Category Archives: Politics

What the Hell is Going On?

That when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s we Americans were involved in a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. I suspect that the Cold War had something to do with my parents (and of course, my brother and myself who were small children at the time) emigrating to the United States and Germany, specifically what was then known as West Germany. We came to the United States around the time of the Berlin war, when East Germany, on orders from Moscow, blockaded West Berlin.

 

In elementary school, we did air raids probably every month. We were all frightened of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. That attack, fortunately, never came. But there was a constant state of very high tension between the two countries. I remember seeing Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the United Nations condemning the United States. I remember the Cuban missile crisis during the Kennedy administration. I remember watching public service announcements on the television networks showing how to protect yourself in case of a nuclear attack. I remember the commercial for fallout shelters for those who could afford them. Boy, if they ever wanted to get rid of poverty by eliminating poor people, that would have been the time to do it.

Continue reading What the Hell is Going On?

Scuttling Obamacare

Maybe the Republican congressman aren’t quite as crazy as they let on. (Yes, I know. I ended the sentence with a preposition. My English teachers in high school would kill me if they were still alive. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are.) Congress voted down a Republican sponsored bill that would have repealed Obama Care and replaced it with something that would cost 24 million people their insurance coverage. Apparently, there are enough Republican Congressman with some sense that helped vote this bill down. God bless them!

 

My wife and my son would belong to that 24 million that the proposed bill would have left coverless. My wife’s employer does not provide healthcare coverage for his employee. I am not going to use his name here, just his initials – RC. RC is a very nice person. He has done a lot for Elizabeth over the years that she has worked for him, currently as the owner of the restaurant where Elizabeth is the prep cook, as well as the McDonald’s she used to work at for a long time. One of the reasons that Elizabeth left McDonald’s was so she could go back to work for RC. That’s how much she thinks of him and I do to. He is also a good practicing Christian as is his wife and his sons. However, the prevailing philosophy here in Arkansas as well as much of the rest of the so is that healthcare is something individuals need to pay for themselves what the people that think that way do not take into consideration is that they are not paying their employees enough to cover the premiums for that healthcare coverage and still provide food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials for their family.

Continue reading Scuttling Obamacare

Welcome to the Crazy World of Donald Trump

In case you are not familiar with where I got the title for this post, it’s a variation on a very strange rock album from the late 1960s called “the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.” The album is notable for a song that the catchphrase from that song is “I am the God of hellfire and I bring you fire!” Arthur Brown was definitely crazy, and I am beginning to think that is also true of Donald Trump. The difference between the two is that Brown was only an off beat rock and roll musician while Trump is the leader of the Free World. I use the word leader very loosely, because if he thinks we are all going to follow him on his merry little dance, this country is going straight to hell. I haven’t seen this kind of craziness in the political arena since the days of the attempts by the Republicans members of Congress to impeach Bill Clinton. I wonder if insanity is considered grounds for impeachment. If it is, Trump needs to watch his step

The problem I have with Trump’s craziness is I don’t know whether to laugh my ass off at his antics or whether I should be frightened to death of what he is doing. The Trump Presidency seems to be a cross between the smoke and mirrors of the Wizard of Oz combined with the hype and hyperbole of an old time carnival! Unfortunately, that is one way to describe what happened in Germany in the late 20s and the 1930s. This is why Trump scares me. I really don’t know what the the man is a buffoon or a maniac, and I mean maniac in the most diabolical sense of the word.

My mother was born in Germany in 1923. She grew up during the reign of one maniac named Adolf Hitler and like many Germans of that time, she had a hard time explaining why so many good decent German people allowed him to reign as long as he had. I have seen a couple of the Nazi death camps in person in 1983 when I went to Poland. There is no way you can convince me that people living nearby had no clue whatsoever as to what was going on there. You would hope that, assuming someone knew, and I do assume that, these people would have said something to their neighbors, talked to other neighbors, talk to people all across town, talk to people in the next town over… You get the idea! News of what was going on would have traveled quickly if anybody really paid attention to what the Nazis were doing. Apparently Germany was full of ostriches with their heads in the sand.

