The House

The House

Monday, November 4, 2013

a house is not just a building.....

 The house kept needing repair. I was as if a spirit in the place kept creating excuses for the two of them to be thrown together. At first it only happened once in a while, a leaky gas line, a faucet, painting to be done, a cracked window. Then in a quick succession a host of maladies; squirrels in the attic, blown fuses, a dead 50 year old water heater, a toilet leak.
 Each time something went wrong they had to discuss it and more details about eachother were revealed. The conversations getting longer and more intimate. They didn't know the house was causing them to fall in love. The house needed love in it, so; like a child playing matchmaker it forced them indise its small walls by bringing attention to itself. A house without love will chase off those who con't or can't. Remain cold, let bugs in, leak throw up noxious gases from the pipes. It won't respond to repair if there is no love. Quick fixes failing like quick sex.
 Some houses are haunted by fear and pain, tiny whisper like yelling, odors, deep sobbing on the edge of hearing. This house was haunted by love and committment, solid footsteps, endearments, tears of joy and laughter. It had an air of longing and need to care.
 He grew up there and somehow the living in a household with two people who loved for more than fifty years and shared it with children not their own. Such love may seem luck or providence not single mindedness and generosity of spirit.
 She had never felt so comfortable in a house, especially a rental. To be in a safe loving full home seem a dream unattainable.
 The house knew better. It didn't belong to anyone in the normal sense. Houses never do. Loaning itself to the occupants for a few months or decades. Living in an age slowly measured. After 80 years it had settled into being a sacred space to contain emotion and meld with each new occupant drawing more love. It had already lived twice as much as both of them put together. Known more of forever than either would. It knew how to be warm and blend in with the natural of every bush, ivey and tiny wildlife. It had a charming decay of brick and wood as it returned to the earth. The house wasn't just a shelter to use, but a benevolent witness to life. Slowly energized, infused by the hearts of those who trusted its protection. Taking on a permanemt nature to attract more of the same.
 One house continually filled with infidelity, abuse, screaming and neglect will attract more of the same dramas. Another will always seem to hae gaggles of kids, friends around all the time, with lush overgrown gardens. Some never have more than a lonely occupant, dead yards and lonely solitary animals. Some abodes haunted by loss and the walls are ringing with grief long after living family members are moved on, love and laughter filling others.
 The White House, governor's mansions, sheds where Thoreau wrote, Woody Guthries was born. Graceland. The local mansion everyone knows about. That first place away from Mom's place. Home away from home. Home sweet home. A house is not a home.....The place you dread to go to, are homesick for. The houses lost to fire, flood and economic disasters. Why did they tear down that lovely little place on the corner? God's house got to full and they needed more parking lot?
 People settle into homes along with the foundations. We liken our lives to well built homes. Built like a brick out house. Like talking to the walls. Lights on, nobody home. The door is always open. Bats in the attic. References to body and psychi.
 People without love get older faster. Feel the cold more, smile less. They too, can become full of cobwebs, dampness, shades drawn without air.
 The house was a lesson in love for those who sensed it.It withstood tempest and the moods of mother nature. Consistent in its shelter, calmness and without judgment. A place to breathe freely, speak freely dance naked from bath to bed. A keeper of epic dreams, tiny thoughts and infinity of dinners, lunches, breakfasts and late night tea. A resevoir of private moments to be treasured in its secret ear.
 It was amazing how a quick chat on how to get the house repaired would escalate into thelack of committment in modern relationship. How little things like toilet seats being left up or using his razor become the distraction for the real problems of lack of respect and intimacy.
 She wasn't the type men dreamed of, not his type. He was so insular no wonder he was alone, unable to find the key to a self made prison. There wasn't anything exotic about her, no great beauty. Plain and small, verging on mousy with a face that didn't invoke thoughts of ruby lips and passion.
 He was tall with a mix of chiseled aryan good looks and country softness. Blond hair, blue eyes with thin lips that belayed a hidden sensuality. Beat up and scarred inside and out. The house knew every hidden thought and deed from childhood.
 Forced to bump into eachother, murmuring quick nervous excuse me's around a friendly discussion over coffee as he collected the rent. Should they brave the taboo of landlord-tenant? Go to a movie, drink a beer and share one electric melted kiss. Avoid eachother if they can till the house cracked somewhere or leaked. Then maybe he would overcome nameless fear and she her pride. Maybe even find themselves devouring eachothers mouths in frustration, touching feet all night because this could be the last body to be warm with in the night. Him inside her wrapping tight around him as the house settles around them both.
 When they thought they were alone holding on to hope. They were watched by the soul of the house. Their hearts light gathered to itself to attract the next people it would take in and need.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Poets Position Paper

I was in the process of digging through all the piles of files I have, as the wannabe writer I collect papers full of ideas, thought, cryptic scribbling's. If I were inclined I would drag them around in shopping bags and in my pockets as we all have often seen here and there, but these piles of papers and files are to precious to me. I would probably go berserk if I lost one of my paper thoughts.

I have  such a persons purple file of poems. I dear fellow, bi-polar after a nervous breakdown. Mr. D. was driven over that brilliant white hot edge of mental illness by the Penn Square banking blow-out. Few in the state of Oklahoma were un-touched by that lead up to the savings and loan robbery.

Mr. D. came from a well known legal family, well respected, but like so many of the high society of many places, Mr. D was a shameful blot. He crumbled under the weight of the loss of everything including his wife and two sons to the greed of bankers. Apparently his legal family couldn't or wouldn't help him and into that "dark night" he went, alone.

Mr. D. had a creative response to the inequity of the world, once he realized his being "touched" by greed and power, driven to madness was not his fault and that healing could come in time, but how never to be "forced to bow" to the hyper-masculinity called commerce?

Poetry. I found Mr. D.'s poems, the ones he gave me to record for his sons. He liked my voice and knew my extensive work in theatre and oral interpretation. I was flattered. I had read many and discussed at length his work of clarity that can only come from the fracturing of the mind as it pulls itself together.

