"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, October 31, 2008

10/31 A Political Evolution & Decision

Four years ago I could be considered a Democrat, and I still have a few of the same core beliefs, although I consider them more "populist" than "liberal", as vague as that term is. Health care, the "Justice" System; defining a person's worth as "Human Kapital" for example.

"Need a lawyer? NO MONEY???? f--- YOU! Off to jail!"

My views have gone 180 on guns. I was thrilled when I heard Ron Paul (I think) actually express why the 2nd Amendment's there, then watching the rest of the "conservatives" shout him down sealed the deal for me.

I believe the "tribute" system of income tax should be abolished if that "tax" money is going to be used to simply further enrich the economic elites and to invade nations who never attacked us... first in the name of "national security", then when no weapons threat is found, "spreading democracy." I'm not so sure it's Democracy they've been spreading... perhaps it's economic and social syphilis.

I'm one of the few Southwest Gringos of the opinion that the illegal immigrant "problem" we have is of our own doing. After 100 years of
economic colonization in Latin America, and suppressing entire economies, why should we be surprised that these people are making their way here? I love hearing Rednecks bitch about Mexicans working on some fruit farm, then "sending their money home"... when we've been doing the same thing, on a corporate scale, for decades. What, Billy Bob, would YOU do if you were them?

Illegal Immigration IS a problem, and I'm surprised to not hear more about THEIR effect on this "mortgage meltdown". I spent parts of two years ('06- '08) helping a friend maintain repossessed houses in Denver, and business was booming! It seemed that 1 in 2 or 3 was immigrant- related. The mortgage companies would give loans to illegals that NEVER had any intention of paying beyond a month or two! Tell me, oh! free- market capitalists, whose fault is that? Do you expect those being handed the loans to police YOUR lending practices? HA!

we just handed them $700b... I guess so! Remember that term "Corporate Socialism" I lobbed your way back in July? I expect the pundits to begin paying royalties any day now!

Now, how does one reconcile social liberalism (populism) with the TRUE conservative ideals surrounding civil liberty? Don't think too long on that... there is no real answer. The "either/ or" dialectic; black and white choices take over.

No, thanks.

I simply don't believe in the presented,
apparently accepted dialectic. That being the case, I think it's my duty to abstain.

MLK, Gandhi, and thus by extension Thoreau, are the three people I respect most and the three I use as examples most often, and it's not coincidence that King and Gandhi are the two individuals that accomplished, what I consider, the most significant "change" of the 20th century. Neither did it by quietly 'requesting' policy change because all three knew something very important: that quietly requesting "change" in the status quo wasn't enough-
it took a significant portion of the populace to loudly, yet peacefully, demand it; making it known that they were NOT going to trust and wait for the system to "change itself". They would have been the Libertarians of their time: waiting for the gold- plated invitation to the ball... while those already there laughed at the notion!

Don't get me wrong, by no means are voting and protesting, in whatever way you choose, mutually exclusive. I take Thoreau's approach, and encourage others to do the same. Rather than trying to convince the world of my "righteousness" and drag them along, I do what I think is right and seek out those who feel the same. That mindset, and the willingness to walk alone, has helped me to realize that I am
FAR from "walking alone." The vast majority of people that I met on my little "walkabout" obviously felt the same way, but were afraid to express it out of fear of being seen as "UN- American" or "nuts." Nuts because they see through the charade? Wow.

One of Thoreau's themes that Gandhi, and thus King, utilized was "withdrawing support"; Civil Disobedience. In other words, not just accepting what piecemeal they're handing you and saying "
Thanks! More please?" By that rationale, King would have never marched, Rosa Parks would have moved to the back, and Gandhi would have never begun in South Africa. They would have just let Whitey "vote" and and "hoped" for the best. There are many ways to withdraw support, but the basic idea is that if you disagree with something, you don't perpetuate it by participating.
"Any fool can make a law, and any fool will follow it."

I believe we've "hoped for the best" and quietly accepted their offerings long enough. After the Republican's blatant disdain for American Constitutional Values, after watching Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the "opposition party" operate for two years, THEN watching both parties "come together" to offer a massive bailout to Wall Street, I have no use for any of them if THIS was their example of bipartisanship, and believe that as long as this two- party farce remains, that
Lenin was right: "Democracy only provides the illusion of choice. The real decisions are made in the smoke- filled back rooms." In that sense, seeing NO political party that represents my interests, and seeing the two primary parties as factions of the same, I choose to offer my support for: neither.

I no longer believe that 50-60% stay home due simply to apathy. They remain uninspired, and know that which faction they choose will make little, if any, difference at all. Considering this, it's abhorrent that we have third, fourth, and fifth parties out there that refuse to DEMAND that they are part of the discussion. But, that's a bit difficult with Corporate Media, isn't it?

As for that supposed "civic duty of voting", I reserve the right to vote if I choose to. I welcome criticism of this decision because it wasn't come to lightly, and it's something that SHOULD be publicly discussed. I'm obviously NOT the only one considering this, but when I hear that "duty" argument, which I have from innumerable directions, I think of
American Idol and Dancing With the Stars. People caught up in meaningless, mindless entertainment and convincing themselves that the results matter. How many 13 year old girls treat the latest "Idol Heartthrob" in the same fashion some voters treat their demagogues? (And that's EXACTLY what they are.)

Obviously, I don't see any of the candidates as anything more than meat- puppets propped up to pacify the public with the illusion of choice. The campaigns have
become "Extreme Reality TV." "Discourse" has degenerated to the laughable, where a VP candidate is chosen because she's "hot" and is presented as ignorant enough to "relate" to the ignorant masses. Degenerated to the point where neither candidate is willing to actually express ANYTHING beyond broad, pollyanic generalities, and Happy Talk for the future... because they DON'T HAVE TO. No one holds them accountable. How many times at ANY of the debates did an answer SCREAM for a follow- up???? Like American Idol however, "TV Time" is king. King because the politicos and TV execs assume that the masses don't have the attention span to pay attention to detail. All they need to do is drop the next Bill Ayers or Troopergate distraction bomb... and they're relieved of the need to answer ANY topical questions. Want the punditry to ask them? HA! They offer simple agenda- fed "commentary", then parade the campaign's "spin doctors" onto the screen to disseminate their particular brand of propaganda. It's all designed to engage the public in prefabricated, fallacious, meaningless dialectic. They just call it "narrative", with next to no resistance from that little aspect of a "democracy" that the founders thought was essential to its survival: the "free", vigilant press.

If you want to remain enthralled in this season of "Political Idol",
hoping that your dreamy contestant wins, that's fine. I wont criticize you, and it IS the noble, some say even even responsible thing to do. My question is this: Where does TRUE responsibility lie? To party? System? Country? Or, your own personal beliefs as a sovereign human being: Principles? What if you were expected to choose urine- soup or feces- stew for dinner, and expected to be thankful for the privilege of choosing? Would you leave the table? Or would you try to decide what you're "hungry" for before eagerly digging in?

I personally don't see this election as changing anything, or even more significant, in the grand scope of things, than if Ruben or Carrie won, or if Emmit Smith can boogie. The country will continue on it's predetermined course...

If you think that independent- abstention is the "easy" route, you're mistaken. It was much easier to rely on the Liberal talking points to decide what I thought when I was an anti- Republican Democrat. It gets a bit more complicated when you're forced to evaluate what YOU think rather than what your adopted ideology tells you that you SHOULD, and when there are no symbolic "weather vanes" to look to for guidance. Not to mention the fact that the
herd mentality is gone, and you cannot gain refuge in the fact that there are millions of others following the same ideological- messiah you are. No my friend, this is NOT the easy road for a person who actually CARES about what's happening... but, and take it for what it's worth... I think it's the ONLY road for that person. Even if it leads him back "home", it should be traveled.

It is important to be able to differentiate between "country" and "government", and avoid mistaking dissent and 'withdrawal of support' for something akin to "civic treason." I love my country, apparently more than most people. Enough to try to stay "involved" while not accepting that this "is as good as it gets", or that
this is the acceptable moral peak of a just society. I believe in the idea of this country enough to step out onto the fringes... alone... to seek out SOMEONE who is capable of leading us there, rather than settling for the political Extra Value Meal.

The years since 9/11 have disturbed me enough to seek real solutions, rather than
taking what I consider the easy way out: compromising for the sake of an easy, politically correct action and decision. It disturbs me to no end to see what's happening to America, and what's being done to it by this factional monopoly.

But, you know? It may surprise you to hear that I'm
NOT a cynic!! I believe there is "hope". If I didn't, I wouldn't bother with things like this; conversations, discussion, and reassuring others that they are NOT diluted for feeling that they deserve better IS an important part of the process. The Internet hearkens back to the Salon Days... when people would get together, exposing themselves to different perspectives.

