Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Monday, December 26, 2011

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Almost Cut My Hair - Madison Square Garden, NY...



So this has the line in it "musta been cause I got the flu for Xmas." Kind of appropriate for Xmas this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ken Russell - The Devils

Women in Love - 1969.



Well in keeping with the current stuff on this site and to see if it is the computer or me that is the problem. Plus of course in honor of Ken Russell.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

McCabe & Mrs. Miller



I've been thinking about this movie for some time or at least the end.  Well I guess that is the point.  So who are you?  The blind townsfolk, Warren Beatty defending his little capitalist empire, or the thugs?

What is Perfect After All


I started to write at another location that if Obama was re-elected the things would not be getting quite as bad quite as quickly, but they would be getting as bad eventually.  Perhaps the republicans would eviscerate us, but the democrats would merely slit a vein and hang us up to let us bleed out.  I'm not sure about that any more they are both out to bleed us dry.    Why wait? 

Now with the more or less simultaneous raids on the various OWS encampments. None of which were assisted or coordinated by any federal government agency at all. Add that the medical marijuana busts along with our militaristic foreign policy and what just is the major difference again?  Oh yes, forced private insurance, with no provisions for abortions.

And yet still people are defending the bastard in the Oval Office.  I've been wondering around a few of the more "main line?" blogs.  Balloon Juice and Lawyers, Guns and Money.  The pure hatred of most of the commentators at Balloon Juice concerning OWS and when that is not right out there then their not particularly well hidden contempt for the demonstrators is breath taking.   Their disdain for the people who are out there doing something is depressing. A great deal of the anger at the OWS crowd seemed to be because of the way they dress.  Same sort of stuff that they say about the hippies and anti-war people from the 60s and 70s.  God I guess that war will never end.  "If people would just dress nice and act like ladies and gentlemen then the powerful will listen to you and you will be able to sit down and reason together."   That is the reason the anti-war crowd didn't end the war sooner back in the day and that is why the powerful won't listen to the OWS people today. Well I guess it is a way to deny their actual powerlessness and to avoid blaming their betters.

I can understand how people who have put all their belief into a party and system that have completely let them down now feel the need to cling to those people and that system even more as that system  basically kicks them in the teeth (or nuts as the case may be).  Clinging to their god and party I guess.  Where their god is Obama.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Toy

Still on the front edge of the learning curve.  Had to download this through my other computer.  This is the Caravaggio[?] in Columbus.
A new toy.  As a veteran I decided to spend the holiday in a way that truly is a celebration of the reason We Fight.  Essentially I bought some crap from China that full fills my serious need for More Shit That I Don't Really Need.

In short I got a tablet with a pull out key board.  (If I mention the makers ASUS will I get a kick back do you think?)

Well we also went into Columbus to the Art Museum to see an exhibition about Caravaggio.  I say about because there was only one Caravaggio (which some but not most art experts do not think is a Caravaggio).  The rest of the paintings were by people who were heavily influenced by Caravaggio.  It was interesting, but a little surprising. I guess I should have read the on line description a little more closely.  Still since I do not know that much about Caravaggio or the other painters I was not disappointed and I learned quite a lot.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So election results in Ohio, not shabby. 

My wife and I worked the phone banks on the anti-2 campaign.  Kind of interesting.  Since I wasn't the one who organized the thing, I thought it best not to point out to the people running it that they were using Verizon.  I wonder who decided that and why?  An example of how Americans seem to be simply unable to see beyond the immediate.

We had a couple of interesting calls.  The best being the teacher my wife got who immediately told her:  "I'm a teacher.  I don't live under a rock.  I know the issues and I don't need you to tell me."  My wife's response was to say:  "Sister Marie?  Is that you?  I thought you were dead."

The results of the election (I only voted on the issues, I knew nothing about the people running for local office.  My wife's god father has retired as mayor, so I don't have him to vote for and the only other person running locally whose name I know runs a great restaurant down town that is just great so I did vote for him.   Does this make me a bad American?) would be something that I think might cause the president and his minions to question just about everything they've done since he's been in office.  That is to say that Ohio defeated the anti-union bill with about the same percentage as they passed the anti Obama Lets Us Give a Shit Load of Money to the Pharmacy, Insurance, and Various Other Health Care Industries With No Oversight bill.

But I am sure that the villagers who run the democratic party will not be able to figure out this simplest of conclusions.  I mean after all they were unable to figure out what happened in 2010.  Hell they were convinced they were brilliant both before and after they got their asses handed to them on a platter.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh To Be in Prague Now That Winter Is Near


I think I need to use as my mantra the saying at the top of this blog: "I used to be disgusted now I try to be amused."  Thanks Elvis.

In reading about the Greek crisis I have a difficult time believing that the Greek people will permit the government to call for a referendum and then call it off to go with what the vast majority of the people do not want.  But there you have it.  I completely expect this to happen now and to go through with only "some" violence by the hot heads (do I need more quotation marks?).

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel that our own little Occupy movements will peter out and amount to nothing.  No violence no real bad manners because if either of those things happened then the Occupy movement would be discredited in the eyes of ............. just who exactly?  Those who matter I guess.

If there is violence it will be crushed with massive amounts of paramilitary police power.  Boys and their guns as we recently saw here in beautiful Muskingum County Ohio, give them a chance and they love to use them.

At any rate we have seen this same scenario play out in multiple third world nations over the last thirty or forty years as the IMF comes in to rescue the economy, starves the people and makes sure that some of the oligarchs and none of the foreign investors have to take any kind of a loss.   Wellllll, I guess we are all third world peasants now.

I was in discussion on a post on Lawyers, Guns and Money about the referendum a few days ago (its two or three or more pages back not worth going to any more really).   The original post was basically simply suggesting that the powers that be thought that a referendum was a little too much democracy.  The original poster kind of disagreed with them.  The comments were interesting:  too much democracy many said, things would be really bad for the Greeks if they defaulted on the loans others said.  Essentially:  TOO SCARY.  And of course, it is the Greeks' fault they essentially deserve this out come.  At least I think that was the implied conclusion.  It was suggested that the Greek government was able to hide its finances from the poor deluded bankers. 

Well now the finance minister jumps from his hospital bed and rushes to assure (I originally wrote insure, calling Dr. Freud) the German and French money men.  And the world is made safe for a few more days for our rulers. 

Time to defenestrate.    

