Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What Did Our Nobel Laureate in Literature Once Say?

Greetings, Readers!  Hmmm...didn't our latest Nobel Literature Laureate once say something about "the times..."?  Well, changes do come for sure. I'm not always the most eager to embrace changes, but if you notice on the sidebar on right (or wherever in mobile view) there's a link to follow me on twitter. WHAT?

Yes, over this past weekend I joined twitter.  It's really been quite an adventure getting set up and figuring out how things flow.  The learning curve does keep one on one's toes for sure.  So what does this mean for this blog (and Daisies and Diamonds)?

Well, I'll still be blogging.  Bur just probably not as often as before.  The plan is to use twitter to tweet alerts/links, short takes, or brief thoughts.  More involved and developed posts will be ---- right here at TVFH. I'm working a post that should be ready soon.

So - hope to have more folks participate.  Comments here will be very welcome, and so will tweets :-)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

What Tools?

Greetings.  It's still hard to look at current events and not be ready to go into hibernation or something until things start looking up.  We have challenges to our civil liberties here in the U. S., challenges to our social safety net  (what's left of it), and even to our democracy itself.  On top of that, there are concerns we are putting our entire Planet in danger by ignoring climate change and raising the threat of a nuclear arms race. 

I often feel it seems we are looking at a Gordian Knot of interconnected problems. Whatever means Alexander the Great used to cut or untie the legendary knot, we need to think of what tools we have to slice through our own problems and work toward solutions.

As I was thinking of this post, a song came to mind.  "If I Had a Hammer," written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, a protest song (and do we ever need them now!) which needed Peter, Paul, and Mary to make its big splash.  Here are the lyrics with some really great notes about the song.   How about a video? I really like the version by Trini Lopez!  I'm not sure about the Hammer, but it seems fairly clear to me that the Bell would be our Liberty Bell, reminding us of our founding principles. And the Song? Well, maybe the Allman Brothers' "Revival" might do!

So what tools do we have?  

How about the key to freedom we hand off to others, especially those who may be different from us?
How about the ladder of opportunity we help build for others to rise?
How about the globe we need to always keep in front of us to remind us to care for Planet Earth?

And as for song... how about this?    Get Together

So, what tools do YOU have?  Do share in comments!

Do comment and/or share if you find this post or any post here of value! Thanks!





Monday, March 6, 2017

Alerts If You Haven't Heard...

So here we are again.  The way things are now, there are probably alerts we should pay attention to EVERY DAY.  This tends to make one just a bit tired.

We do, however, need to keep our eyes open, know what is going on, and ready ourselves to resist.  Not that I'm much into marches these days, but there are many forms of resistance and each should do what he or she can. Commondreams.org (see link in my 'Great Sites to Visit' list...) has been having a daily "Resist Day#(whatever day of the current nightmare admin. it happens to be)" there are definitely some ideas there.  FreePress.net also has an e-mail list of "100 Days, 100 Disruptions,"  that you can check out.

Our first alert: Mr. Khizr Khan, who spoke so eloquently at the Dem. convention, now has his travel privileges "under review," leading to his reluctant cancellation of a speaking engagement in Toronto, Canada.  WHAT IS THIS?  He is an American Citizen!!!  This totally reeks of vindictiveness and retribution for his views.  This is NOT what America should be about, nor does it follow our own Constitution!  This also ties in with one action on today's resist list: oppose the 'Muslim travel ban 2.0.'

Our second alert:  Internet privacy (what little there actually may be) is  now greatly at risk.  The new FCC Chairman " has blocked new requirements that Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast apply common sense security practices to protect your private data.(emphasis mine)Whatever happened to standing up for consumers? There is also a move by GOP members of Congress to make it illegal for ISPs to protect online privacy AND (get this:) prohibit the FCC from enacting "substantially similar" privacy rules going forward.  These moves definitely need to be opposed.

Our third alert: The Fight for 15 Memphis Chapter is alleging that police surveilled and used intimidation tactics on protesters and ----- "police claimed they had 'authorization from the president of McDonald’s' to arrest protesting fast food workers."    I think the surveillance state, the gov't and corporate interests are waaaaaay too seamless now.  The right to peacefully protest and dissent is supposedly enshrined in our First Amendment.  Let's all stand to protect that right!  (And while that Amendment is on your mind, why not check out:  A Little Thing Called "The First Amendment - Updated! )

So, I hope these alerts open an eye or two.  And it would really be a boost to hear from someone in comments! Don't be shy.  I don't bite, but, being a good kitty lover, I have been known to hiss at miscreants in power who abuse authority.

If this post or any post here you find of value, please do comment and/or share.  Thanks! 



Friday, March 3, 2017

Heartlessness

Greetings again.  I really thought I'd let the last few posts sit a bit, but in reading the news (yesterday now) I knew I just had to post something about the heartbreak so many immigrants are undergoing. And it's not just here in the U. S., but in other places around the world as well.

I just can not fathom how these people can live with themselves while treating other human beings so cruelly.  I suppose the Milgram Experiment  and the Stanford Prison Experiment explain some of it.

You can read about the "Dreamer" so recently taken into custody by ICE after speaking out.  She's not even the first case that is outrageous, not even the first Dreamer case.  This story details the case of an undocumented women detained after seeking a protection order against an abuser, along with mentions of some other cases. There are some who see the damage these heavy-handed crackdowns are having on the targets and their families.  WHY DON'T MORE OF US?

Since Brexit, there have been many stories of folks having problems staying in the U. K. or being deported.  Here is a very striking example.  This woman is even in a better position than most who find themselves with similar problems, believe it or not.  In the op-ed, Irene Clennell tells her story of being forced to leave her family.  "I’d been in the UK since 1988, married to a British man for 27 years. Yet I was forced from my family, without legal advice, and left in Singapore with just £12."  Further, she adds:  "The authorities have shown their willingness to treat foreign-born people as second-class citizens, no matter how integrated we are – and, worse, treat us like criminals... During my removal from Britain I was treated like a terrorist: I was restrained by the arms, my every word written down, and there were guards on the door when I went to the toilet."

But there is more outrage to come.  I think taking today's low-down prize in heartlessness is the mayor (she has so dishonored the title that NO, I won't capitalize it) of Calais, France.  She is determined to put an end to folks feeding the immigrants that are coming to the area and struggling to survive.  This, the article points out, will particularly hurt young people.  How heartless are you when your lack concern for fellow human beings going hungry is such that you don't even want anyone else to feed them out of concern for their plight?  What kind of heart, what kind of mindset is that?

This really is a challenge for all of us.  Shades of "I was only following orders," one has to wonder about how folks could be so unfeeling (maybe there was something to those experiments after all...). This fine "Views" article from commmondreams challenges all of us.  What would we do?  And this one, also pointed out something I certainly was not aware of;  Nazi death camps were right in urban areas!  Joe Engel, a Holocaust survivor on the tour which gave rise to the article, said: “People say they didn’t know. All the camps were so close to the city. How could they not know? You could smell the ashes, the flesh.”  In his conclusion, the author of the piece also challenges us: "What kind of witnesses shall we be?"  Indeed, each in our own way, WE MUST NOT LOOK AWAY.

If this post or any post here you find to be of value, please do comment and/or share.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My "Cacerlolazo" or "People's Address"

Greetings.  Well, there was a speech last night, eh?  I saw on commondreams.org that an act of resistance can be to write one's own "cacerlolazo" or "People's Address" to counter and resist the administration and its' policies.

The term cacerlolazo means "casserole" and the tactic is rooted in folks banging pots, pans and other utensils in noisy protest.  OK, let's make some NOISE!

My own "People's Address":

Honorable Members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Secretaries, and Honorable Fellow Citizens:

This country needs to chart a new path. A path that will take us ever closer to the fabled American Dream and The Dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

We need to chart a path which will move us away from hatred, bigotry, and fearmongering into a new path of acceptance, understanding, and cooperation.  We must ensure that there will be no second-class citizens; that equal protection of the law applies to each citizen, and that every voice has an equal chance to be heard.

We need to chart a new path to ensure that our First Amendment Rights are honored and protected.  The freedom to worship freely, protest and dissent freely and to have a free press must be absolutely and always respected.  We should also broaden the scope to make sure that rights to privacy are also included.

We need to chart a new path in the way government works; its focus should be working for the people. That means the first concern of policy should be the people of our country, not corporations or large donors.  Citizens also deserve a government based on truth, transparency, and accountability.  Our government should always be held to those principles.

