Friday, March 31, 2006
I have come to think personally that the biggest difference between people is not so much what party they join, whether they are left or right wingers-- even though the various factions would do different things to attain their aims. The real question is do people believe it is the responsibility of the State to make the individual stronger or the State itself? Should the government be levying taxes or making rules aimed at creating a utopia or limit itself to doing what keeps people safe or what they cannot do except in a group?
If you believe in social engineering as a goal of government, then whether you are on the right or left, you will favor laws to achieve that. If you believe the government has no right to interfere except where it has to for safety of the people, the laws you will accept happily are far less.
The right claims it does not do that kind of thing, their words would say they are the party of less government and to a degree they are-- less government regulation of pollution, less government taxation of the richest to allow more growth (which works nicely where it comes to more maids and service people).
The right has plenty of regulations it likes for the creating of their own version of utopia-- you could not as an individual decide on your time of death, nor choose your own entertainment. The right, for the good of the state or maybe because you cannot wisely choose, would tell you who can marry and who you can have sex with-- if some of them had their way.
Some of the religious right would regulate what is taught in schools, what you learn from the media because whenever something teaches against their version of a utopian society, they don't like it. The news broadcasts would be limited to what is good about what they are doing because anything negative about them is disloyal to the er uh country.
Is the left then the less invasive party? In some areas, like who you can have sex with but certainly the extremes on the left have their own version of what must be done if the government is to make sure the individual lives a good life. So we got politically correct dictates for names. Can't call a team the Warriors because that only relates to Indians er oops er Native Americans er uh heck who knows what you are supposed to use from week to week with any ethnic group.
The left would tax more heavily because you won't take care of your own health wisely or help others around you with theirs. Their version of government would do more land use planning (one of my own contradictions as I like land use planning to keep open areas and how does that relate to public safety? I'm thinking...). Environmental protection I am safe on though as that to me is a matter of safety-- if it's truly about the environment and not social engineering disguised as environment.
Basically when it comes right down to it, each party in the United States today, favors a lot of rules to bring about their version of utopia-- only differing in which ones. My belief and what makes me unhappy with them all is that I believe individuals should be allowed to make their own decisions whenever possible.
I do see a role for the State to do what is required for the safety of the people as well as to maintain order (which is why I think the borders of any country must be secured and orderly immigration provided for through a system of rules determining how many and why they are entering. Allowing or encouraging an illegal underground has done nothing to make any people safer even if it has kept certain products cheaper. It's been done at too high a price for integrity).
The Federal government is required to monitor commerce in the United States but what that means has been stretched into all kinds of areas. I favor government maintaining a strong military because it seems without that (in our case even with it) you get run over, but that military must be used with great thought and not to achieve goals of certain individuals.
I believe in a strong education system that maintains orders within its walls, that does not teach a philosophy but teaches about them all, that teaches skills-- you know reading, writing and arithmetic. (Some time back Mary Lou had on her blog, Life after NEXCOM, a truly tough test that eighth grade graduates used to have to pass. No wonder my parents' generation, so many with only eighth grade diplomas, seemed so wise.) The government in the name of safety needs police and fire department, road regulations, etc. but so much of what our government does and would do is not related to safety but rather to creating their particular version of utopia.
I don't have any idea how the United States could get back to a minimal government. Maybe it can't anymore. Third parties never seem to last long. Many of them, that have tried or hang on as insignificant vote getters, have as invasive of platforms as the two main ones.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I only know a few of the stories and wonder at the many more hidden in the back canyons or shanties that are still standing.
When you come to a large valley like this one, you ask yourself how many miles across? There are no clues with trees or buildings, just a long highway, straight as an arrow, and across the valley, a bend, over a rise and probably another straight highway.
The monotony of the drive is broken by looking at remanants of mines gone by or maybe new mines with their fresh tailings. Small ranches in the middle of nowhere, businesses that folded and those that somehow held on by their fingernails.
Central Nevada is the home to several legal brothels. They always interest me but I have only seen them from the outside-- so far.
Many many years ago now, my family and I had stopped in Beatty, Nevada, to have breakfast. In walked a beautiful woman, with the longest legs I had seen. She had long carmel colored hair and short shorts. She said she'd been out riding her horse. I wondered-- did she work for Fran's place (now Angel's Ladies) at the other end of Beatty? Was she a showgirl who liked to get away from the glitz of the Strip? Had she married a rancher? She would have been a few years older than me and I wonder where she is now? She and I probably didn't look so different as I was also tall and slim back then with long, carmel colored hair but I had a husband and two babies. Our paths looked different on the surface. Were they? You can see how my mind works and so often I wonder about the story behind people's eyes, or in her case-- long legs.
Then to go along with the story of the brothels is what lies in Goldfield Cemetery. Madame Beverly Harrell ran the Cottonwood Ranch for years and died there in 1995. Her tombstone is engraved with-- a fearless beauty of class and intellect. Nice epitaph by her husband or whoever arranged for her burial. But the mystery, to me, is beside it with another tombstone-- Was there a story there? A customer who loved her? What did Forever mean on his tombstone? It definitely caught my interest.
Goldfield Cemetery illustrates the fallacy in the thought that in death we all come together-- at least bodily. There are different fenced off areas for whatever group you belonged to when you were alive and never the twain shall meet-- even underground. Were you an Elk, got just the place for you. Knights of Pythian right this way, Sacred Heart over here. What made me wonder though were the tombstones just outside the labeled grounds-- were they outcasts in life and now in death? by choice or by edict of the community? I know in some pioneer cemeteries, Chinese and women of the night had to be buried outside the official hallowed ground.
On down the road is Goldfield which was a mining town and now is barely subsisting with a few touristy places and played out mines, shanties and trailers and a couple of small homes. In the center, the biggest building, is the Goldfield Hotel from the glory days of the town, likely from after the time Virgil Earp was sheriff. The hotel has been going to be remodeled for as many years as I have been driving by it. The story goes that inside are several ghosts. And that's why no remodeling project ever works. So is there the spirit of a young woman wandering its halls looking for her stolen and murdered baby? Who knows but I have no desire for a night in it to find out. I have looked up into those windows though and wondered.
There are more stories but no more room. Stories of Area 51, of Death Valley Scottie, of lost gold mines, of Yucca Mountain, of the plane that crashed in front of Fran's ranch or... okay, I have to stop or I never will...
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
For anyone who is into moon cycles, we are in the phase of the new moon, a time for planting ideas, plants of certain types, a time to begin new growth. Right now, I am doing my growing, my feeling of the movement of the tides, in
This picture, the ones from yesterday and what I take this week will all be related to the trip down and
For those interested in technical details, the digital cameras were Canon EOS 20D and Rebel. The telephoto lens was 100-300mm).
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Perhaps because I am an artist, I sometimes have dreams I can paint, others that lead into stories to write. I thought I'd share one of my dreams as it came this week. It unfolded like a movie.
This is my favorite dream dictionary and sometimes I have used it to tear a dream apart from one end to the other and found a lot of personal applications from what might not seem significant otherwise. I believe most symbology we must figure out for ourselves as the significance of something in a dream for one person might be very different than for another.
How do you use your dreams?
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I can't say I was unhappy exactly. My husband was a kind man but there was another in that tribe who was the one I was attracted to. He was a younger man. He was in training to be a spiritual leader. He and I resisted the attraction between us until we didn't and eventually were found out. We were banished from the tribe.
Once off by ourselves and reestablishing a small camp, he was depressed, had lost his purpose, felt he had failed the people, himself, and Spirit. I felt sorry for his losses but was living on a simpler level and was happy just to be with him, to have no more deception, but life was not easy. To survive in this country was hard even for those in the village, let alone by ourselves. It might have been a time of drought.
