The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check
The Power of 12
Now we embark on 2012, and each year I try and end the previous one with a tag line or a semantic touchstone for where things may go over the following calendar run. It's a way of cleansing by throwing something out there for kicks.
We hardly ever -- and by hardly ever, we mean mostly -- predict how things will pan out. Never did go much for the "past is prologue" stuff. Don't look back. Rearview mirrors are for suckers. This is more our speed.
None of this is true, of course. The entire purpose of this space is to point out that nothing is new and that somewhere along the line of civilization, and most assuredly in the history of these United States of America, there has been a dead-ringer or worse catastrophe than the one currently being endured. This calms the natives from believing the End is Nigh, an age old defection in the human condition that bridges raging ego with a preternatural fear of the unknown to justify the eradication of existence, when all it really means is that things are subject to a natural shift and we're just pissed about it.
However, the end of the year is hardly for reflection but dissection, and in that spirit we offered up 2011 as the year of "challenge", as the political and social landscape of our nation would be motivated to defend, refute or understand the largest legislative maneuver in nearly half a century; the National Health Care Law. Before that in 2010, we predicted a re-birth of fiscal conservatism by examining a growing worship of Ayn Rand by the wounded Right Wing. Back in 2009, which we labeled the Year of the Guilty, we took a turn for the weird. Not sure where that was going.
Now 2012 is upon us and it is long in coming for me.
The number 12 is my number.
Well, I was initially partial to the number 2 in the grand scheme of the primary numbers, but my grandmother and mother were both born on a twelve, and later I was married on a 12. My first hero, Joe Namath wore number 12 and his team won its only title on a 12. When I was 12 my head exploded when I heard The Who's "Tommy" for the first time, which completely altered my being, and then shortly after or during this experience, my body exploded into another completely different being.
Yet, somewhere along the line I learned from the Oxford Dictionary that a study of the number (or word) twelve's etymology suggests that "twelve" arises from the Germanic compound "twalif" "two-leftover", so a literal translation would yield "two remaining-after having ten taken". Therefore, the remaining "tw"- hints that twelve and two are related.
Also, in any monotheistic measure, 12 rules; as in 12 tribes of Israel for Judaism, 12 apostles and a bunch of crazy 12 stuff in Revelation for Christianity, which brings us to the Mayan calendar, end of the world thing, and well -- I get that. Also, there are 12 Imams, whom are considered the legitimate successors of Muhammad in Islam. But my favorite is the Hindu 12, which indicates the number names for Surya, the Sun God.
Of course, my awareness of the number 12 is not without its constant reminder: The Roman calendar has 12 months, broken up by 24-hour days split into 12-hour periods, which begin at the stroke of midnight (12:00 am). In fact, the very basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all perfectly divide by 12. And for what's it's worth, the Western and Chinese zodiacs have 12 signs.
Maybe my absolute favorite (and let the music geeks have at it on this one) 12 is the number of pitch classes in an octave, not counting the duplicated (octave) pitch. Also, 12 is the total number of major keys, (not counting enharmonic equivalents) and the total number of minor keys (also not counting equivalents). This applies only to twelve-tone equal temperament, the most common tuning used today in western influenced music.
Beyond nice. Crucial, really.
There are 12 steps in AA.
There are 12 face cards in a deck.
There are 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the U.S.
Human visitors to the moon; 12.
You may have heard something about the number 12 deriving from Egeria, the Roman water goddess, often pictured carrying 12 jugs of water, which she summarily spills to create the earth's lakes, oceans and rivers.
Here's a final tidbit about my 12; the word "twelve" (the largest number with one syllable) is also the largest number with a single-morpheme in English. In linguistics a "morpheme" is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language.
Chew on that for a while.
So, while we're enjoying our 12 days of Christmas, I wish to ponder on all-things 2012, a presidential election year. The hope here, and a mild prediction, is that a true third party candidate will emerge to finally challenge the status quo.
Has that not been my mantra for eternity? Why not in '12? If not now, when? If the Payroll Tax debate, as innocuous and petty a tit-for-tat political piss battle as can be imagined, ends in a virtual stalemate, what is the point of a Two-Party system? (and let's not deal with the ironies of my conveniently decrying the number 2 appearing here, shall we?)
Not sure who or what a third-party candidate would look like, and the foolish dream is it won't be a nut like Ross Perot or Donald Trump, but we're feeling positive for a few fleeting seconds, so go rain on someone else's parade.
This year of '12 could be the year we get out of the war business for a while. That would be nice. As Iraq goes to the dogs after trillions spent and thousands dead and maimed we'll turn our attention to letting Afghanistan tumble, ignore the Middle East and continue this interesting infatuation with Asia, the New Europe for the New Century.
The desert is out in 2012.
Sadly, what is also out in 2012 is Hackwriters.com, which has been printing this column across the U.K. and the rest of planet earth for the past 12 years. Along with the brave souls at this paper, and several others who have come and gone over the nearly 15 years we've been at this, Hackwriters and its staff have been right on the front lines with the Reality Check News & Information Desk.
We wish their next endeavor in 2012 to be better.
Embrace the 12.
It's good for you.
© James Campion 26.12.11
READERS RESPONSES 12.31.11
One week to go before the Republican Primaries and the response for THE RON PAUL FACTOR -- Issue: 12/21/11 challenges any this space has received in nearly 15 years. Here are the highlights:
The way the campaign carnivals have danced their way onto the media stage these last elections, it becomes ever more apparent that either "side" of the plutocracy wouldn't lose any sleep if their respective opponent won. They'd get the same spending, same bills, same placing at the Federal Reserve's trough, same lobby knockers, same wars, same bailouts, same dissolution of civil liberties - all despite the protest of the people. America has a history of being caught up in a left/right paradigm. There has increasingly been recognition that there is another paradigm - and a more important one - in place: Authoritarianism vs. libertarianism. Those on the Hill share the former, whether from the left or right. Those who vote share the latter, whether from the left, middle, or right. Ron Paul is bringing this to light. And we are responding. The insiders are pissed and their agenda is threatened. Freedom is popular.
Thanks for the article. Albeit some of your "facts" exaggerate/misrepresent Paul's views [ie., "legalizing drugs" (he wants to remove the illegal federal jurisdiction over them)], the spirit of your words rings true: his walk matches his talk.... for 30 years. We haven't had an opportunity like that in a LONG time. I think America has gotten so used to what a politician is they have forgotten what a Statesman is.
I will no longer vote for the lesser of two evils (both are Keynesians) ever again. If Paul loses the GOP nomination, the GOP loses my vote. I will write Ron Paul's name in.
To say that Ron Paul wants to tear asunder the safety nets in the federal government (paraphrased) is missing the point. He wants to make the necessity for them so small that they can be adequately handled by the states. Katrina alone has proved that Washington does not belong in the compassion business. If we as a nation would adopt Dr. Paul's vision of a strong, gold-or-silver-backed currency, and quit spending ourselves into oblivion on foreign aid and foreign wars/entanglements, a stable dollar, and a steady economy without booms and busts would emerge. That would in turn bring America's industry home, growing jobs so that there would be way fewer people who need a bureaucratic network to 'look out for them'. Our tax rate could safely fall through the floor because the money wouldn't be needed. How liberating.
Ron Paul is the only interesting candidate to me because he is the only one not steeped in an aura of deceit and corruption. I admit held hope for Obama and progressive federal government ideologies while Obama was rising to power, only to have the administration spit in our faces.
This administration made me believe whole-heartedly in small government at the federal level not because I think helping folks out is bad but because I think they are utterly and totally corrupt. Pushing forward Wall St. ideals, pushing forward the ideals of government contractors, and the military industrial complex, and promising fairness, equality and justice while signing bill's that undermine those promises.
