Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

February 8, 2013

Revolutionaries who Keep Revolting

Thomas Jefferson once blazed revolution and a humane, slavery-rejecting philosophy with his pen, only to retire to a 5,000 acre plantation where he liked to walk on the balcony and oversee a cute, dollhouse-like slave society he had built there, largely self-sufficient with its own little mills and shops, and populated largely by his own enslaved offspring.

Ethan Allen was a man I sometimes like to imagine I was named after. During the Revolutionary War, he captured Fort Ticonderoga for the Patriots without bloodshed, by overwhelming the sentry just before dawn, sneaking 83 soldiers into the fort, and surprising the fort’s commander in bed, like he was fucking-A Batman. After the revolutionary war, Allen returned to Vermont and fought for its statehood, even negotiating with the British to lay a back-up plan for establishing Vermont as a province of Canada if New York would not let the territory go. Then, when Vermont was safely established as a state, he retired to a giant property in the woods and wrote Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, advising people that Christianity was laden with all kinds of oppressive bullshit and that God was expressed through Creation. Think about this until you get it: “the eternal and infinite display of divine power forecloses any subsequent exertion of it miraculously.”

I much prefer the sort of revolutionary who keeps agitating to the one who fades away or fossilizes into a power junkie.

Under the rule of George W. Bush, my liberal friends and I were terrified of the rise of TSA, assassinations by drone-based-missile, the suspension of habeas corpus, the dungeons at Guantanamo Bay and black sites, and the torture that happened there… “Dude, Where’s My Country?” asked Michael Moore. We took solace in the Daily Show and Colbert Report, laughing together at the insanity of the fascist US government. I painted signs and stood around in cold, rainy conditions demanding an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of a leftist peace movement.

Under the rule of Barack Obama, my liberal friends mainly ignored the TSA,  assassinations by drone-based-missile, the suspension of habeas corpus, the dungeons at Guantanamo Bay and black sites, and the torture that happened there, preferring to criticize the President’s conservative detractors. The President coordinated the crackdown on pro-democracy Occupy protesters, and then Michael Moore endorsed the President’s run for reelection. I feel that my own involvement in the peace movement only served a partisan cause, seeing as my outlets for organized protest dried up under Democrat rule, despite expanding abuses against the Constitution and humanity. I resent having been used to partisan purpose by people who came to me as moral authorities advancing urgent, principled demands for peace and democracy. Organizations such as Code Pink and Veterans for Peace will never receive my support in the future, because they took energies activists invested for peace and democracy and turned them into passive support for Obama, a President who repeats, extends and multiplies the abuses of George W. Bush, precisely what we were supposedly working to end. People actually asked me to stop criticizing Obama, believing that Mitt Romney was a worse threat to the Union than the shredding of the Constitution. Where had all of my allies gone?

Dissent from Republicans is patriotic! End this pointless Republican bloodshed and give us a Democrat for commander-in-chief!

At some point, it became easier to locate conservative or rightist allies against rising fascism than leftist or liberal ones. While Michigan’s Democratic Senator Levin was crafting the 2012 NDAA to allow for the Federal government to kidnap Americans and throw them down into oubliettes forever, our Libertarian US Senate candidate, Scotty Boman, was promoting the nonaggression principle and an end to the War on Drugs. Ron Paul was the only major party Presidential candidate of 2012 to oppose creeping totalitarianism, with no Democrats opposing the hit-list wielding President Obama. Editorially friendly to Ron Paul and the 2nd Amendment, the Oathkeepers organized the military to prepare to resist orders to slay or oppress American citizens. While discovering right-wing resistance to fascism was eye-opening, it hardly made me feel like part of a tribe, speaking a common language, united with common purpose.

A few leftists have rejected the placebo of a Democrat President who embraces Wall Street and the military/intelligence shadow government, and continue to fight for peace and liberty. They have distinguished themselves as having rare intelligence and integrity, as most leftists have indicated a willingness to be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay to be raped and tortured if they only can get some health coverage that includes contraception.

Naomi Wolf is an author and journalist perhaps best known for “The Beauty Myth,” an exposé of the unrealistic standard of beauty promoted by cosmetics manufacturers. “The End of America” chronicled the march to a “closed society” or dictatorship under W. Bush. Wolf took a minute to support Obama in 2008, for, like myself, she had not analyzed Obama’s Senate votes with enough suspicion (and Obama did promise to reverse many of Bush’s evil policies). However, she could not ignore that Obama failed to halt any of Bush’s scandalous policies and she continues to report on the slide into fascism to this day.

Here is a snippet of Wolf’s analysis that I think sums up the difficulties of trying to win back US democracy through the ballot and partisan politics: “It’s hard to know how much power any American president has at this point in time. We’re much more like many Latin-American ‘democracies’ in which there is a nominal head of state who cannot really take on the military-industrial complex. But he could certainly have tried harder than he has.” (source)

Chris Hedges is another author/journalist with a background in war reporting, perhaps best known for “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.” Hedges is the lead plaintiff in a suit against the US government, alleging that the 2012 NDAA provision which authorizes the authorities to toss Americans into oubliettes violates the terms of our Constitution. Such authority is used in dictatorships to eliminate pesky journalists, activists, union and church leaders, and it clearly violates both the Constitution and the spirit of the American experiment. Hedges and his co-plaintiffs all continued fighting for democracy after Obama took on Bush’s mantle: the heroes of this story include Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Noam Chomsky, public intellectual, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a not-particularly-leftist Icelandic MP whose government advised her not to travel to the barbaric United States, Tangerine Bolen, journalist, Kai Wargalla, Occupy organizer, and Alexa O’Brien, an IT maven who helped organize Occupy Wall Street but was accused of being a high-level cyber terrorist in cahoots with Al Qaeda. Many of these people worked on Wikileaks or support Bradley Manning. So far, they have won an injunction forbidding the government to kidnap Americans, which the government protested and is taking to appeal.

Journalist Alexander Cockburn kept up his criticism of the Obama Administration until he died in 2012, much to the shock of his fans, who had not known he was sick. His magazine Counterpunch publishes both fearful, we-must-support-Obama articles and articles after Cockburn’s own heart.

There are a lot of leftists still fighting the good fight, but you have to hunt for them. And so, friends, the left limps on with a sorrily tame and pro-establishment Daily Show, grousing impotently about the multiple-Sandy-Hooks-scale crime of the drone assassination program, but mainly focused on the stupidity of conservative Christians who don’t appreciate what Obama is trying to do. Leftists truly opposed to dictatorship and war have distinguished themselves as a principled minority, especially such people as I just named, who have remained active (not so much like myself). I guess for every Ethan Allen who was cheering Jon Stewart against W. Bush, there were about nineteen Thomas Jeffersons who talked the talk and then stepped back to a more comfortable place once the true enemy (the GOP) was safely in check.

If you see one leftist standing on the corner with a protest sign, you know that that person is 100% committed like a Christian martyr. If you see ten leftists there, you know that you are dealing with a generally dedicated group of people. If you see 100,000 leftists in the square, most of them are just tourists caught up in the group spirit, and you won’t be able to find them tomorrow. The best tribe you could ever be a part of, is no tribe.

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November 7, 2012

Violent Centrist Faction Takes Power

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 3:17 am

Numbers are still coming in, but no one doubts that a violent centrist faction has seized control of the United States on this, its latest election night.
Either Republicans or Democrats won, guaranteeing an imperialistic foreign policy and the suppression of domestic civil liberties in the coming years. Drone wars, federal prison populations, beehive collapse and government debt are expected to increase. Republicans and Democrats were ecstatic or despondent.
One thing is for certain: the new President and Congress will do anything to pay off the creditors who enable the American government to fight several wars at a time while providing bread and circuses for the American people. The ritual casting of voter-tally-sticks, while a quaint and interesting local custom, had no reasonable chance of dissuading America’s political class from its essential loyalty to its own financiers and loyal military establishment.
Truly, the peaceful hand-off of power from one violent centrist faction to another is a blessing of this modern world, for those to whom the empire’s spoils are distributed (primarily the “1%”). And so we enter a new age in American politics, marked by a liberal or conservative sea change, sure to result in greater wealth disparities, a chilling of freedom of speech, a worldwide spate of assassination, and also, most likely, a war with Iran.
Thank you for voting. God bless America. Goodnight.

August 24, 2012

Carryin’ On the Cosmic Struggle

The universe doesn’t suck, people don’t suck. People who want to control the universe, suck.

In this video, pompously entitled “Humanity’s Greatest Secret,” Alex Jones preaches on ultimate meanings with way more insight than I’d have credited him with. His mythology speaks to my recent interest in balancing wonder and curiosity with the need to keep an eye on the dangerous and disgusting. For Alex Jones, the evilness is totally embodied in the globalists and their various plans for New World Orders. If that’s not your worldview, relax, it can’t be that hard to imagine it for twenty minutes. You already know of about a million instances where power corrupted…

“Humanity’s Greatest Secret” puts the struggle for the control or freedom of humanity onto a grand and magnificent scale, as in the Wrinkle in Time or His Dark Materials series-es. Don’t let the Spectres or Echthroi take you, friends…

“I’m merely an ant in a great colony,” cried the human being. But you are special: you are the universe having a lucid dream, pretty much. It took a lot of “Creation” to get to this point. You therefor deserve some respect (NOT to be treated as an unwitting experimental subject, a member of an unwanted caste, a draftee in a war of aggression, or any of that other bullshit the great Masters of the Universe do to us. Nor to take shit from anyone else.)

Next post, I swear I will just make pickles or something. Things are literally taking their time to ferment or ripen around here, so I will report back when I’ve learned something sufficiently interesting!

August 18, 2012

Is My Anti-Concentration Camp Stance Unreasonably Radical?

It takes a lot of bravery to stand up and tell the world this, but I am opposed to rounding people up because of their politics or ethnicity, and sticking them in concentration camps. I know that this may place me outside of the political mainstream, into the “extremes” populated by terrorists and morons.

Asked my Facebook crowd:

“Any limit to what kind of tyranny a politician can support, and you will not vote for them? Would you boycott politicians who supported the Patriot Act? Indefinite military detention? Concentration camps for dissidents? Please tell me where you draw the line.”

Received an answer with four “likes”:

“The whole thing is rigged! I don’t want to vote for anyone because they all seem to suck!! I however feel compelled to vote Democrat, to keep the Republicans out of office, but damn, its like you are sitting on Death Row, and they’re asking you,…. how do you want to die? Lethal Injection or the Gas Chamber….”

Really? I know some smart and tough-minded people. Can’t we draw a line at concentration camps? Instead, we’d split a hair as to which way we’d rather die: “I support Mitt Romney for Zyklon-B! Oppose Obama and his one-step incineration plan, it will kill jobs!”

