Waiting around….

NOTE TO READERS: For some months my wordpress was being cantankerous with me. At first, it wasn’t allowing me to do edits. The disease seemed progressive. I had grandiose thoughts that I had been hacked, and was being silenced.

Finally, I called Jody, who’d first put me on the internet 16 years ago, and set me up on this blog nine years ago.

She took a look, and there came a rapid diagnosis. In the tech world, time doesn’t stand still. “What you’re working with is like 1.0, and today is like 10.0”, or words to that effect.


So, I’m in process of a makeover. Likely I’ll have to “sneak” this on-line past whatever block it is that won’t let me publish or edit – in other words, I’ll publish this like I published the most recent one. What do I do? You don’t want to know. But, if you see this, I succeeded once again!

Meanwhile, the coming makeover won’t make my writing any better. I’ll find out if old subscribers are still subscribed, or if you need to start over as well.

I’m fond of the photos on my home page, but we’re working on some changes and hopefully will soon be back in business.

Stay tuned. And have a great day.

Special Events in Minneapolis MN

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Printable pdf: World Law Day 2018-05 Louisa Hext FLYER

Reservations requested for the May 1 dinner, information on the Flyer. This will be the 6th World Law Day program, continuing a tradition which began in 1964.

Exhibit continues for eight more days, including Sunday 2-5 p.m. and Monday noon to 4 p.m. at Modus Locus, 35th and Bloomington Ave S. Minneapolis MN. Full news release here: F Word- Stories of Forgiveness

“I Am Somali”: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities.

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Printable pdf: Somali Art002

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s life is not a new subject for me. I put his name in my own search box and it shows up in 43 different posts.

Here’s the photo I used September 5, 2011. This book was a gift from my friend, Lydia, and it is the most meaningful book I have read. I highly recommend it. And here’s my post from six years ago.

Why We Can’t Wait was about the year 1963, published 1964, still in print today. MLK was 34 years old, and already knew three Presidents in person. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail is in the book, and he talks about some early mentors in the movement, going back to his 20s.

Dr. King’s youth is what always strikes me. He died before he was 40.

Most of my associations today are with “old-timers” from the days of Vietnam, back when we were young.

Dr. King is frozen in time. For us time has moved on.

Today, 50 years after Martin Luther King Jrs death, there will be endless analyses of what his life and death meant.

What I see, as a still very active senior citizen, is that the torch has basically been passed, as it should be, to the youth.

We have a role, as elders, to inform and to provide resources, to those who follow us.

But young people, like the Parkland students, are the Martin Luther King’s of our time.

And Martin Luther King and many others made a huge difference, and so will these youngsters of our generation.

At the season….

My handy-dandy computer calendar reminds me that today is Passover, yesterday was Good Friday, and tomorrow is Easter…also April Fools Day. Today is the second full moon of March, a “blue moon”.

We were supposed to be at the edge of a band of heavy snow to the north of us – seems to have been about 2” where I live.

The snow mountain (see end of post) which I promised our neighbors, wintering in Arizona, would be gone by the time they come home April 4, was declining, but “Lossen Peak” (named in their honor) will probably still be there five days from now, as we struggle to stay above freezing.

Of course, Easter is very early this year. I recall an Easter blizzard in this area, in late April, years ago.


It is a a stretch to come up with a “happy days” message this year. But there are bits and pieces, including the following:

Yesterday, our good friend Joyce, born and raised in New York City, sent along a really excellent blog post by a friend who “was my grade school classmate”. You can read the post here. It is about Passover, and personal relationships among people of different nationalities and religions.

And, on schedule, at the Vernal Equinox, a faithful friend sent her usual collection of favorite poems, along with a note to all of us on her list:

“Peace, and blessings of green and growing things to you…feels like we should be seeing crocus any day now…despite what March seems to be spitting at many of us.

An odd challenge this year, trying to pull together some poetry for what is generally an exuberant season of return of light and color… because so much of the surrounding world mood is so dark. [Her offerings :2018 Spring Equinox]

I did find a pretty heavy poem that I am including as a separate attachment, a compromise that puts the lift & light of the season on different pages from it. But that “Look Out” poem by Wendell Berry–included in a 2005 collection (Given)– feels too descriptive of the present moment for exclusion. Note, though, that it does start with the loveliness of spring, moves to the darkness beyond, then adjures resistance, so… BerryLookOut

Here in MN, we’ve seen lots of geese, robins, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and the goldfinches are starting to show faint tinges of color near the shoulders… Great horned owls are finally on their nests (ie, stopped hooting, kind of late this year) and the local fox was yowling at night about 3 weeks ago (driving the dog berserk, as the fox sought to interest a vixen…?)

Sandhill Cranes are at peak northern migration in Nebraska at their staging grounds on the Platte, and I tune in to the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary Crane Camera daily for a bit of cacaphony from the several hundred thousand birds there… yikes! Some have also been seen in southern MN” here, (always an ad first)
(More info on the migration here and here.)


I come from rural stock, from a place where winters were rough.

Spring time was a time of optimism…and hard work. The fields, or the gardens, did not yield fruit without effort.

Best wishes at this season.

Lossen Peak, March 6, 2018

Nearing success, March 29, 2018

Setback, March 31, 2018

Easter in North Dakota, 1905

On February 28, 1905, my Grandmother Rosa Berning married my Grandfather Ferdinand Busch at Sinsinawa WI. They moved to Henrietta Township ND after their wedding. Their first Easter as a married couple was April 23, 1905.

Here’s an old card sent to them sometime in the early years of their marriage.

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Easter postcard early 1900s, kept by Busch family.

1905 was in the boom time for settlement in Dakota. North Dakota became a state in 1889; and railroads became the way to travel greater distances. Branch lines facilitated settlement in small towns far from main lines. Nearby Berlin got its depot about the same time the Busch’s arrived.

There was no local church until 1915, and it is possible that their first Easter might have been a rough 10 mile buggy ride to LaMoure. Church was important in their lives.

A treasure kept at the old farm was a bundle of over 100 letters written to the Busch’s in 1905-06 from their kin in Wisconsin, and others. In 2011 I compiled the letters into a book, “The Berning and Busch Letters 1905-06”, on file at the North Dakota Historical Society, Bismarck.

This morning I re-read the first few pages of the letters to get a sense of how it was, that first Easter on the prairie, for the 24 and 21 year old groom and bride.

The earliest letters were all from Rosa’s five sisters at home: Lidwina, Bertha, Julia, Celia and Kate. Brother August was also at home but didn’t write.

The letters indicate that Ferd and his brother Leonard, and relative John Terfruchte, who was a carpenter, came first, likely with an emigrant car, which included two cows, Spotty and Ruby; four horses, two of them named Jim and Jerry; and a dog Bruno. One horse was apparently injured enroute and had to be put down.

The home families contributed the animals.

The first tasks were to build shelter for humans and animals. This was apparently accomplished fairly quickly, perhaps with local help. Both bride and groom came from long established homes, and the beginning had to be trying, in many ways.

About a month later, probably during the last week of March, Rosa, her sister Lena, and possibly Ferd’s father Wilhelm, arrived.

The first letters from Wisconsin to North Dakota were written Sunday, April 2, all from the sisters and all very legible. One of them expressed worry about a March 28th tornado in St. Paul. Wilhelm writes on April 4, that he “came home [to Wisconsin] last Sunday” (April 2).

These were farm people, so the letters, all fascinating, were about farm things: nature, neighbors, activities back home in Grant Country Wisconsin.

Rosa and Ferd were the first to venture away from the neighborhood, and off to a strange new land, so there was, likely, lots of loneliness and concern on both ends. But, like young people in any era, they figured things out as they go. Their first child was born in January, 1907.

Grandma and Grandpa were married 62 years before Grandpa died in 1967, all on that rural piece of ground in south central North Dakota. Grandma died in August 1972.

