Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Prayer for and to Humanity

Dear Humanity, and I am addressing ALL OF YOU, rich, poor or somewhere in between, religious or not so much, all colors of the rainbow, that includes LBGTQ, and every shade of skin-color. If you breathe and share this earth with the rest of us....this is for you.

I pray that you find the wisdom, and the energy to wake-up in time. If you already consider yourself to be 'woke', then you need to get busy now helping others to get there. Now!

I pray that you see the Light...and that this experience gives you the insight to know that we are at a cross-roads, perhaps the most critical one in our species' history.

If we turn down the road that Donald Trump wants us to.....we will not only render our democracy inoperable and useless, but we will also bring on a vast maelstrom of pain and suffering.  And, it won't be just the immigrants and other people of color who suffer; it will be across the spectrum. There will be plenty to go around. The path this megalomaniac is trying to usher us down is the path of ultimate pain....the agony of isolation and hatred, violence and selfishness....the path of GREED, i.e. "...sucks to be you," as Ayn Rand would proffer.

I pray that all Human Beings discover a clarity of vision and insight that will cause them to see what is really happening...to our society, to the environment, to the hopes of future generations, and to all of the other species who have the dire misfortune to share the planet..........with us.

I pray that, as a society, we learn to begin treating all human beings and all sentient species with kindness and caring.....with the RESPECT that is due all living creatures, and the planet herself. 

I pray that we do not have to go through the hell-fires of continued ignorance and stupidity to learn the simple lesson in front of us:  love and harmony can heal and deepen the value of our lives.  Hate and an absence of compassion will create only pain and suffering. No other outcome is possible with them in place.

These are simple yet undeniable truths. 

I pray that the Americans who think Donald J. Trump is a decent human being who will lead us to the best possible future.....WAKE-UP!!!   Any fundamental clarity of mind blatantly exposes the truth: that he is a hateful, sadistic, dishonest, dishonorable and cruel troglodyte, interested only in himself and accumulating as much wealth as he can get his grubby little hands on.  It's right there for all to see....but, without openness in one's Heart, it remains invisible.

I pray that all Humans arrive at the conclusion that we need to pull together....not to continue pulling apart.  If we fail to do so, we will not only guarantee and hasten our own extinction, but we will create a nightmare scenario of going down in flames as we do so.  The pain of hating and hurting will become an overwhelming and excruciating closed feed-back loop. 

I pray that ordinary people will rise to commit extraordinary acts of kindness and illumination.  We already have examples of how this can be done with power and grace:  Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others,  are like stars twinkling in the night sky, leading the way towards a society where hatred and violence are unnecessary and even obsolescent.

I pray that all people who have adopted hatred of others, willingness to commit violence, and a general selfishness that excludes caring for or helping other less fortunate souls....will receive a psychic jolt that will cause them to WAKE-UP....and begin to function like decent human beings, instead of like hateful and sadistic animals, in the manner of their sicko leader, The Orange Fool.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Dear President Bone Spurs....

Once again it's that time of the year when we have a chance to wish our country a happy birthday, and to use the occasion to reafirm how much we value democracy, freedom and principles that we can live by and feel that we are proud of who we are.  'Proud', by the way, doesn't translate into puffed-up nationalistic struting and boasting of our military's vast lethality.  It is simply a quiet sense that whenever a society gets into trouble with autocracy, despotism and a violent willingness to control it's people, that we have been the ones willing to step-up...and have done so, at huge cost in the lives of American servicemen and women, and vast amounts of money and effort.

At the end of World War II there was indeed a great parade, with ticker-tape and the whole shebang....and the men and women who marched in it had just been through four plus years of sheer hell, in order to keep the world from falling completely under the control of hellish despots who would have enslaved most of the planet if we hadn't been willing to step-up. I have watched the film, and that parade was America's way, in some small part, of welcoming the soldiers, sailors and marines home. It was a way of celebrating that they did something wonderfully courageous and difficult...and they WON.  It was certainly NOT a celebration of how mighty our military was, but rather that we were thankful in the extreme for their willingness to sacrifice so much, including their lives by the hundreds of thousands.

Now comes this petty, lying, cheating, manipulating asshole....who dodged his own chance to put it all on the line for his country....by getting a less than honest doctor to certify that he had bone spurs. And, he thinks he can be president for life....if only enough Americans will insist on it.

Wrong.  There are way too many of us who actually did serve who would never tolerate a piece of dirt like Donny-boy stealing the highest office and running the country as if he'd been anointed king.

Never going to happen.....and I mean that in the gravest sense of 'whatever it would take'.

