The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 4, 2012: Independence Day

Let the Fireworks begin.

They hate us for our freedoms. “They” being anyone who isn’t white, male, and wealthy. Looking back through the lens of time, “white, male and wealthy” described our founding fathers. They were ticked because the monopolies granted by the British Crown hurt their businesses and their opportunities to be even wealthier. Unable to get King George to back off and let the colonies have a bigger share of the economic pie, they convinced the working class that it was time to go to war. They did, and they won. With the help of the French, and we have never forgiven the French for that.

Initially, it was thought that only white males who owned property should be allowed to vote, as they had a greater stake in the new country than those not “propertied.” But these white, male businessmen were also students of the Enlightenment, and felt that the masses could be trusted to vote, provided they were educated. But…just in case the masses got it wrong, there’s the Electoral College.

The power to indoctrinate through public education was considered so dangerous that education would be left to the States, instead of the federal government. Interestingly, in the early days it was those white, wealthy males, who wanted an educated populace. The average farmer saw little use for education – for their children to be exposed to thoughts and ideas beyond the comprehension of their parents – and, while the kids were at school, they weren’t around to help on the farm. Our summer vacations are a hold-over from those agrarian times.

Now where are we? Our freedoms are under attack now from within. White, wealthy men are re-asserting their dominance. Womens’ rights, including the right to their own uterus, are under attack. Public education is under attack. Taking care of our senior citizens and the poorest amongst us is under attack. Why? A new brand of selfishness, cloaked in Jesus Christ and the American Flag has arisen.

This great experiment of a democratic republic, born those many years ago, is rotting from voter apathy and ruling class greed and manipulation.

We’ve long been a country of checks and balances. Most recently, this gave us the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, and Citizens United and ObamaCare. In other words, in spite of all the rhetoric, in spite of all the attempts to disenfranchise all who do not vote the way white, wealthy males would have them vote, in spite of all the scandals and abuses of power, we still move, slowly, painfully, but progressively, towards social equity.

It is this movement to social equity that has withstood the test of time – as if it is some inherent part of our DNA – a check and a balance to greed and selfishness. Yes, the heirarchical structure is still here, and has, and will be, a part of the human condition. Yes, we still have to fight the same battles to achieve equality. In the 60’s, it was the right for people of different color to get married. Now, its the right for people of the same gender to get married. We move forward. And this forward movement cannot be stopped. Not in the long run.

That, then, is the true meaning of Independence Day.



162 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 4, 2012: Independence Day

    • There is no U in neighbor! What are you, Canadian? Sheesh. Oh, say what?


      Someday you too will be free of England’s yoke. Maybe after all the Republicans flee Obama’s yoke and take over your country.

      • It’s the Queen’s English. Ya’ll should axe Obama to come up here and be our leader!

    • Thanks dycker!
      Staying close to my borough, independent of any desire to frantically recreate amongst my fellow countrymen.
      Good day…

      • You will then be far away from the fireworks in the hands of idiots (see Badmoodman’s post below)

        Oh and ask gummitch if it should be borogh!!

          • Any non internet dictionary is great. Twittering and texting is anti-dictionary. In reality though language is fluid and the internet is rapidly changing the viscosity.

  1. It is this movement to social equity that has withstood the test of time – as if it is some inherent part of our DNA – a check and a balance to greed and selfishness.

    Keywords: ‘equity, greed, selfishness.’

    One of the precious few biblical quotes I have EVER appreciated is the one that reads (approximately, depending on translation/revision version/etc) “The love of money is the root of all evil.” OK, I admit it, I’m with Karl Marx on the matter of money; Karl Marx, whose thesis was (again, dependent upon translation/revision version/etc), “From each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” IOW, “money” must be available to all for sustenance first, not simply for claims of wealth.

    Ok, so one question remains, one I’ve asked a thousand times and have never yet come across a definitive answer: WHAT THE FUCK IS MONEY, REALLY REALLY?

    Money is THE medium of exchange; money establishes the relative value between, say, a handmade walking stick, a new pickup, a new pharmaceutical pill or injection, and/or a broccoli stalk, a bag of frozen peas. Among other things. Ok, fine.

