June 26, 2015

We are seeing sterling manifestations of the dying of an out-dated but once-dominant belief system in the U.S. Just this week the supposedly conservative U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of federally subsidized health care for some Americans and made same sex marriage legal across the land. This is especially unpopular among the loud crowd in the Old Confederacy and among the bloviators who trade in prejudice against any minority except white males.

As my by-passed generation (the only two Boomer presidents were Clinton and Bush 2) passes from the scene, the younger and more open-minded generations will see the continued decrease in Christian fundamentalism and all the narrow-minded, my way or else, beliefs.

As we are seeing all across the Middle East, the old violent patriarchal belief systems are under siege by modern life, technology, women’s education, birth control, global corporations and all the other trends (good and bad) that are threatening to homogenize the planet’s human population. Any Saudi sheik has got to be threatened by women wanting to drive a car, children sexting one another on cell phones, Bollywood films, religious or sexual tolerance, youtube, Facebook, and all the other things that the Western world spreads across the surface of the Earth. In East Africa the old order is vehemently opposed to gay freedom and its confrontation with the traditional views of “manhood.”

You cannot maintain fundamentalist superstitions in the face of science, technology and consumer pleasure. Thus fundamentalism has always feared science, technology, non-religious thought and freedom for women because most old-fashioned religions were based on a male god, male dominance and violence toward non-believers. Whenever these fundamentalist views are opposed and losing ground they become more and more violent. The Catholic Church became its most hideously cruel AFTER the Reformation when that church tried to wipe out Protestantism. The current pope would have been summarily tortured and burned a mere 500 years ago.
So here in the U.S, the Old Confederacy and its Biblical fundamentalism are losing sway and the adherents are becoming ever more agitated and desperate. Expect even more violence against groups not seen as “real Americans.” Our hopelessly gerrymandered and boluxed electoral system that gives Mississippi as many Senators as California will not deal with gun violence in any realistic way. Only if and when corporate profits are threatened will the U.S. be politically able to deal with domestic gun violence.

There were Newton’s dead elementary schoolers, college kids slaughtered at Virginia Tech, a high school massacre at Columbine, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, a Naval facility attacked in D.C., a Congresswoman shot in Arizona, attacks on churches in South Carolina and Wisconsin. There are deep hatreds and millions of guns loose across our land, a land with a woeful mental health system, little control of automatic weapons that can fire dozens of bullets in a short time and no public awareness that our real enemies are not just in the Middle East, they are the right-wing fanatic next door. After the South Carolina tragedy we learn the 21-year-old shooter had been talking of his goals, a race war, killing the enemy. Yet nobody did anything. The NSA has all your email information but not a single bureaucrat is in charge of tracking tomorrow’s mass killers today. Nobody viewed the killer’s web postings until after the attack. The profile of these mostly young, isolate, violent, gun-toting white males is not a mystery. Still, we do nothing but sell them guns. I weep for the ineptness of our government and its enemies who want freedom for guns but not the freedom of the victims to live, nor the freedom of the rest of us non-violent Americans to live without fear.
So mass murders will continue to be a stunning hallmark of modern American culture as that thin fringe of panicked (mostly) white males take the only easy path to power they feel to be their right: mass violence against those who refuse to heal to the old ways, the old beliefs, the racist, misogynistic, patriarchal view of the world that would have been standard doctrine on the eve of the American Civil War. Change is slow and the disappearance of publicly honored Confederate flags will only be a small token gesture, the hatred and panic will live on in the minds and prejudices of the white males who can no longer expect to be in charge just by virtue of their genetics. Thus must the American Dream confront the American Nightmare.
What is needed is the ability to call national referenda to settle issues Congress cannot face i8n dayight.


May 27, 2015

I have long maintained that the fossil fuel industry will continue to support political climate change deniers in public office until some of the industry’s giants have to move their headquarters out of what was once Houston. That day may be far closer than I ever imagined. How can even arrogant oil companies think they are safe in flat, coastal cities?
Greed demands that oil companies ignore climate change but does it also require they actually pretend it’s not real? They would be just as welcome in Cheyenne, and further from flooding.
Click here to read about the excess of water in Houston, Texas.
And now there’s a rational look at why flooding is so bad in Texas: sprawl without concern for rational planning and zoning. One more example of how economic markets freed of rational regulation run amuck and create disasters, real or financial. And we will all get to help pay for Texas to rebuild in all those places that should be left to cattails and marsh wrens. How many Texas Congressional members have voted against FEMA funding and other federal aid projects? Now they will be there with their hands out, of course, as blue states play more taxes per capita and we all continue to subsidize the oil, cotton and cattle industries beyond all reason.
I’m going to be sick now…


April 3, 2015

Bird Politics
Humans have much to learn from our feathered neighbors.


February 9, 2015

You can ignore and you can be willfully ignorant. Right now too many political leaders and moneyed influencers are actively both. It is now exactly half a century since the U. S. Congress was first earned about the danger of increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere of our only planet.

That’s right, it’s exactly fifty years since the President of the U. S. told Congress that science was showing a dangerous increase in CO2 and it was being caused by us…homo so-called sapiens. You can click here for a reprise of that widely ignored environmental warning.
As a nation we have ignored it and remained willfully ignorant. Far more important to make some more money than worry about life on the planet.

I usually think of Theodore Roosevelt as our one true environmental President,even if he saved wildlife so he could go and out shoot some. He was a staunch defender of federal action on behalf of conservation at a time when it was far less popular than today. Our first Presidential birder. Not welcome in today’s Republican Party, never quoted in a stump speech by a Republican candidate. So who was the President trying to awaken some interest in CO2? LBJ–far more widely known for far-reaching, overdue Civil Rights laws and the disastrous war in Vietnam.

LBJ’s message cited the need to protect the environment for the health of humans and other creatures and preserve natural beauty. Since his time the nation has established a much-hated (by some) EPA and the Endangered Species Act…but none of the measures to salvage what we can of planet’s biosphere ever go unchallenged. Many other nations do far less than the U.S. and seem to care far less. But time is running out. One Congressman posted comments saying that the worst natural disasters on earth last year were all in the U.S. and related to climate change. It may be true that we cannot afford to go forward the we’ve been going.


February 5, 2015

The “Diane Rehm Show” on NPr had a good hour today.  On her website look for ”

Thursday, Feb 05, 2015 10 a.m. (ET)

Jordan’s Role In The Fight Against ISIS

The discussion was far-ranging, the listener questions hard and direct, the answers were realistic and, as Diane said, disappointing.  There is no simple or easy or quick answer. The one thing the radio show did not mention–half the population, women.

You have only to contemplate the long, brutal religious struggles in Europe over a millennium to comprehend the blood, fury, death and change needed to pass from a religious political culture to one that actually allows, if not encourages, personal beliefs without threat of death.  When the Papacy ruled supreme it, too, used torture, murder, phony trials, blackmail, political intrigue, ex-communication and war to enforce its rule, power and influence.  Is it any wonder that the French Revolution and even England’s repeated religious civil conflicts often led to the execution of priests of various shades who refused to recant their heretical beliefs?

In Lewes, England, there is a hill called Martyrs Hill.  There good Catholic Queen Mary’s henchmen burned alive some of the local recalcitrant Protestants.  To this day the town marks their martyrdom with a boisterous torch-led march at night, often with burning effigies of the Pope involved.  England has finally evolved enough that it is rare indeed for Catholic or Protestant there to feel threatened by a heretical neighbor.  These days even the Lewes Catholic priest takes part in the bonfire night parades.  Twas not always such.

Can Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria Egypt, Morocco or Nigeria ever get to that civilized level?  How hard is cultural change?  It is the work of generations and centuries.  Here in the U.S. we still have Christian fundamentalists who pretend our nation was founded by Bible-beating believers.  They have built their own narrow mythology on lies about Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin.  In Reovlutionary those days U.S. Protestant churches largely dismissed education and women’s rights.  It was only the Quakers who supported education enough to generate America’s earliest scientists.  They were men like William Bartram, Thomas Say, John Townsend.  Today there is still a hardy strain of anti-intellectualism in fundamentalist Protestant religion.  It is now a milder infection than what we see across parts of the Muslim regions.

Saudi Arabia is a case study for the woes of Muslim authoritarian states.  There a kleptocracy rules.  A “royal family” that rules by force, taking all the country’s money and doling it out in ways to maintain power.  People are still whipped or stoned to death.  The House of Saud uses its money and power to keep the Muslim clergy in line and encourages a teaching of strongly fundamentalist religion.  Women must cover their faces, can’t drive.  Birth control is out of the question.  This means there is rampant population growth and not enough jobs for angry young men.  They are always the eager foot soldiers of any violent movement as long as there have been wars.  Send the 19 year old men to kill one another.  ISIS and Boko Haram are new only in their names and details.  It is another fundamentalist radicalism built on the anger, frustration and adventure-lust of alienated young men.  Was ever thus.  Grandmothers don’t fight wars.

