Some Thoughts About the Fraud of “Cancel Culture”

I think the notion of “cancel culture” is a fraud. It implies that there are some good aspects of our culture that are coming under attack unfairly and with malicious intent.

I find taking down statues of Confederate generals and soldiers a good thing. I cannot imagine any justification for honoring men that fought to preserve slavery and also fought in rebellion against our country. If patriotism is a virtue highly valued by those crying “cancel culture,” they are missing that those in rebellion against the United States (1861-1865) were not patriots, they were traitors and treasonous. They fought in rebellion against the United States of America to preserve the institution of slavery. There is no honor here. There are no statues in Germany honoring Hitler’s generals.

And then, there is the issue of racisim and parts of our culture and legal system that have worked to keep minorities down as well as disenfranchised. This continues today. I do not buy “white grievance,” but I do know outright racisim and violation of rights when I see it. There are pockets in this country where these are legitimized and part of the practice of government. To close one’s eyes to the denial of equal rights and fair treatment of others is an offense against our being a nation and the principles held so dear by our founders. I find it hard to accept any Christian support for a cry of “cancel culture” as a hurt when the real hurt is caused by the culture that exists.

Most of this “cancel culture” rhetoric seems to be a twisted use of words to defend a shameful position to begin with. I do not find those crying to be hurt by “cancel culture” to have any genuine injuries. In reality, those claiming offense and injury from recognition of our faults are wanting us to ignore parts of our history and culture, and even honor those that have hurt and continue to hurt Americans. Any nation that has legalized slavery as part of its origin story is not going to have a sterling history. This goes without saying. Not all of our history and culture is worthy of pride and honor. Why honor and revere the bad and hurtful? Why enshrine in our culture that which any of us would be hurt by if it was part of our experience?

This is about polictics and its peverted use to support what is wrong because it appeals to a base. It is never right to use what is morally wrong because you will find support with your base doing this. I think we fought a world war (1941-45) that had this as part of its antecedents. This is about a peverted defense of the parts of our history that are not full of deserved pride. There lies the key to all of this – a perverted defense of what is shameful, but not deniable.

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There Is No Rule of Law Without Holding Our Leaders Accountable

We point to a foundational principle, the rule of law, as to what makes the United States exemplary and also at the core of our origin and history. The rule of law is the architect and arbiter of our system.

This foundational principle has been increasingly made a sham by our politics. We have let our leaders decide when the rule of law applies and to whom it applies.

Our politics have waged a war on the rule of law since the Nixon presidency. Nixon left the presidency with a resignation, not being held accountable for his acts and conduct. Some will say resigning the presidency was enough. I don’t think so. Allowing Nixon to resign without impeachment allowed our system to avoid holding a leader accountable. Nixon walked away from being held accountable and the rule of law was the loser.

Go forward about 25 years and revisit the Irancontra problem within the Reagan administration. Again, we stopped short of holding leaders accountable. Laws were broken and broken by the top members of the Reagan administration. At the time, those at the very top were claiming they were “out of the loop,” including President Reagan and Vice President Bush. We stopped short of ever finding out how big the “loop” was and holding those involved responsible. I have always thought some decision was made in a back room somewhere in Washington not to put the country through another Watergate. We made the lower players in this crime the scapegoats and let the big players get away without scrutiny. The Ollie Norths became the darlings of the Far Right as a result of all of this discretionary rule of law. Someday, I think proof of my supposition will surface.

Next we get to Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Did Clinton commit crimes that mocked the rule of law? I think his dishonesty and word play when questioned again made the rule of law a victim in his presidency. Yes, he was impeached and the vote to convict him of impeachable crimes was purely on party lines, again a strong indicator of rule of law being the loser in this process.

Follow Clinton with the 2nd Bush and the Iraq War. The justifications and lead up to the Iraq War were largely fabricated. Fabricated is a polite way of saying the foundations of the Iraq War were lies. These are not insignificant lies. These lies meant the loss of life of thousands of people, mostly to satisfy the ego of a president. The Iraq War was not connected to the tragedy of 9/11, but this is the justification the American people were given. Those flying the planes on 9/11 were all Saudis, not Iraqis. Until recenlty, Americans could not bring suit against the Saudi government for the losses that came with the attacks on 9/11. In all of this, oil was more important than the rule of law, accountability, and justice – some more nails in the coffin of the American principle of rule of law.

Our errosion of the foundational rule of law principle set the table for someone like Trump. A modern history of not holding our leaders accountable was established. Our politics and political parties had learned they only needed to pay lip service to the rule of law principle. Our system was not going to hold them accountable. We blinded ourselves through the Mueller investigation, the first Trump impeachment, and then January 6th. The evidence from each of these was serious and warranted charges as well as accountablity. We did none of this. We even justified some of our abandonment of the rule of law to a Justice Dept. memo that says sitting presidents cannot be held accountable to the law during their time in office. This is a memo, not a law, not a court decision – to support this memo is beyond ludicrous, but in all of this, we threw the rule of law under the bus because of politics and political parties.

We have not held our leaders accountable. The rule of law in application applies only to some of us. I believe we are at a tipping point with all of this. It is one thing to mouth lofty principles, it is something all together different to live by them, all of us included.

Unless we go back to our foundational principle of the rule of law, we are a country that lets different crime families/political parties take turns running the country.

Some New Agricultural Workers On My Farm

I have recently done some immigration work on my mini farm here in West Topsham. I needed more help in the coop so I added some feathered friends that have an English background, Speckled Sussex to be exact.

As you can see, they are a fine looking immigrant and will soon be a productive memeber of the farm. I am thinking early this fall they should be really helping with the egg production as I have a strong demand. I suppose you might think of them as an illegal immigrant as they do not have any papers. I slipped them across the border and got them set up on my farm before the ICE folks knew what I was up to. It was like the old days, folks crossed over and were welcome if they were willing to work and be part of my grand design. We used the northern route and avoided all the hubbub with the Ellis Island crowd.

My Speckeld Sussex have a distinguished history. They have an English background and some were responsible for feeding the United Kingdom during the War. They are a dual purpose chicken, great egg layers, and also fine for meat as the hens will get up to about 7-9 lbs., not that I am going to eat my new friends. I cannot quite bring myself to eating my flock.

The addition of my new girls brings my flock number up to 19 hens. I used to have a rooster, a miserable fellow, big Buckeye with reddish feathers. He liked to strut around the yard and jump on hens constantly. When he wasn’t abusing the gals, he was fond of one I named “Stormy Daniels,” he would attack me if my back was turned to him. I finally had enough evidence to send him to rooster jail forever. No more real estate deals or porn playmates for this guy. I couldn’t stand him anyway – just a big blowhard.

Back to my immigration story – the new gals are doing well. The flock has welcomed them and they are fitting right in. I have plenty of work for them all so nobody is going to take anybody’s job. It’s a big coop with lots of space for more so tight quarters are not a problem. I have noticed the newcomers kind of stick together and seem to have their own neighborhood. I think they like the comfort of being with birds of a feather and they do have their own customs. That’s ok, I enjoy all the rich culture they provide. Maybe I should think about celebrating all this cultural diversity with a heritage parade sometime, might be fun for everyone.

They are all “good eggs,” and even my old Puritan bird, a Plymouth Barred Rock has taken to the new English gals without any troubles. Prior to the actual addition to the flock, I let them see and meet each other for a few days in an adjoining pen. Once they have gotten beyond introductions, I have had good luck merging them into the main flock.

I enjoy being their friend and sponsor. They seem to appreciate me and give me lots of nice eggs. Sometimes I think they work too hard, but you know immigrants, they want so bad to be accepted and part of the whole. I am guessing this was the same for when my great grandfather came over from Scotland to quarry granite in Barre. I remember hearing my grandparents and parents tell me their wish for me was to grow up and be a good American. Well, I try, and the closer I get to being a little farmer, the closer I am to my roots. It’s all about fitting in and doing what you can, working hard, and finding a place at the table.

I think my new gals will do just fine.

What Direction?

I read recently the results of a current poll that finds most Americans on both sides of the aisle feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Well, there is very little I find myself in agreement with today, but this is one of those times I nod my head, “yes.”

If you know me this comes as no surprise. I have never been much of a joiner of anything. Really, only those groups I sort of had to like being in my grade in school. Joining always seemed highly overrated to me and kind of took away my being me.