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beautiful Ohio

The new homes I suspect.
A second post about my "home town or really county."  Muskingum county has determined to close the county home.  This is so even though the citizens passed a level last year to maintain the county home for five years.  A new county commissioner has taken office and his position is:  "The county should not be in active competition with private nursing homes"  this is of course a conclusion, not an argument.  This is assisted by a nursing home owner who has fought for a couple of years in court to decertify the county home.  I suspect that there has been more going on here for longer then I have been aware, since several years ago the county moved all of the clients out of the country home that was owned by the country and into a building only leased by the country.

My wife volunteers at the county home and she has been told that last time the patients were moved several died (merely because of their age and they couldn't deal, well I guess that is the way the cookie crumbles, and sorry for your.....death). 

There is an argument that there are enough beds in the country to take all of the old people, so no big deal.  Fungible elders, widgets if you were.  It matters not what will happen to those who will occupy the beds, nor what will happen to those who have made friends.  After all they are money to the private owners so if they made friends at the county home (which incidentally is an incredibly well kept place and staffed with very dedicated workers) and their friends can't come with them.  Fuck 'em they'll be dead soon enough anyway.

(An aside the old country home had animals living in the home, they were not allowed in the new one.)

The second interesting thing that is going on here (rumor has it) is that the very same county commissioner has determined that it is time that a creche be placed on the court house lawn again, after several years of not having one there.   An interesting position, and one as an atheist I really don't give much of a shit about, except putting only a nativity scene without other symbols of the holidays is something that the Supreme Court has frowned on in the past.

On the other hand dealing with these rural politicians who seem to think they are god can be interesting to say the least.  Back when I worked for legal aid we were continually running into towns and cities that would turn off the city water or gas service to a residence without notifying the actual person living there that was going to happen.  Now the interesting thing about that is that there was a Supreme Court case which said that notice had to be given.  That case came through the 6th Circuit (it covers Ohio) and was pretty clear.  There were several District Court cases from the Southern District of Ohio that said they same thing, including a couple that had been filed and won by my legal aid. 

So I would go to meet with the law director and some of the city councilmen and perhaps the mayor and I would bring my cases and say see:  All you have to do is give people notice and give them a couple of days to see if they can come up with some money (normally the slumlord would have stopped paying at that point and that is why the water was being shut off).  In addition, if we actually filed a case in federal court then the client would not only be entitled damages but legal aid would be entitled to attorney fees.  In every single case they refused to enter into the agreement and we were forced to sue and we always won.  The law be damned.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beautiful Zanesville, Ohio

Too painful to put up photos of the dead.

Anybody there?  Is this thing still working?   1,2,3,1,2,3.

Having several briefs due in the last month and the stuff going on around here that I feel that I should write about, but it is too painful so I haven't written.

I had met Terry Thompson, but I didn't know him.  However, I did know several people who did know him.  Many years ago (well over the statute of limitations, thank you) friends of mine and I were into the consumption of various pharmaceuticals.  They seriously considered going into distribution.  So they went to talk.  They came back and made what was perhaps the most intelligent decision of their lives and decided not to go into distribution.  Mostly because the female friend told me that she realized that her boyfriend of the time would have gotten them either killed on in prison for a very long time within six months.  However, she remained friends.  Whenever there were busts around town, busts that made the front pages and busts that allowed the cops to puff out their chests, flying squads from the state.  They never reached him for serious stuff.

Many other friends knew Terry in other ways and knew that he and his wife cared for and loved all the animals out there.  She was heard screaming: "They're killing my babies" when the killing went down.  Yes I know that he was charged with animal cruelty, but he did not (from what I saw of the court records) and speaking with people involved in the case, ever think he did anything wrong and he certainly did not harm the big cats.  There was both less and more there then most people cared to find out after the holocaust.   I was told that he raised his own cattle to feed the cats.

I need to add something right here.  The allegations concerned whether or not there was enough water let out for horses and dogs.  His defense was that he put food and water out in the morning and it was gone by the time the animal control people came by in the afternoon.  Whatever the truth was the judge allowed him to serve his time on house arrest so he could take care of his animals.

I am told that the police had No Other Choice last month.  It Had To Be Done.  Perhaps, but what I've seen of cops over my life time and here, I will withhold my approval on that.  I will go further, I sincerely doubt that the slaughter was really necessary, but that cops with their assualt rifles need to use them every once in a while.

They said that he let the animals out and killed himself.  Perhaps.  I've also seen people with serious anger and depression issues do things that I cannot understand.  My first thought was that it was a murder and then the animals were let out to cover things up.  

Some how one thinks that things could have been done differently, reached back only a little bit and changed things.  Crap.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Weekend So Far

A three day weekend here in Ohio.  Columbus Day.  Well at least it is three days for bankers and lawyers.  I'm not sure about schools, nor the post office.

Went to a writers conference yesterday here in town.  It is put on once a year by the writing group my wife founded.  She withdrew from the group after the last conference because she didn't want to keep running it, and wanted to spend more time with her family.  That and the fact that there were internal political struggles going on.  The same kind there eventually are in any small group and she didn't want to do that kind of fighting with people she liked.  Unfortunately, since she is friends with most of the people who are "running" the group now and they talk to her regularly she can't completely avoid the stresses.

At any rate the conference was moderately interesting.  One of the main stresses was that the person who was in charge of getting people to speak refused to deal with anyone else and got only people she wanted, which meant that the entire conference was directed to character development and sales until one of the other people move in and added some different speakers.  Which as one can imagine led to some very cool relations between members of the ruling junta.  Unfortunately, the one who screwed up the original invites to speak resigned and then unresigned and now insists that she will absolutely control who speaks next (if there is a next) year.  The other members "don't want to make her mad."  I wonder if the other members of the Politburo had the same feelings about Stalin?

I think I've said it before, but just offer middle level writers lunch and a place to hussle their books and they will role over and do just about anything.  No need to pay them in money.  Just food and a table to put their books on.

The number of writers there who are proudly announced christians and the number who are or were preachers of one real denomination or another, is amazing to me. Perhaps it is just where I live.  One of the former ministers, Robert W. Birch even has a series of erotic novels.

From there we went to a concert of Blood Sweat and Tears that is part of a concert series my mother-in-law gets us tickets to every year.   Generally, the concerts are very good particularly the classical ones.  In this case however the band (the name of which is apparently owned by some business entity completely unconnected with say any real creative artists, since none of the original members are in the current group or for that matter even mentioned) was not how you say?  Good.  It was its own tribute band.  I was a little surprised at how weak they were.  But not all that disappointed since in my opinion they were not that cool when they were "cool."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Place Holders



Wow, its been fifteen days since my last post.  And to be honest the only reason I'm probably posting right now is that I've got to start working on a brief. 

I got a new sweeper: A Shark.  I have a difficult time sweeping the carpets as my father would sweep the house whenever he came home from work, no matter how late.  Every day that I lived at home.  Every day.  However, with eight cats and two dogs a guy has gotta do what he's gotta do, particularly since my wife can't because of her handicap.

So anyway the sweeper is one of those bag less kind and does a hell of a job.  Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking and I kept emptying the full container into the waste about six or so times.  Well, with my allergies and the cat dander floating upward...... I now have an allergy attack to match any I've ever had.  Which makes it that much harder to work.  On the plus side the carpets are cleaner than I've seen them for some time.  In fact I now see stains that I didn't know were there and I will have to be shampooing it here shortly.

My wife and I went into Columbus yesterday and went to a religious book store.  Since it is not something I'm particularly interested in I was just kind of wondering around.  One of the employees asked me if I needed any help and I said:  "No thanks, I'm with the cripple."  The store employee did not seem to see the humor in it.

Finally, went to see Jackson Browne on Tuesday (thanks Sue and Keith).   Just Jackson Browne a keyboard and his seventeen guitars as my wife said.  He was great.  The concert was wonderful, except for the fat chick in front of us with the Iphone who had to have taken about fifty pics.  Now since all he did was either sit at the keyboard or sit in a different chair playing one of his guitars I'm not sure what she thought she was preserving, but preserve she did. 

Well OK, back to work to see if I can win one for a change.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Racist?


I finally  figured out linking to Hulu which turns out not to be hard at all.  I will say that after watching Moore, his statement seems more dumb than racist to me, but then I'm white.


I'm home this morning and I think I'll see how blogger works today.  The last post had a number of problems that I just couldn't figure out, including a back color on the writing that I finally had to completely do over from scratch, different size and font writing that I also couldn't figure out how it happened.  But at any rate there is:  a poor thing, but mine own.  (It appears that if I copy from google docs. and paste here that has an effect on the formatting, so that is one thing.)


OK this has been going on with both computers for some time I will hit the Enter key and just delete the previous paragraph, very irritating   Try again.  Then some sort of interference and I had to emergency shut down the computer.  Yesterday, it just shut down itself.

It appears that Michael Moore has said a terribly racist thing, quoting Bill Maher who is also a bad person and not worthy of out respect.  That is Moore said :  "I went into the polls voting for the black guy and what I got was the white guy."

Is that racist?  It is an interesting question and I must ask my black friend what he thinks.(Is this comment racist enough for you?)

Balloon Juice with Angry Black Lady led the way followed up by Ta-Nehisi Coates at TNR.

After thinking about Moore's statement, I can certainly see it as racist. It assumes that all black people because of generations of being screwed over by the white ruling classes would not in fact identify with that class, but rather identify with the abused and under classes of whatever race.  But what the statement presumes is that all African Americans should react in the same way to oppression. It denies the individual the opportunity to be an individual and a prick and screw over those who haven’t made it to the top once they do.

The commentators are interesting, particularly at TNR since there are a number of those there who are more than happy to bash Moore and call into question everything he has done.  He isn't, what?  One of us?  I don't know.  None of them managed to hop into the Way Back Machine and go all the way to 2008 to remember how hard Moore worked for Obama and how much energy he put into that campaign.  

I made an abbreviated version of my comment above at a comment thread at Lawyers Guns and Money and was accused of being a racist (or at least harboring racist thoughts myself) because I cannot imagine a black person being part of the ruling class.  I guess the problem is that there are a lot of racists out there who hate Obama because he is black.  (And let's face it he is black under the strange rules that apply in this country as to the pigeon holing of people into racial categories.  The fact that his mother was white and he was raised by white grandparents for a large part of his youth doesn't count.)  That those of us who hate Obama because he is incompetent and and owned by Wall Street, can be tarred with that same racist brush.

Well, it may be racist. And since I voted for him assuming that he was someone who would be different, I guess that makes me racist. I kind of thought he would be more like Martin Luther King rather than Barry Goldwater.  Perhaps I didn’t look far enough beyond his skin color to see a paid up member of the plutocracy.






Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More frustration



So I went to Lawyers Guns and Money to get my fair share of abuse.  Once again Lemieus is arguing that the presidency is in fact very limited in its powers domestically and that what Obama did with his health care legislation was all he could have done.  Lemeius’s posting is in response to Atkins at Hullabaloo.

This defense of Obama by Lemieus and other is always that Obama didn’t have the votes for something that he never tried.  Why didn’t he try it?  Because if he had tried it he would have lost and then it woud have been a disaster for the democrats and progressive politics in general.  This argument works for everything apparently:  the stimulus for instance could not have been bigger because then it would not have been passed and things would be really badright now.  It goes on and on.
These arguments are nuts. Among the very first people Obama appointed were Summers, Geither, and Emmanuel. What does that tell one? That he had progressive goals?  None of Obama's policies in my mind were ever developed as anything other then massive wealth redistribution upwards to the rich.
Well that is what he did and he did it such a ham handed fashion that he gave the country back to the republicans just two years after his “land slide.”
I like to think of Obama as the 1919 Chicago Black Sox or if one wants to be more generous as someone who rides to work every day on the short bus


Of course the other response to this entire argument is that it really doesn't matter if Michelle Bachmann is president, if what they argue is true.

UPDATE:  I went back and commented on Obama's choices of Emmanuel, Summers and Geither as his top advisers as far as economics and domestic matters went.  Pointing out that these should have showed us all just what Obama was about and that his real goal was to transfer money into the hands of the wealthiest.  One person pointed out that was OT, which is more or less correct, although I would now think that in fact it really isn't since LG&M argument is that Obama was trapped by circumstances into do what he has done with most of his domestic stuff.  This would indicate that is just what he really wanted to do.  


However, what was more interesting was at three (I haven't bothered to go back since last night, so it might be more now) people said that really those were the people that he needed to choose since he needed people who had the expertise in Wall Street and had the Street's confidence.  I did ask if they were sure that Krugman wasn't available, but that was really just snark.  The more I think about it the more I think that it is impossible to have a rational discussion with people who think that way.  


Obama appoints two people (more but let's talk about only Geither and Summers) one of whom let the crash happen on his watch the other of which was working for those industries that caused the crash, not to mention that Summers has his own issues with equality of the sexes.  In other words Obama dug deep into the effluvium of the ruling class to get his most trusted advisers and these posters are cool with that.


ONE LAST DAMNED UPDATE AND THEN TO WORK:  I did make the mistake of going back and reading more comments.  The arguments seem to be that he couldn't have done anything else and these were the best people he could have really gotten. That's it.   And if I believe anything else, even for a second then I just do not understand what goes on in the real world.


If the argument is that a president (black or white) other than Obama couldn't have done more and gotten better people than it is bullshit.  If the argument is that Obama couldn't have done more or gotten better people then I'll buy it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All Righty Then

Obligatory 9/11 Post Because I would Be A Traitor If I Didn't

This isn't the guy?  Are you sure?

Happy 9/11 Day.  Does that sound just weird?

We could have gone in an taken out the people responsible for the whole thing within a year, but we choose to invade another country and began (accelerated?)  the destruction of our own country and what was left of our own ideals instead.  Although to be honest I'm thinking we were so far gone by 2001 that there was no going back and people just started to notice after a while.

Let us not forget that the president we had in 2001 actually lost that election and there were no real protests when he was appointed by his dad's buds.  Not that the other guy was any prize winner.

So we continue in Afghanistan because we can't leave (yet), we try to continue in Iraq because we can't leave, we will probably be putting money into Libya because NATO can't leave and they have their own economic problems and since they are marginally more intelligent than us they are going to insist that we help them out financially.  I guess it is possible that the Libyan oil will pay for it, hahahaha.

So although he is now dead Bin Laden has pretty much accomplished everything he hoped to accomplish after all, so I guess somebody should be celebrating.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned

Darrow with the McNamaras
Three posts in a row about books, I must be really depressed and trying to avoid the world.

So this time it is Clarence Darrow:  Attorney For the Damned by John A. Farrell.  Fortunately or unfortunately I wasn't able to avoid the current world with this book.  Since Darrow represented labor in many of his major cases and since the book tells one about the era that saw his most important labor cases.

I've said before that these kind of books, biographies or histories and even historical novels not only tell about the period written about by the author, but also about the period the author is living through.  That is certainly the case in this book.  The first part of the book deals (after the childhood stuff) with Darrow's involvement with the labor movement and his defense of various labor leaders.  The Pullman strike leaders.   Most famously Big Bill Haywood and the murder of the former governor of Idaho, Steuenberg.  He got blowed up by a guy who claimed that he was hired by the Western Federation of Miners, of which Big Bill was an officer.  He negotiated for the boys who worked in the mines for a shorter work week. He was every where and involved in many of the most important labor battles. 

Right up until he was charged with jury tampering for trying to fix the McNamara's trial in California.  He beat that rap, but he essentially stopped being a leading attorney for labor.  Not so much because he was accused of jury tampering, but because he pled his clients to the bombing of L.A. Times.  By so doing seriously damaged labor's cause.  The description of Darrow's trial and the antics of his defense lawyer Earl Rogers was fascinating.  At varoius stages of the trial they had to find Rogers and dry him out so he could continue.  Times sure was different.

Darrow was in his middle 50s at that time, but  went on to cases he is most remembered for now: the Loeb Leapold Thrill Murder and The Monkey Trial.

He also defended Dr. Ossian Sweet during this period.  The Doctor was an African American charged with killing a white man in Detroit while protecting his home and family after he moved into a previously all white neighborhood.  Of course the labor cases and this case do not get the press the famous two get. 

All the while representing crooked politicians, gangsters and just ordinary people getting divorces, or shooting the spouse in court as one of his client's did.

One of the things the author spends time doing in the book is justifying Darrow's taking money making cases:  the crooked politicians and gangsters.  I guess one has to do that for the civilian; almost any attorney understands, you go where they pays ya and you try not to cross whatever moral line you may have.  The one area that people do not cross over to the other side though is in labor law, you are either a lawyer for the workers or a lawyer for the bosses, still.

I would guess that anyone who isn't a criminal defense attorney would look a little differently at the number of pretty obviously guilty clients Darrow got off.  I'd also guess that someone who isn't a cynical radical would look with disdain at a lawyer who knowingly allowed jurors and witnesses to be bought.  The point the author makes (and I agree with) is that Darrow knew the system was already bought by the big money boys (sound familiar) and he was not above what he considered evening the scales in some of the very high profile labor cases he handled.

One of the unending positions Darrow had was his absolute opposition to capital punishment.  Some of his last cases were for poor men who had been condemned to death.  He was able to prevent their execution.

I had always thought of Darrow as a trial attorney and he certainly was that, but he took a large number of cases (both ones he had tried and ones others had tried) to the appellate  and some times state supreme court level and often won them there.  Having lost a number of appellate cases recently, I am certainly envious.

This book has access to a number of documents which were not previously available.  People seem to be convinced that Darrow, or someone working for the defense at least bribed jurors in the Haywood trial.   Serious questions remain about the McNamara charges.  It is probably true that by delaying some of the gangster cases and crooked politician cases Darrow gave his clients (with out his "knowledge") the ability to assist witnesses with their memories.  Darrow is definitely not a person the main stream bar would embrace if he were practicing today. 

I am not so naive as to think that the sort of things Darrow did and fought against are gone, not so.  I do think that the ruling class of the bar would make sure that any attorney accused of what Darrow was accused of wouldn't long be practicing today.  Still, he was usually on the side of the angels.  And always fought for the little guy, unless he really needed the money and even then never fought against the little guy.

I really liked this book.  Although reading about the late 19th and early 20th centurys does not take one away from what is going on today.   In fact the similarities are striking.   It just reinforces the belief that as they say justice is a constant struggle.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dos Passos and Hemingway

Went to Florida and because of a mix up with shipping I didn't have my computer for most of the time I was there (carried my ereader though).  Flew down for the first time (flying that is) for many years.  Went to help my mother after surgery, turns out it was unnecessary.  Still that's where I was for awhile, so.............

I read Hemingway Cutthroat by Michael Atkinson a mystery that takes place during the Spanish Civil War with Hemingway trying to find out who murdered this guy he knew, Jose RoblesJohn Dos Passos gets him involved.  I thought the book was nearly completely made up, but it turns out that the murdered man was real and that he was a friend of both Hemingway and Dos Passos and was one of the reasons that Dos Passos began his turn from the left to his later position as an asshole.  In looking up stuff about the book for this post, it turns out that the incident was more or less as it was depicted in the book, I think.

I'm a sucker for mysteries and a sucker for a book(or movie) that drops famous literary names (or movie star names, Errol Flynn was there).  Perhaps that's why I liked Woody Allen's most recent movie.

Dos Passos doesn't have the major role in the book, that is of course Hemingway.  Hemingway up, Hemingway drink, Hemingway get laid, Hemingway drink some more, Hemingway get drunk, people try to kill Hemingway, Hemingway drink, Hemingway try to get laid again, Hemingway drink some more, Hemingway do some detecting, Hemingway drink. 

This is the second novel by this guy with Hemingway as a sleuth trying to find out about the murder of a friend.  The first one being Hemingway Deadlights which many of the readers said wasn't as good as the one I read.  There is also the thing that Hemingway Deadlights takes place in 1956 while this one is in 1937, so I thought it would be better to read them not in the order they were written, but in the order they theoretically occurred at least.

But, if I didn't say it I recommend Hemingway Cutthroat as a beach book.  Something to get one's mind off Weimar as farce this time around.  A point in history where things certainly appeared as bleak as they do now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Book Report



WITH SOME LATER ADDITIONS

I've just finished reading Grant Moves South by Bruce Catton.  It is either the first volume of a two volume history of Grant in the Civil War or the second volume of a trilogy of Grant in the army.  I have the trade paperback and on the cover it says:  PART ONE OF THE CLASSIC CIVIL WAR STUDY OF GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT.  However, inside on one of the early unnumbered pages there is a Publisher's Note that explains that they had published Captain Sam Grant by Lloyd Lewis the first volume of a three volume biography of Grant.  However, Lewis died before the publication of that book and Catton was brought in to "finish" the trilogy.  Although, I am sure he did a great deal of his own research. 

This book is a biography of two living beings really.  It follows Grant from his re-enlistment at the start of the Civil War until the capture of Vicksburg, and it also is a biography of the Army of the Tennessee, one of the greatest and most successful armies in American history.  Catton moves effortlessly from descriptions of Grant and his personal battles and relationships to a description of the Army as an almost living thing with a character and life of its own independent of Grant but also interconnected with him in a special way that made them both great.

Captain Sam Grant was published in 1950.  Grant Moves South was published in 1960 and the final volume of the trilogy Grant Takes Command also by Catton was published in 1968.  I have the final volume in hardback and it also has a similar Publisher's Note inside, but no claim on the cover.  On the other hand I have seen the cover of the trade paperback on Amazon and it has a similar claim (PART TWO, etc.). 

I've read several of Catton's books including the Army of the Potomac Trilogy and This Hallowed Ground his one volume history of the Civil War, and his Centennial History of the Civil War.  But I read them, more or less when they came out.  It looks like I got these books also close to the actual publishing dates, but I didn't read them then.  I think that I was interested in stories of battle and not so much the analysis of Grant's character or the descriptions of just what had to be done by a commanding general to deal with the logistics of the army or the politics of slavery and cotton.  Now that sort of thing fascinates me. 

I am sorry that Catton died before Ken Burns' PBS series.  I think that he would have made a good counterpoint to Shelby Foote, since they both wrote about the war from the perspective of  the average soldier, even in this book whose main character is the (in all probability) greatest American soldier.  In all his books Catton wrote from the perspective of the Northern soldier while Foote wrote from the perspective of the Southern soldier.

I had forgotten how eloquent Catton was and reading him now was a pleasant re-introduction to that eloquence.    His explanation of what the war was really about and the way that was expressed, haltingly in an incomplete and almost crippled way by those in the war is incredible.

One example of this is Catton's discussion of Grant's famous Order No. 11 banning Jew from his department.  He points out that cotton trading, corruption and the place of freed slaves in society at the time were inexorably related. and all were involved in the issuing of  that very order.
[R]elated not merely because cotton was common to both of them, but because Grant and most other men were children of their time and, without thinking, used derisive words denying human dignity to whole groups of people whose right to claim human dignity was what was chiefly at stake in this war.  [Grant] could thoughtlessly say "Jews" when he meant scheming fixers who would have sold their own mother for gain, and he could say ""Darkeys" . .  when he meant pathetically displaced men and women who were struggling upward to the point where people might recognize their decency as human beings....When he wrote his Memoirs Grant chuckled mildly about the frontier schoolrooms in which, as a child, he had been taught over and over again that "a noun is the name of a thing."  He was grappling with the names of things now, and the grapple was like Jacob's, wrestling with the angel, for the names were important.  Far ahead of him . . . dependent in a strange way on this very campaign, there might be a day when people of good will, like himself, would use no abraded epithets but would simply talk about human beings.
I think of the time of the writing and publication of this book, which was at the high point of the American republic and early days of the civil rights movement where American ideals seemed finally to be about to be realized in the then and now has to have impacted the writing and the outlook of the writer in this work. 

I really can't recommend this book highly enough for its style and for its explanation of the development of what for want of a better words the American character.  Grant was central to the development of that character and was as good an example of what an American could be, could become and the very limitations on that character.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Poli Sci 101



The president really doesn't have much power.  

Also, the majority party in congress really has no power either. It is only the minority party that has the power unless the minority party is democratic, then the minority party has no power.

Therefore, if the republicans gain power they will have absolute control and be able to do many bad things.   The democrats really do want to do something, but they can't, because a couple of years ago they only controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency.  Now however they can't do anything because they only control the Senate and Presidency, but the republicans control the House so the democrats have to do everything the republicans want.  Which they also had to do when the republicans were also a minority in the House. 

Therefore, if you do not vote the democrats back in and allow them to control both houses of congress and the presidency the republicans will do bad things and then things will be really bad, even though the democrats really can't do good things when they control everything.

I posted this at Slobber and Spittle and I liked it so much I expanded it and then posted it here.



Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear Leader Has No Real Power


I drifted by Lawyers, Guns and Money the other day.   I think and I want to be fair, they were strongly arguing that the presidency is not as powerful as it appears, at least on domestic matters.  Their post was in response to a David Sorita post at Salon and commented on at Slobber and Spittle

At any rate the argument being made on moderate liberal blogs, like LG&M, (for want of a better term) seems to be that Obama has done the best he can given the way this country's national political system is structured.  I made the point that in that case we shouldn't fear a Michelle Bachmann presidency. 

It was then pointed out to me that it will be different if Michelle Bachmann is elected, she or I assume whatever republican is elected, will have iron control over congress.  So to.

The point I feel needs to be made is that Obama had a chance to make some real changes upon his election and for a few months there after.  Once he had shown what he really was, which isn't much, then there was not so much of a chance of anything even remotely resembling hope of change coming out of him.

If the argument is that he didn't want or isn't bright enough to do more than he is doing, that seems to me a different argument then that he doesn't (or at least didn't at the beginning) have the intrinsic power to make major changes and yet that seems to be the new defense of Obama from moderate liberals. 

It is I guess possible to think that all his problems come from his desire to appear bipartisan, but if that is the case then his desire for bipartisanship is pathological and nearly certifiable.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Various Stuff Before I Start Cutting Wood Again

Not been doing much about writing this week.  My Mother had to have serious surgery on Wednesday.  Well, the surgery was to correct a serious problem, a seven centimeter aneurysm on her aorta, but the surgery itself wasn't apparently major  She is in Florida with two sister-in-laws and one brother.   I'm going down later this month.  The thing was found by accident when she went in to have x- rays for her back pain.  It turned out that the pain was being caused by the pressure of the aneurysm on her spine. 

At any rate the surgery took about an hour through the groin area, micro, I guess.  Out of the hospital by Saturday and back home.  Now if we can only get her to do something about her one eye (cataract which can be easily fixed, and then something about the fact that she is deaf as a stump, something that can also be easily fixed by out patient surgery) she'll be as good as a 75 year old.  I think eight-nine is the new seventy-five, isn't it?

I was drifting over the net and completely forgot that yesterday was the anniversary of Hiroshima:  Happy Nuclear Power Day.

Then I went to Executed Today a site that I "enjoy" starting my day with.  Kind of, oh I don't know, just interesting.  And found out that apparently there was a time in our history when a president did not feel able to go to war without congressional approval.  Now I do admit that we were apparently getting ready to kill each other at a rate we hadn't before considered possible, but still it is an interesting factoid, isn't it?

I have little or nothing to comment on the S & P downgrade with the two trillion mathematical error.  Still, I am kind of a little bemused by it all.  I am still reading as much as I can find out about economics, but perhaps the guy I work with said it all:  "Learning about economics right now, is as useful as learning about hydrology while you are going over Niagara Falls in a barrel."

I find it interesting that S & P is still considered an organization that has any relevance at all to anything at all in the economic world.  The other thought is how is it that these private corporations have the power to say whether or not a government's bonds are safe.  Added to the fact that since these corporations are licensed in the U.S.A., these guys should be concerned that today they could be dragged from their homes and kept in prison until they decide that they rating is going to be AAA.

We live in strange times.  Obama is not a particularly smart guy, but given the fact that he is surrounded by mental midgets, he appears relatively impressive.  I guess, I personally don't think so, but then I knew that there were no WMDs (an acronym I hate) before we invaded Iraq. 

I kept expecting the Media to recognize just how stupid Bush and his advisers were, but didn't happen.  My thought is that they are all so inbred at this point, that they are something like sheep in the intelligence field.  But with nice fluffy wool because that is apparently what they are bred for.  Not only that but I suspect that they actively seek to keep out those who see things clearly and are more intelligent then they are because smarter people in positions of power are a threat to the ruling class. 

As for their supporters generally, as they say half of the population is of below average intelligence.  Then there are those who simply feel a kind of need to tug at their forelock when their "betters" pass by.  And there you are.  A few outsiders are let into the class (Obama again) but they are the types who believe (or should I say BELIEVE) in the system as it is.  The same thing went on during the middle ages, but they had the advantage of continuous wars and disease to regularly cull the ruling classes and allow new blood in and even that didn't work for ever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guy Maddin - Sissy boy slap party



You know I'm thinking that this is just what we saw happening in Washington.

Happy You Are Really Fucked, And Nobody in Power Gives a Shit Day

I guess my problem, any more, with the kind of thing I have been for the most part writing about is that it tends to get old:

AVERAGE PERSON SCREWED AGAIN, MONEY GIVEN TO THE WEALTHY.  BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES ARE BUSY FUCKING YOU OVER!!!!!! FILM AT 11.

I guess that one needs to point this out over and over and hope that on the hundredth or four hundredth repetition it will click in the (for want of a better term) average voter's head.  But it does get tiresome after awhile.

I realize that we aren't the only country that this is happening in, but that doesn't make it any better (except of course for the misery loves company aspect).  In the latter part of the Twentieth Century we were told that democracy (or republican with a small r government or representative democracy) had won the day.  Now it becomes obvious that it didn't matter.  We can elect anybody we want and they will just do whatever the ruling plutocracy (it looks like everyone else is linking to Matt Tabbi, so I guess I will too) wants them to do.  Then they will explain that: well couldn't do anything else, but the other guys would have been much worse, don't you know?  And the vast majority of voters will buy it.  Christ.

Now various "liberal" blogs are telling me:  "It could have been worse.  After all they only cut off your left hand it could have been your right."  Although, I am kind of happy to see that Digby has seen the writing on the wall, and appears at least for a day to have quit her "if only Obama understood, if only Obama was a better negotiator" bullshit.

UPDATE:  The news just gets better and better for our overlords.  Apparently they have convinced most of the democrats that the real problem is the deficit and we need to cut spending.  Then them jobs will just appear.  Perhaps we really do have the government we deserve (although to be completely honest I don't think I have the government I deserve). 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Geezus

So I am wondering around the Internet and what do I behold, but the end times.  As somebody said, I'm going to be really pissed when the end comes not from the rapture, or a giant asteroid, or nuclear holocaust, but a god damn debt ceiling economic crash the final parts of which are ushered in by a second rate bag man for the Wall Street bankers, people we've been warned about for over a century. 

I guess we just didn't listen.  I'm waiting for a little while and then I think I'll drift on over to some of the Obama, Obama, sis boom bah, rah, rah, rah sites, that I offered to apologize to when Obama saved SS and Medicare and Medicaid and ask if they would consider apologizing to me.  Although I have had a short discussion with a guy on Facebook. I know him from law school and the Guild and he asked me "Who would you be able to support other than Obama?"  Obviously, I'm not going to vote for Bachmann or for that matter any of the sociopaths from the other party, but then why should I vote for a sociopath from the party I used to consider myself a member of?  In fact that attitude is just the one the democrats are counting on according to Greenwald today.  I have no doubt.  The other half of that is the blame will go to those who refuse to support the people who are screwing us right now, rather than the people (Al Gore/Florida anyone) who participated in the screwing.  Always blame the victim never the never the victimizers.

So any way what I had started to write about isn't at all what happened in the above two paragraphs.  Because, what I was really interested in writing about (well when I'm trying to forget that my world is falling apart around me through no fault of my own) is books or rather books and book stores.  We went to Columbus this week and I spent the morning in trainging and then we had planned on going a dropping by some friends a couple of places one can only find in a big city and one of the Borders since they are closing.  Went to one that I remembered and it was closed tighter than a drum we later learned it had been closed for a couple of weeks.  So we ended up going to another store and just kind of drifted around.  I hate to admit it, because I think I lose my leftist cred, but I like Barnes and Noble.  Although I do like local book stores and little places like that.