Here’s to them, and the legacy they left in LaMoure County, and with their 9 children, all but one of whom lived to adult age, each leaving their positive example to follow.

Happy Easter.

Kids, being the change….

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had this full page ad:

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Minneapolis Star Tribune p. A5 March 26, 2018

Much of this mornings Just Above Sunset was about Saturday in D.C.

I have just a few comments. (At the end of this post, some comments received about the earlier “Monarchy” post….)

I did not join a demonstration on Saturday. I thought this most appropriately a young people’s day, and it turned out wonderfully so. Going from home to a meeting in Minneapolis I drove by St. Paul and there were streams of young people on the bridges over my road, I-94, their demo just ending. The news spoke clearly for itself.

After Feb. 14, I noted that Parkland could well be, for todays generation, the 2018 Kent State (where 4 young people were killed by National Guard at Kent State University anti-war protest May 4, 1970.)

The message needs to go out to everyone, through everyone, that winning this fight (and many others) is possible, but it will take lots of stamina and creativity and willingness to break the established pattern of doing things, including playing by the rules established by money and traditional power.

Long ago I adopted something of a personal mantra “patience and persistence pays”.

Mostly, we tend to follow the dominant powers rules, and the result is predictable.

When the power people get into maintenance of power mode – using their particular means of exerting power – the task can seem impossible. But the tried and true works only if the subordinate group allows itself to be dominated.

So, for instance, people in power have learned over time that it is easy to simply wait out the opposition. Few in any “upstart” movement have the stamina to follow through, and power knows this. The NRA knows it has the time and the money to control the legislative conversation. BUT, legislators need more than anything else to be reelected, and if NRA PR and money becomes a liability to them rather than an asset, change can and will happen.

To change the conversation, the conversation needs to be changed by someone, and it can now be the kids, who will, after all, reap the benefits or the consequences of what the older people are now doing. The most heartening part of Saturdays demonstrations in Washington was that the speakers were only the kids. Adults not welcome on the stage. And the national and international response was extraordinary.

Everything else I have to say is superfluous. There is a lot of talent and determination out there, and a major election is less than seven months away.


Feedback from The American Monarchy:

from Addie: Amen.

from Onder: Thanks for sharing. It seems to me it is not democracy but liberalism that failed us. Spread of liberalism should have been accompanied by strong high level (UN and others) as well as self-governing local structures. They are, and have been for many years, not respected and ineffective. Is all we can ask from, say UN, monitoring of what happens somewhere in the world? Will it ever have a voice for justice and peace? Will it ever have an organizing capacity to coordinate, not military interventions, but advocacy for justice and large scale humanitarian help? Recent tragedies are so numerous to list.. Rwanda, Rohingya, Bosnia, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Palestine… Without such organizing capacity to act, the field is left for evil few to wreck havoc on humanity. Vulnerable minorities can and do organize around principles to bond together or look for ways to build coalitions, but until majorities can organize around principles, we are left with watching fear merchants and charlatans turn a small group of ignorant people into a loud majority leading us into a national suicide Lincoln talks about.

from Marie: Thanks, Dick. Scary thoughts. I appreciate your research and sharing.
Alert, we must stay– and have conversations about this.

from SAK: Great post Mr Bernard, thoroughly enjoyed it!
Lincoln was incredible especially in that speech. It brings to mine the fall of the Hittite empire (here).

“The hieroglyphs revealed the name of the last Hittite King, his final war and more importantly the enemies he fought against. The archaeologist at last could learn the name of the foreign power that finally brought down the Hittite Empire, but the enemy turned out not to be foreign at all, the Hittite Empire was destroyed by civil war.”
I visited the site of that battle Kadesh between the Hittites & the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II – that was one of those battles that determined the history of entire regions. Nothing much remains to witness to the slaughter but not far from there the Syrian civil war raged about 3286 years later.

As Someone said history does not repeat but it rhymes.

