A Time Out Needs to be Called

God, I wish there could be a referee in this country that could blow his whistle and call a time out so we could sit down together and atually try to solve some problems. The solutions I am wishing for are those that would fix problems and help people. I am not looking to cut taxes or find a way to get me more guns. I am looking for ways to help Americans stay safe and healthy and keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Call this socialism if you like, I really don’t give a damn what you call me, I never did. I care about people, period.

The referee should say, “If you are not here to help solve problems, then step away from the table and make room for somebody that is. And never mind all your political horseshit, this is about helping all of us, not just you.”

The Right to Bear Arms (The 2nd Amendment)

Many of the gun rights advocates find friends in the legal profession with a group that views themselves as “strict constructionists.” This means they try to look at the Constitution as it is written and not construe any meaning beyond the words of the Framers. Just saying, this group of “strict constructionists includes some members of the U.S. Supreme Court like Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Coney Barrett. This group is adamantly opposed to the notion that the genius of the Constitution is that it can adapt to the present times, or any time for that matter. They strongly refute the notion that the Constitution is a living document that has been able to adapt to the times. They call this “legislating from the bench.” I always wonder how this reconciles with the amendment process, but I am not going there right now.

Let’s look at what the Framers were worried about when they drafted the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What were the Framers worried about? It seems reasonable and almost a “duh” moment to say the Framers were thinking about the war they had just fought with Great Britain. If I look at the history, it was really helpful when some able bodied men could assemble on the greens in Lexington and Concord and oppose the King’s army with some flintlocks and squirrel rifles. Given the language of the 2nd Amendment, it starts out with the statement of “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” The Framers were worried about a future event like the Revolutionary War and the necessity of a citizen’s army, “…A well regulated militia…”

If I am to join the camp of the “strict constructionists,” then this is where my interpretation of the Constitution begins and ends. My legal philosophy does not permit me to look beyond the times of the Framers in applying the Constitution. Yet, this is just what has happened with the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms in our society. The Framers never invisioned the advent of assault rifles and a gun industry/lobby that would grow up and be willing to literally fight to the death over the right to possess and sell us all of this lethal weaponry.

The 2nd Amendment is not the paramount right in the Constitution. It does not give us the right to cancel each other’s rights. It does not give us the right to make our country into a killing field. We need to stop this and it will mean limiting the right to bear arms as it is viewed today. It is not an absolute right and we have limited its scope before. The easy example of this is knowing during Prohibition machine guns like the Thompson submachine gun often seen in the ganster films were made illegal for ordinary citizens to own. They are still illegal. We do not allow people to make and own bombs. We can restrict the right to bear arms. We banned assault type weapons in 1994 and the law expired in 2004. It can be revisited and renewed as well as other common sense gun restrictions.

Like so many of our problems, the first step is to admit to and recognize the problem. We can come together to solve this problem and others too. Like I just said, there is a “first step.” We cannot seem to get that far with our current politics – such a tragedy we visit on ourselves and our children.

Some Thinking

I have been thinking back on the 60s lately and what was happening. It was my coming of age and we all have a coming of age, mine just happened to be then. I didn’t always agree with what was happening, some due to my own naivete, but now I understand. I have to say with the benefit of time passed, I have come to learn that the messaging was right. How soon it was all missed and forgotten by those that came right after – such a shame.

I have been out working in the garden and thinking some more about this post. In fairness, I should explain my thinking. I am involved in a never ending quest to understand our current time, culture, and the overall state we are in. I thought I needed to go back a little way in history, like to the post WWII period and the 50’s would be a good starting point.

I chose to read a book by David Halberstam titled, “The Fifties.” He writes well and I am surprised (as usual) how much I am learning about some history I thought I knew well. I am hoping this will help me to better understand today. I think it will.

To pick up my statement about the disconnect with the 60’s and the generations that followed, I believe much of this had to do with a trade off, i.e., the trade off of making a living in the post 60s economy and not thinking too much about what the 60’s was all about. I think this trade off is repeated by many today with the problems of climate change and global warming. I suspect many are not so much climate change deniers as they are willing to ignore the science in exchange for making a living in the current economy. This denial has been supported by an attitude of rejecting those with education and learning as elites. This attitude had some big support in the 2nd Bush administration, again as a way to put down anybody not on board with our current oil based economy. Think Karl Rove and some of the others in the Bush administration including the president.

And then, with this sublimation of your conscience in order to be economically pragmatic, it helps to find a church that will tell you that Jesus was not into science. In one fell swoop you can deny climate change and the need to get a Covid vaccination and do it all in the name of faith. You are ready to start chanting “Drill baby, drill” as you are a believer in the oil based economy and your church has your back.

I titled this piece, “Some Thinking” and that is what I am sharing here.

A Way of Life…

Ernest Hemingway gave some advice to aspiring writers and his advice was: “…All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know…”

As my title for this piece suggests, I am drifting way from political topics and picking up some themes that are dearer to me, and really are me. My truest sentence is: I need to find my own way. I am not a follower and my nature would never let me be one. I need to sort things out for myself, come to my own conclusions, make my own mistakes, and hopefully, find some basic truth to be my true north.

Ken Burns, the great historian and documenter of history did a piece on Ernest Hemingway and in the piece, Ken Burns said, “…Hemingway was a great noticer of things…” and this found its way into his writing. Being a noticer is how we learn about life and our interaction with the places where we are. My father used to suggest that I go out and just sit down in the woods and be quiet and still, and notice what is going on. It would take a while for the normal life of the woods to return as I disturbed it on my entry, but if I was patient and still, I would soon be part of where I was. I learned so much about the natural world from doing this and also I learned about myself. I learned I needed this time of peace and the absence of intrusions from the outside world. I needed this “thinking time.” In my later life, trout fishing on a brook has provided me with this quiet thinking time my psyche demands. There is an old Scottish proverb that goes like this: “Listen to the silence. Be still. And let your soul catch up.” If someone is struggling with a thought to carve into some cemetery monument marking my final resting place, I hope they use this proverb. I am a product of my lineage.

Growing up, I was blessed like many of my generation to have grandparents that had a footprint in the prior century. They were my connection to the past, my anchor to a way of life that pulled at my heart strings. I soaked in all their stories like a desperate sponge always thirsty for more. This made my life richer and I am forever grateful. Now, I have times and places in my head from another time and they help me to be myself. I need this more than I can express in words. I need that old way of rural life that was still present in the Vermont of my childhood and my grandparents helped me to keep it alive. This is the “a way of life” I refer to.

In so many ways, I am like a fish out of water in the present. It does not appeal to me and the loss of simplicity makes me weary. I find myself often in a sect by myself. I am not a comfortable fit in most of what is going on. I am a “noticer” and not oblivious to the present, but it is the present I reject and rebel against. I need to be an umpire and blow a whistle on the present and call a “time out.”

My writing will increasingly come from the quiet place where I am “…letting my soul catch up.” I will be leaving the commentary on the present and saving my strength for what I can do and trust my own thoughts. I will be more involved with what I have learned first hand and continue to do so. This is what is real for me.

“When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” (Minnie Aumonier)

I have a garden to get ready and plant. It is the time to do this.

Take care.

Where Things Stand with January 6th

The evidence of an attemted coup and to stop the peaceful transfer of power, a cornerstone of our democracy and republic, continue to be overwhelming and confirming of the the worst acts of treason, yes, treason, against our government by Trump and his group. We learned today that Fox commentator, Sean Hannity, was taking orders from Mark Meadows as what to report and how to report to aide the coup attempt. Hannity complied as directed by Meadows.

Something I have learned recently, is that the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis is part of the original Freedom Caucus Tea Party group that includes Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan – I shouldn’t be surprised but I did not know this.

We need to find a return to good govenment, a govenment from the middle, not from the extremes. We need to find leaders with integrity and principles. And as Americans, we need to think about what we are advocating for and whom we are supporting.

When this January 6th investigation is completed and hopefully, charges referred to the Justice Dept., I hope justice will prevail and we will hold those that broke the law and attempted to overthrow our govenment are held accountable. This is the big thing, we need to start holding people accountable. You are responsible for what you say and do. There are guard rails and norms in a healthy society. Lying is wrong and always was wrong. Dirty policticians are just that, dirty.

Nixon cheated the system when he resigned. Maybe the best thing America can do for itself is to really vote to impeach when warranted, and not let the fate of impeacment rest on the political parties and whether they will do the right thing. The right thing is always there staring us in the face. It is our responsiblity to do it.

Culture Wars: Manufactured Fights Looking for a Fight

I really think most of the culture wars promoted and engergized from the Right are fights looking for a fight that isn’t there. The Republicans are like a playground bully that is losing its relevance so they have to keep poking kids to remind them they are the “playground bully.” They are all geared up for a fight, and by God, they are going to find somebody to fight with over something, anything, but they are going to fight. They have to keep their job as the playground bully. I mean, hey, they are at risk of losing their relevance. Kids are moving on and not taking the bait from the bully so its time to pick some more fights, poke some more kids, and remind everyone that the bully is still here. (Think Ron Desantis – good example of the playground bully wannabe)This is how the Right keeps their Base stirred up and agitated. Really, if this is what agitates a Base, what kind of Base is it? I am sorry, if the Republican Base thinks the world is looking down their noses at them, they got that right, and it is well earned.

Why not build something, fix something, do something to make our lives better? Why always want to agitate and inflame? I don’t get it. We do have some real problems that if both sides put their minds to them, could go a long way to some meaningful solutions and fixes.

If the only way you can keep your Base involved is by agitation, then you are not helpling anyone. But, you are probably achieving the real one thing you want – to stay in power. That’s what most of this is all about, politicians doing bad things to keep and stay in power. About 50 years from now, and maybe sooner, historians will look at most of these mouthy agitators as a bunch of tinpot mouthpieces that amounted to nothing and made life worse for everyone.

Hardly a day goes by when one or more of these jerks (fair label here) runs their mouth just to make the news cycle. I am thinking of Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ron Desantis, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gossar, Lauren Boebert, and of course, the Trumps. This is really like a cast audition for the Jerry Springer Show.

All noise makers and not contributors to anything good, but they got to keep their jobs as the designated playground bullies, or gee, they are losing their relevance – can’t let that happen.

Making the Monkeys Look the Part

I hope for the day when we can do a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation straight up without all of the political grandstanding and acting for the camera and the nuts back home, yes, the nuts – that’s who put most of those jerks there, the nuts and idiots. Sorry for the name calling, but it is appropriate here.

We should find the best and brightest legal minds in the country and not people with agendas to suit the hacks and jerks. The worst comes out in these confirmation hearings, not of the nominees, but from the Senators that should never have been elected.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was very skillful in making the monkeys look the part. I think we are witnessing one of the “best and the brightest” show exactly that.

Who Made the Tough on Russia List? Hint, no Republicans.

Trump (I almost typed “turnip” – wouldn’t be the first time) has recently been boasting “…Nobody was tougher on the Russians than I was…”

Well, yesterday, Russian announced a list of 13 Americans they are placing sanctions on (tit for tat sort of). The Americans on the new Russia sanction list are all Democrats, no Republicans, not even the vaunted “tough Trump.”

I am guessing that a bunch of Republicans are begging Putin to put them on the list so they can take some credit for being “tough on Russia.” I am guessing Putin made a big political “faux pas” here. Who is on the list and who is not is very revealing in itself.

The real “tough guys” didn’t make the cut here, even Lindsay Graham who wants to assassinate Putin or put out a contract on him. This is tough mob talk here Lindsay, real tough. Are you trying out for a part in a remake of “The Godfather?” Who’s playing the part of the Don? (pun intended).

We Have Been Doing A Lot of Business With Putin’s Russa – The Power of Public Scrutiny

I am stunned and amazed how intertwined American and world business/finance have been with Putin’s Russia and also somewhat responsible for the resurgence of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin has never been an unknown quantity. It seems the opportunity for profits seldom has a conscience unless it is forced into the open and finds itself with the attention of the public. The same can be said for investment in China. This was also blind to the host and their behavior. How much of the profits are tainted with blood and crimes against humanity?

Here is a link that reveals many western companies and their involvement in Russia:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/companies-pulling-back-from-russia-over-the-war-in-ukraine/ar-AAUvkjc?ocid=msedgntp

We need to ask these questions and hold the business community and our governments accountable. This is what needs to change before the world can have any hopes of being a better place.