Archive | January, 2014

Rescuing the Republic From Itself /or

30 Jan

How 50 Men, Women and Children Could Save our Bacon.

One thing still trumps all others in America. It isn’t wealth, nor power, it’s not the myth of our uniqueness under Heaven… no. It’s a lot more basic and powerful than those. It even trumps celebrity which is a close second. No, fundamental as those are in the national psyche they pale in comparison to Number One…racism.

Despite manumission, Appomattox, Wounded Knee, Jim Crow, block-busting, MLK Jr and Barack Obama(obscure early 21st century POTUS); it still rules. It’s the one sovereign tenant that endures beyond all others. Sucker’s got legs! If it began to wane here at home we always sought it abroad. Added to this ancient plague is a relative newcomer. Only about a century old; it is a formidable competitor and looks like it’s here to stay. (If the money holds out.) Big drum roll…..ForeverWar!

Countless decades later, we’re used to war. Many older persons have never known a time without it. The old 9/11 War has morphed into ForeverWar and we’re stuck with it. It has brought with it a few downsides like breaking the national budget, impoverishing multitudes here and abroad, and creating new enemies faster than we can destroy them…but that’s OK. What’s not OK is this waging ForeverWar on us. That’s not OK.

They have gone too far now!

When they gave the chief executive the power to do away with anybody, anywhere, anytime, for any reason, the old deal was threatened. The covenant with America was potentially shattered. Rendered forfeit. That was cheating. As always, kill off all the enemies you want but we the people must forever remain sacrosanct. What gall, they’re making targets now of us! Who do they think they are and what are we, to save this Republic, going to do about it?

Now if you know anything about the power of ForeverWar then you know it is totally pervasive and impossible to gainsay because there is no other reality for us to live by or in. No place to be that does not include it. What to do? Play the trump card. What’s that? Racism? What? Yup!

You serious? Sure. Now may not be the time, though. It could get worse; so we must wait. When the dire impact of two hundred dollar oil becomes common knowledge and is still ignored at the top; we’re close. When, despite all evidence to the contrary, our leaders are still shilling for unlimited growth; be ready. But be cautious because when they have spent the last dollar and nobody will lend us a nickel; we might not have to act. Look around and count the number of guys who come back from the front as basket cases because they are overused. Count the number of Americans incarcerated for protesting ForeverWar or doing drugs out of despair. Watch for further disintegration of the cities, more grinding poverty and massive, permanent, unemployment. Pervasive hunger. Then, if it appears the mass has gone critical; it’s time to begin:

Secret Plan: Your Eyes Only. Need-To-Know Established. Emergency use only! Not to be attempted until things are so bad nothing else is feasible.

The basis of the Secret Plan is to use racism against racism. To do this, start by recruiting 50 individuals, one from each state. They must be 15 years or older, of either gender, no maximum age, providing they are athletic and capable of running, jumping etc. They are to be recruited individually and must have zero knowledge of each other. Do not recruit persons exhibiting racism, homicidal tendencies or who exhibit personal grudges against others. One other recruitment requirement; the candidate must be of obvious African descent, preferably of dark complexion.

Here’s where it gets messy…and bloody.

If quite certain no other alternative exists or is likely to manifest itself; proceed with training. Each candidate is instructed to attempt to cause violent injury, preferably terminal, to as many persons as feasible each day. These actions must be done in a public place and the recruit must be seen as the perpetrator. Easy escape is vital and should be planned in advance. All victims must be white. But this is cold-blooded murder. Yup. Of innocents. Yup. Unprecedented! Really?

Media coverage is expected to be enormous and continual. Local and national authorities will be in a state of frenzy when the race factor is fully digested. As the casualties mount and the scope of the problem becomes evident the racism latent in the culture will preclude meaningful action to quell the atrocities.

Racial integration has been an aspect of local law enforcement almost universally now for decades, and the old stand-bys, the National Guard, Army and various spook agencies were co-opted years ago by integration. Who, then, can be called upon; who can be trusted, when there are thirty seven million suspects?

The reigning ForeverWar powers should at this point be willing (desperate?) to seek whatever terms are offered. Unconditional surrender is recommended. The Republic could be saved in our lifetime!

The SIXPACK Colony Experiment

24 Jan

In the middle of the twenty-first century, roughly four decades after Ralph Nader’s ‘novel’ suggestion, the super- rich decide the time has come to save the day (and what remains of civilization). The Euro has collapsed, followed in short order by the dollar and the commissars in China are barely holding the renmimbi together. Growth, that shibboleth of generations of progress touts, has ceased. A handful of powerful, like-minded tycoons, who have survived with their fortunes largely intact, privy to ample supplies of precious motor fuels not available to others, join forces and resolve to try to create something positive from the surrounding chaos. They call themselves The SIXPACK.

This group, although fiscally and politically very conservative, are socially quite progressive. Even, incredibly enough, radical. In fact, what they propose to do is illegal in every country; totally immoral in the eyes of every religion and could result in them being targeted for assassination if word got abroad of the undertaking.

The strongest rallying point amongst the SIXPACK members, all of whom are family oriented, is the carnage wreaked on the young during the long decline. Some had suffered personal loss as the shocking incidence of teen suicide was increasing, particularly among males. They began to wonder if the collapse of the internet and much of the power grid, which had enabled access to gaming, porn,social media and TV, was a factor. Perhaps a half century of immersion in a virtual world had so warped reality as to leave a generation unable to cope with humanity.

The connection to suicide was baffling until one of the group came across a quote by a now obscure twentieth century writer. In 1987, Gore Vidal in an essay wrote,” Since power not sex is true motor to human life, the powerless often prefer to die. That is why today’s young do not eat goldfish. They kill themselves.”

With the illusion of power provided by social media and online gaming gone, the internet having been an early casualty of prohibitive fuel costs, the disenfranchised young indeed felt powerless.

With the need for secrecy foremost, all six principals pledge whatever it takes of their personal fortunes, time and covert resources to assist the project to completion. Their combined assets are considerable: their specious resources worldwide in scope, their determination…total. So it begins.

Remarkably, very little altruism is involved as the leaders go about busily rearranging human history. These are hard-nosed guys making considered investments in both time and fortune and who, in most cases, won’t live long enough to see the end results. That being said, what matters to them is, if they are successful, humankind is successful.

In order to have a chance for success location is paramount. The climate must be mild, the location remote from other habitation and the soil must be tilth. Selection of just the right habitat is a daunting task that would have been impossible prior to decades of diminishing social cohesion, natural resource depletion and planet-wide industrial failure. Of course these very circumstances are the reason this mind boggling adventure was even contemplated. Only the prospect of ever growing threats to mankind’s very survival in any satisfactory form would have united these powerful individuals in this sort of endeavor.

A stroke of good fortune put them in possession of an island at a reasonable latitude and sufficient size to accommodate the plan. Their good fortune was at the cost of the former inhabitants who succumbed to a virulent strain of a smallpox type virus which was no longer a problem as the bug and the victims had perished together. The site was inspected by teams of tropical health and habitation experts for any foreseeable problems and given a clean ticket. With the results in hand the principals began construction of a comfortable and viable environment.

They began to lay down a cover story for the intended usage to satisfy workmen and suppliers who would naturally be curious. The raison d’etre put forth was that an experimental GMO quarantine facility was being equipped for future usage and would, quite naturally, be off limits to the public. It was necessary at every stage to have a cover story circulated casually in hopes that curiosity be thwarted as it arose.

One of the last installations, after fencing the approach to the waterfront, was the erection on the main pier and abutting the fence of a building to facilitate egress and exit from the settlement. Supplies could enter and in an emergency an occupant could be removed to receive medical treatment as it served as a clinic as well. A series of airlocks and UV installations served to prevent contamination from entering the facility from outsiders and to keep the residents from interacting with the outside world. Also in place was an elaborate network of closed circuit cameras throughout the colony that would only link to six monitors in the secure control of the principals. To avoid any taint of ‘Big Brother’, only the residents could activate the system if they so desired.

But it was agreed that once a year the system would be turned on for twenty four hours so the SIXPACK principals could view the colony.

The matter of recruitment was problematic. There was general agreement regarding the first applicants as to age, fifteen to twenty was the range; they would be females. It was deemed essential that the girls would be introduced first to domesticate the environment; a nesting process.

Recruitment parameters were set and included firstly; orphans, of which there was no shortage worldwide since the troubles began. Excellent health was vital along with a more or less secular spiritual orientation. The organizers, at this junction, were forced to rely on trusted aides and associates to comb the world looking for recruits. Although denied a clear picture of the actual future awaiting the prospects, they could honestly promise something more rewarding and far safer than the candidates would otherwise enjoy.

When the desired number had been realized, the young women put through an extensive indoctrination at various locations, they were then transferred to the island and installed in what was to be a permanent home. The initial number decided on was sixty. Meanwhile the task force was busily occupied in securing a supply of very young, orphaned infants; a ratio of three girls to one boy child was established. The infants were soon delivered over to the young women who had been anxiously awaiting their arrival. The hardest thing for these young people to accept was the ban on companion animals. It was hoped a focus away from pets and toward children and each other would be more productive.

After a suitable bonding and acclimation period the final element was introduced with the arrival from indoctrination of a cadre of twenty young males. These youth, as the females previously had done, underwent lengthy training in agriculture, construction, animal husbandry and other useful trades. This group of young males was at the heart of the experiment. The principals had decreed that most of the woes plaguing mankind from time immemorial may have been caused by universal male leadership. The ratio of male to females, including the infants, was chosen in an attempt to redress this phenomenon. Three to one, female to male, was the chosen number for the colony but, by lacking precedent, was plainly arbitrary.

What was not arbitrary, and was stressed repeatedly in the candidate selection process, was that one major requirement for both males and females is a demonstrable interest in erotic inclination toward both genders. Total rejection of such an inclination was a disqualifier. This was necessary to avoid lapsing into a male dominated erotic atmosphere. Specifically to avoid the ‘home run’ syndrome, classic adolescent male jargon for the end stage in the seduction process. The thing that happens (maybe) after bases 1, 2 and 3 are endured, for decorum mostly; then rushed past quickly. This coital obsession, which had been rampant historically as a result of repressive religious and cultural taboo systems, directed erotic interest to one act above all others.

Countless generations subject to this syndrome had become inept lovers and erotically uneducable because of carnality focused primarily on coitus and subsequent neglect of a multitude of erogenous possibilities. So to assist these young males in learning to sublimate the burgeoning urgencies of Eros, a potential smorgasbord of opportunity and enlightenment in sensual arts was offered.

The candidates, during indoctrination, were made aware that in the colony they would be expected to, as Wiccans might say, be ‘Sky Clad’. This is by no means a clothing optional situation as any garments worn would be solely for protection from the elements and would not, in any way, hide the nether areas from view. In effect, a reverse taboo attempting to offset eons of denial of the carnal, animal nature of humans. They were made to understand that amorous activities were not to be hidden from others, nor from the young. In conjunction, it was affirmed that no one was to willfully, spitefully or pridefully hide from others, this region of the anatomy. That the key to reversing eons of repression and compulsive approach to amatory life was to be open, frank and honest about behaviors and appetites of humanity that heretofore had been used as a sinister lever to enact repression and control over individuals, tribes and cultures.

The SIXPACK principals now feel that they have removed most of the obvious barriers to the success of these brave young pioneers as they attempt to forge a new culture. Success or failure will not be known until, at the earliest, the next generation. If sexual compulsion, along with power seeking, and possessiveness is removed from the mix, maybe, this drastic experiment will lead to a way of being not merely human, but truly humane. We’ll see.

The Maui Cargo Cult

23 Jan

They gather at dawn on Koki Beach for the sunrise.  As it peeks above the horizon solemn chanting begins. “Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota…Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota…Maserati...” is repeatedly intoned until the orb is fully risen.

 
The ritual, begun as a lark at parties in the Hamptons, has now become a credo since the Big X, as the exodus to the island is called.  It has been over ten years that these fortunate unfortunates have been in residence.  Leaving the mainland on whatever vessels could be commandeered that still had fuel, they at least had survived.  Many others would have given all they had to trade places.  Still, safety in itself cannot guarantee satisfaction or thankfulness as this wretched longing for the old ways demonstrates. 
 
The phenomenon being experienced here is closest to the delusions of remote Islanders in another time who were convinced that the Americans who had provided them with so much in the past would return to re-provision them again.  Any time now.  Maybe today.  Tomorrow, certainly. They waited anxiously at the water’s edge and were known as a Cargo Cult.  So now these once  Masters of the Universe are slightly unhinged and are waiting for it all to return to them.  They are the Maui Cargo Cult. 
 
 Among their number T.R. Straub is a standout character.  Not content with a seven figure Wall Street largesse he had conspired to establish dodgy accounts in the Caymans and Canada until it all went down.  When T.R. had seen the numbers signifying all industrial growth had ceased he knew the worst was about to happen. “The opposite of growth is not non-growth; it’s is sharing.” he uttered to his peers. ” That will be perilous for all of us who worked so hard for what we have!”. The threat this new reality represented had more seriously affected him than the others.
 
If we listen to their mutterings and snatches of conversation a large dollop of self pity and more than a little delusion is evident.  Ralph T., former hedge fund magnate, “The next time will be different.”
His nearest companion who may or may not have been privy to his assurance, mutters, “This time it won’t be lost. We’ll make it grow again. Growth, growth, by Jesus.”
 
T.R.’s voice rose to full volume to begin another chanting.  This one, regarded by the others as a lapse into tongues, “CD’ CMO’HBO’IBO’CDO’…’ LBO’ HMO,” he repeated endlessly, chanting until near foaming. It was sad to behold; he was not joined by anyone.  On the beaches and at the spas along the coast, from Kapalua to Kipahula, these Maui tribes gather each dawn.  It is much the same on the other islands except for Molokai where an entirely different class of survivors is ensconced.
 
However, on the West coast of Maui, near Kapalua, another bunch is repeating the performance but instead of awaiting succor from the East and the mainland they cast their hopes Westward to China praying for the growth that never begins. The litany is near to being identical. Brokers and bankers, big men in their time imploring the fates, thusly,” We were sold out. That’s it.  Those creeps on the other coast knew that two hundred buck oil was coming and never warned us. Unfair! Sold us out. Knew that growth was doomed.”
 
A well regarded financier from Boston, “It’s true there was excess optimism. Excess caused by everything happening too fast and by bad information and bad timing.  Yes, the timing.  When to plunge ahead and when to hold back.  How much to bet but…nothing was said about risk!”
 
 “Who knew? We were innocents.  School was no help; not there to learn anyway.  The MBA was for the networking, always the networking. Wonderful bunch there at school, we thought alike!”, bleated a former Detroit captain of industry who guided the destiny and fortunes of many and now is wallowing in self pity.
 
Still another, “Yes, mistakes were made. But by others. Our people were innocent… mostly. That other bunch, they were so clever. Made billions didn’t they, with all their high tech gadgets and puffed up real estate. They knew it was coming. The the smart ones pulled out years ago. Took the money and split, didn’t they?”

One voice, more senior than the others, was filled with disdain, “Of course, we all thought that the old familiar devices we had in place would see us through; last a lot longer at the very least. Really seemed promising; two or three wars going…not biggies, but profitable. Got the oil. Always worked before. But the boys, and they were boys you know, bunch of jackass MBA’s got playing around with serious money. Those kids, a lot of them from good families, old families too, turned out to be a frat-rats and nerdy jocks, and yet we let them handle the big dough. Jesus, they screwed it up, royally.  Couldn’t be fixed. Negative two growth…two point five! So we had to shut it down. Whole damn country stopped growing. Pity, way of life gone for good. Ah, me.”

