WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Patriarchy Crumbles, The White Goddess Rises!

The Season of the Witch.  If I remember my Wizard of Oz correctly, there are good and bad Witches. Witches are women with magic powers. Also think of a "Woman or Girl who is Bewitchingly attractive."

All this hurly burly, toil and trouble in Social Media. Seems the Patriarchy is imploding. The White Goddess is rising. Some folks, for instance, that Alabama candidate for Senator dodging sexual harassment/predator claims, is calling it all a "Witch Hunt." 

Funny thing, it is, but not in the way he means it. No, they are not searching for a Witch that doesn't exist, yes, the Witches (the good and bad, the bewitchingly attractive) are doing the hunting! And they are calling out the bad actors amongst us.

So what happens when the Patriarchy falls? Do we replace it with a Matriarchy? I don't think so. Concentrated power, whether it's male or female is just not a good idea.

I propose a Meritocracy(merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy stating that power should be vested in individuals almost exclusively based on ability and talent.[1] Advancement in such a system is based on performance measured through examination and/or demonstrated achievement in the field where it is implemented.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Believe in the Amorphous!

True Believers. I do think we all need to believe in something. Maybe believe in believing? But I think it works best if we choose to believe in big things, things like, "A Better Day." You know a big, amorphous, inclusive idea that gives us hope, motivates us to put our boots on and face the day. A big idea that's not specific, it's open-ended, it is easily adaptable in the face of conditions on the ground. Conditions on the ground are always in flux. Your big idea needs to be able to adapt, to incorporate, to include these conditions. As they say, "Reality has a way of catching up with you."

You don't want to cling to very specific things like this book, this person, this political party, this theory, this religion, this way of doing things. Too narrow. Too easy to mislead you, too easy to disappoint you, to lead you astray. 

Maybe believe in small things, like a varied diet, a good night's sleep, walking, speaking softly, being gentle and kind. Believe in listening, empathy and compassion for all living things.

Believe in the wonder of the world. Believe that everything you know could be wrong. Believe in a better day, a better idea. Everything else needs work, verification, a testing of hypotheses. We need to sift through data, check our sources, be open and willing to change our minds. Daily.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Sea of Guilt!

Guilt. It's useful. Living in the material world, there are so many facets, angles, interconnections. So many reasons to feel guilty. Look at the food on your plate. Or the vehicle you drive. The place you live. Where you work. How you spend your free time. We are all complicit in crimes and misdemeanors of varying degrees. That's modern living. That's what being engaged with the world means. We are complicit. We are responsible. We are responsible for all that we do and think, and all that we don't do and think. It's that classic Existentialist idea, we are responsible, accountable for everything. Everything counts. It's a heavy duty thing. A burden and a mission. It's not fun or entertaining. It's a life, bounded, surrounded, swimming in the Sea of Guilt.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Have Walked with a Zombie!

I think some of us are fascinated by Zombies because we recognize ourselves. Maybe to our own horror. We recognize that pure, unbridled, unquenchable appetite. Driven by hormones, driven by forces in our bodies, in our heads, that we can't control. All that mindless Needing, Wanting, Grasping. Raw, Unwashed Consumers. Consumers of flesh, of life, of blood, of sex.

Scary to see in another, wakes up something in our consciousness that implicates us too in that Zombie Drama. How often have we lived on automatic pilot? Without thought? Pure action, pure motion? Mindless? Without reflection. Without understanding. Without restraint.

Go to any bar or night spot. Watch your fellow human beings fill their bodies with intoxicants. Watch them dumb themselves down, watch them numb themselves, watch them Zombify. Reaching for a certain Oblivion. I have been a Zombie too. I have walked with a Zombie. Haven't you?

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Life, Well-Lived.

Still thinking about Sin...

I learned long ago, in a time and place that no longer exists, that there are Mortal Sins (a gravely sinful act, which can lead to damnation if a person does not repent of the sin before death.) And Venial Sins (a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell).

Heavy shit, indeed. There are so many ways to go bad, right? Moral, Ethical, Legal...

Infractions, transgressions, indiscretions...

The Catholics believed that you can confess, you can be forgiven, you can wash your sins away. Not sure about that. I think if you do believe in Sin, those Sins never go away. You carry them, always. 

I do remember going to Confession a few times, "Bless Me Father for I have sinned, my last confession was..."  It always seemed like a hollow ritual, one that usually just compounded the sins, and never really felt like a cleansing.

A life of Sin? We call that a life, well-lived. 

Most of us want to do Good. To be Good. But there are a million ways to stray. In our world, straying is where the action is, it's where the fun begins. It's hard to be a Saint in the City (hat tip to B. Springsteen)...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Original Sin as Metaphor!

I'm trying to remember being a young lad in Catholic grade school. The Nuns taught us about "Original Sin," which if I remember correctly had something to do with Adam eating from the Tree of Good & Evil. I was taught we had "souls" which I imagined were kind of like an invisible t-shirt, which was marked every time we committed a sin. Sins were committed frequently. Sometimes thought by thought. So yes, my little invisible t-shirt had lots of big black marks scrawled across the front.

I suppose I took this literally when I was a child. Briefly. Or maybe like for a few years, until I began to suspect the whole Catholic enterprise was just an elaborate trick to try to instill guilt and fear into my being. I later understood all this indoctrination as a way to make me obedient to the power structure of society. It didn't really work, later I rebelled pretty intently, but on the other hand, it all worked quite well. It helped form my internal universe which I carry with me to this day.

I now can look back and see all that Bible study thing as a story, an elaborate myth. Not to be taken literally, but which can be read "metaphorically."  Interpreted like a poem. Read like Shakespeare or Blake.

So yeah, all of us are born, and all of us are capable of "good & evil." Every moment of every day, we make decisions, we have thoughts, we contemplate and act.  Everyone of us is capable of everything  and anything we can imagine. The great and beautiful, the sordid and ugly.

Why? Because we are Human Beings. Flawed. Imperfect. Complicated. Every day, human beings prove this to each other. It's a weird story. We have been banished from the Garden of Eden. We live in our own Heaven & Hell. That's our world, baby. 

This doesn't let us off the hook. It's put us squarely on it. We are responsible, we are held accountable for everything.  It's kind of an Existentialist thing.

I do think having a sense of guilt, a sense of sin, a sense of responsibility and having a conscience are all good things I retrieved from my Catholic upbringing. All that was successfully transferred to the core of my being. I carry that shit with me. Even if I do believe it's all metaphorical, symbolic. 

It's actually useful, has made me a better being, because I know that I'm no better than any other being, I'm flawed, just like everyone else is flawed. So some of this shit emerging now is not surprising, even though it is surprising. You know what I mean? Welcome to Human Paradise! Welcome to our Human Hell.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Losing Their Way, Day by Day!

"Now people just get Uglier, and I have no sense of Time..." - B. Dylan

Yeah, this lyric has been ringing in my head the last week or so. As the Patriarchy crumbles, lots of ugly stuff coming out about lots of folks. People are complicated. Capable of the the best and the worst. 

There is no "Normal," just degrees of "Abnormality:"  deviating from the normal or average person. 

What of civility? Respect? Simple Common Decency? Restraint? Grace?

Lots of deviating going on in the world. Sometimes you think, "We have lost our way." But then, if you look at History, it seems to be a long, rambling story of folks losing their way, day by day.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Unwatchable Movie.

You are in this big, sprawling movie. You came in late, and you realize you will be leaving, (not really voluntarily), before the thing ends. You are a character in the thing. For awhile, you think you are the main, leading character, but as the movie rolls out, it dawns on you that there are no lead characters, or maybe every person on the planet is a lead character, so, basically, same thing.

You are peripheral, marginal. Just one in the vast sea of faces. Then later, as you go, you begin to realize that you are even peripheral to yourself. This is kind of a paradigm-shifting insight. You are important, unique, but everything that lives is important and unique, so at the same time, not so important or unique.

And you go. You will leave. Probably at a time and place beyond your own choosing. So yes, here, and then, not here. That is the basic story.

At the core of your being is Paradox: "having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases," that is your nature, that is your true name. So who you are is sort of nebulous, a mystery too. A shadow of a shadow. A ghost of a ghost. So you live in the movie. You watch yourself, but there are no hard edges. Moment to moment is a constant shuffling. A living and dying.

It's a weird movie. Who would make such a thing? Unwatchable. Too big, too rambling. Too much thunder. Too much death. Overstuffed with life too. Weird.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Major Issue Underlying All the Other Issues?

You know it's like that "Let them Eat Cake" thing on a Global Scale. Global Wealth Inequality. Maybe it's the major issue underlying all the other issues? Just thinking out loud. Too few Folks own too much $$$. Wealth creates wealth, and it's getting more and more concentrated. 

Check it out: 

1% of the Global Population owns about 50% of the Global Wealth...

10% of the Global Population owns about 90% of the Global Wealth...

And according to the Paradise Papers these wealthy folks/companies are socking away, hiding and hoarding their money. Not only do they don't want to share, they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes either.

Sounds unsustainable, inequitable, unconscionable, I mean, like Totally Fucked Up. Of course, the Filthy Haves also control most of the levers of power in Countries around the Globe. So what to do?

We all need to sit down and talk about this issue!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Is Apple Betraying America?

The Paradise Papers are already bearing fruit. You love Apple right? You love your iMac, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and iPod, right? You look at Apple as one of the great American success stories. You know all the details of the story of Steve Jobs and Apple's dedication to innovation. Yeah, me too.

Did you know that Apple is parking major $$$ offshore to avoid U.S. taxes? Which means that the great American success story, you know the company that benefited from being headquartered in Cupertino, CA, USA, that benefited from our Education system, our roads, our Fire Departments, our Police Force, our Armed Forces, our System of Government, our Department of Justice, has a team of lawyers and tax accountants working furiously 24/7 to avoid paying taxes to help fund all those things they benefited from all those years.

Not exactly a heartwarming story. It almost seems like some kind of deep betrayal of America, right? A shiny, successful U.S. Company turns their back on the country that birthed them, and hides their profits offshore.

From the NYTimes: 

"Apple has accumulated more than $128 billion in profits offshore, and probably much more, that is untaxed by the United States and hardly touched by any other country. Nearly all of that was made over the past decade. Previously undisclosed story of Apple’s search for a new tax haven and its use of Jersey is among the findings emerging from a cache of secret corporate records from Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm that caters to businesses and the wealthy elite.  The records, shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with The New York Times and other media partners, were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung."

Pay attention people. This seems like a scandal worth following!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Russia Helped Trump - Fact!

Yes. We must try to stick to the facts. Wade through the lies and misinformation. Daily. It's not easy. Not necessarily fun, but necessary. So, yes, just a reminder, that "Russia was behind the 2016 email hacks." The Associated Press confirms it. Don't let anyone lie to you, or try to spin you...

"It wasn’t just a few aides that the hackers went after; it was an all-out blitz across the Democratic Party. They tried to compromise Clinton’s inner circle and more than 130 party employees, supporters and contractors.

While U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the email thefts, the AP drew on forensic data to report Thursday that the hackers known as Fancy Bear were closely aligned with the interests of the Russian government….[This] helps explain how a Russian-linked intermediary could boast to a Trump policy adviser, a month later, that the Kremlin had “thousands of emails” worth of dirt on Clinton."

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Filthy Rich Haves Vs. Everyone Else!

Sometimes, when I'm in a feisty, conspiratorial frame of mind, I think everyone is at war with everyone. You know, as in, "People, can't live with them, can't live with out them."

The Young at war with the Old. Women at war with Men. And vice versa. And don't forget the Rich at war with the Poor. The "Have's vs. the Have Nots," or maybe the Filthy Rich Haves vs. Everyone Else. 

Seems the Filthy Rich Haves just don't want to pay taxes. They just don't want to contribute their fair share back to the governments that allowed them to live and work safely and productively in their respective countries. They don't want to help pay for schools, roads, armies, government.

By parking their $$$ offshore they are skimming off the top and hiding it. Doesn't seem right. Or moral. Or legal.

Those with money, clinging to it, socking it away, hiding it from anyone who might want a rightful share of it. There is a big story percolating right now. "The Paradise Papers." Another hack. The Hackers are at War with Everyone too. And a leak of 13.4 Million documents shows the scale of the offshore empire, and involves everyone from Queen Elizabeth to Facebook. Some of the Trump team is implicated and, wait for it, Bono too?!

From the Guardian:

"Money flows into the offshore world from everywhere. It's often very hard to identify the people and companies behind it. Among the documents in the leak is a database of Appleby customers from 1993 to 2014. It contains the names of more than 120,000 people and companies. Not all are connected to a company registered offshore. It has been an impossible task to check whether the customer is just a contact or if they have used Appleby services over many years. But it gives a good indication of where demand for Appleby’s services originated. Many clients come from the UK, China and Hong-Kong, but the largest number, more than 30,000, are from the US."

Think we will be hearing lots more about this story in the coming months:

"How many media organisations have been looking at the data?

The Guardian is one of 96 media partners in the project. A total of 381 journalists from 67 countries have been analysing the material.

Who got the documents – and how?
The leaks were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which also received the Panama Papers last year. Süddeutsche Zeitung shared the material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a US-based organisation that coordinated the global collaboration. Süddeutsche Zeitung has not, and will not, discuss issues around sourcing."

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Burn Down the Patriarchy!

Burn down the Patriarchy: "a social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly :control by men of a disproportionately large share of power."

Yes, it's time. I say this as a Human Being of the Male variety. I have no problem admitting that giving men a disproportionate share of power is a bad thing. For all of us. Just check out the last 10,000 years or so.

I do think the elevation of the "Grab Them By The Pussy" President was the last straw. Not the beginning of something, but the end.

It was followed by the Woman's March January 21, 2017. A huge outpouring, and empowering moment. Then there was the #MeToo Movement which recently took social media by storm.

Now there is "The (incomplete) list of powerful men accused of sexual harassment after Harvey Weinstein."

Woman are speaking up. So many brave souls, speaking truth to power. It is inspiring. I posted a picture of Rose McGowan, at the top of this post, she has emerged as one of the most powerful voices out there. It's time to open our eyes and imagine a new way forward.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"As a White-Supremacist, Colonialist, Capitalist, Patriarchy Dies..." - Chani Nicholas

You look for "wisdom" where you can find it...

I have a good friend who follows Chani Nicholas religiously. I guess I follow vicariously...

An important week in Astrology! I was looking for some good news this week, and here it is (emphasis added)...

"As white-supremacist, colonialist, capitalist patriarchy dies, the traditions that it has tried to obliterate experience a resurgence. An awakening. A renewal. Every culture on earth has its own systems of healing. Each one of us can dig into our lineages to better understand what kind of magic we might come from. Each one of us can call on the protective forces that we need at any time. Protective forces that look, sound, smell or feel personally resonant for us. We are free to reorganize our own cultural rituals to be more inclusive of ourselves and our communities. We are free to connect to forces that have not been previously named or recorded. We may very well need to reclaim the forces, deities and practices that have been misnamed, misrepresented, and misappropriated." - C. Nicholas

Friday, November 03, 2017

Hilary Clinton - Lord of the Flies!

We attended a dinner party on the evening of Halloween 2017 - also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows' Eve,[7] or All Saints' Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9]the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]

Great conversation with folks from Texas, New Jersey, Illinois. Topics ranged from Science, Art, Religion, Pop Culture, and of course, Politics. We discussed the 2016 Election. Discussing Hilary Clinton I noted that she was not well-liked by lots of folks, but "I mean, it's not like she is Beelzebub" - In theological sources, predominately Christian, Beelzebub is sometimes another name for the Devil, similar to Satan. He is known in demonology as one of the seven princes of Hell. The Dictionnaire Infernal describes Beelzebub as a being capable of flying, known as the "Lord of the Flyers", or the "Lord of the Flies".

A day after I spoke those words, I came across this photo. I guess... I... was... wrong...! 

I Googled "Army of Jesus" they tell us: "We believe that if you go back to the mud after being washed, you must wash yourself again and come back to seek the Lord."

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Hilary Clinton Has Horns?! Why Did She Hide Them? I'm Sure There is an Untapped Voting Bloc for a Woman With Horns!

As I understand it, a Russian Troll factory hi-jacked many of our social media platforms to spread disinformation and chaos during the 2016 election. Fanning the flames. Muddying the waters. Trying to confuse and influence people they targeted as easy to confuse and influence.

Seems there are lots of folks out there easy to confuse and influence. Please see the results of the 2016 election.

Exhibit A:

Damn. I voted for the serious looking Woman with the horns. I wish I would have seen this in my Facebook News Feed. I think I would have even been more enthusiastic voting for her if I knew she had horns and she was taking on "Shirtless Guy." 

I mean, I think I actually sort of kind of prayed for her to win. If you wonder why, please refer to the last 10 months of our current "Grab Them By the Pussy Prez." 

Anyway, no such luck, even though she ended up with 3 million more votes than Shirtless Guy's Guy. Just why the hell Shirtless Guy would be for the GTBTP Prez is anyone's confused and easily influenced guess. 

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

"A Classic Anti-Mafia Playbook..."

News sources like the Washington Post and the NY Times and Vanity Fair tell us that "Everyone is freaking out" in the White House over Monday's indictments. I do think we all need to be careful what news sources we use. We want good journalism, multiple sources, verified facts.

Less opinions, more facts. And remind ourselves that opinions aren't facts. Too much of the news, especially on TV and Radio, is actually opinion masquerading as fact. Anyway, I do trust the Washington Post and the NY Times. I mean, maybe once in awhile they get a story wrong, but most of the time they do an excellent job of getting their facts just right.

Here's Vanity Fair on the latest "bombshell" revealed yesterday, in the Mueller Investigation...

"Papadopoulos’s guilty plea, and subsequent cooperation with the F.B.I., could upend that timetable—as could the arrests of Manafort and Gates. The overriding assumption is that Mueller believes that the pair have information relating to Trump, which he intends to leverage. As legal experts have told Vanity Fair, the special prosecutor appears to be following a classic anti-mafia playbook: begin by targeting lower-level staffers, then work your way up, using compromising information or legal threats to compel testimony against their higher-ups. Gates, apparently, is a point of particular concern. Possibly facing years in jail, he has a young family, and continued to be involved with the Trump administration after the president was sworn in.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Think Eliot Ness, Special Agent Dale Cooper & Joe Friday All Wrapped Up in One Guy!

My head is spinning. So many great reporters writing about the Russian Dupe/Collusion story, and Robert Mueller's investigation. Journalism at it's best. We are lucky to have a Free Press. They may help save our Democracy.

And Robert Mueller himself is an American Hero. Think Eliot Ness, Special Agent Dale Cooper and Joe Friday all wrapped up in one guy. The crazy folks on the Right are trying to muddy the waters by attacking Mueller, but man, check out his resume: 

Robert Swan "Bob" Mueller III (/ˈmʌlər/; born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer and civil servant who was the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2001 to 2013. A Republican, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and his original ten-year term was given a two-year extension by President Barack Obama, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover. He is currently head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.

A graduate of Princeton University, Mueller served as a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War, receiving the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroism and the Purple Heart Medal. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973, he worked at a private firm in San Francisco for three years until his appointment as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the same city. Prior to his appointment as FBI director, Mueller served as a United States Attorney, as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division and as acting deputy attorney general.

He earned a reputation as a no-nonsense, straight-laced attorney and investigator, as well as the nickname "Bobby Three Sticks," in reference to his name's numeric suffix.[3][4][5] Lauded for his non-partisan and non-political approach, he has been credited with transforming the FBI from an agency primarily focused on law enforcement into one of the world's top organizations handling counterespionage and counterterrorism.[6]

In May 2017, Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel, overseeing the investigation into alleged foreign electoral intervention by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and related matters.

He's up against the "Grab Them by the Pussy Prez." Who to trust?!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Conspiracy-Minded for a Reason!

Wow. The first indictment is a doozy... check it out. First charge is "Conspiracy Against the United States..."

Conspiracies. Maybe in the broadest sense "any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result,"  tells us that are all swimming in conspiracies all of the time. 

The cells of our bodies are conspiring to form organs, to multiply and divide for a purpose.
The organs of our bodies conspire to work together to make a well-functioning human organism.

The stuff of the Universe conspires to form stars, planets, and other various astronomical phenomena.
Parallel Universes conspire to work side by side.
Super-Strings conspire to connect everything to everything.

Human societies conspire to work together, or work apart.
Everything conspires with everything else.

No wonder we are conspiracy-minded beings. We are trapped in a vast web of human and non-human conspiracies every moment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Picture a Leader with no fucking brains..." - R. Waters

I was in my local Records store, stopped at the CD section, and there it was, Roger Waters' latest album. "Is this the life we really want?" Nice title. Provocative question. The short answer: "No!"

I haven't read any reviews. I really don't want to know what anyone else thinks of the record. I thought to myself, "I wonder what's on Roger Waters mind?" And I snagged a copy of the album.

