Pardon The Expression

Pic of the day:  Fantasies about a found glove, dedicated to the lady who lost it, 4/10 by Max Klinger  (1878)

1878_Klinger_Handschuh_04_Rettung_anagoria

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That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1959)

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And it begins…

The propaganda war that we all knew was coming has started, the one where America will argue with itself about gun control.  That those on the side of more guns have again started their foray into madness is not a surprise, though the timing is.

They haven’t even finished burying the dead in Newtown yet.

It’s a pity really, that we’ll have to once and for all deal with these madmen and their paranoia, and pardon the expression, shoot down the idea that sensible gun legislation will interfere with ordinary men and women owning guns when it won’t.

The gun side of the argument has already began calling talk of and petitions for gun control “Magical thinking.”  I read it on reason.com, a curiously named right wing libertarian site, what with the complete lack of reason noted on that site.  Now what does magical actually mean?  Near as I can tell it means that they think that because there is no concrete plan in this talk and petitioning , aside from “don’t let homicidal maniacs get their hands on guns and kill people, because hey, we’re people, and we kinda like not getting shot dead.” nothing concrete can come of it.

When we all know that isn’t true. Fresh legislation is in fact already pending in the Senate, thanks to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.

I’ve always wondered why the NRA crowd gets so, again pardon the expression, up in arms over gun control.  It s not like there has ever been legislation produced or even imagined that says No one can ever have guns again, end of statement.  Never has been said, never has that thought been brought forward, at least not by anyone with a brain in their head.

But that is exactly the kind of argument that the NRA and their kind put forth and pretend is the reality that will occur if we are to ever have real serious gun control legislation pass.  And the end times scenarios they paint on top of these ridiculous and patently false claims are so disingenuous as to be unbelievable.  They would have you believe that any attempt at gun control in America would destroy our ability to defend ourselves(bullshit), and turn the entire nation into a land ruled by gun toting gang members (more bullshit) where honest law abiding citizens will be unable to walk the streets free at night (major bullshit.)

The first time heard these arguments put forth, I lolled.   But they are serious. The NRA even created a brochure back in 2006 with bright glossy pictures, some quite ominous looking, to drive the point home.  They are the same arguments used now, heard them after Columbine too, well before the brochure was even thought of.  Heard them after Va Tech. Heard them after Aurora.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie, and if you believe it you are, pardon the expression, out of your fucking mind.  All we want to do is make sure we are safe, which we clearly aren’t at this point as a nation.  I can still be free if guns are controlled and regulated by law like cars.  And so can you, and if you don’t think you can be then either you live in a really shitty neighborhood or you are paranoid and delusional and perhaps should not be allowed to play with the grown up toys, dangerous little thing that you are.

Just saying.

There is more on this subject to write about, a great deal more, and I’ll get to it at a later date.  I have things I must do.  I’ve taken as much time as I can here today. Tomorrow, perhaps.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

But I Digress (Idle Talk)

Pic of the day:  The Ravens of Wotan, by Arthur Rackham

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I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

Mark Twain, the American Claimant

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If you want to understand the problems of this nation you need to look inward and ask why the outward world affects you as it does.

The standard American political discourse is something of a sham, truth be told.  Many words and ideas that we bring to our most serious discussions are brightly adorned, shouted, preached and in other ways projected as to hide the truth of them.  The fact that we have to mask them with stratagems of this nature in order to make them sound bolder and smarter than they actually are says something about them, and us.

In most discourse in this formerly great nation (and this is one of the main reasons we can use the word formerly there and mean it) is that we much of the time mistake vivacity for wit.  That is a serious mistake.  Just because you speak with energy and animation does not mean that the ideas behind that energy and animation are in any way intelligent.

Most commentators on television are filled with zest, they have a spring in their step, and yet… something seems missing.

When speaking on politics and the like we should not make the mistake that these commentators make. We should not try to use flowery language, or their language at all, if we are not at all used to it.  Plain talk, which is rare enough in a people who all think they know the final truth when they scarcely know the first, should be the aim, the goal.

I am just as guilty of it as anyone else.  The difference between me and most is that I am conscious of it, and try my best to keep from it.  Now in the opposite direction, plain language does not necessarily mean simply calling what you see as you see it. We should all try to speak with some level of simplicity and honesty about the world we see. But a 9 year old with a broken heart over a baseball game, for example can do that job admirably well.  Unless you are nine and heartbroken over baseball, you can do better than that.

Mind you it is not easy being 9 and heartbroken over baseball… but I digress…

The energy we bring to our debating, and the zeal of our convictions mean not a damn.  What matters most is the truth.  But truth of a sort that does not need to be shouted from the mountaintops.  Let’s face it, if you have to yell to make your point, you’ve already lost the fight.  Let the facts tell the story for you.

Embellish with personal stories that accentuate your point to taste, but beyond that there should be no real need to adorn the truth.  The truth is clothing enough for any thought or argument.  If you need to make a petty snide remark, or some cutesy little one liner in it to make it work, it doesn’t.

This from a man who has used many a one liner and petty snide remark. With a smile on my lips and joy in my heart I have done it.  And I have no problem with it either.  I don’t know how much energy and zeal I bring though, to be honest.  I’m usually too damn tired from working, looking for work, working  and running around doing things in the house, running, exercising, cooking, cleaning, writing, thinking, and on rare occasion doing things that involve leisure.

Which is usually eating, sleeping, and generally annoying my wife and cats with my mere presence.

I would toss out a but I digress here, but digression seems to be what this entire article is about.

And maybe that is the big problem this nation has.  We as a nation have ADD, and with so many things distracting us we miss the more important things in life.

For example, the entire point of this article was summed up in the third paragraph.

Or did you miss that in the vivacious flurry of other statements?

Just checking.  🙂

Watch a viddy

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Viddy of the day:  James Hetfield: Don’t you think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand?

How can you not love Waylon Jennings meets Metallica?  🙂

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Not bad.  Took a half an hour to write that whole thing.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

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A War Of Words

Pic of the day:  Pobřežní děla v boji s loďstvem (Shore Guns in a Fight with the Fleet) by Bohulim Kubista  (1913)

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CAUGHT in the whirlwind of these war times, without any real information or any perspective upon the great changes that have already occurred or are about to be enacted, lacking all premonition of the future, it is small wonder that we ourselves become confused as to the meaning of impressions which crowd in upon us or of the value of the judgments we are forming. It would seem as though no event had ever destroyed so much of the precious heritage of mankind, confused so many of the clearest intellects or so thoroughly debased what is highest.

Sigmund Freud, Reflections on War and Death (1918)

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Man, there is a lot of bullshit flying around these days.    The Government is not God pac is at war with reality, and it is a war of words.  They are saying, among other things that President Obama will:

1) Force Christian schools to hire non Christian teachers.

2) Force Christian organizations to pay for abortions.

3) Force courts to accept Sharia law in domestic disputes

I have a great many things to say about this, but when boiled down every argument against this silliness boils down to a single statement in response.

That is the stupidest bullshit I have ever heard in my entire fucking life and I’ve been around longer than you, are you fucking people high?

Let’s look at these claims one at a time, and see what we find.

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1) The first claim above is based entirely on the fact that the solicitor general argued in a case in front of the supreme court that a teacher who thought she was was wrongfully fired should be allowed to bring a discrimination lawsuit against a Christian school, which at present is not allowable.  There are constitutional protections involved.

The solicitor general lost that case 9-0.  On the basis of that, there are people saying the President wants to force non Christians to work in Christian schools.

The separation of church and state came to the schools rescue.  That particular move by the solicitor general was dumb, and an overreach by that office.  But just because the solicitor general is guilty of overreach in one case (where he was rightfully defeated, and soundly at that) does not mean that the President is of like mind, or would even begin to attempt any such move.  He is a baptist, he would not take away the rights of any church, particularly if that move would affect his congregation.

So that kills that first claim.

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2) This forced paying for abortion claim is ludicrous. Religious organizations do not have to provide coverage for that, nor do they have to refer anyone to organizations that do provide such.  The government does not have the power to force any Christian organization to hand over money to any doctors anywhere who would perform an abortion on any woman.

Ever.

There is this thing we have in America that keeps the government out of the hair of such organizations.

It’s called the constitution.  These people really should read the fucking thing before shooting off their mouths like that.

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3) Message to the people who put out the claim that the President will force courts to accept sharia law:  The executive Branch cannot force the Judicial branch to accept any particular law.

A short aside:  no Baptist (and the President is a Baptist {get over it}) would want Sharia law in America.  End of statement.

There is a basic reason this claim rings false.  It’s called the separation of powers.  I was taught the basics on that when I was 8 years old.  Guess whoever put out this horse shit didn’t go to any school on any level that taught social studies, or history, or civics, or anything worth learning for that matter.

Or maybe numbnuts who came up with this majored in “douchebaggery”

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And on top of all that douchebaggery, I find out that Mitt Romney is out there saying the the President is trying to cut voting rights for our Military, despite the fact that that is quite simply not true.

How do I find out about this?  I read facebook, and someone I know posts something on his wall saying and I quote “Oppose Obama’s Lawsuit against Military Voting Rights.”

Ya know, if there was such a thing I would vehemently oppose it.  I went looking for it.  Wanna know what I found?

Nothing.  Not a single god blessed thing.  EXCEPT FOR STATEMENTS BY MITT ROMNEY FALSELY CLAIMING THERE IS ONE.

Sorry for the yelling, felt the need to get that off of my chest.

I hate lying assholes.  And that asshole Romney is lying through his teeth on that claim.    If Mittens wants more people to vote for him, maybe he should stop being a dick like that.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

 

A Roundabout Way to Kind of Make a Point

Pic of the day, part i: The Intervention of the Sabine Women, By Jacques Louis David

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At every step one has to wrestle for truth; one has to surrender for it almost everything to which the heart, to which our love, our trust in life, cling otherwise. That requires greatness of soul: the service of truth is the hardest service. What does it mean, after all, to have integrity in matters of the spirit? That one is severe against one’s heart…that one makes of every Yes and No a matter of conscience.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

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A roundabout way to kind of make a point:

There are commercials that air on New York radio that are propaganda. Plain and simple. Pollution of the airwaves, care of those enemies of freedom, clear channel. Overkill you say? They are the ones that broadcast nationally Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck’s radio show, Sean Hannity, and a great many other conservative radio programs. They have had some liberal shows on, but dropped them to air sports instead, despite good ratings.

Light fm 106.7 in New York is one of those stations. It is a light music station that touts its variety of music, while playing the same 15 or 20 songs on a three hour rotation. Clear Channel sucks from one end of the spectrum to the other and everywhere in between. There is nothing but bland crap music on that station, but weak crap on the radio is another article for another time.

These people have an agenda, and the ads that air there show it. One of the ads has New Jersey Governor Christie and his attempt to whitewash the truth about his tax cut for the wealthy, planning to make it look like the “Corzine Democrats” are trying to fuck New Jersey when it’s that fat bloated sack of shit Christie that’s doing the fucking. Uses the term “Corzine Democrats” several times while at the same time calling the bill he is trying to ram through the Jersey legislature bipartisan. Bullshit is a better term.

Then there’s the beverage ban commercial, brought to you by Pepsi, Coke and Snapple. The one with “real” new yorkers. The real fake ones that sound like people who are faking New York accents. Which fucking drives me nuts.

Now before I begin talking against next commercial I need to say that I am not for the ban myself. It makes no sense for the Mayor to stop people from doing that which they want just because he doesn’t think it’s right. That is silly. If people want to drink a lot of crap in a large container, let them. I see no reason to drink one of those fucking behemoth things, but I see no reason to ban it either. Seems dumb.

That said, I am opposed to large corporations jumping into the fray to try to stop this. The ad in question makes it seem like all New Yorkers are being oppressed by the Mayor because he wants to ban large drinks. But that is not what the ban is about. The ban isn’t about choice, it’s about sugar intake. At it’s base the Mayor, wrongheaded as he usually is, has a point here. New Yorkers and Americans in general take in too much sugar. It’s unhealthy. And that is what the mayor is trying to do something about.

He’s an idiot, so he does it wrong, but he’s trying to look out for us.

I don’t like the Mayor doing this, out of principle. I don’t like Coke and Pepsi fighting this on the airwaves without some kind of counterpoint from somewhere. Pollutes the entire subject. And lobbying groups like the one putting these ads out don’t belong using the airwaves, and by extension us, the way they use congress to put out pro-business propaganda. Especially not under the clearly false guise of having our freedom of choice taken away from us.

I can still vote for whomever I like. I can still eat and drink what I want. He isn’t banning Coke, Snapple and Pepsi from the city limits.

Someone needs to step up and make the point that the mayor should be making if this is the fight that he wants to fight.

Sugar is the issue. Not the drinks themselves.

Obesity, insanely fat and unhealthy people who don’t have to be like that is the real issue.

Oh and the other thing that people are missing. The beverage ban would NOT ban large drinks outright. It would only stop their sales at restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums. If I wanted to buy a buttload of 3 litre bottles of soda at Pathmark in my neighborhood after the ban, I still could.

People protested this too. They take away your 4th amendment rights and you sit at home and watch the ballgame, but try a partial ban on big sodas and everybody takes a giant shit all at once and lose their friggin minds and take to the streets…. When did our priorities go so wrong?

