Spring has Sprung

As I was pumping water out of my basement this week, I was thinking, “Spring is FINALLY here.”   We had a lot of snow this year in northern Maine, and the “Spring Melt” was delayed by unusually cold weather.

Nash 2.5

Nash 2.5

The date of the beginning of Spring: In the USA, we define it as the Spring Equinox (about March 20th, but the ancient Celts in Europe thought that spring began half-way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (about June 21st). So, according to Celtic sensibility, Spring doesn’t start until about May 10). Other cultures use different dates for the beginning of Spring.

The meaning of the word “Spring.”  This refers to the idea that “new life springs forth.” Trees bud, flowers bloom, germination occurs, seeds are spread, and most species of animals give birth. Why now? Because the young organisms need to time to grow to be as large and strong as possible to survive winter.

Fertility rites and/or human sacrifice.   Many cultures around the world, especially in temperate zones where the differences in the seasons are more pronounced, have festivals to honor the arrival of spring. Some of these cultures focus their celebrations on either symbolic or actual …. SEX. In ancient European rural peasant cultures, spring was one of those rare times when unmarried young people got a “free pass” to fool around, for a day or two.   For centuries, this has provided poets, novelists, playwrights, composers, and film makers with ample material guaranteed to improve their sales. For audiences who wanted a bit of violence mixed in with their sex, some cultures (like the Celts) also practiced the sacrifice of animals or humans. Yes, spring has been a thematic goldmine for artists.

Here are a couple of my favorite “Spring” videos…

The Courtship of the Centaurs scene From Disney’s ”Fantasia.” This is as sexy as Disney gets.

The trailer for the 1973 version of “The Wicker Man,” a film about a remote island off the coast of Britain where the local inhabitants have renounced Christianity and have reverted to the ancient Celtic religion. Plot: a policeman arrives to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and becomes convinced that she is being held in captivity prior to becoming the victim of a human sacrifice.

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Finally, I ask my fellow Trailmixers, what does Spring mean to you?

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Heavenly Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a free pass to heaven thanks to his work protecting city dwellers from themselves.

I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” – Bloomberg (New York Times)

Curbing obesity, smoking, salt and sugar did the trick, he thinks. But just in case he needs a few more credentials Bloomberg is putting up $50 million to build a grassroots organization for stronger gun laws, such as expanding background checks for gun buyers at state and national levels.

Even the persistent Bloomberg has given up on getting Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. They probably have those in heaven too, or maybe the NRA can’t get in.

First video by Bloomberg’s new group, Every Town for Gun Safety.

Free Guns for Voters
On the other side of the issue we have politicians giving away guns in their campaigns. Mother Jones lists several — a few examples:

  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), 2014: The US Senate candidate gave away a Colt AR-15 and a Colt Marine Corps 1911 Rail Pistol to two members of his email list.
  • South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, 2014: Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is handing out an AR-15 from Palmetto State armory to a member of his email list.
  • Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, 2014: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s tea party challenger enticed voters to sign up for his email list by gifting a Beretta 92A1.
  • Steve Wagner, 2014: The Hendricks County, Indiana, sheriff candidate is raffling off four shotguns.
  • Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 2014: The former presidential candidate and current Colorado gubernatorial contender is teaming up with Ted Nugent—who once told his rivals to “suck on my machine gun”—to hand out an AR-15 to one supporter (no donations necessary).

Killing Us Softly

Paul Krugman is making sense: Medicaid
“While supposed Obamacare horror stories keep on turning out to be false, it’s already quite easy to find examples of people who died because their states refused to expand Medicaid. According to one recent study, the death toll from Medicaid rejection is likely to run between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans each year.”

President Rand Paul’s First-Term Agenda

Let us assume that: (1) Rand Paul is elected President in 2016; and (2) Republicans gain control of the Senate and retain control of the House. This is not an unreasonable scenario.  It should also be clear that Republicans already control the Supreme Court by a 5-4 majority, so nothing would impede radical changes in U.S. government policy.

Nash 2.5

Nash 2.5

Here is what we could expect within the first four years of a Rand Paul Presidency…

(1)  Reduced Taxes.   If there is one thing you can say about Rand Paul, it is that he believes tax cuts are good, and the bigger the better.  Expect huge tax cuts within the first 100 days.  This will of course create a much bigger budget deficit so next we would see…

(2) Reduced Government Spending.  Rand Paul and the GOP will try to “balance the budget,” which will probably be impossible, but they will try, by cutting every program they don’t like (see below).

(3) Privatization of Medicare and elimination of Medicaid.  The poor will be simply cut off: the GOP’s healthcare policy for them will be “get thee to an emergency room.”   The elderly will be given “vouchers” that will cover only a part of the cost of their medical care.   Over time, the percentage covered by the government will shrink.

(3) Privatization of Social Security.  Young people will be encouraged (but not required to) set up Individual retirement accounts to which they, but not their employers, will contribute.  For people over 50 and those already retired, the traditional Social Security System will continue to operate, but benefits will steadily be cut, over time, by removing the automatic annual cost of living increases.

rand_paul7-620x412(4) Repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.   There is no racism in society today (except liberal bias against whites) so this legislation is not needed.

(5) Repeal of the 1935 Labor Relations Act. While unions will still be (theoretically) legal, any actions that they take (strikes, picketing, organizing campaigns) will be illegal, as was the case before 1935.

(6) Repeal of the Environmental Protection Act.  “Regulations,” President Paul will explain to us, don’t work and add just add cost to businesses which raises prices to the consumer.   Also, global warming is a myth and the health hazards of air and water pollution are greatly exaggerated by “environmentalist nuts.”

(7) Repeal of the Federal Minimum Wage.  According to President Paul’s economic advisors, getting rid of the minimum wage will create millions of new jobs.  (And pigs will fly!)

(8) Military Isolationism.  George Bush and the neocons had a vision: use military power to establish an American Empire.  They went into Iraq to: (a) get the oil; and (b) build a number of huge military bases that could then exert more direct control over the Middle East (and its oil).  I don’t think Rand Paul has any interest in continuing this policy, for the simple reason that it didn’t work.   But then the oil companies don’t really need Middle-East oil any more.  They are too busy exploiting Canadian tar sands and “fracking” for natural gas in every corner of the USA.

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Those are the items I would expect to see in President Rand Paul’s first term agenda.

I’m sure you can think of others.

Now, let’s discuss how these policies, if enacted, would transform American society.

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor