End of Week 329 – There’s the circus, and then there’s what’s really important…

Hummingbird

It has been an active week to say the least. I’m recording my breast cancer experience on my second site, http://www.weightloss4charity.com/blog. As you can see, I intended the site for another project, but that project will have to wait until I get through this cancer thing. If you are interested, the first post is up.

Any week has the important and the not so important. This week was a perfect example. We began with the release of “FEAR” by Bob Woodward on Tuesday. I’m sure it will be an entertaining book, but in the grand scheme of things in the world it certainly is not the most important event. Of course, you wouldn’t know that to hear SCROTUS react.

He tweeted and he had his minions, particularly Sarah Sanders, denounce the book at every opportunity. SCROTUS’ reaction falls in the category of protesting too much. Woodward couldn’t have bought better exposure. I think book sales are already over a million copies. I’m waiting for mine to arrive.

More important than a book release this week was a development in the Mueller investigation. Paul Manafort has flipped! We knew he was headed for a second trial. Manafort has agreed to plead guilty to a couple of fairly serious sounding charges, like “conspiring against the United States”. Then it was reported that part of the plea agreement is a 17-page agreement to cooperate with Mueller. Now you know Mueller and the prosecutors would not have entered into this agreement without knowing something about the information they were going to get. Everyone is salivating. We all want to know what Manafort is going to tell Mueller. The only reaction from SCROTUS so far is a roundabout denial from Sarah Sanders, in which she refers to “his victorious campaign”.

Yes, he is now occupying the White House, but it is because he was appointed by the Electoral College. He was NOT voted in by the people. He lost the popular vote. We do not currently have a legitimate president (my personal opinion).

Despite all the political excitement this week, there were two events that overshadowed it all in importance. First, natural gas explosions rocked more than one town outside of Boston, MA. Many homes were destroyed and at least one person was killed. They are still trying to figure out what happened. Meantime, many people are homeless and demanding answers.

Second, Hurricane Florence attacked the coasts of both Carolinas and is now moving inland very slowly. Record rain is falling and flooding is catastrophic. Fortunately, many area residents evacuated so damage is mostly limited to property, but that is bad enough. First responders are working around the clock to rescue those who did not heed the orders to evacuate and stranded animals.

Unfortunately, not even something like a hurricane can escape politics completely in the age of SCROTUS. In the days leading up to landfall, which means for most of last week, SCROTUS spent a lot of his time praising himself for the job he did after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and DENYING the death toll of that storm. Basically, he said that those who died after Maria left, but because of conditions created by Maria, should not be counted. He wants to count only those who died during the time the storm was actually raging on the island.

SCROTUS does not seem to realize that deaths from aftermath count. If they didn’t, it would be like saying the Japanese who died, years later, from cancer due to radiation exposure in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not die because of the bombs! That’s ridiculous, and so is the position of SCROTUS on this issue!

My picture this week is a reminder that we all need to come to the aid of our fellow-man when disasters like explosions and hurricanes happen.

Until next week…

 

 

 

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End of Week 328 – A Week of Fear, Physical And Literary….

MomAtMarys

I’m afraid fitness and diet are going to be taking a back seat for a while. I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. We’re still in the testing stage; trying to determine what type of surgery will be best and what type of follow up treatment will be required. Wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. My mother got breast cancer early, like at 55. She beat it, but got Multiple Myeloma later. I don’t think the two were related. I’m just hoping I can beat this like she did.

It started with a mammogram, just a standard 3D test, on a Thursday. Friday they called me back for a second mammogram and an ultrasound. The following week I was sent for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy (which was not nearly as uncomfortable as it sounds). Then I met with the PA from a surgeon’s office, who told me they found cancer in the right breast. I was scheduled for an MRI to see if the left breast is also involved. So far, it isn’t. Finally, I met with the surgeon. We decided we needed more information to determine whether I want a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. My PET scan is tomorrow morning (Monday). I will meet with a medical oncologist the following Monday in the morning, and with the surgeon that same day in the afternoon. After all that I am hoping to have a date for my surgery.

In the meantime, I’m going to write. I’d like to journal about this breast cancer experience, and I may switch it to my second blog site that I’m not writing in at the moment.

Last week was very entertaining on the SCROTUS front. This coming Tuesday Bob Woodward’s book, “FEAR”, is being released. It is supposed to be about the chaos inside the SCROTUS administration, from first hand interviews. Excerpts were leaked, and SCROTUS spent the week screaming, mostly via Twitter, about how the book is “a total work of fiction”. Woodward is a great journalist and knows that you never write something like this without the tapes/notes/videos/etc. to back up everything. Can’t wait to read the book!

While SCROTUS was worrying about “FEAR” the New York Times published a letter to the editor about the same subject – how the SCROTUS staff knows SCROTUS is in way over his head, cannot handle the job, and is making dangerous decisions – and what they do about it. The upshot is the USA is currently a country that must be protected from the man who currently occupies the White House. The most entertaining thing about the letter is that the NYT published it anonymously. They say they know who wrote it, but that publishing the author’s name would place the author in jeopardy. The author is supposed to be a highly placed SCROTUS administration official. So, the game of the week in Washington DC has been “Who wrote the letter?”

You can imagine SCROTUS’ reaction. SCROTUS called the author a coward and a liar. He wants the Department of Justice (Jeff Sessions) to investigate the NYT and make them turn over the author’s name, based on national security. There is no classified information in the letter and nothing that comes even close to national security level. SCROTUS has even suggested the person who wrote the letter has committed treason.

You see the danger, right? We have a man in the WH who is willing (and in fact thinks it is completely appropriate) to use federal government agencies to go after those who say unflattering things about him. Basically, to go after his enemies. I have always tried to avoid comparisons with Nazis/Hitler as a matter of respect to the victims of that time. Unfortunately, there is no escaping that what SCROTUS wants Sessions to do makes the DOJ just like Hitler’s Gestapo – going after perceived enemies. This use of governmental units for personal vendettas is a hallmark of authoritarian rule.

And as far as the suggestion of treason is concerned, SCROTUS obviously has no idea what treason means. He seems to think it is treason to criticize the person who is serving as president (I can’t bring myself to refer to SCROTUS that way). In these times, and according to US law, treason involves a US citizen waging war against the US, or aiding and abetting an enemy of the US. The author of the letter did neither.

In the end, we must not let all the silliness and shenanigans of the SCROTUS administration distract us from the midterm elections. PLEASE REGISTER AND VOTE!!!

Until next week….

End of Week 327 – Loss, Distractions, and the Unknown…

Purple Tree

Abnormal is the new normal. As much as I wish our days could be filled with trips to the gym, healthy cooking, and travel, that is not to be for a while. Things are up in the air for us personally. I’m not going into detail until I know more, but as you can imagine, it revolved around the world of medicine. I’m getting very tired of doctors.

Medical happenings and my son’s birthday kept me from writing this last week. Since then there has been a lot of loss. The world mourns Aretha Franklin and John McCain. Since I am political the loss of McCain hit me particularly hard. I often disagreed with him politically, but I respected the hell out of him, as any sane person did. I also knew he could be counted on to reach across the aisle when necessary. Don’t know who will do that now. I can’t think of another US senator who is willing to do that, except maybe Delaware’s own Chris Coons. He seems to be able to work with opponents. I’ve seen bills he has sponsored with GOP senators. Maybe our state can lead the way.

SCROTUS was specifically not invited to Senator McCain’s funeral. This happened months ago and everyone who follows politics knew about it. There was a lot of controversy surrounding what SCROTUS did and did not do when McCain passed. First, the flag at the White House was lowered for a day and a half – the minimum required by the Flag Code. Normally, a president signs a proclamation directing that flags be at half-staff through the day of interment. SCROTUS did this only after receiving major blowback for not doing it right away.

SCROTUS was silent about McCain’s death for a long time. When he finally tweeted something, it was a one liner with sympathy for the family and not one mention of McCain’s personal qualities. SCROTUS disliked McCain, and we all know how SCROTUS acts when he doesn’t like someone. The one line tweet came before he finally signed a proclamation to lower the flags through today.

Perhaps the most telling SCROTUS reaction came during the funeral service in Washington DC. It was beautiful, moving, and inspirational, and it made SCROTUS seethe. He could not stop tweeting. He tweeted constantly while the rest of the nation was watching the service (which was televised by the mainstream news services). Surprisingly, he did not tweet about McCain or the service, so I guess that’s something. It was reported that he said he thought coverage of McCain’s passing was “over the top” and suited more for a president.

What it all boils down to is SCROTUS cannot stand it when he is not the absolute, unquestioned, and sole center of attention.

Case in point, when he said something about the passing of Aretha Franklin he said that “she worked for me a lot.” Regardless of the subject, he has to frame everything around himself.

Many see this as one of the signs of a developing despot. SCROTUS displays several. He has convinced his base that only he can be trusted to give them the truth regarding the country and what he is doing to it; regarding things like Mueller’s investigation; regarding just about anything. He’s trying to convince the rest of us, but it isn’t working as well as with his base. He’s best buds with other dictators and has alienated our longtime allies. He has warned Congress not to interfere with what he wants to do with things like trade agreements – threatening to take unilateral action without consulting them at all. SCROTUS wants to be all-controlling with no checks or balances.

Sound scary? It should. We should all be very afraid.

Until next week….

End of Week 325 – Holding Pattern…

OlyviaFeb2015 002

Last week it was Mr. Sleuthy. This week it is Ms. Olyvia. Just for the hell of it. She’s a pretty cat and I like this picture. This entry may be short since I have a lot of non-writing things going on. Not much happening on the diet and exercise fronts, except that I keep trying to improve. When I have something to report I’ll be sure to do it here.

Omarosa seems to be playing Trump’s game of reality TV. She shares a little of what she has and teases the public and the news media with promises of more. Rumors abound regarding how many recordings she has, or how many texts. This is all geared to sell her book and I do not have time for it. I’d like to tell her, “Let me know when you are ready to get serious about telling the truth.”

This week we got word that the Pentagon cancelled SCROTUS’ Self-glorifying Military Parade, perhaps postponing it until 2019. Almost immediately SCROTUS broadcast (Twitter) that HE cancelled the parade because the local WDC government demanded too much money. All of this happened after the estimate of the parade’s cost rose to $90M. Most of the cost involves the transport and use of military personnel and equipment. The city of WDC would get some compensation for services they have to provide, but that is not the majority of the cost by a long shot.

Most people were against the parade anyway. There was serious backlash about spending so many millions of dollars on something that was obviously intended to glorify SCROTUS when SCROTUS has been cutting veterans’ medical benefits. When the cost estimate went up the backlash worsened.

In an unrelated issue, last week the jury in the first Manafort trial started to deliberate. They will return tomorrow (Monday) to continue deliberations. SCROTUS made a public statement that he feels the trial is horrible and that Manafort has been mistreated. He said this while the jury was deliberating, which amounts to disgraceful conduct and possibly an attempt at influencing the jury. My only question is how long it will take SCROTUS to pardon Manafort if the verdicts are “guilty”? I’d wager the paperwork is already prepared.

In the end, SCROTUS reacted strangely. Seems a combination of pressure from the investigations/trials and the cancellation of his parade was too much for SCROTUS. He decided to take his toys and leave. The latest reports are that SCROTUS will spend the US Veterans’ Day (Nov 11) watching a military parade in FRANCE. He would rather be in another country than visit with and honor the military veterans of his own country. My husband pointed out that SCROTUS could visit American military graves from our world wars while in France. True, he could. But that is not why he is going. He wants a military parade and he knows France will be holding one to mark the ending of World War I (the Armistice). How do I know this? It is what SCROTUS said he will do. He mentioned the parade and nothing else.

Besides, as appropriate as it may be for an American government official to visit US memorials in other countries; Veterans Day is for honoring our living military veterans. Memorial Day is for those deceased. I am not overly pro-military and I do think we overdo the current tendency of worshiping the water everyone seems to think the military walks on, but even I can see that all SCROTUS is doing is his usual petulant toddler act. He should stay in the US and honor our veterans here. Funding their medical care would be a good start.

Think France would keep him? Nah, probably not.

Until next week….

End of Week 324 – Just waiting for Summer to end….

20180306_165750

Yes, I am in the mood for my own version of grumpy cat. This is me at this point in the summer each year. I’m not much for hot weather. The only good things about August are baseball and the birthdays of friends and family – like my son. Otherwise, you can keep the heat, the humidity, the bugs – I could go on, but why bother.

This year is better than some. At least I can choose when to go out in the heat most of the time, since I retired. I don’t mind going out to the gym since I do that fairly early in the morning. I’ll go out to the store, and I’ll go out in the back yard to fill the bird feeders. I’ll go out for medical appointments when required. The rest of the time I’m a creature of air conditioning, looking forward to the Fall when the house cools off by itself and my husband and I fight over turning on the heat. It takes a big drop in temps for me to want the heat.

Not much happened politically last week. One of the big stories was about the upcoming release of a book by Omarosa, who used to work in the SCROTUS administration. She has a last name, but her first name, Omarosa, is the only name I’ve ever heard. She’s known SCROTUS since his days on The Apprentice. I think she got “fired” on that show. No one seems to know what her White House job was. She was fired from that as well, at least that’s what I remember.

People who have read the book in advance (all part of promoting it) have mentioned that she tells a tale of a racist SCROTUS who used the “n-word” in the White House in front of her, and other bad stuff. One article said she wrote that SCROTUS tried to keep her quiet through threats and offers of money.

Don’t know about the rest of the book, but the title is appropriate: “Unhinged”

I think both the author and the subject are unhinged. SCROTUS, of course, cannot stand it when someone publicizes things about him that aren’t 100% positive and complimentary, if not full of glowing praise and adulation. He is not only addicted to adoration; he is allergic to criticism of any description. Consequently, he has been frantic about the release of this “tell all”. This is hardly a surprise.

I don’t trust SCROTUS, and similarly, I don’t trust Omarosa. She accepted a position with SCROTUS. This makes her instantly questionable. No one knows what she does for a living. She seems to be a lot like the Kardashians – famous as a celebrity and not much else. Having been on The Apprentice, in the White House, and now in a position to talk about SCROTUS adds up to one thing: notoriety. I think she is out to make a buck off that notoriety while she still has it. It can be a fleeting thing. As fast as the modern news cycle. She’s in this for the money, and I don’t blame her. We all gotta make a living, right? It’s just not going to be MY money. I don’t trust her to tell the truth without sensationalizing it.

The other subject this week, which was considerably more entertaining, was the Space Force proposed by SCROTUS. He wants a brand new military service for defending space. Understand that everyone knows the area of space near our planet is a perfectly valid area of concern. There are situations involving satellites, missiles, and natural objects such as asteroids that we might need to address. I’m not being sarcastic; the security of our space is a genuine concern.

The ridiculous part of this is that SCROTUS wants a separate service branch. The existing military branches already have forms of space commands, and the powers that be at the Pentagon have said they want to create a unified space combatant command, but not an entirely new military branch. Ok, a unified space command might make some sense, but only within our existing military branches. SCROTUS is apparently willing to spend billions to create this new branch, but says we can’t afford our basic military exercises with South Korea, which cost $14M. He says he wants to cut veterans medical benefits, but wants a new service branch.

