Watching the decline...

Monthly Archives: January 2018

How Bad It Really Is.

Edited on 1/29 added video.

The Trump presidency made us forget exactly how bad George W. Bush was.

True Story.

This…

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

 

Pot Will Bring Us Together?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have just done more for the legalization of weed than almost 50 years of lobbying by NORML. In the recent memo reversing an Obama era stance virtually leaving states alone to decide whether to legalize marijuana use, Sessions has inadvertently set up a showdown between the federal government and a quickly growing industry of growers, material supporters in non-legal states (shares of a few companies that produce fertilizer dropping more than a few points is a portent) and weed specific financial startups, not to mention users both medicinal and recreational. Those users are not the lazy dirty hippies who have so been the caricature of note.

Many users, surprisingly to statisticians, not just of the medicinal variety, cut a swath across the political spectrum and cross the great rural/urban divide. In other words, this odd little issue might have the possibility of being one of a few “rights” issues that cuts across party lines.

Politico suggests that this action may lead us down the path of legalization as a country though I’m not so sure it’s as simple as that. Yes this is the first time in a long time that Liberals as well as Conservatives are on board with “states rights” but just as those of us on the left are not a unified force on any issue, I fear that religious conservatives my still have enough pressure left in their tank to delay if not derail serious talk about legalization at least until 2018.

My feelings are mixed, honestly. Unlike many people I do believe Pot to be addictive, maybe not chemically but at least behaviorally. But by the same token alcohol abuse runs rampant through every demographic. What has always made marijuana different in my mind is the social stigma attached and the racial dog whistle that always seemed to accompany discussion of legalization.

Put it this way, when alcohol prohibition was enacted it became clear that people were going to drink regardless and organized crime, perpetrated largely by Italian Americans ran rampant. The same can be said for the drug war on urban America, people of color mainly were the recipients of both the benefits and the punishment for the weed trade.

While alcohol prohibition lasted 13 years, Marijuana prohibition, has lasted effectively over 80. Prohibition began with the influx of Mexican immigrants into the country in the 1930’s and the attached stigma spread throughout communities of color through exaggerated stories of  sexual aggression in minority groups.

Basically, if you are “colored” pot makes you chase white women and when white women smoke pot they cant help but be attracted to over sexed dark-skinned men. I shit you not.

What’s different this go round is the power behind the trade. No longer is it enterprising young Black and Brown men benefiting from “selling drugs” weed has been legitimized by “start-ups” and made acceptable by “dispensaries.” And though the occasional colored weed ambassador makes his rounds, marijuana sales will largely be taken over by white dudes in suits (or at the very least colorful button-ups).

 

It’s continued application to a population whose power hadn’t increased like that of Italian Americans is telling to say the least. That component, the one that lessens the burden on petty drug offenders serving time, which largely affects communities of color and the poor, is heartening to me. The idea that someone reviving public assistance would not be moved off because of a test shows THC in their blood, or that the whole idea of testing for “drugs” (a clear code word for pot) would be another bone to throw at people who already believe all recipients of public assistance to be lazy.

Is there the potential for abuse, yes. Does that potentiality and actuality already exist in legal alcohol, abso-fucking-lutely.

Regardless of my own reservations it will be interesting to see how much common ground civil libertarians and economic libertarians can find in this issue. It will also be interesting to see how the issue will play out in November. We shall see.

Eating Our Own

As the Oscars continue on the road to death from taking itself way too seriously the Golden Globes, its hipper more loose moraled cousin, continues to follow it down the rabbit hole of irrelevancy. From what I saw, the well meaning and relevant protests and discussion about sexual violence, predation and under representation of women in Hollywood was a resounding success, i.e. its trending. I suppose that my mention of it would, like a dimly lit star in the night sky that mostly goes unnoticed, be a part of the chorus of discussion about the issue.

The attention brought to Women who have been harassed, stripped of power and dignity through violence or implied violence and the inequities in power in this one industry is well deserved, it is supposedly shining a light on the greater, even less empowered world below it. Women feeling constantly threatened, or conversely those who feel empowered to use that to their advantage, are all affected by this imbalance. The different approaches to this end and the varying ways individual women have reacted to the issue has left me again wondering if the multiplicity of voices, many on the same side, can be heard through the noise.

Susan Sarandon, who I respect not only as a actor but as much as one can someone they have never spoken to, a human being, is the latest victim of the reactionary left’s (words I never hoped to ever have to say) group-think.  Somehow, in 140ish characters, the twitter-verse has managed to shame her for not letting her gender dictate her conscience.

As twitter logic goes, regrettably, this is fairly benign, but as the greater trend toward vanquishing the twin dragons of balkanization of any outlying opinion and identity politics are concerned it is another example of the stoopid factor, eating your own when it comes to small differences in opinion, when we largely agree.

Its so absolutely fucking insane that because Sarandon did not follow the part line and support Hillary Clinton (her ABSOLUTE right as an individual, I might add) in the democratic primaries and then dared to support Stein (a woman?!?!?) she is somehow solely responsible for the downfall of the black dress movement and a far worse offender than any male who presided over the casting couch Hillary’s victory would have surely completely demolished.

Here are a few dumb-ass responses to her being an individual with her own voice and position (IRONY ALERT!)

– Oh and by the way, thank you Huffington Post for finally beginning to show a little backbone in calling out stupid, although subtly.

SO what was her major crime? Refusing to support a candidate that very few people were truly happy with for one who was screwed out of party support because he WASN’T a woman? Aside from not making a lick of fucking sense, its entirely counterproductive.

Shit like this pushed into leaving the Democratic Party without abandoning my liberal principals, so am I now a traitor, sexist and bigot for respecting the opinions of others who are largely in line in principal with mine?

When do we stop sniping over small differences and finally begin unifying on GP and figure out the minor shit later? Not that we should swing far in the other direction and support raving idiot’s who are clearly unfit for office simply because they are the official party candidate, but nor should we feel we have to support someone who was clearly a member of the political class, didn’t do shit for Black People yet pandered for our vote simply because she is a woman. An absolutely well qualified woman, but also a woman who allowed her own ambition to let her turn a blind eye to the obvious corruption in her own party.

A vote for Stein or Sanders WAS NOT a vote for trump, it was a vote for the soul and conscience of the Democratic party and a test that my former party failed miserably.

Sarandon is still a hero to me, not as an actor, or as an activist, but for being the target of everything wrong with the left, the lack of serious self criticism, the lack of any real ability to soul search, and the mimicking of everything the right has represented to us since college, robotic reactionary proto-facisim.

Reconciliation

As the year closes and a new one begins several feelings wash over me.

I feel a continuing sense of change, personalty, professionally and in the world around me.  I feel that what came apart last year could use some mending this coming year, and when was left unfinished or unsaid, needs completion and vocalizing.

As has been the pattern of my life I am starting anew, leaving behind what was and moving towards something else, I’ve shed yet another skin and left behind a part of myself in the process.

I think in order to reconcile the world around you, you have to reconcile the warring factions within yourself. In order to understand the external chaos, you have to address the internal. You have to let some of the voices you’ve forcibly ignored to be heard. As someone with deeply held beliefs I have had those beliefs challenged constantly by those I choose to surround myself with.  Beliefs and opinions not only about the world but about myself as well, the picture I paint of myself and my actions doesn’t always match that of what the outside world sees and I’m realizing that however ugly that picture is, it has some validity.

In the past year I have done things I never would have told myself I’d have done, made choices both bold and cowardly that I never saw myself making and became a shade of myself I never considered using from the box of crayons I used to color my actions. I’ve learned hard truths about choosing one thing over something else and myself over other people, I’ve learned that at times when I’ve felt so sure of something that there existed equally a terrible fear of being wrong. Mostly what I’ve learned is that when you choose yourself, sometimes, there is a terrible price to pay.

I’ve also learned that when you allow other’s view of you to become integrated with your own it not only invites in doubt, but that doubt brings along perspective. It’s a fine line that separates the two, but one does not come without the other. I now know that when you allow yourself to see yourself as others see you it makes plain what needs to change.

When I started off this year I was knee deep in sorting out my life. Determining where I wanted to be and with whom, sorting through who and what I wanted in my life. I was confused, bewildered and estranged from myself and poorly choosing my way through a series of friendships that would eventually take me to where I am now. I felt confident about nothing except that I needed to change.

We were also beginning a turbulent section of American history, facing down the expectations of a presidency that both elevated the office and stripped the country of its facade of post racialism. We allowed our petty hatreds to divide us and create a false dichotomy of left and right that had nothing to do with classical liberalism or conservatism, and pit rural versus rural with neither really knowing how the other lived. We silenced the voices that could have spoken across those lines and increased the volume of those that would, for their own best interest, push us further apart. We laughed uncomfortably at what we all knew to be true:

 

So, what now? Where to go and what to do?

Firstly, for me I have to take care of my own house first, clean around my gutters and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Houseclean my brain and look for the blemishes that reflect the neglectful portions of my psyche, patch the holes and soothe the edges and realize that the process may be a lonely one but cannot be done alone.

Then and only then can I take on the rest.

 

Happy New Year!

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: