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Monday, July 29, 2013

News From The Future: Fire at Pistol Whip Fresh Air Works


Dateline: sometime in the future

Some workers returned to work today stepping carefully through puddles of flame that sputtered like butane torches along the main driveway leading to Pistol Whip Fresh Air Works.



The factory produces fresh air for markets in major west coast high population centers.  Shortly after 3:30 in the afternoon as a shift change was in progress the facility was engulfed in flames.
The fiery eruptions in front of the factory are reminiscent of an apocalyptic movie scene. 


First reports are that 4000 pounds of highly flammable liquid oxygen have escaped and migrated into Lake Pistol Whip freezing it solid. Some I have spoken with suggest the amount of oxygen may be three times that much.


Wikipedia reveals this about the properties of liquid oxygen.  “Because of its cryogenic nature, liquid oxygen can cause the materials it touches to become extremely brittle. Liquid oxygen is also a very powerful oxidizing agent: organic materials will burn rapidly and energetically in liquid oxygen. Further, if soaked in liquid oxygen, some materials such as coal briquettes, carbon black, etc., can detonate unpredictably from sources of ignition such as flames, sparks or impact from light blows. Petrochemicals, including asphalt, often exhibit this behavior.”

Jim Dumshitz plant manager explained to Pie in the Face News that the accident occurred when one employee left an oxygen transfer tank unattended and punched out when his shift was up. 

"It would have been okay," Dumshitz explained," if the second shift personnel had not been late for work. It's just one of those things, but it sure causes a lot of problems.  We have strict accounting guidelines on punching out more than 3 minutes late. He could have been disciplined if he had stayed longer.  He did everything by the book."

April Waters from the department of lakes and natural resources was on the scene surveying the catastrophe.  Pie in the Face News asked her concerns.  "Well it is a lot of oxygen.  So we have to deal with that.  We're still trying to determine how it ended up in the lake. We think some underground pipes burst.  Most likely it was caused by ground movement. There's a lot of seismic activity in this area but no one wanted to hear it when they were planning.

"We're certain the fish have died.  They were flash frozen.  Best estimates are that the lake will remain frozen solid for at least a week as it evaporates before leaving a big puddle of mud and rotting fish.  I don't want to alarm you, but there is a very real chance it can all go boom.

“Right now the entire lake is approximately -250 degrees (F).   We urge people not to skate on the ice with steel blades and especially not to smoke nearby until the lake is fully melted.  Here we are in the middle of a July heat wave and those rotting fish are going to be a serious public health problem.  The village can’t afford the overtime to deal with it.  It’s a mess anyway you look at it."

Pie in the Face News spoke with two of the arriving employees, Robin Fish and Harry Bush. I asked if they had concerns about returning to work.

Bush spoke first.  "No more than usual, not after Jim called, he’s there now.  This was bound to happen anyhow.  I'm really surprised it took so long.  Jim said everything was under control now."

Fish interrupted adding.  "That's an understatement.  I've been expecting it any day.  I can point out 5 safety problems which would get us shut down if somebody reported them."

“Besides that,” Bush added, “ we make an essential product and those that need fresh air just can’t wait because of an accident.”

I asked Bush a follow-up question:  "You said Jim called, did you mean the plant manager, Jim Dumshitz?

"Yeah, he said he really needed to get the line running and he'd appreciate it if we came in.  We need the work anyhow. I was glad to go.  It’s rough, man."

“We couldn’t afford to miss any time.” Fish gulped as she looked toward the factory.  I’m just glad it happened at the end of the shift.”

The pair turned and trudged toward the factory through puddles of flame that lapped around them.  The sight of them disappearing behind the factory doors left me thinking what a pair of fools they are.   It brought to mind an old Jim Morrison rap.



This has been a NEWS FROM THE FUTURE feature with Pie in the Face News reporting on the scene of this completely fictional event.

