The Watering Hole, Monday, January 18th, 2016: ICYMI

Some updates on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge situation from the weekend:

Yesterday, DailyKos had this story about Child Protective Services removing Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s fourfoster children from his Arizona ‘ranch.’  I love the [literal] money quote:

“That was my main source of income,” Finicum said. “My ranch, well, the cows just cover the costs of the ranch. If this means rice and beans for the next few years, so be it. We’re going to stay the course.”

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting:

“That represents an enormous loss of income for the Finicums. According to a 2010 tax filing, Catholic Charities paid the family $115,343 to foster children in 2009…

Since then, Catholic Charities has increased payments for foster care significantly, but it does not itemize the dollar amount the Finicums were paid in subsequent years.”

On Saturday, January 16th, a few members of the Center for Biological Diversity tried to protest the occupation of the refuge.  From Raw Story:

“We’re here to speak up for public land, which belongs to the public,” the group’s executive director, Kierán Suckling, said. “These people are trying to take the land away.”

Pete Santilli, part of the occupying group, picked up a bullhorn and started shouting over him, calling the conservationists “communist,” “fascist,” and saying, “You’re under arrest for bull****ting.”

Ah, yes, Pete Santilli.  At first I had him confused with Rick Santilli, the idiot whose ranting on CNBC more or less started the Tea Party plague.  However, this Pete Santilli seems to be cut from much the same cloth.  Pete is the one who, on his radio show back in 2013, spouted the following regarding then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

“I want to shoot her right in the vagina and I don’t want her to die right away,” he said. “I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say, on behalf of all Americans that you’ve killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS, the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama, Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario, because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all.”

Santilli continued: “On behalf of all of those people, I’m supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina.”

According to his bio, “Pete Santilli is a Former U.S. Marine, Consumer Advocate, Former Coca-Cola Executive, Corporate Whistleblower, Radio Talk Show Host. Pete Santilli is a professional hell raiser…”

Santilli also led a protest outside the FBI’s temporary setup at the Burns Airport on Saturday.  However, it appears that Santilli is merely a supporter of the occupiers:

“Asked about the demonstration outside the FBI’s headquarters, [Robert] Finicum said Santilli is an “independent journalist” and is not part of the group occupying the Refuge.”

On the agenda for today, according to The Oregonian, is a ‘lecture’ by KrisAnne Hall, who is described as “a Florida attorney and radio talk show host” (although she reportedly no longer holds a license to practice as an attorney in Florida.)  Ms Hall is planning to ‘sovereign-splain’ the supposed legality of the Bundy-led occupation of the wildlife refuge:

“Her assistant said she will cover two topics: sovereignty of the state and the constitutional limits of the federal government’s control.

Hall is an outspoken critic of the federal government who supports privatization of federal lands.

“The people are not acting lawlessly,” Hall said in [a] video. “It is the federal government that is acting lawlessly.”

For a tutorial on the warped version of the legal belief system that these deluded people are trying to establish, see this post on Friday’s ThinkProgress.

And for continuing updated coverage, The Oregonian puts up a daily “what you need to know” article along with related articles.

This is our daily Open Thread – feel free to talk about anything you like.

Advertisements

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 28th, 2015: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Just a quick glance at some of the stories on Right Wing Watch is enough to make it clear that, while there is a lot of craziness going on around the globe, the no-longer-United States of America is now forging ahead in an effort to be Number 1 in the category of Insanity.

Rand Paul calls for “Tent Revivals” in “Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result of a ‘Moral Crisis’ in America”, by Brian Tashman:

“We need a revival in the country,” Paul said. “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”

Also by Brian Tashman, in “Ted Cruz: Conservative Christians have Ceded Power** to Non-Believers”, Cruz tells interviewer David Brody of the “Christian” Broadcasting Network that “he hopes and prays that God put him in the position he is in today.” In addition:

“Brody also hailed Cruz’s father, far-right activist Rafael Cruz, for his political views that he says have “rubbed off on Cruz.””

**”Ceded Power”? What “power”? The only “power” that ANY religious person/group should have in America is the same power that any citizen of this country has, as enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And you’ve got to love this one: “Glenn Beck Is Now Locked In A Fight To The Death Against The GOP Establishment.” While I’m sure that, like me, you all would disagree with the reasons why Beck is going after both Grover Norquist and Karl Rove (Beck thinks that Norquist is part of a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, then attacked Rove for defending Norquist), you have to agree with parts of his argument with Karl Rove:

“You guys have the spine of a worm, the ethics of whores, and the integrity of pirates. My apologies to worms, whores and pirates.”

and

“Can you not smell what you are shoveling anymore?”

One last thing, from Raw Story An article by Alternet’s Alex Henderson, titled “Here Are 9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Understand–Compared To The Rest of The World” illustrates why ‘travel is so broadening.’ Number 3 is particularly relevant:

3. American Exceptionalism Is Absolute Nonsense in 2015

No matter how severe the U.S.’ decline becomes, neocons and the Tea Party continue to espouse their belief in “American exceptionalism.” But in many respects, the U.S. of 2015 is far from exceptional. The U.S. is not exceptional when it comes to civil liberties (no country in the world incarcerates, per capita, more of its people than the U.S.) or healthcare (WHO ranks the U.S. #37 in terms of healthcare). Nor is the U.S. a leader in terms of life expectancy: according to the WHO, overall life expectancy in the U.S. in 2013 was 79 compared to 83 in Switzerland and Japan, 82 in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada and 81 in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Austria and Finland.”

In my opinion, in 2015 the U.S. of A. ranks #1 only in the number and power of its Religious Right-Wing Nut Jobs.

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!

Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 – Inauguration 2009

I was there.  I saw it happen.  I was part of the crowd.  There were tears; tears of joy, tears of relief, and tears of love.  It was hard to believe that it had finally happened.

It all began when I was given two blue tickets to the inauguration of Barack Obama.  I shared these tickets with a friend whose mother owned a townhouse in Alexandria, VA.  She offered us a place to stay so that it would be easy to get into D.C. to witness this monumental event.

We started out on that historic morning by taking a taxi that was suppose to take us into D.C.  The taxi driver believed that he couldn’t cross any of the bridges to get into the city so he dropped us off at the train station in Alexandria.  Every train that stopped at the station was packed and it was impossible to get onto the train.  Since the trains traveling in the opposite direction were almost empty, we decided that we would take one of those trains and do the loop.  It would mean an extra 15 minutes but at least we were on a train.  At the end of the line, the train filled up with people that had arrived on buses from all across the nation.  The good people that stood near us on the train were from Minnesota.  It took them two and a half days of traveling to get to D.C.

When we finally arrived in D.C., we went to the area outside the entrance for the blue ticket holders.  There were hundreds of people gathered there and we became part of the crowd.  At 9:30, the gates were opened so that people could get in.  Needless to say, the crowd moved very slowly.  It was 11:35 when we finally reached the cattle chute and we were pushed in by the crowd and told to go to the scanners.  There was little time for scanning or searching our bags so security waved us through and told us to hurry.

When we got closer to the Capitol, we saw thousands and thousands of people gathered on the lawns, on the sidewalks and on the streets looking in the direction of the Capitol steps.  There had to be at least one million people crowded together looking towards Barack Obama.  From where I was standing, the President appeared to be about six inches tall. I perused the area and saw the “jumbotrons”.  These were the biggest screens that I have ever seen and they were everywhere.

Barack Obama was sworn into office and after he gave his address, the crowd went wild.  Everyone was hugging each other.  Standing next to me was a black woman who was about my age (I’m a white, young senior).  Tears were rolling down her face.  They were streaming down my cheeks, too.  We looked at each other, smiled, and then hugged each other.

This is where the real story takes place.  This stranger and myself lived through the challenge of opposing segregation during the ’60’s.  We witnessed blacks being beaten, and repelled with water from fire hoses.  We saw blacks being spit on as they walked into previously ‘whites only’ schools.  We heard the slurs and the name calling.  People died fighting for equal rights.

As a white person, I won’t pretend to know what it feels like to be a black person living in a society that dislikes you just because of the color of your skin.  I can only imagine how painful it must feel to see people cross to the other side of the street when they see you walking down the sidewalk or how hurtful it must feel when someone refuses to shake your hand or to sit next to you.  When Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, I thought that our nation had finally matured and would become integrated.  Was I in for a surprise.

Racism didn’t depart after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  It only went into hiding.    A black man holding one of the most powerful positions in the world has brought the racists to the forefront.  This is a good thing as we now know who they are.  We are seeing faces and we have the power to stand up to them as we must speak the truth and confront them, always.

The inauguration of President Barack Obama was an exciting event.  As I was leaving the Capitol grounds and standing on the curb waiting to cross the street, two black SUV’s with the license plate number “2” on it, passed by.  We all booed because we knew that Dick Cheney was in one of those SUV’s.

Next Tuesday, we will have reason to celebrate again.  This time I will be watching the events of the day from my home.

This is our Open Thread.  That is my story.  It was long.  Now it’s time for me to let you Speak Up! Continue reading

Watering Hole: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 – New Year’s Day Traditions

The new year has several traditions in southeastern Pennsylvania and one of these is the Mummer’s Parade down Broad Street in Philadelphia.  The parade begins in South Philadelphia and moves up Broad Street to City Hall.  It is a fun filled event with many spectators lining the street.

There is a history to the mummers which dates all the way back to ancient Rome where  laborers marched all day wearing masks in celebration of the Festival of Saturnalia.

Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange.  This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year.  Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution.  Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800’s.  January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.

The Mummers parade is a celebration of the New Year but is serious business in Philadelphia.  Clubs work on the costumes and practice all year for their one day in the sun (…wind, rain or snow).  There are many lively discussions over the scoring by the judges and adherence to the complicated set of rules the marchers must follow when being judged.  String Bands are judged on their musical presentation as well as the costumes.  Seeing and hearing a String Band performing live in the parade is a one-of-a-kind experience.

I present to you lots of men in kilts.  May this put a smile on someone special’s face  🙂

To bring in good luck for the new year, we Pennsylvanians enjoy our pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes.  Everyone has their own recipe for this meal.  I cook a pork loin in the crock pot along with the sauerkraut.  The seasonings that I prefer are nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.  These spices sweeten the sauerkraut.  As for the mashed potatoes, my most recent recipe includes horseradish added to this dish.

As Pete the Cat would say, “Because it’s all good.”

Happy New Year!  May the new year be a good year.

This is our Open Thread. What are your traditions?  Speak Up!