A Little Birdie Told Me

birdscreen050917

I rescued a bird today, a little fella that crashed into the picture window behind the bird feeders.  I saw it happen and ran outside to find him lying on his side on the deck.  He was still alive, panting.  He was identical to the bird that did the same thing yesterday, only yesterday’s bird didn’t survive the crash.  I found him later in the day, dead on the deck.

Today, though, I gathered the little bird in my hands, where he stood, apparently in shock.  He didn’t seem badly hurt.  Eyes were bright, but the left kept closing.  I checked my quickie, laminated bird identifier, then The Sibley Guide to Birds, but couldn’t identify him.  He was about five inches long, with plain greenish-brown body and a yellowish breast with brown spots.  Beak was long, like a warbler.

He sat in my hands for about 15 minutes, slowly becoming more alert, then took off and flew away.

This has happened before.  I’ve rescued other birds.  Most eventually revived, just as this one did.  Others have not been so lucky.  Today, though, I decided this hazard is too dangerous.  The window is so reflective and the feeders so popular that the juxtaposition presents a cruel trap.

So I created a bird safety net.  It consists of two panels of screen material that I made awhile back to hang from doors in warm weather, to keep insects out.  Two of three panels covering a sliding glass door got converted to a screen over the plate glass.  Hopefully it will reduce reflectivity and cushion any birds that fly into it.  It may even dilute the hot summer sun that turns the living room into an oven.

I spend most of the morning on this project, grateful for the tool room that provided the screwdriver, hooks and string necessary for this innovative bird-protective technology.

The experience made me think, once again, about how unpredictable life is.  Who could have anticipated I would have spent the morning making a safety net for birds?

squirebirdscreen050917

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010 Reflections: Life is Stranger than Fiction

capitol

As I write, on April 30, 2017, the United States is in a saber-rattling war with several of our enemies.  “Their” enemies, rather.  I’m referring to enemies of the military-industrial empire that likes to win by losing.  It is teaching the world what not to do, but lone voices like mine, unrepresented on Wall Street, are not worth heeding.  Which manufacturers participated with the US government to create this “Mother of All Bombs”?  How are their stocks doing on Wall Street?  Rather, how many private war contractors helped enable the US government to play stupid?  Let’s have their names and boycott their stocks and products, it you want peace.

In another tent in this circus, we have Obamacare clunking along because President Trump has not felt as compelled to keep the threat/promise of repealing it.  The Republicans still believe government should provide health care, in blithe disregard for the Constitution.  To let Obamacare fail and replace it with nothing is as heretical amongst the lawyers and lobbyists as suggesting we abolish the federal government to save money.

The “Affordable Care Act,” otherwise known as “Obamacare” passed seven years ago this month.

This, along with other musings from my April, 2010 journal, is noted below:

freud

FREUD

Thursday, April 1, 2010—Freud was no stud, so his belief that little girls want to have sex with their fathers—as my mother perceived it—was his ego talking.  He probably got perverse gratification into prying into women’s secrets.  In one sense, Freud was the ultimate voyeur, and that’s a big reason everyone is so screwed up now.  They’d rather watch sex on TV than give their own spouse foot rubs.

So Freud has nothing to teach about sex, but a good foot rub does.  And it’s free.  If my parents had given each other foot rubs, perhaps, my father wouldn’t have wanted the Playboy magazines.

OBAMACARE AND FREEDOM

Friday, April 2, 2010—“Freedom” needs re-defining.  Howard Zinn discusses political freedom for blacks, but they were no freer than the land owners, the poor whites, or the soldiers who were drafted to fight the Mexican and other wars.  Freedom is self-determination, self-control, and responsibility to an inner ideal.  Economic freedom is the only one you can obtain politically, but the Constitution stole that.

I think of the irony of my being a psychiatrist, with all the right credentials, but none of the right attitudes for fulfilling the stereotype.  Unless you count “eccentric” among the labels, I am the world’s worst example of psychiatry, because I promote sanity.

The news and net are full of whining and fighting over Obamacare.  One Georgia representative wants to impeach Thurmond Baker, Georgia Secretary of State, because he won’t join the 14 or so other states suing the Feds over Obamacare.

It’s more effective to quit paying taxes to the Feds, but does anyone listen to me?  No.  They are up to their eyeballs in trade-offs, so they are not “free” to stop the human capital power grab this represents.  You want slavery?  Welcome to Obama’s version of caring.

FREEDOM

Friday, April 2, 2010—Freedom cannot grow from violence.  It grows from ignoring those who seek control–passive resistance and aggression in psychiatric terms–but even this suggests subverted violence.  The control freaks are losing their grip.  They don’t know what to do with a populace that ignores them, so they keep beating their drums to get a rise out of the exhausted troops.  What happens if the troops simply refuse to get out of bed of a morning, roll over on their guns and go back to sleep?  Will the President come shoot them personally?

Yawn.  “He died in his sleep.  Didn’t you know?”

METHANE FROM LANDFILL

Friday, April 2, 2010—On a positive note, Southern Company has contracted with Waste Management to develop usable methane from landfill at one of its sites in Savannah.  This is possibly a realistic and practical approach.  Never mind that I have issues with SoCo.  Maybe it won’t need its new nuclear power plants, after all, if this flies.

FREE COUNTRY

Saturday, April 3, 2010—You can’t have a free country when everyone is leaning on each other or the government for support.  Perhaps we are learning what freedom requires.

What began as my “obnoxiously independent” teenage self has matured into an obnoxiously independent middle-aged spinster with a growing intolerance for people who want to lean on me.  Yesterday, an acquaintance took issue with my reluctance to prescribe controlled substances and anti-psychotics to minors.  Later, after we parted ways, I came up with the perfect response:

If you want to waste your time judging movie stars’ husbands for philandering, that’s your choice, but don’t waste my time telling me how to practice psychiatry.  The very idea that this is the hottest news topic of the day proves the whole world is insane, in my humble opinion, so be a slave to the groupthink mass media mind-meld, but it’s your choice to do it, and I’m sorry if it hurts your feelings that I believe it is nuts.  A little free psychiatry, and you are free to take it or leave it.

You are just as free to think I am crazy to find three lame chickens more interesting and entertaining than Hollywood, the mass media, government, and you, but you care what I think more than I care what you think, because you apparently don’t think, and that’s your biggest problem.  If you thought about it at all, you would see how wacko the whole system is, and you would be as depressed as I have been and feel just as betrayed.

Marital infidelity is merely another betrayal in a world where betrayal is the norm, not the exception, and you are angry with me for pointing it out.  At least my chickens are honest, and so are those teenagers you are so busy protecting from me and my ideas.  You don’t want to protect them from the drugs, but from the truth, because that would betray the lies you have chosen to believe.

CHICKEN WISDOM

Tuesday, April 13, 2010—It helps to talk to the chickens out loud, because I see so clearly the human attitudes I bring.  They respond with a seeming wisdom that is uncanny.  I mention Roscoe (who died in December), and Honey’s head jerks up.  I talk about how shy Laddie is with the ladies, and he starts eating nervously or runs away.  I ask if Lovdov feels left out, and Honey runs to her an dives under her wing.

I sound maudlin at times, when I talk to the chickens, and I hear my patronizing tone.  “We’re fine,” they seem to say.  “We chose this life, these bodies, for good reasons, and we chose you.  We have chosen to live way beyond our expected life spans, and we are relatively healthy and content, feel more or less safe and comfortable, and we are well loved.  Your pity only depresses us.  Go away if you can’t stand it.  Leave us alone.  We have each other.”

LIFE SCIENCE

Tuesday, April 13, 2010—I approach life as if it’s a scientific experiment, which may be the best interpretation of north node in Aquarius at the nadir to date.  My pets, especially the chickens, give me enormous amounts of material in all categories, but primarily in questions of life and death, pain, suffering, physical limitations, sickness and health.  The chickens are so sensitive to my mood. Roscoe was especially excitable when I was nervous or angry.

THE STORIES BEHIND THE STORIES

Sunday, April 25, 2010—At Starbucks I read and scribbled over their New York Times.  All about how Goldman Sachs made huge profits by selling short on the mortgage crisis while Henry Paulson was Treasury Secretary.  Of course, there was nary a mention of his connection, until I noted it in my improved edition.

I let the world know the Tea Partiers are everyone who collects more from the government than they pay in, which implicates about 90% of this country, as well as many foreign governments.

I cast my ballot for “None of the Above” in the November election.  I let everyone know Diebold has the government contract on voting machines, as well as bank ATMs

The Dims are worried they may lose up to 30 seats in Congress in November.  There was an article about the con artists who are selling insurance dubbed “Obamacare” which will protect against “death panels.”  I wrote ”The federal government is a death panel.  Look at history.”

I said the federal government is hemorrhaging money.  Its situation is terminal.

I was careful not to imply any violence or to encourage anything illegal, and I hoped the attitude was as amusing to others as it is to me (never).

Rather, I tried not to be too terribly offensive, but to offer alternative thoughts, so anyone who finds and reads sees a glimpse of the stories behind the stories and gets a sense of the drama of our times.

“Send Congress to the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That should stimulate the economy.”

“Sell Obama to China.  He’s probably not worth much, though.”

There are economic solutions to economic problems.

“Dims and Pubs—United in wasting taxpayer money.”

Hey, I’m not dead yet, and all the recent upsets are only making me more detached and “divinely nonchalant” about earthly conditions.

So shoot me, if you believe it will save you.  You’ll only put me out of your reach, where I can be even more effective, at less cost to me.

CURRENT EVENTS:  USA TODAY

Monday, April 26, 2010—USA Today had Obama and the governor of West Virginia all teary eyed over the 29 coal miners who were killed in the worst explosion in forty years.  “We’ll solve that problem, sniffle, sniffle,” says Obama.  We’ll create more regulation.  All about how great the miners were, working so their children could have educations and televisions.  Televisions? They actually said that.  They waxed eloquent over the American dream.  Only one miner was quoted saying he knows what happened down there, but no one wanted to write that story.  This was photo-op time for the politicians.

Then there’s a police state law passed in Arizona to allow the local police to harass anyone on whim if they suspect illegal status.  Taxpayers are demonstrating, but the governor says the law is necessary because the federal government isn’t acting fast enough.

And by golly, the stock market is rebounding and everyone hopes recovery is on the horizon.  However, jobs aren’t picking up as fast as the stock market, but that’s just a minor detail.

I must be crazy.  That’s why I’ve been committed to work in an insane asylum.  These people think I should have to kowtow to them to front for their psychotic delusion that they do more good than harm.

 

I Couldn’t Make This Up: 2007

usps2005

Ten years ago this month I was working a short-term contract as a psychiatrist in a public mental health outpatient clinic.  At I was considering allowing my medical and DEA licenses to expire, simply because I felt like a hypocrite.  I entered psychiatry to set people free, not to enslave them to diagnoses and drugs, government and insurance, for the rest of their lives.

DEPRESSED ECONOMY

Sunday, April 1, 2007 – Driving around Columbus, GA shows how depressed the economy is.  It smacks of military people borrowing against an uncertain future. Independent businesses are so rare as to be non-existent. Otherwise, Columbus is clunking along on pawn and title pawn shops, government buildings, banks, insurance companies, and a variety of businesses dedicated to selling and maintaining vehicles and vehicle parts.  There is so much run down and empty commercial space – and the place looks generally devoid of life – that the only activity shows at the multiple traffic lights, where large trucks, vans, SUV’s and old clunkers congregate as if at a business meeting.

PET FOOD SCARE

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – The pet food scare widens, and it appears the economic hit is on China’s wheat gluten.  I’m more convinced than ever that the thugs at DHS, CIA, FDA, CDC, or DEA are behind it, and they all answer to Bush and Cheney, the sadomasochistic side show in the world-wide butt fuck.

I believe the goons at DHS have made their point.  Melamine is a plastic, used in McDonalds’ forks, hahahaha, and the latest bullet in the war on pets, but the repercussions in the plastics industry should be interesting.  I’ve wondered about the buildup of plastic breakdown products in the environment, and the toxins they release.  Animals would be the most susceptible, of course.

