Thursday, October 27, 2016


Early in his first term George Washington made tour of the New England states. At that time Rhode Island had not ratified the constitution so he skipped that state, In the summer of 1790 Rhode Island ratified the constitution and Washington, with Jefferson and New York governor Clinton in tow, set out for a visit.

At their first stop, Newport, the party was greeted by Moses Seixas. He was a merchant and spokesman for his congregation, Yeshuat Israel. In part of his greeting he noted that his congregation had been deprived of the"invaluable rights of free citizens."

Washington wrote this letter in reply. The underlined sections make it plain that he saw America as a place where we would all be free to worship as we believed and that one group was not set above another. Source Ron Chernow's bio Washington A Life. Letter text from the website of the Touro Synagogue. Located in Newport, Rhode Island it is the oldest Jewish congregation in the US and the oldest synagogue building still standing.


While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Friday, October 21, 2016


Mae Beavers is a Tennessee state senator. She supports the Republican candidate for president and explains why in this op ed piece.

I shared the link on FB and decided that I had a pretty good blog entry sitting there just waiting to be edited.. 

Ma'm if your values include supporting a candidate who has been sued more than three thousand time for not paying his bills and sometimes not paying his employees, go for it.

If your values include tarring whole ethnic groups as drug runners and racists, go for it.

If your values include supporting a candidate who hasn't turned down support from racists, I'm getting some doubts here. Some of those racist supporters apparently want to start a race war that includes what we called ethnic cleansing when Yugoslavia broke up.

If your values include banning the members of an entire religious community from entering the US whether they might be terrorists or not, I can't stop you.

And I can't stop your from supporting a candidate who was reported to have asked “if we have nukes why can't we use them?” I hope you know that nukes aren't just bigger, better TNT.

If your values allow you to support a man who apparently hasn't opened a book in years and claims that he “instinctively” knows what to do about damn near anything I'm starting to feel a little sorry for you.

And then there's the claim that because he went to military boarding school as a high school student he knows more about military matters than the generals and claims that avoiding STD's while sleeping around in college was his personal Viet Nam, I have to ask this. How in the heck did you manage to get elected in the first place?

Marching onward. If you choose to support a candidate who just about out Palins Sarah Palin in producing reams of word salad, what kind of dressing would you prefer?

If you believe that American values include electing a man who apparently can't run his own businesses but believes that he is qualified to be the head of one of the largest nations on the planet, with the largest cache of tools to to wipe out our fellow humans, I have to assume that perhaps you haven't thought this all the way through.

If your values include supporting a man who seems to view any venue where there are young women as his personal meat market, then madam you are a traitor not only to your sex for every decent man in the country.

If your values include supporting a man who has managed to insulate himself with followers who don't dare tell him no then you are part of the problem not part of the solution.

Hamilton, Washington, Madison, Monroe and Adams (father and son) are probably spinning in their graves. I suspect the Old Hickory, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster or John C. Calhoun are too happy with the current state of the union either. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Back in 2000 the Democrats pretty much sucked it up when the Supreme Court stopped the recount of the Florida ballots and basically appointed George W Bush as president. We didn't like it very much but we stepped aside and watched while the country was dragged into two wars and the worst recession since the Depression.

Now, we have a candidate who is the least qualified for the office in the history of the nation. And he says he'll "think about it" when he has to face the inevitable on November 9. Granted the losing candidates aren't  REQUIRED to officially concede when they lose. It is considered to be the polite and gracious response to the will of the voters.

There is a critical lack of critical thinking skills in this country, Maybe it's always been that way, I don't really know. Have any of the folks who are so damn sure the election is going to be rigged actually thought through how hard it would be to rig the results in one state, much less the whole country?

Then there's the idea that whole busloads of noncitizens are going to be able to vote because as at east one person has claimed "you don't have to be registered to vote to be allowed to cast a ballot." When was the last time some of these folks registered to vote? Now that I think about it, when was the first time.

When was the last time they actually showed up to cast a ballot? You know, walk up to the poll workers, tell them your name, have them find your name on the list of registered voters and sign your name. Like the joke about Chinese laundries. No name, no vote.

But the drum beat has been going on for weeks, months. It's rigged, it's rigged, it's rigged.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


When I wrote my entry yesterday I made a major oversight. I mentioned our casualties. I did not take note of the death tolls of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians. Figure from the net from the mid fifties to the mid seventies 1,450,000. I'm assuming the deaths were caused by both sides.

No matter which side is right the civilians take in the neck. Over and over and over.

I'm sorry I overlooked these deaths. At least our casualties have their names on a wall. Their families can visit, touch mourn, The nameless dead from the other side, who knows their names. Who knows when they died, Where they died. How they died.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


A follower of the Republican candidate for president has appeared in a video threatening the life of Hillary Clinton if she is elected president.

