Last Leper in the Colony

I hope I can be forgiven for being a little apprehensive when a friend or an acquaintance who is not an author asks me to read a book that he has written. But ‘Last Leper in the Colony’, by Wynne LeGrow, MD is clear and engaging, and an important read for anyone interested in religion and politics. Wynne has a knack for describing the ironic and an honest way of describing his own fears and shortcomings that will warm the reader to him and keep the reader looking forward to the next page. No matter what your faith or how strong your convictions are, the influence of religion on politics despite the founding fathers’ efforts to keep them separate, is an important topic that should not be ignored.

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If You’re Not Freaking Out about Net Neutrality…

(image is just text) Urgent: If you're not freaking out about Net Neutrality right now, you're not paying attention

I let July 12 sneak up on me.  I meant to do more to get ready for the Net Neutrality protest but today is July 12 and I hadn’t mentioned it to my friends or even brought it up at the Democratic Committee meeting last night.  Part of the reason – but only part – is none of my family or friends are talking about Net Neutrality.  I don’t see much about it on my Facebook feed.   Net Neutrality is way in the back of people’s minds and a lot of folks aren’t even sure what stand they should take on this issue.  Right now we’re obsessed with Junior’s collusion with Russia to dig up dirt on Clinton.

For those who aren’t ready to jump on the left side of every issue, Net Neutrality might seem like just another case of Liberals asking government to step in and regulate something which might better be guided by the invisible hand of the free market.  I understand that argument.  I think we on the Left generally want too much regulation and before the Right went insane, they provided a rational voice of opposition to our excesses.  There’s nothing  wrong with having someone say, “Don’t you think you’re spending too much money on this issue?”, or “Don’t you think those folks would be better off solving their own problems?”, or “All those regulations are going to make it too hard for people to do what you expect them to do.”

But that rational voice of opposition has gone rabid.  And without that rational voice, people on the Left should occasionally ask themselves, “Is this something that requires more government regulation?”, and we need to train ourselves to say “No” more often than we currently do.  But when our primary source of information is in danger of being overtaken by corporate interests who would be in control of what news and opinions we get to hear, then we should fight to keep that from happening.  I believe our Founding Fathers would agree.

Article 1 Section 8 of our Constitution gave the Federal government the power to establish post offices and post roads.  Early on, the leaders who shaped our nation knew that the government had a role in ensuring that the people had fair access to information.  That role still exists now that the Internet has become our primary postal route.  Allowing corporations such as Comcast or Verizon to throttle the route for some sources of information while keeping it wide open for others would be in violation, at least in spirit, of the guarantee of free flow of information that the framers wrote into the Constitution.

If corporations control our information, they can control us.  We can’t protest abuses of power if we don’t know about them.  We can’t organize if we can’t communicate.  We’re about to cede control of our information to the companies that own the routes through which that information flows.   

Imagine not being able to access the Washington Post or the New York times to learn that Donald Trump Jr was told, in an email, that he would be meeting a “Russian government attorney” to provide dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”.  Imagine not being able to read how Republicans are “Taking a sledgehammer to Medicaid” .  

This is why we have a 1st Amendment.   If we lose fair access to information, we lose one of the most fundamental aspects of a free society.  Let’s not let that happen.  It’s easy to let the Net Neutrality issue slip by.  It’s wonky and technical and hard to directly equite to such issues as health care, voter suppression, the environment, or war.  But it’s central to all of those issues.  

So do me a favor.  I’m feeling pretty guilty for not doing more up until now.  Go to www.BattleForTheNet.com and sign the petition.

Thank you.

Update (7/13): Comcast says they support Net Neutrality, but not “reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II”. The verge says Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T want Congress to make a net neutrality law [ as opposed to regulation ] because they will write it.

It’s Not Hypocritical To Review the Election

A commenter on an article in the Independent about how the election might have been rigged wrote this

Liberals lost, they should accept the result. They slated Trump when he said he may or may not accept the result. Severely damaging to democracy to challenge the result they said…except when liberals do it eh.
Turn the result around now, legitimately or not, and all hell would break lose.
This is the most hateful election I’ve ever experienced.

Bullshit. The problem with Trump’s accusations of rigging are that he had no evidence. Even before the election, as he was dropping in polls, he was said the only way he could lose was due to rigging.

