Category Archives: Uncategorized

Civility Is Not A Smiley Face

We do not now, and we never did live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Though he tried very hard and we parents of the late 60s and early 70s give our kids over to his tutelage for hours each week, the world of Brockett’s Bakery is in the World of Make Believe and Mr. Trolley can no longer transport us there.

There is no zip-up cardigan for us to slip into as we don our blue sneakers to leave our work-a-day world to create a world safe for children. We live in a world where children are forcibly taken from parents and kept in chain-link enclosures. We live in a world where the bakery down the street can refuse to bake a wedding cake with two men or two women atop it because the marital status of the customers offends the religious sensibility of the baker. We live in a world where parents need to explain to their children what the President means when he says on TV that he has grabbed them by their ‘pussy.’ We live in a world where it would take Mr. Rogers several episodes to help the audience understand that when the President tells things that have no basis in fact, that he is telling a lie. No, we do not have to pretend that Prince Tuesday is having scary dreams. The nightmare a substantial number of us are having is not pretend.

And no, Donny, we do not “like you, just the way you are!” One of Fred Rogers quotes is simply not true when it comes to you; “One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of your honest self…” Your honest self, Mr. President is an embarrassment, and an offense to decency and civility. I am not talking about conservative policies with which many of us disagree, I am speaking about you, you as a person.

It is true that we did once have a President elected from Ohio who had a private nom de guerre for his penis, I think he called it ‘Jerry,’ and it is true that one of our assassinated leaders is reported to have had affairs aplenty, but you sir, ‘take the cake.’ A minority of us in this country elected you, Donald, to the highest office in the land, but now all of us are stuck with a moral low-life.

But to stop the ad hominem nature of this piece and get back to the nightmare, your policies are as immoral as your character. Your tax bill feeds the bloated wealthy. Your foreign trade ideas undermine American industry in the short and long run. Your flirtation with foreign oligarchs and despots is egomania disguised as foreign policy. Your immigration policies are counter-productive to the future of our society, contrary to our national principles and inhumane.

Come mid-terms, Mr. McFeely and many of us, I hope this time a majority, will not be singing to you and yours, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”


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Recurring Parasite Infections

My local newspaper carried an interesting account this morning. Guinea Worm, almost obliterated by the Carter Foundation’s eradication program, except in a couple of countries, is back and dangerous. In an African country or two, apparently dogs are being infested, perhaps from drinking water infested with Guinea Worm eggs or eating entrails cast aside from fish taken from infested waters. The worry is that it is nearly impossible to eradicate such a parasite from an animal vector as it can readily spread to other animals and then back again to humans.

As I read the article, the implications took on a metaphoric meaning.

What the Trump Cult reveals, I think, is that an ugly Fascist, racist, nationalist ideology we had hoped had been eliminated, like an almost eradicated parasite, has reappeared and is infesting or has lain dormant in a significant number of the populace.

This ugly ideology that we hoped had been severely curtailed in our American society in recent years, seems to have a public outbreak again. It would seem that its incidence had been lowered, at least in polite society, until the Big Dog in a kennel on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. has given evidence of being infected. The feces tweeted by the Great Golden Canine has infected a tribe in our society, apparently genetically prone to such outbreak.

Ninety percent of the Republican Party applauds and supports the Top Dog. Yes, they admit, he is unruly, does not heel readily and is not quite house-trained, but they love him anyhow. He is after all, their Best-of-Show breed and he does perform as they expect in the show arena to the roar of crowds. It seems that they really expect there to be a Red Wave of parasitic infestation to follow in the months ahead.

Apparently total eradication of painful parasites is nearly impossible. It is too bad there is not a political analogy to The Carter Foundation that can focus on ridding our country of this plague.



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Credit Where Credit Is Due

“That’s the real news here, a profound example of risking peace instead of war, and it should be celebrated in a nonpartisan spirit as a victory for sanity in world politics, whatever one’s prejudice against President Trump.” So says Robert Sheer, editor in chief of Truthdig. It is very difficult for me to get beyond my prejudice against President Trump (my keyboard even trembles when I try to write those words), but Sheer is insightful. I didn’t like Nixon either, but he did open China to the West in our time.

If I thought that Trump’s purpose was to risk peace, I’d agree wholeheartedly with Sheer. There is little evidence though, from observing past behavior of Trump to think that his motive is the achievement of anything but his own aggrandizement. There is nothing to indicate that Trump has any goal or purpose except to bolster his own wealth and his sense of self-importance.

If the recent photo op in Singapore is the beginning of a significant change in the 70 year old oppressive regime of the Kim family in North Korea, a measure of sanity may well characterize the summit. There have been other beginnings with the Kim regime, only to result in their being seen for their lack of trust and fidelity. If this time it is different, perhaps the latest Kim is a sign of change for the better.

