Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Conservatives who don't conserve

[Time to bring out the classics and dust them off for a new year. I wrote this six years ago during the Bush era, but it applies even more so today. Soooo, a little editing and a little pathos for 2012]

It seems as if nothing is sacred for today’s so-called conservatives. The very root of their philosophy is utterly ignored as rightwing politicians, pundits, and their corporate sponsors hack their way blindly across the political landscape and the planet. Their true conservative predecessors must be rolling in their graves.

“MORE” is the motto, as legions of automatons crank up the thermostat, oblivious to the winter wind howling through the open door. That’s Congressman Bernie Sanders’ North Country metaphor, one he used in the past to blast the Bush administration for its shortsighted energy policy that places little emphasis on energy conservation. It’s an apt metaphor today for people who have lost sight of reality and whose attachment to the planet and their fellow inhabitants seems all but lost.

In a nation that consumes 30% of the world’s resources with only 5% of the world’s population, it’s actually criminal to ignore conservation. And, quite frankly, that is how we are viewed by that other 95%. The United States is the real Evil Empire. The nation where the laws of thermodynamics are ignored. An outlaw nation. Corporate America and their cronies in government squander the gifts of the planet, letting much of it fall to the wayside unused and irretrievable. And these people call themselves conservatives?

They conserve only their own privilege in a world running short on ecological options. Two decades ago the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity stated: "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished." Now those 20 years have passed and conservation remains on the back burner. A true conservative knows the value of conservation. A true conservative practices thrift; using whatever resources they require with care and foresight, keeping future generations in mind. Does that sound like the present occupants of corporate boardrooms or Washington? Is that the mentality guiding proponents of corporate globalism as they seek to undo environmental safeguards, claiming them as restraints against fair trade? Is that the thinking behind an industrial assault upon the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, the proposed Keystone pipeline, hydrofracking or a renewal of the ill-conceived nuclear power industry? And, for that matter, does that sound like your overweight neighbors with the jetski and snowmobiles parked in the driveway next to the giant SUV? We don’t think so!

Actually, some Democrats' energy plans read more like a conservative’s idea of energy policy. This is not surprising, given how far to the right the Democrats have wandered. Why don’t they simply skip the pretense and claim the mantel of conservatism for themselves! That done, the denizens of the far right can be pegged for what they truly are: Enemies of the Earth and its inhabitants; former conservatives who have gone over to the dark side.

Given that scientists around the world have sounded the closing bell, one might hope that sanity would prevail and people across the globe would rise up and demand an end to planetary suicide, but it's a highly flawed species and sanity is not one of our high cards. All recent Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been pretty much dismal failures. With a few exceptions, the numbers on CO2 and other levels of pollutants are rising still, yet far-right Republicans deny the evidence while calling for more of the same.

How do we turn this ship around? Occupy the pilot house? Prayer? Plague? Maybe the Mayans were right, maybe the world does end now. On the other hand, many archeologists say that's a misreading of Mayan Calender. Maybe we'll just go out with a whimper rather than a bang, or maybe, just maybe, we'll come to our senses and get on with some real conservation, but we have to do it NOW.

Friday, December 09, 2011

About that bull

One of the most iconic images of Occupy Wall Street, and perhaps the Occupation Movement in general, may well be those New York City cops guarding the golden-toned statue of the "Charging Bull" in Bowling Green Park near Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. When Occupy Wall Street was initially conceived by AdBusters, often a vital source of iconic images, the Charging Bull was depicted with a ballerina on its back and a mass of protesters and tear gas in the background. During the summer leading up to the September 17 occupation of Liberty Park there was talk of focusing some of the protest on the Bull. This no doubt led the police to finding themselves nursemaids to a statue while actual criminals looked down from boardroom windows far above the street.

A corresponding image of a fully dressed matador on top of an NYPD squad car, taunting the Charging Bull with his cape, along with rodeo clowns by the Bull (the matador escaped), reinforced the symbolism of the statue. All this attention to the Charging Bull, meant perhaps by its creator to represent the bull market and the bullishness of market capitalism, begs the question: what's with the bull? Beyond what we've already described, and in the spirit of New York City's fabled lexicon, one might say there is a wealth of bullshit coming out of Wall Street. But deeper than the obvious exists an iconic symbol that goes back thousands of years, a symbol loaded down with meaning as old as time.

Regardless of whether one happens to be religious, whether one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan or whatever, the Holy Bible contains stories and images that have permeated cultures through the ages. In fact, when this writer was in advertising school in a previous life, the Bible was recommended as a secular source for time honored quotes and concepts. In any case, one of those images and concepts that made its way into our collective psyche over the years was that of Moses coming down from the Mountain to find his people worshiping the Golden Calf. You probably know where this is going now: the Golden Calf grows up to be either a Golden Bull or a cash cow.

The fact that a developed representation of the Golden Calf has made its way to the New York Financial District speaks volumes about the values and priorities of those who ply their trade on or about Wall Street, and by extension, within the capitalistic economy as a whole. The struggle between materialism and ethics, between the worship of gold on the one hand, and the worship of a higher power (whatever it be) or high ideals on the other, is alive and well in the 21st century, in the boardrooms and on the streets. We should not be confounded by the brutal greed and selfishness of the banksters and corporados. The denizens of Wall Street and its environs worshipping the Golden Calf and blowing off concepts like "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbor's" is simply business as usual. What is surprising is the fact that they erected the Golden Calf in plain sight for everyone else to see.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Corporate corpses

autopsies performed in broad daylight
revealed the subjects to be
infested with bad ideas and a
certain degree of sociopathic
irresponsibility and traces of tea
of suspicious origin discovered
in it's lack of stomach for
certain equities and evidence of
various substances associated with
hallucinations, illusions of grandeur
and a psychotic tendency to
loot and pillage every village
with keystrokes and bank notes
the coroner's report was released
to a waiting public on the commons
where the bodies were discovered and
then covered discreetly with
transparent tarp so the hard rain
would not wash away the sins of the
rulers of the fucking universe.

all their charters have been withdrawn
with a patriotic song and a salute
to those who slept out in the rain
and endured all that pain associated
with a revocation in this nation
leaving countless followers & fools
stranded at the station, the train
having left for parts unknown
that could hardly be any worse than
that exclusion zone called home.
no more.