Friday, December 30, 2011

fyi ron paul

There's a difference between what the Federal Reserve is now doing and the traditional lending practices of local banks. The Fed waves their magic wand and declares that $7.7 trillion bucks that didn't exist yesterday now is available to banks. I read on some econ site -- Barry Ritholtz's blog or one of them -- that the US money supply has increased 3x since 2007, thanks to the Fed's magical production of fiat dollars.

This is nothing like the First National Bank of Podunk lending $10K to a local business person with the expectation that it will be paid back in "real" dollars. If the bank has done its homework, its risks are minimal, and that's how modern economies operate and actually create wealth.

For anyone to claim equivalency between this kind of standard lending practice and the Federal Reserve's voodoo production of trillions of supposed "dollars" is silly. I know there are primitives such as Ron Paul who believe all banks should be required to have precious metal holdings equal to whatever amount of money they've lent out, but by the same token there are also people who believe that Jesus is coming back any day now -- literally -- and that they will soon be with him in the garden eating cookies and drinking apple juice.

A freshman Econ 101 course will acquaint anyone, including Ron Paul, with the array of tried and true standard practices employed by sound financial institutions in modern economies. To learn abut what the Federal Reserve has been doing the last three years would require another text, possibly the Book of Ceremonial Magick by Arthur Edward Waite.

What the declining metals markets are telling us is that the Fed has gotten away with it -- for now. Inflation is seriously affecting the prices of things everybody needs (primarily rent, food, and fuel) but is still under control. However, I don't think our Federal government is out of the woods yet, and what with the big banks still shaky, we're on very thin ice.

I'm going to hang on to my physical silver, because a) I'd take a loss if I sold any of it now, and b) I didn't buy it to speculate or make money; it's insurance. I keep watching the Federal Reserve improvising, and recalling the experience of Weimar Germany in 1923, and thinking it never hurts to have insurance.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

low gravy

Put a fine pork chop in the fryin pan,
Turn the fire down low, and man oh man,
Let it simmer on down, down, down --
Low gravy.

Right. Well you might be thinking right about now that this is going to be an impassioned screed about the low gravy they're licking up on Wall Street. But if you thought that, you'd be wrong, it's about the meat, not the gravy.

Meat is a funny kind of thing, because we're all made out of it, and so are all our animal friends. When somebody asked Dorothy what kind of dog Toto was, she said "He's a meat dog" (in the book, not the movie). So when we decide to eat some of our animal friends, I think it's well to remember that we're ingesting creatures very much like ourselves.

Having said that, I learned from the New Yahk Times yesterday that our meat supply is mostly tainted.

A study earlier this year by a nonprofit research center in Phoenix analyzed 80 brands of beef, pork, chicken and turkey from five cities and found that 47 percent contained staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can cause anything from minor skin infections to pneumonia and sepsis, more technically called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and commonly known as blood poisoning — but no matter what you call it, plenty scary. Of those bacteria, 52 percent were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics. So when you go to the supermarket to buy one of these brands of pre-ground meat products, there’s a roughly 25 percent chance you’ll consume a potentially fatal bacteria that doesn’t respond to commonly prescribed drugs, writes the food columnist Mark Bittman.

Staphylococcus aureus sure sounds like low gravy to me. Great song, by the way.

So, to avoid having steak with staphylococcus sauce, it's best to avoid the massive slaughter operations like Cargill and Tyson, and shell out the extra bucks for small-farmed locally-grown beef, pork, and chicken. If and when you don't have that kind of money -- and most of us don't have it all the time -- then I've got a great recipe for a vegan spaghetti sauce for ya.

murder most foul

Consider the contrasting executive styles of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The former, always the swaggering Philistine full of "Bring it on" and "Mission Accomplished," invited contempt and seemed energized by it. Compared to Obama's timid reticence and cautious double-talk, George's yahooliganism was always entertaining, even when it was harnessed to murderous and/or larcenous policies.

And after all, their differences are only style-deep and inconsequential in practice, as their pursuit of foreign wars of aggression are practically identical. Both are bloody-handed murderers, and if one killed with gusto while the other attempts to hide his crimes under a veil of secrecy, their victims are equally dead in either case.

George Bush's Excellent Adventure in Iraq is now history, but Obama's secret drone-warfare campaign in Pakistan and elsewhere is a tale of mayhem in progress, and to tell it I can do no better than defer to Glenn Greenwald at and the Washington Post article he cites which reads in part, "(N)o president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals."

