Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sagebrush Rebellion

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but YHWH pondereth the hearts.

Proverbs 21:2

It seems a bit pretentious to call it a rebellion or to call the participants patriots for participating in an armed sit-in as we used to call it back in the day.  "Highfalutin' " you might call it: rhapsodizing about sleeping under the stars and saddlin' up your horse, since one is still quite welcome to do that. Indeed I've done that myself although the horse was iron and didn't need saddling. The event that precipitated the Malheur occupation had more to do with arson of Federal Property than a camping trip or the right to enjoy the great outdoors.  It has more to do with the perceived right to exploit common resources for individual profit.

LaVoy Finicum, said by his family to be a gentle and kind man was killed yesterday in an armed confrontation with FBI agents. Although I don't know the details, I'm rather certain he died in vain, defending a nostalgic idea of freedom drawn from romantic fiction but also drawn from a relic of the days of anti-Communist hysteria. Strutting around with firearms on Federal property is more like something extracted from a Zane Fray novel that a political statement. Fiction, romance, free-range nostalgia and maybe a bit of the Bible thrown it to remind us of a time before government and "every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

You might see it as paranoia, the assertion that our government must by nature abridge our freedom continuously if not wantonly, and that there is no process for addressing grievances except in the old way, the frontier way, the fantasy way of the gun and by pretending that the legitimacy of government is an individual choice and not that of  the voting population.  The sovereign citizen is not part of our law and never was.  The idea of continuous revolution that "speaks from the muzzle of a gun"  is an argument found in the little red books the Red Guard used to carry,  not in our Constitution, but I'm used to seeing the words of Marx and Mao supported by people who think they're opposing Communism and seeing it everywhere.

But attaching noble purpose to the banal and even to the ridiculous is the stuff  of religion and politics, from terrorists "protecting' their almighty God to the claim of immunity to the law conveyed by "belief."  That noble purpose behind the Oregon occupation seems to be supported by a strange edition of the US constitution annotated by one W. Cleon Skousen, an anti-Communist crusader supported it seems by Glenn Beck which makes all kinds of  claims about whom the law pertains to and what the constitution allows and doesn't. You may be old enough to remember that Cleon was one of those loonies claiming Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist agent.  It's a book that's been distributed through Mormon sources and printed by the millions. It's a book carried by Cliven Bundy and others of his ilk

This madness lives on, lures people into a Quixotic epic including heroes with tin-pot helmets making suicidal attacks on the entire concept of Government.  That the United states was never intended to be for anyone but Christians who live as they please and do no more than what is right in his own eyes is at the heart of this "rebellion" and I would sooner call it a fugue, a fantasy and a fraud.  At heart though it's also religion and supported by a religion with separatism as it's legacy and hostility toward "gentiles" as it's heritage. 

Perhaps YHWH will weigh some hearts here, perhaps not, but the law will certainly weigh actions

Friday, January 22, 2016

Right Wing and Bitter

You betcha, says a drunk and incoherent Sarah Palin to a sympathetic audience of stupid, America-hating Republican idiots. Clingin' to our guns and our religions - you betcha and Drill Baby Drill as the oil rigs go dark and the economy stumbles on the world wide glut of oil.

Obviously prices have plummeted because Obama didn't want to drill in national parks so's we'd be more dependent on his A-Rab Moooslim brothers and prices rose because of Obama even before he was elected said she and Mr. McCain.

And, y'know that wife beating alcoholic sad sack Track only pointed a rifle at his wife because Obama sent him to war even though he saw no combat.  Vote For Trump - Vote for Palin all you booze hounds and psychos.  Time to take us all straight to hell, you betcha!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


In Principio et Nunc. . .

Now as in the beginning, the End has always been nigh. At least for Obama and Hillary.  Ever since .
Nixon slithered out of office, some scandal "bigger than Watergate" has been waiting in the wings to upstage any Democratic President.  Always just about to appear like Jesus and the Hidden Imam or Maitraya, the Buddha yet to come. We're still waiting or at least they are

Obama and Hillary. Those are the names the rebels have chosen for the current and would-be presidents and I'm seeing them treated in their propaganda as an entity of some sorts.  In the deranged minds of the microcephalic right these  are but just two faces of the apocalyptic beast featured in the continuing Republican Revelation played out every day on the web.

New Obama Scandal May Cost Hillary the White House!

That title appears in my mailbox almost every morning and has for months. Similarly dire warnings have been appearing for years under similar titles about some Obama Scandal about to break that just going to run him out of Washington on a rail,
covered with tar and feathers. Somehow this time the long awaited Obama Scandal  "may just" transfer to candidate Clinton by some magic process. From experience I'm assuming that "may just" really means " in our dreams" because there is no scandal of that sort and it's never going to happen and lest you think it's exclusively about Democrats, no, I'm still waiting for Dwight Eisenhower to turn the Army over to the Communists and the Zionist conspiracy and for Kennedy to relinquish power to the Pope as well as to
the Kremlin.  Faith abides and the bullshit never stops.

I'm not going to click on the link of course, as it leads to a long tedious tirade on some web site I'm just not going to visit, but of course these scandals never appear.  They're just tuned up from time to time and the perpetrators know the lust for scandal is so great the intended audience will never dare question the warnings lest they have to return to the grim reality of a Democrat in the White House.

Navy SEAL Ben Smith Drops Massive Bombshell. . . Says Obama is Ready to Impose MARTIAL LAW

This appeared while my morning coffee was warm.  I'm still waiting for any of the  warnings that flooded the Web years ago about Bill Clinton declaring martial law and turning the armed forces and our nuclear arsenal over to UN control, But the psychotic Right has adjustable memory so that it's now Obama who is about to do this. According to America's Freedom Fighters's blog a Navy Seal
has revealed Obama's plan to -- you guessed it -- declare martial law.  It's not going to happen, nor does he have any reason to do so, but paranoids, or Republicans as they're sometimes called will believe anything that feeds the fear and they'll go out and buy more fake military weapons to protect themselves against "jack booted" Obamatroopers. That's what it's really about: gun sales and revolution.

Former Seal Ben Smith appeared in a film a few years ago claiming Obama gave away information that could get Americans killed while taking sole credit for the operation that killed bin Laden, but of course the corroborating film clip was edited into the opposite of what was really said. You can look it up if you like, but I'm not going to provide a link to traitors and that's what they are.

So you can wait for that Obama scandal that will blow up Clinton's candidacy and you can read fiction designed to undermine the democratic process and destabilize a duly elected government, and in the process you'll doubtless uncover a veritable hell of lies, distortions, bogus accusations and predictions made by traitors and haters of  civilization and decency.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Some Conversation on Dr. King's Socialist Vision.

One feels compelled to make note of the day and of the man himself, but the risk these days is less about the ire of the people who loathe him than the ire of those whose "conversation" demands submission.  Reading this morning that 62 people own half the wealth of the world, I'm prompted to remember some of King's comments and that, like Jesus of Nazareth, he was a bit of a socialist and an economist.

I read this morning that according to an OXFAM report today,  the wealthiest one percent of the world now owns more than the remaining 99% and that 62 individuals own more than the poorest half of the world's population. That number was 388 only five years ago.  Unless you think that's a good thing, you might want to reconsider the blind worship of  laissz faire Capitalism which seems intertwined with the kind of Patriotism we dare not question.

Of course it can be argued that if the poorest half is somehow sufficiently well-off  to free us of concern, there really is no problem in this best of all Pareto efficient Capitalist worlds, but money is power and great wealth is great power. In our kind of Republic, economic power must take political power away from the less wealthy and depart ever more from Democratic principle.  There certainly are those who recognize that great wealth and power confer -- indeed demand great responsibility, but fewer are those who want that responsibility to be legally required, so that great power is so often used primarily to protect itself and the way of life it feels entitled to. Can there be anyone who does not recognize the connection between wealth and political, moral and  military power?  Certainly Jesus did, and as a Christian, so did Doctor King.

“And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.’ When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…”  *

Indeed we do. Do we understand the need of power to terrify and brutalize minorities as racism or do we recognize the need to keep them out of participation and away from political power? Keeping poor whites afraid of poor blacks diverts attention from the rich whites who want to get richer.  I'm just asking.  Is racism just the legacy of slavery or does it serve some purpose in a greater scheme?
Sure Black Lives Matter, but recognizing that or shouting it in the street does not deal with the causes or offer hope for improvement.  In a way, racism makes economic sense if preservation of wealth and power is the goal, and we don't fight it without recognizing that.

Capitalism alone will not create or maintain a society in which political power is not dominated by the rich, nor will more than an enlightened few philanthropic individuals be motivated to want a society where they can allow more than a minimum of political power and control to the 99%. Racism, I think King would agree is not a temporary thing or reserved for one race only, it's an economic requirement needed to limit political/economic power . When it's successful in doing so, it proliferates. Perhaps that's where King and I vary from the scripted conversation. If the need and ability to maintain the weakness of the public is thwarted, so is racism and of course, even if  most of the wealth is at the very top, those many rungs down on the ladder want equally as much to preserve their standing and keep the lower ranks down.

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”**

How we do that is the question.  King was no friend of Communism, but in today's America fear of Marxism is always with us and almost always irrational.  We fear reform of any kind and we fear having to pay for it even if it benefits us and repays our cost with a profit.  To that one percent, it's tempting, if not inevitable to think of the lower orders as the enemy.  I can offer no magic solution and certainly those who have done so have led us into one disaster or another.  I see no solution in the most vocal and demanding zealots today. I'm staying away from that "conversation" as being narrow and naive and divisive.  I'm only trying to call attention to what I think King believed: that racism, tribalism, greed and lust for power are as intertwined and inextricable from each other as Mass and energy and all these things must be considered as part of the equation if we want a better, kinder gentler world.


*–Speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.

**- Report to SCLC Staff, May 1967.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Self driving cars but Piloted space fighters?

Yes, I'm one of those people.  You don't want to watch Science Fiction  or movies set in the 1950's or 60's with me because I'm going to ruin it for you with my comments and criticisms about inaccuracy.  Even TV commercials can set me off.  Take the Geico ad I saw this morning where the lizard is driving along in an MGA 1600 (you can clearly recognize the dashboard and the air scoop on the fender) but when he gets our of the car,  it becomes an MG Midget, bug-eye headlights and all.  How can you buy from a company so careless about details?  It's so typical these days when last week is ancient history and everybody was born yesterday.

Needless to say, I can't watch Sci-Fi movies of the Space Opera type, a type which includes any of the Star Wars Genre based on WWII Sea Battle scenarios or those WWII bomber movies people of my age grew up on. Don't even raise the subject with me. You'll hear me rattle on about how such things are already so obsolete as to be laughable today and how much more would it be in an age where faster-than-light travel is possible.  Manually controlled machine gun blisters are already antique and close-in dog fighting under pilot control with fighters making turns that aren't possible in a vacuum are so stupid as to be beyond laughter.  Did you know the Millennium falcon cockpit is taken from the B29?  Let's not even get into relativity.  A hundred years later, and Hollywood is just discovering it but still getting it wrong, just as it gets Newtonian Physics wrong.

An interstellar craft travelling at unimaginable speeds is not going to have some sea-captain sitting in a chair issuing orders to the engine room or directing weapons control.  Think about it.  Nobody is going to be "plotting courses" as though they were on a planetary surface or two dimensional space. Computers are going to be better in a few thousand years and they're already doing these things for us. Handsome young heroes just aren't going to be going hand to hand with machines in combat when decisions must be made in femtoseconds.

I won't get started on bipedal humanoid aliens or alien civilizations that mimic our own at various historical periods, It's just more of the uninformed, unimaginative extrapolation from the past that  I loathe. Will 25th century spacecraft have human crews at all?  Planets with big, blue women on them?  Really?

Real science is so much weirder and so much more fascinating because it deals with things we never would have imagined in our backwards looking human minds, but if you don't want to hear all about it, don't watch TV, don't go to the movies with me, just stay away.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Safety First

There are so many innocuous-sounding rationalizations for tyranny, and I fear "safety First" is fast becoming another one.  The prevalence of  the "even if one life is saved" hyperbole is a bit of evidence that more freedom is being set up for abridgment and the most tenuous risks are the likely target of the safety above all movement.  Obviously at least one life would be saved if we banned alcohol and cars and kitchen knives and instituted curfews and many would be saved if we simply locked up males between the ages of 15 and 50, but anyone who envisions that is probably paranoid. Anyone like me who has been following the attitudes of  the self-righteous safety nerds since the days of Ralph Nader and the anti-car movement, of movie censorship and the Comics Code, has cause to worry.

