When the going gets tough, the Republican Toughies hide

4a941-eyeflash

Cowards of the county … real snowflakes …. genuine cut-and-runs … bait-and-switchers … like the one we got in Eastern Washington District 5 who is touted as the most powerful Republican woman in the House.

They got nothing.

They wanted to run things … they got their wish … no one to blame but themselves and can’t dodge that bullet.

GOP Leaders Hiding From Angry Constituents To Avoid Obamacare Questions

By the way, Tom Cotton is the “big tough guy who committed borderline treason by sending a letter to Iran telling them not to comply with the Iran nuclear agreement, directly undercutting the President of the United States, that guy, the military guy, big tough guy, you know, he is running away from his constituents.”

 

The Republican Party still wants to repeal Obamacare. The Republican Party still has no idea what they’re going to replace Obamacare with. They know that, but more importantly, the public knows that and that’s why over the last couple of weeks, people have been showing up to offices of Republican representatives demanding answers, saying tell us what you’re going to replace it with. They’re not even necessarily saying don’t replace it, don’t get rid of it. They’re just saying, “We need to know that a replacement will be in place the second you repeal this, and we want to know what it is. After all, we elected you. We put you in office. The least you could do is tell us what you’re working on.”, but the public knows the answer. They know that the Republicans have absolutely nothing in the pipeline that would indicate that they have a replacement ready to go for Obamacare.

…It’s not just Tom Cotton. Peter Roskam in Illinois, same thing. His office is no longer taking calls. They’re not accepting any calls from angry constituents wanting to know what the replacement’s going to be. They’re not taking calls from people who just want to know what you want to repeal it. Can you just answer that question and tell us why and not because Obama did it and not because you want a patient-centered healthcare plan? As Paul Ryan likes to say, fancy words that mean absolutely nothing. Patient-centered? Seriously, what does that mean, Republicans? Representative Barbara Comstock, same thing, hiding from her constituents, just like Tom Cotton and just like the entire Republican party right now.

They just want to talk to the senator.


“I’m no threat to the Senator  or his staff.

When religious rhetoric is used to garner electoral support we all lose.

christian nation eagle cries

The key to a viable democratic republic is not a common religious righteousness. Rather, it’s a harmonious diversity in which there is an appreciation for differing perspectives. Differences are buttressed by an on-going tradition of keeping sacred the long-time legal reverence for individual rights and freedom.

It’s THAT freedom the we have seen denigrated through political rhetoric that portrays America as a global victim somehow authorized to extract vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;

… that insists we can justifiably redress perceived wrongs against us with belligerent and rash behavior contrary to what I thought we all mutually considered “core values.” It’s THAT freedom that we have seen denigrated through religious social rhetoric that portrays American Christians as a social victims somehow authorized to assert themselves at the expense of the Bill of Rights – attempting to formalize social vengeance against imprecisely defined “others”;

Although it may not be necessary that those reading these lines immediately get out of their pajamas, turn off the computer and go picket the nearest Christian church, it is necessary that we pay attention to the voting patterns and habits of the last 35 years. In particular we ought to note the increased intensity of those who seem to feel that they are the only “moral-values” voters. These are the voters who have been apparently stampeded into the only political action required of them by their own activist Christian political celebrities.

They must continue to vote every two years.
They must be stampeded into keeping the supposed Christian-in-the-White-House IN the White House, accompanied by loyal and partisan congressional Republican crusaders; they who – on their horses with flags flying, lances ready and swords drawn – are ready to force their political ideology on those very gullible voters who bought the snake oil.

Showdown Coming

I see the “showdown” as not between conservative and liberal Christians nor as between conservative Christians and a coalition of every other citizen in this country. What I see is the possibility of conservative Republican congresspersons driven by the radical religious horses that got them there actually going so far as to legislate something that seriously alters how life is lived in this country.

I see foolish people triggering a showdown between right/left and liberal/conservative that explodes in an uncontrollable way – forcing everyone to choose sides when they badly would not want to choose – a choosing that has no socially redeeming value for human freedom and personal rights in America.

It’s one thing to enact laws the keep taverns 200 feet from churches. It’s something else to enact laws that seriously alter our national habitual understanding of – for example – our Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state.

If that happens, these radicals who thought changing the laws was all that was needed will have no clue as to why rioters don’t “play fair” just because “it’s the law now.” They will not be prepared to cope with mass refusals to quietly allow themselves to be taken off to jail instead of rioting and striking back.

If Taliban-like laws were enacted we could see narrow-minded militant literalists become self-appointed and God-approved executioners. We could see a mindless, illogical and unreasonable acting against the gay, non-Christian, political liberal or abortionist in the tradition of those who perpetrate hate crimes.

The first time a jury in a community dominated by literalist thinking found such a person not-guilty I think these radical religious politicians would find themselves with more than they could handle.

Would you just sit around and moan if periodically a van came down your street and you watched as your gay neighbors, your neighbor who had a private abortion, or liberal speaker-outers were loaded up and hauled off?

Not for long …

That’s the naivete behind the assumption that making a law enacts a specific morality which everyone will observe BECAUSE we are all afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it.

That’s the tragedy that could come to pass so long as our public patriotism has the substance of tissue paper and we live afraid of paper tigers.

America has a chance … lest all the rebels die.

Send The Chosen to inauguration with a mandate for integrity and grown-up actions.

resized_99263-gop-2016-trump-rnc-pl_jenk_79-19973_t6301

I seriously doubt that voting America is on any page with mere continuation of Republican business-as-usual now that their majorities are a reality. I believe those Americans who went to the polls in November most likely voted what their gut – as propagandized and exploited by The Chosen – has already told them. They heard him, they believed him and now immediately stand waiting, some with hats in hand:

“Oh Mighty Chosen, something is wrong … very wrong … and needs immediate fixing. No more promises, thank you! Immediate action please!”

As shown by many of the Chosen’s supporters, there is no need for restraint right now – for example, the problems in the Middle East can be reduced to an exercise in political and foreign policy impatience.

WHEN, Oh Chosen One?

Many seem to think that civic patience somehow meant that you should only speak once for ten minutes every four years. The rest of the time let someone else’s magic be the civic consciousness of a nation.

Hang in there citizens! When you vote The Chosen into office, ONLY THEN can a responsible plan to stop the loss can be worked out and implemented.”

Madness.

It will already be too late by then.

“Plans” that falsely justify a mean drunk staying in the house of the abused to wreak more havoc in the name of moral responsibility is political spin. It’s a spin that attempts to prey on assumed electoral gullibility.

At its manipulative best it only gets worse especially when never lessened by a media in need of money-generating pseudo-campaign issues.

Even now we are not being guided to the moral or ethical high ground. Rather, the sound bite “nonsense-mongers” will now lead us up mere sand dunes. “Winning” voters in America are ready to rumble right now. Hopefully they are ready and inclined to expect immediate results that justify their votes and mindless trust of The Chosen.

What is needed now  and possible right here is not the mindless marching, chanting and banner-carrying protests that cause most to tune out. There is in fact – right now – national arousal in terms of an unlit fuse is just waiting for ignition. It is palpable in this country and you can feel it.

Dissatisfaction and a sense of something being seriously wrong and rotten permeates the mood of most whenever politics comes into discussion.

What can you do right now?

If you get polled, stick to those talking points the politicos are most nervous about. Express and emphasize unleashed and unbridled indignation that reflects RIGHT NOW frustration; genuine anger.

Cut The Chosen no slack. He never asked for slack, promising to start doing the stuff for which he was voted in immediately.

Delay is poor decision-making. Rather than waiting, speak out now if you are polled. And immediately start letter-writing and phone calls to those who are most nervous.

A national growl is sticking in our craws and begging release.

Don’t send lazy emails that tempt your politicians to respond with cookie-cutter form letters. Write a real letter and buy a stamp. Then pay a little more for a notification that the letter was received. Is your feeling for your country worth a letter, a stamp and and extra cents for notification of receipt?

Or call them up. Demand a specific response.

No form letter thank you!
No aide calling back with vague promises.
Demanded a personal response from your representatives. They work for you and have no right to imply to you that you are interrupting more important business. Your business is their business. They cannot pick and choose.

Why not? What have you got to lose by communicating just how fed up you are?
The key is to reveal right away that two years is a very short time; that we are an electorate genuinely pissed off enough to repudiate any candidate who proposes a “plan” rather than vows to change things the very moment he/she is sworn in.

Repudiation is precisely the buzz-saw waiting for The Chosen and his self-absorbed assumption that America is pining away for nothing more than a CEO-President with no domestic or foreign policy agenda.

Newly-elected presidents need to arrive at inauguration scared, worried and nervous. They need to be sworn in fully aware that something is expected NOW; that conditions are such that there is not going to be a 100-day honeymoon. There is no other choice.

An electorate that communicated that kind of impatience needs to sweep aside all the muck and nonsense. We can and must narrow the range of focus in this post-election moment.

All the pomp and bravado means nothing The Chosen needs feet held to the fire. He needs a sense of being one or two miscues from running scared because the electorate has legitimately convinced the winner that now means NOW. He was elected by uninformed badgers, not uninformed field mice.

Why would we need to listen to planners and political schemers and leave the door open to stall, delay and political manipulation?.
… tempting those we endorse to say to hell with what we expect.
… believing they can take just a little bit longer so they can have what they want?
Is that what you want?

Resistance is not futile …Thoughts on getting away with talking mean about the government

speakup

Why not speak up? Come on, if you believe in it, live by your beliefs, why wouldn’t you be honest about your concerns?

In January 2007 a bunch of uppity dissenters went after truth, justice and the American Way. My wife Lietta and I were there and participated. It was publicized as

Citizens’ Hearing on the Legality of US Actions in Iraq

The “Citizens’ Hearing on the Legality of US Actions in Iraq” will be held on January 20 — 21, 2007, in Tacoma, Washington, two weeks before the Feb. 5 court martial of 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada at Fort Lewis. Organizing Committee members Rob Crawford, Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma says that the national event “will put the Iraq War on trial, in response to the Army’s trial of Lt. Watada, the first US military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq.”

Iraq War veterans, experts in international law and war crimes, and human rights advocates will offer testimony in a format that will resemble that of a congressional committee. According to Dr. Lawrence Mosqueda, member of the Organizing Committee and Professor at Evergreen State College: “We are inviting testimony by Iraq War veterans and experts to inform military personnel and other citizens to reflect deeply on their roles and responsibilities in an illegal war.”

Testifiers include:
Denis Halliday, Former UN Assistant Secretary General, coordinated Iraq humanitarian aid;

Daniel Ellsberg, military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War;

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University;

Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Families Speak Out; Brussels Tribunal advisory board;

Harvey Tharp, former US Navy Lieutenant and JAG stationed in Iraq;

Antonia Juhasz, policy-analyst and author on US economic policies in Iraq;

John Burroughs, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy Executive Director;

Eman Khammas, Iraqi human rights advocate (via video).

Benjamin G. Davis, Assoc. Prof. of Law, University of Toledo; expert on law of war.

Geoffrey Millard, 8 years in Army National Guard; now in Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The hearing will present the case that Lt. Watada would, if allowed, make at his court martial. His defense attorneys maintain that the war on Iraq is illegal under international treaties and under Article Six of the US Constitution. Further, Lt. Watada’s defense argues that the Nuremberg Principles and US military regulations require soldiers to follow only “lawful orders.” In Lt. Watada’s view, deployment to Iraq would have made him party to the crimes that permeate the structure and conduct of military operations there.

A panel comprised of military veterans, members of military families, students, and representatives of labor unions, local governments, academia, and religious organizations will hear the testimony, examine witnesses, and issue a fact-finding report. Panelists will focus on the legality of the war, whether the invasion of Iraq in 2003 constituted a “crime against the peace,” whether the military occupation and economic constriction of Iraq constitutes a “crime against humanity,” and whether individual soldiers have an obligation or duty to refuse unlawful orders.

David Krieger, who was a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Hawaii during the Vietnam War, and is currently the President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will serve as panel chair.

Lietta Ruger of Military Families Speak Out (MSFO), Washington state chapter, says: “this hearing will focus attention on the role of the US government — rather than that of individual soldiers — in perpetrating the crimes of the Iraq War.”

*****

The following was my report on what happened during the hearings: Arthur Ruger, Bay Center, Washington January 22, 2007

We Were There: Thoughts on getting away with talking mean about the government

testimony-tacoma-012007

Photo by Arthur Ruger

01/22/07

About half way through the Hearing, my brain suddenly connected the dots of concepts from the American Government class I took as a 12th grader at North Gem High School in Bancroft, Idaho in 1964.

Here we sat assembled talking about our government and what’s wrong with it,

– perhaps a  majority of us taking for granted how a document (whose name gets tossed around like mustard and ketchup at a barbecue) protects us with more force and authority than had a brigade of troops standing guard outside the doors been present (unless necessary which then would make a military brigade a right of every citizen.)

What better demonstration that what all this is about is to live in one of the very few places on the globe where we can get away with it; that in a democracy some things lead to even greater manifestations of citizen power.

Here’s what we got away with this past weekend:

Amendment I – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Being married to an activist who can get things done has its positive perks which include sitting up front where I can hear and see stuff a lot more thoroughly. (And even for an old Veteran who thinks he’s seen it all and knows everything, sitting up that close is no place to be caught falling asleep!)

l-and-a-activists

Lietta and Arthur : nervous dissenters

So I thought I’d get my notebook and write down what I expected would be a thought, concept or cool quote that might enter my ears once every …  oh, say 45 minutes. I’d hear something I could use as a talking point or theme for long-winded articles or rants.

So ready to take notes, both feet on the floor and somewhat alert,  I started listening and then began to write. When it was over the old callous on my writing finger was back, having regressed some 40 years ago.

I don’t have a laptop, just a calloused writing finger and  36 pages of talking points. So no, don’t panic! I’m not going to write up 36 pages of talking points. But I am going to start writing over the next few weeks about thoughts the came flying into  my awake old military-Veteran mind as I  sat protected by a document.

Thoughts:

What would a “Constitutional” model of citizenship look like?

Does a good citizen live in indifference to freedoms possessed by few and coveted by most who live on an entire planet?

Does a good citizen justifiably think that the pursuit of happiness includes mere patriotism of consuming American-made products, enjoying corporate sponsored shallow entertainment, going to work, giving up withheld taxes and living only for today?

Does a good citizen leave most of the important stuff to bigmouth politicians who talk down to an entire electorate that is far wiser that it itself realizes?

Does good citizenship stop at the door to a military recruiter’s office?

Does a good citizen-soldier agree and commit to stop thinking and merely follow orders once a uniform is donned?

Hell yes!

      •  Hell yes, I will go! 
      •  But don’t tell me I can’t think
      •  Don’t tell me I can’t discern
      •  and don’t tell me I have to violate law and repudiate the Constitution to help some fool up my chain of command stay in the driver’s seat.

Our assembly did not ask that question, but instead refused to wait for some sort of wise permission from any “higher authority” – elected or wannabe – that pretends to know more and understand more Civics than what we know and understand.

Our assembly waited for no one’s endorsement.

      • We gathered
      • We deliberated
      • We will be heard
      • We will demand REAL American Constitutional justice for all!

We will ask, for example, of the Lieutenant’s presiding Court Martial Judge,

if the illegality of the order to march out and kill is a concern included in the Constitution, why is it not relative to a thinking soldier’s right?

By the way – to all fools who say “You signed on, you knew what you were doing, stop whining and get going!” – read an officer’s oath.

That oath includes the primary and overarching vow to protect and obey the Constitution. Nowhere does an officer’s oath -unlike an enlisted man’s oath – include a vow to obey without question or assessment of orders from all superior officers.

So I’m already worked up but have to get going to work so I can earn more tax money to pay – among other things – other citizen soldiers to protect the rights of every other American citizen and their court marital presiders.

I’ll close this morning with a quote from my distant relative, a much maligned (and deservedly so from my own reading of history) former president, but a highly admired, respected and effective military officer and commander of all American forces at the time. Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant’s words in and of themselves, authorize any and all – past or present –  U.S. military  officers to think for themselves, even if they never run for president.

“one of the most unjust ever waged on a weaker country by a stronger.” – On America’s war against Mexico-

u-s-grant

photo: thinkquest.org

I don’t think we changed many official Bush admin minds, but you know,
speaking up felt better than whining in private conversations with folks
who wouldn’t be caught speaking out in any format.

The Soldier’s Relationship With America

During the years of President G.W. Bush, when confronted with the initial news out of Abu Ghraib, our President reportedly said,

“That’s not one of American’s core values,”

or something like that. A restoring of America’s definition of its core values needs very much to include a restoration of the understanding of civics in our society.
I want to see a return to real civics education in this country; not the kind that generates high school grads and/or college students who tell poll takers how the government should not let people speak against the president or the government.
Understanding one’s civic duty and responsibility is one strong way to encourage movement toward peace and justice. Without an understanding of civic involvement, war and the reasons for it are rarely understood, let alone supported. Supporting war becomes only one of the choices to a citizen who understands civic duty and responsibility. With such duty and responsibility  one can practice neither and justifiably ignore human suffering and collateral damage – ANYWHERE
Civics in its own way can even suppress the brainless jingoism that more than a few citizens of this country seem to want and that is to isolate American morality from global morality.
Whether we like it or not the civic implication is that the American soldier who fights and takes life is fighting and killing on our behalf and in our name. If an enemy had it coming, then the American jingoists among us can take pride in the moment.
We might justifiably shout,

“Good on that soldier for acting in my name!”

That’s what we can ideally declare during wartime. The soldier does for us what we can’t do for ourselves – defend the nation by physical presence and action.
But we cannot and should not be jingoistic.
Jingoists really dislike people from outside their own borders. Jingoism is an extreme form of patriotism that often calls for violence towards foreigners and foreign countries.

Patriotism — a love for one’s country — can, in certain cases, turn nasty and go beyond wishing for the welfare of one’s own homeland. That’s when a patriot becomes a nationalist. From there, it’s only a short step to becoming a jingoist, one who not only waves the flag of their country but believes that all other people are threats and should be treated as such. -vocabulary.com/dictionary

As a response to the idea that those who volunteer for the military are assumed to be fully, intellectually and emotionally aware of what they are doing at the age of 20 or so, I wrote the following as a commentary on the relationship between the military, the Commander in Chief and the citizens:
08/19/05
Your son volunteered. He knew what he was getting into …
So did I … in 1968, five months after the Tet offensive.
I dropped out of college and enlisted. And like the current volunteers who are described by worn-out conservative flag-wearers, I had a rough idea of what I was getting into.
That “rough idea” was based on trust … trust in a system and, ultimately, trust in a specific leader and a specific governing political party. The specific leader of course was LBJ, the specific party was the Democratic Party and the specific system was and is the system that allows us to hang our political opinions on buttons and sanctimonious drapery of stars and stripes from which we belch our prejudices.
When you sign up you endorse a contract on the bottom line. It’s a contract with specified written obligations on the part of both parties, but also with unspecified but powerful assumptions on the part of both parties.
Joining the military and knowing what you are getting into is based on very powerful unwritten but nationally accepted assumptions:
  • The integrity and honor of the commander in chief of the military and that CIC’s skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm’s way.
  • As a volunteer you are at the mercy of that individual, his party and their combined priorities – with a strong expectation that those priorities extend beyond a desire to remain in the driver’s seat.
  • As a volunteer you are at the mercy of your own fellow citizens (including your own family) whom you trust to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agenda’s and ideologies;
  • Leaders are driven by a genuine desire to involve the country in on-going mutual participation and compromise regarding foreign policy before resorting to force .
  • Volunteering to become a soldier is volunteering to preserve and protect – with your own power and will – the country, its borders, its citizens and its institutions. It isn’t volunteering to keep a political party in power. The only way to avoid that circumstance is for the citizens to assume their rightful role in the triangular relationship with the troops and the CIC.
  • The troops are expected to trust the CIC’s wisdom as well as the patriotic participation of the Citizens who will keep the CIC honest.
  • The CIC is expected to trust the troops to follow orders and expects to sustain by honesty and integrity the support of the Citizens.
  • The Citizens expect the troops to do their duties and expect the CIC to sustain by honesty and integrity his political authority. The Citizens must be willing to hold the CIC accountable and willfully resist when the honesty and integrity of leadership is absent.
If one considered, for example, the Iraq aggression as immoral, untenable, un-winnable and a needless drain of America’s most precious blood, then we can be constant in our love and loyalty to our soldiers and still lament and object to what they were required to do there.
Such is more than civic duty. It’s civic maturity.
As well as this kind of civic maturity:
When things like this are done, those who do it initiate action that may or may not be agreed with by others. But if disagreed with by others – a significantly large number of others – a shift begins. It’s a shift sustained by a growing voice of dissent that can only be healthy for a democratic republic.
I close with the 31st verse of the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell interpretation)
Weapons are the tools of violence; all decent men detest them.
Weapons are the tools of fear; a decent man will avoid them except in the direst necessity and, if compelled, will use them only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered, how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?

He enters a battle gravely, with sorrow and with great compassion, as if he were attending a funeral.

We need at least a two-party system with at least two parties invested in the democratic process of representation of the will of the people, not the party.

Garrison Keillor tells us why, and I am cutting and pasting something with which I totally agree and wish that I had written:

“The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio,tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks,

Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us,

Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.

Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.”

A movie I would show to a college ethics class as mandatory viewing

91035488842334486498

We watched Eye in the Sky which is a movie I would show to a college ethics class as mandatory viewing. Very well presented.
On this topic, Chris Hedges has presented another view of the same notions debated in the film.

Chris Hedges: It’s Our Bombs, Not Trump’s Comments, that Fuel Hatred Towards the United States – Veteran journalist Chris Hedges says though Clinton’s rhetoric on Muslims is more palatable, she has been an enthusiastic supporter of ‘bombing our way to peace’ in the Middle East

HEDGES: Well, islamophobia here is a doctrine that plays quite conveniently into the goals of the corporate state in the same way that anti-communism once played into the goals of our capitalist democracy. So the caricature of threats from the Muslim world independent of the actual possibility of those threats has especially since 9/11, one of the corner stones of the argument that has been used by the security and surveillance state to strip us of basic civil liberties, including for instance, under the Obama administration, misinterpreting the 2001 authorization to use military force act as giving the executive branch to right to assassinate American citizens. Of course I’m talking about Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son.
So the rise of islamophobia has been largely independent of anything Muslims have done other than perhaps initially the attacks of 9/11. The continued over 15 years of indiscriminate violence, industrial violence, delivered on whole swaps of the Muslim world has stirred up the kind of hornet’s nest that we’re seeing enraged not only among Muslims in the Muslim world but Muslims in Europe and many other parts of the globe who despite Clinton’s rhetoric see this as a war against Muslims. I think that although she speaks in kind of a softer and more tolerate tone, Clinton has been one of the main architects of the attacks for instance in Libya that have given or empowered or given rise to groups like ISIS. While Clinton’s rhetoric is certainly more palatable, she has been an enthusiastic supporter that we are going to bomb our way into peace in the Muslim world.

Seeing the hand of God at this moment in time.

Release-the-kraken

These things come in cycles …

What goes around comes around …

And the wicked (whoever that is) shall harvest their crops …

Our wonderful Episcopal Dean spoke about global warning a few weeks ago from the Gaia point of view. Gaia – you know, Mother Nature, Planet Earth, the orb in space teeming with all the life that is hosted and provided for where we all reside. I can’t remember his exact words, but they conveyed this basic idea:

Mother Earth … our Planetary One is going to be fine. She is not going to be destroyed nor will she die. It is we who are in trouble. Mother Earth is telling us that she will be fine, but that she will no longer provide for our needs, protect us from the elements or the effect of the Sun and space on what happens. As if she says, “I can no longer take care of and protect you. You are on your own.”

So goes it with that mythic and so-called greatest country in the world. We have a young history in the timeline stream of nations and empires. Much of our American History is defined in history books as one long series of wars and political events – as if those are the only things that define us.

We’ve created our myths … notions such as American Exceptionalism, the country that saved the world from colonialism, communism, fascism and Nazism, not to mention Native American Depredations that we mythic-ally did not have coming to us,  a myth about racial and human equality that gets propounded fully so long as nothing happens to our un-admitted white supremacy (oops! I meant white privilege.)

More than one of our prominent and active national religious groups will not hesitate to declare that America is the choicest of global nations, even rumored to have been a country formed by God and long-sustained by a so-called curtain of protection based on our righteousness and rejection of church-defined spiritual “evils” … until by changing our minds we offended a thin-skinned God who – as Brother Falwell and Prophet Robertson insisted – withdrew his curtain of protection, resulting in the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

So in global and national affairs, I am willing to agree with my Dean regarding the fact that God and Nature have always done what God and Nature does and that rather than punish us for abusing the planet, we are entitled and obligated to reap the whirlwind, so to speak, and get what is coming to us.

However, and for me this is the best part about God and Nature whether they have a totally unbounded sense of  humor or a magnificent sense of irony – about which we dumb humans are mostly ignorant, I have a limited and mere mortal observation regarding the Divine (whatever that is) in our American lives.

 

Over the years our politics have careened out of control. When? Hell, I don’t know. But the signs were all there going way back.

We won a war of independence, our revolution, in the usual way. We became models for revolutions in Europe, Mexico and South America and who knows where else in the subsequent 240 years. We seemed to assume perhaps that we were the role models and mentors for the overthrowing of tyranny everywhere. In this we took ourselves way too seriously. (Think the Monroe Doctrine among others.)

We got too big for our britches and challenged a recent loser (England in that prior war) and in 1812 would up having to accept a draw this time that included the British Army sacking and burning our sacred national capital.

We pounded our chests politically for decades and argued about whether or not Black Lives Mattered, tied that question to our expanding statehoods and Manifest Destiny, and ended up in a civil war over that question.

We also experienced one or two come-uppances from the Native Americans over whom we trod with a massive military superiority that left them hopelessly outgunned and outnumbered. And we bragged about our exploits and made heroes of our ego-driven greed-driven and ambition-driven gun toters and money bags. Little Big Horn left us braying like milquetoasts who had been unfairly and undeservedly mugged in Central Park.

And  our white supremacy religion became an aider and abetter to the notion that our superior morale clarity came from one of the worst fundamentalist Christian attitudes ever.

Still we did not learn, initiating wars of conquest (contrary to our National Myth and think war with Spain, the Maine explosion and San Juan Hill.)

We warred two world wars to make the world safer for everybody and that was good.

But we didn’t do it alone. Although some large-mouthed drugstore patriots like to make much of how we seemingly single-handedly won WWII and to quote the notorious Bush-years patriots, “saved France’s bacon,” it was not America that took everything Hitler could throw at them and were still standing at the end (that was Great Britain). It was not America who took everything Hitler could throw at them, lose 20-million citizens which was humongously more than we lost and was still standing (that was the Soviet Union.)

It was true, we got to the big firecracker before the Nazis did and it can be said we ended the war with a bang, rather than with a mature and well-thought out demonstration that might have resulted in a negotiated end.

Hence we today continue our global and national swagger, led by our politicians and more increasingly contributed to by our journalists, our broadcasters and our celebrities of every stripe. The swagger led to wars in which we could not longer claim victory, only stalemate, or worse, humiliation. Our politicians however still maintained the rattling saber in most directions; and new directions as well (wars on drugs, wars on poverty, wars on you-name-it.)

The rattling saber seemed to have become the first tool off every politician’s shelf. Over time it only got worse.

In the 1980’s the religious right woke up and got involved and since they were mostly reactionary amateurs, jumped into the middle of the political fray with little civic understanding and a big ego that insisted that God is angry with the unsaved. They presumed themselves to be the loud, vociferous and indignant voice of the God who had decided to interject his patriarchal self into the national affairs of the world’s chosen nation.

Partisan politics  became to poorly thought-out tactic of the party who had for years been in the congressional minority despite having elected several presidents. That party wanted a political and social reboot, thinking that the only way to get the same would be to overwhelm the opposing but dominant and equally corrupt democratic party.

We continued to advance technologically without the help of God. We continued to advance psychologically and especially did the research and honed the skills in marketing, persuasion and outright brain-washing.

That for the most part is how Conservative politics devolved since the 1980’s into a perceived majority of American Righteousnes. Liberal became a dirty word, a label comparative to communist, traitor, less-than-human and even the N word (although most of the cut-and-paste labelers on social media cannot accurate define or portray a liberal or liberal philosophy.) The simple reason is that in so-labeling a political viewpoint, masses of voters could be trained in a mindless way to reject any idea not Conservatively Approved.

