2017

Here, There & Everywhere

Some days my old and overcrowded mind seems to flit from one scene to another while rolling that movie-like reel called my life and depicting some of the experiences I’ve been through, some thoughts, current events, feelings and what have you. Sometimes that reel gets pretty jumbled and jammed not seeming to be able to concentrate on just one subject. Today is one of those days, and here are only a few of those random images that flowed through my brain taking me Here, There & Everywhere!

In Retrospect! I started driving at a very late stage of my life – I was about 39 years old, if memory holds – so, needless to tell you that I am a wimp of a driver and need to be in the passenger seat ten times familiarizing myself with a route before daring to navigate any destination on my own! This handicap though, has not prevented me from incurring quite a few speeding tickets during my driving life! Quite a Paradox, to say the least! This morning I approached a right turn ramp and was clearing my way so as to get on the road ahead when an impatient driver behind me beeped me to Go! The incident reminded me of how many times while driving with my husband, who was in the passenger seat, and while apprehensively waiting at a crossroads or ramp to clear my way, he would impatiently snap at me saying: Are you waiting for the traffic from Canada to stop before you go? It does sound funny now as things in retrospect often do! It wasn’t funny to me then!

Fashion: Browsing through the different TV Channels, I wonder to myself: Where are the ladies buying these mostly unbecoming and inelegant frocks from? Who are the designers dressing them in these copie conforme outfits? And how unoriginal is it when they are all fashioned in the same short, sleeveless shifts and spiked heels that give the impression of Stepford wives?  Barbie dolls? Pretty trite sex-appeal, I must say! And I am not a seventy-four-year old prude either!! They also parrot each other’s “news” and “buzz” words all the time, – which was parodied so well by Jon Stewart at one time! So uninspired this copy-catting! As for their hair! Oh! Have we no hairstylists that know how to bring out the best in a face? It is almost the same bloody hairstyle on most of them: the long tresses coming down each side of their face, typically curled with this new curling gizmo same as those current phony shampoo ads? Really, ladies? That’s pretty unoriginal, unimaginative and so damn boring!

Devolution: Apparently America’s Mayors had their annual conference lately after which 250 Mayors pledged to run their cities on renewable energy by 2035. And, the ex Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is donating 200 million dollars in innovation grants to cities in order for their Mayors to tackle critical issues without federal help. So it seems to me that there is a Devolution going on in these United States! The Mayors are bucking the White House on Climate Change and enacting their own rules regarding that, as well as a host of other issues that affect their inhabitants and cities. This should not surprise a White House that is creating its own Devolution of the country, except that Republicans don’t like the Mayors because they are mostly Progressive! After all, Conservatives have managed, over Obama’s tenure especially, to have Republicans elected in most Governorships as well as in all important state, county and local positions, while the Democratic Party was AWOL! Are you still wondering why they lost the election? Moreover, countering Trump’s edicts, it seems to me, is happening all across the board – nationally and internationally. For instance: The WNBA’s Seattle Storm executives are donating a percentage of their ticket sales to Planned Parenthood and in the process telling Trump: if you won’t fund it, we will! Another example: A German company called OpenSourceSeeds is offering farmers organic seeds to counter the lethal Monsanto seeds! This is Devolution in my opinion, away from across-the-world out of touch and draconian governments/corporations and back to conscientious citizens and organizations! This gives me hope! Checks and Balances! How sweet are such Protestations! Check out the link below for how the G20 nations are doing their own thing too – and I do hope it is not simply double-speak on their part!

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_g19_outmaneuvered_climate_rogmply ue_trump_ignored_donald_ivanka_20170708

Corruption: Every day we seem to hear of new cases of corruption. A recent one that caught my attention is one that happened in Iowa, where the Manager in the Security Division of the Iowa Lottery managed to rig the machines so that he, his brother and other relatives would have the winning numbers! They were caught and fined. Their trial began in April of 2015 and the corrupt Security Director lately received a sentence of 25 imprisonment years! (Another lottery corruption scandal had occurred in Pennsylvania in 1980) I wonder how many more lotteries are rigged? How much more corruption whether in Medicare, Medicaid, Government waste and contractor fraud are yet to be unearthed? It seems that there is a new scandal of this sort every day!

Freedom of Speech: It is enshrined in our Constitution. That’s good! Except: it is more often than not giving license for some politicians, comedians, journalists et al to say anything even if it is disrespectful, demeaning, slanderous, or false. This is setting a very ugly tone in the national discourse. Oh, how when Money talks, Integrity walks! On the other hand, and where some of our Government sectors are concerned, Free Speech stops if we do not like it. Hence, our Legislators, who have nothing better to do, want to go after the RT (Russian Television) Channel for “spreading propaganda!” You see, if we spread propaganda – and we do it all the time! – it is A Okay, however if it is spread by anyone contradicting us it is not! The same goes for the Al-Jazeera Station in Qatar where the Saudis (our proxies in this case?) are now demanding that this Station be shuttered up simply because it’s stories – mostly true – contradict our narrative of events in the Middle East! Free Speech? Yes. Only if it agrees with our Fake News storyline! Bah, humbug to that!

Capital Punishment: I consider the murder of anyone to be a crime whether it is committed out of passion, anger, rage, revenge or any other unacceptable reason. However, murder by the State is a double crime, a more egregious offense! How the hell can any government that legislates murder as a law-breaking tort go on and kill anyone? Totally contradictory! So I was extremely perturbed that Virginia, the state I live in, executed one of its inmates on July 6! It was a most disturbing event! State executions should not be allowed! Period!

Civil Disobedience: The Dakota Access Pipeline scandal shamefully continues! The latest is that a judge decreed that the Trump Administration did not conduct an adequate environmental review of that sorry pipeline before ordering the project to resume. Perhaps our Judicial Systems still work??!! Maybe sometimes? May all our judges be King Solomon, and not faint-hearted, opportunistic, corrupt partisans! Check the below link. Exquisite!

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/07/08/Nuns-protest-gas-pipeline-by-building-chapel-on-proposed-route/8201499556861/

Democrats: They can’t seem to get it all together! Why can’t they understand that their leadership is corrupt? Totally! Some days I even think that their leadership, and despite their feigned protestations, are working towards ensuring that Republicans and Conservatives remain in power for the foreseeable future. After all, Hillary, Obama, Pelosi, or any of the others of their ilk, stand to profit royally from Trump’s policies. They, too, are the 1%! Let them drop the charade already! The only hope is that some new, sincere, honest citizen will emerge out of the ashes of their lies, corruption, opportunism and war-mongering and lead Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Progressives! Maybe Bernie and his ongoing efforts will catapult someone into the arena! Maybe! Hopefully!

Note: I am off Twitter again! Twits! Narcissists! Phooey!

Phew! I am now exhausted from all of these thoughts flitting Here, There and Everywhere! Methinks I need a glass of chilled white wine to offset them! And . . . perhaps . . . I’ll roll me a joint, too!

2017

Puzzling

When George “Dubya” Bush was President, his Opposition shouted that all his policies were dictated by the evil Carl Rove who sat on his shoulder – as per a Time magazine cover story at that time, as well as other sources – and whispered all those dreadful things in his ear. In the Trump administration, the culprit is now Steve Bannon. All the failings and wrong-doings of this administration are attributed to him. In either case, I, and no one else either, knows the merits of these surreptitious allegations. And when Obama became President, his Opposition vilified him in every which way: he wasn’t born in the US, he is a Muslim (as if that is a slur!), he is an African savage, he is a snob who eats arugula, he is too this and too that! Smearing and innuendos are, after all, some of Washington, DC’s favorite pastimes. And, of course, our hallowed MSM (Mainstream Media), loves this sort of “news!” They are in the business of entertainment, sensationalism, gossip and triviality. The real “news” is not their forte by any standards! Their pompous, arrogant, corrupt choices of what is important for ordinary citizens to be informed about without the filter of bias, bigotry and melodrama is pathetically lacking. Of late, this has been demonstrated on a daily and hourly basis. They should be ashamed of themselves, however, “shame,” “integrity” and “professional pride” escape their scope, while they insist that a “free press” is necessary for a democracy. Free Press? Really? Who the hell are they kidding?

A tragic event took place in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 13. Representative Steve Scalise and three other people were shot by a white, all-American radical, extremist terrorist who later died. The despicable event stunned the capital! People who were at the baseball field where the shootings took place described the scene as a chaotic and terror-filled few minutes whence they could not even get up and run and felt that they were under siege. They said it was a killing field and that the quick response of the police averted it from becoming an outright massacre. Watching it on television, I was tearing up. It was absolutely shocking!

