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Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Occupying The Invisible Man’s Apartment

In We hold these truths to be self-evident on January 29, 2012 at 1:35 am

 

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(Cassandra, 20-30 CE)

Characters:

The Invisible Man, from Ralph Ellison  (Nick-named Tim.  With the invisible “e” on the end, he becomes the hands of Time.)

Lennie Small, from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

Troy Davis

Scene: Invisible Man’s basement apartment, under the 1,369 lights of Monopolated Light & Power

Time: Now, but by the time we cut in they’ve been hanging out a long time

~~~~~~~~~

Troy:  Invisible Man, you were so lucky to realize you were invisible while you were alive.  Why couldn’t I figure out I, and all my supporters, were invisible till after I died?

Tim:  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  It is difficult even for the invisible to see all the ways they can’t be seen.  I remember how compelled I was, once, by the words of a blind preacher.  But that didn’t prevent me from running down roads of blindness.

Lennie:  I think both of you would be less blind if we could just turn off some of the lights in here.  They’re making me dang blind.

Troy: But my supporters are still saying, “I am Troy Davis! We are Troy Davis.”  It’s  hard to see who can see that they’re not seen–otherwise, why do they persist?

There was so much faith in the hours before my execution.  We’d been at that brink, and come through, before.  Did anyone really believe this time they’d go through with it?

Tim:  Your supporters vastly outnumbered your executioners and accusers.   Your supporters increased over the years, while the conviction of your accusers diminished and testimony was recanted.  This is part of the logic of being invisible:  sheer numbers and moral authority have to be obliterated by a powerful minority.   If truth weren’t a threat, it would be visible, not invisible.

Troy:  So the ones behind bars that don’t have names,  those invisible are even more of a threat to truth than I,  who, by being released from obscurity, became slightly more visible than they?

Tim:  True.  Though you felt desperate at times, you knew you had supporters holding signs for you–for years, all over the world.  You knew people were making connections over you.    They were harnessing their political power to combat the powerlessness you experienced in your cell.  But imagine the nameless ones behind bars, knowing no one is out there holding signs, embarrassing the judges and jury and executioners and press and citizenry.   The prevalent “truth” that they are guilty might be shattered if they, too, could tell their stories.  But like I said, truth has to be held at bay by making sure the invisible people stay invisible.    The name “Troy Davis” got out.  Can’t have their names getting out, or this “We are Troy Davis” nonsense might never die.

Lennie: Was I Troy Davis once?

Troy:  Lennie, in the moments before my execution, I believed we all were Troy Davis, even my executioners.  That’s why I pleaded for everyone to keep working for the truth to emerge, and to keep working for all the wrongfully imprisoned the world over.  But when I blessed my executioners, the papers the next day called me “defiant to the end.”

Tim:  They call Paul Krugman all sorts of mean things, too, for harping on things like the social savagery of massive unemployment.  If you can see clearly, you will be vilified, according to Darwinian laws of nature.

Troy:  We are all walking the executioner’s plank in life–one entrance, one exit, and no one knows how long his plank is.

Tim:  But history conspires while you live and long after you die to write and re-write every story you have told.  You don’t own your history.  Your fans and detractors are writing it for you.  At last you see, you are invisible in such process, even when you were alive.

Troy:  Weird how we can only experience eternity one moment at a time–no faster, no slower–we are eternally time-bound in our intuition and understanding of eternity.  Don’t know why I was trying to speed up eternity while I was alive, because I for sure am in it now.

Tim: Being invisible is best done through eternity.  There are finite times when you think you are visible, but as you saw in your life, those were the times that got you in the most trouble.

Lennie:  I was just looking for a place.  Dudes, I wasn’t looking for all this heavy talk.

Tim: Lennie, how is that butterfly doing in your pocket?

Lennie: You mean the wings of Democracy?

Tim: Yeah.

Lennie:  Dude!  I wasn’t Troy Davis!   I  had never heard of him.  I didn’t read the papers.   I was just paying my taxes.  I was just paying my taxes hoping to find a place.  I wasn’t meaning to fund his execution.  I didn’t have such a cool death either, so I can relate.  I didn’t mean to.  I didn’t know what I was doing….we just found each other afterwards….

Tim: But the wings….do they beat?  Can they flutter?

Lennie: Dude, I’m not Socrates.  I can’t do all this questioning and answer.  I don’t think it leads anywhere except to confusion.   But hey, I got this amazing canister of  Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray off of Amazon the other day…

Troy: I almost forgot what we were here for–I have them all right here….

Tim: Did I invite you two over for something I didn’t know about? What is that raft of papers?

Troy:  These papers are the charter incorporations of all the corporations in the world: the founding documents establishing corporations that people give allegiance to over the Constitutions of their own governments.  By giving precedence to corporations over self-governance, people willingly give the lion’s share of their labor over to shareholders and the corporate board, with beaucoup bucks for the CEO.