No one has proved the wheat gluten is the cause.  No one has even proved what the toxic agent is.  The “scientists” are disagreeing with each other, thus to obscure the real issue (in my view) that this was inside sabotage by someone who had access to aminopterin, which was proven in the DHS-funded lab at Cornell, created for the purpose of protecting US tax revenues from foreign threats.

The media arm of the Police State blithely ignores the obvious, so eager is it to cozy up to the perpetrators.  I’ve noticed AP is particularly reprehensible along these lines.  No wonder it hides behind its image.  It took some research to discover where their corporate offices are.

FEAR

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – The vague cloud of fear that hovers over me surrounds the planet, I suspect, and I am less afraid than most.  Unseen enemies are those who are reacting to their own fears, and I have to dance lightly to stay out of their way.  I try not to take insults personally, even if they are meant that way.  I get strong reactions from people, as on the ESLR message board, when I assess the state of the “economy.”  I don’t pander to the Wall Street-generated hype meant to reassure people of economic growth, despite evidence.  It’s a pack of lies and deserves to be so-called, because people aren’t as gullible as they once were, especially as they feel the “economic growth” like a cancer in their personal lives.

corn0607

Corn, Cochran, GA Supposedly 80% of corn sold in the United States is already genetically modified. It’s too late to label GM products.

CORN AND ETHANOL

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – How much time does it take to grow an acre of corn, convert it to ethanol and burn it?  Has anyone calculated the cost of energy, soil depletion, and water for the process?

The environmental groups are quiet on this one, and so are the Agriculture Department, the economists, farmers, American Solar Energy Society, and scientists.  Isn’t anyone even curious?  Congress hasn’t asked, Bush certainly doesn’t want to know, and once again, I am the lone voice asking questions that should have been asked a long time ago, before the legislation, before the factories were built, before the farmers were seduced into following this government-created fad.

COLUMBUS, GA NOISE POLLUTION:  LOCUM TENENS ASSIGNMENT

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – The noise makes constant assaults on my senses, and I’m afraid  I will explode from repressed fury.  The airplanes have been droning–along with machines, traffic, and sirens–but mostly constant airplanes since I got home to the camper, exhausted from a relentless day, seeking a little peace, not to be had here, where the very earth is vibrating from the din.

I, for one, will be glad if I live to see the world run out of oil.

Now, the train.  The trucks on the highways.  The last airplane is gone, finally.  Was air traffic stacked up over the airport?  The train whistle is constant.  Everybody is in a dizzy tizzy today, all except the one bird I hear twittering, and my cat, who is as serene as a placid pool, asleep.

That train has been whistling for five minutes.  Motorcycles, more trucks.  If I were home and could do it, I’d let out a primal scream by now, so furious am I.  A horn.  another motorcycle.  I can still hear the train.  More traffic.

I turn on music and dance awhile, as I encourage patients to do.  It helps my attitude a little.

Train still blowing the whistle – seven minutes or so.  Constant.

The work turns me into a zombie prescription writing machine.  In W’s office, where I work on the adult side, the computer is also loud, so I listen to that all day and wonder if that contributes to my headaches.  Or maybe it’s the coffee they have there, the creamer, the stress.

I just got up and closed the windows.  It helps a little, but my head is vibrating still.  I can feel it like a saw grinding though my skull.

I turn on the fan, now that the windows are closed.  I can still hear the traffic noise outside, even though the fan is only two feet away from my head and has its own noise.

How loud must it get before people wake up?  Now I know why people go deaf.  Not that it would protect anyone here, because the vibrations penetrate all walls, all protections.  You can hear it over the music, over the fan, over the air conditioning.  It rattles the ground, shakes the camper.  I might as well be in the center of a war, except this is a war on nerves, as in the nerve of them.  There is no defense against sound, except to leave or bury my head in  . . . what?  The earth transmits it, too.

You get what you focus on, says Seth, but how can I think of anything else?

Winston Smith, in George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, had a horror of rats gnawing his face, so those who would convert him used rats in cages over his face, as I recall.  For me, relentless machine noise is the torture I most fear, but I am already being tortured, and my head hurts, and I think I will have a stroke or heart attack, and soon, if I don’t escape this hell hole in a healthier way.

 

USPS REORGANIZATION

Friday, April 13, 2007 – I discovered Richard Nixon re-organized the Postal Service in 1971, giving it over to a Board of Governors, and removing the Postmaster General from the Cabinet.  You don’t hear much about the Postmaster General or the Board of Governors, but the USPS affects every area of our lives.

Who exactly owns the USPS, which is so heavily saturated with garbage mail it can’t deliver a first class letter without losing it in the junk?  Why am I subsidizing these assaults on my money, attention, and all the trees on the planet?  I pay yet again for the destruction to the environment.  And these government goons are blaming taxpayers for global warming?  They are burning resources just as fast as they can get away with it, and their solution is to do more of the same?

Not at my expense, folks,  Use your own money to play stupid, because I don’t run my life that way.  Double rates on all sneaky mail (that is, all mail with rates they don’t want you to know).  How’s about publish ALL the rates everyone has to pay, like the slick paper flyers and unwanted medical journals, CME offerings, school and university solicitations, magazines, newspapers, non-profits, campaigners, sales pitches, fundraisers.  If they didn’t spend so much money on self-congratulatory propaganda, perhaps they could afford to do some good.  What exactly is pre-sorted first class?

MONEY MANAGEMENT

Saturday, April 14, 2007 – Money management is about keeping my money.  The more money I keep, the more money I save.

 

 

 

 

 

The More Things Change . . .

drugads0616

Above:  The professional literature in Psychiatry remains funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies.  I get up to eight Psychiatry periodicals every month, all containing about 50% advertising, most of it by Pharma.  This junk enjoys a privileged postage rate, because it is “educational.”

April 12, 2017–Reading old journal entries helps me focus blogs and show the trend of my thinking over time.  In April, 2007, ten years ago this month, I was considering allowing my medical and DEA licenses to expire, because I felt used by a medical system that causes more disease and suffering than it alleviates.  As a psychiatrist, I was under a virtual mandate to prescribe drugs that promised more help than they delivered.  Not only that, but the system itself was so dysfunctional that it put everyone at risk.

ON MEDICINE AND PSYCHIATRY
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – If I can get out of the business of medicine, I can enjoy the fun of medicine, when it’s done right.

It starts with honesty.  We have created a sado-masochistic society that feeds failure and punishes success.  In today’s climate, the individual doesn’t matter.  “Equality” means bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator, statistically speaking, to save the “economy” from the individuals who take more than they give.

Our society has rendered them so dysfunctional that they are incapable of doing anything useful and resentful of those who expect them to make an honest living.
What kind of psychiatrist would I be if I didn’t point out the insanity of that?  I believe the individual matters, if only to herself.  I matter enough to stand my ground in the face of society’s power struggles and to comment on the process.

The US psyche is caught up in the emotional two-year-old anal stage of psycho-sexual development, the “terrible twos,” the year of potty training, the age in which life-long issues related to power and power struggles emerge.  The “self” vs. “not-self.”
As we play with the shit we have created, we are evolving, hopefully, toward a greater understanding of what it means to be free.  Demonizing and drugging the individual mind and spirit is society’s game, not mine.  I have evolved beyond the anal stage.  I quit.  Get ahead by slowing down.  Take time to smell the roses before you pave them over.

This patient-churning prescription writing machine throws the government credentials—the medical licenses—into the compost bin.  Thus relieved of the paper shield, I step from in front of the DEA’s guns to show them aiming at my back, to control invisibly every aspect of the prescription game.

They need me more than I need them, but only because they believe in drug laws.  If there were no drug laws, we wouldn’t need the DEA, but doctors would still have jobs.

“Doctor,” a word my absentee bosses don’t know, is derived from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach.”  A doctor is fundamentally a teacher about health.  That’s what I do – teach people about health, especially mental health.

You know what I tell my patients?

“It really is them,” I say.  “They are the crazy ones.  Don’t put your life on hold waiting for the government.  You’ll grow old and die waiting.  Live it up while you still can.  Dance in the living room.  Turn off the television, for your sanity’s sake.  Shut off the mind and noise pollution so you can hear yourself think, and you’ll get back in touch with your common sense.”

ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – I enjoyed working with kids and parents yesterday.  I gave practical advice and supported them in their efforts.  A little six-year-old hugged me on the way out.

These aren’t bad kids.  In fact, I think many who are branded with ADHD are brighter and more creative than the rest, with skills and interests that reach beyond the classroom.  A 12-year-old girl who is about to fail sixth grade for the second time daydreams and draws during class.  Likes violin and reading Japanese books in English.

I reassure them school really is boring, and teachers are busy pleasing absentee bosses.  Moms nod vigorously, and the kids stare at me as if they are shocked I would express such heresy.

CME ON ADULT ADHD

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – I read a Continuing Medical Education article on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  Bottom line is there’s nothing new, except the diagnosis of adult ADHD.

Do you think anyone would consider causes pills won’t treat, like multi-sensory fatigue from the environment?  Machine noise from traffic and power tools, airplanes, blowers, coffee grinders, speakers in coffee shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, banks, blaring “I Died and Went to Hell” music and advertising at top volume?  The screeching, attention-starved voices from the halls of hell?  Who can attend to anything with all that noise?

No.

Think they might consider that the same drugs are used by drug addicts and schools to treat the same symptoms, but it’s okay if you have the correct diagnosis?

No.

Think the lack of physical education in the schools, or the fact that kids with too much energy are punished by depriving them of play time might contribute to their hyperactivity?

No.

It’s all in the brain chemistry, you know.  Hit ‘em up with a little Adderall or Ritalin and we’ll let ‘em come back to school.  Never mind that they have been suspended the last X days and are even further behind.  They shouldn’t have acted out.

The other two psychiatrists here, Child & Adolescent psychiatrists, indulge me in my one-to-two minutes of tirade.  Each says separately, unfortunately, the kids who come here need to be on meds.  Doctors have adapted to being prescription writing machines, drones in the endless grind of patient-churning status quo.  They see the hypocrisy, but they learn quickly to keep quiet, to show in behavior the repressed anger generated by power abuses.

Learned helplessness vies with identification with the aggressor, but do you think psychiatrists make the connection between abstract understanding and the evidence in front of them?

No.

Why learn psychiatry if nobody cares?  You could get a computer to write prescriptions faster and more legibly.

The inertia is as cloying as clear gelatin.  Perhaps this is the egg; the yolk, the planet, the albumin the atmosphere, with humans poised at the interface, possibly growing and possibly getting big enough to crack the shell.

 

viagrafda070105

Ambling Through “People’s History,” Part 2

bkszinn2003April 15, 2017

Seven years ago this month, I was still reading A Peoples History of the United States,  by Howard Zinn, 2003 edition.  This is the second in a series of posts about this book, facts and my thoughts on them.  I blogged about the first 40 pages on March 7, 2017 (“Zinn on First Americans”).

Friday, April 2, 2010—I read 30 pages of  A People’s History of the United States  Now we’re into slavery from a Lincoln point of view, more or less, hinting but not stating what “freedom” meant to hoards of blacks who had no place to go and no skills except farm work, picking cotton but not selling it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010—People’s History horrifies me, as did Open Veins of Latin America.  I wonder why I persist in reading that stuff.  Am I merely looking for what’s wrong, following the trail I find so counter-productive in others?

I think I’m trying to understand how people can be so easily deceived into violating their own common sense and good judgment, on individual and mass levels, even when claiming the opposite.

My desire to trust, to give people the benefit of the doubt, has betrayed me more than anything else.  As a result, I have become the victim of numerous desperate people who believed they were saving themselves by sacrificing me.

This “die so that I may live” attitude is the fundamental betrayal of Christianity and perhaps underscores the strange notion that there is nobility in martyrdom.

I don’t see popes going to war, nor kings, nor presidents and members of Congress.  Thus the hypocrisy of the death by proxy stance that Christianity has become.

I have an idea.  Let’s create hell on earth so people will want to die.  That should solve the overpopulation problem.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010—We’re now into “The Other Civil War” chapter, page 237, about the strikes in the North in the 1830’s and beyond—long before the war on the South began.

