Category Archives: between books

Political Shenanigans – – –

Jack’s Wednesday post hits the ground running and appears on Wednesday

I try hard to avoid political posts, so this one won’t take positions (much) but I get a bit frustrated by the lack of understanding about political movements by many folk here in the United States. Here are definitions offered by a Scottish Quaker who doesn’t have a lot to do with politics, but taught these definitions for about three decades:

Communism is a perfectly normal philosophy which you may or may not agree with. It was very popular in the US between 1930 and 1946. It believes in ‘from everyone according to their means and to everyone according to their needs’. Marxism is not the only branch. Communism has been used to scare Americans since 1917—often very successfully. Beware people who yell beware the communists.

Anarchism (not to be confused with anarchy) is also a perfectly legitimate philosophy. It believes in local democracy but is against nations and national governments. It does believe in co-operation between local institutions to help further the common good.

Socialism is another perfectly normal philosophy which is usually the political face of organized labor. The word ‘socialist’ has often been hijacked by non-socialist organizations such as the German Nazi party of the 1930s and 40s which was completely opposed to organized labor (preferring slave labor) and Socialism.

Fascism is yet another normal belief and still quite widespread. Fascists believe that society should be ruled by a deserving class. Either through race, religion, bloodline (royalty) or military power. No elections and no democracy.

Oligarchy is like fascism, except it holds elections. But only the people who can afford it vote, and only those who can afford to run for office, do so. So it is kind of a rich-favoring democracy. America is an oligarchy.

Capitalism is the (again, perfectly normal) belief that market forces (supply and demand) results in a balanced economy and community. However it doesn’t allow for any safety net for the disadvantaged in society.

Social Democracy is the form of government practiced by most Northern European nations and many others around the world. It aims for a balance between capitalism and socialism and with a safety net for disadvantaged citizens paid for through taxation. This is also a completely normal philosophy.

Proportional representation is a voting system which usually results in a multi-party coalition government, unlike the two party systems which have long predominated in the UK and the USA. It forces compromises and gives all voters a sense of ‘ownership’.

I’m not a member of any political party and haven’t been for a very long time, but I’d describe myself as a social democrat. Despite the fact that many people would deny it the USA is a Social Democracy with many services and safety nets paid for through taxes or contributions including infrastructure, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security etc.

I posted this because of the amount of misinformation I see every day on Twitter and FaceBook. I’d love to see some comments.

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Filed under between books, blue funks, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, small town USA, Wendy Welch

In a VA Country Garden – –

Jack misses by a day – or as his economics professor would say ‘reverts to the mean’ – –

I have always disliked gardening. I used to think it was a hellish Calvinist punishment for past or future sins. That was probably mainly because I lived in west Fife for the first sixty years of my life where the ground is solid clay and only good for weeds. But when Wendy and I married we moved to east Fife where the soil is completely different, fertile and easily worked. So in our very small back yard we successfully grew vegetables for the first time. It was still hard work but at least with results!

When we moved here last year we found we’d inherited a vegetable garden that only appeared to have some rhubarb and raspberries in it. But we did notice that the previous owners had carefully planted lots of different flowers around the place very thoughtfully and they matured at different times through the year.

That should have hinted at something – –

With the uncertainty of the Covid 19 situation and the resultant notion of trying to be a bit more self-sufficient, we set up tanks around the house to capture rainwater and then turned our attention to the vegetable garden.

When we started preparing the ground we discovered a layer of black garden cloth everywhere so we pulled it all up and threw it away. Only later did we discover why it was there. Our yard has a number of big mature black walnut trees and they send out fine tendrils from their roots that are death to a number of vegetables. Despite that we were able to grow onions, peas, asparagus and a few other things. We also have a fresh crop of rhubarb and raspberries. Our tomatoes are either in grow-bags or as far away from the walnut trees as possible.

The other big job was converting our wee shed into a chicken coop for Thelma and Louise and that was another heavy bit of work.

So we are slowly learning what works and what doesn’t – next time the peas need to be staked better, the potatoes need to be in isolated raised beds and more of the tomatoes need to be in grow-bags.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch