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photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today's Equation

An 11 year old who loves to blow shit up +

a 69 year old who KNOWS how to blow shit up +

a non-working printer that's pissed mom off one too many times =

video

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Cheer OR Cards Are Expensive- Most of Ya'll Are Getting...This

Happy Holidays from the center of the middle of nowhere!

We’re coming up on one year in our new home and it’s just as wonderful (and unbelievable) now as it was when we watched it being built last fall, after years of planning and delays. We’re finally Home- and will never ever take that for granted.

Ward gets stronger every day, and I’ve got him pretty well back to fightin’ weight with the liberal application of home cooked comfort foods. The doctors have cut his scans back to every 6 months or so, and every single day together is precious.

Alec just finished up his first quarter of 7th grade home school- good thing Ward’s his teacher because he passed me by at about 3rd grade…He’s involved in the International Future Problem Solver’s Program with the Denton home school group, is a 3rd degree black belt in tae kwon do, has an insatiable curiosity about all things socio-political, and is working on a complex and constantly morphing earth-berm structure with his dog- Aaron the Freakishly Understanding. He’s considering trumpet lessons since becoming a fan of jazz, big band and swing music.

Erika is back “on the hill” after taking a break for several years in retail management. She and her new husband Dave have a new dog, Lolo who is their running partner (on the shorter runs). She’s still running marathons and she and Dave finish at the head of the pack most of the time. Her wedding was absolutely beautiful at the lighthouse lakefront in Racine back in June of this year.

Dave (the son, not the son-in-law) is still working at Merchants with his dad. He and his girlfriend Kristin live in Oak Creek and have Sophie the guinea pig and now Bill the Bathroom Cat to keep them in line.

Joe’s mom Edna (age 92) fell last summer and decided she shouldn’t live alone anymore so she moved from Oklahoma City to…here. Her little modular home was delivered last week and is a darling little “grandma’s house” in between our log home and Joe’s cabin.

Joe and Alec spend a fair amount of time perfecting an art they call "Blowing Shit Up".

We went to Racine over the 4th of July and spent time with family and friends, and Alec and Ward got to experience the parade and the fireworks on the beach.

Our farm’s inhabitants remain about the same- 1 horse, 9 goats, 1 sheep, 6 dogs, 1 cat, 9 chickens, 12 ducks, 1 guinea hen and 50 (give or take)guinea pigs.

I’m still at the Tyler Animal Emergency Clinic, still writing for Homestead.org, still blogging and trying to re-work CancerDance with the help of a ‘real’ editor to hopefully get it ready for mainstream publication, have a tiny repeating spot on The Homestead Radio Show out of California, and am daily very thankful for family, friends and home.

Sending you peace and happiness during the holidays and always-

Love, the Dixons

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twelve Complex Questions, Twelve 10 Word Answers

The questions are valid and complex. The answers are purposely short to encourage thought, research and introspection without the trap of getting bogged down in party or social politics.

Because we're all supposed to be in this together- we all need to take care of each other, and leave our world better for our children and safer for our elders, even though and especially because in the end- not a one of us is getting out of here alive.

1) Why does Occupy want to turn us into a socialist nation?
It doesn't. We want capitalism that's accountable, regulated and moral.

2) Why don't those people grow up, go home and get a job?
Most Occupiers are over 40 and have homes and jobs.

3) So what the hell are they mad about?
OUR government being purchased to the detriment of the people.

4) Hey- if anyone in America really WANTS to work, all they have to do is go get a job.
Right. Over a million applied for 50,000 burger flipping positions.

5) If it's so bad here, why are illegals still flocking across the border?

They're not. Illegal immigration is at a 60 year low.

6) But we're in a tough economy- EVERYONE needs to sacrifice- share the burden.

Yes. Don't cut or eliminate ANY taxes- ESPECIALLY corporate taxes.

7) But those are the Job Creators- if we help them, they'll help us.
Seriously? When? In between moving the jobs and money overseas?

8) What's this "People Before Corporations" crap? Sounds communist.
Society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.

9) But this is America- home of the rugged individualist- survival of the fittest, gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet and all that jazz...

Tell it to your children and grandparents. Never get sick.

10) How can we have national universal health care? Who's going to pay for it? Through MORE taxes?
Taxes INSTEAD of your premiums. Do the math. It's horrifying.

11) Providing EVERYONE who needs and wants health care whether or not they deserve it? That just seems wrong and encourages sloth. I don't want MY money going to someone unworthy.
Who "deserves" highways, schools, police and fire protection, mail service?

12) My pumpkin pie recipe made more filling than I needed- what can I do with the extra filling?
Bread machine- 1 1/2c filling, 4c flour, 1 1/4tsp yeast. Pumpkin bread.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Seal of Approval For Me

*tap tap tap*

"Ma'am? Can you hear me?"

