Friday, July 30, 2010

Take nothing for granted--life is short

Sabbath eve, July 30, 2010

Matt King is playing Gruene Hall tonight and I hope to go, so I’m writing a bit early. Matt’s doing a solo gig, opening for the Gourds. I’ve never seen the Gourds live, but the word is they put on a good show. I know damn well Matt is worth your time. Seems a good thing to support live music, otherwise there won’t be any. Musicians eat too.

We had scattered showers most of last week but the forecast calls for sun and heat for all of next week so we’re back to cutting down grass for hay, the third cutting this season. We’re not selling much hay, but we are selling a little. Hay in the barn is like money in the bank. Better, in a way, because it’s real. Money in the bank isn’t real, but a lie works as good as the truth if you can get enough people to believe it. We have some pretty good liars running the show nowadays, so people keep on believing until the day arrives when they don’t. That day will come, the only question is when.

Two weeks ago, I let the cowboys cull the cow herd because I was busy hauling hay. There was an old cow, kind of a favorite of mine, a red thing with brands all over her body. She stayed a bit poor but I think it’s because she had a touch of milk breed in her lineage. I’ve managed to keep her despite her age, but I forgot to tell the guys. They told me they shipped two cows. I noticed I hadn’t seen her around and looked at the sale sheet. Motley faced red cow. Shit.

I don’t know why her death bothers me more than others would. Guess it seems like sort of a betrayal, but then all the cattle I send to market are betrayed. That’s what the job entails. We gentle the things down so we can kill and eat their offspring until the day comes that they no longer produce offspring and then we kill and eat them also.

Even so, this old cow was the first to come up for feed and she had a way about her, like perhaps she was smarter than the rest. I hope she wasn’t afraid when she died.

If there’s a God in heaven, I’m in need of mercy.

On the other hand, death by old age in a pasture is nothing nice, or at least the getting to that point isn’t.

Speaking of death, Tuesday morning a nineteen year old girl tried to pass on a hill just a couple of miles away from where I live. A gravel truck was coming the other way. The wheels of the trailer sheared off a slice of the car on the driver’s side, killing her instantly.

Take nothing for granted. Not one moment. Life is shorter than you think.

PS. Sabbath morn:

Martin called late yesterday evening. Said he found a calf that hadn't sucked. I was at Matt's show but he brought it over. Teah (a nurse cow) stood for the calf and it sucked.

The calf is a twin, abandoned in favor of a stronger sibling.

Red motely faced heifer.

She sucked again this morning. Some don't have the will to live. This one does.

Life goes on.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Feds bust California medical marijuana growers

Federal agents are busting legal medical marijuana growers in California.

Read it here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jim Puplava interviews Michael Ruppert

Very good interview. Better to know than not to know.

Listen here.

Wachovia bank and drug money laundering

Here's a link to an article at Bloomberg alleging that Wachovia bank and others have laundered multiple billions of dollars for Mexican drug traffickers.

Read it at the link.

PS. For those of you who don't know, Wachovia is now owned by Wells Fargo. Snort that up your nose and try to digest it.

Interrogation video

In the interest of fairness, I'm posting a link to a video documenting the interrogation and execution of an alleged policeman from Lerdo, Durango at the hands of alleged Zetas.

Watch it here.

The man in question describes how prisoners were released from a prison in nearby Gomez Palacio, then were given arms which they used to kill 17 people in Torreon, Coahuila.

He lists names of those involved, including the woman director of the prison in question.

Previous videos I have seen and posted showed alleged Zetas confessing to killing innocents before being dispatched. Now we have Zetas torturing their opposition, who also confess to killing innocents before being dispatched.

For the record, I am on no one's side here, except perhaps those that don't kill innocents at all.

Monday, July 26, 2010


James Howard Kunslter's monday morning rant is worth a read today.

Read it here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yesterday I spoke with Daniel Pace, the current owner of a movie option for Contrabando. Daniel lives in Phoenix, Arizona. His wife is a realtor.

Daniel told me that quite a few Mexicans are leaving the state, walking away from homes and the mortgages attached to them. Whole apartment complexes are emptying. Jobs are being abandoned and are not being filled by new "American" workers. How many people you know aspire to be a lettuce picker?

