Current location: Oregon
Member since: Fri Jul 23, 2004, 10:38 AM
Number of posts: 5,124
Current location: Oregon
Member since: Fri Jul 23, 2004, 10:38 AM
Number of posts: 5,124
As I write my 5000th post, I am struck by a few things. First, there are a hell of a lot of you who have a lot more posts, and many who have been around a lot longer than I. I have also long taken note of the incredible number of people on this site who are smarter and better informed than I am. Heres to you all, thank you.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that I am posting this at what is perhaps one of the most crucial times in our nation’s political and economic history. Certainly at least since the Nixon impeachment, but it remains to be seen if this is a watershed moment; it might be delayed for three or six months, but I think it just might be right now. I’m not going to throw around terms like treason and sedition, although a case can be made that one or both are happening as we speak. I believe we need to consider what is really at stake below all the posturing, political maneuvering and cable talk.
I see several forces which have been more or less active over the last fifty years, all converging on a single point. These forces include a long dormant but now very active left of the Democratic Party, enegized by the Occupy movement and revulsion over decades of needless war and endless recession. Standing beside them, is the “yellow dog” wing of the Dems, who have for decades compromised and kow-towed to the right wing, giving up shred after shred of New Deal programs, labor rights, and most recently civil rights until the fabric left is almost unrecognizable. They seem to be finally at long last fed up, and turning their political rudder to the left. Yesterday, even Chris Matthews, who for me symbolizes this group, said “Obama can’t give an inch”. I think the yellow dogs finally may get it.
On the other side, we have a convergence of the modern day John Birch Society, personified by the Koch Brothers, who were long thought to be so far out of the mainstream as to be politically dead. Over the last 50 years since their heyday in the Goldwater era, they have risen to not only have a voice in Republican politics, but so loud a voice as to drown out those once thought to be on the radical economic fringe such as Grover Norquist and Ron Paul. Joining them from the right at this convergence are the Christian Dominionists, who want to supplant the Constitution with the Bible, and base our laws on those written thousands of years ago for illiterate camel drivers. I include in this sect the End-Timers, the rabid Anti-Abortion activists (including, oddly enough, Scalia type Catholics and most Mormons), Quiverfull proponents, home schoolers, and the like. They are not all completely unified, but they overlap enough to form a united front, where religious constraints rule rational thought. Michelle Bachman, the Catholic Bishops (who want a shutdown over contraception!) and others of their ilk are examples. They give a naked power grab the shimmer of God’s will. Call them Christian Jihadists, if you will. It is as good a term as any.
Caught in the middle, and who have no time to pay attention to any of this crap, but being dragged feet first into this fray are the ordinary Joes and Janes, who are working two or three jobs in a continually failing effort to maintain what their parents had on one income. It is a losing battle, and if they are at fault for this, it is only in their lack of participation, which has been reinforced by poorer educations and longer work hours, combined with fear of job loss.
The convergence point of which I speak seems to be coming more clear by the day. The point is whether a tiny, but extremely well funded and radical minority, can enforce its will on the vast mass of Americans, using a combination of the threat of economic destruction and religious ferocity. If they are able to successfully bring the country to it knees by causing a shutdown of the government, default on our debt, and severe economic destruction, then they have completely and totally subverted our Democracy. Once this happens, all bets are off, and whether Democracy returns in our lifetimes is an open question. These combination of forces represent the complete opposite of the ideas on which this country was founded. If the Koch/Jihadists get their way, this economic and political extortion will happen again and again, until nothing at all is left of our Liberal Democracy. If they don’t and the economy collapses, look for a right wing coup of some sort, capitalizing on the ensuing chaos.
What you see daily is no longer just about Obamacare, or about a government shutdown, or even about whether we go past the arbitrary “debt ceiling”, although this will have disastrous consequences. No it is a full blown constitutional crisis, which will determine whether the mechanisms which have been successful at holding this country together will continue to function. We simply cannot allow a tiny minority to govern in this manner.
I’m sure there are a multitude of examples of a wealthy minority being able to do just that; just think of the serfs in the middle ages, kept down endlessly by a combination of military power, economic injustice, and religious indoctrination. It ended, but it took centuries. I am quite sure that more modern comparisons exist, but none that have existed in America, with the possible exception of the actions of the southern Congress in the years prior to the Civil War. In that case, although a minority did attempt to hold the nation hostage to enforce its will on the majority, it was only peripherally about economics and did not seek to use the power of religion as a weapon.
Even the so called “Golden Age” of the elites in the 1880-1910 era, dwarfed the power that is condensed in a few people today. And those elites, the Rothschild’s, DuPont’s, and Vanderbilt’s, did not seek to combine their economic power with religious fundamentalism. They were content to pull the levers of government and make more money. Today’s autocrats seem to be seeking nothing less than the destruction of Democracy itself, installing themselves or their minions in power, and giving their uber-religious partners free reign in the social area.
No, today, this crisis, is unique in my opinion. What President Obama decides to do, or even not do, will seal our fate for decades, perhaps forever. I don’t pretend to have the correct answer, and maybe there isn’t one. We are all feeling for the light switch here. A wrong move either gives power to despots, or destroys the economy and perhaps the nation.
I’m reminded of the Chinese curse; “May you live in interesting times”.
Posted by CanonRay | Wed Oct 9, 2013, 03:33 PM (2 replies)
An American citizen must seek asylum from America.
Just think about that concept. How strange and odd and foreign that seems in the mind. The America I grew up in was a place others sought asylum. I cannot quite get my head around this idea. It isn't supposed to be this way.
But now we have:
secret courts, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-usa-security-fisa-judges-idUSBRE95K06H20130621
secret laws, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57588763-38/senators-call-for-end-to-justice-departments-secret-law/
secret trials, and http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bradley-manning-wikileaks-and-the-secret-trial-at-fort-meade-proceedings-begin-for-the-soldier-charged-with-leaking-national-secrets-8641393.html
secret evidence. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/fbi-secrets_n_3457258.html
I have an older friend who was a young boy in Nazi Germany during the war. This America is starting to look like the country he grew up in, not the one in which I grew up.
What happened to the "land of the free". How can this not be wrong?
This is not an anti-Obama scree, this is beyond one single President; a system out of control. I submit this is not a right/left issue. It's an American issue, and one we had best adress quickly, while we are still able.
Posted by CanonRay | Mon Jun 24, 2013, 10:16 AM (96 replies)
Can anyone identify this? The cups are about 9.5mm wide and 17mm deep. Found on a twig on the ground near the Pacific ocean.
Posted by CanonRay | Tue Jun 11, 2013, 11:33 AM (5 replies)
It can be political, religious, or any other criteria.
Posted by CanonRay | Sun Dec 30, 2012, 08:49 AM (115 replies)
I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the tragic death of Jordan Davis, the black Florida teenager killed a few days about by a middle aged white male with an available handgun, over loud music from the teenager's car.
What brings this home to me is that I have a black 15 year old nephew, the sweetest kid you could find. In another year, he'll be sixteen, and no doubt riding around in cars with his friends, just like I did some 45 years ago. And, no doubt, he and his friends will play their music too loud, just like I and my friends played the Stones way too loud. But nobody shot at us for doing so, and even if people yelled out turn it down, that was the extent of it. I can only imagine myself or his father's reaction if what happened to Jordan Davis happened to my nephew.
I don't want to get into a debate about gun ownership; I own a few myself. I don't even want to debate concealed carry. But I think this Stand Your Ground business is at least one step too far.
Let's just suppose that black males in Florida decide to publicly go out and get concealed carry permits and start packing in large numbers, which considering what's going on down there would not be an illogical thing to do. The white population seems to be on the verge of freaking out all the time anyway, and that would set them off big time. Could people in Florida just shoot each other when they saw the opposite race coming down the street? Because they feel "threatened"? Just walk up and wham. For no reason other than you feel threatened because the other guy might be packing. This is where Stand Your Ground seems to be going, and to me, that way lies Madness. That way lies the end of civilized society. I can see this being the logical outcome in a few years, of what is happening in Florida.
I hope they wake up down in Tallahassee and repeal this terrible law.
Posted by CanonRay | Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:26 AM (1 replies)
I have posted a petition to ask President Obama to pardon former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. It has 27 signatures, needs 150 to get publicly posted on the White House website. It will need 25,000 for the President to respond.