Let’s get back to the mutual agreement that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Due to the timing of my birth in the early aftermath of WWII, I grew up as a “boomer,” sort of a silly tag, but I was never asked about what to call the generation born in the first years after the War. Statistics have long said there are lots of us. You have to remember tv was in its infancy then, reception was poor to none existent in many parts of the country, and we had a lot of parents damn glad to have survived the War. “Buffalo Bob,” “Howdy Doody,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” and “I Love Lucy” were our reference points. Listening to my parents and grandparents talk, it seemed a common phrase was “…during the Depression…” I had no idea what this meant, but it seemed to be a time that had a strong impression on the adults in my life, especially my grandparents. I could connect enough dots to recognize that it was a hard time and one nobody wanted to go back to – that would have been the “headed in the wrong direction…” for those that lived through it.

In New England, and especially Vermont in the 1950s and early 1960s, we were kind of insulated from much that was happening in other parts of the country and the world. Some of the insulation for my peer group also had to do with we were still kids and not really ready to understand what was going on. For me, the turning point was the assassination of President Kennedy. This tragedy was very real and I was also at an age (12) to begin to understand that events away from us could be very bad. Let’s say I started paying attention. I started paying attention to the news coming into our living rooms, I watched folks, mostly black, being beaten by State policemen on horseback swinging night sticks and whips, using big police dogs to attack them. It seemed their crime was having a parade of some sorts. And then, the lynchings and poor people swinging from ropes hanging down from trees while a crowd watched their deaths. I did not know what the folks lynched did that was so wrong to deserve this. It seemed it was about them being black and not about some crime committed. Let’s say my eyes were open and I was paying attention to what was going on.

And then, in 1969, sort of a real mile marker year, I graduated from high school, watched Neil Armstrong take those first steps for mankind on the moon, and registered for the draft on my eighteenth birthday as a freshman in college. I was fast becoming aware of a place called Vietnam where many of my age group was going off to fight, and many die, and I did not really know why? Still don’t. I think the country is still waitng for an explanation – don’t hold your breath.

Ok, by the end of 1969, my roots of cyncism and skepticism are getting well establised. Let’s say the events that followed did a good job nurturing these roots and helping me get to the point where my reaction to most of what is coming at me from people in power is to question everything and accept nothing at face value. The sad thing is this perspective has been reinforced by us, meaning our leaders, so many times over the years that I have no other system of cognition other than to question and suspect. Nixon and Watergate cemented the capstone in my cynicism and skepticism. Some other flawed leaders that followed gave me no reason to abandon my operating system.

So, is the country heading in the wrong direction? Yes, it has been for a long time. It should not take a lot of convincing to accept this. I lay the blame at our leaders, and especially the political parties. I don’t suppose it will do much good to mention some history, but Washington tried to warn us about the danger of political parties. I find most politicians to be some of the most selfish people walking the earth. They are in politics for themselves, the power they accrue, and of course, the money. It is always about follow the dollars if you want to understand.

My vote goes with wrong direction. But, and a big “but,” (a good axe handle across kind of butt), outside of New England and my native Vermont, I do not see much to encourage me in changes of direction. A lot of the country seems to have dropped their moral compasses a long time ago and are just following some blow hard slob leading them to more of the same – hardly a direction to take up in my opinion.

I think I’ll go fishing and think about all of this in a peaceful place where nature still can add some decency to my life. Or, there is “…always the garden when the world wearies and ceases to satisfy…” (Minnie Aumonier). Working to grow food is taking on great importance and also satisfaction in my later years, especially this one.

Originalism is a Weak Argument and Not Supportable By History or Precedent

I have been thinking about the doctrine of “originalism” that is dominant on our Supreme Court today. Originalism maintains that the Constitution must be interpreted within the mind of the Framers as it was written.

I disagree for a couple of reasons, one being that the history of the decisions of the United State Supreme Court are far from a history of “originalism.” Any of us can go back and look at landmark Supreme Court decisions and not find a continuing thread of “originalism.”

Secondly, if the lense of “originalism” is so important to our Constitution, then where are the voices of the Framers and Court Justices telling us down through the last two hundred and thirty some odd years that “originalism” needs to be the guiding principle in Constitutional law?

Those voices and guidance from the Framers and Court are not there. The Framers agonized over slavery and its continuance – hardly a position that would state they were looking at originalism to guide their construction of the Constitution. Originalism is a made up justification for unwinding the Federal Goverment and our society that grew out of World War II. It is as made up as Mitch McConnell making up a rule so he did not give Merrick Garland a hearing and vote as President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Interstingly, when Justice Ginsberg died at the end of Trump’s term, the McConnell rule was no where in sight. This is why it is so hard to respect these people – they do not have the consistency of their own principles and they bend them to suit themselves – hippocrisy.

One last point and I have said this before, the men that fought our Revolutionary War and established the new United States of America were the height of liberalism at that time. The Conservatives were still supporting the King. The kind of government our Founding Fathers established was as far out there on the Left as they could be at that time. Radicals, yes, they were – very radical. They were as far from being conservative and bound to a doctrine of “originalism” as you could be in 1788.

Originalism is as phony as the testimony we heard from Trump’s nominees to the Court about respecting Roe vs. Wade and the principle of state decisis (honoring precedent established in prior case law). Originalism is a raft of horse feathers.

A Personal Choice – And the Right to Make This Choice

I believe abortion is a personal decision that should be available to a mother up to a certain point in time in her pregnancy. Looking at some history, abortion was practiced in the United States, mostly by midwives, prior to the Civil War. Abortion was an acceptable and legal practice up until the time of “quickening” or when the mother can detect movement of the fetus. Midwives usually peformed the abortion and it was legal. This changed after the Civil War as one result of the war was an expanded profession of doctors, mostly male, and they took over much of the work performed by midwives in the past. So, the history of abortion is not what the Court tried to lead us to believe. I am always sensitive when some try to “bend” the history to suit their purposes. This is the case with Court’s decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade.

I think something that is missing in the discussion, or seeminly ignored is that birthing and parenting are codependent. A birth requires a loving and willing parent to provide for the healthy life of a child. If the willing parent piece is not there for whatever reason and the preganancy is in an early stage, say, prior to “quickening,” then I believe the mother should have this control over her body. If she does not want to parent a soon-to-be-born child, and this decision is made within the window of acceptablity, i.e., quickening, then the mother should have this right.

If I follow the anti abortion argument, it seems that contraception is also problematic for many opposed to abortion. In all of this, we are getting into the realm of privacy and personal choice. How can liberty in some areas be so valued but not in this case? There is also the question of imposing a personal faith on others. There is a lot involved in this discussion.

My wife and I are adoptive parents. Parenting was a huge choice for us and very important. It was not the result of a moment of intimacy. We both put all our hearts into trying to become parents and we were blessed with two children through adoption. For both of us, the parenting piece is on the other side of the equation with birth. I think both are codependent upon each other.

I think, and I may be wrong, but I believe poorer women are less apt to have access to reproductive helath services and care. This is where the Court’s decision will have the greatest impact. Those with means will find a way to regulate their lives as they always have.

It is a shame this decision of the Court was foisted, yes foisted, on America. It seems to be another part of a political agenda, and not one that advances democracy or will improve all our lives. Many will disagree with me and that is fine – I expect this.

A Little Tongue in Cheek -sort of

News of new conspiracy theory: it involves Type 1 diabetics on insulin pumps and French Canadians just over the Vermont border in Quebec and there is an Eyetalian connection.

Apparently, every time a Type I diabetic gave themselves an insulin delivery via their insulin pump, the device was communicating with voting machines and changing Trump votes to Biden. This whole scheme was masterminded and operated by French Canadians using sophisticated satelites and telemetry science (don’t ask me what telemetry science is – sounds spooky to me). The secret base of operations for these nefarious French Canadians was on Lake Memphremagog near an abandoned monastery. I am asking some G Men to investigate this plot and recount the ballots. I am currently in touch with this eager beaver G Man, a Mr. Clark. I am also hearing these nefarious French Canadians trained under some equally nefarious Italians in Barre – I am told there are some “good people on both sides.” The Type 1 diabetics are complaining that their insulin pumps are “rigged.”

The secret papers revealing this “Specter” type plot were found in a hollowed out pumpkin in a innocent looking pumpkin patch. A farmer, a Mr. Hiss revealed the location of pumpkin patch and a new and interesting Congressman, a Mr. Nixon jumped on this revelation and said he will use it to launch his own equally nefarious career hoping to go all the way to the White House.

I cannot make this stuff up – this is hard news. I am getting most of this information from the Trump Tower folks. They have some more “good people” helping with all of this terrible stuff. I am hoping Captain America will get involved – I think he will.

One of my sources was this former Trump staffer and a former barkeep. She mentioned “alternative facts” and that “what the world needs now is more alternative facts.”

I am also hearing there was a lot of illegal cross border traffic with the French Canadian gang using a library in Derby Line, Vermont that literally sits on the international borders. Apparently, the librarian was willing to look the other way with cross border traffic if fines were paid for overdue books in the crossing. The library got a lot of their long overdue “Mad Magazines” returned this way.

One last thread to the story. It seems the French Canadian gang was running a stinkin bad pizza shop out of the abandoned monastery. Many of the gang had “Eyetalianized” their last names hoping this would help with pizza sales. I am also told that many young folks were coming in and out of the abandoned monastery/stinkin bad pizza shop. The young folks were known to be young because many of them were carrying skateboards set up for dirt road use.

Some Thoughts About the January 6th Committe Hearings

If you have been following the January 6th Committee hearings, you have heard and seen a lot of evidence being shared, not by Democrats, but by Republicans. This evidence has been damning against Trump and his circle, and the important point, this evidence is being presented by Republicans.

What gets me, Trump’s lack of honesty and integrity were known long before he was elected president. He was and is a known quantity. I am not sharing some personal bias here. This makes me question and wonder about those that supported Trump, and some that still do. Is it that for you, politics is like rooting for a favorite sports team and you park your brains on the seat beside you? I don’t get it and what is more interesting is the quiet drift away from Trump now that there is so little choice about keeping your personal integrity. This hyperpartisanship is dangerous and demeaning to those that seem to be captured by it.

If displaying our faith on our shirtsleave is so popular, I will say this, God gave us brains to use and think with, not to be left behind while we follow some mob. I learned something from the 60s that has stuck with me, the Hippies were right about a lot of things, and those we trusted were not right. I question everything since, and am not a follower of anyone. I will quote Thomsas Jefferson, “I am a sect of one….,” and this is how it will be.

Shame on so many that treated the seriousness of governing like it was rooting for your favorite sports team. Yesterday we heard from a highly respected Conservative judge, Judge Luttig how much our democracy was threatend by the actions of Trump and his followers, and also, how much it is still threatened by the same. These threats to what Americans have held dear are not coming from the Left, they are coming from the Right. There are many echoes from a period in Germany in the 20s and 30s. I think you know what I am talking about here.

It is past time – and some are finding this out the hard way

None of us seem to talk or maybe think about this much, but it is happening. I am referring to the climate disaster we are witnessing in the western United States. I know it is out West so it is sort of out of sight, out of mind, but it is real and the ramifications are also real and big. So many have kind of dissed climate change, mostly I think, because the actions required mean changes and inconveniences, or worse. Also, it has worked to use climate change as another way to have culture wars and to ridicule those not of your partisan persuasion.

In a perverse way, those mostly directly affected have been the first to dismiss climate change as phony and a fun way to put down those with education, in this case, climate science (remember when the 2nd Bush administration would not let the the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA scientists mention climate change in any reports). It  seems the folks in Utah are getting it – now. I would be asking, “What do we need to do to stop this and fix it?” I would not be looking to play more politics because time is running out, not just for those in the West, but for all of us.

This makes me think of what followed the 60s and many of us started to realize the “Hippies were right.” It looks like maybe after this environmental nuclear bomb strikes, and it is already out the bomb-bay door, some folks might say, “Hey, those Vermont libs were right.” That probably will not happen as it requires reflection and contemplation – both in short supply these days.

It is no consolation to be right about what is happening as I write this.

Here is link to a piece from the “Pittsburg Post Gazette” titled: “An ‘environmental nuclear bomb’ as Utah’s Great Salt Lake dries up.”

The Real Reason the Right Wants Their AR 15 Assault Rifles

I have said the real reason the GOP is staunchly behind the right to have AR 15 type assault rifles is that they expect and intend to fight urban warfare here over getting and having political power. This came from one of Trump’s inner circle of supporters, Matt Gaetz, and is really from the horse’s mouth. Gaetz is talking urban war here. He’s not talking about shooting racoons, prairie dogs, feral hogs, and other varmints – he’s talking about shooting people. I said earlier, the fight to keep AR 15 assault rifles is all about the use we saw Kyle Rittenhouse use his AR 15 for – urban warfare, to shoot people.

Matt Gaetz: ‘Young adults’ need AR-15 rights or they will be ‘vulnerable’ during ‘midterm violence’