Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

Couch potatoes, or real food?

May 2, 2012

Most Americans will not do the hard physical labor required to harvest our nation’s crops.

But in these days politicians, thinking that they’re doing us all a favor, want to meddle with immigration laws that effectively kick out the migrant workers who perform that hard work.

But most of us Americans are just not up to the task. Workers just will not do what many of our grandparents did  back in the day to get all that food out of the fields, into the supply chain, and into the pantries and bellies of consumers.

Here’s what has happened in Georgia in the last year or so, after the legislature went trying to meddle with the sensitive dynamics of supply/demand in agricultural labor markets.

In a conversation with Neal Conan of Talk of the Nation last Monday 4/30/12, Dick Minor, partner of Minor Produce, Andersonville Ga., and President of Georgia Fruit and Vegetable  Growers Association, said this:

“. . . that just anybody can come do this job is also a misnomer. We consider these people skilled workers because they are pretty much professional harvesters, and they’re even skilled to particular crops.

So people harvesting watermelons may not be able to pick peaches, and people picking blueberries may not be able to pick peppers. So certain crews that work in certain crops, and they do that year-round, as you know it’s very tough work. It’s very tough conditions – long hours. You’ve got to be in really good physical shape. You’ve got to know the process of harvesting crops.”

When Neal Conan asked Mr. Minor about using parolees to do the work, the President of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Associations said:

“It hasn’t worked out. I was actually one of the test farms that we did that on, and we tried to make it work. It runs into the same problem of using any other domestic workforce: They’re just not skilled in the technique to harvest the crop, nor are they physically able to do that work.

I mean, you have to imagine being in 100-degree days for 10 hours, and, you know, very physically demanding work, stooping down, running, lifting. You’ve got to be, sort of, trained, almost like an athlete. You’ve got to be trained to be able to do it, and we offered open employment to them all summer long, and we had just a constant turnstile of people coming and going.

And nobody was excited about doing it. A lot of them did it for several days, but none of them lasted.”

The net effect of the legislature’s misguided micromanagement of labor markets cost the state of Georgia, in Mr. Minor’s estimation, lost revenuers of $140 million, which, when the “multiplier” effect of that money is factored in, amounts to about $390 million.

This happened because 40%  of workers needed to harvest  Georgia’s crops in the last year were not there to do the work. The accustomed agricultural pickers did not show up because they were not hired because of  bad law, or the workes were afraid of the consequences of showing up and risking deportation.

But American couch potatoes wouldn’t get out in the fields and gather all those watermelons and peaches and whatnot.

In this country, we’ve traded real potatoes for couch potatoes. This is largely the result of our leisurely lifestyle, and obsession with entertainments, and government welfare that robs workers of incentives to prosper, and just plain old-fashioned laziness.

Americans don’ know how to work any more. Its no wonder that the corporations sitting on all that funny Federal money are unwilling to take a chance and grant us more employment.

CR, with new novel, Smoke,  in progress

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Time for Soul-searching

April 26, 2012

America needs to find something else to do besides argue and complain. Each man, each woman has a destiny to fulfill.

Get hooked up with some person or organization with which you can at least partially agree; get your hands, your feet, your mind busy, to solve the problems that confound you now.

Act on behalf of those whom you love– those for whom you are responsible; assist those who are responsible for you.

If you are in a mess, Big Brother is not going to get you out of it. The government may toss a few greenbacks and food stamps your way, but ultimately you are responsible for your own life.

You go-getters out there–no corporation will fill your destiny. If you want to become an integral link in a corporate structure, remember: its all about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. You do your job right and the good stuff will come after many days.

Get busy. Look around you. Find something in your vicinity that needs doing, and do it, whether that makes you underpaid, underemployed, or seemingly underutilized. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done out there in getting this country turned around from our present dead-end of overinstitutionalism and overgovernmentalization. We need to restructure from the ground up. And I do mean the ground literally. This could involve growing some vegetables or something like that.

If you’re at a loss as to how to find some direction, take some time for a little soul-searching. That’s what I did a few decades ago, and I was never the same afterward. I wrote a song about it: Like Moses, like Martin Luther King, I took a walk up the mountain.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

The Gunpowder Guard Guy

April 7, 2012

While visiting Seattle last fall, I observed the Occupy Seattle for a couple of days. I thought it would be interesting to see what was going on in that city’s setting where riots had erupted in 1999 during the World Trade Organization meeting. It was.

One thing I noticed at Occupy Seattle was a particular mask–several of them, actually–being worn by some of the Occupyers. You may have noticed it in a photo or two taken during the coverage of that movement last year. The face depicted on the mask resembles the classic Greek drama/comedy symbol. It is male face with a thinly styled handlebar moustache, presenting a rather bizarre plastic smile.

My later research revealed the visage to be a representation of some guy named Guy Fawkes. Guy who?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_mask

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta_(film)

Guy Fawkes was a fanatic Catholic terrorist who almost succeeded in blowing up the House of Lords in the year of our Lord 1605. http://www.britannia.com/history/g-fawkes.html

England and Scotland had been all asunder over religion at that time. The great divisive issue of the day was whether the Protestants were to have the run of Great Britain, or whether the Catholics could muscle their way back into power after the 1603 death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth’s father, the infamous King Henry VIII, had brought the religious contentions to a boil during his reign (1507-1547.) His multiple marriage escapades, along with an independently brewing Protestantism in England, had severed the ecclesiastical bonds with the Roman church. Elizabeth I had sought, after her father’s death, to stabilize the church of England by encouraging both strains of Christian religious devotion–the popish ceremony and the protestant emphasis on holiness.

According to David Starkey, http://acornonline.com/product.aspx?p=monarchy&sid, the accession of King James I after Elizabeth would manifest an even more Protestant direction for Great Britain. Certain extremists of the Catholic faction did not like this development one bit. So they decided to take manners into their hands with some strategically placed gunpowder fireworks.

Sound familiar? Very modern it was.  This sort of thing has apparently been going on all along in human history, perhaps directly proportional to the pyrotechnic capabilities of each era.

In our time, what’s alarming about the Occupy movement is this terrorist revolutionary undercurrent. Are they willing to identify their movement, and their tactics, with this Guy Fawkes guy? He was a terrorist, outright–caught red-handed on the night Nov 4, 1605, with a fuse to detonate a large gunpowder stash that had been gathered in a cellar chamber directly beneath Parliament in London.

Early IRA stuff it was, and Al Qaidaesque too.

Fawkes and his popish co-conspirators should have been taking their inspiration from the founder of their faith– the Risen Savior– instead of bullish church politics. And that goes for the protestants too. Damn their death-wielding tactics and machinations!

As for the Occupyers, they would do well to take their cues from the Prince of Peace,  resurrected from being dead, instead of any violent revolutionary like that Guy guy.  And I think Rev. Dr. King would agree if he were here.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

The Malaise? again?

March 22, 2012

The question of whether the news is good or the news is bad–

whether America is in decline or not,

whether anything can be done about it or not,

whether we are citizens or are we just consumers,

whether the government must needs be the initiator

of of all our rehabilitative and wealth-generating strategies,

or whether the corporate powerhouses that be are bound

to lead us out of this withering prosperity that so easily distends us,

or whether by some miracle the people shall rise up

by yon legendary bootstraps and from within themselves

and through their own God-given and/or earth-extracted resources

take on the responsibilities and burdens of their own freedoms and

well-being (let us not call it welfare),

whether we shall or whether we will not–

that is the question.                      My vote is: go for it.

