Monday, June 26, 2017

The Most Vulnerable Among Us


Subject: Disabled Americans "Die In" To Protest Trumpcare
It's has been said that "the measure of a nation is the way it cares for its most vulnerable citizens." If that's true, then we are about to fail the test.

As I write this Republican Senators are busy drafting a bill which will cut 800 billion dollars from Medicaid while giving 7 million dollar tax cuts to the wealthiest families in America.

One might argue that these cuts will not hurt anyone.  POPPYCOCK! Historically speaking, few noble acts have been planned behind locked doors.  When Michael Corleone shut his wife out of his office, he was not hatching philanthropic schemes. Usually, if you need to hide what you do, you know you're doing something evil.

Last Thursday when the details of the bill were finally made public, sixty disabled people parked their wheelchairs in the Senate halls and in Mitch McConnell's office to protest the deep cuts to disability services, child health care, prenatal care, elder care, addiction treatment and other services that millions of people depend on for their survival.  Rather than coming out to talk to them and directly addressing their issues, McConnell had them hauled off to jail.

Newscasters have said that such actions towards the weak or the disabled are unprecedented.  However this is not the case, they're simply not going back far enough.  These actions were common back in Sparta, where strong ruled and the weak and the disabled were cast into a large pit to die.  Before you say that this is a bad analogy, consider the fact that cancer patients without access to treatment, handicapped people without money for caregivers, and elderly people without money for nursing homes will all be made helpless to the whims of fate.  Many of these people WILL die without the proper help.

Next week we will celebrate America's birthday.  What will we be celebrating the birthday of?  Will we be celebrating the birthday of a country that comes together and supports each other or will we be celebrating the birthday of a country which is willing to sacrifice the lives of the weak in order to pad the pockets of the rich?  Only time will tell.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Thought We'd Always Have Paris


Subject: The Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph), at the center of the place Charles de Gaulle, Paris | Date: 10/21/2007 | Photographer: Benh LIEU SONG |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." ~ W. Durant

For the last two weeks the news has been dominated by reports of the of the Russian scandal.  As a result we have all but forgotten the image of Donald Trump on the White House lawn proudly announcing our withdrawal from the Paris Accord.  His justification for the withdrawal was that it would save the country billions of dollars.

Again Trump's facts are a bit askew.  The Accord is basically a gentlemen's agreement between countries to limit carbon emissions in order to slow climate change. While goals for lower emissions are set for each country, there are no enforceable financial consequences for not meeting those goals.

Trump also claims that the withdrawal from the Accord will create American coal jobs, however, the clean energy industry promises to create more jobs than coal or oil.

I believe the real reason for the withdrawal is that Donald Trump doesn't believe in climate change, so he doesn't see the value of any environmental regulation.  In 2017 it's baffling for anyone to not believe in climate change.

Not long ago, the North Pole recorded temperatures of 36 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time ever.  While that still sounds cold, it's above freezing.  If the pole is above freezing, ice melts.  If too much ice melts the ocean rises and Boise, Idaho becomes a coastal town.

When I was young, I used to watch George Reeves as Superman.  At the beginning of every episode, the announcer says "Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way."  We all knew what the term "American way" meant.  It carried with it images of nobility and global leadership.  When we pulled out the Accord that brand was damaged, if not destroyed.  We literally had the President of France shaming us on YouTube asking Trump to "Make the world great again."

We've become a joke in the eyes of the world.  Don't forget that while he was pulling us out the Accord, he was also chomping at the bit to take medical coverage away from 23 million Americans, making us the only civilized nation in the world not to have universal healthcare.

Given the number of destructive proposals coming from the White House it would be easy to agree with Shakespeare by seeing us as "a selfish brooding lot."  I don't believe that's entirely fair.  While our leaders are misguided at best, evil at worst, I believe most Americans are still good.  Millions of Americans volunteer their time at churches, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens and programs for the elderly and the handicapped in order to make their country a better place.

If our leaders have become unwilling to do what's right, it's up to us to make our voices heard and keep them accountable.  Otherwise Russia won’t need to attack our elections, America will destroy itself from within.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Lot Has Happened Since I Have Been Away

Due to health issues, I haven't blogged since June of last year. Things are only now starting to look up again. I am still not back to where I was but I am able to blog again. Much has happened while I have been away. So, in the immortal words f Ed Sullivan, "And away we go."
First and foremost, we had a real rip-roaring election which was a cross between the West Wing and WWE Wrestling. No kidding, we never knew what to expect. As I watched the flow of insults from my hospital bed, it killed me not to be able to blog about what was going on. I expect politicians to lie to some degree, the political lie is a time honored tradition. What caught me was how bad Trump was at it.

Seriously, Trump would be shown a clip of himself saying something, look right at the camera, and say, "I never said that." I don't mind politicians being a bit dishonest, but I would like them to be smart about it.

Somehow, this guy won the election and millions of jaws dropped. Now we're stuck with a president who has gutted the E.P.A., and whose idea of foreign policy is "I double-dog dare ya." He knows North Korea has nukes that can reach the west coast of the U.S. and he keeps poking them with a stick. I LIVE ON THE WEST COAST! STOP IT ALREADY!!

Let's ignore his policies for a moment, he can't do the job. He has not filled all the White House jobs, and the jobs he has filled he's filled mostly with unqualified people. His Chief Adviser, Bannon, is an ultra right wing pundit who has never worked in the political arena before. On top of that, his Secretary of Education does not believe in public education.

I am a very tolerant guy. Even when George W. Bush was in office I told people, "Even if you dislike the man, you have to respect the office." I can't do that with Trump, he's making a joke out of the office and he's going to get people killed, but by that time he'll have taken away their health care anyway. He literally makes Bush look like a genius.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

School Buses And Lemons

Americans gasped Sunday as they watched reports, from CNN and other sources, of an American-born man, who gunned down 49 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, after pledging himself to ISIS.
Lemon & School Bus
Subject: Lemon | Date: 02/13/2005 | Photographer: André Karwath |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
Subject: School Bus | Date: 12/07/2013 | Photographer: Echtner |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
This blog is being posted four days after the fact, simply because I've had trouble writing the thing.  I had a whole thing planned regarding the fact that school buses and lemons are different colors, yet they're both same color as well.

One's a very bright sunny color, while the other offers a darker richer hue, but they have equal claim to the label "yellow."

I was going to use it as an analogy for Americans by pointing out we're all different from one another, but we're all Americans.  We may be liberal, conservative, gay, lesbian, bi, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, other, or any combination thereof, but we're all Americans.

I was going to point out that hundreds of Orlando's citizens dropped what they were doing and lined up for blocks to donate blood.  Based on their compassion, I was going to make the observation that there are more good people than bad people in the world.  I'd planned to finish by stating that we're all brothers & sisters under one flag.

I couldn't write the piece though.  Try as I might, I can't put any kind of a hopeful spin on the slaughter of innocent people.  WE'RE KILLING EACH OTHER FOR BEING DIFFERENT!!!