Simply Inexcusable

When humans become mere pawns for politicians to score points, it’s simply inexcusable.

Shame on both political parties and the press for playing political games at the expense of humans, adding to the suffering of both immigrants and the homeless. As the threatened Trump crackdowns on illegal immigrants have begun, what has either party done for easing the suffering of humans wanting a better life, than to try and make political hay, so to speak?

Those that want a controlled border and orderly process for accepting new people into the country are not Nazis or fascists, and those that show concern for the millions already here are not open border nuts. But, in the current political environment, it seems those are the only two options. Like or hate Trump, he is the current president, and the continued refusal to do anything regarding the border issues, because of him, is a complete dereliction of duty by all politicians currently “serving” their country.

There should be a path to citizenship for the so-called “dreamers,” and we should have a secure border by the most efficient means necessary. We should know who is in our country, but that knowledge should be done in such a way as to not provoke unnecessary fear from those whose only crime is wanting a better life.

This isn’t rocket science for goodness sake. The fact that nothing has been done regarding this issue for decades is a testament to the ineptness of our government. Instead of the press calling out the collective failure, they play “us against them” games with their reporting, adding to the conflict and inaction.

Equally disturbing is the growing homelessness crisis. Recent counts place the number of homeless at more than 36,000 in Los Angeles alone, but the problem is a national one. Where are the politicians on this one? As usual, they are speaking in political gibberish, throwing out standard unhelpful talking points, including how inhuman Republicans are, and of course, there is the always helpful “the problems are in cities run by Democrats” line that conservatives love.

In both cases, these are real people in dire need of help, and our institutions are failing them. It’s as if they don’t care about them unless there is some kind of political angle that can be worked to gain or retain power.

I recently read Kurt Vonnegut’s apocalyptic novel Slapstick. The main character is the former President of the United States reflecting on his life. He mentions his run for the presidency on a platform that would randomly generate new middle names for everyone. The names would be used to assign them to new larger and diverse families that would better care about, and for each other. His campaign slogan was “Lonesome No More.”

I know in our family, when someone is in trouble, we take action to help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we, politicians especially, started acting like we were all family members? Maybe then, they would take action that helped these people in need and those struggling for a better life.

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Burger King of the Jungle

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of our planet when the rain forest that provides so much of the earth’s oxygen and carbon reduction is now being torn down to become home of the Whopper.

The symbolism of a planet in peril is staggering, not to mention the reality of it all. The Amazon Rain Forest is now home to the Whopper, thanks to the enormous Belo Monte Damn project, that scientists warn is putting the future of the rain forest in peril.

But hey, that’s progress, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated at a recent visit to the region. In addition to Burger King, there’s a Costco and a large shopping mall with a movie megaplex. It is a classic pave over paradise to put up a parking lot moment. On the other hand, many Brazilians do see the development as progress because it provides jobs and leisure.

Americans provided an ominous blueprint for the world, gutting the country of its vast forests and building a whole mess of parking lots along the way. Politicians and the general public alike all want “progress,” but what is that exactly? It probably means various things to various people but the dictionary states that progress is “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” So, what exactly is our destination? One where we live a better life on a healing planet, or one awaiting our extinction on a dying planet?

It is very hard to push for global change when countries are culturally different, at different stages of development, and hold differing outlooks regarding their natural resources. Then there is science, full of dire warnings that always seem to be changing. Read any article on climate change and you can find at least one quote from scientists along the lines of “worse than previously thought.” But it was the same scientists who had made the previous predictions, so are they right now, then, or not correct at all?

I am not discounting science, but I don’t need complex research to tell me that destroying the Amazon Rain Forest to make way for shopping malls and fast food restaurants is not healthy for the planet, or those eating at the fast food restaurants for that matter. We are at a point in human existence where decisions made in certain countries could radically alter the chances for human survival. Do we form, as Albert Einstein advocated long ago, a world government? The prospects of that seem impossible.

People instinctually rebel against top down solutions, so maybe we need to continue to plant the seeds and cultivate grass roots efforts across the planet and get all the separate organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Greenpeace, to put forth coordinated efforts. Maybe call it the Earth Health Organization. We need to start conversations with our friends and neighbors in a manner that avoids discounting other’s beliefs.

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Well it’s high time we do something about it. Climate change that is.

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A Few Thoughts on 2020, For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here, and what it is ain’t exactly clear. Yes, those are lyrics from Stephen Stills, but they sure are sounding topical again. Both the Right and Left, Republicans and Democrats, are now limiting their vocabulary to what I will call extreme speak. …

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So, What Time Does the Cavalry Arrive?

It should come as no surprise that America is skeptical and slow to act on climate change. It seems to be in our DNA.

Those advocating immediate and swift climate change action within the United States are dismayed, to say the least, at the lack of action to save Mother Earth. Many are angry at the lack of belief in science they say is causing this inaction. But is it something deeper than that? It seems that we have a tradition of waiting until the last minute to take needed action on anything important.

When our country was formed, the founders failed to tackle the tragic and inhuman issue of slavery. Some hundred years later a major war amongst ourselves started the beginning of the end of slavery, killing well over a half million people, and we are still struggling with the consequences.

In the settling of the American West, the mythology that grew into the classic western folklore was the cavalry, only arriving at the last minute, to save the day.

Fast forward to World War 1. We didn’t want to get involved in a “European war” and it wasn’t until almost three years in that we finally got off the fence, so to speak, and dove into the trenches.

Many foresaw the coming of the economic crisis that became the Great Depression, but little or no preventative actions were taken, and even when the crash began, the Feds failed to act accordingly with steps that may have limited the severity and shortened the duration of so much suffering.

During the 1930s, as fascism spread and threatened to darken freedom’s torch throughout the world, the United States stood largely on the sidelines, as if somehow things would get better on their own. Only a day of infamy in December 1941, put an end to our inaction. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto has often been quoted in referring to the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Some historians are skeptical it was his quote, but you get the pattern. We Americans often seem to be asleep at the wheel (not a reference to the band).

It doesn’t end there or get any better. We didn’t realize that not all communist countries were part of the “evil empire” until we were well into the quagmire of Vietnam. It took Three Mile island to realize that nuclear power could be dangerous. We are still addicted to fossil fuels, even after the oil crises of the seventies (which is when I started advocating for developing alternative energy), and most recently, it took a comedian to shame Congress for the procrastination in taking care of the 9/11 first responders.

So yeah, we Americans have a consistent track record of being slow to react or act when it comes to some pretty important issues that face us. Regarding climate change, I hope it doesn’t take another Pearl Harbor type situation to wake up the sleeping giant. By then, it may not matter whether or when the cavalry shows up.

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Reading is Fundamental, Unless it is Deemed Dangerous

Here is my Latest. So what’s the story with Arizona prisons banning a book that criticizes racism in the judicial system? There is nothing new about prisons controlling and often banning certain books in their respective prison systems. The rationale even seems reasonable. Certain books …

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