Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In a Nutshell

Things my grandparents taught me:

Spend less than what you make. Save what you can, for a rainy day. don't listen to people who show their teeth too much when they smile. Preachers of any kind are like snake oil charmers (never knew what those were). They just want to sell you a bill of goods and take your money. The same could be said about investment brokers.

You never get something for nothing. And a favorite quote of Grandma's was by Mark Twain. "A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain." The same could be said about insurance companies.

These are things I've learned and have shared with my children:

If life is boring and dull and nothing is happening - you be happening. Read a book and learn a thing or two. As you get more interesting you will be prepared for when you meet interesting people. Listen more than you speak. Question more than you claim. And never, ever trust anyone who has more to gain by your loss than your success.

Just sayin'.

This is what I've seen.
Way back in the sixties we began to walk on our own two feet. And when we looked around us we saw greed and corruption and people being locked into careers and educational programs that were geared toward feeding the corporate machine. What does that mean? That means that science classes were geared toward growing whatever corporations and the government wanted people to think and do when they entered the work force. All of those sitins on campuses in the sixties and early seventies? That's what they were about. Instead of offering classes and programs that addressed pollution and how to solve problems that were effecting our planet and our health classroom material pointed young minds in the direction corporations wanted them to go so they would be good little workers.

Back then there weren't seat belts, because they would be too costly. Thank you Ralph Nader for all of the work you did to protect us from the big automakers.

Back then Nixon had black lists of people his paranoid ass thought were his enemies and he used the government to make their lives miserable. The IRS went after people and were ruthless and people didn't have much they could do about it. And shit tons of money was being dumped and wasted in the "Cold War." Oh, and nuclear power became the end all to our energy needs and weapons of mass destruction that helped to make us, at least feel, indestructable.

Back then we got high. We turned on and turned off the corporate media machine, the TV, and we shared music and our thoughts and love with one another. Was it all shiny and beautiful and without blemish? No. A lot of people went too far and lost their way and never came back. But there were a whole lotta other people who saw that the poolution in the environment was making its way into the water and soil and back up through the crops we were growing and it was making people sick. And cancer was on the rise. While still not killing children yet, it was becoming a concern.

In the seventies there were lots of wizards in their own little corporate OZ that were fiddling around behind a curtain. And even though the toxic waste was killing off wildlife their basic line of defense was, "Don't listen to the goofballs who are telling you this is bad. And, "Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain." And slowly TV and football became the tit people had latched on to. Now I love me some Bears football. And the Packers and Lions too. But when there are games on all weekend and twice through the week pretty soon the fan frenzy forgets that it is better to get off your ass and go play with your kids outside than it is to sit on it all weekend and drink beer and yell at your kids to get out of the way of the TV screen. Again, I'm not tellin', I'm just sayin'.

I remember the Reagan years. The recession and banks charging huge interest rates and people losing their homes and businesses closing and everyone getting wise that the trickle down theory the republicans were pushing didn't work. These were the years that the CIA was sticking their nose into the business of other countries and causing uprisings and the kind of torture that had been used during WWII were being taught by them to little Nero's in new suits of another generation. Watch the movie, "Burnt Oranges." If you can't find it, buy it. Watch Motorcycle Diaries. And anyone who stood up for their people and against these tactics and the governments that had become corrupted that were killing their own people, well, they simply disappeared.

During this time heroine and cocaine were being brought into this country in such volumes that there is no way in hell this was happening without a whole lotta somebodies making a shit ton of money corrupting anyone who had something real to say about our human condition. Slave traders sold out and turned a whole generation into pathetic zombies that couldn't function or think for themselves beyond what they needed to do and how far they needed to go to get their next fix. Harsh word from an old hippy? Too bad. That's what I've seen. The same thing happened with ecstasy and raves and booze for that matter. And kids from another generation numbed their brains and screwed up their nervous systems.

Jimmy Carter was a glimmer of hope. He managed to keep us from war and went on to become the best ex-president we've ever had. This man so got it. He tried to stop the insanity but the republicans pulled the same old shit when he was in office. The stopped the wheels from turning in the Congress and Senate and then blamed him for not getting anything done. Corporate money had its hooks in back then and they only got deeper with time.

