Monday, January 16, 2017

count DOWN to an UPHILL battle

   Wow!  There's been so much angst and controversy over this whole election and switchover process.
I'm about ready to just give up trying to keep up with hearings and tweets!  That is afterall what the Teapublicans want.  They want smoothe sailing to steal the people's future and hand it over to their fat cat overlords.  No objections at all would be best, easiest at least.
    I know the Fox junkies are all about making out like the poor abused billionaires are so maligned.
Fine - go ahead. They are misused.  They live in abject misery from all those pesky servants and multiple bits of silver or gold flatwear on the dinner table.  How's a body supposed to enjoy a five course meal in peace anyway?  And to add insult to injury, they aren't at the beck and call of an employer or bank or city agency demanding they conform to what the masses are being required to do.  They don't get to pay their fair share of taxes and they have to spend millions of dollars (an annoying pittance) in lobbyist expenses to buy off Congress - - - all just so they can get their own way.
   No wonder they have to have the two trillion dollar Social Security fund mostly shut off from the people who have paid in to and completely funded it.  No wonder they need their Congressional stooges to arrange for 'cuts in benefits'.  They desperately need that money to go in to their coffers so they can continue the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.  And not unlike so many of their other assets, they need to have the population at large pay with their last dollar and home and health - for the wealthy's advantages.
   So we'll continue with this insanity of inversion:
A "President" who doesn't respect the Presidency,  an Attorney General who doesn't believe in upholding the laws of the land,  an Education Secretary who doesn't believe in equally available education for all children,  an Energy Department Secretary who doesn't want the job any longer than it takes to get rid of the department he has been assigned,  a Labor Secretary who doesn't believe in rights of laborers, Secretary of State who is actually in league with - an outright toady of Russia (like the soon-to-be-President  - of the U.S.A.) ...and on and on.
    I keep wondering if it is real.  I wonder if as a Russian satellite we'll at least get decent healthcare?
    The Teapublicans have had seven years to figure out a better alternative to the ACA, but they haven't bothered.  I guess they don't care because they've got their Socialized Medicine.  They are taken care of - so why bother about the rest of us?
    It turns my stomach to hear all those hypocrites spewing the phrase "American People" all the time, as if the saying of that "holy of holies" makes the rest of their crap impervious to any sort of scrutiny. We're all supposed to just back off and bow down because some politician used "the American people" in their snake oil sales pitch.
    That isn't actually the saddest part.
    There are so many gullible people who swallow that - hook, line, and sinker.

    On to January 20th,   " Inoculation Day " -  yes, you read it right...the day bugs really start their agitated crawling, trying to hang on even though they are responsible for killing the host.
We can only hope the injection illustrates to the masses that it IS the Teapublican's fault and they need to be flushed if the host ( our country ) is to survive.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hang on. Here we go January 2017

It will be interesting to keep a running log of the Washington goings on.
Since for the Office of President, the American public has NOT elected a chronically lying self-admitted sexual predator whose announcements and edicts are often restricted to 140 characters, it will be convenient to have much of the D.C. business encapsulated in a list form.
   He will never release his foreign commitment laden tax returns.
   Mexico is going to pay for his wall.
   He knows more than U.S. generals.
   He has seen "thousands and thousands of people cheering" the Trade Center collapse.
   He has already made lots of money for his brand as President elect.
           ...and on and on...
   He acts as if he is big buddies with the Russian dictator.  Normally friendship is good. Some of the media and certain members of government are talking how awful are his attitudes regarding sanctions for the reporting of  foreign election hacking. Well, these critics might be a little overwrought in describing his response to the President's actions.  Afterall, if things work out President-elect's way, maybe we'll become a satellite and then will all be one big happy family with Russia!
    Wow!   What changes a few decades make!

After the last three U.S. Congress' being the least productive in history, with the 114th working the fewest days ever;  110 days. (Although Marco Rubio did sponsor an ACA sabotage in 2015, removing the 'risk corridors' provision - insuring that Obama would be blamed for insurance companies raising premiums a lot in 2016.)  Good job 'little Marco'. 

