Monday, April 13, 2015

Shelter from the Storm



video

My Greenhouse




My greenhouse. First introduced in my Spring Update post, March 29, 2015; which the City of Minneapolis, Inspections, is calling an illegal addition, because I did not consult the city, not applying for the requisite permits.



This was the first stage, started early last spring 2014.


The roof and east, south and southeast walls were enclosed with glass, and rigid acrylic, the west wall remained open through the summer.


Spring 2014 plant starts.


This picture shows distinctly the two different stages (taken yesterday, with the pond foreground, it is early spring with little green growth outside the greenhouse.) The first stage I built with a cedar tone treated lumber, which I paid about $450 for. The second stage frame is reclaimed old-growth Douglas Fir, I removed from a house near Lake of the Isles, when I was in remodelling during the housing bubble, 2004-2007. The glass is mostly reclaimed sliding glass doors, I have collected through Craigslist mostly. The bulk from one job, bartered in exchange for tearing off two layers of siding on a house, and installing some windows and doors. I spent about $1000 to build this. I wish now I had used reclaimed Douglas Fir for the entire frame, as I have enough. A 155 sq ft glass greenhouse for $500 approx?



The roof is constructed with 2x4, with a 1/4in spacing between joists, greater than the width of the glass sheets; with 2x2 (or equivalent) screwed to each side of the inner joists, the glass is resting on. I used carpet tape and foam sill seal as waterproofing, between the glass frame and the joist. The upper level glass is laying horizontally across the joists, overlapping the glass below like a shingle. As you can see, the dimensions are dictated by the glass; that sheet of glass in the upper left (northwest) corner is from a window that had the right width to fill the space, but was longer than the sliding glass sheet next to it. 

For the walls, I left the sliding glass doors in their frames, inserting them into custom pockets of 2x4 framing (the roof glass, I removed from their frames.) Normally in stick-frame construction, you would rest the joists directly above each wall stud. But because there is a roof overhang on each end, the spacing doesn't match up, dictated as it is by the glass dimensions. No matter, the roof load is not significant, even with heavy snow. The roof pitch is about 22.2 degrees. I would have raised it higher to put less downward stress on the glass, but the angle was mostly dictated by the roof line above the sunroom/front entry. 

The greenhouse is not attached to the house in any way. It is one separate structure effectively resting against the south face of the house.



The door is sliding glass I hung from hinges. In the winter I will keep it closed, seal it, and enter the greenhouse from the house, through the sunroom.


There is about a one inch gap between the roof glass and the top plate. I stuffed battened fiber glass insulation in the gap, which I can remove in the summer for venting. I once criticized (gently) a friend who used blow-in foam insulation in a project of his. Hypocrite. LOL.


Again, the greenhouse is not attached to the house, by any bolt or screw or strap etc. The gap between the house is filled with more spray foam, and some fiberglass. I filled this west wall upper corner, with plywood on both sides and a rigid foam sheet between, because I thought it would help conserve heat in the winter. But it also blocks critical late afternoon sun in the spring and fall especially, so I think I will cover it with acrylic or poly-carbonate, and build removable insulating panels I can place there in the evening in the winter.


The 2x4 + 2 2x2 joists. At the peak, there is about a 6 inch gap between the glass and the wall of the house. I covered it with two, 12in wide sheets of plywood, covered with shingles, panels I can remove in the summer for venting.


Here the two stages of greenhouse come together. I dug a trench 4.5 feet below this, deep enough to insert a 4x8 sheet of 1-1/2in rigid foam, the hole backfilled with a heavy sand mix, with a footing, class-five crushed limestone 2ft deep and 18in to 2 ft wide, the full length of the south face of the greenhouse.



2015 plant starts.





Winter Solstice, the sun is just above that chimney. There are too many trees in the way for a proper winter greenhouse, reducing it's efficiency when it needs the sun most. But alas, I am in the city, and can not go about cutting down boulevard trees. As for winter greenhouses for most of my neighbors? The Minneapolis city grid has almost every house in most neighborhoods, in the shadow of it's southern neighbor, most of the winter, spring and fall.



The view from the sunroom.


From the bedroom. The summer plants, the tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, are enclosed in a greenhouse within a greenhouse. When the day is sunny and above 40 degrees outside, I can leave the windows open and the greenhouse heats the house. Two nights ago I left the windows open, the temperature outside hit a low of 48, the thermostat set at 64, it was 74 at peak and 67 in the morning. It was 75 outside yesterday, with a normal high of 56. I propped open the greenhouse door much of the afternoon. It peaked at 76 in the house. A thunderstorm rolled through late evening, it was 58 outside at midnight, the windows were open to the greenhouse and it was 73 in the house. This morning it was 46 outside, 67 in the house, with the windows to the greenhouse open all night.




April 13, the greenhouse is considerably greener than the garden. There are plants in the ground in the greenhouse, as tall as they would be, mid-june outside. The greenhouse is a work in progress. Many changes to come, of my own design.

Minneapolis City Inspections has received hundreds, perhaps thousands of complaints about my house, mostly about the garden. They don't hear from the people who walk by and tell me how much they love my garden and greenhouse. April 15 is the deadline to file for a permit. I will go to the City Attorney, Monday, and see what the consequences are for not paying for a permit. The question is, is defying the code more or less costly, than pulling the permit and risking the Inspector requiring an expensive list of unnecessary "fixes"?









Thursday, April 9, 2015

Soapbox

Sometimes someone says something to me and I see the world differently.

Like when a man said to me recently that I could become like Tom Bombadil. The urge is strong, it always has been, to live at the intersection between civilization and wilderness, or what there still is of wilderness in America. The end of the road (in a country where there are roads almost everywhere.) Grow food, build greenhouses and off-grid housing, brew fruits of the garden and wild, spend much of my time in the woods, hunting and foraging, otherwise singing and dancing and enjoying this wondrous earth. I've lived like that before, I grew up in the woods, I miss that, perhaps more than anything about my life in the city. I love my life in the city, but sometimes I do wonder about what I'm doing in the city.

This blog seems to have lost the thread of it's genesis. The blog began with the fact that I was living in this house in the summer of 2010, without any of the utilities on, without any money or a job, with an idea about taking the house officially off the grid. There's been little progress on the Off-Grid plans. Mostly since, I have been ranting about this or that, sometimes saying something thoughtful or creative, mostly just evaluating the issues of the day as I saw them, as from a soapbox. I have also written about the gardens, but otherwise I haven't said much about the house, other than some of the details in my on-again, off-again troubles with city bureaucracy.

That trouble seems on-again, about that greenhouse I showed you last post.

They are saying the greenhouse is an illegal addition, because I didn't apply for a permit. I didn't apply for a permit, because I didn't want to spend the money, and because I wanted to build the thing as inexpensively as possible. Letting an inspector in is almost certain to inflate the cost considerably; and besides, I don't need an inspector to tell me whether I am capable of building a structurally sound greenhouse. Besides, I have a lot of projects in mind, that I can do inexpensively, most of which would require a permit, some of which projects Inspections would call illegal; I can't afford to pay the city to permit me to make my house stronger, more energy efficient, more comfortable and resilient - not with my underwater mortgage, on my meager salary maintenancing houses for the autistic. There is also the argument, in this age, if I document digitally everything I do to the house, that any pending buyer might consult, or anyone spending time here, what do I need the City to approve it for?

They sent a Final Warning, on threat of "legal action." I went downtown and told them, after I received the first notice, I don't want my $800 greenhouse to turn into a several thousand dollar debacle. I think this time I'm going to skip Inspections, and go straight to the City Attorney. So I have a (potential) mediator who knows what bad press can cost the City. One in that office kept Inspections from coming into my house with a swat team, in the summer of 2011, because I didn't have the natural gas hooked up. Budget constrains now what they are, I'm not sure what maniacal tendencies I might incite if I try to engage Inspections directly, in their protecting of Public Health and Welfare (getting their money one way or another.)

That I should have to engage Inspections at all, is somewhat offensive to my spirit. I'm not sure how the City Attorney is going to react to my argument that inspections aren't necessary (probably with a repetitious shield of "it's the code.") I suspect by legal action they mean they are going to assess the Fees to my property taxes, if I don't comply. But then, these days, you never know what kind of treatment you might get from your government; and with a monopoly on power, not a few bureaucrats are drunk with it.

Anyway, you might imagine why I am thinking about living somewhere else, far from the city.

It's at times like these, I'm grateful for my soapbox. Even if all I have been doing with it lately is posting mostly pithy comments about articles I post on Facebook.

Except the context of what was said to me recently, that changed my world, was that I sound like I'm standing on a soapbox. Someone has to do it, I said. But I know what she meant. I don't want to be that guy, standing above, on the corner shouting about what's wrong with the culture, absolutely. There is too much wrong with the culture to do much of anything about it. It will run it's course no matter what I shout about.

At the same time, some things need to be said. Some things need to be talked about. Like a Facebook friend who likes to put all Muslims in a box labelled "evil", with Obama as their Chief. He wrote a long screed recently, about which I called noxious and mean spirited, that his language made me think he was engaged in a "Holy War" that would destroy civilization. To which another of his friends, Tuffy, replied:

"Sounds like that guy Duncan has had too much "kool-aid". For a better, more clear definition of "holy war", he should probably join ISIS; they will explain it to him."

To which I replied: "LOL, Tuffy. Sing and dance, get drunk, get high if you like (I recommend cannabis as it can chill you out ;) Otherwise, yeah, "kool-aid" - speaking of ISIS, do you mean that thing so much a product of America and Europe's imperious war machine, or what happens anytime you reach such a high population, and can't provide jobs to or even feed the majority of people (and you've been manipulating them with misinformation for generations), or the very dark and hideous shadow of that monotheistic cousin, or the goddess? War is never holy."

Somebody has to say it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

I don't want to go to war with the City. Meanwhile, forthcoming, updates on that; and I will write a little more about the greenhouse, and about the gardens I am building, here and off-site.

             


         

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Update







My greenhouse, work in progress. Constructed mostly out of second-hand sliding glass doors, and old-growth douglas fir I pulled out of a house on Lake of the Isles during the housing bubble. Eventually, fish tanks and greens year-round. 40 degrees outside and sunny yesterday, I opened the windows to the house and the house stayed @ 69 with the thermostat set to 65. I was in a t-shirt and jeans sweating, starting the tomatoes and peppers and herbs, singing like a thrush, people walking by on the sidewalk all bundled up.

The city of Minneapolis is calling it an illegal addition.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also, a few thoughts on my recent vacation in Oregon: I loved it, the state is beautiful, and I met a lot of great people; Minnesota on return feels like a frozen stick in the mud; the Oregon forest however seems to be logged according to the same corporate efficiencies that have ruined farming in the Midwest, the vast majority of the forest perpetually immature, not older than 30 years - but where are all the jobs? Many of the coastal towns that used to thrive on logging, are barely hanging on with tourism, and yet the forest seems logged more aggressively than ever. Where is all that money going? The usual places - up the totem pole so to speak. America doesn't own the land of America anymore, Big (multinational) Ag does.

So much of Oregon is so very green. I met a man there, raising search-and-rescue bloodhounds, building a kind of wilderness retreat for "troubled" youth. He has applied for grants; if successful, he said he would hire me, I could become like Tom Bombadil, build a Shire. LOL, skipping through the forest, singing, making magic. Growing food year-round. Gathering truffles and assorted fungi, berries. I could gather blackberries for a month out there and ferment enough to sell. Building yurts and greenhouses. I would be very inclined to relocate, especially if my love decides to stay there, as she seems inclined to :( The difficulty is this house, and garden, which to date no one has offered to buy (and I don't know that I'm willing to sell), except to bulldoze the lot and the greenhouse and all the fruit trees and gardens, and build a mcmansion. I might rent it too, but it would need a lot of work to prepare it, and city governance and the mortgage would make renting otherwise difficult. A day rental? But I would have to pay people to maintain it. My love might decide to go overseas, too, in which case I would not have my Goldberry to follow to Oregon.

What to do, what to do? Meanwhile, I do what I diddily do dong dillo ;)

Friday, February 13, 2015

War Profiteering

The death of Kayla Mueller, and the consequent media spectacle, with the near immediate request by President Barack Obama to authorize war against ISIS anywhere in the world, puts into stark relief the extent to which war is embedded now as a significant part of GDP in America*. In a time of glaring "inequality", when the economic "recovery" is a contrast between those who are invested in Wall Street and everybody else, the direct beneficiaries of TARP and QE taking over America in a kind of quiet coup, what we have got since the fall of the World Trade Towers is a kind of global untouchable aristocracy encouraging conflict on every front. The economy poised at a kind of knife edge, any cut in military expenditures, with American growth anemic, European instability, Russian sanctions, a Chinese debt bubble, Japanese money printing madness, and global demand deflation, could result in de-growth for America and global economic depression. To deflect the people from the malfeasance and outright mismanagement of global economic affairs, and really outright plundering of national treasuries, war is ever the answer, the ultimate imperial distraction.

Good thing for GDP bean counters, the increased economic activity of the war profiteers, that America is increasingly hostile toward Russia, Syria, ISIS and North Korea. Little did Kayla know how "useful" her healing hands would be.

As part of my job, maintaining housing for the profoundly autistic, I was painting a wall I had repaired, while one of the staff, a young father of about 27, watched CNN and Fox coverage of the death of Kayla Mueller. I asked him what he thought: "It sounds terrible," he said, "but my first thought was, I wonder if she really existed." I replied that it seemed like she did, that she was a kind, pretty, generous, thoughtful, loving, self-less young woman, who very much wanted to bring healing to the world, and that there would certainly be people in America who would not necessarily be sorry that she is dead.

Classic psy-ops/perception management. "Never waste a crisis." I don't think the leadership of America realizes to what extent it has trickled down into the consciousness of Americans, the concept of government and media manipulation, how everything about war and the economy is never quite as it seems. When did Kayla die? How? How was it that she was taken captive before ISIS became news; as hideously brutal as they have seemed, that she was treated with "the utmost kindness," even gaining weight, and yet there were no demands? She wasn't news until she was dead. She was kidnapped in August 2013!

Maybe she died in a Jordanian airstrike, maybe she died a long time ago. Maybe she died in a recent combat skirmish, ISIS vs ?, and "her captors couldn't keep her safe." Whatever, the next day Obama asks Congress for military authorization to go to war against ISIS, anywhere in the world.

Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, said recently that the US invasion of Iraq created ISIS. That is only part of the story. Destabilizing the Middle East has been American foreign policy, if unspoken, at least since the mid-Nineties. With recent revelations suggesting Saudi involvement in 9/11, it begins to look like ISIS as well as Al Qaeda, were cultivated in a joint venture by American neo-cons, and Saudi princes. ISIS is much a result of American meddling in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq (etc). Combined with Middle East over-population, high unemployment, and legions of disaffected young men educated only in the finer points of hard-core conservative Islam, it was a potent means of making war profiteering extremely lucrative, indefinitely.

It's no secret, a cabal of geo-political Neo-Cons, and economic Neo-Liberals, have aspired after an imperialist Pax-Americana based on debt and a monopoly on power, global hegemonic domination, since at least the Clinton era, and really since Ronald Reagan, and the rise of Chicago School supply-side, trickle-down economics. Full-spectrum dominance, according to the military. Groups like the Council on Foreign Relations, Project for a New American Century, have advocated openly for such a Pax-Americana, and any serious evaluation of American realpolitik reveals, continuity in the building of a total surveillance infrastructure, eternal war profiteering, and the empowering of multinational banks and corporations, is the ideological (if unspoken) foundation of both major political parties in America.

Indeed, it is as if we are on Imperial auto-pilot, like total war is as inevitable as the passing of the seasons. This is obvious to even the most casual observer, and yet a film like American Sniper, and the death of Kayla Mueller, reveals how easily so many in America can be swayed. The American people still perceive the measles virus a greater threat than an untouchable class of war profiteers seemingly destined to initiate Armageddon/Apocalypse/WWIII. Is a virus that has killed fewer people in America than the vaccine the last twenty years, a greater danger than banks and military contractors and their executives and shareholders guiding American foreign policy?

Then again, it bears to return to the question, who profits? Of course there are those making millions, tens and hundreds of millions, billions, profiting from war in the name of peace and freedom and democracy; at the same time, many corporations profiting from eternal war are traded publicly in the stock market. That means, hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, IRA's, 401k's, university endowment funds (unless there is some specific covenant restriction) profit directly from war. Which means something like 50% of Americans profit directly from war, and many of the rest profit indirectly, if only that the economy keeps humming along, the government keeps paying it's employees, handing out benefit checks, etc.

