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the Trump Tragedy – Act II…

December 15, 2017

As much as we don’t want to admit it to ourselves, or think about it over the holiday season, we know that 2017 wasn’t going to be the worst year in American Trump Politics.

Worse, is yet to come.

We all wondered how long it would take after last Jan 20th before it was revealed just how corrupt and incompetent and evil Donald Trump is, and so, here we are – coming to the end of Scene One, where it has been revealed that Trump, in all his sensational glory, is a junk-food diet-coke addicted, KKK supporting, pussy grabbing, authoritarian Caligula wanna-be; a politician we now realize, who would have no problems disappearing his political opponents if he had the power to do so.

The only thing stopping him at this point from acting like Vladimir Putin’s white-trash second cousin, is a political system that has had 200 years to prepare for these very moments – when History comes round on itself (again) and anti-democratic forces again raises its ugly head.

~~~~~

I was in the middle of my undergraduate Political Science/History degree when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were elected. I had three professors at the time who had a profound impact on how I saw the political shift to Reagan and Thatcher: one was from Ghana, another from Guatemala, and a recent Russian immigrant to the University of Waterloo who was this fierce young woman who knew everything about global economics and had once been stationed by the Russian Army in Cuba. All three of them knew how to point out a Putin, a Duterte, a Dick Chaney, and a Donald Trump from a mile away.

They talked to us about what the long-term implications of a Reagan and a Thatcher can be. They talked about their own countries (and others) and what inevitably happens when a nation makes a hard-right political move.

Trump is that direct line from Reagan. Even more so Mike Pence.

~~~~~

In 1972 conservative leaders, thinkers, and lay people got together at a major convention to discuss their revulsion with all of the progressive political ideals that were still blowing too strongly in the post-60’s wind – democratic socialism in Chile, France, and some post-colonial African nations; feminism, civil rights, gun control, and calls for universal healthcare in America. How were they going to tackle this problem?

They came up with what is now seen as a brilliant political long-term strategy. They realized that you didn’t start by only trying to change the top. No, concrete, fundamental, long-term success started at the bottom.

At the very bottom – in primary grade public school councils.

Infiltrate the school councils and school boards and change how the nation’s children think.

In hindsight, it was brilliant!

Our culture begins in primary school. As adults we know this – our coming-of-age primary school memories are some of the most powerful political awareness moments we have had in our lives. Love, Death. Success. Failure. Bullying. Beauty. Popularity. Science. Reading. It all begins in primary school.

It is also a time in our biological life when we are most open to cultural messaging. We want to be accepted into the herd. We are, for the most part, blank slates upon which our dominant culture writes its autobiography.

We get older and forget about this, or dismiss our old memories as the thoughts of children.

I have been a youthworker, youth crisis counselor, youth educator, for most of my adult life. If you have forgotten – trust me – it all starts in school.

~~~~~

As many of us “liberals” know (but don’t like to admit), not many liberals like getting down into the cultural and political muck. Ewwe!

We can’t imagine living and working in Alabama, or Arkansas, or the south-side of Chicago, or in the un-cool parts of Detroit.

I may have grown up with all the privileges of a heterosexual white male in pre-AIDS 1970’s America!; with Farrah Fawcet, Bruce Lee, Led Zeppelin,  the pill, and an abundance of jobs – but I also grew up in east-rural Ontario, which was in those days only a two-minute drive from Appalachia. It’s still a tough place to be a progressive.

I love my hard-won inner-city multicultural bohemian’ish neighborhood. Why would I want to live and work anywhere else?

~~~~~

There are many more conservatives willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work then there are liberals willing to take a break from their lattes; it may end up being liberals’ fatal flaw. Our Achilles’ Heel.

While 1980’s and 1990’s liberals were all packing their children off to universities and middle-management lifestyles, and dismissing and de-funding high school technical programs as being beneath a proper level of education, conservatives were quietly getting to work by getting themselves elected to their local primary level school boards and PTA Councils.

Most liberals didn’t notice the groundswell change because they were either homeschooling, or sending their kids to the “arts school”, where middle-class liberals could “top up” school funding  and pat ourselves on the back for how clever our kids were.

But not everyone can work in middle management. Things still need to be built, cleaned up, torn apart, re-built. Sewers still need to be drained, and food needs to be grown. Then we sent all of these jobs overseas.