(Inner twinge of irritation since we're not even open for business yet)

"Yes- I can hear you".

"I'm sorry to bother you, but my car broke down and I'm trying to get to church for a meeting- do you think I could use your phone...I'm not a homeless person".

(What? What difference does she think THAT would make?)

I told Becca, the only other employee there, to let her in and let her use the phone. When she came through the door I told her "You know, if you WERE homeless I'd still let you use the phone" and she kind of laughed, nervously.

She was maybe mid-thirties, a little overweight, breathing hard and kind of clicking- perhaps asthma-ish, carrying a huge satchel type purse, and of a different race from myself.

No one answered at the other end of the line.

"I've just got to get to this meeting at church- do you think I could trouble either of you for a ride? I have friends also going who are meeting at a church just past Walmart". (About 5 miles from where we were).

I told Becca "I'll be right back", and to answer her worried expression I asked the woman "You're not planning on carjacking me or anything, are you?".

"No, ma'am. I'm surely not".

Good enough for me.

We made small talk on the way to the church. Her mom had just had surgery and was in rehab. She asked me about my children. We talked about my work. She asked where I go to church. I said "We don't go to church".

*click*

I thought she'd undone her seat belt because it was uncomfortable, with her being a little overweight and all, and her breathing labored, and I know when stressed *I* get claustrophobic...I didn't think much about it.

We pulled into the church parking lot, or as into the lot as we could go with the gate locked. "Honey- there's no one here" I said.

She looked even more worried than before and re-fastened her seat belt as we backed out of the driveway. It was getting dark outside. I asked (even knowing I shouldn't) "Where is the meeting you need to be at and what time is it?"

Another 5 miles up the road. She said "You need to get back to work" (true enough) "There's a bus stop right up here- if you drop me off I'll be fine".

The bus doesn't GO the direction she needed to go. I told her "I am not dumping you off at a bus stop in the dark. Just tell me where the meeting church is".

More small talk. "So do you just not have TIME to go to church?" she asked hesitantly.

"Nope. I went when I was younger, but I don't go anymore".

*click*

Since I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, it took me almost an hour after dropping her at the meeting church (to many "thank you"s and "God bless you"s and after declining the $3 in her purse for gas money) to realize what she had been doing.

Every time I verified that I do NOT attend church on a regular basis, she undid her seat belt...why?

So she could bail out of the moving vehicle if I did something...satanic?

She'd said how she appreciated my taking her where she needed to go even though I didn't know her- the meeting was for people who need assistance paying their utilities and food bills and rent- and I'd told her that my husband has been sick a lot and we've been helped by many people we didn't really "know" in real life and how we feel very strongly that if we are able to help anyone who needs it, we are morally bound to do so.

My Thanksgiving Eve encounter made me laugh on the one hand- because I'm clearly so dangerous. But it really makes me sad as well- after extending help, sharing some of my family's life outlook in regards to caring for our fellow humans, the mere fact of our being "churchless" made me somehow threatening to her.

Despite all evidence to the contrary by word or deed, if I couldn't claim membership to the Club of Believers, I'm not to be trusted fully.

I'm thankful for my family- my entire human family...with or without Church Homes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Like Simple

Life is hard. It's complex and frustrating and the threads of everyone's needs do not weave together neatly- most of the time the schedules I need to keep up with are all balled up and knotted together, a rat's nest of responsibilities in my head.

By the time I've paid attention to everyone and everything at home and at work I feel fortunate to get 10 minutes alone to read...even if it's while I'm peeing.

But that's ok. I've learned, as a survival tactic, to really ferret out and mentally highlight the best things, the simple, singular things that make my life truly wonderful.

We have a number of sweet gum trees- most of them gigantic sentries one person can't encircle with their arms. None of them have exactly the same hue right now- from spun gold to blood scarlet each and every one of them whispers a different note in autumns' song.

I think the hummingbirds are gone- I haven't seen one in weeks and the feeder is still full. I'm loathe to take it down yet- I have to believe there's one hummingbird out there who's running behind, been delayed, got a late start to wherever they go for the winter...a hummingbird equivalent of myself. And I know that I'd appreciate seeing a beacon of ruby nectar while frantically trying to catch up.

The little things, the simple things.

Laundry seemingly alive on the line- inhaling the breeze and exhaling the scent of laundry soap to and fro, back and forth.

The last walk-through of the house at night- checking the doors, turning off lights, picking up and putting away dog toys and making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, tucked in and cozy.

Gazing up at the black velvet night sky shot through with star diamonds.

Watching the nocturnal progression of the moon- first through my office window, then the dining room skylight and finally the bedroom gable window before it disappears behind the cedars.

Standing in the morning shower- hot water from the well without a hint of chlorine, walls of wood, sunshine through the window, river rocks under my feet.

