A Complete Disconnect…

There seems to be a complete disconnect between what the President Elect says and what anyone hears.  Evidence of that shines in the Pennsylvina response on resistance to do a recount.

In a filing on Saturday, a lawyer for Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, who began the recount bids in Pennsylvania — as well as in Michigan and Wisconsin — said “petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means” and could not afford a $1 million bond payment that was ordered by Pennsylvania courts.

A lawyer for Ms. Stein’s recount campaign indicated on Saturday night that they were not giving up in Pennsylvania and planned to request that the federal courts on Monday intervene to order a statewide recount.

Lawyers for Pennsylvania Republicans and Mr. Trump had asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss Ms. Stein’s request, saying she had not identified any fraud or illegal activity during the Nov. 8 election.

Source: Jill Stein’s Pennsylvania Recount Effort Is Dealt a Major Setback – The New York Times

It seems that everyday I hear Mr. Trump state that there is massive fraud in our election process and that millions of illegal votes are cast.  And yet here are the State and especially the Trump lawyers saying there is no evidence of illegal activity??  Doesn’t what the future president say account for anything?  Is this the way the country will run after January 20? Read more

Part 3 – How Did We Get Here –Everyone For Themselves…

When a ship is sinking are you the type of person who would try to save others or are you the type to say “everyone for themselves”? It seems the answer to that question is the later if you use much of  the American electorate as the source. Here is a quote to start us out on this subject:

Here’s a good game to play with yourself: Try to figure out whether or not you can make it through Donald Trump’s presidency unharmed.What are your liabilities? What has Trump already said about your sexuality, about your culture, about your family, about you? How many promises has he made on the campaign trail, and how many of those promises have been not promises, but threats, and how many of them have been about hurting you? Really think about it.

It’s hard for me to avoid trying to convince myself that the pain I feel, in the aftermath of this election, isn’t really real. I’m a little too good at talking myself out of pain in general…

What some of us have lost — what I have lost — is a way of seeing America, and, by extension, a way of seeing ourselves. We want to believe that America, as a country, is basically good, basically just, basically principled, and basically capable of protecting the freedoms that are not just our joys, but our rights.

Source: Grieving America

I know my conservative friends call me a “bleeding heart do-gooder”. They mean that as an insult but I actually take pride in that label. Yes I do grieve that not everyone one in this country gets a fair shake. Some are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths and some are born almost doomed to a life of poverty because of their surroundings.

When I think about it there is not much a Trump presidency can do to harm my personal way of life.  Yes, he could get us into WW III or a nuclear holocaust but that is simply something that is futile to worry about. He could with the enthusiastic help of Speaker Ryan take away my social security but since a very big part of his base seems to be fearful seniors I don’t see him doing that.

So, why am I worried so much about a Trump administration?   He can’t write laws, he can’t spend money not approved by congress so in the end he doesn’t have the power to do a lot of permanent damage by himself. We have survived weak and even dangerous presidents in the past and come out ok so I suspect we will survive a Trump presidency too.

I hate to see our country go into an “everyone for themselves” mode but sadly  that seems to be where we are right now.  Given that that has been the theme of the GOP for the last several years it shouldn’t come as a surprise now that they control two branches of our government.

Elizabeth Warren in 2020!!  I’m ready to contribute right now to help make that happen.

It’s Got To Change…

2016-06-07_08-02-26.pngI am definitely hoping, praying even, that the GOP is decisively rejected in the coming election. With Trump at the top of the ticket, and my faith in the sanity of most of us in the U.S. , I can see that very possibly happen.  If it happens it will finally turn the Supreme Court away from it radically conservative base and allow for fundamental change to happen.  The first thing that needs to change is not about gun control but instead about our elections process.

In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress received more votes than Republican candidates. For the first time in 40 years, the party that received the most votes failed to take control of the House. The people did vote for candidates who believed in gun-control reforms. Obama had it backward: it’s the Republican mapmakers who gerrymandered our democracy so effectively after the GOP’s historic 2010 victory who have made it hard for the voters to affect elections. The strategy was dubbed REDMAP, for Redistricting Majority Project, and it was brilliant in its execution. With $30 million or less than the cost of some losing Senate races — smartly spent in the right districts in the right states — Republican strategists turned the House of Representatives red for a decade, and maybe longer.

