If You Don’t Like Something, Just Kill it

This post is the beginning of a regular series in which I will shine the spotlight on humans who show notable humane behavior toward animals, and those who can’t be bothered and would rather just kill them.

And guess what, folks! Our all-American wonderful citizen cities today are Twin Cities and Mondovi, Wisconsin. Hello, Wisconsin!  These folks fall into our second category. They are irritated by geese, so……it’s time to KILL THINGS! It’s GEESE EXTERMINATION TIME! G.E.T. it?

How dare these birds believe they have a right to, you know, exist. And make geese noises, and have bodily functions. Well, they sure picked the wrong cities to mess with this time.
The good humane folks of those cities have a message for these uppity birds. DIE GEESE, DIE!
And guess what. They’re going to do it in the time honored tradition of that famous humanitarian, Adolf Hitler himself, with gas chambers! Ooooooo it doesn’t get any better than that!
Let’s hear a good old fashion BOOOOOOO for Twin Cities and Mondovi, Wisconsin. They win today’s Flip of the Bird! Shame on you, Twin Cities and Mondovi!
Oh, and if you have been considering any travel that would include those cities, you might want to change your itinerary. I mean, you might be mistaken for a goose! And you know what happens then…hisssssssssss.
Now you may think I’m being a little harsh toward the people of those cities, but it really boils down to something very simple. We can either realize that humans share the world with animals, and find  ways of doing that in a humane and compatible fashion, or focus on killing animals or birds whenever there is an intersecting of them and us.  The direction we choose to go says a great deal about who we are.
These two cities in Wisconsin are flunking the humanity test. Boom.

Sir Roger Moore, You Were a Joy

     I never thought of Roger Moore as the ‘best’ James Bond. I generally consider him (because of course we must inevitably rank our favorite portrayals of such an figure) as the fourth best, behind Connery, Craig and Brosnan in that order. I think he was, however, the absolutely perfect Bond, James Bond, for the era during which the producers chose to make the films self-caricatures with results ranging from satisfying tongue in cheek panache to embarrassing forays into silliness.
     Through everything the films were and not during Sir Roger Moore’s long presence as 007, Moore himself remained pitch perfect within the tongue in cheek (and sometimes protruding through it) style of those works.  He made it possible to thoroughly enjoy the movies and the popcorn no matter how untrue to Fleming’s original creation they at times became. He made them fun and palatable even for purists like me. I liked his work. He proved equally comfortable with both the Walther PPK,  the quip, and the just barely (and necessary) awareness that it was all somewhat ridiculous, but great fun.
     By all accounts I’ve heard, he was also a very nice man, thoroughly aware of the absurdity of the money he had fallen into with the role, appreciative of it, and refusing to take any it too seriously.  He was, in a word, a gentleman. I’m not generally one who aspires to meet this or that celebrity; however I think I would have enjoyed a dinner and conversation with Roger Moore.
   If you have not seen any of Roger Moore’s earlier jaunts as Simon Templar (The Saint) on BBC television, you might enjoy taking a look at those. The were what earned him the opportunity to play Bond. And of course he had a deep portfolio of film and television work other than those as Ian Fleming’s super spy. A simple Google search will lead you to the body of his performances outside the realm of Bond. It was considerable, and worthwhile. I plan to reacquaint myself with it.
     Goodnight, Sir Roger. May your further journeys be as enjoyable for you as your work was, and continues to be, for us. I do believe I would have enjoyed knowing you. Safe travels, 007.

The Awful Truth Behind Franklin’s Warning

I finally figured out what Ben Franklin tried to tell us, and it’s more scary now than at any time I can remember. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787,  Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention,  a lady asked Franklin, “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.”  Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.” I have used that quote numerous times, during the 2016 election and since. But the full import, the dispiriting and frightening truth behind Franklin’s words, didn’t become fully clear to me until today.

 I was napping on the sofa, and struggled to consciousness through the hard to escape fog of a particularly realistic dream. You know, one of those that doesn’t want to let you go. It was a dream about a house of illusions, in which my companion and I pursued an illusory character through a series of rooms, each room a scene that presented a peril or a dilemma before the laughing villainous again revealed herself, taunting us and leading us on to the next scenario.

None of the scenes in that house of illusions was especially horrific. But when we exited through the final door, without ever catching up with our prey, we weren’t sure it was really over. For several moments, we looked around warily for another door, waiting for the minions of this particular scene to descend upon us. Such was the totality of the effect. At the end, you see, we weren’t sure the adventure was over, so firmly convinced we were that nothing was as it seemed.

My subconscious mind must have been quietly connecting synapses while I poured a cup of coffee. By the time I sat down at the computer, thinking to do some writing, the reality of Dr. Franklin’s statement overcame me. When we think of that comment we usually and appropriately connect it to the Constitution itself. But the subtle dangers inherent in our Constitution go all the way back to a phrase in the Declaration of Independence, the fundamental, foundational document at the root of America’s existence. Franklin said, on that final day of deliberations, “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.” The second paragraph of the Declaration begins with “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

That statement is at the core of the Constitution. It means everybody, both good and bad, honorable and dishonorable, loving and bigoted, truthful and non-truthful. It grants equal voice and rights to those who embrace the Constitution, and the Republic, and the freedoms they represent for all Americans, as well as those who would manipulate the former and disassemble the latter for their own purposes.

Ben Franklin’s warning had nothing to do with threats to America from without. It warned us about the Republic’s vulnerability to attacks from within. He was telling us that our Constitution didn’t include the word ‘forever.’  It still doesn’t. Its existence is always vulnerable, subject to attack, due to its most fundamental principal. All men are created equal. The freedom promised to everyone by one of the most forward thinking documents of governance in the history of the world, is in constant peril, because in order to guarantee the freedom of all, it could not exclude any, including those who would commandeer that freedom for themselves and their followers.

The Bill of Rights reaffirmed that guarantee of freedom for all, free speech for all, the right to assemble and be heard and run for office and seek to control the government, for all. Bigots, have your go. White (or any other color) nationalists, take your shot. Religious extremists of any ilk, go for the gold ring. Control of this country is yours for the taking, if you can manage it.

“We gave you a republic, if you can keep it.” The subtle hidden message within that statement warns us that the scoundrels and thieves, tyrants and haters of others, religious extremists and greed mongers also have the right to take it away from us.  Franklin warned us that they will, on the day that the rest of us, those of us who truly believe  all men, and women, are created equal, give up; the day that those of us who believe ‘love your neighbor’ means everyone, not just the ones who are the same color as me, or have the same sexuality as me, or the same religion as me, are no longer the majority; the day those of us who believe that America is a nation of people, not corporations, lose the will to stand against those who would usurp our Constitution for their own personal agendas. Because the evil among us is always looking and hoping for the opportunity.

“We gave you a republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin was warning us that in order to guarantee the rights of all, our forefathers had to take a terrible risk that the very freedoms they guaranteed to everyone might someday be relinquished, to those who were loud enough, and determined enough, and ruthless enough. He was warning us that our Republic would serve and stand for everyone only as long as we remained determined  it would do so.  The enemy is not out there, it is within us. And today it is stronger and more determined than I have seen within my lifetime, to take our country for all the people, away from everyone in favor of their chosen few.

May 14, 2017, 6:45pm. Just as nothing was as it seemed in my little dream, I’ve come to realize there was much more than there seemed to be in Ben Franklin’s statement. The Constitution we so treasure and the world admires, in guaranteeing the rights of all, also guarantees the right of those who would destroy it, to do so. We have to ask ourselves, are we strong enough, determined enough, to keep our Republic for all the people? ###

Resisting Trump’s New American Reich

It’s been too long since I added a post here. The time between November’s election and today, a month after Donald Trump assumed the Presidency, has been difficult almost beyond words.
Like so many of you, the last three months for me have been a cyclonic swirl of emotions: disbelief, anger, fear, loss, desperation, and at times hopelessness.
What do we do, now that the reins of power have been handed to a monster?
How do we go forward as we see a would-be, Hitleresque tyrant start trying to mold the government, and the country, to his will?
How do we combat and resist the hatred and while supremacist nationalism that now seeks to consolidate its power at the seat of the world’s most powerful country?
How do we prevail against the extremist beliefs of the far Christian right that now openly aligns itself comfortably with white supremacists like the KKK?
How do we defeat the voices of hate and extremist nationalism, keep extremist religion from inserting itself into the governance of our country and preserve the constitution?
How do we maintain America as the home of the brave and more importantly, the land of the free?
How do we keep the Trump/Republican extremists from leading us into another American Revolution, another Civil War, or unthinkably, a third world war?

The answer is to keep raising our voices and resisting the spread of the monster virus that is today’s White House and far right extremism. We have to stay proud and loud, firm and courageous. We have to keep educating the rational and responsible arm of the Republican party. We have to reach out to the rational and responsible middle ground of American voters who are fearful and who felt they were voiceless, who thought that Donald Trump was worth a chance and might not be as bad as he sounded.

We have to keep resisting and we have to keep informing and raising awareness.

We have to make it clear, every day and every hour, that the United States of America does not belong to Donald Trump, or Steve Bannon. It does not belong to the KKK or the extreme “Christian” right. It belongs to all Americans. It belongs to Americans who still believe that the Statue of Liberty, not the use of the military to attack immigrants, is what this country is about.

I posted this last night, and someone thought I meant it as a joke. Let’s be clear. It’s not a joke. It is the Nazi Germany of Hitler that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and the Republican party are intent on making of this country if we allow it.
…Attacks on minorities, and immigrants in a country that used to point to Lady Liberty’s torch as our beacon…
…Blatant attempts to delegitimize the free press and condition the citizenry into accepting that only “the leader” knows the real truth…
…Intent to massively increase the military and police forces…
…Intent to use the armed forces to round up “undesirables”…
…Massive gaslighting, the issuance of one large lie after another backed up by threats…
…Reliance on a hateful minority that shares its own racism and bigotry as its base…

Those of us who pay attention have come to realize that no amount of truth, no collection of facts, no comparison to history’s lessons, no spotlight on the awful realities of this administration, no observations from the leaders of our allied countries, no psychological evaluations of Trump’s psychosis, will dent that hateful base of Trump’s 4th Reich. They will not see the sickness and the corruption because they revel in it.

Our only hope for saving this country, and possibly the world, lies in raising the awareness of large numbers of responsible and rational conservatives who voted for this monster of a man because they felt that it was worth taking a chance that his evils “…might not be that bad,” in exchange for putting what they perceived as a voice of conservatism in the White House.

Our hope lies in helping those people to see that their role of the dice turned up snake eyes, tinged with hatred and blood. Our hope lies in getting those responsible and rational conservatives to realize that nothing, not abortion, not LGBT rights, not ISIS and the Taliban, not fear, NOTHING is worth following the road that Trump and Bannon and their Reich are building.

And we have to make it loudly and stridently known to all that it will NOT happen here, that we the free will NOT let it happen here, that Nazis and white supremacists and religious extremists are NOT welcome in our government. And we need to do today, tomorrow, and every day for as long as it takes.

Time is running out.

NO, It’s Not Okay

*Miy response to all of those well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people telling me not to ‘overreact.’  Just relax, ‘they’ say, and it will be okay.  No. It won’t. Not without a fight.

Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” To which he replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” In that reply is a warning, that we must be ever vigilant and prepared to fight to keep the Republic our Founding Fathers crafted.

Don’t tell me to relax. Don’t tell me I’m overreacting. Don’t tell me it will be okay.

No reason for alarm? The nature of Donald Trump has been exhibited consistently throughout his career, displayed by his own words and actions. The word sociopath has been applied to him not just by myself, but by observers including psychologists, based on his behavior and what comes out of his mouth.

No reason for alarm? He wonders why we do not use nuclear weapons. He does not believe in global warming, the perils of our streams and rivers and animal life, the dangers to the environment, and selected as a running mate a man who is a creationist and believes homosexuality can be ‘cured,’ a man who actually believes in forcing ‘therapy’ upon the LGBT community.

No reason for alarm? Donald nurtured and received the support of the kkk, white supremacists, a criminal foreign national with his own agenda, Julian Assange, who helped Trump’s campaign with very selective, stolen and doctored private emails.

No reason for alarm? Donald Trump asked for and benefited from the assistance of one foreign nation, Russia, whose leader he admires, and is celebrated by one of the most repressive regimes on earth, North Korea. He is celebrated by Syria’s regime and by ISIS.

No reason for alarm? Trump has the support of a vindictive religious extremism and reaches out to it.

No reason for alarm? Germany was also a democracy before the citizenry invited Adolf Hitler to take over. The German government had checks and balances, though they weren’t as strong as those in the United States. The German people relinquished their checks and balances little by little, until Hitler had enough power to cancel the rest of them.

No reason for alarm? Religious extremism and white supremacy now control our Presidency, as of January, 2017.

No reason for alarm? That same religious extremism and white supremacy also controls both houses of our Congress, and has cowed the moderates within the once Republican party. There is no effective voice of reason existing within their party.

No reason for alarm? This religiously extreme white nationalist supremacy group now has it within their reach to also control the Supreme Court.

No reason for alarm?
Checks and balances. The Executive, strike one.
Checks and balances. The Legislative. Strike two.
Checks and balances, The Supreme Court. Strike three and out.

No reason for alarm? If you are really trying to tell those of us who study history, those of us who know that this Republic exists for everyone or it exists for no one, to sit back and relax and it will be all right, you are either one of the people behind the curtain, or delusional, or simply in a state of extreme hope because you are afraid to face the possibility of the Republic collapsing within itself.

No reason for alarm?
“Well Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
In that reply is a warning, that we must be ever vigilant and prepared to fight to keep the Republic our Founding Fathers crafted. I choose to believe there is every reason for alarm. I choose to keep that Republic. I choose to fight.

No reason for alarm? You might want consider choosing to wake up.

Musings on the New Fascism in America

Re: This Disastrous Election and the Fall of the Constitution. Mother Liberty Cries Today.

The morning after November 8, the newest day that will live in infamy, someone texted to me “You’re disappointed. I get that,” then went on to chastise me a bit, in a kind and caring manner. Allow me to correct their initial assumption.

I’m not disappointed. Don’t even think I’m disappointed. I get disappointed when the Cardinals lose. I get disappointed and upset when Mizzou loses. And loses.  And I then make bad jokes about it.  That’s disappointment.  This election is far different from that.
I am not disappointed. I am afraid. I am afraid for my, and your, America. I am afraid for my children and their children. I am afraid for the people of the world who depend on the strength and freedom and example that is America to support and help them through their own darkness and who now fear us.
I am not disappointed. I am mad as hell. I am beyond angry. I. am. furious. I am furious at the hateful people who think that if you’re black or brown or anything other than white you are second class, that you don’t deserve the same rights as white people.
I am enraged at people who think that LGBT people don’t deserve the same rights as ‘straight’ people. I am enraged that supposedly Godly people choose to denigrate and persecute and relegate to the shadows people who are not just exactly like them. I am livid that these people try to blame God and Jesus for their hatefulness and prejudice and persecution of people who are not members of their personal club.
I am livid that these people claim it’s God’s will when a woman dies in childbirth or gets raped or a child is born with horrible defects that ensure a lifetime of misery, but don’t care to consider it’s God’s will when a pregnancy is aborted for the mother’s health or to prevent a tragedy.
I am angry and horrified to realize that I live in a country where more than half the people ascribe to beliefs and hatefulness and persecution that can only be described as those of a Christian Taliban. Tulsa, say hello to Aleppo.
When these ‘people’ who claim God and Jesus as their own personal puppets, and try to force everyone in the country to accept and obey their own personal distortions, install as our President a man who has no scruples, who has been shown to be an abuser of women and of all those who fall under his power; a hot tempered bully who has no respect for anyone or anything but himself and has been shown to be devoid of any character or morality whatsoever, I am terrified. I boil when I see my country being overcome by the practitioners of exclusion, of hate and bigotry and racism, to the cheers of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
I shake my head and wonder if some people were out of the room when logic and reason were distributed, when I hear someone say, as they vote for a tyrant in waiting, “Well, you know, maybe a change is good.” A change from ‘love your neighbor,’ to ‘beat the hell out of your neighbor if they are not exactly like you,’ is a good change how, exactly.
And I know we are lost when I see how many people in the aftermath are willing to just sit back, flip the channel to a rerun of a ‘reality’ show, and blithely proclaim “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll just be quiet and float along with it until the next election.” 
I am in dismay for our Republic and for all of the nations in the world that depend on us for their hope, our help, and  our example. I marvel darkly at the ignorance and self-satisfaction of people who wanted this, and now say, “Oh man up.  You just lost an election. It’s not a big deal.” I know then that I’m having a conversation with someone I never want to have behind me. I know I’m talking to someone who champions the bullies and the exclusionists and thugs.
Because it is a big deal. Because it was not just another election, it was an election that put every great ideal our country rests upon at risk.  Because it was an election that instantly changed the world from one looking up to us,  to one peeking fearfully at us from behind their drapes with their lights turned off. Because it was an election that refuted freedom and equality and chimed in the believers of repression, bigotry, racism, and a single-minded,  extremist, hateful  arm of Christianity: The Christian Taliban. And because other Christians helped it to happen. Because it was an election that assured there will be a lot more room in that streets of gold in the Heaven Christians profess to believe in, because the other place suddenly looks a lot more attractive. Because huge numbers of those supposed Christians just looked Jesus in the face, and spat. Because it was an election that warned us you can just look at the photo above and change the names to Trump, and McConnell, and Ryan, and Pence and their cohorts. Good Christians all. Because now, once again, a hate and intolerance and brutal pettiness which we thought we had moved beyond, has risen again and threatens to consume us. Because millions of good Americans and immigrants now fear for their lives and their neighbors have ordained it.

Because even as you sip your beer and check the TV guide and sagely say it couldn’t happen here, it’s starting to happen here. France may want its statue back. I couldn’t blame them. But no, I’m not disappointed.

The Wildlife is Almost Gone. We Will Be Next.

Date: 10-30-2016



Goodbye to Wildlife and Soon Thereafter to Humans

This is not something anyone will want to hear. I may get blasted for this post more than any other I have made. But the conversation has to begin. We cannot avoid it just because it makes us feel bad.

To the Millennials of the world, it is my very sincere belief that if you have not already had children, you should consider not having any. And certainly, any children still below child-rearing age should think very seriously about avoiding child birth. I make this suggestion because I don’t think you will want your children, or their children, to face life in the world we, as in ourselves, as in human beings, are about to leave them.

A new report from the World Wildlife Fund via CNN tells the story better than I could. By 2020, they tell us, two-thirds of the planet’s wildlife will be gone. This should not come as a surprise. If it does, then you just have not been paying attention. The full import of this is that human beings are in the process of destroying all other forms of life on the earth, except perhaps bacteria, viruses and amoeba. Instead of turning back or even stalling the process, we have accelerated it with every generation and continue to do so. And that means that we will drive ourselves to extinction within the foreseeable future.

The assault on the environment also continues We undermine and poison our land and our rivers and our air with massive amounts of pollution.  (Thanks to Republicans and sheer greed, the United States sponsors the attack and contributes to it massively.) Scientists tell us that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is now at levels not seen since dinosaurs roamed the earth. In our own nation, profit motive and greed prohibits any meaningful movement toward restoring or even delaying the denigration of the environment and the assault on other species. It’s the same in other countries to only slightly lesser degrees.

The world’s nations, led by the United States and Russia, continue to expand ever deadlier nuclear arsenals and force all life on the planet to teeter daily on the very edge of a radioactive apocalypse that would not only kill all of us (take your choice, quickly from the blasts or slowly from radiation poisoning).

Animal murderers all over the world, from poachers in African nations to so-called “sport” hunters in America, continue to kill wildlife for fun and profit. I use the word murderer because there is no other name for people who enjoy killing animals because they would go to jail for killing humans.

Our Government, and virtually all others, allows the killing and polluting and assault on the planet, and ultimately ourselves, to continue unabated, because they are owned by the profiteers, the richest and greediest among them. The largest, most organized civic groups capable of raising their voices with sufficient strength to possibly make a difference, the religions, stay quiet. Christians in America who believe their religion is so special, stay quiet. They say things like, “Well it’s God’s will,” a convenient way of blaming the Almighty for their own catastrophic lack of responsible behavior.

Worst of all, by far, today’s adults, like the adults of all previous generations, make big, grand, and empty talk of preserving the world, from the water and the skies to the wildlife with which we share it. We pronounce that we must save it for our children and their children. We declare it with our mouth, and prove we don’t mean it with our actions.

In short, homo sapiens, which I have for a long time referred to as an extinction level event on a worldwide scale, are destroying virtually all other life forms, and will invariably pronounce extinction upon itself in the process. You don’t want to hear it. It may ruin your day. You’d rather have your fun and your comfort, your license to kill and pollute, today, and those children you speak of so grandly and sanctimoniously can damn well worry about themselves.

I believe the latter half of the 21st century will further speed this process because the human species is incapable of behaving in any other way than it does. We are speeding the destruction of the world’s life forms as never before. I think we will be seeing the beginning of the final agonizing slide of our end during the last half of this century. Any children produced between now and then, your children, my children, and certainly their children, will know little but suffering. So much for preserving the world for them, eh?

Mankind was placed here on a marvelous world full of teeming, magnificent life. A world of incredible beauty and variety. A world capable of supporting almost infinite life. I believe we were to be, could have been, caretakers and benefactors of all that is here. Christians like to brag that God gave mankind dominion over this wonderland. And we take that word, ‘dominion,’ to mean license instead of responsibility, freedom to abuse and destroy rather than responsibility to nurture. We keep insisting, so many of us, that we have the only such amazing world as this in the universe, even as we continue to do everything we can to destroy it. Yay, us. We have done nothing but abuse this world and eliminate its other life forms, not to mention our fellow man, since our first breath of life as a species. We do it for profit, and for fun. Even as we see clear and undeniable evidence that we are destroying all that is around us, everything including the very things we need to live ourselves, we continue to do it. Our motto, the real one, not the good sound bite version, is ‘live for today and the hell with tomorrow.’ So much for our children and their children. We claim intelligence. We prove daily that we are the most ignorant and selfish and unintelligent and detestable life form on the planet.

Take a very hard look without your rose colored glasses. The writing on the wall is telling us we will have reached the endgame by the end of this century. At the rate we are going, we humans, our motto by the time the next century arrives will have changed to “try to get through today for tomorrow will be worse.’

I’m not spouting biblical predictions. I’m talking about scientific reality that scientists have warned us about for decades. God, whichever one you believe in, is not coming for us, and will not bother to save us. We have earned the finality we are bringing upon ourselves. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We are the villains. Pray to God if you want. I think you’ll get an answering machine message. We like to boast that we were made in God’s own image. If you were God, would you bother to answer a phone call from people like us in the twenty-first century?

And so I’m suggesting you do not pass on the terminal stages of our existence to children, for them to live and suffer through the death throes of the species. I would not choose to subject the children of the future to the world that will be theirs as our species spirals into oblivion.

Oh, I know the adage, the one that says hope springs eternal, hope for some miraculous redeeming actions or discoveries. But that can only happen if our species, as an entirety, can suddenly, and I mean within the next decade, become something that we have never been, and that is a responsible and conscientious people.

And you say, oh, but what can I do?  The answer is to revolt. I don’t mean grab your gun. I mean revolt with your presence. The only thing that has a chance of saving our species for our children and grandchildren is a chorus of raised voices. A gathering, growing, staggering collection of voices, a coming together of people and religions joining the activist voices that are already out there. I’m talking about the raising of a chorus of voices to stand against the destruction of wildlife and the environment for fun and profit, a wall of voices with the will of all the people behind it, saying ENOUGH!

ENOUGH willful killing. ENOUGH willful assault on the air and the oceans and the rivers. ENOUGH with  fuels and conveniences and entertainments and easy comforts at the expense of the very air and water that sustains us.  ENOUGH destruction.

We can accomplish amazing things, we homo sapiens, when we really want to. We are  capable of discoveries, and some have been made recently, that go a long way to treating, if not fully curing, the environment. We are capable of technologies that can clean our waters, our air. We have it within us. But it can only happen under one condition.  We have to really want to, for our children and their children. We have face the fact that if we don’t follow through, the future is bleak, for our children and their children. We have to accept, to truly UNDERSTAND, that this is the most important thing in our lives more important than our next gas guzzling car or land destroying all terrain vehicle or ocean cruise oil pipeline, if this wondrous Earth is to remain one that will nurture humans, and other species, in the future, for our children and their children. We have to get it through our thick, selfish, grasshopper heads that ‘dominion’ is a responsibility, not a license.

And if we can’t….or won’t….do that, then we have to quit pretending that we give a damn about the future of our children, and their children, and just not have any, because the earth of the near future won’t be a fit place for them.



An Open Letter to Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin

An Open Letter to Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin
With Copies to the Leaders of All Nuclear Nations

Curses on the bunch of you. Who do you think you are? After thirty years or so of mostly easing nuclear tensions, you now start escalating again? How dare you. When did you decide to abandon basic human decency?
You peck and rail against one another. President Putin, you invade the sovereign territory of the Ukraine. Oh, I’m sure you have your reasons, and you feel they are very important. And President Obama, you condemn President Putin and belittle Russia, while you, and we all, know that for decades our own country has invaded others at will, and frequently with very thin reason, from Grenada to Libya to Iraq. You scorn the Russian President and yet you know that the United States is no better, has been no better. We have no high ground from which to throw stones.
And now, President Putin, you start making nuclear war noises again, as if you have forgotten that such a war has no winners, especially in this day of hydrogen bombs. You have bunkers for many millions that America does not have, but you know that there will be nothing but desolation and death by radiation awaiting the occupants of those bunkers when they exit. If they exit.
I’m a simple citizen. I am far from perfect. I’m not a terribly important person. I’m not a great world leader. I never felt the need to chase that kind of ambition. I was a teacher. I still teach on occasion. I love my children and my cats. But I know this. Neither of you is worth the mantle of leader, nor even a claim to the title of decent human being, if you lead this world into an unspeakable nuclear conflict. And in your hearts, you must know that.
I am not omniscient, but I trust and hope that if God is truly just, every individual, in every country, who worked on the creation of nuclear weapons suffers eternal torment in the deepest corners of Hell. If the two of you lead the world into the actual horror of a nuclear war, you will deserve to plummet even lower. Never mind who did or does what first at this stage. Both of you, and the leaders of the two countries, and England, and France, and every other country that has built these Godless weapons, have created the playing field and prepared the game plan. You are equally at fault. There is no innocence.
If you are truly worthy of the positions you hold, if you have any real claim to the leadership of millions of people, there is only one recourse for you. Stop this escalation of nuclear confrontation now. Right. Now. Then get together and agree to one thing at the beginning. There is no conflict that is worth the destruction of human life on this planet to a scale that is virtually inconceivable. Then agree to get rid of the damnation of nuclear weapons once and for all. Start now. Use the mutual strength of both nations to force other nations to do the same. Bring China into the fold. England, France, all of the nuclear nations. As each new nation joins the mission to end nuclear weapons, the strength to convince others becomes greater. Find common ground, and I don’t give a damn how difficult that may be. If you are leaders, your job is to make it happen, not continue to put the people of the world at ever increasing risk of the unspeakable.
Mankind has a terrible enough history of violence as it is. Centuries of killing and maiming and stealing and torturing each other. It’s time to put an end to it, not take it to even higher levels. Mankind cannot survive a nuclear war. Russians will be gone, Americans will be gone, Brits and Chinese and French and all the other peoples of the planet will be gone, because once this Pandora’s Box is broken open by the two of you, there will be no closing it.
President Obama. President Putin. It’s time to be real leaders. It’s time to quit acting like petulant children toward each other and holding the whole world hostage. It’s time to be who you like to think you are.
And Hillary Clinton. I expect you will be the President of the United States in a few months. Everything I have just said will then fall on you, as well. Then I will be saying to you, if we are all still around at that point, it is up to you to be that person you think you are.
How have we reached this point? How have we moved to the edge of a nuclear abyss, with the survival of the race, not to mention the survival of all the other species living on this planet, at risk, and all the billions of us who breathe this air and drink this water and love our children, can do nothing except hope and pray that a handful of ambitious people like yourselves, whom we call our leaders, do not betray us to the ultimate degree because they have petty disputes with each other?
Enough! For decades you have played lip service to the need to rid the world of these abominations! It is time, right now, for those of you who claim to lead, to start by leading us once and for all away from the nightmare of nuclear war. Make your peace. Get rid of the damned weapons. Stop playing with annihilation as if you were Gods. If you set these things off, you are monsters, every single one of you. You yourselves are the abominations.

Barry Wallace

Welcome to the Extreme Right’s Version of an American Reich

Well, it’s out there now, the Republican Party Platform. Actually, I agree with parts of it, and am on the fence about others. The following parts range from merely extreme to truly frightening.

‪#‎s‬ 1 through 5 are all about cutting taxes for the rich. There is no mention of reducing taxes for anyone else anywhere in the 50 proposals.

#7 would prevent any rise in the Federal minimum wage.
#8 would actually lower the pay of government employees.
#10 would eliminate progressive / liberal Supreme Court Justices.
#11 is lovely. It would legalize discrimination against LGBT.
#12 Aims to make Christianity the official national religion.
#13 Pointedly promises to legalize dark money in elections.
#14 would establish open carry nationwide & eliminate gun control.
#23 would keep GMO’s legally secret.
‪#‎s25‬-29 declare to hell with the environment.
#’s30-32 Would privatize Medicare and freeze Social Security
#33 would repeal Obamacare.
#34 would eliminate fairness in Internet access & speed.
#37 is “the wall.”
#41 is makes “traditional families” the only acceptable families.
#42 privatizes government services that fight poverty
#43 REQUIRES bible study in schools
#44 REPLACES public schools with private ones
#45 REPLACES sex education with abstinence-only approaches.
#46 privatizes student loans instead of lowering rates.
#48 drastically increases the military budget.
#49 cancels the Iran nuclear treaty and calls for EXPANDING THE NUCLEAR ARSENAL.

Anyone who votes in support of this ticket is in serious need of a psyche examination, because you have lost any measure of logic, reason, and intelligence.

It doesn’t matter in the least how much anyone dislikes Obama or Clinton or liberals in general. Anybody who votes Republican in this election is voting AGAINST Social Security; AGAINST Medicare; AGAINST the middle class; AGAINST unions; AGAINST any religion that isn’t Christianity; AGAINST lgbt rights; AGAINST the environment; AGAINST any form of gun control; AGAINST transparency in the use of GMO’s; AGAINST their own access to the Internet; AGAINST immigration; AGAINST the separation of state and church; AGAINST public education; AND FOR nuclear escalation.
If you are so mad about your right to exercise your prejudices against those of whom you don’t approve that you are willing to destroy your own future (unless you are rich); If you hate progress so much that you are willing to bring back the cold war; If you really hate change so much that you are willing to give the country to the rich and the religious zealots, and risk your children, and their children; if you hate Hillary Clinton so much that you are willing to make this election about striking out at her and preparing to send your children and grandchildren to war; oh the hell with it. Go ahead and vote for the Man Who Would Be King. Go ahead and put the religious zealots in charge of the nuclear codes. Go ahead and light the flares of war and torches of intolerance. Set the course of this country toward whatever cesspool makes you happy. If you don’t think LGBTs, or black people, or the poor or those of a different race or religion, should have the same rights as you, go ahead and vote against them. Just do one thing, just one thing, if you have a shard of reason left. Tell your children, when it comes your turn, tell them as they prepare to go to war, “This is what I wanted for you. I did it all for you. Be happy.”
“First They Came for the Jews”
By Pastor Niemoller
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.


I just read an article in Forbes (posted on Yahoo). The article is by Panos Mourdoukoutas, a big time market reporter, and you can find it here.

Mr. Mourdoukoutas tells us that employers like Walmart, Target, McDonalds, etc. will simply fire workers and replace them with machines rather than pay them a fair mandated minimum wage. He uses different words, but that is the core of his message.

His article tells us what is really happening in America. We are being taken over, not by Islamic extremists or communists, or big government. We are being taken over by the 1% and 3% who really own, or intend to own, this country. This isn’t new. It’s simply an escalation of a movement that began during Ronald Reagan’s administration. But it’s a strong restatement of the big business agenda.
Raising the minimum wage to give people a living wage, you see, isn’t on that agenda. It would eat into their profits a little.
Oh, places like Walmart, Target, McDonalds, in fact virtually all businesses, can cover this fair wage increase easily, by simply raising prices a very small percentage, a few cents per item for the above and similar businesses, and a few dollars per item for larger items. Sales would continue, even grow, because workers would still be much better off, more able to buy things. Everyone wins.
But that’s not what it’s really about. It’s really about guaranteeing their maximum (note that I said maximum, not fair, profit), today, tomorrow, and into the future. Machines, you see, never ask for a raise, never ask for medical benefits, much less those unacceptable retirement benefits.
This is about wiping out almost a century of gains by workers and unions in getting American workers a fair shake. This is about control.
I don’t know how many of you are old enough or have read enough history to know what a ‘company town’ is. It’s a town established, sometimes literally built from the ground up, by a large company. Its employees live in the company town, buy everything from the company store (or stores), and when necessary, (which it always is) borrow from the company bank.
When you work, and live, and buy, and borrow, in a company town, it operates very simply. You accept what the company gives you. You buy what the company sells, at company prices. And you borrow money from company banks at company rates.
What we are seeing develop in America has been building steadily ever since Ronald Reagan became President. It’s nothing less than an effort to turn the United States, all of it, into a virtual company town. The ultra rich own the banks, the large companies, much of the government through payoffs (what do you think a campaign donation from Citizens United is, folks?), and the vast majority of the goods.
Call it an oligarchy. That’s what it is, and if you bother to look even halfway hard, it’s obvious. And what’s another term for oligarchy? On a small level, a synonym would be…company town. On a larger level, try this one…Company Country.
The actions described in this article represent nothing less than another move forward in achieving this Company America.
And you know what, we help dig our own economic grave, give up our own voice in our future. We go along.
I’m sure many of you use the “self service’ registers at stores. I have, until my eyes got opened. I never will again. And you shouldn’t, either. Every time you use that self service register, you help take away someone’s job just so you can check out a little faster. Every time you order from a self service kiosk, you help take away someone’s job. Or did you think about that? I had, but I got careless about it until I read this article. I will never do either of those things again. Not at a fast food place, not at a store, not at a movie theater or a restaurant, not ANYPLACE. You shouldn’t, either. Remember, your job could be next.
Uncle 1%, the official governing group of Company America, wants us to go willingly into their company town. I do not intend to do that.
Let us have a slogan in this country of ours, from shore to shore and border to border. Let that slogan be: NO COMPANY AMERICA.
DON’T use the ‘self serve’ lane. DON’T use the easy order kiosk. Make it clear that you will only transact with people. And yes, I’m leaving ATM’s off the list, because that one is already so well established it would be fruitless to try to put it back in Pandora’s Box. But we have to stop, right now, the turning over of jobs to automation unless a safety element is involved.
The article I included here is clear. Big business will hit back at any significant raise in the minimum wage by attacking jobs, and automation/machines is one of the ways they will do it. But they have been doing that anyway. The goal of big business always has been and always will be, to maximize profit by giving workers as little as possible in return for their labor. Why in the hell do you think unions began in the first place?
For the last thirty-six years, American workers have been going backward. Reagan started it by selling the trickle down theory and busting unions. The momentum has grown ever since. Don’t believe me, look it up for yourself. It’s far past time to start fighting back, workers of America, and refusing to stand still for this “We have to automate if you raise pay” lie is a good place to start.
And good or bad, we’d damn well better find someplace to start while there is still a chance.
Want to help fuel the beginning of resistance? Start each of your Facebook or Instagram or Twitter posts with the slogan. NO COMPANY AMERICA. No matter what you talk about in your post, start with NO COMPANY AMERICA. Before there can be any movement, there has to be a voice, and a voice can start as simply as that.
Ps. If you read this and think I’m crazy, fair enough. But think about it. Think about it every time you look at your insufficient paycheck. Think about it every time you worry about your job and your future. Think about it every time you go to bed. But if someone else tells you I’m crazy, the first question you should ask yourself is, who is telling you that, and who told them that?