Category Archives: Current Events

Charles M. Blow: War as Political Weapon

From the NY Times: https://nyti.ms/2oQuaL8

Like everyone else, I reacted with rage and horror at another chemical attack in Syria. I felt desperate for action – this has got to stop. We need to do something.

I still feel that way. Part of me cheers the American attack. The rest of me is deeply suspicious of DT’s motives. He doesn’t give a damn about those “beautiful babies,” but this was great for distraction from serious investigations and for propping up ratings. And an even better excuse to increase the war budget.

What I really wish the world would do, is put an end to idea of “sovereign nation.” It is always used as an excuse to let violent men destroy innocent people. “Oh my, no… we CAN’T interfere. It’s THEIR country!”

Bull-shit.

We need hard-and-fast rules that all countries and all monarchs and all politicians must adhere to, and that are enforceable by a strong central body made up with representatives from all countries.

Sort of like the U.N.

For most purposes, there’s no reason for interference in any country’s operations. But when violence is happening, when people are fleeing their homes to escape imprisonment, torture, death…, that is the time for interference. No regime, in any country anywhere, has the right to create such a situation within its borders. If they do, the world steps in, with unity and force. Such a ruler must be deposed immediately. We can’t leave a vacuum – new leaders must be established with constant supervision. A clear method must be in place for the people of that country to replace the temporary government with one they establish. And it has to be the government the PEOPLE choose, which may not be the one we would prefer. It just cannot be another government that will incite new violence.

I know this is vague and idealistic. If humans ever decide they want real peace and prosperity, I’ll be happy to help work out the details.

Healthcare: How to Get There from Here

This article, We all Want Healthcare to Cost Much Less – But We are Asking the Wrong Questions, by Joe Flower, is just about perfect in its analysis of the problem. I encourage everyone to read it.

I have always believed that we need health CARE, as opposed to health INSURANCE. This has led me to advocate for a single-payer system that does away with insurance companies. Mr. Flowers does not quite go there in his argument, but it’s not really his point, anyway. He goes a step further: how to go from a profit-driven and highly wasteful, inefficient system, to one that promotes the best health of each individual? What are the steps we take? What happens in the transition?

In short: what do we pay for?

Therein lies the rub, folks.

Comments? What do you think?

 

Oh My, Look at the Time

I’m on the third night of Very Poor Sleep. I’ve been awake since 2:00, just like last night. Yes, I tried meditating, counting my slow, deep breaths, muscle relaxation, and pretty much anything else they claim is useful. I don’t drink coffee after 10:00 a.m. and I almost never drink alcohol anymore. I don’t/can’t nap during the day. I stay off of electronic devices after dinner and do gentle stretches and relaxation poses before bed. There is no TV in my bedroom. Yet in the middle of the night, adrenaline courses through my veins no matter what I do, and now I’m up talking to you.

This is my Normal. It has been for almost 20 years, so no, this is not a result of recent stresses. It would be nice if I were one of those people who happily function on 4 hours of sleep a night. In a way, I do function all right – I always get through the day, usually get a few things done, and feel mostly okay. But years of this are taking a toll. My memory is much worse. I can’t write fiction anymore and you’ve probably noticed the scarcity of blog posts over the last year. It has become a challenge to organize my thoughts and write something coherent. Often I start a post and give up in frustration because I’m not making sense even to myself.

Maybe I should resort to Twitter.

There’s no real point to all of this. Consider it a case a weary mumbling and go on with your day.

How did y’all sleep last night?

 

Pardon My Moment of Despair

I’m awake in the dark night and this time, it’s fear that’s keeping me up. I feel foolish admitting it, but I am sick with worry about our future. The new administration and the extreme politicians that have been given control of our country are wasting no time in implementing their plans to destroy us. We will soon have no good schools for our children, no health care, no way for our daughters to prevent unwanted sex, no way to protect themselves from pregnancy, no way to save themselves when pregnancies go wrong.

Jobs will pay only slave wages, with no protection regarding overwork or unsafe conditions. Our water and air will become dirty and unsafe. Extreme weather, warming and rising oceans, and our newly unregulated industrial pollutants will combine to destroy our societies. Hopelessness will be the spirit of our lives, and we will no longer have a government that represents us, giving us no way to change things.

