EPHEMERAL AND FRAGILE – WORLD ON THE EDGE

Just about 8 weeks ago, The Daily Post’s “word du jour” was “frail,” I wrote about it. Today, the word is “fragile.” Call me crazy, but the two are pretty much the same.

English contains millions of words. So you guys and gals in the “Daily Post” central office? I’m pretty sure that there’s no reason to duplicate one-word prompts. Grab a dictionary. Plunk it on the desk. Let it fall open to any page. Avert your eyes and blindly point a finger. Voila! A word will pop out and will probably not be a synonym of the word you used a few weeks ago. Just saying.

If you do not own a dictionary, consider buying one. Even two.


This hideous election year keeps slouching towards the edge of the cliff. We’re getting mentally numb. Exhausted by hot air and endless meaningless rhetoric. Personally, I feel like I’ve gone to some weird parallel earth where it looks like home, but all the rules are different.

Watching the American political system blow itself up long since stopped being amusing.

apathy quote

The awful truth of Trump is that his followers are not following him. They are following the idea of what they think he represents. It is, to say the least, a bizarre choice to be a representative of “the little guy” in our political structure. This is why they don’t care about “fact” and figures. They really don’t care whether or not he has been stealing from everybody to make himself richer or lying about everything to make himself someone he most assuredly is not.

Donald Trump (Orange Head to my husband) has never missed a meal. Never even had the experience of living on a budget, much less being poor. He knows no history (or grammar) (or arithmetic). He has never performed any public service. He doesn’t see the difference between “fact” and “I made it up.” He doesn’t consider “not telling the truth” to be lying because to him, words are just noises you make with your mouth.

To me this behavior signifies he believes in nothing. A man completely without principles. A racist because why not? He doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to him because other people are unreal puppets. We do not matter.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has run a lackluster campaign. I like her. A lot. But she has made one unfortunate choice after another. Her discomfort in revealing personal information borders on a phobia. If she weren’t running for president, it would be understandable, normal, and maybe even admirable.

Not today. Politics in the 2000s is trench warfare, not intelligent debate.

Harbor flag

As for truth? Politicians lie. Big lies, little lies. Hillary dodges around truths she find uncomfortable, but I doubt Trump would recognize truth if it whacked him on the head.

As a nation, we are fragile. The things we have always stood for are at risk. Freedom is the most fragile, the most ephemeral thing. You won’t realize how much it meant until you lose it.

theodore-roosevelt-25-10-22

The current focus on personalities rather than issues makes it impossible to focus on stuff like climate change. Finding viable alternatives to fossil fuel. Keeping what’s left of our air and water breathable. Narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. Dealing with crumbling infrastructure — not just in cities. Everywhere. Roads, rails, and bridges are crumbling. We need to invest and repair the broken bits while it’s still repairable.

We need a sleeker, user-friendly health care system where drug companies don’t have the power of life and death. Ultimately, our government needs to protect all of us. Equally. To balance security against freedom.

None of these are small issues. There are no easy fixes. Nothing will get fixed — by either party — until we have a government that recognized we are on the same side. We will, as they used to say in a wilder west, hang together — or we will hang separately.

How fragile are we? It’s just the future of the world at stake. No worries, mate.

THE DAILY POST | FRAGILE

NOW WE ARE FRAIL

To say this political year in the U.S. has been upsetting hardly begins to cover the range of emotions it has engendered. Beyond these borders, the world has gone from its usual level of whacked to incomprehensible, at least to me.

I’m personally suffering from “mad bomber overload” among many other maladies that as yet don’t have a name, but the one that pains me the most is watching the American political system blow itself up.

apathy quote

To say I’m not a Trump supporter doesn’t come close to how I feel. There’s a curious silence too about Trump, this clown and poseur. Most of what’s been said has been by late night comedians. Where’s the rest of the commentary?

Where are the editorials? The political analysis? Historians, and college professors. Where are the scholars taking up cudgels in defense of our integrity? Why are they silent in the face of this assault on our constitutional republican government?

