Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Source Of The Nile

On Facebook, I posted a pic indicating the need to check facts before reposting.  Sorry, I can't figure out how to paste it here.

A friend reponded with the insightful query, why should my sources be trusted and his not?  I responded:

My friend, and you are my friend, you have a good heart and I need you to keep me informed of other opinions.  But when I repost, I first check multiple sources, including nonpartisan.  Don't get upset, but your sources are all partisan, right wing party organs which have been caught in factual errors again and again.  From my point of view, you are trusting the right wing equivalent of Pravda and the Daily Worker.  When a left wing source says something, I check it with nonpartisan sources. I don't trust liberals any more than those of conservatives, I only repost their claims when they are confirmed.

You might be surprised to learn that my liberal friends sometimes are upset by my stances.  Sometimes I am opposed to left wing democratic positions.  I am apalled, for example at the silliness of many university leaders in pandering to the childish urge to make the world look pretty.  We have a right to free speech, not to prettiness. I oppose hate crime legislation.  While some feminists are reasonable, some are hate mongering bigots. I have dear friends who are tolerant atheists, but I can't stand arrogant extremist New Atheists.  I could go on, but honestly, I am neither consistently liberal or conservative.  I try to use facts to make a fair judgement in each case.  

I admit to being an old conservative, insofar as I am a conservative.  I did, and still do, like Ike.  The new conservatives strike me as similar to the New Atheists.  Smug, self satisfied, and uninterested in facts.

In short, the liberal organizations who generate the posts I repost are not my source. I fact check them because I don't trust them to be accurate and only repost what is confirmed, the rest I ignore.

Let me end by noting that lately I have seen a number of individuals posting demands that either the reader agree with them or defriend them.  This appalls me.  You and I disagree and we discuss those disagreements.  You keep me thinking and make me defend my positions with thoughtfulness and care.  This is a good thing.  Keep the dialogue flowing.  Keep talking.  Shutting someone up by shutting them out just makes you isolated and rigid.  Above all, let us remain friends.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Mourn The Lost

Oprah Winfrey, on the late show with Stephen Colbert, told the story of an aboriginal elder:

Actually, my favorite story is about an aboriginal grandfather who trying to teach his grandson what he calls the Song Line. Now I never heard of the Song Line, but that's what they believe; that they were sung into existence. And he's teaching the Song Line and he's watching his grandson as he's passing along the story of their ancestral 50,000-year-old history.  He says, "I have to pass these words onto my grandson, otherwise he won't know who he is." 

That to me is so true. That if you don't have your grandmothers and your mothers and your grand fathers telling you who you are, where you've come from, then you will be lost. And he says, "I have to pass this onto my grandson, so he will not be lost." 

My four lost grandchildren, I love you and always will.  You loss will always be mine.

Sent from my iPhone


So the Christmas tree is more or less straight. It was purchased the night before last and brought in and set up as best we could. As usual it didn't get even close to straight until next day when James came over and straightened it out for us. It's turned into something of a Christmas tradition. Not deliberately. We really did try to make it stand straight  ourselves. We just failed at it.  At least I had three of the grandkids come along with me when we got the tree though. That's important.

Them Ayrabs Is All Prejudiced!

On C-SPAN yesterday, Lorenzo Venido, a thoughtful and intelligent man, was presenting a fact based analysis of American ISIS sympathizes. An angry conservative called in and said, "OK, listen to me! This guy here, he's Arabian, right?" The interviewer responded, "He says he's Italian.  From Italy."

I don't think there's a need to say anything more.

Monday, December 7, 2015

We Are The Fascisti, We Fight The Liberali

Note:  One of the marching songs of the Black Shirts declared, "We are the fascisti, we fight the communisti!"

A post circulating on the Internet displays Fox news commentator Judge Jeanine Pirro making a series of points.  One individual posted it with the comment "This is exactly what I have been telling you! Now get off your fuckin knees and man up to defend our way of life!"

My friend Bobby reposted it with his own series of comments which I have included here:
Okay, I am starting to get nervous that this kind of fascist lunacy actually gets national coverage and enjoys viewer support. The righteous indignation, fearing all Muslims, and mocking liberals, and Obama is common, but the intensity makes me worry about the risk of political and civil overreaction.

"They're here...We are fighting for the very survival of this country and our way of life. You need to make a plan, how you will protect yourself, your family and your kids."

The plan includes:
1) Everyone get a gun any way possible. For your very survival and 2nd amendment. Apparently, if you don't have a gun, you are more likely to get attacked by Islamic terrorists.
2) Weaponize local police. As if the police were somehow ill-equipped to handle recent mass shootings.
3) Close all borders. "Pure and simple." "These people [muslims] do not have a right to be here. End of story."
4) Stop all/any refugee settlement. "We are a nation founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic." Do not let Muslims in. THE enemy is Islamic terrorists, and that we should assume all Muslims are like this (3:45). Muslims now get special privileges that 'we' don't. "The plan is to shut us up." Apparently the 2nd amendment is important, but the 1st amendment for 2.5 million Americans isn't.
5) "If we are stopped from saying something against Mohammed (we aren't) or Muslims in general, then Sharia Law is already here. We are living in dangerous times... The Jackals are at the door."