In the eighties it was buy more buy the best. Work hard and work more and buy buy buy. Your things and where you go on vacation and what you buy when you get there will make you happy.

In the nineties it was buy more but buy it cheaper when it comes from a third world country that will let corporations pay their people twenty-five cents an hour, if that and then for a thank you very much, they will dump all kinds of pollution into their water and air and land for good measure. What corporations were doing without our knowledge by the way, was despicable. But most of us didn't care because we were investing in the market and making huge profits and we could buy MORE with what we had. Back then Bush was moving the money around and favors and policies and acting like he was inept and didn't know what was going on all the way to the bank.

Things were so bad that an unknown, Bill Clinton got elected as president. Twice. And he too was brilliant and wanted to make changes. He exposed the issues and people called or wrote to their congressmen and senators and the republican people got involved and thought for themselves and said, "Hey buddy, vote that way and I'll vote you out."

Then Rupert Murdoch bought up FOX and the propaganda machine was installed. Twenty-four hours of bullshit was unleashed and people turned into the new and improved snake oil charmers of the 21st century. And he also bought MTV and changed the programing from music to dumb dipshits with money acting stupid and calling that the youth of America. And corporations saw a potential fertile ground for a feeding frenzy and they had at it.

And then the second Bush came in and all confidence in our democracy and our votes being counted accurately and people being prohibited from voting and racial profiling was so disgusting that the whole world had lost respect for us. And we were helpless to change it because we didn't have access to the right passwords.

Now during these days we didn't have a TV. And when we did and we got cable and we could see unbiased nature and science programs it was great. But when crap movies and shows took over I cancelled it all and started buying good books and leaving them out for the kids to read. They weren't getting exposed to much of that in school so I invested in their future and their brains and brought home ideas that they weren't being taught in the public schools. And I set an example for them of honesty and hard work and not spending more than you made and all of that - with a Traumatic Brain Injury. So there. And I noticed parents getting lazier and lazier.

So now here we are. Chemical companies that produce pesticides and seed and fertilizer for great big plants and crops can genetically engineer our grain and processed foods and dump so much crap into our food and water that our bodies don't even function anymore. They figured out how to store medicines in our fat and how to create food that never makes us feel full. So we have all kinds of obesity and and cancer. Some of these corporations have strong armed our farmers so that they can't buy seed from them unless they buy their pesticides and fertilizers too. Our food has such a bad reputation that there are many countries that won't even accept it into their food supply anymore.

I'm not going to candy coat anything this morning. Do your own research and read a damn book. Google a word, start some place and keep reading until you know something you don't already know. And learn and figure shit out for yourself.

So now here we are. People all over the world have had their pensions ripped off. The global economy that looked like such promise for making even more money and buying more shit has stung us like some kind of mythic scorpian. The money goes from one country to another and it is either shipped out in crates or flown in private jets to islands and banks in other countries and nobody knows where it came from or where it all went. But we sure as hell know its gone don't we?

The money that people spent here was not reinvested through taxes and more business here. No. It was stashed away so more governments could be bought and more wars could be raged and more weapons could be manufactured and more hatred grew and grew and grew. Until young people and women stood up without any weapons and said no. They said, "We want peace." "We want to know what happened to our children and spouses who disappeared." And change started happening. Corrupt officials were ousted and shamed. And mass graves were uncovered. And the wounded began to walk again.

Look, it doesn't matter to me what party some one says they belong to. This is what I know. You are all full of shit. If you wanted to solve the real problems we are facing, like pollution and corporate greed and better education for our children and health care for everyone, it would have been done. You are all to blame. And I don't just mean the politicians. I mean the voters too. And everyone who turns on bogus TV and listens to crap and believes it because it is on TV. And everyone who chooses to look the other way. You want things to change. Everyone needs to join those demonstrators and just say, "No."

So here are my ideas for change.
No one group should decide for everybody what they can do with their bodies and who they love. If there are people who don't believe in being gay, here's a though, don't be gay. But you can't decide for someone else who they want to love because that is personal. You can believe until the cows come home that it is a sin and choose not to go there and that's your right too. But you can't force people to follow your beliefs because guess what, that's personal. A lot more respect and a lot less blind hatred would go far.

You want to believe in God and a religion? Cool. Go for it. But don't force people or kill people to believe the way you do. Because how people choose to believe they got here and what will give them a sense of purpose while they are here is their own personal business.

You don't believe in abortion? Fine. Don't have one. And while you are at it keep your kids home at night and play cards with them or go for a long walk or make things together. How many quilts could be made after homework for people who don't have blankets? Now I'm not saying everyone needs to stay home and make quilts - its just an example of something constructive people could be doing with their time while they are relaxing and listening to music. Or here's an idea, be your own band and learn how to play instruments together. What you do is your own business. Keep your own nose clean and keep it out of everybody else's business.

And while you are at it, there is a global problem with over-population. So use birth control. If your teen is sexually active put them on a birth control that will keep them from getting pregnant. Or give an incentive to folks for making good decisions. Once a person as a child they should be on birth control or get fixed. All of this I don't believe in abortion shit and then bringing in babies into the world you can't afford to feed and expecting the taxpayers to pay for you to stay home is ridiculous. I mean, maybe for one kid but come on, two, three and four? A whole lotta somebodies need to get real.

We've got plenty of work to do. We need to figure out if there is a way to clean up the toxic mess that has infiltrated the DNA of our country. We need to stop using oil and we need to stop drilling for gas. We need to use solar and wind power and we need to figure out a way to recycle even more and to generate gas we can use from our own waste. We need to grow our food organically and take care of our water. We don't have another twenty years. That twenty years earmark for change in the future people have been talking about since the sixties past over thirty years ago.

And before I step off of my soap box, we need to legalize pot for crying out loud. Really.

And we need to make immigration laws that are fair and realistic now and stop building more detention centers. Are you aware of how many detention centers, camps, prisons there are in this country? Places where families and legal representation can't help the people that are being caged in them? If I want to go to another country I have to get a VISA. And I have to pay to get there and I have to pay to get home. I have to ask if I can stay longer. And that's the way it is everywhere. Now some times famine and wars cause people to move away and go where they can survive. Detention centers are not the answer. They are prison camps. And they are a disgrace to this country. If someone is in this country illegally and they commit a violent crime then they should be sent back to where they came from. Absolutely. But for traffic tickets? And racial profiling and pulling people over and harassing them because they may be illegals? That's so wrong on so many levels. If people come into this country illegally and have kids here and they are told to leave then they gotta go. Here if people go to work in other countries there comes a time when they gotta go back home. They can come for a visit. Their families can go back home with them. And those left here can help to support them. But we can't support everybody. If people aren't paying taxes here and they aren't acting responsibly and they are having a bunch of kids and they are on welfare, how long do you think the free lunch is going to last?

And now we have Barack Obama. I voted for him. I respect him and I might even vote for him again. He has worked tremendously hard to change the tone of the way the government has been working. I believe he has faith in our democracy and he appreciates the need for a two-party system. When he was in a position to bulldoze his policies through he chose to try to work with the republicans. He believed that the republican people would call their own party into check. He clearly wasn't interested in participating in a fascist approach to running this country. And I respect that. Big time. But the time for blaming our representatives and talking is over. People, everybody, needs to say, "This isn't working for me." And everyone needs to make sure that campaign finance reform takes place and that all of our votes are counted. There is no reason whatsoever that we can't have our own passwords so we can double check and make sure our votes were counted accurately. And a list of how people vote should never be sold or supplied to any political party or to anyone at all. That's private. That's our own personal business.

We need representatives that will say this is what I believe and this is what I will do. And then we need an easy access site to see exactly how they voted and what happened. And then we need to make our choices for the next election based on real facts instead of personal attacks and bullshit. And we need this to happen now.

There needs to be some kind of reasonable approach to dealing with these issues. Nobody is going to get everything they want. Does that disappoint you and make you want to kick your feet and throw a tantrum? Okay. Kick your feet. Is life disappointing for you poor thing? Get used to it. Everything does not revolve around your little comfort zone.

Look, it is clear there are too many people, including corporations and some times even Unions (and I support the Unions big time), that have been riding on the backs of everyone else for too long. And guess what, the backs? - they are a breaking. So get over it and roll up your sleeves - everybody - and take responsibility for your decisions and do something positive that is going to make your life and your families life and the world a better place.

Or don't.

That's your business.

I gotta go. I got things to do.

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