Friday, November 30, 2012


With the continued refusal of the far right to accept the fact that their social agenda is exactly what most of us voted against this year. Too bad they didn't listen the first, second or fiftieth time. 

No you didn't stutter. But it's so much easier for some of those who claim to follow you to stick with the one liners. Women can't be pastors because of this verse. Gays can't have rights because of that verse. We can rape the world because of Genesis.  But we were called on to tend the garden not plow it under.

One of Your pastors said something along the lines of "when I feed a starving man they call me a saint. When I ask why the man was starving I'm called a communist." When You told us to tend Your sheep, You didn't add a qualifier. You didn't tell us to make sure they deserved the help before we give it. You told the story of the missing one out of the one hundred. That a good shepherd would go out and search for the missing lamb even if it was the Sabbath. The missing sheep wasn’t expected to crawl back all bedraggled and full of burrs and mud begging for help.

And that's what can make it hard. When we're faced with need we have to face why the help is needed. When the civil war started in El Salvador a small group of families controlled over half the land, most of the arable land in the country. So is a man starving because he's lazy or because he has no land to grow crops. If someone is out of work in this country is it because they're lazy or because the best jobs are half a country or half a world away.

We're forced to face the accepted way of doing things. And if it isn't working how do we change it. And what replaces it. I believe we're at a cross roads. We can bend and build or we can break. And then as usual, the women will have to pick up the pieces.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I did this entry over a year ago. This election cycle the truth was the first to go and it's still lost. If is the biggest two letter word in the English language and we've been hearing it a lot the last couple of weeks. If only we'd

Had better candidates.
Been able to keep their lips zipped.
etc. etc. etc.
My favorite is "our message is just fine, we just have to get the voters to listen."

Face it. Romney couldn't get the loose lips to stay zipped and he couldn't get Bain (his former company) to hold off on shipping over one hundred sixty jobs to China, while telling us he was worried about jobs.

So here we go again:

In ancient Ireland the king is the center, the hub of a circle that includes battle, prosperity, music and vision. When the king understands that the truth is the foundation of his position, the realm flourishes. The king’s truth is responsible for the well being of almost every part of Celtic society. And the truth is comes from his union with the divine feminine, the Goddess who lives in the land itself.

Legend has it that a first century high king was instructed by his Druid advisor about the importance of the King’s Truth

By the King’s Truth great clans are ruled,
By the King’s Truth great death is warded off,
By the King’s Truth great battles are driven off into the enemy’s country,
By the King’s Truth great right prevails,
By the King’s Truth every vessel is full,
By the King’s Truth fine weather comes in each fitting season:
Winter fine and frosty,
Spring dry and windy,
Summer warm with showers of rain,
Autumn heavy with dew and fruitful.
By the King’s Truth the land is fruitful and every child is born worthy,
By the King’s Truth there is an abundance of tall grain.

Let him magnify the Truth, it will magnify him,
Let him strengthen Truth, it will strengthen him,
Let him guard the Truth, it will guard him,
Let him exalt the Truth, it will exalt him.

From Yearning for the Wind by Tom Cowan.  I said over a year ago that if I thought it would do any good I would send of copy of this to every Republican candidate running for president. But, it wouldn't do any good would it? Perhaps I should have, because listening to the bitching, moaning, denial and general insisting on living in an alternate reality has gotten really, really old.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Anybody out there ever watched Judgment at Nuremberg? It's Stanley Kramer's version of the trials of the German judges after WWII. One of the defendants at the dock is Ernst Janning. Lawyer, teacher, writer, internationally respected and the former head of the German Ministry of Justice under Hitler. In that capacity he turned his back on much of what he believed and stood for. For the good of the nation; supporting measures that started out as temporary and became tragically, inhumanly permanent. 

"...The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime - is guilty. Herr Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of this country.

There is truth in this also. Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the Government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe.

But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary - even able and extraordinary - men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them: men sterilized because of political belief; a mockery made of friendship and faith; the murder of children. How easily it can happen. There are those in our own country too who today speak of the "protection of country" - of 'survival'. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient - to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being."
- "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961)

What can I say? We've come a long way baby. In the totally wrong direction. Not just the wars of convenience, the Patriot Act or the TSA. Walmart is currently conducting an internal investigation of its own business practices. And what started out as an investigation into bribes paid to make it easier to build stores in Mexico is expanding to include other countries such as India and Brazil. 

When the story broke there was comment after comment "well, they do things differently in other countries and if this is what it took to get the job done...." Fill the political expedient of your choice and look out for nightmares. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The fallout from the election continues. The newest shtick is filing petitions calling for secession from the US. The reasons vary from a guy in Alabama who's ticked because an Alabama state law forced the closing of his topless car detailing business. It's a state law so he wants to secede from the US? OoooooKaaaay. And then there's the guy from Texas.  A guy who probably wouldn't recognize a Marxist if he fell over a real one. Although I would love to see Marx's reading list from the reading room of the British Museum. Which led me to remember some things. 

A couple of years ago I stumbled across the story of Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, martyred at the beginning of the more than decade long civil war in El Salvador. A war largely financed by our tax dollars by the way. Too bad we couldn't have just distributed the five billion or so we sank into this nightmare among the five million or so campesinos. Many of whom were on the run from the American trained military and paramilitary groups.

Curious, I dug deeper into the stories of the people caught between the army, the death squads, the oligarchs and US foreign policy. I discovered that Marxism was pretty much a code word for anyone you didn't agree with. People who belonged to unions. People who wanted to belong to unions. Farmers who wanted to form coops, Farmers who believed in some kind of land reform in a country where less than twenty families controlled over sixty percent of the land. The priests, nuns, missionaries and lay teachers who supported them. And finally, any civilians who might agree with them. 

Now how many Americans fit some of those categories. Union members, people who would like to join unions. Workers stuck in dead end jobs. Workers who've seen their jobs shipped overseas. Workers who work for companies that have been mismanaged for years and finally blame the bankruptcy on the unions. Need I go on. They all could be called "Marxists" and for many years in some countries that label was a death sentence. But, this is still America. Right.

Friday, November 16, 2012


This was a comment on the web on an HP article Chris Christie disagrees with Mitt Romney's Gifts.  The comment was authored by a writer with the screen name Outlandish. 

Romney’s entitlements:                            
I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.

I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a

I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

I am entitled to have my earned income taxed as capital gains and my investment income taxed at the lowest rate anywhere in the world — or not at all.

I am entitled to inside information and favorable investment opportunities not available to ordinary investors. I am entitled to brag about my investment returns.

I am entitled to pass on my accumulated wealth tax-free to heirs, who in turn, are entitled to claim that they earned everything they have.

I am entitled to use unlimited amounts of my own or company funds to buy elections without disclosing such expenditures to shareholders or the public.

I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.

I am entitled to publicly criticize the president and members of Congress, who are not entitled to criticize me.

I am entitled to fire any worker who tries to organize a union. I am entitled to break any existing union by moving, or threatening to move, operations to a union-hostile environment.

I am entitled to load companies up with debt in order to pay myself and investors big dividends — and then blame any bankruptcy on over-compensated workers.

I am entitled to contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, loans and even bailouts from government, even as I complain about job-killing government budget deficits.

I am entitled to take credit for all the jobs I create while ignoring any jobs I destroy,

I am entitled to claim credit for all the profits made during a booming economy while blaming losses or setbacks on adverse market or economic conditions.

I am entitled to deny knowledge or responsibility for any controversial decisions made after my departure from the company, even while profiting from such decisions if they enhance shareholder value.

I am entitled to all the rights and privileges of running an American company, but owe no loyalty to American workers or taxpayers.

 I am entitled.

Friday, November 9, 2012


For nearly forty years the right has waged an unrelenting assault on some of the ideas that help hold our society together.

The belief that anyone would want to make a career of public service is derided. Career politicians they’re called and not to be trusted. When the cat is sick I don’t go to the Buick garage and when the car needs work I don’t go to the vet.  The myth that rank amateurs can do the nation’s business leaves the door wide open for the think tanks and lobbyists to assume control. Paul Ryan never did explain his budget plans if R & R were elected. Rumor has it that his budget and suggestions for the budget came from lobbying organizations and think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation which might explain why he couldn’t explain the figures. Forgot to do his homework.

Which brings us to the second umbrella idea.  The law and the judges that interpret it. From the time of Edward Coke in the seventeenth century most of us have accepted that there has to be a final arbiter. And individual judge or a panel of jurists with the final say on what the law says. I don’t always agree with the results, but I don’t try to undercut their authority just because I don’t agree with the results. Over and over we hear the term “activist judge’ when the right doesn't agree with the results. And that the majority should rule. Never admitting to themselves that there might be a time when they are in the minority and needing protection. There has to be a final, hopefully neutral arbiter.  And we all need to remember that where there is one there is a majority of one and the courts are the last protection for those majorities of one.

Now on to the teachers and the education system. How can teachers do their jobs when the respect they need to do that job is constantly undercut.  Laws that allow wet behind the ears kids to refuse to learn what they need to know to compete in science with other countries because it might go against their belief in a cobbled together, cherry picked set of scriptures that were never meant to be taken literally in the first place. I was taught genetics in biology at the U of O by guys who’d been put up for the Nobel Prize for heaven’s sake. I’d have no more dared question them than I could fly to the moon. At least until I’d taken a few classes. And yes I question my faith but it wasn’t caused by anything I learned in the science class room.

And in the last two election cycles we’re being warned to distrust our fellow citizens. With a solution in search of a problem the drum beat of “voter fraud” has been heard in state after state. Even though there is almost no evidence of voter fraud. And the little we've seen this election cycle appears to have been almost all on the Republican side. 

So who benefits when the groups that help hold society together are discredited and demoralized. The would be puppet masters. The would be puppet masters who may have to wait just a little longer to remake America in their image. And the excuses that are coming out of the right are absolutely delicious.  

If I ran a business that took a shellacking on the scale of Tuesday's election I'd be on the phone to my customers wanting to know what the hell was wrong. And I wouldn't sit there telling them that my product was just fine, they were wrong. You know when you drop a hammer on your toe and it hurts you don't keep dropping that hammer over and over and over.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I spent very little time watching election coverage last night. Thank heaven for internet updates. What little I did watch left me royally PO’d.

This was not the CBS of Murrow, Cronkite and Rather. Excuse me guys, The president has 303 electoral votes and will probably end up with the twenty nine from Florida when the dust settles. Al Gore won the popular vote back in 2000 but winning the electoral vote was interpreted as a “mandate” to turn the country upside down. ABC and NBC weren’t much better.

The governor of Virginia is lamenting that the Republicans didn't do a very good job of appealing to women and minorities. Governor, your message came through loud and clear. Akin, Mourdock, some doofus from Georgia, several Republican controlled state legislatures and the party platform delivered the party message for women loud and clear. The comments on several on line stories prove that years of the Republican mantra that all minorities are on welfare, all minorities are lazy moochers and those who aren’t moochers are gang bangers, drug addicts and crooks has come through loud and clear.

Some of the reading I’ve been doing has me wondering if the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and the rest are just hacks or worse. They spread the message of American ultra nationalism while their corporate masters are doing their best to erase national borders. At least where there money is concerned and the pursuit of an agenda where are resources from land and water to seeds and our DNA are privatized and sold to the highest bidder.

We need an honest discussion of WHY there was a huge influx of illegal immigrants into this country right after NAFTA went into effect. Most of these people were farmers. Could it be they were forced off the land in Mexico because the new rules allowed the US to dump bushels of taxpayer subsidized corn into the Mexican markets driving prices below what the locals needed for their crops? Funny how getting rid of subsidies for corn and soybeans are never on the “let’s get rid of that” table. Could it be that crop dumping is part of our foreign policy in support of American multinationals?

So, the reading list is taller than ever. I’m going to do my best to make it shorter and pass on the results. I’ll have to reread School of Assassins. Not so much because of the people trained by the School of the America’s but the several decades of foreign policy it supported.  It’s very, very scary and they’re bringing it home to the good old USA. If too many citizens in our country resemble citizens of the third world it won’t be president’s fault. It’ll be the results of several decades of the corporate military supported agenda.