I have lived with it for a week or so. Yes, it's a knockout. A major work from a major artist. Produced & Mixed by Nigel Goodrich, longtime Radiohead Producer/Collaborator. What a perfect match.

The record sounds amazing. Lush. Powerful. Layered. Sophisticated. Love the sound of the drums, keyboards, orchestrations. At the center of it all Roger Waters' uncivil voice, and his plain, resonant acoustic guitar.

Does Roger Waters rank with some of the great artists of our time like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, George Orwell and J.G. Ballard? Yes, he does.

He is Rock & Roll's Great Conceptualist! Rock & roll's Great Dystopian! There is no disputing Roger Water's bleak, gloomy, bitter, dark, alienated, disaffected, pissed off vision. We can't dispute it, we just happen to live in his world.

I love it that Roger Waters has not mellowed out. That he still has a chip on his shoulder. That he is still pissed off at the state of the world. Maybe, actually, no surprise, he's even more pissed off now.

He paints a corrosive picture of our current predicament, "The Death of the Post War (World War II) Dream." Fear in every heart. Drones in the sky. Refugees with no shelter. A harsh war on Immigrants. Guantanamo. A culture swimming in cheap shit and abundance. How we all have sold our souls and liberty, for a bit of security and $.

Does the "Grab them by the Pussy President" make an appearance? Yes, he does.  There is even a snatch of audio featuring the voice of the bilious fraud. It's almost too much, but I think it works splendidly...

Yes, well, the actual lyrics are "Picture a Leader with no fucking brains..."

Anyway, a powerful, cohesive artistic statement from one of the best of his generation. I highly recommend it.  I will let Roger Waters have the last words:

"We cannot turn back the clock
cannot go back in time
but we can say
Fuck You, we will not listen to
Your bullshit and lies
Your bullshit and lies."
R. Waters

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Heading into Hyper-Drive!

This Russian Dupe/Collusion story is NOT going away. In fact it is heading into "hyper-drive." Look out Mama, it's all going to come down! Just like we all imagined. At least maybe how I imagined.

The Grab Them By the Pussy President can cry and whine about Fake News but it looks like the first indictment is coming down with an arrest as soon as this coming Monday!

Love this, sounds like the Mueller Investigation will be quite the bargain:

"As for the cost of Mueller’s investigation, everybody knows these things don’t come cheap. The Iran-Contra investigation swallowed $47 million, which is about $104 million in today’s dollars. Even at $200 million, the Mueller investigation will be a bargain if it uncovers obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax fraud by the president or his associates."

Kind of thrilling. Pretty sure we will get to the bottom of this sordid, ugly story. And some powerful, prominent folks are going to meet a certain Justice. That's how I see it Folks!

Should be a wild, interesting ride. Lots of turmoil, lots of noise, lots of hurly, burly... but I see light at the end of a long tunnel... really, really, I do...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Money, Ego & Ideology - That's How You Do It!

I know this Russian Collusion/Dupe in the White House Story is complicated. Lots of threads, lots of pieces of the puzzle. I do think we are starting to get a clearer picture, but lots of contradictory info, and lots of noise out there too.

There are plenty of folks who don't want the facts of this story to come out, lots of people in power who benefit by keeping it under wraps.

But I think at the heart of the story there is a simple thru line. Easy to understand. Alex Finley, the pen name of a former CIA officer, explains how Putin was able to corrupt and recruit the folks necessary to elevate a Russian Dupe into the White House.

Three basic elements: Money, Ego & Ideology. That's how you do it. There is something so basic to this, it's easy to understand. Human beings are oh so corruptible. Throw some money their way, stroke their Egos a bit, appeal to their fondest ideas, stir up with some gusto and you end up with a Russian Dupe in the White House - The Grab Them By the Pussy Prez.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"... the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions..." - J. Flake

Jeff Flake is a very conservative Senator from Arizona. As a Democrat from Illinois, it's fair to say that I am pretty much opposed to just about everything he is promoting in his views of governing, and in his agenda for America.

At the same time, I am very impressed that he has decided not to seek another term in the Senate and he was willing to stand on the Senate floor and deliver a blistering, devastating assessment of the current President.

If you are interested, engaged, and want to be informed about what's going down in Washington D.C. you should probably read the full speech, or watch it. It's pretty amazing. Especially coming from a Republican Senator.

Lots of highlights... for instance:

"We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal." - J. Flake

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Even Your Thoughts Are Dust." - M. Williams

I almost hesitate to write about Lucinda Williams and her 2016 album "Ghosts of Highway 20." I fear my words will somehow diminish and fail to convey the beauty and the power of her work. I purchased the 2 CD (7 songs each CD), set awhile back and have lived with it for quite awhile now. There were a few weeks where I listened to the record every morning.  And also, for awhile it was the only record I listened to. Yes, it's embedded in my consciousness, madly, deeply.

Yes. It's that good. A major work, from a major American artist. Puts me in mind of other great American artists like the poet & writer Mary Karr and her trilogy of incandescent memoirs (The Liar's Club, Cherry & Lit), or Flannery O'Conner and her hard as nails, Southern Gothic short stories. Also I think of made in America originals like Tom Waits,  Bob Dylan, Howlin Wolf, artists who have given us some of their greatest works later in their lives. Their voices all morphed and deepened, and fermented with time, and that time bleeds out into their work.

Lucinda's voice is a uniquely expressive instrument. Won't win any singing contests. You can hear a life in those vocal cords. As she sings, you can see and feel the hard country she comes from, you can conjure your own ghosts listening to her vivid, powerful music. Classic song structures. Crystalline lyrics. Not a wasted word.

Some of these songs never fail to take my breath away. The record is about death, life, loss, deep, never healing wounds, fathers, lovers, broken dreams, broken hearts, carrying on with faith & grace. It's an album made up of the hardest, most essential things in life.

I find it deeply moving. And strangely exhilarating. The musicianship on the record is stunning. Perfect. Nuanced, powerful, inventive. 

My favorite track is called "Dust,"  it has become my own personal anthem, a song adapted from a poem by Miller Williams, Lucinda's father, who had recently passed away, and hovers over the record. The guitar interplay between Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz is stunning, beautiful, powerful and matches Lucinda's indelible vocal... 

My personal take on the song: it's a hard won Zen acceptance of death & loss, tears don't do the trick, even our thoughts are dust, accepting that all turns to dust is some kind of transcendence. The lyrics are powerful, but you need to listen to the track to experience the full power and the glory of the thing...

[Verse 1:]
It's a sadness so deep the sun seems black
And you don't have to try to keep the tears back
No you don't have to try to keep the tears back
Cause you couldn't cry if you wanted to
You couldn't cry if you wanted to
Couldn't cry if you wanted to
You couldn't cry if you wanted to

Even your thoughts are dust [4x]

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mood: Cold & Rainy!

Cold and rainy here. That's the weather outside. It's the weather inside too. I surf the internet, read the news, seems everything is soggy & dark. There is this feeling that everything is sort of fraying, coming apart at the seams. Things falling apart. That's seems to be a theme. Maybe that's good? A falling away so that something new can emerge? But it's kind of ugly, and weird, not sure what comes next. It's all one grand Improv. Must pay attention. Must listen. Must say "Yes" to keep the game moving forward. Those are the rules of Improv. Good luck everyone.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Survival Mode

Then events conspire, and you are in basic survival mode, careening from one place to another, like a pinball, and it's all physicality, and muscle, and bone and flesh, alive and at play in the elements of nature, in the elements of the day - sun, wind, rain, cold. You get it all.

You are a heady kind of person, you live inside your head most of the time, but this survival mode is a reminder that you are just a body too. Alive in the world. You are composed of multitudes of systems and subsystems all working together, and you need them all to be functioning correctly to make it to the next destination, the next meal, the next bed, the next day.

You are a ramshackle collection of cells, nerves, bones, organs flying through the day, always on the move, just going forward, breathing, taking in the next breath, one breath, one breath, at a time...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

As for Me...

As for me (see previous post)... 

Religion. I consider myself a "Secular Buddhist." I meditate, clear my mind, seek to deepen compassion for myself and the world. I am an ex-Catholic. Although, even if you are an "ex" you are never really an "ex."  I know some of the 10 commandments, probably can't name them all, (can't name all the 7 Dwarfs either). For sure I remember that you shouldn't lie, cheat, steal, don't murder anyone, don't covet your neighbor's wife. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances, that's what life teaches us. Extenuating circumstances. We all have our reasons. Even if they aren't reasonable. My grasp on religion is quite light.

Tribe. I'm White. Born in the Midwest of USA. Live near a big urban center. Working class family. Democratic. Chicago Bears fan. These are the circumstances of my life. But I'd say my tribe is composed of artists - writers, playwrights, songwriters, singers, painters, poets. I'd call my tribe "The Creatives," people who spend their lives creating work. Striving for some kind of art.  What one of my dear friends called "The Good Work." It is a nebulous, ever-morphing tribe, but the ties that bind me to it are very, very strong. This tribe is what really gives my life a purpose. A trajectory.

Ideals.  Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. I do believe in the big things. I do believe we should strive for an all-inclusive, multi-cultural world - a world of equality & justice. Creativity! I know there is nothing worse and more destructive than a bitter Idealist (see History!). I am not the bitter type. Hopeful. Always hopeful. I guess I'd say my tribe of Creatives is guided by the world of Ideals and I meditate often, always looking for clarity!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Religion, Tribe, Ideal.

thoughtful column from David Brooks - the "thinking man's" Republican, you know, one of those few Republicans who actually reads. A vanishing species. Usually Brooks is sort of a comic figure. He often twists himself into a pretzel trying to stick to his beloved GOP, you know, sort of Tribal? Over the years, he has been a figure of hilarity. But this column on John McCain is filled with some interesting ideas. 

I especially liked this: "Human beings can be rallied around one of three things: religion, tribe or ideals." Yes. Indeed. And I think that explains many of our basic conflicts and misunderstandings. 

Some folks are spouting old -time wisdom from the Bible, Koran, Torah. They tell you they are speaking the language of God. Any other language, or book, is disregarded.

Some folks are dedicated to their tribe - white, black, brown, country, city, North, South. The tribe is not inclusive, it thrives on being exclusive, tribes are defined by who they don't let in.

Some folks are dedicated to ideals - Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. They live in a world of aspiration, always trying to live up to an imagined Utopia of freedom, equality, human compassion. Maybe not so practical.

I flatter myself thinking, of course, I'm one of those "Idealists." Maybe not always practical or real world, but hopeful, always hopeful for a better day, a better human.

Still, if you realize human beings are naturally rallying around different things, lots of pain and havoc and hilarity are inevitable.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Barbarity and Stupidity!


descriptively to refer to certain codes of conduct put forward by a society or a group (such as a religion), or accepted by an individual for her own behavior, or

normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

Yeah. I have always been a bit leery of folks who talk about "morality." Usually, it means that they have some ideas they want to impose on other folks. Lately though, even just simple codes of conduct seem to be under assault. Powerful people show no concern for any morality or code except, whatever is good for them.

Man, if you have a whole society or group living by that code, barbarity and stupidity seem to reign supreme. Yes, that's not bad, the Age of Barbarity and Stupidity. Fits. So what to do? Try to be smart, humble, lean to the light. Call out the bullshit and lies. Maybe this assault on "political correctness" is really a rallying cry to be stupid. Let's not be stupid!

Maybe that can be the counter-movement! Let's Not Be Stupid!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Buying Stuff!

Buying Stuff. Seductive. You get why people dig Capitalism - owning, selling, buying shit for profit. Don't forget the pleasure part of the equation, right? We like buying shit.

Usually I am pretty frugal. Counting my pennies. Spending as little as possible. But lately I have been on a bit of a buying frenzy.

Buy new boots to replace the old, beat boots. Suddenly, every step is a bit more springy. Every step.
Buy new razor blades to replace, the old, dull blades. Suddenly every shave is close & smooth.
Buy a new travel mug to replace the old beat mug. Suddenly every cup of coffee is tasty & bright.
Buy a new guitar tuner to replace the old one. Suddenly tuning up that beat old guitar is easier. More tuneful.
Buy a new book, a big fat tome. There's hope, promise in those unread pages.

Like I said, buying stuff, seductive. Do we transform, renew ourselves by the shit that we buy? That is how it feels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Grab them by the Pussy President, Psychopath or Sociopath?

This story made me sick to my stomach this A.M.

"He knew what he signed up for..." - The Grab them by the Pussy President tells Widow of slain Soldier.

Makes you wonder, what's the difference between a Psychopath & a Sociopath?

"A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,” Tompkins says.

A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.

Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel. But a psychopath has less regard for others..."

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