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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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An Old Reflection on a Fierce Landscape

From 2008 through 2013, my wife, Jane, and I served as volunteers at Big Bend National Park for three months each winter/spring. Today I came across a notebook in which I had written about a snow storm there in the southwest Texas desert. It follows:

I’m sitting here in the fire-blue Ford F-150 outside the laundry facility at Panther Junction in a snowstorm equal to any large-flaked, damp downfall I’ve seen in Ohio. Where the dry brown ground was warm enough to melt it and soak it up, the snow is not sticking. But in the grasses and beneath the scrub where the previous weeks’ sun seems not to have penetrated, about an inch blankets the desert terrain. The big black male Tarantulas that ranged across sand, rock and roads in search of mates weeks ago are deep in their holes. Rattlesnakes and the coral-colored Brewster County coach-whip snakes are coiled in their dens for weeks yet. As I wait out the laundry cycle, visibility is limited to several hundred yards.

Prickly Pear cacti that yesterday looked like nude sun worshipers, today have donned white scarves wrapped around their lobes by the wind. Creosote bushes have caught handfuls of white fluff and lack only the ability to transform their palmate leaf clusters into hands to be ready for a snowball fight.

The desert, in the space of a few hours, has transformed itself from a sun-baked playground where even in winter shorts and T-shirts were a necessity to a white wonderland that makes you wonder why you left your cross-country skis back home. Once again this fierce landscape has pronounced itself ‘unpredictable.’ It has once more spoken to say, “Your being here is on my terms.”

Far be it from me to question Edward Abbey about the desert, but I wonder about his insistence that “… the desert says nothing. Completely passive, acted upon but never activating. The desert lies there like a bare skeleton of Being …” While the desert may well say nothing, it is not mute. If it is passive, it is a passive aggression, in which its own indomitable self shakes our shoulders insisting upon being taken seriously.

Need I mention that I miss that conversation, sitting here this morning viewing the dreary, rain-soaked sameness of an Ohio Spring.

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Charadrius vociferus

Since being a Boy Scout, I’ve been a birdwatcher. We ‘birders’ keep life-lists of our sightings among the hundreds of avian species. In looking at my life-list, one of the first birds I identified was the Killdeer.

Because this plover adapts t habitats it shares with humans, it is probably as numerous as it has ever been. It nests on open ground and is seen in fields, lakeshores, beaches, mudflats, dry stream beds, meadows as well as urban parks and open spaces.

You almost have to try not to notice a Killdeer because they announce themselves with loud ringing cries, after which they get their name “killdeer.’ Their Latin name, above, comes from their noisy behavior. Charadrius vociferus is indeed vociferous.

To keep you from discovering the location of its shallow depression nest, a piteous cry will be accompanied by feigned injury. Dragging one wing as though it might be broken, the clever little fellow will lead you further and further away from what it is trying to keep hidden. When you are sufficiently distracted, the injury will disappear and the bird will take flight.

There is an unusual primate with similar behavior. Chiefexecutivis vociferus tweets loud and frequently hoping to distract watchers from what he wants to keep hidden. The more threatened by discovery, the more irritatingly POTUS 45 issues loud ringing cries. His vociferous behavior is his attempt to decoy observers from what could be discovered if less attention were given to the noise. If you want to find the real crippling characteristic, stop paying attention to the piteous noise.

Follow the money!

 

 

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Bridge Out- Road Closed

Back in July 2017 I opined here that we need a ‘Newer Deal,’ one which took seriously the earlier New Deal of FDR and faced our deteriorating national infrastructure. In that brief blog, I asked ‘Is anyone listening?’ Apparently someone is trying to appear to listen. In the recent State of the Union Address the speaker touted a ‘huge’ infrastructure plan.

There are only a couple of problems with his plan. The spans will still be out for bridging the gap of improvements and the roads to any real progress will still be impassable. Trump does not want to spend Federal Funds on highways, bridges, electrical grid or communication networks. He wants to fund investors who will support private projects for toll-ways, toll-bridges and other profit-making ventures. And since he has no idea from where such funds will come, his plan will increase the deficit by billions.

This may well be a way to run a business, i.e., borrow money with little intention to re-pay in full and instead look to bankruptcy or some other scheme, encourage investors, and market it all with deceptive ads splashed with glitter, but it is no way to run a government. That is precisely the problem with our current administration, the chief executive knows almost nothing about governing and those he surrounds himself with are businessmen.

Now, Putin knows how to govern. If the Russian President wanted to make massive improvements in Russia’s infrastructure, he’d simply demand that his oligarchs see to the rubles to fund the project. But in our country, Government does not control our oligarchs, rather our oligarchs control the Government. So, in the State of the Union Address, the speaker gives voice to the preferences of the oligarchs.

The necessity for a ‘Newer Deal’ still cries out for attention. It is not rocket science, but it is the necessity for more Federal taxes to fund improvements; it is not a demand for lining the pockets of private investors.

