ROOTS: ROOM FOR REALITY?

I’m not thrilled with news. Any news. I can’t abide right-wing lies based on the exact opposite of what happened, especially when they are talking about things through which I lived and have seen. For shear blatant not-even-a-hint-of truth lying, they are the winners. But the left of the aisle crap is only nominally better. They may begin from a hint of truth, but then take some minor thing and blow it up to something gigantic. Put up a headline on it which sounds as if something astounding is about to (or just did) happen. So whatever it was, it ends up a total lie.


At the root was something real, but the result is nonsense.
I would have to be a fool to believe it.
At this point, I don’t believe anything.

My personal political allegiances are not news. I don’t need news organizations to approve or disapprove on my behalf. That’s not the point of news.

I want information, data, and facts based on a recognizable reality. I want the news to give me an informed, intelligent, and preferably neutral idea of what’s going on. I don’t want overblown headlines about how Trump is about to be impeached. Because he isn’t about to be impeached (yet) and anyone with half a brain knows that. I don’t want shouted headlines about stuff that isn’t happening and will never occur. Nor do I want distorted stories which only make the stuff in which I believe look stupid.


I don’t want right-wing “summaries” about news that never happened and will never occur.  I don’t want left-wing fairy tales, either. 

It’s hard to find believable news from any source. I don’t trust anything from any form of social media. Each has its own version of what they think I want to hear. I don’t want to hear what they think I want to hear. I want to know what happened. What was seen. What was written. Then I will decide what I believe.

In today’s world, is there room for reality?

We’ve been watching a PBS series about World War 1. It was a terrible time. It was also when many of the myths, fables, and lies with which we are now living, began. It was the time when we started thinking we were fighting for democracy, and that somehow, we were “the right country” to defend democracy everywhere. It wasn’t true then. It isn’t true now.

We have been believing those same lies since 1914, the beginning of the breach between our political halves. It was the start of what we see every day in 2017. A hundred years of lying. Wilson could have gotten everything he wanted from Congress including the League of Nations, but refused to accept it because (are you ready?) the “deal” was offered by the wrong party.

Bringing us to today. News agencies? Please get off your soap boxes. Give me facts. That might be a start to a better world. For everyone.

BLOWING IT UP

We are closing in on 100 days of Trump-o-Matic. From crisis, to calamity, catastrophe to cataclysm, it has been everything we feared and more. Just when we think it can’t get worse, it gets worse. Then, it gets worser.

Trump-o-Matic managed to get elected, but he has no functional cabinet. No direction. For all that, he seems intent on leading us to war. He can’t write a piece of legislation and has no legislative agenda. But war? He’s got that one!

Like morons, we applaud as if the act of bombing other countries somehow makes us “the good guys.” The guys we bomb may not be better than us, be we are doing the bombing … so what does that make us? Does it never occur to anyone that maybe we aren’t the good guys either? That our enthusiasm for going to war — especially when a president needs a “ratings boost” — don’t give us a high moral authority?

This is another one of those times when I laugh hysterically. The oncoming demise of this world is surely worth, at the very least, a guffaw or a solid chuckle.  It isn’t funny at all, but what’s left to do but laugh? A war with North Korea is potentially life ending and considering how hard I’ve worked to stay alive over the past decade, I want to live. Even with Trump-o-Matic in power.

There is a madness sweeping the world. Not just in the United States, but everywhere. All over — Europe, Australia, England and who knows where else — people are voting into office the kind of people we had two world wars to eliminate. Two generations of men and women were slaughtered to finally remove them from power. The most hideous part is that the people who are voting for these dreadful, brutal, hateful dictatorial idiots don’t realize that they are doing again what their predecessors did before.

Blind to the past, they are walking backwards into a terrible future.

I AM NOT IN DENIAL!

I am not in denial. Well, maybe a little. Just enough so I can sleep at night. We all need a little denial these days. 

Here’s what happened with Bannon and the National Security Council. Or so I believe based on what I’ve read.

Flynn was Trump-o-Matic’s pick for the National Security Council, which is supposedly non-political. Its intent is to advise the president on military and international events. It isn’t supposed to be a party thing and purports to stand outside the political arena. This is the group that tells him the truth, even if he doesn’t like it.

When the Trump administration came to town, he gave Bannon – a top political adviser – a seat on that council. Beyond highly political and worse, Bannon is possibly beyond normal morality and maybe, in his own way, as wacko as his president. Not a National Security Council kind of guy. Simultaneously, Trump told military and intelligence officials they were not needed at “every meeting.” This set off flashing red lights all over the globe. Weeks later, Mike Flynn was forced out. His replacement forced Bannon out.

Take a look at THE DAILY SKIMM. They are excellent at explaining this stuff without getting so fancy you aren’t sure what they are trying to say. I read the LA Times, the Boston Globe, New Yorker and more, but when I need to get a down-to-earth explanation, the Skimm does it for me. It’s free. Try it.

