The Cruel Bill Comes Up For A Vote In The Senate

In the not so grand game of politics, you can say you’re not for a particular bill because you have reservations about it.  What you really are saying is that for your yes vote you want something in return, some concession.  That something is probably something you have promised your constituents that you will try to deliver on.

In this case, Mitch, “the turtle”, McConnell will write in an amendment to the bill in order to satisfy the recalcitrant’s wishes.  And so it goes.  This Senate health care bill will probably be ready for voting on this Thursday.  I doubt there will be any Democrats voting yes on this bill.  There is a fifty-fifty chance it will pass.  I won’t be surprised if it does—even with five Republicans saying they have reservations.

Trump has stayed out of the wrangling and spinning.  He can then disavow it if he wants. He most likely won’t even though he pledged he wouldn’t touch Medicaid or the other two that are close to the hearts of working class people—Medicare and Social Security. Trump can just make up some excuse to justify signing the bill into law and to hell, with all the people it will hurt that he doesn’t care about.  If there is no pre-existing condition waiver then there will be a lot a wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Many of those will be people that voted for Trump because he said he wouldn’t touch the things that people liked in Obamacare.

What do you expect from someone who lies all of the time?

It isn’t only Trump that lies about most things.  Steve Chapman in an editorial in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune wrote:

“Republicans say the changes would be positive because Medicaid coverage is often useless.  House Speaker Paul Ryan claims that ‘more and more doctors just won’t take Medicaid.’

In fact, 69 percent of physicians currently accept new Medicaid patients and the percentage has been stable for decades.  It’s lower than for privately insured patients, because Medicaid provides doctors with lower reimbursements, but budget cuts would probably exacerbate that malady.”

Lying Ryan.  A little further on in his editorial he writes:

“Cutting back Medicaid coverage would save taxpayers some cash but only by taking it from others.  The reduction would raise costs for low-income people and most likely degrade their health.”

He goes on to say it would also be detrimental to hospitals.  This bill is nothing but Republicans trying, through health care, to give big tax cuts to the rich.  The working class if they get any benefit of a tax cut would get less than $300.00.  The top would realize thousands of dollars.  The more you earn the more your tax cut will be.

Medicaid is a safety net for the working class.  One in three seniors in nursing homes are on Medicaid without it, they would be living with some relative or homeless.  People with disabilities, the poor, veterans, and the elderly benefit from it.  Let’s hear some Christian voices loud in protest and outrage against the money-grubbing nature of this health care bill.  What silence?

Lastly a loud Ooh-rah to Chicago’s LGBTQ community on their successful Pride Parade here in Chicago.  About a million people watched and about 8,000 participated in the parade.  With the Trump-Pence duo I am fearful there will be a few steps backward in the progress for the LGBTQ community.  Let’s hope not but even with the recent Supreme Court ruling about same-sex parents being allowed on birth certificates, it doesn’t look good.

Sewage, Rain And Where It Ends In A Heavy Rain

I’ve avoided paddling the Chicago River since 2015.  Rightly so it seems according to a Chicago Tribune article in today’s paper about the amount of raw sewage dumped into the river during heavy rainfall.  It amounts to billions of gallons whenever there is a sizeable rain in a short period of time.  There are dozens of overflow drains that empty into the rivers and creeks in and around Chicago.

It’s like paddling in a huge toilet bowl.  The fecal coliform bacteria count is such that it could cause illness.  The river runs east on the north end of Chicago’s Loop where there are river walk and restaurants.  People walk and eat right next to a huge unflushed toilet. In 2012 there was a wet spring season and the amount of rainwater/sewage that was allowed to run into the rivers was a recent record high.

The huge deep tunnel project isn’t scheduled to be finished until 2029.  Who knows if that will take care of the problems or not.  Still, in Chicago, houses are still allowed to have gutters dump rainwater into the sewer system.  In many communities in this country, it’s an ordinance that gutters be drained into yards.

Some of my neighbors still have their downspouts run into the sewer system.  During a heavy rain, it puts a burden on our sewers and before I had a sewer company rod out my mainline to the city’s sewer system I’d have had the sewer back up many times into my basement.  I don’t take sewers for granted.

I’ve rodded my mainline sewer on many occasions when the sludge built up around the maple tree roots that found its way into the sewer so much that it plugged the entire six-inch pipe.  Now I have a sewer company that rods the line with a six-inch cutter once a year, usually around fall.  I also have installed a one-way valve called a flood-guard.   With those precautions, I’ve not had flooding in a while now.  I hope I remain lucky.

I think about drains and sewers often.  I have read about sewer systems and its history.  I have shown pictures of London’s sewers.  It’s not a polite subject for dinner conversation but I find it interesting.  I don’t pretend to know how to fix the problems of Chicago’s sewage or the flooding that many people experience.  I think that should be solved by the city, county and state governments and the departments established to deal with the problems of waste and rainwater disposal.  We’ve haven’t done a very good job up to now. Most Libertarians don’t want big government but who then will deal with these problems? For sure private enterprise won’t.  No money in public works.

Private enterprise will come in and put in all the valves, pumps, overhead sewers, and other flood control measures that you can afford but they won’t touch the problems of having to dump raw sewage into the lakes and rivers around cities.

Closet Conservatives And Other Matters

On the commondreams.com website today there was an article with the heading “Party Of Disaster…” written by John Acheson.  Below is a copy and paste of part of the article containing a quote from Thomas Frank, a political pundit, columnist, journalist, and fellow University of Chicago Alumnus.

“Remember, as Thomas Frank notes, it was Bill Clinton and the DLC Democrats who accomplished some of the conservatives’ most important objectives.  As Frank said in an interview with Mark Carlin published in Truthout:

Clinton had five major achievements as president: NAFTA, the Crime Bill of 1994, welfare reform, the deregulation of banks and telecoms, and the balanced budget. All of them—every single one—were longstanding Republican objectives.’

But while Clinton may have been a closet conservative, he did understand the importance of governing. You know, little things like taxing enough to actually have sufficient revenue to implement the programs you’ve kept; or cutting back on Defense spending when the threats went from existential (as in the Soviet Union) to merely tactical (as in terrorism). Or actually cutting the size of the federal work force instead of merely complaining about it.

Not so Republicans. They ran up record setting deficits as they willfully destroyed every program they could. Starving government was their mantra.

But now that the business of discrediting and dismantling the New Deal has just about been accomplished and Republicans find themselves in charge, they are faced with the task of actually governing, as opposed to merely criticizing those who would govern.

And they haven’t got a clue about how to do it. Their polestar seems to be, gut government programs and privatize, privatize, privatize.  The most recent corollary is, If Obama favored it, we’re agin’ it.

The thing is, government takes a set of skills and a base of knowledge.  It requires more than simply being against stuff. And failing to govern—or simply being the world champion ungovernors comes at an enormous cost.”

It’s a long quote which does two things—it emphasizes a point I wish to make without me having to say it and it saves me from writing an equal amount of words.

I’ve gone on record previously saying the Obama and Hillary are liberal Republicans.  If Obama had run as a Republican he would not have had as much trouble with the right as he did.  Remember how they fawned over Colin Powell?  Now see how Republicans are silent about the stupid things Ben Carson has said and to his credit he hasn’t said much. But it seems what he does say shows his ignorance in most things.

There was a rumor circulating during the campaign that as a brain surgeon, Carson left a sponge in a patient’s head.  I think I believe that rumor now.

Although Obama favored Wall $treet it was nothing like Trump.  The “swamp” Trump talked about draining was the swamp of Obama’s presidency and poor people.  It sure isn’t a swamp of Wall $treet creatures and other rich people.  Trump won’t have poor people in his administration.

Now it seems as if the Republicans might get their wish about eliminating one of the hated troika of  Social Security, Medicare, andMedicaidd.  It’s amazing the defenders of the AHCA on national television twisting the facts to make the bill palatable and not seem just cruel.  It’s just cruel.  The Senate version worse than the House version.

There’s a glimmer of hope.  Five Senators have said they couldn’t vote for the Senate bill.  We’ll see.  Congressional Republicans haven’t shown much backbone in years, not since “W'”‘s reign.

Senate Health Care Bill

On the Common Dreams website today Neal Gabler wrote a story for billmoyers.com and reposted on Common Dreams about Susan Collins—a Republican Senator from Maine—who is portrayed as a moderate.  Although she has spoken out against Trump and Republican’s attempt at rolling back Medicaid and other provision in Obamacare she has voted for repeal and replace of Obamacare and she also believed that Benghazi was Hillary’s debacle.  To be fair so do most Republicans and Democratic Hillary haters.  She is only moderate in comparison to Tea Party politician, Libertarians, and the rest of the Republicans that stand on the extreme right where most the Republican’s stand.

Gabler had this to say:

“The Republican health plan may be top secret, but their real motives aren’t. What Republicans want, what they lust after, is to destroy Medicaid and any government effort to aid the vulnerable while wiping their fingerprints from the scene of the crime. This has never been about policy. This has always been about an unholy blend of ideology and partisanship — an ideology that boasts about harming the powerless to fellow conservatives and a partisanship that opposes anyone who tries to help the powerless.”

I suppose there are some naive Republicans that think that it isn’t that but the fact that Obamacare doesn’t work.  The only reason it doesn’t work is that the Republicans have spent years trying to make sure it doesn’t work.   No one will argue that the Affordable Care Act was perfect but most people that benefited by it will say they do not want it replaced, just fixed.

I can’t understand the opposition of Republicans to giving something to help those that need help.  Isn’t that a Christian Tenant?  The working class who are Republicans are always going on about poor people with their hands out wanting something for free.  It seems to me that almost everyone wants something for free.  They just don’t want other people to get something that they aren’t getting.  It would be fine if they got it and others didn’t.

In another article in today’s Commons Dreams written by the staff:

“ADAPT, the national disability rights group behind the protest, said the Senate’s bill is a direct threat to the future of people with pre-existing conditions and disabilities.

“‘The proposed caps and cuts to Medicaid contained in the Republican bill,’ said ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling, would ‘greatly reduce access to medical care and home and community based service for elderly and disabled Americans who will either die or be forecd into institutions. Our lives and liberty shouldn’t be stolen to give a tax break to the wealthy. That’s truly un-American.'”

This is mostly about greed, racism, and bigotry.  I would like to ask Republican legislators who claim to love America and be Christians how they reconcile their beliefs with their actions.

Happy Father’s Day to all to whom it may apply.  Where would we be without fathers and of course mothers?  But today is Father’s Day.  So we celebrate fathers living and dead.  The world is so full of chaos and destruction.  We have a plethora of mayhem and destruction almost every day.  We need to remind ourselves that there is kindness and beauty in this world.

Sometimes it’s not evident or readily found.  The news is more interested in the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man.  Still today the sentiment of broadcast and print journalism is “if it bleeds, it leads.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four thousand more troops going to Afghanistan.   Trump has relinquished his command responsibilities to the Secretary of Defense, Mathis.  When the names of KIA come back, if they are reported, we can blame Mad Dog.

