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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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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Resiliency and Interdependence

Long ago, most Americans lived as Laura Ingalls Wilder chronicled in the “Little House” series.  Pa Ingalls and family were out in the wilderness, living with the rhythm of the land and putting away what they could to survive long winters and perhaps beyond.  The family’s net worth was what they had around them.

That life has been replaced with interdependence based on a dollar value assigned to absolutely everything.  We all get by with any extra scratch, should there be some, not stored up to get through the winter but properly invested in convertible assets.  This means everyone is subject to  the “free market”, which determines the value of all assets including experience, talent, and work.

That interdependence has changed our world to one with much less hard work or struggles against nature, and yet to many it has become as hostile as any winter on the Great Plains.
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Stands For Nuthin’

Is the nation on the wrong track or the right track? Do you think that the political parties stand for something more than opposition to each other?

If you answered these questions with the most negative possible answer, you’re far from alone. Rasmussen has been polling the right/wrong track question for many years, and it’s headed back to the low 20% “right track”, net about -40, that it was at a year ago. The brief bump from Trump has worn off.

Even worse, a Washington Post / ABC poll shows that about 2/3 Americans think that the two major parties don’t actually stand for anything other than opposition to each other.

This is the reason why People’s Economics is necessary. It’s time to reboot everything – not just the people, but the fight that drives them.

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