White men are killing themselves in droves in this country. I know why, which I will go into at another time...but Mr. D. fought it, expressed it, the madness in the method called manhood. Patriarchy chewed my friend up and spit him out, and like some heroic sci-fi character pulled himself from the ooze and wrote and wrote and wrote; in between cigarettes and coffee.

by W.H.Durbin

          Some Man

     I stand erect
     Amidst the Universe
     In all else
     It is I...immense
     I step
     planets set axes
     My eyes fix
     stars find bearing
     In all else
     It is I....immense
     Before there even was.....
     My first breath blew.

          In Praise of the Mechanic and the Poet

     The touch of a Poet's hand is soft.
     Leaving the calloused hand twist the rusty bolt.
     A poet's joy - to touch only lightly this stubborn rod,
     then extol in stanza its sure fix.
     Yet, our world is cold and hard - Its great
     Steely Bolts demand and cry out for a crucial turning
     _ and finds a poet's timid hand wanting
     and inept.
     So I sing praise for the hardened hands -
     strong in the world -  That deny the screwed
     and set way of some Eye or Stove Bolt.
     I sing praise of knuckles - - cut and red
     and so cold so wrench any man's will.
     There is not a more courageous unyielding than here.
     This I know - for those were the hands of
     my wife's good father.
     And too, the hands of this poet before he bolted
     from their cause -  to take up the turn
     of the phrase and the twist of a meaning -
     in cause of his gentler yet more
     binding pen.

            A Poem of No Consequence

     How we treat the powerless - those with
     never redress nor remedy
     That is the only measure of our humanity
     When, in their abjection there can be no objection
     When our allowance is absolute and they not of
     any manner of retribute.
     When we may do as we will - what is it we will do?
     Only you and he - and the insane man's torment
     will be unknown at its completion, to only reposit in
     your conscience and his heart -
     what is it we will do?
     Strike the homeless man in solitude but cast
     him favors when civil eyes are upon us?
     When the Moron is outside of this whole world,
     his desperate tendrils severed from any future
     reprisals - How is it we would do him?
     that is the true measure of our humanity!
     For the one - hanging out upon the ledge,
     if only one will first call him to his death, then
      all may join in and demand his oblivion!
     With the water's tension broken, - insanity
     ripples through this hydrophobic crowd.
     when we may do as we will - what is it we will do?

I was in awe of Bill's strength, his humor and sharp wit born of the shards of a fragmented, glass like mind. Still am in awe as I read his poems and wish I could read more. He must have inspired me to write, we shared the love of poetry like no other friend I have had before or since. And I found my words, a lost paper nestled among his .

     by Diane Clare

          Love comes to life
                  When vision opens her eyes to see
                  possibility flower
          From constraints seed of
                  potential denied.

           Love comes to life
                   When desire, feeling the pain
                   of fear's contractions
            Bears down on courage
                    and gives birth to passion.

           Love comes to life
                    When dreams, having known only
                    sleepless nights pacing
                    dark corridors of despair
           Begin to dance in the decadence
                    of peaceful slumber

            Love comes to life
                    When inspiration wakes devotion
                     in the dewy sweetness of dawn
            and work becomes prayer

            Love comes to life
                      When sacred marries profane
                      Ordinary no longer exists.
                   



    
    

Friday, March 22, 2013

Born Brave


Born Brave?

    young girls
                  to old women

Silenced
             Ignored
                         Afraid?

       Angry like no man has ever seen or felt.

            Old women
                        carry it on their hips
    Festers in joints
           spews out gray hair
                                   festoons from their eyes

Born Brave?
          against disappearing in front of the world
                 not seeing each other
                        Cheshire cats all mouth, eyes, hands
crippled into uselessness
              Anger covers old women like bruises
Bullets from old women's mouths fly
            would there were no war

        If only
              saggy sexless old women were no threat

Born Brave? to be an old woman

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Occupy the Mind

I don't know why anyone worries about what is written on the internet for all the world to see, when no one actually sees this stuff. Unless of course I were to try to "hawk" it perhaps, sell it, post it on every site I go to? WTF for? My Mom would say; "you wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they do."
I have never been good at selling myself it seems, which is to say make myself valuable. I am a poor consumer and a worse seller. I am to post one more about Occupy and its ability to empower others, and perhaps for that matter all protest movements, grass roots and activism does. It is pain staking, time consuming and gives little remuneration unless you are rich with a foundation or something you can head. This last weekend Michael Brune, the Pres. of the Sierra Club tied himself to the fence of the White House along with 47 others to protest the keystone pipeline, and help bring climate into the forefront. The first time anyone officially with the Sierra Club has been part of a protest in its 150 years. Now, tell me Occupy had nothing to do with that? Sierra Club is now something I get join, not the kaffee Klatch it was for so long. We know that many of the civil rights, environmental and gay liberation movements acquired their inspiration from people before them. Most of my inspiration is from literature, movies and books. Usually not real flesh and blood people. Even the "real" live folks on television who do amazing things aren't quite real. Pictures and voices on the screen I have become more familiar with than the people in this town. Amy Goodman, Keith Olberman, Gabby Giffords and Chris Hayes. Some who spoke truth to power, some who survived the violent results of the misguided and confused by the powers that be, some who carry a legacy of activism. Pictures of bodies of now faceless people dying for freedom from tyranny still to this day long after I had dreamed such things would not be necessary.
Occupy is alive and out there, working doing being. Every once in a while someone on the television will refer to it as something that made them think, act and question. They compare actions being taken to Occupy and then I find from twitter they were in the thick of it. I get invites to actions every month from Occupy Denver. Occupy the SEC is on UP with Chris Hayes at least once a month. I know it has empowered many to finally come out of their left leaning closets. To speak out for peace, fairness and dignity. I wear my occupy button around and have found a few feel free to say something quietly in support of the ideals even though they can't with their co-workers or families. It reminds me of the folks who would come into my little pagan celtic store and admit to being naturalists, wicca or simply free thinkers and always say how they couldn't share it with virtually anyone else. Perhaps I was able to do a little good by being someone they felt safe with and not an outcast for just two minutes. I watched The Soloist last night and toward the end a doctor tells the newsman that being someone's friend changes their brain chemistry. That reached me. I have tried to be a friend to others, but I don't feel anyone has been my friend, cared enough to know me well, encourage me, be present for me, realy learn something together. For the most part no one has had my best interest at heart.
In this culture it seems one is only friends if they can get something out of you with as little effort as possible. This culture of me, myself and I that not only runs business which runs govt. but churches as well, crept into the New Age movement as well to its detriment.
It seems to me Occupy carries forward the notions of the transcendentalists of the 19th century which became the roots of the movments that followed by labor, women, freedman, American Indian cultures.
"Apathy, complacency, passitivity, moral cowardice..these were the social results of the expedient materialism against which the Transcendentalists unfurled the banner of moral law"   Civil Disobedience edited by Sherman Paul.
I saw Le Miserable the musical, and although I had read it and watched the previous versions the concepts of compassionate morals vs. duty as morality struck home more today than at any time in  my life.
"But what remedy did an individual have when government was not coordiate with justice, when it made on the unwilling partner in its evils?" I would re-write Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and replace corporations with the word government.  We benignly buy our toilet paper, plastic chairs and phones from the behemoth Wal Mart trying to survive on cheap while people lose decent livelihoods here and abroad are virtual slaves. We become complicit.
"In the WEEK Thoreau acknowledged that where evil was concerned he could not follow the passivity advocated in the Hindu scriptures; ....Thoreau preferred to courageously assault evil rather than to starve it out. Not the Brahmin who "never thought to be a brother of mankind", but Christ, he said, was "the prince of Reformers and Radicals." Christ who said "resist not evil; but overcome  evil with good."
Conservative Christians do not understand the liberalness of Christs teachings. At lease twice I have heard of severe fundamentalist preachers having epiphany's of love and come to this understanding and then lose their very large and powerful followings for not preaching fear and shame.
It isn't so much government or corporations as it is the hungry people who run them. Hungry for power, attention and to feed their starving immature egos. They too, the "evil" ones spoken of by the Thoreau (being a PK he used the language he grew up with) are only trying to survive and do some sort of good and get gratification. They feed a hole in their souls that will never be filled. (What level of Dante's Inferno was that?)
Revolution and change  never happen the way we think they will, from the people we thought they would, and always takes longer than it should. We are not living in times of good vs. evil. we are living in the culmination of the struggle between two utopian visions. One of a monied, powered, educated (in their minds) elite that run the world better over the "great unwashed masses" who never quite understand how things really are or could be. The other where there are only communities that share everything, husband the resources, no one gets to much or too little. No rich, no heirarchy, community with committment and trust. Even the most malevolent rulers think they are doing good for the "people", even the most benign utopian societys fall apart in power trips. Both visions fall prey to eat or be eaten, control of the vision whether it applies or not to the people or circumstances at hand.
Everyone always has grand ideas about how things should be carried out yet very few recognize that key moment when they can actually step up and do whatever is presented them in the moment. Those rare moments when we can be willing, overcome fear and say or actually do something to find a third way, the middle path. I sometimes feel humanity is tearing the proverbial baby to pieces in our fight over what is best for all. All our fighting over ideology will be moot if we don't pull our collective heads out of our asses and recognize the calamity of environment that is occuring. Whether it is natural cycles or human driven, climate change is here and we are not prepared at all. I believe that we will not in time, as history shows disasters, bloodshed, and chaos come first before change and then the change for good must be fought over and over and protected from without and from within. Dreams of a utopia where women have all the babies they want, men can conquer nature and make lots of riches, where all of us live in harmony in community, with birth control and organic everything will not happen. Not now. We will be too busy trying to survive and that includes the filthy rich. Money and power won't help. Impart skills upon your children to read the weather, grow and make things that are usefull, teach them to get along with others. The young people know this instinctively. I see them working in community, trying to help eachother, seeing the mistakes of their elders. Occupy gave me such hope for the future if we have one, they are creating the re-evolution. I did what I could. Truth and being willing to find out all the facts, question motives, don't blame yourself for believing lies, and assume someone lies mostly out of shame and guilt. Alex de touqueville said; "History is a race between chaos and education" I can only control what I know by being willing to be wrong and learn better. The only thing I can say for myself is I am vindicated in my views by the fact of so many are waking up to the greed that is killing us and our planet. People thought I was crazy and now I am not alone in that divine madness.
My sense of drive, the nagging in the back of my soul that says: "Do Something!" must be my sensing the change that is coming. My need to be relevant, purposefull, helpfull, a gatekeeper, change agent, or usefull, of value is very much human nature.  My nature. I can only do a small part, so tiny to be insignificant alone, but Occupy has allowed me to speak my truth without fear of being ostricized, that would happen anyway. Occupy lifts my spirit and love for my fellow human being when it was all but gone. The pain I feel for humanity tells me my love of people still lives as well in spite of my isolation and fatigue.
My friends and I would dissect the issues of the day and I would call it "saving the world over coffee". Our little kaffee klatch would spend hours trying to figure things out, ferrett out the truth (without the internet) and hope we could put our words into action. Make a difference. I wrote a poem that sort of speaks to this:

                        Are you the voice in someone elses head?
                        Ramblings thoughts grand pronouncements
                        constant
                        diatribes of negative cheering
                        fading in and out in bits and pieces

                        We believe no one can hear our thoughts
                         they are being heard
                         driving us all mad
                         our own thoughts lost to us
                         because of the shouting in yours