Dear mentally challenged right wing wingnut. Hey, go for it. Create a martyr. Tie lead weights to the GOP elephant and dump it in the Marianas Trench. Can't go much deeper than that you worthless POS. Forgive me I usually try to avoid giving in to the overwhelming temptation to cuss like a logger. Heck, I'm a logger's daughter so what the hey.

BTW how old are you? The picture on the website shows a bit of gray in your beard. Is it possible you were born after 1968 or weren't paying attention at the time? Never mind that you are threatening to try to overturn what would be a legal election for president, Never mind that you are threatening to shred the constitution you probably claim to support and respect.

You are threatening to commit murder. The murder of a legally elected candidate. I was in eighth grade home room when our vice principal came into the room. He held up a paper for Mrs. Redmond to read. That's when we found out what happened in Dallas. The president was dead. Time stopped for four endless days. I will see the horses, the flag draped casket and hear those damned drums until the day I die.

April 1968. I'm senior, Looking forward to graduation and college. I get home/ Mom''s loading daD in the car. His arthritis medication caused internal bleeding and by the way somebody shot Martin this afternoon, What?????? Time stopped again.

June 1968. Just out of high school. I'd listened to the primary results on my radio. Turned it off. Went to sleep and was greeted in that next sunny morning with "Bobby's dead." I'd turned off the radio just a few minutes before that fatal detour into the hotel kitchen. Time stopped again. When it started ticking again we discovered we were stuck with Tricky Dick Nixon. The only president to resign from office.

You slap a bandage on the bullet holes in your soul. You go on. But YOU DON'T GET OVER IT.

I'm a bit of a history buff. The first time the country split down the middle and talking was replaced by bullets this country fought a civil war. Four long bloody years.

The second time it was the sixties and seventies.Those were great years weren't they? Riots in the streets. School children bowled over by police dogs and water cannons. Murdered civil rights workers. Murdered students and a song titled Four Dead in Ohio. Getting caught in somebody else's civil war. Bombs, napalm, shredded lives and over fifty thousand names on a wall in DC.

Tell me. What makes you different from the fanatics fighting for ISIS and the other terrorist groups overseas? Guess I need to put on Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence because I don't expect an answer from you or the sorry excuse for a human being that you support,.

(Well, this was interesting. The entry took on a life of its own and took over.)

Sunday, October 16, 2016


So Trumplestlitskin is urging his followers to go to "other places" (read minority neighborhoods) and basically intimidate anyone they perceive as nonamerican. Face palm, head desk and a scream that put the cats in the closet for the rest of the day if I actually did it.

The constitution guarantees your right to vote. Granted it leaves the details up to the states. But, it doesn't say a damn thing about me or anyone else having the right to try to keep my fellow citizens from fulfilling THEIR right to vote.

But, that's the rub this year, isn't it? If you aren't white, Protestant, afraid and preferably male you aren't really an American. At least that's the message the wildly flailing candidate the Republicans are stuck with has been wailing to the rafters in his desperate attempts to keep his campaign from sinking in the quicksand.

It would be easier to list the minority groups he HASN'T dissed. Well, he hasn't mentioned Native Americans since he tried to block a tribal casino some years ago. I don't think he's mentioned Asian Americans recently. Who's left? "Global conspiracies by international bankers and other cabals" has been shorthand for the Jews for decades. I'm surprised he hasn't mentioned The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Since he claims he hasn't read a book since he got out of college he probably hasn't heard of it. That particular piece of BS is an antisemitic forgery cooked up in Tsarist Russia around the turn of the last century. But, it lives on.

Blacks are thugs, Hispanics are rapists and drug runners, middle eastern refugees are terrorists in disguise. And women? You've probably ready what he's said over the years, what one of his sons keeps spouting to support dear ol dad.

If this seems a bit disjointed, that happens sometimes. I start and the piece takes over.

Anyway, If your state has early voting take advantage of it. Go in groups if you can. Outnumber 'em. If you have a cell phone that takes pictures use it. And ask them for their names and ID. A little reverse intimidation just might work.

Actually I wonder how many of these "brave" protectors of the constitution will actually have the guts to show up in precincts in minority neighborhoods. It's easy to boast you're going to be a little bit intimidating when you're surrounded by a sea of Trump signs. LOL

Friday, October 14, 2016


A McDonalds in Tennessee has had a nativity scene painted in the street side windows. Looks nice. Somebody took a picture and it has gone viral.

Long exhausted sigh. Back to school boys and girls. A private business from your local Micky D's to a corporate bank can display a nativity scene complete with the Wise Men, camels, shepherds, sheep, cows and goats. Your neighbor can display a nativity scene equally elaborate. Well, as long as their neighbors don't mind an increase in traffic in the neighborhood. Every church in town can put up a nativity scene. You MIGHT even be able to rent space in the local park. That's just fine. As long as no tax money is involved.

Hell the mayor and the city council can show up for the unveiling as long as they are there as privete citizens and not in their political roles.

The story is as much about a town tradition of decorating for Christmas as anything else. But, given the charged political atmosphere it probably won't be long until this is hailed as one of the opening salvos in the so called "War Against Christmas."

Thursday, October 13, 2016


For those who don't much care for Clinton and loathe Trump they say they'll vote their consciences. Other years I might not care so much but this year? No, A vote for third party candidates is a vote for Trump and we can't afford that this election most of all.

I'll vote my conscience. I'll vote on the family history that goes back to the 1630's in New England, the 1650's in virginia, the 1680's in Pennsylvania and the Germans who arrived in the early 1700's They risked the Atlantic in little ships crowded with other settlers, their belongings and their livestock. From what I can learn most of them farmers, tavern keepers, small scale merchants. They helped build this country. Some were probably for the revolution. Some were probably against it. Such is politics. But I'll be triple damned if If I'm going to watch MY country join other fallen nations in the dust bin of history. 

Monday, October 10, 2016


Within days of taking power Hitler's Germany began the roundups. Political opponents, communists real or perceived, labor leaders, former members of the German government disappeared into the first concentration camp, Dachau. By the end of the war Germany and the occupied territories were littered with them and the names are a litany of horror. Treblinka, Sobibor, Mathausen, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and the queen of the horror show? Auschwitz. 

Stalin was the party secretary before he became whatever they called the head of government in the old Soviet Union. He was thorough. He made lists. And over the decades victims met a bullet, disappeared into Siberian labor camps or were deported to the east in wholesale shifts of populations suspected of disloyalty. While Joseph Stalin wasn't the first to use Siberia as a prison, he was certainly the most "efficient." 

No, I don't believe that a Trump administration would resort to concentration camps. And the US doesn't have a "Siberia." However threatening your political opponent with jail is a first. A Daily Kos headline used the term "not normal." Not "normal" hardly begins to cover it. 

Trump has made it perfectly clear he does not respect the constitution or the rule of law. The chants of the Trumpbots of "jail her" and the cheers of the threat of wholesale deportations of undocumented immigrants and the promise to block the immigration of an entire religious group scare the hell out of me. It's pretty damned obvious that the terrifyingly large group of our fellow citizens are either ignorant of what the constitution says, don't care or believe it only applies to themselves and those like them. As for the rule of law? I suspect they have the same respect for that, too.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Working my way through Will Durant's third volume in his Story of Western Civilization series. The one on Rome.

Progressive, Liberal and some Conservattive Christians argue that the so called radical right Christians aren't really Christians. I make no judgement although I do have my opinons. 

I would argue that what the radical right really represents is a "civic" religion. Those living within the borders of the Roman Empire were expected to make public offerings to the emperor and his family. Beginning with Augustus and Tiberius the emperors were treated as if they were gods. Some embraced the idea more heartily than others. 

Early Christians were often condemned not so much because they were Christians, but because they refused to make the public offerings. From what I've read it often happened more often in the Eastern Empire than in the west. But then the eastern provinces that included parts, if not all, of the old empires of Persia, Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. Their citizens were very familiar with the idea of the God King. 

I'm not including Nero here, He needed a scapegoat for the fire that almost consumed Rome. There's evidence that the idea was his but, he could hardly admit that now could he? 

Anyway, the almost hysterical response the those who kneel or refuse to stand instead of standing for the Star Spangled Banner or the Pledge of allegiance seems to fall under the umbrella of civic religion. It's what you do to prove you're a "good" American. And being a "good" American doesn't include pointing out that the song contains racist parts or that America often falls far from the ideals of those who fought the revolution and wrote the constitution.

Civic religion also, for me, includes the argument that I don't have to do certain things because it interferes with my freedom of religion. Just my personal opinion but I don't believe that whoever or whatever is running the universe is going to be bent out of shape if you bake a cake or take some pictures.

And you'll a hell of a lot more sympathy from me when you start worrying about wahat happens to the children of this country and the rest of the world AFTER they're born. 

