Archive for May, 2011

31
May
11

alex king update

I received an e-mail last night from a reader asking for an update on Alex. To tell you the truth, I’ve been keeping that story in the background because we’ve entered a quiet stretch in the legal process, and while I feel comfortable talking about the legal stuff as it happens, I do not feel comfortable talking about prospective legal plans and events.

I can summarize his situation as follows:

Alex is being held without bail (in solitary confinement) on a probation violation charge initiated by the Florida Department of Corrections based upon two facts: Alex is charged with leaving the scene of a traffic accident on foot, and opiates were detected in a urine test the day after the incident. Alex suffered a cracked or bruised rib in the crash and had taken a single hydrocodone pain-killer the previous night. At the time FDOC filed the VOP (violation of probation) they did not consider or even know that Alex had a valid prescription for this medication. Nor did they apparently consider that, as a result of all the threats and abuse Alex has suffered over the years (many of them while incarcerated by the state and under its control), Alex suffers from a form of post traumatic stress syndrome which would predict and explain his flight response after the accident. He simply did not have the capacity to think about it in the same way you or I would, and this is to some degree of the state’s making. Flight was an automatic, non-volitional response.

When I raised these facts with his probation officer I asked her, “When are you going to withdraw the VOP?” And she answered that her department would not be withdrawing the charge. “We are leaving that decision to the courts,” she said. Pass the buck. Spoken like a true bureaucrat.

In other words, I thought, FDOC can de-rail Alex’s education and cause him to be jailed on the basis of charges made as a result of a flawed process in which FDOC failed to consider relevant information and failed to exercise the judgment and discretion one would consider to be benchmarks of basic competence and fairness.

Alex has already been in jail 103 days—3⅓ months, more than ¼ of a year—and his VOP case is still a long way from being heard. The longest jail time to which Alex can be sentenced for fleeing the scene is only 60 days. From the time that prosecutor David Rimmer decided to prosecute an abused child as an adult criminal instead of the confused victim that he truly was, the State of Florida has consistently subjected Alex to excessively cruel treatment. This is just more of the same.

Alex’s case is procedurally complicated. The VOP charge was filed with the court in Okeechobee County based in part on a traffic charge in Escambia County which must be heard in that county’s own court. Two courts, 546 miles (8 hours 41 minutes) apart. This naturally leads to screw-ups, delays, and longer incarceration. Alex has already missed two court dates—one in Escambia County and one in Okeechobee County—because the state held him in custody in the wrong jurisdictions for him to make timely court appearances. Alex’s next court appearance in Escambia County is June 14th (unless the state transfers him back to Okeechobee before then—it all depends on the state’s intent).

Because of the complexity, distance, expense, and hassle involved, we have not been successful in getting a top-flight private attorney involved. So for our defense we’re relying on the public defenders in each jurisdiction and, based on Alex’s assessments, we have a high degree of confidence in each public defender’s competence and potential effectiveness.

And remember, we’re not talking about an offense that would normally violate one’s probation. It’s not like Alex robbed a convenience store or was snorting cocaine at a rave. He’d been working hard at school and was doing well in a whole bunch of challenging subjects. He was doing what the state supposedly wanted. Now the state is screwing with him over a technicality with an excess of willful negligence and maybe even malice.

Thus far the state is giving every indication that it is less interested in supporting Alex’s rehabilitation and return to society than filling another prison cot somewhere within its money-making prison-industrial complex. But that’s just my take on what’s happening. I could be wrong and I hope that I am. Only time and events will tell.

While Alex’s legal ordeal slowly grinds on, my job right now seems to be mainly serving as a communications hub between Alex and his support network. I forward mail and messages back and forth in an attempt to help Alex keep his spirits up. Now that he is being held at the Escambia County jail, I am able to keep him in a steady supply of books and Ramen noodles.