Excitedly anticipating the departure of the pointed object of their do-nothingness (Obama), Congress is getting ramped up to do a 180⁰.

     January 2, 2017  House GOP in secret voted to eliminate the Independent Ethics Office.   This office was installed to report ethics problems with members and staffers, but that function (or lack thereof) would be handled going forward by Congress itself.  They would police themselves. This will exclude any reporting or exposure to the American public of any Ethics problems in Congress.
What could be wrong with that?

     January 3, 2017  the new Congress is due to be sworn in.  What is known to be on tomorrow's to-do list:
- Repeal ACA
- Cut Medicaid
- Eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Repeal the Dodd-Frank effort at Wall St. corrective measures
- Privatize the V.A.
- Create more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations
Phew! busy busy busy...must be the "Change" we've heard about.

   January 5, 2017  the past few days have been busy on the hill.  Planned Parenthood is defunded.  Obamacare is at the head of the line to the chopping block. Schumer's comment is good, "they (Teapublicans) are like the dog who caught the bus".  They don't know what to do with it now since they have no idea for a replacement and don't know what to do with those 30,000,000 people who have health insurance under Obamacare.
    And gotta love that Mitch McConnell who finds it astounding that the Dems would entertain the idea that anyone would think of not filling the empty Supreme Court slot.  So you've been doing what again Mr. Senate leader for the past 10+ months since Scalia's death?  Oh yeah...nothing.
   Teapublicans have put the Cabinet nominees' hearings on the docket for next week.  There are six of them I think, all to be heard during a two day window.  This technique is like trying to get a four year college degree in one year.  Just getting to all the classes is insane, much less digesting any of the content therein.  Jeff Sessions seems to be the most alarming (worse than Exxon's Tillerson?!).  Teapublican chair in the matter, Chuck Grassley (who finds it challenging to stay awake in regular session),  has determined the Dems can have no more than four witnesses. Maybe he's afraid he'll fall asleep if there are any more than that.  Creating a well-rounded picture of an entire life of bigoted speech and action will be challenging with only four presenters.  A lifelong Southern racist, bubbling over with hate speech and actions doesn't really seem to be appropriate for the nation's chief law enforcement position.

    It could all be such a nice change. The Teapublican Congress afterall has been sworn to do nothing for the past six years.  All this flurry of activity gives one pause, wondering if their working legs remember how to walk after the atrophy of intentional sabotage of do-nothing.
    I've been working for several decades.  I can think of no occupation where I could have held my position if I'd done my job the way they have been doing theirs.  But then I never had a job where I only had to show up 110 days out of the year,  get full socialized medical coverage, AND get big bonuses from constantly orbiting corporate toadies. 

Should Christians deny Socialists?

     I keep hearing about how terrible is the concept of Socialism.  I ask "why".  Responses range from nervous laughter to disbelief that the question was asked (with no actual lucid answer).  In adherence to the principles of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid), I resorted to looking in the Webster's dictionary at my desk:

Social: adj 1. Living in communities or groups. 2. Of or relating to the life and interrelationships of human beings in society. 3. Marked by friendly companionship with others.

Socialism: n. A social system or theory in which the producers possess political power and the means of producing and distributing goods.   (author’s addition – the above “producers” are the people who produce, who work, who make the products – not the ones who sit in high places whose major contribution to today's society is to rake in the monetary profits made from the toils of the producers who today do not benefit from the monetary rewards of their labors.)

Humans or Humanity: n 1. Human beings as a group: humankind. 2. The quality, state, or fact of being human. 3. The quality of being humane ie. Kindness.

