Archive for the ‘Column’ Category

Rot

Author: admin

Whatever you’re doing, STOP!

O.K., now, SIT DOWN. Sit in a comfortable position in your most comfortable chair. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take a moment – then read on.

“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float
over to China’s bad air. So, when China gets our good
air, their bad air got to move. So, it moves over to our
good air space. Then – now we got to clean it backup.”

No, those words are not from a child trying to explain climate change to a patient teacher. No, those words are not from a 4-year-old talking to a patient parent. No. Those ARE the words of a U.S. Senate candidate at a recent Georgia Republican event.

Herschel Walker.

The former Heisman winner is the GOP candidate running against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. Georgia Republicans have placed their bets on Walker. He’s their “horse” in the Senate race.

In the first few months, pollsters had Walker over Warnock by a point or two. Almost dead-even. Then, as Walker – who refused to debate Warnock – made some campaign appearances, the numbers began to shift. For Walker, the shift was down. Most recent Quinnipiac University sampling has it 54%-44% Warnock.

In addition to the above cited example of Walker’s “grasp” of major issues, he’s lied about quite a few things. Like a non-existent career in law enforcement, being CEO of a large company and his at-first denial of having three kids by three women he wasn’t married to. Being a Georgia resident which he isn’t and wasn’t. And much more.

Walker is already being called the male version of Marjorie Taylor-Greene who, by the way, is really from Georgia. And, who appears to be headed to re-election. Whether Walker will join her along the banks of the Potomac is still up for grabs.

Republican nutballs are running things in Georgia. Their current choices of “candidates” for high office confirm that.

But, don’t laugh. The same is true for several states. Including our very own Idaho. The only real difference in Idaho is, once in office, always in office. If you’re a Republican. Right, Jim? Right, Mike and Mike? Makes less work for the state’s GOP committee chiefs who come and go.

Ohio, Florida, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin also are fielding candidates who’d be hard-pressed to explain the duties of the offices they’re seeking. In Arkansas, odds are truth-challenged Sarah Huckabee-Sanders appears to be on track to be the state’s next Governor. Now, there’s a scary thought. But, sadly, all too true.

Don’t look for things to change as long as the state committees are filled with Trump-loving folks. The Republican Party’s acceptance of him is poisoning the system from the inside out.

Look no further than the banishment to the Republican wastelands of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. They’re being disowned for simply showing the political character traits of honesty, truth and just plain guts that used to be hallmarks of the GOP. Think John McCain. Margaret Chase Smith. Bob Dole. Mark Hatfield.

The halcyon days of the Republican Party are way, way in the past. As long as the GOP is Trump-infested, those days won’t return. Until they do, you’ll see more Walkers, Taylor-Greens and Huckabee-Sanders. All of whom are filling seats and voting on issues without the knowledge or understanding of same. Their ignorance is a cancer on the “body politic” at a time when this country needs its “best and brightest.”

But, you won’t see the changes necessary if you attack the problem at the top. No, the answer is closer to the bottom. The various central committees. In many states, those are the folks “choosing” who runs and who doesn’t. Until those committees are filled with solid, right-thinking Republicans, all we can expect is more of the same. And, that’s not good enough!

I’d like to give you more “Walkerisms” but the hour is late. And, after a few hours of such research, I need a drink.

Preparedness

Author: admin

When I was a young man, doing the things young men do, I’d often wonder what lay ahead in life. What would old age feel like? What memories would I have? What travels would I undertake? Where would I go? What lay ahead?

Now, with more than 85 years behind me, I can answer those questions and the dozens of others that came to mind along the way.

As a youngster on the ranch, I learned – regardless of years – work came early and would define much of life. Not overwork. Ranch kid labors such as feeding the animals or driving a tractor or picking up fallen fruit in the orchards at the same age. Learning the value – and sometimes pain – of work.

We lived through World War II, then Korea, then Viet Nam, then Desert Storm, then Iraq and Afghanistan. Seemed war – somewhere in the world involving our country’s young folks – was a constant presence. We learned to live with it. More than that, we served some years in uniform ourselves. It’s what you did.

We learned about recessions the hard way. We lived them. Things got tight, then scarce. We learned sacrifice – not getting things we thought we had to have – not getting them because times were tight.

These were all part of the American way of life.

We also enjoyed the rights and privileges of such a life – the freedoms that seemed to always be there. Growing up, there were good times to offset the occasional bad ones. We had families, traveled, enjoyed some success at various occupations and always had enough to pay the bills. It all seemed natural. As if we deserved everything that came our way. The “American way.”

But, some of the things that “came our way” in recent years we weren’t prepared for. National anger. Divisions costing us friends and sometimes causing even the loss of the company of family members. Armed people in the streets challenging authority and posing threats to our security. Political strife. And a Congress mired in division and under attack.

Most of all, we weren’t prepared for a President of these United States to be at the root of efforts to overturn our government and our way of life. We didn’t see the depth of deception. We weren’t really aware how close we came to losing control of our Republic. And still are.

We’d likely still never have learned of the real dangers were it not for various investigative efforts by responsible holders of offices at different levels of government – State and Federal.

During the four year presidency of Donald Trump, enough Americans learned of his unsuitability to hold office that he was defeated when he tried to be re-elected. Since that time, some 18 months ago, we’ve been made painfully aware of his political depravity and criminal lengths to which he’d go to retain the power of that presidency.

We now know Trump deliberately turned an armed mob on our nation’s Capitol and even reportedly made an attempt to join them. We now know he was aware of the weapons in the crowd and even tried to make it possible to keep them hidden. We now know, when there were chants of “hang Mike Pence,” he agreed with the crowd if his Vice President did not void a national election.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. The events of January, 2021 are not the events we’ve always associated with the legitimate change of administrations of duly elected officials. The mostly corroborated, stunning testimony of a young White House aide regarding the words and actions of Trump during that time have shocked and saddened us. Those are not the “words and actions” we expect of the head of our national government.

Now, we face the early stages of a national recession. International companies are gouging us with high prices while consciously producing record profits. We have ever-increasing gas prices. Airline travel has become a mess of cancelled flights. We are experiencing national divisions in society, politics and business. We have a Congress reduced to inaction. And a U.S. Supreme Court legislating from the highest bench in the land.

Unlike the expected normalcy of American life, we are being buffeted by events – confounded by new disclosures of Trumps treachery – feeling untoward economic pressures – trying to understand daily economic and political changes rocking society.

As someone who’s four score plus, I’ve must admit, the times we’re living in are not the times I expected in my later years. At this juncture in life, you’re supposed to be relaxing, doing a bit of traveling, enjoying family. Not experiencing gas prices hobbling those travel plans. Not having to cut back because of corporate greed. Not watching daily unfolding of new facts about a former president trying to undermine our government.

I remember my Dad talking of how experiences of early youth growing up on a farm helped prepare him for the long life he lived. My own early years, so much like his, did not produce the same preparedness.

How could they?
 

Searching for stability

Author: admin

America is no longer a divided country. It’s become a fractured country. With an uncertain future.

We used to have a division or two. Or more. Socially. Black and white. Rich and poor. Young and old. Politically, left and right. Far left and far right.

Easily defined divisions. Easily understood. Divisions this nation has yet to solve. Maybe they’re unsolvable. But, we’ve known them. Lived with them.

Now, under the tutelage of one Donald J.Trump, the Internet with its (un)social media, a decision by a few million folks that their ignorance is just as good as your fact-based intelligence and the sweeping killer/destroyer that is COVID-19, a giant hammer has split those earlier divisions like so many crushed ice cubes.

I hear people say “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal again.” Well, my friends, that ain’t happening. The life you and I lived a year or two ago is gone. G-O-N-E. And not coming back.

I have yet to hear a thoughtful voice offering a knowledgeable prediction of what our “normal” will be, say eight or nine months from now. Forget five years or so. Given the entire world’s upheaval – socially- morally – politically-medically – making such predictions is a “fool’s errand.” It can’t be done.

We’ve all lived with change – lived with it – adjusted to it – accepted it. But, the massive upheaval of so many basic foundations in our social/business/political worlds we’re experiencing all at once is a new phenomenon. We – and our nation – can be defined, at the moment, as uncertain, unsettled, somewhat confused, fearful and even scared.

Someone asked me recently, “How do we stop the madness we’ve lived with on our cities streets? What can we do?”

Like you, about the only answer (non-answer) was “Vote in November.” That’s it? “Vote?”

But, let’s look at “peaceful” changes.

Tried doing business with stores lately? Notice any changes? Had a doctor’s appointment recently? Anything different? Banks. Banks are the worst.

Stores say they’re having coin shortages. I’ve got a sizable bowl filled with change from my pockets at night. Asked the drive-up teller today if I could bring them in so they could use their coin count machine. As I’ve done many times before.

“No,” she told me. Said I’d “need an appointment.” And I’d have to sort, count and roll them myself. I won’t be helping with the coin shortage anytime soon.

Hospitals are changing. Dealing with conditions they’ve never known before. Every department from surgery to admissions to food service to security is being affected. When whatever our new “normal” comes around, they’ll be much different, too.

Law enforcement. Now, talk about upheaval and change. Damn! Possibly no other line of endeavor is being hit with so much c-h-a-n-g-e. From top cop to lowest ranking officer on the street. Policies, tactics, operations, citizen relations. All in flux. What’s policing going to look like a few years from now?

Education. Teachers. Curriculum. Classroom safety. Upheavals that will affect the system for many years. Teachers back in the classroom with the specter of COVID-19. If professional athletes won‘t play because of fears of infection, what does a teacher face in the confines of a classroom with 20-30 kids carrying God knows what? What do our kids and grandkids face? What are their chances for infection and death? Talk about change!

Religion. We couldn’t gather to worship for many months – to sing the familiar hymns. We couldn’t share communion together. Absolution came electronically. And singularly.

Everything – everything – at the moment is in flux. The pressures being exerted on our lives are immense. At my late stage, planning isn’t nearly as hard as it is for folks 20 to 45. When all of this shakes out, what will their lives look like? What affects will all of these changes have on their lives? Their kids. Employment. Friends. Health care. Making plans for the future.

If you’re a young person starting out in life – if you’re at mid-life planning for retirement – if you’re retired and concerned about extending your savings or have problems with health – no matter who you are or where you are in life, the most important support you need is stability. A feeling of permanence. Of structure.

“Permanence.” “ Structure.” There’s not a lot of either at the moment. And, there likely won’t be better conditions in the near future. This COVID thing is an ever-present threat in our lives. We’re told it’s mutated and will continue to do so in the future. Then, there’s Monkeypox coming to our neighborhoods soon.

If all this sounds confusing and unsettled, that’s because it is. Things we considered normal just two years ago now seem unreal. As a nation, we’re a bit staggered, a little off-kilter and sort of frozen in the moment.

As for the pandemic now controlling our lives, it’ll recede. May take a year, maybe two or three. But, we’ll get on top of it. Whatever the disaster, we’ve always found a way.

Hang in there. Try to keep your balance.
 

Aimlessness

Author: admin

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Just seven words. Seven one-syllable words. Words we’ve heard time and time again in many circumstances. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

For a decade or more, this country has seemed to be “off-course,” drifting aimlessly without direction. Maybe the absence of contemporary “will” has contributed to a national loss of “way.”

Think about it.

In 1941, faced with war on two sides of our circular world, this nation was called to arms by Franklin Roosevelt. He defined a need for national unity and all-out commitment to win two wars. Following that call to arms, we found the “will” and the “way” to win both in less than 48 months. Because the whole nation was focused in a definable undertaking.

In 1961, faced with Soviet successes in space, John Kennedy, following Roosevelt’s path, defined a need for the country, saying this nation would send a man to the moon in the next decade. We found the “will.” And the “way.” Again, national focus.

We did. We found the national “will” to accomplish the seemingly Herculean tasks that had been defined. We got to the moon. And beyond.

When the need was set, the “will” and the “way” followed. Successfully. Orderly. Quickly.

Forget, for a moment, all the national divisions that surround us. Ignore, temporarily, the political battles that have weakened our society. Just consider the American family. How ever it’s constituted in your world.

The pressures of keeping a family together have never been greater. More than half of American families have both parents working. Trying to keep up with the prices of groceries, health care, gas, school needs and dozens of unplanned expenses we all face. Plus, just parenting.

Many of today’s families are in single-parent households. There, those pressures are even greater as one parent tries to take the place of two while dealing with all those demands. Full time. Then some.

Nearly all of us – parents or not – have our heads down, “pedaling” as fast as we can to keep up with ever increasing demands on our time, our treasure and our talents..

