What Am I Up To, Anyhoo?

I have greeted with some dismay the emotional reaction to censorship at the GOS of late, and welcomed essays to promote a further dialogue about it. I read the comments and discussions about all the aspects of the current situation – who’s got power in the blogosphere, who doesn’t, what gets censored where, what doesn’t, etc., etc., etc. – and made comments of my own. Mostly because I have some ‘extra’ time lately to read and participate here at DD due to the recent ending of a long-term contract for paid blog-writing and the immediate non-existence of a new one.

So when the subject gets construed into what we are, or are supposed to be ‘doing’ about politics in Amerika, walking walks or talking talks, changing the world or morphing into good little FoxBots, it may be time to consider what each of us individually is doing, and what our doing means to us. I’ve always only been able to speak authoritatively for myself, so I will. Never been much of a leader or a follower and never wanted to be.

I’ve revealed more about myself here than has been usual for me to reveal even to real-life friends and acquaintances until lately. Probably because the past has finally caught up with us this year, and in some respects the people we interact with regularly have a “right to know” that we’re… um… possibly dangerous. I know that sounds kinda funny (and it is), but it’s not like people through the years haven’t encountered some rather serious life-crises just because they knew us. Not all of ’em died, but that’s not the only measure of crisis.

When the ISS piece came out in April and took off as if it were somehow ‘new’ news, suddenly the people who weren’t part of that long-ago drama began treating us differently than they did when they knew us only as the clowns-with-homestead-and-day-jobs we are now. “Welcome to our life,” we now tell them. “It’s been a little complicated.” Yet we are still who we’ve always been, it’s just that not everyone we’ve come in contact with over the last three decades needed to know everything. Hell, most wouldn’t even care to know, so it’s not like it’s ever been dishonest on our parts not to tell people about our involvement with TMI. I don’t care what happened to them 30 years ago either, so fair’s fair.

The last time TMI intruded on our life it was the mid-1990s and we were pursuing a malpractice lawsuit against the doctors who abandoned our son to his death. We were required to undergo lengthy deposition in the ‘discovery’ phase. To us, the issues were very clear – it was about our son; who he was, where he was going, the evil that cost him his life. So we were heartened by the restriction on how far back into OUR lives the defendants’ lawyers could go to dig up ‘dirt’ for the purpose of diminishing our son’s life and worth. Ten years.

That meant that our nuclear misadventures were off-limits. Great! Then, out of the blue and right in the middle of discovery, we were told we would receive a federal subpoena to force our testimony in a huge TMI class-action suit then wending its way through the system. It had more than 2,000 plaintiffs – cancer victims or survivors. Yikes!

I’m sorry all those people (and many thousands more) were harmed. Really. That’s why we risked our lives to find out the truth, and tried so very hard to tell the truth as loudly as we could, for as long as there was a small chance in hell of mitigating the harm done. For six long years, in fact, with no help from anybody. Then it was too late. So we did something else with our lives.

I contacted the FBI with an FOIA request on all information they had on us, wanting to find out what might be accessible to the defendants’ lawyers if they wanted to cover all the bases on ‘dirt’. Went back and forth for months. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Basically I was told that not even the director of the FBI’s FOIA compliance section had clearance enough to access our files, thus nobody else did either. Clinton had been declassifying stuff right and left, so we wanted to be sure we were still officially non-existent. It was great news and allowed us to pursue justice without TMI being an issue we’d have to try and explain to a dumbstruck jury, as if that somehow justified the negligent homicide of our beloved son.

The past remained the past until early this year when so many of the newly-interested press heard about us from the many people we knew in Pennsylvania who have also been fighting all along for justice. Now all of a sudden all those anti-nukes who ignored us back in the day (didn’t trust us because we were nukes), but who couldn’t manage to turn a profit from all that harm 15 years later, want to put us front and center in their new quest to prevent the “Nuclear Renaissance” the industry is currently planning.

There really is a point here, and it’s pertinent to the hullaballoo per “Ideological Purity” in the left-blogosphere right now. First, as a professional writer and someone who has been in and out of the publishing/journalism business for 40+ years, I know for sure that different blogs have different focal emphasis and different rules of engagement. And that’s okay. Thus I see nothing wrong or upsetting if Kos wants to enforce Orthodoxy and forbid progressive thought (or pointed questions) on his blog. Or pay his bloggers. Or allow paid bloggers to post. Even if it is the biggest blog on the ‘net.

I see nothing wrong with DD attempting to be more progressive than that, either. Nor do I care if there’s a Free Republic and LGF for the die-hard WingNuts. I don’t care if there are Commie blogs and Socialist blogs and Fascist blogs and Corporate blogs. I don’t care who’s making money and who’s not. It’s all good, bad and ugly. I started by setting lead type backwards in wooden racks back in the Neandertal age. This new internet-based no-paper thing is very cool! I don’t mind if it covers the gambit. Because there’s all kinds of people in the world. We all choose our sources, based on our interests. And ignore the rest. It has always been thus.

My choices, my morality, my convictions, what I choose to do with my time and talent and skills and energy – these things are important to me and always have been. I expect others to do their own thing too. Occasionally we can find like minds or kindred souls out there, and share with them. But I’m not fond of people who insist I should care about what they care about as much as they do. I’ve lived long enough to have earned my essential distrust of politicians, groups, ‘movements’, industries, robber barons, revolutionaries and plain old “leftists” the hard way. That’s not going to change just because somebody whines or throws a hissy-fit my way. Or says nice things about me (you never know, someone might). I’ve never liked it when people attempt to ‘inform’ me of what I MUST DO to accomplish things to their liking, and mostly I laugh at the amazing presumption involved in such a demand.

So while I have issues I care about and may occasionally try to sell you on, I don’t demand that any of you drop what you’re doing and sign on any dotted lines. I don’t tell others how to live or what to think or how to act or what they must believe in (or not). It’s a waste of time in life, and life’s just too darned short for that even if you live to be 100. The world – the country, whatever huge conspiracy is all-important today – will be what it is and do what it does until it doesn’t anymore. Then change will happen, with or without my help.

I am and have always been interested in politics. Hubby was a Poli-Sci guy in college. We follow, we sometimes sign petitions, sometimes go to rallies or protests, sometimes work for candidates, always vote when we get the chance. But we don’t expect the world to cater to our will and we’re pretty well used to losing. We’re just part of a generation with some issues and challenges we’ve tried – all our lives – to meet as best we could.

Each generation has its issues and its challenges to meet. They may change things for better or worse, they may not. We were born into a world where doomsday weapons threatened the totality of life every moment of every day we’ve been alive. I’m still here, so are you. And the truth is, while I do view that whole enterprise as evil to its very core in every application, it’s no real skin off my teeth if we die on our own time or if we all wake up dead at the same time. We’re all just passing through anyway.

So I will offer – FWIW – a tiny tidbit of ‘wisdom’ I have gained in my life about such threats: they’re bluster. The Haves in this world don’t want to end the world because if they did, all their wealth and power goes away along with their lives. They’re just hoping to escape comeuppance while they’re here by propping their power with authoritarian tactics that never lasts for very long before the rabble rouses or simply ignores them to death.

The whole point of threats is to maintain your position against possible usurpation. Thus while they may kill hundreds or thousands “disposable little people” just to give their threats some clout, they won’t kill billions. There’s no money in that. So the best thing to do with such threats is to call ’em. Show us your cards or shut up and go away. Then go on living your own life as if it had worth and meaning, however you can make it work for yourself and your loved ones.

If We the People can’t even manage to do that much then we’ve got no power to wield and no reason to care. The main problems right now stem from our government. We elected them, we can unelect them. We can replace them, we can overthrow them, or we can laugh and ignore them with panache. Our choice. Everything else is just talk-talk, which is a fine pastime but doesn’t change anything.

And just one more thought… Once the powers that be have become so crooked that the system no longer works as anything but a thievery-machine, we’ve two meaningful choices. We can take up arms and gamble on what comes next, or we can just say ‘no’. Stop participating, stop paying, stop playing their stupid game. Do something else with our time and lives, let them implode in all their impotency on their own. Meanwhile, plant a garden and make some new friends. Check out local barter networks and deliver some Meals-On-Wheels. Hug your children, read to them. Teach them well, so they may have a chance to meet their generation’s challenges – and maybe even win.

The world situation is desperate, as usual. Designed to be so. It’s got enough power – we don’t have to give it ours.


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    • Joy B. on September 28, 2009 at 02:01
  1. There’s a certain irony to this and to my previous post, What Are We Up To Anyway?  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I am.

    We’re writers.  So we write.  Writing is not doing nothing.  It’s writing.  Is the keyboard more powerful than a steaming locomotive?  My hunch: yeah, it probably is.  But it’s not as fast as a speeding bullet, or able to leap tall buildings at a single bound.  No.  It’s just writing.  And it succeeds or fails by what it communicates.  And what happens after it’s been said and done.  The irony is that there’s nothing the matter with that, nothing at all, that’s just how it is.  Yet somehow it’s being implied that just being a writer is something to apologize for.  Because being a writer isn’t the same thing as [fill in the desirable occupation(s)].

    That in a nutshell is why writers just write and they don’t sign up for ultimate fighting (unless they think they are Norman Mailer or Earnest Hemingway).  I’m not sorry that it’s that way for me.

  2. man, Im just… I dont know.

    Im not a writer. Im a reader. And I enjoy the writing here and the kindred spirits.  But this is just discouraging to me. It makes me feel like… we’re little more than the Band… playing on while the ship sinks.

    well. what else can ya do, eh?

  3. it won’t have much impact on the root causes of the problems we face in changing things.  Those root causes such as recognizing the war on terror is a guise for world imperialism, the federal reserve is unconstitional and responsible for the transfer of wealth we see increasing; the corporations control our politicians, etc.  To me, what’s the sense in fighting for lesser issues when nothing can change unless the root causes are addressed.    

    • jamess on September 28, 2009 at 06:21

    and thx for trying to do the right thing,

    back in the day. Patriots indeed.

    I always thought there was more to the story of TMI

    than the news let on then.

    That unexpected Hydrogen Bubble,

    had to of gone somewhere. After

    that week+ of building up.

    Its amazing the whole place didn’t go critical

    with the meltdown damage that did occur.

    Didn’t they say it was a once in a 10,000 year accident —

    yeah right! Kind of feel like I was duped by Carter now.

    So sorry to hear about your son,

    life is so hard sometimes.

    I agree that this paperless writing thing

    is pretty cool. There’s a soapbox platform out there,

    for anyone … anyone with the soap!

    • Miep on September 28, 2009 at 08:07

    You illustrate well the difference between being proactive and reactive. If you’re all organized around trying to take someone else down, it’s harder to know what to do if you win, because you’re used to a state of war, and will be more likely to look for new enemies.

    Reminds me of Phil Ochs and his turning-away song; “I’m not marching anymore.”  

  4. a piece of your life story. Like my namesake I collect the stories or concoct them of the people I connect to in this wonderful alternative world I entered 7 years ago. I like your attitude, spirit and writing now that I know more of your life story it makes it even more meaningful. There is such an amazing collection of tales that have brought the people who habituate this electronic community to this place in time. I’m sorry you lost your son via the insanity of power. My loses pale in comparison. Your life is an inspiration to me as you have not let the losses push your your life to negativity.  

    As a youngun I moved back to the land, but I was a dirt poor hippie and an artist to boot so I did not fare well. My husband is a city slicker from NY and when we hooked up we set off on our ‘long strange trip’, up the west coast staring off in LA we ended up in a urban area but it is a great one. We have always lived outside the system to a large degree. This is a place that place both of us can trive in.  It offers community one where you can see the edges of your life, and as my state representative said Che himself would have problems getting elected in this district.

    I agree with your assessment of the threats we face. As a child of the Cold War I never for one minute believed the Russians wanted to take us over. The insanity of living at ground zero, LA, and hiding under my desk when they dropped the big one was absurd. I’m rooting for the whole mess to collapse, as I believe people are way more resilient and inventive then they know. Anarchy does not scare me.lol

    Having spent time in and out of the political fray, this last foray via the Democratic party, was disappointing but not surprising. The Bush coup snapped me into mainstream politics. I found the net and I found the writing of the people I read here. Now I think we will take back our country it’s just that the means will not be via electoral politics as they stand. I believe that community will be the answer be it local and or electronic. All of the people we meet here can pool our experiences and talents and prepare and work for the future, which is after all nothing but change.

    btw. I am by trade a graphic artist and at my first real job worked on a small local newspaper which used metal type. The typesetters would let me after hours play with the type. I did the grocery store ads I loved pasting up the turkeys. It hooked me for life.                  

  5. This choice:

    We can take up arms and gamble on what comes next, or we can just say ‘no’. Stop participating, stop paying, stop playing their stupid game. Do something else with our time and lives, let them implode in all their impotency on their own. Meanwhile, plant a garden and make some new friends. Check out local barter networks

    One great “barter network” to check out is Freecycle. Doesn’t get much better than free.


    Which reminds me, I’ve gotta post for some leaves. Want to get some bagged leaves to compost over the winter.

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