Sunday, December 10, 2017

"A Voice Within..."

“How do the geese know when to fly to the sun?  Who tells them the seasons?  How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on?  As with the migrant birds, so surely with us; there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

X22 Report, “Central Banks Are Ready To Fight To The End To Protect Their Economic System”

X22 Report, “Central Banks Are Ready To Fight To 
The End To Protect Their Economic System”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “Did The Arab League Just Threaten The
 Petro Dollar With A Move To The Petro Yuan?”

Musical Interlude: Kevin Kern, “Another Realm”

Kevin Kern, “Another Realm” 

"A Look to the Heavens"

“This composition in stardust covers over 8 degrees on the northern sky. The mosaicked field of view is west of the familiar Pleiades star cluster, toward the zodiacal constellation Aries and the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. At right in the deep skyscape is bluish Epsilon Arietis, a star visible to the naked-eye and about 330 light-years away. 
Click image for larger size.
Reflecting starlight in the region, dusty nebulae LBN762, LBN753, and LBN743 sprawl left to right across the field, but are likely some 1,000 light-years away. At that estimated distance, the cosmic canvas is over 140 light-years across. Near the edge of a large molecular cloud, their dark interiors can hide newly formed stars and young stellar objects or protostars from prying optical telescopes. Collapsing due to self-gravity, the protostars form around dense cores embedded in the molecular cloud.”

"How Adults Can Survive A Childhood of Violence and Untruth"

"How Adults Can Survive A Childhood of Violence and Untruth"
by Michael Pastore

"Fear and love cannot live together...
Blows are used to correct brute beasts."
- Seneca,
 (Roman philosopher, author, politician, 4 B.C.E. to C.E. 65)

"Two thousand years ago, the people of ancient Rome cheered enthusiastically as they watched gladiators fight each other to the death, and saw innocent persons torn to pieces by wild beasts. In that same era, Roman teachers practiced corporal punishment on a daily basis. The Roman schools were stocked with a variety of instruments used to beat children, including the ferula (a bundle of switches made from birch branches), the scutia (a whip made of leather straps), and the flagellum (a whip made of straps from ox-hide, the hardest available leather).

Although feeding slaves to lions and beating children in schools were acceptable practices to the mass of Roman citizens, occasionally a voice of protest cried out. The rhetorician Quintilian (C.E. 35 to C.E. 95) wrote: "I am entirely against the practice of corporal punishment in education, although it is widespread. In the first place it is disgusting and slavish treatment, which would certainly be regarded as an insult if it were not inflicted on boys. Further, the pupil whose mind is too coarse to be improved by censure will become as indifferent to blows as the worst of slaves. Finally, these chastisements would be entirely unnecessary if the teachers were patient and helpful." After blaming teachers for failing to induce students to do what is right, and then asking how corporal punishers could possibly handle boys who cannot be influenced by fear, Quintilian adds: "And consider how shameful, how dangerous to modesty are the effects produced by the pain or fear of the victims. This feeling of shame cripples and unmans the spirit, making it flee from and detest the light of day."

Most Americans would condemn the Roman practices as backward, barbaric, and cruel. To me, it is remarkable that a similar savagery - the child abuse in our own homes and schools - is discussed so rarely, coldly, and superficially in American newspapers, television programs, and books. Our culture is poisoned by violence against children. In the year 2000, the US Department of Health and Human Services received 3 million reports of child maltreatment involving 5 million American children. Approximately 879,000 children (of the 5 million reported) were confirmed victims of child maltreatment, comprising neglect and medical neglect (63%), physical abuse (19%), sexual abuse (10%), and psychological maltreatment (8%). These numbers do not include the 400,000 children who were paddled that year - legally paddled - in American schools.

How can we explain the lack of private awareness and public action regarding the way we bruise and bully our beloved boys and girls? Where is the outrage from our authors and university professors who specialize in these fields? It appears to me that these thinkers have failed to understand the one most important thing: the essence of human nature. Like the church, too many writers have bellowed that children are inherently evil, and therefore - outside of heaven - there is little chance for individual fulfillment or social progress. This most dangerous myth - that babies are born with evil genes and children are by nature violent creatures - yielded a Nobel Prize for Literature to the author of that puerile fable, "Lord of The Flies."

