2018

Mon Dieu!!

Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu! Recapping events is sometimes more exhausting than living them! But, here goes: It seems that the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) in France are causing some major headaches for Macron resulting in the French Administration’s withdrawal of the fuel tax that it had imposed and which was the spark that ignited the protests. However, after high school students, ambulance drivers, trade unions, farmers, truck drivers, single mothers etc. joined the protest movement, the demands are now for reforms on many levels. The rise of fuel prices, electricity and gas bills, easing taxes on the wealthy and other “globalization” measures that the government has taken have exposed how out of touch politicians are with the hard-pressed middle class and blue-collar laborers. The recent taxes, said to be an effort to mitigate climate change by subsidizing cleaner fuels – essentially, a sound idea as our climate is in crisis – cut into the pocketbooks of ordinary citizens and seems to punish them rather than cause any discomfort on the wealthy by raising their taxes. (Sounds familiar?) These latest waves of protest, not seen in France since 1968, have wreaked havoc on Paris and have even caused soccer matches to be cancelled and touristic monuments to be shut down! Now they are saying that it was possibly Russian Meddling that boosted the upheavals??!! Sounds familiar? Really? Mon Dieu, Putin, mauvais garcon! In any case, Macron’s “atonement” speech fell kind of flat, didn’t it?

The violent and collective anger on the streets of Paris are merely a harbinger of worse to come not only in France, but worldwide, as politicians and governments are underestimating the despair of their citizens, and as ruthless runaway, unfettered capitalism continues to create deep societal fissures, uncertain futures and income inequality. While politicians and the wealthy continue to meet in the G7, G8, G20, Davos and all those other multi-nation gatherings where they feast, gab and pose for the memorial picture, they seem to be creating more devious ways in which to punish the laboring classes as they reap more and more wealth, resulting in the people of the world asking: why isn’t the education of our children getting better; why is our healthcare suffering; why can’t we make ends meet despite working so damn hard; why is it that whenever governments tell us that they have decreased our taxes they somehow manage to skim those so-called tax savings off our paychecks by increasing fuel, food and other essential needs costs? Why is it so hard for them to raise our measly wages and not so difficult for them to raise their own nauseatingly high incomes? The injustice and inequality are burning people up!

As one example amongst many in our US, the debate on pre-existing conditions and whether they ought to be covered by the health insurance companies rages on. How inhumane is that? This, as the combined earnings of the CEOs of the largest insurance companies were 342 Million in 2017!! Mon Dieu! Maybe we should blame Putin for this, also?

In any case, while the Paris protests were going on, Greece was witnessing its own protests, as was Spain, other European countries have their issues too, such as the anxiety regarding the unknown outcome of Brexit, then there are the US-China Trade Wars, OPEC lowering its oil output, our never ending wars and the question becomes: will the yellow jackets phenomenon be spreading its wings and gathering within its span all the world’s discontented? Moreover, if we couple these angry protests and events with the general angst people are feeling regarding the dire climate predictions – irrelevant of what you may think is causing them, they are actually happening; the ability of governments to warp and misuse every democratic law that they please at the expense of subduing dissidents and doing what cements their power; the increasing amount of mass murders in schools and public places; the new technologies and their ability to wreak havoc (disaster?) on our lives; cyber hacking/warfare; the greed of social media moguls as well as unethical gene modification experiments etc. etc. the future for us ordinary humans becomes frightening and very unsettling. I am not a specialist on anything, but I know that what is going on in France is simply the starting point for what is surely going to become, at some point or the other, mass protests and uprisings elsewhere as the middle and labor classes get more squeezed, and as the rich from Moscow to New York, and from Dubai to Beijing not only become richer, but more callous, out of touch and arrogant. Money is not Communist or Socialist. It is a Capitalist venture that unites all ideologies and religions within its corrupt and far-reaching net. It’s just not right!

As another Christmas season rolls around, I will leave you with the timeless and poignant anti-war lyrics of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song: Happy Xmas (War is Over). It was my Mother’s favorite Christmas song, and its sentiment and authentic words, nowadays maybe more than ever, reflects what most of the world aspires for!

