Saturday 30 January 2021

Make America Great Again. Which One?

 What does a Great America look like?

From the beginning Trump's slogan was "Make America Great Again." Many suggested it was code for making America white again. Events over the last four years and the last four weeks make it pretty clear that the suggestion was accurate.

Biden's slogan is "Build Back Better". What does better mean? Presumably whatever he does will simply be better than what Trump promised, but did not deliver. Let's repeat that - did NOT deliver. We never did see the long awaited, "just around the corner" replacement for the Affordable Care Act or any cheques (checks for some) from the Bank of Mexico.

A recently revealed rant by Marjorie Taylor Greene told some to go back where they came from because they were ruining the great country that "we" built. One has to question her own contribution to that build but that is another story.

And to those who just love to scream, what is it that you have to "take back" that gives you the right to murder and destroy?

What America are people talking about?

- The one in which the oh-so-holy Jim and Tammy bilked their "congregation" out of tens of millions of dollars?
- Maybe the one where parents have to dread the day when they go to pick up their kids only to find that once again some dingbat exercising his gun rights slaughtered those kids? Yeah we know - it's not the gun's fault.
- Perhaps the one that is proud of the Jonestown mass suicide or the Branch Davidian suicide in Waco?
- The one where two famous brothers in the Kennedy family might have a question or two about the greatness of America and some of its citizens?
- In a city where those who have lost their jobs, are hungry and possibly freezing on the street who probably resent the family of four down the block hunkered down in their 15,000 square foot mansion with its three furnaces and two swimming pools on ten plush acres?
- The dogs and horses put down or left to die because they can't race or fight anymore? Good thing they can't speak up.
- Poor students who had the marks but were denied entry to famous schools because some rich celebrities bumped them for their own dumb kids using bribes?
- Lots, Lots more examples.

Or is it This America? The one where:

- Every citizen has equal rights and opportunities?
- A black boy grew up to become the President and a black girl The Vice President?
- Superior technology and will built great companies providing millions of jobs and some of the world's greatest products?
- There is still ample untapped wealth for all to enjoy their lives in relative prosperity?
- The country is willing to go to bat for other people in the world and often lend a helping hand?
- It is possible to come to the country LEGALLY to enjoy those same opportunities?
- You can practice your religion of choice or none at all?
- Truth is still preferred over lies?
- Political parties and politicians work FOR the people - ALL of them?

I know which one I hope re-emerges. Too bad the citizens themselves don't.


Thursday 28 January 2021

Marjorie Taylor Greene Calling for Executions. Really?

American Extremism Growing 

If this is not shocking, what is? A woman who is now part of Congress prior to her election called for the execution of American Democratic leaders including a bullet to the head of Nancy Pelosi! 

How is this person still in office? Is this really what American Conservatives want? The scary part is that since many of the people who voted for her must have been aware of this, some of this would give a YES answer.

Her call like so many who pledge allegiance to The Donald is once again that she wants to "save" or "take back" her country. If you ask "from what?" the reply is standard - Socialism. Most who shout that probably don't really know what it means. They could be crying "Communism" but one of their own - Joseph McCarthy - already tried that and failed.

How many others in the American government feel the same way? How many would turn a blind eye or even support such actions if they happened? Today if you are a part of a visible minority or culture and you:

- want a chance at living the American Dream
- want to run for office
- dare to beat your white colleagues at any of these
- are not a Republican
- do not believe every one of Trump's lies
- show any support whatsoever for Joe Biden
- know or even express an opinion that the election was legitimate

you should be executed. In America - Land of the free - and of the "brave."

It is a good thing for her that all Americans who understand freedom don't feel the same way about her. Yet.


Saturday 23 January 2021

Are Marriage Vows Totally Worthless?

 #Lying as a Way of Life

For over four years the subject of lying has been in the news because Donald Trump relies on it so heavily.

I am no saint but it has always been difficult for me to tell a blatant lie just because it is convenient at the time. I am excluding white lies as in answering the question: "Mummy/Daddy all the kids say I am ugly (stupid/dumb/loser etc.). Am I?' However I confess to using phony ID to purchase alcohol in my youth and to enter a pool hall before photo ID made it very difficult. Even then they didn't really ask your age, they just accepted the ID or not. Technically, not lying!

Our legal system very much depends upon telling the truth. People swear to tell the truth with a hand on a Holy Book. President Biden and Vice President Harris were just inaugurated in a similar manner.

Well into my life I became aware of how prominent a part of most peoples' personality lying has become. I suppose it always was and I was simply naive. The attitude seems to be "everybody else does, so I am foolish if I don't as well."

Think about it in another context. One of the foundations of modern society - the institution of marriage - is based on sacred vows taken before a Holy person in public. Why bother?

With the passing of Larry King part of his legacy will be his 8 marriages. If you do a search there are plenty of sites claiming to have lists of the most famous people and their five plus partners. Zsa Zsa Gabor is often at the top with 9. Apparently Jennifer Oneill tied her. We also think of Liz Taylor ( 8); Mickey Rooney (8); Lana Turner (8); and many more. David Foster is way back with his 5 but who knows?

Why did they bother? Being married to have kids is one thing but for many they have to know there will be a breakup whenever it is convenient for both of them. If Tiger Woods took a vow, he broke it many times. If you know in your heart you will be having affairs on your partner either skip the vows or just don't go through the phony nuptial charade.

Most people feel that O.J. lied - same for Prince Andrew and certain activities with Jeffrey Epstein; Bill Cosby; world leaders by the bucketful. Even Priests and other Holy people have taken the easy way out and simply lied. When working within large corporations I also found it to be commonplace. Many politicians are known for it. Ditto oil and cigarette executives.

The lie detector was developed many years ago. The most clever liars can defeat it. Humans have to be the only living creatures capable of dishonesty. It is an inherent part of the ability to speak.

What a pathetic way to distinguish human beings from other living creatures. "Cogito, ergo sum" was attributed to Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." How about: "Cogito ergo sum ego mentior hominum" instead, "I lie therefore I am human."


Thursday 21 January 2021

Biden's Honeymoon is Already Over!

Jen Psaki a Pleasant Change

What a great change watching the first Press Briefing. Kayleigh take note. For that matter Sarah and Sean as well. Let's include Kellyanne - different role but same school. Jen Psaki looks and sounds like a real Pro. 

As for the rest of the new team trying to see what was going on, it must be like opening a box of Cracker Jack. You never know what will be in the box but you can bet on it being really cheap and useless. The content is also probably stale and past its BB date!

Last we heard there were also something like 200+ bills sitting on McConnell's desk in the Senate. At least most of the content is known.

Biden his time but now it has come - HIS time!


Wednesday 20 January 2021

Biden Inauguration - What a Show!

 #Biden / #Harris a Grand Slam

Man what a show! If there were an Oscar for an Inauguration this one would win. Under the circumstances it was extremely well orchestrated! The Brits almost invented pomp and pageantry but good old America can stoke up the patriotic fervour with the best of them. Couldn't have come at a better time! The country needed this.

I'll mention the name only once. Did anyone really miss The Donald? I think the jury is already in on whether he would have enhanced the show or detracted from it. Let's just say the silence was golden. But I am sure he was watching or will. I am not a Pence fan either but at least he did what he could and certainly put on a good face for the day. It was appropriate that he was mentioned several times. Just don't run yourself!

The speeches were great and not too long but one speaker right up there with Joe was the young Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman who also hit it out of the park. What an impressive young lady. She belongs on the big silver screen. Lady Gaga, Jennifer, and Garth did great jobs as well. Gaga did a bang up rendition of the anthem but I wish she just held the last note and didn't try to make it her own. It seems all performers do that now. Stripped of the meat dresses et al and she can really sing. So can Lopez for that matter - this time on the block and not just from it.

I am younger than Joe but retired. He is going to be one busy man. Good thing he loves it. Ditto that for Kamala.

One little observation: When Justice Sonia Sotomayor dictated the oath to Vice-President Harris there were some lengthy passages. Harris didn't miss a beat. When Chief Justice John Roberts did the same for President Biden he broke it down into shorter phrases. I suspect it was deliberate!

We wish both of them and their staff every success - they deserve it.


Monday 18 January 2021

American Political Division

 Is the American Two Party System Dead?

I say "Yes" - at least in any form that has been traditional for decades. Are those who say "No" just willing to accept the degree of hatred that now exists between extremists as the new norm?

How many times do we have to hear yet another person saying that it is time to put the division and the politics aside; stop being so bipartisan; listen to each other. Yadda yadda yadda.

When you hear these leaders spitting at each other like two cats on an alley fence it is easy to get discouraged. "Give" and "Take" has become give them the shaft whenever you can and take whatever you can whenever you can. Look out for number 1, which should be the country but is no longer.

This is like a school of sharks and another of killer whales saying it is time to get along because there are enough fish for all of us. The American voters are the fish.

It is like a rabbit clutched in the talons of an eagle on the way up to its nest to tear its prey apart to feed its young, the rabbit suggesting "There is another way. It doesn't have to be like this!' Democracy is the rabbit. Quite frankly the eagle could be either party.

How about Piranhas in a frenzy fighting over the last morsels of an unfortunate animal just trying to cross the Amazon? The Capital was the animal.

"Reaching across the aisle" probably now implies "with a gun in his/her hand!"

Now I am saying it. The lying has to end. It is killing people. Come to your senses. Am I kidding myself? Just listen to them - in both houses. It is not going to happen.

America needs a new Center Left and Center Right party consisting of those who WILL reach to the other. Show some give and take and some cooperation. This will also split the vote so that some former Democrats and some former Republicans will join once they see the new parties prospering. Resort to your old ways and you are out!

It will also take several elections. All the best to Joe and Kamala.


Saturday 16 January 2021

What Does Stealing the Election Mean?

 The Election was Rigged? By Whom?

After months of hearing Trump and his Mouseketeers claim that the election would be rigged if he lost and now that it was indeed rigged because he did lose, it is becoming clearer what it means.

What more people are now stating categorically is that all of this anger and separation is really about racism. I have been writing this for some time. Privileged white Americans want America to be just that - white and the best of it to go to and belong to whites - just like the good old days.

In 2006 (Bush/Kerry) we heard about voters in black communities standing in the rain for hours to get to use two voting machines. A white jurisdiction had twenty. THAT is what prompted the speeches by Representatives Boxer and Jones.

This time the Californian Republicans placed ballot boxes of their own to collect votes - unofficially. When ordered to remove them they refused. What would have happened to the contents? You can bet the democratic ones would have vanished.

The allocation of seats and the Electoral College was always stacked in favour of wealthy ridings. We also saw rich families buying their way into the most elite schools of advanced education. Some minority school districts were grossly underfunded.

After hurricanes some black families had their land confiscated and had nowhere else to go. I don't know the rules but could they vote with no permanent address to call home? Would it even be a priority for them?

Who can forget the attempts to hinder the Post Office from providing the service depended upon by many democratic minorities? It was denied but the removal of some stations and restrictions on overtime were very suspicious.

It appears that the Democrats stealing the election from the Republicans really means that gradually over time this inherent system stacked against minority voters and in favour of white and often wealthy voters was being recognized and addressed. Some of the wrongs were finally being righted.

So the forces of righteousness are removing the Republicans' bag of tricks. THAT is what is being "stolen".

Cheating means their own cherished ability to cheat is being foiled and they are mad as hell about it. 


Friday 8 January 2021

American Democracy at the Precipice of Collapse

 Democracy vs. Dictatorship

One thing is clear throughout all that has happened in America in the last few days. Horrible as it was and still is, the government stood. Many people have pointed this out. Good for America!

This event should also serve as a more stark reminder. Assume the government capital or palace was stormed in a place like China, Russia, The Philippines or especially North Korea. The so-called protestors would have been gassed, water cannoned, or simply mowed down in cold blood if not during the rampage, then certainly after it. Their leaders would have ordered it. THAT is where Trump was headed with all of this.

Is this what all the Trump supporters with the red hats, the horns, the paint etc. really want? If they truly believe that the country is now going to be "Communist" under Biden, recognize what the opposite would have been with four more years under Trump.

His most ardent followers probably think twenty years or more of Donald would be great. The problem with that would be that his evil lies and self-serving ways would eventually be turned against them as well. He already threw Pence under the bus. He said he would be marching with you. Was he? He knew that Secret Service would never allow it but he promised you anyway - stupid or a lie? Does it matter? You think he cares about you? HE THREW YOU UNDER THE SAME BUS! How does it feel?

I am not a fan of Lindsey Graham. However he stood up and quoted just two examples of lies which falsely claim this election was fraudulent. There were supposedly thousands of underage electors. He asked to see just 10 and got none. Again, Trump people claimed there were thousands of felons who supposedly voted. He asked for 10 and got none. There are lots more examples.

Have any of those hyenas we saw in the Capital Building expressed one ounce of regret and sympathy over the five people who lost their lives because of their hooliganism? I doubt it.

Trump is a liar. He always will be.

Here is a challenge. I would like any one of those marchers who passionately swore they had to do this to take back their country, to explain exactly what they have lost. Don't use words like Communist and Socialist when you obviously don't know what they mean.

One more thing. If you take up the challenge, be honest if you are capable of that, about your true feelings on race, color, culture, and religion. You know - those things all Americans are supposed to be allowed to practice, not just white Americans.


Tuesday 5 January 2021

#Racism Still Alive in America

 The #Wealthiest One Percent Will Never Change

Today is a big day in the American State of Georgia. Its vote for two senators will determine whether Democrats will be able to dominate during the initial Biden administration. This along with the Covid-19 tragedy is dominating American media.

The focus has changed many times in the four years under Trump but most of it was on The Donald, created by The Donald. We all know that. None of it gets to the real issues in America, even Covid.

The real issues, and I narrow them down to two, have not changed in decades. 

1). I read that 0ne percent of the population hold 35% of the nation's wealth. They will do whatever they have to in order to keep it. Think billionaires and multi, multi millionaires. Add in the next 19% and the total is 51%. The exact figures don't matter. The order of magnitude is what is important.

Some of these inherited the wealth. Do they deserve it? What part did they play? That is for another topic. Very few of the rest could have earned their wealth without the nation's infrastructure to build their businesses (gas, electricity, clean water, sewers, roads and bridges, airports, marine ports, telecommunications) and advantaged tax systems. The problem here is that we all pay for those services through our taxes. They will claim the same thing except that their companies can then write it off. We can't, and by comparison we use a very small percentage.

They do not want to share it. The more obscene is their wealth, the greedier they become. Apologies to the few exceptions like Bill Gates.

2). Racism. The same group in 1) hate the gradual browning of America. They especially do not want to share the wealth with anyone non-white. It is well disguised but still there. There are lots of people who do not feel this way - even some rich white folks on both sides of the political divide. But I am addressing problems here, not the nice to haves. 

So who does still harbour such feelings? We all know a couple of groups. Trump and his base and all the gutless Republicans who back him no matter what. Many others for sure.

We are told that some 74,000,000 voted for Trump. Apparently all of those votes were 100% legitimate. Why are Republicans not questioning them? For sure there are a lot of unhappy voters, fed up with voting and politics as usual. Biden must make some changes. Trump however, was the wrong answer. That was cutting off a foot to cure an ingrown toenail. 

This is not unique to America. The concern should be that wherever those like Trump were unopposed, treacherous dictators rose to power willing to kill and torture anyone who then got in their way. America still has a chance to do something about it.

Over to you Joe and Kamela.



Friday 1 January 2021

Squirrel proof bird feeder

Outsmart the Squirrels!

Finally I outsmarted my local squirrels - so far! See photo below.

I remember my father spending much self amusement time trying to invent a method to feed the birds but keep the squirrels away. He finally hung the bird feeder, a simple tray, from a branch close to our summer cottage, then strung a cord from it right through a wooden window frame into our living room! My mother was very patient. When the squirrel shimmied down onto the feeder he pulled the cord to spin the tray and the pesky rodent would fly off.

The trouble was it became a war in which the squirrel would get right back up there to try again. Either he found it entertaining like a kid on a roller coaster or he wanted in turn, to outsmart Dad!

There is a little rhyme about graffiti writers: "Man's ambition must be small to write his name on an outhouse (bathroom) wall!" I think it also applies to retired men like yours truly, pitting their brain against a squirrel's. 

This is a very simple design. You can buy a commercial metal one like an upside down funnel.  I made it 24 inches square and could have enlarged it but my first attempt works. It also catches a lot of the seed dropped, or rejected by the birds.

The little guys were at first irate when they saw birds like doves up there feasting away. They tried several times to jump from my gazebo onto it but it was too far away. They can climb the pole but can't lean back and out enough to grab the edge of the platform. Now they are content to retrieve the droppings. FYI, I do leave a pile on the ground just for them.

It is New Years Day 2021. Winter has been mild so far. When they get desperate they might succeed but so far I win.

By the way. This is the best design for such a deterrent in all of history. Only I could have done this. My generals and security advisors all failed. No other occupant of this house before me ever accomplished this. But I know you fake media types will never give me credit. That's OK. Media reporters are all squirrel brains. If the squirrels ever do succeed it will not be my fault nor will it be from Russian aid. It will be the Chinese for sure. Biden will never admit this. Neither would Obama.