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.