Thinking back on Agent Peter's/Garrison's thoughtful presentation, one realizes most penises ernestly go about thier work-a-day tasks of expelling urine, making babies and doing their part to bring a little happiness into couples' lives. But penises of a minority of morally depraved reptilian males are wreaking violent havock on womanity and bringing shame to the owners of all those other kinder and gentler male members. The latter are quietly concealed within their owners' boxers or briefs, going about their ordinary activities, patiently and respectfully awaiting an invitation to come out and participate in sensate festivities of the flesh. Here we see a Michaelangelo's David with his typically proportioned body. Thank you Harvey Peters for shedding light on this shrouded and oft times misunderstood topic.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Many years ago, Garrison Keillor did a terrific stand up comedy routine at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, long before the Prairie Home Companion Show was on the air. During one section of the show, he included material that would never find its way on the radio program. He played the part of Harvey Peters, USDA County Sex Agent (comparable to USDA Agriculture Agents in rural Minnesota). Ostensively, Harvey gave talks to Future Farmers of America and other rural groups on sex, much as his counter parts talked about insect pests, rainfall and crop rotation.
In his County Sex Agent guise, Garrison's topic for the evening was The Penis. He explained that the penis was an unfairly maligned organ, shy and retiring by nature. Garrison added that the penis preferred a dark comforting place, away from harsh artificial lights or the brightness of sunlight or the breezes of an outdoor setting. He noted that the penis shrivled up in the cold and easily took offense, especially when compared with other Males' members. He explained that contrary to the common misconception, the penis rarely poked its nose into other peoples business where it wasn't welcome. And if it inadvertently did so, once realizing its mistake, in embarrassment, the wayward member drooped disconsolately. He went on to explain that some women accused the penis of nefarious motives, while in fact it was simply quietly waiting to be called upon to perform its reproductive function as best it was able. Between its obligatory reproductive tasks, it brought a little collaborative pleasure to both partners' lives
Harvey Peters, AKA Garrison Keillor, was regrettably not aware at that time, that a small percentage of otherwise benignly vascular male members are neuronally miswired directly to the basal ganglia and brain stem in their owners' reptilian brains, which express violent urges, territoriality and ritual displays of dominance through sexual assault. Those grotesquely violent extensions of their owners twisted thoughts have been a blight on manhood throughout history, and even to today, with Republican "legitimate rape," contnue to aspire to false propriety. Among such cases of mindless Homo raptorus (as compared with Homo sapiens, thinking man), such backward and typically conservative Velociraptor-like humanoids, and their offensively intrusive netherrods are transformed into vehicles of destructive misogany. Every right thinking man takes deep personal offense at such repulsive depredation of the individual choices of womanity, and its gross misrepresentstions of what it means to be a man.
Monday, February 11, 2013
We would like to believe light will triumph over darkness and that eventually good will prevail. Not by itself, not in any abstract sense. Would that it were always so. It takes more than good intentions.
It must have been extremely difficult in the mid-19th century for Claude Bernard, the founder of modern experimental medical science, to have realized he was largely right in his views about the nature of living things, including people, while surrounded by powerful men in theological and government positions who denied that reality. They were threatened by the idea the vital forces they believed residing in each person, with which they were embued by God, often a very fearsome God, were in charge of our actions, not actions of our brain, nerves, hormones and muscles. They were committed to ethereal worlds inaccessible to ordinary people, denying the objective alternative reality Bernard presented to them. Persistence against such opposition has not for the faint of heart, for representatives of church throughout Europe had a long history, not only suppressing such knowledge, but literally destroying those who professed it, from Copernicus to Darwin, the latter of whom the Vatican Council would have recommended for excommunication had he been a member of the Roman Church. That conflict continues virulently even today in the US, much to the dismay of much of modern developed countries.
|Illustration from Attwood's|
Oryx and Crake
The current conflict between the materially powerful and the rest of Western society is a continuation of that tradition dating to the trial and execution of Socrates. Throughout the early the Dark Ages, Central and Southern Europe was divided into areas controlled by feudal lords. There was no urban life as such. There were many barbaric tribes and loyalty was to one’s tribe, not to a country, as is still true in much of the Middle East. They had no written literature, and runes were used for monuments. They operated as city-states, similar to that imagined by Margaret Atwood in Oryx and Crake. In Attwood’s world, powerful corporations instead of Medieval War Lords ruled the city states. There was no concept of the long-term consequences of unbridled greed, which has become a disturbingly familiar story today. Political control by any means, including unconstitutional means, is a vehicle to economic control.
In a world run by greedy men and women seeking to garner control over others for their own advantage, the reality of the actual consequences of unbridled selfish human actions, always take second place. In the 18th century, a series of letters were published in the London Public Advertiser under the assumed name Junius, who it is believed was actually Sir Philip Francis, an Irish-born British politician and pamphleteer. The Letters of Junius were a source of inspiration to many, including those in the American colonies. In his letter No. 35 dated Dec 19, 1769 Junius wrote, “When once a man is determined to believe, the very absurdity of the doctrine confirms him in his faith.” He went on to write, “There is a moment of difficulty and danger at which flattery and falsehood can no longer deceive, and simplicity itself can no longer be misled.”
Perhaps we are reaching such a point today in the United States of America. Just perhaps we are coming to understand, as Wizlawa Szymborska remarked, "All the best have something in common, a regard for reality, an agreement to its primacy….."
Monday, January 14, 2013
John F. Kennedy wrote, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." This essay is about a very disturbing prospect, that the United States is approaching a point of no return in John Kennedy's equation. We are on a collision course, after which it will be nearly impossible to prevent a broad deterioration of civilized society with an unpredictable course or outcome. I am not alone in this view. Policy analysts throughout the world have begun talking about political unrest and rioting in America unless something drastic is done about fair employment the economic inequality in the US. Economist Joseph Steiglitz wrote a compelling analysis of why we are facing major political and societal upheaval in America. http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105 What has failed, is a significant rational political economic realignment consistent with the views of the vast majority of Americans, what one might call the peaceful revolution about which Kennedy spoke. Instead, a massive, exceptionally greedy and brutal oligarchy has gained control of nearly all aspects of life in America, at the expense of democracy.
|Housing for the 99% left and the 1% Right from|
Steigliz's Vanity Fair Article
Barrack Obama reminds me of William Pitt trying to persuade foot dragging Peers in the House of Lords or Edmund Burke in the House of Commons attempting to urge some accommodation by the British government with the American colonists. Indeed, Lord North (a counterpart of Harry Reed) was in the process of developing his own plan. But British Parliament was moving far too slowly, and events very quickly spun out of control, with British soldiers shooting, injuring and killing 273 colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. At that point, the colonists were no longer willing to hear any words of compromise. As they say, the rest is history.
Failure of Democratic Processes: It is becoming growing increasingly apparent, our government is not capable if responding to democratically articulated public demands for meaningful reforms. Barrack Obama was elected in 2004 with such improvements in mind, and was re-elected with an even greater sense of urgency. Regrettably he has turned out to be a Rockefeller or Colin Powell Republican on most Domestic issues. He has made some helpful strides in some social areas, but no meaningful progress on the economy. His talk of moderation and compromise on the most significant domestic economic issues are code words for doing very little or nothing. So far he had thrown some bones to his supporters to keep us from revolting. That will no longer work.
Neither Gun Control or Butter: American politicians are unable or unwilling to represent the people's interests because they are owned by the oligarchs. That includes most Democrats. The recent gun killings is a concrete example. By stonewalling. the NRA and their advocates in the Congress and Senate, including Democrats, will make certain no meaningful reforms occur. Oh, some legislation will pass the Senate and House limiting sales of gun magazines holding 100 bullets or more, and maybe outlawing some machine guns and hand-held rocket launchers, but nothing that will really make a dent in the out of control gun violence. The president will order some modest changes in various existing gun regulations, none of any real consequence. Then he will tell us its up to us to convince our representatives on the Hill to pass meaningful reforms. You and I, who have written dozens of letters to our Congressmen and Senators about these and similar issues, are going to be made responsible. We have each received stunningly thoughtful replies from our elected representatives, "Dear First Name Constituent, Thank you so much for writing. I always like to hear from people in my district about important issues..." It will be up to us. Mr. President, you may be very sorry that you say it is up to us, because eventually the people will realize you're right and take matters into their own hands.
After some benign bill is passed into law which does very little to resolve the situation, Mr. Obama will stand before the podium with leaders of both parties and praise the bipartisan cooperation on gun control. Gun killings will continue to increase with little change. Opponents of gun control and news pundits will praise the new laws as "reasonable compromises" and an example of "necessary moderation." The law they are able to pass, by definition, will be next to worthless and accomplish nothing, desecrating the graves of the 21 children murdered in Newtown. "Sorry Kids, we just couldn't do more... maybe next time," our leaders will basically be saying. You and I will study the politicians’ concerned expressions on the television machine, as they stand behind their microphones, uttering vacuous platitudes about children's safety and the Second Amendment and ask ourselves, "God almighty, what does it take for these people to be something other than be an utter disgrace to themselves as representatives of the people?"
The Sham of Outsourcing: Most working class and poor, partially or unemployed Americans realize outsourcing of American jobs has been an utter disaster. It is an outright tax-free gift to America's wealthiest corporations while taking work away from American workers. It replaces American workers' jobs with outsourced jobs in foreign countries in vast numbers. Several major American industries employ almost exclusively undocumented workers who receive very low pay and no benefits. This has the combined effect of decimating employment for many blue color Americans. Don't misunderstand me, immigrants should have the opportunity to be gainfully employed. But currently in restaurant and commercial housekeeping services, for example, they are being employed nearly exclusively at or below the minimum wage with no benefits displacing most other workers. Other workers can't afford to accept those jobs and support families. We need an even playing field for all workers. Goods made in foreign low wage countries under contract with American retailers should receive an extremely high tariff when coming into the US. Yes, prices will increase, but it is likely more American workers will also be hired.
SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH MUST STOP: The outrageous tax loophole abuses of our tax system by wealthy individuals and corporations is unconscionable. Everyone knows that it is. They are currently legal because wealthy corporations have paid Congress people and Senators to make certain the loopholes are part of federal law. This is the 600 pound gorilla in the room of reducing the federal deficit. Those outrageous abuses, with corporations paying literally no taxes, must be addressed before our leaders bargain away ANY of the people's Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits whatsoever to Boehner and the Tea Party. Barrack Obama has said he plans to do. We citizens are told corporate abuses and private tax loopholes for the wealthy are far too complicated to tackle and "are off the table." Reducing abuses by the wealthy is called too radical while taking health care away from our grandparents and children with autism is said by our distinguished political leaders "unfortunately necessary" Bull Pucky! Republicans and Democrats alike accept the shockingly diminished expectation that the American people should have essentially nothing to say about such political decisions. That has to change, sooner than later.
|Strike breakers being attacked by striking|
Democracy requires three fundamental conditions: 1) upward control, i.e. sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority, 2) political equality, and 3) social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality.(Kimber, Richard (1989). "On Democracy". Scandinavian Political Studies 12 (3): 201, 199–219). For the past 30 years US law makers have created the context for tearing apart the fabric of our democratic civilized society by systematically underming these most fundamental requisites of democracy. We no longer have a meaningful democracy in America. The crisis is reaching a crescendo. Popular rule is a façade in America. There is growing political and economic instability, and fraudulent elections are the seeds that are growing into widespread public dissent.
|Rational members of the Tea Party|
expressing their views
LACK OF MEANINGFUL REPRESENTATION: At present, there is no meaningful democratic representation for the vast majority of Americans. It us true that despite unconstitutional interference with free elections, Democrats win some elections, but few of them actually represent poor and middle class Americans once elected. In the US we have a dominant extreme far right Republican party similar to the British National Party, Germany's Democratic National Party or France's National Front, which is currently in charge of our entire government, despite it's minority status. That party is being controlled by an amalgam of wealthy followers of the John Birch Society, The Ku klux Klan and an Ayn Rand Radical Libertarians. The only other political party of note, is a Center Right Party, the Democratic Party, which currently has more in common with the British Conservative Party or the European Christian Political Movement, than most of Europe's liberal parties. There is no liberal party in the US to represent the middle class and poorer Americans. It is very difficult for Senator Bernie Sanders, with help from Rep. Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva, Jan Schakowsky, Sheila Jackson-Lee and a handful of others, to represent 95-98% of the people all by themselves.
|The Poor People's Crusade of 1968 on Washington Mall|
THE COMING CHAOS: Several times per week for the past six months I've been waking up at 3:30-4am and can't go back to sleep. Here is the nightmare scenario that is keeping me awake at night.
1. Obama has been hoping that gradually improving the economy will prevent widespread public unrest once more people are employed. Nice idea but no cigar. By very gradually increasing the number of much lower paying jobs, he bought himself some time and got re-elected. But many of the jobs do not pay a living wage, and they have few or no benefits, which in effect amounts to very large cut in wages, while corporate profits go through the roof. Combined with Obama's plan for bargaining away the social safety net, that is progressively strangling working Americans. That just won't cut it Mr. President. Not at all.
2. The intolerable extreme inequities and unwillingness by our leaders to meaningfully address them will no longer be tolerated by the American people. This situation has a very high likelihood of triggering first demonstrations, then boycotts and Occupy-type sit ins, and sooner than later, much more violent reactions. This time, more boisterous demonstrations will occur and be joined in large numbers by labor unions and various other progressive and minority groups. This time demonstrations will clearly be a unified 99% versus the 1%. Unlike the previous Occupy demonstrations, the next round will be accompanied by specific political and economic demands, an American People's Equality Plan.
3. At first, most political leaders will sneer derisively and send in police to "breakup the trouble makers." They will laugh at the demands as being absurd and childish. When there is still no meaningful political response from our leaders, public demonstrations will escalate into local strikes, shutting down businesses that are financially supporting the do-nothing politicians and profiting most from the vast inequities. There will be increasing skirmishes and injuries.
4. With continued police harassment and police violence, and absence of any meaningful political response from our leaders, in due course, general strikes and shut downs of entire industries will take place, with crippling economic consequences. Airports and ports will be closed so Wall-Mart, K-Mart, Target and other mega-retailers will have no way to get their dirt cheap (to them) electronic equipment, toys, games, furniture, lighting, footwear, and clothing to their retal stores.... we're talking billions of dollars lost. Ouch, that will begin to hurt the 1%.
5. The Romney's, Koch's and Adelson's of the country REALLY WILL need to take refuge in their walled compounds and fortesses with their private security armies or leave the country to seek safety.
|Strikers and Police|
6. Strike breakers will be hired by the corporations, but instead of rolling over and playing dead this time, union strikers and their supporters will confront the scabs, with force if necessary. That will up the ante, and the authorities will start arresting the strikers, who will passively resist in vast numbers. So many will sit down and block roadways, warehouse entrances and airport runways, the police won't be able to arrest them all. The police and National Guard won't be able to man-handle all of the thousands of protesters, many of whom will be their neighbors and friends, retirees, teachers,
laid off secretaries, sales people, not just bearded, long haired "weirdo" college students and tree huggers. Cities will stink, especially in hot weather because garbage will go uncollected. Public transportation will stop running in some cities or will operate only sporadically, and strikes by various airline employees will hamstring airlines. Airline profits will go in the toilet. There will be gasoline shortages because truckers will honor the picket lines. Scab truckers will be brought in, but their vehicles will be sabotaged. Curfews will be announced in major cities, with stores and restaurants closing at 8pm. Tourism will drop to zero. Conventions in most major cities will be cancelled. I wonder how that will affect the profit margin?
7. Finally, if our government continues to stonewall, eventually masses of people of all persuasions by the many, many thousands, will be in the streets, and the situation will be badly out of control. It will be too late. As politicians wet their pants, staring wide-eyed at one another in dismay, asking "What in the world is going on?" They will act as though this all comes as a huge surprise instead of being exactly what should be expected of a free people. The President will nationalize the National Guards in an effort to regain control. But some States' Guards will refuse to serve against their own people. It will not be a pretty picture.
8. As they always do, the businesses will bring in corporate private paramilitary Blackwater-type goons and unleash the NRA and skin head crazies who have been waiting with bated breath for an excuse to use their Glocks and Bushmasters, who will attack demonstrators and strikers. In return, strike breakers and right wing fanatics will be attacked in retaliation. Remember, almost everyonef has guns in the US, which was the way the business world seemed to want things. General mele' will result, with various groups lashing out against one another, often indiscriminately. There will be blood in the streets and constant sirens of ambulances.
9. Government officials will hole up in city halls, state capitals and in Washington and be utterly stunned. They will claim they had no idea this was coming. "Where in the world did this come from?" they will ask. "Why didn't someone tell us we were sitting on a powder keg?"
Actually, we have been telling you people this would happen for a very long tome, but you ignored it. We told you that if you keep dumping economic shit on the vast majority of the American people, and completely ignore their grievances, this is what is going to happen. The American public is utterly fed up with your stonewalling and doing nothing to address their concerns. You are out of time. You are a sorry excuse for elected leaders and representatives. It is time you pull your heads out of the sand and make something of yourselves, so your lives as democratic representatives won't have been a complete humiliaton. You can prevent an impending disaster, but it will require immediately foregoing your self-serving ways. You will need to stop talking and start listening.
Concluding Thoughts: This all sounds very melodramatic. Similar events have occurred in tyrannical states and corrupt monarchies throughout the world, as well as in pseudo-democracies where a small ruling class controls nearly all the power, as in the United States. Over recent years we have seen a wave of political discontent throughout the middle east, Africa and South Asia. Governments have been toppled. In the United States the conditions are right for a similar public reaction, but unlike other more civilized countries, many people in the US own powerful high capacity guns, which will create an extremely dangerous situation once the authorities allow it to spin out of control. Very similar events have occurred repeatedly throughout American history when the ruling corporations and extremely wealthy individuals have become outrageously greedy and brutal, with no concern for their fellow countrymen or indeed for their own country.
Unless there is a very significant change very soon, the present highly unstable situation will eventually reach a tipping point, most likely suddenly and without an immediate warning. A random event will set it off, as usually happens in such situations. It will most likely begin during warm weather and will rather quickly turn dangerously volatile. It may not be this summer, but I sincerely believe it is coming unless more sensible leaders take the situation seriously, not in six months or next year, but right now. When the political outrage finally explodes and our political leaders appear on television wearing their well-practiced earnest expressions, inanely trying to convince the public everything is under control, and... "We have been making such great strides, blah, blah, blah. There is no need to resort to such means..., but it will take time.....". That would amount to rubbing the people's noses in your malfeasance and incompetence. When the Republican leaders in the Senate and House appear on television it should be to resign. When President Obama appears on television to respond to the crisis, it should be to announce his plan to implement the basic elements of the American People's Equality Plan. It would only require three to six months to pass major economic reforms with real leadership at the helm. Anything less would be too little too late. John Kennedy will have been proven right.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Fifty Seventh and Osseo Road where my family lived in Brooklyn Center, was a mile and a quarter beyond the end of the Penn Avenue streetcar line north of Minneapolis. That was 1943-55. Every house along Osseo Road was occupied by a white Christian family, accustomed to working the sandy-soiled vegetable farms, which covered most of the area.