I can't even make this up. Apparently, if you disagree her, you are worse than unpatriotic; you yourself are dangerous to the nation.

My friend Nick added the following comment:

This is the best thing I've read on Trump and fascism:

"America, thanks to Trump, has now reached that fork in the road where it must choose down which path its future lies – with democracy and its often fumbling ministrations, or with the appealing rule of plutocratic authoritarianism, ushered in on a tide of fascistic populism. For myself, I remain confident that Americans will choose the former and demolish the latter – that Trump’s candidacy will founder, and the tide of right-wing populism will reach its high-water mark under him and then recede with him.

What is most troubling, though, is the momentum that Trump’s candidacy has given that tide. He may not himself lack any real ideological footing, but he has laid the groundwork for a fascist groundswell that could someday be ridden to power by a similarly charismatic successor who is himself more in the mold of an ideological fascist. And it doesn’t take a very long look down the roll of 2016 Republican candidates to find a couple of candidates who might fit that mold.

Trump may not be fascist, but he is empowering their existing elements in American society; even more dangerously, his Tea Party brand of right-wing populism is helping them grow their ranks, along with their potential to recruit, by leaps and bounds. Not only that, he is making all this thuggery and ugliness seem normal. And that IS a serious problem."

My friend Susan made a different, but apropos, post which quoted a news report:
The Nevada Republican who sent out a Christmas card featuring armed toddlers has put her proverbial foot in her mouth once again – this time in a much more offensive fashion. Michele Fiore, Assemblywoman of the Fourth District, when asked by a Las Vegas radio show about why she refused to sign a statement by Republicans opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees, indicated it didn’t go far enough for her:
“What–are you kidding me? I’m about to fly to Paris and shoot ‘em in the head myself! I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I’m good with that.”
Remember, this is from an elected member of a United States legislative body!

My comment:
Some years back, my oldest grandson and I were having one of our philosophic/political discussions. As I pulled up to stop at the corner of Thunderbird and Dale Evans Parkway, I was making the point that when people get frightened they act in 
a totally irrational manner.  I told him that it hadn't happened in his lifetime, yet. But that something would happen sooner or later and he would see just how insane, self-destructive, and foolish his fellow humans could be.  I told him that as hard as it was to believe, he would will see millions of his fellow Americans acting like terrified chimpanzees; running screaming through the jungle, waving a big stick at anything that comes near them.
I told him that I didn't expect it anytime soon, but that it would come, because bad things happen and people's reactions are so very predictable. It wasn't too much later that 9/11 took place, and I was proven to be correct.

After 9/11, he and I were standing together in the Barstow DMV line. We were again discussing political issues, especially 9/11 and what was an appropriate response. I told him that, quite honestly, I was more afraid of the Bush administration than I was of the terrorists.  The worst the terrorists could  do was kill me. However, I added,  I thought the Bush administration was trying to enslave me, my family, and the rest of the country.  The Patriot Act, illegal spying on American citizens, waterboarding, special rendition, and a whole host of government policies seemed to me to be clearly taking America away from freedom and into a police state.

I got a lot of dirty looks from other people in line. I still hope that one or two of them thought about what I had to say and reconsidered their positions. But I doubt it.

I am very troubled by the levels of hate in America today, but I know that they are being promoted largely by Right Wing Conservatives who I do not think will actually succeed in electing a president. I believe the danger was greater under Bush than it is today. That is, the danger of America turning fascist. I do believe the danger of Right Wing terrorism is now higher than it has been in decades. It may become as dangerous and as deadly, possibly even more deadly, than left-wing terrorism in the late 60s and early 70s.
Just today on C-SPAN a caller whined and cried and complained about how Republicans are never listened to by the government. Somehow he forgot the fact that the Republican Party controls both houses of Congress, a large majority of the federal courts, the majority of state governorships, a majority of state legislatures…but poor pitiful Republicans! Nobody in government listens to them. What he actually means, of course, is that Republicans don't get their way every single time, no matter what. Republicans want a Republican dictatorship in America. A conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, Christian Republican dictatorship. 

While I feared it might happen if the next president after Bush Junior was also dominated by the right wing, I do not fear that now. In spite of the large number of Americans who support Trump, FOXNews, and their fellow travelers, most Americans do not.

Just as I do not fear that ISIS will take over America, I do not fear that these homegrown radicals will take over America. But just as I fear that Lonewolf ISIS terrorists will attack, I fear that Lonewolf conservative terrorists will attack.

So, Bobby, Susan, and Nick; I agree that the danger is very real. I just see it as a danger not of the government going fascist, but of the fascist elements rising to a point where right-wing terrorism dominates our daily lives.

Sent from my iPhone