The Longest Running Show on Earth

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Late Summer Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

 

The severity of the climate change induced wildfires in the winegrowing region of Northern California comes as no surprise. Lake County’s record breaking Valley Fire of 2015 remains an all too fresh memory. The unholy alliance between real estate developers and the bipartisan business friendly politicians have been paid to ignore the calls for a more sustainable growth model. The only obstacle they have had to overcome on their way to this day were environmental organizations and voters who have been urgently sounding the alarm on unchecked sprawl, traffic choked highways and a perilous all too visible decline in the quality of life.

With the end of American frontier an all but ‘un fait accompli,’ the rush to plant more wine in the teeth of the just broken five year drought could not have been a more ill-considered act. The much put upon planning commissioners, supervisors, and regional water regulators have been incapable of staring down the powerful agriculture lobby while they have been pressing their thumb on the scale for more vineyards, more wineries and more development.

All the money in the world can’t put down the danger to the drought damaged region when the inevitable hazardous autumn red flag warnings arise. Puerto Rico having taken a direct hit from Hurricane Maria remains in shambles three weeks after without any of our authorities having taken a moment to wonder if under the influence of climate-change the region is not anything other than another target on a map for a future super hurricane to come clobber yet again and again. We can’t think that far ahead because we have defunded and discredited the very scientists and engineers we are going to need to rely upon to devise a way out of this collision course we are on with Mother Nature.

Whether you believe in climate change or not is very much beside the point. There are super sized forces in the tangible Universe being unleashed and roaring down upon us. After the fact our rescue and rebuilding efforts may be welcomed but these costly interventions are being made all the more necessary as we put off our collective humanity making a globally coordinated effort and respond to the carbon addicted behaviors that are much the cause for the calamitous events the people the world over now face.

I live here in California. I admire much of what this state has done, but I am not in total awe. Like any other region or kingdom money rules the day rather than the interests of concerned citizens looking at the problems. Without favor or financial interest ordinary citizens can see through the smog shrouded windshield of their lives and that a more sustainable path needs to be reconciled with democracy and capitalism. A key part of what more needs to be done is to leave what has not yet been spoiled alone. Leave water in the ground and our trees standing on the mountains. When a regions carrying capacity hits full we need  our leaders to put a halt to further growth until we have a workable plan. We’ll need to employ conservation techniques, more vertical housing, deploy new and cleaner methods of mass transportation. We are all going have to surrender to the common good and give something back to the place we call home.

Money as they say is “speech.”. But money is a fallible one-dimensional speech that influences civilization at its extinction inducing peril. Clear as a bell and cold as a winter day the affairs of our world have reached the point where the best path forward be plotted and planned by a more carefully considered forum of enlightened interests. Money as a one trick pony is going the way of the Ringling Brothers beloved famous elephants. And as well all know the longest running show on earth is over…

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Wildfires in Northern California

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Scenes from Arson Instigated Fire in Lake County

Valley Fire, September 2015

Intending to begin my fourth novel at Calistoga’s famed dirt racing oval I was instead shocked to find the fairgrounds transformed into a shelter for the evacuees of the deadly and destructive Valley Fire of Lake County. The famed racetrack where the motorcycle championship riders would have been competing was their next to last stop on their way to the season ending Las Vegas finale. Arson and climate change induced drought forever cancelled those races and altered the trajectory of my plotting of Women of the Oak Savannahs. Now the destructive and deadly fires of 2017, in part the result of the same out of control development, chronic water shortages  and drought stricken arid landscape I have been writing about have vaulted my fictitious characters from the page and have been brought to life as gut-wrenching  non-fiction fact. I didn’t want to write about climate change. I didn’t want to write about overdevelopment. I had the story handed to me by stubborn politics, rapacious real estate developers and a handful of committed environmental activists standing up trying to sound the alarm. Here is the opening to my all but complete still in editing fourth novel…

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Valley Fire, Lake County

September 19, 2015

High aloft the aerialist gripped the climbing rope. Beyond a brownish orange sun went lost in a smoke filled sky. Helicopters, Super-Huey’s thump-thump-thumped eastward to the front. In the tumult of the still out of control wildfire the aerialist startled the audience with a swift descent back to the ground. The rhinestone bejeweled woman slipped one foot then the other into her glittering silver clogs. Each knee-high-stride was accent, twirling her palms face up, she tickled the ovation with her fingertips. The incessant droning of the Grumman Air-tankers crisscrossing the sky mixed with the audience’s anxious murmurs. Within the respite of the struggle to survive a showgirl’s smile simmered across her lips. The heavy oppression of the air reeking of acrid smoke pressed a sorrowful reality down upon the fairground. Jo assumed a dancer’s first position, her concentration slipping away, mind wandering, locking eyes with the motorcycle racer for one part of one instant, then in the next breath the performing artist vanished out of the light away into the night.

“You want to unfasten me?” Jo was standing backstage on the other side of a pickup truck. She was peeling her full figure out of her costume. By design the garment fit skintight. Piper tugging the flesh colored fabric together unlatched the hooks to the eyes along the seam running down her back.

“I thought the Deputy Sheriff was going to poke us with his night stick.” Jo said.

“He’s just gawking. It’s always something, our mascara, false eyelashes, our derrières.” Piper wiggled hers.

“Have you noticed how it is that white girls’ lives matter?”

“All lives matter.”

“The fair manager notified the Sheriff’s Department. She told them we were setting up for a show.” Jo rolled her eyes.

“They haven’t started shooting showgirls as far as I know.”

“Give the deputies a chance. We haven’t resisted arrest yet.”

“This is the wine country, we’re in Calistoga. Nothing but mud baths and chardonnay as far as an eye can see…”

“How about all those stretch limos full of binge drinkers? That’s what I want to wake up to, a five hundred dollar hangover.” Jo laughed. “That’s a headache and a pain in the ass wrapped up into one fan-fucking-tastic butt-ugly credit card bill.”

Children on tenterhooks, eight of them, old enough to play together so long as they didn’t stray too far from their parents’ watchful eyes, had come around from where they sat at the front of the audience to peek.

“They are such perfect pests.” Jo smiling at her admirers.

“They just want to grow up and be like you and me,” Piper said.

Jo wrapped her fingers around one wrist and then the other pumping her hand. She grimaced, “I’m glad we came out.” She scanned the dusk sky, “This has to be the hardest thing, performing for a fairground filled to the brim with heartbreak.”

Piper her understudy was elvish, shorter, blanketed with a pearl white skin, blue eyed, blonde hair said, “The audience had a chance to forget their problems, even if it was only for tonight. Nothing’s wrong with that. Life has to go on.”

Jo scrunched her nose and tilted her head grinning at her new fans. She wagged her finger like she was tickling the overcurious kids. They scattered giggling.

 

 

Putinesque Trumpet Call

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Weasels in Wonderland

So, maybe it’s just me, but it sounds odd to my ear that Trump is bellyaching about the CIA’s analysts having come to the conclusion that Russian hackers at the direction Vladimir Putin had intentionally interfered with our election.

After a week of cabinet picks that have more in common with a wrecking ball than governance our country seems on a course to gleefully dismantle itself right in front of our very eyes.

Labor secretary that is opposed overtime pay or minimum wage, Environmental Protection Agency secretary opposed to environmental protection, Secretary of Education opposed to public education… are you paying attention to this?

Affordable Care Act? Thirty million people slated to lose insurance first thing Republicans do in January. Social Security? Cut benefits, privatize. Medicare? Vouchers ship back to states so long- good luck- nice knowing you- you switch and bait schmucks.

We had 2.7 million more votes in this election cast for the loser, and the flim-flam man slips into office via about 77,000 accumulative votes in three states that according to some computer geeks doing some deep data diving seem to feel that the difference between paper ballot tally’s and electronic voting machine results show some disturbing anomalies.

The Koch’s fund this scam thing called ProporNot, like propaganda or not, to smear progressive news outlets in an effort to help ferment further disinformation about what is left of our news organizations ability to function in this post-truth era of low information obsessed with the smartphones voters.

 But, this is the state of our affairs. We’ve got a man with the temperament of a seventh grader heading to the White House with the support of mostly rural American voters (think right wing talk radio hosts) who happen to think just like Vladimir Putin. Good luck suckers. You just might have finally really done it this time.

Working Peeps Pissed

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Now that we got this populism thing in the groove… Brexit, Trumpistan, and now on  Sunday those wacky Italians joined in and have gone full Fellini. Grab your parachutes peeps.

It turns out that all those trade deals we’ve been making since like say 1992 when a Democrat with the help of a majority of the Republican Party rammed NAFTA thru has turned around and bit the globalized world right in the good old shipping containers ass.

Back of the envelope calculation is that NAFTA was worth a trillion bucks. That worker retraining and relocation fund? Ready? They generously set aside 100 million dollars. A thousand billion is a trillion and for the innumerate among you that 100 million dedicated to helping offset the loss of jobs is in fact the living breathing definition of “virtually nothing.” Yeah, that will keep those peons down.

Those swells from Wall Street could not help sticking it to labor. The conservative political groups across the free trading world have backed out funds soon after new trade deals have been passed. These governmental programs cost far too much. You must have taken us serious. How silly of you.

I have griped long and loud about doing more to make our trading system fairer.I’m a creative, performer and author, and you know conservatives want to zero out the National Endowment for the Arts. Good for them. I want to zero there ass out too.

The D’s got to grow a pair. They need to take their rhetorical baseball bats to hearings on Capital Hill and they need to swing for the fences in defense of the common man. You know good jobs with good benefits. I don’t care where my health care comes from. Just get it to me and keep the costs down.

We haven’t got time to be dicking around with all this. We are in a global climate emergency. Come on. Get real because evidently all those dudes from Goldman Sachs that Trump’s just appointed? We be in big trouble because those dudes are coming for us… and they know we be fools. We be voting against our own best interest like the good docile folk we are.

To put it in terms that transcends petty national politics? The world’s economic system remains deeply flawed and dangerous. We’ve been aware of this, but money translates to political power and the best of our human angels are unable to acquire the positions necessary within the system to turn this ship around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeping with the Spineless Devil

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                      Good God it’s Sunrise Over Oakland, California
                    Nothing but progressives as far as an eye can see

Welcome to my particular version of hell. In this version of my personal hell there are two devils.

One is called Republican’s and the other is called Democrat’s. We only get two.

The Republican Party is totally into climate change and global warming. They can’t get enough carbon into the atmosphere fast enough. It is full speed ahead.

The Democrat’s on the other hand they look like a bunch of amoeba’s looking to find their backbones.

If you are keeping score at home: R’s totally into carbon and D’s are not totally. They are more closet carbon sympathizers.

On the issue of financial regulation we have Republican’s who are totally into deregulation under the veil of “technical fixes” and “job creation.” That rhetoric is all made of the stuff that comes out of the business end of a horse.

Democrat’s are kind of for stronger regulation. But, they are going to need a whole lot more calcium in their diets is all I can say.

Too many suffer from what I call campaign contribution amnesia. Funny how an otherwise standup politician of outstanding intellect and moral rectitude can sing soprano in a bath house of rectal rehydrating lobbyists tinkering with their vote by way of legal bribes and under the table babes.

That means as far as Congress goes we have a functional bipartisan group of politicians, most overtly and some covertly ready to do whatever it takes to keep the carbon based industry and Wall Street Fat Cat’s happier than a fully fed Great White Shark.

Case in point: Senator Amy Klobuchar our esteemed Democratic senator from Minnesota speaking on Meet the Press, she said the Keystone XL Pipeline “has merit.”

So do topless dancers, cheating husbands, and Ford Pintos.

Here is the bottom of the rot gut barrel line as far as this writer is concerned. You are either for saving civilization and willing to vote to stop capitalism from committing a carbon fueled mass extinction event or you are not. That’s it. It isn’t confusing.

With regard to the problem of what to do about the uber wealthy in this country? Sometimes this is called “income inequality or sometimes it is called wealth inequality.” This isn’t complicated. It is simple. You want to see some real entertainment? Start with the complete end of corporate tax code loopholes. That is what is known as the kind of deregulation a Democratic voter can believe in.

All of the Republican’s are against fixing the economic system and many of the Democrat’s can’t seem to find the spine to be for it.

Now, I don’t reckon I’d ever want to sleep with a Republican, but if Hillary wants to take a shot she’s going to have to do some mighty fine sweet talking before I let her have her way with me.

Getting someone to say what they mean, and mean what they say? That my friends is the difference between getting laid and being screwed.

All of the sudden I feel like we are communicating with each other.

So, I got my lips pressed up to this young man and he wraps his arms around me and squeezed me harder than a tube of toothpaste.”

Only live once, might as well mix in a few wild squeezers.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon