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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

It's Time to Start Talking Impeachment

Trump's recent tweets should be enough evidence that he is unfit for office, but of greater interest is the looming evidence of his presidential campaign's ties to Russian hackers and his funding from various Russian sources. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is indicating he wants the FBI investigation to end. Trump has been calling the investigation a hoax for months. They have something to hide. They will not be able to keep it hidden.

Still, it is instructive that Trump shows no bottom when it comes to crudity, disrespect and disgracing the presidency. If he has no lower limit in dishonoring the presidency in abusive tweets, he likely has no lower limit about anything. That anything, of course, would include declaring martial law, having his enemies put in jail, or even ordering phony military actions. He should be removed from office. I believe it is only a matter of time before his is removed. The sooner the better.

Right now it is at the fun stage, Trump making such a fool of himself he has become a national  - and international - laughingstock. The fun could end soon, though, so it is best to keep the pressure up. I hope I have been doing my part responding to his tweets. It has been enjoyable, but also is a form of self-degradation getting into the Trump cesspool.

I was mulling this over today, that it is not healthy for a person to self-slime by engaging with Donald J. Trump. It's good to have doubt. Psychopaths/sociopaths like Trump have no doubts, no qualms, no scruples. I finally decided that it is good to be a citizen, and to engage in civic action. I'm not much for joining groups, though I am technically a member of a few environmental organizations - I donate small amounts to them, making me a "member." Writing will have to do.

The tweets back to Trump are easy to do from websites that embed them. I even answered a nasty tweet from Trump's White House social media director Dan Scavino. As it turns out, his qualification for the job is that he was Trump's caddy when he was a teenager.

These are bizarre times, but there have been worse times. World War II was worse. The Great Depression was worse. World War I was worse. The Civil War was worse. The Revolutionary War was worse. In this context Trump is pretty small potatoes. We can and should easily rid ourselves of him . Let's start talking impeachment.

Here's an Impeachment song. Here's another. I'm sure some better ones will be out soon.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fortunate Sons

If a picture is worth a thousand words, three pictures should be worth at least three thousand words. Maybe more. Whomever the president may be, his or her portrait is shown at veterans hospitals throughout the country, along with a portrait of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

The portrait reveals how the president wishes to be seen by the many thousands of veterans who pass by every day. Worthy of note is that the two most recent presidents did not serve in the military, and the president who preceded them is a deserter. He chose to include a picture of his vice-president in the display. His vice-president also did not serve in the military.

I only took these pictures in passing, didn't have the presence of mind to take one when Clinton was president. As I vaguely remember, his portrait showed him smiling. Clinton did not serve in the military, starting a new trend. All of these men sent people to their deaths, and all of them caused much death and destruction around the planet (except Trump, of course - he hasn't had enough time).

Here's a song. Here's another. And anotherFor Trump.

I suppose these various service-avoiding presidents and vice-president just weren't born to follow.

Update, June 26: The New York Times has published a list of Trump's lies since taking office.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

After Trump

Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see, but the look in Donald Trump's eyes lately is what I call "the Alzheimer's look." It's a mix of confusion and fear, of not quite having a grasp of what is going on, groping for words, speaking in the most rudimentary, makeshift manner, far below what one expects of the President of the United

Examples are myriad of Trump's poor level of communication. His comments about the death of former prisoner of North Korea Otto Warmbier are typical: "A lot of bad things happened." He also said "It’s a total disgrace, what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen. He should have brought home that same day. The result would have been a lot different."

Trump didn't specify what day that same day might have been, but we can presume it was the day Mr. Warmbier was arrested. He also didn't elaborate on how the imprisonment of an American in North Korea would never, ever be allowed to happen. This is pretty emblematic of Trump's rhetorical style, but the mainstream media give him a pass, saying he's a man of emotion, not eloquence. Or variations on the theme. He's not like other presidents, blah, blah, blah.

The look in Trump's eyes reminds me of Ronald Reagan when he appeared at the funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. He looked confused, and sometimes afraid. I couldn't find a good picture of that look, but the one on the right will do. He looks confused enough. He may have had the disease while in office.

Which is interesting, if you compare Reagan's speech while in office. Though he spoke mainly from scripts, Ronald Reagan, when he spoke spontaneously, expressed himself more intelligently and clearly than does Trump.

It might not be Alzheimer's disease, but a growing chorus of medical professionals is voicing concern over Trump's mental state.

For most in the news media, and in the ideologentsia (a word I just made up), it doesn't enter the conversation. News breakers and their pundit symbiotists depend for their paychecks on endless talk about what Trump supposedly believes and on what his "policies" are, when he has neither beliefs nor policies. Ideologues on "the left" look for excuses to call him a "right-winger." It is left (not "the left") to comedians, such as Stephen Colbert, to look at Trump the man, a deeply flawed individual with psychological problems.

We might wonder what Trump's declining mental state means for the country. In an era where there are multiple nuclear threats worldwide, it certainly portends danger and catastrophe. There are some who harp on how Trump controls "the football" that holds the "nuclear codes" that can be used to order a missile strike. He could start World War III.

I'm not so pessimistic. At least not about Trump. As far as he is concerned, I have great optimism that he will be out of office by the end of the year, and likely much sooner. Even if he is of sound mind - though evidence indicates otherwise - he is an incompetent. A bumbler, a doofus and a fraud. Though we have had some terrible presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes come to mind), none has shown such thorough inability to perform the task at hand. Eventually his own party - at least the party to which he feigns loyalty - will see him as a liability and even a threat. They will find a way to get rid of him.

More likely, though, is that his progressing mental disease will force him to resign. If he indeed has Alzheimer's disease, it will get worse every day. That, compounded with his other mental challenges, will make Trump an embarrassment even to himself.

The departure of Donald Trump will be of little comfort. Climate change will still be getting more serious. Our unsustainable infinite-growth economic system will still be unsustainable - and closer to its inevitable collapse. The steady decline in our social structure - to say nothing of our physical infrastructure - will continue apace. Our advanced, mass commercial system is not built to solve these problems - and in our case to admit they exist.

Yet exist they do. We will face them when it is too late. Some say it is too late now. Maybe a new approach will work. Something more humble. It doesn't seem likely, but one can always hope. It will take a messiah. Or maybe Quinn the Eskimo.

Here's a song. Alternate version. Alternate alternate version. Reggae version. The Hollies. String Cheese Incident. Phish. Kris Kristofferson. A short and weak version, but The Beatles. It seems that everyone is waiting for Quinn the Eskimo. Let's hope he (or she) gets here before this happens.

Here's the story of the song. The inspiration for it is likely the performance of Anthony Quinn in The Savage Innocents, a movie about the cultural clash between a family of Alaskan Eskimos and the dominant Canadian authorities. Quinn plays the lead character of Inuk the Eskimo.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ride the Man Down

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s I read a spree of Western novels, starting with the many works of Louis L'Amour, then Max Brand, Luke Short, and finally the legendary Zane Grey. They were all great writers. I got started on the spree by a suggestion from a friend when I lived at the Siddha Yoga ashram in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Louis L'Amour fever quickly spread among ashramites, at least among males. It was one of the more benign fads that would breeze through the facility.

I loved reading these books, and found them full of wisdom and life lessons. Many quotes stuck in my mind, and this one one from The Broken Gun by L'Amour was repeated in many of his stories: "In my dealings with criminals in the past one thing had become obvious, that all were incurable optimists, as well as egotists. They were confident their plans would succeed, and had nothing but contempt for the law and for the law abiding citizen." (p. 95)

A quote from Zane Grey's Shadow on the Trail has come back most prominently in recent months. He used the term "Ride the man down" to describe the dogged determination of Texas Ranger posses to capture a wanted criminal. They would literally run a man down on horseback, chasing him relentlessly until his horse was exhausted and could go no farther.

The entire planet is in a predicament where a lifelong criminal is the chief executive of its richest and most powerful country. All the intelligence agencies have evidence that he was elected with the help of the Russian government. The FBI is hot on the trail, and the special counsel investigating the Russian hacking of the 2016 election, Robert Mueller, is reportedly focusing his attention on possible obstruction of justice by our president, Donald J. Trump.

The Russian hacking is also being investigated by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate intelligence committees. There are other investigations in addition to these.

The FBI investigation may be enough to bring Trump to justice. He is already attempting to undermine the probe, calling it a witch hunt, and has begun a smear campaign against Mueller. His propaganda supporters at Fox News and elsewhere are helping him.

They may succeed in discrediting Mueller and the Russian hacking investigation, but it isn't likely. Momentum is building against Trump. He is a national embarrassment, making us look like fools to the rest of the world. If we have any self-respect as a people we will help remove Trump from office in whatever way we can. He is the archetypal criminal that Louis L'Amour wrote about - an incurable optimists as well as an egotist. He is confident his plans will succeed, and has nothing but contempt for the law and for the law abiding citizen.

One way is to show support for the FBI investigation by writing to our representatives in Congress. Another is to write to local and national news publications. Social media is another avenue of discourse. Calling radio shows. Yard signs. Bumper stickers. Rallies.

Even watching TV shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Meyers helps. They both have been skewering Trump weeknightly with sizzling, insightful comedic rants. Watching them improves their ratings, and paves the way for more incisive criticism across the media spectrum. It's fun too.

We can all be like Texas Rangers, riding the man down. It may seem cruel, but Trump is a dangerous evil, and driving him from office should become our national sport. Each of us, in our own LEGAL way, can ride him down. Saddles up!

Here's a song. Here's another. Leadbelly. I always liked this song. Here's a racing song. Alternate version. Waylon and Willie. Ian and Sylvia. I used to have the album. The Flying Burrito Brothers. Alternate versionHere's a history of the Texas Rangers. Gene Autry. Alternate versionRoy Rogers with the Sons of the Pioneers. More Sons of the Pioneers. Johnny Cash. Asleep at the Wheel. Here's a song for Trump. Substitute 71 for 21. Marty Robbins. More Marty Robbins. Tex Owens.  Alternate version. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.

For some more on Donald Trump's criminal life, click here.

Here's an update on "Republican" election criminality other than Trump.

Here's a look at Trump's financial interests.

A worthy read.