    Money is also a government-issued commodity. It used to be other stuff … gold, silver, clams (in “BC” comic strips), diamonds, rare stuff. Still is in a way, but the MONETARY value of rare shit fluctuates according to the state of markets, which reflect ????? Beats me. They reflect the potential to make a quick profit, maybe? To milk a cow? To increase pocketable money! Ah, now we’re getting somewh…. No, not really. We’re back in square one. What is money?

    He who has money (presumes that he) has POWER. Power is the goal. Always has been. Power is a biological entity. Consider pasture bulls, alpha wolves, queen bees … the list is endless. Power. In human terms, power once came in the form of guns, maybe of spears, bows and arrows … then came ‘free enterprise’ and all of a sudden, the barrel of the gun was money. Money became power, the ability to control the masses, the cows, the flies, everything. Control.

    That’s what money is. The instrument of control.

    **Side note: I have a cat on my lap, have lost contro,l … there, she jumped down … Ok, onward.

    The quest for Control is why there will NEVER be ‘equity’ in re the sustenance of human life, and it is the basis for ‘greed,’ for ‘selfishness,’ and for a whole raft of other, invariably related, human foibles.

    Humans are a curious species. Not worth a hell of a lot in the overall long run, very destructive in the sense that they represent the melding of biological survival instinct (power and control) with marginal intellect (the ability to create and manufacture money and/or the tools to accumulate same, in whatever form works for the moment).

    I took a walk this morning. A full moon was slowly dropping behind the mountains to the west just as the giant red-ball sun popped up over the Great Plains to the east. The birds were singing, though still in their trees; the breeze was gentle and cool; the air was remarkably fresh, the flowers on the prairie were lush; the moments were magical, and all-enveloping. Life was worth the next breath, the next heartbeat.

    And here’s the thing: even though I have no money, even though I’m “poor” and therefore have no power, I nevertheless have the finest walking stick ever in the history of all human existence. And I made it myself, with only my own hands plus the generous assistance of a small seedling Oak from the mountains of Arizona (plus, too, a little sandpaper, some acrylic finish, a little steel wool, some Liquid Gold, some elbow grease, etc.), but I wouldn’t trade it for any one of those four wheel-drive diesel pickups that shot by me on the road, nor for a car elevator, nor for Romney’s Cayman Islands offshore ‘investments,’ and surely not for any more ‘power’ than it takes to watch a sunrise/full moonset tandem with a prairie on one side, mountains on the other, and birdsongs in between! I’d far rather be ‘poor’ and powerful enough only to (unintentionally) step on and crush the occasional ant.

    I did, btw, whisper soft hellos to the pair of deer that crossed my path yesterday, the Canada geese the day before, and the bull snake last week … and my remorse over the dead raccoon I saw lying crushed on the highway, itself a victim of ‘money’ in one or another way, is permanent.

    Humans are ‘worth’ no more than flies or locusts in the biological sense, yet some perceive themselves to be … umm, special? Because they’re “rich”? Ergo ‘powerful’? Republican?

    So, anyone: WHAT IS MONEY, REALLY?

    For local Republicans, it’s what it takes to make the payment on the pickup, plus to buy the gas it takes to haul noisy ass every morning to the local convenience market and buy, there, a cup of coffee and a Twinkie. All the joys of life. For an idiot.

    Right, Mittens?

    Hello, world. Nice to get to know you! Goodbye, Mitt et al. Sad to know you exist. Maybe in your next life you’ll return as something useful. A horsefly! Maybe a dung beetle? Oh, wait … Never mind; I get it.

    • In today’s world? Money is options.

      More money; more options. Less money; fewer options.

      I could also use the word “choices.”

      • Humankind is in a sort of arrested childhood, thanks mostly to Western religion. We haven’t been able to get past the Gimme gimme, I want childish greed because until just very recently there were plenty of new sources for resources and the various backyards hadn’t filled to overflowing with the detritus of the attitude that cleaning up after yourself is not a valid cost of doing business.

        I believe this is why the attitudes towards women have been so slow in changing because the rich boys expect mommy or wife to clean up after them because, well, that’s what they are supposed to do. This is also why the people who are hired to do the clean up are paid so poorly because….eeeewwwww, they work with such icky stuff.

        • -chuckle-
          Being a mature worker (the old guy) in the midst of mostly immature yet very macho types, my general tidiness in cleaning up after myself has earned me a spot in the “girly man” category.
          This has triggered their homophobia, so I no longer make an attempt to sit down on the couch and socialize as they watch endless cop shows and play horribly violent video games.
          They visibly shrink if I even approach the far end of the couch.
          Their language is foul, they continually make blatantly sexual comments amongst each other, and then take their icky thoughts down the hill and spread it about the office.

          Six weeks to go…

      • If money=choices, then I must be pro-money. That doesn’t sound quite as freeing as pro-choice though. πŸ™‚

    • Echoing many of your thoughts frugalchariot.

      Possessions, and the energy required to keep those possessions (the security complex) become burdens.
      Burdens hinder freedom.

      Many of the freedoms I enjoy are balanced with what I’m willing to let go of.

  2. Out of touch? Just a wee bit.

    N.Y. lawmaker cancels event on how women should sit –

    But Golden canceled the event Tuesday after critics said the former police officer and longtime politician was out of touch with the lives of working women.

    “Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger says she sometimes feels as though she drives “three hours north and 50 years back in history” when she goes from Manhattan to Albany, the state capital.”

    Liz is right, if she has to work with people like Golden.

    • The only reason Gregory is still in the job is that executives β€˜don’t have an obvious replacement’, although ABC’s Jake Tapper is supposedly being considered.

      They have an obvious replacement, but the corpocrats don’t dare try her out!

    • Maybe someone in upper management will have an epiphany and realize the purpose behind these people is that they bring challenge and information to the viewing public, not pandering puffballs of stale propaganda and ideology. Odds are they will again have a brain fart and pick some colorless idjit whose sole claim to fame will be to play bobblehead to which ever conservative pundit gets the nod as guest.

      If they want to try an interesting experiment, talk Rachel into doing a temp hosting gig for a month or so. Or Lawrence O’Donnell. Just make sure the chairs have absorbent seat cushions for the Republican guests.

      • MSNBC put total asshole SE Cupp on the show with Krystal Ball, Steve Kornacke &Toure on replacement for Martin Bashir who took over Dylan Rattigan spot. I won’t watch anything with that shrieking bitch. She’s like watching Sarah Palin.

    • All the needed was a pitch pipe and they’d have been flawless. πŸ™‚ Love the guitarist.

    • The sound is decent on my PC though I wish they had moved the mic closer to Taylor. The piano sort of upstages her in places.

      • Thanks hooda. 8 hours later I checked my speakers and the were knocked over with papers on them. Just rehearsal in a ballet studio so hopefully we’ll have more later.

  3. Things I learned today, besides it being Malia Obama’s 14th birthday:
    From Sarah Palin’s FB page:

    “Trig and I are gearing up to watch Piper Indi march in the β€œbig” annual 4th of July parade tomorrow with her cousins in Wasilla! (Yes, Piper’s middle name β€œIndi” is short for Independence.)”

    *Srsly*? We’re just now clued in to this? Horseshit. So her initials are PIP but she was never called that? Pffffffft.

  4. CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson

    Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN1 today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

    β€œWe observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, β€œbut a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”

    “The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. β€œThe implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.”

  5. Just found out that a man I know in Moscow accidentally backed over his wife in their driveway, and killed her.

    The wife was a horrible woman, and I can’t say I’m sorry she’s gone, but he must be feeling just terrible.

    What a weird accident.

    • Condolences Zooey for your friend’s loss.

      I’m resisting mightily a quip about a feeling terrible man from Moscow.

    • Makes it no less tragic – this reads as if there was an argument…
      he decides to leave, gets in the car, she stands behind the vehicle attempting to ‘stop’ him – thinking he sees her, the horrible accident happens.

      (may counseling guide him through the grief of such a horrendous accident)

  6. Remember there was a super collider here in Illinois at Fermi lab that could have kept us on top in the science battle. I think it found the top quark first. But it was shut down in 2011 from budget cutbacks. Congress could have appropriated the funds to make it competitive, create jobs, keep us on top, but rich people need tax breaks and weapons manufacturers have to give kickbacks.

    • I remember hearing a lot from the RWNJs about how there is no medical or pharmaceutical innovation in Europe because of all the socialism, which destroys the profit motive. Ditto places like Japan, of course. Pointing out exactly how many new drugs, etc coming out of places like Germany fell on deaf ears. These are the same individuals, naturally, that support the defunding of the super collider. And the CDC. And…

      • One might mention that pharmaceutical innovation isn’t necessarily a good thing… how many lawsuits have been undertaken lately because of side effects of drugs like Avandia, and Yaz, and a host of other “new” drugs? Medical implant devices like hip replacement devices have also caused a host of problems… and yet, Republicans continually spout tort reform and limiting settlement payouts as a way to reduce health care costs — all the risk goes to the user and not the corporations that push untested or undertested drugs on an unsuspecting public in the search for ever increasing profit margins for the company.

        • All those drugs were approved under Bush’s FDA, weren’t they?

          • While not directly answering your question this tells how the baby-bush admin. under-minded the health and safety issues:

            The Bush Legacy: An Assault on Public Protections

            Posted on January 14, 2009

            This report shows that attacks on a variety of common-sense regulations over the past eight years have taken a great toll on the United States. Though not intended to serve as a comprehensive record of every anti-regulatory effort by the Bush administration, this report uses clear examples to document a wide range of activity, much of which occurred behind the scenes, away from the eyes of all but the most observant members of the press and the public. The storytelling style of the report, crafted by freelance writer and author Osha Gray Davidson, helps readers begin to understand how much damage has been done under the watch of George W. Bush and his vice president, Richard B. Cheney.

            • Remember when the most frequent commercials were beverages and cars. Now drugs are in the #1 spot. Shouldn’t your doctor be telling you what drugs you need?

            • Pharma advertising dollars are insurance against negative publicity on the networks’ news programs. It works for the oil companies too, who long ago ceased to need to advertise to sell all the gas they can refine.

    • I was 38 when Reagan was sworn in, and I’ll be 70 when the next pres. is sworn in come January. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gone downhill during those 32 years, but not nearly so far downhill as has the USofA. At least I’m not on my deathbed. Yet. Can’t say that for the country, though, and that’s a very sad reality.

  7. I just saw the ‘highlights’ of Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. Now I’m going to clean up the mess I made. Yuk.

  8. Another thing I learned today (besides the Palin nonsense):

    Andy Griffith was buried in a grave 5 hours after he died.

  9. Perusing movie info while in search of a film to watch tonight I learned that absolutely nothing in Hollywood makes sense. Not sure if anyone here is a Lee Child fan but they are releasing a film at Xmas very loosely based on his Jack Reacher character. It must be because Tom Cruise is playing the part.

  10. I’ve been watching a Gidget marathon since 10am, on a channel called ‘Antenna’.

    I don’t think I’ve ever said, “God was she cute!” so many times in one day!

      • One season, 32 episodes. I’m about halfway through. I was 9 when these were first run. I’ve seen a few of them sporadically over the years. It’s fun to see people you recognize who weren’t famous when they were on it. I’ve seen Bonnie Franklin, Barbara Hershey, Walter Koenig, and Daniel J. Travanti so far.

        You know, those ratheads at BBC America are running a Star Trek, Next Generation marathon today. Why don’t they run British shows? I watched all the TNGs as first run shows, as well as repeats.

    • Hollande, who campaigned on a ticket opposing one-size-fits-all austerity, now faces the extremely difficult task of dragging France out of the red while avoiding the taboo word “austerity” and refusing axe-swinging cuts to the public sector and the welfare system.

      Nobody would mind the word ‘austerity’ if it meant sacrifice from primarily the wealthiest in society.

    • A majority in the Senate won’t mean squat unless it is a supermajority.

      • I have a feeling, if the President and Senate majority are from the same party, the filibuster rules are history. The Republicans won’t hesitate to end the filibuster, Frist tried to do it, but the 14 traditionalists blocked him. They are gone now, except for a few. If it were to be Harry Reid and Obama, I think the Democrats have finally seen the light, especially over appointments.

