Young Tibetans like young Turks, and youth all over the world want change. The middle aged find ways to be accommodated unless they are like me, people who never really fit into the main stream, or at least in our minds we don’t fit in.
But on to the Tibetans, it takes a lot of courage to stand up the Chinese state. But it seems that a lot of people are doing it these days. This leads us to believe that the Chinese government is not as omnipotent as it would like us to think. More likely than not, the corruption of officials had as much to do with the current revolt as any real hatred of the Chinese. One would hope that the average Chinese person is, like the average American, not an imperialist dog, oppressing the masses. But then the average china man or American man who ends up serving his country in the military, can and should be held accountable if he participates in following orders that are morally indefensible.
The US has its Iraq, China its Tibet. Russia its Chechnya, Serbia its Kosovo, Spain its Basque region, these other countries have some ability to say the areas of rebellion are indigenous to their territory, but China occupied Tibet in 1950. The US occupied Iraq in 2003.
So we have the question of legitimacy. Who has legitimacy? The monks represent a tradition that has been in Tibet for at least 1000 years. But one could also say that the Chinese liberated the Tibetan people from the oppressive system of beliefs that had kept the people in a primitive pre-industrial state for too long. The Chinese government sees the resistance of the monks as interference by a group of troublemakers that are probably funded by the CIA. It could be true. Certainly the CIA would like to have agents there, but to blame the protests on the CIA is not legitimate without some proof. It is also not correct to write off the complaints of the people if the Chinese are unwelcome guests in a land that would rather not have their presence. But unlike Iraq where the US presence is strictly military and administrative, the Chinese have immigrated to Tibet in large numbers and the population is half Chinese at this point. The situation is more nearly like the US when it occupied Native American lands in the 17-20th centuries. That could be one reason why the Dali Lama has such rapport with Native American spiritual leaders, they both represent people who have or are being dispossessed of their lands.
On another level Buddhism as we know it in the west would never have been enriched by the Tibetan tradition if not for the Chinese invasion. Trumpa Rinpoche would not have developed the Naropa Institute and Boulder, Colorado would have remained a sleepy college town instead of the hip center of culture it has become, just to mention one example. By becoming exiled the Dali Lama and Tibetan culture has become a part of our world heritage, just as the Native American in figures such as Geronimo and Sitting Bull did once they were removed from their native habitat.
There has emerged in the world a human Zoo culture, similar to one postulated by Aldolus Huxley in “Brave New World”. As the world becomes dominated by capital and one world culture, this zooification of the native peoples of the world will continue until there is nothing but the world and its captive peoples that exist solely for the entertainment of the masses and for scientific research. The only way out of that is for some massive restructuring of the world, and that would mean the end of Leviathan.
That doesn’t resolve the dilemma of the Tibetans. They have found their nation inundated by Chinese and their culture. The youth inspired by unknown reasons at this point have decided to rebel and the publicity that the upcoming Olympics is giving to China has added to the pressure on the Chinese government. They can’t react too harshly or the world might boycott the events. On the other hand they can’t let the monks get their way, that may inspire other movements such as the Turkish independence movement in Sinking (here are those young Turks I was speaking of). Also there is an incipient labor movement and civil rights movement for more democratic rule in mainland China itself.
The Tibetans have picked as good a time as any, but whether this will help their cause is another question. The Chinese have too much at stake, and they have too many people there now, 50 years of colonization. It is not like Palestine where there is a Bantustan system of apartheid set up. The Chinese have tried to integrate the Tibetans into Chinese culture while respecting some native institutions. If the Indians were supporting the Tibetans with a potential military incursion, then there might be hope for the rebels. But short of that what they can expect is a greater internal self control of their region in conjunction with the Chinese there perhaps an autonomous region, but that is not a solution the Chinese are likely to desire. The best would be something like what exists in Hong Kong. But for that to happen there has to be a strong pressure from the west, a threat of economic and political boycott of the Olympics for there to be immediate movement. There may be something of that nature afoot now.
Personally I would recommend that people contact their governments and demand that they put pressure on the Chinese government to treat the Tibetan people with respect and allow them to have a greater degree of autonomy and local control of affairs in Tibet. Direct contacts should be made with Tibetan people where possible to show solidarity and to gain a personal understanding of what the reality is on the ground. I would encourage visits for those who are so inclined.