He went farther and farther from the camp to hunt and then one time he didn't return. I didn't know why. Did he desert me? Was he killed? No way to know. By myself survival was questionable anyway but I quit trying and starved to death.
(The photographs in this blog are from my times in the Dragoon and Huachuca Mountains of Arizona very like where the story could have taken place.)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Edward R. Murrow
Watching Good Night and Good Luck brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember Edward R. Murrow mostly from the perspective of a child. I watched him on a little black and white television. I remember the voice, the chair and the cigarette. He was not a man you forgot and some say he was the last really powerful journalist. Others would give that title to Walter Cronkite.
I don't think journalism today has the power and certainly have found it to not have the courage to take on major issues. American people apparently don't want them taken on and blame the media everytime they deliver bad news as being the reason for it, not simply the bearer of it. Everytime the media, like NY Times accepts another twisted story or writer who lied, a whole sector of the populace says-- throw out all the media says-- except probably Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.. In other words, listen to what we already agree with and that can be true of right or left.
Joseph Wersba writes in this link of Murrow as a friend and colleague-- Edward R. Murrow and the Time of his Time.
I was a child when the McCarthy hearings were going on. It was not until years later when I understood more fully what had been happening. I have read of them in numerous non-fiction books about the writers, the actors, the directors who were pulled before hearings to admit or not admit that they had been communists or supported the party at any time in their past. Those who would not say were often forced from work for years if not forever. Some worked under pseudonyms. There were movie stars who refused to cooperate but more feared if they did not, they would lose their own careers. Some like John Wayne honestly believed they were helping to insure the United States remained free. Others saw it as the end of freedom. The questioning came along the lines of-- do you beat your wife? The idea you did was implanted with the very question.
There are those today who have been trying to rewrite McCarthy into a hero of his times, who stopped Communism from taking over the whole movie industry as well as allowing the Soviet Union to take over our government. I am amazed sometimes at what 'some people' believe as I suppose they are about me.
Here are some quotes from Edward R. Murrow. As pertinent today as they were 50 years ago.
"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices."
Any of it sound familiar? -- that old what goes around comes around. Maybe each generation has faced this choice. Some more knowingly than others. We stand up for what we believe in-- whatever that is-- or we lose it. Accusations flow freely in a time like this. As Crichton in 'State of Fear' wrote, we have to sort through what is being said to the truth. It isn't easy because a lot have a stake in masking truth to suit their own gains.
more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard-line
postures. . . . They may accept and even welcome repression if it promises
to relieve their insecurities." George Gerbner
A month or so ago, I read State of Fear by Michael Crichton. I am not normally a reader of Crichton's books. Too techie for me in general; but I felt I should read this one because it was about global warming and taking an opposing view to a lot of what is being put forth. I was surprised to find I did enjoy the book and I believe it had some valid points that are worth considering whether you are a believer in global warming as a catastrophe waiting to happen, whether you think it's a natural cycle, or whether you think it's all an environmentalist plot to block successful industries.
State of Fear is a reminder of how fear manipulates. It should remind us how statistics can be misused and to warn us that because someone says 2 + 2 = 5 does not make it so. It warns us that ruthless people are willing to use anything to gain their way. In the book it's environmentalists but it could just as well be any other body with an agenda that becomes more important than 'how' you get there.
We are bombarded by things to be afraid of and over and over told disaster awaits if we don't trust someone to take care of it. Terrorism, pandemic, catastrophic storms, mad cow disease and on and on. Add to it our personal lives, where we have even more fears-- disease, aging parents, job loss, etc.
The movie Good night and Good Luck retelling the story of Edward R. Murrow and his television program challenging Joseph McCarthy has come out on DVD. I recommend it highly for a vivid illustration of how easy it can be for a government to use fear to control; and how we should not assume something is true that we have not checked for ourselves.