SOURCE: The GOP screwed themselves: The brilliant gerrymander that gave Republicans the Congress — and created Donald Trump – Salon.com

Computers are great things that have advanced our society in numerous ways but that power is also used by the dark side.  It is used for elected officials to chose their voters and that is definitely not what the framers of our country intended. In previous posts on this topic I have showed you the utter stupidity of how congressional maps are drawn. With enough computing power now available making sure that your guy gets elected is almost a sure thing.  Majority rule is no longer valid when it comes to electing  so many of our federal office holders.

It seems the only way that will happen is to take gerrymandering to the Supreme Court and declare it unconstitutional, which it surely is. We need to either take the ability to set up congressional districts away from State governments or strictly regulate how they are determined at least for federal elections.  If we put some sense back into this process the will of the people will once again be accomplished.

Yes, there are simply too many guns in the hands of too many unstable people in this country and that must  change but the more damaging practice of rigging elections strikes at the bedrock of our democracy. It has got to end and end soon…

 

Making Sense of Change…

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When I came across the quote above I knew nothing of Alan W. Watts.  But, as usual I got on Wiki to learn more. This guy was quite a character in life.  It just seemed that once he was doing something for any extended period of time he got bored with it an moved on to something else. It seems he re-invented himself a dozen times in his 58 years of life.

Here is a quote from one of the reviewers of his autobiography In My Own Way on Amazon.

Early on, he set out to be an independent intellectual, constantly learning and living in his “own way.” He succeeded, in spite of the odds, on the terms that he set out for himself. This was deeply inspiring to me, and it turned out that despite the surface differences of interest, Alan Watts had a lot to say about the choices one makes in life and how to go about living.

I like to think of myself, rightly or not that I am also an independent intellectual who likes to live life on my own terms. But my life is nothing like his.  I spent thirty years in the corporate world as an engineer. I just didn’t have the courage to admit that I probably should have chosen another path.  By the time I realized that fact I deemed it too late to do anything about it.  I was happy to just serve out my time until I could draw a full pension (yeah I actually get a monthly check from my previous employer).  It was not until I walked away from that life that I discovered my true self.

The term retirement is to me an archaic word that doesn’t really apply to the third trimester of life. This period is more about opportunities than retiring from life.  As I just said I like to think of myself  living my “own way” but I was a late-bloomer in that regard.  I have a lot of catching up to do. 🙂  I have been in this mode for over fifteen years now and having a ball!

Living your “own way” meaning no longer just going with the flow.  It means taking the time to form your own opinions and then acting on them. No more just sitting back and whining. It often means going against the grain of other people’s norms. Living blue in a very red State I feel I am often going against the grain:

  • Where so much of our world, and especially our country, is living in fear I am stubbornly try to do the opposite. I will simply not give these terrorists the satisfaction of being afraid.
  • I see love where others, including my previous self, often see fear and sometimes even hate.
  • I see the words of Jesus as an action item list for my life and not just something that I hear in a pew on Sunday morning and then forget for the rest of the week.

Living your “own way” is not easy sometimes but it sure does give you more satisfaction…

I have an Alan Watts book now on my reading list. It will be interesting to learn more about him and probably myself in the process.

 

The 25%….

While 80 percent of mainline Protestant pastors see Pope Francis as a true Christian, only 58 percent of evangelical preachers agree.

Source: Do Pastors Trust Pope Francis on Theology? New Survey Reveals How Preachers Responded When Asked if the Pontiff Is a True Christian | TheBlaze.com

I am going to use the polling above as an example for this post but not its focus.  There just seems to be about 25% of the population on the extreme right fringes in the U.S. that are pretty much distrustful of everything and everyone else. It seems that they almost hate the other 75%.  Maybe they are just so stricken with fear that everyone is suspect of something they deem bad. They hate the change that is happening around them daily, especially when more potential adversaries are allowed to invade “their” country. I wonder just how many of this 25% are the same people in all the various scenarios? I imagine that the core is pretty high.

In poll shown above from evangelical pastors about 25% of them don’t think the Pope is a genuine Christian. They view him as either the anti-Christ or hopefully something a little less hateful. I know that there are several christian denominations who despise the leader of the Catholic church no matter who he is. I’m sure a large part of this negative response is from those particular groups.

What can we do to help this 25% of our population get over their fear of change and  almost everything else? That seems to be the fundamental question at hand.

  • Is there a way to convince them that change is not their bitter enemy?
  • Is there a way to show them that their “good old days” were not as good as they now imagine?
  • Is there a way to get them to love their neighbors, even those who might not be like them?
  • Is there a way to convince them that the money they pay in taxes is necessary in order to maintain an orderly and civil society?
  • Is there a way to get them to see that the income inequality occurring today is hurting our country?
  • Is there a way to get them to see a brighter future?
  • Is there a way to get the religious among them to see that their version is not totally right and all the others totally wrong?
  • Finally, is there a way to get them to be less fearful of almost everything?

This is a serious list of issues that plague too many in our country and will likely take years to even begin to improve. Until that time it is up to the rest of us to not allow this relatively small minority to take us down with their negative beliefs.  We need to understand and even empathize with their fears no matter how unreal they are but not be overcome by them.

I am That Wise Guy

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Some Resist Change; Some Embrace It….

2014-11-15_07-37-53“Quite frankly, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the Apple brand and how much merchants and customers love how easy the experience is. I’m not saying it’s changing the landscape overnight. But this has never happened with other mobile wallets.”-Denée Carrington, analyst, Forrester Research SOURCE: Apple Pay catches the attention of retail customers.

I have been personally reminded lately of just how adamantly some people resist change while others embrace it.  Some don’t accept even the simplest changes in their lives without serious complaints. The smallest changes can set them off.  And then there are others who are bored when nothing changes on a regular basis. They welcome change; they even embrace it.

Apple Pay will be one of those issues. It is a much simpler and more secure way of paying but it does require a change in how we do it. For that reason there will be some who rant against it. Apple Pay is just getting started down a long road of implementation. Only iPhone6 currently has the capability of using it so its coverage is somewhat limited right now. But as more and more people upgrade and more discover the ease of use of iPhones this payment method will move swiftly into the main stream.

I upgraded my iPhone last week. I had been using an iPhone 4 for three years now and was ready for the change. The new phone has some nice new features and some added capabilities for those of us who are deaf and the bigger screen is certainly welcomed for these old tired eyes. 🙂  One of the first things I did was to set up an Apple Pay account. Although I have not yet used it, it is ready to go.  I live in a small town with about the only retailer of any size being Walmart and since they are one of the ones who are currently resisting the change it might be a while before I use it on a daily basis.

The system Walmart and some others are promoting is better for the companies but not so much the customers so I kind of think  it will go the way of Betamax. For those of you who don’t know about Betamax look it up on Wiki. 🙂

Getting back to the title of this post, change is a serious topic for some of us. New technology by its very nature mandates constant change. Some, including me, consider that a good thing. There will always be that group of people who will continue to use their old flip phones if they even have a cell phone. Change is just so hard for them. That may also explain why some of us continue to support one political party who has abandoned anything helpful to us who are outside the 1% long ago. They hate change so they will stick with something even if it is more harmful than helpful. Change is hard stuff…

I Can't Do It For Them….

2014-11-06_09-28-42This is going to be an extremely soul-searching post for me. It has been a week since the GOP route in the mid-term elections and I have been thinking about my philosophical and political leanings. Two things seem now apparent to me that were not so just a few short months ago.

The first epiphany  is that I am not so much a Democrat as I am anti-Republican. There is just too much weight amongst the current Republican party in favor of the elite and so little for the average guy and almost nothing for the guy down on his luck. In my mind too many who currently represent the party believe in the mantra “I’ve got mine so screw you”. They seem to think that if you can’t do what they did then it is your own fault. Too many, like Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin, just have no empathy for others..

The Republican brand is quite simply tainted too much for me. I call myself a social progressive and a fiscal conservative. If only the Republican party would stick to their strengths of being a watchdog of the purse and get away from trying to enforce, or you could say mandate, various versions of 19th century morals on the rest of us. By the same token if only the Democratic party would get over the idea that throwing money at any situation will solve it.

The second epiphany is that I have come to understand that “I can’t do it for them”. That is I can’t help people who won’t help themselves. The majority of those who bothered to get out and vote recently were old and white like me. The young, the disenfranchised, the guy working one or maybe minimum wage job stayed home. He/she didn’t see it worth their time to make an effort to vote for the change makers.

I am probably a typical “bleeding heart liberal” in that most of the change I would like to see in this country would not affect me very much:

I want to see everyone have healthcare while I currently have very good coverage via Medicare and an affordable supplemental policy.

I want to see everyone who works full-time be paid a living wage while I am fortunate enough to have Social Security, a good pension from thirty years with the same company, and a savings account beyond most my age.

I want to see a strong safety net under those who might fall on hard times. I want to see that their families don’t get severely punished for something they had no control over while I, at least in my adult life, have never needed a safety net.

I just overflow with empathy for others where it seems most in this country are more into the survival of the fittest mode. Maybe empathy is a condition I need to overcome, I don’t know. I’m sure that many that I advocate for think they are helpless in changing things. They just can’t seem to realize that in the end their vote  has as much weight as the billionaires who they presently allow to control the money.

Maybe it is time for me to get off my empathy horse and not worry about all this stuff so much. I simply don’t know the answer to that right now. I imagine I have about one more decade on this earth. Maybe I should spend it differently than I have been up till now?

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

 

A Change In Direction…

Different PathI have not looked at any politics of the day for more than a week now. I have even reconfigured my daily internet reading to remove politics as a point of focus. That alone has helped to significantly brighten my general attitude toward daily living.  To complete this refocus I have decided to take the blog in a slightly different direction. I will no longer be talking much about the politics of the day but will instead be concentrating more on things more positive.  Things like what makes us who we are, and of course a usual dosage of Will Rogers and other memorable quotes will be more prominent.  We will see how this goes.

Another change is that I will no longer feel obliged to acknowledge or discuss every comment that comes into the blog. Many comments you make can certainly stand on their own and some others are probably best left untouched for other reasons.  Now don’t get me wrong I appreciate your thoughts and insights. They certainly add value to the discussions so please don’t see my lack of response as a negative.

I hope you will hang around for this repurposed journey. From looking at statistics of individual posts I know that focusing less on politics and its resulting conflicts will cost me some general blog hits but that is ok.  I need to get off any fixation that still might linger for that anyway. As my header says, I will now be looking more at the other 99% of life “from a different angle”.

But just because I will not be discussing the politics of the day so much does not mean that I won’t talk about some of the people who choose to be our public servants.  When it comes to politics in general instead of focusing on what is happening I will focus on what might be. I will try for the most part to keep the focus about positives instead of negatives. I will talk about what inspires me instead of what depresses me. As the old saying goes if I can’t find anything positive to say I will try to not say anything at all.  That means you won’t find the words “GOP” or “Republican” in very many of my future posts. In my mind there is just not much positive that can currently be said about that group… 🙂

I don’t know what level of political discussions is best right now. I will have to see how this goes.  I would certainly welcome your opinions on this new approach to RJ’s Corner. It will be a delicate balancing act to post things that are relevant to our lives without becoming a fluffy feel good site; there is nothing fluffy about me….

I hope you enjoy this new path as much as I think I will. After visiting RJ’s Corner in the coming days you will at least go away no more gloomy than before you visited. That promise I will try to keep with every future post.

The American Dream… Revisited….

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HomeI am going to tell you up front that this post is a little whacky but then again that is the type of person I am.   I am always asking questions as to why things are the way they are. This idea is a paradigm shift that very likely will never happen.

The twentieth century American dream was always  about home ownership. We all dreamed of putting down a small deposit on  our own place and then paying a mortgage on it for the next thirty some years until it is finally ours.  The problem with that nowadays is that we find ourselves changing jobs every half dozen years or sometimes more often and those future jobs are likely not be in the area where we currently live. When that is the case then home ownership is more of an anchor than a blessing. Read more

The Passing of an Era…..

Source: AT&T sheds directories, advertising business | Mobile – CNET News.

The assets that AT&T is selling include the Yellow Pages directories…

Things are in constant change now days. Sometime the pace is dizzying indeed.  Of course telecommunications is one of those things that is probably changing the fastest.

  • In the 1960s you could find a public telephone booth on almost any city street.
  • In the 1970s the Trimline telephone was being made at a rate of one million a week. Picture phones were available but at a $2,000 per month rate.
  • In the 1980s almost every household finally had a landline telephone and a very few had a “mobile” telephone which at time cost around $300 per month.
  • In the 1990s  cordless phones were replacing the corded version in the typical American home and cellular service was just beginning.
  • By 2000 cellular phones were becoming common place.
  • By 2020 it is speculated that the country will be pretty much converted from landline to completely cellular service.

So I guess AT&T giving up its Yellow Pages is just a minor nick in the change but it just won’t seem the same without “letting my fingers walk through the Yellow Pages. 🙂   But then again, I don’t think I have opened last years version of the Yellow Pages. I now look up everything on the Internet.

Goodbye my Yellow Pages friend. You served me well but your time  like so many things now days has come to an end.