Monday, December 11, 2017

Due Process, Alternate Reality, and Who Cares?

I am sitting in my room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. Let me just say that I am having a really good time. I loved Diagon Alley and all the shops come to life. Didn't buy a thing, although I confess I was really tempted to get a wand. However, everyone knows the wand chooses the wizard, and there didn't seem to be a wand that chose me. Alas.

I know it's the night before the highly anticipated Panorama in Alabama. I know, too, that tons of money have been pouring into Alabama for Mr. Jones. And I know this is going to be ugly no matter what happens. But I also know this is a bellweather election for these here United States, and that no matter who the people elect, they will own that choice. They have the right to send anyone they want to the Senate. 

That's the beauty of democracy, and the curse. I don't know how much longer We, the People, will be able to preserve this union. The moorings and the underpinnings have taken a few severe hits in the last 6 or so months. We are no longer standing on such firm ground. And it breaks my heart.

And it breaks my heart that Senator Klobouchar betrayed the trust of the people of Minnesota by joining the warlock hunt demanding the resignation of Senator Franken. Senator Franken was denied due process despite his call for an ethics investigation. He was denied the right to answer their questions. 

And it breaks my heart that the Democrats of the Senate not only betrayed their own colleague, but they betrayed any woman who has suffered violence and serious trauma at the hands of a rapist. They have equated a fanny pat with full-blown, forced, violent, vicious sexual intercourse. Anyone who has experienced that violence knows there is a difference. A BIG, WHOPPING DIFFERENCE.

Funny thing, Senator Franken was castigated for saying:
Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently.
But when Sarah Huckabee said,
As the president said himself, he thinks it's a good thing that women are coming forward, but he also feels strongly that a mere allegations shouldn't determine the course. And in this case, the president has denied many of these allegations....Look, the President has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.
we were expected to take his word for it even though there's video tape where he brags about forcing himself on women. Okay. Why not? Lots of people also believe the Palestinians want peace. 

And y'know, none of it means squat. We are too far off the road for redemption. 

What matters is that I went on THE TRANSFORMERS ride at Universal Studios today and it was the best ride ever. Escape from Gingrott's was good, and RACE THROUGH NEW YORK was pretty exciting, but TRANSFORMERS RIDE was amazing.

Tomorrow, we start with Hogwarts, then later in the day we move to Cape Canaveral. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Coming soon to your in any day now.....

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dear Lou Dobbs

On December 2nd, you publicly stated:
I think U.S. Marshals should follow him, and any time he wants to go follow the president like he is, and behave… I mean, this is just bad manners. It’s boorish, it’s absurd, he doesn’t realize how foolish he looks. I mean, he should be brought back by the Marshals. Isn’t there some law that says presidents shouldn’t be attacking sitting presidents?
You are absolutely right. There is a law, and it's called The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 
President Obama's statement, in case you didn't actually read it, which would be my guess because if you did you would not be sounding like the asinine blowhard you really are, not only does not mention Feckless Leader by name, it references Mrs. Obama. 

See, here's what happened. In Toronto, Mrs. Obama said:
...[it is] never a good idea” to put your first thought in the morning on social media, and  [never a good idea to] “tweet from bed…Then you need to edit and spell-check it.
As a journalist, Mr. Dobbs, how can you possibly think this is  bad advice?  President Obama was simply agreeing with his wife:
Michelle was giving the general idea . . . don’t say the first thing that pops in your head. Have a little bit of an edit function...Think before you speak, think before you tweet.
All indications to the contrary, this is not practiced consistently in the White House these days. Months later, no one is quite sure what covfefe means.

So, let me explain this to you in simple, everyday words you might be able to understand:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This is called the Preamble to the Constitution and it starts by telling We, the People, that We, the People, are responsible for our own country. This is followed by the Constitution itself, which is then followed by 10 Amendments called The Bill Of Rights. The first Amendment is the one I mentioned above that contains the line:
Congress shall make no law respecting ...abridging the freedom of speech...
This freedom applies to We, ALL OF THE PEOPLE, not just some of the people. It is not only our right, it is our civic duty to comment, criticize, or condone the word, actions, and/or behavior of our elected officials. That right is not abridged when someone steps down from public office.

