Tag Archives: politics

Osama Bin Laden Dead.

Osama Bin Laden Dead.

Wow.  Who cares.

‎”If we can’t create like gods, we can at least destroy like one.”                  – Howard Good

50,000 troops still in Afghanistan, Taliban rages on, and everyone I know is struggling to make ends meat & keep their houses from foreclosing (if they have one) or paying rent (if they don’t).  We live in a country where anything is possible.  Yes, with absolutely no help from the state or federal government.

Education, Healthcare, Social Welfare programs are all festering in the national porter potty toilet.  We, as a country and people, are being governed — manhandled actually — by politicians that make up the top 1% of rich folk in the US.  They do not directly relate in experience to our “common & everyday” problems, therefore they do not empathize with us or care about helping us out of this bog.  They have created a system in which American companies capitalize on outsourcing our jobs to 3rd world countries — where those employed are exploited by these corporatized sweatshop/slave labor gigs because they have no other means of surviving their dismal circumstances.  Our elected officials have cut our unions!!!  and bailed out The Banks with our hard earned tax dollars — Banks that continue to implement excessive fees & refuse to issue us loans a.k.a invest in our business start ups or home purchases. They raise our taxes, charging us astronomical fines (ex: $70 parking tickets) to pay for the deficit.

Yet, they have enough money to prolong our violent military involvement a.k.a colonization of the middle east.  Not enough money, of course, to offer our sacrificial lambs — The Returning Veterans — proper reconstructive medical care (both mentally & bodily).  In my opinion, The VA (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs) embodies America’s raped spirit and maps out all the ways the government is NOT helping us recover.

See the new California taxes below:

(copy & pasted from an email sent to me)
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES HAS AN ARTICLE ON THE SUBJECT: “FLOORING IT ON CAR FINES”.

HUGE California Traffic Tickets Fines Effective 01/06/2011
Please be extremely careful in your driving and car registration & insurance matters.  State of California is broke and they are trying hard to squeeze all of us hard to collect money.  Effective immediately, if you do not stop at the red light, be ready to pay $436 in fines or if you pass a school bus with flashing red signals, you will be charged $616.  The state of California is going for blood, so be extra careful in driving, You cannot afford messing with them.  I have been hearing that Highway Patrols are under pressure to issue a lot more tickets than last year with at least 30% increase in fines over 2009, so beware of radar guns, highway and traffic cameras installed everywhere and the tougher enforcement of parking rules.
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Just for your info, the next time you park in the handicapped zone, even for a minute, you will be looking at almost $ 1000 in parking tickets, so it’d better be worth it.
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California needs money, so pay close attention to the rules of the road!
Traffic Ticket Fines (Effective 01/06/2011)
VC 12814.6    $214:     Failure to obey license provisions.
VC 14600(A)   $214:   Failure to notify DMV of address change within 10 days.
VC 16028(A)     $796:  Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility (insurance)
VC 21453(A)     $436:    Failure to stop at a red signal.
VC 22349          $214:       Unsafe speed,  1 to 15 miles over the limit.
VC 22350           $328:        Unsafe speed, 16 to 25 miles over the limit.
VC 22450           $214:         Failure to stop at a stop sign.
VC 22454(A)      $616:      Passing a school bus w/ flashing red signals.
VC 23123(A)      $148:      Driving while using a wireless phone not hands free, first offense .
VC 23123(B)      $256:     Driving while using a wireless phone not hands free, each subsequent offense.
VC 23123.5        $148:     Driving while using a wireless device to send, read or write text.
VC 23124            $148:    Minor driving while using a wireless phone.
VC 22500            $976:   Parking in a bus loading area.
VC 22507(A)       $976:   Violation of disabled parking provisions, first offense.
VC 22507(B)     $1876:   Violation of disabled parking provisions, second offense.
VC 26708            $178:    Unlawful material on vehicle windows.
VC 27150            $178:      Adequate muffler required.
VC 27315            $148:      Mandatory use of seat belts.
VC 27360            $436:     Mandatory use of passenger child restraints.
Note: This fine may be reduced by completing a court authorized child seat diversion program .
VC 27400            $178:     Headsets or Earplugs covering both ears.
VC 27803            $178:     Violation of motorcycle safety helmet. requirements.
VC 34506            $616:        Commercial Driver – Log book violation.
VC 4000              $256:        No evidence of current registration.
VC 4159              $178:        Notify DMV of change of address within 10 days.
VC 5200             $178         Proper display of license plates.
VC 9400             $178         Commercial weight fees due.
Note: A couple of the fines may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
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What I’m trying to say, kids, is that daddy’s a money -laundering, warring, elitist drunk and we’re on our own.  Completely.  If we want to climb out of the economic & spiritual depravity / heartbreak we’re in — we can not look to our politicians or their next term resolutions to fix us.  We middle-class and lower middle-class folk must look to each other.  Support each other.  Help each other.  Regardless of ethnic background and religious beliefs.

Our present government has his eye set on turning us into a well-oiled Caste system, into China and/or India Part Deux.  A controlled mass of repressed, overworked, & undervalued workerbees who slave away to feed the overstuffed bellies of elected murderers & exploiters — those white collar criminals we like to revere as our governors, military chiefs, & presidents.

There is hope though, I think.  Great hope.  Times like these prove perfect for taking Destiny into our own hands.  When there’s nothing left to lose, best to risk it all.

Time to educate ourselves, start our own businesses, employ each other — and within these burgeoning communities implement a socially conscious standard of ethical & fair treatment in work, play, & love.  I think we have the power to set in motion a precedence for neighborly & professional behavior through one American business at a time.

“Let them eat cake”, Obama says with a charming smirk.

Obviously, I think it important that we continue voting for the policies and politicians we believe in (whether we feel they have a real chance of winning or not) in order to honor the sprinkle of influence the everyday Juan still has over this country.  Still, we can’t wait for national change to trickle down onto us from the upper echelons while we suck our thumbs & pout.  It must come from within us, spread around us, and rise upward.

At this point, we need nothing from our government.  We can confidently take the reigns of our own lives.  I believe that by consequence, over time, the government will eventually twist their arm to our commoner wiles.

I think it important that we try not to steady the unbridled chariot from a place of fear & anger, however, but from a place of self-realized power & faith.  That will most likely avoid, I hope, the birth of more groups like The Nazi Party aka The Tea Party. Nope, my fellow Americans, Latino immigrants are not the cause of the current economic strife just like the jews weren’t for Germany.  The rich politicians you elected to office are responsible.  Let’s please stop misdirecting our angst?

Here are some perception shifting, deeply inspiring posts from out-of-the-box thinker Seth Godin:

The realization is now

New polling out this week shows that Americans are frustrated with the world and pessimistic about the future. They’re losing patience with the economy, with their prospects, with their leaders (of both parties).

What’s actually happening is this: we’re realizing that the industrial revolution is fading. The 80 year long run that brought ever-increasing productivity (and along with it, well-paying jobs for an ever-expanding middle class) is ending.

It’s one thing to read about the changes the internet brought, it’s another to experience them. People who thought they had a valuable skill or degree have discovered that being an anonymous middleman doesn’t guarantee job security. Individuals who were trained to comply and follow instructions have discovered that the deal is over… and it isn’t their fault, because they’ve always done what they were told.

This isn’t fair of course. It’s not fair to train for years, to pay your dues, to invest in a house or a career and then suddenly see it fade.

For a while, politicians and organizations promised that things would get back to normal. Those promises aren’t enough, though, and it’s clear to many that this might be the new normal. In fact, it is the new normal.

I regularly hear from people who say, “enough with this conceptual stuff, tell me how to get my factory moving, my day job replaced, my consistent paycheck restored…” There’s an idea that somehow, if we just do things with more effort or skill, we can go back to the Brady Bunch and mass markets and mediocre products that pay off for years. It’s not an idea, though, it’s a myth.

Some people insist that if we focus on “business fundamentals” and get “back to basics,” all will return. Not so. The promise that you can get paid really well to do precisely what your boss instructs you to do is now a dream, no longer a reality.

It takes a long time for a generation to come around to significant revolutionary change. The newspaper business, the steel business, law firms, the car business, the record business, even computers… one by one, our industries are being turned upside down, and so quickly that it requires us to change faster than we’d like.