Liberals forgot about all of these people.

~~~~~

Zoom ahead forty years and you see how all of that conservative hard work and liberal acquiescence has paid off. Our society is a fundamentally different society than it was in the 1970’s.

A portion of it is better, but we have also lost a great deal along the way.

After Kennedy was assassinated, shot at the very peak of early 1960’s idealism, America has had the following Presidents: Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Trump.

Johnson and to a lesser extent Nixon were the only two to (reluctantly) push through progressive legislation. It has been a slow and steady pull back by every President since (save maybe a small argument for Obamacare).

America has been moving further to the right as long as I have been old enough to pay attention. It has always been Conservative in its political leanings, its foreign policy can only be described as ruthless.

But I didn’t grow up in that America. Mine was the high tide of 1960’s progressive possibilities. Freedom, equality, choice.

It was a great time to be a progressive. I met other progressives from endless cultures, got one of the first post-colonial university educations, was sent on research missions by my university to Argentina and Ghana. I worked in community development projects in hard inner city communities, on Reserves, in various places around the world.

But, as I came to learn and discover, too many progressives have a sweet tooth for middle-management materialism, and bourgeois cultural self-indulgences. We grew fat, and lazy.

Who wants to muck around in a school board meeting, when Netflix just released Season Two of The Crown?

The duties required in my school, church, community center, local non-profit pay nothing, and you might have to work with religious dingbats who think Harry Potter and The Chrysalides should be banned from the public school library?

Who wants to spend the evening reasoning with people who have no problem with book burning, lying about our history, or putting a creationist God back in to the Science curriculum? I’d rather stay home and drink craft beer and play board games with my friends.

In the smallest of nutshells that’s how the conservatives have been winning the cultural battle, how they have gained political advantage, and are now about to attempt to sweep away all of the human rights gains made in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Luckily for us (perhaps, hopefully), conservatives, like liberals, like to cannibalize themselves to gain inner-tribal advantages, and so have fractured from the united Reagan conservatism of the 1980’s, to tribes of Tea Party Fascists, reality TV loudmouths, Oligarchic tyrants, and supporters of pedophilia and child marriage.

Left to their own devices they would bring the whole house down.

Conservative elites have always thought that they could just throw flame retardant at the hungry masses, while they live above the inferno. Sometimes they have been right. But we have the French, Russian, and American Civil Wars to remind us that they have also been wrong.

~~~~~

Trump has been nothing less than a semi-feral dictator who has only been contained from doing worse by his aides, the media, and a very wobbly political and legal system no one has much faith in anymore.

We know that he will not leave without a fight.

Historians know this much: it will get worse, before it gets better.

They say this not because they are cynics, but because we are all in too deep now. The process has to play itself out. We are only just getting into the meat of the play. There are still 2-3 acts to go.

We know 2018 will be the next act in this political tragedy. Some liberals may quibble and call this play a Farce, but if you note, they are usually the ones with no real skin in the game. Racism is not a farce when you are a Black man living in America.

Trump could very well wreck the whole playground before he is done with his tantrum, but he is too stupid to organize a Coup. But that’s little solace. We will still have to clean up after the hurricane has blown through.

~~~~~

Fortunately, for conservative elites, the rulers of the Democratic Party also think themselves as Aristocracy, and so they are already fighting hard to keep “Sanders-ism” under tight control. They recently did a non-violent purge of Sanders’ supporters within the Democratic Party, and may even be trying to lay the way for another Clinton neo-liberal run at the White House.

All Aristocrats are tone-deaf to the wishes of the masses, and in this, Liberal elites are no different.

~~~~~

Sorry, I skipped ahead an Act there. That’s 2019’s scene.

2018’s scene will be about what we do with Trump. We know he will try and bring the whole system down, if and when it is to his advantage, but we do have control over how we respond.

Will we invoke the full Power of the Constitution?, or are they just words written on paper?

Are you going to try and engage in political change in 2018, or are you just going to yell from the sidelines – you know, invoke your White Privilege?

~~~~~

Alabama was the best Christmas present the nation could have received.

And who delivered that Christmas present?

A Black Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause, that’s who!

(The majority of Whites down there sure as fuck weren’t leading the civil rights fight – 68% of them would rather pick a pedophile-anti-Semite-pro-slavery fascist, over a lawyer who is famous for successfully convicting KKK members.)

((How do you reason with that? What are they so afraid of? Where do we find a middle ground?))

The Alabama win is as close to meeting Martin Luther King as I will ever get.

Liberals and progressives, be they wealthy or poor, need to roll up their sleeves in 2018, and get out into their communities and political spaces.

Stop hiding behind your irony, your existential angst, your pessimism, your organic bananas, and your defeatism.

With everything we do we create the world we want.

Once you get out into the world and ask “why are we creating this one?”, you discover that together we can create something different.

So…, why do we want this one?

And what’s the alternative…?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur

 

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snow and bread and wine…

December 12, 2017

To everyone who came to our latke party last year – we miss you all – but it keeps going here in Chicago…happy holidays everyone…

the do-nothing secret of the Liberal Party…

December 7, 2017

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/11/23/trudeau-orwell-eliverology/?utm_source=weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=271117

I have to say that I have been fascinated with this article since I first read it a couple of weeks ago.

“Deliverology” is a concept straight out of an Ayn Rand novel.

The idea that parasitic consultants and politicians would sit around and devise new ways to do nothing is nothing new, still…it does make you want to punch one of them in the face.

It’s not hard to see why increasing numbers of people are not voting – and why increasing numbers of people are supporting reactionary, irrational, conservative causes ie Donald Trump.

Chris Hedges and others have been screaming for years that liberal elites and middle of the road politicians have been selling out to big business and the status quo in order to fortify their own wallets and positions of power. And that the price of this indifference is voter apathy, and the growth of reactionary politics.

Not surprisingly, Trudeau got a day’s worth of attention last week with his vague, open-ended, ten-year plan to address homelessness in Canada.

Also not surprisingly, homeless advocates, after reviewing Trudeau’s new policy, argued that it would not, in fact, address homelessness. They also highlighted, that upon closer inspection, there were no actual firm commitments in the Liberal policy to do much about homelessness in Canada, at all.

Trudeau stood in front of a bunch of media microphones and said some nice words about caring about the homeless issue, and that they would deal with it.

Nice words, said nicely.

I’m kind of surprised that he didn’t cry.

Last week he cried when apologizing to the Aboriginal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A couple of days later he cried when apologizing to the LGBTQ2 community.

But no tears for the homeless.

He taught theatre in high school afterall – surely he could have found a way for just a few more.

Deliverology: how to feign concern, say some nice progressive words about fairness, justice, caring; then make vague easily forgettable promises, all the while not actually solving any of the major structural problems before us.

Deliverology: maintaining the status quo, while making it appear that we aren’t actually simply running on the treadmill of status quo.

Hey look, the big Canadian banks just had record third-quarter profits…again! Like for 80 quarters in a row! Fantastic!

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/11/30/National-Housing-Strategy-Maintain-Homelessness-Decades-Come/

 

 

Who are you calling a ‘harasser’?

December 3, 2017

Let’s start by talking in generalizations.

If we were to get too specific, too soon , we will simply collapse into Apologetics, spinning our tires in the mud.

Of course not all men are the same – but too many are when it comes to sexual predation and harassment.

If you know a woman, you know someone who has been sexually harassed.

Valerio Castello – Massacre of the Innocents

The male sex drive is extremely aggressive if left unchecked, and is often violent when the rule of law is absent. It always has been.

It’s pretty obvious that men evolved from the Chimpanzee side of the tree, and not from the Bonobo’s side. We share 96% of our genes with Chimps, and almost 100% of the cultural expectations.

Chimps are aggressive, territorial, hierarchical, prone to violence.

Bononbo’s, in contrast, are communal, pro-social, and only violent in self-defense. They are not monogamous and they raise their young together.

We may have strands of Bonobo among us, but we are primarily Chimps; that is our destiny.

II

The history of man, is the history of man behaving badly.

The oldest surviving scripts from Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Egypt – the Instructions of Shuruppak (2600BC), the Code of Urakagina (2400BC), the Epic of Gilgamesh (2100BC), – are scared manuscripts on the evils of war, sexual assault, corruption.

Man’s bad behavior was explicitly called out 500 years later when God spoke directly to Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not kill! Thou shalt not steal! Thou shalt not commit adultery! Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife!

