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Travel

Travel

The open road beckons us to explore the world and ourselves. — sp

Big Questions

Why do we love the road trip?

Everyday Explorers: Hitting the open road is really the impulse to explore that is hard-wired into our being from the first day we crawl from the living room to the kitchen; or run down to the creek in the woods; or bike across town without our parents knowing about it; and we never stop. It is on-demand exploration for all of us and the motivation is so strong that we return to satisfy that desire, year after year. So the question within the question is, why do we explore?

sp

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Social Groups / Travel

           

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Dystrumpia

Dystrumpia

Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Utopianism / Dystrumpia

tricky dicky by half

In Dystrumpia, justice doesn’t apply to rich white men who help the president.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Trump trying to

  • wear a (designer) mask in the most contrived way…..what a joke!
  • kill DACA, but loses
  • reluctantly assume leadership of the federal effort to battle COVID-19 including
  • keep China honest
  • neutralize and/or assassinate bad guys
  • secure the southern border
  • not start new wars
  • reduce the number of troops deployed internationally
  • force (sue) corporations over the high cost of drugs, e.g., HIV Truvada
  • ban e-cigarettes, and
  • advance criminal justice reform.

The Bad

abusive, amoral, criminal, demagogic, despotic, destructive, disingenuous, greedy, illogical, impulsive, ineffective, manipulative, nepotistic, opportunistic, rogue, short-sighted, unethical, unhinged, uninformed, untrustworthy, untruthful, unwise

When false statements are posted on social media such as “hydroxychloroquine is a game changer,“ they spread like wildfire — faster than the truth.

SP

Coronavirus Pandemic

Donald Trump has totally mismanaged the response to the Coronavirus Pandemic by

  • pushing the restart of America in a dangerous “banzai-style” charge
  • pushing hydroxychloroquine which raises death risk in Covid patients
  • announcing we’re “going to kill ourselves” if the economy doesn’t improve soon
  • repeatedly ignoring the intelligence briefings he was receiving daily
  • firing the experts and experienced U.S. global pandemic response team over two years ago
  • denying the coronavirus threat early on, calling it “a hoax,” and
  • firing the Inspector Generals when accountability reports were showing poor performance for
    • recognition and swift response of the threat, and
    • fair, equitable and swift distribution of emergency funds.

Rule of Law and Truth

Trump will pay any price, make any deal, bend any law to assure his own survival and success.

John Bolton

  • Trump pardons Roger Stone as he parades corruption in plan sight
  • Fires Geoffrey Berman of Manhattan US Attorney’s office
  • Abused his power via the Attorney General and Justice Department to tamper with Roger Stone’s verdict
  • Cheated Amazon out of a $10 billion contract
  • Violated War Powers Resolution by assassinating Qassem Soleimani — an act of war against Iran — without consulting with Congress
    • Threatened bombing Iran’s cultural sites in violation of Geneva Convention
  • Violated Federal Protection Laws by exposing the whistleblower
  • Just take the land” to build wall and he’ll pardon staff if jailed
  • 6 WH administrators in jail or indicted
  • Pardoned convicted, undermined military
  • Pathological lying, cover up, obstruction
    • Defended Putin over claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, ignoring our own intelligence community.Quid pro quo dirt from foreigners
  • Abuse of Office for personal gain:
    • Violating emollients law in plain sight (Trump’s properties)
    • Nepotism
      • Trump, his family, cronies, and secret service
        • stay at his properties worldwide, and
        • rack up massive bills charged back to the people
      • Ivanka in China
      • Jared in Saudi Arabia and Israel

Economic Warfare

Alienation of Allies

  • Suddenly pulled U.S. Troops out of Syria
  • Canada, Europe/NATO, Kurds, Mexico
  • But embraced every enemy and dictator

Immigration

  • Demonized and weaponized immigration for political purposes.
  • Separated children from their families
  • Southern wall is a boondoggle
    • diverted $36B from military budget

Clean Air and Water and Land

  • Covertly dismantling EPA
  • Unchecked expansion of extraction and piping

Dictators and Despots: Failed to make accountable

Swamp: to drain or not to drain

  • All the President’s Fixers
  • Refilled swamp with cronies, crooks, family
  • Cronyistic revolving door of corrupt/inept appointees
  • Elitist doofas for Education Secretary

