El Viro and Nihilism: Resistance, and Republican Policies of Death

7 May, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Covid-19: Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" Repeats itself The self-replicating virus of Capitalism, endless growth, an abject ponzi scheme, haunts America as the world watches the decline and fall of the alleged democratic republic. An impoverished health care infrastructure implodes, due to exploitation by Big Pharma, again (think opioid crisis) and because of the predatory practices by manufacturers of PPE: sell life to the highest bidder. First the potholes appear in highways and bridges suffer from neglect and a lack of vision. Now ...

The Poetics and Philosophy of Survival

11 April, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Chaos…the neo-Police State…Practical Responses Currently, it’s time for Taosenos to look at the long-term effects and response to El Viro. According to news reports, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office has stationed cruisers as “check-ins” at the borders of the County. Perhaps they are taking a card from Taos Pueblo, where patrol cars guard 24-7 the entrance to a culture, whose history includes 10,000 years of adaptation to climate change and rejection of top-heavy hierarchical organization. The Chaco diaspora, beginning in about ...

Plus ca Change, plus c’est la meme chose

21 May, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

(The more things change; the more things remain the same.) Introduction Let us hope that we can take advantage of the pronounced changes society will undergo during the next weeks, months, years. Regardless of the direct causes, illustrated by the pandemic, changes will continue as globalism, pandemics, and climate change accelerate. We must think locally in order to defend ourselves against the chaos of what Naomi Klein calls the predatory corporate “Shock Doctrine,” wherein elites exploit vulnerable populations. The “factionalism,” feared by the founders of the American experiment, has migrated from Europe and the world to embroil America, driven by propaganda and public relations campaigns, promoted by “divide and conquer techniques” pitting sub-cultures against each other. Philosophy, religion, science, the arts, education, commerce, and culture have been politicized, trivialized, and muddled. The victory of the lingua franca or common language of conventional thinking casts ...

Friction Endorses Experienced Candidates in Local Primary

14 May, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Despite more pressing business, I am taking time off this morning to endorse local candidates with experience and the ability to govern with efficient and knowledgeable skills. In the District 3 County Commission race, Talpa, Ranchos, Llano area, Darlene Vigil, former County Assessor, is an outstanding candidate, whose experience in County Government means she will hit the ground running. Darlene know the county backwards and forwards from the corners of the Penasco to the outer edges of Costilla and Amalia. As Assessor she guided her office into 21st Century practices, finding untaxed properties and buildings right in the middle of town, while treating citizens with dignity and respect. She’s friendly, hospitable, and smart, exactly the kind of commissioner Taos needs. In the District 4 race, El Prado, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco areas, Willie Cordova, like Darlene brings experience to the job. Under ...

Knox Johnson: March 26—May 1,2020

4 May, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Knox Johnson, born and reared on Mottsville Lane at the J Lazy J Ranch on the west side, traveled round the world and spent much time at the family’s Lake Tahoe property but always said, “There’s no place like Carson Valley.” He liked to stop on Kingsbury Grade and view the Valley, especially during water season to keep an eye on his neighbors. The Nevada rancher, born March 26, 1925, died on May 1, 2020. He was 95, and one of the last members of D.C.H.S. class of 1943, which met monthly for more than 20 years. His classmates were sure to mention his generosity and charm, saying he was known for “picking up the tab.” Knox’s grandfather Chris Johnson, settled in the Valley as part of the Mormon contingent in the 1870s. He is preceded in death by his father, ...

The Coronation of the King…”Get Used to it…”

15 April, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

“When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be.” Donald Trump. "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." Richard Nixon You’ve got to appreciate the various aspects of irony exhibited by our dear leaders on both sides of the aisle as the Red King and Blue Queen spit and sputter at El Viro, alternately blaming China, WHO, Democrats, Republicans, Trump, Media, and Corporate Medical profiteers. The AG said you can’t just hide under your bed. (A local Taos realtor, one of Manby’s sons, advertised an adobe for sale in The Taos News, assuring buyers that it possessed “social distance.” Ha. Ha.) Caveat to friends: I am not a cynic, merely skeptical today of everything everybody says since everyone admits, nobody knows what’s going to happen, echoing Socrates, who ...

The Politics of Apocalypse

9 April, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Conquest, War, Famine…and Plague “The logic of the rebel is to want to serve justice so as not to add to the injustice of the human condition, to insist on plain language so as not to increase universal falsehood, and to wager, in spite of human misery, for happiness.” (Albert Camus, The Rebel.)   Today, we are watching on television the decline of the Republic as the Red and Blue grapple with the politics of death and life. Medical supply lines have been hi-jacked by the “alleged” free market, aka “gangsterism,” (some say the President’s own family) much to the mortal concerns of health care workers who suffer from “corporate-medical malfeasance.”   (We can see ourselves in light of Vichy France, post WWII, or America, during the Civil War. British leadership, circa WWII, neither the King nor Churchill wavered.)   Each day the highest leaders in the ...

Good Morning Taosenos! How Are We Doing? From The Center of the Universe…

29 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

1. For those who still read books, I shall publish advisories, not only mine for the very few, but from Taos Friction readers for a wider audience. Basically, I read for wisdom and insight, hence classic philosophy and literature in the western tradition, which is the tradition and language into which I was born, reared, educated. Mostly I re-read in the spirt of Yeats, who advised about poetry, “There is no reading, only re-reading.” Montaigne, the progenitor of the modern essay wrote, “To Philosophize is to Learn How to Die.” I hasten to gloss that in light of Epicurean notion of the present moment, if you get the mind right, you can experience death and re-birth in a moment spiritually, in a nano-second that seems to stretch into infinity. I like to sit on the bench and stare at the ...

Poetics and Polemics: The X Rated Chronicles

21 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Anger and Practical Philosophy “Training for death is training to die to one’s individuality and passions, in order to look at things from the perspective of universality and objectivity.” (Pierre Hadot, Philosophy: as a way of life, Blackwell Publishing, 1995, a book about spiritual exercises re: spiritual death and rebirth.) The Epic Tale of the White Oaf and the Limp Pencel 1. The Horror. Pictures of Plague clog television screens (gurneys dressed in white, the body curled beneath the IV, ventilators and respirators gasping for “personal protective equipment.”) Kurtz comes home to share “the horror” at the cross roads of the west in NYC or is Kurtz (See Conrad and Coppola) the White Oaf, a thorn among roses at the White House? 2. Zombie Mitch brags this Sat. a.m. “We’re working” on the weekend (while sybaritic colleagues squirrel away plunder gained via stock, tipped ...

Why We Live in Taos: Random Acts of Kindness

15 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

El Viro Years ago, the Generation of the Apocalypse in Taos (the Hippies of the 60s) predicted the visitation of the mythic four horsemen: Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Today we hear and see the embodiment of that challenge in Coronavirus, the silent, invisible, and airborne enemy, aka “El Viro.” The essence of Taos resides in its neighborhoods, its vecinos y La Familia. We must cooperate first and criticize only in an effort to learn from our mistakes, which are multiple and legendary. Though we are playing catch-up, thanks to the slow learners in D.C., we Americans have always been good at coming from behind, whether in response to the Great Depression or WWII. See the historic photographs at the County Complex depicting a community surviving the 30s and 40s in the fields and, particularly, the image of the community gathered in the ...

Trash Talkin’ and Dirty Dancin’ in El Norte

1 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Las Cucarachas y El Raton So, you thought you’d retire to El Norte and enjoy your espresso with the pristine breeze from the west blowing cross the sage, punctuating the arid beauty of the high desert. You warm up in the golden morn as the sun emerges above the white-capped peaks. Drift through the day and settle into cocktails and nightcaps at a local bistro. Watch the fiery orb turn the west mesas into an orange-red valedictory on a day well-lived. Still, even if you’re a Native, or native newcomer or local vato loco, the land of enchantment plays you for a pendejo. Just as Bernie burns up progressives and sleepy JOE rallies the Biden liberals in a Trump stop-gap, so the New Mexico homies, Lujan-Grisham, Udall, Heinrich, Little Ben Lujan have set their sights on expanding LANL-NNSA by some $5 Billion ...

Hope and Horror: You gotta love the Primary

25 February, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

“You screwed us up mom and dad, you didn’t mean to, but you did!” (Apologies to Mr. Philip Larkin) The panic among hand-wringing Dems and Republicans at the MSNBC pundit bureau feeds the Melodramatic news with delicious liberal ironies. Once the pundits brought you Hillary and ignored the democratic socialist in the last primary. The same pundits promoted the fascist Trump in name and image for the sake of ratings. But as Marshall McLuhan said: the medium is the message. They spelled Trump’s name right and he was anointed King. Now the Bernie Brigades have arrived. What? One’s children and grandchildren, along with their Latino-Hispanic, Black and immigrant or LGBTI brothers and sisters, infused with rag-tag vets of the sixties, all seek social justice. Under the big tent, they  listen to Bernie preach cooperation, compassion, and love as antidote to the politics of ...

Vote to “Keep Judge Kennelly” (Div. 2, 8th Judicial District)

18 February, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Recently this writer attended a reception for Judge Melissa Kennelly, who was selected by Gov. Lujan-Grisham and presides over district court in Raton. Now she is running to be elected as district judge by the residents of the Eighth Judicial District, which includes Colfax, Union, and Taos County, where 80% of the voters reside. Taos Friction urges voters to elect Judge Kennelly. First, Judge Kennelly was vetted by her peers, some eighteen to twenty members of the New Mexico Bar, New Mexico law school, and various legal luminaries and recommended for the vacancy. Second, in addition to serving the New Mexico and Colorado Courts of Appeal, District Court in Taos, she currently supervises some 850 cases on her Raton docket. She has purchased a home in Raton and owns another in Ranchitos, where she is a ditch commissioner on La Acequia de ...

Dollar Store Cometh:Chicano Chamber Emergency Meeting 

8 February, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

The Tyrant Proclaimed… Power of the People? El Prado Barber, Juma Archuleta, president of the Chicano Chamber introduced the agenda and said, “Before we discuss the proposed Dollar Store Debacle, I’d like to offer a prayer in the spirit of Pelosi on behalf of our President, the newly anointed Tyrant.” “Prayers do no good,” said Geno, fingering his Buddhist prayer beads. “It’s about money, power, and the law. Nietzsche said God is dead.” “O.K. Mr. Magoo but we’ve got a fascist emergency here.” “Yeah. There are no atheists in Fox Holes,” Arsenio said to Geno. “The historic village of El Prado is at risk.” “The country is at risk,” said the Barber. “Arsenio, you Republicans turned Trump into Stalin. He’s announced a Purge. El Prado can wait.” “I voted for Johnson. “El Prado cannot wait.” “He stole the election,” said Geno. “That’s not stealing, that’s a movida,” said Arsenio. ...

News from The El Prado Barbershop of Love

1 February, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

  "…Let's kill all the lawyers." (Shakespeare) Yesterday, the Chicano Chamber of Commerce met at Raoul’s Barber Shop of Love in El Prado to discuss the endorsement of local candidates, the state of the community, and the negligence of the U.S. Senate, which rejected 51 to 49, a motion to call witnesses and examine documents in the Donald J. Trump impeachment process. In the latter case, Attorney Allen Dershowitz argued in defense of Trump by re-interpreting the U.S. Constitution in favor of the Executive Branch, saying anything the President does in the “public interest,” for instance, seeking help from Foreign actors in his election, justifies the act. (As Nixon said when the President does it, it’s not wrong.) The U.S. Senate has conducted a Kangaroo Court or sham show trial, while acting as part of the Trump campaign team. Historic case law and specific ...

Why Jews? Why People of Color? Why us?

27 January, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

(Lawrence to the Rescue) A Literary Reading of Current Affairs The Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz 75 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1945.) KCEI (FM 90.1) will broadcast at 10 a.m. today, Joanne Forman, your favorite composer reminds us,  testimony of three survivors, not directly of Auschwitz, but certainly of the Holocaust. From Iris Keltz, author of Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel, and Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie, we learn that the ADVOCATE will show at the Taos Community Auditorium Jan. 27, 28, 29th at 7pm. Advocate Lea Tsemel, according to the press release, defends Palestinians: from feminists to fundamentalists, from non-violent demonstrators to armed militants. As a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who has represented political prisoners for five decades, Tsemel, in her tireless quest for justice, pushes the praxis of a human rights defender to its limits. As far as most Israelis ...

The Poetics and Philosophy of Survival

11 April, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Chaos…the neo-Police State…Practical Responses Currently, it’s time for Taosenos to look at the long-term effects and response to El Viro. According to news reports, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office has stationed cruisers as “check-ins” at the borders of the County. Perhaps they are taking a card from Taos Pueblo, where patrol cars guard 24-7 the entrance to a culture, whose history includes 10,000 years of adaptation to climate change and rejection of top-heavy hierarchical organization. The Chaco diaspora, beginning in about the 11th Century, resulted in the “smaller is better” re-establishment of the “social distance” re-location of the Rio Grande Pueblos. In the early seventies, many of us were reading “Small Is Beautiful : Economics as If People Mattered by Ernst F. Schumacher” during the Arab oil embargo. In the 80s I read the Harvard Energy Report, which said we could obtain ...

“An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans”.

21 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

A Friend of a friend, Kristin Flyntz, sends this poetry, up and over the Transom. "Stop. Just stop. It is no longer a request. It is a mandate. We will help you. We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt We will stop the planes the trains the schools the malls the meetings the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison. Our obligation is to each other, As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten. We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, to bring you this long-breaking news: We are not well. None of us; all of us are suffering. Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause. Nor the typhoons in Africa,China, Japan. Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India. You have not been listening. It is ...

Italian Singers, Local Doctors, Coopsters & Education, Scummy Senators Profit on Poison, Gov. Cuomo as Dr. Spock, Mama Michelle

20 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

Song If you are stuck in the throes of Internet Entertainment, check on You Tube the Italian response to El Viro: operatic singers belting out Italian favorites from balconies with whole neighborhoods as back-up singers. In Barcelona two musicians play an impromptu tune from the “Titanic” as keyboard and sax stand up to loathsome co-star, El Vira. The Doctor is in at Schreiber Family Medicine: according to a phone call last night, you can approach the clinic, where you will be vetted. If you pass, in you go; if you don’t they have tent for potential El Viro/El Vira patients in the back. Schreiber has long had a “walk-in” clinic practice each day. (Full Disclosure: After years of having no personal physician and relying on specialists, a couple of years ago Schreiber opened up the process for average folks left high and ...

Super Tuesday: Today, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

3 March, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

“How sharper than a serpent's tooth it isTo have a thankless [Politico]” (Apologies to Shakespeare) Remember the Triplets of Bellevue West, Udall, Heinrich, Lujan, who ignore calls by activists, who ask for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) re: the Trump Billions aimed at the LANL “Pitmakers,” who want to expand operations to Santa Fe, while creating new highways of destruction between the City Different and the Atomic Village aqui en El Norte. Next time you adjourn to the Mesa Brewery and lift a glass to the Rio Grande del Norte Monument, don’t forget how the Triplets want to squeeze out the oxygen from the air you breathe. How do your radioactive Cutthroats taste? Town of Taos The Friction Editorial board endorses Billy Romero and Darien Fernandez for Town Council because they nearly reflect the cultural values and historic place, we call Taos. We don’t like ...

Loco Mitote

27 January, 2020
By: Bill Whaley

El Salto de Agua: Judge Caught But Will He Pay? Town Attacks Airbnb or Short Terms Rentals (STRs) The town recently instituted an “emergency moratorium” to stop permitting additional Short-Term Rentals (STRs) but only offered vague reasons for the delay. The Town worries that diligent applicants will overwhelm town offices, present problems of non-conforming use, and are afraid of poorly thought out regulations, while saying they want to allow public debate. (STRs provide income to homeowners and rooms to tourists.) Fifty percent of STRs are not permitted and do not pay their fair share of taxes, according to the Town. Yet they say they have no employee to supervise Airbnbs, which remit about 10% of Lodger’s tax income. Meanwhile, like the concert reports, the Town provides no evidence backed up by facts and figures except for what Airbnb voluntarily reports to the Lodger’s ...

Christmas Stocking: A Sequel. Who is Santa Claus?

16 December, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Recently I wrote a piece about Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s appointment of Rep. Bobby Gonzales as Senator Carlos Cisneros (RIP) replacement and pointed out that Bobby, who is from here, and represents the relationships of community. His appointment reinforces the social bonds and make possible the nuts and bolts of holding together the material and political infrastructure of quotidian life: taxes and revenue distributed for everything from roads and public buildings to water districts and health care or education. Even more importantly, however, I witnessed Governor Lujan-Grisham’s wise judgment last Thursday at 4 pm with the nomination and subsequent investiture of Magistrate Judge Jeff Shannon as the newest District Judge in the 8th Judicial District. This last semester my students and I read in one course “The Milagro Beanfield War,” in which the owner of the Body Shop and Pipe Queen, one Ruby ...