Wednesday, May 12, 2004


In the sleepy little town of Spokane on the eastern border of Washington, governmental forces, led by local wealthy conservatives, are again making it illegal to be poor and homeless, shutting down hobo camps and burning what little property they find in the camps. I suggest we return back a hundred years to other conservative times and build debtors' prisons once more, make the whole idea of being poor and in debt a crime. Then a latter day Dickens can find all sorts of Micawbers to caricature, and the economic problem inherent in capitalism will be swept off the streets and out of sight. The criminalization of poverty can be expected in conservative times; it's what they call compassionate conservatism.


My current reading is the novel in progress, “The Greyhound Bardo”, another mystical trip to the dream world we all live in but don’t know about, by Geoff Peterson and Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”. (I apologize for the using quotation marks to set off book titles, but my blog site doesn’t have full editing tools so I’m stuck with what I have.) Just finished "Bardo" and began Camille Paglia's "Sexual Personae". I can already see she's full of hot gas and farts.

I finally finished “Synaptic Self” by Joseph LeDoux. I’d say that if we were brutally honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that at the very bottom of our actions, emotions and motivations we’re just complex chemical/electrical robots, but it doesn’t really matter because, as we experience the moments of our living, we feel as if we’re free and can easily imagine we’re free agents. In fact, our whole justice system is based on the unproved hypothesis that people are responsible for their behavior, but at the very deepest, most hidden levels, our actions are triggered by chemical surges and synaptical activities that we have no control over.

A zillion things are happening at the synaptical level in an angry moment. The fist that flies out from one drunken man’s intake of data that triggers fear and releases chemicals that tell the muscles to swing away and results in the death of the object of his fear, in another man is stopped by a rush of chemicals caused by the fear of punishment. Why the chemicals released by the fear of punishment in one man stops the fist in mid swing while in the other man it doesn’t stop the fist is a chemical mystery not yet solved.


It seems the Red Cross has been telling American authorities and others about the prison abuse for a long time. And according to the Red Cross, "Still the American reaction was far slower than that of British officials."

I take that difference in response time to demonstrate that the liberal and more mature British government is more sensitive to violations of human rights than is the more conservative and immature Bushite government. Granted, Bush, once the abuse was made public, pretended that he hadn't heard a thing about it, and, once exposed, he made hurried apologies. No one is ever responsible for anything over there in Washington D.C. anymore, are they? Things happen, and then, they find out. Kind of like the angry fist swing of the previous section, isn't it?

I wrote the preceding paragraph yesterday, before news of the beheading came down. The more I read about this whole mess in Iraq, the more my views before Bush's war started are vindicated, and I'm just furious that we let a dummy like Bush be appointed president and then a majority of you, my fellow Americans, followed this ignorant appointee into war.


Americans are getting exactly the quality of intelligence in their leadership that they deserve. How many Americans have read a book this month? Language is the basis of the whole thing we call human intelligence. The human animal's brain evolved as it did through it's mastery of language. Our increase in brain size was because of language. But listening to language is different than reading language. Listening is a social act whereas reading is a reflective act. Reading developes one's capacity to reflect and be reasonable, to have a strong identity thoroughly one's own. People who get their information only by listening are not doing half as much reflection as those who read and who sometimes pause in their reading to think about what they're taking in. The non-reader is America's weakest link in the modern world.


Iraq is still Bush's mess. It's not America's mess yet. If we repudiate Bush by putting a new man into office, we will have more freedom of action. But, if we elect Bush, we say that Americans accept the Bushmess and support the Bushmess. We'll be locked into Bush's don't-mess-with-Texas course of angry over reaction for another four years. OK—so I've said this before in another post. Can one get too much of a good think?


"When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out my room." —Woody Allen

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