They were instructions directly from God!

Little good they did.

The Old Testament is filled with man’s lust for war, rape, incest, violence.

Jesus – God’s son Himself – will try again with a personal Sermon from the Mount.

Do you know what he said?

“Blessed are the peacemakers. You are surrounded by liars, who use God’s name against you. You are the light of the world; let your light shine! Don’t spend your time destroying; spend your time fulfilling what is right and just in the world.”

What do we do with that information? We nail Jesus to a couple of boards and hang him to dry in the desert sun.

We write it all down, again, in the Magna Carta in 1015. (“TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs forever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:…”)

We do it again with the American Constitution in 1789. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”)

After the horrors of the First and Second World Wars, after 100 million deaths, all nations of the planet sign the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

This time, we said to ourselves, we will listen*. That was in 1948.

*1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

  1. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
  2. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
  3. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
  4. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

And these are only the highlights of my western tradition. Every culture has variations on the same themes: war, sexual assault, corruption, violence.

What of all these sacred scripts? – some of it straight from the mouth of God – all of it enshrined as Covenants, the very scriptures of our churches, our government houses, our international law, cherished with the highest reverence in our oldest libraries?

At once sacred script, and also, not worth the paper they are written on.

III

It’s no surprise that the Lord of the Rings was written in 1937, by an Englishman.

Everyone could hear the drums of Mordor beating in the Prussian heartland. From Berlin to Moscow armies of Orks were preparing to march on Western Europe. Seeking revenge for what had been done to them over the previous century – when French and Austrian forces raped and pillaged their way to the doorsteps of Moscow.

Are we now, again, building towards those strange and mythic times?

When the forces of evil begin to gather on the horizon, and also from within ourselves.

Does the Hunger need to be fed?

If you look at Europe’s history, it has rarely gone more than a generation before war re-appears. From 1645 to 1945, for three hundred year, Central Europe is almost always at war. It is nearly impossible for our generation to know what that must have been like for everyday people. Born into war, living and dying in war, war in your old age.

Sure, there have been many flair-ups over the past 75 years, in smaller post-colonial nations, among lesser people. We had been so secure in our knowledge of progress, history, race. Now we have grown fat and lazy, drinking our own contempt-full nihilism.

Corrupt to the core, the unhinged aristocracy looks for ever new ways to suck the carcass dry. All the while looking to go to war, masturbating madly into the face of the sun!

Do you think it is a coincidence that the alt-right is organizing at the same time women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color are demanding to be treated equally, as agreed upon in the Declaration Treaty that we all signed?

I think we can all agree that, before the coming tears and lamentations, we will first tell the Declaration to go fuck itself, before we’re done.

IV

The internet – while it lasted, was one of the great inventions of my time.

To go from a rural world of no books, no television, no news, to the entire world at my fingertips – books, art, museums – almost made me believe in God!

Now we are seeing that, like all new technologies, it also has a dark side.

Social Media has re-tribalized us like nothing we’ve seen since the beginning of the 2nd World War.

And in our entrenchments, fascism is again adrift in the air, the new realities of political nationalism. Young American men waving Swastikas and Confederate flags.

Middle-ground liberals and conservatives too easily sold the farm for their own small political advantages, and now are on the outside looking in – paralyzed by their own adherence to party structures and their fear of standing up to bullies.

From Pakistan and Afghanistan, through Yemen to Turkey, bombs explode, lives torn apart – new hatreds spawned.

V

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that most men, if asked, wouldn’t know what you were talking about if you asked them what they thought of the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

Do you still believe that the Weimar Republic was an anomaly in history?

Slavery was legal in America for three hundred years.

Charles I used the torture rack to rip apart Irish Catholic Priests in the early 1600’s.

The Napoleonic Wars raged for more than 20 years.

England and France twice went to war with each other, in wars that each lasted 100 years.

Until I turned 23-years-old, it was still legal in Canada to rape your wife.

That was less than 35 years ago.

Part 2:

How much of this eternal male sexual rage is Nature, and how much of it is Social Construct?

The question is not as easy as it sounds, for the behavior crosses cultures, religions, continents.

The Generals tend to argue that it is in our nature to be violent, territorial, sexually aggressive. That essentially we protect our self-interest through bullying; we also love to goad it over the weaker.

It’s our original sin.

So what can we do?

