Sunday, June 29, 2008
The human costs of war are the most distressing to a nation. The United States will continue to face the daunting and expensive after-care for hundreds of thousands of soldiers that have been injured and disabled. Due to the particular horrors of the Iraq Catastrophuck and the unprecedented repetition of the soldiers' tours in the fields of battle the Veterans' Administration is seeing an extraordinary number of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases. Servicemen and their families are experiencing huge obstacles both financial and personal as they attempt to live through our nation's chosen crisis.
The political costs of war should also be high. Waging war should be seen as diplomatic and personal political failures on the part of our leaders. The President and other civilian leaders should be held accountable for the failure of diplomacy and persuasion. Such leaders should be considered to have disgraced themselves and be asked to step aside and new leaders appointed and elected. All wars are criminal and the folks responsible should pay a heavy price.
If a nation is forced to war, then the war should be total and unrestrained. There should be no half measures. The enemy must be completely defeated then left to fend for themselves. We should never be asked to reimburse an enemy for his war costs. If you break the peace, then you pay in blood and treasure. When the people of a nation with stupid leaders that wage war awake to realize the true costs of any war, will they not then choose better leaders? That should be their choice and burden.
We all know the expression that "talk is cheap" and we know that it is meant as a snide cut to someone's bombastic utterances and promises. In reality, when it comes to conflicts with our neighbors on this planet -- talking to them is less a hardship, human and monetary, than engaging them in deadly violence. We lose nothing through diplomacy. George Bush and his cronies have cost this nation its respect throughout the world with their cowboy diplomacy and arrogant world view. Their war of choice has plunged our nation deep into debt.
We must talk to our enemies. We must talk to them to maintain and promote peace. Yes, talk is cheap and so may be the price of peace. And, after all, the price is right.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Those were the days when you could harvest cattails and garter snakes nearby. Tumbleweeds would occasionally find themselves going down our street. We could go to nearby fields and capture a great variety of insects for those elementary school collections. Our little town wasn't always all concrete and parking meters.
We also seemed to have a fair amount of orchards, gardens, and desirable fruit trees in and around our little neighborhood. Our only problem was that these were on other folks' property. Well, not a problem for bored hungry boys, actually....We didn't have to liberate the cherries from Miss Ryan. She happily allowed us to pick from her tree. Miss H's plums could be snatched as we cut through her side yard to get home. The pear tree "in the
weeds", the over-grown lot next to the Blue Water Bridge, produced fair pairs that anybody could pick.
The good stuff was in the gardens and orchards at the end of our street and we had to be sneaky to get those treats. We would hold our harvesting runs in the dark of night. We were quick. We took only what we could eat at that moment. We were raccoon raiders.
I especially liked those peaches by streetlight after a successful night of "cooning".
I liked the old neighborhood and all those moms, dads, and kids that gathered at our house, Jimmy's, or Kay's. We had "block" parties in the days when you knew your neighbor and if you got out of line they'd tell you and your folks. We had bonfires in the back alley, picnics, potlucks, and us kids produced a couple of talent shows. We had a couple of kids versus dads football games. They ended when the parents begged off after some broken bones and torn ligaments. In the dead of winter, we built ice rinks in our yard or in Kay's.
Heck, when I think about it, aside from some childhood traumas, it was great growing up in small town America. Jeff's mom removed a staple from a thumb and bandaged a few other wounds when my squeamish mom could not. Kay's mom used peanut butter to get gum out of my hair. Kay's dad took the training wheels off my bike and patiently taught me how to ride a bike. Jimmy's dad called me "Dennis the Menace" and will always be one of my favorite "uncles". Mom once told me that at age four I traveled down the alley one day to get "Uncle Jack" to wipe my arse. Mind you, we weren't neglected -- we just had so very many surrogate parents. We called some of them "Aunt" or "Uncle".
We had the luxury of being "socialized" by our neighborhood society. We had none of this new age's aversion to getting to know the neighbors. Yes, we had fences and thick hedges separating our yards, but there was always an open gate or path to real true friendship. We had real neighbors.
Yes. We grew up in a different time.
Friday, June 27, 2008
From The Daily Dish:
"No, I wouldn’t be responsible, is the answer to your question. Legally or morally," - David Addington,
answering whether his own approval of torture methods had anything to
do with the CIA's subsequent use of waterboarding and other torture
techniques against prisoners in US custody.
This arrogance -- this unpardonable gall -- this shit drives me crazy. Our country is being run by arrogant morons. This attitude -- this warped thinking is exactly what seems to be at the core of Port Huron's City Council.
"We're not breaking the law. A lawyer told us we had the authority to ______________." Yes, fill-in-the-phreaking-blank. Who really cares if it is just a professional contract, a condo association's bylaws, a city's charter, the U.S. Constitution, or INTERNATIONAL LAW???
Is this Heaven?
No, it's Ajijic, Mexico.
Do you remember the line from the movie Field of Dreams?
We spent a quiet few hours on the Plaza today. We walked downhill to the town's square, ate brunch, Billy got a hair cut, chatted with Dr. Polo, visited with friends at a local watering hole (10 pesos for a bottle of beer until 2PM), and generally enjoyed another care-free day in Paradise. We came home to a clean house -- Mariana was here today -- and then took the two youngest kittens to Dr. Jesus to get their stitches removed. And, now we are relaxing....
We decided that we will "celebrate" our 19th anniversary tomorrow. We may even go for a late lunch/early dinner at Ajijic's newest and most expensive eatery. It has a write-up in the local newspaper and features decor by a world famous designer..... Big Hairy Deal..... I'd prefer tacos from the stand that will get set-up later today. Next year, as I have been telling everyone, I want to awake to the sounds of a mariachi band. 20 years together needs to really be celebrated well.
For now, estoy feliz......
[pictured above -- this is the view from the roof facing the northwest. The mountains are becoming very GREEN. The rainy season is here.]
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
"Democracy is a dirty business, and the will of the people is frequently the first thing that gets scrubbed.
Jim Relken and Al Wright, two of the seven members elected last autumn, quit the council last month. Had the spirit of the 1999 charter amendment been honored, their seats would have gone automatically to Sample-Wynn and Alan Cutcher, who finished eighth and ninth in the voting.
With straight faces, the faction that snubbed Cutcher and Sample-Wynn insists it acted with the voters' intent in mind.
How can that be? How do you honor the will of the voters by ignoring it?"
Today, I read about the 35 Year Class Reunion for the graduating Class of 1973 from all three Port Huron high schools. It will be a combined event. Fortunately, I don't have the extra cash to run back to Michigan. Yes, there are a few folks that I'd like to see. Unfortunately, one of the organizers is a total asshole and I'd rather not have any contact with him.....
Same old, same old....
Friday, June 20, 2008
BTW -- I just paid 125 pesos for a procedure that would probably cost 10 times that amount in the United States. I would have had to pay MORE for the stupid "deductible" than what I paid for the entire procedure.... That is really fucked-up!
How long do we (the US and Europe) punish the people of Cuba for overthrowing another corrupt government that in all reality the United States would have found an excuse to punish eventually. Isn't that how it goes? Give us your oil, cane sugar, or whatever or we are gonna take over your ignorant asses.....
Fucking imperialist war mongers that believe that "we" can do no wrong -- Remaking Cuba is what the imperialist capitalists (that just want to make un-godly profits from your ignorance......) want to do. God, the world can be so sick.....
Can you believe that the US Government already has a plan to exploit Cuba after Fidel Castro's death? They do. The main author was/is General Colin Powell. Assholes. What right do we have to believe we can step right in and change Cuba? Fucking unadulterated arrogance. (Sometimes I am so emabarrassed by my country that I wish the old folks hadn't left Canada or Prussia).
We passed by a local travel agency today and we discovered that we could go to Cuba for a mere $400 per person. We didn't look into the details, but it sure bothered me that because some assholes in Washington believe that somehow we would we supporting 80 year old revolutionaries it would be a bad thing to bring tourist dollars (or pesos) to Cuba. Jerks.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Today, I found myself snickering about the story MarmiteToasty tells about going out to the local garden center (centre for my Canadian friends). I found myself "speechless" when I read about what depresses a bipolar guy in South Africa. Other bloggers in my daily read are here, there, and absent from their blogs for whatever reason. Anyway, to continue sounding trite -- we share a common (and not so common) humanity.
Utter bullshit, eh?
The weather system that brought us a few days of overcast skies and huge downpours of rain has moved on. Our kitchen skylight was overwhelmed by the flow of rain on the roof and leaked, as did a small corner of our living room. I had to make sure yesterday that all of the drain holes in the roof and through the mirador base were not plugged. Now, we need to hire someone to re-caulk the skylight and pour/paint roof sealer around the skylight and in the area above the living room leak. I'll just add that to the list ahead of fixing the back bedroom's ceiling fan, installing new ceiling fans in the living room, replacing locks on the front and back doors, and installing a gas log in the fireplace.
I swore I'd never have a house where I went from one home improvement project to the next. Fortunately, our rental house is nearly "perfect" and we have few creature comfort repairs and/or improvements to make. We just signed another one year lease and look forward to another year in Paradise.
The rainy season is here. The mountains seem to have become bright green overnight. All is well in "the place where the waters run" -- Ajijic.
Mayor Moeller and Councilman Fisher forgot to consider the INTENT of the voters in Port Huron when they passed the LAW defining how council members were to be replaced in the event of vacancies. For Fisher and Moeller to ignore the law and insist on replacing council members with their own cronies is the height of arrogance and ignorance. I am certain that if the Times Herald didn't have some sort of financial ties with a new illegally appointed council member they might republish what was said and written in 1999 about the council vancancy vote. And, how often over the years did the Times Herald publish an explanation of what happens when a vacancy occurs on the city council. Common knowledge of and the intent of the vacancy provisions in the law should count more than some jerks' quest for power. Oh, and shame on the gutless council members that stated that they thought Moeller was wrong about the city charter and still voted against the interests of the people of Port Huron.
This kind of shit is exactly why we have recall provisions.....
BTW -- Was Mayor Moeller fired from his job as a Port Huron police captain because he had similar revelations about how to interpret the law? Was he equally arrogant in performing the job he was hired to do?
Why am I so bothered? I absolutely hate folks that take clean clear language provided for in contracts and CONDO ASSOCIATION BYLAWS and disregard it. The folks where I lived were being screwed by an out of control association board that had or may still have an aversion to following the rules. C@%#s!
Really. Why do I care?
Friday, June 13, 2008
- Senator John McCain has learned that an "open" invitation to his campaign events is a bad thing. He has been heckled and asked REAL questions. He now will distribute tickets to select supporters. You know --- just like Bush. We never heard Bush booed or asked impertinent questions by yahoos. He controlled his events right to the point where Secret Service men removed folks for wearing anti-war and anti-Bush T-shirts.......
- We don't trust our tomatoes nor any other fresh produce. We always use a sanitizing agent on our veggies and fruit. Unfortunately, the U.S. government inspectors are non-existent, and the few that remain despite Bush's funding cuts are grossly over-worked. Isn't it funny how Bush/McCain economics calls for less government oversight of about everything.........
- Toys, tomatoes, ..... what's next?
- The BBC reports that they have uncovered some of the lost loot that the US taxpayers sent to Iraq. Billions of dollars have gone missing and the BBC can't report it to you because of a US Government gag order.
- Supraventricular Tachycardia sucks. Profuse sweating, frequent urination (the kidneys go into over-drive), extremely rapid heart beat, fatigue, tremors, and..... It all sucks. Stress? I haven't had an attack for months....until today.
They had decided to invade Iraq shortly after the traumatic events on 9/11. The fix was in. The NeoCon wet dream that a Pearl Harbor-like event would allow the United States the opportunity for them to reshape the Middle East had occurred. Afghanistan was just an inconvenient sideshow. Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary, confirmed on the David Letterman Show that:
"...once a policy is decided, the President expects everyone to march in lockstep and follow and help implement that policy and not question it. He welcomes the questioning before the policy is decided but this policy was decided just a couple of months after we went into Afghanistan, after 9/11."
The Bush Administration did not begin to sell the American public on the Iraq invasion until after August of 2002. "You never bring out a new product in August," a Bushie was quoted as saying. So, the lying/exaggerating began after another one of the President's long long summer vacations. Everyone lied. Too many have died.
The Europeans knew about Bush's decision to invade Iraq well before the American Public. A huge anti-war and anti-Bush demonstration was held just before Easter in the Spring of 2002 on the streets of London. The protesters carried signs denouncing President George Bush and signs decrying "No Blood for Oil." The protest was well covered in the European press but not in the United States. I know. I was there.
Bill and I were fortunate to have been able to visit Great Britain that Spring. We spent several days in London before traveling to Amsterdam. While sight-seeing one afternoon, we made our way to the famous Piccadilly Circus. When we reached the area we were halted by a huge parade. We were both amazed and confounded. "What war with Iraq?" "Yeah, Bush is an asshole, but what freaking war are you yelling about?" I almost became indignant because my country was being denounced for something that hadn't occurred, yet.
Now, we all know what those war mongers and war profiteers had wanted. They don't give a shit about Iraqi or American blood. They just want more and more of America's tax dollars. The rich get richer.....and our troops bleed.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The guys with their pants down around their ankles have put themselves in a position that can be challenging and satisfying. They are like middle management. They have to be willing to bend over backwards to please a superior. They have to get the job done. They don't have as much power as the guy on top, but they do possess enough to earn some job satisfaction.
To satiate the guy with his pants down, the guys on the bottom have to be willing to "do whatever it takes." The bottom guys are, unfortunately, considered to be "a dime a dozen." Disposable. Basic needs make these guys remain in their positions.
Yep, that's how it goes. A man has to have work. And, it seems, the guys on the very bottom do ultimately get fucked. (Surrender, Dorothy.) Isn't that how it always goes in the end?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
4 down and 2 to go.....
We retrieved Eenie Meenie, Moinie, and Moe from the vet this morning. Our loving trio was spayed yesterday. We had to make two trips. We brought the still dopey calico sisters home and then returned to the vet with sick kid, Isabela II, and Victoria. Izzy has another upper respiratory infection and a drippy behind. Vicky had her stitches from last week's procedure removed. Oh, joy! Fatherhood.....
I don't know if spaying Evita (pictured above) will have any effect on her aggressive behavior. She can be so sweet and in an instant be nipping your behind (poor Billy). At present, she is a lap cat. Evita insists on being held while I am trying to work at the computer. She seems to love being cuddled and won't let me put her down, that is, until something distracts her. Evita really is a treat.
Next week, we will take Evita and Isabela to Jesus (Dr. Medeles) for their turn. The two gatitas canela will be under his competent and compassionate care. Thank God for the multi-critter discount.
Today is Market Day. Billy has a migraine and is unable to help Anita's Animals at their booth. I hate that fact that Billy is suffering, but with him home we are not likely to adopt or foster any more cats this week.....
We love our kitties.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
After several days of very hot weather it has cooled off. We have had three nights of rain. The rainy season seems to have begun. It rained during the day today and that is somewhat unusual. The thunderstorms and heavy rains normally come in the middle of the night.
We had a couple of leaks and will get someone over to caulk obvious cracks and seal the roof in the areas that leaked. We didn't have any problems in our first year here. I guess we were lucky. One leak was around the kitchen skylight and the other was in the living room. We didn't see the living room leak until this morning. Big wet mess.....
The mountains will be emerald green very soon. As I have said before, July is the best month to visit. We will have another beautiful season. Aren't they all? You betcha.
The picture above was taken today. It is the view of the mountainside on which we reside. The clouds are very low today.
The problem with the hypocrites in the Republican Party and Christianist ministers on the right is that they just don't go out to win -- they must destroy the other guy and anyone that contradicts them. The name calling and character bashing is horrific. And, the outright lies are offensive. Truth becomes an inconvenient virtue -- remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- every last one of them are liars.
Whatever happened to debating issues? You know, actually taking time to argue about the pros and cons of legislation before voting. The Republican Party has perfected the lock-step brainless politician. They'll get you elected and then insist that you vote straight down the party line without question or you don't get re-elected. Whatever happened to that crap we learned in history about "The Great Compromise"? Gee, will they ever again include logic and reason in their quest to pass laws, approve budgets and judges, and declare war?
The Democratic Party has its own set of problems. They are challenged by having undeclared Republicans posing as Democrats stalling legislation. The Democratic Party also seems to have a problem with party unity. They too have pols that pander to whoever sends them money or gives them more power. I am still pissed at Senator Stabenow (D-MI) for her vote for torture. I am sorry, Debbie, there is no tolerance for torture in a civilized society.
What also bothers me are the double standards. If a divorced Democrat wanted to be President, the Republicans would raise holy hell. The Christianists also seem to be able to "forgive" the Republicans for any moral lapses, but not if you are a Democrat, gay, or just not their sort of people. For example, did you see all those right-wing ministers embrace McSame? Crazy. And, the Senator ASKED for their endorsements and got them. Never mind that Senator John McCain returned from captivity in Viet Nam and dumped his wife for a 25 year old wealthy woman. They just don't care that their guy is an adulterer. Do you remember how they all went apeshit about Bill Clinton's morals before and after he was elected twice?
The hypocrites love calling folks elitists. Do they really understand how stupid that smear is? Senator McCain is a Washington insider and an elitist. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his second wife is making sure he never has to use stainless steel. McSame's didn't have to take 10 years to pay off his student loans. He got a full ride at the military academy and was admitted as a legacy (someone whose parent went to school there -- like Bush to Yale.) BTW -- He graduated near the very bottom of his class.
I had promised myself that I would lay off Democratic and Republican politics for a long while. I have changed my mind. In fact, I may even rejoin the Democratic Party via Democrats Abroad. I just can't help myself. There are far too many idiotic things being said and done that require some comments. And, how the hell do you rid yourself of the activist/leader bug? Electric shock?
So, here we go...
I also dislike those that parse the truth and those that seek opinions from lawyers to support their own view of what a law or rule actually says. For example, it has been very clear for years that vacancies on Port Huron's City Council were filled by appointing those folks that came in right behind the elected council members in the popular vote. Clean, simple, and the past practice of previous city councils. The system worked for years. That is, until disgraced former police captain Brian Moeller joined the city council. He and his fellow conspirators appointed a man to the City Council last night that hadn't even run for office in the last election.
I simply cannot believe the bullshit used by Moeller and another council member to justify a betrayal of the voters whom believed that if a vacancy occured it would be filled with someone that also ran for city council. This feckless group passed over the highly qualified Laurie Sample-Wynn, a former mayor and council member, because some jerk has a bug up his ass.
Disgraceful. Disgusting. Jerks.
Monday, June 9, 2008
- Aren't you glad that the Democratic Party stopped President Bush from putting your Social Security monies in the hands of the assholes that have the economy all screwed up? Did you really wanna mortgage your retirement?
- Irony? Respected journalist Bill Moyers was ambushed by a Fox News film crew inside of the building where the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform was being held. Ambushed. Bill Moyers held his own. The video is here. Now, can you imagine how idiotic it seems that at a MEDIA REFORM conference a Fox News film crew and some show's producer AMBUSH a fellow journalist? They didn't pay attention in class....
- I got one of those racist anti-Obama emails. It shows photographs of Senator Obama's Kenyan and Kansan families. The "author" wants you to see the "photographs that the press won't show you." Of course, that is bullshit. All of the photograph have been previously published and there is nothing behind kept from the public. Yes, Barack Obama is black. I don't need some nut to show me the family photo album to prove it. As to the kind person that forwarded that email -- thanks for making me aware of what some racists are sending around the internet. You were just informing me about this racist crap, weren't you? Or, are you one, too?
Friday, June 6, 2008
BTW -- our babies' doctor gave us a shelter cat and volume discount for the 6 procedures that we have to have done. Yes, we must spay these cats. There are far too many kitties that never find loving homes....
I went to a podiatrist today. I only have an extremely minor in-growing toe nail problem. After a cut, cleaning, and application of antibiotic ointment with a bandage I was on my way. I'll return in two weeks for some sort of wire thingy that will force the nail to grow where it should. Cost for today's office call and procedure: 115 pesos or about $10 US.
Make no mistake about it --- we have world-class medical care in Mexico. Our personal physician received some of his medical training in the States, as did his doctor/surgeon wife (and kids). I don't believe that so many Europeans, Canadians, and expats from the US would choose to live in this part of Mexico if they were not confident about receiving quality emergency and routine medical care. I have only heard and read good things about the care offered here and in Guadalajara.
And, everyone is amazed about the costs of medical care.....
I seem to have found a "new" and acceptable psychiatric medication cocktail. Dr. Polo and I have worked out a good-enough mix of shit. I am not a zombie and I do not have those uncontrollable shaking hands. My other medications for thyroid and hypertension have also been tweaked. Its all good -- for now.
#1 -- Former White House press spokesman Scott McClellan just came out with a tell-all book. It tells about the lies, deception, and deliberate propaganda used to sell the Iraq War. It is interesting and telling to note that no one in the White House and no one in the leadership of the Republican Party are disputing the contents of McClellan's book. They are attacking his character. So, it all must be true.......
#2 -- I find it also interesting that right-wingers and closet racists are delighting in passing on the lies and rumours about the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama. Every time I hear someone tell me that Senator Obama is really a Muslim or some other such slur (My God, where is John McCain's lapel flag pin?)--- all I hear is "I'm not voting for a scarey black guy". So, just shut up. In the future, I will call out those creeps with the question, "Were you born a racist or did you choose to be a racist?"
#3 -- In any writing convention you can not have a number one and two without at least a number three. Here goes...... Senator Joe Lieberman is no longer a Democrat. He is supporting Republican Senator John McSame's presedential bid. He should be stripped of his Democratic Leadership positions, including committee assignments usually given to loyal Democrats. Go away, Joe.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The Republican Party in South Dakota is really scraping the barrel to find a candidate for the United States Senate. Really. Here's what he said in 2006 about incest and rape being exceptions in anti-choice anti-abortion legislation:
"I think 'rape and incest' is a buzzword. It's a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?" --
Gee Wiz -- just how do you define rape and incest, Einstein?
Sad. So very sad.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I expected more from a previous school district administration...
I once attended an important arbitration hearing to settle a dispute over contract language and the use of the Staffing Handbook that was compiled by teachers and administrators. Surprisingly, a major claim that the school board's representatives had was that the Staffing Handbook was a product of the school district administration and did not have union assistance in its creation. That was a huge lie. To make matters worse, the school district's most trusted and most liked administrator took the stand, swore an oath to tell the truth, then l i e d. He was paid to lie. The school district wanted to win at all costs. They did.
After that arbitration hearing, how could I ever trust Mr. Mick ever again? I was later told by a fellow union leader that other administrators admitted that they made Mr. Mick lie on the stand. They joked about it and laughed. From that point on the school district started printing a statement on the cover of the Staffing Handbook claiming that it was created by the administration.
Negotiating new teacher contracts after that became more difficult for me. How could these yahoos ever be trusted? How could Mr. Mick, allegedly a deeply religious man, ever be trusted? How could he live with himself? I guess those administrator salaries and benefits are worth losing your soul over......
I hate liars.