Monday, September 30, 2013

serve em right, the bastids

Over 20 years ago, the Soviet Union and its empire of satellites crashed in a heap. The extremely abstract ideal of a socialist society died a slow death during the decades prior to the final collapse.

People in Russia were afraid. "What will we do without our beloved party chairman, and the Soviet Union to take care of us?" Their world had ceased to exist.

But something always comes after. There was a Russia long before the Soviet Union, and now it will prevail a long time afterward. They even got their Czar back, sort of.

And now, at this very moment, the government of the United States, a wholly owned subsidiary of BigOilBigBankingMilitary/Industrial/SecurityComplex, Amalgamated Everything, Inc., is in the act of committing suicide. When it goes down, industrial age monopoly capitalism will go with it.

Monopoly capitalism is not the opposite of socialism, and is the enemy of free enterprise, free speech, free society, and the free pursuit of one's own economic destiny. Under the rule of monopoly capitalism wedded with a war machine, society becomes regimented, conformity is demanded, and life consists of running a maze of interlocking hierarchies. Military hierarchies, corporate hierarchies, school, church, Rotary Club.

In this thread, we've seen the debate framed as Capitalism vs. Socialism. In fact, one of these is now dead, and the other is dying. Just because you approve of Social Security, Medicare, and public utilities doesn't make one a socialist, any more than believing that growing, transporting, and retailing food should be competitve, to deliver better products at lower prices, doesn't make a person a fan of the capitalists.

Enough of your tired, old twentieth centuryisms, Tenac. Get with it man, we're in the 21st century of our Lord, good old Anno Domini. The US and the parasites who own it are going down fast. Their dollar soon won't be worth a peso

This is not gonna be easy, but what must be must be. The past, even the recent past, is in the shitter, and as in Russia in 1989, nobody knows for sure what's coming. Better have your Kollapsnikov rifle at the ready. 

And I hope you saved your Confederate money, because the South will be back. At least I hope so.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

black beary

So, yesterday the woman and I are doing a few yoga asanas over by the window, when she starts hollering "OH...OH!" and runs to grab her camera.

"The otters?" I asked, and she replies "There's a bear!"

Sure enough, there's an adult black bear behind our condominium unit, eating black bearies.

As soon as he saw her on the deck, the quadruped turned tail and took off, but not before she snapped this photo.

Another wild day in Point Utopia.

Photo: Kit Wood

Saturday, September 28, 2013

only the ocean

It's a trite but true observation that watching the ocean can be a spiritual experience.

This past Wednesday The Woman and I took a trip down to Westport, which sits at the southern entrance to Gray's Harbor on the southwest coast of Washington, where the fishing boats still motor out every morning, returning an hour or so before sunset.

We decided to take up fishing, though I have done none of that since I was a kid. So we went to the Westport fishing pier, after  checking to make sure we could legally take a salmon there (Washington fishing regulations are a complicated mosaic of rules. with separate fishing days and prohibited times for every location), and caught nada,

There were fish in the water, though. A sea lion a few yards in front of us devoured silver salmon as fast as she could catch them, i.e., very quickly, for she's an expert. We duffed about for a while, revisiting the art of casting, and after a few hours in the warm sun and fresh air were totally exhausted.

We later found out the good fishing right now is a few miles away, at the mouth of the Johns River. So before we return to the sunny southland, we'll go back to Gray's Harbor, determined this time to haul in our elusive silver prey.

We'll probably be doing it in foul weather. Last Thursday was likely the last brilliant weather of what's been a gorgeous season here. Next day the clouds rolled in, and today they opened up and dumped a few inches of water on the ground. Tomorrow will be even wetter.

That's all right. I've heard fish bite when it's raining.

Friday, September 27, 2013

hot links

Workers and peasants of fhe blogosphere! Good morning, and for those of you not being held incommunicado in reeducation camps, here is your daily indoctrination.

Seymour Hersh, 78, the reporter who brought us the stories of My Lai and Abu Ghraib, is back with a new book about the murder of Osama bin Laden. Among other things, Hersh says that the gov's story of the bin Laden hit is "one big lie," and "not a  word of it is true." I'm assuming that bin Laden is dead, so maybe Sy Hersh is overstating the case slightly, but one thing you never want to do is lie to him.

He also says Obama is "a lot worse" than Dubya ever was, and will offer evidence in the new book supporting his argument that Barack Obama's lying is habitual, compulsive, and approaching pathological proportions.

I had already written about the rise of a new attitude here in the Pacific NW when I ran across this article by Bill Maher about the current California renaissance. Apparently, the entire Left Coast is moving quickly away from the rest of the USA, and we can't go too far or too soon, as far as I'm concerned.

Maher is one of the best writers, in the technical sense, I've ever read. Because he's funny and loves give offense (for the shock value) it's easy not to notice his excellent technique of refutation through ridicule.

On the campaign trail last year, Mitt Romney warned that if we didn't follow his conservative path, "America is going to become like Greece, or... Spain, or Italy, or... California." And that was a big laugh line with Mormons, because Greece, Spain and Italy have some art and poetry and theatre, but nothing like Salt Lake City. Yes, Mitt sure hates California, which is why he moved to San Diego. To the house with the car elevator.

 Yass, yass, yass. Also, the NRA = "Nuts, Racists, and Assholes." Just because a guy can write, he doesn't have to dispense entirely with name calling

Friday, September 20, 2013

harvest moon 9/18

We missed the beginning of this year's harvest moon, but caught up with it last night hanging like a big Japanese lantern over Ludlow Bay.

Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain't had no lovin'
Since April, January, June or July.
Snow time ain't no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.

(Bayes and Norworth, about 1900)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

fear, rage, guns, and black people

Watching "Bowling for Columbine" for the first time. I tend not to see Michael Moore's films when they first come out 'cause I feel like, in my case, he's be preaching to the converted.

At one point Moore is interviewing a PR guy at the big Lockheed plant in Littleton, and asks him if he sees any connection between what happened at Columbine and the WMD that get built at that facility, one of the largest nuclear bomb fabrication facilities in the world. And of course, Mr. PR Man says no, because these WMD are built to defend us against "people who would do us harm."

And that's the story we keep telling ourselves. It's for defense. The "Defense" Department. There are no flies on us, and no sickness in the land of the free and the home of the brave (somebody cue George Zimmerman).

More than any other media figure I've encountered, Michael Moore attempts to root out the origins and causes of the American penchant for gun violence. After establishing that Canada, England, Germany, Japan, and Australia watch the same movies and play the same violent video games as we do, and that they have miniscule numbers of gun deaths per year compared to our 12,000 or so annual bag total, he identifies the things we have that citizens of those countries don't.

1. Nightly local news broadcasts that focus on violent crimes in the locality, especially those committed by blacks and other minorities. Their purpose is to ramp up the fear, get more viewers who have ground their teeth to powder in their fear, and sell them denture cream.

2. A population of former slaves living among a guilty, white population, with both races extremely fearful of one another.

3. A government which reflexively wants to bomb all of its overseas problems, where all other governments would look for a less invasive and traumatic way of dealing with those problems.

4. Universal, wide availability of all manner of guns, the ownerhip of which is legally encouraged.

The guns, of course, are for defense. To protect us from them, whoever they are. All enemies, foreign and domestic, as it were.

If the US is truly exceptional, we'll take a close look in the mirror, recognize the monster we've become, and take steps to change. If we're past our prime, as I suspect, we'll go on getting worse, until the race war which is on simmer now breaks out into flames, or we bomb somebody who can hit back.

That's the way it goes when people are balls to the wall nuts. And we are. Kept at a low boil by nightly stories of ghetto violence and drug busts, terrorized by the hangover from Osama bin Laden's lucky shot on 9/11, and armed to the teeth, our badly disorganized suburban militias are apparently ready for anything except sanity.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

vladimir I, czar of all the russias

...wrote an op/ed published in the NY Times today.

Putin didn't say anything even controversial in that piece, as far as I'm concerned.

There was the "exceptional" thing, and that always gets the clueless 1/3 going.

The Russians are experienced hands at dealing with the world's exceptional and superior beings. Such as the Nazzies. "The Master Race," I believe they styled themselves.

But they only got as far as Stalingrad, where their superiority proved illusory.

We'll stop with Baghdad, if we're truly exceptional.

And if not we'll go the same way as all the superior and exceptional people who have gone before us. 

For a spirited and contrary review of Vladimir's Times piece, see New Smacks.

sammy the slug is going somewhere

Our local congressional rep, Sammy the Slug (R/UT) appears to be in a hurry. Maybe he's rushing to vote to raise the "debt ceiling."

Bill McBride, proprietor of the great, old Calculated Risk blog, put a few words up about this silliness yesterday, first observing that this biannual Republican threat to throw the country into default happens only in odd (nonelection) years. If they did it during even years, when the entire House of Reps has to run for their seats, they'd look stupid and might endanger their chances of reelection, but only in some cases. Even though many of them are gastropods, it's hard to imagine the typically entrenched House incumbent being defeated at the polls.

McBride also suggests that this non event (everybody knows this is just a stupid Rehooligan game, and they'll fold eventually) should be called "the default ceiling" rather than debt ceiling, because that's what we're actually talking about. And that, of course, would be illegal.

I guess the country doesn't have enough problems. Old Boehner and his superhuman crew have to create extra ones to deal with, to show us how hard they're working.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

pizza margarita

Last night's masterpiece was a long time coming. I pretty much gave up eating pizza in 2008, feeling like it was one of the main problems with diet, the country's and my own. I wasn't eating any, so I didn't make any either.

However, the opportunity to make a 90% organic pie with garden ingredients proved too tempting to resist.

A whole wheat crust rolled out very thin, topped with a scratch sauce of fresh tomatoes, dried herbs, garlic. 1/2 c. mozzarella, thinly sliced garden tomatoes, fresh herbs and green onions topping. 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Incredible yum.

Monday, September 09, 2013

that old rain in spain

This really sounds like a terrible bore. Word got out through the New York Times a couple days ago that George Bernard Shaw's new play "Has no sex interest," and is little more than a play on the subject of phonetics.

"Pygmalian" hasn't played in the US yet, but from the Times's description sounds a little less interesting than watching paint dry.

(This story from 100 years ago last Saturday and the link to it found at

Saturday, September 07, 2013

wooden ships

Yesterday at the annual wooden boat festival in Port Townsend, I became enamored of this 123-year-old working vessel, one of the few I've seen named as a guy.

The Elmore, a wooden boat with a cast iron prow, was built in 1890 to ply the hazardous waters between Astoria, OR, and Tillamook, navigating the dangerous sandbars at the yawning mouth of the Columbia.

You can tell at first glance that this is a worker boat, not a pleasure craft, round-bellied, muscular, tough looking.

In 1990, at age 100, the Elwood was slated for demolition, but fortunately he was bought by a private party and converted to a floating residence. He is currently for sale once more.

Of the 200 or so vessels that showed up here this weekend, most are primarily blow boats, and we mostly assume that they're also primarily decorative, pleasure objects, with little practical value. However, the day of wind powered cargo vessels may not be over, for ours is a world in which petroleum has become very expensive, but the wind is still free. The sailing vessel is one of the most natural forms of transport, and wooden boats a product made purely from earthy materials and human ingenuity. Elwood, a diesel, is not large, but was capable of carrying 50 tons of cargo and 40 passengers on the Astoria to Tillamook run. What are the chances he'll be pressed into service again one day?

Photos: Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer

Thursday, September 05, 2013

remember the splosion

If the history of this country's phony pretexts for starting our stupid fkng wars wasn't so tragic, it would be highly amusing.

Remember the Maine?

Don't feel bad, cause nobody else does either, partly because it was a 24 karat phony. Yes, the Battleship Maine did blow up in Havana harbor with loss of American life, but no one knows who dunnit. For all we know, President Citizen Hearst might have had it done, so as to get his wonderful litte war.

That was the original, and it set the pattern, so that by the time the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was cooked up to justify invading Vietnam and using chemical weapons (i.e., Napalm, a jellied gasoline, and Agent Orange™, an herbicde) on its people, animals, and crops, we should have easily seen the wool being pulled over our eyes.

And who could forget Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destrucgtion, which were actually a stockpile of Dick's and Donnie's and Condaleezza's weapons of mass disinformation?

So now comes a nerve gas attack in Syria killing 1400. We don't actually know who dunnit, or why, but that doesn't prevent the current crop of swinging penises in DC for using it to commit acts of senseless and truly pointless violence. it's pointless because it will accomplish nothing, and has no purpose other than just to whack somebody. The stupidity of violence for its own sake.

However, things are different now. I spend a lot of time at Twitter and sites outside the US, and I can tell you for sure the rest of the world is not going to tolerate this nonsense from us any more. They've had enough, and if you want to see a bull changed into a steer real quick, then let's all just keep on doing what we're doing.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

nsa blues

Everybody's workin in Wash, D.C.,
And it worries me night and day.
Everybody's workin in old D.C.,
Hoo boy, it worries me night and day,
Because of that mean workin crew
That works for the NSA.

I woke up this morning,
Rolled out about four,
Opened up my internet,
'Cause I wanted to know the score.
But when I got to my fave site,
There was only a notice there,
Sayin "This thought criminal's in custody,
And you can't come here no more."
So I'll have to get my
Info in some other way,
'Cause of that thought police crew
That works for the NSA.

Well well, I wanted to hear the news,
So I turned on my TV,
But I soon found out
That was no place to be.
There was commercials for hemorrhoid cream,
And how to stop a computer virus,
But when the actual news came on,
It was all about Miley Cyrus.
So then the notion struck me
I'd better be on my way,
Before my laptop and stash get seized
By those dogs from the NSA.

Well I cruised on down to Starbutts,
And ordered a grande drip,
The barista wanted to talk about Syria,
But my lips was zipped.
I tried internetting again,
But then decided that's just for fools,
When all I got was ads for cheap Viagra™
And how to get a discount for real estate school.
So I guess it worked real good for them,
Looks like the mind fuzz got their way,
'Cause I keep my opinions to myself now,
All thanks to the fkng NSA.

With apologies to the late Casey Bill Weldon. This song is based on and sung to the tune of his "WPA Blues."

Monday, September 02, 2013


My begonia, planted in late June, is putting out blossoms of rosy coloured dawn (Homer). By the end of the month it will be profuse with hanging flowers.

oil, and the earth, part 2

All politics is about money when it's boiled down, and all money eventually connects with oil in this industrialized, homogenized, and sodomized world of ours.

"Evolution can go to hell as far as I'm concerned," Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his final book, "A Man Without a Country" in 2005. "What a mistake we are. We have mortally wounded this sweet life-supporting planet--the only one in the whole Milky Way--with a century of transportation whoopee. Our government is conducting a war against drugs, is it?

"Let them go after petroleum. Talk about a destructive high!

"You put some of this stuff in your car and you can go a hundred miles an hour, run over the neighbor's dog, and tear the atmosphere to smithereens. Hey, as long as we are stuck with being homo sapiens, why mess around? Let's wreck the whole joint. Anybody got an atomic bomb? Who doesn't have an atomic bomb these days?"

The world runs on oil. Can there be any doubt? It's the blood in the veins of the soulless monster Moloch, the gigantic and irresistable industrial robot that lurches across the face of the earth, scattering blessings and poisoning all life.

Keeping Vonnegut's background facts in mind, let's take a look at blogger/genius Jim Willy's take on impending US military action in Syria, a desperate and inadequate attempt to stop the new and increasing dominance of oil and gas pipeline politics in the Middle East and Europe, the rise also of the Gas Cooperatives and the dominance of the Russian state oil company Gazprom passing OPEC in importance,  the fall of the House of Ibn Saud, and catastrophic changes for the US in global commerce and, especially, banking.
"Mama, tain't long fo day," sang Wiilie McTell, and a new day is dawning in the US of A, where the banking system continues stumbling along in limbo, pretending to be solvent, since the Lehman Brothers was sucked into the void in 2007. The crisis became acute in 2011 with the implementation of a more or less permanent bond purchasing program called QE3, making clear that the meltdown is permanent and insoluble, and anyway there's been no attempt to actually solve it.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, nothing has changed in the last year except the lives of a few thousand people which ended prematurely. Sectarian, civil war continues in Iraq, and Syria demonstrates the region's three way struggle between entrenched and corrupted dictatorships, democratic oriented people, and religious fundamentalists, who manifest in Sunni regions as al Qaida.

Syria is the crossroads for us, and from here on out we're screwed. The region is in such a chaos of destructive turmoil that more regimes are going to fall, not just the smirking twerp Assad. (Footnote). The discovery and wholesale exploiting of oil in the region has been unmitigated disaster for the entire world, and most especially for the countries it comes from.

And now, the superpowers have taken sides in Syria, are lined up like they were in the Balkans before WWI, and all it would take would be a match.

If you haven't noticed yet, all of these things are totally off the corporate media's radar screens. And for good reason. At this very moment, Russia, in concert with the Iranians and China, is planning to displace the petrodollar, because it is based on increasingly shaky Treasury bonds, and creating huge global banking crises, which has sabotaged some countries' currencies, and threatens to screw up all international transaction.

Putin and his allies plan to mount a campaign to replace the petrodollar with a gold based oil trade backed by the reliability of a pipeline delivery system originating in Iran and beyond (Iraq).  It would make Russia the predominant superpower by collapsing the dollar and bond market, pushing a wedge between the US and Europe, and creating a dominant partnership between oil rich Russia and their dependent allies, the Chinese.

My takeaways from all this are pretty negative. Politicians the world over seem concerned only with their own power, and the fate of the earth can go to hell. Putin and Russia are in the driver's seat right now, so "transportation whoopee" will continue, at least as long as Russia's got oil and gas. The serious problems of the survival of life on earth will not be addressed, but the serious business of determining who's top dog will. And the top dog isn't the US any more, since our day has departed. 

Footnote: According to Kurt Vonnegut, a twerp is a guy who shoves a set of dentures up his ass and then goes around biting the buttons off the back seats of taxicabs.