Blinded With “Science”
[Re: Feature, “Do You Have a Chupacabra?” March 3-9] Benjamin Radford is an instigator, not an investigator. I also love to instigate, and Radford and I can agree there are many subjects that are open to hostile forensic evisceration. Yet many so-called paranormal situations call for careful consideration. Asking Mr. Radford to consider, say for example, cattle mutilations is like asking Dick Cheney to consider the environment. Mr. Radford portrays himself as a skeptic when in actuality he is a zealous believer in the dubious notion that white man’s “science” has effectively solved life’s mysteries.
Addiction Is Not a Crime
All families matter.
I remember the day I found out my father was a heroin user. My stomach turned as a friend told me that the spoon, cotton and lighter were for heroin use. My dad was a loving, funny, happy man; as a welder he provided well for our family. Having only daughters, he taught us how to fish, how to change a tire and the oil in our car. We grew up happy, with nice clothes, warm food and plenty to laugh about. He lived trying to juggle the needs of his family and the needs of his addiction.
Over the years, I have learned that this is a common reality of my beautiful state, the side that you don't get to see or hear about but everyone knows exists. I've learned that substance use is so often the survival kit for the sexually violated, the poor, profiled, abused and wrongfully criminalized. When I talk about my father as a user, I can see the look in people's faces, the judgment that they carry. I only know him as my daddy, who raised me and loved me.
New Mexico is plagued with this dis-ease—our communities in turmoil, families wanting and hoping for a cure but left with nothing more than long stints in jail, criminalization of our loved ones and hatred toward those that we call family. This is why I share my story. We are families living through the dis-ease of addiction. We survive, we thrive, we live among you. Addicts are family. Most of you love one, have tried to help one, but most of us don't carry the tools we need to treat this illness.
Growing up in New Mexico has been a beautiful experience for me—our sky, our mountains, the earth and gente which compose our brown landscape. New Mexico's history of resistance runs deep. As a people we have resisted oppressive systems, unwarranted development, the extraction of our land, water and culture. Young Women United believes our stories are resistance and need to be heard. Our elected officials need to hear them so they know that we are New Mexico, we want what's best for our gente and we don't believe in making criminals out of people that are in need of healing. Find out more at youngwomenunited.org or (505) 831-8930.
Tea Bagger Amendments 1 and 2
As perceived by a nonobjective observer ...
The right of people to think or believe anything they choose, regardless of the facts or scientific evidence (facts schmacts, science schmience), and to speak those beliefs, to lie, to slander, to threaten, to scream anything, anytime, anywhere to or about anyone shall not be abridged.
The right of the press to be fully owned subsidiaries of corporate interests, to lie, to propagandize, to promulgate disinformation to a confused electorate, and thereby to subvert democracy for the benefit of those corporate interests shall not be abridged.
Congress shall make no law limiting the right of religion to insert itself into any and all political debates and venues or to gain partial or absolute control of the government.
The right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances shall not be abridged nor shall it be recognized as legitimate except when accompanied by anger, hatred, shouting, screaming, incoherence, threats and guns.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms of any kind, at any time, in any place, for any purpose shall not be abridged for any reason. Wacko militias are just more freedom-loving Americans.
More amendments to follow.
Attention Where Attention Is Due
Climate activist Tim DeChristopher was just found guilty for his 2008 act of civil disobedience in Utah. He participated in a federal auction of oil and gas leases. He didn't have the funds to pay for his bid, and so the jury found him guilty of interfering with an onshore oil and gas leasing act and making a false representation to the federal government. Tim faces 10 years in prison.
I can't reconcile this news with the fact that many Wall Street bankers knowingly made risky decisions that nearly brought our economy to the brink of ruin, while they lined their own pockets with grand bonuses, yet they won't be spending a day behind bars. What is wrong with this picture?
And why are people hypnotized with Charlie Sheen's antics, and not talking about Tim DeChristopher and his bravery? DeChristopher is a role model for the type of peaceful civil disobedience that we need in this country. Sheen is a sad example of a degenerate, disgraceful, self-absorbed actor—not deserving of any attention whatsoever.
Wake up Americans!
I have been reading about Scientology in The New Yorker. The Scientology phenomenon baffles me, just like the Republican Party baffles me. How are these two cults getting away with purveying total crap? American citizens have shelled out millions upon millions of dollars to the cults. Too many American citizens believe the crap, they defend the crap, they don't question the crap.
I yell at the apologists and flakes on TV and radio, "Whoa, Nelly! We can't allow the Earth to be ruled by the lies spewed from the mouths of cult spokespeople!"
The corporate world and the upper class have a long history of hating labor and the unions. CEOs hate labor costs. CEOs want to be in control of the cost of labor but, thanks to the unions, the big wigs are not in total control. All greed and sociopathic tendencies aside, capitalism (also a cult) believes that capital must always move to the point that provides the most efficient use of materials and labor.
Did you feel the chilly breeze? The capitalist belief system allows the capitalist to dehumanize labor by listing labor under capital outlay.
Republicans and Scientologists and capitalists cause me to wonder if all cult behavior can be boiled down to the attempt to fill the inner vacuum. The nature of that vacuum varies from individual to individual, and as life on Earth shakes out, people with similar inner vacuums move toward the cults that best help them hide from their peculiar brand of self-loathing by embedding a sense of well-being and purpose in each believer.
Hovering above the sea of true believers are the cult leaders, the charismatics, the moguls, the elitists, the chosen few. They all seem to live high on the hog. They all seem to need bodyguards. They all seem to use their power to satisfy pathological personal needs.
I am thankful for the human beings who see through this cultist crap and share their revolutionary thoughts in print, over the air and on the Internet.
Tunisia Started it All
Attending the rally outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe on Saturday, Feb. 26, in support of public employee unions and the Democratic state senators of Wisconsin, made me remember that the current worldwide wave to reclaim self-determination began with Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia.
Bouazizi, a young, once-obscure street vendor despairing of justice, set himself on fire as his protest against corruption, humiliation and the untouchable power of the entrenched few. That desperate, defiant act by Mr. Bouazizi, like the fabled beating of the butterfly’s wings that swelled into a tidal wave, seems to have reverberated around much of our planet.
To me, the subsequent nonviolent uprising in Egypt—again led by students and lawyers—was the most stirring event of its kind since Gandhi’s march to the sea to collect salt. But now the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood appear poised to snatch Egypt’s future away from the aspiring progressive youth and professionals who had the guts to demand freedom and democracy.
Where now are the young progressives in the U.S.A.? There were about 1,000 people demonstrating at the Roundhouse—men and women in about equal numbers—but not many young people.
It isn’t yet evident whether American youth of today or in the near future will rally to reclaim their individual rights and reverse big business’ successful campaign to claim human rights for business corporations. Or even whether young people will fight to rebalance the relationship between the governed and those who are supposed to govern in the public interest.
We old progressives and moderates may not be able to present our views more persuasively in the future than we have these past few decades. The case for individual rights, justice and opportunity for all must be made anew in each generation, for it is the young who will have to live with the consequences.
[Re: Music, “To the Core,” March 3-9] When I first found out about Nuggets I went straight to the local record store (Eucalyptus Records in Fairfield, Calif.) and asked the very attractive blonde behind the counter for a copy. I started to explain about the album when she cut me off with a snarl, "I know what Nuggets is." She then reached under the counter and pulled out a copy of The Flamin’ Groovies’ self-released classic "Sneakers”—