Being a responsible, involved, citizen/ patriot is more than punching the prearranged ballot, then hoisting your chin into the air because "you decided!" Sometimes being a true patriot (as opposed to Nationalist) is having the courage to stand the fuck up, sometimes even metaphorically, and shouting that there is something desperately WRONG. Then, being willing to do something about it... whatever it is that you are capable of.

A friend wrote:
But, the only thing [you] CAN shout from the sidelines is that the whole thing is a fraud. Because the minute he deals with specifics, he has engaged in the charade himself, making it relevant and important.
There are few things I'm absolutely sure of, but one of them is that I take my marching orders, or speaking cues from no one. I'll speak my mind, shout my opinions, and I will feel justified to do so, even if you believe otherwise. I haven't renounced my citizenship, and my First Amendment RIGHT is STILL just as legitimate as yours. Like it or not, I won't buy into that "love it or leave it" bullshit.

I understand that seemingly institutional mentality that wants to keep us confined within that little box, but I'll step outside of it when, where, and how I choose. Like it or not, I am voicing the frustrations of the majority, rather it's acceptable, tactically, to you or not. I suppose I could take the same stance, and tell you that your commentary should be confined to L/R dialectics and political tactics because you reject the theory that there's ANYTHING better possible... except through the hope that the establishment will deliver it... in time. Let me know how that works out for you.

That being said, the vast majority of us are ultimately on the same team, regardless of affiliations. Most liberals, conservatives... we all want what's best for the country. It's usually the party "loyalists" who descend into the gutter... lobbing "terrorist", and "Socialist" around, or dredging up the latest dirty quotes from their disinformation sites. I have no disrespect in my heart for those that disagree with me... as long as they are thinking for themselves.

I read a comment as to how, much like the aftermath of 9/11 and in the face of the financial meltdown, we were beginning to see each other as Americans rather than political opponents. I applaud that sentiment, and halfheartedly agree. People are beginning to see the "enemy" as the government and politicians themselves. No, not the those we see plastered on TV, or canvassing for the Chosen One... but "Genuine" Americans. (There, now fuck off Sarah.)

My challenge goes a bit further: Demand the leadership you deserve... rather than homogenized, rhetoric- filled, anesthetic that simply allows us to continue down the same path when it wears off. If you feel that voting "against" someone is the way to go... DO IT! If you believe that continuing to vote for the lesser of two evils is the solution... DO IT! Call me "elitist" if you like, I happen to believe that standing on principle MEANS something, if for no other reason than to offer yourself as an example to others.

10/31/08: 2008 Election-Voting Principle

Unless noted, the following posts have been copied from my posts on another site...

As most of you know, I spent the summer in an effort to see for myself what the America v. 2008 is, without ideological/ media filters.

Maybe some of my conservative/NeoCon friends can enlighten me: Why are those beneath the blanket of religion and Nationalism those that are the most frightened? Does fear lead them to that camp, OR are these fears stoked by "God N Government?" Why is it that the rednecks down south, reeking of the Michigan Rednecks I was raised with, are the ones who most commonly, and almost without exception, spew racial hatred, xenophobia, and Nationalist Rhetoric...while showing off their guns and quoting scripture? Why is it that those who constantly quote Limbaugh and Hannity are, without question, the most frightened? THEY are the ones who repeatedly warned me how "dangerous" my undertaking was, despite the fact that I NEVER was in any danger!

As for the NeoLiberal Hippies, perhaps you can tell me what exactly makes you think that resurrecting a long dead, failed ideology... complete with the same granola smelling costumes from the 1960's...is going to get you any closer to Collectivism than it did 40-years ago? Don't you realize that your "heroes" sold out long ago, when they discovered that they couldn't eat idealism? Sure, they're still espousing these ideals, but the joke's on you: They're SELLING them to you and making obscene profits! Whole Foods... "Organic" toothpaste... Hookah Bars... "Progressive" Politics. They're the same "capitalists" you claim to despise; and they're exploiting your starry- eyed ignorance by selling you their recycled shit!

As a true "Independent", there was a stunning realization while traveling from SoCal to Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and out to North Carolina: WE ARE the majority. Almost to a man, the people I talked with were utterly disgusted with both "parties". People are most definitely seeking "change", but Barack...don't
kid yourself: Our idea of "real" change does NOT include you; you're simply the lesser of two evils...not saying much considering the competition! "Throw all their asses out" was the mantra I heard most, and this was well before the financial meltdown. People are hungry for something different; something genuine. If there were alternative parties that weren't so timid (Libertarians) or theocratic (Constitution), AND if there was a media that wasn't bought and paid for by the establishment, there would be a real opportunity.

