Friday, April 19, 2013

Where is FDR when one needs him? Fear itself rules America

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 (Wiki Commons)
Getting close to 100 years ago now, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, in his first inaugural address, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He was referring to the devastating depression then gripping America. And he backed up his exhortation by fearlessly bashing his cabinet and Congress to enact programs to help the American people. This was very unlike anything anyone--and I sadly include Mr. Obama--has done since that smirking chimp first darkened the White House door.

These days, Americans fear just about everything. They fear "socialized medicine" which is their way of saying, "I have health insurance and I'm afraid if we make it possible for everyone to have it, then I won't be better than you."

They fear gun control, which is another way of saying, "If you take my gun, how am I going to protect myself from the people I FEAR might want to take something of mine?" Forgetting, of course, that it will be more difficult--not impossible as nothing is foolproof--for those who want to rob them to have guns, too.

They fear Arab terrorists because they think 19 of them took down the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and plowed a plane full of people into a Pennsylvania field. The fact that all the so-called hijackers died and could not be questioned, and that the only word we have for it that Al Qaeda was behind it came from the mouth of George W. Bush, doesn't impress them with the possibility that all may not be as it seems. The fact that physically the planes could not have taken down the towers also seems lost on them. And the fact that the BBC announced the fall of Tower 7 a full 20 minutes before the building--not hit, not even pinged or set afire--came down in a neat, implosive footprint. It doesn't even occur to them that it might not all be true despite the incontrovertible evidence that Georgie lied to them--and suborned the otherwise honorable Colin Powell into agreeing--that Iraq had WMDs.

Folks, I'm here to tell you, if you doubt even slightly the facts of 9/11 as purveyed by the government and its wholly owned news sources (political donations, people, and a weak FCC said to be run by the CIA and bob's your  uncle), then you're fearing the wrong stuff.

What you need to fear is what went on in Boston today, and the almost unanimous outcry that the government is right in locking down a major city, violating human rights and hunting an alleged criminal--note, alleged, not proven guilty, not even charged yet--with all the military hardware at its disposal. The unanimous thought that this is both correct and the American way and a way to ensure their safety. One must ask: Would that be the same safety the military and police guaranteed on Monday when unknown persons for unknown reasons killed three and maimed 180 others? Would it be THAT safety you are happy to allow your freedom to be at least temporarily snatched to ensure? 

Would it surprise you to realize that those very protectors, in Boston on Monday for a bombing drill exercise, were as useless as the aircraft involved in the Vigilant Guardian exercise on the East Coast on 9/11? Odd protectors, those, involved in PRECISELY what happened and able to do nothing. Are those the people you are allowing to cage you like rabbits to protect your safety? Did you not notice that after 9/11, they used your fear to erode your personal freedom substantially via the Patriot Act? To compromise your own future and your children's by engaging in at least one war--and probably two--based on lies? To destabilize the global balance of power because Little George wanted to stop those nasty Arabs from walking over Big George's face rendered in a Baghdad hotel floor mosaic after the Gulf War?

Almost universally, Americans think it is OK to hunt the alleged bomber with anything up to and possibly including nuclear devices. They think they'll have a live, arrested bomber at the end of it so they can get to the bottom of it. I think they are wrong; there is no way the bomber will live through capture. 

Some of those very fearful people say he's running because he's guilty. Well, of course he would. 

But also possibly he's running because he's being chased and doesn't trust law enforcement or US jurisprudence to sort it out ethically and fairly, and who could blame him? People who are caught up in US government matters such as this have a tendency to end up dead, beginning with Booth for shooting Lincoln, right through to BOTH deaths surrounding JFK's murder. The shooter and the shooter of the shooter...amazing, really. The only exception can think of is RFK's killer, Sirhan B. Sirhan.

