Monday, April 28, 2003

Here's a bit of poetry, if you like.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Friday means nothing to me ... Yea, that's right. Not a thing. For most of us (I think) Friday is that all-important last day of the workweek. The day when our minds wander to thoughts of sex, inebriation, driving fast pickup trucks or Corvettes or whatever, being 'cool' and making the 'grade.'
Or am I being too trite? Well, fuggit. For me Friday is just another work day so I'm going to bitch about it! There. That's done.

Now I'm not saying we were wrong to attack Iraq and dethrone Saddam Hussein. In fact, just the opposite. There is some sort of moral imperative in taking out a despotic killer, though it smacks of that old "eye for an eye" crap that Christians conveniently pull out of their tiny bag of bagatelles when challenged about the morality of war. So we're agreed, right? War is moral if it's conducted for the sake of saving many more people from horrible suffering than would bear that burden if we didn't attack. Or are we just making this stuff up as we go. I know, for my own point of view, when I'm confused, frightened or lying, I justify my actions with the best argument or lie I can muster at the time.

Now I may fess up and tell the truth - if I happen to recognize it at some point - but when the heat is on, so to speak, and I'm feeling backed into a corner, absolutely! I will lie. I will prevaricate and try to avoid being nailed to the wall of truth simply out of an impulse as deep-seeded as the urge to breath. Must be bad genes (or is it jeans ... ) or something.

I do subscribe to the infinite possibility inherent in our human psyche. The oft found possibility that we may actually have a philosophy we will fight to the death to defend, unless it's proven wrong-headed. Some people actually do have 'high moral standards,' and really do care about humanity. I found the U.N.-appointed general (Canadian) who was roasted for the fiasco in Africa in 1994, you know, the slaughter of between 800,000 and 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Kigali and surrounding towns and villages. That poor bastard had heart and he paid dearly for that fact. He actually bucked the system and defied the U.N. 'leadership,' and its member nations (the U.S., France and Belgium) by refusing to leave the country when ordered to do so.

No, instead he chose to stay behind and, although he couldn't stop the genocidal killings, document as much of the atrocities as he and his contingent of poorly armed soldiers could verify.

Now it's been nearly 10 full years and the world court - whatever its official title - convened to try the accused masterminds and thugs who designed that little exercise in bloodletting has managed to convict a dozen or so of the same.

I think the figure is one conviction per year, thus far. It appears to me that there is no will to confront evil when it rears its ugly head somewhere in the world. The U.N., if you recall, actually prevented that general from taking preemptive action – he had solid information about weapons caches and plans for mass killings which he passed along to the U.N. leadership in New York – because, as was reported then, the mission was a peacekeeping one, not a military intervention. But this guy couldn't bring himself to walk away from the screams and sounds of bullets, and the sight of limbs being chopped off babies. And the world ignored that atrocity for a long, long time. About 100 days before any action was taken by the U.N.

I think this nation has a lot of bad karma (if you believe in that sort of thing) to work through before we become enlightened. And, as you know, until we're all enlightened, no one can fully reach that desirable state of consciousness.

So try to be enlightened, OK. Quit holding the rest of us back, will ya please. You're pissing me off with your laziness, hesitence and timidity. Get with the program and start building your own personal moral framework. It's just fine to start with a flawed system, most of us do. But you have to struggle to improve that system and make it your own, OK.

That said, I wish you all every happiness – so long as it doesn't involve pain for anyone else.

Have a great and wondrous day my friends and enemies, wherever you may be. And live long and prosper.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Rodeo brain I've got a rodeo brain today. You know, my thoughts are sparking off at 90 million per millisecond and I can't focus because the tumult is too erratic and violent. Pinging back and forth inside my head, electrical signals are firing from all directions and I feel like I'm strapped to a 2-ton bull that's enraged and fiercely trying to throw me. Huh? What's that you say? You don't get it. Well, you're not alone. Try reading "The Wasteland" by T.S. Elliot and you may begin to understand the way I'm feeling right now.
Of course, it will take you quite a while so you may want to simply take my word for it - life's very fuggin' weird from my POV.
And how did I get here? Too much TV? Too many movies? Too much debauchery when I was younger (much)? Not enough food in my belly? All of the above? None of the above?
Got to cover all the bases, don't you know.
It's a muggy, warm Monday here in northwest Texas, and I've tried to contact D to arrange some yard work but she's not answered yet. And so it goes.
Now, what am I using this BLOG site for, you might ask, especially when you haven't a clue who I am; but the truth is you DO know who I am and you do know what's going on. It's just a matter of accepting this fact and you'll be right in line with all this crazy chatter.
So I'll lean back for now, sip my coffee and watch last night's "Wire," which I taped.
It looks like I'll be giving up HBO and the other movie channels in the very near future (boohoo!) because I simply cannot afford the ridiculous rates they charge. Who's they? Why Cox Communications of course. And why not. They have a monopoly in this market and the City Council handed it to them on a silver platter, as the saying goes.
I'm getting damned tired of the consumer taking it in the ass while the corporations, businesses and stock brokers ride the money wave to riches and comforts most of us can only imagine in our wildest dreams.
Hitting the lottery is easier than getting rich as writer. Take my word for it. Society has discarded the value of art, introspection and spirituality and elevated the crass, the commercial and the shallow to the alter of religious fervor.
If you got nothing, you got nothing. Never mind what's on your mind; what's in your driveway? What kind of shoes do you wear? What kind of suits, shirts, watches and cufflinks do buy? There's the real religion for today's world.
And on the other side, what does 'spirituality' offer? Suffering (long indeed!), poverty and perseverance. Interested? But even that's not free. You have to pay some guru or some publishing company or other media outlet to get your marching orders for today's religious trek.
Aaaarrrgh! Life is sometimes nothing but an aching spot in the middle of my forehead. A pain that haunts the subterranean regions of my consciousness (whatever that means).
And so it goes.
All I can say is, god bless the soldiers fighting in Iraq; god bless the welfare mothers, abused children and hopeless drunks. God help us and bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Down goes Saddam ... symbolically? Like millions of people around the world, I just watched a statue of Saddam Hussein pulled down by Iraqis and U.S. engineers using a huge mobile crane vehicle. The glee and pandemonium that followed was heartening and sad at the same time. Heartening because the people seem genuinely joyful that their repression under Saddam seems at an end. Sad because after the singing, looting and dancing is done, the reality of tribal factions, power struggles and blackmarket economy will dawn in Iraq.
The people seem like children to me. They've lived in the dark for so long that this early glimpse of light is probably like a miracle to them. But one man's miracle is another man's burden and we'be definitely strapped the nation (ours) with an enormous burden - if we follow through with the promises enunciated by Bush and Co. Of course, our track record is a bit spotty in that department and we might choose the step back and let the factions fight it out until the most powerful emerge. At which point we might go back in with our military - having the very real excuse that the country will tear itself apart without a stabilzing force on the ground - and we then can handily ensconce our 'kind' of democracy there.
But today is like Mardi Gras in Baghdad and the people deserve their moment in the sun. I pray that they can make a lasting, peaceful, prosperous society once the fighting stops. I get this spooky feeling that the U.S. and Britain have some sort of black-ops deal with a select few Iraqis who once held some sort of administrative or legal position in the country. But that, perhaps, is just my propensity for suspicion when it comes to governmental machinations.
I must admit, watching that statue fall - though not nearly as dramatic as watching the Berlin Wall collapse - was exciting. But where Is Saddam? Where is the Republican Guard? Some are speculating that Saddam's whole regime was figment of his imagination and that the Republican Guard never really existed at all. What if it's so? My God, Disney World with torture and terror at its core. How weird is this world? VERY!

Monday, April 07, 2003

Blowing in the wind: Part II Man, it seems to me that our administration is out there on the edge of the Twilight Zone to me. Is there a plan for post-war Iraq? I know it's too early for Bush to come out and draw specifics but I think he could at least admit that we're going to have a long-term commitment, both militarily and economically, in that country when the war ends. And what does the cost of maintaining a country do to our own national budget? What are the ramifications for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other public-aid programs?
Bet you which ones will be cut first. I just named them.
The Republicans in the House (those crazy buffoons) are licking their chops with the prospects that are opening up to their agendas as the war continues toward its conclusion and the day the fallout begins approaches. Oh man, are they going to have a field day cutting 'welfare' programs in the name of national security. Say good-bye to CHIP (unless you live in a very rich state); say so long to Medicaid and Medicare - at least in any recognizable form as compared to today; and definitely say hello to delays for collecting your Social Security check. We'll be working until we're 75 when it's all said and done if the GOP has its way.
Somehow we've got to come up with the cash to pay for all this carnage and high-tech killing. And just where to we get that cash? Iraqi oil? Forget it! Even if we did use Iraqi oil, the production levels are about 50 percent too low to support the projected annual cost of rebuilding the country in the image the administration has in mind.
Taxes? We all know how Bush feels about raising taxes so that's unlikely, except for 'sin taxes' on things like booze, cigarettes, and medication (with the aging of America more and more people will need pharmaceuticals and that means a ready cash-cow for the government to tap.
I just cannot see how we will avoid increased burden on the backs of middle America. Bush and the Hamptons crew won't feel the pinch at all. But those of us who earn less than $1 million per year (I mean as individuals) are going get hammered. How else can it happen? Where will the $10 billion per year to rebuild Iraq (a low-ball estimate in my opinion) come from? Certainly not the U.N. I think Bush is writing off the U.N. as a useless organization that's good for nothing except taking American dollars to pay for programs the GOP opposes.
So guess what, folks. Welcome to a good old fashioned Texas-size asswhippin. If you thought the Reagan era was tough (economically) what's coming will make the '80s look like boomtimes. The nightmare that was Reaganomics is about to dusted off and, with slight revisions, be offered up to the American public as the answer to our prayers. The tired failure that was the 'trickle down theory' will be pumped up with hot air and floated before us all like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float.
The reality will be the same. The economy will go deeper into the toilet than it already is and generations of Americans will pay the price for our unimaginative president and his cash-packed cabinet.
And so it goes.
Good luck. You'll need it.