Fortunately, we can still find authors who believe that children are born good: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, A.S. Neill, Erich Fromm, Ashley Montagu, Abraham Maslow, Colin Wilson. One more writer must be added to this prestigious list. Throughout the past twenty years, the psychiatrist Alice Miller has been the most passionate and articulate advocate for every child's natural goodness, and for each child's right to live free from violence. Miller's previous books include "For Your Own Good" (1983); "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware" (1985); "The Drama of the Gifted Child" (revised edtiton,1996); "Banished Knowledge" (1997); and "Paths of Life" (1998). Miller's latest work - "The Truth Will Set You Free" - draws on the wisdom of the earlier volumes, but also introduces many new ideas.

Miller's argument, in "The Truth Will Set You Free" might be summarized as something like this:
1. Many adults manage their children with parenting and teaching methods which employ physical or emotional violence against the child.
2. Because of this violent treatment, the children grow up blind to the dangers of violent parenting, and out of touch with their true feelings and needs.
3. When these children grow to become teachers and parents, they will practice these same violent methods against their own children.
4. This cycle of "violence breeds more violence" can be broken, and abused adults can heal themselves and become nonviolent parents.

Miller begins by explaining, with many examples, how and why childhood reality is avoided "in six fields where we should expect precisely the opposite: medicine, psychotherapy, politics, the penal system, religion, and biography." Miller's next section, 'How We Are Struck Emotionally Blind', offers an explanation for the remarkable and often-repeated story: "A father will beat his son and humiliate him with sarcastic remarks but not have any memory whatever of having been similarly humiliated by his own father." In the third part of the book, Miller offers examples of courageous adults who have healed themselves despite long histories of parental abuse.

Miller offers a stunning explanation about the mystery: "Why do people refuse to see and change their actions which are harmful to themselves and others?" In a previous book, "Paths Of Life "(1998), Miller says: "People subjected to mistreatment in childhood may go on insisting all their lives that beatings are harmless and corporal punishment is salutary, although there is overwhelming, indeed conclusive, evidence to the contrary." Written from the heart, this book explains the causes of our problems, and provides jargon-free solutions that work. Miller writes: "As a therapist I know that we can free ourselves from inherited patterns if we can find someone to believe us and stand by us, someone who instead of moralizing wants to help us live with the truth." Along our road to individual freedom it is necessary for us to find what Miller calls an enlightened witness: a therapist, teacher, lawyer, or writer who is well-informed, open-minded, and willing to listen to the painful personal truths we need to tell.

In focusing on self-revelation as the key to freedom, Miller reminds me of the brilliant but neglected psychologist Sidney M. Jourard. In "The Transparent Self," Jourard writes: "We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism or rejection. This protection comes at a steep price. When we are not truly known by the other people in our lives, we are misunderstood. When we are misunderstood, especially by family and friends, we join the "lonely crowd." Worse, when we succeed in hiding our being from others, we tend to lose touch with our real selves. This loss of self contributes to illness in its myriad forms." Jourard died in an accident at age 48 - only three years after the 1971 revised edition of "The Transparent Self "- too young to nurture his theory with the kind of real-life examples that make it more potent and therapeutic. Alice Miller has done this: filled her works with numerous examples of individuals who struggle and succeed in expressing their true selves in words and deeds. Miller's book is so honest about the lives of specific individuals, it reveals the inner life of us all.

"The Truth Will Set You Free" is a Alice Miller's masterpiece, which shows us how we can face the darkest secrets of our painful childhoods, and emerge with hope, courage, and insights for living our lives more genuinely - more tenderly - with ourselves, and with the family and friends we care about. In my copy of the book I have marked scores of passages, passages that corroborate my intuitions and personal experiences working with children and adults of all ages and backgrounds. The book, with its stream of brilliant observations and profound ideas, moved me in ways that are too deep to express in words.

"Trust men," writes R.W. Emerson, "and they will be true to you." Inspired by Miller's book, I now understand much more clearly how to listen, and how to help other persons to free themselves by sharing the depths of their hearts and souls. And there is one more essential lesson that this book may teach. Happy children with healthy childhoods are an endangered species. All of us involved in the helping professions must actively work to create a culture where violence against children, in all forms, is replaced with the three most beautiful human gifts: reason, sincerity, and love."


"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."
- W. Edwards Deming

"‘Soul-Crushing’: Filmmaker Captures ‘Slow, Painful Death’ Of Starving Polar Bear"

"‘Soul-Crushing’: Filmmaker Captures ‘Slow, 
Painful Death’ Of Starving Polar Bear"
by RT

"Footage of a starving polar bear clinging to life in the Canadian Arctic has highlighted one of the most devastating effects of climate change. When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived in the Baffin Islands, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada's far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he's ever seen. "We stood there crying - filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," he said.

Video shows the polar bear clinging to life, its white hair limply covering its thin, bony frame. One of the bear's back legs drags behind it as it walks, likely due to muscle atrophy. Looking for food, the polar bear slowly rummages through a nearby trashcan used seasonally by Inuit fishers. It finds nothing and resignedly collapses back down onto the ground.

In the days since Nicklen posted the footage, he's been asked why he didn’t intervene. "Of course, that crossed my mind," said Nicklen. "But it's not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat." And even if he did, said Nicklen, he only would have been prolonging the bear's misery. Plus, feeding wild polar bears is illegal in Canada.

The wildlife photographer says he filmed the bear's slow, beleaguered death because he didn't want it to die in vain. "When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death," said Nicklen. "This is what a starving bear looks like." The emaciated bear was filmed just “hours or days” from death as it searched for food on the barren and iceless Baffin Island - Canada’s largest and the fifth largest in the world. The heartbreaking footage was captured by the conservation group Sea Legacy while filming a documentary over the summer.
“My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear,” wrote photographer Paul Nicklen in the lengthy caption accompanying the video, shared on Instagram. “This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death.”

"My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear. It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner. There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this - if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth - our home - first. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them - including us humans."

The heartbreaking footage shows the bear fruitlessly searching for food inside abandoned trash cans with little luck. Nicklen didn’t think the bear was old but said its condition was bad enough to expect it to die within hours of filming.

“As temperatures rise and sea ice melts, polar bears lose access to the main staple of their diets – seals,” Nicklen noted. “Starving, and running out of energy, they are forced to wander into human settlements for any source of food.”

Responding to criticism as to why the film crew didn’t come to the bear’s aid, Nicklen explained that the team were forced to choose between saving a single bear, or enlightening the world to the pain and suffering felt by the remaining 25,000 polar bears facing extinction within the next 100 years. “It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy,” he wrote.

“There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this - if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems.”
I vehemently disagree with the decision not to intervene and help this bear, laws be damned! No, you can't save them all, but if you can save that one, or do everything possible to try to save it, you do it! It would have made a difference to that one... - CP
"The Legend of the Starfish"
Author Unknown

"A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy was walking slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean.

The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Surely such an industrious and kind hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?” The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.”

“Loving Your Servitude”

“Loving Your Servitude”
by James Quinn

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” 
– Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World Revisited"

"When I critically scrutinize the economic, political, financial, and social landscape at this point in history, I come to the inescapable conclusion that our country and world are headed into the abyss. This is most certainly a minority viewpoint. The majority of people in this country are oblivious to the disaster that will arrive over the next decade. Some would attribute this willful ignorance to the normalcy bias that infects the psyches of millions of ostrich-like iGadget distracted, Facebook and Twitter addicted, government educated, financially illiterate, mass media manipulated zombies. Normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to inform the populace about the impending disaster. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster hasn’t occurred yet, then it will never occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with the disaster once it occurs. People tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

“We live surrounded by a systematic appeal to a dream world which all mature, scientific reality would reject. We, quite literally, advertise our commitment to immaturity, mendacity and profound gullibility. It is as the hallmark of the culture. And it is justified as being economically indispensable.”
- John Kenneth Galbraith

The unsustainability of our economic system built upon assumptions of exponential growth, ever expanding debt, increasing consumer spending, unlimited supplies of cheap easy to access oil, impossible to honor entitlement promises, and a dash of mass delusion should be apparent to even the dullest of government public school educated drones inhabiting this country. I don’t attribute this willful ignorance to normalcy bias. I attribute it to abnormalcy bias. In a profoundly abnormal society, adjusting your thinking to fit in appears normal, but is just a symptom of the disease that has infected our culture. There is nothing normal about anything in our society today. If you were magically transported back to 1996 and described to someone the economic, political, financial and social landscape in 2017, they would have had you committed to a mental institution and given shock therapy.
“Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.” – Ron Paul

The most disgraceful example of abnormality that has infected our culture has been the cowardice and docile acquiescence of the citizenry in allowing an ever expanding police state to shred the U.S. Constitution, strip us of our freedoms, and restrict our liberties. Our keepers have not let any crisis go to waste in the last nineteen years. They have also taken advantage of the willful ignorance, childish immaturity, extreme gullibility, historical cluelessness, financial illiteracy and techno-narcissism of the populace to reverse practical legislation and prey upon irrational fears to strip the people of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and freedoms. If you had told someone in 1996 the security measures, laws, and police agencies that would exist in 2017, they would have laughed you out of the room. Every crisis, whether government created or just convenient to their agenda, has been utilized by the oligarchs to expand the police state and benefit the crony capitalists that profit from its expansion. The character of the American people has been found wanting as they obediently cower and beg for protection from unseen evil doers. The propagandist corporate media reinforces their fears and instructs them to submissively tremble and implore the government to do more. The cosmic obliviousness and limitless sense of complacency of the general population with regards to a blatantly obvious coup by a small cadre of sociopathic financial elite and their army of bureaucrats, lackeys and jackboots is a wonder to behold.    

The 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression was primarily the result of excessively loose Federal Reserve monetary policy during the Roaring 20’s and the unrestrained fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street banks. The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act was a practical 38 page law which kept Wall Street from ravenously raping its customers and the American people for almost seven decades. The Wall Street elite and their bought off political hacks in both parties repealed this law in 1999, while simultaneously squashing any effort to regulate the financial derivatives market. The day trading American public didn’t even look up from their computer screens. Over the next nine years Wall Street went on a fraudulent feeding frenzy rampage which brought the country to its knees and then held the American taxpayer at gunpoint to bail them out. The Federal Reserve arranged rescue of LTCM in 1998 gave the all clear to Wall Street that any risk was acceptable, since the Fed would always bail them out. Just as they did in the 1920’s, the Federal Reserve set the table for financial disaster with excessively low interest rates and non-existent regulatory oversight.           

The downward spiral of our empire towards an Orwellian/Huxley merged dystopian nightmare accelerated after the 9/11 attacks. Within one month those looking to exert hegemony over all domestic malcontents had passed the 366 page, 58,000 words Patriot Act. Did the terrified masses ask how such a comprehensive destruction of our liberties could be written in under one month? It is apparent to anyone with critical thinking skills that the enemy within had this bill written, waiting for the ideal opportunity to implement this unprecedented expansion of federal police power. Electronic surveillance of our emails, phone calls and voice mails, along with warrantless wiretaps, and general loss of civil liberties was passed without question under the guise of protecting us. Next was the invasion of a foreign country based upon lies, propaganda and misinformation without a declaration of war, as required by the Constitution. Our government began torturing suspects in secret foreign prisons. 

The shallow, self-centered, narcissistic, Facebook fanatic populace has barely looked up from texting on their iPhones to notice that we have been at war in the Middle East for sixteen years, because it hasn’t interfered with their weekly viewing of "The Kardashians", "Big Brother After Dark", or "Jerry Springer". They occasionally leave their homes to wave a flag and chant “USA, USA, USA”, as directed by the media, when a terrorist like Bin Laden or Boston bomber is offed by our security services, but for the most part they can live their superficial vacuous lives of triviality unscathed by war.

