CAW Inc.

Calling a Cease Fire

Calling a Cease Fire

I was not expecting to make any friends when I posted my series on libertarianism.   I expected to make some enemies when I posted my opinions on libertarianism and the occult.  The last thing that I expected was to find myself in an actual dialog with members of the Church of All Worlds.   I spent this morning on the telephone with CAW’s communications officer.  What can I say?   The man is very good at his job.   He managed to change some of my opinions of Church of All Worlds.

I am not going to retract my opinion of CAW as a political entity.  I still believe that Church of All Worlds is part of the reactionary wave that hit the nation during the Reagan years and looks to seek answers in a past that never happened.   This goes along with my opinion that religion and the concept of god/dess is a reactionary belief.   I think the world would be a much better place without the concept of divinity.   I would also be more receptive to the entire CAW concept if they would just cut the religious aspect out of it.

The founder of CAW sent me an email which denied that CAW was a libertarian church.  The founder says one thing and followers say another. This is a basic problem with religion in America.  The followers always take the ideas of the founders and “Americanize” them.   The CAW I was introduced to was a bastion of American concepts like the Protestant Work Ethic, sin, and libertarianism.

I am not going to change my stand on polyamory.  I feel strongly that HIV and STDs make polyamory a dangerous idea.   I also think that polyamory is extremely sexist.   It puts the weight of the risks on the women.   The closest I will come to an agreement on polyamory is to agree to disagree.

I spent this morning speaking to the CAW Inc. communications officer. He explained that there is no copyright on the name Church of All Worlds. There are other entities calling themselves Church of All Worlds.   From what I understand,  they may be splinter groups of the original CAW.  These splinter groups even share the same meeting grounds as CAW Traditions.   There may even be a CAW or two which have nothing to do with the original CAW. The original CAW went out of existence some years ago. It is returning under the name CAW Inc.  The original founders and many of the original members are involved in CAW Inc.

In my blog entry about Libertarianism and the Occult,  I mentioned that I was in contact with people who had been sexually assaulted by members of CAW and on CAW meeting grounds.   I have been assured by The information officer from CAW Inc. says that such behavior was never condoned by the original CAW.  Such behavior will not be tolerated by by the board of directors of CAW Traditions Inc.   He also stated that CAW Traditions Inc. will do their utmost to to prevent sexual abuse and to prosecute abusers if caught.

CAWInc. is in the process of recreating the CAW concept and correcting past mistakes.   While some of the people I had bad experiences with were indeed members of the old CAW, they are not members of CAW Inc.   The information officer doubts that they will ever become members of CAW Inc. The spokesman was very enthusiastic about how CAW Traditions Inc. is dedicated to creating a safe environment for everybody.  I am happy that they are receptive to the idea of creating structures to protect people from abuse.

I hope that we can keep the lines of communications open.   There are more things I would like to discuss with CAW Inc.  We never touched on the subject of victim’s rights and the difficulty of intervening in child abuse. However, for the time being, I am willing to believe that the members and board of CAW Traditions Inc are innocent of sexual abuse, harassment, and molestation.   My experiences with some of the past members of CAW were pretty ugly, and left a very bad taste in my mouth.   I think that this colored my post about libertarianism and the occult.

I have taken my blog post about Libertarianism and the occult offline.  I will be rewriting it soon.   I also invite a representative of CAW Inc. to write an article on Positive Sexuality and to post it on my blog.   I want them to include contact information so that interested parties will get in touch with the CAW Traditions Inc.  I may not agree with CAW Traditions Inc. and all it stands for, but if people are going to get involved in polyamory,  I would rather they get in touch with them instead some other people I could think of.  There are many things that CAW and I are going to have to agree to disagree on, but fair is fair.   After all the drama we went through, it is only right that I give CAW a chance to tell their side on my space.

I Think We Can All Agree That She Needs To Go

I Think We Can All Agree That She Needs To Go


Can We Escape It?

Can We Escape It?

Running out of really good things to read, I turned to the new Dune books co-written by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian.   In these books, Herbert and his collaborator introduce the ideas of disembodied brains.   Some of these bodiless masses of gray matter decide to become sadistic lunatics.  Others decide to become ascended masters.  It seems that there is no middle ground between the two extremes.   In both cases these brains are in the position of Descartes and his disembodied intelligence.   Here are these brains entirely depending on technology to perceive the world. Doesn’t that sound like Descartes’ evil genius?