Until the western nations and Japan and China and Russia say to their “friends” among the Muslim nations that they must join the anti-clerical, tolerant, multi-religious 21st Century, fundamentalism will thrive under tyrannies with bad economies and bleak futures.  Corruption and kleptocracy from NIgeria to Pakistan simply plead for  violent, fundamentalist revolution.

The message from outside that world needs to be:  full rights for women including birth control and abortion [even our own American fundamentalists hate those ideas because it reduces the man’s control of women and society],  an end to the preaching of hate of the other whether that be Jew, Sunni, Shia, Hindu or atheist.  And we must encourage the dismantling of the phony imperialist boundaries put together a century ago to fit the desires of oil hungry Europeans.  Iraq is a typical  phony country just as Yugoslavia was, or the Austro-Hungarian Empire before it.   Why would it not be better to have partitioning between ethnic groups that hate one another?           Imagine where we’d be if we’d tried to keep India and Pakistan as a single country.

Drones will not solve the ISIS Crisis,  only long-term revolutionary change will.


February 4, 2015

Money, of course. Keep profits up and everything else will be just grand, right?
Most nations on earth do not agree that money is always #1 so they have mandated paid maternity leave so woman can afford to have babies and then actually spend time with that baby when it is youngest. The U.S. is one of 7 nations where there is no such thing as mandatory and paid maternity leave. That Grand Old Party of Family Values values money more than motherhood so you will not see any paid maternity leave laws in this Grand Old Country. Here’s a thread that explores the pathetic sight of this once-wealthy nation that is now too poor to support motherhood, and you can leave off the apple pie.
Paternity leave? Why that must be some terrorist/communist/socialist/atheist/liberal/elitist/Russian/North Korean/evil/anti-American plot. Real men don’t change diapers they carry a loaded gun, right?


February 4, 2015

Before you make that move down to the fun and sun in Florida, be aware that it’s a happy hunting ground for National Rifle Association lovin’ pols. Cities and counties are barred from making any gun regulations, leaving all control to the state. One neighborhood has learned that means backyard gun ranges are legal as long as the bullets don’t have to cross a street or travel through a home to get toward the target.
Maybe the NRA will help pay for training for neighbors…how to duck, how to don your bullet-proof PJs, how armor plate your walls, how to recognize the gun’s caliber from its sound, other useful stuff for those living next door to a gun practitioner.


February 3, 2015

It is stunning that Americans cannot even agree on the concept of vaccination to prevent measles which is largely preventable. This is not like the flu vaccine which often misses the target because the flu virus has evolved. Measles vaccine is highly effective. Sen. Rand Paul worries about brain damage from the vaccine, I think the real brain damage is from ignorance and fear of science, maybe watching too much cable news. Sure, there were rumors flying around ebola country that it was some kind of plot…but measles in the U.S.?
I have to fall back on my most pernicious disgust with willful ignorance. Soon we will hear some Republican say “I am no doctor.” Just as they say “I am no scientist” when asked about climate change. My disgust leads me to think it is maybe not such a bad thing that the superstitious and wantonly suspicious will not let their children get vaccinated. Maybe this is a Darwinian process where some parts of society voluntarily eliminate themselves. Maybe the genetic condition that leads allegedly adult people to ignore science and evidence is counter-productive and will lead to elimination of said genes. It sounds harsh and inhumane but the evidence on measles vaccine is clear and if parents choose to deliberately misread or ignore what is obvious must we all pay the price? Can’t we at least have a law that any family that refuses to get vaccinated for any preventable disease must then bear all medical costs when the disease strikes? Why should everybody’s insurance costs go up because some folks try to operate beyond the realm of nature and science? Maybe the same senators from the state of ignorance who say their god would never let global warming happen will tell the measles patients they need to turn to the power of prayer. That’s a sure cure.


January 11, 2015

French economist, Thomas Piketty, discusses the current situation and opts for more, not less, internationalism. He explains that corporations now have national government out-numbered and almost powerless.


January 11, 2015

Big corporations stand to lose some profits if they are not allowed to pollute and mine and drill at will. Thus, the energy industry’s paid servants in Congress are at work to save said industry from dread regulations. The House has passed a bill to prevent scientists from testifying or advising the EPA about the scientist’s particular area of research. You know about methane from fracking? Shut up!
At this point we do not have a Republican President so this will not become law until there’s a Republican in the White House again.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers