Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts

August 14, 2023

We were sitting next to a "Let's Go Brandon" Trumper at a small town parade


By Hal Brown

My partner and I went to one of our favorite towns, Aurora, Oregon to watch their summer festival parade and have lunch at our favorite pub. It happens to be  next to a small pot store:

Aurora is a town which is on the National Historic Register and is known for it's many antique shops all in old homes which are clustered together in the center of town. It's population is 1,133 in 336 households. Read more here.

Politically the Aurora leans conservative unlike where we live in a decidely liberal Portland suburb so we never bring up politics when we meet people there. (More about politics in Aurora.)

We managed to snag a perfect parking spot on the street along the parade route just before it was closed to traffic. 

Across the street from our car was a shady spot at the end of a driveway where a man and woman were already sitting. We had folding chairs in the car and asked if we could sit with them. They said we could and they moved their own chairs so we'd have more room.

The plastic hat was handed out by fire fighters in the parade.
I wore it just for the photo.

It turned out that this was the end of the driveway to their house. 

I sat next to the man and we chatted throughout the parade. 

He told me that he lived around the country but 10 years ago settled in Aurora. I learned that he was a Vietnam War veteran and grew up on a farm, and had a number of blue colar type jobs through his life. He asked what we did and I told him I'd been a therapist and my partner was a nurse. He said that one of his daughters was also a therapist. It occurred to me afterwards that I could have lied and told him we'd worked in jobs that didn't label us as being most probably liberal. I eventually did tell him I'd been a reserve police officer for 20 years since this usually gives me some conservative creds.

We engaged in friendly chit-chat throughout the parade. 

Sitting next to the man having already revealed I'd been a therapist I decided I'd throw into the conversation something that wouldn't lead him to think I was a flaming liberal. I told him that I'd watched many other local parades since I'd helped direct traffic at them when I was a reserve police officer before moving to Oregon.

I was much younger then. Mason, Michigan parade.

During the entire conversation I didn't know for sure what the man's political view was until we were leaving and I saw his "Let's Go Brandon" cap (top of page). If you don't know what this means click here. I consider this hat and flags and banners saying this to be far more objectionable than any of the MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags because people expressing this sentiment are saying f**k Joe Biden. 

Trump enabled the Jan. 6th attack on the Capital. He's been the poster boy for gutter politics hurling vulgar insults like a schoolyard bully. No wonder people feel comfortable with this slogan.

On the same Amazon search I found this:
It's a good thing wasn't wearing it. A more ambiguous message is on this cap if "let's go" is shorthand for the f-word rather than meant to cheer him on.
I could have worn one of these:
Update: Just found this...

This parade really did celebrate traditional small town values and old fashion pre-fascist patriotism from the days when displaying an American flag didn't suggest you might believe in the MAGA America First agenda. Click images below to enlarge them.

There's some new MAGA merch more to my liking:

You can find these items on Amazon.

May 26, 2023

It is like fleeing an obsessive and brutal regime in another country: She was trans in Texas and her family moved to Oregon

 By Hal Brown

This story was covered on Portland's KOIN TV:

Fearing for their trans daughter’s safety, a Texas family flees to Oregon

This is a poignant story. It has a happy ending.

It is a tale that reminded me of how people fled from persecution in brutal dictatorships where they rightly feared for their safety and in some instances where their lives were in jeopardy.

I won't attempt to wax poetic about Oregon and how, if you are a progressive, it is weird and wonderful. I've done this before, for example recently in my blog "Stop calling the GOP anti-woke hysteria weird. Weird is wonderful. Call it wiggy instead."

I also won't excerpt the KOIN-TV article which describes how the Texas family whose daughter, born physically male, realized at the age of three that she was a girl. 

Time went on and living in Texas became more and more stressful for the family described in the article living under Gov. Greg Abbott's anti-trans policies.

Being a member of an oppressed minority in a state or country is bad enough, but being a member of a group which is targeted for persecution or even prosecution in another matter.

Ultimately fears that Texas children's service could investigate them and even legally remove the child, then 10 years old, from the parental custody they decided to move to Pride proud Portland.

The child, now 11, and her parents, are now living safe and happily in Portland.

I urge that you read either the article or, better yet, watch the 7:41 minute video. 

There are well-known historic examples of how people fled home countries, from NAZI Germany to Cuba to North Africa to Venezuela. Now here in the divided United States (which I wrote about yesterday in "The 2024 Election will be like the new Battle of Fort Sumpter") we have the tragic spectacle of people feeling that to be safe they have to leave, or we could use the word "flee", their home states.

Women are having to temporarily leave the states where they live to get abortions. Students having to consider transferring from a college they love because the governor has decided it's was too "woke" (as in the case of New College in Florida). 

Across the country we have an uncounted number of people who may be seriously considering moving to a state where they feel they will be free from living under the boot of a dictatorship which has targeted them and their beliefs. The graphic below is from this website.

The states shown above, like Oregon, Washington, and New York, which aren't deep blue like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have sections with more conservative residents. Here in Oregon there is even a movement in the eastern rural part of the state to secede and become a part of Idaho.

Click image below to enlarge. The most liberal states are on the top and the most conservative on the bottom.

Whether someone is or has a loved one who is a member of the LQBTQ+ community or who has lost their job like the teachers in Florida who have been suspended for teaching "woke" there are millions of people living in states the government and the majority of residents  would be pleased if they moved. The majority may consider you to be a pervert or groomer. They may think you are a baby killer. They may think you are a communist or socialist. They may think you are merely an elitist. For whatever reason they don't think you belong in their state.

Each person with the means to move who feels attacked for their choices and beliefs has to consider whether it makes sense to stay and fight for their beliefs or chose to move to a progressive state. There are some states where so many residents have their beliefs so entrenched that change in the foreseeable future is just about impossible. 

Of course some people who may want to flee their state are just are unable to move. Aside from not having the money, this may be because of their employment (the family who moved to Oregon was lucky in that the husband's employer was able to transfer him), or having a network of family and friends where they live, or for other reasons. Living where I do in a Portland suburb and having moved from a suburb of Boston I feel lucky. I also feel for everyone who feels trapped in a state where they feel oppressed.

Both in the past and in the present people risked or are risking their lives to escape authoritarian intolerant regimes. People found ways to cross national borders from Germany in the late 1930's, they tried to climb a wall in Berlin, in recent times they are embarking on perilous sea journeys, or trekking thousands of miles from Central American to the Mexico-America border. 

Click above to read article

The logistics for Americans are easier. People can rent a U-Haul and a car hitch and without the danger of getting shot or drowning they can relocate. Unfortunately for those who want to move, it isn't really that easy.

May 13, 2023

Progressive Oregonian shocked and dismayed to see the main story on HUFFPOST

My morning ritual leading up to eventually deciding what, if anything, I can blog about is:

  1. I start my Keurig for my coffee
  2. I turn on MSNBC
  3. I fire up my laptop
  4. I check my email
  5. The first website I look at is HUFFPOST just to see what their editors decide to post as their lead story

Then I look at The New York Times, Washington Post, Raw Story, Salon, and other websites. I often find something I want to blog about in those stories.

Today I was surprised to see that the main HUFFPOST story was about something that very much impacted me as an Oregonian who is pleased to live in a very progressive state.

This is what I saw:

Click above to read article.

Oregon progressives and even middle-of-the road residents dodged a bullet named Christine Drazen, a far right Republican, in our most recent governor race, because an independent named Betsy Johnson became a third party candidate.

Click above to read article
(left to right Kotek, Johnson, Drazen)

Fortunately liberal Democrat Tina Kotek won.

Oregon, and Portland in particular, isn't a politically progressive Brigadoon. We have many problems including a lamentable rate of often deadly shootings, and rampant homelessness. In addition, we have our history of Black Live Matters protests which became violent and made national news. This was because far right groups came here because they were attracted to Portland's reputation as a being so progressive. We are known, among other things, for being so early in decriminalizing recreational use of marijuana, being LGBTQ+ friendly, and accepting immigrants. We also have  the first-of-its-kind psilocybin therapy program.

We also have the eastern rural portion of the state, which is mostly Republican and tends to be rampantly MAGA. They have been voting in non-binding country referendums to become part of Idaho in something called The Greater Idaho Movement. Read today's article about dueling protests.

My takeaway from this situation with our senate is that I should never get blasé about living in such a progressive area, and in the suburbs of a city which rightfully proudly celebrates itself for being weird. 

There is hope as far as this attempt to block hundreds of bills addressing, among other things, gender-affirming medical care, homelessness, gun control, mental health care, education, and abortion rights.  

There is a fly in the ointment that these Republican senators may have inadvertently swallowed. This is that a 2022 ballot measure is now part of the Oregon Constitution. It disqualifies a lawmaker with 10 or more unexcused absences from holding office in the next term.

Please add your comment

If you don't see the Disquis comment section click here and scroll to bottom of page. Comments and feedback are welcome. Disquis is preferred although you can make a comment using the internal Google comment section.

December 5, 2022

My new US House rep. mouths standard GOP answer when asked about Trump running

My new US House rep. mouths standard GOP answer when asked about Trump running

By Hal Brown

Archives on Right >

My new US House rep inside Trump's mouth in a DonkeyHotey caricature

I was very much invested in my Oregon elections this year because there was a chance that two Democrats in our most blue state I supported might loose. One was Tina Kotek running for governor and the other was  Jamie McLeod-Skinner running to represent our newly redrawn 5th Congressional District.

It was a huge relief when Kotek beat her far right challenger Christine Drazen, but businesswoman and former large suburban Portland city mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer won her race.

Click above to read and view video

I read the above article (afterwards I watched the video that went with it). Just from reading the article I began to think that perhaps she won't be that bad:

For example these are the responses that seemed hopeful:

“That’s one of the things I focused on as mayor. You’re a non-partisan mayor. You’re representing everyone in the city. We have to do the same here,” Chavez-DeRemer said. “I will always reach across the aisle to make sure I’m listening to the other side.”

Notably her response to one question was not in the website article, but was in the video. She was asked about her opinion about the conviction of Oath Keeper Stuart Rhodes. It was almost unbelievable that she said she hadn't been following this and had no comment. Either she was lying or hopelessly out of touch. I vote for the former.

Then I got to the last part of the article (at six minutes on the video):

Looking ahead to 2024, in light of Donald Trump announcing his presidential bid, Chavez DeRemer stated her support for whoever ends up at the top of the Republican ticket.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of Republicans running and we’ll see if he becomes the top of the ticket for the Republican party. I will support the nominee, but at this point I think it’s wide open for us to make those decisions early,” Chavez-DeRemer said.

This might as well come from a GOP talking point 3-5 card because it is pretty much word for word what other Republicans are saying when asked the same question.

After reading the article I watched the video on the website to try to be fair in my judgment that the interviewer was, to put it mildly, utterly horrible and an example of the kind of softball interview that would get a student fired from a college newspaper. 

This interview by Ken Bodie, a local TV station morning anchor, was published and aired on Dec. 3rd. Online it was updated on Dec. 4th. I think it came after Trump's appearance with Ye and Fuentes and possibly before his "suspend the Constitution" post. She should have been asked about her opinions about these if either had already occurred.

This is what Jennifer Rubin wrote in The Washington Post (summarized here on RawStory):

"It should not be too much to ask that serious media outlets label the GOP accurately as a threat to constitutional government and to democracy," she added, "No member of the media should allow Republican candidates, officeholders or operatives to escape an interview without declaring whether they would support for president a self-described opponent of the Constitution."

Here's a comment similar to what Chavez-DeRemer said from this ABC News article:

Trump's call to suspend Constitution not a 2024 deal-breaker, leading House Republican says

Republican Ohio Rep. Dave Joyce said Sunday that he didn't want to be drawn into commenting on Donald Trump's recent call to suspend the Constitution over baseless claims of 2020 election fraud.

