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Friday, January 6, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 22dec25011

Occupy sign Oakland Port Bart Station, 2011 (Goodtimes)
Questioning the country’s underlying structural values

FAMILY OF SECRETS … As award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker says of his own book, “…[I]t’s explosive, and it questions some of the underlying structural values of our country” … I’d missed this Bloomsbury Press blockbuster when it came out two years ago, and then my friend Reed Balzer loaned me a copy the other day. I can’t put it down … All the things I thought I learned in concept in Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1993), now appear documented in fact and footnote. Carl Oglesby’s secret Yankee/Cowboy power structure analysis gets fleshed out into real names, verifiable dates, specific places. And new light is shed on the whole painful reach of my understanding of our nation’s political history over the last 50 years … 
Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets
Yes, it’s about the Bushes. But also about the whole oil-dominated era of assassinations, obscene consolidated wealth and foreign military actions that make up America the Empire (a mirror few take to our “imperfect union,” as Pres. Obama likes to call it) ... Gore Vidal calls this one of the most important books of the decade. And I don’t disagree. You can’t read it and not be changed in how you view this nation of ours … And it makes one mindful of how important it is to create resilient local communities in the face of such power madness … Highly recommended.

THRIVE … Then along comes a new video to question all one’s assumptions. A “documentary” of mainstream-eroding social, scientific and political anomalies that we’ve long avoided facing, haven’t quite believed, or have been told are mere conspiracy theories … Unfortunately, debunkers have already ripped many of its outré claims to shreds. Indeed, many of the film’s “facts” seem dubious. Plus, Foster Gamble’s narrated script is clunky at best … But as a spacey, crazy speculative imagining, it’s fun. The graphics are trippy. Whatever the physics behind the torus and vector equilibrium, they make good candidates for unifying principles. Plus, many wonderful and respected experts make fine pronouncements, and tell clear truths. It sure appears that the world banking elites are maneuvering us towards a new world order of some kind and that global domination may very well be the goal of the small eye of the dollar’s pyramid. And Thive’s eventual solutions proposed are things that it wouldn’t hurt doing … So, there you have a questioning that seems mired in its own inconsistencies, while pushing the limits of our imaginings of what might be … Curious, mind-bending but a bit loose at the reins.

OAKLAND … I never had a lot of respect for that city across the Bay from San Francisco, my first home. But thanks to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, the whole region is more a Bay Area metro area than individual cities. Not unlike Denver – where the other metro cities are really just extensions and outliers of the Mile High City … 

Staying at the Convention Center downtown adjacent to Oakland’s Chinatown, we got in on their Friday Farmer’s Market. Booths overflowing with dishes, products, produce, meat, mushrooms, and mounds of fruit – especially persimmons, one of those remarkable delicacies that rarely make it out to Colorado … Prices were super low. Competition was stiff. The crowds were mostly Chinese, with a sprinkling of Anglos. Organic was a big presence. And musicians included a wonderful Anglo blind woman on guitar at one end of the four block market, and an elderly Chinese gentleman playing a bowed zither at the other … Thanks to friends, we found a Vietnamese lunch spot frequented mostly by Asians, with only four or five tables, but a long line of customers because the food was delicious and unbelievably inexpensive … There’s two of the principle allures of the city for me, embedded as I am in the middle class – delicious food at inexpensive prices.

HIT ‘N’ RUN … In between sessions of MAPS’s Cartographie Psychedelica, our Shroomfest crew hiked from the snazzy Marriott Hotel downtown out to the Oakland Port, searching for the Occupy folks, who had scheduled a port shutdown on the 12th. But we arrived too late for the morning action and too early for the evening protest. We saw little of cops or protestors until we circled back to the 19th Street Station and saw a small welcoming crew of three protestors and a couple signs planted in a median … Tactics in the movement had changed from encampments to protests. The port shutdown was “successful” – commerce ground to a halt as thousands marched. Photos and headlines dominated the local papers … But the day after many of the 99% who got caught in the demo (mostly truckers) grumbled that they’d lost pay, and the 1% hadn’t been inconvenienced at all.

Phil Woods

Prayer for the Holidays

Wake up and make green tea
For a sore throat.
Order a pretty pink tee shirt
With humming birds on it
For the young woman I care for.
It’s her Christmas present.
Listen to Joan Baez
--a voice of an angel
For over half a century
Read Peter Matthiessen
Describing his travels
In Indian country.
So many sad tales
& resigned anger.
What would it take
For this troubled land
To heal?
All my relations...


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