Fighting Words

Is the appearance of the swastika and the chanting of a Nazi slogan so far over the line that the normal rules do not apply?

Generally, I believe so. But it begs the question as to what is “normal” and what are the “rules”. Citizen activism is a critical part of the processes of our democratic republic. In an age where nearly everything can be weaponized, from the deadly use of a car on a crowd to any statement twisted for use against anyone a clear understanding of the lines is more critical than ever.

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Beyond. Good and Evil?

What do you do when everything becomes batshit crazy? The first thing is always to deny the crazy. Sit down, apart, and find a moment of peace. Read a book and live in a different world until this one calms down. Crazy is one of those magical things that would go away if everyone simply stopped believing in it.

But how do you preach the practice, how do you increase the peace? That takes a little more effort. As we all know, telling someone who is hysterical to calm down will probably only make them more defensive, feeding the fear which got them there.

As I work my way through writing People’s Economics, the first step is to unlearn that which makes no sense and return to the roots. Get to a place connecting guts and heart and brain all right up to the eternal. So let’s go back to the basics of Barataria for a moment.

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The Bright Red Line

This weekend a line was crossed, a bright red line painted in the blood of over 400 thousand Americans who died to end the scourge of Nazism forever. Chanting “Blut und Broden”, or its easy translation, children with far more energy than sense attempted to define Americanism by what has been demonstrated and defined to be its exact opposite.

Like their apparent heroes, they are losers. But they having chosen the losing side of history for predictably bad reasons beyond a simple moral failure. Their inability to learn from history is a feature of a nation incapable of learning from history and thus in need to constantly redefine itself.

As much power as there is in constant redefinition, there is also a need for constant vigilance. History is calling us today. Millions of ghosts are watching us waiting for us to make the right decision.

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Double Irish

Another bizzy day demands a repeat, this from just last year.  Little has changed since then, and if anything corporate taxes are only closer to the front burner.  Maybe.

In a victory for corporate taxes everywhere, Apple has been ordered to pay as much as €13 billion ($14.7 billion) in back taxes to Ireland. Or, perhaps, in a loss for workers everywhere, a reluctant Ireland is forced to go back on its agreement with Apple to base its European operations there in exchange for much needed tax breaks. Or, perhaps, corporate tax harmonization has been dealt a terrible setback as the European Union (EU) has claimed their turf in what should be hammered out through an international agreement.

What we do know for sure is the massive penalty, the largest ever imposed, is a big blow to Apple, amounting to …. around 7% of their massive $200 billion cash reserves. Unless, of course,  the Republic of Ireland can justify a smaller bill, which they are very much keen to do. So nevermind.

Like corporate taxes themselves, today’s big story is completely negotiable and dependent on your perspective. There will be more to this, but nothing even remotely obvious will happen in the immediate future.

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A Slow Journey

For a variety of reasons despair is in the air.   Scandals, missile launches, terror attacks – and on top of it, the Dolphins signed Jay Cutler.  I need a day for a repeat, this from five years ago. I worked for a while with my Amish “cousins” and I have to tell you I enjoyed it immensely.  Here’s why.

The journey starts at the funeral for my Grandmother, Arletta.  I was a punk kid from Miami not at all used to the damp cold of a Pennsylvania January nevermind all the relatives who drove junk cars and spoke with a deep accent.  Truth be told, as much as I loved my Grandma I was worried about missing the next day’s Superbowl, Dan Marino’s first appearance with the Dolphins.  There was a lot going through my mind as I had to sit quietly waiting for the service to start.

My Mom broke the whirl of contemplation in her usual quiet way.  “You see those people over there, in the plain dresses and hats and prayer caps?”  I nodded, they were damned hard for me to miss.  “They’re your second cousins.”  What?  I have relatives in the 17th Century?

I’d like to say what direction my thoughts went from there, but I can’t tell you.  Suddenly, a whole lot of things made sense.  This was the first time it sunk in that my Grandfather had left the faith, Santified Bretheren but Amish as a decent shorthand for us Englischers.  I was one of … them.

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The Idiot’s Diet

We have been too serious lately, and too heavy on Russian scandals.  It’s nearly time for the State Fair in Minnesota, and thoughts naturally turn to food.

People diet for a lot of reasons.  Some want to lose weight and others just want to be healthier.  Many of the big fads seem to be more of a social thing, something people do with friends when there isn’t anything good on teevee.

It’s hard to call yourself a real blogger if you don’t write about a diet at some point, so it’s high time for the Barataria approach to better living.  It’s called the “Idiot Diet”, and it’s very simple – never eat anything you don’t understand.

This can cause a lot of trouble if you know something about food already, since a little knowledge is often a dangerous thing.  But with time the harmony of mind and body will set you free with a developing sense of smugness that makes a good stand-in for health in a pinch.

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Firehose of Falsehood

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 (KJV)

Some of the craziness is simply craziness, certainly. But even that craziness is part of a coordinated campaign of “gaslighting” – a barrage of nonsense designed to bring down not just the United States, but her great gift to the world. Make no mistake about it, western open societies themselves are under attack.

A report from the RAND Corporation outlines exactly how the “Firehose of Falsehood” is orchestrated by Russia to sow chaos and destroy their natural opposition. It is the best weapon we have to defend everything we cherish.
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