Asylum Earth

30 Apr


I was born and raised in a vast mental asylum.  I was a young man before I had any inkling I had somehow become partly sane.  We had all learned in the asylum that to speak or even think in any mode other than the collective insane voice of the other asylum residents would mark one as different and dangerous. The onset of this burgeoning new awareness was disturbing to me and some cause for concern. There were consequences for this defection as the guards and the leaders, though insane themselves, were armed.

I received surreptitious written messages that had passed through arcane channels to reach my hands. At that point I became aware that a few partially sane others, who possibly communicated together, existed on the fringes of the society.  Although I had no way to communicate with them, knowing of their very existence heartened my own partial sanity.

Those others had various and diverse opinions of what had caused this universal psychosis. They ranged from structural brain disorders to early toilet training and sundry notions in between.  Generally overlooked, even by these helpful savants, was the transition over a century of an insidious mind control technique begun modestly enough to help sell soap products and then called, “engineering consent”. This of course was newspeak for “propaganda”, a word in favor at the time by a rival power, and so not to be employed.

Over the decades this term morphed, as the process became more sophisticated and technical into “manufacturing consent”, as the techniques were carefully honed.  Thus, a combination of ongoing, relentless propaganda and subliminal perception distortion managed, in time, to prepare most of us for residence in a de facto mental asylum.  However the events that preceded and prepared us for this subsequent institutionalization had begun several millennia ago, roughly at the end of the late Bronze Age.

The instigators were nomads; herdsmen and wranglers of animals.  Their homes were the deserts and steppes; lonely places with wide horizons and vague boundaries delimited only by looming mountains. They lay each night, under the stars, projecting themselves upon the vast cosmos. The universe reflected back upon its striving acolytes a manic,celestial hubris.

For countless generations these wanderers had roamed with little regard for place or home site. During dry times they left hearth, home and domesticity to follow the grasses with the flocks. They were sovereign. All their charges were held to be less than they: children and women included.  The resultant desensitization caused by unchallenged rule over their beasts and their fellow humans was then layered with enormous inflation of self until: a power centered ‘cowboy culture’ entered history.

We have graphic evidence of the impact of these newcomers who descended from the eastern steppes and rose up from the southern deserts upon the nascent civilizations they encountered.  They are known as Kurgans if from the vast eastern regions; Semites if from the deserts.  They brought their weapons and their gods to smite and to smote, to rapine and to enslave. These warlike hoards brandished metal weapons and in the way of the Kurgans, rode their war ponies into the lives of agrarian homesteads.

Their gods were as they were; fierce, relentless, demanding and chauvinist. The impact of these warlike invaders on the settled others was devastating. Cultures were abandoned, destroyed or starkly modified. Nothing was the same after these visitations and the planet itself exhibits today the manifestations of this chaotic influence.

Humankind never recovered from these violent intrusions into our peaceful and hitherto, successful, existence. In a scant seven or eight thousand years, the more benign behaviors that assured  human existence during the passage of incredible amounts of prior time were stripped from the future and left us as we are: murderous, fanatical, patriarchal and delusional.

 The survival ability of our ancestors would not have been possible if laden with the baggage of modern behavior modes.  Certainly our universal, pervasive sexism; our record of human bondage and oppression and the resultant racism that has produced, together with the possessiveness moderns demonstrate would have gainsaid those hundreds of thousands of successful human years.  Most of our known history rings loud with deeds of slaughter, intrigue and power seeking; mostly male, mostly banal. The reasons given are legion; the cause unknown. The rational is, “That is the way it has always been”.

One concept that seems feasible and possibly operative through the ages may have tempered a human propensity for manslaughter.  This concept was, simply enough, partnership between the sexes. If this then, is a principal characteristic that insured the success of our ancestors, it is assuredly the one ingredient that we lack universally and have lacked since the late Neolithic era.  The behaviors we exhibit today might well have caused extinction of our species long before recorded history.

Only a return to a bucolic, equal partnership between the sexes and a cessation of the fatal imbalance caused by myopic male vision and male rule of the entire planet , our de facto ‘cowboy culture’, can save the day. A return to truth and cessation of mendacity and propaganda as behavior control is also required and must be accomplished.

