Friday, January 15, 2016

Film Making and Reality

Looking at the upcoming academy awards, two films stand out as emblematic of the world in which we live: Short, and Spotlight. Short details the ways in which the global financial industry routinely gambles with the world’s finances, and sometimes crashes that system, then whines until the world’s governments bail them out. Spotlight discusses how the Catholic Church is fundamentally corrupt . . . really at its core.

These two issues perhaps define the two central problems plaguing the world—organized greed, and organized religion.  

Organized religion exists so as to manage a global system of organizations and individuals who make believe they understand what happens after you die. They are, if you will, the middle men or interpreters between ordinary folks and the fake gods that were invented by early man to explain death and its presumed aftermath.  These organizations and individuals pretend to be able to manage your earthly life so as to guarantee you eventual access to a desirable afterlife.  Life is really about achieving a great deathlife.  In exchange for both money (many billions) and your agreement to cede to them control over your life, they agree to chat on your behalf with their pretend gods, so that you will be treated kindly once your time on earth is done. 

It turns out that this transaction is pretty rewarding to at least many, if not most of these paid interpreters.  They get free housing, transport, servants to prepare their meals, a nice, if boring clothing collection, and little to do, except to act informed. A few, see the Pope, live like kings/emperors of bygone eras.

Some of these interpreters get to act like absolute rulers, i.e., they can order folks to be beheaded, or otherwise killed in fairly gruesome fashion (see stonings). It is important to note that none of them have actual authority via any legal system, except when they manage to declare (like absolute monarchs always do) that their religious authority is the only legal authority in the land—see all lands occupied by Arabs, Persians, and Afghans.

So, the movie, Spotlight, sheds a small light on one of these organized religious systems—the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  It turns out that its priests have been raping the children of parishioners for centuries.  Not only that, but the entire religious order, from local parishes all the way to Rome, have been aware and covering it up for centuries. Even beyond the raping of hundreds, perhaps thousands of little boys, priests also have routinely raped and impregnated their housemaids, whose resulting children refer to the priests as “uncle”.  Thus, the entire system can be viewed as morally bankrupt. Perhaps it is time to sell all of the holdings, including that neat Sistine Chapel and turn over the proceeds to charitable causes everywhere. Perhaps the unemployed priests could get jobs as Mary Kay salesmen.

It is very unclear to me just why ordinary folks grant priests of any religious order the type of authority now granted. In the Middle East, the fundamentalists, if not the priests, seem to think it’s ok to cut peoples’ heads off, a pretty far remove from priests who merely rape their altar boys.  Nonetheless, it occurs to me that it is way past time to call this whole religious thing off.  I don’t know what would then occur. As I have noted in my writings about religion, I have no idea whether people would revert to savages, and begin killing anyone they don’t like, or whether instead they would just go back to watching reruns of I Love Lucy. But I fail to see how much worse it could get than what we now have.

And then there’s the greed thing. Seems dominant even over religion as a source of the world’s troubles. And it is never more evident than in the world’s financial systems. Banking has become totally corrupted by greed. Used to be that local banks accepted your cash deposits and, in return arranged to lend your money to others for a fee, part of which they passed on to you. They also charged you small fees for handling things like checking accounts.

But then Wall Street began getting “innovative” (super greedy). They began thinking that bigger really was better (we know it almost never is). So, the more successful banks began buying the smaller banks, until now there are hardly any actual community banks still in existence. Remember the days when banks could only operate within one state???

So, now all businesses have joined the banks in their zeal to take over other smaller but similar businesses. WalMart exists actually to put out of business all small local businesses. It is their business model. Airlines keep “merging” such that soon there will be only one airline, one bank, and perhaps one store.  And conservatives worry about “big government”. Hahahahaha. Big government will never be as dangerous to the world as Big Bidness.

At some stage, Wall Street decided that gambling was good, and that actual “investing”—you know buying stocks in operating companies and hoping they would be successful enough to return some of the proceeds to the folks who buy the stocks—was “quaint”.  Instead, we began building things called hedge funds. And, even worse, we began “selling short”. Now what actually is selling short? It is a Wall Street practice in which the insiders decide they expect or want a particular stock to fall in price. So, they sell the stock, even though they don’t own any shares. Then when they succeed in depressing the stock price, they actually buy the stock at the deflated price, and keep the difference.  It’s an amazing creation of Wall Street insiders.  We know it as a form of insider trading.  Or, even gambling.

And I am always amused when state government fuss about gambling, thinking that gambling is a bad thing and needs to be carefully regulated, or even eliminated—bad form don’t you know. But no one seems even remotely concerned about the fact that our global banks gamble for a living, almost all of Wall Street is in the organized gambling business (some might think of Wall Street is a form of legalized organized crime).

And then, when their gambling bets fail to pay off, we the public taxpayer is expected to bail out these gambling institutions, so that the owners and head honchos can still get their bonuses (instead of going to prison). Yeah, it’s a great system. And much like organized religion, we the sucker public play right along.

So, I am anxiously awaiting to see what either organized religion or organized crime (oops, I mean the financial system) has in store for us this year.  Will they figure out even better ways to screw the public, while still avoiding their share of taxes, and while buying all the valuable real estate in the country via hidden trusts, so that we the public have no idea who owns what. We are really dumb creatures, aren’t we??

I have written about my own views of religion and God (two entirely separate subjects I think). Someday I may decide to share those views so that my vast readership (all three of you) are able to understand from whence springs this total antipathy towards religion. On greed and banking, well, I imagine that I am not alone in my views.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Armed Insurrection

So, what must we make of this armed militia in Oregon and the Texas Gubernator challenging the President to take his guns at his peril?  I suppose the Texan is simply doing what we have come to expect of Texas politicians—acting terminally stupidly. Although, he must surely be close to that red line, beyond which the Marshals must be dispatched to bring him into custody. Do ordinary Texans actually support this idiot?  Seems hard to believe.

But in Oregon, we really are way over that red line. I see no ambiguity there. An armed group of citizens has moved in and taken over a Federal installation.  It is immaterial to me whether that Federal institution is a wildlife refuge or the US Treasury.  They simply cannot be allowed to do that. I believe the act is called an armed insurrection, and such acts need to be countered, by force if necessary, including by deadly force.

I think we can safely conclude that, were the armed citizens a group of Muslim-Americans, or a group of Black-Americans, they would now be either dead or in jail.  I understand, though, that our President is trying to be more cautious than, say, the Ferguson, or Chicago police departments. But really, enough is enough. The Oregon insurrectionists have declared that they are peaceful at the moment, but that they would rather be killed than give up their position. And if we follow one of their leaders, Mr. Bundy, it seems that this group is classic—they do not recognize the legal authority of the US Government.  I believe that Mr. Bundy is correct when he claims that he won his standoff with the government. He is, after all, not in prison, and he still owes over a million dollars to the government. His “win” doubtless provided the fuel for the Oregon insurrectionists.  So, if we do not act and act quickly, we are creating a new basis for challenging the authority of the government on any issue of our choosing. Don’t like taxes? Buy some guns, get a group, and go take over the Treasury Department in Washington.  Don’t like the government meddling in our ability to pollute the environment (hello Koch brothers)? Get a group, buy some weapons and go take over the EPA building in Washington.

I simply do not understand why the Federal Marshall's are not already in Oregon, backed by the full armamentarium of the US Military, demanding that this bunch of thugs give up . . . or be killed.  Cutting off their power supply is cute, but hardly the stuff of powerful nations. If we are the mightiest nation on earth, perhaps we need to begin acting like it.  Either that, or withdraw our military everywhere, and slink into our respective closets and start sucking our thumbs.

And a thoughtful reader of my perhaps incautious remarks notes:

"I think the feds are going to wait them out. It's the oldest tactic of siege warfare. Block off roads and supply routes , cut power, and wait while the brutal winter sets in and then ask them to negotiate when they’re desperate . . . why go in blazing? They can fly in an Apache I, at any time. Gas the place and move in and people will get shot. It makes sense to me. If they were in a city it would be a public danger but out there they will get desperate.

It is a perfect location to wait them out. There are only so many roads to get there. If a perimeter is set up and access denied to power and provisions , eventually they will lose communications to the outside world and when they resort to survivalist mode of hunting for food, etc.,  they will find that the perimeter will keep out game, they are ill prepared and poorly coordinated for being in such a remote area . UPS and FedEx are not going to be allowed to deliver the goods that they requested. These guys have kids and families and eventually they will get weakened by the situation.

Their purpose is to incite. If not given the confrontation and martyrdom they want, they will lose steam. Isis in Syria is similar. They want a holy war with the west, only we are not rushing in with ground troops to rescue an already oppressed Syrian regime. Those who look at this as weakness do not understand military strategy."

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Draws to a Close

I’ve been struggling lately to figure out how to say goodbye to 2015. I cannot say the year has been without interest. I mean, think Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson—a guy who started life as a millionaire on daddy’s money and continues to fool folks into thinking he is anything more than a reality show clown; an earnest woman who pretended to be a high-tech executive, failed so badly that she was fired by the board (no mean feat that) and then pretends to a higher calling; and a brain surgeon who has us all thoroughly confused—I mean, how could a brain surgeon be so dumb . . . but my preferred answer is that Doc Ben pulled a one-off by operating on himself, during which he accidentally removed the left side of his own brain.  Not that the rest of the curious crowd is to be preferred. Cruz, a man whose picture makes you want to punch him . . . a man nobody seems to like, except for the pissed-off who hate everyone and everything and imagine maybe he will carpet-bomb some other folks they really don’t like. What a crew.

And then there’s the shootings and blowing people up stuff. Yeah, there’s always a terrorist group of folks who are so pissed at us, or the French, or the Brits that they are willing to shoot up a cartoon shop, or blow up a building, or shoot up a black church, or kill people waiting in a clinic, or just shoot up people, just cuz. Just cuz the NRA says that everyone should be armed, and, if you’re armed, well, eventually someone is going to start shooting.  Yeah, I now have cast the NRA as our very own American-ISIS. So don’t go thinking that terrorists are all Muslim, cuz it just ain’t so.

On the bright side, political leaders from some 150 nations finished meeting in Europe and reached a decision that they would cooperate in at least trying to minimize the future effects of human global warming. That’s significant, because at least they all seem to agree that human global warming seems to be a reality. Now to be fair, the republicans who now rule our Congress plan to repudiate the agreement, and have high hopes that in 2016 one of their own—the Donald perhaps—will act as one of his first duties to kill our agreement, thereby allowing their owners (the Kochs, et al) to continue polluting the globe. Republicans wish to continue pretending that climate change is what happens between June and January each year.   But when I got really enthused about the climate change conference and the resulting agreements, I came across and read an article in the Guardian by James Lovelock, no merry prankster he. Lovelock has been forecasting ecological disaster for a long time now. In the article, he is quoted as saying,

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.
Interviewers often remark upon the discrepancy between Lovelock's predictions of doom, and his good humour. "Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."
Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."
"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."
What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

Wow, what a fun time to contemplate. We can, of course, join the republicans and play “Let’s make believe”, or we could at least try to act beginning now to plan for the coming climate changes.  First things first of course . . . 2016 is the Year of The Vote. So, everyone might consider how best to support your very own candidate, preferably someone with more than half a brain (Carson fans kindly take note). If you want politicos to pay attention and do serious stuff to ward off the worst that our planet now has in store for us, then kindly vote for those not on the payroll of the Kochs and others of their ilk.  

And remember, it’s nice to always think positive, but it’s more effective to also act in effective ways.

And then, as the New Year approaches, pop open a nice bottle of bubbly, pour it into some pretty glasses with perhaps your loved one, and bid the New Year a welcome entry.  Look your loved one in the eyes, and say, “To us my love, to us”.

And finally as the day’s curtain is about to fall, imagine yourself as Bogie, walking off into the night . . .  and announcing to the world at large,

World, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship . . .

Friday, December 11, 2015

Open Letter of Apology

An Open Letter of Apology
To Our Friends Around the World

I am sitting at my desk, reading one awful tale after another describing the Decline and Fall of the American Empire. Tony Scalia, one of our lesser Supreme Court Justices, in open court, declares that our African-American population is largely too stupid to attend the more rigorous colleges and universities and should be content with attending schools of less demanding programs.  Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the presidency, declares that we should ban anyone and everyone of the Muslim religious belief from entering our country. Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Tony Jindal--three lesser Republican lights— share a platform with a pastor who believes we should kill Gays. Carly Fiorina, who appears not to understand the difference between truth and lies, openly supports a viciously negative and entirely false video about Planned Parenthood, and then becomes upset when people think she should share the blame for the terrorist killer who shot up one of their clinics and killed three people. 

And it goes on and on, with each republican rant worse than the last.

Many believe that the official ISIS strategy includes the carrying out of outrageous acts of terrorism with the explicit aim of outraging their opposition such that their opponents will carry out equally stupid and outrageous acts. They wish to both provoke a war between Islam and the West and to use their outrageous program to attract more young people willing to commit suicide for the imbecilic cause of the pseudo-Caliphate of ISIS.  And, because they seem to be succeeding, our Republican Party seems to have adopted this strategy for their presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone is yelling that the regular Muslim people, and even the normal Muslim preacher/mullahs should openly decry the outrages being committed routinely by ISIS/Daesh, Qaeda, and the Taliban.  And yes, it would be nice if the Mullahs et al would begin publically preaching against these crazed creatures who almost daily despoil the name of Islam—and many do preach against these idiots.

But, hold on here, folks.  We can observe daily killings by both “normal” and crazy Christian Americans in our own nation.  I believe the number of folks killed by guns within our fair country exceeds 30,000 per year.  Yet, while the stupid people think it’s just fine and dandy for the Trump to propose banning all Muslims from entering our country, it is apparently not ok to propose new forms of gun control. We have greater controls over folks driving cars, buying drugs, and gaining access to certain forms of medical care than we have on gun sales.

So, I am here to apologize to the people of the world, especially to our friends in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and India for our failure as a formerly great nation to adopt civilized standards of international behavior.  We used to be better than this, although we have a chequered past (think Japanese internment camps, think slavery). We attacked Fascist states who were attempting to impose their savage will on the civilized world, and we succeeded in beating back their attack.

But we have grown complacent and sloppy in our approach to the world. Despite being the most heavily armed nation on the globe, we are acting like a bunch of terrified stupid children.  Apparently that old thing about:

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

has now vanished from our consciousness.  Now we only want white, Christian bankers and tekkies to join us.  The fact that the republican clown show, headed by the chief clown, The Trump, can openly espouse lies and outrageous demands, and we sit quietly while pastors preach violence is a sign that we are headed downhill and rapidly. We risk becoming a mighty pariah state.

So, I apologize for what we seem to be. But really, we are not all imbecilic fascists, even if the Faux News Network makes us seem that way (thank you Rupert Murdoch). I am hoping that any responsible, intelligent republicans still alive will begin to do what we have been advocating for responsible Muslims—speak out folks. I imagine Lincoln, Eisenhower, et al, spinning madly in their graves. It is up to you, the living republicans, to tell us once again that Trump, Cruz, Fiorina, et al, do not represent what your party stands for. Nor do they represent what America stands for. I thought we were better than this.

Perhaps I am wrong.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

It's fast approaching, that day in which we give thanks for the bounteous feast we are about to receive. I think sometimes that we all need to pause more and think about that harvest of goodies heaped on the table in front of us, and what that represents in our world. We have talked a lot about the roughly 40 million people who had no regular access to health care, prior to that program --the ACA-- that republicans love to hate. But the other day, I saw the same number being reported, only this time it was people who don't have enough food. When I look at our healthy children grandchildren and yes great grandchildren, I am aware that they are probably exceptional in this world. They are healthy, well fed, and well cared for by parents who care deeply about them.

Whenever I do some minor thing for our local domestic violence shelter program, I become aware of how lucky we are. And when I read about children sold into sexual slavery, I become angry, but I always begin thinking once again about fortune and how we need to think more about the goodness in our lives.

So, when we pause, just prior to diving into the turkey, and the mashed potatoes, and the stuffing, and the cranberries, I plan to take a deep breath, partly to thank our whole family for being who they are, and our children and our grandchildren for being who they are, and our relatives near and far, for being such an important and happy part of our lives. And partly, I just want to say out loud that we are all fortunate creatures, alive and smiling on this globe spinning steadily in this vast, cold universe.  But there are others on this globe who will be denied the happiness we share with our loved ones.  Their lives are as precious as anyone's, but others will dictate their future.

So, eat on folks, but never forget just how fortunate we are to be living in this nation. And never forget the less fortunate among us. And let there be light . . . the light brought by careful thought. A light of essential goodness.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


So, Paris has been struck yet again—Je suis Charlie . . . Let us all yell, or cry, or pray for the Parisians. And then, when it happens here, we can all repeat the process. Apparently, we in the US are no better prepared to resist than are the French, or the Brits, or anybody else. ISIS need not be very clever. They simply need to turn loose the next gang of thugs and tell them where to launch their killing. And somewhere, here in the US of A is my best guess as to where, added cries of anguish will again arise. We are already filled with hate against one another (see Mizzou, see all the other places here wherein we are known to have killed one another with no serious justification).  And we possess adequate armaments to carry out an equivalent attack.

What does ISIS want? Well, they seem to want the same thing the kings in Saudi Arabia want, the same things the Koch brothers want, the same things our hedge fund managers want, the same things our republican clowns want—POWER.  And they have the same sense of morality as, say, the Nazis in 1939 . . . no probably worse, but not much.  ISIS does seem to like killing, but their killings seem to be motivated by an intent to instill fear. If they can kill so brazenly, and with such graphic awfulness, then perhaps they will finally convince us that they are an irresistible force. But, of course, we will never be so convinced—never. And so the killings will continue. 

And as the 12th century fades into oblivion, let the 13th century arise. Will we learn anything? No, we seem incapable of learning as a species. We love killing too much.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Big Lie

“All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”  Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

I have been trying to figure out how the Republican party morphed into this absurdist organization, led by people who seem no longer to care about the impact of their rhetoric and actions on the health of our republic.  They will shut down the government if needed to make their point.  And, the extreme rhetoric seems to rise in temperature as one moves from the county to state to the Federal level. Perhaps the targets simply become larger and potentially more catastrophic as one moves to higher levels of elevation.  Shutting down the Federal government, for example, has effects that spread throughout the Nation.  One of the effects, for example, involves defaulting on our debt with all the nasty consequences of such a monumentally stupid move, one threatened routinely by the GOP’s extremists, who seem  literally not to care.

But where do these extremists come from and how do they arrive at their extreme positions? Perhaps The Big Lie is at least partly to blame. And who would resort to such a strategy as The Big Lie? Why Rupert Murdoch and his entirely fake news organization, Fox News.  After having read numerous tales of the effects of repeated exposure to Fox News, it is becoming clear that the daily lies and gross distortions of reality by Fox News has had a clear and highly negative effect on that part of the public—more often Republican than Democratic voters-- that watches the programs.
Here is an excerpt from an AlterNet article on this subject.

Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.
So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.
In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just ain’t so:
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.
By the way, the rest of the media was not blameless. CNN and the broadcast network news operations fared only slightly better in many cases. Even MSNBC, which had the best record of accurately informing viewers, has a ways to go before it can brag about it.
The conclusions in this study need to be disseminated as broadly as possible. Fox’s competitors need to report these results and produce ad campaigns featuring them. Newspapers and magazines need to publish the study across the country. This is big news and it is critical that the nation be advised that a major news enterprise is poisoning their minds.
This is not an isolated review of Fox’s performance. It has been corroborated time and time again. The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest, and the effects of that dishonesty have become ingrained in an electorate that has been purposefully deceived, needs to be made known to every American. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies. We have the evidence that Fox is tilting the scales and we must now make certain its corporate owners do not get away with it.”
So, Rupert and his Goebbels-lead, Roger Ailes, seem purposefully to be creating a population that has moved to an extreme position on most of the contentious issues facing our nation—climate change, global financial management, US fiscal management, including especially tax policy, public education,  race relations, health care policy, especially affecting women in particular and low income in general.
The current fights within the House of Representatives over who will be the next Speaker are representative of the debacle that is now our elected government.  A relative minority, some 35-40 odd people—the so-called Freedom Caucus, the Liberty Caucus and the Tea Party all act in ways that seem intent on destroying the essential comity, on which all legislative movement depends.  They seem not to care.
I am reminded in this regard of the Lyceum speech delivered by another Republican, Lincoln by name, Abraham Lincoln. He said:
“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, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, 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 then warned that a tyrant could overtake the American political system from within.[4] He said:
“It is to deny what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion as others have done before them. The question then is, Can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such an one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.”

I see us now headed down this path that Lincoln described, fueled by Rupert Murdoch and his merry band of liars. We will see how far we have moved in that direction when we see the results of the 2016 election.  Canada anyone???