It’s not unlike a fundamentalist religion that trains its members to react in knee-jerk fashion when someone offers a perspective contrary to the group think or questions a perspective commonly-held and revered within the group.  In that regard, a contrary opinion is on the road to heresy and apostasy.

So goes it with our current political environment. We on the same side are the good guys and you on the other side (or vice versa) all are the bad guys the less-than-worthy.

Which brings me to my own intuitive mindset.

I don’t believe in a co-dependent God who interjects himself into human affairs. Such a God would not be God if that were the reality. God would be a partisan, nit-picking, helicoptering heavenly parent who doesn’t trust us to ever be wise.

But … having said that, I would express the idea that if I were the loyal believer in a Divine Meddler, I would have to evoke the Left-Behind spirit of prophecy and make this comment about how such a Lord has decided that silliness has gone on long enough.

In this moment in time only (and not forever and in any way to vindicate or indicate that Democrats are now the good guys,) I come to the idea that started this essay:

These things come in cycles …

What goes around comes around …

And the wicked (whoever that is) shall harvest their crops …

The desperate and radical country-changing plot initiated by party and ideological strategists in the late 1970’s has come to culmination in 2016.

God is about to shake the snow-globe.

Republicans, with a long recent history of propaganda, rhetoric, and broadcast manipulation have created a Krakon-Beast they should have had the wisdom to see coming down that escalator when Candidate Trump first came out of his closet.

That Krakon-Beast has now been release, is on the prowl and about to possibly destroy the party despite the best efforts of party leaders at salvaging. Their downline candidates are at greater risk with the implication being that majorities in the Senate and House are at risk, driven mostly by the Krakon disaster.

That Krakon and his 14 million angry mostly white voters will not prevail in a country where recently the total vote was approaching 120 million, and just might cost the party majorities in both houses of Congress, particularly when anti-gerrymandering legislation is in the wind.

That Krakon has brought out the worst of our human emotions and actions and – aided and abetted by broadcasters who need to make a story where a story doesn’t exist – almost daily lower our national civic IQ.

 

Faux News,the flagship broadcaster, is mired in a sex scandal that tends to cover up the fact of its shrinking audience of viewers who believe that what is broadcast is in actuality fair and balanced. (Think the hysterics of Hannity and O’Reilly – neither of whom are no longer widely admired or trusted.)  Murdoch has to do something about the loss of news credibility. Although the FN audience has not dwindled to the mere 14 million who voted for Trump, but it just may get there before the owners decide to change tactics (thereby causing CNN and the rest to ponder a return to old-fashioned real journalism.)

The intersection of the emergence of the Krakon, the fall of the broadcaster, the cyclic rebound of the opposing political philosophy and – I might suggest – that God is re-shaking the snow-globe … just a little bit.

At least there is more hope than in recent years … from a fundamentalist view, that is.

 

Vote … vote for competence as you yourself define competence. And quit telling me who you will or won’t vote for based on what someone else taught or convinced you to accept without you doing any personal work. Laziness is why we are where we are in this moment of intersecting disasters.

If you’re gonna argue political stuff, try not to sound dumb

Politics

Been watching the RNC convention to see if it’d be more entertaining than Comedy Central. Next week will do the same with the Dem’s convention. I ain’t trying to be cynical here but as I read what I’m writing I sure sound like it.

If you’re gonna be a die-hard Democrat, learn to argue Democrat talking points. If you’re gonna be a die-hard Republican, learn to argue Republican talking points. We have got ourselves polarized here. Conservatives have labeled liberals as evil and vice versa. Do ya want to impact the political action in this country, pick a side and stand up for it. If the parties look too much alike, you decide that, don’t let some personal friend posing as a cynic feed you his facts until you call them your facts.

Learn yer own facts dammit. Then forge yer own opinion and advocate for it from your own study, don’t pull the lazy chicken-poop of copy-and-paste somebody else’s cool phrases.

There be very few activist-moderate types nowadays … unless you want to build a soap box for better civics training, then stand an preach from it.

For the most part, the media wants to educate us to be conservatives or liberals cause it makes their management of what to publish easier … less nuance … less grey areas (where most wisdom is found.) It’s the either/or stuff the news folks like to sell. That’s why you can have the most wonderfulest idea in the world and a news org will take the dumbest disagreement from the dumbest doofus and claim that each issue has two equal 50/50 points of view, even if one is the dumbest thing you ever heard. That’s a version of fair and balanced or, more accurately, sellable versus boring and truth be damned.

Arguers for the most part are not trying to  learn anything. That’s cause they know what they believe and the meaner ones on both sides believe what they’ve figured out or been told and contrary evidence don’t matter.

So when you hear your hero or their hero make a point, cross-examine them in yer head. Think up questions you’d like to ask and then look up the answers to those questions you thought up. You’ll be smarter for it.

If you’re in a pissing contest with an opposite number as absolutely committed to their point of view as are you to yours, remember that both of you are inclined to dismiss each other’s truths. If you aren’t concerned with any truth but your own then you might be afraid of learning something new or being exposed to some sort of intellectual or political heresy. If you must conform to your bar-room group’s doofus theories you are stuck in a rut of conformity of your own creation. And you ain’t gonna be too effective whether you kid yourself that you are or not.

Case in point, watch the conventions of both parties. You’ll see choir preaching and rah-rah bullcrap tossed out with the expected screeching and ha-ha-Herman applause that do nothing but pass the time forward to the end of that evening’s activity. Case in point last night with Mr. Giulaani becoming hysterical and his arena choir eating it all up.  Giuliani shoveled more crap from that podium than I’ve seen in a long time. Democrats next week will have a hard act to follow … but some of them will try in the same vein.

Bottom line is that we’ve devolved politically to the maturity of a junior high school locker room … and that ain’t no laughing matter.

What I learned about being so right I might also be wrong.

Politics

Effective contribution to civic discourse:

What I learned about being so right I might also be wrong.

 

The greatest American Heroes are those willing to learn about sharing opinion … and then share it. To my chagrin, I have not tried to be a great American Hero, rather a Johnny One-Note who encourages political polarization as opposed to genuine civic and civil discourse.

The town-hall citizens that I believe were the civic hope of our Founding Fathers have a need to understand and preach political wisdom with among other things, three tools of communication:

Rhetoric – The art of speaking or writing effectively

Reason – The power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments by a process of logic

Persuasion – The action or fact of persuading someone to accept an idea, concept or fact.

A Con is not one of those tools.

A Con –  The act of cheating or tricking someone by gaining their trust and persuading them to believe something that is not true. A con is also the act of saying to someone exactly what that person is expecting to hear in order to create the illusion that speaker and listener are “on the same page.”

The goal of political debate is not necessarily to be “right.” Nor is it an advancement of a particular view of “the truth.” Rather, political debate has as its goal that of causing someone to act in a way consistent with the speaker’s objectives. Fundamentally as campaigns roll-out, political debate’s most important pursuit is the winning of votes.

Many political persuaders decided long ago that truth and reason are irrelevant to political debate. With competing ideas in a supposed democracy in which free speech is a function of persuasion, those most easily persuaded tend to be mostly one-dimensional, simple-minded or in fact unscrupulous regarding ends and means of persuasion.

If you would persuade, maintain constantly for yourself a reverence for reason and genuine truth. However, understand that you yourself may not know what is true, whether or not your reasoning can be shown as flawed and your own priorities not necessarily of the highest importance in the over-arching political and civic reality.

Unless you understand that your assumptive knowledge and wisdom are not drinkable bathwater, you have little to contribute toward genuine consensus.

 

Reason may not be the most effect tool of perceiving the correctness of your own perceptual truth and is perhaps of greater value in discovering for yourself what is not true.

 

Bearing a respect for reason and truth according to reason, political debate ought to be then a clear-headed objective of reaching consensus based on commonality of understandings of truth and reason.

 

Political debate is at its least usefulness when the principal reliance is on talking points, canned stump-speeches and the broken record of “Johnny One-Note” candidates. The object of such political persuasion is the creation of a voting base of Johnny One-Note voters who are obsessed with single or merely one or two issues about which a candidate or its party are obsessed.

 

Such becomes the Johnny-One-Note electorate about which it the following has been written and this is a quote I have publicly posted previously:

 

Author Oliver Lange in his novel, Vandenberg, had this to say about American society in the 1970’s.

“We proved the lie, were served up with a gagging portion of our own vintage distillation of apocalyptic horseshit

            — all the narcissistic swill about indomitable spirit, invincibility, courage and nobility of purpose

            — and demonstrated once and for all to those who looked on with interest a fact long suspected:

            that this nation, through a self-administered indoctrination of spurious righteousness, larded with the false rewards of superfluous luxury, had at last achieved the most tractable, malleable — let’s face it, spineless — people to walk the face of the earth.”

            – Vandenberg (later published under the title, Defiance) – The Journals, 1971

Lange’s Cold War novel concerned a fictional lone American holdout against a Soviet occupation of America – hardly a liberal theme by today’s standards.

Yet the description still appears to fit this society to a Tee.

Our politicians of both parties thrive on tossing our way narcissistic swill about what America stands for and what the American People are truly like.

I’m reminded of G.W. Bush during his presidency expressing surprise that the rest of the world might not see America and Americans in the same light as our narcissistic swill and all those talking points celebrities of all stripes throw at us.

For all of us as a political audience talk is cheap, indomitable spirits are prompted by the cheap theatrics and propaganda of pundits and political personalities, movies and commercialized patriotism more interested in money than global peace, global honor or global respect.

 

If we refuse to seek consensus among ourselves our whole lives will seem like unsatisfying and unavoidable implementations of ideas and notions entirely lacking in substance and socially redeeming value.