The creation of the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security ushered in a further encroachment of our everyday freedoms. They attempted to keep the masses frightened through a ridiculous color coded fear index. Little old ladies, people in wheelchairs and little children are subject to molestation by lowlife TSA perverts. Military units conduct “training exercises” in cities across the country to desensitize the sheep-like masses, who fail to acknowledge that the U.S. military cannot constitutionally be used domestically. DHS considers military veterans, Ron Paul supporters, and Christians as potential enemies of the state. The use of predator drones to murder suspected adversaries in foreign countries, while killing innocent men, women and children (also known as collateral damage), has just been a prelude to the domestic surveillance and eventually extermination of dissidents and nonconformists here in the U.S. We are already becoming a 1984 CCTV controlled nation. DHS has been rapidly militarizing local police forces in cities and towns to supplement their jackbooted thugs. Executive orders have given then the ability to take control of industry. They can imprison citizens without charges for as long as they deem necessary. Attempts to control gun ownership and shutdown the internet is a prologue to further government domination and supremacy over our lives when the wheels come off this unsustainable bus.

The Boston Marathon bombing provided a multitude of revelations about our government and the people of this country. The billions “invested” in our police state, along with warnings from a foreign government, and suspicious travel patterns were not enough for our beloved protectors to stop the Boston Marathon bombing. After stumbling upon these amateur terrorists by accident, the 2nd responders, with their Iraq war level firepower, managed to slaughter one of the perpetrators, but somehow allowed a wounded teenager to escape on foot and elude 10,000 donut eaters for almost 24 hours. The horde of heavily armed, testosterone fueled thugs proceeded to bully and intimidate the citizens of Watertown by illegal searches of homes and treating innocent people like criminals. The government completely shut down the 10th largest metropolitan area in the country for an entire day looking for a wounded 19 year old. The people of Boston obeyed their zoo keepers and obediently cowered in their cages.  

The entire episode was an epic fail. The gang that couldn’t shoot straight needed an old man to find the bomber in his backyard boat. The people of Boston exhibited the passivity and subservience demanded by their government. Since the capture of the remaining terrorist, the shallow exhibitions of national pride at athletic events and smarmy displays of honoring the police state apparatchiks who screwed up - allowing the attack to occur and looking like the keystone cops during the pursuit of the suspects, has revealed a fatal defect in our civil character. We are living in a profoundly abnormal society, with millions of medicated mindless zombies controlled by a vast propaganda machine, who seemingly enjoy having their liberties taken away. Most have willingly learned to love their servitude. For those who haven’t learned, the boot of our vast security state will just stomp on their face forever. We’re realizing the worst dystopian nightmares of Orwell and Huxley simultaneously. This abnormalcy bias will dissipate over the next few years in a torrent of financial collapse, war, bloodshed, and retribution. Sticking your head in the sand will not make reality go away. The existing social, political, and financial order will be swept away. What it is replaced by is up to us. Will this be the final chapter or new chapter in the history of this nation? The choice is ours."                        

“If you want a vision of the future, 
imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
- George Orwell

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” - Aldous Huxley, 1961

The Daily "Near You?"

Burbank, California, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"And We Danced..."

 "And we danced, on the brink of an unknown future,
 to an echo from a vanished past."
- John Wyndham

Chet Raymo, “A Sense Of Place”

“A Sense Of Place”
by Chet Raymo

“It would be hard to find two writers more different than Eudora Welty and Edward Abbey. Welty was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of stories and novels who lived all her life in Jackson, Mississippi, in the house in which she was born, the beloved spinster aunt of American letters. Abbey was a hard-drinking, butt-kicking nature writer and conservationist best known for his books on the American Southwest. Both writers are favorites of mine. Both were great champions of place. I always wondered what it would have been like if they got together. As far as I know, that never happened. But let's imagine a conversation. I have taken extracts from Welty's essay "Some Notes on River Country" (1944) and from Abbey's essay "The Great American Desert" (1977) and interleaved them.

"This little chain of lost towns between Vicksburg and Natchez."
"This desert, all deserts, any deserts."

"On the shady stream banks hang lady's eardrops, fruits and flowers dangling pale jade. The passionflower puts its tendrils where it can, its strange flowers of lilac rays with their little white towers shining out, or its fruit, the maypop, hanging."
"Oily growths like the poison ivy - oh yes, indeed - that flourish in sinister profusion on the dank walls above the quicksand down those corridors of gloom and labyrinthine monotony that men call canyons."

"All creepers with trumpets and panicles of scarlet and yellow cling to the treetops. There is a vine that grows to great heights, with heart-shaped leaves as big and soft as summer hats."
"Everything in the desert either stings, stabs, stinks, or sticks. You will find the flora here as venomous, hooked, barbed, thorny, prickly, needled, saw-toothed, hairy, stickered, mean, bitter, sharp, wiry and fierce as the animals."

"Too pretty for any harsh fate, with its great mossy trees and old camellias."
"Something about the desert inclines all living things to harshness and acerbity."

"The clatter of hoofs and the bellow of boats have gone. The Old Natchez Trace has sunk out of use. The river has gone away and left the landings. But life does not forsake any place."
"In the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix will get you if the sun, snakes, bugs, and arthropods don't. In the Mojave Desert, it's Las Vegas. Up north in the Great Basin Desert, your heart will break, seeing the strip mines open up and the power plants rise..."
"The Negro Baptist church, weathered black with a snow-white door, has red hens in the yard. The old galleried stores are boarded up. The missing houses were burned - they were empty, and the little row of Negro inhabitants have carried them off for firewood."
"...the highway builders, land developers, weapons testers, power producers, clear cutters, oil drillers, dam beavers, subdividers."

"Eventually you see people, of course. Women have little errands, and the old men play checkers at a table in the front of the one open store. And the people's faces are good."

"To go there, you start west from Port Gibson. Postmen would arrive here blowing their horns like Gabriel, after riding three hundred wilderness miles from Tennessee."
"Why go into the desert? Really, why do it? That sun, roaring at you all day long. The fetid, tepid, vapid little water holes full of cannibal beetles, spotted toads, horsehair worms, liver flukes. Why go there?"

"I have felt many times there is a sense of place as powerful as if it were visible and walking and could touch me. A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out. Sometimes it gives out glory, sometimes its little light must be sought out to be seen."
"Why the desert, when you could be camping by a stream of pure Rocky Mountain spring water. We have centipedes, millipedes, tarantulas, black widows, brown recluses, Gila monsters, the deadly poisonous coral snakes, and the giant hairy desert scorpions. Plus an immense variety of near-infinite number of ants, midges, gnats, bloodsucking flies, and blood-guzzling mosquitoes."

"Much beauty has gone, many little things of life. To light up the night there are no mansions, no celebrations. Wild birds fly now at the level where people on boat deck once were strolling and talking."
"In the American Southwest, only the wilderness is worth saving."

"There is a sense of place there, to keep life from being extinguished, like a cup of the hands to hold a flame."
"A friend and I took a walk up beyond Coconino County, Arizona. I found an arrow sign, pointed to the north. Nothing of any unusual interest that I could see - only the familiar sun-blasted sandstone, a few scrubby clumps of blackbush and prickly pear, a few acres of nothing where only a lizard could graze. I studied the scene with care. But there was nothing out there. Nothing at all. Nothing but the desert. Nothing but the silent world."

"Perhaps it is the sense of place that gives us the belief that passionate things, in some essence, endure."
"In my case, it was love at first sight. The kind of love that makes a man selfish, possessive, irritable..."

"New life will be built upon these things."
" unrequited and excessive love."

"It is this."
"That's why."

And so it is...

"The Whole Root Of Our Trouble..."

"Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death- ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life."
- James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time”

"Dazed Lemmings Can't Bridge The Reality Gap"

"Dazed Lemmings Can't Bridge The Reality Gap"
by Zen Gardner

"Ever wonder why people can't make the leap to real awareness of what's going on? Why do so few people seem to care about the dangers of the unreported Fukushima radiation levels and toxic debris washing across the pacific? As the Orwellian American police state sweeps into place, the economy crumbles, Americans are preparing to celebrate their entry into a brave new 2018 with minimal awareness of the true dangers already dissolving their health, wealth and chances for survival in an engineered conflagration of mythic proportions that is already descending on their heads.

As the gap between reality and manipulated public perception grows, it may just be too big a leap for many at this point. Having been dumbed-down and unresponsive for so long, it's too much for them to take in. Sad, but again, that's reality. Hey, why wake up when everything's such a bummer? That's the underlying mentality. The thing is, this is a conditioned response. Overload and recoil. And it's been going on a long, long time.