Syria is still a nation on the brink of destruction.  While the nations of the world watch.  With Syria’s falling reserves of oil perhaps it isn’t profitable to pay much attention to Syria and consequently Syrians.

So what we need is beauty to cheer us up.  So here are some pictures of the back yard.

lark spurs and pansies

yarrow

pansies

lantana

coleus

mondarda or bee balm

I hope your day had peace and beauty in it.  Here’s hoping you have a good week, month, and year.

 

*photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Carpe Diem

Ask any older person and most likely they will tell you that time for them passed easily and with an ease that the well-off know all too well.  Then somewhere in the flow of time, there seemed to be a shift as if they reached a waterfall of times flow, of unimaginable height. Without realizing they fell off the edge and time compressed and their life accelerated until they woke up one day and they were old.

Here are two poems about carpe diem—sieze the day.

“Age saw two quiet children

Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited, (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
‘Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure.’
The age-long theme is Age’s.
‘Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing- ”
Too present to imagine.

And.

Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
one debilitating the Tyrrhenian Sea on opposing cliffs.
Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

From Horace to Frost the message is clear seize the day.  In an older time, it was the theme of gather ye rosebuds while you may.  For those that struggle in life that thought is lost in a daily fight just to survive.
The other day I mentioned the eight people that own more wealth than the majority of people living on this planet.  For those eight people and the rest of the 1% it’s easy to think about carpe diem.  For those that depend on food stamps to supplement their struggle to hold onto life, they have no ability or resources left to seize anything that won’t land them in jail. The debate about raising the minimum wage shouldn’t exist.  Every person who works should be able to provide for themselves and their families a life that is worth the living of it.
For all those that think it’s their fault that they are poor need to readjust their thinking.  Ben Carson recently said that poverty was simply a frame of mind.  I guess for Ben all that’s necessary to pull yourself from poverty is a resign yourself to not being poor and their circumstances will change.  That un-Christian, Libertarian ideal has to be eliminated altogether.  People don’t ask to be poor.  Who would, if given a choice, would choose to be poor over being rich?
I believe that if we were truly a Christian country, as so many people claim it is, we would not have the crime, poverty, and its dividends of struggle, hunger and poor health.  The Republicans have much to answer for but to whom I do not know.  There doesn’t seem to be many people or divinities that seem to care.

America’s Economics

News from all different places today.  In Kansas that State’s House rejected a bill that would have rolled back the five-year-old tax cuts signed into law by the Republican governor, Sam Brownback.  Oddly enough it was the Democrats who failed to support the measure supported by moderate Republicans.  The Democrats were worried that the rise in revenue would not cover the Supreme Court ruling that the state raises funding for public education.   Jim MacLean of KCUR radio in Kansas wrote:

“The bill defeated Monday night by the House was similar to a measure rejected May 10 by the Senate. Both would have raised more than $1 billion over two years to cover a projected budget shortfall of $900 million by increasing income tax rates and repealing a controversial exemption given to more than 330,000 business owners and farmers.”

It’s not hard to understand the frustration of legislators that tax cuts for the wealthy will not work and supply side economics—better known as trickle down economics or voodoo economics to its many detractors, does not work.

But the ominous event is that Kansas is thinking about repealing tax cuts to the wealthy. Ominous for Republicans that is.

And from Common Dreams comes this bit of news.

 

“Last year it was 8 men, then down to 6, and now almost 5.  While Americans fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of 06/08/17, the world’s richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people.”

The world has truly become an oligarchy of the obscenely rich.  With the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, the rich have become the most important segment in the nation.  They have the ability to elect whomever they wish by injecting cash into an election.  I think it safe to say that most people will vote for the candidate that gets the most media attention.  An exemplary election is the last presidential election.  The media gave Trump an estimated billion dollars in free advertising by flooding the airwaves with Trump and his message that Hillary was crooked.

The was a prime example of corporate greed.  Les Moonves said it best that the media’s coverage wasn’t good for America but it was good for the bottom line of CBS.  People were hungry to hear of the latest Trump outrage.  CBS’s rating went up whenever they broadcast Trump’s campaign stops.

Billy Bush was fired for the locker room talk he had with Trump.  Trump became president because rather a crude bully and sexual predator as president than a woman perceived as a bitch.

I’ll not understand people who can, or say they can, easily spot a phony could not see one who constantly lied about himself and his beliefs.  It was as if the bull-shit he spewed was covered in chocolate and nuts.  They just gobbled it up and swallowed it whole.  That is truly amazing.

American Healthcare Bill Dragging Its Sorry Ass In The Senate

I haven’t mentioned AHCA or Trumpcare, in some time now.  The majority of Americans are in favor of keeping the ACA or Obamacare if only no one refers to it as Obamacare.  It’s astounding the amount of racism that still resides in the hearts of so many self-professed Christians.  The last figure I heard was 62% of the people want to keep Obamacare and tweak the parts that need to be fixed.

The Republicans who want to keep their promise to get rid of Obamacare even though most people would rather have it kept are hell-bent on repealing and replacing it with whatever they can think off.  Naturally what they come up with in their pea sized brains is disastrous to most Americans.

In a free paper aimed at senior citizens, The Senior News and article by Alan Schein answers a question “What does it mean to seniors.”  They are addressing the AHCA.  Schein writes:

“While most of the attention has been on the issues over pre-existing conditions, perhaps the more important story may be the bill’s sweeping cuts to Medicaid, which have the potential to severl hurt the elderly, the poor and the disabled, and eliminating  health care for millions.”

After this introduction Schein lists four asterisks points about the AHCA key provisions.  Now of which is heartening for working class people.  He also writes what the Congressional Budge Office has to say about the bill.

“…in an assessment of the initial AHCA bill in March, which has since faced minor changes, noted that a 64-year-old making $26,500 a year would have seen their annual premiums skyrocket from $1,700 to $14,600 a 758 percent increase.”

This bill and most likely the one that Republican Senators will produce—if they can—will be a tax benefit to the richest 1% of our population in the form of a tax cut.  I’ve heard some un-Christian comments saying it would hurt the majority of Trump’s supporters and they would deserve it.  In a more rational moment, I say it would hurt people who through ignorance thought a bully-braggart-liar was telling them the truth.

No one deserves Trump, not even those that voted for him.

I Am Sorry For Any Incovenience You May Have Had

The hacking of my website has caused me to investigate my web host, FatCow and the blog builder Word Press.  I wasn’t too happy with FatCow’s support during the time they shut down my website because of infected files and they said they had received complaints.  But overall over the years, I’ve had no problem with the service they provide.

If any of you, my readers, have had any problems because of hacking done on this blog site I can only say that I’m truly sorry.  There is always larceny in people that provokes them to do damage either for financial gain or just because they can.  I hope none of you that were affected didn’t have it result in too many problems.  Again I am truly sorry but it has given me terminal gas.

I’ve found comments in the spam files.  I’ve unspammed a few and I hope to answer questions as soon as I can.  This too I am sorry for not looking in these files beforehand.  Like Paul Ryan said about Trump: I’m still fairly new at this.  I hope to do better and be more vigilant about security on my website.

 

Skokie Lagoon

I planned on leaving my house at 1:00 P.M., or close to it.  By the time I gathered all of the items necessary to go kayaking and untangling the tie down lines it was almost 3:00 P.M. It’s not that far to the Skokie Lagoons from my house but going on city streets it takes at least a half hour.

I launched quickly and paddled north.  The seaweed wasn’t a problem in the beginning. However, by the time I got to the island where the channel forks around both sides I was gathering stray strands of seaweed from time to time on my paddle.  Still, I saw two blue herons and about six egrets.  I’m no ornithologist but I think that’s what I saw.  The blue herons were majestic looking birds.  As I glided past them they would cast an aggravated look in my direction as if I had just scared away a fish they had their eyes on.  One time I was only fifteen feet or so from an egret as it scanned the lagoon for their dinner.

It was good to be out on the water.  There’s never silence or just the sounds of nature. Traffic noise intrudes, jet planes pass overhead.  People talk, shout and laugh.  But in between all that is the sound of birds, the wind, the water falling off the paddle and the movement of the paddle as it stirs up the lagoon.  Fish jump, birds call.  It’s grand.

All too soon the seaweed closed in and I turned around and headed back to the dock. Two other kayakers were coming in also.  I had helped them launch from the ramp by lifting up on the back of the boat and pushing them into the water.  Now they were coming back in at the same time.

I pulled up next to the dock.  When I leaned to my left to reach for a rope to tie the kayak to the dock I leaned just a bit too far and felt water hit my butt.  Even a little leaning can cause water to come into the boat that’s how close the water line is.  I tied up crawled or rather flopped onto the dock, stood up and bent down and hauled the kayak onto the dock.

One of the two men commented on how wonderful it was to be out and I agreed.  He had his SUV with kayak mounts on top.  He said you’ll like how this works.  It for people who can’t lift any longer.  He released the holder and it folded down in two stages.  There were two holders per kayak.  An arm was only about a foot and a half from the ground.  All that was necessary was to lift the kayak that amount rest it on the arm and hydraulic action would assist in lifting the boat on the roof and holding it on its side.

I said that was very nice with a touch of envy.  I had to press my 40-pound kayak over my head and onto the roof racks on my car’s roof.  Ah well, I get a little exercise that way and I still am able to lift some things over my head.

I hope this is the first in many outings I will have to paddle my butt on the water.

 

FatCow Took Down This Website

For the better part of three days, I couldn’t get into my website.  Many thoughts entered and left my brain.  Some thoughts have stayed.  Others I’m still considering—thinking about them.  There was malicious content found in my files.  FatCow is the web host.  I pay them yearly to provide a venue to write my blogs.  Their security section sent vague e-mails telling me what to do.  I thought them vague because it deals with computer issues I don’t work with on, ever.

In the past three years, I haven’t worried about subscriptions and now it seems one option to correct my problem was to disable registration.  The instructions were incomplete and incorrect, as far as I could determine.  Log in to the dashboard go to settings then general setting then finally to membership and disable “anyone can register” option.  On the dashboard, there’s not a settings icon.  There’s one on the top near the heading but when settings icon is clicked on there’s no general settings or any mention of membership.

I received another e-mail that told me since I didn’t disable the registration and delete the infected files they were shutting me down.  Which they did.  In between, I had logged in to Chat Live and chatted with several people on several occasions.  No satisfaction.

When the website was blocked I couldn’t do anything.  I finally called FatCow’s customer service and choose security issues.  I was connected to a vendor, SiteLock,  Since I had no way of doing anything, the only option I had was to subscribe to their manual malware service for six months at a discounted cost of almost $400.

