December 31, 2004


...ONE AND ALL. I'll be back early next year, as soon as I recover from a stress-related intestinal inflamation I've been battling (atop everything else) throughout the holidays.

The 2005 format of this blog will be the same, the content still often pegged to news events, but a bit more personal memoir and less political diatribe.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who read this site in 2004. Thanks especially to those who faithfully voted for me during the competition for Best Essayist. And thanks most of all to those of you who wrote expressions of concern in response to my last three posts -- I'll reply to each of you individually within the next few days.

Thanks again: have a wonderful year in 2005!

Posted by Loren at 04:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 30, 2004


(Second of Two Parts)

LONGTIME READERS FROM THE halcyon-years of weekend topic-discussions on Lucianne are no doubt aware I was a lapsed Catholic with decidedly Druidical or Wiccan leanings. Those who read my writing closely enough to peer between its lines probably gleaned, correctly, that my inclinations toward accepting feminine manifestations of God as indications of sacred reality are not merely rebellious pretensions (or the theological compensations of a savagely abused child who became a desperately lonely adult) but rather expressions of personal metaphysics that have been shaped by a few genuine encounters with what I once labeled Otherness but now and ever after call Suchness.

What eventually brought me back to the Church (my Reconciliation was on 16 October) was my belated realization that – infuriatingly slow as the Church may be to acknowledge the ongoing resurrection of the female aspects of the Divine – the Church’s very caution is our only human defense against the emptiness of faddism. Just as the Church’s ancient sacramental holiness is the only ward we humans have that is (mostly) adequate to protect us from another of the proofs of Original Sin – the evil that gleefully takes advantage of any “revolution in consciousness” and indeed all such occasions of human evolutionary quickening. It is thus unlikely a Charles Manson or a Jim Jones could arise within the Church, or that the Church would countenance perversion of the name of the Deity (as some feminists have indeed already done with the name of the Goddess) into a patroness of abortion and Andrea Yates’ alleged “right” to drown her terrified and shrieking children. But those are all topics for another time; the question here is my father and his unwitting role in giving me my own faith – how a singularly malicious expression of my father’s limitless scorn ironically resulted in the great blessing of my own Catholicism.

In 1950, when we moved to East Tennessee, my father’s original plan was to enroll me in local public schools, which in Florida had been oppressively mediocre and in Michigan inspiringly excellent. But my father was allegedly so appalled by what he saw in Southern Knox County – there were chickens pecking on the barren red-clay playground of Flenniken, the local elementary school, and children there were doubling up on books because the books were in such short supply – he sought a better alternative and finally placed me in Holy Ghost School, one of two parochial schools in the nearby city of Knoxville. My father’s intent was said to be wholly protective, to save me from the malnourished reality of Appalachian public education – or so claimed the family story, which was superficially true enough as far as it went.

What the family story omitted was my father’s enormous Massachusetts- Protestant malice toward the Catholic Church: by his own admission, my father and his friends in their late teens and 20s had always deliberately worn orange on St. Patrick’s Day and had gone out after work hunting Catholics to beat up. In New England, my father said, St. Patrick’s was “the day you showed your true colors.” My father also dismissed all Catholic ritual as comedic superstition, ceremonially amusing but of no other value, a viewpoint he often expressed with a common parody on liturgical Latin, “I-can-beat-anyone-in-the-house-playing-dominos,” complete with bogus Sign-of-the-Cross. In retrospect, it was as if my father had blended his hereditary Bostonian bigotry with Sergei Eisenstein’s vicious satire on Roman Catholic rites, a satire that appears as comic relief in the epic film Alexander Nevskii, which my father had surely seen during his Communist Party years in New York City. Thus in reality when he sent me to Holy Ghost School, he almost certainly imagined he was playing a black and vengeful joke on two adversaries at once: he was foisting off his personal albatross of an unwanted child on the Roman Catholic Church, and by thrusting such a hopelessly defective “goon boy” within the Church’s embrace, he was delivering one last Orangeman’s sucker-punch to the Papists. He was also ensuring the final enmity between my stepmother and me – for my stepmother had been raised Southern Baptist and was openly, outspokenly, even venomously anti-Catholic.

I don’t know what my father imagined the outcome of my parochial education would be. But there within the strict discipline and rigid structure of Holy Ghost School, which was run by the aptly named Sisters of Mercy, I found the kind of dependable safety I had not known since Cocoa was taken from me, killed for trying to protect me from one of my stepmother’s rages. Moreover, the Catholic ritual felt undeniably real – the invocation of something far greater than myself or even humanity – a sense I would later sometimes also experience in too-brief encounters along rivers, on mountain tops or in certain wooded clearings but never even once in a Protestant church. And since most of the Holy Ghost nuns were from Ireland, I began to be not-so-gently cleansed of whatever anti-Irish bigotry I had ingested by osmosis from my father. I even – for a time – had an Irish pen-pal, Sean somebody, maybe Galligher (I’m not sure I remember his last name), but if he should ever read this, I sincerely apologize that I cravenly stopped writing to him in response to my father’s repeated assertion that carrying on such correspondence was “something only girls do,” another damning proof I was “a sissy.” Just as – when in 1952 I began to realize the Church was my spiritual home – I was too afraid of my father and stepmother to even whisper my fervent desire for baptism.

But it was not ultimately the dogma or the ritual that made Catholicism so appealing to me. It was the implacable insistence on Christ-like conduct expressed as social justice that made Holy Ghost School a haven even for a classmate who was the bastard child of a notorious local gangster – this in breathtaking contrast to the hypocrisies I witnessed daily at home, the very worst of which was the pretense (for outsiders) that I was loved as well as my half-siblings, when it was obvious to anyone who bothered to look that I was throughly despised instead.

Meanwhile – at the very least with utter indifference to the conflict this would impose on me (and more likely with sadistic relish) – my father joined the local Unitarian organization and insisted I attend its Sunday schools and LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) meetings. The LRY was the domain of the offspring of the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Valley Authority elite, and denied even a semblance of self-protective self-esteem by my upbringing, I fit in about as well as a Bowery-class drunkard at a Women’s Christian Temperance Union convention. My youthful interests were mostly in solitary outdoor activities – chiefly fishing and hunting and especially the already-vanishing woodscraft skills essential thereto – and I was more interested in reading celebratory works like Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” or Faulkner’s “The Bear” than muddling through the existential angst of a Fyodor Dostoevski or the pre-feminist bitterness of a Charlotte Bronte. Thus I had absolutely nothing in common with my LRY peers.

Moreover I was (in comparison to the other LRY kids) hopelessly impoverished: by the time we were all 16, they had allowances sufficient to support experimentation with Volkswagens and memberships in the Civil Air Patrol, and though I did more yard and household chores than all of them put together, I was not paid sufficient funds to attend so much as one week of summer Scout Camp, much less granted the use of a family automobile – or for that matter even allowed to apply for a driver’s license. My father deemed me “too irresponsible.” Again it was clear to anyone who looked I was a dog no one wanted. Predictably, one of the LRY kids soon took to greeting me accordingly, with a pejorative pun: “Some people say ignorance is bliss. I say Bliss is ignorant.” There was no possible retort save a fist in the mouth, and that of course was prohibited. The adult LRY advisors merely grinned in amused assent, thereby approving a jeer the nuns would have punished instantly – would and did, when something similar was once spat at me by a student at Holy Ghost. But at LRY, the condemnation stuck, so much an echo of the voice of my father, it never failed to sting: another contrast between the hypocrisy of Protestantism and the constancy of Catholicism. Eventually my father stopped insisting I attend LRY, and I never went back.

One of the more sadistic games my father played with me was that of presenting me with impossible choices. Thus when I finished Holy Ghost’s eighth grade, I was offered the choice of attending Knoxville Catholic High School or attending the public high school, (Knox County) Central, that served the area in which my father was building his family a substantial new house. It was an all-or-nothing decision: whatever course I chose, I would not be allowed to change my mind. My instinctive preference was to attend KCHS; I would remain with the friends I had made at Holy Ghost, and I was only a little intimidated by the KCHS academic curricula, which was said to be even more demanding than that of the region’s notably harsh military schools. But by then my relationship with my stepmother was deteriorating badly, and because of her anti-Catholic prejudice, I feared that opting for KCHS would make it many times worse. On the other hand, I knew the public school would subject me to an endless routine of bullying and defensive fighting, which I also dreaded, and I sensed that the public schools’ unwritten policy of pandering to the lowest common intellectual denominator (whether in the classroom or out) would do little or nothing to further my education. But I convinced myself that public school girls might be more amenable to my burgeoning lusts, and on that basis I opted for Central, a decision I soon profoundly regretted. My stepmother’s hostility did not diminish, nor did its escalation decrease, and the bullying was far worse than I imagined: I was a skinny little yankee-accented stranger in a school of hulking, muscular, not-very-bright KuKlux kids who waved rebel flags because they were too benighted to know most of their Appalachian ancestors had supported the North, and I was a prime target from Day One. When I came home from Central beat up, which happened often, my father invariably denounced me for it (“no intestinal fortitude,” “coward,” “shit in your blood,” “sissy,”etc.), and it was obvious I was increasingly miserable there, but just as my father had decreed, I was never granted the mercy of being allowed to reconsider my decision.

My spiritual growth meanwhile stagnated, though in my heart of hearts I remained Catholic, convinced (at least when I was not overwhelmed by guilt resulting from typical adolescent obsession with sex and sexuality) that I had experienced a genuine Baptism by Desire, a hypothetical sacrament then extended by the Church to people who for whatever reason had been denied formal baptism, precisely as I had been as a child. (My mother’s curious insistence that I be denied childhood baptism is one of several extremely compelling reasons I strongly suspect my mother’s murderous Midsummer’s Eve intentions were considerably more ominous than a coincidental and momentary expression of madness.) In any event, when I prayed – on those very rare occasions I felt the need to pray – it was always in classically Catholic prayers: the Hail Mary far more frequently than the Our Father, occasionally even the Act of Contrition. Yet I proclaimed myself Protestant when I enlisted in the Army – after all, never having been granted access to the Sacraments, I had no objective right to call myself a “real” Catholic – but I would nevertheless occasionally go to Mass, and if I entered a church to pray, it was invariably a Catholic church. Finally, in 1978, I laid bare the whole question of my spirituality, discussing it in detail with a nun I had gotten to know through my work in journalism. On the final day of Advent that year, I was both Baptized and Confirmed, and at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass I received my First Communion. Not at all to my surprise, it felt very much like a genuine homecoming, even given the radical changes in liturgy imposed by Vatican II. And though I would drift away from the Church again – particularly during the long miserable years of my clinical depression, when I was even more angry at God than I was bitter at my circumstances – I don’t think I ever doubted the Church would welcome me when I returned. But my spiritual history is ultimately an aside, a topic for another time. What is relevant here is that when I came back to the Church, I began saying prayers at Mass for my dead friends and relatives – among them my father, my mother, my stepmother, my grandparents, my aunts and uncle, silently naming each person in the ritual pauses so intended. Mostly, in response, I sensed either gratitude or nothing at all or. But each time I named my father in those prayers, in my mind I heard only his laughter – his most derisive and scornful laughter, exactly as if he were jeering from beyond the grave, saying, “Ha ha, goon boy, I got you to make a fool of yourself yet again.” I can scarcely doubt that, should I take this question up with my priest, he would suggest I pray for my father all the more determinedly.

In retrospect, the one surprise is not what happened but rather that I should have anticipated anything else. For the ugly truths about which I was in denial are summed up in three episodes: the time during my seventh summer when my father beat me so savagely he broke a one-inch dowel over my legs and buttocks (and then kept me confined at home until my bruises healed); the times, decades later, when my father denounced me to a group of my own friends and to my second wife.

The beating, which inflicted enough genuine physical injury I had difficulty walking for several days, was prompted by the fact I had embarrassed my father and stepmother by participating in the neighborhood children’s comparative anatomy study group. Though I was never more than a low-level player – most of what had gone on, I had no knowledge of – it was vital to my father’s belief in my own infinite repulsiveness that I confess to having been the group’s founder, chief agitator and master pervert. I was none of these things of course, but my father beat me – first with the dowel, then with a wooden ruler that also broke, finally with a heavy leather garrison-belt – until I pled guilty to whatever he demanded. The short-term damage of the soreness, aches and bruises was gone within a matter of weeks. The long-term damage, a crippling instinctive fear of sexual expression, was something from which I never recovered – the sadly prohibitive legacy that afflicts so many abuse victims, the frustrating inability to relax into pleasure, a disconnectedness that worsens with age and finally, in desperation, causes us to welcome (and thus undoubtedly hasten) the abatement of desire the passage of years invariably brings.

But for proof of my father’s sheer malice, nothing exceeds the deliberately malevolent calculation of the denunciations.

The first of these that I know of – and I have no doubt there were many, many others I do not know about – occurred during the summer of 1963, after I had introduced my father to the people who were then my two best friends, a man and his wife, the former ten years older than I, a graduate student and sometimes-instructor of literature and creative writing at the University of Tennessee, the latter a talented artist my own age. At this distance, I don’t remember the purpose of my introduction; perhaps it was just coincidental, or perhaps I was once again attempting to win my father’s approval by demonstrating to him that my friends were indeed not the “fairies and queers” he had once told my stepmother he supposed them to be. Whatever the reason, my father struck up a friendly acquaintanceship with these people and began visiting them at fairly regular intervals. Finally, after several weeks of winning their confidence, he took it upon himself to protect them from me, warning them that whatever I might seem to be, I was ultimately nothing more than an “obnoxious endomorph”: a psycho-physical type that in my father’s lexicon represented the very nadir of repugnance, a person who was not only hideously fat (never mind the fact I was in my skinny post-military prime) but wantonly deceitful and hence completely untrustworthy. I was also – since by my father’s viciously false account I had once tried to burn down a neighbor’s house – potentially dangerous. Significantly, after thoroughly slandering me, my father never visited my friends again. His entire malicious purpose – gaining just enough credibility to provide himself with a platform from which to voice his loathing – was thus painfully obvious.

Six years later my second wife would telephone my father and get an even bigger dose of the same sort of vindictive defamation. She and I had been separated nearly a year by then, but we had accidentally met in public, and the meeting had rekindled our desire, and she had contacted my father in the vain hope he might give her some advice on how best to engineer a true reconciliation. Instead what she got was a breathtaking earful of venom that included the statement she should be thankful our child had been born dead, because my mother was insane, and I (and any children I might conceive) undoubtedly therefore carried the genetic taint of predilection toward madness. After all, in the Bliss family, it was common knowledge I was just as crazy as my mother: I had once attempted to burn down a neighbor’s house, and I had a long history of deceitfulness, cowardice and failure. My second wife was much better off without me, my father said, and instead of thinking about reconciliation, she should instead think about finalizing her escape as quickly as possible. She was initially stunned beyond words, though soon she felt compelled to warn me of my father’s hatefulness. But – cravenly in denial as always – I tried to make her into the villain instead. My second wife knows who she is; if by some chance she is reading this, I offer her my heartfelt apology.

In this context it is interesting that three of my four younger half sisters claim my father and stepmother never discussed me – good or bad – with any one or all of the four. But my father and stepmother did not need to; they let their reactions speak for themselves. My father and stepmother were absolutely silent about my achievements, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge any of them, while at every opportunity they battered me with verbal and often physical abuse, whether deserved or not. My stepmother belittled my early accomplishments in journalism (“why don’t you stop trying to be some kind of big shot and just go into business like a normal person”), even as my father speculated loudly that if I ever made it to college, I would invariably disgrace him, so that whatever my younger half-sisters saw in my interaction with my father and stepmother, it was always a living tableaux of absolute parental contempt in every-day action. Ditto for my older half-brothers and half-sister, the offspring of my father and his first wife – though I have some evidence, mostly via my own former wives, that my father did indeed badmouth me resoundingly to my two half-brothers. Ditto for my half-brothers’ children and even their in-law kindred too. The only exceptions – my only paternal relatives sturdy enough to throw off the lingering influence of my father’s hatred – are one of my younger half-sisters and two of my oldest half-brother’s six children, a niece and a nephew.

Final proof of the duration of my father’s viciousness would come to me last winter, when from the mouth of the in-law who in late 2002 bought the land on which I had lived since 1993, promised to save my home forever and then scarcely more than a year later evicted me from it, I would increasingly hear the selfsame expressions of scorn and contempt I once heard from my father, delivered with precisely the same hateful glee and malicious relish. Had I not been in denial, I would never have allowed myself to be vulnerable. Thus was I driven from land I loved so much that almost every night before retiring I instinctively gave thanks for its beauty and rural solitude and quiet. Thus am I forced to live out the rest of my life in the fearful oppressed-by-junkies discord of the city and the defacto prison of senior citizen housing, from which (because of economic restrictions) there is no escape save death. Thus am I denied the company of dogs forever, and thereby condemned – for as long as I remain alive – to an existence as emotionally barren as this last Christmas. Thus have I been transformed: once a man who loved life, now I am shrinking to a man who welcomes death, for whom death cannot come too soon. In the treachery of my in-law I have at long last been forced to acknowledge the awful magnitude and endurance of my father’s hatred.

Posted by Loren at 07:13 AM | Comments (0)


THE EMOTIONAL COALS AND switches I found in my stocking this Christmas were mostly the self-inflicted consequences of a diabolically insidious form of dishonesty – that infinite folly we humans call Hope, further perverted by weakness into Denial: the most convincing proof of Original Sin I have yet encountered. My mother, father and stepmother are all long dead – my father since 1971, my stepmother since 1982 and my mother since 1995 – but the legacy of their abusiveness (and my own denial-intensified difficulties in dealing with that legacy) will probably not die until I am myself naught but ashes scattered on running water.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never been in denial about the scars my mother inflicted on me, but until this past year – until I had a chance to experience it in all its malignant fullness – the magnitude of the contempt my father bequeathed to me through his sons and daughters and kinfolk remained beyond my ability to comprehend. His abhorrence was too violent, too huge, and – just as he always said – I was too weak and too afraid to confront it. Until now: this writing, which is in two parts, is thus an amends with myself and others, a penance, perhaps even a step toward the ultimately greater healing of more pointed honesty.

Which is not to let my mother off the proverbial hook. Nor myself: probably the only reason I was never in denial about my mother’s behavior is that I had no choice but to accept it at face value, especially the campaigns of in-person or telephonic hatefulness with which she assaulted every woman who ever came into my life for more than a night or a weekend. I was forced to accept these infuriating onslaughts merely because they were the byproduct of my mother’s madness and there was thus absolutely nothing I could do to stop them or even defend against them. For that very reason – my mother’s insanity and the spitefulness it so often bred and the fact her family mostly refused to protect me (or anyone else) from it and the corollary fact it was exactly analogous to living with hurricanes or under a volcano or atop a seismically active fault – I knew it was absurd to expect anything else. I also knew it was hopeless to imagine even for a second my mother would not eventually win: that is, pointless for me to entertain so much as a scintilla of hope my mother would not succeed in driving off any woman who might have imagined herself enamored of me.

My mother did just that with both my wives – my second wife the one woman who (briefly) believed herself enough fond of me to conceive our child, a child who is no doubt better off for having been born dead and thus spared the parenting of beings too emotionally crippled for the task. (Else why – were my wives themselves not emotionally defective – would they have been drawn to me in the first place?) My mother also frightened off every other woman I became involved with, until I finally gave up the whole notion of romantic involvement: whatever attraction a woman might feel for me, it could not possibly ever be powerful enough to resist my mother’s unavoidable presence in the relational equation, specifically my mother’s antagonistic onslaughts that – thanks to Alexander Graham Bell – could span an entire continent.

But the bottom line here is that my mother was crazy – hatefully crazy, yes, but crazy nevertheless – and like all crazy persons, her only power was the power of disruption. And I would again be guilty of the sin of denial if I did not also make it clear all these women she drove out of my life would almost certainly have eventually abandoned me anyway, my mother’s antagonism not withstanding. As I wrote on Christmas Eve, I am simply not sufficiently loveable to be worth the trouble of enduring the rabid onslaughts of a crazy relative. Indeed I am the human equivalent of a dog no one wanted, and the only times I have gotten in trouble in my life are the occasions that, for one reason or another – invariably some physical or emotional weakness – I have deluded myself into forgetting that fact – another form of denial. In the final analysis I cannot not-forgive my mother, and I now pray she has found peace in the hereafter.

My father is quite another story. He was unquestionably sane, logical, brilliant, and as a Mensa he claimed an IQ of 180, 45 points brighter than me. He was the product of some of America’s finest private schools, and he was to have attended Gill University in Toronto, but the Crash of 1929 wiped out his family’s fortune and left him and his mother utterly destitute, which endowed him with both a consuming bitterness against capitalism and a fanatically unforgiving attitude toward human weakness of any kind.

His loathing of me – more contempt than hatred – was without bottom, and the manner in which he engineered its metastasis throughout his offspring and kin is as sadistically cunning as anything I have encountered. From 1945 onward – from the time he failed in his effort to abandon me in a Virginia orphanage – he treated me with nothing but scorn, as if I were the most repugnant creature he had ever met. Admittedly I was damaged goods – very badly damaged goods, damaged beyond repair, in fact – as is any child who has somehow survived a mother’s attempt on his or her life. And my father, who had consulted with a child psychologist, clearly understood the source, magnitude and depth of my wounds. But it did not matter: he simply did not care. I was an embarrassment, a “problem child,” a bad investment, and just as he would later deny me any and all financial aid for college (pointedly telling me I was “not worth it”), so in 1948 he would refuse to squander any of his hard-earned money on obtaining psychological help for someone who was so patently beyond salvation. If I did not find the strength to overcome life’s setbacks, too bad – my failure would merely supply additional proof of the inferiority of the unwanted creature spawned by the miasma of my mother’s womb. My father already regarded me as hopelessly stupid: hence his favorite pejorative for me, “goon boy.” He also considered me genetically deficient, something better to have been discarded in an abortionist’s garbage can: “You’re just like your mother,” he often said. “You have shit in your blood.”

Moreover I was a physical weakling, not only small for my age but woefully uncoordinated (another symptom of dyslexia), and I was thus abysmally inept at the feats of skill so important to building self-esteem during male childhood, which burdened me with a frightened reluctance to compete – a reluctance my father constantly belittled as cowardice. But why try to catch a ball when I knew I was so uncoordinated, I could not reliably prevent the ball from smashing me in the face? Why climb a tree when I knew I would lose my balance and fall? Though eventually I would play junior-high football – not out of any love for the sport, but rather in a hopeless and thus pathetic attempt to win some respect from my father – my father nevertheless demonstrated his unending scorn: he refused to attend even one of my games.

My father’s attempt to dump me in the Virginia orphanage was a telling enough example of family dynamics it deserves further description, not the least because I believe a small degree of the hatefulness my father expressed 20 years later toward his third and final wife (my stepmother, and the mother of the younger four of my half-sisters) was an expression of his lingering suspicion she had helped me escape the orphanage trap. As indeed she did – probably because of some maternal instinct toward me my father later managed to bully her out of with his constant insistence I was worthless, inferior, even criminal. Which my father accomplished in less than two years: when I was six, I was with three or four other children who lit a tiny fire – a child’s-handful of crumpled oak leaves – in the three-foot-high space beneath a Florida house. Of course the fire was ill-advised; much of what children do is ill-advised. But my father welcomed the fire as a rationale for my total damnation: he convinced my stepmother I had been the ringleader of a band of arsonists, and that our intent had been to burn the house down. None of this was true; it was winter, and some of these kids were not allowed inside their homes (save for meals) during daylight hours. The fire, not only scarcely larger than a candle-flame but in a hole carefully scooped out of the sand, was for warmth. We were under the house to get out of the rain, and I was there merely because the other children were my playmates. But my father nevertheless triumphed: he seized upon this incident to convince my stepmother I was not only burdensome but evil, and soon the damage was done. From then on – predictably – my stepmother and I grew ever more distant and ever more mutually distrustful.

For a time, however, my stepmother was very kind to me. And whatever our final differences, she died an undeservedly ugly death of Huntington’s Chorea, and I pray her soul rests in peace.

My stepmother knew I had witnessed the struggle between my mother and father on the night my father saved my life – a struggle that was truly mortal combat, as horrifically violent as anything I have ever seen in all my 64 years. Its details are etched forever on my consciousness. My mother, disarmed of the butcher knife with which she had intended to consummate her Summer Solstice Eve sacrifice, tried to strangle my father with his neck-tie, a solid-color, probably rough-silk neck-tie that was one of his favorites, an attractive shade of middle green. But my mother yanked so hard she jammed the tie against its knot and then, as my mother and father wrestled and fought on the living room floor, she chewed the tie to ribbons, her frothy spittle darkening its ragged edges. When the Roanoke police arrived, it took my father plus six male officers plus a neighborhood MD with a horse-syringe full of sedative to subdue her.

Somehow – I know nothing of my stepmother’s girlhood or young adulthood beyond the fact she came from mid-level Virginia aristocracy – she understood those events had left me terrified beyond terror, and she empathized accordingly. She was of course right: I had shrunk into emotional numbness and physical near-paralysis, huddling in the corner of the living-room sofa until the police carried my mother out strapped to a litter. Despite her bonds and shackles, my mother was singing, as if in triumph: “The Battle-Hymn of the Republic,” a hideously off-key rendition of an otherwise-good song – a song I have ever since been unable to bear hearing – my mother’s breath-strained gasping effort no doubt motivated by some demented word-salad association with her maternal grandfather’s role as a Northern hero in the Civil War. But then my mother was gone – the sudden distance I felt from her was truly unbridgeable – and the other adults had all stepped outside for final consultations with the police before my mother was hauled off to jail. For a moment I was utterly alone – as indeed I would be, metaphorically speaking, for the remainder of my life. At that point our dog Cocoa must have slipped into the living room, taken my arm in her mouth, led me to her bed in the maid’s pantry and nosed me into its doggy-scented safety. Or perhaps I somehow got myself to Cocoa’s bed; that part I no longer remember. In any case, when I finally slept that night, it was on and under Cocoa’s blankets, and only because I was secure in the knowledge Cocoa ferociously stood guard over me, snarling with bared fangs and raised hackles whenever anyone approached. Cocoa was a big big dog, a huge English setter of that old-time stature seldom seen today, probably close to 90 pounds, and her protectiveness was formidable as any Rottweiler’s. Cocoa would let no one – not even my father – near me until the next day.

I was of course still in shock from all of this when maybe six weeks later the social worker (perhaps the most coldly intrusive human I have ever met) came to measure me for the orphanage. My stepmother clearly knew of my befuddled state too. But my stepmother (at that time, still merely my father’s secretary, thus technically only my stepmother-to-be) in this one instance apparently answered more to her conscience than to the demands of my father, and she somehow managed to warn me not to disclose in detail any of my feelings about what had happened – especially my sense I was now aggressively unwanted, or my newfound belief that Cocoa was God and Santa Clause and the Great Mother all in one – the only dependable protector left in my entire world. I heeded my stepmother’s warning and thus I lied, repeatedly assuring the social worker all was well. Thus too I escaped the buggery and other forms of soul-destroying brutality that are said to be characteristic of the orphanage life.

A little more than four decades later, reflecting in 1987 on the dire consequences of that and every other choice I ever made, I would realize that my life is undeniably accursed – that the outcome would have been grim and bad no matter what direction I turned in. Admittedly I was clinically depressed at the time – the trigger of my depression was the fire that had destroyed all my work – but even without the fire, I had every reason to be depressed: such is the legacy (according to all folklore of every culture) of the would-be sacrificial victim who by skill or happenstance manages to escape death. But even knowing that, I cannot not-forgive my mother.

And as I noted in my Christmas Eve piece, my mother’s relatives were generally kindly toward me – mostly distant, but kindly nevertheless – or if not kindly, at least they were never aggressively hostile, as my father’s people so often were. But there it is: Apart from my mother (who because of her madness remained unpredictably, explosively violent until her final confinement), my mother’s people never once laid a hand on me nor ever habitually battered me with deliberately hurtful insults. It was always my father who was predominantly abusive – as free with the back of his hand or a steel ruler (or the one-inch wooden dowel he once beat me with until it broke) as he was with calculated belittlement. It was thus predictably my father’s children – in fact all but one of my seven half-siblings he sired on other wives – who kept alive his contempt. Hence the self-induced blindness of denial for which I cannot really forgive myself: that I did not allow myself to realize this distinction between my father’s people and my mother’s people until far too late to act upon it. I owe my mother’s family a great apology, one I can never voice save in prayer, because most of my mother’s relatives are already dead. The ancient lesson is once again obvious: carpe diem – seize the day, before it is evermore too late. (To be continued.)

Posted by Loren at 05:03 AM | Comments (1)

December 24, 2004


OF COURSE I WISH everyone a Merry Christmas. But I don’t feel at all merry this year, and instead of hiding that fact as we have all been brought up to do (lest we somehow blemish someone else’s almighty Christmas parade of materialistic wallowing), I’m going to write about my feelings, and I warn you in advance that while it may at times achieve poetic power, it will not be pretty. Not at all. Or maybe it will include some beauty by default – because in truth this IS somewhat like the writing of a poem: an emotional outpouring leading I know not where, an electronic nakedness that, good or bad, is my Christmas gift to those of you who read this site and may sometimes wonder about who its author really is, and what he might be like in person.

One of the very few positive things I can say about “my” family is that no matter how much my father and stepmother wished I were dead or that I had never been born – and it was painfully clear this was their normal attitude toward me – they also believed Christmas should be a time of familial solidarity and good cheer. The resultant amnesty, typically from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, was intended only for my half-siblings, but by proximity it included even me. It was thus a truly blessed time – the only time of year I was not subjected to daily reminders of how infinitely resented and utterly despised I was in that household – and a sense of the emotional specialness of the holiday season has stayed with me ever since. It was powerful enough even to momentarily counteract the clinical depression that laid me low during the late 1980s and – denied treatment as I was by Washington state’s feminist quota-mongers – beset me well into the 1990s. Thus even during those years of psychological near-paralysis I could manage to arise from the depths of despair long enough to celebrate Christmas in my own way. Because I cannot justify paying someone to kill a tree for my seasonal pleasure, I would go into the woods with my dogs and gather evergreen boughs that had been downed by the Pacific Northwest’s solstice-time storms, then trim the boughs and weave them into a dining-table centerpiece I decorated with blue glass Christmas balls. I would surround the centerpiece with the faux-presents of the cards sent me by my few remaining friends and the dwindling number of kinfolk who chose to acknowledge my existence. Merry Christmas.

Often – not every year but often – I would light a Christmas Eve candle, especially during the decades I was too alienated from the Church to attend even a once-a-year Midnight Mass, and when I lived alone with my dogs in the country, I would set the candle in a window, there to burn all night. But this year my despair is too deep to climb out of. Thus I have not done any of these things, and I will probably not do any of them ever again.

There is more I need to explain: I put quotes around “my” whenever I use it as an adjective modifying “family” because in truth I have had no family of my own since the Summer Solstice Eve of 1945. I had turned five that March. On the solstice eve, my mother intended to murder me; she failed only because my father happened to arrive home from work about five minutes early – an error he obviously regretted, because once my mother was out of his life (granted sanctuary by her parents and ultimately sent to a funny-farm), my father promptly tried to dump me in a state orphanage, an effort that failed only because the local court would not allow him to shirk his parental responsibility. Thus when my father divorced my mother and wed his secretary, I remained under my father’s roof, never again anything more than an unwelcome burden, and constantly belittled accordingly – save during the Christmas-holiday amnesty of course. Had I been female, it might have been half a Cinderella tale, unappreciated chores and all, though without ever a Prince Charming, and most certainly without any happy ending.

My birth-mother’s people became understandably distant too – given the values of the 1940s, the matrimonial failure I represented was a huge embarrassment and a monstrous social liability as well – but, even so, my mother’s people were also kind (a quality in which my father’s kin were utterly deficient), though I would not have an opportunity to appreciate this fact until my mother was again a free woman and got summertime custody of me – something that terrified me at first (for obvious reasons) but with which I made peace merely because I had no alternative.

During that first summer of compulsory visitation, 1948, my mother’s people learned to their great dismay that I could not read even after two years in school: I am dyslexic, and my teachers were trying to teach me to read by word-recognition, which is as futile as trying to teach a blind man color, and which had given my father and stepmother opportunities aplenty to demonstrate their bottomless vexation at my existence. My difficulties (and the mental retardation they seemed to indicate) had already prompted my father to nick-name me “goon boy,” a pejorative he applied mercilessly whenever I did not measure up to his standards – in other words, constantly (though never during the Christmas amnesty). But an aunt, my mother’s older sister – soon and ever-after my favorite relative of all time – rescued me from my reading difficulties, hiring a tutor who taught me phonics: by the end of Third Grade, I was reading at a 12th Grade level. Indeed but for her I would probably still be semi-literate at best, and my gratitude is beyond description: my aunt gave me not only my entire career in journalism, but my entire intellect as well.

The very best part of those summers with my mother and her people was the fact my maternal grandparents had a “cottage” – a hunting and fishing cabin – on the South Branch of Michigan’s Au Sable River, then (as now) one of the world’s legendary trout streams, and in the long-ago years of my boyhood, a region blessedly near to being genuine wilderness, beyond the reach of telephones and electricity, well-water sweet and outhouse-primitive. It was there my grandfather and my uncle taught me to fish for trout, and it was there I learned how to make the woods and water my sanctuary. All that was missing was my dog – the big white and brown English setter Cocoa who had become my sole friend and protector on that awful Summer Solstice Eve in 1945 when I learned that no humans (not even one’s mother) can ever be trusted, Cocoa who was later “put to sleep” – killed for protecting me from one of my stepmother’s rages. I remember the Christmas after Cocoa was executed: 1946. I wanted Cocoa back. I missed her so much I sometimes cried myself to sleep – ever fearful my father would discover my tears and spank me for being a “sissy.” I wanted Cocoa back but I was afraid to say that and so instead I asked for “a toy dog on wheels.” Merry Christmas.

And I suppose it was then I began to know my fate. Or maybe it was a few years later on one of those long slow summer days I spent as a solitary teenager on the Au Sable, wading the river down from the High Banks or Rainbow Pool, fishing its holes and the edges of its currents and relishing the deep cool shade of the overhanging cedars, casting across the clear cold water with an eight-foot Tonkin-cane fly-rod, utterly content with my solitude but nevertheless wishing with all my youthful lustfulness for a girl, a Love – yet already knowing sure as moonrise that truly being loved by a fellow human was something this life would never allow me to experience. For in the human species, even a mother’s love is conditional and contingent. In the human realm, one has to earn love, even from one’s mother. One has to measure up, if one is to be loved. And I didn’t. Though I have never understood the exact nature of my failings, I didn’t measure up at age 5, I didn’t measure up at age 16, I didn’t measure up ever. And now it is too late, so it really doesn’t matter any more – which is no doubt precisely why I can talk about it.

The one thing in this life of which I am absolutely certain is that the circumstances of my childhood left me so psychologically damaged that my quest for love – for the love and affection of humans, that is, including the romantic love of women – was doomed before it ever started. There is no greater or more incontrovertible proof that one is both unloved and un-loveable than the ultimate rejection that is expressed when a mother turns murderous toward her own child. And woe to the child who survives: no psychotherapy on earth can ever heal his wounds, and no amount of makeup will ever hide his scars enough to enable him to be loveable. I knew that bitter truth even as a teenager, but as teenagers we are seldom wise enough to recognize our wisdom. Thus I allowed a succession of false-tongued therapists to assure me my wounds could be healed – that I could be made loveable to women – when in fact I knew better, when in fact the sole purpose of all such therapists is to heal their own egos (or finances) instead. Thus too I filled my life with false hopes – until a long succession of failed relationships finally convinced me, in my 38th year, that the truth of my ultimate unloveability, the truth I had glimpsed as a teenager, was as inescapable as my own flesh and bone. In my 38th year, I at last admitted to myself the bitter truth that no woman had ever looked at me with love in her eyes. Now, in my 64th year, it is still true. No woman has ever looked at me with love in her eyes. Not even once. There, I have said it: I am simply too emotionally damaged, too emotionally crippled, too emotionally malformed. Too emotionally ugly.

(I should point out here that, based on what I have seen in my years as a social-issues writer, most of the traumas inflicted by abusive parents can be ameliorated. The murderous-mother syndrome seems to be the one absolute exception. The problem is that most shrinks hate to admit defeat. They take it personally when a condition is incurable. Hence they lie...)

With but two exceptions, I have lived by the too-damaged-to-be-loved truth ever since it became undeniable in 1978. One exception was long ago, my archetypical middle-aged man’s last-tango fling with a woman 22 years my junior: of course she broke my heart, but the woman – a tiny elfin-faced flame-haired sculptress – was truly brilliant and truly beautiful, and even now I believe the pleasure of her company was well worth the subsequent anguish of her rejection. But for the second exception I have not even the excuse of lust; age relieved me of that burden years ago, and I was merely (moronically) hopeful of human companionship in my declining years, this with someone I had known since childhood and thus trusted, as much as I can trust any human: hence the brief relationship that ended with my forcible ouster from my 11-year country home – the ouster that maliciously allowed me so little time to move, I was forced into “senior citizen” housing, the restrictions of which not only compelled me to give up my dogs, but prohibit me from ever having dogs again, and confine me here with no hope of exit save death. Merry Christmas.

The same night in 1945 I learned that, among humans, even a mother’s love is conditional, I also learned that, among canines, love is always UNconditional. No matter how detestable I had become to my parents, Cocoa remained my protector, and she was faithful unto death. That utterly dependable faithfulness is characteristic of every dog I have ever known – or known of. It is no doubt why – a very tiny number of true friends excepted – I prefer the company of dogs to the company of humans. I think of dogs as very close to sacred, closer than anything else I know. They are my one reliable connection to the beyond-me – my link to both the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.

Having lived in close day-by-day contact with dogs for nearly 20 years, I know that dogs think in scents in the same way humans think in words. The name by which one dog knows another is in fact a smell, the perception of which is so subtle, no two dogs ever smell the same. We have vocabulary; dogs have scent. But dogs have no scent-equivalent (the canine form of literacy) that means “betrayal.” Treachery is unknown to dogs. Which, it seems to me, links the unconditional love we get from dogs with the unconditional love we (maybe, theoretically, hypothetically) get from Goddess, God or Jesus. The one is metaphor for the other – living metaphor, in fact, including metaphors for forgiveness and redemption. Not to mention the divine purpose of dogs, if indeed one believes in such a thing as divine purposefulness. Which sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

Whether dogs are divinely purposeful or not, the simple fact is that I love dogs – I love them more than anything else in the world or out of it. I love their shape, their feel, their smell. I love their character and their absolute honesty and their sheer physicality and, most of all, their rough affectionateness.

Indeed I assumed I would never be parted from dogs. I assumed I would never be so confined in barrenness that I would be forbidden the wonderful ritual of love – the leaping bodies and cold-nosed kisses – with which my dogs always welcomed me home, whether I had been gone an hour or a day.

After the 1983 fire, when my two book manuscripts went up in smoke and all my photographs were burned to ash, I knew fate had not only denied me the brass ring forever, but had done so with particular cruelty, tearing it away just as it seemed within my grasp, and I knew that, so obviously was I accursed, I would never be allowed such opportunities again. Of course I plodded on, but I no longer expected anything in the way of recognition or reward – the fire had taken all those hopes from me already – and I sought only to survive, to make my own way with as little strife as possible. Even though I could imagine disasters aplenty, I never thought life would deny me dogs: their companionship afoot or in my car, the comforting sense of their watchful presence in or around my house, their warm bulk atop the covers beside me in bed at night, the thumping tails and canine grins that always signal morning wake-up time in a house where contented dogs live. But all this expression of love is gone from my life now, and because of my circumstances – chiefly the income limits that confine me here for the remainder of my years just as surely as if I were locked into some prison – it is gone forever. Denied dogs, I am denied the last vestige of any emotional reason to live. Denied dogs, I will never again be allowed to experience what it is to love and be loved, not in this life, and the unspeakably awful emptiness to which I am thus condemned is already shrinking me like some withering leaf: a man who once relished living, I am dwindling to a man who welcomes death. Yes, I wish you a Merry Christmas, but I hope you’ll understand if I decline your invitation to go caroling.

Posted by Loren at 11:47 PM | Comments (3)

December 23, 2004


I AM BATTING VERY badly these days, batting so badly I am giving serious consideration to never batting again. Though I once and indeed for most of my life took great pride in my research and investigation skills, my abysmal computer illiteracy has finally tripped me up badly, with the result I stupidly attempted to find some numerical data on the Internet only to make a truly moronic mistake and thus be taught the undeniable and infinitely humiliating lesson that – as good a researcher as I was in libraries and government archives using old-time card-catalogues and hard-copy documents – I am utterly worthless when it comes to data research via the Internet, and given my age it is unlikely I will ever be any better than worthless, which means that, at the very least, I should henceforth always caution readers whenever I am using Internet data to which I cannot link directly. But what shames me is not just the sting of discovering that my skill has been rendered useless by a machine; it is also the fact that my intelligence is clearly deteriorating with age, proof of which are my other two infinitely stupid errors: my vote for George Bush in the presidential election, and my vote for Christine Gregoire in the Washington state gubernatorial contest.

Taking the two political blunders first because they are each halves of the same even greater personal folly, note my equally impassioned commitments to a ten-amendment Bill of Rights, a strong national defense (especially in the sense of war against the Islamic enemy of American liberty and indeed all civilization), and a functional social safety-net. Given the political realities of Enron Nation, it is not possible in today’s America to find a single party that is true to all ten amendments (especially the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth amendments), that supports a properly muscular military establishment, and that genuinely believes the Christian notion the true measurement of a society is how it treats its poor and disabled. The Republicans are good on defense and claim (often falsely) to defend the Second Amendment, but just as George Bush told his professors at Harvard Business School, the GOP believes the poor are poor merely because they’re lazy, and Republican social policies (including policies toward the disabled) are accordingly vicious. The Democrats claim (often falsely) to be the protectors of the poor and the disabled, but the truth is that here in Enron Nation, the Democrats are as indifferent to the poor and disabled as the Republicans are hostile. But the Democrats at least sometimes go through the motions.

Hence my two votes: Bush for president, as a vote for the defense of the nation against Islam, and Gregoire for governor, as a vote to preserve Washington state’s social safety net against the War-on-the-Poor depredations of the Bush League and the Republican Congress. (Hence too the one vote I do not regret now and will not ever regret in the future: for George Nethercutt against Patty Murray, as much a protest-vote against the Subversive in Sneakers as a vote for a stalwart defense .)

The errors in my two mistaken votes were the very worst kind of errors – errors of assumption.

In the case of my vote for Bush, I assumed the GOP would increase its margin in the House and would unquestionably defeat Obstructionist Democrat Tom Daschle but would otherwise gain no further ground in the Senate. This, I reasoned, would protect the social safety net from the worst of the Bush League’s schemes for resurrecting the Herbert Hoover economy even as a Bush presidency gave us the robust military we desperately need (and will need for at least another hundred years) to defeat Islam’s most recent escalation of its 1400-year war against civilization.

Similar reasoning prompted my vote for Gregoire: she is a pragmatist on the Second Amendment (she publicly opposed feminist/pacifist demands for draconian restrictions on concealed carry privileges and she is rumored to favor shooting-range protection laws), and there was no question she would defend the socioeconomic safety net. Just as there was no doubt that – as a conservative Republican and thus a sworn enemy of the social safety net – Dino Rossi would savage it. (Another factor in my own anti-Rossi thinking was his connection with the real-estate Republicans, who in their obscenely greedy enthusiasm to convert shooting ranges into suburban developments have for years betrayed the Second Amendment community by siding with anti-gun Democrats to obstruct passage of shooting-range protection laws, with the result that Washington is – or so I am told – the only western state that lacks them.) Gregoire, I believed, would at the very least reign in the Democratic Party’s anti-gun radicals and – to the best of her ability – she would also protect the poor and disabled from the Bush League.

What happened in either instance was much different from what I anticipated.

In the national election, the Republicans also swept the Senate, which means there is absolutely nothing to stop Bush from imposing the entire Ronald Reagan domestic agenda: total destruction of the New Deal and complete restoration of the Herbert Hoover economy, especially its system of two castes: the plutocrats in one class, and all the rest of us in the other, all of us downsized, outsourced and generally disempowered people who at the very best are only a few paychecks from homelessness – those of us the old-time Reds used to call “the proletariat.” Mistake number one: I assumed the Republican hostility to the poor and the disabled would be politically counterbalanced, and I was wrong. As I said already, I voted against myself and my socioeconomic class, and I am not only sorry but ashamed.

In the state election, I assumed Gregoire would win by a healthy margin; she was ahead something like 15 percentage points a week before the vote. But that’s not what happened – and the way Gregoire won amounts to a defacto coup. To understand how this is so, it is necessary to know something about Washington state politics – especially the fact that the state’s Democratic majority includes a substantial proportion of rural and/or union-member (and thus decidedly pro-Second Amendment) voters whose values are not much different from my own: strong national defense, strong 10-amendment Bill of Rights, strong socioeconomic safety net. But in Seattle and King County and in Bellingham, there is an entirely different kind of party, Democratic in name only and in truth matrifascist to the core: this is the party of Sen. Patty Murray, the radical feminist who makes no secret of her hatred for all that is symbolized by “a white man in a necktie” and her love for “war against the white patriarchy” as symbolized by Osama bin Laden; the party of Rep. Jim McDermott, one of matrifascism’s useful idiot-eunuchs, more favorably disposed to Saddam Hussein than to the president of the United States. Had Gregoire won by the anticipated 15-point margin, she would have claimed a mandate from the Democratic rationalists – the farmers, the union members, the commercial fishers and loggers – and she would have wisely invested this political capital in staving off the extremism of the Seattle/King County/Bellingham faction. Indeed, the political insiders I know tell me Gregoire’s intention was to show the entire nation how the Democratic Party had finally outgrown its self-defeating personal-as-political dementia and was at last returning to its definitively pragmatic New Deal roots – yet another factor that prompted my vote. But now, because of the defacto coup by which Gregoire became governor, all of these hopes are demolished – reduced to nothing save the intellectual rubble that tells me I made (another) grave error.

It’s not Gregoire’s victory that makes me regret my vote for her. It’s the truly horrific reality implicit in the way she won – a reality that may require further explanation: Older readers will remember how Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley stole the 1960 presidential election from Richard Nixon by massive vote fraud and gave the presidency to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. What most people do not know is that from then until 1972, when the Daley forces were at last ousted by the coalition that (unfortunately) celebrated its triumph by nominating George McGovern, Daley and his machine ran the national Democratic Party in much the same way Hitler ran Germany: Daley’s word was law. (Hubert Humphrey’s 1968 candidacy would have been impossible without Daley’s approval, and the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention were part of the reaction to Daley’s tyranny.) Similar tyrannical relationships, built on similar coups, were characteristic of local Democratic politics: the Haig and Kenny machines in Hudson County, New Jersey, and the Crump machine in Memphis. Because each of these county bosses delivered critical votes, they (and their local party apparatchiks) became absolute dictators. And thus it will be in Washington state now that the Seattle/King County Democratic machine has handed Gregoire the governorship.

What this means is that Washington state will now be ruled by the Seattle/King County Democrats: the most ruthlessly matrifascist Democratic Party apparatus in the nation, run by Patty Murray and Jim McDermott and their hand-picked puppets. It is the most hysterically anti-gun, most viciously anti-white-male, most rabidly anti-American, most vindictively politically “correct,” most stridently female-supremacist Democratic organization in all the 50 states. It is so far Left it has come (via its gender and racial bias) fully Right: its ideology is ultimately an especially perverse form of National Socialism, with “all power to the Aryans” replaced by “all power to womyn and oppressed minorities.” It is utterly impossible for people who have not encountered it first-hand to imagine its venomous zealotry. It is all the subversive evil of matrifascism personified, and it is now in total control of Washington state. Because of the magnitude of the marker it collected by delivering the governor’s mansion, it now owns Gregoire , it now owns the legislature, and it now owns the state.

I have already discussed what this will probably mean for Washington state gun owners, but I will say it again. The King County Democrats have sought total abolition of Second Amendment rights in this state at least since the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s, they nearly succeeded in sneaking a total semi-auto ban through the legislature, and Gov. Booth Gardner would have signed it had it not been defeated at the last minute. In 1994, Seattle/King County Democrats pushed through a state law criminalizing any mental disorder for which the outpatient treatment-period was greater than two calendar weeks, a maliciously anti-gunowner measure that Second Amendment advocates cravenly accepted with submissive silence but which was finally (and courageously) vetoed by Gov. Mike Lowry after intense lobbying by mental-health professionals and veterans’ organizations. In 1997, Seattle/King County Democrats organized Initiative 676, which under the guise of mandatory “gun safety training” would have imposed New-York-City type licensing and registration on the whole state. All of these anti-gun horrors will no doubt come back to life again in this year’s legislature. Gun shows will be prohibited. Mandatory storage will be imposed – mandatory storage as in Canada or Washington D.C., where all firearms not only have to be locked in safes but kept disassembled (and thus rendered useless for self-defense). Concealed carry permits may well be abolished. And because of the debt she and her fellow Democrats owe the Seattle/King County party apparatus, Gregoire and her more rationally minded colleagues cannot resist the anti-Second Amendment onslaught. It is the Washington state version of the Daley/Haig/Kenny/Crump syndrome, and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it until 2008.

The other horrific impact of Seattle/King County dominance will be on the very social services I voted for Gregoire to preserve. Here's how:

For most of the Gardner years, for all of the Lowry years, and for the first part of the Gary Locke years, the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services was a matrifascist dictatorship within a state that was already becoming more feminarchy than democratic republic. DSHS feminists began scheming in the early 1980s to use Reagan Administration welfare cutbacks as camouflage for restructuring social services “in accordance with feminist doctrine” – the demand that males be denied all such stipends and services (including veterans’ benefits) until women are granted absolute economic parity. By the late 1980s, the restructuring was complete: hence the pointedly hateful quota-mongering that deprived thousands of Caucasian males desperately needed vocational rehabilitation or medical and psychological treatment. Females meanwhile – including even middle-class females – were given carte blanche access to social services of every imaginable sort. Some of the most unfortunate victims of DSHS prejudice were Vietnam veterans – men whose veterans’ benefits were repeatedly denied by the institutionalized miserliness of the Reagan-era Veterans Administration, men who were literally flung into homelessness by DSHS everything-for-“womyn,” nothing-for-males policies. Hence too the DSHS-feminist “boys-will-be-boys” malice that led directly to the savage wave of homosexual rape at the now-infamous OK Boys Ranch (for which Google).

But sometime around 1998, the ideological pendulum began to reverse itself. Whether Governor Locke deliberately set out to break the matrifascist stranglehold on DSHS, or whether it simply dwindled of its own accord, I do not know – if the former, Locke surely deserves epic honors for bravery. In any case, the social-services access situation improved to the point that a desperate or temporarily disabled white male could again turn to the system with reasonable assurance of getting real help – not a haughty bureaucratic brush-off or a life-destroying re-diagnosis maliciously intended to condemn him to permanent unemployability. But given the unabashed anti-white-male hatred of Patty Murray and the Seattle/King County Democrats in general, the probability is that all of the Locke-era achievements (which Gregoire the moderate would have defended and even fostered) will now be undone. And in this era of renewed warfare, with thousands of veterans returning home to face another Republican-run (and thus determinedly stingy) VA, the resulting crisis will be many times the magnitude of the tragedy I witnessed in the ‘80s. This is the very opposite of what I thought I was voting for, but because of the Seattle/King County coup, this is almost certainly what I will get. I am sorry I voted for Gregoire. Not only was I wrong, I was guilty of abysmally sloppy thinking to imagine – even for a second – that Gregoire would ever be allowed to retain her independence from the Seattle/King County extremists.

I was also wrong about something far more personal: the amount deducted for Medicare Part B premiums from my monthly Social Security pension. And as a consequence of being wrong, I owe the poster who goes by the screen-name of Dragonslayer a personal apology, which I will e-mail (with a link to this eating of bitter crow) as soon as I finish it. The correct sum, confirmed by a Medicare document I misplaced during the recent move, is $66.60, not the $58.70 I mistakenly plucked from an Internet site – a site I found profoundly misleading (hence my error) but which would not have misled anyone genuinely skilled in Internet research, which I have hereby obviously proven I am not, and which (given my age), I almost certainly will never be. My error also changed the percentage by which Medicare premiums increased: 17 percent, not the 33 percent based on the $58.70 figure. (Moronically, I read the 2003 monthly premium – the $58.70 – as the 2004 monthly premium. I sought the information on the Internet because my own Social Security hard-copy document file was temporarily lost – misplaced, actually – in the lingering chaos inflicted by the ouster from my country home and the attendant forced return to city living last September.) The differences caused by my mistake do not change any of the conclusions I discussed in “The Serpent in the Medicare Bush,” available here, but the mistakes themselves utterly demolish my credibility on the entire subject. Once more, I am sorry. As I said last night, if nothing else this season, you can at least be thankful you are not me.

Posted by Loren at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

December 22, 2004


...BECAUSE OF AN UNEXPECTED personal crisis that's requiring a lot of detailed memo-writing to solve: the typical Christmas gift of ruinously bad news produced about this time every year by my infinitely wretched karma. For this and several related reasons -- especially the fact that nothing will ever replace the emotional interaction with dogs my living situation forbids me for the remainder of this miserable life -- it's shaping up to be my very worst Christmas ever. Plus someone correctly pointed out to me that I made a truly astounding error in a previous post -- the use of incorrect data -- an error so moronically damning it shreds my self-confidence and leaves me wondering if I am getting too old (or too irresponsible) to write anything more intellectually demanding than a grocery list. The error didn't really change anything, but it requires a both a bit of explanation and a lot of eating crow, so I'll correct it in my next post, probably tomorrow. After that -- because the error was exactly the kind of stupid blunder a hard-copy-text guy like me makes trying to do research on the Internet -- I may be too shamefaced to write anything again for a long while. If nothing else this season, you can always be thankful you're not me.

Posted by Loren at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2004


...HAS WON THE WASHINGTON state gubernatorial race by eight votes – votes newly discovered in King County of course. If this is true, King County's Democrats, who are the most matrifascist-dominated, anti-male, froth-at-the-mouth anti-gun Democrats in America, will totally control Washington state politics. With a Democratic majority in both houses of the legislature, the debt of Gregoire and the rest of the party to the King County apparatus will mean the end of Second Amendment rights in this state. Most likely we'll see quick passage of a statewide version of the New York City gun law: permits and registration for all firearms, mandatory Canadian or Washington D.C. type storage requirements, an end to concealed carry, no more gun shows, a ban on a wide variety of firearms including all semiautomatics, and of course the criminalization of even the most minor forms of mental illness – every one of these measures unsuccessfully attempted by King County Democrats during legislative sessions here in the past.

Again because of the nature of Gregoire's victory – because of the way it was engineered by the King County party apparatchiks and the debt Gregoire and the Democratic legislators will thus owe them – there is not even the consolation that the state's social service system will be preserved from the ravages of George Bush's policy of resurrecting the economics of the Herbert Hoover era. Here too the only real victors are the matrifascists who dominate the King County party. For now, instead of the even-handed social policy that might have emerged from a broader Democratic victory, only matrifascist malevolence will reign supreme. Which means a return to the viciously anti-male quota-mongering and official white-male-belittlement policies characteristic of state social services in the Booth Gardner and Mike Lowry eras: the policies that brought Washington its OK Boy’s Ranch “boys-will-be-boys” homosexual rape scandal, policies with overwhelmingly savage implications in this era of wounded veterans denied care by Bush Administration cutbacks and backlogs at the veterans Administration.

I have seen it all before – have seen it, and felt its wounding firsthand.

I can only pray that my estimate is wrong – or that the vote-count will change again.

Truly, it is the darkest night of the year.

Posted by Loren at 11:57 PM | Comments (3)

December 20, 2004


TODAY'S LINKS ARE FOR skeptics -- people who voted for John Kerry because they are skeptical of the need to protect American liberty and Western Civilization from Islam, people who voted for George Bush because they are somehow protected from the worsening U.S. economy and thus skeptical of the claim that, domestically speaking, Bush is a 21st Century Herbert Hoover.

The newest report about the horrors of Islam -- how in the name of Islamic "morality" Iran is preparing to stone to death girls as young as 9 -- is here. The links about the worsening U.S. economy are here and here -- the latter with a hat-tip to The Anchoress and including my own probably-too-long commentary.

None of it is pleasant reading, but it is all vital if we are to understand the dire necessities mandated by world in which we live: the necessity for a strong defense (possibly including resumption of the military draft and/or other forms of national service), and the necessity for a domestic policy based on genuine socioeconomic justice (rather than servitude to either the plutocracy of Big Business or the ideological elite of the matrifascist-dominated pseudo-Left).

Posted by Loren at 11:54 PM | Comments (2)

December 17, 2004


...THE PRECEDING POST WAS originally dated today. That's because I wrote it yesterday afternoon, set it aside to think about it (did I really want to be that self-revealing?), and then, because of a variety of circumstances too complicated and mostly too boring to trouble you with, I didn't get back to posting it (just as I had originally written it) until a little while ago. This post here, however, really is today's. Though I have nothing more to say about my quandry -- not yet -- the least I can do is link you to a dynamite essay by The Anchoress (available here and scroll down). Then there's this, for those of you who are (as I am) into virtual exploration of other worlds. Have a good weekend, one and all!

Posted by Loren at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004


...FROM ANY KIND OF writing, hopefully the better to deal with an intensifying crisis of conscience that has ultimately to do with my political identity. The clash is between my compelling recognition of the need to maintain and even expand the social-safety net (the one point on which the Left is absolutely correct), and my equally compelling recognition of the need to defend America against Islam's 1400-year ambition to impose a global caliphate (the one point on which I am in total agreement with both the Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party and the clash-of-civilization Conservatives). But I damn sure can't abide the Left's moral relativity (aka moral imbecility), and I especially can't accept the Left's opposition to the First, Second and Fourth amendments – the politically "correct" efforts to impose thought control, disarm the population and erode the judicial presumption of innocence. Nor can I countenance the Right's equally determined war on the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments, and I am even more opposed to the Right's looming attempt to re-impose the two-class, plebeian -or-plutocrat Herbert Hoover economy from which Franklin Delano Roosevelt rescued us all 70 years ago. Bottom line, I guess all these political conflicts make me politically homeless. And maybe I should just accept that fact – perhaps even revel in it – though it's surely not very comfortable living here under this ideological bridge. It’s often miserably lonely too. Stay tuned...

Posted by Loren at 05:54 PM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2004


...THE DEADLINE MADNESS IS over for another month. Moreover I pulled off a genuine scoop that tells me I haven't lost my newsman's edge – pretty good when you've only got one publication a month, while the opposition has a couple of editions every 24 hours. But I'm too tired to do any more writing tonight, so here's a link to a Christmas Story, 21st Century Enron-Nation style. When you read it, remember the admonition of Jesus that "as you do unto the least of these, so you do unto me" – and, though the story is fiction, ask yourself, "what if..."

Posted by Loren at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2004


STRUGGLING IN THE FEVER-SWAMPS of deadline, I have little time for posting to this blog. But the two links featured today are must-reads. The first is for anyone nostalgic for the days of Willie the Pardoner, aka President Bill Clinton: it is a report on how Clinton Pardonee Mark Rich is emerging as a key criminal suspect in the ever-more-greasy United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal. It is linked here, especially for those who live in areas where Clinton-protecting media have suppressed the story. The second must-read, linked here, is about the Washington state gubernatorial race: how King County officials, nearly unanimously radical Democrats, have found sufficient uncounted ballots to almost certainly put Christine Gregoire in the Governor’s Mansion.

I post the second link because, if Gregoire wins, it lays the groundwork for a pivotal revelation on Second Amendment matters: have the Democrats really gotten rational, or are they just waiting for an opportunity to revert back to the tyrannically anti-gun policies that cost them the presidency in 2000? Second Amendment advocates fear the latter is true: that a Gregoire victory will be a disaster for Washington state gun owners.

While Gregoire herself has demonstrated a surprisingly reasonable attitude toward gun rights – including making it clear she opposes proposed new restrictions on the state’s concealed-carry permits – the Democrats who now control both houses of the Legislature may not be reasonable at all: many favor imposing on Washington state a local version of the draconian New York City gun law (which they already attempted via the failed Initiative 676 in 1997). And Gregoire may not be able to stand up to them – especially if she owes King County Democrats, Big Time, for engineering her come-from-behind triumph. The King County Democratic Party is essentially nothing more than a political-action agency of the radical feminist movement: matrifascist to the core, it despises all firearms as extensions of the hated penis and, if it could, it would ban gun ownership completely.

At the very least, say Second Amendment supporters, they expect a Gregoire victory to clear the way for the King-County-led Democrats to once again abandon their post-Gore pretense of neutrality toward firearms owners and revert – with a vengeance – to the hateful policies of old: total prohibition of gun shows, criminalization of even the most minor mental problems, California-style bans on so-called “assault weapons,” bans on various other types of firearms, universal registration disguised as “ballistic imaging,” mandatory storage requirements complete with criminal liability for any gun owner whose firearm is stolen and then later used in a crime.

Especially given the Bush Administration’s sly expressions of anti-Second Amendment policy – notably the Mineta and Gonzales appointments – Washington’s firearms owners are prayerfully hoping the Democrats truly learned a lesson in 2000: that anti-gun activism leads ultimately to defeat. But knowing the anti-Second Amendment hysteria that has bubbled up in the (thoroughly feminist-dominated) state Democratic Party in years past, gun owners aren’t optimistic.

Posted by Loren at 03:37 AM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2004


NEVER MIND MY OPPOSITION to President George Bush’s domestic policy. Never mind the fact I now realize Bush’s intention is to reshape American society into the two-caste system – plutocrats and serfs – that was characteristic the Herbert Hoover era, and from which Franklin Delano Roosevelt rescued us. Never mind the fact that implementation of Bush’s domestic policy will require a no-quarter war on the American worker (and especially on lower-income Americans) that – though it is precisely what President Ronald Reagan wanted to do – is nevertheless unlike anything this nation has ever witnessed. Despite all that, I still support Bush’s foreign policy – that is after all what blinded me to the domestic implications of a Bush victory and why I voted for him. And no matter what direction my political education takes, I know too much history – history as it was taught in the years before multiculturalist censors purged it of all ugly truths save those about ourselves – to waver from my recognition of the dire necessity to defeat Islam, lest it succeed in its 1400-year dream of a global caliphate and thereby enslave the entire planet.

So do not even for a minute imagine I think Bush is “the anti-Christ,” whether metaphorically or otherwise. But the fact others do think that about Bush is significant information, and the fact that it is now being discussed in the context of a Left-Right struggle within the Christian community – and discussed by a publication so avowedly secular as The Seattle Weekly – is a significant development indeed. Here is an especially noteworthy passage:

..."1 John seems to be obsessed with language like this: 'How can you say you love God, who you have not seen, if you do not love your brother and sister, who you have seen?' Who are in need of food, clothing, shelter? The implication of the doctrine of the Antichrist is that there is an economic disparity in the community, and people are using their religion, not practicing it."

Bush policy is based on what he told his Harvard Business School professor— "Poor people are poor because they're lazy." Responds Lang, "Again, anti-Christ. It's just the opposite [of Christ's teaching]. The thrust of right-wing Christianity—their solution to poverty is to discipline the poor...”

Having spent most of my boyhood in Bible-belt Appalachia, I saw this ugly truth about Fundamentalist viciousness demonstrated more times than I can count. The relationship between the local Fundamentalist preachers and the big bosses at the mine or the textile mill or any other sweatshop was psychologically identical to the relationship between the obergrupenfuehrer and the manager at a Nazi German factory: the preacher/obergrupenfuehrer provided the oppressive doctrines – “the Bible tells us it is our Christian duty to obey without question those appointed over us” (which includes ratting out anybody who talked to that union organizer) – and the Big Boss took care of the exploitation. And to release all the resultant pent-up rage that exploited peoples always feel, there was often the “Saturday Night Men’s Bible Study Group” aka the KuKluxKlan. In the years of my boyhood, the hate-objects were blacks and those who worked for black rights – “nigger-lovers,” of whom I am proud to say I was one. This time – and having witnessed the phenomenon before, I can see it coming ‘round again – it will be gays and lesbians and their defenders, regardless of color.

One more word about The Seattle Weekly before I pass on the link: my instinct is to take anything it says with a very large grain of salt, for in my experience it is a pretentious, superficial, repugnantly yuppoid, hot-tub-radical rag far more concerned with style than substance. But I have not read it for several years, so my judgement may be outdated and invalid. Indeed the article from which I lifted the above paragraphs suggests (despite the mediocre style of the writing) The Weekly is at last trying to come of age. Whatever; the report is available in full here. I pass it on because, if its author is even halfway right, America is heading for a religious struggle the like of which has hitherto been seen only in Europe, and that at least a century ago. But with the special police powers given this Fundamentalist-dominated government in the name of the war against Islam, the Fundamentalists have absolutely all the advantages.

Posted by Loren at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2004


THE FACT PRESIDENT BUSH has approved a second term for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta proves the absolute truth of what I have argued for months: that the anti-Second Amendment bias obstructing the armed pilots program is not an accident but rather an especially malicious expression of Bush League policy. The same can now be said conclusively of the brazenly pro-Islam (and clandestinely pro-illegal-immigrant) Bush/Mineta ban on profiling – not to mention the litany of air-travel outrages bravely reported by Annie Jacobsen (for which go here). In other words, Bush is lying on two counts: talking tough about transportation security while simultaneously obstructing everything necessary to achieve it, and – as I have noted before – pretending a support for the Second Amendment all his appointments belie. Which is yet another reason I think more and more of us who voted for him are waking up to the fact we made a terrible mistake.

For me the wake-up call was my discovery Bush's bogus Medicare drug ''reform'' will not only double my prescription costs in its first year, but increase them 10-20 percent every year thereafter. Moreover, this so-called “reform” is punitively compulsory, with a running fine (of 1 percent of your Social Security pension per month or 12 percent per annum) against any who try to opt out – all this not to help Americans on Medicare but to brazenly provide a guaranteed windfall for Bush's fat-cat contributors in the pharmaceutical industry. (See “The Serpent in the Medicare Bush,” Dec. 7, 2004.) And as I said in “Serpent,” Medicare “reform” is not the only Bush betrayal of working-class Americans. Bush has already stated he will exempt the employers of illegal immigrants or ''guest workers'' from enforcement of the minimum wage law, thereby further depressing American wages generally (by some reckonings as much as 22 percent per year) – this in a nation where newly created service-industry McJobs already pay only about half the wages of the outsourced jobs they are replacing. Never in U.S. history has the business/political aristocracy launched such a total and methodically scripted war against American workers.

Even so, how short are our collective memories – for in theory this is nothing new: Bush is merely at long last doing what President Ronald Reagan always desperately wanted to do but never could, for three reasons: Reagan was checkmated by a Democratic Congress, held at bay by more rational heads in the Republican Party, and restrained by the still-very-real threat of the Soviet Union. Reagan despised unionism in any and all forms; he wanted to nullify workers’ rights and neutralize workplace safety requirements, and his ultimate dream was to wipe the New Deal completely off the American socioeconomic map. Bush not only intends to do all the same things, he is already doing them: he has quietly declared open season on the American worker – and this time, with a rabidly Republican Congress and no Red Scare to humanize the oligarchy – there is absolutely nothing to soften the resultant blows. Clearly, Bush intends to reduce the American worker to the abject wage-slavery of the Herbert-Hoover era: sweatshop labor abetted by an official policy of robbing the poor (and working families in general) to fatten the plutocracy. In this context, Mineta's no-profiling mandate is just another aspect of the Bush campaign against working families: the no-profiling order clearly panders to illegal immigrants and “guest workers” as part of a top-to-bottom Bush Administration effort to make the entire nation more friendly to scab labor.

Where the administration’s appointment-enunciated anti-Second-Amendment stance fits into this picture I can only guess, but given Attorney General appointee Alberto Gonzales’ record of opposition to gun rights, I have no doubt these policies are an integral part of the Bush League’s long-range plan.

Yes a Kerry presidency would have been bad – but not this irremediably bad: just as Churchillian Britain recovered from Chamberlain’s cowardice, so would America have eventually awakened from Kerry’s politics of appeasement, and Kerry’s ignore-the-working class (and thus doomed) economic policies would have been nothing more than momentary fluctuations. Besides, we expected better from Bush – much better. But it turns out the only “compassion” in Bush’s conservatism is a compassionate commitment to oligarchic excess.

Admittedly I am no economist, but you don’t need to be an economist to read a pink slip or understand an overdraft notice. The obvious hidden agenda of the Bush Administration’s economic strategy is to accelerate all the negative forces of downsizing and outsourcing – and to destroy the social safety-net as well. One example: abolishing Social Security by privatizing it as a huge payoff to Wall Street – a fine idea until the next market-crash (or Enron-type ripoff) robs America of all its retirement pensions. Which will leave millions hopelessly destitute and reduce our economy, once and for all, to the banana-republic reality of a vast starving peonage savagely overseen by a tiny, superbly well armed, viciously oppressive aristocracy: welcome to the newest extension of the Third World. (No wonder Bush is appointing anti-Second Amendment officials.) And the deficit will be so ruinously huge that no restorative social programs will be possible – not ever again – even if our country produces a dozen new Franklin Delano Roosevelts.

These kinds of take-backs and expressions of anti-worker malice were the cornerstone intentions of Reaganomics, too. But in this realm – as I have already noted – Reagan failed totally: not (as some Democrats would have us believe) because of the alleged economic brilliance of President Bill Clinton – a “brilliance” wholly the creation of propaganda intended to obscure the Monica-perjury and thus utterly imaginary – but because of an astonishingly fortunate accidental convergence of factors that will probably not be seen again together in a thousand years. As to another FDR, I seriously question whether this country with its deliberately dumbed-down education system can ever produce another figure of such intellectual greatness, whether in politics or any other field of endeavor. But even if such a brilliant leader were to emerge, he would be rendered powerless by the Bush League deficit. In other words, Bush has already stuck us with a Herbert Hoover economy for the rest of this century at least – and probably forever. Which I believe is exactly his intent: to produce what management consultants like to call a “disciplined” workforce – a workforce so abjectly terrified it will endure sweatshop conditions without complaint. Hence the administration’s need to abolish the safety net entirely, and to so monkeywrench the economy it can never again be restored to even the faintest semblance of humanitarian normalcy. (And yes, I'm absolutely aware of the historical irony of my use of the term “normalcy” in this context.)

* * *

Below for your more contemplative weekend reading are a pair of compelling links – sources of hope to balance out the economic gloom. The first link is to an Asia Times piece that details the history of the Central Intelligence Agency’s collapse into ineffectuality and concludes with the promise of new reforms under the agency’s new leadership. A key paragraph:

Many intelligence officers...ignored the fact that Rumsfeld's and Cheney's irritation with their CIA briefers was not - in the first instance - aimed at their considered opinions, but at the fact that the briefers offered no considered opinions at all and time and again proved unprepared and unable to answer pointed and difficult questions effectively . That the CIA had no answers rather than unpalatable ones was the issue. Years of abject failure to develop any humint sources in Iraq or in al-Qaeda rather than coming up with well-sourced but divergent information was the problem. And when CIA facts and analyses that differed from the Pentagon or White House view were presented, Tenet and his chief officers apparently lacked the intestinal fortitude and integrity to insist that only CIA-sanctioned intelligence be used in assessments. In a crisis, under the weight of a dozen years of political maneuvering, inattention, or non-existent leadership, the CIA caved in.

The full text of this report is available here.

Next is a lengthy essay by a Jesuit scholar discussing the moral necessity of war, a piece the mere existence of which suggests that mainstream Christianity – under pressure of Islam’s malevolent assault on Judaism, Christianity and the entire Judaeo-Christian heritage of American liberty and Western Civilization – is finally beginning to step back from its irrational and mistaken pacifist absolutism. Entitled “When War Must Be the Answer,” this vitally thought-provoking work by Fr. James B. Schall S.J., is available here. Given that Jesuits are often the theological cutting edge of Christianity both Catholic and Protestant, the essay’s significance may well be profound – and pivotal. (Thanks to Jihad Watch for the original link.)

Have a good weekend – and have it in good conscience!

Posted by Loren at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)

December 09, 2004


A COLLEAGUE OF MINE and I were talking earlier this evening about how wonderful it is to work (as she does) in an office where Christmas is permitted. That led to conversation about how neither of us "get" so many issues of the day: for example, the Left's burning rage at any public demonstration of Judaeo-Christian spirituality, or the Right's froth-at-the-mouth fury against gay marriage and homosexual rights in general. Here,
with a hat-tip to, is an essay discussing half of the problem: how the Democrats have alienated Americans by opposing so many of the very expressions that make America what it is.

Posted by Loren at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004


...DAY OF MAKING DEADLINES for my my client. Hence nothing whatsoever to add to what I said yesterday.

Posted by Loren at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004


TODAY WAS GENERALLY A slow news day in that its main events included few surprises, which is why I could find no links to excuse me from essay-writing and from the unnerving and painfully honest task of writing this essay in particular. For today there was surprise aplenty in my personal life, where thanks to a detailed study by a non-profit healthcare group, I discovered the venomous serpent lurking in the Bush of Medicare prescription drug “reform”: the hitherto unreported facts that (1)-the program is mandatory (your Social Security pension gets docked one percent per month if you don't participate) and that (2)-for someone like me (who pays about $240 per year for prescription drugs), the program’s proposed $35-per-month annual premium will effectively double my prescription drug costs. Moreover, that premium will rise steeply every year, thereby further penalizing all of us whose good fortune (or careful attention to preventative care) kept our drug costs low.

This forcible inflation of prescription drug costs is especially infuriating because it nullifies one of the main advantages of my longtime membership in Group Health, a Pacific Northwest medical cooperative that provides the best model I know for genuine healthcare reform. Group Health has always kept prescription drug costs at reasonable levels by using its buying power much as the Veterans Administration does: to force the pharmaceutical industry (one of President George Bush’s biggest campaign contributors) to lower its ripoff prices. Indeed – given that the Bush Administration’s Medicare drug program was always intended as a huge payoff to the drug industry (and never as any sort of true help to those of us who live below the salt) – I cannot doubt that the nullification of co-op purchasing power is one of the clandestine purposes of its fee structure, which goes into effect on January 1, 2006.

But a far darker probability about the clandestine intent of the drug program – indeed the most lethal serpent in the hypothetical and now-obviously bogus Eden of its alleged "reform" – becomes apparent when you reflect on another (and far more ruinous) way its increased costs will savage low-income folks.

To illustrate, observe the impact of 2005's unprecedented 33-per-cent Medicare premium hike (mostly occasioned by the Bush League approach to prescription drug “reform”) on a Social Security pension of $1000 per month. Assuming $1000 as the gross sum, after deduction of the 2004 Medicare Part B premium of $58.70, your net monthly stipend is $941. (The Social Security Administration rounds off all pensions to the next lowest dollar.) For 2005, a 2.7 cost-of-living increase will raise your gross pension to $1027. But the new Medicare premium, $78.20 per month, reduces your net to $948. In other words, in an inflationary economy (in which many economists predict runaway inflation in 2005), your pension has increased only $7 or .007 percent – which in terms of buying power is an insult: a net loss of nearly 3 percent on the very first day the changes are in effect.

This defacto pension reduction – to be radically worsened by the addition of the mandatory prescription-drug deductions in 2006 – will force an unknown number of Social Security recipients out of Medicare and into Medicaid, which is welfare, and which therefore includes all the attendant horrors of welfare. These ousted-from-Medicare folks will thus become lifelong prisoners of the welfare bureaucracy: prisoners in the brutally real sense that the bureaucracy will ever after vindictively control even the minutiae of their lives in a threatening, spiteful, infinitely tyrannizing manner that – for people who have not experienced its bottomless psychological devastation – is absolutely impossible to imagine. It is demoralizing enough for women. It is unspeakably awful – literally drive-people-to-suicide awful – for Caucasian males, who thanks to the welfare system’s dominant matrifascist ideology are the welfare bureaucrats’ favorite hate-objects.

Given these facts, I cannot but wonder if the Bush Administration’s malicious purpose here is to “save” Medicare by (once again) shafting low-income folks – in this instance forcing us off (federally funded) Medicare and onto (mostly state-funded) Medicaid. Far-fetched? My labor movement sources don’t think so. Neither do the (non-matrifascist) social services people I know. Neither do I.

This is an unspeakably bad time for America – certainly the worst years ever during my life-span and quite possibly the worst years in all of U.S. history. Just as John Kerry was the foreign-policy reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain – just as as President Bush’s re-election was essential to save the United States from a worse-than-Munich surrender to the tyrannies of Islam’s global caliphate – so is George Bush the domestic-policy reincarnation of Herbert Hoover: from the perspective of lower-income people, probably the cruelest president ever. Which Hoover-class cruelty Bush is already demonstrating aplenty: by his absurd, let-them-eat-cake belief the “marketplace” is capable of curing the raging local depressions caused by outsourcing of jobs from Cleveland, Milwaukee and other such places; by his implacable and brazenly asserted opposition to requiring employers of “guest workers” to pay at least minimum wage; by his unspoken but clear intent to use the downward wage-pressure of “guest workers” and amnestied illegal immigrants to impose on America’s working families a New Poverty that is without precedent in modern times; by his avowed intent to convert Social Security into a huge bonus for Wall Street just as he is already turning Medicare into the biggest-ever gift to the drug plutocracy. Once again, welcome to Enron Nation.

And this time, unlike 1929, there is no prospect of salvation whatsoever: no Red Army a continent away to scare the economic establishment into ameliorating its exploitative amorality and obscene greed, no Franklin Delano Roosevelt waiting in the wings with the political and socioeconomic reforms essential to save us from our darker instincts, literally no hope whatsoever of even one scintilla of economic betterment anywhere on the horizon – at least not any that I can see. For the Democratic Party has reduced itself to permanent irrelevance by its ideologies of the personal as political, and the Republican Party has reverted to its Hoover-era identity: the political-action arm of the American oligarchy. What we are facing is the advent of a New Serfdom – for working families, economic injury of a magnitude akin to that which followed the collapse of Rome.

I speak of low-income people in the first-person plural because I am low-income myself. I know of all the typical low-income struggles; I also know the unspeakable prison-like awfulness of welfare because I experienced it firsthand, early in my disability. All that saves me from the forced-onto-Medicaid nightmare I described above is the fact I am unbelievably fortunate in that I am able to supplement my pension by working part-time for a local special-interest advocacy publication. No mainstream newspaper or magazine will hire me, whether because of my political independence or my age or my medical history it matters not, and in any case (and despite my demonstrated experience and skill), I am the wrong gender and race to be considered even remotely desirable by today’s quota-mongering news-monopolists. If I were not able to supplement my pension by doing these bits and pieces of work, I would be facing exactly the same government-manufactured Medicare crisis so many other low-income Social Security pensioners will soon be facing – a crisis that accurately mirrors the neo-Herbert-Hoover approach to the governance of Enron Nation and prophesies far worse to come.

God willing, I will be able to work until I die. If not, advancing age will eventually nullify my working ability, and like so many before me, I will then finally be forced onto welfare. From that moment, the absolute loss of freedom will have reduced my life to something no longer worth preserving. Which is exactly what is going to happen to so many other men and women in the next few years – and the people who have the power to prevent it have already demonstrated they couldn’t care less.

Those of you who read this space regularly understand that I am neither a hot-tub radical nor a limousine liberal: my commitment to socioeconomic justice here at home is as real as my commitment to the survival of American liberty in the struggle against radical Islam. In both instances I have walked the walk as well as talked the talk. I care fiercely about my country, but I voted in the recent election knowing fully well that neither candidate – and neither party – gives a tinker’s damn about me or anyone else at my income level. The Kerrynoids are too lost in their own personal-as-political, better-dhimmitude-than-death, free-abortion-on-demand dementia to propose any meaningful economic reforms, and the Bush League was already scheming how to strip the working class of every advancement gained since the Great Depression brought the nation to the brink of revolution 70 years ago.

I voted for Bush because the choice was between a candidate who would surrender to the forces of tyranny versus a candidate who would battle those forces, however bunglingly, thereby at least presumably leaving us our own nation no matter how awful its socioeconomic policies – and therefore (or so I thought) at least implicitly providing the potential of some restoration of prosperity for those of us who are not part of the privileged classes – the business and/or political aristocracies.

But I voted wrong. The details of the new Medicare drug program combine with other recent news items about the administration’s economic policies to prove to me that by voting for George Bush, I voted for Herbert Hoover – for the economic ruination of America’s working families and for my own economic ruination as well. Would I then go back and vote for Kerry? Never; I could not in a thousand years vote for such an avowed appeaser and unilateral disarmer. If I had it to do over again, I would vote for neither candidate. Perhaps I would skip the presidential race entirely. Or perhaps I would cast my ballot for some third-party candidate to protest the major parties' worst-of-all-possible-choices slate of candidates. With that stipulation, I truly wish I could recall my vote. Never before have I had the sense of so stupidly voting against myself: deliberately voting against the foreign tyranny of Islam, I inadvertently (and thus moronically) voted for the domestic tyranny of the restoration of the Herbert Hoover ethos: its sweatshop economy and its subsidize-the-rich, rob-the-poor policies of governance. And I now join the millions who are reacting to this election by saying, “I am sorry.”

Posted by Loren at 10:54 PM | Comments (6)

December 06, 2004


...FOR THE NEXT TWO weeks -- this in a one-month edition cycle effectively shortened 25 percent by the loss of Thanksgiving week -- and will be blogging only minimally as a result of the need to serve my freelance client. Hence I'll do as I did last month, mostly posting links to other sites, with the links typically accompanied by short commentaries.

Meanwhile, with a hat-tip to, here is an essay from Commentary magazine on what happened to the Left to seduce it into becoming a willing bedmate of misogynistic Islam. This analysis is wholly secular in focus and is thus very different from my own, but I think is vital reading nevertheless, particularly if we are to develop the broadest possible understanding of the problem -- especially the potential for the misguided Left to devolve further into an Islamic Fifth Column.

Posted by Loren at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2004


...who is the blogger who nominated me for "Best Essayist" in the international 2004 Weblog contest, and to the judges who picked me as one of 15 finalists, I am now in a position to ask for your votes. Those of you who wish to support me for this honor should please remember to vote for me once per day until the contest closes on December 12. The link to the contest is here. Thanks again to Anchoress (linked below in "Recommended Reading"), to the Weblog judges, and to every one of the rest of you for your deeply appreciated votes.

Posted by Loren at 12:33 PM | Comments (2)

December 03, 2004


...TO A PIECE OF work, I fail to see an obvious flaw until too late, and that is what happened with the essay below – a telling illustration of why all writers need editors. As a friend of mine pointed out, I had ended the text in such a way many readers were left dangling. To solve the problem, I added two sentences to the conclusion, which I believe not only pulls the whole piece together, but makes my hypothesis far more accessible, especially to those who dismiss mythology as mere superstition.

Also I completely overlooked the fact it is Friday. Hence my customary but previously neglected wish you all have a good weekend. Presumably I'll be back Monday as always.

Posted by Loren at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)


THE TWO BIGGEST ANOMALIES of the Terror War are that so many feminists (and leftists in general) support Islam despite its theocratic tyrannies and misogynistic horrors, and that even though the Left is feminist-dominated, it stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the root cause of Islamic rage: the genuinely liberated (and liberating) role of women in Western Civilization and America in particular.