It’s unpleasant, it’s not fair, but it’s all we’ve got. The sooner we realize that the world has changed, the sooner we can accept it and make something of what we’ve got. Whining isn’t a scalable solution.

The opportunity is here

At the same time that our economic engines are faltering, something else is happening. Like all revolutions, it happens in fits and starts, without perfection, but it’s clearly happening.

The mass market is being replaced by multiple micro markets and the long tail of choice.

Google is connecting buyers and sellers over vaster distances, more efficiently and more cheaply than ever before.

Manufacturing is more of a conceptual hurdle than a practical one.

The exchange of information creates ever more value, while commodity products are ever cheaper. It takes fewer employees to generate more value, make more noise and impact more people.

Most of all is this: every individual, self-employed or with a boss, is now more in charge of her destiny than ever before. The notion of a company town or a stagnant industry with little choice is fading fast.

Right before your eyes, a fundamentally different economy, with different players and different ways to add value is being built. What used to be an essential asset (for a person or for a company) is worth far less, while new attributes are both scarce and valuable.

Are there dislocations? There’s no doubt about it. Pain and uncertainty and risk, for sure.

The opportunity, though, is the biggest of our generation (or the last one, for that matter). The opportunity is there for anyone (with or without a job) smart enough to take it–to develop a best in class skill, to tell a story, to spread the word, to be in demand, to satisfy real needs, to run from the mediocre middle and to change everything.

¡Note! Like all revolutions, this is an opportunity, not a solution, not a guarantee. It’s an opportunity to poke and experiment and fail and discover dead ends on the way to making a difference. The old economy offered a guarantee–time plus education plus obedience = stability. The new one, not so much. The new one offers a chance for you to take a chance and make an impact.

¡Note! If you’re looking for ‘how’, if you’re looking for a map, for a way to industrialize the new era, you’ve totally missed the point and you will end up disappointed. The nature of the last era was that repetition and management of results increased profits. The nature of this one is the opposite: if someone can tell you precisely what to do, it’s too late. Art and novelty and innovation cannot be reliably and successfully industrialized.

In 1924, Walt Disney wrote a letter to Ub Iwerks. Walt was already in Hollywood and he wanted his old friend Ubbe to leave Kansas City and come join him to build an animation studio. The last line of the letter said “PS I wouldn’t live in KC now if you gave me the place—yep—you bet—Hooray for Hollywood.” And, just above, in larger letters, he scrawled, “Don’t hesitate—Do it now.”

It’s not 1924, and this isn’t Hollywood, but it is a revolution, and there’s a spot for you (and your boss if you push) if you realize you’re capable of making a difference. Or you could be frustrated. Up to you.

Dreams, princesses & the Disney-industrial complex

“Like a dream come true”

Choose your dreams carefully.

Everyone is entitled to a dream. It gives us hope, focuses our energy, makes us human.

Sometimes, though, we get sold a dream instead of creating our own.

Is it really every girl’s dream to become a princess, to be chosen by someone of royal birth and to have a $34 million wedding? Or is that the Disney-industrial complex betraying you, selling you short?

I just read that the folks who brought us the Mall of America are going to redo the troubled Xanadu shopping complex in New Jersey and rename it The American Dream. Is this the best we can do? Shop?

Dreams are too important to sell cheap, to give over to some organization trying to make a buck.

Catherine Casey chose a different dream–to move to Accra on her own to build an outpost of the Acumen Fund. It’s a dream that scales, that pays dividends, and most of all, that she can make come true.

It’s so easy to be sold on the combination of compliance, consumption and approval by the powers that be. Of course, you’re entitled to any dream you like, but I hope you will choose a bigger one.

Hard work vs. Long work

Long work is what the lawyer who bills 14 hours a day filling in forms does.

Hard work is what the insightful litigator does when she synthesizes four disparate ideas and comes up with an argument that wins the case–in less than five minutes.

Long work has a storied history. Farmers, hunters, factory workers… Always there was long work required to succeed. For generations, there was a huge benefit that came to those with the stamina and fortitude to do long work.

Hard work is frightening. We shy away from hard work because inherent in hard work is risk. Hard work is hard because you might fail. You can’t fail at long work, you merely show up. You fail at hard work when you don’t make an emotional connection, or when you don’t solve the problem or when you hesitate.

