Thursday, December 29, 2016

TERRIFYING

You can have your zombies currently watching a rerun of an episode of the original Star Trek titled A Taste of Armageddon. The Enterprise is escorting diplomats to a world that refuses to open diplomatic relations because the planet is at war with a former colony. A war that has been going on for five hundred years. 

While they are in preliminary negotiations at "attack" begins. An attack that the sensors do not detect any weapons being used or any damage. Spock realizes that the war is being waged by computer. The buildings and infrastructure survive. Casualties are recorded and expected to report to a suicide station within twenty four hours. And the citizens comply. The head of the ruling council explains that they've accepted that they are barbarians and murderers. The people die at the rate of one to three million a year but the planet and the "civilization" survives. 

When the Enterprise is declare a casualty Kirk does what he usually does when the prime directive is involved. Changes the rules. He and Spock throw several monkey wrenches into the works and destroy the war computers. Kirk admits that yes we're killers with generations of blood behind us but we don't have to kill anyone today. That's how it starts. We don't have to kill anyone today. And we'll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. 

Faced with fighting a real war with real weapons the two worlds are open to the idea of negotiating an end to the war. Kirk points out to the others that a real war wouldn't cause any more casualties than they've already suffered. 

This is one of the scariest TV episodes or movies I have every seen. As I said keep your zombies. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A LONG TIME COMING

So, Trump is officially the next president. This has been coming for decades.

Think about it. The constant efforts to undercut the judicial branch of the government. Any judge that showed a glimmer of a backbone was labeled an activist judge and it was suggested that he or she didn't know what the hell they were doing.

The constant efforts to undermine public education. It'll probably fall back on the states. Some states will still have decent systems. The others? Poor kids will be damn lucky to get any kind of education. some ultra conservatives seem to believe that everything from schools to libraries should be turned over to the private sector. Keep the peons ignorant and docile. Good luck with that.

The constant drumbeat that scientists can't be trusted. It would never have occurred to me as a college freshman to get up in class and challenge my biology professor about evolution or much of anything else until I had a class or three under my belt. Now we're told that those of us who do research, question, wonder are "elitist" and not to be trusted.

And oh for the days of three networks and PBS. Like it or not everybody got pretty much the same information. Now it's a buyer's market and if the buyer chooses to remain ignorant? There isn't much the rest of us can do about it. At least not right now. Anyone who has dealt with an internet troll knows how hard it is to get unwanted information through the cult barriers. Did I say difficult? Try downright impossible,


Saturday, December 17, 2016

THE REBEL JESUS

A Brazilian bishop has been quoted over the years. "If I feed a starving man, they call me a saint. If I ask why he is poor they call me a communist." Helder Camara  was lucky. Either the Brazilian right wing wasn't quite as blood thirsty as some American trained death squads in El Salvador or they still marginally respected the bishop because he was a bishop. Didn't stop the US supported dictatorship from trying to silence him. 

At least HE died at a good old age and didn't find himself in the shoes of Oscar Romero. Gunned down while he was celebrating the mass.


The Rebel Jesus

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Brown


Friday, December 16, 2016

HOW SOON WILL IT HAPPEN HERE?

Jackson Brown wrote this back in the eighties when El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras were going to hell. Since then we've had Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. How soon before the guns, bricks and stones are here? 

LIVES IN THE BALANCE BY JACKSON BROWN

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear

You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interests run

On the radio talk shows and TV
You hear one thing again and again
How the USA stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends?
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take anymore
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone

And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the president the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us everything from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars

I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die

And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IS MERRY CHRISTMAS GREETING BIBLICAL?

Apologies for the weird formatting. Not quite sure how to fix this.

ust had a very subversive thought. We have this whole crop of fundies with their "if it isn't in the Bible it isn't 'Christian.'"

News flash Christmas isn't in the Bible. Yes, the story of the birth of the future footsore rabbi from Nazareth IS in the Bible. But, if I have my history straight official commemoration of the birth started during the reign of Constantine.

Christmas? Christ's mass. Yep, the December date close to the solstice is part of what became the yearly liturgical cycle starting with what has become Advent and ending with Pentecost. As follows

Christmas Eve
Feast of the Nativity
Feast of St. Stephen (first official martyr)
Feast of St. John for John the Baptist
Feast of the Holy Innocents (Herod's blood bath)
Just because
Feast of the Holy Family
Eve of the Feast of the Holy Name
The Feast of the Holy Name Jesus' circumcision, either one
Feast of Mary the Theotokos
Epiphany when the three kings arrived with gifts is on January 6. And in many countries THAT day is the day gifts are exchanged.

All of these traditions were added years or centuries after the Bible was written. So, the whole argument about what to say is really, well totally weird. We get all hung up on the words while conveniently forgetting that Jesus (if he existed) was a Jewish guy who was crying in the wilderness with the messages of the old Hebrew prophets in the hope that maybe, just maybe people would listen this time around.

Of the few of you who actually know me you will know that my sense of humor is well, sort of off the wall. Out in far left field actually.

God has sent prophets over the years from Amos through Jeremiah to Zechariah with mixed and apparently futile results. This is how it goes in my weird imagination,

"Son I need to talk to you. Remember that conversation we had a three or four eons ago on the other side of the Milky Way."

"Yeah, the one where I end up on earth eventually learning the difference between oak and cedar and end up walking the length and breadth of the Holy Land?"

"That's the one. It's time. I've got a great family all picked out for you."

"OK dad, Catch you on the flip side. I've got a feeling I'm going to get into more trouble that all the other prophets put together."

"Afraid so, Son."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

POST TRUTH AMERICA

I wish this tool would read a history book. Preferably Bruce Catton's the Coming Fury about the run up to and the first few months of the Civil War.

How many of you know that there were four, yes four, presidential candidates in 1860?
Abraham Lincoln for the Republicans
Stephen Douglas for the northern Democrats
John C Breckinridge for the southern Democrats
John Bell for the Constitutional Union Party
And we all know how well THAT turned out. Douglas damn near killed himself touring the south after the election trying to persuade them not to secede.
Nearly a century later the Dixiecrats turned on Harry Truman for his early civil rights efforts. During the Johnson administration and the Nixon era the Southern strategy resulted in southern Democrats becoming Republicans and a lot Republicans (me included) becoming Democrats. Couldn't stand the thought of being in the same party as Tricky Dick Nixon.
So yes there are people of color in this country (Doh) And you sir should be locked in a small room with basic facilities, MRE's, a stack of history books and not allowed out until you've read them. There will be a test.
So much post truth America.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ANOTHER GENERATION

I believe that the Millennial Bernie Bots and third part supporters realize what the boomers who just might be willing the choose the lesser of two evils have in our psychic photo albums.

November 1963. Snapshot of the vice principal holding a piece of paper for the home room teacher to read, That's how we learned about Dallas. Snapshot. A woman in black holding the hands of her children as they said goodbye to a husband and father who just happened to be the president. Snapshot. That same figure leading the mourners through the streets to the cathedral. Snapshot. A new president who basically told the secret service that if he was afraid to march where the people could see him he didn't deserve to be president. Snapshot, The horse with no rider, boots reversed in the stirrups. Sounds. Those damn drums I'll hear into eternity.

Snapshot. The faces of three missing civil rights workers. They found their bodies in an earthen dam in Mississippi. Snapshot. A woman named Viola Liuzzo gunned down in a drive by on the lonely highway at night. Sanpshots from different times. Police dogs set on school children. Fire hoses blasting non violent civil rights protesters, Four girls killed when a coward bombed their church one Sunday morning.

It went on year after year. A little girl, naked and screaming, running from her village that had just been napalmed. A Vietnamese officer caught on film as he shot a prisoner in the head. Napalm, B52's, we had to destroy the village to save it, Agent Orange,

A southern governor standing on a college campus promising segregation forever. That same governor gunned down in an assassination attempt. A man of peace gunned down in front of a motel in Memphis. A presidential candidate gunned down in a hotel kitchen minutes after winning the California primary in 1968.

The totally out of control Democratic convention in 1968. AKA as the Chicago police riots. And it went on.

What did all this have in common? Individuals or groups of people who were so damn sure they were right they were willing to kill for it. Burn down the neighborhood for it. Blow up a church for it. A few, a very few, were willing to die for it.

I guess I could go on. But I suppose this is my answer to the "true believers." Most of us learned to temper our idealism. "Hey, what he or she is saying sounds good. What are their chances of actually accomplishing this."

Well, we have a nightmare in the making on our hands. And a reminder. Every vote you didn't cast because the candidate didn't suit you was a vote for a candidate that was even worse.



















Sunday, November 13, 2016

DENMARK 1943 OR RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE

In late September 1943 Denmark had been occupied by the Germans for over three years. Denmark had a fairly small Jewish population and they had been left alone. Until a few days before Rosh Hashanah.

The plan was take the Jews on the eve of the Jewish New Year when they would all be at home. That was the plan, A German attache told a Danish politician who told other Danes who warned he Jews. They were hidden in hospitals, warehouses, private homes, shops while the Dane negotiated with the Swedish government. The Swedes agreed and nearly seven thousand Jews were smuggled across the straits to Sweden. When they returned after the war they found their houses, shops, gardens and pets pretty much as they left them.

The Germans managed to arrest about four hundred people and most of them survived the war. Song writer Fred Small wrote a song, Denmark 1943.

The song can also be found on YouTube.

 DENMARK 1943

And it's Eichmann and Himmler are turning the screws
The Fuhrer they say grows impatient
"How can it be Denmark's Jews still walk free
After three years of kind occupation?
We will take them like sheep in their beds as they sleep
On the second night of their new year
Devoutly at home they'll be helpless alone
When they cry out no one will hear"

But Duckwitz the German tells Hedtoft the Dane
"My friend I have dangerous news
In three hours the transport ships will set at anchor
You must warn them warn all the Jews"
Soon good Rabbi Melchior stands in the synagogue
"There'll be no service today
The raids come tomorrow, dwell not on your sorrow
By nightfall we must be away"

Refrain:
And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Sompolinski the tailor on the eve of Rosh Hashana
Gathers his family near
"The Lord is my light and salvation
Whom on this earth shall I fear?"
When a young Danish gentile steps into the glow
Of the candle with tears flowing down
"Good neighbors flee - I pray you believe me"
And as quickly the young man is gone

Christian policemen, shopkeepers, and teachers
Tell their friends of the quickening storm
While students on bicycles race through the streets
Searching for Jews to be warned
And Katlev the foreman blurts out to the trainman
"My family has no place to hide"
"Well bring 'em to my house," the stranger replies
"And we'll spit in the damn Nazi's eyes"

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Ellen Nielsen the fishwife in the port of Drag√°¸r
Has no use for political views
She'll call out the catch, "Fresh salmon, fresh cod"
Comes a whisper "Please help, we are Jews"
"But if you are Jews you're not safe on the street
I know a man with a sail"
Till moonrise they sleep in the shade of her eaves
And escape on the fisherman's keel

Rabbi Melchior hires a young trawlerman
To ferry his family across
After twelve hours afloat in a scurfy old boat
Morning light shows the same Danish coast
Says the skipper "I'm afraid of the German blockade
So we've motored in circles around"
The rabbi gives a shout, with one blow knocks him out
And steers a straight line 'cross the sound

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Frozen with fright in the October night
Families huddle in basements and barns
Mistaking each breath for the angel of death
The Gestapo, the shot, the alarm
Then down into the hold with the stench and the cold
And drug all the babies with schnapps
Someone shouts, "Valk√°mmen till Sverige
You are in Swedish waters at last"

Seven thousands of Jews smuggled over to Sweden
By fishermen, nurses, and priests
Hitler sends Eichmann to hunt them down
But his quarry have vanished like mist
When the war's over the Jews return
Cheers and flowers adorn their way home
"We're not heroes or martyrs," so say the Danes
"We were just looking after our own"

Refrain

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

And today we will welcome you home
And today we welcome you home


Saturday, November 12, 2016

STEPPING ON SOME TOES





"So nice to keep seeing these things that tell me I must not be a Christian because I voted for Donald Trump. I mean here I was thinking that my personal relationship with God is more important than who I voted for to be president...... 

But of course ostracizing people over their choice of President is a great way to spread the kingdom of God right?"


Spotted this comment on this FB page.   He also blogs at Formerly Fundie. The writer is a Mennonite with a couple hard earned doctorates in branches of theology. Please follow the link and check out the picture of him with his adopted daughter. A girl who just might have a target on her back.

There are so many comments I could make, most of them unkind to say the least, But if you'll notice there are no names named. No one is called out. If this individual sees himself in this picture he's put himself there not Ben Corey. And that is his problem, not Ben's.  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

WE'VE TRIED BEING UNDERSTANDING

and empathetic. It hasn't done a damn bit of good.

There were a couple of left leaning Christian pages on Face Book yesterday with the themes that we need to be more "understanding" of Trump's supporters. Have a dialog. Show some empathy, Goddess I think I''m going to throw up.

Those of us on the so called left who happen to be Quakers, semi pagans, outright pagans or fellow citizens who trying to keep this country from being dragged back at least a century have talking, trying to be more understanding, forgiving, whatever for the last forty or fifty years. It hasn't
accomplished anything except the growing contempt from the religious and political fundies.

In case you haven't been paying attention the Great Orange One has been endorsed by the KKK, white power militants, gun nuts and all around nutty nuts, I've seen websites calling for a race war and what sounds pretty much like ethnic cleansing.

Ever here of The Turner Diaries? It's the Bible for some of these haters. Google the title you can probably find a version on line. Read part of it if your stomach can take it. I have two nephews and a foster niece who would all have targets on their backs if these people ever came to power. The guys married beautiful young women who just happen to be mixed race. Indonesian and Japanese if anyone is interested.

They'd be in danger because of who their parents were and the guys would be in danger because they married them. Race defilement they call it. As for unofficial niece? She is engaged to a very good looking, smart, successful young man who just happens to be an African American. Race defilement again,

I also have no intention, nor do I see the need to be"understanding" or "empathetic" towards individuals who spout Bible verses that would turn women into baby making door mats. I don't have much use for individuals who use the C word to describe the democratic candidate, have indicated they'd be really happy if she were in prison or worse, Don't have much use for politicians who want us to believe that only Republicans can appoint justices to the Supreme Court.

I could go on, but I believe you get the picture.

Oh, and I don't want this bunch anywhere near my library. All those books on liberation theology, gods and goddesses, I think that is pretty self explanatory too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING

Whatever. Keep people scared by whoever or whatever and maybe we won't notice that they're stealing the country out from under us.

Another Mauldin piece. This was drawn around the time the so called Red Scare was heating up.  Never mind that we were technically on the same side at the time. Nothing much has changed has it.



Monday, October 31, 2016

DON'T SINK THE BOAT

Bill Mauldin was one hell of a cartoonist. He got his start during WWII drawing for Stars and Stripes. A collection was published late in the war titled Up Front. And he won the Pulitzer Prize.

Go forward a few years and Bill was back in the states. Still drawing cartoons. A lot of them had a definite edge to them. He wasn't the only GI to come back to the US of the late forties and early fifties who found himself wondering what they'd gone through hell  to protect,

Those cartoons ended up in a book titled Back Home.The piece is pretty self explanatory. And it might be older than me it sums up our current dismal politics pretty well.

Yo! Idiot politicians and your supporters. You can't sink ONE end of the boat without sinking the OTHER end.



Source Back Home page 236 in my copy. Courtesy of my trusty digital camera and Photoshop. Actually there are quite a few good pieces in this book. This could be fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

WASHINGTON ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

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.

Gentlemen:

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

WHY SHE'S VOTING FOR TRUMP

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

IT'S ALL A GIANT PLOT

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

i OVERLOOKED THIS

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

YOU DON'T GET OVER IT.

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

VOTER INDIMIDATION

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

NATIVITY SCENES

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

CONSCIENCE VOTING?

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

THE ROAD TO DACHAU OR THE GULAG

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

CIVITAS

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

DAD WAS A REDNECK

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

FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY

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

THE PLEDGE AGAIN

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

POET OF THE RIVER LANDS

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. 

THE POLL WHERE TO GO

Not sure where to go from here. If there's a good way to find out who among Trump's followers have ties to Christian Identity. And how to tie it to the Eugenics movement that started in England and moved to America in the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. A movement that definitely identified northern white Europeans as superior to everyone else. Gee, I wonder why. It couldn't be because white, male Northern Europeans came up with this load of BS.

For now recommend The War against the Weak by Edwin Black. It is a tough read. Not because it's poorly written. But, because the information will probably lead to an overwhelming urge to bounce the book off the walls. Repeatedly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

THE GOOD OLD DAYS OR REMEMBER LUDLOW

Make America Great Again. Just how far back do you have to go to Make America Great. Again. In September 1913 11,000 miners went out on strike in Colorado. Miners and their families were forced from their sorry excuses for homes. They set up camps. tent cities. A private detective agency was hired to harass the strikers. Then the governor of Colorado called out the National Guard. On April 20, 2014 two companies of the guard opened fire on a camp in Ludlow, Colorado containing at least 1,000 men, women and children.

After shooting up the camp the guardsmen moved into the camp, setting fire to the tents. When it was over the dead included two women and eleven children were found in a pit like cave that had been dug under the tents. 

Thirty years later Woody Guthrie wrote the words and music to this song.

Ludlow Massacre

Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

It was early springtime when the strike was on,
They drove us miners out of doors,
Out from the houses that the Company owned,
We moved into tents up at old Ludlow.

I was worried bad about my children,
Soldiers guarding the railroad bridge,
Every once in a while a bullet would fly,
Kick up gravel under my feet.

We were so afraid you would kill our children,
We dug us a cave that was seven foot deep,
Carried our young ones and pregnant women
Down inside the cave to sleep.

That very night your soldiers waited,
Until all us miners were asleep,
You snuck around our little tent town,
Soaked our tents with your kerosene.

You struck a match and in the blaze that started,
You pulled the triggers of your gatling guns,
I made a run for the children but the fire wall stopped me.
Thirteen children died from your guns.

I carried my blanket to a wire fence corner,
Watched the fire till the blaze died down,
I helped some people drag their belongings,
While your bullets killed us all around.

I never will forget the look on the faces
Of the men and women that awful day,
When we stood around to preach their funerals,
And lay the corpses of the dead away.

We told the Colorado Governor to call the President,
Tell him to call off his National Guard,
But the National Guard belonged to the Governor,
So he didn't try so very hard.

Our women from Trinidad they hauled some potatoes,
Up to Walsenburg in a little cart,
They sold their potatoes and brought some guns back,
And they put a gun in every hand.

The state soldiers jumped us in a wire fence corners,
They did not know we had these guns,
And the Red-neck Miners mowed down these troopers,
You should have seen those poor boys run.

We took some cement and walled that cave up,
Where you killed these thirteen children inside,
I said, "God bless the Mine Workers' Union,"
And then I hung my head and cried.

So ask the Trump supporters just what America do you want to celebrate. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

MY P0LL PART 2

The dog ate my homework. Actually the computer "ate" my notes and rough draft. I thought I saved it. I did save it. But, its somewhere out in lah lah the cybernetic void.

I would ask if the family had magazines and/or newspapers in the house when they were kids. And what publications were they. Were there books in the house? On a logger's pay my folks slowly filled a six foot, three shelf book case with National Geographics, Reader's Digest condensed books and a set of World Books encyclopedia my grandparents passed on to us. Grandma and grandpa khad a big bookcase too. The books I remember were books about India and the Far East. My great aunt was a missionary in India for years. I didn't realize until much later how rare we were until years later.

And then I'd ask if their folks voted regularly or just showed up every four years. When I turned twenty one I didn't get my first legal drink I got a free ride down to the office where they handled voter registrations. Dad grew up in a farming town and he loved to tell us about the ceremony of opening the polls on election day. And a little ceremony to close the polls at when it was time.

If I could get away with it I'd ask him or her what faith they held. Presumably Christian but what flavor? And just as important which version of the Bible did they use. You can tell a lot by which translation they favor. Evangelicals favor the New International Versions. Many older main line Protestants rely on the Revised Standard Version. Don't even mention the New Jerusalem Bible. The Catholics produced that one. And don't even go into whether the King James version is the best English language version ever produced. I've got one. Haven't read it in years.

How do they view other religions or even other denominations of Christians? Is it my way or the highway? And what will happen to those they don't respect if they ever gain the power to force the rest of us to walk their path. There are some really scary folks out there. Especially since Trump announced at Values Voter Summit that he looked forward to the time when his fellow citizens were united under "One nation, One God, One Flag." That's very reminiscent of the Nazi "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fhurer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

MY DREAM POLL PART 1

If I could build a set of poll questions for Trump supporters it might include the following.

What is your ethnic background? I don't mean are you white? I mean what do you know about your ancestors? When did they get here? Where did they settle? I'm Scots/Irish, English and German with a touch of Welsh tossed into the mix. The majority of my colonial ancestors settled in New England and Connecticut. One line from Virginia. They were Quakers and so was a branch that started out in North Carolina but moved to Indiana as soon as a decent road was built.

There were four major migrations from different parts of Britain at different times. The Puritans, the refugees from the Civil War in the 1640's or younger sons of the gentry who couldn't hope to inherit family land back home, the Quakers and finally the Borderers in northern England and southern Scotland. Most of them were tenants who had filled the raiding parties that went back and forth over the border until England and Scotland were "unified" in the early 1700's.

Four groups. Four definitions of "liberty." Ordered liberty which but the good of the social group before individual rights in much of early New England. A hierarchical society in Virginia and the Tidewater. The gentry were born to rule and heaven help the rest of you.. Reciprocal liberty for most of the Quakers. As long as no laws were broken; you keep your nose out of my business and I'll do the same. Now we come to the last. The Borderers. I guess it was a take on the warrior's creed. Personal honor above all and heaven help anyone who was perceived to impugn it. Duels come out of that belief and Andy Jackson wasn't the only duelist in our history. And a belief that my rights as an individual are paramount. You must respect my rights and I'll respect yours when or if I feel like it. Sound familiar?

I believe I'll break this into several parts.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

THE PLEDGE PART 2

It was 1943 and a Jehovah's Witness named Barnette brought suit against the West Virginia Board of Education. His faith forbids Witness's from pledging allegiance to symbols, including political symbols. The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in favor of Barnette,

This is an excerpt from the decision delivered by Justice Robert Jackson.


To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.
But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

Jackson went on to serve as chief prosecutor from the US during the first of the Nuremberg trials.   

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