Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Equinox

 Tonight, a small bit of my brain will be given over to the imagery of a man in a grey cloak and a stag's head helmet standing in a stone circle with a branch of holly in his hands. 

This version of me, contained wholly within my imagination, comes from my Celtic roots, and no doubt is influenced by my studies. But, tonight marks the Equinox. A day with mystic significance to many, and of only passing mathematical curiosity to the rest of us. From today, the days will grow shorter, the nights longer. The Atlantic will see the Equinoctial Gales. The cool winds will blow, and turn colder next month. Summer is on the way out, Fall is coming on, and Winter is coming up the drive. All too soon, for many in the Northern Hemisphere, the old man in blue will be among us, nipping at our noses, chilling our feet, and making us wish for Spring to come dancing in. But for now, I see a darkness. I can hear ancient words in my head that come unbidden. I'm not superstitious, but the mood is changing. 

A small part of me, the part of me in the grey robes and the stag's head, it says back to the void : "Yes! Bring it! The Darkness is my friend!" But then so is the light. And there is still light, even in the darkest night. There is still hope.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Time is Coming, are you ready ?

 The time is coming, are you ready ?

Okay so. . . it's roughly 47 days until the elections. On election day, the American people will go to the polls to fill out, or have already mailed in, their ballots. The results may not be apparent for some days after the election. Here in Arizona, we have free mail in balloting, anyone who is a registered voter can request with no excuse a ballot. Once completed, the ballot is then sealed in an envelope and the back of the envelope is signed by the voter. These signatures are checked against recorded signatures at the Arizona secretary of state office. Those which pass are automatically counted by electronic device, and ballots are kept in case of a recount. (BTW, Arizona still uses paper ballots. All states should, IMO) So, Arizona's rough totals will be known either on election night or shortly thereafter. Of course, the totals will change as more ballots are counted, but this is a smaller number and probably will not be enough to change the top of the ballot result. Whatever happens, I wish Biden to win. This is not because I wish ill on his opponent, the incumbent, although I despise him. This year, I backed Elizabeth Warren. I like her, she's intelligent, warm, personable and has a big binder full of plans all ready to be enacted the moment she is sworn in. But, it was not to be. Joe Biden swept the series, hitting the cycle and winding up on third. Well, okay. So now I back Joe Biden. Not because I love Joe, but because he is the opponent of the party of doom. Unwittingly or not, Joe is Antifa. Knowingly or not, Joe is a white rose. He opposes the Fascist. We need to eschew Fascism and everything it stands for. We must, in this most crucial election of my lifetime, defeat the fascist would-be tyrant.
Ich bein "Wei├če Rose"
Down with the Fascists!
It should be noted that I am an ex-Republican, Former Conservative, who has seen at long last the moral bankruptcy of the Conservative position.  
But no matter who you think should be President, go out and vote this Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
If you are not registered, you can do this easily and in most if not all states, online. 
To find out how to register in your state, follow the links at the site above.

Friday, July 17, 2020

There Passes a Hero Tonight.

It is my sad duty to call to your attention the death of a national hero. Congressman John Lewis (D-GA5) has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 80.  He was a real hero, who put his life on the line for his beliefs more than once. John Robert Lewis was battered and nearly killed by police for the crime of trying to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge outside Selma Alabama. He led sit-ins at lunch counters, student marches, desegregation attempts at schools. Later he would get elected to the Congress of the United States, where he would serve 17 terms. But he never gave up the struggle for civil rights. This spring, he spoke with Black Lives Matter protestors, and told them "don't quit. " In a way, he passed the baton to the new generation. He was one of the original Freedom Riders in 1961.

Representative John Lewis. taken from us this 17th instant, July 2020.
Gentlemen, remove your hats for a moment of silence.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

cuatro de julio, veinte y veinte.

July Fourth, Twenty-Twenty.
On this day, some 244 years ago, a group of American Colonists, acting on behalf of electors, caused there to be published a document called the Declaration of Independence.  This document was a compromise. Yes, I realize that today, compromise is a dirty word. I realize that no one wants to compromise, ever. That they believe that compromise means death. or worse, because all too many have declared that they will kill and die before compromising. Well, this document, like many others after it, was a compromise. Some wanted to open with an offering of peace with the English King. Some were afraid that any such declaration would leave them open to a charge of treason against a lawful ruler. In the end, the members of the continental congress realized that the open rebellion that had been going on for a full year must be the course to take, and that the forces of the King must be driven forth from the newly-named United States. So it was. Each colony voted to form a new Union. The English King was to be told to piss up a rope. But this year, more so than many others, people have been demanding to know why they compromised then, and more so and worse in 1789 when they sat down to write the Constitution of the United States (replacing the grossly inadequate Articles of Confederation.) They wanted to know why a compromise, most especially with 3/5 of slaves or of "Indians not taxed." The Federalist papers, and other historians offer a fairly good idea why some of the compromises regarding taxes and representation, and even of slavery. but I want to talk about the "Great Compromise" from a different viewpoint. So here goes: 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

A Brief thought on confederate statues.

I've been reading and hearing a lot about people wanting to take down statues of confederate Generals: 

         I'd like to say here, for the record, that I approve of doing so wholeheartedly. Before any of you out there get on your hobby horse and tell me I want to erase history, let me save you the trouble.
No one is erasing history. In fact, I insist that grade school and Jr high and High schools teach the history of the Southern Slaveholders Rebellion. No, I'm not going to sugar coat it and call it "The War Between the States" or some other bullshit. I'm going to straight out call it what it was, an insurrection against the duly constituted government of the United States, with the intention of overthrowing said government. Live with it.
Next, before you whinge that we're taking down every statue, I want to tell you something.
First, we aren't taking down "every statue", just the ones glorifying the leaders of the southern slaveholders rebellion. The men who betrayed the United States because they wanted to go on OWNING PEOPLE. Do you see Germans putting up statues to Sepp Deitrich and Otto Kumm* ? Do you see Chileans putting up statues honoring Augusto Pinochet ? no, you do not. Those men cannot be excised from history either, but neither should they be celebrated. In America, statues were erected to men like Nathan Bedford Forrest and others, first in order to perpetuate the myth of the Lost Cause, and second to remind blacks that the Confederacy was Never Going Away, that it would always be there to keep them down one way or another, by law if possible and by judge Lynch** if not. 
The statues, and indeed all symbols of the Slaveholders Rebellion must in fact go away. Not because the men who fought for the South were not brave. There were many such. Not because the men who commanded the Southern armies weren't good generals, there were many such. But their cause was not noble. What they wanted was not good. What they did was evil, in the name of another evil. At best, they were misguided. So no, we will not forget them. But we will also not forget that the thing they stood for was a system of oppression, brutality, rape and torture. No, I will not forget the Confederates. Nor should anyone else. But I also will not give a pass to anyone who glorifies them or attempts to sell me the bullshit about "the Lost Cause". The cause should have been lost in 1789, but the Southern States demanded to be allowed to end slavery on their own time and in their own way. Well, 1792 came along and still slavery. 1803 and still slavery. 1840, still slavery. 1855, still slavery. and 1860, still slavery. It has to be faced up to that without the Abolitionists, slavery might well have continued indefinitely. (There is the school-to-prison pipeline, but that for another day.) 
The issue was never "States Rights" it was always slavery. go google "Ordinance of Secession" and see for yourself. 
Okay, enough for now. 
Sleep now.
Belated Happy Juneteenth. 

*Sepp Dietrich and Otto Kumm commanded the SS Adolf Hitler Division. 
**"Judge Lynch" being a euphemism for lynching people.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Lesser of Two Weevils.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Poster     In the movie Master and Commander : the Far Side of the World, actor Russell Crowe, in the character of Commander "Lucky Jack" Aubrey, tells a joke for his officers at dinner; he lays two weevils on the table and bids his medical officer Surgeon Physician Maturin to choose, which is the best. Maturin falls for it. He examines both weevils from a scientific angle, estimating their size, and he, after a brief study, decides. Maturin selects the larger one. To which Captain (by courtesy a Captain in his own ship, even though he is the rank of Commander) Aubrey says : "Ah but Doctor, in the Royal Navy it is always our way to choose the lesser of two weevils. "

And so, it comes to this. I've been hearing a lot from the Bernie or Burn crowd that anybody but Bernie is evil, and so no matter who it is, they won't vote for Trump, but they also won't vote for option B because "Choosing the lesser of Two Evils is still choosing evil."
              Well, I'm going to come out and say this with no sugar on it: If you think you can vote for Justin Amash or Jill Stein or Gus Hall because voting for Biden would be a vote for Lesser Evil and Lesser Evil is Still Evil, then you can smooch up on my buttocks and wait for me to fart. I'm sick to death of hearing purity test "Bernie or nobody" fools. Get off my lawn. Lookit. I'm not a fan of Joe Biden. As a matter of fact, although I do not think Biden is evil (he is somewhat mendacious, as are all politicians.) I don't agree with his policies. I don't really know him as a man so I can't speak to that, but I don't like his policies and that's just how it is. In 2016 I was for Bernie right up until Hillary won the primaries by some 3 million votes and was nominated at the convention. Not a fan of HRC either, but when it became clear she was going to be the nominee I got behind her and helped as much as I could in my small way. I do not regret it. I only regret not winning. in 2020 my ardor for Bernie had cooled some, but I was very favorably impressed by Elizabeth Warren. I found her to be real, warm, personable and talented- - everything the orange fuhrer is not. I was behind Warren foursquare. Well, it was not to be. I shall bite back my bitterness, swallow my pride and push as hard as I can for Joe Biden. Because the trolley is headed toward the switch, and there are a kid's soccer team stuck on the bus on one leg of track, and a man with a broken pelvis on the other. I have to choose. You must also choose. Inaction will only cause the trolley to derail, killing all the passengers. The man cannot get himself off the track in time, and the children can't get off the bus in time. You gotta pull the lever. Choose. I shall apologize to the family of the man with the broken pelvis later. Now you choose. Either choice you make is evil. Choose. Tick-tock. Time's running out. Choose.

Notes : 
     1)  Yes, this is the infamous "lesser of two evils" hypothetical. I'm not the first one to propose it, and I sincerely doubt I will be the last.  It offers you a choice between two actions, both of which will result in someone else's death. One vs Many. I have also eliminated the escape hatches of "I'll just leave it for someone else" and "I'll derail the streetcar and save everyone."  Except doing that will kill the passengers and crew of the streetcar. 

2) Yes, it's not fair. Life is not fair. 

The Trolley Problem Will Tell You Nothing Useful About Morality ...

Friday, March 6, 2020

Oh Damn, Warren is out.

Elizabeth Warren. I like her. 

She's smart as a whip, committed to fixing our country, a good woman and deserving of better treatment than she's gotten out of the Punditry

Elizabeth Warren has been a Senator (D MA), a law professor (Harvard) where her portrait on the wall gets post-it notes expressing thanks and admiration every day. She started as a special ed teacher. She has brought her message -- not just of change but of fixing things in this country. She has been in favor not of  a Sanders style revolution, destroying in order to rebuild, but putting forth the idea that what we have is okay but broken. That we need to fix things, like taxes, income inequity, racial and gender bias. Unfortunately we have come the end of her campaign. As many of you know, I have gone from Yay Bernie to backing Elizabeth Warren. therefore it irks me, and in no small way disappoints to have to come on here and say that less than 18 hours after my latest exhortation to people to get behind Warren and shove, she has announced that she is suspending her campaign, in effect ending her bid for the Democratic Party nomination for 2020. I of course was not consulted. Had Ms Warren consulted me, I would have advised her to stay in it for the long haul. To persist. to be there with her share of delegates, at the convention, and hope for a brokered contest. Perhaps I would have been wrong. but, no matter. She's out of it, and with her exit goes the last chance of a woman being President of the United States in this year, and probably in this generation. Most likely, no woman will attain the office in my lifetime. In many ways I am disgusted with my own species, and my own gender. Except women don't seem to want a woman president either. They stayed away from Warren in droves. This was lamely explained to me as "women are so desperate to get Trump gone that they don't want to take any risks, and Biden is seen as the SAFE Choice. "
Well, the safe choice may be Joe Biden, but is he the right choice ? Consider, if Elizabeth Warren couldn't get past the Primaries in an election with Donald Trump as the opposition, could any woman ever get elected ?