Monday, March 28, 2016

Penis Measuring, Rat Copulation, and What Really Matters

Friday, my mother announced she was ready to go have dinner with Dad. I told her to forget that plan, because she already has hotel reservations for the senior son's wedding next fall. 

Meanwhile the blog was the farthest thing from my mind. Good thing I had written down a really scary thought. I'll get to that in a minute. 

Much has been written this week about how the GOP is imploding, and usually, I think this is just business as usual for them, but penis-measurement contests followed closely by Ted Cruz all but admitting he's a rat-fucker who has no desire to "copulate with Donald Trump," (that's a quote folks) makes me think there might be something to the rumor they are killing themselves. 

Here's is the rat-fucker episode up close and personal. You have to see it to believe it really happened and that it wasn't some weird-ass mash-up. it is not:

Oshkosh, Wisconsin  -  March 25th, 2016

Now, in this singular instance, I happen to agree with Ted Cruz; the Trump campaign teaming up with the National Enquirer is a parody of electioneering. It's beyond disgusting. But you cannot escape that line,  
"Well let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him." 
I'm pretty sure that didn't come out right, because it sure sounds like Senator Cruz just admitted to being a rat-fucker. 

That line is problematic on so many levels.

So, forget for a moment how it plays out here. Pretend you are a student in Beijing who looks at America as a dream county. Or imagine you're in the Sudan where you hear about education in America and can only dream that one day you can get some of that. Or from the perspective of Kim Jong-un. When he gets up off the floor from laughing, he can go back to playing with the nuclear bomb models. Nuff said?

But how about this? How about looking a little bit down a very dark and windy road at a Trump presidential candidacy. Who is his running mate? That's the real scary question, isn't it?

G-d forbid there is a Trump presidency, rest assured it won't last long. Six months in, he will be bored with a Congress so obstructionist it make President Obama's version heigh-ho-off-to-work-we-go Mouseketeer happy-go-lucky by comparison.  This Congress is not gonna move one muscle to shore up Trump. And most of the clowns will be running office pools on how long until gets bored. Once he figures out the power part is pretty empty, he will lose patience with being president....just like Sarah Palin got bored with being governor of Alaska. When he realizes being POTUS is not the same as being chairman of some television bored room, he won't stick around. 

However, in the unlikely case he does stick around for a while, he is a target for all manner of people who already hate him. To that end, any Veep has to be an insurance policy against such an unlikely event. I mean, if Ben Carson was next in line, wouldn't you be loathe to see Trump neutralized?

I'm not 100% in either the Hillary or the Bernie camp, but I can tell you I enjoy their debates because there are ideas involved. You don't have to agree with them to find their discourse compelling. And that G-d sent Bernie a real-live tweet is, you have to admit, a bit of a bonus. That bird was great. I have no idea how he got there, but that was the best bit of street theatre I've seen in decades. It was just perfect. 

And that brings me back to Mom. I tried to explain about the bird. I showed her a picture. She looked at it, and said, "Gotta be a trained bird." She has stopped watching the news, and when I asked her why, she told me it's depressing. "This is not why my father had an election machine brought to the hospital," she said. "This is a shondeh. This is not what I want for my great-granddaughter."

Mom may be 93, but she pretty much has all her marbles, and probably a few extra. The best thing in her world right now is hearing, "Hi, Bubbe!" when Little Miss comes through the door. She holds Bubbe's hand, then brings her Star Brite Pony and quarters. Those moments of exchange are the most precious. Even though Little Miss barely understands the importance of sharing, much less the impact she has on her great-grandmother, the rest of us get it. And every so often, we manage to capture the moment with one of our i-Whatevers. 

The gift of time we have been given these last 10 months is an amazing gift I never thought I would get. Seeing my mom holding her great-granddaughter's hand makes me wanna get up and go ring doorbells for whatever candidate is going to restore order and dignity to this election. Just like my mom, I do not want Little Miss to ever be exposed to such base and childish behavior by adults. It's unbecoming.

Tonight, Mom managed to eat a whole mini-ice cream cone. First thing in 3 days.  I hope this is a sign of some recovery.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
When you get to be over 90, you can eat whatever you want. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Being Esther

March 21st, 2016 is drawing to a close.  Used to be this was the first day of spring, but we're too scientifically advanced for that now. It was also FIL's birthday....he would've been 95 today. I called his brother, Uncle Erv, this evening. I wanted him to know we hadn't forgotten it was Franny's birthday. 

And FIL would've been going crazy from the news. I would've been walking into Rant o'Sieg every night because he would've spent the day listening to the radio. This campaign would've sent him over the edge. I'm almost relieved he's not here to hear it. 

Today, the candidate parade was over at AIPAC. For the record, and let me be perfectly, bluntly clear about this, I am an ardent supporter of the state of Israel. I'm not going to write about that, only to say that I still toy with the idea of making aliyah one day. I believe in Israel's right to be in Israel, and that we are no Johnny-come-lately to the scene. We've been there continuously for over 4.000 years despite endless efforts to move us off our land. 

Now that we have that out of the way, I will also admit that I am not a fan or supporter of AIPAC or J-Street. I pretty much believe all lobbyist groups are tainted and should not exist. They are power brokers and I don't care for power being brokered by anyone. They are created to manipulate, not seek out the will of We, the People. Even when you hear the word lobbyist, you cringe. You think of the NRA, the oil lobby, big pharma. You know exactly what mean. And none of it's pleasant. 

On the other hand AIPAC is a big deal in the Jewish community. I understand that a lot of people think AIPAC speaks for all American Jews; it does not. I get why the presidential candidates speak at AIPAC. I think it's absurd, but I get it. There are those that will tell you that the strong relationship between the US government and AIPAC is fundamental in helping to protect Israel. There are others that will tell you AIPAC aids and abets a seriously flawed Israeli government that is undermining Israel's relationship with the rest of the world. There is great disagreement about whether or not AIPAC is a viable spokes-organ for the Jewish community at large. 

In its attempt to be relevant, AIPAC hosts a candidate forum. The major party candidates book appearance time. This year, those attending included Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump. They all pandered to the lobby. They all forcefully declared their pro-Israel stance. Trump fed the gathering his usual line of bull-oney, and ended it by reminding the crowd, “My daughter Ivanka is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.” I don't think Secretary Clinton happened to mention her daughter also married Jewish. Still, this must be the new version of, "Some of my best friends are Jewish." Frankly, I think they all fed whatever lines needed to be fed, and I really don't believe any of them, anyway.  

A group of rabbis, including my own, Rabbi Morris Allen, formed a group called COME TOGETHER AGAINST HATE and planned a walkout on Donald Trump's speech. The issue was not policy, it was not about positions, it was about the campaign itself. As Rabbi Allen said at the rally:
We are here right now because in truth we are also people who cannot and will not tolerate hatred, misogyny, racism, Islamaphobia, anti-Semitism, and calls to violence as a means for reaching the highest office in the land and perhaps the most powerful position in the world.
No matter what you think about AIPAC, Rabbi Allen is spot on. We speak volumes even in our silence, and if we do not stand up as a unified front against the hate being fomented at the campaign level, we are no better than the ones who stood in silence in 1932. 

When I was a kid, we used to tell each other we would never have let the Nazis drag us away or put us in camps. We talked about how we would fight back. When I watched SCHINDLER'S LIST with my sons, I silently wondered if my boys would have been resourceful enough to survive. Now I am a savta with a granddaughter, and suddenly I am worrying about what happens if.....

Wednesday night is the holiday of Purim, when we read the Book of Esther. Here's a story about one woman who could have easily remained silent and did not. Whether she was bullied into approaching her husband by her Uncle Mordechai, or if she really was the heroine we want her to be, it does not matter. In the end, she stands up against hatred.  

Perhaps, instead of dressing up as Esther this year, we should work on being Esther. Let us all stand up and say, NO to hatred, misogyny, racism, Islamaphobia, and anti-Semitism. 

The time to be counted is now, not when we are scrambling for passports. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Wanna read a good book, and a different take on Esther, read this:
I highly recommend it.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Three Attacks, No Waiting.

I'm not exactly sure what happened at Trump rallies this weekend, and what's more I don't think I really care all that much, but, something the Donald said at the Kansas City rally made my blood run cold:

Taken from a video shot at the Kansas City rally on March 12th:

I hope they arrest these people because they're really violating all of us, OK? And I hope they're arrested. I hope they're arrested, because honestly they should be...I hope you arrest these people, because I'll tell you, they deserve to be arrested. And some of them are very violent. But I'm going to ask that you arrest them. I'll file whatever charges you want. Who the hell knows… We're going to go strongly for your arrest. And I'm going to do this from now on. Let's ruin the rest of — they're going to ruin the rest of their lives. If they want to do this, let them have a big arrest mark… So I hope you arrest them and do whatever you have to do. And you know what, once that starts happening, we're not going to have any more protesters, folks. We're not going to have any more protesters."
Later, when heckled again, he said,

I hope these guys get thrown into a jail. They'll never do it again. It will destroy their record. They'll have to explain to mom and dad why they have a police record and why they can't get a job. And, you know what, I'm going to start pressing chargers against all these people, OK?

And then we won't have a problem and I don't want to do that. I don't want to ruin somebody's life. They are probably good kids. You know, they're probably good kids. I don't want to ruin people's lives. But the only way were going to stop this craziness is that we press charges.
And you know what? I'm going to start pressing charges against all these people, OK? ... The only way that we're going to stop this craziness is if we press charges. Because then their lives are going to be ruined.
The line that really got my attention was:
Once that starts happening, we're not going to have any more protesters, folks.
What exactly is he implying here? The man is not stupid; he understands English. And he understands, quite masterfully at that, how to manipulate a crowd. 

That kind of talk makes me remember these two quotes:
  1. ''The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence. 
  2. The art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention. 
[You get a prize if you can name the author and the source]

So, here are two tweets for your consideration.

  • Illustrating tweet #1:

Was there any indication, inclination, proof, or even a hint that this guy had ties to ISIS? No. There were none. This is a quintessential example of fear mongering coupled with an implication of violence, both on the side of the "maniac" as well as the Secret Service detail. 
  • Illustrating tweet #2:

Trump has accused Senator Sanders of masterminding the hecklers at his rallies. Really? There is a threat being made, and it is hardly veiled. No one can mistake the implicit warning when coupled with "Be careful Bernie." By throwing this schmutz at another candidate, he is instigating a particular response from his crowd. And he gets it. 

These tactics worked rather well in the 1930s for the guy who penned the two quotes. The real question is whether or not we are going to allow them...and repeat itself. Aren't you waiting for the uniforms to show up at the Trump rallies. I am. Blue shirts? Red shirts? Bown shirts? The color doesn't matter. The action and the demeanor does. And we've seen both in play. From the "voter promise" salute to the sucker punches, there is a clear direction for these actions. 

Being a US citizen means allowing someone to say something you abhor, you detest, you think unConstitutional or worse, unAmerican. Being a US citizen means you understand the  free speech. Donald J. Trump claims hecklers are inhibiting his right of free speech. He understands exactly how he's spinning his nonsense, and uses it to lie, manipulate, and provoke violence. He has taken more than a page from Hitler's play book. This has nothing to do with making America great, or bolstering the economy; Trump is about power. That's all. It's the "You're Fired" mentality on a grand scale. This, people, is a form of political terrorism. 

Speaking about the T-word, while the Donald was whipping up people into a frenzy about "the other," there was an "incident" in Milwaukee that got so little attention that it went almost unnoticed by most of the country. A man accosted a father and son while walking, and then executed the father. He then went into an apartment building where he knocked on a door, and killed a couple while their kids were hiding in the bathroom. The only thing these people had in common was that they were not American-born. The assassin was stopped by the cops, called by a relative of one of his victims. 
A 39-year-old Milwaukee man methodically shot and killed three of his neighbors at point-blank range last weekend at an apartment complex on the city's south side, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
Dan J. Popp faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Jesus R. Manso-Perez, 40; Phia Vue, 36; and Mai K. Vue, 32. The victims were pronounced dead in their four-unit apartment building in the 3300 block of S. 92nd St. after the shooting was reported about 5:45 p.m. Sunday.                                              The Milwaukee Journel-Sentinel Online
Nowhere will you find the word "terrorist" mentioned. Had the shooter been Muslim killing Americans, TERRORIST would've been brandished across the headlines. But he was white. He gets a pass for hating/murdering foreigners. Gee, and he didn't even ask if they were citizens before he shot them. No, he executed them for their skin color, their accent, their ethnicity. And no one is calling him a terrorist. Can you say, "BROKEN," boys and girls?

Jeff King's Nash
And speaking of attacks, here's another one you may or may not have heard about. A drunk guy attacked two of the leading mushers at the Iditarod with a snowmachine (aka sled or snow mobile.) He repeatedly came at Aliy Zirkle and her dogs, injuring one, but she managed to get away.  Jeff King, however, was not so lucky. His sled was not hit, but one of his dogs, four-year old Nash, was killed, and several others were severely injured. Take a moment to listen to Jeff talk about the attacks. 

Aliy Zirkle
The driver of the snowmachine, Arnold Demoski, said he was blackout drunk, but that didn't stop him from turning around and doing it again, then going after a second racer. Yes, he turned himself in, but everyone already knew who it was since Mr. King had carried in a side panel from the snowmachine. According to the local constabulary, it was not difficult to figure out who owned the panel. It's a sparse county.

The relationship between mushers and the towns through which they pass is a sacred thing. This has rocked the town of Nulato to its core. In so small a place, there will be conversations and debates about what happened on the trail for years to come. Will there be any kind of resolution? Probably not; the story will become part of the folklore. Demoski may be a crazy person and an alcoholic, but he's not a terrorist. 

Both King and Zirkle have continued the race, which is a testament to the mushers and the sport itself. At this writing, Aliy Zirkle is running the 4th place, and Jeff King is in 13th. These are tough people to begin with. This just makes them that much tougher. From strength to strength. Really.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

If you want to understand Hitler or Trump, go read Machiavelli:
 “Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared 
or feared than loved.”
Hitler and Trump have settled on the latter. Remember that.