 

Glass half-Full

The Conspiracy thing

February 28, 2012

Ok so I met this guy who’s convinced that this whole big mess is a conspiracy, most especially the 911 thing. And he had me convinced for a few milliseconds that maybe he’s onto something, what with mysterious fluctuations in airline stock prices the day before the towers went down, and that its all oil but I knew that anyway and that cheney knew what was going on and it was all a big plan because you know the govment is out to get us and to get us all constricted into a police state, and now we are in a police state and that explains a lot and theres plenty of proof on the internet that it wasn’t passenger planes that did the damage on 911, that it was missiles that hit the pentagon and that there were some asbestos problems in the towers that nobody wanted to fix because it would be too expensive and so the conspiracy arranged to have the towers destroyed and that there is no record in history of a steel structure going down without being calculatedly imploded and that the #7 building was imploded because of incriminating evidence that needed to be disposed of so as not to implicate the mayor and there was a puff of smoke at the grassy knoll and so forth and none of this is really new but you know what? it doesn’t worry me because Jesus said:

“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.” Mt 24.

So in a way I already knew about this because we can see and sort of feel that there’s something rotten in danmark or somewhere or maybe everywhere you go on earth and we know this because Paul said:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6.

So it is not new and this conspiracy thing is really very old and there’s nothing new under the sun because its pretty obvious that humans are fairly well messed up maybe even rotten to the core and actually ridden through like bullet holes with depravity which is the old term for the sin nature before sin became in the popular way of thinking just an old freudian repression instead of the undeniable reality that it really is which is plain to see if you look around among the rubble and detritus of our civilization’s underpinnings and yes I have discovered this sin nature in my very own damn self but Jesus saved me, back in 1978. That doesn’t release me from any responsibility to try and do right in this life, but it does release me from the burdens of trying to correct everybody else’s messes, or even try to figure it all out and protest, a la quintessential existential dilemma.

And so maybe you’re a marxist and you think that I’m imbibing the opiate of the people by accepting religion and Jesus and so forth but hey its a free country or at least it used to be but I’m free no matter how you slice the rumor mill because Jesus has set me free now put that in your pipe and smoke it. Or maybe you’re a fascist and you think my religion is irrelevant and based on old mythologies and legends and is therefore no defense against your will to power. We shall see, you damned bully.

Well there is no denying there is some bad shit going down in this world and maybe there’s very little we can do about it because we’re all tied down to just makin a livin’, doin’ the 9 to 5 if were lucky enough to still have a job, and we know they’re cooking the unemployment numbers so as to manipulate us and its probably closer to 20% if you include all the people who would still like to be employed but the statisticians think they’ve given up. (Don’t ever give up.) and like I said before what else is new?, and so forth, cuz we don’t any of us have time to correct all the bad stuff. But its not your fault anyway. Just take care of your own bad self and do what you need to do. Remember Jesus said:

“…but whoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes.”

So if you are a conspiracy buff you would do better just to put your faith in Jesus instead of trying to figure out all the bad stuff in this world. And if you are one of the Conspirators, then you better get right with God before its too late, and end your wicked ways.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress.

The Give and the Take

February 18, 2012

If each person produces

a little more than they receive,

then the increase he induces,

our abundance may retrieve.

 

But if each citizen collects

more than he does contribute,

our collective task reflects

a deficiency to distribute.

 

So how can each one be induced

in the system and in the fray

to make more of what’s produced

than what he has consumed today?

 

But does it even make sense

to think of productivity this way,

when dollars turn to cents

and abundance slips away?

 

I mean the world is really not

so logical as we would wish;

some neglect to give from what they’ve got

when we pass around the dish.

 

Some will always get more than they give

while others give more than they get.

We see its just the way folks live.

So get used to it; don’t fret.

 

If you’re disturbed ’cause of inequality,

and you find this world’s so unfair,

just make the most of your potentiality,

and try to do your fair share.

Selah.

Glass half-Full

Michael’s trouble, Naomi’s hope

November 26, 2011

This is an eye-opener, although parts of it may disturb you. But Americans can not operate a democratic republic with heads in the sand.
Whether you”re with them or against them, the Occupyers are now fanning out a spectrum of ideological strategies, and our nation will be changed as a result. The societal inequalities they protest will not be easily disposed of. We must consider and analyze their complaints if our nation is to get over the polarizing hurdles that now obstruct our governing urgencies.

Although law enforcement agencies in cities throughout our nation have undertaken, for the most part appropriately, some restrictive measures to contain the Occupy campers, these people are not going away. They live among us, as does the Tea Party whose signs were raised before them.
To glean some understanding of where this thing is headed, I recommend a listen to this one-hour panel discussion:

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/25/occupy_everywhere_michael_moore_naomi_klein

The New School/New York City meeting of minds was sponsored by The Nation magazine,  and recorded at the above link for Democracy Now!. Michael Moore and Naomi Klein are positioned, as it were, at the two bookends of the discussion, with three other well-spoken panelists between them. The troublesome film-maker’s controversial presence is appropriately seated on the left. Naomi’s seasoned optimism later provides a constructive balance on the other end of the table.

Compare Michael’s grudge to Naomi’s hope.
On one end of unfolding Occupy Wherever drama, Michael Moore says, with an odd excitement in his voice, he’d like to overhear the fearful trepidations now being uttered nightly in the bedrooms of the 1%.
On the other end, Naomi Klein admonishes the Occupyers to move beyond the “outrage phase” to a new phase of hope.
Which way will the Occupy movement move?
The way of the American revolution, or the way of the French revolution?
The way of constructive democracy, or the way of a vindictive reign of terror?

Michael Moore is a genius of video programming, and he certainly expresses in his work a powerful advocacy for underpriveleged people, but he does have some problems, mostly that he presents everything in good vs evil terms. But ourmaterial world, including capitalism, is constituted in  shades of gray everywhere you look, whether you’re facing left or facing right. Here are just a few of the key phrases that indicate his judgemental attitude:

~ the “beginning of the end of an evil system”
~ deficit/debt ceiling as a “distraction”, as if fiscal responsibility were not a real issue
~ “they (the 1%) created this…all the pain and suffering,” as if pain and suffering had not existed before corporatocracy
.
Michael Moore prefaces his caustic assessments somewhat with a hopeful observation that the Occupy movement has “aleviated despair in this country” and “killed apathy.” This is true. But here is what’s worrisome about Michael Moore:

Toward the end of the program, he mentions the inspiration that he imbibes when contemplating that a mere two people, Marx and Engels,  occupied unbroken ideological ground over a century ago. Unfortunately for the world at large, what Marx and Engels could not foresee was the onslaught of oppressive state power, through the cruel manipulations of  Stalin, Mao and others, that would later be perpetrated in the name of their theoretical wealth and power redistributions. Someone should remind Michael Moore and his comrades just how the Stalin and Mao movements turned out after their early revolutionary phases. Contemporary protesters would do well to remember the words of one of their patron saints, John Lennon, who sang, “…but if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” While that Beatlish warning may be politically incorrect in China, it surely applies here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In contrast to Michael Moore’s hyper-critical inputs, Naomi Klein got her turn, later, at the other end of the 5-member panel. Her well-prepared spiel included a listing of positive changes, “a track record of developing alternatives” that have manifested in practical applications since the Seattle WTO protests in 1999:

~ solutions to the ecological crisis becoming solutions to the economic crisis
~ green co-ops, as in Cleveland
~ farmers’ markets
~ community-supported agriculture
~ community renewable energy
~ localizing economies
~ devolving power to community levels, decentralization

These last two or three are the ironically dubious components of an evolving Occupy agenda, insofar as this: the federal/statist interventions required for implementing egalitarian measures are inherently contrary to decentralizing reforms, unless the federal actions are  at some point withdrawn or minimized. How likely is that?

The happiest item on Naomi Klein’s constructive list was her mention of the 14 bicycle-powered generators being used to fulfill electrical needs at Occupy Wall Street. This happened after the police had removed their gas-powered generators, which was a blessing in disguise since the campers needed some incentives to overcome their own fossil-fuel dependencies. I’ll commend them for investing some innovative sweat equity to capitalize  their dream of green energy.

At moderator Richard Kim’s direction, Naomi Klein addressed directly the issue of federal/state involvement. (I know for a fact, this is the biggest objection that arises from our conservative factions, especially since government programs are funded by taxes.) Naomi tempers the session’s wonky explorations with an appropriate admonition: “State power can be just as alienating, as corrupt as corporate power.”

And there’s the rub, America. As a wise creature of the forest once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Glass half-Full

Rascals, Scoundrels, and Settlers

November 19, 2011

Rascals rock the boat. Scoundrels would sink it, but Settlers stabilize it.

The boat, in this case, is the USS America.

The Rascals have sensed that something is rotten in Denver, or in Dallas or Detroit, or in anyTown USA. This is certainly true. But hey….they don’t know what to do about it. And since their unemployed, or underemployed, or uneducated or unsettled condition renders the rascals relatively impotent to reshape the world according their tender sense of injustice, they take to the streets in protest. I can relate to it. I was out in the streets when we were in VietNam. Getting out there to make a stand seems like a cathartic something to do;  it is exciting, with all the comraderie and the shared suffering– until the nearby residents, shopkeepers, and civic leaders start upping the ante on the physical consequences of Occupation. Then the cops hype their heretofore patient vigilance into riot-gear insensibility.

Behind the scenes, chronic malcontents would manipulate the wandering rascals, maneuvering their newfound funk toward some kind of revolution, as yet unfocused. Maybe its Lennon’s revolution, or Lenin’s, or Marx’s, or Stephen Lerner’s, Naomi’s, or David’s, who knows.

There is a lot to be upset about, for sure. The rascals are enraged about the greedy corporations, mad at the mediocre politicians, intimidated by the police, yeah yeah. They screw you, yeah yeah yeah. A witch’s brew of issues boil up here: the destabilizing consequences of  competing globalized economies, inequality, outsourcing, bailouts for the 1%, outlandish executive bonuses, unpayable student loans, epidemic foreclosures, environmental degradation, polluted groundwaters, obsessive plastic lifestyles, plastic garbage in the Pacific, filthy pipelines, fracking, fricking…

It is true that we Americans need to be roused, before it is too late, out of our hydrocarbon/carbohydrate stupor, part of which is our self-immolating oil addiction. Our petrochemical habit is a dependency that has economically castrated this formerly-great nation’s independence, and greased us down into a red-light slow-idle energy complacency, comfortably numbed by an obsessive compulsion for visual and audial stimulation.

Up on Capitol Hill– where the WallStreet lobbying 1% conduct their dissonant orchestrations of unfunded mediocrity, the politicians pontificate about a lot of smokescreen issues. For instance, the so-called Solyndra-gate.

This is political grandstanding is dangerous. Their disengenuous inquisitions distract us from some imminent good news: New American job-creating possibilities  are actually being worked on, even as we speak, if the government does not obstruct.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, somewhere in America a few enterprising business people have, believe it or not, quietly settled into the tasks of doing what needs to be done.

… like, heating up technologies to elevate us out self-destructive oil addiction.

Yesterday, while up on a roof clearing gutters, I heard on the radio about two trailblazing west coast solar-tech  producers. Although Solar World and Solaria are not the the only two companies breaking new industrial ground, they are quietly settling us into a homesteading path that leads to real solar-tech cost-reduction productivity. Very soon (if not already), these manufacturers will, with a little help from their many power-hungry friends (US consumers), mass-produce photovoltaic roof- panels on an unprecedented scale. Affordability for John and Jane Doe will be the outcome.

I tuned into the ear-opening update about Solar World and Solaria yesterday while listening to NPR’s ScienceFriday. As it happened, Ira Flatow’s enquiry to the companies’ respective spokesmen, Gordon Binser and Dan Shugar, focused largely on a side issue; the issue was what Gordon Binser calls “illegally subsidized” Chinese dumping of artificially cheapened solar panels. But the entirety of thieir podcast discussion reveals far more than a cordial dispute between two industry leaders about trade strategies.  A half-hour listen draws us into a persuasive force field of updated solar capabilities. For instance, according to Dan Shugar and Gordon Binser:

~100,000 people are employed in US solar industry today. That’s more folks than are working in coal mines, and more than in steel mills.

~The industry grew by 69% last year.

~5000 companies are involved in solar technology here today.

~Labor expense is only 10% of the cost of solar panels. So the issue of Chinese (or developing nations) competition is not as difficult as we might at first think.

~The relative fragility of glass panels reinforces the logic of domestic production and distribution.

~Actual production levels of rooftop electricity are approaching (or already at) a scale that is competitive with other power-generating sources such as nuclear and coal.

~Last year, the solar industry in USA installed, operated and delivered 17 Gigawatts of electricity, the equivalent of 17 nuclear power plants in the middle of a day.

~In the summertime, there is a direct, favorable correlation between solar energy supply and the peak power demand occasioned by widespread air-conditioning.

~When smartly integrated, individual home installations (or institutional ones) can be connected to our existing power infrastructure (with modifications)  to inject electricity into the cumulative power grid. Thus, consumers can become net PRODUCERS of electrical power at certain times of the day, thus lowering their electric bills.

~As demand for solar installations has grown, the cost-reduction curve has followed the same pattern of cell phones, computers, and dvd players. Bet you didn’t know that, huh?

~Solar World has over 1000 employees in Oregon, and has been making photovoltaic panels for over 35 years.

~In Germany, there are some peak-demand times when 40% of contributed electrical input is being generated by solar panels.

I was quite impressed with all these statistics, both yesterday as I heard Dan and Gordon list them for Ira on the radio, and this morning when I replayed the ScienceFriday podcast.

So hey! In the turbidity of all this stir-crazy Occupy controversy, and right in the middle of the bad banking news and European woes, here we find some very real, very timely good news about newfound American industrial innovation, and developing job opportunities on the dark-cloud horizon, maybe even on your community’s own rooftops.

What Dan and Gordon communicated to Ira really comes down to this: the time for cost-effective solar design and application is no longer future. It is now. This is one sector of manufacturing that the Chinese will not be able to dominate, because our automated capabilities can effectively competetive with developing-world low-wage production expense (which is only 10% of a solar panels cost).

And everybody needs a little sustainable wattage.

So, all you angst-ridden discontented shivering souls out there–

Before you Occupy the frigid streets and possibly get thereby injured, infected or arrested, think about a productive alternative:

Occupy, for an hour or two while you fill out the application, the human resources foyer of your local appropriate technology producer. If you don’t find one locally, maybe you’d become the entrepreneur-installer to heat up this movement in your community. Perhaps you’d  be the first one in your community to capitalize on this work–work that really needs to be done if America is going to continue to Occupy its Can-do legacy. The time to Occupy energy independence is now.

Think about it. Like Ira mused yesterday: we Americans invented the light bulb; we invented the energy-generating solar roof panel.

What’s the next thing (or process, or service) we need to invent to light our way out of this oil-pit we’ve dug ourselves into?

Glass half-Full

The Ghost

October 29, 2011

That Occupying spirit face, it hauntifies my mind–
a smirky mask with painted smile upon its face of ghastly white.
Oh! what a ghostly site.
With black-lined clownish bizarrity
it mocks authority,
and conjures up signs of somethin happnin here;
what it is aint exactly clear.
Now fhe windmills of my mind  crank out shadowy spectres from long ago:
the port huron statement and
four dead in ohio.
I see the ghost of  My Lai massacre;
it stalks my g-generation like a smear–
blood on our hands from the tip of an agent-orange-spiked spear.
Out damned spot!
Have you come to splotch us again?
Out, I say, with the dire trespass of dow jones culpability
and exploding napalm fire like some howling banshee.
As puff the magic dragon who used to frolic in autimn mists
so our innocence has spiraled up in smoky days,
with unwelcome images from a Gulf of Tonkin haze.
Deja vu
I feel this wallstreet visitation is a spectre of impending trouble:
calling into question all the blood guilt ever known by man, double
and all the carnage ever splattered on to span
upon a waste and wanton land;
Who’s responsible for this?
And my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars
shall bitterly begin
with these Occupying rebels
whose consensual zeal would snuff out the wallstreet conniption fit
of capitalism’s big collateralized debt obligation zit,
as if the heart of depraved man could be improved upon a bit.
Oh shit!
This protest, in its collective sensibility,
is presumed more pristine
than corporate culpability,
with its globalized guile and leveraged guilt.
Does their urgent cry for egalité
cloak some fateful guillotine strategé?
A reign of terror from the tyrrany of the ninety-nine
to thrash out the fattened one-percent piggy kine?
Will this produce a future gulag or a forced labor camp,
a cultural revolution led by a raging tramp?
Who’s responsible for this?
this fermenting mobbish contagion
transgression upon our convulsing nation.
It renders ashen white our neo-wallstreet mask
and calls us to blot out the bloody task
of human business.
Out! damned spot, we cry unto the whispering wind.
lay on us no more collateral damage to offend.
And ask not for whom that damned bell  tolls;
now it peels again and again unto our restless souls.

Our ancestral refugees left ghoulish tales from long ago and far away
of the dachau and  the auschwitz and the hitlerian birkenau.
And we hear ghastly tales from the so-called other side
of how they perished in stalin’s gulag, and in the mao’s “cultural revolution” millions died.
By their calculated rearrangements of the classified human chain,
they bound our bloody attempts to declassify into some ghoulish arbitrary game,
where the shedding of guilty blood, for the intent to make everything right
became an instant reply of human cruelty, sprinkled with bloody fright.

Now we the piggy capitalists, have we crossed that same damned line?
Have our reckless swapping one-percent cast unbearable load upon the ninety-nine?
Do you Occupyers now propose to judge their fatcat games
with social restructurings to expunge their selfish shames?
Good luck with that;
it’ll be a cold day in hell
when we know for whom that bell
tolls.
Our capitalist souls?

Glass Chimera

An amicable encounter of worldviews

October 3, 2011

Every weekday at noon I take an hour break from work to eat a sandwich and some little carrots. During that time, the availability of  two NPR-affiliate stations affords me a radio choice between two excellent news analysis programs: Boston WBUR’s Robin Young, who hosts Here & Now, or Philly’s WHYY presentation of Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross.
Today I chose to listen to Terry’s interview with evangelical Christian leader C. Peter Wagner,  and I’m glad I did.
I am a Christian who happens to live in the USA, which is a nation that cherishes freedom of speech, and respects a multiplicity of opinions. Although I frequently discern a gulf of difference between Terry Gross’ worldview and mine,  I have often admired the sensitivity and skill with which she conducts interviews. Terry chooses her interviewees from a wide array of philosophically diverse personalities. including some persons who are markedly different from herself. This was one of them.
At no time has Terry’s respectful sensitivity been better demonstrated than it was today in her conversation with Peter Wagner.
Mr. Wagner represents a charismatic Christian subculture with which I have some common history and familiarity. Terry Gross represents a free-thinking secularist intellectual culture that is, in many ways, antithetical to Peter Wagner’s.
The inquistive exchange between their two gentle souls today was an example of civility that is sorely lacking in today’s  cacophany of combative discourse.
I’ll not say much more about their discussion. You can listen on the link above.  I will, however, quote from Mr. Wagner’s final comment to Terry, which was “I really congratulate you for the good research you’ve done.”
In other words, Terry took the time to explore what fundamentalist preacher Wagner really stood for, instead of forming her interview strategy on caricaturized stereotypes or political exaggerations. The result was exquisitely instructive, and an example of the exploratory enquiry that  public media  should aspire to.
As for  Mr. Wagner, this apostle, who was chosen to represent the so-called dominion theology movement of contemporary Christendom… I commend his unique optimism, founded upon a love-centered faith that is rarely seen these days.  At one point he said to Terry: “I think the world is going to get better and better…He (Jesus) will return to a very strong world…reflecting the kingdom of God– not the miserable world we live in today.”
Amen, brother.

Glass half-Full