There are few things more morally repugnant than profiting off war. Especially now, when a global conflict, WWIII, would be universally damaging, would likely destroy much of global infrastructure, much of the capacity of humans to maintain a global economy. Especially as the rich and powerful of the world, more connected to those who are making the decisions about war, are more able to position themselves to profit in the aftermath, in the same way we have seen the exponential minting of billionaires, in the aftermath of the global economic crash of 2008.

What would Kayla say, about her life and death used as a means to benefit war profiteering? I think if she had known how much the conflict in Syria is a product of American imperialism, she might have found any number of places in the world where there is the opportunity to ease suffering, without running the risk of becoming a propaganda tool of warmongers. Which is a direct message to anyone inclined toward healing: if you want to bring healing to the world, start with yourself, by questioning everything you are told about America's wars. If you want to heal the world, heal America.


*Most of the "military expenditures as % of GDP" information to be found, is grossly inadequate, and make the US numbers seem small compared to much of the rest of the world. They do not take into account how much of the economy is ancillary to the military, the contractors involved, the suppliers etc. Nor do they take into account those agencies not specifically military in name - CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS etc - but very much about the State maintaining full spectrum dominance. And Washington and Wall Street and the Federal Reserve are become like a supra-national State unto themselves. 






Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What Is There To Say?

I was ranting on Facebook recently. Earlier that day, I had driven 150 miles through the city and the suburbs, for my job maintaining houses for the profoundly autistic. The last few miles, through Minneapolis during rush hour, cursing urban planners, "if the plan is to get us to sit at the lights as long as possible..." When I arrived home, I thought I would take a nap. Three hours later I was still on Facebook, ranting. Later that night I posted a mea culpa.

It wasn't just Facebook, with my ranting. I was on other sites simultaneously, back and forth, reading this and that, commenting, back to Facebook with a plan to share what others had posted, back and forth, site to site. I wanted to post a dozen articles I read elsewhere - see, see what I have been saying! But I restrained myself. I don't mean to act like a mad man. ODD, what? LOL

Seriously though, if the country had any heart left, we would think about violence less, and more about how institutionalized the country has become, how dependent we have become upon institutions for our survival. By institution I mean any collective group ordered according to a strict hierarchy: Corporations, banks, health care, food production and delivery, water delivery, fuel, military, law enforcement, education (public and private), government in all it's myriad forms.

Institutionalized. It seems to me, consumer, whatever the case for the great achievements of the modern age, institutions are increasingly efficient at de-humanizing people. The corporation as a person? If to dehumanize is to be sociopathic, the three most sociopathic persons I ever worked for were two S & P 500 corporations and one of the biggest banks. Government? Does government make you feel like the sovereign citizen of a Republic? Like an equal voice in a Democracy? Government is better at sustaining itself than it is at checking the will to power in corporations or banks or individuals. The will to power rules. Who rules what? Whom?

What is Washington DC? Republicans decry the dictatorial powers Obama assumes with Executive Orders, and then prostrate themselves with delight, handing him the divine right of kings, with TPP and TAFTA trade pacts, or drone bombing whatever "terrorist" or "violent extremist" the President decides has to die. What is a beltway Democrat? A neo-liberal, neo-con true believer in the power of the State to hand over the reign of power to corporations and banks, warmongering her way to prosperity? Obama asks Congress for another war in the Middle East, he taunts Russia, and the primary message out of the levers of power is summed up in gladiatorial drama to distract the masses from their economic troubles, American Sniper to draw on American Christian mythology of Armageddon to feed the military machine and globalist demands for world domination, and oh how we love the middle class. 

An "investor" told me recently he has claimed 12% annual gains the last six years, in bonds and stocks. That's QE, international banker money, building asset bubbles for investors. Trickle Down? When? Who among the non-investing (because they don't have any money to invest) middle class, the working poor, have seen even 1% gains, all of the last six years combined, the last 40 years? How many have seen their wage decline?

I don't blame that investor. He's just a "middle class guy" who was a good local business man, who grew up poor with a working class single-mom, born during WWII, a true believer in the American dream. What he achieved, most people want for their family. He just doesn't see how fewer people have access to that dream every day.   

Meanwhile, the American Dream is become like the dream of every one who has ever desired to rule the world. Radar exists to see into any building, where the people are, what they are doing; we are building the infrastructure to track license plates, to keep a record of everyone's travel; they can track you with your phone or new car; we have the drone technology to track any movement; every digital communication can be recorded and saved; we have the ability to access anyone's digital life - there is no firewall that cannot be breached.

That doesn't bode well for freedom, for anyone.   

What is there to say, when even the keystrokes of this computer can be watched, monitored, recorded by government or gov contractors (corporations), anyone with the skill and the tech?

Whatever it is, speak up :)

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What was this blog supposed to be about? A friend messaged me on Facebook recently, saying I sounded angry and cynical, and that he was worried about me. He admitted he might be projecting, feeling his own sense of being overwhelmed about the state of the world. I assured him that if I merely sound angry and cynical, I need to take a look at that; because that is not what this blog, or any of my online activity, was supposed to be about.

A woman I love told me, if she had met me through my writing she would have thought I was an asshole; she added that my writing sometimes made her feel stupid. I told her that a lot of people do that, they encounter an unfamiliar or uncomfortable idea and they shut down, and then criticize themselves for not being smart enough. But how do people change when they need to, or learn about what they don't understand, if they don't ask questions?

I've since re-read some of the writing in this blog, and have cringed. I think a lot of the time, I sound exasperated, like I can't figure out why people don't get it. I think some of the time I sound ignorant. I think some of the time I sound crazy. A lot of it is not attractive or constructive. Bad form. Not worthy.

I didn't post much in 2014. I was distracted by love; and overwhelmed like a lot of people, with economic concerns, with the volume of information, with the tragedy of so much of the news. I needed a re-set.

I started this blog, because I was squatting in this house without utilities or money, and no job. I had blown up my middle class life, returned destitute, with a dream to take the house off the grid, to make a model of it, for a time when people need it.

I'm still on that path. It's not easy. But there is the shell infrastructure of a greenhouse installed, plans for a rocket mass heater and solar heating. A bio-gas burner. Fish tanks. More brewing. More singing and dancing. LOL

I'll keep posting. Thanks for reading.











Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On the 2015 State of the Union


Jodi Ernst is white bread tone deaf. John Boehner looked like a greedy mean spirited prick; that and how fitting the elitist he has become, he only presented the President to Congress. Joe Biden looked like there's a reason he creeps out a lot of people. The President?

The President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, undermined everything he said, when he asked Congress to pass [fast track] trade authority for the Atlantic and the Pacific, to enact as law, before the American people are able to read it; which, if the rumors are true and it would cede judicial precedence to a foreign, supra-national court, that would be the constitutional nullification of America as a sovereign nation-state. Unconstitutional at best. Treason at worst.

He asked Congress to authorize another war in the Middle East.

He juxtaposed and conflated “terrorism” and “violent extremism”, which is a direct message, a declaration, that any violent challenge to the continued centralization of power, particularly manifest in the military and total surveillance, corporations, banks and government, will be treated with the same logic doled out currently to “terrorists."

In other words, in the event of these trade pacts "fast tracked," allowing corporations, financed by banks, to go anywhere, in any signatory country, monopolize, mine, log, plow, pollute, ruin, take public and private land more or less as their legal system decrees necessary to the health of the economy: there would be nothing legally that could be done to prevent it; fight with weapons, to protect your health or the health of your family and community, the air, water, and land, they will drone bomb you and everything in between. Get that, “9/11 generation”?

He lied about one thing for sure. He would totally run for president of the world. (Note to world: he used the words "terror" and "vicious" in the first paragraph.) 



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reflections on the Morning After

Many are calling the American midterm 2014 elections a Republican rout, a repudiation of Obama and the Democratic agenda. More like, Democrats have no agenda, nothing to say of any consequence, and a little Republican something is better than Democrat nothing. Never mind, that Republican something is tax cuts for rich people, gutting of environmental protections, dismantling of programs for the poor, MORE WAR and shows of force domestically, the dismantling of the Republic in favor of multinational corporations and banks. But then, that is what Americans have got from their government Left or Right, for 40 years, so what kind of rout is this really?

What will the Republicans do with their "rout"? 2015 will see bill after bill, from massive tax cuts for rich people, the gutting of the EPA, outlawing abortion, opening the Keystone XL pipeline, dismantling Obamacare, probably every bill structured in such a way that Obama will not sign it. Consequently, nothing will be done, and 2016 will be all about new elections and Billary vs the Bushes, aristocratic cock fighting, two years of worse gridlock than we've seen. About the only thing we can be certain of, coming from this government, is MORE WAR.

Americans generally seem to have taken a hard right turn, what with them voting Republican at the states level too, even in Dem-leaning states. Which is more a symptom of the poor and Dem working-class not showing up to vote, in the absence of a Liberal standard bearer (to chant mindlessly for.) What will Billary's slogan be? Hope? Change you can believe in? Americans have seen their wages collapse, faced with rising debt and high fuel costs (which the Fed doesn't consider in their CPI/inflation hoodooo); in all the time since electing Mr Hope, we have heard little but economic misinformation from Washington, recovery this and recovery that, which has felt like stagnation or worse to anyone not tapped into QE free $Trillions$ from the Federal Reserve. That, and what incompetence! The CDC is like the poster child of the disfunctional government agency, all-official in appearance only, more about managing perceptions, than viruses and bacteria. That and ISIS, that hideous step-child of American foreign policy; what evil genius, the Republican establishment, to double-down on all the policies that exacerbate violent, radical Islam, in the name of fighting existential evil. Americans are duped; more war will only serve to destroy America as empire. By voting Republican, it is like Americans have said YES to the geopolitical show of force, YES to war.

Here in Minnesota, "energy independence" was on the lips of everyone running for office on the Right. That suggests too, many Americans believe we are at the verge of a new golden age of fossil fuels, the only thing standing between America pumping TWICE what we pump now, is Democrats captured by radical environmentalism. LOL. Never mind we are drilling like mad pretty much everywhere we can, and we are still 8 million barrels a day short, and the economics at $80/brl or less don't work - that is how misinformed Americans are, that we can be told it is the fault of Democrats that oil isn't $30/brl and we aren't drilling TWICE what we are, and we believe it. At least Minnesotans didn't fall for it, keeping their do nothing/say nothing Dem Gov and US Senator.

Indicative: neither party here in Minnesota, nor the media, ever mentioned the fact that mining for copper/nickel in northern Minnesota, will lead to 200-500 years of sulphuric acid in the waters - for 20 years of mining (though that is a fact admitted by the Canadian company that wants to do the mining, PolyMet.) All I heard from every candidate on either side, was that the mine should happen, as long as we do it "responsibly" of course. Which speaks to the national mood, and the Republican "rout". Americans want a "healthier" economy. We don't care how. If war will do it, fine. If mining will do it, fine. If drilling wherever will do it, fine. If letting the banks and corporations do whatever they want, fine. Consequences don't matter, future generations don't matter; we want a better economy NOW!

Nothing will improve the economy, however, until something is done about the Federal Reserve; fiat, fractional reserve currency; and the banks. Debt costs are drowning the real economy. That and increasing corporate, multi-national monopoly. That and strained resources globally, and technological elimination of jobs. But these are issues most Americans heard NOTHING about this election. Nor will they hear about it next election. When Billary runs, poor and Dem-leaning working class turn out in hordes, and the Dems ROUT!

Back and forth we go, where it stops nobody knows.

The simple fact is, America as empire is dying; a gutting of the empire is taking place. What will be left of America, when the empire is gone? Democrats or Republicans, the collapse of America as empire will proceed apace.





























Sunday, June 15, 2014

Monarch Caterpillar

I wrote a blog post about the Monarch butterfly recently. I ordered 4000 seeds, I kept them in the fridge for thirty days in ground quartz and water, planted 2500, in four different gardens. Not a one sprouted. But the other 1500 in the fridge started sprouting when I took the container out.



So I weeded after a day of good rain, and a new friend and I are going set the seed. Other milkweed seed sprouted, from previous summers. This afternoon, weeding, I found a monarch caterpillar. I've never seen one here. I dare not touch it, these fingers are not so soft. It has been eating this young, flattened common milkweed. There is a budding forest behind it, behind my clementine. I've only seen maybe three monarch butterfly here this season.

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