Guest Blog: Occupy Ukraine?

Today’s guest blogging post (and open thread) is by our friend, TerrytheTurtle.

What is happening in Ukraine is awful, bloody, murderously awful. Depending on where you come from in your world view, there are at least three ways of looking at what is happening:

1. If you follow the Western media, it is about Ukraine wishing to “join the EU” (quotes because there are many sources of this over-simplification) and the coverage is dumbed down to this one point time and again. But the EU trade agreement Yanukovych refused to sign after promising to in his manifesto, is only the catalyst, the problems lie much deeper than that.

2. This is part of the Neo-Cold War, pitting American power against the Czar of All the Russias and his part-dictatorship, part-kleptocracy. If you read the full transcript of the intercepted Nuland phone call two weeks ago, there is no question the US is picking sides, and picking which opposition horse to back, the whole point of which seems to be, to use the violence in Ukraine to win ground in a wider struggle. And for his part, Putin, by blaming ‘entirely, the terrorists and radicals’ for the violence, is shamelessly backing his client, Yanukovych, just like he has backed Syria’s Assad. It seems the US and Putin are both ‘playing cards’ and the people of Kiev are doing the dying.

3. The third thesis is that what we are watching is the Occupy movement of Ukraine. Ukraine’s government is controlled by a very small number of hyper-rich Ukrainians who owe their riches to a perpetuation of the same style of oligarchy and kleptocracy that Vladimir Putin sits atop in neighbouring Russia. They want the massive income inequality and lack of social justice to continue – its good for business. But you won’t hear this in the Western media. That kind of discussion is too close to home and would remind people of what Occupy Wall Street was all about. When Yanukovych returned to power, in 2010, as president (in an election the EU certified as fair), mainly because the Orange Revolution had stalled in the world depression after the financial crisis, he changed the constitution away from the 2004 constitution: more power to him and his cronies. Corruption blossomed again. You know the formula: billionaires, owning politicians for favours, closing and selling off factories, looting the old industries where ordinary people made a living and punishing dissent. The Kochs and Waltons would love these people.

What do Ukrainians think about some of this? The most recent poll I could find (Feb 5th) said:

Showing divisions between Ukrainians on foreign policy, 48% said Ukraine should reconsider its rejection of an EU partnership, but 40.3% said it should not.

Asked if the protests should continue, 48% said yes and 45.1% said no.

These divisions have an ethnic and geographic element to them – west is more likely to be ethnic Ukrainian and east and south more Russian. But like the American south, the Russian-leaning part is voting for more income inequality, more Russian-style “democracy”. But Ukrainians seem to distrust the EU only a little less than Russia, especially when it comes to helping them now. It seems to me they feel like they are on their own.

OK, so all this geopolitics aside, you just have to look at the faces of the people in the streets and in the makeshift hospitals to get an idea of which of these theses is closest to the truth and it is complicated, even if I am getting some coaching.  🙂  That ordinary Ukrainians just want the freedom to have their government represent them and protect their freedoms from foreign powers (all of them!) and from their own “entitled” citizens and corporations.  Just spend some time on the blogs (helpfully translated on request and forwarded to people like me by friends). You will see what I am seeing and hearing directly.

Yes, there are protesters with guns now and policemen have died, but today’s toll of death was far unbalanced to the 10s of thousands of mostly unarmed protesters, shot in the square, or beaten by police or paid thugs, the “tituski”, in the side streets as they try to leave to take care of families or escape the bloodshed. Or as volunteers try to treat them in makeshift hospitals while the police try to arrest them from the bloody floor where they lie.

Take a look at two of Putin's "radicals and terrorists."

Take a look at two of Putin’s “radicals and terrorists.”

Finally, and I wish it was finally, this article I was sent today goes roughly like this: A former policeman has come to Kiev to find his 19-year-old son, a student in Kiev. Like all fathers he wished his son did not go to the protests, but as a Ukrainian he was proud of his son to go. He holds in his hand the helmet he wore, covered in blood, a single sniper bullet hole in the helmet where his forehead was. Facebook posts are full of pictures of young people like this….

And yes, like Zooey said Thursday, this could be us too, someday soon.

Guest Blog by TerryTheTurtle: November 2012 – The First Citizens United Election and the Last of the American Democratic Experiment?