Inequality between the sexes is woven into the fabric of modern life.  Among fundamentalists of the several Abrahamic persuasions and of the Dharmic sects, the weave of life consists of alternate strands of chain mail and barbed wire. Other, less oppressive societal weaves, range from rough sisal blended with soft wool to polyester and long fiber cotton as some groups permit a gentler touch of parity. Equality of the sexes increases ever so slightly with distance from Abrahamism and Dharmism towards Taoism.

Something profound and vital has gone missing in the current era. Now, since roughly the late bronze age, we lack synchrony in the male weft and female warp of the fabric of our lives. Harmony eludes us everywhere despite all effort.

The odds of this changing are exceedingly long and without it happening restoration of sanity and subsequent release from asylum is doubtful

4 no trump

23 Mar

Presidential contender Donald Trump is cited for constantly picking at the scab of the long deemed senescent America pox (pox Americanus) and that it’s beginning to erupt.  Festering PC (political correctness), DE (demented exceptional ism) and, once thought eradicated, RR (residual racism) is starting to seep out despite all efforts to staunch the flow.  Strangely, when  loosed this plague appears to be airborne and initially attacks the human ear.

Professional pundits in Mainstream Media have become stricken with a weird form of glossolalia; a speaking in tongues, where the only clear and understandable words are: Hitler, fascism and sometimes, what sounds like, ruse or cruise.  Of course the sachems and spin-miesters know full well they are in total error.  But then they are in thrall to their handlers and their opinions are slanted so:

How is Donald Trump not the personification of all we hold dear? First and foremost he is a celebrity: this trumps all else in our fair land. He’s filthy rich: that’s second only to celebrity.  He’s male.  Required gender for any serious consideration.  He’s white: ’nuff said.

He is US.

So what’s the problem?

Why do we even question his desire to run the place?  Who else is as qualified as the truest of true Americans? To deny The Donald is to gainsay Americanism; our very uniqueness. It’s almost unpatriotic!

It’s been pointed out he is racist; a bigot. So!  He’s wants a wall across the border with Mexico in lieu of a realistic immigrant policy. So!  As a professional builder that’s merely and extension of an existing wall and is true to form. He wants to bar entry to Muslims fearing blow-back from ongoing foreign policy practices they may resent. So! Don’t we all? He challenges the Pope for interfering in domestic politics. So!  How do these positions and/or future diktats make him un-America? They all seem utterly American.

Alas, Donald J. Trump may not be a true patriot. Yes, I know, it’s painful to even contemplate.  He has all those good things going, but… and it’s a biggie.  He is weak where it is least forgivable.

The Donald does not believe in us as a real American must.  He has doubts about the wisdom of our most cherished goal, the guiding light which has led us since the Nation was reinvented in 1898 and our heroic Empire was created.

I submit this weakness leaves Donald Trump barely fit to call himself an American let alone rule our land.  He has dared to suggest we pull back our armed forces from their rightful deployments worldwide and that is just simply un-American.

For shame,   Donald J Trump. You had so much promise.

You must repent and demand we attack somewhere.  Iran comes to mind.  Or…

America: The “Old Country”