If you agree that Governor Siegelman was unfairly prosecuted, please go and sign the petition. I know there are others out there, but none on the White House site:
Posted by CanonRay | Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:23 AM (2 replies)
James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio was on MSNBC, discussing the election and said that the choice is whether we want a President, or a "Boss". Romney is a boss.
I think Romney is a classic CEO. Everythingn is a cost/benefit analysis. So when you work all your life, but now go on Social Security, you move from the benefit column to a cost, and are no longer necessary and should be cut. That's why the right hates pensions of any kind. If you are in the Army, you are a benefit, but get wounded and now you slide to the other side. Sorry, we have to let you go! Why should we take care of the sick, what benefit do they provide?
Romney sees everything in this light, and it is the source of his 47% comments. Life is a big spreadsheet to him.
Personally, I want a President.
Posted by CanonRay | Thu Oct 18, 2012, 09:53 AM (6 replies)
I believe this is a throwback to his grandfather's polygamous culture. The "Prophet" would keep a book, or binder if you will, with pictures of eligible females from which his chosen male followers could make their selection to get additional wives.
At least I understand this went on (and still goes on) in polygamous groups.
I think Mitt slipped up big-time.
Posted by CanonRay | Wed Oct 17, 2012, 12:02 PM (2 replies)
Mitt Romney will NEVER release any additional tax returns. He'd rather lose, and he wants desperately to be President. I don't know what is in there, and won't speculate here, but it must be something terrible.
The main point though is that if he wins, it will set the new standard for disclosure of tax information by candidates. Never again will we, the people, get more than a token release of tax information. This standard will trickle down throught the political system. We will have lost yet another check on our wannabe leaders.
So if you, or your spouse, or Uncle Johnny or Aunt Tilly vote for Romney, you will be voting for this new standard. I hope you will mention this to any fence sitters still out there.
Posted by CanonRay | Sat Oct 13, 2012, 11:34 AM (2 replies)
I know everybody has one of these in their family, but I have to rant.
So my wife’s sister and her husband, my dear brother-in-law, came to visit us this week. Now there’s a mixed blessing.
Rob is a one of those guys who always voted Republican, and now considers himself to be a libertarian. He's been slowly going off into the deep end of the pool over the last few years. Here’s a guy who probably hasn’t paid Federal income tax (he lives in a no income tax state, of course) in at least thirty years, and yet bitches incessantly about taxation. He pays property tax, and when he has to, sales tax. Period. If he could figure out how to get out of those, he would. Taxes are for suckers, according to Rob.
I generally tune him out, or try to. I don’t watch MSNBC, let alone Current TV, when he’s around. I basically de-news the house, so I won’t have to listen to his comments/rants.
This time I actually tried to figure out what he was thinking and tried to listen to what he was trying to say. It boils down to this:
He wants no government. Not limited government, NO government. He claims we don’t need it. We could police ourselves, put out our own fires, teach our own kids, and generally get by just fine, thank you, without any form of government at all. According to Rob, all governments, everywhere, throughout history were corrupt, thieving and unnecessary.
He says he just wants to be left alone. He completely and utterly rejects the Social Contract. He just simply doesn't give a crap about anyone or anything but himself. He is the epitomy of "I've got mine".
This is a guy who is so angry at everyone and everything, it comes down to that he entirely rejects society, and thinks that this “idea” would work out just fine.
Oh, his kids went to public school, and were eligible for two years free tuition at college. He drives on public roads. The cops and firemen protect his business and equipment and his home, but he doesn’t want to pay for any of this. When wildfires threatened his house earlier this year, and the BLM and Forest Service put the fires out, he didn’t pay a dime. Not one dime. His drinking water is clean, and he breaths clean air, because the guy who owns the land behind his house cannot open a smelter, because the EPA won’t let him Rob didn’t pay for that, either. In fact, he wants the EPA (and every other state and Federal agency) to go away.
Somehow, and he never says just how, he could take care of everything quite well on his own, if "they" would just leave him alone.
So when you get to the bottom of Rob, the real nitty-gritty core, what you’ve got is an angry, greedy, white guy who has ideas so cynical, irrational, impractical and juvenile as to defy imagination.
Now that I fully understand what he’s getting at, I will be able to tune him out just fine.
Posted by CanonRay | Mon Aug 20, 2012, 04:52 PM (39 replies)