More social, economic and political freedom would be nice and a clean up of corruption among officials, a greater for respect of indigenous people and their beliefs and a greater emphasis on the economic well welfare of the masses to undercut the material basis for the revolt if the protests can be called that. What is important is that humans are treated as such, and not as statistics.
At the same time I would say that it would be counter productive for the CIA to aggravate the situation by stirring up a revolt that would only lead to a bloodbath, especially as there is no outside power such as India willing to come to the aid of the Tibetan people. If China were in a position of near collapse like the old Soviet Union then I would say, go for the revolt. But China is an up and coming power and it is not an empire on the edge. Tianamen Square failed. But there is no reason why China should remain a repressive police state, especially if it is not threatened from without.
What the Chinese need to realize is that Tibet is a part of the world cultural heritage and like the Panda, they should protect the last of the ancient Tibetan culture for the sake of posterity, they do not want to be categorized like the Taliban when they destroyed the Buddhist monuments. And there is a strong Buddhist community throughout Asia and they do not want to alienate so many other peoples by extreme represiveness. They need to learn to lighten up but that can only happen as the country becomes stronger not weaker.
Archive for March, 2008
Young Tibetans like young Turks, and youth all over the world want change. The middle aged find ways to be accommodated unless they are like me, people who never really fit into the main stream, or at least in our minds we don’t fit in.
The man who would be king, in Afghanistan they went, western adventurers to find gold and a kingdom of their own. They wanted to be the rulers of the happy froggy natives but the natives didn’t want to be ruled. The great white hope turned out to be just another working guy after all. There are those who want to be great, kings of the hill. And most find their way to their own promised land. But what of those who never do? There are the mentally challenged and the emotionally disabled. They have no idea and are fine, they will never be more than what they are.
But there are those who could have been better but were not able due to prejudice in the culture, that happened to the poor, minorities and women.
In recent decades there has been movement in the mainstream of western and eastern society to allow more movement for talented people into the sphere of the deciders and the abiders. But that is not a total meritocracy yet because there has been an emphasis on the academic degree on the one hand and the inference that capitalism must be the path to the temple or the vehicle to the heights or the measure of the man. There are those who resist in the main due to youthful enthusiasm, and there are those who resist due to an inability to compete. But there are those who act out of principal. They are the few. Some are anarchists some are pacifists, they have different titles and functions at different times in history, Some like myself refuse to bow to the forces of bureaucratic control. Even though I accept voluntary rejection of preposterous affluence, and I do not accept the need for academic accolades, and I have developed a phobia for meetings, but I do acknowledge talent, humility, cooperation, and a willingness to trust on faith the good nature and good intentions of most of humanity.
I would even dare to say that among the lowest of the low, there is good will. It is only among the totally deranged where I have lived with a schizophrenic and lived and among the modern day lepers, and lived, and the drug addicts and aids victims, and all the so called pariahs of the species and lived, I know murderers who are honorable people. It is because goodness and mercy can be found everywhere and anywhere. Kindness and honor are human traits and there is no place where it is not. It is only among the ruthlessly powerful that evil truly resides.
I have experienced crimes of passion. I have been among those who could barely control themselves, those who are called the depraved, but they are the deprived. It is only among the rich and the envious that you find evil. Snitches among the poor, those who have become desperate due to abuse or deranged due to the unhinging of minds in a culture that places too much value on the rugged individual. That person who fails to live up to the ideal of self reliance and sees themselves as a failure are the ones most at risk of insane violence, or children who have been left alone without a sense of community, they are the ones at risk to become violent in a broken world of survivalism. They live in a world without love and community. Or the love is the love of the gang, the love of the Italian medieval city state is the same as the love of the modern gang, where ones loyalty is to ones band and that band may be a blood tie, or a geographic one and in the name of that tie a feud is fought and in a world were the weapons are deadly the feuds are deadly and what has become a battle of honor is one where blood is shed.
It is a culture that has existed in one way or another since men banded together to steal women or horses or cars, or to control the drug trade or sex business or to count coup. It devolves to bloodshed when there is a demarcation made between us and them and a sense of deprivation exists. When there is no vision, no sense that honor rises above blood, then it can descend to the thrusting of fists or blades or the shots in the night, Adrenalin is pumping, there is a surge of energy, excitement is felt, and then a deed must be performed, a rite of passage, a test of ones strength, of ones courage and then it is done, In my day it was the brick through the window of the political target. To a gangbanger it is the rival gang, to the ancient roman chariot fan clubs it was the blues or the yellows. In Europe today it is the soccer hooligans. In every culture there is that rite of passage for a young man into the adulthood of his particular clan. Women have blood and children, it is biology writ in their bodies, for men it is the challenge out there, and it involves the passions of youth later it can be hardened into a story that is a lifestyle, or it can be just a phase one went through. But it is real, it is serious and it must be met. Every man has such a moment, or he is not a man. The question, the problem is for it to be met and for life to go on, for most it is in sport. It used to be tribal or gang warfare. But if one does not meet it and move on, then ones life is a wasted land, and if it is met and it ruins ones life, if it means taking another life, then you have to pay, it can lead to greatness or to failure, but it is something, It is not the lukewarm ness that Jesus spoke of. A lukewarm life is nothing it is wasted.
But a life lived passionately, with a striving for greatness, that is a life. And that is all there is, the rest is the stuff between the pages of history.
I have one. I have had it all afternoon and evening. I am sure it is because I am working too much and a shit job that I have been doing for too long. It is not that I am breaking rocks for a living, No I have done that already, Dirty cold outdoor in the snow, rain and heat types of back breaking work, laying sod. planting trees, that is not what I do now. No this is more insidious. I have to sit at a desk all day and crunch numbers. Twelve hours or more straight.
The work keeps coming and I keep doing it. It is an obsession, to try and reach the end of it, but that is an impossible task. I could and should be engaged in a worthy task. I used to think that my life as an activist, was not an honest way to make a living, I used to do odd jobs, stay with friends, drive beat up cars, shop in thrift stores.
Now I have a professional job, not a high paid profession, but enough to drive a new car and live in a decent apartment, not enough to buy a home in LA’s overpriced market, but if I wanted to go in debt and spend my entire paycheck on a house payment, I might be able to afford a condo. But what is the point? Oh it would be a decent investment, and my girlfriend would like it, but then I would really be dependent on my job. Now all I have to do is get rid of my car and move to a smaller place and I can live like I used to, but if I buy a house, then I am stuck working for the rest of my life.
Of course most people made the choice to work when they were in their twenties, or if professionals maybe in their early thirties. I tried to lead an alternative life right up into my forties and now I am at an age when most people are planning retirement and I am still getting used to working.
Why am I writing this in my blog? Is this a morality tale? Not hardly, I am mostly proud of the fact that I resisted falling into the establishment system of controlling peoples lives through debt. Educated in debt for school and the uneducated in debt for the simple conveniences of life. I did without, without credit, without bank accounts, without it all, working only as much as I had to, traveling when I could and reading my books, participating in art and political projects and loving my women.
But I am a stubborn type, once I determine to try something, I keep at it, and I am determined to give this straight job thing a couple more years perhaps, just to see if it leads me to anyplace I enjoy being. There is a difference between working like a dog and not knowing any better and consciously choosing to live the life of the average man, to see if it is a life worth living. With this headache I am not so sure, I don’t know if any work is worth this. On the other hand, if I were engaged in some truly honorable work, such as finishing my book, then one could say any pain would be justifiable. I can only say that I wanted to understand what the common man experienced because I did not feel like I could say what I wanted to say with any authority. I wanted to say I had walked the walk before I felt I could talk the talk.
I just hope I still have brains enough left to complete the task.
The culture that is the modern world, as exemplified by the United States of America, what was once called the last best hope of mankind, has become because of certain practices on the part of the leadership, a tarnished state. The United States has because of its bullying, its self-righteousness, its willingness to go so lustily into the dark side, with torture and riding rough shod over the rights of citizens and nation states alike. First there was the response to 9-11 with the attack on Afghanistan, something that should have been an international police effort became a CIA/Department of Defense jockeying for control. Rumsfield got it, the invasion occurred and there it was, a collapsed Taliban and Al Quad on the run and thousands of prisoners. What did we do…
This is not because that is the all American way, it is not the beginning of the end of the USA, it is only because of the hubris of a few who wanted to act on their own. The Vice President and a few of his cohorts did an end run around the government to create special detention camps. This was done in mid November 2001 according a report on ‘Frontline’ on PBS. The president was reached and signed the documents without realizing the consequences of his actions. but once it was done, he backed up Cheney and it was done. Guantanamo became the site of the American concentration camps with almost no discussion or debate.
Then Iraq became the issue. Wolfowitz and Chalabi his Iraqi henchman were out to convince Bush that Saddam Hussein was the enemy. The CIA could not find a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, they looked back for decades and could find nothing. Cheney didn’t trust the CIA, he felt that their work was suspect. So he went to Rumsfield and pushed him to create his own version of intelligence, to dig up the connection that the CIA claimed didn’t exist. There was a tortured suspect who claimed there was a connection and the Vice President went on to claim that Mohammad Atta was in touch with the Iraqi Intelligence and had a meeting in Prague. It didn’t happen, but Rumsfeld’s people and the Vice president insisted on it. Tennant and the CIA refused to go along. The CIA lost its funding and support to go after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. They were being taken away to Iraq. The CIA knew that it was the wrong move to go after Iraq. The Secretary of the State Powell knew it was the wrong enemy.
Powell wanted to make sure that the Geneva conventions were not bypassed but Alberto Gonzales was able to convince the President that the Geneva conventions were out dated and quaint. This was the end of the battle to fight for the rights of the prisoners to be treated as prisoners. They were now to be tortured by the department of defense in Guantanamo. They were shipped there starting in January 2002.
Rumsfield was running the show with Cheney, they felt that it was their game and they didn’t have to defer to anyone in the government, not the CIA, not the national security advisor Rice, and certainly not the secretary of State Powell.
The invasion of Iraq was a forgone conclusion and the war planning and post war planning was taken over by the department of defense. Powell did not believe that the Department of Defense trust in Chalabi and the Iraqi group around him was a good choice. Wolfowitz believed in him and he led the department of defense down the yellow brick road to a fantasy version of what would happen in Iraq. Rumsfield told the president to give him responsibility for Iraq, and Bush let him.
The war was an act of hubris on the part of a few egomaniacs in the Bush administration and a president who wanted to hear that it was going to be easy and it was under control. The people who were opposed, did not have the ear of the president. Powell thought that the president did not have access to people who would give countervailing views and Rice was blamed for not giving other voices access.
Powell tried to get the president to pull back and let the United Nations go back into Iraq. The Vice President tried to push the president on to war, he said that Iraq had weapons of Mass Destruction, point blank. Blair lost his leverage when he told Bush he would back him up when Blair tried to get him to go through the UN. Cheney and Rumsfield thought it was a waste of time and even though the president did finally ask for the UN to send in inspectors to see if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, they were convinced that the war had to happen and this was just a waste of time.
Cheney let Rumsfield know that they were not happy with what was coming from Guantanamo, and Rumsfield authorized the use of extreme cohesion that went much further beyond what would have been allowed. The president was given total freedom to torture up to the point but no going beyond the point of bringing about intentional organ failure, everything else was allowed. This was where the doors were opened to water boarding, whatever, and this was the fault of the government lawyers working with Rumsfield and Cheney.
Starting in September of 2002 the Administration started planting stories in the media that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they then turned around and referenced the stories in the media as if the media had come up with it and not the administration. They used this technique to create an echo effect to make it seem as if there were weapons of mass destruction when they were not.
The stories about yellow cake Uranium in Niger was a lie, the stories about aluminum tubes for centrifuges, were lies and then the CIA released a white paper that was deliberately released to advocate the case for going to war. It was a case of pressure being brought to bear on the CIA and they bent and released the paper. The congress authorized the war in October of 2002, and that paper along with the election coming up, led to the cowardly vote on the part of congress. They bough the spin being put out by the government. When in November of 2002 the president asked if the data was all they had, Tenant said, “It is a slam dunk”. and that was where someone should have said what was a slam dunk. And there was no one saying no. There was no one saying wait the facts don’t hold up. Rice didn’t do it, Tennant didn’t do it, and neither did Powell, but Powell and Blair were counting on the UN vote to stop the war. The yellow cake lie made it into the state of the union speech of 2003. It should have been deleted, it wasn’t.
The French wanted to try to stop the invasion, on Martin Luther King day they made a speech opposed to the war and Powell felt that the French had stabbed him in the back. Rumsfield stepped in and made his famous speech about old Europe and new Europe.
Now Powell had to sell the war to the world his credibility in the administration was on the line. His speech to the UN was written by the vice presidents speech writer, Scooter Libby. it was full of misinformation.
Powell went to the CIA and asked Tennant if his National Intelligence Estimate was accurate. He told them yes. There were things about the estimate that Powell did not know that there was only one source for most of the information about the Iraqi biological and chemical warfare had come from one source named curveball who was not reliable. The Germans, who had supplied the information told the CIA that the source was an alcoholic and the data was not verifiable. The other source was the tortured prisoner at Guantanamo who later recanted and said he had made it up under the pressure of torture. Powell was not told this and he repeated this bogus information to the world at the United Nations in his speech for the war in February 2003.
In February 2003 I joined the massive protests against the war and led an attempt to occupy the CNN headquarters in Hollywood where we had hoped to broadcast the truth about Iraq to the people. We failed to even get to the building, the police tac squads were all over us with clubs cracking sculls.
This is criminal, Cheney and Rumsfield should be tried for war crimes, for the treatment of the prisoners of war, they have committed crimes misleading the American public, the congress and the United Nations. President Bush is ultimately responsible because he believed the lies. Tennant should be prosecuted for not standing up to the pressure and telling the truth to power. Rice should be prosecuted for incompetence and dereliction of duty, and Powell, well he is the hamlet figure here, he should have fallen on his sword and resigned instead of letting it go on under his watch. And those of us who protested, we didn’t fight hard enough, once the war began most of us gave up fighting under the false assumption that it is our duty to support the troops in harms way. We should never have allowed this war to happen and it should be ended immediately. 4000 AMERICAN DEATHS LATER. Millions of Iraqi deaths later. We have matched Saddam Hussein in the death of innocents in that unfortunate nation.
There are men and women who have fantasies that they are loved by someone besides their mothers and their kids when they are young. Some think that there is someone out there that will be their mate, will stand by them and be with them through thick and thin. And if these are rich, or well endowed or have movie star good looks, they may be right. Anyone else is living in a dream. At least in modern day America, where the culture has been so contaminated by materialism that all there is a hunt for something that growls and purrs and squishes and goes splat.
If you have anything else in mind you are either a hopeless romantic or are living out some 19th century modeled fantasy led by a fundamentalist Minster named Jeremiah. Or you could be living in a Moslem country where women are still kept indoors and under the Chador. But that is not modern America, here women are out for their piece of the pie, as are men, in fact most adults unless they got waylaid by some hippie communist vision of an alternative, or as I said are living in some fundamentalist fantasy, are on the make. If you happen to be able to get off that hustle and manage to find someone who you really like and respect, chances are they don’t have the same feelings for you. Oh they have those feelings, but they reserve them for the object of their own particular fantasy. So you are stuck with mutual fantasies for objects out of reach and masturbate, together or alone, or you just give up on the game.
I am not sure where I am in that whole scheme of things, I know I am in what I call love, and it is with someone that is the object of my desire, but I am almost sure that I am living in a dream world that I project once in a while out into the real world where this person happens to live. Is this love? Is it possible? Only time will tell. but most likely it is some sort of enterprise, in which there is ultimately the exchange of what is truly valued in this culture, and I am afraid it is not love. It could be, and that is my hope, but I think I am in for another rude awakening…..but I could be wrong…but as they say, if it smells like a fish, chances are it is not a horse or a paradigm rushing in.
There are times when we are here, there are times when we are not. Life is like that. We come, we are here, we do a few things, we go, and then we come back. Why, and when and where are interesting questions. They really are more interesting than any of the options. When you think about it, what else is important?
The world when it has been experienced, is one of several that fit the carbon based model of comfort. There are others. When you are sitting in your carbon based life form, you feel comfortable when you are not in pain. Some like to explore the possibilities of their bodies abilities, others like to explore what they can do in this world mentally. I am mostly interested in the entrance and exits, how to get in and out, how to remember, retain, and utilize that knowledge to better participate consciously in my own life plan.
As far as I can tell most of us suffer from extreme amnesia. That is not a problem if you have a lot to do here that will occupy your time and energy, But if you are someone who has done this and that and the other thing enough to no longer be impressed with money, power and sex, then what you are looking for is really a safe way to another reality. Or perhaps it is a failure to be attracted enough to the things of this world to be a success, but mostly it is a lack of interest on my part. Oh I have my moments, for instance I am obsessive about work. Once I have a responsibility, I stick to it like a hunt dog on a scent. I have a well ingrained sense of duty. It is not that I believe in what I am doing, It is just that I have a sense of duty that is ingrained. It is a diabolical sense because instead of doing what is smart for getting ahead, I do what my sense of duty tells me to do.
But being loyal, being dedicated, leads only to more of the same. There was a spiritual leader who said such dedication was worthy of dogs, but certainly not humans. Which leads me to the question, why do I work so much? Habit and fear of change most likely, but here I am, a so called free spirit that is able to see through the surface inanity of life to the depths of the soul and what do I do? I fritter away my time on nothing but work, and food and my girlfriend and my books.
Meanwhile my body is falling apart. I am supposed to write at least one good book before I leave here, but I fritter away my time on the mundane, it is as if I am somehow denying myself the opportunity. I have had many, and now that it is getting close to the wire, i.e., I may really be too old soon, and they this body may be decrepit and if that happens, then what, nothing. What a drag that would be but for whom?
And So here I am, out to convince myself and you and anyone who is interested that I am serious about moving on, getting to the next lever, or whatever, bollocks as the brits would say, I probably need to get good and fucked up, all I do is get a little messed up all the time and what good is that?
What we need to get comfortable in another life form, like maybe in a silicon based life, but how boring is that? What about a Zircon based life? Or Molybendium one? Now that could be interesting. perhaps if we were all heavy metals, or giant gas bags? That would work for me, I have so much gas I feel like one half the time anyway.
Ah but literature this ain’t, this is just me, a guy, a guy with nothing but a life to live and some girls to sex with and kids to have and a bunch of running around to do and then, god knows, maybe a book to write, before I go on to another life, some velvet morning…like the song goes, or like that movie about the guy who wrote a book and then kills himself, and his girlfriend changes the name of the author to herself and there it is she is an author and her ex-boyfriend is in the woods somewhere all chopped up and dead.
Moth eaten frozen wasteland remnants of reasonableness,
There is a story of a man lost in the western wilderness who had to eat the flesh of his dead companion to survive.
He survived when the rest died and were killed. They were eaten by a cannibal.
A cannibal who had developed a taste for raw human flesh.
He liked the butchery of the flesh and the slicing and dicing of the flesh until there was only bones.
There was one man who refused
He would not join the cannibal when he was offered a life
but facing death he ate and eating he thrived.
Thrive they would, a small band of cannibal killers in the western wilderness of the age when the gold seekers trekked to California. Killing and eating the one who refused and the one who led the band caught one another in a bear trap.
The one wanted to eat, the other to die, there was the option to live by eating
your victim, and the evil man would eat,
the good man would refuse, but that is hard,
that is asking a man to not eat when he has partaken of flesh
but when the food leads to well being, to absolute well being, then it is dangerous
You then live to eat, and not eat to live.
But did not Christ ask his disciples to partake of his flesh?
To do so would be to end life in a vicious routine of eating or
being eaten and that would ultimately become
A bloody nuisance.
A good Indian would get out of there before the contamination made her loco
A good Indian would smell all that blood and see those bodies arms wrapped in a killers embrace
And she would leave.
And she did.
Is not the same as the bare necessities, or running naked in the woods. In fact the only place I can think of that I would enjoy being naked other than in the shower or in bed, would maybe be in the pool at Hugh Hefner’s Mansion. No, I am talking about getting down to earth, away from pie in the sky, away from Peter Pan life in places like San Francisco where it is possible to imagine that everyone in America is young, hip and liberal.
I left San Francisco and moved to LA to experience real America, the way regular salt of the earth, Kmart blue light special Americans see the world. I know that it is easier and certainly more comfortable to live in places where most of the people are agreeable, Boulder, Manhattan, San Francisco, are the places that I have lived and played in that were a lot like living at the playboy Mansion would be for a sex addict. But they are too much to my liking, and I felt like I was not smelling the coffee as it were living in those places. Granted I moved to Santa Monica, which is not a whole heck of a lot more like middle America, but I had to break myself in gradually. I couldn’t just leave an environment that is built around pleasing the active and adventurous mind, and go straight into the barracks. I mean I wanted to taste what the rest of the world was like, not join the Marines.
Gradually I weaned myself of the culture I had grown accustomed to, the $.50 rides on the Blue Bus, the beach 4 blocks from my front door, The health food store, used book store, cafe and yoga shop all within a block of my house. I gave it all up and went down to the depths of deprivation and moved out to the suburbs, or as close to the suburbs as I could stand and moved to Long Beach. Hardships abound, The nearest bookstores sells used Romances not Literature, the corner store is a Ralphs not a health food store, there is no place within walking distance to walk too. The things within driving distance are things you could find in any middle American mall, Trader Joes, Borders, Target, the usual clones of culture that have proliferated all across suburbia in an imitation of culture. Something that only the rich and students seem to be able to afford anymore.
But I had to know, I had to have my school of hard knocks and then my taste of middle America. Oh I found a decent and fun girlfriend to ease the pain and isolation with. If I was here on my own, I think I would have headed back to civilization a long time ago But with my girlfriend, her son, and Amazon at my fingertips for any book I might desire, downtown LA and the west side only a 30 minute drive away, I believe I can tough it out and bravely call myself a true frontiersman, a Daniel Boone of the 21st Century, going where bears and rednecks have only gone before.
Surprisingly it is not all that bad, oh I miss not having anyplace to go, not having friends to socialize with and most of all intelligent conversations with strangers, but then that is what the internet was invented for, all those lost souls in middle suburbia, with only 4 walls, a forbidding green landscape and the SUV to call ones own. It is tough and I am sure many a sensitive soul has been overcome, perhaps that is the source of all those suicides by cop these days. but I feel that I have been called to report back from the wilds of suburbia, and that is one of my missions in writing this blog, to report back on terra incognita, to those living in the lands of significance and identity, and that is all I have to say for now, hence, the popularity of Obama and Clinton, two pseudo human beings if there ever were one, or two or half of one. I do believe that Hillary has a longing to be whole and that is why she is reaching out to Barak, because between them I do believe they would make one heck of a real person. And between them they could almost get by in a real place without becoming the butt of too many jokes about not really knowing were it is at do you Mr. or Ms Jones…
A comment by my freind Mr Liberal Sundance Channel Watcher who demanded equal time.
Come out at last, he has on the issue of where the right to bear arms resides. The President has finally shown his true colors and they are pink!. We know that every god fearing self made American male believes in his god given right to maintain his castle as well armed as he possibly can. Assault weapons, automatic Machine guns, 122mm Mortars, you name it, anything this side of a nuke should be a mans right to choose.
When you start talking militia and states rights to regulate well you are on the commie side of the issue and I don’t care how you want to split hairs, when you are talking about the 2nd Amendment, you might as well be talking about a mans dog for goodness sakes, and you surely would not want to take a mans hunting companion away from him would you?
Well enough said, the president came out against that brave justice of the peace who wanted to throw that District of Columbia’s gun control legislation back across the Mason Dixon line where it belongs, somewhere up near “New York City”. Well fortunately the vice president still has some co hones left and is supporting that judge, but now we know where the president stands firmly on the commie side of the line, where we have had a sneaking suspicion he has been all along, what with his pro wetback agenda and such. Lets hope that we don’t let this one slide guys and remember that good old boy who said “we won’t get fooled again”. He was from the rebel side of Great Britain if I am not mistaken. Stand up for your rights, full auto and no safety or death!
A comment by my occasional guest host from the right Mr. Nean Der Thal. He has since returned to his well armed cave and is awaiting the rapture with fully automatic loads on his M-16.
I have been listening to some of the comments carried on the Pacifica radio affiliate here in the Los Angeles region, KPFK 90.7 on your FM dial, related to the Winter Soldier events in Washington, DC over the weekend. It is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. An invasion that I actively opposed, and now there is a group of Iraq war Veterans who are opposed to the war and have made statements publicly to that effect.
The war has not torn the country up like the Vietnam war did, mostly because we no longer have a draft. Instead our all volunteer army is counting on the economic dislocation caused by inner city and rural poverty to supply the recruits. There are reasons why the government has not developed effective programs to reduce poverty in this country and the needs of the military for fresh recruits is one of the primary ones. I have met many young people from working class backgrounds who see the military as their only way out of a life of dead end mcjobs. At first I thought it was strange, then I realized that it was the primary reason why we don’t have a draft. Poor Americans are the cannon fodder that the corporate world uses to protect its interests abroad.
The Bush administration wanted to secure cheap oil in the middle east and use American military might to keep the Saudis and other oil producing nations in line. The dollar no longer counts for much in the world, except allowing American weapons systems to be sold around the world at bargain rates as other currencies go up and ours goes down.
On another note the Chinese are preparing to open their Olympic Ceremonies, to the almost audible sound of Tibetan Monks being crushed beneath the heel of Chinese occupation. The monks have bravely come out to oppose Chinese occupation just as the Olympics are about to begin to remind the consciousnesses of the western world that Chinese wealth comes at the cost of immense repression of civil liberty in China. We get our cheap consumer goods and Wal-Mart is so successful and eliminating local American competition by utilizing the cheap labor of China, a country that has traded in the Iron Rice Bowl for the glories of capitalism in a fake socialist framework.
Anything we do to encourage the Chinese to treat their workers better, to give them benefits, to raise the cost of goods from China will be better for workers the world over. Competing with $.50 an hour Chinese labor, and watching the Chinese government suppress human rights is the shame of the developed world, just as the occupation of Iraq is, just as the inhumane treatment of people in Darfur is, just as the poverty of people forced to eat dirt in Haiti is, just as the torture of humans in Guantanamo is.
Oppression and suppression of basic human rights is wrong and should be opposed in any place it is practiced, under any system of economics or government. There is no excuse for the few to lead lives of luxury while the many suffer and lead lives of poverty.
Those monks in Tibet know it, and those former GIs in Washington, DC know it, and we should know better and support any efforts at realizing human dignity where ever it occurs in the world.
Personally I support community radio like KPFK where the truth can be heard, I support groups like Oxfam that help people find local means to alleviate poverty, and groups like Amnesty International that shed light on abuse and torture around the world. I have participated in anti war demonstrations, support the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party here in California and have been at times active in developing political theory that helps create a mind set that allows human dignity and freedom to take precedence over oppression and greed. I attempt to use mass transit when practical and limit the amount of waste I generate. I do contact my congresspersons when I feel it will make a difference and try to stay up on world affairs. That is the least any of us can do. I have not dedicated my live to activism, but I have committed at least 10 percent of my live, perhaps more and that is something that we all should be able to do and if we act locally and intelligently then we can make a difference in creating a better world.
There are those who think that all our efforts will only muck things up, and there is a point to me made there, after all look at what the Neo-cons wanted to do in Iraq, they wanted to create a shining example of democracy, a role model for the rest of the middle east to look upon and say yes, that is a good thing. But at what cost? Is it right to go into a nation under false pretenses, and to claim that we have good intentions even if we use barbaric methods? We will bring democracy to the people in Iraq if we have to kill every last one of them! That was the logic we used in Vietnam, we napalmed thousands of acres and made almost half of the countryside unlivable in the name of making the country safe for democracy. Just as this so called war on terror is being fought with water boarding. Terror to fight terror? What makes it ok for one side to use terror and not the other? When the means justifies the ends, then the ends have no meaning.