Ok so I got sick Wednesday and had to find the cure at the local trout stream. Took me to Taj. I did not know there was a Portland Blues Festival, but, count me in. I’ll fish my way there.
Well, the argument over gun legislation isn’t going to go away anytime soon, especially as long as Americans are being shot, deliberately or in tragic “accidents”, every day.
First, a frightening story from a commenter at TP:
“My son tried to make plans with a few friends to see the new Batman movie in Aurora. His plans fell through. The next day we talked. Grateful that he wasn’t there, I just felt sad. Then he told me about how hard to tried to be there. It jolted me awake. I kept thinking of how different my day, his day and our lives would have been had he been in that movie theater. I am more grateful for my son’s life than I have been since he was quite young. Gun regulation is personal to me. It is time. I will stick with this movement. It is time.”
Next: From a (somewhat outdated, as it was from November 2012, therefore does not include the Newtown shooting nor the 3000 or so gun deaths since December 14th) Mother Jones article listing mass shootings in the U.S. from 1982 to 2012, excerpts from the comment section:
Someone trotted out the “hammers kill more people than guns do” bullshit story (the report actually said that hammers were used to kill people more often than rifles, not guns); when another claimed disbelief, a pro-gun person who had been the main commenter on the thread responded:
#1.. proof of hammers.. GOOGLE IT.. in under 10 seconds you will find links showing proof..
As for where are the stats from? The FBI… national crime stats. The same thing can be had via StatsCan as well as other sources.
It sounds absurd to ban or regulate hammers as well. Why? not only are they used for non-malicious purposes an uncountable # of times every day (the same as firearms are) it again would NOT actually accomplish anything good at all.
It would not stop the rapist that uses the hammer to subdue his victim.. it would not stop the “armed robber” from robbing the local 7-11.. it also won’t stop the moron whom wallops his thumb with it either. Instead it would make “work” and waste of $ within gov regulation.. so you have to prove you are “competent” etc etc to put a nail in the wall with a “deadly and dangerous hammer”. Meanwhile criminals would just get an illegal hammer and use that… while the law abiding home owner has to wait to hang up a picture for gov approval.
As for the Nuclear bomb.. no.. that is not a fair comparison at all.. it is a very stupid comparison.
Explosives (Nuclear or otherwise) are already highly regulated to try to prevent lunatics such as Timothy McVeigh from causing mass destruction.
Why? Simple.. what practical use would a nuke be for people to have? You You can’t take it to a range to and practice with it.. you can’t carry it for personal protection and the protection of others. Not to mention it is a BOMB
You also neglect the fact that the lunatics such as McVeigh and Lanza are not stupid. If they did not have access (legal or illegal) to firearms they would find another way to inflect the damage they are intent on. It’s not hard to learn how to build a bomb online.. (though I won’t help educate anyone here how.)
As for pools and accidents.. yes they matter. But the anti’s love to pull the “if it saves one kid” crap. It’s crap since those saying such don’t care that a kid dies.. they care HOW they die. otherwise they would actually look at the real problems and try to find a solution. Such as education. We teach our kids safety with a pool.. why should they not be taught safety with a firearm? That alone is the single most effective way to reduce accidents (same for some adults). We also do not rely on the gov to regulate education about swimming pools. it is COMMON SENSE. The absurd stigma the uneducated use with firearms is unbelievably ignorant. Something sadly only made worse by the sensationalized BS spewed by the media.
Contrary to the media’s typical BS such as showing “Hollywood” scenes and constantly mislabeling firearms.. as well as the lie of “assault weapons” (There is no such thing btw as I’ve explained before… or do I need to explain it again?).. they have been caught flat out bold face LYING to the public. (Wolf Blitzer for one prime example and he was called on the carpet and publicly embarrassed for it)
So once again.. the aim of your post is to in effect place blame upon the inanimate objects and to punish those whom have done no harm. You aim to make those same people less able to defend themselves and others from the very people whom do cause harm. That is insanity to say the least since we already know the lunatics and criminals don’t obey the law. So it is completely destined to failure as gun control always has been. (Unless you are the dictator wanting control such as Hitler etc etc)
Once again the proof of the inanimate object doing no harm: http://montego.roughwheelers.c…
You were tempted to “refute every major contention” I’ve made. Sorry but the only way to try to do so would be to LIE. I am only telling the truth. Not trying to twist and cherry pick like the Anti’s do constantly. It is a cold hard and realistic view of the issues and the world. I for one refuse to fall for “feel good” legislation that does only harm to the general public. It is the absence of emotional rhetoric so commonly found with incidents such as Sandy Hook
It is not a lack of compassion for the victims of such either. It is the opposite. I would much rather those teachers had been armed and shot Lanza in the head on the spot. I would much rather the rapist is killed by the would be victim. I would rather the armed home invader that raped and robbed an 80 yr old woman last yr instead be shot by her.
As for incidents such as Lanza.. if I had been there I’d have attacked him even unarmed.. because it is the right thing to do. If I had been armed I’d have not even blinked at the need to shoot him on the spot.
Remember it is about personal responsibility. Unlike those blaming the firearm(s).. or blaming hollywood movies.. or video games etc etc.. none of those matter. I have played those games, watched those movies and I’ve been around firearms for most of my life. Funny.. I’m not a rampaging murderer… nor are you (I assume). They are all merely objects that are easy and conveniently to blame when trying to blame anyone or anything but ourselves.
Society failed for Sandy Hook not due to lack of moronic gun control… or lack of game control etc etc.. but they failed due to mental heath system in the US. His mother was trying to get a conservatorship of her Adult son (very hard to do).. and to have him committed. Also her firearms were locked up and he apparently got the code(s) w/o permission. If the system had not failed her, him and everyone else that incident could very well have been avoided entirely. And not a single “gun control” law would have been needed to accomplish such.
If you want to actually accomplish something good.. stop focusing on the object.. focus on the actual problems.
There is evil in the world.. and all the well wishing, idiot laws and tantrums by the anti’s won’t make that go away.
Oh and something I posted elsewhere you also should read:
You cannot child proof the world… but you can try to world proof your child.
“It is the Soldier: Not the minister Who gave us freedom of religion. Not the reporter Who gave us freedom of the press. Not the poet Who gave us freedom of speech Not the campus organizer Who gave us freedom to protest Not the lawyer Who gave us the right to a fair trial Not the politician Who gave us the right to vote It is the soldier who salutes the flag,Who serves beneath the flag, Whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows protesters to burn the flag” – Adapted from Charles M. Province
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
That which was fought for and died for you have the privilege of enjoying. Do not waste such a gift by spitting in the faces of those whom fought and died so you have it in the first place.
You enjoy the 1st and 2nd in the US… it comes from the Magna Carta. Learn history and defend it since the rights you do not defend you loose.
And the same commenter later:
“Of course they are not telling the whole truth. They are cherry picking stats in order to try to twist the truth. Sadly very typical of the anti’s to try to promote their own agenda.
As for Oz [I believe this refers to Australia].. Deaths / injuries via violent crime and suicides have climbed and remained relatively stable respectively after GC. South Africa skyrocketed after GC. etc etc… it has all been thoroughly listed.. though they refuse to accept the reality still.
GUN CONTROL is a failure and always will be.”
A commenter for gun control:
One more thing, speaking of gun defense…I find it interesting, that we have the most guns of any “developed” nation..we have the least restrictive laws…and we don’t have this “gun paradise” of less crime because armed vigilantes saving the day.
We have the opposite. More gun deaths than any other developed nation.
Yet gun ownership seems to be declining. So if we don’t have a “safer” country with the amount of guns we have now, and less people want/have guns…then that hypothesis will never come to pass.
Unless this is the safe society we get with an armed citizenry?
And that same commenter also said later:
“Ugh, the “guns don’t kill people”, is such a trite argument.
I keep having to reference the stuff you throw out there. First off, we regulate cars in all sorts of ways. We regulate at the federal level of what a car maker can make. We regulate what safety features must be had. If you want to drive the car, even once, you are required to register with the state regularly. You have safety inspections regularly. You have to have insurance. You are required several months of intensive training. The state can revoke your license at will, including your Alzheimer’s patient. There are school zones where you have different rules to follow. All done to protect people. So let’s do all that in a mandatory way on every gun.
As you said, it’s just an object. Let’s treat it like every other dangerous object, which is to minimize the damage and casualties.
And once again, your premise is wrong. Guns do kill people, because they were designed to. Near the Newtown shooting, there was a school stabbing in China where 20 kids were attacked. How many died by the gun here? 20. How many died in China with the stabbing? 0. So…the gun does kill people. It kills people that otherwise may have lived.
Let’s get away from self-destructive ‘hu-mons’ (“ugly bags of mostly water”) and hang out with Nature:
While depressing, this photo gallery of rare and endangered animals is worth the look; on a brighter note, check out “Earth as Art”, shown just below the linked article, for a different look at our world.
This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to comment on any claims made above, or on any topic on your mind.
With the Spring Prom Season upon us, the good folks running the Charleston, South Carolina School Board announced a new dress code for girls.
“We preach abstinence only, as the only way to prevent pregnancy and socially transmitted diseases.” a school board spokeswoman said. “It is our goal to keep our young ladies pure.” The spokeswoman went on to note that at this time of year, young men’s hormones are raging, and they cannot control themselves. “Why, they get excited at the barest hint of female flesh.” She said.
The School Board’s new policy is aimed at preventing boys from “getting carried away” with the women-folk by requiring girls to dress appropriately for the Spring Proms. “Dresses this year will be modest. There will be no showing of any part of the female breast, nor legs, nor arms.”
Girl’s dresses are to be loose fitting, so as to avoid presenting any semblence of the female form to impressionable young boys. However, they are to be available in a wide variety of colors.
Photos of acceptable attire have been posted on the District’s website:
As a cat would present a disemboweled small animal, I present some steaming stool I stepped in on a few recent gun threads.
For some reason, a thread about a planned march on Washington by people armed with loaded weaponry was sidetracked by accusations of treason.
“TREASON is SWEARING TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND the CONSTITUTION of the United States of AMERICA and then doing EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO DESTROY IT! Treason is sending people to Benghazi THEN WATCHING AND FAILING TO SEND NECESSARY ASSISTANCE while they are massacred! Treason is getting your own Border Patrol agents KILLED by GUNS YOU DELIVERED TO THE MEXICAN CARTELS through a failed attempt to create a gun control problem! Treason is when the Media is BOUGHT BY ONE MAN TO PUSH AN AGENDA WHICH RUNS AGAINST THE AMERICAN BEST INTEREST! This nation is close to tearing itself apart- Because too many people bought the snake oil salesman’s LIES WHOLESALE. And refuse to SEE the TRUTH when shown to them in a clear and brilliant light. WAKE UP PEOPLE_ IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GUNS- IT IS ABOUT THE CONTROL!”
– and -
“The treason is in the White House. Obama is who should be arrested. Revolution is coming in a few short years and much liberal blood will be shed.”
["Good luck storming the castle, boys!"]
I don’t know what the beginning of this comment is all about, but it turns “birther” pretty quickly, with a final steep drop into “Nazi Germany”:
“That’s exactly how the government is going to pull this off, by brainwashing weak people into thinking that anyone with a gun is a terrorist! You all are being lied to! Get off your lazy American butts and do some research into what’s really going on in Washington! Hello, mainstream media is controlled by the government! They are not going to tell you what they are really doing and they know that we are lazy and brainwashed and will believe whatever they tell you! If anyone can tell me why a President would not be able to present the people of his country with a legitimate copy of his birth certificate, I would feel differently. Oh, wait, are they not talking about that on mainstream news?! Hello America! And why is Obama running our economy into the dirt??? He wants to collapse our economy so we are dependent on the government and then they will have us all “eating out of their hands”. Remember Nazi Germany! That is right where America is headed!”
And another genius who never read the first half of the Second Amendment, and who slept through the entire Bush Administration:
“Cowards in the Senate? YOU MEAN THE ONES WHO ABIDED THEIR OATH TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? This is NOT cowardice- THIS IS WHAT EVERY ONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE DONE! We will have NO DICTATORS HERE!”
Although these delusional spewings were bad enough, I found this gobsmackingly-insane blithering out of the mouth of Linda Riddle, the grandmother of the 5-year-old boy and 2-year-old sister who he shot dead, to be the most offensive of all:
“Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place. “It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess,” she told WLEX. “I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.”
WTF?! “It was God’s will.”? “It was her time to go” at age 2? It was God’s will that made Caroline’s 5-year-old brother and his birthday rifle God’s instrument for her death? It was God’s will that made their mother “step…outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot and kill his 2-year-old sister.” God’s will? I call it “god swill”!
The CNN article (linked above) notes that the “…family kept the Crickett rifle in what they considered to be a safe spot”, but, according to a NY Daily News article, “Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said the family had not realized a shell was left inside the gun, which was kept in a corner of the house.” [emphasis mine]
Yeah, that sounds like a real safety-conscious family. Isn’t the first rule of gun safety ‘ALWAYS ACT AS IF A GUN IS LOADED’? It also seems obvious that, since the mother had “stepped outside of her home for just a few minutes”, the boy was playing with his gun INSIDE THE HOUSE! Can someone please explain to me how, despite what appears to be a clusterfuck of criminal negligence, this tragic shooting “has been ruled an accident” according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory.
In the CNN article, County Coroner White says, “It’s just one of those crazy accidents.” NO, sir, no it is not.
This is your Open Thread. Please feel free to speak your mind.
As a glutton for punishment, I wallowed through hundreds of responses regarding the group of alleged ‘men’, who showed their opposition to an Indianapolis “Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns National Day to Demand Action” gun safety rally, attended by “Moms Demand Action”, by openly facing the “Moms” while carrying loaded weapons.
Most of the real whack-job pro-gun comments got “wished into the cornfield”, and probably a hundred or so were along the lines of “So you’re “intimidated” by a law abiding citizen exercising their rights?” – the word “intimidation” apparently not having the same meaning in different areas of the country – which got old and tired pretty quickly. But I thought you might enjoy the sheer idiocy of the following ones:
“You don’t have the right to be “protected”. You do have a natural right to protect yourself.”
[I and another commenter both reminded that guy about the existence of 'police forces.']
“They did nothing wrong and showed gun safety… What wrong? Are you mad that they didn’t shoot everyone? Are you mad that they didn’t break any laws.”
[Aside from the obvious grammar issues here, I love the assumption that liberals want people to get shot just to further our gun-grabbing agenda.]
Oops, I almost left out one of the best:
“WHEN YOU ANTI GUN PEOPLE ARE APPROACHED BY THE BAD GUYS OR WHEN OBAMA TAKES AWAY ALL YOUR FREEDOMS AND MAKES YOU HIS SLAVES, YOU WILL BE GLAD WHEN US GUN OWNERS ARE THERE TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY’S.”
Another genius posted:
“Carrying a lit candle at a vigil could be seen as intimidation because you could set someone on fire. It’s the same argument.”
The final gem is from the same genius:
“The rifle is the emblem of our freedom. It is more American than the flag.”
To which I HAD to respond with:
“Oh, so THAT’s why schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the RIFLE of the United States of America!”
“May I also point out to everyone who is asking why the group who brought loaded weapons to this gun-safety rally would be considered to be ‘intimidating’, since they were only exercising their rights: just take a look at Matt Rhodes’ gravatar (which is also repeated all over the NRA’s website), with the motto: NRA – STAND AND FIGHT.”
On to Nature and her logic: While Spring officially arrived on March 20th, for me, the first sign of spring came on March 25th, when I spotted the first robin of the season. As soon as I remarked to myself ‘ooh, first robin’, I realized that that robin was accompanied by close to a hundred others, all ‘worming’ across the large field in front of one of the local firehouses. If I had my camera at the time, I would have taken a shot, since I’d never seen so many in one place at one time.
Then on Thursday, I spotted the first bee of the season, hovering hopefully over a clump of crocuses. Now, normally I’m not overly fond of bees, but I’m well aware of their intricate place in Nature’s logical order. Coincidentally, one of the local papers highlighted a seminar occurring tomorrow as part of Scenic Hudson’s Naturalist Lecture Series. Here’s an excerpt from a Poughkeepsie Journal article by Stefanie Schappert:
“Every time we take a bite of an apple, drink a cup of coffee or have a slice of blueberry pie, we must remember that every fruit and vegetable was pollinated first,” said Tim Stanley, program coordinator for the Fresh Air Fund at the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill and a beekeeping enthusiast.”
“Ultimately the food that we eat depends on it,” Stanley said.
Stanley keeps two honeybee hives at his home and one at the reservation.
The lecture will focus on the 4,000 native species of bees in North America and how people can encourage native pollinators into their gardens and yards.
“Although the honeybee is the only perennial bee that produces a food source — honey — through the winter, it was brought over from Europe and is not native to the United States. Stanley said native bees, also known as “keystone species,” tend to be more efficient and better at what they do. Native bees include bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees and orchard bees.”
I don’t know about everyone else, but I think I prefer bees to gun-nuts!
This is our open thread. What’s on your mind today?
Oddly the tea party still believes it will control the Repubican party. CPAC held a straw poll and the winner for the 2016 primary is Rand Paul. While that’s not really much to worry about the fact that so many current members of congress legislate with an eye to avoiding a tea party primary challenge is.
Nothing says patriotic like good old-fashioned Fascism, at least according to the president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, James Ives. As reported by the Texas Tribune, Mr. Ives’ title before he joined the Tea party was quite different: the director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party (AFP). When confronted with this information, he wisely did not deny, but what he did say was far more revealing:
“From my point of view, it was all pro-Constitution, pro-America.
I never did anything. There really weren’t enough people involved to be a gathering, let alone a rally. It was basically a scattering of people across the continent just complaining.”
Obviously we can’t afford to ignore Rand Paul and the Tea Party types while they continue to force their beliefs on the rest of us.
THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD. WHAT’S UP?
Just some numbers:
341 civilians killed
United States Body Count from gun violence in 2013 (you can use the date range button on the site)
936 civilians killed
Numbers may increase with every click on the link.
We all agree, that Iraq is a postwar society, plagued by ethnic conflicts and a weak government. We all agree that the United States of America is not that. Or do we?
This is an open thread. Comment on this, or on anything else that comes to mind and have a wonderful Sunday everyone.
This is today’s open thread . . . speak up, speak out!
Last Sunday (January 20, 2013) was a gorgeous day along the Colorado Front Range. It was bright and sunny, warm (for January), a perfect day for a nice long walkabout. It was close to 2:30 PM and we were homeward bound from our five miler; had less than a mile to go. The stretch of road underfoot was one that meanders across an open patch of prairie — a sizeable swath of treeless grassland with only a handful of houses randomly situated around its periphery; the bulk of it is just grass. The local golf course borders it on two sides, and the local lake is a few blocks up the road. Canada geese are everywhere, but they’re particularly numerous on the lake (naturally) and the golf course where they enjoy the water hazard ponds as well as to wander on the fairways/greens (I’ve asked them why the fairways, but so far no response besides “honk”). Overall, the goose population clearly outnumbers that of humans in this tiny town, probably by at least two to one — a most pleasant factoid given that even though they might honk a lot, nary a single goose owns or drives a damn pickup!
All was peaceful and quiet until suddenly a BLAM!! BOOM!! interrupted the soliloquy. We stopped dead in our tracks and looked around. WTF? About a quarter mile off the road to our left were the only people in sight. They were standing in an open stretch of prairie, maybe a block from the closest house. As we stared and gaped, two geese fell like rocks from the flock overhead; immediately the pair of armed killers (being kind here) quickly picked up the dead geese and carried them away. Not certain as to where they went, maybe to their car or truck parked somewhere on the graveled road nearby. We couldn’t tell for sure, but saw no more of them.
My first impressions were those of anger, of disgust, and even of fear for other living creatures in the vicinity. Such impressions marched in lock step with the enduring suspicion that the perpetrators had to have broken multiple laws, including discharging a weapon within the city limits and within a quarter mile of a residence or occupied building, plus the killing of waterfowl not ‘in season.’ All were incorrect, as I later learned following a few minutes of investigative digging. First of all, this little town is unincorporated and is therefore ‘only’ part of the County and not really a town, so ‘in town’ shooting rules apparently do not apply. (When is a town not really a town? When it’s not formally incorporated – nothing else counts). And of course it’s OK, in unincorporated areas, to discharge a weapon if the shooter is 150 yards or more from any residence or occupied building. That’s 450 ft, or 0.085 miles, about one-third of a quarter mile. Oh, and yes, goose hunting season is in full swing here in Colorado between Nov. 17 and Feb 10, so no violations there. All. Perfectly. Legal. And, on any reasonable plane, also nonsensical. Killing waterfowl for sport, with shotguns, in a residential area . . . an unincorporated residential area . . . means there’s no danger. Obviously. Besides, the Second Amendment says . . . etc.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Still can’t. One question lingers: WHY are idiots allowed to own, much less carry or shoot a gun, any gun, at any place, at any time? WHY!? Because of the Second Amendment, most will say. It gives everyone that right, right? Right. If you say so. It reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Word salad. I’ve long wondered why it was written as it is, with so little definition of, e.g., ‘well regulated Militia,’ or ‘security,’ or ‘free State,’ or ‘Arms.’ What am I missing? What did the author(s) really mean to say?
Enter Thom Hartmann. Last week I ran across an essay by Mr. Hartmann posted on truthout.org and entitled, The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery. Bingo. On came the lights, poof went the darkness, and suddenly the true intent of the Second Amendment became clearly visible. Mr. Hartmann sums it all up in his opening statement (emphasis added):
The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
He continues his exploration of the thesis and in the process draws heavily on statements written by prominent Virginians including Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and George Mason who were concerned that Article 1, Section 8 (Clauses 15 and 16) of the proposed Constitution might well endanger the ownership of their ‘property’ to the extent that one day, slaves might even be freed. Horrors. The clauses read:
[The Congress shall have Power . . .]
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Scary stuff, right? Patrick Henry voiced his concern(s) over these provisions as expressed in the new Constitution when he said,
“If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress insurrections. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only, can call forth the militia.”
Henry later voiced his concern to Founder (and slave owner) James Madison who was, at the time, writing (at the behest of fellow Founder and slave-owner Thomas Jefferson) amendment drafts. Henry said,
“In this situation, I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone.”
The “property of the people” Henry thought to be “in jeopardy” was, of course, the slaves.
So today we’re left with an amendment that was written to help cover the collective asses of slave owners in Virginia and elsewhere in the South, to essentially “protect” them from already drafted clauses in the Constitution which they found to be extremely worrisome because the ‘power’ to manipulate and use state Militias would now be delegated to the Congress rather than to the individual states.
In consequence, this day virtually ANY nutcase can own any gun he wants to own, buy as many bullets as he can afford, and kill anything he cares to kill . . . from school children in Connecticut to movie goers in Colorado to members of a Congresswoman’s staff in a public outdoor meeting in Arizona to a black teenager in Florida who was thought to be a ‘threat’ because he wore a hooded sweatshirt to wild birds in flight along with all unprotected wild critters anywhere . . . and ANY effort to restrict or control the tools of such nonsense is met with screams of ‘unconstitutional!’ and ‘treason!’ And the murderous beat goes on, and on, and on as we the people honor the legacy of language designed only to offer comfort to slave owners.
Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) specifically states that:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
And while it’s true that the Thirteenth Amendment did, indeed, retroactively and permanently do away with slavery and involuntary servitude (in the USA), it unfortunately did NOT also correct and clarify the Word Salad of the Second Amendment. Any killer can still own a gun. And use it whenever his ‘pleasure’ demands. Therefore, I do herein and hereby offer free of charge my recommendations to overwhelm the Second Amendment’s Word Salad, to make it speak in crystal clear fashion the original intent of the Framers:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to control the antics of uppity Negro slaves and thus ensure the security of a free State, the right of the white male slave-owning people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
There. Fourteen words added, no more Word Salad. Ratify, and problem(s) solved.
A final statement:
To all victims everywhere of needless gun-enabled bloodshed; to each and every creature lost in fashion cruel, in violence due solely to the gift of political privilege entrusted by our Founders to 18th-century slave owners:
Requiescat In Pace
Drought-reduced precipitation typically goes hand in hand with elevated temperatures, and the consequences to impacted civilizations can be, and usually are, devastating. Case in point: a thousand years ago, what we today call the American Southwest was home to essentially five different (and advanced) cultures. In the area commonly referred to as the Four Corners, the Anasazi culture embraced today’s SW Colorado, NW New Mexico, NE Arizona, and SE Utah. In eastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and probably extending into northern Mexico as well, the Mogollon people dominated. In the southern Arizona deserts lived the Salado and the Hohokam, and between Hohokam and Anasazi lands, the Sinagua. The Sinagua (name based on historical Spanish records which described the aboriginal inhabitants’ desert surround as sin agua, i.e. ‘without water’) are considered by most archaeologists and anthropologists to be the precursors of the Hopi people of northern Arizona, a premise with which the Hopi are in general agreement. It’s also believed, at least in some quarters, that the Sinagua persisted longer than the other four major cultures, although dates of ‘departure’ or disappearance are extremely difficult to ascertain with any precision. Suffice to say that all five cultures had disappeared at least a century, possibly two centuries, prior to the arrival of the Spanish (in Arizona) circa 1539.
What caused their collective (and more-or-less ‘sudden’) disappearance? Until recently, the presumed most significant factor was the enduring and severe drought that blanketed the Southwest in the late thirteenth century. Speculative dates of disappearance range from the early 1300′s to, in some cases, as late as 1450. One could surmise that, since the people were dependent upon both crops and wild game for their food, a crippling drought would likely have played a significant role both in crop production and in the quantity (and quality) of food and materials available to hunters and gatherers; modern tree ring data generally confirm those suspicions.
There are, too, other considerations that have arisen in archaeological and anthropological studies over the last couple of decades, particularly in re the disappearance of the Anasazi. These new theses involve emergent evidences of an apparently severe and divisive religious ‘crisis’ of some sort alongside an obvious infestation of internecine conflicts between different subgroups, with ensuing cultural demise brought to logical conclusion by the encroachment of severe drought. The archaeological and anthropological evidence is, of course, scant and largely speculative; the evidence of a severe drought and its likely impact remains a far more unchallengeable reality.
What tweaks the imagination is the reality that today, we here in the US (along with peoples of other countries throughout humankind’s emergent global society) are on the apparent leading edge of extreme anthropogenic global warming and its consequent climate changes that predict not only severe droughts and untenable temperature elevations, but also profoundly destructive storms as well. In addition, the US finds itself confronted by divisive local and global religious conflicts, intermingled with malignant cultural subgroups including such bizarre “cults” as the National Rifle Association in league with gun manufacturers and sellers as well as with innumerable and heavily armed individuals and deviant “militias” (none of which are EVER ‘well regulated’). Add to that our myriad numbers of absurdly severe political AND religious extremist and/or racist entities and suddenly the problem becomes clear — obvious, in fact, to the point where, after one reflects on historical precedents, the question: what could possibly go wrong? answers itself in a single word: everything!
The Hopi, descendants of at least the Sinagua and perhaps also the Hisat’sinom (Anasazi), have a word that essentially describes the human predicament, both ancient and modern: Koyaanisqatsi. According to the Hopi Dictionary: Hopìikwa Lavàytutuveni, Koyaanisqatsi means “life of moral corruption and turmoil” or “life out of balance”.
[NOTE: Koyaanisqatsi is also the title of a 1983 film (a Francis Ford Coppola Production) which is presented in 'mystical' fashion as . . .
time-lapse photography, often shown in hyperspeed, and shot primarily in the desert of the Southwest and New York City, (and) shows the contrast between the pace of the natural world and the one that man has made.
It does, indeed, point toward the 'life out of balance' and 'life of moral corruption and turmoil' memes which are so frighteningly commonplace in today's USA. It's available on DVD, and well worth a watch.]
The modern Hopi people are, meanwhile, derivative of ancient culture(s). They are a people who trace their roots back, via their thesis of origins, to the emergence, at Sipapu in the Grand Canyon, of Human from the Third World of the creation into this, the Fourth World. The Hopi also believe that, by way of antecedent wanderings and explorations of North, Central, and South America, from Atlantic to Pacific and from Arctic tundra to the very tip of South America itself, the paths of the ancient nomads finally converged and crossed at the point where their three great mesas tower above the surrounding desert plains. The Hopi understand themselves to be descendants of these first inhabitants of the Americas. They remain a peaceful people, deeply religious Keepers of the Earth who believe that their progress on life’s road derives from the unspoken observation of life’s laws. Their village of Oraibi, on Third Mesa, is the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in what is, today, the United States. The Hopi people and their culture have withstood the onslaught of at least three tiers of invaders — Navajo, Spaniard, and American — and yet their culture remains intact and faithful to its beliefs, and to practices which are rooted in an antiquity few others can or will ever even attempt to comprehend.
Perhaps it would be wise for modern societies to, for once, listen to and heed the precepts of ancient wisdom, to consider the potential consequences of Koyaanisqatsi in this modern era, perhaps even to attempt correction of those cultural practices (and foibles) which can — and have — provoked the demise of otherwise advanced civilizations. But I’ll not hold my breath in anticipation.
This is today’s open thread . . . speak up, and enjoy!
Today’s thread provides a look at some recent activity from the NRA’s website, along with some background and statistical information from the ATF’s website, plus a few other odds and ends.
From the NRA’s website:
January 16, 2013
NRA RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA’S GUN CONTROL PROPOSALS
Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.
The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset — our children.
Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.
- and -
January 10, 2013
STATEMENT FROM THE NRA
The National Rifle Association of America is made up of over 4 million moms and dads, daughters and sons, who are involved in the national conversation about how to prevent a tragedy like Newtown from ever happening again. We attended today’s White House meeting to discuss how to keep our children safe and were prepared to have a meaningful conversation about school safety, mental health issues, the marketing of violence to our kids and the collapse of federal prosecutions of violent criminals.
We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be “prejudged,” this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans. It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.
Back in December, the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) – self-described as “The Lobbying Arm of the NRA” – commented on Senator Diane Feinstein’s draft for proposed new gun legislation. And on January 4th, the NRA-ILA began to gin up fear over proposed House gun control bills.
From the ATF (which the NRA refers to as the BATFE, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), here’s a brief history of the National Firearms Act. The ATF website also includes information regarding Firearms Trace data (“state-by-state reports utilizing trace data which is intended to provide the public with insight into firearms recoveries”) as well as graphs and links for “Number of NFA Firearms Processed by Fiscal Year” Take a look at the jump in the numbers of “firearms processed” in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012, when the NRA, in the person of Wayne LaPierre, was strongly pushing the “Obama’s going to take your guns away” meme. The website also provides a list (including photos and descriptions) of firearms which are covered under the National Firearms Act and subsequent additional gun control legislation.
Let’s go back to the NRA again. Here’s a brief introductory excerpt from a fascinating Alternet article by Steven Rosenfeld entitled “The Surprising Unknown History of the NRA”:
“For nearly a century after, its founding in 1871, the National Rifle Association was among America’s foremost pro-gun control organizations. It was not until 1977 when the NRA that Americans know today emerged, after libertarians who equated owning a gun with the epitome of freedom and fomented widespread distrust against government—if not armed insurrection—emerged after staging a hostile leadership coup.
In the years since, an NRA that once encouraged better markmanship and reasonable gun control laws gave way to an advocacy organization and political force that saw more guns as the answer to society’s worst violence, whether arming commercial airline pilots after 9/11 or teachers after the Newtown, while opposing new restrictions on gun usage.
It is hard to believe that the NRA was committed to gun-control laws for most of the 20th century—helping to write most of the federal laws restricting gun use until the 1980s.”
The NRA claims to have over four million members, a number disputed in this article from motherjones.com. There have also been claims made by the NRA that, since the Newtown tragedy, the NRA is gaining 8000 new members a day, supposedly over 100,000 total. However, when I tried to find more information to back up these claims, all I found were links to Fox News, Breitbart, and to some site called “The Daily News Report” (no relation to the NY Daily News.) And since this Daily News Report article contains the sentence “Unlike many who are using the school shooting as a political club, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been staying quiet out of respect for the Newtown victims“, I think we can safely dismiss this ‘report.’ BTW, tomorrow night, FoxNews will be presenting “Hannity Special: Inside the Gun Debate, featuring Wayne LaPierre.” I wonder if they’ll have any of the parents from Newtown on for this “fair and balanced” Hannity “Special.”
And lastly, also from motherjones.com, here’s Frank Smyth’s article “Unmasking the NRA’s Inner Circle”, as discussed last night on Lawrence O’Donnell’s Last Word.
This is our open thread…better put your reading glasses on!
Yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address, covering topics ranging from education to housing to green energy initiatives, women’s issues, and, of course, the topic du jour, gun control. New York State already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country; Governor Cuomo is now calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with other measures, in response to recent tragic shootings in Connecticut and in upstate New York. The Governor is working with State lawmakers to hammer out new legislation, and is hoping to reach an agreement with them by the end of this week.
The complete outline of Governor Cuomo’s forward-looking proposals, which also include a minimum wage hike and decriminalization of “open possession” of less than 15 grams of marijuana (woo-hoo!), can be reviewed here.
Although the comments following articles regarding the Governor’s proposals regarding gun control are much the same blustering rants as those on way too many sites, i.e.: American citizens misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment to justify that they need their guns to protect against a tyrannical government, or for personal protection of self, home, family; the “government” is coming to take their guns, basically from their cold dead hands; cars, hammers, knives, you name it, all kill more people than guns; and (the most laughable) that “people are leaving New York in droves”; I am proud to be a New Yorker, and glad that Governor Cuomo is starting to act (not just sound) more like his father than I had expected.
As I said in a previous thread, many of us here at The Zoo have, sadly, suffered the loss of loved ones this year. Those personal losses will never make any of the lists of famous or otherwise notable people who died this year, regardless of how important or life-altering our own losses have been to us.
However, 2012 has been a year during which many people have been lost who have also affected our lives, whether in minor ways or more deeply. Actors and other entertainers and celebrities – Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Phyllis Diller, Richard Dawson, Marvin Hamlisch, Ravi Shankar, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury, to name a few – have been part of our lives as well, and their passing brings back many memories. Several people who had more significant impact on our nation as well as individually have also quit this mortal coil, such as Helen Gurley Brown, Rodney King, George McGovern, Arlen Spector, astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong. Ranker.com provides a list of 90+ such individuals in various fields. (Note: a couple of the people on this list are duplicated.)
Cracked.com has also compiled a list of “Where Aren’t They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2012″ and, while one or two are listed at the link above, most are not, and are not necessarily household names. But many things that we take for granted today are, at least in some part, due to the contributions of these lesser-known individuals.
One name that is not on either list is the actor William Windom, who was one of my favorite actors since I was a child. Is there anyone else that you can think of who is missing from both lists?
This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?
Since I apparently did not inherit my parents’ excellent habits of saving money and planning for the future, my own idea of a comfortable retirement depends, for the most part, on winning big in the lottery. Yes, I have a 401K plan which, when I finally pay back the loans I’ve taken out against it, might (with care) get me through two years of retirement. So it looks like I’ll have to keep working until I either go blind from staring at a computer all day (too bad my health insurance doesn’t cover eyeglasses), or until I hit the big one. Medicare and Social Security had better be alive and well when I’m finally forced to retire!
This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss any topic you’d like!
Since Faux Noose is doing its annual “War on Christmas” blamefest, I thought that looking at the lighter side of this epic battle would be more fun:
In this clip, Jon Stewart once again battles the Faux outrage over “War on Christmas” (I apologize, I couldn’t manage to embed it, so you’re stuck with the 30-second commercial prelude.)
Personally, I’ve always felt that this South Park clip explains who “took Christ out of Christmas” – it’s all Santa’s fault:
And of course, there’s this hilarious Jesus and Santa duet.
Seeing all of the commercials for “the perfect gift” that most of us can’t afford to buy (who the fuck gives someone a car for Christmas?), I also blame good old Capitalism for helping to destroy the “true meaning of Christmas.” So I’m blaming Santa and Capitalism for making Christmas what it is today: an insane challenge to get exactly the right present for the lowest price, even if one has to elbow a few fellow shoppers out of the way to do so. For those of us who are stressed out over Christmas/holiday preparations, I hope this lightens your mood.
This is our daily open thread — How’s your Christmas spirit holding up?
