Monday, March 07, 2016

On Friday, March 4th, 2016 our dad, Robert H. Pflanz passed away. It was on his own terms, peacefully and at home.  KCHospice was a support and provided comfort for him and the family in his last days. He will be missed. He was much loved.

This is our dad's obit. He wrote this years ago and all the words are his:

Robert H. Pflanz
November 24, 1941 - March 4, 2016
These are Bob's final words.
Goodbye, it's been great to know you. I've had a great life and now it's time for me to go on to the next great adventure. Thanks for the memories.

All my life I considered myself lucky. I've had wonderful parents, loving sisters, brothers-in-law, brother and sister-in-law, great daughters and sons-in-law, grandson and loving cousins and friends. You all made my life a treasure to live and enjoy.  Looking back, I have had very little to complain about.  I enjoyed learning my whole life.  I had a very good job with a great group of fellow employees.  My whole family was always very supportive.  I had the adventures that I desired and I leave this world with no regrets.  Hopefully when people think of me they will smile - that's all I ask.

I loved you all and you made my life very pleasant.  Thanks.

Bob was preceded in death by his mother, Lucille E. Pflanz, and his father, Henry R. Pflanz.  He leaves behind his sisters, Janice E. Mackey and Carole A. Jennings, and his brother, James L. Pflanz, his daughters, Deborah J. Pflanz and Elizabeth A. White and his grandson, Zachary R. White.
He attended Paseo high School, Kansas City Junior College, Kansas City University where he was an honor student.  He was an Eagle Scout.  He was a member of Delta Chi Fraternity.  He worked for Builders Steel Company for over 40 years as a draftsman, estimator and project manager.  He had a good life.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016...A FINAL NOTE TO ALL

My mind is sharp but my body is breaking down in many ways, and quickly. I know that I am nearing the end of my life. I accept that fact. I have had some great adventures in the past, but my world has become increasingly restricted. So, no more adventures for me.

It was a grand life, surrounded by loving family and great friends. I love them all dearly. 74 years seems to be my tenure. If there is an afterlife, I look forward to seeing my folks again and I will be waiting to welcome you when it is your time.

Enjoy you life and have adventures while you can.

Until we meet again,

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Saturday November 7, 2015...IT'S HARD NOT TO BE POLITICAL THESE DAYS

It's hard not to be political these days.

Even though the election isn't until a year from now, we are plagued with politicians flooding our mail and our airwaves with political hubris.  There are hundreds of DEBATES, both federal, state and local trying to winnow down the number that will be presented to us.  The cost of running for any office these days is staggering.  Only the rich or those supported by the rich can afford to run for office - except for Bernie Sanders.  Bernie is only taking contributions for individuals and no corporations and no billionaires.  We'll see how that works out.  The political machines are trying to eliminate the competition so that we will only have their candidate on the left and their candidate on the right to vote for.  Many people have given up on the political situation and refuse to vote, making it easier for organized, supported organizations to control the vote.  I will vote, but with a sigh.

But that's enough for now.  Otherwise, we enjoy the beautiful fall weather and look forward to the holiday season.  Time to think of giving thanks for what's left to celebrate.  And then the one season of the year where we consider those less fortunate than us.  That's when we consider them the victims instead of the perpetrator of their situation.  I enjoy this time of the year more than any other.  I wish we could have Christmas every month of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you have much to be thankful for.
Merry Christmas!  I hope you consider those less fortunate.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday July 11, 2015...I REMEMBER WHEN


I could wake up and bound out of bed, without a worry in my head;
I didn‫‬'t have a pain in my body;
I could work all day and party all night;
I could see and hear so well;
I could eat anything and not get an upset stomach;
I didn'‬t have to take any pills;
I didn't know as much as I do now, but I could remember it all;
I didn't have trouble remembering names;
A dollar could buy a hamburger, fries and a shake;
You could fill up the car for three dollars;
Hamburger was 3 pounds for a dollar;
Coffee was 48 cents a pound;
Milk was 3 half gallons for a dollar;
Candy bars were a nickel;
Stamps were 3 cents;
America had the kindest heart and the sincerest wishes for the world;
Hospitals were charitable organizations and nobody had health insurance because healthcare was inexpensive;
Pharmacists mixed up the prescription in their shop and drug companies sold aspirin;
We had the best schools in the world;
Public colleges were cheap and in some places free;

Things have changed. 
Not all the changes are good.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday May 21, 2015...Too Little, Too Late?

Greed has corrupted our Earth and the future of the human race is questionable. A revolution in our thinking and our way of surviving is inevitable, but may still be too late. The Native Americans, who survived for thousands of years, treated the Earth as “the Mother”. They lived “with” the Earth without destroying it. Maybe they had it right and our mantra of “progress” was wrong. We continue to despoil the Earth.

Excerpts from:

Finally! Some climate crisis honesty

Forget About a 2˚C Future; It Will be 4˚-6˚C Degrees, and Soon

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 15:50
 Dave Lindorff

Clearly, the capitalist system, fully corrupted at this point because of the size to which global corporations have grown, and the power they have gained to buy governments, cannot and will not rescue humanity from itself.

The notion that corporations and a capitalist politico-economic system could ever take the necessary steps to halt climate disaster, for example by adopting energy conservation and becoming "green" companies, was always a pipedream. Just "going green," while still producing unneeded junk and continuing to try and grow would never reduce total carbon emissions. It would require massively scaling back the production of useless or polluting goods and services, and shutting down many operations. And while the current US Supreme Court majority may think, or pretend to think, that corporations are people, they actually are institutions that are by their very nature and structure devoid of conscience, devoid of morality, and even devoid of any sense of long-term self-preservation"

A person who made his living trapping sea otters, might, upon learning that the animal was in danger of going extinct, voluntarily stop hunting them, but a corporation, informed that it us overfishing and will wipe out an entire fish species or fishing ground, will not, unless forced to do so, and will predictably fight and bribe politicians and regulators to allow it to keep fishing until there are no more fish.

At this point, if we want to try and hold global warming to the 2˚C limit that scientists say is the maximum increase in temperature that would offer any hope of preventing runaway heating and the resulting chaos of mass extinctions, huge human die-offs and the likely collapse of civilization, we will have to halt the production of internal combustion engines, shut down most corporate farming, close down all coal-fired power plants, massively convert to on-site solar and wind power generation, and most importantly, stop pumping and digging carbon-based fuels out of the ground.

We’re talking here in other words about a revolution -- a total shift away from an economic model that elevates “growth” to godlike status to one that focuses on human needs (as opposed to wants), and away from a philosophy that sees humans as destined to conquer and exploit nature to one that sees humans as simply one integral part of nature -- a philosophy that requires us to figure out how to fit in with and preserve the natural world.