Where I grew up was mostly small towns with no real book stores.  Although one could get interesting paper backs at drug stores back when I was a kid.  Got Taras Bulba in a drug store, another had The 20th Maine.  The library would allow me to check out anything I wanted from the time I was about twelve so I could get their entire stock and since they had many of the major 20th Century American writers I got to read Hemingway, Faulkner, etc. 

Definitely not the cover that attracted me.
One of the more interesting stores that sold books in Van Wert was the Hospital store.  It was located down town and people would bring in what ever and the store would sell it and the proceeds would go to the Hospital.  People would dump off old books there.  I got a copy of Sartor Resartus there.  They  also had a number of paperbacks and back in the 50s and maybe the early 60s the covers of the paper backs were kind of risque, to put it mildly.  The cover did not necessarily accurately reflect what was inside.  Which brings me to how I became acquainted with Graham Greene.  I had heard of him, but wasn't really familiar with him.  I had seen the screen version of The Quiet American on the late show, the one with Audie Murphy.  So my understanding of Mr. Greene's politics was possibly a little off.  At any rate I saw a copy of The End of the Affair in paperback.  One can imagine what the cover looked like.  Boy was I shocked to find out it was the story of an incredibly depressed non-believing Catholic and his love for someone who might have been called a saint.  

The Catholicism didn't bother me and I identified with the depression, so I ended up reading most of his novels and a great deal of his non fiction work and found out that I also identified with his politics.

And that is it for today I guess.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tending My Garden

Wow, over two weeks since my last post.  I haven't really been interested in commenting on the on going debt ceiling crisis, since no matter what happens it is going to be bad for the vast majority of people around these parts, including me and mine.

I have a difficult time finding different ways (that would even interest me) of saying that our rulers are scum and sociopaths, who might not be very bright.  Although I'm not sure about the bright part, I am sure about the scum and sociiopath part.  If (as I believe) their goal is to crush the average person, they do not care if they have more money in the absolute sense of more hard numbers, that is $20,000,000.00 rather than $30,000,000.00, but rather they want more money in the relative sense of they've got a higher percentage of the wealth than they did last year or week.    I remember the English movies I would see years ago that took place in the early part of the 20th Century where five pounds was half a years salary for a worker.  But the distance between the monied class and the rest of the country was much greater than then now.   Now everybody gets more money, but the difference between the wealthy and middle class is narrower.  Or at least it was until a few years ago.


Our government is set up to be a republic, or a democracy, or a represetative democracy.  It doesn't matter what you call it, it isn't any more.  It is amazing that a large majority of people could want something and the ruling class just says nope even though, theoretically we do elect them and they are our representatives, but they clearly do not represent us.  Unfortunatley, years of propaganda and now months or weeks of even more intensive propagand from our rulers have apparently begun to convince people that we need to cut the buget and government spending to make more jobs.  Even though it has never happened before in the world nor is it happening in Greece, England, Protugal, Spain or Ireland right now.  And when we spent when we apparently had not enough money to do so (See New Deal, WWII) we spent our way out of a depression.

I had a discussion with another attorney a couple of days ago who absolutely believes that inflation is a greater danger then what is happening right now.  When I pointed out that some inflation is a good thing and that at any rate inflation is incredibly low right now, he didn't even hear, I don't think.  A point I made was that we need a real stimulus to put people to work and then those people could pay taxes to cut down the deficit if that is really what he wanted, he argued that we shouldn't be paying people to be building things like bridges and railroads because people had no money so they didn't need bridges and railroads because they were not going to go anywhere, because they had no money.  I do not think he was trying to be funny.  Apparently, the New Deal and World War II never happened.


So I continue to build bookcases.  Perhaps another this weekend.  If so that would be four.  Or perhaps I should tend my garden.

This is kind of how I feel when I think of what influence I have on the assholes in D.C.  On the outside looking in.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Let Us Trust and Change Our Position As Our Leaders Instruct

If Obama gets his grand bargain then the rest of us are screwed, but if Obama doesn't get his grand bargain then the rest of us are screwed.

Now I see that the Obama deadenders have for the most part completely changed their position on these debt ceiling discussions.  Originally, they were making fun of those of us who were raising a stink about Obama putting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the table for cuts, because "He would never do that, dummy!"  Since, it now appears that he does in fact want to cut benefits their new position is: "Well its not that big a deal and any way its been done before and you didn't complain then."  When Clinton did it I did indeed complain, but it was with a telephone call rather than through the computer.  I'm not sure I had a computer, or if I did I am almost positive I didn't have one at home.  For quite awhile the internet was only through dial up.  For a long time in the city I lived any internet was long distance. 

So there too.  I am still an idiot for not trusting our Dear and Glorious Rulers to rule well and in our best interests.  They have done so well for us in the past.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shock Doctrine

We are ruled by not very bright sociopaths.  Well, if one considers "we" as the human race as a whole and not just the U.S.  I heard today on the B.B.C. radio news that Italy is going through the same things that Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland have all gone through.  Cutting budgets, cutting stuff for the workers and middle classes and paying off the banker's debts.

Further, I heard the reporters interviewing, for the most part, the very wealthiest who explain that this is all good.  There were a few interviews with workers and union people but the most amount of time was given to the wealthy, as was the last word.  I guess that in an emotional way since Italy is being ruled by a quasi-fascist party, it shouldn't be experiencing as much cognitive dissonance as say Spain or Greece, with their socialists.  Not that that makes the end result any more comfortable for the the people who are getting screwed, but still I guess it is something to help warm one over the Sterno fire.

I would guess that one should think of this part of the great mandala of life.  You know in cruder language: what goes around comes around.  We have allowed the bankers in the IMF do just this to the third world for decades and watched as their tiny safety nets were destroyed to permit the bankers to make big buck, so when it comes back on the first world (say who is the second world any way?) there is a certain justice there.  Except of course, our real rulers do not suffer at all.

As far as the budget ceiling talks in D.C. are concerned, for the most part, people who are writing about them seem to feel a need to take what is being discussed by the people there as some sort of serious discussion of what needs to be done economically.  Even many of  those who a few months ago argued that we need more deficit spending, are now discussing the relative merits of the various cutting spending and raising taxes proposals.  The end result is going to be that the economy goes (further) south, no matter whose proposals are accepted and put into place.  I guess one could talk about it in a kind of horse race or football analogy, but not as far as the merits.  Since no position in these discussions has any merit. 

