Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

November 28, 2012

Patriotic Patriarchs Toss Aside the Wimpy Enemy

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 7:00 pm
Lincoln beats a secession petitioner and steps back into a movie poster.

Lincoln beats a petitioner.

Ubermensch threatening a Jew

The powerful and the weak.

Strong arms versus wimps holding up papers.

Strong arms versus wimps holding up papers.

Knocking the little guy down

Knocking the little guy down

Is cartoonist Rob Tornoe looking to the wrong role models?

I’m not arguing that Lincoln is just like Hitler or that secessionists are persecuted like Jews or anything in that ballpark. I’m just pointing to the recycling of symbols and stories that should have been retired long ago.

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August 8, 2012

Escape from Wonderland

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 12:25 am

Today I went to vote and received a sticker claiming that “My vote counted!” I seem to remember a time in the past when you received a sticker that said, “I voted.” Like “I gave blood,” the sticker was a subtle social pressure to get other people doing the same thing. If more people vote, that should tend to make our sham democracy less of a sham.

“My vote counted” means something completely different. It means “I have faith in the electoral system.” Which I don’t… I can’t really say if I fed my ballot today directly into a paper shredder or not. Anyways, the candidates who win are generally those anointed by party machines, which live as a sort of parasite or symbiont on the corporatocracy. By and large, we the people don’t count because we almost¬† always vote as those with advertising dollars tell us (the more educated will listen to the pet journalists of the corporatocracy, who depend on the advertising rather than writing it. Advertising trumps investigation either way).

“My vote counted” is just a little intrusion of the phony propaganda world into my real life. The worst is when I try to find some news of the world and extend my view beyond my narrow little Michigan horizon (although, to be fair to this fine state, I do¬† feel like the trees limiting my line of sight, are at the right height.) The politics is all left-right, while the people at the center of it, never mentioned, suck money and life-blood from all the peoples of the world. The science is all gee-whiz, and an unexpected result in a laboratory game is always hailed as a groundbreaking new insight into the human condition. History only goes back as far as World War II. The United States isn’t an imperial power, we’re the champion of freedom around the world. It makes me want to snort bath salts and run amok, naked and howling.

The Powers That Be have yet to attain total control over our information. In fact, you can frequently hear them wringing their hands over the breakdown of consensus and the rising popularity of alternative, odd, and sometimes unbelievable beliefs. When people have been raised by T.V. and the K-12 system to be non-thinking corporate servitors, and yet they can no longer accept the nonsensical mainstream chorus message, they’re going to invent some funky explanations for the way the world is. As long as they’re not blaring hateful vibes, look at the funky beliefs of (biodynamic gardeners, state militia members, Wilhem Reich followers, the Tea Party…) and try to find the grain of truth that’s driving them.

That said, with the help of friends and family, I have developed some strategies for getting less-warped news of the world.

You can avoid the American corporate media. Read a local paper from Canada, available online (that’s how I discovered that U.S. States were floating bills to ban photography of farms, largely to facilitate horrible conditions for animals). Listen to the BBC, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, or even NPR. I don’t particularly trust these sources as truthful, but they will widen up your field of vision.

There are also independent voices you can hear over the Internet. I really enjoy Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert — they are on Russia Today and an Iranian channel, amongst other outlets, including some truly independent ones. It’s true that the duo won’t slam Russia on RT, but Russia doesn’t loom huge on my list of concerns. Max and Stacy’s job is to expose financial scams, which are plentiful and expensive in this world. Max was once a Wall Street broker and knows first hand what kind of rip-off artists inhabit the circles of high finance. There is no kowtowing to “technocrats” or Too-Big-to-Fail institutions from the mighty Max & Stacy.

Now, I don’t have an endless hunger to hear about financial scandal, but there are often other good news items reposted on maxkeiser.com, or Max will have guests on who you can look up to find out something new. He’s hosted the likes of Dmitry Orlov and James Howard Kunstler, who hold the view that the corporatist economy has grown to its limits and must now crash (credit and investment don’t work so hot in a shrinking economy. And it will be a dark day if the money system becomes so shoddy that, for instance, delivery drivers wake up and decide that it’s no longer worth going to work).

Most recently, I’ve been visiting the Internet home of the Corbett Report, broadcast from “the sunny climes of Western Japan.” Corbett follows the activities of elites to gather “Open Source Intelligence” on them and discover what they are really up to. Hint: the ranks of those with great wealth and power are made up largely of people who crave great wealth and power. Everything Corbett presents is sourced, thus shedding light on many new fields for the Internet-scrounger.

Corbett believes that Peak Oil is a hoax, Orlov believes it’s as certain as gravity. There is no phony consensus outside of propaganda Wonderland, but you can bet that Orlov and Corbett have a reasonable disagreement, and aren’t paid to speak from their particular opposing positions. What kind of person can be paid to hold to a particular line? What kind of credibility should you grant such a person?

It is totally necessary to dig into the dark, hidden side of things, like Smeagol fishing in a dark hole or turning over rocks to find worms and wood lice. If you have no drive to look at the evil, you would totally allow Nazis to take your neighbors away and figure that they were really going to a fun and educational camp. But there is also a wonderful side to life, of volcano-painted sunsets and meteor showers and creative people to appreciate.

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of The Grid, the mile roads and power lines and mowed fields of Southeastern Michigan and ten thousand other metropolitan sprawls around the world. So, I suggest escaping its all-stultifying influence by allowing one corner of your backyard to go wild. You could water it in a drought or cut back a nasty invasive plant, but mainly just support the life there, and don’t try to utilize or prettify it too much. This is a place to forget about the endless echo of human chatter and value judgements and artifice.

Learn from weeds.

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