At the national level, the picture seems much the same. Most of those in charge seem to have their “heads down,” trying to do everything in these demanding times to “keep up” as a nation.

Except Congress. Congress – such as it is – is hopelessly divided, producing little in ways to make our lives better. That must change.

The President sits atop a government that seems aimless as we lurch from one crisis to another. Whether it’s rampant inflation to a pandemic to national health emergencies to international calamities to gun massacres to gas prices. Trying to clean up the national mess left by the previous administration and the ever-present, day-to-day multiplying of national demands. There’s no time for leading – for setting a national course – for defining a new national goal.

“National will,” if you will.

And, that’s what seems to be missing. Some sort of national undertaking that involves us all, that unifies us working for a common goal, a goal that defines the “will” so we can be bound together finding the “way.”

Nations that lead – that prosper – almost always have some sort of national direction working at a common undertaking. It’s the sort of inspirational “glue” that binds all in a well-defined task. Like winning a war or two. Like setting goals for space achievement.

At the moment, we seem divided one from another in nearly all things. Our eyes are down – not lifted to the horizon of common understanding. We lack the purpose of common “will.”

We need something large and defining to bring us all together in single purpose. Something like ending homelessness in the next decade. It could be done. Undertaking serious work on global warming before it gets completely out-of-hand. It still can be done.

There ARE other huge challenges we face. Challenges we can overcome IF we can end the current divisions wasting precious time. Challenges sapping our strength and our resources.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Old words. Words from a previous time. Long ago. But, at least in my opinion, words we badly need to listen to. Today.

We shall see

Author: admin

Living in Northwest Oregon – where enduring the extensive waterfall in our months-long Spring is considered a survival sport – you have lots of what we call “indoor time.”

During such extensive intervals of avoiding the vertical wet, many of us turn to a sort of terminal version of minutiae which can entail activities up to and including reading wallpaper.

In such a downpour the other day, I was reading a story about a new poll by the folks at Gallup. I’ve never been contacted by that venerable company but have been a frequent follower of their studious work.

What caught my eye about the latest Gallup sampling was the bold headline. It read “Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?”

At first, I was just curious. But, given some deeper thought, I wondered, “What could possibly be new about that?”

I was in for a bit of a surprise.

Gallup’s recent field testing on the thorny abortion issue found something we’ve not seen for a long, long time.

A majority of Americans – 55% – now identify as “pro-choice.” That’s the highest in 27 years. During those years, when asked their thoughts, only some 40-50% identified as such. When converting percentages to population, that’s a significant shift in thought of millions of people.

And, there’s this. The polling began the same day the leak of the SCOTUS draft decision showing the court was likely on a path to gut Roe vs Wade was published by POLITICO.

Gallup’s Director for U.S. Social Research. Lydia Saad, attributed the rise in support for abortion rights to that SCOTUS news.

“The prospect of the Supreme Court overturning the case (which) established a woman’s right to seek an abortion has clearly jolted a segment of Americans into identifying with the “pro-choice” side of the issue,” she wrote. “More are expressing unequivocal support for abortion being legal.”

Identification as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life” also went up nine-percentage points to 61% among women, up 12 points to 67% among young adults 18-34 and up nine points to 58% for adults 35-54.

Gallup found no significant change among Republicans, Independents, men or older GOP’ers.

The poll queried 1,007 adults over a three-week period starting the day the SCOTUS draft appeared. That would have been May 2nd.

And there’s this. The Wall Street Journal – no left-leaning publication – did its own polling about the same time and found more than two-thirds of Americans want Roe upheld with most favoring “access to legal abortion for any reason.”

The Journal called the results a “four-decade evolution” in the nation’s view of abortion rights.

Since Gallup’s poll found little-to-no-change in self-identifying “Republicans, Independents and men,” it would seem the upswing in “pro-choice” responses probably came from self-identifying Democrats – both men and women – and folks voicing no active political party connection.

Wherever the “pro-choice” support came from, you can bet politicians of every stripe will look at the numbers and “adjust accordingly.”

There is a visceral attachment to Roe by a sizeable cross-section of people in this country. Maybe Gallup will do additional polls to see just how large that group may be.

Regardless, just this outing found a notable up-tick of “pro-choice” voices meaning a lot of Americans are closely watching for the SCOTUS ruling which is due before the Court adjourns later this month.

What affect that ruling will have on the November General Election is anybody’s guess.

A little? A lot? No effect?

We shall see.

Hola

Author: admin

We’ve recently completed a nearly five-year stay in Arizona to move back to Oregon – specifically to the upper Willamette Valley about 40 miles outside of Portland. Good to be h-o-m-e!

During our desert hiatus, we had many interactions with people of Mexican heritage as well as others from the Southern hemisphere. Natural situation if you live in a state that borders Mexico.

When we left the overheated, drought-threatened “bliss” of a 55+ community for the damp climes of Oregon, we generally believed those Spanish heritage interactions would decline. We were wrong!

If anything, those occasions of cross-cultural contact seem to have increased to almost daily occurrences.

Oregon, like other coastal states, has seen an influx of Mexican and other Southern Hemisphere-born citizens. Just as is the case of transient, native-born Americans who’ve sought out the “peace and quiet” of the Northwest, many Latins have moved here and become participants in local economies.

A “for instance.” Last weekend, we bought a couple of occasional chairs to make up for the ones we left behind. The well-groomed and courteous sales clerk who helped us was filling out our sales receipt on a computer. A woman, obviously Hispanic, interrupted with a question. In Spanish. The man working with us turned to his right and answered her query in flawless (I think) Spanish without missing a beat. Entirely professional and multi-lingual. A real asset to any business.

In Arizona, nearly all lower level service jobs – garbage collection, car washing, janitorial, yard work – are filled by Hispanics. We seldom had an interaction with any Spanish heritage workers in sales or any other mid-level service employment. Just didn’t happen.

But here, on many business occasions, we’ve been graciously assisted by Spanish-speaking men and women.

Oh sure, if you’re dining in a Mexican restaurant or you’re in a small Mexican grocery store, you’ll hear and see the cultural differences. But, on the sales floor of a Chevrolet dealer? Dealing with an insurance broker? Consultation with a doctor born in Guatemala?

Welcome to these recent changes in Northwest living. Positive additions to most any town.

From what we’ve seen, the Spanish heritage influences being felt in our state – and I’m sure in others – have been mostly positive. Oh, you still see names with South American and Mexican origins in the local arrest and court action listings in the local paper. (Yes, Virginia, a lot of small town newspapers still do that. The few that are left.) But, you also see many Smiths, Abbotts, Olsens and Corleones as well. A real Heinz-57 mix of American scofflaws.

It’s interesting to see how our little community of about 35,000 has “moved over” to make room for these new citizens.

I was looking at a newspaper insert the other night, one sponsored by our city fathers. And mothers. It was a comprehensive list of all the activities available this Summer through the parks and rec department. Half printed in English. Half in Spanish.

Local directional signage, driver’s license materials, larger grocery selections of Spanish food items. A parks and rec publication. Not intrusive. Just added information for those who speak Spanish.

As others in our small community have, I welcome the addition of peoples who have talents and energy to add. There’s room for all and all are welcome. As it should be.

Still, I’ve got to confess. Sometimes, I get rankled by this assistance offered to people who don’t speak any English. I know. I know. We’re trying to be inclusive and welcoming. I gotcha.

But, travel to other non-English speaking countries, like Germany or Japan or Greece, and you’re not likely to see such mundane things as driver’s license instructions, inner-city bus schedules, necessary government forms and such offered in English. Not to mention parks and rec.

I truly believe, if you’re going to live in this country and enjoy the rewards of such residency, some effort should be made to learn the native language. And, I’m sure some folks do. We’ve got lots of students in our educational system who are learning by osmosis if nothing else.

But, we’re still staffing “English as a Second Language” efforts requiring multi-lingual teachers and other support staff. Many schools are using materials designed for kids who don’t speak English. Are the costs of such accommodation really necessary?

I’ll just leave those questions hanging there for your individual answers. In English, of course.

It ain’t over

Author: admin

Donald Trump’s effect on our national political affairs is, it seems, on the wane. Or, so it would seem.

Oh, he’s still out there. Still shooting verbal “bullets” at his perceived enemies and conducting near-daily, word-salad assaults on our system of democratic governance. He’s still a discordant voice of lies and anger.

But, evidence of his “diminished political capacity” is beginning to pile up. His “endorsements” to the contrary, Georgia’s GOP primary election defeats of his picks were across-the-board. Especially Governor and Secretary of State.

