Let's Be Done With This One. Next!

What Rand Paul said in full context...

One thing is clear, Rand Paul is able to stir up lively debate on topics that have been "off-limits" in public forums for years. Up next...his views on abortion which differ from his father regarding government intervention of the medical procedure. He is astute enough to know that he is in Kentucky, he has to build his own reputation and distinguish himself as his own person.

Yesterday he did shake-up his campaign and maybe not exactly the way the nervous Corporate Republicans would have him. He moved his campaign manager up to campaign chairman and replaced him with Jesse Benton, a campaign aid to his father known for his courteous and mannerly demeanor. It's a good move. He does need the experience from his father's staff, to avoid the fracas caused when he walked into the gotcha journalism of MSNBC and celebrity TV hostess Rachel Maddow.

Rand Paul and other candidates shaking up the Republican establishment should reopen these debates and speak their mind but they must also be mindful of the media sharks whose real goal is ratings. The only people who are really freaked out over his ideas are liberals. Moderates are wishy-washy and don't have a stand and until they do take a position, they're irrelevant. Republicans, if not openly, are secretly pleased that these folks are bringing new life and a revival to what had become a tired old agenda.

Naked open truth and realness are what is needed in political campaigns now and Rand Paul, among others, should continue to do that but without giving seminars on their views but rather honest summaries.

What happened with Maddow was an ambush in the phony way liberals feign to be fair and unbiased.

These two videos are the full context of what Rand Paul said on the Rachel Maddow show about his views on civil rights, the 1964 Civil Rights act and private business. His only error was to fully discuss a philosophy with a celebrity tv show host who only deals in snippets. My suggestion to Rand Paul is to avoid all liberal mainstream media because their goal is to discredit him, no matter how graciously they gratuitously act towards him.


Surf's Up: Second Wave is Pipeline

First Wave blown out, Second Wave raked over...

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" (Robert Zimmerman)

Why this does not look like The Great Depression of the 1930s

This Great Recession doesn't look like the Great Depression of the 1930s because we've made advances in technology, science and medicine, housing, manufacturing and the standard of living has risen considerably the past 20 years. Generally people entered into this economic crisis better off than in any other recession or depression, with good shelter, health, food, cars, goods and material possessions. The stark pictures of the 1930s made the era seem horrifyingly bleak because society was different entering into it, this era people have things that make life more comfortable, making the contrast less visible.

We are still in a Great Disruption, largely due to technology, the internet and the speed of communications and combined with an economic crisis based largely on massive debt with low production of anything of real value, it's not over yet. People who drank the Recovery Kool-Aid are starting to recognize that it was sugar water and wearing off. Some areas will experience recovery but that recovery means standing still and not sliding further back.

For individuals who have been experiencing varying degrees of difficulties since the tech crash of 2000 and the events of 9-11-2001 and have been learning along the way, people who never bought into the excess and others have been preparing, are long out of denial. A key point to remember is that although this depression may look different, they all share some characteristics. All four of my grandparents were determined not to do as many of their generation did, raise their children in fear of economic hard times by regaling them with horror stories. The truth is that during depressions many people do have very difficult circumstances but many people don't. My grandparents said it wasn't easy but many people overcame their circumstances and many had what they needed.

This "recession" is not over...What started in Athens, Greece will go all the way to Athens, California and around the globe to Asia and Arabia.

The lull from drinking Kool-Aid is passing and the world is rapidly pacing to a second wave of economic crisis that will make the first wave seem relatively tame. In the first wave, a credit crisis, disaster was skirted but not avoided, a point lost in the relief that the world didn't end during March 2009 in the US. Warren Buffett may have looked into the abyss but he failed to see it wasn't over globally. The general population has been lulled to believe that in a relatively short time life will return to normal.

Life will never be the same again. We will discover we don't need a lot of the consumer goods we've thought were necessary.

This second wave of economic crisis is a currency crisis and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The governments of the world can print all the money in the world and one simple fact remains, you can't spend your way out of debt.

All the King's horses and all the King's Men.

1. The consumer and business credit crisis and debt overhang has not been resolved.

2. Governments around the globe have deficits of epic proportions and taking them higher.

3. Debt is increasingly becoming more unproductive and weighing economies down worldwide.

4. The US Stock Market has been in a bubble as well as some industry and service sectors.

5. Liabilities far outweigh assets and the only way out is to rebuild assets, which will take a long time.

Government is the problem, not the answer, especially the government treasuries of the world. 
Worse: what is called free-market capitalism is neither a market that is free or true capitalism.
Limited government and true free markets must prevail or this civilization will go the way of Rome.

1. De-leveraging will take years to work out.

2. Shake-out of banks and financial institutions will occur.

3. Reconciliation of the books will be contentious.

4. Currencies will have to be revalued and pegged to something of value.

In the United States:

1. Unemployment will be a long term vexing problem.

2. There is disagreement if there's going to be inflation, hyperinflation, deflation or stagflation, or all of the above, but none of them are good.

3. Look at facts...Japan in the 90s after a real estate bubble now has debt 200% greater than GDP.

4. One thing is certain, there will be stagnation on multiple social and economic fronts.

5. The Political Class think they can resolve it but by nature of constituencies, will make it worse.

Stagnation will bring more divisiveness and unless a cloud of euphoric nitrous oxide fills the air, there is every likelihood the political front will be toxic. Civil unrest and discontent is likely that may make the late 60s and early 70s seem tame.

It will be a result of the realization that the world is readjusting and we have to go through a total revaluation of literally everything. In the United States we have several generations who have never seen even a mildly bad time and like a baby whose rattle has been snatched, they will kick, cry and scream. Since they're adults, they'll also be demanding and want their way, leading to clashing with others who also want their way. For these unprepared people, it will be psychologically as well as physically uncomfortable. There is no Prozac for what's to come.

This is not to understate or dismiss the misery since this is going to be a long period of adjustment. Social unrest, major political change and economic corrections of this magnitude throughout history have been terrible experiences.

What does a reasonable well adjusted individual do? Anyone who read this far, already has a good sense that a solid foundation based in character and good values, with a large dose of common sense and the ability to think of ways around problems will go a long way to healthy survival. There are a lot of prognosticators out there, I can only agree that we are in for a long haul fundamental change in the way we have lived, how it plays out is nothing but good guessing.

History is a good guide and we can find some answers there. The main lesson from history though is that periodically, the world goes through significant changes as it moves from one age to another. I believe that's what is happening now, a change of the ages, I see it as an exciting time to live and observe.

Jeffrey Miron of the Cato Institute on DC's Spending Spree



Urban Landscape Photography IV

Mural, Mural on the wall...

"I Have Not Read The Law"

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer does it again...

This time with puppets. Her new campaign ad is "Arizona-Sing-Along: Read Immigration Law!" and is catching on. The ad is quite clever and if nothing else, Jan Brewer is taking advantage of riding the crest of a wave. She's gained popularity since signing SB1070 and her goal of increasing the sales tax was passed by Arizona voters last Tuesday, May 18.

Her popularity may be short-lived when the backlash hits over her pushing the sales tax increase, which slapped hard the unemployed, low income and fixed income citizens (there are many in this state) in the face. The campaign to back the law was not supported by Republicans (she is running in the August 24th Republican primary to become elected Governor) but rather by their natural opponents. The primary force was public sector and teachers unions, their sympathizers and the Democrat Attorney General, also running for Governor in the Democratic Party primary.

When people realize it was false advertising by the proponents because Arizona public schools, beneficiaries of the sales tax, are notorious for bloated bureaucratic administration staffs and that the sales tax doesn't actually put teachers in the classroom...the joke will be on her.


Arizona 3rd Congressional District Primary Candidate

Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker is Red...

There is a disconnect between what minority and ethnic groups believe in principle and the Social Democrats have a vested interest in keeping them believing they're oppressed. 

Actually their views align more with the change that is happening in the Republican Party (the rejection of Corporate Republicanism and acceptance of candidates like Rand Paul) than the far left Social Democrat agenda of Obama and incumbent Democrats and Democratic Party candidates. American people of color are no different than most Americans, they have a work ethic to obtain what they aspire to, want to achieve ownership on their own merit and don't want what they earn confiscated by the government. The myth that only the Democratic Party has their best interests at heart is because that party would like for them to believe they have been cheated. Democrats offer them false protection in the guise of "hope" in order to maintain their grip on their vote, taking them for granted.

"The Democratic Party has done a good job of selling to the African-American, Latino, Asian community...this is your party." Vernon Parker

However when he asks these individuals:
"Do you believe government should give you everything?" Response: NO!
"Would you like to live in government housing?" Response: No!
"Would you like your taxes increased?" Response: No!

Phoenix Channel 3 is an unaffiliated local channel that still manages to produce local news primarily in a fair tradition. This video is a story on Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker who is running in the Republican Party for Arizona's 3rd Congressional District to fill the seat being vacated by John Shadegg. Parker overcame growing up in an area blighted by drugs and violence through the love and support of his family, to graduate from Georgetown Law School. A small businessman, his focus is reducing taxes and policies to help the private sector create jobs.



A Cut Above From Below

What is the meaning of elite?

It's all in the context of personal perception and interpretation

I've been having an ongoing discussion recently with a friend of 45 years over the word elite and what it means. We have similar education backgrounds (we went to the same high school and colleges, different degrees) but come from different socio-economic backgrounds. Over the decades we have had a lot of discussions on topics of "great political and social import," to borrow a phrase from Janis Joplin.

In this case it started with my using the word "elite" which I intended in the first dictionary definition of "the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as a group or class of persons and partly in the second definition sense of "persons of the highest class." Let me state that I personally never have associated class with money, prominent position, aristocracy, name-your-upper-crust. In my mind class has always been associated with any social, economic or political individual or group that carries themselves with a certain dignity and respect for others, which in turn gives them dignity and respect.

I have never understood the visceral reaction so many Americans have to the word elite. They automatically assume it means the third dictionary definition "a group of persons exercising the major authority or influence within a larger group," as in Power Elite and Big Boss Man and in a reactionary way, vehemently call it inherently evil. The idea that elite might merely mean someone or something that exceeds or is more educated, intelligent, accomplished is just considered wrong. Because in America no one better be better than me or anyone else.

Is this what the notion of equality has become? It no longer is about equal rights and opportunity but about equal entitlement? 

Inevitably I get accused of classism or something of the sort if I suggest that human nature and selection of the species indicates that some people, are in fact just better in some ways than others. That somehow this is snobbishness and it's wrong to think that someone can rise above others, are natural leaders and should fill that role. Inevitably I discover that these same people also resent anyone in leadership position of any kind, although they would loath to themselves be a leader instead of the "chosen one."

I suggest that it is peculiarly American trait, born out of a misguided idea that this is a pure democracy coupled with an ignorance of what a democratic republic really means. It almost always springs from someone who is from or perceives themselves to be "working class" and I have concluded it is also classism, only in reverse and the worst kind. "I can't envision myself (or am too lazy) being able to improve or rise above my station, therefore anyone who does is an elitist snob who looks down on me."

It is the worst kind because the concept of achievement, ability, knowledge, skills are to be derided rather than lauded. It assumes that everyone who has "gotten somewhere" gained it without some effort, education and work and is in it purely for themselves with total disregard for others. Perhaps this is why so many people with elite qualities stick to themselves and others like them.


End of the Line

Hanging up on the wireline telephone network...

There is No Dial Tone

Vandals Delight: they don't even bury it any more, just lay it on the ground for a 200 yards.


Casa Grande Ruins

Remains of The Hohokam...

The ruins of Casa Grande is a large structure of remains of the Hohokam culture that lasted about 1000 years. When this structure was visited by Father Eusebio Kino in 1694, it had been abandoned since around 1450. Father Kino's entries into his journal were the first written record of the site, since the Hohokam themselves left no written records. Oral tradition and archaeological evidence lead to the belief they are the ancestors of the Akimel O'Odham (Pima) and Tohono O'Odham Indians. The Hohokam were spread across the Gila and Salt Rivers and engaged in extensive irrigation farming and wide spread trade, disappearing in the mid 1400s.

What remains is this large structure, the apex of their architecture, with holes in three of the walls indicating it was used for astronomical purposes. It is built with caliche with walls at the base 4 1/2 feet thick. The building was at the center of the largest community of villages located between two of their large canals. This site was for observing the movement of celestial objects to be aware of seasons for planting, harvesting as well as other significant events. The compound contains a ball court, pithouses surrounded by central plazas and platform mounds enclosed by walls. This was a special structure for these desert dwellers.

Located in the northern part of the Sonoran desert, the people of this civilization were also hunters and gatherers as well as farmers and are considered the first people to have learned how to live in the American Desert. They were dependent on a developed irrigation system and what happened to them is not fully known. The water cycles of the rivers of the desert lend themselves to flooding and periods of dryness. It appears that high water damaged their irrigation systems and coupled with dry periods, the water wasn't able flow high enough in the canals to be distributed among the communities and farming fields, causing them to abandon their communities. Those that remained stayed in small settlements and probably became what are now the O'Odham peoples.

Construction to preserve the ruins started in the 1930s, beginning with the steel shelter roof and the main part of what is now the visitor center, which was completed in 1932. The Civilian Conservation Corps built small adobe buildings between 1937 and 1940 that are still in use today.


Guidelines of Money

Personal finance and money have their own commandments...

If you're doing what you should be doing with money, then money will fall into place for you.

Everyone has their own relationship with money but it is important to understand that money has its own relationship and commandments that are outside of the individual. If you take control of your money, you will not feel out of control of money. The way you relate to money says a lot about you and what you value. Keep foremost in your mind the understanding that money is an illusion, especially today's money that is printed off presses with no real value, like gold or silver, behind it. The value of money can quickly change depending on economic, political and social circumstances, so it's critical to not let your values be based on the value of money.

That is not to say that having money is not important in our society. It clearly is. The problem comes when our concept of money is not clearly defined with our concept of ourselves. It is alright to like money but it shouldn't affect who you are. If that is clear, you will have the money you need (and probably more) because you are clear about managing the money you have, leveraging it to the best advantage, which then leads to comfort with money and the rest follows. That's because your mind is in the right place with it. You will have the things you need and be in a position to gain things you want.

Assessing the personal value of money:

1. Acknowledge that your personal values have to be enduring concrete values, not based on material goods but autonomous and existing separately of money.

2. There are intrinsic agendas in the world you exist in and how you relate to it and them. They should be consistent with your way of life and include monitoring your money and your attitude about it.

3. Money should not be the driver or the destination, it is the result of achieving something of real value.  If money is the only goal, misery follows.

A lot of people are in personal turmoil because of the relationship they've had with money and not understood what it really was worth and the damage it could do to them. Personal finances sooner or later, if not properly handled and misunderstood, eventually require reconciliation. How someone copes with that is dependent on their values, their willingness to reevaluate their affiliation with money and if they want to change. Money is fundamentally a relationship with things in the world and how you view things is important in understanding your relationship with money. There is nothing wrong with having things, whether your desires are modest or ostentatious, as long as you purchase them in an ethically correct manner.

It is a fact of life that some people have more money than others and it's not always due to what is fair, how hard one has worked or sometimes how well they've handled money. Nor does it have anything to do with your value as a person. Circumstances just are what they are and coming to terms with them in a harmonious way depends on harmony with personal values. There may be struggles with money but they can be relatively free of strife. Struggle is different from strife.

It's essential to control your money so it doesn't control you.

Enduring commandments of money:

1. Take charge of your finances, manage them yourself, never abdicate control. It is your money and peace of mind.

2. Live within your means: budget, monitor expenses, do bookkeeping and maintain records of your money. This does not have to be complex, it can be a notebook or an envelope system.

3. No debt is key. Exceptions might be a car, a house or property but only if it makes practical sense. Use credit sparingly; preserve your credit score.

4. Maintain a significant enough amount of savings for a backup and emergencies. Pay yourself first, preferably five to ten percent, or any amount, even if it's a few dollars or pocket change.

5. Avoid emotionally based financial decisions. If in doubt, don't do it, trust your instincts to avoid fear of finances and disastrous results.

We are entering three years of economic crisis and for most people, except the uber-rich, the end is at least three to five years away. Every indication is a second wave has started and it is even more important we take care of our money. If you are in a situation where you made money mistakes and it is causing you difficulty, own up to them and find relief in working towards solutions. Invest in your peace of mind by doing that and as much as possible, follow the commandments of money. Once resolved, following all of them will likely be easier due to lessons learned. If you are not in financial trouble and not following the guidelines of money...Start NOW!


California Dreamin'

There is a lake in California...

In a Jeep with a name: "Dusty"

It's summer for all practical purposes here in the desert and I will be making my annual trek to the high desert of inland California very soon to visit my friend there. We shoot and edit video, play music and sing as well as laugh and dance...heat be damned!

Here is a replay of a video from last year's trip taken on the way, at a stop at Ford Dry Lake during the peak of heat, in August.


There Is A Lake in California... from JR Snyder Jr on Vimeo.
A visit to Ford Dry Lake in California in August, peak heat of the year. In the desert, things are not always what they seem.


Obama's Cheap Shot Joke At The Expense Of A State

No One In Arizona Is Laughing...

Obama Shows Lack of Class and Couth

The President of the United States is the head of the Executive Branch of the Federal government and holds the interests of all 50 states and represents them all. He should respect each state equally if he in turn expects the states and it's citizens to respect him. President Obama showed his true colors on May 1st when he made a tasteless joke about Arizona at the White House Correspondents' Association Annual Dinner:

"...And we all know what happens when you visit Arizona without ID, ADIOS, AMIGOS!"

Whatever you think of Arizona's Immigration Enforcement Bill (SB1070), no matter your party affiliation or political leaning, everyone should be appalled that a President would make a joke at the expense of a state on a subject that is at best, touchy. The correspondents all laughed but they would, they cover the President and are integral to the Beltway culture...actually they're not far from being members of the Political Class themselves, in spite of proclaiming to being "journalists."

My upbringing taught me that no matter who the President was, whether you had voted for him or not, he was to be respected because of the office he held. How does he think children and young leaders in Arizona will learn that respect if he doesn't respect the state they live in and have no control over what adults do?

This has given Governor Jan Brewer ammunition for her campaign for governor and she has seized the opportunity. This is the political ad she has running on media outlets and the internet.



Visionaries of Arizona

Hall of Fame: Influential Arizonans...

1. Barry Goldwater: The original modern day libertarian conservative recognized as sparking the resurgence of the conservative movement in the US. He differed from many of today's conservatives because he stuck to core principles of liberty and personal freedom. He believed it was not the government's business to inject itself into abortion, homosexuality, religion and was outspoken on government intrusion on individual rights.

2. Bruce Babbitt: Unexpectedly became Governor of Arizona in 1978 when he was Attorney General, third in succession and not second, due to an odd set of circumstances. At the time Arizona was growing rapidly and state government was a part-time affair, the Federal government was pressuring the state for resisting federal mandates. Babbitt was surprised to become governor but exceptionally capable, firmly took the reins and organized state government with streamlining, fiscal restraint and respect for civil rights and social justice. He later went on became Secretary of the Interior.

3. Sandra Day O'Connor: Epitomizes the Arizona independent mind that makes decisions based on reason and careful study, largely due to growing up on an Arizona ranch and a father not limiting her because of gender. One of the few women lawyers in 1952, she was unable to find work as a lawyer in private practice and turned to public service. She started as a deputy county attorney in California, making her way to the Arizona Attorney General's office. She then served in the Arizona State Senate, becoming the first woman majority leader. Her next move was to be elected as a Maricopa County trial judge and was appointed to the State Court of Appeals by Gov. Bruce Babbitt. In 1981 she became the first female US Supreme Court Justice.