The corporate structure legally declares itself as more important that the mere workers, and so it should partake of the profits of their labor and call them “dividends,” which go directly into private shareholder and corporate office holder bank accounts to become the even more untouchable “private investments.”

The elevation of Corporations over Democracy hit a whole new height when the U.S. Supreme Court declared with the Citizens United v. FEC  ruling that corporations are people and money is speech.  The corporeal, unincorporated people who just had mere blood and hunger and breath felt a little slighted.  Who can blame them?  They’re alive, we’re not.

Tim: And the pepper spray?  Don’t tell me that you’re going to pepper spray the corporations?  Are you trying to make them cry? Do you think this will be any more effective than Texas executing a corporation?

Lennie:  No, we found a use not mentioned on the thousands of reader reviews extolling pepper spray as a vegetable: it is also wicked lighter fluid!

Tim: Are you saying pepper spray is more flammable than inflammatory speech?

Troy: Well, let’s throw out the lights, spray these babies up, throw the match, and see!

Tim: Why not–let’s see if burning the corporate charters brings more light to this place.   Maybe with a new type of light, we’ll be less blind….

[The lights flick out.  They start to cough and choke as  Lennie sprays the pepper spray on top of the heap of papers–but when Lennie throws the match–whooosh–it burns away the burning spray, and the three men see shadows and lines in each other’s faces they couldn’t see under electric light….]

Lennie: Something’s tickling me.

Tim: Check your pocket.

Lennie: It’s trying to fly…the butterfly is trying to fly….

Troy: Let it out of its cage.  Your pocket is its cage.

Lennie: I didn’t kill it…it’s free…it’s flying…

[the embers are smoldering….the pile is becoming ash…]

Tim: So how will the people know the corporations are dead?

Troy: We’ll have to get the word out somehow…

Tim: If it shows up on a multiple-choice question on a standardized test, don’t expect anyone to remember it–not even the students in the 98th percentile….

Lennie: We’ll just have to carry it as good news by mouth…

Troy:  This news might conflict with the Good News of the evangelicals…their Good News sure didn’t save my life, sincere though it was…but this could save some untimely deaths from poverty and homelessness…the news that we’re actually going to treat all people as equal under the law–give workers their full share of profits without siphoning most of the profits off to the board, CEO, and shareholders….

Tim: You’ve got a  lot of flying in the face of accepted truth to do there…

Lennie: That’s why my butterfly’s wings are beating… I didn’t kill him, we’ll send him among the people to tell the truth: the corporations are dead–corporations aren’t people–money is not speech–corporations cannot buy elections–Only people with bodies, brains, and hearts can keep ALL their profits of their labors, and re-invest 100% back into themselves and production of whatever endeavor it is, whether service, manufacturing, or intellectual pursuits…

Tim: You’re competing with 900 channels of cable t.v. propaganda to get this news out.  You’re competing with an education system that reduces education to a 4-answer quiz-show question:   impediments that Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and all the slaves who escaped via the underground railroad never had to contend with–the truth was self-evident, and they could clearly see when men were not equal, when wealth was falsely elevated.  And they had remedies: they migrated, they revolted against the King, they established new governments, they revolted against the plantation owners, they helped each other.

Troy: But I can at last see that I was invisible in my life, so surely my capacity to lose some of my blindness is helping others to see–If I can do it, anyone can do it.  The People can see they, not corporations, are people.  They can see what fairness is.   If a butterfly can beat its wings, and I can see, they can see…

Lennie:  I think the butterfly will lead me to the place I had always been trying to find…a place where everyone is safe…

Tim:  You two are certainly full of commendable idealism.  Whether this was street theater or something else, only time will tell.  But I am honored that you chose my apartment in which to light the sacrificial pyre.   We’ll watch the people, and keep seeing who figures out they’re invisible, and so does not waste energy believing they are seen by the ones who can’t see the invisible.  Then, maybe, the more just and equal world of governments for people might reign, and the reign of corporations and a few wealthy rulers at the expense of everyone else, might end….

Sopa Strike: Not Following the Paid PIPA

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Don’t follow the paid PIPA

Virginia Legislature: Pro-Life, Pro-Death Penalty, Never Admit Hypocrisy!

In Democracy, Hypocrisy on January 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

My illustrious Virginia General Assembly  Representative,  David Englin,  alerts us to the fact that now that Republicans control BOTH houses, they are on track to pass all sorts of stunningly regressive legislation….including a law that would ban not only abortion, but one of the most common forms of birth control.   Just now, on day one of what may prove to be a most infamous session, Virginians Against the Death Penalty  (VADP)  emailed me that the Assembly has two bills to abolish the “triggerman rule,” which said that accessories to capital murder are not subject to the death penalty.   It was enough for me to gather a full head of steam, so I enclose below the note I sent to the VADP, whom I joined this year days after Troy Anthony Davis’ wrongful execution.

~~~

Do we remember the Salem witch trials kindly?  The massacre of the Native Americans or Andrew Jackson’s “Trail of Tears”?  The reign of terror of Nazi Germany?  I have never met anyone, “left” “right” “center” Democrat or Republican or Tea Party or Occupy Wall St who has  ever praised any of these actions.  Universally, these events are lamented, and regretted as an error of judgement– and for the religiously-inclined, they prove to be a stunning indictment of the very fallible judgement of men, which is why they cling to a belief in an eternal and everlasting judgement of an Almighty God, who shall look upon such errors punishingly, reserving eternity to correct the time-bound sins committed on this earth….

So why would our Virginia legislature want to align itself with a legacy of unjustified killings?  Are they suddenly infallible, as no  person in history has been?  They believe they will never put, in error, the wrong person to death?  That reason alone is sufficient to accept that no one is qualified to mete out a death penalty–even though there are crimes so heinous for which we may wish to reserve the death penalty, undoubtedly.

Yet apparently this legislative session is gleefully on track to codify the most right-wing, regressive set of contradictory, hypocritical rules their moralizing pea-brains can ever dream up–in the very same breath that they shout to the stars they are so “pro-life” they are introducing a bill to ban contraceptives, they extol the necessity of the death penalty!  The contradiction is so profound that there should be acceptance by all rational people that you cannot persuade this set of legislators with reason.  They are so intransigently belligerent that they scorn reason, and refuse to admit hypocrisy–just as, once, the South felt the Federal Government was so determined to stomp on their States’ Rights to own slaves, that it came to blows, and a vicious, bloody civil war, on this very soil we speak on today.  The South was so busy being self-righteously indignant, glaring, “Don’t Tread on Me!” that they had no thought about whether enslaving people their entire lives was wrong–it took up too much energy just to declare their own self-righteousness!

History is repeating itself right before our very eyes.  The South was not joking when they said they would concede the battle, but not give up the fight.  They have been using every legislative gun in their arsenal ever since the Civil War.  They do not mourn the death of Troy Davis any more than Bull Connor ever respected a single African-American.  I don’t kid myself about their level of venom and hatred.  Seeing the court-appointed witnesses  in Georgia, that night, reporting about Troy Davis’ last words moments after his death, blessing his executioners and exhorting us to all keep on the fight for him and all wrongfully imprisoned, it was perfectly obvious that they were not moved in the slightest by his generosity.   They were hard-hearted to the end, nothing ever shall move them.  They are smugly self-righteous that Troy deserved to die, and they are blind to the amazing grace around the world of all enlightened people rising up to say, “I am Troy Davis! We are Troy Davis!”

