“And you call yourself a “Progressive?”

“Yeah, I do!”

“But you own guns and hunt and like being in the wilderness. You actually kill animals and eat them. How can you possibly fit into the mold of a Progressive?”

“Not only do I own ‘guns’ I also carry one.”

“Oh My God – you carry a gun.”

“Yeah – you got a problem with that.”

“No, no I would never tell you I have a problem with that, you might shoot me.”

Okay,  those of you who have the ability to read and think are probably way ahead of me. You are right if you have figured out that I am reacting to a societal need to put people in easily definable groups. Compartmentalization strips us of uniqueness and the right to exist as an individual. That is perhaps my biggest issue with Marxist Socialism. His construct was dependent upon reducing the individual to a part of the whole in character and purpose.

So how can I say that I am a Progressive? Well, let me start with this statement – I think therefore I am. To carry that point further – I question therefore I am. To be a progressive has meant many things for many people and for many years. For some, the term refers to favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters.

All of those issues I can support. For some, the term has a more active sense, as in making progress  toward better conditions, employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods. A more active meaning for the term is also something I have no problem with.

So, as I seek to understand the particular bias that concludes without much investigation that a Gun Owner, a Hunter [and fisherman, that owns numerous fishing tackle], a Legally Licensed to Carry Concealed individual can not appropriately be deserving of inclusion within a “self proclaimed” progressive company of fellow human beings.

Oh my goodness, I forgot another interest that is certainly not acceptable within the rank and file of “progressives.” I built, drove and enjoyed “hot rod’ Mustangs. I enjoy NASCAR. I once belonged to the NHRA – National Hot Rod Association. I currently belong to the NRA. Kinda feel like that auto insurance commercial where the guy fades away as the years go by. Can it be that who I am and what I enjoy can really disqualify me from something that I feel needs support and effort – namely the improvement of living conditions for the multitudes of less fortunate people in this Nation.

As for belonging to the NRA – I do. I do not support much of the extreme agenda and dislike the constant attempts to raise money. My only reason for belonging is to have a voice in the vitriolic and toxic arena that some call “Gun Control.” This in my opinion is a misnomer. Gun Control is what I do with my weapon. The correct label is Gun Ownership Control.” However, that is an entirely different topic for another time.

A very short look at history might be useful. The Progressive Movement began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating tenement housing and child labor. They also called for better working conditions for women.

I am who I am – I have never pretended to be anything but who I am. Yet, I know that there are people who enjoy the feeling they give themselves when they can look at an individual and somehow feel they are more entitled to being included because they are “truly” progressive in every aspect of belief.

I want to suggest that the forgoing opinion points to a harsh reality in our midst. This is how the religious right and many conservatives deal with the non religious, irreligious, progressive, Democrat and “left” of center members of the human race.

If you or I do not fit into a preconceived notion of how to think, what to do, etc. then we are not considered worthy of calling ourselves citizens.

This is not a reaction to any specific issue that I have been confronted with. It is factual and I am “that guy”. In a civilized world, society, town or local group – it is my firmly held conviction that it is the character of the person which carries the day.

I do call myself a progressive. I do hope that confuses certain people. I do not intend to march in lock step with the rest of the sheep. As Albert Einstein observed “He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, sense for him the spinal cord would suffice.” Einstein again, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Can you paddle the boat when I get tired? Can you help carry the word when I am silenced? Will you march with me and know me as I will come to know you?

Don Nelson


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Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma Capitol reduced to rubble

Originally posted on KFOR.com:
[gallery ids="220252,370837,370861,370862"]   UPDATED 10/24/14 4:35 P.M. – OKLAHOMA CITY – A man has been taken in for mental evaluation after allegedly vandalizing the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol. U.S. Secret Service Agents…

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Debates Focus on Minimum Wage

Around the nation as the mid-term elections draw near candidates are (at least in close elections) debating and one of the issues that crops up in all of the debates is the minimum wage issue. Democrats are for raising the minimum wage the GOP are against it or won’t address the issue except with non-answers or to say they believe there is no need to raise the minimum wage or they are like the lady in Iowa Jodi Ernst who believes Iowans do well on the minimum wage and that we should abolish the minimum wage.

Of abolishment of the minimum wage is something that has been bandied about by a number of Republican righties. Michelle Bachman even went so far as to say that if we abolished the minimum wage people would be able to find more jobs and would likely actually go back to work. At what rate of pay they would receive she didn’t seem to know but she did allow that they would be a lot happier not having to earn a minimum wage.

The minimum wage was instituted because of the need to help raise people out of poverty during the Great Depression and it worked its magic for many years until Congress stopped increasing it so that it kept up with inflation. There was a time in the 60’s and early 70’s when Congress still did its job and actually seemed to care about fighting poverty that the minimum wage was a very livable wage. You could raise a family of 4 on minimum wage and do it without having to work at two or three other jobs to keep your family fed.

As Congress began to lag behind in raising the minimum wage when it was needed suddenly people who worked at minimum wage jobs found themselves unable to adequately support their families. Then came the Reagan Revolution and people earning the minimum wage and people suffering the throes of poverty began to be stigmatized as leeches and bums and people who only wanted a handout and didn’t really want to work for a living.

We have come to the point when a lot of people who should know better now believe either all who work for minimum wage are teenagers who don’t really need the money or that people who work for minimum wage are lazy and shiftless and don’t try hard enough to find living wage job. This type of reasoning flies in the face of the facts.

First off the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35 years old that’s not even close to being a teenager. And the absurdity of someone working for minimum wage being shiftless or lazy is carrying stupidity to the highest level, if one actually believes that to be true. It tant so McGee. People who work for the minimum wage work hard, long hours for the measly pay they receive and almost always without any benefits or even overtime.

Some of these clowns who go about dissing minimum wage workers should have to work for a couple of weeks at a minimum wage job. Most of them wouldn’t last two days before they would quit.

It’s a sad scenario when workers at the lower end of the economic scale are maligned and made fun when they are often just trying to survive and make enough money to put food on the table for their families.

The minimum wage needs to be raised to a living wage. In other nations where they have a minimum wage that is a living wage poverty is almost non-existent. The minimum wage was designed to lift people out of poverty and it once did. It should be raised to the level that it once was. People who live in poverty DO NOT CHOOSE TO LIVE IN POVERTY, but the deck is stacked against them and often the harder they try the deeper they sink into poverty.

It’s not creeping socialism when the minimum wage is raised. But it is creating conditions whereby people can finally raise themselves and their families out of poverty and have a shot at their piece of the American Dream. That’s not socialism that is just plain good sense. The closer we are to full employment the better our nation prospers. The facts are there for anyone who has half a mind to look for them.

The minimum wage is not a job killer it never has been a job killer. The minimum wage has always created jobs. It puts more money in the hands of those that need it the most and when they get more money to spend those at the lower end of the economic scale put it back into the economy. They don’t horde it, they spend it. And when they spend their newly gained wages everyone from top to bottom wins.

That’s no brag, just fact!

Bob Bearden

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Scaring People About Ebola Outbreak in the USA

Thinking that scaring people about the Ebola outbreak in the USA (which consists currently of 2 diagnosed cases) will help them win votes right wing candidates all over the nation are stepping up trying mightily to ramp up fears of thousands of ISIS fighters flooding into the US from Mexico each carrying a vial of the Ebola virus ready to go about infecting every single person they come in contact with.

Ebola is a scary virus. It is a deadly virus when not dealt with properlybut there is no Ebola outbreak in the USA except in the deluded minds of people who should know better the like of Rand Paul who is a doctor of sorts. It makes no sense at all to have a member of the medical profession stoking fears of people except when you look at it from the context of politics then it makes perfect sense.

The right wing Tea Partiers haven’t been able to make any hay in this election dissing Obamacare as governor after governor on the right in red state after red state have decided to embrace Obamacare in their state and accept the inevitable and are now going with the flow. No one on the right is making a lot of headway dissing Obama as a method of ensuring their election or re-election so Ebola deadly virus that you are let’s party together and scare the hell out of a lot of sane well-educated people who’ve had to finally stop overdosing on the ‘birther theory’ and other far out wild and crazy issues that no one save a few wild-eyed wing nuts are still pushing.

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world when you live on the right. Filled with wild and crazy guys and gals like Sarah the Palin who now is facing the possibility that a lot of money her political pac has been raising has been used for things having nothing to do with politics. Or self medicating far out pontificators and blowicators like Rush the Limpbrain who still can ramp up a fear or two against feminazis and even Obama haters now and again.

But for the most part nothing is really working or sticking despite all the mud the far out right world of Koch brothers and Karl Rove have been slinging so Ebola is the next scary thing to push in order to get their way. I know in some quarters of the deluded deep right wing all of this sells and scaring people to go out and vote their fears has worked in the past but more and more people are waking up to the facts and the truths of what these crazy messages of fear are all about.

Fear is a commodity that they have always fallen back on when things aren’t going well but it does work to ramp up the base and they are pushing the Ebola fear factor in hopes of shoring up campaigns that once were sure things but now have become dead heat races. I want to believe that voters are getting wiser and more discerning and won’t buy it. Only time will tell.

Bob Bearden

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Freaked Out About Ebola?

Freaked out about Ebola? A lot of people are. Some are so freaked out that they are pushing the fear factor way past stupid. There have only been two confirmed cases in the US ever. Those two cases are currently being handled and are under control and both patients are stable and appear to be recovering, but people like Rick Perry and Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachman and Sarah the Palin are stoking the fires of fear and misinformation.

There is no epidemic nor currently any pending outbreak of Ebola in the US. But if you listen to the shills and the shrills on the right you would be thinking OMG! One idiot legislator from Texas posed a scenario whereby ISIS was massed on the Mexican border with the Ebola virus in hand poised to invade Texas and turn the US into an Islamic State of which President Obama has been trying to make us since 2009. What a crock of highly pungent BS!

You know what really scares me about all of this is how easily led a lot of supposedly intelligent people are? And the level of stupidity of voters in districts represented by the likes of Louie Gohmert. Gohmert is a certifiable idiot that’s readily apparent from his ravings and utterances some of which do not even make sense like the one he threw at our Attorney General Eric Holder when he testified at a congressional hearing recently.

Gohmert told Holder not to mess with his asparagus. What he was alluding too is anybody’s guess. But that is just one of the many crazy mutterings and utterances Louie has made since being elected to office almost none which made any real sense. You have to wonder at the mentality of his constituents? If they keep re-electing Gohmert to congress with his reduced capacity and mental state what does that say about them? Must be like a lot of people here in Oklahoma who keep electing the likes of John Bennett and Jim Inhofe to public office – They are dumb and proud of it!

I’m not sure why anyone would like to be categorized as Dumb and Proud of it? But you have to wonder at the mentality and the sanity of anyone who would keep putting people like that back in office time after time when all the evidence would lead any normal sane person to understand and believe that they are not the brightest bulbs in the house and that in point of fact they are either really messing with their constituents minds or they are as they appear to be 3 quarts shy of a gallon.

In the Ebola crisis (if you can call 2 diagnosed cases a crisis) politicians especially those on the right are obviously stoking the flames of fear in order to gain votes and it may actually be working in some cases. I like to think that the American voter is not stupid but then I see Michelle Bachman, Louie Gohmert and their ilk keep getting elected to office I do wonder if there aren’t a lot of really mentally challenged voters out there especially in districts these people represent and that’s scary. If we can’t depend on candidates running for office to actually have some modicum of intellect then we as a nation are really in trouble and we obviously don’t have as discerning an electorate as we have always believed.

I mean after nearly 6 years we still have college educated voters still believing in the birther theory. You can expect that of someone like Michelle Bachman or Donald ‘Freaky Haired’ Trump who actually know better but love the spotlight so much that they probably will never get past making fools of themselves on TV. But college educated supposedly enlightened voters who were taught by teachers and their parents to actually think for themselves and to have just a small amount of common sense, those you would think would know that what they are being told by Rush and Glen and Sarah and the bunch of empty headed so-called news anchors on Faux News is patently false.

One would wonder how they ever got through college without learning to tell BS from fact. Every election cycle brings out all the crazy birthers and conspiracy theorists and Agenda 21 sycophants and a lot of crazed politicians and politicos play into their unreasonable fears for all they are worth. Crazy theories are the fodder with which people like Louie Gohmert and his ilk use to keep getting re-elected to office. Stupidity sells on the right very well it would seem. And an inordinate number of voters buy it hook line and sinker! Sad but true.

Bob Bearden

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Ebola: A new way to learn what’s going on, from experts, journalists and locals

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

“It all depends on what we do in the next few weeks,” said infectious disease expert Chikwe Ihekweazu, speaking on Ebola at TEDGlobal on Friday. What happens next: will the number of new Ebola cases grow or plateau? And how can the world know the right thing to do?

Reliable news about the outbreak has been hard to find, especially for people fighting the disease in their homes and villages, but also for the rest of us who want to know what’s going on and whether to worry. Which is why, this week, TED Senior Fellow alum Jon Gosier launched EbolaDeeply.org, a curated news feed that mixes journalism, experts and citizen reports to create a more informed global dialogue. We asked Gosier to tell us more:

There’s a lot of mistrust. There’s the belief that “all these people showed up, and then all our people started dying.”

What is EbolaDeeply, and what problem are you trying to solve?

EbolaDeeply.org is…

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Bolivia Gives Legal Rights To The Earth

Bolivia Gives Legal Rights To The Earth

Bolivia is to become the first country in the world to give nature comprehensive legal rights in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people.

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