In such a new world, there can be no rich, because the rich – even the ones who may pose in their dotage as do-gooders -- are dangerous and self-centered parasites. Neither can there can be poor because where there are poor, there will be inevitable demands for more -- demands that, while understandable, will lead to destruction of the natural world. Only if all humanity shares to ensure a decent secure life for all can there be any hope of long-term human survival on this limited planet.
The enormity of what humanity faces can no longer be avoided. The methane is already boiling or even exploding up out of the Arctic permafrost and, even worse, out of the seafloor of the coastal continental shelf above Siberia and North America, and over the short term, methane is about 180 time as potent a greenhouse gas as is carbon dioxide. All over the perimeter of Antarctica, which we were earlier told was not showing significant warming, we are seeing the ice melting now, while the Arctic Ocean, solidly frozen year round for the last 2.6 million years, will be ice-free in summer, possibly this year, but assuredly in the next couple of years. Greenland, meanwhile, once a huge sheet of white ice a mile thick, should now be called Greyland, as the rapidly melting ice sheet has now exposed so much of the pollution dumped there over several centuries of Industrial-Era snowfalls, that its surface in summer looks like the remnant snow in New York City three days after a snowstorm: more soot than ice.

For now, the best that can be said is that we are leaving behind the period of denial and the false hopes. As with addiction, the first step is acknowledging one’s sickness, and we are now beginning to acknowledge the real sickness of our capitalist world.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday April 16, 2015...Preparing for the future

Most of your life you don'‬t think of the eventual ending. When you are young, you are preparing for the rest of your life. When you are a young adult, you are working to establish a good life. When you are an older working person, you are preparing for retirement. When you retire, you plan on all the things you have put off to do in your retirement. We all face an ending sometime, but we tend to put off thinking about it because we have more immediate things to think about.

I am now 10 years into my retirement and have end stage renal failure. That means that my kidneys quit functioning and without them my whole body would be poisoned and I would die. I am now on dialysis (a way to filter my bodily fluids so they don‬‬‬‬'‬t poison me). I was researching on the internet the life expectancy of someone on dialysis. It‬'s hard to be definitive because so much depends on the general health of each individual, but it appears that I should have between 3 and 10 years with an average of 5 years of life expectancy at this point. It‬'s good to be prepared. So many others have no idea of how much longer they will live and it is hard to budget and prepare when it is so nebulous. In my situation, I now know about how long I have and can no longer put off till some future date those things that I have always wanted to do but would get to later. Later is now.

Actually, it‬'s comforting to have a glimmer of my mortality. It helps me prepare and get said and done what needs to be.

I have had a wonderful life up to and including this point. I can‬'t complain. Looking forward, I want to finish up some projects around the house and leave some notes behind of thoughts I have had and knowledge that I have gained. I‬'m really not sure what lies ahead, after death, but it might be a new adventure in another realm. I will go ahead of many of you and be waiting on the other side. It‬'s hard to think that this persona that I have developed over all these years will cease to exist – it seems to be a form of energy and, as we all know, energy cannot be destroyed – it can only change form. I hope that the I of me will continue to exist in this vast multiverse. If not, I suppose I won'‬t know the difference.

I know that I don‬‬‬‬'‬t want burial – just cremation and ashes scattered in locations where my daughters and family will have pleasant thoughts remembering. I don‬‬‬‬'‬t want a long drawn out end-of-life sequence where they extend, by mechanical means, a miserable life for a short time. I‬'m quite ready to accept a quick and painless death without a lot of fanfare. Many of my friends and loved ones have preceded me and I look forward to spending some time getting reacquainted. I guess the question is: does time exist in eternity? And are there alternate universes where I exist without the dialysis? Many things we don‬‬‬‬'‬t know and may not find out, ever. But I‬'m glad I lived when I lived and how I lived and am glad for all the friends and family who shared this time with me. It has been exceptional.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday April 10, 2015...Afterthoughts of Iraq

We're hearing the war hawks speaking again about war - with Iran.

They are once again saying how easy it will be and how necessary it is.

We've heard this all before.

Before we invaded Iraq, all of the Bush administration cronies and war hawks in Congress were saying that the Iraq War would be easy, quick and relatively painless.
In March of 2003, Dick Cheney told Bob Scheiffer on Face The Nation that, "I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly ... Weeks rather than months."
Just a few months later, Condoleezza Rice proclaimed that, "I do not mean that we will need to maintain a military presence in Iraq as was the case in Europe."
And, then-Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and current Senior Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute Richard Perle said that, "And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation."
Well, first of all, there is no "grand square" in Baghdad right now named after George Bush.
But more importantly, every single comment made back then about the Iraq War was wrong.
As we all know, the war that was supposed to last a few months AT MOST has been dragged out for 12 years.
Since the Iraq War began on March 19, 2003, there have been 4,493 US military deaths in Iraq, and at least 32,021 soldiers have been wounded.
And those numbers don't include the tens of thousands of Iraqis - civilian and otherwise - who lost their lives during the war.
Simply put, the Iraq War wasn't easy, it wasn't quick and it certainly wasn't painless.
Instead, it's been one of the longest and deadliest wars in US history.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday March 22, 2015...SPRING SPRUNG - again

Well, Spring has once more come to the Midwest and I really appreciate the 70 degree weather.  It wasn't a harsh Winter here at all - not like it was back East - but it is still nice to anticipate the greening up of the grass and trees.  That's the one thing I miss most in the Winter - the green and lush grass and forests.  Perhaps that's why I love the mountains and their evergreen pine forests?  We've tried to plant some evergreen trees in the backyard, but it is too wet and clayish for them to take root.  Someday, we will have to figure out a way to drain the water out of the hollow back there.  An underground rock formation has a slight rise at the edge of our property and that contains the moisture in the low spots.  

My son-in-law has come back home from working the oil fields of Wyoming and Colorado.  The work out there is diminishing with the advent of cheaper oil.  So Chuck is home and has a night job picking up roll-off containers around the Crown Center and Plaza areas.  It's tough work for truck drivers and their hours are long,  But at least Chuck is home with his family.  We all missed him while he spent those long years in the oil fields.  He wouldn't get to come home except for a few times a year and he had to work 7 days a week from dawn to dusk.  Now he works from dusk to dawn but he gets off a couple of days a week.  It's good to have him home.

Last year was a medical year for most of my family.  I'm really hoping that this year all will be well.  My grandson, Zachary, will be 16 this year.  He is a fine young man with a good head on his shoulders.  And he has tall, broad shoulders.  Zachary is already over 6 feet tall and taller than the rest of us and still growing.  It's fun to watch his personality developing and his interests to expand.  It's an entirely different world for him to approach than the world that I approached when I was his age.  When I was 16 there were ample part time jobs available and many of my friends and I worked at them for spending money.  Now those types of jobs are not available and many kids get into trouble trying to find some way to raise money.

