Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reflections on the Days of Awe



"I'm sure there are all sorts of higher powers like electromagnetism and gravity, and things like that. But I don't believe in a deity, no. I see no evidence for that in my life or anywhere else in the universe. Personally, people can believe what they will and they will believe what they want. I find that most deism, and certainly most theisms take a fairly narrow view of the universe, and most people’s views of God or gods seem to be rather impoverished. The universe itself, the physical world that we can perceive with our senses and grasp with our minds, seems to be far more wondrous than most people's conceptions of a deity." -- Ronald Reagan

I love Ron Reagan, Jr. I have had many wars with religion through the decades but always find that I end up where I began: questioning everything. I know not all religions are dogmatic. I know not all religions put chains around one's brain but enough of them do and in this nation there are many who control the echelons of power, have undue influence in the policies of state and are brutally destructive of ​so ​many especially so to those who are not among the wealthiest. The Republican Party, made up of the uber religious and uber wealthiest, wants to take healthcare away from the poorest, most disabled and the elderly in this nation.  They say they care about unborn life but in policy they care about adult lives not so much and want to take health care away from vulnerable people who need it most. In the end, many will die.  It is mind numbing and the essence of hypocrisy among those who would do that.

Our nation's Founders knew the danger of mixing religion with state and were so concerned that they Constitutionally mandated the separation clause. This nation often sounds, at least in right wing world, which controls immense power in our country, like any fundamentalist sect the powers that be say is our enemy. The wars, death and destruction caused by religious belief and its intolerance of those others who have different beliefs is staggering. The many suicides that have been committed because a person simply cannot be that which their religion dictates they should be are astonishing. I joined Ron Reagan's Freedom From Religion Foundation not so much because I have finally reached a conclusion that there is no god but because I so ​fervently​
want religion OUT of the decision-making process of the state.

During Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (the days of Awe)
one is supposed to take a look at and reevaluate oneself, make amends for one's bad behavior, strive to do better and hope that a god is pacified enough that he inscribes you in the "Book of Life" to live another year. I do not reserve those efforts in my life to merely those 10 days nor do I base my efforts to do that which is humane and good so a god will will be convinced enough that I am worthy of more years of life rather, it seems to me, like a lobbyist pays a member of Congress to do what he wants. I do things and advocate for things because in my ethical universe the things that I do and for which I advocate are humane, good, and right most especially for the least of us.

I evaluate my conduct every day, am the harshest critic of me and hope I not do unto others that which I would not want done to myself. I hope I will continue that task every day in the days ahead harboring and promoting humane political and social policy hoping the dictates of biological science will see to it that I live at least another year. I will, though, say to those who do believe and to all who do not La Shana Tova -- a happy and most of all a healthy new year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

There is hope?

I am pasting this latest email below I received from the "Intercept" which is a credible media source. 

I was so depressed over the latest Republican rancid attempt to repeal and "replace" the ACA a/k/a Obamacare and pass the most draconian health care bill ever denying coverage to millions that receiving this email was some uplift.   The media yesterday was saying Republicans were close to having the votes to pass it (i.e. Republicans lied) but according to the source below maybe not and there is hope for it to end up on the ash bin of history!!  
 
Republicans lie and they lie all the time.  Jimmy Kimmel voiced a very pointed angry address to Louisiana Senator Cassidy, the co-sponsor of the Republican bill, who Kimmel said flat out lied to him when Kimmel asked him if everyone would be insured.  Cassidy, big surprise, lied and said yes, excuse me said yep, when the answer should have been a Republican "no."  It shows one that Republicans will stop at nothing, lie about everything, and try to pass bills that would hurt so many of the most vulnerable people in our nation.  This Republican Party of the richest 1% and the Party of the corporation would even kill the nursing home industry to get the ACA repealed. 32 million would be chased off healthcare, ER hospital rooms again would be flooded with millions who had no health insurance and, of course, millions of the middle class and poor who would have no health insurance would ultimately die.  The poisonous icing on this murderous cake is that Republicans attached to the bill that states (mostly blue ones) could not enact single payer as a remedy for this horrible bill.  This is a bridge too far for the governors of many states as would be the bill's ultimate destruction of Medicaid as we know it.  Republicans, the Party of states rights, are willing, when it suits them, to have big bad government take away their states rights.  This is sheer hypocrisy

Thank you Jimmy Kimmel for being so passionate about your newborn son's poignant example of why the ACA is so important to so many.  If a newborn child comes into this world with a preexisting condition (as Jimmy Kimmel's newborn son did) this dastardly Republican bill would not have to pay, in pertinent example, for the baby's heart surgery because it would be considered a pre-existing condition.  It will make it prohibitive of the child ever getting heath insurance or making it cost prohibitive for those who have preexisting conditions.  It is an abomination.   Kimmel was angry and said so on his show reaching millions revealing Senator Cassidy to be in essence a liar. 

When Republican liars get exposed and the man behind the curtain uncovered to be a child healthcare predator denying even the most innocent among us a shot at life the Republicans unethical character is revealed.  I could not imagine that the three Republicans who were cheered when they and McCain voted thumbs down on the last insane healthcare bill would now support this worse one. I can only hope they won't.

From the "Intercept" by Ryan Grim:
 
It’s often said about politics that perception is reality. As true as that can often be, sometimes reality manages to break through. And that appears to be what’s happening this week to the latest effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
After several weeks of trying, the bill’s authors, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, weren’t any closer to getting the 50 votes they needed to pass the measure by the deadline of Sept. 30th. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain hadn’t budged, and Rand Paul had added himself to the no column.
So Graham and Cassidy bluffed, and began telling the press they were extremely close, their whip counts had them right there within striking distance. Democrats and progressive groups responded with a full-scale mobilization in defense, and all of a sudden we were shooting with real bullets again. Except we weren’t. While McCain, a good friend of Graham’s, is a question mark, none of the others have shown any sign of wobbling. Without those three, Republicans are short of the votes. Yes, having 49 votes is close, but it’s no closer than they were in July, when the effort died last time.
Much of the focus has been on Murkowski, who just a few weeks ago told her summer interns that helping block repeal last time was the greatest difference-making vote she’d ever cast, something she’d done on principle. It’s hard to imagine how she moves from there to the other side, but even if it were possible, today made it that much less likely.
This morning, Alaskan press reported that the Republican governor was thumbs-down on Graham-Cassidy. After all, a quarter of the state relies on Medicaid. Then around lunchtime, he signed a letter with other governors urging the Senate not to act on Graham-Cassidy.
That led to an unusual experience for me: the chance to inform Graham himself that the Alaska governor, the man he needed to help persuade Murkowski to come on board, had come out against his bill. After Senate Republicans had lunch with Vice President Mike Pence to chart the path forward, I asked Graham if he (Graham) was disappointed in the governor’s announcement, and whether he had spoken with him beforehand. It quickly became clear this was the first time he was hearing about it. “When was the announcement?” he asked, adding that he doesn’t know the governor personally.
Later, Murkowski explained to reporters the crux of the governor’s objection: it wasn’t about ideology or conservative politics. It was about the cuts in health care spending. In other words, it was about reality.
“If I get half as much money, flexibility doesn’t help me,” Murkowski said her governor explained, a nugget of policy wisdom folks might want to keep close at hand.
With Collins and Paul presumed solid no votes, Republicans can’t lose Murkowski. Unless a political earthquake hits, they already have.
Meanwhile, Republicans are cooking up a $1.5 trillion tax cut and the children’s health insurance program (CHIP) is about to expire next week.
It’s too bad for Republicans that they likely won’t get a vote on the repeal-and-replace bill, because they came up with a new plan to amend it to ban states from pursuing single-payer plans on their own. That’s a flexible understanding of state flexibility!

AGAIN PASS THIS ON TO ANYONE OR EVERY ONE YOU CHOOSE!!   STILL, CALL, SIT IN REPUBLICAN OFFICES IF YOU CAN, SMOKE SIGNAL, TELEGRAPH, TELEPHONE, I PHONE, OR IN ANY FASHION YOU CHOOSE  RESIST!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Suicide

A discussion of suicide ensued on Facebook.  The number of suicides in this nation is rising.  A few in this debate believed that suicide is not painless; that it hurts.

I know some close to me who have had a family member end their life and those family members and friends who had to see that are not okay. Those affected by a loved one's suicide hurt and are often, if they cannot get help, devastated for life. The person committing suicide, I suspect, does not or did not realize the devastating impact that their death had or will have on those who love them.  Perhaps, they do realize that but are in such physical or mental anguish they simply do not care or they feel that they are so alone, have no family or even friends to whom they can turn that the psychic pain, as they perceive it, make them feel they have no choice but to end their life themselves.

Life, I believe, is not meant to be lived in such anguish either physically or mentally. It cannot be about what life should be. Yet there are others like a relative of mine who was in such torment from a prolonged painful tragic disease said in a way that he could "I love life!" It is amazing the hardship some can take while others cannot and succumb to the vicissitudes of life.

Today where national situations brought on at the behest of Congressional Republicans and a Republican corrupt president trying their damnedest this time, unless some Republicans find a conscience, to tragically pull health care, yes, their constituents' right to life, from millions who cannot financially afford the astronomical costs of it.  Add to that sickening fact is the international situation is so fearfully bad that nuclear war hangs like the the angel of death over the world's head because Trump cannot negotiate nor are there many left in the State Department to do so. Add to this are the devastating effects of climate change some will end their life because a zero ethics utterly corrupt president and a Republican controlled Congress has made life or soon will make it so unbearable for those who do not have enough money to bear it and Trump pulls out of the world's Climate Change Agreement.  The only peace some people can imagine is a life not here to bear those crushing realities. 

There are many contributing factors to suicide. If Trump and Republicans get what they have always wanted you will be able to watch the suicide rate rise significantly. This does not have to be so.

This draconian Republican death care bill must propel each and every one who sees what has been threatened by Republicans to do to scream, shout, protest, write letters and occupy if one can Republican offices asking the Congress persons in them -- no demanding -- they take pity on those who through no fault of their own will be besieged even killed by this presidential and Republican health care bill just so Republicans and Trump can have a "win."  I ask you what have they won?  

Schopenhauer, the 18th century philosopher, said the driving most important force of man is his "will to live"; Victor Frankel, the author of "Man's Search for Meaning" and a survivor of the WWII concentration camps marveled at how few suicides there were in the camp in the face of an intolerable and painful existence.  These are points to ponder but our job now is to ensure through government policy that no one is forced to die or to end his/her life and that the will to live is, for most of us, our eternal mandate.

Jam the phones of the White House and Congress, write letters, send emails, or occupy Republican offices if you can.  The time is short because Republicans want to ram the death care bill through before September 30th.  The life you lose may, in fact, be your own!

RESIST!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

"In the Arctic, a Cold War Rosh Hashana" -- link below -- My letter to the Globe's Jeff Jacoby

Jeff, I do not often agree with your political point of view but this story entitled above and linked below touched my heart and I found myself crying at the end.  Knowing how rancid Russia has historically been to its Jews it would be unthinkable that they would have allowed what our military did for Elihu Schimmel that is for all its Jewish soldiers stationed in the arctic that year to pray on this holiest of days of the Jewish calendar. 

No matter how divided we are politically I believe the heart of our nation beats strong and for that I am grateful.  I had the occasion last evening to watch the CNN special "Inside North Korea"  to see the remarkable difference between life in western style nations and the tyranny that is North Korea.  North Korea is an Orwellian authoritarian's dream.  Its populous, strictly controlled, never dare to voice opposition to a leader whose sanity is in question ready to take his nation in a split second to war that would kill hundreds of thousands if not millions.  He is wide-eyed smiling at each rocket launch and especially proud of his nuclear weaponry.  The people say in rote manner that the enemy is the United States and they are taught this nearly from birth. 

An accident of birth placed me here and I thought at a very young age how wonderful it was  that I could say anything to anyone, question everything without a knock at the door in the wee hours of the morning to take me away to a destination unknown.  Those who dare in North Korea to challenge their government it is said by experts among the few who have seen that nation up close end up in special prisons starved or beaten to death because they dared question their "divine" leader Kim Jong-Un.   Kim Jong-Un smiles with glee at the thought that a nuclear weapon could take out Guam, Japan, South Korea and even go as far as Chicago to unleash the atomic bomb's horror on innocent people.

I think on Robert Oppenheimer's serious quote when the first nuclear bomb was dropped.   He said:

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

It is in serious contemplation of our nuclear world's scientific information that has been unleashed into the hands of democracies and despots alike trying to get hold of its payload that could eliminate life on earth as we know it that I wish for you, all of our nation and its allies during this serious time of year a safe and sweet new year as well.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/09/16/above-arctic-circle-cold-war-rosh-hashana/WEtwem9FuqZcOKY97NcFCJ/story.html

First the Good News

Viewed the wonderful film "La La Land" on HBO last evening. If you want to watch a beautiful film, talented acting, tremendous choreography and an all around great musical in the genre of the some of the ones made in times past I urge you to see it. It's set in contemporary time but hearkens back to another era which showed wonderful musicals with little to no profanity, no nudity and no explicit sex scenes which is I believe much more erotic then leaving nothing to the imagination. It had some depth as well. The creativity was amazing.

Some humans create great things with staggering talent and intellect of the homo sapiens big brain. They are blessed. It stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film won numerous Academy Awards. We saw it on HBO but if you missed it last evening then you probably can get it on Video on Demand or HBO Go if you have cable channels. It is worth it to take time to see it. I do not think you will be disappointed.

This film was refreshing in our explosive, fearful and sad time with a president who does not know what he is doing.  Now for the bad news.  Headline on Huffington: 

"Don’t Look Now, But Full Obamacare Repeal Is Back On The Table.  A bill nobody took seriously suddenly sounds serious."  I was awakened at 3:00 a.m. and just happened to check the news which is always a bad move.  I could not get back to sleep!  It was frightening for all of us but especially serious for the poor, the middle class with expensive medical issues and those with pre-existing conditions.  It could also affect nursing homes as patients would have to relinquish their homes to pay for care.  When their money ran out god only knows what would happen.  This bill is worse than the last Republican evisceration of health care.  It is mean, it is sadistic and most of all it is wrong.  The nation is so decimated by what Trump has done that no one sane would call America "Great."   He is making America anything but great again.  He is making it poor, toxic, climate brutalized, divided at home and alienated in the world.  I urge you to RESIST this with all the effort you can muster, call Congress and then call them again.  Write letters, attend protests if you can but do something so that people who get sick and have little to no money can have a shot at life.  It is that important.  The Republican Party who says they care for life of the "unborn" has no care for those who are already born and many who come into this world with a preexisting expensive condition or develop one soon after.  Ask me I know.

 I will post below the essence of what is going to be offered this time by Republicans (of course) Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.  Graham is friendly with McCain so who knows if McCain will be still healthy enough to cast a no vote again although Graham and he are friends.  Pass this on to anyone you choose.

RESIST as if you or your children's lives depend upon it because they do  --   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dont-look-now-but-full-obamacare-repeal-is-back-on-the-table_us_59bd9f2de4b086432b07a12a?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Just so you will know

Up to 150,000 people died as a result of the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.  This was a mini bomb compared to what we have now as Trump plays a game of nuclear chicken with N. Korea and tries to blow up the Iran nuclear agreement.  Know well the evil know nothing imbecile the American electorate has seen fit to place in the most powerful position in the world!

J. Robert Oppenheimer wrote after he had seen what they had created taken from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita:  "Now I become death destroyer of worlds.

Inline image 1  FAT MAN DROPPED ON JAPAN AUGUST 5, 1945
From Wiki: J. Robert Oppenheimer the American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the "father of the atomic bomb" for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.



Friday, September 15, 2017

The Desire of My Life


If you did not see Rachel Maddow's interview of Hillary Clinton I strongly urge you to watch either by the DVD you may have saved or by Googling Rachel Maddow's show with her interview of Hillary Clinton online.

What happens when two gifted people talk to one another? They create a brilliant discussion. Rachel Maddow's interview of Hillary Clinton was one of the best, most cogent and interesting interviews of a public figure I have seen. Rachel asked her about the most important issues of our time specifically -- North Korea -- and more. I thought Rachel did not omit anything. The interview was about public policy, Trump policy, Trump personality, the 2016 election and it was an analysis of Putin's personality, his place in US foreign policy, and Russia's influence on the US 2016 presidential election and why it happened. It also was about things personal.  Rachel is never afraid to ask the tough but pertinent and sometimes personal questions.

The interview of Hillary Clinton was fascinating, informative and a must see for those who care about the fate of this nation. Clinton was as eloquent as I thought she would be. Warning though: You may weep because we traded a person of the utmost presidential competence for the most incompetent, psychological misfit and incompetency for the most powerful office in the world. Clearly, by my standards, we made a fatally wrong choice. We chose the least qualified, most explosive and temperamentally ill suited man for the presidency we ever could. The future of our nation with a know nothing and a want to know nothing looks bleak until this albatross is taken off our necks.

My life's desire, it will come as no surprise to those who know me, was to be as intellectually stellar as I think both Rachel and Hillary are. Sadly, that was not my fate no matter how much I wanted it to be so. Nonetheless, I use what skills I do possess to advocate for policy that helps the least among us. Who knows what can befall any of us? Life is, indeed, unpredictable. When I pass the Salvation Army in my town I say, yes, a prayer of thanks and know there but for the grace of god or fate could go I.

It would be nice to know that the strength of the most powerful nation on earth would be there for our protection because we are all Americans. We are -- most of us -- patriots. I know this thing to be true: Hard times can befall any of us at any time just ask the people of Huston, Florida or the Caribbean. The New York Times headline for September 10 was "Desperation Mounts in Caribbean Islands -- All the Food is Gone."

Children ask parents and elders for cover against life's tragic onslaughts. Who can the adults among us ask? We can and should ask our government for help when we need it. Hurricane Irma and the Hurricane Harvey Huston flooding disaster shows as clearly as anything could that government can and, indeed, must be there when its people are in need of it. Whether it be disaster relief or health care government should play an important role. We can and should settle for nothing less!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Soul Survival in Trump’s Hell by NYT Charles Blow + My Comment

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/opinion/soul-survival-in-trumps-hell.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion-columnists&referer

My Comment: If there is a better editorialist in this nation than Charles Blow have not read him or her. "The Soul Survival in Trump's Hell" (linked above) is one of the best editorials I have read that summarizes the hopeless depression I feel from the hell of Trump!! I wake up hoping but the second I turn on the news, watch MSNBC, CNN, read online editorials and any of the other myriad of news sources I choose for information gathering I then lie back in despair again. Charles Blow's opinion linked above touched my heart and everything he feels in this nightmare of Trump is as I feel.

With so much evidence gathered against Trump's Everest heights corrupt regime when will Mueller finally end this nightmare? When will people wake up and when will vile excuses for humanity like the ugly Bannon and those who support Trump be summarily stopped? I almost cannot stand it any more. I vacillate between plodding ahead as my mentors instructed us to do or lie back in total despair switching my regular excellent news sources to METV or the Disney Channel.

I'm sad, I'm scared, and yes, I am furious. I cannot take it anymore. I have three choices: continue the fight, entrust it to the next generation to make the fight or commit suicide. Suicide is out of the question because I love life, the questions of it and I love learning to find the answers. I love my nation BUT I do not love the underbelly of racist corruption, its formerly suppressed mutant DNA shown the light in the noxious age of Trump. I am ashamed, feel betrayed but like the unsinkable Molly Brown I cannot give up. I'm down but not out.

I want Mr. Blow to keep writing and keep appearing on MSNBC. I wish he were a permanent anchor there to complement the other saviors of my life like Chris Hayes, Rachel the Great Maddow, Joy Reid and, of course, Larry the Amazing O'Donnell. Charles Blow would be a nice addition to them. I connect with his opinions like glue to paper and thank fate he writes so well to express his melodious sentiments to the tune of the way I feel.

Donald Trump's America -- Black teenager in NH nearly successfully lynched! Yes, its 2017 + my Comment



Daily Kos:

"I could not believe this when I first read. It is unbelievable. It brought tears to my eyes.

This is the result of Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric and his tacit support of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. I am afraid this is only the beginning of dark days in America.

NH1.com reports that a Claremont, N.H., boy had to be flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after one or more teens decided to hang him from a tree with a rope.

The boy’s mother, Cassandra Merlin, posted the horrific photo of her baby’s neck to Facebook, and even then gave those responsible the benefit of the doubt.

The boy’s uncle, Lyrik Martin, who also posted photos of his injuries on social media, wrote in a post that he wasn’t sure the attack was racially motivated, but the boy’s grandmother went on record saying the teens taunted the boy for being black.

Lorrie Slattery told the Valley News that the incident was in fact racially motivated and “intentional.”

Slattery said she was able to recount what happened from her grandson’s 11-year-old sister and other children present (there were no adults), and that her grandson and some teens were playing in a yard on Aug. 28 when the teens started calling the little boy “racial epithets” and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.

Some or all of the teens allegedly stepped up on a picnic table and grabbed a nearby rope that had been part of a tire swing, Slattery said.

“The (teenagers) said, ‘Look at this,’ supposedly putting the rope around their necks,” Slattery said. “One boy said to (her grandson), ‘Let’s do this,’ and then pushed him off the picnic table and hung him.”

The boy swung back and forth by his neck three times before he was able to remove the rope from his neck; Slattery said none of the teens came to his aid.

As late as Friday, Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase would not comment on the specifics of the case, only saying that they were still investigating and that those involved are juveniles, prohibiting him specifically making any comment.

Chase also said that the kids being investigated (who knows if they’re charged) should be “protected.”

Wiki: "The idea that America is post-racial, or close to it, has played a role in at least one United States Supreme Court decision. In Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, the court invalidated a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that had required nine states with particularly severe histories of racial discrimination to obtain federal approval for any change to their election laws The ruling, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., said in part, "Our country has changed."  

My Comment: Oh yeah....for the worse!!! The damage being done to the 98% by a right wing slanted court not to mention by the milieu in the age of Trump will take decades to reverse if it can be reversed at all. You are witnessing unless you become involved to reverse this toxic stew, the death of a welcoming America as a beacon of freedom and hope!.