Friday, September 23, 2016


I have mixed feelings about the term redneck. And yeah I know it mainly targets southerners and what Foxworthy did with it. In the beginning all it really meant is that the person worked outside and ended up with a permanent tan on the back of their necks.
I guess you could call my dad a redneck.. He was a logger. Spent nearly twenty five years working outside in all weather. We live in Oregon and that may explain a lot.
Dad was a farm kid before he was a logger. He and grandpa ran a milk route for several years. Dad was a high school graduate in the early thirties, an era when many people didn't go to high school.
When he and mom started their family he made sure we had books at home, made sure we knew where the library was and we had magazines like National Geographic in the house. He made sure WE made it to school.
He was proud of his right to vote and made sure to pass it on to us. I didn't get my first legal drink on my twenty first birthday. I got hauled down to the county office that handled voter registrations. Been voting ever since.
He wasn't perfect by any means. And he was just ornery enough to not let anyone else tell him who he should discriminate against because of color or religion. He'd figure it out for himself, thank you very much.
Grandpa was invited to join the triple K''s back when it was almost respectable. His reply to that invitation in unknown, but he didn't join. if what I've heard about grandpa is right it was probably colorful and inventive. LOL.
What I'm trying to say is this. Using redneck as a blanket term for ignorance and racism may be true now. But perhaps it shouldn't be. Highly recommend Wendell Berry's essays.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


From the movie Judgement at Nuremberg. The film is based on one of the later trials.That of the German judges who supported or facilitated the rise and rule of the Nazi party. In the film, Ernst Janning (brilliantly portrayed by Burt Lancaster) is respected jurist with a long career behind him. Throughout most of the trial Janning had refused to enter a plea or speak. Stung by the efforts of his defense attorney this is his reply. It's actually on Youtube. As is Spencer Tracy's Judge Haywood's defense of what we stand for. At least in the movie. We've come a long way baby and it's no compliment.

Ernst Janning: There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. Above all, there was fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, and fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that - can you understand what Hitler meant to us.

Because he said to us: 'Lift your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once these devils will be destroyed, your misery will be destroyed.'

It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb. What about those of us who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we take part? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. Hitler himself will be discarded... sooner or later. The country is in danger. We will march out of the shadows. We will go forward. Forward is the great password. And history tells how well we succeeded, your honor.

We mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied to us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said 'go ahead, take it, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland - remilitarize it - take all of Austria, take it!

And then one day we looked around and found that we were in an even more terrible danger. The ritual began in this courtroom swept over the land like a raging, roaring disease. What was going to be a passing phase had become the way of life.

Your honor, I was content to sit silent during this trial. I was content to tend my roses. I was even content to let counsel try to save my name, until I realized that in order to save it, he would have to raise the specter again.

You have seen him do it - he has done it here in this courtroom. He has suggested that the Third Reich worked for the benefit of people. He has suggested that we sterilized men for the welfare of the country. He has suggested that perhaps the old Jew did sleep with the sixteen year old girl, after all. Once more it is being done for love of country. It is not easy to tell the truth; but if there is to be any salvation for Germany, we who know our guilt must admit it... whatever the pain and humiliation.

Sound painfully familiar? It's been the refrain since 9/11. Fanned to higher and higher heights of near hysteria. Make Germany great again! Make America great again! Pound the drums. Point the finger.  Fear the other! Fear your neighbors! Fear the foreigners! Fear yourself! Be afraid until fear is all you have and it eats you alive.

Friday, September 16, 2016


Here we go again. This young woman has been refusing to say the pledge for nearly ten years. But this time her teacher docked her participation points for refusing to stand. School administration intervened, she and another student were moved to another classroom and her grade restored.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot is going on? The constitution has nothing to say about either the pledge or the national anthem. Earth to "participate to prove your patriotism" or whatever it proves. Guess what? Neither action is mentioned in the constitution for a very simple reason. Neither one existed at the time the constitution was written. And even if they did. We are protected under the first amendment. Not speaking is as protected as speech. Get over it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Written by Wendell Berry in 2003 from his collection This Day Collected and New Sabbath Poems page.

Berry paints wonderful word pictures in some of his work. Since he often uses blank verse I believe he uses the format to force the reader to pay attention to the punctuation. It really does make a difference.

This is a poet of the river lands,
a lowdown man of the deepest
depth of the valley, where gravity gathers
the waters, the poisons, the trash,
where light comes late and leaves early.

From the window of his small room
the lowdown poet looks out, He watches 
the river for ripples, flashes, signs
of beings rising in the under surface dark,
or lightly swimming upon the flow,
or, for a minnow, descending the deeps
of the air to enter and shatter
forever their momentary reflections,
for the river is a place passing
through a passing place.

The poet, his window, and his poems
are creatures of the shore that the river
gnaws, dissolves, and carries away.
He is  tree of a sort, rooted
in the dark, aspiring to the light,
dependent on both. His poems
are leavings, sheddings, gathered
from the light, as it has come,
and offered to the dark, which he believes
msut shine with sight,
with light, dark only to him.