Such willful blindness is enough to make me head for the hills–else it should come to a bloody civil war again–for this general assembly is going to have blood on its hands by the laws it wants to enact against women, children, and prisoners.  Heinous.  They are literally causing deaths with these laws.

Only eternity will prove them wrong, though they live deaf, blind, and stupid their entire lives.  Thank you for your work,  VADP, because I obviously get so over-wrought about all of this I can’t even see straight and want to spit my own eyeballs out—but even Troy kept patiently writing, hoping, and praying every second of his life, as I know I should too!

“Nuke the Greens to Extinction” Fit to Print in NYTimes

In Nuke Liberals, With Right-Wing Hatred for All on January 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm

When the New York Times featured a Iraqi Photographers Captured the Costs of War from Iraqi photographers, they rejected my comment–mea culpa, it is now there, posted many days later than the date/time stamp on the comment.

Meanwhile, in the Editorial, Where the Real Jobs Are, the comment stream appears swarming with pro-drilling lobbyists–yet again indirectly declaring there shall not be one oasis of civility nor protection from right-wing thuggary in This Land (also a feature in the NYTimes) —no, The New York Times  seems all too eager to dredge the gutter of  The Hill and Politico, which consistently print some of the most unprintable and reprehensible comments–proving beyond all doubt congress is ruled by thugs, plain and simple.  They don’t care about proof, facts, rationality, or evidence.  Might makes right, and ad hominem attacks substitute for needing any evidence or justification of their self-enriching thug club.

We are put on notice, anyone who reads the Times is in utopian la-la land, and the fact that every other comment points out the disaster of Solyndra suggests the stream is taken over by lobbyists–also makes me wonder if Solyndra’s books could have been intentionally sabotaged by Republicans to shame the president—when the Republicans beat a dead horse like this, their belaboring of the point suggests an overly heavy hand they may have had in fabricating the distortion to begin with.  And the Times sees no reason to stop them, nor will they remove my flagged comment advocating jailing and ruining careers of anyone who agrees with the Times, and nuking all people who believe in environmentalism into extinction.

Not to worry, we already are nuking the entire planet into extinction simply by doing nothing—there’s no reason for the right wingers to get so hot and bothered.  Keep extracting and burning the fossil fuels, and the planet will be beyond inhabitable in a few hundred or thousand years, save for extreme thermophile bacteria and viruses.

  1. Reported

    There is no such thing as a clean fuel or a green job or a climate or an environmental danger either. I wish Senator McCarthy was back, ruining the careers and jailing the persons who agree with the Times on Keystone. And I hated Sen. McCarthy, but Green is a far worse enemy than Communism and the Soviet Union ever were. If the Greens were another country, I would think that it should be nuked into extinction!

  • Victor O
  • NYC

The New York Times continues to reside in la-la land. Good with words, but never learned basic arithmetic.

Low-cost energy has been the driver of the astounding economic development of the twentieth century, and fossil fuels will continue to meet that need for the foreseeable future. Only the brainwashed think otherwise.

Where do you want that energy to come from?

~~~

Sigh.  If the Times stops weeding out extremist comments, the polarization of the electorate will continue, and “liberals” will flee en masse to the alternative press blogs, leaving the Times to let right-wing demagoguery prevail as the “mainstream,” as it already does on every news website in the U.S.  The high-minded ideals of racial inclusiveness, equal opportunity for all, a sustainable borrowing of the earth are a rather thin, tiring veneer above the true nature of the U.S. electorate, which, North and South, urban and rural, reveals its true nature to consistently be reactionary, me-only, thuggish, and generally vile, hateful, and all too eager to jump onto a polluting, planet-wrecking energy policy.   Happy More of the Same New Year.