Zinn annoys me because he focuses on the injustices and riots themselves, blaming the “capitalists,” the “rich,” and the “landowners,” without giving a good account of their methods.  The Robber Barons did a better job of showing how the railroad interests used government to further their ends.  In fact, Zinn’s history seems to worsen class divide by pandering to the disenfranchised and showing no effective retaliation other than violence, labor unions, and strikes.  He lets the government off the hook by virtually ignoring it, except in the most superficial way.

Thursday, April 17, 2010—I read about 12 pages of People’s History..  All about labor strikes during the mid-to-late 1800s.  A bad depression in 1893 due to boatloads of immigrants brought to lower the price of labor while native-born laborers couldn’t afford to feed their families.   Over and over the federal government and state militia came in to break up strikes, and the Supreme Court and lower courts cemented the rights of corporations over individuals in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and other tactics that proved who the federal government really works for.

Zinn doesn’t say much about the Supreme Court, but it appears to be the great black hole in this whole US federal government farce.  Zinn only touches on the notion that it is composed of presidential appointees who are confirmed by Congress, thereby a mockery of the idea that the US is a republic.  But language distortion goes back a long way.  Even the 1800s sources Zinn quotes were discussing the conflict of labor vs. capital, referring to the overlord imperialists as “capitalists” unwilling to acknowledge human capital’s value.

Laborers never learned how to organize, except to fight, and this is why they failed.  Had they taken over the mills and factories and run them themselves, evicting the bosses, we may have written a different history.

Saturday, April 17, 2010—More violence.  Now the US in the late 1890s expands its imperialist empire, because all those machines that displaced all those workers are producing more goods than anyone needs or can afford.  So the US is forcing its way into other countries, like Japan and Cuba.  It’s justifying war, as in Cuba, supposedly to support revolutionaries against oppressive government, but also to protect American corporate interests that invested there.

Monday, April 19, 2010—Now, we’re into the Spanish-American War, in which the US used the Cuban revolution in 1898 or so to substitute the US Platt amendment for the Spanish rule.  It then used economic expansion to justify a bloody takeover of the Philippines, really bloody, in which American troops went on killing sprees wiping out entire towns, no one over ten years old spared.  And bragging about it, calling the Filipinos “niggers.”

McKinley was president at the time.  Of course he didn’t want war but felt it necessary to protect the Philippine timber and other resources from other countries and the Filipinos from themselves.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010—I read more People’s History, now up to page 363.  Late 1800s and early 1900s.  Strikes and more strikes, labor disputes, government stepping in at every turn to protect the corporations, the factories, murdering strikers, arresting leaders, making examples of them.  World War I was probably a diversionary tactic, to find an external enemy, because the internal mood was so belligerent.  No wonder people are afraid of the government.

But Zinn skips right over the Federal Reserve Act and income tax.  He subtly distorts the record by blaming Taft for the income tax and Wilson for the Federal Reserve Act, and only mentions these in a sentence or two in passing.

How strange, think I, that he would so easily bypass the vehicle by which the very workers he panders to were so completely disenfranchised.

People tell me Zinn is a “liberal.”  He seems to celebrate socialism, derived from Populism, but never defines any of it.  It’s clear “capitalism” was used in the vernacular in the 1800s to describe the industrialist imperialists, so demonization of the term began long ago.  The notion that human capital, like “qi” or life force in Oriental medicine, has been eliminated from the equation tells me this is why we are all are so debilitated now.

I can only do so much, I decided.  Many people have had a piece of the picture.  Zinn even quotes Helen Keller a time or two.  One of the heroines from my youth, she was social consciousness itself, a socialist at a time when socialism was needed, because it was synonymous with compassion.

Thursday, April 22, 2010—Peoples History shows how ruthless the GoverCorp attitude is.  People are right to be afraid.  Those who opposed the barbarians were glamorized, like Upton Sinclair, yet used to enable social reforms that played into GoverCorp’s hands.

On page 368 Zinn discusses World War I, the Espionage Act, which was used to jail and castigate people who opposed the war.  The Socialists didn’t, as a group, but notable Socialists like Jack London, Upton Sinclair, and Clarence Darrow, were soon converted.

Zinn’s history bats the ball back and forth like a tennis match but offers few insights into the causes.  The attitudes that have come down through time allow people to justify cruelty, violence, and bloodshed.