We’re not even making accusations yet. Looking at evidence before making accusations while condemning someone for making accusations without evidence is not hypocrisy. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy.

String ‘Em Up

Scientists, Professors, Librarians, Journalists. Anyone who has dedicated their life to discovering or disseminating knowledge. String ’em up.

photo of man wearing t-shirt saying 'Rope, Tree, Journalist.  Some assembly required'

Photo: Posted on Twitter by Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle)

Linda Johnson Just Lost My Vote

I was happy when Mayor Linda Johnson showed up briefly for the Don McEachin meet and greet at LeOtis Williams’ center last month, but now I’m pissed off that she sent a flyer out saying, “Endorsed by our Republican delegate Chris Jones.”

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If Mayor Johnson is trying to be a Democrat for Democrats and a Republican for Republicans, then she is indeed a hypocrite. But it’s not hypocritical to appear at a Democratic event hosted by a well loved local businessman and later accept the endorsement of a popular local Republican.

What bothers me so much about this flier is the word “Republican”. I’m not bothered by the endorsement by Chris Jones. Delegate Jones has served his district well and has the support of many local politicians who are, otherwise, Democrats.

But by putting “Republican” in bold letters at the top of the flier, she’s not just appealing to those of us who like and respect Chris Jones. She’s courting low information voters who don’t even know who their delegate is and are only Republicans today because they’re pleased with the nationalism, racism, and all around viciousness that has defined the Republican campaign this year. “Deplorables, I’m one with you. Vote for me.”

Suffolk has a rule that councilmembers run as independents, and for a long time they have honored the spirit as well as the letter of the rule by avoiding such overt appeals to partisanship in their campaign literature.

It is harmful to our city for our mayor to choose this year, when the Republicans have sunk so low that even long term party elites are disgusted, to bring partisanship to the front of our local elections. Shame on her.

So who’s left? I’m suddenly undecided.

Edit: I posted this with “Bishop” Staten’s name at the bottom because I had started to list all of the other candidates, then decided not to, but accidently left Mr. Staten’s name there. In fact, I’m currently torn between Kerry Holmes and Brian Bass, leaning towards Mr. Bass.

Milteer Campaign for Suffolk City Council: Stop Putting Signs In My Yard!

The first time I found an uninvited Milteer sign in my yard, I chalked it up to a simple mistake and moved it down to a spot not in front on anyone’s house. The second time, it went into the can, as did the likelihood of me voting for councilman who held his position for 35 years.

My vote will go to Vanessa Harris. Ms. Harris is a businesswoman who owns a funeral home in the borough, and is also a teacher at Kings Fork Middle School. And those middle school students can be a lot to handle, so if she can teach them and run a business, I think she has the civic mindedness and the ambition needed to represent my borough.

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Defining Patriots and Tyrants

If it comes down to the blood of patriots and tyrants, remember that the patriots will be the ones defending the civil transfer of power to the democratically elected candidate, and the tyrant would be the one trying to gain power with the help of a foreign dictator and a rogue army of bloodthirsty nationalists.

 

 

 

We’ve Never Seen Lying Like This Before

Via Think Progress

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. -Donald Trump July 27 To be clear, Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails today. -Trump senior communications advisor Jason Miller July 27

Photo By Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Marines Corp
via Wikimedia Commons

A Subscription to Mother Jones

Thanks to Bill O’Reilly’s endorsement, I subscribed to Mother Jones.

O’Reilly helped my decision by calling Mother Jones a far left magazine with low circulation, and by saying the magazine is considered by many to be the bottom rung of journalism in America. It was also helpful to me to see so many conservatives circling the wagons around O’Reilly after MoJo presented incontrovertible proof that O’Reilly lied about being in the Falklands, and by O’Reilly’s reference to MoJo’s reporter David Corn as a liar and a “guttersnipe”. Joe Concha of Mediaite, while defending O’Reilly, called Mother Jones a niche magazine for Liberal Democrats.

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A subscription to Mother Jones is pretty cheap. I signed up through Amazon and got the Kindle subscription for $1 a month (It will go to $3 a month after the introductory price expires). It’s the same price for paper. I also found an offer on Facebook for a year of MoJo for $10.

Old Version of Mitigating the Damage caused by Not Voting

I made a lot of revisions to my previous post, and for the sake of honesty and to avoid looking like I’m trying to cover up any gotcha’s, here’s the version I posted on the 9th.

I see no sign of it yet, but I think a lot of Republicans are feeling some buyer’s remorse as they consider the band of comic book villains that they just put in charge of most of our nation. The puppet masters who orchestrated the debacle by spending billions of dollars on lies about the economy, the environment, Obamacare, and conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory will have to stave off the effects of such remorse. They will whisper into the ears of their newly elected henchmen and tell them that the master plan is almost complete, but now Gunslinger Jesus says we should tone it down a bit while he puts more pieces in place. If the loons can go for two years without ranting about such things as spanking the gay away or going to war with Mexico, Republican voters, who generally aren’t as deranged as the mad clowns they just elected, will approach the 2016 elections thinking, “Well that wasn’t so bad” as opposed to, “My God! What have I done?”.

If the loons can tone it down a bit and Republicans, with the help of the “Liberal Media”, can claim credit for the economy which was getting better before they regained control, then 2016 will be 2014 II. As long as there are still some Democrats around, they can keep blaming everything that goes wrong on welfare, immigration, and regulations, and keep preaching about Jesus, guns, family values, and the subversive plot to take it all away. Angry, scared, Republicans will get to the voting booths to save Christian America from Mexican Sharia terrorists and their homosexual Jewish lawyers while apathetic Democrats, those who aren’t working triple minimum wage shifts or getting turned away at the polls, will spend Election Day watching TV and posting selfies.

After a complete Republican takeover, the puppet masters won’t have to keep their henchmen in check. There will be bills in Congress against homosexuality, Islam, and Spanish. They will cut unemployment insurance as jobs get outsourced or replaced by machines. They will cut minimum wage. They’ll take credit for job growth even though job growth will mean more people working more shifts and still losing their homes. Public schools will be so ineffective that it would be better for poor and middle class to drop out and start working. We’ll see more gerrymandering, more difficulty voting, more suspicious behavior of voting machines and election officials, and more money spent drowning out the messages of political candidates who stand up for the middle class and the poor.

The chance of a poor person rising above poverty will be smaller than it had been in a century, but at least the playing field will be fair for people who’s parents spent a million dollars on their success and shouldn’t have to compete with those who’s parents didn’t spend a fraction of that amount.

The Republicans don’t have to be the party of lunacy. There’s nothing wrong with an opposing voice asking, “Don’t you think you’re spending too much on this issue?”, or “Maybe those people can’t be helped”, or “Let’s give that problem a chance to fix itself”. But that voice of intelligent dissent is gone for now. It’s been drowned out by paranoids and religious zealots who’s deranged views were just endorsed during an election that so many of us sat out. And the only people who gain from a dysfunctional government are those who hate limits on their extravagance and who don’t want meddling dogooders defending the rights of those who can’t defend them with their own money. They’re not a bunch of fat cats sitting in a room deciding how to control our future. They’re just a bunch of wealthy individuals who spend a lot of money convincing us to vote in their interests or to just stay home. And we complied.

It’s already bad and it’s going to get worse but it might eventually get better. If you doze off at the wheel as the road curves away from a 6 foot diameter oak tree, the prospects aren’t good but you still might save yourself if you wake up now. At least you might mitigate the damage and survive to make repairs.

Some say, don’t blame the non-voters, blame the non-candidates. I disagree. I say get to the polls first and eventually candidates will recognize you. Get to the polls and vote for the best choice available. They’re not going to look at you as you watch TV on election night and say, “If only I were more exciting that guy would be voting for me”. You have to at least meet them halfway. Show up and show them you’re there.

Maybe you don’t agree with either party. I don’t agree with Democrats on everything. But at the very least, don’t vote for the party that wants to make it harder for you to vote and harder for you to be informed. Don’t stay home to let confused bigots vote for you. Your inaction has just allowed voting to become much harder, but it’s not impossible yet. 2015 is an election year in many states, and it’s a chance for many of us to show politicians that we’re ready to show up. Then in 2016 we’ll have a chance to mitigate some of the damage done in 2014. But only if you vote.