LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:46:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com 32 32 LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/dew3_mh4feed.png http://likethedew.com 88 31 A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics 110899633 The Good Olde Days http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-good-olde-days/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-good-olde-days/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:45:04 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68412

From as far back as I can remember,
until I reached 12,
every Thanksgiving and Christmas,
after he’d delivered groceries
to the people on his part
of the Sunday School’s list,
Dad took me with him
to see his “unofficial friend.”

We drove down an alley
far behind the foundry,
to Shorty’s,
bearing four bulging bags
from the local Jitney Jungle.

Mrs. Shorty, two heads taller,
had the shadow of a dark moustache.
Smiling as for a family portrait,
the Shorties stood stiffly
under soiled Christmas cards
strung four ways across the room.

“They get them from trash cans
a year ahead of time,
Dad explained to me later,
“and put them up just
to make us feel welcome.”

“That shore is a pretty child,” Shorty would say
as he reached to pat my head.
Dad beamed, and dug
into the paper sacks, proudly.

The Shorties had built
their home of cardboard
tacked to scraps of wood and tin.
The earth floored them.

“Whenever it rains,” Dad continued later,
“I know I’ll see Shorty and his wife
plundering behind my hardware store
to get the fresh, big boxes.”

Most dry days Shorty preached
on the Court House lawn.

The summer I was 18, I went back,
tried to find him there.
Others concatenated the despair,
preached “jedgement”;
But Mrs. Shorty and Shorty had died.

Sweating with the crowd in the Alabama sun
I remembered
the soiled Christmas cards,
my tight belt, and waiting for
the over-seasoned turkey to bite back.

— Louie Clay

Louie Crew Clay

Louie Crew Clay,  81, is an Anniston, Alabama native and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband for 43 years. He holds an M.A. from Auburn University, a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and honorary doctorates from three seminaries of the Episcopal Church. He is the founder of Integrity, an international organization of lgbt Episcopalians/Anglicans. Editors have published 2,730+ of Louie Crew Clay’s poems and essays — including Letters from Samaria: The Prose & Poetry of Louie Crew Clay, NYC: Church Publishing, Inc., November 2015 and  Our Station Forgot to Give the Evening News,  Poetry Superhighway. An eBook in the press’ annual ‘The Great Poetry E-Book Free-For-All,’ online from December 1, 2016. You can follow his work at Rutgers.edu. See also Wikipedia.org. The University of Michigan collects Clay’s papers.

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Magnificent Job. Now Get Back to Work http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/magnificent-job-now-get-back-to-work/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/magnificent-job-now-get-back-to-work/#comments Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:44:12 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68419

Roy Jones election watch party by Jamelle Bouie

While playing his first round of golf during the 1925 US Open, amateur golfer Bobby Jones, thought his ball moved after he addressed it and assessed himself a one stroke penalty. Jones ended up losing the tournament by one stroke.

The great golfer was praised universally for his honesty. He was irritated by the uproar, stating that honesty was a bedrock of golf and every true golfer would have done the same thing. His quote is still recalled:

“You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”

Many people are celebrating the voters of Alabama for fashioning Doug Jones’ upset win over Roy Moore, especially black women who visited the polls in droves and voted overwhelmingly for Jones. The national press is calling this result everything from a monumental upset to a sign of things to come for Republicans around the country.

I am also very proud of what happened last Tuesday but let’s remember the basic facts. A Republican politician who had twice been kicked out of office for violating the U.S. Constitution, made outrageous or demeaning comments about nearly every minority possible, and had been accused by at least eight women of sexual assault, including several under age eighteen, lost this election to a man who finally, bravely prosecuted KKK members for the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham that killed four young girls. And the margin of victory was so small that write-in votes for Alabama football coach Nick Saban might have been what turned the election.

I’m extremely proud of my home state for not doing what I, and many others, expected them to. The fact Alabama did the right thing is great; for the state, and hopefully for the country, but no one should be celebrating just yet.

A racist strain of religious zealotry has taken hold in the Republican Party and, in the words of fellow LTD writer Jeffry Scott: “They are motivated by hate and resentment of anyone who points it out. The only real cure is to outnumber them.”

Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they focused much of the Second Amendment’s attention on religious liberty. There were hundreds of religious groups in the British American colonies, and most of them were afflicted with zealotry.

The framers of the Constitution reasoned that when politicians figured out how to harness the unquestioned belief of a religious group with things they could sell as holy, complete power would result.

The Republican Party is currently there. Offering hysterical diatribes of the ruination of our great country by Liberals and focusing on alcohol, abortion, and the War on Christmas, none of which are discussed much in the Bible, conservative politicians have convinced nearly half the country that God will strike us all down unless we vote Republican; no matter the person representing the “R.”

Ironically, lying, mixing religion with politics, and worshiping rich people, are all things the Holy Book either frowns on or ignores. But rational people will never convince these converts of their mistake. It would be easier to pass a camel through a needle’s eye than talk sense to a zealot.

Our only hope is to outnumber them. Over and over.

Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called “It’s Not a Criticism, It’s an Observation.” He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

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Christmas in Tukuyu http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/christmas-in-tukuyu/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/christmas-in-tukuyu/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:38:05 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68402

Mount Lengai seen from Lake Natron Northern Tanzania

Do you have one Christmas past that stands out from all the others? My son and daughter say the happiest Christmas they ever had was the one when they were seven and eleven years old — Christmas of 1977. At the time, we were living in Tukuyu, a sleepy little town located on top of a dormant volcano in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Obviously, our lifestyle was not that of a typical American family. The children grew up in Africa with only periodic visits back to the states. I was often amazed by the contrast in their behavior when they switched continents. In Africa, they were thrilled with any gifts they received. But, in the states, when exposed to the onslaught of advertisements, their innocent fascination and wonderment quickly slid into well-argued expectations.

Our family’s 1977 began in Ethiopia. That country was in the throws of a Marxist revolution and a devastating famine. In April, the government expelled official Americans and remaining others were regularly called CIA agents on the nationalized radio station. Our withdrawal came in June and necessitated leaving all our household goods. Our worldly possessions diminished to the contents of our suitcases. Hoping for a change in Ethiopia, the four of us spent the next three months living in one room at a conference center outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Then, we agreed to a one-year feasibility study in Tukuyu. Tanzania was an impoverished country that offered nothing in the way of luxuries. In fact, due to a dispute with Kenya, the border had been closed, blocking off the source of many items westerners considered essential, such as sugar, flour, toilet paper and cooking oil. Corruption was rampant and was fueled by great physical needs and the decline of the socialist government’s failing relocation plan. Postal conditions were also lacking. Only letters could possibly be sent or received, never tapes or packages.

To reach the little isolated community we drove inland thirteen hours in a rickety land rover from the coastal city of Dar-es-Salaam. We arrived at dusk, which was particularly meaningful to us because we did not have any headlights. Our sparsely furnished house was framed by breathtaking natural scenery. Centered outside the kitchen window was beautiful Mt. Rungwa. Out the front door stretched a long valley leading to the distant jagged Livingston Mountains looming north of the shores of Lake Nyasa that stretched as far as the eye could see. The abundance, however, was limited to the beautiful landscape. The market had a very narrow selection of fruits and vegetables. Meat was even more scarce and arrived only occasionally at the market in a wheelbarrow. It was axed out by the kilo so you could easily obtain stomach and filet mignon in the same hack. A trip to the only dry goods store in town, Patel’s, was also a rapid reminder of the scarcity of goods. By the time December rolled around, it was obvious that Christmas was going to have a different slant that year.

One day as the children were playing, they spied some hemlock cones on the ground. They combed the area and gathered all they could find. With string and paraffin from Patel’s and crayons from their limited supply, these items were converted into colorfully decorated Christmas candles for our friends. Then, each of us toiled in secret to make gifts for the other family members. My daughter labored for hours to make me an accurate calendar for the next year with her own handcrafted pictures for each month. My son gave me a trivet made from a square piece of leather. He designed it by holding different size nails in various places on the leather and hitting it with a hammer. Each child secretly crafted a growing stick for the other from a strip of leather using the same hammer/nail design technique. Their dad made each of them rope ladders. I made outfits from army camouflage material. And so, the gifts went.

Christmas night as I tucked my son into bed, he snuggled down under his blanket and said, “Mom, do you know that song that says – something – something — all your dreams come true?” I smiled and nodded as he continued, “That’s the way I feel tonight!” I knew exactly how he felt but, at the time, I didn’t know why.

I have often thought back to that Christmas, especially at later ones in the states when greedy desires could not possibly be met. However, our happiness that year was not from the lack of commercialism or from the fact that we made the gifts ourselves. Sacrifice was also not the essential ingredient. Even the adversity of that year was not instrumental in providing such a lasting memory. The answer, I believe, lies in our focus. We anticipated receiving nothing because no gifts were available to buy and no gifts could be sent to us through the mail. As a result, our attention was totally concentrated on what we could create that would express our love to those around us. To that mission of giving, we committed all we had at our disposal physically, mentally and spiritually. And now, we can look back and know that — for one fleeting season — we truly caught a glimpse of the real meaning of Christmas.

Philecta Clarke Staton

Philecta Clarke Staton

I grew up in Morganton, NC and graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. I went to Africa with my husband (now divorced) when our children were six and three. We spent 20 years there and experienced the Communist takeover of Ethiopia, the restrictive socialism of Tanzania, and the ending of Apartheid in South Africa. Upon returning to the states I spent 11 years with Genworth Financial in Lynchburg, VA. (Technically my experience with the company began with First Colony Life Insurance Company which was bought by GE and became GE Financial Assurance which evolved into Genworth Financial.)

I retired to Harrisonburg, VA to be near my children. Currently, I volunteer with Skyline Literacy and teach civics classes for immigrants getting ready for the government citizenship exam process. I am enjoying a number of creative endeavors such as being in the New Horizons Band, arranging unique piano medleys, and writing. I just finished a three-act dark comedy about two elderly sisters who, for totally different reasons, face being destitute and develop zany plans to avoid the inevitable homelessness.

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The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, Betty Medsger http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-burglary-the-discovery-of-j-edgar-hoovers-secret-fbi-by-betty-medsger/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-burglary-the-discovery-of-j-edgar-hoovers-secret-fbi-by-betty-medsger/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:35:15 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68421 The Burglary is also but such a page-turner that two days in a row it was 3:30a.m. before I could put it down. In 1971 eight activists decided to break into an FBI office to find proof that the agency was off the rails, blatantly violating the constitution. Their successful action confirmed this in spades. They divided the booty up into categories, setting aside criminal investigations and mailing the hot stuff to key congressional figures and media, the author of this book foremost.]]>
FBI - a drawing by Tom Ferguson of an agent hidden underneath an agent

This drawing was done in 1975 as the Church Committee investigated.

The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI by Betty MedsgerThe non-fiction on my reading list is important stuff but not exactly entertaining… and mostly depressing. It’s part of my dutiful good-citizen activism. The Burglary is also but such a page-turner that two days in a row it was 3:30a.m. before I could put it down.

In 1971 eight activists decided to break into an FBI office to find proof that the agency was off the rails, blatantly violating the constitution. Their successful action confirmed this in spades. They divided the booty up into categories, setting aside criminal investigations and mailing the hot stuff to key congressional figures and media, the author of this book foremost. The politicians, notably George McGovern, disappointedly turned the stuff over to the FBI, though one member of congress kept copies of the mailer, Representative Mitchell of Baltimore. He also publicly commented that though the burglary was illegal, so were some of the FBI acts exposed.

Medsger gives a detailed account of the burglary and its planning, the media response (she was a young Washington Post reporter), the political response and the FBI’s panic attempting to suppress publication and manage the fall-out. Finding the culprits became Director Hoover’s obsession. Revealed is the tangled and corrupt relationship of the bureau with sympathetic individuals in congress, the press and many institutions.

Universities, banks and businesses were willing to turn over confidential files and information, trusting that the bureau was what its PR department said it was, a fearless, patriotic, honest, super crime fighter. Few knew that the Sunday night television show The FBI allowed the bureau to vet all scripts. It’s star, Efram Zimbalist Jr. often appeared at bureau dinners and social functions.

Hoover was a control freak who considered anyone who disagreed with him a subversive radical, thus a legitimate target for surveillance and even dirty tricks. A Tennessee Representative who dared to publicly criticize Hoover found himself smeared with false accusations at his next election where he lost his seat. FBI agents followed “subversive” citizens as they traveled abroad. Feliz Frankfurter, supreme court justice, was one of these.

To Hoover the civil rights and anti-war movement were all communist-inspired. Read Marx? You’re on the list, the hundreds of thousands to be rounded up and put in internment camps during a “national emergency.” The director fumed that he could not arrest people for embracing ideas he didn’t approve of, labeling them communist after helping to stigmatize that word.

Few in the congress questioned FBI methods. Hoover compiled dossiers on politicians, to blackmail and silence potential antagonists. An innocent man, Black Panther Geronimo Platt, spent 27 years in prison on a charge the FBI knew was false. Another Panther, Fred Hampton, was murdered by Chicago police in collaboration with agents. Like the Vietnam War, freedom and democracy were cited to justify their twisted opposite. Police departments and chiefs across the country seemed to emulate Hoover’s methods and regard for the Constitution.

Several of the activists had spent time in the deep south at Freedom Summer, being beaten and jailed for helping to register black voters. They were also involved with breaking into draft board offices to destroy records to disrupt what they considered an out of control killing machine unwilling to question its rigid ideology. In their frustrated work to stop that unjust war they happened upon the burglary idea and had a significant impact, if not on the war per se, on its bosom mate, the beast of injustice.

Speaking of justice… another group of draft burners were arrested in the act in Camden, New Jersey, betrayed by an informer. The FBI was convinced that these were the burglars they were searching for. There is a wonderfully moving description of the trial, of how the defendants convinced the jury, and even the judge, walking away with a not guilty verdict. The defendants, who fully participated in the trial as co-counsel, were so persuasive and respectful, truly peace workers, that even the prosecutors joined the group hug after the verdict was read.

The burglars, when meticulously sorting the files at a rural farmhouse, put them into categories and pointed out in the cover letter to media that 47% dealt with survelliance of legal, constitutionally-protected behavior, of students, unions, activists and especially black students. If you were black under the Hoover FBI, you were assumed to be subversive and potentially violent. Scores of informers were hired to report on lawful meetings and activity in “subversive” neighborhoods, ie, black communities. They weren’t seen to have legitimate grievances but to be manipulated by the Soviet bug-a-bear. The bureau went to ridiculous lengths, all at taxpayer expense… all hidden behind the carefully crafted image of a crack FBI crime-fighting organization.

Eventual fallout for the bureau from the burglary was a stained reputation, especially as the Church Senate Committee delved into FBI and National Security Agency activities. Their reports and conclusions were watered down and certain to be resisted by, let’s face it, fascist forces. The bureau factions that approved of Hoover resisted mightily the reforms that were attempted.

Hoover, over his tenure, kept hidden the illegal activities from oversight, changing the name of the department when necessary while telling Congress or the Justice Department that the department had been eliminated. COINTELPRO was the current acronym in 1971.

The activist burglars began a chain of events that exposed Hoover, mostly posthumously. Apparently only death could stop him. He died within a year of the burglary, lacking that critical dossier on the grim reaper. A tyrant sat in the heart, well, bowels of a great nation for nearly 50 years, malevolently undermining democracy. There are many so inclined, necessitating the continual presence of the courage of those resisters.

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson

Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

  • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
  • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
  • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
  • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

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The Return Journey http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-return-journey/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/the-return-journey/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:30:04 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68458

It was about 6am when the passing trucks interrupted my sleep. I had turned off the air conditioning and opened the motel window to help me sleep after a long day driving the back roads and exploring the Monumental Cemetery. A hamburger washed down with a few cold beers in an Irish bar helped me go to sleep until the noise of the early morning traffic brought me back to reality. There was a lot to do and more roads to explore.

View of trees, farm and gatekeepers cottage from train

I started out early and headed for a narrow road that followed the railroad line past several unused stations before it reached a town about 25 miles away. Only one of the stations had been preserved, the other two were demolished leaving only crossings and old grain silos. Trucks were now carting the grain and the passenger trains passed through the area without stopping. I parked beside the road to watch a farmer riding on his tractor towing a trailer loaded with feed for his dairy cows. He didn’t see me as he went about his daily chores.

There was little to see along the train tracks except where the stations and gatekeepers’ cottages had been in the days of the freight trains. The activity was on the farms and the roads. I drove beside a long bridge over the river flats that vibrated noisily when a train passed by, drowning out the sound of the crows in the fields. I stopped to listen and pretend the train was being pulled by a steam engine. That too was no more.

I returned to the town and it had come alive since I left to find the back road. People were walking to work, coffee shops were open and the early morning shoppers were going about their business. I sat at a table outside a coffee shop so I could watch the people and look at the old building across the street. It was a court house, built around 1900, and would have been full of stories but wasn’t open for visitors.

View of the old Court House

The person who brought my coffee asked why I was photographing the old Court House. I said I was driving the back roads looking at old buildings, abandoned train stations, cemeteries and the town. Her quick response was: “It is not a town, it is a city of more than 60,000 people and I should see the new lawn cemetery, the local museum and the new rail heritage museum at the train station. I finished my coffee, crossed the road and walked past the Court House and two other heritage buildings from the 1870- 1880s that were once a bank and a post office.

The first church I saw in Church Street was St Michael’s. It was built in 1887, about 25 years after the first settlers arrived in the area, and was extended in 1922-25 into a Victorian Gothic sandstone Cathedral. Further down the street were equally impressive churches for the Anglican and Presbyterian faiths.

St Michael’s Church

Following the coffee shop’s advice I drove to the new lawn cemetery with its orderly graves marked by plaques set in the ground and surrounded by flowering bushes and tall trees. I walked along the rows of plaques, reading the names, ages and dates. The cemetery was neat and orderly, the plaques were all the same and if there were stories buried there they were sealed by the manicured lawn. It was a different experience to my visit to the Monumental Cemetery where the old, decaying graves were abandoned after the stories had escaped.

I drove back to the city to visit the museum and its new exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. It was an emotional journey for me as I thought about my visit to the Western Front battlefields and the many thousands of soldiers who were buried there in unmarked graves with headstones that said: “A Soldier of the Great War – Known unto God.”

There was more to see and more to learn so I headed back to the city and the “new” railroad station at the end of the main street. It had been built in 1879 and was the center of activity until the 1980s when over 90 stations in the area were closed. Once there were four hotels within a five minute walk from the station, frequented by the station workers and people waiting for their train, now there was only one hotel. The others had been replaced by a motel, stores and an apartment building. The train station had been restored and new technology installed for signaling and controlling the traffic, replacing many of the workers.

Train travelers were now so few the Ladies’ Waiting Room had been turned into a rail heritage museum, operated by a group of dedicated volunteers and retired station workers. They had rescued and restored a large collection of old photographs, station and communication equipment, telephones, lamps, lanterns, clocks, signal box devices, tools used by the station and track workers since the late 1800s, and the china and silverware used to serve hot tea to the ladies while they waited for a train.

From the station I took a 5 minute walk over an old footbridge, past the heritage Station Master’s cottage, to the other side of the tracks where two sheds had been built on the site of a worker’s cottage to display the trikes, handcars and tools once used by the track workers. I met some of the volunteers and we talked for hours about the good old days of the railroad and the hard life of the track workers.

rail heritage museum

It was late in the day when I returned to the Irish bar to continue my research into local history. Over a large dish of beer-battered fish and chips and a cold beer or two, I sought further advice from the staff on the things I should see on my way home.

Before leaving the city in the early morning I drove to a bend in the river to watch the early morning swimmers moving slowly upstream against the fast moving current; and to see the renovated Palm and Pawn Motor Inn, Tavern and Bistro north of the river. It was a local icon and would be crowded in the late afternoon. No longer did people have to drive ten miles from the city to enjoy a bar and bistro on Sundays.

Following the back road home I saw different things and things differently – carefully restored railroad stations and country churches, prosperous farms with their new houses, new vineyards and large trees with white clouds above them painted against the blue sky. If I had stopped there may have been some stories there but I decided to get back onto the highway for the high speed journey back to the crowded city called home.

Tom motivated me to “survey the wreckage” and “notice how many crows fly over the back road” (Wreckage Along the Back Roads. Tom Poland. Like the Dew, May 16, 2017). I did both and the inland town/city I visited was named Wagga Wagga, Wiradjuri words for “place of many crows.”

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock, a former senior Australian executive of a mining company, first visited China in 1972 at the end of the Cultural Revolution and before diplomatic recognition by the Australian and US Governments. This was the first of many visits to China during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, he traveled throughout China with a trade delegation and revisited Shanghai where he stayed at the Shanghai Mansions Hotel and discovered the “Last Bottle of Gin in China”.

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Alabama Then and Now http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/alabama-then-and-now/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/16/alabama-then-and-now/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 15:56:30 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68452

Although I grew up in a family of Democrats in Louisiana when there were few Republicans and two kinds of Democrats (supporters of Huey Long’s machine and the other kind), I went to high school in Phoenix where I worked in Barry Goldwater’s first senate campaign in 1952 running against the incumbent Democrat in a blue state.

Influenced or infected by the relatively enlightened views toward race then current in Phoenix, I joined the Young Republicans when I returned to my native state to enroll at Tulane University. I did so because the local Republicans, including several very liberal Tulane professors, were working hard to register African-Americans who had been disenfranchised since the end of Reconstruction.

I did not register as a Democrat until 1962, when I was teaching at Spring Hill, an integrated Jesuit college in Mobile, Alabama. As there was no Republican running for governor, I took the advice of my liberal colleagues and registered as a Democrat to write in the name of a civil-rights activist instead of voting for George Wallace, who had out-N-worded all his opponents in the Democratic primary back in June.

In the senate race, I crossed party lines and voted for a guy named Martin, the Republican candidate running against J. Lister Hill, the incumbent Democrat. I voted for the Republican simply because he was not part of the “solid south” blocking reform and civil rights. The Republican got 49.14% of the vote, and the Democrat 50.86%.

Here’s what I find most interesting about the similarity of the 1962 senate race in Alabama and the one in 2017. Look at the maps showing how each county voted in those two elections, those counties that were red in 1962 are now mostly blue in 2017.

Alabama Senate Race 1962 vs 2017

Alabama Senate Race 1962 vs 2017 (Wikipedia.org)

And here’s a highly relevant quote from the Wiki entry for the 1962 senate race:

The Hill-Martin race drew considerable national attention. The liberal columnist Drew Pearson wrote from Decatur, Alabama, that “for the first time since Reconstruction, the two-party system, which political scientists talk about for the South, but never expect to materialize, may come to Alabama.” The New York Times viewed the Alabama race as the most vigorous off-year effort in modern southern history but predicted a Hill victory on the basis that Martin had failed to gauge “bread-and-butter” issues and was perceived by many as an “ultraconservative.”

Could it be that “Mr. Jones Goes to Washington” may be a portent of things to come here in Glynn County, Georgia (where I live) and in much of south next year?

Julian Riggs Smith

Julian Riggs Smith

Although I have kept a home in New Hampshire for fifty years and have been a town councilor there for more than ten years, I was born in Louisiana, grew up there and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, graduated Tulane, began my full-time teaching career in Alabama, ended it forty years later in Florida, and have had a home on Saint Simons Island since 1993.

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Singing Second http://likethedew.com/2017/12/12/singing-second/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/12/singing-second/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:36:54 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68386

The 118th Army vs. Navy Game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Dec. 9, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart

The first college football game I ever watched was the 1960 Army Navy contest. A running back named Joe Bellino caught my attention and I cheered enthusiastically for Navy during that contest. A few days later Bellino would also win the Heisman Trophy.

My father watched the game with me and rooted for the opposing team. He served in World War II as a gunnery sergeant and was Army through and through. This was likely the first of many disagreements he and I would have over the years. Most, like the Army Navy rivalry, were minor obstacles we could overcome. A few we never got past.

By the time I started driving, the Army Navy rivalry had lost much of its national importance. The Viet Nam War didn’t help, as thousands of American sons were killed in a meaningless fight. With the draft still in effect, nearly every family was touched by the casualty list. The nation became deeply divided as every conceivable political position was fractured. That wound hasn’t healed yet.

The power of television ushered in an era where college and professional football became identifiable distinctions of a person’s allegiance; another way to distance oneself from those different in some way. A species programmed to separate themselves from each other found one more category. In addition to race, religion, sex, national origin, we now had team preference.

As the decades passed, Americans have become not only more divided but less willing to have real discussions about differences. No one is willing to listen to an opposing view point much less consider it valid.

Our politicians scare us instead of telling us the truth, forcing us into more concrete positions. We think the very future of our species is dependent on voting a certain way.

We no longer even bother to talk; we just scream slogans at each other. The idea of settling disputes has become almost quaint. We consider damaging the opponent to be more important than fighting with honor, respecting others’ views and telling the truth. Watching the other side wail is better than winning the day fairly. This attitude permeates every facet of our lives and has taken over our workday, leisure time, and sports allegiances. Almost.

About five years ago I stumbled on the telecast of the Army Navy game once again and discovered this battle hasn’t degraded. These two football teams, representing the best America has to offer, fought harder against each other than any group I’d recently seen. For the sake of team, honor, and right, they battled fiercely.

After each contest the teams gather and reverently sing each others’ Alma Mater and loudly, enthusiastically salute their opponent. The loser sings first, sadly, and with trembling lips, but still classy and proud of their effort.

Then the winners sing. No excuses, no trash talking, no crotch grabbing or flag planting or twitter gotcha. Just what seems like a million voices, as one, singly badly but happily.

Two teams of opposing people, fighting with maximum effort to vanquish the other. At the end, a show of total respect for the other team. After all we are all really the same and are after the identical prize. All that effort just to sing second.

Seems so simple. Why is it so hard?

Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called “It’s Not a Criticism, It’s an Observation.” He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

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Who’s in Charge of Georgia’s History? http://likethedew.com/2017/12/12/whos-in-charge-of-georgias-history/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/12/whos-in-charge-of-georgias-history/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:20:05 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68388 interviewed on WABE by Denis O’Hayer. “In just a month, Georgia lawmakers return to the state capitol,” O’Hayer said by way of introduction, “and they have a lot of issues in front of them.” He asked Ralston if allegations of sexual harassment might surface in the state government and how the legislature might address that issue. Then, O’Hayer moved to another topic – Confederate monuments. “The state already has a law … that bars local governments from removing or concealing Confederate monuments...]]>

The equestrian statue of General John Brown Gordon – Atlanta - Downtown: Georgia Capitol Grounds was taken by Wally Gobetz

Last week, David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Speaker of the Georgia House, was interviewed on WABE by Denis O’Hayer. “In just a month, Georgia lawmakers return to the state capitol,” O’Hayer said by way of introduction, “and they have a lot of issues in front of them.”

He asked Ralston if allegations of sexual harassment might surface in the state government and how the legislature might address that issue. Then, O’Hayer moved to another topic – Confederate monuments. “The state already has a law … that bars local governments from removing or concealing Confederate monuments or memorials,” he said, noting that the law was part of the compromise in 2001 that finally got the Confederate battle flag off Georgia’s state flag. “Is it time to revisit that, especially in light of what happened in places like Charlottesville?”

This is a timely question, and one that the General Assembly will face in the new year. Senator Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) and Representative Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) have pre-filed a bill that would allow local governments to decide whether to remove Confederate monuments in their communities.

Ralston’s response to O’Hayer’s question: “If we are a state, then we share the same history, and the history of Georgia is the same whether you live in Blue Ridge or whether you live in Bainbridge or whether you live in Decatur. And so to allow that history to be controlled, as it were, depending on the jurisdiction you’re in strikes me as being divisive in and of itself.”

Ahh, history. Whose history? And who controls it?

The General Assembly was concerned about the state’s history when it met back in January 1956. Nine months earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered public schools to desegregate “with all deliberate speed.” At the beginning of the legislative session – the first since the Brown implementation decision – Governor Marvin Griffin said that “the tragic decision of the United States Supreme Court poses a threat to the unparalleled harmony and growth that we have attained here in the South for both races under the framework of established customs.”

So there’s Georgia’s history – decades of “unparalleled harmony” between the races, especially impressive in light of the “established customs” of Jim Crow legislation, disfranchisement, peonage, and lynchings.

Marvin Moate, the Speaker of the Georgia House, also addressed Georgia history: “Not since the days of the carpetbagger and the days of Reconstruction have problems more vital to the welfare of our people confronted the General Assembly.”

One of the first actions of the General Assembly in 1956 was to pass a bill authorizing the governor to close any public school that was forced to integrate. Then, by a vote of 179-1 in the House and 39-0 in the Senate, the General Assembly passed a resolution declaring the Brown decision “null, void and of no force or effect” within the state.

And then, the legislature created a new state flag, one that prominently featured the Confederate battle flag. Representative Groover Denmark, the governor’s floor leader, said that the flag change “would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Georgia will not forget the teachings of Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and … that we in Georgia intend to uphold what we stood for, will stand for, and will fight for.” The new flag, Groover said, will have “deep meaning in the hearts of all true Southerners.”

There’s history again, brought up to promote what became one of the state’s most divisive symbols.

The Atlanta Daily World, an African American newspaper, asked “what is meant … in the term ‘all good Southerners.’” There’s more than a bit of irony in Representative Ralston’s statement that it would be divisive to take control of Georgia’s history away from the state legislature.

And there’s more than a bit of frustration in the fact that we were able to rid ourselves of that offensive and divisive flag only by allowing the state to take away our control of every other “publicly owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of … the Confederate States of America.”

Our history is too important to be controlled by the state – whether it’s Donald Trump’s America or David Ralston’s Georgia.

David Parker

David Parker

David B. Parker, a native of North Carolina, is Professor of History at Kennesaw State University. He has written on humorist Bill Arp, evangelist Sam Jones, novelist Marian McCamy Sims, and other southern topics.

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Corruption Can Be Classic, In the Mississippi Way http://likethedew.com/2017/12/08/corruption-can-be-classic-in-the-mississippi-way/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/08/corruption-can-be-classic-in-the-mississippi-way/#respond Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:56:30 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68361

Donald Trump riding the GOP elephant with a confederate flag by DonkeyHotey

Progressive Mississippians have got their pantsuits in a wad.

Justifiably so. This weekend, which marks the bicentennial of Mississippi’s initial entry into the Union, also heralds the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

At the last minute, the KKK-endorsed, white supremacist Donald Trump accepted Phil Bryant’s invitation to attend and speak at this event. In response, many groups — from the Hillary-honorific “Pantsuit Nation” to the Obama-inspired Organizing for Action — are planning kneel-ins and sign displays along the motorcade route.

Trump’s visit is certainly a dishonor to the integrity of the Civil Rights Movement’s valiant fighters against racism and injustice. Worse, it is not the only affront to their legacies.

For Nissan, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is just the latest in a long line of ostensibly justice-oriented entities to serve as a cover for the company’s ugly history of denying its workers’ civil right to unionize, a history that culminated in the United Auto Workers’ devastating election loss last August.

Together, the two museums cost $90 million to build. They received a $500,000 donation from Nissan (which, by the way, only received a whopping $1.3 billion subsidy from the state of Mississippi to build in Canton).

This contribution bought Nissan spokeswoman Pam Confer a spot in the Civil Rights Museum’s concluding exhibit, where her song “Mississippi Beautiful” will play on loop. It’s even being considered as a replacement official state song.

The current selection, “Go Mississippi,” is rooted in the state’s segregationist past (it was written to the tune of Dixiecrat governor Ross Barnett’s campaign song). However, exalting the work of a paid Nissan celebrant would further enshrine this culture of inequality, injustice and racism — the culture Nissan has striven to perpetuate.

Condemning Trump’s upcoming visit, Derrick Johnson, formerly president of the Mississippi NAACP and now head of the national organization, said, “He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation.”

These are all things that Nissan also did — even as the NAACP happily co-sponsored events with the company (its Murfreesboro, TN, chapter went as far as naming Nissan North America its “Organization of the Year”). In fact, all of the groups protesting Trump’s visit did little to support the unionization effort and hold Nissan accountable for its crimes.

Voter suppression?

When it comes to union elections, Nissan scoffs at fair election principles, instead intimidating workers and subjecting them to a barrage of lies, threats and empty promises.

Refusing to denounce white supremacists?

Flyer with hate symbols circulated on social media just prior to the Nissan vote

Flyer with hate symbols circulated on social media just prior to the Nissan vote

This flyer, shown at right, circulated on social media just days prior to the vote. Endorsed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the (seemingly defunct) Citizens’ Councils, a reference to the White Citizens’ Councils that terrorized civil rights workers sixty years ago, the graphic promotes Confederate and Nazi symbols along with anti-union sentiments. Nissan never disavowed, condemned or commented on this image.

Creating a racially hostile climate?

Nissan fomented existing racial tensions. Although the plant’s workforce was approximately eighty percent black, white workers received preferential treatment. They were usually hired as full-time Nissan employees rather than as temporary workers, and were typically given easier or more prestigious jobs, often in maintenance or management. “You don’t want to be part of a black-run union, do you?” was a common theme.

In short, Nissan has abused and exploited its employees. It has forced them to labor in unsafe work environments, fought against and denied the claims of workers injured on the job, illegally fired and discriminated against union supporters, maintained unequal pay for equal work, enforced long hours and last-minute scheduling changes and denied its workers financial security (stripping health insurance and pension plans and reneging on promised pay increases).

Sadly, most of the “honored guests” who were scheduled to speak before Trump crashed the party have been on the take from Nissan for years.

From Congressman Bennie Thompson, who has taken thousands of dollars from Nissan and celebrated its history of buying off local organizations and universities, to former governor William Winter, whose law firm represents Nissan, to Myrlie Evers, the widow of Medgar, who allowed the Medgar Evers Foundation to take $125,000 from the company, corruption has infiltrated even the bastions of Mississippi’s supposed progressive community.

Groups as diverse as the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Sierra Club and the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement have all cosponsored events with Nissan, even as they voiced (predictably feeble) protest at the company’s unjust treatment of workers. Their refusal to organize a consumer boycott or to call out Nissan’s donations as the hypocritical P.R. stunts they are, undermined the workers’ campaign to form their union.

When Mississippi’s State Sovereignty Commission papers were finally released to the public in the 1990s, they revealed the complicity of supposed “reformers,” who took money to rat out true activists even as they publicly railed against racism and repression.

The only difference between these co-opted individuals and their current-day counterparts is the paymaster.

