Crazy Business

There was a very interesting article in the New York TIMES this morning on a subject that isn’t news anymore.

…”LAST year, more active-duty soldiers committed suicide than died in battle. This fact has been reported so often that it has almost lost its jolting force. Almost.”…

It’s six o’clock on sunday morning here on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I’m watering my orchids as I always do, come sunday morning.  The sun isn’t up yet, but the birds are singing.  My orchid room faces east and off in that direction, sharp as a scythe, sits a thin crescent moon.  The cherry trees out there in the dark are lit to bloom like the main fuse on the biggest mat of firecrackers you ever seen.  Today, april 7th, will be the big day.   That’s what I figure the birds are singing about.  I’m singing about something else I read in that TIMES article…

…”Tricare Management Activity, the division of the Department of Defense that manages health care services for the military, shows that there has been a giant, 682 percent increase in the number of psychoactive drugs — antipsychotics, sedatives, stimulants and mood stabilizers — prescribed to our troops between 2005 and 2011. That’s right. A nearly 700 percent increase — despite a steady reduction in combat troop levels since 2008…”

Nice kids I’ve watched grow up out here in the proverbial sticks sign up for the military in high school.  Boredom, lack of imagination, scarcity of employment…  for those who grew up in a culture where suspicion of science and disdain for liberal elitism go hand in hand with not caring much for school, it’s a ticket out of town.  It’s a free pass into the meat grinder disguised as the Big Top.  Some kind of traveling circus of heroism and high adventure.  They come back, if they come back at all, broken in body and fucked up in the head.

…”The data suggest that military doctors may prescribe psychoactive drugs for off-label use as sedatives, possibly so as to enable soldiers to function better in stressful combat situations. Capt. Michael Colston, a psychiatrist and program director for mental health policy in the Department of Defense, confirmed this possibility.”…

No shit?  Lets see… they are drugging the crap out of these naive kids and playing with them as if they were pieces in a board game.  “Another day of target practice boys & girls…up, and at-um!”  Then, when and if they come home, Law Enforcement, the only growth industry around here, can put them in jail for smoking a joint out back of the Wal-mart, which happens to be the only place hiring, part time of course.

I never stop finding it interesting to note how much people like to take advice from famous military characters.  You know the characters I’m talking about.  Shined shoes and a chest that’s so covered with ribbons, buttons, pins, stars and lanyards that it would make an Eagle Scout think that’s what heaven must be like.  “Leaders of Men” who can’t manage to stop acting like having the power to piss away enormous fortunes and the lives of what are, essentially, children, somehow, endows them with wisdom.  It doesn’t and that’s clear.  Keeping their pants on when their wives ain’t looking, long enough to fill their pockets with perks seems to be the biggest battle they ever face, on purpose anyway.  My favorite is John McCain.  He’s my hero because he thought dropping giant bombs on women and children, who never did a damn thing to harm him, from way up high in the sky where nobody could see him was what he was born to do.  My Hero…..

Then there is this douche bag.  Just look at him.  Has his own private jet, billions of dollars worth of cool equipment to fuck around with, the lives of tens of thousands of kids to play with as if they were little plastic army men… break-um and throw them away.. and what does he do?  He gets caught by his old lady storming the WRONG beach…. AGAIN.  Turns out he has the morals of a tomcat and the brains of an adolescent all hopped up on puberty.  Just look at him!  All dressed up like the dogs dinner.  Him and the rest of the military ass holes who have played their part in bankrupting the most powerful nation in the history of the world.  Fucked up ANOTHER generation of kids!  Killed another million people who asked nothing more than the opportunity to live out their miserable lives in peace.  They was foreigners don’t ya know?

But, the owners of America are smiling boys and girls.  The Stock Market is booming, taxes are low and the peasants are running around with their heads cut off over gay marriage, Obama’s plan to confiscate all the firearms and what ever today’s flavor of terror happens to be.  The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the young will get really fucked over.  As the lyrics to the song say… “I was born in the land of plenty, now there ain’t enough.”…

There isn’t much I can do about all this nonsense.  I can lay low.  I can comment now and again.  I can rage against the embarrassment of it all.  I can point out that a creature with the astounding ability to understand that it is made up of chemicals that, somehow, came to realize that they ARE chemicals… realizing that they are chemicals….  OYE!

Well, it all just seems to magnificent to just mindlessly fuck up like this.  Far to beautiful to permit people to piss on like they do.

