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

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

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

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

2016 Presidential Election: The Silly Season Is Upon Us!

Before I go back to talking about my past some more, I want to start talking about a subject that is quite important to me and should be important to all of you(especially those of you in the U.S here with me!): the upcoming American Presidential election. But we should be just as concerned about the congressional elections as well, even the local elections. As the last eight years have shown us, just because we have a liberal president does not mean that the liberal policies he wanted and many of us wanted, or they would not have been elected, do not get passed because the Congress is controlled by the conservatives. Bernie Sanders is right: we do need a revolution of sorts in American politics. What we need is a radical shift to the left, not only in the office of the president but also in Congress.

My initial inclination that I talked about in an earlier post was that I wanted Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for president. Sanders is an avowed socialist. So am my. There are certain things that every citizen in this country should get because they are a citizen: healthcare probably the most important one and education the second most important one. The fact that doctors, hospitals, universities, especially med schools, all make money hand over fist is disgusting and, honestly, un-American. I can remember a time when doctors actually cared about their patients, made home visits, especially for sick children, and were not always that concerned about having the latest medical thingamajig in their clinics. Doctors were not on the payroll of the pharmaceutical companies. We did not have the problem with the abuse of prescription drugs that we have now. Granted, a lot of the street drugs, like heroin, morphine, cocaine, etc. can kill you if overused and they should definitely be illegal. The problem is that if you pay attention to the side effects mentioned in the pharmaceutical commercials, those things will kill you, too! Quite often, the side effects are worse than the disease they are supposed to treat.

Continue reading

The Means of Production: Introduction

I’m going to take a break from my reminiscing about my personal past. Instead, I’m going to return to a subject near and dear to my heart: politics. Contrary to what the common usage of that word is, for me politics is much more than the official business of the legitimate governing institutions of this world. I use politics more in the Aristotlean sense; that is, everything and anything that has to do with human interaction. Politics is about how we humans relate to each other, both formally and informally(for a detailed discussion of what I am talking about here, I suggest you read Pierre Bourdieu’s Outline of a Theory of Practice).

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time will find what I’m about to say a bit repetitious. Sorry about that, but I need to make we are all on the same page. When it comes to politics as I define it, I am a Marxist, but not a vulgar Marxist. What I mean by that is that I do agree that whoever controls the means of production, controls that particular society.

The mans of production is not just the purely economic means, such as factories, corporations, etc… Rather, the menas of productions includes the means of symbolic production, that is who controls the things like education, theater, music, religion: all those things that shape how we think and how we see the world. (My thanks to Marshall Sahlins’ Culture and Practical Reason for this concept). One of the major producers of symbolic products in Western culture is the media. The media, in it’s attempts to be profitable, sells advertising for products that we really don’t have a need for, at first. However, the advertising creates a false need in consumers. The most glaring and most troubling example, for me, is the advertising done by pharmaceutical companies, a subject I have discussed many times here. Feel free to search this blog for more specific details about my feelings about the drug companies. Suffice it to say, their advertising creates a false sense of need and we wonder why we have so many people in this country addicted to prescription medications. The sad thing is that too often the side effects are worse than the disease being treated. Personally, I’d be more than happy to live with a bad case of acne rather than the more serious side effects that some of the prescription medications for acne bring. In this series of posts, I am going to touch on a number of issues about control of the means of production that trouble me in Western society, especially here in the U.S. The first one, which we will cover next time, is the total misrepresentation in American politics(the institutional kind) and the media about what Socialism is, and who is or isn’t a Socialist. Let me tell you upfront; I am a Socialist, and Barack Obama is so far from being a Socialist, it’s not even funny. I only wish he was one.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

I’m taking a break from my “Confronting the Past” series. Instead, I’m going to indulge in an old habit: I’m going to rant a bit. In a way, this is sort of confronting the past, but in a personal way but rather, in a cultural way.

With the end of the Cold War over a decade ago, we all thought that confrontations between Russia/Soviet Union and the USA were a thing of the past. That shows how stupid we can be. The sad thing about all this is that it’s not just the Russians or us Americans that are reviving the Cold War. It’s both sides being idiots. And the idiots are not just the elected officials on one side or the other; it’s the political fundamentalists on both sides. I suspect that the “military-industrial complex”, as Eisenhower called it in his farewell speech of 1961, that is the power behind the thrones on both sides. And all this is wrapped up in the Holy Shroud of Russian/American nationalism. You would think the world has had it’s fill of that shit. [My son doesn’t agree with me on that. I guess I’m showing my age, lol]

Hopefully, things will calm down if there are any rational beings left in charge on either side, I have my doubts about there being any, but one can only hope.