So, today we will watch...or, better yet, look away....as this idiot gloats over his high station and pontificates about Freedom and all the 'values' he so supports.  Perhaps he'll mention what a good job his agencies are doing on the southern border....causing so much pain, pain like you never saw, pain that will show these insolent (brown) asylum seekers to re-consider their desire to escape DYING and come to America, the Beautiful.

The government will spend as yet undetermined millions of dollars so that this Orange Clown can have a show of military might.  He has already begun lying about it, saying that the military units and their personnel are 'thrilled' to be doing this.  Oh BULLSHIT!!!  They'd rather be barbecuing with their families, or at the beach....especially in this suffocating heat!  He is so clueless that he popped-off about the new Sherman tanks and the new Abrams that would be there.  Really?   Our main battle tank, the Abrams has been on active duty since 1980....and the 'brand new' Sherman has not been made since--hello!--1946, when production was stopped because it had become obsolescent and WWII was well and truly OVER.  Perhaps he meant to refer to the Sheridan fighting vehicle, a lighter tank intended to operate where the Abrams can't because of its 70 ton bulk.

But, why would the idiot know that?  He doesn't read,apparently needs his briefings in short sentences and with good graphics,and is constantly bluffing about how he knows more than the generals....or anybody.  This is the hallmark of a genuine FOOL....a person who, as an old-timey expression here in Maine goes: "....is so clueless that he don't even suspect nothin".

It's gotten beyond even such superlatives as 'infuriating',or 'outrageous'.  He's engineering a dictatorship, right in front of our very eyes.  He really believes the bullshit he spouts on a daily basis...most of it on Twitter.  It has become a de facto 'government by twitter', as a matter of fact. Even his generals and what few diplomats he's appointed get their marching orders via this social media platform.  You wouldn't believe these circumstances if someone described it all to you at a barbecue.  You would think they were in the bag, loaded out of their mind.

So, let's indeed honor America, the Founding Fathers' and their vision for a country where equality, tolerance and actual freedom in practice would be realized.  But, as we do this....how 'bout letting the Big Orange Idiot know that it's not ALL ABOUT HIM.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The REAL 'Enemy of the People'.....


        At this late date, it is now firmly established, i.e. beyond any doubt whatsoever, that climate change is not only 'real', but that it is going to be a catastrophic cataclysm if we continue on the path we have been on since the beginning of the industrial revolution. 
       In fact, it is so utterly 'real' that climate scientists have begun referring to it as the 'Sixth Great Extinction', and they are doing this, in part, to get our attention.  It is the headlight at the other end of the tunnel.  It is the looming 'end of times' that evangelical Christians are counting on, and even looking forward to, because it will mean they get to go to heaven.  It is the planetary systems spiraling out of control because of the massive amount of carbon dioxide and methane that we are pumping into our atmosphere......every day.  2018 was the highest CO2 producing year on record, so it appears that all that has been said and the very little that has been done, has not been nearly enough to even slow our assault on the planet down, much less reverse it.
       And, this morning we are told by the media that the Big Fool is going around to the leaders of the G-20 countries and urging them to roll-back regulations intended to address climate change.  It's not enough that he is so ill-informed and so dense that he denies climate change...he has to campaign for avoiding doing ANYTHING that would even help in some small way to mitigate it.  At this point, it would be difficult for any person who is able to tie their own shoes to argue that this man is not perverse, intentionally obtuse in his never-ending quest to plunder the planet's resources, especially coal and other fossil fuels.  He's a destructive maniac who doesn't care in the least about 'facts' or 'truth'....no, no, those are for suckers.  He will provide all of the 'alternative facts' that his followers need to stay pacified and content to carry-on with driving the bus off a cliff.
      It has become too commonplace to label him.  It does no good, because his followers are on board the 'Trump cult' for the duration.  Despite many of them being self-proclaimed righteous Christians, they don't mind following a man who lies pretty much all the time.  He rarely opens his piggy little yap without telling a lie.  This is not hyperbole; it's a fact...yes, one of those pesky little things that he has such disdain for. All the lying is coming from a man who is also a sexual predator, a racist, and clearly he's a sadist who doesn't mind causing suffering in innocents if it serves his deviant purposes.
     Donald Trump might be pleased to know that he is causing such angst, consternation and fear in the majority of Americans....and in other countries, we are told.....he lives to piss-off  his perceived 'enemies'.  And, in order to make that long and growing list, one merely need disagree with his lies and his assault on decency and even democracy itself.  I doubt, however, if he'd be pleased to know that history is already regarding him as the 'disaster president' and he is certain to eclipse any presidents from our history as the holder of the esteemed title, "Worst President Ever".  Hey, he loves attention.  He may even take some perverse joy in knowing how much he has destroyed and how much harm he has done to the people he berates and whom he denies their humanity.
      An article appeared today in the progressive press saying that now we finally have come to the point where it's accurate to compare Donald the Dipshit to Adolf Hitler. If the shoe fits....   So, obviously, the question arises: well, what do we do about this miserable state of affairs?  And, I believe you already know the answer to that question:  VOTE.
      If Americans who feel disenfranchised and are going to be petulant about it stay home and decline to participate in our democratic process this time.....again....we will have another four years of this maniac and that will be more, much more, than our somewhat fragile democracy can survive. 
     He has already done tremendous damage to almost any area of governance that you can name.  He lies awake at night just dreaming up more ways to destroy anything that he perceives as standing in the way of maximizing profits for his big business cronies and the oligarchs who own him.

