Category Archives: blue funks

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

Try Turning it off and On?

Jack gets there just on time again –

My recent experiences trying unsuccessfully to deal with technology –

  1. We were more or less gifted a twenty year old riding mower three years ago. We got it with a flat battery and flat tire but managed to deal with that. However this year time and age finally caught up. After a few weeks of ever increasing problems it’s time had come. I spent a couple of days rehearsing and honing my speech to Wendy justifying the purchase of a replacement. Finally I summoned the courage and said “ about the riding mower, dear’ and she said “yes, get us a new one”!
  2. My four year old laptop finally gave up the ghost after two keyboard replacements so I went on to the dreaded Amazon and ordered a new replacement. It arrived a week later and worked fine for the first few days. Then completely died as I was in the middle of something. I messaged the seller and got a helpful set of instructions which I’d already tried to no avail. Their second response was a link to HP’s warranty page and their return policy, which showed we’d get our money back less 20% and less a further 20% because we didn’t report the fault within three days. When we went to the HP site we discovered our new laptop was over a year old and out of warranty. Sigh!
  3. Wendy lets me out of the house during the current lock-down every two weeks to do the garbage run to the local re-cycling place. As there are usually a number of sacks, I take our SUV “Black Angus’ (a Dodge Journey). Today I went out, loaded the sacks, got in and turned the key – clunck! It seems that modern cars run stuff in the background even when parked and switched off. So not designed for lock-downs when they might not be run for a couple of weeks. Luckily we have a charger and a long cable!

I remember being quite enthused about new technology when I was younger – cars you could work on yourself that didn’t need a computer to be plugged in, cassette players, open reel tape recorders, LPs that had sleeves you could read, dial up internet with that crazy sound. But it began to suck us into an over dependency – – –

On technology!

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Filed under bad writing, between books, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Wendy Welch