Christianity :n  The religion founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
      What are those “teachings of Jesus Christ”?    What I gleaned from my Christian education was pretty straightforward:
‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my brother, you do unto me’.
‘You are your brother’s keeper’.
‘When you gave food to the hungry, you fed me.  When you clothed the naked, you clothed me,  etc.’
       In a nutshell, Christ’s teachings would have us treat others the way we would like to be treated – or a common version of the golden rule.
      As human beings, we are social creatures.  We crave companionship, friendship, and love.  We need these things as well as basic elements of physical survival, food, shelter, and clothing.  Sometimes we have difficulties.  There are obstacles that can surprise the most organized and prepared of any of us.   The hardships of these obstacles can be further compounded when the non-producers of society do all the taking of resources.  The embodiment of humanity in its kindness and the strength and support of the society, are decimated in the shadow of avarice and selfish hoarding of a few.
     And yet the so many self proclaimed Christians I hear, decry as “evil Socialist” any systems of assistance to those experiencing need.  I suspect they have succumbed to the self serving propaganda spread by the super-rich who produce nothing and often contribute nothing worthwhile to the human condition and spirit.
     I maintain that the closest to the message and intention of Christ that we have, is the human system of Socialism.   The wealthy can still maintain an elevated position in the hierarchy, but everyone willing and able to work can make enough to support their families.  And those who have found themselves in need of assistance can count on the human family to help them.
     There are plenty of resources out there in financial facilities right now to allow all of humanity to live more humanely.   But the control and ownership is all at the top of the heap. Many resources have been outright stolen from the population and earth at large with no accountability or repercussions for the theft.  It is the greedy and their perversely righteous dupes, whose gullibility promotes the skewing of the resources that once were, and could again be available to all.
    What Would Jesus Do?  (WWJD)…  In today’s environment he might avoid Christianity and the twisted self-centered agenda so many have made of it .  He might instead be a Socialist.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Finding my way back

   At last I've found you again!  Times have been a bit tumultuous of late what with getting paired with a suitable laptop, trying to figure out how to help one friend down on her luck, and struggling to be of moral support for another.
   The one down on her luck has nearly reached the end of her HAS reached it's end.  Her last employment was somewhere around four years ago and with no family support, church assistance or government help, she is at the mercy of the elements and whomever may determine she is worthy of attention. 
   She lives in an aging wreck of a trailer / mobile home.  It has holes so huge her southwestern Missouri winter heating bill was well over $600.00 a month!  For one with no income or means of support, little wonder they shut her off - along with her phone.  I think she still has some electricity, now and again.  And she has yet to explain to me how her lot rent is handled.
    Her older sister is doing well with a nice house paid for and a live-in meal ticket taking care of the bills there.  This sister has no use for or inclination to help her sibling.  Instead she threatens her with lawsuits, accusing the younger of stealing from their late father's estate.  Should there ever be a lawsuit, and should the elder "win" it - she would walk away empty-handed as my friend has absolutely no possessions anyone in their right mind would covet. 
   My friend at least does have a Tracfone I gave her.  The minutes I bought her have long ago run out, but she told me her niece buys those for her now.  That is how she keeps in touch and lets me know about the opossum who keeps house somewhere inside the tiny part of the trailer in which she lives.  She has a neighbor who captures it and lets it go, evidently not far enough away, because it keeps returning.
    Health problems have plagued her for a number of years, but when she was laid off with no health insurance, the conditions worsened.  The closest free clinic is about fifty miles away - so there is the little matter of gas and upkeep for her car.  Once she manages to get there, they can only help her minimally as they have limited medications to give her for her high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
    And now the car is uninsured.  She reached out to me to pay it for her, sending me the company's phone number so I could give them my credit card information.  The policy would expire in two more days.  I felt a little taken aback that she would send me that responsibility, assuming that was the way to handle it.  I asked her what was the premium amount.  Her response floored me inasmuch as it was more than double what I pay for two vehicles combined.  She gave me the cold shoulder for several weeks after I declined her offer.  I reasoned that I couldn't justify paying so much more for her insurance when I didn't pay that for my own.  I felt bad for her, but I have helped whenever I could with cash, a phone and minutes, a rolling walker with a seat, jars of vitamins, and footing all the bills for food, entertainment and motel nights when I go to visit her - many hundreds of miles away.
    Oh yes, motel stays.  I am more than happy to get a room that can accommodate her for a few decent night's sleep.  "The tiny part of the trailer" I mentioned earlier, is on her I'm afraid.  It seems she is a hoarder.  The argument can definitely be made that "hoarding" is an illness or unavoidable dysfunction on some level. It can also be argued that this affliction really should be discerned and arrestable at an early enough stage to not allow it to become insanely out of control.  That discussion doesn't matter at this point.  For her, it is out of control. 
    During none of my visits has she ever allowed me in to her trailer - even years ago when I delivered the desktop computer and television I'd given her.  She had a neighbor who help her with those.  I was to just leave them outside.  The stories shared about these living quarters, are disturbing. 
   Relieved to be able to stretch out in all directions on her very own motel room queen-sized bed, the picture was painted for me of her home sleeping quarters.  She is able to access the bedroom, although it is only a narrow path from the door, through a corridor of stuff and onto a narrow 'V' shaped channel created from the stuff stacked up on either side of her bed.  Being very careful, she plants herself where she will be most comfy - all night.  There is no rolling or turning because the stacks have been known to avalanche on top of her.  I guess she has enough foresight to not put anything too heavy or suffocating above her recumbent body level.
   Once when she lost power to one of the few outlets she still has available, a friend tried to track down and repair the problem.  One of the marvels he encountered was buried, deeply and tightly packed in the midst of a room full of clothes, newspapers, and assorted nic nacs and refuse.  The sight he beheld was frightening; he had unearthed an extension cord plugged in to another extention cord that had caught fire.  All around the offending over-plugged area was melted, blackened, and charred from the flames.  However, the outbreak was quickly squelched as it was buried so deep, it was cut off from an adequate oxygen supply to satisfy its terrible hunger.  It was started in, and snuffed out by, a vast spread of compacted junk and refuse.  
    My friend's matter-of-fact relating of this tale was capped off with the firmly believed justification for her trailer full of crap, "It was lucky there was all that junk all around it-or it could have burned the whole place down."
    I inhaled, blinked quickly in some kind of attempt to fan the thoughts running through my head... and simply had no words.
   I truly do feel for her.  I suggested a couple years ago that she apply for disability because she simply cannot conjure the energy levels it takes to bear up under a steady day-long deluge of work.  She wasn't terribly far from retirement age at that time.  After a few years on disability, she could just transition to Social Security.  She has been a hard worker all her life and if she was just worn out, she should accept help.
   At that time, she refused to listen to such talk.  Insisting she just needed a job to get going again, she would be fine.  If I helped her out with a fist of cash or a check sent now and then, it was just a loan giving her a leg up.
   I have always known there was no "loan" about it.  She will never be able to repay me in money.  I just pray, that since she has at last applied for disability, it will come through soon and maybe her load can be lifted a little. 
To see her living in some sort of assisted living situation, out of that 'condemnation decree' waiting to happen, would be all the repayment I could ever want.
    Her situation is much more desperate on a life-and-death level than the object of my 'moral support' mentioned in the beginning...more on that one later.   

Saturday, January 16, 2016

being past prime

I was once healthy in an enviable sort of way.
I could run
I danced
I skipped and spun on my heels.
I ate what I liked
And I liked the "good" stuff -
There was cheese
and potatoes
and peas.
Yes,  I liked peas
and ice cream
Candy and pie
and my grandmas' baked delights.
The world was mine to explore
taste and savor.
Always stomping out
an old 'ho-hum'
that hung on too long.
On ever changing trails,
I would live to one hundred -
my limitations were few
by my reckoning
and then....
     I hurt.
     Letting them all escape,
     The horses were gone.
My bad timing to close the barn door.
I ate a little better.
Smoking finally ceased.
Exercise staged,
      hurting more.
Trembling, afraid and broken
lack of patience
had become
being a patient.
       Yet I drilled on
       Hanging with ghosts
       Pressing closer
       Tightened between
        'I want to LIVE' !!
And 'it might not be so bad
to be gone - away from this'.
Always my story
is to run away uphill
so no one can follow.
No one can hurt me.
        Did I do it all wrong?
        Was this meant to be?
Time drills holes in my soul
as I hobble and trip.
Now catch me if you can.
If you dare                
        Come to the place
        where the only
        certainty is pain.
        The friend is
there beyond where I
can hurt myself no more.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Spouting a Holiday Wish

   Another remarkable season of 'Peace and Good Will' is upon us as we face forward in to the world. With seven billion of us, 350 million or so just here in America, there is a good chance we are not all in agreement that everything is as it should be.

   A year ago the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize insisted on delivering her message of hope for education for girls.  Her award and speech was given after the group who shot her in the head, had more recently murdered 120 school children in a single attack.

   A man from Australia brought his successful charity to the United States, where he felt it was needed as much or more than anywhere else in the world. supplies free of charge backpacks that have self-contained warm sleeping bags for homeless living on the streets.  Luckily there is now one state where the governor has vowed to eliminate some of the homelessness.  It is the state of Virginia and it is only for veterans, but it is a start.
    That is not the first time the 'richest country in the world' has accepted help from foreigners.  Not only have we taken assistance in hurricane disasters, but when we need to make critical human rights improvements, the United Nations has stepped up with criticisms and observations.  For example, they published findings regarding the water crisis of the crumbling city of Detroit.  The besieged population is forced to use as drinking water, the poisoned Flint river.

   The first racial minority in the White House has had to battle the mighty headwind of Congressional and media bigotry since his first Inauguration day.  Many have envisioned the U. S. a country populated by fans of the underdog.  His supporters were hoping he was the beacon of light  so desperately craved after eight years "on the dark side".  'Transparency', 'Accountability', 'Justice', and 'Peace' were some of the watchwords of the ensuing administrations.  After more than six years, the disappointments are legion.
   I wrote to him a few years ago.  I expressed dismay at his blatant disregard for the Constitution he swore to uphold, specifically at that time the First and Fourth Amendments.  I suggested that as a Constitutionally trained lawyer, he probably did not have college instruction outlining how the President need pay no attention to those parts of the law.  I offered that since it had been awhile since his school years he might go back and audit some of the curriculum as a refresher in case he had become a bit foggy on some of the content.  (There was no response.)
    He has been a strong advocate of the practice of spying on everyone on the planet, while persecuting and prosecuting those who would sound the alarm bells of the shortfalls, pitfalls, and lawlessness of our eaves-dropping program.  His persistently accelerated drone bombing regimen has destroyed far more innocent life (including untried Americans) than terrorist suspects.
    The contradictions between saying and doing continue on with climate and environment issues.  Talking a big game about protecting the world for our children's future, he at long last postponed the Keystone pipeline.  Alongside thousands of miles of other fuel pipelines being approved and built, he has signed off on the permits for oil drilling in the Arctic, where the industry itself admits to a high probability of accidents. 
    And though jobs numbers rise nearly every month, he advocates for the Fast Track and T.P.P. (Trans Pacific Partners) agreement which methodically strips governments of sovereignty and legal power to buck corporate interests.  Under the T.P.P. companies cannot be sued for anything and wages will be dictated by the 'lowest' bidder, whatever job or country.
    An associate of mine was outraged that the brand new blouse she just spent $6.00 for at the world's largest retailer, had it's "V" neckline sewn crooked!
"How could they do something so stupid?!" she directed my way.
Well, since she asked, I explained that the (hypothetical?) Chinese or Indonesian sweatshop where that eleven year-old was putting together her blouse, probably wouldn't let her quit for the day until she finished that batch of one hundred in the 14th hour of her shift.  I expected it entirely possible the child was getting tired when crooked necklines appeared.
These situations will only worsen with something like the T.P.P. (NAFTA on steroids).

    Our society loves the gadgets, the cheap box store bargains, the swindle of lack of equal pay for women's equal work, a living wage for few workers, and no taxes for the wealthiest corporations.  The ultimate American freedoms entitle the waving of a red, white, and blue flag, shouting from the highest Hummer step how Christian it is to shut out the desperate (fill-in-the-blank) refugees, and proudly carry our assault weapons in to church.  According to a Texas state legislator, Syrian refugees would be bad to let in to Texas because guns are so readily available to anyone.