It would be hard not to view this development as a good thing. At least in areas where our military and others are at mortal risk, relatively sane people are in charge.


Trump-o-Matic will probably not get those raw intelligence briefings after all. Can we take a deep breath and murmur “yay”?

Today rather than hysterical laughter, I am smiling a little. Breathing if not normally, then at least a lot better. There are people watching the ramparts.

But, we are not exactly in the clear. Trump-o-Matic is meeting with the Chinese today and even he doesn’t think this a meeting that will go well. All the while, he is pondering North Korea. And Syria. And still trying to blame Obama.

Aren’t we glad Bannon is out of the National Security Council? You should be and probably, so is the rest of the world.

To reiterate: We have a president who can’t read briefings, has no understanding of how the military works. He is meeting with the Chinese government and is thinking about nuclear options in North Korea.


What could possibly go wrong? 


INTELLIGENCE FOR THE UNINTELLIGENT – AND BANNON

We are closing in on three months of Trump-o-Matic. It has been a wild and crazy ride.  Crisis, to calamity, catastrophe to cataclysm. Except instead of the fascist state we feared, we got the Keystone Kops. Which we did not expect.

As we  spend our energy trying to dethrone the morons, I want to believe someone is paying attention to the briefings Trump-o-Matic ignores. I read somewhere today he wants to get “raw” briefings. That would be raw intelligence data which hasn’t passed through any intelligence agencies for analysis. If you think his inability to read a piece of legislation is a hoot, think how boisterously merry we’ll feel when he tries to wend he way through raw intelligence briefings. Yes, I know he won’t do it himself. So let me rephrase it: what do you think Bannon will do with those raw briefings? Shiver me timbers, what a terrible idea.


NOTE: In a developing story happening now (April 5, 2017), Bannon has been removed as the White House chief strategist and removed from the National Security Council. This restores the director of national intelligence, CIA director, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to full participation on the NSC’s inner circle, its principals committee. It doesn’t mean Bannon is “out” … but no one seems to know exactly what is going on.

We will have to check back with sources and see how this develops. Mildly encouraging, don’t you think? Even if he is still part of Trump’s “team,” at least he isn’t going to decide on whether or not we push a button and nuke the world. 


Trump-o-Matic managed to get elected, yet he is so incompetent he has been unable to cobble together a cabinet or a viable piece of legislation. We didn’t get the awful “version” of healthcare because his own party hated it. Well, to be fair, everyone hated it. It also turned out trying to strong-arm his party from far right to center didn’t work. I cannot begin to say how happy I am about that.

Considering one thing and another, I’m currently more worried about how much damage he will do to our environment than how many bills he’ll push through congress. You can undo a piece of legislation, but a polluted aquifer is forever.

TO DATE?

He tried to declare the constitution obsolete and invalid. His followers cried Lock them up! Shoot them down! Ban them! We said: “Can he do that?” We thought he could.

It turned out, he couldn’t. The judicial system worked. Who knew? I’m always surprised when something works. Call me a skeptic. Overall, the system worked better than I expected. It hasn’t (yet) made Trump-o-Matic and his disgusting cronies disappear (which would be my best choice), but it has made them less terrifying and far funnier.

You know how you laugh hysterically when a thing isn’t really funny but it’s too awful to think about — so what can you do but laugh? That is our government. It is so disgusting and so far off the deep end of reality or surrealism, if you can’t laugh you’d have to hide under the bed until we turn this thing around. I seriously considered the whole hiding thing, but I’m too old. Under or over my bed, this is my life. I want to live it. Even with Trump-o-Matic in power.



Know that if Trump-o-Matic were even nominally more capable (and literate), he could have bullied his way into something like a dictatorship. Instead, he’s powering his way to an insane anarchy and utter chaos. I wouldn’t mind because sometimes, madness works for me. Except not all the folks in the “rest of the world” are USA-friendly. I am not a subscriber to believing everyone is out to get us, but some groups are out to get us.

While Trump-o-Matic is worrying about blocking Mexican immigrants and stealing the remaining few dollars left to the poor, the real bad guys are having their own bout of hilarity. Assuming those guys know how to laugh.

We have a president who can’t read briefings. He has no understanding of how anything — including the military — works. So, who’s on guard? Who is on the ramparts?

Meanwhile, back at the White House, they want raw intelligence data briefings. Yeah. That’s what I think too.

BUSY, BUSY – PART BETA

We got the taxes done. Bonnie was still feeling poorly. We came back from getting taxes done and lo and behold, she is feeling better. Better enough to want my sandwich. Which I gave her. Because she hadn’t eaten in days, so what kind of doggy mom would hold back on the sandwich? I thought maybe we’d try her out on upgraded canned dog food. She ate a little of it. Gibbs happily ate the rest. But cold cuts? That she was definitely into. She is still looking a bit peaked, but it’s a far cry from yesterday, so I moved the vet appointment to Wednesday.

What seems to be going on is that she eats something. I have no idea what, but I can guess. The dogs have a fully enclosed yard. Big space for two smallish dogs. Then, she eats something. Paper? Tree bark? Dirt? Whatever it is, it blocks her up and she gets all bloated and sick and then, a few days later, she’s better.

I would take her to the vet if I thought there was a chance of them figuring out what’s wrong with her. This isn’t the first, second, or third time this has happened. Last time … almost a year ago … it was a $600 bill. No medication. Just “wait it out.” Which we did. She got better.

This time, I thought maybe I should skip the $600 and wait it out, at least a few days. What happens when we do go to the vet is that they poke around and find nothing. They take x-rays. See nothing. Offer to run several thousand more dollars worth of tests, which we really can’t afford and usually, they find nothing.

So this time, after she decided she could eat a pound of cold cuts, we thought we’d give her a couple more days to see how she fares. She isn’t vomiting. No diarrhea. No fever. She is willing to eat … if we have food of which she approves.

This is where my desire to be a great dog mom bumps into my desire to not bankrupt us. So I deferred the vet appointment to Wednesday. Let’s see how she is doing in a couple of days. These are times when I fervently wish my dog could tell me what’s going on. Is Bonnie sick? Not so much as five hours ago. Why is she unwell? I’m guessing it’s something she ate … but I have NO idea what, though my guess is paper. She steals it, hides it, and chews on it. Gets sick.

We are getting a little money back on taxes and Bonnie looks better. So it’s already a superior day to what we expected. I hope this isn’t one gigantic hold-out for an upgrade in food prep.

BUSY, BUSY

We get our taxes done this morning … and when we are done, we take Bonnie to the vet. No, she isn’t better … or at least not better enough. She hasn’t eaten a meal in three days. She drinks water, but won’t eat … except for Greenies. She ate three of them this morning, but threw up on the fourth.

So we’ll be out most of the day today. Just letting you know. It’s much earlier than we usually start our day … and tomorrow will be the same, because it’s my oncology day (always my favorite).

See you (for real) on Wednesday.

A good day for all, I hope. Especially for Bonnie.

NO MORE TRUMP BLUES – ELLIN CURLEY

If you follow the news these days, you may not be the happiest of campers. In fact, many informed people are reporting increased levels of anxiety and depression. A sense of impending doom coupled with abject helplessness. Unspecified dread and existential angst.

The usual suggestion for combating these negative feelings, is to avoid the news. Entirely. That doesn’t work for me. Staying informed gives me a small sense of control. Besides, my anxiety would conjure scenarios in Washington far worse than what’s actually happening.

I think a better approach is to find things in your daily life that give you pleasure. Small doses of unmitigated joy can counter a shitload of negativity. Your body relaxes. Your face breaks into a smile. You are flooded with endorphins. Your mind registers happiness and relaxation, even for a short while. For me, those moments recharge me and give me perspective. Not everything in the world is bleak and scary.

There are many things I do to give myself that rush of positive energy. For example, last night my husband and I watched one of our favorite movies – “Galaxy Quest,” with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. It’s a humorous take-off on the Star trek TV series. We know it so well, we can recite some of the dialogue along with the actors. That in itself is a hoot! We smiled and laughed all the way through the movie for the 99th time.

Another sure-fire feel good movie for us is “When Harry Met Sally.” Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. I beam from ear to ear when I watch that one, which I do at least once a year. Everyone has movies like that. Find yours and enjoy them to the fullest.

Another reliable happiness fix for me is watching my dogs play. The unbridled joy of two dogs wrestling and chasing each other is truly healing. If you don’t have a dog, go to a dog park or look up ‘dogs playing’ on YouTube. Kittens playing should create the same effect if you’re more of a cat person.

Here’s something everyone can do. I have filled my house, like many people have, with art and decorative objects. I get joy from walking around and looking at my favorite things. Some give me pleasure because they are so beautiful or are special because of the memories they evoke – often when or where I acquired them. Many have an emotional connection because they belonged to, or were a gift from, a loved family member or friend. Others evoke memories of another time in my life, sometimes as far back as childhood.

Take the time to enjoy and appreciate the special artifacts in your life too.

None of these are any kind of permanent solution to the ennui we are feeling, but taking control of your emotions — even for a short — time is empowering. And it does put the goings-on in Washington in perspective.

Presumably our daily lives will not be affected today or tomorrow by whatever the Trump administration or Congress is doing at the moment. There will be more than enough time to panic if we are personally screwed by the government’s actions.

In the meantime, take a few deep breaths and enjoy what you can, when you can, as often as you can.

For Tom’s answer to the same question, see his piece on THIS link!