The Story of Stoney Rocks A self portrait? Does he look like me? Not really. I've taken to calling him Mr. Stoney Rocks because such a name suits him. He really is quite a guy. I only made him a couple weeks ago and his character as a being seems to evolve day by day. I put a big round rock in front of him so there's a nice place to sit if anyone wants to have a chat with him. He doesn't actually answer questions out loud but you can usually tell by the look on his face and the interaction of the sunlight upon the rocks what he is thinking. It's also fun to feed him wild apples. You put them into his mouth and push them to the back where they disappear down his esophagus. They roll down a tunnel to the lowest layers of rocks and escape out an exit on the bottom in the back. At first I suggested that it was good luck to feed the stone man and then it occurred to me that you could make a wish every time you fed him. Ultimately, I developed a whole pseudo religious ritual. You sit upon the rock before the god of stone and ask humbly for him to grant your request. Then you feed him the wild Apple as an offering of sorts. Did you ever see that Star Trek episode with the "people of Vaul?" You must feed the god to sustain your existence. The biblical metaphor gets pretty convoluted if you think about it too much. It combines the garden of Eden with Exodus and then spins them in reverse. We are not taking an illegal Apple from a serpent but are instead sharing a wild Apple with a god. Several people from the neighborhood have taken a turn at the Apple ritual as well as friends and family. It really is an amusing experience. It's hard to see in the photos but Stoney has two arms that stretch out into the forest. One hand grabs a tree and another claws at the ground. It was supposed to look like a stone man climbing up out of the earth. I was going to call it "Emergence" or something artsy like that. But now when you sit in front to make an apple offering it seems like the two arms are opening up wide to give you a hug. A stone hug from a god and an offering of thanks. That's what I call interactive participatory art. My 6 year old daughter asked if we should sell tickets and start a business. Now doesn't that push the metaphor to a whole other level. Of course we can't sell tickets. Mr. Stoney Rocks is all about sharing. But now Stoney's esophagus is clogged. I think he has an eyeball stuck in his throat. Did I mention the issue of eyes? I like the eye sockets but the eyeball rocks are just not right. I have tried several different alternative combinations of round rocks to give Stoney the perfect look. Some of those alternative eyeballs were piled up on Stoney's shoulder and now one of the alternative eyeballs is missing. And now, also, when we feed Stoney apples they no longer shoot out the hole in the back. One of the neighborhood kids probably saw the pile of eyeball rocks and thought that the round rocks were food for the stone man. It would have been a logical conclusion. There's also a chipmunk or a squirrel or some other creature now hanging out inside of Stoney. I hear a squeak or chirp sometimes and one of the cats prowls the mouth and exit hole. The cat can't fit inside but he reaches a paw in and he holds his hunting posture as he lurks about searching for the noisy prey. I keep feeding Stoney more apples and chasing away the cat. I wonder how long it will take to fill him up completely with the apples. The passageway is not that big. Sooner or later the apples should pile up enough to reach the top of the esophagus. Unless, of course, the hidden chipmunk is eating all the apples as they disappear down the dark hole. So it is quite a story unfolding here with my new friend Stoney. A regular ecosystem of animal interaction with some mythological metaphors thrown in for entertainment value. How will it all end? With death and destruction like all metaphors end. Stoney is not long for this world. I'm planning to wreck him. That's the idea. He is the first creation in my newly established studio of impermanent stone. We acquired the vacant lot next door to our house and I have a small space set aside in the front corner for my new project. Usually, I build stone walls, patios and sculptures for other people that pay me so I have to build what they want and try to make everything last forever (or as long as possible). My plan is to use the new space to make random fun temporary stuff out of stone so I can make whatever the heck I want. The notion of each creation's immanent demise will theoretically increase my ability to experiment and make mistakes. So I got myself three pallets of field stone. For those of you unfamiliar with the art form, a pallet of stone weighs a ton and a half or three thousand pounds. And each pallet contains a couple hundred rocks. How many different and unusual and beautiful things can I create with three pallets of random stone? That is the question. Mr. Stoney Rocks is only the very first creation in the ongoing project. He will be allowed to live for a month or two but then I will destroy him and create something else. I will need his rocks for the next creation.... But now that Stoney exists. I am developing a relationship with him. I am becoming attached. Will I be able to go ahead with his planned destruction? Is it wrong for me to kill my stone friend? Do I have a right to wreck my own creation? What do you think?
The Problem of Policing It’s not a criminal justice system It’s a mass incarceration business The industry provides employment To millions of hard working people And large profits To a variety of investors Assets to be owned are humans From low-income communities Harvested by middle class police officers Packaged by social workers, psychologists and experts Processed by lawyers and judges Warehoused by prison guards and case workers Profits are big Spending flows Big demand for more assets So police officers get power To harvest more humans To feed to the system Like all business under Capitalism The goal is to grow Not serve justice There aren’t even any trials 98% guilty pleas Harvested assets are processed In the 1980’s, there were 500,000 humans Incarcerated in the United States In the 1990s, Congress passed big crime bills And invested heavily in new police and incarceration infrastructure Now there are 2.5 million humans Incarcerated in the United States In the 1990s Congress passed Free Trade Bills And thereby sent US manufacturing jobs elsewhere Where will the fired factory workers go They can work for the police state The growing mass incarceration business The money flows as the system grows and grows The incarceration business includes the border Same time period… the 1990s A bureaucratic line in the sand transforms into A very big business With jobs for workers And profits for investors The migrants are the assets To be packaged, processed and incarcerated And the present “crisis” is advertising Financial markets see growth ahead The militarized incarceration border business Will continue to expand and spread South Into Mexico and Central America The market potential is world wide Refugees fleeing war zones Can all be utilized as assets By incarceration businesses America, Inc., leads the way Humans arrested For the crime of survival Are victims of a bad business model Cops are victims too It’s their job To do the arresting Defund the police Defund the mass incarceration system Defund the border industrial complex Bankrupt the whole bad business model Shut the damn thing down And try something else Invest in people instead of prisons Invest in humans instead of corporations Invest in bridges instead of borders Invest in peace instead of war Imagine the Revolution and Demand Economic Democracy. Not copyrighted, pass it on…
*Back to stonework now. Here’s something for you to think about while I’m playing with stones…
Punitive Poverty in a cold cruel world or a real fair playing field in a thriving economic democracy? That is the main issue and that’s why I object to the use of the term or phrase “safety net” to describe social welfare services. This common phrase used so frequently by so many commentators re-enforces the dreadfully flawed metaphor that frames the debate about the relationship between economics and poverty in the United States. The words “safety net” are just a nicer way of saying “handout to losers” of the great free market competition. But public benefits are not handouts. They are basic economic rights in a sane society. In reality, a market can’t be free unless all citizens have basic economic rights to participate.
Can you visualize the ladders? No, not just one ladder, but lots of ladders, hundreds of ladders intersecting as they go up in a complicated maze. On the way up the ladders there are prizes and platforms and maybe even some elevators. Why not some bells, whistles, balloons and confetti too. There might even be slides so some people fall backwards a little. Or maybe some shortcuts that only a few people know about? How about a few traps and slippery spots? It wouldn’t be a fun competition unless there were difficulties and challenges along the way. Imagine all the little people at the bottom of the ladder. The great God in the sky starts the countdown. On your mark, get set, go…. All the little people run for the ladders, grab ahold and start climbing… racing to the top. Up you go. One step at a time. Up up up. The harder you work; the higher you climb. The smartest and strongest and best climb the furthest up. They are the winners of this great competition. But alas, not everyone can be winners. Most of us do all right… finish in the middle of the pack somewhere about halfway up the ladders. Some people don’t do so well. Always struggling with those slippery bottom rungs. And some people, well, they fall off the ladders completely. They are so sick or injured or psychologically warped that they let go of those slippery rungs and fall to the very bottom. They are the losers of this great free market competition. What should the God of the free market do with them?
Unfortunately, that is the metaphor that controls the debate about all types of “social services” in the United States. The right wing media responds to the metaphor by disparaging the losers of the free market with insults and calls for tough love to teach them a valuable lesson about life. No handouts. You have to get back on the greasy ladder and work/climb your way to a good successful life. They argue that social services are a cheating shortcut for losers that undermine the inherent “fairness of the truly free market.” As such, they consistently call for the cutting of public benefits or social services (austerity). The left wing media responds to the metaphor by calling for a “a robust safety net.” Their voices crack with empathy that sometimes sounds like pity. They feel sorry for the losers of the free market and want to help them. Instead of tough love, they want to welcome the fallen into the loving arms of the state. They support more public benefits and social services. But their support seems based on a foundation of charity for losers instead of a foundation of community and fairness. Neither left wing or right wing seems willing to address the fundamental problem with the whole metaphor.
What if the controlling metaphor of economic reality was transformed from a hierarchical ladder that we all climb into circular web that we all try to find our place on? Under such a metaphor, there is no place for a “safety net” because there is no “bottom” and there is no “loser.” There is just a complex network of humans who try to work together to make the world more beautiful and live-able. Sometimes we compete when we work together and sometimes we cooperate. But the fundamental interdependence of the human species within a living ecosystem is recognized as a fact of life. Under such a metaphor, the goal of the economic system is not continuous growth, continuous development and continuous consumption. It is, instead, sustainable creative transformation. Under such a metaphor, social services and public benefits are not misperceived as charity or handouts but are instead understood to be fundamental economic rights and the bargaining position of the entire working class.
In 1993 and 1994, I worked as a legal aide lawyer representing many people who received public benefits and social services. Before that experience, I had no understanding of how social welfare law worked. I had been a lawyer for a few years before that and worked briefly on Wall Street and briefly for an appeals court. I had done exceptionally well on the bar exam and graduated near the top of my law school class. I thought I understood the legal system very well and believed I had a fairly decent understanding of how social welfare law worked. Nevertheless, my presumed understanding was a delusion. I believed in the safety-net concept… the welcoming arms of the state. A social democracy takes care of the less fortunate citizens who don’t fair well on the free market. But I found a different kind of system instead. I found a broken social welfare system that served to punish the poor because it was designed to serve the interests of its administrators rather than the interests of the people who supposedly received the benefits. Indeed, the social welfare system I found was so insane that it convinced me to give up the practice of law altogether.
The poverty economic game works something like this: A human can’t earn enough money on the “free market” to survive so he/she goes to an advocate to see about getting on a government system to pay for survival rations (food, shelter, healthcare). The advocate has to figure out which system or systems the person is eligible for. There are multiple systems for each category and complicated rules that explain the inter-related eligibility requirements for each different system. When I was an advocate, there was the unemployment insurance system and/or worker’s comp. if someone was recently in the work force. Then there was SSI disability insurance and SSD disability…both government programs. If that didn’t work there was AFDC (now called SNAP) if it was a parent with children. Then there was a state program called home relief if you were a single adult with no children. Then there were separate programs for food (food stamps, WIC) and separate programs for housing (HUD and section 8) and separate programs for medical (Medicaid and Medicare). As an advocate, it was my job to negotiate and argue with program administrators about whether or not my client belonged in their program or some other program instead. The programs often overlapped and cancelled each other out. Clients didn’t get to play the system and accumulate extra. The possible combination of programs always gave the clients the same amount of economic value; between 700 and 1000 dollars a month. The questions debated between the advocates and the administrators mostly just determined the source of the funds. (Fed., State, County). But they had little effect on the actual amount of economic value the client ultimately received (barely enough to survive).
Having worked briefly on Wall Street in mergers and acquisitions, I was trained somewhat in spotting economic inefficiencies. But really, the absurd economic inefficiency at the heart of social welfare system was so glaringly obvious it made me wonder why nobody ever talked about it. A year or so into my social welfare law immersion, I started doing some research to confirm the reality of the anecdotal evidence I kept experiencing. The ratio of administrative cost to benefit cost in most government programs was 70-30. In other words, for every thirty dollars in public benefit paid out to a needy person another seventy dollars was paid to people like me who wore suits, pushed paper and argued about the idiosyncrasies of welfare law and the personal lives of the poor people we were supposed to be helping. The truth is hard to dispute. The social welfare system is not designed to serve the unfortunate souls who need public benefits to survive and it is not designed to serve the citizens of society as a whole. It is instead designed to serve the economic interests of the people who work for the social welfare system as administrators, lawyers, psychologists and caseworkers because they are the ones who harvest the most currency from the functioning of the system. And more importantly, the social welfare system is designed to serve the interests of Wall Street and all those high flying corporate executives who manage the economy according to a broken ideological construct.
When I realized I was a cog in the poverty industrial complex instead of an advocate for basic economic rights, I decided to quit my position. But in the last few weeks before my big career change, I started asking some of my fellow poverty industry workers the rather obvious question. “Why don’t they just combine all the programs into one and streamline the process to make it easy to get benefits? If they would just give everyone a guaranteed survival ration of a thousand or so bucks a month, they would save a fortune on administrative costs.” Most of the other poverty industry workers responded to my query with the pre-programmed media sound bite that is drummed into our consciousness on a daily basis. “But you can’t just give people money for nothing. They have to do something to earn it. Or, at the very least, prove that they deserve it.” After considering my question more thoroughly, however, my fellow workers would usually reluctantly agree with the economic aspect of my suggestion. It would definitely be much cheaper for the system to guarantee a unified benefit from a single source than it is to make clients fight for a complex array of benefits from a bunch of different sources but then… Ahhh… wouldn’t we all be out of jobs? Ha ha.ha But at least we could collect the guaranteed survival ration; just like our former clients. Ha ha ha Welfare for everyone; yay!! Nobody has to work.