Most of this will not affect you if you are rich, but “rich” will have to be very rich. Even those of us who are “well off” will not have enough money to live well. Everything – schools, health care, adequate food, public services, government representation –  will be for sale to the highest bidder.

The people doing this are filled with hatred. They blame us for our own struggles and mock us for our despair. They have all the power now, and they want more of both power and money. They will not stop until they have it.

Perhaps I am losing my mind. I am angry and afraid and weak. But I don’t see a way back from this. People think things will be okay, or even better, but they are wrong. The men in power have no care for people, only control. The changes they are implementing will lead to a dark age for this country, and possibly the world.

I know that my despair is not the answer. I don’t plan on just giving up. But I am so afraid.

 

Week 10: Amy Siskind Lists Subtle Changes Toward Tyranny

Here’s your link for the most recent list of subtle changes taking place in our world, right before our eyes.

I am reminded of “Shock and Awe.” Only this time it’s being used against us. These lists are frequent and they are long. We are being lambasted daily, indeed hourly, with changes that in many cases, offer real threat to our existence. It is impossible to remember them all. It is impossible to maintain the outrage each one deserves.

Please don’t mock me by saying I’m a timid old woman afraid of change. People who know me will laugh you out of the room. I agitate for many changes to our lifestyles and politics and economy. So much is wrong, from the laws on the books, to the common practices, to the philosophies behind them.

But I will fight against change that sets up authoritarianism in our country. Yes, I’m afraid of those changes. They will destroy us.

 

So It Begins

The first announcement by the new press secretary begins the official pull-the-wool-over-their-eyes of the new administration: http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/wh-spokesman-gave-alternative-facts-inauguration-crowd-n710466. It’s pretty sad that it had to be about a silly, unimportant non-issue. The size of the inauguration crowd? That’s your first official lie? Seriously?

Please note: lies are now called “alternative facts.”

From now on, news will be what Trump says it is. Facts are only facts if he approves them. Legitimacy only exists at his say-so. His followers will loudly insist his truth is truly true, and the rest of us only hate and envy him.

Okay.

I do not see how a democratic country can survive this. When truth and lies switch places, and trust no longer exists, there is no recovery.

Perhaps the next generation, or the one after that, will be able to rise above it and bring the country back to sanity. I’m sure people despaired of life ever recovering from the destruction of WWII, yet the following generations worked and scraped and built a better world.

The new world never did come close to perfection, and now we’ve lost much of it, with the rest of it ready to fall to Europe’s new nationalism. But for a while there was real hope and real progress.

We need to tell that to our children and grandchildren. I’ve even got a great-grandchild who needs to know that truth is not what the new language says it is. They need to know that their elders screwed up their world and that if falls to them to fix it.

I don’t mean to say that we elders can just sit back and let the liars hang on to the golden ring. Not at all. We must never stop declaring the facts that are actually facts, and we must prove to our progeny that we will fight alongside them until we are dead.

But it will be up to a new generation to forge trust with each other, at a time when the pain and anger has faded somewhat.

Ours is lost.

 

 

 

Baby Food Facts

Here’s a summary of a report from The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. The report’s title is Baby Food FACTS: Nutrition and marketing of baby and toddler foods and drinks.

It’s interesting reading. The takeaway: Babies don’t need baby food (especially “toddler drinks”), but most companies are providing nutritious food in their products. EXCEPT for snacks and those toddler drink products.

Don’t waste your money on something that will hurt your baby’s health.

Trump, the GOP, and the Fall — Whatever

Original photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. Click on photo to see original.At this point there is no doubt that Donald Trump is the single worst major party presidential candidate in living memory, almost certainly the worst since the Civil War, and arguably the worst in the history of this nation. He is…

via Trump, the GOP, and the Fall — Whatever

A Very Cool BBC Story about Thomas Andrews

This is so cool: The woman Who Won the Heart of Titanic’s Thomas Andrews.
(Source – BBC News)

It’s an interview with Helen Barbour’s youngest daughter (from her second marriage after Thomas A. died). I hope I can watch the interview on Thursday. I love the letter she mentions written by Thomas after he proposed to Helen. She didn’t say ‘yes’ right away!

When I was writing Shipbuilder, I really enjoyed researching his relationship with Helen. They were both such characters!

2012 TMC 4 005
Thomas Andrews, Managing Director, Harland & Wolff Shipyards