WE NEED TO VOTE HIM OUT!!!   Nevermind impeachment; it won't accomplish anything because the GOP controlled senate will never vote him out.  So, all this dithering about to impeach or not is a distraction and a waste of energy.  Sure, it feels good to think of bringing his sorry ass up on charges....but, in the end, with his control of SCOTUS and the senate, it will not make even a small difference in his ongoing mayhem.  In fact, it might well backfire in that it will motivate his base to get out there and find more people who cannot see the writing on the wall.

So, to re-cap:  We are talking about the survival of our species, not to mention the thousands of other species that will go down as collateral damage.  This is NOT some minor political squabble that could go either way.  If it is allowed to continue building momentum and wreaking destruction on decency and common sense, it will CONSUME US.  You may want to dismiss such a stark statement as hyperbole.....but, that would be a dire mistake.
      The scientists who study climate year in and year out are not making up their findings. They are academic professionals who place huge importance of the dominance of FACTS.  They have dedicated their lives to revealing what is really and truly happening to the planet as we continue spewing billions of tons of CO2 and methane, among many other lesser pollutants, into the water and air that we must have to survive.  The parameters they have been using to gauge the progress of climate change keep getting re-set as the data is collected from all over the globe and is telling them that changes are happening MUCH FASTER than they ever anticipated, or even thought was possible. The train is going faster and faster, and now the guesses as to when it will jump the rails are all in turmoil because there are so many factors--such as feed-back loops--in play that making any solidly grounded predictions has become difficult to impossible.
       How can I make it any more clear what is at stake here?  Donald J. Trump is an evil man.  True. Based on his treatment of those whom he dis-likes and even despises, he is fine with causing massive pain to hundreds of thousands.  I am not speaking of just the immigrants who have arrived on our doorstep because leaving their countries of origin was necessary in order to survive.  I am speaking of black America, and Hispanic America, and Native Americans....essentially, anybody who is not white and already established in our society. 
       His remarks on various occasions since taking office have undeniably re-affirmed the fact that he is a racist xenophobe who wants all people of color to either leave, stay away or just stop existing.  He loves rubbing elbows with the most despotic dictators on the planet.  It matters not at all to him that the likes of Putin, Duterte, Kim Jong Un, Bibi Netanyahu, are all despicable human beings.  They are 'tough guys' and that is what the Orange Pansy wants to be too.  So, of course he hangs out with them and even gives them credibility that he denies the legitimate press and even the professional intelligence community that has served one president after another with honor and dilligence.
       More and more frequently Big Orange Doofus is labeling the press as the 'enemy of the people'.  He knows that if he says something often enough and never lets up, that his followers will soon adopt it as the truth.  This is actually one of the guiding principles of The Big Lie that was developed to perfection by Josef Goebbles and Adolf Hitler....who would have doubtless made The Idiot's short list of successful tough guys.


Hear me now and believe me later.  If you are a freedom-loving American, one whose hair on the back of your neck stands-up when the Star-Spangled Banner is sung....you will not like what is coming under the Orange Buffoon.  Trust me on that.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

When Heros Were Commonplace

As the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day approaches, I think back and sort through the large volume of mental images that I have stored during my lifetime.  They come from movies like "The Longest Day"(1962), which actually had a few actors who had been on the beach at Normandy, but mostly, they are from documentary film that was shot by combat photographers.

Some of the moments they captured are engraved in the American psyche. The one I am thinking of foremost in this regard is of three GIs making their way up the beach past landing obstacles, and one of them is shot and falls to the sand.  We never get to know who it was, or if he survived his wounds, but we have the achingly sad duty of witnessing his sacrifice....again and again.

Much of the film shot on D-Day and in the days and weeks immediately after, is also familiar. There have been countless efforts to either document or to dramatize the experience of invading Hitler's Festung Europa,  Fortress Europe.  One of the most viewed dramas has been, "Saving Private Ryan", with Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.  It is the story of a Ranger captain who was ordered to go find a private in the paratroops whose sibling brothers had all been killed--therefore requiring the army to pull the one remaining brother out of danger. It manages to do a very authentic job of letting the viewer know what these men....there were no 'boys' there.....went through.  And, it is daunting. Another must see series...if you really want to make the effort to understand what these Americans went through....is A Band of Brothers. It is painfully authentic and deeply personal.

In my own mind, I have great difficulty in understanding how much raw courage it took to be one of the men huddled in a landing craft as it approached the beach, machine-gun bullets ricocheting off the ramp, mortar and artillery rounds crashing all around them. I doubt if anybody can understand what they went through without having been there.  And, I wonder how many of today's volunteer soldiers could manage to pull it off....knowing that you might very well be dead in the next few minutes or hours, and still charging down the ramp into the hail of machine-gun fire.

When my wife, Abigail, and I got together--almost 20 years ago now--I soon became aware that her father, Donald Downs, had been in WWII.  What I did not understand immediately was that he went ashore with the 29th Infantry Division on D-Day plus 1, as an infantry platoon sergeant. I learned that Don had only been in France for about thirty days before a German sniper shot his arm off and he was evacuated.  I knew that he died at age 59, of complications from cirrhosis and had been a very unhappy soul up until his death.

What I did NOT know at first, was that in those thirty days, Sergeant First Class Donald Downs, had been awarded two Bronze Stars and one Silver Star for his actions under fire. The father-in-law I could never know was not merely a hero, he was on track to be another Audie Murphy, the most decorated GI in WWII.

I eventually was able to obtain and read the citation for his Silver Star.  During a fire-fight in the bocage--the hedgerows behind Normandy Beach--Donald had picked-up a BAR, (a 19 lb. automatic rifle with a 20 round magazine capacity), and assaulted a German machine-gun nest, killing the Germans inside and moving on from there.  It wasn't his BAR,. but that of a dead platoon-mate, also apparently from Martha's Vinyard.  Donald had realized that something needed to be done because if they remained pinned-down the entire platoon would be chewed away to nothing, sooner than later.  So, he did what he knew needed to be done.

That, by any measure, is heroism on an extraordinary level.  But, the thing is, this was happening all over the hedgerow country and in the towns...everywhere within dozens of miles.  American, Canadian and British soldiers were acting out the same scenario with only the details being different.  It's not unreasonable to posit that the invasion could actually have failed and become a rout if this indomitable spirit of self-sacrifice was not as prevalent as it was. After Iwo Jima, Chester Nimitz was quoted as saying that "...uncommon valor was a common virtue", but this applies to so many battles in that and other wars.  The American soldier, sailor, marine has demonstrated again and again that otherwise ordinary men will rise to the occasion....even when it means they are very likely to be killed for doing so.

In the battle for Normandy, there were approximately 209,000 Allied casualties, and almost 37,000 of those were KIA.  Another 16,000 approximately were killed in the air war. German casualty figures were likewise astronomical: approx. 200,000, wounded, missing and killed.  It was a blood-bath and was followed by weeks and then months of heavy combat as the Allies closed off the Falaise pocket and fought across France.

A few years ago, I was speaking with a woman who mentioned Memorial Day with some disgust.  Her words were something along the lines of, "I don't see why we should honor war.  It's a despicable thing that we do to each other."  And, I could not keep my mouth shut. I said, "It is not war that is being honored. It is the bravery and the ultimate sacrifice that generation after generation has made....so that we can choose how to live our lives in Freedom."  She got it at that point.

So, here's the kicker:  now we find our dear republic in dire times, and the freedom that not only the WWII generation fought and died for, but almost every generation since the Revolutionary War has fought for....is now endangered.  If  "Old Bone Spurs", Donald J. Trump, manages to steal another term in the White House, his fantasy of becoming King for Life will be within reach.  True.

He will have all the opportunity he needs to finish engineering the Supreme Court and much of the entire federal judiciary, and his slimy colleagues, like Mitch McConnell, will ramp-up their assault against decency, the lower classes and even American institutions like the Constitution.  Don't think so?  Wake up.  As of this writing, a majority--37 is the number I have heard most recently--of states are on track to support a constitutional convention......the purpose of which would be to slam through a new version of it, one that would abrogate and otherwise render impotent many of the rights guaranteed in the original one. The New Constitution would be the top .01%'s final and complete permission to finish looting the underclasses, and destroy the environment as they do it. It will seal the doom of a prosperous society where fairness and compassion have been held aloft as ideals....and they will be traded for self-interest and the dispassionate destruction of the planet as the pursuit of unimaginable wealth takes over completely.

The oligarchs will have their way....if we remain apathetic and decline to vote.  I am not making this up...our democracy is in greater danger than it has ever been, with the notable exception, perhaps, of the Civil War.