Can you imagine being in that sort of vulnerable situation?  There you are, a disembodied brain floating around in a jar, and somebody sticks The Best of the Bay City Rollers into your CD player and leaves the room. How do you make it stop? Worse, what if you are a disembodied brain and your caretaker really hates you and puts reruns of My Mother the Car on your DVD player? Can you imagine the torture? You cannot look away, and all your senses are focused on a bad 60s sitcom. Madness would occur rapidly.

Yet, are we really any better off than these disembodied brains?   True, if somebody sticks My Mother the Car in our DVD player, we can shoot the perpetrator and remove the offensive disc, but how much control do we have in our sensory input?  Really, how in control are we when it comes to what we are exposed to?  I avoid Rush Limbaugh with the same grim determination that I avoid beets and okra, yet I have been stuck in carpools where the driver had that fat moron blathering on.   One on-line acquaintance claims that everything he knows about Paris and Britney is from supermarket tabloid headlines, and even that is too much information.  My heart goes out to him. Like the disembodied brains, we are helpless in our put and have little control over what we are exposed to.

This has me thinking about subliminal influence.   How much of our opinions are formed by influences that we are trying to ignore?  How many thoughts are put into our brains by commercials or commentary over the radio while we are driving?  Did the belief that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq begin by radio or TV commentators whom we were just half listening to while we were in the car, at work, or cooking dinner?   Is the lie that replaces the truth screamed or whispered?

Government and advertisers hire slick behavioral psychologists to get through to us.   Are subliminal techniques being used? I don’t see the American people as stupid. It took a lot of preparation to pull of the WMD lie.   Can paranoia be the result of all this subliminal exposure that we suffer from every day?  Are we reacting from things we are not paying any attention to? Could the new antisemitism stem from people half listening to some of the weird stuff coming out of Amy Goodman and NPR?   Could people have fallen for the WMD lie from listening to info radio while driving and not paying attention to what is being said?

As an ex advertising man, I frequently ask myself these questions as I observe what is being touted in the tabloids and on television.  Will America become a happier and more stable nation if we curtail the advertising industry?   I would like to hear people’s opinion on this matter.

What Is God?

God Is A Concept By Which We Measure Our Pain

God Is A Concept By Which We Measure Our Pain

I find myself coming back to this question over and over again.  I think that this is because of the dialog I accidentally started with Church of All Worlds members.  Maybe it’s because we are facing an even bigger financial meltdown than the crash of 1929.  (How I regret some of my more optimistic posts.)  Perhaps it is because I am reaching the age when I begin feeling the cold winds of my own mortality.   It seems that the older I get the more I find myself agreeing with Richard Dawkins.   Divinity is the biggest plague that humanity ever wished upon itself.

Well, maybe not the biggest plague.  Maybe God is a gateway plague that leads to greater plagues.   Belief in God leads to self -righteousness and morality.  That leads to the greater plagues of bigotry and intolerance, and then before you know it you are invading Iraq and murdering gay college students.  Of course, everybody has different tolerance levels.   William S. Borroughs was a junkie all his life.  He lived to be 79 and left a legacy of great literature.  There are lots of people who are perfectly fine on God.   God gives them a buzz that gets them through life.   They go around doing good and smiling and bringing joy to people.  These people can be seen as the happy hippies of religion.  Then there are the Fred Phelps of the world. They can be seen as junkies who mug people for their fixes.

There are no clear boundaries between the good guys and the bad guys.   The happy hippy could belong to the same sect, religion, or cult as the mugger.  So when somebody says “It’s all the same God” it’s like saying “it’s all the same drug”.   Like all drugs, people have different tolerances and different reactions to God.  God makes some users violent and some users mellow.  There is a school of thought that suggests that God’s gender makes a difference as to the effects. From my experience it makes no difference. I have met Pagans whose Goddess is Jesus in drag, and who are as crazy as any fundie I ever met.

At the risk of mixing even more metaphors, I suspect that belief in divinity is a social neurosis.  God and invisible spirits were a good way to explain things that were not easily understandable.   Babies came through sex, but nobody understood the unseen mechanism of sex.  So when you had sex you made the invisible spirits happy too, and a baby came out of it.  So when somebody dies, which is sad, the person comes back through the happy mechanics of sex.  But over the centuries this coping mechanism changed to become the God of Fred Phelps and the lunatic pagan who screamed “monogamy is immoral” in my face.

