Tag Archives: government

First Trip

“You okay?” the tech asked as he leaned in over me, checking the IV. I nodded, too nervous to speak. “Okay, then,” he said as he closed the door on the isolation tank. I heard the latch on the tank’s door snick closed and then a slight click as the intercom came on. “Can you hear me?”

“Loud and clear”, I replied.

“All right,” he said. “Get ready for the joy juice.” I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew he’d pushed the button that injected a rather large dose of Ketamine into my IV. “Have nice trip.”

In the days since signing up to be a test subject for what I thought would be everyday, run of the mill psychiatric research, I had spent a lot of time in working in sensory deprivation. Hell, it was getting so that was more comfortable in the tank than I was in my own bed. I can still remember when we’d found out that astral projection wasn’t just esoteric bat shit craziness, but something actually worked; the entire lab was silent for a second, then erupted in a full-blown nerdgasm when everyone realized what we’d done. Since then, I’d traveled outside my body more times that I could count and it was the single most exhilarating experience I’d ever had.

It wasn’t long after that the government guys showed up. We’re with DARPA, they told Dr. Zemanski and we’re interested in what you’re doing here. We think it may have applications in government service and we want to give you tons and tons of cash to further your research. Okay, so they didn’t say quite that way, but that’s what happened. The money rolled in, along with all kind of new toys and a bunch of new people with new ideas; one of which we were testing today. Some guy, supposedly a bigwig neuroscientist who knew all about this stuff, heard about a claim that hallucinogenic drugs heightened the out of body experience. He pulled out the old MK Ultra data, some of the most comprehensive research on the subject, and did some math or something and the next thing I know, I’m being asked to take another trip. If he was right, the combination of the tank and the drug should take things to a whole other level. And, I was about to find out just where that level might be.

I repeated the phrase and performed the hand movement that had been planted in my subconscious to automatically induce a hypnotic state. As I did, I felt the drugs begin to kick in. The Ketamine would induce sleep paralysis (for my protection) and, more importantly, open my mind and let me access the portion of my brain that allowed to me travel outside my body. And this time, not just travel, but actually do things. Real, physical things.

The “K” began to take hold and I felt the vibrations that signaled the beginning of the process of separating my consciousness from my body. Then came the high-pitched whine that let me know I was ready. I went to take the first step away and all of sudden I flew up and out of the tank, hovering for a moment on the ceiling. Holy shit, that was strong! In all my trips, I had never felt anything like that.

After a minute to get my shit together, I stretched out and aimed for the door. This first trip wasn’t going to be a long one, just get out and about and see if I could actually make things happen. Opening the door would be the big test. Of course, I had no need to open the door; when you’re projecting, walls and doors are no barrier at all. But, if I could open it in front of a group of observers still in the physical realm…, well, that would be a major step in the program. It would validate all the time, effort and funding that gone into it and Dr. Z would be very happy. And, when Dr. Z was happy, everyone was happy.

Getting to the door was nothing, By this stage of the game, I was an expert at moving around a room while traveling etherically. Once I got there, though, that’s when things got serious. With the enhanced hypnogogic state induced by the ketamine, tapping the part of my brain that made my consciousness concrete was much easier than I expected. I looked down at where my hand should be and sure enough, it began to manifest. I was only supposed to do my hand and open the door, but it felt so good that I kept going. Before I knew it, a entire body was standing there at the door, in front of the assembled scientists. But, it wasn’t my body. Well, it was and it wasn’t. It looked familiar, but it didn’t appear…, well, substantial. It was sort of like a solid shadow. For all of that, it looked a whole lot better than my physical body did. Muscular but not like a body builder, it was lean and athletic; like it could outrun that trouble that came its way, but fight like hell if it couldn’t. I looked down at the hand and the fingers, my fingers I realized, and smiled. This was beyond cool.

After spending a few moments appreciating this new and improved me, I reached out for the door knob, expecting my hand to pass right thru like it had every other time I had tried to touch something while projecting. But, it didn’t. It wrapped around the knob. I stood there for a second, not believing what I was feeling. My god, I was in the astral plane and touching something in the physical! No one had ever done this before! My mind relayed the command to turn the knob and the hand in front of me obeyed. The door opened effortlessly. I turned to look at Dr. Z and his colleagues. Most of the other scientists were stunned, a couple of mouths even hung open. No one thought we’d actually be able to pull this off. No one except Potter, the government guy whose idea this was. He’d been certain from the start and now wore an incredibly satisfied smile. He looked at the technician and said, “That’s enough for now. Bring her back.”

No, I thought (speaking hadn’t been worked out yet), I want to stay. But, the tech pushed in the drug that would counteract the “K” and bring me back down. I felt it flow in and, in seconds, my strong, beautiful shadow body began to fade. As the effects increased, I felt my consciousness being pulled back into the tank and my physical body and, then, in a rush, I was back.

They opened the tank and helped me out. It took me a minute to steady myself and, when I did, I turned and saw Dr. Zemanski standing there, Potter right beside with that smug smile still plastered across his face. “Well, Samantha,” Dr. Z asked, “how was it?”
I was shaking from the exhilaration I felt. I reached out and grabbed his arm and said, “More! Send me back. I’ve got to have more!” And, then, I promptly passed out.

You Need A Big, Steaming Cup Of STFU

On Wednesday, I posted a response to an incredibly douchey post by Matt Walsh concerning Caitlyn Jenner. Unfortunately, Walsh isn’t the only person making shitty comments about Jenner and, by extension, trans people everywhere. Now, some folks might think I shouldn’t share the words of these assholes because it gives them the attention they so desperately crave. While I respect their point of view, I just can’t do that. As I said Wednesday, I firmly believe that hatred and bigotry need to be laid bare if we hope to do anything about it. And, nothing does that better than putting their bullshit on display. That said, here are a few of the worst offenders.

Let’s start with that paragon of grace and Christian love, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. On a radio broadcast earlier this week, Fischer said, “If you want one snapshot of just how corrupt, how morally corrupt, how morally bent, how morally twisted, how morally confused, how morally bankrupt we have become, all you’ve got to do is take a look at the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.” He also refused to call Jenner “Caitlyn”, saying “…he’s a male in every single cell of his body, so he’s always going to be a he in the terminology that I’m going to use. I’m never going to refer to him as a she because that would be a lie.” Of course, like Walsh, Fischer is only being an asshole out of love, praying that God would “clear up Bruce Jenner’s sexual confusion” and “expose the lies of Satan and break their power over his mind” before declaring that he is taking this stance because he doesn’t want Jenner to kill himself. Hmm, I would’ve thought the best way to ensure someone doesn’t kill themselves is to accept them and treat them like a human being. Guess I was wrong.

Next up comes icon of conservative values Rush Limbaugh, who said Tuesday, “We should not be celebrating this, we should not be lionizing this, we should not be encouraging this”. Oh Rush, if there’s anything we should not be celebrating, we should not be lionizing, we should not be encouraging, it’s most likely your spewing such hateful bullshit over the airwaves. But, there is a bright spot in this because he also said “These people (the transgender community) have a very serious problem, and they need treatment. They need help, not encouragement.” That’s fucking hilarious coming from a drug-addicted attention whore with a well-deserved reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts.

Finally, there’s conservative radio host and professional conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. In case you didn’t already know, Jones is total fucking nut job. Of course, for those of you in the know, that’s not news. After all, we are talking about a guy who claims the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 were both inside jobs, that “Devil worshiping pedophiles” are working to establish the New World Order and screamed at Piers Morgan. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t that crazy (because who hasn’t wanted to scream at Piers Morgan at least once?) so try this on for size: even Glenn Beck thinks Jones is batshit crazy. So, yeah, I’d say we’ve established Jones’ psychotic bona fides.

So, what did the nation’s #1 conspiracy theorist say that’s so out there? Jones started off by building on an earlier theory that the government is tainting kid’s juice boxes with “estrogen mimickers” to reduce the birth rate(?) saying “The agenda behind all of this is to confuse society and break everything down and make the natural systems — the set default systems basically anathema.” But, wait, there’s more: he also said trans people are mentally ill and compared them to what Salon called “the almost nonexistent subculture of a subculture of a subculture that engages in self-mutilation”, i.e. people who want to chop off limbs, pour molten lead down their backs (for scarification purposes) and even go so far as to get shot with a .357 Magnum pistol “up under the chest, but missing the heart to blow a huge shrapnel hole in the back” because, get this, “those are real sexy supposedly.” Okay, I know a few people who are trans and, to the best of my knowledge, none of them want me to stick a .357 up under their rib cage and blow out a chunk of their back. I’m not totally sure, but I think Jones might have made that last bit up.

What none of these assholes seem to understand is that it’s not just Jenner they’re assaulting with their disgusting drivel; there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with their gender/sexuality and shit like this isn’t helping. As a writer, I am a huge proponent of the free expression of ideas. But, I’m beginning to feel that, if this kind of crap is the best you can come up with, maybe you need a big, steaming cup of “Shut The Fuck Up”.

It’s Not All Doom And Gloom

Separated at birth?
Separated at birth?

Let say this right up front: last night was not a good night for Americans with a progressive bent. Hell, it wasn’t even a good one for moderates, considering that moderate Republicans are pretty thin on the ground these days. But, are things really as bad as some of the progressive blogs and websites are saying? Maybe. But, then again, maybe not.

In his article for The Nation, George Zornick tells us why Republican control of the Senate sucks, saying “this new alignment is going to be hugely problematic for progressive governance—perhaps for governance, period.” Then, he lists all the ways the GOP will attempt to thwart the President and destroy his legacy. And, my friend, Mark Sandlin of The God Article, says that the Republican Party’s purchase of a Senate majority((Make no mistake, they bought it just as surely as if they went to Wal-Mart)) will bring renewed attacks on women, voting rights, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and pretty much anything else that’s good for middle and working-class Americans. He also mentions the threat of impeachment the President now faces because a whole lot of people gave into their fear and hatred of change. But, could all of these things really happen?

Sure, they could. But, honestly, I’ll be surprised if they do. For all those things to come about would require a level of cooperation that I don’t believe Republicans are capable of right now. Think about it, for a minute, John Boehner’s biggest problems in the House haven’t come from the Democrats, but from within his own party. Tea party nut jobs have upset his apple cart on multiple occasions since they stormed to power 4 years ago and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Considering that the Senate has its own share of insane eccentric characters (like Ted Cruz and James Inhofe), I have a feeling Mitch McConnell, the new Senate Majority leader, and Boehner will be doing quite a bit of commiserating over the next couple of years.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say this latest crop of old, white guys we’ve sent to Washington to represent our interests((not that they will, unless your name is Koch, Adelson or Pope)) actually can come together enough to pull all that off. If they could, would it be the end of the world? No, it wouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, things would be bad, really bad. But, maybe they would finally be bad enough to get Americans off their asses and to the polls to send these clowns packing.

Really, though, last night isn’t that much of a win for the Republicans because, now, they actually have to govern. No more sitting on the back row shouting NO! to everything the President and the Democrats put forward. Now, they’ll actually have to do something. And, I don’t mean repealing the ACA, dismantling Social Security and impeaching the President. Those things won’t help put people back to work, put more money in their pocket or keep governmental Nosy Parkers out of our bedrooms and bodies, which is what most of are looking for right now. That’s not to say they won’t try any of that. But, they’ll likely have about as much success as they have so far. Which is to say: not much.

So, what do I think will happen over the next two years? Nothing much. Oh, there will sound and fury aplenty, but not much will actually get done, which will only increase voter dissatifaction with Congress. You think their approval rating is low now, what till you see what two years of Republican dithering does to it. It’s entirely possible this mid-term “win” for the Republicans will turn out to be a millstone around their necks in 2016. After losing so badly in the last presidential election, the GOP seemed to realize their party needed to join the rest of us in the current century and some of their more foward-thinking people actually put forth some changes to do that. Unfortunately, party ideologues nipped that in the bud and things quickly returned to business as usual. Winning control of the Legislative branch without enacting any of those changes, coupled with the absence of actual ideas to move the country forward, will most likely spell doom for the chances of a Republican in the White House anytime soon.

So, what’s the bottom line here? Basically, buck up brothers and sisters, it’s not as bad as it looks. Even the worst case scenario has distinct implications of long-term benefit to progressive government in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Even it didn’t, moping and whining isn’t going to help. Look at this way, for the next two years, we get to watch the Grand Old Party publicly self-destruct. Let’s just hope they don’t take us down with them.

Maybe I Should Do This More Often

NC AG Roy Cooper tells counties to prepare to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
NC AG Roy Cooper tells counties to prepare to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States released the list of cases they have chosen to hear this session. Noticeably absent from that list were the circuit court rulings on same-sex marriage that were on appeal. While the absence of something isn’t normally that big a deal, this case is a little different. It’s a big deal because refusing to hear these cases means the rulings of the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal will stand. Basically, same-sex marriage is now (or will soon become) legal in 11 more states. That means more than half the states in the country (30) now recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry. Like I said, it’s a big deal.

Of course, this isn’t coming off without a hitch. While some of the states immediately affected by the rulings (Virginia and Wisconsin) are moving ahead and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, others (Indiana and Oklahoma) chose to wait for more direction. Utah seems even more conflicted , with some counties issuing licenses and others holding off. In the states not directly affected by the rulings, some Republican administrations and law-makers are vowing to fight on. Take Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, for example. According to Sam, he “swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas.” and that an “overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas.” Then, there’s South Carolina’s Gov. Nikki Haley and AG Alan Wilson, who “said Monday they would keep on fighting in federal court a lawsuit filed in 2013 by a South Carolina same-sex couple.” Isn’t that special?

In my own state (NC), things are also a bit divided. AG Roy Cooper said in the wake of the 4th Circuit’s ruling that there wasn’t any point of continuing the fight as Virginia had made every argument he could make and yesterday told each county’s register of deeds to prepare to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples as soon as Judge William Osteen makes his ruling to overturn our marriage amendment. Meanwhile, state House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger said they plan to intervene and defend it. I’m not sure how, since it’s not their job, but that’s what they’re saying. Obviously, this isn’t going to be easy.

It’s not going to be easy because we’re looking at a massive change in the way we see marriage and that scares the shit out of some people.  Sure, it’s a change that should’ve happened a long, long time ago. But, that doesn’t make it any less scary for some folks. I think it is incumbent upon those of us who believe this is change is a good one to help our conservative brothers and sisters get over their fear and learn to live in this brave, new world. I have some ideas about how we might do that, but they’ll have to wait for another post.

After Monday’s big news, I was thinking “It seems like every time I take a vacation, something big happens.” That’s not true, of course, but it feels that way. And, a couple of big things have happened while I was on vacation. Last year’s DOMA ruling came down while I was at the beach. Combine that with this latest bombshell and it adds up to something. Like, maybe I should do this (vacation) more often. Works for me.

They’re On To Us!

 

We are screwed.
We are screwed.

Over the weekend, a Facebook friend shared an article from the Tea Party News Network (a true bastion of journalistic integrity) titled How the Liberal, Progressive Infestation of the Church Threatens America’s Future by Chelsen Vicari. As I read, I thought, “This has got to be satire.” A little research showed me that it’s not. At that point, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and said out loud, “Oh shit, they’re on to us!”

I mean, really, we’ve gone to all the time and effort to infiltrate the Church and use it to push our overtly secular, political agenda that has nothing to do with God, Jesus or anything else divine and, she just outs us like that? How the hell are we supposed to keep undermining this great Christian nation if everyone knows we’re trying to undermine this great Christian nation? Crap, all that work down the drain.

We had a great plan, too. Appealing to the church to live up to its calling by being compassionate, working for equality and respecting others was brilliant. We thought “Who but the douchiest of douche bags would call us out for preaching the Gospel perverting the faith that way?” Unfortunately, we didn’t count on the Tea Party, a group that has never let being an utter douche bag stand in the way of doing what protects their privilege and position at the top of the heap is right.

Damn it, that whole undermining “the authority of the Bible by painting inconsistencies in Scripture” thing was going so well. Especially since there are inconsistencies in scripture to begin with. And, conservatives have been so helpful by misinterpreting, cherry-picking and proof-texting scripture reading the Bible literally. Unfortunately, that’s all out the window. How are we supposed to break down the moral values found in scripture now?

She even outs us as a “political initiative” and not a Christian movement based on an interpretation of scripture that is informed by love, community and justice. Damn it. she’s laid bare all our secrets. Hell, the only reason I got into this whole progressive thing is to ensure that everyone can engage all the same-sex marryin’, tax-payer funded abortionin’/ contraceptin’, feminizin’, pacifyin’ big government love their little heart can stand. Will that destroy this “shining city upon a hill“? Of course it will. Why else would progressives (aka Satan’s minions) push for it so hard?

Perhaps the scariest part of the whole thing is her call to action. Ms Vicari begs all right-thinking conservative Christians to step into positions of leadership in their churches armed with “social science as well an understanding of public policy”. A conservative with an armload of propaganda and cherry-picked information that backs up their preconceived ideas? Holy crap, that’s a progressive’s worst nightmare. At least she didn’t ask them to read and think critically; God only knows where that might lead. 

Worst of all, she tells her readers to “share this message”. As if it wasn’t hard enough working to build a truly inclusive society dragging the country into the sewer  when it was just the fringe element of the Tea Party screeching from the sidelines calling out our attempts to destroy the United States from within, now all the conservatives are going to be onto us. And, if they’re onto us, how are we supposed to get the next generation to abandon the foundations and ethical principles that made America great?

Dig in, progressives, and prepare for battle. Our secular humanist, wealth-distributing, institution-wrecking agenda needs you.