The sun is fully up.  I’m going out to play in the garden and watch the cherry trees explode.  What did you expect?

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.






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4 responses to “Crazy Business

  1. Very enjoyable read, though the topic is one of few capable of making my blood boil. It is very sad what we do to these kids who are sent off to wage war to defend the “American way of life,” and the interests of the rich. I watched a very good documentary not long ago detailing the many ways that the military recruiters target the poor and uneducated (and often minorities). The one good thing about having drafts is that it puts more of a spotlight on the reasons for why we choose to go to war. As long as it’s not us (or someone close to us), we hardly blink an eye. Wouldn’t it be great if every politician supporting a war was obligated to send their age-eligible son’s and daughters?

  2. Thanks Brad. As a matter of routine I need opportunities to cuss up a storm now and again. When I feel a spell coming on I write a bit. I’m with you as far as sending kids to war for profit is concerned. Can’t think of anything much worse. The Owners know to keep it all as far out of sight as possible these days. Still, it’s no excuse for the rest of us to permit, let alone champion it. It pounds home the point that I don’t understand nearly as much as I should, at this stage of the game, of what being human is really all about. How the hell can we be so stupid? How can we be fooled by the SAME trick again and again…? Sacrificing our babies for Pete’s sake, and on the recommendations of politicians!

    I heard John Lennon’s “Imagine” 3 times this weekend. It’s a song that never, ever fails to move me profoundly. He has been dead for going on 33 years now and I have always been of the opinion that the world might well have been a different place had he lived. He had a way of speaking simple truths to the powerful that seemed to terrify them at times. I can’t think of anyone who has done that quite as powerfully since. He spoke for my generation and, somehow, I think he would have had lots more to say of value had he had the chance. I believe he could have helped us find our better voices.

    In December of 1986 my wife and I received a package in the mail. It was one of a thousand white virgin vinyl original pressings of “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”. The clear protective sleeve was signed… [To (my wife and I) Merry Christmas, N.Y.C., Xmas 1986, Love, Yoko & Sean]… I had successfully treated their bookkeeper-personal assistant for a particularly painful condition and she had, apparently, spoken kindly of me to Yoko, and of my admiration of their work… not to mention what I find to be the finest Christmas song ever written. It was an unsolicited gift, along with a note and 2 items of John’s clothing. To say she is a generous woman isn’t enough. The record has hung, framed, in my office ever since. So you see Brad, in spite of all my protestations to the contrary, I harbor deeply religious feelings for certain, select, religious icons.

    Be well

  3. That’s a wonderful story. It is interesting to hear you say that you believe the world might have been different if Lennon had lived; I would like to believe that you are right. I have been working very hard this past year to better acquaint myself with a broader understanding of human history and culture – I don’t think one can fully comprehend the human condition without knowing where we’ve been. I cannot help but sense that in the few decades after WWII, change was in the air… the world – its civilizations, cultures, and beliefs, were never more full of possibility and potential. If only we could have learned from our mistakes and acknowledged our ignorance. A John Lennon in his day may have had a chance to move people with passion, feeling, and reason, but I worry that we have since moved so far away from that brief moment in history – perhaps our greatest opportunity to avert ourselves from the path of self-destructive ideologies, now lost. Modern civilization has instead become that mythical ouroboros… we have developed a monstrous capitalistic system of ideals that will eat its own children and ultimately swallow its own tail. I don’t think a modern day Lennon would stand a chance, though it would be nice to know that people like him are still out there.

    • I don’t think he would stand a chance today either Brad. The world is a much colder and harder place today. There was a magic in the air during the 50s & 60s and all things seemed possible. John Lennon personified hope of changes for the better. You are right, we have moved away from that time. The magic is dead.

      I know I use this metaphor a lot, but, I find the game of Monopoly to be so instructive. It is capitalism in a nut shell.

      How great the game is as it begins. How exciting. How wonderful it is to build wealth and acquire property. As the first player, through bad luck, or, stupid play, leaves the game it’s …”all the more for the rest of the players”… Full speed ahead! As time goes on and more and more wealth and property ends up in the hands of fewer players… and as, one by one, all the other players are bankrupted it becomes clear how this “game” must end each and EVERY time. The problem is taking this to heart, understanding what it must mean to mankind. The problem is understanding that capitalism IS this game and it has been going on for centuries over a board that stretches around the globe.

      The problem is that those with the advantages and the luck don’t remember that it is a game any more. They think it’s for real. That doesn’t make me optimistic.

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