We need to be able to coordinate, draw a line, and not allow our government to cross it. In this world, governments turn against their people all the time. “Democide,” murder by one’s own government, is a leading cause of death in the world. In the twentieth century, you were more likely to be murdered by your government than to die in a car crash OR battle OR be murdered by a fellow OR drink yourself to death. Democide is a bigger killer than tobacco or diabetes. Alert the public health department at your local university.

My source on democide claims that only about 2,000 Americans were killed by the American government during the 20th century, in lynchings, attacks on striking workers and so on. It’s more of an export than a locally-enjoyed product. America, however, we’re exceptional in our own special way.

The police state in America is on par with the Soviets’ at their peak of repression

If, like me, you grew up in the 1980’s, you remember that the Soviet Union was known as the Evil Empire, and we and they kept enough nuclear weapons pointed at each other to obliterate all of our cities and irradiate the countryside for decades. The Soviet Union was Evil because it granted its people no freedom of speech, no meaningful vote, and it sent ridiculous numbers of its people to inhumane prisons known as “the gulag.”

The United States imprisons a greater proportion of its people than any other nation in the world (760 / 100,000). That proportion blows away the EU’s rate of 135  or the world average of 166. It’s similar to the rate of imprisonment at the Soviet Union’s repressive peak (823 / 100,000, or, to be honest, it depends on what estimate you accept, as apparently the gulag did not have its paperwork together).

“Sure, there are that many Americans in jail,” you say. “That’s because Americans are drug-addled, church-shirking moral midgets. We still have more rights than people in those other countries! We still have the freedom to tape patriotic slogans on the bumpers of our cars, and they don’t have that!”

Meanwhile, the FBI is posting flyers in the back rooms of coffee shops, encouraging baristas to narc on anyone who views content of “an extreme/radical nature with violent themes,” such as my blog entry today (tip your barista well). A diet blogger was charged, earlier this year, for “practicing nutrition without a license” for discussing the diet that cured his diabetes. So freedom of speech doesn’t extend to health or politics: however, thanks to the cussing canoeist and his lawyer, it is lawful in Michigan for me to swear in front of women and children. Well, to quote Detroit’s homeboy Eminem, “fuck, shit, cunt, ass, shoobadee-doowhop.” Any freedoms we have, we have because some brave soul was willing to risk prosecution testing the laws out in a courtroom. You can’t just count on your rights being there for you tomorrow, as some prosecutor is always out there, also testing your rights while not personally risking jail time.

As for due process, a major obstacle to rounding people up into camps, government lawyers are arguing in court for the right to kidnap Americans in the name of national security, and stick them in military custody. Tangerine Bolen, a plaintiff in the case against NDAA’s due-process ending provisions, wrote in the UK Guardian:

In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it [the bad NDAA provision]; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama’s lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported.

In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA.

Judge Forrest had ruled for a temporary injunction against an unconstitutional provision in this law, after government attorneys refused to provide assurances to the court that plaintiffs and others would not be indefinitely detained for engaging in first amendment activities. At that time, twice the government has refused to define what it means to be an “associated force”, and it claimed the right to refrain from offering any clear definition of this term, or clear boundaries of power under this law.

This past week’s hearing was even more terrifying. Government attorneys again, in this hearing, presented no evidence to support their position and brought forth no witnesses. Most incredibly, Obama’s attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA’s section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them.

So what exactly is supposed to make me feel safe from the US government, and its ever-growing system of prisons and surveillance? In what way are we the land of the free?

Gone Campin’

States have actually been shrinking the proportion of people they imprison due to a lack of cash, however, Federal prisons continue expanding.

If there is a huge increase in incarceration despite a lack of funds for such, this will lead to the housing of people in camps. They will not be called “concentration” camps, but “internment,” or “reeducation,” or “safety and relocation” or such. Imperial powers have been rounding people up into camps since 1896, when the Spanish locked up masses of Cubans to cut guerrilla fighters off from the population. Defining characteristics of concentration camps are preemptively targeting people who might  be a problem (as we do in this country by defining broad swaths of terrorism suspects, and even classifying Insane Clown Posse fans as a criminal gang), and administrative detention, aka being held with no trial (which the Obama administration is claiming it can do even against  the courts and the rule of law).

In 2009, Congress considered creating camps out of closed-down military bases, for housing people displaced by natural disasters. That sounds like a good plan, but the bill authorized using the camps up for any purpose chosen by Homeland Security!

Our military is trained in containment and resettlement operations. Consider the problem of resettling Cuban refugees…

In less than a month, federal officials announced as many as 15,000 Cuban refugees would come to the 60,000-acre Fort McCoy military base between Sparta and Tomah.

Officials at Fort McCoy had only a few days to prepare 121 barracks, 40 mess halls, 15 administrative buildings and other facilities for the Cubans. Seven miles of 6-foot-tall, chain-link fence soon lined the perimeter of the refugee center.

About 1,000 military, federal government and support personnel arrived, and 850 civilians were hired to prepare and run the Fort McCoy refugee center, the fourth designated as a U.S. refugee resettlement center. (source)

By the way, the Cubans were not allowed to walk in and out of the “resettlement center.” It only takes days to put such an operation into effect. And, it can be done on a larger scale, as was done to Japanese ethnics on the West Coast during World War II.

