My Minnesota Government this week agreed to end the State Government shutdown. We might have sent the message to the rest of the USA, that sense would prevail. Instead, our legislature decided to borrow money to fill the hole in the budget, from the schools and future tobacco payments, avoiding the topic of a shared sacrifice. A deal they might have made without hobbling the State economy for two weeks. The deal means the poor and middle class are likely to suffer. The richest among us can rejoice.
Our Federal Government is so dysfunctional it's about to plunge the world into an abyss of Empirical default. Why? While many in this country are fed up with petty bureaucratic tyranny, the GOP seems only to care that the rich elite, who have done so well the last thirty years, not have their taxes raised slightly, to help us out of this collective mess. The richest elite are saying nothing. Meanwhile, I recently read that GE, which paid no taxes, grew its profit by a rate of 21%. I read nothing about any jobs being created. Presumably, as Jeffrey Immelt, who is the President's jobs czar, and also the chairman of GE, if GE had created jobs it would be headline news, repeated ad nauseum. I consequently presume that like most of the largest corporations and banks, they are shedding jobs, quite efficiently. And then word comes of a potential corporate tax holiday. Job creation stimulus, don't you know. More like, a looting of the treasury.
The Fed fined Wells Fargo 85 million, for defrauding homeowners by pushing them into higher interest rates than they qualified for, and foreclosing on people who were not in default. Who will receive these 85 million American dollars? The people who were defrauded? That would be news. And complicated. It's easier for the Fed to keep it, to surely return it to Wells somehow, someway. And what is the Fed, anyway? A private bank, that's what.
I also read speculation about the possibility for uprisings in America, with this increasing gap between those who benefit most by the economy and just about everybody else. I commented that as long as there is abundant industrial food product, TV and gasoline, the children of Empire will take just about anything. And what would we revolt into? Religious fanaticism? Environmental degradation? How many Americans know what century this country was born in? How many Americans think the universe is 8,000 years old? Good god, the leading Tea Party candidate for President doesn't know American history. If Congress gives corporations and banks a tax holiday, Congress could burn for all I'd care, for all the good it is doing America. And if Congress burns, those corporate "persons" and their conspirator banks are sure to follow. And then we can descend fully into that truly capitalistic social darwinianism scientific materialists have been so good to bestow upon our consciousness, that has been so detrimental to America, and biological systems everywhere.
We could create a kind of Eden for everyone in America, if that's what we wanted to do. But that would require a return to the garden, which most Americans know as much about as they do about building and maintaining houses. As if the growing and building of things were the thing to revolt from, and not this empirical overshoot, this economically defined and enforced madness, tilting the world toward ecological oblivion. I keep voting for a graceful recognition and entry into this coming age of scarce fossil fuels. A healing time for people and the Earth. That would be nice. My reason keeps reminding me that the children of Empire are more likely to hunt down gays, pot smokers, Mexicans and single mothers, than stand together in the face of the looting of the treasury. Americans stand together to face the looting of the treasury, and the destruction of the biosphere, ideally. The children of Empire descend into the chaos of economic ruin, into madness, devouring each other, with ever the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mostly what I think about in the times ahead are the families I know with small children. A neighbor recently told me he thought I was the sort of man who would gather the neighborhood together, in the event of a social breakdown. In this neighborhood? was my reply. These families I know mostly live elsewhere (though his family is one I would fight to protect). Your vegetables aren't going to save you, he said. I replied that I don't grow them with the belief that they would save me in a social breakdown, but to show my neighbors what is possible with a city lot. And to learn what it takes to grow enough veggies to survive the winter. It's not as hard as you might think. The trick isn't growing the food, it's saving a diversity of seed. Because a diversity of seed is a diversity of feeling. And a diversity of feeling is essential to health and well being.
Neighbors two doors south of me defaulted on their home. There was a crowd of men, mostly young, emptying the house and garage this past weekend. If I met these neighbors, I don't remember. Whoever they are, they didn't just give up the house, they appeared to give up everything. "Look at all that shit," said Sam, a delightful old black man with the slow, gleeful cadence of a movie star, pointing first at the front yard, then a dumpster, "That's the second dumpster we've filled." He was collecting steel. The front yard was stacked with furniture of an age and appearance that wouldn't recommend them to any but the homeless, the remnants of a life gone stale and somewhat sordid. There were about six TVs. By the size of the house, one might deduce that they had a TV in the bathroom, assuming most of the TVs worked. The crowd of thirty mostly young men were having fun, and everybody wore a mask. The topic of dissolution didn't seem to be on their minds, and I didn't bring it up. I didn't know what to say. There was a cheap steel plant rack I thought about asking if I could take. But it wasn't very sturdy, or that attractive, and I didn't want to bring home that energy. I returned home to weed the garden, which is one of my favorite things.
The quack grass is encroaching at every angle. But my soil is in good shape, and in the beds they are easy to pull. In addition to the beetles I pictured last week, I've found many others like them, many in the act of sex, and many of a smaller, iridescent beetle. It is like an orgy of these iridescent beetles, and I admired them until I realized they were defoliating my Frontenac grape vines. Then I crushed everyone I could, with my hands, though there is nothing very pleasant about it. There was a dragonfly stranded in a coffee shop I frequent, I tried to save. I actually felt her mouth open and clamp down on my finger. I let her be.