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Xmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (now)
And so Happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over, if you want it
War is over now

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2018

Celine Dion Fashions

Celine Dion is a terrific woman by any standard. Her life story is interesting, her successes are incredible, having performed with so many fantastic vocalists and having sold numerous smash hits and albums. After losing her husband, manager and life-long partner whom she first met and fell in love with when she was twelve years old, she is nowadays a rich and famous woman who is enjoying life with her three sons. Recently she has launched a “gender-neutral,” or, unisex clothing line for children: CELINUNUNU. The birth to fourteen fashions have no Blue (for boys) or Pink (for girls), but come in Black and White with all the design variations in mixing these two colors. Dion says that she is not telling parents how to rear their children, but wants to open people’s minds and avoid enforcing gender stereotypes on youngsters who, she believes, have to “find themselves.” What, I thought to myself, has gotten into her, and into people like her who are now advocating for this “gender-neutral” premise for Children? And why are we messing up those children all the more with these non-proven, non-scientific, experimental approaches? Don’t they have enough to deal with already?

Babies are born with a Biological body: a penis for boys, and a vagina for girls. This is a Fact that no new experimental fad can alter. And, from birth until their brains mature enough (generally in their early to mid twenties) it makes sense to have them be what they are Biologically born as. Having said that, it is okay for boys to play with dolls, for instance, and for girls to play with trucks. Much to the horror of my traditional in-laws back then in the early Sixties and Seventies, I bought dolls for my boys, and trucks for my daughters. I also know so many young girls who tried urinating while standing up like boys, and realizing that they made a mess, did not try it any more. I also know young boys who enjoyed dressing up as girls, and having tried it and had their giggles rarely tried it again. Moreover, so many girls throughout the ages have said: I want to be a boy, and so many boys have said: I wish I was a girl. All of this and more, is absolutely alright and very normal. We are also becoming more aware of not telling little boys, for instance: Don’t cry, be a man! Or, telling little girls: Climb down from that tree, you’re not a boy! However, indicating to immature children with our words, behavior and expectations that they have “the option” of choosing who they want to be during their early and formative years is truly going way overboard with our modern theories.

Many of us are at a time in our development as civilized people when we are in a position to be accepting, tolerant and respecting of people’s choices: get married, or not; have a family, or not; become a doctor, or an astronaut etc. etc. These choices are no more being dictated by parents, traditions, cultures or beliefs. Thank Heavens for that! We are also becoming (not all of humanity is there, and many have far to go yet) more aware of genetic inclinations, as well as personal preferences and, therefore, accepting, tolerant and respectful of people’s sexual orientations. We should be. This does not mean that we mess up a Little Child by insinuating that they have sexuality choices and options. They do not! Just as they have no choices or options for smoking, drinking alcohol, going to school, lying, bullying etc. etc., sexual orientation is definitely one of those no choice options. There are simply some things that we do not and cannot allow our children to choose from during their very early, impressionable and vulnerable years, especially, when a few of them might be questioning their sexual identity, as well as questioning their own feelings regarding these matters. Meanwhile, and until their brains have developed sufficiently, they should realize that whatever they feel, or think is fine, but that they cannot act upon their wishes, or desires. It’s as simple as that!

So, yes, in order to move forward we must always think out of the proverbial “box.” It is a good thing for us to do so, otherwise, humanity will not go forward, advance or become more civilized. We cannot, and should not, categorize and box ourselves into any mindset or any tradition and limit our progress towards achieving a more optimal way of existing. The Suffragette Movement, The Women’s Liberation Movement, MeToo, Black Lives Matter and other such organizations wouldn’t have happened had we still been thinking inside the box and accepting of the status quo. And, yes, there are a few – very few! – kids who might not belong to their given biological body. However, do we negate the entire reality of Boys and Girls in order to bring on awareness about a rare situation? Perhaps, rather than teaching Children that they can be whom they want to be sexually and leaving it up to Finding Themselves, we would do much better by stressing how they should respect, accept and love themselves and others no matter what their ethnicity, religion, or gender is. However, in our efforts to be understanding, let’s not go radical, as we do on so many issues, and end up experimenting with a whole generation based on an untested idea that goes against Nature and Biology and, more importantly, against Reason and Common Sense. So while life is always presenting us with problems, for which we often find solutions, and, occasionally, the solution itself might present a new set of problems, I sincerely hope that a sweeping change would not be on the subject of gender-neutrality For Children!! Children!

Suggestion to Celine Dion and others who advocate this gender-neutral approach: We have enough problems to deal with as humanity without adding another unnecessary dimension. Meanwhile, let the Children Be Children who will, in due time, Find Themselves when sometime during their twenties their brains would have developed enough for them to do so. At that point, they can decide what their sexual identity is, and, if different from their biological and physical body, take the necessary steps towards achieving that fulfillment. Until then, influencing them, no matter how subtly, with the idea that they have the option of choice, and leaving them to wonder: am I really a girl, or, maybe, I am a boy – during their early and formative years is simply ludicrously wrong.