Category Archives: Politics

Another Lone Crazed Gunman

That’s the expression one of my Facebook friends, and former high school classmate, used to describe and referred to the shooter in Las Vegas last week. I commented that we have far too many of them and that lone crazed gunman seem to be endemic to American history. We have an unnatural love affair with weapons, the more destructive and easier to use the better. This madman was not happy that his rifle was a semi-automatic. He bought a conversion kit to turn it into an automatic rifle. That’s why he could kill so many people in such a short time before taking his own life. It is apparent that this man put very little value on human life, both the lives of others as well as his own.

 

My friend Dan responded with the usual “gun control does not work because criminals will always be able to get guns.” I totally agree with that sentiment. I said, in my original comment, that we needed to make some drastic changes in the hearts and minds of humans. Apparently, Dan missed the point. So, I responded to his comment about gun control not being effective.

Continue reading Another Lone Crazed Gunman

Advertisements

Pigeonholes and Language

Yes! Yes! I know. It has been over a month since I have written anything on either of my blogs. Rest assured, I am well and doing fine. So, what was the problem? I guess you could say that the stream of creative juices slowed down to a mere trickle. I guess we all have spells like that from time to time. Unfortunately, it seems the older you get the more frequent the droughts are. I guess it’s just something I have to live with. The alternative does not excite me at all. I kind of do want to live forever.

 

I guess I’ve been a creative person, more or less, all my life. I took up acting when I was in kindergarten, but then did not do anymore until our junior class play way back when. I took one more stab at acting my senior year in high school. Doing “the Mouse That Roared” was one of the major highlights of my high school career.

 

I have also dabbled in the visual arts. I did cartooning starting in junior high school as the art editor for the junior high school newspaper. I did cartooning posters for my mother’s bakery shop back then as well. In my 20s, I took up photography rather seriously. I even did exhibits at several local art fairs. I still have a 35mm single lens reflex camera but have not used it in a very long time. My isolate just doesn’t permit me to do that anymore. I have never been much for cameras that do all the work. I do not like giving up creative control. However, I have finally given up and ordered a simple digital camera online that should be here next week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make that one work and you all will see an occasional photograph on this blog and on my Facebook page.

 

I have been writing for more years and I can remember. I have done my own newsletters, both print, email, and RSS. I have written several digital books about online marketing. I have done research papers in high school, college, and grad school on a variety of topics. I’ve also tried to take a crack at writing poetry back when I was 20. That was a disaster! I do not have the soul of the poet. My writing tends to be dry and intellectual. I guess that is because I, because of my life experiences, AM that dry, somewhat intellectual individual. I would not have it any other way. The greatest thing I have achieved in my life is that I have come to understand who I am, what I am, and am very comfortable with both. Not bad for someone who spent most of his life flitting from one interest to another like a butterfly going flower to flower…

 

So, I guess if you wanted to pigeonhole me (I hate pigeonholes), I am a nonfiction writer with a wide variety of interests: science, magic (or as some call it, witchcraft), philosophy, religion, music appreciation, literature, and movies. I also have an intense interest in politics. That is probably the prime subject for my writings these days. You would think that with all the stuff going on in the US and elsewhere, I would have no problem being inspired to write about those events. Unfortunately, what our illustrious (sarcasm) current President has been doing disgusted me to the point where just thinking about it makes me sick and very angry. I learned some years ago disgust and anger are not the best Muses for a writer.

 

I want to close this post with a somewhat lengthy comment about pigeonholes. We all assign labels to everything and anything. That is what language is all about. Words are nothing more than labels for people, places, things, actions, feelings, etc. We humans need language because we are social creatures. In 1 million years or so that humans have existed on this planet, they have always existed in social groups. A solitary human trying to survive on their own would not make it. Sooner or later, your rather meager resources that you brought with you and that you are capable of making for yourself will run out. You will either die of starvation, exposure to the elements, or the predators will get you. It is only in a community, no matter how small, that we humans could thrive. Language is what made it possible for humans to live and work together and something approximating peace and harmony.

 

However, we forget that language, and therefore labels, are fluid and subject to change. All kinds of things can lead to changes in language. I have been alive for 70 years. The language that I use in my informal conversations is sometimes like a foreign language to my younger son, Michael, who is nearly 21. His informal language is sometimes Greek to me. I think that is one of the reason for the so-called “generation gap” that is responsible for parents and children having difficulties communicating. Though before I get too far off track here, let me go back to pigeonholes.

 

Pigeonholes come about when people treat the words they use (labels) as if they were carved out of some incredibly hard stone. Pigeonholes are useful as starting points in trying to describe someone or something. We need to remember, however, that people and things are not carbon copies of each other. What I mean by that is that I am a 70-year-old man. I know several other 70-year-old man. They are as different from me as I am from the man in the moon. When pigeonholes become overused, they become rigid and people think that that is the way things should be. What I mean is you all have a conception of what a 70-year-old man is in your mind. If you are not a fundamentalist, that picture is somewhat amorphous and allows for a great deal of variety. Fundamentalists have a very clear, distinct, and rigid conception of what a 70-year-old man should be. I do not live up to other people ideas of what a 70-year-old man should be. Nor do I expect any other 70-year-old man to be exactly like me. That conception in your mind is only a reference point, not a commandment from God. So, let’s be a bit more flexible in how we understand labels, how we understand the words we use. Let’s be more flexible and you will see a much greater level of peace and harmony in the world.

 

Peace and love!

John

The Madness of King Donald Part Two

It seems that our Emperor who has no close is at it again. Apparently, he is not happy with the people he chose as his Presidential advisors. So, he is employing that phrase that has become closely associated with Donald Trump: “You’re fired!” He is firing his advisors right and left and it appears that more firings are imminent. Sorry Donald, this is not your reality show. It’s time you realize that and started acting like a President of the United States and not the driver of the clown car in a circus!

 

I may be wrong on this one. After all, I have never been the greatest judge of what qualifies as mature behavior. But, it appears to me that Donald is acting like a spoiled immature little rich kid. Wait a minute!! Isn’t that what he is?

 

It seems to me that the American people have lost touch with reality themselves. After all, more often than not, we seem to elect total idiots to run this country. Either that, or complete megalomaniacs like Trump or – my favorite megalomaniac – Richard Nixon. He claimed he was not a crook after the Watergate story broke and he was forced to resign or face impeachment. If being the authority figure behind a criminal burglary is not being a crook, then I have no idea what qualifies you as a crook. In my estimation, Richard Nixon should have faced criminal charges for his part in authorizing the Watergate break-in. He escaped prosecution thanks to his good buddy and Vice President who succeeded him -Gerald Ford. Ford always struck me as a nice guy. Not too bright, but a nice guy. Maybe too nice. We have to eliminate Presidential pardons before the disgraced President is even indicted, let alone convicted. These crooks need to assume responsibility for their actions while in office. Being the President does not give you license to commit larceny, murder, burglary, treason, or any other criminal action while in office.

Continue reading The Madness of King Donald Part Two

A Call to Action

There has been a great deal of commotion on both sides of the political aisle regarding healthcare in the United States, especially the Affordable Health Care act passed a couple of years ago which is euphemistically referred to as Obamacare. Trouble is, calling it Obamacare is a misnomer. The final form of that act as passed by Congress is a far cry from what then Pres. Obama and the Democrats in Congress wanted. What we got with that bill was a compromise between the Democrats and those relatively moderate Republicans, a compromise that could be passed in Congress. 20 million people who were previously uninsured could get healthcare coverage. So, I think it is time that the Republicans took their share of responsibility for what both sides consider a relatively bad bill. The conservative Republicans think it smacks too much of socialism and they want to eliminate any signs of socialism in this country. That would include Social Security, Medicare, labor unions, and just about all regulation of large corporations. The Republicans want unbridled capitalism. That may sound like a good thing, but I suggest you read the novels of Charles Dickens to get an idea of what life under unbridled capitalism would really be like. The conservative Republicans tried to paint a rosy picture of the benefits of unbridled capitalism. They are either absolute fools or absolute liars. Either one should preclude them from making the laws that govern this country.

Continue reading A Call to Action

For God and Country

I don’t talk about religion very much on this blog anymore. I tend to save religious discussions for my Christian Heresy blog. I do however often discuss politics here. Since this post is about both religion and politics in the United States, I thought it was better suited for this blog.

 

Yesterday was the Fourth of July – our Independence Day. Last night I watched the movie version of the Broadway musical 1776 on Turner Classic Movies. The movie was actually better than I expected, mainly because it was less of a musical than I thought it would be. I found the dramatization of some of the debates in the Continental Congress rather interesting. I don’t know how historically accurate those dramatizations were. At one point in the movie, our Founding Fathers were recommending the various and sundry changes to the original wording of the Declaration of Independence. One of the delegates from the South asked for the inclusion of the phrase containing Divine Providence. He felt that the colonies would have no chance winning a war against Great Britain without divine help and that our declaration should acknowledge that. That’s certainly makes sense given the times and the culture of the colonies in 1776.

Continue reading For God and Country

The Madness of King Donald

I realize it has been some time since my last post on either of my two blogs. I am afraid I experienced a creative drought. The creative juices just dried up. I am not sure why. I am happy to report that those juices are flowing again and, hopefully, there will be quite a few new posts in the next couple of weeks. This is the second one today. I have already written a new post on Christian Heresy and am working on the sequel to that one. That said, let’s talk about our insane Peerless Leader.

 

I admit I have had problems keeping my mouth shut throughout my whole life. Lord knows, I have stuck my foot in my mouth, often all the way up to my knee, more times than I can count on both hands and both feet. However, I have now handed my crown for social “saux pas” to the man with the hair like an orangutan. You would think that someone with his business acumen (self-proclaimed) would have the ability to keep his mouth shut when necessary. And that is doubly true of someone who is the Pres. of the United States. Not our Donald! If I were Donald’s wife or daughter, I would close his Twitter account immediately and destroy any and all cell phones he has

Continue reading The Madness of King Donald

The Summer of Love 50 Years Later

This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of what has become known as “The Summer of Love.” In 1967, my generation – or at least part of it – espoused that hippie philosophy of peace and love. That summer was marked by many gatherings of young people all over the country. These gatherings were called “be-ins.” The biggest one was held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Those of you who are close to my age probably remember the anthem of that summer: “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” Yes, I did wear flowers in my hair that summer. No, I did not go to San Francisco until a few years later and then only for a visit.

 

However, I have my own little story of what happened that summer. I was in The Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia one day at an impromptu gathering of “flower children.” We were just sitting around the park playing music and singing, celebrating life and the summer weather. The police, however, took exception to what we were doing. We were all arrested for disorderly conduct and hauled off to jail. We all posted bond and were given a court date – all on the same day.

Continue reading The Summer of Love 50 Years Later

What the Hell is Going On?

That when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s we Americans were involved in a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. I suspect that the Cold War had something to do with my parents (and of course, my brother and myself who were small children at the time) emigrating to the United States and Germany, specifically what was then known as West Germany. We came to the United States around the time of the Berlin war, when East Germany, on orders from Moscow, blockaded West Berlin.

 

In elementary school, we did air raids probably every month. We were all frightened of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. That attack, fortunately, never came. But there was a constant state of very high tension between the two countries. I remember seeing Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the United Nations condemning the United States. I remember the Cuban missile crisis during the Kennedy administration. I remember watching public service announcements on the television networks showing how to protect yourself in case of a nuclear attack. I remember the commercial for fallout shelters for those who could afford them. Boy, if they ever wanted to get rid of poverty by eliminating poor people, that would have been the time to do it.

Continue reading What the Hell is Going On?

Scuttling Obamacare

Maybe the Republican congressman aren’t quite as crazy as they let on. (Yes, I know. I ended the sentence with a preposition. My English teachers in high school would kill me if they were still alive. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are.) Congress voted down a Republican sponsored bill that would have repealed Obama Care and replaced it with something that would cost 24 million people their insurance coverage. Apparently, there are enough Republican Congressman with some sense that helped vote this bill down. God bless them!

 

My wife and my son would belong to that 24 million that the proposed bill would have left coverless. My wife’s employer does not provide healthcare coverage for his employee. I am not going to use his name here, just his initials – RC. RC is a very nice person. He has done a lot for Elizabeth over the years that she has worked for him, currently as the owner of the restaurant where Elizabeth is the prep cook, as well as the McDonald’s she used to work at for a long time. One of the reasons that Elizabeth left McDonald’s was so she could go back to work for RC. That’s how much she thinks of him and I do to. He is also a good practicing Christian as is his wife and his sons. However, the prevailing philosophy here in Arkansas as well as much of the rest of the so is that healthcare is something individuals need to pay for themselves what the people that think that way do not take into consideration is that they are not paying their employees enough to cover the premiums for that healthcare coverage and still provide food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials for their family.

Continue reading Scuttling Obamacare

Welcome to the Crazy World of Donald Trump

In case you are not familiar with where I got the title for this post, it’s a variation on a very strange rock album from the late 1960s called “the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.” The album is notable for a song that the catchphrase from that song is “I am the God of hellfire and I bring you fire!” Arthur Brown was definitely crazy, and I am beginning to think that is also true of Donald Trump. The difference between the two is that Brown was only an off beat rock and roll musician while Trump is the leader of the Free World. I use the word leader very loosely, because if he thinks we are all going to follow him on his merry little dance, this country is going straight to hell. I haven’t seen this kind of craziness in the political arena since the days of the attempts by the Republicans members of Congress to impeach Bill Clinton. I wonder if insanity is considered grounds for impeachment. If it is, Trump needs to watch his step

The problem I have with Trump’s craziness is I don’t know whether to laugh my ass off at his antics or whether I should be frightened to death of what he is doing. The Trump Presidency seems to be a cross between the smoke and mirrors of the Wizard of Oz combined with the hype and hyperbole of an old time carnival! Unfortunately, that is one way to describe what happened in Germany in the late 20s and the 1930s. This is why Trump scares me. I really don’t know what the the man is a buffoon or a maniac, and I mean maniac in the most diabolical sense of the word.

My mother was born in Germany in 1923. She grew up during the reign of one maniac named Adolf Hitler and like many Germans of that time, she had a hard time explaining why so many good decent German people allowed him to reign as long as he had. I have seen a couple of the Nazi death camps in person in 1983 when I went to Poland. There is no way you can convince me that people living nearby had no clue whatsoever as to what was going on there. You would hope that, assuming someone knew, and I do assume that, these people would have said something to their neighbors, talked to other neighbors, talk to people all across town, talk to people in the next town over… You get the idea! News of what was going on would have traveled quickly if anybody really paid attention to what the Nazis were doing. Apparently Germany was full of ostriches with their heads in the sand.

I consider myself a German-American, and I am proud of my German heritage for the most part. However, what went on during the Third Reich makes me ashamed to be German. When we toured those two death camps back in 1983, I could not finish the walking through the camps part because I felt such shame and sorrow for the victims that I broke down in tears and went back to the bus until I stopped crying. I don’t know whether this country is headed down that road. I am not a prophet and make no claims to be one. However, I consider myself a student of history and of social behavior, and what I see going on in the USA now is much too reminiscent of what went on in Germany during the 1930s. Between his condemnation of Mexicans and Muslims it appears Trump is looking for a scapegoat that resonates with the American people like the Nazi scapegoating of the Jews during the Nazi rise to power. It appears that the only real difference is that the thugs committing hate crimes reminiscent of what the Nazis did are not yet wearing brown shirts!

Am I crazy? Maybe…. But then, maybe not. Only time will tell. I would hope that, should Trump take down that dark road and try taking the United States with them, the American people will not behave like a bunch of ostriches sticking their heads in the sand or a herd of lemmings marching to the seat. Hopefully, there is still enough intestinal fortitude left in the American people to stand up and say “this is wrong! We will not allow this to happen here!” It is this faith in the American people that gives me a great deal of hope that we will survive the crazy world of Donald Trump.