Archive for June, 2014

“I read the news today, O boy…….” from the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

And so it goes. I tripped over these thoughts I had written back at the very beginning of 2008. It just seemed appropriate to post them today. No particular reason.

(penned January 2, 2008)

Have you ever had a Ted Kaczynski moment? I’ve had several. The most recent one was on, Sunday December 30, 2007. I have no particular explanation for why I should have had one then. It wasn’t the anniversary of his arrest or birth or any significant date in his life, like his arrest on April 3, 1996. Perhaps it was triggered by the imminent arrival of the new year. I actually have no idea why I found myself thinking about him at all. In puzzling it out, I have come to the conclusion that it was probably merely one of those moments when the constantly simmering rage that burbles just beneath the surface of my conscious thought blew a bubble that lifted the lid of my brain pot a little and out popped Teddy K. The really strange thing is that having that energy out there didn’t really seem all that strange. It just floated out and mated with the smoke and ash of Teddy K’s free-floating anger that still hovers over us and around us today…. though we don’t often talk about it in those terms. TK was one of the first individuals to be being tarred with the label: ‘terrorist’. And it’s been stylish to label anyone who lashes out against the staus quo in the USofA as a terrorist. Well, as has often been said: one person’s terrorist is another person’s patriot.

Anyway. My Teddy K moment happened in slow motion. I was drinking a mug of coffee at the time, half-listening to the morning news on TV and slowly working my way through the Boston Sunday Globe crossword puzzle when the Kaczynski fractal began to form. It emerged from the compound created by the collision of the tectonic plates of data intake and searching —–(Comprised, among other things,  of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Patriots eking out a perfect 16 season, a TV commercial ‘approved’ by Mitt Romney, my dog whining for no apparent reason, and trying to recall the name of the director of Animal House so I could fill in 13-across on the crossword)— with the motley, though not uncommon, array of some other contents of my mind—- (random internal physical sensations and emotional embolisms including the thick furry taste of Starbuck’s Christmas-blend coffee, slowly filling sinuses, an accumulating anxiety darting furtively from health to ‘financial security’ to unnamed ‘deadlines’ )—— And suddenly there was the fractal ‘Ted Kaczynski’. His name was sort of half-spelled out but it did not include the moniker attached to him by the media, the ‘Unabomber’. That label I have always felt more aptly describes George W. Bush. The mental advert sign in my mind was set spinning like a ‘processing’ icon and it got to searching out some info about Teddy K., mostly because of the oddness factor. 

What does it all mean? Who knows? Like most other people I will be moving along the continuum into 2008. I will go along from day to day with a constantly changing cluster of external inputs that will attract the usual continual and familiar internal anxieties into new and various constructions, equally odd coalescences that will undoubtedly set off additional unforeseen and unpredictable fractals. These will be my own personal fractals; you, no doubt, will have your own. Some of them may be brilliantly reflective, but most of them, like most of mine, will merely be unremarkable and without sheen, or shine or depth or import. Most of mine will just be more of the scattered debris already adrift in my mental universe moving away from me at the speed of light. As indeed this one is. But I know that Ted K. had has own versions of what I am describing.

Dr. K’s —- yes, he is a Ph.D. He earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard and both a masters and a doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. His methodology was certainly flawed; his way of drawing attention to his message was bloody, but after all he lacked the resources of say, the US government, Exxon, Halliburton or even Rupert Murdock , to hire surrogates to drive his points home. Murdoch of course would figure out a way of profiting off Teddy K. no matter what. Say what you will Ted K. was right about many things concerning this country. His was a deeply concerned and passionate man who believed this country was running amok in the world.

His targets were carefully selected. The damage he did was limited to specific individuals. Maybe, ironically, that’s why the powerful feared him more than they fear the apparently spontaneous “mass” shooters. In general, most PhD-trained homicidal sociopaths are more inventive and clever than your average trailer-trash maniacs and disillusioned, disaffected teenagers…. they don’t generally target malls or even public schools. They look for the real perpetrators or is it just traitors?

Today the price of crude oil hit $100 a barrel. IT probably won’t stay at that level for long, but don’t expect it to drop too far below $90 again for any length of time. That means the perceived and accepted value of a barrel of the all-too-essential sticky black stuff has doubled within a year. We have a hit a benchmark that we weren’t expected to hit this soon; Doesn’t it remind you of those experts who said it would take the polar icecap a hundred years to melt? ‘Tipping point,’ anyone?

And, now that the $100 line has been crossed, despite our best efforts to prevent it, the next goal posts are already being staked out along the sidelines: $110? $125? $150? $200? Of course by the time we reach the equivalent of $150/barrel the price won’t be measured in dollars any more. It will be calculated in Euros or the yuan, or the renminbi, aka RMB. By the way (btw): you should probably make yourself familiar with those words because they will be cropping up more frequently during the next couple of years. They may not appear on the front pages or be mouthed by the talking-heads on the evening ‘news’ of course. After all, we really don’t want to scare the folks in Oklahoma, or the suburbs of NYC for that matter, too much, too soon. But, in a few months, they will turn up on the business pages, those pages ‘inside the fold’ and usually read only by the moneyed elites. Also FYI, here’s some other info that didn’t make the front page of the NY Times (at least I didn’t see it there): the RMB has climbed 6.9 percent against the dollar in the past year AND China’s trade surplus with the USofA soared to 238.13 BILLION U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of 2007. Those figures come from the US General Administration of Customs. That’s 52.2 percent more than the same period a year earlier. I could be wrong but I don’t think GWB mentioned that bit of economic good news in any of his recent ‘the US economy is doing just great’ chats. Oddly enough, that $200 plus billion is less than what we have spent so far on the ‘war’ in Iraq. Also FYI; in case you thought even a symbolic gesture on your part might help to balance this inequity, I hate to be the one to tell you, but it’s probably too late to send back all of those toxic PRC-produced, but designed-in-the-USofA, toys since your kids have probably already gummed them into a pulp. The PRC has a very strict no return policy, as do we. Since we enforce it why shouldn’t they? Right now you might want to take a moment to check on your kids just to make sure they aren’t throbbing into some sort of fit in the far corner of the family room…of course the fit may also have been caused by the ‘food’ in the snack pack they have just eaten, thanks to the Nestle corporation or some other beneficent corporate entity. See, it really is “a small world after all.”

What does it all mean? In both the short and long run it probably means the beginning of the end of USofA domination in the financial markets as well as most commodity markets. It also means that we may no longer have the role of leading actor on the political stage in the real world. Of course, over the next decade or two, there will be occasional spasms while we, now cast in the role of former dominator, thrash about in our death throes. As the drama plays out there will no doubt be an act or two of bathetic whining and posturing by whatever US ‘administration’ is in office. Remember: It’s always important to look good in front of the hometown audience. There may even be a brief few years, no more than a decade, when it looks as though our USofA character, let’s call him ‘Rocky’, that plucky heavyweight fighter, garbed in red-white-and-blue and bristling with arrogant self-serving bluster and military muscle, might stage a comeback. We may even occupy a country or two for a while. But this will be only a brief, and probably very bloody, reminder, to the rest of the world (i.e., everyone not in and of the USofA) of just how self-aggrandizing, nasty, greedy, racist, ruthless and murderous we really were/are (despite our perfect white-toothed smiles and sexy music videos). They will also be reminded by our behavior of just how very much they really hate and despise us. After all, no one loves a bullying over-lord. And after the shit has truly been scattered by the fan, what then? After that, we will be lucky if we get even table scraps. Hell, more likely than not we’ll have to scramble just to pick a few crumbs before Ecuador snatches them. For a while we may be able to push Canada or France around; but in the long run, no self-respecting nation will want to sell us anything, let alone make anything for us, even if we bribe or beg them. Then we’ll begin to discover what the rest of the world has been going through while we partied on. Hoo-Ha!

The initial stages of all of this are beginning to unfold right now. And while there are probably strategies and plans galore in the back rooms, NO ONE IN THE UPPER ECHELONS OF THE FEDERAL CORPORATE GOVERNMENT of the USofA IS EVEN TALKING PUBLICLY ABOUT IT!! Why? Because they are busy trying to convince us that none of it can possibly happen; not to US, they assure us. Some of them truly believe their own BS; they truly believe we are immune from the laws of natural relationships and the physical universe. Yes, yes I know that all of this ranting sounds truly unhinged. And even I hope it is. But I think all of us know, in our heart of hearts and brain of brains that it isn’t. All of this comfort and convenience we enjoy and take for granted isn’t going to unravel right away so certainly a few of us will get to enjoy some of the fruits of our social security checks and our 401-Ks for a few years. But you might want to suggest to your grandkids that they should consider beginning some courses in Mandarin and Hindi, as well as plumbing and farming. If not this week, maybe next. Just don’t wait too long.

And as the TK fractal moment puffed away, the entire room suddenly smelled like the place he lived in more than 4 decades ago…a mixture of lemon and wood smoke. It was, at least, more pleasingly fragrant than the smell of cordite and fracking fluids. 

June 5, 2014

This rant has nothing to do with anything in particular I suppose except to remind me that we live a world in which freedom (in the roughest and most inclusive sense of the word) has diminished and devolved since TK’s 18 year enterprise of disruption, terror and murder. Since his initial bombings in 1978, we have had 9/11, Afghanistan, Mumbai, Benghazi, innumerable school shootings, drones over Pakistan and here as well, and other government and corporate sponsored and sanctioned “interventions” and “actions”. And we have the daily terrorism of our own Congress.

This above was written back in 2008 before the festering disappointment of the Obama Administration and the economic/financial shit storm of late 2008 and 2009, a storm whose clouds have never really blown away. It was before the year 2012 when “Occupy” consciousness had begun to seep into the general culture awareness. It was before the continued escalation of violence against the planet itself and the fabric of life that supports us all. His methods may have been unfortunate, but TK’s message is/was fundamentally sound. Today his weak-limbed attempts at violence seem positively puny in comparison with the intrusive, omnipresent, all-consuming wrathful hubris of a violent, corporatized USA, whose ever-escalating, increasingly unhinged behavior we must endure every day. Hour by hour the lies pile up, the indignities forced on all of us, but always with a smile, accumulate. Will we reach a breaking point? Who knows. And, if we do, what will that moment look like? And what will it bring in its wake? 




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