Beth is still fighting a myriad of ailments, many very debilitating and painful, with her Hepatitus C and Fibromyalgia and Kidney Stones and Migraines.  It seems that when one symptom leaves, another develops.  I feel for sorry for her and wish that I had a cure for the pains that she has.  I keep hoping that someone will come up with a way to relieve her symptoms - in time.  

Deborah has a new job in IT in Burlington, Iowa.  She has moved a lot in the last few years, but I'm hoping that this move will let her settle down for a while.  She seems to really like her new place of work and the job itself.  It's nice to hear her happy!  She has had a lot of stress the last few years and deserves a break.  Maybe she can explore the region and rekindle some of her past interests and hobbies.

I'm surviving the nightly peritoneal dialysis with little complications.  I feel that I have some control of my life right now and that this system will give me the bit of freedom that I seem to require.  When I had to go to the clinic for dialysis 3 times a week, it really beat me down.  I basically lost those 3 days of time each week and felt that I couldn't really schedule much activity around those days.  I was also very tired those days and had to rest a lot.  Now I perform dialysis at home, in bed, at night while I sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to go.  What a great change.  It does limit you on travel, because of the equipment and supplies, but it is worth it.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful Spring, green and lush and maybe even a wonderful Summer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday February 24, 2015...Wheezing and Sputtering?

You know how an old car sputters and backfires? 

Sometimes the radiator lets off steam and sometimes oil leaks from the engine. 

The fuel pump gets clogged and the carburetor wheezes. 

The body gets scratched and dented.

The shocks and struts don’t cushion like they used to.

You keep putting fuel in the tank, but you don’t get the mileage or the performance that you used to get. 

Maybe your windshield gets cracked and you can’t see out as well as you used to. 

There are just so many tuneups in the life of the old car and there comes a point where it starts to fall apart. You try to clean it up and polish it, but it won’t ever be new again. That’s all right – it gave some glorious trips and some dependable transportation along the way and it’s not quite ready for the junk yard.

I’ve been sputtering and wheezing this last week – luckily not to much backfiring, but I can tell that the old jalopy is not new any more. I’ve been taking my medicine and trying to get as much mileage as I can. Sometimes, when you’re sick and tired, you look back on the course you’ve driven and appreciate the wonderful views you’ve enjoyed and the great scenery of your life. It’s been a great trip so far and I’m not ready to detour yet, but I do appreciate all the fine people who have copiloted with me. 

Someday, we will all be gone and a new generation will be taking their excursions. 
I hope they have as good a time as I have had.   

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday February 1, 2015...Core Issues that should be discussed

This from

I would have to agree with their analysis.  We need more discussion of these issues.

Fifteen Core Issues the Country Must Face

  • These are fifteen core issues that are in crisis in the United States. This list was developed during the organizing process for the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. There are solutions to each of these crises and many of them are supported by a majority of the population, but instead of considering these solutions, the government is headed in the opposite direction placing corporate greed before the needs of people and the planet.
  1. Corporatism – Firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people and only people have Constitutional rights. End corporate influence over the political process. End corporate welfare that enriches the few and instead treat government investment as something that all profit from, ensure corporations pay their fair share by ending corporate loopholes and tax subsidies and put in place a global tax so that off-shoring of money does not avoid taxes. Protect people and the environment from damage by corporations and end corporate trade agreements and partnerships that undermine consumer, labor and environmental protections.
  2. Wars and Militarism – End wars and occupations, end private for-profit military contractors and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under international law. Reduce the national security state and demilitarize the police.
  3. Human Rights – End exploitation of people in the US and abroad. End discrimination in all forms (race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity), guarantee equal civil rights, and the right of people to travel across borders to work and live. Make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality.
  4. Worker Rights and Jobs – Guarantee that all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection. Put in place policies that allow worker owned and managed businesses, e.g. worker-owned cooperatives, so workers can build wealth and have greater control over their economic lives.
  5. Government – Guarantee that all processes of the three branches of government are be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law. Respect the civil rights of government employees. Create a work environment in government that empowers service to people, participation, honesty and integrity and that protects whistleblowers. Build policies and infrastructure that allow people to participate in decision making.
  6. Elections – Guarantee that all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers and establish universal voter registration. Guarantee that all candidates have the right to be heard in open debates and to run with low-threshold ballot access laws. Count all votes in a transparent method open to the public. Institute new voting systems so that more than majority views are represented, e.g. proportional representation; and voting systems that avoid voting based on fear of the greater evil, e.g. instant run-off or ranked choice voting. Create a level playing field by funding public elections with public dollars and clean election laws. Require that all donations directly and indirectly to elections should be transparent, i.e. no anonymous funding of elections.
  7. Criminal Justice and Prisons – end stop and frisk and other racial profiling police practices that lead to police harassment,  brutality and even killings of civilians; respect constitutional rights against search and seizure, right to counsel and against self-incrimination. End the drug war and adopt a public health, evidence-based drug policy that respects individual rights and does not rely on law enforcement. End private for-profit prisons, end mandatory sentencing, recognize prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society and abolish the death penalty. Police need to protect the right to peaceably assemble to redress grievances and the right to Freedom of Speech without infiltration or other police practices that undermine those rights.
  8. Healthcare – Create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system, i.e. improved Medicare for All, which provides full health coverage throughout life with no out-of-pocket costs. Promote wellness in public policy. Recognize that health is a human right not a commodity.
  9. Education – Guarantee that all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.
  10. Housing – Guarantee that all people have the right to affordable and safe housing. End predatory mortgage and foreclosure practices.
  11. Environment – Adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and nuclear free energy economy and that respect the rights of nature. Confront climate change with a rapid and comprehensive transition to an energy efficient, wind, solar and other renewable source-based economy that ends the wasteful use of energy. End the extractive economy and move toward a circular system where there is no waste and everything is re-used. Remake land use planning to support a healthy environment.
  12. Finance and the Economy – Break up the too big to fail banks, develop public banks in every state and major city, encourage community banks and credit unions, create local stock exchanges to allow investment in local communities and create microfinance loans to encourage entrepreneurship and support local businesses. Re-make the Federal Reserve into a transparent, democratic institution that responds to the needs of the economy and not to the needs of big banks. Put limits on the discrepancy between worker and executive pay. End policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system. Guarantee that people’s deposits are protected and that the public does not pay for financial institutions that fail. Reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people including creating a guaranteed national income.
  13. Media – End the concentration of media by a small number of corporations. Democratize the media by recognizing that the airwaves and the internet are public goods and recognize independent and citizen’s media as legitimate media outlets. Require that media be accurate and accountable to the people and that the internet be accessible to all people, respect people’s privacy and promote the sharing of information.
  14. Food and Water – Create systems that protect the land and water, create local, affordable and sustainable food networks, encourage community supported agriculture and farmer’s markets and diversify local food supplies so that food does not depend on transit over long distances. Encourage organic food production free of chemicals and end genetically modified foods. Guarantee the right to produce and harvest seeds. Stop commodification of water and guarantee access to water as a public good.
  15. Transportation – Provide affordable, clean and convenient public transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel. Develop land use planning that creates walkable and bikeable communities, with mass transit so that people do not depend on automobiles. Improve travel by train, rapid transit and commuter rails, so people are not dependent on air travel and automobiles.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday December 21, 2014...It's a wonderful life

December 21, 2014

Approaching the end of another year, it is officially Winter now. It's been quite a year, personally, for many of the members of my family. Many health issues to deal with, but at the end of this year it appears that we will all survive and be of good cheer for next year.

I was watching “It's a wonderful life”, a movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The story brought to mind the similarities in our lives today with what occurred to George Bailey in the movie. There was a calculating wealthy man, named Mr Potter, who wanted to increase his wealth and power at the expense of the working people in the town of Bedford Falls. George Bailey resists Mr Potter's efforts and makes his world a better place. The people of Bedford Falls turn out to support George when a crisis occurs and you can feel the love that this one man created by unselfishly trying to help others.

I sometimes forget that, although we are surrounded by Potters, there are unselfish, loving people out there who will willingly help others with no reward in mind. Our world right now is dominated by the Potters but, hopefully, the unselfish, loving people will triumph. I know that most all of the members of my family would easily qualify for the Bailey mode of life because they love and give freely when the need appears. I would hate to have a bunch of Potters in my family. Like George Bailey, in the movie, it takes some effort and some sacrifice to maintain that helpful, unselfish lifestyle, but the love that you create comes back multiplied and leaves a better world for everyone.

This is the season for giving and caring. Hopefully, that will spread to the Potters of our world today, and there are a lot of them out there - especially surrounding politicians.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014...Life goes on

Life goes on.

Recently a long ago friend of mine died. He was a classmate of mine and he remains in my memory as the young athlete/scholar that we was. Several of my classmates have passed on in the last few years and they still remain vivid memories in my mind. A portion of who that person was live on in my memory. If you think about it, aren't we keeping those people alive with our memories? I would like to think so. I know that I remember my father so well that sometimes I expect him to be around the house ready to give me his counsel. Often my dreams include folks who have been gone a long time, but still remain in my mind. Someday, when our whole generation has passed along, we will be forgotten and there will be no memory of us – just names on a page. I suppose that's why I write a bit about what I'm thinking – just in case someone may read it someday and realize just who I was and what I thought. I wish I had some of the thoughts from earlier relatives expressed on paper so that I would know who they were and what they thought. We are here such a short time (in retrospect). The world goes on and life proceeds.

I'm not sure that I left this Earth a better place than it was when I was born. Collectively, we have made a mess of our home and it really is time to clean up the mess. When we were young we assumed that we had plenty of time to correct any mistakes we made. Looking back on life, it's obvious that we should have made corrections along the way when they were small instead of waiting until they became tremendous. It appears that Climate Change will affect the whole human race within the next few decades. I hope that man can adapt.

I have noticed that mankind has taken a path that leads away from the general welfare of humanity and towards the accumulation of wealth and power by just a few. I had thought that those days, like the 1890s and the robber barons, were through but the rich and powerful are trying their best to wrest control of everything away from the people of the Earth. I suppose it will take a catastrophe or a revolution to restart society on the correct path. Of course, I won't be there to witness, but I'm hopeful that it will happen. During my lifetime, I have seen many changes – many innovations – many changes in attitude. We seem to be drifting away from caring about the employee, or the customer, or the student, or the hungry, or the homeless. It's sad to see that change.

This has been a year for health issues in my family.  I ended up with kidney failure and now exist because of daily dialysis.  My daughters are both fighting Fibromyalgia, which can be very painful.  My brother just had a complete hip replacement - he had been in much pain and could hardly walk.  My sister was hit by their car while trying to hook up their camping trailer - she broke her back in several places and her leg and has some serious contusions and remains in the hospital looking forward to months of rehabilitation.  Hopefully we will all get better and have a much better year in 2015.  It doesn't hurt to hope.  You adjust your life to the new situations as they occur and life goes on. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014...This from the Green Shadow Cabinet


The only real solution to a sustained US recovery is for massive public government investment, that then subsequently creates income. Investment precedes income creation, it does not necessarily follow it any longer in a world of 21sts century global finance capital. Just calling for income growth (via minimum wage hikes, more contingent job creation, tax cuts, or whatever) will not necessarily result in US-based investment if Capitalists continue to shift to more profitable financial speculation offshore; public investment must therefore occur prior to income growth in order to generate a sustained recovery.

In today’s world of 21st Century Global Finance Capital, don’t expect capitalists to invest in real production and thus jobs and income in the US economy as they did decades ago. They are too busy making greater profits offshore and in financial asset speculation, leveraging the trillions of dollars of free money and credit created for them by the Federal Reserve. If real investment in the US economy is ever to return, it will have to come via major public investment initiatives. And if not, expect chronic economic stagnation to continue, as has been the case since 2010.

Meanwhile, we continue with our military empire, trying to maintain our supremacy in the world.

Rather than fixing the infrastructure, which the American Society of Civil Engineers ranks in its annual report card as a D+, the federal government’s “financing is lavished without stint to promote every kind of war industry, and foreign investing by U.S. firms.” As Seymour points out “there is no public ‘space’ for dialogue on how to improve the quality of our lives. Such topics are subordinate to ‘how to make war.’”

Not only does Empire foreign policy undermine the federal budget, with 55% of discretionary spending going to the military, but it also undermines the US economy as jobs are shipped overseas and corporations hide trillions of dollars in assets overseas to avoid paying taxes Empire economics does not serve the workers in the US or abroad and does not serve the security of people as safety nets are shredded as austerity is needed to fund weapons and war.

The cost of war has escalated. Just one weapons system, the F-35, a fighter jet that has been grounded because it does not work, has cost $49 billion per year since the program begin in 2006. Hayes Brown of Think Progress made a list of what that money could have been spent on instead. It could have bought a mansion for every homeless person, fed every school child in the US, funded every humanitarian crisis or provided global security through the UN or provided funding to rebuild America.

The last 100 years of Empire and imperialism brought the US great wealth, creating the largest economy in the world which the IMF values as $17 trillion or one-quarter of the global economy. Today, the US economy is struggling with high unemployment, record numbers of Americans dropping out of the job market, large trade deficits and declines in many measures of standard of living. At the same time, other countries, most notably China, India, Brazil and Russia, are beginning to challenge the US. These countries along with South Africa joined together to create the BRICS development bank to challenge the World Bank and IMF, which are dominated by the US and its western allies. This may be the most important challenge to US economic dominance since 1945 especially when combined with bilateral agreements between countries that omit the US dollar, weakening its position as the reserve currency of the world.