~~~~~

Many psychotherapists, sociologists, and anthropologists would argue that if our fathers hadn’t beaten us, abandoned us, or judged us so severely, we’d be more socially adjusted.

That early developmental shit takes a toll on us boys, near-breaking most of us before we even got to puberty.

Our addictions are but our failing coping methods.

II

It’s the old Black and White version of the Male Truth. Nature or Nurture? Either / Or?

Anything is either true,

            Or not true,

            Or both true and not true,

            Or neither true nor not true.

            This is the Lord Buddha’s teaching.

III

Abraham dragged his only son (Isaac) up the mountain, with the intention of slitting his throat – as a sacrifice of faith to Abraham’s God. (A close reading of the Old Testament identifies 35 Gods.)

Do you still take time to think about that? Abraham was so dedicated to his notion of God, that if his God had said “slit the throat of your son, as proof of your faith” Abraham would have done it. Without question.

Now imagine you are Isaac. And this is your father…who dragged you up the mountain side…

No surprise then, that Isaac wasn’t much of a father role model either. Isaac, in turn, was so hated by his lesser favored son, Jacob, that Jacob swindled his brother out of his inheritance, just to get back at his father. (His wife having instructed Jacob on how to hoodwink the father.)

In his turn, Jacob would have twelve sons, but Jacob would die in exile.

And so it goes.

From father to son, down through the ages.

III

Father complex is a complex group of unconscious associations, or strong unconscious impulses—which specifically pertains to the image or archetype of the father. These impulses may be either positive (admiring and seeking out older father figures) or negative (distrusting or fearful).

Sigmund Freud, and psychoanalysis after him, saw the father complex, and in particular ambivalent feelings for the father on the part of the male child, as an aspect of the Oedipus complex… Freud had argued that the father complex—fear, defiance, and disbelief of the father—formed in male patients the most important resistances to his treatment…

Whereas the idea of the father complex had originally evolved to deal with the heavy Victorian patriarch, by the new millennium there had developed instead a postmodern preoccupation with the loss of paternal authority—the absence of the father.  Alongside the shift from a Freudian emphasis on the role of the father to object relations theory‘s stress upon the mother, what psychoanalysis tended to single out was the search for the father, and the negative effects of the switched-off father…

However, English novelist D. H. Lawrence dismissed the idea of the father complex as applied to himself, calling it a fool’s complex.

Wikipedia

IV

al·pha male

noun

  • the dominant male animal in a particular group.

“two of them trotted over to greet the alpha male, a black wolf with a graying muzzle”

  • a man tending to assume a dominant or domineering role in social or professional situations.

“most alpha males need to control the women in their lives”

Google Dictionary

~~~~~

According to Paul Hudson’s blogpage Elite Daily, there are ten qualities an alpha male should look for in a girlfriend:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Intellect
  3. Passion
  4. Vision
  5. Control
  6. Unpredictability
  7. Patience
  8. Assertiveness
  9. Egocentricity
  10. A touch of stubbornness.

https://www.elitedaily.com/dating/10-qualities-every-alpha-male-look-girlfriend/974493

~~~~~

12 Characteristics of an Alpha Male:

  1. The alpha male is persistent.
  2. The alpha male can defend himself and his family.
  3. The alpha male is in peak physical shape. Aesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex.
  4. The alpha male is courageous.
  5. The alpha male is a man’s man. He’s tough, often quiet, composed, but can joke and shoot the shit with anyone.
  6. The alpha male is a hard worker. He knows that nothing great is accomplished without hard work and a definite purpose.
  7. The alpha male is a warrior not a worrier.
  8. The alpha male isn’t fighting to destroy, but to defend.
  9. The alpha male knows how to treat a lady.
  10. The alpha male isn’t a sucker. He won’t let a woman run his life. He’s his own man.
  11. The alpha male is a leader who leads by example. He doesn’t tell people how to live, but lives in the manner he sees as best to live.
  12. The alpha male is stubborn. When he starts something he’s passionate about, no one can stop him or pull back on the reigns. He’s in it until the end.

~~~~~~

The fear of the school-yard alpha boy(s) is real.

They can smell your fear.

A Great White Shark can smell a drop of blood two miles away.

The alpha males who move in packs are often little more than half-feral dogs.

Ask any boy. We all have to deal with them, right up until the day we die.

If these guys can get you without a teacher around, or a police officer, or a Supreme Court, it can very quickly deteriorate into Lord of the Flies in a matter of minutes.

 [CLEVELAND — A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed after being caught in gunfire that also left five teens in the hospital on Friday evening.
Around 7:30 p.m., a group of teens were walking on a sidewalk near East 116th Street. According to Cleveland police, they were approached by 3-4 males who produced handguns and began firing at the teens.
The shots got the attention of a nearby shop owner and his 12-year-old son, who both came outside to investigate. When more shots were fired, the two retreated back into the store, where they discovered the 12-year-old had been struck by a bullet in the torso.
The boy was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The father was uninjured.
The five teens who were shot and taken to University Hospitals, where one remains confined with a gunshot wound to the head.
There have been no arrests, but police say the suspects were wearing black or darkly-colored hoodies and are also likely juveniles.]

V

Do you think these men will happily stand aside as soon as you try to reason with them, or wave the Declaration of Human Rights in their face?

Ha!

Your proclamations and your legal documents are the very first things to get thrown on the bonfire in the town square. Old proclamations make the best kindling. It’s the dry paper. It burns the easiest.

Did you know that there are still towns in America where the people gather to gleefully burn books.

Burning the Koran is still a popular way for some people to commemorate 9/11.

VI

History reveals that there are essentially two things that need to happen to change men’s behaviors.

The first is a change to the existing laws. Only 1% of all sex crimes ever end in a conviction. Last year, 500,000 sex crimes were reported by women to the police in Canada. The police estimate that only 10% of all sex crimes are ever reported in the first place – so try and imagine what the real number of sex crimes in Canada – that ever so mild mannered country – is?

Still, 500,000 reported crimes means that is about one sex crime reported for every minute there is in a year. (There are 525,600 minutes in a year.) 1% of these crimes will ever be punished by the law of the land.

The second is to review how we reduced cigarette smoking in North America through public education. Imagine how we’d feel if people could still smoke in airplanes? Beside you in a restaurant? In an elevator? At the movies? On the bus?

It took nearly thirty years of campaigning politicians to get the smoking laws changed.

We now need the same public education campaign against sexual harassment and assault.

~~~~~

Men, as you may have noticed, are not particularly law-abiding creatures, but enough of them are to take notice when the law changes. Reluctantly at first, sure, but most can be brought around when the case is made before them.

Making the case against sexual harassment – that is the crux of the matter.

Change the law, talk about the facts, make it a public health mandate, teach it throughout the school years – from pre-kindergarten through high school senior – and on into university undergraduate programs.

VII

Quantum Physics suggests that we first mentally create the world we want to live in. That if we imagined another way of living, we could live that way just as easily as this one.

The mystics have been saying the same thing for 10,000 years.

Which must lead us to ask: why do we continue to want the world to be this way?

And how do we go about imagining men being something different?

 

Random…

December 1, 2017

my quarterly compilation of loose end musings…

1.

Isn’t there some middle ground a man can inhabit between living in a rural community where the men think camouflage is a fashion accessory, and my mother-in-law’s at College and Bathurst in downtown Toronto, where the men wax their beards and wear Oxford shoes of the latest fashion?

Somewhere between my cousin’s wedding where the groom wore a matching camouflage tie and vest ensemble, and the male metrosexual mannequin on Queen West who tried to sell me organic beard oil because I hadn’t shaved in three days.

Surrounded on all sides by roosters.

Where do they come from, and why are there so many of them?

2.

_mg_9750

early morning horse play – at the family farm

Some horses never lose their love of a good scratch behind the ears. They’ll stand there for an hour, as long as you keep scratching.

Other horses are indifferent, they can take it or leave it, depending on how bored they are with you in the moment.

~~~~~

How many shooting stars do the horses see, as they munch away the night on the open fields?

I walk amongst them at the witching hour and I see three quick streaks in the first half hour.

The Milky Way, clear and creamy, like ancient Greek granite, crosses the sky in a great north-south ark, a great beam of energy straight out of the side of Mt. Olympus.

The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt, a hundred thousand stars beaming at me from the vast dark universe, making me weak, stunned by the infinite-ness of it all.

I raise my hand to the sky, thinking I can touch them, just out of my reach, bouncing along the treetops, following me into the back fields.

It is the crickets and the hot snort of horse breath against my neck that brings me back down to earth.

A happy panting dog, the far-off light of the farm house, where my mother sits and watches the ball game, the honking murmurs of the geese in the pond.

_DSC7914In these last warm September days, the air envelops you like warm soft cotton. The late-afternoon sun is golden, fluffy against the skin, promising to hold out for a few more days, wistful in the knowledge that again, and again, summer moves to quickly into the long goodbye.

 

3.

My sister-in-law, who recently graduated near the top of her class at UBC, and one of the more creative thinkers I know, declared over dinner at our local Chinese restaurant that she really doesn’t know anything about anything.

“I couldn’t tell you one make of car from another. Or how to make a pickle. Or a jar of jam. I need a blender. I want a blender. But there are so many types. How do I buy a fucking blender!?”

“Booksmart”, I say to her.

“What?”

“Booksmart. My mom says the same thing about your sister. You guys are booksmart. 

“But I don’t want to be just booksmart.”

“It’s not your fault,” I tell her. “Your parents gave you the education they thought you deserved. You are a young woman who can read and write. And now you have a university degree. Welcome to your white privilege.”

“How about I throw my tofu at you?” she says back at me.

4.

Despite the nightly BS the media tries to feed us, the real power no longer lies in the democratic process. It has not resided there in a very long time.

Our Prime Minister may consider himself ‘enlightened’ simply because he thinks he is not racist and likes to believe that he speaks on behalf of a pro-feminist agenda, but it’s obvious by his actions that he doesn’t really knows what that means, really…and for the most part we are forced to accept this mildly-intentioned goodness, because we know there are worse options waiting in the wings.

The real decision-makers in Canada occupy the banking district at Bay and Wellington, as well as the OMB offices at Bay and Elm.

Who controls the money, who controls the land. That is where the real power is.

All five Canadian megabanks are projected to set all-time new highs this year in profit. It’l be in the billions! Fantastic!

When my mother’s rural township in eastern Ontario tried to save the last uninhabited lake from cottage developers, the OMB overruled the township council and allowed 150 new cottages to be built on the lake.

In a community where the average income is less than $25,000 a year, and with the second highest poverty levels in the province, the cottages sold for more than a million dollars apiece.

No surprise that bank-and-land would share the same street, in the same town – five minutes from each other.

Park Place and Boardwalk.

They too love having a non-racist, feminist, pro-immigration, shed-a-tear kind of Prime Minister – it’s in the status quo where the best money can be made.

You know the frontman – Justin Trudeau – but do you know any of these men (and a few women)?

Of course not.

Why would you?

You never voted for them.

 

State of the Union…

November 30, 2017

Sometimes others say it best – from today’s Harper’s Weekly Review (Joe Kroc) …how to understand the state of the nation in one short story…

“The director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which since its creation after the 2008 financial crisis has provided victims of predatory banking practices with $11.8 billion in compensation and debt relief, resigned his office and appointed as deputy director Leandra English, a longtime federal employee who had previously served as the agency’s chief of staff.

US president Donald Trump, who once said Americans could “opt out” of the recession by investing in a Trump-branded marketing company that sold multivitamins purportedly tailored to customers’ needs based on their urine, announced that he did not recognize English as the CFPB’s acting director, and instead appointed as the agency’s interim head the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, who once referred to the CFPB as a “joke” that he wanted to eliminate and whose former congressional chief of staff left his office to work as a lobbyist for the bank Santander, which was fined $10 million by the CFPB for “illegal overdraft practices” and is now reportedly facing another CFPB lawsuit, this time for overcharging customers.

English sent the agency’s staff an email in which she referred to herself as the “acting director,” Mulvaney tweeted a photo of himself working in the director’s office and told employees to “disregard” English and to “stop by” and “grab a doughnut,” and the CFPB’s webpage for information on its director displayed the message “not found.”

A lawyer for the Office of Legal Counsel, who once served as lead counsel for a payday lender that was cited by the CFPB for attempting to circumvent federal and state laws in order to offer high-cost loans, wrote a memo justifying the appointment of Mulvaney by citing the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, which gives the president “exclusive means” to appoint acting directors “unless a statutory provision expressly designates” an employee to do so; English filed an emergency restraining order against Trump and Mulvaney that cited the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which provided for the creation of the CFPB and mandated that the deputy director should serve as the head of the agency “in the absence” of the director; and the case was assigned to a Trump-appointed judge, who ruled that, despite the 2010 legislation, the acting director was Mulvaney, who received about $475,000 in contributions from the financial, insurance, and real estate industries during his 2016 congressional campaign, including $9,200 from JPMorgan Chase, which was fined $4.6 million by the CFPB for failing to provide consumers with information about checking account denials; $6,000 from Wells Fargo, which was fined $100 million by the CFPB for the “widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts”; $8,000 from Citigroup, which was fined $8 million by the CFPB for “illegal debt sales and debt collection practices”; $7,500 from SunTrust Bank, which was fined $40 million by the CFPB to compensate Americans whose homes were foreclosed; and $9,250 from Bank of America, which was ordered by the CFPB to pay $727 million in relief to customers “harmed by practices related to credit card add-on products.”

Mulvaney, who in 2016 wrote on Facebook that he had spent his career doing “the exact opposite” of pushing for “regulations on banking,” announced he would halt any new rulemaking at the CFPB, stop all outgoing payments to consumers from its civil penalties fund, and “find out” if he is justified in firing English.

“Rumors that I am going to set the place on fire” are “completely false,” he said, before issuing a hiring freeze.

memories…

November 30, 2017

He told me that they had made him take the drink.

He told me that he had sinned and so was compelled by the village elders to take the drink. To swallow the crocodile egg, eat the fetus of the Rusa deer, to drink the hallucinogenic concoction that would bring him face-to-face with the primal state.

He had not asked the Gods’ permission to visit the sacred beach, he told me nervously – he didn’t know he needed permission – I remember that day, he said, like it was yesterday.

To ask permission to visit a beach. It never occurred to his western mind. To even consider it.

He had fornicated with two angels he found there – this collision of Pan magic and east-Asian mystery – in the tropical sun, on the blazing hot beach, in the water, a rainbow of fishes nibbling at their toes.

He had told the village that he had gone to the beach, but he knew not to tell the elders about the angels.

Why add blasphemy to his crime?