The absolute and complete happiness of coming home- whether I've been gone an hour or a week- just passing through the gate lowers my blood pressure.

The daily comfortable thrill of my horse at the evening feeding, especially if she's grazing at the top of the meadow- I call her name and her head comes up, ears forward, and she flies down the hill on thundering hooves- tail flagging, nostrils flaring- every inch a Queen of the Desert and she graciously deigns to be kissed on the muzzle.

My boy and his dog running across the bridge in search of adventure- one long legged and slender, the other short legged and long.

The world around us is changing and unsteady on its feet.

The world we've made here is safe and sheltering and we are spectators- a family of deer mice snuggled down in fallen leaves while the restless lemmings stream by.

Being of Sicilian heritage, one of the most important simple things is food- food for my family- healthy food to nourish their tummies and hearts.

The other day I made applesauce. I've made it before, but not for a good long while, and never with an audience. The boys watched curiously.

I peeled and cored 6 apples, cutting them into quarters. Placed them in a pan with 1/2 cup water.

Brought it to a boil, turned it to simmer and covered.

Ten minutes later I took it off the stove, added 1/3 cup of sugar and mashed them up with a fork, stirred it up well, scooped it onto the plates next to the pork chops and oven fried potatoes and sprinkled it with cinnamon.

Ward looked at me, incredulous.

"That's it? THAT'S the magic of applesauce???"

Yep. The Simple Magic is the Best Magic.

***bonus points for noticing all 4 rodent references, which were completely random and serve no useful purpose whatsoever***

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Outstandingly Bad Day Continued...

...actually it was more of an outstandingly bad week.

Before we knew we had an empty trashed mess where there should've been paying buyers living in our old house, we got The SECOND Questionnaire- from Social Security Disability.

Now, we get The Questionnaire periodically. It asks for medical information and doctors' names and numbers and inquires about what Ward can and can't do as opposed to what he could do before cancer, heart disease and diabetes all started gnawing at him. We fill it out, send it in and within a week or so we get a letter stating "We have determined that you are still disabled".

This time we got a Second Questionnaire instead.

This one asks many detailed questions like "How long can you stand on your feet?", "Can you still drive?", and "Are you able to read?". This one is clearly looking to see if Ward is a candidate to be tossed off the disability rolls.

While I understand the desire to "weed out the undeserving" (because judging others is so easy to do when the world is all cut and dried), what these questionnaires and their intent are doing to MY family is causing even more insecurity and worry than the disease gods have already wrought.

And that really pisses me off.

My husband, my kind, courageous, handsome husband has been through hell, and hell is his constant companion.

Why, no- his eye and that part of his face has not grown back. Neither have the muscles they harvested from his arm, side, back and thigh for the grafts they needed to keep replacing because of the damage from the radiation.

Why, yes- he still has a clot in his heart that they closely monitor and that forces him to be on rat poison to keep his blood thin enough to (hopefully) keep the clot from breaking free and causing a stroke.

Why, actually- he's much more compromised than when you sent the LAST Questionnaire because he had that little 6 week stay in the hospital where he almost died and was in a coma and all since then.

And even though I clearly stated the above in no uncertain terms (because yanno being VAGUE is one of my weak points)in the first questionnaire, they still sent the second one. Because everyone is now clamoring for CUTTING THE WASTE.

My husband is almost 60 years old. He's in never-ending pain and is physically compromised. But some pencil pusher is right now looking at his records and deciding whether or not he could conceivably flip burgers for minimum wage. On the days his head isn't exploding. Under the influence of pain killers- which he takes every single day and which still manage to just take the edge off. Without insurance- because if they toss him off disability he also loses his Medicare.

And he'd be SO EASY to find health insurance for. Oh, no wait. He'd be shit out of luck.

I also just read that McDonald's has hired several tens of thousands of people.

They had over a million applications.

So, what happens to those kicked off disability and can't find work because they're competing with people who are younger and HAVE ALL THEIR FREAKING BODY PARTS?

Can't go on unemployment, because they're not technically getting fired or laid off.

This. This right here is the pesky details, the "gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet" of the conservative mindset.

While bleeding heart liberals say "Let a few people 'cheat' the system if that means allowing 100 to get the help they need", the fiscal conservatives say "Tighten it up, kick off anyone who could drag themselves to work, even if it would kill them- and it will, because there's no health insurance in those types of jobs. At least we'll get all the cheaters".

The figures being ignored show clearly that "entitlement" programs are a microscopic drop in the budget bucket compared to say...military spending.

Problem is the military war machine has a bigger pocketbook and more clout that a bunch of poor women, children, old people and cripples. So we hear "SHARE THE SACRIFICE" when what they really mean is

"You- you there, sitting easy collecting that government handout disability check- you haven't had a rough enough go of it. Your family hasn't had enough uncertainty and suffering. You worked full time for almost 40 years. Your wife still works full time.

It's not enough.

We understand and are sorry that IF you can even find a job that will excuse your many absences due to sickness, pain and hospitalizations and will allow for your physical disabilities going back to work will stress your body enough to kill you, and that having no health insurance will guarantee your early demise. But times are tough and we must ALL MAKE A GODDAMN SACRIFICE.

Nothing personal".

I sincerely hope I'm getting all worked up about nothing. I sincerely hope we get the letter saying "We have determined you are still disabled".

That would be outstandingly good for our family.

But I also know that for every good determination, there is at least one denial. And they aren't all using those checks to buy beer and big screen tv's, I don't care what the talking heads tell you. Most of them are people who need help, who've worked hard and played by the rules and shit just happened.

Most of them are us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

200th Post

So I was going to continue my pathetic bitching and moaning- even though the subject matter is not trivial, I looked at the post counter and saw that this is number 200. Using my 200th post to whine and rant seemed...less than worthy, so I'm taking a short break from my normally sunny disposition and forcing myself to be reflective and squishy instead of acerbic and pointy.

Don't worry. It won't last.

For Now...

Some think I'm cynical because when asked
"How are you doing?"
I always answer with, "I'm OK...for now".

My family is healthy and strong
And that hasn't always been the case.
While we know everything can change
In the blink of an eye
We're just fine...for now.

My home is every bit as magical as it was
A year ago when I watched it
Appear before my very eyes
One day, one log, one nail at a time.

This summer we had wildfires all around us
The acrid smoky air hung hazy for a few days
But our home remains safe...for now.

We have the same different struggles
Everyone does.
Too many bills at the end of the paycheck
Too little time for the work that needs done.
But we're getting by...for now.

There will always be someone better off than us
There will always be someone with heavier burdens.

Our burdens have lifted my eyes from the distractions
The diversions and the bullshit annoyances
And every day I gaze on this family, this home
In wonder and thankfulness.

Because these people- these incredible amazing humans
And this place- this magical perfect place
Are mine...for now.

And those two little words don't depress me
Or anger me.
Life is change.
Everything and everyone changes
With every sunrise and every sunset.

For Now is all we have.
Yesterday is gone, forever.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone, ever.

For Now I'll live and see and hear and breathe and love.
For Family.
For Home.

For Now.






(Standing at the barn gate looking down the road towards the house gate. Have you ever seen anywhere so perfect? Me neither...)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Outstandingly Bad Day

Anyone looking for one of my funny or lyrical, thoughtful or tender posts may as well check out right now. I will say I'm not pissed at god, or politicians, or the tea party...today.

You've been warned.


So the people who are supposed to be buying our old house have apparently moved out.

The people we let move in without down payment or deposit because the house did need A LOT of work done on it- work they said they could do because they'd renovated houses before and loved old houses and they could see the potential in this one and planned on this being their last and final home.

So we told them "Just make our payments and we're good- we'll give you 2 years to sell YOUR house and get our names off of this one". Because I've been helped, my family has been helped, during times when we've desperately needed it and on paper really didn't deserve it, but people helped us anyway. They moved in less than a year ago.

At the time, I called our mortgage company to inform them we were no longer going to be living there and the MORTGAGE COMPANY offered to do a modification to make the payments lower for this 2 year period. The buyers said "GREAT- that will give us some leeway to do improvements". Due to some questionable wording on the papers we signed, we found out (too late) that instead of going from $710 to $595, the new payment would be $595 PLUS $330 escrow...every month. We couldn't afford that. They couldn't afford that.

So I started working to make it better.

Because making this move was financially and physically straining on them and they loved the house and because even though the mortgage company admitted that the papers read "vaguely" because NOWHERE ON THE PAPERS DID IT STATE ANYTHING ABOUT THE ESCROW and I had asked seventy-leven times "Does the $595 INCLUDE the escrow?" and was told YES seventy-leven times, I tried my damnedest to make it better FOR THEM.

Every month, EVERY MONTH I'd call the mortgage company trying to get it re-written since it was now falling behind because of the escrow not being paid. (The people were paying the $595 a week or two early every month- like clockwork). The mortgage company said "Why don't you just do a deed in lieu of foreclosure?" and I said "Can the people stay in the house and buy it from YOU then?" and they said "No. The house must be empty".

I didn't WANT to make the people move- didn't want them to have to face that when they loved the house. So I kept working at it.

They gave every excuse in the book for not doing a new modification-
-it was less than 6 months into this modification
-it wasn't delinquent enough to do a new one
-we were TOO delinquent to do a new one
-the house was no longer owner occupied (my favorite since this is the reason THEY OFFERED ME THE MODIFICATION IN THE FIRST PLACE)

Finally, a few weeks ago, the mortgage company agreed to another modification- the new payments are $660 per month INCLUDING the escrow starting Dec. 1.

*WHEW*

All I needed was the November rent to pay for the modification by Oct. 31st and we'd be home free.

That's when I got the note from the buyers asking if they could be a week late with this month's payment...for the first time ever.

When I wrote back saying that I NEEDED the payment by the 31st to complete the modification we'd (I'd) been fighting so hard for this entire last year I was met with the sound of crickets. Obviously they weren't "asking", they were "informing".

The old neighbors contacted me to say "There's been a big U-Haul making trips out of the yard several times now and all the dogs are gone and all the yard ornaments are gone".

(Interjecting here to say that up till a few months ago there were always 2 vehicles in the yard. Then there was just one in the yard, and the last month there were none. I didn't make any conclusions since my visits over there consist of two times a month for about 5 minutes each- once to drop off the water bill still in our name and once to pick up the check.)

Ward said "I've got a bad feeling about this".

I said "No- she's working out of town and away from a computer and her mom's been sick- they've never been late and they want the house. I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for the U-Haul truck. It'll be fine".

So I didn't pay some of OUR bills and paid for the modification.

Because I didn't want the house to go into foreclosure and have to tell them they'd have to move.

Today was the day I was to pick up the check. They leave it in a little wrought iron mailbox by the front porch.

I stood in an empty front yard in the pouring rain looking at the spot next to the stairs where the mail box used to be.

I called Ward. "So you think it's a bad sign if the mailbox the check is supposed to be in is FUCKING GONE???"

*Silence at the other end of the line* followed by "Shit. I knew it."

The front door was unlocked.

I can't say the house is empty.

I can say that there's no sign of anyone living there. No furniture. No clothes. Nothing in the kitchen (although the sink is there...just not installed anymore).

I can say that the one bathroom is missing a toilet. Missing. A. Toilet.

What there IS is piles of "left-behinds"- yanno, the stuff you just abandon...WHEN YOU MOVE OUT OF A HOUSE.

The door to the living room was closed. Apparently they'd left the dogs to their own devices with the door open to the back yard. The dogs weren't housebroken and the entire wood floor is covered in dog leavings. The only way I know they left the door open is from the BIRD'S NEST ON TOP OF THE CEILING FAN.

You get the picture.

And yes. I have photos of everything.

I called the people *I* didn't pay, who I'd promised would get paid today and told them the story- they said "Wow". I told them I'd pay them on the 15th when I get paid...unless I get fired at the board meeting on Thursday. Not that I'm anticipating that, but it's been that kind of week. (spoiler alert for the next blog entry).

I called the mortgage company and talked to the girl who worked so hard to get us the modification. I told her the story and she said "Wow". I asked about the deed in lieu of foreclosure and we'll be looking into that as soon as I talk to the local bank THIS house is with- they said once we were out from under the other house officially they'd re-write our loan to a fixed rate, but the intent and understanding was that would be via a SALE, not surrender.

So.

It appears as if
-we're out $800 we could not afford to lose- we were prepared to cough up the $200+ difference to do the modification...FOR THEM
-we've got a huge stinking mess to clean up over yonder
-our chances of getting a better loan on this house may be ruined

No good deed goes unpunished.

And you want to hear the really "funny" part?

As I was talking about doing the deed in lieu of foreclosure, there was a little voice in the back of my head saying "But you haven't talked to the buyers yet- maybe they still want the house, maybe they're just...casual housekeepers with a liking of minimalistic furnishings, don't jump to conclusions till you talk to them..."

Good gawd, I'm an idiot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Does..."

As promised, today's column is brought to you by a guest blogger who will clarify and define all the different and diverse political trigger words that we've all heard forever but very rarely know the true meanings of.

Without further ado- The Guest Blog.

Misconceptions of Political Systems

Occasionally, whenever you join a conversation (Or even stumble upon a conversation, on, say, the Internet) About politics, religion, etc., you'll find that some people will accuse politicians they don't like of being "Communist" Or "Fascist" Or "Akin to Adolph Hitler". Most of the people who elicit these insults throw it around recklessly, with no idea of what these words actually mean. Basically, in today's culture, if someone is called a "Communist" That means they're a bad person. Nothing more. With no actual study of what the word "Communist" Truly means. The same goes for the word Fascist.

So, I have been invited to briefly define a couple words that have either been bastardized, or that some people would simply enjoy knowing. I will begin with the obvious, Communism.

Communism. Kom-you-niz-um.
A societal, political, and economic theory that promotes abolition of the state, common ownership of the means of production (Factories, tools, machines, resources), abolishment of classes, And a direct-democratic voting system for elections of any and all kinds.
Communist. Kom-you-nist.
A person who promotes and/or believes in Communism.
The misconception of Communism:
The usual misconception of Communism is that it leads to, or is, a totalitarian ideology that oppresses the people, much like in the Soviet Union. But, contrary to the belief, the Soviet Union was not Communist, not even Socialist, but was Totalitarian politically and State Capitalist economically.

Socialism. So-shul-iz-um.
1: A blanket term used to represent the many different Socialisms, including such theories as Trotskyism, Stalinism, and Marxism.
2: A transition phase between Capitalism and Communism in Marxist ideology. It is used to economically rejuvenate the nation after a revolution. Unlike Communism, Socialism still has a more-or-less intact state, but as the society continues towards superabundance and increasing of freedoms, the state gradually dissipates, giving way to Communism.

The misconception of Socialism:
The common misconception of Socialism is that in a Socialist society, no one is allowed to own anything, and the government and politicians are ultra-rich. But, this is not true, as many things can be personally owned in a Socialist society, but if you, say, have a garden that has grown full crops, you take what you need and give the rest to the society, basically making it impossible for any number of people to have to go hungry. Another misconception (As it needs to be addressed) Is that a minority of people in a Socialist society have to work extremely hard to support the majority that doesn’t want to work. But, since money has been abolished, these people don’t need to be “Supported”. Without wage-labor, the requirement for mass labor in meticulously mundane jobs has also been abolished, allowing for people to simply do the job they want, and not the job they need.

Marxism. Marks-iz-um.
1: A political ideology that strictly follows Marxist ideals and tendencies, instead of, say, Trotskyism, Stalinism, and the like.
2: An ideology that simply promotes the plethora of different Socialist systems and beliefs.
Marxist. Marks-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Marxism.
The misconception of Marxism:
People who misconceive Marxism basically think of it the same way they think of Socialism and Communism. To be called a “Marxist” Has become quite an insult in recent years, and people such as President Barrack Obama have been accused of being Marxists many multiple times, whether or not they truly are.

Fascism. Fash-iz-um.
The Political, Societal, and Economic ideology that promotes Nationalism, oppression of movements and ideas that conflict with those the leaders hold, Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism, and opposition to a variety of Political systems, including Capitalism and Socialism.
Fascist. Fash-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Fascism.
The misconception of Fascism:
Fascism, like Communism and Socialism, is a buzzword. When said, it instantly incites a reaction, simply because it has been made such an ugly word over the past decades. Many people (On both sides of the political spectrum, mind you) misconceive the word Fascism. When someone says, “[Well-known Presidential candidate] Is a Fascist!” They are falsely accusing someone of something. If there were a true Fascist presidential candidate, not many people would support him/her. Many people should recognize the recklessness of throwing around the word “Fascism”, just as throwing around the word “Communism” Is reckless.

Capitalism. Kap-it-ul-iz-um.
The Socioeconomic (But not Political) Ideology that allows for Private Ownership (Both of the means of production and of commodities), the establishment of a Class Society,
Wage-labor, and creation and sale of goods mainly for profit.
Capitalist. Kap-it-ul-ist.
Someone who promotes or supports Capitalism.
The misconception of Capitalism:
Capitalism is often misconceived as a perfect (Or even the best) Socioeconomic system. But, Capitalism, like all societal, economic and political systems, has its flaws. It is vulnerable to such agreeably dislikable ideologies such as Social Darwinism and Plutocracy (Both of which I will get to in a moment).


Democracy. Dem-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses the ability of the people to be able to have say in the choices that affect their lives. Usually accompanied alongside Democracy are the equality of all genders, races and religions (Or Irreligion thereof), The abolition of Tyranny or unfair amounts of power centered specifically in Governmental office, and the main center of focus being the People.
Democrat. Dem-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Democracy.
The misconception of Democracy:
The usual misconception of Democracy is that the United States is the best role model for Democracy the world over. It is not. There have been too many cases of the exploitation of the people by the hands of the corporations and politicians to call America a perfect Democracy, much less the role model of Democracy. The United States is more of a fickle mixture of many different Societal, Economic, and Political theories.

Republic. Re-pub-lik.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses supreme control over the government by the people, the ability of the people (Or at least a majority of them) To vote on affairs that affect their lives, and assurance of basic Democratic freedoms.
Republican. Re-pub-lik-an.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Republic.
The misconception of Republic:
Republicanism is very strongly misconceived as Tea-Party Neo-conservatism, or, at least, the Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is bastardizing Republicanism. Tea-Party Neo-conservatism is a much more radical ideology than Republicanism, and promotes things such as Social Darwinism and Corporatocracy. The Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is simply using the banner of Republicanism.

Oligarchy. Ole-uh-gark-ee.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that endorses the rule of the state by a small group of individuals that are privileged to do so, either because of the family they are from, ties with others they have, election by the people or the Oligarchs in power, or by military conquest.
Oligarch. Ole-uh-gark.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Oligarchy. Alternatively, someone who is a member of the elite class of Oligarchs in an Oligarchic society.
The misconception of Oligarchy:
There are few-to-none misconceptions about Oligarchy. It is not a widely discussed topic, and is neither controversial nor belonging to popular opinion.

Theocracy. Thee-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes the use of spiritual scripture as a guiding set of rules for the entire nation, powerful religiosity as a requirement for election into political office, and spirituality as a social norm.
Theocrat. Thee-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Theocracy. Alternatively, someone who is in a place of power in a Theocracy.
The misconception of Theocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Theocracy, and it is rarely discussed in political media.

Social Darwinism. So-shull Darr-win-iz-um.
Social Darwinism is a societal factor (But not a Societal, Economic, or Political system) that endorses Laissez-faire Capitalism, competition between ethnic, religious, and class groups, and the application of the “Survival of the Fittest” Ideology to society at large.
Social Darwinist. So-shull Darr-win-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Social Darwinism.
The misconceptions of Social Darwinism:
A fair number of mainstream American politicians believe that creating a system akin to Social Darwinism would be good for the United States. Being that Social Darwinism literally applies Evolutionary theory to societal issues, it would only become more defunct as time passes, eventually leading to a minority of the richest and their families, and a majority of the poor. I won’t start a rant now, as I have other things to address.

Plutocracy. Ploo-tok-ruh-see.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that allows for political power to come with wealth, thus making a Plutocratic nation a state ruled by its wealthiest citizens.
Plutocrat. Ploo-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Plutocracy. Alternatively, a ruling member of a Plutocratic state.
The misconceptions of Plutocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Plutocracy, as it is not a very well known word and idea. But it is worth noting that the United States is quite akin to Plutocracy, albeit an un-official one.

Anarchism. An-ar-kiz-um.
The Sociopolitical (But not economic) System that advocates repression of the State, opposition to governmental authority, and endorsement of some form of Economic Market and Private Property.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchism.
The misconceptions of Anarchism:
The common misconception of Anarchism is a caricature of its true ideals. Many seem to believe that Anarchism is the utmost in chaos, where there is no social order and crime is rampant. Even though there is no state in an Anarchist society, social order would still be maintained by the citizens. There seems to be a jump-to conclusion in most people’s brains when they hear the words “Abolition of the State”.

Anarchy. An-ar-kee.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes reluctance to use (Or abolition of the ability to use) violence, propaganda, or overbearing authority by the state.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchy (Not to be confused with Anarchist (Anarchism)).
The misconceptions of Anarchy:
Anarchy receives basically the exact same misconceptions as Anarchism, and the two Ideologies are used interchangeably, even though they are not the same thing.

Kleptocracy. Klep-tok-ruh-see.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) factor (But not system) that advocates the exploitation of the lower classes by the higher classes for wealth and power.
Kleptocrat. Klep-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Kleptocracy. Alternatively, someone in a place of power in a Kleptocratic state.
The misconceptions of Kleptocracy:
Kleptocracy is a very underused word, even more so than Plutocracy. But, it is worth mentioning that the United States today does have very apparent Kleptocratic elements.

As a final word, I would just like to say that politics is a very important subject. The political structure of a country dictates nearly every aspect of its citizens’ lives, and thus I believe it is very important for the citizens of every country to pay special attention to educating themselves on different political theories and ideas. Please always remember to stay informed on the latest political news, and arm yourself with knowledge that could pay off greatly in the future.


Today's blog was brought to you by my son, Alec- age 11.
(and I watched him type it up- every word came right out of his head.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm Waiting To Hear From You...

I have not talked to one person who thinks that what's happening on Wall St. and in the board rooms and in our government due to elected politicians being purchased by special interest groups is right.

Everyone agrees that while if you make a lot of money you should be rewarded, there is also a basic morality that says using some of that money to buy your way out of paying taxes to the country that gave you that opportunity is inherently wrong. That all that money going to lawyers and accountants could be used for things like making your homeland better for "the little people" (also known as your employees and customers) would be a better way to spend the same fucking amount.

That people (human people just like you and who may even WORK for you) who make as much in a year as what falls beneath your sofa cushions should NOT pay a higher percentage tax than you do.

That the government should consist of elected officials who work for the majority of the electorate who voted for them, not just in numbers of campaign dollars donated, but by numbers of individual votes cast.

No one thinks our current system is working.

Everyone is aware that the American Dream is slipping out of reach for most people- home ownership that can be afforded on one income, safe workplace environments with fair compensation and benefits like health insurance and pensions, a strong and up to date infrastructure to keep this nation moving ahead- all floundering.

Everyone knows someone (or IS someone) who has faced unemployment, an unaffordable health crisis, the loss of a home due to sketchy lending, the disappearance of retirement money from the players on Wall St. Hell- just look at your paycheck (which probably looks much like it did 5 years ago) and look at your grocery receipt (which has gone up at least 1/3 even with frugal shopping).

So- problem.

Problem is that we, as in WE the Regular Workaday People are sinking, and fast.

The solution?

I dunno. You tell me.

The Tea Party had its humble beginnings co-opted by big money who have turned it into an angry circus for its own ends- protect the Big Money while crying for the "taking back and taking down" of the government. Basically a Big Corporation wet dream. The seed planted is "Well, I don't have anything today, but this is AMERICA and SOMEDAY I might be rich just like those fellers- how would *I* feel if people who "didn't deserve it" wanted some of MY hard-earned money?"

*Hint*- you'll never know that because you'll never be "them". Ever. Nothing personal, neither will I and I'm perfectly OK with that.

Having our voices and opinions heard in the voting booth is not working. If it WERE working, our president would've passed a health care bill with real meat in it (Single Payer Option) and all the republicans voted into office in 2010 would've been busy every damn day creating JOBS instead of woman-hating abortion laws, child-hating spending cuts to social programs, voter-hating punitive changes to requirements to vote and making sure everyone knows our country's motto is STILL "In God We Trust".

Because it's been that way ever since the Founding Fathers said so.

In the 1950's.

Because I guess they were time travelers.

Or something.

So what the hell do we do?

If our Constitution is ignored, and our votes uncounted, we must physically SHOW THE HELL UP...

as in Occupy.

Say, "Look- we're here and we're pissed and we're just letting you know it. In case you forgot about us. We are peacefully assembling without leadership from any one front and without funding from any huge entity and without fucking sidearms and threatening signs. Please pay attention because this is OUR America, too".

If that doesn't work (because it won't- we know it won't) we move our money. Individually we have very little- I think we've got $291 in our bank account right now- but en masse it adds up very quickly. Move the money out of the big banks and into locally owned banks (where ours has always been) or to locally owned credit unions. That gives the banks pause.

Only shop at businesses who are locally owned AND who bank at local banks- ask them, and follow through. That gives big corporations pause.

Singly we are tiny. Together we are huge.

And for that "I am the 53%" young person and all the folks who are passing that on as a response to the (very real) suffering of the 99%?

I'm happy you have work ethic. Actually we ALL have work ethic. Here's what I don't get.

Why are you content to accept that as your lot in life? Why do you think it's OK to have to work several jobs (without benefits) just to afford your crappy apartment and when the hell did it become the American Dream to wish that sort of drudgery existence on your children? Isn't the American Dream to give our children MORE opportunities, not train them to accept less?

Is it because Americans flat don't know how people live in other countries? Where things like Universal Health Care, FREE college educations, 4 day work weeks and at LEAST a month of paid vacation is the norm for EVERYONE? That we don't look at that because we've been taught

"THAT'S SOCIALISM- DON'T LOOK- THEY ONLY LOOK HAPPY AND RELAXED- THEY'RE ACTUALLY CRYING INSIDE AND WISHING THEY COULD WORK 40 HOURS A WEEK AT WALMART THEN ANOTHER 20 HOURS A WEEK AT SUBWAY TO BARELY SCRAPE BY".

So you don't think Occupy is the answer.

You think it's making a mess that Taxpayers have to pay for, extra clean-up, extra cops...lemme let you in on a little secret-

I'm a taxpayer. So is every single person at an Occupy. We'll be happy to pay for it, thanks for your concern.

If the videos coming in were from Russia, or the Middle East, or Africa, America would be hailing those citizens as patriots and we'd be sending troops to "help protect them". But HERE?

"Why don't they get a job?"

"What are they protesting?"

"Hey- the police ASKED them to leave (a public space)- if they got arrested/shot at/tear gassed they deserved it. Even the children and old people."

"DO THEY HAVE A PERMIT TO ASSEMBLE???"

Shut up.

You know there's something wrong, something very wrong. You know it in your gut even if FOX News keeps trying to make you swallow the bile down like so many cows over and over again.

You fear our country is headed for fascism, but are so trained to fear the WORDS "socialism" and "communism" you can't see straight enough to read what the concepts of them actually are and that there are many forms of each and not all of them have anything to do with dictatorships or theocracies. (spoiler alert- guest blogger coming soon to help you out with that).

You MUST make yourself believe that those unemployed, foreclosed on, newly-poor people did something wrong- misjudged, misspent, misused credit, slacked off at work, made bad choices, SOMETHING because if they really ARE victims of "shit just happens"...

it could happen to YOU. In a fucking heartbeat.

Don't like Occupy?

Tell me YOUR plan.
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