I think it’s worth noting that long work often sets the stage for hard work. If you show up enough and practice enough and learn enough, it’s more likely you will find yourself in a position to do hard work.

It seems, though that no matter how much long work you do, you won’t produce the benefits of hard work unless you are willing to leap.


Tic Toc the alligator chimes — And Bradley Manning’s on my mind.

3:17 am or so …

I’m blogging with one finger on my annoyingly tiny android keypad. The power in the house is out, which means no computers are available to fiddle with and distract me from the ocean breeze reverberating through my ear.  It sounds as if I’ve had a concha shell pressed against it for hours.

I have SO much to do. If only I could use my computer  RIGHT now, but alas I must wait till’ morning.  The email replies, personalized query letters with accompanying press release, and book packages for mailing to reviewers will just have to wait … until well, later today.

Tic Toc the alligator chimes in the ambience of night.  My To Do list can’t be ameliorated and Bradley Manning overpowers my anxiety.  He’s become louder than the simulated concha shell reverberations.

Bradley Manning has been on my mind for the last several weeks.  Since I first read his story.

Please read it Here 1 & Here 2.

I keep replaying his quote about simply wanting to have had a normal life, to have had a nice family, help others …

All the things most of us middle-class Americans were raised to want to do and be …

I keep thinking about how his wanting this too genuinely, too purely has cost him his freedom and safety, the rest of his life.

I keep thinking about his humanity — how his humanity got the better of him, made him  susceptible to self-sacrificing heroic acts, and vulnerable to getting caught and punished for them.

I keep thinking about how Obama, one of life’s sad disappointments, gets the Nobel Peace Prize based on no real showmanship, but on Hope that he’ll show half the self-sacrifice, half the compassion, half the conscience, half the heart of Bradley Manning. Beyonce sang before millions of viewers at Obama’s inauguration while he and his wife shared a proud and tender dance.  We all hopefully celebrated that dance as one of two well-intentioned people who wanted to promote fairness — peace, freedom, equality, honesty — in the world  through their leadership and guidance. We rolled out the red carpet and handed over our futures, and the social security funds of our grandparents, to this union hoping that they’d embody the integrity and bravery of Bradley Manning.

And what do we do with the real, as opposed to symbolic, Bradley Manning?

We allow him to be charged with espionage, to be locked in a cell where he’s stripped naked, humiliated, and tortured off and on for almost a year (and counting). We allow our military to seriously consider sentencing him to either the death penalty or life in prison. We allow our elected leader of hope, our nobel prize winning Commander-in-Chief, to punish — in this 23-year old man — all the courage and compassion we profess to unitedly stand for.

I won’t lie. I get nervous posting such political rants — voicing my disappointment in the president of the US and the way he’s run his presidency (not like a Nobel Peace Prize winner), voicing my support for an “enemy of the state” —  in such a heated political climate on such a public forum.  Probably because, as I write, I wonder whether political allegiance or opposition to any person and/or party is even worth the risk?

I come from a Cuban family who supported a revolution that became the dictatorship which stripped them of all their rights. What did all their self-sacrificing support get them?  Immediately following its success, their “for the people” political party (communist) and its leader (F. Castro) turned their beloved Cuba into Alcatraz.  When they grew tired of his tyranny, disagreed, and tried to leave, that political entity quickly deemed them “enemies of the state.”  My mom would get beat up by kids at school who called her “gusano” while the teachers cheered them on. Where did my family’s risky and self-sacrificing political involvement get them?  As soon as they exercised their basic human right to disagree with the politicians they helped bring to power … harassed, robbed, and exiled.

Was it worth it? Opposing Batista, supporting Castro, disagreeing with the Castro regime … getting political at all?

I guess I could ask the same about Bradley Manning.  He’s a brilliant, beautiful, blue-eyed All-American boy from a military family who worked in a cush well-paid military intelligence job, behind the front lines — far away from harm. He had no need or obligation to sacrifice his limitless potential for prosperity, but he did anyway.

