Friday, December 31, 2010

James Tillich For President

World English Dictionary FASCISM (ˈfæʃɪzəm) — n

1. any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism, such as German National Socialism; any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism
2. any ideology, movement, programme, tendency, etc, that may be characterized as right-wing, chauvinist, authoritarian, etc
3. prejudice in relation to the subject specified: body fascism
[C20: from Italian fascismo , from fascio political group, from Latin fascis bundle; see fasces ]

Fascism finds its useful idiots in every period of time and excels at getting the most ignorant of the population (Right Wingnut Christians) to support the puppet it holds up for them to salute.(Fox News, George Bush, Sarah Palin)

 In order to create the most perfect idiot, it has to first find someone who is poorly educated but not smart enough to realize it. (Texans, most of the Bible Belt)
The second step is to manipulate any inadequacies so they, and their favored corporate entities, benefit from the manipulation. (Mussolini and his desire to be accepted by the aristocracy who were disgusted by him, and the Teabaggers who publicly beg their corporate masters to beat them some more).

The third is to convince the  masses that they, the self-appointed elite who detest those who must work for a living, are their only friends in the corporate monolith called America. (Republicans, Astro-Turf Teabaggers, Glenn Beck) as they slowly strip away any protections our forefathers died to give us.

When you add all this together, one candidate squirms her way from the ooze of ignorance to claim her throne. In Sarah Palin, the Fascists have their perfect tool, their sublime puppet, their easily manipulated idiot child. I have no doubt she will be the Teahadist Queen of the Ball come nomination time as she fits all the requirements on their list. She's dumber than a bag of clubbed halibut. She's so greedy that she'll bite at shiny money the way a bear bites at salmon climbing a raging waterfall to spawn. And she's so easily manipulated, all you have to do is scream "Jesus" and she'll scream back "how much?"

In order to prevent the horrible atrocity of Bush III, the horrible sequel, those of us with still functioning brains that haven't been pulverized by fear into a quivering mass of ignorance via Fox News, must put up a viable candidate to run against her. It can't be someone as mundane as a Democrat because they are spineless Corporate tools-lite who will roll over for the promise of a group hug.

And it can't be Republicans because they've become too obvious in their servitude to their rich masters and are just embarrassing to anyone with a spine.

I propose a candidate who is new on the scene, who is beholden to no one, who has no masters, no corporate sponsorship, no PAC dollars to turn into political favors. He is James Tillich. And best of all, he is the perfect anti-Palin candidate without crossing into the minefields of Liberal, Democrat, Progressive, or bitter Nader-Squad of Punitive Asshattery.

Like Sarah Palin he exists as a viable Presidential candidate only in the minds of those who get up in the middle of the night to swat at things crawling on the walls. Some refer to these hallucinations as Jesus, others refer to them as silly mushrooms. But the mainstream media refers to the voices in their heads as President Palin.

And that's what makes James Tillich such a perfect candidate to run against Sarah Palin. Like her, he does not exist. Like her, he was and continues to be manufactured and created by those who have an ulterior motive in seeing her succeed. And like Sarah Palin, he is empty and lacking in substance enough that he can be manipulated, directed, re-created and elected by anyone who has an agenda they feel strongly enough about to devote time to campaigning for him as they champion him as a true man of the people.

Let today, the last day of 2010, be day one of the campaign to elect James Tillich to public office. It doesn't matter if it is mayor, city councilman, dogcatcher, or President. James Tillich--the man who doesn't exist, never existed, and never will exist is the perfect candidate to represent an America headed by idiot puppets controlled by corporate masters. Rather than the blatherings of Sarah Palin, let America regain some minimal status in the world again by having as President a man who stands for nothing, says nothing, and obeys no one and no thing. It beats being clubbed to death on public TV for the sake of entertainment.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stupidity: America's Gross National Product

Stupid was once found only in what used to be called "pockets of ignorance." It was a a dark area that was seen as an aberration, a wart on the rising star that was America. Decent people occasionally went to these pockets and did charity work such as teaching the uneducated how to read, how to learn basic skills that would hopefully move them from ignorance to the next level which was preparing them to learn, to become educated, to become a contributing member of society. No one really thought of it as a permanent condition or as an affliction that couldn't be healed. People for the most part, believed it was something that a free and equal education could universally heal. It was also seen as character building for those who went and tried to help the less fortunate.

And for a long time it worked well. America was the land of promise where the promise was if you worked hard, educated yourself, and were a decent human being, than you would be rewarded for it. The reward was always tied in to self-determination, that the value of your worth would increase with how hard you were willing to work, how focused you were willing to remain to acheive your goals, how well you used your intelligence.

It was also a time when intelligence was actually valued, when an education was something important, when civil discourse meant those with opposing points of view could sit down at the same table and learn something from each other.

But somewhere along the way, the greedy power pigs realized that people who were free to think for themselves were also free to question the free ride the wealthy were hitching on the backs of the working class. The concept of a free education was too much of a threat to their entrenched way of life so universities grew more expensive. Only the wealthy could afford the "good" schools and eventually even they moved from a classic education that encouraged free thought and discourse,  to one where business models began to substitute for philosophical models.

This allowed the children of the wealthy to obtain a prestigious piece of paper without having to study very hard to obtain it. It allowed over-indulged idiot children like George Bush to make the necessary business connections without ever having to read a book, because the rich and powerful needed their useful tools to continue stealing and manipulating the wealth of the country for their own purposes, and the Dubyas of the world were plentiful among the children of the rich.

But in order to carry out their business as usual, they had to make sure only the idiots were educated. In order to do that, education had to first become too expensive for the average person. It was the first method of legal segregation that still exists today, and with the cutting of funds for grants and scholarships, the divide between the educated and the uneducated grew larger.

However, there were still those who managed to infiltrate their schools and obtain one of those pieces of paper through hard work and determination. But because they were there for an education and were denied the business connections, many of these students actually studied and learned something. As a result they went on to become thorns in the side of the rich.

A classic education teaches you to think outside of yourself. It shows you history as something that must be learned or it will be repeated with the same bad results. It gives you a depth of knowledge that is not threatened by someone who is different, who thinks differently, who comes from a different culture.

When you open up the world for someone, you open up their hearts and minds, and that's where the problem was for the power elite. Instead of business puppets, such purely educated people became activists for the poor, the unfortunate, the victimized. And to the horror of the wealthy, they also began to show others how to get educated, how to earn a scholarship, how to apply for grants, how to set up their own businesses with their own connections.

That's when the second part of the plan went into effect. The educated person began to be mocked, was demonized as an elitist, was portrayed as out of touch with the "ordinary man." Often those who did the mocking did so from their multi-million dollar offices as they drank and ate the best and most expensive of food and drink. They ordered their paid stooges to promote the idea of stupidity as something democratic while intelligence was mocked as elitist and foreign.

This did not happen overnight. It took creating a base who would buy the myth. In order to succeed at the dumbing down of America, the wealthy and the powerful had to do something besides make education expensive and intelligence something to be mocked. They had to make sure people didn't have time to question what they were told.

People began to work more for less money. Where a job once guaranteed a comfortable life for the wage earner and his or her family, now it meant barely surviving and coming home too exhausted for anything but collapsing in front to the television, where they were fed the myth of educated elitism straight from the mouths of  tools of the wealthy elitists.

It took a few years but eventually there was a large working class of people who were either poorly educated or who only attended a year or two of college, if they attended at all. Guidance Counselors in High School were there to steer the less "intelligent" to trade schools where they would learn a skill without having to think too much. The dumbing down of America  began to succeed quite well.

But no subjegation of a people is complete without the very useful tool of religion. But this wasn't the religion of a few decades ago where people went to church and listened to sermons drawn from the respective holy books. This was religion that was a political arm of the wealthy elite. It was religion that played upon fears, insecurities, bigotry, and anger over having to live like an underpaid mule in order to survive. It was a religion that created deep divisions among people in order to use them some more, because there is no one more easily controlled than someone who hates. All the wealthy had to do was wave the hate carrot under the noses of the church going religidiots and they did their complete and utter bidding, no matter how immoral or unethical it was. Hate has no conscience and that's what made it such a useful thing for the power elite.

Now that the rich and powerful had a nice pool of dumbed down, exhausted, and spiritually terrified sheep, they created the appropriate anti-heroes to enslave them even further.  Sarah Palin is the biggest chain around the neck of the dumbed down mules that ever existed. Everyone who wasn't smart enough for college or too lazy to educate themselves until they were, had their role model. She was the typical bad student, the quitter who was too lazy to focus on anything for too long, whether it was staying at one school long enough to actually get an education or finishing up her term as Governor of Alaska.

And she was the perfect tool of the rich because they recognized her greed and lack of ethics and morality as blood kin to their own empty souls. They knew all she cared about was the money and as long as she got rich she would spread as much hate and division as they wanted. Every time she said or did something completely stupid and idiotic, some paid talking head on TV or radio would portray it as a positive, as something that linked her to the "average" citizen.

And the dumb, fearful masses ate it up. No longer did they feel inadequate over their lack of education. It was now a positive to be stupid. No longer did they feel threatened by anyone who looked or believed differently. Bigotry and hate was back in style. And no longer did they realize how completely they were being used by the rich and powerful.

In a few decades Historians will look back on this time and shake their heads at people who took to the streets to demand insurance companies be allowed to abuse them and cheat them, who rose up as one voice to demand their air and water become filthy and unhealthy from lack of regulations, that their food risk poisoning them because corporations didn't believe they were worth spending money on for safety regulations to make sure it didn't.

They will look back in disgust at how easily they let the power elite gut Social Security and let the old and infirm die in the streets, how quickly America became a country filled with orphans begging on street corners, debtors prisons filled to capacity, and arms merchants who periodically lobbied for a new war to clear the streets of "rabble."

They will feel the nausea creeping into them as they study a culture that cared nothing for the less fortunate and worshipped the very masters who ended up destroying them. They will feel the same disgust any civilized person feels when they read about the Inquisition, about Hitler's death camps, about the collapse of the Roman Empire. They will feel this about the country that was once America and now was just another dead empire killed from the rot within.

And every time the Sarah Palins of the world, the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the Karl Roves open their mouths, they kick another clump of dirt over the greatness of a country that will continue to decline until it becomes just another example of what happens when the uneducated savages steal the keys and drive everyone into the ditch of ignorance and stupidty.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

What Wikileaks revealed about America

What the Wikileaks revealed about America and Americans:

1. The perception that most Americans are poorly educated morons was strengthened with the noise on hate radio and other propaganda media calling for treason charges against Assange. Let me explain this so even the dumbest teabagger can understand it. Only Americans can be tried for treason. The last time I checked, Assange was not an American, natural or otherwise. No matter what precedents were set by the CIA when they kidnapped and tortured citizens of other countries in secret prisons, Treason remains a crime committed by Americans against America.

2. will support the free speech rights of child-sex predators by continuing to sell their books even though they received all kinds of complaints. But let one whacked out loser by the name of Joe Lieberman whine about something he doesn't like, and all of a sudden Wikileaks' account gets cancelled. Cancelled, yeah. Same as my order with them got cancelled because I just didn't feel right buying books from a company that doesn't believe in free speech for anyone but child molestors. There's tons of book stores online selling the same books. I'm spending my money on them instead.

3. When you act like a goddamned banana republic and let the Supreme Court elect the President, you lose moral effectiveness in criticizing what other countries consider "Democracy." It was only a matter of time before Putin and others like him took a shot at that decision and used it as an example of why America is not free to choose its own leaders. And it won't be the last. That one biased, bought and paid for decision has come to symbolize to the rest of the world exactly why America no longer has any claims to a higher moral ground.

4. Spying on the UN. Oh Hillary, I'm so disappointed in you. I can think of a lot of reasons for wanting to steal someone's DNA but they all sound exactly like the reasons totalitarian governments want other people's DNA, such as setting them up for fake rape charges, planting evidence to incriminate innocent people, using undeclared children as blackmail. I could go on, but you get the picture. Someone was going to eventually get a nasty little cable in the mail explaining in great detail where such DNA would be planted if they refused to go along with the plan, weather it's to bomb Iran or find enough idiots who will sign on to fake WMD claims in countries like Iraq.

5. No matter how horrible the events revealed in the cables, no matter how much corruption and collusion and enrichment of petty demagogues they expose, American will care only about what they reveal about the Royal family. Yes, we ARE that shallow.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old Fat Naked Women for Peace

Whatever it takes, I'm with you.


Monday, November 15, 2010

All Hail The Poo-Flinging Masses

When Historians look back on this time, they will divide the causes and effects into neat little groups easily studied and defined. We can't see as well right now as they will because the flung poo is getting thick enough to affect our vision. And most of the time, we're too busy being useful idiots for our respective sides of the poo wars to take time to brush away some of the bigger chunks.

So we walk around half-blind and inflamed with some transitory passion that will one day die like a rotten fish beached on the shore. Think about it for a minute. All those personal obsessions in your life, those passions that brought you such painful bliss, are now stories you tell once too many times after a few drinks, as if to deny what once mattered so much is now drunken party mundaneness.

That will be us, our whole existence churned down to a bite of a tale too often told but never with the necessary insight to learn a damn thing from it. And future generations will consider themselves fortunate they didn't have to suffer through the Age Of Ignorance, as our time will be called, the time when entire populations allowed themselves to become a bunch of poo-flinging savages.

When I look at some of the people sharing my world, when I make the mistake of listening to them go on about what any sane person would consider voices in the head gone wild, I wonder if maybe there really isn't such a thing as evolution. After all, those who choose to believe in Creationism instead of Science have only to look in the mirror to see evolution does not exist in everyone. In their case, it definitely does not exist.

I really think sometimes we are going backwards instead of forward. Many of the craziest of the rightwingnuts want to take the country back to the 1950's or earlier because they think something was better then. They don't realize the only thing that was better then was their knees. And their teeth. They had real teeth then. Maybe that's what they really miss and think if they just move the country backwards a few decades, they could eat steak again without chopping it up into hamburger first.

But because they miss their teeth and because they see no proof of evolution when they look in the mirror, then they are useful tools for the greedy asshats of the world. The same people always show up in Congress after an election. They're like the uninvited wedding guests who sneak into the reception and eat all the shrimp before anyone else gets some on their plates, and then they grab the bride's butt on the way out the door clutching one of the good bottles of champagne.

This is who the American people elected this election, the shrimp-scarfing, champagne-chugging greedy asshats they threw out in the previous election. But they didn't recongize them for the same reason most people still see someone twenty years younger when they look in the mirror. They see what they want to see. They hear what they want to hear. Monkey see. Monkey do. Monkey fling poo at his/her own image in the mirror.

The same old asshats will kick the new ones to the curb soon. All that passion, all that enthusiasm, all that fervor, will become just plain old ordinary racist hate again when they go back to Dumbfuckistan with nothing but bitter drunken stories about the ultimate reality show called "Politics." They will avoid admitting they got fucked like a whole bunch of cheap, gullible whores who believed they really would get paid afterwards.

They'll get paid alright, just like the Fundie Christians got paid when they realized eight years later abortion was still legal, Gays and Liberals could still move in next door, and they couldn't burn people at the stake who refused to become Christians--no matter what they were promised for their vote.

They'll get paid just like the Teabaggers will get paid by being told to sit down and shut up as the corporately-owned Congress and their Lobbyist handlers explain to them that Wall Street and the Banksters are their new masters and they'd better bow deep if they want to come and play again next time.

And when they have to return home to their districts, they'll learn to duck when the poo comes flying at them from the angry mob stirred up by hate radio. But at the same time, they'll look at the rage, the anger, the outright hatred, the bigotry, the racism, the mean-spirited poo-flingers direct at them and wonder how they can channel it into something useful to get them elected once again.

And you know what? They'll find it because we're still earning our time in History as the Age of Ignorance, and each day we fill our lives with the finest poo we allow ourselves to swallow. They will have mountains of the crap to pick through.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Memo to Rick Sanchez

I've never been a fan of yours because I quit watching CNN a long time ago, about the time they decided to become Fox News Lite. We'd never become BFF's as I suspect, from reading some of your words, that there's some political chasms which would strangle any attempts to do so. But I did have a certain empathy for you based on some common class branding neither of us had a choice about.

Like you I grew up in an environment that guaranteed I'd always stand out as someone who came from the bottom class of society. I was poor. I had to work for a living. I had to work my way through High School when other young adults were playing. People in my family left debts not trust funds. Hell yeah I resented that. Who wouldn't?

But I set out to make myself better. I found positive role models who made a living as artists, who were able to survive outside the mainstream society that demanded a conformity I could never attain. Any social skills I currently have, I picked up on my own from reading books about people who had them. I studied those who had the poise and confidence I lacked. I learned what I could about those I had to walk among in order to survive as someone they wouldn't openly disdain because I wasn't them.

But you know what? They knew any way. They knew because I always gave myself away in so may ways that betrayed my past. I didn't know about clothes. I look like a bag lady when I dress up. I didn't know about the right kind of things they obviously knew and I didn't. I had to buy my own car, my own house, my own college eduation. I was smart in all the wrong ways. I wasn't stupid enough in all the right ways. I cared too much about speaking against war and warmongers. I was passionate, idealistic and opinionated--and I considered those excellent qualities to have, and I still do.

And you know what? It wasn't the rich and privileged who turned on me for these social lapses; it was the middle class. They were the ones who were threatened when I showed them ways they were yet another privileged class when measured against others like mine.

You want to see outrage from the middle class? Try telling them their straight and perfect teeth reveal them as members of the privileged class. Rich people just take that for granted. The middle class feel guilty about it and will take it out on you and me, at the same time as they judge us for our less than perfect teeth.

Yeah, life sucks that way and I can give you countless other examples of how it sucks that way. But you know what? I got over it. I went on with my life. I made my own place on the planet with people like me who were not perfect on the outside, who didn't go to the private schools and "good" universities. I found acceptance in the hearts of good, kind people who were judged so much during their lives, they just didn't have the stomach for it anymore. That's why so many of my friends are Gay, from other countries, poor and creative. They grew up with heaps of judgment on their backs. And I deliberately sought out their friendships because I knew they would be good and meaningful ones.

You could have done this too. You could have used your childhood as inspiration for those trying to struggle out of poverty, out of being different, out of the stigma of having parents who spoke with foreign accents. But instead, you took that big giant chip on your shoulder and sunk to their level. You became all that you opposed with your racist comments. You became THEM.

And in so doing you only served to reinforce the stereotypes most of those you hate already carry around in them about the poor, the lower-class, the average working class person. By opening your stupid mouth and letting that giant chip do the talking, you've destroyed yourself and the hard won progress of a lot of just plain folks. For that alone you deserved to be fired.

And the worse thing about it? You wasted all that breath on the wrong "enemy." It wasn't the elite that sunk you, that judged you, that condemned you. It wasn't the poor. It was that squishy middle, that group who grew up with just enough and because they couldn't have every single thing they wanted most of the time, have the nerve to consider themselves children of the working class. I actually had some of them think they were "underprivileged" because  their parents worked their asses off to buy them things. They're clueless about what it really means to go without. You had a chance to show them the face of the real working class and instead, you took on an enemy that wasn't even an enemy. How stupid is that?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And so it ends again...

When someone decides to go for a motorcycle ride in the middle of the night after spending the last five years trying to drink himself to death, does it really qualify as an accident or is it just suicide by another name? And when you add various substances said motorcycle rider probably injested as well because he learned a long time ago that after alcohol doesn't really numb the pain of too many wounds on the soul, the question becomes more complicated.

It's that complicated thing I'm dealing with right now. I want to be angry at him. I want to be sad over him. I want him to still be alive but I also feel the truth of that stupid and trite saying "he's now at peace." I hate saying that. I hate feeling it because it really explains so little.

He told me suicide ran in his family a couple weeks after we scattered his sister's ashes in 1990. She was my friend and I tried to save her. I was young and foolish then. I really did believe people could be saved from themselves. Anna proved me wrong. She showed me that sometimes salvation is taking yourself out of the picture of human life. It took me a long time to forgive her but I finally did. I haven't changed my mind that suicide is the most stupid and selfish thing you can do to those who love you, but I forgave her. Mostly because her brother asked me to.

He had a kind soul. A very deep and vulnerable soul. He had the kind of openness that people zero in on and immediately find a way to take advantage of it. We had that in common and we exchanged many mournful and supportive emails over the years on how people needed to come up to our level and not force us to sink down to theirs. We wrote each other and said be strong, hang on to your principles, be a person of integrity and compassion, even if others are not, even if others use all that in your for their own purposes. We assured each other the occasional using was worth the good we could do in the world just by staying kind, compassionate, caring, and strong.

Ryan was a lot more optimistic about it than I was. Often he was the one who wrote me and begged me not to give up, not to isolate myself, not to run away from people who were mean and selfish, that I had to let them see the other side of life, even if it hurt and cost me a few pieces of skin. "Skin is ego," he was fond of saying, "and road rash is humility."

But in the end it was he who suffered over what the rest of the world did. He was not the type of person to stand back in silence when wrong was being done. He spent most of his considerable fortune helping others, mostly children in countries torn apart by war. He had a soft spot for the innocent victims in everything and he spent his life saving them.

But in the end, he simply felt too much. I read the downhill slide in his ever more infrequent emails. Where once there was hope and optimism there was far too often despair and depression. He took far too many drugs to cope with what he could no longer face. His nightmares took over his days. I often wondered how far it would go before he killed himself.

I always thought it would be by something clean and efficient, an overdose from the many bottles available. A staged and dramatic setting that wouldn't  inconvenience anyone too much. He didn't want to leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

A couple weeks ago he wrote me a rambling email that covered much of his life. I remembered thinking it was the kind of thing one wrote after drinking all the alcohol in the house, swallowing the pills, and typing furiously before it all kicked in.

It was probably that way. But it was a beautiful night out. The moon was full. And the road called to him, the winding mountain road in a northern Italian setting. I imagine it was beautiful. I imagine there was a moment of elation, a moment of fear, of sadness, a thought of those like me who would be hurt. But his pain was too strong and the night too beautiful and he knew I would forgive him.

Right now I'm not sure. It's only been a week. I still think of him in present time. I still want to write and talk him out of it. I want to leap through time and take his keys away. But Anna taught me such things wouldn't change a thing and my only option was forgiveness.

Maybe that is the story of my life. Maybe that is what he left me with, that often in life the only option we are left with is forgiveness. I have to accept that for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Bottom Feeders

Bring In The Clowns

The anniversary of 9/11 means one thing to one person and quite another to another person. While some spend the day mourning the tragic loss of life, others are eagerly salivating at the opportunity to profit politically and financially from it.

Let's start with the oldest cast of characters, the Bush Crime Family and their paid lackeys. John Bolton who gets orgasmic over the very thought of starting a war with someone, anyone. And of course, pimpmaster Andrew Breitbart who wouldn't recognize a moral thought if it snuck up behind him and dipped his mean, shriveled balls into a cup of boiling hot tea (funded for by himself, of course), and all those Republican/Teabaggers running for office. Throw in a few high profile racists and you have the most hateful, the most self-serving disgusting tribute to 9/ll most of us will ever see in our lifetime. read more

Unless you factor in the for profit, get rich over other's tragic misfortune angle, and  then you have the King and Queen of greed, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. They see this day as the perfect opportunity to exploit the emotionalism around the event to line their own pockets. read more

But without the hatemongering and vile tactics designed to instill fear into the hearts and minds of the easily manipulated, the event can only enrich and elect the select few. To spread the shit further and more completely, you need conventions, groups, and most of all, speakers who know how to divide and conquer for their own financial gain. That's where the American Family Association comes in. They're experts at spreading the hate around to benefit their political and social agenda. read more

And because you can't say "crime" and "family" without a shout out to the Bush family, let's not forget one of their BFF's from a couple or so years ago who was stirring shit in Germany and they immediately jumped in and screamed "religious freedom" when it was the strong-armed Christian version they were defending. Of course, the kind little Pastor Terry Jones grew up to thank them by personally trying to take care of "that Muslim problem" for them. read more

However, no tribute to hate and pandering to fear is complete without the appearance of the head clown, Newt Gingrich, who likes to pretend no one reads that internet thing and knows he likes to talk morality for political purposes, but when it comes down to it, leaving dying wives with cancer for the latest trophy intern is just another good old boy tradition his rich white Republican asshole friends admire him for. And if there's a chance to make a buck off 9/11, he's at the head of the line with his cheesy video designed to scare the dumbest people on the planet into lining his bank account even more. All those divorces seriously cut into his bimbo fund so he's scaring the "morans" into buying his crappy movie to make some of it back. read more

The Familiar Language of Hate and Division

Lost in the hysteria and political and personal grandstanding is the history of such tactics. They're not new The language of hate and division has been refined over the years to contain certain words and phrases designed to motivate the masses to do their master's bidding. From an August blog post, Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen wrote the following:

Alf Landon, the Kansas governor running as the Republican Party's 1936 presidential candidate, called it a "fraud on the working man" and "a cruel hoax." The New York Times, in an editorial, said it was "ill-considered" and "very questionable." Harper Sibley, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned that it would result in "more unemployment in the future, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs."

If you look at the cast of characters (Republican Party), the compliant media dutifully reporting what they're told to report (New York Times "editorial" so the actual newspaper can escape accountability), and of course the current president of the Chamber of Commerce reading from the never wavering script that big business is their meat and the small businesses originally meant to benefit from Chamber assistance should just shut up and be bought up, you'd think you were reading about the current attack on Health Care Reform or Climate bills. But no. They're arguing against Social Security, the act that made sure America didn't become a country filled with old dead people littering the streets. read more

And they're still acting from the same scripts. Here's the Chamber of Commerce once again crapping on small businesses in order to serve their corporate masters:

"With a war chest rivaling that of the Republican Party itself, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has emerged in the last year as perhaps the Obama administration’s most-well-financed rival on signature policy debates like health care and financial regulation."  read more

It's not just Republican politicians they fund. It's all those campaign ads that ooze mud and fabricated claims. It's the attacks on groups like ACORN whose big crime was signing up poor people to vote. Can't have that as everyone knows they vote for Democrats. They even helped create a whole astroturf organization made up of poorly educated bigots and racists named after an erotic sex act, with the help of a Supreme Court Justice's connections read more, and two multi-billionaire brothers who carry on the fine Bush Family tradition of using your oil money to fund terrorism. read more

History has a nasty way of refusing to disappear from the collected archives that escaped burning or Republican revisionism. A little bit of reading shows how far back the Bush family goes in their greed and lack of morality. read more

And of course, since the Republican greedfest is immune to the passage of time, the same cast of characters keep acting out the same roles generation after generation. The nasty piece of work, Karl Rove, is joined by the asshole to the Bush Crime Family due to their shared love of profiting from Nazi atrocities. read more

The Paid Whores of The Dancing Clowns

Without the propaganda and hysterical pandering of the media, these greedy pieces of crap would be speaking only to rooms filled with white hooded sheets and card carrying Birch Society members. But the so-called Liberal media just loves to give unlimited air time to the conservative, rightwing, teabagging Republicans for some inexplicable reason. Maybe they're trying to understand why, with such a record, they aren't viewed as the Conservative Wingnut Platform like Fox (Fake) News or those crazy religious channels with the screaming, foaming at the mouth televangelists. Maybe it's because they exist solely to be used and no one wants to admit that, least of all them? read more

Fighting Back

Lost in all the hysteria, the politicizing for personal gain, and the appalling greed surrounding 9/11 are the days right after it all happenened. For the first time in many of our memories, the country came together as one people. The world embraced us in our pain and sadness because just about every country in the world lost someone that day, even Muslims who lost a Mosque that was located INSIDE one of the towers that day.

We mourned together and began to grow strong. And that scared the hatemongers, the Republican spin machine, the merchants of greed. They knew if America came together, they were finished. So we were smacked down with two unnecessary wars that benefitted the arms merchants, the Blackwater private army of killers and thugs, and Cheney/Bush's oil cartel. We were bombarded with hate and separation messages from the right wing media. We were set upon each other so completely, we would never remember that for a brief few moments in time, we were one country, one nation, one world.

Those who hate are the true fools, the real tools of the wealthy manipulators. They're behaving exactly as they're pushed toward behaving. In the stew of fear, hate, intolerance, and bigotry, you'll find plenty of chunks that are mere useful idiots for the powerful who lack the smallest inkling of a conscience.

It's time we took back those moments after 9/11 and make them part of ourselves once more or the haters win. Share your positive dreams, embrace those who are different, walk together in one shadow and write powerful pieces like this one that reminds us our first instinct on that horrible day when we were faced with disaster wasto reach out to one another and do what we could to help. That altrusim, that goodness still lives inside us. Don't let the haters kill it.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Calendar for the Child-Free By Choice

A couple weeks ago I updated the calendars in all my Zazzle shops and started putting together photographs, art, and quotations tailored toward the specific theme of the stores. I like to have a selection of old favorites and new offerings for those who begin their 2011 calendar shopping in September.

For the Child-Free By Choice store I chose quotations that mirrored my philosophy and reasons for not bearing biological children: overpopulation, freedom of choice, individual freedom to live outside the mainstream reality. I chose wild instead of tame creatures as part of my nature photographs to show my reverence for the earth and the need to protect our environment from ecological disasters such as war, pollution, and depletion of our natural resources due to overpopulation.

These have been passions of mine for many years. I've become immune, other than anger at their ignorance, to charges from oil company and other corporate stooges, that I'm an extremist global warming crazy treehugging dirt-munching radical environmentalist. I don't eat dirt and I'm allergic to what passes as sane in today's world, so there's not much I can object to, other than the appalling stupidity of some human beings.

But once again, we've met before. The fetus fanatics and I go way back and they haven't made a dent in my belief in a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. These are also the same kind of people whose heads explode at the very idea that there are many in the world who don't want children, who would rather pass on art, music, literature or some other legacy rather than their genes. They are closely related to those who look at a vast expanse of desert where little could possibly grow or few could live and they claim there's no such thing as too many people on the planet.

When you combine my belief in the right to be child-free by choice, and  also being a proponent of others reducing the rate they in which they reproduce, you know I've been called a lot of things that have nothing to do with either choice. And when you add to the mix my belief that no matter what we've done to our planet, we have an obligation to prevent further damage such as that caused by war, and at least try to get along with one another, then you can understand my reluctance to draw any more negative perceptions toward mine and many other's choices.

And yet, at the same time, I'm committed to fighting against the tyranny by the few. I strongly believe no individual religious group has the right to impose their version of fairy tales upon the rest of the population. Even though I'm an Atheist I'm also an American who was raised with the idea of separation of church and state being one of the things that made us a "civilized" nation, and I very much believe everyone has the right to believe in their own version of truth as long as they don't try and force it on others. I apply this equally to all religions whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or Pagans dancing naked under a full moon. I also believe if one group is allowed to build a place of worship, then the other groups need to be allowed the same constitutional right to practice their  freedom of religion.

In light of this information, you can understand my dilemma when some crazed maniac turned killer is immediately defined by the media as obsessively and compulsively against overbreeding, and has a history of protesting the effect of too many people on our planet, along with going on about  the devastating effects of consumerism and greed.

I know how our country has become a feeding frenzy waiting to happen on just about any topic that has a drop of political play around it, and I didn't want that to happen to those who saw my calendar as some kind of glorification of an obsessed killer. It's difficult enough to keep the critics from demonizing the Child-Free by Choice as selfish and un-American when the truth is we are nowhere near as selfish as those who bring too many mouths into the world to feed on limited resources, and nationalism always degrades a nation in order to marginalize those who refuse to march in unison, so the charge of un-American is meaningless to those of us who see ourselves in a much more inclusive light.

I made the mistake of asking an acquaintance who has children what she thought I should do. She will never understand how offensive I found her response that I should bag the calendar entirely because "so few people believed in that stuff anyways...." It wasn't any different than hearing and reading about a handful of bigoted morons protesting against a community center that has been demonized into something akin to a terrorist training ground right in the heart of 9/11's ground zero.

So I did the sensible thing and asked those who actually understood what I believe--the Child-Free By Choice mailing list I belong to. The responses I got mentioned several things I was already feeling about the tyranny of the few, and also how the dialogue was very much like the ground zero dialogue. If I didn't publish the calendar, I would in effect, be giving in to the same kind of hysteria around the community center building. And why should we be held accountable for those who believe as we do but are differentiated by a propensity to kill or commit other crimes? They are no more us than abortion clinic bombers represent all Christians, nor do the terrorists who blew up the towers represent the whole of Islam.

Therefore, I decided to publish the calendar because it is a valid counterpoint to the corporate message trying to sell baby products to consumers, and to  the lobbyists who defile our planet by purchasing members of Congress to destroy it for them by proxy to their own masters. My voice, the voices of the Child-Free, the anti-war voices, the protectors of our planet,  the advocates for Zero Population Growth are all equally part of this earth. And we deserve our own calendar.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Terrorist Babies! They're coming for you!

"...Anderson Cooper hosted none other than Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the main propagator in Congress of the "terror babies" conspiracy theory -- an alleged diabolical 20- to 30-year plot by terrorists to have babies born in the United States, then taken abroad and trained as terrorists before eventually returning here as U.S. citizens (thanks to birthright citizenship) to commit heinous crimes." read more


Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Republican Teabagging Teahadist GOPosaur Party

It's been really entertaining reading how the Republican Party is trying to distance themselves from their ideological spawn, the Teahadist Morons, while trying to pretend they're still BFF's because the GOP need them to elect Republican candidates. It makes them repeatedly duck and pretend they don't hear most of the Teahadist nonsense blooming right under their firmly held noses. This could end up being a good thing for Democrats.

"I encourage the Republicans to run a repeal campaign just like Alf Landon did on Social Security in 1936, because the prospect of telling parents that, "Okay, now you can't keep kids on your policy," or telling seniors, "You've got to pay more for your prescription drugs," people getting kicked around by their insurance companies. How about this for a bumper sticker? 'Bring back preexisting conditions.' Oh my gosh, I want them to do that." Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine Read More

It's interesting that their most whacked out crazies are taking out some of their longest running GOPosaurii in places like Utah and Kentucky. Mitch McConnell (GOPosaur-KY) is forced to kiss Rand Paul's racist white ass in order to keep Kentucky from electing a Democrat. This has been lovely to watch. No wonder he always looks like he sucked on a lemon.

But of course, deny it all they want, the Republicans and the Teahadist crazies are now joined at the hip and that makes it awkward to run a race together. If you have any doubt, here's a list of their sponsors, i.e., those who give them money so they can continue to march around with badly spelled signs and racist comments accusing Obama of being a socialistcommiehitlerstalinist. Teahadists On Parade

•Americans for Prosperity
•Americans for Tax Reform
•Young Conservatives Coalition
•The Heartland Institute
•National Taxpayers Union
•Institute for Liberty" Read More

And before the election, look for the GOPosaurs to find a way to muzzle the heart of their bigoted party. Teahadists like Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Sharron Angle will stick to their party approved slogans or else the support goes away. They'll try to turn them into BINO's (baggers in name only) so people won't realize (again) that they're really voting for a return to those cherished American values like slavery, buying a senator outright, and women who aren't allowed anywhere near a voting booth for fear they'll vote with their uterus.

"The libertarian theme of the "tea party" protest was previously used by Republican Congressman Ron Paul and his supporters as a fundraising event during the primaries of the 2008 presidential campaign to emphasize Paul's fiscal conservatism, which they later claimed laid the groundwork for the modern-day Tea Party movement, although many of them also claim their movement has been hijacked by neoconservatives." Read More

"...the Republican Party would be really smart to try to absorb as much of the tea party movement as possible." Sarah Palin at National Tea Party Convention, February 6, 2010

List of Members who signed up to be part of the Tea Party Caucus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they Republicans? Or am I missing something here:

Robert Aderholt (AL-4)
Todd Akin (MO-2)
Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Michele Bachmann (MN-6)
Joe Barton (TX-6)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-9)
Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Paul Broun (GA-10)
Dan Burton (IN-5)
John Carter (TX-31)
Howard Coble (NC-6)
Mike Coffman (CO-6)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-4)
John Culberson (TX-7)
John Fleming (LA-4)
Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Louie Gohmert (TX-1)
Tom Graves (GA-9)
Ralph Hall (TX-4)
Gregg Harper (MS-3)
Wally Herger (CA-2)
Pete Hoekstra (MI-2)
Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)
Steve King (IA-5)
Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
Tom McClintock (CA-4)
Gary Miller (CA-42)
Jerry Moran (KS-1)
Sue Myrick (NC-9)
Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
Mike Pence (IN-6)
Tom Price (GA-6)
Denny Rehberg (MT)
Phil Roe (TN-1)
Ed Royce (CA-40)
Steve Scalise (LA-1)
Pete Sessions (TX-32)
John Shadegg (AZ-3)
Adrian Smith (NE-3)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Cliff Stearns (FL-6)
Todd Tiahrt (KS-4)
Zach Wamp (TN-3)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3)
Joe Wilson (SC-2)
Read More


Today the Crazy Baptists came knocking...

I went for a walk today and came back to find religious tracts stuck in my door from some gay-hating, teabagging, intolerant asshat of a church that would sooner burn me at the stake than allow me inside without a lobotomy. So I decided on a new way to fight back against this ungodly littering of my domicile: my own unreligious tract laying out exactly why I would never come on over to their dark side:

"Dear Friend,

I may call you my friend, right? I mean, it's not as if you haven't already been to my house. You must have come all the way onto my property (without me there) to leave your publication for me to find when I returned home. Or worse, when I woke up because that means you were sneaking around so quietly I didn't hear you.

For that and other reasons, I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline your offer to join your church.

I'm also severely allergic to those who have a limited and twisted definition of morality because who knows when I'll land on the wrong side of it?

I certainly don't want to be judged by anyone who uses fear and divisiveness to recruit followers. Such polarizing that creates  rigid "Us" and "Them" categories makes for an unpleasant place to live. It leads to wars and all kinds of bad things.

And speaking of bad things, you guys seem to have an unhealthy obsession for other people's bedrooms. That's not normal and if what you believe drives you to such perverse behavior, I'm not sure there's much in your church for a person of tolerance and integrity such as myself. I certainly don't want you looking in my window and deciding if what I'm doing meets your standards for "relating." And I'm also sure you wouldn't want me voting on your marriage.

I also think people should be responsible for their own actions so that whole blaming it on god thing just doesn't work for me. Accountability works for me and maybe you should quit blaming something outside yourself and check in with that guy in the mirror once in a while. We 'd all be better for it.

And to be honest, that hell kind of creates this idea that bad people, who are judged "bad" in a totally subjective and often bigoted manner, deserve to go some place so awful and sometimes be killed or burned alive or some bad thing like that, just because one group decided another group deserved it? How would you feel if someone like me decided who had to spend eternity in hell? Honestly, I'd probably pick you and your followers and I'm sure you wouldn't like that now, would you?

But I'm willing to cut you some slack because I understand you've purposely been kept ignorant by having to burn all the really good books, and that you believe in one that hasn't really evolved to keep pace with the times. Even Mark Twain had to clean up his language, but you still insist on hanging onto words written by those who believed the earth was flat.

And finally, all that violence just turns my stomach. Just because someone doesn't believe like you do is no reason to kill them or go to war against them. And how come god never gets blamed for the tornado or flood but when he plucks some sorry ass out of the mess, then he is the good guy? That's just plain nuts.

And stay out of politics. People died and had a revolution and stuff back in the 1700's so they could have a country that wasn't in bed with religion. And if you can't, then seriously, register as a Political Action Committee and pay your fair share of taxes. It's the right thing to do and a lot more honest than what you're doing now."

I put the letter on cards, posters, flyers, and letterhead for you to send yourself, leave on their cars, and put up in their churches. Buy Them Here


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ten Years Later

I woke today startled to realize Stanis died ten years ago this month. The years pass too fast. They don't give us enough time to put all the pieces into the pot and draw them out when we're ready to understand their complexity. Instead, memory serves itself up half-cooked, seasoned with our biases and selective remembrances. It puts them all in front of us and says "Eat this!"

And so tonight I will eat from my past and draw out one of the most unlikely people I ever imagined I'd one day call "friend."

I didn't like him when we first met. He seemed dark, petulant and distant, like someone observing the room and making lists of everything in it in case there was a quiz afterwards. I was in a small conference room in downtown Bellingham listening to the reason I was there, a woman named Anna who was so passionate about world peace that she was going to the roots of hate to reset the planet.

She had handpicked those of us in the room to take part in that resetting. We were all children of war. Some of us had parents who either perished in the camps, or who managed to survive by some miraculous unknown that spared them what befell everyone else. The others in the room were the children of those who had put them in the camps.

To say you could literally feel the air in the room was the grossest of understatements imaginable. It was why Anna believed if she started with us, if she stopped the seeds planted inside us from our parents, intentionally or unintentionally, then she could begin the process of ending war forever.

Throughout all the dialogue that followed, the anguish of trying to share what most of us only knew small bits and pieces of as told in unguarded and often drunken moments, Stanis sat without saying a word. Every once in a while he would lean over a small notebook and write a word or two. But nothing seemed to touch him. Not the tears. Not the anger. Not the moving of chairs away from or toward each other.

Until a woman close to my age, early to mid 40's who said earlier she was  from Rome, stood up and gathered up her notebook, pens, glasses, and purse. "None of you can undersand...we couldn't even have German music in our home. I can't do this."

We forgave her before she was out the door and most were so focused on her they failed to see what I caught a glimpse of--Stanis with a brief look of pain so intense I ached for him. It wasn't the look of a lover but of a man whose last hope for a dream was suddenly dead. He caught me looking at him and the mask went back up immediately.

But afterward he sat next to me and asked me about why I was there. I told him I wasn't sure, but I knew that my desires matched Anna's and if she was so passionate about peace, then I owed it to her to help in any way I could. I told him that for me peace was more than a word, more than a concept. It was like a vein that carried the planet's blood, and I was part of that blood.

At this point, usually the tale goes on with "and we became deep and lasting friends." But we didn't. We were too different, and even though we were born a few miles from each other, all we shared was a similar gene pool on one side of our families. It wasn't enough for deep and eternal friendship. But it was enough to work on a common goal and we did that fairly well for awhile.

It was the height of the Bosnian War and Stanis was horrified at what was happening in the country of his birth. His grandmother and mine both identified themselves as Yugoslavians by birth. Mine was born in Pazin and his in Zagreb. No matter where they ended up later in life, that was part of them, that country that was created to unify southern Slavs.

It was Stanis who explained to me the linguistic nuances of the word "Balkans" and how the root of the word meant "crazy." But I also saw what he didn't say, that inside the turmoil of his soul that was always just beneath his surface, inside that detached and cool demanor, was a man so committed to world peace he made Anna's words seem tame. He was to put it in the simplest terms possible, ready to die for peace if that's what it took.

For the next two years he went against the autocratic tyranny of his father and his own place in the society that wealth and power digs for its children as a gravedigger puts his back into digging a grave for their lifelong interment. He couldn't single-handedly end the war, but he could try and save its victims. He used his father's money, borrowed the power of of his name and position and helped many children left orphaned find safe havens.

I'm guessing the final number was probably in the hundreds. He wasn't the kind of man to brag about the good he did in the world because he didn't do it for glory or recognition or even revenge. He did it, as he told me once, because he didn't want someone else to run from a room as the woman from Rome had done. As a violinist, an ardent believer in music as one of the keys to bringing together a diverse world, the idea that someone could grow up without ever hearing Bach or Beethoven was too much for him to accept.

It was an intense time for all of us involved in the peace movement at that time. It was a time when women dressed in black every Wednesday and stood in silent condemnation of the war on streetcorners all over the world. It was a time when sending a box of computer disks to an orphanage so the childen's history could be preserved was considered a violation of the embargo, the same embargo that denied the peace group in Serbia their peace grant because they weren't allowed to receive money, or disks or anything that would help ease the burden of war. If we were arms merchants, we would have had better luck getting something of value into that poor country in the middle of a horrible war. But for peace there were no exceptions.

Stanis, as the child of power and privilege, had a different concept of danger than the rest of us. He grew up in a world where the exchange of enough money, the awarding of a prestigious enough position, could erase most transgressions. We argued fiercely over it. I felt he put people I cared about in danger and he felt I was too timid in fighting an enemy that would kill me as easily as it killed other women and children.

He told me my Croat blood was a death sentence waiting to be activated by the right bigotry. He reminded me the only death camp in Italy was in Trieste, the city of my birth, and the most evil of the German commanders was stationed there specifically to put Slavs like me and my family to death because our blood made us impure Italians. He told me that as long as I was timid in my fight for peace, my actions were an insult to my family members and their friends who suffered at the hands of that monster.

I hated him a long time for those words at the same time as I understood why he spoke them. In all wars, in all crimes there are those who remain silent out of fear, out of a desire to not draw attention to themselves or because they convince themselves it's not their fight. It's how tyrants take over countries, how dictators appoint themselves overseers of decent people--through silence, ignorance and indifference.

Peace is about all of us and war is about the few. If Stanis taught me anything during one of those periods in my life where I was convinced I already knew everything there was to know, it was that lesson. War is about the few and it is about silence from the rest of us.

I last saw Stanis briefly in June of 2000. He was in the final weeks of Pancreatic cancer, far too young to die at just barely 51 years of age. He wanted only one thing from me, forgiveness for the emotional pain he knew he caused me, not realizing that when the war ended, so did my anger at him. I had forgiven him in 1995 and it took five years for it to catch up with him.

 As two devout Atheists, there was no afterlife to make it up in so it had to all happen in the present. I hugged him goodbye and cried at his thin and frail body where before he had always seemed so strong to me. It was a moment as brief as a soft breeze on a thin curtain. He was there and then he was not.

He left me a poem, a rose I dried and still have, and a memory of what it was like to live among people who lived so completely outside themselves, so completely for others, that none of them survived for more than ten years. But they saved so many lives, that they live on in the hearts of hundreds they touched. I'm the last one left of the group and not a day goes by that I don't make use of some of what they taught me with their complete and total altruism. They were all good people and I miss them dearly, and I especially miss Stanis because finally, at long last, I understand him and I'm sorry it took so long for us to finally become friends.

Leaves Adrift card
Leaves Adrift by orsobear
Shop for a different greeting card online at zazzle


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dysfunctional Planet

Sometimes we are so blinded by the bigger picture that we fail to notice it's made up of small pieces of exquisite and painful artistic moments that pass for our collective lives. And there's nothing like a death in the family to bring everything to a flash of blinding and humbling clarity.

For me, my mother's death and the circumstances around it painted a very clear picture of the world we live in. We are one large dysfunctional family who desperately need to change our relationship to each other and the planet if we are to survive as anything but wounded automatons. Within each of our own families are the families that occupy this planet. Within each of us and our respective villages lives both the cause and the cure. We have to open our eyes and our hearts and set aside the divisions or it's the end of us as a species worth anything but a scornful footnote in the passage of time.

Think carefully on this because it means our survival. Think of the last decade, the Bush/Cheney/Rove years, the divisions, the taking of sides, the losses, the rage, the despair,  and apply it not only to my family but to your own, and then apply it to the planet.

Look and see how expertly our fears and hurts and disappointments were and continue to be manipulated by those who can see what we no longer even recognize in ourselves anymore--that we are being led to the slaughter by those who care nothing about us other than the material sum of our parts. We are used by the politicians, the churches, the greedy until there's nothing left inside us that is our own anymore. We belong to them and they use us and then toss us aside because there's a continual replacement for us when we no longer suit their needs.

They are able to do this because dysfunctional is the new normal when it comes to families. How many of us have family members who don't speak to each other over something that happened years ago, something that I doubt most people can remember in complete details anymore if asked to explain it to someone else. All that remains is the gaping chest wound of misunderstanding, of division, of taking sides, of the us and them that divides us all.

How many of us have people in our lives from broken relationships that fester in pain, that isolate us and them from the heartbreak of loss? How many shattered friendships do we have that can never be repaired? How much of our lives are taken up by avoiding people instead of welcoming them? How much hate grows inside us like an evil little seed waiting to destroy everything in us that can love?

When we are like this, we are weak instead of strong. The users come along and find easy pickings. All they have to do is put on a TV show that gives us images of those we fear and then play upon that fear. Why, in the 21st century, do we still allow manipulative and evil entities like Fox News and its hateful talking heads, the Rush Limbaughs pushing drug-fueled hatred, the politicians who are beholden to corporations instead of people, to define us?

Can anyone on this planet who swallows that crap on a daily basis explain to me in anything but slogans why they hate someone? Or is everything now a talking point written by someone else, reduced to a sound bite with no substance, with no purpose but to divide us from one another?

How far back in time does someone have to go before the immigrant becomes the invader? When these hatemongers talk about taking our country back, who do we take it back from? The Native Americans we stole it from, the Mexicans who were disenfranchised from it because white people wanted it without having to pay anything for it? The Canadians whose boundaries crisscrossed our own so often we can barely tell each other apart?

Where are the papers of those who invaded this country and filled it with hateful white people? Under what justification did those same people enslave other people based on the color of their skin and think of it as anything but the most evil of actions another human being can perpetuate on another?

When did religion become an excuse to hate, to divide, to conquer? Do these haters even bother to read the Bible and its message sof love, tolerance, and acceptance? When did unholy intermediaries with hateful agendas become humanity's direct link to spirituality and connectedness with nature and each other? And why in this supposedly advanced civilization do we still allow the same people who believed the earth was flat to define who we love and marry? What the fuck is wrong with us that so many swallow this crap so easily?

I think the answers to all these questions lie within our own families, our own relationships, our own discarded and destroyed friendships. We are the small pictures within the large picture and we need to take a very close look at it before any hope of a better world for those that come after us, dies with us. Will our decade be the one that destroys hope for the entire planet because we were so obsessed with our own wounds that we failed to see how deeply others were wounded too?

I'm asking people to start within themselves and heal at least a small piece as a precious beginning to a new world. My own family never had a chance because war took their humanity before it had a chance to grow into something strong enough to fight against the divisions. But that doesn't mean I can't heal at least a small wound in myself that is there because of their wounds.

Maybe by doing so I can forgive those who hurt me so they won't continue to hurt me by taking up permanent residence in my heart. I understand all too well my parents were victims of things beyond their control but that doesn't mean I have to follow on that path. I have options they never had and if I let those options go to waste, then what was the point of their hurt, for nothing exists just to exist. Something gives it birth, something feeds it to make it live, something makes it grow strong and powerful.

I've said over and over again that working for peace is not for the weak. It takes strength to move forward when others view it as wasted idealism. It takes courage to look war in the face and say I will defeat you. It takes setting aside the divisions and working together to stand up to power and say we are stronger than you. It takes finding the place inside yourself that wants peace and making it strong enough to defeat hate.

That place is there inside us all. We must find it. We must ignore the noise machine of hate and work together for a better world, one where corporations don't destroy our planet in their greed to satisfy our own greed. We must simplify what we believe and how we live. We must reach out to each other and stop putting up walls, stop blaming others for things that are our own fault. We must grow up and be accountable for our own actions and quit using Bibles and religions and dead friendships as excuses to be complete and total jerks. We must embrace our humanity or we will lose it forever.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

And the story ends this way...

The reason no one in the family was notified of our mother's death was because she requested no one be told. She asked only to be allowed to die alone. It was her last fuck you to anyone left in her life, which was a very short list. She went out the way she lived, alone, oblivious to the pain and suffering of others and concerned only with her own needs.

But she left a legacy in me, a stubborn legacy not even her meanness can kill. Unlike her, I care about people. I will always care about people. I will always trust people until they give me reason not to. And in her memory I will work for peace, for the poor, for the disadvantaged because she was a victim of war, a pampered rich child who one day found herself out on the street having to work, having to survive, having to live like those she disdained, lived during most of her privileged life. This, I will always believe was the true source of her anger, that she was suddenly one of the people she had always looked own upon. She didn't care about people. She cared only about what was done to HER and that's how she lived her life.

Yes, she suffered greatly during the war, but so did a lot of people but most did not allow it to destroy their humanity. My aunt who lived side by side her most her life was a kind, compassionate and delightful human being. My mother was just the opposite, and she chose to be that way. That was a choice she made, to punish the world for what was done to her, to hate, to condemn, to live as a bigoted hateful person.

It's a familiar perspective to those of us who lived with her. Life was about her. I think sometimes she put up with the abuse because it allowed her to reaffirm the world sucked and she wanted us children to get a permanent lesson on how badly it sucked, on why it was a bad idea to fall in love, to care about people, to allow yourself moments of weakness that others called happiness. She wanted us to know how disgusting and horrible life was so we wouldn't be disappointed as she was disappointed. She wore her suffering as a badge of honor, as some kind of demented trophy, and she did nothing to stop us from getting beat, hurt, and abused. It was the message she wanted to send us, that life really sucked and we didn't deserve better. So it's only fitting that in the end, her death was also all about her.

I know that it's not the end of it for me yet. I know I'm angry, especially for my sister who really did try and help her, who stayed in touch, who sent her money, who made sure she had what she needed. I'm sorry she never thanked my sister for this, that she never appreciated what she did for her, and in the end punished her for caring too much. I'm sorry for my cousins who treated her with love and kindness and even though they lived in Las Vegas where she died, she didn't allow them to say goodbye.

But anger can be a useful thing. It can help you grow. It can help you move forward. It can motivate you in ways nothing else can. The way I see it, my life begins new every day. On this day, it just took a larger beginning than most. It allowed me to see the richness of my life, the love I have, the cherished friends who mean more to me than anything.

In that sense, I already have more than she ever did. She was a lonely, bitter excuse for a human being and the best we can do as her children, is to not let what infected her also infect us. We are all works in progress and the message here if one is necessary, is that it is never too late to give birth to yourself.

I just did.

Top left to right, my uncle is the third one. From top row right, my grandparents are the second couple. Bottom row, my mother is the child on the pillow surrounded by servants.
The castle in Trieste where she lived until the Germans took it over for their headquarters as it sat on a hill and was accessible only by a tram car.
My grandmother who was the one who actually raised us. She was born in what is now Pazin, Croatia.
My brother and I. Of us all, he inherited her anger and hatred at the world. My sincere hope is that one day he allows himself to heal from it and grow into a good human being. It's in him, he just has to find it.

I don't have anything but recent pictures of my sister and since this is about the past I'll refrain from posting any new ones.

"Our parents give birth to us twice, the second time when they die."  Anais Nin


Thursday, July 01, 2010


The update on my mother is that after spending all day and most of the night yesterday contacting all the records divisions of various counties in California to see if they had a death certificate for anyone matching my mother's name, age, and/or description, my cousin found out she died in Las Vegas and had never made it to California. She was cremated and is in one of those pleasantly named crypt memorial "parks" in Las Vegas.

First of all, other than an immense sense of relief that it is over, I have to say that my faith in the essential goodness of human beings has been heartily reaffirmed. I talked and corresponded with some of the nicest, most caring people on the planet. These clerks didn't have to go out of their way to help me. They had nothing invested in helping find a missing 87 year old woman who was dead and buried who knew where.

But they did with a kindness and compassion that brought me to tears many times over. California, you have some astonishing public servants. Value them for the good people they are. So many went out of their way to help me, even to the point of tracking down where my mother had died and having the Las Vegas coroner call me this morning.

The only exception that stood out in the sea of kindness was Marin County. If you have to die somewhere, make sure you can at least crawl to the next county...or have money to buy someone's interest. Enough said about them. Karma's a bitch and it will find them too one day. I will forever see that place as California's sore thumb and avoid it like the plague it is. And I will also forever know that all the kindness that surrounds them will more than make up for their cruel indifference. Such as the balance of earth, time, and human nature.

I gained some and I lost some in all this. I gained a new appreciation for my cousins on both sides of the family. Not only are they exceptional people, but they chose as their mates other exceptional people. They really took to heart the words "you must be kind" that both Jerry Garcia and Kurt Vonnegut conveyed so beautifully.

I learned to appreciate the strength of my sister, the youngest in our family who held it together as a strong and powerful woman. After what she's been through in her life, to see her this way is an unforgettable affirmation of the awesomeness of inner strength. I don't know how she dealt with it all privately and I hope it was merciful and she was easy on herself. She deserves to praise herself as much as we all need to thank her for taking on the brunt of this.

I only did what I do best, write letters, talk to people, and find a way to push aside the sadness over what might have been instead of what was. The saddest thing is the knowledge my mother died alone with no family. But it was her choice as was much of her life. She really had no family other than the husband she lost several years ago. If she loved anyone it was him, for all his faults, his cruelty, his horrible treatment of us children. In her mind he always was the man who saved her even if she had to pay for that salvation every day of her life. Still, I see now in retrospect that the decay in her personality began the day he died. She no longer had anyone to be against the world with and was left to fight alone. It was more than she could handle alone and yet she chose by her actions to be alone.

One day my brother will understand just how much he is her son and maybe that will be the day we can finally sit down and talk with each other as reasonable adults. Until then he is as much a casualty of war as we all are. It just took longer for his wounds to manifest.

I am convinced she went the way she wanted to go, quickly, privately and with all the details taken care of before any of us knew she was gone. She controlled her passing as she controlled her life and that was her choice. I must respect and honor that.

I feel both a sadness and a sense of freedom and understand so well what Anais Nin wrote about our parents giving birth to us twice, the second time when they die. I am new today. I am free. The fear is gone and there is only one direction, up.

And yet, I know how clearly I am not and will never be my mother. I have always had a close circle of friends, people I love, people who would notice if I was missing for a few hours and would send out the hounds if it was longer than a day. I will not die alone. I will have a crowd around me propping me up so I can get one last dance in before I go, and I will be loved and cherished and missed. In that knowing is the realization that the wounds of the past can heal. We just have to want ourselves badly enough.

Just yesterday I wrote to a former professsor friend whose art blog I accidently stumbled across. I had spent several minutes admiring his incredible work, noticed the familiar name and wrote to him. One of the things I said was in the time since I graduated from college and now, I have always been my own bear. Yes, it hasn't led me to the kind of life many people would have chosen for me, but it did lead me to a life I chose for myself. In the end, that is all we really have, isn't it?


Saturday, June 26, 2010

On the death of my mother.

Today I found out that my mother died the way she lived--alone, among strangers in a place she was in the process of going to or from. We just don't know the answers right now, only that she died on February 10th in Placerville, California, a place we'd never lived. No one knew she had children and other family members to notify. We don't even know where she ended up, if she was buried, cremated, or what caused her death.  

We found out  by accident. My sister had taken on the chore of trying to keep track of her, trying to follow a woman from destination to destination that not even she knew she was heading for. She just ran, from one bus to another, from one hospital, nursing home, public housing to another. She would stay long enough for her social security check to be deposited and then she would talk whatever caretaker she perceived as the most malleable into letting her have "her" money, even though my sister told them never to give her money, that she would take it and disappear, run from some past that was always tapping her on the shoulder forcing her to run from whatever demons haunted her.

Always it was the same story. She refused to believe the doctors who told her she was too ill to live the way she was living. She began to accuse my sister of stealing from her, of total strangers stealing her clothes, her money, her belongings. Yes, she belonged locked up, but she was a woman who always knew the limits of her rights. She knew that no matter how ill she was, how crazy she was, if she didn't want to be locked up there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about it. So she lived without an address and went from cold climates in winter coats to the desert and then to cold climates wearing only summer clothes. My sister would get phone calls from hotels she'd checked herself into and told the desk my sister would pay. She would get calls from hospitals where she'd been taken after falling and hurting herself. She would get calls from nursing homes saying she had once again escaped.

My sister last heard from her at the beginning of February. She had once again taken off and was on her way to some place in California. And then all communication ended. She had disappeared and no one knew where she was. My sister suspected she had died just as my sister feared she would die, alone in some strange place among strangers. But no matter where we searched, nothing came up. You can't find someone who doesn't want to be found.

Unless they die and then their lives are reduced to a simple one line public record. Today my brother typed her social security number in the death index and there she was and none of us knew how. She died eight days before her 87th birthday.

It all sounds so clean written down in black and white on the computer screen. There's nothing there about the damage war did to her, the many times she almost died, the hunger she suffered. There was nothing there about having her appendix taken out during the war with nothing to blunt the pain except a bottle of whiskey. There was barely any food, no medicine, and people were dying all around her at the hands of the Nazis, the Fascists, every single occupying army that came through town.

There was nothing there about her first love and how she went home and told her mom she had fallen in love and finally there was something to look forward to. Until my grandmother dashed that dream and told her that she couldn't marry a local boy, that she had to find an American and get the family out of the living hell their lives had become. She was ordered to give up love and find a ticket to America and she did. Or I should say we did because I was born there in the aftermath of war, in the broken dreams and bodies of the worst evil humanity can imagine. I almost died the first three weeks because five years of near starvation made her breast milk poisonous to me. And there was very little to give me to eat in its place. Six months after my birth I weighed just a few pounds more than my birth weight. But I survived just as she survived and all the awesomely strong women in my family survived.

But it came with a heavy cost. In the lines on the screen, there was nothing about the woman who alienated her children to the point where we literally ran from her and never went back. I spent most of my life afraid of her, afraid of her demons that filled the room. She drank heavily the first few years we came to America. My earliest memories of her were the smell of vodka mixed with mouth wash. I know she quit drinking a few years later, but the meanness that replaced the alcohol made me long for the sweet scent of listerine scented vodka. My brother and sister were born after she tried to leave her past behind and make a life for us in America.

But it was a difficult life. The man she married was an abusive gambler who beat her and then left us with nothing as he gambled away the rare paychecks he managed to earn. She worked several jobs to support us and it was never enough. He always came back and beat the money she earned out of her until she gave it to him and we went back to living on whatever we could scrounge. We lived in cars, in cheap hotel rooms, or on a bus going from one town to another. There wasn't any welfare or food stamps. You begged, borrowed, stole or you died. Life had become what she thought she had left behind.

I last saw her in 1979. It had been about three years since the last time and it ended badly with the police coming to help me get away. I never went back. Periodically she would find out where I was and send me letters telling me she drank when I was two years old because I was a really bad kid and drove her to it, or that her husband never hit her, that he never hit me, that I imagined it all, that it was all in my head, that the scars on my body were from my clumsiness, my lack of grace, my inability to walk without falling down and having some expensive accident like a broken arm or leg. Or I would get letters saying he beat me because I was bad and it was my fault, that if I had been a nicer kid he would not have ever hit me, that he would have stayed home with us and life would have been grand and wonderful. I stopped reading the letters after a while as they became as painful as the beatings.

My brother stopped seeing her when she told him he imagined all the beatings from his father, that he was a good man who would never abuse his children. It was too much for him just as it was too much for me. But our sister was stronger. She was the only one who one day decided she'd had enough of being beat and delivered a powerful kick to him that assured he would never lay another hand on her again. I'd always admired my sister for that moment. She was about 11 years old and gained my lifelong respect that day.

And because my brother and I were too wounded emotionally to deal with her, my sister took on the task of keeping track of our mother. It became a part of her life, the good daughter who took care of her mother. But even she didn't have skin thick enough to deal with the hatred and mean-spirited crap she received in thanks. She bought her a phone, replenished the card every month so she could call anytime, and for the last year only talked to her on the phone,mostly because the only time she could see her was if she was in a hospital for a few days. That's where my cousin found her and managed to get her to talk into a recorder and share some of the least horrifying memories of the war years. An after a couple hours of taping, she was once again gone, denying she was sick, denying she was old, and off to who the hell knew where.

We laughed about it but seriously, it had little humor to it when you think about it.  I've always known I could never survive what she and those of her generation survived at the hands of the madmen, the cruel beasts that passed for humanity for most of her early life. It is one thing to outlive everyone you know from old age, and quite another to outlive them because they weren't strong enough to escape from the Nazis and Fascists. In spite of our rough childhoods, the poverty, the pain, none of us kids ever had to watch those we loved die at the hands of monsters. In our hearts we know we were good kids because those of us who had parents who suffered through that knew intuitively that we could never be bad kids, we could never add to their suffering. We were children of survivors and we never forgot it.

But it turned us into pacifists. It made us adamantly anti-war. It made us hate authority and totalitarianism with a passion that consumed our lives. I often wonder what my mother would have been like without war and the glimpses I get of laughter, of softness, of brief glimpses when she allowed herself to forget always made me long for it to be true, for her to turn into a mother who didn't hate, who didn't condemn, who didn't see the world as a hateful and ugly place waiting to kill the spirit of anyone weak enough to resist it.

The hardest decision I made in my life was to stay away from her. It felt unnatural at the time and in moments of despair I sometimes wonder if I could have helped her become more human. But then I come to my senses and realize that for some people the damage is just too deep and when they go down, they take you with them. I wanted to live and getting away from her was the only way I knew to do it. I don't regret the choice I made. I grew into a better, stronger person because of it. But I also know there's damaged parts of me that won't heal. I know that my brother is a damaged soul as I am a damaged soul. I know my sister has her deep wounds. But what we share is that spirit of survival. Just as war couldn't kill her, she couldn't kill us even though she tried. Maybe she reallly did believe if she killed us we would no longer suffer.She didn't drown us in the bathtub, but it was close enough and I have to take a deep breath sometimes and take in the love that surrounds me in order to remind myself I made the right decision.

I think we all feel that way about her. I no longer live in fear of her finding me, of hurting me, of trying to destroy my life. I can live openly now knowing she won't show up on my doorstep with some crazed idea of people out to get us or attack those I love simply because love in her damaged soul, was a weakness that would one day kill me. I think what we want now is closure and we can't have that until we find out how she died, how it ended, where she was, what her final moments were. I suspect a stroke that left her unable to speak and have someone call my sister. Or maybe she just died knowing that she finally succeeded in escaping for the last time. I wouldn't be surprised if her last words were simply "fuck all of you."

 As I told a good friend this evening, grief is a strange thing. You don't mourn for what you lost but for what you never had. I think that describes me perfectly tonight as I write this. As I dug out this photograph I see a woman I never knew. Yet, she gave birth to me. She is in me. And maybe the real reason I'm still alive is because she was strong enough to give up love so I could survive. I want to believe that and maybe one day I will. I know the saying she is now at peace is so trite, but it's true. For a woman like her who went through what she went through, only death can bring peace. I am grateful she found it at last.