The scenario ends with:
After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world's reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.”
“Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures. … These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.” He points to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, with war threatened in Pakistan.

“Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.” (Note: the year of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.)

“If, however, we were to dismantle our empire of military bases and redirect our economy toward productive, instead of destructive, industries; if we maintained our volunteer armed forces primarily to defend our own shores (and perhaps to be used at the behest of the United Nations); if we began to invest in our infrastructure, education, health care, and savings, then we might have a chance to reinvent ourselves as a productive, normal nation.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014...World Views

Companies look at the Earth as a potential source of income. Their immediate goal is to use the resources of the Earth to make profits, regardless of the consequences to the environment. They would kill all the buffalo and chop down all the redwoods and pollute the rivers and streams and dirty the air and tear down the mountains and eradicate the fish from the ocean – all in the course of making profits. Long after the companies are gone, the injured Earth that they left behind will have to heal or suffer for generations to come.

People look at the Earth as a home – a place to provide them with food and shelter. The Earth that they desire is renewable and ever freshening. They want the clean, clear water to drink and the clean, clear air to breathe and food that isn't contaminated. They want an Earth that their children and grandchildren can enjoy. They want to protect the Earth – it is all that they have and it belongs to each and every one of them.

People elect governments to administer programs for the benefit of all of the people. Where one person cannot provide roads and water and electricity and fire protection and police protection, they collectively can have these services provided by their elected officials. We need elected officials who will think of the Earth as our home and look to providing services for ALL of the people – not just small, wealthy special interests.

Somewhere along the line we have become a corporate world and the world view that prevails is to use it up and discard it and move on to the next resource, ignoring the ultimate destruction. We leave behind the scrapyard of a once beautiful planet.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014...I missed May Day -- again

I remember, back in childhood days in the early 50s, celebrating May Day. We had displays and activities out on the playground and even set up a May Pole for kids to dance around. The people of the United States appreciated the unions and the workers for bringing up their standard of living.

Excerpt from article By Justin Doolittle,Truthout| Op-Ed Thursday, 01 May 2014

“On May 1 - or May Day - citizens of more than 80 countries will officially celebrate some version of International Workers' Day. Many more will do the same in an unofficial capacity. It is a day to thank and honor workers and the labor movement for their immense contributions to our societies.
Sadly, we can be certain that millions of Americans have never even heard about this, as May Day has never been seriously recognized in the United States and probably never will be, despite the fact that it was Chicago's infamous Haymarket riots and their aftermath that became the inspiration for the holiday.

Not only is May Day not recognized here, but it was rejected with extreme prejudice by the US government, on the grounds that it had communist overtones and was too strident in its celebration of labor

First proposed by the American Bar Association, "Law Day" was also meant, at least in part, to "suppress the celebration of May Day." On "Law Day," we are encouraged to celebrate the rule of law, for some reason. Thankfully, "Law Day" and "Loyalty Day" - it's difficult to even write the latter without cringing - continue to be largely ignored by the public.

Not that American workers have much to celebrate. Unions have been beaten into submission: Fewer than 7% of private sector workers now belong to a union; membership peaked at around 35% in the 1950s. Workers' voices are effectively shut out of the political process; a recent, high-profile study out of Princeton University showed that the United States' political system is, for all intents and purposes, oligarchical, with wealth and influence being all that really count when it comes to shaping policy.”


So, we don't get to celebrate May Day and honor workers and the labor movement. Maybe the Owners are afraid to let the people think of the difference the workers and the labor movement has made for the common person.

Friday May 2, 2014...It's been a while

It's been a while since I last posted.  The world is pretty much the same - still in a mess and still not figuring out how to fix it.  But, here at home, it's been a different situation.  I was in the hospital in December and again in January.  The first and second time in my life I've had to stay more that overnight.  My kidneys have decided that they have had enough and they are now pretty much retired.  The rest of me wants to keep on going, so I have been going to dialysis (a mechanical process of filtering my blood) 3 days a week for 4 hours at a time.  That leaves me pretty exhausted, so my life has been up and down every other day while I am tethered to the dialysis center.  In about 2 more weeks I will start a different method of dialysis, where I can do it myself, at home, without machines, on a daily basis - a little at a time.  I'm really looking forward to that.  Maybe then my ups and downs will settle into a maintenance level and I will be able to post more often.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the recipes at
I've added some stars to the best ones and I'll try to add some more favorite soon.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday December 31, 2013...Last day of this year

For those of you who have lost their jobs or lost their homes or lost their food stamps or lost their unemployment you will be glad to know:

Fueled by the Fed's easy money policies and an improving economy, U.S. stocks are poised to close their best year since 1995. Prior to the final day of trading for 2013, the Dow was up 29% when dividends are included and the S&P 500 32%.
Private-equity firms are set to return over $120B to their investors for this year, surpassing the 2012 record of $115B, Cambridge Associates estimates. The P-E sector has been assisted by low interest rates, which have helped P-E backed companies sell $66.2B worth of debt in 2013 to fund dividends to their owners, up from $64.2B a year earlier.

The rich DO get richer while the poor get poorer. The inequality of our system is showing quite well.

Now all you have to do is survive until it trickles down. But, don't hold your breath!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday December 15, 2013...The "benefits" of Austerity


Greece is the latest example.

This was written by Representative Alan Grayson

From a recent 188-page report by the World Health Organization come these ghastly and appalling factoids:
  • Suicide rates rose 40% in the first six months of 2011 alone.
  • Murder has doubled.
  • 9,100 doctors in Greece, roughly one out of every seven, have been laid off.

Joining those doctors in joblessness are 27.6% of the entire Greek labor force. By comparison, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States peaked at a lower percentage than that. Among Greek young adults under 25 years old, unemployment reached an abominable 64.9% in May. (Yet the unemployment rate in Greece was as low as 7% as recently as 2008.) 

I'm sure that my Tea Party friends will blame universal healthcare, paid sick leave and "generous" unemployment benefits for this catastrophe. "If we simply stopped helping people, then they wouldn't need our help," they would say. You can see where that "logic" leads. The dead need no help whatsoever, except possibly burial. Sort of like this: "The Republican healthcare plan: Don't Get Sick. And if you do get sick, Die Quickly."]

Maybe you think that I'm kidding about what my Tea Party friends would do. I'm not. A few years ago here in Florida, we had a children's health insurance program called KidCare, with a waiting list of over 100,000. The Tea Party Republicans didn't like that. So they eliminated the waiting list.

But back to Greece. A lot of people blame Greek government debt for the current suffering. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, that most authoritative of all conceivable sources, Greek government debt stands at 160% of GDP, which seems like a lot. But Japanese government debt stands at 215% of GDP, and the unemployment rate in Japan is only 4%.

Moreover, Spain's unemployment rate is virtually as high as Greece's, but Spain's government debt stands at only 85% of GDP. That's less debt than Singapore's, and Singapore's unemployment rate is 1.8%.

So we cannot properly attribute the catastrophe in Greece to labor protection, nor can we attribute it to government borrowing. What is the cause, then? The World Health Organization has the answer: austerity. "Austerity" is a bloodless term for gross economic mismanagement, animated by heartlessness. That robotic cut-cut-cut mentality that deprives us of jobs, of public services, of safety, of health, of infrastructure, of help for the needy, and -- ultimately -- of our economic equilibrium and the ability to survive. The mentality that ushers in, and welcomes, a vicious war of all against all. Austerity is destroying an entire country, right before our eyes.

Or, as the World Health Organization put it: "These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy. It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health."

In America, we have a rich and powerful lobby that has the same prescription for every economic malady: austerity. Cut-cut-cut. Cut Social Security and Medicare. Cut teacher and police and firefighter jobs. Cut health care. Cut pay and cut pensions. It all boils down to that one ugly word: austerity. And austerity always brings disarray, disaster, decay and death.

People often ask me my position on various issues. Well, I'm for certain things, and I'm against others. But on one issue, I'm very consistent. I'm against pain and suffering. Especially avoidable pain and suffering. And therefore, I'm against austerity. It begins with seemingly innocuous budget cuts. It then leads inexorably to the destruction of countless lives.

Why am I telling you about Greece? In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book called "It Can't Happen Here." But it can. And it's up to us to prevent it.


Rep. Alan Grayson

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday December 14, 2013...GROWN-DOWNS

All those younger years I looked forward to the day when I would be "grown up".  We were all small when we were young and we always looked up to the older folks.  We anticipated the future when we would be "grown-up"and be able to do the things we wanted to do without anybody else's approval.  We went to school and studied and eventually got jobs where we learned more duties, all part of "growing up".

I did my part, I studied, I worked, I tried to fit the part of a grown up.  The years flew by and here I sit in front of my computer looking back.  I grew up.  But somewhere along the line, things changed and I started growing down.  For some inexplicable reason, my stature has diminished – my spine has compressed, and I'm shorter than I was.  I have grown down instead of up.  I don't know how to act as a grown-down.  All my life I wanted to be a grown-up and worked hard to become one.  Now that I'm a grown-down, I'm not sure how to act or what to do.

I'm pretty sure that a grown-down walks a little slower, and keeps his eye on the ground in front of him.  He walks a little more stoop-shouldered but has a pretty good idea of where he's going.  A grown-down doesn't have to put on airs.  He's satisfied with who he is and what he has done.  He has thought through his philosophy of life and knows what he knows and you can't change his mind.  Clothes hang a little different on his grown-down body, but he's not as worried about his appearance as he was when he was younger.  He doesn't have to impress people any longer.

I tried to find some books and reference materials about grown-downs, but there isn't much out there.  I think the grown-downs have figured it out and don't want to share the answers.  They just want to be left alone to live comfortably now that they've reached this point in their lives.  I know I'm more content with what I've got, and I'm quite comfortable looking back over the memories I've created during my lifetime.  I think most grown downs have a tendency to look back about as much as they look forward.  Pleasant memories that reside in your brain are like a good book that you can come back to and reread any time you wish – complete with sounds and picture.

My daughter tells me that I'm really not a grown-down.  I'm more of a worn-down.  Perhaps she's right.  I've had a lot of my rough edges smoothed over, and I'm not as frisky as I used to be.  I don't take as many chances as I did once, and I don't recover quite as quickly as I did when I was younger.  My mind still seems to be pretty sharp, but parts of my body have retired before some of the others.  My mind tells me to do something, but my body says "no way".  So I suppose I'm more of a worn-down-grown-down, which is still perhaps a bit better than being an up-and-coming grown-up.  So all of you grown downs out there, just sit back and relax and go with the flow.  There is no hurry and there is nowhere you have to go – just be.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday November 22, 2013...Fifty years today

Friday, November 22, 1963

I remember that day. Friday afternoon the head of my department came into the room and announced that the President had been shot. He sent everyone home for the rest of the day. Nobody knew exactly what was happening. We were all is a state of shock that something like this could happen in the United States to our young and vibrant President. I spent that whole weekend glued to the old black and white television that continuously reported on the events taking place in Dallas and later in Washington. The whole country watched the memorial and the burial and the killing of Oswald. The whole country stopped for that week after the assassination and watched. We watched as the Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who we really didn't even know, took over the reins of the federal bureaucracy. We watched John John as he saluted his father's casket. We watched as the Kennedys gathered sadly and stone faced. We waited to see who had been up on the grassy knoll behind the fence. We wondered how one man could have been so accurate so quickly to hit the moving cars. I think most everyone assumed it was a hit squad covering the route from several points. It had us all watching and waiting and sadly missing President Jack Kennedy.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday November 9, 2013...THINGS CHANGE


I'm now in the elder state of life. I, and my fellow elders, can now remember a world that is no more. My father used to tell me of a world before I came of open prairies and clean, clear streams. He missed the fenceless open pasture of central Kansas and the unpolluted streams that you could drink from. I never knew that world, so I didn't miss it. I remember a world of small farms and small towns with local and state highways connecting them. I remember drives into the country through town squares and country cafes and burma-shave adds and telephone poles along each road. I remember one car families with empty streets during the day. I remember stay at home mothers caring for their kids after school. Before television, we would play outside a lot and in the evening we would listen to radio programs. Neighbors all looked out for each other and their kids. There were neighborhood markets and dime stores and drug stores and movie theaters all withing walking distance. Milk was delivered by the milk man and bread was delivered by the Manor man. When it snowed, some of the hilly streets were closed off from traffic and the children went sledding in the streets. There were no shopping centers, no Kmarts, no Walmarts, no chain drug stores, no super markets, no Home Depots. There were no visa or mastercard credit cards. You had to establish credit with each store you shopped in or with money loaned to you by the bank or cash on hand. You had a local gas station where they also worked on cars. All the local stores hired young kids to help on a part time basis which gave a young person their first taste of employment and cash management. Music was only available over AM stations and there was no stereo. It wasn't until the development of transistors that there were portable radios available. Television, when it came, was only in black and white and only on in the evenings to start with. Air conditioning was only available in movie theaters and ice cream parlors. There were no fast food restaurants, only cafes and a few drive-ins. Any after school activities had to be within walking distance because dad had the family car to go to work and mom was at home doing the laundry, without a dryer, or preparing dinner, without a microwave or prepackaged food, or doing dishes, without a dishwasher. Clothes were not wrinkle free and had to be ironed by hand. Houses were left open during the warm season to help cool and they needed to be dusted quite often. Before oil burners and gas burning furnaces coal had to be stored in the coal bin and shoveled into the furnace daily. The coal deposited a fine black dust on clothes that had to be washed off. Before calculators and computers there were comptometers to add up figures for offices and many people were employed at comptometer operators. Engineers used sliderules and books of logarithmic tables to help calculate. There were no copy machines, so people used carbon paper to make copies of what they were writing or typing. Typewriters were all manual (no electric) and any mistakes had to be dealt with on the original as well as the carbon copies. Records were only available on 78 rpm hard plastic disks before 45 rpm and eventually 33 1/3 rpm vinyl disks were invented. There were reel-to-reel recorders available, but very expensive. 8 track and cassette player/recorders came along later. Later yet, CDs and DVDs and digital recording became available. Before jet planes, the constellation was the largest airliner used to fly between cities. Planes and trains were the fastest way to travel across the country because there were no interstate highways.

These are some of my memories of a world that no longer exists and that younger folks would not recognize. Their memories will be of a different world. Whose world is better? Who really knows? Things change, some for the good – some for the bad. I like my memories, I liked my world. Some things have gotten easier and the world has become more instant and seems smaller. But that's my viewpoint, from one of the elders.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Monday November 4, 2013...Help the poor or Support the military-industrial-complex

We're cutting back on food stamps and head start and education and medicaid, but not on our Miltary-Industrial-Complex.

During World War II, this nation converted its civilian manufacturing base into the creation of weapons and military equipment. However, the arms industry did not revert back to its original functions upon the war’s end; instead, it continued to grow and expand. The Cold War did much to precipitate the amount of money our government was spending on the arms race and to counter the Soviet threat. Today, the U.S. spends fifty cents out of every discretionary tax dollar on war and militarism. We spend almost as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, and we are by far the largest arms exporter in the world, accounting for 78% of such sales. Russia is in second place with 5.6%.

The term “Military Industrial Complex” was first coined by President Eisenhower in 1961 during his farewell address to the nation to describe the unprecedented American arms industry coupled with an immense military establishment. He warned us to “...guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

The military aid that the U.S. “gives” to other countries comes in the way of credits which can only be used to purchase U.S. weapons systems, equipment and training. The cost of those aid credits comes directly out of the pockets of the American taxpayer and right into the bank accounts of the defense industry. The U.S. provides around $50 billion dollars in aid annually to over 150 nations, with at least $17 billion of that being military aid. Our foreign military aid programs keep the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) machine well oiled and running smoothly; with big profits for the likes of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, all courtesy of American taxpayers.

The “rise of misplaced power” that Eisenhower warned of is easily seen by the influence the Military Industrial Complex has on Congress and the decisions it makes about war, budgeting, and foreign policy. Defense firms spend millions lobbying Congress to protect their weapons programs from spending cuts and to promote military actions. Senators who voted in favor of a military strike against Syria received an average of 83 percent more money from the defense industry than senators who voted against the resolution.

When chemical weapons were used to kill civilians in Syria recently, the U.S. was quick to say that President Assad had violated international law. But instead of referring the case to the International Criminal Court for adjudication, the Obama administration came very close to waging war.
The United Nations charter prohibits the threat or use of force against any other country except in the event of self defense, yet in just the last 12 years the U.S. has launched two full-blown wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have attacked Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with hellfire missiles launched from drones. We have used the two most recent wars to justify the use of torture, external rendition and indefinite detention, as well as multiple violations of the Geneva Conventions.
In addition to refusal to become a party to the International Criminal Court, a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes , the U.S. has also refused to sign on to the Landmine Treaty, the Cluster Munitions Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Convention against Torture, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Even though the Chemical Weapons Convention was ratified, the U.S. set extensive limitations on how it could be applied in the U.S., essentially gutting its provisions.

Since 1961 we have built a foreign policy through fear, intimidation, and coercion. We have ignored opportunities to join the international community and have instead shown arrogance and disregard for other nations and their peoples. We espouse support for human rights, but ignore them in the interest of corporate profits.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What is happening to our Democracy?

Excerpt from Chris Hedges: “Our Invisible Revolution”

“Corporations, freed from all laws, government regulations and internal constraints, are stealing as much as they can, as fast as they can, on the way down. The managers of corporations no longer care about the effects of their pillage. Many expect the systems they are looting to fall apart. They are blinded by personal greed and hubris. They believe their obscene wealth can buy them security and protection. They should have spent a little less time studying management in business school and a little more time studying human nature and human history. They are digging their own graves.

Our shift to corporate totalitarianism, like the shift to all forms of totalitarianism, is incremental. Totalitarian systems ebb and flow, sometimes taking one step back before taking two steps forward, as they erode democratic liberalism. This process is now complete. The “consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. Barack Obama cannot defy corporate power any more than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton could. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Bush, who is intellectually and probably emotionally impaired, did not understand the totalitarian process abetted by the presidency. Because Clinton and Obama, and their Democratic Party, understand the destructive roles they played and are playing, they must be seen as far more cynical and far more complicit in the ruination of the country. Democratic politicians speak in the familiar “I-feel-your-pain” language of the liberal class while allowing corporations to strip us of personal wealth and power. They are effective masks for corporate power.

The corporate state seeks to maintain the fiction of our personal agency in the political and economic process. As long as we believe we are participants, a lie sustained through massive propaganda campaigns, endless and absurd election cycles and the pageantry of empty political theater, our corporate oligarchs rest easy in their private jets, boardrooms, penthouses and mansions. As the bankruptcy of corporate capitalism and globalization is exposed, the ruling elite are increasingly nervous. They know that if the ideas that justify their power die, they are finished. This is why voices of dissent—as well as spontaneous uprisings such as the Occupy movement—are ruthlessly crushed by the corporate state.“

Just for reference, Under Bill Clinton, NAFTA came into being resulting in a major shift of manufacturing from the United States to Asian countries and the dismantling of banking controls under the Glass–Steagall act. Under Barack Obama the TPP is being pushed through and stronger security controls are being foisted upon the population while the wealth of the nation is being siphoned into the pockets of the super-rich. Dissent and whistle-blowing is being crushed and our privacy is being shredded. Can this all be happenstance and ignorantly ignored as coincidence?

And all this happening under Democratic presidency. Think how much worse it would probably have been under Republican. We, the working poor, have been led down this path unknowingly by our leaders under the supervision of the super-rich. They have accomplished much during our lifetime. We can only start to slowly divest them of their controls with a united front.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday September 24, 2013...The case for medicare for all


What we have now, prior to Obamacare, is medical care for only those who can afford it and the rest can die. Obamacare is a start, albeit a flawed one. The drug companies and medical equipment suppliers and insurance companies all end up as winners under Obamacare. They will be able to secure even greater profits from their government-provided patent monopolies since the ACA does little to rein in costs. As a result, we will still be paying close to twice as much for drugs and medical devices as people in other wealthy countries that have national healthcare overseen by their governments. The agenda now has to be to squeeze the parasites out of the health care system and bring down the costs.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday September 14, 2013...Words from Bernie Sanders

Words from Bernie Sanders:
Millions of Americans have absolutely no confidence that the U.S. House or Senate is even remotely concerned about their needs or views.
Here’s the truth. The middle class in this country is collapsing. The number of Americans living in poverty is nearly the highest on record and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider. And very few people in Washington give a damn.