The thing you may not appreciate is if you’re incarcerated, being in communication with people on the outside—your family and friends, your lawyer, with anyone at all—is like trying to thread a needle while wearing welding gloves. It is also very expensive. A fifteen minute phone call with Alex costs me about $20. Not everyone can afford that. Communicating with prisoners takes a lot of extra time and effort, too. The state’s control over a prisoner is so total, it can effectively prevent that prisoner from mounting an effective defense. Abuses happen. Florida is not a compassionate state.

That’s about as much as I can tell you about Alex right now without sliding into an outraged diatribe about Florida justice. Nobody likes a whiner or complainer, anyway. Alex doesn’t ever whine or complain and does a pretty good job at keeping me from doing it too much.

I need to live up to his good example and be patient.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Carly Simon performing “Anticipation”

30
May
11

sweet war

Being a generally law-abiding guy, I’d originally thought I’d observe the legal holiday and not do a post. However, I drove down to town for provisions and saw no sign of the law on the highway today. Most of the shopkeepers were open.

While driving home I thought, what-the-hell, I’ll open for business, too. (That’s why this post is so late.)

I guess the one thing that’s on my mind (because it was the one thing on the radio) is how much we do seem to love our wars. It’s so irrational. A mother who lost her son in Iraq said as the centerpiece of their finding a “new normal,” she and her husband need to redefine themselves now as “the parents of a fallen soldier.”

All I can think is what a waste, not only of their son’s life, but of that family’s future. However you try to dress it up as something noble, heroic, patriotic, etc., in my book it’s still a waste. There’s nothing redeeming about kids dying in unnecessary, inept, and immoral wars based on official lies. It’s still meaningless death and pointless human suffering.

Sorry, Mom.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Césaria Évora performing “Doce Guerra” (Sweet War)

29
May
11

sweet death

While we’re on the subject of death, there’s one more thing I’d like to say before moving on.

We are brought up being taught not to speak ill of the dead, but in some cases it’s damned near impossible to not to say, “Saved by the knell.” I see it time and again in my work.

Another case in point: Osama bin Laden… on the same day he was killed, a man who figured prominently in one of the more significant setbacks in my life also died. He was a mean, jealous, ego-addled man who had not a single noble bone in his scrawny little body. While I did not wish him ill when he was alive, I did smile as I read his obituary. I can’t tell you what I enjoyed more: all the sanctimonious horseshit people were saying about him, or the thought from the serendipitous timing of his death that God must have a fondness for batch processing.

Last week one of my best friends told me that his daughter likes me more than any of his other friends. For the life of me, I could not understand it because his daughter and I have had so little contact over the years… and then, ah-ha! I figured it out.

You see, my friend’s second wife was a difficult woman who drove away every one of my friend’s friends and family members except me. It wasn’t that I had any fondness for the woman; in fact, I viewed the oppressive social isolation she brought down on my popular friend as sad. Yet he loved her, and I respected his feelings. I did not judge, and was obstinately determined to remain loyal.

There was a time when he had finally had it, and disappeared for a few days after a fight with his wife. She was frantic and, because I was his last remaining friend she could turn to, she began calling me… two, three, four calls per hour, sometimes in the middle of the night.

I figured her husband was AWOL for a well-deserved respite, but she was convinced he was in a morgue or hospital emergency room somewhere. So I humored her and called every hospital in Minneapolis and St. Paul to see if he’d been admitted. I reported back to her repeatedly as I learned more non-news.

She never forgot that kindness, and misinterpreted my loyalty to him (in supporting her) as loyalty to her. I never disabused her of this misapprehension and, until the day she died, I was the only one in her husband’s legion of friends of whom she approved.

After I moved to Texas, my friend’s wife finally died after a long illness. I have always thought it was ironic that I missed the funeral for which all my friend’s friends returned. I called his house that day and spoke to his daughter (the one who likes me best) and she told me the place was packed with people she hadn’t seen in years.

And then I did something which today I think is the reason why she likes me so much: I began singing this song into the phone.

Click here to satisfy your curiosity. 

She laughed. She said it was good being back again in her childhood home with so many old faces, and that now she’d have her dad back again.

