Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do humans ever learn?

Do humans ever learn? right now I'd say as a whole-- no. That is discouraging to say the least.

And then there is this. 

I had a nightmare last night about neoNazi hate groups (more about it in Rainy Day Thoughts on Saturday). There are those who hate those who support ecumenism as much as they do one religion group or another. So if you support voting to get your way, you are part of the problem. I ran into that this last week trying to talk logic to a radical leftie. Yeah, this kind of extremism is on both sides of the political spectrum and they are as mad at someone like me, who speaks about voting and changing the existing order by process, as they are the other side.

The map above isn't surprising as when you think about the supposed law and order party, the Tea Party, never was about law and order,\; but always about taking over by force as that's what they patterned themselves after. Of course, the Boston Tea Party was about something totally different than the current one where we do have elections to decide things. These people are mad that their way didn't win and when they don't win, they think a rebellion is in order.

The more frustrating part of this for me is the extreme left has a lot of the same views. Their way or the highway. Occupy wasn't about changing the system by voting but by just taking it.

I don't want to think there is no hope but it's not hard to see why some choose to not be informed. It is very depressing. As to the question of whether humans ever learn-- it would seem not.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sagebrush rebellion grrrrrrrrrrr

 Okay, for you city folk, listen up. You need to pay a little attention to what is going on beyond your suburban borders. I know. You think anything important happens in cities. Well there's a lot of land out there, and a movement which just sees itself as having won a big victory by using force. 

The ones who are crowing over this 'victory' want no federal government-- except maybe the military. Never you mind how they get the freeways they used to travel to the confrontation or the one they blocked as a show of force. Logic is not a factor. Read their comments. They consider this a victory over Obama (though he had no connection to this) and one for the little guy who of course, as usual is NOT a little guy.

 This guy wasn't the first to do this but might turn out to be the most successful in challenging the right of management on federal lands. There have always been those who wanted no public lands

Most likely it doesn't surprise most folks that the militia movement showed up with their guns to support this guy who is breaking a law but after all, it's a federal law. The fact that he's refusing to pay for what he is using is different because of who he is... Does support for force in this case sound like it should come from the law and order party? Well if they are listening to Rush Limbaugh, and who else can you hear in that sagebrush country, they know this is about the workers and takers. Everybody who isn't them is a taker and has no clue how to work! Enforcing law and order all depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it!

The Sagebrush Rebellion got its name back in 60s. Some have thought it was no longer active; but if they paid attention to the talk and signs in many areas of the Plains and Mountain West, they would know it had gone nowhere. It is still active and filled with resentment.  The people who support it think those who do not don't know how to work up a sweat.

In this movement, some want the states (which they consider easier for them to control) to manage all federal lands within their borders. Others, like the man in the above link, claim it should be theirs because they live nearest it. 

Regulation on use of the land? You have to be kidding! Regulations are communist plots, designed by environmental wackos and promoted by city folk who do not know how to work.

I should add during a drought, they are the first ones to blame the government for not enough canals to get them water from somewhere else.

So here is this big rancher north of Las Vegas in the Virgin River country and he's been grazing his cattle on the federal lands for twenty years and paying nothing. He competes to sell those beef with those like us who not only own our own land for all grazing but pay someone else to lease any extra land we use. Pay for it? How unAmerican by the Sagebrush Rebellion thinking. Besides when he sells his beef and he didn't have to buy hay or lease land, he has more profit and isn't profit what it's all about-- for some.

Into this morass, causing the whole thing to rise again as an issue, stepped the klutzy BLM with a cattle round-up from which they just had to back down thanks to the guns of cowboys and militia bunches. Too dangerous BLM authorities said as they even gave back the cattle they'd rounded up. Idiots! You do not start something you cannot finish and earn respect by cowboys or any rural living folks. Backing down handed a big victory to the we hate order movement. The chortling can be heard all across the West with AR-15 owners leading the howling. And I'd bet those cowboys who had worked to round up the trespassing cattle are taking a lot of antacid about now.

So if the country is going to just let Americans have the 650 million acres of federally owned land, why should it all go to someone like this cattle rancher? You know some would want it to go to the highest bidders which means Koch brothers and their ilk. Instead, to be fair, how about we divide up-- out of federal hands and into ours as individuals. 

Exactly how much land will that be? Well we have to take out of the mix the military lands for training and forts-- 19 million acres. Most would say take out the national parks like the Grand Canyon which would take 83 million out. 55 million for the Indian reservations But that still leaves a tidy amount for us to all own... 500 million acres. Let's see, there are 313 million of us. That divides down to what a little over 1 1/3 acres each.

Of course, you have to keep in mind a lot of that land is nothing but sagebrush, rock and sand. Some includes mountains that are too steep to walk on let alone live. A lottery could determine who gets what. Americans love lotteries.

So then that rancher in Nevada could work out a lease deal with his new neighbors, all 25,000 of them or however many ended up owning that land he's been taking for free. That's fair, dontchathink?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

the ACA

It's thanks to ingineer, that I got back in here. I wasn't that sure ranting was a good thing. BUT there is so much to rant about and not the least of which is the sea change we are having with attempting to finally get all Americans access to basic health care. Yeah I know they call it ObamaCare to be derogatory or even he does to try and take credit but this is a bigger idea than one man-- leader or not.

Basically the issue of insurance has been so distorted by the right wing that I think a lot of people have lost all sense of what it means. Currently the attitude is someone has it to get, from the premiums they paid, an equal amount of services. Excuse me but that's not why we carry any insurance.

Home owner insurances are hoping we will never use any of what we paid in. We pay it for the chance we might have a catastrophic event from fire to tornadoes to landslides. We try to carry all the insurance types for our region and sometimes find we didn't carry enough when, what the insurance company classifies as an act of God, was not explicitly mentioned in our policy. The truth is we don't want to use it. We hope we will never use it. We pay it as insurance and through a lifetime hoping we will not. We also know our premiums will cover those who did need to use it and the majority of Americans are glad it is that way. So I don't live in a tornado zone and understand, that the insurance companies that cover homes there will be using my premiums to do it. Good.

Same with auto insurance. We get it. We maintain it. Yeah the law makes it a fine if we drive and don't have it, but we can carry minimal coverage. Or like us, carry a lot. We have it hoping we never need it and frankly we haven't.

Health insurance though is being sold as something different by the christianist/libertarian wing of the Republican party. Every man for himself-- and if I don't get full value for my premium, I was cheated. 

Well, my husband and I bought insurance as soon as we got out of college (HMOs have been our choice which some hate for that gatekeeper that decides what specialist you can see). I am sure we've gotten very little back for all those years of premiums because we've been lucky. Oh there've been a couple of incidents, two babies, one surgery for me, broken knee for husband, appendectomy for high school age son-- but we have had little reason to need insurance all those years. We had it hoping we would not need it.

Hopefully I don't need to add life insurance is the same deal especially for young people-- which we also carried to protect our young family.

I won't say that the Affordable Care Act has been perfect. It's been fought tooth an nail by the Republicans who have voted what 50 times to try to undo it in the House while they know until they have a Republican Senate and President won't do one bit of good. Oh wait, it does make righties glow with delight. Never mind it's a waste of time to do the vote. Waste isn't a big deal when it's Congress, I guess.

Oregon still can't get its act together even after years of doing a program that helped the low income here get maintenance type health care. It then got an extension for another month because it hired someone to do the job who bungled it. 

ACA had a miserable roll out and still has a computer system that couldn't handle all those who waited for the last minute to sign up. The idea of paying a penalty if you choose to not have health insurance is little understood or explained. Basically it was to help cover the cost of the program if young people refused to sign up-- and their care if they find diabetes or an accident or a ton of other things you never count on, suddenly shows up in their family and they didn't have coverage. Of course only through ACA could they buy it with an existing condition or keep it if their cancer coverage overran the limit the corporation had said was your cut off point!

Obama made, in my view, some mistakes also in trusting states to each manage their own. That was a paean to  the right wing-- not that he ever satisfies them. States rights, dontchaknow. Well the end result has been the 'red' states, those who most tend to elect every right wing nut job, those who get the most benefits for their tax dollar-- as in more back than their state paid out-- those same rightie leaders haven't wanted it to work and hence their states have suffered the most in the roll out. Politics over citizens.

He made another mistake in wanting the insurance corporations to keep making their big bucks. If the country had gone straight to Medicare for all, covering minimum needs and then allowing people to buy more if they wanted (which is what most seniors like us currently do) with a choice of policies, the cost of the basic coverage would have been way reduced. Sorry for you who think government always costs more but Medicare has been managed at a very low cost while private insurance corporations charge far more for their services, which have nothing to do with giving actual care. 

But he wanted to compromise. He wanted to make corporations happy. Frankly he also didn't have the Dems willing to support single payer. They are also in the pocket of the corporations-- which will only grow thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision to open up more floodgates of money from those who want an oligarchy.

Yes, allowing people to have insurance might mean some run to the doctor when they don't need to go. That's the nature of humans. Some get reassurance from a doctor's visit. Others, like my husband and me, go only when we have to and take care of most of our health problems on our own with our experience to suggest ways (when that fails, we do go in). Do we resent those who use the premium money that we paid in while we don't need it? Hell no, we are grateful we don't have to!

I think the right wingers, who are so upset at people getting routine health care before it reaches the ER situation with a condition that could have been dealt with preventatively, for those who think this all is such a bad idea that people get insurance-- look up the meaning of the word! 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Morally repugnant

I don't need to rant on this. This guy does it quite nicely. But I am concerned in something else I read about how Hollywood has turned to 'Christian' themes for films and they are all selling quite well. Sometimes these 'christian' films are paid for by a oligarch. Sometimes it's just someone who likes to make disaster films and finds fertile fields where it comes to the Bible. 

This guy makes a good point. If it's only fundamentalists who take the Bible literally, then are other Christians going to speak out not just about this film but about the values it seems to espouse?

Religious people claim much good is done by their beliefs, and we should all be grateful. I wonder how many know what is really in that book and have stopped to think about that aspect of it. I guarantee you when I was in a church, I didn't. It took getting out. It sounds good when you are there and it sure works for oligarchs to promote this kind of-- we can take all the wealth here on earth but you will be rewarded in heaven-- keeping the sheep calm, quiet and willing to be fleeced. BUT when you look at a story like Noah or Abraham really look at them and what is the message-- Abraham was ready to slay his son because God told him to? That was good? Really???

Monday, March 31, 2014

to rant or not to rant

Wow, I have not written anything here for a long time. It's not that I have no rants but just not worth taking my time to write them down maybe ;). There sure is plenty to rant about these days but the question is why do it? What does it gain on so many levels?

Part of it might be I am having a hard time just keeping up the two main blogs when I am writing a lot-- and currently I am working on my third Arizona historical before I go back to edit that second Montana paranormal. Busy times but I do keep up on the news-- when I can stand it anyway...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

end of year

Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs, this is an apt time to hope the year ahead will be a good one, one where we work together to make this earth a better place. It's not an impossible dream if enough people share it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

freedom of speech or not

First the disclaimers: I have never watched Duck Dynasty. In fact, I watch absolutely none of the so-called reality TV shows as I find the whole concept abominable. To me trying to say a camera can follow people around, edit film for content, and then say this is reality is an oxymoron. It's cheap to make, has created a whole new bunch of celebrities, and it caters to the worst in human natures-- egos out of control, desire to reveal all to get attention, and that's true whether it's rednecks or glamorous society matrons.

But what is happening now is a cultural issue that really does come home to a lot of Americans on either side of a pretty big divide. It goes along with all the talk of a war on Christmas when it's one of the hugest commercial events in our country bringing in money for manufacturers, stores, restaurants, charities, and in short essential to keeping those dollars flowing. Whether someone says happy holidays or merry Christmas, it's all about giving or greed-- depending on how you see it. The fact that it's a very pagan holiday, with little to do with the one behind what is called Christianity, is lost to those looking for someone to turn them into martyrs-- minus the lions, of course.

Now the latest controversy to make the so-called conservative and religious right feel persecuted relates to a cable TV show. For those few people who don't read the papers and have no clue what i am talking about, the 67-year old patriarch in the show Duck Dynasty was interviewed by a magazine and in answering questions said some very crude things about sex, homosexuality, then went on to cover the damage Civil Rights have done to blacks.

Nothing unexpected (well other than the Civil Rights) for a fundamentalist believer in Christianity. He is necessarily a believer in heaven and hell which means rewards and punishment, but he wasn't really saying what God will do regarding what he sees as sin which he apparently knows a lot about before he got religion. He did go into graphic detail as to why he thought women were better for sex than men which made some wonder how he knew. His statements regarding Civil Rights fit right in with the Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republican party.

A&E suspended him while they think it over. Now exactly what their thinking was is hard to say. They must know liberals aren't watching that show. Some segment of the 12 million Americans who are watching it are going nuts over this affront to freedom of speech (when the Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed that the president came from Texas, freedom of speech wasn't the issue-- it was stomping on their records and threatening their lives).  Irony is too small a word for what is going on now but hypocrisy sounds good for it.

Coincidentally or maybe not, the publicity for the show has been phenomenal right before it starts its new season with threats and screams of persecution coming out in articles and even more so with comments on the articles. You can't buy this kind of publicity although some of it seems a little threatening so it's hard to say if they purposely did it, but hey they had to know who this guy was and what he stood for in terms of everything but maybe the Civil Rights part.

So to start, here's a fact: freedom of speech has always had consequences. Alec Baldwin didn't do an interview, just got caught on camera with a gay slur and he was off MSNBC. Martin Bashir slurred Sarah Palin and he lost his show. It's cost a lot of people careers because with freedom of speech comes how others see it. That's just reality and part of responsibility to accept that even when I write something here. I mentioned the Dixie Chicks, but the far right has been boycotting whole long lists of people based on one thing-- what they said.

How righties will deal with a potential boycott, I don't know because if they boycott A&E, they can't watch Duck Dynasty; but maybe the family behind Duck Dynasty will try to take their show to Fox and I guess Glenn Beck wants them for his network Blaze, which who knows where that is but probably righties know.

Whether he should have been suspended is another question as that's an economic one for all these shows. Which hurts them more? I gather a lot of people from all groups were watching this show. From what I can tell from clips, which have come out since, the show never was appealing to the Friday at the opera crowd (I'm not in that bunch either) but rather to those who like to see rowdiness, things getting blown up, and four cool looking guys being big and rough with their religion thrown in to make it all seem righteous.

To me his comments about Civil Rights were damaging, common to the right for thinking, and mostly ignorant with no clue what went on beyond his own borders. How he could think blacks were better off in separate schools, kept out of certain restaurants and motels, forced to the back of the bus, not permitted to marry whites, kept out of better jobs, finding it hard to vote, that's a mystery. Jim Crow laws were really intended to protect them in his world view, I guess.

This guy obviously lives in a bubble that fits his beliefs and 12 million Americans were being influenced by his view or was it they already had it? The media is having a field day with it as expected and some of the right wing talking heads are using it to gain favor with those 12 million fans. Christians are feeling abused and persecuted. Nothing new in any of it as this is the divide that shows up time and again in our country.