Concerning “Back in those days, France was mostly the kingdom of Louis XIV and had essentially eliminated the Protestant Huguenots” I saw a French film “Saint-Germain ou la négociation” based on a Belgian novel by Francis Walder. It was very moving and showed, aside from negotiations over power, the effect of these religious wars on real people.

from a long-time friend: I liked the Christian Chaos chart. I recall writings about Martin Luther and the creator of the Episcopalian church traveling to Moorish Spain and marveling about how much better off the Christians were under Moorish rule than they were under the control of the church throughout the rest of Europe. These were the writings of the Biblical Archeologists. I didn’t recall any writings about Anglicanism. Can you elaborate on that for me and the head of that movement?

On another note, you comment about us freely electing a faux-King. We didn’t. He was elected by the Electoral College. The Electoral College and the movement to repeal it would be a good subject for one of your blog write-up.

The American Monarchy

For most of my adult life, I have made a practice of active citizenship, including following and participating in politics, though never an active interest in being a “politician” (which, generally in our past, has been an honorable profession).

Today we are in very dangerous times in our country. We freely elected a faux-King, a pretend -Emperor, and nobody in the assorted hierarchies seems to have figured out how to rein him in. Too many of us “drank the koolaid” (Jimmy Jones, for those who remember….)

It occurs to me that a retrospective might interest some readers.

I’m French-Canadian on Dad’s side, and by definition that’s Catholic in origin, coming to what became Quebec between 1617 (first known ancestor in North America) and 1757 (the last patronymic migrant ancestor; England defeated the French at the Plains of Abraham in 1759).

Back in those days, France was mostly the kingdom of Louis XIV and had essentially eliminated the Protestant Huguenots.

Last Saturday, I attended an interesting talk about the good old days of French Catholicism, and afterward sent some brief comments to others I knew who had attended. If you are interested, they follow, essentially unedited.

France 1517-1759:

I did some pre- and post- reading about five items: 1) Catholic Popes of old Quebec time (1535-1759); 2) the three French Estates General (clergy, nobility and the rest….); 3) the French and European Dynasties – Louis XIV and the rest; 4) the Protestant Reformation (1517) and 5) the French Huguenots. The attached Kings and Popes001 and wikipedia articles [Estates General, France; Huguenots] will give at least a good beginning background for anyone wanted to pursue further.

Basically (it seems) the monarchy seems to have been its most dominant during the French-Canadian time. And thereafter, of course, came the first French Revolution (1789), Napoleon and all the rest. I was surprised to learn that Charlemagne was actually Germanic, not French! I knew William the Conqueror (Norman) brought French language to English nobility; that the current Royal Family in England is basically German.

The French structures carried over to Quebec, of course. The Church and Nobility were “tight”, and the Reformation [1517]brought troubled times, still apparent 500 years later. (I still have my 1955 Baltimore Catechism where there was much said about the superiority of Catholicism over the numerous Protestant pretenders. Page 21 had a chart headed “CHRISTIAN CHAOS (Simplified)”):

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Christian Chaos, in the chapter “The Voice of History” in Understanding the Catholic Faith “An Official Edition of the revised Baltimore Catechism No. 3” . 1954

I don’t think there was a single word about Jews or Moslems.

Of particular interest was an aside about the suggested “schisms” of Abp John Ireland. Ireland never made Cardinal, largely, I would guess, because of his drumbeating for “Americanism” here. It didn’t fit the tenor of the times in Rome; perhaps he was not a good team-player. Of course, Ireland was trained in France; and had a great fondness for French-Canadians as witnessed by the side altar at the Cathedral to St. Jean-Baptiste. He was a Chaplain in the Civil War and moved easily with the movers and shakers of the day.

Concluding thoughts:

For the peasants and bourgeosie – the vast majority of the population then and now – the kings never had much to recommend themselves; nor the nobility nor the official church. Mostly there was an addiction to spiritual and temporal power. I say this as a lifelong Catholic. There were plenty of sins committed.

About a year and a half into the reign of King Donald the First, hopefully sufficient eyes are being opened so that we don’t repeat earlier disasters.

I close with a item sent along by Madeline March 18 – a memory from a Facebook post A Facebook originally posted a year earlier, March 18, 2017. Here is the originating link to Lincoln’s total speech.

“On January 27, 1838, Abraham Lincoln spoke to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on the dangers facing American democracy. Lincoln was only 28, so it’s unlikely that many in his audience had him pegged as a prophet. But 23 years later, when the Civil War began, his words proved as prophetic as I believe they are today:

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? … Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined… could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a Trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Lincoln did not anticipate the global reach of nuclear warfare, but his point remains sound. If American democracy fails, the ultimate cause will not be a foreign invasion. It will happen because “We the People” become so fearful of each other, of the economic, cultural, and security threats we believe to be posed by “the other” — and so dubious about finding a way forward while remaining true to democracy’s values — that we empower a fascist “strong man” who promises to make us “great” again. This is one way for a democracy to “die by suicide,” an act we seem to be contemplating at this very moment.”

A Political Endorsing Convention: On Showing Up.

Saturday was a very long, exhausting, yet energizing day at the DFL Senate District 53 Convention in Woodbury MN. The final credentials committee report showed 233 registered delegates. By the time we adjourned at 7 p.m. We had endorsed candidates for two state legislative seats, passed 36 resolutions, and elected 18 persons to represent our area at the upcoming Congressional District and State DFL political conventions.

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The candidates vying for endorsement for DFL District 53A legislative seat, Greta, Tou, and Lila, Mar. 10, 2018.

“Politics” is easy to criticize, of course, and it is work to show up, to run for office, to even warm a chair for a long day indoors, where people argue about stuff, like procedures, and on and on. Thank goodness for those who show up, and persevere!

For the DFL (Democrats) this convention began with the Precinct Caucus in early February. I wrote about that meeting here. Of course, it began before the caucus, when volunteers did the necessary groundwork. “Showing up” doesn’t begin and end on election day.

In my Legislative District, we were blessed, truly, with three outstanding young people, all of whom decided to stand for nomination. They are pictured above. In the end – it took four ballots – Tou Xiong prevailed. He, and those who have preceded him running for any public office, know what is ahead. Getting elected is not a spectator sport.

I am gratified, truly gratified, that young people came forth to stand for office. It is their future, after all.

What I – We – can (and must do) is to provide support in the many ways that we can. No candidate is perfect, especially in this complex present day world.

I looked around the auditorium where we gathered, and there was, this time, what appeared to be a much larger than usual contingent of younger people, representing the diversity of this community.

Towards the end of the day we engaged in the time-tested process of selecting the 18 delegates to the next level – the sub-caucuses representing certain candidates or issues. I picked one, and one photo I took of the group more or less defined how I saw the folks who were at our Convention:

2018 Sen. Dist 53 Convention, Mar 10, 2018

How to summarize?

In my opinion, success involved lots of work and lots of cooperation.

We are in a society, now, where individualism and competition and winners are valued, and “losers” are discarded or dismissed.

Together we succeed. That’s the long and short…as I see it.

Thanks, Tou, Lila and Greta, for showing up!

(3) Our National Insanity

For your weekend:
Just Above Sunset for Friday: The Conspiracy To Destroy Our Freedom: here

Mueller and Trump: Born to wealth, raised to lead. Then, sharply different choices. from The Washington Post

More thoughts from readers about prior posts Feb 14-17, 2018:
from Jeff: I might agree on the Kent State-Parkland correlation. One would think Sandy Hook would have provoked more outrage, even Las Vegas. But Kent State happened to the motivated participants, and Parkland has done that too.

3.9 million children born in 2000. That’s a lot of votes. If they vote.

Governor of MN: I wonder if people want the same old same old. I think the race is ripe for a better alternative and could shape up if these 2 [Walz and Pawlenty] are the candidates to be pretty boring to manypeople.

Pawlenty is a suburban Republican but given his short run for President, he knows what to say to the 60% of the GOP voters
who have drank the koolaid. But for some reason I think he will look to thread the needle on this.

I saw a post on Australia’s laws on semi auto and auto guns. It belies the stupidity of simply calling for a ban on “assault” weapons. Need to be smarter and focused. Take little steps… raise the age, tighten background checks, and outlaw magazines with more than 10 cartridges. Then focus on culturally changing the tone among gun owners. Real hunters respect their prey and care about them, they typically hunt as the laws call for and want one clean shot. They aren’t interested in slamming 10 or 15 shells into a buck 100 yards away.

And you know rural folks in Ndak like I do, some of them keep loaded rifles in their pickups out in the country. Do I worry about them? Not really. But you have to make them feel comfortable by turning the talk to semi auto guns being only used for killing innocent kids and people.

More from Jeff: For all the detractors of our public schools, and I don’t know if this school in parkland is like the Edina district or something, but these kids who are being seen on TV are well spoken, logical and morally strong.


from Peter: A few remarks inspired by your careful postings…

I’ve been working on a book about the shift that is most easily understood as the displacement of the Information markets by the Audience markets.

Audience is (for example) FaceBook’s stock-in-trade, so like all “social” media, their aim is to own the space in which humanity communicates. This is complicated by the fact that users are constantly tweaked with endorphin-rewards for staying in the game — for continuing to peek through FB’s proprietary window.

All media, print and electronic, have had to abandon information-based content in favor of attention-capturing content. So nothing works the way we expect it to work, hence the chaos. McLuhan was a genius, and probably predicted this as well, I don’t know. I can’t have been the only one to notice.

The forty-fifth President got elected because of this change. He just happened to be an expert in the technologies of aggregated attention — what I’m calling Audience — in a time when a unit of Audience will out-sell information a million to one. That he is also in the last stages of attention-addiction is just bad luck for us. He will continue say and do more and more horrid things to sustain an increasing craving for all the attention available. He doesn’t care at all about the consequences, the more damage the better for his pathological purpose. And with the penetration of our social networks reaching almost everybody breathing, what is the upper limit? He has already waved nuclear weapons around recklessly, and even that will lose effectiveness soon enough. He must be restrained, or he may single-handedly end us all.

I’ve written about the frequent bloody massacres in this context. Enhanced by the supremacy of attention as the gateway to fame and fortune, this is civilian bleed-through from our many foreign aggressions.

Until we address the (temporary?) dysfunction of our social connection, our fellow-feeling, our sense of community beyond the crude algorithmic assignments our artifacts have made for us, we will remain helpless passengers in a clown car on an increasing slope, without any brakes. No matter what we do about the hardware.

As for the so-called “mental health” approach, there is an un-examined question about psychotropic prescription drugs and their impact on suicidality and psychopathy, but there is too much Pharma money involved for that conversation to go anywhere useful, especially in the Attention Age paradigm that is their natural habitat now. “Never box a boxer.”

What are we ordinary citizens of Earth to do, then? I suggest (and this is the book-in-progress) that the key is in taking on management of our personal attention, and disallowing the random capture of our endocrine systems. Look at everything with the question of “Who would want me to be excited about this, and why?”

It is exactly like dealing with appeals for your cash. Your attention is now the coin-of-the-realm.

I once asked Kurt Vonnegut: “Are things really going off the rails like they seem to be?” He got that little twinkle and said: “Not for anyone I know…” I puzzled over that for some time, and I think he was saying that it is important to distinguish your own personal, hands-on experience from the churning stories in which we are all immersed, and husband your energies for what is on your own desk.

from Bob: Thanks Dick. Just saw the Valentine post. Oh to be back in simpler times. Dropping off my Valentine by horse and buggy, what a concept. You gotta really feel the sentiment. Unlike my childhood when we made a decorated shoe box and were forced to give a valentine to every kid, even the ones you did not like or were afraid of.