I consider myself a German-American, and I am proud of my German heritage for the most part. However, what went on during the Third Reich makes me ashamed to be German. When we toured those two death camps back in 1983, I could not finish the walking through the camps part because I felt such shame and sorrow for the victims that I broke down in tears and went back to the bus until I stopped crying. I don’t know whether this country is headed down that road. I am not a prophet and make no claims to be one. However, I consider myself a student of history and of social behavior, and what I see going on in the USA now is much too reminiscent of what went on in Germany during the 1930s. Between his condemnation of Mexicans and Muslims it appears Trump is looking for a scapegoat that resonates with the American people like the Nazi scapegoating of the Jews during the Nazi rise to power. It appears that the only real difference is that the thugs committing hate crimes reminiscent of what the Nazis did are not yet wearing brown shirts!

Am I crazy? Maybe…. But then, maybe not. Only time will tell. I would hope that, should Trump take down that dark road and try taking the United States with them, the American people will not behave like a bunch of ostriches sticking their heads in the sand or a herd of lemmings marching to the seat. Hopefully, there is still enough intestinal fortitude left in the American people to stand up and say “this is wrong! We will not allow this to happen here!” It is this faith in the American people that gives me a great deal of hope that we will survive the crazy world of Donald Trump.

Post-Election Comments

Well, it has taken me a bit longer to get back to posting than I thought it would. Life somehow has a way of throwing, as they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men” into the garbage. That’s why it’s so important to always be flexible in your intentions, even those of us who are considered irascible, unyielding, ornery stick in the mud. LOL!

It seems that our illustrious new President is off to a very rocky start. That comes as no surprise. Just about every new president gets off on the wrong foot. That is especially true when Congress does not really support his agenda. Contrary to what some Republican leaders say, the majority of Republicans have some serious doubts about Donald Trump. The Democrats think even less of him. It is really hard to do much when people who should be supporting you – after all he IS the President – do everything in their power to cause you embarrassment and create roadblocks. I am not saying Donald Trump Is going to be a great President. Far from it. But I do think he should be given at least a few months to show us what he wants to do for this country. Continue reading Post-Election Comments

Fear and Loathing in the United States 2016

I really do not know what to make of last night’s election results, especially the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. In a way it was a historic election. Donald Trump is the first president to have never held political office or been in the military. In some ways that’s a good thing, but in other ways, given the impression that we seem to have that Trump is a loose cannon, this could be a real problem stop the question is: Is Donald Trump mentally up to the challenge of being president?

The medias, at least those who do not really think Trump is up to being president, keep talking about whether he is mentally stable enough to be commander-in-chief. What is this focus on the ability to be a competent military leader? Seriously, do we really expect our president to efficiently lead troops into battle? Can you see Donald Trump shooting the head of ISIS? Or Barack Obama personally shooting Osama bin Laden? Seriously, get over this commander-in-chief crap. The last thing we need as president is some crazed military “leader.” Continue reading Fear and Loathing in the United States 2016

An Old Hippie Part Two

In part one I talked about what it’s like to be an old hippie. I consider myself an old hippie. That should’ve been clear from the earlier post. I also talked about what I think being a hippie is all about, or was all about, since there are very few hippies left in the world these days. Sad but true.

In that earlier post I complained about how the media and hippie wannabes co-opted or distorted what being a hippie was all about. For example: long hair, bellbottoms, sexual freedom, being anti-war, a love of music of all kinds, and to a certain extent, drugs – especially marijuana. For hippies, marijuana was the equivalent of what alcohol is to most straights. For those of you who aren’t aware, straights is a slang term for people who are not hippies who are so hung up in the rat race and in making money that they forget what’s really important in life. More on that subject in a bit.

The media, in its infinite stupidity, tends to convert anything and everything to a soundbite. In the 60s, one of those media soundbites was “Never trust anyone over the age of 30.” The media made it sound like hippies didn’t trust old people. I am afraid that is not quite true, even though there was a time when I almost believed it myself. Why do I say that? Continue reading An Old Hippie Part Two

An Old Hippie

That is the title of the song by the Bellamy Brothers from back in the 80s, I think. I’m really not sure and I really don’t care enough look it up. Anyway, an old hippie is what I an. I guess I’d been one for quite some time since in the song he is only 35 help a lot older than the days. Some of the stuff they talk about in the song I never did: hard drugs and going to Vietnam for my senior trip. I went to Washington instead and protested the war in Vietnam.

Yes, I do get into country music, at least some of it. I particularly like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Chris Christopherson, and Kate Williams Senior as well as my all time favorite, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I also like acid rock, good ol’ 1950 rock, the British invasion, especially Procol Harum and Pink Floyd. I also like jazz, classical, even some Broadway show tunes. Like most hippies, I like all kinds of music and have quite a long time.

One thing about being an old hippie that does bother me is that there are a lot of people out there that are misinformed as to what hippies really were. I blame the media for that, and especially the people who didn’t like the things the hippies were into, like rock music. These people, and I am including a whole lot of musician’s, became pseudo-hippies because they thought it would help them make money. One of the things about being a hippie is that you’re not particularly materialistic. You realize that there are a lot of things in the world way more important than how much money you have, what car you drive, how well you dress, how big and fancy of a house you have. In fact, there were times in my younger days as a hippie where I didn’t even have a house to live in, or apartment. I crashed with friends or I slept on the back porch of an abandoned apartment building, waking up with a silver .45 staring me in the face in a police badge. That was 1968 when I first got to Chicago. That was almost 50 years ago and I still remember that as it were yesterday. Continue reading An Old Hippie

Go Colin Go!

Lately it seems that I am suffering from a severe case of déjà vu. It appears as if I am reliving the 1960s all over again. In a way, that’s a good thing. A lot of good things happened in the United States in the late 1960s. A lot of bad things happened as well, the most memorable for me was the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. I was not in Chicago for the convention. I was in Washington DC at the time, but I did protest against the war and did march in support of Eugene McCarthy for the democratic nomination. Much like the efforts to get Bernie Sanders nominated this year, our efforts in 1968 to get Eugene McCarthy nominated were unsuccessful. We were unsuccessful again in 1972 trying to get George McGovern, another antiwar candidate for president, the Democratic nomination.

1968 was an extremely interesting year. The summer Olympics were held in Mexico City that year. On the political front, the black power movement was gaining a great deal of strength. Two American athletes, both black, won medals in the same event and when they were on the podium getting their metals, they both raised their hand in the black power fist salute. The reaction at the time by the media and much of the American public was extremely negative. People felt that doing that at the Olympics was extremely inappropriate. Today John Carlos and Tommy Smith are seen as heroes of the civil rights movement. Continue reading Go Colin Go!

2016 Presidential: Silly Season Part Two

It’s taken a bit longer to get to this post than I thought it would. Sorry about that. I realized after I finished the last post that I had kind of gotten off track a bit on what I originally intended to talk about and not post, so I’m going to do this now what I originally wanted to talk about was the fact that the conservatives here in this area, actually Southwest Missouri, have started an advertising blitz that goes way beyond anything I’ve ever seen during a political campaign. Given that I’m 68 years old I’ve seen quite a few political campaigns, so when I say this goes beyond anything I’ve seen rest assured it’s pretty over-the-top. Before I start talking about the advertising campaign itself I need to rant a little about the television rules that the federal government has set up.

I have satellite TV (Dish Network). I love dish network. It has certainly worked for me a lot better than their competition, which I’ve had before. I get my local channels through Dish. The problem is I don’t get to choose where the local networks come from. I live in north central Arkansas, but I get my local channels out of Springfield Missouri which is about 125 250 miles from here. [I really do live in the middle of nowhere]. Because I get local channels out of Springfield, I have to put up with advertising for political candidates running in elections that I don’t get to vote in, at least not for these candidates. I get to vote for the House of Representatives in Arkansas. I get to vote in that race for Sen. in Arkansas. I get to vote for the race for governor in Arkansas… You get the picture, right? I would love to get my local channels out of Little Rock Arkansas, which is about the same distance from here as Springfield Missouri. I have tried to get the stations out of Little Rock, but was told that because of the federal law I have to get my stations out of Springfield. Sounds to me like the conservative Republican businessmen who owned TV stations have put the screws to the federal government for their own benefit I guess I don’t know. Someday they will hopefully get it right but I’m not gonna hold my breath. I will probably be dead before they do that. Continue reading 2016 Presidential: Silly Season Part Two

A Little Sunshine and a Lot of Hope

My son Michael is a very serious gamer. The reason he is a serious gamer is because I got him hooked on gaming back when he was six years old. I started Michael out on Warcraft II and there’s been no stopping him since. Michael loves to play games, design games, review games, read reviews, and read/watch all kinds of blogs and video blogs about gaming.

Recently Michael showed me a post on a video blog called Game Theory. It seems that the blogger who does Game Theory recently got to do an interview with Pope Francis. The man brought the Pope a video game. I’ll let him explain what video game and why he wanted the Pope to have this game in this very thoughtful video he made on the occasion. What I want to talk about is the social context and social philosophy that this man, who claims to represent the gaming community, presents to all gamers and non-gamers. His name is Matt, by the way, and I will refer to him as such. Continue reading A Little Sunshine and a Lot of Hope