Today we have the scientific method.  We know the physics behind lightning and fire.   We do not need God to explain the world to us. We have done a noble job on our own.  We have outgrown divinity.  Yet we do not abandon an outworn concept.  Divinity remains a concept that guides our thoughts and actions.  What really amazes me is how easily divinity can be used to manipulate the masses.   Look at the support for the Iraq war.  The Christianoid churches organized their brainwashed minions to wipe out the evil of Islam. Christians and Muslims are fighting each other over whose imaginary friend is greater.

As a nation, we have been way too tolerant of religions.  We have allowed Christian religions to organize and take over our government and our military. It’s about time for us to take a stand against God.  The Taney Decision of 1829 clearly gives us a right to curtail certain freedoms when such freedoms are proven to violate the common good.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Christianoid right has definitely violated the common good.   We have the right to stop them.  In fact, not standing up to them only feeds into their delusions.

God Wanted The Bail Out

God Wanted The Bail Out

The Wall of Denial

Speaks for Itself

Ariel Monserat asked me a specific question in my blog regarding Libertarianism and the occult. This was regarding a case of extreme child abuse concerning members of Church of All Worlds. Since Ms. Monseratt asked this publicly I will answer it publicly. The question was;

<Secondly, did you report these events to the authorities? If so, surely there is a record of it so that we can investigate. If you didn’t report it, why not? >

Ms. Monserat, I can take this question one of two ways. I can either assume that you are deliberately protecting the abusers or that you are charmingly naive about child abuse. I am going to assume that you are charmingly naive. The answer to the question is yes, we did report it. Other people reported it as well. The case I am speaking of was a spectacular debacle that spanned three counties. It involved child welfare workers in two counties, and no less than four police departments. Now, if you want to find the records of this, I sincerely wish you luck. Since a minor was involved, the records are sealed. Were you able to get hold of the records you would either be the greatest witch since Sybil Leek or the greatest hacker since Bruno Tataglia. Either way my hat would go off to you. I admire competence in any field.

Being a nasty and suspicious old fart, my first instinct is to accuse you of trying to kill my credibility by asking for the impossible. However, I have been assured by people that I trust that you simply don’t know. I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of anybody being ignorant of this basic fact. However, not everybody has had as much experience as my wife and I in pulling kids out of bad situations. So I am going to make a leap of faith and explain the difficulty and challenges of reporting child abuse.

Remember the first axiom of reporting child abuse. This is the prime directive. The child comes first. Punishing the abuser comes second. It comes a far second. Social workers and clergy are required by federal regulations to report all instances of child abuse. Reporting child abuse and prosecuting the abusers are two different things. Most of the time it is enough simply to get the kid away from the abuser. My wife and I had a case about a decade ago where it was easier to get the kid out of the situation by not reporting the abuse. The child’s lawyer said that the judge might not believe the allegations (denial) and force her to live with her abuser. Rather than risk the child’s safety, we followed her lawyer’s advice and got her placed in a safe home. Judicial denial is a common occurrence. Back in 1992 I witnessed an 85 year old judge in Pennsylvania throw an incest case out of court because he refused to believe the crime was possible.

The good news is that things have improved since 1992. Thanks to the work done by RAINN, Darkness into Light, and my own darling wife, child abuse and molestation have come into public light. It is no longer a forbidden topic. It is openly discussed and there are even state-approved courses where you can learn how to spot it and what to do about it. The bad news is that we still face the wall of denial. Thousands of child rape cases from the Catholic Church seems to have taught you nothing, because you and your fellows at CAW are acting just like the Catholics. You blame me for outing the problem, because you don’t want to to face that the problem exists. You accuse me of libel without stopping to consider that I may be telling the truth. You demand that I tell you how to get legally sealed records; will you call me a liar because I cannot provide them? Why not ask me for the pretty moon while you are at it?

It seems to me that like the Catholic Church, you are too involved in preserving the illusion of your infallibility to look to the safety of your own children. You claim to be the new editor of Green Egg. May I suggest that you look at the last print issue of the old Green Egg? That was the one that was put out by the kids. Read the comments by the girls who were tired of being ogled by their parents’ adult friends. Perhaps the Catholics were simply as naive as you are. Personally I do not think we can afford that sort of naiveté anymore. Your Primate was too busy telling me what he stands for to seriously address the issue. It seems like CAW’s denial comes from above; just like the Catholic Church’s. As above so below? From where I stand you are no different from the Methodists or the Assembly of God.

And I am not giving out any details until I am face to face with a representative of CAW who agrees to go to the authorities with me.

Our Father/Mother/Cousin-in-law Who Art In Heaven…

This Is A God

This Is A God

I have been thinking about religion lately.   With the current financial melt down and the bail-out, I imagine that religion is on a lot of people’s minds.   How many people do you think are praying that Pelosi loses her seat in Congress? Right now, how many people are on their knees saying, “please, Jesus, may Obama keep just one campaign promise”?  Maybe people are praying that their jobs are not outsourced to the mysterious East, or maybe they are praying for the safety of a loved one in Afghanistan or Iraq.  The Almighty must hire a legion of angels simply to keep all the prayers organized.

What really puzzles me is how the Almighty decides which prayers to answer. For every person who prays that Pelosi loses her seat in Congress, there is at least one person who is praying that she keeps her seat for the sake of his mutual fund portfolio.  For every Democrat who prays that Obama wins the election, there is somebody praying that the dark-skinned man with the funny name loses the election.  For that matter, for every American praying for a serviceman, there is a very angry Iraqi or Afghani praying that God smites the invaders.  So just who does God listen to?  When there is a choice between two sides, does God flip a coin?

There are religions out there who think they are really slick and they try to bribe God.  Pagans and Catholics will light candles and burn incense in order to entice God to see things their way.   Voodun will sacrifice a chicken.   For the life of me, I cannot imagine what God would do with a dead chicken.   I suppose a chicken sacrifice is as good a way as any to make chicken soup. What I would like to know is if their prayers are answered more often than Protestant or Jewish prayers.

Another thing that really puzzles me is why people argue over God.   I recently saw a quote on an Atheist website that said something about arguing over who’s make-believe friend is better.  That’s what it comes down to. Muslims claim that Allah is supreme.   If so, why are Christianoids rocking and rolling through Iraq and Iran?  Christianoids claim that Jesus is Lord!  In that case, how come a bunch of Arab hillbillies managed to utterly pants us and destroy the World Trade Center?   If Jesus or Allah were actually the high poobahs, wouldn’t you think that one of them would put his divine foot down and say, “that’s a no-no”?   More recently, there is a huge tempest in a teapot over which gender God is.   Is God a woman?

Another mountain out of a molehill is the amount of Gods there are.  God is one.  God is a pantheon.   God is male.  God is returning and She is pissed.   It amazes me to see what people can argue over.  In the cosmic scheme of things, we have more important things to worry about than the existence or non-existence of somebody else’s make-believe friend.   We have real life problems going on right now.   Who cares if your make-believe friend is male or female?   Who cares if you have one huge almighty make-believe friend, or a whole storybook full of them?

If we are going to spend all this energy over a being or beings who probably does not even exist, why don’t we agree on a nice make-believe friend.  This is why I have decided that I am directing all my prayers to Hobbes the Stuffed Tiger.  Could you think of a better make-believe friend?   He’s loyal, he tells the truth, he is a comfort during the bad times, and a faithful troublemaker during the good times.   Hobbes gives good advice, but he’s there with a warm hug when you ignore the good advice and Suzy gives you what you deserve.   At the same time, Hobbes has never smitten anybody for his sins. He has never killed anybody’s firstborn kids, or commanded wars.   (Well, maybe a snowball fight or two.)  Best of all, he’s a stuffed tiger so he can just as easily be Hobbesette.   Could you think of a better God than that?  There is no God but Hobbes and Calvin is his prophet.

Screw you, Pat Robertson.

If God Could Be A Woman, Then How About Satan?

If God Could Be A Woman, Then How About Satan?


Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

They are born in the same communities.  They go to the same schools and join the same clubs.   When they graduate they pursue the same professions (generally law), and they buy their homes in the same communities.   They are Democrats and they are Republicans.  Their political affiliations are more a matter of family tradition than ideals or beliefs.   Kennedy is an old Democratic family while Bush is an old Republican family.   The affiliations are more like sports teams than differences in beliefs.  They are wealthy families and they are going to put their own class first.

It’s not a matter of evil or greed, or even stupidity.   It’s a matter of environment.   They grow up in an America of million dollar homes.   To them, this is the norm.  They are educated in private schools.   This is the standard of education they are used to.   When they go to the expensive Ivy League schools, they join exclusive clubs and fraternities.  Sometimes they befriend somebody who grew up in a $100,000 dollar home and maybe went to a wealthy public school or parochial school.   These people become their CFAs or even attorneys.   Life agents and CPAs flock to Hyannis Port and Palm Beach like fledgling actors to Hollywood.  Each one looking for his big chance to join the power elite.  These people are known as trained monkeys.  They do their tricks and get their bananas, and keep their positions by not challenging their employer’s preconceptions.

Telling the boss he is wrong is not the road to wealth and privilege.  Telling the boss that private schools and million dollar homes are not the norm does not guarantee a long and healthy career in the financial industry.  Piss off the boss by telling him the truth, and some other monkey will have your job and your commissions.   Public relations and advertising is not there just to fool the masses, but to reassure our leaders as well.   Myths about homelessness being entirely about substance abuse, or that outsourcing makes things better for everybody, are there to make our leaders feel good.   They believe the very crap they pay for.  They pay public relations firms billions a year to spread rumors about abortion, the war on Iraq, and homelessness–and the bosses believe it.

Back when I was selling life insurance, I had one general agent tell me that he used to be concerned about the environment.  Then he realized that it was the scientist’s jobs to fix all the damage.  Since he had confidence in American scientific acumen, he no longer worried.  This same genius told me to tell my clients that Muslims were building terrorist weapons in the basements of every mosque in the United States.   Needless to say, I was not with that agency for very long.  To give you an idea of the trained monkey mentality, the top agent racially humiliated an African American junior agent in the board room, and only one other agent joined me in protesting this.  We were both junior agents and so we were ignored and eased out.   One does not allow bigotry to be challenged amongst the wealthy.

Is it any wonder that so many minorities were hurt during the mortgage meltdown?  Is it any wonder that jobs were just sent out of the country without any concern about its effect on the population?  After all, outsourcing increased the value of their mutual funds.   If it benefited them, it would benefit everybody, right?   After all, million dollar homes and private schools are the norm, right?   If people lost their jobs, they could work at McDonald’s, right? There is no need for a social safety net.   If they needed extra money, the poor could just get a subprime loan.

When their own idiocy caught up with them, and the American financial industry triggered an world wide stock market collapse, the Democrats joined with the Republicans to give their own class a 700 billion dollar bail out.  After all, if it’s good for them, it’s good for everybody, right?

Give--There Are Millionaires Starving in the Berkeley Hills

Give--There Are Millionaires Starving in the Berkeley Hills

It’s Not Just For Back Alleys

But For The Grace Of God Go I

But For The Grace Of God Go I

Today is my 68th month without a cigarette.   That’s five years and eight months without nicotine.   Considering that I smoked three packs a day for 27 years, it’s a miracle that I haven’t keeled over dead from lung cancer.  I spent 17 of those 27 years trying to quit.   I did everything from cold turkey to the nicoderm patch, and nothing worked.  Somebody once told me that nicotine is more addictive than heroin.   I believe that person.  I lived in a constant state of anxiety over my nicotine addiction.  I knew that I would kill myself if I kept smoking.   At the same time, I lived in a constant state of despair over my nicotine addiction, and every failure made it worse.

I think that the most difficult part of quitting cigarettes is the non-smokers who do not understand how difficult it is to quit.  Life insurance agents can be the most determined pests when it comes to quitting smoking.   At the same time they can be the most callous.  “Just use the patch,” my bosses kept telling me.  The fact that I am allergic to the patch was irrelevant.  They kept telling me that quitting was a matter of will power.   They were both right and wrong at the same time.

They were right when it came to being a matter of will power. Never having smoked themselves, they never suffered nicotine withdrawal. Like any other drug, withdrawal is different for everybody. Ray Charles managed to kick heroin by going cold turkey for three days, and then he was fine. William Burroughs and Jerry Garcia never managed it. The withdrawal was just too hard on both of them. They would be able to cut down their usage for a while, but eventually the need would creep up on them. The same could be said for me. I would fight myself down to a pack a day or under, and then next thing I knew, I was smoking four packs a day.