Politicization of

No Progress with

  • Climate change
    • Withdrew Paris Accord
  • Critical infrastructure report card is D-
  • Healthcare
    • Cost of prescription drugs
  • Gun control
  • Racism

The Ugly

awful, awkward, buffoonish, cheater, clumsy, conceited, crazy, embarrassing, foolish, liar, mean, moronic, narcissistic, outrageous, petty, racist, ridiculous, selfish, shameful, sleazy, snarky, stupid, vulgar, wacky, weird

“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous—whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light,” Trump said. “And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way and I think you said you’re going to test that too.”

Donald Trump

Reality TV every day

What the hell is this?

Manipulation/Suppression of the Truth 1984-Style

  • Lied
    • about his taxes
    • about the size of his inauguration crowd, and
    • 10,000 other things
  • Tampered/intimidated impeachment witnesses in real time
  • Paid off porn star payoffs: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
  • Self-predicted Hurricane Dorian’s path with a Sharpie
  • Erased anti-Trump images in National Archive exhibit

Insulted and/or physically mocked and/or bullied

Gangster-in-Training: You’re Fired!

Weirdness

  • Hugging the flag
  • Made an offer to buy Greenland (with whose money?!)
  • Interviewed adjacent to a D-Day cemetery

Words Matter, he’s just no good at them

If Trump didn’t hear “White Power!”, then he’s the only one in the United States that didn’t. Gimme a break.

sp

  • Re-tweeted “White Power!” and then deleted it
  • Kung flu
  • “Testing should be slowed down.”
  • Trump threatens protesters with “vicious dogs
  • Trump called Governor Inslee (WA) a “snake
  • Trump called the coronavius “a hoax
  • Chinese virus…”
  • Called generals “dopes” and “babies”
  • He has the speech, vocabulary, and principles of a 6th-grader
  • State of the Union speech: lots of lies
  • “I alone can fix it.”
  • Trump calls Adam Schiff “a sick man.”
  • “I don’t have racist bone in my body!” (lie)
  • FBI are “scum”
  • “…Trump is calling for a complete shutdown of muslims…”
  • “President Putin just said it’s not Russia.”
  • “They’re rapists, but some are fine people.”
  • “Shithole countries.”
  • “I prefer heroes who don’t get caught.”
  • “Mexico will pay for the wall.” (lie)
  • “We fell in love,” with Rocketman.
  • “I’m a stable genius.”
  • “Kurds didn’t help us in Normandy.”
  • “Very fine people.”
  • “I’m a very smart guy.” Who says that?
  • “I know more than the generals.”
  • “I command you to leave China!”
  • “He’s weak, low IQ.”
  • “Republicans are scum.”
  • “I hardly know the man.”
  • “Whistleblower is a traitor.”
  • “Impeachment is like a lynching.”
  • “He died like a dog.” (lie)
  • “She’s not my type.” (misogyny)
  • “You can grag them by the pussy.”
  • “Well, he’s two-faced.” (Trudeau)
  • “My father was born in Germany

       

Featured
Is fascism sneaking up on us one tweet at a time?

Is fascism sneaking up on us one tweet at a time?

Dystrumpia

Fascism creeps up on society like a slowly-leaking faucet that eventually overflows the sink: drip, drip, drip…

sp

Reporters have been disclosing that the Trump administration has ordered the suppression and redaction of any mention of climate change in government reports, policies, and procedures. This kind of covert action is representative of the kind of message control classically employed by fascist and totalitarian regimes.

Presidents Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey) began their assaults on democratic norms and institutions by demonizing the opposition. Then, with a combination of threats, purges, and appointments of cronies, they clipped the wings of their judiciaries and bureaucracies, enabling their subsequent, more complete power grabs.

Fareed Zakaria

Dystrumpia might dismiss this as either fake news and/or of no significance, but they might consider the hypothetical 2020 scenario with the election of a new non-Trumpian secular administration that might not want any mention of Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, God, or prayer in government documents; and following Trump’s strategy, have these words secretly and systematically redacted from all government documents and policies. I doubt Dystrumpia would be happy with that!