I suspect this may be interesting to watch over the next couple of years.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Piedritas, Coahuila

Sabbath eve, July 23, 2010

Yesterday I took a quick trip to Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico to see my friend Oscar Cabello. I’ve invested a meager amount into his effort at restoring a farming and ranching community with tremendous potential but in a horribly run down and sad state. The task is beyond either of our means now that we no longer smuggle dope for money, but it’s a task we both feel compelled to tackle.

With the constant news of border violence, I have to overcome a touch of fear each time I make this trip, but surprisingly, the Mexican people I have encountered seem almost to fall over themselves treating me well when I arrive. Even Mexican border guards seem glad to see Americans, in far fewer numbers than before I am told. The contrast upon returning to the United States is quite apparent. Border guards manning our customs installations seem on edge and extremely suspicious. I’m guessing that with a past like mine, it should be expected that I’d get special scrutiny, but it’s sad to say I’m more nervous about returning to my own country than I am departing to that of our neighbors to the south.

Ciudad Acuña and most of the rest of the state of Coahuila recently suffered horrible floods from the remnants of hurricane Alex. Rainfall totals exceeded 15” over a wide swath and evidence of the disaster was apparent everywhere I looked. Oscar tells me many roads have been washed out, homes have been lost, and while there, the area suffered a widespread power outage. Oscar had to take a circuitous route, traveling first south then east and then finally back north to get to Acuña from Piedritas. Mexico’s government is broke, or near so, but they’re doing what they can to provide at least a modicum of relief to the afflicted. In Northern Mexico, a modicum ain’t much.

There was talk of all sorts of programs in the works to help peasant farmers, but talk is about the extent of it. If anything is to be done, it’ll require someone taking the initiative and doing it with whatever they can muster. In spite of this, I remain hopeful. There are appointed leaders, there are elected leaders, and then there are natural born leaders, ordained in the same way Geronimo was ordained. With almost nothing in the way of assets, Oscar has managed to mobilize the few remaining souls in Piedritas and changes are in the works. They’ve cleared a few irrigatible acres of mesquites and huisache from a large field and have planted a crop. It’s a meager crop, but it’s a crop. For the first time in years, a seed of hope grows in the town and its people.

Back home again, we worked cattle for the second consecutive Friday (on another ranch I oversee). Fortunately, this time the weather was a bit cooler and the cowboys got the job done with less stress on the animals. Cattle prices continue to be good. Our corn crop nears harvest, but corn prices are poor. People feeding corn to cattle like that. The corn I am growing is for tortillas. I don't like getting fucked. Three goddamned dollars and eighty four fucking cents a bushel seems a whole lot like getting fucked by my estimation. Grass continues to grow like mad. We resumed cutting hay today and have quite a few acres near ready for a third cutting. I like making small square bales because I have a say in the price I receive.

I’m milking three cows every morning now and Leah’s making cheese as fast as she can. I need more nurse calves as most of those I had have been weaned and sent along, but I haven’t found any for sale and those calves among our beef cows all seem to have willing mothers. The garden continues to produce peppers, okra and cream peas. Another crop of black-eyed peas is planted and growing and Eulit Miller graced me with sweet potato vine cuttings that we successfully got started. Won’t be long until time to start planting a fall crop.

The chickens continue to lay eggs despite the heat, the goats keep eating, although most of the goats we have think they’re human, having been raised on a bottle. Leah names every animal she doesn’t want me to eat. All the goats she raised have names.

A palomino filly got her legs caught in wire and tore the shit out of herself, so now we get to treat her every day for her wounds.

As if she didn’t have enough stuff to can, Leah took a trip to Fredricksburg last week and came back with some of the best peaches I have seen in years. She has made peach jam and she cut up and froze peaches as well. I ate as many as I could.

The struggle on the farm continues, but I’m glad to be able to continue struggling.

And I am glad to know there are others out there fighting a similar fight.

Life goes on.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Someone's been smoking crack

Crack Smoking Part Deux.

Karl Denninger explains why deflation continues. Took over twenty years of failed policy to bring us to this point, including the ones you didn't like and also your favorites: Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, bush, and now Obama.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twilight Zone

Sabbath eve, July 16, 2010.

Despite weathermen’s claims of temperatures in the upper 90’s, the heat has been brutal. The weatherman doesn’t take readings in the full sun of a South Texas hay field. Grass is thick; weather favorable for making hay. I’ve learned that I can’t let such opportunities pass. So I don’t. Today we hauled and stacked 900 bales. 880 the day before, and a similar number the day before that. We also sold and loaded 300 bales directly from the field.

Cowboys came out to work cattle on our Belmont farm today while me and the rest of the boys slaved in the hay fields. To my dismay, two calves dropped dead from heat exhaustion.

Cows now stand below our house bawling, in search of their calves, most of which have gone to the nearby livestock auction. Humans, me included, are a cruel lot.

I made the mistake of looking at the Internet when I got in. More Matt Simmons crap about the well not being the real well. On Dylan Ratigan’s show, no less. I read and profited from Twilight in the Desert. But Simmons has lost it. Maybe he doesn’t know shit about an oil well. Maybe he never did. He is a finance man, not a petroleum engineer or a geologist. From statements he has made, I don't think he has even an elementary understanding of how a rig works. Another product of higher learning institutions with no grease on his hands. And he has been talking out of his ass.

Sorry, but I can take only so much bullshit before I must speak my mind. The real catastrophe is bad enough without a bunch of baseless speculation heaped on for good measure.

As for the conspiracy theorists saying this whole thing is staged. Bull shit. BP has lied and obfuscated. Simmons estimation concerning the size of the leak is much closer to reality than the bull shit propoganda they spewed. But what you've been seeing on video footage is a live blowout, in progress, and there are a whole lot of people working day and night to contain this spill. The whole process has been documented, including scenes from the ocean surface as various tools have been fabricated and lowered to the ocean floor. I’ve seen pictures of rooms full of men operating the ROV’s. I have also seen them make one ridiculous mistake after another. You can’t get that many people on board to facilitate a hoax on the scale that would be necessary in this circumstance.

There is no “other hole” spewing 120,000 barrels of oil a day into the gulf while BP has our attention trained on fake videos. The blowout preventer and the well casing was not blown out of the well bore (a piece of production casing might have been blown from the bottom of the well, traveled through the casing and lodged in the blowout preventer, but that is a long way from all the casing being ejected from the well).

I waited and watched for a good long while, just to make sure Matt and his crew weren’t seeing something I wasn’t, but the evidence isn’t there. If there's something I missed, enlighten me. (Spare me the he said she said crap.)

I know this is going to piss some people off but I can’t suffer idiotic bull shit indefinitely.

Back to the goddamned sun and row upon row of hay bales with me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The unthinkable

Sabbath eve, July 9, 2010. I’m writing a bit earlier than normal. We were set to work cattle today but it rained yesterday and the forecast called for more rain today, so we postponed the cattle until next week. Now the sun is out, but there are clouds in the background. Predicting the weather in Texas is always a crap shoot. As a farmer, predict I must.

Leah and I watched a DVD last night called The Unthinkable. I don’t remember this coming to theaters nor do I remember seeing any press on the film. After watching the movie, I find the title quite appropriate; this is subject most, if not all Americans don’t want to think about, or better yet a series of subjects Americans refuse to think about.

Being a contrarian, I highly recommend the film.

Here’s the premise: An American raised Muslim convert has placed a number of timed nuclear weapons in strategic locations within the United States. He allows himself to be caught. Samuel L Jackson stars as an interrogator known simply as H with a mysterious past brought in to extract the location of the devices from the terrorist after less drastic methods of torture fail to break the man.

Jackson begins by chopping off the last digit of the man’s pinky finger with a hatchet. Then he gets serious.

At one point, the terrorist’s demands are issued: He wants the United States to stop supporting puppet dictators in Islamic nations. And, he wants American troops withdrawn from Islamic nations.

H states that these are quite reasonable demands and suggests that we should comply. But of course, leaders of the empire from both sides of the aisle consider this unthinkable.

OK, then. Here you have a very determined motherfucker about to kill millions of Americans. And a chorus of people chanting we don’t torture. Either we torture this son-of-a-bitch or your kids die.

I am reminded of Michael Scheuer’s excellent book Imperial Hubris: Why the west is losing the war on terror. We have a schizophrenic foreign policy that on one hand pursues total world dominion and control and on the other wants to be known as a benevolent nation. Take your pick, but you can’t have both.

Both Michael Scheuer and Samuel L Jackson’s H would tell you, get the fuck out of the Middle East, and for that matter, the rest of foreign nations aside from our own. And then in the next breath, they’d say, but because you aren’t going to do this, prepare to become a brutal goddamned savage and do whatever is required to win or you will lose the war your foreign policy creates.

I consider it a foregone conclusion that our empire of iron and clay will fall someday, as have its predecessors.