The only way out, from the grips of the Goldman Sachs, Lockgreed, Northgrope et al. stranglehold on our country is to eliminate their funding. That means cutting drastically at the federal level.
The more I think about this the more sense it seems to make. Me, you, normal people can change things on a local level, even on a state level. We have influence and power in our respective local governments; we don't compete with billion dollar multi-nationals. At the federal level it's an utter joke.
Even if you are a progressive this is where you should aim. If you don't believe in trickle down economics, why do you believe in trickle down government? Movements should go from the ground up not be legislated downward.
Ron Paul said that our policies in the Middle East would make us the target of terrorists as far back as 1998, and he was ignored. Ron Paul called the housing collapse and recession in 2007 while the rest of the field and the mainstream media laughed at him. Ron Paul said that our rights are being eroded, and NDAA was signed by Obama yesterday making US citizens subject to detention in Gitmo.
Ron's latest tirade is that the war drums are beating for Iran and that we are headed for yet another perpetual war. Neocons and big government loves Ron Paul, because they are so intent on proving him right.
They're afraid of Paul, because he'll end the wars, and repeal unconstitutional legislation like the Patriot Act. It is vehemently clear that he is a threat to the status quo, and they will attempt to eliminate him, even if they use incorrect information.
I've been waiting decades for a libertarian (big or small L) candidate to get a shot. Newt Romney can't get my vote.
Ron Paul will get the Independent Vote, Anti-War Vote, Youth Vote, Conservative Democrat Vote, Military Vote, and Disgruntled with Obama Vote. Dr. Paul will get at least 7 to 9 percent more than the polls are showing. He is the only candidate that is 'Electable!' He will win Iowa!
The respect that modern politicians are able to draw from the voters has been falling for years; it's a long time since we had a government who represented the people. We have politicians taking more kickbacks than some African despot, we have a govt. controlled by lobby groups...bought and paid for...
People are sick of the dishonesty, the lack of principles, the flagrant corruption that stares at us every day ... and then there's Ron Paul; principled, strong political beliefs, no dishonesty, no corruptibility in this man...despite being ignored in the media ...then mocked and derided...then marginalized and also attacked his support keeps growing.
When you take notice of this man and listen to his arguments, when you look at his track record, you commit to him...Ron Paul doesn't have supporters, he has devotee's. His message is honest and pure and unique in this race. He is the only politician who we all know will not misuse power to feather his nest. He is also the only politician who will not bow down to money. Finally, he is the only politician who would not sacrifice his beliefs and ethics for a quick convenient fix. When the pressure is on every other candidate, they'll be swayed by a variety of power groups because they don't stand for anything.
What are folks really afraid of? Even if Ron Paul wins the presidency, the country will NEVER go back to the strict interpretation of the Constitution that he wants. A Fixed News contributor notes that "a vote for Ron Paul strikes more as a vote for peace than a vote for any of the things his critics say he believes". This is true. The contributor also notes that "[he] could honestly care less about Paul's monetary policy ideas at this point (though I do disagree with them) and I think he's plain wrong on immigration but he's still the best candidate on the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the possible war on Iran. That's enough for me." This is also true. A Ron Paul presidency will be very good for foreign policy. But people shouldn't be afraid that he's going to completely shut down federal authority over a whole host of things. Even if he chooses to close down some government agencies, Congress will not let him take away a bunch of federal authority, which constitutionally are controlled by Congress and not the Executive. If he refuses to act, he could be impeached for refusing to implement the law. I'm an Obama supporter, but Ron Paul would be a not so bad alternative. Ron Paul can come again in 2016, he sure will get my vote then
The Ron Paul Factor
Iowa & the Soul of the Grand Old Party
Soon the nation will learn where the Republican Party stands. In less than three weeks, the Iowa Caucus will begin the painstaking selection of a presidential candidate. This is when polls, punditry and prognostication become fact. So...who represents the party now? Conservative? Moderate? Religious Right? Washington Lifer? Libertarian?