Politics: Don't Tread on Me

Fight for your Right to Parlez

photo: Patrick GenselWe all know why the change still isn’t come, the change being the massive groundswell around Obama in 2008, the stomping feet of the people demanding that somebody clean house before we do it for them. That change did not happen because of the following billionaires:

Rupert Murdoch ($14.6 billion, misinformation)
Charles Koch ($41.6 billion, oil)
David Koch ($41.6 billion, oil)
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal ($21.3 billion, oil)

Saudi Arabia sees climate talks as the biggest threat to Saudi national security.The head of the Saudi delegation to U.N. talks on climate change said so in front the United Nations. There are literally hundreds of people around the world who agree with him, all of them heavily invested in fossil fuels.  This is their way of life and it is threatened. Continue reading

Respondez!

Respondez! Respondez!

Walt Whitman (1819-1892), age 37, frontispiece to Leaves of grass, Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 1855, steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892), age 37, frontispiece to Leaves of grass, Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 1855, steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison.

(The war is completed–the price is paid–the title is settled
beyond recall;)
Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked!
let none evade!
(How much longer must we go on with our affectations
and sneaking?
Let me bring this to a close—I pronounce openly for
a new distribution of roles;)
Let that which stood in front go behind! and let that
which was behind advance to the front and
speak;
Let murderers, thieves, bigots, fools, unclean persons,
offer new propositions!
Let the old propositions be postponed!
Let faces and theories be turn’d inside out! Let
meanings be freely criminal, as well as results!
Let there be no suggestion above the suggestion of
drudgery!
Let none be pointed toward his destination! (Say! do
you know your destination?) Continue reading

Arts & Literature

Jim Morrison’s Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings

This is where The Lizard King parted ways with us.

Graffiti_Rosario_-_Jim_MorrisonI always hated Jim Morrison. He was what I wanted to be and I assumed he couldn’t possibly deserve it. When I started reading his poetry, I brought my negative attitude with me. I felt vindicated with every cliché. I wanted to destroy the myth of Jim Morrison, the myth he lived, a wild fiery sprint from ordinary, a screaming tear through the night woods of youth, a lingering flash blindness and whispered stories.

He was a consummate borrower. Another way to say this is his poetry is pregnant with reverent homage to great writers. I wish this was a fault, but it’s not. We can never reach farther than when standing on the shoulders of giants. Continue reading

Kurt Cobain: If you read you’ll judge

He never surrendered.

Let me tell you about Kurt Cobain.

In the fourth grade we had to do these stupid aerobics gym classes, plastic pink green black steps, Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” pounding off the gymnasium walls.

Riding in the back seat of my dad’s car was the only time I heard good rock and roll. Maybe because he was my dad. I don’t know. “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” was my favorite song.

Until he played a mixtape, windows down flying across the earth in an automobile, with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on it. Continue reading

Boston speaks

Sword karate zen

Sword karate zen

I’m not afraid. I’m back at work. I go to the bars at night. I don’t take it personally. I just think it’s terrible. It used to be survival of the fittest. Now it’s survival of the luckiest. I saw an old man with his face completely wrapped in bandages walking his dog. He’s not afraid. Everywhere you look there’s a guy with a black bag or using a cell phone. I’m not afraid of that. There’s this hill in Brighton where you can catch air from either direction but there’s an intersection at the top. I’m going pretty fast and the light is green, and I see some kid in a Honda about to catch some air. He sees me too, which is why he turns the wheel at the last second and drives the right corner fender into the torso of the driver behind me. The guy is done, eyes wide, trying to talk without any lungs. And the driver of the other car turned out to be his friend. It was sad. I’m not giving up driving because one chach bag almost killed me and another might get me later. I’m not afraid.

Let my people go

We have finally invented the internet. In current form, the internet allows for things like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the documenting of a tragic school building collapse in China. It reveals the terrible innards of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. This is a limited window of opportunity wherein information passes freely from person to person without direct interference. Let’s use it.

One Palestinian is dead and nine others wounded in an accident on the fence that keeps the people of Gaza from entering Israel. One side thought the fence was safe. The other side thought the fence was under attack. 6,000 miles away, I know about the ceasefire. I do not know what conditions were like on the ground. I hope everyone is committed to peace.

Palestinians began firing homemade rockets and mortars into Israel in 2001, after their land was surrounded by two fences, one kilometer apart, a no man’s land wherein any unidentified person might be shot. In 2005 Israel withdrew all troops from the Gaza strip.

In January 2011, the Gaza Youth Manifesto for Change appeared, declaring:

We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

This is truth. We can now share it. The internet facilitates free speech by democratizing the means of production. What does this mean?

How to fix the economy in one easy step

Cargo ship in China

Cargo ship in China

The first and most important step toward real and lasting economic growth in America is undoing the damage done over the last 30 years by outsourcing. Every manufacturing job that goes overseas costs 15 jobs outside the factory, the support system for those working families: the supply chain, information technology, shipping, packaging, telecommunications, water, electricity, other utilities, research and development, sales and marketing, janitorial, maintenance, restaurants, shopping, police, firemen, schoolteachers, and so on.

Not only does outsourcing hurt American workers and their families, it hurts the factory workers overseas who are not protected by labor laws, and who often work over sixty hours per week for starvation wages. America outlawed slavery 150 years ago and yet our largest and most profitable companies now accumulate wealth using that very same business model outside our borders. Each year America imports over 2 million shipping containers filled with goods made by foreign workers who are compensated in paltry quantities of rice. This is a dark stain on our moral fabric, and we are complicit in spreading it further every time we buy imported consumer goods from Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Sears, K-Mart, and other major retailers. We cannot be free people if our lives are sustained by the subjugation of other human beings.

Another downside is the cost of shipping. A single container ship burns $100,000 per day (83,000 gallons) of bunker fuel, a petroleum product basically one grade in quality above asphault, which is then exhausted under the ship to hide the damage it does to our environment. 16 of these ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world, and there are 90,000 cargo ships moving cheap plastic junk to our shores right now. That’s almost 300 million barrels of oil being burned, and 5,600 times more pollution than all the cars in the world being created, every single day, so that a few CEOs can use slave labor to put Americans out of work. By contrast, global daily oil consumption on terra firma is around 90 million barrels per day.

My humble recommendation to the newly elected government is this. We are by far the most ravenous consumers of everything in the world, and unscrupulous corporations are happy to destroy the earth to maximize their profits on our consumption habits. Let’s put a carbon tarriff on all containers that come into our country by land or sea. If the goods in the container came from China or anywhere else, they spewed death and destruction on the way, and devoured our increasingly expensive supply of fossil fuel to do it, and they caused incalculable human suffering both at home and abroad. Let’s put those costs in terms that corporations understand, US dollars. As Warren Buffett would say, we need to get the “incentives in the right place.” When it is no longer profitable to export jobs by creating huge carbon footprints, this madness will take care of itself.

Vertiginous Cityscape Panorama 09.11.2001

The thin plastic mattress swirls into existence, pale in the box grated daylight of the window grill. Blue fluorescent laptop whirring, doors slamming, edgy voices in the hall shouting, muttering, I wake. 172 Instant Message windows are flashing on the screen. Bubbles1984: U OK? Irishfan919: Just found out. Are you there? I open the door in time to see a girl running full tilt in the direction of the common room.

“One of the twin towers just fell…” Continue reading

A speech Obama should give

As President, I’d like to set the record straight about myself and my administration. We are intelligent people engaged in a search for solutions to the modern problems that face us. I call them the five E’s: Economy, Education, Environment, Equality, and Energy. These are the building blocks of our society. We need each of these functioning properly in order for civilization to move forward.

Economy: The economy is recovering from a disastrous experiment in deregulation, which allowed a large volume of worthless stock to pollute many of our most trustworthy financial institutions. I have addressed this problem in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, with the goals of increasing transparency, increasing accountability, and ending bailouts. If you haven’t read Rolling Stone’s article about how Wall Street strangled it in the womb, you should. It’s an eye opener. Continue reading

Barackalypse 2012 or why you should vote even though the world is about to end (hypothetically)

Barack Obama: Jedi Master courtesy of vIralpolitics.com

America is a big place. Geographically, it’s huge, fifth largest on the globe, fourth if you don’t count Antarctica, and who counts Antarctica? Economically, it’s like 25% of the whole world, the same size as all of Europe put together, and three times bigger than China. Yet, for all this wealth and wide open space, we are a disagreeable lot. Most of the people disagree with each other on pretty much everything. The founding fathers, for instance, disagreed about whether we should be independent, how we should assert our independence, and how we should govern ourselves once we did. Pretty much the only thing they agreed on was that Great Britain’s tax code sucked, and the fact that they could not vote to change it sucked even more. Continue reading

Give me Liberty Park or give me death

AP photo from Eldorado News-Times, Eldorado AR

In 1913, Colorado coal miners went on strike to demand enforcement of the 8 hour workday law, to secure payment for “dead work” such as laying railroad track and timbering, for which JD Rockefeller Sr and the other coal barons paid nothing, and to gain the right to live outside company towns, buy goods from non-company stores, and choose non-company doctors. Continue reading

What can your country do for you?

A President Who Reads

A President Who Reads

In a recent White House email, with “You Tell Me” in the subject line, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Nancy-Ann De Parle sent out an open request for ideas on ways the President can put Americans back to work without waiting for Congressional approval. Since Congress has refused to offer the President anything but hate-speech since the Koch Party took over, opening a dialogue with the American people directly seems like a reasonable strategy. Here’s what I suggested: Continue reading

Want the planet to survive? Time to go rogue…

The solution will not be televised…

With 36.1% of the civilian labor force unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy in neutral since 2007, and the national debt threatening to swallow us all in a spiraling vortex of compound interest, do we really need to talk about global warming right now? That depends on whether we want life to exist on this planet’s surface in 100 years. Continue reading

Alphabet City

Life on the road with punk funk trio Doco as told by bassist Josh Booth

New York is being overrun by time travelers. I’m pretty sure the band that played after us was an actual New Wave band on tour from the 1980s. There is a ban on smoking in public parks, but the time travelers are the only people who can afford cigarettes anyway.

We took the Williamsburg Bridge over to Brooklyn with Charlie, a New Zealand wine maker from the future, to Erin’s party in a new building that’s in default and under construction. We met the new neighbor who moved out the next day. Continue reading

Cyber warriors race to Mars

The Hundred Year StarshipNASA and its spooky Sith-lord counterpart, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, are teaming up to achieve the impossible: interplanetary colonialism. DARPA, known for its role in developing such technologies as the internet and GPS, has also funded cyborg beetles implanted with electrodes that control their flight by radio, battery powered human exoskeletons, and ravenous robots called EATRs which find and consume biomass (read humans) for fuel.

The stated purpose of DARPA is to maintain military supremacy through technological superiority. During the dark nights after Sputnik first blinked overhead, Americans gathered in their bomb shelters and grumbled that we should do something before the other guys do it to us. In our innocence, we had no idea what that something might be, so we put together a crack team of scientific geniuses to discover it. Continue reading