Wednesday, August 03, 2005

We were SLAVES to BUSH and the OIL WARS

I've wanted to "go public" with this for some time, but couldn't. Not until my husband was free.

For the last year and a half we have been prisoners in a massive slave ring -- a vast conspiracy of government and corporate interests employing advanced mind-control techniques designed for nothing less than global domination.

Even though I was certain I could "bring down the whole damn house of cards," I was shamed into silence -- an otherwise intelligent, caring individual -- I turned against my family and friends and all my upbringing. Instead of "being a hero," I did everything I could to protect my "masters." That's how complete the control is -- I would have given everything to continue serving in their "cult."

When I opened my eyes to the real operation "behind the curtain," it was obvious it went all the way to the top -- to the Saudi Royals, the Bush Crime Family -- and our "contact," an old cabal of german capitalists -- the Bavarian Motor Works.

It started out innocently enough many years ago. We were young and idealistic...

My boyfriend was a traveling musician. I was a sometimes art, sometimes philosophy student at East Tennessee State. We courted, driving around in his car. Our first date: he took me to see my aunt in Kingsport along an old trade road that I had never seen before. I was impressed.

Driving was always more than a means of transportation for us. A good in itself. I crave the long form. My husband prefers speed and precision. He taught me how to "drive." I taught him how "ride."

We rarely had two dimes to rub together, but with the help of our friends, in the form of band mates, room mates, and soul mates, we made a rich life with "nothing to do" in the mountains. Thanks to an insanely cheap cost of living, we could afford lots of spare time, vast quantities of beer and cool old apartments in our depressed little town. If you were to ask yourself the question, "what is the good life," you would be hard-pressed not to recognize some little chunk of it in this. Except for the fact that the mountains are also home to a disturbingly aggressive form of psycho-religious conservatism -- and making money was out of the question -- it was paradise.

We left the mountains so he could help form a band in Nashville. After an up-close view of the ass-end of the music biz (that's the "biz" part), the band mates settled into jobs and got on with the business of raising families, etc. No family for us, though. As if to fill the void of an empty nest, we got dogs and cars, in that order.

And that's where the trouble started.

Until yesterday our primary car was a convertible BMW 323. Loaded. "Nice ride" doesn't cover it. It was crack. A completely irrational, self-propagating addiction. We could afford it. He figured, "why not." I asked, "why?" but still came under its spell. It was a symbiotic relationship at first, taking me back and forth to my suckass corporate marketing job in astonishing speed, and slicing as much as four hours off my usual 12-hour red-eye to/from Florida.

For me, the dark side of my addiction took the form of protection -- do anything, just leave me the car.

For my husband, the dark side was aggression: driving everywhere fast, grinding into cloverleaf ramps, and (there's no pretty way of saying this) tailgating. There was an additional effect that can only described as sexual. He'd spend whole weekends preening, rubbing, exchanging fluids. It was disgusting, his devotion. I'm not exaggerating when I say we had to see a therapist to intervene.

Then, tragedy struck.

My suckass corporate marketing job was eliminated in a merger. Simultaneously, but unrelated, a condition in my spine began expressing itself chronically, as near-constant, debilitating pain. With a little help from my doctors, I am fairly successful at keeping the worst of the disability at bay. The assumption was I would find another job on short order.

The back condition forced me to ask who would care for the house. I was bad enough at housekeeping when I had a 100 percent of my health. With the added burden of a broken back, new job for me would mean we would either have to hire help or settle for a lot less in the way "living": relaxing around the house with the dogs; cooking; housekeeping; improving; landscaping; entertaining.

I come from a family of servants. It's not insignificant, psychologically, to be a servant -- and the one thing my mother hoped for me was to not be someone's "slave." Oh sure, the obvious thing is "hiring help" makes you the Master for once, but that's the mistake SUV-driving restricted-community-dwelling reptiles make: "a good life" is a zero-sum game. You win when someone loses. It's the gospel of the Church of the Holy Incorporation: Blessed are those of good fortune for they know the savior whose universal symbol is "$."

Outsourcing your life is not an answer -- it's a symptom. Employing servants enslaves you to your master: your suckass corporate marketing job. This is the real problem, folks. And the cool thing is, I believe we are ready for it. I think we can do this. Dig the revolutionary messages coming from the most unlikely places -- Martha Stewart, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson:
Stay home...
enjoy your life...
cook some more.
It got so bad they had to put poor Martha in jail, because if people took her too seriously, shopped only at Kmart and baked their own bread -- things would be seriously different in this county.

The lie we fall for over and over again is women's work has no value, or at least 25 percent less dollar value expressed as a wage. How does this square with reality?

Where is most people's nest egg? In their house. We have zero money in the bank, but we damn sure have savings in our houses. One person staying home, cultivating the investment makes a whole lot of sense. Maybe there's even stuff you can do while you are at home that further adds to your family's value. Childcare? Renovating? Taking on a little freelance while pursuing/finishing some lifelong interest. Maybe this will give you time to help care for an ailing parent, or mentor a child. Run for office, or work for your party.

I began to identify ways to simplify our life. The car was an obvious target, but neither of us could pull the trigger, which literally gave us physical and emotional symptoms.

According to the Center for American Progress, lower- and middle-income households spend more on transportation than any other item except for housing. The guy driving the least efficient vehicle on the road today -- the Hummer -- gets a $25,000 tax credit, while funding terrorism to the tune of 9 mpg. Compare that to the guy driving the cleanest, most efficient hybrid -- $2,000. It isn't easy being green. At least at first glance.

Where does the money go when we swipe our card at the pump? We hear that oil companies are having record profits, and boy, that makes us mad. We also hear heated discussion about something called, "peak oil." Surely that's where the money is going -- R & D. Surely they are researching new technologies. Right?

Wrong. As The New York Times reported in February:
"Thanks to crude prices that averaged $41 a barrel in New York last year, the world's 10 biggest oil companies earned more than $100 billion in 2004, a windfall greater than the economic output of Malaysia. Together, their sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion for 2004, which is more than Canada's gross domestic product.

Even as fears of shortages grow throughout the world and prices remain high, the cash-rich oil companies are not pouring a large portion of their money into their basic business: drilling for oil. Indeed, oil executives, in their second straight year of rising profits, are finding that too much money is chasing too few oil fields. Instead, they are giving much of their cash back to shareholders."

When I pay $2.50 a gallon for gasoline -- a full dollar more than what I was paying when I bought my last pair of Birkenstocks -- I AM PUTTING CASH MONEY INTO THE HANDS OF TERRORISTS (the corrupt regimes and oil companies responsible for the war, the Patriot Act, ect). Last weekend we learned that the oil wars will expand to Iran and will most likely involve a nuclear attack. As Bush breaks all presidential vacationing records this month in Crawford (the illegal Western White House), you can bet he will learn all about of this next phase of his "war presidency." To say the stakes are high, just doesn't put a fine enough point on it.

So lets attach a dollar amount. If gas was a buck-fifty five years ago, and I filled-up my 20-gallon tank twice a week to drive to my suckass corporate marketing job, I spent 30 bucks a tank of gas, and 60 bucks a week. Last week that same tank of gas would have cost me 50 bucks, or 100 bucks a week. That's a DONATION OF 40 DOLLARS A WEEK to their oil war. You got that? What can you do with 40 bucks a week? 160 bucks a month. Approximately $2,000 dollars A YEAR. Who wouldn't love to have that money back at the end of the year? 2,000 bucks. What's that? a vacation? tuition? or is it the difference between being able to afford your healthcare costs? Credit card bills. How about the mortgage?

At a time when the buzzwords on energy in the press are "peak oil," "100 dollars a barrel," and most frighteningly, "petro 'euro" -- the energy industry isn't even bothering to explore new fields, new technology or alternate fuels. I am right now at this moment listening to a conclusion on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" concerning "energy independence." The discussion is that people don't have good choices. I'll agree with that to a certain extent. I would love to walk to the grocery store, ride the rail to see relatives and telecommute.

But in the meantime I do have one choice that trumps them all -- the CHOICE NOT TO BE A SLAVE TO MY CAR OR MY JOB. It's about me, my life and how I will live it.

Sure, it took the threat of nuclear war, but against this backdrop, we sold the car.

Take that Dick Cheney. I'll keep what's left of my life, and my 2,000 bucks this year.

I am writing this for one reason -- to expose the lie the oil companies, the Bush Crime Family, the Saudi Royals and every car manufacturer needs us to believe: that our cars are sacrosanct -- that there is no crisis, no condition of life, worth the sacrifice of our automobiles.

You are not your car. It does not deserve your protection. You are not its slave. It is time to get free. At least a little more free than yesterday.


Blogger elizabeth said...

Listen, folks, I rode with her in that car...It did more than just get in her head. It was like watching someone you love merge with the Borg. I wasn't sure she'd need to park it when we got where we were going; I thought it would just DECEPTACON:TRANSFORM SHAPE OF: BROOK! and we would be off about our way. Glad we weren't trying to fly somewhere, going through the metal detectors.

Glad you unplugged from the Shadow technology, babe. It's bound to feel weird for a while, but breathe the free air again! Never be a wage slave by choice.

Friday, August 05, 2005 8:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I understand you got rid of the BMW. Just asking: are you ceasing driving to save the 2k? Or did you buy a new hybrid car to get the 2k tax advantage?

Friday, August 05, 2005 2:15:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

hmmm -- not sure what you're asking... but the 2,000 tax advantage was sorta icing, and made the deal on a new hybrid (18k+) be as good as that on a used hybrid.

also there's the immediate gain of spending less on gas every month. the bmw took premium so there was extra cost with that.

Friday, August 05, 2005 2:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me again. I believe some state governments are slapping a special yearly fee/tax on hybrid car owners to make up for lost gasoline tax collections due to the hybrid car's generally getting such dramatically higher MPG (the gov'nt officials feel entitled to replacement of the special taxes built into the per-gallon-charge). This ammounts to a penalty/disporportionally high replacement fee/tax on drivers whom drive only a very few thousand miles per year if they elect to buy a hybrid car. Oh well, imperfect world as usual.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

There is nothing on westlaw regarding an additional tax on hybrid vehicles. I think that is a right wing urban myth.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

if you could provide a link to this info, i'd be more inclined to take it seriously.

there is no such "penalty fee" in TN and as a matter of fact there are plenty of state-based tax incentives. if we had paid sales tax on this car (which we didn't b/c we traded down) we could have written it off our federal taxes which is a form of a state incentive.

it's been my observation that there are some people who need to Eeyore their way thru life. enjoy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 1:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...transportation funding package, HB 2041, eliminates the "hybrid penalty" enacted by the 2001 legislature. The 2001 legislature doubled registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles, making regular passenger vehicles fees half of those charged for cleaner, more environmentally-friendly cars. The registration fee for regular passenger vehicles and hybrid vehicles has been equalized by the legislation that passed the legislature on 7/23/03... Here is one that was dropped. Perhaps they will go away.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 6:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) has signed a bill (H.B. 96) extending for five years an income tax credit for taxpayers using vehicles that burn clean fuels, but clarifying that hybrid vehicles may not take the credit. The measure extends certain individual income tax and corporate franchise and income tax bill, however, in tax years beginning Jan. 1, 2006, a taxpayer may not claim a tax for an electric-hybrid vehicle... Here is a rule that seems to knock hybrids out of a fuel efficency based incentive.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 6:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Section 1 amends subdivisions 3 through 6 and 9 of section 187-b of the Tax Law to clarify that a qualified hybrid vehicle may not qualify for either the corporate tax clean-fuel vehicle property credit or the clean-fuel vehicle refueling property credit available under that section...

Saturday, August 06, 2005 6:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is some IRS information from an accounting oriented website: The maximum allowable deduction amount is $2,000. That amount was set after the Toyota and Honda corporations documented for the IRS the incremental costs of buying their hybrid vehicles. The deduction must be taken for the year in which the vehicle was first used. For a car first used before 2002, a taxpayer may claim the deduction on an amended tax return.

This benefit is taken as an adjustment to income. You do not have to itemize deductions on your tax return to claim it. Include your deduction on line 34 of Form 1040, and identify as “clean fuel.”

Saturday, August 06, 2005 6:26:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

this piece was way too long -- i've edited it down.

Monday, August 08, 2005 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger Brook said...

Hybrid Car Tax Credit Better Than Deduction
Through 2005, hybrid car buyers are allowed a $2000 income tax deduction, and this deduction was slated to diminish to $500 in 2006.
But thanks to the energy bill passed by the house and senate, which is also expected to be signed by the President, hybrid car and hybrid SUV buyers will begin to see even larger tax incentives for new hybrid vehicles purchased beginning January 1, 2006.

New Hybrid Car Tax Credit
The new energy bill allows a $400 to $3400 tax credit depending on model. A credit is much better than a deduction since a tax credit directly reduces taxes owed, as opposed to simply reducing taxable income.

Monday, August 08, 2005 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool, but it just figures they would aim for Jan 1 2006 instead of your purchase this year qualifying. Perhaps a very very creative tax lawyer...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

2005 cars are covered under another piece of legislation. the 2006 tax benefits come from the energy bill.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 2:07:00 PM  

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