Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can't Keep Up

Wow, yet another example of our honorable and exemplary Federal government at work.  It seems that the explanation given for the "Operation Fast and Furious" snafu given by the Feds (that buying guns off the books and selling them to Mexican Drug Cartels was a sting operation that was hijacked by a rogue agent with no knowledge of his superiors) is baloney.  A letter has now surfaced where the 'rogue' agent's off-books purchase of the guns was directed and ok'd by the agent's boss, ATF Phoenix Group VII Supervisor David Voth.  Read about it here. Why am I not surprised? 

They're killin' me--I can't keep up with all the lies.

Step Away from the Moo Juice

In a stunning example of how far the powers that be will go to make sure we follow in lockstep down the Twinkie and frozen pizza aisle behind Big Food, here's where a judge in Wisconsin says that we don't have a Constitutional right to eat what we want!  Food.   Suppose Oklahoma will pass a Constitutional amendment over this one?  NAHHH.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Cages We Refuse to See

This video is incredible, disturbing, and absolutely prophetic.  Nuff said. Watch.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have you Seen This on the News?

Here's our government protecting people's right to free speech today in New York, by macing a group of young women they've barricaded behind a fence.  Video here.

Estimates are 50,000 people have gathered on Wall Street to protest the takeover of America by big banks.  The mainstream media is strangely silent.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Truth You're Gonna Have to Work For

I found an article, and because I can't say it better myself, I'm not trying to.  I have added, in italics, my own thoughts for those of you who don't instantly see the truth in what he says.   If you don't give a good rat's behind what I have to say about it, the original article is here. 

By Mike Adams, Editor of Natural News

Through a devolving web of greed, self-serving power and a departure from fundamental ethics, Western culture has, over the last hundred years, become the counterfeit culture.

Nothing is real anymore -- not the food, not the money, and certainly not the evening news. And because it's not real, it's not sustainable. That's why it's headed for collapse, which is all too real, as many people are about to find out.

In the mean time, here are some observations about the counterfeit culture in which we all frustratingly find ourselves. It's all about corporations, governments and institutions being "in the business of" counterfeiting something -- faking something or pretending to create something of value when they really aren't. Ring a bell?

The Counterfeit Culture

The Federal Reserve is in the business of counterfeiting money.  Since the removal of the Gold Standard, there has been NOTHING of intrinsic value to back up the US Currency.  As time has gone by, we've gone further and further into debt, with no corresponding value added, because we don't make anything in America anymore.  So all we've got is just promises to pay on Tuesday for our hamburger today, to paraphrase the old cartoon mooch, Wimpy.  And lately, we're beginning to see just how worthwhile the "full faith and credit of the United States" is--we basically admit that we can't pay back all the money we owe the rest of the world.

The mainstream media is in the business of counterfeiting news.  The mainstream media, including that "Fair and Balanced" branch affiliated with the Rupert Murdock organized crime syndicate, is in the business of saying what the powers that be want us to hear.  If you don't believe me, follow the money.  They don't make money from selling a product--they make it from advertising.  Who advertises?  The big companies who own our government.  So, we're not likely to hear much from them that isn't what those folks want us to hear.  Some on the left, some on the right, but none on the truth.  Update:  as if on cue to prove this point, Fox News pulled its own poll showing that Ron Paul won the Republican debate last night, and instead declared that Mitt Romney won the debate.  Probably unbeknowst to Fox, someone had already taken a screenshot of the poll, and had blogged about Paul's win.  See the article here.

The pharmaceutical industry is in the business of counterfeiting medicine (Biopracy! They are stealing molecules from nature then counterfeiting their own patented variations.)  Again, follow the money.  The "healthcare industry," which is overwhelmingly for-profit and owned by huge companies who control the government, only make money if we are sick.  I mean who goes to the doctor when they are fit as a fiddle?  So, how do they need us to be, in order that they get to report growth in profits every year to their shareholders?  Sick.  They don't want us cured;  they want our conditions controlled, with treatments and medications that they make for practically nothing and sell to us for lots of money.  You can cure most instances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure by losing weight, exercising, and changing diet--but they can't patent those things, so they throw us pills and cross their fingers that we're lazy and stupid enough to take them and not actually fix ourselves.

The medical schools are in the business of counterfeiting medical degrees. (When a doctor graduates from medical school, he still knows virtually nothing about nutrition.)  See the rant above.

Doctors are in the business of counterfeiting false medical authority.  Ditto.

The mega-sized food corporations are in the business of counterfeiting food. (Processed cheese food product, anyone?)  And in order to do it, they've paid their lobbyists to get subsidies for junk commodities that they can use to make junk food.  In America, Twinkies receive more federal subsidies than apples.  Food Subsidies

The global consumer product companies are in the business of manufacturing counterfeit consumer products such a "baby oil" (which is really a petroleum product).  Don't even get me started on the oil companies, who are reaping record profits every day as young people die to 'secure our interests' in oil-producing regions.

Social networks like Facebook are in the business of counterfeiting friends. (Please LIKE this article, okay?)   Read my previous posts, Anesthetic and Can You Hear Me Now? for my rant on this topic.

Cookie-cutter home builders are in the business of constructing counterfeit homes out of plywood, styrofoam and sheetrock... many these homes will not be standing in just 20 years.  But the banks will still be getting paid on them in 30!

Local city councils are in the business of counterfeiting power. (Obey or be punished!)  That's his, not mine.

Public schools are in the business of counterfeiting school diplomas. (Huh? What? Who needs to learn how to write, anyway?)  You only need to read the writing of most high school graduates to know this one is true.  Ever notice how many headlines on tv news graphics, newspapers or internet sites have really dumb errors, like putting apostrophes before the 's' in plurals?  As in, the Smith's.  Or mixing up your and you're.  Or there, their, and they're.  ARGHHHHHH!!!!

The Pentagon is in the business of counterfeiting war. (Don't have a war to fight? Bomb the World Trade Center and blame it on someone!)  Or, even if you don't buy the inside job argument, it's getting real clear that they covered up who did it, and blamed it on Iraq instead.  See my post of 9/15 re: the connections of Saudi Arabia that were ignored by the FBI.  And there's a lot more evidence of problems with the official story of 9/11, like the hundred million dollars or so of short sales of stock in the companies affected by the 'attack' just before it occurred, if you care to research it.

Mainstream historians are in the business of counterfeiting history. (Everything you were taught about history in public school is a lie...)  See above.  Ditto the Cold War, Vietnam, etc., etc.

The globalist banksters are in the business of counterfeiting debt. (You thought it was money, didn't ya? But it's really just debt.)  Two words--Foreclosure Crisis.  You're really going to argue that huge, international banks didn't know better than to give huge mortgages to people with no proof of income and no money down?  They just thought that when the default occurred, they would already have packaged it all up into Collateralized Debt Obligations and sold it to some other patsy.    Of course, we now also know that they knew their pet dogs in the government would bankrupt the country to give them TARP funds to buy them out of their greed-lust hangover.

And yet, things that are REAL are called fake

A man who recently stamped his own gold coins -- out of real gold -- was raided and arrested by the U.S. Treasury Department which announced that his GOLD coins were "counterfeit!" (http://thewarningsigns.blogspot.com...)

After the drug companies stole the lovastatin molecule from red yeast rice to create their own statin drugs, the FDA tried to ban all red yeast rice as a dietary supplement, claiming it contained "counterfeit statin drugs." (http://www.naturalnews.com/030010_d...)

When the alternative media like NaturalNews and Infowars publishes real news that nobody else will publish, it's called "fake" by the corrupt, openly bought-and-paid-for mainstream media (the OLD media).

Real is fake, fake is real
That's how the world works today, folks: Things that are REAL -- herbal medicine, gold coins, truthful journalism -- are all called FAKE.

Meanwhile, things that are FAKE -- the money supply, pharmaceutical medicine, myths of U.S. history and justification for war -- are all called REAL.

No wonder most people feel like their world has been turned upside down. But there's an easy way out: When you see someone from the government moving their lips, and words are coming out, there's no need trying to figure out whether what they're saying is REAL or FAKE.

It's all simpler than you think: If their lips are moving, then what they're saying is REALLY FAKE, and you can leave it at that.  So, in the next days, weeks, and months--and it's coming quickly--when the stock market tanks, and currencies crash, and disasters and crises are thrown at us like bullets out of an AK47, remember--what they're saying about it is FAKE.  Don't give them your money or your support, or your compliance in any more of their schemes, or any more of your civil liberties, without serious kicking and screaming.   Don't think that one side of the argument is 'right' and one is 'wrong'--they are both wrong.   The truth isn't going to get published on CCBS or CNN or MSNBC or Fox or any other combination of letters that's owned by the people stealing the money.   The truth you're gonna have to work for.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033491_counterfeit_culture.html#ixzz1YnWxPpCD

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Truth and Other Delusions

I've hinted in a couple of recent posts that I have recently awakened to the fact that things are apparently not what they seem to be.  One thing that I've seen the light about is Dennis Kucinich.  I used to think he was a bit of a nut.  I still do.  But the fact that he's a nut is what gives him the guts to stand up and say this.  This was during the 'government shutdown' drama.

God bless Dennis Kucinich.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Follow the Money-Part Two

A couple of days ago, I posted about the seeming split between what the majority of people want from our government, and what we're actually getting.  I concluded that the way to figure out why was to 'follow the money.'  In that vein, here's where you get when you do just that:

As of 2006, the top .01 percent--that is 1/100th of one percent--of Americans make 976 times the income of the bottom 90%.  As of 2007, the top 1 percent of Americans have over 1/3 of all the wealth in America.  The top 10% have 71.5% of the wealth.  And the bottom 50% have 2.5 %.  So, who has the money to make campaign contributions and hire lawyers and lobbyists to get what they want? 

As of 2007, the top 1% own 50.9% of all stocks, bonds, mutual funds in America.  The top 10% have 90.3%.   The bottom 50% of Americans have .5% (one half of one percent).  So, who's gotten most of the benefit from the recent spate of "record profits?" 

Between 1990 and 2005, CEO's pay increased by 298.2%.  During the same period, average workers' earnings rose by just 4.3%.   So who is likely to be getting richer?

And finally, adjusted for inflation, average workers' hourly earnings are lower than in 1972.  So, who's going to be getting poorer?

I guess it isn't really too surprising that we're getting actions that are called for by the minority.  It's the minority that pays.

Above figures are from the article here.

Just for reference, in 2008, to be in the top 10% in income, you had to have a household taxable income of  about $109,000 or more.  The median, or 50th percentile, was around $49,000.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not Angry, Just Ready

In the last couple of days, it's come to my attention that my last several posts have struck readers as "angry."  Now, I'll admit to a history of a fairly hot temper and fairly intense opinions.  But lately, I'm anything BUT angry.   And I need to tell you about it.

For some time now--several years--I've been becoming more and more aware that things that I have believed simply aren't true.  Particularly lately, we see so many examples of what hasn't been true.  Just in the last few weeks, we've seen the light of day find that law enforcement seems to have--shall we say--failed to follow up clues as to who was responsible for 9/11 See here.And here.  We've heard about what seems to be systematic law-breaking by the supposed "pillars" of society in the Murdoch hacking scandal. Murdoch  There's been the evidence that the federal government seems to have 'accidentally' sold a bunch of guns to drug cartels in Mexico in a made for movies tale of intrigue they had oddly named Operation Fast and Furious.  (?) Guns  We've seen the recent discovery that half a billion dollars of stimulus money was funneled to a company in financial trouble that has now gone bankrupt. Solyndra  And there's the documents that show that our government and the Brits seem to have been a little cozy with the Libyan regime of Moammar Gadafy that we're now helping to oust from power, as our beloved intelligence community arranged to have alleged terror suspects  "rendered" to Libya for interrogation,  with 'assurances' that Libya wouldn't torture these rendered suspects.  Wink, wink. Libya Generally, it seems that a lot of stuff we thought was--wasn't.  

So, why am I not angry?  Well, because it is about to come to an end with no help from me.   They have pushed it so far that it can no longer stand--you can tell because the momentum is growing.  The scandals and discoveries of malfeasance are just about daily, and accellerating.   It's above my pay grade to figure out exactly who's the kings and who's the pawns in their dirty game, but I'm counting on the Universe to sort it out.  The jig is up. 

And meanwhile, I'm not playing any more.  I've discovered that governments are seats of power and influence, and as the old saying goes, power corrupts.  I'm not buying any more explanations that this or that malfeasance is accidental or negligent or carried out by 'rogues,'   I'm not buying that we have to kill tens of thousands of people with bombs and predator drones, or target whole races of people or countries over something that happened a decade ago, or over something we're afraid might happen.  I'm not buying the party line about what caused the financial crisis, or who's to blame for whatever is the scandal of the day. No matter who says it.

So, here's my plan.  I'm going to continue to realize that most of what we've been told about our world and the people in it is lies, and that the illusion is about to end.  For many people, the illusion is reality, and they're afraid to see the ugly truth.  For me,  the end of an illusion is a good thing, even if it makes us uncomfortable for awhile.  We just have to be brave enough to look, and really see what's been happening in our names--to support this cozy dream we've called our lives. We're standing on the edge of the cliff.  And what we get when we jump is freedom.

And so, there's no need to get angry--just get ready.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Follow the Money

I remember our American Government unit in Social Studies class.  This was fifth grade, taught by my only male elementary school teacher.  Mr. Grimsley looked like a ex-Marine.  My dad was a Marine, and there's something about them, you know?  Anyway, Mr. G taught about American government in the way that only a military man could, I suppose.  Even during the Vietnam era, he spoke about America and the founding fathers and the genius of the Constitution in a way that probably helped to cement a couple of things about me.   The first was, I wanted to be a lawyer--to participate in that great system and help the good guys win.  As a  fat bookish kid with thick glasses, that was probably as close as I could come to envisioning myself as a superhero.    The second was, I started from the position that America was "right."  We were free, and the people got to run the country.  Even though there was lots of strife--about the Vietnam war, and the then-new idea of legal abortion, and "womens' lib,:" and all of that, we were a great nation that stood for something good.  Human dignity and strength.  Justice.  The power of the people to make things better, or at least try something different.

Later, of course, there were things that led me to question just how much that stuff worked in practice.  I found out about the riots in LA, about Kent State, about the Japanese internment camps, about the Pinkertons and the labor movement, about the poll taxes and Jim Crow laws, and Dred Scott, and many other examples of times when our democratic republic seemed to fall down on the job a bit in the human dignity and justice departments.  But still, I believed. 

I stood for the national anthem, and almost always got a tear in my eyes.  I registered to vote and did vote--regularly--having always read the advance sample ballot before I went to the polls.  I was almost always politically independent, because I never liked a letter behind my name to tell people they thought they knew what I thought about an issue. 

And now I'm much older.  I've seen a lot more.  I've been a grunt, and a lawyer, and a business owner, and a retailer, and a mom and wife.  I still think that the idea of America is great.  But but in practice, I've got to wonder who's running this place, because it ain't looking much like a reflection of the will of the people.  For example, here's a few things that are pretty clear about what the people want to happen.

We Know We Need to Raise Taxes, Especially on the Wealthy

In March, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81% of those surveyed would support a tax on millionaires that would be used for deficit reduction, and 68% supported eliminating the Bush tax cuts on those who make over $250,000. An April CBS/New York Times poll showed that 72% of people favored raising taxes on the wealthy in order to reduce the deficit. A May Bloomberg poll showed 64% believe it isn’t possible to lower the deficit without raising taxes. In a Pew poll, 67% said  more of high earners income should be subject to being taxed for Social Security; 66% support raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and 62% support closing corporate tax loopholes. In the June 9 ABC News poll 61% of Americans believe higher taxes will be necessary to reduce the deficit.

We Believe We Must Care for Those Who Can't Care for Themselves

A study of 20 years of polls by such polling services as the National Election Studies, The General Social Survey and Gallup showed that more than 2/3 of Americans agree that government must "care for those who can't care for themselves."

We Think Everyone Should Have Healthcare

A 2007 CBS/New York Times Survey found that 64% of Americans believe the government should guarantee health insurance for all.   In the same poll, 57% said that providing health insurance for everyone was more important that lowering costs. And, we've agreed that should be the case even when that means paying more in taxes (2003 Pew poll-67%,  2009 CBS/NYT-57%, 2003 Kaiser-72%).

We Don't Want Nukes

An April, 2010 poll shows 54 percent in favor of reducing the number of U.S. nuclear weapons and 49 percent favor the U.S. stopping development or testing new nuclear weapons, versus 47 percent who oppose it.

We Don't Want the Wars

In weekly CNN polling from June, 2006, through January, 2011, a majority disfavored the US war in Iraq.  Every week.  In fact, the highest percentage who did approve of the Iraq war was an anemic 40% in September, 2006.   And neary 6 in 10 people believe in hindsight that the Iraq war was a mistake  (August 2011 CBS/NYT--59%; August 2009 Gallup-58%).

And the war in Afghanistan doesn't fare much better.  Weekly CNN polling showed majority support from December, 2009 through April, 2010, but since then, the number supporting the war has dropped steadily, with only 35% favoring the war by August, 2011.

We Didn't Want The Big Banks Handled with Kid Gloves
In 2008 and 2009, substantial majorities opposed the plan to hand over nearly a billion dollars to the banks who crashed the world economy.  A 2009 CNN poll showed that 61 percent of Americans disapproved of disbursing the so-called TARP funds allotted under President Bush.  A CNN/Opinion Research poll in March 2010 showed 53% favored “regulation that would increase federal regulation over banks, Wall Street investors, and other financial institutions.”  And a February 2010 Pew poll showed 59% said they wanted “the government to more strictly regulate the way major financial companies do business.”

Gosh, it sounds like we're pretty practical,  nice folks.  We want to take care of people.  We want to pay our bills.  We don't want to reward the people who crashed our country into a fiscal wall.   We'd like to stop shooting at and blowing up people.  Give me hope for America, after all.

But  here we are.  We have voted for people who should reflect these opinions, at least to a degree.  We heard campaign promises from the President about ending the wars, about universal healthcare, about not gutting the social safety net, and about being responsible about paying for our bills with taxes, especially on those who can afford it.  We've whipsawed election returns back and forth from Rs to Ds to Ts and back again, and they keep yakking on TV about "what the American People want"  but they keep doing something else. 

 Of course, they point fingers at each other about who is causing the problems, but I for one have watched this happen while both Ds and Rs are in control.   We tell them over and over what we want.  2004.  2006.  2008.  2010.   And they hear us, because when they are campaigning they spew it back like verbal vomit, saying they are going to do this and that and the other thing.   And what happens?  The wars continue, through several elections, as Congress changes hands three times, and trillions of dollars get paid to Halliburton and Blackwater/Xe and Raytheon, and Dyncorp and who knows who else.  The healthcare bill becomes an enormous giveaway to the private insurance and pharmaceutical companies, while leaving holes in who's covered you could drive a truck through.  The  TARP funds go to the banks under both Bush and Obama, and the banks make record profits and turn around and give billions of dollars of bonuses to the brain trust that drove our economy off the cliff.  And then, we hear that the fiscal sky is falling and so we must cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and Education and Housing funding--we can't spend money to take care of people who can't care for themselves--we spent it all, and then some, on the rich people, the military that we don't want, and the big Wall Street banks.   

All this leads me to conclude that our government isn't listening to us.   I wonder who it is they are listening to?   I always tell my kids--when you want to know how stuff works, follow the money.

Monday, September 12, 2011


The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines family, in part, this way:

1 A group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head; or
2 a group of persons of common ancestry; or
3 a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation; or
4 a group of things related by common characteristics.

Any way you cut it, humans are all family. We all live under one roof. It's blue (from this side, anyway), and we do live under one head of household, whatever you call it--God, Fate, Allah, The Universe--no matter which you believe in, we each believe it covers all of us. We share a common ancestry, whether you're an evolution devotee or a creationist, there was at some point a first human. And, as little as it seems like it sometimes, we do share both common affiliation and characteristics--DNA, if nothing else.

Now, the implications of this may vary. Family means a lot of different stuff. For example,there are those people in your family who light up your life and make your day and are the cat's pajamas and all of that. The ones you'd both live for and die for, depending on what's required. They're the easy ones.

Then there's the family like my brother. He's been, for as long as I can remember, a human version of Eeyore. So gloomy he could have caused a bout of depression in Mother Teresa. Incredibly smart man, funny like you see only once or twice in a lifetime, and with a great heart, but truly, he's got a perennial black cloud, precisely his own size, that follows him and rains on any parade that might have the nerve to invade the neighborhood around him. I love him anyway. With family, sometimes you have to learn to accept the weirdness and just opt for love as the only rational way to deal with it.

Finally, there's family like one of my aunts. Her favorite thing in the world was to go to get-togethers and talk to one person long enough to get them to say something bad about one of the other family members and then to run, not walk, to that person and let 'slip' some incomplete aspect of the slander, usually in some manner that sounded like it might be a complement, or an offhanded comment, but it had fire in it. She always seemed like a pyromaniac with not a jug, but an atomizer, of gasoline and a match. She didn't pour on the accelerant. Just a spritz, enough to start a little whiff of explosiveness, and then she'd slip away. It might take hours, days, weeks or months for the fire to get going, but it usually did. God love her. But she was still family, and as long as there were family get-togethers, she was still there--still part of the scene. With family, at a minimum, you know you're stuck with them.

In the human family, we've got the same levels--from those who are easy to love to those who you know you're just stuck with. But, no matter how different from us we think they are, they are family, and most of them evoke a certain sympathy within me, particularly in times of trouble.

But lately, I've been noticing a disturbing trend of people reacting to the suffering of others in the family with anything from appalling apathy to even smug satisfaction. I'm beginning to wonder what kind of evil we've bred in this 'democratic experiment' we call America.

I recently heard a conversation of two people discussing the famines in the Africa. One of the people said "we" couldn't be sending money over there, because "we're broke." Seriously? We're talking about half a million human beings who will likely die of starvation in the next 6 months. And while I get that we've got budget issues, and unemployment, and dwindling 401(k)s, etc., etc., etc., most of our fat behinds are driving around in cars that cost twenty times the annual income of those people in Africa, parking our still-fat behinds in front of big screen TVs and computers and answering calls and texts on our smart phones while waiting for our supper to ding in the microwave. Heck, many of us pay as much in a month to a health club to get rid of the evidence we eat too damn much as it would cost to feed a family in Africa for a month. Seriously.

We may have problems. We may never again be able to afford too big houses with too much furniture and other crap, financed for us with no money down by the financial gurus to keep us fat, spoiled and happy enough to ignore the inequities of the system that keeps them fatter, more spoiled and happier yet. I, for one, think that's probably not a bad thing.  Even if it is a bad thing, to compare our issues with half a million people dying for lack of a bowl of rice and some powdered milk is self absorption made an art form.  We owe it to ourselves as humans to believe that humans--any and all humans--deserve a tiny modicum of dignity at least big enough to mean you don't have to sit by helplessly and watch as your children die from lack of food or water or from diseases that a few dollars would prevent or cure, while other people chow on frozen pizza til they're obese, just because of where in the world they happened to be born.   I might not like her much, but I wouldn't wish that even on my 'atomizer' aunt. 

Good grief people, this ain't no way to treat family.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Us and Them

When I was a kid, one of my sets of aunts and uncles lived in Texas. This particular aunt and uncle had eight children--eight of my many cousins. Much of the rest of my extended family lived in Colorado, and so when we saw the Texas cousins, we had a blast listening to their accents. They said they wanted "Cheee-Toes and a Co-Cola" for Cheetos and a Coke. When we'd tease them about this, they'd say, "well, All-a-y'all talk funny" in their profound drawl, and the lines were drawn. Us. And. Them. Fortunately, this was good-natured line drawing, and we'd set about pointing out to each other the ways we talked funny. Was it "soda" or just "pop?" Did you put "oyl" or "ohl" in your car? And what in the heck was an Aggie?

Coming from a fairly homogenous world of white working-to-middle-class people, this was one of the first times I can remember being in the game of "Us and Them"--a game where you separate people not on how they behaved, but what they were. Unfortunately, it wasn't the last. I learned, for example, that while my parents weren't the cutting eyes out of sheets kind of racists, they had their moments. When I was in eighth grade, I developed a crush on a boy named Jimmy. Eventually, my mother asked his last name. When I told her, she pointed out that I should not put too much stake in the puppy romance, since he had a Spanish surname and therefore must be a "Mexican." Luckily, I guess, Jimmy did not share my interest in a relationship, so it never became a controversy outside my own mind. Another time, a mixed-race couple moved into the neighborhood and the African-American woman was promptly dubbed "N*****-baby" by my mother, a moniker that was not objected to by my father, or anyone but me, for that matter. Still later, my folks erroneously (and angrily) believed that I was having a relationship with an African-American man when I was in college. As much as it annoyed them, I'm actually surprised I didn't date him--but that's another topic. My dad made quite a scene, chasing my car down the street yelling foul things about my taste in men. Playing "Us and Them" is a phenomenon both universal and close to home.

Recently, my family and I went to see the movie The Help, which deals with the violent, overt, and subtle variants of racism in the American South in the 1960s. I'm fairly sure there wouldn't be a lot of people going to see that movie and rooting for the Junior-League-worshipping, separate-toilet-protecting antagonists in the film. We've grown beyond that kind of crude hatred and prejudice, right?

But it did get me thinking about way we play the game of Us and Them today. One of the most obvious at the moment is the great debate about Muslims--a debate in which people actually get on television to ask seriously whether all Muslims shouldn't be treated as terrorists because their religious book supposedly says that non-Muslims are infidels to be converted/conquered/killed.

In the interest of "Security," we are expected to ignore that the question whether all Muslims are terrorists because of what their religious book says or because some of them are makes about as much sense as asking whether all Christians are misogynists because their religious book says to stone to death women who turn up pregnant absent marriage (fornicators), even though they may have been raped, or whether those same Christians are bloodthirsty tyrants because of the Crusades, or whether all Japanese-Americans are dangerous because of Pearl Harbor, or whether all Black men are rapists of White women because some were accused of it in the South in the last century (and maybe some of them actually did it).

When we put it in a little more close to home terms, it seems pretty stupid to put Joe in prison because Bill committed a crime, even if they are both white, Catholic, New York City trash collectors, or to kill Jane because Joan bombed a pizza parlor, even if Jane and Joan both went to the same church where the pastor talked about pizza parlor bombing as a political tool. Somehow, the questions in the game of Us and Them only make sense in the moment, and only when we're on the side asking them.

So maybe instead of asking those questions, we could put our fear on hold and notice that this form of tribalism is primarily adopted when people are scared witless and find it quick and easy to blame someone else for that fear. Maybe we could realize that, most of the time, both the threat alleged and the tie of the "other" group to the threat is either manufactured entirely or is manipulated and enhanced to make the game of "Us and Them" seem more reasonable. We might even go so far as to notice that usually, the manufacturing of fear is done by people who stand to consolidate a good bit of political or economic power if people are scared and at a loss what to do about it. When that happens, people are willing to make lots of deals with lots of devils who claim that if we just let them have this power, or that amount of money, they'll keep us safe from the very fire they are stoking.

On the anniversary of the biggest "Us and Them" inspiring event of my middle-aged life, we would do well to analyze our reactions. We might even spend a bit of time questioning the motives of some of the people who are "commemorating" the event in a fearful "it's not over yet" manner. We could possibly look at the last ten years and recognize that the hijackers on 9/11 killed a few thousand people; our reaction to that day has killed ten times that many, most of whom had nothing to do with the terror plot, has hastened the destruction of the American economy while making rich the mercenary 'consulting' companies who make war for us in the modern era, and has put the concept of a free America on life support in critical condition.

Perhaps we could begin to figure out that we need to start acting like "Us" and "Them" are really the same thing, before they make a movie about how stupid we are.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to Eden

In the past several years, I've become increasingly convinced that our food-world has been changing.  I've noticed that certain foods have chemical or metallic tastes that I find extremely unpleasant.  At first, it was just one or two foods.  In the past several months, this phenomenon has extended to numerous foods.  In the beginning, no one else in my family could taste these odd tastes, but a couple of weeks ago, my older daughter bit into an apple, wrinkled her nose and said it tasted funny--like medicine.  We moved on, and she ate some melon instead.  Then last week, my little one, who has the constitution of a billy goat, tasted metal in some grapes.   I could taste it too.  We're getting to the point where it's hard to find any food (other than the heavily processed varieties that have so much salt and sugar that you can't taste anything else) that tastes edible. Fortunately, we have a couple of gardens that we work, where we can get some food that tastes like food, but like most people, we'd be hard-pressed to grow everything we eat, fruit and veggie wise, and the suburban powers that be would probably take a dim view of our raising chickens or a cow in the backyard. 

I've also been becoming aware that our food-delivery system is basically beginning to malnourish us.  Commercial agriculture has been yanking ever-faster-growing, ever-higher-yielding, ever-easier-transporting products from the ag system through the creative and constantly increasing use of chemicals and 'technology'--pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones and steroids.  Our food is being raised in test-tubes in a solution of chemical goo.  And, at the same time, food--even 'good' food--is becoming objectively less good for us, with modern food showing significant declines in the levels of  important nutrients like magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B-6, C and E,  iron, potassium and calcium.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss

All this has led me, a confirmed cheapskate of the highest order, to begin to buy organic produce and 'natural' meats, the expense of which is a stretch, but at least we can eat them.  I resent paying good money (even less of it) to buy food that I KNOW is at least not good for us, and may be actively bad.

A couple of days ago, I happened upon something that everyone should see.  In a full-length film, Back to Eden,  a gentleman from California lays out the facts about today's food, the reasons for the place we find ourselves, and a solution--a reasonable way that nearly anyone, gardener or not, can begin to grow some to much of their own food.  For those of you put off by the religious backdrop against which this information is presented, please muddle through.  It's well worth it.    You can view the website and the film at http://backtoedenfilm.com/.