Looking Back On A Weird Year..

TL Banner  Here we are at the end of another year so I guess it is time for some reflections on life.  Tomorrow’s post will be looking forward but let’s look back on this one. To say the least it has been a very interesting year.

Healthwise it has been a good one for both my wife and me as we had no major health events and that is good for people our age. I have tried to stay fit as best I can.  My weight is  the same as it was this time last year and I actually managed to get in more exercise than I have in recent years. I got a Vivofit exercise tracker a few months ago to help me keep track of my walking which is my major source of exercise now. It keeps reminding me that is it time to get up and walk some and that is a good thing even it is annoying sometimes.  My goal for this year has been 2 1/2 miles a day and I have pretty much managed to accomplish that. I will try to do even more in the coming year.

Politics was abusively upfront for the entire year.  We saw the dirtiest political season in my memory. One candidate continuously told vicious lies without challenge and the other acted like she was preordained to the Oval Office.  A new word “Post-Truth” is added to the dictionary for 2017 and I think the president-elect is the source of it because his blatant lying this year has proved that truth no longer matters to many of us. The mud slinging was b2016-12-17_14-46-07.pngeyond anything I could have imagined.  And then the election happened. I thought the November 8 was going to be the end of this maddening rhetoric but it seems it is just the beginning. I and most of us are victims of extreme abuse in this arena. Too bad there is not a law against what just happened.

Some Personal Joys of the year for me were my frequent trips in my self made micro-RV “in search of America”.  I made several trips throughout the Midwest and literally took hundreds of pictures. It will take me this entire winter season to post what I found and the get ready for the 2017 trips. I took these trips alone as my wife is finally reconciled to the fact that we now enjoy different interests.  She is a homebody and I am a wanderer.

I got one thing off my bucket list this year and that was a weeklong trip to Disney World. In some ways it was better than I imagined and in others it was a disappointment but that is generally how life goes isn’t it? The Star Wars stuff was amazing, the crowds even in early April were suffocating. And the costs, well, I try to ignore that part…

I don’t have much corporate hope for the year 2017 so“God Save The Country”  will by my siren call for the coming year at least in the political and maybe even cultural arenas…

Tomorrow I will try to find a sliver of silver lining for 2017….

The Calm In The Eye Of The Storm…

ISOA Banner  Anyone who has experienced a hurricane knows that in the middle of the storm there is a point of almost complete calm when the eye of the hurricane passes over. Being that our national elections are tomorrow I thought it appropriate to try and write a calming post here today.  To do that I went all the way back to my 1976 mountain hiking in Colorado and my honeymoon in Maui Hawaii in 1986.

Click on any picture above to see a larger slideshow view

The first two are of the time I and a buddy hiked up to a mountain top lake at  14,000 feet in Colorado and spent the night in a tent. It was probably the most peaceful in my life. The night time air was super crisp, the water was near freezing, and the night time sky was beyond imagination.

The rest of the pictures are from Maui Hawaii.  If these don’t calm you down a little then maybe you need a tall glass of Jack Danial’s… maybe both..

Hang on, it will soon be over….

When They Go Low, You Go High…

2016-10-29_07-48-59.pngI guess this will be my last post for a while about melding your religion and your politics into one bag.  To me it is the same thing as mixing horse manure and ice cream. It doesn’t hurt the manure but it sure does stink up the ice cream!  (I wish I knew the source for this thought as I would give them credit.)  No political party is worthy of our allegiance, that belongs totally to our Lord. I use the Red Letter Living quote below to illustrate that fact:

We do truly stand at a crossroads, a crossroad of the soul. In the time of crisis we have a choice to make. Will we sink to justifying hurt to protect our self interest, or will we rise to show grace, mercy, and goodness in the middle of all the ugliness and fear? In that sense the gospel is deeply personal, but it is not only personal, but also social and political. The central message Jesus preached was the “kingdom of God” ― a term whose meaning is perhaps better conveyed today as “God’s politics” that is, God’s way of organizing life together. The values and way Jesus showed us do not stop when we get to the political or public sphere. They are not intended to be tossed aside when things get tough. As Jesus says on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel,

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.

This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Mt 5:43-48, MSG)

Speaking from a time of crisis himself, Matthew has an important message that we need to hear today in our time of crisis. He calls us to respond in the way of Jesus, a way characterized by grace, forgiveness, and enemy love. When they go low, you go high.