The problem I’m getting at here is a fundamental philosophical problem at the very heart of our economic system that causes severe societal fractures. You can see it in the cultural programming that demonizes the poor. You can see it in the wealth gap. You can see it in the mania to consume. You can see it in the bizarre billionaire worship. The whole crazy messed up edifice of modern day neoliberal capitalism is wobbling and trembling and verging towards collapse. Indeed, I would say that it has to collapse because it has a messed up foundation. That messed up foundation is the broken social welfare system and the very complicated “progressive income tax system” that supports it. (The metaphorical ladder with a safety net at the bottom).
What if? Don’t you love what ifs? Just as a thought experiment… What if we scrapped the entire “social welfare system” and “progressive income tax” system and started from scratch. What if we combined the two into a single system and simplified it so everyone could understand? What if everyone really agreed to join “the system” and pay taxes? What if “the system” was a simple mathematical model? At the beginning of each month, every single person who joins the system receives a monthly investment package of basic economic rights ($1500 + a basic health plan). At the end of each quarter (3 months), every single person who joins the system agrees to pay an income tax back to the system of 50% of everything they earn by using their economic rights to participate in the now free market. Welfare would no longer be a stigma or handout because everyone in society would receive it. It would be your personal investment. Wealth would not be “redistributed,” but instead economic rights would flow through the system in a circular pattern instead of starting at the top and trickling downwards. Taxes would not be “bracketed” or “progressive.” Instead, everyone would pay the exact same dynamic rate: 50%. Just like they all receive the same monthly investment. ($1500 + a basic health plan). No longer would we all be racing up a greasy ladder hoping not to fall into a frayed and tattered “safety net.” Instead, we would all be working together in a complicated inter-connected web to create a more beautiful and live-able society.
Of course the powers that be are not likely to replace the authoritarian corporate capitalist system with a democratic dynamic organic system any time soon. That’s because the ruling class and their managers and proselytizers in the corporate press understand intuitively that their power derives fundamentally from exploitation rather than “freedom”. And exploitation depends upon having desperate people who can be exploited rather than free people who have bargaining position. That’s it… really. The real fear the ruling class struggles with; the bargaining position of the working class; economic rights instead of charity. Indeed, the entire theory of their capitalist economic system is this notion that citizens make contracts of their own free will to sell their labor for money. But in reality, the notion that a job seeker has bargaining position when seeking employment in the modern economy is an absolute delusion. Workers have to beg, ask, submit, bow before management in order to be granted the great benefit of a “job.” If you challenge the fundamental fairness of the “employment contract” you challenge the fundamental fairness of the whole system. If you created a package of economic rights for all citizens that was incorporated into the tax code, deciding to live simply on the minimum investment would be a real alternative to employment. Indeed, the idea of living simply off the monthly investment might be encouraged in the interests of environmental protection. Free people might choose to work with you on a joint enterprise for a fair share of profits. But desperate people wouldn’t be forced to work for you for the lowest possible wage. The ripple effects across the whole economy would be staggering. By giving bargaining position to “job seekers”, you change the nature of every employee’s relationship with their boss. It would be an economic revolution.
But it’s not going to happen because the corporate media will continue to fill our brains with the lie. “Public benefit programs are safety nets for the losers of capitalism.” The left will tell us the safety net needs to be robust and the right will tell us it needs to be cut and everybody in the voting/tax paying class will be under the impression that public benefits are something they give to others out of kindness (the left) or because they are forced to by the tax man (the right). They will not see how public benefits are a fundamental part of a healthy economic system that serves the overall interests of everyone.
Imagine the non-violent economic revolution. Stop talking about safety nets and charity. Start talking about economic rights and the bargaining position of the working class. Demand Economic Democracy!
Not copyrighted, pass it on.
It’s a Mystery…
So I recently finished writing a brand new novel. Well, actually, maybe it’s more like a novela because it’s not very long. But really, it started out as a short story and it grew and grew and grew…. What exactly is the difference between a novel and a novela anyway? Didn’t Hemingway once write a whole novel in three lines? This one is only about 50,000 words but it sure does pack a powerful punch so I think it qualifies as a full novel.
As my regular readers are aware, for the past couple of years, I have been posting on this site excerpts from an epic travel story derived from my first every backpacking trip to Central and South America in 1992. My plan was to just keeping posting stories from that trip until I had enough to put together into a whole book. But then, on the Winter Solstice of this year, I had a crazy idea for a little short story based very loosely upon a hiking trip I took with some friends back in November. So I dropped my epic South America Adventure story for just a little while so I could write this short little mystery story down. As it turned out, however, the mystery got complicated. So I ended up working on it for three months straight. I still managed to post one or two stories from my South America epic and a few poems and essays but mostly the presentations on this website have been rather spare this Winter because I’ve been working mostly on the mystery. I finished writing it on the Equinox (March 20, 2021) so that means it took exactly three months to write. But now that it’s done… It sort of seems like it might be the first volume of a multi-volume epic…. Ha ha ha ha. I swear, the story is like a literary pandora’s box. I already opened it up so now I have to see where it leads.
