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Blogs, Videos, Articles that I LOVE

Watch “Waking Up with Sam Harris #131 – Dictators and Other Imponderables (with Masha Gessen)” on YouTube

This is my first introduction to Masha, but I will be hearing or reading more from her. Thanks to Sam Harris, whom I do listen to frequently, for yet another thoughtful, informed, and reasoned approach to topics salient to today’s world.

As I listen, it occurs to me that at the root of so many of our problems is that the human race has yet to come to grip the concept of equal rights. That may well be a future topic for a blog post.

A Bit About Me

Me, too.

A few weeks ago an acquaintance texted to ask me if I could spend a day with her after her radical mastectomy. I was hesitant. I don’t know her that well, I am not a health care provider, and even though I am only in my early 60s, I’m not capable of any heavy lifting. Still, I felt funny about declining. I figured I could just be there to assist with getting her meals, answering the door to visitors — that sort of thing.

And that’s pretty much how it went, until she got up from her nap and decided to show me her tits.

I’m not a prude, but had she asked if I wanted to see her chest I would’ve declined. I didn’t have that opportunity. One minute we are sitting on opposite sides of her coffee table having a chat and the next she’s pulling up her top and presenting herself: flacid, empty tits; sutures; dressed wounds, and drainage apparatus. I was appalled and revolted, and speechless.

Had it been just the one time, perhaps I could excuse it, but I was scheduled to stay there with her until the late afternoon, and she did it two or three more times. I don’t know what she was thinking, but I was thinking the time could not go by quickly enough. At the end of the day I just wanted to go home and shower. I felt violated.

Me, Too isn’t just about sexual acts; it’s a violation of trust. What she did in exposing herself to me without invitation was no different than if a man exposed himself. The result is the same. I felt victimized and traumatized.

Before I left, she told me that the reconstruction surgery would be even worse. I wish her well, but I won’t know how that turns out. I’ve seen all I never wanted to see of that woman and I don’t care to ever see her again.

It's All Political, Take a direction and follow it.

Let’s Put the Heart Back into the GOP

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Dad was a Republican. From him I learned the merits of constancy, compassion, humor, and business savvy. As I also mentioned, I do not believe he would recognize today’s GOP.

What I did not mention was that Dad also taught me to respect all people, and despite living in a highly racist county of Michigan — it was our two community green groceries that served black families. I still remember when he introduced me to the Tims, an older couple that lived next door to our store in Middleville. Mr. Tim came to the store one morning when I was “helping” Dad, and told Dad that Mrs. Tim had just made some cookies and they wondered if I would like some. I eagerly agreed, and Dad approved.

Minutes later I was seated with them at their small kitchen table with my plate of cookies and glass of milk, when a question came to my mind: “Mrs. Tim, were you and Mr. Tim burned when you were kids?” They looked at each other, and then at me. “Why would you ask such a thing?” she replied. “Cause you’re black.” They laughed.

Dad didn’t see color. He saw kindness, hard work, and good manners.

Dad’s GOP can be described by the first paragraph of the GOP platform of 1948:

“To establish and maintain peace, to build a country in which every citizen can earn a good living with the promise of real progress for himself and his family, and to uphold as a beacon light for mankind everywhere, the inspiring American tradition of liberty, opportunity and justice for all—that is the Republican platform.”

So, I decided this morning that the Republican Party has strayed from its original principles, the principles that Dad respected. I am going to do my part to get them back on track. I am turning my back on the Democrats and going Red — as in the good red: heart.

If I could wish one thing, I would wish that everyone in the country that was concerned about the downward spiral of the Republican Party would do the same. Join them, and use our inherent sense of stability, compassion, and community to turn them from the course they’ve taken. Whether yellow, black, brown, or white — if you have a heart that beats for the good in people I invite you to join me.

Let’s take back the GOP, and bring them back into the light of day.

It's All Political

Trump’s Orphans

Over 2,300 children were abducted by Trump’s administration, without care to an eventual return to their parents. Instead, they were flown, bussed, or in some other means carted off to undisclosed dark sites around the country.

In effect, Trump’s policy to enact this heinous behavior in the name of the American People has added these children to the DACA population here in the US. What’s more, there were no records kept with these children, so they can not be deported. The administration doesn’t know their origins to deport them to. So, it’s likely that these Trump-created orphans will be raised, cared for, and educated at the taxpayer’s expense to their adulthood. Since at least the younger of them won’t know where they came from, they will most probably live out their lives here. If they are not naturalized, they will remain permanently on the government’s care — since they won’t be able to obtain work without citizenship.

Bottom line: the President most hateful toward our world’s vulnerable has guaranteed at least these illegal aliens will achieve what their parents wanted for them: safety and means to American opportunities.

Aside from the pain and suffering for the parents’ and childrens’ loss — which no doubt will be compensated for by more tax dollars eventually, it’s possible that if he had left the policy in place he would’ve inadvertently invited many parents across the globe without means to bring their children to the borders just to give them such opportunities.

If this wasn’t such a tragedy for so many families now and the decades to come — because there will be terrible social consequences for inflicting such trauma on these youth — I would have to laugh out loud at Trump’s continued ineptitude.

As for the 40+% of his supporters, hang onto your hats because this is only the beginning of the consequences of your support. Pray that the Republicans lose every coming election, before your economy, your environment, and your freedom is completely destroyed.

It's All Political

What Can Be Said?

The continuation of this present low in our United States in the acts of kidnapping children from their vulnerable parents, and then whisking them across state lines to secret locations without a care to their well-being. That is now who we are as Americans.

How will these children will EVER be reunited with their families? Over 2,300 children are at this moment without means, at the hands of strangers, with no one to turn to.

We are ALL stained by this atrocity — just as all Germans were stained by Hitler’s actions in World War II.

Take a moment and really reflect on what we’ve done. Have we really grown so cold inside? What has happened to US that this is possible, and why can we not restore these children to their parents — NOW?

Are our politics worth our souls?

It's All Political

Hidden Horrors of “Zero Tolerance” — Mass Trials and Children Taken From Their Parents — Radio Free

Federal Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan is in his 60s, with a bright-pink face and a crisp, friendly manner — though lately he has been making disconcerting little mistakes in court. He has spent eight years on the bench in Brownsville, a small Texas city on the U.S.-Mexico border. Morgan knows how to run a […]

via Hidden Horrors of “Zero Tolerance” — Mass Trials and Children Taken From Their Parents — Radio Free

What I believe

The Golden Rule is My Religion, and God is God

I was born to an unmarried Catholic woman in the Midwest, and her people suggested to her that the Church would find a nice family for me, so I was adopted. My parents’ people were not religious, but the criteria for my adoption was that I had to attend Sunday school until I turned three. Sixty years later and my first thought when I see children in need is the song I learned there:

“Whether yellow, black or white they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” It seems to be pretty simple, really.

They also taught us about the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” Even simpler. Those two principles carried me into my teens.

In my freshman year of high school there was an active group of Baptists, and they kept handing out flyers urging that we save ourselves, so one Sunday my best friend Judy and I put on our nicest dresses and got a ride to their service. We sat and listened to the singing, and the announcements, and made it almost completely through the sermon — right up until the preacher pronounced that all illegitimate children were bastards that could not go to heaven. We looked at each other and without a word stood and quietly walked out the back.

Apparently they hadn’t gone to Sunday school.

I graduated from a Christian college, and that required at minimum one quarter of Bible Study. We had our choice, I chose the Old Testament. I’d read the Bible three times before, and it seemed to be the most straightforward of the two. (We can discuss that in another post, if it comes up.) There’s a lot of stuff in the Old Testament, but bottom line: “God is God.”

When it comes to morality, I believe in absolutes, like the Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other Gods but me.
  2. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  3. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy.
  4. Thou shalt honor father and mother.
  5. Thou shalt not kill.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  7. Thou shalt not steal.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  9. Do not let thyself lust after thy neighbor’s [spouse].
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his farm, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his [or hers].

They are good enough for me. They don’t require a lot of explanation, and they provide a pretty good guideline for living even if you are not a Bible person. (If you have to break one, probably the third would be the safest.)

I am fairly certain that armed with these three principles, you can pretty well navigate your life without harming yourself or others. And that’s what I believe would serve us all, best.

Feel free to comment. In fact, I welcome it. Peace be with you and yours.

Here’s a little song to finish up this sermon: God is God.