~~~~~

By day, in the light of government bureaucracies, the village elders were forced into the role of club-footed keepers of the third Abrahamic religion.

They mimed the words of Allah, the One, the Only – removed, jealous, vengeful.

Stupid men trained in Jakarta, trained in grade-school literacy, who were also jealous, vengeful, would arrive without notice, in a great bluster of military jeeps, demanding from the village – with threat of prison and death – due diligence in making daily prostrations in their rainforest mosque; five times a day to a desert God that once lived 3,000 miles away, a God that no villager had met.

But this night, amongst the initiates of the circle, hidden deep in the forest, the fire watched over by curious tree monkeys and a band of orangutans, with a snake as thick as your arm passed among the men, he drank the drink that would take him from the here and now – to seek purification of his soul before the Gods.

He was to be introduced to the Keepers of Time and Space; it was an opportunity to apologize for his indiscretion.

The only other option before the elders, would have been to banish him from the village. To ignore the crime would have been to bring wrath upon the village.

That morning a coconut had fallen from a tree, not a yard from the chief elder’s wife’s head. The women were returning from gathering water at the base of the mountain. They walk this path every day. Twice a day. The coconut could have killed her.

It was decided then, by the women, that this was the night the men would take the man would meet with the Gods. They were getting impatient. Someone was going to get hurt.

With a machete, the priest split the fallen coconut, and threw it on the fire.

The man drank the drink and watched as the coconut hissed and blackened and burned.

In older times, the elder told the man, he would have been ritually sacrificed to appease the Gods.

The man must have a good spirit, the elder said.

The Gods, by throwing down the coconut, did not need his sacrifice.

They only needed to meet with him.

Around the man the village men then began to chant. And the man soon left the circle, and the warmth of the fire, and the safety of the village, and the marvels of the rain forest.

By the time he came back, the men had left, save one, who has been assigned the task of staying behind, to watch over his body, while it lie beside the fire, empty.

He told the man that he was glad he had come back.

He said he had heard angels weeping.

~~~~~

“A story no more contains reality than a clock contains time. A story may measure so-called reality as a clock measures so-called time; a story may create an illusion of reality as a clock creates an illusion of time; a story may be real, just as a clock is real (both more real, perhaps, than those ideas to which they allude); but let’s not kid ourselves – all a clock contains is wheels and springs and all a story contains is sentences.” 

― Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls get the Blues