At an early age I learned the importance of being able to pass, a word I borrowed from African Americans, who use it to refer to light skinned Black Americans who learned they could pass for being white. While I was definitely very white, I learned how to pass for being the son of one of the uneducated blue color father and mother who spent their entire lives digging the dirt out from under their fingernails from the extraordinarily heavy, hard work they did over long hours and for little pay. Our neighbors attended one of the local Protestant churches, mostly Lutheran. Some, but not all had graduated from high school and none had gone to college. Reading was not a priority in my community. There were no libraries in Brooklyn Center at that time. Higher education was considered an effete activity for rich Easterners.
The school bus ride from the corner near our house to Twin Lake Elementary School, a mile away, provided my introduction to the first rule of passing. My parents had gotten me eye glasses in second grade because I had trouble reading what the teacher had printed on the black board, which was otherwise all blurry. The first day I proudly donned my new black rimmed glasses, several boys on the bus called me "four eyes," "teacher's pet," and "sissy." I stopped wearing my glasses on the way to school. I didn't understand the connection at first, but later I figured out they thought the glasses made me appear excessively studious, which was definitely verboten.
Although I liked to draw and paint pictures from an early age, I learned to hide that fact from other boys my age who called me a "fairy," when they found out I liked to draw and paint. Apparently art was for girls only, and a boy who liked art must be effeminate. In fourth grade I became interested in science, and checked out books from the school library about astronomy. I had found where my interests lay, and it was within the world of science. A boy on the bus grabbed the book from me and held it up waving to and fro for the others to see, as though he had found pictures of naked women in my possession, yelling, "Travis is a brown nose," and another yelled "Teacher's pet!" From then on I was careful to hide my science books from other kids.
In sixth grade I noticed several guys consistently shoved other kids on the playground or when waiting in line. They punched girls in the stomach and picked fights with other boys. They said "shit," a lot and called other kids "assholes," when there didn't seem any reason to do so. Most of the other guys in my class shrugged and seemed to accept their obnoxious behavior as though it were something you just had to tolerate, like an annoying pimple. I began feeling I must be from another planet, because their behavior seemed totally unacceptable and so alien to me. When I told them to cut it out, they threatened to “beat me to a pulp.” No one took my side.
When I was in 7th grade we were transferred to Robbinsdale Public Schools five miles away. After school I walked into town down to West Broadway to get a haircut. The barber was an older balding guy who did his best to make conversation with his customers, including kids like me. As he clicked his scissors around my ears he said with a chuckle, "How about them Gophers, sure kicked the Hawkeyes butts! He was referring to the previous Saturday's football game. I said, "Yep," but had no idea what he was talking about. That was when I learned about guy talk. I played touch football nearly every day after school in Fall, and played basketball outdoors all winter, and softball in the spring, but I had no idea who the Hawkeyes were. I didn't follow sports news. It was of no interest to me. I was a doer, not a watcher. My dad wasn't much of a football fan either, though he enjoyed watching Friday Night Fights on television. After that, I looked up the Gopher game scores before going to get my next haircut; it was part of passing.
My parents let me get a driver's license when I was 16 years old. The problem was that I didn't have a car. I saved my money and for $24 bought a dark green '37 Plymouth. I earned enough money working odd jobs to buy gas and oil. It used way too much oil. When my friends gathered round to see my purchase, I discovered I was expected to lift the hood lid and prop it up so they could see and listen to the engine running. I wasn't sure why, but that was definitely what guys did. The really cool guys lifted one foot and rested it on the bumper while the engine was running, as they talked about compression, carburators, distributors and plugs. I tried to do that in order to pass. I knew what a sonnet was, where the superior vena cava was located and the names of Mars's moons, but I couldn't remember the difference between a carburator and distributor. That's a real problem when you're trying to pass.
When I was a feshman at the University of Minnesota I came upon Dick Guindon cartoon that explained everything to me. Guindon had drawn cartoons for the Minnesota student "Daily" before he made it big. The first frame showed some cows in a pasture standing on their hind legs chatting with one another. A fence and roadway ran along the field. In the second frame, one cow shouted to the others, "Car!" and they immediately got down onto all fours and started chewing grass. In the final frame, as the car passed into the distance at the furthest end of the field, they all stood up on their hind legs again and resumed their conversation. I finally discovered what passing was all about.