June 30, 2004

PSA: Yield to Emergency Vehicles

I'm frankly shocked to be in position where I feel that I must post this entry.

My husband was just coming down from one of the reserviors in our area. There was a huge accident up there a short time ago. Three ambulances, six fire trucks, and a slew of police vehicles were on the scene. My husband pulled off onto a shoulder of a blind s-curve in the road as a fire truck blazed toward the scene of the accident, and saw two bicyclists coming down the curve, in the middle of the road. His window rolled down, he called, "Get off the road! Here comes an emergency vehicle!"

Their response?

"Fuck you!"

He was horrified at their display of defiant unconcern for others, and watched the fire truck swerve wide to miss them, almost resulting in another accident wherein they missed the side of his truck by about a foot.

Further down the road, he pulled off as a police car raced up the canyon. A car was in the intersection, and paused in the mddle of the road when they saw the police car come. The officer must have been doing fifty, my husband reports. Agape, he watched as the car began to make its left turn in the path of the oncoming police car, making the officer have to slam on his brakes so hard that the rear end of the car threatened to break loose.

Seconds count. Emergency response personnel don't pour on the speed for fun. They do it because someone is seriously hurt.

When you see emergency vehicles, have enough human decency to get off the road. I don't care whether you are in your car or on a bicycle. You do not have exclusive rights to the road. Yield to emergency vehicles.

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posted by Linda at 10:38 PM : Comments (3)
June 28, 2004

Happy Birthday, Iraq!

With no qualifiers whatsoever:


Welcome to the free world.
Now go do yourselves proud.

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posted by Linda at 06:29 PM : Comments (1)
June 24, 2004

Away from Blog Greeting: On

I'll be back next Thursday. The babysitter went on holiday, which means that I get one too. I get to be with my Little Miss for a whole week. Oh yeah -- I'm crushed. Can't you tell?

Anyway, in the interim, cruise the sidebar for links to any number of incredible blogs. Each and every one has something to offer. I especially highly recommend my good friend, David, over at Ripples. He's in the midst of a series of posts about microbusinesses that are both instructive and inspirational.

See ya in a week.

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posted by Linda at 10:26 PM : Comments (0)
June 22, 2004

Bill Hobbs: "Memo to al Qaeda"

This pretty much sums it up:

"...But I bet that, if you blow up an American shopping mall and kill a bunch of innocent American kids and parents while they munch some Chik Fil A, or stand in line at Build-a-Bear or try on clothes at The Gap, a whole lot more Americans are going to reach the tipping point. The one where we say enough is enough, push the Instant Win button.

Don't go there, Al Qaeda.

Don't test our patience.

We Americans invented fast food because we don't like to wait 10 minutes to eat. We invented the microwave because five minutes was too long. We're the land of instant coffee, Minute Rice, disposable diapers, and short attention spans. We like our comedies in 22-minute sit-com increments and our dramas wrapped up in an hour. We complain when our broadband connection takes half a second too long to load a web page, and honk if the guy in front of us doesn't floor it the instant the red light turns green.

Do you really think we have the patience to put up with you for a 20-year war in which you kill us with random attacks on our soil and we bury thousands of dead husbands and wives and sisters and brothers and moms and dads and children and then respond with pulled punches? We don't. We like quick results and - unlike you - in the War on Terror we have the means to achieve them via the Instant Win button."

I was ready to push the Instant Win button on 9/11. Thank the God/s you revere that I'm not the one in charge, and that more patient souls than I are in control of that little red button.

The fact is that Al Qaeda can plot and hope to hit us like that again. I think that it's quite telling that although there have been several alerts since 9/11, thirty-three months have elapsed since a terrorist attack on our soil. Some unsung heroes are doing a very, very good job of keeping us safe.

However, should al Qaeda succeed in their unholy designs and hurt more of us on our own soil, it will signal a death knell for them and thousands of their brethren. The elitists and apologists could whinge all they wanted to, but public opinion would swing vastly toward extermination.

Note to al Qaeda: you have been warned.

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posted by Linda at 10:52 PM : Comments (2)


I deserve whatever ribbing I get from this confession. In fact, I think dear Pixy might get the biggest laugh out of this.

Stand back children, and remember that I'm a professional:

You can't route on-subnet. You just can't.
I just spent an hour trying.

It was beautifully subnetted. Three VLANs! Static routes! A drawn topology, doncha know!

My private networks were going through the firewall, getting NAT'ed, and going out to the gateway. I was hitting the internet. It was beautiful.

But the VLAN with the public address, which had a corresponding interface on the firewall, and then another on the gateway router wasn't going anywhere.

I actually spent time troubleshooting this.

Then another engineer walked up, "Emperor, meet nudie beach."

I'm hiding in my pod, now.

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posted by Linda at 10:03 PM : Comments (0)

The Long-Awaited Apology

Blackfive asks, Are We Sorry?

I join my apologies to the author's. I believe they're reasonable concessions.

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posted by Linda at 05:45 PM : Comments (0)
June 21, 2004

Three Years, Today.

Three years today, my love.

It rained that day, as it rains now. We took our vows on the Mountain, in the sacred circle, with those we loved best nearby. "Flesh of my flesh/Bone of my bone/I here, thou there/And both as One, forever."

I took sprigs of rosemary from my bouquet, and tossed them as offering to the spirits who presided.

Nine months later, I told you that I carried your child under my heart. Nine months after that, you were there when they pulled her from my womb, and you were the one who held her first. Eighteen months later, and the Wheel has turned yet again to this, our anniversary.

You are my rock, my shield, my lover and my priest. You are my best friend, and everything I want, everything I need, is manifest in you.

I love you.

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posted by Linda at 07:32 PM : Comments (2)

Kitty Hawk 2004?

I don't care what anyone says, this is just really, really exciting.

SpaceShipOne achieved a top altitude of 62 miles, and glided safely back to earth. The pilot experienced 5G's during the descent, and she touched down safely after a 90 minute flight.

FoxNews has a photo essay. She's beautiful.

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posted by Linda at 06:26 PM : Comments (0)

Gardening Break

RUNNING ABOUT FOUR WEEKS BEHIND this year due to a variety factors (not the least the collapse of my plan to return to East Tennessee), I'm working hard, fast and furiously to get a vegetable garden planted before it is absolutely too late. I put the tiller on the tractor yesterday -- normally about a one-hour chore but complicated into a half-day project by the need to replace an idler pulley, which required cannibalizing a similar part from another piece of equipment and adapting it -- and today I will till the two fenced gardens: one is 65' x 65', the other is 110' by 30'. If all goes well, this evening I'll begin planting. The beans, broccoli, cucumbers and squash will do fine; so will the tomatoes (providing there is any Stupes left at my usual source). The corn and pumpkins will be doubtful -- generally they have to be in the ground before the Solstice -- but I'll plant them anyway just in case the Goddess of Gardens answers my fervent prayer and blesses me by holding off the autumnal frost long enough to give the corn and pumpkins time to mature. Wish me luck; at least the Moon is right. Anyway, the point of all this is that I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next few days, and then will be back for one last encore before launching my own site – with a lot of help and encouragement from Linda of course.

Meanwhile, though it was yesterday, Happy Summer Solstice; Goddess and gods bless us every one. And I surely hope y’all partied hearty...

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posted by at 09:16 AM : Comments (0)
June 18, 2004

Operation Shoe Fly

SGT Hook is collecting new or cast off shoes (in good condition, please) for Afghani kids.

We've a few pair laying around the the Little Miss no longer needs, and I'm sure we can pick up one or two more to help out.

The address is here. So is a link to MuNu's own Simon, who will donate $0.25 to charity for each visit to his homepage.

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posted by Linda at 06:38 PM : Comments (1)
» Simon World links with: Shoe Fly

Focal Point

THE GOOD NEWS THAT Linda was talking about yesterday is that I will soon have my own blog. The details are being sorted out – it will be a few days yet at least, partly because I want to track down some design ideas (and am utterly dependent on others for making those concepts become reality), partly because I haven’t decided whether to continue under my own name or under a screen-name I have used on another (very major) site for the past three years.

Now on to the day’s links: the first and most important is a story about President Reagan’s farewell address, something I missed entirely because by 1989 I was completely out of journalism and too busy struggling to survive to pay any attention to current events (yes, I have been guilty of that all-too-common American failing myself). But it turns out Reagan’s farewell was as profound in its own way as only a few other presidential farewells have been in theirs – notably in that Reagan warned against the dire consequences that would befall us if we somehow forget our own heritage.

This of course is precisely what has happened. The domination of the public schools by feminists whose goal is the subversion of American liberty and the destruction of Western Civilization, the subsequent perversion of education into matrifascist indoctrination, and the resultant theft of American ideals from our children (for that is precisely what it is) is at the very heart of today’s controversies. For example, how can one support the liberation of Iraq when one has been taught that America is the great “white patriarchal oppressor”? Or worse, that we are fully equivalent to Nazi Germany in racist evil and imperialistic intent.

The retrospective on Reagan’s farewell address – a reminder that is undoubtedly long overdue – is available here.

Two of today’s subsequent links address manifestations of the sociopolitical blindness that afflicts our society precisely as a result of the vehemently anti-American direction taken by our public education system. One describes the hypocritical refusal of mass media to show any footage at all reflecting the horrors of the Saddam Hussein regime (or re-run 9/11 footage) even as it maximizes coverage of Abu Ghraib and thereby portrays the United States precisely as so many public school teachers portray it: as the new Nazi Germany. This report, which originally appeared in National Review Online and which includes some truly horrific descriptions of Saddam Hussein’s torturers at work, is here. The other link describes the all-out war minority gangs are waging on U.S. citizens in Los Angeles and discusses how the same legacy of public education – the deliberately induced ignorance of the citizenry – so thoroughly hamstrings the police. This essay, a scathing commentary by a retired cop, is available here.

Lastly, let me share another bit of good news – that my home-made mower-head spring, which I crafted from the broken old one and on the basis of a 22-year-old recollection made a guess at the proper heat treatment of the steel (June 15) -- has now made it through something like two acres of grass cutting and seems to be working just fine. Too bad repairing our education system is not nearly so easy.

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posted by at 01:11 PM : Comments (1)
June 17, 2004

Teaser in the Air

Something cool and exciting is about to happen to one of the blog authors. I'll only allude... but get ready to update some bookmarks, very, very soon.


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posted by Linda at 11:07 PM : Comments (2)
June 16, 2004


Yesterday was a thoroughly exhausting day -- nothing bad, not even negative, just utterly draining. I didn't get back from town until nearly midnight, thus didn't get an opportunity to test my mower-head repair, and am in enough need of sleep I'm going to put off blogging until tomorrow...or maybe even the next day, since I really didn't take a break this weekend, either. See y'all later.

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posted by at 12:25 PM : Comments (0)
June 15, 2004

Focal Point

I DON’T HAVE TIME for a lot of comment this morning because it’s a more-than-full day: an hour in the dentist’s chair, which really takes about three hours because of the drive, but also gives me an opportunity to visit civilization, thereby extending the trip to about half a day. And then when I return, there’s the test-flight of another major repair job in the ongoing saga of squeezing maximum service life out of the tractor’s 30-year-old mower-head.

For the mechanically minded (and if you’re not, skip to the next paragraph), this time it was a broken spring -- irreplaceable without at least a three-or-four-week wait. Meanwhile it has given me yet another an opportunity to teach my neighbors inventive combinations of Anglo-Saxon and Korean profanity and then later to successfully test my mechanical ingenuity. The result now awaits final re-assembly and performance-testing of my heat-treating skills: a connecting link had broken off the spring, which is a fairly heavy one-inch-diameter, six-inch-long coil attached to an idler that tensions an interior drive belt system that powers three rotary blades from a single external central pulley – the central pulley driven by a long belt off the tractor’s power-takeoff. I made a new connecting link by clamping the coil spring in a vise, stretching out two loops, heating the two loops with a torch, bending them to the appropriate shape, heating them again to the same dull red, and quenching them in oil (theoretically – if I remembered correctly a text I read 22 years ago – thereby restoring an approximation of their original temper). Then I reinstalled the spring. This is what you do when you “think boat” – the sort of emergency repairs you make as a boat engineer. Today I’ve got a whole pasture to mow, so we’ll see if it worked.

Meanwhile here’s another one of Spengler’s excellent columns, this a biting analysis of U.S. intelligence failures and an urgent plea to recognize that what we are fighting is not a war on terrorism but rather mortal combat with jihadist Islam. If you read nothing else today, whether from this site or any other source, read this. The link is here.

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posted by at 10:18 AM : Comments (0)
June 14, 2004

Focal Point

BACK IN THOSE HALCYON DAYS when I was a member of the working press and especially when I was a desk editor, I tried – over and above the flow of breaking news and follow-ups on stories we were already running -- to get into the paper material people weren’t likely to find anywhere else. This ranged from humorous items (the woman who went to her automobile to drive to the supermarket, found two skunks copulating in the car’s front seat and raised a big stink that ended with a hysterical telephone call to the sheriff), to serious stories about environmental or economic questions (how federal manipulation of milk prices means you pay more as demand declines). Sometimes it was a local story, sometimes it came off the wires; sometimes – when I was a reporter or a columnist – it was a story I covered and wrote myself. But most of my opportunities for that sort of selection were during the years I was what newspapermen of my generation jocularly called a “rim-rat” – a city editor, a copy editor or an acting telegraph editor, one who sat either around the rim of the huge round center-slotted copy desk typical of those years, or in the slot itself as “the slot man,” the editor in charge.

Those were the times when sport-coats and neckties were mandatory but newsrooms were nevertheless as comfortable as good saloons, as smoke-filled as Boss Tweed’s office at Tammany Hall, alive with the rhythmic energy of hundreds of fingers pounding manual typewriters, the muted soft percussion of the wire-service teletypes and sometimes the dread electrifying ring of their alert-bells, the insistent buzzing of telephones and murmur of purposeful conversations, the counterpoint “ka-chunk” of pneumatic tubes connecting newsroom with composing room and then finally the bass crescendo of the press run, the One Star coming off the rollers at midnight and setting the entire building atremble, the first of the five editions we would publish before dawn. Old-time newsrooms even had their own characteristic smell, a combination of tobacco smoke and ink and the curiously toasty odor of newsprint – every newsroom in America smelling much the same – perhaps on some sublime level the source of the phrase “hot off the presses.” Those of us who worked in such places were fiercely proud of what we did and delighted we had escaped the florescent-lighted hells of insurance offices and executive suites. But not any more: in today’s politically “correct” newsrooms, smoking is absolutely forbidden; the advent of the computer has quieted the production routines to a library whisper, and if you get drunk more than once a year in what used to be the most notoriously hard-drinking occupation on the planet, the bosses will force you to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Old timers I know – white men my age or slightly younger who have managed to keep their jobs through all the feminist purges and affirmative-action layoffs – say that today the only difference between a newsroom and an insurance office is there’s probably a lot less back-stabbing in the insurance business. The band-of-brothers newspapering I knew is thus gone forever, but I feel about it the same way I do about the steam locomotive and the 1903 Springfield rifle -- I am infinitely grateful to have been on extended intimate terms with it, and the world without it seems a diminished place.

Returning to the point from which I distracted myself by nostalgia, the basis upon which I pick stories for this blog – especially the links that go into “Focal Point” – is an updated version of my old preference for choosing items people are not likely to find anywhere else. Though I hadn’t given it a great deal of thought until this weekend, the common denominator in these stories is that they show us some aspect of our world we might not otherwise see. Sometimes this is merely some new research about our environment or the creatures we share it with – the link in “Dog Story” is a good example. Sometimes it is an infuriating disclosure like two of those linked below, a nonexistent “endangered species” and a desperately needed technology obstructed by environmental absolutism. Sometimes it is the advent of a potentially revolutionary technology – one that could literally change the world -- just as the new Zeppelins described in another of the following links might someday do. And sometimes it is the story of a person felled or jeopardized by undeserved misfortune – or perhaps someone who has been outrageously failed by America – like another of the links below.

Of all these kinds of stories, the last are typically the most controversial. Over the years I have written dozens of them myself, and with the notable exception of the disclosures of my own somber circumstances (the results of which it is much too soon to judge), the people I have written about were always profoundly helped by my reporting. For example, in the case of a newly widowed woman who was hadn’t worked since her teens, had three school-age children to care for and was being forced onto “welfare” by complications in settling her late husband’s estate, my stories generated several offers of jobs, one of which turned out to be the beginning of a new and lucrative career. Having witnessed that cause-and-effect relationship many times, I finally persuaded myself that my own circumstances deserved the same opportunity and indeed were just as newsworthy in terms of illuminating the fact that life in America does not always work out as planned. The risk – and I knew this from the very beginning – is that in every community there is a small, flint-hard subculture of people who revel in asserting their alleged superiority over the less fortunate, and these self-proclaimed ubermenschen invariably wrote letters to the editor demanding to know why we were wasting newsprint writing about “worthless trash,” or as one correspondent said, “baby-breeding bums just looking for lots of pity and a free ride.”

I have always wondered at the unique fury such stories evoke, and this weekend – probably because of its synchronicity with President Ronald Reagan’s funeral – it occurred to me that the answer is that stories like the widow’s prove the Ronald Reagan vision of America (as a perpetually happy Disneyland) is both hollow and false. Before I go further, let me make it very clear I recognize President Reagan’s greatness: his victory in the Cold War marks him as the greatest commander-in-chief of the 20th Century, just as the Asia Times columnist Spengler said (Focal Points, June 8). But in terms of Reagan’s attitudes toward the poor or afflicted – note especially his lethal indifference to AIDS victims – he was probably the most heartless president ever to occupy the White House. I suspect the similarly heartless people who wrote antagonistic letters in response to my “widow” story in 1980 held a similar cotton-candy theme-park view of America -- and they were enraged to frothing frenzies not at the socioeconomic malfunctions that had brought the widow to the threshold of the “welfare” office, but rather at me for disclosing that our society sometimes fails to perform as promised – and that sometimes (usually for no apparent reason) it turns viciously on our own people. Unlike those who view Disneyland as the microcosm of the American macrocosm, I take America’s socioeconomic failures as a given – and I believe that part of our true greatness is that disclosure of those failures often ameliorates them at least – and many times remedies them completely. Thus I do everything in my power to facilitate that process – even for myself.

Today’s links are more numerous than usual:

ENVIRONMENTAL FOLLIES R US: When you read the first of these links, about an allegedly endangered mouse that never existed at all, remember the infamous Washington state Lynx Hoax, in which state and federal biologists (in service to an environmentalist/ecofeminist anti-hunting, anti-trapping agenda) were caught planting lynx hair in places lynx had never lived. The story of the phantom mouse that was so powerful it put house cats on leashes is here. Then when you read why neither California (nor any other place in the United States) is building petroleum refineries, remember the mouse that wasn’t, and reflect on the outrageous prices you’re paying for gasoline and diesel. The no- refinery report is linked here

DER ZEPPELIN BEDERBACKENKOMING: The Germans are once again refining the concept of lighter-than-air flying machines, incorporating the lessons of the ill-fated Hindenburg (including the use of non-inflammable helium) for the possible development of a new energy-efficient mode of trans-Atlantic luxury travel, as reported here.

MORE ON THE FIGHT AGAINST CANADIAN SHARIA: The campaign against the forcible imposition of sharia on Canadian Muslims is gaining support and momentum, as updated here.

ABANDONED BY HER GOVERNMENT: Dawn Marie Wilson was busted by the Mexicans on utterly trumped-up drug charges, thrown into a typically filthy Third World prison, and is in dire need of medical care she is methodically denied. But the greatest most damning outrage of all in this case is the fact her plight is being deliberately ignored by the U.S. government – though it remains to be seen whether this is just another part of the Bush Administration’s disgraceful concessions to Mexico, an especially vicious manifestation of the administration’s undeclared war on Americans who go to Canada or Mexico for cheaper prescription drugs, or perhaps both. An infuriating report on the Wilson case is linked here.

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posted by at 02:21 PM : Comments (2)
June 13, 2004

Soap Opera II: an Open Letter to David

(The following began as a my reply to a comment from David appended to the post entitled “Soap Opera” (June 9), below. But it grew too long to save there. And since it deals with issues that are significant beyond the immediacies of my own life, I think it actually belongs here, on the main thread.)

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE fact this is so very long. But its length is mandated by my Southron-proud and deeply offended need to address David’s apparently insulting inference that writing honestly about my own troubles is somehow trolling for a “free ride” -- that what I am doing here is therefore merely an electronic variant of the silent begging the sad-eyed derelict with the “help me” sign does at the exit from the local Safeway parking lot. If I misunderstood – if no insult was intended – then I apologize for that too.

The fact of the matter is that my pension is so far below the poverty line, it qualifies me for a broad spectrum of “welfare benefits” – none of which I have ever applied for – solely because I recognize that submitting myself in abject serfdom to the malicious whimsey of a “welfare” bureaucracy I know to be both malevolently feminist and vindictively authoritarian is to start down a road that could only end in a shortcut to the graveyard. This is hardly the behavior of someone on a quest for a handout.

I have managed to get by for the past dozen years by living in the pump-house on property that until two years ago belonged to my two best friends. The pump-house has neither bathroom facilities nor hot water, but with my own carpentry skills, I converted a 20x20-foot storage space adjacent the small pump-room (which contains the well-head) into a reasonably comfortable wood-heated one-room cabin with a very adequate cold-water kitchen. For toilet and bathing facilities I use the “big house,” the main house on this fenced but mostly-wooded tract of rural land.

As to my cabin itself, I frankly love the place. Its windows are underscored by potted plants, and its interior walls are a geometric collage of crowded bookshelves, framed photographs, wooden cabinets and a homemade rack that accommodates three fly rods and two extra-long spinning rods – not that I am allowed to fish any more, not since the state has gated-off all the access roads to the back country and turned nearly all the rivers to catch-and-release streams. Even so the cabin is home to me and my two canine companions – in several senses more home than I have ever known – and the prospect of leaving it is profoundly saddening.

I was never charged a penny rent because of the primitiveness of the accommodations, but I nevertheless felt it was my duty to help out as much as possible with all of the diverse chores associated with rural living, and I am also a skilled organic gardener. So each year I raised a substantial crop of vegetables for myself and my friends, and I volunteered my labor whenever else it was possible too. It was a good arrangement for everyone concerned. My friends, a married couple who have known me through three decades, were both still working then, and to a large extent, I became the defacto caretaker of their property. In other words, I am anything but the bum David seems to have implied I am.

This informal partnership was to last forever – until all of us became too old, or died off or whatever. But three years ago the husband retired and discovered that – thanks to the shenanigans of his employer – his pension was only half what he expected it to be. He and his wife had no choice but to sell this place. Their intent, in recognition of all of the work I had done here, was to use the proceeds of the sale to help me finance returning to Tennessee – where, unlike Washington state, hunting and fishing is not increasingly de facto illegal. Another alternative, particularly if I turned up a worthwhile job somewhere locally, was to help me finance the purchase of a reasonably-sized travel-trailer or a smaller mobile home – so I could keep my dogs and avoid the no-firearms clauses that are increasingly part of rental agreements in Washington state: a dire legacy of the fact that, by law, renting a house or apartment here requires “voluntary” relinquishment of all one’s Bill-of-Rights freedoms while inside the dwelling or on the landlord’s property.