Jaz Brisack

Jaz Brisack is a student at the University of Mississippi and president of their College Democrats chapter. She worked as an organizer on the UAW’s Nissan campaign at the Canton plant and can usually be found protesting some societal injustice.

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Pray for Roy Moore but for God’s Sake Don’t Vote for Him http://likethedew.com/2017/12/08/pray-for-roy-moore-but-for-gods-sake-dont-vote-for-him/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/08/pray-for-roy-moore-but-for-gods-sake-dont-vote-for-him/#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:21:42 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68355

Predator, bigot, transphobe, homophobe, xenophobe & twice removed Judge Roy Moore U.S. Senate logoMake no mistake, the Alabama U.S. Senate election is about hate.

Republican Candidate Roy Moore, the twice-elected and twice-removed Alabama Supreme Court Justice, says the race is about an attack on our Christian heritage and beliefs. An assault on the very foundations of our country. Moore says he is being persecuted by “forces of evil” and thus all of our beliefs are at risk.

Any rational person would disagree. Moore (who does not deserve the honorary title of judge after twice being removed from the state supreme court) is not being persecuted. This campaign is forcing him to face the long-buried truth of his predatory sexual behavior with children, his outlandish “Christian” beliefs and his complete disregard for the rule of law while serving on Alabama’s highest court.

Moore has been obsessed with the 10 Commandments for years, calling them the foundation of our system of government. A judge should know better. The Code of Hammurabi, the first known document to express the idea that human life has intrinsic value, predates the Commandments by several hundred years. That being said, the Founding Fathers were much more interested in Enlightenment thinkers – John Locke on self-rule, John Stuart Mill on Liberty, and others, including Machiavelli, Hobbes and Harrington – than they were Moses.

And then there’s this: As every Christian knows, God redeemed creation through the life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is a powerful expression of the story of God’s relationship with his creation. But we live under a New Covenant as expressed in the New Testament through the teachings of Jesus.

While I believe we should all strive for the Christian ideal, it is instructive to compare some of Moore’s ideas to those teachings.

Moore:

  • Likened homosexuality to bestiality and called it “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God, upon which this nation and our laws are predicated.”
  • Said that violent crimes in the U.S. such as murder and rape are “happening because we have forgotten God.”
  • Called Islam a “false religion” and said it is a threat to the laws of our country. Then lied about Muslim Sharia Law being enforced in parts of Illinois and Indiana.
  • Said “God is the only source of our law, liberty and government.”
  • Pulled a pistol from his pocket during a campaign appearance.
  • Used insulting terms for Asians and Native Americans, calling them “reds and yellows.”
  • Insulted, belittled and attacked women who have accused him making improper sexual advances toward them when they were children.

Whether you agree with any of those statements or not, think about how that type of speech compares with Jesus’ utterances.

Before we begin to quote God’s son, let’s consider Jesus’ death. I do not recall any story of Jesus being heavily armed and wreaking carnage on his persecutors as he was dragged to the cross. He went willingly for our sake with no gun in his pocket. For the life of me, I do not understand the term “gun toting Christians.”

Here are Jesus’ own words as written in Matthew in the King James translation of the Bible:

  • “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew, 25:40.
  • “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15
  • “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:7-9
  • “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21
  • “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

Love Roy Moore in the greatest sense of the use of the word in the context of Christianity. Pray for him. But for God’s sake, do not vote for this man.

 

 

Bill Caton

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The 25th Amendment Isn’t Impeachment Lite http://likethedew.com/2017/12/07/the-25th-amendment-isnt-impeachment-lite/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/07/the-25th-amendment-isnt-impeachment-lite/#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:15:47 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68326 Vox, a very influential national online news outlet. But in the course of a recent article calling for President Trump’s impeachment, Klein stumbles into a misreading of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. In fairness to Klein, he’s just repeating the mistake made by other media heavyweights who’ve written about this.]]>

Donald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Ezra Klein is a very smart boy. Way smarter than me. That’s why I’m posting here and he’s presiding over Vox, a very influential national online news outlet.

But in the course of a recent article calling for President Trump’s impeachment, Klein stumbles into a misreading of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. In fairness to Klein, he’s just repeating the mistake made by other media heavyweights who’ve written about this.

A very early adopter of the 25th Amendment “solution” to the Trump “problem” was conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. In a column last May, Douthat, despairing of Trump being impeached, proposed, apparently as a “kindler, gentler” version of impeachment—impeachment without any actual impeaching—resorting to the 25th Amendment, which, Douthat assured us, “allows for the removal of the president.”

And the opening sentence of a column captioned “Let’s be clear about what the 25th Amendment does and doesn’t do” by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin reads “The 25th Amendment sets forth a procedure for removing a president….”

Also in the Washington Post, Paul Waldman, sharing Douthat’s despair, writes, “There is, however, another and perhaps even more likely way that Trump might be removed from office: the 25th Amendment.”

So Klein is trodding a well-worn path when he says that if the authorized parties run the 25th Amendment script, “Trump is removed from office.”

I’m not a lawyer or a media star, but as just your average Ph. D., I don’t see how these people are getting this impeachment “lite” reading out of what Section 4 of the 25th Amendment actually says. Section 4 is the part that deals with the situation where presidential disability prevents the voluntary transfer of the president’s powers and duties to the vice president. And the script goes like this.

If the vice president and a majority of the cabinet or some other body that Congress designates by law—think maybe a group of medical experts here—advise both houses of Congress in writing that the president can’t carry out the duties of the office, that declaration automatically transfers the president’s powers and duties to the vice president. But the vice president becomes only acting president, not president.

So the president hasn’t been “removed from office.” On the contrary, the president, still in office, can challenge the disability declaration by advising both houses of Congress in writing that no disability exists. In that event, Congress has twenty-one days to mull things over. Within that twenty-one-day period, Congress has to vote on the president’s declaration that everything’s just fine, that there’s no disability.

It takes a two-thirds majority in each house of Congress to keep the president sidelined. But even in that case, the president isn’t “removed from office” as the media types have it. That can’t be the story because the vice president would still be acting president, according to the amendment, not having succeeded to the presidency in his or her own right.

So this scenario isn’t impeachment “lite” or any other kind of impeachment. If the president is impeached by the House and convicted in the Senate, he’s gone. He vacates the office and has to vacate the premises. If he refuses, as I can easily imagine Trump doing (“Fake impeachment! The Senate is a bunch of losers! So unfair!”), presumably he can be escorted out of the White House by the Capitol Police, the Secret Service, U. S. Marshals or whoever the authorized law enforcement agency is.

But if Congress votes not to restore the presidential powers to the president, nothing in the 25th Amendment suggests that the president is out on the street. On the contrary, for all the amendment provides, even prolonged disability such as befell Woodrow Wilson wouldn’t bar the ailing president from holing up in the White House residence for the remainder of his or her term.

People who know more about this than I do have suggested that medical advances able to prop more and more of us up through advanced old age argue for updating the 25th Amendment to address a Woodrow Wilson-type situation. For example, it could be revised to limit how long a disabled president could cling to the presidency before having to resign. However sensible that would be, as things stand now, there is no such limit.

So the Post’s Jennifer Rubin, promising to tell us what the amendment does and doesn’t do, said in her very first sentence that it does exactly what it doesn’t do. And even getting straight about what it does do, it’s still, contrary to Waldman, a heavier lift than impeachment. To impeach a president, it takes just a simple majority in the House to send articles of impeachment on to the Senate. It’s only in the Senate that a two-thirds vote is required to convict. But under the 25th Amendment, it takes two-thirds in each chamber just to keep the president on the disabled list.

If Ezra and his high-voltage colleagues spent as much time in the social media Fun House as I do, they’d see why it matters to get stuff like this right. When their shaky 25th Amendment commentary filters down to where the rest of us live, it encourages the fantasy that we’re just a couple more crazy Trump tweets away from being shed of him, when the reality is that the only “solution” to the country’s Trump “problem,” barring actual impeachment, is a long arduous slog through the political thickets and brambles.

Leon Galis

I’m an Athens, GA, native and have been living in Athens since 1999 after retiring from the faculty of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Since 2008 I’ve written approximately 80 columns for the Athens Banner Herald and a handful for Flagpole Magazine in Athens.

 

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Driving the Back Roads http://likethedew.com/2017/12/07/driving-the-back-roads/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/07/driving-the-back-roads/#comments Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:13:55 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68332 Tom Poland’s great stories about his travels on the back roads I decided to drive some country roads in search of a little piece of history. I didn’t want to go too far from the small inland cities and towns because I needed a little comfort at the end of the day. Camping out and cooking on an open fire no longer interested me, especially when alone. Unable to find someone to share the experience I left home early on Sunday morning to navigate the freeways and toll roads out of the city.]]>

Inspired by Tom Poland’s great stories about his travels on the back roads I decided to drive some country roads in search of a little piece of history. I didn’t want to go too far from the small inland cities and towns because I needed a little comfort at the end of the day. Camping out and cooking on an open fire no longer interested me, especially when alone.