Reasonable and lawful content should not be secretly and arbitrarily redacted from government documents just to suit an administration’s bias. If a report has been properly researched, vetted, and produced by a government agency, let that report be made public. American citizens have a right to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions and decisions without being deceived and manipulated by insider zealots who say they are called by God. Surely their better angels are not at work here.

Just as likely, the devil made them do it.

sp

Big Questions

Has Donald Trump replaced Joe McCarthy as the most dangerous demagogue in American history?

Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Fascism

         

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In My Lifetime

In My Lifetime

 1949 – present

we stopped spitting in public
we stopped carrying guns into the saloon
we stopped littering our highways
we started protecting our air and water
we stopped drinking martinis at lunch
we stopped smoking in offices and restaurants
we stopped demonizing gay people
we eliminated the death penalty
we started yelling NO! to monuments of confederate slavery
we started yelling NO! to using more plastic
we started yelling NO! to sexual misconduct
we started yelling NO! to workplace discrimination
we started yelling NO! to unsustainable extraction
we started yelling NO! to police violence

but,

gun violence,
racial, religious and ethnic prejudice,
antisemitism,
religious vs secular polarization,
science denial,
endless wars,
sexual deviance,
lying,
the politicization of everything, and
poverty & inequality,

continue to plague us,

however,

eventually, we do change for the better.

sp

Social distancing

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Social Change / Change / In My Lifetime

         

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What Does it Mean to be an American?

What Does it Mean to be an American?

If we could all sit down at the dining room table with some coffee and have a friendly discussion (that’s gonna have to be a big table), I think we could get back to basic core principles of what it means to be American, then everything could flow from those principles. Right now, Americans are all tied up in knots we can’t seem to untie. We have lost our way how to get along, to experience that good and powerful feeling of solidarity.

What does it mean to be an American? It is defined by what we believe in, what we do, and what we don’t do, that can be common to everyone:

  • Americans believe in family first.
  • Americans believe in the Golden Rule.
  • Americans are humble. We don’t brag; we are not vain.
  • Americans celebrate the team. We don’t say I, we say We.
  • Americans stand up and speak out against tyranny.
  • Americans don’t blame others; we are accountable.
  • Americans don’t practice nepotism.
  • Americans are civil both in person and online.
  • Americans are trustworthy. We don’t lie, we don’t exaggerate.
  • Americans are consistent. We don’t flip-flop.
  • Americans are loyal to family, friends, partners, and allies.
  • Americans take no satisfaction in bankruptcy at the expense of employees, suppliers, lenders, and investors.
  • Americans believe in democracy, free and fair elections, active civil participation, and majority rules.
  • Americans respect the rule of law applied equally and fairly to all citizens.
  • Americans allow and expect each other to keep leaders and government honest and accountable.
  • Americans respect all religions, but we separate church from state.
  • Americans embrace all refugees and immigrants, as we are descended from them.
  • Americans don’t discriminate against each other based on age, race, sex/gender, or religion.
  • Americans don’t unilaterally invade other countries, but we do defend our democratic shores and we help our allies when they call us for help.
  • Americans believe in the protection of human rights for all people of all countries.
  • Americans protect our citizens wherever they may be.
  • Americans think BIG, but we spend less than we earn.

How do Americans get back to our shared core values?

How do we get our leaders to lead from these values?

sp

Big Picture

     

COVID-19 Gallery

COVID-19 Gallery

Scott Pickard / Top Tens / COVID-19 Gallery

Humans of New York
Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Pandemic

Striking the Balance

Is American Exceptionalism working against us in these times?

sp

As Americans, we love our freedom and independence. But in certain times when we need to all come together and make personal sacrifices for the greater good, we sometimes under-perform other nations. For those Americans that don’t perceive the coronavirus as a clear and present danger, they think and act as they choose, but not as a united nation. For many Americans, the coronavirus is abstract and is not perceived as a clear and present danger because they can’t see it, touch it, understand it, believe it, even though science and data confirm the virus is an existential health and economic crisis of enormous scope. It is a tragic irony that our fierce and independent Americanism we are so proud of is working against us and not uniting us, but dividing us at this critical time.

