Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sack of Potatoes startin' to look good—again

Potatoes doing what they do—nothing. Ya gotta love them.
I wrote a novel a while back entitled, Postal Service, which detailed the daily working of the USPS. Much of the novel centered on the relationship between management and the work force.
At one point, I suggested to a fellow carrier that we would be better off with a sack of potatoes as a supervisor. Naturally, when this got back to my supervisor—as these things always do—she jumped to the conclusion that I had accused her of being as dumb as a sack of potatoes.

I explained to her that anyone smarter than a sack of potatoes would know that wasn’t my intention. I told her she was an instigator, a trouble maker, someone constantly looking for a fight. I added that a sack of potatoes sitting at her desk, while unable to accomplish anything good, would nevertheless be incapable of creating so much havoc as she did on a daily basis.

Because of climate change, we are not even beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it’s beginning to look like a sack of potatoes in the Oval Office wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

What if on November 8, 2016, Republicans who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton, instead wrote in the name, Sacko Potato? What if American voters put a sack of potatoes in the Oval Office instead of Donald Trump?

To be sure, nothing would have been accomplished in the last year, meaning we would still have a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Also, we wouldn’t have had...well, actually that’s the only thing we wouldn’t have. Nothing else has been done.

So what else might a sack of potatoes not done?

For starters, it wouldn’t have named a foreign agent as head of the National Security Agency.

It wouldn’t have named Cabinet Secretaries to departments they want to destroy.

It wouldn’t have pulled out of the Paris Accords, which now essentially include everyone except us.

It wouldn’t have insulted virtually every leader in the world who isn’t a dictator.

It wouldn’t have waged a year-long war-of-words with a thin-skinned, arrogant, ego-driven boy-man—in short, his mirror-image.

It wouldn’t have gotten into spats with every significant member of Congress—Democrat or Republican.

It wouldn’t have gotten into public feuds with the NFL or the NBA or athletes in general.

It’s safe to say it probably wouldn’t have received the support of white supremacists, who are very particular who they hang around with.

It wouldn’t have turned on the free press while, at the same time, embrace conspiracy theorists.

It wouldn’t have insulted American Indians, Americans living in Puerto Rico, Americans who didn’t vote for him, Americans it happens to disagree with, or any American with a basic understanding of history or a working knowledge of the English language.

It wouldn’t have put its self-interest ahead of the country’s best interest.

It wouldn’t have turned the White House into a pre-school playground.

On almost any day, you can hear the news coming out of this administration or read a tweet coming off the president’s phone and say, “No sir. A sack of potatoes wouldn’t have done that.”

In the end, there is a lot that a sack of potatoes cannot do and will never be able to do, but thank God, for all the things that a sack of potatoes cannot do and will never do. That’s the sack half full/sack half empty look at potatoes.

It’s why sometimes I wish there were a sack of potatoes sitting in the Oval Office right now, stinking up the place instead of the stinker we have.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Houston to Earth: We Have a Problem

There is a tendency by some to think climate change—if they believe it at all—is only about the temperature rising. If that were the case, then the solution to the problem would be bigger and better air conditioners.  Problem solved.

Unfortunately, scientists, who were roundly criticized by politicians who openly admitted they were not scientists, warned us from day one that there was more to it. Incidentally, day one was several decades ago if it were a day.

As temperatures rose, they advised us, ice would melt, seas would rise, weather patterns would change, and in the case of the Artic, sea lanes would open up and the long-sought after Northwest Passage would finally present itself—just when we didn’t need it. Natural occurrences like hurricanes, tornados and typhoons would occur more frequently and be more destructive.

It was all hyperbole, critics claimed. Politicians told us scientists were just trying to scare us. I’ll tell you what isn’t hyperbole. The number of politicians trying to scare us to promote their own agendas, which makes their criticism of scientists, sheer hypocrisy.

So, I have these two images competing for my mind’s attention right now.

Image result for Houston Flood

Houston, submerged under two feet of rainwater, after four days of continual rain. This storm was larger and more horrific than those of the past because the Gulf of Mexico is a few degrees warmer than in the past—something scientists warned us about.

Then there is Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma, standing on the Senate floor holding a snowball, not so much to denounce as to ridicule climate scientists.

“I got this from outside,” he said. “It’s very cold out there.”

That’s like saying, “Gravity, what gravity? Don’t you see that plane flying overhead?” The fact is, winters and the resulting precipitation are changing drastically from the patterns we had become accustomed to—again something climate scientists predicted.

When Senator Inhofe’s vaudeville act was over, he tossed the snowball to a colleague, but an aide caught it instead. Every time I see this clip, I wonder why the aide didn’t throw it back. You don’t have to be an expert on winter to know that’s what you do when someone throws a snowball at you.

Obviously, people unaware of snowball etiquette are simply going to have to adjust—just as people unaccustomed to four feet of water in their living rooms are going to have to adjust to these changing times.

Because the times—just as Bob Dylan and climate scientists have predicted—are changing.

Climate is changing. Weather is changing. The debate over whether these changes are man-made will continue as scientists provide more convincing data and non-scientist politicians come up with even more creative props.

As for the rest of us, we should be saying what the good folks of Houston might be saying.

“We don’t care who’s responsible—just do something about it.”

They might have a point.

A push toward cleaner energy might not help, but it certainly won’t hurt. A push for energy efficient vehicles and appliances might not help, but it certainly can’t hurt. A push to break away from our fossil fuel dependency, fueled by an almost fanatical dependency on plastic might not help, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Looking to the future is certainly better than looking back to the past. This is what enlightened men have always done.

The dams surrounding Houston, which failed to various degrees—just as the levees surrounding New Orleans failed during Katrina—are part of America’s infrastructure.

That’s right. Infrastructure is not just a word thrown around during political debates. It is real things—roads, bridges, dams, sea-walls, levees, subways, runways and the electric grid among other things. What isn’t infrastructure is a Mexican border wall.

Instead of keeping immigrants out, or sending the ones who are here back, we should be bringing them in to work on massive building projects that aren’t towers, casinos and sports arenas. Yes, there is enough work to go around, yes, there is enough money to pay for it, and yes, this is real.

Houston is not an isolated case. It sits between a massive gulf of water and a massive amount of flatland. Miami and Fort Lauderdale sit between the Atlantic Ocean and the already saturated Everglades. Norfolk, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and dozen more coastal and water-bordering cities are at risk.

There is work to be done everywhere.

Is it man’s fault? Dinosaurs would have loved the luxury of being able to debate the arrival of a life-destroying asteroid—maybe blame a tyreneronussauris rex, who no one liked anyway, but when it was barreling towards them, it didn’t matter. They just wished they could have done something about it.

We can do something about our current situation. We can accept the idea that we may be at fault and stop doing what we’re doing, fix the things we can fix, and stop pretending we know more than the experts.

One more thing. Any time some buffoon throws a snowball at you, throw it back.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Fable

The Fable of
The Wolf and the Human

The wolf was walking along the sidewalk looking as best he could to be a large but friendly dog. He came across a man sitting on the curb and looking sad. A terrible tragedy appeared to have occurred. The wolf was aware of the reputation wolves had and knew the risks posed should his identity become known. Still, he was not without empathy and he was always in search of a good story.

“What’s wrong, man? You don’t look well.”

The human looked at the wolf and smiled confidently.

“You don’t fool me. You talk like a human, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I know a dog when I see one. And don’t think for a moment that I think you are a friendly dog. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that looks can be deceiving.”

“I guess I can’t pull the wool over your eyes,” said the wolf who still looked like a dog and spoke like a human. “As I was saying, you don’t look well. What’s wrong?”

“Everything is wrong. A terrorist attack. A human has done great harm to his own kind. He has killed innocent people. He has destroyed all that was good and replaced it with evil.”

“I have heard of these terrorists, you speak of. They multiply like rabbits, I am told. Do you know what group this one belonged to?”

“This group? That group? What difference does it make? For all I know, he could have been a lone wolf.”

As he spoke these words, the human could have sworn he saw the dog cringe.

“I’m sorry. I meant you no harm. I know many people associate dogs with wolves—think they are one and the same. I assure you, I am not one of those people. Wolves are evil. Everyone knows this. Dogs—even one as large as yourself—are man’s best friend.”

