Aunt Freda's Advice

Books to Read


Howard Zinn

Joe Bageant



Story of Stuff


Off the Front Page
   Ken's Pamphlets
    KP001 - A Nation Based on Law
    KP002 - The U.S. Constitution
    KP003 - Single Payer Healthcare
HR676 (Single Payer Healthcare - Medicare for All):
    Members of Congress are paid $165,200 per year plus benefits.
    As of March 2010, 93 members of the House of Representatives said
    they support HR676.  435 members / 2 = 218 needed for passage.
                                         The Easy Out
Ever tried
to explain something so complicated you couldn't, or so simple it
was too embarrassing to mention?  
Complicated in that corruption, bullying,
exploitation of others by others, etc, is never simple to deal with or explain;
Simple in that, well, that's all that's ever going on:  we are either getting away
with something we shouldn't or we are being disadvantaged in some way...
The easy out for me in Vietnam was because I was drafted.  In general, the
easy out for corruption, bullying, and exploitation of others not directed
directly at me was to ignore it.  Only if directed directly at me, in my face, on
my watch - coming straight at me or my friends and family - would I have to
deal with it.  And so it goes for most of us most of the time.
Sometimes I think my ancestors would have been proud of me the way I
responded...  But sometimes maybe I could have "moved" sooner.  There's a
considerable difference between an "easy" out and "an" out.
There were times, some close calls when things might have gone another
way - when things about the system and how it actually operates eludes me
so that I truly didn't understand...  How corrupt things can get sometimes,
how misleading and confusing that can be...
Often I was just lucky to get by...  What more could I have done?  Should I
have done more I wonder?  (Of course.)
Growing up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin with a lot of strong family ties and
support I was never the victim of a bullying incident for long...  Whatever
corruption, exploitation, or dishonesty existed in the world there when I was
young rarely got to me. I had a charmed and fortunate childhood.  I thought
everyone did.  (Until I got older to learn better.)
Eventually I moved away from Fond du Lac, I knew it was a big world out
there and I wanted to see it all if I could...  It didn't take me long to realize how
fortunate my childhood had been and how wonderful so many aspects of my
small town life were, at least for me...  And so, after all this time, when I finally
now have it explained to me in no uncertain terms that the whole fabric of our
society - our whole democracy and the way we run it or let it be run for the
moment at least - is in fact quite corrupt and beneficial to only a few - that's
more than just a little embarrassing, that means I'm part of the problem!  I
thought we were making progress!  (But not so much since 1964.)
I didn't discover the "Prayer of Serenity" until I moved to Chicago, in the
early '60's, and I honestly didn't believe until recently just how corrupt our
democratic system has become (and what we will have to do to fix it):
  • How our election apparatus is totally tilted in favor of two parties
  • How both parties actually cooperate about this (stifling reform)
  • How the congressional districts are so "Gerrymandered" there have
    been few honestly contested elections since the '70's (or earlier)
  • How most of the news media since Walter Cronkite don't bore us with
    details about anything - they have sex scandals and celebrity news
  • How we're all just too busy to understand anything anyway...
  • Or, even if we did understand, what could we possibly do about it?
I always thought it was just politics - but that we in fact have a Class
Society in America and always have had, to some extent,
as if that's normal -
flies in the face of what happened in 1776, 1865, 1935, 1964 and a bunch of
other times...  Including our social progress amendments: 1-10, 13, 14, 15,
19, 24 & 26.  Can all those times and all those amendments just be flukes?
If we accept money as the arbiter of all things, maybe we're just beaten
down by the system and feel all used up by it?  Maybe all the past glories of
America and those of us too tired or scared to go on are just flukes?
Some members of my family would worry sometimes I was worrying  too
much about things I couldn't do anything about, "We have to be the change
we want to see in the world," they would remind me.  But too often there was
just too much else to do - too many other things to deal with - too little help
and support in those middle years of an average person's life...  (Things
usually happened way too fast for me, too often, for the Turtle Head I am.)
So, now I've discovered Joe Bageant - an old codger five years younger
than me, twice as smart, and ten times a better writer who "s-plains" it all loud
and clear:
    "Will Americans ever rise up in defense of their own common well
    being through such things as education, health, and a productive
    peace caring society?  Nope.  Because [that would be Socialism!]"
"The Sound of Science" - a clever parody of the tune made famous by
Simon & Garfunkle in the '60's -- which if it caught on could turn a few heads
in a better direction!