Category Archives: Random Reflections

Pondering freedom on a smoky day

People were free. They went out into a tinder dry world and set fires, because they were free to set off fireworks and build campfires and no one could tell them what to do.

Now we can’t leave the house, again.

Technically we are “free” to do so, but…

The air is a sickly yellow color. It’s worse than the pandemic restrictions. Before I could take the dogs for a vigorous walk and exercise, now I have to avoid breathing deeply; it’s even unhealthy for my dogs. I got us take out at the local diner last night and spent the evening coughing.

We aren’t free to breath clean air.

Pandemic freedom

USA style

A similar “freedom” phenomenon happened with the pandemic here in the USA. People had to be “free”. They went out and did what they wanted, the virus took hold and people died, and were maimed by the virus.

The people who got sick and died and their families and loved ones had their freedom eliminated by someone else’s freedom; someone who thought that being unable to go out to a bar and party was an outrageous infringement of their rights.

Swedish style

I watched a video about Sweden’s response to the pandemic. It is held up by many as a shining example. But there are actually some key differences between lying about the severity of the virus and pretending it is safe for people to pay no mind to it and what Sweden did.

In Sweden the government told people the truth about the virus and what they could do to stay safe. They requested that everyone do their best to keep the virus under control. AND THEY DID!

They trusted their government and the doctors and did as they advised. They were free to make decisions and made ones that supported the common good.

Uneasy money

I’ve been following the news lately and pondering about “The Economy”. These days The Economy is being treated as a living entity. We are being bullied to do unsafe things for its sake.

The Economy has more respect and right to life than human beings. The USA recently passed 190,000 COVID-19 deaths with no fanfare from the press, or any acknowledgement of that grim milestone of pain from our dear leaders, but plenty of assurances from those same “leaders” that The Economy is healthy.

Pretty, but you can’t buy food or pay rent with it.

What is The Economy?

Continue reading Uneasy money

Another must see for US citizens

I have been in deep depression this weekend. I was already down after the ridiculosity of the TNC* and violence of last week. But I have a college age niece who lives in Portland… The images of Trump supporting, crassly immature, wanna-be real men driving their phallic symbol pickup trucks as they acted out some kind of video-game fantasy by shooting randomly at people (paint balls can hurt people and mace is a weapon) raised my ire.

This clip by John Oliver contains some foul language**, but it puts into words a lot of what I’ve been groping to express.

Continue reading Another must see for US citizens

Random reflections

A gallery of reflections from a trip to Guilin China in May of 2019. Beautiful area, May is rainy season, so there were plenty of reflections, even on the walkways. It is on my list to go back at a different time of year. Alas.

A more philosophical reflection

Answer versus solution

I remember a conversation with my father-in-law where he, a PhD mechanical engineer, expounded on the difference between a solution and an answer. I believe the conversation came up with regard to some, rather esoteric, topic related to computers and their ability to solve problems, numerical integration maybe? it was an awfully long time ago. His point, which was totally correct, was that the computer can give you an answer, but not a solution.

Continue reading Random reflections

What, after all, is the flag?

We’ve been seeing the flag a lot these last few days. It’s gotten me thinking quite a bit.

I pledge allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation, under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

When I started school, back in the dark ages, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

Today I see the flag as being abused: used by people who are not paying attention to the point of the flag, as clearly stated in the pledge of allegiance.

Specifically, the flag is a symbol, it stands for our Republic. Our Republic, which is defined by our constitution.

Continue reading What, after all, is the flag?

Another way to vote

I read this morning that POTUS is planning to abuse his privilege, nothing new, but it’s getting to where constant push back is needed if we are going to have a democratic republic, as laid out in the Constitution.

Because the current incumbent of the White House is planning to abuse the White House, by using it as the background for his acceptance speech, I believe that we should all protest by not watching the convention.

Trust me you won’t miss it…its always better to wait for fact checking on anything he says. The ratings being low will send a powerful message. Frankly, the only one he understands.

Another wordy Wednesday

If you aren’t caring about the political situation in the USA this post isn’t for you. I am working on a post of late summer in the garden that should be done soon.

I’m following the Democratic National Convention this week. This is the first time I will have seen it in full. I figured out how to stream it from PBS.

I have also been following the news a bit. I have a major peeve. I am really getting sick of people speaking as if Ms. Obama attacked the current resident of the White House. She spoke calmly, lucidly, eloquently and sincerely. Yet the news describes her speech using the same words that are used to describe tirades by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Janine Pirro. There is simply no comparison. They are not calm, lucid, eloquent or sincere.

I would also point out that if people truly believed that the current incumbent had done a good job then they would not judge her use of his own words to describe his presidency as “it is what it is” as an insult. The real insult was his insult to the citizens of this nation when he chose to use that phrase to speak of what was then over 150,000, and is now over 170,000, deaths due to Covid 19.

While I am at it, because I feel it is a related complaint, I would like to point out that after reading that the current incumbent had gone on about how “mean” Senator Harris was to Brett Kavanaugh and others. I reviewed the videos and she said things like “would you please answer the question?” she was never rude, simply polite but not letting them get away without answering the questions. When one compares this to the rudeness to which Congressman Jordan subjected Dr. Fauci, there is no comparison.

I am getting sick of this miss-characterization of people who are being courteous, calm and reasoned in testimony and debate as comparable to the frothing-at-the-mouth, bat-crap-crazy “conservatives”.

Lest we forget

Today is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. I visited Hiroshima in September of 2005, about 15 years ago. It was a very sobering pilgrimage, in more than one way. The museum wasn’t more graphic than it needed to be, but it didn’t put a gloss on things either.

The recent explosion in Beirut was traumatic, so much so that even with the video footage it is almost impossible to wrap our minds around what the experience was for the people there. Yet it was tiny compared to what Hiroshima experienced.

My grandfather fought in WWII in the South Pacific, and his unit was preparing to invade Tokyo when the bomb was dropped, likely a nearly suicidal mission. Since the bomb ended the war and Grandpa was in my life because he didn’t get killed, I was raised believing that the bomb was a good thing, at the very worst a necessary evil. I had never connected it to the human carnage and horrific trauma. I have felt since my visit that every world leader should take that pilgrimage. One of my concerns about current leadership is that so many of them are sociopaths and couldn’t learn from that.

This is a good time for us to remember what was at stake in World War II and the tyranny and fascism that allowed people both near and far to be viewed as less than human. We are experiencing that sort of autocratic thinking.

As over 160,000 US citizens have died from COVID19 we see an administration that stopped trying to do anything much about it because it was raging first in states that did not have the same political bent, then gave up entirely when statistics began to demonstrate that minorities were more effected. It has a very familiar tone to the lead up to the holocaust:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller, Lutheran pastor.

The phrase “lest we forget” comes from a poem written in 1897:

God of fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine–
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

from Recessional by Rudyard Kipling