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Occupy whatever

In an attempt to stay relevant in my own life I have been writing about Occupy. I will turn fifty five on Friday and find myself thinking of death. Looking at my life as a wannabe participant, trying to be a part of something all my life. I look at my things and wonder why I have them. I might miss the colors on my walls, the creamer collection, my magic the gathering cards. I can't stand where I live. All the friends I made in the first few years moved away. All of them. I should have left as well. I have never been around such mean spirited, backwards ignorant lifeless people ever, anywhere. This place has no redeeming qualities. At first we thought we would hike and climb, have a little house in the mountains that could be a safe haven when the climate goes haywire for good.
That is another thing that depresses me. Since I was fourteen I have known we are heating the planet up and nothing has been done. I remember fantasizing about floating cars, wind power and perhaps power from the sun. I also dreamed of peace and what we have is a nightmare of imperialism and war unending. I see already, before we are out of the quagmire's of Iraq and Afghanistan there are articles talking about "tensions" in the pacific. My goddess! The religious ideologues married to greed and wealth, the left dragging its feet pretending to be the eternal victim. My daughter told me not to be afraid of people, and I said I am not afraid, I am sick and tired. Mostly tired.
I have done nothing to make the world a better place. I thought I would. I am arguing whether I should try to keep up a license in mental health after ten years of not finding work in my field. I don't see the purpose in it. No one even reads my blog. For me its like a note in a bottle floating, worthless along with all the bits of plastic.
Occupy made me feel hopeful, but now that it is marginalized and pushed to the side I am feeling cut off, and it went into the closet before I could get a chance to really be a part. The Occupy Wall Street film is at Sundance this week. I can't go. I helped fund it. Park City is to far and I am to poor. I hope I get to see it eventually from Netflix or on Link t.v.
Occupy Sandy has done more for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy than any group and has only been mentioned once on the national news. Strike Debt is marching on, buying up debts for penny's on the dollar and forgiving the debtors. While I sit in a state of house arrest, debtors prison with a mortgage that was padded so heavily with crap I will die before I pay it off. A lien from Jefferson Capital on a bogus bloated credit card debt. Hiding from fucking collection agents who yell bang and are slime for perpetuating the vampire squid who robbed and pillaged us all and continue to do so. Obama has lain with dogs and the fleas of green backed bankers clings to his administration with the help of the far right bought and paid for lackeys in the tea party republican caucus.
I see no reason to try to work toward any goals, write a book, or keep my license, not even any reason to exercise. Why when all I have heard all my life is that I am a liberal slacker, welfare queen, evil humanist, old lady sucking off society because I feel so beat down by it all. How much do they think people can take? I raised kids, went to school, paid my bills, tried to be a good citizen, not a drunk, druggie or slut. A good person, trying to be a better person.
Occasionally I get ideas, poetry, art or simply to dance. Acting was important to me for so long. I watch the movies and know I should have gone to Hollywood. I could have found a niche to fill. Clever and talented, willing and a good listener. I told my friend Mark Holt, go for god sake school will wait. I told another young red headed man the same at a party and he did and I see him in movies and television all the time. I couldn't go. I had a little girl. Felt I had to take a more conservative route even if my mom complained I needed to do something that would make money. By the time I realised theatre was a dead end for me, mostly because of politics and poverty, I got my masters and I still haven't made a decent living. I am worth more dead than alive in social security to my family.
I will only get around 700 a month when I am old because women get cheated so horribly in wages and value. If I live so long. I will have to live with a daughter or in my truck or a trailer in the woods. I could be like one of those men I see with grizzled beards, weighted down by an old back pack, wrapped in blankets walking from nowhere to nowhere. Only I will have long white hair and a grizzled face and hands. Always slightly dirty. I can't see any future for me at 55. In three years my youngest will be gone to her life hopefully attaining her dreams better than I did and I will be left in this house day after day looking at the few things I made and have wondering...wandering...waning...wan...wanting....waiting

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Occupy will never die.


 

One year ago today I wrote the following:

I have been watching live-stream of general assemblies, process, community and peaceful protest since October 6th almost non-stop. From my virtual "fly on the wall" view, the energy being put out on a daily basis, most of it 24/7 has been amazing. It has been tiring for me, but exhaustive for the Occupy facilitators. I needed to be witness if I could not always participate like I wanted to.
This movement has grown in direct relation to the commitment put into it. Who of the original 56 knew it would grow so large so fast. Who among them was prepared for success? I don't believe a one of them. The empowered themselves and each other in the hopes of getting a few others to recognize the terrible state of our country and planet.

                The individual empowerment they embraced as they held each other in that space in Liberty Park became a conduit of fire, pent up anger and love. I could have burnt them up, exploded or simply vented and died after the first push back by the city of New York. The fell in love and like any love affair it raged with all the passion, beautiful and mystery that love is. Gaining trust, showing up, being present, and welcoming the creativity of change that is required if any new endeavor is to survive.
As I watched I was mesmerized by the concentrated discipline of the non-hierarchical structure, inclusion and a mantra of peace that truly expressed itself in action, no faux gestures, and no logos. I do not believe those who made the commitment to mid -wife this movement have comprehended what they started, not entirely. They are too busy doing it.

Perhaps they think they find themselves a year later the "only ones" a small loyal cadre? I write this a year later to let many know just the opposite is true. Just like the rumors’ of Paul McCartney’s death, smaller doesn't mean dead! Rumors’ of Occupies death are greatly exaggerated.
Like any new baby this infant of the collective soul is new and needs full attention. They are too busy to think about all the changes yet to come and what it will eventually grow into, but the values imparted now will tell the tale later.

But tonight, more than 36 hours after the big raid on Monday morning I saw some very tired parents. The ebb and flow, the tides of emotion to send off a movement are just beginning. Grief is part of any process, try stopping change once it is implemented; impossible. The space defined a community kept the baby safe, carefully collected items that defined the character in time, for a time. Some must feel the baby being thrown into the world too soon. Memories and images kept for infinity on the World Wide Web. But obviously today there were those who were prepared ahead of time for this next phase of growing pains.
I say "leave" because I believe that Bloomberg also is part of the birthing process. The assertion of Occupy would not truly be able to stand without resistance in the archetypal sense. A slap on the butt, the movement like a gazelle in the wild, hours after birth must run from predators. We live in accelerated and exhilarating times. The clearing out of the park is the mess of birth, the womb of a new liberty now comes into the world fully gestated in two months. Be happy. This new creation is wobbly, hungry, eager and ready learn. I watched a meeting become somewhat chaotic, many have before, but this was different. The parents are rushing to keep up. Do any of these mid-wives of change the historic never to be forgotten energy they have given over to the world? Not yet. Older activists and change makers can relate this experience and like a knowing grand masters smile with a pride not felt in decades.

I marvel at the lack of violence on the part of Occupy. Less crime than the general population given the exposed nature of the participants, no one died in New York. A veteran killed himself at an Occupy camp in (?), which served to bring attention to the suicide rate among vets involved in last ten years of conflict. The disease and pestilence cried about by the city never came to pass. The way the community dealt with the personal needs, safety and views of each person who arrived, the last but not least the homeless and mentally ill. At one point Occupy was the largest soup kitchen in the city. Occupy didn't create a new model, they had all the spiritual and intellectual resources they needed from other movements and intentional community. But it had never been modeled quite like this before.
I have been involved in group projects in theatre, putting together a production in 4-6 weeks. All hands on board or nothing will happen. Egos, fatigue, personality clashes, bogging down but the goal is always the same; opening night for good or ill. I didn't have to live with these folks nor was life and death of democracy at risk.

We are social animals and Occupy sees one tribe oppressing and cheating another tribe, the 1% vs. the 99%. Occupy brought together the tribes of progressiveness; All the disparate causes from fighting addiction to unions, from debt to voter suppression, from environment to women’s issues, veterans groups, health and welfare. This is power of the people that the plutocrats fear. The small tribe of the "masters of the universe" who put themselves above the majority isolated themselves from the rest of the human race. Their own success and power corrupted them like it always has through history. Throughout history the fear of being left behind, shunned, left to starve has been used to make people comply to the demands of the bully’s, who threaten, cheat and often slaughter wholesale. To be fair there was no wholesale slaughter in the case of Occupy. The gods of commerce and transaction fear the goddess' of transformation and community. Occupy lost its things in a tsunami of elite military driven fear of the tribe of humans turning on their gods of money. "You cannot evict an idea!"; becomes the new defiance.
If Occupy is just old hippies, spoiled brats, no leaders, disorganized, than why are the elite so upset? The powers that be feel change and are scared. They are used to being in control that illusion of control carefully crafted. Occupy says the “the emperor has no clothes". What is more tangible is a new conscience born of the seeds of reason and enlightenment.

We Tak We Asne (pardon for the phonetics) the saying from the Lakota; We are all related, kept echoing in my ear as I watched this new conscience express itself on my little lap top. The dancing, the drumming, the arguments, the library, medical tent, art, puppets, signs, laughter fill me with hope.
I am struck by the strength of the voices I hear. I went to live stream/ Occupy London it was 3 a.m. there and a soldier was talking to a handful of people. He described helping an Iraqi family pick up the bits of body parts so they could bury their dead after the Americans had bombed them. He talked about bashing in doors, night after night taking the males and turning them over the Americans to torture for intel. No honor in this. He spoke of the men in Iraq being the "security" for their families and he has nightmares wondering what happened to the women and children left without doors at mercy to roving gangs. In a thousand years there has been one year where a British soldier has not died in battle.

The voices and faces are part of a Greek chorus I soak up each and every night till I can't stay awake. Even when the main stream media tried hard to find an ignorant old lady Occupy version of the Tea Part "bag" lady they couldn't. The attempt to characterize Occupy as dirty, lazy, stupid indolent bored youth, the need to show older women as not understanding the issues, uneducated, senile is typical of the corporate media. Then there is Dorli Raely. Wow! Her voice was so strong, not shaky, her thoughts not muddled or wandering. She showed confidence and humor on what had to be her only national interview. Not scared of nothing. She has been soaking it all in, paying attention since she was born into Nazi Germany. My heroine and a model for ageing I needed.
Tim Pool of the other 99, interviews people off the street, candid, funny determined. His dedication and almost peaceful warrior mentality was inspiring. His determination to tell the story with as little bias as possible should garner him a prize in journalism. The main stream seldom interview off the street, usually the famous, or pseudo famous or each other. I hate the term "regular people", not an actor, real people. If we aren't all real or seen as equals from the beginning gives birth to the non-hierarchal approach to democracy that so few seem to get.

Since I wrote this the movement has changed the conversation of a nation. Has given support to a variety of causes including stopping the XL pipeline if at least temporarily. Started an Occupy Foreclosure, Occupy Strike Debt and Occupy Sandy. I see courage spreading like a breath of fresh air, truth beating back lies, love and strength saying NO to the bullies, racists, elitists and exploiters. As the Chinese have over 87,000 protests this last year against the communist corporatists, as Europe fights the moneyed interests of global finance and austerity, as the so called third world marches and dies against the greed of oil, gold and diamonds, we finally awaken from our free market dream state. And for some reason I cannot fathom the rest of the world is happy to see us awaken, see us as the leader in so many things. We have to live up to our own hype. Put our money where our mouth is. Our constitution is dusted off, that old secular sacred document supplanted by apocalyptic scriptural fanaticism. Occupy will never die as long as there is one person willing to speak to power, say no to tyranny and lies. They said the civil rights movement, women’s movement, Native American movement, environmental movement, the peace movement, would all die! Occupy is not separate but the name of a big family of righteousness. I wear my little Occupy button with pride, just like the old peace sign used decades ago, yellow ribbons, suffragette banners, feathers in hats, pride of the rainbow, and “hatitude”.

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Occupy Greed


 As the presidential election unfolds we watch as a man who gained his riches by raiding corporations tries to convince the electorate he is the answer to all our problems. What ever made the republican party believe that an avowed 1%, who keeps his money hidden off shore, has joined a class of job
destroyers exporters in the wake of Occupy could be made president? I have been trying to write this segment all month and each day something else in the campaign and this country shows the arrogance of to large a portion of the plutocracy.

 Occupy has celebrated its first anniversary with "flash" protests and has decided for the most part that the focus in the next year will be to fight debt slavery. with a growing  One in five households yolked by student debt, nationally totaling over a trillion dollars,larger than credit card debt nationwide; debt is the common thread that binds the 99%. Homes are still being foreclosed, each family picked off one by one in the largest banking land grab in modern times. The crisis big money created, the chaos and usury of the banks is unfolding still after five years, virtually unabated. Not because President Obama has been recalcitrant in dealing with the issues, but because the republican/tea party plutocratic backed minority has held our country hostage over ideology. The greed apparent in the market as it soars to near  pre recession highs causes no loss of sleep for the ultra rich 400 who now own more than the bottom 99% combined. To give you  an idea and some proof of the hubris of the republican candidate and the ilk that want him in power, a quote from Edward Conard; former Bain Capital partner with Mitt Romney, in his book Unintended Consequences:

 "Let's not kid ourselves about just how cheap offshore labor really is. We not only pay substantially less per hour, we also avoid the costs we would incur if these workers immigrated here. We don't pay for there medical expenses, when they show up in the emergency room without insurance. We don't pay for their pension costs if they don't save for retirement. We don't pay for their children's public education, nor do we pay for their out of wed-lock children, their unemployment benefits, their
 workers compensation, their slip and fall torts, their wear and tear on public infrastructure and the costs of their drunk driving drug use and other crimes. We outsource pollution, its adverse effects on our health and its clean up costs. Neither the employees nor their employers are here to vote and seek political handouts."


The dripping derision on so many levels is hard to fathom and worse the likes of Conard do not see any problem with their views or their own superiority. Like so many tyrants throughout history they rationalize the good they do and if people suffer it is "unintended" so that makes it okay. They throw out platitudes like " humans aren't perfect", "it isn't about the money", "job creators" blah-blah.
 There are many who write about and speak to the issue of the plutocratic-corporate-fascists-religious-militaristic-apocalyptic society we find our selves in. The book list and authors that I have written down are only a few of the books being on the subject.

 Vultures Picnic  Gregg Palast
 Seeds of Destruction Peter Narvarro
 The Shadow World Andrew Feinstein
 Challenge Empire PHillis Bennis
 Secrets of the Temple William Greider
 Shock Doctrine  Naomi Klein
 The Folly of Fools Robert Trivers
 Debt: The first 5000 years   David Graeber
 Cities under Siege Stephen Graham
 Age of Greed
 Debunking Economics Steve Keen
 The Looting of America Les Leopold
 Two Income Trap  Elizabeth Warren
 Buying out Of America Kosman
 Oil's unending Bid
 Billionares Ball
 Waking up from the American Dream
 It's Even Worse Than It Looks
 Twilight of the Elites Chris Hayes
 War is a Racket (1935) Gen. Smedley Butler
 The Servant Economy: where Americas Elite is sending the middle class.
 Bail Out  Barafsky
 The Price of Inequality Stiglitz
 Matt Taibbi
 House of Cards
 Greedy Bastards
 Robert Reich
 Paul Krugman

And this is just a list of the ones off the top of my head, not to mention the articles, editorials and news documentaries about the rise of  plutocrats on steroids. Many if not most of the mega rich got that way with large government subsidies and contracts. The most recent I  read about was in the Nation. Tagg Romney started a private equity firm in 2008 when his father was considering running for President. The company is called Solamere and from what I
can tell is banking on and grifting from those millionaires and billionaires who are mad at this administration for pulling there fat subsidies, contracts and catching them for fraud. The articles refers to the owner of the Scooter Store who had to pay a fine of 13 million for fraud to medicare. I find it disgusting if you or I bounce a check we are often not only fined but if we close our accounts we can't get another bank account. Period. But this greedy bastard who milks our government on the backs of the elderly and disabled is still receiving money from medicare for his scooters. ( The last proof of greed in The Nation this week Nov. 5th, is an article by Gregg Palast and the fact that Romney, through Delphi (Delco) and a Paul Singer (hedge fund manager) held the auto deal hostage for obscene profits)

Greed and avarice and religious superiority are the sins that overtake us. The hyper superiority of the plutocrats hides an inferiority of morals and has roots going back to this nations beginning. The pilgrims lived in peace with the Native peoples for 20 years. The Puritans felt entitled by God and pushed the Natives aside. Not only did they foist religion upon them they took over the land. The worst part was the pigs that
roamed freely and destroyed Native crops and food stores. It is as if we have always been of two types of people. Those who understood community as reciprocity fairness and equality and those who only see evil and are thoroughly indoctrinated in their God given right to all before them and the only community is the one they create and all others are nothing. Phrases like "makers vs. takers", the 47% percent of Romney, the views spouted of women being assaulted and pregnancy as "God's Will". The religious fervor in which the Republican party  and greed wraps itself in, is not new. I could say it possible goes back to a 17th century pamphlet Tears of Repentance relating the fear of God and the need to do his bidding. (which is based upon the need for profit by Dutch merchant class and the newly created corporations.) Puritans used debt and a promise of health care for Europeans of this religious cult.They took advantage of disease and death to seize Native space and land. Our heritage as a democracy is two faced, shared democracy and owned democracy. These two themes have run red through our fabric and we have not fundamentally changed in over 400 years.

We all understand the wrong of taking more than our share, animals in the wild will discipline young ones who get too greedy at the kill. Lioness's will chase off lions who won't share. When I was little my sister who was two years young than I was caught taking my food and was severely punished. My sister and I both got in trouble for tasting our baby sisters food, not thinking how it was greedy. Growing up my Mother was keen on sharing, taking care of things and not invading each others space or rooms. My sister in an attempt to get this into her head, whether from anger or a need to drive it
home to herself, carved my name in to everything I owned to avoid confusion. We were little and instinctual the lioness tried to help us understand that things are not just things they represent hard work and heart to create a good life for all. Food was always just enough, drawing straws was
a fatalistic way, if you were lucky you got the extra serving. Poverty thinking ran our lives, how to scrimp save make do,and even when my Mother was comfortable she felt poor. The neo-cons in big business and the representatives they have bought keep crying poor when it comes to any money
spent for helping people yet give more and more money to the privatized military, privatized medicare, privatized fuel economy. The numbers don't lie.

The signs of greed are everywhere. Since 1976 the majority of 90% have seen their wages stagnate at 30 thousand a year while inflation during that same time till now is over 250%. all the while good paying jobs or jobs that would have kept up have been swallowed into the maws of private
equity and exported to countries more desperate and hungry.
1% @ 400,000 make 1.1 million a year in income.
In 1980 - Ceo's made 42 times the lowest employee, by 2000 Ceo's make 343% of their lowest earner.
In 1945 taxes on the highest earners was 66% by 2010 it is 32% but that is before all the loopholes and rich deductions they are provided.
Lobbying pays off or they wouldn't do it. 2010 - GE profit was 5.2 trillion with a T, they received a tax refund of 3.2 billion with a B.
Goldman Sachs gave 22 million in campaign money and 21 million for lobbying in 2008. They paid 1% in taxes. At least they paid something forward.
The numbers keep rolling over the lies of the free-market devotees. In Greedy Bastards by Dylan Ratigan the facts of the feed back loop called high finance makes your head swim. http://greedybastards.com/ lays out in clear facts and graphics a fifth grader can understand. Pick an issue and follow the money to the top. It is hard to believe that there is such craft and greed aforethought involved but its true. These corporations don't have any loyalty except to themselves and their stockholders. A man named Larry once exclaimed to my husband that the "investor" class are the most important. That there is basically no one else worth considering. This otherwise gentle man pronounced himself the superior of all around him.

An obscene 1.4 trillion has been spent for Iraq and Afghanistan in some shape or another and this was spent in the foot soldiers salary nor their care after returning home. The bulk has gone to a privatized military (thank you D. Cheney). It wasn't spent to make sure soldiers had what they needed to do the job, when Hummers no better than the vehicles we drive on our highways were without plating and that was the tip of the ice berg. What pisses me off is we don't have the best military money can buy. The money spent could have converted 100% of every home to solar - 5 times over. Or to wind 9 times over, or food for everyone for two years, college for every high school grad through PhD and 5,500 dollar grant 7 times over. Paid the entire countries volunteer fire fighting force for 23 years, full pensions and health care. (numbers from the American Autumn: Occudoc)

 It isn't the deficit, it is what it has been spent on. why is it in the halls of congress are those fighting to kill all social programs or further privatize it want to hold onto every penny the military gets. At this point the military sees itself awash in cash and refusing more money. A 50 billion cut in military spending would only put us a few years back ( or at the writing of this blahg, make the east coast whole again) but the greedy corporations want more. When I explain these things to my 14 year old, who is a very intelligent young lady, she stated: "Who needs that much money?" What does it go for? Certainly not wages, health care pensions and 401ks that they have raided repeatedly over the last three decades. They may be able to endow a professor at a college or buy the right to have their names upon the football stadium but you won't see them paying for public school teachers, or building bridges unless there is something in it for them. Diploma mills, the for profit colleges rake in billions from student loans, which are defaulted and 27% the rate public university loans are. The cuts in education to force us from a public system to a private for profit system vis a vis the meme from all sides "competition".

We keep being told, almost brain washed with phony compliments about how hard Americans work, how resilient etc. only to have to work harder. Yet, after the Bankruptcy and credit cards laws were changed in 2005 and it became harder to pay debt, as jobs were raided and shipped to the more hungry Chinese and their greedy plutocracy, Americans were blamed for having too much debt, especially communities of color, subtly and not so subtly. People are now going to jail for debt. Yes, debtors prison. When the private equity junk debt buyer files a motion to reveal assetts and subpoena, and the debtor doesn't show up the court is forced file a warrant for contempt. Debtors are arrested and thrown in jail till the debt is settled.

The "capitalist pig" is alive and well after successfully creating a juggernaut of free market back lash to the civil rights,women's, gay  and  environmental movement of the sixties and seventies. The Heritage Foundation was formed in 73 in direct response to Rowe v Wade.  This was the straw for the conservative right that saw white male supremacy in danger. Along with other so called "social" foundations they co-opted the tactics of the movements of the previous twenty years and turned the tide. Even co-opting and changing the meaning of language; " a thousand points of light" was a tenant from the New Age, more like a thousand pin pricks to drain us slowly of life force.  Pure and simple, these scions of power and money felt threatened and decided to do something about. Their first task was to get into the White House with someone more their kind and the answer was not Reagan, but Gerald Ford. Do you think for one minute that Nixon would have been caught or would have had to resign if he had gone along with them and Milton Friedman? No way. They eat their own just as well protect them.

In American Autumn: An Occudoc. Dennis Trainor Jr. the producer of the film asks: "human need before corporate greed" why does it feel un American to say that?"
For the same reason it is cause for derision if one states they are against war; you are not "supporting the troops", not a patriot. Why am I called greedy labor when I ask for a living wage? But Ceo's ruin their companies, banks etal and get golden parachutes and perhaps their wrists slapped and a fine that is "part of doing business". I bounce a check and refuse to be arm twisted with fees and can no longer get a bank account, but the likes of Centura rips of millions from medicare and they can still collect from medicare.   An aside: Maria Hinojosa (PBS) has been arguing that we need to stop using the term "illegal" immigrant, it implies a criminality on part with drug runners and in the same breath derided the guards at the detention centers as "paid minimum wage" as if this makes them less than human without morals or feelings. This was a glaring hypocrisy. We are all guilty of such, but only criminals hate laws and when a law is oppressive or wrong we must not demonize those who enforce them because they are victims also.

There is a song called "Idealistic Youth" on the Occupy Album that talks of a generation that believed the lies of the the free market, after all free is good, right? How wrong they were. Corporations have killed capitalism it intones. 21 trillion is hidden in banks in Monaco, a country the size of lower Manhattan. That is more money than the combined ten year budgets of the U.S. and Japan. As the child said; "who needs that much money?"
There isn't one demand in Occupy but one mantra: Occupy Everything. Name an Issue follow the money. The abuse of power not unlike the barons of old, the gilded age, (gilding btw is a thin layer to hide the cheaper metal below) the master, the lords, the husband who is king of his castle, the fear tactics and bullying. there is never enough money I can be paid or he can bring home that will buy our dignity or souls. Eventually all slaves rise up and all masters underestimate the power of the people.
The non-hierarchical approach to the general assemblies is elegant in a way they may not have realized when they were carefully trying to let every voice be heard. It isn't necessary for literally all voices to be heard, in the fact that someone will almost always say what you are thinking as if we become of a single mind in hard times. Words are power. Social media has lived up to its promise of personal expression and empowerment because it was through these forms that words created a chorus the Greeks could never imagine. The empowerment of realizing you aren't un-American if you are for peace, not a hippie (which I am proud of) for wanting what is right for the planet. We aren't alone in our doubts and hopes. The hundredth monkey "trends" with a million hits. Words in any form create an energy that cannot be dismissed. I remember my friends and I having passionate discussions over coffee for hours, long before iPhone, twitter and instant message and joking about having saved the world in our kaffee clutch. But our conversations were not in isolation it seems.
While you and I try to be good people. Are ashamed when we realize we have hurt someone else or the community at large, feel guilty for leaving lights on or having a gas guzzler before we realized. While we simply want a home, some comfort and memories with our kids, not much. There are those who are sick with ego and the need to feed it with power that comes with money. They want us all in debt to them, beholden to them, adoring them.
Amin Husain an OWS activist was very eloquent when he put it this way, when asked how direct action if effective:

 "How do we deal with mafia capitalism? which is social, political economic injustice that is pervasive in all our institutional structures. When our govt. is incapable of dealing (freeing itself from) with the grip of global capital. What do we get out of direct action? People empowerment. At an age and a time when people seem powerless, and it's important to free up imagination to think there is another world possible and that there is another way of organizing social political, economic life that isn't about Republican, democrat or independent where people get lost in the shuffle....this is the long term direct action. 9/17 became a way of life, in the epicenter of a greed culture, became a society of mutual aid"

To perhaps finish his thought for myself...govt. is people creating a body for "mutual aid". B. fuller said that to be successful one must include as many people in your idea as possible and it should help as many as possible. Alexis Goldstein of Occupy the SEC said the movement is looking for "transformational change not transactional change". Social change is difficult, long hard work. The first people who cry out for justice are often not heard at first, but when the cry gets picked up by others like the people mic, than politicians must make it their job to ratify that voice.
I remember not that long ago there was no whole grain, low fat, no sugar preservatives, much less organic in stores. Food was deplorable. There certainly wasn't any no smoking zones nor was there very much clean air in our cities and the river literally caught on fire. There was no one who dared talk about sexual abuse much less teach kids to tell. Women suffered horridly from pregnancies they didn't want and botched abortions and don't forget the unwanted children who were born. There was no idea of endangered species. There was a hole in the ozone that even Reagan recognized as a threat and now it is reported the ozone layer is returning to normal faster than the scientists calculated it would. We are capable of shifting the conversation and Occupy has done that, think about the language in the media in the last year. 
We learn to resist individually and then together. The Occupy movement has become a larger voice for many groups, an umbrella if you will for labor, foreclosed families, public lands, the mentally ill, the poor, women, black youth, on and on. If you felt you couldn't put your single mind to one issue or movement, if you felt scattered, torn Occupy can give you a sense of doing it all is some way. For all of us. One of the first things Occupy did was show up for the Verizon workers who had been on strike for a year they also protested with the Sacs Fifth Ave. auction workers. They shouted out and supported the services workers in Wisconsin as did Egypt. We are all in this together.
On Sept. 17th, tens of thousands converged on city centers to burn loan papers from house foreclosed upon, student debts, and usurous credit card collections. When people are cheated or robbed the first thing they do is blame themselves. Feeling stupid and alone, ashamed at not seeing it coming they find themselves not able to make decisions not unlike abuse victims. Occupy wants to help empower people to free themselves from debt slavery. People want to be responsible and pay their debts, but they cannot make deals with criminals who have dressed themselves with legal sheeps clothing. The debts are sold repeatedly and the tactics used are worse than the old boys at the pool hall who loan sharked. I would rather deal with them truth be told.
The Debt Resistors Handbook is down loadable for free. In it you can find ways of fighting the greed that hounds us. We cannot blame ourselves for trusting the "dream" they sold us. It would be just like blaming the child for being molested, the woman for being raped, that man who is duped by thieves.
Pursuing the American dream is not about riches, it was always truly about a Utopian dream. Not all Utopian dreams fail they evolve, they mature what they usually fail at is holding on to the dream that is truth.
 We will have the world we envision, that utopia that is the United States we must as a debt to our forebears and the Native peoples who were willing to share this utopia.

       "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare
        already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws
       of our country"     Thomas Jefferson