My Message to Republicans Everywhere

I’ll be as brief as possible.

It’s so simple (and no, I’m not referring only to the mind of Donald Trump). I speak here solely of problems and of the (obvious) paths toward solutions. The task is not as impossible as Republicans Everywhere seem to imagine it to be, nor must it be vindictive. There is, really, only one thing (well, OK, two things) needed to proceed rationally: a functioning mind along with a sense of compassion, not greed.

Think about it. Subtract greed, add compassion, and what is the potential result?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt summed it ALL up seventy-three-plus years ago in his January 11, 1944 State of the Union address in which he spoke the following:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

Those were trying times, way back then. We were still sixteen months away from the defeat/collapse of Nazi Germany, and 20 months distant from the fall of Japan and the official end of the Second World War on September 2, 1945. Sadly, we are now seventy-three years and six months beyond the date that Roosevelt laid out his formula for human civility — his ‘Second Bill of Rights’ — and today’s Republican Party STILL opposes virtually every single aspect of it because, in their noisy opinion, civility in re each and every person is SOCIALISM. Deep and dark, it’s the government-fueled rape of their “free” market, the market that essentially defines their wretched and feudalistic (castles v. huts) concept based solely on money and the power it grants.

The obvious problem with such low level of ‘thought’ is that any given society depends upon not just one type of defined ‘person,’ i.e. the free market ‘success’ (rich, powerful; as in, e.g., Herr Donald Trump). The error in that line of ‘thinking’ is a simple one: it allows society’s scum – thieves and bandits dressed and viewed as successful ‘businessmen’ simply because of their accumulated monetary only “wealth” (e.g. Herr Donald Trump) – to be perceived as “honorable,” as obviously “highly intelligent” “powerful” “leaders” etc. etc. etc. Sadly, when driven solely by greed — by the accumulation of money and the power implicit therein — ‘they’ seldom if ever approach any perceived upper level of human societal accomplishment. Au contraire, their major accomplishment is to simply redefine “dregs” not as the crud at the bottom of the wine barrel but rather as those who, on a human/societal level, are considered to be ‘rich,’ not impoverished. Crud. “Dregs: the least valuable part of anything.”  They care not for anyone else but themselves. They have succumbed to the false god of Power, and in the process have, knowingly or unknowingly, yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

 Apparently about the only thing that’s changed since the FDR era is that the population of the United States has more than doubled, and in the process many new and clever ways to enable accumulation of wealth and power have been devised (by and for the rich and powerful), even as many new and creative ways to diminish the quality (and length) of lives of ordinary people everywhere in the country have also been devised and imposed. And woe be it to ANY movement that intends to reverse that reality in favor of ‘ordinary people’ everywhere. They’re Communists. Liberals. Progressives. They care more about the lives of poor and lazy bums than they care about making America Great. Again.

Make America Great Again. Oddly, America’s greatest moments ever began on September 2, 1945, the date the Second World War came to its official end. By that point and under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Great Depression (thanks, Republicans) was over; the Second World War had been fought and won; Social Security was a reality underway, and the balance of Human Rights, i.e. the right to —

had each and all been announced and delineated by the President of the United States. All that was left was for Congress to act. So today, we have Social Security . . . along with the constant denouncement of human RIGHTS by America’s “right” (fascist) wing, known as, both then and now, the Republican Party — the political organization that cares only for the corporate and the highly biased fragment of the religious worlds, and not a whit for ordinary people.

‘My Message to Republicans Everywhere’ – in response to their recent abject failure in improving Medical Care availability and standards – is a simple one: consult Bernie Sanders, and then do something you’ve long been loathe to do. Care for people, for a change. “Move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.”

It’s so simple, really, and in that regard, it suits You. Republicans. Everywhere. Totally.

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From Public Lands: A Message To Trump

I suspect there are very few Public Land advocates/supporters out there who remain unaware that p Trump (I REFUSE! to use the word ‘president’ to describe that p.o.s.) is apparently going to leave no stone unturned in his quest to rid the nation of its National Forests, Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas, etc. He apparently thinks the world will be better served by turning the lands over to oil drillers, miners, loggers, developers — the most “appropriate” end user(s). I’ll not bother to cite chapter and verse evidence, simply note a small handful of links that only begin to describe what our p(os) is up to:

The battle for national parks and other federal lands under a Trump presidency

Dear President Trump: America’s most egregious “federal land grab” was in 1891, under Benjamin Harrison

How Trump’s monuments review could impact climate

There are numerous links embedded in those three articles, enough to add clarity to the p(os)’s very obvious goal — i.e. to completely and totally overturn and redefine each and all of this country’s base values. The collective Trump/GOP “vision” has nothing to do with preserving anything that is not/cannot be defined with the words ‘Power’ or ‘Money’ — there is, after all (and to their collective “mind”), nothing anywhere that can have a differently-defined Value than money or power; no such thing can exist, after all. No way. Period.

I do have one tidbit to add here, however, a tidbit which is, to me, the absolutely PERFECT message FROM wild and protected Public Lands to p(os) Trump. The messenger is, in this case, a native resident of/on Arizona’s magnificent Sonoran Desert, and its message is clearly and precisely directed to our resident White House Idiot, aka p(os) Trump:

2002 December Sunset White Tanks 020S

See the message there?

Perhaps a cropped, slightly modified, and de-beautified (i.e. “humanized”) version can be more definitive:

Up Yours Trump

There. Peace and Beauty subtracted, message from Sonoran Desert (and all Public Lands everywhere in the country) clarified:

Up Yours, p(os) Trump!!

******

 

 

 

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For Lovers Apart . . .

Apparition

Alone, I watch as dawn’s illumined finger
Spreads crystal dance of light on wave and sand
Where impressions of our love still linger,
And breeze recalls the softness of your hand –
Your touch – which deep within my soul awoke
The ancient kiss of mist upon the sea.
Your essence brushed me, softly, to evoke
Eternal sense of peace – and mystery.
How beautiful, as glistening of your hair
Became starlight, to know your soul and heart
Were one with mine. No bounty is so fair
As that. Yet now we find ourselves apart –
For I awakened, realized anon,
It was a dream. And you, my love, were gone.

******

Sailors

Sailors such as we –
Do nightly ply the darkened sea
In search of things that deep inside
We somehow sense can never be:
Like sand and surf on sheltered beach,
Like coves, like caves in seaside cliff,
Like fruits and rains and gentle things,
Like ancient coins, like golden rings,
Like music heard when Heaven sings.

We traveled hand-in-hand one night
To an exotic shore, and then
Our souls became as one, our minds
Soared off in magic, mystic flight;
We found both beach and gentle rains,
Through wildest trip of fantasy,
Yet touch, caress, and softest kiss
Remain as haunting imagery.

Still, we persist and search in hope
That someday we might truly find
These things, these relics of our minds
And of our souls, which kindred be
Forevermore; Sweet Love to thee.

******

What Sense Love?

Feel the softness of each breeze upon your face,
And know it is but my caress.
Hear the music of the birds as they sing each day,
And know they speak my love to you.
Smell the air as rains approach,
And know the freshness in my soul which you have wrought.
Taste the essence of your wine,
And know the sweetness of my kiss upon your lips.

See the glory of the dawn,
And know that I am there within your heart.
Stand alone in warming gentle rains,
And know that each droplet is my embrace.
In lightning’s flash and thunder’s rumble,
Know the passions of my heart and soul.
And when the swirling snowflakes turn your world to softest white,
Know forevermore the depth of Love I hold for thee.

******

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Passages

Passages

There’s a certain silence one hears
‘Neath nightfall’s shroud;
The moon – cold, bleak, and worn but otherworldly wonder –
Illuminates the darkness with reflected light
But adds no warmth to chill
As it speaks to souls
– sans tongue or whisper –
While making Passage ‘cross the blackened sky.

Fog rolls in to fill the air o’er meadows lush with life
But makes no sound
As it embraces all within its path;
It speaks to only those who dare to hear
Of chill, of mystery, of thoughts embedded deep within
Subconscious memories of Passages from long ago,
Of things we never knew, but – still – we somehow know.

Snowflakes make no sound as they shroud the earth in white –
Nor do dewdrops gracing flowers in the meadow
As they nurture life with noiseless splash.
The fragrance of the rose, illuminations of the stars –
All are silent, yet fill the hearts of those
In Passage not complete –
Of Souls alive who see and feel
And dare to Love.

Dreams are silent, as are written words.
Yet each speak softly, or in loud voice,
As they unfold tales before mind’s eye
To display passions, pains, and loves
Imagined in this life,
This life which marches ever forward,
Inexorably, toward that final Passage to the great unknown
Which lies beyond the end.

Love is silent, more so than moon,
More so than dreams, than fog or dew,
Or snow, or fragrances,
More silent than starlight –
Yet Love shouts to even those of stolid ear:

Abide in me your Heart, your Soul!
Listen to the voice of Beauty whispered on the breeze
That you may hear the Joy of Truth,
And know ’tis Love which carries you
From birth, through death beyond.
Be freed upon my wings!
And most of all, believe in this:
With Love collected in the Soul,
No Passage
Ever
Ends!

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The Ancient Mists

The ancient mists await
With chilled fingers to encompass, surround, and
Enshroud souls departed from the sunshine each has known.
And yet how clever are these mists, their rains and
Rivers from which lives and beauties are reborn –
For they maintain the blooms, the flowers,
The promise of all the Gods
That dawn is never far away.

The ancient mists
Chill the chambers of Valhalla, Olympus, the Holy Sepulcher –
Where lie departed souls – and spirits wait, banished,
Alone, saddened. Where stilled hearts recall the warmth of youth
And beauties known in halcyon days,
Souls only sense the flowers – the pristine touch of all the Gods –
Yet pray for blessing of Eternal Dawn,
Begging it be but cosmic hour away.

The ancient mists –
In frugal moment, cloak discarded, reveal
To chosen souls those spirits loved in other times –
Absent in Eternity till now – and suddenly
In sunlight, freshness blooms to sense once more
The morning dew, to feel the nurturing droplets which
Settle upon meadows as life renews again,
And dawn – with warming sun – returns.

Then ancient mists
Forever lift as souls and hearts rejoin in Beauty,
Alive once more to feel, to love
In Sunshine borne of youth – freed at last
Of coldness and of chill.
New flowers – fresh – alive in ancient soil washed by hallowed streams –
Welcome morning’s dew and dawn –
Embrace of warming sun, of love, and Destiny.

And there, my love,
‘Tis you I’ll find just next to me!
As sunlight warms the air, may your petals spread –
Reveal your heart, its beauty, and its glow
For me to know – again!
Utter then with me this final prayer –
That such Eternal Glories
Shall Never
Cease
To be!

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Droplets – and Destiny?

Sometimes I wonder.

As I look back over my years and reflect on how clear things once seemed, then view today’s world through humanity’s imposed murkiness, questions invariably arise. What happened? Why? What’s next? What remains? Anything?

I’m reminded of four lines from the book of Job:

And where is now my hope?
As for my hope, who shall see it?
They shall go down to the bars of the pit,
When our rest together is in the dust.
(Job 17:15-16)

Dismal thoughts, those. Not at all suitable for anyone who cares more for clarity, for beauty, for hope itself than for the murkiness that defines so much of the human condition. There has to be a better way. But what?

Nature? Yes, but where in nature? Most everywhere works, of course. But embedded within ALL of life is that one major necessity: water. And curiously enough, water isn’t stationary like a rock, or a mountain, or a desert. It’s cyclical. Rain and snow lead to streams, to rivers, to the oceans, then to evaporation, to mists, then back to rain and snow, etc. It struck me that a given droplet may well, in fact, be made to serve as the perfect metaphor for ALL of life’s inevitable transits.

Following is my very own — simple — point of view, a means to dismiss our human-imposed murkiness of view and return to those moments of absolute clarity — as seen through the “eyes” of a water droplet.

******

Droplets — and Destiny?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The river runs always forward,
downward.
Fed by rains, rivulets, creeks, and streams above
it has no choice. It cannot reverse its flow
but must pay constant homage
to the sea which waits
below.
For it is the sea which returns life,
renewed each day,
somewhere,
by droplets
— by rain, by snow —
on landfalls
far away.

The waters at the source are fresh
and young
and clear.
Mountaintops are like that, too.
Trees and flowers drink their fill ‘neath clear or cloudy skies,
then allow all unused droplets to wander
downward,
ever downward,
as if to repay all debts owed
the sea.

As dew drop pays homage to the flower
it surely comes to sense the edge of beauty
and even, perchance, of love.
But finally, left uncaptured, it slowly slides away
to join a rivulet
a stream
a river
and waters become muddy and murky.
Still, the droplet persists
and though it carries soils to the sea upon its back
it must know
somehow
that while soils sink to the bottom to provide a home for worms,
itself will rise again to fall as rain or snow
perchance upon a mountainside,
and live to once more caress a flower
as droplet
reincarnate.

Poppies with water droplet

I know of dew
— and clarity —
for in my youth I nurtured a rose
whose beauty shall evermore remain as if a crystal vision.
But then I joined the rivulet, the creek, and the river of life,
to flow inexorably toward the sea, my destiny,
my homage to be paid.

In my passage,
as the waters about me became muddy,
I came to know I’d left my youth behind.
For in youth there is but clarity,
no murkiness.

Now, as destiny directs,
I await my next traverse,
to be carried on warm breath of wind back to the mountaintop
where I shall
— this time —
spot the perfect flower.
And because I have known, through previous passage,
the clarity of beauty, and too, of love,
I shall know to wait
until she opens slightly, and then
I shall fall upon her heart and nurture her,
to be absorbed by her until,
together at last,
we return to dust
and remain forever as one —
Our destinies
Complete.

******

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Imagery, Echoes, and Memories

Below is a link to an ‘experiment’ of sorts, one that I’ve been pondering and pursuing, now and then, for the last 3-4 decades: the effect that a combination of two separate emotion-grabbing artful inputs, i.e. verbal  (poetic/sonnet) and visual (photographic) can bring forth at a given moment. I’ve long felt that a photograph can be ‘seen,’ in poignant context, as a ‘Poem Without Words,’ also that a major function of poetry is to evoke poignant images. The question remains: can the combination prove to be more than just the sum of its parts?

The attached work entitled “Imagery, Echoes, and Memories” is the result of said project, and contains 22 original sonnets (a variety of ‘ideas’), each paired with an idyllic nature photograph (all but two of which are completely free of human intrusion). In no case, however, did the ‘idea’ behind any photograph inspire the paired sonnet, or v.v.; each and all originated in two totally different worlds, totally unconnected by anything other than the person responsible for exploring and documenting what he ‘saw’ in those worlds.  With luck, each combination can prove to be, at least to the sensitive and inquisitive mind, more than just the sum of its parts.

Imagery Cover rev(Click the photo to follow the link)

******

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona, Colorado, Desert, Photos, Poetry, Polynesia, Sonnets | Leave a comment

The Apostatic Creed

After Comey’s firing, White House openly pushes for conclusion of FBI’s Russia investigation

Gripping headline, that one. Made me think that before all this Trump Reign (Trump Rain??) is over, he may declare it mandatory that all of us “skeptics” had better switch tracks and spout our allegiance to the genius and grandeur of our new Führer, the former Orange Shitgibbon, or “It vill be da verse for you.”

So. Here it is. My effort to help each and all of Progressive mindset become the equivalent of a religious Apostate, to offer (at no charge!) the means to demonstrate abandonment and renunciation of those core beliefs, of that Democratic Credo, to substitute the pretense of embracing the contrasting stupidity of, for lack of a better word, Trumpissm.

Please understand the difficulty of the process, how hard it is to spout the pure BS demanded by illiterate ‘strongmen’ such as those who define today’s Republican Party. I know there must be the occasional faux pas embedded, but since only Progressives have the mentality to spot a faux pas in the first place, there’s no need to worry.

Good luck, and remember: this is to make HIM feel good, not you!

******

THE APOSTATIC CREED

I believe!

I believe in the Donald J. Trump!

(May, 2017)

I believe in Donald J. Trump, our almighty  Prophet  Profit who sitteth on the Throne of his Sainted Peter, aka the throne of Amurkkka!

 

I believe in the Holy Ghosts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan! I believe that their collective  dementia  wisdom persisteth through this very day and prospereth well in other equally  hollowed  hallowed minds including (but clearly not limited to) those named Pence, Ryan, McConnell, Bannon, Chaffetz, Nunes, Issa, Cruz, Sessions, DeVos, … the list of Grand Republicans is interminable!

I believe in the Holy Christer Nation called Amurkkka and in her God named Profit! I believe in the rape of the environment for our Profit’s sake! I believe in the oppression of we the people for Profit! I believe in the theft for our Profit of any and all resources public and private! I believe in the mining of wilderness, the logging-off of forests, offshore drilling, and the paving of land anywhere and everywhere when Profit is the reward! I believe in unlimited air and water pollution and in the tailpipes, smokestacks, sewer pipes, and politicians that produce same, all for our Holy Profit! I believe in our Great Profit’s future thanks to the sale of National Parks and wild lands to miners and drillers and developers! I believe that Saint Reagan’s Interior Secretary (and super-fine Republican) James Watt was spot-on correct when he said, “God gave us these things to use! After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back!” Yay!

I believe, too, in other  quasi-religious quackeries  Religious Freedoms, including Intelligent Design, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the prohibition of Birth Control, all together with a constitutionally-mandated hatred of Homosexuals and Transgenderinos! I believe Public Education is the Work of the Debbil! and must be treated as such! I believe in Junk Science, especially when it disavows global warming or quits protecting endangered species BECAUSE: there’s a lot more Profit to be made when there are no (legal) consequences that get in the way of the process of making money!

I believe in the Wealthy and in their right to destroy all else in favor of their own comfort! I believe in WAR!! I believe in imperialism, and in the theft of needed resources from any other land on the globe! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to start wars even as it’s their right to avoid fighting in them! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to force the poor and the powerless to fight in their place and to die, to be permanently maimed or driven insane in the process (I mean, who really cares, you know?)! I believe it’s the Right of the Wealthy to enjoy any and all privilege and to deny all others the same through any level of chicanery, legal or illegal! I believe that The Law applies NOT to the Wealthy, only to everybody else!

I believe in massive government Power! I believe in unlimited profligate and wastrel spending, and especially in the Orwellian doublespeak lingo it takes to cover up, to mask, and to always deny the Fascistic Union of Government Power with Corporate Profit! I believe it is the duty of the masses to work always on behalf of Power and Profit for the Few! I believe that unlimited Power of the Few is necessary to promote the unlimited Power of the State both at home and around the globe! I believe that the Power of the State and the Power of the Few are one with Profit, therefore are one with God Hisseff! (He who sits atop his Sainted Peter whilst on the Throne! Damn, that felt good!)!

I believe in the Second Amendment, but not the other twenty-six! Instead, I believe that the Constitution is exactly as Donald J. Trump has said, that “It’s really a bad thing for the country”! I further believe that the constitutionality of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors” (as reasons to impeach a President) refer only to Oval Office blow jobs and have nothing to do with political malfeasance of any kind, including the (warrantless) final and total theft of all liberties and freedoms of Americans everywhere, including taking health care away from its lazy bums!

I believe in the H-Bomb and in Amurkkka’s right to use it (or threaten to) on anyone who pisses us off, especially when those who piss us off ain’t white, and/or when they look like Chinamen! I believe that spending more money on “defense” (i.e. WAR!) than the next dozen nations combined is necessary to keep Amurkkka free and to ensure forever Yuge Profits! And we’re gonna BUILD THAT WALL And keep them Spics out of Amurkkka!

I believe that “thinking” is a left-wing-liberal-pinko plot! I believe in the emergent Teabagger Fascism which requires no “thinking” at all, only obedience: Amurkkka über alles!! (to coin a phrase)! I believe in NASCAR, Christmas, Columbus, and the Super Bowl (so long as some black chick doesn’t sing and dance in front of white folks), but not in Martin Luther King and all the dirt he done! I believe that guns, “quads,” dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and even the “Minutemen” are the greatest Creations in all of history! Gifts from God The Profit! YeeHaw!

I believe! I’m a Trumpisst! I’m a REPUBLICAN, and my slogan is
as Simple as ME:

I Got Mine!! Screw Everybody Else, and . . .

Make Amurkkka Great Again!

Amen!

Whew.

******

Posted in "President" Trump, Fascism, Politics, Teh Stupid | Leave a comment

Bill of Rights Revisions — For Trump!

I recently ran across some current blog posts that refer to Trump’s apparent disdain for certain Constitutional precepts along with possible (screwball) solutions that would solve his problems:

Who’s To Blame For Trump’s Failed First 100 Days? The Constitution, Of Course

Trump’s blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance for his utter failure. He said: “It’s a very rough system. It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”

Sean Spicer Confirms White House Considering Destruction Of First Amendment

Historian Timothy Snyder: “It’s pretty much inevitable” that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy

It’s also common knowledge that Trump wants to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which is NOT within Presidential purview) simply because they’re traditionally Liberal, and because they’ve ruled against one of his Executive Orders. Curiously enough, however, there are also faction(s) of the Republican Party that would like to set up a Constitutional Convention so they could rid the Constitution of stuff that does not, technically, allow or endorse their Fascist goals.

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the last month or two going through piles of stuff I’ve written in the past, trying to organize, etc., and in the process ran across something I penned back in ’06 as response to Dubya’s “Unitary Executive” (read: President Empowerment) hopes and plans. I thought it might help him and the GOP rewrite the Bill of Rights in a way that would accomplish their empowerment goals. I sent a copy of it to my then Senator John McCain along with the suggestion that he hand carry it to the White House. Since Bush’s second term was set to expire following the rapidly approaching ’08 election, however, I figured that was the reason why I never heard back.

Anyway, that was then and this is now, today — barely more than 100 days into Trump’s first term — so there should be plenty of time for them to get things done, to get rid of those always nagging Constitutional barriers. I decided, therefore, that I should once again offer my services, so here’s my 2006 rewrite of the Bill of Rights, slightly adjusted to help Trump with stuff that nags him more than it nagged Dubya, but all written with the most powerful version of the Unitary Executive in mind. (Further Suggestions Welcome, btw.)

******

Suggested Revisions to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights

(First Offered April 14, 2006; Revisions Updated May 1, 2017; by Frugalchariot)

Article I.

Congress shall make no law that doesn’t respect our established Christian religion, or prohibits mandatory exercise thereof; or any law that allows the freedom of speech, or of the press, to include criticism of the President; or that allows the people to peaceably assemble without being watched, or to petition the Government for a redress of faux grievances.

Article II.

An unregulated Militia, being necessary to deny freedoms in a secure State, mandates that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms can only be infringed when deemed necessary by the Unitary Executive.

Article III.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article IV.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, is hereby denied, and no Warrants need issue, though upon probable cause and supported by Oath or affirmation of the Unitary Executive when particularly describing the place to be searched, any persons or things can be seized.

Article V.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless insisted upon by the Unitary Executive, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger, unless insisted upon by the Unitary Executive; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, unless insisted upon by the Unitary Executive; nor shall any person be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless insisted upon by the Unitary Executive; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation, unless insisted upon by the Unitary Executive.

Article VI.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence, unless or until challenged by the Unitary Executive.

Article VII.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be waived, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States if it applies to any corporation with a net profit which equals or exceeds its annual contribution to the private account(s) of the Unitary Executive.

Article VIII.

Excessive bail shall be required on the written consent of the President, and excessive fines may be imposed along with cruel and unusual punishments inflicted on the whim of the President, the Unitary Executive..

Article IX.

The enumeration by legal counsel, of certain rights may be presumed the purview of the Unitary Executive, and shall always be construed to deny or disparage all rights retained by the people.

Article X.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for use only by the Unitary Executive at his sole discretion, and never to the people.

******

Note that I left Article III untouched. Trump hasn’t said anything about that particular provision yet, so I figured it’s best to let him decide on any changes.

******

Posted in "President" Trump, Politics | Leave a comment

Poetry: Sonnets

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Poetry” as a “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.”  According to Literary Terms, a Sonnet is “a fourteen line poem with a fixed rhyme scheme. Often, sonnets use iambic pentameter: five sets of unstressed syllables followed by stressed syllables for a ten-syllable line. Sonnets were invented by the Italian poet Giacomo da Lentini during the 1200s. The word sonnet is derived from the Old Occitan phrase sonnet meaning “little song.”

The Sonnet is, to me, an explicit poetic art form, a “painting” of sorts. And though it’s composed of written words on paper rather than oil paints or water colors on canvas, the finished product is similarly enclosed within a sturdy “frame,” i.e. a strict limit on its physical size. Its structure, as defined in ‘Literary Terms’ noted above, makes the sonnet sound as though it must be horribly confining and possessed with none of the fluidity of other poetic styles, but that’s definitely not the case.

A typical Sonnet in, e.g., Shakespearean format, expresses a “theme” — a premise or an idea, plus analysis — in its three rhyming- and syllable-defined quatrains, then typically ends with summary or conclusion in the terminating pair of lines, the rhyming couplet. The Shakespearean rhyming scheme is always the same: abab-cdcd-efef-gg. Other Sonnet formats can have different and varied rhyming patterns, but each and every form still contains,  with one exception (the so-called  Fourteener), a total of 140 syllables in its fourteen iambic lines.

Below are 32 Sonnets that I’ve written over the last 2 – 3 decades. Topics include “impressions” (and blends) of subjects such as war, death, life, friendship, love, beauty, nature, prehistory, the surreal, plus even recent and current politics. All but one (Of Man; Of Wolf) use the Shakespearean rhyming sequence; the odd-man-out’s rhyme scheme is abba-cddc-effe-gg, sometimes called the “Bowlesian” or “Australian” rhyming pattern.

Here they are, uninterrupted by further description or comment:

No More

One wearies of incessant Voice of war.
Across full breadth of time each nom de guerre
Inflicts upon the Human soul a scar
Which screams in mockery of hallowed prayer.
How many millions must we finally kill
Before is learned this simple quirk of fate:
That murdered dead, in valley or on hill,
Do NOT portend a Greatness in The State?
Upon this Earth of monuments and tombs
Which weep for fallen souls, it’s fair to shout
NO MORE! to darkness that forever looms
In constant threat. And let there be no doubt
Of this – War’s burdens hang upon the Cross
Of senseless death – in silent, wretched, loss.

******

In Memoriam
of those who died before their time
unforgotten

One wonders if they ever heard the cry.
The sound, the summons, which to faithful says:
Your God has called, your time is come to die
And travel on – conclusion of your days
On earth, the end of all familiar things –
Your Lives, your Loves, interred now, sans the pain
Inflicted by ungodly bands of kings
Who find their purpose in despotic shame.
So now all living walk upon a cache –
Abysmal graveyards – globally extant,
Concealing flesh and bone returned to ash
From which it came. Tears want to flow, but can’t
As souls of murdered dead now roam – set free –
And living close their eyes: Afraid to see.

******

The Vietnam Memorial
Washington, D.C.

Embedded in the ground, a blackened stone
Pays tribute to the fallen – those described
As hallowed dead – their souls departed, gone,
Now ashes in the wind. Their names – inscribed
Precisely – carved as if by hand of God
To ornament the rock, still whisper words
Of love to friends who seem to find it odd
That stone can weep, and too, the songs of birds.
There is no glory buried here beneath
This blackened stone, nor flesh, nor bones. But still,
One feels that sculpted names did each bequeath
A challenge only living can fulfill –
Exist in peace with all upon your Earth,
Since you won’t know, till death, what Life was worth.

******

The Vietnam Memorial II
a whisper from the wall

The flowers in the vase allay my fears.
She placed them, quite precisely, near my name
Here etched in stone. Her eyes are filled with tears,
Full knowing that it’s I who’ve lost the game
Of life, my place on Earth reduced to this.
I pray she knows our Spirits still are one,
That touch, and tears, and even winsome kiss
Remain forever locked, though breath is gone.
It’s peaceful here despite the constant pain
Of losing her. How easier for birds
To sing, for blackened clouds to spill their rain,
Than through this stone it is to speak these words:
I love you still, you’re always part of me –
And that can’t change – in this Eternity.

******

Requiescat In Pace
R.I.P.

All Living wonder how it feels to die,
To cross the bar, to bid farewell to things
Of Life and Love, to gasp that final sigh
Appropriate to Commoners – and Kings.
Your journey – ended now – opines that life
Be filled with warmth, not chill, that Destiny
Embraces Soul in passage, free of strife,
To final resting place: Eternity.
What worth remains for those whose scant reward
Is Death? You’ve offered us your Psalm, and taught
That breath refines the mind, and damn the sword
That slays it! Life, you’ve shown, is not for naught
When Love of others fills their hearts with glee.
May Peace embark – with you – from Heaven’s Quay.

*******

Halcyon Memories
and ghosts

Hidden deep within the veiled dusts of time,
Halcyon memories lie – gathered by
Ghosts of those who once enjoyed life’s sublime
Realities, where love seemed but a sigh.
And now the sighs have turned to muffled tears –
Shed – in sparse, soft, moments – in faint recall
Of dreams and happiness – those vanished years –
Now ever masked behind life’s dusty pall.
Time has no mandate but to fly on wings
Of passage, aiming always at the vast
Darkness which lies beyond the end of things –
Where light glows but through loves known in the past.
Lament the dusty pall, the fears it bared,
But not the life and love that once you shared.

******

Heartspeak

Admittedly, I grasp for words when I
Attempt to speak of Love and things akin —
It seems my feelings often run awry.
And though emotion from my heart within
Still clings to thought of you, I’m unaware
Of how to say those things I see and know.
My love, you’ve given me this cross to bear,
Its feathered weight – relentlessly – I tow.
Still, often do I thank the Gods above
For wordlessness. I can’t foresee a fate
More kind than offers burden born of love –
So light – compared with burden born of hate.
I break my silence now, and say to You
Your Soul is bright – and Wondrous be the hue.

******

(Untitled)

Wild flowers bloom on hillsides in the Spring.
They savor warmth, and life, and gentle breeze,
And filled their hearts are, blessed by buzzing wing.
Thus essence bridles forth – though never sees
Dark clouds which loom beyond the summered hill.
With patience, winter frost awaits his prize –
Stealthily, as the tiger seeks to kill
The lamb, he holds his breath – in cold surprise.
Who can rescind the fate to end all fates?
We live, and love, and glory in the bloom
Of life. No soul alive e’er hesitates
Upon life’s road, in journey toward the tomb.
Like flow’r, we disavow – as petals fall –
That final death which lives within us all.

******

Dark and Life

When darkness slips inside the end of day
And waning light extinguishes the sky,
There lives, in Dark, a light which deems to play
With shadows, speaking forth with passioned sigh.
For some, the dark of night insists a fear
That soul’s at risk, though others sense the dawn
Scant hours away. For most, when light appears
Again, both sadnesses and fears are gone.
The love of life and land is catalyst
Which alters lives of all who dare believe
That dark is naught but shadowed light. Insist
That brilliance be a wondrous gift – receive
Its breath and give in measure, so to learn,
That life shines bright through darkness – in return.

******

Manzanita

In Springtime, Manzanita calms one’s sense
With flaunt of color, shape, and form’s repose –
Conveyed with vivid flash of sentience
To all who see that every breeze which blows
Instructs each dancing bloom: “Communicate
Life’s earnest quests, its ever-wondrous goals.”
Ethereal concepts, thus revealed, create –
Upon each flow’r – reflections of our Souls.
And Muses too, embedded there within
Each tiny bit of beauty, dare imbue,
Along with Truth and Love, those once again
Delights which shift one’s thoughts to sense anew;
Each bloom becomes a poem which lends, to me,
Divined sweet light – and images of thee.

******

Xeric Xanadu:
A Paradise of Paradox

Paradise is Paradox: When silence
Affords the wistful mind a sense of soft
Rapture born of sand and rock, when intense
And windblown multi-colored clouds aloft
Drop scant rains on arid lands, life begins.
O’er deserts vast, beyond the winter’s edge,
Xanadus of xeric floral xanthins —
Profusive sprawls of hue-struck landscape — pledge
Another season rich of life, a year
Reduced in size and scope, till moment when
Aridity and heat-waves reappear.
Determined though it is to thrive again,
On withered wing, on waves of blist’ring heat,
Xanadu joins Paradise – in retreat.

******

Of Flower and Mist

Drowned within the shroud of eternal sky
Essence lives, dressed in softest shimmering white.
Beauty is the flow’r which, in garden, lies
Beside the rippling stream where mists are light.
Infinity collects in droplets. Dew,
Ensconced in winsome grasp breathes soft fragrance
And sweet scent of life to all who dare view
Nature’s gift of love, in her wind-kissed dance.
Defilers are not welcome, for Beauty
Pursues naught but Truth and Love – her message:
Enter not unless you share this with me!
Render unto me your heart-sought passage;
Receive me as the soul of life and Love,
Yet gentle be – approach with velvet glove.

******

Of Man; Of Wolf

The mountain throws a livid purple haze
As waning sunlight strays across the skies
And skims a craggy ridge. Man’s towers rise
From valley’s darkened floor as if ablaze
In ego – soaring – bluster unconstrained
By reason – or by feigned humilities.
Beyond the morrow’s sunrise where the trees
Stand tall, the lone wolf’s paw print, water-stained,
Confirms his passage o’er a sandy trail.
Instinctive stealth, the weapon of his choice,
And fearsome howl – the bête noire of voice –
Explain to men why man, himself, must fail:
“My birthright is to live! Run wild! Run free
Of shackled chains! . . . No wonder You fear Me!

******

Paradox of Humankind:
Superior Inferiority

Brash vanity ordains that Mankind be
Superior to all other life on Earth;
The curious source of this Mythology
Is Biblical – man’s fount of wisdom’s dearth.
Thus bold is he who advocates the case
Of Genesis errant, where metaphor,
As whimsical devise, cannot replace
Realities which each confirm the Core
Of Life: that every living form appeals
To substance greater than itself alone.
A single flash of intellect reveals
One Truth, as if inscribed in tempered stone:
Each bird and beast, each flowered weed, each tree
Expounds on Man’s Inferiority!

******

To A Friend
a simple wish

Emotion seems to drive the human soul
Through darkness born within, or light above.
Yet light, not dark, remains the fairest goal
Of those who understand the worth of love
And what it means for self to freely give
That smallest touch of joy. To love, to feel
Each moment of the days one has to live
Are life’s rewards, and psalm of light is real.
And so, I hold my glowing lamp for you
Upright, that darkness leave on wing of prayer,
That troubles cease. Forever may the hue
Of Happiness assuage your every care
And fear in mind of those you love, all part
Of me – Illuminations – in my Heart.

******

Embraces

I see your words on written page, then view
The stars in darkened sky as points of light –
Outpourings of your heart in cosmic queue.
As thoughts of love illuminate my night,
My soul is drawn to yours and begs to be
Like river, mountain borne, in constant flow,
In search of the embrace of azure sea
Where life renews in steadfast mystic glow.
Sweet be the passage of this life, for I’ve
Come to know my soul is outward bound toward
Waiting arms of thee, that when I arrive,
The glow within your heart is my reward.
My prayer is this: may journey never cease
Till we are one, our souls embraced – in peace.

******

Eden

Deserted though by gods we often feel,
Eden beckons, still, through sea’s quiet mist.
Born we are to sail life’s frigate, sans keel,
Before the Mother Wind – our ship at list.
Internal light is all we have as guide,
Except for things already taught and learned.
And so it is, through instinct and with pride,
No single voyage in this life we’ve spurned.
Now Love has grown within us, and we see
So many Truths unveiled, not known before;
Mists part, and grant rebirthed reality
In Eden’s sea – soft waves upon her shore.
There, distant rainbows hold but one surprise:
How beautiful is Eden through our eyes.

******

The Mother Wind

The Mother Wind is birthed on open sea,
And then begins her transit toward the shore
Which waits her winsome breath. Eternity
Is hers alone. Her face reflects the door
Through which both past and future might be viewed
By those who dare to brave her chill. Her voice,
As Wisdom, whispers soft to minds thus queued,
And only empty souls cannot rejoice
Her message: “Serenity deep within
Each self returns the glow of life like kiss
Of wave upon eternal shore. Begin
Each morn in my embrace, forget not this:
Revere the softness in the love of two
Become conjoined – to that one heart be true!”

******

Echoes

The breaking dawn makes scarce a sound, and yet
Awakens Earth below while noiseless dew
Shares selflessly its essence, to beget
Moist softness in the grass. In distant view
The mountaintop is cloaked in snow, with not
An echo audible as lands each flake
To form a shroud of white. Each star, each dot
Of light In nighttime’s sky, dares not forsake
The feelings manifest in souls below,
Yet silently, each echoes Love to cleave
The grip of loneliness. I sense the glow
Reflective in your eyes, and then retrieve
Those joys you freely give – and I rejoice
In all the Love which echoes in your voice.

******

Dust and Snow

Delight in life and love so often seems
Elusive to those hearts which dwell within
Bodies born of Dust. Endlessly, such dreams
Become a veiled reality, a din
Inside the soul which bares the inner light.
Exactly as the winter Snows enclose
All grey, returning world to brilliant white,
No darkness falls in dreamland’s soft repose.
No thing in life means more than touch of love,
So as the Snow collects like Dust on trees
My spirit soars on summer’s feathered dove
In search of thee, in quest of subtleties
That only we have shared – my heartsought prize,
How warm the love – reflected in your eyes.

******

Apparition

Alone, I watch as dawn’s illumined finger
Spreads crystal dance of light on wave and sand
Where impressions of our love still linger,
And breeze recalls the softness of your hand –
Your touch – which deep within my soul awoke
The ancient kiss of mist upon the sea.
Your essence brushed me, softly, to evoke
Eternal sense of peace – and mystery.
How beautiful, as glist’ning of your hair
Became starlight, to know your soul and heart
Were one with mine. No bounty is so fair
As that. Yet now we find ourselves apart –
For I awakened, realized anon,
‘Twas but a dream. And you, my love, were gone.

******

Oasis

How often does the human spirit cry
In search of comfort, peace, or warmth for heart,
Or feelings which bring tears to stolid eye?
Such Truths and Beauties constitute a part
Of Life itself, and souls have much to gain
In sharing kindred dreams which they possess;
For any life can build on either pain
And dark, or otherwise on Happiness.
So, enter thee, dear love, into my life,
Pray, let your glow illuminate my door –
Enlighten me! Dispel the darkness, rife
Within my heart. And may, forevermore,
The presence of your warmth define the role
Of Love as an Oasis – for our Soul.

******

Luz: The Light

A thread of light persists as darkness falls;
Luz, life’s subtle flame, shines forth as beam cast
Sharp through reality’s ere darkened pall,
Revealing hints of living soul’s repast.
In darkness, too, the whispers of the muse –
Silent intonations, though heard before –
Evoke reflections of lives lived; a ruse?
Fires sensed by those who live become as cores,
Pure shafts of light. Collections of past times
Not readily dispelled arouse the Source –
The Souls of those long gone returned as mimes,
Intoning memories of Luz, a force
No darkness can conceal, nor dare it try
Extinguish light with shadow – or with cry.

******

Written on the Wind

To feel each season’s breath upon one’s face
Is manifest delight when gentle rains –
With fragrances intact – recall embrace
Of absent love. The breaking dawn explains
With vivid hue the mysteries of the heart,
And stirs those passions deep within the soul
Which harbor love, though lovers be apart.
The nighttime sky displays eternal goal
Of life – soft points of light – illumined glow
Of reunited kindred hearts which cry
No more in loneliness, yet somehow know
Eternity embodies passioned sighs.
If death be final, dare it not rescind
These messages, as written on the wind.

******

Elegy on America
The Legacy of George W. Bush:
Gone, Wasted, Broken

Gone now, America’s halcyon days
Where Reason stood tall and grand in the sun;
Brilliance defined Her equanimous ways –
Gone now, expunged, all Her triumphs hard won.
E. Pluribus Unum: Her goal was clear.
One chosen from many, She alone rose
Reflecting the grandeur of cause sincere –
Gone now, forever corrupted by woes:
Environments: Poisoned with gas and fume;
Waters: Mercurial, deadly as wars;
Broken: A people, too cold to exhume;
Uberty: Ceded to desolate shores.
Still, some see not what others are mourning:
Haste become greed become waste – sans warning.

******

The Odyssey of Nemo
Of Nobody
Of Willard M. Romney
With Much Regret

When greed defines a nominee’s malaise,
Implicitly, the nation’s fortunes loom
Like mountains visible through brownish haze,
Like oceans’ breakers crashing in the gloom
And doom of icy or cyclonic storm.
Republics and Democracies succumb;
Death assumes a barbarous pose, its form
Most certainly the product of those numb
Regurgitations from dead minds, unsheathed.
Oh death, where is thy sting?’ the poet asked.
My sword’s malaise of greed to you bequeathed,’
Nemo responds, his vapid soul unmasked.
Eternal passage thus abruptly halts,
Yet Nemo cannot lead – he’s crazed with faults.

******

Donald J. Trump and His Egomaniacal Presidency, Defined
[via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain]

Democracy allows a boundless breadth of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a President who deems to
Never claim to own the vicious speech he hopes will be bought
And sold as Truth. Whilst he himself wears masks of learned view,
Lengthy rhetoric from speaker thus afflicted reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose thought appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they find themselves dismissed by soft impassioned dreams;
Misogyny as well appeals to minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life – with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are disappeared – or sold.

******

GOODBYE, AMERICA
A Trump-Inspired National Elegy

Greed and Sloth have once again prevailed, their
Onerous goals retained by vulgar vote;
Once again America’s soul stands bare,
Delib’rately exposed as addled moat
Beneath her people, once defined as great.
Yet there remains a choice; to quote Voltaire,
Écrasez l’infame” (Crush the furtive State)
And grant Relief to all from hate’s despair
Made manifest by sophistic fear. Still,
Exercise of faux imperiousness
Results in cultural demise of will
In all but those possessed by mindlessness.
Calumny (Trump, our President-Elect)
Assigns ALL Truth to Perfidy-Select.

******

REQUIEM: AMERICA

Requiem, as dirge of sophistic love,
Exposes destinies which nations earn.
Quoth Hamlet: “conscience doth make cowards of
Us all” – that is, till We the People learn,
Implicitly, that human Cowardice
Exudes contempt for Rationalities.
Meanwhile, mankind’s destiny – Avarice –
Appears in service to those Vanities
Most shallowed minds presume to be their right,
Enabling failure thus of Self, of State.
Repression blooms and quickly dims all light
Intrinsic to the heart of Freedom’s Fate –
Consumed – whilst words of Truth, now specious, Moan . . .
And stand as lifeless slogans . . . etched in stone.

******

The Vanished Ones

The voices of the Vanished Ones still speak
Through missives born of dust and scribed in stone,
Available to all who dare to seek
Their enigmatic wisdom – practiced – gone.
They understood the message in the winds,
In waters issued forth by rain and creek;
And too, in governance of thinking minds
Which found, in night-time sky, the means to seek
And so to know the times to glean, to sow.
They learned the paradox, the consequence
Of bounty’s waste; with Nature thus a foe,
Their cities turned to dust. There’s no defense
Of aftermath which overuse portends:
Diminishment of resource – Means – the Ends.

******

Voices in the Wind

Though modern ears seem deaf to primal song,
Ideas seek – and probe – subconscious minds.
Where spirits walk, old muted voices long
To search – as dust now gathered by the winds –
To speak in silence, whispering to souls
Their sacred manifests of unsung dreams.
Then Suffrage of the land – through Gray Wolf’s howls
And breath of noiseless Deer – expresses themes
As surely as the murmur of the trees
Announces wind and wingéd life, in kind.
And silently as Eagle rides the breeze,
These messages – the Sum of Life – remind:
Man’s aimless, modern Din shall ne’er transcend
The Wild – and Ancient – Voices – in the Wind.

******

Elegy on Elysium
Remembering Emily Dickinson

Embedded in the chambers of the Soul
Must lurk one tear to salve that Final Fate.
Immortality – sham – pretends the goal:
Life! Everlasting! Granted at the Gate!
Yet moments slowly slip away as life
Declines in worth. Sagacity must wane
In stark proportion to the weight of strife –
Collective triumph? Victory? Or gain?
Knowledge of finality is crossroad
Incarnate souls can only try perceive.
No salvage is available for load
So heavy, which Circumference dares reprieve
On buzzing Wing as Soul takes Final Flight –
Not closure, just a sense of Dark – or Light?

******

I closed with my ‘Elegy on Elysium’ (acrostic) sonnet in order to ‘Remember’ Emily Dickinson, the nineteenth century American poet who was then — and remains — the pinnacle of America’s greatest poets. And even though she never, in her nearly 1800 poems, wrote a sonnet, she consistently demonstrated both the magic and power of poetry as the art form she could most effectively use to explore her own “inner vision” and those perceived “irrefutable aspects of reality” [“Circumference”], i.e. the details of “existence” itself — its myriad moments, its aftermath — all in context with the “uncertain certainty” “Of Paradise’ existence”.

Here’s Ms Dickinson’s poetic “definition” of poets and poetry and the potential impact thereof. Note that she used a total of only 27 words and 40 syllables, proof that she was NOT a politician!

The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate —
If vital Light
Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their
Circumference –
(Emily Dickinson)

******

 

Posted in Poetry, Sonnets | Leave a comment

Gather ‘Round, It’s Miller Time! Yuk.

Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on
the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!
(@realDonaldTrump; 11 February, 2017)

Stephen Miller is a 31 year-old “Trump Senior Advisor,” also (reportedly) a college buddy of alt-right leader, neo-Nazi Trump supporter and white supremacist, Richard Spencer. On Sunday, Feb. 11, 2017, Miller appeared on numerous Sunday TV news shows where, when he spoke, he was clearly reading from cue cards or a teleprompter. He did have an interesting point to make, however, when he pointed out that “. . . our opponents, the media, and THE WHOLE WORLD will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that THE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT to protect our country are very substantial and WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED.” Anything goes, in other words, so long as it “protects our country.” Right. Like just the other day, when ICE caught up with that criminal Mexican ‘illegal’ mom in Phoenix, then immediately deported her to Nogales, Sonora, down on AZ’s southern border. She was a criminal, of course. She had used a phony Social Security number so she could get a job and earn some money to help care for her two (USA-born) children. So she was deported cuz Trump said, and his powers to protect our country get rid of them damn Mexicans WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED.

Sounds like something a white Supremacist might say. Oh. Wait. Speaking of which . . . I almost forgot:

Stephen Miller fought “Islamofascism”: Trump aide founded controversial group in college

A recent review by CNN’s KFile found that Miller helped run Duke’s chapter of the “Terrorism Awareness Project,” an initiative started by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a right-wing foundation that has ties to anti-Muslim hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

(…)

In high school, Miller focused his attention on his Hispanic classmates, publicly bemoaning the sound of Spanish-speakers in his school’s hallways. When Miller moved across the country for college, he adjusted his sights on the Muslim community.

What makes Trump adviser Stephen Miller so unlikeable?

 [K]eep in mind that Miller spent his teen years harassing Latinos, African Americans and Asians, wrote columns while he was a student at Duke that were so racist his colleagues in Jeff Sessions’ Senate office were stunned, and helped Steve Bannon write the unconstitutional Muslim ban. All of which makes him seem not just deeply unlikable, but ideologically dangerous and a threat to democracy.

Donald Trump’s white nationalist “genius bar”

Donald Trump’s administration is built around a brain trust of white nationalists. To deny that fact is to ignore a crucial element of this national crisis: America’s “greatest generation” defeated Nazism during World War II, and 70 or so years later one of the country’s two leading political parties has injected a more polite version of that poison into its veins and rode to power in Washington on a wave of bigotry and racism. . . .

Miller . . . is a fierce advocate of “ethno-nationalism,” meaning the racist belief that Europe and America must protect their culture and civilization (which are white by default) from outsiders who do not share their “Judeo-Christian values.” Miller echoed those talking points on Sunday talk shows, claiming that “millions” of “illegal aliens” voted against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

When I first saw Miller on the Telly spouting his propaganda as he read from his teleprompter, I kept staring at his face. SO familiar! But why? I’d never seen him before, but still . . .

So I did a little google-digging, came up with this pair of photos:

adolf-eichmann-stephen-miller

Adolf Eichmann. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stephen Miller

Ah. Say no more. Now I get it. Resemblance — both in appearance and philosophy — is, to say the least, uncanny. Food for thought, sotospeak. And Trump gushes over Miller in “unpresidented” fashion. What’s up with that, I wonder? Lessee; what’s the word?

Achtung!

Javohl, Hair Furor.

******

“What luck for rulers, that men do not think.”
(Adolf Hitler)

******

Posted in "President" Trump, Fascism, Immigration, Race, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Night Became The Day Of Fire . . . And Children Burned To Ash”

From Emeralds and Ashes, a brief excerpt:

they stood ’round shivering
in worn and tattered coats
with only blackened sky to reflect their mood
and hopes
warming coals commandeered by those more reckless
for it was a time of sacrifice
you see
a time of war

in spite of chill
they knew inferno raged
on distant sun
even at night
impossible to see
impossible to sense
except through journey of the mind
which disallows consideration of darkness
or of cold
no darkness on the sun
no chill

even a child knows that

in tattered coats
the huddled ones leaned toward shelter
away from iced and chilling wind
to dream perhaps of summer’s warmth
to forget fateful thoughts and imaginings
of what might be their destiny
brought upon them by circumstance
of war
and as they dreamed
perhaps they prayed a better life for their children
who also suffered the cold
also suffered the fears

tomorrow would be better
they knew
because the fires which rage the sun
would rise again
to warm the earth and bring forth life
of yet another day
to nurture sons and daughters of creation
as inferno maintained itself
safe away

even the children knew that

but late that night the bombers came
to demonstrate to all creation
no thing is safe or sure
downward rained the firestorms
inferno and incendiary sucked away the breath
of eighty thousands
non-combatants all
just people in tattered coats
huddled in harm’s way
through heinous plan

and
night became the day of fire
flesh boiled or burned
in tattered coats

a man-made sun had come too close
as if to offer proof
that cold and dark
inhere within the human soul
though warmth and light do not
as dead and dying learned
too late

-and children burned to ash-

Dresden
february 14, 1945
r.i.p.

Seventy-two years ago this month — in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 15, 1945 — a three day-long allied (British and American) bombing and incendiary air attack on the unarmed and non-militarized German city of Dresden came to an end. It was an attack in which incendiary bombs, dropped in the aftermath of tons of high explosives that had blown off roofs and destroyed much of the inner city, ignited the exposed remains of bombed out buildings and started a firestorm of epic proportions. The final death toll remains, to this day, uncertain. Estimates have ranged from as “few” as 15-20 thousand to as many as ten times that amount, or more. The precise number will never, of course, be known.

The reasons for the attacks were simple enough. Their combined purpose was (a) to destroy the Dresden railway yards and thereby prevent that particular transit hub from being available to allow movement of Wehrmacht troops from the collapsing Western front to the Eastern front, and (b) to debilitate existing internal German communication systems — all parcel to the task of crippling any and all German efforts to counter the westward-toward-Germany advance of Russian Armies. The allied saturation bombing of Dresden thus began on February 13th with a British raid, and was followed by a second British raid on the 14th plus a pair of American raids on the 14th and the 15th, resp.

In partial summary. . . February 14 from 12:17 until 12:30, 311 American B-17s dropped 771 tons of bombs on Dresden, with the railway yards as their aiming point. . . . The Americans continued the bombing on February 15, dropping 466 tons of bombs. During [the] four raids a total of around 3,900 tons of bombs were dropped.

“The firebombing consisted of by-then standard methods; dropping large amounts of high-explosive to blow off the roofs to expose the timbers within buildings, followed by incendiary devices (fire-sticks) to ignite them and then more high-explosives to hamper the efforts of the fire services. This eventually created a self-sustaining firestorm with temperatures peaking at over 1,500 °C. After the area caught fire, the air above the bombed area became extremely hot and rose rapidly. Cold air then rushed in at ground level from the outside and people were sucked into the fire. (. . .)

“Out of 28,410 houses in the inner city of Dresden, 24,866 were destroyed. An area of 15 square kilometers was totally destroyed, among that 14,000 homes, 72 schools, 22 hospitals, 18 churches, 5 theatres, 50 banks and insurance companies, 31 department stores, 31 large hotels, 62 administration buildings, and factories. In total there were 222,000 apartments in the city. The bombing affected more than 80 percent of them with 75,000 of them being totally destroyed, 11,000 severely damaged, 7,000 damaged, and 81,000 slightly damaged. . . . Although bombing destroyed the main railway station completely, the railway was working again within a few days.” [Highlight added]

So: tens of thousands of civilians, including an unknowable but presumably large number of innocent children, were killed in the bombardments. They were either blown to bits or burnt to death in those heinous attacks even as the center of the city of Dresden was completely destroyed — but NOT because Dresden was seen as a profoundly legitimate military target. No. Dresden was never considered to be any sort of Nazi stronghold or industrial center. It was simply a rail hub. And the attacks were conceived and carried out, as noted, in order to destroy that potential rail link along a route the allies presumed might possibly be used to transport German troops from the West to the East, troops to be used to counter the Russian advance. If such transit had been allowed to persist without interruption, might Germany have been able to restrain the Russian advance? If so, for how long? A week? Or two? We’ll never know, nor will the tens of thousands of Dresden’s murdered dead.

In any case, those few moments of railway destruction that were parcel to the Dresden mission might indeed still be viewed as a marginal success — IF, that is, the words “marginal success” can reasonably be used to describe the failure of any attempt at permanent tactical destruction of an officially designated target, including the Dresden rail yards on those fateful days of February, 1945.

One cannot help but wonder, however, if those tens upon tens of thousands of innocent victims who remain — still, and through this day — Dead — might not themselves, if only they could find the means, argue the tenor of the word “successful” in re any context of war, particularly when mentioned within the lexicon of those bombing raids which devastated Dresden, Germany; February 13-15, 1945.

The entire Dresden operation accomplished, in other words and in effect, only one thing: the mass murder of civilians, including children. Why? One can understand and perhaps even agree with the potential for tactical advantage implicit in that day’s strategic wartime reality. But still, the question persists: why the incendiaries? WHY THE INCENDIARIES?? And too, of course, there’s that second question, the one that still lingers even today: where’s the ‘civilized’ outrage at what happened on February 13-15, 1945? Was that event not, after all and in coldest reality, nothing other than the mass murdering of tens of thousands of innocent civilians? For NO REASON? How could such an event EVER be tolerated by those who call themselves ‘civilized’?

As of today, a full seventy-two years have passed and times have changed. Today, there has emerged a modicum of public outrage (or at least some serious questioning) regarding the ethic of using a new technology to accomplish the goals implicit in most any war. The difference today is based on the fact that back then, in 1945, the deliverers of explosive and incendiary mass death and destruction were ‘civilized’ in the sense that manned aircraft were used in defined and legitimate war zones. Today, impersonal unmanned drones are employed within (and beyond) borderless theaters of (presumed) international conflict, and they are used to kill only small handfuls of “enemy combatants” (or, on occasion, a presumed American insurrectionist or two), with minimal destruction beyond the periphery of the attack site . . . and THAT is today’s OUTRAGE?

Ah, the invariably intellectual graces of . . . Civilization . . . (?)

Civilization. Yes. Civilization is, as we all know, “An advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached.” It’s also “those people or nations that have reached such a state.”

Right. I propose a rewrite, one that reads a bit differently, one that’s a bit more truthful, more realistic, as in:

“Civilization – The bizarre, invariably nonsensical and eternally conflicting consequence of human existence, as carried forth by those people or nations that have attained such a state where the death and destruction of others is their most popular and praiseworthy goal; see also: WAR.”

And perhaps somewhere in that redefinition process, eventually, someone of fairer mind might demand an answer to the two most eternally compelling questions ever posed within the human community:

WAR??
WHY??

Commence the holding of the breath as ‘civilization’ continues its ever “forward” march in its eternally incessant and wearisome fashion, and meanwhile hope that never again will anyone be forced to bear witness to that moment — that moment when, for no credible or condonable reason, night became the day of fire . . . and children burned to ash.

NO MORE WARS! END THEM! ALL! NOW!

From Emeralds and Ashes, a closing thought:

IN MEMORIAM

One wonders if they ever heard the cry.
The sound, the summons, which to faithful says:
Your God has called, your time is come to die
And travel on – conclusion of your days
On earth, the end of all familiar things –
Your Lives, your Loves, interred now, sans the pain
Inflicted by ungodly bands of kings
Who find their purpose in despotic shame.
So now all living walk upon a cache –
Abysmal graveyards – globally extant,
Concealing flesh and bone returned to ash
From which it came. Tears want to flow, but can’t
As souls of murdered dead now roam – set free –
And living close their eyes: Afraid to see.

****

Special Note: Slaughterhouse Five, the epic anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut, is a ‘real time’ commentary based on Vonnegut’s own reflections of the fire-bombing of Dresden. He was there; he survived, and wrote of it in classic Vonnegut style.

Posted in Emeralds and Ashes I: Europe, Essays, War | Leave a comment

Friday, January 20th, 2017: “A Date Which Will Live In Infamy.”

I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate
president. I think the Russians participated
in helping this man get elected . . .”
(Rep. John Lewis, D-GA; 1-13-2017)

Rep. John Lewis was, of course, spot-on correct when he made that statement to Chuck Todd on MSNBC a week ago (seems like a year at least; why is that?) a mere seven days before the inauguration. Lewis also said he would not be in attendance for the event, a position that infuriated Trump even as it raised the spirits of others. The only quibble I have with Lewis’s statement is a simple one: to my mind, Trump’s “presidency” is not rendered illegitimate solely because of Russian interference in the election.

“Legitimate” is defined as conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., [and] based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning.”

I cannot, even in my most generous mood, see how ANY of that definition can be applied to that which is about to happen to the highest elective office in this country. In my seventy-four-plus years on this planet, presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton, Dubsy Bush, and Obama have occupied the head chair in the Oval Office. Two of them — FDR and Obama — have been among the greatest Presidents the country has ever had, and while Ike, JFK, and Carter stood tall as they grandly overshadowed the marginal and/or less than marginal others, the dude that will ascend to that chair somewhere around noon EST today stands out as that pinhole of dimmest light which may well prove to be the herald of our nation’s darkest hour. How did that happen? As William Wordsworth put it a couple of hundred years ago,

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Where is it now indeed. We have, just  now, “elected” as “president,” a man who is clearly the LEAST qualified for that office in at least the last 85 years, and likely the most unqualified person ever in the country’s 240 year history. As of today, we have a president who . . .

  1. Is a certifiable Narcissistic Egomaniac,
  2. a bigot,
  3. a misogynist,
  4. a xenophobe, and
  5. a chronic liar.
  6. He has zero political experience, also offers no clue that he’s ever read even a word of the Constitution (or that he even COULD read a word of the Constitution).
  7. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, and “won” the election solely via the obsolete but Constitutionally-defined Electoral College. His popular vote defeat was the largest in history of E.C. ‘winners,’ and yet he claims to have won the election in a landslide.
  8. He attributed Clinton’s 3 million winning vote margin to massive voter fraud.
  9. He has spoken out-loud that NATO is obsolete and that he has no interest in the Eurpoean Union. Small wonder that Europe is probably about as worried as we are in re Trump’s “election” to the most powerful governing position in the world.
  10. Trump is a climate change denier and has indicated that he’ll work to nullify the Paris Agreement, also to increase coal and other fossil fuel production in the US.
  11. A major contingent of the Republican Party (including Trump, I presume) believes that all Federal Public Lands should be turned over to the states so they can be made useful; Trump has offered no indication that he will support protection of National Forests, National Parks, Monuments, Refuges, Wilderness, or any other category of Public Land.
  12. Trump has often spoken of his admiration for Putin, and has either denied or minimized the fact that Russian cyber-hackers worked diligently to influence the US election in 2016 with the goal of swinging enough voters to elect Trump — apparently because Putin thinks he can manipulate Trump, something he couldn’t manage with Obama and knew wouldn’t happen with Hillary Clinton.
  13. Intelligence has revealed that Putin may indeed have the means at hand to essentially force Trump to do what Putin asks, via alleged hotel camera videos of Trump interacting with Russian Prostitutes; Trump, of course, denies everything.
  14. Since Trump’s election, White Supremacists/Nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups have dramatically increased their anti-Jewish/Black/Latino/Muslim activities; hate crimes have increased nation wide.
  15. Trump has said he will halt all Muslim immigration, and will also . . .
  16. Move to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants from Latin America and, presumably, anywhere else.
  17. He has even included DACA people, i.e. young folks who were brought into this country by undocumented parents when they were children, even infants, and who have grown up as Americans.
  18. Trump has refused to divest his business interests, and is very likely to be violating the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution at the very moment his swearing-in is complete.
  19. He has also refused to open his finances and financial arrangements, including via his tax returns, for examination (does he have strong financial ties to Russia? He doesn’t want anyone to know, apparently, so a best guess would be YES he does).
  20. He is threatening every American-owned company that has products manufactured overseas or outside of the US in this hemisphere that there will be a heavy tariff imposed on their products unless they manufacture them in the US and not overseas. That will apply, apparently, to every company other than his own facilities in China, Turkey, Mexico, and various other places.
  21. When Trump’s proposed tax cuts and budgeting proposals are merged, the calculations result in a ten trillion dollar add-on to the National Debt; “conservatism” defined.
  22. He has vowed to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. Right. Look for 20-30 million folks with no health care at all if Trump and fellow wingnuts get their way.

Can anyone make the argument that Trump is, indeed, a “Legitimate” president? Does he/will he ever conform to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning? Clearly no. I do, therefore and hereby, declare Donald J. Trump to be this nation’s first totally ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! whose sole purpose remains his own self-glorification, no matter the cost to others — including the nation as a whole, even the entire of the planet. He, Donald J. Trump, is, in his mind, ALL THAT MATTERS! PERIOD! — all of which brings to the forefront, once again, FDR’s description of “December 7th, 1941: A date which will live in infamy,” now become “January 20th, 2017: A Date which . . . etc.”

In closing, I’m inserting a poem I wrote and posted here last summer after the Republican Convention, after Trump’s nomination. It’s a sonnet, an acrostic quatorzain, intended to define the essence of Trump the nominee, his persona. To bring it up to date I only had to change two words: in the title, ‘Persona’ to ‘Presidency,’ and in the body, ‘nominee’ to ‘President.’ It appears to have worked. 🙂

Donald J Trump and His Egomaniacal Presidency
(via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain)

Democracy allows a boundless breadth of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a President who deems to
Never claim to own the vicious speech he hopes will be bought
And sold as memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learn’ed view,
Lengthy rhetoric from speaker thus afflicted reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose thought appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they are themselves dismissed by soft and passioned dreams.
Misogyny as well appeals to minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life — with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are disappeared — or sold.

One has to wonder, I suppose, if the theses and conclusions implied in the sonnet will still be valid after, say, a full four-year term of a Trump presidency. My best guess is HELL YES they’ll still be valid! That’s assuming, of course, that the country can survive four years with a Narcissistic, Egomaniacal, Bigoted, Misogynistic, Xenophobic and Illegitimate nutcase at its helm. I, for one, have my doubts, but time will surely tell; it always does.

Footnote: Here are a couple of links that provide a few revealing details from both sides of the Trump-Putin topic:

Paul Krugman: With All Due Disrespect

Vladimir Putin defends Donald Trump, says critics trying to “undermine the legitimacy” of the president-elect

******

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

******

Posted in "President" Trump, Essays, Poetry, Politics | Leave a comment

National Monuments: Voices of the Vanished Ones, Preserved

VOICES in The Wind

Though modern ears seem deaf to primal song,
Ideas seek – and probe – subconscious minds.
Where spirits walk, old muted voices long
To search – as dust now gathered by the winds –
And speak in silence, whispering to those souls
Their sacred manifests of unsung dreams.
Then Suffrage of the land – through Gray Wolf’s howls
And breath of noiseless Deer – expresses themes
As surely as the murmur of the trees
Announces wind and wingéd life, in kind.
And silently as Eagle rides the breeze,
These messages – the Sum of Life – remind:
Man’s aimless, modern Din shall ne’er transcend
The Wild – and Ancient – Voices – in the Wind.

That was my summation, a decade or more ago, after having spent thirty years exploring the “out there” country of Arizona, including frequent visits to secluded national monuments that protected both historical sites and ‘special’ landscapes. And while I’ve never visited the latest pair of Obama-designated National Monuments — Gold Butte in Nevada and Bears Ears in S.E. Utah — I do totally and completely understand the grand value of each and every Antiquity Act designee that’s “out there” today. My hope is that we as a nation don’t stop here, but that we find every last square inch of land in need of absolute preservation, and then DO IT! And to hell with each and every wingnut that protests or tries to halt/overturn preservation whether past, present, or future.

Today’s Voices, a quick sample:

“I am designating two new national monuments in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada to protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes. Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.”
(President Barack Obama; December 28, 2016)

“We have always looked to Bears Ears as a place of refuge. The rocks,
the winds, the land — they are living, breathing things that deserve
timely and lasting protection.”
(Russell Begaye; President, Navajo Nation)

“Obama’s decision to create the national monuments means that the area,
that contains some Native American artifacts, will be protected
from energy drilling in the future.”
(Nikita Vladimirov, The Hill)

“It’s just terribly arrogant, he unilaterally — he is taking 1.35 million acres,
that’s more land than there is in the entire state of Delaware,
and re-designating it as a national monument.”
(Rep Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand.”
(Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah)

“. . . the president’s midnight proclamation cherry picked provisions of the
Public Lands Initiative and disregarded the economic development and
multi-use provisions necessary for a balanced compromise.”
(Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“We look forward to working with President-elect Trump to follow through
on his commitment to repeal midnight regulations.
(Rep Jason Chafetz, R-Utah)

“By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect
those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit.”
(Sean Reyes, State Atty. Gen., R-Utah)

“President Obama is a courageous man. I could not be more grateful to him
and his team for working with me to make this happen, and for everything
he has done to protect public lands in Nevada. By designating Gold Butte a
national monument, President Obama has shown once again why he
is one of the greatest environmental presidents in American history.”
(Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada)

“Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that
future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these
scenic and historic landscapes.”
(President Barack Obama)

******

Obama perfectly summed up the undercurrent intentions of the 1906 Antiquities Act which, in spite of today’s Fascist (Tea Party) rejection of same, serves as the major tool to enable preservation of “scenic and historic landscapes” by Presidential decree and NOT via far-more-difficult-to-secure Congressional action. Today’s Republicans see absolutely zero benefit in preserving anything other than their own power and position. Landscapes? If they’re that good, there’s gotta be money in NOT preserving them. Historic sites? Ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of Injun crapola, and we beat them red skinned worthless bums 150 years ago. Who cares about shit they done way back when?

In the last 8 years, President Obama has preserved, via the Antiquities Act, more than 550 million acres in 29 newly-designated National Monuments, more than any President has ever done: an impressive statistic. For those of us who cherish the ‘voices’ offered by the wind, by the vanished ones, Obama’s accomplishment stands tall and far above the sacrifices demanded by (political/commercial) gluttonous greed.

Following are a handful of photos I’ve taken over the years, visual descriptions of the centerpieces in nine of Arizona’s eighteen (the most in any one state) National Monuments. The first seven are of historic or ancient ruins, followed by a composite from a National Heritage Site in a National Forest, and finally a pair of Monumental ‘historic (volcanic) landscapes.’ Taken together, they vividly spell out — at least in my mind — the grand purpose behind the 1906 Antiquities Act, AND the fantastic consequences thereof. Continue reading

Posted in Arizona, Environmental Conservation, Land Preservation, Photo Essays, Photos, Poetry | Leave a comment

“Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie . . .”

“Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.”
(Honore de Balzac)

******

The bifurcation of the United States is now complete. The AFM (American Fascist Movement, aka the GOP, the Far Right) has, finally, taken over the ‘defining’ substance of the country via its majority control of the House, Senate, White House, and presumably quite soon, the Supreme Court, all alongside the political control of some 32 states. When, on January 20th, the new Precedent (sorry, couldn’t help it) named Donald J. Trump is inaugurated and officially becomes POTUS, the final demise of America will begin in earnest. The goals of the AFM-GOP are fairly straight forward; they intend to address a number of cash and power redistribution projects. Here’s their shortlist:

  1. Repeal Obamacare;
  2. Cut Social Security;
  3. Privatize Medicare;
  4. Drastically reduce Medicaid;
  5. Repeal Roe v. Wade;
  6. Defund Planned Parenthood;
  7. Disallow female Reproductive Rights;
  8. Deport undocumented immigrants;
  9. Overturn Obama’s immigration Executive Orders, including DACA;
  10. Build a border wall;
  11. Dismantle the EPA;
  12. Halt all Carbon-reducing efforts;
  13. Increase coal, oil, and natural gas production;
  14. Pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement;
  15. Open all Public Lands to fossil fuel/mining exploration and production;
  16. Potentially work to hand over all Federal Lands to the respective States;
  17. Tax reform: reduce  rates for corporate and top individual brackets, screw all the common folk;
  18. Abolish Net Neutrality (so cable companies can finally make a buck or two);
  19. Increase “defense” spending;
  20. Restart the nuclear arms race;
  21. Stop worrying about budget deficits;
  22. Blame the entire of the National Debt on Democrats, Obama mostly;
  23. Find places to start new wars;
  24. Universalize voter suppression and “ihre papiere, bitte” laws;
  25. Dismantle Public Education, pay for privatization with tax dollars;
  26. Rid colleges and universities of all those commie professors;
  27. Diminish NATO and the EU;
  28. Explore national merger with Russia.*

*(Not sure if number 28 is on any docket outside the Trump admin., but felt it worth a mention).

In short, (thanks to voter suppression, along with our clearly obsolete Electoral College) it’s a minority of voters that has enabled “All Of The Above.” Stated another way, the death of what once was a nation “of the people” is on the verge of total revision, with the fresh goal of a Feudal-style Fascist Oligarchy lying in wait just over the next horizon. The process should not take all that long to complete, now that the Extreme Right has essentially garnered full control of the government.

The presumed overall consequence — the bottom line — is a simple one: IF the AFM-GOP succeeds in the imposition of its Fascist agenda, the odds are very good that any return to Rooseveltian-style government where the PEOPLE come first, not the money-power enclave, will be gone for at least a generation or two, possibly forever. Remember: when government devolves into Fascism, the sole purpose of the blended money-power government is to disable and destroy each and every program designed to support and enable The People’s pursuit of a comfortable and productive life, and hand it off, instead, to the bums in their imaginary gleaming castles on the hill (sotospeak).

The process will begin on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, immediately following the swearing in of this nation’s 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

potus

Resistance must begin immediately. I, for one, will not attend, watch, or even acknowledge this particular inauguration. I will, instead, spend my time exploring and supporting alternatives, aka virtually any potentially viable project that has even the slightest chance of ridding the nation of its Fascist element, aka the Republican Party . . . and all its works and all its ways. Apparently I’m not alone in this ‘dream,’ at least according to the following link’s stated goal:

Does impeachment begin now? The case for building the end of Trump’s presidency before it even starts

Hoping intelligent people across the land will consider and act appropriately upon all viable options, and in the process never forget the ancient but still accurate admonition of Plato:

The punishment for those who are too intelligent to engage in
politics is that they shall be governed by idiots.

Touche.

******

Posted in Election 2016, Fascism, Politics | 1 Comment

“Make America Great Hate Again”

Since November 8, 2016 and the “unpresidented” (s)election of Donald J. Trump as “precedent” of the United States, the probable consequences are rapidly clarifying, as evidenced in the following (tiny) handful of links:

‘We can march through town carrying high-powered rifles’: Neo-Nazi plans march against Montana Jews

Hate Groups Promise Revolt If Trump Abandons White Supremacy

Tracking the explosion of hate in Trump’s America

It appears that even though Trump’s inauguration is still 3 weeks away, he has already succeeded in enhancing amongst his followers the (irrational but traditional) Fascistic dreams of Power and Hate. And sadly, those same irrationalities are currently spreading through Europe — Brexit in England, Far Right Nationalism emerging in Poland, Hungary, France, Austria, Germany — altogether reminiscent of the Fascist tyrannies of just a few generations ago.

As England’s Prince Charles recently stated,

I’ve seen the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930’s.

“I was born in 1948 just after World War II in which my parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later we are seeing such evil persecution is beyond belief. We owe it to the people who have suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

And today, as we set ourselves up “to repeat the horrors of the past,” we watch as anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-Islam, and white Nationalism (neo-Nazism) rapidly reassert themselves both at home and abroad, thanks in no small part to the American election of November 8, 2016. It’s worth noting that said election was, curiously, influenced by Russian cyber interference — likely motivated by Putin’s desire to see the world abandon freedom and democracy and select, instead, Fascism as its ruling authority. And who better than Trump — a politically inept egomaniacal narcissist — to help that movement along?

Russian analyst Nina Khrushcheva (great grand-daughter of Nikita Khruschev) recently noted that Trump is playing “right into Putin’s hands.” She further stated,

“I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying ‘Look at those fools, look at their their democracy. How could America lecture us on any development, institutions, human rights, democracy, rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He’s such a fool. He’s such a bully. That’s what America deserves and we’re going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it, and now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange on potential nuclear armament and whatnot.”

In short, with the election of Donald J. Trump, the United States has ceded any global advantage it might ever have had to the re-emergent right wing fervor aka Fascism. We fought and defeated it in the past, but now have finally succumbed, thanks to the devolution of the Republican Party from one of democratic principle to its embrace of neo-fascism, and to the election of a narcissistic egomaniac — Donald J. Trump — who knows virtually nothing of anything other than his own ego (and how to grab women by the p***y, of course).

In short, we are on the edge of a major dilemma. Our current situation brings to mind an essay written more than three years ago, one that was first posted on October 17, 2013, well before anyone had even the vaguest notion that Donald Trump would ever become a candidate for the presidency, much less win an Electoral College “victory.” But he did, and in so doing has magnified immensely the quandary America came face-to-face with, in 2012: the American Fascist Movement, aka the (Republican) Tea Party.

So here, in celebration of 2016’s final passing is, courtesy of said essay, both a three-year rear-view-mirror look back, coupled with what is now virtually guaranteed to be a look forward as well; reprinted in full.

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Posted in Essays, Fascism, Politics | 2 Comments

“Precedent” Elect Trump: A Potentially “Unpresidented” Disaster

“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest –
and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,
it’s not your fault.”
(Donald J. Trump Verified account
@realDonaldTrump)

One might easily describe the above quote as being “unpresidented” — coming, as it did, from the current “Precedent” Elect of the United States.

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In four weeks — on Friday January 20 2017 — the occupancy of the White House will be radically changed, as will the tenor of the country. The President will no longer be an educated and highly intelligent Moderate Liberal Progressive; it will be, instead, an Unintelligent and Egomaniacal Narcissist, a Pathological Liar who cares nothing about anything in the world other than the admiration he manages to garner for himself from others, from those of low intelligence to those viewed as rich and/or powerful, from any corner of the earth and anywhere in between. The sad reality remains, however, that Donald J. Trump is little more than a uniquely unqualified stooge of corporate and political interests, both local and global, a thesis supported by his selections of his Cabinet chairs and advisory staff.

There is but one bottom line to all of this: we do not know just how severe will be the consequences of this, our greatest political blunder in at least the last 100 years. The only thing that we can be assured of is that those consequences will be nasty, possibly even fatal, to our Democratic Republic unless we the people can somehow find the means of curtailing the process, quickly, in each and every instance. Anything short of that and our collective regret will be the equivalent of that once famous “shot heard round the world” redirected, this time, at ourselves.

Over just the last few days, numerous articles on numerous websites have turned up, each and all of which speak to and describe what are perceived to be various consequences of the upcoming Donald J. Trump “presidency.” The essays include detailed discussions of reasons why we find ourselves embedded in our dilemma, plus a handful of suggestions of means to alleviate said dilemma. Below, in no particular order, are a number of links that each discuss varying aspects of the overall question: Why/how Trump? I’ve selected and included a quoted portion of each link to help tweak imaginations, quotes which, taken together, paint a rather dismal picture of America’s new homemade dilemma. Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Quotes | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016: “‘Tis The Season To Be __?__”

The winter solstice is next week; Christmas is ten days away; thus commenseth the happiest time of the year for a certain percentage of Homo sapiens along with various other attached critters — save for the various species of spruce and/or pine trees, of course. Here’s what we know for sure; Santa comes soon: YAY! Trump is already here: ICK! What’s it all mean?

Reasons that some are joyful:

End Times Pastor: Donald Trump Could Be The Messiah Or His Forerunner!

YAY!!!

Michael Medved: God Hid All The Gold In California Until It Became The Property Of The United States!

WOW, JUST WOW!!!

Liberty Counsel Warns That Religious Leaders Might Soon Be Beaten To Death For Celebrating Christmas!

UH OH, UMMM . . . HMMM.

Then there’s this, explains why some (of us) are NOT all that joyful:

2016-election-russia

And this:

McConnell Squelched CIA Reports That Russian Hacks Were Aimed At Electing Trump

Really? Isn’t there a word for that sort of thing?

BREAKING: Russia Also Tilted Key Congressional Races

Ouch. Maybe the word “Happy” shouldn’t be used in front of “Holidays” this year? Also, is “Merry” in front of “Christmas” really appropriate?

Reminds me of something I read somewhere once. Oh, yeah; this:

Article III. Section 3. Clause 1.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Treason. Really? Could any politician ever do that just because s/he’s a “loyal” Republican? Maybe, I suppose, esp. if it helps keep a Democrat out of the White House. Or maybe it might help Exxon and Russia get together and make lots of fresh cash by milking the Arctic oil cow.

OK, so let me guess their arguments: (1) Russia is NOT our enemy, (2) Putin is our FRIEND, and (3) thanks to Putin and Russia, REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, AND SHORTLY THE JUDICIAL BRANCHES!  YEEHAW! MONEY MONEY MONEY BY THE POUND, AND POW-POW-POWER TOO! So there you are: Putin, our friend, DESERVES “Aid and Comfort”!

Brings to mind that old circa 1600 epigram by Sir John Harington:

“Treason doth never prosper. What’s the reason?

Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

Yes, that would work as a really groovy Republican argument. (I should point out, bye the bye, that John Harington was the brilliant Brit who invented the flush toilet, a concept that seems uncannily prescient these days whenever the discussion moves into the political realm.)

Well, whatever. The bottom line is that way too many 2016 American voters either couldn’t find their butt in a well-lit room with both hands, or they’re uneducated/mentally disabled/brain dead/stupid. Personally, I’d say ‘all of the above,’ but I suppose I could be off by a percentage point or two, maybe three.

In any case, I’ve about given up. I know I’m a relatively young dude at age 74, but I have to say — out loud — that this, my 74th Holiday  Season is, by any measurement I can imagine, the pits; it’s the worst the world has appeared during all but the first three years of my life (which I, of course, have no memory from which to draw). But the Second World War ended on September 2, 1945, some six or seven weeks before my third birthday. Then sometime in 1946, maybe early ’47, my dad bought a brand new Hudson, and the thing I remember most about it is that its bumpers, front and rear, were made out of heavy wooden boards and not chrome-shiny steel — word was that it took awhile to retool some stuff in various factories, to turn them away from war stuff and instead make consumer/car stuff. Life was good, though. No more war.

In October of 1947, i was aging fast. I turned five years old, and on my birthday I got a brand new ELECTRIC TRAIN! WOW!

perry-nelson-and-train

That’s me, the one sitting inside the train tracks loop. The one with the smile, the new sports coat and the really cool necktie. But neatest of all, the train!

A month or so later as Christmas 1947 approached, I was looking through a catalog my dad had gotten in the mail, and when I found the electric train part I spotted exactly the thing I wanted Santa to drop off on Christmas Eve: a Coal Loader!

Then in early December, we waited for a day when it wasn’t snowing and the roads were clear, and headed to Minneapolis in pop’s still-new-Hudson-with-the-wooden-bumpers. Once there, we went straight to Dayton’s downtown Department Store; timing was perfect — Santa was already there taking orders! I waited patiently in line; it was an opportunity I was NOT going to miss!

perry-and-santa-1947

As you can immediately tell, this wasn’t one of those fake Santas you see all over the place, this was the REAL SANTA!! We chatted for a couple of minutes, then he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer was a simple one: “I want a coal loader,” I said, “to put coal in my train.”

Santa said, “A coal loader to put coal in the train. And what else?”

“Umm, that’s about all,” I answered. Santa was impressed — REALLY impressed! I was pretty sure I’d done it the right way; I even sang for him a few lines from Jingle Bells, and as I walked back to my mom and dad, I was absolutely positive that come Christmas morning, there would be a coal loader under the tree. And I was right! And I was SO impressed with Santa, the REAL one on whose lap I’d sat, and I have to say I remain impressed through this very day!

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The bottom line in all of that remains a simple one: I learned, 69 years ago right about this time of year, how to decide if what you see and what you are REAL or not. And so, thanks to that expertise I mastered all those years ago I can say, today, without hesitation that:

President-(s)elect Trump is a PHONY!

Don’t believe a single word the bum ever speaks.

For that matter, only the fool or the tool will ever believe anything ANY Republican says or tries to write down (Tweet, in today’s vernacular); three dollar bills are, in fact, far less phony than most any Republican you will ever meet or come to know. And so I have, this year, finally, a Christmas wish that’s even bigger than the one from 69 years ago. It’s a simple one: IF the system actually allows Trump to be inaugurated and become the 45th POTUS — in spite of the fact that he lost the popular vote by nearly THREE MILLION VOTES — then, Santa, PLEASE! PLEASE GET ME THE HELL OUTTA HERE! Either that or “Make America Great Again” by giving Herr Trump a non-stop one-way ticket straight to Russia, and reunite him there with his one true love!

putin-trump-horse

Yeah. Like that.

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Meanwhile,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

******

Posted in Election 2016, Essays, Photos, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Moon; A Photo-Poetic Essay

 

THE MOON

Mystic eye of the darkened sky,

Compelled to stray, estranged, on high –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pallored by the sight of woe below,

it watches

At night when groping souls emerge

march-24-2016-setting-full-moon-2216

And hears the sobs that upward surge

From broken things –

Even the wolf’s howl, and questioning;

2004-dec-white-tanks-moonset-019f-cr

Propelled in unrelenting circuit,

It lights the gloom unfit for lives

That, too, wander derelict alone –

2006-mar-16-0635a-moonset-rs

As it mirrors peace

In its imprisoned solitude.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poem: “The Moon” by T.R.Nissle
Photos: my own

 

Posted in Photos, Poetic Photo Essays, Poetry, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Thou, Whoever Art Above . . .”

I’ll admit it. I’m DISGUSTED!

I know I’m not alone in this, but I can say with heavy duty authority that in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential (s)election, my disgust has peaked at levels I’ve never known before, levels that, until November 9, I would have never guessed attainable, much less even possible. But it happened. Somehow, the most narcissistic, egomaniacal, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, fascistic and ego-driven presidential candidate in American history has been (s)elected (at least via Electoral College terms), and will become POTUS on January 20, 2017.

My initial reaction was to rant (which I did), then attempt to listen to those voices of ‘moderation,’ those voices that try to convince us “radicals” that hey, this is America where the voice of “the people” — not of the tyrant — is heard, is determinative of the nation’s (and the world’s) future. Those voices of moderation are, of course, nonsensical in that they ignore the obvious consequences that invariably occur when the entire government of a nation is turned over to what is, effectively, a far right wing politic, a Fascist majority. And sadly, that is precisely what ‘we the people’ did on November 8, 2016; we “elected” a Fascist president, and left in place right wing majorities in both the Senate and the House along with a vacancy on the Supreme Court which will now be filled by an extreme right wing appointee, thus granting control  of the entire of our federal government to the American Fascist Movement.

That should be the point that causes any salient mind to rant and rave for hours on end about electoral national destruction, but then again, to the “salient” mind, what would be the point? As Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar noted, “The die is cast.” Besides, it does one no good at all to imagine being down in the pit, surrounded only by idiots, white supremacists, Republicans, Fascists  — assuming there’s a difference. There are, after all, other places — peaceful and quiet places, places brimming with ‘salient’ life forms — places that are far better, that inspire rather than denigrate one’s imagination.

Here’s an example: a six line poem by longtime colleague and friend T.R. Nissle, words which he penned some 40 years ago in response to a few photos I managed to ‘snap’ during my frequent and solitary sojourns “out there” on some then relatively undisturbed corners of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Six lines with six photos (the top three ‘inspired’ the poem), together offer a refreshing look at the living world — though not expressly through human eyes.

THE PRAYER OF THE CACTUS

ca-1972-cave-creek-wasjh-praying-saguaro

▲Thou, whoever art above, hear me die –▲

 

ca-1973-white-tanks-old-sentry

▲Hear my silent, lonely prayer –▲

 

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲For tongueless creatures everywhere;▲

 

003s▲We neither savage, jest, nor boast of soul –▲

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA▲But flower unmaliciously –▲

 

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f▲Disjoin us from Humanity.▲

Those six photos are of the Sonoran Desert’s most unique life form, the Giant Saguaro Cactus, in various stages of both life and death. Curiously enough, the Saguaro’s longtime scientific name Cereus giganteus (Britton & Rose) was, in recent years, changed to Carnegiea gigantea in honor of renowned wealthy industrialist-become-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who, in his last years prior to his death in 1919, donated (as 2015 share of GDP) some $78.6 Billion (approx. 90% of his accumulated wealth) to charities, foundations, and universities. I suppose it could simply be my naivete, but I seriously doubt that any of today’s billionaires will ever wind up with a signature cactus named after them. Trumpissonia gigantea? Probably not.

The bottom line remains: If humans would take a moment and agree to (1) abolish all war, (2) disallow greed,  hate, and irrational fear, (3) abandon their never-ending savage quest for power, and (4) agree to never again boast of soul — but flower unmaliciously, the world would fast become a livable place for all its creatures, big or small. Including even ourselves.

I remain filled with doubt, however; human history has yet to suggest that humans are uniformly capable of being earth-friendly in any context. More than two centuries ago, for example, William Wordsworth  noted that though . . .

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

To which I can only add, in MY voice to all of earth’s creatures everywhere:

Disjoin US from “Humanity.”

2005-mar-brittlebush-encelia-farinosa-022s-sharper

******

Posted in Arizona, Desert, Election 2016, Fascism, Photos, Poetic Photo Essays, Poetry | Leave a comment

Election 2016, A Poetic Summation: “After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes”

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
an’ foolish notion . . .”
(Robert Burns)

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THANKSGIVING(?), 2016

In 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote a three-verse 72-word poetic ‘essay’ on death, a poem which for some odd reason reminded me of an event that occurred here, in Amurkkka, exactly two-weeks-plus-three-days ago. That was, of course, the day of America’s 2016 Presidential Election in which, somehow, the candidate who lost by at least 2 million votes was actually declared the winner — an event which seems to demand a somewhat poetic summary, maybe?

I suppose most of us could write for a week, maybe a year, on the probable consequences of said electoral event, but for me (since, at my age, time is at a premium), I decided to settle instead for a joint poetic project in consort with Emily Dickinson! (don’t I wish)! Below are the three verses of Dickinson’s 1862 poetic “essay” on death, intermingled with a pair of my own sonnets [the first was prev. posted, post-convention, in August, the second is post-election new].

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Miss Emily begins:

After great pain, a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

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Candidate DONALD J. TRUMP and His Egomaniacal Persona

Democracy allows a boundless sprawl of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a nominee who deems to
Ne’er dismiss his savage spiels, hoping they’ll all soon be taught
As “brilliant” memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learned view,
Lengthy rhetoric from this vapid candidate reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose soul appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they sense themselves dismissed by grand impassioned dreams;
Misogyny as well embraces minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life – with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are either bought — or sold.

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The Feet, mechanical, go round —
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —

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GOODBYE, AMERICA
A Trump-Inspired National Elegy

Greed and Sloth have once again prevailed, their
Onerous goals retained by vulgar vote;
Once again America’s soul stands bare,
Delib’rately exposed as addled moat
Beneath her people, once defined as great.
Yet there remains a choice; to quote Voltaire,
Écrasez l’infame” (Crush the furtive ‘State’)
And grant Relief to all from hate’s despair
Made manifest by sophistic fear. Still,
Exercise of faux imperiousness
Results in cultural demise of will
In all but those possessed by mindlessness —
Calumny (as Trump, our President-Elect)
Assigns ALL Truth — to PERFIDY-Select.

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This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —

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So now, we as a nation are forced to contend with white nationalism, with neo-Nazis and racism at every level, with misogyny, xenophobia, immigration, immigrant deportation, registries, internment camps(?); also destruction and/or sale of Public Lands for either fossil fuel mining/drilling/fracking or for private profit, for development; also with the “Chinese Hoax” of climate change and the global destruction therein implied; also with the final transfer of all remaining American monetary “wealth” to the already wealthy elites; plus the privatization of Public Education . . . plus maybe a war or two or three, just because this here’s Amurkkka and we really like to do that, to kick ass as necessary. . . etc., etc., etc.

Whereto from here? How much further is it to the bottom of the pond? Is there still a musterable opposition to national demise available out there? Somewhere?

“Those who can make you believe absurdities
can make you commit atrocities.”
(Voltaire)

Dare we hope we’re not there . . . yet?

******

Posted in Election 2016, Poetry, Quotes | Leave a comment

“A face devoid of love or grace . . .”

I admit I’m quite often fascinated by the fact that poets from long ago did, so often, manage to describe what we see and pretend to ‘know’ today. Here’s a prime example: Emily Dickinson wrote, in the 1860’s, a 33 word description of America’s 2016 President-elect, Donald J. Trump. She didn’t use his name, of course, so I’ve added a recent  ‘stock’ photo for demonstration purposes. Uncanny.

A face devoid of love or grace,
A hateful, hard, successful face,
A face with which a stone
Would feel as thoroughly at ease
As were they old acquaintances —
First time together thrown.

trump2

▲President-elect Donald J. Trump: “A face devoid of love or grace . . .”

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Posted in Election 2016, Poetry | Leave a comment

‘Oh Say — Can You See’?

“Now the face that I see in the mirror,
More and more is a stranger to me;
More and more I can see there’s a danger,
Of becoming what I never thought I’d be – “
(Lyric by John Denver)

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▼Rising ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 14 2016▼

2016-nov-14-rising-beaver-moon-2504cr

♬  Oh say, can you see, by the moon’s subtle light,

How PROFOUNDLY we’ve failed, since the twilight’s last gleaming . . . ♬

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“If ever we put any other value above liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)

League Of The South Hails Trump, Wants ‘No Mercy’ Towards ‘Jews, Minorities And Anti-White Whites’: “You, by God’s grace, may have been given a short reprieve from this scenario. Redeem the time! As for me, I recommend that we get busy with Southern independence. We need our own country, and it must be run by us for our own interests. It must once again be White Man’s Land.”

In Donald Trump’s America, fear, violence and intimidation are taking over college campuses: Vandalism and slurs have surged on college campuses, from “Trump!” graffiti to pushing a Muslim student down a hill

Worst potential Trump pick of all? It might be anti-immigration guru Jeff Sessions as attorney general: The Alabama senator wants to shut down immigration and birthright citizenship — and tells “jokes” about the KKK

From 9/11 to 11/9: Is Donald Trump’s election collateral damage from the War on Terror?: How Trump exploited the War on Terror’s effects on our political culture, economy and national psyche

Why Recent Child Rape Case Against Trump Should Not Be Ignored: Victim Has A Witness (updated): Tiffany Doe herself says that she is in mortal fear of Mr. Trump to this day: “I am coming forward to swear to the truthfulness of the physical and sexual abuse that I personally witnessed of minor females at the hands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein . . . I swear to these facts under the penalty for perjury even though I fully understand that the life of myself and my family is now in grave danger”. (See also: www.huffingtonpost.com/…)

Trump adviser promises a return to `Drill, Baby, Drill’: An adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has now promised that the incoming administration will collect “hundreds of billions of dollars” in revenue by “opening up” federal lands and oceans to oil, gas, and coal development.

NASA: `Planetary warming does not care about the election’: A very warm October ensures 2016 will be the hottest year by far: The only way to stop this vicious cycle of ever-more dangerous threats is through a global effort to slash carbon pollution deeply and rapidly. Tragically, elections can and do affect whether major emitters like the United States will keep trying to solve the problem — or become a major reason we don’t.

“But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy
and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is
a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that
they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
& exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
~Hermann Goering (1893-1946)

Seattle Councilwoman Gets Threats After Call To Shut Down Trump’s Inauguration: ‘I will come and tattoo a swastika on your head and on that bitch’s head.’

Democratic Coalition Files FBI Election Complaint Against Stephen Bannon: Whoopsie! It looks like Brietbart head racist in charge and alt-Right champion may have skirted some pretty serious campaign finance laws while working to elect Cheeto Jesus Trump.

Steve Bannon To Help Trump Bring White Nationalism, Misogyny and Anti-Semitism To The White House

Donald Trump Taps Radical Conspiracy Theorist Frank Gaffney For Transition Team

Trump Reportedly Considering White House Post For Anti-Muslim Activist Who Called Joseph McCarthy ‘Spot On’: Trump is considering naming Center for Security Policy official Clare Lopez to a top national security post in his White House. . . . Responding to protests against Trump’s candidacy that turned violent this summer, Lopez linked the protests to a “witch’s brew” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Black Lives Matter activists and a “conglomeration of anarchists, communists, socialists, progressivists, leftists of all sorts, Occupy, Bill Ayers types,” all seeking to bring down “the American political system.” She also warned of “a coordinated effort to involve Muslims into the electoral process,” an effort that she said was being “directed by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Jan Brewer: ‘Orchestrated’ Trump protesters are ‘just awful’ — and many owe allegiance to Mexico: “Obviously their allegiance isn’t to the United States, it was to Mexico,” she said, while also calling the protests “orchestrated” and “just awful.” “They’re not entitled to behave like that, I don’t believe. You know, people protest, it’s fine. A lot of them aren’t legal citizens and some of them are and they didn’t even vote and now they’re outraged. They could at least give him a chance.”

What luck for rulers, that men do not think.
~Adolph Hitler

Michele Bachmann: Trump’s Election Was ‘God Answering The Prayers Of His People’: “We saw the Lord answer so specifically that only the hand of God could do that,” she said. “Let’s pray and join and ask the Lord that godly believers would be put in these key sensitive positions. People that the Lord will use for blessing for the United States and for the world. This was the number one story of 2016: God answering the prayers of his people.”

Jim Bakker: Trump’s Election Is ‘The Greatest Miracle I Have Ever Seen’

Kenneth Copeland Now Has A Direct Line To Deliver Messages From God To President Trump: “I am totally convinced that if the Lord were to say something to me … that the president needs to hear,” he said, “I have no doubt that we could do it and do it quickly and have audience to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and he wouldn’t just turn it over to an aide or something and just write it off. He would listen and it would mean something to him.”

Mike Huckabee Tells Far-Right Gathering That Trump Could Be One Of The Greatest Presidents Ever: He said that he trusted Trump to “put good people in the Supreme Court” and “put people in the State Department that might rid Foggy Bottom of the horrible pro-terrorist nonsense that has infiltrated that hideous agency.”

“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense
founded on the Christian religion.”
~Treaty of Tripoli, signed on June 10, 1797,
by President John Adams.

2016-nov-15-setting-beaver-moon-2506

▲Setting ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 15 2016▲

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Who are we, really? Do we know?

“Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground
[than the foundation of the Ten Commandments]. It presented
us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased.
We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up
royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of
a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature,
and found them engraved on our hearts.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

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“The office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not
in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
~Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist #68

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“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost
duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It
will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation
has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our
national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
~Adolph Hitler; My New World Order, Proclamation to the
German Nation at Berlin, 1 February 1933

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My response to the election
of Donald J. Trump
and
to the dishonor of ALL who
are responsible for his electoral “victory.”

NONE

None there are so blind as those
Who neither care nor dare to see;
And None there are so dunce as those
Who neither dare nor care to think –

But worse than those who dare not dare
To think, perchance to see,
Are those who never care to care,
But think each lie their leader speaks –

Bespeaks reality.

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Finally, my interpretation of the rise of the (emerging) Trump Reich:
(to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March)

♬  Donald, has only got one ball
Putin, has two but they are small
Priebus has two, but Jeebus —
Herr Stephen Bannon has no balls at all!  ♬

bannon

******

“We’ll have to leave it there.”

Posted in Election 2016, Photos, Politics, Quotes | Leave a comment

2016: The Electoral Aftermath

And where is now my hope?
As for my hope, who shall see it?
They shall go down to the bars of the pit,
When our rest together is in the dust.
(Job 17:15-16)

So. The 2016 election is over. The electorate has spoken, and with a loud voice has pushed the nation to the point where it teeters on the edge of the abyss. The event did remind me of something, however, a few lines from something I wrote in the early nineties — back when one particular bit of history did not seem, as it does today, predictive of our nation’s self-imposed dilemma. Here’s the brief tidbit: a few lines in Emeralds and Ashesfrom a poem entitled The SECOND GENESIS: Hell and Ash:

january 30 1933
anno domini
berlin
ein tausend jahren
REICH
was born
pangs recorded by herr doctor göbbels as
a dream
a fairy tale
and by andre francois-poncet
who wrote
the river of fire flowed past the french embassy
whence
with heavy heart and filled with foreboding
I watched its luminous wake.
and god looked away

Later, on the morning of November 9 we received, courtesy of a local wingnut, a forwarded email, one that was most certainly written in advance of the election and was now an intended insult to any and all Clinton supporters. Its text reads as follows (highlights as in original):

ALMOST DONE. JUST ONE ELECTION DECIDES OUR FATE…

ALMOST THERE

There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a socialist/communist State. The first is the most important

5 OF THE 8 ARE DONE – THE LAST 3 ARE ALMOST THERE

1. Healthcare: “Control Healthcare and you control the People”
DONE !!

2 Poverty: “Increase the Poverty level as high as possible.” Poor People are easier to control and will not fight back if the government is providing everything for them to live.
DONE!!!

3. Debt: “Increase the National Debt to an unsustainable level.” That way you are able to increase Taxes, and this will produce more Poverty.
DONE!!!

4. Gun Control: Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a Police State – total local control.
ALMOST THERE!!!

5. Welfare: Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Livestock, Housing, and Income).
DONE!!!

6. Education: Take control of what People read & listen to; take control of what Children learn in School.
ALMOST THERE!!!

7. Religion: Remove faith in God from the Government and Schools.
ALMOST THERE!!!

8. Class Warfare: Divide the People into the Wealthy against the Poor. Racially divide. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to Tax the Wealthy with full support of the voting Poor.
DONE!!!

The bases are all covered! We are ripe!

Forward this – or delete it and just sit there and wring your hands.

The message is clear. And sick. It’s the standard right wing extremist meme that blames everything they see as BAD — i.e. healthcare for everyone, class warfare, public education, helping people who need help, gun control, government debt, and poverty — on what we know as ‘Progressive Liberalism.’ They also maintain, of course, that everything ‘good’ — e.g. religious ‘freedom’ to hate and discriminate (along with the ‘right’ to twist facts when necessary in order to blame the other side for each and every right wing screw-up) — is a result of ‘Conservatism’ (aka, in enlightened circles, Fascism).

Upside down political logic is not limited to conservative wingnuts, however. For example, I’ve noticed that although Hillary won the popular vote in this election, she didn’t win the Electoral College. Curiously, that’s already happened twice in this century, in 2000 and 2016. In both cases, the popular vote for the Progressive Liberal (Democratic) candidate has been dismissed by the Electoral Vote, thereby mandating that the Electoral College select, for POTUS, the loser of the popular vote — i.e., in both cases, the Conservative Republican candidate. Because of the 2000 selection, we’ve endured two gratuitous and uncalled-for wars (thousands of deaths and trillions of  $$ in ‘costs’ included) plus the 2008 crash of the global economy (and the near Second Great Depression). And now, thanks to the second popular vote’suppression,’ the Electoral College has given us our next President — one who has zero government experience, but one who enjoys great support from white nationalists, anti-Semites, bigots, anti-immigrationists, anti-Islamists, climate deniers, along with ignorant people everywhere. He also will have a Congressional majority in both the House and Senate and a four year Supreme Court appointment window. And worst of all, beginning January 20 2017, a narcissistic egomaniacal xenophobic bigot will have control of the nation’s nuclear codes.

What could go wrong?

The bottom line is that the current Republican Party’s regressive manifestations — all of its subgroups (including evangelicals) — bring to mind a poem written by T.S.Eliot the better part of a century ago. How did he know? — or maybe ignorance and stupid is fundamental to the human species?

Excerpts From “The Hollow Men”
by T.S.Eliot

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us — if at all — not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

[. . .]

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom …

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Therein lies the essence of our problem, i.e. those “Hollow Men” to whom ‘we the people’ have just now and once again handed full power and authority of the government. We have dismissed Progressive Liberalism — the philosophy that believes the government’s main responsibility is to see to the well-being of ALL the nation’s people, and not only the well-to-do — and have validated instead the philosophy that relies on expressions of power designed to further enrich the already wealthy, and to hell with everyone and everything else.

Dante would be proud: his SALIGIA (the Seven Deadly Sins) have finally been accepted as a government mandate — by the country which has long pretended itself to be the expression of “We the people” — of the common man.

So in view of all the details noted above and elsewhere, I do hereby recommend that Republicans change their party’s name/acronym from the Grand Old Party the (GOP) to something more accurate, to something like, say, “America’s National Association of Zipperheaded Idiots’ Party (America’s NAZI Party, in other words). It fits.

In any case, on January 20, 2017 — the day of Trump’s inauguration and elevation to POTUS — it remains my hope that someone out there will describe the reality, perhaps with words something like those Andre Francois-Poncet wrote on January 30, 1933 –the date that marked the final step in Adolf Hitler’s momentous rise to full power of the German state:

the river of fire flowed past the french embassy
whence
with heavy heart and filled with foreboding
I watched its luminous wake.

******

Message to Americans:

“ACHTUNG, SIE VERLASSEN den AMERIKANISCHEN SEKTOR”

******

Final note: I’ve posted this before, but once again it seems a good fit. It’s a sonnet I wrote in the early years of the Bush-43 administration, back in the days when it seemed obvious that Bush’s general ‘governing’ policies were dangerous at least, destructive at worst. Turned out they were just that, as evidenced by the economic crash in the last few months of his second term. Obama rescued us, but now we’re faced with Donald Trump, the “businessman”who has often demonstrated the ineptness of his acumen and the consequences thereof, along with his offensive personal non-qualities. If he carries all that forward and imposes it on the government, the words “Requiem: America” will suddenly take on an entirely new meaning.

REQUIEM: AMERICA
Requiem, as dirge of sophistic love,
Exposes destinies which nations earn.
Quoth Hamlet: “conscience does make cowards of
Us all” – that is, till We the People learn,
Implicitly, that human Cowardice
Exudes contempt for Rationalities.
Meanwhile, mankind’s destiny – Avarice –
Appears in service to those Vanities
Most shallowed minds presume to be their right,
Enabling failure thus of Self, of State.
Repression blooms and quickly dims all light
Intrinsic to the heart of Freedom’s Fate –
Consumed – whilst words of Truth, now specious, Moan . . .
And stand as lifeless slogans . . . etched in stone.

******

On the other hand, Alfred Lord Tennyson pointed out that

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. . . .

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

The choice is ours, but do we have sufficient strength ‘in will to strive . . . and not to yield’?

Time will tell.

******

Posted in Election 2016, Essays, Fascism, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Ugly American(s), A Summary

In fall of 1958, the bestselling novel The Ugly American hit the shelves. I was a junior in H.S. at that point and while I never took the time to read the book, I did become familiar with the concept “Ugly American” and how it was applied, over ensuing years,  to various types of personalities that were ‘normal’ here at home but were seen as ‘ugly’ in foreign countries everywhere. In 1963 I saw the movie, and though I didn’t think it amounted to a whole lot (in spite of Brando as one of the main characters), the concept of “Ugly American” remained intact. But that was what, 53-58 years ago? Today, I suggest, the whole notion has become far more expansive and, in the process, quite . . . ‘deplorable'(?) as well. Back in the fifties and sixties, ‘The Ugly American’ referred mainly to diplomatic ‘failures’ in S.E. Asia, whereas today it refers to, at least in my extremely humble opinion, the entire of the Republican Party, once known as the Grand Old Party but today become more the party whose self-defined task has become the stirring up of envy, resentment, and hatred amongst all who are interested in — or susceptible to — being thus stirred.

Today. . .

Today is November 3, 2016; our General Election is Tuesday next, exactly five days from now. There’s a big decision about to be made, and what concerns me more than anything else is that the electorate is, according to most current polls wherein those who seem to enjoy stirring up envy, resentment, and hatred are separated by only a few percentage points from those whose goal is to maintain the hope that one of these days America will FINALLY become the country where “we the people” both understand and support the mandate implicit in her 240 year dream: “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” In order to accomplish that feat, it’s no secret that our sole hope is to find the means of encouraging an Electoral Philosophy whose sole goal is to FINALLY work DILIGENTLY to turn those dreams into a functional reality.

If the run-up to this year’s election has demonstrated one thing over the last 18 months, it’s that we remain a LONG way from achieving anything even close to the Constitutional aspirations quoted above. The vitriol that has dominated the entire of the campaign so far stands alone (at least in my lifetime) as the perfect reflection of the consequences of politically inspired irrational Fear and Hate, punctuated by Greed — i.e. the functional opposite of political decency.

I recently had an (online email) conversation with an elderly relative, one who has been a dedicated Republican for her entire life, one whose first presidential vote was for Dwight Eisenhower back in 1956. She asked me what I thought of the upcoming election, its candidates, etc., adding that there was no way she could ever vote for the GOP candidate this year because it was Donald Trump, a man whom she most ably described as “A corrupt liar and a blow hard womanizer.” She said she didn’t care for Hillary Clinton either, and was at a loss as to what to do, and wondered how I felt about the whole issue.

I spared no punches and wrote this back:

In re politics: I’m not a really big Hillary fan either, but Trump is the most disgusting and unqualified POTUS candidate the country has had in 240 years. So what to do? I’ve already voted (we vote by mail here in Colorado). My vote was “philosophic” and not for any particular individual candidate(s), so –

  • since I like (and depend upon) both Social Security and Medicare;
  • and since I support the concept of Universal single-payer health care for everyone (along with the commensurate ‘dismissal’ of the health insurance ‘industry’);
  • and since I support PUBLIC Education K-12 AND tuition-free college;
  • and since I support genuine immigration reform with a path to citizenship for all non-criminal (i.e. most) undocumenteds;
  • and since I support higher tax rates on those who make millions, plus the closing of Corporate tax loopholes along with a livable minimum wage for the people who do most of the work;
  • and since I really do NOT EVER want to see another Supreme Court loaded with extreme right-wingers (like Scalia, Thomas, et al.);
  • and since I want to see a strong, genuine, and effective (local and global) ‘war’ on climate change;
  • and since I detest racism, misogyny, xenophobia (and every other type of irrational hate and fear, including esp. Islamophobia);
  • and since I remain strongly pro-choice both in re women’s health/reproductive issues AND on all issues of LGBT/gay marriage, etc.;
  • and since I remain a dyed-in-the-wool environmental preservationist;
  • and since I really really support the notion of getting rid of the Supreme Court’s bogus Citizens United decision that turned our elections into nothing more than a Big Money shopping/purchasing event –

I voted a straight Dem ticket from top to bottom. I voted that way solely because I know that the current incarnation of the GOP is, sadly, against virtually every policy I see as proper and/or necessary. What saddens me more, though, is that I’m 99% certain that most — maybe none — of the stuff I’m strongly in favor of has little or no chance of coming to pass in my lifetime, much less at any time in the future. Human fear, hate, and greed will never allow it, and all current and future generations will merely wind up suffering the inevitable consequences, just as have all current and past generations been obliged to do.

“Philosophic” the operative word. No candidate is going to be able to deliver on all of the “and since” items listed above, but one of the candidates will at least veto efforts by “The Ugly Americans” in the House and Senate to obstruct and destroy; the other candidate will support each and all such destructive efforts — and probably add some of his own as well. Ergo my cited voting protocol.

What follows here below is my presentation of just a handful or two of examples from only the last few days of the current stirring up of envy, resentment, and hatred exercise, as practiced by some of those who are, in my considered opinion, prime examples of those Ugly Americans who support the elimination of decency in this country, always in favor of its exact opposite(s). The examples are posted as links to and quotes from a variety of articles on a number of topics. Also included are ‘appropriate'(?) graphics that I’ve collected over the years — graphics that seem to ably support the overall premises portrayed and described in the links.

Enjoy. Continue reading

Posted in Election 2016, Fascism, Politics | 1 Comment

Climate Disruption and Denial

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
(William Wordsworth, from “Lines Written in Early Spring”)

I recently ran across this, a journalistic outline and review of Donald Trump’s energy “policy” proposals. The article points out that

In his plan, Trump promised to lift restrictions on the production of shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal. He also promised to lift “roadblocks” to “vital” energy infrastructure projects, “like the Keystone pipeline.” And he pledged to cancel payments to the U.N. climate change programs, saying he would instead funnel that money back to clean water and infrastructure projects.

This is far from the first time Trump has promised to enact policies that would effectively halt — if not completely dismantle — much of the environmental progress championed by President Obama. And his promises here dovetail nicely with earlier policy ideas: open up federal lands for unfettered coal extraction, support offshore oil drilling, and generally move away from any kind of international climate cooperation.

As far as I’m concerned, that set of Trumpian proposals — were they to be carried out –would be the equivalent of a policy whose ultimate purpose might as well be to dismantle the whole country, break it into a thousand pieces, then sell them to whomever and brag about how much money we’re bringing in from those international markets. The Trump solution to everything seems to be to disallow logic, disallow science, and allow only greed and destruction (there’s money in it) — in order to, of course, ‘Make Amurkkka Great Again’ in the process.

Problem is, the guy’s a fool and has no concept of anything other than how to lie, cheat, steal, and cover it all up.

The fact of the matter is simple: extraction of fossil fuels is destructive to the environment from virtually any perspective. Mining leaves obvious scars on the land and its debris messes up rivers and the streams that feed them. Fracking can cause both subsurface water pollution and earthquakes. Oil, once removed from underground, can be a deadly surface pollutant via virtually any means of transport and/or storage. And burning fossil fuels causes air pollution in the short term, and courtesy of the conversion of virtually all “harvested” fossil carbon into atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, causes global warming and climate change which can and WILL ultimately, if not stopped, put the entire of the planet’s biosphere and every life form implicit therein at severe risk.

For far too many, the easy way around that problem is simple: denial. Humans aren’t causing the climate to change. The climate is always changing. Only god is powerful enough to change the earth’s climate. It still snows in the winter, right? There’ve always been droughts, floods, hurricanes, hot spells, cold snaps. Nothing new there.  And, of course, the warming oceans, the acidification of the oceans via atmospheric CO2 absorption and the consequential decline of coral reefs, the ice-free Arctic, the melting glaciers everywhere, the melting of Antarctic ice shelves — all meaningless because “we got snow last February” and “it was hot last summer” and that proves there’s no such thing as climate change. Oh, and as Carly Fiorina has noted, the main reason for California’s water shortage has nothing to do with decreased precipitation, it’s because the dams aren’t high enough and the reservoirs aren’t nearly as big as they could be. Damn environmentalists.

As Mark Twain put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

There’s a new book concerning Climate Denial on the market, most ably described on this Think Progress link: Climate scientist’s new book says climate denial is ‘driving us crazy’. It’s written by climate scientist Michael Mann, and illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Tom Toles. Toles explains the idea behind using cartoons as a means to depict the reality of Climate Change when he points out that  . . .

[one of the things] a cartoon does is simplify and visualize and make the information a little more accessible. Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be, and that’s one of the things a cartoonist can do is find the simple elements of it. There are many ways you can look at the problem, but they all can be simplified into imagery, or a few ideas that are helpful in explaining to a casual reader how the subject is constructed and why they should care about it.

Following is one of the many cartoons displayed in the Think Progress link, one that certainly summarizes the consequences of Climate Change, many of which we’re already witnessing today; events that will undoubtedly become far more obvious to far more people if Climate Change is allowed to continue unabated:

climate-forecast-cartoon

The bottom line is that, as Toles notes, “Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be.” He’s spot-on correct, of course, and the thesis that even people of limited science knowledge and below average IQ should be able to grip both the causes and the consequences of Climate Change makes complete and total sense. The topic can be, as Toles’ cartoons most ably demonstrate, simplified to the point where even a political imbecile such as James Inhofe or Donald J. Trump might one day find the means to comprehend the tragic consequences of their own innate idiocy (I know, sometimes I tend to overreach, to exaggerate possibilities).

Michael Mann summarizes:

[T]here’s a chapter in the book: “Hypocrisy, thy name is climate change denial.” In my view, there is no greater example of hypocrisy today than the hypocrisy of fossil-fuel funded politicians who are doing the bidding of fossil fuel interests. With Hurricane Matthew, we’ve actually had some figures from the right-wing extreme of the news media — Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh — accusing the National Hurricane Center of inflating their estimates of the intensity of this storm for some purported political agenda to somehow convey the effects of climate change.

[. . .]

I’m reminded of a common trope that we see in Hollywood and on TV: There’s the hero and then there’s the shape-shifting villain, and the villain shape-shifts to look just like the hero, and there’s a third party that has to figure out which of them is really the hero. That’s sort of what we’re asking the public to do.

I couldn’t agree more, but find myself loathe to believe that knowledge-based common sense has even a remote chance of finding a home amongst ANY of this country’s right wing political extremists, Donald Trump and his myriad ‘Deplorables’ obviously included. “Man can’t change the climate,” they say. “Only God can do that.”

Right.

I think I’ll listen more to William Wordsworth:

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Indeed.

******

Posted in Climate, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“It is not now as it hath been of yore”

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Those are the opening five lines of the first stanza of William Wordsworth’s classic work of poetic art entitled “ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY From Recollections of Early Childhood”  (comp. 1802-1804). What’s long fascinated me is the fact that even though ‘Intimations’ was written more than 200 years ago, its words still describe — with amazing precision — moments of emotional recognition that most any cognitive mind can find itself pondering even today.

In the summer of 2007, for example, we spent pretty much the entire month of July camped in Arizona’s Apache National Forest, on the edge of a forest meadow (Cienega) which was located some 30 miles from the nearest town, some 5-6 miles north of the edge of Arizona’s grand escarpment, the Mogollon Rim (elevation approx. 9000 ft.) and roughly 10-15 miles west of the New Mexico state line. The forest meadow was named Butterfly Cienega, and it lay in a lush and peaceful corner of a forest teaming with life.

The following series of photographs effectively portrays a tiny portion of the experience, and essentially acts as a bridge to another event that was to occur some four years down the road — May, June and July, 2011. The photos are presented in no particular order, but are interspersed with three additional excerpts from Wordsworth’s ‘Intimations’ Ode which together re-tell the story implied in the Ode’s nine-line first stanza, as quoted up top and in the four lines immediately below.

It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

2007-july-apache-nf-from-butterfly-cienega-0336

▲Apache National Forest▲

2007-july-sunflowers-on-butterfly-cienega-apache-nf

▲Sunflowers on Butterfly Cienega, Apache National Forest▲

2007-july-butterfly-cienega-0358m

▲Morning Mist, Butterfly Cienega▲

******

Ye blesse`d Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel–I feel it all.

2007-july-butterfly-and-shadow-on-sunflowers

▲Butterfly and Sunflowers, Butterfly Cienega▲

2007-july-pollinating-beetle-yellow-thistle

▲Busy Beetle on Yellow Thistle Flower, Butterfly Cienega▲

2007-july-sunflowers-apache-nf

▲Sunflowers and Company, Butterfly Cienega▲

2007-july-butterfly-cienega-chipmunk-0430

▲Chipmunk, Butterfly Cienega▲

2007-july-red-girdled-bee-thistle-flower-cr

▲Red-Girdled Bee on Thistle Flower, Apache N.F.▲

******

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a Mother’s mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

2007-july-apache-nf-from-butterfly-cienega-0435

▲Approaching storm, Apache N.F.▲

2007-july-cloud-butterfly-cienega-apache-nf

▲Dead Spruce (from Bark Beetle infestation), Apache N.F.▲

2007-july-early-morning-butterfly-cienega-camp

▲’Home’ and Early Morning Fire, Butterfly Cienega▲

******

We left Butterfly Cienega and the Apache National Forest at the end of July, 2007. In the years following we returned only once — in 2008 — and were there for but a short while, before leaving Arizona to relocate in Colorado. The delights of Butterfly Cienega remained always available to the mind, of course, through both the photos and the enhancement(s) offered by Wordsworth’s ‘Intimations’ Ode.

Then came May 11 of 2011 and the Bear Wallow Wildfire, a fire ignited by a pair of careless campers who left their campfire untended and unextinguished on one extremely dry morning in the Apache National Forest’s Bear Wallow Wilderness, located some five miles SW of Butterfly Cienega. While the campers were away from their camp, the winds picked up and blew campfire hot ash into the surrounding dry needles and brush, igniting a fire which quickly grew and soon was spread rapidly by the wind in a northward direction. Within hours it had become a raging wildfire, one which burned until it was finally 100% contained on July 8, 2011. Over the course of those 58 days, the fire burned some 841 square miles of the Apache National Forest; destruction was unimaginably horrific, and left behind  were only occasional ‘islands’ of viable forest, here and there. The rest was completely destroyed.

Below are two photographs, one of the raging wildfire, the other of what’s left in the aftermath (not my photos — I’ve not been back since ’08).

bear-wallow-fire

▲Bear Wallow Fire, Apache N.F., June 2011 (Cr.: Arizona Republic)

bear-wallow-fire-aftermath

▲Bear Wallow Fire Aftermath, Apache N.F. (Cr.: Arizona Highways)

Curiously enough, the last eight lines of Wordsworth’s ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY eloquently speak the conclusion that one can only hope will prove adequate, a conclusion which summarizes the entire of the experience, and offers hope that not all has been lost.

******

The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

******

Thanks, along with doffed hat and a bow, to Mr. William Wordsworth, wherever you are.

******

Posted in Arizona, Bugs and Flowers, High Country, Poetic Photo Essays | Leave a comment

The Presidential Debates: A Poetic … Summation?

Finally.

The debates are over. Finis. Whoopee. Yeehaw. In briefest summary, their sole accomplishment has been to redefine the concept of ‘dismal.’ Why is that? Whatever happened to the notion of comparing ideas? Of exploring the concept of Excellence rather than the dismal side of hatred-driven politics? Whatever happened to that constitutional idea of “a more perfect union”?

Back in the late 1800’s, British poet William Watson wrote about ‘Excellence,’ the concept and its impact on thought, presumably on actual attainment processes as well. A quick perusal reinforms the damaged mind on both the concept AND the consequence(s) of Excellence. A more patient and thoughtful read can, I’ve found, effectually rewrite the mind’s vision of what should perhaps be the basis of an honest political debate, perhaps even of a viable governing philophy.

The Things That Are More Excellent

As we wax older on this earth,
Till many a toy that charmed us seems
Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth,
And mean as dust and dead as dreams
For gauds that perished, shows that passed,
Some recompense the Fates have sent,
Thrice lovelier shine the things that last,
The things that are more excellent.

Tired of the Senate’s barren brawl,
An hour with silence we prefer,
Where statelier rise the woods than all
Yon towers of talk at Westminster. [or Washington?] 
Let this man prate and that man plot,
On fame or place or title bent:
The votes of veering crowds are not
The things that are more excellent.

Shall we perturb and vex our soul
For “wrongs” which no true freedom mar,
Which no man’s upright walk control,
And from no guiltless deed debar?
What odds though tonguesters heal, or leave
Unhealed, the grievance they invent?
To things, not phantoms, let us cleave
The things that are more excellent.

Nought nobler is, than to be free:
The stars of heaven are fret because
In amplitude of liberty
Their joy is to obey the laws.
From servitude to freedom’s name
Free thou thy mind in bondage pent;
Depose the fetich, and proclaim
The things that are more excellent.

And in appropriate dust be hurled
That dull, punctilious god, whom they
That call their tiny clan the world,
Serve and obsequiously obey:
Who con their ritual of Routine,
With minds to one dead likeness bleat,
And never ev’n in dreams have seen
The things that are more excellent.

To dress, to call, to dine, to break
No canon of the social code,
The little laws that lacqueys make,
The futile decalogue of Mode,
How many a soul for these things lives,
With pious passion, grave intent! 
While Nature careless-handed gives
The things that are more excellent.

To hug the wealth ye cannot use.
And lack the riches all may gain,
O blind and wanting wit to choose,
Who house the chaff and burn the grain,
And still.doth life with starry towers
Lure to the bright, divine ascent!
Be yours the things ye would: be ours
The things that are more excellent.

The grace of friendship–mind and heart
Linked with their fellow heart and mind;
The gains of science, gifts of art;
The sense of oneness with our kind;
The thirst to know and understand
A large and liberal discontent:
These are the goods in life’s rich hand,
The things that are more excellent.

In faultless rhythm the ocean rolls,
A rapturous silence thrills the skies;
And on this earth are lovely souls,
That softly look with aidful eyes.
Though dark, O God,
Thy course and track. I think
Thou must at least have meant
That nought which lives should wholly lack
The things that are more excellent.

Touché.

Since the Conventions last summer, we have seen little if any binary discussion of goals that might enhance the ‘Excellence’ of American life in general. In fact, the Trumpian side of this electoral contest has completely avoided any discussion of any kind on the matter of ‘Excellence,’ dwelling instead on matters that define its precise opposite, i.e. concepts designed to solely inspire hate and fear amongst its acolytes. Very disappointing.

I find it interesting — and fascinating — that more than one hundred and fifty years ago, Emily Dickinson defined Trump’s collective debate (and campaign) performance — and probably the entire of his functional ‘personality’ — when she wrote:

He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign —

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!

‘Counterfeit presence’ indeed! Either Dickinson had run across an early version of Trump years prior to the Civil War, or she was possessed by an extremely and amazingly prescient mind!

In the final analysis, then, it is now my carefully considered opinion (conclusion?) that the 2016 Presidential Debates can and will be forever judged as a complete and total substantive failure, and all because of the juvenile mentality and the implicitly vicious and vitriolic nature of the Republican candidate for POTUS: Donald J. Trump. I do hope that we the people have finally witnessed and sampled — this year, 2016 — the absolute dregs of American political debate. And though it’s an extremely long climb to even regain the middle of its severe downhill slope, I do indeed suggest that the quest for political Excellence be immediately initiated. Meanwhile, words penned by Wm. Wordsworth in Intimations of Immortality) appear to be an adequate summary of this day’s political dilemma:

The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

******

Posted in Election 2016, Poetry, Politics | Leave a comment

“There Was A Fever Over The Land . . .”

trumps-gop-elephant

A comprehensive guide to accepting Donald Trump’s sexual assault denials

******

I have to admit it’s more than a little bit fascinating to watch as the REAL Donald Trump emerges from within the orange skinned and squirrel pelt hair version — not that the REAL one is any sort of an improvement, of course. What’s even more fascinating is to watch the intellectual devolution of various chunks of the Republican Party’s Trump supporters, to see how far down into the muck they’re willing to drop and still vibrantly support the ‘thing’ underneath the orange and the pelt. Big question: Just how far down the Trumpian path are his Trumpisstas willing to go? All the way to the end?

Here are a bunch of links to current articles that suggest there just may well be no limits, that all the way to the very bottom is, indeed, their principle option perfectly stated.

Michele Bachmann: Electing Hillary Clinton ‘Will Lead To Even More Sexual Assaults Against Women’

Michele Bachmann: God May Curse America If We Elect Hillary Clinton

Rodney Howard-Browne: America Will ‘Head Towards Civil War’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

James Dobson Continues To Support Trump Because His Comments ‘Don’t Threaten The Future Of This Nation’

Evangelicals slammed Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. So why does Trump get a pass?

Dave Daubenmire: ‘We Cannot Vote For Hillary Clinton Because Women Are Not To Have Authority Over Men’

Trump: ISIS Will ‘Take Over This Country’ If Hillary Clinton Wins

Janet Porter: Trump’s Statements Don’t Matter Because Only He Can Save America From Becoming A Police State

On November 9th, Trump’s Followers Will Probably Be More Dangerous Than Trump

Those links seem to more-or-less summarize, overall, the collective attitude(s) of the portion of the political right that can be defined as totally intolerant. It includes the fundamentalist Christian segment, the white supremacist segment, along with the implicit attitudes embedded therein that Donald Trump, the current Republican candidate for POTUS, fully supports and urges forward

For some very very ‘mysterious’ reason, the focus of this, the current political situation underway in the United States, has reminded me of a scene from the 1961 movie, Judgment At Nuremberg — the scene in which German Judge and Tribunal Defendant Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) speaks to the Tribunal of the conditions in Germany that led to such horrible and bitter consequences. Here is Janning’s monologue (from the Academy Award winning script by Abby Mann; emphasis mine):

There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. There was, above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: ‘Lift up your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once the devils will be destroyed, your miseries will be destroyed.’ It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb.

What about us, who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we participate? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. ‘The country is in danger.’ We will ‘march out of the shadows.’ ‘We will go forward.’

And history tells you how well we succeeded! We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said go ahead, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland – remilitarize it – take all of Austria, TAKE IT!

We marched forward, the danger passed. And then one day, we looked around and found we were in even more terrible danger. The rites begun in this courtroom swept over our land like a raging, roaring disease! What was going to be a passing phase became a way of life.

I haven’t made an exact count of the words one would have to change in order to bring Janning’s statement up to date sufficiently to describe the current and emergent politic in this country, but I’m guessing it would be no more than a dozen or so. Some of the substitutions are almost automatic: e.g. Trump for Hitler, America for Germany, Muslims for Gypsies, etc. But the saddest aspect of all, really, is that in Trump’s proposed America, There [will be], above all, fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that can you understand what [Trump] meant to us. Are we as a people — Americans — willing to fall for that nonsensical ruse, the one that devoured both Italy and Germany in the last century? Is Fascism our goal, our ultimate destiny? FEAR? Are we on our way down that path?

Secret Nazi group uncovered after Colorado teen kills himself to prove his commitment to killing Jews

I know it’s not politically correct to use the words Hitler, Nazi, Fascism, Republicans and Trump in the same document, but sometimes the urge becomes overpowering — esp. when piles of evidentiary foundations seem to be lurking ‘out there’ behind every bush. In any case, I’ve said my piece and will leave it to others to decide for themselves the direction the American right wing has taken, along with the possible (and likely) consequences the future will place on full display.

gop-swas

Yeehaw? Achtung?

******

Posted in Fascism, Quotes, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | 2 Comments

Politics? No Mas!

Politics. Enough is Enough! as someone once said. I can buy that. Boy, can I buy that.

I confess. I’m sick to death of politics. I wait with baited breath for this election season TO END! and for Donald Trump and all like him to wind up as floaters in the political sewage lagoon where they belong. Manifest Destiny, in a word (well, two words, actually, but what the hay).

So to hell with politics. To hell with Trump and all he “stands” for (i.e. himself, nothing else; it’s so simple, really). Why not a look around at something else, at things and scenes that are well worth a view, a view that has absolutely ZERO to do with today’s political mess that’s come to define this nation’s existence at this unfortunate point in time?

Great idea, seems to me, so following are some ‘snapshots’ of highlights gathered from days past (within the last forty years, give-or-take). Each and all still stand tall as depictions of what once was – ‘Out There’ – in a world devoid of politics and filled instead with LIFE — as each and every moment can easily become.

So relax, lay back, prepare for a non-political — relaxing (and peaceful, mostly) — soliloquy. Enjoy!

flower-004

▲Bird of Paradise; Kauai, 1978▲

▲Bald Eagle; Lake Beckwith, Colorado; 2009▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲Backlit Sonoran Desert Giant Saguaro; ca 1975▲

corals-anse-chastanet-st-lucia-sept-1983

▲Coral Reef; St. Lucia, Caribbean; 1983▲

ca-1980-cabo-san-lucas-seal

▲Seal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; ca 1980▲

▲Chipmunk, San Isabel N.F., Colorado; 2009▲

2014-june-29-bullsnake-116

▲EEK! Gopher Snake, Colorado; 2014▲

0716-indian-paintbrush-detail

▲Indian Paintbrush Wildflower, Arizona, ca 2002▲

cocoa-palms-lagoon-water-lillies

▲Water Lillies, Kauai; 1978▲

A world without politics; a world without Trump! Imagine it! The Peace! The Beauty!

▼EEEK!! TRUMP??▼

▲Pu’uhonua, Hawaii; 1978▲

Seriously, did King Kamehaha have to deal with his own version of Trump? Really? I see the dude does have small hands; and what about the face? The hair? They had to deal with the sum of all of THAT too? In ancient Polynesia? Way back then? I mean, really, that’s just plain bizarre!

*sigh*

Brings to mind this one. It’s not one of mine, but whomever it was that tripped the shutter captured the best summation of the entire of the Trump “movement” I’ve ever seen!

gop-training-film

▲Dump Trump!▲

Eww. Guess we’d better leave it there.

******

Posted in Photo Essays, Photos, Politics | Leave a comment

In Nomine Idioticus

There are way too many times, these days, when I feel like I’ve been transported back to the 1600’s, back to the era of witch burnings, all that stuff. Why is that you ask? Read on!

In Nomine Idioticus

Joseph Farah: Electing ‘Witch’ Hillary Clinton Will ‘Shorten My Life’

Pastor Warns Hillary Clinton Is A ‘Demonically Driven’ Candidate

Alex Jones: Hillary Is Possessed By The Devil, ‘Vote Trump If You Want To Live’

Sandy Rios: Conservatives Will Be Put In ‘Reeducation Camps’ If Clinton Wins

Rick Wiles: Nuclear War And Mass Arrest Of Obama Opponents Is Imminent

Conservative Pundit: Donald Trump Is ‘God’s Anointed Choice For President’

Steve Strang: God Has Raised Up Donald Trump To Be President

Jim Bakker: Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Was God’s Warning Of Imminent Collapse—So Order Food Buckets!

As it turns out, it seems that I may well have accidentally snapped a photo of the Wingnut Creator (which I’ve named Idioticus, for probably obvious reasons). It happened whilst IT was on one of ITs earthly ventures back in the summer of ’99, probably preparing for the Bush annointification some 18 months down the road. Not sure why IT chose the vicinity of Arizona’s Sunset Crater as a place to hang out, but it could be that maybe IT didn’t look as out of place there as IT would have on, say, the Capitol Mall in DC or Central Park in NY. In any case, IT was clearly engaged in a wingnut call-to-worship right at the moment I tripped the shutter. Oh, and btw, I didn’t stay, didn’t attend the “service.” Some things are just too creepy!

1999-july-sunset-crater-snag

▲Idioticus? Is that you?▲

******

Posted in Religion, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | 1 Comment

Guns v. 2A

“My faith informs my life [. . .] it all for me begins with cherishing the
dignity, the worth, the value of every human life
(Mike Pence, Rep. VP Candidate)

“‘Every human life’ . . . except those stolen by #gunviolence . . .
like my mother’s. Then, you simply just don’t care”
(Erica L Smegielski; daughter of a Sandy Hook victim)

******

Guns v. The Second Amendment

I recently ran across a fresh and novel (stupid) but still interesting “new” thesis, courtesy of Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America. Last Saturday (Oct 1)  on his Gun Owners News Hour radio program, Pratt’s guest was Don Brockett, author of a book called “The Tyrannical Rule of the U.S. Supreme Court” in which Brockett poses the proposition that the Second Amendment was written so as to allow states to defend themselves against invasion, and was added to the Constitution because of Article I Section 10, the part which reads:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, . . . engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Brockett asked,

“[H]ow can it defend itself if it’s being invaded if the people don’t have any Second Amendment right to arms? And I maintain in the book, even though some may think this is going too far, that you’re entitled to the same measure of weapons as the weapons that might be used against you. So does that mean everybody can have an RPG in their home? I don’t know. I think we need to discuss it, because how could you stop the invading army unless you have the equal weaponry? Or if you want to provide it by your national guard, which can be distributed to individual citizens when that need comes about.”

Pratt completely agreed with Brockett’s thesis, and pointed out that the Second Amendment essentially stands as proof that the Founders’ original intent was to constitutionally allow that every future man of military-age, in each and every State, be fully armed in order to confront and combat armed invaders of said State. Pratt added that in re today, the Founders would have allowed that “at a minimum,” every man should be carrying, at the least, an M-16 rifle. RPGs too, probably.

Pratt and Brockett are, of course, totally and completely wrong and off-the-wall. The Second Amendment had absolutely nothing at all to do with Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution. It was, instead, written by Virginia slave-owner and ‘Founder’ James Madison in response to Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16:

The Congress  shall have Power . . . [Clause 15] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; [and Clause 16] To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress . . .

The 1787 Constitution assigned, in short, complete and total control of “the Militia” to Congress and not to the States, a fact which quickly became a matter of deep concern to, especially, the slave states. At the 1788 Constitution Ratifying Convention in Virginia, Patrick Henry expressed those concerns when he said:

Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. . . .

If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress insurrections. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress. . . . Congress, and Congress only, can call forth the militia. . . .

In this state there are two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks, and there are many in several other states. But there are few or none in the Northern States. . . . In this situation, I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone.

Insurrection of slaves” and “property” are the key words here, given that Article I Section 8 specifically says that only the Congress shall have power . . . To . . . suppress insurrections. NOT the State(s), i.o.w., and THAT was clearly the clause most worrisome to slave owners, to slave states, in the emerging USA, because it put their property in jeopardy.

Henry was also concerned about the attitudes of the abolitionists in the “northern” States, i.e those who wanted to completely do away with slavery. As he pointed out to James Madison,

 “[T]hey will search that paper [the Constitution], and see if they have power of manumission. And have they not, sir? Have they not power to provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power? This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it. This is a local matter, and I can see no propriety in subjecting it to Congress.” 

In short, arguments such as Patrick Henry’s convinced instructed James Madison to write what we now know as the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Madison’s original draft read,

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.

In the final version of what was to become the Second Amendment, Madison succumbed to the suggestions of Patrick Henry, George Mason, and other Southern State voices that wanted slave patrol militias to remain free of Federal control mainly by changing a single word in his final version:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

“Country” now become “State” — Federal control of Militias now back in the hands of the STATE — not to ward off an invasion, but to deal with SLAVE INSURRECTIONS via a WELL REGULATED MILITIA (and whatever happened to the concept of a ‘well regulated militia’? Where is it today? Is the concept — and its regulatory manifestations — dead? Gone? Buried?).

If the answer is left to politicians and/or gun nuts, it’s likely that we’ll never know.

In any case, for a further and much deeper analysis of the Second Amendment’s origin and purpose, see Law Professor Carl Bogus’ Research Paper 80, The Hidden History of the Second Amendment which begins with this abstract:

. . . there is strong reason to believe that, in significant part, James Madison drafted the Second Amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South generally, that Congress could not use its newly-acquired powers to indirectly undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, on which the South relied for slave control. His argument is based on a multiplicity of the historical evidence, including debates between James Madison and George Mason and Patrick Henry at the Constitutional Ratifying Convention in Richmond, Virginia in June 1788; the record from the First Congress; and the antecedent of the American right to bear arms provision in the English Declaration of Rights of 1688.

“Strong reason” indeed.

Since James Madison’s Second Amendment was clearly written for the sole purpose of addressing the perceived Constitutional issue of Militia accessibility by the Several States, and since the sole purpose of the ‘well regulated Militia’ mentioned therein was to provide slave states with the means to put down and control slave ‘insurgencies’ and/or ‘insurrections,’ and also since the Thirteenth Amendment specifically states that Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States — and since the Second Amendment was clearly written solely to protect the interests of Slave owners — the final question becomes clear and obvious:

WHY was the Second Amendment NOT automatically invalidated  at the very moment slavery was disallowed, at the very moment  the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified (Dec. 6, 1865)  by a majority of the Several States?

Why? Why the constant misinterpretation of the Second Amendment? Why the romance with any variation of that one contrivance — the GUN — the SOLE purpose of which is to KILL something – anything – that lives? Is the ability to KILL something the main driver of ‘our’ culture? Of the entire of Human society? One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Emily Dickinson spoke in the voice of a gun when she wrote,

My Life had stood — a Loaded Gun —
In Corners — till a Day
The Owner passed — identified —
And carried Me away —

[. . .]

To foe of His — I’m deadly foe —
None stir the second time —
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye —
Or an emphatic Thumb —

Though I than He — may longer live
He longer must — than I —
For I have but the power to kill,
Without — the power to die –

The Gun — ALL Guns —  thereby Defined.

I, for one, will never understand the “magic” implicit in
a tool whose sole purpose is
TO KILL.

I know. I’m weird.

******

Posted in Guns | Leave a comment

Uncategorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense, and The Remedy

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

******

I. UNCATEGORIZABLE WINGNUTTISTANIAN NONSENSE

This Just In:

David Barton Claims The Founding Fathers Used ‘The Exact Language Of The Bible’ To Write The Constitution

Barton . . . once again insisted that the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution by using the “exact language” of the Bible.

Barton was making the case that the Bible tells voters all they need to know about how to choose their elected leaders, repeating his falseclaim that 34 percent of the political documents from the founding era cited the Bible, which he claimed is why the Constitution is filled with direct quotations from the Bible.

“I can show you clause after clause in the Constitution where they used the exact language of the Bible in the Constitution,” he said. “It’s just that we’re so biblicaly illiterate today that we don’t recognize that in the Constitution.”

I’m no biblical expert, but Barton’s claim sounded interesting so I decided to take a quick look. First, the Preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

No luck there, so I made up a list of words that I figured were genuinely biblical and then word-searched each one in my docx version of the Constitution, as amended. Here are the words I chose:

In the beginning
Genesis
God
Jesus
Virgin
Mary
Revelation
Solomon
David
Exodus
Job
Psalm
Thou shalt not kill

Got a hit on only two of them. David Brearley from New Jersey was one of many who signed the original 1787 document. Also, I got a whole pile of hits on the word Virgin, not in biblical style, but since the word “Virginia” appears regularly . . . well, you know [reminded me of that old college joke that went something like, “I dated a girl named Virginia. I called her Virgin for short, but not for long.” (sorry about that)]. None of the other words or phrases showed up anywhere in the Constitution, so I’m guessing maybe it’s fair to doubt either Barton’s premise or my own ability to pluck worthy stuff from the Bible. Time will tell, I guess.

Then there was this one:

Rick Joyner: Climate Change Is A Communist Plot

Joyner said that climate change goes all the way back to a purported 1930s-era Communist Party “plan for subduing America” through “reeducation” and subversion.

Part of the plan, he said, was to “co-opt” young people knowing that “the youth will always respond to environmental issues and we have to keep inventing crises so that we can be the ones who save the world or are the answer to saving the world over and over.”

I dunno, I’m clearly in a tee-tiny minority, but I still think climate change has something to do with CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption, but who am I to compete with a brainiac like Rick Joyner.

Then last but by no means least, this gem popped up:

Ken Ham: Christians Who Believe In Evolution Follow A ‘Pagan Religion’ & Invite God’s Judgment

Ken Ham, the head of the Creationist group Answers In Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum, joined conservative radio host Janet Mefferd last week to discuss a new book about evangelicals who have embraced the theory of evolution. These Christians, Ham said, are following a “pagan religion” and are therefore inviting the judgment of God. . . .

“I’m going to say it out very bluntly,” he said. “Look, millions of years in evolution is the pagan religion of this age to explain, to attempt to explain life without God. And when you compromise God’s word with millions of years and evolutionary ideas, you’re no different to the Israelites, who took the pagan religion of the age—or the Canaanites, or whatever—incorporated into their thinking. And look what happened. It destroyed them, and God judged them before it. We are no different, there’s nothing new under the sun.”

I think it was Solomon who said, “there’s nothing new under the sun,” but I looked, and that phrase isn’t in the Constitution either.

Solomon was wrong on that one, though, because each and every day and on every corner of the earth there’s ALWAYS something NEW under the sun! Life’s like that, you know. Unlike preachers, politicians, and radio talk-jocks. Nothing new there, same old same old.

II. THE REMEDY

If I had my choice between hanging around with Ken Ham, or Rick Joyner, or David Barton, or a desert sunrise, guess what my choice would be! Time to give equal space to all that “emptiness” 🙂 one sees under the rising sun and then decide if it’s possibly more interesting than the three dudes cited above. So here goes, as they say, “nothing.” Dude/Desert comparisons welcome; y’all be the judge!

▼1. September 2003 dawn, seen from the center of metro-Phoenix in the Phoenix Mtn. Preserve.▼

2003-sep-four-pks-sunrise-phxmp-008f

▼2. January 2004, view from White Tank Mountains regional park overlooking the entire of metro-Phoenix (downtown visible in center on the horizon)▼

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f

▼3. March 2007 cloudy dawn from White Tanks Regional Park; first mountain is Camelback in the center of Phoenix, Superstition Mountains in the hazy background some sixty miles to the east.▼

2007-mar-dawn-over-camelback-superstitions-015f

So the landscapes in those split second views are apparently somewhere in the vicinity of fifty million years old, give or take ten or twenty million years. There are no signs anywhere of the passage of Noah’s Ark all those 5000 years ago (no sign of a flood either, at least not that I ever noticed). But it remains a virtual certainty that during all those millions of geologic years there’s been plenty of NEW stuff under that old sun! Regularly, too!

There. That feels a LOT better!

******

Posted in Arizona, Desert, Photos, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

“Why Within so Thick a Wall . . .”

“Lord, to account who dares thee call,
Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?
Else why, within so thick a wall,
Enclose so poor a treasure?”
Robert Burns (1793)

I confess. I watched, against my better judgment, the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last Monday evening. Not sure why I did  that, but I did, and I’ve been suffering ever since. Because: Donald J. Trump. What a total disaster he is. What a phony. Loser. Disgusting slob. Narcissist. Megalomaniac. Xenophobe. Misogynist. Plus, he has really bad hair. And small hands. What has happened to the Republican Party? Why Trump? HOW Trump?

Made me reflect back on those better days of yore. Back when the GOP was led by strong-minded and really decent folks. People whose sole interest was the betterment of the entire world; whose efforts were invariably designed solely to elevate people no matter who or where they were, to elevate them to the level of even the ‘average’ American, to that level of educated intellect which we believe should define us all, including even our President!

And therein lies the current rub: Trump clearly does NOT have the decency, the kindness, the understanding, the tolerance, the INTELLECT! to which we as a people aspire and which we hope will —  someday soon — define us ALL!

So I decided to take a look back to a calmer time, to a more intellectual time, a time when the last truly “intellectual” Republican (“President”) was in charge and speaking in favor of an elevated nation, an elevated world. Way back in those glory days I personally collected a large pile of our then-President’s quotes, and I saved them in the hope that one day in the future, I might have the opportunity to use them to make a valid point.

And finally that day has arrived! Now is clearly the time to demonstrate to all functioning minds both at home and around the world that America need NOT sink into the realm of challenged intellect [currently defined by Republican candidate for POTUS, Donald J. Trump], and that it’s never too late to both look back at — AND — to look ahead toward better (post-Trump, obviously) ‘Republican’days! So here they are, a pile of Republican POTUS quotes from back in the days when the GOP was driven by intellect(?) and humanity (? ? really?) rather than by stupidity and greed. The quotes are in no particular order — some are dated, some not — but they do, at least and nevertheless, point to the drastic and dramatic differences twixt then and now.

Enjoy!! Continue reading

Posted in Election 2016, Quotes, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

The Last “Bugs” of Summer

Fall has arrived, finally! There are flowering plants in full bloom, along with various little Arthropods on the wing, anxious to take full advantage of slowly waning sunlight and warmth — much to their collective delight, and to the everlasting benefit of the flowers. Life goes on, and if nature has her way, it will flourish.

Below, a small handful of photos from just the last few days of all that life-enhanncing activity.

2016-sep-bee-max-2442b

▲Not sure if this was Bee-1, Bee-17, Bee-29, or Bee-52, but here it comes! ▲

2016-sep-18-bee-in-max-2472

▲Bee refueling at “Hanger,” sotospeak▲

2016-sep-21-bug-max-sunflower-2482

▲Not sure the ID of this guy, only know he was close to a quarter-inch long▲

It’s also fall in the human world, of course, and in a leap year as well, which means there’s a national election coming up in somewhere around fifty days, an election which will choose our next President. Unfortunately, however, a high percentage of Americans no longer have the intelligence-driven capabilities of flowers and insects and have become known, instead, as Conservative Republicans. The problems of diminished intelligence are obvious everywhere, but can be, today, quite ably summarized by just a small handful of headlined links to more detailed analyses. For example, from the last few days of summer, 2016, these:

WorldNetDaily Explains Why It’s ‘Not Natural’ For A Woman To Run For President

Frank Amedia: God Has Called Trump To Tear Down Walls

Jim Bakker: Supporters Of The Constitution Are Mysteriously Dying

Tom DeLay: Obama Will ‘Go Down As The Worst President That Has Ever Served This Nation’

Rand Paul: Obama Should Have Moved Us ‘Beyond Race’ But Race Relations Have ‘Gotten Worse’

Louie Gohmert: US Killed Al-Awlaki To Cover Up ‘All The Different People He Worked With In The Administration’

Gary Bauer: Donald Trump Might Be The Last Chance Conservative Christians Have To Save America

There’s another human problem, one that’s exacerbated by diminished intelligence; it’s the fact that human activities, unlike those of flowers and insects, are changing the planet’s climate — not for the better, but for the worse — to the point where unless corrections are made quickly, the entire biosphere of the earth will change to the point where it will have a severe impact on virtually every life form including flowers, insects, coral reefs, even the life form that will be the last to notice, i.e. Conservative Republicans.

Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

An open letter just issued by 375 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its foreign affiliates, including 30 Nobel laureates, warns that “rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return, possibly setting in motion large-scale ocean circulation changes, the loss of major ice sheets, and species extinctions. The climatic consequences of exceeding such thresholds are not confined to the next one or two electoral cycles. They have lifetimes of many thousands of years.”

They also took a direct swipe at Trump, saying “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. . . . Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.”

Surveys show that Republican are twice as likely as last year to express doubts about the existence of global warming, According to University of Michigan researchers, one factor may be their presidential candidate’s oft-repeated insistence that global warming is “a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

Here is a closer look at the climate policies of the major Conservative Republican candidate for President:

Donald Trump isn’t backing down from his terrifying climate policy

“We need an America-First energy plan,” Trump said. “This means opening federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.”

If elected president, Trump has pledged to revoke both the Clean Power Plan and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the cornerstones of Obama’s domestic climate agenda, and important signals to the international community of the United States’ commitment to climate action.

Trump has also promised to roll back the Waters of the United States Rule, which would extend drinking water protections for millions of Americans. Instead, he said that he would redirect the EPA to “refocus…on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans.”

IF human-caused climate change should become the engine fueling the earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction, the odds are very strong that most of what we know of flowers, of insects, of sea life, animal life, and plant life will disappear forever, and evolution will once again be challenged to bring life-on-earth back up to snuff by some point in the distant future. And with most life forms extincted because of Conservative Republicans, evolution will once again have to find a place from which to start its process. In the past, for example, one of the re-start life forms has apparently been the common cockroach from whose DNA has emerged the bulk of what some might call “higher life forms.” The problem is that there’s no guarantee that bugs, flowers, and other forms of intelligent life will re-emerge in that situation. It is fairly likely, however, that if life begins anew based on roach DNA, what we’ll end up with is a creature that more resembles today’s common roach than, say, either a bee or a flower. Something more like this would be a safer bet:

trumpthumb

▲The “First” Roach of Summer? Fall? Winter? Spring?▲

If that should happen again, well, I don’t wanna be here to see it, would prefer to remain extinct. Yuk. Life forms derived from roaches can be so deplorable.

******

Posted in Climate, Photos, Politics, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

“The Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ In The Wind”

A few weeks short of twelve years ago and in the aftermath of the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, I was a participant in an online chat group, one that was mostly anti-Bush, anti-conservative, and anti-Neocon. The handwriting on the wall back then might as well have been written in day-glow paint, describing the national traumas which we all knew were on their way and in search of a place to roost. In any case, one of the members of the group suggested that it could be an interesting exercise to see what ‘Liberals’ see in terms of lifestyle, of likes, dislikes, etc., and why, and how close to 180 degrees from Conservative any or all of them might fall.

I accepted the challenge, and posted the following essay.

******

November 22, 2004
Self Description:

Progressive moderate leftist independent with certain anti-capitalist leanings (some might call them ‘socialist’ but that wouldn’t necessarily be correct), spiritual AND a-religious, generally harmless, totally heterosexual but sympathetic to good and decent folks no matter their orientation — also no matter skin color, status, net worth, national origin, creed, gender, IQ, et al. etc., but with STRONG dislike/distaste for shallowness, no matter the wrapping.

What I love: my children, my beautiful lady, the memory of my parents, the Earth on which I live. Continue reading

Posted in Election 2016, Essays, Politics | 1 Comment

FEAR

Whilst digging through a pile of old files buried on an old hard drive, I ran across an old essay of mine, one from just short of a dozen years ago. It was my “response”– not published or posted anywhere — to the world created by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11; a world of war, based on irrational fear.

Look around today, particularly in the shadows of the fear-mongering that’s driving this election season. Think of Trump’s hate-filled and fear-mongering proposals concerning “illegals,” “Muslims,””ISIS” and all else that’s covered under the phobia umbrella including, for a great many, their not-yet-spent irrational fear and hate of soon-to-be-outgoing President Obama. He’s black, after all, and this here’s a white country! Scary scary.

I’d propose ways to stop the phobia train — if I could think of some. Clearly that’s not going to happen, though, so — stated another way — here we go again, back into the pit. How many times must we do this? Every time a Republican gets up onto the national stage, looks like to me. Anyway, I’ll leave comments to others, and simply add here the essay I wrote in November 2004; it’s title was a simple one: FEAR. Continue reading

Posted in Essays, Fear | Leave a comment

That “Basket of Deplorables”: Take A Closer Look

Message to Donald J. Trump and his campaign surrogates:

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
(Mark Twain)

Last Friday evening (September 9), Hillary Clinton accurately described Trump’s campaign supporters in rather near poetic fashion when she said, to applause and laughter, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

A few nanoseconds later, the shit was in the fan. The media, Trump, the Trump campaign surrogates, Trump supporters (and probably even Vladimir Putin) all came together in a cumulative “deplorable” lambast. Clinton later walked the comments back a notch when she suggested that she shouldn’t have used the word “half” because it might not have been precisely accurate, but doing so didn’t buy her much relief from the faux outrage. And while it’s undoubtedly true that the word “half” — i.e. exactly 50% — is clearly not definitively posited by national (statistically precise) polling data, . . . well, suffice to say that even though it was grossly generalistic, it probably wasn’t really THAT far off.

So I decided to look into it. First, the pot calls the kettle black when Trump announces that “Hillary Clinton still hasn’t apologized to those she slanders.” Trump hasn’t either, of course, but that moot little point is apparently of no consequence, given that Donald Trump Wasted No Time in Defending His ‘Basket Of Deplorables.’ Not a big surprise, really. “Deplorables” are like that. Usually.

Next up, a “brief” peek at a fair number of current “revelations” that a fair number of Trump’s well known and familiar vocalizers have revealed, revelations that do, indeed, drop them into that “deplorable” trap —  and for a far wider variety of reasons than just those noted by Hillary. In most cases, the titles speak for themselves; underneath some, however, are my own brief comments, while underneath others are quotes from inside the linked article itself that demonstrate the deplorable nature of . . . etc. But all together, the point is clarified and driven home as if by spikes driven through one’s hand and into a wooden cross: Hillary’s grossly generalistic hypothesis was damn close to being spot-on correct. Continue reading

Posted in Election 2016, Politics, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

Mexico y Amurkkka y . . . ?

I have a great idea concerning the means/way to absolutely SOLVE the entire spectrum of Wingnuttistanian freak-out over the U.S.-Mexico border’s cross-trafficking (bi-directional, I assume) by people in search of a more suitable life. It’s simple, really, because:

1. People from Mexico want to cross the border northward because they’d like to find what they believe to be a “better life,” and

2. People from Amurkkka would like to head south across the border because they’d like to find what they believe to be a “better life.”

Seems so simple, doesn’t it?

My proposed solution is both simple and logical, and it’s based on the FACT that both Mexico and Amurkkka are parcel to the North American continent, the continent discovered by European sailor Christopher Columbus way back in 1492 (and think of it — I was born in 1942!! — is that cool or what!), a continent which has, ever since, become a mixture of virtually every human race and ethnicity known to plants (and mosquitoes) the world over — details which bring up that eternal question: why the never-ending squabbling about borders, about boundaries, about who can go which way, who can or can’t live here, or there, etc.? Ridiculous. Here’s why:

2002-november-arivaca-baboquivari-014s

The above photo, taken in November 2002 from a campsite just east of Arivaca, Arizona, is of a sunset over the Baboquivari Mountains, a landmark range of desert mountains that rises from the desert floor about five miles north of today’s US-Mexico border, and just to the west of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The Baboquivari Mountains also define the eastern border of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the lands of which cover some 2.9 million acres in what we know as southern and western Arizona. Baboquivari peak, the high point (7,730 ft) of the range , is sacred to the Tohono O’odham people who know it to be the home of I’itoli, their Creator, their Elder Brother.

The first Western eyes that gazed upon Baboquivari Peak belonged to Spanish/Christer Captain Juan Mateo Manje who described the peak in his journal, in 1699, as “a high square rock that…looks like a high castle.” He named it Noah’s Ark.

Baboquivari represents, in “modern” topography, the approximate point where three (human) cultures merge: the aboriginal Tohono O’odham, the Spanish/Aboriginal derivative aka Mexico, the European/Aboriginal/Asian/African/Muslim/Irish(?) culture aka Amurkkka; and intermingled amidst those three, the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which lies in the valley just to the north of Mexico and between the Baboquivari Mountains/Tohono O’odham Nation and the rest of eastern Arizona/Amurkkka.

Today there’s a wall that runs along the Arizona-Mexico border (and the Tohono O’odham southern border with Sonora, Mexico) and defines the point where Amurkkka ends, abruptly, where the Tohono O’odham Nation ends, abruptly, and where Mexico ends, abruptly.

Why is that? Who thought that whole mess up? Why is it that the only life forms that give a damn about silly stuff like border walls are politicians and the occasional militaristic nutcase? I mean, birds don’t care. Rabbits don’t care. Lizards and snakes don’t care. Cougars and wolves probably care, but only because they can’t get over. under, around or through the damn wall. The stars at night surely don’t care anymore than the sun cares during the day, that much I know for sure, and right here’s proof:

2002-november-arivaca-sunburst-005s

That’s a November mid-afternoon sun. The mountains in the foreground still go by their Spanish name, the San Luis Mountains, and they straddle the open space between northern Sonora, Mexico, and the tiny town of Arivaca, Arizona. Arivaca is roughly 10-12 miles north of the Mexican border and maybe 15 miles east of Baboquivari Peak — the Tohono O’odham boundary; the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge fills most of the vacant space in those fifteen miles. The sun, meanwhile, shines down from around 93 million miles up in the sky and in the process, illuminates all of Mexico, all of Amurkkka including the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Some say it even illuminates the rest of the hemisphere and, at the same time, several other planets in the solar system. And it does all of that — illumination! — with no worries about ethnicity, or borders, or boundaries, or even walls.

If the sun doesn’t care, why do “we”? Speaking for myself, I (two of us, actually) spent,  back in November of ’02, several days and nights camped on the desert near Arivaca during which time our only contact with other life forms involved some birds, a few bugs, a couple of cows, thousands of desert plants, and nothing/no one else — save for the universe above, of course. Oh, and then there was the quiet stillness, the same peacefulness that was there millennia before any human critter arrived to lay out borders and build walls, etc. We did enjoy, however, one memorable instance – the one where we spotted and photographed a vicious looking alien intruder in our campsite:

2002-november-arivaca-grasshopper-006s

Couldn’t tell whether it was an illegal immigrant or a patriotic(?) militiaman or simply a Buenos Aires Wildlife wanderer, so I didn’t say “Papers Please!” I actually did nothing other than say hello; the critter didn’t respond, didn’t stay long either. Never did learn its nationality. I suppose I should have called the border patrol, but . . . well, you know, no cell phone signal down that way back then, so I had to back off and put up with the intrusion.

Anyway, out of allathat lookin’, watchin’, and thinkin’ came my brilliant and final conclusion(s), my plan to fix all that’s wrong with “us”:

Borders and Boundaries suck; they serve none but the horribly small-minded (i.e. humans, also Republicans);

There ain’t no need for Amurkkka, no need for Mexico — N. America is the domain of Tohono O’odham, Hopi, Cherokee, Lakota, et al. et al., along with wolves, bears, grasshoppers, et al. et al., along with European, African, Asian, and all other global ethnic immigrants;

Conclusion: NO MORE BORDERS! The time to negotiate and create the UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA has arrived. Freedom! — for immigrants and all their descendants to come, to go, to stay, to move on; Freedom! — for aboriginal cultures to exist, to reclaim and practice their ancient beliefs in a nation where EVERY person has the right to live as s/he wishes, providing there is no interference with others who choose to do the same. TOLERANCE!

After we pull this off — next up, CANADA!! Come join the Union of Civil People and their critter friends!

Seriously, why can’t we ALL just get along? Uh . . . oh. Yeah. Sometimes I forget. We ain’t quite there yet. Still have to find the means to raise the IQ of the Orange whatchacallit  to the level of the more cerebral critter. Tricky.

the-donny-llama-e

▲The Donny (and the) Llama▲ 

Guess which one likes border walls and which one could care less?

Posted in Immigration, Land Preservation, Photos | 2 Comments

F.U.! (Intended for Donald Trump, His Surrogates & His Supporters)

“The master class has always declared the wars;
the subject class has always fought the battles.
The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose,
while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose–
especially their lives.”
(Eugene V. Debs, Speech in Canton Ohio, June 16, 1918)

******

I doubt I’m alone when I say that I’m more than a little tired of hearing, day after day, the never-ending litany spoken by Donald Trump and his surrogates concerning his (totally unimpressive) LACK of knowledge in re military situations of any sort, including strategies, armaments and/or outright war. To be honest, his remarks invariably lead me (and, I hope millions of others) to the sole but obvious conclusion: Trump (and his surrogates, his supporters) know absolutely NOTHING of the history of military, of war(s), and the impacts thereof; nor do they care one single whit.

It is for those very reasons that I have developed this online instructional institution named F.U., the abbreviation for FRUGAL UNIVERSITY, an instructional unit intended to ultimately enlighten Trump AND his supporters (the ones who can read, at least) concerning each and every matter that may, in some way, serve to enlighten the unenlightened masses — a.k.a. Republicans, or fascists, or right-wingers — both here at home and anywhere abroad, without regard to skin color be it white, black, brown, orange, etc., or to ethnicity, IQ, hairstyle, or even hand-size.

Since F.U. is a no-charge and not-for-profit institution, the only instruction we can offer is courtesy of others from days past, even days present, who knew/know the essences of TRUTH on any given topic, TRUTH that was recorded and remains available for presentation. And when speaking of TRUTH, it’s always wise to recall Emily Dickinson’s words, now become F.U.’s guiding mantra:

The Truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind —

Today’s topic from the “dazzle gradually” Department: The History of War, its faux purposes, and the consequences thereof as spoken in these randomly-selected quotes by noted historian, the late Howard Zinn:

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.”

” History is important. If you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”

“ Have we learned nothing from the history of imperial occupations, all pretending to help the people being occupied? The United States, the latest of the great empires, is perhaps the most self-deluded, having forgotten that history, including our own: our 50-year occupation of the Philippines, or our long occupation of Haiti (1915-1934) or of the Dominican Republic (1916-1924), our military intervention in Southeast Asia and our repeated interventions in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.”

“If your starting point for evaluating the world around you is the firm belief that this nation is somehow endowed by Providence with unique qualities that make it morally superior to every other nation on Earth, then you are not likely to question the President when he says we are sending our troops here or there, or bombing this or that, in order to spread our values–democracy, liberty, and let’s not forget free enterprise–to some God-forsaken (literally) place in the world.”

“We must face our long history of ethnic cleansing, in which millions of Indians were driven off their land by means of massacres and forced evacuations. And our long history, still not behind us, of slavery, segregation, and racism. We must face our record of imperial conquest, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, our shameful wars against small countries a tenth our size: Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq. And the lingering memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is not a history of which we can be proud.”

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”

“[T]he removal of the Soviet Union as the false surrogate for the idea of socialism creates a great opportunity. We can now reintroduce genuine socialism to a world feeling the sickness of capitalism- its nationalist hatreds, its perpetual warfare, riches for a small number of people in a small number of countries, and hunger, homelessness, insecurity for everyone else.”

“[A]nyone who goes around the country, or reads carefully the public opinion surveys over the past decade, can see that huge numbers of Americans agree on what should be the fundamental elements of a decent society: guaranteed food, housing, medical care for everyone; bread and butter as better guarantees of “national security” than guns and bombs; democratic control of corporate power; equal rights for all races, genders, and sexual orientations; a recognition of the rights of immigrants as the unrecognized counterparts of our parents and grandparents; the rejection of war and violence as solutions for tyranny and injustice.”

[Not long after passage of the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917] “close to 1,000 people were in prison for protesting the war. The producer of a movie called The Spirit of ’76, about the American revolution, was sentenced to ten years in prison for promoting anti-British feeling at a time when England and the United States were allies. The case was officially labeled The US. v. The Spirit of ’76.”

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That’s our problem.”

“There is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.” ~Howard Zinn in the Boston Globe; September 2, 2006

“[I]f an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.”

“The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations – the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan – and were forced to withdraw.”

“[W]ar is terrorism. That is why a ‘war on terrorism’ is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.”

The history-guided Wisdom of Howard Zinn — in today’s world, it’s a manifest.

And finally a Libertarian point-of-view:

“[T]here developed in Western Europe two great political ideologies … one was liberalism, the party of hope, of radicalism, of liberty, of the Industrial Revolution, of progress, of humanity; the other was conservatism, the party of reaction, the party that longed to restore the hierarchy, statism, theocracy, serfdom, and class exploitation of the Old Order…. Political ideologies were polarized, with liberalism on the extreme ‘left,’ and conservatism on the extreme ‘right,’ of the ideological spectrum.” (Libertarian Murray N. Rothbard, 1965)

So, Donald and all-y’all wingnuts out there, that’s it for today. Your assignment is to read the above History lesson, then try that new-to-you strategy some of us refer to as

THINKING!!

And Don, take it from me,  the Founder of F.U.: even you might be amazed by the powers implicit in rational thinking! No, really! You might even learn to never forget the well-known truism that “War Is Hell,” maybe even learn that (a) you don’t wanna go there because of your sudden discovery that you might even have a mind! It can happen! And if/when you should ever feel the need for further intellectual instruction, feel free to contact me here at

F.U.!!

the institution whose enduring shibboleth shall always remain:

Wage Peace, Not War!

******

P.S.: Frugal University, as opposed to Trump University, is tuition free and NOT a milk-the-people SCAM!! 😀

Posted in Politics, Quotes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GrOuP Insanity

Dead v stupid

If it were up to me, I’d change the word “stupid” to “insane,” even though I’m not sure there’s all that much difference in the two when the subjects are right wing Republicans (aka “TrumpiSStas”).

Anyway, whomever out there is struggling to define “insanity” in that context, these links should help. A lot. The titles themselves tell most of the story, so click at your own risk.

******

Alex Jones: ‘I Cannot Believe The Effect We’re Having. It Is Biblical.’

Pamela Geller Claims Clinton Will Enforce ‘The Sharia’ By Shutting Down Breitbart

Tony Perkins: Obama’s Attacks On Religious Liberty ‘Just As Dangerous’ As Terrorism

FAIR: Educating Immigrant Children An ‘Ongoing Assault’ On America

Anti-Semitic Preacher Hopes Trump Will Be God’s Instrument To Finally Destroy The Jews

And finally, from Michael “Savage” Weiner, this week’s “Tip of the Weiner”:

Michael Savage: EPA Head ‘Looks Like The Type That Stuffed The Ovens In Bergen-Belsen’

Far-right radio host Michael Savage had a meltdown yesterday over reports that the Environmental Protection Agency will begin collecting “voluntary, self-disclosed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) workforce data” from its employees.

Savage even compared “the mean-faced, clipped-hair” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to a Nazi death camp worker: “Take a look at her picture on my website, it makes your blood boil, she looks just like, to me, personal answer, the woman looks like the type that stuffed the ovens in Bergen-Belsen.”

******

OK, I give up. There are no words . . .

Posted in Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

Immigration, and the ‘Trumped Up Fear’ and Hate Implicit

“The United States is not a territory that is up for grabs, and that belongs to
whoever manages—legally or illegally—to get here. It was founded by
Europeans, who gave it its culture and institutions, and America’s
European core has every right to resist dispossession.”
(American Renaissance)

Really? Hmmm.

Plymouth Rock wall

******

Immigration is a hot topic these days, and in fact it has been such for several decades (at least). What saddens me most about the topic is the erosion of the concept from the days when it was a pride-inducing fact that America was ‘a nation of immigrants’ to today’s version, the one that effectively reverses the concept and instead defines (non-European non-WHITE) immigrants as dangerous, or worse. “Rapists” anyone? Drug runners? (They’re the ones with “cantaloupe calves”). “Radical Islamic Terrorists”? Go ahead, ask most any Republican. They know all about immigration. Just stop askin’ before you get to any of that Humanitarian nonsense because about that, they know nothing at all (and are proud of it).

Following is my (captured, 2005) transcription of a two-way online discussion between myself (Frugalchariot, F.C.), and one whose ‘stage name’ was SmirkySmirk, or S.S. The original topic was an April 2005 web post by Christian Ramirez entitled Minuteman Project: A grotesque caricature of patriotism (the link is not to the original post, but instead is to a ‘snipped’ version still available on Democratic Underground), and is Ramirez’ 2005 anti-extremist rant about then-recent anti-immigrant ‘projects’ in Arizona. The post’s main topic concerned the arrival of the armed (so-called) “Minuteman” militia in Arizona, ostensibly there to guard the Mexican border and to help the Border Patrol  deny entrance to the USA of all those “illegals.” Ramirez aptly summed up his overall conclusion on the matter in his last sentence on the cited link: 

When society has generated such a hostile climate that it allows extremist
organizations to be perceived as genuine and legitimate, that’s when
we have to stop and wonder if the path this country is taking is
not leading us to an abyss.

I couldn’t have said it better myself — back then or, for that matter, today.

So now here we are, eleven years and five months ‘down the road’ from that point, and it’s still safe to say that Amurkkka’s overall position on what we continue to call “illegal” immigration/immigrants has not changed. It may, in fact, have gotten worse thanks to the hate, fear, and greed-based philosophy of our resident Republican Party and their 2016 presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who endlessly spouts faux-bogus plans of mass deportation along with his ridiculous “BORDER WALL” notion. I suppose it’s not really ‘weird’ that Trump’s “wall’ has been so voraciously accepted by our resident population of fear-mongering, hate-filled, racially bigoted xenophobes — those who loudly express hatred of all the “tired,” the “poor,” those “Huddled masses yearning to breathe free” who hope and pray that America might one day offer them and their families a chance at a better life. But (sadly) that seems to have become “our” (using the word loosely) new norm.

What so many Americans (sadly) seem unable to grasp is that the immigrant “problem” cannot and will not ever be solved by (a) a border wall or (b) mass deportations. A twenty-foot tall border wall will only accomplish one thing: it’ll create an instant market for twenty-one foot-tall ladders. And mass deportations will fatten nothing other than the wallets of coyotes, i.e. that ever-prosperous north-for-money contingent of people-smugglers. None of this says, of course, that our southern border “problem” is unsolvable, it simply points to the FACT that fear, hate, and greed will never combine to fix things (well, maybe if they added concentration camps, gas chambers, and crematoria, but I don’t want to go there).

It forever remains a solvable issue, of course, and all that’s really required is sympathy, caring, and sympathetic action — concepts generally unacceptable to modern day Amurkkka. Still, maybe it’s worth a try? Sometimes there are notable exceptions. Sometimes intelligent conversation can impact what at first glance may seem to be polar opposite viewpoints; dialogue is required, of course, but if it works, then walls and deportations might actually be seen as excessive. Maybe?

Maybe indeed. Here’s the online conversation from nearly 11.5 years ago that I referred to above, the online ‘chat’ between myself and SmirkySmirk. At the beginning, we were clearly polar opposite in viewpoint, but by the end we had come to at least a level of understanding and respect. Not perfect, but surely better than a wall, better than mass deportations.

*Note: responses are un-edited for grammar, spelling, etc. Sic and Sic, resp. Continue reading

Posted in Immigration | Leave a comment

Insanity’s Latest Alt-Right Manifestations

 I could not have defined the change —
Conversion of the Mind
Like Sanctifying in the Soul —
Is witnessed — not explained –
(Emily Dickinson)

******

Right wing Insanity — aka ‘Alt-Right’ — seems to have resulted in a Conversion of the Mind of some, a conversion that many of us, myself included, have  witnessed — not explained. I have, thankfully, no idea what it’s like to be nuts in the way the right winger whitey-boy so-called “nationalist” and his minions are nuts, and for that I thank all the gods that can ever be devised, created, or even imagined.

I could probably rant for hours on the stupidity/insanity of the nonsensical argument that white folks are superior to each and every person with brown skin — or even cockroaches, for that matter — but in the interest of genuine truth and accuracy, I’ll take a rain check and instead, simply toss out some snippets from a couple of linked articles which clearly serve to dismiss that particular argument with more (unintended) fervor than I could ever muster (this late in the week, at least).

Best advice: prepare yourself; cover your keyboard (saran recommended), and next, here goes, as they say, nothin’:

Alt-Right Founder Demands Clinton Apologize To ‘European-Americans Everywhere’

Richard Spencer, the white nationalist activist who coined the term “alt-right” to describe the emerging racist movement of which he is a leader, lashed out at Hillary Clinton today for her plans to criticize Donald Trump for his ties to the alt-right movement. . . .

From Spencer’s (National Policy Insititute) press release:

[. . .]

Hillary and her allies in “conservative” media will stop at nothing to portray peaceful European-American advocacy as a dark specter haunting America. In reality, she and her allies, especially so-called “conservatives,” are only giving comfort to the most radical and violent elements in our society.

We disavow any attempts by Clinton or any of her surrogates on the left, right, or center to tag the National Policy Institute or the work we do as violent extremism. We call on her and her allies to issue an apology to European-Americans everywhere and confront her own troubling links to extremism and the civil unrest she has stoked for months.

That one was pretty bad, but then there’s this:

While Trump Champions The Alt-Right In America, Putin Spreads Its Ideology Through Europe

For years, the GOP has been moving away from its identity as a traditional center-right party and morphing into something that more resembles the populist fringe parties of Europe.

Donald Trump’s candidacy has all but completed this transformation.

[. . .]

The alt-right thinks the mainstream conservative movement has been compromised by feminism, racial tolerance and “globalism,” and that only a reactionary, populist movement that speaks to the plight of white men can save America from political correctness and multiculturalism. The alt-right is drenched in racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and misogyny.

[. . .]

Russia under Putin’s leadership has been promoting ultraconservative political groups in Europe with the goal of weakening the EU and the liberalism, democracy and cultural pluralism that comes with it. . . . “As European far-right leaders openly voice their support for Moscow, it would be wise to remember that Putin’s Russia is not just another ‘meddling power’ lobbying for its interests,” writes Alina Polyakova. “It is a government hostile to the West and the value system—democracy, freedom of expression, political accountability—that it represents.”

[…]

The Russian government has also sponsored a global right-wing effort to portray the U.S. and Europe as victims of cultural rot due to homosexuality, abortion rights and secular government, and Russia as the protector and preserver of traditional Christian values. . . . Trump, who aspires to be the Russian president’s “new best friend,” has praised Putin as “a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” and has seemed to side with Putin’s position on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and shared in fueling doubts about the future of the EU and NATO. Trump’s campaign is stacked with officials with Russian ties and, at least according to his eldest son, his businesses have seen “a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Sounds like maybe if we the people elect a President Trump, we might also wind up looking forward to what, the possibility of a future union between Amurkkka and Russia? “One Nation, Under __?__” . . . and “Dedicated to the proposition that all men are [NOT] created equal [and neither are their wimmin] . . .” etc.?

YeeHaw!

VOTE TRUMP! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! LET’S HAVE A FUTURE UNION BETWEEN AMURKKKA and RUSSIA!

F*U*B*A*R!

Oh. Ummm . . . wait.

Rats. There it is again. That old and all too familiar Danger to be Sane affliction. Sigh. Nemesis. How can we rid ourselves of it?

Insanity: Madness; state of being unsound in mind.

******

‘Twas a Divine Insanity —
The Danger to be Sane
Should I again experience —
‘Tis Antidote to turn —
To Tomes of solid Witchcraft –
(Emily Dickinson)

VOTE TRUMP!
Or maybe turn / To Tomes of solid Witchcraft?

******

OK. I give up. Gonna move on, think of something pleasant, something civil.

2014 June 29 Bullsnake 124

Yeah. OK. Like that.

 

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

The American Right Wing; A Circumferential (Poetic) Analysis of Its Politicians and the Dismal Future They Portend

The Poets light but Lamps —
Themselves — go out —
The Wicks they stimulate —
If vital Light

Inhere as do the Suns —
Each Age a Lens
Disseminating their
Circumference
(Emily Dickinson)

******

The nineteenth century American Poet Emily Dickinson liked to use the word “Circumference” to define the undercurrent ‘content’ in and of her poetry. According to the recently published Emily Dickinson Lexicon, her use of Circumference in the poem above  (J-883) implies “semantic connotations that go beyond the core meaning of a word” as in metaphoric “experience; reality; enlightenment; intelligence; revelation; inspiration; wisdom.” Dickinson apparently also saw, in Circumference, what would be considered “irrefutable aspects of reality.”

As an amateur ‘poet,’ I’ve long found that whole idea to be not only intriguing, but also a fun way to kill several hours on each of several days, sometimes for several weeks, all in pursuit of the idea of coming up with various “semantic connotations that go beyond the core meaning of a word” or of a name, maybe? Simple task, right? Well, OK, not ‘simple,’ but intriguing enough to snag my attention. So I decided to give it all a try. My poetic style choice was the sonnet: 14 lines, 10 syllables per line, Shakespearean rhyming pattern abab.cdcd.efef.gg. That part’s tough enough, but I soon got to wondering if I could also find a way to use fourteen of the letters from the poem’s main title acrostically, i.e. as the first letters, in order, of each of the sonnet’s fourteen lines which together might (hopefully!) produce a statement containing “irrefutable aspects of reality,” aka Circumference!

So without further ado: first in line is this one, written late in the George W. Bush years, circa 2007. it’s actually less about Dubya than it is about the impact of his eight years on the country and its people, a consequence more likely related to the entire of his administration and not just himself; but still, he owns it.