Manning joined the military to help his country because, rarely enough, I think he actually respected and believed what it stood for.  Apparently he loved its values — life, liberty, and justice for all — too sincerely because he laid everything on the line to promote them.  Manning seemed motivated in his “treasonous” actions by a genuine disturbance with the inhumane murder of civilians and the military’s hypocritical cover ups.   Manning seems to be a person with heightened empathy and an evolved conscience who cared simultaneously for the welfare of our nation and that of the nation we invaded.  It’s understandable that someone with such a unique double-edged guilt would seek relief from it by confiding in another person. In the person who ratted him out — Adrian Lamo.

I’ve compiled a couple of quotes of from Manning’s IM correspondence with Lamo:

‎”Manning: ive been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything…americans have so many more rights than non-americans, its awful… i guess i follow humanist values though, have custom dogtags that say “Humanist” … i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public…i dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore…  only a plethora of states acting in self interest… with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless”

Read most of their IM Discussion here.

Now he’s locked up, his rights trampled on, and his name dishonored in the name of our national security.

So yes, I’ve been thinking of Bradley Manning a lot lately.  About how we live and die politics, are benefitted or harmed by each other’s political actions,  whether we choose to “get all political” or not.

As an artist, I acknowledge that art usually affects its political landscape subversively.  This often gives an artist the luxury of either negating or accepting the truth that all art is innately political, and every artist responsible for the messages in their work.

As a literary artist, I’ll many times say literally exactly what I mean. Obviously, there’s nothing subversive about this blog post.  It’s political and apparently so am I. Ugh.  It runs in the blood.

Please read more about this American war hero & SIGN the petition to save his life!

Also, please “like” his facebook page to receive regular updates on his trial.

Thanks for reading!


Tunisia & Egypt: Revolt. As I drive home from the LAX.

As I drove home, after picking up and dropping off my mamushka and baby sister (age 17) from the Los Angeles International airport, I lowered the window of my 2003 Ford SUV and savored the fresh winds trickling through the post-rain midday sunshine.  On the corner, I spotted an aged, tattered American Flag waving listlessly above a rusty yellowed 89-cent store sign.  I felt then, in my bones, the blessed luck life had dealt me.

How truly lucky I am to live in a country where I can work towards and for my dreams : Where I can brazenly express my sexuality and personal beliefs : Where I can live as an independent woman without obligations to a man : Where I feel free to discover myself and be wholly me.

My internal dichotomy lies in the fact that I’m simultaneously a staunch liberal and proud American citizen.  I’m grateful that my Cuban family, and by association me, aren’t stuck in Castro’s oppressive regime where material poverty and worse, lack of basic human rights drive many to madness.  An existence so overbearing my grandma has described it, “The stress overwhelms you to the point that … Every night it felt as though the sky were falling on me … ”

That being said, I’m not blind to the injustices mi querido US of A imposes on other nations and their people.  Most days I feel towards the United States like I’d imagine the daughter of a big 1930s mob boss might feel — Grateful for the protection, care, and opportunities he affords me yet heartbroken and angered by the criminal brutality, the cruelty he wields upon others that stand in his way.

As I drove closer to home, I was filled with a sense of relief that only Home can breed. Home: Where I snuggle into my bleach-stained worn soft pajamas, crawl under the warm covers of my perfect humble little bed, turn on the space heater, and write all night — If I want to.  Yes …

While basking in that relief, I began thinking about all the women my age in Tunisia and Egypt that could not do the same.

Their corrupt, oppressive, and greedy governments have created morose and hopeless living conditions, which have most likely kept them from experiencing this type of relief.  In Tunisia the Ben Ali regime for 23-years and In Egypt the Mubarack regime for 30-years.  Dictatorships financially backed by my U.S. government for reasons that are best summed up by these two articles: Tunisia & Egypt.  Long story short, we basically backed them to gain the usual: Power & Money.  NOTE:  Although I’ve linked the Tunisia & Egypt political history summaries to Liberation, which is a socialist newspaper, I do not identify as a socialist or a communist or a democrat or a republican or a capitalist or a viking.  I do not belong to any political party. I am loyal to my personal ideals and ideas, which are in constant development over time and age.  I merely referenced that paper’s summaries because I think they give a pretty accurate description of what’s been politically going on in those regions over the past 30 years.

Anywho, I know that governments have been and probably always will be corrupt. That isn’t new news to me — the child of disillusioned ex-communists who fled the island of Cuba after the communist revolution THEY SUPPORTED won and turned its back on the Cuban people for … dun dun dun … Power & Money.

The futility of pointing out the obvious is creeping in on me, but I’ll do it anyway:

It hurts to have your country — a place where you enjoy so many priceless liberties, where you’re allowed to exercise most basic human rights such as freedom of speech (for the most part. okay, the USA ain’t perfect, but we’re doing better than Egypt ovah’ here!) — support the repression of millions of other peoples’ basic human rights.  Knowing that the people you helped elect to office suppress other folks’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … well, sucks.  Yeah, the gas I put in the SUV I drive (which I make up for owning because I help ALL my friends move so don’t gimme grief bout’ it’), has cost an entire country of people the special sense of relief I enjoy when I arrive home.

Government. Government’s only role is to serve the welfare of its people and represent their interests & values on a global front.  That’s IT.  To help ensure the greater good of the whole, to protect the basic human rights of every woman, child, and man within its borders, to represent their values and principles in foreign affairs, to establish a system where by its citizens can live healthy and liberated lives.  It’s not as vague as it sounds.  Really.  Affordable healthcare and quality education for all.  Tax the super rich, allocate more money away from the military and toward public education and mental health programs, stop punishing the middle class with bogus tax hikes, stop destroying and preventing democracy abroad, ETC.  You get the drill.  I’m not a politician.  I just know what makes sense and matters to me.

First and foremost, above all, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.  Secondly, the opportunity for quality healthcare and education for all.  Thirdly, the opportunity to earn a fair living for all.  Fourthly, respecting the RIGHT of every other nation to do the same for their people.

A 24-year old college-graduate set himself on fire to show his Tunisian government how BADLY its citizens needed it to change.

Inspired by the victorious Tunisian revolt, the Egyptians too protest their dictator Mubarak.  According to The Associated Press:

“This is the revolution of people of all walks of life,” read black graffiti scrolled on one army tank in Tahrir Square. “Mubarak, take your son and leave,” it said.

Isn’t the role of government to serve the people?  If the people don’t want you — LEAVE!  SERVE THE PEOPLE!  Don’t shut off their bloody internet, you bloody sociopaths!!!

Other important tidbits of information about the revolt in Egypt as relayed by The Associated Press:

Egyptians were emboldened by the uprising in Tunisia — another North African Arab nation, and further buoyed by their success in defying the ban on gatherings …

One army captain joined the demonstrators in Tahrir Square, who hoisted him on their shoulders while chanting slogans against Mubarak. The officer ripped apart a picture of the president.

“To hell with Mubarak; We don’t serve individuals. We serve this country that we love, just like you,” yelled another soldier to protesters from atop a tank scrawled with graffiti that said: “Down with Mubarak!”

An ARMY CAPTAIN ripped the picture of his own “president.”

NPR reported on January 29th:

… protesters have been receptive to the army, cheering soldiers and welcoming them “like heroes,” said NPR’s Nelson. Many are standing on top of tanks with soldiers, as if they’re on the same side though the army is still being deployed by Mubarak.

NPR reported on Jan. 28th:

“We don’t want him! We will go after him!” demonstrators shouted. They decried looting and sabotage, saying: “Those who love Egypt should not sabotage Egypt!”

The Internet blackout in Egypt shows that a country with strong control over its Internet providers apparently can force all of them to pull their plugs at once, something that Cowie called “almost entirely unprecedented in Internet history.”

Yeah President Obama, it’s time to stop our cash from flowing to the Mubarak Dictatorship.  If you’re going to keep puppet governments all over the mid-east could you at least have the decency to pick ones that grant its citizens the basic human rights we enjoy here in the US of A?

Ugh. Okay, governments are going to be corrupt.  People with power and money often turn into greedy green-eyed monsters that do brutal unjust things to augment their power and money.  Politicians are notorious for being beasts of this nature. Okay, fine.  I just say: Either A) Let other Nations rule themselves & keep out (which will sadly never happen) OR AT LEAST B) Support puppet governments that watch out for our western interests WHILE implementing democratic rights for their people like the ones we Americans enjoy.

My heart goes out to the Tunisian and Egyptian people.  May the governments that rise to power in the absence of their crumbled and crumbling dictatorships serve them better. May they not end up with extremes like Fidel Castro or Mubarak.  May humanity have mercy on itself.  May politicians that actually serve in office grow A HEART and employ the principles they profess to value.