What those goals are, exactly, must also be a state secret, for I have absolutely no clue what might be accomplished by a campaign which uses robots to target low-level anti-American militants in the hills of Pakistan but ends up killing mostly innocents, including children, then calls those predictable deaths "collateral damage" rather than what they are -- murder most foul.

We had such high hopes for Obama and the Democrats when they took charge of the government three years ago, but now, as the Washington Post declares, Senior Democrats barely blink at the idea that a president from their party has assembled such a highly efficient machine for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. It is a measure of the extent to which the drone campaign has become an awkward open secret in Washington that even those inclined to express misgivings can only allude to a program that, officially, they are not allowed to discuss.

Somebody needs to page Julian Assange at Wikileaks, for there is nothing secret that cannot, and will not be revealed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

decline and fall

Reading the daily headlines any more is kind of like getting updates to the American version of "The Decline and Fall of the ("empire name here") Empire.

Sears/KMart is closing over 100 stores in the wake of their bringing up the rear in the Christmas season retail sweepstakes. Most informed watchers are anticipating the 125-year-old company will fold by spring, following other dinosaurs like Woolworth's and the Oldsmobile into the boneyard of extinct behemoths.

Some people might think this is relatively unimportant, but they're wrong. Sears and Roebuck was at one time a major pillar of American civilization, and its ubiquitous mail-order catalog the game-changing retail sales innovation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, similar in significance to on-line retailing today.

Gone is the free-enterprise capitalism of my childhood, when we had a garage door named Stanley and a refrigerator named Leonard, and the neighbor's car (not his dog) was named Kaiser. We used to have a country here, but now we're an empire, and the decision to go that way is what triggered our precipitous decline.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

lay down, saleh

One of the tyrants we do business with over there in the Near East, Old Man Saleh in Yemen, is going to visit here soon, and that's causing problems for the administration. According to the AP story on this visit: Fearful of appearing to harbor an autocrat with blood on his hands, the Obama administration was trying to ensure that Saleh visits only for medical care and doesn't plan to stay, U.S. officials said.

Old Saleh has ruled Yemen like it was his private property for 33 years, and is probably more willing than anyone else except Assad in Syria to shoot his own people. He's coming over here to get high-powered treatment for injuries he sustained during an assassination attempt.

Sounds to me like a visit from Cousin Eddie.

life in the key of b♭

Got up this morning with my ugly face on. It was worse than ugly, actually. Hopeless is more like it.

After a couple hours of that I accidentally took a double dose of my a.m. medication. I thought one pill got away from me, but now I'm thinking it fell into my coffee cup, never to be seen again even though it was consumed along with a second pill. Honest mistake.

Within a matter of minutes, despair was banished, and I went from b♭ to b#. It's disconcerting to think that emotions as messy and destructive as that can be dispelled by a pinch of pale yellow powder, but there it is. I'm learning that some kinds of brain degeneration have emotional as well as physical symptoms.

I'm following up my morning with a generous helping of medicated banana bread, the world's most delicious anti-depressant. Yum yum.

Monday, December 26, 2011

revolution now

With the US Federal Reserve continuing to give low-cost loans to the European Central Bank, it's past time to ask why this administration is bailing out banks all over the world while demanding austerity for ordinary American citizens.

The greed and recklessness of the banksters led directly to the housing price bubble of the double-zeros and the economic collapse and unemployment crisis which followed. And yet the government is asking ordinary workers to tighten their belts while saying "we all have to sacrifice." But the banksters get to keep their multi-million dollar salaries via bailouts, so what are they sacrificing?

At Salon, Simon Johnson writes "The rationale behind supporting big banks is that they are needed for the economy to recover. But this position looks increasingly doubtful when the banks are sitting on piles of cash while creditworthy consumers and businesses are reluctant to borrow."

This goes way beyond unfairness, and reveals precisely the acute necessity of a second American revolution. At this point, voting one party out of power and replacing it with the other is inadequate, since neither party is addressing our fundamental economic problem, namely bailouts for them and austerity for us. The protesters at Occupy Albany describe the problem this way:

The interests of those who purchase influence are rewarded at the expense of the People, from whom the government’s just power is derived. We believe that this failure in our system is at the core of many interconnected issues we face as a society, and its resolution is key to a just future. We therefore demand true democracy, decoupled from the corrosive influence of concentrated economic power, and we call all who share in this common goal to stand with us and take action toward this end.