The young man wanted me to take the yearly subscription which was double the price.  I told him that I was doing this for pleasure and not as a business.  I wasn’t making a dime.  In fact, I am paying hundreds of dollars a year.

Here’s where the thoughts came in.  My first reaction was that I needed the site up and running so I could write these blogs—my thoughts, feelings, and history.  I then considered a life without the opportunity to have people read these personal ruminations.  Was it just egotism in thinking there are people who like reading what I write.  And would their lives be any less valuable even if they didn’t read what I wrote?  I couldn’t answer that because I didn’t know the answer.

I came to the conclusion that if I gave up this blog site.  I would survive and it would be less stressful.  I wouldn’t have to sit here in the semi-darkness of the basement and think of things that may possibly be interesting for some people to read.  I know from statistics that there are people who visit the site every day and read what I write.  I truly hope that I either give them a laugh or tell them something they hadn’t considered or learned something new.  I would hope that I do all three at times.

For the time being, I’ll continue to write.  Hopefully, I’ll get feedback from some readers.  Tomorrow I’ll write about my first time out on the water on Skokie Lagoon.  It was a beautiful day to be out.

Words And Phrases That Make Me Crazy

Some people have annoying habits in speech and mannerisms.  What bothers me is people that talk in their noses.  Many of them are women.  I don’t know why they do it.  It could be that at some point they thought it sounded cute.  I just find it annoying to listen to especially when they are in broadcasting.  There are a few examples I can think of Sarah Haines from the view and the tall woman host on Dancing With the Stars.  They talk in their noses.

It’s not that the sound comes out of their noses but instead of coming from the vocal chords the sound resonates up higher in their sinus cavities.

Another trend that has gained a lot of practitioners is the voice going up when reciting a list of things.  To me, it sounds as if the speaker is making light of the things on their list.  This has become a widespread habit of speech.  I wish they would stop before I start using it.  There’s nothing worse than picking up annoying habits from other people’s speech.

Then comes the words that I find overused and truly would like people to stop using them—at least for awhile until it’s been given a decent rest.  These are the words like amazing, non-words like ginormous, or humongous.  How about referring to others as a dude?  Or the overuse of hip-hop slang has to be curtailed.  “What-up” doesn’t flow from a white person’s lips.  We can’t carry off black slang without sounding foolish.

There are phrases that defy common sense in meaning but we tend to accept either the hyperbole or illogic of them.  I often hear people saying something is “to die for.”  It’s usually a food dish.  I wouldn’t die for any food regardless of how good it tasted.  As for logic the phrase “freedom is not free” is bandied about quite often.  It’s usually used by the very people who shouldn’t be saying it.  As if they had personally sacrificed something for the sake of someone’s freedom.

Today .01% of 1% are veterans.  And even many of those veterans didn’t have anything to do with the freedom that our Constitution guarantees us.  The last few wars have had nothing to do with American freedom.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that Vietnam was a mistake and we were on the wrong side.  I wasn’t there to combat a threat against American freedom or values.The Americans who talk about veterans as if they are personal friends or family member don’t even know any veterans that have served in areas of conflict.

If you are a citizen—either native born or naturalized—you are given a great deal of freedom without any cost to you.  However, there are a great many Americans who are being denied some of their freedom because of their race or religion.  There are a great many Americans who wish to have the freedom of others taken away or curtailed today.

In America, one is free to be ignorant, racist or bigoted.  One is free to be greedy—especially if one is in business.  In America, one is free to lie all of the time.  In America, one is free to defend the lies and liars and pretend that what is being said is the truth.  In America, newspapers, broadcasters and politicians can lie and not be held accountable, unless of course they get sued for libel or slander.  That’s another story though.

We can defend law enforcement officers doing what is unconstitutional in the name of being on the side of the law.  When the water protectors in North Dakota were protesting the misuse of their land, given to them by treaty, law enforcement officers working for the corporation carried out unlawful acts on journalists and Native Americans to foster greed in the name of oil.  As usual, in American history, police officers have always sided with companies against protesters and strikers.

There’s a lot we can learn from history.  The problem is that very few people know anything about World History or American History.  We’ve given up our hold on truth, if we ever had it, to be fed whatever it is that the 1% wants us to believe.

There are still 102.4 million people that still believe in what Trump is doing is good for America.  How is it possible they still believe that.  It’s no wonder that someone said: “there’s a sucker born every minute.”  That’s attributed to P.T. Barnum but there’s no evidence that he said it.

 

 

Making Plans

Dire warnings about storms were forecast for today earlier this week.  Nothing happened today.  I could have put the boat on the car and gone paddling.  The season is young still.  Plenty of time left.  Wait, that’s exactly what I said last year and ended up going only three or four times.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  Do mice make plans?  Some men do.  I think women are more organized than men and have a greater tendency to make plans and even write things down.  Whether or not they carry through is another matter.

I don’t often make plans let alone write anything down.  I suppose it’s because I know my penchant for not doing anything about the great majority of things I plan to do.  Perhaps if I wrote then down I’d be more apt to carry them out or at least start on them?  Naah! Who am I kidding?  I’ve admitted that I am a procrastinator par excellence so I won’t try to whitewash anything now.  Perhaps I think about the evils of procrastination more as I get older?  Old age and death seem to have a sobering effect on people and their plans.  Is there enough time to…  The blanks are to be filled in by each individual.

As the ghost of Christmas Present says to Scrooge—”…There is never enough time to say and do the things we wish to say and do.”

“Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.”  (Emily Dickinson)

Age does descend with a bang and a clatter around our heads.  We can’t wait to be a teenager and the next moment there’s a group around you singing happy birthday with a cake full of candles bright enough to blind you.

I’ll have to remember to not make plans but just do the things that need to be done and also the things I wish to do because I wish to do them.  This shall be my mid-year resolution.  Maybe I’ll write this down.

Paris Accords, Trump And Science Deniers

Les accords de Paris sont terminés grâce à Trump et à son horde de deniers scientifiques.

No, I don’t speak French but I thought it appropriate to mourn the demise of America’s involvement in the Paris Accords in French.  What I added are the words it’s “all thanks to Trump and his horde of science deniers.”

It’s almost funny to think that his supporters think that there is no truth to the incontrovertible fact that human activities are responsible for global warming.  They take FOX National New’s word that it’s “fake news.”  If you were to ask them why they don’t believe in most of science they wouldn’t be able to articulate a sound reason for not believing in science.  But they do not.

I’ve posted NASA’s table of greenhouse gas concentrations for the last few hundred years and the data is out there and readily accessible but science deniers never look for data. They don’t want the truth.  They believe in the 1% if scientists that work for the fossil fuel industry and their lobbyists and the bought and paid for government creatures.  And of course the Republican ‘news” outlets.

Now we know how much weight Ivanka has with her dad.  She suggested to him that he not withdraw from the Paris Accords.  However, he would rather keep his promise to the ignorant masses.

It’s not that the Paris Accords have done much to halt the industrialized nations use of fossil fuels or lessened the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere but at least it was the majority of the world’s countries agreeing that something has to be done, and soon.

Still, people don’t see the danger because there is a faction, the rich, that assures them that it’s all a hoax.  Nothing bad will happen.  It’s like being in Florida where Governor Scott will not have global warming mentioned in any meeting or discussions of Florida government.

That’s real smart to approach calamity with the ostrich method.

Stay tuned.  Same place, same channel.

My Family And The Camp Experience

Seven brothers and sisters, four brothers and two sisters, were in our family.  With our parents, there were nine altogether.  The sisters are still alive but only one of my brothers is still alive.  He lives in Chicago too.  I don’t see him often.  I don’t know why.  It’s not as if we don’t get along—we do.  Perhaps it’s the fourteen years that separates us.  Still, I don’t think that’s the reason though.  I’m old and so is he—just a bit older that’s all.

Fred, my brother, has joked that he tries to get me to move to California so he won’t have to see me so often and feel guilty.  We do a good job of not seeing one another as it is. The last time I saw him was almost two years ago when our nieces and Jim, Betty’s husband came to Chicago for a visit.

Since then he’s had a fire in his apartment and had to move.  When he moved I couldn’t reach him the phone was disconnected and Christmas and birthday cards were returned.  Now, since I haven’t moved, I figured that it was up to him to call me since I didn’t know where he was.  You’d think that made sense but that’s not how it worked.

When I was in California my nephew, Brian gave me his new address and phone number.  Not to rush anything I still haven’t called him.  I will, soon.  How was it that my sister had his address and I didn’t?  Perhaps because she tried to find him.

I think our family dynamics changed when our family, along with 120,000 others of Japanese ancestry, were locked up in relocation camps.  There is conjecture among some historians that the ten camps spread across the interior West were located in desolate, inhospitable areas to punish the Japanese.  You’d think they had bombed Pearl Harbor and not the nation of Japan.

Having been to Manzanar, where I was born, I can believe the supposition that the Japanese were being punished when they were shoved into primitive living conditions in these camps.

Then some government functionary comes up with the not so bright idea of administering a loyalty oath to those eighteen and older.  I’ve mentioned before that my father told the two older brothers to answer “No, No” to the two-part oath.  The first question was: will you forswear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan?  The second question was: will you serve in the armed forces of the United States?

The first question was a tricky one.  It assumes that you have at some point sworn allegiance to the Emporer.  And to ask whether or not you will serve in the armed forces of a country that has taken your rights away and treated you as an alien combatant takes unmitigated hubris.

My brother Bill, answered Yes, Yes saying that he wasn’t going to Japan after the war.   Only my father and oldest brother, George answered No, No.  But three brothers were shipped off to Tule Lake Relocation Camp—George, Dave and Fred.  Tule Lake was the camp for those who answered No, No and wee to be shipped back to Japan after the war.

For several years our family was separated by the government and anger.  My father was angry with Bill for defying his edict.  I was the reason why part of the family stayed in Manzanar rather than being shipped to Tule Lake.  My mother was pregnant with me and could not travel.

I’m not sure why the three boys in Tule Lake were allowed to come to Chicago instead of being sent to Japan after the war.  I’ll have to ask Fred.  When I call him or rather when I see him.  I don’t want him to think I called him just for information for my blog.

I really don’t think our family came out of the wartime experience unscarred.  We all suffered to some extent.  Even for my sister and I who were too young to remember camp at all.  It was an example of the United States doing again something that was unconstitutional and morally and ethically wrong.

 

Sunday With Threats Of Severe Weather But Nice Most Of The Day

Today is the 28th of May.  Not many days from now half the year will be over and I still haven’t done most of the things I swore I’d get done before the New Year was anything but a faint memory.  It’s not going to be much different than last year I’m afraid—broken resolutions, broken promises to myself and to others.  I guess I still have seven months to do something.

Perhaps I should just take a nap now and save time in recriminations and regrets.

I’ve bought my permit for water usage from the Department of Natural Resources.  You can by then at Dicks Sporting Goods.  It’s only $6.50.  What a deal, aye.  I wonder if Wisconsin has the same permit regulation?  I’ll have to check in case I go there and paddle their rivers.