So…

The ad sucks. Roundabout way to make that point, but I had fun doing it. And I got to say the Mayor was wrong, that the people at Pepsi, Snapple and Coke suck, Governor Christie is a fat bloated sack of shit, and that Clear Channel communications is evil. That’s 4 for 4 in my book. And that bold Italicized sentence has a point all it’s own.

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Pic of the day, part ii: The Oath of the Horatii, by Jacques Louis David

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What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding.

Friedrich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral sense

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

Agnostic As To The Cause

Pic of the day, part i:  Great Fire of Salem, by Andreas Brugger

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One day I feel I’m on top of the world
And the next it’s falling in on me
I can get back on — I can get back on
One day I feel I’m ahead of the wheel,
And the next it’s rolling over me

Neil Peart, Far Cry

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Acta is dead.  None of the 8 signatories to the document have actually ratified the damned thing, and now the European Union has voted it down.

Good.

The main point of the treaty is to protect the rights of people who create music and content is laudable.  Great. The treaty itself was a travesty though, it was a major threat to everyone’s ability to live and work on the internet, and its death in the EU happily makes the whole thing disappear…

Or does it?

I don’t trust these bastards, just because the billionaires who wanted to throttle our internet in the name of poor bedraggled artists have been beaten here does not mean they are done.  Therefore we can’t think of this as over.  They will try again, and again we will have to stand our ground and keep them from getting their billionaire mitts on our rights and our internet.    Just because ACTA is happily dead does not mean they won’t try to get something different yet doing much the same thing past us.

We gotta keep on our toes.

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Climate change is kicking my ass right now.  It hit 100 degrees here today.  It has been an average of 8 degrees above normal for the past week, and it did the same thing from the 20th to the 23rd or so last month.  Happily it gave us a few days respite at the tail end of June.  Happily, the weather is supposed to finally break after tomorrow does the same thing to us yet again.

Right now we are sitting at the average high temperature we normally get around here this time of year.  And just an FYI.  It’s after 11 pm.

Do I know this is climate change rearing it’s ugly head?  No I don’t, but I’ll tell ya this much; if it is and I find out about it,  screw this crap I’m moving to northern Canada.

I’m agnostic as to the cause, as to why it’s happening.  Fact is, it’s happening.  I don’t give a crap whether it was the goddamn squirrels who broke the sky.  If we can change it by doing things differently on our end, then dammit let’s get cracking.  I don’t wanna leave a planet beaten half to death due to our lack of effort for our kids to suffer and burn to death on.  Don’t doom other people’s kids to flaming death because you don’t think humans broke the sky, K?

All you climate change denying prick bastards can all kiss my sweaty ass because it’s too fucking hot out all the damn time.

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I got paid.

I finally have a few dollars in my pocket.  Feels good to be able to say that.   Money doesn’t burn a hole in my pocket, I’m not a big spender.  The reason I had no money was because bills ate the money we had, and I didn’t work for two weeks, so I had no money coming in.  That combination bled my wife and I white.

Now that I have money, the last thing I want to do is spend it.  If I spend it, I won’t have it any more, and I’ll be in the same hole again.  Better to not spend.  Money is like supplies you have for a rainy day.  You don’t use it just because you have it.  Storing it, put it away for when you need it is the right way to do it.

I won’t trade tomorrow for today.

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Pic of the day, part ii: The Fire, by Guiseppe Archimboldo (1566)

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We are secrets to each other
Each one’s life a novel no one else has read
Even joined in bonds of love
We’re linked to one another by such slender threads

Neil Peart, Entre Nous

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

News? What News?

Pic of the day, part i:  The Massacre at Chios, by Eugene Delacroix

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No one talks more passionately about his rights than he who in the depths of his soul doubts whether he has any. By enlisting passion on his side he wants to stifle his reason and its doubts: thus he will acquire a good conscience and with it success among his fellow men.

Friedrich Nietzsche; Human, All Too Human

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I try not to get my information from the same sources that most people do. I don’t watch network news, and I read news that I search for,  not news that shows up and announces itself to me as news.   I cannot, unfortunately, avoid getting news from the same sources as everyone else.  That would be impossible, but I try to keep my immersion in that pool of bullshit to an absolute minimum.

Which leads me to think;  Why do people read, listen to and watch the news that we watch?   Is it because they tell us what people are interested in?  Because it informs us what is going on?  Because it is a way to while away some time learning about the goings on of the world, while not doing much anything else? Because we feel left out if we don’t know what’s going on?  Something completely other?

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I am of the mind that news should be, at least in some sense participatory.  I find it hard to just listen to what someone else wants me to hear.  The same story about Romney or Obama or Bernanke or Merkel holds no appeal to me. I not only don’t watch the news on television and just let it wash over me, I don’t allow then to tell me what stories are important.

I have only the eyes in my head though, so I have but a limited ability to find a different pool to look into.  Looking for news into any particular company, regardless of the company, will generally come up with glowing good news about them.  Even Bank of America, a generally not very much liked company, comes up with mostly good news.  Monsanto?  All good news.  Citigroup?  All good news.  Alcoa?  All good news.  I could toss a ton of other company names (Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, etc, etc.) that I have searched for with nothing but good news coming up…

And yet, Employment?  Bad news.  Job Market?  Bad news.  Hiring?  Bad News.

That strikes me as odd.  How could there be nothing but good news about companies that live and work here in the United States, and yet we hear so much bad news about the economy?  Unless they really aren’t in that bad of a state, and we are all being fed a line by people who stand to make out by feeding us that line?  I just don’t know.

Stands to reason that if all these companies, all the ones that I can think of (save Barclays and a few other banks, who are having a bad time for reasons of their own choosing, and who will be out of the news cycle in a week or two) are doing well, where is the uncertainty coming from?  Dunkin Donuts? (nope) Kraft? (nope) Exxon? (nope)

Or more properly put, who is feeding us this crap and why?

I’d say we’ll never know, but if we are so stupid that we simply don’t know, despite the fact that they tell us every day who they are, then we are idiots, and deserve whatever fate befalls us while they buy the election and anything else they can get their grubby ugly mitts on.

Just saying…

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Dante and Virgil in Hell, by Eugene Delacroix

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Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and their tastes, like their shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which the market offers.

Learned Hand, The Preservation of Personality

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Hard To Fathom

Pic of the day:  L’embarquement d’Ulysee by Claude Gellèe

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The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.

Thomas Jefferson

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In light of the above quote, does that mean that the entire nation is simply wrong?

I cannot fathom it.  Mr. Jefferson was simply wrong here.

I think he, founding father though he was, grossly underestimated how much the people, on both sides of any political argument could be misinformed by people with agendas of their own. I don’t think he knew that media would so completely divide the people as to make two warring factions out of one nation.  I don’t think he saw the overwhelming influence that business would have over the actual legislative process.   ALEC is not something that Mr. Jefferson would have even begun to understand at the time he wrote that.

I think he simply did not foresee the power of corporations over the populace and government, or that the toxic mix of money and power could go unfought.  But that is the truth of the matter, too much money runs through the halls of congress, lobbyists are poisoning the water, turning freedom and liberty in pale shadows of their former selves.

The documents that define our freedom are still in full force.  I used to think that those documents power was eroding, but I am now not so sure.  That they are there unchanged tells the story that we love the truths and freedoms that those documents represent and defend.  What has happened is that the law, the legalese surrounding those documents have been thoroughly poisoned by monied interests.

Corporations run America, but government is yet powerful enough to protect us from them.  Which is why some members of the richest classes, and their paid lackeys want government small enough to drown in a bathtub. Some people want government small for the same reason that criminals like less cops around.  Makes it easier to get away with all the crimes they want to commit.

At least that is what I can see.  My vision is not perfect, but no ones is.

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Landing of Cleopatra at Tarsus, by Claude Gellèe

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At the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama said, ‘only in this country, only in America, could someone like me appear here.’ Well, in some other countries, people much poorer than him would not only talk at the convention – they’d be elected president. Take Lula. The president of Brazil is a guy with a peasant background, a union organizer, never went to school, he’s the president of the second-biggest country in the hemisphere. Only in America? I mean, there they actually have elections where you can choose somebody from your own ranks. With different policies. That’s inconceivable in the United States.

Noam Chomsky, 2004

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On the other hand, too strong a government is just as destructive of freedom as too strong a corporate infrastructure.  It is a delicate balance at the best of times, judging who one can trust with power.  But the simplest answer is no is trustable.  But someone must have it. We should, but it seems to have been taken from us.  Makes one wonder what to do.

Police have shown that they are above the law, especially in light of what has happened in the occupy protests and the quadrennial protests at the Republican convention.  They can be unnecessarily violent and amazingly oppressive, and in the name of the protection of freedom.  Which is an abomination.  The view is that is because they are there to protect the rich men and their money.  The police, who are here to serve and protect all, have been turned into slaves, willing slaves to mammon, and enemies of real freedom.

And yet we live in America, land of the free and home of the brave.

Seems that the brave are the ones that stand against the powers that be, and that only we who fight them, in word and deed are fighting for our freedom.  And those freedoms feel like they are falling away, despite the fact that our founding documents are still in force for all to see.

Hard to fathom.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.