Government of the corrupt, by the well-connected, and for the wealthy must go.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

crap analysis

Here's an example of how political writing in the mainstream press can get the facts right only to follow with lame analysis.

The facts are that More than 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican parties since the 2008 elections, while the number of independent voters continues to grow.

Rather than post his own thoughts concerning what's mainly responsible for the decline of party identification in the US, the reporter Richard Wolf turns the podium over to Doug Lewis, a minor political functionary, who believes that "The strident voices of both the left and the right have sort of soured people from saying willingly that they belong to one party or the other. If both sides call each other scurrilous dogs, then the public believes that both sides are probably scurrilous dogs."

Besides perpetuating the "they're both the same and equally bad" falsehood, Lewis's narrative implies that the "correct" political position is roughly equidistant between "the strident voices of both the left and the right," in the mythical, nonexistent, and irrelevant middle.

"Left" and "Right" and the background static of extreme partisanship, however, is just part of the show, and has little to do with the eclipse of party politics. More and more, American adults consider the paralysis of government, the large Republican presidential field of morons and misfits, a Democratic Party corrupted and so demoralized it has no plan, and turn away in contempt.

Late in his story, Richard Wolf offers that "The decline (in party identification) is due to a variety of factors," one of which is "people revolt in disgust." But overall the analysis is typical MSM stuff which seeks to avoid the obvious: that we have to both make our own damn future and get a new political system, because the one we've got now is dead as a smoked oyster.

Friday, December 23, 2011

no demands

Writing at Buzzflash/Truthout, Barry Eidlin, a PhD candidate in the sociology department at UC Berkeley, explains with grace and clarity why the various Occupy movements not only have no specific demands, but don't need them, and why such demands would be excess baggage.

The role of broad transformative social movements like Occupy is not to generate specific demands. It is to identify fundamental injustices and to refocus political debate on those injustices. And the Occupy movement has done this very well. Its central slogan of "We are the 99%" has articulated a unifying vision that has resonated with millions of people, who have protested, marched, and camped in hundreds of cities in over eighty countries around the world. Moreover, the movement has fundamentally reshaped our national political discussion. Whereas talk this summer was solely about how much to slash the federal budget, the discussion now is about the fundamental injustice of an economic system that allows the top 1 percent of the population to control 40 percent of the wealth. "They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism," admitted Republican messaging guru Frank Luntz to a recent gathering of the Republican Governors' Association.


For now though, the focus needs to be on creating new political possibilities. The movement needs to grow, needs to reach out to more people, and needs to keep the discussion focused on those responsible for today's massive wealth inequality. Any call for concrete demands at this point is simply an attempt to shift the discussion back to what we were talking about before Occupy came along, to close off those political possibilities.

This process of moving from protests to demands is messy, unpredictable, and uncertain. But that's how successful social movements actually work, and that's how social change actually happens.

Read the whole thing here.

Those who say they're sympathetic to the movement, then criticize the protesters for "not doing it right" are mostly not sympathetic at all, but hostile, and those who are truly sympathetic but baffled because #OWS didn't come up with a 10-point legislative program need to chill, sit back, and watch what happens this spring. They might learn something.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

space junk

"On Christmas Eve," said Norad, "A soviet Sputnik hit Africa,
India, Venezuela, Texass,Kansass,
It's coming fast -- Peru too -- It keeps coming..."

And now I'm mad about Space Junk
I'm all burned out about Space Junk
Ooh walk and talk about Space Junk
It smashed my baby's head, and now my Sally's dead.

"Space Junk"

It's coming fast -- Namibia too -- it keeps coming.

This is a pretty good-sized thing from outer space, a little over 3-1/2 feet around and 14 inches in diameter. Nobody knows whose it is or why it was orbiting because it's now a hollow ball. Maybe it always was. Also according to the Associated Press report, the ball is made of a "metal alloy known to man" and weighs 13 pounds.

And the warnings of the prophets have come to pass.

So why are we bailing out banks and warring in Afghanistan when there's space junk raining down upon us?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

eurozone doubt

In the lost city of Moo, a high priest of the neo-Arian Platonist Keynesians visits the shrine of the sacred Euro, prior to making a sacrifice.

those good old ff's

The Iraq War is over and it sucked. Bush sucked, The Afghan War sucks big time. And yes, Obama sucks too.

But don't take my word for it. Heed the words of one of our revered and sacred founders:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
--James Madison
"Political Observations," 1795

I've noticed the good old FF's are practically worshiped by some of us. What they actually thought and said, not so much.

ho say canna u c

Following up on the story that appeared here four days ago ("Backward") concerning the federal government's recent and ongoing attempt to put an end to state-sanctioned medical marijuana co-ops and dispensaries, I've been trying to unscramble the "why" of it. I've now found a few pieces of the puzzle, but it's still coming together.

Back in February of 2001, the US Patent Office received an application for a new invention, a cannabinol-derived substance called cannabidiol. Many names are associated with the development of this chemical, but when the patent was granted in the fall of 2003, the inventors were listed as Aidan J. Hampson of Irvine, CA, and Julius Axelrod, and Maruizio Grimaldi, both residing in Maryland.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is presently the holder of the patent for this substance, which appears to be an effective treatment for limiting the damage caused by strokes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, and HIV dementia. It does so without producing any intoxication in the patient.

So far so good, until we learn that The government has now granted exclusive rights to develop and market cannabidiol-based medicines to a New York firm, KannaLife Systems, Inc. I'm deeply suspicious of the timing of this monopoly grant, which is occurring precisely at the moment the feds are suppressing the home-grown and democratically-sanctioned medical marijuana industry.

Dean Petkanas, founder and head honcho of KannaLife Systems, Inc., is a heavy hitter, a banker and self-described "visonary entrepreneur," and a well-connected member of the .01%. His blog is here.

There are still a lot of holes in this narrative, a lot of twists and turns and Israeli connections with the science behind these developments, but several things are now clear. First of all, the federal government in its infinite wisdom is finally reversing itself and accepting the fact that marijuana has medical applications, but has apparently specified to researchers that acceptable medicinal agents cannot be allowed to produce giggles or euphoria in the users. Our rulers are tortured by the knowledge that somewhere, despite all their efforts, somebody might be having a good time.

Secondly, they've issued a patent for a product derived from a substance which has occurred in nature for millions of years. This is like claiming that Louis Pasteur invented calcium. At most, the process of deriving this medication might be patented, but not the substance itself, an end product which, like refined gasoline, is arrived at through extraction.

Thirdly, and most interestingly to me anyway, what did Dean Petkanas do in order that he should be handed a multi-billion-dollar monopoly, and who has he been doing it with?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

parlay voo

I found out today that Mitt Romney spent two years of his youth working as a Mormon missionary -- in France!

Picture it -- an earnest young man sits down with a group of worldly, middle-aged guys at a sidewalk cafe in Paris. They're smoking Gauloise cigs and eating Camembert and they're about half cooked on Bordeaux, and this clean-cut young dude starts rattling on in English about a hoard of golden plates inscribed in an unknown language with ancient secrets, discovered by a farmboy almost two hundred years ago in a cave in upstate New York.

His job was to convince them that he's not totally out of his mind. Sounds like hard work to me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

the highest bidder

Politico is reporting that Sheldon Adelson, one of the world's richest people, is seriously considering majorly funding Speaker Gingrich's sinking Iowa campaign with about 20 million dollars.

Part of the money would be spent for a massive TV advertising blitz to neutralize "a weeklong anti-Gingrich on-air assault that is already taking a toll on his front-runner status in the Hawkeye State, according to private and public polling," Politico reported.

Sheldon Adelson is the legendary "casino king" whose personal fortune has been growing in leaps and bounds in recent years, since he carved himself out a corner in the Asian casino market. For a long time he's been a financial backer of right-wing groups in Israel, and was the primary bankroller of a group called Freedom's Watch, a pro-Republican, pro-Iraq War and pro-Bush administration outfit, now defunct.

He's a seriously authoritarian person, and very dangerous, His fortune grew by about a third in the last year, and he's now worth 21 and a half billions. And now this Putz means to buy some outcomes in an attempt to stick us with that flatulent fool Gingrich.

ruptured ducksauce

On the Facebook page called "Stop the Machine! Create a New World!" which is put up by some of the people from, today's post reads:

Sunday a group from Occupy Washington DC and Occupy DC went on a march against NDAA (the National Defense Authorization Act) to the White House. We knew we would not be able to be on the side walk in front of the White House so we were told to get to the street. Before we moved to the street police tape was all around us. We have protested many times in the street in front of the White House. But for some reason we were moved completely across the street and taped off. We counted 8 snipers with guns aimed at us and the largest police presence i have seen since October. We had two arrest but they are safe and back at camp.
NDAA is a serious sign of were we are headed. People need to stand up against this bill. Consider NDAA when its time to vote this year. The lesser of two evils IS NOT the answer anymore.

Eight snipers were necessary to deal with this band of raggedy protesters! I guess our rulers are feeling pretty threatened.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sunday funnies

I'm posting very late today, with very little to say, except that life changes. Then it changes back again.

This has been a yoostabee-type Sunday. I'm over here with my girlfriend in Port Feelmore, WA, where we're both lazing around being sleepy after watching foop ball almost all day. I'm a TV watcher and a sports fan (Seahawks) once more. They beat Chicago today on the road, have won five of their last six, and with a little luck look to be playoff bound.

Afterward we watched the Denver-New England game, because we wanted to see this new media star, the Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow, and maybe discover the reason for all the hoop-la. He turns out to be a very physically strong, athletic player, but very undisciplined -- the kind of guy who drives coaches nuts, because they never know what he's going to do next, and neither does he. However, that makes him much fun to watch.

New England won the game in a cakewalk.

The Hebrews and Muslims are right: everybody needs a down, homey, cozy day once a week.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Last week when I went to the co-op to buy my month's supply of pot, there was a bunch of people there I hadn't seen before. Everyone was uptight and paranoid, and in the room where the *medicine* is dispensed, in addition to my regular dispenser there was a small, roundish guy in a baseball hat who looked like a cop, looking at my patient profile on a computer screen. I was tempted to ask this dopovitch how things are hanging among the swinging schmucks of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Even though I resisted the temptation, the experience was strained and uncomfortable. What the hell is going on?

Apparently Barack Obama has ordered his Department of Justice to demolish the medical marijuana industry. The evidence for this contention is all circumstantial, because the prez has made no statement nor issued any "smoking gun" document. Apparently he's not satisfied with having become our first black fascist president, and is now determined to establish his credentials as a petty tyrant capable of earning the contempt and hatred of even the apolitical.

We know this is happening because dispensaries all over the west coast, from San Diego to Seattle are either busted out of business or feeling the heat.

We voted on this. The will of the people on the issue is clear and unmistakable.

I'm going to get myself invited to a cabinet meeting in the White House, and volunteer to serve refreshments.

it's simple

For a good life, full of happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction, try

1. Meaningful work,

2. Healthful diet,

3. Exercise,

4. Meditation and/or prayer,

5. Being in Love,

6. Living with nature,

7. Charitable giving;

Not necessarily in that order.

Thursday, December 15, 2011



Take a deep, full breath. When you let it out, press your belly button gently in the direction of your back bone. Keep doing that.

Sit up straight when you do this, whether you're on the ground or in a chair. Clear your mind of stray thoughts and distractions, and just concentrate on your breathing. When you do, the duration of your breath cycles gets longer.

You'll feel better. You'll be glad you did it.

land of the free

At Huffpo this morning:

WASHINGTON -- The White House on Wednesday abandoned its threat to veto a defense bill that sets in stone the commander in chief's authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including Americans, in military custody.

Call me paranoid, but I don't think the application of this highly illegal new law, which is unconstitutional on its face, is going to be what it sounds like, i.e., limited to captives of the armed services in foreign conflicts.

I see our new secret police, the Department of Homeland Security, gearing up for the next, larger rounds of citizen protests which will happen this spring and summer, and I suspect DHS may start "disappearing" a few key, select people.

Keep in mind as this situation develops that no one is required to, or ever ought to obey an illegal law. Laws such as this one need to be actively and belligerently opposed by an aroused people.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ock u π

Yesterday, members of an Inglewood (Los Angeles) youth group showed up at an abandoned library in south LA to haul away trash left there by squatters and perform a general clean-up.

The Los Angeles Police soon showed up, mistook the civic-minded activity for an #Occupy event, and threatened to arrest them.

"Commander Green LAPD is giving young people at abandonded library 30 minutes to leave or be arrested with 5k bail," cleanup participant Meagan Ortiz tweeted.

She might have added that even if this action had been a poltical demonstation, the police have no right to interfere with citizens exercising their first amendment privileges in a peaceful manner, and that doing so would be an act of repression and an attempt to intimidate citizens from exercising their citizenship.

Found this item at

Monday, December 12, 2011

all things nute

Over at that tired old advertising platform BNet there's a hot poltical thread going that asks whether Newt is a "friend or enemy" of the Constitution. I'd provide a link, but if you're piloting one of Bill G's Microsoft™ computers, I'm sure you don't want all those cookies and other web detritus that site will load onto your machine.

Anyhow, One correspondent went so far as to accuse Newt of wishing the Constitution would die.

Wow. And here I thought he just wanted his second wife to die.

The Constitution too? Oh well, I didn't like him anyway.

Everyone wants to know, is Newt Gingrich a friend or an enemy of the Constitution? Or maybe just a casual acquaintance? Does he revere it, or treat it like some chick he just diddled?

He may or may not be a "friend" to the Constitution, but if nominated and godhelpus elected he wil be an enema to the nation.

rick perry is an ass

Found this at

Sunday, December 11, 2011

bomb bomb bomb bomb iran

From grunts I'm hearing in the echo chamber at BNet, it seems to me some of the clowns and sociopaths among the Republicans, the ones who style themselves "presidential candidates," are still mumbling about nuking the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Well, Pilgrim, we wouldn't have to nukem. Maybe we could just invadem.

That's what we did to that Stalinist dictator who murdered his own people, Saddam Hussein, when he threatened us -- invaded'im, and confiscated his balsa wood drones, his aluminum tubes, and his missile with a range of 150 miles that he was threatening us with.

And if Iran doesn't pan out as a target, there's always that other nuclear threat, Kim Jong II over there in North Korea. He's actually got a nuke, and he's working on an intercontinental missile to deliver it with, although his last missile he tested crashed in the Sea of Japan, and when that happens what you've got is not an intercontinental missile. In my old neighborhood we called that "a bottle rocket."

But you know how it is. When you're in the war business you can't just wait for opportunity to knock; you have to go looking for it.

money matter$

Gasoline keeps getting cheaper, even though the price of oil has been going up and is currently hovering around $100 a barrel. I believe, although I've found no evidence, that the gasoline price is being artificially manipulated from somewhere to encourage us to get out there and shop like consumers are supposed to when they're afflicted with the annual palsy known as "that holiday spirit." However, Who or what might be pulling the strings? I have no idea.

And it's not going to last. The price will go up at least a nickel in most places on New Year's Day because an ethanol tax credit will expire December 31st. Four dollar gas will be the rule on the west coast by spring.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

mauled in wa

I always seem to end up at the maul during Christmas time, unintentionally, completely innocently, like a little goat led to the butcher shop.

"What mall" the reader may ask, even though I'm sure there's not a reader out there who doesn't know that the geographical locations of shopping malls only supply a distinction without a difference.

With fear and trembling, I followed my hot mama into a large box named "Macy's," where all the apparel and merchandise bore a strange device engraved somewhere upon them in late Anglo-American hieroglyphics: CALVIN KLEIN. I'm not sure what it means, but I know it confers a distinction with a difference, namely the juiced-up amount of money you have to shell out for the whatever-it-is.

I can't tell you the number of beautiful young women I saw in that place, working as salesgirls and dressed in the most outlandish, Martian-looking getups you ever saw. Is this some weird abnormality peculiar to big mall stores? You never see any customers in Starbucks dressed even remotely as weirdly.

I'm never going to the mall again, but I'll probably end up in one against my will, next Christmas season.

Friday, December 09, 2011

soggy food service

The US Army has developed a wrapped sandwich that stays fresh, or at least edible for up to three years.

The delicacy owes its longevity to its moisture-free ingredients and its packaging, an airtight wrap containing an "oxygen scavenger," a pouch full of iron filings which is said to draw all oxygen away from the food and prevent bacteria from forming.

I'm not sure who the intended consumer would be for what is essentially a hot pocket enclosing a foodlike filling made of sugar, salt, and honey, other than a soldier stuck in a combat zone who is either terrified of food poisoning or can't possibly find anything else to eat. And what with the American empire winding down its bloody and pointless existence, I'll predict that very few of these three-year sandwiches will ever be eaten.

Too bad they couldn't just be distributed to people who are starving.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

this place where i'm at

The eastern margin of the Enchanted Forest nestles right up against the west shore of the Salish Sea, which is a sort of miniature, enclosed ocean, sprinkled liberally with magical islands.

The whole package is kind of unworldly beautiful, but I traipse back and forth between here and the city seldom noticing the profound spell of the entire region. The effect is less noticeable in the city than anywhere else, but even there, under certain circumstances and at certain times of the day...

'Cause it's witchcraft! Nothing but witchcraft,
And although I know it's strictly taboo,
When you arouse the need in me,
My heart says "yes indeed" in me,
Proceed with what you're leading me to!

It's such an ancient pitch, but one I wouldn't switch
'Cause there's no cuter witch than you!

--"Witchcraft," written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh,
Sung by Frank Sinatra.

occupy usa

I really need to get arrested in the worst possible way.

My Occupy LA Arrest, by Patrick Meighan

My name is Patrick Meighan, and I’m a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom “Family Guy”, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.

I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Being Peace” when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Peaceful” and “We Are Nonviolent” and “Join Us.”

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

helpful hints from dave

Some tips for life in 21-st century US of A.

Don't fly. Besides being the most environmentally destructive mode of travel, patronizing airlines makes you vulnerable to all kinds of searches, seizures, tweaks, twiddles, and other forms of intolerable invasions of privacy, personhood, and dignity. Do you really have to get anywhere that fast?

Drive instead. Don't drink and drive. Don't smoke marijuana, play with your droid, or have sex while driving. Observe the speed limit and be a good driver. Make sure all your lights, especially taillights and license plate lights, are working. Don't give them any reason to stop you and they probably won't.

Don't live in Bakersfield. Eat organic vegetables. Eschew red meat.

Sleep with a light so you don't fall and kill yourself getting up during the night.

Avoid police and giant carnivorous hermaphroditic albino land snails.


Dorothy Marie Talbott Brice

April 26, 1920 -- December 7, 2008

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

attack of the giant snells

A thankGodfully rare giant albino slug thingy with a shell the size of your fist was spotted by hikers in New Zealand recently. They are said to be carnivorous. (The slug thingies, not the hikers, although they might be carnivorous too.)

If you should meet a giant snell that looks like this, avoid it.

the letter carrier -- he delivers

There's more to this story than meets the eye.

Sam Seder explains how right wing corporatists deliberately destroyed the US Post Office at the behest of their lords and masters, in this case UPS and FedEx.

If that's too much video for you, the material is covered and then some in "Postal Workers, the Last Union" by Allison Kilkenny at

This doesn't have to happen. There is legislation pending which would prevent bankruptcy and pay the debt. The only reason any Demolicans or Republicrats would oppose it is because they're azz-sucking servants of the overtly fascist corporatocracy.

The Post Office is the second-biggest employer in the US, and it's employees are the biggest union. 99% Take notice: this would be a natural place to take a stand. Occupy the post office.

kill for peace

I just can't get over the post office story (see below), which encapsulates an awful lot that's wrong wih us nowadays, and I think I've hit on a way to come up with the money.

We could raise first-class postage, or we could require the "Defense" Department to show a profit from its "offshore operations." It's only fair that what's demanded from the post office also apply to the Pentagon.

By robbing and pillaging conquered territory, and laying tribute obligations on all the nations our noble empire conquers, like the Assyrians and Romans did back in the day, the Pentagon could go from a money-loser to a real money-maker. Their profit$ could go to subsidize the post office so we wouldn't have to raise postal rates for little old ladies who still write checks to pay their bills.

I realize we haven't conquered anyone except Grenada and Nicaragua in over 60 years, but I'm just saying...

Monday, December 05, 2011

ben & Jerry's mail delivery

Up until 1971 it was the US Post Office, and everybody assumed it was government-supported (subsidized), as any national service ought to be.

Then, under President Drahcir W. Noxin, who believed the government should be run "more like a business" it became the US Postal Service, and by an act of Congress was made over into a quasi-governmental agency, whatever that means. The way I understand it, the USPS is like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- neither fish nor fowl, hence fully Frankenstein's monster, a real clusterschnazzle.

In practical terms this means the postal service hasn't received any taxpayer money since the early '80's, excepting minor subsidies to offset the cost of service for the disabled and overseas delivery.

And that's messed up. We're talking about the goddam post office here, not Church's Fried Chicken. The post office is not in farking business, it's the post office, for chrissake. It's also the country's second-biggest employer, right behind the federal government itself, so I don't think messing with it or punishing it because it didn't "show a profit" or "compete effectively" and all the rest of that Chamber of Commerce horse hockey is a very good idea.

Really, it should just go back to being the US Post Office, a part of the government which provides a government-supported service. There's no reason for all this complexity and all these bool shite expectations, which have now brought us to the point of closing down half the processing centers and laying off thousands and thousands of people.

And folks wonder why it is that the rich get richer and the poor get screwed.

anatsa troot



dave for preznit

What's next for the #OWS movement? Springtime.

That will be a good time for some people to ask, "Why is it that people are being arrested for sleeping in parks while Jon Corzine, who stole millions or possibly billions of bucks is still walking around Manhattan as free as a breeze, uncharged with any crime?"

"How come the cops have been beating on and pepper-spraying protesters, but they're not even trying to find out who made the secret decision to bail out Bank of America, Chase, CitiBank, Goldman-Sachs, and AIG as well as others to the tune of $7.77 trillion in 2008, which we only just found out about in 2011?"

"Why is it that Neanderthals, drooling idiots, and sociopaths like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum are taken seriously as presidential contenders, and I'm not?"

Sunday, December 04, 2011

warm fuzzies

This morning was given over to the garden. We bundled up and went out into the cold sunshine to tear out the dead tomato vines and green bean bushes, which went on the compost heap. We pulled all the live weeds too, but they don't go into the compost because they'd propagate there, so we simply piled them up by themselves in a corner of the yard. where they'll turn into goo.

We dumped the rich dirt from the tomato buckets onto the nude garden, then Shery began shoveling freshly-brewed topsoil out of the bottom of the compost heap while I raked it into the garden. We topped it with a layer of corrugated cardboard weighted down with bricks, and the raised bed is now in repose till spring.

After warming up we went shopping for the day's food, and at the local supermarket found some fresh rockfish flown down from British Columbia and priced very reasonably. So tonight's menu is rockfish breaded and sautéed quickly (medium heat, two minutes each side, covered) steamed broccoli, and baked delicata squash. Yum yum.

It's lovely living over here in the enchanted forest, learning about the magic of compost and where rockfish comes from.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


This is another communication from the Enchanted Forest, where the gnomes are hard at work all night and the humans try ceaselessly and usually unsuccessfully to stay warm in the winter. Before too long I'm going to be spending all my time over here rather than just half of it, and I hope to do so in the spirit of occupying the earth.

The truth is, though, I don't know how successful I'll be as a farmer. I've been promising myself for the last three weeks that we'd get out back and put the garden to bed, pushing its vegetable remains down into the compost and resetting the heap with the help of some hot manure, an ultra-natural thing to do, but so far neither of us has been willing to lead the way out the back door, due to the cold. I know for sure that people were not so easily deterred from getting the work done back in the days when they depended on their garden patches and squirrel rifles for survival.

However, switching environments, going from an emphatically urban setting to a mainly rural one, will produce changes in attitude and behavior. It won't be like going back to an earlier haunt either, because even though I lived in the Enchanted Forest recently, in 2009, that community was rich, and my new home consists mostly of poor and working-class people, so the experience of living there is a lot more genuine.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

re-education camp

One of the regular correspondents at BNet informs us that long-time Republican strategist Frank Luntz has a plan to counter the #Occupy movements. He wants to replace the word "capitalism," which he feels has become negatively charged.

"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said, listing it as the first of 11 talking points he'd like to hear Republicans using.

Another name for talking points might be "euphemisms." In fact, the term "talking points" itself is a kind of euphemism for "euphemisms."

Euphemisms are of two kinds; the most familiar are positive-sounding understatements. Our family members and friends no longer die, they "pass away," (or, if they're animals, get "put to sleep.") My favorite euphemism of this kind is "correctional facility."

The other kind, of course, is negative and overstated. This category of euphemism includes "death tax" and "death panels," the latter of which, in addition to being a euphemism, was a bald-faced and brazen lie.

As is "economic freedom," but at least it sounds pretty good. There's no "death" in it anyway, but I'm sure all our unemployed and underemployed workers and homeless people who have been foreclosed out of their houses could do with a little less "freedom" and a little more "shared sacrifice" in which they're not the only ones doing the "sharing."