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Reply with quote  #1 
It's slowly dawning on me and many who voted for Obama that we were righteously punk'd.  If anyone can see a difference between GWB's and O's fiscal, health care, or military policy, I wish they'd tell me. 

Those who read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein would recognize this jackhammer succession of "panics" that started last August with Drill, Baby, Drill, and continued on through the fall and winter with "Bailouts" and "Stimuli", as the process of softening us up for the REAL hit.  So here we are pumping air back into the bubble.  Throwing good money after bad.  Wasting about 2/3 of our energy and attention working at cross purposes. 

Almost across the board, people know in their gut this is not good for us and have emphatically spoken out against it.  Nobody notices.  The spine to actually grapple with our problems is not there, so we've been told in effect to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and go take some Viagra."  It is doubtful that these dabbling measures will do anything but prolong the agony that will eventually overtake us.

Well, how is everybody?  I have been working with my local Single Payer Health Care activist group, trying to turn back the tide of the pharmaceutiHMOs, with no help -- indeed, the opposite -- from Obama's new administration.  I've also been laying brick, terracing my back yard to plant that garden I will have this summer. 
Reply with quote  #2 

I am also rather upset about the O admin's moves but I am not as might guess, disillusioned. As Bob Dylan so cryptically stated, "don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters" Or the Who's apt phrase "here comes the new boss just like the old boss, but we won't get fooled again" Oh yes we will!

What power does a president of the US really have? Not much. The US is like a aircraft carrier. Once on course it stays on course.

I am in total agreement about the Rooseveltian stimulus packages of trillions of dollars. They will accomplish little except to eventually make a dollar not worth the paper on which it is printed. In my cynical heart I think that the US auto industry and banking industry should have been allowed to crash and disappear. No amount of money that is to be printed can truly bring those institutions back to life. As I have said many times the US consumers reliance on credit is the basic source of all US problems. For some reason USians have grown up with the expectation that they are entitled to a standard of living far above the rest of the world. I suppose it is part of that hideous Exceptionalist argumnet that has been promulgated by some. Whatever has caused it it has brought down the whole world financial system.

Luckily I am no longer a US taxpayer. If I were I would do as I did anyway, leave the country. US taxpayers are getting nothing for their money but a bloated military establishment and support for defunct financial systems. Watching objectively (well almost) from another country it looks like the inmates of the US are in charge of the asylum. Each days news just boggles my mind.

It looks like the O administration was just afraid to let the effects of the credit induced bubble to take their natural course into a major recession or even a depression. The whole purpose of the bailouts and stimuli seem to be to keep the apparent US standard of living at a supported, though still unsustainable,  level. It's like the government has stepped in to assure that USians remain living in a delusion of wealth. After all isn't this what happens when you borrow 500K on your 800K house which eventually is only worth 400K?

The dismal science of economics gets gloomier every day for the US.

And now they are going into the bottomless pit of Afghanistan. A very bad idea indeed. Greater empires than the US have tried unsuccessfully to tame that land and it is much bigger than Iraq and will probably result in a greater failure, if that is possible. What are they thinking? Not much I am afraid.

Reply with quote  #3 
Taking a cue from Nancy the Negotiator, O is now ready to scrap his public option.  Take that MoveOn, you buncha friggin babysitters.  Trying to field your supporters to "help" the President.  He wouldn't even give you the benefit of a juicy fart.

We have a two-party system of Republicans and Republicrats now.  And the relentless propaganda apparatus that is the US media goes marching on...
Reply with quote  #4 

My advice.. go back to laying bricks and tending your garden, in the name of that inimitable philosopher Dr Pangloss. No one is going to change the direction of Aircraft Carrier US, not you, not not anybody. Yes the public option is dead and so is real health care reform Not that I care I have an excellent public health system to rely on here in Costa Rica. The sad fact is that those of you still aboard the sinking US ship will suffer unless you, like the wise rats, abandon ship. There is almost nothing I can say anymore about the US situation that is not negative and nihilistic. Sorry.

The mess in Iran which has all the fingerprints of the Mossad and CIA all over it is terrible. Of course Iran should rid itself of its theocratic dictatorship but not at the hands of Israel, Britain and the US. And Obama as usuual starts with a sensible policy until he is easily goaded into a disastrous change. Makes you long for the hard headedness of GW Bush GAK!!! Would someone kindly lend the president a spine.

Here in beautiful Costa Rica it is invierno or winter or the Green season. This means beautiful warm sunny mornings and torrential afternoon thunderstorms most every day. We get our walks in with the dogs early to avoid the heat and the rain although nothing is more fun that running around in a warm rain. Like Dr Pangloss, I will just tend to my gardens and avoid the so-called real world swirling around outside. Costa Rica is as real as I would want to be. They have a health care system, a decent educational establishment good old age care (not ready for that yet) social understanding, a determination to do things governmentally that will improve peoples lives (I thought that that was what government was for but I spent most of my life in the US)

Come on down for a visit KB. It will rejuventate your wonderful spirit of communitarianism that I think has been your lifelong commitment. But you are wasting it on the US sinking ship.
Reply with quote  #5 
Stan, you make me want to drop everything and buy a ticket for CR!  But, you know, I've gotten uglier (as if I could) since you saw me last.  That last round of teeth-pulling -- oh, yeah, I'm bare-gummed now -- has left me feeling older, crotchetyer, and more often than not, jettisoning the chops.  Way worse than I was before.  You would have to cook up a pot of corn-meal mush to feed me.  

Anyway, my pentecostal fury is venting itself at rallies for single-payer care, embarrassing my comrades there and causing me much blowback in the form of subsequent mortification for my behavior.  Then I hear or see more of the lies and it comes rushing forth again. 

Why am I so damn sure of myself?  Who on earth could take me?  Here or in Costa Rica? 

(I will be in DC this summer, saving my little vacation for that, and a visit to my Mom in OH.)

I see our little tidepool as an intracontinental embrace of the earth, and it will always be a lifeline for me, one I need to use more often.  And yeah, I can't help but return to my garden...or you don't know what those things do to you [they keep pulling you back in there]. 

Oh, and I'm painting a mural for my friend in the Castro.  I'll send you some pictures if I can figure out how to upload them...or I may have to e-mail them. has folded as an organization and now is Obama's peanut gallery.  Aircraft carrier US is doing a pretty good job of sinking under its own weight.  And since Obama plans to keep digging, not much hope there.  You're right not to care, what good has caring done thus far? 
Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #6 
Hang in there, Kate. Keep up the racket for Single Payer Health Care. Nothing else but the extension of Medicare to all American citizens has any chance of getting the necessary task accomplished. Taking the Single Payer option "off the table" before the game even begins sounds so much like Nancy the Negotiator and 3B-Barack (Bark, Backtrack, and Bail) Obama. Even if the Democratic Party "leadership" really didn't think they could push through Single Payer, any negotiator worth the name (or even a novice pinocle player) would haul out the snarling gorilla to scare the living shit out of the Medical Industrial Complex so as to get the best deal possible down the road. But nooooooooooo. Just give away the store before even opening the store. Jeez, Louise.

I apologize for not posting more to this forum recently, but I've gotten involved with another long-time Internet acquaintance -- a retired professor of Computer Science -- who asked me to help him out with an E-Prime (i.e., "is"-less" English) project paraphrasing Thoreau's Walden. It seems like only yesterday that Bill Clinton became notorious for disrespecting that greasy little grammatical gremlin: namely, "being" (or unconscious projection); but I have to give him credit for irritating me into doing the research that led me to change my own writing habits, both expository and poetic. After going on nine years of diligent practice with E-Primatology, I almost feel capable of writing a book on the subject. For sure, "Clinton's Conundrum" (as I like to call it) made me appreciate one of Francis Bacon's many aphorisms: namely, that "no one can successfully discover the nature of a thing in that thing itself." Or, as the Mafia guys put it: "If you don't understand something, get rid of it." So, I did. 

Anyway, although I agree with Stan about the virtues of living abroad in a civilized country with national health care, I still have two sons back in America struggling to make a minimal living and, of course, a few dear friends whom I wish I could see more often. Carol and I plan on visiting Los Angeles over the end-of-year holidays -- if the Department of Homeland Paranoia doesn't have us arrested for daring to live somewhere else. The last time we visited America, the rent-a-cops at the airport immigration gateway gave Carol such a rough time (even trying to get her to "voluntarily" relinquish her Green Card) that we haven't gone back for well over a year now. As well, with President Obama so eager to emulate Deputy Dubya and Sheriff Dick in their disdain for the U. S. Constitution, I don't suppose we will get any better a welcome in December. Nonetheless, we plan to tough it out anyway. I really do have to visit my parents' grave and take care of a few remaining pieces of business in person back in the U.S.A. In any event, perhaps we can get in a couple of weeks in Southern California as "tourists."

Take care, and stay beautiful in the only way that matters: in your mind and heart.

Reply with quote  #7 
You have other correspondents?    Thank you for the kind words of reinforcement.  It is heartening.

Speaking of weeds, I know if you have been asked to scrub an essay of its verbs of being, you are in hog heaven.  Gads, I think I just erred in that there sentence.

As for the "mandate" they will eventually force upon us, I use your figure of $32 per month, per household, as a guideline.  Let's see how close they come to that. 

If they hold a gun to my head and say, "buy health insurance" I will say, "Shoot" (mooting the point). 

I was reading the Economist's 6/27/09 issue this morning, with a cover story on the US's efforts to reform health care.  I thought of Pad in Florida, when they said the cost of medical care there was the highest in the nation.  Unfortunately, as well, there is an inverse correlation between how much medical "care" you get and how poor your prospects are.  Death by medicine.

I'd better get out of here before all those verbs of being devour me like little pac-men.

G'night all.

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi again, Kate. Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I do have other correspondents besides just you and Stan -- but only a very few. I've composed literally thousands of essays (and several dozen poems amounting to several thousand lines) over the past decade -- on various public bulletin boards like WWIR, Mike Reilly's own board, PBS NOW, and here. I can't say what value others have gotten from my contributions, but I've certainly gained considerable experience in putting my thoughts down in writing, whether in prose or poetry. Occasionally someone tracks me down in cyberspace to say thanks or just acknowledges that they've read something or other that I've written. That suffices for me. Less often, some right wing fanatic tries to spam me out of pure spite, but I've had little problem ignoring the pests. You probably can remember the ones I mean.

Like Stan, my fondness for political dialectics has atrophied of late, primarily because I have taken up other, more healthy concerns. Aside from getting my dietary and exercise lifestyle stabilzed and habituated, I have, as you know, branched out a bit into the graphic arts. Since I had no interest or training in this area until only a few years ago, I've had to immerse myself in concentrated study and practice until I could discover the right subject and materials suitable to my meager talents. This intense concentration on sculpture and painting has left me far less time to think and write. Hopefully, I will find a happy balance between my current and continuing interests: intellectual, artistic, and musical. My recent brush with mortality frankly scared the shit out of me and resulted in a renewed committment to get the most value from every additonal passing moment that I have yet to live on this beautiful but damaged planet. This also means, of course, keeping up to date with cherished friends.

The practice of E-Prime (or "Is"-less English) has now simply become part of what I do as a writer. As I've said many times in the past, until President Bill Clinton made himself a historic object of ridicule in his 1998 grand jury testimony, I pretty much wrote the way most sort-of-educated persons did, with little appreciation for the Medieval metaphysics that lurk within the unexamined Copula. I can still remember writing an essay on one of the old bulletin boards entitled "Clinton's Conundrum," wherein I attempted to analyze the semantic and grammatical implications of both Clinton's garbled grasp of "being" and the braying-jackass mob of pundits and politicians who jeered at Clinton's infelicitous phrasing while themselves showing no inkling of, or interest in, "what "is" means" -- or doesn't mean. As recently as a few weeks ago, I casually searched the Internet to see what still remains of the clueless controversy. I discovered that barely a handful of commentators have even gotten around to simply distinguishing the matter of "tense," or time (or timelessness) that the word "is" carries within its various manifestations. Even those who seemed to sense this could not articulate why they thought so. I keep waiting for someone to rephrase the key statement so that it says: "That depends on when you mean by "is." 

In any event, I started making it my business to accumulate whatever materials I could find by writers and thinkers -- past and present -- who have given the matter of "being" a serious look. While almost without exception they have acknowledged the recursive problem of talking about "being" while employing "being" itself in their explanations, few except the occational general semanticist (and not even many of those) have bitten the bullet and simply used other resources of the language to not just illuminate the problem, but actually do something about it. I don't suppose that you have much interest in this subject, but I consider it more important and interesting than any other linguistic issue I have ever encountered. Certainly I've personally put the matter to the test and have found it both sound and salutary. Since I've had, and will have, many discussions on this topic with my other correspondent and posters on the e-prime bulletin board, I'll try to share those here whenever possible. In that way, I hope to still keep up my end of our conversations so that you won't mistakenly suppose that I have forgotten you -- which I haven't.

That should do it for now. Stay engaged, energized, and enervated. The exercise will do you good.  
Reply with quote  #9 
I am  (oops) glad we have gotten back to is. Sensibly, in Spanish there are two ises, estar and ser. You can say I am an engineer, using yo soy ingenero but you can't say that about I am at home, which is yo estoy en casa. This makes sense since place and location do not necessarily mean being except maybe being in a place. Just like you can't be hungry when you are really Stan or Mike. It is always I have hunger, tengo hambre, as they say here around lunchtime or ich habe hunger as they say in Germany before mittagsessen.

The other verb which is different in most every language except English, to know. I know you is different from I know the time. Actually I am familiar with you but I know the time. In German kennen is to know somebody and wissen is to know something just as in Spanish conocer is to know someone and saber is to know something. This makes perfect sense to me but it probably adds to the problem of what is is for speakers of other langages. ┬┐que piensas?
Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks for the comments, Stan. I especially like your examples from Spanish and German. I'll try to address those to the extent that my limited ability with those languages allows. At various times in my life I've gotten the chance to study French (two years in high school), Vietnamese (in the U.S. Navy), Japanese and Mandarin Chinese (University level), conversational German (one semester at a local junior college) and two courses in introductory Sanskrit (while working on a master's degree in Buddhist Studies). Every language has its own intricate and interesting qualities, certainly, but what I've gotten into with E-Prime ("Is"-less English) has more to do with Indo-European languages that share an overdevelopment of the common noun -- as C. S. Peirce pointed out -- to the detriment of true verbs that describe process-reality more concretely than the superficial naming-and-classifying "Noun-is-Noun" or "Noun-is-Adjective" stentence structures that many Indo-European languages rely on as a one-size-(badly)fits-all semantic crutch.     

However, since Kate began this thread to discuss "The Miasma of Change" now spreading the old Status Quo ever more thickly throughout the flogged and fleeced Nation of Sheep, I think I'll start another thread devoted to this linguistic topic so that we can continue our discussion onwards from there. I have no doubt but that Kate has more to say here on what "change" means -- or doesn't mean -- back in the "Be"-fuddled and "Be"-fogged U. S. S. A. 

Now I had better get to work starting that other thread.
Reply with quote  #11 
Sorry, Mike.  No working for you, only play!  I be beholden to both you and Stan for bringing other languages into the discussion, as you addressed my unspoken question. 

I will get me to my garden, then.  I'm freezing up my harvest in little baggies.  Feels so good to be putting up food.  Two little 8' rows of peas (one snow, one green) in planter boxes have been bearing for 6 weeks!  Amazing, as I expected only a token harvest.  I mulched today, after bearing a big bale of straw home from Half Moon Bay.  Boy, straw is hella messy.  You should see my car.  But it looks nice around the plants, and should slow down the weeds and slugs. 

That was supposed to be a joke, me asking "You mean you have other correspondents?"  Just honored to be one of them. 
Reply with quote  #12 

Your speaking of planter beds reminded me of Babs and my planter beds we had when we lived in Cupertino cerca 85 Here's a picture of them. Babs was such a fanatic about fresh food being cooked that she would boil the water in a pot, I would go out and pick some corn (we had lots) and run to the house shucking it as I went just so it would be as fresh as possible mmm it was delicious though

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Reply with quote  #13 
Babs had it exactly right.  Especially with corn.  All the sugars start turning to starch as soon as it's picked. 

As far as the other things go, their freshness is shown by how long they keep vs. grocery-store produce, in the refrigerator while I try to bust loose enough time to freeze them up or cook them to eat. 

Picked my first cherry tomato today.  It was sweet.
Reply with quote  #14 
We have here in the tropic some of the most amazing produce. Some of it defies description but we try it anyway. There are also of course year round delicious tomatoes, corn (not quite as sweet as the temperate variety) and everything fruit wise. We have our own banana tree so even though babanas are cheaper than dirt gere we have some to give away.We go to a feria or farmers market once a week and load up on stuff. I feel so healthy I could burst.

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Reply with quote  #15 
Please, just don't remind me of those avocados and mangos (the ones that get to ripen on the trees until they are sooooooooo big, sweet, and tender).  I had them in Trinidad and especially the avocados are unreal, unreal. 

You go, guys! 
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