A Centrist Position??

Let’s get a political post in today without talking about the Oval Office occupant.  It was interesting to see the two Republican Senators who gave an impassioned speeches about these current times.  Their words reminded me of the McCarthy years in the 1950s.  I was just beginning to get my political legs then so couldn’t understand the obvious witch hunt that was going on by one Wisconsin Senator. But even more so, I couldn’t understand why so many of his party in congress didn’t speak up against that travesty.

Having to answer to your children and grandchildren why you didn’t stand for your principles in the face of such ugliness is a critical point in that fiasco and the one currently taking place. I have admitted here that while I am an avid social progressive I am also a fiscal conservative so I have never pledged my total allegiance to either political party. To me, there have always been good things in both organizations.  That is, until recently where the GOP is going off the rails to to speak with a very radical right agenda. It is pure spite to make it your goal to undo EVERYTHING your predecessor has done. Pure Hateful Spite…

Disliking the current Republican stands does not engender me more to the Democratic party, instead it caused me to go more and more into the “independent” mode. Both established parties have lost their principles and their focus on doing the people’s business.  One party has become about exclusion with the other wants to appease EVERYONE.  Neither of these new stands are appealing to me. So, what is the answer? I think it just might be a new group made up of moderates from both parties.

2017-10-29_09-50-31.pngIt’s a shame that good Senators like Senator Flake, and Senator Corker were driven from their party due to its swing to the  hateful isolationist exclusion mode.  The Republican base has moved so far to the right to deny them another term so the answer might just be to look for a more moderate base. That seems to be the current Centrist Project.

I have been following this group for almost year now and have contributed to their efforts.  We as a country need desperately to move beyond the extreme partisan politics of today.  We need to be driven by principled agendas that keep the focus on what is beneficial to the whole country.  I would love to find a party that contain branches of  both social liberalism and fiscal conservatism but not totally focused on either.

Click on the graphic above to see what The Centrist Project are about. You just might find them to be at least a partial solution to the problems of the country.  It is likely that the Centrist movement if it is successful will replace one of the political parties and to me it is uncertain which that will be. But something has to change or we just might not otherwise survive.  When your party abandons its core principles it is time for you to abandon your party.

I’m Taking Life More Personally Now…

With my brain trauma event, I seem to be taking life more personally now.  After some deep reflections, I have decided that what might happen twenty years from now should not be on my radar screen. Even ten years is questionable as I will likely not be around even then. Why should I fret over a time when I won’t even exist, especially since I leave no heirs to suffer the consequences of these idiotic times.

I have been weaning myself off politics for a couple of months now and I am seriously thinking of simply pulling the plug on that topic. It is just getting too dirty for me and I simply don’t see a way out of that condition anytime soon.  I will leave it to others to pull us back from the edge if that is even possible now. Summarizing,  I won’t spend any of my remaining days fretting about things I have little control over.

My recent personal reflections are not all negative in nature.  I have decided to take time each day to reflect on the good things that happened that day.  I will thank the Lord for every day he gives me.  Each one is considered precious in my mind now.  How I spend those days is also changing.  I won’t flitter them away waiting for better circumstances that will likely never happen.  I will do my best to make something good happen every single day that I have left. I will proverbially stop and smell the roses.

How is this going to affect my blog here at RJsCorner?  I know a large part of my viewership comes from my observations on politics. My hit count has already taken a serious decline, but that is ok.  I will just have to take the thought that doing RJsCorner more for myself than for anything else. I will continue with some additional fervor my photography and travel posts. They are an important part of my life, especially now.

I also hope my creativity posts increase to take up some of the space left behind and of course I will continue “having my say” on non-political topics.  If none of this interests you then it is time for you to delete my blog from your reading list.  I do hope that there are some of you who stay around so that I am not totally talking to myself.  🙂

With my stats going down I may also need a little additional encouragement from those who continue to hang around RJsCorner.  Life goes on a day at a time now…. at least for me.

A Drone Level View

Banner- Looney Bin

The new RJsCorner will include politics as it has in the past but instead of getting bogged down in the day-to-day insanity I will be taking a higher level view. A good older analogy for this is looking at the forest instead of individual trees. But a more modern example is taking a drone level view.

A major problem with our political, especially federal processes, is that most of our elected officials seem to think that what they do is of primary importance in everyone’s daily lives when in reality it is mainly about the contractors, lobbyists, and the corporate media as opposed to the priorities of the general population. The term “Inside the Beltway” is an apt title for this phenomenon. Yes, we normal folks are affected now and then by what they do but we are most part primarily focused on our daily lives.

We should all celebrate the fact that government processes move at a snail’s pace so little radical change is possible in the short term, even a presidential term. An example of this is the current drive to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican version. Given the diversity of opinion on this topic, it is not likely that any extreme view will be adopted. Instead, they will continue to be kicked down the road until it becomes much more urgent and on more people’s radar screens.

It is my intention to continue to cover the political process but only via a weekly post within the subcategory “Inside the Beltway Loony Bin”.  I will try not to get bogged down on who said what to whom as I have in the past. Instead, I will be taking, even more so than in the past, a Will Rogers view of the topic at hand. That is, finding the humor and irony instead of getting upset about what is happening. One of Will’s most famous quotes is “All politics is applesauce”. He never went on to explain that exactly but most likely it means that they start with a fresh product but then pulverize it to something completely unrecognizable. In my day we said that baloney. I don’t know what the kids call it today, but it is important to recognize it when it happens.

So, my goal in this category is not to get upset about the insanity inside the beltway; to take a higher level view. If you have a different idea about all of this I would love to hear it.

 

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….

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….

Cycles…

2016-04-18_08-35-14.pngI seem to go in cycles as far as my tolerance for politics goes. I regularly reach a point where it becomes intolerable to read another article about the absurdity of today’s election cycle.  This seems to be one of those times.   I just want this nomination process to end, the sooner the better so we can get to the next stage.

Not that the next stage will be any better but at least it will be different. I get it, many Americans are just pissed off about how politicians can say one thing and then turn around and do the opposite. I get it, but I don’t really see how this is all going to work out.  Will common sense finally return to the majority of us who vote in the election cycle or will the frustration end with one, or even two “Jesse Ventura” candidates come this November.  I or I don’t think anyone else has a clue.

So, here I am at RJsCorner now talking about almost anything but politics. Its time for another hiatus from the maddening drum of the current insanity.  I used to be a politics hound, I watched both the Republican and Democrat conventions every four years. It has been a couple of decades since I have done that. Most now just seem to be advertisements for the already chosen candidate. I suspect it will be different this time around, at least in the GOP.

Cycles… that seems to be the way of life, everything in cycles so why should I be any different. Turn, turn, turn…

Are You Conservative Enough…

2016-02-14_11-14-57.pngIt seems that the GOP presidential wannabes are constantly arguing that their opponents just aren’t conservative enough to be president. Of course, they wrap their radical ideology in the American flag and somehow that gives it legitimacy.  If any of them were to even hint of compromising on any issue they are quickly and firmly put down as not being conservative enough.  Are they winning votes when they do that?  Just how conservative is the electoral population vs the “conservative”candidates?  That is the general topic for this post.

But first let’s look at the conservative vs progressive divide a little. A conservative is one who primarily clings to the past whereas a progressive is always looking forward for better ways to do things.  A Conservative is change averse whereas a progressive embraces change. These are my fundamental definitions of these two groups. I think most of us would agree that it is not a good thing to be totally in either of these camps. A healthy balance is what is what I seek.

I am one who tries to learn the lessons of the past in order to not make the same mistakes over and over again. Understanding what needs to change and what doesn’t is critical to a healthy balance in life. Learn from the past but with an eye always to the future. The current crop of conservatives are always looking at their past as the good old days.

It seems that so much in today’s world, particularly our political establishments, are skewed too far in both directions. There just doesn’t seem to be a middle anymore. It is now a chasm never to be crossed. I don’t believe that is how most in our country think now. Pragmatism and critical thinking are becoming the norm for many of us, particularly among the millennials and beyond.

A radical conservative hates change, especially where it means he will have to relinquish some of his power. “Don’t rock the boat” is often their mantra.

A radical progressive wants to change things simply to change them. The “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” mentality is foreign to them.

I can see on the horizon a time when we reject an either/or mentality and embrace what works.  I may be wrong, I have certainly been wrong about many things in life, but I see in the not too distant future a total rejection of the status quo in favor of moderation and less conflict.   I believe this is coming in the coming decade if not sooner. This paradigm shift will result in some stressful times. That will be painful but a better future will result.

Call me a Don Quixote dreamer if you want but I think our better days are still ahead of us once we shed off the extreme partisanship in the world today…

 

Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”

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2016-01-18_09-18-02.pngIs our country about “obedience training” or critical thinking? That seems to be the question at hand at least for the Texas GOP. Should we have a subservient society or one that is educated to ask questions? Many of the leaders in Texas seems to think the former and like so many other things are trying to force that opinion on the rest of us!

If you haven’t figured it out by now I don’t hold Texas politics in much regard. There are just too many nuts that have come from their in recent years. Some became president and some want to get there now.  There is just too much swagger in Texas politics, and even Texas in general, for my liking.

Being a critical thinker I can’t even imagine a country whose citizens are discouraged from asking  questions. Critical thinking is what has made our country great and the lack of it will surely be our downfall. When we fall in line with whatever our leaders tell us we are on our way to becoming something other than the great democracy we have been. Stifling critical thinking is what allowed Hitler such a strangle hold on Germany for so many years. I regrettable think that it is possible for us to turn that way if the Texas GOP has there way! When critical thinking ceases then propaganda becomes “fact” and that is a scary thing!!!

In the near future I will be showing you more details about the critical thinking process in order to illustrate just how insane Texas politics is in this, and in fact most other areas of life.

 

Move Along…

2015-10-20_09-03-25.png

Sometimes it seems that the NRA is a police force who forces “their” laws on the rest of us. They have such a strangle hold on so many politicians as to get their way even when it is opposed by a vast majority of our citizens. Realizing that we have more gun violence in a day than Great Britain has in a year should be sobering to those in DC but somehow they simply ignore it and the obvious solutions. When will we finally get representatives who actually represent us in the nation’s capital? That answer is totally up to us if we just have the guts to do it….

What’s Good For the Country…

Just another afternoon snippet about my recent header work of late.  I added a “politics” box to the header with a sub title “Because it matters”. That sums it up for me. Yeah, I agree that politics is a very dirty business and taints everything it touches but it is so critical to the future of our country and the world that we all need to get involved.

2015-12-02_08-35-58Climate change is one of those issues that one of our political parties has decided to deny its existence even though 98% of the scientists are on the opposite side of that party.  Do we let politics determine if we are to reach the tipping point where it becomes unstoppable?  Do we doom future citizens of the world to the consequences of our political system?

Like it our not our government has the task of doing the people’s business where none of us as individuals can accomplish it.  We depend our our representatives to do what is good for the country.  When they don’t we have to step in and institute change.

The major threat to our democracy is that there are so many low-info voters and so many non-voters in our populace now. Thomas Jefferson said over two hundred years ago that a democracy depends on an informed electorate. I fear we are losing that as a country right now.

Too many seem swayed by harsh rhetoric putting it above common sense.  It is up to each of us to hold our noses and look out for the well being of all of us citizens of this earth.  If those yahoos in Washington won’t do it then it is time for them to go…

Like it or not Politics matters, it is as simple as that….

Listening….

There is the sentiment that we can let the victims and families know we’re sorry for their loss, but those words fall on grieving, frightened and mostly, deaf ears. I am sorry about the loss of human life anywhere, but saying it to the internet has all the veracity of signing an office sympathy card, accompanied by those trite phrases we use, so that we don’t look like assholes. You’re in our thoughts. Wishing you comfort. Our prayers are with you. I don’t want to fill the air with my nothingness.

The voices of outrage come out in full force, relentless anger directed at them, at us, at anything that’s a moving or easy target. Presidential candidates fall over themselves trying to prove how many people they’d kill in response to this nightmare. Political ideologues and bigots of every persuasion grab hold of the pain and anxiety in vain attempts to support their own version of hate.

This is not my story. This is not my opportunity. This is not my moment on the stage. This is my time to listen, to learn, and to try to comprehend other people’s stories. I don’t stay silent because I don’t care. I stay silent because, at this moment, nothing I say will make as much difference as listening.

Source: A Wish for Peace…and Quiet | The Green Study

I wondered how I was going to do a post about Paris. I didn’t want to join all the hot-heads demanding immediate revenge. From past history I know that seldom works. We just get ourselves mired down in something that accomplishes little. I didn’t want to be part of that crowd.

Then I came across the post above on one of my recent Feedly feeds from The Green Study. I have to admit that I am envious of the way the blogger has wisdom beyond her years and even mine. The Green Study refers to the paint on the walls where she blogs. How simple can you get.  Here is a little about her from her “About” page:

I’m Michelle, a midwestern, middle-aged, middle manager of average height and IQ. I’m ex-Army, ex-Republican, ex-Seventh Day Adventist, ex-smoker and an ex-girlfriend several times over, with an obsolete college degree.

Yes, this is a time to just quietly sit by and give our condolences. Ranting accomplishes little except maybe for the GOP presidential wanna-be’s who are out in force trying to appease their base.

Thanks Michelle for showing me the way….

I Love Pragmatists

Banner PragmatistsIt has been a while since I brought up a new category here at RJ’sCorner.  After seeing so many people stuck in one mode of thinking I have come to passionately embrace the concept of pragmatism.  Let’s look at its definition:

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I like to think of myself as being a pragmatist.  All my life I have looked for solutions instead of alliances. I try to look beyond the labels.  A big part of pragmatism is logic instead of dogma.  With dogma you are told what you are to believe; with pragmatism you search out the most practical answer by questioning everything.  Dogma allows us to stay stuck in a rut with no practical way of getting out.

It will be interesting to start concentrating on pragmatism on some of my posts.  I don’t know exactly where this will go but that is also part of pragmatism. You don’t have a predefined path. After careful thought you go with what is practical and what works the best for any given situation…

I Love Pragmatists

 

Stuff Happens….

Mr. Obama ordered flags at the White House on Friday to half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting. “When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer,” he said on Thursday night as early reports of the dead and injured in Oregon reached the White House. “When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.”

Source: Obama Rebukes Bush on ‘Stuff Happens’ Reaction to Oregon Shootings – The New York Times

2015-11-04_07-43-09The above quote comes from President Obama in the aftermath of one of our seemingly weekly mass murders in this country.  Presidential candidate Bush’s comments on the topic were “stuff happen”. All the other cart full of GOP candidates pretty much said the same thing.   All these guys need hope that their loved ones are not in the wrong place at the wrong time when “stuff happen”.

If a terrorist from outside our country had killed nine and injured several more of our citizens I’m sure all those in congress would immediately rush to increase our military spending so that we can go after the perps who conspired to kill. Instead when it is a domestic terrorist they silently sit on their hands. The tragedy of that bi-polar response is numbing to me.

I am proud to be an American and to be able to live in this country but that does not mean that I can’t criticize it when we do dumb things and this lack of adequate gun control is definitely a dumb thing.

I will get off my soapbox now and wait a week or two until the next time innocents are killed by our obsession for guns before I bring it up again.

Anybody but Hillary? 

Then there are Biden’s recent statements staking out a more conflicted position on abortion than one expects to hear from such a prominent Democrat. This places him far closer to the consensus position on the issue than most leading members of his party and may indicate that he would cultivate more of a working-class, middle-American sensibility than we’ve seen from a Democratic presidential candidate…

Biden should only jump into the race if he can persuade Warren to change her mind and take the leap with him, forming a complete ticket before the first votes are cast this winter, with the senator from Massachusetts serving as a running mate and senior domestic policy adviser in waiting. Take Biden’s everyman charisma, foreign policy chops, and extensive experience as a senator and vice president, and combine it with Warren’s firey, whip-smart, left-liberal populism on domestic policy and you’d have a hell of a ticket. It would be one straight out of Hillary Clinton’s nightmares — and one perfectly poised to poach support from Sanders with the message, “I get why Bernie appeals to you, but we will do it better — and we can win this thing.”

Source: Anybody but Hillary? The case for Biden-Warren 2016

A Biden/Warren ticket!!  Wow wouldn’t that be something.  I must admit that Biden has never excited me much but he is probably more a “real” person than all those others seeking that office and maybe that is what we need in the White House right now.  Lord knows that none of those folks for president in the GOP are “real”. There is just too much pandering to their bases by all of them.   I suspect if Biden were to be president he would be known as “President Joe” to most of us now and into perpetuity.

I am almost sure that I will be voting on the Democratic side this time and personally I would like to be offered an alternative to Hillary.  Yes, if she can keep the hounds off her she would probably get some important things done but she just seems to have a sense of entitlement now that kind of turns me off.  Would I be saying the same thing if she were a man?  I don’t know..  We in this country had a revolution centered around our disdain for a monarch and that is kind of like how I see this Clinton/Bush thing now.

Lets put Joe in the Oval Office with a promise to only have one term in office.  Doing that he could actually get some things done as he wouldn’t have to worry about gathering up the billions needed for a second run. He is so old it will probably happen anyway. Elizabeth Warren says she is not ready for the presidency but with four years under her belt as vice-president she should be more than ready for 2020. Maybe by that time we will have driven all the “anti” nuts out of congress so she could actually get something done.  In my mind she would definitely be a people’s president.

I try, at least in my later years, to be an optimist about things…. Go Biden/Warren….