Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

there has always been reset after reset once the white race invaded Turtle Island . . . Nothing New Under the Sun, man . . . theft, bribes, murder, maiming, polluting, colonizing, absolute control of the masses!

It’s an unprecedented coalition of business networks that have come together to raise our ambition. Not just to help our individual CEOs succeed, we’ll do that for sure. But to actually bring their voices together to help shift culture. So that the pushback on the BRT [Business Roundtable] from different business publications or other people within the business community lessens. So there’s less of a headwind culturally for this type of leadership.  — Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab and B Corporations [Source]

[These are not good people, and if anyone thinks otherwise, then, well, War is Peace, Truth is Lies, Hate is Love!]

We Are Big Data’s Dregs

The great data dredge. Everyone’s hired through a digital head hunter, staffing firm, and the result is a continuation of atomizing society with no water cooler, so to speak, from which to complain about working conditions, to discuss the next austerity measure concocted by the boss/management/ CEO/Corporation. No after work bull session at the local Chili’s or T.G.I.F. to compare notes about those exploding gas tanks and caustic chemicals and faulty electrodes in the air bag systems.

This is what Ford would have wanted, and this is what the heads of retail and data and manufacturing want. They’ve already put most of us over a barrel with forced arbitration clauses, non-compete agreements (sic), and rule after penalty after threat after law after delimitation, that, well, in this knowledge (sic) economy and post-Industrial (sic) economy, the white collar and pink collar workers are hemmed in by management. More than the field hands picking this country’s lettuce!

The hemming in is an oppression planned and sealed, and a deep seated zombifcation of the “higher castes” and to be honest, people of the land, even those in struggle, in other countries that have been deemed shit-holes by Trump and Third World by Biden have more gumption about them, more ability to fight the systems, the oppressors, than any member of the Western Civilization.

Just drive around your town or suburb, anywhere. Take a look at what and how the systems have been set up for and about the rich, for the money changers, for the money takers, for the dream hoarders. Take a look. How many bus stations, how many covered and art-imbued public amenities? How many public toilets, public waysides, public paths, public trails, public pedestrian overpasses, public bandstands, public gazebos, public museums, public eateries, public statues, signs, art, historical markers? How many trees and shrubs and open spaces set up for the public? How many picnic tables and interpretive trails, and . . . . ? How many tiny home villages for the houseless? How many community gardens? Theaters and cinemas for and by the people?

Talk about dead and lobotomized citizens, as we have allowed the captains of industry and oppressors of finance and the legions of pushers of the realm rule: retailers, consumer crack salesmen/women, middle managers, ant hill after ant hill of processors and facilitators of the entire house of cards built upon the dopamine hits of lizard drips of the brain. “I betcha can’t eat just one Lays potato chip,” now on steroids – “I betcha you can’t just have 3 big screen TVs in your pad . . . “And now you fill in that blank – Just look at the so-called Black Friday ads.

Amazing, junk, junk and more junk. Families buying deep fryers and rice steamers and any number of electronic junk that they can’t or don’t know how to use. All that plastic and tin, diodes and LED screens. All of that planned obsolescence. Nary a word about the embedded energy, the packaging, the toil and slave labor, the life cycle analysis. Piles and piles of worthless junk, planned to break, parts planned to snap, wires planned and ready to melt.

Planned Human Obsolescence

This is not a difficult thing to comprehend,  about socialism for the land and people versus capitalism for the elite and bankers and small group of sociopaths, who will fight tooth and nail (well, with a battalion of lawyers at $1500 an hour each, not really a fight per se) to push the poisons, hawk the faulty products, demand the welfare for the rich and corporations, and deposit all the externalities of their profit schemes onto the public and the commons’ health.

But . . .  Man, those “buts.” I talk all the time with great white saviors, who just start spewing at the mouth of the evils of socialism, and that, well, capitalism is good, and “we let Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg” accumulate so much wealth and power, so it’s our fault, and really, is it that bad we have these Titans who give us goods and services? This is like heaven compared to countries who push that bullshit democratic socialism crap. Do you know what the 10 pillars of socialism/communism/Marxism are?”

Try putting “debunking the critics of socialism” into the Google Gulag Search, and you shall receive so much hatred and polemics around anything tied to socialism on the first 50 pages of the search, that, well, you get the picture why these big white saviors will dare  come up to me and challenge me the socialist on how and why socialism is bad-bad-bad while capitalism is god’s work.

As these great white saviors are pushing a cart filled with two TV’s, a new printer, two iPads, and junk junk junk, 50 pounds of kitty liter and a hundred pounds of dog chow. While walking past the two young men I am working with who are taking in shopping carts as part of their competitive work as people who happen to be living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. These Great White Hopes are Blind to “them.”

These great white saviors, well, it’s all about survival of the fittest. All about the colonized mind. All about – “you majored in the wrong subject matter, sucker . . . born into the most messed up family, sucker . . . grew up on that side of the railroad tracks, dufus . . . got stuck with those bills and foreclosures, sucker.”

Oh, the invisible hand of the oppressors, and these people – Biden and Trump supporters, what have you – are criminal thinkers, really, because with one huge swath of their inhuman brain, they disregard 90 percent of the planet’s people.

“They are all sucka’s for being born where they are and from the loins of ‘those’ rotten people.”

A Sucker Borne Every Nanosecond

Oh, and I am seeing more and more quasi-leftist stuff, saying, well, the left needs to embrace the Trumpies, to work with them on labor rights, on environmental rights, on health care for all, on all those issues, and not be so hung up on their misogyny, racism, classism, white Duck Dynasty Ted Nugent shit.

Insanity, man. Leftists writing from the comfort of their offices, well, they are a dime a dozen. The reality on the ground is that this country has a cool 100 million or so hateful, resentful, ignorant of the world, pro-war, rah-rah, hate welfare of all kinds sort of people. They don’t have to be Proud Boys and KKK. These people in this USA, the white ones, mostly, have come from that evil spawn stock, back even before SCD, Smith Colony Disease.

Then, again, we have Democrats with a wilted big “D” who need their comeuppance, and who are just one half brain shy of a squid, and somehow, the other squids (sorry about the dispersion to cephalopods) with another load of brain cells missing need to be embraced, because, the GOP and Trumpies and the like want to move toward a truly socialist society?

Again, the reality is some bad-ass slow, consistent and in many cases rapid death by a 1,000 capitalist cuts.

I meet people in my new job, working with Adults with ID/DD, to get job ready and jobs in the community – real jobs, not stuck in some sheltered workshop getting one-tenth the wage of anyone else in the same job.

Sure, I am doing great work, god’s work, the work of an angel (they really say this stuff to me, a commie, a devoted atheist), and while I get the gist of that, we talk about how it is my careers have been shit for pay, highly exploitive and yet highly regarded in some sense: teaching, social services, and, well, community journalism.

“Ha-ha, you are doing these great services knowing you are not going to get rich doing it, but thank you for your service.”

Imagine that stupidity, that dense mentality. Imagine, the hard jobs that need doing in a broken capitalist society with wave after wave of damaged, chronically ill, economically strafed, mentally poisoned, generously precarious, and one paycheck away from bad ass disaster citizens on the precipice? PayDay Loans? That in and of itself defines capitalism. The Mafiosi aspect of this spiritually deserted society.

Yet, now, these great leftist warriors are saying the Trumpies and the GOP of the world – the log cutters, the mill workers, the truckers, the blue collar millionaires – that they want workplace rights, the right to strike, the right to squat, the right to refuse bad and dangerous work; that they want to be able to shut down polluting industries, and the right of the people to take over industries? That these Trumpies and GOP want universal health care, universal rights for all people. That these GOP and Trumpies want real education, more education, holistic education, writing and thinking across the curriculum, across disciplines, across industries. That the GOP-Trumpies will work so-so well with organizers and “the people” over defunding and holding to task “the police-backed” banks-warehouses-fulfillment centers. Right!@#$%

So how does anyone on both sides of the manure pile called USA politics square this fact?

Ahh, the world’s 26 richest people currently have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—down from 61 people in 2016. As the rich get richer, sea levels are rising, tribalism is flourishing, and liberal democracies are regressing. Even some of the wealthiest nations are plagued by job insecurity, debt, and stagnant wages. Ordinary people across the political spectrum are increasingly concerned that the system is rigged against them. Trust in public institutions is near an all-time low.

So that Google search got one hit on the “other side” of the dividing line (not really) – “What the Right Gets Wrong About Socialism. As Scandinavia shows, it does feature plenty of public ownership—but also a thriving economy.” Erlend Kvitrug, June 29, 2019 at Foreign Policy Magazine.

Sure, we get this from the Norwegian —

Norway’s success has not come without costs—wealth accrued through oil and other extractive industries has had harsh ecological consequences. But students there and across Scandinavia graduate without the horrifying debt burdens of their U.S. counterparts. Those who sustain injuries in traffic accidents never have to beg bystanders not to call for an ambulance, for fear of drowning in medical debt. Norwegian diabetics don’t need to crowdsource their insulin. As seniors, they don’t spend their golden years working at Walmart or living in their vehicles. Their homes were not repossessed en masse by banks during the Great Recession. Extensive public ownership shields Norwegians from the harshest aspects of unfettered capitalism.

But then he attacks North Korea and Venezuela for being failing socialist countries, and without the context of the international transnational monetary criminal system of sanctions and debt and theft of Venezuela’s treasury, and war war war with Korea still on the hot plate. Then the illegal maneuvers of governments like the USA and supported by all those others, including Norway, in its attack on Venezuela’s elected leaders and support of the dirty rich racist opposition groups, that is not mentioned.

Yep, there is a link in the Norwegian’s piece to another article – July 2018, “There is Nothing Inherently Wrong with State Ownership” by Matthew Bruenig over at Current Affairs Magazine.

Again, short anemic, and an essay in response to an attack on Norway and Sweden and “socialist” countries in the Nordic category by a New York Times “writer,” a Bret Stephens, who is sloppy and makes untrue claims in this piece, “Democratic Socialism Is Dem Doom.”

No Richard Wolf and no Michael Parenti or any thousands upon thousands of thinkers who know about societies and economies and cultures and ecologies who could put this tripe to rest. This is it?

Hemming Us In

Imagine, a 69-year-old working in a deli at a national chain. “I was once a speech therapist with a thriving private practice. And then my retirement went bust, thanks to Enron.” So, Molly works with a terrible limp, arthritis everywhere and almost no hair left. Fryers, slicers, prepping, and she runs it. Since age 55, when not only her measly retirement went bust, but the speech therapy arena turned more and more into high end certification racket, and gobbled up by, well, monopolies, agencies that scarf up the independents, or make it impossible to compete against the aggregators and services felons.

Then another guy, James, working the parking lot, bathrooms, carts, etc., making a wage when he started at this national grocery chain, of $9.75 an hour. He busts his butt, and we talked about his chronic heart failure, the meds he takes each month, all of that, including the pace maker and other aspects of his life, at age 60. He is at $12 an hour after five years with this outfit, and he tells me his supervisor likes his work, and his helping the other cart people, so much so that he is in for a wage increase to $15 an hour. He has to wait 90 days for the higher ups to approve that.

Hemming in. Working hard jobs at an old age to keep bad health insurance that is part of a for-triple-profit system of penury and theft. Oh, stories of an item being charged 18 times more during this Covid “crisis.”

A study that revealed hospitals may be charging as much as 18 times over their costs.

Nurse Jean Ross – “ Yes. Again, unconscionable, but that seems to be the way in this country. Up to 18 times. So, for example, if your true cost — it’s called the charge-to-cost ratio, or CCR — if your true cost for your service is $100, they are, in many cases, charging up to $1,800. And they do it because they can.” This from a study put out by National Nurses United.

Sit on the Ground and Try and Pull Yourself Up by Bootstraps

Those great white hopes, those big happy white males and big happy white females who voted for Trump and then those that believe Biden is better, well, that’s what we have – “Just let it take place, and that’s the way the Capitalist Cookie crumbles. What would Cuba be doing? The great invisible hand will fix things!”

Where I currently work – a small non-profit – the amount of software and tracking-time management apps and all the government agencies I have to get my mandatory trainings on and get my certifications renewed, well, it’s almost daunting. That’s the squeeze, the money train to the middle men, having nothing to do with my job, my humanity, work.

This is a non-for-profit agency working with adults with ID/DD.

Imagine all those warehouses and factories and office buildings and other places where the atomization was already on overdrive before the plan-pandemic.

Now, with the lockdowns, the on-line doom dungeons, and alas, with more and more AI and IT measures in place to keep us out of each other’s social distance arena, things are really degrading big time.

Teaching to the New Technology

I want to look at another gig I had – substitute teaching. Not just the bad working conditions of the public schools and anxious teachers and idiotic principals and the dictatorial superintendent. Let’s look at the payrate. Look at this – substitute teachers, K12, in Oregon, on the Coast, now managed by a Tennessee outfit. Note the hourly rate, and of course, coming into substitute teaching, a teaching certificate is required, and that means, well, most teachers like me, we have master’s degrees. That Oregon licensing costs another cool $400 to get the license and jump through the hoops. We get no mileage expended to get to and from very remote schools.

Job details — $14 an hour; Full-time/ Part-time; The State of Oregon requires all substitute teachers to hold an active Oregon Teaching License, Restricted Substitute Teaching License, or an Oregon Reciprocal License.  As leaders in the education staffing space since 2000, ESS specializes in placing qualified staff in daily, long-term, and permanent K-12 school district positions including substitute teachers, school aides, and other school support staff. With more than 700 school district partners throughout the US, ESS supports the education of more than 2.5 million students every day.

I had been teaching as a substitute a year ago. I had been hired by the District, and my contacts were through the District. I was making $80 for four hours and $160 for seven. In many cases I could get called in late and then get ready, make the drive in the rural county, get to the school and still  get the full day’s pay rate. That’s more than $18 an hour, and alas, I got to know the teachers who wanted me when they had planned absences, and the school secretaries also knew me.

There is a shortage of substitutes, and, well, if things were better all around, substitutes could be integrated more seamlessly and holistically to provide amazing outside the box perspectives and teaching.

Not so in Lincoln County, as is true of most counties, with plenty of Administrators, plenty of bullshit curriculum cops, plenty of teach-to-the- test zombies running roughshod over the entire project of working with our youth, our kids, our aspiring young adults.

This staffing “solution” is killing again teachers getting together, working with the district, getting to know people in the district, airing grievances with the district. Everything goes through this Tennessee outfit. Complaints go nowhere, and if you get a complaint leveled against you by a school, ESS will NOT go to bat. They have taken that $18 an hour and whittled it to $14 an hour. Then, they probably charge more than just that $4 per each hour taught to the DIstrict. Add to the fact they will manage who gets called, how they get called. These people are running call centers, data dredging centers, and know zilch about the schools, the roads, the weather, the culture, the teachers, the students.

I am sure they will not be allowing teachers to get a few extra hours pay if they are called in late and end up working a partial day. I am sure there are all sorts of cost-cutting (human-killing measures) this Education Staffing Solutions outfit deploys.

And, they probably pay Google for a net cast to see how many hits on the world wide web Education Staffing Solutions gets mentioned or Yelped or rated on Indeed or Linked In. You can only imagine if I was still employed as a substitute teacher, through ESS, that conversation happening, as ESS would be the outfit that would be managing me, so to speak. Finding this article criticizing them, well, sayonara subbing Mister Paul Haeder.

Management fees, man, and government (local, city, county and state, and federal) giving up oversight and decent livable wages for all the agencies and the public utilities (that we could have) and everything else, gone to middle and middle and middle men.

Again, these warped folk with ESS probably backed Trump and believe in Capitalism on Steroids, while they make bank on all the public entities across the land, AKA, public schools.

That the bus systems for schools is now outsourced from sea to shining sea, that again, defines the bottom line of pathetic capitalism. All the food cooked in cafeterias, outsourced to Sodexo. There is nothing local anymore, and these multinationals, these huge stockholder and stock board run outfits, they are making money off of us, US taxpayer, and in that formula, they are welfare recipients, and mostly welfare cheats, and with ESS, they are ripping off the very people that do the work – teachers, para-educators, more.

My comeuppance it seems was being banned from the entire District because of a few students I was in charge of at a local high school accused me of “upsetting” them when we were having a classroom discussion about homelessness, about epigenetics and families, about poverty, about the potential for many people to become substance abusers. We were talking about the books Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm.

What happened was La-La-Land level stuff, and while I think some students are crackpots, and little versions of really bad parents, I am ready to deal with crackpots and talk them off their cliff.

I did not get my day in court, so to speak, and I was not allowed to explain what could have been the students’ (three of them) hysteria, and I had no chance to query the people involved or bringing in the rest of the classroom students who were both inquisitive and enthralled to have a well-traveled, well-read, well-educated, well-experienced person like me in their classroom, albeit, temporary.

And ESS did nothing to defend me, protect me, or gain some sort of redress. That was a year ago.

Here’s a positive story — “Musings on a Monday After Teaching High School Get You Down? Nope!”

Another — “Professor Pablo and Fourth Grade Enlightenment in Lincoln City”

Education By and Because of the Corporation

The backdrop of my teaching debut … was a predicament without any possible solution, a deadly brew compounded from twelve hundred black teenagers penned inside a gloomy brick pile for six hours a day, with a white guard staff misnamed ‘faculty’ manning the light towers and machine-gun posts. This faculty was charged with dribbling out something called ‘curriculum’ to inmates, a gruel so thin [that this school] might rather have been a home for the feeble-minded than a place of education. —John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education

I did get a bird’s eye and on-the-ground look at the elementary, middle and high schools in this District. I have done substituting elsewhere, as in Vancouver, Seattle, Spokane and El Paso. Things are not looking good for youth. And I have written about that fact decades ago, and, yes, way before COronaVIrusDisease-2019, and, now, in a time of stupidity, fear, self-loathing, and complete loss of agency, the world is flipped around and, in most cases, crushed for our young people.

Did I mention fear, and while this Intercept piece below is a superficial look at the digital divide, there is so-so much more to write about this lockdown and social (pariah) distancing. It is a caste system on steroids. Calling it “remote learning” is doublespeak, oxymoronic.

In agro-industrial Watsonville, California, English-language learners struggle with remote learning. It’s much easier for students in a nearby Bay Area suburb.

I have a daughter, a step-daughter and a niece in various schooling situations. One is in med school, one is getting a chemistry degree and one is in esthetician school. Hmm, you’d expect hands-on for med school and chemistry majors. Nope. The fear factor for one of the three young women is high, and she is not wanting to leave campus, and the great reset is not in her vocabulary. There is a bombastic, “I am so glad Trump is gone. I hate him. I wish he was dead” from one of the college students. But that’s about it.

The med school woman, well, she is still having to pay out the nose for the school, yet there are less hands-on classes, again, through this doublespeak system of “remote learning.”

Now the esthetician student is hands-on, learning about the human skin dynamics, the chemistry of things in the body and outside, and working on clients, hands on. Seems very interesting that this one area – not to knock one career choice over another – has more practical hands on work than university-level chemistry majors and medical school attendees.

Now, the chemistry major’s school is introducing an “app of paranoia and tracking 101” – you put it on your smart phone, and all those who accept this app, well, as soon as someone tests (sic) positive for the virus (sic), then the entire network of users will get a notification and a detailed map of that person’s whereabouts. Oh, it’s secure, safe, no personal data shared (or mined – right!) they say, and that is a blatant lie-lie-lie. This is the Great Reset, and it’s pathetic and a gateway drug to implanted RFID’s.

The two college students, well, they are focused on their majors, but because of the siloing (atomization) of schooling, the demands on S/T/E/M do not enter the real of STEAM, science technology engineering arts math as  interdisciplinary critical studies and as a praxis of seeing how the world could, should and might work outside the Corporate Thievery of Capitalism.

The net effect of holding children in confinement for twelve years without honor paid to the spirit is a compelling demonstration that the State considers the Western spiritual tradition dangerous, subversive. And of course it is. School is about creating loyalty to certain goals and habits, a vision of life, support for a class structure, an intricate system of human relationships cleverly designed to manufacture the continuous low level of discontent upon which mass production and finance rely.” —John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education

More atomization, and more dumb-downing, and more caste systems, and more social-economic-intellectual-employment-philosophical-cultural distancing. This is it for us, no?

 …. the world’s 26 richest people currently have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—down from 61 people in 2016. As the rich get richer, sea levels are rising, tribalism is flourishing, and liberal democracies are regressing. Even some of the wealthiest nations are plagued by job insecurity, debt, and stagnant wages. Ordinary people across the political spectrum are increasingly concerned that the system is rigged against them. Trust in public institutions is near an all-time low.” [source]

Read some of this report, and the surface stuff, well, just surface feel good stuff, but dig deep — Oxfam Report. It’s harrowing.

Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist:
I am a practitioner of capitalism. I have started or funded 37 companies and was the first outside investor in Amazon. The most important lesson I have learned from these decades of experience with market capitalism is that morality and justice are the fundamental prerequisites for prosperity and economic growth. Greed is not good.

The problem is that almost every authority figure – from economists to politicians to the media – tells us otherwise. Our current crisis of inequality is the direct result of this moral failure. This exclusive, highly unequal society based on extreme wealth for the few may seem sturdy and inevitable right now, but eventually it will collapse. Eventually the pitchforks will come out, and the ensuing chaos will not benefit anyone – not wealthy people like me, and not the poorest people who have already been left behind.

Ironically, the woman going into the beauty field is much more keenly aware of the economic and social disasters befalling small businesses in her own city, her own state and her region of the country.  She is super left, but is keenly aware of her democratic governor’s insipid lockdown measures.

I have many friends who now are going bankrupt, closing their businesses. Those businesses are part of a multiplier fabric. The town is or was so much better off with all these independent and mom and pop owned businesses. Not just the cool eateries and breweries, but many people I know opened up furniture stores, businesses around building and construction, all kinds of services you can’t find at the national level. Heck, used computer parts and computers, and even car rental places. Things that are not part of the monopolizing Fortune 500 set. Gone.

That means, of course, STEAM is damaged, in that, sure, the arts are hit hard, but the rest of the STEM also are hit hard on many levels. These STEM folk like their food, beer, edgy stuff, locally sourced and owned. The neutron bomb  that the lockdowns and lack of financing and wages and deep-deep help for the small guys and gals, well, it is hollowing out and even more hollowed out economy. The STEM folk will follow the money, while the arts folk and those deeply tied to something richer than science for profit and engineering for war and math for building and construction and technology for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will embed and grow a city’s or town’s or area’s culture.

This all leads us back to the semi-liberal class, even the youth who hate Trump and who don’t get all the conspiracies because they go to schools (universities) which are nothing to shake a stick at, since they are tied to social constructs and hierarchies reliant on the investor class; and they pay out the nose, take out loans and go to classes that are on-line, given to them now largely by scared educators, monitored and mashed up by the Titans of Technology, who have colonized every aspect of our society, ESPECIALLY, PK12 and higher education.

The young woman working on beautifying people and supporting their self-esteem and confidence on a superficial level (skin deep beauty, so to speak), well, she is more acutely aware of the lies of the authorities on both sides of the political manure pile than these card-carrying creeps who actually think Kamala Harris is something good. Anyone-but-Trump is what got us here, this evil of two lesser, lesser of two evils. The two college-going/educated ones are more and more tied into getting out and making money, and not to knock them, because they too know the disgusting reality of poverty and more and more people who once had decent lives, who were the fabric of communities, from that baker to the speech therapist, from that teacher to the counselor, from that glass blower to that coffee shop owner, from all those service workers with lives outside just the service economy (if they are budding or bustling artists).

The creative class is not what Richard Florida yammers about. The liberal class, as Chris Hedges writes, is dead. Education has been gutted and sold down the river, as Henry Giroux states. The New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander states, is the new normal for not just American mindsets at the citizen level, but on the economic and investor and Capitalist level.

But conditions today favor the amateur. They favor “speed, brevity, and repetition; novelty but also recognizability.” Artists no longer have the time nor the space to “cultivate an inner stillness or focus”; no time for the “slow build.” Creators need to cater to the market’s demand for constant and immediate engagement, for “flexibility, versatility, and extroversion.” As a result, “irony, complexity, and subtlety are out; the game is won by the brief, the bright, the loud, and the easily grasped.”  — “The Great Unread: On William Deresiewicz’s The Death of the Artist

Capitalism is fascism, and it takes over entire cities and states and regions. It operates on the “buyer beware” mentality, which relies on consumers to take it up the rear, no foul called on the billionaires and CEOs and capitalist systems;  and it is protected through the fascist laws of the land created by the massagers of the law from the Supreme Court down to traffic court.

More Nazis Than They Knew What to do With

Again, the great reset tied to Dashboards, a million different types of Education Staffing Solutions (ESS), universal buffoon incomes, all of that inculcated by Karl Schwab, Bill Gates, the Aspen Institute, the TED-X-ers, the World Economic Forum, all of them in the elite class, their handlers, their sycophants, all of those billionaires determining the course of cradle to grave predetermination for billions of people (Zuckerberg has encircled the African continent with his cables and lines and  fiber optics), that reset was started decades ago. Debt. Foreclosures. Bailing out corporations. Drugs for guns; Crack Cocaine and the CIA; and, well, the CIA is god, into everything, right, making sure the reset has already been ensured. CIA and Nazis, and Mossad and Jihad, and, these are the merry makers of the world of Lords of War, Lords of Disruptive Economies, Lords of Predatory-Parasitic-Vulture-Usury Capitalism.

Operation Paperclip – 1,600 of Hitler’s Angels of Death. Housing, citizenship, and carte blanc living in the United States. Families welcomed. Italy’s and Germany’s intelligent agencies working closely with the National Security State, and this was in the form of so-called the rat-lines. Tens of thousands going to South America. Tens thousand other Nazi’s allowed to come to USA.

And this was the plan, from the last days right before WWII ended with an illegal double bang of Atomic Murdering Tools – all these stay-behind armies from those defeated fascists of Italy and Germany. Check out this interview on RT –Chris Hedges talks to Gabriel Rockhill about the undercurrents of fascism in America’s DNA, and the US role in internationalizing fascism after World War II through clandestine activities such Operation Paperclip and Operation Gladio.

Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher and the founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop and Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy, Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics, Radical History & the Politics of Art and Logique de l’histoire.

Try having conversations with liberal (illiberal) college-educated and college-loving Democrats about USA’s bioweapons program dating back to again, WWII, and Japanese scientists who were working on all sorts of bioweapons but were captured by the USA and reappropriated and brought back to the USA for, well, good paying jobs.

That is capitalism, right, reappropriating and stealing and setting up systems of mental, physical, psychological, biological, ecological, cultural repression, and eventually, disease and illness, because it pays more to treat and encourage the disease than it does to have a society living disease-free or at least living with those old time religion concepts of – precautionary principle, do no harm, preventative medicine, treat your fellow human as you would want to be treated. You know, all of that mumbo-jumbo that is not put into practice one iota in Capitalism, but certainly is mishmashed into the systems of propaganda, and, alas the “Si Se Puede” marketing of such criminals at Audacity of Hope Obama. et al makes some feel like there is change where change will NEVER be.

Until we get this liberal archetype  who says Columbus was a bad guy, and that the USA was built upon the deaths and murders of Indians and Blacks, but, shoot, when ordering from the Prime Amazon account, or when scrolling up and down the iPhone, and, well, all of that which we take for granted in this First World which comes on the back of people here and now in this country and especially in other countries, then, well, the tune changes.

Fascism: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality

Because in an economic fascism, when again, old worn out people have to still hoof it to Walmart and stock shelves, and when there is no home health care for the sick and dying, young or old, unless there is always huge exchanges of money going out into the pockets of the purveyors of capitalism, you will be getting variations on a theme of a people hooked on Netflix, hooked on buying, hooked on not knowing, hooked on confusion and chaos and, well, this is what is planned.

The great reset and fourth industrial revolution are no-brainers. We’ve given up our fingerprints for a shit job, we have given up blood and urine for a shit job, we are guilty before we can attempt to prove our humanity, our innocence, and in reality, we are always guilty in the eyes of Capitalists.

Western and ruling class ideologies have played a crucial and cruel role in the violent transformation of the peoples, ecosystems and biosphere. The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents the most violent transformation of all. For as long as the ruling class is allowed to exist, social and environmental justice remain pipe dreams. [Cory Morningstar, source]

We are now taking those supposedly benign things like tracking outcomes – you know, if you have prenatal education and vitamins as a pregnant teen, and if you get the little tikes reading on a Chromebook, watching Sesame Street and if you eat this veggie over that deep friend morsel, and, all of those metrics that the data ditzes love, all of it is now being used AGAINST self-agency, AGAINST not just individuals, but all manner of classes, groupings, economic strata. You do the stuff “right” which Bill and Melinda have studied are right, then there will be s few more digital dollars in your bank account. If you fail to do them, well, no more dialing for dollars.

Because the jobs are going. The mom and pops are folding. Even chains like bowling alleys and movie theaters, all of that, they are shuttering. This revolution was already in the works before Marshall McLuhan and the medium is the message and Herman and Chomsky’s manufacturing consent. Way before deadly at any speed, a la Nader, and way before the lies of better angels of our nature Pinker.

The fix was in long-long time ago, when the food was locked up and the agricultural revolution forced us to stop being human and humane, and made us into the cogs in so many machines of oppression and suppression.

Until today, when the Catholic freaks are coming in their vestments with their exorcising tools for anyone who would dare desecrate the statue of Columbus or any Fray who pushed their stinking selves and their stinking religions onto this continent and the one south.

In response to Indigenous-led efforts that demanded land back and the toppling of statues, Catholic Church leaders in Oregon and California deemed it necessary to perform exorcisms, thereby casting Indigenous protest as demonic. [Truthout]

LaRazaUnida cover the Fray Junípero Serra Statue in protest at the Brand Park Memory Garden across from the San Fernando Mission in San Fernando on June 28, 2020.
Exorcism: Increasingly frequent, including after US protests

This is 2020, and the trillionaire Catholic Church is walking in downtown Portland with these conquistadors of nothingness, while the great reset is happening, with the green light of the Pope. “The story did not end the way it was meant to,” Pope Francis wrote recently, deftly excommunicating about a half-century’s worth of economic ideology.  [source] In a striking, 43,000-word-long encyclical published last Sunday, the pope put his stamp on efforts to shape what’s been termed a Great Reset of the global economy in response to the devastation of COVID-19.”

Here it is imperative to note the consolidation of power happening in real time. World Economic Forum founder and CEO Klaus Schwab refers to this consolidation as a new global architecture; the new global governance. The following dates of are of paramount significance. On May 18, 2018, the World Bank partners with the United Nations. On June 13, 2019, the World Economic Forum partners with the United Nations. On March 11, 2020, the World Economic Forum partners with the World Health Organization (a UN body) launching the COVID Action Platform, a coalition of 200 of the world’s most powerful corporations. This number would quickly swell to over 700. On this same day, March 11, 2020, the WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. The UN-WEF partnership firmly positions Word Economic Forum at the helm of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also referred to as the Global Goals), which they are frothing at the mouth to implement. This is not because they care about poverty, biodiversity, the climate, or world hunger. Marketed with holistic language, dressed with beautiful images of brown smiling children, SDGs represent the new poverty economy (impact investing/social impact bonds) and emerging markets. Children as human capital data to be commodified on blockchain linking behaviour to benefits. Coercion has been repackaged as empowerment. The human population to be controlled via digital identity systems tied to cashless benefit payments within the context of a militarized 5G, IoT, and an augmented reality environment. A world where every function of nature is monetized, to be bought, sold and traded on Wall Street. — Cory Morningstar, The Great Reset: The Final Assault on the Living Planet [It’s not a social dilemma — it’s the calculated destruction of the social — Part III]

Pope Francis meets with members of the clergy after his weekly general audience at the San Damaso courtyard, at the Vatican, September 30 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi - RC2X8J96HY8F

[Pope Francis meets with members of the clergy after his weekly general audience at the San Damaso courtyard, September 30 2020. Image: REUTERS/Yara Nardi]

art and a pandemic — creators struggle for intellectual, emotional, financial validation & lifelines

There’s a tremendous power in this place, in this land, and I think that power really changes people’s lives. — Frank Boyden, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.

A large number of the most creative, skilled, and savvy people in the country are out of jobs simultaneously. How can we harness that resource and develop collaborative projects and programs for them that might foster interdisciplinary work, enhance skills, and result in innovation in process and product? Perhaps this is the time to incubate a ‘Creative Economy 2.0’ across the United States that is inclusive, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral. —  Michael Seman, an assistant professor of arts management at Colorado State University’s LEAP Institute for the Arts

[New Earth 15, Daniela Molnar]

Here’s a foundational question roiling inside creative people’s brains — What does the artworld look like now, during the economic bust and lockdown, and for the future?

For me, I go back to the concept of duende — Goethe, who in speaking of Paganini, hit on a definition of the duende: “A mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.”

After posing this and other framing questions (with that idea of a spirit/muse/ force, duende, as my talisman), I luckily have been gifted artists’ feedback and interviews, after initially receiving a few crickets and a couple of snarky diatribes about why journalists suck (yes, we are artful artists, too).

Unfortunately, many artists who have some cash savings to fall back on, or housing, and that old time religion of being a trust fund baby, or even parents and uncles and aunts with some semblance of family connectivity, a spare office and bedroom, and the like, they are so mired in the “anyone but Trump” disease, and they sound so-so much like those elite NPR types who believe they are so tied to the fabric of the country, that these conversations about the death of art are a bit problematic.

Many believe that the tough will get going, and that a little disruption neve3r hurt anyone, and of course, they are absolutely wrong-wrong-wrong.

Places like the UK and other places within the EU have study after study looking at the upheaval see death, the end of the road, depression, and just throwing in both the artist towel and other towels.

Part Two to this is with David Rovics, an artist in Portland, who writes for Dissident Voice about his music career and his fight for rent control. Here, some of his writings at DV. 

My intent is not to having a pissing contest between those who have (white privilege, male or female) and those who do not have, but this discussion about who controls the narrative, the media, the press, the arts, well, i courses through the art world big time now, during, and soon, after, Covid-Hysteria/Covid Reset, and it certainly had been coursing through this society for decades.

Yes, we expect artists to starve, and we expect that the master of the universe and sometimes the most insipid ones, to determine the value of something, and the investment of both intellectual space and time and economic space and time in the arts.

This is not about the value of say a piece titled, “Piss Christ,” or Robert Mapplethorpe’s work or Laurie Anderson’s performance. This is about the value of life, which is in so many ways for a socialist revolutionary what you do that is good and deeply redeeming as a person connecting ideas to society. Art is just that, and sure, the internal demons and muses of individual artists sometimes prevail, and the art many times seems self-indulgent and narrowly personal.

But if we had a choice between Elon Musk types, Google “creative” types, all the Military Industrial Complex types, either slugs and leeches directly tied to munitions and death planes, or those very loosely tied to the killing mercenary machine of the US on so many level, well, I’d take a bi-polar, oddly self-absorbed artist over any of the other thieves of hope and dreams and lives in Capitalism.

Here, a cast of people I interviewed. Not surprisingly, this piece was to be a paid gig piece, but alas, the publication caved, even though we had agreed upon the general idea of the piece. No kill fee, nothing, just a “we can’t and won’t use this piece since it deviates too much from our vision and mission of . . . . . .” You can fill in that blank. The media and publishing and newspaper and magazine landscape is, for all intents and purposes, dead and dying, while we have to listen to the putrid multi-million dollar contracts for the Obama’s of the world, or the Trumpies, or all the others who are not writers or artists.

You might tell I am mad, and this is the disenfranchisement of writers in our society, and the sting of rejection is nothing compared to the spinelessness of the entire field.

Thanks to the pantheist originator in the heavens for Dissident Voice.

Cast of players*

The Collector: Duane Snider, with more than 40 years collecting (totalling 247) individual art pieces from PNW creators, who says his life is a living on-going work of art (Waldport, OR, 2 years)

image.png

The Non-profit Impresario – Alison Dennis, executive director of the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, whose roots are East Coast, Bennington College, with writing and art coursework (Cascade Head, OR, 2 years)

Alison Dennis | Oregon ArtsWatch

The Painter: Chuck Bloom, with a truckload of surrealistic and Tim Burton-esque wonderful (Portland, 19 years), who is self-described as the only LGBTQ board member on the Regional Arts & Culture Council (Portland, OR, 14 years)

Featured Artist - Chuck Bloom — Scandals|PDX

Educator-Activist Artist: Daniela Molnar, self-described as visual artist / poet / wilderness guide / educator / essayist / activist / eternal student (13 years teaching at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR)

Photo credit: Genaro Molina for the LA Times

[Photo credit: Genaro Molina for the LA Times]

*Note: Each cast member deserves his or her own New Yorker-like feature!

Art Not in a Political Vacuum (no matter how hard artists try and not be political) 

I easily extrapolate from the cast of players this fact: 2020 represents a “new normal,” or a new “abnormal” for the world of arts.

Daniela sees these times as magnification of feedback loops and more/greater shifts in how we confront colliding breakdowns in politics, the environment, the economy and the arts.  She concedes there were hard, dangerous times 13 years ago when she first started teaching in Portland. “What’s changed for me is my age and awareness, I suppose. These crises shifts challenge us more and more. Thirteen years ago, there weren’t Nazi rallies like we see under Trump. I don’t feel safe going out in public as a Jewish woman.”

As both artist and educator, Molnar tells me she has soured on higher education, lamenting how students and faculty are constantly being exploited. She reiterates what a lot of writers and visual artists have said time immemorial – you don’t need a college degree to be a writer or artist.

For New York-raised Molnar, she is “super grateful” her education took place in a time and manner where she incurred no debt. “I wasn’t treated as a consumer.”

In a Closet in a Small Town

Bloom’s roots go back to Bloomdale, a super small hamlet an hour south of Toledo, Ohio. He ended up in a private college, Mt. Union. His college loan debt is $80,000.

“Artists are struggling like they haven’t before. The energy to be creative has been drained by politics, Covid19, and now the fires. There’s a real sense of hopelessness. I go into the studio and say to myself – ‘This is pointless.’”

He ended up with his partner, Patrick (they met at Kent State), in Maui, working in an at-risk youth art program, as well as Borders Books.

His husband Patrick had just left the world of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell US Navy when they met after answering newspaper ads. When they first came to Portland, artists could live downtown and afford a junky studio, Chuck says. “I really noticed the changes in 2007. A lot of people left the Pearl.”

Bloom’s seen less diversity in the Portland arts scene than he first anticipated, emphasizing how he used to hold high the concept of an art community being progressive. “The people I have come to know are not really liberal. I am one of the artists discovering the truth that the liberalness in Portland is kind of fake.”

How this illiberalness plays out is those controlling the art scene are holding back artists who want to not only question capitalism, but the art business. Now, with lockdown and loss of supplemental jobs, “I know a lot of people who want to give up their art dreams.”

He brings up an artist he’s known for 20 years who has had to sell off her tools of the trade, abandon her studio and move into her parents’ house. “I am pretty well off compared to other artists,” he says, since his husband Patrick has a decent job with medical benefits.

The student loan is an albatross around Bloom’s neck, however. That was money spent for a double major at a Methodist college, where he was “outed by an on-campus Christian group. I was living in a dorm with these prayer groups around me finding bible passages taped to my door.”

Community within Community

Strategic Plan

[Sitka Center for Art and Ecology at Cascade Head, Oregon Coast]

The 50th anniversary of Sitka’s founding is 2020, and Alison Dennis laments those events were cancelled because of Covid-19 and the restrictions on gatherings. For Sitka, shifts have taken place in how arts are delivered and framed. Alison and the board applied for CARE and PPP projection. She was able to keep five fulltime and 2 parttime workers on staff. “The programs did not allow me to pass money onto the artist. We would have if we could have.”

Artists depend on paid workshops and events where their work is displayed, considered,  and sold directly to the public, collectors. She’s quick to emphasize it would be a mistake to create this dichotomy of organizations over artists, or vice versa.

Thanks in part to relief funding, and in part to foundations and private donors, we’re fortunate in that we’ve been able to keep our full staff employed at full pay. Staff capacity is essential to not only respond to this year’s crisis but also to plan for a resilient return. One example is working with instructors to design workshops for next year, such as outdoor painting and sketch booking workshops, with physical distancing in mind, Alison says.

The celebration goes on, since Sitka had its first cabins up and running in 1972, so 2022 seems like an interesting time to promote, celebrate and reposition Sitka for the changing times. Resilience is great, but artists are most of the times soloists, on their own, lone wolves. They can build community, but most of the time that is a cash-poor cooperative group.

I asked Sitka’s Dennis a key question on all our minds: One major shift in this pandemic is the inability to gather, hold openings, do group training, and such? What effects do you see this new normal have had on artists and the relationship to both the general public and students of art?

Sitka’s annual Art Invitational is one example of this dilemma. Each fall we host a regional 3-day art show showcasing over 300 works by over 100 PNW artists, and raising over $40K in direct art sale dollars that go directly into artists’ pockets, she says. This fall’s show was cancelled due to Covid-19. While we’re working to find ways to connect buyers with artists online, neither the experience nor the economic impact is close to the same.

Collecting Dust? He Wants More Lower Economic Folks to Enjoy Original Art!

image.png

[Installation of Chuck E. Bloom originals in Snider’s home]

The magic power of a poem [of art, of music] consists in it always being filled with duende, in its baptizing all who gaze at it with dark water, since with duende it is easier to love, to understand, and be certain of being loved, and being understood, and this struggle for expression and the communication of that expression in poetry sometimes acquires a fatal character. —  Federico García Lorca, Theory and Play of the Duende

For 68-year-old Duane Snider, his 39 years as a 9-to-5 blue-collar optical lens grinder left a deep emotional toll on him. He kept from jumping off a bridge (for five years he imagined that act daily where he saw the Ross Island bridge) by galvanizing himself into the world of Portland’s art scene.

We are talking about, he estimates, 3,000 to 4,000 art gallery openings, museum soirées and museum talks and MFA shows.

He says he’s always been the backer of the artist, reluctant about the capitalist bent of art galleries taking sixty percent of the sales of art for their own benefit.

Snider and his wife Linda want to disperse of their large collection (247 pieces and counting) through a model of gifting one piece of art to one deserving, underfunded person at a time.

His collection is chalk-full of Chuck Bloom’s work – over 30 pieces.

I’ve always thought artists are the most brutalized in a capitalist system, Snider tells me. The very richest people are obsessed with controlling artistic culture.

He and I have talked for hours walking the beaches around Waldport. While he is the pied piper for creative people in need, Snider also sees artists as problem solvers. He believes artists need to take control of their work, of their own promotion, and of their sales. “. . . and an increased emphasis on the work as a product.”

The white box model of a gallery exhibit is passe, and many galleries are dropping like flies in this pandemic. Snider harkens back to Portland’s 1960s & ‘70s art scene, citing the Image Gallery, a sort of venue for the people started by Jack McLarty and his wife Barbara.

I believe art is for everyone. And I have always been afraid for artists and believe there will be tremendous casualties for great artists and creative people now with this economic crisis.

Snider recalls the twice-a-week art classes at Portland’s St. Francis church where artists would work with homeless citizens in their artistic expression. Are those days numbered? Maybe.

Bloom, Snider and Molnar believe artists can be that radical thinker and doer, but capitalism takes its own toll on the arts – careerism and milquetoast expression.

But I find today in the U.S., two … or make that three … overriding aspects to public discourse. One is aggression. It is a snarky and sarcastic and hostile populace. Two is white privilege. And you see already that they overlap. Third is a distrust of art and the non-instrumental. This is American masculinity, but it seems to have leaked into much feminist thought as well. In any event the professionalizing of art and cultural production began a long gradual process of excluding radical voices and then even working-class voices. Since theatre is what I know best, and what I do, still, the rise of MFA programs coincided with the removal of disruptive voices. And soon a strange disfigured bureaucratization of culture had taken hold. – American John Steppling (who lives in Norway) is a playwright, author and commentator: a collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays and his book, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest by Mimesis International. He lives in Norway.

Truth Tellers, Fully Awake, Resistance Fighters

Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 12.48.11 PM

[Daniela Molnar interviewed in LA Times and on local TV]

Daniela Molnar sees a tsunami of shake ups of smaller art schools since Covid-19 lockdowns exposed more of the inequities of neoliberalism and capitalism. She no longer works for PNCA, which just recently merged with Willamette University.

Her pedigree, at the relatively young age of 41, is impressive: founder of the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, founding co-editor of Leaf Litter, Signal Fire’s art and literary journal, and art editor at Bear Deluxe Magazine.

Interestingly enough, right before the Covid-19 pandemic declaration, Molnar was featured in a February 2020 LA Times article aptly titled – “An Artist Set Out to Paint Climate Change. She Ended Up on a Journey Through Grief.”

She was contemplating the shape produced with missing chunks of the Eliot Glacier on Mount Hood. She was zoning out one day while listening to a lecture by a hydrologist. Then she thought — “I haven’t seen that shape before. Maybe I can use that.”

That process of using crushed rocks mixed with gum arabic, a binder, and water from the rain barrel in her yard, for her, is a process of shaping an “abstract” set of scientific theories like climate change into art. Provoking feelings was her intent, but as she says in the LA Times piece, her own feelings of grief took over.

Given that generalized concept of “grief,” after talking with Daniela, I realize she doesn’t know what the future looks like, yet she still is a proponent of dancing to the beat of her/our own drummer when embodying the life of an artist: “Being an artist is one way to craft an honest life. It’s not going to be an easy life, but artists need to see clearly . . .  clarity over ease. Art doesn’t look like any one thing.”

It is necessary for my own sanity  to insert a stream of positivity in an article framing this new normal as a time of upheaval, struggles, loss and clouds of unknowing.

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. – Poet Mary Oliver

Full disclosure:   

I have never made a living as a poet, novelist, essayist and photographer. For more than 46 years I have cobbled together a living teaching part-time gigs, editing, working in social services case management, undertaking newspaper reporting and more to feed me and my need to write and photograph. This March 2020 my latest book, a short story collection, was derailed as all bookstore readings, conferences, literature confabs, libraries were cancelled.

I critique this new (i.e. old) normal which is illustrated in every group within the political red v. blue spectrum:  not questioning authority and their masters, whether it’s Bezos, Trump or Kate Brown; not questioning draconian lockdown rules; accepting Zoom schools; failing to see heads on pikes after the massive graft in the trillions of dollars for US corporations; and no collective action for the hundreds of millions losing livelihoods. That’s bad enough; however, while leftist artists are both validated by the enormity of the neoliberal course of US predatory and parasitic capitalism displayed ever-more clearly in 2020, we are more ostracized economically and pushed way outside the margins of the “other” than any other time in history.

I’ll end with Hiroyuki Hamada, a New York artist and writer:

I am sure that with all sorts of manmade substances tossed into the environment, we probably do have physical components that can’t be attributed to our psychological needs alone, but still, I have a serious doubt about how our society deems creative behaviors as sickness because they don’t coincide with the system requiring obedient people for efficiency, productivity and profits. The unquantifiable creative potential smashed by such a tendency can be enormous.

And speaking of the urgent need for radical imagination and keeping one’s hate pure, I think the lack of those is not only stifling our capability to come up with the solutions, but it is blinding many of us from simply seeing the mechanism itself.

For more on Daniela’s work, her web site.

For more on Chuck’s work, his web site.

For more on the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, their web site.

Each couch by the street has a story
I wonder what this one maybe
Did they leave their home and move into a car
Or find a sofa to sleep on at a friend’s house
Did they stay near, or go far away
Disappear without a trace […]
When they come to evict your neighbor, what will you do?

— “Each Couch by the Street” song by David Rovics

Songs For Today | David Rovics

When I checked the Street Roots archives by putting in the search window, “David Rovics,” I got one hit:  a March 8, 2010 press release, “Peace groups, parents, children and folk musicians Steve Einhorn, Kate Powers, and David Rovics will all be at the rally outside Portland Public Schools headquarters.”

It was a protest against military influence in Portland’s K-12 Portland Public Schools. He was there singing to inspire parents opposing a $320,000 revenue contract for Starbase, a 25-hour educational program funded out of the Department of Defense recruitment budget.

Fast forward a decade: If you’ve been part of the Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, you might have heard David Rovics perform social justice and protest songs outside Mayor Ted Wheeler’s condo or at Revolution Hall after the election.

The 53-year-old father of three (ages one, four and 14 years) has been working the protest concert circuit since 1993, helping lift spirits at WTO protests, environmental actions, antiwar events, and more.

Think of Rovics as an iteration of Joe Hill, a la Arlo Guthrie-Phil Ochs-Pete Seeger-Joan Baez. And Buffy Sainte-Marie, for sure!

Journalist Amy Goodman referred to Rovics as “the musical version of Democracy Now!” Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan called him “the peace poet and troubadour of our time.”

David Rovics - Wikipedia

Accolades aside, we talked about the landscape before and now during (and post) Covid-19 being littered with dwindling hope for all artists. Many artists will not make it, study after study bear out.

“I definitely know folks who have either gotten on unemployment or gotten a job not related to their art, as a result of the pandemic.  Of course, I also know a lot of artists who had to throw in the towel long before the pandemic, as a result of Spotify, Amazon, etc., and theses corporations’ cannibalistic orientation towards the arts.”

He came to Portland from Berkley almost 14 years ago, and he too, like so many artists I have spoken with, experienced a Portland that was a Mecca for artists – thriving music, theater and graphic arts scenes that allowed creatives to live and provided venues at affordable rents in order for artists to show their stuff.

Progressive U.S. singer banned from entering New Zealand

That nirvana didn’t last long – “Artists started clearing out of the city, with most of the Black population from the inner neighborhoods moving to the exurbs.” That wave started around 2007.

Rovics is acutely aware that most of the thriving artists who might weather economic tsunamis are white artists, but there are thousands upon thousands of BIPOC artists who continue working but do not have those “safety nets” underneath them.  The mainstream and commercial art scene will continue to be a white wave.

This gentrification is now coupled with lack of income(s), Rovics says, as artists who used to be able to show and sell their work (and bar-tend and wait tables), and in the case of musicians, perform and then peddle “merch” at venues, have zero options for in-person engagement.

Mounting debt, continuing eviction threats, and increasing vulnerability to disease and illness also are additional factors to the mental health stress of artists. David knows of artists who just have shut down, and can’t work. Others are manic, going through sleepless periods but producing a lot. For Rovics, he fits this latter category, but he admits he is not immune to GAD – general anxiety disorder. He told me he watches a lot more news feeds than he did before the pandemic, and doesn’t sleep through the night.

David Rovics & David Rovics - The Radio8Ball Show

“The whole response of this country has been a disaster,” he points out. “Whole industries have collapsed. There have been anemic shreds of money, but it will not magically keep society as we know it going. What is it, the day after Christmas when unemployment benefits run out?”

We both agreed Charles Dickens, if alive, would be in a 24/7, 365 days a year flurry of creativity and commentary.

There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth! Poverty and oysters always seem to go together. To close the eyes, and give a seemly comfort to the apparel of the dead, is poverty’s holiest touch of nature.

— Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs Gone Haywire

It’s difficult to not keep circling back to the fact many people – artists included – are both depressed and inspired by the events that have unfolded since February. “I’ve talked to a lot of artists who tell me the isolation takes away that creative edge. I also know of people succumbing to more serious mental health issues. I have one friend in a psychotic episode who was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.”

Painting in a studio by yourself is one thing, but Rovics points out that because all venues for performing artists are shuttered, touring musicians are really having it hard. “They are addicted to performing, so this isolation has been devastating.”

The pandemic might be the last nail in the coffin for truly independent, thriving, outside-the-box artists. Rovics has studied the wave of predatory capitalists running Spotify and Amazon that has helped move the minuscule profits from artists to investors: millionaires and the billionaire owners like Jeff Bezos (Amazon).

Posts by David Rovics | Orbitt.net

The music industry has been trying to separate music from politics for years now, trying to get artists to believe that politically oriented music is not attractive for mainstream audiences so they produce work that is safe and preferably only between two people. But artists are part of society too, so they can’t expect to be above politics, he stated in a 2009 interview.

Spotify is another beast Rovics condemns.  According to Rolling Stone’s Tim Ingham, “In total, at the close of last year, SEC documents show that exactly 65 percent of Spotify was owned by just six parties: the firm’s co-founders, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon (30.6 percent of ordinary shares between them); Tencent Holdings Ltd. (9.1 percent); and a run of three asset-management specialists: Baillie Gifford (11.8 percent), Morgan Stanley (7.3 percent), and T. Rowe Price Associates (6.2 percent). These three investment powerhouses owned more than 25 percent of Spotify between them — a fact worth remembering next time there’s an argument about whose interests Spotify is acting in when it makes controversial moves (for example, Spotify’s ongoing legal appeal against a royalty pay rise for songwriters in the United States).”

The problems artists are facing are part of a many-headed Hydra Rovics calls “vulture capitalism.”

He also confronts this problem from renter’s and the affordable housing lenses. He naturally comes to the conclusion that Capitalism in this sense is fraught with parasites:

“The way forward is about solidarity, but achieving solidarity will require moving beyond the false consciousness that says it is okay to run a society like this,” he states. “That housing is a privilege, whose cost is to be determined by profit-minded individuals and corporations, protected by the state’s armed enforcers. We must collectively come to realize that housing is actually a right, that we must demand, as a society. And that a rent strike is an activity to engage in not only if you can’t afford to pay the rent, but if you believe that it is wrong to pay the rent, when so many others are unable to. That an injury to one is an injury to all. That the parasites in this society are not the unemployed, the homeless, the recipients of meager government aid programs, the housing insecure, the couch-surfers, the car-dwellers. The parasites are those who own multiple properties, and profit off of renting them to people who need housing. This is a parasitic activity, whether hiding behind the fig leaf called ‘mom and pop,’ or whether ‘mom and pop’ has successfully managed to turn their little operation into a bigger one.”

David Rovics - Home | Facebook

The people who control the rents for galleries, theaters and cinemas answer to the owners, the investment boards and many times to behemoth property management entities, he states.  And while artists’ careers will pile up by the wayside like those couches in Portland he wrote a song about, what is worse is that the “art” that is and will be coming out of the corporations controlling culture will be narrowed down and basically “crap.”

The reverberations of artists not making it go way beyond the axiom of “where you find one successful artist, you will find a thousand starving artists behind them.” The hoarders of capital are the dream hoarders, and these Titans of Predatory Capitalism are galvanizing a highly commercialized, denuded, lowest-common-denominator “arts.” Disneyfication, infantilization, consumerist, apolitical and anti-working-class pabulum might be another way to couch what is happening in the arts.

Rovics and I talk intensely about these series of preventable events in a Time of Covid.

No matter where the reader stands on this question of what is art, the fact of the matter is people need housing to not just survive and shield themselves from the elements, but to be dignified, spiritually available to the world and to be creative.

Rovics is part of Artists for Rent Control (ARC) and a more recent group, PEER – Portland Emergency Eviction Response (his creation). When I went to PEER’s website, I found a plethora of information, podcasts of mostly Rovic’s songs and ways to stave the flow of blood that both artists and non-artists living in Portland face with their housing.

PEER is definitely grassroots, sort of a network with no financial backing or lobbying clout. It has one clear strategy, and one tactic.

The goal is the abolition of forced eviction as an option for landlords and police forces. The implementation of the goal is to form a large and militant rapid response team that can respond quickly to attempted evictions as they are occurring, and at that point either stop them from happening, or move the tenant back in to the property after the police leave the scene,” Rovics states. “Specifically, or at least ideally, the process we’re talking about goes something like this: Tenants facing potential eviction because they’re pretty sure they’ll be unable to pay the back rent due when the eviction moratorium is over are faced with various decisions. They may have family they can move in with — a majority of young adults now live with their parents in the US, for the first time since the 1930’s. A tenant will often prefer to move into a vehicle or do any number of other things other than attempt to stay in their home after receiving an eviction notice. Forgive the harshness of this sentence, but these are not the tenants that are tactically of interest to PEER. We are looking to work with tenants who want to challenge their eviction notice by attempting to stay in their homes. We realize the stakes are high, and you do, too. People may decide to try to stay in their homes because they have no other options they want to consider, or because they want to challenge the whole system of forced eviction, or both.

Seeds of Creativity, Germination into Activism

Escalation in Portland - CounterPunch.org

Rovics grew up in New York with two musicians as parents. They also taught music, and they were progressive and anti-establishment. He started touring in the 1990s dialed into groups like Students for Environmental Action. He did a lot of college campuses concerts. He worked as an activist songwriter/performer in the anti-war and Occupy Wall Street movements. He was a long hair white guy with a guitar and anger.

“In places like Germany and Scandinavian countries, unionism has always been strong. I’ve performed in trade halls, union halls, theaters. Take a country like Denmark – the government supports the arts in a big way.” Even punk rock squat concerts were financed by governments and unions.

Before the pandemic, Rovics toured Europe two months in the Spring and two more in the Fall. He said he was paid well. “Students and activists would come in for free, drink cheap beer and my merchandise sales were significant.”

So, Spring would have Rovics crisscrossing nine countries, mostly in Scandinavia. Then in the Fall he would tour in Britain and Ireland. Each concert, each interaction created a bigger and broader group of adherents and fans. Getting people’s emails is like a gold mine, the musician tells me.

While the gigs attract a wide variety of people, he emphasizes it is mostly left-wing idealists and organizers unified in the  anti-war, anti-imperialism, global justice, environmental movements. Not all left-wingers fit the same mold, though, so socialists, anarchists, hippie environmentalists and even in Ireland Sein Fein members would populate the audiences in his concerts.