      • From a legal standpoint, this will be interesting to watch, as France’s legal system is still guided by the Napoleonic Code.

        • If we’re going to follow archaic legal codes, I personally would like to see Hamurabi’s Law applied to the previous president and vice president of our country.

  11. One of the things I remember best about Andy Griffith was how he and Ron Howard reprised their Mayberry roles in a commercial to support Obama’s candidacy for President.

    At that point, he became more than an actor playing a part, but a human being believing in a cause – and in hope for a better future than what the monied elite were offering.

    Rest in Peace, Andy, and, thank you.

  12. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy

    In that light, I’m now going to do my patriotic duty and put some hot dogs on the grill.

  13. And, as if enough financial manipulation and ruin wasn’t enough, now comes the LIBOR index scandal, coming to your bank sooner!

    Ex-CEO: Barclays Isn’t The Only Bank At Fault

    Leave it to a bankster rat to squeal on his ratfink fiends, er frieds, er friends..!

    and here’s a HuffPO article with more stuff…Barclays Libor Scandal: Rate Rigging Affects Your Loan Payments

    Happy birthday America! Wish I could give you the heads of the banksters as a present!

  14. International relations:
    An afternoon trip down the hill to get hot dogs, beer and gas(oline) resulted in a flat tire.
    In the course of repairing said tire, a couple of motorbikers from Alberta pulled in for a break, and were engaged by a local Humboldtian (stoned, of course) who enthusiastically greeted the foreigners.
    “Welcome to California!” the reeking dude gushed.
    “Oh, we always have a good time in California” one of the bikers politely replied, as I passed by with a wink and a nod.

    • I have got to have these.
      The pirate cover in case I trip down to Oakland, the Asian print when I go out for Chinese.
      I’ll be talking with you.

  15. Now I need wine. The fireworks show in the city park will start soon, and my poor old doggy will go apeshit.

  16. Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
    No comment?
    OK, the bad news:
    Busy blogging, I burnt the dogs and the buns.
    The good news:
    The pickles were chilled enough to get them down, I still have a couple of beers, and there must be a fire somewhere because the engine crew has not come home.
    Happy Independence Day!

      • By Friday a fourth of July will have passed. All that will remain is another three quarters, and a half of August.

        • Har har.

          Is the job in CA done by the end of August? That’s a lovely area up there. I lived around there about 100 years ago.

          • Technically yes, it could run out for a couple more weeks if I put some effort into it.
            Right now I simply don’t know if it’s worth the aggravation.
            This may be but a stepping stone along the way, and too unsteady to commit a lot of weight to.
            Agreed, it is very lovely, but there are many fault lines and slide zones, literally and metaphorically speaking…

  17. Just got back from the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. Tens of thousands of people on a 78 degree day showing way too much flesh. BUT the music was great, wine and Beer was cold, and I got to, once again, hear my main man Charlie Musselwhite play the harp better than I’ve ever heard him spanning over 45 years. This is the Festivals 25th annivesary that is the Oregon Food Banks biggest fundraiser. 10 bucks and 2 cans of food is the entrance fee, 100% going directly to the food bank. Great music, great fun, great cause.

    • I thought you’d be there, nwoldguy. πŸ™‚

      I’m glad you had a great time, and such perfect weather too!

  18. Just got a line on an absolutely gorgeous month to month furnished rental, that’s chock full of antique furniture, in a great neighborhood, and an excellent rental amount.

    I might have to stick around for a while. πŸ˜‰

    Craigslist is teh awesome!

  19. Oh joy…the fireworks have started in earnest.

    I think I’ll turn on the AC and try to drown out the sounds. Poor old doggy.

  20. One good thing about small town America? Fireworks shows don’t last long. πŸ™‚

    The traffic out there is ridiculous. People are having to wait minutes and minutes to get through the 4-way stop. πŸ˜‰

  21. There is forward movement in changing presidential elections.
    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).
    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of β€˜battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just β€˜spectators’ and ignored after the primaries.
    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.
    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.
    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.
    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

    • Thanks for your input, and welcome to The Zoo! Glad you have you around. I hope you post more often.

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