Tag Archives: Politics

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

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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

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 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 2016 Presidential Election: The Silly Season Is Upon Us!

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.

Conrfonting the Past Part Nine

     I was watching a rather interesting show on History channel the other day. At least the first half was interesting; the second half got rather depressing. I’ll explain in a minute. The special was about the Hippie movement in the late 60s. I became a Hippie in 1966 and probably still am one to a large extent.

    The Hippie Movement has had a lingering effect on American culture, some of it good, some of it bad. The original ideals of the Hippie Movement (Peace, Love and Freedom) still resonate in our society today. What happened to the Hippie Movement was that the trappings (Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll and long hair) were co-opted by people who really did not subscribe to the original ideals. The second half of the History special dealt with the worst example of that: Charles Manson. I don’t care what History channel or anyone else in the media says, Manson was NOT a Hippie! Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Continue reading Conrfonting the Past Part Nine

The Obamacare Myth

I’m taking a short break from “Confronting the Past” to delve into a political rant. Because of concerns over my heart condition, I have avoided getting myself stressed out over politics, but this has gone on long enough. It’s time somebody told the truth.

Obamacare is severely misnamed. If Obama and the Democrats had had their way, we would have universal health care or, as some of our more conservative fellows call it, Socialized Medicine. What the media calls “Obamacare” is a very watered-down version of what the Democrats originally wanted. That watering-down was done by the Republicans. The Democrats gave in because it was the only way to get anything resembling reform, even if what we got is total crap. If i were a conspiracy theorist, I might be inclined to say the Republicans did this intentionally so that they could use the mess that would result as a way to discredit Obama. Also, if I were indeed a conspiracy theorist, I would argue that the issues with the healthcare.gov website were the result of politically motivated sabotage.

The reason I am not arguing for a conspiracy here is because a conspiracy would require intelligent cooperation between the conspirators. I don’t think there is any real cooperation, intelligent or otherwise, among the people trying to discredit the Obama administration. I think that the real motivation for these efforts at sabotage is a very, very subtle and insidious form of racism. The racists in this country revert to overt acts of violence like lynchings, cross-burnings or assassinations. Instead, they use more subtle and more technologically advanced methods. The racists in this county cannot get over the idea of a black man being elected President. I wonder what they would have done had we elected a black woman who happened to actually be a Muslim. I thought we left all of this behind us a long time ago, back in my younger days. It seems that Montaigne was right: If we do not learn the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them. Apparently, we have not learned our lessons, and then we wonder why the Second Coming is taking so long.

Confronting the Past Part Seven

In the time that I’ve been away (see facebook for reasons) I’ve had time to give this series a lot of thought. Talking about some things in my past may not be all that edifying or even relevant to anything anymore, so I am going to ignore those areas. Some things that I -am- going to talk about may offend some people from my past. Unfortunately, that’s unavoidable, and hopefully they will understand and forgive me for any negativity.

When I was growing up, I was pretty much both a religious and political fundamentalist. It was not until I got away from home that I started really thinking for myself. To a certain extent, that is true of most people growing up. We are the products of our immediate social and cultural environment. In some ways, I was lucky that my mother died while I was a senior in High School. It was her death that actually set me free, although it has taken a lot of time to realize that. Much of my life has been spent trying to fill the emotional hole that her death left in me. It was not until I met Elizabeth in 1990 that I found someone who could fill said hole. Also, much of my life has been spent searching for, for the lack of a better way to express it, my own personal sense of truth. [I suggest you read my article “What is Truth” on my christianheresiology site to understand what I’m trying to say here] Truth is not objective; truth is relative to one’s position on the space-time continuum. It’s like the old Indian fable of the blind men and the elephant, what you see and what you know depends on where you are and what part of the elephant you perceive.

My search for truth has led me all over the place, but these meanderings have always followed the same two rivers. Religion, and politics, in the broadest sense of both cases. The failed marriages, the many different jobs, the multiple career paths are all nothing more than bends in those rivers. With an occasional waterfall or two.

What I have learned over the years of my meanderings is that we create who we are and often recreate who we are. I know I’ve gone through several manifestations of who I am in the 65 years of my life. I can honestly say that I am extremely happy and at peace with who I am. That person is so far removed from the person I was growing up that I seriously doubt most of my High School friends would really have any idea of who I am unless they have read my Facebook page or my blogs. In the next few posts, I will talk about my meanderings from fundamentalism to… Well, I’ll let you decide what you want to call where I am.