Death is not always sad, but sometimes a sweet thing.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to The Kinks performing “Till the End of the Day”

28
May
11

memoria

Fifty-five years ago, today would have been the day when my grandmother, my mother, my brother, sister, and I would spend most of the day, driving from cemetery to cemetery, decorating graves. We always planted potted red geraniums that filled the back of the car.

Because my family was of a decidedly matriarchal bent, it never struck me as odd until I was an adult that we only visited the graves of ancestors on the maternal side of our family.

We visited the run-down 19th century City Cemetery where my great-great grandmother’s family is buried (and which was by that time surrounded by a poor urban neighborhood). We visited the heavily wooded, turn-of-the-century Riverside Cemetery, where my great-grandparents and now my maternal grandparents are buried. Riverside has always seemed like our ultimate home turf… a kind of country club for dead people. Our Memorial Day tradition was one of the principal ways family history was related to us and a powerful point of connection with ancestors we never knew but who became our familiars.

I vaguely remember asking about visiting the graves of my grandfather’s parents who were buried at the Notre Dame Cemetery, only to be told that Aunt Hildegarde always took care of those. To this day I never have visited their graves… a grievous omission I shall have to remedy before I die. My mother is buried there now, but I never did learn how to find my great-grandparents’ graves.

I recall regretting, too, that the women of our family never took us to visit our paternal grandfather’s crypt across the road at the Highland Cemetery. “Daddy Jack” died when I was eight and is entombed in the mausoleum there, an intimidating marble building with Greek columns and hallways that echoed. It was a scary and thrilling place to visit.

Yet visits there would have to wait until we’d go with Nana, our father’s mother, a cross between Gracie Allen and Miss Daisy and a terrible driver to boot. I remember Nana always had trouble working the lock to the heavy bronze doors. Nana also insisted that we must never run inside that somber place, and never ever test its echoes. (Now that I have my own key to the place, it’s not nearly as big nor as exciting as I remember it, and the urge to hear HELLO-Hello-hello reverberating off of marble has long since passed.) Nana and my dad are both interred there now.

As happy as I am living at Estrella Vista, on Memorial Day weekends I do feel sad that no one in our family is left back home to keep up the geranium-planting tradition. I’m sorry I’m not there to do it (but not enough to move back). More than anything else that’s still there from the old days, on this day I miss the cemeteries.

I also regret that I cannot visit Holly’s gravesite on the hill at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis where she is interred next to her dad and her maternal grandparents.  I used to spend many quiet hours there alone, remembering. Before moving here I always took extravagant bouquets of cut flowers there for Memorial Day as a token of my remembrance.

As families become so much more scattered and our culture becomes so much less place-based, I wonder if this will contribute to the amnesia of coming generations about their roots. The ancestors are never completely dead unless they are forgotten.

Yet I have so many family relics and mementos with me here, Estrella Vista is a place where my ancestors still live. Hell, I am an all-in-one genetic relic myself.

My ancestors live in me as long as I remember them.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Elvis Presley performing “I’ll Remember You”

 

(postscript)

As a run-up to writing this piece, I had to call my sister Christine to be reminded of the name of the potted flowers we used to plant. (No, my mind’s not going now that I’ve reached ‘official’ old age; I’ve never been able to remember the names of plants and trees.)

We got into a conversation about how our mother would lay out a picnic lunch at the cemetery and I would always refuse to ‘desecrate’ the graves with such frivolousness and spent picnic time exploring other families’ graves. Chris remembers partaking in several graveyard picnics and I remember none.

I’ve just now heard this story about the Southern tradition of Decoration Day, presented by Scott Simon on NPR. I think you will enjoy it.

Listen to “Decoration Day”

As told in this story, the practice of picnicking among headstones is cherished in many parts of the South. My mom always scolded my inflexible rectitude saying, “They do this in New Orleans.” I guess some of my Southern friends who read this piece may think I was a regular Cotton Mather as a kid. Damned Yankee.

I wasn’t.

“You always had strong ideas,” says Chrissy.

 

(post-postscript)

Christine reminds me that we did visit our great-grandparents’ graves at Notre Dame Cemetery around the time our mother was buried there. Now I do vaguely remember… I could probably even find my way there again. I obviously was not “all there” that day. 

Memory is a tricky thing.

27
May
11

embarrassment

Were you offended as I was by the public dressing-down that Benjamin Netanyahu gave Barack O’Bama a week ago in the Oval Office in front of  a worldwide television audience, lecturing his host like a teacher shaming a bad schoolboy?

And were you as embarrassed as I was two days later (after he was warned his re-election campaign is in danger of losing the financial support of Jewish contributors) when our shamefaced schoolboy then trotted over to the AIPAC meeting to “clarify” what he’d said that had so infuriated Bibi?

I’ll probably be wrongfully labeled as an anti-Semite by someone out there for posting this map, but it shows you in red and blue what O’Bama was talking about and what Bibi wants you to forget: that over the last 44 years the Zionists have effectively obliterated the Palestinians’ capacity to exist as a nation—while all along howling about some Palestinians’ denials of “Israel’s right to exist.”

Who are the real victims here? Who are the real oppressors?

Rhetoric versus Reality… isn’t it time we all get real about what’s really going on? Americans are shedding precious blood and bucks in mislead service to confounding myths and illusions which are not of our making and which will lead to our undoing.

And speaking of illusions, how real a force is anti-Semitism in the world? Here is a fascinating film by Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir which explores this question and draws some surprising conclusions.

 

Think for yourself.

  

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Fleetwood Mac performing “What Makes You Think You’re the One?”

26
May
11

criminalization

Once again our state’s brilliant politicians have passed a law criminalizing human nature—this time outlawing “fish stories.”

Texans’ fabled fondness for tall tales came under attack when Texas senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) introduced a bill making it a crime to misrepresent the size, weight, or provenance of fishes caught in a tournament. His bill passed the state senate unanimously and is expected to be signed into law by governor Rick Perry.

Hegar got the Legislature all stirred up over a story about how a guy at a tournament had stuffed his catch with a one-pound lead weight to tip the scale in his favor.

The new law applies to fresh and saltwater fishing, and telling a tall fish tale is now a Class A misdemeanor unless a tournament is offering cash or prizes worth more than $10,000, in which case it is a third-degree felony with the possibility of up to ten years in prison.

In his blog (http://jonathanturley.org/) legal commentator Jonathan Turley commented, “Once again, politicians increasingly view criminalization as the only way to show the importance of their cause. Such fish tales could always be charged as fraud, but Hegar wants a crime added to his legislative resume. As this trend continues, every infraction in our society from schools to fish holes is becoming a matter for the criminal justice system.”

All I can say is, if this trend continues there will be a lot more Texans serving time as their bragging rights are violated.

 

 

On the other hand, maybe this will encourage everyone to be a little more honest and realize that it’s real size that matters.

    

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Marva Wright performing “Mr. Big Stuff”

25
May
11

old coots’ club

Yesterday a group of dead old coots welcomed me into their society: “The Northern Sonoran Desert Eccentrics.” Their notification from the other side of the veil was delivered through my friend Emmett, the son of their leader.

“My dad, the guy holding the Moses’ staff, would want me to bestow membership on you; no dues will be collected, as all members are deemed to have already paid their dues in one form or another,” said Emmett’s e-mail…

…adding that he would have sent this notification as a comment to yesterday’s post except he couldn’t figure out how to upload the picture. (Hell, I don’t know how to do it either in the comments. I need a 10-year-old to show me how.)

If you’ll put yourself in my position, you know a guy who works on parricides all day has to think twice whenever anyone compares him to their dad. But based on past evidence of Emmett’s admiration for his father I could only regard it as the highest compliment. I take it seriously. Thank you, Emmett.

Anyway, I do want to thank the Academy for this honor… but to tell you the truth, I don’t quite know what to think of it. I live in the Chihuahuan Desert, not the Sonoran, and I’m not dead yet.

Also, it’s unclear whether Emmett is in actual communication with these dead old coots, or if he is the last living member of their club. Emmett never did specifically claim to have the powers of a spirit medium; he  just may be a closeted eccentric himself. Workdays he’s an attorney who speaks to large groups of judges and other lawyers. Emmett  owns a lot of neckties.

Either way he’s authorized to have conferred the membership. So it’s official.

I’m a harmless old coot.

Emmett said the thing that put me over the top in my audition was sailing through the checkpoint with an exaggerated waive by the cops; “Such a waive is a demonstration by the cops to you and the world that you are a bona fide weirdo, they know it, and are broadcasting as much to the world,” he said.

“The benefit of such a broadcast is that there is no interest or reason in stopping you because you are liable to launch into some sort of diatribe that is not offensive in tone but simply irrelevant to their TAH [task at hand]; and also because they fear that you might smell as they are uncertain of your bathing habits.”

Emmett is a helluva analyst, don’t you think? He also offered some “continuing education” suggestions for technical refinements based on the club members’ collective wisdom. (Being a cardholder does have its benefits.)

“You will be waived through checkpoints throughout the Big Bend as your ability to radiate ‘simply harmless’ grows. It’s the next best thing to being completely invisible; in fact, once you become ‘simply harmless’ even a bag of weed on your dashboard won’t get you into trouble because they won’t notice it,” he said.

I like the way this guy thinks. He’s got the Jedi thing down pat.

Emmett also warned me about the Kaczynski Effect. “Be careful not to become too reclusive as it arouses suspicion. Best way to put a damper on possible Kaczynski projections is to speak to anyone at any time who will listen to you, especially cops. Next time you see a roadblock, head straight for it as though it was a surprise party being thrown in your honor. Nothing like hiding out in the wide-open.”

Emmett should be my lawyer. He gets it. His advice could keep me out of jail.

Emmett said something that has got me to thinking: “All of those guys were driving before insurance was compulsory, including Orville who never drove nothing but his mule.”  

Old coots remember what it was like before the governmental authority began encroaching on our personal freedoms.

They know nonsense when they see it and can shun it off… maybe even getting away with operating only within the constraints of what we know to be common sense, regardless of whatever some gerrymandered law might say.

The main thing is to avoid friction and conflict. Conflict will only draw unwanted attention.

Yet avoiding conflict does become more difficult when the authorities begin working at cross-purposes with things into which you’re investing your limited time and energy. If you will read Val’s comment to yesterday’s post, you’ll see a good case in point.

I’m trying to encourage Val to invest himself in our particular dot on the map, and the Sheriff’s deputies are creating an environment hostile to young people like him. Patrick so wants to see things in a certain way he can literally smell it. If he knew Val as I do, the thought of making a pot bust would never have entered his mind, much less his nostrils.

We need bright, hard-working, ethical young people to invest themselves in this place and its traditions. What the deputies are doing with their authority here is bad politics and bad economic development. Plus it’s incompetent community policing, which is based on knowing people on your beat and working in friendlier, more informal, and more effective ways.

As a harmless old coot I have learned to sideslip the thorns by denying authority its power. The young, however, cannot avoid the lacerations so easily. They have a greater tendency to defy authority, which creates friction, which unfortunately creates more intrusion and contraindicated heavy-handed policing.

(Or, in a place like this, when they’re old enough the young people simply move away to someplace else where they can become lost in a crowd and explore their limits. It’s usually the best and the brightest who leave first.)

I’m an old coot. I can see it all.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Brad Paisley performing “Mr. Policeman”

24
May
11

u-turn

Holly used to say that she looked forward to being an old lady because then she would be able to get away with being as eccentric as she wanted to be. Because Holly died at age 44, she never got her chance. So now it’s up to me to live the vision.

Yesterday as I was driving into town, from a high point on the road I could see flashing red and blue lights almost a mile ahead on the highway. It looked like a roadblock or traffic stop and I was curious. Who and why? What are these guys doing to us now?

About an eighth of a mile from the flashing lights I could see it was our local deputies conducting a traffic stop. More surveillance. A sign said I would have to show my license and insurance. But all I could think of was that damned red plane.

I pulled onto the shoulder and came to a dead stop. No way I’m going to submit to a search. Weren’t these stops ruled unconstitutional? I thought I remembered hearing something about that a few years back. So I made a u-turn to return home.

Sure enough, because this happened under the deputies’ noses, one of them came after me with lights flashing. It was Patrick the new deputy, a big beefy and earnest cop straight out of central casting. I could see from his serious demeanor that he probably had visions of bagging a drug smuggler or gun runner and that he did not remember having met me at least a couple times at the Grub Shack.

I gave him my driver’s license and my insurance information when asked.

“Why did you turn around?” he asked me suspiciously.

“I didn’t want to be surveilled,” I said, and told him about the red plane and how its flyovers had pissed me off. “There’s too much official intrusion.”

Being a cop, Patrick was still suspicious and asked if I had any weapons in the car, and I told him no. He asked if he could search the car to see for himself and with a shrug I told him I didn’t care in a tone of voice that said “knock yourself out.”

Now I know I could have demanded that he get a search warrant, but I didn’t want to create an enemy who would remember me as the guy who made him work too hard. I’d already got him to chase after me, and Paul the second deputy just pulled up too, leaving their checkpoint unmanned. These guys really wanted to find something, but I knew all they had was an eccentric old guy with a long beard who was asserting his desire to not be interfered with.

I was careful not to do anything that could be interpreted as fear or defiance. By this time Patrick had me standing outside the car on the side of the road, and I think I made him nervous by wandering off the spot where he told me to stand. I was curious and wanted to observe what the deputies were doing. However this encounter turned out, it was going to make it into the blog.

While waiting for Paul to verify my paperwork, Patrick returned to the car two or three times to poke around for contraband and to ask me questions. All the while I kept telling him about that damned red plane, about the guy whose welding work they’d shut down just days before, and about the inspectors who had shut down the Grub Shack, costing Jerry and Eva lots of grief and money, and just plain meddling in our happy lives. I won’t say he got an earful (because I was pretty laid back and unperturbed in my attitude), but Patrick could not have failed to understand that he and his sidekick were doing the same kind of thing about which I was complaining. Yet my deportment conveyed that nothing personal was intended.

A long time ago I learned that the best way to talk to cops is to be assertive without being oppositional, to stand your ground as if you have nothing to fear or about which to feel guilt. You cannot give them an opening to exploit. You’ve got to be fearless and friendly and keep talking without admitting to anything they can use against you.

Patrick reached the conclusion that he would uncover nothing unlawful and finally drove his truck back to the checkpoint. Paul emerged from his truck and gave me back my license and insurance papers.

“You didn’t have any reason at all not to drive through our checkpoint,” he said quizzically. I could tell he just didn’t get it, and I started telling him about that damned red plane.

“Do you understand why we came after you?” Paul asked. “Do you know how suspicious that looked to us?”

I agreed, and then returned to my riff about the official intrusion. Paul changed the subject and cut me short to send me on my way.

I made another u-turn and passed through the checkpoint. “So you decided to go south after all,” Patrick commented as I crept by.

“Yeah, he said I could,” I answered, gesturing in the direction of Paul’s arriving truck. Patrick waved me through.

As I drove into town I felt sure that those deputies will remember me after this and will not waste their time hassling me. They know I’m just a harmless old crank, an eccentric.

As I drove north through their checkpoint forty-five minutes later, Paul waved me through with an exaggerated flourish.

I didn’t even have to stop.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Ben Folds and Regina Spektor performing “You Don’t Know Me”

23
May
11

reboot

I did try to get a post out yesterday, but anything I wrote just seemed so… well…  “lite.” Sometimes the world seems so terminally stupid, one just doesn’t want to add any more empty calories to the fruitcake mix.

Here’s an idea for you to sink your teeth into if you can get past a natural first inclination to dismiss it as nutty…

For the last week or so I’ve been following the stalemate being reported on the radio in Minnesota between the Democratic governor and the Republican legislature as they argue about how to arrive at a balanced budget. The governor, who wants to cut spending and raise taxes on the highest-income Minnesotans, has said he’ll meet the Republicans halfway; the Republicans refuse to compromise and have devoted their time instead to passing an amendment to the state constitution outlawing same-sex marriage. They’ve got their own priorities, I guess.

The same thing is happening in Washington with the national budget.

Last week Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, appeared on The Colbert Report and framed the budget impasse along the same lines as the situation in Minnesota. The Obama Administration wants a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on the top 2% of American income earners, and his red-tie opponents in the Congress want all budget balancing to be achieved through spending cuts alone. Goolsby said many of the proposed cuts would prevent economic recovery and would be pretty stupid.

“Why don’t we take a page from the average American and just walk away from our debts?” Colbert asked.

Goolsbee laughed in a very charming and dismissive way and said that definitely wouldn’t work. He warned that if the government were to default on its obligations, Social Security checks would stop being issued to old people and soldiers would stop being paid. But he significantly did not raise the possibility of the private bankers taking it in the shorts.

Why not?

I read somewhere that an amount equal to all of the money raised through personal income taxes, from rich and poor alike, goes to pay the interest on the national debt—to the bankers, in other words. It is only the amount raised through corporate taxes which goes to pay for any of the real services government provides. (It is thus no wonder that government primarily serves corporate interests while the interests of regular folks are ignored.)

With the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the federal government entered into a relationship with a private institution (the Federal Reserve Bank, which is owned by a handful of the most powerful banking families in the world) through which the Fed agreed to loan the politicians as much money as they wanted as long as the politicians secured the debt by “direct taxation” on the people. So the personal income tax was born.

Today the national debt has grown to such proportions that there is no possibility of its ever being repaid. So why not walk?

Federal Reserve Notes are worthless anyway. They’re fiat money and backed by nothing tangible. Each Federal Reserve Note represents debt, not wealth. Each FRN is borrowed into existence out of thin air and is backed by only our continuing willingness to repay the debt it represents. The Congress has the authority to issue US currency—an authority long ago outsourced to a cabal of well-dressed thieves.

I say screw the bankers. They’ve been screwing the people for 98 years, which is long enough. They’ve already got all the gold, and they think they own you and your kids too.

Without our crushing debt burden, creating balanced budgets would be easy (or easier) for the politicians to do. There’s enough productive capacity in America to satisfy everyone’s need, but not everyone’s greed.

It’s time to reboot the whole broken system and take back our freedom.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to The Talking Heads performing “Burning Down the House”

21
May
11

whew!

The Rapture isn’t happening after all.

Harold Camping, radio host and president of the Family Radio Network, had predicted that the Rapture would commence like a rolling blackout today at 6:00 p.m. in each time zone around the world.

Camping said there would be devastating earthquakes, and that up to 200 million people would disappear as they are taken up into heaven.

“Everyone will be weeping and wailing because they’ll know in a few hours it’ll come to their city,” the 89-year-old Camping predicted in an interview. “Saved” individuals will be “glorified spiritual bodies to be forever with God,” while the “unsaved” will be left to exist in a world of unfathomable destruction and chaos, with the world coming to a total end on October 21, 2011.

Early stories today from Christmas Island and New Zealand report that the moment of doom came and went with no noticeable changes or apocalyptic events. Australia and China are still safe, too.

I just checked and apparently the only thing that has been raptured away is the website for Camping’s radio network.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Barry McGuire performing “The Eve of Destruction”

 

(afterthought)

If you just can’t get enough of this story, please visit my friend George Phenix’s blogsite today at www.blogofages.net for another perspective. I think you’ll love George’s voice and wry sense of humor. Warning: Sarah Palin groupies had best steer clear.