Miscellaneous

Send in the Clowns: Juggalos vs. the Nazis and KKK

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"I say f**k your rebel flag Out here pretending like you ain't offendin' I say f**k your rebel flag You redneck judges with racist grudges I say f**k your rebel flag If you gotta tattoo, I'm aimin' at you I say f**k your rebel flag You get punched in your faces reppin' the racists"

Confederate FlagInsane Clown Posse

It's been nearly three weeks since the tragic events of Charlottesville, in which hate group members clashed with counter-protesters, one of whom, Heather Heyer, was run down and killled by a neo-nazi. Since then, another white nationalist "Free Speech" rally in Boston was met with overwhelming peaceful resistance, and a rally scheduled for San Francisco was cancelled by organizers thanks to community and social media activism.

So while the tide seems to be turning when it comes to fringe hate groups showing their faces in public with impunity, they're still planning to hold the "Mother of All Rallies" on September 16th in Washington D.C.

And as fate would have it, followers of the band Insane Clown Posse, a.k.a. Juggalos, are also planning a march at the same date and location. Creators of the website promoting the event call themselves "the outsiders, the misfits, the weirdos, and the underdogs of the mainstream world", but are hoping it will be a chance to show the world that they're law-abiding, hard-working, taxpaying citizens, not "gang members" as they've been categorized by the FBI. Whether one or the other group will blink or be forced to reschedule remains to be seen. So far, it looks like both are moving ahead full steam.

It's an open question as to what a meeting between alt-right rally goers and juggalos would look like. Insane Clown Posse members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, despite their music's violent and explicit lyrics, profess to be staunch believers in God and country. And juggalos, aside from their beef with the FBI, seem to be more-or-less apolitical. While they may share some anti-establishment views with their alt-right counterparts, and their demographic definitely skews caucasian, bigotry and racism don't seem to be a part of their worldview. In fact, as the Insane Clown Posse lyrics to "Confederate Flag" make clear, quite the opposite. If the events DO occur simultaneously, expect to see a strong police presence.

I welcome civilized discussion and comments from Insane Clown Posse fans, especially those juggalos planning on attending the Sept. 16th march.

From neo-nazis and KKK members, not so much.

Dreams of Old Dogs

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"The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime." "Free Four" - Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)

Nearly two months ago, we lost our dear girl, Sadie. By dog years, she lived to ripe old age of around 16. Still, it seems she was taken way too soon. Fortunately, she retained her relatively good health until the end, with only arthritis gradually hindering her mobility. In her later months, she slept more and more and I'd love to occasionally see her feet twitching as she dreamed...of what I can only guess. But given her lifelong hobby of chasing squirrels and rabbits, even when her spirit was far more willing than her body, I'm pretty sure she was imagining herself being on the hunt.

GOP Healthcare Plan: Burning Down the House

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‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  -Mark 12:31

With this week's non-vote on the Senate's "Trumpcare" bill, one would think the GOP had learned it's lesson that, despite dissatisfaction with portions of the Affordable Care Act, Americans are vehemently opposed to having their healthcare stripped away to give more tax cuts to the wealthy.

When the equally awful House bill was first rejected in March, Majority Leader Paul Ryan said "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the forseeable future". Well, the unforseeable future sure came fast, and here we are once again in June, looking at another ill-conceived repeal and replacement of Obamacare.By now, it should be clear that the only way to fulfill Pres. Trump's promise of health care coverage for all, with coverage of pre-existing conditions and lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs is by going to a single payer, government managed healthcare system like every other advanced nation.

But whenever the idea of single payer healthcare is floated, conservatives raise a cry of "socialism" and praise the almighty virtues of capitalism. Of course, we've had several forms of socialism in the U.S. for years, including, but not limited to, your local fire department. If free-market purists had their way, if one's house were to catch fire and they couldn't afford to pay the firefighters out-of-pocket, they'd better hope to get out before the flames engulf them.

Again to quote Paul Ryan (arguing against Obamacare): “the young healthy person is going to be made to buy health care and they’re going to pay for the person who gets breast cancer in her 40s or heart disease in their 50s.” The problem with that way of thinking, of course, is that's how ALL insurance works. We pay into it when we don't need it, in the hopes that we never will, but with the comfort of knowing that it's there should misfortune strike.

Even if you don't buy into the notion of healthcare as a inalienable right, most Americans agree that access to health care is a moral issue, and that the U.S. should provide universal health care for all its citizens. Someday, maybe Washington will agree.

Donald Trump's Loose Lips

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The U.S government has always placed a premium on keeping its secrets, and this has extended into its  messaging to civilians as well, though today the emphasis is more on being aware of what we see and hear (If you See Something, Say Something) rather than what we say. But during WWII, wartime posters clearly sent the message that careless blabbing could carry dire consequences.

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Last week's meeting in the Oval Office between Donald Trump and high ranking members of the russian government, in which classified information was allegedly revealed, reminds us that trusting information to someone with "loose lips" could ultimately sink ships and all of us with it.