CapitolBuilding

TV networks are obviously afraid … but of who and why? Have they been threatened? Blackmailed? I’m not sure what they are afraid of, but they are obviously scared. What good is a free press that’s got its collective jaws wired shut?

Newspapers? I know they don’t have the clout they once did, but wouldn’t this be a good time to show us how important they can be? Why we need them?

What happened to Hillary? For an intelligent, well-educated, long-term political animal, she has so flunked this campaign, it stopped being humorous months ago. I like Hillary, but at every turn, she’s made awful choices. Her campaign has been a disaster.

tyranny and oppression - madisonAll politicians lie all the time. If you don’t think they do, then you’re suffering from a lethal case of naiveté. You have the excuse of being a civilian … but what’s Hillary’s excuse? She’s been in politics since she got out of Wellesley. She’s seen them rise, seen them fall, been there from the early days in Arkansas through 8 years in DC with Bill. In the senate and as Secretary of State. That’s a lot of politics.

And hey there, Bill? Are you trying to finish Hillary off? What was that “runway meeting”? You mean to say you didn’t know how that was going to look? No one could accuse you of being politically naïve.

I’m going to vote for Hillary despite everything because I could not vote for Donald Trump even with a gun to my head.

As for Trump: we have a candidate who tells the world the police shootings in Louisiana are the fault of President Obama (I can’t even figure out how you can make that connection … ) and whose “running mate” is an anti-woman moron who tells the world Hillary Clinton invented ISIS. I know he said it because we watched him say it on network television last night. I wanted to barf. This is not a choice.

I thought our government was tough. We’ve had dreadful presidents in the past and survived. Obviously we’re going to have at least one more coming right up. I thought we could survive the stupidity of our electorate … but now I’m unsure.

theodore-roosevelt-25-10-22

Some of our worst presidents have been good people and some of our most effective presidents have been complicated people who did not bear close examination. Being a great leader and being a good person are not the same thing. Jimmy Carter, as an example, was a bad president, but he’s a great guy. Lyndon Johnson was a great president, but a flawed human being. Me, I’d always prefer Lyndon because he got stuff done. Vital stuff. He moved the country forward.

How fragile are we? The Republican convention starts today. Let the games begin. Thrills and chills and just the future of the world on the line, so no worries, mate.

THE DAILY POST | FRAIL

WHO SHALL THEY CROWN? REDUX.

A King Brothers Dilemma, by Rich Paschall


The meeting of the secret Political Action Committee formed by the King Brothers was about to conclude and no one was happy.  Two years earlier they had planned to capture the Congress and then the Presidency.  As luck would have it, they also saw the possibility of controlling the Supreme Court as well.

“Just imagine it,” Chauncey King said to his brother before the meeting, “we could control all three branches of government.  If that old guy did not drop dead at our resort last month, he would have given us what we needed.”  They still hoped to delay the next justice until they could actually influence the appointment.

While the Political committee had done a great job in the off-year election, their negative messages were beginning to backfire.  They had been telling the public for years that Washington D.C. was a problem and the President’s party had to go. Why should it be a surprise when people began to hate the workings of capitol politicians, including many of their special, pet congressmen.

Worse yet, the few they felt they could support for President were well behind in the polls and dropping out one by one.  A rogue candidate, not of the regular party, was leading in the caucuses and primaries by using the very negative rhetoric the King Brothers had been trying to perfect.

Over the past years, as the economy improved, the King Brothers dispatched their favorite politicians and “news reporters” to claim that things were still bad.  When gas prices went down, they blamed the President for lack of oil exploration.  When the stock market improved, they claimed the business climate was bad.  There was no positive story that they could not spin in a negative fashion.  As the country got better, they convinced people through campaigns and political “reporting” that things were worse than ever.

Now an outsider was taking over the party, contrary to their original scheme.  It did not seem the King Brothers and their billionaire friends could buy him off.  They also could not find a candidate strong enough to overtake the front-runner.  This meant the good old boys at the meeting could not be convinced to get behind just one candidate.  They had a LOT of money to spend on the campaign, just where should they spend it?  No candidate delighted a majority of the committee.

CC License

Wilford Washington Hotel

Rather than invite everyone back to a penthouse party as originally planned, the King Brothers said good night and headed  to their suite at the elegant Wilford Washington Hotel.  Others headed to their rooms or left for other accommodations in the nation’s capitol.  They were all in the top one per cent and could stay at the finest places.

Cal Rhodes, architect of the Congressional strategy just two years earlier, was pacing the penthouse floor when the King Brothers arrived.  The brothers could tell by his demeanor that Cal was not pleased.  They had seen this look after debates and primaries, so they knew things were not well.

When the campaign for President started, the boys felt they could manipulate a young Senator into place.  He was handsome and made a good first impression on people.  With some well placed ads, they thought he could charm his way to the top.  However, he could not stand up to the bombast of the front-runner and a few others and was forced to drop out when he got crushed in the primary of his home state.  Other candidates the brothers felt they wanted also dropped out, and they certainly did not like what was left at the top of the Leader Board.

The Final Rally

The Final Rally

“We might as well drink the Pierre Jouet,” Chauncey said of the wine that had been perfectly chilled while the meeting was taking place.  Derrick agreed and a servant, standing at the ready by the wine bucket, brought over two glasses.

“You should give Rhodes one too,” Derrick instructed.  “It looks like he needs it.”

Since the frontrunner of their party was not to their liking, Rhodes had developed a new strategy and the boys approved.  They dispatched the previous party candidate, as well as some well-chosen spokesmen, to go forth and try to prevent the leader from gaining enough delegates to win the nomination.

“A brokered convention will suit us well,” Derrick stated.  “We could even bring back one of the guys who has previously dropped out. We just need someone to sway opinion.  Truth doesn’t matter, you know, just victory.”  With that, they toasted and ordered another glass of the expensive French wine.

When Rhodes returned to the room after watching the latest speech of the front-runner and reading his tweets and social media proclamations, he stopped for more of the precious liquid from France.  He needed a large gulp before reporting the latest.

“So,” Chauncey started, “how does Mr. Bombast like our latest strategy?  Perhaps he sees we can deny him a first ballot victory at the convention.”

Rhodes looked rather pale and did not exactly know where to start.  “Well, it does not seem to bother him at all.  In fact, he told his supporters tonight that if he does not get a first ballot victory at the convention, he expects civil unrest not only outside the convention hall, but inside as well.”

Derrick set his drink down and stared at his brother for a long moment.  Their well crafted plan had blown away like a sand castle in a wind storm.  Finally he said, “Well Dr. Frankenstein, now what?”

Related: DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

WHO SHALL THEY CROWN?

A King Brothers Dilemma, by Rich Paschall


The meeting of the secret Political Action Committee formed by the King Brothers was about to conclude and no one was happy.  Two years earlier they had planned to capture the Congress and then the Presidency.  As luck would have it, they also saw the possibility of controlling the Supreme Court as well.

“Just imagine it,” Chauncey King said to his brother before the meeting, “we could control all three branches of government.  If that old guy did not drop dead at our resort last month, he would have given us what we needed.”  They still hoped to delay the next justice until they could actually influence the appointment.

While the Political committee had done a great job in the off-year election, their negative messages were beginning to backfire.  Since they had been telling the public for years that the capitol was a problem and the President’s party had to go, people naturally began to hate the workings of the capitol politicians, including many of their special congressmen.

Worse yet, the few they felt they could support for President were well behind in the polls and dropping out one by one.  A rogue candidate, not of the regular party, was leading in the caucuses and primaries by using the very negative rhetoric the King Brothers had been trying to perfect.

Over the past years, as the economy improved, the King Brothers dispatched their favorite politicians and “news reporters” to claim that things were still bad.  When gas prices went down, they blamed the President for lack of oil exploration.  When the stock market improved, they claimed the business climate was bad.  There was no positive story that they could not spin in a negative fashion.  As the country got better, they convinced people through campaigns and political “reporting” that things were worse than ever.

Now an outsider was taking over the party, contrary to their original scheme.  It did not seem the King Brothers and their billionaire friends could buy him off.  They also could not find a candidate strong enough to overtake the front-runner.  This meant the good old boys at the meeting could not be convinced to get behind just one candidate.  They had a LOT of money to spend on the campaign, just where should they spend it?  No candidate delighted a majority of the committee.

CC License

Wilford Washington Hotel

Rather than invite everyone back to a penthouse party as originally planned, the King Brothers said good night and headed  to their suite at the elegant Wilford Washington Hotel.  Others headed to their rooms or left for other accommodations in the nation’s capitol.  They were all in the top one per cent and could stay at the finest places.

Cal Rhodes, architect of the Congressional strategy just two years earlier, was pacing the penthouse floor when the King Brothers arrived.  The brothers could tell by his demeanor that Cal was not pleased.  They had seen this look after debates and primaries, so they knew things were not well.

When the campaign for President started, the boys felt they could manipulate a young Senator into place.  He was handsome and made a good first impression on people.  With some well placed ads, they thought he could charm his way to the top.  However, he could not stand up to the bombast of the front-runner and a few others and was forced to drop out when he got crushed in the primary of his home state.  Other candidates the brothers felt they wanted also dropped out, and they certainly did not like what was left at the top of the Leader Board.

The Final Rally

The Final Rally

“We might as well drink the Pierre Jouet,” Chauncey said of the wine that had been perfectly chilled while the meeting was taking place.  Derrick agreed and a servant, standing at the ready by the wine bucket, brought over two glasses.

“You should give Rhodes one too,” Derrick instructed.  “It looks like he needs it.”

Since the frontrunner of their party was not to their liking, Rhodes had developed a new strategy and the boys approved.  They dispatched the previous party candidate, as well as some well-chosen spokesmen, to go forth and try to prevent the leader from gaining enough delegates to win the nomination.

“A brokered convention will suit us well,” Derrick stated.  “We could even bring back one of the guys who has previously dropped out. We just need someone to sway opinion.  Truth doesn’t matter, you know, just victory.”  With that, they toasted and ordered another glass of the expensive French wine.

When Rhodes returned to the room after watching the latest speech of the front-runner and reading his tweets and social media proclamations, he stopped for more of the precious liquid from France.  He needed a large gulp before reporting the latest.

“So,” Chauncey started, “how does Mr. Bombast like our latest strategy?  Perhaps he sees we can deny him a first ballot victory at the convention.”

Rhodes looked rather pale and did not exactly know where to start.  “Well, it does not seem to bother him at all.  In fact, he told his supporters tonight that if he does not get a first ballot victory at the convention, he expects civil unrest not only outside the convention hall, but inside as well.”

Derrick set his drink down and stared at his brother for a long moment.  Their well crafted plan had blown away like a sand castle in a wind storm.  Finally he said, “Well Dr. Frankenstein, now what?”

Related: DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

THERE ARE SECRETS … AND THEN, THERE ARE SECRETS

A BIG SECRET. VERY BIG.

Yesterday, Donald Trump said he didn’t know who David Dukes (leading American white racist and general professional hater) is … OR … what the Ku Klux Klan, aka the KKK is about. For Trump, it’s a secret.

A secret? Really? Never heard of them?

He’s ready to deport every Muslim and Mexican person in the U.S. which is many millions of people, but he’s not clear on who those guys are in the white sheets? The very symbol of hatred and racism?

The lynchers and cross burners?

Never heard of them? It’s such a well kept secret? And Donald Trump, big bad billionaire — the guy who’s gonna “make America great again” — has never heard of them. Not sure if he wants their support.

Wow.

Let us, briefly, digress and define the word “secret” in case anyone in this audience isn’t clear on its meaning.

secret1.jpg

So. Was information about the Klan kept from Trump? Another conspiracy perhaps? A cabal of astonishing proportions?

You think? Do you really think?

WHY TIME TRAVEL DOESN’T WORK – BY TOM CURLEY

A word from Marilyn:

I want to introduce you to one of Garry and my best friends. I would say oldest friends, but he’s not all that old. We have, however, been friends … forever? Since college, anyhow. We were at the radio station at Hofstra — back in those long ago days when we and the world were young and stupid. His lovely bride, Ellin, started writing for Serendipity a few months ago and I dragooned Tom into it too.

Tom’s a funny guy. Really. Funny. This piece is so on target for today, I just had to run it. Probably he would have liked to work on it some more, but … well … I pulled the trigger.

Say hi to Tom. (Hi Tom!)

72-Tom&Ellin-ct-Marina_18


WHY TIME TRAVEL DOESN’T WORK – BY TOM CURLEY

So there I was. Thinking. Not quite awake. Not exactly asleep. You know. The funny place between.

TIME_MACHINEASSY_1

And it hit me. Fixing all this craziness is simple. The question is WWCKD? Or, to put simply, “WHAT WOULD CAPTAIN KIRK DO?” If you look at the problem like that, the answer is simple. Obvious.

Travel back in time to a point where you can change the present from happening. As any Star Trek fan knows, Kirk did it all the time.

Now that I had the solution, the question became a matter of coördinates. To when and where do I go back to fix this? And the answer came to me as if in a dream …

Go back to 1998. Convince President Clinton to stay the hell away from Monica Lewinsky. There would be no scandal, no impeachment. Bill could campaign for Al Gore — like he was supposed to — and George Bush would never get elected. Everything that happened after that would not happen!

Brilliant!

So as I was drifting off to sleep, I imagined finding a time machine. Going back to 1998. Actually getting an audience with Bill Clinton … in the Oval Office.

How do I do this? Who knows? I’ll let the writers will work out those plot points later. I’m more into the “Big Picture Stuff”.

But … this is also where the whole idea fell apart because the conversation would go like this:


President Clinton: “Well for some reason the writers haven’t figured out yet, I believe you are a time traveler from the future with important information for me.”

Me: “Yes Mr. President. You must not have an affair with your intern, Monica Lewinsky.”

President Clinton: “Whoa! How’d you know about that?”

Me: “I’m from the future, remember?”

President Clinton: “Oh yeah right. I guess that makes sense. So, why shouldn’t I do that?”

Me: “Because you will get caught. The public is going to find out about it. The Republicans are going to impeach you because of it.”

President Clinton: “Well, that’s not good.”

Me: “Don’t worry. You don’t get convicted. Your approval ratings go up to over 70%.”

President Clinton: “Well that’s good, right?”

Me: “Not really. Because when Al Gore runs for president, he won’t let you campaign for him. Or let you anywhere near him.”

President Clinton: “Really. Hmm. Who’s he running against?”

Me: “George W. Bush.”

President Clinton: “You gotta be kidding me!”

Me: “Nope. And even though Al runs a terrible campaign, he will only lose the election by 500 votes. Well, actually years later, when a full recount is done, it turns out Al actually won. But in 2000, the Supreme Court steps in and stops the recount. And appoints Bush as President.”

President Clinton: “I don’t think the Supreme Court can do that.”

Me: “Neither did anybody else. Until they did it. So George W. Bush becomes the president. One of the first things he does is ignore all the intelligence agencies warnings that Osama Bin Ladin is going to attack the US.

Because of this al-Qaeda hijacks four 747’s out of Logan in Boston — and La Guardia in New York … using nothing but box cutters as weapons. They crash two planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon.

