Gadfly

From feudalism To democracy, and back to feudalism

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 2nd, 2017

When have-it-alls and well-to-doers don’t want to share any of it

There’s a new novel out about the 19th Century Great Potato Famine, when Ireland lost one million of its population of eight million to starvation and disease, and two million to emigration to other countries, including many thousands to the United States.

Ireland still has a smaller population than it had before the famine. Domesticated in Peru and Bolivia over 7,000 years ago, the potato became the sole subsistence…

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And the band played on

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 26th, 2017

A reasonable conclusion: “We should have killed our baby.”

For some unfathomable reason, some people think they are immortal, that death is not a part of life. Our culture tends to teach us to avoid the topic of death as if it will never come. We really get uncomfortable discussing our options about life and death.

But death is also a precious part of life and we should accept it with grace and peace—as well as the difficult and painful parts of both living and dying.

My dad lived to…

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A world too much with us

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 19th, 2017

Three “great leaders” who might really screw up the world

If you have had a chance to watch documentaries based on North Korean culture you had to notice that all citizens referred to 33-year-old Kim Jong Un as their “Great Leader” in interviews.

His picture was always visible whether inside or out, indicating that he remains in power through the fear and intimidation that only a cult icon can possess. As the ruling grandson of his ruling grandfather it helps tremendously to stay…

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Of mice and men—and elephants

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 12th, 2017

What are the best laid plans for our future?

Israeli historian Tuval Noah Harari recently made a fascinating declaration in an article about the future: “People living in the 12th century knew pretty well what the 13th century would be like. Now we are in the first part of the 21st century and we don’t have a clue what the 22nd century will be like—or whether there will be one.”

Progress was slow in the 12th century but now in the 21st technical and scientific progress is…

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Just another day in Tombstone and Dodge, U.S.A.

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 28th, 2017

How many Americans shot themselves or others today?

We won’t know for awhile how many Americans were KIA or WIA from firearms on June 14, when Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise of the House was critically wounded by some of the 71 rounds fired by James Hodgkinson and the police.

Actually it was not a big mass shooting deal, although Scalise was made the national center of attention by his congressional colleagues and the mainstream media.

In the first 165 days of 2017 we had only…

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Living in Prozac nation

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 21st, 2017

From Homer’s Odyssey to Buddy Holly: The times they are a-changin’

When Robert Zimmerman, born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, better known as Bob Dylan, won the Nobel Prize for Literature (worth almost a cool $1 million), he said, “When I received this Nobel Prize for literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. The music of Buddy Holly changed my life, along with Homer’s Odyssey, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and Erich Maria Remarque’s All…

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Aggressive rats and monkeys

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 14th, 2017

Red blankets, thousand-dollar pills, and angry Irish

It makes for an interesting week when people, rats, monkeys, and the Irish wave the middle finger with wild abandon toward their erstwhile enemies. The Irish finally showed how fed up they are with the “state” Roman Catholic Church that treated pregnant girls horribly in forced-labor laundries and transferred priests who took sexual advantage of adolescent boys for centuries.

Irish voters sent the Vatican a final goodbye finger…

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Disaster capitalism

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 7th, 2017

How long does it take you to pay your Social Security taxes for the year?

Jay Gould was one of the richest capitalists in the United States in the 19th century, bribing legislators, robbing, killing, and hiring a private army to fight labor union strikes over wages, hours, and working conditions.

He and his associate Jim Fisk tried to corner the gold market so they could raise the price of agricultural products and increase the price of shipping on his railroads. Gould came from a poor…

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Bulls, biblical BS, and blasphemy

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 31st, 2017

A good sign: the Spanish are finally giving up bullfighting

Sometimes it takes thousands of years to rid a society of a cultural icon. Bullfighting has been an integral part of Spanish society for almost a thousand years.

Bullfighting was first mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh which covered prehistoric bull worship and sacrifice in Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean area. It later moved to Rome to entertain the crowds in the Coliseum.

In the 1100s the rich brought bullfighting to Spain…

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To pee or not to pee—that’s a question??

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 24th, 2017

The rich live 20 years longer than the poor

Several recent incidents in the airline industry are sending messages to the Ninety-Nine Percent around the world. If you can’t hold it, don’t book a flight.

A male passenger was removed from a flight because he had to pee while the plane was sitting on the ground. He violated the rule that toilets are closed while waiting for take-off. He had been sitting in his seat for more than half an hour and had told the attendants he had to go. They…

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