We need to chart a new path by enacting policies to further public education and programs that will lessen or eliminate the tremendous burden of debt with which so many students have been weighed down.  We must recognize that investing in our students is one of the best investments we can make.

We need to chart a new path on immigration to make sure that people are treated with fairness and humanity, and that violence is not done to families.

We need to chart a new path on jobs, the economy, and the climate.  We need to foster policies and programs which benefit the majority of Americans, not just wealthy and well-connected elites.  We need to understand that we must not ignore climate change, but work to protect the Planet; that this is not necessarily a forced choice between jobs and climate.

We need to chart a new path with our military and law enforcement. It is true that we need a military, however, we need not allow it to be bloated out of control.  We also need to scale back the increasing militarization of law enforcement and make sure that the justice system is fair for all.

Finally, we need to chart a new path, a new course globally, and lead in seeking ways toward Global Peace.

Thank you all and God bless our nation and our Earth.


Remember, if you find this or any post here of value do comment and/or share.  Thanks!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Freedom Is A Journey

Greetings all, as we await March.

Well, again, you never know when or how inspiration will strike.  If you haven't seen or heard of that nefarious Paul Ryan's tweet about freedom and Obamacare, Jon Schwarz had a fantastic take down.   During participation in the comments, inspiration struck (but shhhhh - someone might figure out my TI commenter handle 😃 )

After mulling over the nugget of inspiration, I thought, for at least now, a poem might be the best outlet for my thoughts.  However... maybe a more prose-y take on the topic might be good later (?).

So here goes:



Freedom Is A Journey


Freedom is a journey
One concentric circle blending into another
Old confines erased
As each one expands the breadth,
Each one expands the horizons
Every new incremental change
Gives more room to stretch
Gives an invitation to grow
This journey of broadening scope
Begun by some ancient yearning pebble
Still continues its pilgrimage today
The journey still incomplete


Hope that offering gives you readers something to think about. Your thoughts?

Remember as always, if you find this post or any post here of value, do comment and/or share.  Thanks!

Related Post:

 My Freedom/Liberty Concept Map

Friday, February 24, 2017

What About Keeping Our Cool?

Greetings all as Feb. winds down.  You readers should know by now that I am a fan of Mysteries at the Museum.  I enjoy history and really love it when they present inspiring stories, say of Elizabeth Jennings Graham, as I mentioned in this post (Persistence/Long Time Gone).  Again, the show has helped prompt me to write a blog post.  

It's hard to try to escape, even for a bit, some of the mess that's going down in our country and the world.  I very frequently read articles at The Intercept, and saw a certain headline, but didn't bother to read it at the time since I just wasn't in the mood for more bad news. Then I got to finally watch one of last week's MATM episodes and -  ok, this needs to be written.

It seems as though our popular vote loser and head twitterer is signaling willingness to restart a nuclear arms race.  All I can say is: that would be just sheer lunacy.  The racism, bigotry and misogyny are bad enough.  The lack of regard for the environment is bad enough.  The lack of regard for civil liberties is bad enough. The total disregard for actual facts is bad enough.  But nuclear arms are too serious to be left to anyone who doesn't want to keep a cool head (more later) and clearly think through implications of any change in policy or something else.

So what does that have to do with MATM? The episode was "Mutually Assured Missteps, First Train Robbery, and Declaration Discovered" (very good episode overall, actually!) The first story was of an incident in 1962 when it was thought that a Russian saboteur had breached the fence at Duluth air field in MN.  Fighter jets from nearby Volk Field in WI were readying for takeoff when word came that it was a false alarm.  The alleged "saboteur" was a bear!  Scott Sagan, author of the book, The Limits of Safety, echoes my concerns about such incidents. Sagan uncovered this incident with a FOIA request, so don't let anyone say FOIA doesn't matter!  This incident should also remind us once again that nukes are very, very serious business.  Even accidental misunderstandings could lead to the unthinkable.

We should remember the example of Vasili Arkhipov, featured in the most excellent PBS episode, "Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World."  One thing which stood out for me was that one of those who served with him said that he stood out for being 'cool headed.'  When the fate of the entire Planet is at stake, I think that's a very good quality to have.

And if you find this post or any post here of value, please do comment and/or share.  Thanks!