A PAEAN TO SPRING

I finally completed my Spring planting for this year.

After many weeks of careful consideration I decided to go with the French Marigold.

This will do it until Fall.

 

 

Spring Planting.JPG

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WRITERLY ADVICE

I must confess that with all the fake news floating about and so much propaganda, material that properly belongs on the Op-Ed pages, being inserted into the reportage of hard news, my daily newspaper reading is gravitating more to the puzzle pages and the comic section.

This is not entirely a bad thing.  Those guys and gals who labor over comic strip story lines sometimes show true genius.

As a fiction writer I sometimes feel that the rewards reaped for my efforts fall somewhat short of that which I might have anticipated.  I can only assume that others share this feeling.

I was in this mindset when I came across the following “Crankshaft” cartoon.  I hope that it brings a smile.

Writerly Advice.jpg

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HYPOCRISY OR JUST POLITICS?

Sometimes it’s enough to make your head explode.  It doesn’t matter if you’re to the left, the right or follow a zig-zag path through the maze of political rhetoric, the question is the same, what are we supposed to believe?

The trigger this time was a discussion of the so-called “nuclear option” in confirming a latest Supreme Court nominee.  A political leader, well respected in his party, was giving a scathing diatribe condemning anyone who would dare to suggest changing the rules in order to “force” the confirmation.  This was immediately followed by a clip of the same politician defending such action when it involved a previous nominee put forth by his own party.

There are two questions we should ask ourselves in times like these:  “Is it all right for a politician to lie in order to advance an agenda we agree with?”  and, “is it all right for a politician to lie to advance an agenda we disagree with?”  Consistency demands that both questions be answered either yes or no.

The problem isn’t that he would advance opposing views on the same subject, dependent entirely on ideology rather than the nominee’s fitness to hold the office, the problem is that we the people casually accept such ambivalence and even applaud it when it benefits “our” side.

It is far past the time when we should call these people out.  Without regard to whether we agree or not with the stand they are taking, when such a stand is obviously hypocritical it needs to be confronted.  After all, if you agree with the current stand then you must have disagreed with the previous, opposing stand.

It would seem that we have been lied to so much that we are now willing to accept political talking points as fact when spouted by “our” side without any critical thought.  This allows the politicos from all parties to advance their true agendas without having to discuss those objectives.

Take the recent health care debacle.  The Obama, nee Romney, cum Trump health care plan, also known as the ACA, is dying a slow death but the pain engendered by its demise has not yet reached the point where a groundswell of public support for the true replacement agenda, a single payer system, has developed.  Eventually one or the other major party will conclude that there is sufficient public interest in eliminating the free market, this when they are confident that they can successfully counter the industry lobbyists, and at that point Medicare for all will become the rallying cry.

A similar observation might be made in the case of any comprehensive tax reform.  Any such reform that leaves the IRS intact will not be a permanent solution.  The IRS is the muscle for the system that provides our legislative branch its single greatest source of power.  Asking those same legislators to eliminate it is counter intuitive at best.

As naive as it may be all that I want is for the people we elect, or those appointed to high office, to stop the charade, to have the courage to state their true agendas and then be prepared to support them in a public forum.

Until that time the best we can do is to hold their feet to the fire.  Whenever you see or hear an example of hypocrisy, call them out on it.  Write, tweet, blog, telephone, whatever, but don’t just put it down to politics as usual and wait for the next obfuscation to be dropped.

Politicians must be held accountable for their positions and when their positions change radically they must explain when and why their views were altered.  It is up to us to insist on such accountability.

As B. F. Skinner put it, “The consequences of behavior determine the probability that the behavior will occur again.”

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TELL US WHO YOU ARE

We’ve all played them, those innocent little games that appear on social media and are shared to our friends so that we may compare results.  They will ask you to answer a series of questions in order to determine what sort of tree you would be or which super hero you would identify with.

While you are being matched with a quaking aspen or being compared to Thor or Wonder Lass you are also contributing to someone’s demographic data base for the purpose of becoming a commodity.

The information you provide when answering the questions, linked to your social media platform, is valuable input for marketing departments all around the globe.

A particularly transparent version of this information gathering technique showed up on my Face Book page.  This one had a sophistication level so low that it might well have been crafted by one of those wives-cousins-brothers-nephews of some Nigerian government official who had died leaving umpteen and a half million in a secret bank account which could now be shared by you in exchange for all your banking data.

The following illustration is not linked to anything and cannot be used to “play” the game.PHONE GAME.jpg

At the time this showed up on my FB page there was one respondent.  She scored ‘freaky-freaky-outstanding-freaky’, or a phone number ending in 3303.  In as much as the game was keyed to her social media platform and therefore her profile, the authors knew her name, location, telephone area code and prefix.  There are areas which have more than one prefix but robo-dialers don’t seem to mind.

She is now in yet another data base and someone is collecting a fee for having added her name.

Speaking only for myself, I get a sufficient number of telephone solicitations without making their job any easier.

 

 

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WAGE REVERSAL

Throughout the history of this country we have had a roller coaster of a ride but the trend was always upward.  Across the peaks and valleys of progress each generation somehow managed to do a bit better than the preceding one until now.  The following clip is from the AARP Bulletin, March 2017.

Wade Reversal.jpg

Whether we can attribute this to Globalism or automation or a combination of the two, this is a disturbing trend.

Just a few days ago I heard an economist on talk radio discussing the need to tax industrial robots at the income rate of the humans they replaced.  That way the government could maintain status quo without worrying about those pesky unemployed folks.

I don’t have the answers but I do want my kids to do better than me in the game of life.  It’s time to recognize that this wage reversal is a serious problem and needs to be addressed, not merely recognized as existing.

Thoughts from the blogosphere?

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ENOUGH, TAKE OFF THE GLOVES

I’ve never been particularly good at the art of the rant but here goes.

We have a duly elected President attempting to get his act together and run an administration.  Mr. Trump was not my candidate and I would willingly have joined any vocal loyal opposition formed to hold his feet to the fire, legally and constitutionally, as he worked to fulfill the duties of his office.

However many others have taken the view that he is their enemy and must be defeated at every turn.

First a couple of definitions:

Sedition.  Incitement or discontent or rebellion against a government or any action, especially in speech or writing promoting such discontent or rebellion.

Treason.  The offense of acting to overthrow one’s government.  A violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state (nation).

There is strong evidence that a coalition of people, both inside and outside the government, aided and abetted by no fewer than four of the five living ex-presidents, are actively attempting to thwart the current President and by some lights, to stage a coup d’etat.

This is the United States of America, not some third world banana republic and we simply cannot allow this to happen.  Such action is contrary to everything we stand for, contrary to what millions of our young people have fought, bled and died for on battlefields both foreign and domestic.

If you are an American with any sense of what this nation has endured in its 240 year march to this point in history then you would not countenance such an affront, not to the people currently elected, but to the system that has been our mainstay over the centuries.

And to Mr. Trump, sir, respectfully, you are in power and have not only the law but the right on your side.  Sedition and treasonous acts are taking place.  Stop making nice with people who want your head on a pike.  Convene whatever forums or panels necessary and root them out.  Prosecute them, all of them, and if found guilty in a court of law, send them to prison, without regard to who they are or what positions they hold or former positions they might have held.  No one is above the law.

I worry not about President Trump, he will continue to thrive no matter what the outcome.  I worry about my country and whether it can survive the acts of those traitors as they seek to destroy the rule of law for whatever selfish agenda they are pursuing.

We must stand up for America and allow our system of laws and governance to work as intended or our nation will perish.

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TRUMP VS: THE ROMAN OCCUPATION

Throughout the seemingly endless Presidential  campaign, the battle-scarred interval between election day and the inauguration, the constant, often violent protests and the infighting over cabinet picks, I held onto the view that Donald Trump was simply a businessman, unskilled in the political arena but possessed of a deep patriotic streak.

I now believe that I was far off the mark, he is no simple patriotic business man, unskilled in politics, in my opinion he is a Zealot in the Biblical sense.

To make the point I must digress.  Let us travel back to Judea, 1st century CE.  Many scholarly tomes have been written concerning the so-called lost years of Jesus.  I believe those years were spent following the Spice Road, traveling with the caravans that traded with the Far East.  Further, that Jesus was exposed to and studied the then 500 year old Buddhist philosophy which he incorporated into his Jewish worldview.

When Jesus began his Rabbinical work Judea was a Roman province and the Jewish religious leaders were all willingly subservient to Roman rule.  At that time the Jews were anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Messiah, a military leader who would lead a revolution and end Roman rule.

Jesus was identified as Messiah and attracted a following, many coming from the Galileans, a hotbed of zealots and a group described by Josephus as, “ever fond of innovation and by nature disposed to change and delighted in sedition.  They were ever ready to follow the leader and to begin an insurrection.”

But Jesus, influenced by his exposure to Far Eastern philosophy, proved to be a peaceful messiah which caused some of his disciples, notably Judas Iscariot, Simon Zelotes and Peter to attempt to force his hand by setting up his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter even taking a sword to Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, and cutting off his ear.

How does all this tie into our current President?  Donald Trump certainly does not compare to Jesus, rather he is a modern day zealot.  His Rome is the Globalist establishment and, as the modern equivalent of that ancient Jewish priesthood who were willing lackeys of the Roman occupiers, he sees the entire Washington political class along with the main stream media.

Donald Trump is a man with a mission, no less so than Barabbas, Judas and others from among the first century Zealots.  There is an epic battle taking shape, one that can alter the course of history for decades to come.

On the one side we have those forces of Globalism which have been growing and marshaling power since the days of Woodrow Wilson and they have become the defacto “Papa  Gepetto,” pulling the strings in every industrialized nation on earth.  On the other side we have Donald Trump and his cadre of true believers.

Donald Trump occupies the most powerful position on the planet but the question remains, can he successfully overturn a movement that has been a century in the making?

His enemies are formidable.  They include half the population of the country as well as nearly the entire mainstream media and they are being led by a massive, organized and well-funded coalition that includes no fewer than four of the five living ex-presidents.

Without regard to anyone’s political views, we all have front row seats to a seminal moment in history.  This will be the stuff legends are made on.  It will be the reality show of all reality shows.  So grab that popcorn, those milk duds, settle into your seats and focus on center stage.  Oh, and don’t forget to buckle your seat belts.

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