$600 Billion, But….

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$600 Billion Annual Spending

Annually we spend in excess of $600 billion on our military to protect us from foreign invaders at the same time the GOP is not willing to spend $20 billion to keep millions of us from dying of treatable diseases and ailments. I don’t know maybe it is just me but I don’t see an ounce of logic in that fact.  For one thing, we have not been invaded by more than a handful of discontents since 1812.

Yes, I admit that by some fluke in structural design a handful of USA haters managed to kill three thousand or so of us some sixteen years ago , but ten times that number of people will likely die annually because of denial of adequate health care from the proposed TrumpCare lack of funding. I don’t know but this just doesn’t make any sense to me. Somehow or another there seems to be zero empathy, or maybe “brother’s care”  in this fact.

canstockphoto10436672.jpgIt is totally ironic to me that many, perhaps most, of the 25% who voted these guys in office are Evangelicals who supposedly follow the words of Jesus.  I spent seven years thoroughly studying his words and it is crystal clear to me that his PRIME message was to love God and to love each other. Does anyone but me see the dichotomy between the words of Jesus and current Evangelical actions?

Maybe, its because of my Aspie traits that I just can’t understand this at all.  Maybe I am just too logical in my thoughts?  What do you guys think?

More & More.. and then the Chinese Way..

HavingMySay Banner   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since our American culture is now almost totally geared around consumer spending. We simply can’t keep the paradigm going if we spend less this year than we did last.

It seems that houses today MUST have  master suites with at least 150 square foot closets and 200 square foot bathrooms. The general rule is that the family now needs 1,000 square foot of house for every member.  Two kids = 4,000 SF minimum.

But a point of this post is one of the items that kind of sneaked up on me was that apparently, at least to the semi-affluent folks, it is unacceptable for kids to share a bedroom with their siblings! I don’t know when this happened but it crops up on more and more on the house flipper and fixup shows and such that my wife is addicted to.  They say every child needs his own room so that he/she can grow their own personality.  Now, I know I am going back to the “good old days” when I say I didn’t have a bedroom of my own until I graduated from college.  How did I manage to become a real person apart from my siblings and roommates? In other words, I think this new trend reeks of alternate truth. Or maybe it is just another way to continue to consume more and more.

canstockphoto36017688.jpgNow finally getting to the main point of this post and that is how China looks at things differently than we do, or at least as the Trump administration does.  I would highly recommend a BBC-America TV series entitled “Tales from Modern China”. That series is an eye-opener for how China is doing almost everything right in order to become the next world leader. Their infrastructure improvements dwarfs our and a high percentage of it is in solar/wind/water renewable resources. Of course we know that at least the leadership of our country has decided that this approach is dead wrong.

To see all the giant advances that China has made in the last decade alone makes it pretty obvious they will welcome their new role as world leader and put the US into a follower mode as we did for England.  I wonder if all those Evangelicals who put Trump in office will ever realize the mistake they made.  But more importantly, I wonder if all those who stayed home on election day and allowed 25% of the voting age population to choose a president will realize the mistake they made.

Is is too late to reverse this change in world leadership? Maybe… maybe not…

 

 

Caterpillar Tractors..

ISOA Banner   Caterpillar Tractors and such are very much a part of my search of America.  So, when I was near Peoria Illinois recently I had to stop in at their museum at the headquarters building.  What I found amazed me.  I never realized the size of much of their equipment.

Peoria is a wonderful city to tour and this exhibit is one of the prime destinations. If you are ever in the area stop by the city and this museum.

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Have To…

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Slow down you’re moving too fast,  got to make the morning last…

2017-06-18_10-41-14.pngThe above words come from an old Simon and Garfunkel song entitled “59th Street Bridge Song” otherwise known as Feelin Groovy.  Even in the 1960s many people thought that life was just moving too fast. Can you image what they might think about today?

Getting to the title of this post, just because you can do things faster now doesn’t mean you have to. We can all slow down to what feels comfortable to us. At least when we are not on the job.  🙂  I am not a person who mourns the advancements in technology but there are things that bug me because they just move too fast:

  • There is an ever increasing number of TV shows around that spend no more than one second on a particular scene. The picture is constantly flashing from one to the next. There is simply no time to appreciate what you are seeing.  I don’t know if this has anything to do with maybe the editors having ADHD. There just seems to be more and more of these types of shows that I have quit watching lately.
  • People simply drive too fast and road rage is getting out of control. With our increasing sense of “us” vs “them”  we seem to be making our lives more dangerous as the years pass.
  • My light at the end of the tunnel of life is coming into view. For that reason time is just moving too fast. It seems like yesterday that I graduated from college and started dreaming about the future and ignoring the present.
  • Racing through life to get to the end. That thought is very prevalent in my Will Rogers quote at the top of this site.  We all rush through life in order to get to our retirement years and then spend those years trying to figure out what to do with them. 🙂 If that is not irony I don’t know what is.

But let’s bring some logical to this discussion. The fact is we all still have the same 24 hour day as our very distant ancestors had. That hasn’t changed one iota. The other thought is that things only go as fast as you allow them to. In my day, kids spent most of their time with the other neighborhood kids in doing this and that.  Now it seems that it is a never ending job to transport our kids from one activity to another. If you complain about that please realize that it is a result of a choice you made and doesn’t have to be so.

It is a difficult lesson for too many of us to learn that life is not about yesterday or even tomorrow, but instead about today. Take it from someone who wasted much of my seven decades on this earth and slow down and live it each day at a time. Learn from the past, try to do better in the future, but live your life in the present.  I can’t think of any wiser words to end this post.

 

Quincy Illinois – Villa Kathrine

ISOA Banner  I will admit up front here that I didn’t spend as much time in Quincy IL as I planned. There are about a thousand historical homes in this small town but I will only feature one of them in this post.  Quincy is one of many towns along the mighty Mississippi River and of course that mean it is steeped in history. Villa Kathrine, which is the subject of today is perhaps the most unusual one.

As the sign below states it was built around 1900 and is of a Moorish/Islamic style which is just not that popular in the USA, especially now 🙂 The layout and furniture didn’t make a lot of sense to me and the central space, which I guess is essential to Islamic homes, seemed like a big waste of space.  But it did have some fantastic views of the Mississippi from several windows.

“Checks & Balances” Were Meant For Our Times…

HavingMySay Banner    When our government was formed over three hundred and fifty years ago the founders were concerned about someone usurping total power. To prevent that they wisely instituted a pretty severe form of checks and balances. No one person or group of persons could take over without trampling their newly formed constitution. That was a good thing and it still is today.

If there was ever a time when the principle of “checks and balances” in our government processes were meant for it is certainly now. With the current Oval Office Occupant having so little knowledge of government process, or much of anything else for that matter, we need a way to prevent him from destroying our American Democracy. Checks and balances appear to be doing just that, at least for now.

2017-06-12_10-22-05.pngMr. Trump seems to thinks he is a autocratic king with all his daily signing ceremonies, many of which are totally meaningless.  He seems to  believe all he has to do is to sign a document with his lavish signature and it will happen.  (Why does he think we need to see his signature each and every time?) 🙂

I have heard he just doesn’t like to read or study much as he thinks he is already smarter than anyone else but maybe someone should try to give him a high school level civics lesson in the basement of the White House. Someone needs to convince him that he is not a king that he apparently thinks he is.

Yes, he has managed to unravel many of the progressive things accomplished by his predecessor but the Judicial system has stopped him from putting a religious test on those who might come to the USA and now congress with the help of a special council is trying to make sure he is not trampling on the Constitution in a number of areas.

I’m sure the Evangelicals who so adamantly and ignorantly give him their 100% support are screaming that he is being treated TOTALLY unfairly but I think he is just reaping what he has sewed for so long. I don’t know how parents can explain to their children that it is ok for the president to tell obvious and outrageous lies on a daily basis but their  children must always tell the truth? That would be a toughie for me..

I also can’t understand how the Evangelicals cling to this guy. Don’t they understand that by doing that they are irreparably damaging their religious brand? To me, it is almost as if they have morphed from a religious institution into a political one.  And that is sad…

Yes, at least for now checks & balances put together by our founders seems to be working. We can only pray that they continue to work for however long this guy stays in the Oval Office. I hear the world famous Irish oddsmakers say he has a 50/50 chance of surviving his first year in office and the odds go down after that.

This Is In Indiana???

It is hard for many to believe that the pictures below and above were taken in Indiana. I don’t really know the history of why Indiana got the southern most tip of Lake Michigan within its boundries but it is one unique place.

I visited there years ago but these pics were from a recent uRV trip there this Spring.  From the info found at the site the prominent building in the pics used to be a very popular hotel. Notice all the car parked there in the 1930s.  It still a beautiful place worth the visit just to show you that Indiana is not all cornfields and Notre Dame football.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view

I Know, I Know…

I know it’s been awhile since I posted here. As I have said before, Spring/Summer are my busiest times. I am about to go on my second uRV trip of the year and then there is the 2 1/2 acre homestead to mow and maintain.  Spring is a busy time for me but it is by far the best time of year as far as I am concerned.

In a meager way to fill the gap in posts I thought I would give you a few pictures of what I am talking about. At least that will let you know that I have not died or have any serious problems. Just busy is all. 🙂

The Alienated…

HavingMySay Banner  I read an interesting article in the New York Times recently trying to figure out the alienated voters who put the current guy in the Oval Office. There were some aspects of the article that I had not fully considered.

canstockphoto2803671Angry voters made a few things abundantly clear: that modern democratic capitalism is not working for them; that basic institutions like the family and communities are falling apart..

The alienated long for something that will smash the system or change their situation, but they have no actual plan or any means to deliver it. The alienated are a hodgepodge of disparate groups. They have no positive agenda beyond the sort of fake shiny objects Trump ran on (Build a Wall!). They offer up no governing class competent enough to get things done.

canstockphoto13269971.jpgNow I will admit that American Capitalism has morphed into something different in my lifetime. In the 1960s the majority of the GDP was generated by government spending for the common good.  The Interstate highway system was one of those things. Then sometime in the 1980s people started thinking that spending for the general welfare of the country was a bad thing and that  resulted in the move more to depending on individual consumerism to drive the economy.  That along with the corresponding unwillingness to pay taxes inevitably resulting in a sharp disparity between the rich and the poor in our society. Those with large disposable income ignored the old saying “with wealth comes responsibility”. American Capitalism just isn’t the same as it used to be. So now in order for the American economy to continue to prosper each of us must spend more and more as each year passes and of course with the current situation that means we go deeper and deeper into unsustainable debt.

The main eye-opener in the quote above is that in reality the disenchanted that resulted in our current president is by no means a homogeneous group. Instead it is, as the article said a hodgepodge of many different groups.  The neo-Nazis and other anarchistic groups who are looking to take everything down were one supporting group.  At the other end of the scale are perhaps those who for the most part are uneducated and poorly trained for today’s competitive society. They want America Great again and to them that is to mean high paying jobs for unskilled and unprepared workers.

In between are other diverse groups who feel left behind by all the progress of the last three decades. Many live in once prosperous rural areas where jobs have continued to erode due to automation and the simple fact that producing food for the populace requires significantly less labor.

Some others are senior citizens who just want the world to stop spinning so they can get off.  Being such a wide variety of dissenters these disenfranchised have no particular agenda nor any representatives who has any hope of achieving them even if they could be identified.

I hope that these times will become a lesson for future voters to realize that you need to be for things more than you are against.  In other words, you need to have a dream of what might be and not just scream about how bad things are. I don’t know if that will be the lesson learned or if we will continue to spiral downward until democracy is no longer sustainable? That is the question for our times.

 

Epilog:  A ranter who tried to comment on this post reminded me of a group that I did not include.  That is those people who are so entangled in their current mindset that they will vote for ANYONE who even kidnaps their party’s nomination.

Religion In America – Bishop Hill

This week’s Religion in America post will be about Bishop Hill in central Illinois.  Like last week’s post it is about a group who escaped a State sanctioned Lutheran system of belief in the mid 1800s. This time it is from Sweden but pretty much mirrors that of Zoar Village story from Germany.

This group settled into a communal colony where everything was held in common. But unlike most religious colonies escaping to America. Bishop Hill was more intense/fundamental than the one that they escaped from and were often in bitter opposition to many other versions of Lutheranism in America.

Here is a little about what Wikipedia says of Bishop Hill’s founder:

The village was founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants affiliated with the Pietist movement, led by Erik Jansson. Prior to founding the Bishop Hill Colony, Jansson preached to his followers in Sweden about what he considered to be the abominations of the Lutheran Church and emphasized the doctrine that the faithful were without sin.

This story is common to many religious groups established in America. It was primarily founded around a strong and charismatic leader who chose a few particular verses in one version or another holy document to concentrate on.  But this same thing was also typical of other world religions. Lutheranism, which was founded by Martin Luther who started the Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago when he became fixated on “works” not being important to God and uttering words of faith being the primary purpose of religion.  Some say this was due to an overwhelming inferiority complex by Luther. When he found the words from St. Paul (not Jesus) “you are saved by faith, not works” it became by far the most important aspect of his version of religion.

Getting back to the story at hand in 1854 when Jansson was assassinated by a former member and six years later the communal contract ended due to mismanagement.  There are some common historic buildings left at the site but most of the dwellings in the village are now privately owned.