Joyce, the chair of the Republican Governance Group, a centrist group in the House, was asked by ABC "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos to respond to Trump's post on Saturday on his Truth Social platform. The former president wrongly asserted that the "massive fraud" -- which did not occur -- "allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution."

Joyce initially declined to respond, saying he didn't know what Trump said on social media and that the public wasn't "interested in looking backwards." But Stephanopoulos pressed further, and Joyce ultimately said that Trump's comment should be taken "in context" but that it wouldn't prevent him from supporting Trump if he ends up winning the nomination.  

Addendum: This would be my version of this article.

December 3, 2022

Pot and psilocybin mushrooms in Oregon

 Pot and psilocybin mushrooms in Oregon
by Hal Brown

Two slightly related stories caught my eye on the website of a local Portland area TV station. Once I started writing about them my mind wandered far afield to cover other subjects.

Former employee reveals details about Shroom House’s operation

The use of psilocybin mushrooms will be legal in Oregon next year but apparently they are available now - the article concludes:

“I’ve never even seen this stuff before. So I’m trying,” said Scott Yon, a customer at Shroom House. “I understand it may not be legally up yet, but in Portland, it doesn’t seem like people get arrested for anything.”

Even though the Oregon Health Authority and police say this is not legal, the long lines seen outside the store show the simple economics of supply and demand.

I've considered trying psilocybin mushrooms once the clinics, where someone trained to help you navigate the experience will help you, to see what unexplored part of my mind was opened to my consciousness. 

Since the psychedelic era there were two groups (not mutually exclusive) of people who used LSD and similar substances. Some belonged to the "turn on, tune in, drop out" group, a term popularized by Timothy Leary, and the others wanted to discover more about themselves. Some eventually followers of Richard Alpert who was Leary's partner, who became Baba Ram Das, and led a movement aimed at spiritual enlightenment.

When I was in college during the height of hippie and counterculture psychedelic times (1963-1967) I knew lots of people in the former group. There was a people's park I often walked through at Michigan State where students camped out and got stoned. Reference. 

I have concluded that I don't want to take the risk of using psilocybin. I am leery of any substance that leads me to be out of control of where my mind goes. Once a psychoactive drug is in your brain there's no "off" switch. You have to ride out the experience.

I like to be able to embark on unstructured  mental journeys to see where my unconscious leads me, but I want to be able to exert some conscious control.

I have friends who meditate using one or another technique. Almost everyday I spend time just letting my mind wander freely. I am not sure whether this would be considered mediation but I like the experience.

Since my mid-teens I paid a lot attention to my dreams, what Freud called "the royal road to the unconscious" and in fact read two paperback books by Freud when I was in my teens. One was his "Introduction of Psychoanalysis" and the other was "The Interpretation of Dreams."
Karl Jung agreed and wrote that “the dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche.”

These readings led me to understand that there was much more to people, including myself, than they were aware of. This understanding always informed the kind of therapy I practiced for 40 years. I feel the crucial way therapy helps is the relationship between client and therapist, but that there are times with certain clients when it is helpful to facilitate insight into why they are distressed. 

The following article should be both cautionary and reassuring to those using cannabis, which is legal for recreational use in Oregon:

While I've tried high in CBD cannabis edibles to help sleep through the night I find that I don't like the effect that even the amount of THC, usually about a third, has on me. I makes my mind race and causes near hallucinatory images. I don't use any cannabis at all now, but I live in a senior community where many friends and acquaintances use it. If you visit any of the  560 + Oregon pot stores you will see customers ranging in age from 21 to 91 or older.  You will see hipsters looking for a better high to elders with bad hips relying on budmasters, the pot store version of your pharmacist, suggest varieties to help with different ailments.

It should be reassuring to cannabis users that the state is testing the products, but it seems to be common sense that anyone trying a new variety realize that the testing takes time to find contaminants so they need to make changes with caution.


This blog has moved to a new address

  This website is migrating Due to a problem with this platform, Google Blogger, I have moved my blog to WordPress and given it a new addres...