Your statement, on the other hand, suggesting that President Obama should be muzzled, is, therefore, unconstitutional. Not to mention stupid since neither President nor Mrs. Obama called Feckless out by name or reputation. They commented on the sagacity (common wisdom) of unconsidered, mindless, tweets...much like your statement. 

If anyone should be muzzled, Mr. Dobbs, it is you. You call for illegal actions, the overthrow of the constitution, and you tell lies. Just like Feckless, only yours are worse. You're supposed to be a trusted source of news. Instead, you are the assistant Pinocchio. You enable and abet a sociopath.

Please do a service to this nation and go away. Go to Moscow. They'll love you there. 

We, the People, however, have no desire to have a person in the public forum actively preaching treason and sedition. Oh, do I need to define sedition for you? Hmmm. Maybe you should just go away and leave it at that.
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Turn off the news every so often.
Listen to a symphony or a Beatles album. Something original.
Just remember to be kind to your brain. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dignity of Earth and Sky versus Feckless Leader

Photo: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock
Meet Dignity of Earth and Sky. She's 50 feet tall, and stands on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. She is a Plains Indian woman, a member of either the Dakota or Lakota Sioux nation, native people to this land.  She was designed by Dale Lamphere and her dynamic star quilt was created by David Claymore. Three Native American women posed for the sculptor. She was a gift from Norm and Eunabel McKie to mark the State of South Dakota's 125th anniversary. The dedication ceremony took place on September 17th, 2017.

The diamonds of the star quilt are not stationary; they move. Star quilts replaced buffalo robes as gifts for life cycle events, the most important of which were the memorial quilts commemorating the Lakota dead. Dignity's quilt is made of glass painted in shades of dark and light blue; they catch the light of day and spin with the winds of the Great Plains.  As Mr. Lamphere said of his creation,
Dignity represents the courage, perseverance and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota cultures in South Dakota. My intent is to have the sculpture stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred, and in a sacred place. My hope is that the sculpture might serve as a symbol of respect and promise for the future.
A friend posted a picture of Dignity on her Facebook page and I wondered how the hell I missed this, especially when it's just not that far from me. I wondered how this did not get huge amounts of coverage. And then I knew why.

We were busy focusing on the smokescreen: shitter-twitters, Feckless Leader's refusal to disclose the Mar-a-Lago Resort visitor list from January 20 and March 8, denials of Russian collusion, un-presidential world appearances, the White House dithering on the Paris Climate Accord. On September 17th, Tropical Storm Maria was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. We, the People, could've used a little break from the bullshit had anyone bothered to tell the country about Dignity's dedication.

We woulda heard if it was a statue of Custer. Boy, would we have heard about that! 

Or not.

While we were missing the dedication of Dignity, our government was undermining the rules of checks and balances in an ongoing attempt to shred the fabric of our star quilt. While we are distracted, they persevere.

Meredith Corporation has announced its intention to buy TIME magazine. with backing from the Koch brothers. As my friend Jill Cozzi (aka Brilliant at Breakfast) noted,
Having completed their purchase of the U.S. government, the Koch brothers now set their sights on the press.
Should we be concerned?

Net Neutrality is on the chopping block. The Department of Justice appears to be demanding AT&T sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, or sell DirecTV as a precondition for approval of the $85 billion merger with Time Warner. The Oval Office Occupant routinely trash-talks about journalism, journalists, and the news media when he consistently lies like a rug. 

We've been so busy obsessing about fanny pats, that we seem to have given a pass to a predator who now says that's not him on the video tape saying all that stuff about grabbing pussies and 
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
Well, since he now says it's not him on the video tape, that it's an imposter. In that case, I guess it's not and we should all just forget it ever happened. That's the same stand Feckless takes on Putin's meddling in our elections and Roy Moore chasing 14-year old skirts. Who should we believe....that pathological liar...or our lyin' eyes?

Instead of focusing on important stuff, like federal judicial appointments, the latest Keystone oil spill in South Dakota, the bogus tax Ponzi scheme, or dueling agency heads over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we are falling for every trick the GOP playbook. 

On the bright side, the Washington Post had a moment of clarity and actually vetted a story that turned out to be a honey trap: A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.


But do pay attention to what this sick, sick individual said to 3 of the surviving 13 Navajo Code Talkers on Monday:
 You’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special. You are special people, you are really incredible people.
How dare he even talk to these men who gave their all for a country with a history of hatred directed at them...while standing in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the president who signed the Indian Removal Act and was responsible for the Trail of Tears? Could you possibly see Angela Merkel giving an award to Jews who survived the Holocaust while standing in front a of portrait of Hitler? It would NOT happen in Germany, but it sure happens here. 

His thrall, Sarah Huckster, had this to say when confronted about her boss's racist remark: 
I don't believe that it is appropriate for him to make a racial slur, or anybody else. I don't think that it is was and I certainly don't think that was the president's intent. 
This is not a leader. This is a teeny-tiny putz with a teeny-tiny brain to match. He hates. He dismantles. He destroys. He abuses. He lies. He runs to do evil. I wonder if Jared gave him a copy of the Al-Chet, the Yom Kippur confessional, and he's making his way down the list. He does nothing but bring shame and humiliation on this nation. 

Today was no different. And we tolerate it anyway.

In a contest between Dignity of Earth and Sky and Feckless Leader, there is no contest. Dignity wins every time, hands down. Dignity of Earth and Sky represents the best that we can be. I don't need to tell you what Teeny-tiny Brain represents. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Silence is not a protest.
Silence is acquiescence.
Remain silent at your own peril.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gropes, Conspiracies, and Senator Franken

Long, long ago, in a lifetime far, far away, Ziggy and I considered collaborating on a novel. This was during the unfortunate period when he decided he would move into my office and we could "share" things. After a week of, "Hey! Listen to this...." I told him if he didn't move out of my office by the time I got home from work the next day, I would never cook again and he would starve.

He moved back to his space in the living room. 

But there was that brief moment of collaborative consideration...long ago tucked into a drawer and forgotten.

Until this week when I found it. 

He called it CONSPIRACIES, but I referred to it as The Siegfried Follies. We used to laugh about it every once in a while, and we talked about it while he was dying. "Think you'll ever finish it?" he asked. "Finish it? Heck no! We barely started it!" I think he was hoping I would promise to take up the mantle. 

Until this week, I never thought I would. 

Ziggy always maintained nothing was a coincidence, that everything had a beginning, a middle, and an end, all of which was orchestrated by human intervention. So in this story, the protagonist, a guy name Dickens, is a mild-mannered insurance adjuster who goes to work every morning, does his job, and goes home to his wife and 2 kids every night. He has no friends at work to speak of, a couple of friends from his childhood whom he sees now and then, and some neighbors with whom he and his wife socialize. One day, his boss calls him into his office where the HR dude is waiting for him. The department secretary has reported him for sexual deviancy and says he has impregnated her. 

As the wheels are coming off his life, Dickens begins to think this is a diversionary tactic. And as the case against him progresses, it becomes increasingly clear to Dickens that this is a set up, that he is being used, and that while he is sitting in jail for an act he did not commit, there are dark powers afoot fanning this smokescreen. 

The plot was so complicated, I could never keep track of it. If Ziggy was here, he would be able to explain how every time Dickens' name was in the news and all the attention was focused on him, nefarious things happened. Every time the dark powers need to do something dreadful, they would toss another charge on this guy until he was charged with rape, sodomy, pedophilia, and embezzlement. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that right now, I think Ziggy would've said everything we have witnessed this past year has been a smokescreen, and every diversionary tactic has hidden a seriously nefarious event. 

What? Me worry?
I don't really give a flying fart in space if Roy Moore runs for the senate. If the people of Alabama wanna display their Confederate-flag-flying-Christian-values by sending a serial pedophile to congress, then let them. Who are the rest of us to tell them their version of family values is fucked-up beyond recognition and certain not WWJD?

Behind this brouhaha, in case you missed it, was the preliminary passage of the most vile tax reform bill that the congressional-confederacy-of-incredibly-moronic-dunces could come up with. 

While our revoltingly crass Feckless Leader is calling Kim Jung-un fat, he's repealing common sense regulations like not bringing elephant trophies into the country because he thinks no one will notice....well, usually he's right about those things, but this time he got caught with his pants around his ankles all the while he's tweeting about Franken but remains classically silent on ol' pedophile Moore. 

And ol' Feckless has gotta be dancing the cha-cha over all this sex stuff. Right up his teeny-tiny-tootsie-roll alley.

What should be a watershed moment of empowerment for women, when casting couches and desk-chases are finally being exposed and excised, is now a total joke ending with "me, too." The media glommed onto this circus and turned it into everyone's 15-minutes of fame. It's not about date rape or a staged photograph (imbecilic as that was,) it's about ME, ME, ME, ME, ME.

Well, people, guess what. You've sent women's empowerment back to the basement. You've turned it into a whiny, annoying, media circus with no teeth. You are making sure that a guy like Al Franken, who owned his behavior and stepped up the the line to claim it,  will be drummed out of public what good?

Yeah, go ahead and rag  on me for calling it like I see it, but too bad. I watch it all unravel and all I can think is that this is so tidily well orchestrated that all those ranting Democrats fell right into the trap. Instead of dealing with the real private jet and golf course tax loopholes... you are making sure that the men who have, over the course of time and awareness, become the allies, are now swept out with the real trash like Cosby or Weinstein.  Instead of recognizing that what was once tolerated cannot be tolerated any longer, we have a warlock hunt. Anyone with a penis and two hands is a suspected sexual predator.  My own personal boob grope was by another woman. And she's still out there, still outrageous, and people think she's wonderful. But she doesn't have a penis, so I guess it's  okay. Happy now?

Let's get something straight: this is not about blaming the victim. This is not about excusing bad behavior. This is not about tolerating harassment or abuse. This is about perspective. This is about recognizing the rules have changed and what was once considered "harmless," is not. This is also about someone owning his/her behavior and changing what needs to be changed. And it's about how to move forward. 

We, the People, were so busy being outraged by bullshit that the bigger, more dangerous picture, is hidden behind the smokescreen. Instead of confronting this administration over the planned de-funding of Medicare, we're jumping up and down about a fanny pat. Folks, there is a difference between jaywalking and vehicular homicide. Both are against the law. But are you gonna throw the jaywalker in jail for the rest of his/her life without possibility of parole?  For pity's sake, think past your outrage to what you are condemning this country to!

But getting back to my original, well orchestrated point. Folks, you have been setup. None of this outrage is a natural extension of bad behavior taken in context. This is yelling FIRE in a theater, then sitting back to watch the pandemonium. The timing is so impeccable...right after the Democratic victory in Virginia. Do I really need to post Charles During doing The Sidestep from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas again?

If you're a guy, can you say you never copped a feel or tried to get to 1st base? You would probably teach your sons that's just not done any more, but are you disqualified as a parent if that was what guys did back then? Or do you tell you sons, It was wrong and I shouldn't have done it, so don't you do it?

I am so tired of extremes. That is nothing more than another way NOT to deal with real issues. Keep it up if you want to see what's left of these here United States polarized into two camps of hate. Please get your big kid underwear on and start behaving like someone who cares for America more than they care for saying, "Me, Too."

As for Conspiracies? I don't know. I will have to see how this all plays out. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Make soup. 
Soup is always good during the winter. 

Monday, November 13, 2017


Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. ~ Jim Ziegler, Alabama state auditor 

And that makes a 32-year old guy hitting on a 14-year old okay?

We are inundated with "Me, Too," stories. Every single one of those stories represents the freedom to recount and retell, coupled with freedom to finally move forward. I seriously doubt there is a woman in America who has not experienced an unwanted sexually motivated event. There are extremes, of course, and there are some that make us squirm and some that make us so angry we cannot fathom how anyone could offer an explanation. And some are just passed off as guy stuff.

T-shirt for sale
Yeah, and to some degree that's the explanation....but absolutely not the excuse. There is no excuse, but if something has aways been tacitly permitted, It's because it was to be tolerated. If something is tolerated, no matter what it is, it's gonna happen because it's gonna be seen as okay.
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.                                    Donald Trump - caught on tape- 2005
 Let's try this again: BECAUSE IT IS TOLERATED.

The support Roy Moore is getting is because in Alabama, this kind of behavior is common. These are the same people that would have insisted that same 14-year old girl carry a baby to term in the event that harassment turned to rape. They don't give a flying fart in space about the girl, only about preserving the ejaculate of a rapist. 


Girls in Afghanistan are sold into child marriages, raped, and abused all the time. The GOP rants about Muslim child brides and sharia law, but hitting on a 14-year old kid in Alabama... if you're a white guy with power... is okay.


Guys like our Congressclown Jason Lewis are totally teflon guy. Nothing sticks to him. He can vote 100% with Feckless Leader and his loyal cabal sticks with him. Doesn't matter he votes against the people of the state of Minnesota at every turn, but he's against abortion and equal marriage rights. He says this isn't discrimination because gays are free to marry a person of the opposite sex. And he calls transgender people abominations. And it that's not enough, he supports the rape of the environment as well. In February 2017, he voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation that required coal companies to restore streams and mined areas to their pre-development conditions. We won't even talk about his poison positions on tax reform and health care. But all of that means nothing because he refuses to meet with his constituency in open, public forums.


We, the People sure tolerate a whole lotta stuff that is fundamentally bad for us. We currently have a sitting government that is stripping away the rules that keep the food chain safe. We have a sitting government that has offered to pay anyone in the State Department who wants to leave...but there is no move to fill crucial vacancies. 
To reach that number, [Secretary Rex Tillerson] has already frozen hiring, reduced promotions, asked some senior employees to perform clerical duties that are normally relegated to lower-level staff members, refused to fill many ambassadorships and senior leadership jobs, and fired top diplomats from coveted posts while offering low-level assignments in their place. Those efforts have crippled morale worldwide.                  New York Times, November 10th, 2017

And the GOP went after Clinton because Benghazi was understaffed? 


Inexplicably, We, the People tolerate leaders who clearly hate us. Our sitting president uses twitter like a 7th grader and no one can take that damn phone away from him. His endless stream of embarrassing tweets has not abated despite his promises to be more "presidential." He obsesses about Hillary Clinton, as if he is still running against her. But he's not. It's smoke and mirrors because he thinks if he does that we can't see him. That's the real fake news. We, the People may be dumb, but we are not that stupid. Or are we?

We must be that stupid BECAUSE THIS IS TOLERATED.

Feckless Leader, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Lewis C.K.....their behavior is not's borderline normal. That doesn't make it any less disgusting, inappropriate, or outrageous. They got away with this for years BECAUSE IT WAS TOLERATED and they did more and more and more because no one ever said they couldn't do that. 

Well, the buck is about to stop here. THIS WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED

The opening of the harassment floodgates is a spectacular piece of guerrilla theatre. It got the pain out of the closet and into the streets and airwaves. Yeah, there will be some instances of revenge hunts, but by-and-large, this spilling of guts is the real thing. People who have carried this load entire lifetimes are dumping the weight. They are shucking off the shackles of embarrassment and powerlessness to stand tall. 

This is but an opening salvo. There are lots of behaviors We, the People don't have to tolerate: rape of the land, pollution of national waters, denial of health care,  dismantling of the educational system, discrimination in the workplace. The list is long.

If We, the People get nothing else out of this election cycle, it had better be that destructive behavior, be it sexual, political, economic, or civil, WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. 

Roy Moore and Jason Lewis will lose their teflon coating. Feckless leader and his assistants will be exposed for the misogynistic, anti-American bastards they are. Yes, this will take work. This means we open the tent flaps to welcome anyone who wants to see these here United States re-emerge as a force for good, an example of what can be, and a respected world leader. 

Respected world leaders don't call other heads-of-state short and fat. Respected world leaders don't embrace other heads-of-state who brag about popping someone, even if it was a drug dealer. And a respected world leader sure as hell doesn't undercut his own intelligence agencies to take sides with an oligarch. 


Come 2018, we can only hope we can live up to our own hype. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Only you can prevent abuse. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Guns and Whores

Before you read anything else, I want you to watch this entire piece from the New York Times. Once you've seen in, you will better understand what I am about to say.

Watch the whole thing. With the sound. Then consider this statement from our sitting president:
To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful.                                                                                                       on Las Vegas mass murder, 02OCT2017
Now that you've watched the video, still think that was so quickly? 59 killed, 241 injured.

I want to make this very clear: gun violence is absolutely, without question, a mental health issue. Specifically, it is a mental health issue for Feckless Leader and his cadre of Congressclowns. 

No one in their right frickin' mind would have the gall to tell We, the People...and by extension the world, that the murder of 26 people worshipping in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church is not a gun issue:
Mental health is your problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn't a guns situation.                                                                                                                    Feckless from Japan - 06NOV2017
 Take a moment to visit this website: MASS SHOOTING TRACKER. Lots of opportunity there to drill down into the data to get an overview of mass shootings in the US. 

Did you know there was a mass shooting in Plano, Texas on September 10th, 2017? 9 people were murdered at a football-watching party. The guy was angry his wife was filing for divorce. So he killed her and 8 of their friends.

This is not about the right to bear arms. NO ONE IS TAKING AWAY YOUR HUNTING RIFLE OR PERSONAL HANDGUN. This is about people collecting militia-sized arsenals. This is about owning a semi-automatic weapon for fun. This is about NOT regulating what is available for sale. 

And don't give me the black-market bullshit. 

This is about the availability of mass firepower. If you have mass firepower, wanna tell the rest of us why? Are the neighbors coming to get you? If you have an arsenal, maybe they should.

But for our elected leaders to continue insisting THIS IS NOT A GUN OWNERSHIP ISSUE is proof positive they are they are nothing more than cowardly whores. And I do mean they are for sale. Wanna see for how much? 

Screw "fixing" the tax system so that the middle class gets royally screwed, where, unlike our congressclowns, we're not getting paid for the pleasure. Screw the environment when there's a frickin' nickel to be made off the rape of the land. Screw selling our natural treasures to the highest bidder who's gonna rename Yosemite National Park "Wells Fargo Casino and Resort." Screw our kids' chances at an education by selling the public schools to a for-profit consortium that will "reduce" waste by closing schools desperately in need. And screw health care for We, the People. 

You need a license to drive a car. You need insurance to own one. You need a license to hunt and fish. How hard is this to do for guns? We have the model. We know it works in all 50 states. 

None of this matters as long as we have a government that subsidizes mass murder by remaining silent. Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Pink, Plaid, or Polka Dots....if you don't get up off your ass and start telling your personal congressclown this is NOT okay, then you deserve to be in attendance at the next Las Vegas event, or be sitting in a pew in your local synagogue, church, or mosque. If you choose to remain silent, you have given up your chance to be safe in public. 

For the record, here are the top 17 mass shootings in the US since the Carillon sniper shootings at the University of  Texas in 1966. These guys were not all Islamic terrorists. They were not all Muslims yelling "Allah Akbar." 30% were identified as Islamic terrorists... which means 70% were guys with mental health issues who were shooting up gathering places:
These figures are for shootings only

Nah, we don't have a gun problem. Only a mental health problem. 

Yeah, every one one of those shooters had "issues," but those issues only point up how ignorant, stupid, lazy, cheap, and prostitutional our elected officials really are. They sell themselves for cheap to the gun lobby. In the end, they are holding the smoking AR-15s in their gun-residue-covered hands. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

If you don't stand up to be counted on this issue, 
if you let the clowns in congress get away without tackling sensible gun laws, 
then you own a piece of this, too. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween! I'm here to scare ya.

There are so many perfectly awful stories about which to write, it's hard to choose just one. So I won't.

The arrest of Paul Manafort should come as no surprise. Click here to read the full indictment for yourself. Frankly, I think this is the phrase that pays:
Statutory Allegations


(Conspiracy Against The United States)

37. Paragraphs 1 through 30 and 32 through 36 are incorporated here.

38. From in or about and between 2006 and 2017, both dates being approximate and inclusive, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., and RICHARD W. GATES III, together with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, and to commit offenses against the United States, to wit, the violations of law charged in Counts Three through Six and Ten through Twelve.

39. In furtherance of the conspiracy and to effect its illegal object, MANAFORT and GATES committed the overt acts noted in Count Eleven and the overt acts, among others, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere as set forth in paragraphs 9, 16, 17, 20-25, 32, and 34-36, which are incorporated herein.
The other charges are well documented and easily proved, mostly thought tax and bank records. Conspiracy against the United States is a bucket charge, one that would have been called Treason in a time of war. However, we're not officially at war, so conspiracy it must be. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the IMPEACH TRUMP movement is gaining momentum. Please stop. You don't know what you're doing...unless you are trying to put even more right-wing true-believer conservatives into the oval office. Remember, Vice President Pence is a man with issues regarding availability of birth control. Unlike the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this one actually believes the rhetoric. And you want that behind the desk?

Not to be outdone by the crazy brigade, Sarah Huckabee Sanders insists these charges have nothing to do with the campaign or the White House. Is this woman on the same planet as the rest of us mere mortals? Does she think she is Chicolini?

How stupid does that woman think We, the People are? Wait. Don't answer that.  Here's the proof they all think we're too stupid to live. 

Feckless Leader has made the war on opioids his latest target:
The fact is, if we can teach young people — and people, generally – not to start, it’s really, really easy not to take them,...Really tough, really big, really great advertising, so we get to people before they start, so they don’t have to go through the problems of what people are going through.                                                                                                                    Oct. 26, 2017
Just say no? Been there, done that, got the D.A.R.E. t-shirts. Not only does this guy not understand the fundamental problem of over-prescription of opioids, he seems to think you can talk people outta taking pain-killers. He should hire Michele Bachmann's husband to spearhead this one. He thinks you can talk people outta being gay. 

Sometimes, I think all this sleight of hand, mouth, and brain is more than just intentional. It really is a conspiracy theory that preys on the idea that we will become inured to the outrageous and will choose to ignore it. And to some extent that might be spot on. We, the People, think of ourselves as too smart to fall for this, yet we are giving the fruit-loop contingent exactly what they want: free publicity ...and divisiveness. As long as they keep throwing Hillary Clinton over the wall, we keep batting right back at them with the DNC leading the charge. All this does is to divert us from reality. That is not useful. 

Last week, I promised an update on the aftermath of my sojourn in Israel. This is it:

I have a better appreciation for how Israelis become totally secular. I also have a greater appreciation for why I remain a practicing Jew. Observance frames my life in a way that gives me a point of reference for moral and ethical decision-making. 

Does this mean I think God has anything whatsoever to do with my place in Judaism or  my personal practice? No. (But that's another story for another time.)