I would support ANY candidate whose primary focus promised abolition of the Patriot Act. In my opinion, and take it for what it's worth, the Patriot Act and the expansion of government spying on American citizens is the primary issue of our times. Not terrorism...not gay marriage...not abortion... not Bill Ayers....not Troopergate...not even Iraq: it's Civil Liberties. The tactics used to erode OUR civil liberties are the same ones used throughout history: Convince them that they are under attack and co-opt that fear to stoke Nationalism by reinforcing the notion that their country's being "hijacked by evil." The "Islamification" of America. Obama's cajoling with "domestic terrorists."
The details are never the same, but the tactics never change. Note the Nationalistic tone: "He doesn't view 'merica like you and I do". "... he thinks 'merica is imperfect unuff....". "He's a SOCIALIST!!!" Now, substitute "Jew" for "Terrorist" or "Socialist", and Palin sounds a bit like Hitler in her attacks of Obama.

Power, unchecked, leads to tyranny. "Tyranny" leads to the elimination of personal liberties; this was the main theme of the Founders. The Patriot Act, Signing Statements, Executive Orders, all in the name of National Security: Tyranny. It boggles my mind how easily people lose sight of this through fear, propaganda, jingoism, greed, and apathy. It's predictable however. The "Zoo Analogy" rings true: "People will choose the safety and security of the zoo over the freedom and responsibility of the jungle." Especially a fat, lazy, complacent...CONTENT...populace.

As for the possibility of another terrorist attack? I said this before and was shouted down, but I'll say it again. BRING IT ON. Some things are too important to be compromised. Nothing supersedes freedom. If the population is so apathetic (or simply pathetic) to abdicate their liberties to Big Brother's protection, then they deserve EXACTLY what they get. If people are too scared or too lazy or too scared to protect themselves ("responsibility" of freedom), then they deserve tyranny.

I believe that many among us have lost sight of a very simple distinction. The difference between "Country" and "Government." The political elite would like you to believe there is no difference; thus they can equate dissent with treason. However, many people MUCH smarter than you and I, and with fresh memories of tyrannical struggle have left us little notes stashed in the knotholes of history.

"Those who would sacrifice freedom for security..."

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country from its government..."

"All men recognize the right of revolution..."

This distinction is important. Once made, free-thinking individuals, those who cannot be defined as "party loyalists", will conclude that the "traitors to their country" are NOT those who dissent, but are those who promulgate the Police State.

Using this as a fundamental foundation, to me the battle lines are clear; and in this case 'black and white' apply: If you're "with" the Patriot Act, you're "against" us.

That being said, I've decided not to vote.

Spare me the "then don't complain" crap. I'll continue to complain, loudly, no matter who you "choose". I've seen where lack of principle leads, and I can't simply vote "against McCain." A vote for EITHER of them is essentially support for the status quo. Had either of these clowns stood up against the bailout, on principle, I may have supported them. If either of them would have the courage to put their beliefs before politics, I would have considered it. 

And, Sarah fucking Palin???? SERIOUSLY??????

Unlike most people I'm NOT frightened by the impeding depression; I welcome it: I can adapt. Besides, it is inevitable. It's the restoration of balance. It seems that those that fear it the most are those who have profited from its cause. Right Skippy? I feel for those who have families, but a majority of Americans (WORKING class) have been struggling for a while now, and I believe are prepared. I hear of all these people who are losing money on their "investments", but call me weird: I don't know ANY of these people!!! Neither do most of those living in what I call 'real' America! (Hear that Sarah?? I used it FIRST!) What percentage of Americans have actually invested in the stock market??? That would explain the 100:1 calls AGAINST the bailout before it was passed. Real, working class Americans, IMO, are prepared for this. I'm frightened for those living in the gated houses on the hills, who are unable to adapt. The perceived predators could become the prey.

I only hope that the rest of the population gets pissed off enough to tell this binary two party system to go to Hell and demand real representation in their government. Despite the high- minded rhetoric, this isn't it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10/29/08: Michael Corbin: Loss of a Friend and an Inspiration

Michael Corbin
Late last week I learned that a friend, Michael Corbin, died earlier this year in Denver. Michael was the host of Paranet, a syndicated radio show in the same genre as Coast to Coast, which was very successful nationwide in the 90’s and hosted A Closer Look for the last several years.

I met him at that infamous Colorado Libertarian Party meeting in January ‘06. We hit it off and when he learned of my radio background he invited me to stop by the studio to hang out while he did his show and we quickly became good friends.

Michael was one of the most brilliant people I ever got to know. Corbin was also easily the best radio personality I ever personally worked with. His ability to personalize information, recall of facts, and reservoir of knowledge was phenomenal. I would sit in his guest chair during his show and this "jaded little prick" (me) was in awe watching and listening to him. Smooth. Concise. Informative. Smart.

Most importantly, he is to this day my ultimate example of living one’s own ideals. He had an insatiable authentic desire to find, then speak, TRUTH no matter its target. So much so, it bordered on self- destructive. He did HIS show, HIS way. HE chose HIS topics, guests, and was always willing to do his own investigative work rather than rely solely on someone else's presentation.

Michael was one of the few people whose personal example inspired ma and he almost re-sold me on the relevance of radio!
We were lightly discussing the possibility of grooming me as a fill-in host by putting me on the air weekends to cut my talk radio teeth. But, I went back to work for the Rockies and the bike tour I was planning for the fall quickly consumed me. I forgot all about radio again.

We abruptly lost touch until late in 2006 or early 2007 when I called to say hello. He phoned back a couple of days later, said he would get with me soon, but I never heard from him again.

Michael was always suspicious of power and because he was outspoken made many enemies--some quite powerful. Someone firebombed his studio; that "someone" was never found. He also spoke regularly about people ransacking his house, tapping his phone, disappearing communications, strangers threatening and following him. I was skeptical at first but it was not the sort of brazen claim of a person who was ‘touting’ it. He was concerned. Michael had just gotten his CCW permit and t
he last few times I saw him was always carrying a gun.

There are people who believe that his stroke is a cover story and I’ll be honest: after what I saw firsthand I can understand why. However, Michael chain-smoked, was overweight, and had extremely high blood pressure. He missed several shows due to health reasons in the short 2+ months we hung out. He was NEVER going to quit smoking, but expressed concerns to me personally about his health; and this was 2 ½ years ago.

Our friendship was short but one of my most influential. Michael Corbin was one of the few people I've ever admired. He was not rich and, by “radio’s” definition, struggled to repeat the “success” he had achieved early in his career. Nevertheless, this was the special aspect Michael Corbin; what drew people to him and his show: He put his ideals and truth far ahead of commercial reward. He believed in something. That’s what drove him. When I learned of his death online last week a wave of disgust and shame came over me. It forced me to reflect on his example and, of course, made me look in the mirror. That “wave” is lingering.

One of the last things Michael said to me was that if you have a message, it should be spoken “out of love.” I had no idea what he meant at the time and it honestly annoyed me. I have realized what he meant was that real truth and a genuine sense of purpose does not have its nexus in ego and self-interest. It springs from authentic concern, "love", for others. The world is full of whores. People solely concerned with presenting their "product" marketed as truth™; a “worldview” contrived to make a buck, or in an effort to impose their will on others by putting on a dramatic, thunderous display of intellectual wit; rhetorically bullwhipping people into a compliant state. I finally understand what he was getting at.

I had not talked to him in almost two years and he has been gone since March. I am sick that it took me seven months to learn of his death. It seems odd, but I feel the loss. A loss not just for me; there is a void “out there” now. The world is a less authentic place. I have thought over and over again that now, Michael, you have the answers. You know the ultimate truth! 

Rest well my friend.

10/29 Santa Fe: September- October


Over the rest of September and most of October, I’ve grown a full head of
hair, and gained about 10 pounds. I feel fat and un-sexy. Maybe I’ll go on a shoe- shopping spree and watch the Sex & the City marathon on Lifetime…

The financial sector’s “meltdown” hit, and, like the rest of you, I was watching the developments expecting the “Great Depression 2k8”. Amidst the talk of the “bailout”, stock market crashes, and the social/ political drama, I had a birthday on 9/19. Birthdays are not fun for Todd. They have not been for a long time, but this one was particularly shitty. The domestic idleness had already begun to drive me nuts. The thoughts of simply hibernating, accomplishing nothing, weighed heavily on my mind. A cycle repeatedly perpetuating itself. Thank God, I only turned 29 again!

The following week things improved however, when I finally found some temporary work helping a Craigslister, Jack, move.
It was good to get out of the house and Jack made things quite interesting. He is about 60, and an Original Hippie. He was beyond “involved” in the 60’s, and never lost his ideals. However, he HAD come to the realization that his idealism was not going to feed him. Sometime, he has gotten to the point where he’s now the guy who is “running and running to catch up with the sun”; trying to make up for what he perceives as lost time… making money. He has gotten involved in antique dealing, and is some sort of a writer. What he writes? I have no idea. He is also involved in a few lawsuits. Oh, and he hung out with Jimi Hendrix back in the day...

Jack is one of the most secretive, borderline paranoid people you will ever met. He is pure Santa Fe. I literally spent 5- hours straight emptying his hoarded water. Hoarded because he was afraid “they” were going to “shut off the water”, or that the southwest’s concern about water was going to lead to “Water Wars”. Over the next couple of weeks, we got along quite well, but there were moments where there was palpable tension. Jack is very particular about how he wants things done, and my patience is not what it used to be. Actually, it is the same. I have simply lost my filter somewhere!

While eccentric, Jack is a genius. It was uncanny the way he would predict the next day’s events in the early days of the meltdown. His advice was, and continues to be: buy gold, hoard cash, and prepare. I came to enjoy the job, and made enough to replace the shoes I returned to REI upon my return in August, AND put a substantial amount back for the next phase.

The regular work with Jack ended in the first week of October, and the next few weeks have become progressively more and more frustrating. I continued to become more disillusioned with the government’s response to this manufactured financial “crisis”, but it helped me to solidify my sociopolitical stance. I will not burden you now, but I probably will sometime this week. Suffice it to say for now that it was repugnant to see both of these “leaders” supporting a taxpayer-funded bailout of these “institutions”. It went to further cement my belief that the two major “parties” are indeed factions of the same.

I had hoped to find something to quickly replace Jack’s income, but Santa Fe is not exactly a thriving, diverse, economy! I finally found a data entry gig this week that I can do from home…as often and as much as I choose to. My kinda job!

That’s the cliff notes version of the last five-weeks or so. Most of the drama was in my own little mind; I am quite a nuisance to myself when I have too much time to kill!

Chris and I have had a few conversations, although they have tapered off a bit over the last three weeks. When the meltdown hit, we concluded that traveling to Latin America might be anticlimactic; that the excitement may indeed lie right here in the US! The more I thought about it however, the less appealing that became. 

Latin America has been bubbling quietly beneath my surface for a long time, and the original perspective would be invaluable. Using this summer’s experience as a template, the opportunity to talk with people who have actually lived with the effects of US foreign and economic policy would be priceless. I would like to see the “real” (Ha! Hear that Frau Palin?) Latin America rather than just hearing agenda-fed bullshit. I began learning Spanish in early September, and the progress has been good, although I have not put as much into it as I would like. 

Chris and I have had a couple of discussions about how we would do this, and it is shaping up to possibly be quite the dramatic western hemispherical jaunt! On the list of possibilities: New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Seattle, Portland, Utah, Arizona, California--then Mexico. Also, this end of the trip could include more characters. My old roommate, Joe, has expressed an interest in joining, as has Ambar from San Diego. 

Ambar’s a trip! She spent the summer WWOOFING in Italy, and holds dual- residency in the US & Mexico. I have heard from an Italian, living in NYC right now, who defines himself as a “gypsy” and would perhaps like to tag along.

Yet, with all these ideas, there is still nothing concrete. I need to get some equipment in case things fall through with Chris. I cannot see carrying the full tent again, so that means that I will need to get either a bivy, or even a Hennesy Hammock. I returned Chris’ water filter, so I need to get one and, of course, there is always the backpack. Mr. Coleman External Frame is right there… but he is looking small! I should have NEVER returned the one I had.

Despite the lack of activity on this blog, I’ve done quite a bit of “political writing.” The election is now less than a week away, and it has been interesting to see how the summer’s events have influenced my outlook. The reinforced idea being that there is nothing that replaces real
experience and that getting your information on Sarah’s “real America” from pundits is absurd. 

I am quite convinced that the majority of Americans are disgusted with politics and politicians in general; that if “throw all their asses out” was on the ballot we would have a 95% turnout, and a landslide of a different variety than the one currently forecast! I have only had that instinct reinforced over the weeks, and I am coming to realize two distinctions that are more significant:

On the individual scale: Patriot v. Partisan.

On the collective scale: Country v. Its Government.

While you chew on that, be prepared for a flurry of election-induced posts. To spare most of you, I am going to clear the email list of most of the names.  

Think of it as Todd “purging the rolls” to get you in the mood for the election!  

If you want me to leave you on the list, let me know. You can also subscribe through Feedburner on the actual page, and I’ve added an election poll… go vote!