Once again, is anyone listening?

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From Revelation To Revolution

I’m still trying to find my voice, so again it has been a while since I filled this space with my thoughts. This morning I scribbled a couple of paragraphs into my Bullet Journal and with Jane’s (my wife’s) insistence, I’ll let you read over my shoulder as I ponder my Quixotic calling…

Our Republican Congress has passed a tax bill that steals from average people now and into the future and transfers the wealth to the richest among us. Sen. Grassley of Iowa says this theft permits real investment whereas folks like you and me would just be “spending every darn penny they have on booze or women or movies.” Here in Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, we have Representative Jim Jordan and Senator Rob Portman who apparently also think any increase in income we’d get we’d just “waste it on hookers and blow,” to quote former Hillary spokesman Jesse Ferguson.

There may be some change in this Tax Scam before it becomes law as it passes through the ‘conference process.’ If the process does improve the bill, it will be a miracle.

But miracles are the stuff of Biblical hocus-pocus. John of Patmos expected a miracle of apocalyptic proportion to bring down the Roman Empire in first century Palestine and his vision can be read in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Yes, that’s Revelation, not revelations. He did not intend to issue a time-line of futuristic events. He meant to give expression to his ardent hope that the Evil Empire would come to a fiery end by Divine Intervention.

We need no longer put stock in the superstition and magic of super-naturalism to wish and work for the destruction of an Ugly Empire that is ours. In fact, we must eschew all reliance on deliverance from Beyond. Whether by taking to the streets or to the ballot box, we must remove from power the Grassley/Jordan/Portman fascism and restore to our fair land a responsive, responsible republic.

Methinks that ‘booze, women and movies’ are more the pastimes of elected officials inside the DC Beltway than the entertainments of the working-class neighbors I live with. The vice-ridden hordes of Sen. Grassley’s nightmares probably belong the same tribe as the ‘Welfare Queens’ of the Reagan Era, that is to say, they are figments of fearful conservative imagination.

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A Newer Deal

It has been some time since I posted here on the Sanchismos blog. Couldn’t think of anything cogent to say, I guess. Whatever…

But now, if anyone is listening, especially anyone in the Democrat establishment, your ‘Better Deal’ sucks!!! Never have you had a better chance to guide the USA into the 21st century!

How about ‘A Newer Deal’ that doesn’t plan to give $$$$ to corporations to better train workers because that gambit has not worked at all for ever so long! How about ‘A Newer Deal’ that would actually do something for us folks who have been neglected for that last three decades?

Instead, how about ‘A Newer Deal’ that does what the New Deal did decades ago?! How about a Federal program to address the infrastructure disaster the USA has become? Have you driven across the US Interstate System lately? Have you tried to take rapid transit from anywhere to anywhere? Have you ridden an Amtrak train to anywhere?

My god, this isn’t rocket science! Our bridges, asphalt highways, municipal transit systems, water systems, electrical grid are FALLING APART. Use Federal Funds to employ an army to fix the damned infrastructure!! Deploy a part of this army to become the anti-hacker Delta Force, using thousands who do not want to work in the ‘trades’ to bolster our national purpose, progress and defense.

Yes, Federal Funds, i.e., more taxes, because the only way we are going to get out of this mess is to pay for it! But the employment, the boost to the economy at every level would be astonishing!

Is anyone listening???

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25th Amendment !

Impeachment is not a possibility for the Republican leadership. Their only option to rid us all of this President Trump is to invoke the 25th Amendment, and declare the sitting President of the United States medically incapable of fulfilling his sworn Constitutional responsibilities. If you do not understand why this President must be removed from office, you simply have not been paying any attention to the news articles of the past few days regarding FBI director Comey, the President’s ‘tweets’ and the implications therefrom.

The Republicans cannot follow through with impeachment without indicting themselves and the history of their Party (two Republican Presidents impeached in our generation?). Their only alternative to themselves taking refuge, as did Press Secretary Spicer, in the Rose Garden woody ornamental plantings is to move carefully, but with deliberation, to remove the President on the grounds of his medical incompetency. No one but someone totally ignorant of the criteria for megalomania and narcissistic personality disorder can for a moment doubt that our President is seriously mentally ill.

It is time for the Vice President, the Cabinet and the House of Representatives to shoulder their Constitutional responsibility to begin action to remove this Donald J. Trump from office following the path outlined in the 25th Amendment.

The very future of the Republican Party and the United States of America as a democratic republic depends upon this immediate action. All the Democrats have to do is to pressure Constitutional remedies, and to , as Tom Brokaw recently insisted on a news program, pile brick upon brick, until the same wall of evidence that brought the impeachment of Nixon will have built itself into an irresistible barrier.

Trump has laid out all the bricks for building this wall at no expense. We need only to stack them patiently and #45 will be history!

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Trump Tower

moles-in-yard-ground-moles.jpg

Donald J. Trump’s towering Presidency is an attempt to make a mountain of a molehill.

The only thing that towers in this administration is deception, distraction and deceit!

And like the subterranean creature that burrows through your yard, he keeps on pushing his impression to the surface in an endless pattern of destroying the roots of our social fabric. Moles are surprising little mammals with pointed muzzles, tiny eyes, and bodies shaped like Idaho potatoes. Hmmm, not an altogether inaccurate description of the little pest that so bothers us. They do not usually have golden comb-overs, but such a genetic freak need not be totally  dismissed. Those who have tried to eradicate moles know well that they are very elusive burrowers, so it will take real effort and diligence to put an end to this invasion.

He promised to protect our borders, yet he doesn’t even have a staffed State Department. So much for borders and our international position and reputation. Back to the burrow.

He promised to make our military #1 but the only people in the world who even imagined that we were not already #1 were those who somehow did not know that health insurance is quite complicated. Back to my first assertion; without a really functional State Department, our military is a stateless force to be hired out to the highest bidder. That won’t happen, of course, because our military leaders are loyal to the US Constitution, a document with which it is apparent, our Mr. Mole is barely acquainted. Back to the burrow.

Mr. Trump publicly accused a former POTUS of violating Federal Law by ‘wire-tappig’ his offices. The only problem with that accusation is that the US Congressional investigating power has found this to be a totally false accusation. It is well founded that there is no truth to his twittering accusation. Burrow some more!

I would suggest that our 45th President is an ignoramus or a fool, but some insist, a member of my family for instance, that he is a very smart man. If I grant that Mr. Trump is quite intelligent, then I have but one conclusion to draw. He knows very well that he is appealing to the least educated, least informed and most burdened of our population. I can only imagine that he is doing so for the sole purpose of gaining personal advantage.

The only two people who seem to believe Mr. Trumps tweets and supposed triumph are his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, whose only obvious ability is that he can speak before a camera, and Trump’s personal counselor, the loquacious and apparently lobotomized Kellyanne Conway. Can she actually have had offspring? Can a person of such blatant ability to prevaricate endlessly be a mother? Poor kids!

Our yard is a mess and there are remedies for such pests!

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Fly High the Flag

A crowd, maybe even millions crammed into the hanger in Florida, so many that they spilled across vast spaces. A feisty, pout-faced little man shouted about freedom and jobs and about disasters in Sweden. Never mind that no one in that country had a clue about his reference, we all know that a mere mention of Scandinavian Socialism  sparks vitriol in nearly everyone’s heart.

There was no ‘Hakenkreuz,’ no Swastika, but you could almost hear the drum-beat of the ‘Horst Wessel Song,’ the anthem of National Socialism until 1945. The words of the song were subtly alluded to:

Die Fahne hoch!
   [Fly high the Flag!]
Die Straße frei den braunen Batallionen.
   [Free the streets for the Brown Battalions.]
 Die Straße frei dem Sturmabteilungsmann!
   [Free the streets for the StormTroopers!]
 Es schau'n aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen.
   [Almost millions look with hope to the Swastika.]
Der Tag für Freiheit und für Brot bricht an!
   [The Day of Freedom and Bread (jobs) is coming!]

Our sad little man, like one years ago before him, would be a buffoon were he not in a position to wield such power. One can only suppose that like the moustache-faced, sad little man before him, our sad little man will precipitate his own downfall.

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The Great and Glorious Day

H.L. Mencken wrote “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” Ahh, Mencken was prescient!

Many almost-such-auspicious days have come and gone, I do not doubt, but at last, and alas, it appears that Mencken’s ‘great and glorious day’ has arrived in its fullest bloom. President 45 was elected by less than a majority of the popular vote, but that still leaves just under half of the country with their heart’s desire in office. Granted that is not all the ‘plain folks of the land’ but enough to cause a disaster. Granted also that Donald J. Trump has demonstrated acumen and some intellect in his life, he is nonetheless a moron in his current status as a political operative and President.

Nixon was much more politically savvy. He knew how to lie and manipulate public opinion to his benefit. Except that Nixon’s subordinates employed some amateur scofflaws to spy on Nixon’s political opponents, Nixon was able to surround himself with a staff fairly competent at focusing on his objectives.

# 45 is not so able. Yes, he lies and attempts to manipulate news, and even promulgates fake-news, but he cannot seem to do it successfully. 45’s staff are apparently among the least capable in recent memory to manage a transition into office effectively and in their elect’s best interest.

Were this moron’s only effect to embarrass himself, who would care? But this incompetent sits at the desk of real world power!

The future of a safe world and American democracy depends upon this ‘great and glorious day’ being an exceptionally short one. We can only hope that Democrats in office relentlessly push investigations, so that the sun sets soon.

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