I’ve got to start an exercise regime that will make kayaking easier.  Sure, you’ve heard that song before.  But this time I swear…  Well, perhaps I shouldn’t swear.  Good intentions are good until actions turn intentions into resolution.

Turning to Trump World now.  Friday was another revelation of stupid, if not treasonous, actions by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.  We’ll see where this leads too.  The problem with government investigations is it takes so long people tend to forget what was going on or they lose interest.  With Trump’s tweets and pronouncements saying it’s all fake news, it didn’t happen and washing his hands better than Pontius Pilot people ignore what’s going on especially his supporters.

I hope they are paying attention to the CBO rating of the Trump Health Care.  It’ll be a disaster to many of them.  But unless someone tells them they won’t bother to find out what’s in the proposal.  As Trump said in his campaign—”I love the low information voter.”  I guess his supporters believed he wasn’t talking about them.  I don’t think they could tell a shit salesman from the present Pope.

In March United State’s bombing killed a hundred people or so: women and children among them, in Iraq.  Those beautiful children.  I didn’t hear Trump wringing his hands over that one.  I suppose it because Ivanka didn’t tell him that it happened.  I doubt that FOX National News would broadcast that kind of news.

Now, without fanfare, U.S. troops are being deployed to Afghanistan and Syria.  No reports of casualties or deaths.  Hmm. strange.  People die in battle.  Have we become super soldiers?  No News = fake news?  Maybe.

“The truth is out there!”  It’s harder to find out what the truth is though because of the shit storm of alternative news.

 

Ranting Trump

Trump seemed to be doing well on his first foreign tour except for his gaff when correcting journalists that they got it wrong—he hadn’t mentioned Israel in any way as the source of confidential information that he passed on to Russians.  If he didn’t he did after that pronouncement.  And the was never a question of saying that Trump said the intelligence came from Israel.  Another example of answering a question not asked or said.  Now there’s a video of him pushing aside the prime minister of Montenegro to get to the front for a photo opportunity.  It seems Putin dislike the prime minister too.

In making comments about his trip to Saudi Arabia he commits a blunder that makes the Israeli Ambassador roll his eyes and pass his hand over his head in response.  One headline read:

“The Israeli Ambassador’s Cringe Face Says It All After Trump’s Middle East Gaffe.”

You can watch the video at https://www.popsugar.com/news/Donald-Trump-Middle-East-Comment-Israel-43565034

The person to watch, put the video on full screen, is second from the right.  The video only lasts eleven seconds.

Anyone can make mistakes but for presidents with all the advisors available to him or her, you’d think there wouldn’t be any mistakes about geographical locations of countries they are visiting.

And now for the American Health Care Bill.  Common Dreams had this paragraph written by Deirdre Fulton, a staff writer for Common Dreams.  She writes:

“As outrage continues to percolate over the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score for Trumpcare—showing 23 million Americans stand to lose their healthcare and those who don’t will be stuck with inferior, pricier coverage—advocates and activists are directing their ire toward the U.S. Senate, which is currently crafting its own version of the bill.”

The only good point might be the number of people losing health coverage is reduced by 1 million people from the last bill.  In Montana candidate, Gianforte upset about being asked about the CBOs rating, got so angry he assaulted a journalist working for England’s Guardian.  His campaign, trying to protect Gianforte put out a press statement that was contradicted by witnesses and the journalist’s recording blaming the journalist.

I guess when caught in a crime just lie.  The president has taught all of America this lesson.

I suppose I could go on about the appeals court decision about the Muslim ban but why bother?  It is unconstitutional and the three justices that voted for the ban were voting along a partisan line.  What happened to justice?  Probably only when it coincides with a party line.

I wonder how the stalwart Republicans in our Congress live with themselves in producing bills and laws that aren’t beneficial to the majority of Americans but only to the very rich. They look more and more like Prince John and the Sherrif of Nottingham on TV’s Robin Hood.  There are only a few ethical ones left and they are often afraid to buck the party line.

I won’t say anything about the working class Republicans who buy the Republican line to their own disadvantage.  Should we hope that Trump’s bill passes and all of us but the top 1% get a royal screwing?  Is that the only way they will learn or will FOX National News tell them their predicament is the fault of the Democrats?  It’s a precarious time.  We are on the cusp of a fascist takeover.

Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem Tears, Idle Tears says;

“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy autumn-fields, And thinking of the days that are no more.”

Still, we’ve been here before and the consolation of history tells us as the Bible does “that this too shall pass.”  I can only hope.

Spring Reading

A few days ago I finished reading Phillip Caputo’s book “The Longest Road.”

It’s a travel by road book in the tradition of many books in a long history of this genre.  At first, I was irritated by Caputo’s writing—I thought at first it was because of his writing style or his egotistical presentation.  As I continued reading I realized that it wasn’t the book at all but me.  I think I was jealous.  It was exactly the kind of book I would have liked to have written.  I started reading it before I left on my road trip.  Since I had it on my Kindle Fire I had it, and many others, with me.  Not quite the same journey but still one of adventure.

I found that I really liked the book after all.  The premise of the book is a journey from Key West, Florida to the Arctic Ocean.  While on this journey Caputo seeks answers to a question of what is the glue that keeps America together and continually moving forward.

Caputo makes this trip with his wife, his third, and two dogs—one old and the other still young.  You have to admire his stamina.   He finds a small Air Stream Camper in Texas and along with a Toyota Tundra, he pulls it almost all of the way to his destination.  Because of icy road conditions on a pass, he leaves the Air Stream at a campground and travels the last bit with just the pickup.

He wasn’t in a hurry and would spend days in a location he liked.  He follows the route of Lewis and Clark part of the way to Oregon and Washington and reflects on their journey of discovery.

It’s well written and it is an adventure.  The characters he meets are interesting and their stories are too.  It’s worth a read, especially if travel is of any interest to you.

I spent a few days reading another Aaron Elkins’ mystery, Skeleton Dance.  It was good and held my interest until the end.  In between reading I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles to keep my brain active.  I do that on the Kindle also.  I’ve started doing rotating pieces which makes it very difficult.

Bits And Pieces

Lately, Trump reminds me of an adolescent trying to lie his way out of trouble.  However, he isn’t smart enough to be convincing and weaving a credible story.  We’ll see what happens.  The Washington Post had a headline that his support is crumbling.  It must be from people who can put two and two and get the correct answer four and not FOX News’ answer which always ends up being twelve.  It won’t be over until the Slovenian sings.

Everyday there is something that is going on that makes his presidency look like an episode of the Three Stooges joins the Keystone Kops.

That’s enough of that.  I’ve ranted enough in the past and it’s too easy now.  Let those with sources do their jobs.

I’ve been binging on concentration camp videos.  That’s American camps that people of Japanese ancestry were shoved into in 1942 by Executive Order 9066 issued by Franklin Roosevelt, the darling of the progressives.  Oh he did well for America and the working class but certainly not the Japanese.

In watching some of the documentaries that were on PBS and are on YouTube I’ve remembered that I like many Japanese-Americans after the war didn’t want to be Japanese and were resentfully of our Japanese parents who were here in a place where racism was endemic.  It still is.

Somewhere during my life I came to terms with my Asian heritage, forgave my parents, and tired to live comfortably with my face that will always stand out in a crowd of whites.  What I forgave my parents for was their inability to parent and not because they immigrated to the United States.  That was a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.  I realized that the racism I felt wasn’t because of my parents but because of ignorant people that fear anything strange and different.  I can’t say that I’m successful being comfortable in my difference; but I try.  I succeed in being aware there are, and always will be, bigoted people who hate anyone who doesn’t look and sound as they do.

Over the years the tension has eased but it will never be gone.  I’ll admit though I was angry during Trump’s campaign speeches when I witnessed the blatant racist crowds.  This wasn’t the America I was came to be proud of.

There was a PBS aired documentary entitled Relocation, Arkansas.  In it a former mayor, Rosalie Gould felt that the history of Japanese incarceration in Arkansas should be preserved so it wouldn’t happen again.  She proposed that the city of McGehee pay for the clean-up and restoration of monuments in two of the WWII Camps.  That was in 1992.  She received death threats from some of the good Christians of McGehee.  Cooler heads prevailed and it was done.  Gould was someone who I could be proud of.

I remember during the 1980s in Detroit an Asian man was beaten to death by whites as retribution against Japan’s auto industry devastating Detroit’s auto industry.  The man that was beaten to death was even Japanese.  But it couldn’t be expected that anyone who would beat a man to death for that reason would know the difference between Asian nationalities.

This country is in the grips of racism awakened because of Trump.  Hate crimes and hate groups have increased greatly.  I’m not included in the groups of most hated groups.  Still, because of my face I’m somewhere after, Blacks, Muslims, LGBTQs, and Latinos.  Asians come next I think.  Not everyone in America is a racist but there is that 42% who will stand by Trump regardless of what he says or does that are out there.  And 42% while not the majority is still only 9% away from being the majority.

Odds And Ends

The following article was copied from Wikipedia and is about Ralph Lazo.  The story I got from my brother, Bill was that he didn’t have any close family and since his friends were going to Manzanar he decided he would go to.  The political side may have affected his decision but it wasn’t the only consideration at the time.

  • Ralph Lazo,

    born in 1924 in Los Angeles, was of Mexican American and Irish American descent, but when at age 16 he learned that his Japanese American friends and neighbors were being forcibly removed and incarcerated at Manzanar, he was outraged.[57] Lazo was so incensed that he joined friends on a train that took hundreds to Manzanar in May 1942[89] Manzanar officials never asked him about his ancestry.[90]

‘”Internment was immoral,'” Lazo told the Los Angeles Times. “It was wrong, and I couldn’t accept it.”[57] “These people hadn’t done anything that I hadn’t done except to go to Japanese language school.”[91]

“In 1944, Lazo was elected president of his class at Manzanar High School.[57] He remained at Manzanar until August of that year, when he was inducted into the US Army.[57] He served as a Staff Sergeant in the South Pacific until 1946, helping liberate the Philippines. Lazo was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in combat.[57] After the war, he was a strong supporter of redress and reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during the war.[91] The film, Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story, documents his life story, particularly his stand against the incarceration.[92]


I’d like to take a few sentences and congratulate Dr. Mike, he made the leap at the end of last month and retired.  I think he was burnt out with the paperwork and the patient load he was carrying.  Sixty hours a week sometimes more, sometimes less is way too much for a human to endure for long.  Especially when people’s health and even lives are concerned with every decision he made.

He isn’t rich, I’m sure.  But he has enriched the lives of his patients that he was the best doctor in the world.  And his friends that appreciated his humor, good will, and friendship. We were all made better just to know him.

Rest now, my friend.  You have earned it.  You’re still young enough to enjoy many years of time spent with your family and doing what you want to do.  Kudos.