Source: Trump, Jesus, & America’s Crisis – Red Letter Christians

We have a choice in this election between two very different presidential candidates. Now I will admit that neither is without fault but one just seems to be the opposite of my spiritual beliefs and the words above. I would no more consider him for president than I would mix my ice cream with horse manure…

The George W. Bush White House ‘Lost’ 22 Million Emails

Thank heavens that this political savagery will finally be over in less than 50 days.  I have almost given up on reading or watching any news sources as they are totally flooded with Mr. Trump and his malicious rhetoric.  Hillary using a private email is one of the main topics for ages now.  If you are one of those who doesn’t see this a purely political then the quote below if for you;

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private emailsystem set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”

Source: The George W. Bush White House ‘Lost’ 22 Million Emails

It just amazes me how Bush/Cheney administration got by doing mostly illegal stuff with no admonishment from congress or other agencies.  It is indeed a double standard when it comes to GOP representatives.

I am thinking seriously of just stopping all my news sources until November 9th. I don’t need the agony in my life right now. On that day Mr. Trump will go back to his casino empire and leave the serious stuff to the real people.

With all the voting stuff being changed by my very red State I am also looking to do an absentee ballot this year for the first time in my life. For Primary day this year I had to wait in the voting line for over an hour because of the changes they have made.  I imagine that the wait will exceed 3 hours this coming election. Up until now I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes where I live now.

Being a responsibly citizen of this country sure takes a lot more work than it used to…

To The Regulators….

I am one of those who believes that our government has a very important role in our society. It seems human nature to be self serving before anything else now. To seek common good is above and beyond what happens in society.

We may well hit the next financial crisis before the regulatory response to the last one is fully implemented. Why? Legal scholars finger a culprit called “regulatory ossification,” referring to the grinding slowness of today’s federal rule-writing apparatus — largely because regulatory agencies are strangled by endless paperwork and frivolous lawsuits.

tightrope_1ahkxtwFully tackling this problem will probably require congressional action. Luckily, there are many things a president can do to partially alleviate the problem. Since she’s looking increasingly likely to take the White House, Hillary Clinton would be well advised to start taking this problem seriously.

One of the finest pieces of policy journalism ever written is “He Who Makes the Rules,” by Haley Sweetland Edwards. It’s an in-depth look at the bureaucratic trench warfare that causes the years-long delays in rulemaking. Laws like Dodd-Frank generally don’t contain specific regulations saying what must happen; instead they instruct federal agencies to write rules within specific parameters, with the overall process governed by the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act.

As Elizabeth Warren pointed out in a recent speech, what is needed is someone with the opposite view — that regulations are a huge net benefit that are absolutely critical to protecting the American economy and citizenry. Slow-walking regulation of finance or climate change with onerous cost-benefit nitpicking when Wall Street just obliterated the economy and American cities are suffering clockwork weather disasters is completely idiotic.So given that Republicans stand a good chance of hanging onto Congress, if Hillary Clinton wants to achieve anything during her presidency, appointing people who believe in quality government to key regulatory posts might be the single smartest and easiest step she could take.

Source: How to make big government agile again

Regulating our free enterprise system is critical to keeping our citizens in control of our government. Without regulations the greed endemic in a capitalist system would quickly get out of control.  Just look at late 2008 for evidence of that.

Elizabeth Warren is one of my few political heroes now. She thoroughly understands this important duty. Given the current GOP “stall everything” approach to government many of the regulations that have been passed because of the 2008 meltdown are still ery slow to be implemented.

Public servants, especially at the lower level, get little recognition and support by our citizenry but they do a gargantuan job of reigning in corporate greed and bringing some level of compassion into our way of handling wealth.  Often times they are outnumbered 50 to 1 by those in corporate America.  I don’t know how they accomplish what they do.

Thank you for your service….

It’s Time For A Break…

2016-07-31_16-01-33.pngNow that the final segment of this political season is upon us maybe it is time to take a break from politics until at least the first debate.  That is what I intend to do. I don’t think I can handle all the mudslinging that will surely occur in the coming days and weeks. Ninety eight days from now it won’t matter, either we will have a nut case as president or one who will pretty much preserve the status quo. I’m pretty sure we as a nation can survive both possibilities.

I need to move on to other, more productive or at least thoughtful things. So the “In Search of America” and the “That’s Life” portions of RJsCorner  will take center stage for a while. I know my ratings will go down as they are always higher when I join in on the idiocy of politics but RJsCorner was never intended to be about ratings.  When I started this blog almost eight years ago on another forum it was meant to be my “public” journal.  That is, a place where I can think out loud about life. As the years have passed it has almost morphed into a way  keeping me mentally active.

I will be posting many more of my “In Search of America” pictures here as well as some more philosophical stuff related to Autism among other things.  Autism has become my study of choice for the last few months. I will be sharing those thoughts with you. I will also be sharing some parts of my private life to maybe show you how you too might want to dig into your own personal version and try to become a better person. Personal improvement is my ultimate  goal for this study.

If any of this interests you keep coming back to RJsCorner in the coming weeks.  If you are here primarily for the politics come back in the Fall. But one thing I do hope is that more of you can share your experiences via comments to my posts. While I get a healthy view count comments are few.   It is nice to know that someone is out  there and interested….

Its Been A While Since We Had A New Political Party…

I think it is time for a shakeup of our political system. It has been 160 years since we had a new party on the American scene.  Maybe it is time…

2016-07-26_12-00-16.pngMany Americans are justifiably nervous that the know-nothing pathological narcissist at the top of the Republican ticket might actually win the presidency. Still, while this could indeed happen, it remains unlikely….

It shows, for instance, that the percentage of non-centrists in the House Republican caucus has gone from about 44 percent in 1999 to nearly 90 percent today, while the number of non-centrist Democrats has stayed almost exactly the same at about 10 percent. Since Ronald Reagan took office, the ideological distance between the parties has more than doubled.

Trump is therefore not just the product of the conservative echo chamber, or the Tea Party aversion to pragmatic compromise. His rise is evidence that the party and its voters may soon fuse their increasingly anti-system behavior and preferences with a political figure who shares Trump’s contempt for democracy but who also possesses the skills and temperament to make his dark vision a reality.

SOURCE: American democracy is hurtling toward an apocalyptic showdown about legitimacy

The base, whatever that is, of the Republican party just seems bent on anti-system behavior. What happened to the true conservative I simply don’t know. I admit to being a conservative in the fiscal sense. Our deficit spending, especially on the military, and our failure to maintain a tax structure to successfully manage the social aspects of our country just don’t make sense to me. But as the quote above says since 90% of the Republicans in the house are now in the anti-establishment mode it seems obvious where we need to seriously trim our weeds. But until gerrymandering is finally declared unconstitutional that is not likely to happen at least in the House.

I saw an interesting interview on CNN recently. The panel was made of of four Republican strategists. Only one of the four was promoting the Trump candidacy.  The other three were in the mode of how to reclaim the party after Trump is soundly defeated in November.

Given the total obstructionist attitude of the current Republican congress it just may be time for something new. A society cannot exist by standing stubbornly  in a protectionist mode.  Neither can a political party  exist with only a small minority of its country’s citizenry.

I had high hopes that Mr. Ryan, when he took over as Speaker of the House, would break the gridlock but just the opposite seems to have happened.  He has clearly stated that his top priority is party above principle. His  and McConnell’s endorsement of Trump simply because he managed to bully his way through the Republican pack and get the nomination is shameful to me. I have lost all respect for him and I imagine many of their once conservative base have too!

Its been a while since we had a new political party… maybe it is time…. I just hope it has a fiscal conservative bent.  The Democrats totally abandoned that idea decades ago…

 

Unchallenged Claims….

The media had a lot to talk about last week in the RNC convention. Not so much so far with the Democrat side. Except for a very small (<5%) of the delegates there is just not much controversy.

But once the evening arrived, the Sanders dead-enders were subjected to an absolute blitzkrieg of unity. There was Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman doing a bit with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — and ad-libbing, “Can I just say to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.” There was Michelle Obama, giving a speech so terrific and basking in such a tide of love from the audience that you almost expected her to ascend to the sky on a chariot made of pure light. Then came progressive hero Elizabeth Warren, and finally Sanders himself.

It didn’t solve the problem entirely — throughout the evening there were periodic moments when a few people would begin some chant or other in an attempt to distract from what was going on up on the stage, and Warren in particular had to speak over persistent chanting. But it soon became clear that it was just a small number of Sanders dead-enders — according to some accounts, it was coming entirely from the California delegation and may have been fewer than a dozen people — even if they were able to make an unusual amount of noise. When they began chanting over Rep. Keith Ellison during his introduction of Sanders in an apparent attempt to drown out his praise of the Vermont senator, it took on a surreal cast.

Source: Bernie Sanders’ devastating rebuke to ‘Bernie or Bust’

With not much to say about the Democrats yet, so this post is about something that came up on Sunday. Before the convention started I watched a CNN segment with Carl Bernstein, of the “Woodward and Bernstein” fame. He was screaming about how the media coverage of the current political campaigns is pitiful in that the press is not doing anything to counter ridiculous political claims by the candidates and their supporters. They allowed Trump and his backers to say anything and don’t bother to seek out the truthfulness of the claims! To him investigative reporting is dead in the U.S. media and I kind of agree.

The press/media serves a vital purpose in our democracy. We, the public, expect them to seek out truth in our political processes so that the voters can make informed decisions. Letting grandiose claims go without investigation is dangerous to our democracy.

I hear the political pundits say that political organizations don’t matter much anymore.  Instead it is social media that drives our political processes.  If that means that unfounded accusations and “facts” go without scrutiny then that is certainly a bad thing.  At least to this senior citizen…

Hate Personified….

The one glimmer of hope I found in the GOP convention just ended was the number of empty seats in the Cleveland arena. It seems that HATE is not a big selling point for many. But that is what was spewed out in large quantities during their four day travesty.

2016-07-21_10-49-32.pngBut then Lucifer messed with the program. Inexplicably, a charged-up Dr. Ben Carson, a vanquished Trump rival with a narrow range of vision, was given prime time real estate to pull out phrases that meant something only to a slab of the Republican base. He abandoned his prepared remarks. He implied that Hillary Clinton was in a league with the devil. Her hero, he said, was Saul Alinsky, dropping the name of an obscure socialist labor organizer as if he were Bono….

Christie had the audience cheering, over and over, “Lock her up, Lock her up.” His speech was mean, and over the top, and it violated the norms of politics, but his party knows that the only way their nominee can win is if millions of Americans who plan to vote for her decide instead that her conduct in office disqualifies her from being president. For what Republicans needed to do, it was effective. And many, many fewer people saw it than who might have.

Source: An unconventional disaster for Donald Trump

2016-07-21_10-51-11.pngI  have faith that hate is not the primary agenda for the mass who usually vote Republican. Yes, they have conservative principles that I might disagree with, some even strongly, but I am convinced that they are loving people who see hate as a vitriol destruction of their valued principles rather than a politically winning strategy. Most of them do NOT put their party above their principles.

I have hope that come November 5 Mr. Trump and his fellow hate-mongers will quickly slide into the losing annals of history and the “real” Republicans will then begin  to recapture their party. What we saw for the last four days has nothing to do with conservative principles. NOTHING…. I hope that is clear to many who usually vote Republican…

Now it is on the the Democratic convention next week. It will be interesting to compare it to what we just endured.  In my mind ANYTHING would be better…

This Country Is Bigger Than Any Two Parties.

The foundation of RJsCorner is based on the life and philosophy of Will Rogers. So, I think it is time to inject his wisdom into our current political scene. We need something to make sense of all the foolishness. (“foolishness” is the most polite word I could come up with.)  I have been around for many presidential campaigns but this one seems to take the cake for the most absurd. They just keep getting dirtier and dirtier. Here is Will quote..

Will Rogers 6“This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it. These big politicians are so serious about themselves and their parties.

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super-nation.

If by some divine act of Providence we could get rid of both parties and hired some good men, like any other big business does, why we would be sitting pretty.”

 Will Rogers, 1 November 1932

As Will says this country is a thousand times bigger than all the politicians combined.  I do agree that there is too much power in Washington DC but who can take charge of it if we push those yahoos out.  I also agree with Will that we need some “good” people  to do it. Some say Donald Trump since he is a political novice is the person to do that but I just can’t get my mind wrapped around that concept.

Donald Trump who has declared financial bankruptcy four time and abandoned marriages almost as many is not the person I want to represent our country. Simply speaking, he does not have the temperament to make critical decisions during these chaotic times!  That seems all too obvious to me when I see him irrationally ranting about so many things. A judge who can’t make decisions because he is of Mexican descent is an example. I can’t imagine what he would do if he is faced with a world wide crisis.

I do agree with Will that we need an outsider to bring some sanity back into our government but there are probably thousands of others who are infinitely more qualified to do that than Mr. Trump.  What does it take for a “good” man or woman to get control pf the current political  environment?

Mr. Trump is not the scariest person in my current thinking.  What really scares me are those citizens who think he is the answer to our problems. Have we as an electorate become so illiterate in decision making processes to fall for the hype of a carnival hawker con artist.  That is what really scares me about the presidential season.  I truly pray that my confidence in the rest of us being a thousand times bigger than the candidates proves true come November 5.