just sayin”

Back on my sad little horse (update)

Well, now it’s been even longer since I’ve posted anything new………………..

Still burnt out from the incessant insanity coming out of DC, and who hasn’t gotten deathly sick of listening to talking heads repeating the same on TV day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year?
er me gerd!

It’s amazing to me that every night (with some shining exceptions) so many of the anchors and “analysts” who appeared nightly on CNN and MSNBC for more than three years, endlessly mused about “why” Trump would do this or that, “why” his cronies would say this or that, or “what could possibly be the motive behind” their policies, positions, and actions.

A few are still doing that. Seriously people? Are you deaf, dumb, and blind? Why are you still looking for the logic in any of it, or the “strategy”? THERE IS NONE AND NEVER HAS BEEN. You have got to realize by now, in all truth, that Trump is a pathological, sociopathic narcissist, a con-man, grifter, and cheat. And he’s still surrounded by power-hungry, honor-free folk who will do literally anything to stay in their ill-gotten positions. Whatever is good and decent be damned if it gets in their way.
It is truly sickening.

But things are finally changing! Off the top of my head here are the names of a few shining guest speakers who forcefully speak the truth about what’s really going on (in alphabetical order):
Charles Blow
Michelle Goldberg
Chris Hayes
John Heilemann
Karine Jean-Pierre
Don Lemon
Lawrence O’Donnell
Joy Reid
Maya Wiley
Jill Wine-Banks

and last but absolutely not least these former “Repuglicans”:
Ana Navarro
Rick Wilson
Steve Schmidt
David Jolly
Rick Wilson

Now these outspoken Ex Military, CIA, NSA, FBI folks: Jeremy Bash, John Bolton, John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden, John Kelly, James Mattis, HR McMasters, Matthew Miller, Malcolm Nance, Paul J. Selva, Richard V. Spencer, former Sec of State Rex Tillerson and others, frequently appear on MSNBC and CNN in increasing numbers.

This August, 73 former national security officials and other GOP officials endorsed Joe Biden for president.
In Sept, 489 retired senior military officers, national security officials and diplomats also signed a letter endorsing Biden. These included 200 four-star generals and admirals; 22 four-star retired military officers; former Cabinet secretaries; 5 former defense secretaries; former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former NASA administrator Charles Bolden.

All of this makes me feel better, but I’m still holding my breath. Can’t begin to imagine what living in this country will be like if Trump gets a second term…………..

Here’s a link to more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Republicans_who_oppose_the_Donald_Trump_2020_presidential_campaign

How to Get Happy & Peaceful w/out Changing Yourself !

(Try one or more of these every day for a few days. Then make them part of your life. )

1)
– Stop what you are doing
– Breathe deeply
– Close your eyes and listen closely
– Choose any random sound
– Keep breathing deeply while focusing on that sound
– Don’t interpret or “wonder” about it, just let yourself feel the sound

(If you’re in a very noisy place let yourself/your attention move on from sound to sound w/out attachment or preference, feeling each as it catches your ear. If your phone rings don’t answer, just listen to the sound w/out worrying about who it might be. They can call back! Or if someone wants your attention, just smile at them and don’t respond in any other way.

2)
– Now open your eyes
– Pick the first thing that catches your eye and really See it: its form, color, texture, anything unique about it. Don’t name it, identify it, evaluate it, or create a “story” in your mind about it. Just let it be.
– If your mind races from one thing to another, take deep breaths and find the still point within you. It is there! (Maybe you’ve just lost track of it.)
– Return to Seeing

3)
– Feel your body as it is in this moment
– Whatever catches your attention is worthy of a moment’s focus: if it’s a pain or discomfort don’t resist it, rather move toward it, move into it. (You’ll be surprised that instead of getting “worse”, it will lessen or ease away completely!)
– Touch part of your body. Remember, no judgment, no “story”, just Feel it.
– Pick another part and do the same thing. Feel some parts you don’t like so much and try not to judge. Pretty amazing stuff we’re made of, huh?

4)
– Touch something familiar (some fabric, fur on your pet, skin of a fruit, metal, glass, a leaf, wood, whatever is available.)
– Close your eyes and really feel it.
– Now touch something unfamiliar. Can you believe the diversity that exists, how much different “stuff” there is?

5)
– Next time you eat, try to actually taste the food, feel its texture, temperature etc.
– Chew slowly, and pay attention to each different food, or the mixed flavors in something like a sandwich or soup.

6)
– Next check out other people……..familiar and unfamiliar: around you, near you, close to you; in photos, videos, books. Rather than liking or disliking what you see, examine the myriad details that add up to this unique being, the elements that create this complete “individual”: hair color & texture, skin tone, eye color, body shape, nose and mouth shape.
– Think about what’s under their skin, and how all of us are made of the same stuff with slight variations under that paper-thin veneer.

7)
– Pay attention – be aware of each precious moment because it will never be repeated.
– Appreciate what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have; be grateful.
– Appreciate what’s “right”, rather than obsessing about what’s “wrong”.
– Remember that we exist against all odds on this tiny little planet, one of many, in this one solar system among billions, which is in one galaxy among billions, in a universe which may not have any boundaries at all, and which may also just be one of another billion universes – we just don’t know!

Oh, and don’t forget to remember all this……like I usually do (;-)

Covered in blood

The NRA, in my opinion, is guilty of aiding domestic terrorism and wanton murder. Their gun-ridden hands are covered in blood. They and other such organizations should no longer be allowed to make political contributions – having horribly and persistently abused their right to “free speech”.

We are obviously such an immature country that we can’t manage to work out reasonable limits to such freedoms, especially the “right to bear arms” which is absurdly inappropriate for these times and extremely, dangerously, misinterpreted. It’s illegal to yell “fire” in a public gathering, drive without a license, not pay taxes (unless of course you are wealthy) etc. Seriously??

I do my best to support worthy causes, though I have not recently joined a march. However, the latest wanton slaughter and brave, out-spokenly honest mobilization of survivors from the high school in Florida, may just be what gets me to put on my best walking shoes (despite no shiny buckles). At any rate, I will at least be making a monetary contribution to their movement, despite doubts that it can make a lasting difference on the national scale. (Although quite impressively, they were able to move the sycophantic governor of Florida to enact some changes to their state gun laws.

If I’ve learned anything from the current political situation, it’s that our system of gov’t is not always the shining and effective model “we” have always claimed it to be. Our founders could never have imagined these irresponsible abuses of rights and power. They assumed persons elected to any highest office would (in general) be mature, responsible, thoughtful, logical, minimally corrupted, and actually capable of responding appropriately and readily to such crises. They also thought they had built in proper and effective safeguards for abuses of power that might occasionally arise. Oops……..

(Might also be time to cease claiming we’re “the best country in the world” – which is highly offensive to the rest of the world at any time, and downright embarrassing now.)

globe_anim

Slaughter by denial

If our so-called “representatives of the American people” don’t do something REAL about the yearly slaughter of tens of thousands of individuals in this country they are nothing but barbarians and killers themselves.

The “causes and motives” of these killings that everyone on TV obsesses about become a distraction and an excuse to do nothing. Because let’s face it, no one seems truly capable of doing much about the profound societal causes.

What IS relevant is the AVAILABILITY of almost every kind of gun to virtually ANYONE who wishes to buy them. Background checks may sometimes help, but history shows that most of our mass killings are committed by people who DO NOT SHOW UP ON BACKGROUND CHECKS!

And the so-called “strict constitutionalists” conveniently ignore this vague language in the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.(seems there’s a part missing)

The persistent refusal by Congress to address a matter of such monstrous impact, is a gross dereliction of duty. THEY WORK FOR US, yet demonstrably do not feel any true sense of responsibility for our welfare. It’s apparent their only concerns are an irrational fear of the NRA and not getting re-elected.

It’s also obvious that the only thing that could change any of this is a massive citizen-based movement which no one will be able to ignore –
and that’s what the folks in Washington should really fear, if it ever happens…….

A “confession”

In my early 20’s I was a member of a local Socialist organization in San Francisco for a few years. Though I’ve since identified consistently as a Democrat I still believe in the fundamentally compassionate principles of Socialism.

It’s very frustrating that associated groups/people are so stupidly and broadly vilified here in the US. They get a bad rap because, I believe, the essential principles of Socialism and Communism were deeply compromised due to being instituted in places that were not sufficiently developed to support the system, and became corrupt and severe to compensate.

As Marx wisely pointed out: a society must be sufficiently developed for Socialist ideals to be fully realized. And though admittedly, the leaders of these social movements ignored his warning and really screwed up, no political system is ever perfect. So, in developed countries which understand all this, Socialist principles are embraced but modified to suit the realities of their particular societies. They consistently rate as the best places to live, and the happiest people in the world. Go figure.

In the US the Dems are the closest we get to a viable social(ist)- oriented party. At our core, unlike the Republicans, most Dems believe the principle role of government is not to protect our sovereignty and position of power at all cost, but to provide (social) services and overall support for our citizens. And the idea of building walls to keep out “unworthy aliens” is anathema.

