robert rauschenberg, pilgrim, 1960
Hearing on the news a lot of talk about USA economic rating dropping from AAA to AA+. Reason given: American government cannot come to agreement. More trickle-down from the Reagan Revolution divide and conquer strategy that started dismantling the country's infrastructure, took mentally ill people from hospitals where they were cared for and put them on the streets to live in cardboard washing machine boxes and beg. They're not allowed to use toilets at public facilities because they use it every day and they have BO. Outcasts. Homeless. Poor. Arrested for indecent exposure peeing against a tree. America doesn't like poverty. The police in California are now famous again on the news for killing homeless people. Three of them publicized in a week.
Had a pretty good police scare yesterday driving Ted to Charlotte airport. Just down the mountain along a good stretch of Hwy21 on the way to the Interstate, I saw in my rearview mirror the hood and black windshield of a Highway Patrol car on my back bumper. Ted, not seeing it, unbuckled his seatbelt to turn around and get something out of his bag in the back seat. I didn't have time to talk him into it, so I barked a command, "Buckle your seat belt. BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELT!!!" He did, wondering what was up. I explained that Smokey was sniffing my ass. The last I heard, a few years ago, the fine is $75 for the driver if a rider isn't buckled in. By now it's probably $250. Republicans not allowing the rich to pay taxes, governments are turning to fees and fines to make up for the taxes not collected. Working people don't make enough to pay taxes up to what the nation needs, considering a massive military used for crushing defenseless countries for the benefit of corporate wealth.
Popular beliefs about life in America have reached a place where the collective belief system is created by corporate advertising and mind-control television based in American denial. We don't have poverty. We don't have racism. Republican presidents don't have IQs below 20. We don't have a police state. 911 was not an inside job. Everybody is happy and getting happier as profits from anti-depressants go through the "ceiling." As one who avoids television, I have to live in the culture created by television, so I may as well watch tv and learn to keep up with the changing rules first hand. Can't do it. Way too boring. I have a bad case of intolerance of boredom. I walk out of or turn off boring movies and consciously attempt to keep out of boring situations. I can't sit back in a recliner to be bored for several hours. I'll take a good book like The Killing of Crazy Horse, or Inside The Neolithic Mind. Any page in either of those good reads is way better than about anything on tv. The PBS series ART21 is an exception. And of course there are exceptions. Exceptions prove the rule, as noted in language courses.
I've an idea this reduction in national credit rating is an adjustment measured by the reality of the financial situation the Bush-Cheney-Rummy-Rice administration put us into as a strategy to trip up the democrats with everything already spent and 2 wars to get out of with limited resources and a block on taxing the rich. Now, the Tparty's shouts of victory seem to me ought to be sure evidence of their calculated sedition, but it won't be seen that way. They'll play blame-the-nigger that works every time for them. And the democrats are not an opposition party. The democrats went along with the Republicans every step they've taken us to the right since 1980. The middle way is now radically left. I hear frequently somebody bring up what is called a Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. Looks like we're all cursed, these being interesting times if we look at them like either Rush Limbaugh or Noam Chomsky.
I had a very uneasy feeling at the airport Thursday. Cops in pairs everyplace. All of them looking officious like they're the anti-terror squad and everybody they see is a suspect. I wore a red tshirt with a collar, white hair, Germanic appearance could be ex-cop, but all cops know on sight that I do not think like them. On sight they know that. I guess it's like spotting an American in Paris. More than likely it's in my eyes that fail to beam with respect when I see a uniform. I even left my pocket knife in the ashtray in the car so it wouldn't be taken away from me as something not allowed when I'm arrested for having it. I saw a guy in Miami airport asked by a cop if she could look in his carrying bag. He declined the invitation and half a dozen thugs in suits came from 6 different directions, put him face down on the floor, had him handcuffed instantly and they walked him out of there as a criminal. He probably was.
He was wearing Dallas Cowboys tank top and shorts, bright new Nike shoes, gold jewelry around his neck and on both wrists like a Texan for sure. So obvious, it was like a Hollywood movie was being made. I, myself, thought the outfit a dead give away, esp the ridiculous amount of showy gold chains. I was most stunned, however, that he was arrested for simply saying no. I thought: at least, wear a Miami Dolphin outfit if you want to draw less attention to yourself in Miami. I had no doubt the bag contained substances that delayed his plans for the next several years. But it taught me something I believe is worth noting: don't say no to a cop when s/he wants to get invasive with me. Nothing in pockets but ID, enough money to avoid arrest for vagrancy, and car keys.