Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Brain Food Matinee || The Century of the Self

"He [Man] is infected with the leprosy of collective thinking and has become an inmate of that insalubrious stud-farm called the totalitarian State." ~ Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis (Collected Works #14, 1956)

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Abby Martin | Empire Files: Post-Soviet Russia, Made in the U.S.A.

submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price

[courtesy of Telesur English] The increased aggression towards Russia from US politicians and media is made more clear when taking into account the real history of the post-Soviet period. The hidden story of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the country after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today.

To uncover just how much the US Empire has interfered in Russia’s political evolution, Abby Martin interviews Mark Ames, an American journalist who spent a decade reporting from Yeltsin’ and Putin’s Russia and witnessed the country’s transformation from an American “colony” to it’s “number one threat."

[Note: TRC would also recommend reading archives from Dmitry Orlov, who has a distinctly different view of the collapse of the Soviet Union, having witnessed it firsthand. He has been sharing warnings for years that we should heed now. The current administration has just been handed the keys to a massive surveillance state, courtesy of the neoliberal project that brought you the collapse and 'fire sale' of Soviet Russia. I learned of Dmitry's work through my peak oil research.

Dmitry has often spoken directly to the need of subsistence farming that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union for the Russian people to survive the aftermath of the neoliberal experiment that destroyed many lives. America is not going to recover from the last 8 years of the same experiment by the same oligarchs, after a mobster was elected. It behooves us all to have critical thinking caps on. Those who do not believe that Hillary and the Democratic establishment wouldn't rig the primary need to do some homework on geopolitics, and this interview is a great start. What this new president will do is a bit of a wildcard geopolitically, but we can safely assume what to expect about loss of 'rights' at home. Hold on to each other. Build bridges not walls. ~ G]

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Monday, January 23, 2017

On Contact: Chris Hedges w/Glen Ford on President Obama's Legacy

submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price

On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges looks back on President Barack Obama’s legacy with Glen Ford, Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report. They examine Obama’s role in boosting the war industry, serving corporate interests and depleting the privacy rights of Americans. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at some of the darker decisions made over the past eight years.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When The Going Gets Weird...

...the weird turn pro.


Gabrielle here. Yes, it's been awhile.

I arrive back having long ditched political leanings for fear of destroying what perilous relations I had left in the Matrix. These relations teetering on the precipice after recent election results and subsequent fallout from the left that one can only describe as Cold War Part Deux. Not terribly original or progressive. A bad remake from stories I had already heard and frankly, they were told better by people like my grandfather. I don't want to binge watch this rerun, I'm here to MST3K the damn thing. I find myself horrified to witness the full embrace of NeoMcCarthyism and lack of critical thought from the liberal class. A class I once thought may have a grasp of American history...or at least better than Sarah Palin's grasp.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ~ Isaac Asimov
Chris Hedges was right. The death of the liberal class is on full view. We all know the bible-thumping right is devoid of logic but we're now in a place where former brothers-in-arms have taken leave of their senses...unless it's the 'smile or die' sense with all the 'feels' that go with it. Ironically, I'm sure they'll be glad I didn't "return to my senses" after seeing this political shit-show unfold. I return to TRC hopeful that what I have to say still matters to someone who may act upon it with understanding, grace and character, and without trying to take pity on my soul or ask me to sell it again for the American mythological 'pursuit of happiness' that will never continue on a planet with finite resources. The cheap oil gravy train derailed with Baby Boomers -- they'll have to come to grips with being the 'kick the can'  generation.

It's the constant pimping of a lifestyle that has been getting folks killed overseas and at home. That will not be abating under the new administration. In fact, Obama led the way with 'executive orders' and this morning at 11 a.m., Trump issued another that will undoubtedly ramp up violence against peaceful people trying to protect their land and water. Nevermind that families of color seeking justice for loved ones who have been and will continue to be slain by killer cops will be marginalized. They were under Obama, too. And liberals ought to know this is exactly how poverty, racism and class warfare works in America.