So far though the people of North Korea and the world are being given the picture, through Kim regime news sources, that the latest Kim is a peer in the arena of super powers and diplomacy. His family has coveted that status for the seven decades of its existence. Let us all hope that there is more than personal aggrandizement on the North Korean side of the Singapore weekend.


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Street-fight Rhetoric

Michael Gerson of the Washington Post Writers Group recently wrote a lettered op-ed entitled “Nation’s dignity suffers through street-fight rhetoric.” He notes current White House rhetoric compared to former Presidents.

Gerson reminds us of President Kennedy’s inaugural address of which John Steinbeck said: “Syntax, my lad. It has been restored to the highest place in the republic.” In this literate piece he laments the precipitous decline of language usage of late.

It is doubtful that our current President has ever read the word ‘syntax,’ since his appetite for reading is apparently quite limited. He has probably heard the word though and suspects that he ought to oppose it in a tweet. After all, having a room-tax at a hotel is bad enough for a city to impose. The idea of an extra charge above the fee being paid for an escort service is unreasonable. Who needs a syntax?

Gerson appropriately bemoans the kind of language used by a comedienne at the latest White House  Correspondents Association dinner. The paragraph that follows this criticism describes Trump’s eighty-minute rant in Michigan “that mixed narcissism, nativism, ignorance, mendacity and malice.” What Gerson does not do is to link the raw language of the stand-up comic as a quid pro quo of the vituperative vocalizations that spew from Trump.

Probably the best response to Michelle Wolf’s remarks was the wag who tweeted that those who objected should just relax and recognize ‘locker room talk’ that seemed  ‘OK’ when The Donald chuckled about crotch grabbing

Still though a ‘syntax’ sounds like an attempt to put another surcharge on the high rollers, doesn’t it?


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President’s Identity Stolen

Perhaps it is even worse that that. It appears that his personality has been replaced, even down to his voice and manner of speaking.

I am not much of an analyst of contemporary cyber weaponry, but is it possible that an adversary has developed a voice-changing technology into which one can speak to replicate perfectly the voice and identity of another person? I know you can replace phrases of recorded speech, but in real time, in response to live questions?

Possible evidence for this new weapon was seen on Fox and Friends on April 26th. The “Friends” were gobsmacked to hear a voice, that all identified as POTUS45, phone in to say that the very lawyer, one of a multitude of such, whom he wants identified for client privacy, handles next to nothing of his affairs, except for ‘the Stormy Daniels thing.’

OK, I may not be the most insightful of observers, but it does not take a profound awareness to recognize that the voice could not possibly that of Donald J. Trump. Why would he make a public claim that Michael Cohen does almost nothing for him when he wants to shield Cohen’s records from legal view? Why would he contradict himself about knowing nothing about Stormy Daniels to state that his little-used lawyer is handling that ‘thing?’

Even the “Friends” apparently had doubts about the identity of the caller. They actually tried to cut off the President by telling him they did not have much time.

No, we did not hear the real Donald J. Trump. It just must be a new personality-altering digital weapon or the man is delusional. You choose!


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Pecker Is Friend Of POTUS45

That is not exactly news. Well, OK, who knew that David J. Pecker, chairman of A.M.I, with flagship tabloid, The National Enquirer, was a buddy of DJT? But everyone with conscious awareness has known for a very long time that DJT is preoccupied with a pecker, his! He aparently even thinks with it.

Everyone who has even minimum conscious awareness knows that DJT braggs openly about the robust dimensions of his genitalia and freely announces his eagerness to grab the genitals of any woman whom he chooses. There are a couple of guys who live in my small town who are listed as sexual predators and have to report regularly to law enforcement for not much more than The Donald’s proclivities and behavior.

Women come forward with non-disclosure agreements about assignations for which they have been paid thousands of dollars from the consiglieri of POTUS45 and the Republicans and their pious evangelical Christian synchophants say nothing. Today there is rumor/story of our Profligate in Chief having fathered a child out of wedlock earlier in his life. OMG, does no one remember that we once upon a time, tried to impeach a President for ‘spilling his seed’ on the blue dress of a female aide when she apparently engaged in felatio with him in the Oval Office. What has happened to all those who took such enraged umbrage at so vile a Presidential pattern of behavior. Well, apparently it is only ‘libtards’ and ‘snow-flakes’ whose moral behavior can be scrutinized.

A Soap Opera scripted after this administration could not last a season because the story and its back-story would be so utterly incredulous.

Donald J. Trump is followed by toadying fools and dupes!



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Rising Tides Float

As a child, I received some of the first publicly available penicillin to combat an infection. As a senior in High School, I witnessed the Soviet ‘Sputnik’ put into orbit. In Mr. Chappelear’s science class we learned to be a fact that there were about 100 substances in the periodic table of elements.

About a decade ago, a pathologist said that my rare lymphoma had a ‘complete response to treatment’ by way of infusion of a monoclonal antibody. I no longer even think of myself as a cancer survivor. Neither am I aware of my titanium left hip joint except when I get screened at an airport or courthouse. To my surprise, I recently read that in fact there are some 118 elements in that atomic table.

We view such medical and scientific change as commonplace. Such improvements are taken for granted and we know that such will continue to occur. We have experienced similar change in any variety of customs and assurances in my 77+ years, except for one dimension of our lives, our economic system.

For some four centuries, Capitalism has promised to provide a rising tide that will float all boats. Well, not that long in our fair land, since we haven’t had that many years to watch the tide. So, not counting the Tulip Mania in Holland and other 18th Century European incidents, the economic crises of the years 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893, 1907, 1929, 1987, 1989-91, 2007-08 have indicated to us in these United States that something is awry with the system. Yes, from the 1940s until the 1980s the tide was up and boats floated but not without Trade Unions, a World War and Federal Government intervention.

Over the years a few large boats have risen to float at unheard-of heights. The majority of vessels, though, have been so anchored that the rising tide over-ran their gunwales and sunk them. When the length of anchor chain is under the control of the big boat captains who even limit lengths for the little guys, buoyancy is not a universal phenomenon.

Capitalism isn’t really working. No, I am not an economist, but one need not be to see so obvious a reality. DJT was elected by the boat owners who see their sterns a bit above the waterline and their bows taking on water. They have watched and are watching the sinking of their hopes. Yet the Trump administration continues to assume that dependence upon the private sector is the answer. Soon the recent Tax Scam will be trotted out again with apparent unawareness that a 40% reduction on tax on the wealthy merely lengthens their anchor chains.

The result is that we continue to do the same thing again and again, expecting a different result. Somewhere I’ve read that such behavior is one description of insanity.


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Anticipated Tweets

Next week, Wal*Mart’s Konvenient Kliniks will assume the health care of our nation’s 9 million veterans. The Veterans Administration will be responsible for the upkeep of the U.S. Cemeteries here and abroad but all other function of that cumbersome agency will be assumed by proprietary corporations, whose efficient provision of cheap goods is universally popular.

Starting next week, all boards of education in all States and Territories are dissolved by Federal order. The education of all children shall be assured by the new Federal agency, H.S.N., the Home Schooling Network. Curricula for families is available through DJT Wine Club, complete with tasting notes. The new administrator of this new agency, replacing the Department of Education and its current boss, is the current CEO of the Home Shopping Network.

Work is already begun to transform all brick and mortar facilities of former institutions of higher learning into assembly and shipping centers for Amazon Prime order fulfillment. What has been known as Higher Education will now be universally available online from the University of Ajo, in southern Arizona. This is part of the MAGA priority of making broadband available to rural America.

These fantastic improvements will be available through a of doubling of Costco or Sam’s Club membership fees and a Value Added Tax at Dollar General Stores. Those making more than $170,000 annually, including U.S. legislators who cannot quite make it on so minimum a salary, will see their taxes reduced by 37% as the result of the savings in Federal spending. All other savings will go to boost military preparedness.

APRIL FOOL    I hope!


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An Unadorned Day

Today is, in the Western Christian tradition, Holy Saturday. It is a day when no liturgies are observed, no vestments worn, no antependia adorn altars or pulpits. It is the Great Silence in which nothing is to be said, nothing can be said, in which there are no words, no noise. No activity is to disturb. There is nothing except dead silence.

For that reason I propose that this day be elevated in ritual status to be known as the most significant day of the year. There is nothing really significant that can be said in the face of the mystery that is our evolved humanity and in the face of the world that has responded under the influence of our having existed as a species. There are no words that can be uttered to frame where we are. There are no actions, other than simply being, that can respond appropriately to our cosmic situation. So this day should stand out from all others to point to saying nothing.

We can speculate about our species, its future. We can hold philosophical opinions about life. We can even develop theology. But this is all prattle before the awesomeness that is the 13 billion years of our planet’s existence. That awe is not precipitated by our being regarded as the pinnacle of life’s evolution. To posit us as ultimate or even penultimate is arrogance at best, more probably just silly.

‘We are,’ ‘this is’ is all we can say with mouth agape in wonder. This is the day to honor that mystery with dead silence.


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