Gone, Wasted, Broken –
The Legacy of GEORGE W BUSH
An Elegy on America

Gone now, America’s halcyon days
Where Reason stood tall and grand in the sun;
Brilliance defined Her equanimous ways –
Gone now, expunged, all Her triumphs hard won.
E. pluribus unum: Her goal was clear;
One chosen from many, She alone rose
Reflecting the grandeur of cause sincere,
Gone now, forever corrupted by woes.
Environment – Poisoned with gas and fume;
Waters – Mercurial, deadly as wars;
Broken – A people, too cold to exhume;
Uberty – Transposed to desolate shores;
Society – Crushed, then forced to concede
Hegemony – now become pow’r . . . and greed.

Next, from the pre-election months of 2012, my circumferential impressions of Candidate Mitt Romney, including the probable impact of his Oligarch-style wealth and greed mantras on the country, along with my own notion that if he won the election, then “Nobody” would be President.

WILLARD M ROMNEY
The Odyssey of Nemo
Of Nobody
With Much Regret

When greed defines a nominee’s malaise,
Implicitly, the nation’s fortunes loom
Like mountains visible through brownish haze,
Like ocean’s breakers crashing in the gloom
And doom of icy or cyclonic storm.
Republics and Democracies succumb;
Death assumes a barbarous pose, its form
Most certainly the product of those numb
Regurgitations from dead minds, unsheathed.
Oh death, where is thy sting?” the poet asked.
My sword’s malaise of greed to you bequeathed,”
Nemo responds, his vapid soul unmasked.
Eternal passage thus abruptly halts,
Yet Nemo ne’er will lead – he’s crazed with faults.

Next comes a more recent addition, one that’s not a sonnet, not acrostic, and not very circumferential, because when the topic is Trump, circumference and metaphor really aren’t always all that necessary (or even available)!

DONALD J. TRUMP
His 2016 Candidacy: Parsed
(sort of)

If ever there was a moment of note,
This moment might well be the one;
If ever there’s been a good time to act,
That time hasn’t passed, it’s NOT gone.

Time, when it’s wasted, impacts that ‘right now’
Which surfaced a second ago,
And future arriving a second too soon
 Can oftentimes screw up the show!

The show now on stage rehashes again
Those mistakes that define whence we’ve come;
The reason is clear, it’s not hard to see:
Hair Drumpf is the consummate BUM!

If ever there was a screwball of note,
This screwball’s atop a long list;
Of each and all bums from present and past,
THIS one, when gone, won’t be missed!

So think of all that the next time you find
A moment to ponder, to parse —
Employ the best means such moment allows,
Then throw this bum out on his arse!

The fourth poem is a return to the fourteen line acrostic sonnet in which the unburdened message is the title, which is also embedded acrostically. The circumference — those “semantic connotations that go beyond the core meaning of a word” — is embedded in the body of the sonnet — its structure, its words, rhyming patterns, etc. — and hopefully suggests metaphors of “experience; reality; enlightenment; intelligence; revelation; inspiration; wisdom” alongside “irrefutable aspects of reality,” and all in ways which clarify the unburdened title’s message.

REQUIEM: AMERICA

Requiem, as dirge of sophistic love,
Exposes destinies which nations earn.
Quoth Hamlet: “Conscience does make cowards of
Us all” – that is, till We the People learn,
Implicitly, that human Cowardice
Exudes contempt for Rationalities.
Meanwhile, mankind’s destiny – Avarice –
Appears in service to those Vanities
Most shallowed minds presume to be their right,
Enabling failure thus of Self, of State.
Repression blooms and quickly dims all light
Intrinsic to the heart of Freedom’s Fate –
Consumed – whilst words of Truth, now specious, Moan . . .
And stand as lifeless slogans . . . etched in stone.

And finally, a non-circumferential Emily Dickinson verse containing but one simile and no exhaustive metaphor, but which nevertheless manages to sum up — in four lines and a mere twenty-one words — the entire of the personas of each George W. Bush, Willard M. Romney, and Donald J. Trump (along with the bulk of the remainder of the entire Republican Party, for that matter). Or maybe that’s Circumference in its purest form!

How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one’s name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!

******

Final note: Setting Poetry, Circumference, and the collective message(s) embedded therein aside for the moment, one fact continues to stand tall by itself, and it needs no metaphorical support to burgeon its impact: Far Right Wing Politics represent one of the — if not THE — most deadly and dangerous enemies of the State, of we the People, of Civilization, and of the Planet itself. This country continues to teeter on the brink of succumbing to that political machine that cares for NOTHING other than power and the wealth thereby gatherable. In fact, the most salient way to put Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan into effect would be to turn the clock back some sixty years, dispose of right wing conservatism completely, and work instead to build a nation and a society in which there is no hate, no fear, no greed, but instead one that’s built upon education, creative thought, innovation, and, of course, Poetic Circumference! — all of which invariably work together hand-in-hand to discourage the unenlightened thought that defines Right Wing Conservatism. And then we can — finally — begin again that elusive goal of building a civilization NOT based on hate, fear, and avarice.

Worth a try, I’d say.

“OK, we’ll have to leave it there.”

******

Posted in Poetry, Politics | Leave a comment

‘Godman and Skeptic’ Revisited in “Light” of Donald Trump

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus,
by the supreme being as his father, in the womb of a virgin,
will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in
the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason
and freedom of thought in these United States will do away
with this artificial scaffolding . . .”
(Thomas Jefferson)

******

“The Godman And The Skeptic” (A Discourse Dedicated to Creationists everywhere /
And their adversaries) is a tome I wrote damn near thirty years ago, back in the days following the Reagan years that had effectively brought evangelical wingnuts forward — as vocal Republicans — into the Public Square. It didn’t take me long, back then, to get sick of nutcase crooks such as Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts (and his brother Anal?), Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart,  et al. et al. But what really puzzled me was how SO MANY ordinary folks bought into their nonsense and wasted so much time and energy in the process, over what basically amounted to little more than criminal peddling of religious horse hockey for something other than an honorable purpose.

Sadly, it still goes on today — amplified and more widespread than ever before. So I thought in view of that, I’d pull up “The Godman and the Skeptic” for another look and compare it with some of today’s headlines, see if anything’s changed over the years.

Here’s how I put the conflict way back then:

A godman and a skeptic met
To promulgate their views,
With godman’s premise, Genesis,
And skeptic’s, more the muse.

“God made the heavens and the Earth,”
The passioned godman says,
“And, furthermore, He did all this,
In only seven days.”

“But whence came God?” the skeptic asked,
With some temerity,
The godman said, “Don’t question that,
For such is blasphemy! “

The skeptic glowered for a time,
Then asked, “How old’ s the Earth?”
“Six thousand years,” the godman said,
“Including day of birth.

“With firmaments united, then,
The Earth was paradise,
Where beasts and fields, and finally men,
Enjoyed all without vice.

“And God made Adam first, then Eve,
Who were, as you shall see,
Progenitors of all mankind,
Kin of humanity.

“For from their loins came many sons,
Who married, then produced,
Our father’s father’s ancestors,
As, biblically, deduced.

“Thus, all the Earth is born of God,
And man’s the child of Eve,
So, lie thee down in prostrate form
And hail the Lord! Believe!”

Then godman smiled, smug, and secure
His theses were correct,
For Genesis came straight from God,
In veritas, direct. (. . .)

Today we have Donald J. Trump running on the Republican ticket in hopes of becoming the next President of the United States. But in spite of the fact that Trump’s evangelical “history” is effectively a non-entity, right wing evangelicals have accepted him as being one of them. I have no idea as to why that might be, but so far so good — for him — as evidenced by this:

Twenty-five Religious Right Justifications For Supporting Donald Trump

1. God is using Trump to pave the way for the Second Coming
2. God is using Trump to get pastors to fight for religious freedom
3. Trump could make America worthy of God’s blessing
4. Trump would make America friendlier to Israel
5. Trump will make Christianity more powerful
6. God likes ‘strongman’ rulers
7. Trump has a ‘mantle of government’ anointing
8. Trump has an ‘Elijah mantle’
9. Trump has a Cyrus anointing
10. Trump has a ‘breaker anointing’
11. Trump is a divine ‘wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness’
12. God has picked Trump to ‘beat down the walls of the New World Order’
13. Trump is fulfilling a 2011 prophecy that he will fight Satan
14. Trump is fulfilling a 2012 prophecy that he will bulldoze the White House
15. Trump is a ‘baby Christian’
16. Trump is like Jesus (and Martin Luther King and Jerry Falwell)
17. Trump is like King David
18. Trump is like Saul/Paul
19. Trump is like Samson
20. Trump is like Churchill and Lincoln
21. Trump is like George Washington
22. Trump is like Oscar Schindler
23. 2016 is a battle between good and evil
24. Hillary Clinton is motivated by the spirit of the Antichrist
25. God doesn’t want a woman president

Yeah, right. OK. Sure. Me, I remain a skeptic . . .

“Oh, I believe,” the skeptic said,
“Though not the way you think,
From what I’ve heard, the Universe
Arrived in just a wink.

“A coalescing, then a flash,
And galaxies were cleaved
From ether, dust, and energy,
If science be believed.

“Five billion years, or ten, or twelve
Had passed, when life arrived,
And finally men, though not like us,
From lower forms derived.

“And, furthermore, a question, sir,
About the sons of Eve,
Whence came the daughters, for her sons,
Mankind, therefrom, conceived?”

The godman cringed and raised his hand
Toward heaven, in disgust,
“If those are your beliefs, my friend,
You’ll burn in hell, please trust. (. . .)

“Burn in hell” — Hmmm. The concept reminds me, for some odd reason, of convicted, jailed, and released Christer Crookster Shylock Jimmy Bakker:

Pro-Trump Televangelist Jim Bakker: America Could ‘Blaspheme God’ In The Presidential Election

Oh heaven forbid! Not THAT!! “Blaspheme”? No way!

“For God, I know, has no rapport
With those who pray to see
The wisdom He withholds from men
For all eternity.”

“Your last remark makes little sense,”
Said skeptic, feigning dread,
“If you are asking we believe
God deems our brains be dead.

“For, if somewhere in endless space
A Creator exists
Who gave us minds to seek out truth,
Then why should we resist?”

The godman’s face showed beads of sweat,
He offered no reply,
He simply stared toward heaven’ s void
As wispy clouds rolled by. (. . .)

Poor godman. So sad. Maybe this will help:

Lance Wallnau: Trump Can Help Stop Satan From Taking Control Of The Seven Mountains

Yep, we gotta get them mountains away from Satan. No doubt. After that, god will really be happy and all us stubborn heathens will be forced to pay the bill!

May heathen burn, the godman prayed,
They’re evil, stubborn men,
And Lord, as why you sent them here?
Well, that’s beyond my ken.

Perhaps to try me, for a time,
Before I’m laid to rest?
Convert some souls to heaven’s song?
Yes, likely that’s my test.

But sure it is now’s not the time
To use the Holy See
As evidence, Your true intent,
Thy Word’s inerrancy.

Then godman turned toward skeptic, sad,
This man, his nemesis,
Would not accept such grand design,
God’ s apotheosis.

“We’ll meet again, my wayward friend,
By then, perhaps, you’ll learn,
That only through the Word of God,
In hell’s fire, you won’t burn.” (. . .)

Three decades ago I was still the eternal optimist, and I actually thought that it wouldn’t/shouldn’t take more than a couple of years, five or ten at the most, for all that nonsensical evangelical crapola to sink, once and for all, back into the muck from which it came.

Turns out I was wrong. For some really weird reason, evangelical nutcases still seem to have a much louder shouting voice than those of us who have evolved mentally to the point where we can actually understand reality.

“Lahk fer example”:

David Barton Explains Why ‘You Just Don’t Find Atheists’ Living Out In The Country

Barton is most typically known, amongst those whose minds have not yet died, as a bogus “Historian.” He even has, according to himself, a PhD in history. But not even that (bogus) claim is apparently enough to stop him from spreading non-historical baloney. Atheists only live in cities? Not in “the country”? I mean hey, Bartoni, I live “in the country,” in a little tiny town in rural Colorado. I admit I’m not a genuine atheist; I’m a step beyond atheism; nontheist. Big difference. Atheists don’t believe in god; nontheists note that there’s not even a god out there to NOT believe in. But cities only? What you been smoking?

In any case, all of us A- Non- theists are, however and in spite of specific labels, “Skeptics,” and for good reason. We’re tired of listening to church-speak, especially when its message is little more than the plot line in a 1960’s Charlton Heston movie. Can we move forward? Please?

“I doubt it, sir,” the skeptic said,
“For you’ve confirmed my choice,
That words beyond the biblical
Can speak with reasoned voice.

“And, too, you see, I have no need
To live in metaphor,
I’d rather seek, expand my mind,
Maintain an open door.

“To blindly mimic premises
Is not what God has deemed;
It seems more likely He mandates
That light, from dark, be gleaned, (. . .)

Speaker Paul Ryan apparently doesn’t buy into common sense either (big surprise, right?):

House Speaker Paul Ryan Reportedly Listens To Hack Historian David Barton ‘All The Time’

Speaker Ryan is an avid fan of historian David Barton. “I listen to him all the time, even in my car while driving,” he said. Because of Barton’s teachings, Speaker Ryan is very knowledgeable . . .

And therein lies the rub. Why the constant and steady downhill slope? Why were our Founders (aka vocal skeptics) so far more advanced 200+ years ago? Is there a solution to all of that, or must we continue to fight the never-ending battle against Dominionists and their bogus notions of government and population control and manipulation? Thirty years ago I thought maybe just looking the other way might be the solution; apparently not.

******

“And so, my friend, while I suggest
That your beliefs you keep,
Recall God sees us all as lambs,
Though not, I think, as sheep.”

Then skeptic turned and walked away,
Face bent as if to smile,
Safe Genesis was put to bed,
If but for just awhile.

Amen.

Or, stated another way,

“Religious institutions that use government power in support
of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths,
or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.”
(Thomas Jefferson)

******

Posted in Poetry, Politics | 7 Comments

A Poetic Summation of Donald J. Trump, His Egomaniacal Persona, and the Downhill Slope Implicit Therein

Yesterday is History,
‘Tis so far away —
Yesterday is Poetry —
‘Tis Philosophy –
(Emily Dickinson)

******

I’ve about given up on coming up with any reasonable summation of Donald Trump, his persona, his politics, his ambitions, etc., mainly because every time I think I’ve got him figured, the next day rolls around, he opens his mouth one more time and poof, there goes yesterday’s summation. So I thought I’d try Emily’s idea; since the Trump of Yesterday is History, let’s see if we can convert it/him to Poetry as a means of describing/summarizing the Philosophy implicit therein. Make sense?

Easier said than done, but still worth a try. So here it is, my five day attempt at converting Yesterday’s History into Poetry with a bit of Philosophy (hopefully) embedded.

******

DONALD J. TRUMP and His Egomaniacal Persona
(via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain)

Democracy allows a boundless sprawl of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a nominee who deems to
Ne’er dismiss his savage spiels, hoping they’ll all soon be taught
As “brilliant” memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learned view,
Lengthy rhetoric from this vapid nominee reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose soul appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they sense themselves dismissed by grand impassioned dreams;
Misogyny as well embraces minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life — with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are either bought — or sold.

******

So that was last weekend — fourteen lines and 196 syllables arranged acrostically in a Shakespearean rhyming pattern  (*abab-cdcd-efef-gg*), which came up short. Not because of poetic failure, but because the egomaniacal Trump keeps on unleashing ever-more wild and rabid dogs, to the point where not even an Acrostic-Fourteener-Quatorzain can put all the dogs to sleep! So what then? A five line, 39 syllable limerick, maybe? Lessee; how about this:

There once was a man named Drumpfinski
Who ran to be Presidentinski
But his problems with words
Were remindful of turds —
Including his ‘friend’ Vlad Putinski.

Yeah, that kinda works. I know it’s not a total and complete summary of the Trump/Russia romance, but since poetry is always intended to be far more an esoteric summation than a court document, I think it works pretty well.

Time will ultimately reveal, of course, exactly what demands Trump’s candidacy (and/or his election? shudder!) might put on the poetic world, but it’s fair to assume the word “minimal” will not be a good fit under any imaginable circumstance.

There is a difference, of course, between the “demands” a given political outcome might put “on the poetic world” and what that same result might actually impose on the ‘real world,’ a dilemma I’ve here tried to summarize alphabetically, if not exactly poetically. More simply stated, ‘what might be America’s “ABC’s” should an egomaniacal right wing nutcase such as Donald J. Trump (or any such) actually win an election and thereby be granted ‘full power of the State” here in Amurkkka? Here are my thoughts on that specific matter in alphabetical order, mostly:

America’s Bullish Contentious Demands are
Expressions of Fear, Greed, Hatred, and
Irrationality, each Justified via
Knowledge” of Luciferian and Messianic Nonsense,
Organized and Politicized
Quintessentially by REPUBLICAN Sociopathology
Through their Undercurrents of Vicarious and
Wistful Xenophobia.

Yeehaw!

Zap!

******

So there it is; my poetic summation of the candidacy of Donald J. Trump along with the probable consequences to this country should our really rottenest luck prevail and enshrine his election as POTUS. Maybe T.S.Eliot, close to a hundred years ago, managed to sum up that never-ending human dilemma when he wrote:

The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard.
The nymphs are departed.
(. . .)
I think we are in rat’s alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

Stated another way,

Trump Dumb

Indeed.

Or, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge once put it:

Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

Amen.

******

“We’ll have to leave it there.”

******

Posted in Poetry, Politics, Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | 2 Comments

Of Lies and Liars

Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method
inexorably must choose lying as his principle.
(Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

Enter Solzhenitsyn’s modern day example, the one who has clearly and obviously chosen lying as his principle:

Trump lie fast

I’m not at all certain that Trump has ever, over the course of his life, spoken the truth about anything at all. Seems more like every time he opens a mouth and says something, whatever he says is a lie.

Examples (and these are just a small handful of samples from three of yesterday’s blogs):

Donald Trump Once Again Pushes His Obama-ISIS Conspiracy Theory

Trump: Church Attendance Will Rise When I’m President

Trump blames ‘false narrative’ for struggles against Clinton in Republican-friendly Utah

Capitalizing on stupidity: Today, Trump called Obama a terrorist — something he’s being doing quietly since 2011

Why Trump’s “Second Amendment” insinuation was an abhorrent stunt straight out of the NRA’s playbook

Trump’s birtherism is now Republican gospel: 72 percent of GOP voters still doubt President Obama’s citizenship

Trump refuses to walk back his accusation Obama is “the founder of ISIS”: “He was the most valuable player”

Not sure we’ve ever seen anything that even comes close to our current dilemma. Seems to me that the biggest ‘what if’ we’re currently faced with is the prospect of the worst imaginable electoral outcome becoming reality. What then? President Trump? As we college boys were prone to say way back in the early sixties, “Are you shittin’ me?”

How long, I wonder, can a country last if/when its leader is nothing more that an egomaniacal narcissist, a misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted racist? One who lies every time he opens his mouth, one who may very well have NEVER spoken a word of truth in the entire of his seventy years? What will our national collapse look like, I wonder? And what will it FEEL like? What will it SOUND like?

From one of the last century’s most prolific and well-known liars:

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State
can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military
consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the
State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for 
the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus
by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
(Joseph Goebbels)

OK. “We’ll have to leave it there.”

Posted in Uncatagorizable Wingnuttistanian Nonsense | Leave a comment

2016 Election: Primaries-Conventions; Images Worth Recalling

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.”
(William Blake, in ‘Auguries of Innocence’)

It’s been a long year already. In January there was the run-up to both the Democratic and Republican Presidential Primaries. The Dems featured a reasonable contest between Sanders and Clinton; the Republicans brought a clown car to the fest, filled with seventeen ___________ (use your word of choice). But in both cases — finally — the chatter was pretty much over and the real contest, complete with voters, was about to begin. The primaries (and caucuses) themselves began in early February and splashed down regularly until they finally were over in early June.

During those months, I’ll admit that I did indeed pay a certain amount of attention to the whole political melange that has come to define the bulk of this country’s electoral system. And every time I watched an episode or two or three on the telly, I typically became totally disgusted and wondered why the hell would anyone with a functioning mind waste their time doing that? Is it because such nonsense is the only thing remaining in this world that’s worth pursuing, worth pondering or thinking about?

Answer: Hell no! There’s another world out there, a world that’s NOT inhabited and driven by idiots! And it’s not far away — it’s ‘right over there’!

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Jan 23 2016 geese 2165

▲January: a pair of Canadian Geese, obviously even more bored than I am▲

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▲February: a Bald Eagle, clearly waiting for word from Iowa and New Hampshire▲

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Mar 19 2016 North peak-St Charles low snowfall 2206

▲March: Weird upside-down snowfall pulls attention away from primaries▲

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Spring 2016 setting full moon 2216

▲Late March: Setting full moon. No politics can compete. Thank all gods!▲

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2016 May 2 North Peak and St. Charles 2223

▲Late April: Rightside-up snowfall. What are primaries, again?▲

May 12 2016 Gosling 2279

▲May: Gosling; next generation’s arrived and doing well!▲

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May 9 2016 goose family 2259

▲May: Canadian (goose) family. All’s well.▲

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So where were we? We were talking about something . . . something human . . .

Oh, yes, now I remember. Politics. Boring. Yuk. Well anyway, so in early June, Clinton and Drumpf had become, thanks to fifty primaries/caucuses, their respective Party’s nominees for President of the United States, nominations that were confirmed at the respective Republican and Democratic National Conventions, held the last couple of weeks in July. Bang Zoom. Only around 100 days left till the election!

I remember reading that somewhere. One hundred days. Another eternity on the hoof. Where are the distractions when you need them, I wondered.

Then it happened!

2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2407

▲Early August: Intruder in the Zinnia garden!▲

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2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2408

2016 Aug 7 Butterfly 2413

I have no idea what the critter’s name might be, but I KNOW it’s not ‘Trump,’ not ‘Hillary.’ But one thing is certain: it’s far more interesting, far more colorful, far more gentle, far less intrusive than anything I’ve seen on the campaign trail or the telly in the last week year — or likely will see in the next 90 days, give or take! Instead, we’re left with . . . ewwww. (see below)

Trump 1

Make Amurkkka Great Again??

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I think I prefer Wordsworth:

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

****

Posted in Colorado, Election 2016, Photos, Politics | Leave a comment

August 9, 2016

Seventy-one years ago today in Nagasaki Japan, this:

Tens of thousands of innocent people were killed instantly, tens of thousands more died in months to come, from radiation. Three days earlier, the city and people Hiroshima had the same horrors visited upon them. Proof of our “greatness,” some have said, some still say.

Nonsense.

Are we, as humans, willing to let it all happen again, and on a scale thousands-fold larger? It’s been reported that Donald Trump, in a meeting with foreign policy experts and advisors, three times asked them the question why the United States shouldn’t use nuclear weapons. We have them, after all, why not use them?

Just last year, the argument was put forward that the United States spend one trillion dollars over the span of 2-3 decades to “modernize” its nuclear arsenal.

Why? Are we nuts? (I know, answer obvious). Apparently we’ve learned NOTHING in 71 years, other than how to destroy cities, elect fools and waste money. Too bad we can’t find the money to pay for researching the means to destroy fools instead.

I know, dream on.

R.I.P. Nagasaki victims.

******

The Worldly hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes – or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face,
Lighting a little hour or two – is gone.
(Omar Khayyam, ca. 1100 A.D.)

Posted in War | 1 Comment

“From the Odors Borne . . . When the Wind is Within”

I infer from the Odors borne —
Of its Voice — to affirm — when the Wind is within —
Can the Dumb — define the Divine?
(Emily Dickinson)

******

First the good news:

Batscat

A neuroscientist explains what may be wrong with Trump supporters’ brains

I doubt they’ve got it all figured, but at least it’s a start. If they can pin it down, maybe some refreshed gun laws will disallow all Republicans from buying guns? We can hope. Meanwhile, here’s more work for neuroscientists everywhere, aka From the Odors borne . . . when the Wind is within:

William Gheen: Obama Administration-Backed Socialists Will Rig The Election

Ann Coulter: Democrats Want To ‘Make America Muslim’

Bryan Fischer: $400 Million Payment To Iran Is ‘Our Sharia Compliant President Paying A Jizya Tax’

Glenn Beck’s Current Caliphate: Russia Is Trying To Collapse America And Foment Revolution

D’Souza: Obama’s Foreign Policy An ‘Un-American Project’

Donald Trump: ‘We’ve Got To Stop Being The Stupid Country Run By Very Stupid People’

And speaking of “Very Stupid People” . . .

Clovis

‘We’re fixing it’

Right. Sure. Ok. If you say so. Better hurry though, because

GOP reaches ‘new level of panic’ over Trump’s candidacy

Personally, I find it easier to view the entire fiasco through the eyes of one of America’s Greatest Poets, one who somehow managed to sum up, some 150 years ago, today’s Republican Party Fiasco, when she wrote:

What madness, by their side,
A vision to provide
Of future days
They cannot praise.

My soul, to find them, come,
They cannot call, they’re dumb . . .
(Emily Dickinson)

The perfect summation: “They’re dumb.” Yes. Indeed. No argument; and too, it’s equally clear that The Dumb CANNOT Define the Divine (not even sure the Divine can define the Dumb in these days of the Trumpanista Noise Machine — need more data, clearly).

******

Posted in Election 2016, Politics, Teh Stupid | Leave a comment