Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I want this....

Sedgwick Maine declares total food sovereignty opposing state and federal laws.

Listening, Belmont, Texas?

Contrarian economists

A few contrarian economists have helped me better understand our current predicament.

Two examples: Michael Hudson, and supporting evidence at Washington's Blog.

Bailing out banks, trying to reflate real estate prices were/are mistakes.


Saturday, March 23, 2013


Sabbath morn
Irrigation pivots needed turning off around midnight. Stopped sooner, they wouldn’t have completed rotation. But I couldn’t stay awake last night; instead I opted to allow them to pass slightly beyond the start point. I arose early to shut them off and now I am left fully awake with nothing to do.

Not exactly honoring the Sabbath, I suppose. I've given up practices once prescribed for the day; about the best I can manage is to mark its passing.

In a trailer, not fifty yards from where I write, sleeps a modern day saint. I’ve written of him before, first in Ruminations from the Garden, and then later in a post describing how he was shot multiple times in that same trailer, miraculously surviving the attempt to take his life. He goes by the name of Manuel.

Manuel is a seer. Some might say a prophet. Some might say a crazy man. In these times, all these can and often do go hand in hand. But Manuel’s not the same man he was before he was shot.

Manuel is out on bond, awaiting charges for the event that almost killed him.
The story is complicated, and I won’t go into details here; suffice it to say that I think the law has charged an innocent man. Manuel's accuser is a liar. Perhaps the shooting was accidental, the result of being awoken while in a drug and alcohol induced state, an excusable offense when it happens in the privacy of your own room, but the minute the lie was formed, a crime was committed, exceedingly worse and far more willful than the original event.

Meanwhile, Manuel spends his days seeing to the needs of our farm and a menagerie of assorted animals and plants. He does not only what I ask of him, but more, proactively trying to make this a better place for all. The cattle, hogs, goats and chickens know him as their provider, and eagerly await his arrival each and every day of the week, regardless of the weather. I routinely find sign of his passing, disappeared trash or discarded limbs, something broken mysteriously fixed, a plant watered, weeds dislodged, ground tilled, produce harvested.
He’s frugal with his money, rarely indulging himself, instead, sending money to his wife and an ailing mother in Guanajuato.

I made Manuel’s bond; at his insistence, he has repaid every dollar. He sends $50 a month to the military hospital that saved his life, and to the life-flight company that whisked his body away on that fateful night.
I fear for a country, for a people that would charge such a man with a crime. Such misdeeds will not go unpunished.

But I fear more for the fate of my friend and his people. Should Manuel be convicted, he faces a potential prison sentence, revocation of legal status in this country and eventual deportation, while the man that shot him continues deriving his livelihood from government assistance programs. I can’t find words strong enough to describe how terribly wrong that is.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Lord's Prayer

Monday morning.
When asked how we should pray, Jesus offered words we now refer to as The Lord’s Prayer. While milking a few days ago, I reflected on this prayer and for whatever reason noticed a few things that hadn’t occurred to me.
First, the prayer:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
I had long recognized the surrender of personal need/want to the will of God, implying trust in the goodness of our maker and his superior knowledge.
But what escaped me until recently is the plural nature of the prayer. It’s not forgive me, but rather, forgive us.
We, not me....

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring draws near

Sabbath Morn

We’ve a chance of rain. But we’ve had chances before and few have materialized of late. I hate to use the dreaded d-word, but that’s the way it feels. Not to say we have no moisture, just that the combination of warm, dry weather, wind, and a lack of rain have taken a toll and I’m uneasy about prospects for the upcoming crop.

I’ve opted to plant milo instead of corn on the few acres we will dedicate to grain; milo is more drought resistant; the seed costs less, is a non-GMO product and the fodder can be harvested for hay. An additional benefit: I won’t need to buy crop insurance, an endeavor I have grown to hate.

I kept seasonal help acquired during pecan harvest last year and the weight of carrying them through the winter has taken its toll on our bank account. Prospects for employment elsewhere for these men are poor, despite the boom in the nearby Eagle Ford shale play.

The big dollars required to develop the oil field comes from somewhere else; I suspect sources very near the Federal Reserve money-making machine; the oil produced leaves on rail cars and through recently installed pipe lines and the money generated returns from whence it came. Those fortunate few who live atop land bearing oil and owning mineral rights are getting rich, but most of that money fails to recirculate into the local economy.

Modern day shanty towns have sprung up in the area, only now instead of tents, residents live in travel trailers, stacked as closely together as space will allow. Most inhabitants are men, but there are some families. I feel sorry for the kids and the wives as few of these “parks” provide anything in the way of common space or recreational areas. Despite talk of good pay in the oil field, most of these workers are poor, living from one pay check to the next. I’d bet many have a home and a mortgage elsewhere, or conversely, are burdened with debt from a previous life that consumes every extra dollar they earn.

Hotels do well; none of these are owned by locals. Wal-Mart and McDonalds are having a field day. Taco venders, flat tire fixers and a few local men with good driving records and without drug habits are making a living. Gas stations and grocery stores thrive and local cops feast on an ample supply of overweight and illegal trucks.

We’ve had numerous accidents and fiery crashes related to oil field traffic. The wear on the roads is visible and it’s quite a bit more difficult the get in and out of parking lots.

We don’t have much in the way of bars and whorehouses, but I suspect the nearby cities of San Antonio and Austin are providing those needs. With all the drug-testing surrounding oil field jobs, local drug dealers haven’t shared in the current boom cycle like those of times past. I am sure whoever has the local beer and ice contracts are happy, nonetheless.

I hear the stock market is at an all time high, but I also see data pointing to a greater disparity in income than ever before. I hear politicians refer to a middle class. No one I know in this supposed middle class owns any stocks. If current trends continue, I doubt that such a thing as a middle class will survive. We will have rich, various levels of working poor and the outright destitute.

The climate ripens for political conflict between regions and classes of people in our land. I hope this conflict remains constrained to the political arena, but I see possibilities for it to escape those boundaries.

I pity the poor soul tasked with taking guns away from my neighbors. It ain’t gonna happen without a fight, a fight that potentially could pit state, local and federal forces against each other.

If you don’t believe me, then read this recently published article from our local newspaper.

Is this so much hot air? We shall see, soon, I suspect.