim, and collecting my candy from Skip’s. Those were perfect days of barefoot youth and I remember a feeling of timelessness. Was it really just an illusion?

When I was screwing up the courage for another bartering session with Jim, Nixon, Ford and another guy named Jimmy were President. It was the 70s and there was a crappy economy, inflation, a gas shortage and in 1978 and '79, a major blizzard and a hostage crisis in Iran that lasted 444 days. I remember in the early 70s my father bought an orange Volkswagon Super Beetle when VW had the Thing in their showrooms. I know now that there was a lot wrong in the world – and not a lot being done right by the White House or anyone in office.

But for me there were simply the minnow traps.

Wouldn’t the world be an easier place if it worked on the simple arrangement of cash for minnows? Instead, we have cash for clunkers, dollars for dinged up appliances, bailouts for boneheads, jobs for jackasses, and amidst it all, a health care solution, which most people believe, solves nothing. Shovel-ready doesn’t mean much if there’s no one out there, shoveling or nothing to shovel with or for.

I saw my first Corvette Stingray back in those years – probably a ’73 or ’74. They were giving those out free to astronauts in those days. Maybe I imagined a life where I would become an astronaut and get one of those cars from Chevy.

Well, I’ve known a few astronauts, was in the Air Force for a long time, I’ve been a warrior and a reporter, an artist, martial art teacher and poet - and I own a nice 1973 Stingray. In fact, I was just working on it. It has an 8-track player and power windows – yeah baby; cutting edge. Jimmy Carter is still out there, and a strange new version of him is once again in office. Small cars are making a comeback, and a huge economic crisis is on us with massive inflation looming somewhere in our near future.

But I’m selling the Stingray, and that small village and beach house with the minnow trap probably rusted away somewhere beneath it, is all so far away. The desert southwest has the same sun looking down on it, but the days feel less golden, the time less easy. The sun is harsh and hot and unforgiving and I am aging and aching and tired.

I don’t have any answers – I don’t know the way back to that time, and I guess no one does. But I do know that a pint of minnows once got you 40 cents. It was a solid deal with real returns and no crooked bankers. The candy you bought with your hard-earned money was sweet, the beach sand, pure and soft and clean, the water cool and clear. The fish or crab you caught later that day at the state pier, could be cooked in an iron skillet if you were lucky to have an aunt or mother, or grandmother like mine.

Why can’t it still be that way and who do I have to fight to make sure that places and times like that still exist for some child, somewhere, sometime in the future?

Because whoever I need to fight, whoever stands in the way of that, you’re standing in the wrong place.

And we’re coming for you.

We’re coming for you all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Heart and Truth

There’s a heart beating somewhere – someone who knows what is right and wrong – someone who understands the grain and texture of the cutting edge of freedom.

Somewhere, someone who can’t be anything but single-minded, is hunting the most terrible killers ever known. The man is out there on the edges of the known world. Around him are his team-mates – now fewer because the earth is all equal in its’ potential. It is a killing field and it is a graveyard. His buddy was sent home the other day to recover inside some hospital in a forgotten corner of the real world – if he lives that long or gets that far. The man stands in this dirt street, but can still see his friend's crooked smile and grey eyes – an image that remains despite the moment of burns and blood. A tire on the edges of the field of vision smoulders, acrid, but now almost unrecognizable as they search for truth in a third-world Hell.

They are a world away from another heart, beating just as fiercely as a woman pushes her way through the crowded streets of her city. She steps on a discarded newspaper with a headline suggesting another group of troops dead after a firefight in a place she never heard of. Signs and billboards scream bright messages of the marketplace.  Tires from a passing taxi splash dirty water onto sheer stockings. A curse, voiced low, is lost in the sound of the crowd as the woman angles toward the protection of the nearby sheer faces of the glass-fronted buildings. More advertisements featuring a green hillside complete with cattle are too idyllic to be real. The images are passed unnoticed except for the brief subliminal flash as tired eyes search for truth in the mundane.

And somewhere removed from that city another heart beats strong and slow. A day of hard work not yet finished still reflects in eyes set into a creased, weather-worn face. Cattle move ahead of him across the deep green hillside as the family brings them in yet again – a long day repeated season upon season – maybe back to a time close to the dawn of man. Truth is in the feel of the leather work-glove, the even steps on uneven ground. Truth is the fences and the young children being taught this ancient way the only way it can be taught - first-hand. He passes an old vehicle submerged in the ground where it was left. A rusted bolt pokes out from the curve of a fender.

Removed from the pasture by a thousand miles, a wrench turns steady on a stubborn bolt. It may have been in this place all the way back to the day that car first rolled off the assembly line. It may have been part of the work of the previous owner. But it stands in the way of a working machine – and the heart of this man is so attuned to machines that it may as well be made out of steel, itself. There’s something in the broken things that people bring him, and the perfection he creates is like some kind of new-world magic. Truth is inside his understanding of these simple things. He knows this even as he cleans the grease from his hands at the end of each day – but never perfectly. His face stares back at him from the smudged mirror. Every year older, and every year more distant. People are harder for him to understand than gears,  so his manner is gruff and his words short. His daughter doesn't come to see him anymore. She gave up the garage for a different kind of life. He misses her. Somehow there’s always a hint of black oil inside his truth.

A beauty undiscovered combs back waves of red hair reflected somehow not as perfectly in a bedroom mirror. Her heart beats lightly. She knows somewhere out there is the right life for her, but she hasn’t found it yet. Her eyes are an impossible blue – like the sky on a clear Southwestern day. She is filled with laughter and kindness. Maybe she’s a teacher, maybe she’s a student, maybe she's even a nurse in a local hospital or maybe she’s just the free spirit we all wish we could be when we consider our own truth.

Somewhere in a nearby hospital a child is dying of an incurable disease – his spirit almost truly free now. His favorite friend, the nice lady with the red hair isn't here today. His heart beats weakly, but the boy understands more than the adults around him have given him credit for. He knows his time is measured in days and not weeks or months. He doesn’t need to understand eternity because it lives with him every moment. He would like to have been a fireman or a policeman or maybe a soldier like the one in the room across the hall, but he knows he won’t get the chance. He peeks around the corner into the soldier’s room. The man turns his head as the boy approaches the bedside a crooked smile and grey eyes are just visible on the uncovered part of the man’s face. A rough hand reaches out and touches the smooth, unblemished skin of the young man’s head. No words are exchanged. They each understand the truth. It washes around them as invisible and infinite as time itself.

Somewhere someone understands freedom. Maybe we all do. We are all regular people just trying to get through our lives, but we don’t have to live within our politics or the things we think we own. We don’t have to live as captives to the darkness of our pain, our hatreds or our carlessness. We can be more. We can transcend. We can experience truth and recognize that there are others who experience it too – in so many different ways. We are woven together in ways we’ll never be able to see or understand. Can't you see it? Can't you feel it?

Give me a single heartbeat and a moment of perfect clarity and I will give you something of enduring beauty and wonder. I will show you a miracle and I will give you freedom as we all know it should be.

I will give you the United States of America.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ever have a day like this?


A collaboration by Waterwolf and Badoracle

Some days the sun may shine, but there is no warmth and no light. And some nights only come filled with ghosts.

You don’t have to understand. In fact, it’s better if you don’t.

Ever have a day like this?

You wake up in a cold sweat, but can't exactly remember what your dream was? So you resign yourself to get up, but now, you’re pissed off at the whole world.

Pain racks your body right down to your very soul and your dark mood deepens. You smile and kiss your wife all the while inside you feel adrift and lost. Try as you might, you can't seem to shake off the gloominess that has settled in deep and heavy – like sand blown in from somewhere across the world. It heaps against the doors in your mind. They won’t open against the weight.

Your day stutters and skips and you stagger through with the energy and vigor of a man making the last walk – the one that ends in a noose. Sounds and smells so familiar, tie you to a place you’ve wished a million times forgotten, but which never leaves you. It finds a way to cling inside your head, crouching in the dark corners - a formless shape with shiny feral eyes, waiting for the mind to slew sideways, like a heavy vehicle on black ice.

Then all at once, it’s with you. And it uses memories like the worse kind of thief, enveloping you in a place, that although you hated, you can't help but smile remembering old friends – your buddies, and lighthearted moments you shared with them; pranks and laughter, stupid stunts; the ridiculous in a land of anarchy and insanity.

Then you’re hit while you’re off-balance. The shadow sweeps over you – its’ true nature, huge and winged, somewhere above and always out of sight, but no less cold. You can’t help but remember something that happened - a certain buddy that didn't return with you – hell so many that will never be seen or heard from again. Like the sand heaping up against those doors in your mind, the lost are numbered, as are the grains of sand. They have become the eternal.

Your day just got worse.

You shake your head, physically hoping to shake that feeling as you glance at the clock and realize you've only been up for 30 minutes.

You want to puke, you want to hit something. Instead, you shake your head and try doing something else. The shadow refuses to return to its’ hiding place. The dark mood doesn't lift. But you find a sturdy box you can stuff both of them into. You mentally keep a hand on it – just hold it there. It struggles whispering and slipping inside. It flutters and jumps against the lid like an insect - like a spider. You man-up and carry on.

Things begin to fall into step as your day continues. Then you take a ride to run errands, and you lose your grip on the box. Your thoughts have wandered and that thing has slipped out now. It’s riding shotgun, grinning – and you can't really remember what you were thinking about. You’re miles away from your original destination. The anger leaps forward, white hot and total.

A blink later and you’re somehow finished with your errands. You retreat back to your safe zone, your home - your fort!

Close the curtains. I don't want to see anyone or anything. The smell of someone cooking outdoors slips in anyway, and now you're no longer home. That smell – damn it - I know that smell.

But I'm sitting in my truck, parked in the driveway. Not inside the house at all. Neighbors try not to look at you, as you slam the door - as you glance at your watch. It’s 1700 and the entire day is gone. You go back out to the truck and lay your hand on the hood. The engine is cold. You must have been
sitting in it for quite a while. There’s a wave of familiar embarrassment.

Must have been sitting there like a dummy, all that time. You find your way back to the door. Sitting in front of the TV, you pray for the day to be over. On the glowing screen you watch the dumbest shit ever, just to shut off the brain. You eat out of habit. Food loses its’ taste and texture. You’re filled with sounds, smells and faces of a place and time gone – yet still alive in you.

Time for bed. Delivered to another night when your wish is for peaceful sleep and a tomorrow different and better.

Don’t try to understand. It’s better if you don’t. I will thank God for all of it – the good and the bad.

And I’ll pray for the rest.

Want to see something which will pick up your spirits?

Have a look at this link if you're feeling a bit down...

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