I think there’s no secret that as a foreigner, I view the American democratic system with an outsider’s eye. It’s the view of one who has not been taught in school from the first day that the American Democratic Experiment is unique, unparalleled and somehow ‘divinely ordained’. It may have been once, but IMO it now more resembles the last days of the Roman Empire when a horse could be Senator  (or even higher office?) and seats were bought and sold in order to ‘rubber-stamp’ the sociopaths and megalomaniacal dictators who ran the place into the dust while plying the plebs with ‘bread and circuses’.

IMO, The SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United (CU) has delivered a fatal blow to the American Democratic Experiment. I think many of you sense it, but until this November’s election is done and the impact of the unlimited corporate money which is on its way now from the American fascist establishment into the election process, you won’t be able to appreciate just how deadly that ruling is.

At the time it was passed, dissenting Justice Stevens wrote:

[Citizens United] “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

And Stevens took a swipe at corporations too:

“Stevens discussed how the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside of profit-making, and no loyalty”

Let’s recap briefly the new rules of the game that Citizens United brings.

1. Anyone and that means any person, or corporation (even foreign owned or registered ones like Halliburton) can spend whatever they want to say whatever they want to influence you the voter as to who to vote for. Money equals free speech under Citizens United and it doesn’t matter where the money comes from and it is the money that decides which ‘free speech’ you hear and which you don’t. Spend just one evening watching Fox ‘News’ and you know what this means.

2. The people and corporations who will spend the most money are the ones who have the most to spend and are most likely to gain from ‘buying’ an election – that is the rich, the 1%, who will have their bought-and-paid-for politicians write the rules in their favour so that they will accumulate even more wealth.

3. They don’t have to tell you who they are in some cases (e.g. 501c4s like the NRA and Karl Rove’s patently fascist SuperPAC for some reason), and even if they do, you won’t know who and how much until *after* the election is decided.

St. Ronald Raygun (yes, really!):

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

So welcome America to the ‘Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ – this 8 minute video recaps all I have said here and more and also calls for a constitutional amendment to redefine persons and therefore undermine CU. I for one, have no confidence that an amendment will go anywhere – to start with it would require 67 Senators who do not owe their office to corporate money to be ready to vote and November 2012 is coming first. IMO CU is an irrevocable and fatal wound to the American Democratic Experiment (1776 – 2010 RIP) – it was a good run everyone.

Civilization in an Eggshell

Guest blog by Hoodathunk

Yesterday we had a brunchfast that relied pretty heavily on the magical chicken egg.   Poached eggs for the wee’uns, Crab Benedict for the more discerning palette and eggnog; so I probably shouldn’t be surprised that I awoke at 4 am thinking about the dream I had about eggs.  Odd things my subconscious plays with in dreamland.

Consider your basic egg.  Nicely packaged, a comfortable incubator (at least for the mom) bringing forth a new generation of bird that can produce more eggs, be edible in its adult form, or provide hours of entertainment and appreciation with their songs or beauty.  All in all, the egg is a wondrous thing.  But I had never looked at it as an expression of society in an eggshell.

Man learned early on that the insides of your basic egg were both edible and nutritious in its natural state.  Then, when Ug learned about fire, it was discovered eggs could be cooked.  I suspect one was accidentally dropped on a hot rock and sunny side up was born.  Since then, eggs have become something of a staple in most societies.  And, as societies become more civilized, so does their treatment of the egg.  No more of this lop off the egg and slurp it down, no that will make you sick; the cholesterol, also a bad thing.

This is where civilized society comes in.  How many have gone to fry up an egg and tossed it because the yolk got broken in the process?  Or boiled and decorated eggs at Easter and ended up tossing some when they got too old?  Eggs are pretty cheap so it isn’t a really big deal — unless you happen to be starving.  But we have, for the most part, gone beyond that point.  We take eggs for granted because there are literally millions, if not billions, of chickens out there just a clucking and a dumping.  We just go merrily along quiche-ing, custard-ing, caking, dressing up our lives with the hard work of hens because it isn’t like they mind being kept in cramped, unsanitary quarters, living on chicken feed so we can use the efforts of their labor to pamper ourselves.

This is juxtaposed to a memory from my childhood.  We would go to the grandparents’ farm on weekends and help out.  This was done so we could get a few good meals while providing my Mom’s parents with much needed assistance in running the farm.  One of my jobs was tending the chicken coop.  I had to collect the eggs, then feed the feathered beasts, and then clean the nests.  I was not allowed to carry the basket of eggs to the house because dropping an egg was something of a minor catastrophe.  The dog liked it but it meant a smaller helping of scrambled eggs for me.  Each and every one of those ovoids were important, just as the chickens themselves were.  Not exactly life or death but they could spell the difference between going to bed with a full tummy or a growling one.

What our civilized society is doing, both on the microcosm and macrocosm level, is that we aren’t taking care of the chickens.  We are gobbling up the eggs, while wasting a great many of them, thinking there will always be more.  We are distancing ourselves from the very things that have brought us to this point.  Our greed blinds us to the workings of nature because we think it will always be there, and if we have this magical paper in our pockets, everything will be fine.

Work in a chicken coop?  Ewwwww, gross!

Guest Blogging: Bridges to Nowhere and Beyond

By Pachydiplax

On November 17, 2005, Congress defeated two earmark bills fromAlaska’s sole Congressman, Don Young and the late Senator Ted Stevens, for bridges in Alaska. The first bill earmarked $231 million for what became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere”, a bridge to provide a connection between the port city of Ketchikan and Gravina Island, the location of Ketchikan’s airport. The second bill earmarked $223 million for a bridge connecting Anchorage with Point MacKenzie across the Knik Arm. Both bridges were touted as being important for economic development in Alaska. The 2005 legislation prevented Alaska from spending any federal funds for planning, design or construction of either of these two bridges. The legislation did not eliminate the bridge projects nor did it eliminate the $454 million fromAlaska’s federal transportation funding that year.

The bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina would eliminate the need for the ferryboat that currently serves the 13 families that live on the island and the 200,000 passengers that use the airport each year. The bridge would have to be taller than the Brooklyn Bridge to allow passage for large cargo and passenger ships. The ferry makes its crossing at a narrow location while the bridge would have to be longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, crossing at a wide point, 6 miles south of the ferry crossing, so not to interfere with airport operations. Even thought the bridge hasn’t been built, Alaska did spend our tax dollars to build a road on Gravina Island. It runs for 6 miles south from the airport… to nowhere.

The envisioned 2.6 mile, 4-lane crossing over the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet would consist of causeways built out from each shore connected by a 1.5-mile long bridge. The cost of the bridge and several miles of roadway and interchanges could reach $1.5 billion. The 81-mile drive from Anchorage to the new Goose Creek Correctional facility at Point MacKenzie would only be 12 miles via the bridge. The deepwater port at Point MacKenzie would also benefit from a water crossing to Anchorage. Construction has begun on a 30-mile spur line from the Alaska Railroad at Houston to Port MacKenzie and work is underway reducing road grades and widening roads for expected increases in truck traffic to and from the port. Proponents of the bridge are currently seeking private investors and environmental studies have begun on the bridge project. Meanwhile, there is a need for a way to cross the Knik Arm

That need was closer to being filled in 2010 with the completion of a new ferryboat, the M/V Susitna. Thanks to Senator Stevens and the U.S. Navy, the Mat-Su Borough now owns a $78 million twin-hulled-ice breaking-catamaran ferryboat. It can operate at 17 knots in high seas drawing 12’ of water or reconfigure itself to operate at 4.5’ draft. Unlike any of the 17 ferryboats the State currently operates in the Alaskan Marine Highway system, the M/V Susitna requires more crewmembers than comparably sized ferryboats and crew members require special training. The vessel carries 120 passengers and 20 vehicles. A building housing a passenger terminal and offices for the ferry operators has opened at Port MacKenzie. Now all that is needed are specialized docking facilities at both Port MacKenzie and Anchorage and the ferry will have somewhere to go.

Music Night, Oct 21, 2011 TerrytheTurtle Guest Blogging

And here it is, your Friday tour of the musical raging rapids, quiet pools, and swirling eddies of YouTube’s music collection. Gummitch, probably against his better judgement, has handed the MC’s mouse to me, TerrytheTurtle.

So enough bunny from me, let’s get going.

Each week I try to find music to tie to what the GOP thinks should be voted into one of the most powerful positions that the Koch brothers have in their subsidiary, which some of us remember as the United States of America. Anyhow getting new material each week is a challenge, but I’ve been working hard and here we go:

Herman Cain hit the Big Time this week and shot to front of several polls with his $9.99 pizza offer, catching eyes and turning heads. You have to hand it to him, he simplified the complex tax code to a question of Apples and Oranges or Bananas.

Ron Paul was there again, the ‘old man on the back porch’ of the field. He even dug up Ronnie’s corpse, and told the assembly some painful hometruths – the stunned silence was epic.

Batshit’s campaign is fading fast. Of course Ozzy Osbourne knows a thing or two about bats (and how they taste), and also about ‘going off the rails on a crazy train.’

Mitt Romney – OK the cult thing is easy.  How about ‘more cowbell’ with it though? 

So Cult Boy and Gov Jeff Davis got into it about immigration.  Here’s the Viking Kittens and the Immigrant Song for Rick ‘Purdy-mouth’.

And can anyone tell me why Newt Gingrich is still there? Wonder when his next divorce is due. His penchant for serving his ex-wives as they lie in hospital beds wins him this one. Barenaked Ladies from their widely acclaimed ‘Bathroom Session’ – ‘The King of Bedside Manor.’

Last, but by no means least, well ok, he is the least of the clowns in the GOP clown car, Rick Sanitarium. I thought I would have trouble with him, I mean finding a song to piss him off, maybe where a band named as slang for a transvestite, with a gay guy for a singer, belting out a song hinting about bondage with an Oedipus flavour…you’d think would be impossible. ‘Au contraire, mon capitain!’ as Q would say.

But you know I think I’ve figured out what the vaguely uncomfortable look that comes over Rick’s face is when he’s thinking. He’s thinking that someone, somewhere, right now is having sex – and he isn’t – ‘lust keeps on lurking.’

Enough of these fools! Big news of the week, the Mad Dog of the Middle East is dead. I had to go back to the drawing board after ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ was posted yesterday, but I redoubled my efforts and came across a detail in the story, where the young Libyan who found him in the culvert, relieved him of something.

Colonel Gaddafi – among his many delusions, apparently thought he was ’The Man with the Golden Gun.’

But finally, for the Libyans themselves, we all know which casbahs are rocking tonight! Hit it Joe!

Daddy Dearest

Guest post by Hoodathunk

Many years ago I read a couple of books by Joseph Campbell about the evolution of religion.  How the warrior father image replaced the Earth mother in the West.  It made lots of sense.  And it certainly helped define the development of Western society along patriarchal lines.  Men know everything.  Or rather, men control everything which, in a weird way, came to mean they knew everything.  I think St. Paul was instrumental in this idea in European society.  Why a closeted gay with delusions of violence would gain a place of eminence in a religion based on love and compassion says a great deal about said religion’s commitment to compassion.

But this is about Fathers.  As in divine Fathers like God and earthly fathers like me.  Supposedly the divine father has the idea that if you don’t do exactly as he wants he will banish you for eternity into hellfire.  This is a core teaching of the Christian religion for over 1,600 years.  Screw up and burn in hell (BIH).  Unless you repent before you die and agree that the Big Daddy is 100% right and you are a worm who has to agree with it.  Just makes you want to be a kid, donit?

Now for my take.  I’m a dad.  Three times over.  And a grand dad, 4 times over.  Contrary to what some might say, I’m human.  If one of my kids (grandkids aren’t old enough yet) decided to embrace ideas contradictory to mine I will damn each and every one of them to eternal hellfire and pain for the temerity of their acts.  Unless they accept every word I say as gospel and the sole reason for their existence, they are less than toast.  As their father, I have supreme and ultimate control over their minds, bodies and souls and it is my right to punish them for any deviation from my will.  I brought them into this world and I have absolute and total control over them.  And if they rebel, it is my right, my responsibility, to damn them to the most horrible and grievous punishment imaginable.

This is what the Fundy Gawd says.  It sells humans into slavery by their birth rather than freeing them to find their path.  I am a father.  A father who would no sooner visit any of that crap on my children than I would stick a nuke up my ass and visit the President.  Fathers are supposed to love their children, want only the best for them.  Not make them puppets to live lives under their control.  Screw every religion and philosophy on the planet that does not embrace this idea.

Fathers are supposed to be protectors.  Guides.  Teachers.  Fathers do not damn their children to hell for any reason and any religion that says differently is based in demonology.  It is based in evil and pain.  There is no place in this universe for that.  That is about control, about making one’s own needs mean more than the need of society, of people.  Any religion that espouses any form of damnation for anything less than outright and clear evil behavior, is selling snake oil.  You can’t go to hell for defying your father.  Nor your mother.  You can’t be damned for eternity for honest love.  Or eating fish on Friday.  Or marrying outside your faith.  Or believing in another deity.  Or believing in no diety.