Unfortunately all political principles are at risk here because of our ridiculous, long and expensive electoral process, blind devotion to the promises of capitalism, and pervasive lobbying! Faced with these challenges, most US politicians of all stripes seem to forget what their job is and who they actually work for. They are continually in campaign mode, trying to appeal to everyone they can in order to be re-elected. So rather than being the norm, solidly principled politicians are rare beings to be celebrated.

But sadly, like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, these individuals are more often labeled as “weak” because they aren’t blustering blow-hards with itchy trigger-fingers, and a propensity to ignore or minimize the history, norms, achievements, and perspectives of other nations. God-forbid we should ever try to learn anything from societies that have been gaining experience for thousands of years! No, we have to reinvent the wheel every time we’re confronted with a new challenge, because we think “we know better” than everyone else. But in reality we’re quite unsophisticated politically and socially. Seriously, we can’t even handle more than two parties, let alone a woman for president. “Sad”

to Blog or not to Blog

I honestly consider “blogging” (in broad terms) to be a nasty business and generally a huge waste of time. But I may have it conflated with tweeting and all that nonsense which, I’m convinced, contribute massively to an alarming increase in self-absorbed narcissism and dumbing-down of our culture. (Witness the daily discharges of DJT.)

 I do love that these new venues for self-expression, accessible to virtually anyone, are very democratic, and that the availability and dissemination of information has so vastly expanded (if also dangerously fraught with inaccuracies, slander and falsehoods.)

There’s now so much free-for-all “sharing” out there that it’s overwhelming, and I feel quite lost in all of it. However, as I don’t want to depart this earth having left nothing behind, this is part of an effort to ensure that may not happen. So I shall persist, at least for awhile, until lack of inspiration, appreciation, or response overcome me……………then again, I must have some hope or I wouldn’t bother at all, and I am quite stubborn and tenacious – as anyone who knows me will gladly attest to.
So there’s at least a chance I won’t just turn to dust without leaving any other trace behind.

an228

Climate Change & Evolution

Climate change is obviously producing very negative effects in many areas of the world. Many parts of the US too, but fortunately not where we live in the Northwest – yet. Last night, I think it was, on the news they showed a weather map of the US – our tiny area on the map was very strangely the same color green as Florida and vicinity! The rest of the country was blanketed in white and other colors which indicated very bad weather.

I’ve decided to stop using the term “global warming” because right-wing crazies point to all the cold and snowy weather as “proof” that such a thing doesn’t exist. They are certifiable and don’t have a shred of sophisticated understanding of anything (though in their stoney little hearts they probably do realize their days are numbered, so they’re digging in their heels and throwing fits about anything that bodes of even a tiny bit of progress, change, or inclusion of anyone they deem “unworthy” (ie: poor folk, certain immigrants, people who don’t marry the right people, those who have the “wrong” religion or skin color.)

Sometimes I wonder if the human race will ever evolve to the point where we actually qualify to be called “civilized”? We’ve been around more than 100,000 years, but I’m called impatient by folks who believe we have made “a lot of progress” since the days of marauding conquerors and “barbarians”. They think we are evolving and excuse our barbarity because we’ve only been here a short time in the great span of things.

Um, really? We are still at war most of the time, or threatening to be; we still have many more nuclear weapons than anyone rationally can justify as deterrents; we still suffer thru the devastation that greedy corporations create at will; we obviously think nothing of wrecking our environment and exterminating other species, and even our own species. These are just a few of many examples of how primitive we still are, but those defenders of us humans stubbornly tout us as the vastly superior species. Yeah, whatever……………

What’s up with Personal & Cultural Identity?

On a personal level in trying to create or affirm a strong sense of who we are, we often try to distance ourselves from the confusing or painful elements of our past. Sometimes we reject all of it – even those elements which could positively impact the forging of our “unique” identities. The baby/bathwater syndrome…….

Similarly, on a societal level, in the process of re-creating or affirming a national identity in our modern world, many make the mistake of rejecting their ethnic origins as being tied to the suffering of the past: poverty, oppression, persecution, lack of education, equality, opportunity. Others, in order to feel a heightened sense of importance, legitimacy, power, etc. reject cultures they know little about, or those which are very different from their own. Thus it isn’t hard to imagine that a day will come when all unique cultural elements will be reduced to a few curious artifacts entombed in the glass cases of museums.

In truth, our diverse ethnicities are as deeply entwined as threads in the vast and rich tapestry of our humanity, which is replete with commonalities despite our best efforts to deny them. In truth we all came from the same origins, the same original pair (whether called Adam & Eve or something else). And we all came from the same place, whether we choose to believe it or not: Africa. Our “motherland” which for eons we’ve ironically and tragically ignored, neglected, forgotten, exploited. This is a black thread which is woven throughout our multi-colored human tapestry.

So I wish we could turn the world inside out for a while. You know, everything would be reversed:

– white would be black or brown, yellow, red and vice versa
– the rich would be poor and poor nations wealthy and rich with resources
– persecutors would be persecuted
– hunters would be hunted
– Muslims would be Christians, Hindus would be Muslims, Catholics would be Protestants etc. Better yet, everyone would be Buddhists, because they are (usually) accepting of everyone (except the Rohingyas of Myanmar)
– “conservatives” would be “liberals” (omg)
– slums would be mansions and estates
– deserts would become jungles or oceans
– the thin would be fat
– the hungry would be well-fed and the gluttonous would be starved
– etc.

What’s the point? Well, if I were an optimist I’d hope people would thus become more compassionate and understanding of each other. They’d realize first-hand what’s going on in other parts of our country and our small world, what it’s like to live like the “others”. Things might change, become more balanced, thoughtful, equal, fair, shared, peaceful.

Another option would be a visit by aliens from another planet. That would be a great unifying distraction from us fighting one another here on earth. No longer would we be focused on our so-called differences – rather we’d join together in solidarity to deal with this new “other”. Ideally they’d be evolved, benevolent, gentle, nonthreatening, so we’d have no excuse to project our antipathy onto them, and maybe we’d learn a helpful thing or two!

On Writing Like D.B.

I’ve always wanted to write like Dave Barry. But to do that honestly I’d have to be Dave Barry, and unless he’s secretly a seventy-ish, slightly crotchety, yet still-young-at-heart woman, that ain’t gonna happen. So I must be content to continue with the kind of short essays I’ve always written which address whatever serious issue captures my fancy at the moment. Or more accurately, whatever gets my goat at the moment. (If I were Dave Barry I’d now insert a clever little aside like: “What if I don’t have a goat to be got?” And readers would howl with laughter. Alas it seems only Dave can pull that off, and I shall have to live with DB envy forevermore.)

The best approximation of DB’s style I can muster is snarky, satirical, or ironic snidery that hopefully elicits at least a chuckle or smile. But better yet, a jolt of recognition, because ultimately my goal is not to amuse but to pull the wool off rather than over, uncloud, remind, illustrate, clarify, illuminate, awaken. To that end, my writing typically focuses on observations about culture, society, politics etc. and may at times seem esoteric, or even convoluted. (My father complained the stuff’s too complicated. This is a bit worrisome, because he was one of the kinds of folks I most want to reach! Not quite “Joe the plumber” but close enough.)

The writing doesn’t always start out that way, but ends up like that due to the way my brain works. I can take a pretty straightforward topic and by the time I’m done with it, there are all sorts of interconnections and extrapolations caught up in the tight net I’ve cast in the process of elaborating.

In my defense I truly do strive for clarity, so don’t know exactly how what I was trying to say sometimes gets tangled up like yarn after a cat attack. During one reading it will all seem crystal clear, verging on dare-I-say “astute”? Yet reading the same essay another time can feel like I’m trudging thru water loaded with sediment. It’s like two people with entirely different sensibilities are reading the same stuff. Crazy.

Plus, as you can see, I like to use a lot of descriptive words, commas, italics, and quotation marks. Thanks to attending an almighty Journalism School I know I’m not “supposed” to, but I just can’t help it. They seem to have to be there for me to make my point. Does that mean I’m a crappy writer who uses these cheap and despised “gimmicks” (see there they are again) to make my points? I don’t know, maybe. Honestly I’ve tried to do without these punctuation crutches as much as possible, and with enough revising often find that I can eliminate some. But oftentimes not, so there they stay like so much confetti strewn upon the pages. Just think of them as hieroglyphics……there for some very mysterious but “good” reason. (BTW have I used enough mixed metaphors?)

On the other hand some folks who’ve read my work have described it as: “like a dream”; “lyrical”; “painting terrific word pictures”; “a joy to read”; “beautiful prose”. They obviously know more than I do about what constitutes good writing! (And no, though tempting, I will absolutely NOT stick an lol in here. I abhor the things. But trust me I am, as I write, laughing at myself.)

So hearing from you and getting your feedback would be both enlightening and terrifying. I look forward to it! – AH