The Twin Towers are destroyed, thousands of people die. Now, even though all the hijackers are from Saudi Arabia — and Bin Laden is hiding in Afghanistan — Bush invades Iraq. Totally destabilizing the Middle East.

Wall Street creates a bubble based on the housing market and that causes a world-wide financial crash in 2008 in which trillions of dollars are lost, and millions of people around the world lose their jobs.

So in 2008 America elects a black guy — Barak Hussein Obama — as president, then in 2010 a bunch of billionaires help create something called the Tea Party. And the Republicans swing so far to the right, Barry Goldwater would be considered a Communist.

By 2016, which is what I call ‘the present,’ it seems pretty likely your wife is going to be running for President against … wait for it …

Donald Trump.”


At this point, the Secret Service enters the Oval Office and drags me away. As I’m being carried out, I see The Truth.

Wow. When you actually say all that out loud? I don’t believe it either.

Then I fell asleep.

1968 – WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED

If you are American, my age or older and were living in the U.S., 1968 was a strange and terrible year.

The political climate today reminds of back then. 1968 was the year which saw the escalation of the Vietnam war and violent protests to that war.

1968-montage

It was the year Eugene McCarthy won in the primaries, but couldn’t win the Democratic nomination. In the end, the nod went to Hubert Humphrey because it was also the year in which Lyndon Johnson said “I will not seek, nor will I accept my party’s nomination for President of the United States.” Which threw the election wide open.

A nearly forgotten Richard Nixon stepped out of the shadows and took center stage. Garry knew because Lyndon Johnson told him over a campfire in Vietnam. Read about it here.

Then Robert Kennedy threw his hat in the ring — but got it shot off by an assassin. Not before Martin Luther King was gunned down (two months earlier) in Tennessee. Across the nation, tanks rolled down streets. Machine guns were at the ready on the steps of the Capitol in DC.

That’s what happens when you stir the pot, add gobbets of hate and rage. If no one is willing to add civility or reason to the mix, when all politics is fueled by anger, stupidity, fear, and ignorance … you get 1968. And you get today.

Robert Kennedy-2

Most people don’t remember any of this. It happened before Gen X-ers or Millennials were born. Real history has been reduced to a footnote. We’ve erased our past, learned nothing.

1968 was the beginning of my slide from idealism to cynicism. A lot of people died. There were protests, riots, more deaths. The Chicago Democratic Convention — a police riot — didn’t even slow the process down. The war didn’t end. The best candidates never ran.

I remember the shock, horror, disbelief at the first Kennedy assassination in 1963. Then, before the pain of that loss was processed, the awful replay was Bobby’s death in 1968. I don’t remember how many assassinations occurred in those few years, but it seemed like it was on the news all the time. Death, more death, more hate.

Robert Kennedy-Headline

Eugene McCarthy was a hope born and dashed in less than a season. After all of the guts, guns, glory, and horror we got Richard Nixon as President. I didn’t think it could get worse. But it did. It has.

It is worse.

The Vietnam War rolled on. The protests didn’t end. The hatred built to a crescendo. Then, it was Watergate. The world spun crazily on its axis. I would never feel the same about our country or our political system.

When Clinton was elected, it was the first positive political event in my lifetime. When Obama was elected, we hoped for a brief shining moment that the world had truly changed. But all it seems to have done is bring the haters crawling out of the woodwork. Now, I don’t hope. I just fear.

eugene mccarthy button

I see Bernie Sanders making promises he knows he can’t keep. I see Donald Trump spouting the kind of racist hatred I was sure I’d never have to listen to again, not to mention his proposals that are outright illegal … while the morons cheer for him.

Every pol is pushing a personal agenda without regard for how, in the end, we the people will pay the price for their egotism, their narcissistic determination to win at any price.

2016election

Make no mistake. There’s nothing harmless about this. The spoilers and the haters are out to prove their point — no matter what. They are not our friends. They are killing us, eating our future in 10 second sound bites.

This is what happens to those who know no history. We are about to repeat the past, but it will be much worse this time.