Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Thing Is - It's Veteran's Day

I was born into an Italian Catholic family in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1946. I went to Catholic elementary schools. These facts shaped who I am. I no longer consider myself a Catholic, but I would be dishonest if I denied the degree to which my religious teachings have influenced who I am.
When I was 5 years old, my sister took me to see "The Thing". You never really got a clear picture of "The Thing", but you knew it was a deadly enemy that was killing humans and using their blood to grow more things. I was terrified in that theater. That too influenced who I am.
 
Catholic morality was a matter of black and white. There were no grey areas. Something was either wrong, a sin, or right. If you died in sin, you could go to Hell for all eternity. If you ate meat on a Friday you could end up in Hell. What was right or wrong was proscribed in Catholic dogma. The Pope was the ultimate authority.
When I was a kid, movies were filmed in black and white. Black and white was particularly appropriate for horror movies. "The Thing" and "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" were science fiction horror movies. The monsters came from outer space.
The monster in "Frankenstein" was man made. The monsters in "Dracula" and "The Wolfman" became monsters after being bit by either a vampire or a werewolf.
In the Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman movies, science could be either beneficial or harmful. Dr. Frankenstein's ambition created the monster. Doctors in Dracula and the Wolfman movies were often looking for a cure.
I no longer believe in the God I was raised with. I believe in life and that's enough of a mystery to me. I believe that I have responsibility for everything I choose to do. I don't believe I have a right to harm any living creature or any of the various biosystems that support life.
War is the antithesis to just about everything I believe in. Thankfully, I have no first hand experience of battle. I worked for decades with people who suffered from emotional trauma. A large number of them were veterans.
Wars are only possible when people let other people tell them what is right and wrong. Wars are only possible when we choose to blindly follow a leader.
There are many kinds of leaders and there are many kinds of wars. Unfortunately, we are all veterans in one form of "ideological war" or another. Civil rights are not universally respected. Economic freedom is not guaranteed. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion are not always accepted.
There are secular prophets among us. They continue to lead us into conflicts among ourselves. They would supplant traditional religious dogmas with their own personal dogmas that they insist are based upon religious or economic teachings.
Communism has been the enemy of Capitalism for over a century. Russia leaders have been the traditional face of Communism in our world. Russia has been our enemy ever since 1917. Russia was even our enemy when it was our ally during World War II.
There is much happening today that would be inconceivable when I was a child. Russia has interfered with our 2016 elections. We have an Administrative Branch of our government that has colluded with Russia and there are individuals associated with that branch that appear to have committed treason.
Russia has poured millions, if not billions, of dollars illegally into our economy. By investing in crime and propaganda, Russia has contaminated our society and capitalized on our own political, economic, religious and social divisions.
An investigation has been underway for months into all this. Robert Muller is leading that investigation. So far 3 individuals have been indicted and one has plead guilty. Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, was one of the 3 indicted and one of the dozen felony charges against him include conspiracy against the United States.
The GOP has rallied behind Trump. In recent years, the GOP has allowed itself to be taken over by extremists of all persuasions. White supremacy is tolerated within today's GOP.
Roy Moore is currently running as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama. He is the president of the Foundation for Moral Law. The other day, several women came forward saying that he sexually abused them when they were teenagers and he was a grown man in his 30s. The youngest of them was 14 at the time.
So here we are on Veteran's Day 2017 and our headlines include: "Trump says he believes Putin's election meddling denials" (CNN). Yes, the United States President is at a world conference in Asia saying that he believes Vladimir Putin over our entire intelligence and justice community. Yep, Putin trumps a total of 17 of our agencies including the FBI, the CIA, the NSA.
Another story quotes Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler. “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” and “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” Yep, someone is actually using the births of John the Baptist and Jesus as a defense against child molestation.
Bibb County Republican Chairman Jerry Pow said he
he would vote for Moore regardless of the allegations rather than vote for Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Yep, Doug Jones, the man who successfully prosecuted two KKK members for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, a bombing in which 4 African American girls were killed, is less acceptable a candidate for the U.S. Senate than a man who was both twice removed from his position on Alabama's Supreme Court and who is accused of sexually molesting teenage girls.
The thing is it's Veteran's Day and we seem to have reached a point in our history when the very things our veterans have fought and died for have been discarded and replaced by the corruption of our country on every level.

The man I have evolved into over 71 years has gone through a lot of changes. I'm more sophisticated than I was at 5. I don't believe in Hell. I don't belong to any organized religion. Things are much more nuanced, but I believe it is wrong to lie and steal and cheat and hurt others. I believe treason is wrong.
Problems abound. Solutions are much more complicated, but "The Thing" is still right there in glorious black and white just staring us in the face and draining us of everything worthwhile in pursuit of its own corrupt agenda.

Holy Moly!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

All Hallows' Eve - The Upside Down

It's All Hallows' Eve. The boundary between this world and the Otherworld thins today. The ancient Celts called this day "Samhain" from old Irish meaning "summer's end". The Brittonic Celts called it "Calan Gaeaf" meaning "first day of winter".
Today we call it Halloween. Today our children go Trick or Treating. Today the boundary between our democracy and chaos is razor thin. We could be entering The Upside Down.
Stranger Things are happening. Stranger Things have been happening ever since Barack Obama was elected President and the Tea Party first appeared on our political landscape.
Stranger Things arrived on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Stranger Things took control on January 20, 2017 when Donald Trump, the anti-President, officially became the 45th President of the United States.
The Printer's Devil surfaced in Trump's Inauguration poster. Apparently is was "too great" a task for the typesetter.
Trump winced in pain when he put his hand on the Bible for the Oath of Office.
Trump's appointment of a "White House Chief Strategist" and "Special Counselor to the President of the United States" was clearly an indication of how we have shifted into a new political dimension - The Twilight Zone of American extremism and white supremacist nationalism.
Trump's bromance with Vladimir Putin is unprecedented in American politics. Our foreign policy has turned into a Little Shop of Horrors.
We have invited Dracula - Vlad the Impailer - into our Administrative Branch and he is infecting everyone.
Yesterday we learned of the first three indictments brought by Special Counsel Robert Muller.
Gates, Papadopoulos and Manafort are what could be the beginning of the end of a corrupt administration that threatens to bring our Republic to ruin - an administration that has taken us into The Upside Down - an administration well on the path to totalitarian rule.

We can expect this administration to use dirty Tricks and foul Treats to survive. If Trump succeeds, we'll all be losers. We'll be the worst generation - the generation that surrendered the country to the Forces of Darkness. 
The Exorcist is here. He is working to save our government from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He is exposing the corruption of our body politic by Russian operatives and criminal enterprises and ruthless American opportunists.
Papadopoulos has already pleaded guilty and has been serving as a cooperating witness since July. He is an important government witness. He has been wearing a wire for months.
Manafort and Gates are on home detention after pleading not guilty and posting multimillion dollar bonds. They are each facing 12 felony count indictments that include "Conspiracy Against The United States".
Guess who is railing against Muller's investigation? Guess who is doing all he can to bring it to an unsuccessful end?
Holy Moly!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." is an oft quoted line from the Wizard of Oz.
"The Wizard of Oz" was made in 1939 and has proved to be one of the most famous cinema fantasies of all time. It was based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"; a children's fantasy book by L. Frank Baum.
Baum's original story was published in 1900. It was made into a Broadway musical in 1902. Since then, millions of copies of the book have been sold all over the world. The Library of Congress has declared the book "America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale."
In 2011, Sam Brownback became the Governor of Kansas. The Koch brothers were his biggest financial backers. With the help of Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer, Sam launched his "red-state experiment".
Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow in Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity.
Laffer is a former Reagan economist.
The Koch brothers inherited a fortune from their super wealthy daddy. They have their own theories about government. They have put hundreds of millions of dollars into getting the people they want elected to political offices all over the country.
They were the major funders behind the Tea Party. The Tea Party is against "big" government, Obamacare, and corporate taxes. Some of its better known spokespeople were Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
Anyway, the Koch Brothers' main corporate headquarters is in Kansas. It made sense that the "red-state experiment" would take place in Kansas. The same Kansas where Dorothy and Toto were swept away by a tornado that landed them in Oz.
Well, let's jump ahead a few years and look at how the "red-state experiment" turned out in Kansas. The "red-state experiment" has pretty much ruined the entire economy of Kansas.
Yep, the whole State of Kansas was caught up in that "red state experiment" tax cutting tornado. Kansas ended up in the toilet.
People are working hard in Kansas to undo the ruinous damage Brownback and the Koch's and the Tea Party and Stephen Moore have done.
In June, 2017, the Republican majority in the Kansas Legislature put an end to the "red state experiment". Check it out for yourself. Click on "The Death of Kansas's Conservative Experiment" link below.


So you don't live in Kansas. So why should you be concerned about all this? I don't know. Maybe it's because some boys in Washington are planning to cut our taxes just like Brownback did in poor ole Kansas.
Yep, this is what these boys have in mind for us. We're not going to Oz. We're all headed for the crapper.
Holy Moly!