But they are distracted by white feminists in pussy hats weeping for a poor Nazi being punched in the face, irrelevant pop stars yelling bomb threats that only piss off the already lunatic, all while participating in McCarthyism and tuning out radical anti-war voices from the left. Yeah, let's blame Russia for that. Maybe the Kremlin is behind murdering all those black folks, too?

Or maybe...its time for democrats to do some self-reflection and shadow work. Reality checks are good.

Most of my friends have historically been liberal. Hearts are in the right place and that has never been at issue. It's the minds and asses that need to follow suit. It is way past time to get off the bar stool and meditation cushion. My peers are the children of the sixties era -- born on the cusp of a technological age that promised knowledge and learning at our fingertips akin to a global library.  Alas, seemingly intelligent people avoid hard truths or even recent history in lieu of sharing photos of food, taking banal quizzes, sharing memes and don't really try to find well-researched news. Gen-X'ers and Do Nothing's collided in a decade of self-soothing under a black neoliberal president and thought they'd won a "post-racial" feel-good future full of gravy and beer. As a consequence, the internet superhighway in America became either work related, family oriented, used to 'build a client' base or a mirage of endless gumball machines chock full of apps and video games. Oh yeah...and millions of narcissistic, self-righteous, duckface selfies and porn.

But we're not twelve and this is no longer a joking matter. Stewart and Colbert are only going to shoot at fish in a barrel the way they did during the Bush Administration, except now they're likely try to push a war with Russia.  This administration is a gold mine for satirists now that Obama is gone. The censorship under his awful tenure of drone bombing and Wall Street butt-kissing was genius marketing to people's 'feels' not critical thinkers. The 'pursuit of happiness' only happens for those willing to look the other way on resource wars while both the marginalized and an alternative press has their rights trampled and the 'kick the can' economy gets edged toward the precipice of a possibly fascist White House. Obama has just handed a giant toddler the keys to the kingdom of an ongoing military-surveillance state and of course, his tiny hands in the Wall Street cookie jar.

The liberal class is crying over spilled milk from a bottle labeled 'Yes We Can' -- and Yes He Did. What the liberal class imagined they could do didn't matter -- it's what their country could do for them. I shed no tears over his departure. I shed all the tears I had left for this joke of a political system the night he signed the NDAA in the dead of night on New Year's Eve, 2012. I also didn't cry over Bernie having the primary stolen from him by a corrupt democratic party establishment who would rather have the current president in the White House than run the popular candidate the country wanted who beat him in every poll.


Bernie supporters and progressives are NOT idiots. I've personally experienced a hard core political education simply by being a media analyst and an environmentalist. Sitting on information this country doesn't want because they'd rather stay in denial on a virtual playground of duality and feel superior to their both poorer or non-degreed Americans. Congrats. Frankly, I'm really glad I am not in debt up to my eyeballs for a college education from this country. Seems we've rolled out more managers, marketers and coaches than critical thinkers or historians. I'd hazard a guess most of those good folks are working three jobs to pay down their school loan sharks...and the country suffers greatly for it now.

It has been goddamn embarrassing to watch the dumbing down of smart people I used to know.  I suppose I should thank them because as a consequence, I found my own mind and became my own guru. Which is the point of education, evolving...otherwise known as enlightenment...right?

I'd like to enlighten you to the fact that shit is bad. #ShitRealBad. It's far worse than anyone believes it to be because we've chosen denial over inconvenient truths. I can no longer dance around the maypole pretending the Kali energy coming isn't going to be destructive as hell. Mother Nature is already seeing to this and I say, "Of course." To people I know, however, this appears to be doom and gloom but its better to tell them what Chief Oren Lyons said, "There is no mercy in nature. None. You abide by the rules or suffer the consequences. No habeous corpus here."

I found myself eternally grateful for that grounding statement after witnessing Bush gut our Bill of Rights like a catfish but couple that with the hard truth that Obama passed the NDAA. Guess what? There is no habeous corpus for any of us now, not even on paper. This was the reason my grandfather fought in WWII and all soldiers are asked to uphold the Constitution, not a corporate police state. A deathblow was struck by a liberal, who was actually a neocon. The notion of creeping fascism certainly wasn't new in 2012 but it was the impetus for the essay I wrote during the Occupy two-year anniversary.

I'm still asked, "Where's your hope"? Well, it sure isn't going to be located in a party of 'kinder, gentler' drone war crimes, spying on the public, pepper spraying natives on tribal lands, rigging primaries and then blaming other nations instead of looking in a damn mirror. Democratic party elites advised by crotchety Cold War criminals like Brzezinski and Kissinger don't give me hope. Dr. King didn't place it there, either, by the way so I decided the only thing left was to avoid my own spiritual death, thanks.

Neoliberal elites in Hollywood are desperately trying to hang on to their relevance during this shit show, and many are going to start showing themselves as real zombies now. They're going to need their heads checked if they aren't checking into rehab first. Sarah Silverman thought Bernie supporters we're being ridiculous after Hill rigged the primary? So sorry. How did civilization ever get on without civilized people like Sarah licking dog's assholes? I would like to raise the bar on being civilized enough to care about environmental and basic human rights for all people as well as privileged white women. You're welcome, Sarah.

Hope is a word I've had to redefine for those who seek it in a system falling apart at the seams. There be dragons here. My work required me to slay my own false hopes and they died hard when I became energy literate. I found faith in myself, my transition community and others who saw the same things I was seeing. But my greatest faith still rests in the six inches of topsoil, the rain that nurtures it and the hands that work it.  It's as good a place as any to place faith. It has been the only reason for human existence, long before fossil fuels and the now bastardized printing press. I embrace earth-based spirituality, find solace in native traditional stories [as well as courage from their actions against the fossil fuel industry] and in this past year, I have dipped my toe in the vast teachings of Carl Jung and [until now] suppressed women's histories.

We've lost the ability to tell our own stories. Yesterday's Women's March will no doubt bring more stories to ears who desperately need to hear them. Especially now. The stories I'm interested in these days rarely come from white folks, I'm afraid. I have very little to learn from them about becoming an ally for those who are really going to be feeling the consequences of this new administration the most. To ignore them now is a goose-step toward a place we really do not want to go. I'll not be crying over broken Starbucks windows or Nazi fucks getting punched in the face. I don't live in the black/white duality of Pleasantville anymore.

If you are at all honest with yourself about how anyone in political leadership positions behaved during the Black Lives Matter protests around primary season and subsequent lack of action from the last president for the Standing Rock water protectors -- you'll realize you don't live in Pleasantville anymore, either. The democratic establishment stole the primary from the only valid candidate this entire nation believed in. If you consider yourself a liberal in any sense of that word, you'll ditch the DNC and help build a new movement.

Beliefs Vs. Ideas

I've been called everything from a pagan to Buddhist. I've never hung a tag on myself, I just felt it; a call or reverence for and worship of the divine feminine or Gaia. It is the worship of wisdom, both light and dark like the solstices of the sun and moon cycles that choreograph the dance of the tides. The regenerative cycles of nature are all the human species has ever needed for a happy, healthy life on this planet. A little technology is good but too much cheap energy caused homo sapiens to go bananas. Monsanto should never have patented life; that is the abomination we've been sold under another cult: science without moral peer review under the neoliberal idea of 'feeding the world' for a buck. [Ask Kissinger about that one, too.] A seed is life and life should not have a price tag on it.

I advocate for a woman's right to choose when and where she becomes a mother. The planet cannot handle more dominionists anymore than it can handle more liberals. This conclusion is easier to come to without mucking it up with zealots who want to end total access to birth control. Don't want abortions? Don't take away birth control. This isn't rocket science. People fuck. Unmarried people fuck all the time. If the right would ever get the hell over that singular science fact alone, we might have been able to deal with the reality of population overshoot.

Did it ever occur to you that most science is equally denied by both political parties? It's true and it's for the same religion: 'infinite economic growth on a finite planet'. The 'kick the can' congregation meets every Sunday in both megachurches, ball parks and in front of the cable box. Land of the free super-size and the home of the debt slave. State violence that keeps this paradigm afloat is now American as GMO apple pie. So why are we complaining about the new President?

Oh, right. HE's the fascist. But aren't liberals now Reagan conservatives? I'm sure most of them will read this and call it 'fake news' because it scares the shit of them to read anything at all unpleasant. Reality isn't fucking pleasant. It's just reality. Seeing things as they are is the only way to effect them. That, my friends, is the foundation of science. Closing our eyes and ears to unpleasant truths should be left to evangelicals. So if you think you can change the world with your mind -- do us all a huge favor and change it back to a different primary election result? That'd be great.

As you may have guessed, I have no political affiliation. I'm going to maintain objectivity because I am forced to at this point. I promote free speech. All of it -- even the right to burn flags. My grandfather served in WWII for that right as much as any other we've pissed away the last 14 years. Liberties mean nothing to an electorate still seeking salvation from a corrupt military-state of elites that SPY on them with impunity. They don't care about your peaceful marches -- they welcome that because they co-opt them [as evidenced by Debbie Wasserman Schultz actually showing her mug in DC after the primary she helped steal]. It isn't until you're exercising your liberty to protect your environment, health and privacy -- then you aren't doing what you're told. You're the de facto enemy.

Madonna did a huge favor for the police state by exclaiming she's often thought of blowing up the White House. Really? That woman has lost her mind -- she will no longer be relevant. I'm sure she'll be followed by intelligence agencies under the current administration and that will cause a shit storm of press that will scare the bejeezus out of anyone exclaiming a damn thing without thinking twice now. I wonder how much she was paid for that weapon of mass distraction...

Less Is More? Depends On The Subject.

Everything I needed to know I learned from my grandparents. Both sets tended victory gardens, canned food, were incredible cooks and these things helped build community during the Depression and WWII efforts to save fuel. I remember them being described as 'log cabin republicans' -- from the Ohio Valley to Appalachia, good people that continued resilient traditions well after I arrived on this plane. They've crossed over now and I miss them dearly. Were they racist? Sure. They weren't rabid supremacists but had plenty of passive microagressions and tragically archaic gender roles. It's the latter that fucked up my own relationship barometer. Everybody has some kind of neurosis, folks. It was their thinking that I chose not to carry forward because I knew it was church propaganda. You picked your battles back then or you got labeled a 'problem child'. I mostly just kept my mouth closed and observed. I learned a lot more as an introvert : code for 'children are seen and not heard'.  Later I learned that women often assume that role in a patriarchal family. Unless you were a matriarch that saw your family through some shit -- then you spoke your mind, often without a 'feels' filter. Only one set of my grandparents went to church. A small, community church in the mountains of Virginia. That congregation wouldn't have turned a hungry soul away, no matter where they came from or what they looked like.

What their microagressions said did not match with how they acted toward others. This was key to me understanding that politics isn't necessarily anything to the common man but voting for what is best for their communities. Sadly, the same is true now but we're talking about a congregation of dominionists with megachurches and summer homes. People who would just as soon shit where they eat than plant a seed of hope for anyone let alone a tomato plant to help feed a family they don't want on welfare. But they'll take all those kids from both cities and small towns and ask families to abort them later in the endless meat machine of war and yell Hallelujah. These folks don't fool me into believing they worship any god but money.

But isn't that what a fossil fuel addicted society worships right along with them? I think that it behooves us to start thinking about these things sooner than later. The planet would have liked this to happen earlier of course, but living up to western notions of success have been quite the distraction from ocean acidification, melting of the permafrost and subsequent methane releases from the arctic. Not to mention the poisoning of the healthy soil my grandparents and many others used to tend.

The thinking that I carried from my grandparents was self-reliance. A notion of sovereignty that wasn't marred by seeking outside oneself for Self or filling an emptiness with consumerism rather than human connection. It was wisdom grounded in the soil not politics. They were wise enough to know not to trust politicians, lawyers or bankers and let you know it with colorful humor and wit. Getting rich wasn't the goal of life. Having enough and sharing the bounty was their life and yes, they struggled. That's what made them rich. It was simplicity of the mantra 'less is more.' In my studies I realized that in hindsight, this was very much like the way of the Tao.

In this country of 24 hour consumption, I view that practice as one that will need resurrected. Not the old paradigm dualities of racism, classism, and sexism that has always divided this [need I remind everyone] VERY young country. The idea that the church is separated from state is a complete and utter myth. We have to make that separation ourselves, in our minds, the way the founding fathers did with the good ideas laid out in the Constitution. Most of  them were atheists, people. That's a fine reason alone to revisit it because it was based in reason. This was a country that was eventually founded on getting out from under the Crown and its church. Early colonial settlers simply replaced it with a new one...or three.

Were the founding fathers racists? Yes, and some owned slaves and killed natives for 'American Progress.' Now we have the school-to-prison pipeline and First Nations people are still treated like savages, even though we all understand who the savages really were and still are. The Doctrine of Discovery is alive and well in the white psyche in 2017, even among atheists. But nowhere in those founding documents does it define a man by color or as property. White women won the right to vote eventually but only recent history records women of color getting to vote in the shit show -- to join the long lines of beggars of scraps from white rich men. But white feminists, like Hillary, marginalize women of color to insure white women get those scraps first.

Smart men wrote our founding documents [even smart men lack character] but they kept them vague for us to apply our own critical thinking or we'd never have seen a Civil Rights movement make end roads. A first black president doesn't mean much under a neoliberal agenda of a police state, not with the current 'changing of the guard.'  I'm quite sure the founding fathers never imagined man would devolve from the place they were then. Anymore than the country could imagine itself after the assassination of JFK or Dr. King. The job of the church has always been the same in this country: keep minds small, keep people malleable with tortured souls full of guilt at the least transgression, and never question the state, by god. Are you seeing where shit gets really blurred? Even if you don't believe in a god, you believe in the American 'infinite growth' god: the 'almighty' dollar. "In God We Trust" wasn't added to paper currency until 1964 through 1967. That was the year I was born. I'm painfully aware now that paper currency in this country isn't based on anything tangible. Not gold or silver but debt. This is not my debt or yours, however. This magical god made debt slaves of good people for the 1% bank cartel at the Fed. The only real American idol is a gold bull.

This is the place JFK tried to warn us about. Eisenhower, too. The rub: knowing it in your own mind with your own reason. Not 'believing' any party or pundit so staunchly that the religion of nationalism hurts your 'feels' and runs off with your frontal lobes and straight to the nearest mall to fill an emptiness that creates more debt slavery. I'll tell you a secret: it's exactly what the new president wants. Don't worry, we're going to 'make America great again': just go shopping while we wipe human beings off the face of the earth. Sound at all familiar? You'll get free planetary destruction and human rights abuses with your cute sweatshop stuff made from child workers whose suffering you'll never see. Nor will you see the real criminals the middle class bailed out, hiding behind Wall Street's golden idol and billion dollar corporations who still pay no taxes just bought our political process. Do you think they feel guilt ridden? You think they're just like you? Good folks trying to do the right thing by the American electorate?

P.T. Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute in America. The current circus in DC wants to keep this charade going until the wheels fall off -- and with peak energy looming, that will be more and more expensive to keep up. So they're going to steal more. They won't apologize for it and won't lube up a floundering middle class to make it feel less like being fucked. Neoliberals are still good at that. Now, the reality of the next 4 years will be glaringly obvious. Neocons and neoliberals don't give a shit about our 'feels' or anyone else that gets in the way of the 'Lord's' work.

Embrace the idea of less is more, just not in the frontal lobe department. It is 2017 and it is way past time to find our critical thinking skills if we wish to evolve past being treated like suckers.

Quality over quantity

The reason I've come back to TRC: Gifts that keep giving, that don't collect dust and that can't be returned. Of those that I can name, knowledge and wisdom rank up there. Even if you are riddled with student debt, your knowledge can't be taken away. Truth is a difficult sell and often more appreciated by my elders than my peers. I suppose that makes me an old soul. Oh, I've tried other avenues of reaching people: through art, tarot readings, literary and music clubs, and other projects but I keep running into those who don't seem interested in building community, just building a 'client base' or a business model or worshiping technological marvels in their many facets. I easily admit that much of 'civilized' life has lost its flavor for me. City life certainly has and I prefer small-town living. Quiet suits me right down to the ground.

So what does one do when at the end of all seeking, arriving at the center with Self and nothing outside your monkeysphere has much flavor or truly inspires?

I began to read the mysteries that are almost never tapped by this culture, even with the marvels of the internet. It's a treasure trove. There is old wisdom, incredible teachers, prophets and stories from times when truth mattered to spiritual seekers. One reaches a place of reverence and gratitude for the quiet. One finds a place of meditation and serenity with animals and the natural world. And one writes.

I found my work here with a global audience the most gratifying, nurturing and fruitful. I just needed time to compost some old thinking that was still hanging-on. Over the holidays, I embraced moments of elation and humor to counter last year's personally painful transition. 2016 was a helluva year for many people, myself included. An ending somewhere means a beginning, so I'm turning the lights back on and opening The Refreshment Center once again. Consider it a mom and pop media shop, or the cracker barrel in front of the general store to gather around and discuss the state of things. We've reached peak everything but there is certainly no shortage of subjects to talk about. I'm working on a podcast and hope to interview special guests as well.

I've learned so much about people [and myself] in these few years, that I cannot call anything I've done since I took hiatus from TRC a futile undertaking. Only that I'm painfully aware how close we are to the iceberg that no one wants to discuss; as if logic and reason has also reached peak. I feel a stranger from a strange land on the US Titanic and watching many people I love rearrange the deck chairs, while my transition community continues to calmly build lifeboats.

Living in the U.S. with what I know, have seen and continue to witness, makes me feel like a soul without a country.  A feeling of being lost in space. It has been my spiritual practice alone that has kept me from losing all hope -- it is comfortable people who seem hopeless to me at present. The kind of  hope I speak of is more difficult for western people to grasp as they hold on to the banks of a river as it crumbles in their hands. Reminding me of a Zen proverb that works time and again: "Let go or be dragged." Often, solitude is the only choice I have to keep from feeling dragged. No one person can save the world, after all. I can only save myself.

American notions of liberty, justice and peace are myths in a country at war this long. And a country has nothing to do with these notions unless it can come together against greed, corruption and war. I don't look for that within a rotted political system. It is in community. Community of committed citizens willing to first see the truth before they can act upon it effectively. This is why censorship is the last thing that should be happening. It started with fervor from the left but I think after yesterday's tantrum in the White House press room, I'm hopeful we'll start to hear a different tune as reality sets in. Everything has changed and will continue to change. Everything is impermanent. One thing we might want to hang onto is the notion of United We Stand. It used to mean something, didn't it? One of those American ideals held in high regard and a kind of oneness. That can only really exist if we build a united front for all rather than a select few. This is not the mindset of political elites. Never has this been more obvious than now.
I'm supposed to be really pissed off...or ignoring everything I've learned. These aren't options.
Death of a paradigm

I've steered clear of some rocks with the help of some loving lighthouse keepers. Quiet souls that showed up synchronistically, and who have told stories of both struggle and victory, tragedy and comedy...love and loss. Beautifully flawed human souls, like me. Bearing witness with others who understand where we are and recognition of our shared humanity during this time is a beautiful thing. Listening is a lesson in human connection. It is a dignifying act. There are other good souls waiting to wave us over. They nod knowingly. It is rare to find those who both understand and honor suffering. Hard work has been done to prepare for others to arrive here. And there will be others. When truth becomes the first casualty of war, it is only the short-sighted who forget how long we've been at war. We've got to end the war with ourselves. It's the only war we can ever truly win.

I'm reminded of Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 again. "We're remembering."

We have to welcome all who remember how to get to this bridge and wave them over. We cannot judge how they came to find it because their journey doesn't look like ours. No two paths are the same just as no two books are the same or should be. I hope my readers join me again in bearing witness to whatever comes next. When major changes occurred on the global stage, Mike Ruppert used to say, "Grab the popcorn." He told us there would be no map for this place and he was partly right. A little American history is repeating itself but the climate feedback loops may not be reported under this administration. I'm currently not in the mood to watch the political unraveling. I've got to take any analysis in doses now. Frankly, I'm just trying to get a comprehensive picture of what to expect -- I already know what I assume.

That's not paranoia, by the way. It's healthy skepticism that most Americans may be getting a crash course in this week.

I find myself craving communication that no longer exists on social media. Healthy & rigorous discussion, knowledgeable & witty, with a dose of humility. But then everyone seems to be in mourning for the most part. I don't seek validation for my experiences but I am writing about them, for other women. As we come closer to the end of this paradigm, many men seem perfectly fine pretending shifts aren't happening and sadly, that will make them and their partners ill-prepared for the realities to come. But you cannot save a drowning man who would pull you into the icy waters in a panic to save himself.  You can throw him a preserver and tell him to paddle away from the wreckage. And yes, you can pray for them. I do.

I don't appreciate prayer as much as action these days but there's a place for both. As we can see from the class inequality in this country, prayer is not effective for filling bellies. Mine included. What is good for that is [donations, thank you!] planting food and teaching people who wish to learn how to grow it themselves, can it themselves and cook it themselves. Sovereignty has become a largely foreign concept to consumers with access to 24 hour eateries and delivery. It is hardly shocking to me that obesity is an epidemic among children in the US.

One of the many things in life that has always brought me joy and still does, is good food. Growing it, yes but mostly the love of cooking and sharing it. I learned well from both my grandmothers [and my grandpa Roy; best zucchini bread and hot Irish stew on the planet]. Writing is also among my joys but it so happens that reality is not terribly joyous.  No one person is at fault for the reality we're in, nor can one person alone apologize for it -- Ahem, DNC -- though, I will say the art of apology is very important to human relationship and the social contract. Mending fences is never a waste of time. Being honest with ourselves and others is a very good thing to do for healing right now.

Emotional burn out is a very real thing. We're in danger of this when we don't take time with ourselves to rest, rejuvenate and find our center. Empathic people are struggling with this and will continue to do it if they think they can 'save the world' -- no one person can do this. It's the village that needs saved. Start where you stand.
You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics. ~ Charles Bukowski

Truth is being able to tell it like we see it, even if a grandiose perspective skews our vision out of proportion. Writers and scribes have collected perspectives of human experience since before the printing press. It should not surprise a soul reading this that most of those writers and scribes were male and decidedly European. Now we have histories being revealed to us that didn't exist in collective consciousness until they were discovered -- and in many of these cases revealed as women's histories, suppressed by the patriarchal church.

This is the very real problem that comes when truth is withheld, banned, censored and revised by institutions of power. It starts with 'fake news' but what's next? Texas schoolbooks have already been caught revising Mexican history and many textbooks praise the science of gas fracking in public schools. What of the climate science? Will a people's history of this time be suppressed into folklore, mythology and mystery? Perhaps a second thought, or a fleeting recognition for something you can't quite put your finger on? What writers are left with in this "post truth" world of political spin is our intuition. Not 'news'. Trust mainstream media long enough and it is harder to trust our own gut. Programming has dual meaning here. Disconnection from our own senses is reflected in our personal lives: we withhold when we wish to speak, stay silent in the face of abuse/racism, censor our own feelings, and a fate I find worse than death: indifference about suffering we can actually do something about.

I steal moments of joy where I can get them but 24/7 joy is for monks on mountaintops, Disney Princesses or someone trying to sell you something. Snake oil is still snake oil no matter how good it looks, tastes or goes down. We create our own happiness. There's never been a price tag on it and no one has the only answer to getting it. Except your own self. So it goes.

I'm sticking with good whiskey, good books and a handful of critical thinkers. Quite a lot of bliss around when folks who think they know exactly what's best for you bugger off awhile. Bliss is singular. It won't look like what everyone else is doing. And it shouldn't! That's exactly what liberty and sovereignty is: the pursuit of happiness by ones own means, ways and choices. Not by following a political group, religion, fad or angry mob for that matter. I've cured myself of the dreaded western disease I call 'gimmie-gimmie'. It leaves far too many scars on the planet and my karma.

So, for me and others of humanistic and earth-loving intent, that clause about the pursuit of happiness should have included 'if it harm none'. I think that is where our founding fathers [sorry, white settler colonialists] really fucked up on the enlightenment tip. If it harm none. No, I'm not talking about 'feels' -- I'm talking grievous, bodily harm and endangerment of others liberties here.  Men who wrote about the pursuit of happiness owned slaves and slaughtered native people. Not a terribly enlightened thing, nor a civilized one and white supremacists are holding high office again. They have before. Anyone remember that old coot from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond? That dude served from 1958 to 2003. THAT is why the next President and his cabinet are going to be an ongoing nightmare for more than white feminist, suburban, hipster chicks who cry over broken Starbucks windows and are so fragile, that Nazi fucks being punched in the face makes them cry. Newsflash: White supremacists are coming for people who are not Caucasian. Save your tears Snow White and go read The New Jim Crow. White privilege means we should use our voices as allies for those who may not have them soon. Women of color, including Native American and Muslim sisters are the healers whose stories I've been listening to and they are seared into my psyche after witnessing what has happened to them at the hands of a system my friends have been hellbent, not only to save, but worship, at the expense of the last liberty that is truly free and doesn't require ammunition. Speech.

How long do you think you'll be silent when your water is poisoned or simply unavailable because of droughts caused by climate change and lack of rainfall.

No thanks on the consumer 'joy' -- not at the expense of wholesale destruction of the planet and species we're driving to extinction who live on it, including my own 'monkeysphere' who believes that privilege will somehow save them from that destruction. Privilege is the ultimate in magical thinking. And yes, I have no problem admitting and noticing it is decidedly white...and for the most part, male.

America has to face the hardest choice it has ever been faced with -- especially the left.  The time is now at hand: Do you have free will or do you not?

Welcome back to The Refreshment Center, dear readers.  I hope to serve with humility, grace and the energy that inspires, provokes and raises awareness in the way that others have done for me, in turn. There will be a lot more people seeking truth now, as I once did. Those who speak it and those who would hear it should have access, whether or not it is deemed fake by others who have turned a blind eye to reality.

Censorship is the cowardly act of dismissing music, literature, poetry, art or information that makes us uncomfortable. It is the scribe's task to tell the story as it is, warts and all, to comfort the disturbed. 

We're remembering.

Gabrielle Jones-Price
For the Refreshment Center