The current golden age of American cars has, it seems spurred the development of self driving cars, starting with cars that automatically apply the brakes when the on board computer gets spooked.  For skilled and vigorous drivers the fear is that the Safety Software will decide to jam on the binders just as you hit the apex of a decreasing radius downhill turn and kill you.  We have motorcycles advertised to prevent you from doing a wheelstand or banking over too far or locking up a wheel and besides the fear of some gadget taking over the controls, the elimination of the need to learn (and take pride in) skills is horrifying, but with the ever increasing desire for absolute safety it won't stop there.  It seems obvious that the goal is to eliminate driver-controlled cars.  There's talk of pilotless airplanes.  Safety First.  It's better to have a helpless, dependent population than to risk injury. Lets just assume we're all irredeemably incompetent invalids and confine us to wheelchairs -- self driving wheelchairs of course.

I wonder how much of this fear contributes to the boom in TV shows about surviving in the wilderness or to living off the grid.  How much of the boom in gun sales is related to the sense of forced helplessness from having our safety and welfare the exclusive provenance of the State. Rational fear or not, people are being pushed toward fear of being monitored, restricted and limited to having all life's adventures only in Virtual Reality where you can be charged a fee to pretend you're free.

Perhaps it is irrational to fear that not only will I have to drive a vintage car to be able to have a manual transmission, but to have a car that allows me to drive at all, but humans are not rational creatures and as long as we have to listen to the constant litany of dangers that can be avoided by submitting to shoes that don't let us walk too fast and cars that drive themselves at the posted speed limits and refrigerators that order our food for us based on someone's idea of an ideal diet, we're going to see the Matrix as not just another cheesy Sci-Fi cliche' but as the pit at the end of that slippery slope.

You'll have to pry the steering wheel and the handlebars from my cold dead fingers along with the salt shaker or the bag of French Fries and you can keep your robot hands off my freedom!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The tyranny of big numbers

Now they want to grow it on the moon and eat it raw. 
I can see the day coming when even your home garden
 is gonna be against the law.
-Bob Dylan-


The problem with living on a planet with 7 billion other people is that the tiniest of things become consequential.  Something that costs me less money than I would be willing to bend down to pick up translates to obscenely vast amounts of money and resources just because there are so many humans infesting our world who might just reach for that penny too..

The things we hear from environmentalists may make them seem like out of control Luddites and haters of technology, but in the kind of crazy way the flap of a butterfly wing may cause hurricanes, plugging your cell phone into a charger in your car is the equivalent of burning almost a billion pounds of coal. Or so we're told by credible sources. How then can we justify having hot water in our homes or eating toast for breakfast or refrigerating our food?  How soon before we live in the dark and cold and eat raw potatoes just to keep life from going extinct?

The need to save energy seems like it's going to choke the life out of us and bring civilization to the point of collapse if you read the warnings, and a Kategorischer Imperativ hangs over our heads like a sword. Costs a penny to make a slice of toast? What ef everyone did it -- the world would go dark and trillions and trillions of Watts would be used and mountains of coal would burn and the sky would turn black as night.  Light a candle against the dark and you destroy the world by adding umpteen gazillions of pounds of Carbon Dioxide to the air. Don't ring the doorbell which uses a microwatt second -- just knock.  Make a pot of coffee and some island sinks beneath the waves. Stand away from that car, the dome light alone would use megawatts per second if everyone did it.

7 billion people!  If we all face West and fart, the planet will stop turning.  We need to ban beans but how soon before it's 10 billion -- 20 billion people?  Kind of suggests that the "lets produce food like we did 200 years ago"  people may become food for the starving billions and all the "save the planet" schemes and products will fade away with the power mower when we start to eat our lawns because there's no more agriculture.

But of course you're environmentally conscious and so you didn't read this because it would take enough power to move Everest to Idaho if you all did and so you'll just go ahead and act like you're not the planet-killing consumer you are and you will just go on making phone calls and flushing the toilet and eating a hot breakfast until it all blows up.  Me?  I don't give a damn so batten your hatches and stock up on bottled water. My phone needs charging and I'm gonna plug it into my great big V8 automobile and do it right now!

Monday, January 04, 2016

7 minutes in Shanghai

Yikes, a seven minute tumble in the Chinese markets sends out gravity waves that shake the world.with the worst opening to a new year in at least 30 years. The Dow is down over 400 points as I write this. The complexities of our time and our interconnected world seem impossible to unravel and the immediate future impossible to predict with any kind of confidence.

So who does America look to for guidance in a world full of insoluble turmoil, inescapable change, and irresistible forces?

My God!  Obama's modest proposals to extend background checks are making gun sales explode., making Trump's fortunes rise.  Armed militias are occupying government buildings. We may be looking at another war in the Middle East involving an ally with whom we have treaties.  Russia is beefing up it's nuclear defenses. Another recession looms.

Who ya gonna call?  Donald Trump?  Ted Cruz?  Ben "dumber than a first grader" Carson?  Shut down the government, defund everything, throw out he Mexicans, ban the Muslims and buy more guns -- that'll fix everything. Never mind what the foreigners do.

Once again, America looks to the dumb brute, the ignorant blowhard, while the rational few cry
America - why has thou forsaken me?

Sunday, January 03, 2016


One of the results of the degradation of language and of journalistic laziness in America is the inability to find words that accurately describe things, and consequently conversation tends to become trapped in the struggle to describe what's going on with a limited choice of words rather than to discuss what to do about it.

"What do we call this" asks the Press.  Is the armed occupation of a Federal building by a group attempting to force the Federal Government to give in to their wishes and to stop due process at gunpoint "terrorism?"  It's hard to answer the question -- as hard as it is to find it relevant.  The question of whether anyone in the isolated and vacant building, or indeed in Washington feels a sense of terror is moot.  The question of whether it's armed insurrection cries out for an answer even if all the journalists lack the vocabulary to give one.

Are these "good guys with guns" "protesting"  unfair actions and policies of the Government or are they an ad hoc and illegitimate militia staging an armed attack on the United States?  The story may be too complex for simple minds, but it includes misappropriation of public resources, arson and destruction of evidence,  and although no shots have as yet been  fired: Rebellion.  We've seen it before: the Whisky Rebellion, Shay's rebellion, the Wilmington Rebellion of 1898 and others are blemishes on the face of democracy and constitutional government, some of which were factors in the drafting of the Second Amendment. Was the attack on Fort Sumter an act of domestic terrorism or an act of war?  Did it suggest the use of policemen or of the Military?

All the rifle rattling of recent years, promoted and praised by various right-wing movements and their lackeys in Congress and the Press has allowed enemies of  civilization to hide behind a screen of misleading rhetoric as the Klansmen hide behind sheets while bypassing law and order for personal gain.  The idea has been promoted that continual rebellion is progress and that revolution, as Mao Zedong told us, speaks from the muzzle of a gun.  "We don't like the results of that election, so warm up the Winchester Bubba, we're gonna take over the courthouse." That's just the kind of patriotism the Founding Fathers had in mind, say the guys in camouflage while the ghosts of the Bolsheviks smile down in Hell.

There's a word for this when the guns are in the hands of a foreign entity:  War.  There are words for it when "sovereign" citizens confront our government with force of arms: Rebellion, Treason, Insurrection, revolution. Choose one, choose them all, but none of them are patriotic. All are enemies of the basic premises of  our government. All of it assumes that the laws that ensure our freedom are the enemies of freedom and that only the armed are free.  It's time to face facts, to stop whimpering, to identify the enemy and deal with him harshly.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

So is the new Like

So I've been trying to get attention with my observation that younger Americans are beginning their sentences with the word "So" ad nauseam.  So no one wants to hear it.  So we have a new year now and so perhaps with the release of the annual  "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use,Over-Use or General Uselessness" by Lake Superior State University in Michigan, my readers will stop ignoring me.   "So" is at the top of the list.

LSSU has been issuing the list since 1976 and although it usually makes me smile in agreement and makes me feel validated as a curmudgeon of worth, nothing really changes.  Americans are so infatuated with baby-talk and with sounding like the other illiterates trying to seem hip or educated or even oneness with the masses  they're not easily persuaded that working "selfie" or cray-cray into every line is just plain stupid or that it's time to stop demanding that we "have a conversation" as a euphemism for "shut up and listen."

Of course these little infatuations do fade eventually.  Starting a sentence with so will go the way of starting a sentence with "say" and fewer sentences will be larded with "like" as they were in the 1990's. But you cant be sure. Both affect and effect are gone forever it seems, and no one sends invitations any more.  It's nearly certain however, that words that sound similar will continue to undergo a kind of syncretism. Our grandchildren will tell us to "annunciate" our words and to assault our ears with other false congnates while English Teachers nod approvingly and the American vocabulary will continue to swell like cheap sausage with inert ingredients and other stuffing. It's just Cray-Cray.

But not all of us will go gently into that confused darkness. LSSU and I, like Quixote and Panza will go on as America hashtags and twerks itself into an epic fail.