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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Some Pleasure, Some Sorrow

The loss of Molly has been hard to deal with, and most likely it’s only pet owners or former pet owners who will be able to fully grasp our sadness.
15 years of living with the same dog is a long time and the attachment will stay on whether the dog is there or not. 1-DSC_0658
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1-DSC_0654                             Above: Sunsweep Sculpture
1-DSC_0666To help getting our minds into a more positive direction we decided today that we would do a hike to Sunsweep Sculpture, which always has been my favorite hike on the island. Clear skies and a dark blue sea mixed with the colours of fall, the quietness of the forest accompanied by the surf of the waves and rolling pebbles made this day perfect for enjoying nature.
1-DSC_0671Even though this trail is usually not crowded, today we were the absolut only ones enjoying the area. The bright sun and the reflection on the water made the area warmer than expected. Before soon I threw of my jacket and I would have walked without my sweater if I wouldn’t have to carry it. Hard to believe that this was October 18 on the east coast.
1-DSC_0676A little group of cormorans were sitting on rocks looking out for food.
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1-20171018_113359The beaches were strewn with driftwood, shore birds here and there and a seal sticking his round head out of the water right off shore.
An incredible paradise of peace indeed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Might Not Have The Right Words For This

All readers who really know us and have followed us for some time also know about Molly, our dog of 15 years. This summer, Molly developed some problems with her hind legs or rather the left hind one. The leg seemed too weak to carry her so she started falling onto her bum or walked in circles. After a visit to the vet we ruled out arthritis as a reason so a different, maybe neurological problem, caused the weakness in her hind legs. Her problems then intensified over the last couple of months and accellerated further over the last 2 weeks.

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to announce her passing on October 11. The vet came into our vehicle where we had all gathered round Molly. I am extremely bad in dealing with matters of death but I heldt out on the frontseat of the van. Bea had Molly’s cute little face in her hands and I saw Molly’s big eyes focussed on Bea. 
1-DSC_0722It only took a few minutes and Molly fell asleep, then her little heart stopped beating. That was when we broke down. The 2 vets graciously retracted from the van, leaving us totally devastated.
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Molly was laid to rest in a casket I had made for her and a cross is marking her grave in the rear of our garden.
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All pet owners will agree that the day they have to let go is one of the worst in their lives. Molly was our 4th dog and we have been going through this painful period of saying goodbye every time, it still is as unbearable as the first time, and the feeling of being left alone, the pity  and yes, even guilt and the feeling of being powerless becomes overwhelming for us.
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We hug each other trying to console and finding reassurance in each other’s tears.
I come home and Molly is not there, I prepare dinner and Molly is not begging for scraps. Her bed corner is empty, her food bowl gone. Even the last dog feed has been given to a neighbour. I am so confused and feeling hollow.
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Of course, Molly was 15 years old and that is a respectable age for any dog. But she wasn’t looking her age - not at all. She still loved her food and was at the table hoping for hand-outs. She never really barked a lot, she never growled at another dog, though she was attacked by another dog when she was still young and  a few years ago by a coyote in Alberta.

Molly was just a 3-months old puppy when we got her. I took her up and lost me heart within 3 seconds in a farm yard in 2003. After we had bought that farm and moved there in April, we also got Boomer, a 5-year old Labrador Retriever. Boomer became Molly’s teacher. Boomer told her how to behave and it worked. Boomer was phenomenal.
We never had to tell Molly anything. When we started traveling during the winters, Molly and Boomer were riding along on the backseat of our crewcab pickup. Both dogs have been in Vancouver,BC, San Francisco and San Diego, Phoenix,AZ and all over Texas. In 2008 we lost Boomer to cancer in Denver, CO and again we could not find sleep. Boomer was such a great guy and friendly with every dog and human. Our 2 dogs were avid travelers and have seen much more than many humans will ever see. Boomer loved the water, while Molly remained a dog for the forest. The only thing she ever was interested in on a beach was eating stinking crab shells and rolling in fish cadavers. Once we were guesting an RV park close to Tucson,AZ. The area was infested with Cholla cactus. Boomer had the habit of doing his main business by hanging his bum into a shrub. He also tried that with a Cholla cactus!  He came out of there pretty darn quick. He also stuck his nose into a porcupine the evening before we were about to start out on our first trip to the south. Molly stayed mostly out of trouble. She was very cautious, but got scared a couple of times when getting her snout too close to a garter snake. And once she almost got bitten by a rattler in Alberta’s badlands.
Molly had no knowledge of the dangers of approaching cars. She would wander the street as if it was a green meadow. But we were always close and got her out of the way.
1-IMG_2594It is said that dogs never die as they live on for ever in the hearts of their owners. And that is exactly the way we feel it as well.
R.I.P Molly

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Benefit Of Being White

The White Privilege of the

“Lone Wolf” Shooter

Shaun King

October 2 2017,

Foto: David Becker/Getty Images

LAST NIGHT, THE United States experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. At least 58 people are dead and over 500 more wounded. No, that’s not a typo: More than 500 people were injured in one single incident.

As tens of thousands enjoyed a music festival on the streets of Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, was perched 32 floors above them in his Mandalay Bay hotel room. Paddock had 19 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo — supplies that are plentiful in a nation that has more guns than people. A few minutes after 10 p.m., Paddock opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd. They were sitting ducks.

No expensive wall along the Mexican border would’ve prevented this. No Muslim ban stopping immigrants and refugees from a few randomly selected countries from reaching our shores would’ve slowed this down.

Paddock, like the majority of mass shooters in this country, was a white American. And that simple fact changes absolutely everything about the way this horrible moment gets discussed in the media and the national discourse: Whiteness, somehow, protects men from being labeled terrorists.

The privilege here is that the ultimate conclusion about shootings committed by people from commonly nonwhite groups often leads to determinations about the corrosive or destructive nature of the group itself. When an individual claiming to be Muslim commits a horrible act, many on the right will tell us Islam is the problem. For centuries, when an act of violence has been committed by an African-American, racist tropes follow — and eventually, the criminalization and dehumanization of an entire ethnic group.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) A person lies on the ground covered with blood at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

A bloodied victim lies on the ground during a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

PRIVILEGE ALWAYS STANDS in contrast to how others are treated, and it’s true in this case, too: White men who resort to mass violence are consistently characterized primarily as isolated “lone wolves” — in no way connected to one another — while the most problematic aspects of being white in America are given a pass that nobody else receives.

Stephen Paddock’s whiteness has already afforded him many outrageous protections in the media.

While the blood was still congealing on the streets of Las Vegas, USA Today declared in a headline that Paddock was a “lone wolf.” And yet an investigation into his motivations and background had only just started. Police were only beginning to move to search his home and computers. His travel history had not yet been evaluated. No one had yet thoroughly scrutinized his family, friends, and social networks.

Paddock was declared a “lone wolf” before analysts even started their day, not because an exhaustive investigation produced such a conclusion, but because it is the only available conclusion for a white man in America who commits a mass shooting.

“Lone wolf” is how Americans designate many white suspects in mass shootings. James Holmes was called a “lone wolf” when he shot and killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. And Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot and killed the pastor and eight other parishioners, was quickly declared a “lone wolf.”

For people of color, and especially for Muslims, the treatment is often different. Muslims often get labeled as “terrorists” before all the facts have come out.

Just consider President Donald Trump. This morning, Trump tweeted, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” That’s fine, but Trump doesn’t even seem angry. It’s peculiar that he didn’t call the shooter a “son of a bitch,” like he did the NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem. He didn’t create an insulting nickname for Paddock or make an immediate push for a policy proposal.

Compare that to how Trump treats incidents where he believes the assailants are Muslims. After a bomb exploded in the London subway, Trump tweeted that the attackers were “loser terrorists” — before British authorities had even named a suspect. He went on to immediately use the attack to push his Muslim ban.

We must ask ourselves: Why do certain acts of violence absolutely incense Trump and his base while others only elicit warm thoughts and prayers? This is the deadliest mass shooting in American history! Where is the outrage? Where are the policy proposals?

What we are witnessing is the blatant fact that white privilege protects even Stephen Paddock, an alleged mass murderer, not just from being called a terrorist, but from the anger, rage, hellfire, and fury that would surely rain down if he were almost anyone other than a white man. His skin protects him. It also prevents our nation from having an honest conversation about why so many white men do what he did, and why this nation seems absolutely determined to do next to nothing about it.

I spoke to two people this morning, one black and the other Muslim. Both of them said that, when they heard about this awful shooting in Las Vegas, they immediately began hoping that the shooter was not black or Muslim. Why? Because they knew that the blowback on all African-Americans or Muslims would be fierce if the shooter hailed from one of those communities.

Something is deeply wrong when people feel a sense of relief that the shooter is white because they know that means they won’t suffer as a result.

It is an exemplar of white privilege: not just being given a headstart in society, but also the freedom from certain consequences of individual and group actions

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Anthem Of Death

Mass shootings in the United States:

2017: Las Vegas

A gunman identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of casino on Oct. 1, 2017, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 515. He died at the scene after officers went into the hotel room he was using.

Social media videos capture chaos during Vegas mass shooting

2016: Orlando, Fla.

A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun opened fire on June 12, 2016 at a nightclub popular with gay men, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, was later shot and killed by police at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., suffering eight bullet wounds according to an autopsy report. The FBI said the shooter had been frequenting radical Islamic websites but there was no evidence he had been directed by any group.

Nightclub Shooting Florida

Barbara Poma, right, the owner of Pulse nightclub is hugged in front of the club on Dec. 5, 2016, after a news conference in Orlando, Fla. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

2015: San Bernardino, Calif.

A husband born in the U.S. and his wife, who had immigrated from Pakistan, opened fire at a social services centre in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2015. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded more than 20. They fled the scene but died hours later in a shootout with police. The shooters had discussed martyrdom and violent jihad online in the preceding months, officials said.

A former neighbour was later convicted on several charges, including providing the weapons for the shooters, who worried their Middle Eastern appearance would arouse suspicions.

2013: Washington, D.C.

Aaron Alexis, a mentally disturbed civilian contractor, shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. before he was killed by police in a shootout. The victims in the Sept. 16, 2013 attack were Navy contractors or civilian employees. All but one victim died at the scene.

2012: Newtown, Conn.

An armed 20-year-old man with a history of mental illness entered Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 and used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 26 people, including 20 first graders and six adult school staff members. Adam Lanza had first killed his mother at a local residence. After the campus massacre, Lanza killed himself. 

2012: Aurora, Colo.

A 27-year-old man fatally shot 12 people and injured 70 in an Aurora, Colo., movie theatre during a July 20, 2012 nighttime screening of The Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without parole. A jury rejected an insanity defence.

2009: Binghamton, N.Y.

An unemployed 42-year-old man killed 13 people at a community centre in Binghamton, N.Y., on April 3, 2009, including several who were taking a citizenship course. Gunman Jiverly Wong, who fatally shot himself, had mailed a rambling note to a local television station to coincide with the shooting.

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US. Army Sgt. Maj. Leroy Walker Jr. wipes tears during a vigil following the 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, committed by an Army psychiatrist who has subsequently been sentenced to death. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

2009: Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas

Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim who was an army psychiatrist, opened fire at the Fort Hood base on Nov. 5, 2009, killing 13. Hasan, 39 at the time of the shooting, was apprehended and has been sentenced to death. Doctors overseeing his medical training repeatedly had flagged others about his zealous Islamic views, according to information received by The Associated Press.

2007: Blacksburg, Va.

A senior at Virginia Tech, armed with two handguns, killed 32 people at various locations on campus on April 16, 2007. Seung-Hui Choi had raised concerns with previous antisocial behaviour and a disturbing creative writing assignment. Choi, born in South Korea but raised in the U.S., sent a rambling manifesto to U.S. news networks. He committed suicide at the scene.

Virginia Tech Shooting Remembrance

People participate in a candlelight vigil on April 16, 2017, in Blacksburg Va., as part of the closing ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the deadly shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, widely known as Virginia Tech. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

1999: Littleton, Colo.

A pair of male students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library. It was the deadliest of a spate of school shootings to afflict the U.S. in 1998 and 1999.

1991: Killeen, Texas

George Hennard, unemployed 35-year-old man from the local area, went on a shooting rampage in Killeen, Texas, at Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. About 20 people were injured in the Oct. 16, 1991 attack. At the time it was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

1986: Edmond, Okla.

Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shot 14 people at a post office on Aug. 20, 1986. He then killed  himself.

1984: San Ysidro, Calif.

An unemployed security guard killed 21 people in a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., on on July 18, 1984. A police sharpshooter killed the gunman, James Huberty, who had left cryptic comments with his wife before leaving the house en route to his killing spree.

1966: Austin, Texas

A 25-year-old former Marine killed his mother and father before unleashing a shooting spree at the University of Texas at Austin campus on Aug. 1, 1966. The majority of the campus shootings occurred with Charles Whitman firing down from an observation deck at the university's clock tower. He was shot and killed by police in the tower.

The death toll of 17 innocent victims includes the unborn child of a pregnant woman who survived, and a man who survived and lived into his late 50s; medical officials concluded a lodged bullet contributed to his 2001 death.

MASS SHOOTING IN LAS VEGAS! NOBODY SHOT BACK!

DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTING IN THE US HISTORY!

And here we wake up to another shooting disaster, one of hundreds in the USA, this time in the city of sin, Las Vegas. At least 50 people lost their lives, many more got hurt.  And I am asking where were all those well-armed cowboys, rednecks, and would-be warriors who are so proud Americans always convinced that they can defend themselves and the public, should the need occur. And I would think that the need was right there in Vegas.

But of course, everybody knows that the mantra of “carrying” and “being able to defend” is just that, an illusion. No-where else in the civilized world is the population killing themselves at a comparable rate than in the USA. When a gunman shows up, the moment of shock and surprise is overwhelming, and instead of returning fire, people do what people are supposed to do --- seeking cover. And that is the simple answer to why gun-carrying hard-working tax-paying Americans are not so brave as they think they are.

But the USA will continue indefinitely as the nation which lives on in a delusional bubble of false hopes and security.

Sad…as the orange ape says. 

 

While the American public is again stumbling over eachother in offering “Thoughts and Prayers” it has by now gotten obvious that it doesn’t work. Instead it has grown into a never ending bad circle.

The Thought and Prayer Strategy:

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Racist President

‘He’s a racist president’: Mainland Puerto Ricans are furious over Donald Trump’s debt talk amid hurricane crisis

Donald Trump’s response to devastation on the island has been markedly different than to damage in Texas and Florida, notably in his repeated mention of the burden of cost. Puerto Ricans have noticed.

People wait in line outside a bank in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on Friday. Donald Trump’s cost-conscious response to Hurricane Maria is infuriating many with ties to the island.

People wait in line outside a bank in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on Friday. Donald Trump’s cost-conscious response to Hurricane Maria is infuriating many with ties to the island.  (KIRSTEN LUCE/THE NEW YORK TIMES) 

By DANIEL DALEWashington Bureau

WASHINGTON—Claryse Flores’s brother lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He texted her Thursday night about the long lines he still faces for water, gas, food.

On Friday, she heard President Donald Trump talk, again, about Puerto Rico’s debts. And she heard him tell a crowd of businesspeople that Puerto Rico’s government would have to help figure out how to pay the cost of the massive rebuilding effort.

She fumed.

suffering and dying, and that’s my family, I’m beyond offended.”

Read more: ‘Dammit, this is not a good news story’: San Juan mayor slams Trump administration’s sugar coating of Puerto Rico hurricane response

Trump earned broad public approval, polls show, for his enthusiastic response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. But his response to the Hurricane Maria disaster in Puerto Rico has been markedly different, in both actions and words.

The disparity has been noted with intense dismay by many Puerto Ricans on the mainland. As they worry about their families and friends on the island, they have been forced to grapple with a series of apparent passive-aggressive slights from their president.

Some of them say Trump’s response to Maria is another example of the bigotry they saw in a presidential campaign Trump began by calling Mexican immigrants rapists. And some say it is another example of a lingering “colonial” attitude in the federal government’s approach to the island commonwealth the U.S. invaded in 1898.

“It sickens me,” said Angel Vazquez, 30, a graphic designer in Atlanta who moved from Puerto Rico as a child. “He’s a racist president. He was elected because of the base that he was catering to. And he’s just someone who’s following through on exactly what he was going to say.”

“I don’t remember him discussing costs when he came to Texas or when he came to Florida,” said Flores, 37, a New Jersey receptionist of Puerto Rican descent. “I’m not surprised. I followed the election, and I am from New York, so I’ve known the name Trump for a very long time. But when people are

“It’s really hard to talk about bankruptcy and debt when people have no power, no water, no homes, and their entire lives have been devastated,” said Julio Ricardo Varela, 48, a journalist from Puerto Rico who co-hosts the In the Thick political podcast.

Displays sit largely empty at a supermarket in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, on Friday.

Displays sit largely empty at a supermarket in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, on Friday.  (KIRSTEN LUCE/THE NEW YORK TIMES) 

“Comments like those come across as not only incredibly short-sighted and insensitive, but it just confirms how the United States, as a country, views its colonial territory. Bringing up the debt just brings up old wounds. ‘Yep, we’re a colony. You had to remind us, huh?’ The island’s destroyed, but you had to remind us that we have no control over our destiny. Thank you.”

Since the beginning of the Puerto Rico crisis, Trump has emphasized money matters he did not broach when addressing the crises in Texas and Florida.

It is instructive to compare his tweets, often the most authentic representation of his thoughts.

After Hurricane Harvey, he wrote: “TEXAS: We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover and REBUILD!”

In his first substantive tweets on the Hurricane Maria damage, conversely, he noted Puerto Rico’s pre-existing infrastructure problems. And then he spoke of Puerto Rico’s debt load of more than $70 billion.

“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble. It’s (sic) old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities — and doing well. #FEMA,” he wrote.

He suggested Friday that federal support for Puerto Rico’s recovery would not be unconditional, writing: “The fact is that Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!”

And then he said it again in a speech four hours later to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington.

“Ultimately, the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort — it will end up being one of the biggest ever — will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island,” he said, appearing to deviate from his prepared text.

U.S. President Donald Trump defended his administration's response to Puerto Rico's hurricane destruction, saying the federal government is fully engaged but he said, "nothing's left," and they are "starting from scratch" to rebuild. (The Associated Press)

He concluded: “We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe, and sound, and secure, and we will be there every day until that happens.”

Trump’s repeated references to costs are not the only part of his administration’s rhetoric that have raised the ire of Puerto Ricans. His relentless praise for his own performance, and that of the federal emergency agency, has infuriated Puerto Ricans who note that much of the island remained without drinkable water nine days after the storm made landfall.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the federal government was invisible in some areas outside the capital. CBS reporter David Begnaud tweeted Friday: “Desperate Puerto Ricans are using Clorox containers to fill work drinking water. As one woman said, ‘I don’t even have a bucket.’ ”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz reacted emotionally to the words of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who said Thursday that “it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.”

“Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story,” she said on CNN.

“When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story.”

Some Puerto Ricans are less aghast at Trump’s rhetoric than what they see as Trump’s reluctance to take action. They noted that Trump immediately waived the Jones Act, an obscure protectionist law which limits shipping, after Harvey and Irma but not after Maria. Before Trump relented, he said he was hesitant because “a lot of people that work in the shipping industry” wanted him to hold off.

Trump has repeatedly cited praise for the response from Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello. Rossello, however, has also called for more aid, telling NBC on Friday that the effort is “not where it needs to be.”

Puerto Ricans do not get to vote in presidential or congressional elections. But the disaster could have significant political implications — and they could hurt Trump.

Puerto Ricans whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed could choose to join the large Puerto Rican community of Florida, potentially making that state more Democratic-leaning.

“You either solve the problem in Puerto Rico, or the problem will show up in the other states in the mainland,” Varela said.

 

Update:

Trump slams Puerto Rico mayor for 'poor leadership', says 'they' want everything 'done for them'

President Donald Trump slammed the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital city for "poor leadership" a day after the mayor criticized a Trump administration official's positive assessment of the situation in the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory.

Trump also suggested politics lay at the heart of the critical comments by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, claiming that she has "been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump."

He suggested officials or people on the island -- it is not clear exactly who the president is referring to -- are not doing enough themselves to recover from the crisis left by Hurricane Maria, that "they want everything to be done for them."

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The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.

8:19 AM - Sep 30, 2017

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Donald J. Trump

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...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They....

8:26 AM - Sep 30, 2017

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...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

Friday, September 29, 2017

How Deep Is The Ocean…How Deep Is The Swamp?

Trump’s key promise to “drain the Washington swamp” has just suffered from another big blow of corruption and abuse of taxpayer funds. When HHS Secretary Tom Price was bold enough to use private jets for his many utterly useless government travels he brought evidence to the fact that whatever swamp Trump had in mind to drain, is deeper than ever. While Tom Price used 1Mill. for his travels, unemployment and poverty continued unabated throughout the country. And it is only thanks to the democrates vigilance demanding an investigation that Trump had no other way out than to accept Price’s resignation.
Image result for cartoon washington swamp
It is amazing how many scandals have haunted this so-called government since Trump’s election. The swamp with its murky waters  is now so deep that it will be utterly impossible to drain.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Uncaring President

Trump's lack of empathy about Puerto Rico is staggering

Raul A. Reyes(CNN)

After spending the weekend feuding with football players and trashing Sen. John McCain, on Monday night President Donald Trump turned his attention to the devastation still faced by several regions in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

"Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble," he tweeted to his 39 million followers.

Just what is wrong with the President's tweets about these areas struggling through a tremendous recovery?

Everything.

Let's begin with Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million American citizens (more than many states) that has been plunged into darkness for the foreseeable future. But it wasn't until Tuesday, six days after Maria hit Puerto Rico, that Trump made a substantive late-to-the-disaster statement during a press conference with the Spanish foreign minister at the White House.

"All available resources, including the military, are being marshaled to save lives," he said. And "we have been really treated very, very nicely by the governor and everyone else." He allowed that the people of Puerto Rico "are important to all of us."

That would have been more convincing had Trump to that point not been essentially silent about the chaos there, though he did also note in a tweet Monday: "its old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape was devastated."

Taken with his, and his vice president's, failure to visit the island thus far (Trump announced Tuesday that he would go next week -- "some people say, I read it this morning, it's literally destroyed") this seems to be an attempt to deflect accountability away from his administration's role in the recovery effort. As of Monday, according to an article in New York magazine, party leaders "were waiting for a formal disaster request from the Trump administration."

But Trump tweeted on: "Much of the island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with."

...owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities - and doing well. These comments are unconscionable given that Puerto Rico -- right now -- has limited communication and is on the verge of a massive humanitarian crisis. The island may be without power for months. The devastation there has been described as "apocalyptic" -- and Trump is concerned about what the territory owes to Wall Street and the banks? The lack of empathy is staggering.

How ironic that in the wake of a catastrophic disaster, our President feels the need to mention what Puerto Rico owes to its creditor banks, particularly given his own history of multiple bankruptcies. Our fellow Americans on the island are facing unprecedented, horrific living conditions and this is what Trump finds noteworthy.

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and its people are US citizens, although most Americans do not know that. Although they are Americans, Puerto Ricans on the island do not have a voting member of Congress to advocate for their interests. If only they could count on the President to amplify the fact that they need help -- and they need it quickly.

Instead, this past weekend it was left for island officials to plead their case directly to the media, and for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to call for the US Navy to be sent to the island to assist in relief efforts.

Sure, Trump did offer, regarding the disasters, that "food, water, and medical supplies are top priorities." The fact that he tweeted these sentiments made them appear an afterthought. Until Tuesday, days after Maria made landfall, Trump did not mention the plight of the US Virgin Islands, which have been virtually destroyed, at all.

Congress, help your fellow Americans in Puerto Rico

Congress, help your fellow Americans in Puerto Rico

Which brings us to the states Trump DID mention in his tweets — although it's unclear whether he knew what he was talking about. Mr. President, Texas and Florida are not "doing great." They were doing great before two hurricanes walloped them, but it will be a long time before they are back to pre-Harvey and pre-Irma conditions.

In southeast Texas, many families are coping with the loss of their homes and possessions and figuring out how and where to live now. City and state officials are already sparring over how to fund the ongoing cleanup efforts. And according to news reports, relief has come slowly for smaller towns along the Texas coast.

Florida is in a similar predicament. The state, especially Miami, was lucky to dodge the full force of a Category 5 hurricane. Still, thousands of people were without power for days, and they, too, are salvaging their lives and getting to work on rebuilding. Thanks to Irma, Florida's tourism, agriculture, and insurance industries are reeling. Sunshine State residents are facing unexpected property damage and financial losses, with many planning to apply for federal assistance. A FEMA disaster recovery center opened in Miami-Dade County just this week.

Trump's casual — and ludicrous — pronouncement about how "great" Texas and Florida are doing after two severe weather events downplays the long road ahead for these states, and amounts to an abuse of his position as chief executive with the power of the bully pulpit.

The risk is that the short-attention-span American public and media will soon move on to the next big story and forget about our fellow Americans' suffering. Though it may come as a shock to the President, this is not all about him; just because he has visited Texas and Florida post-storm does not mean things are going well there.

Puerto Rico Gov.: There will be mass exodus

Puerto Rico Gov.: There will be mass exodus 00:42

In contrast to the very personal ways that Trump often engages in Twitter when he is on the attack, his tweets about storm damage in the country he leads, particularly when it comes to Puerto Rico, have an oddly impassive tone, as though he were an observer.

Yet he is the chief executive, with the power to elevate a national discussion or issue, literally, at his fingertips. That he has taken nearly a week to do so in the case of Puerto Rico only adds to the perception that he cares little about Latinos; no wonder 67% of Latinos disapprove of the job he is doing as President.

Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands all deserve continuing attention and concern from our President. Trump's tweets stand as their own shameful disaster

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mr. Blabbermouth Trump Can’t Shut Up

What most common-sense people already knew when the deplorables elected Trump for President is happening now: Mr Blabbermouth Trump still has a problem with knowing when to speak and when to shut the F””k up. His rhetoric has brought the US, and with it the world, to the edge of a nuclear war with North Korea. And nobody knows who else is gonna join the crazy game of death. And the deplorables are still cheering him on as if they are looking forward to be wiped off the face of the earth by a nuclear cloud. But what else can we expect of the dumbest scum of the earth?

When Trump says North Korea is not gonna be around much longer, it must sound like a declaration of war to the North Korean leadership. It would to any other nation with a little selfrespect.

When will people learn that the best solution is to lock up their leaders in one single prison cell and let THEM fight it out right there, while the rest of us can continue with our lives. But as history teaches us, it has never been like that and will never be.

Sad.
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Norwegian Returns Home

This is the incredible story of a man and his ship wanting to prove the nearly impossible. It is also the story of his ship going home after having spent 80 years in a foreign country on the bottom of the sea.

The man’s name was Roald Amundson, a Norwegian, obsessed with exploring the polar region.

As the leader of the Antarctic expedition of 1910–12, which was the first to reach the South Pole, on 14 December 1911, he was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. In 1926, he was the first expedition leader for the air expedition to the North Pole, making him the first person, without dispute, to reach both poles. He is also known as having the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage(1903–06) in the Arctic.

In 1918 Amundsen began another expedition. This time the plan was to try the North-East Passage. The goal of the expedition was to explore the unknown areas of the Arctic Ocean, strongly inspired by Fridtjof Nansen's earlier expedition with Fram. The plan was to sail along the coast of Siberia and go into the ice farther to the north and east than Nansen had.

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Amundsen planned to freeze the Maud into the polar ice cap and drift towards the North Pole (as Nansen had done with the Fram), and he did so off Cape Chelyuskin. But, the ice became so thick that the ship was unable to break free, although it was designed for such a journey in heavy ice. In September 1919, the crew got the ship loose from the ice, but it froze again after eleven days somewhere between the New Siberian Islands and Wrangel Island.

After two winters frozen in the ice, without having achieved the goal of drifting over the North Pole, Amundsen decided to go to Nome to repair the ship and buy provisions.

During the third winter, Maud was frozen in the western Bering Strait. She finally became free and the expedition sailed south, reaching Seattle, Washington, in the US Pacific Northwest in 1921 for repairs. Amundsen returned to Norway, needing to put his finances in order.

In June 1922, Amundsen returned to Maud, which had been sailed to Nome. He decided to shift from the planned naval expedition to aerial ones, and arranged to charter a plane. He divided the expedition team in two: one part was to survive the winter and prepare for an attempt to fly over the pole. This part was led by Amundsen. The second team on Maud, under the command of Wisting, was to resume the original plan to drift over the North Pole in the ice. The ship drifted in the ice for three years east of the New Siberian Islands, never reaching the North Pole. Maud was seized by creditors in Seattle and sold at an auction. The Hudson's Bay Company purchased the ship to supply its Arctic outposts. After refitting in Vancouver, and with a new name, Baymaud sailed for the Western Arctic in June 1926. It never returned. After freezing in for the winter of 1926-1927, the ship was moored close to shore and used by the Hudson's Bay Company as a floating machine shop, warehouse and wireless station.

Baymaud developed a leak and sank at its anchorage in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Northern Canada, in the winter of 1930. A small portion of the ship remained above the ice and water, and the masts, rigging and cabins were stripped from the hull. The rest of the ship was allowed to settle into the water.

An Idea Is Born

The idea of bringing “Maud” home took hold in 2011, during a 3 weeks visit to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in August 2011 when “Maud” was surveyed extensively over and under the water both with still photographs as well as film. Maud was still in a satisfying technical state to be saved, despite having spent the last 80 years at the seabed.

 

But the removal of Maud from it’s icy location was not to happen without a fight against the Federal Government of Canada which at first denied the Norwegians the removal of the ship, citing polar region’s cultural interests, but the Norwegians were holding the title to the ship and finally the action lifting the ship got underway, starting preparations in 2014.

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         Maud submerged at Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

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A float is brought into position to lift Maud

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    Maud resurfaced after 80 years

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Yesterday, the expedition posted the following on their Facebook page:   

MAUD HAS REACHED GREENLAND
After 3 weeks of sailing MAUD and the tug Tandberg Polar has reached Aasiaat, Greenland, safe and sound. We are extremely tired but happy to have arrived here in Aasiaat where Maud will stay this winter before continuing to Norway next summer.
Tricky ice conditions in the Northwest Passage and stormy weather across to Greenland gave us a good challenge, but Maud and Jensen as well as our crew stood the test. The old Queen of the ice is on her way home. We are full of joy and gratitude to be part of Maud´s journey back to her home country, after 100 years

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Forget Trump. The U.S. Storms Ahead on Climate Change Like Never Before

Months after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, states and cities are offering their own forecast for reducing global warming: We got this.

While leaders outside Washington have been implementing measures for decades when it comes to combating carbon emissions and promoting green energy, the Trump administration’s rolling back of federal environmental protections has spurred localities around the country to step up in what experts say is an unprecedented effort.

Since Trump took office, there's been a downpour of legislation, amendments and resolutions aimed at curbing carbon emissions that are in line with key tenets of the Paris climate pact, the landmark global coalition meant to curb emissions that cause climate change.

"We’re really seeing a groundswell of activity," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told NBC News.

Image: Protest Trump Decision on Paris Accord

Environmental activists hold placards during a demonstration to protest President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord deal on June 1.

"The U.S. is moving strongly and irreversibly forward to transition to clean energy and to take on the climate crisis seriously, even if there is an absence of leadership coming from the White House," Brune added. "Because of the president’s and Congress’ intransigence when it comes to climate change, local governments are looking to do more."

To date, 377 mayors have joined together in a group called Climate Mayors, pledging to honor carbon emissions goals set by the Paris deal in their own cities. Under Paris, the U.S. had committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Another group, America’s Pledge, was created in July by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help organize states, cities and businesses in their efforts to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. Their group now includes officials from 200 cities and counties and nine states.

Actions supporting those goals have emanated from state capitals and city halls with rocket speed.

More than 370 bills of varying scope — all related to climate change, emissions reductions, carbon capture and green jobs — have sprung up in 41 states and Puerto Rico, proposed by Democrats and Republicans alike.

At least 50 of the measures have been enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and 200 are still pending.

Some states have tackled the issue comprehensively.

In Hawaii, for example, the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature adopted or passed a series of measures, including making chunks of the Paris pact state law, allocating millions of dollars for emission reductions programs, and taking a step toward mandating climate change education in the state’s public schools.

In California, Brown extended in July his state’s cap-and-trade program, which makes businesses in the Golden State pay for their carbon dioxide emissions to 2030. It had been due to expire in 2020.

Under the program, limits are set on the amount of carbon dioxide a company is allowed to emit and auctions are held in which companies bid against each other for permits that allow a specific amount of emission. The cash from the auctions goes to a state greenhouse gas reduction fund.

Other states have taken a narrower approach.

In Maine, for example, the politically divided Legislature worked across party lines to issue $5 million in bonds to pay for prediction models for the state’s coastal zones that will help monitor "sea level changes in order to mitigate the impact of help prepare for rising sea levels" caused by climate change.

Maryland’s Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed a bill to incentivize farming practices that reduce runoff and emissions.

Even more action is taking place at the city level.

"There’s literally nothing more important than saving the planet, and now it’s cities leading the effort," Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia told NBC News. "That’s the world we live in with Trump having withdrawn from Paris."

A new survey of more than 100 American cities with at least 30,000 people, released exclusively Sunday to NBC News by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, found that nearly two-thirds of the cities are procuring green-fleet vehicles for city use and public transportation.

About two-thirds of the cities have also made commitments to require energy efficiency in all government buildings, and 63 percent have installed public charging stations for electric vehicles. Another 23 percent said they’re considering programs that would result in the installation.

The survey’s results "indicate the desire of cities of all sizes to do more to meet the challenges of clean energy and sustainable development," Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a joint statement.

And innovation keeps coming.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who’d committed in 2014 to cutting the city’s emissions by 80 percent by 2050, announced a first-of-its-kind proposal that would require owners of all aging buildings over 25,000 square feet, including apartments, to meet new greenhouse gas emission standards.

While climate experts have celebrated the progress, they've also been quick to point out that states and cities had been active on the issue long before Trump took office.

"They weren’t just sitting on their hands," said Jackson Morris, who manages on climate-mitigation policies for the eastern U.S. for the National Resources Defense Council. "(Trump) lit a fire under them, it added another layer of urgency."