Simply for information, I looked up gunshot deaths in the US after this. Here is what I found as per the Everytown Research Organization and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention):

On average, 93 Americans die each day from gunshots in the US. There are 12,000 gun homicides (on average) per day – 62% are suicides. Seven children and teens die per day and 50 women are shot by their partners every single day – almost two an hour! These are horrifying numbers!

Keeping all these figures in mind should not take away from the tragic event that took place on June 13. These killings, as most other murders occurring on a daily basis, are appalling. “We Are United,” chorused the President and all the politicians. However: United, I thought? How? What on earth were they talking about? Was it only on this heartbreaking occasion that we are united? In passing a health care bill that is fair and compassionate – listening to the Right: it’s almost perfect, the Left says it’s a disaster. Who’s correct? In arriving to a coherent, non-partisan consensus on our chaotic, and, yes, criminal, foreign policy? In legislating for the general good and not for their corrupt pockets? It rings hollow this “United” that only appears fleetingly after a tragedy and then disappears! Paul Ryan in a rousing(?) speech said after the incident:

“We Do Not Shed Our Humanity When We Enter This Chamber.”

I listened to him and my eyes glazed over! Is it only when it is convenient to do so? And what humanity? The one in which “this chamber” supported all the military arms sales to everyone and their mother? The one in which our legislators never uttered a whimper as our drones were murdering innocent people and children on the killing fields of the Middle East? The time when the “chamber” was outraged by Assad using chemical weapons on innocent people, and then remained silent when we, the US military, used white phosphorous in Raqqa? Is that not chemical warfare? Is it humane to continue in our never-ending wars whose victims are mostly innocent, unarmed civilians? Oh, please! We shed our humanity a long time ago! Does the “chamber” not see that for us, Middle Easterners, whether living over there, or as exiles across the world, and who are educated, cosmopolitan, espouse pro-democratic values and support freedom are becoming more alienated by the hour from Western foreign policies regarding our native countries? How do we explain that to their unseeing eyes? Are their policies Inept? Stupid? Maliciously Deliberate? How do we justify the “collateral damage” of the millions of killed innocents, uprooted, immigrants flowing from the war zones, internally displaced in miserable camp conditions, the raped, the maimed, the “missing” and kidnapped, the desperation and the fury? Our perceptions, our emotions and our experiences are definitely not the same on these issues, and until we can all really empathize with the “other” then conflicts and wars will remain.

See, it is precisely this blatant hypocrisy that infuriates me, because we identify with the anguish that is being caused by US policies and the “chamber” does not. Our reaction is human, maybe even tribal, let alone one that is based on ideals, justice and “Christian?” values. That’s why these double-standards are very disconcerting to me. Moreover, with every bullet, drone raid, bomb and invasion we are creating more infuriated youngsters who, due to their despair, grief and losses, are being easily – easily! – radicalized, creating more chaos for the future. They have lost everything, therefore vengeance, based on a false religious premise – and definitely not Islam – that is used to manipulate them, seems to be totally justified in their young, angry, vulnerable minds.

The criminal peddling of more arms and weapons into an already saturated world is only an invitation for more misery, chaos, killing and vengeance. How and When does it end? Certainly not by more killing, or by supporting any macho thug, or warlord who says that he will fight those we are fighting? We do not know anymore who is with us, and who is just a mercenary profiteering! Total Ludicrous Bedlam!

The shootings on a baseball field in Virginia made me tear up. Yet, every day as I read and listen to what is going on in the Middle East, I cry some more, and wonder when Paul Ryan and the “chamber” will realize that ALL human beings suffer in the same way; that we all describe bloody scenes as chaotic and terror-filled where innocent human beings, especially children, feel that they are under a constant state of siege with nowhere to run, and that they live in killing fields where they are being daily massacred.

And that is exactly why it is very puzzling to me that no politician makes the connection between what happened in Virginia, and what is happening on an hourly basis in the Middle East where we seem to be going from one blunder into another!?! From Iraq, to Libya, going back to the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, all the in-between wars, and now on to Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Seriously? It’s not Carl Rove, or Steve Bannon whispering these evil doings. After all, our policies are the same whether it is Bush, Clinton, Obama, or Trump in the White House. We should ask ourselves: Who are the evil-doers then? And, how does it end? Or, are we all doomed forever?

Puzzling!