I have produced environmentally conscious art which you see here in my blog, and if you would like to see some with the possibility of purchasing it you can do so by visiting Art From Another Dimension at

I hope the story made you laugh and think.


a Clear Running Water state of mind

© 2013 David H. Roche

Monday, July 22, 2013

Some Thoughts On What It Means to Be Human In The Context of the NSA Scandal




“Carter lashed out at the U.S. political system when the issue of the previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.”   According to RT QESTION MORE.

"America has no functioning democracy at this moment," Carter said, according to Der Spiegel.

He is the most prestigious of only a few high profile people in public life who have been heard to raise their voice in criticism of revelations of government spying.  Jimmy Carter is rightly characterized as an honorable man.

Criticism must speak clearly.  Cenk Uygur in this segment of The Young Turks is an example of speaking clearly.  Which media are acting the part of a journalist in the traditional sense with regard to this issue? Which are mumbling? 


Mainstream media’s level of reticence in reporting is in itself a report.  Receiving it prevents, or limits curiosity, participation and discussion. It’s better not to forget. Hearing briefly about something and in a few weeks not hearing anything more leads the consumer of commercially prepared news to think that the problem no longer exists. Or possibly worse.  It may combine with the continuing rising of trouble everywhere and result in despair as the zeitgeist that informs the public mind. This practice circumvents the normal God given and democratic right to participate in the flow of ideas necessary for the nurture of the body of the nation.

Is the silence of the mainstream media over this an evidence of a revolutionary conspiracy against democracy …?

Could it be?  Does that make sense?


Do you feel you exist for a greater purpose than being the most essential requirement for higher consumer profit reports? What does being a citizen in such a society mean?  Humans are spiritual, not economic creatures, but somehow we have become convinced that is not true and have created society to prove it is not true. The concepts of ‘Being’, ‘God’ and ‘existence’ as I am using them are explained if you click on the large gold letters at the top of the paragraph.


The healthcare industry in societies with ‘for profit’ healthcare can be regarded as a metaphor of the values of a society defined by economic principles.  Its presence explains that what it means to be ‘mankind’ has been redefined.  By redefining ‘mankind’ it eclipses, or changes in ‘mankind’ the sense of themselves as spiritual beings. 

It does so in the most basic human terms adults can understand. When mankind does not understand himself by his relationship to God he must define himself in relationship to something. When man agrees to that relationship he belongs to it; at that point it becomes a ‘God’. The prevailing attitude regarding ‘mankind’ by society is to relate to ‘mankind’ on the basis of defining mankind as homo economicus. 

Homo economicus is an economic definition of the human being.  Human beings then, are encouraged to regard their worth as value expressed in dollars, or some other currency.  Insurance companies do it on a day to day basis. In a for profit healthcare setting the industry will try and save your life if you have the means to pay. Those are the rules. The conclusion of this is that the value symbolically attached to currency is that value by which all else, including human life is judged in this type of society. In a very important psychological sense, money takes the place in the mind which was originally intended to be possessed by God.

Symbols are not ‘mere’ symbols.  Symbols have the power to possess consciousness and make people act. The flag and apple pie are examples. How many are moved by those symbols?  Society operates on principles which regard mankind as essentially an economic creature.  The ethics of a society derived from the value of the dollar will of necessity conform to the standards of value related to the dollar.   By changing how we regard our fundamental status as human beings we must change our conception of what it means to be human.  As a result new laws and ethics will appear in order to conform to the new symbols defining man.

Prior to being designated homo economicus, members of the human race were referred to as homo sapiens.  Conceptually these are two different critters altogether although similar in physical appearance. The difference is spiritual, therefore it is fundamentally real. Society is designed so this spiritual reality is able to be easily dismissed. In the healthcare industry; flesh, blood and spirit meet the almighty dollar revealing a relationship defining how we, as citizens of society, understand ourselves.


In the context of healthcare what is evident first is the personal nature of the services rendered to an individual in exchange for payment to this industry. In such a society the public health and wellbeing of the populace is overseen. The cost is managed to insure the industry is successful. In this equation the human being is a means to the industry’s goal of being profitable.  At the highest levels all decisions in such a society are fine tuned to see that goal is met.

Does this assessment of yourself make you feel more or less the way you imagine you are deep in your innermost being? Are you more than a consumer that will need to be fixed someday? Are you more than an individual with a name, a job and a family?

Society’s desperate need for consumers is underscored in the relationships inherent in a ‘for profit’ healthcare environment.   In the preceding link the question is asked and answered as to why U.S. healthcare is expensive.  It turns out to be quite a bit more expensive than the so called Socialist approach to providing healthcare for a society. To top it off being expensive does not make it the most effective healthcare provider.  U.S. healthcare does not rank in the top 15 healthcare providing societies worldwide. Why is that?

Something’s going on.  It’s like everything is still the same, but yet just a little different than you remember it. American life has changed from scenes like thisHave you noticed?  To this. Have you felt the change?

There’s been an undercurrent of tension in the level and context of mainstream media provided information for a decade or more.  Now there’s something serious to talk about.

So why is the President spending his time talking about a street crime at the time of a constitutional crisis?  As bad as that event was, the revelations of the devalued status of the constitution are of far greater consequence to the people in a democratic society than the outcome of this act.

There are a fair number of gun related deaths in the United States on a daily basis. Emphasizing this one outrageous act eclipses the much more important discussion of the subversion of the will of the people in the democratic process.  It does this by taking the attention away from crimes against ALL the people. President Obama gives every indication of being in favor of the spying and that he is not going to change his mind at this point. He changed his mind on torture that’s for sure. Maybe the change he meant was the expansion of the previous administrations ambitions.

Do you agree with former President Carter’s assessment of the status of democracy in the U.S?  If he is right, it is a serious situation! I’ve never doubted Carter’s honesty or integrity.  I’ve not had any reason to feel that way about other presidents. 

While looking for info I found an article on the topic of freedom. You can read it at the link following this sentence.  Is America A Free Country?  Click to read an essay addressing that question at  It’s worth a read. 

The need many feel to preserve the integrity of the constitution lends to this moment in American history the characteristics of a watershed event.  So why does the President talk to us about street crime at a time of monumental constitutional crisis?   

The outrage generated  as a result of the U.S. invading the privacy of daily lives is affecting not only the world’s mightiest nation, but every nation of the world.  However the muffled response of the mainstream media in the U.S and its elected officials is drowning this news out. If your elected representative has not spoken out in defense of the constitution at this juncture in history in a meaningful way; he or she has spoken out eloquently against it. 

Jimmy Carter was a sincere, well qualified man with deep experience. His squeaky clean persona was used to cover up the stain of the Nixon and Ford Administrations which left the U.S. looking like a respected banker who has been pushed out of a cab stark naked in the middle of Manhattan accused of attempted rape by the driver. These revelations in the news are far more serious because it places the status of democracy and the meaning of privacy in the U.S in peril. 

This is about as ‘American’ as any topic gets.  “Congress shall make no law…” the document begins.

So I agree with former President Carter.  It makes me remember something my father said during the Iran-Contra hearings. He said to me out of the blue while we were going on a service-call together: "Dave, something has happened to the country."  I can't remember all he said, but I remember thinking this is serious if my father and I understood the government in the same way. He was a Republican. 

I remember replying something like the following:  "I don't think it’s possible for any government to exist if the citizens actually have the rights guaranteed by the constitution."

I meant it then and feel vindicated now. Have we as citizens in a democratic society found ourselves in the position of a dog owner with a rabid dog on a leash?  What’s the citizen to do if that’s the case?   Many are scratching their heads over what they see the U.S doing.  

At that period of my life I had been thinking what a stinking state of affairs it was to be considered an outcast in society for smoking marijuana.  I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind about how prohibition was simply ‘wrong’ in every way the word ‘wrong ‘could be used.

I wasn’t a scoff law in other ways. Prohibition irked me then and it irks me to this day. But at the root of my sentiment was the knowledge that prohibition was contrary to my desires regarding the use of my ability to choose what to do with myself.

Anti-marijuana legislation had dis-empowered me. It had removed from me the God given right to make choices. The constitution does not expressly forbid growing or using marijuana.  On the contrary, it is an inalienable right based on creation.  


Well anyhow, dad hardly ever spoke to me about political things and didn’t like me smoking dope.  I was very surprised when out of nowhere he just said that.

He said this after watching Oliver North treated as a hero instead of being locked-up in prison in disgrace.   (Click for PBS special coverage of the Iran - Contra Scandal.) These revelations about the NSA can mean nothing without first meaning the people who run the government and spend the tax money are anti-democratic in the way they think and act and any statement to the contrary is best understood as deceitful.  It also means when the mainstream press is silent it is behaving in the capacity of a co-conspirator.

It has become obvious those in charge do not embrace democratic principles as a way of conducting state business except in the time honored way of getting the best politician money can buy to make the laws.  Click for some humorous insightful thoughts by social observer and critic Will Rogers.

What else can it mean?  When Communists were accused of ignoring its citizens rights to privacy in the 1950’s Americans were told how lucky they, as Americans, were. The unfortunate Russians lived in a police state and there was no privacy. What this meant in real life was related to me by an older member of the church I attended. 

Bill arrived in America as a refugee from the Ukraine after WW2. He told the following story. Speaking with a thick accent which was hard for my American ears to understand, Bill related how the police came into his home and took his brother-in law who was there with himself and his sister.  The brother-in law was never seen by family members again or anyone they knew.  No one who cared about him ever heard from him again.  

Bill was an old man when I met him in the early 1960’s. He and his sister had gotten out of the Ukraine, ending up in my hometown.  Bill worked the rest of his life in one of the mills in town until retirement. In that time he lived with his sister until she died.  He was never arrested and didn’t drink. After his sister died and well up in years he married another church member and they lived together happily ever after until they both died.

He frequently told the story of the disappearance of his brother in-law and always finished saying “They thought more of a pig than a man.”  His brother-in law had gotten caught stealing a pig to keep the family from starving.  Bill never got over that.

Despite that life rattling experience, I don’t think Bill would have a problem with the news of the U.S spying on its citizens. He didn’t understand protestors against the Viet Nam war. He knew the protestors had no idea what a bad government was and that he did.

What do you think?   The previous link is to a June 7, 2013 Democracy Now interview with Glenn Greenwald on the topic of recent NSA spying revelations.  What do you think?

Perhaps the meaning of democracy has been changed and we just have to 'understand and get used to it', as Mayor Bloomberg suggests blithely. 

With that the case you should know what to expect if next you hear him or someone else suggest the constitution be moved to a museum for safe keeping because it’s printed on paper made with cannabis.  

Some crusader could make a case for relegating the constitution to the status of an icon kept in The Museum of American Political Life on the basis that: “It is printed on High Quality Hemp and could be dangerous to those not ready for it.” 

We’ve heard stories about rape as a means of birth control told with a straight face along with accounts of fetuses masturbating  from the same class of buffoons.  It’s just a short step from such previously documented idiocy to saying the constitution is dangerous because it’s printed on hemp paper. If our society can produce the previous sort of skewed thinking, imagining these bozos banishing the constitution to the category of a relic is not farfetched.


Either O

Today, in U.S. speak, the qualities of security and privacy have an either or relationship.

The previous links are to a Tee shirt design and a poster I made and put up for sale at  Both designs are in the theme of security in relationship to privacy and the constitution.

You may like to view more of the art products I have for sale.  You may do so by clicking Art From Another Dimension

Have a good day and God bless

a Clear Running Water state of mind

© 2013 David H. Roche

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.