Several days ago I set out to write, mostly from my own background as a former leftist, an explanation of the Left’s perverse behavior in these matters, and though the cause seemed obvious – three decades of incessantly chanting “abortion now” render you blind and stupid – the protocols of editorial exposition soon mired me in the necessity to explain my mental shorthand to those who had not been adults (or were not conscious) during the 1960s and ‘70s. These were allegedly the Left’s halcyon years, when Richard Nixon was still in peak form: when the intellectual requirements of Marxism, other forms of socialism and especially liberalism all proved too demanding for Baby-Boomer faddists; when the initial libertarianism of the feminist renaissance was suppressed and supplanted by matrifascist zealotry; when the Old Left dwindled and died and the so-called New Left rose up angry; when the New Left subjugated itself to authoritarian-feminist leadership, embraced the feminist doctrine of “the personal is political,” and as a result promptly began deteriorating into a coalition of victim-identity cults. Yes indeed: “those were the days, my friend; those were the days.”

As it turned out, what this writing needed more than reminiscence was a preface adequate to support its conclusions. The trouble was that no other essayist, at least as far as I could tell, had critically explored the political realities arising from the historical fact the matrifascist brand of feminism (aka female supremacy) is now the core ideology of the entire Left here in Enron Nation – and has been so for at least three decades. When the question is posed in such terms – that ideas have consequences – ten byproducts of matrifascist domination seem obvious, and since they all contribute to the two Terror-War anomalies, I will list them here (with apologies to anyone for whom they might be old hat):

(1)-that the Left’s call for “free abortion on demand” is the only non-negotiable expression of its matrifascist-shaped doctrine;

(2)-that from the perspective of matrifascism, one’s stance on abortion is the only valid political litmus test, replacing the old (and much more revealing) liberty-versus-authority yardstick – the debate about the proper relationship between the individual and the state – that formerly indexed one’s position on the Left/Right spectrum;

(3)-that (because even the most liberal forms of Christianity and Judaism demand abortion be considered from spiritual and hence moral/ethical perspectives) matrifascist absolutism on the question has forced the Left to a stance of unprecedented malevolence toward Christianity and Judaism;

(4)- that this malevolence is absolute proof of the extent to which the Left has been taken over by the matrifascist brand of feminism;

(5)-that the feminist/leftist support of Islam is the direct consequence of the matrifascist hatred of Christianity and Judaism that has arisen from the abortion controversy;

(6)-that the feminist/leftist hatred of Christianity and Judaism is so intense, it blinds its proponents to the many variations in Judaeo-Christian theologies, with the result that – unlike the Left of yesteryear – today’s Left is unable to distinguish between fundamentalism/orthodoxy and the other far more liberal, even gynocentric expressions of Jewish and Christian beliefs

(7)-that in America, today’s secular, matrifascist-dominated Left is infinitely more hostile to Christianity and Judaism than the theoretical Marxist Left ever was, proof of which is the national campaign of avowedly “feminist” vandalism and defacement of (even) mainstream churches that began in Seattle in 1975;

(8)-that the same intensity of matrifascist hatred combines with an abysmal ignorance of world history and especially Islamic history to blind the Left to the genocide and misogynism characteristic of Islam;

(9)-that the same ignorance of history – itself a deliberate byproduct of matrifascist-dominated public education – also blinds the Left to the functional radicalism of the ideals upon which the United States was founded, including the implicit commitment to perpetual revolution contained in the “Preamble” to the U.S. Constitution;

(10)-that because of the abortion controversy, matrifascist domination of the Left has elevated the victim-identity shibboleth of “the personal is political” beyond mere moral relativity to a doctrine of self-infallibility: unlimited sanction for any expression of leftist rage, and an impenetrable barrier against persuasive discussion, critical debate or even self-critical introspection.

Together these ten consequences of matrifascist domination have produced a Left unlike any other Left in U.S. history: viciously anti-intellectual, thus utterly immune to de-programming and therefore psychologically identical to certain movements of the far Right noted for their intolerance and violence: specifically the Nazi Party and the KuKluxKlan. Hence not only the Left’s ironic hostility toward the very principles of American liberty that facilitated its birth and growth, but also a Left increasingly distracted from traditional leftist socioeconomic and political goals – distracted by its own growing obsession with its alleged victimhood, particularly in the context of abortion. Indeed the Left’s operational psycho-dynamic – or perhaps pathology – is “I am (but) a victim (of patriarchy); hence (only) the personal is political.” The ultimate result is the infinite irony of a venomously secular Left supporting a vindictively theocratic Islam: not at all akin (as some commentators have mistakenly suggested) to the Hitler-Stalin Pact, but rather more like the curious and pathetic co-dependent attachment that sometimes develops between two sociopaths, one a brazen bully, the other a coward and a weakling.

Thus too the unimpeachable accuracy of my terms “matrifascist” and “matrifascism” – female supremacy (with all of its Nazi implications) disguised as a movement for female equality.

But surely anyone with the proverbial lick of sense recognizes that, if Islam triumphs, the very first people dragged into the streets and beheaded or drawn-and-quartered or stoned to death would be the secular leftists themselves – especially the women.

The inner circle of matrifascist ideologues addresses this issue by rationalizing the triumph of Islam’s proposed global caliphate as the final, terminal stage of the despised “patriarchy.” With the seductive distractions of American liberty prohibited by Islamic law, with Western Civilization (not to mention civilization itself) reduced to blood-stains and ashes, life would indeed become unspeakably horrible, especially for women. But then – or so say the more esoteric expressions of matrifascist doctrine – humanity will magically rise up, turn against not only patriarchy but the entire male gender, and at long last enshrine “womyn” as the rightful rulers of the planet. Thus the New Order: “gynocracy,” the female-supremacist version of the Third Reich, with females as der ubermenschen and males as the Jews. (Google and browse “Mary Daly,” also “Sunera Thobani,” “Grace Shinell” and “Valerie Solanis.”)

As I have noted before, when you believe “the personal is political,” you can justify anything: the extermination of unborn or half-born children for even the most trivial or selfish reasons, the genocidal reduction of the entire male gender, giving aid and comfort to an enemy who would hack off a woman’s clitoris, enshroud her in a sweltering burka and stone her to death for so much as glancing at a man who is not her father, brother or husband.

The above combination of factors – all of them stemming from matrifascist domination and matrifascism’s pro-abortion absolutism – is why the Left cannot allow itself to acknowledge either the suicidal nature of its flirtation with Islam or the real reason for the atrocities of 9/11.

* * *

Before I say more, let me state for the record I favor legal abortion. But I also know beyond any scintilla of doubt that abortion is murder – this from the indescribably moving experience of sensing the spirit of our son-to-be hovering in the room waiting to incarnate as my second wife and I formed his body with the passion of our love. (That our son was later born dead is one of the great losses of both our lives: how we would have relished getting to know someone whose spirit was so powerful its presence was felt by each of us even before his physical being was real. May his tiny unnamed body rest in peace in whatever sadly unknown grave the hospital assigned it; may his soul fare better in all its remaining lifetimes. And may my former wife Adrienne find all the blessings she seeks in this life and afterward: as is sadly typical in such cases, our marriage did not long survive the emotional trauma of the death of our anticipated child.)

* * *

Ask a hard-core feminist to describe religion – “hard-core” defined here as a feminist who has been thoroughly brainwashed by matrifascism – and even if she claims to be a proponent of feminist spirituality, she will probably tell you that as far as “patriarchal religion” is concerned, Marx was right: that it is the opiate by which “the patriarchy” attempts to terrify (or seduce) the world’s oppressed peoples into compliance with patriarchal edicts and capitalist enslavement schemes, and that all the adherents of "patriarchal religion" should be mercilessly exterminated. The test of a religion, she might say, is “whether it recognizes that the personal is not only political but theological: in other words, whether it encourages wife-beating versus whether it encourages free abortion on demand.”

These words are not a hypothetical construct: something very close to this precise quote was the statement of a feminist whose froth-at-the-mouth hatred of Christianity I had inadvertently challenged simply by pointing out several historical facts. Call the feminist Klarissa; she had flatly stated the only “real” Christianity is Fundamentalism – viciously oppressive, infamously misogynistic and homophobic, often vehemently racist as well – and that the more liberal forms of Christianity were merely deceptions: bait-and-switch advertising designed to trap the unwary. In response I had noted it is only Judaeo-Christian culture that gave birth to liberty, only via the American Revolution, and that this selfsame liberty has since hosted not only feminism but the resurrection of the female elements of the Divine within Christianity and Judaism. I added that beyond the doctrinal boundaries of Christianity and Judaism, American liberty had encouraged the resurrection of a genuine goddess: in truth, the modern counterpart of humanity’s first and oldest vision of the Deity. Klarissa had answered that none of these facts mattered, that “even with a goddess, patriarchy would remain patriarchy,” just as Christianity “with its history of inquisition and witch-burnings” would still be “the most murderous religion on the planet.” Klarissa freely admitted she was implacably hostile to anything remotely Christian or Jewish: she said “female divinity that is part of Christianity or Judaism can only be false divinity,” no doubt ultimately “like the Virgin Mary – something to belabor women with guilt and help outlaw abortion again.”

Because my acquaintanceship with Klarissa spanned the Gulf War (which she vehemently opposed as “another oil-grab by the White Patriarchy”), the subject of Islam invariably came up in our conversations also. Much to my astonishment, Klarissa said Islam was the one organized religion she could enthusiastically support. She had belittled Buddhism and Taoism as “harmless superstition”; she had denounced Judaism as the source of “all that Old Testament violence, especially in the modern Middle East”; she had condemned Hinduism for its long-outlawed practice of suttee; she had damned American Indian spirituality as “no use against the white man’s guns”; and she had ridiculed the pagan renaissance as “an embarrassment to feminism.” But now she was telling me that Islam is a vehicle of liberation, “a true religion of the oppressed”; that Islamic violence is genuine revolutionary violence, “a politically correct response to imperialism and capitalism,” that Islam is “not really patriarchal at all, because its only enemy is the White Patriarchy,” and that Mohammed was the Third World’s equivalent of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Mao Zee Dong and Che Guevara all rolled into one. I was literally speechless.

The evening of Klarissa’s astounding dissertation on Mohammed was the same night she and I had planned to go for a long moonlight walk along the undeveloped shore of Bellingham Bay, enjoying the salt wind, the sound of the breakers and the intermittent tolling of the gong-buoy at Post Point. But now Klarissa complained bitterly my dog LeeRoy was “just too wild” and demanded I take him home before we went anywhere. Never mind LeeRoy always accompanied me on walks – especially walks after dark with a woman so anti-gun she insisted I leave my sidearms in my gun cabinet. (In any case, LeeRoy was magnificent: more than compensation for the defenselessness resulting from compulsory disarmament. The quintessence of formidably protective canine, he was 100 pounds of rippling ebony-coated muscle and keen-eyed tooth-on-bone intelligence: half Rottweiler/half Golden retriever, colored and shaped like a big-headed Rottie, he strode through his world with undocked tail assertively high and nut-sack proudly swinging, handsome beyond description and normally an eager friend to all womankind. But not to Klarissa, a cat-lover who made no secret of the fact she despised him.) So I did the right thing: I took Klarissa to her home instead. And as LeeRoy grinned and climbed from the back seat of my Honda into its right passenger seat, I bade Klarissa a last good-bye.

I should have known better than to get involved with Klarissa, even superficially. In all my years as a self-defined leftist, roughly 1963 (when a viciously false arrest prompted me to give a summer to the Civil Rights Movement in East Tennessee) through 1988 (when my allegiance to the Second Amendment prompted me to vote Republican in the presidential election), I met dozens of Klarissas, perhaps even hundreds of them. Though I always found libertarian/conservative women interesting (my second wife, for example, was a Goldwater supporter), I also dated Klarissas aplenty – it is hard to avoid them when your romantic interests are mostly artists or writers. In my New York City years, I even knew several of those especially hateful Klarissas who steered feminism away from its initial “women’s liberation” libertarianism and into the matrifascist miasma it tragically became. Thus I can write with some authority about the archetype.

Ask a Klarissa to describe America today, and she will tell you “Amerika” is a “ rape culture” that is forever attempting to steal from her the right to control her own body. If she is at all conscious of other issues, she will probably say that “Amerika” loots the oil and natural resources of the less powerful, destroys indigenous cultures and supplants them with a mind-numbing “Amerikan” all-McCulture. She will likely add that “Amerika” forever exploits its own peoples and “oppressed” minorities (especially “African-Americans,” Hispanics, “Native Americans,” and of course women), and that the “gun culture” is patriarchy’s Phallus Rampant – the ultimate tool by which its oppression is intensified to the 50th power. If she is an eco-feminist, she will include a protest against “Amerika’s” wanton destruction of the environment, “the rape of Mother Nature.”

Our sweet Klarissa’s male consort (assuming she has temporarily anointed someone Resident Penis and allows him to speak) would probably attempt to demonstrate his political “correctness” by adding a few obligatory words about the new slavery of globalization. He would also probably condemn the Terror War as a “racist” or “imperialist” attempt to capture Middle Eastern petroleum, and foolishly (that is, without realizing the seditiously violent implications of his words) pledge to resist “by any means necessary” if the government were to resurrect the military draft.

Notably absent from this recitation of grievances will be any (save the most abstract) references to the human condition – or for that matter any of the genuine empathy and passion that formerly motivated leftist responses to socioeconomic issues. There will be not one word about the desperate economic struggles of the working-family underclass in the post-liberal, downsized, outsourced-job, sub-minimum-wages-for-illegal-immigrants climate of Enron Nation. This is because in Enron Nation, the Left now despises the underclass – that is, unless it is a politically “correct” underclass: an approved victim-identity group, an exotically alien culture, an allegedly conquered nation. And the American underclass is none of these things: it supports legal abortion if medically necessary, but it unequivocally regards abortion as murder. It is thus “hopelessly reactionary.”

The great (and mostly misreported) transformation on the Left, from the Old Left to the so-called (and profoundly misnamed) New Left, was an ideological reversal probably without precedent in history. It was a shift from ideologies that were expressions of humanitarianism and enlightened self-interest based on class solidarity and the notion of government as a vehicle of collective betterment, a shift to a core ideology – “the personal is political” – that despite its “progressive” vocabulary is ultimately an expression of meaningless fads and absolute selfishness. While its adherents are united by conformist fashions and the victim-identity solidarity of femaleness or vagina-envy or race and ethnicity, while they share the notion of government as authoritarian enforcer, while they are bound in the moral imbecility of (ideally unrestricted) infanticide and the institutionalized bigotry of quota-mongering and judicial presumptions of guilt, they remain ultimately forever alone in their temporal and cosmic self-centeredness: to paraphrase a present-day advertising campaign (an absurdly oxymoronic pitch to encourage Army enlistments), “ a movement of one.” Such is the New Left, which has since become the Only Left, at least in the United States: the Left of “free abortion on demand.”

