Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Wow…

I was going to write about the many fantastic robins here, all the bluebirds and flickers….or the Boddhichitta pizza- a manifestation in food of the desire for another’s happiness.  Or the brand new goat we saw practicing jumping.

However, things seem to be becoming ever more surreal, if one is paying attention at all.  A glance at the news is enough to make you head back to bed and amass piles of covers to duck under. The UN just adopted a resolution to “prevent…(the Libyan government)….from killing Libyan citizens…”  That sounds almost inconceivable, really, that it would even need to be done.  Meanwhile.   Living on the West Coast as we do, in Northern California, I’m being inundated by emails about what to do concerning the upcoming wave of radioactive material, due to reach our lovely coast by the weekend, from all the damaged reactors in Japan.  (Of course, it’s all Perfectly Safe, right? According to what our government says.)  We also learn to our stupefaction that the nuclear facility at San Onofre here in California, was built to withstand a 7.0 quake.  HUNH? 7.0 can practically be withstood by any cocktail establishment in Cali now, for heaven’s sake.   Meanwhile, the emails contain instruction on various things to do to strengthen the body, advise one to buy lots of food now…because? Surface contamination will be present for some time.  Food supplies low and unhealthy.  Also? The ocean.  And the grass, thus cows.  Chickens.  The food chain, in short, will be shot.  You gotta wonder, Gentle Reader.  What the hell is going on here?  I mean, if the food chain is compromised, if the ocean is poisoned- there isn’t much point, is there? in worrying about your own personal thyroid.  Seriously, I think everyone, everywhere, and that’s everyone from Insurgent A to Corporate Executive B and all in between, just stop.  Stop what you’re doing.  Now.  Put that stuff down and step back from it.  It really is almost too late to stem the tide of stupidity, looks like. We all really, really (no, REALLY) need to get on the same page, earthlings.   In a world where leaders of countries treat their people like disposable commodities and pursue only those options that provide profit for some, time is short.

And just when things were going so well……

Misadventure, with Hollandaise

So, yesterday we went out to breakfast as an unusual and most welcome break in the routine.  This would have been fine if the devil hadn’t made me  I hadn’t decided that life was impossible without Eggs Benedict.  This particular place, which is actually wonderful, operates on the premise that more is more.  It says two pancakes, sometimes you get four.  It says Eggs Benedict and you get something that looks like a small buttercup color lake with tiny pontoons floating in it.   Net net, it plunged me, even having not partaken of the dish in its entirety, in a state of suspended and putrified animation in a gaseous domain, temporarily.

Which left me plenty of time to think, while I was trying to position myself in such a way as to not a )explode, or b) implode.   Last week was pretty rough, again. The spot of Friday pawholding with a friend who found dealing with menacing and foul mouthed 20 somethings on BART (the Bay Bridge has been closed , and the Ferry wasn’t working because of an oil spill in the bay.  Perhaps, really we need say no more.) ultimately more than she could take was just a small part.  Combined with her empathy for a colleague at work who had come back from a trial in the deep south.  The trial of the murderer of his daughter.  Who was white.  By her boyfriend, who was black, and demonstrated his total innocence by immediately decamping to Canada post event.  Apparently the papers in this town trumpeted the constant refrain that the only reason this young man was considered as a suspect was because he was black.  Forget forensics, right?  Meanwhile, I think everyone in the Bay Area is, and certainly should be, disturbed and sickened by what happened to the Richmond high school girl at a school dance.   It is an odd thing to come to terms with the fact that there are individuals out there who seem to have, actually, no real human component.  Who will hurt you and think nothing of it. The possibility of life in prison seemed to get their attention, interestingly enough.  The thing that I noticed though, was that somehow, now, everyone is racist and right off the top, too.  Before it was just white folks.  Now it is everyone.  Whatever happens, it is related to the color of your skin, not your behavior.  While this is oftentrue, it isn’t ALWAYS true.  Kids in the Richmond case who were picked up by the Police because they had been watching and texting their friends about it and not lifting a finger to help?  They were of course picked up just because of their skin color. Not because they were there and participating on some level in an atrocity.  Basically.   People are accepting rotten behavior and limitations on their own freedom because they are afraid to speak up and experience the wrath of one of these individuals , who of course come in all sizes, shapes, colors, stripes, sexes and persuasions.  I met a raving white one yesterday and it shook me up more than a little, in addition to narrowly missing turning my car into an accordion. Also I was not happy with myself: Yo Mamma lept to my lips in a heartbeat and that isn’t going to help anything overall.   It’s terrifying, actually, to see all of this.  It is as though all the work and thought that happened in the last forty years….just didn’t.  On top of the stomach balancing act, it really was just too much for me yesterday.    Even taking a broad view of why this happens and allowing for the truth  of people’s feelings about discrimination and the brutal reality of its existence in daily life- we still cannot be treating each other in this disrespectful and cruel way.  Period.  It is time to put down Your Personal Very Important Story.  What you do to one, you do to all.  How you treat someone else is how you treat yourself.  Food for thought.  Without, perhaps, hollandaise.

Procrastination and Global Warming

There’s something about having a complex “thing” to do that makes the mind turn to blogging, I’m finding.  But the mind, Gentle Readers, gets overwhelmed and kafuffled so easily and concentration on one, perhaps more lofty, activity becomes like setting up base camp atop Mt. Everest.  ( Or anywhere, really.  You should see me set up a tent!  It’s funny.)

We had to go to the DMV yesterday, which in itself is Quite The Endeavor.  BUT.  I made an appointment! We were in and out in twenty minutes! Amazing! As I sat and waited, though, for the Partner to be wrangled through getting his picture taken,  I noticed at least five people who probably weighed 400 pounds.    Many others were closer to 250.  This really made me stop and think.  What are these folks eating? Nothing that’s very good for them and probably not alot of it, either.  Probably surviving on multiple $1 meals at whoever it is that’s offering them- all fat, refined sugar and corn syrup, and simple minded carbohydrates.  Given that this particular DMV is in a, um, challenging part of town, I wondered how anyone functions at that weight.  You can’t really DO anything, not even walk easily.  It can’t feel very good.  But at a certain economic level it may well be the most practical alternative, which is bad enough just in itself.

When you combine the public health issues in all this with the basic loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that ensues when you can’t really fit into a chair, even, and the fact that hamburgers and tacos- beef, in other words- are primary ingredients in alot of these fast food diets, AND the fact that producing all that beef is a major contributor to carbon emissions and thus global warming- wouldn’t you think that someone would go, heeeeey! waaaaaaaaait just a dern minute here.    This is all bass ackwards!   But, so far? Apparently not.

So, it’s hard for me to get my teeming brain focussed on what it needs to focus on.   I’m just kind of stunned by it all, really.  We were talking then, too, about all the shooting and whatnot that goes on in these neighborhoods, such as we found ourselves in at the DMV yesterday.  The fact that alot of the shootings are, in fact, just that: Someone shoots someone, probably in the arm or leg or someplace, not killing them but disabling them.  The people you read about who really DO go around killing people are actually people who are not well.  So there’s a difference between the kinds of violence that take place, we might say.  Those who aim for the arm are just trying to survive.  Those who shoot to kill are damaged and need some attention other than the criminal system.  And really, what do you expect from such an environment? Terrible nutrition, no education, no family infrastructure.  The fact that we live in a world where this is, to some extent, accepted practice, is- well, now THAT is crazy.  So many people consigned to the trash because of a circumstance of birth.  Such a huge trajectory required to get out of it.  Then there’s Lagos!  or Rio de Janeiro. Or any number of other places.  It’s not just Compton. Or Oakland.   

As a species we simply must snap out of this mindless selfishness and we have, it looks like, about twenty seconds in which to do that.  What you do to one, you do to all.   It just seems to me that there has to be a better way.  A better way than throwing people in harm’s way to gain power, wherever it is done: In Iraq or here, or there, or anywhere.