After all, everyone’s one hell of a saint on the campaign trail.  May politicians one day embody in practice what they profess to stand for on podiums.


At “Ceviche Loco” — Contemplating Political Loyalty

I’m exhausted. Nocturnal by nature, the Sun tends to lull me to sleep…Ahh, the breezy warmth of a Los Angeles winter.  Like snuggling up in mamushka’s queen sized bed while she makes me cafe con leche.  I’m waiting for my fish ceviche tostada and taco de pescado empanizado.

I spend nights awake & alert: working on art projects, writing, reading, scheming, watching movies, saving the world one conversation at a time till’ 4 in da’ mornin’ with a besty, or trying desperately to sleep “like a healthy person” for hours upon end.  This is why I LOVE the weekends.  I don’t have to feel any guilt, fear, or negative physical repercussions over my internal clock’s odd nature.  Friday night, Saturday, & Sunday are idyllic: Sleep in until 2p or 3p, run around and do stuff in the light of the world until it wanes (errands, brunches, exhibits, plays), and then when the sky turns the blue black it won’t shake for hours: I work on my art projects, write, read, scheme, watch movies, and save the world one conversation at a time til 4′ in da’ mornin’ with a besty.

“Besty” and/or “Besties” refers to dear friends I profoundly enjoy.  I learned the term in junior high.  I use it often since then.  Although I must admit, I like saying the word more than seeing it written.

So on Sunday at 10p, the night solidified its stay and my eyes wouldn’t close for even a blink.  My eyeballs were dry, meyng.   My tooth cavity hurt too.  So, I logged into Baby Dewds’ netflix account and watched some celluloid.

First, I saw the Comedy Central Bob Saget roast, which was more of a “hug/I really love you, man aka john stamos/you’re such a GAY jew dewd, huh huh” Fest than a “haha” fest.  It was no Pam Anderson roast.  Also, watching Norm McDonald’s face puffed up by wet brain was not funny.  At all.  Only drunks at the brink of wet brain who get sloppy and have some sort of “rock n’ roll” background are funny.  Like Courtney love on the Pam Anderson roast.  No, wait.  Her slow death isn’t really that funny either.  Just Jeff Ross’ take on it.  Man, Comedy Central Roasts are so depressing to think back on.

After that, I watched what brings me to blogging yet again at “Ceviche Loco” — The documentary Theater of War. It dissects German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s renowned 1939 play Mother Courage & Her Childrenand follows its NYC adaptation with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Tony Kusher during 2006. I clicked on it because 1) The play starred the dynamite dame Meryl Streep  & 2) I’d never before seen a documentation of a single play’s “behind-the-scenes” process (playwrights and their plays — yes, but not one specific play)… So I thought, “HEY! Let’s do it.”

I knew nothing of Brecht or Mother Courage & Her Children so I was excited to learn more about the whole bada-bing.

It was a fascinating documentary.  Not for the cinematic artistry as the cinematography, editing, and sound design were amateur, but more for its multi-angle approach to exploring the play material.

You could tell the doc had been pieced together by someone who loved this play.  Not someone wowed by the hollywood fame of Streep and Kline or the pretension of comprehending THE THEATAWR, but by a collection of someones who wanted the audience to UNDERSTAND the play’s significance — its pivotal meaning to society — especially today.  The doc inspires one to reflect on their ideological beliefs not just theoretically (e.g. conversations with besties till’ 4 in da’ mornin’), but in the flesh.

How deeply do you embody your political loyalties?  Would you die for them? Sacrifice your limb, your sight, your child?  Your business?  Are the virtues of youth exploited by war?

Without having read the play or seen it performed, I can only discuss the contemplations aroused by the documentary and its reflections on Brecht’s Mother Courage & Her Children.

Mother Courage & Her Children‘s Quick Overview courtesy of Amazon.com:

Anna Fierling, an itinerant trader during the seventeenth century, becomes known as “Mother Courage” after the constant warfare gradually claims all of her children.