In Pennsylvania, where he blustered and bloviated, his choices were mostly losers. The one “bright” spot – for him – was the very, very narrow win of Mehmet Oz, a very flawed candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unless the erratic health of Democrat John Fetterman becomes more a factor than it appears, Oz will be denied a seat in “Emerald-City-by-the Potomac.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, or even attempting to suggest, Trump won’t continue making his presence felt in picking, choosing and supporting various far Right candidacies. He will. Oh, yes he will.

But, the size of the crowd of followers of his scorched-earth approach to politics has been diminished. The “glory days” of his influence, I believe, may be behind him. For which we, the more sane citizen participants in our political affairs, should be ever-grateful.

But, here’s a worrisome item. Recent polling of the electorate shows fewer Americans believe DJT was behind the January 6th attack on our government than did a year ago.

NBC’s May sampling found just 45% of Americans believe Trump was “solely” or “mainly” responsible. That’s down 10-points in the last 12 months! Some 55% believe he was “somewhat” or “not really” responsible.

As with many things in our lives, the sharp edges of events-past seem to dull with time. In this case, that could be dangerous.

But – two evenings from now, the House Special Committee digging into the January 6th attack on the Capitol will hold its first publically televised hearing. Several more dates, later this month, are on the schedule.

It would seem one of the main tasks of the Committee will be to bring the depth and width of the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election into sharper public focus by making more details public. Especially Trump’s participation. And his followers. Especially the well-armed ones.

Committee Co-Chair Liz Cheney, interviewed by CBS News last weekend, said the attack was “extremely well-organized” and that details already uncovered by the Committee are “chilling.”

She said those undermining efforts are “ongoing” and urged Americans to watch the upcoming programming to learn, firsthand, the very real dangers threatening our Democracy.

It’s this last part of Cheney’s statements – the “ongoing” part – that’s concerning. Seems many people thought the attack to prevent then-Vice President Pence from certifying 2020 election results was repelled, a good number of those involved were brought to justice. Just this week, Proud Boys – at least five of them – were charged with seditious conspiracy which will keep ‘em off the street for years – not months. And there’ll be more.

Sure, Trump continues to claim he won and was cheated. But, Cheney is saying there are still forces at play – dangerous forces – continuing to plot and strategize. Which could mean more militant confrontations in our streets. In Washington and elsewhere.

In the past six months or so, we’ve not heard much from the FBI, Justice Department or other federal agencies about the Oath Keepers, the Three Per-Centers and other armed groups. It’s a certainty the Feds and other agencies are keeping watch and likely have “inside” contacts reporting.

It now seems likely Trump is the public manifestation of a much wider conspiracy than generally known. If, as recent reporting has claimed, his more militant supporters are communicating and working underground, the public January 6th Committee hearings may, as member Rep. Jamie Raskin has said, “Blow the roof off the house.”

So, Trump’s about to take a backseat. He’s about to be over-shadowed. For a little while.

Resorting to an oldie – but a goodie – we all better “stay tuned.

Gun insurance

Author: admin

One reality of the Uvalde, Texas, massacre is that none of us can truly fully feel the personal impact that only the surviving children do.

None of us who’ve never tried to hide from a homicidal gunman or wiped the blood on our face from a dead child lying next to us while playing dead can have the visceral reaction of 10 and 11-year-olds who lived the horror.

It’s just not possible!

In these days following the Uvalde killings, millions of words are being used to ask why it happened, what really happened, who really did what or who did nothing. Who’s to blame. There are some folks who want to arm teachers which, if there ever was a worse idea, I haven’t heard it. Others want to ban certain types of guns, change the age limit of who can buy one (or a dozen), limit the types of weapons they can get and on and on.

No one idea or group can banish the horrors. No legislation will keep some angry, mentally disassociated individual from being a home-grown terrorist. Keeping a loaded .38 in the teacher’s desk can’t. We’ve found out the hard way gun-carrying cops in schools aren’t always effective. Armed guards in schools won’t do it apparently.

We’re facing an intractable societal issue, the solution to which will require work on many levels from many sources. No one has the answer. If there is one eventually, it will be an amalgam of many ideas coming from many concerted efforts.

I’ve heard one possibility, used in passing that I think deserves more attention and possibly pursued: create a requirement for liability insurance for gun ownership.

For the record, I’m a gun owner. We have three in the house. Two pistols and a 12-gage. So, talk of having to have a small liability policy in force is coming from a gun owner. I’m one of ‘em.

The reason I think it’s worth pursuing is that it brings into play the involvement of both society and corporate interests.

Consider: we buy – under penalty of law – liability insurance if we own a car or other vehicle that uses our highways. (In Arizona, you had to buy liability insurance to own a golf cart used on community roads.) We have liability clauses in our home insurance. We have corporate liability insurance. Business owners cover themselves and their employees. It’s a common requirement encompassing nearly all of society.

Require such insurance when a weapon is purchased. Add a few bucks to the cost. Require annual renewal or some entity would be notified to follow up. By law.

I know it sounds stringent and likely smells of gun control to some. But, it’s not. It simply places a responsibility where it belongs: on the user. Just as we commonly do with vehicles on our highways. And with our homes. A responsibility of ownership with a duty to protect others if something goes wrong.

And, there’s this. It brings the insurance industry into the efforts to get a handle on the irresponsible use of guns. Billion dollar corporations. Thousands of agents and corporate leaders. People who now sit on the sidelines would have to get involved. Their sudden participation would have quite an impact.

Requiring liability insurance for guns is not a complete answer to our epidemic of violence against society. There isn’t one. But, it’s a single one that’s a first step on the long journey to finding that answer.

Sure. Some people will bitch and moan. There’ll be an outcry from folks who think having to buy liability insurance is akin to gun control or “un-American.” That’s fine. Just let ‘em hollar.

Bottom line: If you don’t like this idea, come up with your own. Suggest something better – something positive – something helpful to end the terrible violence against the innocent. In churches, theaters, schools, stores, on our streets. Everywhere.

It’s got to stop! We must find answers. We must. Because we could find ourselves like those kids in Uvalde. Hiding. On the floor. Covered in blood. Scared to death.

Disorder and chaos

Author: admin

The national Republican Party in our country is dangerously close to being an actual threat to our republic.

As such, the primary elections taking place across the country are so damned important. Damned important!

It isn’t that the GOP doesn’t have some worthwhile, legitimate candidates. It does. But, the problem is having to ferret them out in a field littered by philosophical nut cases, doctrinaire-spouting weirdos, racists, jingoistic simpletons and others just plain unqualified for the offices they’re seeking.

Case in point: Idaho. Three people were in the running to be the next Secretary of State. The current one is retiring. Of the three candidates, only Ron Crane seems to have figured out what a SoS does. The other two were exemplified by the fact that they didn’t believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected President in 2000. And they wanted to run future Gem state elections? Enough said.

In the Idaho Governor’s contest, at least three of the contenders exhibited rhetoric and used nutcase materials to show they had no idea what the duties were of the office they’re seeking. And, that included the current Lieutenant Governor who’s failed to responsibly run the Constitutional office to which she was elected two years ago. Luckily, she – and they – failed.

The various races for Secretary of State across the country may be the single most important elections to watch this year. In some states – Arizona, Georgia and several others – there is a fear that some candidates – should they be successful – would actually undermine our election process. Jiggle the numbers in future elections, as it were. Undermine legitimate outcomes not to their liking.

In Pennsylvania, a little covered but very important note. The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board chose not to endorse candidates in several important statewide races. First time since the paper was founded in 1829. Based on face-to-face interviews and campaign appearances by a number of those running, The Inquirer said the candidates were simply not qualified for offices being sought. And that included races for governor and the U.S. Senate. In a state that is the fourth largest in the country.

Some candidates – Rep. Elise Stefanik, number three in the House GOP hierarchy – are endorsing the “great replacement” conspiracy. That nutcase, right-wing fallacy holds the White majority is slowly being diminished and replaced by Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other foreign nationals. Stefanik is far from being alone in such other worldly beliefs.

This Republic has seen thousands and thousands of campaigns for every office in the land for 250 years. Many have been filled with unqualified candidates, over-the-top rhetoric, screwball thinking and outlandish acts. Through it all, we’ve somehow survived and prospered.

But, this time it’s different. We’ve got right-wing zealots openly telling us, if elected, they’ll work to change our system of governance. They’ll use their elected authority to fundamentally alter future elections. In some cases, they’ll attack the very foundations which are the basis for our individual freedoms.

In our new Oregon home, we’ve voted. Did so by mail a couple of weeks ago. Having been out of state for several years, we had some catching up to do to get familiar with candidates in all races. The Oregon Voter’s Guide – an excellent publication – made the job easier. Every state should adopt their own versions of the well-proven Oregon system. It just plain works.

However you vote – in-person, by mail or online – this may be the most important election in our lives. Our government – our Republic – is being attacked by unqualified, conspiracy-driven and outright ignorant people, hellbent to impose their will on the rest of us. In most cases, they aren’t hard to identify. All you have to do is just listen to their unfounded screeds and check their qualifications in whatever official publications you can find. Like our Oregon Voter’s Guide.

If there ever was a time for a thoroughly informed electorate, this is it. Our freedoms are riding on the results.
 

Watch the smile

Author: admin

A smiling lady from Liger
rode on the back of a tiger.
They returned from a ride
with the lady inside
and the smile on the face of the tiger

That old doggerel comes to mind when watching Donny Trump try to keep up with the disreputable Republican contraption he’s put together.

SPOILER: He can’t.

One of the unchanging truths about right-wing politics is the unfailing trait of distrust. It’s always present.

Consider: Nearly every nut-case GOP group got started by folks who were angry/fearful of what the original group was doing/saying. Birch society. Liberty Lobby. The “break-aways” always think of themselves as the “truth keepers” i.e. the ones “keeping the faith.”

Distrust is the single most important element that’s saved the rest of us from a major societal disruption by a single nutball group. Groups like the Birch Society, Oath Keepers, etc.. The rest of us have survived this long because, at some point, distrust/anger/fear erupts among”the faithful” and there’s a splintering or morphing as the “faithful” bunch breaks away.

Trump is facing such a quandary at the moment.

Since exiting the White House, he’s been proudly gathering his “faithful.” Some individually; some as groups. Remember, to Trump, loyalty to him is the most basic requirement of association. Loyalty to him and him alone. So far, to the wandering “faithful” looking for a new leader on the right, Trump has appeared to be the logical choice.

For these many months, it’s worked. He’s headed his legions of “faithful” with little trouble. His style of continual lying, defending 20 or so legal actions, his mercurial temperament, his non-stop “politicus interruptous” way of doing things – all have seemed acceptable to his followers.

BUT – now, as the primaries are underway – and with the general election some four months hence – his legions are beginning to crack. Seems some of the “basics” of the far-right dictum of Trumpism aren’t really “one-size-fits-all.” After all.

As Trump has scattered his endorsements of certain candidates from state to state, some of the “baptized” have lost their primaries. And, in some cases, the winners have strayed from the MAGA line when polls showed such adherence damaging to their candidacies.

There are, it seems, individuals who are, while generally following the Trump line, creating their own “legions” of followers. Absent Trump.

Case-in-point: Take Florida’s governor. Please.

Ron DeSantis has been acting like Ivan the Terrible in modern-day Florida. Banning books. Making life tougher for LGBTQ folks. Running roughshod over people’s lives. With or without legislative concurrence.

In Texas, there’s also been very little influence from Trump. Governor Greg Abbott, much in the DeSantis mold, has been operating as a political “free spirit,” enacting policies similar to MAGA but not exactly the same.

Then, there’s Mike Pence. He’s actively campaigning for the guy DJT did NOT endorse in Georgia’s primary. Bit of a split there, it would seem.

In just these three cases, Trump is not the central figure. Which is the requirement for MAGA membership. DeSantis and Abbott have created their own “local” movements; each with some MAGA guidelines. But not all.

If polls are borne out in Pennsylvania, the primary victor there won’t be Trump’s endorsee – Mehmet Oz. And Trump’s pick in Georgia is in deep trouble and could be another loser.

One thing Trump is not is flexible. One thing the far-right is not is flexible. So, if there is some change in Trump’s MAGA “philosophy,” or if the loss of several of his “preferred” candidates creates doubt about his leadership among “the faithful,” his grip on them may be loosened.

Trump likes to be “out front.” He needs to be the leader in anything he’s involved in. But, as the political profiles of other folks rise and fall, Trump may find himself challenged for that front position. His reign may be challenged. By an Abbott or a DeSantis. Or a Pence.

Remember the lady and her tiger. And the smile. Watch for the smile.