I can't help but wonder whether Americans are so ready to trade freedom for the illusion of safety just because they have not had war on American soil (unless you count the Indian massacres) since the War of 1812. Americans didn't suffer, as a people, the horrors Europeans suffered in WWII (despite the fact that US likes to claim it "saved" Europe, although the British taking the Battle of Britain with courage and ferocity and all of Europe resisting in ways Americans never imagined had at least as much to do with it. That and Hitler being an overextended madman.)

Americans are a fearful lot, easy prey for any gormless jackass like Bush with his history of lies and no-shows, killing for fun (frogs ARE living beings), and bone-deep lack of compassion; such people, also generally excellent showmen, can play with fearful people the way cats play with mice. And Bush surely did that. 

Such people are easy prey for a Congress full of bagmen who promised to keep them safe via draconian erosions of the Constitution if the citizens will just let them take baksheesh from corporations that want to own the world. 

They are easy prey for media companies who understand all too well that their continued well-being depends on their convincing Americans of untruths (please see WMDs, above.)

That's enough. That's all I can stomach; it's Friday, and a good dinner will happen soon if I stop writing and start cooking. 

After that, I'm taking the weekend off from worrying about how my former countrymen and women are going to justify to their kids or to themselves why they traded their inalienable rights for the hollow promise of safety from deadly acts, itself arising from their former complacence when morals-challenged dimwits like Bush pulled the wool over their eyes again and again and again.

No wonder most of the alternative press calls them sheeple.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No such thing as a coincidence

You can't make this stuff up.

On HuffPost Live just now, I noticed two sidebar headlines. The first said, "Two explosions at Boston Marathon finish line." The second, just below it, said, "George Bush is comfortable with Iraq war legacy."

It might pay to note that there are, in the world we know, no coincidences. But it may not be a case of the editors choosing to juxtapose these two thoughts; the quantum field of the universe has a tendency to connect things along its own lines, just as water seeks its own level.

No matter how you want to view it, it is unlikely these two statements were a coincidence.* At some level, they were meant to be, shall we say, suggestive.

This Coincidence Rangefinder is the only real coincidence of which I am aware...and the name alone suggests....well, figure it out. (Wiki Commons)

Here's some more food for thought:

There were so-called terror attacks before the World Trade Center attacks, if attacks they were. Controlled demolition is so much more scientifically plausible. So what made those 'attacks' different?

The prior so-called terror attacks did some damage. But those prior attacks, such as the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics and the first World Trade Center bombing in the basement, did not cause a galvanizing of American attitudes. They were not significant enough, not murderous enough.

But the World Trade Center event was. It was horrific. But it was less horrific than it might have been had it been carried out an hour later. New Yorkers go to work in offices between 9 and 9:30, not between 8 and 9 like the rest of the world. I thought, at the time, that it was lucky that the terrorists were unfamiliar with New York work habits so that only 3,000 were killed, instead of the 50,000 that would have been killed had the attacks occurred an hour later.

And then, as the years passed, I thought otherwise. I thought that whoever actually had masterminded the event knew perfectly well how many people, in round numbers, were likely to be in those buildings at that hour. My husband, just a while ago, said, "So why didn't they do it a 2 in the morning, then? There would have been hardly anyone there."

Why indeed, I wondered. But actually, if one sees the WTC destruction as part of a larger picture, it is fairly simple; at 2 in the morning, there would have been, as with the trial-run terror events, too little damage to galvanize Americans against an identified enemy. Al Qaeda, for example, leading (circuitously, but surely, since Americans had by then been whipped into an anti-Arab frenzy) Iraq. Which had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with Bin Laden, no WMDs...just a man who hated a member of the Bush family, had in many ways bested him, and put his face in mosaics on a hotel floor. (In case you don't know, one of the biggest insults in the Arab world is showing someone the bottom of your shoe; Bush Sr., by proxy, got to see the bottom of every Iraqi shoe that entered that hotel.)

No, for the mastermind of an event such as the Twin Towers fly-ins and subsequent demolition, just prior to the workday was the perfect time. Had the falling towers killed most of the 50,000 people who inhabited them at prime working hours, it would have overwhelmed even New York's ability to cope, even with abundant aid from neighboring states and the federal government. It would have risked major contagion. It would have created emotional wounds so large, people would not have been galvanized, but rather sent into a state of shock so deep that they would not be able to be whipped into a frenzy of fear and hatred. They would have been numb. For a long time. So, indeed, whoever masterminded it did a sterling job. Unfortunately.

The only thing I'm wondering now is who masterminded the Boston Marathon murders--for that's what they are--and why. Why go to the insulting lengths of ensuring that joyful runners lose their limbs, a cruel twist in the bombing that appears to have been part and parcel of the intent, in addition to destroying an American icon, the race itself. What's in it and for whom?


When trying to solve any mystery, follow the money. After 9/11, the money trail led directly to the pockets of defense contractors and their wholly owned politicians. Granted, it took more than a year for that cash to start flowing--Bush had to uselessly destroy Afghanistan first and create an even more entrenched hatred for America. But flow it did, I understand to the tune of something like $39 billion to Cheney's Halliburton alone.

Bush could never have gotten his unethical, useless, expensive, murderous wars going without the impetus of the World Trade Center attacks. The previous attacks were too small, too lacking in true horror and drama, and touched too few people. No national icons were destroyed. An already jaded population had looked up for a moment, then had yawned and had gone back to sleep.

The Boston Marathon is a national icon. It allows all comers to participate; it is among the most egalitarian sporting events in the world. Immediately, the right wing whackjobs claimed it was God's price for recognizing gay marriage. (How the hell they put these things together is really scary; their god would kill athletes, abled and disabled, in recompense for recognizing marriage between that same god's creatures? Holy cow. Disbelief is the least of a sane person's reaction to that.)

But again: why the Boston Marathon? What's in it for the mastermind of the disaster? I realize this appears to say I think Bush masterminded the World Trade Center attacks. Let me put it this way: He may have been a shill--he's stupid enough--but it sure wasn't some half-dead zealot in an Afghan cave and a dozen ignorant peasants who masterminded it. (Red herrings abound.) Nor did Bin Laden have anything to gain. He may have been half-dead, but he wasn't half stupid. He had to know a cowboy like Bush would rain bombs down upon anyone between him and the frog he currently wanted to kill** for fun and profit. Bin Laden, it seems to me, was a bit more cagey than that.

We have yet to find out who is behind the horrible loss of life and limb at the Boston Marathon Bombing. (I refuse to shorten it for convenience to Boston Marathon; the Boston Marathon is good, the BOMBING needs to bear the emotional weight of this.) But I am certain beyond doubt that attempts will be made to galvanize the American people against someone, to ensure their continued fear of anything that moves, to convince them that constructing yet the next deadly transfer of the world's money to the pockets of evil trolls that is forthcoming is acceptable.

I would be happy to be proved wrong.


* Two quotes on coincidence:

“Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.”
Albert Einstein, The World as I See It
“The concept of randomness and coincidence will be obsolete when people can finally define a formulation of patterned interaction between all things within the universe.”
Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

** My favorite peek into Bush's character is the apparently true story of him putting firecrackers in the mouths of live frogs and lighting the fuse, then tossing the frogs out over a pond to watch them explode. I'm going to throw up. Every time I think about that as a boyhood activity of a US president, it turns my stomach.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The secret to living well is all in the big toe joint

An article in Huffington Post this morning said gout--that disease of rich old fat guys that made their big toe joint swell painfully--is back. They blamed it on "consuming alcohol, red meat, shellfish, organ meats and high-fructose corn syrup."  They also advised that hypertension, kidney disease and diabetes are all associated with gout.

According to HuffPo, this luscious paella--with lots of pork, chicken, spices and tons of mussels--ought to be a gout-sufferer's nightmare, especially served with red wine. Not in my house!  (Wiki Commons)

On both counts, I would have to say bullshit.

I've never had gout, and I have had hypertension for decades. Really. My homeopath took it into consideration years ago, assessed my overall health and what he knew of my constitution, and told me not to worry about it. (Good thing. The only reason I knew I had it was that I had made the mistake of going to a doc-in-the-box once during a holiday when I had the flu and they took my blood pressure and instantly decided that they needed to prescribe pills, which I declined. They were aghast. You'll die, they warned me, really soon. I believe that was in 1995.)

My homeopath also told me salt was not the culprit; some people just have naturally higher blood pressure than the charts desire, and live to be 100. That's my plan anyway.

I might add that, for most of the time between the doc-in-the-box scare and today, I got lots of exercise riding and training horses and riders, and I read labels on food--anything I didn't make from scratch--as if my life depended on it. Which it does.

My dear gouty suitor

Two weeks after I first met my husband, he developed gout. He was in pain. He got over it. He had another attack a couple of weeks later. He got over it. And once again before we got married.

After we got married, I was in charge of his diet. In seven years, he has had exactly one attack of gout, and we both attribute that to a packaged fondue we had one night. Simple cure; never buy and eat that garbage again. We eat tons of cheese, though, so it wasn't the cheese that did it. It was probably the unpronounceable stuff at the end of the ingredient list that I decided wouldn't hurt us "just this once." Wrong.

The HuffPo article says that "Doctors can also prescribe drugs to lower your uric acid level." Sure they can. And you can pay for them. And the ethics-challenged CEOs of Big Pharma can get richer, you can get weaker as you suffer whatever those drugs cause and take more drugs to cure that, and the environment can become more polluted as you piss away all that money and your health as well into the sewers. (Water treatment plants do not and cannot trap every molecular substance that enters them; hence, you're ensuring that fish don't get gout. Expensively in every way.)

The article notes that gout rates have doubled in the past twenty years. Really? Imagine. People eating a diet filled with an ever-increasing variety of non-food consumed as if it were real, nutritious food, and gout doubled. What a surprise!

Come eat with us. You won't get gout. You may be a tad overweight because we eat cheese and red meat (lots of it, actually, Simon being the original meat-and-potatoes guy), shellfish (well, I do as Simon isn't served well by shrimp and doesn't like mussels, the later of which I consume with gusto every chance I get), butter, wine, gin....

Nor do we get as much exercise as we used to. The only horse I ever really loved to ride is retired, and it rains a lot in Cornwall anyway. We are both fair-weather exercisers.  And still, no gout.

It all comes down to real food

It's obvious to me what the secret is: food. Period. Real, honest food, as lightly laced with the junk of technological food processing as it is possible to get it. If we have one leftover industrial food in our diets, it is bread. I would like to start making bread again, as I did when I was young and broke, but the pitiful oven that came with this house won't do it. Changing it means redesigning the whole kitchen, so a new oven is on hold for a while.

But I hope not too long. So far, Britain's better breads don't seem to be too garbage-laden; one can actually pronounce the ingredients. Flour, water, oil, yeast. That sort of thing. Sometimes a "dough conditioner." Well, there it is. If a few grains of one's diet come from a test tube rather than a pasture or garden, I guess you can still stave off the gout. But when it comes to keeping my loved ones healthy, I'd prefer to do it with diet every time.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Plague: It's the only solution


There are almost too many problems in modern society--in the US, the UK, the EU, and even less so-called civilized locales--to decide even which ones to deal with first. Or so it appears from the working class and middle class points of view. The points of view, basically, of all those who have historically spearheaded revolts of various sorts against the status quo (admitting that sometimes it is the poor who begin a period of redress.)

But if one looks at the current problems from the point of view of the rich or the poor, the landscape is very different.

From the landscape of the rich, it would appear that the only problem is how to get rid of all those poor people, not needed in a highly developed post-industrial society, so they won't have to find ways to keep them alive with minimal squawking.

From the landscape of the poor, it looks as if the only problem is how to get some of that money away from the rich to, perhaps, begin businesses in order to sell things to the rich and thus be able to feed themselves and their children.

In both cases, what is really needed is the plague.


In his wonderful book, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, Ian Mortimer makes it clear that what changed feudal society with its serfs and villeins* into a modern one of people paid fairly for work produced was the plague. It simply wiped out so many of the productive members of society--the poor, the marginal workers, those bound to an earl's estate and so on--that the only way the wealthy could get the work done that they needed was to pay for it, and pay better than ever before. Nor would people any longer consent to being serfs, or virtual serfs. They demanded freedom, and they demanded wages. They could do this simply because of the unforgiving necessities of supply and demand. Too many workers for the available tasks: workers starve. Too few for the available tasks: workers thrive.

So, what we need now is a plague. Unfortunately, the modern age has produced sufficient drugs (their deleterious effects on the environment notwithstanding) to keep almost any illness--bacterial or viral--from wiping out great numbers of a population. Even Bush's wars (not to mention the trial-balloon war, Vietnam) have failed to remove sufficient sperm donors from the planet to limit the increase in proles enough to keep the wealthy cared for, but not nattered at to be more generous.

Bush did, however, begin a plague on the lower classes in another way: his education program, No Child Left Behind. When children finish 12 years of schooling by demoralized teachers who teach to test, and those tests have been created specifically to ensure children can regurgitate minimal amounts of semi-useless information, but not think, they are almost too stupid to work. Certainly, they are too stupid to engage in meaningful societal change. They have not ever encountered an idea--a galvanizing idea such as ensuring abundance for all, the abundance the planet is capable of providing--so they cannot possibly work toward fulfilling an idea.

But then what? They don't have work, or at least not enough work or high-paying enough work. So they become a drain on society by needing benefits or by engaging in theft or other unsavory things.

This won't do!

Ah...but cleverly, the upper crust has learned how to turn those few who still do make a good living against those who don't. Who cannot, as the deck is stacked wildly against them. At the same time, of course, the upper crust is forcing the middle class to pay the taxes to support the unemployed; the rich do not pay. Why should they? They control it all. 

Any way you slice it, the US and very probably the UK and the EU and everyone is in a pickle. You may not see the iron collar of a serf around too many necks, but if you will be quiet for a few minutes, preferably after you've done your monthly bills and had a good gander at income and outgo, you might well be able to feel it on your own neck.

The only solution, it would seem, is plague. Frankly, it has gotten to the point for many, I think, that they would just as soon go off quickly, if painfully, than linger in a hostile landscape where the merest hint of temporal salvation is quickly annihilated by yet another tax reform that shifts still more income up rather than down. In short, it's almost to the point that having a quick exit is far preferable to prolonged suffering. What the US government has been doing, lately, to the lives of its citizens has been compared more than once to the death of a thousand small cuts.

When being a literal serf was a way of life, and one people were born into, lives of that class were not long, usually no more than 35 years. Wealthy people tended to live longer, of course. Indeed, I've been told the median lifespan then and now was quite similar. Median, not average, mind you. This allowed for the wealthy to live long and prosper and the serfs to live not very long at all and be miserable.

So nothing, you see, has changed. Except that modern sanitation and medicine have trumped contagion and warfare and created far too many of us for the upper crust to tolerate,especially since we are not needed in the post-industrial world. They don't want to see us unless we are weeding their flower beds. They certainly don't want to pay for us.

Plague. It's the only solution. Next to what I fear the Koch Brothers cadre will come up with to ensure we all either die or stay miserable silently, plague might be a blessing. It's hard not to think so in a week in which the British government decides to spend 9 million pounds planting the scourge of British society unconscionably known as the late Lady Thatcher and Obama caves to the Republican oligarchs, selling out every compassionate, but obviously gullible, liberal who cast their vote for him.

* A villein was not a criminal; it was a person bound by indenture to the village in which he or she lived, and needing the local noble's permission to leave. Serfdom by any other name....