Posted by: atowhee | March 24, 2018



March 24, 2018

My wife and I went on the local March For Our Lives here in McMinnville, OR, this morning.  Several hundred people showed up in the rain and we wound through the center of town.  Numerous passing cars honked in support.  Two six-wheel pick-ups with fat white guys inside, flying the flag and big NRA banners, drove by.  They gave us the thumbs down.  No shots were fired.  It is tragic that flying the Stars and Stripes has now become a threat and a symbol of bigotry and violence.

b-frnka-lincIn passing the marchers glanced at Abe Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.  One marcher mused, “I wonder what Ben Franklin could say if he could see this?”

Private property…is the creature of society and is subject to the calls of that society even to the last farthing.  –Franklin

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  –Lincoln

There was never a good war, or a bad peace.  –Franklin

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.  –Lincoln

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.  –Franklin

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.  –Lincoln

Interlocuter after Constitution drafted: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Franklin: “A Republicif you can keep it.”

I wish this young generation of idealists and protestors the best.  They are up against a system at least as powerful and corrupt as the one that promulgated the Vietnam War. That was supposed to protect freedom from the communist threat, something about dominoes falling before dominos was just bad pizza.  Tens of thousands of people died in that war, some of them Americans.  Now you can buy underwear made in Vietnam, and those deaths were for what?

Right now trying to go against the American gun culture, the profitable gun and ammo business and their vocal lobbyist (the NRA), the reformers will have to expose, fight, out-smart and maybe even out-spend the gunners.  The gun culture in this land goes back to the 17th Century and the beginning of the genocide of Native Americans.  The shooter at Parkland High School came from a gunless family but he was in ROTC from age 11. That gun training was paid for with tax dollars.  Thanks to us.  For a portion of American males their manhood is closely linked to the caliber and penetration power of their guns. There are companies that make money selling guns and ammo, and if effective marketing requires political paranoia and race hatred, then that’s just business.  They are legally spared ever having to take responsibility for what those guns and that ammo does when loose in the population. So this nation is a leader in gun violence if you realize we have no openly admitted warfare taking place. Take the land from the Indians, sell more guns to the white man.  Progress can seem so slow…

Profit is destroying the planet and the best hope for other life on earth may be the extinction of our species.  People as a group seem unable to project into the future or control our collective greed.  The drive for profit is destroying the climate, oceans, land environment and over-populating the planet. In some nations birth control is still illegal.  Coupled with tribalism and the suppression of women, the earth is now in the grip of a toxic stew that threatens more wars, more fanaticisms and ever more destruction of our fragile blue marble.  Corporate and private profit now control most human activity.  The influence of the moneyed class spreads from financial centers all over the globe: Amsterdam, Brussels, Calcutta, Doha, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Milan, Moscow, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Zurich.  Several small countries now subsist on laundered money and the banks providing the service…from Monaco to Bahamas. Ships that are often uninspected register in Liberia so they can’t be forced to comply with safety regulations elsewhere.  While some billionaires try to do good in the world, the money system now dominates politics, environment, technology and life in all its aspects. The long term effects of neonicotinoids, plastic particles at sea, Twitter and Facebook, CO2 in the atmosphere, chemicals in the water, fertilizers leached from fields, antibiotics in rivers and in fish—none of this can be allowed to interfere with the all-important drive to make more and more money and let future generations clean up the mess.  The tin miners in Cornwall, the mad hatters with their mercury poisoning, the lead pipes in city plumbing, the endless string of self-inflicted deaths and destruction that business has perpetrated in past centuries—those can be excused by what was once ignorance, coupled with arrogance.  Now we have no excuses, just greed.  We know that long-term effects of new chemicals and products cannot be determined by simple lab tests.  And we know that corporations are driven to lie to insure the bottom line.  Yet people and their largely unregulated organizations go on trashing the world around us. “Where have all the flowers gone?”

SCOTUS has made two rulings that have undermined the future of the U. S.  They ruled that money is speech, meaning those with billions of dollars can buy more political attention and obeisance than any mere voter or group of voters.  SCOTUS ruled that corporations are persons, giving a profit-driven organization the same rights as a blood and muscle creature.  At the same time, the very nature of a corporation makes it immune to many of the limits that pertain to people.  Corporations do not have to die.  Corporations cannot be thrown into prison for deliberately stealing or killing people.  Wells Fargo stole millions from its customers.  Bernie Maddow is in the can but Wells Fargo’s still a free ranging bank.  So Purdue Pharma and their ilk invent new pain-killers that are also killers, lie about their addictiveness, corrupt the medical treatment system, make billions, kill thousands and walk away with the profits.  No drug company goes to prison. The drug companies and their medical shills are still in business.  If you or I had done anything nearly that egregious we’d be in prison if caught.

Go get ‘em Parkland students and your cohort!   My generation bequeaths you an earth in sad need of care and nurturing.  May you put us all to shame.IMG_0261IMG_0265IMG_0286


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