It is a difficult leadership moment in history for politicians at the federal, state and local levels to know the right balance between

  • guidance and directives emphasizing safety and the protection of lives, vs.
  • Trump’s “banzai charge” to give the virus the finger (mask-less) while misleading, egging on and cajoling citizens back to work asap to serve his personal objectives.

Striking the right balance is the key, but where and how to strike the balance between livelihoods & lives is the challenge.

We are a family, and a family in crisis pulls together to save its home and household and in the process, we make no favorites within the family. If one family member needs a little more help today, that’s ok because in the future that member can help another who is in need. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In this moment of crisis, we Americans should be one in solidarity and love.

sp

Big Questions

How will COVID-19 shape and advance our society?

Why was the U.S. not prepared for COVID-19?

How is the U.S. economy going to recover from this disaster?

We won’t know for a long time.

Is it smart to use empty hotels to quarantine COVID-19 patients and prevent further infection of family at home?

Does authoritarianism actually help in a crisis, or is the more important requirement how much the people trust their leaders?

What is our road map ahead for Pandemic I?

  • institute uniform social-distancing and quarantine policies
  • ramp up testing and produce faster-acting test kits at scale
  • prioritize testing of health workers
  • allocate masks and ventilators to stop states’ competing
  • simultaneously fast track development of
    • rapid trials to race for a vaccine, and
    • multiple production plants for each vaccine.
  • The first modern pandemic: The scientific advances we need to stop COVID-19 by Bill Gates

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Deaths/day and Total deaths

Thou Shalt Go Back to Work

Does Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick know what the f**k he’s talking about when he says he is willing to die from coronavirus in order to go back to work now and help save America’s economy for his grand-kids? Apparently he subscribes to the evangelical christian gospel of “growth and prosperity” which says “thou shalt not sacrifice a quarter or two of gross domestic product to save tens of thousands of lives.”

What a brave guy he is, always looking so sharp in his yellow power ties. If Patrick were to contract a coronavirus and die, in the process he would infect his family and become the source of the virus that might kill one of his grandchildren. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, are you willing to pay that price? Did you ask your kids and grand-kids if they are willing to pay that price?

Of course we all have to go back to work sometime and want to go back to work, but the tough question is, when is the right time for the greater good?

Should this be decided unilaterally by one man?

sp

Poems

And the People Stayed Home
by Kitty O'Meara

And the people stayed home. 
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, 
and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, 
and were still. 

And listened more deeply. 
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. 
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. 
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, 
mindless, and heartless ways, 
the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, 
and the people joined together again, 
they grieved their losses, 
and made new choices, 
and dreamed new images, 
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, 
as they had been healed.

Pandemic
by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath —
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love —
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Life / Human Diseases / Coronavirus

           

Poverty & Income Inequality

Poverty & Income Inequality

What is the lesser of evils?

  • Socialism‘s potential to narrow our staggering worldwide economic inequality?
  • Capitalism‘s potential to create jobs and lift people out of poverty? or,
  • A Hybrid’s potential to balance and blend the best features of both economic systems?

sp

Big Questions

Should the mega-wealthy commit to reducing the destructive effects of economic inequality?

Should the Federal Minimum Wage be increased to $15/hour?

What happens when you give basic income to the poor?

Is eviction an epidemic in the U.S.?

Big Picture

Big Picture / Human Society / Social Organization & Change / Poverty

Income inequality

One Percent

Supreme Court

           

Humor

Humor

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Big Picture

Big Picture / Art / Literature / Humor

       

All The President’s Fixers

All The President’s Fixers

Big Picture / Human Society / Politics & Government / Utopianism / Dystrumpia / Fixers

“These guys are very fine syco….. excuse me, I meant to say, very fine people.”

Big Questions

Is there a pattern of un-justice at the Justice Department these days, where criminal judgments always tilt in favor of political allies?

Is Michael Flynn lying about lying he lied?

What happened to Giuliani?

Is Trump a schill for the secretive global anti-democratic Traditionalism movement?

Fixers Hall of Shame

Big Picture