When I was growing up, McCarthy had been mostly debunked; and most then seemed to agree his fear mongering in the name of protecting us from Communism had not been right, that he had been caught up in his own power trip. The problem back then went beyond him to a whole mentality that allowed someone to be accused of being a Communist with no real proof. Recently Ann Coulter wrote a book called Treason and as so often happens with what we see as history, she challenged what has been accepted. She said McCarthy was right.
It's not too surprising we'd see such a movement right now given the same patterns that McCarthy followed are being repeated today supposedly to fight terrorism but, it seems to me, are in reality to limit dissent.
It's a scary time but we cannot be swallowed by fear because it's destructive to quality living, to real freedom. The answer to fear is knowledge. McCarthy used lies and innuendos. People didn't check out what he said. We are seeing that repeated today in many arenas. A lot of what was discussed in Good Night and Good Luck is as true today as then-- and as true as it was a hundred or a thousand years before.
Freedom has always required fighting to maintain because there is always someone willing to take it away and to give us good reasons why we should let them.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect;
but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult." Leo Pfeffer
I believe people turn to cults because they want firm answers, authority figures, purpose to their lives, and someone who says they know the way . We live in a world with many questions, much insecurity; and those who claim they know make others feel empowered. When the cult turns to bad things, such as happened in Oregon, perhaps a lot of those in it have lost their own ability to think for themselves. Faith is their answer and faith doesn't require thinking.
Friday, March 17, 2006
long term friendships which are treasures. I have a few of those that go back. None from childhood or high school like some but a few from college; and then through the years, those special people one meets and the connection lasts.
One such is Parapluie, Umbrella Painting Journal. She and I met because my husband's friend was dating her. Actually she had dated two of his friends. When she and her husband (who remained my husband's friend) married, we were at their wedding. We did things as couples including all four heading to Arizona for our husbands to attend graduate school. We moved into the same apartment
complex-- strung out wings composed of small one or two bedroom apartments each with its own little patio, a central club house, and swimming pool, the desert not far beyond its walls... sometimes crawling within them as in rattlers and tarantulas. We each planted our little gardens but in very different styles.
Every morning, with our husbands off to school, she and I would meet at her kitchen or mine before our day would begin and we'd have a cup of coffee. We would sit and talk about politics, philosophy, ideas, art, our families, whatever came up. The conversations got very deep sometimes and we didn't always agree but we did respect each other's opinions. We sometimes painted out on the desert and from her more extensive knowledge of painting technique, I learned much.
The years passed. Degrees were gotten. They moved farther north than we did but we kept in loose touch, wrote letters frequently, came to some partings of the ways over philosophical beliefs, rejoined, saw our children raised,
married, with children of their own, and here we are-- still friends who sometimes manage to meet over coffee (mostly tea these days) to discuss ideas before we both go off to our work. Something that was a treasure back then and still is today.
(Pictures are from ferry crossing to Vancouver Island 1970 and New Year's Eve celebration 2001)
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Benjamin Franklin in 'Poor Richard's Almanack of 1738'
Paraphrased for today by unknown
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"
As anyone, who has read my blog from before or even the most recent post here on polygamy probably already knows, I am a fan of limited government. I am not a libertarian as I believe there are purposes for government and reasons a wise and strong society will share its resources to do certain activities that individually we could not accomplish. I have been thinking lately that most of us don't think enough on what we want our government to do, which regulations we really want, and what we are willing to pay for.
You hear people say they want universal health care. Then you ask if they are willing to pay say 60% of their income to get that, they look at you horrified. But if you look at what socialist countries have for tax rates, that's where it ends up-- if not higher.
We don't trust the government to do this or that but then add on something new we expect with no idea of how to pay for it or even who will accomplish it. New Orleans recovery was a good example. Everybody wanted to see help given but did that help really do what was intended for the people or did it too often line the pockets of grifters?
Is it enough for most people that money is thrown at a problem like it was for years with welfare or should we have a plan for what it'll accomplish? Does our government have reasonable goals and accountability if they are met and accept that there should be a price to pay if not?
I think it would be good, especially since this is an election year in the United States which could impact our country for years to come, if more of us would take time to consider what we want government doing, not doing and vote accordingly. Those who wanted gay marriage banned did that last election much to the disappointment of those who like myself thought that should not have been the business of the majority to restrict the minority except in areas where it endangered others-- like protecting minors. How did gay marriage hurt the majority? Apparently some felt it did and voted accordingly.
If Bush gets another two years of Republican controlled Congress, we could see changes through the Supreme Court that will impact our nation for years to come. It's a good time to look at how your individual legislator voted last time, whichever party he represented, and if it wasn't what you would have wanted, kick him out-- even if the new guy seems less than you want. There is always the next election to take care of him. And this is true whether you are reading this from the United States or any other free country where we have the privilege of voting and should take it seriously.
Abortion is a hot button issue for a lot of people. What do you want your government to do-- restrict it, forbid it or stay out of it?
Should the executive branch have, as it now claims it does, unrestricted power during a self-declared war to torture, imprison and spy on anyone it has declared is dangerous-- with no limits?
Should corporations have the right to pollute or expand into neighborhoods or whatever else they might want to do because the jobs are needed more than someone else's quality of life?
Should the government have the right to sell off federal lands it has decided are not needed but nobody else is allowed to oversee, and you don't even know who they are going to sell them to? Not long ago they decided to allow mining claims to buy (at a cheap price) expanded land around them for any purpose at all. That got shot down. Is the new proposal simply an end run to get what they wanted all along?
Is personal profit your main criteria for who you want elected? If they lower your taxes and promise you the moon for free, are they your man or woman? If those aren't your goals, then you need to look carefully at your congressmen to see if they were theirs.
I think we have been encouraged to think that we have to give up certain things to have security but the question could be asked-- what things and have they made us safer? A lot of people are disillusioned right now about the government with both parties, but it's time that we have to stop being that way and decide what we believe, what we are willing to pay for and then work for those causes. If we don't, someone else will. That much you can depend on..........
Monday, March 13, 2006
The practice of polygamy has generally been for the wealthier set. So the well off men got multiple wives without enough left for the younger guys-- short of looking temptingly at each other. Possibly why the whole thing got criminalized. Or was it the wives who didn't like having new young women around with whom to compete?
But then if you look at serial monogamy today, you see the guy getting new young thing and discarding old thing with a pile of cash-- if they were well off. Men have had mistresses, concubines, paid prostitutes and found assorted methods for sexually having multiple partners. Women less frequently have done the same thing... Okay in the open hardly ever even today. Most of it is legal-- except for polygamy.
This question on polygamy arises now and then. A few years ago a man was found guilty of bigamy who was practicing polygamy with serial marriages and divorces. He was not exactly a poster boy for the practice given he was marrying underage girls, collecting welfare payments from supposedly ex-spouses to support his lifestyle. He probably could have kept it going for years, as the females in the partnership were not upset with it, except for his using the welfare system and then he bragged about it in public, tried to encourage it to be made legal and hence got the attention of the powers that be. The young women appeared on multiple television shows to try and get him off but to no avail. He's still doing time last I read.
There have been, still are, some cults that practice polygamy, forcing it on underage girls, but the same type of cult does this often whether they marry the girls or not. That is a question not of consenting relationships but cults.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I was trying to decide if I was ready to start writing a blog again; then just began to write.
At the end of December, when I stopped the first blog, I thought if I did another, it'd be a partnership, but none of my friends wanted to do one with me or they already had their own; so maybe this is how it's going to be.
We had snow this week-end which for me was exciting given this has been the sum total for the year-- 2" and gone by afternoon. I made the most of it while it was here.
The farm is going well, my creative part of life is going fine-- at least as such ever does.
I have some areas of my life where things could be better but that's always going to be so. I am not disapleased with where I am for today.
There are a lot of things to write about and as before, I will mainly center on my life, philosophical thoughts, politics, nature, photography, and art.