By the summer of 2002, I had decided to return to East Tennessee and was especially looking forward to visiting the many still-wild places I had fished and hunted during my boyhood. I would rent a small apartment there owned by one of my half-sisters on fenced property that would accommodate my dogs and allow for vegetable gardening. But then an in-law suddenly offered to buy the Washington state place if I would remain here to help her care for it. This seemed to everyone to be the perfect solution, especially since all of my efforts – which included construction of two large vegetable gardens (one 110' x 33', the other 66' square) – would stay, as it were, in the family. Hence I agreed, and on that basis the transaction was completed. But by the spring of 2003, a lot of old family antagonism had resurfaced, and I was once again the family hate-object, just as I had been during my entire childhood. My desire to escape that – it is depressing to live in a situation where every human interaction includes a reminder of how much I am despised – led me last February to ask the half-sister if the apartment was still available. She said it was, and my plans progressed from there.

I should note here for David’s sake that the radical difference in living cost between Western Washington (comparable to NYC and tied with San Francisco for the nation’s highest housing costs) versus East Tennessee (lowest cost of living in the U.S.) made the apartment very affordable. Once again, contrary to David’s apparent implication, this was anything but a “free ride.”

Then on the 8th my half-sister notified me that she had changed her mind. My post entitled “Soap Opera” was the immediate result. The long-term result is that now in all probability I am inescapably doomed to become one of the homeless. Not tomorrow, not next week, not even next month. But almost certainly before this time next year. And not homeless in terms of sleeping under a bridge somewhere; more likely homeless and sleeping in a tent on the side of some mountain – that is, if I can find a way past the gates and into the back country that doesn’t entail a 15 or 20-mile hike. In this context – and Linda please don’t take offense -- Internet access (or anything else unrelated to immediate survival) is simply irrelevant.

Next let me address David’s notion that “we are all responsible for our current conditions.”

If by this David means that it is our duty to cope as best we can with whatever burdens fate imposes on us, I could not agree more. That is precisely the understanding of reality that prompted me (at age 16) to talk myself into a copy-boy’s job on The Grand Rapids Herald in the fall of 1956 and within a few weeks convince Sports Editor Bob Host to let me try my hand at taking high school sports results over the phone and writing the details into stories. That experience took me to a much more lucrative stringership at The Grand Rapids Press and finally (thanks to a genuinely vicious family betrayal) to identical but substantially lower-paying work at The Knoxville Journal, which in turn led to a full-time job when I returned from a Regular Army enlistment in late 1962. All this in spite of a family that was at best uncooperative, at worst maliciously obstructive. Once again, not exactly a “free ride.”

But if what David means when he says “we are all responsible for our current conditions” is synonymous with “whatever is happening to us at any given moment is our own fault,” than I am profoundly disappointed to discover he is yet another otherwise-bright American who has fallen for the human-potentialist bunkum that “we create our own reality,” a notion that, reductio ad absurdem, says the women Ted Bundy murdered all chose to die exactly as they did, that the inmates of Dachau were there at the threshold of the gas chambers by choice, and that the three-year-old polio victim suffering in an iron lung is fulfilling the dream of a lifetime. In other words, just as untold millions of rapists have claimed, “she really wanted it.”

Whether it is the drivel spouted by Werner Erhard and his brainwashed “est-ies” or the nonsense proclaimed by “Lifespring,” the notion that “we create our own reality” is truly the apex of Occidental hubris. It is apparently the tragicomic result of a genuinely idiotic misunderstanding of the ancient Taoist/Zen concept of Tao and “suchness” and how suchness – reality with all its iridescent metaphysical nuances – is experienced. The misunderstanding (and I am being charitable here, because other more ominous conclusions are probable) derives from the fact that a number of writers on Zen have noted that nothing whatsoever exists outside of consciousness. While at first this seems no more than a statement of the obvious, its visual and emotional internalization is often the initial step in a novice’s passage toward enlightenment, a state of being that Alan Watts, in a deliberate play on Judaeo-Christian theology, describes as “at-one-ment”: the ineffable condition Zen calls satori, in which all distinctions between self and other vanish. What we are talking about is thus a profoundly powerful experience, all the more compelling to Americans because it is an experience that has been thoroughly purged from Judaism and Christianity, probably because it was so absolutely central to Druidical Paganism – note for example Taliesin’s “there is no thing in which I have not been.” But it remains an experience that is exclusively spiritual. It is no more relevant to understanding modern socioeconomic reality than the Japanese rape of Nanking is relevant to understanding Zen. Yet whether accidental or deliberate, its misrepresentation as “we create our own reality” is very useful as a goad to force people into the ratrace – no doubt the reason est, Lifespring and its kindred have found such weighty support in the boardrooms of corporate America, particularly as mandatory indoctrination for lower-level sales and managerial employees.

The foregoing is such an implicit indictment of private enterprise, I should perhaps point out here that I am a conservative not because I exalt the free market, but rather because I have seen the infinitely malignant evil of bureaucratic omnipotence – not in some far-off realm like Soviet Armenia, but right here in the United States. I do not exalt the “free market” as an alternative because in truth the “free market” does not exist. What we have in the world today are ultimately only two economic doctrines: one, variously labeled “socialism” or “Communism” or “fascism,” inevitably leads to ever-more-powerful bureaucracies; the other, variously labeled “free enterprise” or “capitalism,” is in reality merely “monopolism” and is thus nothing more than an updated version of feudalism, complete with a vast underclass of serfs.

I believe that anytime we are choosing labels for socioeconomic phenomena we should employ the “by-their-works- so-shall-ye-know-them” test. Thus we might call the ideologies of socialism, Communism and fascism bureaucratism because the construction and expansion of bureaucracies is inevitably and demonstrably their paramount result. We could call monopoly capitalism moneyism because the acquisition of money is avowedly its sole purpose.

Bureaucratism is at its core the endorsement of parasitic hierarchies: a colossal pyramid scheme on the most outrageous scale imaginable. Ironically it claims to minimize or transcend the human jungle but instead becomes exactly like that quintessential jungle creature: the leech. Bureaucracies produce nothing and they enslave the people they pretend to serve. But their greatest evil is that without exception they sanctify bigotry and petty malice as policy, and do so utterly immune from any system of checks and balances or appeals, thereby squandering human lives that might otherwise have amounted to a great deal more. The ultimate example of bureaucratism is not the Soviet Union, in which the bureaucracies failed to self-perpetuate, but rather the Third Reich, where the bureaucracies functioned like clockwork even after the Reich itself had failed.

Moneyism on the other hand embraces the reality of the human jungle and provides – albeit only to the extent of its schemes for assigning fiscal worth – some limited opportunity for genuine achievement and real advancement. The maintenance of these opportunities demand in turn the guarantee of some small degree of individual freedom, which is tolerated specifically because it allows the system to be self-correcting – the pivotal distinction when contrasting moneyism to bureaucratism. The ultimate example of moneyism is organized crime.

My personal conservatism derives not from any real enthusiasm for moneyism but rather from the fact I recognize it as the lesser evil – not to mention the ultimate property-rights foundation of all our concepts of freedom and civil rights, and truly the only choice under which the human creative impulse has anything more than the chance of the proverbial snowball in hell.

Which brings me back to my own circumstances. With his reference to “They,” David seems to suggest I avoid acknowledging my own errors. This is an absurd contention: the decisions that brought me to my present impasse, all of which date from the 1980s, were mine alone. In each instance, these decisions were carefully and thoughtfully made on the basis of the best information available to me at the time, and in each instance that information proved to be wrong. Not because I misread it, but because repeatedly during those unspeakably awful years I was deliberately lied to by a few employers and a long succession of bureaucrats. In other words, my ultimate error was the error of trust – a manifestation of my abused-child’s profound desire to avoid conflict unless I am safe behind the shield of press credentials – and I hope I am at last strong enough to guarantee myself it is a mistake I will never again repeat.

But it was not error alone that flung me into this cesspool of seemingly inescapable poverty. The destruction by fire in 1983 of literally all my life’s work – all the drafts and research notes for two book projects; the associated photographs; a separate body of photographic work dating back to 1952 and my first camera (many of the images shown and/or published); journalistic research files; an irreplaceable collection of award certificates and letters of commendation from 1963 onward; unpublished poetry and short fiction; all but 11 years of a journal I had begun keeping in 1954 – all this and so much more, the loss could go on for many pages. The material devastation, which will weigh upon me until I am in my grave, is that the fire robbed me of all hope of any sort of a genuinely comfortable retirement. The psychological devastation – very much part of the robbery process – included a ruinous bout of clinical depression that stole at least half a decade from my life.

Literally, the fire seemed an act of god. As it was described to me (I was in New York City when it occurred and the house that burned was in northwestern Washington state), the bearings in a relatively new electric alarm clock seized – something the fire investigators said they had never heard of happening before anywhere. The clock, on a bedside table, overheated and set fire to a folded newspaper. The newspaper set fire to window curtains. The house – a century-old pioneer home built of cedar logs – went up like the proverbial tinderbox. The house was rural and isolated. The blaze was not discovered until the structure was, in the parlance of firefighting, “fully involved.” The most eerie and profoundly disturbing fact of all is that – according to the remains of the clock – the fire started at exactly 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, which is 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time – precisely the moment I was meeting with a publishing-house editor in Manhattan to plan the marketing of a large segment of my work. Hence the fire was not only like an act of god, but like a lightning bolt of divine vengeance for some sin I cannot even imagine.

Clearly David did not know these things. Perhaps that is why he spoke of my alleged need to “find somebody to help” – which I happen to think is an absurd shift out of focus for someone who is having trouble helping himself – but the fact remains that helping others by providing vital information was one of the primary motives behind both of the lost-forever books and indeed remains one of the chief reasons I write. Moreover this is not fantasy; my belief that my own insights are useful to others has been confirmed more times than I can count. The problem is not their usefulness; it is rather the fact one of the expressions of the values inherent in moneyism is that no one is willing to pay for my skills (or anyone else’s) unless they can be shown to have a direct connection to the bottom line.

If I were advising a client, I would tell him to advertise, advertise, advertise. Which is unabashedly one of my reasons for writing this blog: perhaps it will get my message out to some potential buyer – perhaps even strongly enough to motivate a sale.

Beyond my alacrity with words I literally have no other useful talent. My knack for visual thinking is as keen as ever, but my photographic and design skills are as obsolete as the T-square and the Speed Graphic. True, I can still do physical work – but only for short periods of time, and even then, all too often at terrible cost in terms of subsequent arthritic pain – which makes my manual labor and gardening abilities utterly useless as potential income earners. An eight-hour day clearing brush – something I would not have flinched at even a decade ago – is forever beyond me.

Hence if I am forced by circumstances to stop writing, there is no way I will be of any use to anyone. Indeed there is no other aspect of me that is of any potential value at all save to my dogs and my few remaining human friends, who cherish me merely because I am. And the number of my friends continues to dwindle – most of my lifetime friends have already died.

Despite the limitations in my skills menu, I continue to prospect for job opportunities. I have met several times with employment counselors, but the problem that invariably stumps us both is the fact that journalism skills don’t transfer well. The two realms that offer the best fit are intelligence work and law enforcement – fields for which I am too old by several decades. After that is teaching, from which I am excluded by formal education requirements. Next on the list is public relations, but that invariably involves running the gauntlet of corporate personnel-office scrutiny, and the fact that journalists of my generation were typically iconoclasts and troublemakers by profession (often hired for precisely those reasons) guarantees my unsuitability for the corporate realm – its own yes-man ethos even more harshly conformist than a Victorian girls’ finishing school. The one area in which there is some legitimate reason for hope is the whole field of non-profit social service agencies, as in the various organizations that serve the aged or the severely disabled. Here the problem is not lack of interest on the part of potential employers, but lack of funding. One director with whom I spoke a few months ago said he would be delighted to have me edit his newspaper, but there had been no funding available for the job since his last editor was downsized out the door three years ago.

Some of my former employers are still alive, and their respect for my talent – particularly my ability to ferret out difficult, complicated stories and make them truly understandable to average readers – is unchanged. But they agree I am a kind of dinosaur, a relic of the old, blue-collar, start-out-as-a-copy-boy regime that is now so throughly disparaged. And they believe -- probably correctly -- that I would never be accepted in any major newsroom of today, with its academic snobbery, its victim-identity cultism and its genuinely Stalinist political “correctness.” Hence what I look for is a backwater weekly or a small rural daily. Not only would I probably fit right in, I can no longer really imagine living in a city again – even a small city. There is something dreadfully addictive about stepping out into your yard and looking up at the stars – their cold brilliance undiluted by city lights.

And maybe, since I will keep plowing the ground, something will turn up. I surely hope it will – and of course I will pounce on it if it does – but at the same time I have learned from bitter experience it is better to harbor no hopes at all about the outcome.

Meanwhile I think David may owe me an apology for apparently suggesting I am a sniveling bum. But in any case it is I who owe him thanks – for without his incentive, this essay might never have been written.

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posted by at 03:01 AM : Comments (2)
June 11, 2004

Dog Story

IN MUCH BETTER TIMES than these, I had a big dog named Lee Roy. He was a boarding-kennel accident, half purebred Rottweiler, half purebred Golden Retriever, but he looked very much like a purebred Rotty with a long powerful tail. I got him when he was seven weeks old, a rowdy pup nobody else wanted, and from the very beginning he was a genuine character who in the too-short 13 years of his life generated enough anecdotes to fill an entire book. One of the ways he often delighted me and some of my closest friends as well was by playing what we all eventually understood to have been dog jokes – jokes that were all the more astonishing for the fact they were obviously carefully thought out.

There were three humans living on this land in its two houses then, just as there are today, but the psychodynamics were very different, because the other occupants were near soul-mates completely unlike the hostile kinfolk who live here now. The bigger house was then occupied by the people who are my two best friends in the entire world, a man named Jim and his wife Mary, and I was in the smaller house as I am today. Between us we had six dogs, three apiece, and Lee Roy was the leader of the entire canine pack.

Lee Roy first played what we took to be his most favorite dog joke one day in 1995 when Mary drove into town for groceries.

Because this is a rural area and the store is ten miles distant and we all practiced fuel economy even when gasoline was relatively cheap, we would almost invariably check with each other before shopping (“I’m going to the super market; do you need anything?”), and more often than not the answer was yes. It was August and clear and hot, and on this particular day I was stacking firewood – both houses here are heated by wood and we burned ten to 12 cords a winter – and Mary walked back to the woodshed to tell me she was going to the grocery store, and I said I needed a gallon of skim milk, and if they were still on sale, “a couple of bags of those Tostados,” which are un-flavored tortilla chips that go very well with tuna salad and other such summertime dishes.

Lee Roy and some of the other dogs had been keeping me company while I was stacking wood, but the others had gone off to hunt feral cats, and a little while ago Lee Roy had carefully even meticulously chosen a chew-stick by sniffing the entire unstacked four-cord pile dumped from our wood man’s truck. I had seen Lee Roy do this enough times to know he was looking for a length of cedar – Pacific Northwest dogs love to chew cedar just as Southern dogs love hickory sticks and sassafras poles – and soon of course he found what he wanted and carried it to a shady spot just out of my way and after a suitable interval of contemplating his treasure, he began to gnaw it. But now as Mary and I talked he stopped chewing and looked up and appeared to listen intently.

An hour later Mary returned with the groceries, and Lee Roy met her at the gate to the property. While Mary was unloading her own purchases from the back of her pickup truck, Lee Roy jumped up into the truck bed, peered into each of at least a half-dozen sacks until he found the two bags of Tostados, then snatched both bags and took off on a dead run toward the woodshed, about 100 yards away from the driveway where Mary had parked. I had gone into the barn, which is adjacent the woodshed, to get a hammer and nails to repair one of the firewood cradles, and as I stepped out into the sunlight again, there was Lee Roy rattling the Tostados bags as if to make sure I saw them – the bags dangling from his mouth, one on each side of his massive head. Then he ran full tilt to my house, laid the bags on the doorstep, and came prancing back all tail-wag and satisfaction and proud wolfen grin.

I was of course enormously impressed and hugely perplexed as well – how in the world could he have done that? – but I soon dismissed it as some sort of inexplicable coincidence and went back to stacking wood. But a few weeks later he did exactly the same thing with a head of celery, and not long after that, with two packages of pork chops – and no, he didn’t eat the meat until I cooked it and offered him some. That sort of product-recognition thing became so commonplace, Mary and Jim and I sometimes joked that Lee Roy was obviously a dog who could understand English better than some humans – and probably read it better as well.

What follows is a report that suggests Lee Roy might not have been joking at all. The research is summarized here. After you read it you’ll probably understand why now I think LeeRoy had maybe picked up on the fact we three humans are uncannily attuned to canines and was just trying to share with us that much more of himself. That we took it as a joke rather than a serious attempt at communication says volumes about why no one has yet responded to our attempts to communicate with other worlds.

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posted by at 01:42 PM : Comments (0)
June 10, 2004

With Hope, Strength

The procession to the rotunda. I will never forget it. Lileks wrote his impressions of it, but I do not entirely agree with his assessment of Nancy Reagan.

I never thought her a cold, brittle woman. I always thought of her as a classically reserved and graceful lady. I thought her elegant and poised as a lady should be. Perhaps I could see it, because I ws reared by just such a woman in the form of my grandmother.

Nancy, I've always felt, is a Real Woman. She isn't some shrill shrewish manling like other former First Ladies I could name. Instead, Nancy was always quiet, and softspoken, but nevertheless forthright and honest. Nancy ws the sort of lady who could tell you to eat excrement and die, and you'd walk away feeling like she'd offered you a glorious luncheon.

Where Ronald Reagan was the embodiment of Hope, Nancy is the embodiment of Strength.

I saw it in her face again, yesterday, during the ceremonies.

When she stepped out, I thought, "Goddess, she looks so thin and tired!" For a moment, I thought she looked frail, and I was afraid for her. Then the cameras zoomed in on her face. Where she was weary, inexpressibly so, I saw the same strength and poise I've always recognized in her face, and once again I loved her for it.

I was standing. The cameras moved to the courtyard, where our Servicemen made ready to lift the coffin and begin the long procession to the rotunda. The cameras switched back to Nancy's face while she stood there wrapped in her solitude and memory.

Her gaze was far-off just then, with the barest hint of an affectionate smile playing about her lips. Was she remembering some long-ago day? Perhaps she was seeing him in her mind's eye, watching him mount those very steps with his long, energetic stride. Maybe she was remembering some conversaton they'd had, strolling along the promenade.

Whatever she thought, she wasn't alone. His presence around her was a palpable thing, and that's when I began to cry. I cried because I have that sort of partnership with my husband: soul mates. It's such an overused term these days, but nonetheless true for Nancy and Ronald Reagan. I wept because finding the strength to go on after such a leavetaking can be very, very hard, and I could intuit the loss she feels. I have no doubt that Nancy will go on, and that was part of my grief: after so long and so profoundly Together, it can be physical agony to be separated fron your bona fide Other Half.

Yet, she stood there, calm and dignified; wrapped in memory. I stood, tears flowing, unwilling to sit until he had finished his journey, and she did. I felt that it was the least I could do, in my living room, thousands of miles away, to show my gratitude and respect for the Great Man and The First Lady.

She reached out with an almost affectionate pat when the pallbearers got him to the top of the steps, as if to say, "You're almost there. Everyone's waiting on you." I covered my heart with my hand, and did not move until he was at rest in the rotunda, under the eagle gaze of his guards.

When she finally sat, I did too, and drew my daughter into my arms. She's too young to ever remember our farewell to Ronald Reagan, but I shall never forget it. May I be as graceful under pressure, as forthright, and as unblinking as Nancy Reagan. May I be as dignified in the face of friends and foes alike. I pray that I will be as integral a partner, and as loving and firm a mother, as she.

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your husband with us. You were his Strength, and he was our Hope. We will never forget him, and are forever grateful to you.

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posted by Linda at 05:45 PM : Comments (1)

Focal Point

OPINION POLLS ARE PROBABLY among the most misunderstood elements on the American political scene, and for that reason they are almost reflexively denounced by the partisans of whichever side is behind in the most up-to-date ratings. The usual accusations are that the pollsters are biased, or that the pollsters deliberately skewed their sample to obtain results pleasing to one side or another, and in either case are unfairly attempting influence the outcome of the election. But while it is true questions can be biased to produce desired responses – polls by anti-Second Amendment activists are a classic example of this sort of disinformation – such purposeful manipulation nevertheless renders the poll useless as a picture of reality: garbage in, garbage out. And I can’t think of any instance in which opinion- poll results demonstrably changed the outcome of an election (though it is surely arguable that election-day exit-polling may do so), nor have I ever known or heard of any documented proof that even a single voter was moved to switch candidates or positions on the basis of pre-election poll results. Poll-bashing – save where the polls are clearly dishonest (like those run by the down-with-self-defense looneys) – is thus mostly an exercise in pointless expulsion of hot air.

What a well-constructed poll can do – and this is its great utility – is provide campaign managers with a kind of statistical report card on how well (or how poorly) they are doing at any given time. For this potential to be fulfilled, the pollsters have to craft their questions properly, and they have to poll a sample of the population that is not only statistically random (and therefore truly representative) but is carefully selected to include only respondents who are likely to vote. Any error in the research model – the questions – or in the sample itself will render the results misleading and therefore worthless, a lesson learned the hard way by more than one local political campaigner. For the layperson, probably the best way to think about pre-election polls is that they are indeed analogous to report cards. Just like those dread reports to parents schools issue after some specified “grading period,” polls evaluate a campaign on its deportment and scholarship, with levels of achievement (or lack thereof) measured by how a campaign’s grasp of issues resonates with likely voters.

Thus President Bush’s declining poll numbers are – or should be – increasingly a matter of concern among his campaign advisors. Support for the President has already dropped beneath the point at which any other incumbent has won re-election, and the reason is obvious: the ruinous combination of the administration’s own blunders at home and abroad, and the gross magnification of these blunders by a media establishment that is more hostile to George Bush than to any other President in my lifetime and possibly in the entire history of the Republic. A third factor in this equation is the increasing aloofness – many would call it arrogance – of the President himself, a stance disturbingly reminiscent of his own father and the debacle of 1992. Instead of rebutting his critics, Bush ignores them – precisely as if he expects to be re-elected by Divine intervention – which some of his more rabid detractors have indeed already charged.

While there is little doubt the apparent resolution of the Iraqi crisis via the United Nations has deftly co-opted one of the Democrats’ two issues, the other – the economy – remains the one upon which Bush can yet lose the election. Despite the statistical recovery that is unquestionably underway, there remain stubborn pockets of unemployment throughout the nation. Some of these hard-hit areas are key electoral-college states. All of them are afflicted by staggeringly high fuel prices, and in some – my home state of Washington among them – runaway fuel prices have already sent shipping costs soaring and thus triggered inflation in the price of food and other necessities. The President’s decision to cut taxes and let the marketplace solve its own problems without additional federal interference was brilliant – and some economists say it may have prevented a full-fledged depression. But neither the President nor his associates have been successful in telling this story to the electorate, and the results of the poll linked here (for which thanks are due Andrew Sullivan), merely underscore that fact.

Another big reason the President is losing ground is that Second Amendment advocates have seen through the eyewash of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s “individual right” proclamation and are increasingly disaffected by the grim reality of Bush’s own stated anti-gun positions. These include support for renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, enactment of new prohibitions on private firearms sales and gun shows, and most of all, his support for the draconian NICS Improvement Act. NICS Improvement, formerly named the “Our Lady of Peace Act,” (Google either title) would begin the imposition of New York City-type gun controls on the entire nation by criminalizing even minor mental illness, and on that basis – labeling all mentally ill persons “mental defectives” no matter the brevity or mildness of their condition – would expand the universe of prohibited persons accordingly. This would eventually ban as many as half of all U.S. citizens from firearms ownership – no exceptions, no appeals – and thereby deny them forever any meaningful right to self defense.

But from the perspective of the War and America’s defense against Islam’s renewal of its 1300-year onslaught against civilization, the most telling aspect of Bush’s opposition to the Second Amendment is how he continues to allow two anti-gunners, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, to brazenly obstruct the will of Congress that the nation’s commercial airline pilots be armed – just as pilots were in the years of “airmail” service. The obstruction is old news, so there is no doubt Bush approves of it. But in this instance, Bush’s hidden anti-Second Amendment agenda is endangering the nation, as documented here.

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posted by at 11:13 AM : Comments (0)
June 09, 2004

Some Ramifications to Biotech

Read this and think about the implications. Pay close attention to the last paragraphs.

I'm sorry that's all I have time for today.


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posted by Linda at 06:57 PM : Comments (0)

Soap Opera

MY SO-CALLED “FAMILY,” WHICH is second to none in treachery and hatefulness, has betrayed me once more, and as a consequence, I will not be returning to East Tennessee this summer after all – or for that matter ever again. In truth – and it is a bitter truth I have avoided for most of my 64 years – I have had no family at all since 1945. In that year, my mother’s intended post-partum abortion was interrupted by my father, which saved my life. But shortly thereafter, following the inevitable divorce, my father married his secretary and attempted to abandon me in a Virginia orphanage, but was forbidden to do so by the court. Since that time I have lived with the bitter knowledge that I am quite literally the human equivalent of a dog no one wanted. To my father I was never more than an object of embarrassment and contempt, while to my stepmother I was a despised burden. My mother hated me too – her attempt at ending my life on Midsummer’s Eve demonstrated her true feelings beyond any scintilla of doubt – and most of her family regarded me as an unwelcome reminder of an episode best forgotten.

But stupidly – like the dog who returns to an abusive owner out of the desperate fantasy that the next time it will somehow be better – I allowed myself to be victimized (or at the very least betrayed) by these people again and again, fantasizing that it didn’t really matter I was only a “half” brother or a “half” nephew or – worse – someone who had witnessed the infinite viciousness in my own mother’s heart and thus could not ever be trusted by any of her siblings and kin. Like an abused dog, I believed if I but tried just a bit harder, I would be accepted, perhaps even loved -- and like an abused dog, I was only kicked again.

That will not happen any more. After the events of yesterday, I have banished nearly all these people from my life. I will not let any of them -- even the ones I have not formally rejected -- into my life ever again. And if that means I spend the remainder of my years alone save for my two canine friends – friends who sense my emotions and thus were uncommonly solicitous all day -- so be it.

I post a summary of this wretched matter because it will undoubtedly affect the future of my participation in this blog. As I promised Linda, I will continue posting for as long as I can and as often as I can. But at some point – at most in about a year – I will be ousted from the house in which I now live, the plug will be pulled on my Internet connection, and whether there will be anything in the way of writing from me beyond that moment is profoundly unlikely. To continue blogging would mandate that I find income at least double my tiny pension – and for a long-unemployed 64-year-old man, no matter what the degree of his talents, that is simply not realistically possible anywhere in today’s America. Indeed it would require a miracle: something that happens only to others, never to me. Once again, I am a dog no one wants or needs or has any use for, and probably the very best I dare hope is merely to remain at large and out of the pound for however many more months or years fate allows me to live.

Even so, I post on this miserable topic not to whine and whimper and practice self-humiliation (though I recognize there are many who will take it as all of that and worse) but rather in the hope someone somewhere might offer a useful, perhaps even life-saving suggestion.

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posted by at 12:56 PM : Comments (9)
» Ripples links with: Micro-Business 101- Addendum

Focal Point

I AM PROFOUNDLY UNCOMFORTABLE with the Bush Administration’s decision to involve the United Nations in the war in Iraq. But UN involvement is not the turn-about the jeering Democrats and some conservatives claim. It is instead the resumption of pre-war politics, and I am uncomfortable with it precisely because it unfortunately restores the credibility of an organization that was once literally the hope of the world but which has deteriorated into the most powerful criminal cartel on the planet – a fact vividly demonstrated by the truly obscene Oil-for-Food scandal.

Involving the UN also reeks of election-year desperation, a reversion to the tried and (un)true merely because so doing will steal an issue from an opponent, rather like Bill Clinton’s sudden decision to take welfare reform away from the Republicans. Even so there is no denying the tactic’s effectiveness: for now when John (Neville Chamberlain) Kerry complains of the situation in Iraq, it will be a complaint against the UN – one of the Left’s most sacrosanct of sacred cows – which means it will most likely be a complaint never uttered at all. The result will no doubt help President Bush regain some of the lost support that is so vividly reflected by recent polls, but if he continues his stumblingly passive campaign performance, I question whether that will be sufficient to ensure his re-election, especially given the unprecedented hostility of mass media.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the UN’s unanimous endorsement of post-June-30 Iraqi sovereignty, a long-range plan summarized by Paul Wolfowitz – the existence of which suggests determined Defense may have used the UN gesture as cover and concealment to take back the Iraqi policy-helm from always-treacherous State – is available here.

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posted by at 12:22 PM : Comments (0)
June 08, 2004

No post by Linda (except this)

I won't be able to blog for the next few days, folks. If you could see my desk, you would understand why.

Once I get these problems sorted away, I will be back. In the meantime, please enjoy Loren's posts and commentary.

[sinking in the back row]

WAIT! While you're missing me, go see this presentation, delivered in their own words.

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posted by Linda at 05:26 PM : Comments (0)

Focal Points

IN A DAY OF reading tributes to President Ronald Reagan, the following are two of the very best I could find – best as measured in terms of uniqueness: originality of approach and disclosure. I had hoped to discover three, but finally contented myself with these. One is by Spengler, the always-thought-provoking Asia Times columnist, who says President Reagan was the greatest commander-in-chief of the 20th Century. It is available here. The other is by Wesley Pruden, editor-in-chief of The Washington Times, and portrays the greatness of Reagan’s presidency and personhood in the context of the venom spewed by his present-day enemies, here.

DIPLOMATS, SPOOKS AND THE NEW YORK TIMES: A troubling report by Joel Mowbray suggests somebody at The Times conspired with anti-Bush Administration elements at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency to discredit Ahmed Chalabi and wreck the administration’s plans for postwar Iraq. The link is here.

SLEEPING MAKES US SMARTER: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have discovered that sleep allows our brain cells to integrate new information so we awake better able to use it. The report doesn’t say so, but this function of sleep is obviously analogous to what happens when you download a program and then re-boot your computer to finalize the installation. The details, already integrated, are available here.

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posted by at 10:19 AM : Comments (2)
June 07, 2004


Since hearing the news of former President Ronald Reagan's passing, I've been trying to write something that adequately expresses my sense of loss, and the profound influence his example played in my life.

I cannot find the words. But Bob Lonsberry and James Lileks seem to understand.

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posted by Linda at 05:15 PM : Comments (2)
June 06, 2004

Rest in Peace, President Reagan

Severed from the Internet as I was, I did not learn until just this minute of former President Ronald Reagan's death. Because my coverage of his presidency was always from afar, for the next 24 hours I will post nothing more here, so readers can focus on eulogies of this great American by writers who genuinely knew him. Requiescat in pace, Mister President.

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posted by at 01:15 PM : Comments (0)

The Reality You Have Accessed Is...Disconnected

Thanks to a screw-up at my local ISP, my Internet and e-mail services were shut off for most of Saturday but were restored early Sunday morning.

While I still don't know the reason for the error -- apparently a paperwork mistake arising from the recent addition of a second telephone line gave birth to a DSL disconnection blunder -- that is why I never I never returned to post weekend reading as promised, for which I apologize.

(What is there, some kind of karmic or astrological obstruction monster lurking in my neighborhood? Maybe that was the bright light in the sky the other night...which you can see for yourself here.)

In any case -- fate, the gods of the Internet and the troll that lives inside my computer all willing -- I'll be back with more tomorrow.

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posted by at 11:48 AM : Comments (2)
June 04, 2004

Focal Point

THIS IS POSTED LATE again today, not because of any personal trauma but because I was obstructed by persistent site-access problems early this morning, their source undetermined. My apologies for any resultant inconvenience.

Other obligations including the need to get my dogs Brady and Jasmine their annual inoculations will keep me busy for most of the rest of the day, but I’ll be back sometime this evening to post a couple of offerings for the weekend. Then it’s “have a good weekend” and farewell until Monday.


I WAS A CHILD during World War Two. I have proud memories of the war effort at home including my late father’s diligently compensatory service for the War Production Board – he had been in the Army in the 1930s, had shot in match-competition using the now-legendary 1903 Springfield, had made corporal in a time when promotions were rare and slow, and had demonstrated such a remarkably high level of military skill, there is little doubt he would have seen action as a sniper and probably eventual promotion to officer-grade in some marksmanship unit – but much to his profound frustration, he was barred from further military service by a heart condition that was the legacy of childhood rheumatic fever. This was indeed the greatest frustration of his life, especially since the problem was not discovered until “new” medical standards were imposed at the end of his first enlistment, sometime in 1936 or 1937, the details unclear to me because he never talked about them or the profound and devastating blow they represented.

But I also have much more recent and deeply infuriating memories of the American home-front in another war, recollections of “anti-war activists” who spat upon and otherwise viciously harassed veteran soldiers returning from Vietnam. These "activists," a vast mob of infinitely selfish, morally imbecillic cowards, made no secret of the fact they despised all military veterans no matter what the war, and in many instances their "activism" included hurling human feces at men who instead should have been given ticker-tape parades and showered with rose petals. Thus because Tom Brokaw was very much a part of the so-called anti-war movement (though as far as I know he never spat on soldiers or pelted them with dung), I have always felt his “greatest generation” accolade was subtly condescending – an especially cruel form of damnation via praise. This is particularly true since Brokaw is surely one of the members of the hate-America-first school of modern journalism – though he is far from its most obnoxious perpetra(i)tor -- which has always made his suffusions of praise toward World War Two veterans seem vaguely hypocritical: the sort of thing you feel but can’t really single out for proper expression.

But now comes David Gelernter refining and articulating my half-formed thoughts on the subject as perfectly as if he had read my very own subconscious mind – in fact doing it far better than I could do because Gelernter makes points that would never have occurred to me – all of which results in a significant and vitally thought-provoking essay available here.

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posted by at 10:12 PM : Comments (0)

Sixty-six Thousand and Thirty Three

I received a chain email from my father a little while ago. Forwarding chain letters is something I have never been able to break him of.

Yet, this one is different. Sure, it has the exhortation to "pass it on to everyone you know!", but I think in this case, it may be warranted.

The email was a pictorial roll call of our WW II dead, and the French cemeteries in which they slumber. The list is grim and poignant:

  • Aisne-Marne Cemetery: 3,349 Americans killed
  • Somme Cemetery: 2,177 Americans killed
  • Brittany Cemetery: 4,908 Americans killed
  • Oise-Asne Cemetery: 6,253 Americans killed
  • Epinal Cemetery: 5,679 Americans killed
  • Rhone Dragungnan Cemetery: 1,155 Americans killed
  • Lorraine Cemetery: 10,933 Americans killed
  • Meuse-Argonne Cemetery: 15,200 Amercans killed
  • St. Mihiel Cemetery: 4,437 Americans killed
  • Suresnes Cemetery: 998 Americans killed
  • Normandy Cemetery: 10,944 Americans killed

That equals 66,033 American dead who are missing or buried in France. Many, many others made it home, and rest peacefully in their mother soil. The numbers given do not include other brave Allies who also fought and died, to be buried in France.

Sixty-six thousand and thirty three Americans, alone. That is an unbelievable sacrifice, isn't it? Ten thousand, nine hundred and forty-four of these died in Normandy. Every one of those digits has a name; perhaps their faces remain locked in yellowing family albums, or fade in dusty attics. They were men from every walk of life. They were tall, short, slim, heavy, light-haired, dark-haired; brown, blue, and green-eyed. Some were grim, others were merry sorts. Each one had friends, family; things and people they loved.

They are not numbers. They were men who felt that it was their sacred duty and calling to go forth in defense of their world. They fell in a foreign land. Some of us will never forget them.

Fifty-nine years later, in 2003, America asked France to help us put paid to another regime that would have made Goebbels squirm with delight. It was the first time we'd ever asked them for help. They declined, which is certainly their right.

The insult is the fact that the French government did more than decline. They have also sneered, scoffed, insulted, and actively sought to obstruct America from our goal of a safer world; one free of terrorism.

What's more, that government has been implicated in illicit oil deals with the regime of Saddam Hussein. They seek the establishment of an authoritarian socialist government in the form of the European Union, after so many of our own died to give them personal liberty.

The insult is the fact that despite the sacrifice of sixty-six thousand and thirty three men, the French government yet plays nice-nice with dictators and terrorists.

What's more, President Chirac is quoted as having warned East European nations that he would oppose their admission to the EU, if they sided with the US in our War on Terror.

Is this the action of a friend? Are they worthy of the blood our men spilled to free them? That's arguable. Our men in WW II seemed to think so -- Gods rest them.

I will remind readers that several WW II British and American graves have been defaced in the last year. The graffitti was in French.

Sixty-six thousand, thirty three.

Let it sink in.

Sixty-six thousand, thirty three.

To free the French in World War II.

Several ideas have been noised about in the interest of expressing the public's dissatisfaction with the actions and attitudes of the French government. There's an active and voluntary boycott on, even now, of French companies and products. Other folks have mentioned putting together a public fund to bring home the bodies of the men who rest in France. (Where can I donate?) Still others actively work to let their congresspeople know that it is not acceptable to award French contractors with American work of any sort -- especially the mess hall support of our US Marines.

If the idea of France's defection of friendship bothers you as deeply as it does me, there are several things to do. Try them all if you like.

But, this weekend, on June 5th and 6th, remember the men who had the moral fortitude and clarity of vision it took to march on foreign soil, and lay down their lives in the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness not only for Americans, but for all people in all lands. Meditate upon courage, conviction, and principle.

Then, if you're as lucky as I, and have grandparents from that era who yet live, give them a call, and let them tell you their stories. You will learn much of self-sacrifice, and what it takes to achieve a greater good in your community and the world.

Sixty-six thousand and thirty three. May I live to be a worthy daughter of such courage.

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posted by Linda at 08:34 PM : Comments (1)
» Who Tends the Fires links with: I fought the "News" and the "News" won...
» Spacecraft links with: 66,033

College Conservatives

Now enthusiastically added to the blogroll:
College Conservatives

Conservative thought. Taking back your college since 2004.

(Affectionate hat tip to Ethne.)

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posted by Linda at 08:00 PM : Comments (0)
June 03, 2004

Focal Point

AGAIN IN DEFENSE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT: I am posting much later than usual because I badly wrenched my shoulder clearing brush with a tractor yesterday evening -- a tree-branch caught my canvas coat and nearly yanked me out of the saddle -- and I am still a bit muzzy from painkillers. But I want to share the following link because of its ruinous Second Amendment implications.

Remember the "Our Lady of Peace Act"? It has been renamed the "NICS Improvement Act" and remains alive in both houses of Congress. Just like its predecessor, this measure to "improve" the National Instant Check System would criminalize mental illness. Lawyers familiar with mental health law and advocates for the mentally ill all agree its enactment would condemn any and all mentally ill individuals as "mental defectives" no matter how minor or temporary their affliction. The proposal would also add the names of anyone so condemned to a national computer-maintained roster of officially declared untermenschen, and on that basis would permanently deny the right of firearms ownership and thus also the corollary right of self-defense.

These facts become profoundly significant in light of the claim that as many as half the people of the United States will at sometime in their lives suffer from diagnosable mental illness. While the 50 percent estimate is sometimes disputed, the following figures are not in dispute at all: a just-completed American Medical Association study that at least one in four U.S. residents currently admit suffering from some form of defined mental illness.

Every one of these folks would become permanently prohibited persons – no exceptions, no appeals – under the NICS Improvement Act. They would be forever denied their right to own guns and thus forever denied their right to defend themselves if attacked or victimized.

Bear in mind too the NICS Improvement Act is supported by a broad coalition in both houses of Congress: Democrats and Republicans, anti-gunners and the National Rifle Association – with the NRA once again showing the infinite hypocrisy of its Nazi-like hostility to anyone who is mentally ill – never mind the brevity or mildness of the condition, and never mind the fact that the mentally ill are statistically no more violent than any other subgroup in America (and considerably less violent than some).

The link to the AMA survey – vital information in this ongoing debate – is here.

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posted by at 09:03 PM : Comments (5)

Mental Micturition?

Cox and Forkum do it again.

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posted by Linda at 04:28 PM : Comments (3)
June 02, 2004

Swift Boat Veterans to Kerry: Stop using our faces in your ad

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have contacted John Kerry, telling him to cease using a photo taken in 1969 in his ad campaign. This article from CNSNews.com gives the details.

Their comments are clear:

'"The signers of today's letter object to the use of their photographs in conjunction with the Kerry campaign because they believe that not only is Kerry unfit to serve as the commander-in-chief of the United States, but by using their images, the campaign suggests that these men endorse the senator," said a press release issued by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.'

Their website is here.

My father was on a destroyer servicing CTF-115's and CTF-116's during that period. Like many vets, he questions many of the stories Kerry tells of his exploits while in-country. For example, with only four months of service on a CTF-115 (swift boat), Kerry collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three purple hearts. Men who were there say that this is virtually unheard of. Swift boats operated only along the coast, and in the major rivers like the Bassac and Mekong. Really rough stuff was handled by the CTF-116's (PBRs).

Another issue vets will voice is that he has "three Purple Hearts, but no limp". Combat on the boats was usually at close range. Men do not take minor wounds from that. Was someone putting himself in for a medal every time he hit hs head or stubbed his toe?

Next -- and this is a major point among my father and his friends -- the details surrounding the award of the Silver Star make little sense. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat, but missed. The enemy jumped up with his launcher in-hand, the bow gunner knocked him down with the twin .50 cal, and Kerry supposedly beached the boat, jumped off, shot the enemy, retrieving the launcher in the process. Here are the problems with that:
1. B-40s had next to no ballistic integrity after something like 25 yards, so standard procedure was to back way off, out of range, and pepper the beach with your .50 cal guns.
2. Most people do not get up after getting hit with a .50 caliber round at close range. Period. The end.
3. If the gunner knocked the enemy down with the .50 cal. gun, then why did Kerry get out to shoot him? We have rules against shooting wounded, you know.
4. Um, Kerry disembarked. This is a major breach of SOP. If you had someone on the beach, your boat was vulnerable. It could neither run nor return fire. So, by disembarking, Kerry endangered his own men.

That's the conversation regarding Kerry's service the vets of my acquaintance have when they're sitting around watching the Presidential race. And yes, there are a few vets delivering testimonials in Kerry's favor.

However, there are many others, like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who want people to know that there's more to the story.

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posted by Linda at 11:56 PM : Comments (2)

Focal Points

TODAY’S FOCAL POINTS begin with a correction: my frequent and always welcome e-mail correspondent Allegra tells me I got it wrong when I credited her with writing out the Lakota story of the original White Buffalo encounter (May 27). Allegra says the text was forwarded to her by a woman whose screen name is danu, lower-case letters intentional, and Allegra asks me to post according. Since I should have double-checked with Allegra on the source of the text (but didn’t because I was in a hurry), the fault is ultimately mine. The lesson – of course – is an old one: “never assume anything.” Sorry, folks.

But that’s not the only lesson here today. There is another, and I think it is far more important:

My first version of the above correction included the phrase, “describing the Lakota myth of the White Buffalo.” Then suddenly I was struck very hard by the nasty ethnocentric prejudice (and implicit belittlement) in almost any non-anthropological use of the term “myth.” Would we unthinkingly label a Bible-story a “myth”? Do we speak of the “myth” of Jesus? Then how dare we – myself very much included – label a story “myth” that is every bit as important and spiritually significant to the Lakota (and to the Plains People in general) as the Christmas story is to Christians or the Passover story is to Jews? And why in the name of all the gods that are did it take me until I was 64 years old to figure that out? Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Now on to today’s links:

THE PRESIDENT FINALLY GETS WITH IT: As regular readers of this site know, I am a Bush supporter who has nevertheless been relentless in my criticism of the President. But now there is reason for genuine praise that seems genuinely deserved. Because I did not see the event in question, I can provide no firsthand comment – save that if the following account is true (and I have every reason to believe it is), it offers the bright new possibility of a desperately hoped-for and clearly necessary tactical change in the President’s re-election strategies. The link to this uplifting report is here.

ANOTHER UN/TERRORIST OUTRAGE: Michelle Malkin scores another of her journalistic coups with an exclusive report on how United Nations officials knowingly allow Islamic terrorists to borrow U.N. ambulances to haul terrorists from one ambush site to another. The terrorists are also using the ambulances to transport suicide-bombing equipment, in one instance concealing a bomb under a sick Palestinian child. But Malkin’s most infuriating disclosures are that many of these ambulances were paid for by U.S. taxpapers – and that the U.S. mainstream media is deliberately suppressing the story, no doubt in service to the Big Lie that “Islam means Peace.” But Malkin clearly knows that what Islam truly means is “submission” – submission to slavery, submission to sharia, submission to the global caliphate – and her eye-opening report, a vital read, is available here.

UNDER THE RADAR, FAST: This is an important description of warfare in Iraq and a scathing analysis of its aftermath of howling critics and pontificating politicians. I won’t give away the story with more detail, but I emphatically urge you to link to it, here.

THE QUAGMIRE OF POST-WAR GERMANY: While I knew there had been substantial unrest in conquered Germany – how could there not have been after a dozen years of Adolf Hitler’s agitation and Josef Goebbels’ propaganda – I did not realize the extent of the troubles. But this report provides an interesting perspective on events in post-war Iraq. It suggests that restive populations may well be the norm in all such circumstances – a disclosure that makes the administration’s blunders of planning and intelligence all the more objectionable, but also gives what occurred an aura of inevitability. A thought-provoking read, the link is here.

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posted by at 02:32 PM : Comments (0)
June 01, 2004

Nope, no threat of WMD. Move along.

The article opens with this sobering paragraph: "Business is booming in the mining zone that supplied uranium for the atomic bombs unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — despite a decree by Congo's president banning all mining activity here."

"They're digging as fast as they can dig, and everyone is buying it," John Skinner, a mining engineer in the nearby town of Likasi, said of the illegal freelance mining at Shinkolobwe. "The problem is that nobody knows where it's all going. There is no control."

My reaction, profane as it may be?
Holy shit.

Without controls of any sort, radioactive raw materials can go missing; fall into the wrong hands -- hands whose avowed intentions are the destruction of the West and our friends. Think about that.

But no! Don't look behind that curtain, Dorothy. Ignore that man in the kaffiyeh....

(It seems that LGF has the same reaction, only more gently expressed.)

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posted by Linda at 09:23 PM : Comments (0)

Matrifascism: Subversion by a Sisterhood of Apocalyptic Hatred

by Loren Bliss

PROBABLY THE MOST thought provoking comment I have ever received in response to something I wrote – and this includes all the reports and commentaries I produced during my 30-year journalism career – was posted on this site sometime Sunday by blogger David St Lawrence. It is available in the readers’ remarks following “None Dare Call It Feminism” (below). But for the sake of convenience, suffice it to note that David was responding to my description of the utterly unfounded, viciously ruinous sex-abuse charges that swept across America during the 1980s and 1990s, and more specifically to the fact this devastating plague was vindictively spawned by matrifascist bureaucrats in service to specific matrifascist doctrines. The epicentral passages of David’s letter are quoted here:

These women seem like the spiritual descendants of the Harpies of Greek mythology.

Since every action generates mutual action before it arouses an eventual counter-action, what other monsters of history will arise before we see another generation of heroes and heroines drive them back into the darkness?

Armageddon anyone?

Again for the convenience of readers, here is a slight revision of my reply (itself available in the comments following “None Dare...”) which is repeated here as the beginning of a much-enlarged response:

Very perceptive, David. I knew a few of these hatred-spewing neo-Harpies personally during my New York City years, and there was indeed a seeming aura of psychic darkness around them -- an observation one would hardly dare verbalize in haughtily secular Manhattan, but which in realms more spiritually aware would at the very least be recognized as a valid concern.

To me, however, the most frightening element of all is simultaneously more karmically indicative and more mundane: the utterly black kinship matrifascism shares with genuine N.S.D.A.P. (National Socialist German Workers' Party) Nazism -- a kinship spawned of the fact both ideologies are founded entirely on hatred.

That the Nazis' hate-objects were specifically defined by ethnicity or race, while the matrifascists despise the entire male half of humanity, suggests to me the matrifascist potential for ultimate evil is thus many times greater. The Nazis' hatred begot a World War and the most murderous genocide in human history. What then will matrifascist hatred beget?

The notion of matrifascism as a causative factor in Armageddon is one that had frankly escaped me -- and its ring of truth is utterly chilling.

To my knowledge, no other writer has explored -- even superficially -- the doctrinal similarities between formal Mein Kampf Nazism and the brand of feminism that began to emerge in the United States during the middle 1970s. While Grace Shinell was merely one voice among many – and hardly more readable than the turgid “English-grammar-is-patriarchal-oppression” feminist norm – Shinell’s work came to my attention because it was included in an issue of the Heresies Quarterly (Summer 1978; Google: “Heresies Collective”). This expensively produced hardbound volume was officially dedicated to the topic of “the Great Goddess” and hence was (presumably) valuable source material in my then-ongoing research for the lost book “Glimpses of a Pale Dancer,” the manuscript, photographs and notes for which were all destroyed by fire in 1983. In any case, it was after reading Shinell in June of 1978 that I compounded the noun “femiNazi” – though it was probably one of those constructions that occurred to many writers simultaneously. I then employed the term several times in my journal, and first used it publicly in a newspaper column later in 1978 or perhaps in 1979. A number of years afterward – as femiNazi became de-Nazified by overuse – I substituted “matrifascist,” which I think is far more descriptive (See “None Dare....”) but obviously has yet to catch on.

My copy of Heresies was burned to ashes, but because of the curious randomness of the fire damage, I lost only about two thirds of the year-by-year journal I had begun keeping in 1955, this during a part of my 15th summer spent in the woods of northern Michigan. Many of my post-1970 journals survived the fire entirely, and were later discovered – damp and charred around the edges – beneath the rubble of the collapsed two-story house. Even now, after 21 years, they still reek of the conflagration. The following is an excerpt from my 1978 journal, revised slightly to tighten up the writing, the quotations after the title-citation directly from Shinell’s text:

Shinell begins “Women’s Primacy in the Coming Reformation” by recounting scientific evidence allegedly supporting the notion the male gender is intrinsically inferior, and concludes by urging that science and “magic” be combined to abolish the male gender all together, presumably so that males can fulfill a secret desire of being reincarnated as women. Shinell also contends that “an entirely natural fear of extinction” leads men to commit what she considers the ultimate sacrilege, “destruction of creation,” by which she means war, ecological abuse and all the other ills for which feminism blames the male gender. “Sperm banking and cloning experiments,” Shinell argues, “demonstrate that the reduction and even the extinction of the male sex is practicable – and history makes it warrantable.” In other words, here is the rationale for the feminists’ final solution: employing, once again, precisely the methods pioneered by Heinrich Himmler.

The next paragraph – especially given matrifascism’s present-day glorification of women who kill – was truly prophetic:

Shinell is an extremist among extremists, a true femiNazi, and fortunately her ideological sisters seem predisposed to be more tolerant. But that is no guarantee they will always be so. In just a decade, feminism has moved from the outskirts to the mainstream of Western Civilization, and Shinell’s is merely the logical product of the female rage and scorn that have been released and mobilized in the process. To accommodate the genocidal ethos Shinell has proposed, feminist slogans (“All Men Are Rapists/All Women Are Victims”) need not be revised at all – and the feminist notion that “the personal is political” could easily be used to elevate to the status of holy revolutionary every woman who has ever murdered her father, husband, lover or son. Had Elisabeth Bathory’s uncounted victims been male instead of female, this blood-drinking Hungarian countess would no doubt already rank among the femiNazi saints.

Feminism’s doctrinal turn toward wholesale state-sanctioned slaughter would be alarming enough if feminism were but one in a broad spectrum of leftist ideologies. But the fact of the matter – something else few writers dare acknowledge – is that since the early 1970s, the matrifascist strain of feminism has been steadily ousting Marxism as the dominant ideology of the American Left. By the mid-1980s, matrifascism had triumphed: its demands for political “correctness” and enforcement of various victim-identity shibboleths (including the moronic mandate to “celebrate diversity”) would become oppressive, zero-tolerance norms on campus, in the workplace and even in the military. Indeed, it would not be unfair to describe the college-campus and workforce cults of political “correctness” as the feminist-movement’s men’s auxiliaries – membership in which is an absolute prerequisite to sexual license – as far too many apprentice, college and military-age males clearly understand and are driven by hormonal needs to accept without question. The young male’s fear of involuntary celibacy is a powerful goad to compliance, and leftist exploitation of it is an old story -- note the anti-draft (and thus pro-Viet Cong) poster from the late 1960s: Joan Baez and her two sisters in sluttish pose and slatternly attire beneath the banner headline, “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No.”

Moreover publication of Shinell’s work in the Heresies quarterly gave its murderous viewpoint the very imprimatur a decade-earlier version – by Andy Warhol’s infamous assailant Valerie Solanis – had most assuredly lacked. Solanis, though she has become a present-day matrifascist heroine, was a certified lunatic who in 1968 tried to murder Warhol with a stolen .25 caliber automatic she evidently bought from some junky acquaintance. Before the shooting, Solanis had written a diatribe entitled “SCUM Manifesto” – “SCUM” an acronym for “Society for Cutting Up Men” – from which the ideas in “Women’s Primacy” were obviously derived, and which has since become one of the dark gospels of matrifascism. But Solanis was essentially a street-person, a grubby hanger-on at Warhol’s studio, while Shinell was a creature of the New York literary scene even before she became a feminist ideologue; she was in fact an associate of the prestigious Millay Colony, a retreat for writers and artists founded by the sister of Edna St. Vincent Millay. And Heresies was probably the most ambitious publishing project in the history of the feminist renaissance. It was also by far the most prestigious, in large measure due to its extensive (but mostly unpublicized) endorsement by the federal government in the form of substantial grants from the taxpayer-funded National Endowment. For the feminist movement at large, which by 1978 had become both monolithic and viciously conformist, anything published in Heresies automatically acquired much the same infallible authority traditional Roman Catholics grant to edicts of the pope.

Thus 26 years later it is instructive to contemplate just how far the matrifascist brand of feminism has already thrust the United States in the direction of tyranny. It would take a volume the size of my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to document all of the erosions of American liberty that have been inflicted on us by matrifascism, whether directly (as in the ongoing onslaught against the Bill of Rights) or indirectly (as in public education that maliciously subverts American liberty by denouncing American principles as falsehoods and exalting, for instance, Islam as a true “religion of peace.”)

The most glaring example of matrifascism’s tyrannical impulse is of course the campaign against the Second Amendment, complete with froth-at-the-mouth denunciations of all weaponry as the means by which men originally overthrew “the ancient harmonies,” and even more venomous attacks on firearms owners that specifically denounce guns as logical expressions of the American/Occidental “rape culture” – the ultimate refinement of the hated penis. As clinically irrational as these claims may sound, the fact remains that in slightly more than a decade – and in spite of (or perhaps because of) just such assertions as those cited – feminism vectored the so-called gun-control movement from a lunatic-fringe hysteria into a powerful faction within the American political mainstream.

Though it is less commonly recognized, matrifascist assaults of equal intensity are underway against the First, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth amendments as well: examples include “hate-speech” prohibitions, zero-tolerance policies in public schools, suspension of rules of evidence in rape and sexual harassment cases, and the brazenly ex-post-facto Lautenberg Amendment. (Additional reading on these topics will be listed in a partial bibliography at the end of this piece.) The reason these onslaughts so often remain unpublicized is that the institutions which traditionally protected us from such tyrannies – the press and the American Civil Liberties Union -- have both themselves been co-opted by matrifascism. The biased state of the media has long been obvious, though it is frequently – and incorrectly – identified as merely “leftist,” when in fact its oust-Bush, down-with-American-liberty, banish-Western-Civilization reactions are specific expressions of the matrifascist agenda: belittlement of traditional males and the subversion of “patriarchy” by any and all means possible. The ACLU’s downfall was far more clandestine; public notice of its new role as a matrifascist front was withheld until its sponsorship of demonstrations on behalf the murderess Andrea Yates, who methodically drowned each of her children, but in matrifacist eyes was guilty of nothing more serious than post-partum abortion times five.

Which brings us directly to the uncomfortable topic of abortion itself. A major argument of anti-abortion forces is that the deaths of untold millions of unborn infants is in fact a feminist-perpetrated holocaust and thus links feminists and Nazis in an unholy twinship.of mass murder. While this assertion undoubtedly contains elements of truth, use of the term “feminist” in such a context is slanderously imprecise. Not only does it obscure the vital fact that by no means all “feminists” are “matrifascists, ” it also ignores an apparently quite large and growing group of feminists who oppose the hoary matrifascist shibboleth of “free abortion on demand” yet strongly favor keeping abortion legal in limited circumstances. However, thanks to the matrifascist tactic of always portraying the women’s movement as rigidly unified on all matters of doctrine and intent – a ploy further enforced by censorship of both news reporting and academic inquiry -- the number of such feminists remains unknown. (It is an aside, but my own contention is the term “feminist” should be an honorific, limited to women who demand equality before the law but correctly recognize they would not even be able to articulate their objectives were it not for individual liberties established by the American Revolution and protected by the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. )

Caught up in their own anguish, the anti-abortionists allow their chronic outrage to become a red herring, with the result both they and the general public miss a vital point: that the likenesses between matrifascism and classic, Mein Kampf Nazism go far beyond the horrific carnage resulting from the morally imbecillic use of abortion for gender-suppression or casual (as opposed to emergency) birth control. Here are just a few of those similarities:

– The Nazis believed in an original golden age of Aryan hero-ubermenschen overthrown by uppity untermenschen and uncontrolled mongrelization, a fast-and-loose adaptation of symbolism found in pan-Germanic folklore. The matrifascists believe in an original Age of Matriarchy, the time of the “Ancient Harmonies,” a belief borrowed from the metaphors of pre-Christian Greek and Celtic myth but interpreted literally and then given a nasty political twist by addition of the matrifascist doctrine the “harmonies” were overthrown only when women foolishly allowed men to have weapons.

– The Nazis proclaimed themselves the only true fighters for German freedom. The matrifascists proclaim themselves the only true fighters for female equality and female rights in general.

– Josef Goebbels’ unequaled mastery of media manipulation allowed the Nazis to position themselves as the rightful protectors of Germany and to define German identity. Thus they increasingly dominated the German elections and finally came to power. Matrifascist control of information allows matrifascism to position itself as the rightful protector of women’s interests, the final arbiter as to the needs of womanhood and the nature of female identity, and thus to increasingly dominate America in every realm at all levels.

– The Nazis denounced liberty as an expression of decadence cunningly designed to facilitate the economic and political manipulations of an “International Jewish Conspiracy”and thus the reason for Germany’s suffering under the Treaty of Versailles. Matrifascism denounces liberty as the facilitator of “patriarchal oppression” and therefore the root cause of all female suffering.

In this context – because matrifascism underwent a similar experience – it is worth mentioning the failed Munich Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923, after which Hitler was imprisoned and thus given time to refine the theories he set out in Mein Kampf, most of which he wrote in his poshly comfortable “cell” at the fortress of Landsberg. The Nazis’ post-putsch goals remained the same – total domination of Germany -- but their tactics changed radically: now instead of agitating on street corners they would infiltrate the establishment. Matrifascism’s eerily parallel tactical revision followed the devastating failure of feminism’s nationwide 1971 effort to mobilize the National Welfare Rights Organization as an army of “raised-consciousness” militants. Brandishing the slogan “Welfare Is a Feminist Issue,” demanding an immediate moratorium on social services to males and proportional increases in stipends and services to females, slumming feminists agitated in nearly every NWRO chapter in America. But welfare mothers wanted no part of it – especially the feminist intent of abolishing military disability stipends – and the feminists were angrily expelled as “Little-Miss-Fluff-bottom college girls,” “stupid troublemakers,” or simply “Communist rich-bitches.”

With their usual penchant for historical revision, the matrifascists attempted to dispose of the entire embarrassing episode by dropping it down the Orwellian memory-hole. I doubt there is a feminist text today that mentions the NWRO debacle at all. But I remember it very well: I was the press officer for one of the NWRO-affiliates targeted for “mobilization.” I also remember vividly how the feminists responded to their ouster: enraged to tears and spitting venom with every word, they bitterly denounced welfare mothers as “hopelessly reactionary” and retreated to the posh towers of academe – where it was decided that a saner and by far safer tactic would be to simply infiltrate the welfare bureaucracy. It is probably no coincidence that -- during the next 20 years -- the infiltrators and their ideological sisters vengefully feathered their own nests with a 5,390 percent increase in welfare administrative costs while slashing stipends and services to the poor by more than half – at least 59 percent. (These numbers are derived from data in Statistical Abstract of the United States, and they are not typos.)

Indeed the matrifascists have already employed all of the techniques outlined by Hitler in "Mein Kampf." The only way a minority party can achieve power, der Fuehrer said, was by alliance with, and eventual takeover of, one or more of the organs of the state: the Nazis' alliance was thus with the military, with the German education system, with the monopolist pillars of the German economy (Krupp et al) and with the judiciary of the doomed Weimar Republic. In the case of matrifascism, there was not so much alliance as infiltration. The matrifascist takeover of the informational media, the public-school and higher-education systems at all levels, the entire social-service bureaucracy, and a substantial portion of the American judiciary is already complete.

But not all matrifascist infiltration efforts were aimed at the establishment. Another target – this in the mid-1970s – was the rapidly growing neo-Pagan movement, a phenomenon that in its early years tended to be instinctively environmentalist but otherwise mostly apolitical.

From 1967 through about 1973 or 1974, the feminist renaissance was instinctively hostile to religion of any kind – a bias no doubt resulting from the substantial Marxist influence that was part of its ideological foundation. But feminists of all types reserved their greatest antagonism for the Pagan renaissance, a movement that was the new feminism’s exact historical contemporary, but took place in the greater Counterculture rather than in the rarified atmospheres of urban bohemian political ferment and the revolutionary-faddist “affinity groups” that had so developed. Indeed the New Paganism was most likely to be found in partnership with the Back-to-the-Land movement, another Countercultural trend for which its feminist contemporaries had nothing but disdain, and in any case the neo-Paganism of that period was by definition almost exclusively a rural phenomenon. Even if its initial visions arose in urban circumstances, its visionaries were typically compelled by the strengths of their newfound convictions to return to rural living or embrace it for the first time.

The ultimate symbol of this spontaneous renewal of humanity’s most ancient and enduring spirituality was the reborn Great Goddess, in the late 1960s not yet named or even clearly seen, described by the poets of the period as the unnamed Mother of Dylan’s “Hard Rain,” Mother Earth, Mother Nature, rock opera’s “Acid Queen” and the nameless Muse of Tim Buckley’s exquisite poetry, to whom he sang, “if you tell me of all the pain you’ve had/ I’ll never smile again.” The feminists’ initial response was to ignore the semiotic implications of these developments and scornfully dismiss the Mother/Muse as yet another expression of the alleged “eternal male chauvinist conspiracy” to oppress women. But by 1970 the Goddess had been clearly identified by Shawn Phillips, Julie Felix and a few other such rock poets, and on many rural communes was already being invoked by name.

Within five years, sometime after the emergence of matrifascism as the dominant feminist ideology in the United States, most probably between 1974 and 1976, matrifascism made a curiously sudden 180-degree turn and began deliberately attempting to co-opt the Goddess as its own, to reshape Paganism into an exclusively female spirituality, and to radically politicize its adherents.

Even allowing for the early political/metaphysical cross-pollenation facilitated by Mary Daly and others like her, the dire implication of matrifascism’s sudden about-face has been obscured by the fact feminism has long since made peace with most creeds and denominations, to such an extent a great deal of mainstream Christianity and Reformed Judaism now has a definite feminist flavor if not a toxic matrifascist taint. But there is a vast difference between a reformist movement gradually gaining acceptance within the society it is attempting to change, and an avowedly revolutionary movement suddenly making an alliance with a group of people it formerly went out of its way to denounce not only as enemies but as reactionaries and obstructionists. The former process mirrors normal sociopolitical evolution. But a change of position as sudden and unexpected as matrifascism’s reversal of its stance toward Paganism suggests something far more sinister: a movement influenced (if not specifically directed) by some unknown power in service to some clearly subversive purpose -- and what in all human history is more subversive (and ultimately more divisive) than setting one gender against the other?

Yet having said all that, its conspiratorial implication seems almost too absurd a suggestion to allow into print. Almost -- for I also know enough of the history of intelligence operations to remember the post-Soviet disclosure that every organization founded in Europe to overthrow Russia’s Communist government was a creation of the variously-named KGB, a ruse to keep track of genuine enemies of the state. Hence the question is not “if” but “whom”– and there the answer is thoroughly reassuring: while many governments possess the requisite arrogance, and several probably possess the requisite skill, none possess the necessary equal measures of subtlety and patience. But the fact remains that the matrifascist turn-about raises several questions that have never been answered.

As far as I know, most Pagans have resisted the constant matrifascist pressure to shrink Paganism to a one-gender, female-separatist practice, but the vast majority – male and female alike – have abjectly surrendered to matrifascist political indoctrination. For example, Starhawk -- influential author of The Spiral Dance and therefore one who should surely know better – is an enthusiastic supporter of Islamic terrorism, presumably because Islam is a fellow enemy of “the ruling white patriarchy,” which of course includes both Israel and the United States. Yet Starhawk also writes passages like this: “At a time when every major ecosystem on the planet is under assault, calling nature sacred is a radical act because it threatens the overriding value of profit that allows us to despoil the basic life support systems of the earth. And at a time when women still live with the daily threat of violence and the realities of inequality and abuse, it is an equally radical act to envision deity as female and assert the sacred nature of female (and male) sexuality and bodies.” Apparently she is utterly, mindlessly heedless of the fact that under Islam, such words would condemn her to be tortured to death by a mob of chanting savages flinging jagged rocks. Or perhaps – like so many other matrifascists – Starhawk truly believes that the infinite horrors inflicted by a triumphant global caliphate will bring about a world-wide uprising of women, the collapse of patriarchy, and the final triumph of “gynocracy”: the female supremacist version of the Third Reich.

“But O don’t you know all that about exterminating men and imposing gynocracy and all is just...um, rhetoric?”

“Right. That’s exactly what the Germans told themselves whenever der Fuehrer ranted about exterminating the Jews.”

Even given matrifascism’s apocalyptic rationale – which certainly appeals to a vaguely Mansonoid, let’s-get-it-over-with mentality that has plagued America since the time of Mutually Assured Destruction -- I do not understand how people of normal or greater intelligence can be anything but hostile to totalitarian ideology no matter how seductive its promises. The plain truth is that without the protection of this nation’s founding principles, Paganism would not be allowed exist, the resurrection of the Goddess would have been slaughtered at its first moments, and the mothers of the feminist renaissance would have been lined up against some already-blood-splattered stone wall and shot. In this context, matrifascism’s oft-repeated declarations of sisterhood with Paganism and reassurances of a shared common purpose are profoundly suspect. An absolutist movement that once condemned all spirituality and even now would give government unlimited authority over all realms of living (including expressions of spirituality) could easily make another 180-degree ideological turn to once again oppose spirituality – just as deftly as Hitler set aside his non-aggression pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union. Ultimately of course my rejection of matrifascism is fueled by the love and trust I bear for the ideals upon which America was founded – especially the constitution I swore 45 years ago to defend with my life -- but it is ever reinforced by my knowledge of history: especially of its wars, its Burning Times and its persecutions.

Meanwhile the matrifascists are ever more hostile to those same ideals and increasingly indifferent to that self-same history – if they even know it at all. The following speaker is the infamous Canadian matrifascist Sunera Thobani, professor of women’s studies at the University of British Columbia, and she is commenting on the U.S. response to the attacks of 9/11:

“...there will be no emancipation for women anywhere on this planet until the Western domination of this planet is ended.”

“Love thy neighbor. Love thy neighbor, we need to heed those words. Especially as all of us are being herded into the possibility of a massive war at the (behest) of the United States. We need to hear those words even more clearly today. Today in the world the United States is the most dangerous and most powerful global force unleashing prolific levels of violence all over the world.

“From Chile to El Salvador, to Nicaragua to Iraq, the path of U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood. ... But do we feel any pain for the victims of U.S. aggression? 200,000 people killed only in the initial war on Iraq. That bombing of Iraq for 10 years now. Do we feel the pain of all the children in Iraq who are dying from the sanctions imposed by the United States? Do we feel that pain on an every-day level? Share it with our families and communities and talk about it on every platform that is available to us? Do we feel the pain of Palestinians who now for 50 years have been living in refugee camps? U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood...and I think it is the responsibility of the women's movement to stop that, to fight against it.”

In other words, it is the responsibility of matrifascists everywhere to subvert the defense of American liberty and Western Civilization against Islam’s 1300-year jihad. Which is clearly happening, whether by the calculated erosion of our freedoms, the psychological and chemical castration of our male children, the methodical thievery of our unprecedented historical legacy from children of both genders, the hostile manipulation of information via media and classroom to discredit the war, hamstring the government, banish the Bush Administration, topple American liberty and destroy Western Civilization – all of this to “overthrow the white patriarchy” and symbolically hack off the despised metaphorical penis of a culture at least 4000 years old.

Never mind that matrifascist success will facilitate the triumph of Islam and thus subject every female on the planet to real genital mutilation. Never mind it will condemn every woman on earth to wear the burka.

As David St Lawrence said: “Armaggedon, anyone?”


Some suggested reading:

Hentoff, Nat, Free Speech for Me – But Not for Thee, Harper-Collins: New York, 1992.

McGowan, William, Coloring the News, Encounter Books: San Francisco, 2001.

Shirer, William L., The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster: New York, 1959 (rev. edition 1990).

Sommers, Christina Hoff, The War Against Boys, Simon & Schuster: New York, 2000.

Sommers, Christina Hoff, Who Stole Feminism? Simon & Schuster, New York, 1994

Suggested Googles:

Mary Daly
Andrea Dworkin
Guns and Feminism
Lautenberg Amendment
Catharine MacKinnon
Valerie Solanis
Sunera Thobani

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