Well we survived anyway.

But the generation of innocence is way behind us. The current gun talk must also take a look at how we as a society have changed, become more aggressive, Bullying, sexual misconduct, isolated with our world expanding devices, and with parenting skills missing that would help children/teens, needing attention to be guided toward positive outcomes.
Children have been abandoned, by two parents working full time, by lack of close (proximity and love) extended family.

Teen homeless stats are frightening and counter to the Great Society but consistent with the decades of failure of trickle down economics.

We need to create a new awareness that it is OK to speak up as a concerned relative or neighbor. We need to accept “better safe than sorry”.

Changing gun laws including banning non military possession of assault weapons (the very word “assault” is pretty good evidence for this argument), is only a step.

Helping people who need help, opening the nation’s hearts to compassion, sharing, helping, speaking out, and taking our convictions to the polling places, these all are part of the equation.

Carry on with your wonderful posts.

from Carol: The Supreme Court Ruling on the 2nd Amendment Did NOT Grant an Unlimited Right to Own Guns (read here)

On pp. 54 and 55, the majority opinion, written by conservative bastion Justice Antonin Scalia, states: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…”. It is “…not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

“Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on … laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

“We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller (an earlier case) said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time”. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”

The court even recognizes a long-standing judicial precedent “…to consider… prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons.”

from Bruce: For the most part I think collectively we are missing the mark on mass shootings that are increasing as time moves on. Have you considered that the rise of these shootings is inversely related to the demise of the antiwar/peace movement. As the militarization of the American society grows, the peace movement declines. Its almost nonexistent. It seems to me that this relationship needs to happen for the country to be at war for over 15 years with no end in sight. A country and people that are ok with and thereby supporting the needles killing of innocent civilians in our wars, which are mostly children, shouldn’t be surprise, saddened, or angry that innocent school children in America are slaughtered every few weeks. The knee jerk reaction to this slaughter is to call for more & better gun laws or more concerns over mental health. That has been going since the 1999 Columbine massacre. Also since 1999 our wars have grown in numbers and violence, and so have our mass shootings. The solution is obvious for me. We need to demilitarize America. In order to do that we need a reinvigorated peace movement. As the movement grows our wars will subside. So will the senseless shooting of our school kids with or without new gun laws.

from Carol, about the killers as Democrats Facebook Post: Please, oh PUH-LEESE, send this to your “friend,” from me.

I gave up on cutting-pasting at some point, but he can read for himself. (Thank goodness for places like snopes and factcheck. Now if people would only READ them…)


This list has evolved since it first started circulating in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The earliest iteration of this list we could uncover only contained five items…

It has always been rife with errors…

This list is not comprehensive. It does not include all of the shootings that have occurred in the United States, nor the political affiliations of every shooter. It ignores shootings committed by Republicans, as well as those with no political party affiliation… In other words, one could make a similar list naming nothing but Republican or politically unaffiliated shooters…

In addition to the logical problems of this meme, much of the information is also inaccurate.

We searched contemporary reports for each of the listed incidents in an attempt to uncover any mentions of political affiliations, motivations, or voting records. Many of these items can be traced back to poor reporting, articles that were later corrected, or fake news items. And although we encountered this meme (or a similar list) on a variety of web sites, none of these publications provided any documentation to back up these claims…

Here’s a look at what we found:

In 1865, a Democrat shot and killed Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States…

Shooter: John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth was a member of the Know-Nothing Party. However, some of his motivations for assassinating Lincoln (Booth was opposed to freeing the slaves) aligned with the Democratic Party at the time…

Although Booth’s motivations may have aligned with the Democratic party of 1865, they bear little resemblance to the party’s modern positions, which have changed dramatically over the past 152 years.

In 1881, a left wing radical Democrat shot James Garfield, President of the United States – who later died from the wound.

Shooter: Charles J. Guiteau

Guiteau gave what The Atlantic calls an “incoherent speech to a small group of black voters in New York City” in support of presidential candidate James Garfield. Guiteau then claimed that the speech … was the reason for Garfield’s election victory. The new administration, from Guiteau’s perspective, owed him an ambassadorship. When he was denied his request, Guiteau set out for revenge…

Guiteau was not a “left wing radical Democrat” — he was a supporter of the Republican Party.

In 1963, a radical left wing socialist shot and killed John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.

Shooter: Lee Harvey Oswald

Oswald was a Marxist and supported Fidel Castro and Cuba…

Oswald’s inclusion on this list is odd in that there is no claim that he is a Democrat.

In 1975, a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at Gerald Ford, President of the United States.

Shooters: Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane Moore

Two women in one month attempted to shoot Gerald Ford in 1975: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of the Manson family, and Sara Jane Moore, a member of radical leftist circles in California and an FBI informant. Both women appear to have had mental health issues…

Although both women could rightly be described as radicals, we found no evidence to show that they were Democrats.

In 1983, a registered Democrat shot and wounded Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.

Shooter: John Hinckley Jr.

Another claim that seems to be supported only by speculation. John Hinckley Jr.’s assassination attempt in 1981 (not 1983 as suggested by this meme) was motivated not by politics, but by his desire to woo actress Jodie Foster…

Regardless, we contacted the History Colorado… We also contacted the Colorado State Archives, but they didn’t have a record of Hinckley’s purported political affiliation either.

In 1984, James Hubert, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 22 people in a McDonalds restaurant.

Shooter: James Huberty (not James Hubert)

Again, we found no record that Huberty was a Democrat, either in terms of his official voter registration or his political leanings. The book Dying on the Job: Murder and Mayhem in the American Workplace describes Huberty as a survivalist who was paranoid about government overreach…

Another name — that of Nikolas Cruz, the suspected gunman who murdered at least seventeen people at a school in Parkland, Florida in February 2018 — will likely get added to this list; almost immediately after law enforcement identified him, erroneous reports circulated claiming that he was a registered Democrat…

The rumor that Cruz was a registered Democrat received a push in popularity and some unearned credibility when it was reported by the Gateway Pundit blog:

It was just discovered that the full name of the shooter is “Nicolas de Jesus Cruz” and that he is a registered Democrat in the state of Flordia [sic]. It is becoming more clear that this individual was NOT, in fact, an actual Trump supporter, as is being reported by the media as the result of the image that shows Cruz wearing a MAGA hat.
This “discovery” was based on a voter registration record available via an unofficial Florida voter database. However, if any of the internet sleuths pushing this rumor had taken a moment to examine the document, they would have realized that this voter registration did not belong to the Florida shooter.

For one, this Florida voter was named Nicolas Cruz (note that Nicolas spelled with a “c”; the suspected shooter’s name is spelled with a “k.”) Cruz’s arrest record also noted that he was born in September 1998. This voter registration is for a person born in May 1998.

The Gateway Pundit later updated its article to concede that Cruz was not a registered Democrat after all, as “some sources” (the Gateway Pundit) reported.

from Mary: I really was inspired by [Joni’s] comments. Nice solid thinking. I am, however, appalled that anyone thinks there is sanity in training teachers how to manage a classroom in chaos, an unloaded gun in a locked drawer, and the likelihood of unintended collateral damage. The cynical side of me wonders if the NRA is behind this marketing ploy. My solution is so simple that it will never be implemented……stop selling assault weapons to anyone! Not even game hunters want their quarry shredded with unnecessary damage.

The World Is My Country – Chapter Two

I watched the preview on-line yesterday. All worked perfectly. My suggestion, based on a few questions so far:
1. Reread first two paragraphs AND the PS of Thursdays post, here.
2. Remember the passcode CGS2018, which you need for access to the film.
3. Please watch the entirety of the film, including credits, and do the survey at the end. The survey is important information for the filmmaker. And certainly consider a donation to help get this film released to the public.
4. Share with others. On-line till February 1, 2018.