18 July 2014

Starfish


Eleanor Lerman
This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?
Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.
And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

14 July 2014

The 1912 US Presidential Election

Free Markets Killed Capitalism
If you want to understand political economics in America, study the election of 1912. Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and William Howard Taft, (with just a dab of Debs). That's the point where you clearly see the three main ideas that still sort of dominate how we think about political economics in America today.
First wasTaft with the idea that private feudalism is okay. The Republican Party’s message was pretty straightforward. It was, to paraphrase, “Just let us take care of business for you. We’re wise, we’re expert in it—“
The second idea was that of the Progressive's Bull Moose Party. Teddy Roosevelt’s basic stance in 1912 was to acknowledge that the capitalists had concentrated control over entire industries. What we needed to do, he thought, was make sure that system works for the public benefit. Regulate the monopolies.
The third idea in 1912 was that of Wilson's, that all concentrated power is dangerous. Power overly concentrated in public government is dangerous. And power concentrated in private corporate government is even more dangerous.
Wilson also acted to ensure that farms were not taken over by giant combines, that small businesses, small stores were not taken over by giant chains like Walmart or Amazon.
And then came WWI.

12 July 2014

Anniversaries of traumas can trigger vivid memories and more:


***
Bringing to mind Winslow Homer’s “The Veteran In A New Field”, Aaron Spangler's “Government Whore” portrays a shell-shocked war veteran amid the comforts of home, yet still clinging to his SKS rifle while in bed contemplating past sins. Flowers, bundles of sage, a Bowler hat, and a farm house are juxtaposed with a cow skull, animal claws, palm leaves, and an ascending soldier to create a dreamlike sequence of the rivaling environments of Vietnam and the United States....
...“The Valley Below” celebrates the peace, beauty, idealism, and magic of the undomesticated life “off the grid”, which has often become the destination of many in the hippie movement following wartime. A prominent Barn Owl, which is known to actively hunt for prey only under the cover of darkness, seems to beckon the viewer back to the land and its groves in search of a simpler way of living.
***
Selected writings of mine can be found at the link.  http://hortongallery.com/exhibition/57/government-whore


We got too big for the world

Kohr’s claim was that society’s problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organization, but by their size. Sociali...