Play by Bertolt Brecht, written in German as Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder: Eine Chronik aus dem Dreissigjahrigen Krieg, produced in 1941 and published in 1949. Composed of 12 scenes, the work is a chronicle play of the Thirty Years’ War and is based on the picaresque novel Simplicissimus (1669) by Hans Jakob Grimmelshausen. In 1949 Brecht staged Mother Courage, with music by Paul Dessau, in the Soviet sector of Berlin. The plot revolves around a woman who depends on war for her personal survival and who is nicknamed Mother Courage for her coolness in safeguarding her merchandise under enemy fire. One by one her three children die, yet she continues her profiteering. — The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Wars are fought by Mother Courage’s Children.  Each, as the film points out, killed by an Achilles’ heel — which proves not to be a character weakness but a character strength — a Virtue.
Kattrin: The mute daughter “who is killed as she attempts to warn a town about an imminent siege.” – Empathy killed her.
Eilif: “Mother Courage’s eldest and favorite son, he is something of a thug, though she thinks him “dashing” and “brave.” He is recruited by the Recruiting Officer in the first scene, and he seems after that to really enjoy the war. Much praised by the General in Scene 2 for slaughtering peasants and stealing their livestock, Eilif is executed for committing the same deed in Scene 6 in peacetime. Mother Courage never knows of his death.” – Fearlessness killed him.
Swiss Cheese: “Mother Courage’s younger son. Swiss Cheese is, according to his mother, too honest. He is painted by Brecht to be rather stupid. He takes a job as paymaster of the Second Finnish Regiment and attempts to hide its cashbox so that he can return it to his general after the Catholics have gained power. He is caught with it and shortly executed.” – Honesty killed him.
We — the young ones — are sacrificed for wars about ideologies — ideological wars devised by those that never had to die for their beliefs.  Yes, some war promoters/profiteers may have had to go to war and almost die or came back missing arms and legs. Many more came back physically whole, but mentally beyond repair.  And then there were those that never had to risk their skin at all…
Young soldiers die in the flesh for beliefs.  They kill other flesh & blood human beings for beliefs.  Beliefs:Ideas:Concepts.  Usually for the collective ideology of a community they were raised or embraced by.
The young soldiers of Fidel Castro’s revolution/overthrow of Batista’s government were this way, the young soldiers of Hitler’s 3rd Reich, American soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan, the young Israeli soldiers in Palestine & Lebanon, the young Native-American warriors during European colonization, the young Zapatistas in Mexico, the young guerilla warriors in Colombia, the young child soldiers in the Congo, and the list goes on and on.
People my age and younger all over the world are dying for “what’s right,” dying for “the right” to live, dying for “our right to live a certain way” at the cost of other people’s “right to live a certain way” or “live. period.”  The Sacrificial Young are propelled into the arms of death by a passionate empathy, fearlessness, and honesty blinding in youth.
So I began to wonder — I know there are specific people I would die for — but are there ideologies I would die for too?  Are there any ideological wars taking place now that I would lay my life down for?  Cut my years on earth short for? Risk the quality of my life — risk my eyes which allow me to see the movies I love so much, risk hearing great jokes for a permanent deaf silence, risk dancing all night for a two-wheeler on the sidewalk, risk soundness of mind (the little I have left) for grotesque and painful memories that grow strong with age and beat me mercilessly in dreams…
Ideologies for which I’d sacrifice peace of mind and faith in humanity and remaining bits of childhood innocence and Eugene O’neill plays and Du Bois books and Flamenco music and train rides through German country sides and filming little Indian girls dancing at school performances in Jaipur and kissing a woman I’ve fallen madly for on the lips and lazy days on California beaches with besties and … and … and …
Do I have any staunch unmovable loyalties to any political entity or ideological organization?  And if so, would I’d die for  THEM?  Wow.  That’s a serious question, my friend.
I. don’t. know. yet.
All I do know is this: Every day I try my best to act — in all areas (personal, creative, & professional) — in accordance with the personal ideologies I hold dear.  I am my own political entity: The Party of Vanessa Libertad Garcia — who believes in affordable health care and higher education, quality public education, equality in the workforce, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, and the right to do and pursue anything you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else — For All.
If one day my freedom to do that was seriously threatened, and I had to sacrifice my safety to keep it … I’d like to think I would.
How?
Well, preferred forms of resistance are a whole nother’ blog post!



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