What Democrats Stand For

Were you to listen there are many mistaken ideas about what Democrats stand for and work towards.  Some tell lies about Democratic ideals and other don’t care to hear what might conflict with their beliefs.  Even folks who consistently vote Democratic are at a loss to articulate what Democrats believe.

First It isn’t just the party of and for blacks.  Although the majority of African-Americans will vote Democratic it isn’t because the Democrats promise free things—handouts from the Federal, State and Local Governments.  It’s true that Republicans aren’t likely to give the lower classes much of anything.  It’s the rich they are interested in.  The strange thing is that most Republican supporters don’t get much in the way of representation or benefits from the party they vote for.  What they do get is God, Flag, and anti-abortion.

The Democratic Party has changed.  Before they were the Republicans of today.  Around the 1920s and 1930s, they switched philosophies with the Republicans.  They began to support labor unions.  Today even Democrats feel unions aren’t necessary any longer.  Many resent union wages and pensions.  In 2016 there were 11.8% of full-time workers who were union members.  A further 5.7% of part time workers were union members.

.From a height of more than 30% union membership the Republicans and a few Democrats have chipped away at labor union’s power.  I’ve talked about the excesses of labor unions but they aren’t comparable to the excesses of management and corporations.

On the commondreams.org website the other day there was an article and a transcript of a speech given by Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren.  She is a true progressive and one tough lady.  Her speech was about 30 minutes long and given to a conference of Netroots Nation this past Saturday in Atlanta.

I won’t reproduce the entire speech, you can read it by going to commondreams.org in an article written by Nik DeCosta-Klips.

In her speech, she touches on many issues important to liberal/progressives.  She lists what we want from the Democratic Party.  Here then is a few quotes from her speech.

“More and more working families today are hanging on by their fingernails in a country with an economy and a government that works only for those at the very top”

And she continues.

“…I’ve been talking about how our middle class was squeezed to the breaking point, how chances to move up in this economy were disappearing, and warning that, if we weren’t careful, the very promise of this nation—the commitment to expand opportunities—would be lost.”

What do Democrats stand for?

“We’re going to fight for fully portable benefits for everyone.  And we’re going to fight to make sure that all work—full-time, part-time, gig—carries basic, pro-rata benefits.

“We’re going to fight to make it easier for workers to come together to form a union so they can take power into their own hands.

“And we’re going to turn the minimum wage into a living wage.  Fight for $15!

“It’s time for us to say: Democrats are on the side of hard working families who are getting pounded every day.

“We’re going to fight for universal pre-K, and to make it easier for every family to get child care.

“W’re going to fight like  hell to stop Republicans from jacking up the cost of health insurance and taking coverage away from millions.  Trumpcare will not get one Democratic vote—not now, not ever.  But it’s not enough just to defend the Affordable Care Acty, we’re going to improve it, starting with bringing down the cost of prescription drugs—and leading the fight for Medicare for all.

“We’re going to make it possible for young people to go to college or get a technical degree debt-free.

“We’re going to fight for affordable housing and good schools across our country, from the biggest cities to the smallest towns and most remote rural homesteads.

“And we will fight our heart out to d efend—and expand—Social Security and Medicare.”

The litany of things progressive fight for goes on.  Warren with passion has been saying these things for years.  Republicans don’t want to hear it because the things she says isn’t about power and greed.  It’s about people.  Even the people who vote against their best interests because of uninformed ideas and thoughts.  Their ignorance keeps them, lackeys of the Republicans voting for those who laugh at their ignorance in keeping them in power.

In 2013 25% of the population was Republican.  The only way they’ve been able to stay in power is by voter suppression and apathy on the part of voters who might vote Democratic.  American’s voting habits are pathetic.

As far as Elizabeth Warren is concerned I say Oorah and Semper Fidelis.

I Can’t Believe Anyone Is Surprised About Trump’s Statements

There are probably several groups separated by their love/like or dislike/hated.  There are probably those who don’t fit those categories either.  They just support Trump because they will support Republicans without question.  If they were to question it would be the beginning of the end.

I still believe most of Trump’s supporters are racists.  Perhaps not racists in the neo-Nazi, KKK or other white supremacists mold as those we saw in action in Charlottesville this past weekend but they have no love for blacks, Muslims, and other minorities. They’ve always been around.  They just went into the closet when it wasn’t accepted to openly state opposition to minorities.

With Trump’s ascendancy, it has become acceptable to be bigoted.  It has become apparent who supports the Right’s agenda and the mealy mouthed statements leaders of the Republican party have issued.  they condemn racism but are oddly silent about Trump’s support of the ultra-right.  Ryan and the “Turtle” still have an agenda that they want to pass through Congress and that is “tax reform” which is Republican code for giving the 1% more tax benefits.

The rationale being that the more money the rich have the more it will trickle down to those below.  Unfortunately, it never gets to the ones who need it.  The only way the economy grows is by everyone buying goods.  Ask a rich man who many pairs of pants they own and most likely they’ll say a number that would correspond to what a man in the middle class would own.  They will spend more for homes and other luxury items but those things are conducive to growing the economy.  How many luxury cars, boats, and airplanes are sold in a year?  It would be that many because the people that can afford to buy a Bugatti at $1.7 to 2.7 million dollars for one.   When you have bought one it’ll cost you $21,000 for an oil change.  About 50 units are made each year.

The super rich 1/10th of 1% are so few in numbers that what they add to the economy would put a blip on the scale.  It’s the ordinary people that buy everyday goods that drives our economy.  It has always been money gushing up to the rich from down below.  That’s not what you hear but that’s how it works.

But this is getting far from the topic of Trump’s “blame on all sides” remark.  The only people who buy that are the ones that love his out spoken racist remarks.  Do I have to list what they are?  I didn’t think so.

There have been other racist presidents before but not one so blatant.  If you think you’re safe from his attack you’re wrong.  Because he’ll stick it up everyone’s ass and break it off regardless of who you are.  Even his family.  I predict.

The Wedding

Yesterday, our nephew got married.  His brand new minted wife, Kit or Kashia, is a mixture of Assyrian father and Polish mother.  She was fluent enough in Polish to live in Poland where she attended medical school.  Trevor, the nephew, is wholly American after a few generations of ancestors born in the United States.

The wedding ceremony took place in a Catholic church in Skokie, Illinois.  It had elements of Polish tradition with the ring bearers and flower girls dressed in native Polish costumes.  It wasn’t a full mass, which I was thankful for.  I’ve always felt that the constant standing and sitting or measures to keep you awake or just to irritate people like me.

It was afterward that a different culture’s customs were introduced to those attending the ceremony.  It was the Assyrian faction of the wedding party took over with zaghareet vocalizations.  That the trilling that middle eastern women voice during weddings and other happy celebrations.  In English, it’s called ululation.  The bride and groom are surrounded by well wishers and to the sound of a drum, a shrill wind instrument the name of which I don’t know.

It lasted for quite a few minutes.  Trevor tiring brandishing a silver, large candy cane looking stick with what looked like little coins hanging from its entire length.  It was a truly multi-cultural wedding celebration.

The reception, held in Northbrook, at a country club was again a blend of the multi-cultural.  So representative of America’s blending of nationalities and traditions.  However, new traditions prevailed with dancing between food courses and introductions of bridal party and parents.

The dancing was accompanied by the ear splitting electronically enhanced music.  Now there were, what I assume was, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic rap.  Now there’s that and American rap I don’t understand.  My other nephew, Eric, asked if I was having fun.  I said no.  He seemed surprised.  Young people’s definition of fun and an old person’s idea of fun aren’t always compatible.  I’ve never liked music so loud that I border on cranial pain.  Anything above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.  I suspect all young people of significant hearing loss.  It seems, to them, music unless it’s boosted to stomach vibrating levels is too low.

A gathering of people one seldom sees is a great opportunity to catch up and reconnect.  But at today’s sound levels talk is impossible.  Perhaps young people don’t want to talk.  Yelling a few words is preferred.  I’ve mentioned before the escalation of sound levels in televisions shows.  Where before polite applause was sufficient now screams and standing ovations are the norm.

Still, it wasn’t my celebration and if it launches Kashia and Trevor on a trek that will last a long, long time then I say good for them.  I wish them success in a marriage of equality, happiness, and most importantly health.

North Korea

My brother Dave, who died years ago, once told me that he and another soldier were sent into North Korea before the Korean War started to gather intelligence as to what the North Koreans were planning.  Their report when they returned was that they were getting ready to attack the South Koreans for the purpose of reunifying North and South Korea under the hegemony of the North.

Typically their intelligence report was not heeded and the South Koreans were caught flat footed.   The United States became involved in a war that still hasn’t been finished.  Since 1953 there has been a truce between the United States and North Korea.  The president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee refused to sign the truce.  After the loss of 50,000 of our personnel and three years of mostly stalemate, the United States was more than ready to end the hostilities.

The United States, however, has maintained a sizeable presence in South Korea. Today there is about 28,500 military personnel in South Korea, mostly around the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.  North Korea has been run by a series of dictators from the same family ending with the nuttiest one of them all: Kim il Un.

Almost as nutty is the current president of the United States whose rhetoric has cranked up the tension between North Korea and the United States.  Times have changed the face of war since 1950.  Today North Korea has an estimated 13 to 30 nuclear weapons.  They outnumber the South Koreans in almost every category of weapons.  Although much of their equipment is obsolete, a lot can be said for sheer manpower.  Still, they don’t stand a chance against the combined weight of military might of the South Koreans and Americans.

That’s why they would most likely use their nukes.  The North’s artillery could devastate Seoul.  You can’t bomb North Korea back to the stone age because they are not far removed from the stone age.  Over 62% of Americans favor sending troops to South Korea.

Here we go again.  Since there’s no draft and only fools volunteer to serve in the military why should the majority of Americans care that our troops could be nuclear test dummies?

For over sixty years we’ve contained North Korean ambitions with sanctions and diplomacy.  Now Trump has to be the typical bully and threaten our enemies.  Oh, but not Russia.  What’s with Trump and Putin.  I sure hope the truth comes out about that odd couple.

Let cooler heads prevail.

The Secret Diary Of Hendrik Groen

The full title of this book when it first was published was Attempts to Make Something Of Life: The Secret Life of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 years old.

“Tears were streaming down my face – from laughing so hard. I couldn’t stop grinning for three days.” – Ouderenjournaal (Holland)

The above quote from Older Journal (Holland) was reproduced on the Amazon.com website.  I wonder if the reviewer was an older person?  I think it would make a difference.  A young person would see the humor in the writing—an older person would see the wrenching pathos lurking just under the descriptions of elder care homes, humorous or not.

In reading this book I felt an overwhelming sadness seeping through the writer’s words.  It carries the Arctic whisper of the grim reaper’s breathe.

I finished the book yesterday.  And as I’ve been reading it I’ve been thinking about it as well.  To me, the book was well written, humorous and the plot was laid out in an interesting manner.  Still, there weren’t any tears caused by laughter for me.  Although I did smile throughout my reading I didn’t find myself grinning like an idiot.

From the Barnes & Noble Website, I copied this review and blurbs about this book taken from Publisher’s Weekly.  In it, you’ll find a succinct description of the plot.

Publishers Weekly

05/29/2017
Delightful and moving, Groen’s novel shares a full year of the eponymous* octogenarian’s journal entries, detailing his day-to-day observations, humorous inner monologues, and overall zest for life within a nursing home in Amsterdam. Bored with the daily monotony of life at the center, he decides to keep a journal for a complete year to expose the frustrations, gripes, and groans of his fellow “inmates” and the realities of growing old. Between hilarious quips about life, Hendrik regales readers with the joys of the motor scooter and his decision to relent and wear adult diapers. Hendrik’s good friend Evert—a crotchety old fellow who gets his kicks riling up the other residents—helps stave off the loneliness, but it’s when new resident Eefje arrives that Hendrik feels a spark he hasn’t experienced in a long time. Hendrik, Eefje, and Evert, along with a small group of wily seniors, decide to have a little fun while they still can by organizing the Old-But-Not-Dead Club to plan outings and excursions, including tai chi and cooking classes, and visits to the casino and museums. Engaging and hilarious, Hendrik’s diary gives a dignity and respect to the elderly often overlooked in popular culture, providing readers a look into the importance of friendship and the realities of the senior care system in modern society. (July)

From the Publisher

“Amusing [and] wickedly accurate…Reading The Secret Diary, I was constantly put in mind of Ken Kesey’s madhouse tale One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, another comi-tragedy concerning the tyranny of institutions of the unwanted. Enjoy Groen’s light touch but do not be fooled by it….The Secret Diary is a handbook of resistance for our time.”—The Express (UK)“Funny and frank – a story with a great deal of heart.”—Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project

“A story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I’m an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen.”—John Boyne, internationally bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

“An incredible picture of friendship… something we could all stand to emulate, no matter where we are in our lives.”—Bookpage, Top Fiction Pick for July

“Interspersed with Groen’s biting wit and comic take on aging and all it entails… A page-turning delight for adult readers of any age and locale.”—Booklist, starred review

“Poignant and true-to-life, an international bestseller.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

I think the writer’s artistry shines illuminating his words and life in the supposedly simple diary entries of Groen through one year in the lives of the inmates of this Dutch senior housing.  It is all about the things mentioned above; but it spreads its narrative over the existence of all older people worldwide with little time left to live and tells the reader how fragile their existence really is.This book is worth reading.  It is thought provoking.  But it won’t appeal to readers of all ages.  At least I don’t think it will.  Older readers will get the most out of it.  Some young people aren’t interested in the life of old people.

*The book isn’t really eponymous.  The writer’s name isn’t Hendrik Groen.  The author is anonymous.  This is a work of fiction.

The New Colossus

Emma Lazarus’ occupation is normally listed as a poet.  Those were the days someone from a rich family could be a poet.  Today, not so much.  I doubt if Wikipedia would list anyone who solely writes poetry as a poet even though they may have published a book of poems.  People today don’t read poems.  Few write poetry that is in mass market circulation.  I can only think of one off hand, Mary Schmich who writes them for her column in the Chicago Tribune.

Emma Lazarus is known today if she is known at all for her poem The New Colossus. The entire poem is inscribed on a plaque that is still on display in the museum in the Statue Of Liberty’s pedestal.  You’d be excused if you said what poem.  Inscribed on the tablet the Statue Of Liberty hold are the lines, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The idea of the Statue Of Liberty being the “new colossus,” is that America is the new land of freedom. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the ten wonders of the ancient world, has been displaced.  America, at least in 1883 when this poem was written, was the beacon to Europe giving its huddled masses and direction and place to breathe free.

Stephen Miller, a disciple of Steve Bannon, along with other alt-right, white supremacists hate the Statue of Liberty and I’m sure Lazarus’ poem.  Lazarus was Jewish American and worked for the establishment of a Jewish state.  She worked for Jews suffering pograms in Europe and Eastern Europe.   Miller is himself Jewish but hates his roots.  He has said that his grandparents, who came penniless to the United States, should not have been let in.  Now the spawn of all that is despicable has a chance to be Communications Director.  Worse than Scaramucci?  I think so.

Lazarus died in 1887 at the age of 38 most likely from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  It wasn’t until 1903 that her poem was inscribed on the plaque in the pedestal.  Today, however, the statute’s “beacon hand,” while it may still glow, does not shine a “world-wide welcome.”  Now you must speak English.

Emma Lazarus: The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

 

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp! (,)” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

For over a hundred years this sentiment has been our siren’s call to the world.  In just over six months it no longer is.

 

Still Afghanistan

Starting in 2003 there had been a moratorium on the media showing flag draped caskets of dead military personnel arriving at Dover AFB for Iraq and Afghanistan.  The other day I saw the two more recent dead arriving at Dover AFB killed by IEDs in Afghanistan.  The United States and its allies have been there now for 16 years.  The statistics as of 2016 was 2,386 dead and 20,049 wounded.  The UK has had 300 troops killed.

The English first went to war in Afghanistan in 1839 and they were still there in 2017.  Not continuously but it’s ironic, isn’t it?  There were ten years of Russia trying to tame Afghanistan without results.  It was their Vietnam.

The cost for American’s in dollars of our war in Afghanistan is $779,642,548,000.  That figure goes up rapidly every second to this day.  What for?  Was there a reason to have put U.S. troops there just to flush out Osama bin Ladin?  A few dozen perhaps but not to commit the United States there at $2 billion a day is, as Trump said to his generals, “nuts.”

Some billionaire pal of his told him of the mineral wealth in Afghanistan and like Iraq’s oil, he wants it.  He doesn’t know it would be against international law if we were to confiscate those minerals.  But what does he know about the law or anything else?

There’s no reason for us to get involved in nation building in Afghanistan or Iraq.  We didn’t do such a good job in the political decisions to go to war in either country.  It’s no wonder the Muslin nations believe we are at war with Islam.  Trump’s Muslim Ban doesn’t do anything to assuage their fears either.

Our volunteer military accounts for 1/10th of 1% of our population.  They have multi-deployments in combat zones.  The 20,049 wounded are mostly those severely wounded.  Many have traumatic brain injuries.  Congress tends to forget about them after they’ve been through veterans hospital for months.  It’s rarely their kids that die.  Except for General Kelly who lost a son in these senseless wars.

I can’t see how he can work for Trump a man who received 5 deferments for a heel spur that doesn’t seem to have bothered him much in his life.  Then he says he prefers his heroes not to have been captured like John McCain.

Will Trump lead us to the brink and beyond and be responsible for the deaths of many more U.S. Military personnel?  We’ll have to keep our Congressmen’s and women’s feet to the fire to prevent Trump from starting any kind of war.  They didn’t do so good with “W” Bush or Obama.  Let’s hope they do better with Trump.

Respect

Barbara records the View and she wanted me to see a segment of the View that talked about Newsweek cover picture With Trump.  Here it is.

After showing the cover the ladies on the panel talked about the picture. Jedediah Bila and the newswoman from NBC’s Today Show,  Paula Feris, a  conservative felt that it was disresp-ectful of the office of the president  I thought about the issue most of the today.  I thought about respect and the respect of “the position.”  There’s a lot to be thought of when thinking about having respect for a position and having respect for a person.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with the picture.  It is satire about a person’s traits who just happens to be the president of the United States.  Let’s look at ten disrespectful incidents aimed at Obama as president.

 

1. The birther fiasco (2009-2011). No evidence. No proof. No documentation.  But the story traveled on for years. Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States of America.

2. “You lie” (Sept. 2009). That any individual — no less a member of Congress watching a U.S. President during a joint session on live national television — is so lacking in self control that this moment was made possible is incredible — even in an age of incivility. Remember this happened only nine months into Obama’s presidency and is another “we can’t remember that ever happening ever before” moment. Close your eyes and pretend Rep. Maxine Waters was Wilson doing this to President Bush and image the reaction.

3. Signs of the Tea Party (July 2010) and Naked Racism (April 2011).  Anyone remember California GOP official Marilyn Davenport’s racist e-mail? Did she ever resign for that?  I remember all the criticism of the NAACP – particularly from Black Republicans — for their “Tea Party resolution” of 2010.  Where was that indignation regarding what can be viewed in this video? Click here.

4. Donald “unchecked ego” Trump inflames birther fiasco, media assists (April 2011). The mouth of Donald Trump is a powerful thing when joined with a 24-hour cable news cycle desperate for viewers.  That news organizations invited Trump on the air unchallenged with zero proof of what he was saying speaks volumes on the state of journalism.  That Trump was completely comfortable demanding that a U.S. President “show him his papers” displays a superiority complex that exists among those who can’t accept someone they view as “lesser” in a position of power over them.

4. Deadbeat dad and probable one-termer thinks his presence before the President actually matters and needs to tell everyone (Sept 2011).  The disrespect isn’t that probable one term Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) wouldn’t attend the President’s Sept. 8 speech. The disrespect is that Rep. Walsh actually believed that everyone knowing he wasn’t attending was important.  That he needed to announce he would not attend on national television, as if anyone cared, was yet another delusional superiority episode.  That proudly showing public disrespect towards the President is a winning strategy in some political circles reveals a lot.

5. Newt Gingrich’s “Kenyan anti-colonial behavior” comment (Sept 2010).Even Washington Post columnist and conservative thinker George Will slammed this attempt to define the President as “foreign.” Never mind the facts: President Obama wasn’t reared by his father in Kenya with whom he spent only a month of his 50 years on this earth. The strategy to define the President as a “foreign” or “alien” being was started by Sarah Palin in 2008.

6. One of the underlying premises of disrespect towards the President is that he can be ordered around and dictated to like he’s Tipi the laundry boy.  The presumption that a U.S. President can be ordered around is a new phenomenon that appears to have gotten underway around January 2009.  From big mouth Congressmen to millionaires with nothing to do, you name it — they all inherently believe they can order President Obama around.  At least Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an actual leader of something. Regardless, read this and ask yourself if you think this would have happened to Presidents Bush, Reagan or Clinton.

7. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer puts her finger in the President’s face (January 2012). The photo speaks for itself.  Of course there are strong political disagreements between President Obama and Gov. Brewer.  But is it just possible there was a better time and place for this conversation?  Brewer said she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. Please.

8. GOP House, prompted by Tea Party — refuses to raise debt ceiling (Aug 2011). Sounds like this was just hardball politics right? Let’s review the facts: The debt ceiling had been raised 69 times since 1962 without incident.  Seven times during Bush II and 18 times during Reagan.  Suddenly, with President Obama, a shiny new precedent is set with regard to raising the debt ceiling.  Another never before seen incident is born.

9. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Publicly Announces His Top Political Priority (Dec 2010). McConnell wants the President out of office?  No news there, but, wait, there’s more to it. “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term,” Sen. McConnell told the Heritage Foundation.  Of course the Senate Republican Leader doesn’t want the President to be re-elected.  But what’s with the public announcement? In July 2010 McConnell acknowledged his single most important political goal: President Obama being a one-term President. Again: In public and on national television.

10. Speaker Boehner refuses speech date request (September 2011). No it is not the end of the world.  Of course, the White House intentionally wanted to step on a GOP debate that same night. But, this is yet another first in American history. Once again, no one can find another instance where a President of the United States requested a date to address Congress and was refused.

Now there’s a white president and although the president may have colluded with the Russians, is a pathological liar, a sexual predator, and bully we have to give. some think, the office of the president respect if not the man.  Humbug!

Does the office, the position, of the president demand respect from the world regardless of who is the president?  If John Wayne Gacy was president or Adolph Hitler was president would we have to be respectful to them just because they were president? Does the position of the president make the man of does the man earn our respect by being a good, or better, a great president?

Too often we have to be respectful of an office or position because if we don’t we will suffer somehow.  Try being disrespectful to a judge, or police officer, or your boss, or even your teacher and see what happens.  All too often the teacher gets little respect even though he or she may deserve it.  Sometimes respect comes just from likability. Because I like you I, therefore, can respect you.  Humbug again!

I’ve had to salute officers in the Marine Corps that I had no respect for.  But the consequence of not saluting was not worth showing my disdain for the individual.

I wouldn’t say that all of Trump’s supporters are poorly educated and racists but I would think that a great majority of them are just that.  Looking at another dose of Trump’s need for sycophantic adoration during a West Virginia campaign style rally was disturbing to watch.  Chanting “lock her up” and responding with Mexico to Trump’s prompt as to who will pay for the wall, I found it hard to believe that people can be that naive or that stupid.  But seeing is believing.

Now after all the hard work of thinking of words to Tweet Trump is going on a 17 day “working” vacation at his New Jersey Golf Club.  Will he work on tax reform or a new version of Trump Care?  Or will he just reflect on why he’s on vacation after saying “what’s the point” of going on a vacation?

As the Newsweek cover shows he has already spent 40 days at his golf clubs already.  He’ll be worse than George W Bush vacationing and Ronald Reagan working short hours each day.

As I said, respect has to be earned or there has to be the fear of consequences if respect is not given.  So far Trump has done nothing except for anti-Muslims, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-government people.  He is an affront to my America.

 

Corpsmen

My guard post and M60 machine gun.

After returning from Vietnam and spending a little time in Chicago on leave. I reported in to my next duty station located at Montford Point, North Carolina.  Montford Point is located hailing distance from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina home of the Marine Corps 2nd Division.  It’s located just east of Montford Point.

In those days Montford Point was the Marine Corps’ formal schools location.  Many of the MOSs, Military Occupation Specialties, had schools there.  I was assigned to teach auto mechanics there.

Looking in Google Earth I notice that Montford Point is now labeled as Camp Gilbert.  I guess the fact that Montford Point, until 1947, was a boot camp for Black Marines.  It wasn’t until 1947 that Truman integrated the armed forces.  There is a memorial to the Black Marines there though.

The reason I’m bringing this up is just as background for another of the schools located there.  It was the Hospital Corps School and Field Medical School.  The Marine Corps, being the poorest branch of the military, doesn’t have their own combat medical personnel.  The fact that the Marines were last in line was driven home by the lack of jungle boots, jungle utilities, and while the Army had M16s we still carried the M14.  I actually preferred the M14 at the time.  The corpsmen who served and serve with the Marine Corps are all U.S. Navy personnel.

I’ve always imagined how they felt when told their medical duties would be fulfilled serving with the Marine Corps.  Often as I would travel the road out of the base I’d see these corpsmen being drilled by Marine Corps drill instructors in the same manner as all Marines were in Marine Corps boot camp.  These prospective Corpsmen had already gone through Navy Boot Camp and now had to spend another thirteen weeks learning how to be Marines.  Then there were three weeks of Field Medical School where they were taught how to medically service the Marine Corps.

I’ve mentioned before in another blog that no one had a negative word for our “Docs.”  For us they were Marines.  While on Guard duty I would watch as a grunt squad and a Corpsman bringing up the rear would pass through our lines into the boonies past the rice paddies, just around sunset.

In this month’s issue of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars, magazine, there is an article about the medics and corpsmen that served in Vietnam.   It gave information that I didn’t know.  Information that raised my respect for them even more than I had.

Jerome Greet Chandler, a former Army medic wrote the article that I read in VFW.  He writes:

“According to U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Historian Andre Sobocinski, more than 10,000 Navy hospital corpsmen served with Marines during Vietnam (War).  Of Those, 645 were killed in action and more than 3,300 wounded.”

The statistics for Army medics serving in Vietnam is unknown.  Now how is that possible?  But what is known is the number of medical personnel that received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery.

“According to the Medal of Honor Society, 259 medals were conferred for actions during the Vietnam War.  Twenty of them went to medics. corpsmen and the like—one out of every 13 conferred.”

Altogether, from 1964 to 1975 2.7 million served in Vietnam.  I was just one of many and I did nothing heroic during my months there.  I was scared several times but mostly I simply survived.

But, to all the “Docs” who served along side of Marines, I say Oorah and Semper Fi.  I salute you all.

 

The Rich Tries To Get Richer

Jake Johnson, in yesterday’s commondreams.org wrote:

“‘The Trump administration’s collaboration with the Koch brothers to cut corporate taxes is the pure distillation of the corrupt cronyism that candidate Trump promised to eliminate,’ said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. ‘Big money influence has led to spectacular concentrations of wealth, which is channeled back into politics in the service of helping the superrich become even richer*.”‘

I suppose not everyone knows who the Koch brothers are.  In 2015 the PBS Newshour answered these questions:

Q: Who are the Koch brothers?

A: Charles and David Koch, ages 78 and 74, are billionaire brothers who helped create a broad network of nonprofit groups that control hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into politics. Through their deep pockets, they are reshaping politics with an uncompromising agenda of reducing regulation, advancing libertarian ideas, promoting free-market Republican candidates and ousting Democrats. They have two other brothers, William and Frederick, who aren’t involved in the effort.

Q: Where did they get their money?

A: The Kochs inherited their father’s company in Kansas, and turned Wichita-based Koch Industries into the second-largest privately held company in the nation. The conglomerate makes a wide range of products including Dixie cups, chemicals, jet fuel, fertilizer, electronics, toilet paper and much more. William and Frederick cashed out in 1983 and no longer have a stake in the company.

Q: How rich are Charles and David?

A: With a fortune estimated at $41 billion each, Charles and David tie for fourth on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans, and tie for sixth on Forbes’ worldwide billionaires list.

Q: What’s their secret?

A: Charles, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, attributes the company’s success to his business philosophy, “Market-Based Management,” which he’s trademarked. Among its components: hiring and retaining people with the right values, and giving employees a bigger voice in decision-making. The company’s growth strategy also includes reinvesting 90 percent of earnings.

Q: How much money do Charles and David put into politics?

A: That’s the big question. It’s unanswered because the Kochs channel lots of money into nonprofit groups that don’t have to identify their donors. The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics have calculated that the donor network organized by the Kochs took in at least $407 million in the 2012 election cycle. However, not all of that money came from the Kochs themselves. David Koch’s charitable giving has included $58 million donated to nonprofits that could include groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the CATO Institute and the Heritage Foundation (all conservative organizations, jm), according to company spokeswoman Missy Cohlmia. In addition, the two brothers’ direct political contributions to federal candidates and party committees totaled at least than $2 million over the past two decades.

One of David Koch’s foundations is the David Koch Science Foundation.  For Koch science, real science is an anathema.  How WGBH can take money from Koch is beyond my ability to reason.  Yes, I understand necessity and greed.  Koch is trying to legitimize his foundation by attaching his name prominently to a well-respected science based television program.  Even if it takes him a long time to stick his finger into program content I suspect one day he will.  It’ll be at a time when WGBH can’t afford to offend Koch resulting in the loss of much-needed underwriting funds.

For extreme right wing political creatures, science ends with Genesis verse 31—” God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”

The Koch and their band of billionaires want government out of their business and a reduction in taxes so that the brunt of financing the government is shouldered by the 99% who aren’t filthy rich.

The Libertarian ideal of letting private enterprise do as they wish has never worked and never will.  The love of money is the root of all evil.  In some Bibles, it is written as the root of all kinds of evil.  I prefer the King James Version that says simply the root of all evil is the love of money.

For the 2016 presidential campaign, the Koch brothers had budgeted $889 million dollars so said PBS.  What they didn’t say was that it was earmarked for only Republican candidates.

Make no mistake Trump is working for the billionaires and not for his base.  They, his base, wouldn’t believe that so don’t bother telling them.  For them, it is “fake news.”

*Emphasis is mine.

The Constitution/The First Amendment

I’ve ignored Trump’s antics for awhile.  I believe his actions are antics since they do not have anything closely resembling governance.  His Tweeting is hardly conducive to being a president of a major world power.  I no longer think America is considered the most powerful nation in the world.

The “Mooch” came in six days ago because Trump considered him someone who “got” him.  After embarrassing the White House in an interview with the New York Times, more than Trump does, he was fired by the new chief of staff, Kelly.  Or it could have been Trump.  He seems to want credit for getting rid of a fellow New Yorker who got him.  Birds of a feather I suspect in truth.

On the campaign trail, Trump said he supported LGBTQ rights.  This may have been Trump changing the conversation by throwing the LGBTQ community under the wagon since his base cares nothing for any member of this large group.

I thought it appropriate to say wagon since that’s the era Trump and his supporters live in. Horse and wagon days.  I’ve heard transgender people referred to by several derogatory names mostly because they couldn’t, wouldn’t, understand the motivations of LGBTQ people.

I suppose they don’t have to understand or even be compassionate towards them as long as they understand that as Americans and even non-Americans they have the same rights as the Constitution and the laws of the United States grants them.  Even groups that are offensive and un-American in their beliefs have the same rights.  Take the example of White Supremacists groups.  They can Salute with the fascist salute and Sieg Trump as they did when Trump became president.  They had right to do so.

In 1977 thirty, or so, members of the American Nazi party sought to march in Skokie.  As Geoffrey Stone wrote in, the Huffington Post,* remembering the incident in which he played a part:

“At the time of the proposed march in 1977, Skokie, a northern Chicago suburb, had a population of about 70,000 persons, 40,000 of whom were Jewish. Approximately 5,000 of the Jewish residents were survivors of the Holocaust. The residents of Skokie responded with shock and outrage. They sought a court order enjoining the march on the grounds that it would “incite or promote hatred against persons of Jewish faith or ancestry,” that is was a “deliberate and willful attempt” to inflict severe emotional harm on the Jewish population in Skokie (and especially on the survivors of the Holocaust), and that it would incite an “uncontrollably” violent response and lead to serious ‘bloodshed.’

“The Skokie controversy triggered one of those rare but remarkable moments in American history when citizens throughout the nation vigorously debated the meaning of the United States Constitution. The arguments were often fierce, heartfelt and painful. The American Civil Liberties Union, despite severe criticism and withdrawal of support by many its strongest supporters, represented the First Amendment rights of the Nazi. As a young law professor at the University of Chicago, I had the played a minor role in assisting the ACLU. In the end, the Illinois Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court contributed to the conclusion that Skokie could not enjoin the Nazis from marching.

“It is useful to consider the three primary arguments set forth by Skokie in support of its effort to forbid the march. First, the village argued that the display of the swastika promoted “hatred against persons of Jewish faith or ancestry” and that speech that promotes racial or religious hatred is unprotected by the First Amendment. The courts rightly rejected this argument, not on the ground that the swastika doesn’t promote religious hatred, but on the ground that that is not a reason for suppressing speech. After all, it the Nazis could be prohibited from marching in Skokie because the swastika incites religious hatred, then presumably they couldn’t march anywhere for the same reason, and movies could not show the swastika, and even documentaries could not show the swastika. And if the swastika can be banned on this basis, then what other symbols or ideas can be suppressed for similar reasons. What about movies showing members of the Ku Klux Klan? News accounts showing Palestinians committing suicide bombings in Israel or showing Israelis attacking civilians?

Second, the village argued that the purpose of the marches was to inflict emotional harm on the Jewish residents of Skokie and, especially, on the survivors. Certainly, some residents would be deeply offended, shocked and terrified to see Nazis marching through the streets of Skokie. But they might also be offended, shocked and terrified to know that Schindler’s List was playing at a movie theatre in Skokie, or in Chicago, or in Illinois, and African-Americans might be offended, shocked and terrified to know that the movie Birth of a Nation was playing in a theatre in their town or nation. And so on. Moreover, it is doubtful that the actual intent of the Nazis was to inflict emotional harm on the residents of Skokie. Initially, the Nazis sought to march in a totally different community in Chicago, one with almost no Jewish population. But they were denied a permit. They then decided to march in Skokie in order to get publicity for their grievance. Indeed, the signs they planned to carry in Skokie did not say “Bring Back the Holocaust,” but “White Free Speech” and “Free Speech for the White Man.” Making First Amendment rights turn on judgments about a speaker’s subjective intent is a dangerous business, because intent is very elusive and police, prosecutors and jurors are very prone to attribute evil intentions to those whose views they despise.

Third, the village argued that if the Nazis were permitted to march there would be uncontrollable violence. But is this a reason to suppress speech? Isn’t the obligation of the government to protect the speaker and to control and punish the lawbreakers, rather than to invite those who would silence the speech to use threats of violence to achieve their ends? If the village of Skokie had won on this point, then southern communities who wanted to prosecute civil rights marchers in Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham could equally do so, on the plea that such demonstrations would trigger “uncontrollable violence.” Moreover, once government gives in to such threats of violence it effectively invites a “heckler’s veto,” empowering any group of people who want to silence others to do so simply by threatening to violate the law.

The outcome of the Skokie controversy was one of the truly great victories for the First Amendment in American history. It proved that the rule of law must and can prevail. Because of our profound commitment to the principle of free expression even in the excruciatingly painful circumstances of Skokie more than thirty years ago, we remain today the international symbol of free speech. (Ultimately, a deal was worked out and the Nazis agreed to march in Chicago rather than in Skokie.)

“Ironically, but exquisitely, it was the Skokie controversy that caused the survivors in Skokie and around the world to recognize that, in the words of the new Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, ‘despite their desire to leave the past behind, they could no longer remain silent.’ It was in the wake of the Skokie affair that ‘Chicago-area survivors joined together to form the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois.’ As a result on this controversy, the survivors dedicated themselves to ‘combating hate with education.’ And so now, with only a handful of survivors still alive to see the moment, we now have this extraordinary memorial and museum.”

At the end of the blog, Stone has a quote from Justice Brandeis which reads:

“As Justice Louis Brandeis once explained, the Framers of our First Amendment knew ‘that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.'”

I think that the sentiment is extremely relevant today, right now in the age of Trump and his supporters.

*Original blog appeared on May 20, 2009, and was updated May 25, 2011.

The Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, WI

One fact of getting old is that one becomes accustomed to going to the same places.  Newness doesn’t hold the same attraction as it once did.  That goes for many things like eating at the same places so you’re not disappointed with the food.  Going to the same types of places for entertainment.  Barbara likes gardens.  So yesterday, once again, found us at a favorite garden—The Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Every year, for the last few years, we found ourselves in Janesville.  Yesterday was the day to see the annuals in bloom.  The mosquitoes were bad this year and I forgot to take along insect repellant.  I am one of the unfortunate ones that seem to be allergic to the anticoagulant that mosquitoes inject before sucking up a few pints of my blood.  That means I can be assured that each bite will be the size of ostrich egg after it blows up.

I don’t need many to be miserable with itching and general irritability.  It was also very warm in the sun.  Still, it was nice to be outdoors and with nature’s beauty.  I save myself a few thousand words and leave you with more flower pictures.

quincetera on the Japanese Bridge

artistic ruins in the garden

New Book To Read

July days are inexorably marching toward the back of the calendar.  Before we know it November will be here with the imminent threat of snow crunching beneath the soles of our shoes.  Thanksgiving will be hard on our heels as we rush towards Christmas and then a New Year.

The other day I purchased through Amazon an expensive, $13.99, Kindle book.  Its authorship is anonymous.  It’s Dutch and called The Secret Diary Of Hendrik Groen.

Like most diaries, this one starts one starts on January 1 and continues, as far as I can tell, until December 31. Groen lives in a retirement home on the north side of Amsterdam.  He is 83.5 years old and is unlike the other residents of the home.  He doesn’t want to simply complain about the weather, food, and his ailments.  Although he does talk about those things often.  I suppose it’s because of his humor that it doesn’t sound as if those three things are all consuming interests.  I haven’t gotten very far but I will report on it when I’m done.

I think, when I saw the review of the book, I wanted something funny and since it deals with a topic that may be in my future, I hope not.  I suppose I should start being nice to those close to me who might be the one to make the decision which home I’ll be put into.  My wish, like anyone with sense, is to die in my sleep without drama and not at the end of a long drawn out process of terminal illness.

It’s tragic that we don’t often dictate how and when we will die, however.   We take and play the hand we are dealt.  I wonder who the dealer is.  I wonder if it was the same dealer on December 20, 1987, that was behind schedule and so dealt 4,375 people the same card, the Ace of Spades.

The Doña Paz was a passenger ferry that collided with a small oil tanker in the Tablas Strait.  The strait is in the Philippines.  The cargo of the oil tanker caught on fire which spread rapidly to the Doña Paz which sank quickly in just a few minutes.  That was the worst shipping disaster in history.

I can’t be positive but I would think there weren’t many on that ship that wanted to die that day.  After all, there aren’t that many, except a few zealots and desperate people who want to die.

Look where I’ve ended up—writing about death when I wanted to be cheered up by reading a book that was supposed to be humorous.  I wonder if the dealer of life’s cards can be bribed?  Hmmmm.

Health Care And John McCain

I’m reproducing a large chunk of an article written by Jon Queally on commondreams.org and published yesterday, Sunday July 23rd, 2017.  The first part is a quote from Pastor John Pavlovitz of North Carolina.  It’s subject is John McCain’s cancer. But the scope is much, much wider—it has to do with the Senate’s Republican’s health care bill.  Pastor John writes:

             “The personal hell that John McCain and his loved                    ones are walking through right now is the point of                  it all. These moments are precisely what we’re                          talking about, arguing about, screaming about:                     The atomic bomb of grief that gets dropped on                         your family when you get the test results and your                  planet is altered forever.

 

“John McCain deserves life. He deserves to have every available resource exhausted to try and make him well. His family deserves this. His wife and his children deserve it. The people who treasure him deserve it. They deserve it, not because he’s wealthy or known or “important”—but simply because he’s loved by someone who wants more time with him. That’s enough for me. Every human being deserves this. Every spouse and every child and every treasured person.

John McCain is priceless to those he loves and who love him—as priceless as the people you love are to you, as you are to them.
He is a household name, but every one of us is a household name to someone whose life is defined by our presence and who would be decimated by our absence.

Universal healthcare is something we need to talk about now, because Cancer is an equal-opportunity bastard who cannot be defeated without help; because life-threatening illness is a bully that knocks the hell out of you and those who care about you, because we are all terrified of dying and want to know that we won’t be left alone if the shit hits the fan.

I want John McCain to live. I want him to get to spend more time with those who would grieve his loss in ways I’ll never understand. But I want this for you too. I want it for your father and your children and your friends. I want it for those I love. I want it for people I agree with and people I don’t.

We should be for one another. We should fight for each other’s life with all that we have.

Jon Queally continues in his article:

“In a letter published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, reader Ed Sinderman stated: “I hope there’s a realization that if McCain had not been a privileged senator of the United States, he may have not had the proper medical attention that resulted in this unfortunate diagnosis and best possible outcome, whatever that may be.  I do not intend to make a political issue out of McCain’s health, but his party needs to understand that its policies treat the lives of people like the senator much differently from less fortunate American citizens.”

While the national debate continues, and as Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes “a last-ditch” attempt to navigate the minefield within his own party to get a bill through the Senate, a look at low-income Americans desperately lining up and waiting for hours to receive the most basic care provides a sharp indictment of a for-profit system that increasing numbers of people realize is both inhumane and beyond repair.

In recent days, a temporary free medical clinic set up in rural Virginia offered a brutal reminder about how people without access to health insurance or regular care remain victims to a healthcare system that leaves tens of millions Americans left out. As the Washington Post reported:

No relief is in sight for someone like Larry McKnight, who sat in a horse stall at the Wise County Fairgrounds having his shoulder examined. He was among more than a thousand people attending the area’s 18th annual Remote Area Medical clinic, where physicians and dentists dispense free care to those who otherwise have none.

“I really think that they don’t have any clue what’s going on,” McKnight said of political leaders in Washington. “You watch the news and it’s two sides pitted against each other, which in turn just makes them pitted against us, the normal person.”

Dr. Paula Hill, clinical director of the Central Appalachia Health Wagon, which organizes the event, explained to the local Bristol Herald Courier that the health care provided at the RAM clinic is vital to those it serves.  “These people need help,” Hill said. “There are people out there that work every day that do not have access to vision and dental care, even if they have insurance.”

Late Saturday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shared the Post‘s article on the free clinic to his Facebook page and added this commentary:

No. This is not some poor third world country where over one thousand people lined up in a field for emergency health care. This is Virginia, the United States of America, the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. But it’s not just Virginia. It’s every state in the nation. Today, in the United States, some 28 million people have no health insurance while even more are under-insured with high deductibles, high co-payments and high prescription drug costs. Unbelievably, the Republicans are not content with this disgraceful situation. They want to make it even worse by throwing another 22 million people off of the health insurance they currently have. Our answer: in a democratic civilized society, health care must be a right of all, not a privilege. We need a Medicare for All single payer program.

And so, as Pavlovitz argues, talking about healthcare            in the wake of the “terrible news” about Sen. McCain              is not ‘disrespectful’ or off the mark.

 

It’s the whole goddamn point.”

I thought to give a wider voice to Queally’s article was better than the words I could print in this blog.  Although I feel the same outrage and compassion to others as these people in this article do.  This is the “whole goddamn point.”

Lunch With The Retired Folk/Flowers With The Birds & Bugs

Thirteen, including me, retired people gathered for a lunch at Moody’s Pub today.  Moody’s, known for their burgers has an outdoor dining area.  Although I prefer air conditioning It wasn’t too bad.  Every so often a cool breeze blew through the courtyard eliciting sighs of gratitude.  The worst part was the parking.  There was parking but it costs $2.00 an hour.  Still, that’s cheap but Moody’s isn’t in the loop or a newly fashionable hip area where you’d pay considerably more to park.

I don’t understand why we should pay anything to park on city streets.  Driving down the side streets near Moody’s is an exercise in patience.  Most streets had speed bumps and signs for permit parking only.  The congestion is enough to piss off the Pope.  Out here in the great seldom washed Northwest side it isn’t as bad.  Of course, there aren’t that many places one would want to go to.  Always a trade-off.

Everyone looked a bit older but that’s to be expected when one runs smack into the face of old age.  If one is still able to run or not.  However, we are still alive and thumping that counts for something.

To finish I have more pictures of the back yard.

The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

While checking out Media Matters website yesterday I ran across this bit of news concerning FOX News.  Carlson of FOX is quoted as saying SPLC, Southern Poverty Law Center is a “totally discredited” extremely rich left-wing organization.  They can be considered left-wing although I would say they are an organization that fights on behalf of those that have no power.  And as for being rich, they are not judging by the number of solicitations I receive each week from them.

“During the July 14 edition of his show, Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson called SPLC a ‘totally discredited but extremely rich left-wing organization’ that attempts to “shut down legitimate debate by labeling ideas it disagrees with as ‘hate speech.’” Carlson asserted that NBC News and SPLC “think they’re in charge” of deciding “which ideas are legitimate and which ideas are so dangerous we must suppress them.” Carlson also hosted ADF* Vice President Kristen Waggoner, who asserted that ABC and NBC had committed “journalistic malpractice,” and she and Carlson both said SPLC is a ‘scam.'”

This quote also came from the same mediamatters.org blog written by Brennan Suen and Erin Fitzgerald.

*ADF stands for Alliance Defending Freedom.  Another of Suen and Fitzgerald quotes apropos to this blog is the following: “ABC reported that SPLC described ADF as a group that ‘specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally,’ also adding that ADF objected to its hate group designation as a ‘lie.'”

People with agendas claim absurd rationales as sound reasoning.  The SPLC is not a scam, in my humble opinion.  I’ve been a member for decades and have followed their battles against hate groups.  If an organization is labeled a hate group by them you can be sure it’s not just a whim of their staff.  It’s not a joke or a lie.  It will stand up to investigation if anyone decides to do an honest investigation.