Why? Like the dumbing down effect of fluoride and chemtrails and adulterated food, it eventually suppresses natural responses. When the real alert presents itself, the subject will not be able to react and protect himself. Why all the dramatic end of the world sci-fi movies? Why the emphasis on violence and horror movies and graphic, destructive wars? Why does the news major on the bad events of the day? Why the combative gladiator sports, emphasis on technology instead of humanity, and mind-numbing crass consumerism and sexualization of society? This is deliberate social engineering, and that's the biggie. It's all engineered..and that's the last thing most people want to realize. And it usually is.

The Power of Cognitive Dissonance: The world has become essentially schizophrenic in outlook. Being told one thing while the exact opposite is happening before their eyes for so long, the "dissonance" created by this conflict causes humanity to shut down. America is the perfect example. Ostensibly fighting for "freedom and liberty" we commit genocide and destroy nation after nation. To protect our liberties the government has overturned the Bill of Rights and made the Constitution a mockery. Yet the populace sits and takes it. Why? Too big of a leap. If it turned out they've been completely conned by a massive manipulated agenda they may just completely break down. And subconsciously the horror of that reality is therefore a "no". Even if it were true they're at the point they'd rather not know.

I'll Take Conscious Reality. "Why all the negativity?" is what you'll hear a lot of the time when you bring these things up. The answer, as David Icke often says, is that ignorance is negative. Truth is empowering, no matter how awful it may be sometimes. And at this point in history the more you learn the more negative it may seem, with the Controllers' agenda in full final-phase swing. But so what. Things haven't changed all that much. The purpose of life is to rediscover who you truly are, and that wonderful awakening makes everything else pale in comparison. Our mission then becomes to inform and empower, share and encourage. The same one it always has been. That it's taking this kind of extreme compression to awaken the slumbering masses is really no surprise, and ultimately a gift from the Universe to help people back into the real world.....that of conscious loving awareness."
"Awaken from slumber, one and all..."

"We Say We Waste Time..."

"We say we waste time, but that is impossible.
We waste ourselves."
- Alice Bloch

The Poet: Rod McKuen, "A Cat Named Sloopy"

"A Cat Named Sloopy"

"For awhile
the only earth that Sloopy knew
  was in her sandbox.
Two rooms were her domain.
Every night she'd sit in the window
among the avocado plants
waiting for me to come home,
       my arms full of canned liver and love.
We'd talk into the night then,
 but missing something.
She the earth she never knew,
me the hills I ran
  while growing bent.
Sloopy should have been a cowboy's cat,
with prairies to run,
not linoleum,
and real-live catnip mice,
no one to depend on but herself.

I never told her,
but in my mind
I was a midnight cowboy even then.
Riding my imaginary horse
 down Forty-second street,
 going off with strangers
 to live an hour-long cowboy's life.
   But always coming home to Sloopy,
     who loved me best.
   For a dozen summers
 we lived against the world.
An island on an island.
She'd comfort me with purring,
I'd fatten her with smiles.
We grew rich on trust,
         needing not the beach or butterflies.
I had a friend named Ben
Who painted buildings like Roualt men.
  He went away.
My laughter tired Lillian
after a time,
   she found a man who only smiled.
    But Sloopy stayed and stayed.

       Nineteen fifty-nine,    
Old men walk their dogs.
Some are walked so often
that their feet leave
little pink tracks
in the soft snow.

Women, fur on fur,
elegant and easy,
only slightly pure,
hailing cabs to take them
  round the block and back.
Who is not a love seeker
when December comes?
Even children pray to Santa Claus.
I had my own love safe at home,
and yet I stayed out all one night,
 the next day too.

They must have thought me crazy
    screaming SLOOPY!
as the snow came falling
down around me.

I was a madman
to have stayed away
 one minute more
  than the appointed hour.
I'd like to think a golden cowboy
snatched her from the window sill,
 and safely saddlebagged
she rode to Arizona.
She's stalking lizards
in the cactus now perhaps,
  bitter, but free.
 I'm bitter too,
and not a free man anymore.

  But once upon a time,
In New York's jungle in a tree,     
before I went into the world
in search of other kinds of love,
nobody owned me but a cat named Sloopy.
   Looking back,
perhaps she's been
the only human thing
that ever gave back love to me.” 
- Rod McKuen 

Hat tip to Annette Garcia for this material! 

"The Excellent Foppery Of The World..."

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeits of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars: as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star!"
- William Shakespeare, “King Lear”


"How It Really Is"

'Murica, 2017!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"Words You Hate To Hear"

"Words You Hate To Hear"
by Stanley Fish

"There is a class of utterances that, when encountered, produces irritation, distress and, in some cases, the desire to kill. You hear or read one of these and your heart sinks. Everyone will have his or her (non)favorites. Mine is a three-word announcement on the TV screen, “To Be Continued,” which says, “I know that you have become invested in this story and are eager to find out how it ends, but you’re going to have to wait for a few days or a week or a month or forever.” In the great order of things, it is only a minor inconvenience, but it is experienced as a deprivation; you were banking on something and now it has been taken away.

In the same category are “Sold Out,” when you’ve been been waiting in line at a movie theater for 30 minutes (I know you can get tickets online, but sometimes you’ve decided to go out on the spur of the moment); “Closed for Private Party,” when you’ve been looking forward to a meal at your favorite restaurant all day; “Back in an Hour,” when you’ve come crosstown to buy something you need to have immediately; “Not in Service,” when you’ve been counting on using an A.T.M. or getting a Coke; “Use Other Door,” when you’ve gone around a long block to get to what you thought was the main entrance; “Register Closed,” when you’ve been waiting not-so-patiently behind a fellow customer with 25 items; and “The role of Violetta will be sung by the understudy,” when you’ve spent hundreds of dollars to see Renée Fleming.

All of these messages involve something you are bent on doing or have almost done or think you have done, and then, at the threshold of success and gratification, you are stopped in your tracks. Most annoying.

Even more annoying are the messages that are instances of formal and programmatic lying. When the dentist says to you, “This may hurt a little” or “This may sting a little,” you know that pain and discomfort on a massive scale are just around the corner. It would have been better had he or she said nothing. When the mechanical voice that interrupts the bad music that has been serenading you as you wait for a live person says, “Your call is important to us,” everything you’ve already endured and anticipate enduring for many minutes more tells you that nothing could be further from the truth. When the another mechanical voice says, “I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize your response,” you know that she’s not sorry.

And when the tech specialist who has been unable to help you and seems now to be blaming you for his inability asks, ever so politely, “May I put you on hold for a minute?” you know (a) that you have no choice (b) that one minute will become five and then 10 (c) that you are likely to be cut off and put in the position of starting all over again and (d) that in the event he does in fact return, you will be asked to execute still more procedures that will leave you exactly where you were when you were so foolish as to make the call in the first place.

And then there are the messages suggesting that you are either an idiot or a bad person. When you are told by a salesperson or a machine, “Your card has been denied,” you feel that the bank, the merchant and the world have made a judgment on you: deadbeat, spendthrift, bad credit risk. (This would be the case even if you had a million dollars in the requisite account.) When the prompt system intones, “If you want to make a call,” you want to scream, “What do you think I’ve been trying to do?” When the same system says, “To return to the menu,” you are being rebuked for not having a concern of the kind its universe acknowledges.

When you are admonished, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed,” the implications are that you don’t listen carefully, and that the options being offered are sufficient to your needs, and if they aren’t, so much the worse for you. When your computer tells you, “This page cannot be displayed,” it is as if it were saying, “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you even master the elementary task of getting on line? Perhaps you have a five-year-old daughter who can instruct you?” And when the same computer says sternly, “Invalid user name,” you wonder if you have been the victim of identity theft or are experiencing the onset of early Alzheimer’s.

So there it is: a list of phrases that make you wince and say (if only to yourself), “Oh, no!”, because they derail expectation or because they offer condescension and prevarication in equal measure or because they accuse you of failures and weaknesses often before you’ve even had a chance to do anything.

I’m sure the list could be longer, and I invite you to add to it.

I’ll get the ball rolling by adding two more: “Assembly Required,” which is at least honest in its advertisement and promise of frustration and humiliation; and, finally, a saying that is confined, in my experience, to the South: “We sure don’t,” uttered by a salesperson who is telling you not only that an item you know the store should carry is unavailable, but that she is proud and happy to be disappointing you."