Year after year the American people have begged the Congress and the president to move aggressively to protect the middle class from total collapse. And, so far, their leaders have failed to act. Today, the American people are demanding action to create jobs for their kids and retirement security for their parents.

They are deeply worried about the state of the economy, and they have every reason to worry. Here’s what’s going on:
  • Real unemployment: Counting those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part-time when they need a full time job, the real unemployment rate is 13.7 percent, not 7.3 percent.
  • Average wages: Non-supervisory workers have seen their wages go down by eight cents an hour since the beginning of the so-called recovery and are now a paltry $8.77 an hour.
  • Income and wealth inequality: From 2009-2012, the richest 1 percent of Americans captured 95 percent of all new income, while the typical middle class family has seen their income go down by more than $2,100. The Walton family, the owners of Wal-Mart, are worth more than $100 billion and own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans.
  • College unaffordability: Over the past 30 years, the cost of a college education has gone up by more than 250 percent. The average American graduating from college this year is drowning in debt of more than $35,000. Even worse, hundreds of thousands of high school graduates are unable to go to college each and every year not because they are unqualified, but because they can’t afford it.
  • Childhood poverty: We live in the richest country in the world, yet one out of five children in the U.S. is stuck in poverty. And the reality is that children living in poverty in America today are more likely to stay in poverty when they grow up than in any other advanced country on earth.
The lesson to be learned from the widespread opposition to the war is that the American people standing together can make a difference. Building on that momentum, NOW IS THE TIME to demand that Congress create millions of decent-paying jobs repairing our crumbling roads, bridges, dams, culverts, schools and housing.

We need to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels that are threatening the planet and move toward energy efficiency and renewable energy. We must increase the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour and lift millions of Americans out of poverty. We must fundamentally rewrite our trade policy so that American products, not American jobs, are our No. 1 export. We must stand up to the greed on Wall Street by breaking up too-big-to-fail banks that have done so much damage to the economy. And, we must make college affordable so that every qualified American can get the education they need to reclaim the American dream.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday August 15, 2013...It is theirs, after all!

John Jay, the president of the Continental Congress, then first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, enunciated in the Constitutional Convention that "those who own the country ought to govern it". That has been the thinking of the Republican Party ever since they started.

In the past, the United States has sometimes, kind of sardonically, been described as a one-party state: the business party with two factions called Democrats and Republicans. That's no longer true. It's still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction. The faction is moderate Republicans, who are now called Democrats. There are virtually no moderate Republicans in what's called the Republican Party and virtually no liberal Democrats in what's called the Democratic Party. It's basically a party of what would be moderate Republicans and similarly, Richard Nixon would be way at the left of the political spectrum today. Eisenhower would be in outer space.

The wealthy have reclaimed the nation and are running it the way they want it run. Of the wealthy, by the wealth and for the wealthy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday July 24, 2013...Thought for today

I've given up on democrats and liberals. I've given up on electoral change. Public banking could be the straw that breaks the corporatist camel's back. North Dakota has had it for over 80 years. Many nations have it. There are a few states or cities that are getting close to instituting it.

Big corporations are the biggest threat to the future of the human race... period. The TPP Trans Pacific Partnership, will confer nation state status on corporations. Obama is pushing this and the congress is ready to let it happen.

Here in the US, the people must take their country back from the military/financial/medico-Pharma/Agra/prison/fossil fuel energy complex.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday July 14, 2013...Zimmerman trial

I wasn't there, you weren't there - at the trial. The jury was there and heard all the evidence.

Many forget but the initial prosecutor refused to take this case because it was clear there was not the evidence to support charging Zimmerman. It turned out he was right. But political forces and people who suddenly had the bright lights turned on them were not going to care about true justice. Instead they dumped that prosecutor and found someone who would take this case.

The fact that the stand your ground law appears to have been abused in Florida may indeed be an argument that has validity and something that needs to be addressed. But it does not mean that George Zimmerman is guilty. In fact, he did not even use the stand your ground defense.
The fact that this case has revealed the gross misconduct of prosecutors across this country in over charging and over reaching could very well be a good thing; especially if something is finally done about it. But it does not mean that George Zimmerman is guilty.
The sad truth is that this was one of the most poorly handled cases we have seen in recent years.
By the time we got to the defense case, the prosecution had already conceded that it was Martin who was the aggressor, not Zimmerman.

Justice and the law dictated the verdict. That's what the trial demanded.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday June 23, 2013...Different worlds

It's Sunday, June 23, 2013.

I was talking with Zachary, my grandson, this morning. I realized as we were talking that he was looking forward to the most of his life, and I was looking back on most of mine. We each had our own perspective of what was important, but it differed depending on the viewpoint. I've tried to counsel him about what was important, the things that I have learned in life that might affect him. He couldn't see the problems facing him as well as I could and will probably have to learn by trial and error like I did. I was hoping that I could share some of the things I had learned and help him to avoid some of the mistakes that I had made during my lifetime. But it seems that each of us can only learn from our own mistakes and can't effectively utilize knowledge impressed upon us by others. I will keep trying to convey solutions that I have discovered, and perhaps by repetition, and some of that knowledge will eke its way into his brain. I know the world is different now than it was when I was young and perhaps some of the things I learned won't be applicable in today's world, but I'm sure that some of those things I've learned can be used. Today's world is so instantly communicable and news is so up to the minute that everyone feels in direct contact with what's going on the world. In my youth. We learned so much of the news long after it had happened and felt a bit distant from the rest of the world. Our world was more local and the things that concerned us were within reach. Male took days to reach us and telephones were fixed to the household and we couldn't be reached when we were away from home. We had to be prepared to deal with any emergency without someone else's help. Now with the advent of cellular telephones, help is just a a few buttons away and no one feels completely isolated. In my day, and you had to carry maps to determine where you were in the world. Now most phones have GPS and you can determine where you are with the click. So now folks are more connected, but at the same time are more dependent on each other. We gave up some degree of our independence for the luxury of communication. My grandson's world's is quite different from mine when I was his age. There are advantages and disadvantages, but I hope he will develop some of the independent character that was so important in my day. The more dependent you become on society, the less able you are to deal with emergencies. And part of the planning for the future is to allow for emergencies that will develop. If our country ever has a cyber attack, and we somehow lose our generating power, we will need to be more independent, each one of us. So I try to prepare for an emergency hoping that it never occurs and try to convey my grandson, what knowledge he may need.