 
The Bostonian,” If only we had been as successful as the Russians were when the USSR went belly up. Maybe then…you know it’s difficult to determine if naivete or hubris had contributed most in rendering us nearly uneducable in a contemporary sense. Maybe it was bizarre form of social deprivation as the result of living in a…a Golden Ghetto, with a miniscule gene-pool, in a informational cull-de-sac, lost among our peers. Maybe…”
 
They pace for hours searching the horizon, as if waiting… hoping. It’s their common lore, their very DNA calls out to them that the phantom ships will come back, laden, oh so heavily with liquid gold, fifty dollar sweet crude, and it all will be as it had once been. A time of plenty. Masters once more of the Universe. Wealth and power such as these scions once knew was their due. But time weighs heavily each day as they roam the shores, searching, dreaming. 

At times the loss seems overwhelming but each lives with beautiful memories…of plenty. And the dreams, oh the dreams–Back in commodities, again. Another chance. One more big energy killing, just one. Sure to be different. Way different. Any way to game it? Hope so. Can’t lose hope. Can’t. Someday…‘Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota…Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota…Maserati...–

On Molokai, once the site of a despised Leper Colony, and ignored by the Cargo Cultists as a warren of hippies and new-agers, life is radically different.  Loss of the old way of life, while mourned, is not paramount with them. Time is regularly set aside to contemplate the loss and to examine what it means to each individual. The core of their collective lives is in the music and art they create. 

 
The clan too, had a ritual but of a different order than the Maui Cult.  At gatherings, sometimes at dawn, they would intone this Mantra: Being not Becoming, Being not Becoming, Being not Becoming…Om! …and Again.
This was their way of focusing on moment-place-being and rejecting dreaming of future in lieu of the present.  A rejection of the modern shibboleth that proscribes the reality of here and now as never sufficient unto itself. Always the future; seldom the present, never ever,right now
 
Most of the clan formerly lived in the Pacific Northwest and had long lived without the need of every modern convenience. Happy in rough cabin or yurt, they had neither the means nor the inclination to transport tons of food stored in cans and pails, and charged with nitrogen for long life, as did the Cultists.  Nor did they bring kilos of precious metals, gemstones and numerous weapons, as those Maui people had done.  What they did bring, however, were survival skills and a sense of purpose and direction to their lives.
 
They did manage to bring copious amounts of paints and brushes and were adequately supplied with yards and yards of canvas in excellent condition from the classic sailing vessel that carried them to Molokai.  Stretching and framing this bounty gave ample surfaces on which to create Visionary Art, the foundation of their spiritual lives and ethos. 
  
Summer Dawn, a favorite among the artists, formerly lived at the Northern terminus of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.  Living in close proximity to the Sliammon Band of First Nation peoples, she knew much of their ways. So it was this dynamic individual who, more often than not, was consulted for directions and guidance on a range of subjects.
 
“Summer,” cried Zen Wren, ” This fish is still raw!”
Summer cleaned her brush and left her canvas. “Sweet heart.  You have the circle just right but the smoke is all over the place.  Put up another screen to the windward.  Remember?  Wind is no friend to the smoke.”
“I forgot. Sorry I interrupted you.” she apologized.  
 
 An important staple was fish smoked the ancient way by racking each split carcass flesh side to the smoke source.  Each was supported on a wooden rack spaced in a circle around a fire pit.  In this fashion the surplus catch was preserved.  They learned to do the same when a feral pig or Axis deer had provided them with a surplus of meat in need of preservation.  Diet was balanced with macadamia, coconuts and for a treat, coffee and sugar. 
 
Summer had no sooner picked up a brush than Thanta Rose, dusted over with flour, shoved a pot towards her. “I can’t get this bloody mess to stick. Look at it,” she cried. Summer peered at the contents. “How many eggs did you use?” “Oh God!”, Thanta Rose was mortified.
“Bannock won’t stick without,” weighing the contents, “for this lot, at least three.” Summer decided.They were using taro and macadamia nuts as the flour, shredded coconut and a touch of kula onions, eggs of course, and bacon grease with what ever berries they could find, in the bush bread.

“Wait ’til the fish smoking is finished then heat up the fire for the bread,” she said. “Back in the day the tribes just wrapped the dough around a stick and put it near the fire to bake.”

“No way,” said Thanta. “Way,” said Summer.

The bread dough was pressed flat inside fry pans and the pans tilted against the hot coals.  With enough sugar and salt in the mix it was quite tasty.  Summer winced when she thought of what her teachers on the reservation would have made of this concoction.  But bread was bread for all of that.


images bannock
The clan had chosen to settle on the North Shore at Kalaupapa the site of the former leper Colony. They called the settlement Damien Village honoring the Belgian priest who had long tended the sick in the past. The clan had been well aware of the possibility of needing to leave the mainland before it all went critical. They, as had countless others, watched sadly as the disasters began piling one upon another..

The Gulf fishery loss from the final, devastating oil gusher; the precipitous dropping of the Ogallala Aquifer level supporting dry land grain harvest in the American West were duly noticed but the failure of Salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest in particular, struck home for the locals. Chesapeake Bay and North Atlantic dwindling seafood harvest added to this but what proved to be the real crisis maker was the complete failure of the food delivery system. Unfortunately, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway or Gristides’ fully stocked grocery shelves were treated as a given and the effect of collapse of the internet was hidden from the public until it was too late. Local suppliers, long neglected, could not begin to fill the need. There was hunger.
Molokai was a logical choice as many of their number had past association with all of the islands in the chain. Summer Dawn had done live performance painting at Alchemeyez on the Big Island many times as had several of the other artists.  Thus when it came to a final decision the Hawaiian Islands was the chosen destination and Molokai the chosen home site.
                                                                 
We have two disparate groups from a culture dependent on continual and perpetual growth and ignoring a rapidly changing objective environment that could not prevent its inevitable destruction, both striving to survive.  Despite similar origins, at least in potentiality and proximity, the totality of their lives could not have been more different. Their fates? Unknown to us as to themselves. Clan or Cult… your choice?
 
 

The View From Mount Trashmore

23 Jan


“Five”
“Five”
“Seven”
“Way too many. Way, way too many”, from an angry voice.
“That’s nonsense. Make it twenty”, another.
“You’re bitter!’, someone cried.
The meeting, one of several held to determine the final ratio, had been proceeding well enough until the call for floor suggestions. Now the rancor and dispute threatened to overshadow whatever progress had been enjoyed thus far.

“We need a break. This subject is draining us all.”, Myra suggested in an effort to diffuse the rising heat this topic had engendered. She was senior enough to convince the women to pause and a dash from the circle to the toilets resulted.

No one was thrilled at the meeting theme and it had been put off numerous times. Circumstances had made it no longer possible to delay further. What was finally decided now would have lasting repercussions for generations. It could not be taken lightly.

After a short interval they began to gather again and hands were raised for attention. No leader was designated so by default certain speakers had arisen from the ranks. Among these was a slender, rather intense youngster who had impressed the gathering earlier. She was singled out from the throng of hands waving wildly.

“Miriam, go ahead please.” Myra said at last.
“I’m younger than most of you so I feel what is decided here could affect me longer and I frankly am scared and nervous at this point. I haven’t tried to have children yet and the prospect of what I fear maybe a disgusting situation terrifies me,”, she confessed.
“You’ll love it, honey.’, someone opined.
“Can it, we have to make a decision.”, rang out.
“They won’t call you a slut or a whore like they did in my grandmother’s day, kiddo.”, said an older woman.
“You’re not the only one effected, missy.”, another hissed, before Myra could regain some order.

Myra turned to Miriam and smiled slightly to show her sympathy for what was not just the fears of the younger members but had affected them all.
“Agreement was unanimous at all earlier points as you know. I don’t have to tell you I know this one of the most difficult parts of the entire project. But it’s crucial. So let’s get it done.”, she said. “We’re down to a choice between five or seven. How about a show of hands? Seven”
A great many hands went up but it was obvious it would not carry. “Five.” It carried and except for a few disgruntled looks those gathered seemed relieved a decision had been made at long last.
“That’ll show them we mean it. Smug bastards needed this to happen.”, was voiced.

Rising with notes in hand from her place on Myra’s left Catherine waited while the murmurring subsided before commencing. In her precise shy tone she began. “A Manifesto. The Hopeful Remnants hereby agree”, at this point several women yelled out at once,
“Not yet decided”
“I hate that name!”
“It’s stupid. Change it!”
Myra interrupted the hubbub and pleaded,”If we can’t continue, all our efforts will have been for nothing. Let Catherine go on…please.”
Catherine began again. “The Hopeful Remnants hereby agree we will seek to limit the number of male citizens to one for each five females effective at once.”
“Hear, hear”
“At last an end to it all”
“Sic semper tyrannosaurus!”, blurted a wag which prompted a few snickers and much relief.

She went on. “Because we, The Hopeful Remnants, having concluded that past male leadership failed to perceive the objective environment was deteriorating beyond all hope of recovery and having persisted in causing ever more chaos and violence globally, we hereby unanimously agree that sort of coercive leadership shall never be permitted again. The state we have found ourselves in, though desperate is not hopeless …unless we allow that gender to rule the world as it once did.”
“No chance in hell!”
“Over my dead tush they will!”
“Men are swine!”, was shouted.
“We rule now. Woop. Woop!
Catherine continued hesitantly. “The great loss we suffered by this flagrant denial of looming fossil fuel shortages and the impossibility of their replacement with anything that could provide for the sustainability of such a bloated life style led to the massive failure of all systems. The mostly male leadership knew this would occur to a certainty but chose to ignore for political or monetary gain putting any limits on growth despite doomsday looming on the horizon. The result of this tragic waste of basic energy resources is that no important manufactory has been possible for us since late in the twenty-first century. We have been fortunate to live near what used to be known by early residents as Mount Trashmore,”

“No big male bobble heads on our mountain!”, was quipped.
… she smiles, then continues,” and that huge old landfill keeps us reasonably well provisioned. It is a treasure trove for us as is quarrying in abandoned cities and towns for others who…

“It helps that our soil is tilth and easily worked.”, rang out.
“Keep the guys digging out old Trashmore…”
“…and out of our fields, our crops and our hair!”
“Unless it’s comb-out time, kids. Ha.”
…are not fortunate enough to live in such a bucolic setting and have sustainable agriculture. In addition, it has long been our overriding effort to encourage a practice which, so far, seems to regularly produce more female than male babies and, is done without causing harm, and which, furthermore, serves to replace the mate exclusivity and more sinister practices that had favored male offspring. History is rife with female infanticide, one-child only rules and oppressive dowry requirements. Multiple partnering of several males with one female, as a prevailing social norm, was extremely rare historically. It is a tenet of our clan lore that the dominance of males throughout history was partially the result of insistence on singularity in couplings thus shunning competition.This bias may have gone far in accomplishing male dominion, both numerical and social, where it might not otherwise have flourished. Plus, grouped lovemaking is our way of avoiding favoritism, which although it still exists with us, usually does not lead to extreme possessiveness. By removing stigma and coercion from human sexual behavior. a more harmonious libido has fore-sworn most sexual compulsion while adding untrammeled eroticism to our daily fare.”
“Untrammeled, that’s us!”
“Yeeah!”
“You go ladies!”
“Hush!”, Myra felt compelled to caution again.
“Our burgeoning bisexuality coexisting with a benign matriarchy has had an added benefit, the numbers of offspring always being a concern with us; a form of birth control. As we’ve discovered studying Bonobo ape populations, a surplus of sex can result in fewer offspring. This has the desired effects of strengthening bonds, providing pleasure and discouraging rivalries.
Most importantly, it reflects the latent sensual nature of contemporary females who have grown to maturity with an instinctive knowledge of self-worth and desire without the need for male approbation.” Catherine lowered her notes and summed up with,”That’s what we have so far, people. I’ll be happy to add whatever additions or amendments we come up with.”
Myra announced the end of the formal session and small groups gathered to compare the findings.
She was immediately approached by several of the younger members who excitedly peppered her with questions.

“I just don’t get it.”
“Neither do I”; echoed Miriam rushing up. “What about us. Don’t we count as individuals…or anything?”

“Believe me I know what you’re going through ladies. I was your age once, you know. We’ve all been through it”, explained Myra. ” Something in our makeup cries out for it at a certain time in our lives. So the urge for exclusivity…they called it romance back in the day, is compelling.”

“But I feel so complete, so special with him”, it was Miriam on the verge of tears.

“I know my dear. It hurts so. But it will pass, and soon. That was one of the most insidious weapons…your vulnerability at this time of life, they used against us to keep the power”, Myra said with compassion. “Films and books, Romance Novels, they were called, reeked of this.
An onslaught of sentimentality which kept young women forever longing for the one and only who would fill their hearts…and minds. It bred chronic discontent and impatience with anything less than what some writer’s sentimental dreaming’s had provoked within them.”

Angie, who had hitherto remained silent tossed her hair back and issued a challenge.”Do what you want. Listen to her if you haven’t the guts to question. I want to know what the hell the shape of my Carlos’ thingee got to do with all of this?”

That outburst caused a lot of giggles but got everyone’s rapt attention.

“It’s not just your guy’s thingee, sweetie, it’s all the guys…all males. Remember your anatomy lessions?”
“Gross!”
“Well some of it may have been. I can’t quote it exactly but…it touched on how natural selection equipped men to handle other men impregnating their sexual partners and”

“Organ shape!”
“…you do remember that. Unforgettable, eh? I think it said ‘the coronal ridge offers a special removal service to expunge foreign sperm’. Scientific American, that’s what was quoted, I’m positive. In an old, old archive. To our bright gal researchers that was the clue. What was intended by nature but suborned for eons in favor of exclusivity in mating and control of women as chattel.”
“We’d still be if they had their way”, Miriam interjected.
“True! True! True”, came back
“Are they even educable? I don’t think so.”
Myra continued, “Years ago, the clan’s senior women were stunned by the idea of this organ being something so unique; and by the singular investment nature had made in sculpting it. And how, mankind so, how can I put it, so beneficently gifted by nature, had ignored until now the obviously intended usage. Awed by such prescience in nature, this information then gradually morphed into our clan lore and practice and remains so today. Not solely to prevent rivals from copulatory success but to alter the male to female ratio radically, perhaps permanently.”

“But Carlos and I just want to be in love.”, Angie pleaded.

“Of course you do. Be in love, make love, with Carlos or Miriam or anyone you choose. You miss the point, dear. Look, it’s taken almost two centuries to get the ratio of women to men to where it is now. Between one and a half and two, to one, our favor. That’s good but not nearly good enough. Still it’s a lot better than about 50-50 as it was in the bad old days. And the paternity decision doesn’t affect you or any of us unless…”

“We want to have a baby.”, muttered Angie.
“…exactly. Then you must have multiple partners. Carlos will understand. Guys do…usually. Once in a while there’s a cropper but hey…it’s rough on some people. Especially if they have a tendency to be possessive.”

“So how do we know this actually works? That it’s not just a statistical thing…a freak of nature. We’ve only been doing it this way for a really short time”, said another.
Myra, wearily,”We don’t. But so far it seems solid. And so far we are able to keep them from getting the upper hand over us, though they try hard enough!”
“Do they ever! It’s like a disease they all have.”, was advanced by another.
“The guys seem stuck, stuck in the here and now. Women have a more developed sense of the time or something.” offered Corrine, one of the new comers to the little group.
“Yeah, our future is always a month away, and another month, on and on.”, Angie griped.
“Well, if you’re pregnant the future is many months down the road, nine, to be exact!,” put in Miriam.
“Myra, I know a lot of it has to do way the way it’s shaped, the head and all. But what really happens, you know, when you do it with a bunch of guys?”, Angie was still puzzled.
“Well, when the male thrusts forcefully the other men’s semen is sort of pulled up by the glans and away from your cervix so his seed has a better change.”, she replied.
“So how does that make girl babies?”
“Good question, kiddo. What seems to happen is this technique somehow favors girl seed and not the sperm for making boys. How? Who knows? But history was written by men and directed by men, so maybe sex selection was a part of the plan from way back. There has to have been a darn good reason for nature to take the trouble to perfect a device like the human male organ if it was not expected to be used as a scoop and without multiple partners expected to be regularly involved, what’s there to scoop? What other use could have been intended? You tell me.”, Myra sighed, beginning to wilt from the effort.

“All this makes me feel like part of an experiment and not very important part either.”, Angie complained bitterly. ” A cross between a brood mare and a test tube. Is there any purpose to it all…to life?”
“Just two things, my sweet. Just two. and we’ve touched on one. Granted our task is difficult. The planet is not the oasis it once was. We know our hold is tenuous but we carry on. As for the reasons to exist, reproducing yourself is one; dying, the other. Everything else is an option. No, I’m wrong. There’s a third. To keep the men from running amok and screwing up the planet again.
Let’s break it off now, girls. Holding love and light to you all.”

Myra left them and took a position in the center and to remind the gathering of the next stage.

“People. Keep in mind the next Plenary theme is a doozy. Got to face it though. If we intend, as we certainly do, to take charge of our lives and the destiny of the clan…and all the members. Female and male. We have to reach down and summon the courage to begin the discussion. So, as hard as it will be, ladies, next time we meet the agenda will be Death and Dying. How our clan is handling things, what improvements are needed and what is lacking. Big, big issues. That’s about it for this afternoon, folks. Thanks for all your help. Blessed be. Oh, I don’t have to tell you…keep it to yourselves. We don’t need any company!”

A Proclamation: Ex Cathedra

23 Jan

“It’s better than just sitting here in the dark freezing”, he grumped.
“We’re not freezing. Don’t be such a…”, Margot sounded.
“Wuss”, another.
“You’re not gonna fall for that stupid billboard, are you?”, Jeffery was incredulous.
“Or those crappy fliers?”, she said.
Blake looked anew at the yellowish document he was holding. It was on low quality newsprint; all that was available recently. Still he was taken by the simplicity of the message and the threat of change in his life it proffered.

Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers

It went on to say more detailed information was forthcoming soon and that it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. Blake had spent his few short years avoiding volunteering for much of anything but the alleged source of the call both intrigued and annoyed him.
“Your Planet! Who would the gall to even dream up such a scan…the chutzpah”, he said to no one and everyone, ” that gets me.” Margo pulled her blanket layers more tightly around her. “Blake, you’ve got to be kidding. Anybody can see it’s a come-on. Somebody want’s something from us.”

Jeffery, who was finishing up the last of his ration roared out with a mouthful. “Let’s get off it, Ok. Enough!”

The four who were sharing the flat had little in common except the day-to day idleness that was endemic all around. All their individual and collective energies were devoted to bare existence. The malaise these twenty-somethings were experiencing was nothing unusual in the latter part of the twenty-first century. Decades of shrinking energy sources and ebbing of economic growth had taken a toll on their lives. They had grown up constantly reminded to be thankful they lived in a part of the world where people could still dream of better times and not the really wretched areas elsewhere. It was difficult to feel fortunate with winter setting in and knowing it was going to be another long grind until spring.

Since power had been off most of the day, generators being fired with lignite and peat, and never was on after nine PM, they soon drifted off into fitful dozing.

Clark was slightly older than the others and woke with the pale October dawn. With effort he arose clutching his blankets about his tall, somewhat gangly, frame. They were all slightly gaunt now as rations were minimal. He made an effort to not even think about eating this early. When he had shaken off sleep remnants and wandered closer to the front of the flat, which may have been a squat (the guy who collected the modest rent seemed dicey, maybe not even entitled to it) but he kept a little heat on and they had to be content.
“Oh my lord, another one.” In the door jamb was another of the bills Blake had exclaimed over. “What crapola!, he shouted, having read this much. This was loud enough to awaken Margot and a sullen Jeffery. “What are you raving about. God it’s cold”, she complained.
“Here, dig this”, handing over the form.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers

Your Planet is annoyed that a great many of you have for several centuries demonstrated a lack of the wise stewardship demanded of a privileged species. Your housekeeping is atrocious, the place is a mess.

Your Planet is concerned you have degraded, polluted, over-populated and used-up more than your share of all that exists here.

Your Planet is greatly annoyed your actions have heated up the place to such a degree the New Ice Age planned to cool things off and rearrange the landscape may have been delayed.

In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly “Planetary Die-off” to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

They cried in unison at this point. “First World! What is this nonsense? We live in a slum and eat MRE’s and K-rations when we can get them.” First World, ha!”

The rancor woke up Blake who grabbed the notice and devoured it greedily. He was much taken by this indictment of the only world he had ever known and reacted accordingly. “This is meant for all of us. It’s not a joke. This is real.”
“Real my foot’, hissed Jeffery, taking the notice and shredding it.”Get ready guys, forget this nonsense. We have to get down early to the dispensary if we want to eat tonight. They run out early this time of year.”

The four bundled up against the late fall chill and left the flat. On the boulevard opposite the food dispensary a tattered old billboard featured a huge new poster that had appeared during the night. It was a repeat of the headlines contained in the two fliers but added much more. A small crowd had gathered around and they were stunned as they read the additional dictat.

—————————————————————————————–

In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly “Planetary Die-off” to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.

Exemptions:
1. Old Order (Horse & Buggy) Amish. Not part of modern life, therefore
exempt.
2. Vegans (closeted, or mum about it) who live above anticipated
flood zones worldwide and have demonstrable funerary skills.
3. Organic farmers who live in yurts, make their own clothing and use
plow horses. (No cattle, hogs or other slaughter animals permitted).

————————————————————————————–

“Jesus, it’s like the draft used to be in the war days. They have exemptions and we’re not included”, protested Blake,”That’s not fair.”
“Blake, you are a flake, it’s a hoax. Don’t you get it? It’s not Big Brother, it’s Big Scammer!”, Jeffery pronounced with some heat but, nevertheless, some anxiety.
The crowd moved into the food line with muttering and resignation. “What does it mean”, from someone. “Can’t you read. It’s God’s will.”, we’re all goners, now.” “Bull! Bull! Bull!”, from a doubter.
The friends talked among themselves as they withstood the long wait for their food dole. Their normally dour mood was much augmented by the pronouncements on the poster. With the rations in hand they wandered about the area aimlessly until fatigue and ennui reluctantly propelled them homeward.
Arriving at the flat they were astounded to see another of the odious papers affixed to the front door. The four stared without touching the notice.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Final Notice: PROCLAMATION: Ex Cathedra

Your Planet Will Consider Additional Exemptions for Early Volunteers if They Meet These Requirements:
_Volunteer cowboys and hog wranglers needed in great numbers to supervise the
decline of those populations to practically nil, as quickly and humanely as possible.
Your Planet is choking on their effluence

_Volunteer Urban Futurists to supervise and expedite gradual evacuation of urban centers (first priority to those in flood plains) to densities not to exceed that of, example only, Peoria, Illinois.

_ Volunteer Flotillas to sail the globe rescuing military personnel abandoned at 750 bases when the government defaults and flees. (Contribution of personal
watercraft appreciated.)

_ Volunteer engineers and technicians: mechanical, electrical and especially nuclear to disable, dismantle and permanently mothball all nuclear devices and machines.
Without the resources needed to keep these applications adequately serviced and
maintained they are too dangerous to allow to exist.
Your Planet is made extremely nervous by these devices.

_Volunteer Secular (requirement, there will be a test) Missionaries to Third World (and possibly Second World) societies to prepare them for the shock of the demise of the First World and its bounty.
( For example: See Cargo Cult mentality.)
Additional Exemption:
1. Temporary delay of “Die-off”in under-developed world;
pending satisfactory results from First World “transitions”.
Automatic revocation for Planetary Insult ( i.e. behaving like First World). Your Planet will be watching closely.

________________________________________________________________________________________

They tore off the paper, carried it inside and began to inventory their collective and solitary skills in light of the exemption possibilities. They argued endlessly about the origin and authenticity of the unsigned missives and what this could conceivably portend for their individual lives. Hope arose; then doubt reigned and finally, hope arose again.

The dawn found Blake still shaken by the recent events. The flat was clammy and he dreaded rousing himself to face the morning and prospects of any additional alarms. His fears were soon realized by discovering a new arrival curled just inside the front door. With trepidation he spread the flier out and scanned it quickly.

“What’s this? It’s more of the same but it’s different…this is freaky”, he muttered, half aloud. The message was on the same flimsy newsprint as the others but the overall appearance was much less forceful and dogmatic. The type was uniform and sober and in no way resembled the hyperbolic tone of the earlier ones. Blake devoured the information contained in it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________
FRIENDS

The traumas we have all undergone in recent years prompted the unseemly proclamations recently received by many of you. We are sorry to have found it necessary to resort to such overblown tactics but experience has shown that most citizens today are almost beyond reach without similar assault owing to universal lethargy resulting from malnutrition and idleness. We apologize, dear friends.

Now the we have your attention let us start by explaining our mission. Many of the talking points in the early missives reflect accurately our objectives but are peripheral to the main thrust.

Briefly…we intend, starting with Genesis, to hold the Old Testament authors responsible for any of the woes visited upon mankind owing to pernicious or mendacious interpretation of historical events. We will begin with The FALL.

In ADAM’S Fall We sinned all. THE NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 1777

The FALL

It had nothing whatever to do with disobeying the Lord and nothing to do with the serpent. It had everything to do with the apple however, lots of apples and barley, oats and wheat…in short; with plenty. The ‘banishment’ was not caused by Eve however. She was innocent but her role has been turned into the primal cautionary tale.

Now the Eden garden of lore was truly a garden but encompassed the entirety of nature. The natural home of mankind. Women being the traditional gatherers are credited with the creation of agriculture. Before becoming facile with crops, we lived with the land so to speak. Hunted, trapped, reaped, gleaned, that sort of thing.

This provided sustenance for countless eons but little in the way of surplus. Mostly we lived hand to mouth and to other hands and other mouths as well. People shared; wanted to, had to. Stuff would go bad anyway,real quick.

Enter Eve and her planter sisters. Enter living off the land. Enter plenty. Enter large settlements. Enter storage and surpluses. Enter barter, trade, advantage. Enter male dominance. Enter capital. Enter war.

Exit commonality. Exit harmony. Exit innocence. Exit female equality. Exit sustainability.

Enter blame: Eve did it.

The culprits? How about Adam and his brothers and their scions down through the ages. The root cause: under-employment. They were historically hunters; productive, resourceful and fully occupied until…

The FALL. i.e.That first harvest. Undreamed of bonanza. Security. Time to loaf about. Time to think. Less time spent out on the game trail. Time to loll around more. Time to covet power and dominion over everything. Time to decide to run the show from here on in their way. Hmmm.

Was this then the legendary FALL? The original sin. We did not leave the garden; we exploited it, rendered it, extracted its essence for profit and luxury and power, and in addition, blamed it all on the innocent ones. The gardeners.

Friends. We will bring additional accusations and corrections at regular intervals.

Signed: Your Planet SETS IT STRAIGHT LLC

________________________________________________________________________________________

52 (count ’em) 52

6 Jan

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