Fact is, no Father could ever even dream up an idea like Hell unless He was one sick puppy.  And if you want to believe in a deity that would accept the idea of BIH for eternity, you might be one sick puppy.  Good news is, you can heal.

A fundamental lie

By Guest Blogger, Hoodathunk.

Lots of talk these days.  Politics, religion, religious politics.  Some things just naturally go together to their mutual benefit.  Like peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and chocolate or Irish whiskey and coffee, or, well you get my drift.  Religion and politics really fall into the category of oil and water, fire and ice, or life and death.  This melding has been something that has been tried many times in Western history and the results have never benefited mankind in general.  You would think that by now we would know better, but such is not the case.

The reason for this is, IMHO, there are a great many people out there who claim to be Christian, but lack the comprehension of basic Christian teachings.  Somehow they keep coming up with the idea that this Jesus fellow was about fighting.  I suspect much of this is due to reading the rather violent Old Testament and some of the books of the New Testament written by folks who never really met the man and that, over the years, interpretations and editing have tweaked the message in the divinely inspired book to fit the more militaristic aspects of human society.

The New Testament is filled with contradictions.  This is to be expected because much of the information was written down a generation after it happened or later.  For me, this places the Bible into legend.  None of it was written by the man himself and, IIRC, only one book was written by someone who actually was with him.  But in spite of this, there is one thing that remains pretty constant and that is the legend of that last week.  Up until then Jesus had done a good job of side stepping the whole Messiah issue.  I suspect it was because there were several factions in the Jewish community who were chomping on the bit, looking for a warrior king like David to lead them so they could get rid of the Romans.

That wasn’t Yeshua’s bag.  He was Gandhi, 2,000 years before Gandhi.  He was the original counter culture revolutionary.  Love, not war.  His teachings were all about suffering anything in this world because it would get you a penthouse in the next.  Read the Sermon on the Mount.  The only slight step out of character was the thing with the money changers in the Temple, and even then his anger was at the money.

So now we are down to the big fundamentalist lie.  The monstrous Christian lie, propagated over the centuries in the name of political power and control and spitting in the face of the man who supposedly founded their religion justified by one act — His dying.  In the final days there were several opportunities for him to either walk away or rally his supporters to fight for him.  He begged his father to take the cup from him, to let him live and finally said, “Into your hands, Father.”  Pilate gave him two chances to duck.  Herod gave him one.  In the end, in all accounts, he bore his cross, suffered and died because of his belief.  Didn’t ask anyone else to do it for him.  Didn’t call up the warriors to defend him.  He died for his teachings.

Had he done what his followers are calling for today and have all across the centuries there would have been a huge revolt in Israel.  The Jews were primed for the return of their warrior-king Messiah.  Blood would have flowed and in the end Judaism would have probably died.  If you don’t agree, check out Masada and the Diaspora.  Might have survived as a minor religion.  Christianity would never have been born.  Rome would have pounded Palestine into submission in their very efficient and brutal fashion.

But the bottom line is the heart of the one legend that shows in the various books of the Bible.  Jesus died for his beliefs.  Didn’t fight for them, didn’t go to war for them, he accepted and died for them.  You can pick any other reading from any other book to try to explain, justify or whatever but the bottom line is Jesus so believed in what he did that he was willing to die for it.  All by himself, not behind a wave of warriors, just him.  Sort of how it always comes down to it, every person is always faced with one last thing.  One on one, with their maker.

No mulligans.

Guest Blogging: Hummingbirds

I have five 32 oz and one 48 oz hummingbird feeders.  They are refilled at least once a day.   I have many ‘locals’ that live here all year – there are sometimes about sixty hummingbirds at the feeders.  Being on the Pacific flyway, we also have visitors in the fall going to Margartiaville in Baja, and returning around February.  Last year, a couple of Rufous stayed and made my backyard their home.

Photos & text submitted for Guest Blogging by Cryptoclearance.

The 12:50 at Kempton

We’ve lately been having a discussion in this country about freedom, and an old friend from “across the pond” had a few thoughts on the matter.

I exercised some freedom today.

At about midday, I took one of the PA’s from my office to the bookies as she wanted to lay a bet on the Football (yeah yeah, soccer) and had never been in a betting shop before.  Learning how to place a bet is almost a rite of passage

in the UK.  Bookies are very intimidating if you don’t have a clue how it all works and, apart from Grand National day, no-one is there to help.  You either know it or you don’t.  Hence I went along to explain the magic of accumulators and doubles from three.  Whilst in there, I had a little punt on a horse race and ended up losing a fiver – such is life.

I’m no expert on the US but friends who have spent time across the pond suggest that laying a bet in most states of the US is slightly more complex than popping across the road.  Conversely, I expect a visitor to the UK from the US would find it very odd that the only way to get a gun in the UK is either jump through hoops with the Government to (maybe) get a shotgun license or else head off to the black market.

Ah freedom and your different flavours.  As a result, it always worries me when you hear someone banging on about protecting your freedom as no-one can define what freedom means universally .  I’m glad I’ve got the freedom to waste my hard earned money on a broken down nag in the 12.50 at Kempton.  I don’t have the freedom to own a gun but, to be honest, I don’t want to.

I’m glad I’ve got the freedom to choose to get private healthcare if I want to pay for it.  Christ, I work for a company that provides private healthcare insurance.  But I’m also glad that, whenever I need it, I have whatever healthcare I need free at the point of delivery.  Yeah, no-one makes any money out of the NHS, which I suppose means the private sectors freedom to profit is reduced, but it gives the population of the UK the freedom not to worry about how much it will cost to fall ill.

Whenever you hear someone saying they are protecting freedom I feel it’s appropriate to put your hand up and politely ask whose freedom they are protecting.


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Right of Passage

Have you ever wondered exactly what is up with “birthers,” “deathers,” and “tenther” types?

Our bloggy friend, Medjhiesco (aka Hoodathunk), whose blog is called Story Time, has ranted on the very possible source of the above-mentioned loons folks…

Yes, the wrong spelling but with malice aforethought.  While there are many rites of passage in many societies, all designed to signal the passage from childhood to adulthood, most are symbolic gestures to remind the participant it is time to put away the toys and move on to become a responsible, productive member of society.  This generally includes such things as

accepting responsibilities, performing actions that are not just for personal gratification and realizing the individual is not the center of the universe.  But there is more to it.  It is one of trick questions that inevitably bite one in the keister.  One has the right of passage, you can grow up and stop being a self-centered, spoiled child except with that right also comes the duty of growing up.

This is where the US is having some serious difficulties.  Most of the rest of the industrialized world has realized that cooperation and respect for others is the only way people can live together and flourish as a society.  And it is working pretty well for them.  Sadly, the US is still held in the thrall of a group of dangerous children.  Children, in that they retain the juvenile idea that the world revolves around them and that they have every right to having their every wish granted and immediately.  They have their little clique, their in crowd, and the rest of society exists just to serve their pleasure.  Our society has been slowly permeated with their beliefs, twisting the basic generosity of spirit and humanitarian ideals our country was founded on and which had served us very well for two hundred years until the idea of individual rights has become the mantra of the greedy and the frightened.

This isn’t surprising.  Children live with many more fears than adults because they lack the experience that enables them to deal with scary things.  The deregulated capitalistic types live in constant terror.  The idea that the accrual of money and power saves them only demonstrates their fear.  It is obsessive/compulsive behavior; something most would call a mental illness.  Since they can buy approval, they have foisted it off on the American public as a good thing, a goal to reach.  They don’t understand the adult concepts of compassion and responsibility to anything beyond their own self so they push their propaganda that these things are weakness.  They are like the Lost Boys and Peter Pan, caught in their fantasy only they have found they can pass their fears and childishness to others.

It is time for America to grow up.  It is time for us to realize this isn’t a kid game.  Just as the young couple who, in their youthful passion, make a new life, we are at a crossroads.  We can stay irresponsible children, ignore the magnitude of what we face and abandon our responsibility for our actions or we can stand up and do the right thing.  For too long the ‘love child’ has suffered because the parents were too frightened to do what was needed.  It is time to put down the Ipods and jet skis, time to quit hiding behind the juvenile idea that a society can exist without the participation of every member who is capable.  And that it is up to those who can to help those who can’t find some way to add what they can.

There is no mention in the Constitution of the Right of Passage because it didn’t have to be there.  That one is too basic and one that is too personal.  Society either grows or it stagnates and dies.  We get to choose.