For many who are anti-LGBTQ, they don’t need facts to believe the “demonizing lies” and the “baseless, incendiary name-calling.”  To come up with sociological truths from all of the crap that people say about any groups that are unlike what they believe themselves to be takes a great deal of moral and ethical courage.

Reasonable people have found that the right wing ADF, when called a hate group, is rightly categorized as such.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and so on.  Being right requires a great deal of thought and research into fact finding.  A fact in this case and all others is the same as the truth.  Unlike the Soviet Union’s Pravda, (Truth), which died when the Soviet Union died in 1991, the truth does not die even when forgotten or overlooked.  It still is a truth or was a truth.

 

Perfect Day In Chicago For Kayaking

I was out on Busse Lake this afternoon.  Seaweed is not a problem yet.  Even at its worst, all you get is a paddle blade draped with seaweed.  Forest Preserve Police weren’t out today annoying people with parking in the wrong place and demands to move the vehicle or if the owner wasn’t present they would just write a ticket out.

Several groups of people were out today.  Most of them will say hello.  They must be a friendly bunch, kayakers that is.  I didn’t fall in or soak my butt so my outing was a success.  I saw several white herons fishing and a couple of men on sit-on-top kayaks fishing too.  If I were to guess I would choose the herons as better at catching fish.

I took I90, the toll road back to Chicago.  It takes about half the time.  I’m always worried that the boat will fly off the roof rack and cause an accident if I’m keeping up with traffic on Interstates and Chicago’s expressways.  I didn’t have any incidents so that too was a success.

I tried filling in missing cement on the front stairs without much luck.  I’ll have to use mesh or some type of wire backer to get the cement to stick vertically.  I’ll try tomorrow.  What a great labor saving device tomorrow is.

The summer days are flying by.  I hope I can find many occasions to get on the water.

Wonderments

Has there ever been, in the history of mankind, or even womankind, that could be designated as the “golden age” of nice?  A period where kindness toward all others, the environment, and all of the creatures that inhabit this planet was shown.  If there was I sure have never read or heard anything about such a time.

I caught the end of a documentary aired on FNX, the Canadian First Nation outlet carried in Chicago by WYCC-Channel 20.  It was about Hawaiians and their problems with the government and non-native people’s treatment of native Hawaiians.  Although the United States hasn’t overtly horrible as what has been done and still is occurring in their treatment of Native Americans on the Mainland, they have done considerable harm to the indigenous, since the Eighth Century, people of Hawaii.

Naturally, I was ignorant of the treaties and out right land grab by a corporate raider on January 17, 1893.  According to history.com:

“On the Hawaiian Islands, a group of American sugar planters under Sanford Ballard Dole overthrow Queen Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian monarch, and establish a new provincial government with Dole as president. The coup occurred with the foreknowledge of John L. Stevens, the U.S. minister to Hawaii, and 300 U.S. Marines from the U.S. cruiser Boston were called to Hawaii, allegedly to protect American lives.”

It seems wherever there is something of value or money involved there are raiders looking to acquire it at any cost regardless of who may suffer.

Could we ever revoke statehood for the fiftieth state and give it back to the Hawaiians. We do need a cooling station for our ships to make it across the Pacific any longer. Ships can make the journey non-stop now.  Do we need a naval base and air bases there?

Of course, there’s no chance that we will give Hawaiians back their islands.  Is it likely that we’ll give back lands to Native Americans or Mexico?  I guess this idea isn’t much of a question after all.

Making America Great Again

I really don’t understand the thought processes of Trump’s supporters.  They can dismiss the importance of Russia’s meddling in our politics simply because those involved say “fake news.”    I could make rational comparisons about Trump and his crew’s actions and what Trump’s base and supporters would say and do.  But it is a futile exercise.  Nothing seems to sway their thinking if indeed that’s what they do.

Every day there is drip after drip of scandal and, to my mind, traitorous actions that have been and still is being committed by the Trump White House.  Still, there hasn’t been much change in the positive support from Republican lawmakers.

I’ve felt that for decades the Republicans have forgotten their oaths to defend the Constitution and work for the people of the United States and not just do whatever they can to ensure that their party is winning and dominant.  The Republicans have been the party of voter suppression and other unconstitutional actions.

They have sided with the one percent of the top one percent and have done their bidding to enact laws beneficial only for them at the expense of the rest of America.  I hear Libertarians talk about what a disaster the ACA is and that if a person did not have the foresight to have adequate health insurance and then found they needed it—the only solution is for them to die.

They feel the same as Speaker Ryan feels, the marketplace is all important and should be given free rein; even at the expense of the earth’s environment and the plight of those who struggle in our society.

Mitch “the turtle” McConnell is still threatening us with a new version of the same-old-shit health care plan.  It was ultra cruel before and I can’t believe it will be any less in any new iteration.  His health care bill is just an excuse to move more money to the obscenely rich.  How much do billionaires want?

When will the Trump supporters on the bottom wake up to the fact that what the oligarchs on top want when they say “make America Great Again,” doesn’t include them at all in that America?  They are just the pawns needed to give the Republicans the ability to shaft all the rest of us.  We who aren’t invited to the riches at their table.  Their table being way too small for anyone but them.

Cheer loudly for the saved jobs that don’t go to Mexico.  They went to China.  Cheer loudly for the jobs that will return from China.  We’re still waiting on that.  Stand up and roar for the repeal of NAFTA.  Didn’t Trump promise?  Well, he found that farmers like NAFTA and would suffer if it were to be dumped.

If you really think business will take care of our environment and have an ethical and moral conscience you have no conception of reality.  I don’t mean “you” reading this; but the one standing behind the tree not paying any attention to what’s going one around us except thinking about how they hate immigrants, blacks, and pointy headed liberals.

Beauty Equals Flowers?

Do birds, insects, animals, and humans all see beauty when they look at flowers?  Do birds and insects have a concept that translates their world view into an ideal that flowers are beautiful?  I doubt it.  Flowers, through natural selection, have evolved into colors and shapes that attract either birds or even specific types of insects to them in order to use them for purposes of propagation.  They are used for pollination or dissemination of seeds.

Humans, at least some, have come to their acceptance of flowers appearance as displaying attributes of beauty—color, size, shape, and other attributes as containing characteristics of beauty.  I don’t see how human interaction with flowers has had an effect on the nature of flowers other than human manipulating the genetics of flowers.  I was thinking about the long process of natural selection.

I think it is safe to say that only humans appreciate flowers for their beauty.  There’s another characteristic of flowers that attracts human, insects, birds and animals to them and that is fragrance.  That can also be an attribute of beauty.

An antidote to the ugliness of the world politics is natural beauty.  Here are some pictures of beauty, at least what I consider beautiful, from Boerner Gardens in Hales Corner, Wisconsin.