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Posts tagged as “Rainey”

A cancerous national attitude

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Two disparate story lines in our living rooms these days seem - at least to me - twin warnings about one of the most dangerous failures occurring in our society. Ignoring fact, while believing lies. Maybe you’ve put it together, too. It’s a seeming connection between Benghazi and police shootings.

The dangerous commonality is this: in both cases, hardcore groups have - without fact or even in the face of fact - determined an outcome and will accept no other. Until either faction sees headlines supporting their view - accurate or flat earth crazy - neither will surrender to any other reality.

In the case of Benghazi, there’s that kamikaze mentality among Republican loons that they’ve been lied to from the get-go. They absolutely “know” they’ve been deliberately deceived by Democrats who’ve “destroyed evidence” while creating a Satanic lie about what happened that fateful night in Libya. They “know” “murders” of American heroes have been covered up to save face for the Obama administration. They’ll accept nothing less - not one penny short - of the full “truth” they and they alone have seen since the shots were fired. Benghazi was treason!

And facts? Well, facts be damned! But FACTS there are. And if you know none of the others by which to make a rational, informed decision about Benghazi, all you need to know is ONE fact: there have been six - six - full-on, quite independent investigations costing tens of millions of dollars. The same event has been microscopically examined - beginning-to-end - by a State Department team - another by the Defense Department - a bi-partisan congressional oversight committee - an independent blue-ribbon group given total access to all information held by anyone - two exclusively by Republicans in one guise or another - and the seventh - another Republican witch hunt is currently working feverishly with spades in hand.

But it’s that sixth top-to-bottom scouring by Republicans - led by one of the most Democrat-hating GOPers - that should have buried Benghazi once and for all: the Issa committee. After two years trying to find something - a shred of incriminating evidence against anyone not of the Republican cloth - this last effort to find proof of a foregone belief of “treachery and treason” should have slammed the door. No evidence. Against anyone. Of any political persuasion. None. Zip. Nada. Officially. In writing!

No. No, now there’s yet another GOP-led group going at it again. No matter Issa and his minions have contaminated any future finding from this new bunch. The sounds of shovels can still be heard in the night coming from the GOP caucus room. Supporters - Limbaugh, Beck, Lindsey Graham and others - wait outside in the dark - pitchforks at hand and torches ready to light. They - and only they - know the Benghazi “truth.”

Then Ferguson. And Boston. And Cincinnati. And New York. Nowhere can you find better “how-not-to” examples of ignorant police administration and conduct. Nor a more treacherous display of prosecutorial abuse of office than we’ve witnessed in Ferguson. Conduct of local authorities that’s plainly outrageous. Some will be - and some are- the focus of outside investigations and there’ll be more than a few prosecutions.

And that Benghazi link? As in the case of those determined to create “facts” to justify their absolute certainties of what happened in Libya, so too, in these police shootings, many folks simply decided what “really happened” and will accept nothing less than support for what they “know.” Nothing.

The Benghazi-like similarity I see is with those in the Missouri, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania streets who - like the D.C. witch-hunters and others with conspiratorial mentalities - will not accept any outcome of any case differing one iota from “facts” they alone know. “Truths” they alone “understand.” Many - far too many - of these folks are unable or unwilling to deal with reality.

When people are determined to disbelieve, they will disbelieve. No amount of fact - no amount of evidence - no amount of truth will alter perceptions. All that can be done is for reasonable people to make reasonable efforts and, when that is done, move on. Talk time is over.

With unlimited resources and the power of federal subpoenas in both hands, Darrell Issa could not overcome the true facts of Benghazi. A superhuman effort in pursuit of an outcome that didn’t exist was a monumental waste of time and money. The destructive crowds in city streets are on a similar fool’s errand.

Issa had only the court of public opinion left. He lost there. Credibility. Integrity. Worthiness. Any residual value to his constituency. He’s a liar and a fool and will have to console himself with just being the richest member of Congress.

Protestors of police actions - if their protests are legitimate - have at least state and federal laws to stand upon and can attract other, more informed and more honest government and private support to their side. They still have a future in which they can prevail. And, maybe change some minds.

But not if they continue to follow other “Issa” delusionists and hold to “facts” legitimately discredited by truth. Reality is not Fox “News.”

Open for business

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ATTENTION Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Canada, et al: The Pacific Ocean is OPEN.

Traditionally, Memorial Day is the start of “the season” and, equally traditionally, it runs through Labor Day. I’m not so sure that holds true now as much as it used to since we’ve gotten more mobile and have the ol’ I-net to keep us connected for business, education or “reality.” To me, it seems to run from Spring Break to about mid-October. At least from traffic on our little piece of shoreline. But tradition is - well, tradition.

Life for we “locals” changes during the extended summer. Lots of little things visitors don’t see. For one thing, when driving Highway 101 through the downtown of any Oregon coastal community “in season,” locals learn to drive only in the right hand lane. That’s because there are always - ALWAYS - tourists who will try to make a left hand turn off 101 to get to the ocean. Typically, they do so at the intersection where the big “NO LEFT TURN” sign is posted. Above the painted arrow. Next to the flashing light.

If you live here all year, you spend some of your time researching alternate driving routes to get around town. May mean 10 or more stop signs from one end to the other but you stay off the main drag as much as possible. So, for half the year, local commutes to church or shopping - or the bar - take us a bit longer.

Locals hit the grocery stores during earlier hours in the summer. That’s because tourists who shop, do so later in the afternoon. After a day in surf, sand, wind and sunburns. We don’t usually shop Monday-Wednesday since many restaurants are closed those days. When visitors find those doors locked, grocery stores get crowded as people line up in late afternoon at Safeway and Fred Meyer for the usual vacation health foods - chips, Ding-Dongs and beer. Others travel in RV’s so they do much of their own cooking.

In our part of the central Oregon coast, the license plates we see most are from Washington and California. My guess is that’s because Oregon is the only West Coast state with an “open beach” law. Took the late Gov. Tom McCall two terms in office and all his political capital to get that mandate on the books despite voter and legislative opposition. Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Red Lion and many other “biggies” have tried to bust through. So far, the Oregon Supreme Court has rejected all comers. And McCall is revered for his perseverance.

Washington and California people either understand that or have unknowingly taken advantage of what Gov. Tom labored so hard to get into law. In those two states - and all but one other on the East and West coasts - unfettered access to the ocean is available only with city-county-federal land ownership or other designated public space. Hotels, tribes and folks with deep, deep pockets have bought up most of it and locked the rest of us out. Not so Oregon. Doubt it ever will be.

The next most seen license plates in our neighborhood are Canadian - British Columbia and Alberta. Lots of ‘em. Especially when their dollar buys more in the U.S. than at home. We’ve met many in the winter. Oregon is “snowbird” territory for them with December-January temperatures here 30-40 degrees warmer than their native land. I’ve found them - on the whole - to be friendlier than a lot of American tourists. And generally better stewards of the areas where they recreate or park their RV’s.

You don’t need a calendar to know when Memorial Day arrives near the Pacific. Just watch prices at gas stations. We pay more per gallon than anywhere else in the state year ‘round. But, end of May, add 20-30-cents per gallon. And don’t give me any B.S. about “refinery shortages” or “drops in oil reserves” or “prices at the wellhead.” In the local paper, some weeks ago, the largest wholesaler on the coast was asked why our prices are always higher - especially in the Summer months. His ballsy answer - “Because we can.”

Summer on the Oregon Coast is also a time to “get-out-of-Dodge” for a lot of locals. Many rent their homes May-September and head inland. Or South. Income at home to offset expenses on the road.

Nothing brings strangers to the Oregon coast more than weather forecasts. In Spring and Fall, it’s the ones with blue skies and temps in the 60's-70's. In the Winter, nothing swells the local population like a really good storm prediction. Thunder, lightening and high winds - coupled with a good Oregon wine and a fire - seem to be magnetic to lots of folks East of the Cascades and in the Portland area.

November through March, you see lots of empty storefronts or seemingly permanent “Closed” signs on the coast. Two reasons for that. First, some operate on a part-time basis like candy, small restaurants or novelty shops with their wind socks and kites. Tourists come - they open. Tourists go - they close.

Second, we get a lot of folks who’ve saved money for retirement so they could go into business turning a hobby into a second career or even something entirely new. Living the American dream. Unfortunately, when the summer is over, so is the income it takes to stay in business 12 months a year. A lot of ‘em don’t plan for that or find year-round expenses higher here than they’re used to. Happens a lot.

We locals have a few other little secrets for living with the seasonal interlopers. I can’t share ‘em all. Local privilege, don’t you know. Besides, we all take an oath when we start paying local taxes.

But the “OPEN” sign is out. Y’all come. We’ll deal with it.