Even though Rovics — before he started his own family — lived out of a vehicle as he toured, and was homeless for two years in his youth, he knows he came into the world and into the arts with a boatload of white privilege and that his two musician parents and his life back east provided him with untold advantages.

“I play for people across the board, from wealthy to the homeless.” He has written and performed songs about homelessness.

When I asked him about artists forced onto the streets because of the pandemic, Rovics said he wasn’t aware of any in Portland who hit that far into rock bottom land. “I was just talking with a panel discussion of artists —  one in Detroit who got a job as a welder, another in New York who got on unemployment, another artist who has felt very inspired by the pandemic,  and one who has not done anything in months, because of the negative impact of the isolation she’s experiencing.”

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

— Victor Hugo

We talk much about activism welded to the arts – “Activists, many of whom are barely making a living or working two jobs just to make ends meet, are also stressed out for a variety of reasons, but they tend to be among the happier people in society because they are trying to do something. That is empowering. My line of work permits me to travel around the world regularly and I meet people like that all the time and they’re lovely.”

Not so ironically, the murder of a friend in 1993, was to him, a seminal moment in his life: a gang shooting that was intended for someone else. He was moved to action on a global justice plane. He composed a song about it in “Song for Eric”:

San Francisco at night
And the warm summer breeze
Walking back alleys
Just as free as you please
And I think of those poor boys
Who drove up to say
“Give us your money”
And then they blew you away
With one pull of a trigger
Your sweet life was through

Every time I see that street, I think of you

Ballad of a Wobbly | David Rovics

As a final (side note), I contacted David to help facilitate another piece for this column about two artists and two others associated with the arts concerning their thoughts on Art in a Time of Covid. What unfurled was a deep discussion with this inspiring man, active in Portland on many levels. While he is not “down so long everything looks up to him,” David and his family have been on a rent strike and are having issues making ends meet.

“As of November 21, just in case it’s of interest to your editor, my family’s situation is that we have been denied unemployment since last April, inexplicably, so other than the $1,200 per adult and $500 per kid we received from the feds early on, we have gotten no federal aid.”

They’ve also been denied food stamps because they make too much money, but they’ve been getting the supplementary food aid ($500 for a family of five) Oregon has added to the usual amount people get over recent months.

The reality is an anarchist like David Rovics is optimistic and less hopeful in the same breath He tells me social democratic countries are faring far better than capitalist countries like the USA. He believes system change is best taught through storytelling. “People get turned off if you tell them what should and should not be.” Being a troubadour allows him to relate to the individual struggles of our time, set forth universalities hardcore lectures on the ills of war, capitalism and climate change can’t facilitate, he believes.

This statement Rovics made in 2019 in response to the “concentration camps” set up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) highlights this dichotomy of hope and struggle:

“We all had that conversation when we were kids about how if we could go back in time and shoot Hitler, even though we’d be sacrificing our lives in the process, we’d do it, but we probably wouldn’t, and we don’t.  The overwhelming majority of humanity, quite sensibly, according to the historical record, don’t stick their necks out like that unless they think there’s at least some remote chance of coming out the other end with their heads intact, along with a victorious social movement and an end to the fascist dictator they’re trying to get rid of in the first place.  Social movements are based on optimism, and this isn’t an optimistic moment in America.  So, this is what it’s like.”

Check his music here, and these are David’s top picks of his current work: Say their Names; Anarchist Jurisdiction; Essentially Expendable; Each Couch by the Street; Wear a Mask. David Rovics music —

David Rovics | ReverbNation

Dr. Sarah Crozier operates Crozier Veterinary Services: In-home Pawspice and End-of-Life Care. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Crozier)

Opinion | An Oregon veterinarian brings comfort to pet owners when it’s time to say goodbye

FINDING FRINGE | Sarah Crozier’s compassion and career are only part of her story. Her roots and her evolution are just as compelling.by Paul K. Haeder | 4 Nov 2020

Dr. Sarah Crozier came to this column originally when she tended to my wife’s 18-year-old calico who was on her last legs and needed euthanasia triage. We wanted Ruby to be with us when putting her down, and with COVID-19 lockdown in place, the standard operating procedure for euthanizing a pet would be dropping her off at the Newport vet’s door and then a few weeks later receiving her ashes via USPS.

Dr. C to the rescue is no small statement. She runs a palliative care and in-home euthanasia service out of Philomath — Crozier Veterinary Services: In-home Pawspice and End-of-Life Care — but she makes numerous home visits to the coast.

Column logo: Finding Fringe by Paul K. Haeder
A periodic column profiling unconventional Oregonians who push the boundaries of social order. Street Roots logo Copyright. 

Once she had arrived, she quickly suited up in scrubs, a mask and long gloves while toting her med kit and disinfecting wipes.

Sarah’s bedside manner is attuned to the patient’s owners’ mental state. A sense of impending loss is a heavy cloud over the experience, but there also is a sense of celebrating a companion pet. She shoots that bright arrow through the pall of imminent final farewells.

“Tell me about something amazing Ruby used to do?” So, my wife and her grown daughter Mia recalled how this “reject” calico had been returned several times to the no-kill shelter Cat Adoption Team out of Tualatin, before the daughter said, “She’s perfect for our family.”

I’ve been down this road many times, since my overseas life with my military family included dogs — dogs in quarantine for rabies (when we were in the U.K.) and many litters of poodles and German shepherds.

Putting down Fido is both an emotional and impactful roller coaster.

Doctor C makes sure this process of sending companion pets into the afterlife is all about keeping them calm, semi-sedated, so saying goodbye is a healing moment and not one that is completely grief infused.

She’s only been in this new biz since October 2019. Then the pandemic hit, and she was forced to shut things down. “I had people calling leaving desperate messages, even though my phone message and website announced I wasn’t coming to people’s homes.”

Lucky for us, Doctor C recently re-energized her services with more relaxed lockdown measures. She was adamant that she was definitely not avoiding anyone who wanted her services but couldn’t get through: “Anyone reading this article, if there are any clients who called me and never got a call back, I want to apologize to them personally. Emotionally, I was incapable of calling back. There were clients’ messages I would listen to that would make me cry.”

She says she got up to 12 calls a week during the March-to-July shutdown. It broke her heart that she couldn’t do anything.

The vast majority of her patients seek her out for euthanasia services. In addition, more veterinarians are learning about Crozier’s “pawspice” and euthanasia practice. She emphasized how she is a bridge (or intermediary) between the vet handling the pet’s medical care and the owner who wants to know if there is anything else that can be done for the dying animal.

We also talked about clients who might not be able to afford to pay for her services. The fact is a growing number of people in the U.S. have pets, considering them both personal companions and emotional/physical support animals.

I’ve advocated on many occasions for homeless veterans and their families as a case manager to allow their emotional support animals as part of the team inside a homeless facility. The misguided attitude is that animals would be better cared for by someone not living on the streets. Unfortunately, in some instances homeless citizens’ pets’ leashes get cut while they are sleeping. Police sweeps of camps also send animals to the pound.


STREET ROOTS NEWS: Most cruelty complaints against homeless pet owners are baseless, says Multnomah County Animal Services (July 2019)


Study after study demonstrates homeless people with pets are drastically less likely to get depressed or engage in risky behaviors than those without animal friends.

“These pets are their only friends,” said Michelle Lem of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.  She published an article covering this topic in the journal Anthrozoos. “The only way that they’ve experienced unconditional love. These pets have saved their lives in many cases.”

In my days working with people experiencing homelessness, I’ve had a copy of the 2013 book “My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals” to loan to recalcitrant supervisors and others poo-pooing the arguments on why homeless folks need their companion animals.

Dr. C couldn’t agree more.

She (sort of) left her heart in Georgia

Sarah was born in Athens, Ga., in 1985, into a family with two older brothers and an older sister and a younger half-sister and brother. She moved around a lot with her family, and she ended up with her mom, a single parent who got jobs in Athens, Atlanta and Gainesville.

She’s a product of the suburbs and a private Christian school system. Her mom was an elementary teacher for the Fellowship Christian Academy.

She told me that early on she wanted to be a zookeeper, much influenced by going to the Atlanta Zoo. These are a 5-year-old’s dreams. “Taking care of exotic animals sounded super cool,” she said. “However, I distinctly recall learning what a zookeeper does — a lot of shoveling poop. It is not like I first thought — interacting with Koko the gorilla using sign language.”

It was 7 years old when she convinced herself she was going to be a vet. Sure, incidents like a car-wounded bird she found, mending it up and letting it go, were among the events galvanizing her desire to go to medical school. “Looking back, I am very lucky that the wren lived.”

Parakeets, hamsters and rabbits. It was one particular rabbit that necessitated “the kid Sarah” going to the vet on several occasions. “One rabbit had a tooth malalignment, a malocclusion. We had to take it to the vet to get the teeth filed down. A couple of times I got to go back to where the vets and animal techs worked.”

Her great-grandfather was a doctor, and Sarah said her dad always wanted to attend the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Organic chemistry was his Achilles heel. He applied to vet school twice and made it onto the wait list the second time. But he had a growing family, and he couldn’t continue to keep applying and hoping to get in.”

Her dad, Bill Crozier, ended up working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a farm loan officer.

Born into Christianity, and then an exit

By the time she was 16, questions like, “Why are we here?” and “Who am I?” would be enough for Sarah to believe the conservative grip of the Christian school wasn’t enough for her to succeed in life and pursue her intellectual and personal dreams. She enrolled herself in a high school integration program at Kennesaw State College.

“In many ways, it was an excellent move that I was with older teenagers and adults” where those big questions would be allowed.

She was so absorbed in school and the goal of becoming a vet, other aspects of her “self” were not being explored, she said, including dating and relationships. Leaving the church and her school was tough: It had been her whole world. She recalls how some of her teachers were “very threatened by me and my questions.”

“It’s a kind of community with lots of ways to identify with those around you. They call it faith, and when you lose that, you feel unmoored, especially in your mid- and late teens.”

She tells me that she settled on some form of Buddhist belief. “I can’t prove that there is not a god. I am agnostic with theistic leanings. If anything exists, then something must be eternal. That eternal thing could be called ‘God.’”

Second existential challenge – a new way of being

The father’s dream came true in Sarah: She got accepted as a Bulldog for the University of Georgia vet school.

That was March 2010 when she found out. Her personal goal was to traverse the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles long. She started in February, and she was shooting for 25 miles a day to make the end date she was hoping for: the start of vet school.

A major snowstorm forced her off for three weeks. But back on the trail, she met mostly white guys on the same journey, and also looking for companionship. Her attitude was clear: “I am here to make miles, not friends.”

Then came Erin. She had also started hiking the trail solo. Erin had first backpacked on the trail as a child and now was driven to complete it, Sarah said. “Long-distance hiking provided her a pause to consider where to go next in life. She had been a camp director in Montana and a police officer in Georgia before that, but she knew that neither of those were the right path for her.”

So, the determined, focused Sarah, never before on a date, here at age 24, was writing a daily journal about this new friend in her life, Erin, and newly discovered emotions and feelings.

“For me, it started off as another notch in my belt, this hike. We both ended up discovering each other.”

A day on the trail, she said, is like a month of dating. “Plus, you’re in your own head a lot.”

Sarah and Erin overlooking the mountains
Sarah met Erin when they hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2010. They got married in 2012.Photo courtesy of Sarah Crozier

Sarah had to get off the trail in West Virginia, about 1,000 miles of hiking later. She tore a meniscus and was in constant pain. Erin continued and finished, earning the title of “2000 Miler” as a thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail.

They kept a long-distance relationship going, with letters and phone calls. The plan was to meet up in Athens, get an apartment, and then Sarah would go to veterinary school and Erin would look into graduate programs at the University of Georgia.

A week before classes began, the first application to another vet school, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama, notified her that she had been accepted. Erin encouraged her to make the trip.

She counts April 10, 2010, as their official anniversary date. They were married in May 2012, in Georgia, which did not recognize a gay marriage at that time. Then, in August that same year, they tied the knot officially in British Columbia.

“I was very clueless about my own sexual identity prior to meeting Erin.” And in Alabama and the South, she said, “it didn’t feel safe to be out and proud. We were very closeted. People would often ask if we were sisters.”

All those journals sent back home clued her mother into the fact that her daughter was “maybe” leaning toward being a lesbian. “There is still some tension in my family, but most people are very loving and have accepted us.” Sarah said she’s lost two very close friends who basically said same-sex unions were wrong biblically.

Erin received a doctoral internship at Oregon State University, and the two moved here in July 2016 with the intention of moving back to Georgia in 2017 after Erin completed the internship. “We fell in love with the valley. There is enough agriculture and ruralness to remind us of home. We had already started working toward having a child, and we felt that this would be an ideal place to raise him.”

Bennett Blaze Crozier was born in November 2017. Erin carried, and the donor, Tony, “is a wonderful man. He has donated to seven queer families.”

There are many more sideroads a story like this could take. We talked about the book and movie “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, a Portland author.

But the work Sarah Crozier does to salve emotional wounds of pet owners with a companion who just was put down is compelling for me, a former communications teacher.

I asked her, since understanding animal behavior seems to be the cornerstone of working with people’s pets, how do veterinarians go about learning these tools?

“Human behavior is a whole different beast. In the same way that I learned most of my animal behavior out in the field, I learned most of my communication skills while working in veterinary clinics. While I was going through Auburn’s vet med program, there was a brief class on client communication in which Dr. Sara-Louise Newcomer did a wonderful job teaching us how to connect with clients. I personally believe that this type of course needs to be longer and more comprehensive, and I think Auburn may have expanded it a bit after I graduated, but at least it was a start. The adage ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ is something I strive to live by.

oh the act of deactivating, the process of disconnecting, the very process of uncluttering the brain — bye-bye Facebook — Emancipation!

Pin on Funny Bone

Some might say we are caught in a fun-house . . . or caught in a psych ward. I have more and more people in my sphere — work, friends, email world, Facebook world, family — who are not only showing signs of insanity, but also lobotomy, or massive electro-shock therapy (sic-sick). They actually buy into that Matrix shit, that we are part of a sophisticated code god, a program that creates the “reality” we are in. A Super Duper Mario Brothers Hollywood style. Really, and then the ancient astronauts and those aliens that had to help build Chichén Itzá and the great Pyramids of Gaza.

Conversations about this new normal sort of circle the drain, and in so many instance, the putrid politics of “never Trump” come spewing from the mouths of these people, unsolicited. And as a frame of reference, this “Trump is Gone Now — Hurray for Harris and Biden” (sigh of relief, smiles, giddy chortles) — I am back in the back of the back of the intellectual and political bus. You see many of us know, through study, travel, experience, rebuff — that the system both Biden and Trump adore is the shooter in the brain. Active Shooter in the House. Active Shooter in the Books they Read (not many). Active Shooter in their Consumer Choices. Active Shooter in the Work Places. Active Shooter in the State Capitals. These Active Shooters are everywhere, and have been since the founding of the Active Shooter Society that is called United (hahaha) States (really?) of America (a map maker, man!).

Pin on Greeting Cards and Party Supply. Home and Garden

Just the way the Kingdom of Puritans and Kingdom of Capital laid the groundwork for this sick-in-the-head, sick-in-the-heart, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-body, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-commercial-culture has galvanized all those parts to the Active Shooter scenario and Active Shooter response to everything.

A Good Indian is a Dead Indian. There Will be Blood. Atonement for their Savagery. Beat the Dickens Out of their Native Soil/Soil/Spiritual Being. It’s that Collective Psychological Response to the Active Shooter White Patriarchal Rapist/Land Stealer/Murderer Government working out of the White House vis-à-vis all those houses of ill repute, from the CIA, to Pentagon, from NASA, to Every University, from the New York Times to Netflix, from Bank of America to BlackRock, from Jerusalem, to Geneva. Here a few other things these presidents said —

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted putting “dangerous or undesirable aliens or citizens” in “concentration camps.” During World War II, Roosevelt signed an executive order that led hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent––including 80,000 U.S. citizens––to be incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast of the U.S. The U.S. was in a war against Japan at the time. It was also fighting Italy and Germany, but did not broadly incarcerate people in the U.S. of Italian and German descent.

  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren white Southerners “are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes” while discussing the desegregation of schools.
  • Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But for much of his political career, Johnson opposed civil rights legislation. According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Johnson, during the two decades he served in the U.S. Senate he would use the phrase “nigger bill.” Johnson also reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court––the court’s first black justice in U.S. history––by stating, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
  • Recorded conversations of Nixon’s time in the Oval Office reveal extremely bigoted views of black people, among other groups. In one conversation, Nixon said, “We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like [New York Sen.] Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls. That’s the key.”
  • Nixon added, “I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.” On Jewish people, Nixon said, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

And then, butter-for-brains Vice President Joe Biden, with more and more of his racist toes and feet in his mouth — “The way Trump deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No sitting president has ever done this, never, never, never. No Republican president has done this, this no Democratic president,” he continued. “We’ve had racists and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president but he’s the first one that has. And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together.”

Shall I say more about the absurdity of the presidential election/selection? I’d end up in the poor house if I gave a reader a penny for each racist thought-or-statement written by or yammered by USA politos, media mavens, Holly-Dirters, authors, celebrities, Fortune 1000-ers, et al!

With the continual panic and lockdown mentality and genuflection to authority, this society pre-and post-Trump has been the bum’s rush for me and my ilk. When we put this society through the settler-colonial lens, we are lambasted on both sides of the political manure pile. “You know, the Indians were not all these noble savages. You know, they came here using the Land Bridge. You know, progress means adaptation.” These people have always believes in American exceptionalism, believed in the red and white and blue. Always believed those alabaster statues of Lincoln or Jefferson or even Martin Luther King. That Active Shooter in the House is what creates that Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It can be collective in rarified forms — the Stockholm Syndrome of Branch Davidians or MAGA or QAnon. The Stockholm Syndrome of Greta/350.org/David Attenborough. The Stockholm Syndrome of K-Street. Stockholm Syndrome of the Military Police State. Stockholm Syndrome of Techies and Bezos Types. That Syndrome is the result of the Active Shooter Mindset.

Siberian eatery is ideal spot for a Putin fan | Reuters

Until we end up here, in Lockdown, in a society where stores are boarded up. Streets are empty. Barricades of the mind and spirit erected from sea to shining sea. Incomes frozen. Assets Hacked. Lives Set Inside that Funhouse, or to use non-PC lingo, Madhouse. That Active Shooter rules of engagement also include not speaking out and not moving too quickly, or use anything in reach to subdue and escape, or to crawl and stop and hide. Lights out, doors locked, no sounds, no whispering, nothing, just crouch and hold still until, what? Whirling Blackhawks and Rumbling SWAT Armored Vehicles with Machine Gun Turrets?

The perceptions from the individual and collective Stockholm Syndrome, and the intellectual actions and inactions in this Active Shooter Lockdown Abide by All Leaders’ Laws/Regulations/Rules/ Fines/Admonishments/Recommendations/Edicts/Penalties/Crimes/Offenses/Dictates, well, that certainly has constructed a very mean and very ostrich like society, and the see-hear-speak no evil and head in the sand and the lashing out and the hyper propaganda and the hyper-knee jerking, and, well, with it all facilitated by unsocial media, we are in the super minority if we dare question the question and the responses and the answers. We dare to go up against any of the narratives, and alas, we then become the pariah and the Scarleted Letter “A” for Anarchist or Anachronistic or Abnormal or Ambiguous or Antagonistic or Adversarial or Asymptomatic or Argumentative or even the letter “A” for Anticlockwise.

“All forms of perception are “subjective” in the sense that they represent only those aspects and properties of the world that can be detected by an organism’s sensory transducers. Hence all perception is subjective in the sense of being partial. Moreover, once organisms reach a stage of cognitive complexity where they start to encode some sort of model of the surrounding world through their sensory contact with it, then the result is subjective in an even deeper sense. For what is represented will only comprise those aspects of the world that potentially matter to the organism (whether this is explicitly represented in the organism’s values, or implicit in the lifestyle that has been selected for it by evolution).” –Peter Carruthers

Imagine that, the very act of just shutting it off, that Fuck You Book, that social ingratiation book, that rotting of the brain book. I was on it only because I had to set up an account for the nonprofit that was/is Gig Economizing me to work on their rather bombastic project of getting billionaires and millionaires and governments and philanthropies to put in “cash” transfers to poor people during, before and after (there will be no after) the Plan-demic Covid-19, SARS-CoV2, corona virus thing. Then, with the multitasking aplomb of wanting to take a break from this or that writing project, alas, I ended up messing with the Paul Haeder Facebook page, and then “befriending” a thousand or so, and then letting loose the philosophical and political tirades of our age. I did end up exposing folk to left of left stuff, to things that are pretty mainstream to me like Black Agenda Report, and groups like the Black Alliance for Peace. Discourse around why Trump or Trump-lite or Pence or GOP-lite, or DNC, or AOC or Biden-Obama-Hillary lite, and the hard stuff brewed by Empire of the Capitalists, that it’s all the same to revolutionaries or those with the Scarlet Letter “A” emblazoned on our t-shirts. Pure addictive and mind-blowing shit, this country is, and that is the unholy alliance of a country tis of me based on torture, raping, burning, immolating, murdering, beheading, pollution, animal slaughter, and air and soil and water destruction, all in the name of toilet paper for the masses, and kingdoms of jewels, banks, homes, mansions, castles for the Capitalists in Power. The ethanol brain rot of Capitalism a la North America.

I would throw out bombs on why Biden and Trump come from the same patriarchal DNA, how the Democratic Party Machine is as Bad and Corrupt as the Republican Party Machine. How the Machine is greased with Capital, and the Machine is not of, for, by, with, entwinned to the People, US, but for the banks. The techno-fascists, and brothers and sister of the Military Industrial Complex of Another and Another and Another Mother/Mothership.

United Snakes of America. United States of BlackRock. Un-united States of Capitalism, what have you, in variations on the theme, well, those stars on that other Banner, tell the story, and the story shifts with the logos, and those stores are indeed just banners, hiding the real sophisticated thugs of Transnational, Transhuman, Transcultural, Transhumane capital.

Corporate Logo Flags (US Flag) from Reclaim Democracy

In that abortion of Facebook just days ago, I find myself less distracted, though I have always worked as a writer, done my time in the world of nature, walks, paddles, bike riding, and now another gig for the 63-going-on-64-white (self-loathing, sort of)-communist-male-who-has-to-in-polite (mixed up)-company-call-himself-socialist. This one, well, full-time, with benefits, and back in the slog of things, working with adults with developmental and intellectual (and psychological and physical) disabilities. As a counselor, in this case all-around job-employment counselor, developers, what have you. Back to getting my expired certificates re-upped, and then all the vocational rehabilitation and department of human services and department of developmental disabilities courses and trainings. Deja vu, and well, in the beach life of the Central Oregon Coast, my spouse and I have to work, even though it feels fluttering around here that half the people are retired and enjoying high lifestyle, or at least solid retired middle class, and then, there are those who service this place, and many of them are struggling big time. In Oregon with the Nanny Governor and the schizophrenia of Red-Neck and Blue-Neck, the pain of businesses shuttering and main streets depopulating, well, this makes for a very hard time for the clientele I work with — how to get a job for someone who has to usually work 20 hours or less to keep the SSI under wraps. People who are not “normally” those we see in the workplace (the highest unemployment rate for any demographic is adults with developmental disabilities — think 83 percent). Getting creative in Plan-Demic times, well, I am up for the challenge, but alas, working that 40-hour a week schedule, and then doing my own thing as a journalist and novelist and such, well, I have to utlize as much brain-space and keyboard and mouse time as possible for MY work.

Facebook was a kick for a while, then for many of those nanoseconds (they do add up to minutes and then an hour is wasted on Fucker-Berg’s Mind Manipulation Tool, I was put on 24 hour and then three-day and then one week suspension. Expelled from posting and commenting. Then, to make matters even more hilarious (sad, too) those dyed in the wool exceptionalists, those with the Democratic Party diarrhea dreams dream, I just had to call it quits. They are the worse of the worse, the same as Christian MAGA and Conservative MAGA and Military MAGA and Retiree MAGA and Female MAGA, and the like. Total cognitive dissonance, and the Active Shooter mind-scape, well, that got the best of me (not really). Endless stupid dead-end posts and mini-discussions about why Trump is in and why Biden is bad, and, then, just coming from this angle as a communists, err, in Active Shooter land, a “socialist,” the arguments are back on the table about how great it is to have that first person of color in as VP-soon-to-be-Prez . . . (1928-’32, Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation).

Endless stupidity about the lesser of two evils, about the evils of two lessers, about how a Biden win will allow for pressure on the left side of things to move the party and the country leftier . . . . Right! Bankers, bombers, baggers, bottom-feeders, bombasts, buccaneers, bag men/women, broadcasters, botulism boys, and the like, already lined up for the Harris-Biden Kill Show. Active Shooters show. Then, the Trump All Encompassing Digital and Cable Network . . . . all the while the offense industrialists (elites in and out of the military industrial complex) will bilk the nation, the globe, the resources until a future is this below, the fighting orangutan’s, a la Homo Psychopithecus!

Alternate text

PETITION TARGETCambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry

The Phnom Penh Safari zoo in Cambodia showcases disturbing orangutan boxing matches, forcing innocent apes to fight each other in a boxing ring. The animals are also made to ride bikes, hula-hoop, and wear degrading outfits, as shown in numerous TripAdvisor photos.

Orangutans aren’t the only animals abused at this zoo: tigers jump through flaming hoops and cower in fear of trainers’ electric prods; crocodiles are hit with sticks and have their mouths taped shut for selfie opportunities; and elephants are controlled with bullhooks.

The animals appear neglected, too. The tigers are declawed and extremely thinaccording to EARS Asia. And the drinking water is filthy, according to a Khmer Times article that has since been deleted.

Animals do not exist for human amusement. They deserve natural habitats and loving caretakers, not cruel zoos where they’re forced to perform for park-goers.

The abuse must stop. Sign this petition urging Cambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry to call for an end to all cruel animal performances at the zoo and push for a thorough investigation into the animals’ treatment.

The abusive husband in this loveless marriage of capitalists ruling the roost, writing the narrative, spinning the malignant history, fears the loss of her/his master because that abusive system has turned him/her into a clinging hopey-dopey thing who believes all those decades of oppression will somehow be redefined to allow this shattered individual and collective to lose all self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master.

We are collectively servants of those masters who have for centuries plotted and prodded populations into fearing agency, revolution and radical transformation. We are that Disney-fied and Disney-fed collective, and those elites especially, yammering and yammering about the LGBTQA+ minority’s play ( Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Hamilton,” being so wonderous and so emblematic of the good of this nation, well not a one would question the slaver’s role in America — a slaver, new documents do show that not only was Alexander Hamilton a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that Hamilton bought, sold and personally owned slaves. But try and have that conversation about Miranda and the elite’s bullshit love of this bullshit play on Fuck-You-Book, or in person (of course, masked up and at least six feet of separation, please, and no more than 8 gathered in an open space, please or else!!!).

I would have expected a few of the people on Fuck-You-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-Into-Town-On BOOK, to nuance the Biden-Harris gig, the bullshit nature of GOP and DNC, and the trillions thrown at the sex addicts and money changers in the billionaire class, while mom and pop, sister and brother, downtrodden and almost-to-be-downtrodden, get shit from Pelosi and Mitch, but instead, the Collective Stockholm Syndrome of the liberal lite kind has just plummeted our 2021 into the new normal of following more anti-civil rights and anti-free speech and anti-freedom of movement laws backed by thousand-dollar fines, the fuzz with their assault rifles and well, the GIANT Scarlet Letter A for, well, fill in the blank of anti- as prefix. You get expelled from Zoom Doom school, get cut from the team, get sacked, get ostracized, and get kicked to the curb if you dare questions narratives of the ruling class. Dare to question this science (sic) versus that science. You know, that is the mob mentality of America, whether it is in the village square burning heretics, or on the greasy grass mowing down dancers and drummers. We are in a Little Bighorn, and the Big-Small-wannabe Eichmann’s are there, mostly, in places of “authority,” the elites, the nanny governors and their cadre of pencil neck followers, the compliant ones, the ones who follow order, those who say LGBTQA+, but are hope-dopey Stockholm Syndrome sufferers of the major kind, creating dictate after dictrate.

You can’t even talk about small businesses closing. Can’t talk about the renter and mortgage class (sic) sticking it and sticking it and resticking it to the masses. Imagine this fucked up Corona World, where stupidity and no-deep questioning rule. Can you imagine scum bucket governors from red and blue states, yammering and yammering.

There is no plan for the resettling in and after Plan-demic. But there is that Fourth Industrial Revolution, the big plans by big tech, and the Google world and the economies of scale of the Amazon-kind variety and the satellites launched at sunset and the Elon Musks and the entire shit-show that is Forbes and Rockefeller and Council on Foreign Affairs, the Aspen Institute, the Federalist Society, the Family, the TED Talk crews, all of them, from QAnon to the Tweets, and everything in between, it is the world of the ACTIVE Shooter, and duck and cover, the name of one generation’s game, and now, the slave master will say, “All Money, All Movements, ll Things” will and must be on a digital platform. Passports from Hell to Enter a New Hell. No Travel Unless Eyes Are Scanned and Vaccination Record Checked.

Somehow, that has been the pathway of the elites, from Holly-Dirt, to the schools, to the drone programs at two-bit community colleges, to the food purveyors. We have colonized each generation, and the baselines of old hopes — agency, real food, real relationships with people-land-planet, real debate, real learning, real arguing, real water, real air, real art, real feelings, real history, real enfranchisement, real conversations — that too has been put on Red Flag Active Shooter hold. Deep Sixed.

Conversations and philosophical constructions and deconstructions are put on hold as the majority of people in the United Snakes of BlackRock, well, they talk about “things” as bifurcated nonsense, politics, histrionics, heliographs, shit shows and PT Barnum One-Upping Scams of the Mind and of the Culture.

I love what John Steppling has to say in the front of his essay, The Mechanical Soul:

One of the reasons I keep writing about AI is that the entire construct of an artificial intelligence has become both a symbol and metaphor for contemporary thought, and, is part of this ongoing reshaping of human consciousness.

I admit I am surprised how many people believe in the entire project of AI. Clearly it holds something very appealing that people WANT to believe in. And a key element in this is the idea of predictability. And predicting means controlling. So, in one sense, there is nothing new in this desire to foretell the future.

Now the first problem when discussing “consciousness” is that finding a definition for that word is nearly impossible.

“Moreover, the explicit dualistic beliefs of children in Western cultures get less strong with age (Bering 2006). This suggests that dualism is the default setting of the folk-psychological system, which gets weakened by cultural input in scientific cultures—at least at the level of explicit verbal expression—rather than depending on such input (Riekki et al.2013;Willard & Norenzayan 2013; Forstmann & Burgmer 2015). Indeed, dualist intuitions are prevalent in both children and adults, even in cultures whose norms discourage overt attention to mental states, albeit becoming weaker as a function of exposure to Western education (Chudek et al.2018).” –Peter Carruthers (Human and Animal Minds)

With Facebook and Twitter and even consumption of the low art of Netflix and everything on the Internet, that is, almost all of it on the Web, we are losing the race for dualistic beliefs, of holding many counter-arguments in our brains, and even just considering counter-intuitive things. But, the news, the real news, should send shudders down any human’s spine — Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

Finally, of course, any real leftist would be cheering the defeat and dethroning of any ruler of the empire. Christ, just watching both sides of the sewer pond is what a revolutionary would hope for. Trump defeated and his slim-balls and himself slipping and sliding in their own shit, that is a good day to be a human being. And, the end of Biden and Harris and all the hit men he and she are hiring on for the Biden-Harris Empire Shit Show, that too will be a very good day for humanity.

Something About Heads on Pikes and All Chained up in the Docks? Banned on Facebook.

America’s Active Shooters!!!

One-time rival Senator Kamala Harris backs Joe Biden for president |  amNewYork
Oh Say Can You See by the Dawn’s Early Covid Lockdown
Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump - The Dialog
… and Christian Bombs Bursting in Air while laughing all the way to the bank!

Final Note — Imagine this shit show America, and this blog, and the few things I wrote in it, enough to toss me to the curb. Big Brother and Big Sister, they are all watching. Just this recent new job, I was told by a person in the nonprofit involved in hiring me that “I Googled you . . . I had to really get beyond that to think, ‘there is more to this guy than all that.'” Hmm. Is this the proverbial digital straw that broke the human being’s back?

A Million and One Ideas that Would Transform The Globe

by Paul Haeder / November 1st, 2020

Writing is not a searching about in the daily experience for apt similes and pretty thoughts and images… It is not a conscious recording of the day’s experiences ‘freshly and with the appearance of reality’… The writer of imagination would find himself released from observing things for the purpose of writing them down later. He would be there to enjoy, to taste, to engage the free world, not a world which he carries like a bag of food, always fearful lest he drop something or someone get more than he.

— William Carlos Williams,  Spring and All

Ahh, just proposing a few hundred “things” to transform the globe into a world where people control their destinies within groups of people who have their destinies in their best interest is teetering on insanity. It’s not what good people in good capitalist company do, allow.

No Kid Hungry: How you can help end childhood hunger - Between Us Parents

You see, Capitalism lite or Capitalism hard is the same dog-eat-dog world of fend for yourselves, err, unless you can form a cabal of elites, with their colonies of soldiers and lawyers and bankers and land dealers.

Get a group of like-minded sociopaths, get a group of investors who want to make a quick buck, get millions who consume the lies of the business journals, the lies of the celebrity scum that end up controlling the narrative on everything, from how the local dog catcher should or shouldn’t do their job, all the way to the pigs over in Fukushima now letting out the isotopes of cancerous love into the Pacific.

It’s the same story told with a different spin, but we know the routine — Hanford, bombs, government contracts, the Tri-Cities “benefitting” from the construction, the blokes eating out, the entire house of nuclear cards based on bad scientists coming into town, and then the system of capitalism runs like a smooth Atilla the Hun School of Economics. Farmers out in Eastern Washington, and bam, the big bad bomb making boys with their pencil necks, their big cars, their big booze bills, the cigarettes, the new homes with backyard in ground pools, the ancillary and tertiary junk of the consumer/capitalist kind, colonizing in this dry land. Until the smoothly and finely tuned and well greases death machine ends up decades later running amok in the people’s thyroids, in the DNA and RHA of papa and mama, and alas, now Native fishers have thyroids removed, and the fatty bellies of salmon are recommended not for human consumption.

Just the Facts About Hunger in the US & The World | WhyHunger

Capitalism — not for human consumption. That is, all those hyphenated additives and ingredients in baby’s formula, all that stuff sprayed into everything, all those extruded plastics, all those soldered joints, all those capacitors and Prius batteries, the entire thing is not for human consumption.

Now, then,  how can anyone go up against this narrative, or flip the script, or make paradigm shifts and cultural transformations, when the entire mess is defended by the very people, say in Appalachia, where entire mountain peaks are blasted away, trout rivers blackened by the dust, and babies born fifty points or more below the barely average thinking (IQ) capacity of a Trump or Biden evil spawn. Dirt poor, no teeth, USDA Mac’ n’ Cheese food pantry boxes, and, bam, here we are, 2020,   and the dumb as dirt country is being run by thieves, rapists, bombers, land razers, polluters, perverts, sociopaths.

Explore the Issues – FoodBank

Then the compliant ones, all the big burly tough Americans, especially on the GOP and MAGA side, who feign toughness, think they are blustery in their attacks on educators, intellectuals, scientists, youth, raging grannies, women, environmentalists, multi-culturalist, but the bottom line, they are the flag wavers, the statue defenders, the clear cutters, the wolf killers, the church goers, the big truck lovers, lock step on Saturdays for their college football, their Friday night big high school grid iron. Everything about the mythology of America the white land, everything about the authority of the white patriarch, everything about the Stars and Bars, those are the MAGA/GOP lovers, and they want their way or the highway. Amazingly openly racist, and anything that speaks of questioning the Yankee Doodle Dandy and Confederate narrative, they go ballistic.

This is not to say the other groupings tied to the Democratic party are that much more independent, or forethinking. This is the way of capitalism, and the bourgeoise, the professional middle managers, the cultural warriors, all the PC and cancel culture and the co-opting of movement’s, the Che on the t-shirt with Pink Floyd emblazoned under him, that is the other side of the capitalist isle. Really, two different breeds, possibly the products of epigenetics, and the unholy contract within both the rule of law and the rules of engagement.

War, Branding, Amusements, Infantilism, Disneyifcation, Commercials,  Retailopethicus, and the land of milk and honey, through the veins  of mother earth, the fissures of Turtle Island, massive murder and slavery. Not much more of that history to define this country.

Hunger in America

Until, everyone, on all sides of the political manure pile, the enemy of transformational living and collectivism.

How many times have I gone up against college presidents who actually come from the ranks of MBA schools, or with degrees in “institutional leadership” (yes, and WTF degree, PhD no less).

Try out the Journal for Higher Education Mangers, running with the AAUA, American Association of University Administrators.  Then, yes, The Journal of Research on the College President. They have their lobbying arm, their professional insiders, their army of propagandists. Always, top down, and nothing to do with teaching and teachers.

10 cities where an appalling number of Americans are starving | Salon.com

Look, more is not better, and bigger is not better, but in capitalism, in supposedly valiant and worthy areas  like education, that is, working with humans to allow themselves to share/ advance knowledge and nurturing systems thinking and expanding critical interdisciplinary skills; to learn to work across disciplines, cultures, nations, well, you might think the idea is to work socialistically to bring our societies and our various countries toward some decent survivability and mutual aid across all lines. . . . But the reality is that bigger is better, and competition is not just expressed on the basketball courts. Each school, trying the hook the next and the next generation of potential students. More and more Club Med amenities. Working on the Amusing Themselves to Death.

It’s not about intergenerational, multi-dynamic cross educational pathway to community and collective healing and mutual aid. It’s about the big fish in the ocean gets the most sardines. Free (sic) market hucksterism, and the constant getting one, two, three thousand things over on your fellow citizens. Compatriots for Americans is the opposite of compassion.

Ya think those provosts and institutional leaders and VPs and Human Resources pros give a shit about the actual individual student, or the workers keeping the system, and their big pay checks, going?

Nope. I have worked with colleges where the outliers like me, left of left, are not only denigrated, but marginalized and sacked. I have worked with colleges where exploitation is the maximal form of employment. The student is not always the center of things, and alas, now the student is a customer, or in a time of Plan-Demic, a data donor on a huge Digital Dashboard.

If you want to talk about technocratic and technological fascism, you will not be embraced in neoliberal circles, and lite liberal circles. Not in most departments at the universities. Forget the community colleges, where more and more have drone technology programs. You know, bomb them back to the stone age from the comfort of a Lazy Boy lumbar support counsel chair. No matter how much the liberals spew about CSA’s (community supported agriculture) and Farmer’s Markets and the like, they still feel as if technology, Artificial Intelligence, all the apps and tools of the managerial class, the tracking tools, the aggregating tools, all the “so called” medical and banking and taxing tools, well, the show must go on. How do you stop it? And, for the most part, many of them profess, tracking who and who does get the vaccinations, who does and who doesn’t agree with the entire narrative, well, that is a-okay.

These are scary times, and desperate times call for desperate/fascistic/ technological neutering measures.

Every Dissident Voice and Facebook post, all the entanglements of the process of exploring ideas and expressing opinions, it is like a forever chemical — data, and stories and tweets and postings, they stay in the digital hell of the overlords, ready to be paraded out anytime. And those millionaires and billionaires and soon to be trillionaires have offered up the backdoor keys of NSA and all the other alphabet soup agencies of oppression and repression, as well as given to any major or minor corporation having access to EVERYTHING. The outfall is, of course, revolt, dissent, dissidence and clarity of dissension will be, well, verboten if one is to survive in this Global Digital and AI/CCTV/Big Brother panopticon — which is now not just an institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. Now, each internet, each bureaucratic, each retail transaction, each consumer moment being observed by a single security guard — the AI God in the Cloud.

The Republicans, the Democrats, the Libertarians, all of them, want that level of control. Even the Chinese, do. This is the value of oppression, economies of scale, the conundrum of each nation out for itself. Each hundred million or each half a billion must go after the goods, the others be damned.

This is the psychopathic way of “the market,” the bulwark that is  the steal jaws of competitive markets, where the commons is always a tragedy, where the Grecian Tragedy is played out every nanosecond in the arms of mothers and on the lips of babes, as land is paved over, jawed open, blasted clean, denuded, soil and life and people and animals turned inside out, used in the grand corralling of the minds and bodies. We are the sheep and cattle in the elites sophisticated system of domestication, husbandry, monocropping plants and people.

Social-intellectual-spiritual-dreaming control. Pre-crime is not some Phillip K. Dick fantasy, it is, rather, the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, started decades ago with every transaction, every educational move, every financial move, every medical move, every legal or illegal move monitored, checked, and filed away. AI and Google and the plethora of other evil app providers and software makers, well, they have the web spinning as I write this.

But this screed is not about that so much as it is about my writing. Another novel, started, on a roll, and yet, daily, I am sure, minute by minute somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I wonder “why?” Who the fuck will read this book, and how do I market it, and if I am so radical and communist in my philosophy, should I be worried about who reads it and how it gets read. The Collector and Story Teller, very very loosely based on people I meet, including one fellow, who I feature here at Dissident Voice —  Down and Out in Portland: Retired in Style in Waldport, OR

The problem is I am a novelist without an audience, this shit-show that was big time publishing in the 1980s through the 2000, when I had an agent looking to score semi-small/median with the NYC/Boston publishing houses, that has shifted big time, until the big bucks are thrown at the putrid people, the Obamas in the tens of millions, all the tell-all crapper books, the Master of Fine Arts style sessions, and, well, a stack to the moon of how to get rich-how to get laid-how to get self-actualized-how to get one or a million scams  on your neighbor – how to get a million bucks/spirituality/love/instant success/happiness/multiple orgasms without any work.

Publishers Adapt Policies To Help Educators - Flipboard

I get the scam of publishing (one shit-load of rejection slips and letters, even, “well, mighty evocative, mighty powerful, but not our cup of tea,” and I get the competition is ruthless. In fact, you can create great art, and it will, alas, stay locked up in a file case or hang up in papa’s garage next to the Vargas women.

Imagine, Vassar College and Smith College interns, reading piles upon piles of manuscripts (that was in the 1990s-2000s), and if the first two lines, or in rare cases, the first two pages didn’t catch their attention, then, bam, the slush pile. Rejection City.

My New York agent wanted like hell to get my books/novels sold, but he too was up against this pedestrian bullshit East Coast triple bias.

Now, at age 63, what’s the point of lashing out lines and incredible concepts and narratives, when, well, here we are — a nation of triple consumers. Students called consumers. The entire fear city shit of the plan-demic yellow bellies up against the functionally illiterate masses. No fucking MAGA or Christian Pervert will read my stuff. Let alone buy it. Cancel culturists won’t buy/read my fiction. Highfaluting “artistic” types won’t. The pile of mush getting churned out on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, all of that, this is the American gel, the mush and mutilated crap of the elites and the Duck Dynasty folk. Podcast after ever-deadening podcast sucking up more attention spans. The incredible right-wing news (sic) feeds. The incredible unintelligible pop culture, the hate culture, the faux Buddhist shit, the entire mess that is the United States’ “artistic” tastes all of it is cancerous.

But here I am, trying to get to the point: In one scene in the fast-paced book, The Collector and the Story Teller, my protagonist, Raymundo Pena, or just Ray, is trying to solve a murder and disappearance of The Collector, Aubrey Searles, and find Aubrey’s disappeared wife, and in that process, he ends up at the food pantry, the food distribution point for the poor and the downtrodden. A very short-lived scene, but real, and telling.

MFA in Creative Writing | | College of Liberal Arts | Oregon State University

Of course, you guessed it, me, the author, having worked in a few places that we call “food pantries,” and now, with the plan-demic, Ray ends up talking to a make-believe few characters working at and utilizing the pantry.

It’s a short chapter, but the reality is this — This country, broken from sea to shining sea, is way bey0nd the massive slippage either of the two prostitute parties will grasp or admit (maybe both of them, and their majority backers, have zero idea how threadbare systems are in the USA for massive poverty and massive slippage of the American people).

Hunger was bad ass before the plan-demic, the entire lockdown, the shuttering of businesses. A mean country, under any bloody Yankee-Confederate flag. Food stamps cut and cut. The punishment society, full of token groping, making people line up for fucking voting, imagine the shit that poor people and hungry children and then ramp that up and put in poor undocumented people and hungry undocumented children have to do just to get calories.

The 20 Best Graduate Level Creative Writing - College Rank

Now, the local foodbank, shortage after shortage. No turkeys, no dry beans, shortage after shortage. Plenty of Mac’n’Cheese, and the bread and cookies and cakes, thrown at the pantries. Piles. Mountains of them. Packaged for the next apocalypse, a 20 line ingredient (chemical) list.

Welcome to capitalism, a million choices, but “not really choices.” Which Dye No. 5 or No. 55 do you want in your kids’ cereal puffs? Which organic compound do you want sprayed on the baby’s mashed potatoes? Which percentage of sugar-hydrogenated oil-salt lick do you want in the toaster cinnamon buns?

Hunger Facts | Move For Hunger

Barbara Lee: I’m very terrified with regard to what we see taking place. And the signs are there. When you talk about shutting down the media, putting out their alternative facts, banning dissent and opposition, criticizing people who are exercising their First Amendment rights; trying to get people to believe, really, the distortions that they’re putting out there. That, to me, is very scary. It’s very dangerous. And you see also the corporate and military consolidation of the public sector. You see efforts to privatize schools. When you just look at the nominees, you see very few people with experience in the public sector. And so when you have the corporate sector merging with the military sectors, and when you have cabinet officials who have historically said they want to dismantle the cabinets and the agencies that they’re running, that I’m very terrified that we are beginning to see an erosion of our democratic values and an erosion of the public sector.

Hellraiser' cartoonist wants to offend, help others criticize government |  CBC News

The new normal is of course abnormal, antithetical to being a human being, or at least a being that is Homo Sapiens before say, errr, the industrial revolution, or in the new parlance, before the Fourth  Industrial Revolution, or before the internet of all things . . . .

Schooling was bad, for decades, for sure, but redeemable in some sense. Things like educational systems are fixable, or they were before the Zoom Doom decade has begun to unfold. Face to face discourse was always discordant, yet the only way for some sort of consensus or arbitrated whole, but now, with Zoom Doom, etc., and especially now that many western (whites) people want to isolate, stay at home glued to this evil screen, as if glued to some sordid 6-hour daily soap opera, really  want to do things on line, do things sheltered, well, the new species of Western (white) Adam and Eve is, well, not the people I want in my trench if the revolution ever happens . . . .

Which will not unfold, this “revolution,” if this generation and the next one is bred to take a $1000 a month UBI, takes the pink and blue pills/vaccines, and continues to listen to the putridity that is commercialism-retail-PR-spin mixed in with the noise of the day, the propaganda of them all – 2,700 billionaires pointing their antennae in all the right directions for more and more control, overlording and alas gouging the economic and socio-economic and political power from the super majority, us.

So many people I talk with, gentrified with a bit of a retirement, or at-home income, plus the house paid off, more or less, and fairly good health, they are blaming the victims, blaming the poor, blaming the kids who got the wrong degrees and who are now in debt.

The divide and conquer is subtle with democratic voters, and overt with MAGA mutts.

This is the scam of capitalism – the people who have “made it” have done so on the backs of people, and many in capitalism make money on people who are struggling, who are lower income, who are not part of the 20 percent. Divide and conquer. Classify us. Put us on a spectrum. On a scale. Rate us. Give us a score, some detailed credit report, educational report, health report, activity report. Google and the other gulag thinkers, they have the tools to put us all on dashboards, even as I type out this screed, the data and the nanoseconds of my moves will be recorded.   

Making money on fines, penalties, arrests, convictions, probation, and then all those middle-middle-middlemen making money on turning this financial screw or flipping this toggle or that investing switch to exact more and more economic pain, more and more generalized anxiety disorder pain. You can’t just do things without added-on layer after layer of people and systems taking a penny here, a dime there, a dollar over there, and a 20 percent or more cut there and there.

The reality is this country is threadbare, and county governments do not have the resources for that D-minus nationwide infrastructure that needs tending to. Counties and states do not have the money for sustaining public health, safety and well-being. We are in a system of money that banks have “loaned” communities putting them into bankruptcy. The loan sharks are large and sophisticated, repo experts of the highest order, foreclosure kings on a grand scale.

Imagine the concept of no clinics in communities, no diabetes clinics, public school nurses and counselors doled out like rare truffles (like one nurse per five schools, one counselor per 400 kids!). Imagine now in Oregon, the current college enrollment is down 20 percent. Think. Where does that go, where do we make up the work people have at community colleges? How do those worthy students move forward? Fulfillment centers? Two college degrees and working in a warehouse at $15 an hour (if you are lucky to be in a few states with that minimum wage) and praying for a universal basic/bumbling income?

And that discourse of a UBI is insane, no? No talk about public ownership of utilities, pharmaceuticals, medicine, hospitals, clinics, state banks, guaranteed housing, food security, and public transportation that can only be imagined by Phillip K. Dick. And I am not talking flying taxis, but clean trollies and constant schedules. Imagine, the end of the car for many people – that internal combustion disease maker, the thing that sits 90 percent of the time in a driveway or parking space. Imagine.

Nope. It’s the transfer of $1,200 a month basic income to the rich and the richest. A basic income in super predatory capitalism. Imagine. That is the paradigm. Sort of the same insanity of a Bill McKibben or Liz Warren saying a cleaner military – one running on biodiesel and one that recycles missile parts, on that repurposes medical waste and builds global bases at a net zero waste LEED Platinum level. Solar panel-wind turbine air force drone bases. All ships and carriers running on forever fuel, nuclear energy. Imagine that insanity. From the greenies.

The democrats and republicans are vicious, are psychopaths, and Americans on both sides of that manure pile who believe this is an exceptionalist society will believe anything to hold up their version of reality. They will wrap themselves up in the red, white and blue in varying ways. Voting is their emancipation from actually doing and acting.

Listen to this freak of a man, Trump, and watch the media just flatten down. Think about how impotent mainline media is –   

AMY GOODMAN: So, by April 2017, just three months into his presidency, Trump launched a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians. Jeremy, you say in your series, “Like Pavlov’s dogs, the bipartisan war machine responded accordingly.” Let’s go to some of the media coverage of Trump’s attack on Syria. This is MSNBC anchor Brian Williams referring to a Pentagon video of U.S. missiles fired at Syria as “beautiful” three times in 30 seconds.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Go into greater detail. We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.” And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield. What did they hit?

AMY GOODMAN: That was MSNBC’s Brian Williams. And this is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

FAREED ZAKARIA: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States. I think this was actually a big moment, because candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war. He told President Obama, “You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.” He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the president of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.

And yet, this country is waxing poetic about the “clear skies over our cities,” and how the lockdown has “given me space to think, to reflect, to evolve,” and “we are really getting closer to our roots” THANKS to Covid-19.

Dangerous-dangerous thinking. This is it, though … as more and more people (sic) who can work from home (not real work) accept permanent correspondence school-work-medicine-business. No big questioning of the motivations of the tech world, the billionaires, the pigs of AI and Surveillance. No bigger demands for this shit-hole country. No demands for holding all corporations accountable. No pitchforks and tar and feathers for the politicians, the cops, the multimillionaires, the billionaires and their evil seeds.

It is a passive culture, a giant joystick, operation, a couch potato citizenry. The Covid-19 plan-demic fit the narrative so-so well.

It is now rubber-necking to the tenth power. Almost everyone in the United Snakes of BlackRock and then those fleas on the tail of that US dog, Canada, UK, and Australia, is generally looking like a giant cast in a Jerry Springer outtake. The celebrity culture, the thugs of politics, the billionaire lizard class, the entire mauling media, the incompetence of the general population who self-identify as MAGA deplorables and/or middling liberals who believe in Manifest Destiny and Exceptionalism with a little bit of LGBTQA spin, it is the seeding of more and more weeks, months and years of stupidity. To mask or not to mask, to listen to this group of scientists, or that swath of virologists, that is the question.

No deep discussion about how broken the system(s) was/were way back when, and then this rewritten history covering up the bulldozing through the Regan years and up to now. Gutting rights, gutting checks and balances for Wall Street, Banking, Real Estate, oligarchs, polluters, thieves in suits, and the thuggery of cops and troops. Shock and awe, with this crappy media and amusing ourselves not to death but to neutering and spaying glee.

Imagine over 200 rural hospitals shut down just since 2006. Imagine simple compound fracture medical bill of $80,000. Just imagine, brand new aircraft carriers and supersonic jets, football stadiums filled with shiny bullets, and entire shipping ports filled with drones and bombs. This country has no checks and balances to demand human and township/city/state assistance during fires, hurricanes, floods and flu pandemics. No safety nets, no massive shut downs of the perpetrators of fire, poison, imprisonment, shock and awe on the streets by the murdering cops.

Then, we argue how much the thieves are hiding, ripping us off for, and on and on, the broken system

Some of the most despicable people now are on mainstream media and in the odd-ball media, and the academicians are scurrying like the careerists they are, and then the homegrown extremists, the pussy Trump (not a man’s man or a woman’s man), the murder incorporated men and women on the thin blue line, and on and on. We make those old “banana republic” epithets against our brethren south of the border seem tame. We are a thug nation, a new gilded age society of 18-carrat 5,000 square foot bathrooms for the Botox, and a 1988 Chevy van for the fulfillment worker families parked in an alley.

It all seems like a giant mental anguish experiment.

Mr. Fish Toon- Trump's Yoda - Democratic Underground

The news-news-news is a constant drone of national and international frayed stories, and in the eye of the storm, we have community after community in the USA broken, breaking apart, sliding and of course it never was meant to be a system that is for, by, with, because of the people.

This all brings me to the deplorables, the across-the-street neighbors, whose boys decided my 12 by 14 inch sign that states we believe in a woman’s right to choose and black lives matter, etc., should not only be stolen, but that my car’s window bashed in because of that sign.

Yeah, two deputy sheriff calls, two citations, and then two separate no trespassing citations, and then more and more of my time spent on tracking these cases. So many moments of my mental state thrown into the criminal injustice system. How many phone calls from county courts folk and victims rights folk telling me in their 20 or 30 or 40 years they have never seen such a backlog, a cluster fuck.

Oregon’s lockdown measures, and now property crimes – this putrid 39-year-old boy-man, all 6’5” of him, caught by a neighbor throwing a 10 pound paving stone in my car window and then prancing around the street with hands up and juking as if he just made a dunk.

Then my spouse and I start digging into this “family,” this upstanding MAGA family, and lo and behold, the mother has been evicted from two homes, and she and her current husband filed for bankruptcy in CA more than five times. The perpetrator of the criminal mischievous also has a fine white boy, blued eye semi-man rap sheet – DUIs in CA, and felony charges for, err, animal abuse, AKA cock fighting. This guy’s CA record shows he failed to appear, failed to do court-mandate classes in animal abuse. Charges dropped.

As you peel back layer after layer in America – the blond mother, prancing around the neighborhood telling anyone who will listen how upstanding she and her breed are – the dirty laundry comes flying in your face.

So these anti-Chinese, pro-MAGA mutts, they have some ridiculous business of beach footwear (whatever that is) and they stamp a sea turtle on them, and on their web site, they say “from every purchase we support the sea turtles.” Imagine that, no sea turtle environmental group listed, and alas, these anti-Chinese/China MAGA get those loafers and flipflops from, well, you guessed it – China.

The court systems are super blogged. The property crimes are going unpunished. Cases are being tossed out. Retraining orders are no being followed up on. And this is just one small slice of the angle in America where things are falling apart. Under lockdown. Before lockdown. Beyond lockdown.

Too much on the American mindset’s bandwidth. Again, the mess of crap that comes into Facebook, on Twitter, on those hate channels, on MSNBC, Fox, et al. The paraded queens of stupidity, and the kings of crime, every minute of the day, dragging any attention span left in the American collective intellect/consciousness, pulled out.

This is America. I have former colleagues who are retired, who have their little house on the gentrified hill in this or that town. They believe in this shit-hole country. They think Trump is aberration. They think that all he’s done will go on in perpetuity (lifetime appointments of judges). They believe in this shit-hole system, just putting a few new lipstick shades on the predatory-parasitic-disaster pig that is capitalism left of center, center or right.

POSTS — Lifesigns

You get a chunk of cement thrown into your car window, and you are thrown into the morass that is/was/will be the dead pool of America. All systems no-go. All entertainment zones displaying all those sacrifice zones. All those Netflix documentaries, all those mini-series, all those years and years of drama and soap operas. It’s here, the lobotomy, the collective lobotomy.

A nation of 160 million and counting developing one or more  chronic diseases. One out of five (easily) with recurring depression. A middle manager class and intellectual class stuck in the inertia of cynicism. The gilded age that pushes more and more people into poverty and learned helplessness. This is the country of proud to be stupid . . . proud to be overweight, diabetic, hypertensive and yet, “lock them up . . . give ‘em a good beating . . . shoot them on Pennsylvania Avenue . . . give them a good dump into the east bay with a sack of cement.”

This wimp of a human (bully of that species), Trump, and his suits and ties that are warped (every single GOP before, during and after his death) and who  hold up the violence and extrajudicial beatings and murders this un-man Trump and his un-man Stephen Miller and his Sessions and Barr, putrid puffer fish in Florsheims, demand, we are there, man.

Chris Hedges: We’ve personalized the problem in Trump without realizing that Trump is the product of a failed democracy. Trump is what rises up from the bowels of a decayed and degenerate system. And you can get rid of Trump, but you’re not going to get rid of what the sociologist Émile Durkheim called that “anomie” that propels societies to engage in deeply self-destructive behavior.

Trump 2020 - Mr. Fish

there is no “most prestigious environmental prize” if the poor young people aren’t leading the charge

“I also know that one must do what one can do. No matter how little it is, it is nonetheless a human testimony and human testimonies, as long as they are not based on greed or personal ambition for power, can have unexpected positive effects.…I believe in local action and in small dimensions. It is only in such environments that human creativity and meaningful identities can truly surface and flourish.” ― Manfred Max-Neef

There are  many-many gross things in the news every nanosecond of anti-social media’s and mass mainlining media’s dead from the navel up “stories.”

Imagine, now, the Great White Hope, the Sir David and the Prince William doling out a few million bucks here and there for, drum roll, individuals, companies and agencies that come up with solutions to the world’s environmental problems.

Imagine that, the deeply steeped in eugenics Attenborough, and the DNA-mutated mentally inbred royalty, having people jump through hoops to help move forward the powers that be in capitalism.

Here’s a doozy from this insipidly wet milquetoast PR spin — “We can’t cut down rain-forests forever and anything that we can’t do forever is by definition unsustainable,” says Attenborough. Adding that “if we act now we can yet put it right,” how amazing would that be? We must all act now.

Oh, cry for me, Military Industrial Complex. Nary a word about the Prince’s jets and missiles. Nothing about the deeply embedded complex that holds up the war lords. Again, to repeat – that’s Silicon Valley, that’s fast food, that’s paint, hardware, clothing, IT, telecom, med, media, pharma, oil, gas, nuclear, wires, plastics, satellites,  technical writers, office supplies, water, air, soil suppliers, engineering outfits, lumber, milling, smelting, big earth movers, drone makers, all of those grand pieces and bits that put together this zombie squid of war war war.

You will not hear that in the Attenborough line – no more war machines, soldiers, flyovers, Kings Guards, air-naval-ground-moon bases. Imagine, he states how he was 11 years old with a world population of, drum roll, 2.3 billion (1937).

And, now it’s 7.8 billion, and huge parts of the globe are dead of wildlands and are invaded by, well, you guessed it (but not coming from the Prince’s or Knight’s mouths) – capitalists &  empires running their criminal operations for the banks, the investors, the elites. Oh, mining, ag, metals, fossil fuel, minerals, fish, water, data, human lives for the operation that gets old Attenborough flying around the world in his jet-setting ways.

Let’s see, since 1937, hundreds of trillions spent on missiles, NSAS, satellites, war-war-war, and what has occurred since wee David grew up to be 94? No mention of the amassing of chemicals, industrial farms, the huge consumer-capitalist bases of seizing power, products, resources and people from other countries, all for god, country, queen, and Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and, pick your bank poison here________________! He will not speak of the accumulation of wealth and land and power by his own Anglo-Saxon greedy men of war-debt-slavery.

He wants birth-control, forced sterilization for the dark people, and LEED and zero waste third and fourth homes-castles-island enclaves for the beautiful people.

This is more of the same bizarre stuff – five prizes, $1.2 million each, for 10 years. This is the infantilism of the globe and the great super hero rescuer narrative for the beautiful people who want nothing more than capitalism that pays, has returns on investments and smells-tastes-feels-looks-sounds like green porn.

“We rely entirely on this finely tuned life-support machine” says Sir David Attenborough when describing our little blue planet, in his recently released book and documentary “A Life on Our Planet.” The legendary naturalist and broadcaster, now 94, has spent his entire life traveling the world documenting wildlife, for us to enjoy from the comfort of our living rooms. He is thought to be one of the most well-traveled people on the planet, for The Life of Birds documentary alone, it is estimated he traveled a whopping 256,000 miles. That is the same as traveling around the world ten times. And this was only for one of the eight series he has made for the BBC over the course of almost 30 years. He now joins forces with Prince William with whom he shares a passion for the environment, to help launch the Earthshot Prize. Aiming to be the most prestigious global environment prize, it will be awarded to those who come up with extraordinary ways to help tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges of our planet. [source]

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough launch Earthshot Prize

Quaint.

Here’s my email – contact me ASAP. No millions spent on techno fixes, on big giant scoops for ocean plastic, seed storage projects for the moon or mars. No 29 million studies and 29 white papers and a hundred million sad-sack pretzel logic to save the planet.

Simple stuff, so again, my contact email is below. Here

I can think of a massive one weekend event – how about a thousand or 10,000 thousand two-day charettes. Giant brainstorming sessions. Giving young people the facilitation tools to come up with a 10 part or 100 part plan to save people, planets, plants, populations of animal species.

Easy, man – with all the shit-show tools of Zoom and satellite feeds and computers and, well, you think that maybe 10,000 teach-ins and brainstorming sessions might produce a few common threads, in the countries on the African Continent, North, Middle and South America, Middle East, Far East, Island nations, and more.

Let’s see – I bet with the right engagement, those young students and their tag-along parents and uncles and aunts might be coming up with this:

  • immediate end to military spending
  • utilizing the equipment militaries have for restorative natural, agroecological, and community projects
  • no more billionaires
  • no more men and women ruling from the top down
  • no more corporations dictating the size, shape, limits, lifespans of individual humans, ecosystems, bioregions, nations, and hemispheres
  • massive collective agro-ecological farming to feed the world
  • massive eminent domain for empty buildings, second, third, fourth homes
  • microhome villages served with intergenerational diverse people healing minds-bodies-earth-natural systems
  • a collective and massive global year of strikes
  • the new framework for producing food, producing goods, producing small-locally owned businesses
  • colleges for all, and all departments engaged in connected and holistic teaching . . .
  • no more economy over anything thinking
  • deep ethics taught in all those subjects
  • community schools led by students and people in the communities
  • native and indigenous led governance, land ethic, air ethic, and cultural engagement

And, more, and can you imagine all those 10,000 community-based charrettes, where people – the young and the very old and the most vulnerable – are not just at the table, but are the facilitators. Sure, the concepts of global heating will be tantamount as well as restorative cultural-economic-spiritual-racial justice.

I am convinced that these youth forums will produce manifestos so similar, so tied to the very idea of “an injury to one is an injury to all” that all the retrograde, violent, and colonized war lord and banking lovers would be pushed out of the realm. Join us, sure.

But imagine now this Earth-Shot prize being something completely different than the old model of “who has the best ideas to fit into the capitalist paradigm to play around with some of the major issues earth and people are facing.”

Solve microplastics? Well, first, now, stop the plastic’s industry in the hands of felons and profit gougers. The packaging industries? Done. The clear cutters, strip miners, mountaintop removers – gone, out of business.

The commodities trading? Gone. The stockholders, the monopolies, the BlackRocks, gone.

Oh, I know it will be a lot of work, but the young and the very old and the vulnerable are up to the task. There is really nothing else on earth but the human/animal/plant family and natural world and working collectively so people in the next county don’t suffer while the other county doesn’t suffer.

Precautionary principle, life cycle analysis, and much more-more for an ecosocialist world. Whoops, did I use the term, Socialist?

Youth who are not completely damaged by consumerism/anti-social media/drugs/epigenics/Breaking Bad parents are naturally connected to other peoples, and given the space and chance, they are the solutions makers.

No more TED Talk white bread talkers, no more mass mainlining media infortainment, no more celebrity culture dominating everything, no more-no more.

Again, utilize this shit-show Zoom Doom and media platforms to get these 10,000 or 100,000 teach-ins/charrettes up on all platforms. Imagine, even all those colonized millionaire media fakes, all those prune headed politicians, all those stem-cell sucking CEO’s like Bezos and Zuckerberg, well, they will have to watch, man.

Old Knights and Princes are not the future. The rich and the white race rampaging throughout history in their empires of greed, religion, conquistadors of rape-pillage-theft-murder; those manipulators, those penury-creators, those bamboozlers, the smoke and mirror charlatans, the debt holders, the criminal injustice purveyors, all those blood diamond types, I know for a fact that two day teach-in and charrette, they will be tossed out as anything more than thieves and destroyers.

Give peace a chance? Give the youth the platform, the facilitation, the attention, the manifestos to change this world.  Coming up with some bio-mimic paint that self cleans will not cut it. Global shit in who is at the table, who writes the rules, who brings forth the ideas. N O  M O R E  white guys setting the stage and making the rules.

Oh, what a world it would be, and what would it take to get those 100,000 global charettes working? Technology. Computers? Some WIFI connections?  

Let the youth, the young from lower economic communities, the people of the so-called developing or less developed world make their mark now. Forget about the compostable toilets and home-sited wind turbine.

And this is what the Earthshot Prize aims to do. Just as the moonshot that John F. Kennedy proposed in the 1960s was a catalyst for new technology such as the MRI scanner and satellite dishes that helped us go to the moon, this prize aims through Earthshot challenges to create a new wave of ambition and innovation around finding ways to help save the planet. The committee has announced it will spend the next 10 years $60 million, awarding annually five, $1.2 million prizes to individuals, organizations and those around the world who are working to provide solutions to the world’s biggest environmental problems.

I’ll add a reader’s comments since the other site where this article appeared, Dissident Voice, does not accept comments anymore —

Paul,

Really great essay.

I am tired of the massive abuses occurring at the hands of Big Business. Also of the massive abuses occurring at the hands of Big Government, which has merely become a wholly owned subsidiary of that Big Business.

And of the devastating consequences of disaster capitalism.

But I am just as tired of the protesters, whom are likely wasting time trying to dictate to others telling them what to do (authoritarianism & fascism are not limited only to the right-wingers), rather than using their time more productively & effectively by engaging in more productive activities & changes themselves.

Those that don’t like the Elite dominated systems, processes, and activities, should lead by example by creating better alternatives themselves.

Get out, observe, discover, create, experiment – and don’t be afraid to fail, but learn how to learn from those mistakes, to truly progress.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. –Bertrand Russell-

There are still an unlimited amount of discoveries to be discovered & revealed. Even a lot of ancient discoveries awaiting rediscovery.

Dependence is a lack of independence. Insanity is depending on others to change, foolishly believing  independence will spawn from that continued dependence.

D.i.y ethics need to make a comeback .As do true grassroots movements. Not corporate-directed pseudo-grassroots movements.

This planet, our soils, plants, people, and ways of thinking need serious help.

Calling on corporate-Elite dominated systems to effectuate changes will only result in more corporate-Elite dominated systems. Those Elite dominated systems can be defeated, but not whilst remaining reliant solely on their terms.

D.i.y. or die.

Again, great essay.We need far more people inspiring personal change to effectuate real global change.


Regards,
Sean Ryan, NatureSoilProducts.com

Eternal Impunity of Capitalism’s Crimes

Agent Orange, a fifty-fifty mix of the n-butyl esters 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T)

by Paul Haeder / October 7th, 2020

The very idea of War Being a Racket penetrates so deeply into capitalism’s flair for murder by a thousand cuts, a thousand miles in a Corvair, a thousand sips from diet Coke, a thousand sucks from Nestle baby formula, a thousand hours on the video screen, a thousand seconds inside the nuclear core, a thousand nanoparticles chewed, a thousand days living under high tension power lines, a thousand slices of mercury-cured tuna, a thousand puffs of the e-cigarette, a thousand days in law school, a thousand clicks hiked in clear cut, a thousand bombs bursting in air, a thousand doses of any one of millions of drugs or chemicals, a thousand seconds of a presidential debate, a thousand launches from NASA, a thousand bullets into Black bodies, a thousand spent uranium laced shells, a thousand drips of PCBs in our water supply, and, on and on, the drumbeat plays, a thousand cuts.

I just finished watching the documentary, The People versus Agent Orange. Carol Van Strum (here and here) is the American contingent and Nga To Tran the Vietnamese contingent. Like so many other documentaries, this one cuts to the chase – the liberation of humankind and ecologies from the death ray of capitalism is the ONLY way forward.

Veterans, Survivors Unaware of Agent Orange Benefits

The origins of Agent Orange lie in an obscure laboratory at the University of Chicago where, during World War II, the chairman of the school’s biology department, E. J. Kraus, discovered that direct doses of 2,4-D can kill certain broadleaf vegetation by causing the plants to experience sudden, uncontrolled growth not unlike that of cancer cells in the human body. Kraus, thinking his findings might be of use to the Army, informed the War Department, which initiated testing of its own but found no use for the stew of hormones prior to the end of the war. But experiments with 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T continued through the 1950s. — Orion Magazine

Ad nauseum the bantering back and forth with deplorable MAGA and shallow democrats on mainline TV/Cable, is much ado about nothing when we put into perspective every single action the corporation makes to not only rip-off each and every customer, but to delimit free speech, to eviscerate participatory democracy, to use their hit squads of lawyers to obfuscate and obliterate the righteous people up against these Titans of Tyranny – chemical, pharmaceutical, agriculture, fossil fuel, mining, data, prison, space, industrial, food, medical, media, education, criminal justice, banking, insurance, investing thieves and manslaughter experts.

The entire farm has been sold down the river a million times, so when we look at Agent Orange, the USA government, the US Air Force, the Dow corporation, the endless legal deaths by a thousand motions against some sort of reparation for the millions of Vietnamese, Americans and dozens of others in Vietnam during the tyranny of corporations and the French and the USA in fighting in another person’s land. Vietnam!

Carol Van Strum’s story is linked to my neck of the woods – the Central Oregon coast range. She is just a few dozen miles up the road, in Five Rivers. For more than 45 years, she has been both victim of and battler against the chemical spraying operators here where timber companies clear cut vast thousands of square miles of forest, and then deploy the markers of Agent Orange and other brews to include Glyphosate and atrazine, among others.

The film is understatement, but thorough and clear – some of us knew early on that the herbicide Agent Orange was more than a Ho Chi Minh Trail defoliant. It was part of a plan by the despotic South Vietnamese president Diệm ’s worldview – supported and supplied by the USA – that the Viet Cong should not have jungle cover and that the rice crops in the North should not only be destroyed but contaminated from the soil up.

Opinion | The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange - The New York Times

Tran is an amazing voice for Vietnam and the millions of victims of Agent Orange – many dead, by the millions, and many by several million surviving in varying levels of debilitation, and for her and millions of other women, giving birth to deformed, sick and dying babies.

Back in Oregon, the mothers and then the doctors came together to compare notes, and alas, the number of miscarriages/spontaneous abortions experienced by local women always coincided a month after helicopters working for the timber companies unloaded thousands upon thousands of gallons of the toxic brew, a mix of hormone disruptors and growth inhibitors that scour animals, plants and humans to the point of genetic mutations and untold physical ailments as adults.

We see the coughing “chemical guy” in Oregon, who is cell phone filming himself loading up the helicopters with the brew. He hacks up blood at night. He is another victim of better-living-through-chemistry (not). His story is vital to the telling of the Agent Orange story back home, in Oregon.

Tran’s case seeks accountability for “the deadliest use of chemicals in the history of warfare.” The case is still held up in court.

Why the United States Won't Admit Guilt Over Agent Orange

Tran was told by her heroic mother, captured by the South Vietnamese, in 1953, “If I don’t come back, you will replace me.” Tran ended up writing news for the National Liberation Front. She met her husband in the forest, who was part of the Foreign Relations Commission. “We spent our youth engaged in war.”

In June 1968 their daughter was born, and three days later the infant’s skin  began falling off. She had difficulty breathing, and she had major heart issues. “I always blamed myself thinking I was the reason for her illness and the cause of her death. Even though I have my other two children, it is the face of my first that remains anchored in my soul,” Tran states.

Tran says she carried that guilt for 40 years. “Until I found out what killed my daughter, the poison Agent Orange.”

Her second daughter was born with alpha thalassemia, a major defect of her pancreas. Same with Tran’s third daughter, and a granddaughter. Thanks, Agent Orange and the Boys at Dow!

Back and forth the documentary travels from Carol’s and Oregon’s battle against the chemical companies and the university forestry guy who was in the back pocket of Dow, and with Tran, who has several lawyers working to “put an end to the eternal impunity,” as French barrister William Bourdon calls it.

That was Operation Ranch hand, from 1962 to 71, approved by JFK and his henchmen in the DoD and military. The idea was to take away the forest cover but also to be part of a food-denial program, which under any auspices of international conventions, is an act of genocide, and a war crime.

Dr. James Clary was with the Air Force in Vietnam, which ran the program. He was order to dump the computer and erase all memory. Instead, he printed out a stack of documents two feet high – missions, sorties, coordinates, dates, gallons dropped throughout all of Southeast Asia and Laos.

“We had the information coming from Dow that there were real problems for people associated with this chemical. It was all locked up for 35 years.”

Playing down all the negative effects of this chemical was part of the Dow plan. Dioxin was the byproduct in the brew. Dow told the US government they were having difficulty producing the volume of the chemical the US wanted. The government told them to not worry about safety standards and quality control, and that a fast production process which produced more of the dioxin would not matter, since the crops and forest were being sprayed, and if people got in contact with it, the idea coming from both industrialists at Dow and those in government and the military was, “Hey, so what, this is a war . . . these are the effing Vietnamese.”

However, a former military man like Clary never saw it that way. He reiterated that 20 million gallons of it was dumped on Southeast Asia. The Ranch Hand program stopped in 1971, but then the chemicals were enlisted by the US on forest land – clear cuts that were sprayed to denude the razed land of any opportunities weeds and shrubs. The money has to be made, and the stockpiled product has to go! Sell it to the state forestry department and timber outfits.

Dr. Clary tears up on the film, showing a deep regard for the Vietnamese. He cried at the sight of the deformed children. The filmmakers state: “e is not a typical war monger, and never said that. He became a whistle-blower to expose such attitudes. They are the opposite of how he feels.

“They went back and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we need the quantities. Besides it’s going to be sprayed on the jungle over there. Not gonna be any people there and if they happen to get into it, so what? We’re at war.’”

Oregon Community Rights Organizer Featured in New Documentary 'THE PEOPLE vs. AGENT ORANGE' | CELDF

Carol Van Strum reiterates that the half-life of a dioxin molecule is 2 billion years. Dioxin, the forever chemical and the gift of cancer and birth defects and mutagenic ailments that keep on giving. Tran is now fighting for the fourth generation of people affected by the millions of gallons of this poison sprayed on her homeland. She has breast cancer.

Dr, Clary breaks down emotionally, saying he never thought his government would betray all the veterans who directly were affected and whose offspring were/are still affected. The judge in the Agent Orange case is a pure case of misanthropy that infects all chambers of the judicial and legal class.

Andre Burny, author of Agent Orange: Apocalypse Vietnam, makes it clear that this is a “crime against humanity, an attack on the human genome.”
It’s telling that one of several scientists featured in a clip, Dow’s Dr. Cleve Goring, says, “The attack on the chemical is entirely emotional. 2,4 5-T is about as toxic as Aspirin. We have not done a good job with our PR campaign.”

As benign as Aspirin! You haven’t heard this before, right? Farmed chemical-laced salmon, safe as mother’s milk. Oh, antibiotic-laced meat and poultry are safe for all consumers. You know, it would take a bathtub of the stuff a day for twenty years to cause cancer. Or, lab rats are not humans . . . no comparison. 5-G is like an apple a day. Violent video games are A-Okay. Genetically Engineered crops are better than those old fashioned heritage crap. What’s a little used motor oil dumped into the pond.

Oh dear reader, you have as many of these “it’s safer than the alarmists yammer about” stories, I am sure. Imagine, the bottom line of Dow is to cover up, drag court cases on and on until the plaintiffs are six feet under. What a little rebranding won’t fix. Or some heavyweight like Brad Pitt or Betty White endorsing the product bringing people all together now.

The documentary, The People versus Agent Orange,” delves into many of the treatment centers for victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. There are dozens. I have been to two of them, years ago, and they were not even tied to Agent Orange. Like Tran, most of the mothers blamed themselves for children coming out twisted, stunted, without limbs, craniums asymmetrical or ballooned out.

This is how capitalism works – lies, deceit, murder, cover, cover-up, blame the victim, pass on the diseases and poisons and clean up costs to the people. This is the price of capitalism, many Americans will say. This is the price of convenience. This is the price of Low Prices and instant soup, instant turkey, instant husband/wife.

Blame the child for the crimes of consumerism. Blame the fetus for the mother taking the advice of western medicine. Blame the communities for the sprayed hog blood-urine-shit in their backyards.

Capitalism is more than some giant smoke and mirrors game, bigger than some house of cards, bigger than snake oil salesmen/women grifting, bigger than shoveling up billions into the debt (poor) house. It is a system of rackets, and while Gen. Butler may have written War is a Racket about the MIC, we have to transpose that military industrial complex to Banks/ Hospitals/ Insurance Companies/ Courthouses/ Police Stations/ Law Firms /Colleges/Mining Companies/ Drug Manufacturers/ Big Ag Outfits/ Media Conglomerates/ So-Called Liberal Press and the like are the very definition of Rackets, certainly perfect actors for Dante’s Circles of Hell.

We are the fodder for that inferno, and if anyone of any political stripe doesn’t end up being pissed off after watching The People versus Agent Orange, then they are misanthropes, cult followers, colonized zombies. And I can say that about any number of hundreds of righteous documentaries — bear witness and then what? Retreat to stupidity, retreat to the capitalist’s see-speak-hear not evil while the evil eats your soul from the inside-out!

Please note that I was in Vietnam in 1994 and in 1996. I worked first with several biological teams doing a huge transect of the forest near the Laotian border. I met amazing Vietnamese scientists. I revisited places my military father was at as a CW4 cryptographic guy. His stories were my stories.

I was in Vietnam in 1994 the same age my father was there, shot twice. That was age 36.

I made a point of getting into many villages after the science report was done. I drove a motorcycle down Highway One. I met amazing people there, and had two Vietnamese who helped me navigate the language.

I was embraced by men the same age as my father. Men who fought as Viet Cong, and those men of course, did not do an eight-month and then a 12-month set of tours like my Army father. They spent more than a decade or more fighting the French, fighting the Americans.

I met a woman in Hanoi who was bombed as a child in an orphanage. I met people studying the breast milk of lactating women, in 1996, with 16 times the level of PCB’s (US standards) in their systems.

Vietnam came to me again, as I worked with many veterans, and some Vietnamese back in Texas putting on the 20th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon (April 1975). I had Le Ly Hayslip at the event, and she blessed my daughter who was still in her mother’s womb. Den Yen was the vice mayor of Saigon, and he too showed up. John  McAfee, A Slow Walk in a Sad Rain, was just one of many writers, historians, artists who were in this historical event in 1995.

I worked with then Thomas Daniel, now taking on his mother’s name, Vu, who was both my student and friend and we worked together on art projects. My play, Tiger Cages, was partly written after I ended up in London after watching the bad play, Miss Saigon. My short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam, tells the story of people somehow connected to the Vietnam war.  I have taught college courses for US military, even at the Sergeants Major Academy at Biggs Field. Vietnam, “Never another Vietnam,” the “tragedy of Vietnam War,” and more is in my DNA. I even worked as a social worker helping homeless veterans and their families secure housing and benefits.

This film is powerful in that it tells a simple story of ecocide and American hubris. Several million Vietnamese were killed directly by US bombs. Many more died later from injuries and chemical death. The trauma on a country is also part and parcel of this illegal and unethical war.

Ecocide as a military practice was first coined for the war against the Vietnamese the US conducted. This documentary and Dr. Clary discuss this heinous war crime, of destroying the crops, the food sources, the soil as part of  military stratagem.

As a note, my piece here was in my blog, and at first I thought I covered all bases. One of the filmmakers, Alan Adelson, made it clear to me some of my juxtapositions of quotes were wrongly attributed. I was writing this “review” as I watched the documentary, The PEOPLE versus Agent Orange. I let my passions and zeal overtake my editor’s calm and thorough copyediting.

I appreciate Alan’s email, and I know this sort of review is not mainstream, and probably not usable for the director. I am able to take off one revolutionary cap and put on a more traditional journalist’s cap. I hope the film shows in Portland and if so, that I can have a crack at talking with the filmmaker. I have other gigs, including Street Roots, in Portland. While my column, Finding Fringe, is not textbook newspaper “objective” reporting, it still provides a look into people like Carol and her son, Jordan Merrell — A letter a day for 15 years and 9 months

War is a Racket – Major General Butler, 1935 | Creative by Nature

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. — Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (1935)

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I don’t think so. I think that the – the hook for many of our supporters was the idea that this was an unusual messenger for an important environmental message. You know, people who support environmental issues are constantly trying to find a way to preach beyond the choir, to reach beyond their base of people who are already on board, and I think one of the things that’s very appealing about the film, but primarily Jerry as a messenger, is that you don’t expect this message to come from a career military person.

And through Jerry, you’re – we’ve been able to reach this audience of military folks who maybe wouldn’t be attuned to the environmental message about the effects of toxins on health and things like that. So I think there was a real appeal to many of those organizations from that perspective. — Rachel Libert, co-producer of film, Semper Fi

Author Wallace Kaufman lives on on Poole Slough in Lincoln County, Ore. (Photo by Paul K. Haeder)

Opinion |

FINDING FRINGE | A traveler and a writer, Wallace Kaufman is a naturalist at heart

by Paul K. Haeder | 30 Sep 2020

I answer my call of duty — to find the most interesting and outside-the-box people for this column. I received a blind-copied email from Wallace Kaufman, announcing his latest book, “Grow Old and Die Young – A Naturalist in Life’s Theater.”

I took the bait hook-line-and-sinker after doing a quick “search” on this Oregon Coast man and his new memoir. This is one prescient endorsement of this book, and the writer:

“’Grow Old and Die Young’ is a love story of the ever-changing light, moods, faces, textures, sounds and residents of Poole Slough and the Yaquina estuary. The Wetlands Conservancy could not ask for a better natural historian, poet, photographer, steward and neighbor of our beloved Lower Yaquina Preserve. Kaufman’s photos and words remind us of the life lessons the mysteries and surprises that daily tidal cycles teach us about life,” writes Esther Lev, former director of The Wetlands Conservancy.

A periodic column profiling unconventional Oregonians who push the boundaries of social order.

Yeah, compelling, as were many of the other endorsements of this man’s more than half-dozen books. This one caught my eye: “He asks pertinent questions and offers useful answers grounded in his abundant reading, wide-ranging experience, and unflagging curiosity,” states William Price, former director of Archives and History in North Carolina.

Kaufman agreed to whet my own curiosity appetite by meeting out in his very forested place.

The 81-year-old native of Queens sent me detailed directions to get to his 7-year-old home on Poole Slough. Printed out, it was 1 1/2 pages single spaced.

It took me 50 minutes via old minivan to reach his 18 acres from my home in Waldport.

I was greeted by the spry, short-of-stature Wallace Kaufman.

After he directed me to a pullout, I was asked to enter the home. The large great room overlooks Poole Slough, a winding tidewater that connects just a few hundred yards west of his floating boat launch to Yaquina Bay. This wetlands ecosystem is verdant. I spied several kayaks on a floating dock.

Walking into his home office, I figured I might be in for a five-hour interview. Bookcases were lined with mostly hardbacks, there was a large computer screen, piles of magazines were stacked like cairns, and more books and paperwork adorned the place: a writer’s cubbyhole (or coven).

Kaufman has six published books under his belt, both solo authorship and a few co-written, and he lists three translations he’s published. Then there is Kaufman’s continual assistance/collaboration for almost a decade with an Iranian, Alireza Taghdarreh, whose Farsi translation (2015) of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” has been a labor of love.

Speaking of Walden Pond — “I came to Poole Slough with several illusions and a purpose,” Kaufman writes in the preface of “Grow Old and Die Young,” subtitled “You Come Too.” “I came for the same reason that, in 1845, a short, wiry and homely 28-year-old named Henry David Thoreau went to a cabin by Walden Pond in Massachusetts: ‘to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life … and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.’”

There are big differences here: Thoreau died at age 45, exactly 17 years after his Walden Pond experience. Kaufman moved to the Newport area when he was 72. Plus, Kaufman is a world traveler and polyglot.

Kaufman has traversed many national and geographical boundaries, and possibly many more philosophical and literary heights than Thoreau. He almost bought the proverbial farm 81 years ago, as he tells me, at Kingston Avenue Hospital where the medical staff saved him at age 10 months from the deadly whooping cough. He said he’s survived two falls that crushed vertebrae. He also ticked off making it through a Guatemala prison run by secret police. He’s had several blackout concussions.

“And three days near death delivered by an aged Central American sausage. Give me another 17 years, as Thoreau had, and likely I will be dead and, like Thoreau, I don’t want to discover in my last minutes I have not ever lived.”

A full life is an understatement

His roots are spread deeply on the Oregon Coast, but Kaufman definitely harkens back to his East Coast upbringing as both foundational and transformative.

“I remember our row house with its tiny backyard. They were built on coal ash. I recall neighbors who had fathers and sons overseas, and my own uncles and cousins going to war.” He was born in 1939, two years before the U.S. entered World War II.

As a kid, he heard about the last Civil War veteran dying. We discussed those war vets from World War II. This past May, on the 75th anniversary of V-J day, out of those 16 million vets, 300,000 were still alive, according to Pew Research. By 2045, my daughter will be 48 years old and she too will read about the last living World War II vet dying.

This recollection bespeaks Kaufman’s interest in collecting facts, ideas, histories, philosophical constructs and more. I got to the nuts and bolts of things — a literary life. Kaufman told me how during sixth grade he knew he wanted to be a writer. “I remember writing terrible poems.” That was in school in the tiny community of Sea Cliff, “a little town time had forgotten … with no train station.”

Again, the irony of co-evolutionary forces transported Kaufman to Oyster Bay on Poole Slough, 76 years after his formative years began in Sea Cliff, a village within the township of Oyster Bay in Nassau County, New York.

He told me that in the movie “The Great Gatsby,” there is a scene in Glen Cove, where the millionaire’s deck overlooks the water, and in the background is — you guessed it — Sea Cliff.

There was no F. Scott Fitzgerald lifestyle for Kaufman, as his relatively poor family scavenged for coal chunks on the gravel road near the home, screening the ash for pieces of heat-giving rocks.

His father, Arthur, was a tool and die man, classified 1A during World War II, but he never ended up being drafted. He was one of millions working on the war effort — in his father’s case, bomb fuses.

The forward reach of a person’s life is the display of tapestries dyed in family lines, roots and narratives. Kaufman’s grandparents on his father’s side immigrated to Washington, D.C., from Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic. His grandfather was a Jewish tailor. Kaufman’s mother’s family hailed from Scotland and Ireland, and she was Anglican, the last of 10 kids. He grew up with twin brothers.

Wallace Kaufman
Photo courtesy of Wallace Kaufman

While Kaufman has traversed the globe, he anchors himself firmly to formative years in Sea Cliff and attributes an East Coast influence and hardships of that era for tenacity and determination to make something of himself. He’s a writer at the core, a naturalist at heart, and he works as a conflict mediator for a nonprofit in Newport, yet he’s holistic enough to embrace various points in his early life as life-changing directional events.

He rattled off many influences, from people he was personally grafted to, as well as the books and geographical locales he has come to consume and absorb. “Guy T. Pinkard changed my life. He was an NYU graduate, Ph.D. student, who opened up the lab in our high school, which had been closed for years.”

The kid who had never left New York ended up falling madly in love with an Alabama girl. His teacher took a few sophomores to Pinkard’s Alabama hometown, Mill Town. They had been exchanging botanical specimens with high school students there.

The young Kaufman ended up in South Dakota two consecutive summers on an archeological dig headed up by a professor at the University of South Dakota. It was part of a Boy Scouts trip, and he learned how to lay out squares and map a dig. It was a Mandan Village earthen lodge, where the Dakota Access Pipeline is now bifurcating sacred land.

He was still smitten by the high schooler from Mill Town, so Kaufman began looking for colleges down South, and since he came from a lower economic family, he needed plenty of scholarships. He picked Duke University, since it was halfway between New York and Alabama. “Duke then was a grade B school,” he told me. “I saw people going to Ivy League schools. They did not look like me. Their parents were professionals, doctors, rich.”

As a surprise to me, the young Wallace Kaufman majored in English, as opposed to studying in one of Duke’s hard science programs. He interjected, relaying another turning point in his life — reading Will Durant’s 1927 book, “Transition: A Mental Biography.”

“I was so impressed how he (Durant) transitioned into the world of philosophy.” This is a fictionalized autobiography of Durant’s life up to his 30s. The “transition” Kaufman resonates with is Durant’s — from a Catholic faith in God to a faith in humanity. Then his transition to love of a wife and of learning.

This disavowing of conservative Christian dogma and a closed mindset is sort of universal as Durant’s philosophy reflects a post-World-War-I-era set of beliefs many in his generation were beginning to embrace.

Durant ended up in seminary but opted to teach at a “free school” where students learned at their own pace in a non-coercive way. In a sense, most people at the free school were anarchists, transferring that non-hierarchal way of schooling into concepts on how government should be run.

At Duke, the New York kid cycled into the class of “a great southern professor, Bill Blackburn, who taught some well-known writers like William Styron and Anne Tyler” to name a few. Kaufman graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts in English lit.

Then, he landed a Marshall Scholarship and a free ride to Oxford University. He returned to Sea Cliff with a master’s degree. He taught in the old high school — biology, general science — and he coached soccer. He was writing poetry and fiction. “I guess I was the hippie black sheep.”

There’s a great fictional book Kaufman and David Deamer co-wrote, “The Hunt for Fox P5,” about an evil scientist from the University of Oregon trying to steal the genome of an adopted daughter of a good professor. “Through characters in American universities and Kazakhstani science and politics, the authors explore the ethical complexity of editing human genes,” states Deamer, developer of innovative and new nanopore sequencing tools. He was Kaufman’s roommate at Duke.

Pathways to the Mayans, to Kazakhstan

Concision is not Kaufman’s or my better suits when it comes to writing and living. His life is a panorama of experimentation and a lust for life. He ended up in Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. After graduating from Oxford, he taught at several universities, including the University of North Carolina.

He remodeled two homes in rural North Carolina, and then started Saralyn, a community of 35 homesteads on 360 acres where 33 of these “back to the land” settlers built their own homes. That’s another iteration of his life — learning the ins and outs of socially responsible investing, sustainable development and land use/permitting. He counts more than 2,000 acres in North Carolina where he helped overlay covenants that protect the natural environment and privacy of the residents.

He did that for 20 years, and in this new book, he discusses how he was “only vaguely aware of tapping a deep vein in American culture until July 4, 2016, when I read an essay written for the Independence Day 1936 issue of the ever-popular Saturday Evening Post.”

It was by Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books.

Lane: “This is an important fact: Americans were the only settlers who built their houses far apart, each on his own land. America is the only country I have seen where farmers do not live today in close, safe village-groups. It is the only country I know where each person does not feel an essential, permanent solidarity with a certain class, and with a certain group within that class. The first Americans came from such groups in Europe, but they came because they were individuals rebelling against groups. Each in his own way built his own house at a distance from others in the American wilderness. This is individualism.”

Parlaying his self-taught zoning and planning concepts into something entirely different, Kaufman ended up serving in Kazakhstan as resident adviser on housing and land reform.

He did end up on trips to Guatemala — Jacaltenango. His first one was with his then 10-year-old daughter. Those adventures are compelling, reverberating with my own travels in Guatemala and Central America. What he did spin from that trip was a relationship with Victor Dionicio Montejo, then an urban teacher and now an author and expert in Mayan culture. The book “El Kanil – Man of Lightning” was Montejo’s first publication: “the story most central to his people, some 30,000 remaining Jacaltecans,” Kaufman writes in the book he helped bring to life as a Spanish-English-Popbál Ti ́(Jakaltek Maya) story in 1982.

I finished the interview with a holistic question about his overall life philosophy.

Kaufman was succinct: “Anyone can gather evidence to ‘prove’ something right, but being confident of your ‘truth’ before trying earnestly to prove it wrong is the arrogance of a timid mind.”


Q&A

Paul K. Haeder: You were a teacher for a while. What are the challenges you saw then and see now in higher education?

Wallace Kaufman: “I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.” — Abigail Adams. Instead of developing that ability, schools and colleges have turned increasingly to teaching one point of view.

Haeder: Do you have a role model or two? Please list/name them, identify them and tell why you consider each one respectively as role models.

Kaufman: Honesty in thinking and scholarship: I met Oscar Muscarella, former senior curator of the Ancient Near East at the Metropolitan, museum, when I was a 16-year-old digger excavating the Mandan village at Swan Creek, S.D., and he was a Ph.D. student. He built his career not only on personal genius and discovery but on exposing frauds and crimes in the antiquity’s world, from rich donors taking unwarranted tax deductions to scholars writing history based on forgeries.

My business model: Mark Thompson, a grizzled old N.Y. city waiter who opened a little bookstore and served people 3-5, 7-9 all week. Any kid too poor to buy a book, got the book free. He hired me when I was 12 to hold boards and tools as he built the shop and later taught me the used and rare book business. He had been on the skids in many towns before defeating alcoholism. His reputation as a straight shooter got him invitations to price books in rich estates and at AAUW book fairs because he guaranteed to buy anything unsold for half his price. His constant advice was the heart of ethical capitalism: “Buster, let everyone make a buck.”

Haeder:You are living a writer’s life but with a few other interests and financial supports. What recommendation would you give to aspiring journalists and writers?

Anything you might learn in J-school or an MFA program you can learn on the job, from books, from self-directed study. What you can’t learn, except through experience, is the pain, joy, suffering and confusion that gives life to good writing. Go somewhere challenging. Put your skin in the game, your life on the line, your money where your mouth is.

Haeder: If you weren’t living here, on the Oregon Coast, where would you be living, and why?

Kaufman: Ideally, I’d live by a hot spring on Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. Since that’s not possible, I would choose a forested hot spring in the PNW, for the contrasts, the comforts, an easy way to grow old.

Haeder: We called your place your own Walden Pond. Can you elaborate on what that means, since Thoreau covers many aspects of humanity, nature, spirituality and life and ecological forces in the book “Walden”?

Kaufman: Thoreau said he went to Walden Pond to shed the diversions and distractions and surpluses of community life and think more deeply about life and to find “higher laws” — the goal of the English Romantics before him and of his friends in the Transcendental movement. He never found the higher laws, but he was sure he saw them expressed in the world of the pond. Same here for Poole Slough and its forests and marshes. My variant may be that I spend more time looking at this world through the lens of science rather than through personal revelation, which I distrust.