Time to Wake Up America.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Anti-vaxxers Are Not Free to Harm Others

The current measles outbreak is now the focal point of a long-standing conflict: does a person have the right to deny vaccinations, to themselves and/or their children?  In the land of the free, how can it be okay for the government to require that a parent, or an individual, inject or introduce in any form, a foreign substance....especially given that said parents believe that vaccinations are dangerous, causing all manner of evil reactions, even including autism?  I mean, can it really be that there is zero choice and if you don't conform you will be held in violation of the law?  That doesn't sound like a 'free country', does it?

But, hold-on a minute.  It is nowhere near being as simple as that argument would have you believe it is.  So, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.  Suppose I have a child who has an illness, or a condition, that has compromised their immune system. [aside: we have two grand-kids with Type I Diabetes.....and they fall into this category]  Unless I am going to quit my career and stay home to home-school my child, I will be sending him/her off to school where they will be cruising through a veritable sea of germs, viruses, cleaning chemicals, etc.  In order to survive this assault, I may have to use particular medications, or treatments to keep things on track.  I may even feel a little relieved that we don't have to worry about diseases like the measles (....this USED to be true...not anymore), cholera, dysentery, bubonic plague, malaria, small pox, chicken pox, mumps and a long list of other diseases that have been almost or completely eradicated because we have been using vaccines now for three generations.

And, here come some well-meaning people who genuinely believe that vaccinations are 'evil', not  to be used by humans because some religious and conservative groups claim they are a government plot to control or somehow harm our children.  These believers are sure that vaccines are the tools of a massive conspiracy intended to harm us. 'Conspiracy' is a word that seems to be popping up more and more in these times.  It is a reflection of a mind-set that sees evil possibilities and forces all around us and quails at the thought that we would volunteer to submit...not just ourselves, but our CHILDREN....to such evil forces at work.

When I was about 12 years old, I recall a fuss about manufacturers putting fluoride in toothpaste, and--God Forbid!!--in our municipal drinking water.  Of course, the popularity of science-fiction novels and movies, along with 'a commie behind every door' paranoia created a mindset that was so ridiculously fearful and suspicious that it eventually became clear that it was merely stupid and unnecessary.  There was--despite the McCarthy era panic--no commie under your bed.  And, as it happens, fluoride is very effective in reducing dental cavities and decay.  It was never going to render us helpless and allow us to be controlled by the forces of evil.

So, here we are, with a sizable portion of the population falling, once again, for this kind of simple-minded bullshit and foolish speculation.  To assume that vaccines are the outgrowth of some nefarious plot is to surrender your sanity in favor of paranoid delusion.  Vaccines have saved countless lives, especially in third world countries, but here as well.  Measles was declared 'stamped out' in the U.S. in 2000....and now it's back, all because some well-meaning parents are choosing to reject facts and science. And, there's another source of paranoia: the millennium.  How'd that conspiracy work out?

Okay, unless you are so gullible that you have bought into all of this conspiracy nonsense, hook, line and sinker, you need to come back to your senses and realize that the science and particularly the medical community is not out to 'get you'.  They are not the tools of some imaginary, evil Dark Lord.  I mean, really?

But, here's the bottom-line: if you insist on remaining devoted to the crack-pot theories that abound, fine. You are an idiot....it may make your life easier if you just start working on accepting that fact.  However....you are perfectly free to be an idiot in this country. Hey, knock yourself out....no, really, bang your head against a brick wall. That should do the trick. In fact, it's a very popular way of being here, and getting more popular all the time.  We Americans don't have a corner on it, but we're damn sure near the front of the pack in spawning weirdos and foolishness.  Hell, look who is in the Oval Office.  If that isn't prima facia evidence that we're spiraling toward collective idiocy and our own self-inflicted doom, I can't imagine what would be stronger.

That's not the end of the non-discussion, however.  The fact that you willingly choose to embrace stupidity is fine by me...but, and this is a HUGE but....that does not, in any shape or form, give you the right to send your un-vaccinated child to rub elbows with my vaccinated but immune-system challenged child, and perhaps inflict on them whatever disease your child is harboring, due to your pig-headed rejection of science...and, very likely, facts in general.

Because you are free to make an intentional choice...but choose to make a not necessarily 'informed' choice....you are free to not vaccinate your child, AS LONG AS THIS DOESN'T CAUSE HARM TO OTHERS.

If you think that you have such unlimited freedom to practice your paranoid rejection of science that you can even think it's okay to potentially harm other peoples' children....then you are not merely stupid, you are a world-class ASSHOLE.  How 'bout that?

Don't want to vax?  Fine!  But, keep your poor kids at home and don't pretend that you have the right to inflict your own idiocy on others.

Oh, and one other thing:  don't come around blubbering that your child got sick with the measles, or any other preventable disease...when you purposely rejected an effective means of prevention.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Down at the Stern....and Listing to Starboard

I have always liked the unique manner in which metaphors can illuminate a point by 'taking it to the side', using a parallel situation to make things more understandable.  Well, the metaphor that has come to me around taking a wide-angle overview of our society...is that of a sinking ship.

She's taking on water, is losing ground and her rails will be awash before we know it. Her hull just has too many 'leaks' for her to stay afloat. Of course, it's always possible that a miracle will happen. I just watched the Columbus Blue Jackets sweep the supposedly best team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lighting, in the Stanley Cup first round play-offs....so, let's say anything is possible.

But, it looks pretty dire if you are willing to be objective and look at the confluence of factors that are all emerging simultaneously.  The biggest, and by far the most lethal, is Climate Change...unless you are of the ostrich persuasion and insist on keeping your head in the sand, you are already experiencing some of the by-products of it, i.e. droughts, wild-fires, mega-storms, arctic melting, and on and on.  It's not just projections anymore; events are happening all over the planet that point to an ongoing and burgeoning catastrophe.  That alone will sink the ship, perhaps even despite a late awakening on the part of humanity.  But, as we look out across the planetary landscape, it's clear that there are a vast number of people who are just not ready to accept the reality that is already upon us and starting to make itself known in numerous ways.  It's not my purpose today to enumerate all of them, but, Google will find all the information you need....as well as provide you with good examples of how the too large segment of the population is practicing denial.

One of the biggest leaks in our planetary ship of state is the so-called 'Population Bomb', which is exploding in slow motion as we watch.  There are already more people--1.7 times as many--on the planet than present methods of food production can feed.  Famine is already over-taking large parts of Africa, Asia and more....even as we are so used to walking into our local supermarket and gliding past mountains of vegetables and fruits, then on to shelves groaning with canned and packaged foodstuffs.  When you imagine how this might appear to a person from Somalia,the Sudan, Ethiopia, and on and on....it's beyond surreal, more like hallucinatory.  But, because that is our daily reality, we are blinded from seeing how many people are starving....yes, here and now on planet Earth in 2019.

As the population bomb continues its horrific, slow-mo explosion, we are seeing the people who are no longer able to survive in these drought and famine plagued regions fleeing toward parts of the planet that hold out at least the distant hope of survival.  They are literally dying in great numbers to make this move.  We are witnessing a 21st century diaspora of growing and eventually gigantic proportions.  Millions are starving....right now.

Then there is the gigantic political swamp we are mired in.  The Right vs. The Left is becoming ever more vitriolic and hateful.  There are people on both sides of this great divide who are projecting it will come to violence.  Whether a race war, a class war, or any other 'us and them' conflagration, the scenario is something out of a Hollywood blockbuster; you can almost hear the announcer in his uber-urgent basso voice telling us that, ".....they're coming!!!  And, the flood of immigrants is now being alluded to as an 'invasion', not of the body snatchers, but of starving families and lost souls who are just trying to survive, who are being cast as 'monsters, criminals, rapists etc"...not just by some lame-brain commentator on Fox, but by OUR PRESIDENT. 

And, there is another serious leak that will sink us.  The highest office in American politics is occupied by an insane megalomaniac, who is often referred to as, 'the most powerful person on the planet'...and is a liar, a hateful buffoon who is doing his damnedest to keep upper-class Americans isolated from the suffering that is already overtaking so many people around the earth.  He will brag and lie to convince us that this is the only way we can survive, by closing our borders completely......uh, well, okay not so closed if you're a college educated white person from Europe.  He's said he prefers people from Norway.  This mentally aberrant and unstable non-genius, read 'idiot', also has the unspeakable power of nuclear weapons at his command.  And, apparently and much to the horror of decent people everywhere, there are few if any safety mechanisms that could stop him from initiating a nuclear attack.....on whomever. 

Are you convinced? In fact, not only is our ship in mortal peril, it is sinking faster and faster all the time.  These situations are all exacerbating, and climate change is demonstrating the ability to confound the scientists who study it in great depth....by continually accelerating and out-pacing even their most dire projections.  The train....to use another metaphor....hasn't just lost some braking ability.  The throttle is stuck open and it is going faster all the time and nobody knows where the end of the line is.

So, as bad as all of this is, and I am not even elaborating on it to the degree that I could, we still have some choices we can...and need...to make. 

The foremost of these has to do with deciding what kind of a society we want.  Do we want the society that the Chief Crook wants?  That would mean allowing racial tensions and hatred to divide us into essentially warring sides.  If America chooses White Supremacy as it's code of ethics to carry us forward, it will mean immense suffering on BOTH SIDES.  If we embrace Trump's idea that this country has no room for the 'brown invaders' and we are to conduct ongoing operations to block, and otherwise suppress minorities...which we already do domestically via a violent policing policy that allows black males to be murdered with only rare consequences for the cops who pull the trigger....then we will create a living hell on earth.

The fatuous notion that we can have a segregated and isolated society even as the rest of the planet suffers is just that: fatuous.  The idea that the white race can have a plutocracy run by the very rich and have it be either harmonious or peaceful is also HOGWASH. Minority populations are no longer willing to accept such a situation and they are coming into the political arena intent on rectifying the massive imbalance that has existed for so many generations.  The day of the 'old white men' is over. And, people like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, are dinosaurs without even realizing it yet. But, they will become just as extinct as more and younger people of all ethnicities and gender/orientations, and of all social backgrounds, step forward.  It is especially hopeful that more and more women are getting involved, no longer content to watch as old white men run the show, based on their desire to accumulate even greater wealth and more power. 

If we are going to deal with the huge challenges that face humanity, we need to do it from a place of harmony and strength.  And, that means ALL PEOPLE need to be considered as human beings, not as a plague of locusts who need to be pushed back and allowed to starve while we still live in the 'land of plenty'. The biggest decision we need to make is: how we want to treat other people, especially those less fortunate.  If we have learned a single iota from Christianity, we should know by now that we are ALL IN THE SAME LIFEBOAT.  There will not be one planetary reality for the super-rich, another one for the 'working people' and a third nightmarish scenario for all those from areas of the planet where a normal even half-way decent life is no longer possible. 

As the ship continues to settle...and, it will.....we need to decide that we are all in this together.  Some are thinking that they'll motor off into the future on their 200 million dollar yachts, perhaps carrying them to their exclusive compounds where the angry and starving cannot touch them.  Some have already bought 'condos' in missile silos where they can sit out Armegeddon....like hibernating groundhogs.  I cannot imagine that being a kind of existence that any actually sane person could tolerate for very long. 

Then there are those who are so deeply asleep in their consciousness, that they imagine they can kill enough of the people who threaten them to somehow come out on top of a race war.  This is actually a very popular notion on the far right.  Don't believe it?  Visit some of the alt-right, neo-Nazi and white power websites.  You'll believe it.

We can choose to go down the path of hatred, fear and violence....which is where the head-case in orange wants us to go....or we can choose to find humane and compassionate solutions to the gigantic problems we have created ourselves.  We need to know--in our Hearts--that we really are not all just separate individuals, bouncing around earth like so many ping-pong balls, each person doing their damnedest to get what they need for themselves.  We are as much a tribe or a family as we're willing to be and together we can create the means of surviving and learning to be kind to each other. 

In one direction, lies our very own self-created Hell; and, in the other lies the potential to do the best we can to create harmony and to live with an awakened sense of compassion......which, is a very good working definition of "Heaven on Earth". 

What's it going to be, Humans?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Does The Pathetic One Really Think He Can Have His Own Brown-shirts?

By now, one might think most of us Americans who aren't mesmerized by the charms of the Orange Fool, would be somewhat inured or even wholly immune to the blathering that comes out of his 'hooter'.  But, then, along comes his comment that if things don't go his way as the future unfolds, his followers in law enforcement, the military......and bikers for Trump gangs, will become violent and it will be, "...very bad, very bad". 

It doesn't take much effort to deduce what he's aiming at: we should be terrified that if we stand up to this asshole, he's going to have his trogs in these groups use violence against the American people at large.  Really?

For starters, he wants us to believe that 'his followers' in the police and military are numerous, perhaps comprising the majority of these groups. And, then there is the astonishing implication that he'll turn his 'bikers' loose and let them commit mayhem. 

This is where I am calling BULLSHIT.  Yes, there are some far-right people in each of these groups, but when you get right down to the numbers, they are not what the Great Orange Porker wants us to believe they are. Commanders in the armed forces--all five services--are not going to look on as their commands go rogue.  If there is one thing the military understands, it's that people have jobs and there is a chain of command.  Everybody is expected to do their assigned job, whatever it may be, and to do so to the best of their ability. 

In every army unit that I was assigned to, there were slackers, non-conformists and goldbrickers, but they were few, and the great exception.  Most units have competent leadership, and it is an ongoing process to weed out those, at all levels of leadership, who either don't have the mustard, or are just not on board with the unit's mission.  If there is one thing the U.S. Army is very good at doing, it is recognizing leadership potential and finding ways for those who exhibit it to fill slots where it is necessary and even essential.

I was in the infantry.  The infantry soldier is the figure around which the entire rest of the army revolves.  Tanks are great, as long as they're supported by infantry troops on the ground.  By themselves, tanks are terribly vulnerable to all sorts of very efficient anti-tank weapons, some small enough to be easily concealed and carried by individual enemy soldiers.  Artillery is awesome, so able to project explosive power even beyond the horizon, but, the only reason it can perform it's mission is because infantry units are going to move into the area they have just shelled. 

No grunts....nothing happens. 

And, all of the other branches of the army, the signal corps, the aviation units, the quartermaster corps, the military police...and on and on.....all exist to make certain that the infantry has the support and materials to get the job done.  An infantry division....like the Big Red One, is an awesome gathering of skills and tools, all focused on getting one job done:  transcending any enemy resistance and winning the day.  If you were to see the army's flag, it has battle streamers, i.e. ribbons, attached to the top of the flag's staff....and one cannot help but marvel at how many there are, and what battles they commemorate.  From Valley Forge to Belleau Wood, to Guadalcanal, to Normandy, and Bastogne, to Inchon, to the central highlands and Hue, to Fallujah and Baghdad, and so many more....the U.S. Army has a very proud history.  Yes, it has had it's shortcomings and failures, but not due to the lack of quality of personnel, so much as to the quality of our politicians.

I am proud to be a veteran of the U.S. Army, and I tell you here and now that it will NEVER follow the orders of an insane idiot to attack the American people in the streets, forests and fields of this country.  It will not happen. 

You may rightly ask how I know this.  I know it because the army is full of people just like myself....men and women who love this country and have a deep respect for integrity and honor.  They will always find a way to sort out the confusing elements of a given situation and then find a way through that is as humanly close to 'doing the right thing' as possible.

Many of the pundits out there have speculated on how Trump aspires to become a full-blown dictator, and what it would take for that to happen.  He has been frequently been compared to Mussolini and Hitler...among others...and his call for 'his followers' to become violent if he doesn't get his way, is certainly alarming on multiple levels.  Hitler had his 'Brown Shirts', the Sturm Abteilung, SA, and Mussolini had his own Blackshirts.  Both were organized mobs, made-up of street thugs and ne'rdowells who were happy to jump on the Nazi bandwagon, or the Fascist train, because it was not merely adventurous, but held out the promise of opportunities to break heads and even to kill those who were identified as 'enemies of the people'.....yes, the same term applied to the press by the despicable Great Hog in the White House.

If things do get chaotic in America, and it's conceivable that His Giant Egoness could actually create such a situation--like the Reichstag fire--in order to be able to declare an actual national emergency, which would come, part and parcel, with martial law and rigid controls. There may indeed be some groups on both the far-right and the far-left that are ready, even eager,  to jump in and apply violence to the situation.  There may even  be 'death squads' such as those in Chile, Argentina, etc. who are telling themselves that they are acting 'patriotically' as they go about terrorizing the people in order to dominate them.   But, there is another reality that most of the journos and pundits seem blithely unaware of: citizens like me.  Well-armed, well-trained, and willing to fight, even to die, for what we KNOW is right.  And, based on what I have personally observed over the decades, there are a lot more of us than there are of 'them'. 

And, what's 'right' in America is freedom, a working code of Honor, born of a sense of what is really 'right' not just what one side wants.  Peace is right.  Non-violence is right.  Freedom from harassment and assault by the police...or anybody...is right.  The rights spelled out in the Constitution need to be respected and used as a coda for life.  These rights are for ALL of us, not merely the privileged, the rich and the most manipulative.

What needs to stop, is one elite class engineering ways to bleed all the lower classes dry.  Whether it's big pharma, big energy, big finance, the medical industry in its entirety, the education system, the economy that depends on its lower echelons being in debt peonage...i.e. debt slavery....all of that needs to either go away or drastically morph into something more humane. 

Donald J. Trump is a deluded and clinically insane leader.  Too many psychiatric professionals have been willing to step forward and say this and it's based on their ongoing observations of the man's behavior.  Our president is fucking nuts.  It's not up for debate anymore.  It used to be, but he keeps giving us new material that re-confirms the diagnosis....like his current assault on John McCain.  This man not so secretly pines to become a dictator and be in office for life.  He has no observable conscience and has only a tenuous grasp on reality.  So, the idea that he'll have great legions of soldiers, sailors, marines, police from all around the country....coming together to pummel the rest of us into submission to his will, is simply fatuous.  Even if he makes a stab at it, it won't work.  Those bad-ass bikers he thinks are a force to be reckoned with......will crumble and wither under direct fire from armed veterans and others like myself. 

Hey Donny-boy, bring it.  We're waitin' on ya.

A society that has billionaires calling all the shots, and a vast under-class that has no hope for a better life...is a society hurrying on its way to self-destruction.  It will eventually either implode, or even explode and chaos and suffering will rule the day.

And.................none of this even takes into account the vast and growing scientific body of factual knowledge that clearly demonstrates how we are destroying our host planet.  That is a whole other ball of wax.