May 2007

Telling truth from paranoia

By Art Goodtimes

PLOTS … As a lover of novels, I devour plots. The weave and interplay of princess and shining knight, place and period, loyalty and betrayal. Usually with an array of intriguing characters, some masked in dual roles that only get revealed at the storyline’s denouément … But in the real world, whether it’s the paranoid complexity of Thomas Pynchon’s “V” or the cold rationality of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” it’s hard to believe that people could actually plan and carry off massive social deceptions, undetected, let alone plots of a nature far more insidious than Hitler-Mussolini fascism, Japanese Imperial militarism or Russian- Chinese communism … I have trouble overcoming an innate American skepticism in reading the borderline delusional ravings of or the purported actual words of Osama bin Laden ("I was not involved in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States nor did I have knowledge of the attacks. There exists a government within a government within the United States. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; to the people who want to make the present century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. That secret government must be asked as to who carried out the attacks.”) … Who would plan for annihilation of one’s own citizens as collateral damage, I ask myself, as sacrificial hearts opened on the stone altar of Halliburton, Blackwater, Aegis Defense Services? .. And yet how can one explain the mysterious collapse of Building 7, the 600- foot steel skyscraper housing offices of the IRS, the Secret Service, the CIA, the Securities Exchange and Guilani’s Emergency Command Center. Never struck by a plane, nevertheless Building 7 collapsed in a heap of twisted metal in 6.5 seconds – a near impossible structural failure (unless aided by demolition explosives set from inside) … Who would have imagined a protracted war in Iraq and “48,000 private military contractors” operating on the ground five years into the second Christian millennium? … “Logic is the art of noncontradictory identification,” wrote Rand. But poetry, as we learned at last year’s Talking Gourds Festival (in Doug Stanton’s Wittgenstein workshop) is the art of ambiguity. Getting to truth by juggling multiple elephants, cartwheeling pinpricks of reality defined amid the background chaos of possibility. Poetry, unlike science, gives one an intuitive wave-like gestalt feel for the field/pattern of things. What the Chinese call li … I’m a poet. I love a cloud of energies sailing into shape, billowing into storms, tossing off lightning and thunder with equal élan. For me, logic and science narrow truth down to the tiniest point, the charmed mathematical string whizzing in and out of existence. The ultimate micro. Whereas the poet likes to think big picture. And out of that contradictory umwelt comes a different kind of clarity, if not THE TRUTH.



On the street today, I sold
A bag heavy with gods
out of sheer hunger.

Sadiq al-Savgh

CLUB 20 … Patty Limerick, award-winning historian at the University of Colorado’s Center for the American West, came up with a great name for these many collaborative groups where folks from different views and perspectives talk, discuss and argue out the issues, at Club 20’s spring meeting in Grand Junction last month. I have been calling them “tables of trust,” which has a nice, almost foo-foo sound to it. She called them “sites of managed contention.” And that’s exactly what they are … The good news is that, in keeping with the recent blue wave of political change in Colorado, progressives are on the upswing, and it was evident at Club 20. The progressive caucus I’ve helped organize boasts Routt County as newlyliberal bastion, with Commissioner Diane Bush as voting rep and Steamboat Springs Councilmember Towny Anderson her alternate – both long-time progressives. Gunnison was represented by Commissioner Paula Swenson, a Dem. Plus, there’s Pitkin, San Juan, and San Miguel counties that have been liberal stalwarts for some time … As for awards, former Nucla Mayor Mary Helen deKoevend received the Dan Noble award for best political leader of the year, and former Western Colorado Congress president Charles Kerr of Grand Junction got the Johnson-Theos Bridge-builder award. Mary Helen certainly deserved an award for her unstinting service to the West End in so many capacities for so many years. But to think that Club 20 would award a leader of the Western Colorado Congress with an award was mind-boggling, but perhaps a sign of the changing times on the Western Slope, where traditional enemies have been learning to work with each other, if not fully agree with each other.

THE 23RD QUALM … (By a retired Methodist minister) … Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want. He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests. He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness. He restoreth my fears … He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find no exit, for thou art in office … Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me. Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion. Thou anointest my head with foreign oil … My health insurance runneth out … Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term, And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

BLUE THUMB DOWN: New research in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine in summer 2006 shows that consumers of dairy products containing residues of rBGH recombinant bovine growth hormone are five times more likely to have fraternal twins than vegans. The researchers showed how rGBH increases ovulation in humans and persists in the human body … Monsanto’s controversial hormone has been banned in almost every industrialized country on the planet due to evidence indicating that the milk from injected cows contains more pus, antibiotic residues, and IGF-1, a potent cancer tumor promoter … Some countries, like Canada, also banned rGBH on animal-cruelty grounds after finding that rGBH-injected cows suffer far higher rates of certain diseases.

GREEN THUMB UP … The Weaver Ranch in New Mexico is experimenting with Mashona cattle from Zimbabwe. They are smaller, efficient, docile grazers with tender and flavorful meat, hardy to drought conditions and the chill of southwestern winters.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.