Unable to find someone to share the experience I left home early on Sunday morning to navigate the freeways and toll roads out of the city. After three hours of high speed driving amongst the trucks I needed a rest stop so followed the signs, “trucks to the right” and “cars to the left,” to a secluded hilltop area and parked next to a large water tank. The sky was a clear blue, the trees were waving majestically in the slight breeze, the birds were squawking and field mice were running to hide from the early morning intruder. I took a deep breath of the fresh, clean air and walked along a concrete path towards the little building with signs “Ladies” to the left and “Men” to the right. It was a piece of country life, complete with a rain water tank and “outhouse.”

Beware of SnakesMaking sure I entered the right facility I hesitated outside the open door to read a faded sign painted on the concrete. It read:

Beware of Snakes.

There was a rustling noise in the long grass beside the path and as I turned towards the sound a truck driver emerged from behind a tree zipping up his jeans. Surprised to see me he called out: “A driver saw a six foot brown snake go in there this morning.” I turned and walked back to the car past the water tank with its sign: “Water not suitable for drinking.” It didn’t say what it was suitable for, maybe for thirsty brown snakes.

Safely in the car I used my phone to “Google” brown snakes. One website said they were: “fast moving, aggressive and known for their bad temper… their venom was the second most toxic of any land snake in the world (based on tests on mice); they thrive in populated areas, particularly on farms and areas with mice.” Another website said: “A large adult brown snake is a formidable creature. They may exceed 6 feet in length and on hot days can move at surprising speed… (They) are particularly prevalent in open grassland, pastures and woodland.” A third website said: “If confronted by a brown snake make sure it and you have a large open space to escape.” There was only one narrow doorway to the men’s room so a large tree seemed to be the safest option.

After another hour of highway driving I turned off into a single lane road where I knew I could take another rest stop at an old Irish pub I had visited twenty years before. Aptly named “The Shanty” the one hundred year old pub had been built 10 miles from town because the law then prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sunday within a 10 mile radius of the nearest town. The Irish had a solution to that problem and built The Shanty Tavern and Bistro 10 miles from town where it became a popular destination on Sundays. When the liquor licensing laws changed, to allow Sunday trading, the pub and a nearby gas station/store closed to become targets for passing vandals.

abandoned railroad stationI sadly looked at the derelict building from the car before turning down an unsealed narrow side road and followed the signs to an abandoned railroad station. The train line had been built just after World War I to provide the farmers with regular transport for their produce and closed more than 30 years ago when large trucks replaced the freight trains. The area around the old station was overgrown with long grass and the railroad tracks were hardly visible. Local enthusiasts had preserved the old station and turned it into a museum but left the other iron clad buildings to rust away. I left the car to explore the station and the old train line. The museum and rest room were not open on Sunday so I returned to the car and continued my journey on the back road. It was a slow but interesting drive past the large farms, a vineyard, an old air base and a large industrial area just outside of the town, suggesting the town was doing just fine.

Monumental Cemetery

As I approached the town a small road sign pointing towards the “Monumental Cemetery” caught my attention. I turned onto the narrow road and followed it to an old cemetery located on the side of a hill. An old sign beside the entry said the cemetery was established on the site, after the early settlers first established a general store, pub and postal service, to replace a smaller cemetery by the river. The Monumental Cemetery, “first operated in 1857, had winding paths and gardens” and a walk around the cemetery was “a popular Sunday afternoon activity. Gravestones were beautiful ornaments to be admired, transforming the practical cemetery into an outdoor sculpture gallery. The simple flowers and icons on the graves are symbols with special meanings…. and tell a story about the life and death of a loved one. Shamrocks (Ireland), thistles (Scotland) and roses (England) are very popular and symbolize family ancestry. Lilies meant purity, and are often found on the graves of young girls. A life cut short was symbolized by broken columns or flowers with a broken stem. Christian faith was symbolized by grapevines, lambs and angels.”

The sign also said: the use of symbols on graves ceased after World War I when “the loss of so many young men…meant that the old practices of loss and mourning could not be carried out. The community became weary of death, and adopted simpler funeral practices and grave markers. The ornaments, symbols and verses were part of a world which had become unrecognizable after the war.” I was the only visitor when I parked beside the Catholic section to explore the rows of graves.

There were no gardens or flowers, the grass was dead and the previously “beautiful ornaments” had been damaged by time, weather, neglect, escaping stories and the deliberate action of uncaring vandals. The cemetery looked abandoned and forgotten as I walked past the broken headstones and once beautiful sculptures, carefully avoiding the sunken graves and stopping only to read the names, ages and few words about the life of the deceased.

Shrine of Daniel McNamara from MullaghAs I was leaving the Catholic section I noticed a very different structure sitting apart from the other graves. It was a small concrete hut with a tiled roof and iron gates that were partly open. There were no shamrocks. A sign above the doorway read:

The Family Grave of
Daniel McNamara
Mullagh County Clare, Ireland
R.I.P

I searched on my phone for a Daniel McNamara from Mullagh, a tiny village in County Clare near the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. The proud family had a small website which told me “Daniel was born in 1838”. He was 7 years old when the Great Famine devastated Ireland. One million people in Ireland died during the famine of 1845-1852 and about one million emigrated from Ireland to settle in England, Scotland, Wales, North America and Australia. By 1851 almost 25% of Liverpool’s population was Irish born, including my great-great-grandparents. I needed to know more about Daniel from County Clare and why he was buried here.

The website told me Daniel was 19 years old when he arrived in Australia as an immigrant on board the sailing ship “Ebba Brahe” on December 8, 1857 after a 108 day journey with 350 other passengers from Liverpool. It was during the gold rush. Less than two years later, at the age of 21, Daniel married for the first time and a daughter of the marriage was born in 1860. Daniel became a dairy farmer, married again when he was 35 years old, to a 19 year old girl, and fathered 16 children before dying in 1905 to be buried in the Monumental Cemetery, a long way from County Clare. He left a large family, some of whom were buried in the family grave in this remote place.

I continued my walk among the broken monuments and collapsed graves, sure there would be more stories to be discovered. I saw a large white marble headstone in the Anglican section, highlighted by the overhead sun, and maneuvered my way through the rows of graves to read the inscription.

It read:

In Loving remembrance of Henry Angel who departed this life 7 December 1881, aged 91 years. Also Mary Angel who died 29 September 1890, aged 78 years. Also Robert Angel son of the above who died 19 May 1870 aged 29 years.

Below the names there was an inscription:

Far from this world of toil and strife
They’re present with the Lord
The labours of a well spent life
End in a sweet reward.

The last two lines had been changed from a hymn that talked about a “mortal life” and a “large reward”. I was curious about why the family changed the wording and knew there was a story behind it.

Henry Angel had arrived in the colony as a convict in 1818 after being convicted of “highway robbery” in the Wiltshire Assizes on July 19, 1817. The term “highway robbery” reminded me of my youth and the many movies I saw with Robin Hood and his merry men holding up stage coaches in an English forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor. To be standing beside the grave of a highway robber in a remote cemetery with an inscription that referred to a “sweet reward” made the whole drive along the back road worthwhile.

The life of Henry Angel, who had a colorful life starting as a convicted thief in England and ending as a respected wealthy farmer on a large property in Australia, was the kind of story that made movies. Except Henry was just over five feet tall, which didn’t meet my image of Robin Hood. He could not read or write and as a youth worked in market gardens and dairy farms in the Hale area of Hampshire, England. In 1816, Henry and another young man worked for a farmer in Hale digging potatoes and bagging them for sale at the Salisbury market. When the farmer returned from selling the potatoes he met the young laborers at a local pub where, after several drinks, he apparently refused to pay them their wages. According to the court records, the young men followed the farmer along the highway and robbed him of “six pounds and nine shillings”. Henry Angel and his accomplice were convicted of highway robbery. Henry was sentenced to life in prison, converted to “transportation to New South Wales or nearby islands.”

In the penal colony Henry first worked in road gangs, then as a labourer on farms and a convict labourer on two inland expeditions. It was recorded that Henry was a hard-working laborer and had great ability in managing horses and cattle. In 1840 he received his Conditional Pardon and became a free man. Sometime during the 1830s he acquired or was granted 50 acres of farming land and in 1834 married twenty year old Mary Brooker, the daughter of two convicts. Mary had been married twice before to convicts and both of her husbands had died. She had two children from those marriages and had 9 children with Henry Angel.

There were many other stories about Henry before he became a successful cattle and sheep farmer, at one time owning a farm of 32,000 acres. He moved several times throughout the state, acquiring land and increasing his wealth as a property owner and farmer. It was a long way from his youth as a farm laborer digging potatoes in England, and he was buried a long way from home in the Monumental Cemetery.