I’m not saying that nefarious government agents are conspiring to lock us up in camps as we speak. I’m just saying that the conditions are developing. We’re losing our rights, building more police state apparatus, pushing the economic limits of our ability to lock people up by conventional means,  and on top of that we’re living in a population prepared to accept concentration camps as long as they retain their ability to vote against the party they fear more.

I’m thinking to incorporate an advocacy not-for-profit organization here in Michigan to oppose rounding people up into concentration camps. Clearly we are fuzzy as a culture on the concept that “concentration camps are bad.” The group will be organized, incorporated and ready to roll in advance of actually having an issue to assert. Actually, I suppose that racial profiling, an anti-medical marijuana pogrom, targeting raw milk providers as terrorists, authorizing the disappearance of people to torture chambers… all of these government actions should be monitored to track our progress towards a more brutal totalitarianism, such as would feature purges or concentration camps.

On the other hand, maybe a campaign narrowly opposing only the construction of bona fide concentration camps is still too radical. I don’t want to stir up trouble, alienate my friends, or ruin the Democrats’ plans for new and improved social programs. Maybe I should narrow my mission statement to opposing only death camps.

Jesus F. Christ, I’m going to post about pickles or beer next week.

August 14, 2012

Instant Poem

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 2:35 pm

The Very Crucial Election:

Vote Goldstein for trusty,
for a quicker moving line,
though the barbed wire be rusty,
and the stench cut through the lime.

If Klein’s elected trusty,
all will go awry,
the bunks, unmade, go musty,
and I think I’d rather die.

July 30, 2012

Counterfeit Reality

No one has a perfectly clear, objective view of the world. People believe goofy things because their leaders tell them to, because their language has its limitations, or because the best explanation they can come up with is still kind of goofy and wrong. Our very senses are kind of dim, compared to the full range of possible colors and sounds and smells in the universe (ultraviolet, subsonics, smelling the oxygen. There are shrimp that can see more colors than us). Yet, as a whole, most societies keep their sense of reality in tune to such a degree that life can go on, people can plant and harvest, be born, make love and be buried.

Lately I feel like we are off the rails, like a sit-com in its sixth season. The world as presented on the news, or as many of my dear friends understand it, looks like a sham, a bunch of props. People aren’t just buying into false myths here; they’re buying into a whole worldview built of deception. The world they think they live in is a counterfeit, an intentionally-built virtual reality. <sigh> Yes, it’s like the Matrix or Plato’s Cave.

Or maybe I’m psychotic. The little fake me inside me lives in this fake world, which is firmly centered on the United States of America. This guy believes in some impossible things, because he watches the television, goes to classes, reads media published by the six big companies, and is otherwise exposed to more information about the fake world than he absorbs from his own experience. He thinks that:

The Earth will never run out of resources. (Economies can grow without limit.)
Civilizations don’t decline or collapse anymore.
The serious threats to America are China and Islam. Or liberals, or conservatives, or atheists, or religious people.
There is a political spectrum from left to right, which encompasses all significant political thought.
Science is on the verge of finding keys to all the locks.
Democracy is working. The financial and political elites are working for us.

The Earth will never run out of resources.

Of course, people hem and haw about oil running out, or the rainforest being leveled. Yet, they behave as if these things are trivial concerns, as they keep on driving cars and buying tropical fruit from ex-rainforest plantations. (Well, me too. This is an area where my habits haven’t caught up with my thinking mind.) Most everyone still wishes for the economy to grow, fantasizing that it will someday run on sunlight harvested from deep space, simply free energy which exerts no effect on Earth’s systems. In the meantime, it’s mainly all about burning fossil fuels.

“We have to stop cutting down each others’ trees or no one will be able to build a canoe ever again,” said the least popular man on Easter Island.

Civilizations don’t decline or collapse anymore. The USSR was the last one to fall and now history is over.

Um, we don’t seem to respond to crisis any better than any of the fine examples of past collapse (Mayans, Greenland Vikings, British Empire, Rome…). Obama responded to a partial economic collapse with a stimulus package that his own advisors said was too small to work, which Congress then proceeded to whittle down. Republicans only continued to insist that the government should stand out of the way of corporations and super-rich people. Also, we have no response to Colony Collapse Disorder, the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, oceanic garbage patches, rising asthma and allergies, or climate change.

We’re like that teenager, the target of public service announcements, who thinks that “HIV can’t happen to me.” We think that plague and famine are things of the past, and that war will never, ever touch our American borders again. It’s pretty overconfident, given that our history doesn’t go back so very far.

The serious threats to America are China and Islam. Or liberals, or conservatives, or atheists, or religious people.

So you must fight that enemy like you’re Captain America.

Please do not notice the financial rip-off artists and multinational corporations who drive the race to suck Earth dry. Are Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert the only people alive who realize that the rules of the global economy are slanted to channel money, control and physical wealth to a tiny elite, fucking over all the nations, recklessly endangering our common resources?

People understand that money rules politics, but they see it as “the other party is controlling things through money!” No, the people with money are controlling things through the two parties. If someone is a threat to us, it’s not this side or that side, but it could possibly be the people at the center who wield indirect yet inviolable control over all the rest of us (rigging LIBOR, high frequency or algorithmic trading, lobbying Congress and officials with retirement packages).

An expert panel on CNBC recently admitted that “we all work for the bankers now,” although the clip is unavailable on copyright pretext.

I don’t want to bash a banker. I just want them to stop strangling the world with debt. Maybe I’m wrong, and the center of power which projects the fake world onto our eyes is the miltary-industrial complex or something. I know it’s not Black people, or Republicans, or anyone who would live next door to little old me. This thing comes “from on high.”

There is a political spectrum from left to right, which encompasses all significant political thought.

Well, I identify as an anti-statist, someone who is against rulers, domination and exploitation. I can’t even exist according to the rules of counterfeit reality. Anarchists are neutralized in the newspaper with the label “self-proclaimed,” as if to be an anarchist is philosophically impossible. Anarchists are a notoriously unreliable voting bloc, too.

Both political parties mainly support pot prohibition, blowing off the Constitution, bailing out Wall Street, ignoring Wall Street’s crimes, growing the economy of global suicide, smashing alternative food and medicine, and engaging in endless war. Does that sound anything like your agenda?

Many people don’t line up behind the Democrats or Republicans, exactly. Some people, like Joe Lieberman, are are torn between towing the two party lines. Others support candidates from outside the two parties, such as Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr or Vermin Supreme. Unfortunately, many who support third-party positions feel bullied into voting for Teams Red or Blue come election day. Most of those who see through the two parties would rather not engage with sham democracy, and do not exercise their power to vote.

The big story, for half of the years, is Democrat vs. Republican for President. As if the President is a Biblical patriarch who will lead us all to glory (or ruin,) depending on who wins the selection.

Science is on the verge of solving our problems.

We’ll use hemp and solar power. We’ll engineer an economy that can’t fail, and tweak the prison and education systems until they’re optimal. An NSA database will locate all the terrorists. Pheremone perfume will help me get laid.

Unfortunately, science is largely controlled by the monied powers that control other human institutions at this time. Establishment science gave us the Green Revolution, based on petrochemicals; a pack of Canadian Amish demonstrated that organic methods are superior over the decades (citation somewhere within Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver). A bunch of hippies contributed to the methods of urban homesteading and learned to apply permaculture principles in different climates; DDT and Agent Orange were products of well-funded corporate science. Science does not hands-down show us the right way to go about living.

My Dad used science to protect GM workers from chemical and biological hazards in the factory, so I have respect for the field. But how many false hopes do we put in to it, and how much has money twisted it up? Science can be used for progress, or its opposite. Science can hold up Mordor or build the Death Star, or help us get along and recycle more efficiently. It’s up to scientists and their patrons, including the public.

I suspect that Internet Q & A and DIY forums will eclipse science as a source of significant information about getting along in the world. I suspect that direct action will supplant representative democracy. But I may be a psychotic.

The financial and governmental elites are basically honest and concerned about us.

In Yemen, my eerily-similar Arab equivalent was recently blown away by a Hellfire missile. He had received no trial. He was visiting some new friends at a cottage when President Obama ordered a strike on the place, obliterating Yemeni Ethan in the blink of an eye. He was engulfed in flames before he knew what was coming.

The Obama Administration reports Yemeni Ethan as a combatant, based on the facts that 1) he is between the ages of 15 and 35, and 2) he was in an area targeted by a Hellfire missile. Score one for the team.

Yemeni Ethan debated the meaning of charity and Islam, whilst American Ethan debates the meaning of welfare and government. Yemeni Ethan chewed khat, American Ethan smokes pot. Am I supposed to believe that my government is going to treat me  with any more humanity than the guy in Yemen?

To speak to the financial side… corporations operating in America are basically sworn to serve their shareholders and only their shareholders, and they serve to limit liabilities and push costs on to others: their customers, workers and neighbors. They view killing me as a possible liability, if their team of lawyers should suck in court.

Screw the elite. Rant against them! If they can’t see reason, fuck ’em over! Don’t live a spectator to the news, but see: They don’t give a fuck about us!

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

//

//

July 27, 2012

Vigilante thugs keep beating crap out of raw milk provider

Filed under: food, Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 4:22 pm

Last year, Rawesome Foods was raided by LAPD and associated forces. Illegal unpasteurized milk was dumped, records were seized, people were seized.

James Stewart, the retirement-aged kingpin milkman, was taken to the LA County Jail and tortured for eight days for his terrible crime of providing raw goat milk to people who wanted it. As is usual, he wasn’t told what charges he was being held on, wasn’t fed for a day, and generally was bullied into extreme compliance as he was processed into jail.

Then, an Officer Sexton interrogated him, asking him over and over, “are you a sovereign?” Stewart replied “what are you talking about?”, yet he was still given a red armband to indicate that he was a terrorist and a danger to the general population. He was then shackled with his hands cuffed to chains around his waist and to a bench for two or three hours while waiting for medical tests, which he was put through while still handcuffed. After hours of medical testing, he was held in a cell in an empty area of the jail with a temperature around 55 degrees F, with only basic pants and a T-shirt to wear (hypothermia as torture was pioneered by the British Army for use against the IRA, and has recently been used by US intelligence against terror suspects). He was finally sent to his own cell and fed a few cookies. Raw sewage flooded the cell, and several hours passed until trusties came by offering squeegees. After a day and a half in the filthy cell, he was woken up in the middle of the night and sent back to the cold cell for six hours, from where he was finally shipped to Ventura County Jail and treated as well as a common criminal.

Incidentally, Stewart’s family and attorney were trying to find him, but he wasn’t allowed a phone call and officials were claiming that he was “lost in the system.” Anyone who thinks you can’t be disappeared in Obama’s America had better pay attention to that point. Once the local enforcement machine admitted to having Stewart, his bail was set at $1,000,000.

On July 19 of this year, Natural News broke a story revealing that “cops” who participated in the raid had never signed Oaths of Office, and therefor have no immunity from charges of assault, theft, malicious destruction of property, or kidnapping. The perpetrators were nothing but vigilantes impersonating cops! Even the Health Department official who signed the search warrant had not signed an Oath of Office, making the entire sordid affair extralegal. Amazingly, the DA attempted to fend off these charges by releasing Oaths of Office with signatures redacted for privacy! Um, so it looks as if the Brownshirts are exercising free reign over there in LA and Ventura Counties.

On July 27, James Stewart was assaulted, pepper sprayed and taken by bounty hunters. Inexplicably, these angry dudes were driving brand-new luxury cars with no license plates. They refused to produce their legally-required certificates of training and proved what kind of people they are by calling a filming eyewitness a “retard.” Way to take down an old milkman! Was anything about this legal, or was it (another) kidnapping?

You can annoy the Ventura County DA’s office by following the contact information here. Ask them to end their insane crusade.

Thanks to Mike Adams “The Health Ranger” for doing basically all the original reporting on this story.

April 6, 2012

Garden-Variety Repression

The planting season hasn’t yet peaked, and government agencies are already busily kicking gardeners’ asses in the name of law and order. In the City of Flint, the Genesee County Land Bank sold property out from under Peace Mob Gardens’ lease, to a private owner, having apparently lost Peace Mob’s paperwork. In Oakland, California, multiple Federal agencies raided Oaksterdam University, the nation’s foremost school for medical marijuana workers and patients (a group which includes some of the world’s most sophisticated gardeners.) It’s business as usual in the Land of the Free, just your garden-variety repression.

Peace Mob Gardens

The Genesee County Land Bank is an entity created by state law, to return foreclosed-upon property to the tax base. Flint is a hollowed-out, deindustrialized city not unlike Detroit or Gary, in need of redevelopment as the only alternative to blight. GCLB is supposed to provide a community development function, since they are entrusted with so much land and can have a big effect. Peace Mob Gardens converts abandoned properties into livable, owned homes and/or community gardens. They offer the community educational opportunities from classes and work days to demonstration greenhouses built from recovered materials. Thus, GCLB should be eager to sell / lease land to Peace Mob, with its five-year track record of rehabbing properties.

Peace Mob tore down the dilapidated house at 1425 Illinois Street, but rehabbed the garage and planted on the property. They used the shed to store materials for gardens covering four residential plots on the block. The Peace Mobsters believed that they were leasing all four of those properties from the GCLB, although the GCLB held the only copies of the leases. Then, neighbor Larry Young purchased 1425 Illinois from GCLB for about $200.

According to Mobster Phillip Jacks, “Although we have offered to purchase the land many many times from our local land bank, for up to twice what Mr. Young has just paid, they have refused sale to us and sold it to him. Last year he also tried to purchase our land, and we made a verbal agreement to let him have a lot next to him, if he stopped trying to buy our land. I guess we should have got that in writing.” Larry Young allowed the community-based Peace Mob to rehab the property, then bought it for himself from the Land Bank which supposedly exists to facilitate community development and property rehabilitation! Peace Mob lost the property on March 30, and was moved out by April 4.

Why would GCLB not sell to Peace Mob, possibly even pretending to lose the paperwork? I think that community gardens, especially those built along organic lines, are an unpleasant reminder of the unsustainability of suburban life. Take away imports of petroleum-based products, and the two most sustainable places in Flint are the scattered Mob Gardens and the Occupy camp. “Damned dirty nonconformists!” think the developers. “Urban properties are for growing topiary and grass from synthetic fertilizer. Your obsession with a livable ecology is degrading the appearance of normality around here! Drive your SUV to the grocery store if you want to eat.”

You can petition Larry Young to not steal the property.

Oaksterdam University

Oaksterdam U was founded in 2007 by medical marijuana activist Richard Lee (he started California’s Prop 19, the first medical marijuana law in the country to stick). This is the best place in the nation to learn cannabis growing and medical use. There is a building with a large classroom and a grow lab, and a student union across the street. Besides Richard Lee, legendary medical grower Ed Rosenthal and hemp advocate Chris Conrad teach classes — national figures of the marijuana movement.

Many say that Oaksterdam U and a cluster of loosely associated dispensaries helped rehabilitate their Oakland neighborhood. Medical marijuana has rehabilitated many people — one patient I know was confined to a wheelchair and diaper for years, despite all the care he could get through conventional doctors and hospitals, until he started using medical marijuana. He now walks and uses the bathroom like anyone else.

To the Federal government, all marijuana use is criminal, and Oaksterdam U is not place of healing and learning, but a threat, a crime school. The Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Marshals and IRS descended on the school, taking computers, records, plants and other evidence. (The IRS participated in a raid to shut down a tax paying business?) The school is still operating, with a slimmer selection of classes available. The nursery service is gone, as all of the mother plants were destroyed along with their precious genes.

At the same time Federal agents were gathering evidence to lock away teachers and healers at Oaksterdam, a student named One L. Goh opened fire in a building at Oikos University, about half a mile away. Goh killed seven people and injured three more. Oakland’s local SWAT team rushed to the scene, but could only secure the area and locate victims, because Goh had quickly fled. An hour later, Goh admitted the shooting to a security guard working at a Safeway. Where were the U.S. Marshals during the manhunt? They were half a mile away, engaged with the important work of investigating teachers and ripping plants up by the root, of course!

The raid on Oaksterdam, flagship of the medical marijuana armada, has galvanized medical pot supporters. Lawmakers from five states have written the Obama administration, demanding it live up to its campaign promise to leave medical marijuana to the states.

Why all of this repression against planters? Because plants put power in the hands of people — the power to feed ourselves, the power to provide our own medicine, the power to make friends and allies in our communities. Governments instinctively want to keep us dependent, and will often display passive aggression to community gardens, or irrational and violent hostility to marijuana grows. The death suburb of today will still become the community garden of tomorrow, because there will simply not be enough fossil fuel energy to keep up a massive police state, nor the appearance of Apollonian order on every front lawn.

Go ahead and spray Roundup on that dandelion today, but tomorrow you may be jackhammering the entire sidewalk out, looking for more area to cultivate.

April 2, 2012

The World Needs another Damned Opinion about Trayvon Martin’s Slaying

The Tree-Hugging Dirt Worshiper watched more than one consecutive hour of MSNBC the other day and is ready to tear out his own eyeballs again. All shows on the network must frame the story in the same way: Trayvon Martin, 17-year old black man, was walking back from the store when George Zimmerman, 28-year old racist White Latino overzealous neighborhood watchman, started following him. Zimmerman was on the line with 911; Martin knew he was being followed and started to run; perhaps a struggle ensued. Because of his fanatical racism and Florida’s “Kill at Will” self-defense law, Zimmerman felt justified in shooting Martin to death. Because of Florida’s pro-vigilante self-defense law and their own racism, the police let Zimmerman go. Moral: We must change Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and stomp out all racism.

For a little while, I found MSNBC more bearable than the conventional news because their pro-Democrat bias better matches my own. Fox is biased to the Republicans; CNN is biased to the ridiculous story that Republicans and Democrats are just equally wonderful. But I can’t stand being propagandized to, and spoken to like a little child anymore, from any news source. I can’t stand seeing a human story stripped to the studs that will hold up the message of the day,  then having that message repeated and repeated and repeated at me. (Note: Al Sharpton went into Martin’s Sanford neighborhood to broadcast, and talked to the family and politicians in town the day after his own mother died, and generally treated the thing with some thought and respect. He didn’t have to tiptoe around race or the questionable self-defense law, either. Good job, Reverend.)

The same propaganda story appeared in many permutations on AlterNet. In “Trayvon Martin and America’s Racist Underbelly, ” Gary Younge writes that:

 “To assume that when you see a black man you see a criminal is rooted in the fact that black men have been systematically criminalized. That excuses nothing but explains a great deal.

Add to this lax gun laws, entrenched segregation, deep economic inequalities and a statute that endorses vigilantism, and a murder of this kind is inevitable.”

Another story points out that the Stand Your Ground law is connected to the foul arch-conservative Koch Brothers, and another is titled “Let’s Be Honest: Trayvon Martin is Dead Because Black People Are Scary.” On the liberal side, acceptable explanations for the facts include race, race, race, and faulty self-defense and gun laws. (Conservatives are taking a “wait and see” approach, hoping that the known facts will change to give them some kind of acceptable story. Usually, the NRA would speak out about such a high-profile shooting and suggest that things would have gone better if the victim had been armed. Yet, they are being spineless silent cowards at the moment, creepily suggesting that they only favor an armed White  populace.)

So, every way I’ve heard the story, it makes no sense. Maybe George Zimmerman was afraid of black people, toted a gun, and was aware of Florida’s forgiving self-defense laws. Those things don’t quite add up to shooting a fleeing man. Now that I’ve Clockwork-Oranged the story into my own consciousness, I have to arrange it into some kind of sense for myself, or live with the irritation of not understanding. Therefor I find Trayvon Martin’s slaying decent fodder for a blog entry; may you glean something from it, also.

Poor Trayvon Martin, his only motivation was to get home with some Skittles and tea. His role in the story is that he was going about everyday activities in the neighborhood when a paranoid person ended his life senselessly. He may have smoked weed, gotten into trouble at school and posted naughty Tweets, but so what? Perhaps he fought back (we know that he tried to run away, because Zimmerman said so to the 911 operator.) But who the Hell is George Zimmerman and what motivated him?

The Huffington Post reports on Zimmerman’s rageful history: his ex-girlfriend, Veronica Zuazo, reported several violent incidents involving an out-of-control Zimmerman; police once dropped charges against Zimmerman for resisting arrest and assaulting an officer; Zimmerman’s tailgating once inspired a driver to spit his gum at Zimmerman’s car, causing Zimmerman to call the police.

Zimmerman loves calling the police, and he loves to use force in defense of law and order. From 2001-2005, Zimmerman worked security for house parties. He was fired from one agency for being too aggressive with out-of-control partiers, having thrown a drunken lady, twisting her ankle. An anonymous coworker reported, “He definitely loved being in charge. He loved the power.” Neighbors have reported Zimmerman following them home and otherwise acting outside of the normal scope of a neighborhood watch volunteer.

So George Zimmerman loves to play enforcer, but lacks judgement about what move to make when. He’s called 911 47 times in recent years, trying to catch bad guys, which suggests to me that his paranoia is extreme to the psychotic — he inhabits a dream world far, far from consensus reality. Bad guys are lurking everywhere — doesn’t the evening news inform each of us about that? There is  a strong racial element to the paranoia — the bad guy tends to always be Black or Muslim.

Let’s sideline the race issue, because there are all kinds of stories circulating about that. I get it — the Bad Guys programmed into our subconscious minds are disproportionately dark-skinned. Most people can’t grapple with this in themselves because admitting to a single racist thought would send them into conniptions of self-flagellation. Dark-skinned people therefor suffer from extra suspicion, from the disproportionate scrutiny of supermarket security goons right on up to judges handing down wrongly-weighted sentences.

Allow me to flesh out the racism and gun violence stories by presenting a complementary story, an equally flat morality tale called “Trayvon Martin’s Slaying Illustrates Epidemic of Paranoia.”

George Zimmerman embarked on his career of party security guard the same year that some murderers steered jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. There was a nationwide surge in security measures, from offices to chemical plants to shopping malls to government buildings. Everyone was advised to look out for the terrorist threat, which might reveal itself through political views or unusual behaviors. Most people felt that crime was on the rise, even during stretches when it wasn’t. And every night the local Miami news stations were leading with stories of murder, robbery and rape.

George was going to stand on the side of Law and Order. Capable of snapping and going into violent fits, Zimmerman saw himself as Thor, his gun as Mjollnr, the bad guys as Ice Giants threatening Middle Earth. (Well, he probably wouldn’t go with the Viking motif, but something similarly grand and mythic.) If he didn’t have the makings of a Navy Seal, then Zimmerman was going to make a difference in the neighborhood watch, doing battle with the foes of suburban suspended animation, keeping things quiet and Evil-free.

One rainy day, Zimmerman was driving up and down the streets in his SUV, trying to spot Bad Guys. He spotted a young black man in a hoodie, and being a watcher of the evening news, he thought that he might be onto a Bad Guy. He would tell the 911 dispatcher: “It’s raining and he’s just walkin’ around, lookin’ about… He’s just staring. He was looking at all the houses…” So there is Trayvon Martin’s suspicious behavior: he was walking in the rain, looking at houses. Good suburban people, in Zimmerman’s twisted view, are so physically unwell and averse to the elements that they require aid of an SUV/super-cushy-wheelchair to move around the neighborhood during times of rain. Walking is suspect, with or without a hood to keep the rain off your face.

When you walk through a neighborhood, you naturally look at the houses you’re going by. It’s a more interesting view than the sidewalk in front of you. These days, you’re supposed to walk with your eyes down. Eyes elsewhere, and you might be casing joints or picking fights. The best way to look non-suspicious is to go out in a ridiculous outfit that says “I’m only moving about out-of-doors to get my aerobic exercise!” I won’t say that the hoodie did him in, but Trayvon Martin would never have been shot wearing Spandex pants and sporting a yellow-green reflective stripe on the back of his jacket.

Zimmerman thought that there was something wrong with Martin, that he must be on drugs. Martin probably had a concerned face because he knew he was being followed! So remember, citizens, that displaying an emotion in public is a warning sign of deviant behavior. Face dead, eyes down!

Finally, Zimmerman couldn’t stand letting the 47th criminal slip away, so he drove that pedestrian down and hopped out of his SUV for a confrontation. According to the young lady Martin was talking to on the phone, “Trayvon said, ‘What are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell.” Someone (not Zimmerman) was heard screaming in the street and then shots rang out from Zimmerman’s 9mm handgun.

Poor Trayvon, he talked back to someone with delusions of authority. In Zimmerman’s head, he was following Martin because of his role as Neighborhood Watchman, and what kind of scummy criminal would question his honorable position? That’s the equivalent of quizzing a police officer on the Bill of Rights (lately considered a warning sign of a terrorist bent — along with “people acting suspiciously, departing quickly when seen or approached, or in places where they do not belong“). Zimmerman probably used to wear a Hall Monitor badge and beat up his classmates, and people thought he was just a little overzealous. The local police apparently thought of him as one of their own, ’cause who else would they drop the charge of assaulting an officer for? Apparently no one was concerned enough about Zimmerman’s violent outbursts to steer him into some counseling or psychiatric help. The authoritarian thug is a welcome character type in our society. We seem to feel that we need people like that to stand between us and anarchy.

Black people, I can understand that you are really tired of this type going after you.  Hoplophobic liberals, I can understand that you are tired of stupid disputes and petty crimes escalating into shootings. But let’s not forget the roles of good old-fashioned paranoia, and the urge to righteously inflict violence on another. George Zimmerman’s crime stands out because he only thought  he was in a position to inflict “legitimate” violence on the Other — he was just a volunteer on the neighborhood watch, but if he had the state’s proper authorization for violence, Trayvon Martin would only be another Black victim of police brutality. As it was, police almost managed to hide the murder for their friend George.

Kind of like how these cops acted to protect themselves, endangering everyone around them (shooting in all directions from the middle of an intersection on a busy street, then threatening witnesses with their guns). I don’t claim to know the ratio of honorable cops to abusive cops, but I do know that there are enough videos of cops violently abusing people in circulation to keep you occupied 24/7. The nation will tolerate a lot of violence in the name of maintaining order.

Our nation as a whole occupies and violently abuses Afghanistan and shoots anybody anywhere in the world for any secret purpose, even our own people. Could there be connections between the “global cop” role of America’s CIA and military, the swelling police/intelligence apparatus, abuses by hometown police, news media obsessed by crime and terrorism and the case of the Psychotically Overzealous Neighborhood Watchman? Out there beyond my window, it looks a little bit like a Twilight Zone episode where everybody gets infected by a creeping paranoia until they start preemptively murdering each other!

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