Proud Snowflake here

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Recently, during a discussion, the person with whom I as interacting revealed through certain statements that his opinion was based on some misinformation.

He showed that he had certain steps of a process wrong, and I thought that, perhaps, if he was set straight, he might modify his opinion on the topic, or might avoid speaking incorrectly to people who mattered more than those of us sitting at the bar enjoying a beer.

I thought it would like realizing that the reason you could not solve for X in an Algebra problem was because you continually put the wrong step before the one it should follow. Once that was corrected, there would be ongoing success.

However, when I offered the facts, he immediately called me a “Whining, liptard Snowflake”, and said he could not accept what I was saying because it was from a liberal.

I had no idea where that came from.

I was a Snowflake because I was offering facts?

If offering facts that have no political party affiliation but are rejected simply because they do not agree with accepted misinformation made me a Snowflake, knowing my life experiences and that calling me that is nowhere near what I have been called in the past when it really counted and could be professionally and personally damaging,  I am happy to be called that.

Sadly this person will offer his opinion at some pint when it matters, and will not know why no one he is speaking to accepts it as a valid one based on facts, facts he actively chose to reject.

I tried.

 

 

 

Remember those who have died and those we are letting die

On Memorial Day we pay tribute to all those in the armed services who over the life of this country died fighting for it.

Some died on the field of battle; some later from their wounds; some in their old age after living a good life.

But, there are also those who die inside while still alive because they are used up and then spit out. They are pushed aside because they are no longer photo ops and they are not useful as tools of politicians and patriotism contestants.

Their benefits are cut, re-integration programs are eliminated, social programs from which they could benefit are reduced or erased.

They are ignored.

And every day on average 22 returning vets die of suicides that could be prevented.

If we truly want to honor the past, present, and future military who have, are, and will give their lives for this country under all the possible circumstances that take their lives, we need to elect people to office who do not send them to unnecessary and politically self serving wars, and at least make sure there are people in office who will take care of them when they return.

These are my cartoons over the years.

They say it better than my words can.

We need to stop so cavalierly creating veterans whom we will honor when dead with parades and giant concerts of patriotic music and grandiose speeches so we can feel better about what we have done and hide our sin behind waving flags and pretty words.

In reality, these show are not for them, but for us.

And it is not our day..

 

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A sad, needy, little man

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Donald Trump has to measure up to the big boys. It is important to him. He needs it.

He isn’t his father, the man he wants to be just like, and his need to compensate, or even prove himself to his dead father is palpable.

His name has to be huge on his buildings. Not only must it be seen from a great distance by the living, but it has to be seen by the dead.

He insisted during one Republican Candidate Debate that his penis was the biggest of the bunch. He even had to make sure that people remembered that by calling Marco Rubio ”Little Marco” so he could continually, albeit indirectly, remind people of his  own claimed endowment.

He wants people to know, or at least think they know that.

At the G7 Summit he needed to push his way to the front, even doing so physically and without subtlety, and while he said Hillary Clinton did not have the stamina to be president, even though he had to send Ivanka to a meeting in his stead because he was exhausted, while as the other heads of state walked through Taromina, Italy, he had to be driven behind them in a golf cart.

He will say it was because people as important as he should not have to walk, but we all know it was because he was exhausted.

Then because it was obvious his interest in the environment was being seen and spoken of as deficient, he had to prove that of all the G7 people his was the greatest interest, so he told a lie, as if that lie could not be checked.

President Trump, told G7 attendees,

“The environment is very, very important to me, Donald Trump.”

To give weight to this, he went on to tell them that he had received environmental awards.

But the record shows he has won no such awards.

At least once before he has made this claim,

“I’ve won many environmental awards, by the way. I’ve actually been called an environmentalist, if you can believe that.”

You can’t, so don’t.

He lied to the other G7 members, and they will learn of the lie as soon as they look into it. And, you know they will.

He embarrasses the country again in his neediness.

He is a climate change denier who has appointed fossil fuel lobbyists to his administration and has claimed that climate change is a self serving “Chinese Hoax”.

He is cutting environmental programs and regulations to favor corporations over the health of the people.

He is doing what he can to end the United States’ clean energy program and has said many times he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement while slashing every environmental protection regulation he can get his hands on.

Since he makes things up to puff up his credentials and image to impress the other world leaders, perhaps they can use the pressure of letting him be their friend to get him to stay with the Paris Agreement and work harder on the environment.

I taught middle school a number of years.

I often wonder if he ever had lunch with the other kids, or if he was the one who always ate alone, not by his choice, but that of all the other kids.

The brooding lawman

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The Massachusetts House voted 120 to 35 this past Wednesday, 05/24/17, in support of Representative Antonio Cabral’s H 3034 which prevents the use of inmate labor beyond the borders of Massachusetts.

The objections to this came from Republican members who argued that existing law addresses the issue.

The law to which the Republican referred allows work release programs “within the commonwealth” and allows inmates to provide services for “municipalities within the county”. However, if one thinks about it, if the existing law is so clear on this, why would a county sheriff, someone who should know the laws related to county jail inmates, announce at his January swearing in,

“I’m making a formal offer to President-elect Trump, that inmates from Bristol County and from across the nation, through Project N.I.C.E., will help build that wall.”

Either the law is not that clear, or Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has simply decided to ignore it.

Sending them to Texas for public relations or a bid for a position in the Trump administration is not allowed.

This ignorance of the law, even on the part of a county sheriff, or its vagueness is why Antonio Cabral explained,

“It (H 3034) makes it very clear what can and cannot be done. This is really about state money being spent on state programs, and that’s really the message.”

Although Minority Leader Brad Jones, a North Reading Republican, said the bill sought to solve a problem that did not exist, apparently it might be about to exist unless the sheriff was merely grandstanding and had no intention of following through.

Jones attempted to delay a vote by attempting to send the bill to the Ways and Means Committee for an analysis of potential  savings or avoided expenses, and by attempting to create a commission to study the bill’s cost and effectiveness.

Both attempts were shot down.

Ironically, in objecting to H 3034, Sheriff Hodgson said the bill would “show once again that personal political agendas are more important than keeping our citizens and legal residents safe.”

However, wouldn’t ignoring the existing law in such a public way also fit this description as his plan is based on his pro-Trump, attention getting political agenda and his example that laws can be simply ignored?

The House was to take up another Cabral bill, but this was postponed by Democratic leaders after members raised a number of unspecified questions.

This other Cabral sponsored bill, H 3033,  that would prevent state money from being used to execute agreements where state and local law enforcement are trained to act as federal immigration agents, was put on hold for now. But since such programs referred to in the bill would mean using local funds to pay for the training, something the federal government should do as it is a federal program, it has a good chance of passage after some further discussion.

Thursday must have been a tough work day at the County jail as the sheriff had to be looking for some cats to kick around.

Is it better to sin and ask forgiveness than to never have sinned.

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Both were chosen by their home country to be the ambassador to the Vatican.

In 2015, in spite of his being a close aide to the then French president, Francoise Hollande, a letter written to the Vatican by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, supporting the French government’s choice of ambassador, and the proposed ambassador having served as France’s number two diplomat in Vatican City from 2001 to 2005, the Vatican refused to accept diplomat Laurent Stefanini as ambassador because he is gay.

He is also Catholic and celibate.

After months of trying to get the Vatican to reconsider, the president stopped trying.

Pope Francis had met with Mr. Stefanini to personally reject him, and, although acknowledging the potential ambassador was well respected by members of the Catholic church in France and was celibate, his potential to fall in love and get married meant he was a potential contradiction to the church’s stance on the modern traditional marriage of one man and one woman.

France went without an ambassador to the Vatican for the rest of Hollande’s time in office.

Before leaving on his trip to the Middle East, Israel, the Vatican, and NATO Headuarters, President Trump announced his choice for the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.

He has chosen a woman who carried on a six year affair with a twice married man before marrying him after he divorced his second wife who had been the woman with whom he had carried on an affair when he was married to his first wife.

If the Vatican, specifically the pope, can reject a man because of what he might do, but has not, that would go against church teachings, it will be interesting to see if, in the event the Vatican accepts Trump’s nominee after she is approved by the Senate, he can excuse what Callista Gingrich has actually done.

The attempt might be made to justify her acceptance by claiming she has sought forgiveness and has repented, but that seems weak if you hold that Mr. Stefanini, who has not sinned, should be held to a higher standard.

Who was God more pleased with?

Adam and Eve before they bit the apple, or Adam and Eve after they said “Oopsies”?

Whose side is he on?

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Trump has spoken many times of America being first.

In his Inaugural address he put it this way,

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”

Speaking to the National Association of Business Trade Unions (NTABU), he said,

“I’m the president of the United States, and from now on it’s going to be America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

And then there was this declaration to the American people:

“America first will be the overriding theme of my administration.  Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries. My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first.”

So the country, its industries, and its people, the workers, would take precedent in all his decisions when it came to any dealings with foreign countries. Those countries would just have to accept that when it came to a choice between what would be good for them and what would be good for us, we would win out.

So it seems a little against his America First claims that, while touting his arms deal with Saudi Arabia in his speech there, he began consistent with his message by proudly announcing,

“It was a great day. Tremendous investments in the United States . . . and jobs, jobs, jobs”,

but, then, like an overly cologned used car salesman in a loud yellow blazer and green and yellow plaid pants he walked back a bit on the value this deal held for American workers when he promised,

 “This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase — and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies.”

So apparently to make the sale, he will take from the pockets of the workers and manufacturers by negotiating a deal that is better for Saudi Arabia than for the American workers and manufacturers.

Why not just charge them full price for the products rather than get it for them at wholesale or at some reduced cost?

“This plane goes for two billion dollars, but for you, because you look like a nice guy, I’ll let you have it for one.”

How is making a deal to the advantage of another country putting America first?

They got hernias laughing so hard at him after he left

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At some point Trump’s apologists will get exhausted and will just have to admit they have been played.

During his campaign, he claimed Mexico would pay for the wall, but now that he is in office the American taxpayer will pay for it, while Mexico will reimburse us the cost. And some will believe the second claim even after seeing him walk back the first that had been accompanied by the admonition that we should all believe him. He is, after all, the master of the deal.

He was going to immediately appoint an independent prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton once he took the Oath of Office, but upon getting into office, that seems to have gone completely away.

As a matter of fact, since the appointment of an independent prosecutor happened to him, Trump has declared it means he is the most picked on politician ever, which would mean that if he had followed through on his declaration, Hillary Clinton would have been.

He has yet to repeal and replace Obamacare with what was to be the most tremendous healthcare plan in the history of healthcare plans.

Now that he is in Saudi Arabia, all his Anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sturm und drang have given way to kow towing to the Saudi king.

That might have something to do with the eight business arrangements he had procured during his campaign, his simply having said what he knew would get a fired up base to vote for him without them knowing he as negotiating those arrangements, or it could be the typical bully behavior that makes a bully perform loud and strong about a victim ot to one from a distance, but then quiet and scared when in the victim’s presence.

Muslims were our enemy, their religion a religion of evil, and to not use the term “Radical Muslim Extremists” was Obama’s biggest flaw when it came to dealing with ISIS.

Yet, now when in Saudi Arabia, Trump found and declared that Muslims are our friends, and avoided using that very same required phrase when he was among Muslim.

He condemned Michelle Obama for not wearing a head covering and President Obama for seemingly bowing to the Saudi King when receiving the official bling. But then Melania shows up in a cowelless Batman outfit with her hair flowing freely in the desert breezes, and Trump practically genuflects to the Saudi king.

Trump condemned Hillary for accepting $25 Million from Saudi Arabia for the Clinton Foundation, even while she was not connected to the White House because it appeared, for his use in the campaign anyway, that she had no problem with how that country tortured and killed Gay men, and mistreated and demeaned women. But his daughter, his chief adviser, accepts $100 million for her program while she is involved in the White House and receives it while sitting in a meeting with Saudi royalty with her head uncovered.

Attempting to get the GLBT vote, Trump had announced in his nomination acceptance speech that he would protect GLBT people from the harm of foreign ideologies, yet he was making those earlier business arrangements and that arms deal even as Saudi Arabia, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee objected to that body’s condemnation of the torture of Gay people because it would force Saudi Arabia to stop torturing the Gays.

Even though it has been established that the terrorists who flew jets into the World Trade Center on 9/11 were Saudi national and that Saudi Arabia is a major source of funding for Al Qaeda, Trump signs off on an arms deal worth a few Billion dollars, canceling Obama’s hold on that deal placed on it because Saudi Arabia gave no assurances they would not use those weapons against Yemen.

So here is a man who talks tough about Saudi Arabia, a country he condemned for torturing Gays, a country responsible for the deaths of the people in the World Trade Center, a country that enables terrorism, and a country that is the birthplace of those evil Muslims, and he has no problem taking their money for his daughter’s supposed pro-woman program, making a $100 billion arms deal, and now praising them as our friend.

They saw him coming.

A public service and an anecdote.

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The summer season is approaching fast. It will be here this weekend with the official beginning of the summer season, Memorial Day, and that means people will be spending a lot of time on the road.

Recently I traveled from New Bedford, Massachusetts to New Rochelle, New York to attend the class reunion of the first students I had ever taught and had seen to graduation some 40 years ago.

I decided to drive, and I gave myself plenty of extra time to make the three hour trip because there are places along Route 95 where traffic comes to an unexplainable halt in spite of there being no construction, and one of those places is always where the highway hugs the Sound at New Haven, Connecticut.

As a public service, for those planning to get anywhere by car this summer, let me explain the drivers you will encounter in Southern New England as I once again had to experience them as I have made this trip often.

MASSACHUSETTS:

Although Massachusetts drivers get a bad rap as the worst drivers in the country, it must be remembered that this judgment is made by people from other states, and they have no idea that the Massachusetts bad drivers are not intrinsically bad, but are only so because they are attempting to deal with what comes into the state from elsewhere.