Anyway, for those of you wondering what happened to the South American Epic…. I am planning to get back to it. But maybe not till next Winter because stonework season has now begun too.
As for the new mystery book, it will hopefully be available for reading sometime in the relatively near future. I am very tempted to just self publish it immediately like I did my travel books and just put it up on this site so people can read it. I don’t want to wait at all. But I will probably be smart and spend the Spring and Summer trying to find a traditional or real publisher for it because I think it has great market potential and I definitely need help bringing it to market.
In the mean time, I have a few more poems and essays that I will keep posting this Spring. And maybe another story from the South American epic too.
Imagine the Revolution
See you somewhere…..
There are approximately 330 million people in the United States. If you divide 1 trillion dollars by 330 million that amounts to approximately $3000. Once you understand that simple equation it makes it easy to think about Corona Virus Stimulus money and decide whether or not it was distributed in a realistically democratic or sensible manner.
There were three separate stimulus packages in the past year and each one was for almost $2 trillion dollars. Two under Trump and the last one under Biden. If you round up for simplicity and add up the packages that’s a total of 6 trillion in stimulus for the year.
So now, if you divide the money democratically so that each an every citizen gets an equal share of the stimulus that amounts to:
$3000 X 6 = $18,000 per person in the United States for the year’s worth of stimulus.
$3000 X 2 =. $6,000 per person for each stimulus.
The question for you as a citizen is, did you get your fair share of the stimulus? Did you get $18,000 per family member in cash and economic value from the year’s worth of stimulus. Or did you get cheated out of your fair share?
Yeah, I know. We’re not supposed to think of it as being cheated. The government is the good guys here. They are helping us out. We should be thankful they give us anything? After all, we don’t deserve it. We didn’t do anything to earn it. How dare we demand anything? We are lucky that the government is there to save us?
But alas, I say, in a Democracy, the government’s money is supposed to be “the people’s money” that the government is managing on behalf of the people not the government’s money that they are kind enough to hand out to their desperate subjects. Indeed, it is a fundamental demand of real democracy. Currency derives from an agreement between citizens to organize economic rights; it should not be controlled by an oligarchy and distributed hierarchically.
Father Joe and his team of do-gooder democratic oligarchs do seem to be a little better with their distribution of stimulus cash than Trumpy and his crazy clown oligarchs. But the fundamental unfairness of the money distribution process itself is really the same under both administrations (regimes).
Remember, a 2 trillion dollar stimulus breaks down to $6000 per person. If you subtract $1000 per person for the economic value of the health care service provided (vaccine + public health measures) that still leaves $5000 per person as the fair distribution of the democratic currency stimulus.
Kids do all right under the Biden team distribution. They are going to get $300 a month for six months or $1800 total by way of the child tax credit system. And then, they also get the $!400. So that makes what: $3200 total cash. Not quite their fair share of $5000 but at least it’s in the ball park.
People collecting unemployment benefits do well under the Biden distribution. Indeed, they will get the $1400 that all taxpayers get plus unemployment benefits which can amount to another six or seven thousand dollars. So they get more than their $5000 fair share. It should be noted, however, that their unemployment share is a needs based set of handcuffs instead of an empowering investment. If they go back to work and earn money they lose the whole unemployment benefit. It should also be noted that this class of people includes only 20 million people and even if they get ten thousand each, that’s only 200 billion dollars (about 10% of the whole 2 trillion dollar distribution).
The largest class of people is adult citizens taxpayers who will receive $1400 per person (+$1000 in economic value for a vaccine and public health). That’s a far cry from the $5000 that would be their fair share in a democratic distribution but it is better than nothing.
So the big question is: where did the rest of the money go? Most citizens got only $1400 out of their fair share of $5000. Kids got $3200. A little extra went to the technically “unemployed” but not much extra. Where did all the rest go? Answer: to oligarchs and government insiders who practice the dark art of harvesting cash from government systems.
Finally, and probably most importantly. Biden’s stimulus like the two Trump stimuli before him, contains no specific provision for the money handed out to be returned back to the government source. In other words, it is spending not tied to a specific tax. Theoretically, the revenue will be returned back to the government through the normal channels (general tax collection and debt sales). But really, it’s more like the government is creating big piles of new money out of thin air and dumping it into the system.
Imagine the revolution:
What is the difference between handing out charity based on need and empowering humans through investing in basic economic rights?
A Social Contract:
The community or state invests in all humans living within its jurisdiction the fair market value of food, shelter and basic health care every single month. Everybody gets it. No stigma. Basic economic rights not charity or welfare.
In exchange for that monthly investment, the individual human agrees to recognize the property rights as designated by the state and to return to the state a voluntary tax of 50% of everything they earn on the now fair market.
In the US, for example. If you set the monthly investment package at $1500 per month, the entire democratic money system would cost 6 trillion dollars per year. Which is more or less the same amount the federal government spent on stimulus packages in the past year. And really that’s only 20% of the 30 trillion dollar total US annual economy. And if the participants in the democratic money system pay their 50% earnings tax, all of the money will cycle back through the government source by the end of the year.
For the individual citizen participating in the system that would mean $!8,000 a year would be your guaranteed economic rights for the year. That would make a $36,000 a year job the exact middle class. In other words, all people earning less than $36,000 would receive more currency than they give back in taxes while all people earning more than $36,000 would essentially pay a 50% tax on everything they earned above $36,000. Practically speaking, the first $36,000 per year would be exempt but there would be a 50% tax on all money earned above that amount.
It is hereby suggested that such a simple system of dynamic taxation and community investment should replace the entire structure of the Federal government’s convoluted bureaucracy that gives out charity via spending programs and imposes un-connected progressive taxes.
Imagine the Revolution
Demand Economic Democracy
Not copyrighted, pass it on… please
Let’s Make A Deal He plays the part of holy man As he preaches about the soul A sacred nation torn apart He will make it whole Father Joe And his team of do-gooder Government professionals Are there to help They are preparing A rescue package For those of us hurt By the pandemic Isn’t that nice A great big handout From our generous Good government How much can they afford That is the question They want to give us a lot They want to give us everything But they can’t They are limited By the budget If they give us too much That would be bad, bad, bad For the economy He plays the part of holy man As he preaches about the soul A sacred nation torn apart He will make it whole Wait one second Stop Focus Father Joe And his acolytes Are not giving us anything There is no handout That’s the problem A Democracy is not a Church The President is not an ordained King Giving away his personal wealth As elected officials They are organizing economic rights For the nation state They are investing “The People’s Money” On behalf of the people They are giving lots of economic rights To the “Free Market” Which is owned By the 01% And a few economic rights To the people Father Joe Started with a low ball offer And he keeps compromising Smaller and smaller The Budget must be maintained Focus money on the truly needy Means testing Only help the ones in need What a bunch of bullshit It’s not a Handout Father Joe It’s economic rights The people demand their fair share He plays the part of holy man As he preaches about the soul A sacred nation torn apart He will make it whole How much did they get? The FREE MARKET That is owned By the 01% Why do you think It keeps going up up up Because the Fed Keeps injecting liquidity, adding money Stimulating markets Pouring in cash Of course it goes up It has to increase If you add water to a bottle The bottle gets fuller The Pandemic gave the Fed A reason To pour in lots But that’s not the people's bottle That is Power’s bottle And Power’s bottle is already full Overflowing So much money in Power’s Bottle They play games with it What about Our Bottle The People’s Bottle Almost empty Running on fumes Why not invest In the foundation of the economy Because Father Joe And his team of do-gooders Would rather feel powerful And give the people Charity But the people don’t want Charity The people want their fair share They demand Their economic rights He plays the part of holy man As he preaches about the soul A sacred nation torn apart Can he make it whole? *not copyrighted, pass it on
Trumpy Dumpy Sat on a wall Trumpy Dumpy Had a great fall All of their speeches And long-winded words Can’t change the fact That Trumpy is a turd Ladies and gentlemen Coming to you LIVE From Capitol Hill A show trial Of the clown Please… No more Enough already Don’t you get it Don’t you see He’s quiet and off the air now A great sigh released across the land We don’t want to see him back His show is over Cancelled Don’t need no re-runs What if He chooses to testify He has the right In a trial against him What if He asks his followers To come and support him The clown show With big supporting cast Confrontation Insurrection Revolution Riot Big big big ratings…. Trumpy Dumpy Sat on a Wall Trumpy Dumpy Had a great fall All of their rituals And complicated rules Can’t change the fact That they all look like fools Of course he won’t Testify Because he can’t Same reason he didn’t show At the Capitol performance He has no plan No vision No ideology To change anything To transform the broken system And make it work What does he want to do Arrest the child eaters Install a mob of authoritarian white guy overlords Do people believe and want that Of course not He’s a joke He is a symbol without substance That’s why he’s not guilty Of inciting insurrection He is, no doubt, guilty Of other things, lots of things Corruption, murder, severe human rights violations But all Presidents are guilty of that Offenses of Empire are not impeachable Only offenses against the Empire are Inciting insurrection Is one such offense But the clown did not incite anything A movement did A movement adopted the clown as a symbol And the clown rode the gig to fame Trumpy Dumpy Sat on a Wall Trumpy Dumpy Had a great fall The media pretends That Democracy’s real But everyone knows It’s a very bad deal What does the movement want What was the show all about Fake Democracy What do the people want The clown as King No, of course not The people want real Democracy A sensible realistic people’s government The people want to rule themselves They don’t want tiny shares of a global Empire Advertised as a Democracy They want to rule themselves They want real Democracy The media keeps insisting That elections were real There was no fraud Our voting system is the best in the world They say it over and over They even put the clown on trial To prove their point Democracy is real The Constitution is great Aren’t we lucky to live here In God’s chosen country If they say it enough Maybe some people will believe them But the clown is not the movement He is the foul black smoke that comes forth When someone throws garbage on an already burning fire The impeachment trial pretends That the garbage Caused the fire But that is bullshit Because it discredits The true Cause Of the uprising Fake Democracy Is on trial right now Fake Democracy Is on display right now Not the former Reality show superstar The whole damn system Is on trial And it is looking very very bad Trumpy Dumpy Sat on a wall Trumpy Dumpy Had a great fall All of their speeches And long winded words Can’t change the truth The Constitution is a TURD. Not copyrighted, pass it on
They used to call it The Great Game Rival Empires Competed To conquer The whole world Most humans On the planet Didn’t want to play But they had to Because They were on the game board Now they call it The Free Market Rival Corporations Compete To conquer The whole world Most humans On the planet Don’t want to play But they have to Because They are on the game board Game Stop Little guy takes out big guy Isn’t the free market great The House steps in And swaps out the deck Casino rules The bubble pops And everybody sees The man behind the curtain Pay no attention, he shouts It’s not a game The market is truly free Corporate values are real Based on fundamentals Assets… profits…. Revenue stream Investing is not betting Investing is competing In the conquest of the world Stop the Game Stop betting On conquest Play a different game Share everything With everyone Game Stop Not so hard… Just quit Different vibe, peaceful There there, that’s better Kick back, relax. Not copyrighted, pass it on…
Coast of Venezuela;
Turning and burning in the depths of a dream, the anxiety and fear is palpable. My heart races as sweat pours down my face. My shirt is soaked and my whole body aches but I’m shivering at the same time. I’m driving through heavy traffic on a super highway with many lanes. Where am I going? What is happening? How come it is so damn hot? Then I hear horns honking; lots of horns with different incoherent sounds ricochet around inside my head. I see flames in the rear view window. Holy shit; the truck is on fire. Panic, heavy breathing and a racing heart. I weave through four lanes of traffic dodging speeding vehicles as loud horns honk and honk. I reach the shoulder, slam the brakes and skid to a stop. I try to get out but my seat belt is stuck. I pull and yank and pull on the buckle as sweat streams down my face… the gas tank is going to blow. Finally, the buckle snaps but now the door won’t open. Is it melted shut? I lie sideways on the hot seat and kick the door with both feet. It busts open and I climbed out. The gas tank is going to blow so I start to run up the side of the highway. Another truck swerves across the highway in flames. What the fuck? Balls of fire fall from the sky. Keep running. Heart pounds. Have to get away, Have to get away. Can’t breathe. Black smoke swirls all around. Sweat gushes. Fire fire fire everywhere. Cough, gag, cough, burn. I don’t get far before… Kaboom! I’m thrown to the ground. Not hurt; just dazed. I stand up slowly and turn back to see. The city behind me is under some kind of attack. Flames shoot out of the tops of several skyscrapers while a number of buildings are tumbling into ruins. Smoke and dust rises from the streets. Ominous looking black helicopters blanket the sky like a flock of giant birds of prey. Higher up, super sonic jets sizzle across the heavens lobbing fireballs down on the city. More fireballs hit moving vehicles. Explosions make the earth quake. Lots of people are out of their wrecked cars now. They are running and walking down the highway. Where are they going? What are they doing? I am among them. A refugee. Stumbling along: coughing and gagging in the swirling smoke, sweating profusely from all my pores. I’m trying to get away. But where am I going? I don’t know. I just have to get away. From what? The helicopters. The black helicopters! They are in formation now. They are flying towards us. Everyone scatters chaotically into the swirling smoke. The helicopters fire. Live rounds; lots of them. Machine guns rat a tat tat. I am running in the smoke. I have to get away. Rat a tat tat. Panic. Fear. Run. Pop. I feel pain in my leg and I fall. I’m hit. Pop. Another pain. This time in my shoulder. I’m hit again and again. I’m shaking, writhing squirming along sandy desert ground. I’m trying to get out of sight. Hide from the helicopters. But I can’t move. I’m bleeding on the ground. My body parts won’t work. I have to move but I can’t. They are going to kill me. I have to fucking move!
I awoke on the sand in a pool of sweat with my heart pounding and my head aching. It took me a moment to realize where I was. I saw the waves washing up on shore and heard the sound of the tumultuous surf. That’s right, the beach… on the coast of Venezuela. I was supposed to meet the young lady here. I sat up and looked around. There was no sign of anyone. There I was, all alone on an empty beach in the middle of the night. The moon was falling towards the western horizon. I didn’t have a watch but it had to be late. She must not have shown up. I was stood up. I sighed with relief. Circumstances saved me from my sin. She must have passed out drunk from the beer and not woken up on time. Or maybe she got caught sneaking out? Or maybe she sobered up and changed her mind. Either way, I didn’t get to do what my body wanted but my brain didn’t. The universe and random chance saved me from my self. I was innocent after all… Thank God.
I gathered up my scattered belongings from the sand and started the long trudge back up the hill to the cabana. While still on the beach, moonlight illuminated the scene but when I reached the pathway through jungle, I had to click on my flashlight. My tee-shirt was soaked through and my head hurt. Hungover, and suffering the after effects of the dream… I plodded along through the unreal darkness. It almost seemed as if I was still dreaming. Half asleep. Or was I? I’d been having the dream for several months… almost since the journey into Latin America began. But the dream intensified with corresponding bodily symptoms in Costa Rica when I had that virus. The virus went away but the dream kept coming back. Maybe I still had the virus. Could the virus and the dream be related? How can I possibly cure myself from a dream? How in the world could I wake up and see reality? Part of it was real, of course. Or at least based on reality. As I made my way along that path through the jungle to my cabana I tried and tried to use my mind to grab ahold of reality. I started thinking about the true incident that was the foundation of the crazy dream.
A year or so before, on a Friday the 13th in October of 1991, my pick-up truck caught on fire. I was helping a girlfriend (Ms. A.) move from Upstate NY to Queens in the big city. We had all of her belongings stacked precariously, ever so high, with her futon mattress near the top on the back of my truck as we made our way down interstate I-95. We were in very heavy traffic closing in on the Whitestone Bridge that crosses over into Queens when Ms. A. tossed a cigarette butt out the window. A few moments later, the cars all around us started honking their horns and I saw the flames in my rear view mirror. I really did have to weave through several lanes of traffic with a flaming truck to reach a small exit ramp on the far side of the highway where I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. In reality, the seat buckles didn’t stick and the vehicle doors opened with no problem. But then, when we got outside and saw the rising flames consuming all of her belongings on the back of my truck, I did something very stupid. The only thing not covered in flames was a dresser at the very front of the pile. In order to stop my truck from possibly exploding, I climbed up onto the cab and was able to slide down in between the cab and the not burning dresser. Then, using the dresser as a barrier to protect me and because the fire had already burned through the ropes and bungee chords holding everything down, I was able to push the entire pile of burning junk off the back of the truck. It’s kind of miracle I didn’t get blown to pieces by an exploding gas tank but my truck was saved except for a bed liner that was melted into an unusual shape. When the police, fire engine and ambulance arrived a few moments later they found a slightly shaken young couple, a still burning pile of junk on the side of the road and a relatively unscathed pickup truck. They put out the embers and the EMTs gave us the once over. But the cops didn’t even give me a ticket. Ms. A. lost all or most of her worldly possessions but she was the one who threw the damn cigarette out the window.
That was the reality I remembered as I made my way through the jungle darkness to my cabana. There were no bombs, no black helicopters, no machine guns, no fireballs. Just a slightly crazy experience a year or so earlier. But now I was in Venezuela and there was a revolution going on. I saw and heard all the military planes flying over head on my first few days in Macuto. I saw and heard the sound of gunfire amid stampeding crowds in the big city on the local television news. There was a state of emergency declared. Things were crazy. That’s why I was stranded in a beach bungalow in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps the madness of now was combining with memories of the past and the still present virus to produce nightmares. But the nightmares started way before the revolution. I had them back in Costa Rica and Nicaragua too. And what about the young lady? She was supposed to meet me on the beach? Could she have been part of the nightmare? What in the hell does it all mean?Continue reading
Figurehead father Who art in Washington, D.C. All hail Thy holy name Thy administration comes Thy will be done In the Red States As well as in the Blue Give us today A nice big stimulus And forgive us our debts As we forgive those Who owe debts to us Lead us not Into Bankruptcy And deliver us from The other figurehead… Amen. not copyrighted, pass it on