    Empires come and go.  They last about 250 years before the beginning of the end.  Hallmarks of the decline are; vast disparity between the 'haves' and 'have nots' and an imbalanced social emphasis over trivial concerns such as celebrity and gaming.  Violence and brutality become commonplace in entertainment.  There is an extreme attraction to lurid sexual concerns.  The last sign is the overblown militarization and absolute impunity of authority being unquestioned; as in thirteen months and a lawsuit to produce the video showing the shooting-in-the-back execution attended by a gallery of Chicago's finest(?) -  (not to be outdone by the New York City choke hold gang, among other 'forces' around the country). 

    The fall of this empire would be no better or worse than any other except that it is also marked by the decline of the planet as a whole.  Signs of what scientists call the Sixth Mass Extinction Event are encroaching on our human existence with population decline of vital pollinating animals and insects. Beneficial medicinal plants and weather influencing forests are being depleted at alarming rates.  I don't think viable Martian colonies for the masses will be operational in time to diffuse the invited hardship and suffering.

    And still we focus on what may be the least helpful in the life and death struggle of our species.
Some phenomenon of mass neural shut down has been induced with strange etched renditions of past statesmen and mysterious cult symbolism - money.  People see its attainment as bedrock; accumulating numbers in  accounts that can be dissolved quicker than cotton candy.  Money is become god. Wars are waged for it.  People worship it, cherish it, kill for it and live as though they will be keeping company with it in the hereafter (if there is such a thing).  It seems as though we have forgotten this man-made thing is a tool and not a goal.

    I recently heard a story from a WWI veteran.  He said he was in the trenches on Christmas Eve when from the German trenches came the sweet plaintive song of "Silent Night".  Soon the French joined in from their ditches of doom and then the English and Americans latched on to the tune.  They all gradually stepped up on to the open earth above and greeted one another in a gesture of Christmas Peace.  December 26th the insanity resumed.
    My dad recounted from his time in Korea, that the Christmas ceasefire (agreed to by the non-Christian Communists) began at midnight.  The quiet was surreal and short lived as the bombing resumed at the stroke of one midnight later.
I used to think dad hated Christmas.  He would always become so morose and introspective.  Turns out it wasn't the season.  Instead, he found what was going on around him so hypocritical, just like Korea.  If there could be a 24-hour cease-fire, why couldn't people bend their minds enough to just pull back, simplify, de-stress...and be human beings on a full time basis?

    That is the perennial question.  Must we always kowtow to the moneyed?  Are we so insecure in our own existence that we need to follow as lemmings over the cliff?

    In Winston Churchill's simple and profound words, "It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
    That too, but I say do what you can, how and when you are able.  Some days the disparity and hypocrisy are hard to ignore.  The rise and fall of the insane and the sane respectively, is a wave far more comfortable to avoid.  In the face of odds great and small, we must prevail and in doing our best, we will.   

   I tell you now my enduring Christmas wish, hoping it can reach across a multi-cultural population.
I hope everyone looks inward without benefit of IPods and PlayStations and Netflix.  Just for a bit, put down whatever crutch you may employ and then look carefully and thoughtfully at your relationships and those around you in your family, neighborhood, and community.  Compliment someone just to make them feel good.  Smile at the antics of a squirrel and gasp OUT LOUD at a beautiful sunset or a tree.  Stand outside and boldly wave and say "hi" to the moon.  Wonder at, without touching it, how that beetle knows you are closely staring at it.  Then thank God for His artistry and for sharing with us.
No matter what your religion or if you have none, regardless we are all in this together.
So we should just be nice to each other.
Help one another when you are able.
And be happy.  Sometimes that can be tough, but try saying it out loud, "Today I have decided to be happy."
Smile  - - and repeat.

Establish "us" and "together"'s important.
In the face of nearly countless obstacles, that will get us through and beyond the best holiday season ever.