Being in Israel, however, in an entirely separate matter. 

48 years ago, I was a 17-year-old kid in Jerusalem watching men walking on the moon on a teeny-tiny black and white television. A week later, I was observing Tisha'b'Av...the date that commemorates the destruction of both Temples, sitting on a hillside overlooking the Old City. I recorded the following:
never in my life have i felt like i belonged the way i feel like i belong here. it's knowing this is our beginning point. i wonder if the shinnecock feel the same way about long island. i bet they do.                                  July 23, 1969
[note to older self - lack of caps is the hallmark of a 17 year old brain.]

When I stood at the Kotel the first time, there was no viciousness, no hatred; everyone was still in that euphoric state of the new, golden period for a reunited Jerusalem. 

That was then.  This is now.

Jews come in all levels of belief and practice. My Judaism is rabbinic Judaism, not the frozen-in-the-17th-Century variety of the ultra-orthodox rabbanut. I do not believe the rabbanut has the right to dictate how all Jews are to be Jews.

Robinson's Arch prayer platform
Netanyhu's coalition, however, supports the stranglehold the rabbanut retains on Jewish life in Israel. Today, the Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told leaders of the Jewish Agency that the government will not fully implement the agreement for an egalitarian prayer space at Robinson's Arch away from the main plaza despite orders from the Israeli Supreme Court that they must do so. 

This was not warmly received. You see, even though Robinson's Arch is a second-rate location for second-rate Jews, away from the Kotel, We, the Diaspora, were willing to take this crumb because it was better than nothing. 

But here's the thing:

We, the Jewish People, are the indigenous people of that small strip of land called Israel. We, the Jewish people, built the cities. We, the Jewish people, have never left the land despite centuries of conquest, exile, and brutality. We are the indigenous people and we have the written and physical history to back up that claim. 

modern toes on an ancient road.
(photo by J. Tocker)

That said, we are not all the same. We are Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern. We come from all continents in all colors these days thanks to 2000 years of Diaspora. We have a global range of cultural habits. We may say the same prayers, but we say them differently. We are not one-size-fits-all. And We, the Jewish People, all belong in Israel, not just the ones with stremls, payess, and silk knickers. 

We, ALL the Jewish People, will never abandon Israel. It is our homeland. It is where we began over 3000 years ago. 

Jerusalem, however, has abandoned me...and for the moment, I can live with that. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

If Stonehenge belongs to the Brits, the Parthenon to the Greeks, 
and the Colosseum to the Italians, 
then Israel is ours. 
No conquering army, no revisionist historian, 
no Johnny-come-lately crusader 
can change that 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Allow Me To Digest

A few days ago, I was sitting at my friend Jen's kitchen table in Herzliya just outside of Tel Aviv trying to draw a bead on how I would explain the experience of being in Israel. After all, it had taken me 48 years of yearning to get back there. Israel is such a complicated, complex place that even the air overwhelms the senses. Israel is the land of our birth as a people, the place we face for prayer, the landmarks of Torah, the repository of hopes and dreams, real history and revisionist history, real news that shakes one to the core of one's being, and fake news that just pisses people off. It is impossible to love it blindly unless you, yourself, are blind. 

And if you think Israel is an apartheid state, then you don't know what apartheid is and you shouldn't say shit like that unless you've been there and can personally illustrate that bit of antisemitic propaganda. Which you would not be able to do if you've ever been there in the first place. Israel may be a lot of things, but apartheid is not one of them.

The truth is, I cannot describe Israel quite yet. I will, at some point, be able to write about the journey, but the malingering end of jet lag and the lack of clearheadedness make it impossible to say much at this time. I need time to decompress. I need time to sort out the vast array of emotion/feelings/anger that Israel provokes

Yes, I said anger. 

And I'm already planning my next trip. 

Therefore, this is all you're gonna get tonight. 

Toes in the Dead Sea. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you have not been to Israel, go.
Your world view will change.