Although, I guess if one views this as a kind of global implimentation of Shock Doctrine then I guess one could see the merit of the thing, if that is one is indeed a sociopath.  Destroy, destroy, destroy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please Take This Farm

It looks like more and more (although Taibbi certainly doesn't deserve the quotation marks) on the "left"  and even some on the "right" are commenting on what appears to be Obama's absolute desire to move the country further and further to the right in these budget talks.  On the other hand I'm not sure that will translate into votes and certainly, if a bat shit crazy republican is elected in the next election it will be the people who refused to vote for him or work for him who get the blame.  Not the guy himself, who has lost the confidence of his natural constituency (although it appears as though his natural constituency is actually Wall Street), though giving away everything that the working and middle classes want and need.

I was thinking today as it was being explained to me on another blog how Obama's brilliant negotiating style has brought us to the this point, which is apparently just where we should be at this time.  He is threatening to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare (now, now, not slash it just cut it you know, you understand the difference right).  At any rate at this point while we are next, apparently, to defaulting on various government obligations Obama is letting the other side know that he is willing to cut the basic social safety nets in this country for the right kind of deal.

Now if he is some sort of liberal/progressive or even moderate then the kind of negotiation he is doing is a negotiation style with which I am not familiar.  I've been a lawyer for over twenty-five years.  Before that I was part of two different unions and participated in several contract negotiations.  I've also participated in several different seminars and trainings which dealt with how one engages in successful negotiations.  No where did I ever hear that one starts out by giving away the farm at the beginning, unless of course one's ultimate goal is to actually give away the farm.

I am not particularly glad that I can in fact recognize this, because I am going to be burned just as badly as the idiots who continue to insist that he really is trying to protect their interests (assuming that those individuals are not the top 1% then they are not idiots, but realists).  Actually, I'm in worse shape because I can see it coming and so I suffer from both the fore knowledge and the actually impact rather than say Balloon Juice, etc (no linky today) who do not see it coming and when it does hit will still have know idea that their hero did it to them and their children.   So I guess in one way ignorance is indeed blis.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Monkey Trial Day To You

Well happy Scopes Monkey Trial Day.  I saw the movie Inherit the Wind while in high school, I think and become absolutely fascinated by Clarence Darrow and that trial.  Later I found out that the authors of the play kept it off the stage for a few years so they would miss the McCarthy nastiness.  Still later I learned that the ACLU had given lists of their members to the FBI during that same unpleasantness. 

So the movie and the ACLU kind went down hill in my mind, but never Darrow.  I still am nearly totally impressed by him even with the new "evidence" that he really did bribe juries in some of his labor trials.  That movie and the books I read about Darrow were probably a major influence on my choice of professions (well, OK Perry Mason was on TV every week while I was growing up, and who wouldn't want to be Raymond Burr with a secretary like Della Street back then, or for that matter now?).

I read the book Six Days or Forever by Ray Ginger when I was either in junior high or a freshman in high school.  I got to meet Ginger's ex-wife Anne Fagan Ginger when I was in law school, when I was going to NLG events.  I never had the nerve to ask her about her ex-husband (I didn't know they'd divorced then) and his writing.  It was probably better that way.

At any rate that book Six Days or Forever, started me reading about Darrow and I went on to read Irving Stone's book Clarence Darrow For the Defense.  That book introduced me to Darrow's other cases and particularly to his defense of various labor leaders and his involvement with the early unions.  An eye opener for a teenager who was growing up in republican mostly rural Ohio in a moderately conservative family. 

So my politics can be directly blamed on: Clarence Darrow by way of Robert E. Lee (the playwright not the general), Jerome Lawrence, Ray Ginger, and Irving Stone.  I am a perfect example of why there should be greater censorship of what children are allowed to read and see and some sort of limitation on what books are permitted in the libraries of this great country of ours.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Woodworking 101

I am sure that there are studies out there that can explain how people think about their heroes and the very clay feet of those heroes, which they don't actually ignore, but rather deny the existance of, but gee.

One can make the point again and again, that Obama has failed to deliver on almost every level (except for more wars of course) and still people respond by telling me that I do not understand how politics work in this country and he can't rule by fiat (except apparently in foreign policy and war, but not actual military rules, go figure).

When one points out that in fact Obama got almost everything he asked for and pushed for in his first two years.   Or that he did in fact enter into secret negotiations with the pharmacy industry, hospital industry (oops Oxford comma is no more I guess) and the insurance industry, after saying he would never do that.  Or that he has from the first hired and kept around him either minions of the banking industry or people above minion status, when there are at least two Noble Prize economists who are Americans who were recommending different policies.  Well, (other than questioning my ability to form a complete sentence since and think, there seem to be several incomplete sentences up there) one can wonder how his defenders think.

I would think that it is one thing to agree that we have got to help billionaires make more money so this is what needs to be done by golly, but it is quite another to argue that Obama is trying to do progressive things, and is really doing the best anyone could expect.  When all the anti-progressive things he is doing are pointed out people still tell me I just don't understand American politics.  Or FDR wasn't that great a progressive either. It is an amazing situation, when people continue to back a guy who clearly doesn't give a shit about them.

I may have mentioned before (but am too lazy to check) the discussions about Grant and the Civil War on a couple of comment threads in Salon.  One commentator kept putting up "facts" that with a couple of minutes of Googling were shown to be completely false.  I'm not talking things like Grant was a corrupt president, but things like:  there were more slaves in New York state in 1860 then in any other state (it takes little time to go to the census for 1860 and find out that New York was a free state, therefore there were no slaves).  People kept responding with the actual facts and this (these?) people (person?) would just put up another piece of false information.  Until the inevitable:  I'm tired of arguing with you, post.  Of course that is a little more obvious than the people who simply insist that You Don't Understand.  Or alternatively that apparently neither hear or read you, but engage you in debate while ignoring the specific information one puts out there.

Imagine that you are at a movie and there is a kind of wavy fade out and then another wavy fade in.

This is more or less what I"m doing without the religious figure
Well, I'm back from doing some manual labor this afternoon, I started to build a bookcase.  Some fun.  I built several back in my hippy days, but none recently.  My friend David Cohen and I once built one on a wall of a friend's place in Yellow Springs.  The reason I remember it so clearly (well the incident, not exactly the specifics) is that we would go over to her place on a Sunday morning and when we arrived she would immediately bring out the weed.  After we smoked some it seemed to us a good time to have a great home made breakfast and look at the wall and imagine what we were going to do.  It took about a month until David refused both weed and food one morning and started to actually build the thing.  It took about two hours to finish.  Good times.

One last thought, kind of my own, but she says it much better than I have.  This is scary and incisive and I think she is right.  If she is, it explains everything that is going on.  He wants to destroy the America we all grew up in.