What was fun about all this was the public’s reaction. There were memes and GIFs featuring everything from Buzz Lightyear to the outer space car to The Right Stuff to Apollo 13 to the original Flash Gordon. It’s nice to have something to laugh at every once in a while.

In the meantime, just remember – to infinity and beyond! LOL!

Until next week….

 

End of Week 323 – Wishing for Summer Doldrums…

NotMyPresident

Still trying to take some kind of break. I’m going to try a new workout schedule based on a change in my husband’s dialysis schedule. He will be going very early in the morning, so I’m planning on getting up as he leaves and going to the gym early in the morning. That would be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is not bad. My physical went well. All my numbers were good. The doctor did not mention my weight, but I’m not stupid. I know I have to drop some pounds (make that a LOT of pounds, LOL). It has been such a long battle, but I have to keep trying. I’m hoping this new workout schedule will shake something loose. I’ve been a little lax in the eating department this week – another kind of break – but I know how to get back to the way I was eating leading up to the physical (which seemed to be working).

We have a busy week coming up – an appointment with my husband’s surgeon, an appointment with his diabetes specialist, my mammogram (oh, joy), lunch with a friend (now THAT I’ll enjoy). Perhaps we have enough going on that I’ll ignore some of the news. Problem is, when it comes to SCROTUS the news is always so outrageous it is difficult to ignore.

It’s not that anything big has happened. As far as important things like Mueller’s investigation are concerned it seems things are still percolating just below the surface. SCROTUS has been traveling to more and more rallies. His need for adoration, to which he is addicted, seems to be increasing. He is supposed to be campaigning for other candidates, but he talks about himself the whole time. Fortunately, most networks have stopped their live broadcasts of these specially casted, staged, scripted, and choreographed productions. The only time one catches my attention is when SCROTUS is reported to say something totally out of line, even for him.

That is what happened at the rally SCROTUS attended in Ohio. I think it was his second adoration fix of the week. He bragged to the crowd that he destroys the careers of Republicans who say bad things about him. Not only did he acknowledge that he bullies other GOP party members; he seems proud that he ruins those who dare to have an opinion different from his!

So, what do we call a “head of state” who claims to be all-powerful and routinely destroys those who oppose him? There are a lot of words we could use. Despot. Autocrat. Authoritarian. Dictator. Technically, SCROTUS is a wannabe since we still have some semblance of a congress. However, SCROTUS has also threatened to shut down the federal government, thinking he can stand in opposition to the entire congress. He is holding the federal budget hostage and the ransom is money for his idiotic wall. Kidnapping children didn’t get him what he wanted, so he is going back to an old standby – refusing to sign the federal budget bill.

Speaking of kidnapped children, that was another outrageous statement from last week. The SCROTUS administration is not doing what it should to reunite the kidnapped children with their parents. Rather than trying to find a solution, SCROTUS stated he thinks the ACLU should be responsible for finding and reuniting these parents. Harry Truman is probably rolling in his grave since in this administration the buck stops, apparently, anywhere but there.

Everyone has their own favorite SCROTUS issue. Besides those listed above, there is the military parade. SCROTUS is planning a military parade in Washington DC in November. It has been said it will include everything except tanks, which would tear up the DC streets. This is wrong on so many levels it is difficult to know where to begin.

Some have pointed out that the parade is NOT to honor the military (contrary to what SCROTUS says), but is really just a self-promotion stunt for SCROTUS’ glorification. A large group of veterans is planning a march in Washington DC for the same day. They hate the idea of the parade, which will cost around 12 million dollars – money they say would be better spent for veterans’ benefits. They have a point.

Not only would the money be better spent on benefits; SCROTUS cancelled military exercises with South Korea, stating they cost too much. The exercises cost about $14M. The totally unnecessary parade costs $12M. If this makes sense to anyone, please explain it. Frankly, I’m picturing SCROTUS sitting in a reviewing stand while US military people and machines parade past him, with him thinking it is all for him, like the dictator he really wants to be.

And the circus continues.

Until next week…

 

End of Week 322 – Need a Break?

MindAndHeart

This is how I feel right now. Overwhelmed by the politics; overwhelmed by the animosity. I’m feeling a need to stop, to shut down, to listen inside myself and to my non-electronic surroundings. The current political landscape is set in a cacophony of belligerent sound bites, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone. It’s just that I’ve reached a point of needing a break. I’m sure everyone reaches this point eventually.

Politically, we seem to have been in a week where important things are bubbling just below the surface of the Great SCROTUS Swamp. Mueller’s investigation is plugging along; witness lists are being submitted and approved with immunities granted; SCROTUS is still communicating regularly with Putin and NOT with our allies while Russia continues to cyber attack our electronic infrastructure; the federal government can’t meet its deadline for reuniting immigrant children with parents; Cohen is preparing to turn on SCROTUS; etc. etc.

The rest of us are waiting for another shoe to drop.

My social media participation is limited to this blog (WordPress), Facebook, and Twitter. I am not on a lot of extra sites and I’m sure someday I’ll be left behind as the younger users migrate along. It may have already happened. That’s ok, as long as I can still communicate with my family. When not exhausted I enjoy the political give and take of FB and Twitter, as long as it stays civil. I get exhausted because so much of it isn’t civil.

Make no mistake, I cannot stand having Donald Trump as SCROTUS. I don’t dislike him personally since I don’t know him. I suspect I would not like him considering the size of his ego, his constant lying (and I don’t say this in a mean way – it has been proven), the way he views and treats women, and his addiction to adoration. That simply does not seem like the type of person I would enjoy being around. However, there is a difference between the man and the position he is trying to fill.

I am a firm member of what is known as The Resistance. The most important job resisters have at the moment is trying to get as many people as possible registered to vote in time for the midterm elections. At this point no one knows what is going to come out of Mueller’s investigation or whether SCROTUS will ever face impeachment. I’m old enough to remember Bill Clinton’s ordeal, and I know it is very difficult to impeach, much less convict, when the occupant of the White House is of the same political party as that controlling Congress. Nothing is going to happen to SCROTUS as long as the GOP controls Congress, which is why voter registration, and getting out the actual vote, is vital.

One problem with promoting The Resistance on FB and Twitter is that we are pretty much “preaching to the choir”.  We need to figure out how to reach those who don’t get on social media. Another problem is that posts tend to cause a lot of back and forth that sometimes gets heated.

I’ve noticed that most of the time those who do not like SCROTUS try to keep the discussion on an intellectual level, using facts to support their positions. Unfortunately, SCROTUS has a habit of calling his “enemies” insulting names when he tweets (which is constantly). His language and behavior have broken the dam of civility and allowed a torrent of nastiness and bullying to flood social media, emulated by his supporters. SCROTUS is a classic bully and his supporters feel it is now ok to express their long suppressed anti-social tendencies, such as racism and xenophobia. They also copy their idol’s name calling using things like “libtard” and “snowflake” (although I see nothing wrong with snowflake – I guess they think it is an insult). For supporting “facts” they use SCROTUS talking points that usually have no evidence.

So, these two groups, Resisters and Trumpers, go back and forth at each other constantly. When I’m not so exhausted it is a source of amusement. Many postings are clever. Sometimes I find out things I didn’t know, or read something I want to research to be sure of its accuracy.

Now, however, it is just noise. I need to stop, take a break, listen to the birds in my backyard and some music; read a real book just for enjoyment, maybe even meditate. I’ll return to the fray. I’ll continue the fight. And I’ll do it better because I’m rested and have evened out my perspective.

Until next week….