“It’s the phrase itself. Lone wolf. I know what you humans mean when you speak it. A deranged individual, a loser, a man not so much without a heart as one without a soul. Someone for whom, life has no value. A monster able to create great destruction which greatly exceeds the measly little space he occupies in his very large world.”

The human was at a loss for words. He had never heard a human speak so eloquently, much less a dog.

“I suppose you are right. I haven’t thought about it much. Terms get thrown around a lot.”

“Do you know what I know about wolves?”

“I wouldn’t think you’d know anything about wolves.”

“And I don’t think you know anything about anything. So I will tell you what you don’t know. Wolves don’t kill other wolves. We don’t do so as individuals, nor in packs. We certainly don’t raise armies.

“In all of the animal kingdom, there is only one species that kills its own kind, and it does so in every imaginable way possible. Humans are, in fact, the most dangerous animal on the planet. They are a danger to themselves and to every other animal. They kill as lone individuals and as armies and everything in between.

“To call a lone human killer a lone wolf is an insult to every good wolf who has ever lived.”

“So now, you speak for wolves?”

“So now, I speak as a wolf.” As he said these words, his legs stiffened, his back arched and his muscles became taut. He raised his head until his eyes met the human’s eyes in what could only be described as a terrorizing moment.

The human realized for the first time that he was talking to a wolf. The first thought to cross his mind was that he did not have his gun with him. It was the second time in the last few minutes he had harbored that thought.

If I had my gun, I would shoot this bastard before he kills anyone.

That was the thought that popped into his head when he first saw the terrorist. What didn’t occur to him was that if the terrorist didn’t have a weapon, he wouldn’t need one, and no one would have died.

The wolf, who was very perceptive and thought he might even be endowed with a sixth sense, could only laugh and shake his head.

“You humans don’t have a clue. You kill every living creature you come across, including yourselves, and then brag about your great genes.

“Do you know that all of the species of animals alive today have been around longer than humans? They will still be here long after you are gone. Most of the animals that aren’t here are gone because of humans.”

“Not the dinosaurs.”

“No, not the dinosaurs, but it’s interesting that you bring them up. The dinosaurs were a victim of fate but they never succumbed to folly. They were around for over 165-million years. Humans have only been here for 200,000 years. Know why the dinosaurs lasted so long?”

“I haven’t thought about it.”

“They didn’t have trigger fingers. For all this time, humans have thought their thumbs were what separated them from all the other animals. I got news for you. It’s that trigger finger that’s going to do you in.”

“So we’re the bad guys?”

“You said it, not me. I’ve got another question for you. Do you know who kills most wolves?”

“Let me guess. Hunters? Human hunters?”

“Yeah, only we don’t call them hunters—or humans. We call them lone humans.”

With that, he lunged at the human, sinking his teeth into the human’s neck, using his paws to fight off the human arms that were flailing about like twigs in a hurricane. When the fight was over, the wolf dragged the human into an alley, where he left it for the rats to dispose of.

As he walked away, he turned back once and sneered.

“Now, that’s what a lone wolf terrorist attack looks like.”





Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The weight of a bad promise

This article appeared in the Virginian-Pilot, on July 30. They made one change replacing, "They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an ob/gyn clinic, donning rubber gloves and preparing to do what our current president has bragged about doing without gloves." with simply, "They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an ob/gyn clinic.” I kind of expected the change but it would have been interesting to see Republican “Fake news” (the ad) featured alongside the real news (Trump on tape) that he and his supporters would like us to forget.     

THE MOST COMMON defense I’ve heard for the Republican “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” bills, whether they be from Senators or Congressmen, is that they made promises to their constituents and they must keep their word.

President Obama also made a promise—to the country as a whole—to extend health care coverage to everyone, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. He kept that promise. Interestingly, Republicans on the day he was elected promised their base they would have nothing to do with this effort, and on day two and every day afterwards, continued with their “Repeal and Replace” promise.

Republicans warned about death panels. They gave us images of Uncle Sam in an OBGYN clinic. They continually tell us the richest country in the world can’t afford to do what every other country in the world does routinely. They are at a loss as to why drugs costing $70,000 in this country only cost $7,000 in other countries. Worst of all, they appear to seriously believe that money spent on poor, elderly, and sick people can be better spent by millionaires and billionaires.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we promise to deceive.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t go this way. How about this one?  Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them, or if you shouldn’t keep them.

Promises always make life difficult.

I know this from watching Law and Order, the History Channel, and listening in on any interview with any Republican politician on any news show.

The cop shows up at a crime scene, feels remorse for the helpless victim and says something that makes his partner cringe. “Don’t worry ma’am. We’ll get the guy who did this.” He might have the best intention, but he can’t predict the outcome of the case and his partner let’s him know this.

General MacArthur, when driven from the Philippines promised, “I shall return.” Luckily, for him, he was able to keep that promise but it didn’t come about easily and the cost was high.

Then you have the GOP for the last seven years, promising to repeal and replace Obamacare. Unlike the poor cop on the beat, or MacArthur boarding a boat, they didn’t have what you might call honorable intentions. The driving force behind their promise was to stick it to Obama.

“Repeal and replace” has become the holy grail of Republican politics. Every Republican in every state in every district for the last seven years has been running against Obamacare.

How has this ruse paid off? What has it gotten them?

Well, it’s taken a while, a lot of money, and a lot of bad faith promises, but they finally have complete control of the federal government—Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, and a fair share of the state governments. What they are learning, in the words of the titular head of the party, is that health care reform is harder than anyone thought. Repeal and replace is even harder still.

Yet, all we hear from these opportunists is, “We made a promise—to our constituents—and we have to keep that promise.” What their constituents are telling them is, if they replace, “Repeal and replace,” with “We’re going to take away your health insurance,” many of those constituents are prepared to replace their elected officials.

There are good promises and there are bad promises.

If you make a good promise, work hard to achieve it, but eventually fail, people will be mad but they will probably understand. This is the way it was for a long time for politicians trying to extend health care benefits until Obama finally succeeded in doing so.

On the other hand, if you make bad promises, work extra hard, even fanatically hard, to achieve them but keep coming up short, sensible people are going to say maybe you should rethink the original promise.

This is the problem with health care in America. Too many people don’t have coverage. Drugs are too expensive. Pharmaceutical companies are motivated more by making a profit than making people better. So are insurance companies. Scam artists are taking advantage of patients, insurance companies and government agencies to make a crooked buck.

A promise to fix these problems will go a long way to making people forget Republican s have spent the last seven years trying to fulfill a bad promise.     

Monday, July 24, 2017

Going Down

    As a TV star and narcissist par excellence, Trump is no newcomer to the world of self-promotion. The man understands branding better than a steer on the Chisholm Trail headed for Abilene did.
    What he doesn’t seem to understand is appearances—how things look to someone who isn’t name Donald Trump? On a side note, he’d approve that I mentioned his name in this piece again.
    To my point, though, no one has been able to convince him that his tweets do him more harm than good. His desire is to look like a man on top of things, a man engaged, a man fighting back. Instead he comes across as an insecure, bitter old man–child who has never taken no for an answer and isn’t about to let anyone tell him what to do as long as he has blood pumping through his thumb and a charged up iPhone.
    He is too much, “What you see is what you get” to understand the finer points of symbolism. That’s too bad because symbolism isn’t voodoo. It’s not mystique. Symbolism is very real. It’s just not always obvious. It’s usually not a good prognosticator, but it is damn good when it comes to evaluating something in hindsight.
    Take for instance, Trump’s announcement that he was going to run for president. We’ve all observed the scene a hundred times.
    Trump and Melania, riding the escalator down from their penthouse in Trump Tower to the lobby where fond admirers and reporters are waiting. The obvious message was simple. The country had sunk into such dire straits that he could wait no longer. The country needed the unique brand of leadership that only he could provide.
    He didn’t need the job of president. He was already, in his opinion, one of the most powerful men in the world, but he was willing to put all that aside to serve his country; to, in his words, help “Make America great again.” He would trademark that phrase and sell a million hats with that motto, but he wasn’t in this for the money. It was all about service.
    It was a grand sight to behold—the splendor, the enthusiasm, the anticipation.
    Who could have imagined that escalator ride was the beginning of the end?
    This is not to say people didn’t already know who Trump was. What he represented. His story was well-known. Adulterer, blowhard, consummate consumer, discriminator, egomaniac, philanderer.... The discrimination suits, bankruptcies, labor disputes, and ugly divorces were nothing new. For sure, something about his hair didn’t make sense.
    His supporters were willing to forgive all of this. Maybe not forgive, but they certainly didn’t give much thought to any of it. No one seemed to care. He was the boss of, “The Apprentice,” and for many people that was enough.
    Nevertheless, after that ride on the escalator, something changed. We didn’t necessarily get any new information—and for sure, many people continued to admire him, as they always have, in spite of his faults, but something did change that day.
    He was still rich but we don’t know if he is as rich as he says. Of course, no one will ever know exactly where his money comes from. Always considered a smart businessman, people now question if taking away the qualifier, businessman necessitates also throwing away, smart. No one has ever heard a complete sentence leave his lips.
    He appears to be lacking in the basic knowledge of how anything works outside the construction industry. Government is throwing him for a loop. Treaties—forgetaboutit. Loyalty—don’t ask.
    Still, the question haunts us, should we be surprised? Shouldn’t we have seen this coming? Many supporters, don’t understand the question. They ask, “See what coming?”
    Anyone who remember when department stores had bargain basements, does understand the question and knows the answer is yes, we should have seen this coming. 
    That escalator ride down from his penthouse to announce his run for the presidency, the highest office in the land was a symbol, a sign of what was to come. 
    No one takes the down escalator to go up.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Business of America—Making Billionaires

The word on the street—and the street I’m referring to is Pennsylvania Avenue—is that the next big undertaking in the city that never wakes up to reality but always knows how to put a good spin on a bad message will be rewriting the tax code.

This isn’t the only talk in the city where talk couldn’t be cheaper. Russian involvement in last year’s election is another hot topic making the rounds. Topping off the discussions is Putin but more and more, interactions between Russian oligarchs and Trump subordinates are making their way into the conversation.

Oligarchs, and the word itself seems to suggest the sort of evil ogres found hiding in the swamps and dark forests of children’s fairy tales, are those billionaire bullies siphoning off the Russian wealth and depositing it in their personal bank accounts around the world. They are allowed to do this because they support Putin, who has stashed his own wealth in crooked banks around the world.

The banks often serve as nothing more than money laundering facilities. On the surface, it would seem that every Trump associate has at least one, and usually several, Russian billionaire bully friends (BBF’s). On the surface it is an embarrassment of riches because everyone involved are rich and they all should be embarrassed.

Most of this is not new information. It simply wasn’t well-known information until Trump ran for president. What I do find surprising about Russian oligarchs is how well known they are in Russia. Everyone seems to know these corrupt, bullying, billionaires situated at the seat of power in a corrupt, bullying government that thrives on stealing its nation’s wealth. There is no effort on their part to disguise their identities or hide what they do.

I guess that’s the beauty of Communism. It’s bad, everyone knows it’s bad and no one cares that it’s bad.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It’s always one of us, it’s never them

Nationalism is once again being promoted as a sane policy. We are asked to subscribe to the theory that we are not six billion people sharing one earth but rather a handful of nations who can only succeed if other nations are held in check.

Making America great again is not a policy, but rather a slogan that centers on blaming everyone else for our problems. It began by blaming foreigners. Once people bought into that premise, it was a short leap for groups of Americans to start blaming other groups of Americans.

Robber barons became millionaires a century ago by promoting strive between workers or classes of workers to distract them from who was really robbing them blind. Today’s billionaires are happy to see the same distractions keeping the heat off them.

In 1980, the top one percent possessed 36% of the nation’s wealth, the next nine percent owned 33% and the bottom ninety percent had access to 30% of the wealth. The rich saw this as an intolerable situation. Something had to be done. Something was done. The wealthiest in the country received tax breaks that allowed them to get even wealthier.

By 2010, the top one percent possessed 54% of the wealth, the next nine percent owned 23% and the bottom ninety percent saw their share decrease to 23 percent. There should be no confusion as to why there are so many losers in today’s economy.

There are so many losers because there are so few winners taking home so much of the spoils.
Yet we continue to pit one loser group against another.
Blaming other nations is not new. Blaming fellow Americans is not new.

It should never be about blaming in the first place, but at the very least, the richest nation in the world shouldn't be blaming its poorest citizens for its problems. They work for crummy wages doing the crummiest jobs and all they hear is, why don’t they pick themselves up and start taking better care of themselves.

Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t their employers start taking better care of them instead of taking such good care of themselves?
Both the long-awaited plan to replace Obamacare and the recent budget proposal come down to picking winners and losers. Every problem comes down to winners and losers. The job of every politician comes down to pitting losers against winners—the old against the young, the sick against the healthy, the educated against the uneducated, rural against urban, men against women, and religion against religion, arts against bullets, clean water against bullets, assistance for the poor against bullets. In budget battles, bullets usually come out ahead although you wouldn’t always know that from listening to the Defense Department.

Only one group consistently comes out on top.

The top one percent have been on a roll since the beginning of the Industrial Age but never more so than in the last half-century. Their share of the American pie has grown while those whose labor creates that wealth have fallen by the wayside. The rich win if the economy collapses. They win if the seas rise. They win if water becomes undrinkable, the air unbreathable and safety nets unsustainable.

Having fifty-four percent of the wealth isn’t just a number. It’s the definition of a problem. It’s a sign that everything is great for a very small number of people.

Big money has always influenced governments but never more than it does today. The current administration is top-heavy with billionaires and millionaires. It should come as no surprise that their solutions to every problem, including the healthcare bill, revolve around cutting regulations that restrict wealth and reducing taxes that might take that wealth away.

Fitzgerald once wrote, “The rich are different from you and me.”

In a way, they aren’t. They have the same wants and desires we all do.

But when it comes to money, there is no comparison. America possesses 42 percent of global wealth and one percent of Americans possess half of that. The rich are as different from the rest of us as night and day.

Yet, when it comes to taxes, we currently treat the rich as if they were just one more guy trying to make a buck. We tax their earned profits like wages and their capital gains better than wages. If we continue this trend, they will suck the life right out of this planet until there is nothing left for anyone else.

Shifting twenty percent of the wealth back and forth among ninety percent of the people is getting us nowhere. What would really make America great again is having the unrealized wealth of millions of Americans back in their pockets instead of the pockets of a few hundred billionaires.

I am not talking about small businesses, which are one of the groups that the super rich use to cover their own greed. Small businesses are like every other group being pitted against each other. They too are being used by the super wealthy.

The government isn’t the enemy. Social programs aren’t the enemy. The government is taking care of Americans because their bosses have not. The wealthy can either pay their workers—with better wages and benefits—or they can pay their fair share in taxes so the government wouldn’t be going broke trying to take care of them.

Somehow, we have to get America’s wealth back into the hands of the people whose labors created it.  


Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'm writing this because I can—and that's a good thing

I’ve been reading a book, Free Press, Free People: The Best Cause by John Hohenberg. The author explains the role of the press, its shortcomings, highlights, and most importantly, its impact on society and the many attempts to suppress and oppress it.      

In 1862, Prussian premier Otto von Bismarck’s goal wasn’t to destroy the already weak press so much as to bend it to his will. He bribed, threatened and saturated Prussian newspapers with false and misleading news articles favorable to him and his government. The press bowed to his demands so willingly that he referred to them as the “reptile press” crawling on its belly. 

The most powerful man in Europe at the time even admitted that “Decent people don’t write for me.”

What was he afraid of?

A half century earlier, Napoleon—another powerful yet insecure leader bragged, “They [the press] say only what I wish.” He was stating a fact because those that didn’t wound up in prison.

What was he afraid of?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Runaway Trump Train

I was recently driving through New York State and saw something, which I imagine a lot of states are doing. They had set aside designated areas to pull off the road and text. We are all aware of the serious problem driving while texting creates on our highways.

Even more catastrophic are the train accidents and derailments we’ve read about that were caused by engineers texting, tweeting and do whatever they do on their gadgets when they’re supposed to be driving a train.

Then, there’s the Trump Train—not as spectacular or breathtaking as the Trump jet, but nevertheless the vehicle that was going to take America to that place called “Great Again.” The nations was going to ride this vehicle to that place where neither crime nor terrorism existed and everyone had a job. A place where everyone had health care that wasn’t Obamacare but was better than Obamacare. A place where everyone could grow up to become a billionaire or be president or even become a billionaire who become president. Oil, gas and coal would be back and would be cleaner and cheaper than ever. Guns would be in and newspapers would be out.

When this train finally reached its destination, foreign nations would again respect us . Our enemies would fear us. Our friends would love us and show their gratitude by showering us with money they've been stashing under their mattresses while we paid all the bills.

Poverty would be eliminated and education would be expanded and improved and made available to everyone. This train would take the country out of the dirty, congested cities back to the rural, picturesque America that trains used to ride through. Most of all, we could stop worrying about climate change and start enjoying the ever-increasing number of summer days suddenly appearing in January and February.

This was going to be the all-inclusive train taking everyone to the Promised Land—ALL ABOARD. Everyone except illegal immigrants who are probably murderers and rapist, refugees who are probably terrorists, and those of our own citizens who are too lazy to take care of themselves. Believe it.

Then something happened. Something no one saw coming—well some people saw it coming but no one paid attention to them. One group of citizens saw a candidate tweeting through the night and questioned his qualification to be president. “Who does that?” They asked. Certainly not the leader of the free world. Others said, sure, it’s not presidential but he isn’t president yet. Once he gets in office, once he gets that Trump Train started up and moving in the right directions, everything will be all right.

But everything isn’t all right.

For one thing, the train doesn’t have a crew—except for that crazy guy sitting with Trump in the engine car stoking the fires. No one seems to have given him a schedule so the train seems to be ambling along in all directions at once. At times, he seems to be speeding ahead and at other times, it appears the train has come to a complete halt. He flies through some stations like he couldn’t care less who was there waiting to get on.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all, he’s still tweeting. He’s tweeting when he’s supposed to be driving. People have told him to stop and like a teenager with a new license, he thinks he’s invincible. I suppose he will have to learn the hard way. So Sad.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

When is enough, enough?

Non usque suus, quin eam fugiunt.*

Etiam non obscuram, sed eam attingit**

It is estimated that the universe is around 13.8 billion years old and still expanding. It could very well be nearing middle age and at some point, another billion years or so, it and we, could begin our long anticipated death spiral, eventually bringing an end to…I don’t know, a 30-billion-year, bigger-than-a-bread-box experiment in going nowhere .

The point is the universe is not going to be around forever, although never has forever seemed so long. The consensus of every single person living on Earth, backed by every religion trusted by those gentle souls, is that whether a God created the universe with a wave of His hand or did nothing more than jumpstart something that eventually was going to happen anyway, the appearance of man has always been the intended end game.

If everything simply fell into place on its own, man still has every right to be proud but he can’t really accept any credit. Being around when shit happens is no big deal even if we are the best shit in the universe—and we don’t even know if we are.

However, if a God is behind this, and I don’t mean in a sinister way; but if He is behind it, a logical question would be, why did it take so long to get to the main act? What was He expecting? Is He happy with what He got?

If we are the straw that stirs the drink, why are we only now entering at last call?

Say what you want about creationists but they put their money where their mouths are. They are certain God intended us to be special, so they have us entering the scene right in the first act. Unfortunately, according to them, that beginning was only a few weeks ago and to put it bluntly, the evidence proves otherwise.

If God intended all along for us to make a late appearance, all I can say is, you’ve got to admire His patience. Never has an individual—God or otherwise, put this much effort into a project and then waited so long to see the finished product.

Cars come off assembly lines a few hours after entering them—Cadillacs slightly longer, Ford Fiestas slightly quicker.  I know producing a highly intelligent human being is an entirely different ballgame because each one is “unique,” but we’re only “unique” because we keep saying we’re “unique.” If those Cadillacs could speak…I’m just saying.

I’m also saying 13.8 billion years is a long time to get to where we are today if the original purpose was to get to where we are today.