Enlightened observers will recognize the ideology of today’s Left as but a perverse, carefully disguised variant of runaway “I-am-my-own-divinity” individualism and the same “I-want-it-all” avarice that characterized Enron – the latest expression of the impulses that formerly bred fascism, and with the addition of female supremacy, victim-identity politics and the notion of government as victim-identity avenger, undeniably a form of fascism itself. In other words, in a transmogrification so profound not even a medieval alchemist would have dared suggest it, the American Left has become a doppelganger of itself: the clandestinely rightist travesty of a liberation movement. All in the name of protecting its absolutism on abortion.

To expect the dunce-cap-blind proponents of such an intrinsically dishonest ideology to grasp the true nature of Islamic rage or to understand what really happened on 9/11 is to hope for intelligent conversation with a ventriloquist’s dummy. (Though one can surely pray for miracles.)

* * *

And just what did happen on that dreadful day of September 11, 2001?

To respond adequately requires a brief journey through time and mythology.

While of course there is no way I can prove it – the official scribes of Islam like Mafia gangsters and corrupt politicians often claim convenient forgetfulness about past events – I have long suspected the origins of Islamic misogynism and the Muslim penchant for violence are to be found in Mohammed’s personal history. If this is indeed true, it makes woman-hating and genocide as much an integral part of Islam as individual human dignity and even the notion of the Divine as (at least partly) female are integral to Christianity. Moreover a number of East Indian sources confirm my suspicions, suggesting that the original inhabitants of Mecca – that is, the inhabitants who were later slaughtered or enslaved by Mohammed – were polytheistic but primarily worshiped a goddess who was probably akin to Ishtar, the Babylonian moon-goddess. A Vedic story of the early history of Islam and the city of Mecca is available here. If nothing else, the Vedic text expresses a Hindu view of the thousand-year Moslem-Hindu conflict that by the mid-1700s had so decimated the indescribably ancient civilization of Hindu India, the tiny mercenary army of the British East India Company was able to conquer the entire subcontinent. Undoubtedly the Vedic text is part propaganda, but in this case (largely because of its rational assertion that goddess-worship sustained the egalitarian roles and proud independence of women in pre-Islamic Mecca) I believe its is probably more factual than not. Moreover it closely parallels the pre-political- “correctness” portrait of Islam that obtained during my undergraduate years – that is, before multiculturalist censors rewrote the available histories to conceal Islam’s intrinsic murderousness. (For additional information on Islam’s origin and nature, including accounts that contradict the Vedic sources, Google “history of Mecca.”)

Another reason I evaluate the Vedic description of Islam as “probably true” is that it explains perfectly the present-day behavior of Muslims as revealed in the outrages of 9/11, the recent shoot-hack-and-stab murder of the Dutch art-film maker Theo van Gogh, and the deafening silence of the global Islamic community’s failure to condemn specific Islamic atrocities or even to repudiate Islamic terrorism in general. Moreover, I have seen Submission – the 10-minute film, based on a poignantly poetic script written by a former Muslim named Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is available here. That a brief, graceful and exquisitely poetic portrait of the true plight of Muslim womanhood would evoke such a singularly murderous reaction – the film-script’s author is herself under an Islamic death threat and is in hiding as a result – strongly suggests my hypothesis as to the real cause of 9/11 is indeed correct: that it was an attack not on oil-whore America (about which I will have much more to say in a subsequent essay) but rather on the America semiotically represented by Our Lady of the Harbor, the goddess Liberty: the America of women’s suffrage, the America of the libertarian feminist renaissance known as Women’s Liberation, the America of equal-pay-for-equal-work, the America where popular dance resurrected the proud exquisite choreography of female sexuality that was once only mirrored on Minoan murals and vases. And with that choreography came the other resurrection – of the notion God is a woman, or at least partly female – the true “revolution in consciousness,” the most important human development of the past 2600 years. Which vexed Osama bin Laden and his ilk to homicidal frenzy of a kind the modern world had never seen. Thus 9/11.

Thus too this essay’s title, drawn from one of the longer works of Taliesin, the half-legendary Celtic poet who lived just after the time of King Arthur. The source-poem is a 237-line piece called “Cad Goddeu” or “Battle of the Trees.” The battle after which the poem is named occurred approximately 600BC, a fight between devotees of the god Bran and devotees of the god Belin; the outcome is said to have determined not only the fate of the Britons but the name and gender of the principal British deity until the advent of the Christian Era. The passage from which I took “Conflicts” is as follows:

I was in Caer Fefynedd
Thither were hastening grasses and trees
Wayfarers perceive them
Warriors are astonished
At a renewal of conflicts
Such as Gwydion made.
There is a calling on heaven
And on Christ that he would effect
Their deliverance,
The all-powerful Lord.
If the Lord had answered,
Through charms and magic skill,
Assume the forms of the principal trees,
With you in array...

Gwydion was a leader in the original battle. He is the warrior-son of Don, who is Danu, as in Tuatha de Danaan, “Children of the Goddess Danu,” who were among the ancient peoples of pre-Christian Britain. Gwydion is thus, by some mythographic reckonings, a knight-errant of the goddess, her sacred champion. But the purpose of Taliesin’s epic is nevertheless unknown. It is clearly not a recounting of the original battle: note the invocation of Jesus as lord-enchanter of the trees. The late Robert Graves believed the poem was metaphorical, a contest between poets and schools of poetical thought; these lines of Taliesin’s work (the lines in italic above and below) are taken from Graves' White Goddess. Others say "Cad Goddeu" is a lay of magic, a Druidical conjuration of deities and spirits of the land, a spell that invokes the Christ merely to conceal its heretical content. Still others, of whom I am one, believe it is genuine prophecy:

There shall be a black darkness,
There shall be a shaking of the mountain,
There shall be a purifying furnace,
There shall first be a great wave,
And when the shout shall be heard –
Putting forth new leaves are the tops of the beech,
Changing form and renewed from a withered state...

In mythology, the beech is the tree of the divine as female: the Holy Spirit, Wisdom, the Muse, the Goddess – the tree of all that has come back to life in American liberty, the mere thought of which enrages the bin Ladens and their Ted-Bundy-like followers to ever more violent orgies of murder. We fight – renewal of conflicts such as Gwydion made – so that American liberty and its most profound and sacred blessings "shall not perish from the earth." Cad Goddeu is now. It does not matter if you embrace its mythology as validly metaphorical or reject it as meaningless superstition: the historical facts are undeniable. And the American Left, in thrall to an unspeakable perversion of feminism that has reduced it to hysterical blindness and moral imbecility, has declined the greatest challenge in human history – and cravenly made alliance with the enemy of everything Our Lady of the Harbor represents.

Posted by Loren at 03:55 AM | Comments (4)

December 02, 2004


I’M OFTEN SURPRISED BY what prompts reader response, and seattleslew's scornfully accusatory retort to “Thinking Behind An Abscessed Tooth” (see below) is no exception. My toothache-rant was vaguely intended to be a parody on itself, an “I-might-live-despite-everything” expression of gallows humor and hyperbole, but obviously Seattleites are as vindictively thin-skinned as ever.

Hence, instead of the promised essay (a wholly arbitrary delay for which I sincerely apologize), here is a rejoinder that began as a few caustic lines in the “comment” matrix and then exploded into a full-fledged discussion of the Puget Sound area’s ever-worsening regional transportation crisis – nearly every bit of it the result of Seattle’s breathtakingly hypocritical policy of methodically obstructing rapid transit even as the city claims to be America’s most environmentally enlightened metropolis.

Apparently Sesl is profoundly in denial about the Seattle establishment's small but powerful clique of venomously anti-rail xenophobes and its four-decade history of frustratingly successful efforts to sabotage construction of both local rail transit and any regional commuter-rail system. The xeno-clique's tactics have even included agitating minorities enraged by welfare reform to demand – successfully – that a Seattle light-rail project be turned into a huge giveaway program, thereby betraying (and infuriating) voters who thought they were approving a public transport system – not an extension of the dole.

And then there's the spitefully self-protective opposition of Seattle's Metro Transit bureaucracy, which is so empire-builder greedy, its antagonism to the mere notion of an independent "regional transit authority" was the death of State Sen. Ted Haleys’s much larger, far more intelligently structured and far less expensive regional high-speed- rail proposal some 24 years ago – a death inflicted via typically Machiavellian maneuvers in the legislature – an outrage the Seattle media deliberately suppressed and most of the rest of the local press corps were too inept to expose.

Bottom line – and with but few exceptions – it will be mainly slow, stinky, uncomfortable (and above all slow slow slow) bus-transport-only here in Pugetopolis for many years to come, and the primary reason we are so cursed is the disproportionately powerful Seattle xeno-clique's reflexive, "we-don-wanna-be-like-Jew-York" hatred of any form of mass transit that runs on rails.

The resultant traffic congestion (not only on I-5 but on all the primary and secondary arterials in the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia metropolitan corridor) is described – depending on the source – as the worst, the second-worst or the third-worst in the nation.

These descriptions are probably not exaggerations. Admittedly I have spent very little time in California, and none of that time in Los Angeles, but I saw nothing around San Francisco, Marin County or Oakland that compares with the gridlock I encounter here nearly every day. Ditto for Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Portland, Oregon. Speaking from the experience of my 10 adult years in New York City and its environs, the congestion in Pugetopolis is far worse – and many times more frustrating – than anything in the way of the traffic-jams I encountered anywhere in the NYC/New Jersey metropolitan area.

Fact is, New York City’s public transport is truly effective – so much so that even with its many and chronic problems, it reduces the privately owned automobile to exactly what it should be: an unnecessary luxury rather than the vital component of what – beyond Gotham – is the most painfully expensive transportation system on the planet: a system that is infinitely regressive and thus viciously discriminatory against everyone save the wealthy.

It is savagely weighted against old people too. If Sesl has never been stuck behind an elderly, defiantly stubborn Pacific Northwesterner conducting his own version of a Lesser-Seattle-Society protest by driving 40 miles-per-hour in a 65-mph Interstate-5 fast lane, I am forced to suspect Sesl has never been on the real I-5. The situation I described is so commonplace it has been a staple of local humor at least since the 1970s.

And 70 mile-per-hour traffic through Seattle at rush hour? That's not just impossible fantasy -- it’s clinically delusional.

Or maybe (to give Sesl the benefit of the doubt), Sesl's speedometer is broken, and in the interminable I-5 delays, Sesl dozes off and dreams of swift passage...thereby further obstructing the traffic that has given the "I" in "I-5" a new meaning: "impassable."

As for Seattle's nasty xenophobia – more malevolent (and, yes, far more violent too) than any standoffishness toward outlanders I have encountered anywhere else – Google "Seattle Sucks" and browse accordingly. Seattle is probably the only place in the United States where out-of-state license plates are genuine hate-magnets: notes left on your car telling you, "we don't want you here; go back where you came from" -- and all too often your tires slashed as well.

Or if you want more authoritative documentation, read the section on Seattle in the seminal study entitled Cultural Regions of the United States (Raymond D. Gastil, University of Washington Press: 1975), in which Seattle's own Battelle Corporation suggests Seattle's hatred of people and ideas from elsewhere is the worst and most intense xenophobia in America.

By the way, and to set the record straight on all counts, I love the Pacific Northwest with a passion that has fetched me back every time I tried to leave: I love its forests and its waters, I love how its mountains plunge to its seacoasts, I love its climate – including its seven-month winter monsoon. Most of all, I love its light: the eerily moonlit quality of summer shade in the backwoods groves of ancient alders, the slow blue lingering twilight of summer evenings – “in just such realms” (as I say in a poem I am writing) “are Higher Powers seen.”

But every Eden must needs contain its serpent, every Camelot its villain, and for me the Modred-snake is Seattle. For the very reasons I cited above, I despise Seattle, and I admit it freely.

I lived in Seattle during the middle 1970s, was active at the city’s cultural hub, and have never in all my life known such a frigidly exclusionary domain, a place where even those who were my peers and potential colleagues remained forever remote, covertly malicious if not overtly belligerent. The very few Washingtonians who were exceptions to this dismal and loneliness-breeding rule were people who grew up outside of Seattle; the handful of others with whom I became close were all outlanders like myself – people whose experiences were in fact exactly parallel to my own.

Indeed, I have heard native-born (and otherwise seemingly intelligent) Seattle Caucasians actually boast, “you could live here 40 years and if you were born somewhere else, we’d still reject you as an interloper.”

Which is precisely why I moved to Tacoma, where I lived for five years during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and precisely why I choose to live in Tacoma now: it is as friendly as any city in America, it is more pleasant than many cities, it is attractive and affordable, it has the best public park system on the West Coast (in park acreage, second nationally only to New York City), and it offers virtually the same cultural advantages as Seattle with none of Seattle’s xenophobic bigotry and snooty pretentiousness.

Moreover my best friends live in Tacoma – three people with whom I have been brother-and-sister close for at least three decades.

Just to show Sesl that Tacoma knows how to get things done, I should point out that the Tacoma portion of the Sounder light rail system is already up and running – within budget and on schedule – even as Seattle remains the One Big Obstruction, a bureaucratic train-wreck, a bottomless money-pit, an outrage that threatens to turn all of Pugetopolis into grid-lock dystopia.

And by the way, Sesl – thank you so much for wishing me a speedy return to good health.

Posted by Loren at 05:04 AM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2004


...I COMPLETED IT UNDER the influence of dental painkillers and antibiotics, so I want to allow the text to slumber undisturbed for a day, the better for me to review it and ascertain it makes sense -- that it has not lapsed into Kerouacean stream-of-consciousness, cretinoid meaninglessness, archaic syntax residual from another lifetime, or perhaps sin tax from some penance too long undone. Patience! I promise I will post it tomorrow, or perhaps even late this evening, after I return from the dentist.

Posted by Loren at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)