22 Nov
The transition has been gradual and covert but as Colonel North revealed to us thirty years ago, a new de facto establishment now exists. From this point of reference the time has come to regard, with nostalgia and fondness of course, the old Washington Establishment, indeed the entire United States of America, as the “Old Country”.
The Corporate Plutocracy and American Conglomerates in particular, in league with the “Deep State”, now regard our esteemed system, as we have been taught to regard Europe and the rest of the globe, as interesting but quaint anachronisms, old hat, not up to par with us, i.e. the old country.This has been in our mother’s milk for generations.
Legions of admen and public opinion mavens have, with increasing efficiency, inserted this doctrine into our collective mentality for ages.
We know that the Irish have produced great writers, yes but, they drink;  the French, there was that business at Yorktown,yes but, they have low morals, the Russians beat the Nazis, yes but, they drink too and now, as the President recently reminded us, “they don’t make anything”. The Swedes,  they are peace loving and socially advanced yes but  they kill themselves. The flummery is endless; the result, predictable. When the time came our defenses against “manufactured consent” (read: propaganda) were low to non-existent and the new ideology sluiced right through, quite handily.
Now that the good ‘ol U.S. of A. is in the category of a, yes but, it has become de facto, ‘The Old Country’,  to the mobile elites.. The Federal Government is pictured as out of touch, obsolete, not suitable for the new reality (as described by its critics, the rulers, of course). Corporate elites, with their owned Mainstream Media, are busily deconstructing traditional Americanism to suit the new order. Demonization and trivialization of its component parts are the two workhorses of this technique.
Little is spared in the effort.  The public school system suffered early on as great forces strove to cut it loose from the public domain. Too much at stake there. Can’t let another generation suffer under the influence of an obsolete, although still touchingly nostalgic, set of values. Use busing, vouchers, academies, charter schools; attacks on teachers unions, school boards etc.etc., whatever it takes, but get it done now!
How about the military? Too expensive. Cut the VA, the benefits; still too costly. Privatize. Go to Combat on Demand forces. Guarantee them nothing but their paychecks. Good.
Middle classes too pushy?  Want to keep things as they were? Fugetaboudit. Jobs to Asia. Let them compete with that. And put their kids in debt bondage for the rest of their lives with onerous schooling payments. OK, done.
But people might balk. No way. Militarize the local police. Every squad a swat team. Heavy weapons, personnel carriers, a tank or two.  Got it!
The plutocratic expats are in essence no longer land bound.  With due deference paid to the, ‘old sod’, America is just a place to secure corporation docs and establish legal and financial services of record. Home is where the money is and that ain’t necessarily hereabouts. Especially at tax time. There’s a great wide world out there and plenty of posh hidey holes to visit.
Problem?  This new reality must rely on personal protection, no sovereign buffer out there for expats.  But they have the finest guard force money can buy. Sure, sure but what if things come to a shove? Can you trust your armed bodyguards? Hmmm. Maybe you should learn to shoot a gun, Mr CEO. Just maybe.


Humankind Out of Harmony

21 Aug
Humankind has managed to survive in roughly this familiar form for tens of thousands of years.  Not only have we survived but apparently we did so without resorting to mass destruction of other humans along the way. For at least one million of these years, humankind despite much overwrought angst in modern conjecture, feared little from the fierce beasts.  With the discovery of fire in the far distant past, a ten year old with a fire brand, would have been able to repel a dire wolf, or as some believe, a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Even under conditions with which early humans were forced to cope; the cyclones, earthquakes, droughts, floods and numbing cold, nothing prevented their successful progress: Until;
Something changed. Apparently in the late neolithic age the ingredients that had enabled primitive peoples to be successful against daunting odds for countless millennia was altered.  Perhaps fatally.
During the ensuing years until present day; a twinkling moment in the sum of human existence, a course has been pursued in human society that has produced an unbroken history of mayhem and carnage perhaps unequalled in its totality during the hundred of thousands of years preceding our era. The entire planet wherever human habitation exists today has become borderline toxic, increasingly at risk of being rendered unlivable and the occupants, with good sense, anxious about their future.
The survival ability exhibited by our ancestors would not have been possible if laden with modern baggage.  Certainly our universal, pervasive sexism; our record of human bondage and oppression and the resultant racism that has produced, together with the possessiveness moderns demonstrate would have gainsaid those hundreds of thousands of successful human years. One concept that seems feasible but now lies abandoned if,  indeed was operative and endured through the ages, may have tempered a human propensity for manslaughter in the past.  This concept was, simply enough, partnership between the sexes. If this then, is a principal characteristic that insured the success of our ancestors, it is assuredly the one ingredient that we lack universally and have lacked since the late neolithic. The behaviors we exhibit today might well have caused extinction of our species long before recorded history.
Some historians attribute the change from what was appears to have been a more bucolic form of human behavior resulting from this arrangement, to the arrival of certain hordes from the eastern steppes called Kurgans. These fierce pony riding warriors arrived at the Fertile Crescent, seat of a nascent civilization in the middle east about the same time certain desert dwelling equally fierce and warlike, but extremely zealous minions appeared in the south and, those forces acting together, tipped the delicate balance of harmony between men and women. We have not recovered that precious equilibrium to this day.


Snippets, Splinters & Tics

13 Aug
A challenge to POTUS about the raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour:
Mr. President. Visit, or have an aide visit a Dollar Tree store (every item is $1 or less). Charge that person with finding ONE, just one among the thousands of different sorts of items on sale, that an American manufacturer could sell at a profit at home or especially abroad paying $15 an hour wage.
Couldn’t find even one.  I’m not surprised. Your move, Sir.
A challenge to black militants:
Consider yourselves fortunate.  If your ancestors had not been protected as chattel, and therefore valuable, you would not number 39 million today.  Native Americans, not so protected, are now less than 3 million total. Black men in US government uniforms helped herd Native Americans into concentration camps called reservations. Others slaughtered men, women and children, their dogs and horses, and burned their homes. Consider.
 bent bow
Crusade 2015:
The two most fundamentalist, Old Testament societies, Israel and the United States, are at odds with most of the Abrahamic World. Wanton destruction of Apostates by the chosen, exceptional people for the Lord, Mammon or lebensraum.
To solve the emissions problem with burning coal, I order a switch to a cleaner burning coal such as Anthracite. Oh, it’s all gone, ran out in the late fifties.  Okay, command them to step down just one notch to Bituminous A. It’s a lot softer, not as much heat value and pollutes, but okay, do it. None left, oh wow. My final concession: go to Bituminous B.  What? There must be!  Alright, that’s it, continue burning sub-Bituminous.  At least that’s better than Germany that has only Lignite left to burn. Ha. Next stop for them is bog peat or cow plops. We win.
In 2007, the amount of energy America used in the form of coal exceeded the total energy consumption- from all sources, coal,oil, natural gas, and nuclear- of all the countries of Central and South America combined… Replacing the world’s habit with something else will require finding an energy source (or sources) that can supplant the equivalent of six new Saudi Arabias.
( China’s usage alone equals two and a half Saudi Arabias.)  Robert Bryce…’Coal Hard Facts’
Cojones To Go:
The largest export from America to Tel Aviv, even larger than all those dollars is …balls. Harvested in vast quantities at the Nation’s Capital, from Christian Zionists, Major Media and, of course, the resident Tribe.
Public Works Project 2015:
Begin immediately to locate, inventory and survey all likely hills, tors and monadnocks throughout the nation. Suitable locations with southern exposure and adequate fresh water access will be selected for our prompt attention.  Wide terraces layered into the hillsides suitable for farming will be immediately roughed in and prepared for future emergency usage.  No attempt to implement final use is anticipated until salt water intrusion threatens farm land.  At that time, top soil will be salvaged, deposited on the terraces and planting begun.
In Appalachia hundreds of miles of topped off mountains and hills stand bare after coal deposits were gouged out.  The region is ripe for a Federal WPA project which would provide for residents now and feed the rest of us in the future.
Priority will be given to this effort despite expected demands to spend precious resources for shoring up and protecting cities instead. The only exception to protecting the food supply as a primary goal is to buttress threatened nuclear facilities against rising water at all cost. Avoid future Nukushimas. (sic)
GOP Debate 8/2015:
This is what Donald Trump said:
TRUMP: ” I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.
… Well, I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why?She didn’t have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.”
This is what the pundits heard:
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes,” Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday night(after the debate). “Blood coming out of her wherever.”
Economics 101
The universal dynamic of capitalism is to strive for growth.  The opposite of growth is not non-growth but rather…sharing. Thus anathema. Apostacy. Taboo.
We are so shithouse crazy we should not have any guns and that includes the police and the military.  Lacking that, my advice is to…duck!
American Creed:
We trivialize our friends and demonize our enemies. Exception: our feral pets; currently Israel and Saudi Arabia.
An American’s  Perspective:
Step back; focus, go back more. Go way far back, now focus again and view America, aha!, I see clearly: A madhouse, a charnel house, a failed state.
An American Pledge:
To be put forward at the next major Green assembly.
Indicate the date, month and year, when you intend to give up your motor vehicle permanently to save the planet. Note: Be advised; the 2 billionth motor vehicle, one half being automobiles, is projected to be in operation somewhere in the world in 2020. (This number does not include off-road vehicles.)
American Ablution:
Gay marriage and legal pot are the “light rinse” after the brainwashing.
American Grafiti:
Gore Vidal said roughly,” young people used to swallow live goldfish to protest their powerlessness; now they kill themselves.”
With this in mind, consider the age of, and ultimate violent death of, nearly all the perpetrators in this nationwide rash of multiple shootings. Perhaps we’re seeing acted out a form of suicide that has been labeled, “death by police”.
Have any of these individuals actually survived one of these violent encounters or have they all been shot by law enforcement or have taken their own lives?
So then, are we seeing an outbreak of attention getting suicidal intent disguised as murderous outbursts? 
To break the copy-cat cycle, the authorities might make reasonable efforts to take the shooter alive.  This would prevent martyrdom and the intended suicide. The subsequent trial and probable life sentence without parole might dampen the ardor of like-minded others.
 Subversion Insertion:
What all those unattached young men, those future jihadiis need, is girlfriends.  They inhabit a part of the world that has an enormous man-woman problem. I suggest the situation be defused with an insertion of a bevy of hookers, no, no,  I mean escorts.  Sensual, available, nubile young women who for a fee, a generous one, provide human comfort to a generation of restless, frustrated young men.
That sort of proactive subversion coupled with removal of Western influences from that unhappy region might save the day. And more than a few lives.

A Family at War

10 Jul
 On the bucolic Waccamaw River the Union gunboat trawled slowly upstream passing miles of rice fields, most with poorly maintained workings and piers. The drowsy crew of raw recruits were mainly New England boys wilting under the South Carolina low country heat.
 At the bridge Captain Ellis muttered, “I would like to put a ball through the roof.”, nodding towards a sprawling plantation house they were passing.” That old doctor that owns it has two sons in the Reb army.”
 If the Captain had been able to see beyond the mansion to the slave quarters his cannon would have been firing repeatedly. That old doctor being referenced was the owner of at least two thriving rice and indigo plantations along the river.  He was known locally as the most notorious abuser of his hundreds of slaves.  Column inches in newspapers and in broad sheets advertised constantly for information of, and rewards for, runaways. His farms had the dubious distinction of constant slave exitings that had only increased during the chaotic wartime atmosphere.
     As the war dragged on live stock on the plantations was in shorter supply every day. Horses and mules were conscripted into military service until few were left behind.  For the task at hand the two remaining draft horses and two coach animals were sufficient.  
    Big Sam was a constant runaway and had been recently returned by the slave catchers. The tendon on his right heel had been severed in the past as punishment for running but did little to quell his desire for freedom. The other residents of the bleak slave quarters were summoned to witness the punishment designed to make a graphic example of poor Sam who now lay on his back quaking in terror.
     The onlookers had witnessed punishments repeatedly in the past. This was different. They gasped and cried out as the spectacle unfolded.  A dappled gray plow horse was led into place and Sam’s right leg with the dangling foot was secured with a stout rope to the horse.  His other  limbs were swiftly secured in a like fashion, each to a horse. The doctor looked ashen as his driver finished the last knot and snarled at the onlookers, “Next one of you leaves here it’ll be in pieces!” A single stroke on the rump was sufficient to have all four horses bolt forward wildly.
      As the last car cleared the railroad trestle the battered engine creaked to a stop and a contingent of nervous soldiers piled out. They constantly glanced westward over the narrow river as they gathered piles of brush and with several gallons of precious coal oil kindled a hearty blaze that began to engulf the trestle pilings.  In a few hours thirty feet of the railroad bridge collapsed into a pile of carbonized rubble and twisted tracks. Shouts and a few ineffective shots erupted from the opposite shore as a party of Union calvary arrived too late to intercept the train.
“Let’s see if Sherman’s blue bellies kin walk on water!’, shouted a rebel sergeant, with a defiant gesture as the train began to inch forward.    
      Aboard the train, another old man was engaged in a different task. While his cousin the doctor was invoking grotesque discipline back on his Waccamaw plantation, this man took a deep breath and sighed. The narrow escape from the pursuers assured his mission would likely be accomplished.  Aboard the barely serviceable steam train his sad cargo, at least the ones in a position to observe the action at the bridge, had other feelings.
      He was a Confederate Surgeon charged with transporting a thousand Union prisoners from the hell of Andersonville military prison to a more secure prison before Sherman’s forces could free them.   
     The Surgeon had been on active duty since early in the war. His latest posting to the Andersonville stockade was the most stressful and demoralizing experience of his long medical career.  Having performed numerous operations and emergency treatments after major battles, the hopeless conditions he had experienced in the stockade had added to his own personal infirmities.  As grim as battle hospital conditions were in this war, as well as those he remembered from the Seminole War, Andersonville was countless factors worse in terms of death and disease and dispair.    
     The young Colonel languished in his tent alternately freezing and sweating from the ravages of another Malarial attack.  The phantom pain was at him again in the stump at the shoulder of his missing right arm. The regiment was proceeding across north Florida to join up with the main army in Georgia that would then continue on to North Carolina.
      An earlier malarial seizure had prevented him from seeing the Surgeon, his father, at the battle of Ocean Pond in Florida. He had long regretted not being appointed to the post at Andersonville now held by Captain Henry Wurz.  It would have been a last chance to have seen his father. 
       Albert was almost twelve.  A tall, slim, heavily tanned lad, he was reluctant to mingle with others of his age in the small Hudson River village where he now found himself after a harrowing trip through enemy lines with his mother and the younger children.  His heavy southern accent was a burden as the war was still being waged.
      When pressed by his peers he would solemnly state; “Pap, died in a Yankee prison camp”. This became a mantra to hold the most vicious reb haters at bay.  The dying part was true but then, his  ‘Pap’ was an officer at the camp for Union prisoners in South Carolina where he had delivered his charges and soon after perished of prison diseases.
     The family had been refugees since Atlanta fell to the Union forces. His older step-brother, the Colonel, commanded a regiment and was on active duty until losing an arm at the battle of Sharpesville, called Antietam in the North.  After a period in the Invalid Corp during which he tried unsuccessfully to get the post at the prison camp being established near Andersonville, Ga. 
      Apparently, the powers in Richmond were not interested in posting an officer who was married to a northern woman and who’s deceased mother was also from the North. They ignored the fact that the Colonel was a graduate of the Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel. That he had distinguished himself in the War with Mexico as Quartermaster of the 3rd Dragoons. Who, since that war ended, had organized the Police Force of Savannah Georgia and the Mounted Police of Charleston, SC., and was commandant of the Georgia Military Institute prior to the outbreak of the war. They preferred a non-entity who could be molded to their use.
     The Colonel was fortunate to have been passed over for that posting considering the fate, on the gallows, of Captain Henry Wurz who did get the job.
      Margaret had endured with equanimity the loss of her home near Atlanta and the refugee status of herself and her young ones. A few months of relative normalcy with relatives near Athens, Ga. were interrupted by the arrival of horsemen at the farm home. 
     This band of Sherman’s ‘bummers’ were confronted on the front porch by an angry women who turned out to be a fellow northerner.  They demanded all weapons on the premises. She presented a small quail gun owned by her step-son and pleaded for its return. “Naw,'”said a trooper, “This could kill a Yankee as easy as a bird.” With that he smashed the small gun into pieces.
     The looters discovered the one remaining horse that Albert and an old slave, Daddy Tate, had secreted in a cane break.  They stormed into the barn and strewed about and spoiled all the corn  and provisions the family was depending on for survival. Margaret was desperately trying to salvage what she could of the provisions when a messenger arrived. 
      A few elderly men, her children and female relatives, along with old Daddy Tate, saw the Surgeon interred in a quiet ceremony near the University of Georgia. Margaret had not seen her husband in many months and quietly told the children their father died of the same illnesses he was trying to ease in others.  Her resolve quickened at that point to petition General Sherman, still in the vicinity, for safe conduct to her childhood home among the Hudson River Dutch in New York. 
      A laborious trip to one military camp in South Georgia was a waste of time, provisions and firewood as that stockage was already bulging with Union prisoners.  The Surgeon was advised to continue north to Florence, South Carolina where a prison camp was expanding.  Acquiring food for all those emaciated prisoners, many of whom were subsisting on nothing heavier than thin gruel, plus potable water in sufficient quantity, all of this compounded by the absence of good sanitary facilities made the journey daunting.  After an agonizingly slow passage, complete with firewood and boiler water shortages, Charleston was in sight.  The stockade at Florence would be reached and the prisoners landed. The harrowing trip caused the Surgeon to go into rapid decline and he soon perished from the same prison diseases that felled so many others.  .
     “There were piles this high.” Albert indicated with his arms at chest level. “Legs, arms, feet, I dunno what all. And the blood… everywhere!”  His status amonst his  local peers improved greatly having actually witnessed the war.  This survival mechanism would help the boy live, uneasily, in enemy territory as an intruder from the hated seccessionist South.
“Me and old Daddy Tate,” (no mention of Tate’s slave status) ” found this real fine cavalry hoss with a saber slash on him.  We fixed him up good and were ready to plow him when the looters got him.”  No mention that the looters were from General Sherman’s command.
     Albert’s defensive use of historical facts and perhaps necessary distortions of truth would remain part of his psychic inventory unto his advanced years.  His  descendents would
come to know family history through a prism which bent the facts to Albert’s boyhood distortions..
     The Emancipation Proclamation teamed with several Union gunboats in the region caused a mass exodus of slaves from the plantations.  The doctor confined himself to his medical practice in Charleston and the farms were idle.  It was not until after the cessation of hostilities that his returning sons attempted to restart rice farming.  Two growing seasons with reluctant hired help and poor crops that came in grassy was sufficient to throw the lot into bankruptcy and the properties were lost to the family.
After his surrender along with Johnson’s Army of Tennessee to Sherman in North Carolina the Colonel rejoined his family and in time located to Jacksonville, FL.  He was simultaneously a Justice of the Peace, Inspector of Fertilizers (in Florida that meant phosphate mining) and had orange groves south of the city at Fruit Cove on the St. John’s River. Conditions in north Florida were much warmer then and citrus growing had thrived for years.  The weather changed permanently, however, and in 1895 all the trees were killed by frost. 
Albert’s lifetime saga of having pestered his father to please, please take me with you was possibly true. But whether or not the Surgeon actually took the boy to a battlefield hospital is unknown. His graphic tales of seeing all the severed limbs and oceans of blood did have a profound effect on his descendents for generations. Few became physicians. 


A Discrete Patch on the Tush

16 Jun

The discrete patch of bare skin that covers a chimpanzee or a bonobo’s butt has, in humans, morphed to cover us almost totally.  Of course our bare-all-over, not just the tush reality, does have decidedly positive aspects. Being hairless was an enormous leg-up in mastering fire and then with fire we dominated all the fierce beasts, the dark and the cold.  Therein lies a problem. All that erotic display and our tactile epidermal playground helped greatly with increasing our numbers early on but lately the numbers seem threatening to our survival as a species.
Mix in roughly six thousand years of progressively worsening behavior on the part of our people and the prospects seem bleak.  Our tribe is blessed with special intelligence, an erotic playground to frolic in and dominance over most of the beastly competition but despite all the advantages, we have become lethal!
 Our behavior is reprehensible. Every passing century is worse than the last in human carnage and destruction.  Each generation develops more sophisticated means of killing each other and an accompanying catechism of why it must be so.  Race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, economic proclivities and geography dominate the liturgy justifying the slaughter.
The human cultures that are the most favored by nature and geography are invariably the ones who prey on the others who have less.  There seems to be a gene for this perversity that is dominant in groups that have the most of life’s goodies.  Having a lot seems to preclude sharing and prompt an itch for a lot more.
Seven billion of any large demanding animals might give nature reason to consider her future welfare but our seven billion naked apes with big machines, bigger appetites and little regard for her precious bounty might cause nature to deem us expendable.
As this phenomenon continues I suspect we will repeat, as the nation continues to fail, the atrocities committed as it grew.  A country as uniquely founded on genocide as ours was starting off, can be expected to repeat this going down.  Ditto chattel slavery again in some yet to be determined form, sectional strife leading to mass murder again and probable armed conflict with our closest neighbors north and south, again. We don’t have a good track record.
Most higher species demonstrate a sort of partnership between the sexes. Odds are mankind once possessed this trait. It’s difficult to imagine a million years of successful evolution without benign sharing of some sort.  Something happened about six millennium ago and the partnership model was abandoned.
Perhaps the success of agricultural in providing surplus food and an easier life was a factor. Perhaps two or three warlike tribes tipped the scale towards violence and we are living(sic) with the consequences. A one gender dominant, monolithic approach to life and the future of our kind dominates the entire planet. Are we certain this singular, seemingly short-sighted, very aggressive world vision is even life affirming? Do we risk everything in permitting one gender to be dominant? Will we continue with this perilous course to the end of days? Or…
  We have carefully selected jingoes in high places who direct us in the glorious ways of “manufactured consent”. This has been so effective for so many years it is difficult to find any American free of the taint. ” We jes’ cain’t think so good, no more.”  The best among us are rapidly dying off or lurk on the web unable to give voice in major media which is fully corporate and establishment friendly.
 As positive energy erodes from our American way of life, the horror show unfolds. The excesses we are currently dealing with such as NSA intrusions designed to spy on us, loss of jobs leading to serfdom for millions and the bloodshed we exact on others abroad and at home, could prove fatal to our existence if they continue.

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