I continued my walk through the cemetery looking for more stories but the long drive and hot sun forced me to seek the air conditioned comfort of an Irish bar to plan the next day. There were more back roads to explore and stories to find.

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock

Ken Peacock, a former senior Australian executive of a mining company, first visited China in 1972 at the end of the Cultural Revolution and before diplomatic recognition by the Australian and US Governments. This was the first of many visits to China during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, he traveled throughout China with a trade delegation and revisited Shanghai where he stayed at the Shanghai Mansions Hotel and discovered the “Last Bottle of Gin in China”.

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The Great Derangement & Insane Clown President http://likethedew.com/2017/12/04/the-great-derangement-insane-clown-president/ http://likethedew.com/2017/12/04/the-great-derangement-insane-clown-president/#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 11:36:35 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68313 The Great Derangement Matt Taibbi looked at several contemporary phenomenon: The War in Iraq, Fundamentalism as exemplified by a Texas Mega-church and, in his words, the great sausage-making in Washington, D.C. The 911 conspiracy buffs come under scrutiny as well. He makes no bones about the deception in Iraq accomplished by the usual methods: jingoism, cowardly congress, compliant press...]]>

You thought I cared about the little guy... I do. This money is the little guy - Cartoon by Tom Fergueson

In The Great Derangement Matt Taibbi looked at several contemporary phenomenon: The War in Iraq, Fundamentalism as exemplified by a Texas Mega-church and, in his words, the great sausage-making in Washington, D.C. The 911 conspiracy buffs come under scrutiny as well.

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American EmpireHe makes no bones about the deception in Iraq accomplished by the usual methods: jingoism, cowardly congress, compliant press. Great sympathy and respect is extended to the soldier and civilian victims of folly but none for the stupidity, ideological blindness and corruption which he sees ravaging the corpse of democracy. Senseless destruction, death and injury, obscene waste and robbery of national treasure.

Fundamentalism and 911 Truthers get lambasted for their willingness to swallow anything with no evidence required. Given an opportunity to organize to affect policy they choose instead to wallow in half-baked conspiracies, surrendering any critical faculty they might have had and having virtually zero impact. I suppose psychologically conspiracy and religious dogma offer a sense of being right, superior, that in the face of a mysterious and precarious existence, one gains comfort from the delusion of understanding it. Mega-church preachers routinely violate the agreement by which they remain tax-free, politically denouncing those who might vote for Obama or advocate abortion, gay marriage, alternatives to capitalism and whatever other prejudice the father figure embraces. They bring to their “flock” a brand of conservative republicanism hard to reconcile with certain readings of the scripture they claim to speak for… and the flock seems predisposed to bless and accept whatever nonsense is handed to them with enthusiastic ferv0r.

Taibbi’s congressional monitoring is quite entertaining, as writing, providing relief from the depressing subject as he describes the representatives of democracy blatantly serving the interests of their campaign contributors in the most shameful, business-as-usual servitude. Sausage indeed. Those valiant few who buck the sytem expose themselves to deep-pocketed attacks, even conservatives who slightly deviate from the party line are vulnerable. There is also the revolving door of corporate hacks running the departments supposedly regulating the corporations they will return to in short order, with pay raises.

Insane Clown President is a collection of Taibbi’s reporting, mostly from Rolling Stone, during the 2016 campaign. Always witty and entertaining it is never-the-less a sad spectacle. His take is that the Republicans have for years depended on a strategy of demonizing the poor, blacks, immigrants, unions, gays etc; depending on the white voter to buy into it, vote against their own interests, as Bernie pointed out regularly, on issues that really have little relevance to their lives. Once in power virtually none of the issues advertised get addressed until the next election cycle while continuing to eagerly serve the 1%, either from financial dependence or ideological zeal, or both. And this they expected to repeat ad infinitum. Something happened though. The victims of this con began to recognize that business-as-usual somehow wasn’t working for them as promised. Since the propaganda system had prepped them to instinctively recoil from the stance that Bernie brought to the conversation, even though it actually would have benefitted them – plus that candidate was marginalized by a 1%-owned media that found said point of view threatening to their elite position… well, enter Trump, the master con artist. Taibbi hilariously describes the establishment figures, Romney, Bush, Perry, Cruz etc; as out of their depth in this new reality show terrain, bumbling, out-maneuvored by the celebrity oaf at every turn. In Taibbi’s words, “Trump’s continued success puts the onus on the field to try to out-crazy the frontrunner.” Where Bernie and Trump’s platforms overlapped, as in criticism of campaign-financing and corporate control, Trump’s were, in the words he aimed at Hillary, just talk.

To give a sense of Taibbi’s humor and style I quote this about the GOP:

The party spent 50 years preaching rich people bromides like “trickle-down economics” and “picking yourself up by your bootstraps” as solutions to the growing alienation and financial privation of the ordinary voter. In place of jobs, exported overseas by the millions by their financial backers, Republicans glibly offered the flag, Jesus and Willie Horton.

Gaffes that normally quickly eliminate a presidential candidate, in the new climate, are cheered on by the delighted new “silent majority”, now finally found a champion. The other candidates were reduced to stretching for the ridiculous to get press attention but they were up against a natural. The networks, desperate for audience in the ratings game, shamelessly hung on every outrageous speech, giving Trump far more air time than any of the others. They opportunistically participated in a farcical dismantling of our democracy and for that they shall live in infamy,… but not poverty.

The debates provide Taibbi’s sense of humor an outlet as he constructs drinking games to accompany them. We are to take a drink whenever one of the candidates: uses god platitudes, promises to carpet bomb any sandy country, complains that Obama won’t use the word “terrorism”, mentions a war on Christmas, derides science in favor of “common sense”. Etc; Sometimes a double shot is required if, for example referring to “star wars” a candidate uses sound effects.; then there is the good guy with a gun rule, and thoughts and prayers for the latest victims. The competition for citing ridiculous “facts” is hilarious also until you remember that one of these guys might actually be president (of course this was written before the election – one criticism of Taibbi’s writing would be his characterization at one point of Hillary as one of the most esteemed politicians in the country but elsewhere as one of the most hated… and he several times predicts Trump’s demise, due to the “pussy” video and supposed plunge in the polls). But back to the “facts”: Trump repeatedly claimed to have seen thousands of New Jersy Muslims dancing and celebrating across the river from the towers on 911 and this absurd claim rolled right off the backs of his followers… and his fellow candidates. Carson, returning from a “fact finding” trip to the middle east assured us that the pyramids were used for storing grain. Since they’re not hollow one could be forgiven for wondering about this candidate. One reporter followed up by asking whether the Eiffel Tower was for storing French bread. No mystery why these candidates were compared to the clown car.

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson

Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

  • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
  • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
  • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
  • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

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We Love You – Ain’t Nothing You Can Do About It http://likethedew.com/2017/11/30/we-love-you-aint-nothing-you-can-do-about-it/ http://likethedew.com/2017/11/30/we-love-you-aint-nothing-you-can-do-about-it/#comments Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:22:51 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68299 Deep South got me thinking about things beyond the book’s covers. As the service wrapped up at an African American church Theroux visited (the congregants called him “Mr. Paul”), he picked up a Bible and turned to a passage in Proverbs he remembered. It read, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”]]>

A group of mature African American women and men wearing robes, singing and clapping in a church choir.

Deep South by Paul Theroux

Like all good books, Paul Theroux’s Deep South got me thinking about things beyond the book’s covers. As the service wrapped up at an African American church Theroux visited (the congregants called him “Mr. Paul”), he picked up a Bible and turned to a passage in Proverbs he remembered. It read, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

My first reaction to this passage was to wonder how some Christians can square their allegiance to a president who’s way on the wrong side of some of these strictures with their belief that everything in the Bible is the inerrant revealed Word of God and the only path to salvation.

I’m just guessing here – the Christian right doesn’t keep me in the loop about these things – but I have to believe that they’re giving Donald Trump a pass on the Proverbs abominations because he relieves them of their Rodney Dangerfield “we don’t get no respect” complex. They see themselves as embattled by court decisions protecting same-sex marriage and local anti-discrimination ordinances prohibiting denying services to people some Christians disapprove of on religious grounds. And they seem puzzled and offended that anyone would take exception to their exercise of religious freedom to condemn and stigmatize people they think have it coming.

I think the congregation at the African American church Theroux visited in impoverished, map dot Sycamore, South Carolina, (2010 population 88 declining to 76 by 2016) can help out with all this. But, like Theroux, I’ll get to Sycamore by a meandering route.

To people not of their persuasion, it looks like Christian Trumpsters’ public posture of sharp edges and elbows is motivated by beliefs that make no sense to anybody but them. To show where I’m going with this, I turn not to one of the liberal coastal elites who get off on mocking Christians but to a figure from squarely within the Christian tradition.

Søren Kierkergaard was a 19th century Danish religious thinker who worked out what he thought were the implications of Martin Luther’s belief that we’re “justified by faith,” that salvation  depends on our beliefs, not on writing checks for Puerto Rican hurricane relief. Kierkegaard took that idea very seriously, turning it into something so demanding that he wasn’t sure even he could live up to it.

In the Cliff Notes version, here’s the corner that Kierkegaard backed himself into. Like all mainstream Christians, he believed that nothing exists independent of God; everything ultimately is dependent on and comes from God. Since even space and time are God’s handiwork – see the creation story in Genesis – God exists outside both. But the central mystery of Christianity is how a being like that can act in our world, the world of space and time. How can he have revealed his Word to all the people who wrote the Bible? And in particular how can he have become human in the person of Jesus and undergone all the things that Jesus had to suffer for our redemption? Somehow God manages to be both in and not in the spatial-temporal order.

Kierkegaard was tortured by that seeming impossibility right at the heart of the Christian worldview. To see why, you have to appreciate the kind of impossibility he thought he was staring into.

Believing in God, who exists outside the spatial-temporal world of our experience but intervenes in it, isn’t like believing in Superman. To believe that Superman leaps over tall buildings in a single mighty bound, you have to believe that he’s exempt from the laws of physics and biology. Given what we know about the laws of nature, a being like that can’t exist anywhere except in comics or movies. But at least you can understand the story that there’s this guy whose day job is being a nerdy newspaper reporter and who sheds his disguise only when called on to strike a blow for justice and the American way.

But believing in a God who’s both outside of and in space-time isn’t just believing in something that defies the laws of nature. It’s believing in something that defies the laws of logic and sense. So it’s not something that you could believe even as a matter of faith, any more than you can believe as an article of faith that, say, Tuesdays are octagonal. You can say the words, “Tuesdays are octagonal” to yourself over and over with great passion and energy. But there’s no way you can actually bring yourself to believe that Tuesdays are octagonal because you can’t even understand what those words mean strung together that way.

Kierkegaard’s way of getting out of this box has commentators scratching their very erudite heads to this day. He said that your reason will reject as a contradiction the idea that God exists both outside of and in space-time. So he just called that idea something else. It’s not a contradiction, he said, but the Absolute Paradox. What’s the difference between a contradiction and an absolute paradox, a difference that makes the former something nobody can believe no matter how hard they try and the latter something they can? The jury’s still out on that.

Fear and Trembling: Dialectical Lyric by Johannes De Silentio (pseudonym of Soren Kierkegaard) and translated by Alastair HannayThis much seems clear though. If your North Star on life’s journey is a belief in God, the Absolute Paradox, then sharp edges and elbows aren’t a fitting posture in your interactions with other people, whether same-sex couples or anybody else. You can’t undergo the crucifixion of doubt that Kierkegaard thought is the lot of any believing Christian of integrity without being profoundly humbled by the experience. It’s no accident that he titled what became one of his best-known books Fear and Trembling.

All of which takes me back to Sycamore, about six miles from Allendale, formerly a thriving community, now forgotten and becalmed, like many others, since the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The African American parishioners at Sycamore’s Revelation Ministries Church have never heard of Søren Kierkegaard and, for all I know, the only Denmark they could find on a map is the one about thirty miles away.

These Christians have more than ample reason to feel besieged. It’s common for churches like theirs in the South to be vandalized or burned. They never know when theirs will be next. And knowing that somebody hated people like them enough to wantonly slaughter nine of their co-religionists in Charleston about 100 miles away, they have every reason to be wary of a white stranger who shows up in their midst on a Sunday morning.

But when Theroux – “Mr. Paul” – did, what greeted him weren’t questions about his sexual orientation, his views on same-sex marriage or abortion but, hugs, handshakes and a big banner announcing to all in gold letters, “We Love You – Ain’t Nothing You Can Do About It.”

If there’s a takeaway here for Christians who feel put upon because they’re not free to humiliate same-sex couples in the name of Jesus, maybe it’s that instead of looking to Trump to relieve their distress, they’d do better to model the example of people whose hearts are inscribed with the words on that banner.

Leon Galis

I’m an Athens, GA, native and have been living in Athens since 1999 after retiring from the faculty of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Since 2008 I’ve written approximately 80 columns for the Athens Banner Herald and a handful for Flagpole Magazine in Athens.

 

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#TrumpTax Scam – If you do nothing else, do this http://likethedew.com/2017/11/22/trumptax-scam-if-you-do-nothing-else-do-this/ http://likethedew.com/2017/11/22/trumptax-scam-if-you-do-nothing-else-do-this/#comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:34:08 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=68270 The Senate test vote (aka: motion to proceed or pre-vote vote) could be next Monday, November 27. They could bring it to the floor as early as Thursday, November 30th. We need to make some noise until we defeat this bill that even Forbes called “The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington.” Calling your senators is a good thing (capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121). Do it. But that isn’t enough.

This fight will come down to just a couple of Senators and the time to take action is now.

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Thanksgiving Tax Scam

The Senate test vote (aka: motion to proceed or pre-vote vote) could be next Monday, November 27. They could bring it to the floor as early as Thursday, November 30th. We need to make some noise until we defeat this bill that even Forbes called “The End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington.” Calling your senators is a good thing (capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121). Do it. But that isn’t enough.

NON-PARTISAN ANALYSIS SHOWS THE TAX SCAM WILL OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE TOP—AND RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS

Non-Partisan analysis from CBPP.org shows the #TrumpTaxScam will overwhelming benefit the top and raise taxes on the middle class, while the cuts to pay for this scam will come almost totally from the most vulnerable among us. There is also that deficit thing that happens when you cut revenues by $trillions and the hundreds of billions more it will cost for interest alone.

This fight will come down to just a couple of Senators and the time to take action is now.

I want you to do something different and it is super easy. Please keep reading, I’m begging you. This is isn’t just important, this bill combined with the budget cuts the Republicans are using to fund it will literally have life or death impact for millions of the most vulnerable among us, while only enriching the super wealthy, but you know that.

Here’s how the tool works and this is what I’m doing until we kill this bill:

  1. Sign up here: TrumpTaxScam.org to make phone calls using the peer-to-peer dialing tool. You’ll get an email confirmation with a login, password, and URL to sign into our system. Once signed in, you can start making calls immediately—and you’ll give you a script to make it as easy as possible.
  2. Next, you’ll call a voter in one of three target states: Alaska, Arizona, and West Virginia. These folks are your friends—they attended the Women’s March, they’re standing up to pass a #CleanDREAM, and/or fight for progressive causes.
  3. You explain how they have power now. You’ll remind them why the continued fight against the Trump Tax Scam is so important—and why they have particular power in this moment.
  4. You ask them to use their power. You’ll ask them to call their senator in opposition to the bill, and to share their own reasons for opposing it.
  5. The tool connects them to their Senator’s office. The call tool will allow you to automatically patch them through to the Senators’ district offices.

It’s easy: 2,233 Indivisible volunteers across the country dialed 320,552 calls to kill TrumpCare tool to encourage constituents in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, and Colorado to call their Republican senators and tell them to vote no on Graham-Cassidy. And we won. We can win this time, too, with your help.

Call to kill Trump’s tax scam – sign up here: TrumpTaxScam.org (https://www.trumptaxscam.org/calls-to-kill-the-tax-scam) and when you do, please tell your friends they should do. Invite them over and do it together.  A great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

One last note – here is a terrific story that you might need to talk to your family about the Trump Tax Scam.

Lee Leslie

Lee Leslie

I’m just a plateaued-out plain person with too much time on his hands fighting the never ending lingual battle with windmills for truth, justice and the American way or something like that. Here are some reader comments on my writing: “Enough with the cynicism. One doesn’t have to be Pollyanna to reject the sky is falling fatalism of Lee Leslie’s posts.” “You moron.” “Again, another example of your simple-minded, scare-mongering, label-baiting method of argumentation that supports the angry left’s position.” “Ah, Lee, you traffic in the most predictable, hackneyed leftist rhetoric that brought us to the current state of political leadership.” “You negative SOB! You destroyed all my hope, aspiration, desperation, even.” “Don’t you LIBERALS realize what this COMMIE is talking about is SOCIALISM?!?!?!” “Thank you for wonderful nasty artful toxic antidote to this stupidity in the name of individual rights.” “I trust you meant “bastard” in the truest father-less sense of the word.” “That’s the first time I ran out of breath just from reading!” “You helped me hold my head a little higher today.” “Makes me cry every time I read it.” “Thanks for the article. I needed something to make me laugh this mourning.” “If it weren’t so sad I would laugh.” “… the man who for fun and personal growth (not to mention rage assuagion) can skin a whale of bullshit and rack all the meat (and rot) in the larder replete with charts and graphs and a kindness…”“Amen, brother.”

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