4. Lincoln J. Ragsdale, Sr: A successful businessman with a Ph.D who became a member of the Tuskegee Airman and led the way in Arizona for the civil rights movement. He worked on the Phoenix Council for Civic Unity, the organization that filed a lawsuit forcing school desegregation in Arizona and won in 1953. He and his wife Eleanor Ragsdale were activists to desegregate Phoenix and successfully built political partnerships to achieve goals. He was the most visible and influential black leader in Arizona, succeeding in business and breaking color barriers.

5. Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia: An American Impressionist, his work is immediately recognizable since he is one of the most reproduced artists. He was famous for the southwestern influence in his art and his Gallery In The Sun drew many artist friends who stayed with him to share his vision. In 1976 he protested inheritance taxes, battled the IRS and engaged in a famous act trekking on horseback to the Superstition Mountains with 100 of his paintings and set them ablaze.


Political Junkie Yard Dogs

Curs of Arizona: Politicians...

Dogs always bark louder behind a chain link fence.

The Political Class in Arizona has not served the citizens of the state well in recent years and there are several stand outs at not serving citizens but rather doing great disservice. The election in 2008, due to a combination of term limits, "Clean Elections" along with voters desire for change (they got it) created a bad brew, with the hangover of a Governor who inherited the job and not elected to the position.

The result was during an economic crisis of epic proportions, that created the worst state budget crisis in the US, our Governor and state Legislature did not even come close to rising above but instead lived down to the lowest expectations. Compounded with a US Congressional Delegation that displayed nothing less than contempt for the voters that elected them, a bad storm started brewing. It began with the budget crisis, extending on to Health Care Reform and Town Hall debacles, a disastrous Presidential run by one of our Senators ending ignominiously with the electioneering season and a contentious piece de resistance legislation.

The 49th Arizona State Legislature in the second sesssion decided to cap everything off by passing SB1070 to address a critical, long-standing problem in the state, illegal immigration and border crossing, a reactionary law signed by the Governor who wants to be elected. The Arizona Immigration Bill does little to realistically address the complicated issue and has done a lot of damage to the State and will for a long time. The intent of the bill, to stop criminal activity coming through the gaping hole Arizona border (that the federal government has left the state to it's own devices) contains US Constitutional and liberty dilemmas. It is the States' Right to address the situation but it shouldn't have been done creating a can of worms to be dealt with.

These characters proved to be the epitome of bad, the meaning of "bad" in it's original context of awful and not in anyway cool.

1. Arizona State Senator Russell K. Pierce (Republican, District 18): The Mesa legislator sponsored SB1070 and managed to get it passed by appealing to the basest of people's fear. 'nuff said.

2. Mayor Phil Gordon: (Democrat, Mayor of Phoenix): Obliviously didn't deal with the cities budget catastrophe, then called for a sales tax increase and has now paraded with opportunist Al Sharpton protesting SB1070.

3. US Senator John McCain (Republican, US Senator): Well...let's just say McCain has never met a side of any issue that he couldn't like depending on who he is talking to. He flip flopped so quickly on SB1070 it was awesome (also in the original and not cool context). Then there's that 2008 Presidential campaign...

4. US Representative Raul Grijalva: (Democrat, 7th District): Advocates "punishing Arizona," the very state that elected him and he supposedly represents, by calling for a national boycott. The insanity of an elected official calling for economic damage, cutting your nose off to spite your face, is absurd.

5. US Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (Democrat, 1st District): Walked out of her own Town Hall meetings on Health Care Reform because she was being asked questions by her constituency, who largely was (and is) against it. She has remained silent on SB1070.


Out of Arizona

Poetry by JG Starr from the Borderland...

JG Starr and I have known each other since the first semester of high school, longer than we've known anyone except our families. He is originally a Texan but like me, has lived the majority of his life in Arizona. We are two unlikely souls that have traversed through southern and western culture as outsiders and insiders simultaneously. That is, we are of the culture yet apart from it or more often, beyond it. We have at times been exiled to the hinterlands of the borderland state we live in for thinking out loud.

We have forty two years of mutual experiences behind us, many of which we would only recount to each other these days. We are different, yet the same. He is solitary, somewhat of a recluse, highly intelligent, well read with well thought out ideas and opinions on American history, culture, economics and much more...a poet. I am a loner who is not alone, smart but intellectually lazy, well informed with thoughts and opinions on American history, culture, economics and...a non-fiction writer. He now protests any idea of his work being read by anyone other than him. On the other hand, nothing pleases me more than to write for show. His objections are overruled in this case, since this poem of his was published in Borderlands, the Texas Poetry Review, in 1996 and already published for anyone to read. Reprinting his poem here is my tribute to his gift, as much as he demurs it's value.

So Much Like Me

How would it be to be the hated snake,
     To have to push my way face-first through life
And taste it all: the verdure and ordure raked
     In on a tongue that almost lives outside
A lipless mouth, like some french-hissing-kiss
     Of the wind, the dirt, the trail of fleeing food?
Small waving hand-to show my friendliness

And always slithering naked on my snakehood,
     Could I help but stop and coil, and hug
Myself sometime, and squeeze, delicately
     That part of me (so much like me) I've tugged
Across each novel texture crawling brought me?
     How would it be to be the hated snake
In spring and, Heaven blessed, a mated snake?
Poetry by JG Starr copyright 1996
Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review Number Eight

photograph by JR Snyder Jr copyright 2010


It's The End Of The United States As We Know It

This is a total revaluation of everything...

The Great Disruption isn't the worst thing that could happen and probably long overdue.

1. The internet has disrupted everything ranging from communications to commerce.

2. This total revaluation is due to the failure of the government regulated financial system.

3. Across the board insolvency is creating a tidal wave of bankruptcies that can't be stopped. 

4. We've been living on borrowed time: ideas, money, consumerism, ethics.

5. There will be a profound reorder of personal values due to people's relationship with money.

6. We will see an acrimonious social and political atmosphere of conflicting and competing interest groups.

Personally I don't think it can be called off no matter how many fingers in the dike try to postpone it. There are too many circumstances already in play that portend an overturning of the way we live, sooner rather than later.

1. Technology has sped the exchange of everything spanning from ideas to currency and spinning out of control.

2. There is a war in Afghanistan that is a no win situation for the US.

3. The paper shifting of debt among governments in Europe is contagious to the UK, Asia and US.

4. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is one example of environmental problems that are vexing.

5. There is only one way for the US Stock Market to go now and it isn't up or sideways.

6. Unemployment and underemployment are not going to be solved for quite a long time.

We can hope that the situation doesn't become so charged that we see people do things so ugly that we never thought that we'd see in our lifetime. Immigration conflict is only a symptom of long simmering racial and ethnic issues  Political divisiveness is a result of class warfare. Terrorism has been glossed over and is internal on several fronts. There's more...Anything is possible.


Therefore also for the individual: Anything is possible. Personally and it doesn't have to be a negative reaction. If we choose to accept that there will be very little money in circulation, even among those who once had it, that consumer goods will not be as available as they once were, we can choose to take this as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, a chance to innovate new ways of doing things.

No matter where you are in life, you can always find someone better off and someone worse off than you are.

Really what choice is there? We can accept reality and adjust to it in the best possible way or we can be angry and bitter. Many of us have worked hard all our lives and achieved quite a bit and expected to be at least comfortable by this time. I know people who have complained bitterly to me about this and I can no longer be around them because it triggers the worst fears in me. Other people I know are well aware of how things look and what direction the country likely will head. What kind of future we face and are transcending to understanding it is out of our control. What we do have control over is how we reorient our internal compass to acceptance.

My grandfather used to tell me stories of the Depression. One of them was many men his age (in their thirties and forties) never accepted the conditions of the Depression and stayed inside their houses for the rest of their lives. Only their wives went out to do the shopping, etc. He said they "wasted their lives away when they could have done something, anything, even if it wasn't earning money." My grandfather was a barber but his business was slow, so he started beekeeping. He had men helping him who also had slow business or no jobs, this gave them something to do, they also had lots of honey.

Everyone has to find their own path to acceptance, a positive and hopeful outlook, their own personal revaluation of what is important and coping with the difficult fact that like a hurricane blowing through...a lot of what we thought, believed in, as well as the physical aspects of life we had, has been blown away.

In no way do I believe this is an easy task. If there was ever a time to build a solid support system around you it is now. Do I have fear about the future in five years that I didn't have five years ago? YES. I cannot let that rule me and it is important that I get the message out to as many people as possible to alleviate my own fears, doubts and anxieties, share the burden.

I have an avocation that is a labor of love people help me with and it keeps us occupied, plus we get benefit from doing something together . My mother wants me to start beekeeping with one of my nephews, who is in the similar employment predicament that I've been in for the same amount of time. Through these activities we discover new gems inside ourselves and from them, anything can happen.

I believe we are capable of more than surviving but winning in new ways, in this historical reordering of society, by recognizing that it is about people valuing each other in ways other than in financial and material terms. That is the bottom line revaluation. We may even get the real America back.

Manifest your own Destiny: "I feel fine"



Chimes of Freedom

LIVE: Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour...

Chimes of Freedom
Bob Dylan

Well far between sundown's finish and midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashin'
As majestic bells of boats struck shadows in the sun;
Sayin', it might be the chimes of freedom flashin'

Flashin' for the warriors who strength is not to fight
Flashin' for the refugees on their unarmed road of flight.
And for each and every underdog soldier in the night
We gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'
Well, in the city's melted furnace unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden here while the walls where tightenin'
As the echo of wedding bells before the blowing rain;
Dissolved into the white bales of lightnin'

Yeah, tollin' for the rebel, yeah, tollin for the raked
Tollin' for the luckless, the abandoned and the forsaked.
Yeah, tollin' for the outcasts burnin' constantly at
And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'

And then through a cloud-like curtain in a far off corner flashed
There's a hypnotic, splattered mist was slowly liftin'
Well, electric light still struck like arrows
Fired but for the ones condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting'

Paul Ewing
Well, tollin' for the searchin' ones on this speechless, secret trail
For the lonesome hearted lovers with too personal a tale.
And for each young heart for each channeled soul misplaced inside a jail
Yeah, we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'

Well,, starry eyed and laughin' I recall when we were caught,
Trapped by an old track of vows for the hands suspended
And we listened one last time, and we watched with one last look
Spellbound and swallowed "Has the tollin' ended?"

Yeah, tollin' for the achin' ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless, confused, accused, misused, strung out ones at worst.
And for every hung up person in the whole wide universe
We gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'

 All Photographs (unless noted otherwise) JR Snyder Jr 2010


There Is An Arizona

The Burning Man for Snowbirds...

"You go follow the Sun"

Every winter in the middle of the desert, 20 miles east of the Colorado River, millions of snowbirds trek to the usually desolate Town of Quartzite. The town becomes a haven of unique older snowbirds living in anything that could be called an RV.

Quartzite hosts multiple activities called "shows," that cover a wide variety of gatherings from November through April, with the real kickoff in early December with the Christmas Light Parade. The Main Event is in January when there are dozens of rock, gem, mineral, arts, crafts, sports, vacation, classic car and RV shows during the month of January.  This is followed in February by continued swapmeeting, Pow Wow and an ATV Parade and Bluegrass Festival. These seniors are rock and rollers who are a fun and animated crowd.

Quartzite.com calls it "the ideal place for anyone who drives an RV." As you view it from I-10 if you're just driving through, it appears to be a parched desert but on closer inspection, you would find off the highway it is a unique scenic desert. Palm Canyon, in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, is a unique canyon where naturally occurring California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) trees, that have survived since the last glacial period, are in the cleft. The Palm Canyon Trail is a great hike to see the only known native palm trees in Arizona.

The winter migration began in 1965 with the Pow Wow Rock, Gem and Mineral show and the rockhounders have been coming annually in the millions since then.

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This video is by Ackerman Gruber Images and depicts the lively activity of the bustling older visitors.

Migrating South: Snowbirds in Quartzsite from Ackerman Gruber Images on Vimeo.