They were right when it came to being a matter of will power.  Never having smoked themselves, they never suffered nicotine withdrawal.   Like any other drug, withdrawal is different for everybody.  Ray Charles managed to kick heroin by going cold turkey for three days, and then he was fine.   William Burroughs and Jerry Garcia never managed it.  The withdrawal was just too hard on both of them.  They would be able to cut down their usage for a while, but eventually the need would creep up on them.  The same could be said for me.  I would fight myself down to a pack a day or under, and then next thing I knew, I was smoking four packs a day.

Eventually I managed to quit.   First I switched over to organic tobacco in order to avoid all the fillers that make cigarettes even more addictive.   Not only was I detoxing from nicotine, but from other devilish substances that the tobacco industry slips into their products.  They stuff in things like valerian root extract in order to make it more difficult to quit.   After several years of organic cigarettes it was just me and the demon nicotine.  which I was then able to taper down to half a pack a day, and then I quit entirely during a kidney infection.

My bosses were wrong in that it was simply will power.   Tobacco companies have done too good a job in making their products more deadly.   There are now entire industries built around quitting cigarettes.  There are classes, patches, filters, seminars, ministries, 12 step programs, and they all center around quitting cigarettes.  Would all these industries be making a profit if they actually worked as promised?   It is unlikely.

One of the things that keeps me from smoking is a documentary about the late Warren Zevon shown on VH1.   The audience got to watch the poor sonuvagun die of tobacco-induced lung cancer.   One of the most horrible things I ever saw on TV was watching poor Zevon with a cigarette in his mouth.   He was so weak he was weaving on his feet.   He was so thin that he didn’t even have muscle tone, but he was still smoking.   I saw that during my first month as a recovering smoker, and it was so horrible that I could not get the image out of my mind.

How many other people have died as miserably as Warren Zevon?   How many other people have died while sucking on their murderer’s products? According to the American Cancer Society’s website, it is 440,000 people a year.   Every year 440,000 people die from a product that is readily available in every gas station, convenience store, supermarket, and liquor store in the country.  What does that say about our economy?   What does that say about a financial industry that trades on a product that kills 440,000 people a year? With that sort of mentality, is there any wonder that people are losing their homes?

The yearly deaths from smoking ties into a callous financial system that deliberately manipulated people for its own gain through the mortgage industry.   There is a huge difference between letting people die of their own accord, and supporting the industry that kills them.   When the US supports an industry that succeeds by killing its customers, then the entire financial meltdown really makes sense.  The question is, when are we, the people, going to put our feet down and stop it?|166373525|0

San Francisco's Worse Habit

San Francisco's Worse Habit

700 Billion Dollars Down the Toilet

Save Our Struggling Billionaires

Save Our Struggling Billionaires

I cannot believe that Congress did this.  They took 700 billion dollars and gave it to the same idiots who created the financial crisis in the first place. Congress took 400,000 dollars from everybody over the age of 18 and just handed it Bush’s cronies. A Democratic Congress did this.   Democrats.  They just rolled over and let Bush rub them on the tummy like dogs.   This is just sickening.

The worst of it is that it was the Democrats who did this.  I think this pretty much shows that the Democrats are no better than the Republicans and are just as trustworthy.  That money could have been used for the public good.  Congress could have used it to bring accountability to the financial industry, stabilize the housing market, and create a national health system.  Instead, the money was just handed over to the very people who caused the problem, no strings attached.

What is totally aggravating here is the obvious hypocrisy.   After years of preaching the unregulated market, and preaching against the social safety net, our legislators just hand over 700 billion dollars to a bunch of criminals without a string attached. Then that corporate meat puppet, Pelosi, has the unmitigated nerve to say that accountability is the next step.  Accountability is the first step, Nancy, and we need you to understand that.

But what’s worse, Nancy Pelosi says that accountability will be the next step. What the hell?  This revised bail out decreases federal oversight of the financial industry. She just handed 700 billion to the people who ripped off the American public, and she calls this accountability?  People of San Francisco, will you not rid us of this misbegotten Neocon?   Vote for Cindy Sheehan, Vote for Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Vote for Norton I, please, San Francisco, anything but another two years of Bush’s lapdog as Speaker of the House.   We cannot afford to have the same people in charge of Washington anymore.

It’s time to get a great big can of Raid, and spray it into the Capitol Building.   Then we can watch Congress pouring out of the halls, except for the old and the weak.  They will be lying on the floor with their arms and legs wiggling in the air.  Then we need to go through the chambers of Congress and the Senate with a broom, and sweep out the useless corpses.  When Barack Obama takes the White House in January, let him come with a hostile Congress waiting for him.   Let it be a Congress who knows they have their jobs because we, the people of the United States, put them there.

We need change in Washington, and we need it now.  Not tomorrow, not next week, and not when Barack Obama gets around to it.  We have chickens coming home to roost and the financial meltdown is just the first.   The cost of fighting two useless wars at once is going to hit us hard very soon.  The oil crisis is going to hit while Obama is in office, and let’s not forget global warming.   Life is going to get very interesting very soon.  Do we have the people in Washington who can handle it? I doubt it.

The President is elected through the electoral college.  That is more an indication of which political party is in control than who we want as President.   Screw the Presidency; let’s throw out our Congressmen.   If they are going to hand over public money to thieves, they don’t deserve their jobs.  Let’s put in a few Green candidates, or a few independents; anybody but this current crop of idiots.

We Got Ours, Jack

We Got Ours, Jack

Fear and Trembling

Good Evening, Mr. Bond.

Good Evening, Mr. Bond.

About six years ago I brought a cell phone into my life.  It was a quiet, innocent, and totally innocuous little cell phone that brought me quiet joy.  I could call my clients and my clients could call me.  If I was going to be late, I could call my wife.   Best of all, when my wife had to go to the East Coast, I never missed her call.  I so loved my little cell phone. I still have it.   I have gone through several others in the last five years, but I hung onto the original for sentimental reasons.

I had this friend, a Libertarian CAW member, who gave me hell over my innocent little cell phone.   The fact that I had a cell phone became a target of obsession with this guy.  I was a self-employed salesman at the time.   I was working 24/7, but that did not stop his obsession.  He was looking for work, and I was letting him use my computer to job hunt.  Every time he came to the house, he would drive me nuts about my cell.  First it was a leash.   When he realized that argument did not impress me and that I was deliberately carrying it for business purposes, he changed tactics.

The next argument was that the government could track me with my cell phone.  Of course I replied that I hoped they could.  He was talking about the GPS feature which allows 911 operators to locate me in case of accident.   I told him that I sincerely hoped that the government could track me with my cell phone. I would hate to pay for something that didn’t work.  Boy that took the wind out of his sails.   You should have seen the look of amazement on his face when I said that.  However, he was nothing if not determined.  His next argument threw me for a loop.

Did you know that the government is listening to each and every cell phone call?” he asked. “You have no privacy.   They know everything you are doing!”  Have you ever been struck dumb by the stupid statements some people make?   That was where I was.  My mouth fell open so wide that flies could have used it for a hanger.  The pressure built up in my head to the point where I could not stand it anymore and I began banging my forehead against the wall.   “Do you have any idea how many cell phones there are in the United States?”  I asked him.

Too many,” he answered.

Millions,” I replied.   “There are millions of people with millions of cell phones making millions of cell phone calls every day.  Even if every single one of those calls are recorded and filtered through pattern recognition and word recognition programs, even the calls that are filtered are too many to be listened to by human beings.”

My ex-friend’s response was that I did not understand technology.  Here I was, building my own computer and creating my own websites, and he was telling me that I did not understand technology.  Here was a man who could not even use a computer without help, telling me about technology.  It was amazing.  To him technology was magic.  It was something out of James Bond.  He knew perfectly well that most computers used by the government and the military are obsolete, and that the cost of bringing the Fed up to date would be astronomical.  He was a retired military officer, but he still had a child-like awe of the government and acted as if the government could do anything.

This brings to mind the scene in 1984 when Winston Smith was caught cheating on his exercises by the television lens in his living room.   It was the first time in 25 years anybody had spied on him, but the very thought that it was possible was enough to scare the bejesus out of the poor guy.  Fear seems to be a more effective form of social control than actual spying.  Never mind that the claims of government spying is highly over rated.  The government would have to hire about a quarter of the population to keep the other 75% under surveillance.  The more high tech cameras and microphones and other Bondian gadgets that pops up, the more personnel that will be needed to monitor the spyware.

Of course, imaginary fears always overwhelm reasonable concern. Not only do we have to contend with illegal government wiretapping, but we have a crowd of people screaming about technology that promises the impossible. People who see conspiracies in everything from Sept. 11th to improvements in camera technology certainly blur the line between the possible and the impossible.  How can we deal with what is really happening with a bunch of loonies afraid that the government is spying on them through traffic cameras?  It boggles the mind.  People accusing the government of doing the impossible drown out the voices of people who have legitimate concerns.  So the Bush Administration goes about its merry way without concern.   They have all these conspiracy rumors for a smoke screen.  Were I Bush, I’d be spreading these rumors myself.

We Have Our Eyes On You

We Have Our Eyes On You

Happy Gandhi Day

Dedicated to my friend Jon

Gandhi In South AfricaYoung Gandhi in South Africa

He was a strange duck, no doubt about that.   Had he lived today he would be taken to task for his sexism.   His poor wife didn’t have that much say in their relationship. There was no doubt that he was something of a religious fanatic, although there are those who insist that he’s a saint.  There is no doubt of the profound effect he still has in the world, and we have not yet seen the full effect of his life and works.

Today, Gandhi has become a stereotype.  He has become another dead person who is shamefully used by the establishment.   Who can forget the callous Apple commercials that portrayed a picture of Gandhi with the words “think different”?   Of course, what the observer was supposed to think about was MacIntosh Computers. Born again preachers will invoke his name as readily as neocon politicians to support ideas Gandhi would never have agreed with.

This only succeeds in keeping Gandhi in the public mind.  This is something that preachers and politicians may live to regret.  Gandhi remains a powerful symbol in the public mind.  You can stick his picture on a billboard to sell computers, but he remains the man who liberated India.   He did so without firing a shot.   As a young attorney in South Africa, Gandhi was the man who began resistance against Apartheid. True, Apartheid did not fall until about forty years after his death, but Gandhi was the pebble that began the avalanche.   Had Gandhi not challenged the South African marriage laws and won, there would have been no victories for Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela to follow.

Gandhi is a constant reminder that you do not need a gun to stand up against injustice.  You do not have to use violence to make your point.  You do not have to make war to be free.   Courage and determination are what creates freedom. Independence is not won through battle but through negotiation.  Gandhi forced the authorities in South Africa to recognize non-Christian marriages. Gandhi forced the British to the table and negotiated British withdrawal from India.   In both cases, Gandhi did not lift a gun.   He did not threaten harm to anyone, South African White or British Raj.

Where would the Libertarian movement be if Gandhi’s example begins to catch on? Where would their Second Amendment mania get them, except to show what a dangerous anachronism Libertarianism is?  Would the FBI be able to create another Weather Underground if the left really embraces the principles of nonviolence?   What would have happened if we acted like Gandhi after the Sept. 11th attack?  What would have happened if we had listened to the other side?   I suspect that quite a lot of oil profits would be going towards reparations and that bin Laden would be in an American prison right now.

If Gandhi has taught us anything, it is that the person who shoots first loses.   Apply this lesson to the war in Afghanistan.  Oh, how the American public cheered as Chimpy McFlightsuit sent the troops to the Middle East.   It was called “definitive action”.   I once spent an afternoon listening to an acquaintance tell me the horror that is now Kabul.  He told me how he sent his young cousin to school, just to have the boy return dead in a neighbor’s arms half an hour later. Two years later we invaded Iraq.  Would that have happened if we had adopted the principles Gandhi taught us?

There are no good wars. There are no wars that could not be prevented. Even World War Two could have been prevented had the world put its foot down in Hitler’s early days. The two wars that America is currently involved in would certainly have been prevented if we as a nation had kept Gandhi in mind. Perhaps it’s good that the preachers and politicians invoke Gandhi’s name for their own purposes. It’s good to keep reminding us of what Gandhi stood for. Maybe if we are reminded enough times, we might catch on. Then when the next idiot wants to attack the next nation, we will tell him to get stuffed.

War Is Good For Wall Street.

War Is Good For Wall Street.