When one thinks about Thanksgiving, what image is the first conjured up in one’s mind? Obviously, Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting, which we think of nostalgically as a representation of Americana from almost-bygone times. But in an article from this morning’s Berkshire Eagle, writer Chris Newbound says:
“Norman Rockwell characterized his own work as an idealized version of American life. He and others would often say that his images represented the way he wanted life to be, not necessarily the way life was.”
Mr. Newbound goes on to describe the “Thanksgiving” painting:
“The “Freedom of Want” painting was originally part of a quartet of works inspired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech (his State of the Union address) in January 1941. This particular painting is the Paul McCartney of the group: the sunniest, and arguably the most popular of the foursome. The other three works — “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of Fear” and “Freedom to Worship” — are decidedly more somber, more Lennon than McCartney.”
With the way that Republicans have talked about “taking our country back” one would think that the “Four Freedoms” as embodied in Rockwell’s paintings would be etched on a plank of the Republican’s platform. But that would require agreeing that every American has a right to “Freedom from Want” and “Freedom from Fear”, which we liberals believe in. In conservative lexicon, “Freedom” simply means “you’re on your own”, leaving those Four Freedoms “Ours To Fight For.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all Critters and Zoosters, great and small.
This is our Open Thread. What’s everyone up to today?
Photo by Zooey
For the first time in five years, I’m not spending Thanksgiving week at the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Right now, I’m supposed to be sitting in the parlor on the third floor in front of a crackling fire, reading my book, and waiting for the hot spiced wine to arrive.
But because a job remains elusive, it was not to be this year. I’m listening to the wind howl outside my window, trying to pretend it’s a storm at the beach.
So instead, I’m planning a low budget Thanksgiving dinner with Zoo Jr — he’s bringing the turkey — and am truly thankful that my son and I will have the whole weekend to hang out together.
This is our daily open thread — What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
The double standards that exist in this country in regard to President Obama — and really, other people of color — is just crazy-making. David Sirota has an article out pointing out just five examples, but there are SO many more. Read his whole article at the link above.
1. Joe Biden Is almost never called a socialist or a Marxist.
I know, right! I don’t remember any president in my lifetime being called “socialist.” Joe Biden is on the ticket with the President, but people aren’t railing against him as a socialist.
Despite a Senate voting record and presidential policymaking record that align him with moderate Republicans from a mere decade ago, Obama is regularly derided as a socialist, a communist or a Marxist. By contrast, Obama’s own white running mate, Joe Biden, has as liberal — or at times even more liberal — a voting record as Obama, but (save for the occasional Newt Gingrich outburst) is almost never referred to in such inflammatory terms.
2. Romneycare is Obamacare, yet the latter is criticized.
It’s all fun and games until the black guy does it. Then we’re dooooooomed!
Nonetheless, under the first African-American president, the very same healthcare model the GOP championed is now being held up by the GOP as a redistributionist boondoggle.
3. A white president would never be criticized for these statements about Trayvon Martin.
After the incident, Obama said “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together.”
How dare the President speak compassionate words after a tragedy? And who does he think he is, saying anything about any possible investigation?
4. America would neither ignore nor laugh off a young black male relative of Obama publicly fantasizing about violence against a presidential candidate.
Oh my god, Fox would never talk about another topic. EVER. The nerve!
As I reported last week, Romney’s son, Tagg Romney, cheerily riffed on his fantasies about committing an act of violence against a sitting president of the United States…if a young black male relative of Obama went on a radio show and publicly said he wanted to “jump out of your seat (and) rush down to the stage and take a swing” at Mitt Romney” — it would be an instant national outrage, replete with headlines about an imminent race war and Romney’s desperate need for beefed-up personal security.
5. If one of Obama’s teenage daughters was unmarried and pregnant, it wouldn’t be considered a “private” matter.
Oh wait, Fox would stop talking about an Obama male relative wanting to take a swing at Romney for this. Ohhhh, just imagine the glee with which they would throw around terms like “ho,” “baby daddy,” and “welfare queen wannabe.”
When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket in 2008, Bristol Palin’s pregnancy did not initiate a national discussion about the issue of teen pregnancy, unprotected sex or promiscuous fornication outside of wedlock. Instead, conservative leaders insisted it was off-limits as a topic…
Of course, the Obamas, knowing that this hypothetical daughter was pregnant, would never have exposed her to such treatment, because they would have politely declined a VP offer — because they have class — and because they don’t have access to white privilege.
There is a shameful ugliness in this country. Electing Barack Obama as President in 2008 didn’t cause it, but it sure brought the racism many Americans had hidden so well — even from themselves — to the surface. I, for one, am no longer willing to simply be embarrassed for these people, while saying nothing. I will look them in the eye and say, “I don’t know if you’re a racist, but what you just said was a racist/bigoted statement.” I’ll be willing to discuss why something is racist or bigoted, and how that sort of thing divides us as a country and as human beings, but I will not hang around for blustering denials or counter-accusations of racism — no matter who I’m speaking to. I will simply walk away, because I won’t have that sort of person in my life — no matter who they are.
The hate is not going away because we laugh at their ignorance and their stupid signs, but enough of us eject that sort of person from our families and circles of friends, it might have an effect. Enlightened ones are always welcome back.
This is our daily open thread — yeah, I haz a rant.
The attempt to inject religion and religious belief/practice into high level politics in the United States stepped forward in earnest in January, 2001, on the day of George W. Bush’s first inauguration as president. He brought with him his own brand of what was, in effect, the sort of ‘Christian’ fundamentalist-evangelicalism which has found a home in certain parts of the country, particularly amongst the uneducated and easily frightened manipulable masses (“conservatives” in modern political parlance). The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency in 2008 served to substantially reduce the contribution(s) of the Oval Office to what many seem to hope is a burgeoning American theocracy, but certainly did not quash the program or the agenda which underlies. As we speak, the Romney-Ryan ticket stands in support of numerous theocratic preferences, and if elected would certainly and immediately set out to formally institute the highest among them, i.e. the complete and total imposition of fundamentalist “Christian” policies in re human reproduction, specifically in the areas of contraception and abortion, with intent to outlaw both on the fragmented thesis that life begins at conception, that the fertilized egg is a ‘person’ with all attendant rights implied. No exceptions. Not even rape. As US Senate candidate from Indiana, Republican Richard Mourdock stated in a political debate on October 23, 2012), “I believe that life begins at conception. . . . Life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Former Senator and presidential primary candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) also noted, on January 20, 2012, that “The right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless . . . gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you.”
God. Religion. Politics. Since January of 2010 in the US House of Representatives alone, there have been thirty votes on measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose. And that amazing statistic represents, without any doubt, no more than the tip of the emergent theocratic iceberg desired by so many to be established as a defining national thesis.
Supporters willingly ignore the fact that the first amendment to the US Constitution begins with these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” There are those in seats of immense power today who, as we speak, refuse to accept the premise that this is NOT a nation founded or based upon any belief or even any recognition of any deity of any kind, that the concept called freedom OF religion also includes the guaranteed right to freedom FROM religion. Nevertheless, their eternal goal remains singular: to see that obedience to the precepts of fundamentalist and evangelical ‘Christianity’ is forced upon everyone in the country, no exceptions.They seem to not realize or care that the words ‘God’ and ‘Christ’ do NOT appear anywhere in the Constitution, and that the words ‘religion’ and ‘religious’ each appear only once: ‘religion’ as noted above, and ‘religious’ in Article VI, Clause 3, the clause which includes the line “. . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
George W. Bush was among the first who brought the insertion of fundamentalist Christianity into seats of national power to the forefront, and to this day the theocratic movement persists and is, in many ways, even increasing in strength. Their hope, of course, is to impose their brand of ‘Christian’ theocracy upon the nation as a whole, and in so doing to achieve full power of the state in all matters. The predictable consequence of national collapse does not seem to enter into their vision, or their calculations.
Following is a brief analysis (April, 2005) of the matter as evidenced by some events which occurred during the first half of W. Bush’s presidency. The devil is, as they say, in the details.
“We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” ~George Orwell
In George Bush’s “Americuh,” not all is as others would have you believe. In fact, the reality of George Bush’s Americuh is roughly the opposite: virtually NOTHING is as others would have you believe. And unfortunately for those who would prefer to immerse themselves into the honorable and loving side of Christian mythology, today’s best advice would be to repeat that old admonition: don’t believe anything you hear and most of what you see – something like that. Emily Dickinson wrote:
Finding is the first Act
The second, loss,
Third, Expedition for
The “Golden Fleece”
Fourth, no Discovery –
Fifth, no Crew –
Finally, no Golden Fleece –
Jason – sham – too.
Sham: “Something false or empty that is purported to be genuine; a spurious imitation; The quality of deceitfulness; empty pretense.”
It’s hard to figure who is really using who, here. Are the Republicans using the Christian right for electoral purposes? Yes. Is the Christian right using the Republican party to advance its own theocratic agenda? Yes. Next question: are the Republican politicians who love to speak of God and of Jesus really all that devout? And, too, are the leaders of the Christian right (e.g. Falwell, Robertson, Graham, etc.) really all that “Christian” – in the biblical sense? In a word, NO! In four words, You’ve gotta be kidding! Continue reading
Society’s obligations to itself — education and the protection of its people in and by social safety nets — have been under “conservative” attack for about as long as there have been “conservatives” embedded in the power structure. Interesting that today we call it (the politic) “conservatism” when historians still refer to the near-identical policy/philosophy as Feudalism. Still, by whichever name, ‘it’ continues its creep, its infestation, in human cultures around the globe, including here in the US.
The “creep” picked up speed following the presidential selection of George W. Bush in December, 2000. During his first four years, the tools of suppression were stealthily put into place, and there they remain to this day. And as bizarre as suppression/privatization of education might seem; as backward and ‘feudal’ as destruction of the social safety net might be; the current “conservative” candidate for president, Mitt Romney, campaigns on doing exactly that (well, at least sometimes he so indicates, although he quite often changes his stated “position” within any given hour).
In any case, below is an early 2005 review of Bush social policies and their probable/potential (intended?) impact. If it all sounds hard to believe, Mitt Romney can surely clarify. Probably he has, actually.
“The [government] must put the most modern medical means in the service of this knowledge…. Those who are physically and mentally unhealthy and unworthy must not perpetuate their suffering in the body of their children…. The prevention of the faculty and opportunity to procreate on the part of the physically degenerate and mentally sick, over a period of only 600 years, would … free humanity from an immeasurable misfortune.” ~Adolph Hitler
Government involvement in social issues is, in any nation which wishes to consider itself ‘progressive’ in human matters, both mandatory and desired – not because of any sort of formulaic reasoning but rather because history suggests that when humans are left alone with no egalitarian instinct or mandate, tyrants soon assume control and ‘the People’ are relegated to positions of servitude. Free people are not the analog of a swarm of worker bees or drones charged with service to the queen, nor are they the equivalent of an army of ants marching in a straight line carrying burdens from here to there. Free people are, rather, each and all intended to live their lives as they see fit, to follow their instincts, to become playwrights or auto mechanics, molecular biologists or bakers, or anything else which tweaks their imaginations, their creativity (save for criminality, of course).
The heart and soul of social freedom is education, for without education there can be no reading, no writing, and little if any of the communications which cross-fertilize and nurture the various processes of creativity. Without reading and writing, a complex society will soon find itself devoid of any deep-seated knowledge of science, mathematics, the arts, of philosophy or of history. Education is critical and foundational to both comprehension and to the creative thinking which allows societies to nurture, to grow, and to mature into productive and benevolent cultures. Across the last two millennia, Western civilization (so-called) emerged from imperial tyrannies only to wallow through a religion-enforced (and demanded) Dark Age. After a few centuries the light of a Renaissance, an intellectual rebirth, beckoned, and soon thereafter the arts and sciences prospered, as did intellectualism. And too, there came an age of global exploration where the earth was mapped, where new continents were discovered along with indigenous peoples who, during the time the Great Darkness had enveloped Europe, possessed knowledge and daring that some still find to this day difficult to believe, to accept. Continue reading
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana.
In 1818, the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear –
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’
Ozymandias was a fictional character, but even Shelley’s fourteen line sonnet provides a compelling “historical” tale of the rediscovered visage of a fallen leader in a fallen land, and reminds the reader of the truth in Santayana’s observation. For me, the combination brings to mind the current American political season along with the (far too oft-repeated) myth of American Exceptionalism which, when examined through history’s unbiased eye falls on extremely hard times. In that vein, I offer a (somewhat lengthy) perspective, one based on truth and historical reality rather than on popular mythology. Does one dare to hope that we as a nation might catch on before it’s too late? I can only suggest that based on current signs, optimism is tricky at best. Still, it can’t hurt to try. Right? Following is an admittedly narrow — but historical — preview of tomorrow’s American interregnum, a reflection on the potential consequences of our emergent period of diffuse groping and political stumbling.
For at least a thousand years prior to the early sixteenth century European invasion of the Americas, intellectually-advanced aboriginal populations were leaving their indelible marks on human culture and knowledge. Whether Inca, Maya, Aztec, Hohokam, Salado, Mogollon, Sinagua, Anasazi, Iroquois – to name but a few – their cultural remnants persist in ways which both puzzle and enlighten those of us whose ancestry is far less remembered, far less culturally profound. The Iroquois Nation has been called ‘the oldest participatory democracy on Earth’, and there are more than casual evidences that ideas contained in the Iroquois Gayanashagowa, their ‘Great Binding Law’, were incorporated into the Constitution of the United States by America’s founding fathers. Few argue the immensity or accomplishment of, e.g., the Mayan culture, and we can only speculate about what might have been lost when the Spanish Padre Diego de Landa saw to the destruction of countless ancient Maya texts, codices and documents on the basis that they were ‘heathen’ works. That the great pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas were highly advanced in astronomical observation – far moreso than their European contemporaries who were barely escaped from their own religious Dark Ages – is seldom questioned. And yet, the first order of business of the invaders was to destroy, plunder, and pillage – and, of course, ‘save’ the heathen by converting them to whichever version of Christianity they brought with them.
In the American Southwest, the Great Cultures escaped the wrath of the invaders, they had already disappeared a hundred or more years prior to Columbus’s “discovery”; their descendants remained, however, and faced the original onslaughts of both soldier and priest. The Hopi, Zuni, and Pima all suffered at the hands of the Spanish military and religious cadres, as did the relative newcomer (Athapascan) Navajo and Apache peoples. Overall, the scenario covering the nearly 700 years from 1200 C.E. to Geronimo’s surrender in 1886 (which heralded the cessation of the Indian Wars in the Southwest) reflected a period of immense change for indigenous peoples, though the change was not of singular cause.
The younger Anasazi cliff dwellings in northern Arizona – known today by the Navajo names Betatakin and Keet Seel – were constructed in the early- to mid-1200s and were abandoned about 1300, probably due to the protracted drought which began circa 1276 but which apparently built upon accumulated effects of a fifty year drought that desiccated the landscape between 1130 and 1180. Drought in arid lands, even when brief, imposes a severe impact on local populations – an obvious proposition, but one which is all too easily ignored or dismissed until it’s too late; a lengthy drought must invariably prove fatal.
When the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado rode north in 1540 in search of the rumored Seven Cities of Cibola, he first encountered the Zuni villages in present day New Mexico. After looting, raping, pillaging, and plundering the Zuni, Coronado’s representatives located the Hopi village of Awatovi in Arizona, and eventually met with Hopi representatives in Oraibi. There were no obvious riches there, however, so contact was intermittent until 1598 when Juan de Oñate arrived and arranged that the Hopi formally agree to become subjects of the King of Spain. In 1629 the Franciscan Missionaries arrived and began the task of converting the Hopi to Christianity, a task which, to this day, has never been accomplished; the Hopi were (and have remained) strong enough in their own beliefs to resist the calling of the white man’s God, to resist participation in what the Hopi came to refer to as the “slave church.”
In 1680, the proud descendants of the Anasazi – Hopi, Zuni, the Taos pueblo, et. al. – came together in revolt against the ruthless Spaniards, the Castillas. Every pueblo in the region revolted, and by the time it was all over some 500 Spaniards were dead, including 29 missionaries; churches, along with government and church records, were destroyed, and the remaining Spaniards fled to safety in Mexico. By the spring of 1700, however, the Spanish priests had returned and managed to baptize 73 residents of Awatovi. Not long thereafter, the other Hopi villages banded together, attacked Awatovi, killed its residents, destroyed the village, and purged themselves once and for all of the “slave church”; Awatovi remains in ruin to this day.
Meanwhile, far to the south, Spanish Jesuit missionaries were busy establishing visitas and building churches in Mexico’s Pimeria alta, the land of the upper Pimas, now southern Arizona. The Pimas were hunter-gatherers who some believe to have been descendants of the once grand Hohokam civilization which a few hundred years earlier had prospered along present day Arizona’s Gila and Salt rivers. The Hohokam were accomplished farmers and builders of extensive irrigation canal networks in the desert valleys adjacent to the perennially-flowing rivers. Though no one knows for certain, it’s thought that it may have been a consequence of too much water rather than drought which finally forced the Hohokam to move on. The Salt River Valley demonstrated the problem to early anglo farmers when, by virtue of the free-flowing river and irrigation of peripheral acreage, the subsurface water table rose high enough to force salt to the surface which killed the crops (high water tables are no longer a problem – ground water pumping has drastically lowered them, sometimes to depths which have cause substantial land subsidence). Similarly, before the Salt and Gila Rivers were controlled by upstream dams, flash floods in periodic wet years often inundated their adjacent flood plains which have long been considered to be choice and easily irrigatable farmland.
Given the strange hydrological proclivities and paradoxical precipitation deviations of the northern Sonoran Desert, it becomes almost as simple a task to propose, as reason for the disappearance of the Hohokam, too much water as it does to propose drought. Perhaps we’ll never know for sure. In any case, what is certain is that the Hohokam, the Anasazi and all other advanced pre-Columbian civilizations once indigenous to the present day American Southwest disappeared, each and all within the same approximate time frame. The artifacts and ruins each culture left behind are compelling to archaeologist and historian alike, and most surely speak of peoples who understood that their position in the natural world was neither greater nor lesser than that of any other life form, that they, too, were simply a strand in Nature’s web of life. These were intellectual peoples who were well-advanced in a great many ways, ways which the white invaders, themselves recent refugees of a multi-century Christian-insisted medieval darkness, would not begin to either appreciate or master for several centuries to come – if, indeed, ever.
Enter now the year 2012 C.E., more than 500 years beyond the ‘discovery’ by Europeans of the Americas; much has changed even as much remains the same. The white race has brought its people, its culture, and its religion to this new world and has superimposed each on top of the peoples, cultures, and religions which were here long ago. The United States has become the world superpower which many seem to believe has long been its due; but in spite of the nation’s power and ‘wealth’, all is not well. North America’s once presumed inexhaustible resources and riches have been slowly exhausted and spent, and Nature seems to have become a bit angered by extractive and polluting practices which are slowly overcoming all efforts, however bold or feeble, thus far expended on means to either preserve, protect, or even restore lands, forests, wetlands, etc. It’s often noted that the U.S.A. contains roughly five percent of the Earth’s total population but is using nearly twenty-five percent of Earth’s resources, all in effort to preserve a ‘standard of living’ which is variously referred to as elevated, prosperous, extravagant, or wasteful.
In post-invasion North America, lines were eventually drawn on maps in order to define the boundaries of Canada, the USA, and Mexico, the three separate nations that today embrace the continent which was historically home to hundreds of separate cultures – Peoples – but with no distinct borders. Among their numbers, those aboriginal cultures ranged from cosmopolitan and intellectually advanced ‘civilizations’ to the more primitive hunter/gatherer tribes, but all shared at least one apparent near-constant philosophical concept: a genuine religious sense of integration with Nature, with the Earth Mother herself. Such a philosophy was in direct contrast with the incoming European Christian idea that man had been granted, by the Judaeo-Christian God, dominion (and, by extension, ownership) of Nature’s entire. The clash was inevitable, and very quickly the lives of Native American tribal nations across the continent were irrevocably altered by the emergence of a capitalistic economy wherein the land, water, animal, and plant resources that historically sustained native cultures became simple commodities in market support of ever-increasing numbers of white Europeans and their descendants. The invaders brought disease, guns, and insurmountable numbers; with ultimate victory ensured, they signed treaty after treaty with the tribal nations, and forthwith broke treaty after treaty, always in selfish pursuit of riches the lands offered.
By the mid-twentieth Century, the remnant populations of nearly all aboriginal North Americans were confined to reservations (‘reservation’ now synonymous with lands the newly-emplaced ‘Dominant Culture’ presumed to be valueless for either habitation or resource exploitation), many of which remained bastions of human poverty and hopelessness within a nation that had, by the mid-twentieth century, come to be defined by its now white majority as “… one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” The words rang hollow to the victims of the fledgling superpower’s presumed and so-called “Manifest Destiny” even as the reservation residents were force-fed the white man’s culture and religion, even as the now Dominant Culture did its best to erase or destroy all vestiges of native culture, mythology, legend, and belief.
Nevertheless and despite myriad local indiscretionary behaviors, America initiated, in the latter half of the twentieth century, a ponderous progression in the direction of human rights for minority peoples. The 1964 Civil Rights Act demanded equal treatment under the law regardless of skin color, or gender, or national origin (for some, a series of radical concepts both then and now); but never has there been an effort to reverse the rescinded treaty obligations with aboriginal tribal nations, all of whom were forced, post-conquest, to make do with what little was left to them. In spite of the attendant hardship, many tribal nations have finally found ways and means to enrich their financial coffers by offering both services and resources which satisfy Dominant Culture’s consumption urges: whether via gambling casinos or oil, gas, and coal leases, tribal nations have learned to take advantage of the mega-society’s inbred gluttony and greed. In result, there finally are accumulating tribal financial resources which may, eventually, relieve at least some of the poverty and the intellectual starvation which has been the result of long-term and enforced privation.
Today, America’s facade is that of a world superpower, an advocate of democracy and freedom for all people everywhere, a facade which represents the presumed envy of all who covet personal and societal wealth and prosperity. But there remains a firm, albeit well-concealed, hollowness implicit in those claims. As with an old storefront sporting new siding and fresh paint in the midst of an otherwise deteriorating mining town, a glittering facade can easily mask rusted plumbing and crumbling foundations in the basement, dry rot in the walls and rafters, plus aid the concealment of a healthy population of roof rats in the upstairs clerestories, maybe even an infestation that covers the entire top floor. Unfortunately – and sadly – it doesn’t take much creative thought to apply that entire metaphor to present day America, circa 2012 C.E.
There are curious undercurrents in today’s America, undercurrents that far too many deem to consider the norm, but which are, without a doubt, serious harbingers of unpleasantries that lurk just over yon hill. The undercurrents arrived with the European invaders in the early years of the sixteenth century, and have since come to be seen as noble traits, but sans the traditionally attendant noblesse oblige, those well-understood obligations of nobility.
When, in 1519 Hernán Cortés and his Spanish Conquistadores arrived in Mexico, he was welcomed by the Aztec leader Moctezuma in Tenochtitlán as Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec version of the bearded white god who was commonly a part of the mythology throughout pre-Columbian America. Cortés soon betrayed Moctezuma’s hospitality, however, as he laid siege to Tenochtitlán; by 1533, with Cortés’s victory complete, all of Mexico was claimed by the Spanish Crown. Of course, Cortés was not by any measure a god, he was simply a warrior in search of gold and its power implicit. He was also a sworn agent of The Great (Christian) Commission to “make disciples of all nations”, to Christianize the heathen savages which populated the entire of the North American continent. Cortés was not alone in either mission; virtually all contingents of European immigrants brought approximately the same agenda to serve upon all who inhabited the New World, and over the next several centuries, European immigrant colonists arrived with regularity and in sufficient numbers to alter forever both the natural and cultural face of the continent.
In 1756, John Adams wrote that when European colonists first arrived in America, “… the whole continent was one continued dismal wilderness, the haunt of wolves and bears and more savage men. Now the forests are removed, the land covered with fields of corn, orchards bending with fruit and the magnificent habitations of rational and civilized people.” Those same “rational and civilized people” and their descendants soon spread across that continent, from ‘sea to shining sea’. As they did so, they presumed to conquer the “dismal wilderness” by, in effect, exterminating all of the “wolves and [grizzly] bears” and by killing/exterminating all of the “savage men” – and women, and children – who got in their way (some might consider the word genocide to be an adequate descriptor of that gruesome reality) . They staked claim to the land and its resources as they went along, and in the process destroyed natural assets which had supported tribal nations for untold centuries. The buffalo population on the Great Plains, for example – long the principal sustenance of the Plains Indians – was reduced from approximately fifteen million to only a few thousand – in less than ten years. Why? For sport, and/or for the buffalo’s tongue and robe which each brought a few dollars on the open market. That slaughter is perhaps one of the most revealing records of colonial atrocity available, and serves to describe, both then and today, the mores and values – or lack thereof – of America’s emergent and now Dominant Culture.
With (and during) the conquest of the continent, Nature was set aside. In the process, a great many species became extinct (the passenger pigeon and prairie chicken are oft-cited two of many), and hundreds, perhaps thousands more, are ever-increasingly endangered; wild lands have been tamed, rivers dammed, forests logged and clear-cut; vast prairies have been converted to farmlands or paved over as cities; waters are polluted or contaminated with common industrial waste products and with esoteric (often indestructible) man made chemicals; air pollution over large cities has become legendary, and extractable resources which once seemed inexhaustible have been exhausted, or nearly so. Meanwhile, underground aquifers are drying up even as golf courses are watered daily; widespread use and aerosolized discharge of chlorofluorocarbons has resulted in a huge ‘hole’ in the earth’s protective ozone layer over the south pole, and though efforts have been made to reduce the release of ozone-destroying chemicals, the reality is that it will take Nature a hundred or more years to reverse the damage already done; carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are both causing and exacerbating a global warming trend to the point where the polar ice caps are melting and the ocean levels are slowly rising. There is, quite literally, no end to the list of problems the Dominant Culture is bringing down upon itself, and for what good reason?
Wealth, of course. Wealth as defined by money, by dollars. Wealth equates, to the simplistically minded, with power; power – dominion – is primal to any sense of accomplishment in the Dominant Culture, and in the Dominant Culture, dominion is considered to have been granted to Human by none other than God Himself – the Judaeo/Christian/Islamic God, that is. Dominion approves and enables the generation of wealth; generation of wealth requires consumption, which requires production, which requires extraction of resource. Consumption is, therefore and by definition, fundamental: the more consumption, the more wealth for some, the better for all. Waste, trash, garbage, litter, end products of production or discarded products themselves are all inexorably tied to consumption – which yields wealth, which IS power. Therefore, waste is never contraindicated and resources ARE there to be used, not conserved.
Hernán Cortés brought the wealth/power/dominion equivalence with him from Spain and put it to good use in his conquest of Tenochtitlán. In the subsequent Spanish explorations, conquests, and Christian missionary forays into what is now the American Southwest, others carried the banners with equivalent zeal. Today, in both New Mexico and Arizona are many remnants of the Spanish period including place names, architecture styles, and mission churches either still active, or in ruins. But here the Spanish, too – and their religious converts – were ultimately overwhelmed by America’s Manifest Destiny and have, as such, become parcel of and subservient to the Dominant Culture.
As I write this, the American Southwest — the historical venue of those advanced civilizations we refer to today as Hohokam, Sinagua, Salado, Mogollon, and Anasazi — is at least fifteen years into an ever more severe drought, and no end is in sight. Scientists have suggested it could last anywhere from twenty or thirty years to even a thousand years or more. And though it’s quite likely that a thousand years is a bit of an extreme guess, in practical terms it really won’t make much difference if the lower range of twenty to thirty years proves accurate. Fifty-odd years ago, for example, the state of Arizona’s human population was barely over a million; today it’s well on its way to topping six million. Phoenix, its capital city, has grown to become the fifth largest city in the United States, and even though more than half of Arizona’s current population lives in the greater Phoenix metro area, the pressures of supporting such a huge metroplex are spread across much of the rest of the state, the Southwest itself, and especially the watersheds west of the Great Divide in Colorado. Note the word: watersheds.
Water. Water is the key, the ancient key, to arid land civilization. Water. Today, Lake Powell, the upper reservoir on the Colorado River formed behind Glen Canyon dam, has more than once shrunk to less than forty percent of capacity, low enough to force reductions in hydro-power generation, low enough to severely restrict recreational boating on the lake itself because of high and dry marinas, and low enough to expose ancient ruins which have been underwater since the floodgates on the dam were first closed in the middle 1960s. Spring runoff from snow melt in the Colorado Rockies has been reduced for the majority of the last fifteen years because of drought. Downstream, Lake Mead’s level will slowly shrink as well, more rapidly once releases from Powell either slow to a trickle (or cease completely if/when the lake should completely dry up and become nought but a reminder of better times and wetter climes). The so-called Lower Basin States (Nevada, Arizona, and California) are strongly dependent upon water allocations from the Colorado River; however, when crunch time arrives, Arizona is, by virtue of the Colorado River Compact, the first loser – California is legally entitled to preferential treatment and will be the last to suffer from shortages.
One wonders if the current situation isn’t somehow similar to that which arose in the thirteenth century, when drought apparently finalized the fate of the Anasazi. If the current drought persists “only” as long as the Anasazi’s final drought (24 years, from 1276-1300 C.E., based on tree ring data), will Phoenix and other desert population centers find the means to survive? Was it ever a wise choice to construct cities which are home to millions atop arid desert plains?
What of the huge forests which cover much of the West’s higher elevations? In the last decade, millions of acres have burned, the bulk of the fires courtesy of Human’s carelessness with matches, cigarettes, campfires, etc. If forests don’t burn, will their weakened trees further succumb to pine bark beetle infestations which have already claimed millions of trees in just the last few years?
Time will, of course, provide all of the answers. Meanwhile, it seems terribly obvious that Human may do well to reconsider the fundamentals of his presumed dominion over Nature; he might also consider the possibility of seriously evaluating the collective impact of his constant assaults on the natural world, consider restructuring his culture and society in order to be less environmentally intrusive. Perhaps the time has come for Dominant Culture to assume the philosophies of life which guided aboriginal peoples, behavioral concepts which allowed them to prosper, to run free, for however many millennia they existed before the European invasion and conquest called a halt to the idea of living in balance with the Earth.
Much work must be done; dare we hope for leaders wise enough to understand the problems, to take positive action toward equitable solution? If recent history is predictive, the answer is very likely a resounding NO! In November, 1980, C.E., a new tyranny assumed control of America’s destiny, of her future. Across the ensuing years, the emphasis has been singular: to reward political patrons with legal favors which honor corporate America even as they spit upon the common man. Meanwhile, religious fundamentalists – Christians – have gained a new foothold of political power and are using that power to insist the nation take a course which honors class hatred and bigotry. They attempt to subvert science in favor of their own mythology: that hollow, biblical, Creationist agenda which proclaims Human to be of divine origin and therefore unique – and worthy of dominion – amongst and over all of life. The first eight years (at least) of the 21st century bore witness to the mass overturning of environmental progress with new roads in roadless areas, huge increases in timber cutting, relaxation of air and water pollution standards, habitat destruction, and cessation of protections for endangered species. The wave of destruction initiated by, among others, John Adams’s “rational and civilized people,” has returned, but with heightened and renewed energy. The likelihood that Human has finally signed his own warrant has increased proportionateley; Nature has begun to fight back, after all, and Nature will not lose.
Meanwhile, we ponder Human’s arrogance, once again, through the words of the poet Shelley:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear –
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’
Fiction? Historical record? Predictive metaphor? Whichever be the case, it’s at least as thought-provoking as are any of the multitude of Genesis myths which seem to underlie the philosophical imperatives of today’s grossly imperfect Dominant Culture. If it’s indeed true that Ozymandias offers an accurate reflection of the consequences of arrogant leadership, and if the reward for such arrogance is “two trunks of legless stone” with a “shattered visage” lying “half sunk” in the sand, then America’s current leadership has surely been described, the nation’s ultimate fate defined and cast in stone. All should be advised that to find Shelley’s “visage” which sports a “frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command” we need look no further than Washington D.C., and to the person(s) therein ‘in charge’ of this country, “leaders” who are, each and all, completely true to the spirit of Ozymandias himself. Q.E.D.: quod erat demonstrandum.
The times are once again dark and dangerous; there is much work to be done.
President Bill Clinton gave an outstanding speech at the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention (DNC). Early on in his speech, he mentioned the hate that some Republicans, particularly the far right, feel towards President Barack Obama and Democrats.
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
According to Merriam Webster, the definition of hate is:
1: a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing
2: an object of hatred
Thomas Aquinas equates hatred of another person as a sin. You can hate the actions but not the person.
“Consequently it is lawful to hate the sin in one’s brother, and whatever pertains to the defect of Divine justice, but we cannot hate our brother’s nature and grace without sin. Now it is part of our love for our brother that we hate the fault and the lack of good in him, since desire for another’s good is equivalent to hatred of his evil. Consequently the hatred of one’s brother, if we consider it simply, is always sinful.”
This Wiki link offers different perspectives on hate.
My view on hate is that it is like love, a very personal feeling. Hate can easily be directed towards another’s actions or policies. To hate someone as a person involves some type of interaction with that person. With that in mind, the generalized hate that the extremists in the Republican party feel towards Obama is irrational as they have not had a personal interaction with him. It’s illogical to hate a person that you don’t know. Examples:
I don’t hate Paul Ryan. I hate his policies. I don’t hate Republicans. I hate what they want to do to America. I don’t hate the Koch brothers. I hate their greed.
So what is it about President Barack Obama that makes these extremists hate him personally? They never met him so they don’t know him and they don’t mention that they hate his policies. Tea party members and other extremist will say things like, they hate him because he is a socialist or he is a muslim or he is Kenyan etc… . The key word here is “him”. They don’t mention his policies. Instead they focus on Obama personally. Their personal attacks can only be based on prejudice and their hatred for people that look and act different from them and that is why I say that their hatred is based on a black man holding the title of President of the United States.
That’s my opinion and until someone can provide a convincing argument against it, I am sticking with it.
You can thank YahooNews for diverting me from my originally intended post in order to bring you today’s lighter-hearted offering:
“A new poll [conducted by genealogy website findmypast.com] across seven English-speaking countries has chosen Toad Suck, Arkansas, as having the “most unfortunate” town name in the United States:
Toad Suck reportedly takes its name from a once popular drinking location for boaters on the Arkansas River. The toadsuck.org site explains in more detail, “While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: ‘They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.’ Hence, the name Toad Suck.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that maybe “Drunken Boaters”, or some such name, would have made a better choice than Toad Suck. Be that as it may…Toad Suck apparently hosts a celebration in early May called “The Annual Toad Suck Daze Festival“, the proceeds from which go toward scholarships to “…help assist the young people of Faulkner County to further their education,” according to toadsuck.org.
Here’s the top ten “most unfortunate” town names in the U.S., according to the poll:
1. Toad Suck, AR.
2. Climax, GA
3. Boring, OR
4. Hooker, OK
5. Assawoman, MD
6. Belchertown, MA
7. Roachtown, IL
8. Loveladies, NJ
9. Squabbletown, CA
10. Monkey’s Eyebrow, KY
I would have thought that “Intercourse, PA” would have been a strong contender. There was a “Hazardville, CT“, where my aunt lives, but it may have been absorbed as part of Enfield, CT. There’s also an “Oniontown, NY“, about 15 miles north of us up Route 22.
I’ll bet that you far-flung and well-traveled Critters and Zoosters must have run into some “unfortunate” town names in your travels. Got anything to beat Toad Suck?
This is our daily open thread — go ahead, get started!
Happy 100th Birthday to Woody Guthrie on July 14th.
Jerry Sandusky, the former Assistant Football Coach at Penn State University, has been found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse. This is good, as the 68-year-old Sandusky will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, however long that may be. Child molesters are not generally liked by prisoners, and are often the victims of unfortunate accidents, many of them fatal. So why bring this up on a political blog?
Sandusky was caught by another assistant coach, Mike McQueary, raping a boy in 2001! And many people knew about the abuses, including the ones that happened after that 2001 incident, and yet it took more than a decade before any awareness of the severity of his crimes was made public. How could this have taken so long to come out? Why did Penn State feel the greater good would be served by keeping Sandusky’s actions quiet? Is college football so important to American Society that we would allow children to be sexually abused just to protect one school’s football program? Sandusky shouldn’t be the only one facing prison time for his actions. The people who knew about them and did nothing must answer for their inactions.
This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!