What Page Were We On?

Sometimes, well let’s face it, most times, I feel that we in Rancho Boozilla are not even in the same book, let alone on the same page, as our happy neighbors around us.  Having come to terms with the disorientation of all that and forged ahead nonetheless, things still pop up that leave us with our beaks hanging open.

I was reminded over the weekend of something that I knew, but had swept under my mental rug.  This reminder had the physical effect of making me throw up.  The issue was this.  People are being sent back to Afghanistan and Iraq with active, full blown, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We all ‘know” that people are reassigned and what not.  But it is all too easy to forget what that really means.  For one thing, it means that any work toward healing the PTSD and returning to any kind of normalcy goes right into the dumper.  For another, it most likely means that any time stateside is poisoned with terror about the impending return.  Those two things alone are going to demolish families and lives, not to mention the other potential corollaries like coping with major physical injuries.  For a third thing, which should have some meaning to the average citizen, it means that ultimately society at large is going to have a really big pool of vets who are in so much pain and have been so severely traumatized that help is going to be a long, long way away.  This affects YOU, as I try and say to my neighbors.  (I do engage in pointless activities from time to time.)  That person who goes ballistic in the shopping center? Where do you think they came from?  Not to mention the, I’m betting large, pool of opium and heroin addicts who will be returning to a society that will not understand them.    In the lowest, and I do mean LOW, common denominator this will cost money.  Pure selfishness should make society rethink how this issue is being handled, if nothing else.  If not a sense of compassion and respect for our fellow beings.    If not a deep sense of heartbreak about all this suffering.

This whole thing makes me so angry I can’t think straight.  The whole thing is so wrong.  Historically Afghanistan has been a deal breaker in a big way.  If you pay attention to history, that is.  Which we seem not to be since we are repeating it.    The euphemisms used on television about returning service people, if they are mentioned at all, make me nutty(-er, OK, OK. NUTTIER.  Happy?).  Our country is engaging in something that has never worked in the past, that is, war and violence.  It isn’t working now, I don’t believe it WILL.  We are sending our kinsmen and women, basically, to destruction and danger, and then behaving as though we don’t know what is going on.  It needs to stop.

Not Again (or, Another Opinion)

I can’t quite express the horror  and dismay I felt at being subjected to Dick Cheney on television again.  Over and over.  I don’t want to hear anything from that individual, ever again.  I think we can safely say He’s Done Enough.  

Cheney no longer holds any office in government and I fail to see why we should be subjected to his opinions any further.  Opinions from someone who doesn’t, apparently, understand how a democratic society is to function (justice and liberty, for example), someone who has no respect for humanity, and someone who will justify any means to get to his desired end.   I also wonder how appropriate his appearance was, considering he was Vice-President, not President.  Presidential remarks might possibly have been appropriate.  Given his theoretically lower position, his remarks were not appropriate, actually a bit disrespectful,and his whole litany was as offensive as ever and, basically, as thoughtless.  I can’t help but wonder why he got so much attention.

 I had to laugh when I heard Jesse Ventura say, after hearing Cheney’s remarks, give me an hour to waterboard Dick Cheney and I’ll get him to confess to the Sharon Tate murders.  This summarizes the view on the veracity of information gained by torture  (er, excuse me, what is it? enhanced interrogation?) of virtually every long term professional in the military and intelligence sector, many of whom have written quite extensively on the subject: It is extremely unreliable.  So why would you torture someone knowing that?   Knowing that you cannot count on getting the truth, knowing that the United States represents a supposedly higher moral ground, and knowing that torture is expressly banned by the Geneva Convention, to which the last time I checked the United States had been a signatory.  ( Perhaps Cheney confused the Geneva Convention with the Kyoto Protocol?)  In any case, torture is also completely contrary to that other document with which Cheney continually seemed to be unfamiliar: The Constitution of the United States.

Personally, I really really want Dick Cheney to go away, now.  Go away and stay away and don’t come back, ever.    In my view, he’s shamed the country by hugely participating in the dragging of it into a situation that was misrepresented from the beginning, violating the Constitution and kicking Habeas Corpus to the curb, and also: Profitting from it.  Haliburton ring any bells?   My opposition to torture, by the way, is in no way a denigration of the individuals who are forced to do it under orders they must obey.  ( Don’t bother to think about the public health consequences of that, Dick.  All the people who can’t live with the darkness they’ve inhabited. )  Cheney’s comments in that regard were even more insulting than his usual standard.  Which is high.

Dick Cheney has been my meditation practice about compassion and forgiveness for the past few years.  I’m not making alot of progress judging by how I felt watching him on TV.  Or perhaps I have.  I have compassion for him, but I see no need to allow him to continue in his injurious ways which have led my country to the brink of disaster.   I don’t know what someone like Gandhi or Dr. King, Jr. would have made of all this.  I still don’t think such a person as Cheney deserves media attention and analysis.  His time is over, and he should have enough sense and self possession to acknowledge that.

No Comment

I’m  baaaack.  I did spend the week pretty much in a puddle of cry liquid, which was certainly in part generated by sorting my receipts in preparation for doing taxes.  It turned out to be more demoralizing than I thought to look at the five inch high pile of expenses and the three quarter inch high pile of income receipts.  In between looking for work, trying to launch my business since there doesn’t appear to be any work, and just trying not to go completely crispy critters…well, it makes a person a bit weepy.  Plus being human-in-waiting to Boozilla of course.

However.  I did think, this morning, of what REALLY needs to happen on the next octo-box thingy they have on the morning financial reporting on TV.  This morning the idea was being bandied about that all this kafuffle about “compensation” for hedge fund managers and those toiling along side them in related occupations…was really irrelevant.  Why, they asked, in essence, was compensation an issue?   These Poor Guys Are Just Doing Their Incredibly Necessary Jobs.

This past weekend a truly horrible thing happened in Oakland.  Five people died violent and needless deaths; four police officers and one young man who’d already spent a sizeable portion of his life incarcerated.  There’s no shortage of places to point the finger, either.  The failed educational and family systems and the failed society and community that produces hosts of young people for whom there really is nothing out there except prison or the army.  The deadly indifference and selfishness that allows the stagnation to continue, on both ends of the spectrum.  The acceptance of stupidity and lack of compassion that lets it all keep going round.   “Those people” after all: It is always “them”, it seems.  Not “us”.  The corruption of service in society: Partly, this tragedy was fueled by the insanity of January’s FILMED shooting of a young man by a BART policeman in Oakland, and the rage in the community at seeing that it took weeks for anything to even begin to happen to the man who pulled the trigger.  On film.   Shooting someone in the back.  Somehow I suspect that if *I* shot someone on a public transit platform full of people with cell phones taking video of me, I wouldn’t have been walking around free for very long.  Just guessing, again.

So, I was thinking this morning.  The dialogue in the octobox? Needs to be between the people who think their compensation shouldn’t be questioned, and those who jeered the police in Oakland as they searched for the man who shot, and killed, two of their colleagues, later to add two more deaths, as he himself was killed.  We can throw in the fact that he had an automatic rifle, just to see whether those who think THAT is irrelevant have their interest piqued.  I think these two groups really need to meet each other.   The Hedge Fund Managers probably think that the young man with the automatic weapon had it coming, it was his fault, he could have done something else and besides, it doesn’t have anything to do with them.  The angry community in Oakland might just think the Hedge Fund Managers ought to come on around and see how important, exactly, the imbalances fostered by their greed are.  While they have no power in that arena, it does have something to do with them.  

Both groups seem to me to have a certain tunnel vision based on their situations. Seeing how the other side lives might be a good beginning for an end to that.   Not a startlingly new idea, but hey.  I’m still in the puddle of cry liquid.  I haven’t done the MATH yet.