The thought going through the Commonwealth’s drivers’ minds is,

“Hey. I have to get somewhere. If you are driving like that, you obviously have no intention to get some place, so in the name of all that’s holy, either get out of my way, or GET OFF THE ROAD!

Keep it moving, or pull over, but I WILL get where I am going.”

RHODE ISLAND:

Perhaps it is because their state is so small, it seems the drivers from the Biggest Little State in the Union, the Ocean State, drive very slowly, even on the interstate, as if they are afraid they will over shoot their destination.

Although the actual mileage from the Massachusetts state line to that of Connecticut is very short, the time it takes to traverse the distance is very long.

Rhode Island drivers have the annoying practice of, for whatever reason they end up in a lane, staying in it no matter how slow they are going, and not changing lanes until they arrive almost parallel to their exit at which point, without signaling or displaying any understanding that there may be other cars in the other lanes, cutting across all the lanes to get to their exit at the last minute.

If, because of construction they end up in the left lane, they will continue in that lane going the speed required in the construction zone once they are out of it. They claim a lane and stay in it, and on the rare occasion they get over so faster traffic can proceed, they more often than not assume if they use their signal light to indicate a lane change it has some magic power and that all cars in the lane they intend to enter cease to exist and the lane is clear for them to simply pull into it.

CONNECTICUT:

The general attitude in Connecticut is that the resident driver is alone on the highway, no one else exists, and even if they did, the Connecticut driver owns the road.

Posted state law reminds drivers that there is no passing on the right, and this seems to signal the slow Connecticut driver to get over into the left lane as quickly as possible once they enter the highway.

There seems to be a communal desire not to be in a line of traffic with cars in front, but, rather, to be at the head of said line, and if there is no line to lead, slowing down enough until such a line forms. They will cruise at their chosen speed unless some other frustrated driver attempts to pass on the right, at which point the Connecticut driver will speed up to prevent that person from getting in front of them. If, as it invariably happens, the car attempting to pass gets foiled in the attempt by a slower driver further up and cannot get into the left lane, the Connecticut driver will slow back down to the speed they had been at when the attempt to pass was begun.

By the time you get to New York, you have had enough, and you are relieved with having now to deal with a new type of driving even if it is basically all hell breaking loose.

So be aware.

THE ANECDOTE:

As you leave New Rochelle to head back up North on Route 95, you have to pay a toll at the New York Thruway toll plaza. You are in a hostage situation as you cannot attempt to leave the state until you have paid the $1.75 ransom, or you act like an escapee and travel further north on the Boston Post Road and get on 95 closer to the state line.

When I left the reunion around midnight, or a little after, there were only two booths open at the toll plaza, and this was made very clear by the green arrows pointing down to the open lanes obvious from at least ½ mile away. Most drivers were getting over to form the two lines this necessitated, but just like those people who ignore the lane closure warnings as traffic approaches construction, and decide to ignore getting over, choosing instead to zoom to the head of the line and cut in at the front, there were those who ignored the two lines and went toward the front to cut in.

This being one of my driving pet peeves, right behind Connecticut drivers on Cape Cod, I resolved that I would not let in anyone who pulled that stunt if I had it in my power.

At one point a large black SUV settled in to my left and made repeated attempts to ease into the line in front of me, but I kept close to the car in front of me to prevent that from happening. My window was open in anticipation of handing my money to the person in the booth, and after numerous tries, the driver of the SUV rolled down his passenger side window and angrily asked,

“Can I get in the line?”

I responded by telling him I had no objection with his entering the line, but he would have to wait and get in behind me.

His angrier response was,

“Why should I have to do that?,

and I simply responded that as I had been waiting in the line for a long time, he should be willing to do so as well..

He may have cursed me out, but he did not get in front of me, nor, as I saw in the rear view mirror, did he get in the line until after the third car behind me.

A few miles further on, there were signs announcing that the three lanes were being reduced to a single right lane because of graveyard shift construction work, and, again, while most people began moving over to the right lane, there were those who zoomed on ahead as the two left lanes emptied so they could get in up where the barriers were. Apparently enough people were still smarting from this game at the toll booths and the line cutters were not being allowed in.

It was a quiet, warm night and people had their car windows open. At one point when a line cutting car decided he would just plow his way into the right lane and indicated his attention with sudden, threatening lurches, I heard someone yell,

“Go ahead. My car is heavily insured. I hope yours is too.”

The threatening lurches ceased, and as I got to the definite one lane point, I saw the car in the left lane still waiting.

After that construction the rest of the ride was uneventful, and I got the impression that Rhode Island must have some form of curfew for its residence as, when I got there, there were no cars aimlessly wandering on the highway.