Most of my neighbors consider that unthinkable.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anti Capitalist screed

I agree with most of Joe Bageant's assessment of the state of what we call Capitalism nowadays. I diverge on his implied notion that fuckheads like Chavez and the rest of the Communists out there provide any kind of viable or acceptable alternative.

You like getting ass raped with a dick that bends to the right or to the left?

Read it at the link:

Joe Bageant.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Signs of continued economic difficulties

25 Signs That Almost Everyone Is Expecting An Economic Collapse In 2010

Read it at the link.

More on Adams, and a new tea party

I've continued to mull over the John Adams movie and the history from which it was drawn.

It's easy to see that the various factions struggling to guide or control this country existed almost from day one. Obama and moderate Democrats seem to be from the Adams' camp of Federalists. Jefferson's version of Republicanism seems similar to the modern day Ron Paul-type libertarian movement. Hamilton's crew seem like the Neo-con/Neo-liberal movements of today, which in all honesty dominate both the Republican and Democrat camps.

As for tea parties, here's another that sprouted today. While I don't sign on to all of this, quite a bit resonates with me.

To no avail, of course.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

John Adams and musicians

Sabbath eve, July 2, 2010

It’s raining outside, once again. The country is green and the cattle look good. We managed to get about 4,500 bales stacked in the barn over the past two weeks and sold some hay directly from the fields as well. We also put up several hundred additional rolls of hay for our own cows.

The Southern Gulf states dodged a bullet this week when the first hurricane of the year veered west into Mexico some one hundred miles below the Texas border, in the process missing the huge oil slick floating off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. I don’t know what would have happened had the storm continued to track to the North. Let’s hope we don’t find out, for the hurricane season has just begun.

There has been a lot of speculation of late concerning the blown out well in the Gulf. Seems to me the real event is bad enough without a bunch of hysterical conjecture based on unfounded rumors circulating the Internet. Some I considered experts have proven themselves less astute than I would have expected. Despite what you may think about BP or big oil or the government, no one with an ounce of decency can be happy about what has happened and everyone worth the salt in their body wants to see the flow of oil contained. This is no conspiracy, but instead a tragic accident as human engineering and technology is pushed to its limits in search of ever harder to find sources of oil.

Leah and I have been watching a miniseries about John Adams that originally aired on HBO. I found the story interesting and inspiring. Adams is portrayed as a flawed but decent man who wrestled not only with foreign entities but also with his own people and his own doubts and shortcomings as the United States of America was founded. The way for these early American men and women was never clear; personal risk and danger accompanied decisions to revolt; joys of victory were tempered by endless new problems and trials. But somehow, Adams and the rest stood and fought for what they believed against great odds. The rest is history.

I wondered as I watched the film what a guy like John Adams or the other founding fathers would think of the country we have become.

Somehow, I doubt this is what they had in mind.

PS. Early Sabbath morn. Sorry for the worthless drivel I strained to get on a page last night. Contrary to opinion, evenings, especially Sabbath evenings are not a good time for me. I'm often tired; my mind a blur. Ray Wylie Hubbard sang of day people and night people. I am most decidedly a day person.

Concerning musicians. It has come to my attention of late that the music industry is falling on hard times. Big labels are poised to go under; along with them many "big artists". Having witnessed the kind of ass-holes some of these "big artists" become after fame comes their way, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

As we slide over the edge of the peak oil cliff and into the long emergency, I envision them hiding their tour busses from repo men, probably without success and then hitching down the road, indignant that such an important person has been reduced to this. Most of these guys are in hock up to their fucking eyeballs, what we once called nigger rich (my apologies to you African Americans reading this). Plenty of bling--big shiny tour busses, fancy clothes and cars, and maybe a nice rented but never owned house walled off from the rest of the world, if not then a run down shack or an apartment they never stay at. They have forgotten where they came from, who they come from and who it is that pays their way. Here's a clue: it isn't those fucking ass-holes that run record companies, it's poor working class stiffs that scrape up a few extra hard earned dollars in search of a moment's respite from the difficult grind that life as a working man, or worse yet, an unemployed working man has become in this great land.

A word of advise to artists on the rise: you'd do well to remember where you come from. You may be headed back someday.


PSS. Concerning the reference to nigger rich, I could just have easily used the rural white boy equivalent of a drug store cowboy: Big hat, fancy boots and spurs, no cows.