Post # 266 (poesie)  BOTTOM LINE PARTICULARS [pliny Sonnet]

There’s no particular place to go
You may go here, you can go there
There’s no particular way to do
You may do thus, you may do so
There’s no particular way to look
He looks like this, or looks like that
There’s no particular way to be
He is like this, you are like that
There’s no particular way to feel
She feels like this, you feel like that
There’s no particular way to see
You see it thus, she sees it so

There is one particular thing we know
And know it well right from the start
That when you truly love someone,
You love, indeed, with your whole heart




In the immediately preceding blogpost, we described an ominous pathology currently attacking and weakening the body politic of our Republican Democracy. The presentment of such malady is the unhealthy willingness of individuals, lacking sufficient self-confidence and stable self-image, to submit their individual will and belief system, to an insular interest group, in exchange for a perceived sense of belonging and needed acceptance. The derived self-esteem and needed identity, so acquired, involves sacrifice of all personal views, and the acceptance of the group’s dogma.

We have previously observed that these insular groups, composed of members sharing identical opinions and memes, maintain hostile relationships with other similarly described groups with members who are believers in common in the disparate opinion. This unhealthy phenomenon is at odds with the future envisioned by our optimistic founders, who foresaw amicable debates of issues in contention, the results of which, to be useful in the attainment of  a government, “by and for the people.”

The existence of these insular cliques is contrary to democracy, in which elections are to be indicative of the will of the individual voters. We have also observed, that the avowed and dedicated purposes of these interest groups, are consistently betrayed by their own deeds and actions; suggesting that their officially declared statements of purpose are solely for public relations reasons. [See: #264]. We feel constrained to reiterate, one such example, that of the persistence of the Right Wing  Christians and the Evangelicals in their loyal (and financial) support of President Trump, despite his expressed,  unabashed pride in his vaunted sexual peccadillos and his acts of sexual abuse.

We have previously ascribed the etiology of this syndrome, to feelings of poor individual  self- image, feelings of loneliness and insecurity, lack of adequate understanding and mature perception, and others; but none greater than the desired new perception of improved, identity and the neurotically needed, assurance of acceptance and belonging.

Prior to sharing Dr. Thomas Jefferson’s prescription for the cure of this pathology, we would like to take a moment to offer a few suggestions regarding Presidential elections, with the earnest hope that the travesty of the past election will not be repeated.

  1. We need to have a required prior vetting of all candidates for President, prior to the primaries; an interview by educated and respected Americans (perhaps past Presidential office holders).
  2. The vetting should include the mandated production of relevant documents, including the latest tax returns.
  3. The Electoral College should be abolished as a sign of respect for the American voter.

Our consult with Dr. Thos. Jefferson, began with his usual instruction, “For a democracy to be successful, it is required to have literate and informed citizens.” We then asked him about a cure for the discussed pathology, he advised as follows: We can, indeed, have the peaceful and useful exchange of ideas as envisioned, and satisfy the early assumptions. The cure is what you, during your era, would call a “win-win.”  My findings are that many American citizens have neglected to establish for themselves, early on, an acceptable and stable self-image, a confidence in their ability to make confident judgments based upon mature and rational perspective. Evolution gave all men an advanced brain to use for independent problem solving and for growth and self -enhancement; and not for dependence on others for decision making. Individuals who are well informed, who have a familiarity with man’s history and great literature, learn that they are not isolated or detached from the whole of humanity [he stopped here, to straighten his wig] and that his life presents problems which are universal to all of mankind. Get him to read and acquire some further understanding and he will become more self-reliant by degrees, and develop a better self- image. His new found respect for himself and his own private perceptions will enable him, to make his own decisions and reach his own, confident judgments. The double benefit will be a more valuable citizen for the nation, and a more fulfilling life for himself.

After leaving us with a few blank applications for entrance to the University of Virginia [for the grandchildren] President Thomas Jefferson disappeared, leaving only some faint traces of white powder from his wig, on the polished mantle.


Post # 264     AS A MATTER OF FACT

Homo sapiens can properly attribute its advancement over the ages to its natural predilection for inquiry. Whether conducted by the (trial and error) method [still valuable] or the more modern, sophisticated process of academic research and experimentation, man’s quest for rational   comprehension of himself and his environment, has shown success and yielded societal treasure.

Inarguably, the most valuable and precious gift to man by the evolutionary process, was an advanced brain, and secondarily, an opposable thumb. His capacity for thought enabled him to experience an awareness and understanding of himself and others, and as well, to utilize his evolved hand in techniques for survival, and in effecting alterations to his environment as necessary.

When man began living in society, interdependence and mutual defense left him time to develop an awareness of himself in relation to other individuals and to his environment, by providing further opportunity for the exercise of his innate capability to reason.  Societies developed into larger groups, later city states and still later, into nations. Life was increasingly becoming more specialized and more interdependent, which resulted in still more leisure time and opportunity to explore man’s desired understanding of life and the world around him.

Such desire for advancement historically, and predictably, came into conflict with the population of each age who, customarily, would find it preferable to cling like lichen to their traditional, superstitious and atavistic folkways [the latter human inclination, often encouraged by the Church].  It took centuries, heretical prosecutions, imprisonment and even public executions, before the permissible acceptance of the heliocentric theory, viz. that the earth travels around the sun, rather than the other way around. Remarkably, there are those today, who persistently continue to deny evolution, despite archeological, biological, serologic, geological, and empirical proofs; they would instead prefer to charge believers in evolution with religious blasphemy [shades of the Scopes case]. Obviously, the benefits and enrichment of man’s life on earth, derived from legitimate breakthroughs in knowledge, are dependent upon their general acceptance by society. A well-known, abhorrent, remark says it all, “My mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.”

In an early post, we remorsefully remarked on the failure of the optimistic expectations of our founders, that citizens of good will would amicably and constructively debate their disparate views and that the  outcome of such useful debates would inform the operations of government; thus attaining the  idealized and intended, “government, for and by the people”. In another past writing, “The Death of Civic Amity,” we observed that, instead, an unforeseen and devastating result ensued.  Rather than dedicated and informed citizens, dutifully and constructively, debating disparate views, the experience was the formation of insular, opposing cliques, composed of people, each professing mutually identical opinions; in hostile relationships with other like groups, sharing the divergent views. This unproductive and divisive phenomenon has been lately exacerbated by the appearance of the hotly contested issues of abortion, gun control, immigration policy and amazingly, climate change.


The etiology of such insular interest groups, as we are able to comprehend, is as follows: There are, within our diversely educated nation, substantial numbers of disaffected citizens, seemingly, lacking perspective and insight as to the root causes of their discontent and who feel ignored by those in authority, feeling powerless and frustrated. Many have received less than adequate education and lack the sophistication and confidence to make their grievances (real, and perceived) heard. This population furnishes the bulk of the raw material for such divisive groups. Acceptance of the individual by the group, and his adoption of its views, results in the cessation of isolated, sullen existence, and instead, offers the social brotherhood of shared opinion. It fills a vital gap, for those with a neurotic and unfulfilled need for acceptance and confirmed identity. Such priceless acquisition may well be purchased at the cost of one’s own (abandoned) views, but the social and psychological benefits, for such people are deemed, by them, to be worth it. Consistent and predictable “group think” now conveniently, and comfortably, supplants any need for assertive confidence and averts the dreaded specter of error or confusion. The member enjoys the relief from personal responsibility and potential vulnerability; his views are reliably in sync with, and safely submerged in, the mutually shared accord of the group.

Our appreciation of this dynamic, explains a great deal of much otherwise mind-boggling phenomena. We had been confused  as to the glaring inconsistencies between the steadfast and “written in stone” principles of certain dedicated, even militant, interest groups, which appear to be belied by the empirical facts which are contrary to, and inconsistent with, their fixed and inflexible  raison d’etre. We had been in a quandary as to why, for example, the[ falsely named], “Right to Life” adherents would go to the extent of committing homicide to “protect the fetus,” but uniformly oppose, vitally needed life- sustaining assistance to the needy child following the birth, or why such self-professed defenders of life, logically, can be opponents of all  efforts toward reasonable gun control, and support capital punishment,  how, on the other hand,  the fervent  supporters of the unlimited right to own or deal in guns including automatic military weapons,[ especially in light of the recent instances of mass shootings of innocent people, including young children] can be overt supporters  of “Right to Life”, how traditionally minded family people, can countenance an immigration policy which includes the Nazi-style separation of babies and young children from their mothers, how the religious wing  of the Republican party (especially the fundamentalists and Evangelicals) can still stand behind a President, a proven serial liar and egotist who  boasts about his own illicit sexual  behavior, and  personal acts of sexual abuse, how the poor and needy can continue to be Trump supporters, despite his unfulfilled demagogic promises of assistance, and how the Republican faithful, (the” base”) can continue to support  a President who expressly and falsely, represented that he would undertake to “drain the swamp,” but  in fact, enlarged  it to the proportions of a foul- smelling, Louisiana  bayou.

We can see only one plausible explanation viz., the “Life” people are not interested in the fetus (or life) at all; the family people are not interested in the issue of guns; the immigration policy of separating children from parents is not the focus of attention for family supporters and the religious Republicans  are not hot and bothered, by the sexual peccadillos of the [current  embarrassment we are constrained by the, evidently precarious, Election Law, to recognize as] President of the United States.

The neurotic desire to be accepted by, and to please, co-members of the respective interest group, seems completely to override any need for the exercise of individual thought. The practice of thinking independently for oneself, would entail the unacceptable risk of incurring the displeasure of other members of the group, upon whom, so much [in terms of previously sought acceptance, and newly acquired self- identity] depends. This” existential” concern of such insecure individuals, thus seems, as well, to emphatically override, as convenient and necessary, the recognition of factual truth. These useless citizens are veritable potholes in America’s dedicated, Century’s old, road trip to an historically sought destination: the attainment of an exemplary democracy.


Post # 263  REFRESHING THE PANTRY (redux)

The term, “immigration,” plainly and simply refers to the nation’s intake of other countries’ nationals   who desire to live in the United States.  The overwhelming majority of such immigrants come in quest of a better life for themselves and their families; others come here as “refugees,” fleeing danger. Their applications for a better life, or for safety to America, are, in historic reality, made to a nation, entirely populated by (earlier) immigrants and their present descendants. It strains reason to contemplate the mindset of those who vigorously oppose the admission of new applicants for admission, who, as they or their forbears did in the past, yearn for a better life in the United States. How soon they forget!

The heated fervor concerning a procedure which is sanctioned by law and the U.S. Constitution, has notoriously and unfortunately, led to a sharp divide, between the proponents  of immigration and those who oppose it [often on spurious grounds of international security, keeping out competitive cheap,  labor, and crime prevention]. Such opposition has exacerbated to an extremity which recently featured, no less than detention and imprisonment of immigrants, security cages and a reprise of the Nazi-Fascist style practice  of separating families; most egregiously, young children from their parents.

We fail to see any legitimate grounds for making traditional immigration difficult, nor in branding  applicants for admission with negative or undesirable references; essentially, “illegal immigrants” are   simply (legal) immigrants, but without the required paperwork. We have stated a preference for the adjectival reference, “undocumented” rather than” illegal”, since the latter term is clearly defamatory, in its suggestion of criminal behavior. Further, we regard the current wave of avowed ethnocentric concern and repressive behavior, as nothing short of atavistic bigotry.

The purported fear that newcomers to our country would demonstrate a willingness to work for low wages and threaten U.S. jobs, is without any redeeming merit; this was the very same false propaganda utilized in past periods of populist opposition in reference to Irish and Chinese immigration. The average applicant from Mexico and Central America will not pose a serious threat to jobs in Silicon Valley; moreover, numerous studies indicate a present shortage of labor, in low tech employment, i.e., agricultural, food processing, service and construction work, to cite some examples.

Opponents of liberal immigration seem to uniformly portray immigrants as needy people who will sap the treasury (and ultimately taxpayer financial resources) or, potentially, be a drag on society, with little potential to add positive value to the nation. These clueless opponents may simply be unaware  of the plethora of additions to the standing and wealth of our nation,  by persons who emigrated to the U.S. from elsewhere; in science, medicine, the arts and literature, in the digital field, and especially (most visible to the average American) the culinary scene. The acquisition of valuable cultural benefits from immigration in areas such as art, sculpture, philosophy, science,  literature, design, technology and the performing arts, are far too numerous to adequately specify. These, among other benefits, imported along with the immigrant, soon become fixed and regular features of our society, as if they were created here. They constitute profits, bonuses or dividends from wise investment in immigration.

We observed a lecture on public television which featured an apparently well recognized food historian, who stated that the cuisine in the U.S. was extremely dull and uninteresting (evidently, the English cuisine of the day) until the periods of major immigration of people from the Mediterranean parts of the globe; thereafter, an entirely new, and desirable cuisine was brought to these shores, featuring salads, olive oil, seafood, cheese and other tasteful and healthy food choices. Admission of immigrants from the Asian part of the globe gave rise to a popular demand for the various cuisines of China, of Shanghai, of Japan, India, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand. We happily frequent Greek Italian, Middle Eastern and other restaurants, featuring food of those nations with which most Americans have enjoyably became familiar. Many of these “ethnic” foods are sold at retail stores, or made at home, such as baba ganouche, humus, pizza and guacamole.

In an early post on cuisine, we suggested that it would be desirable U.S. immigration policy, to admit all who desire to settle peaceably in the U.S., provided that they brought with them a national recipe book or, alternatively, a grandmother, who was willing to (sorry) spill the beans as to the preparation of her national cuisine.

It is not as easy to fully comment on the enormous contributions of immigrants to our nation, in the areas of science and medicine, art and ethnic history, mathematics and physics, digital science, music and entertainment, literature, philosophy, architecture, poetry and music, technology and engineering, history and sociology and countless more valuable gifts. Our national pantry is bulging with immensely valuable contents; but there is still plenty of room for refreshment and further replenishment.

In addition to evincing appropriate empathy and compassion for their difficult past, we should look upon immigrants as a fertile source of America’s growth and continued advancement.



Students of history, professional or amateur, would probably agree that the flow of mankind’s history may reasonably be illustrated by a metaphoric reference to a carousel, whose fixed course of travel is inexorable and unsurprising. Stated in theatrical terms, history, if one discounts differences in the specific venue of the presentation, and identity of cast members, portrayals of major historic events, would be similar, if not identical. We have stated in a somewhat related post, “Today is Yesterday Again,” despite differences in context, the repetitive nature of human events is predictably certain.

The rondo of historic events, as comprehended  by  societal observation,  has often been  expressed in such well- known phrases as, “There is  nothing new under the sun,” “History repeats itself,” “What goes around, comes around” “Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose” and, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.”

History’s wheel has mechanically delivered in turn, famine and plenty, conflict and reconciliation, war and peace, scientific advance and its opposition by superstition and religion, plague and recovery, bigotry and tolerance, periods of xenophobia as well as true brotherhood. In so many cases, one witnessed specific victims of bigotry and oppression at long last, granted justice and a measure of relief, only to observe another group or ethnicity then become the victims du jour. The carousel has rotated through hardship and relief, grievous troubles and joyful peace, respecting all mankind, at various times in history; the victors or victims may change, but the events, good and bad, are unmistakably replicated.

We would respectfully suggest that the eternally repetitive nature of man’s history, (other than his experience of natural phenomena over which he has no control) is causally attributable to the repetitive nature of his own natural persona, or inclinations, for good or bad, as discussed below.

We have attributed the main and fundamental cause of war to man’s thoughtless and repetitively selected, lessons of “we” and “they,” introduced to the child in early years. The taught disparate distinction soon leads to fantasy and myth-making concerning the “they” and, by degrees, ultimately, to hatred and warfare. The most instructive example is the cruel and tragic warfare engaged in between the Sunni and Shia Moslems. While there are far too many insane wars fought over differences of religious belief, this shameful and seemingly eternal war has persisted between members of the Islamic faith, against other members of that faith. This is the clearest and most probative example of the danger of early, [albeit well intentioned] lessons of “we” and “they,” which man persists in teaching his offspring. The basis of this conflict, is an ancient dispute in the Islamic community,  [ 7th century] as to whether the Prophet Mohammad should properly be succeeded by a blood relative (as in England), or democratically elected by the faithful. One group of disputants was the Shia, the other the Sunni. There can be no rational argument rationally proffered, that such 7th century issue is the [current] cause of the existing, all-out murderous war.  The cause, undoubtedly, resides in the early teachings of, [apparently, non- eradicable] lessons in “we” and “they.” There seems to be an enduring feature of man’s persona that persists in being tribal and xenophobic.  This feature has a prominent (negative) presence on the history carousel.

The neurotic side of man’s persona, also underlies tragedies arising from feelings of unrequited love, from avarice, inadequacy, excessive zeal and competitiveness, fear of change, including advancements in knowledge, the universal fear of mortality and search for solace in non-empirical sources, viz., religious or otherwise, loneliness and detachment, the need for recognition and belonging, desire for revenge, general insecurity and so many others. These constitute many of the underlying causes for tragic  failure and negative events we see played out inexorably, on the carousel of history. Positive features by contrast, would include: mature awareness and sensitivity, wisdom, intellectual prowess and achievement, honesty, successful social interaction, generosity, empathy and capacity for love.

These positive sides of man’s persona can be conversely, credited with positive results, such as, scientific achievements in medicine and health, cobbling together of complex  peace agreements, expressions of empathy and charity, artistic achievements in literature and the arts, advancements in the care and understanding of our ecology, as well as the nature of the planetary environment, the discovery of the functions of the brain, as well as psychiatry and mental illness, and  man’s kindness and nurturance of each other and of all species of terrestrial life.

We concede therefore, that the recognition of the “carousel” of man’s reoccurring history is instructive and useful, especially for predictability and weighing options that life seems to present.

However, for true “understanding” {as compared with mere predictability) of the life of man, past and present, we have always recommended the reading of great literature.  Great novels by outstanding authors, artistically and instructively, depict and examine mankind in the totality of such eternal life situations.  Great books are designated as such, because they depict the impact of man’s nuanced choices of action in his response to the eternal, rotating carousel of life experience.  More than merely observing the carousel’s (history’s) results, good literature furnishes context and useful perspective to life’s eternally  recurring events; and may well have the potential to be productive of that most rare and precious human commodity, wisdom.


Post # 261    MR. ROGERS AND “SELFIES”

Most Americans, certainly, those who have reared children in the last 50 years, are familiar with the name, Fred Rogers, and his excellent children’s television program, “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” With  the assistance of a couple of small puppets and an occasional visitor, like the “Postman,” Rogers, in a loving and nurturing  voice, not only taught children lessons in social interaction with each other, but, in his inimitable way, actually delivered important life lessons to his young audience. Besides, gently and subtly teaching self-esteem, independence, patience, optimism as well as appropriate interaction, he introduced them to the existence of an inner life. He had the instructive talent to teach the very young that confidence, self –respect, self- identity, sense of worth and personal value have their intrinsic existence, inside the person of the child (internally). Would that many adults, at long last, learn this fundamental and unassailable truth.

Fred Rogers wrote his own songs, one of which deserves special mention, because of its relevant message and its poignancy, titled “It’s You I Like.” We had an emotional reaction to seeing and hearing the replay of a video in which Rogers and a pitifully handicapped young boy, both sang it. A sample of some of the instructive and sensitive lyrics is as follows: “It’s you I like,” ”It’s not the things you wear” ”It’s not how you do your hair” “It’s not the way you look” “But it’s you I like” “The way you are right now” “It’s the way deep inside of you.”  The experience, under the unique circumstances, was emotional, but nonetheless, eternally true.

The theme imbedded in the greater number of our blogposts, regardless of the subject selected, is identically the same; one’s feelings of identity, worth, moral architecture, self-fulfillment (happiness, success) are all internal, or as Rogers would put it, “inside.” True “success”, for example, has been proven, time and again, not to be based upon external evidence, viz., not dependent upon material accumulation but an internal sense of self fulfillment.

The other day we were, as usual, pleasantly reading in the park, under the cool shade of a tree.  Nearby,  oblivious of her surroundings, was a young woman, engaged in the concentrated activity of changing poses, while holding a smart-phone at arm’s length, with, what I understand is called, a “selfie stick,”  clicking away. It is my understanding of such performances, that she was earnestly searching for a photo with which she would be satisfied; in other words, one closely conforming to her current fantasy about herself. It felt more sad than humorous. How many selfies will she have to take to satisfy her fantasy du jour. When will she, at last, find a shot that she deems acceptable (after deleting all the rest); will that photo really be the true “her”?

None of the “selfies” will be “you.” Any studious toddler-pupil of Mr. Rogers can tell you; you are inside. There is, obviously, nothing to criticize about the general activity of taking photos, selfies or not, for the fun of creating and saving familiar images as mementos. However, it should always be understood that it is the persona and internal self-image that describes you to yourself, and others, and not an ephemeral electronic image. If Mr. Rogers were still alive, and that young woman in the park was five years old, Fred would gently tell her that who and what you are, are “inside.”



We have been dismayed and frustrated by the recent downgrading of the traditional American values, and by the consequential damage to the marvelous system of republican democracy, authored by our brilliant and prophetic Founding Fathers. We have previously written on the subject of our sitting president who, by reason of his ignorance and outrageous behavior, has embarrassed literate citizens, and has thoroughly confused the international scene; the latter, by making friends with our sworn enemies, and enemies of our loyal allies and old friends. His despicable behavior in the realm of sexual abuse, bigotry, or destruction of programs of welfare for our needy and disabled citizenry, constitutes an all-consuming, three-ring circus for the media; which has unwisely reported on little else. In a prior post, we warned against this preoccupying diversion, which seems to be attracting the totality of universal interest, thus enabling tactical, hard-hearted conservatives, by stealth and without public notice and outcry, to steal away citizen civil rights and delimit laws granting empathic assistance to the needy. We recommended active awareness of this tactical diversion

Unremitting frustration and anxiety, responsive to this constantly enfolding disaster, has motivated us when possible, to seek temporary relief. We have successfully sought refuge in the environment of the Connecticut woodlands, where we regularly have enjoyed  gardening and communing with nature.

There is a large population of chipmunks living on our property. These tiny denizens of the forest, relatives of the squirrel, have small, furry tails, shiny brown coats with attractive stripes running along the length of their backs, small heads with alert eyes and cheeks which expand, and are regularly employed  [akin to mini shopping bags] in storing prodigious quantities of food, such as nuts and acorns, for transport back to their respective abodes.

We attribute the significant chipmunk population on the property to the existence of a large accommodating rock garden [actually boulder garden) in close proximity to the country house. These boulders are the undisturbed remains of an excavation job years ago to enlarge the house. The boulders slope downward to the lower level of the property.  In addition to its utility as a large rock garden, in which selected plants, where possible, (spaces, inserted plant soil) are grown, we have been fortunate to have a communal society of these lovable denizens of the forest, living in the interstices of the boulders  as friendly neighbors.  These residential accommodations seem to be available to all bona fide chipmunks; most importantly the stone living spaces provide safety from predators. A great many chipmunk families live securely and happily in this boulder garden; which, in view of its shared residential use, we refer to as the “Condominium.” In recent years, we have noted the arrival and settlement in the Condominium, of a slightly different variety of chipmunks. These have reddish fur on their backside, in contrast to the older residents, which have brown and grey backside fur.

Because of our longtime occupation of the property, and familiarity, the little rascals seem to be unafraid, indeed, friendly to us, and we have had the opportunity to study their society and their entertaining interactions. We have observed them under our bird feeder, eating the fallen birdseed and stuffing their hugely expandable cheeks with abundances of uneaten food (“doggie bags?”) to transport home. We have seen them at play, competitively racing one after the other or running in circles of two or three, playfully tumbling and rolling over, and in participation in certain chirping game which we do not comprehend. We have been able to observe chipmunk society and the many aspects of their life, including, most relevantly, their interaction with other members of their furry society.  In these days of   frustration with the observed interactions between human beings, chipmunk life seems admirable, perhaps instructive. For practical reasons, we have summarized and listed many of them for easy, perhaps affirmative review:

  • The recent immigration of the red back chipmunks, children and adults, occurred peacefully and without any especial reaction from the traditional (brown back) residents; not even one “cheep” of resistance was heard. Moreover, both varieties continue to interact naturally and happily.
  • After chipmunks have eaten, they usually fill their expandable cheeks with food to, generously and responsibly, bring home sustenance for others, as well themselves.
  • In feeding or rough-housing, there appears to be no dominant party, no discernable “pecking order” which we understand to signify that all chipmunks are, truly born equal.
  • (3) Indicates that there is no chipmunk politics or need for political parties.
  • Chipmunks are united in communal joint defense; they are each look-out for the entire community, and will chirp an understood warning when a predator is in the vicinity.
  • Chipmunks are peaceful and sociable to each other; we have never overheard squabbles.
  • Chipmunk housing and residential accommodations are equal and unbiased.
  • All chipmunks live equally; there are no privileges, economic or life-style differences.

It takes only a momentary consideration of the above, to truly wish that the past election saw a chipmunk elevated to the Oval Office, instead of an Orangutan.

* Sincere apologies to John Steinbeck



We have all too often, observed an unjust and lamentable human trait such that, upon being confronted with major problems, or general disappointment, one conveniently casts blame upon some purported cause (usually, blameless people), as a chosen alternative to engagement in a rational, admittedly more taxing, search for the true cause of the problem.

The so-called “Immigration Problem,” seems to perplex and distract a great many in the U.S. and the E.U., on an inconceivable level, bordering on the irrational. Yet, any cursory review of the subject will reveal that immigration to the U.S. and Europe (with the possible exception of Syrian refugees to Europe), in stark contrast to the bombastic assertions of anti-immigration demagogues, has significantly declined. We are firmly convinced that the so called “immigration problem” has been intentionally overblown and exaggerated, and done so for tactical political reasons.

We have previously commented on certain fellow Americans, descendants of immigrants, who, only a few generations after their forbears had settled in, take a restrictive posture regarding immigration; how soon they forget.  The present writing, however, concerns a particular, tactical use of “immigration” which is patently immoral and unconscionable.

Politicians, especially those inclining rightward, have intentionally created false and unattractive images  of these oppressed and unfortunate  people, and have ginned up citizens (especially, the reductionist-low information, population) with false, frightening propaganda, concerning their purported criminal and anti-social inclinations. Add to such perverse tactics, the perpetual hobby horse of xenophobia, and one category of anti-immigration is predictable.

Manufactured enmity against these unfortunate, hapless people, is of significant utility to shrewd political leaders, as the attributed cause of extant societal ills, from unemployment, crime, economic disparity, or whatever the problems du jour may be; their false and tactical depiction and use as scapegoats, exonerates the incompetent leader, and results in a diversion of the blame.[ In Medieval days, it was witches or “heathens” who were blameworthy sources]. It is particularly disconcerting to realize that the current President of the United States, a nation populated (100%) with descendants of immigrants, and recent immigrants, is among the leading purveyors of such low and defamatory drivel.

For example,  less than desirable employment statistics, whether due to the state of the national economy, changes in demand, robotics, digitalization, automation,  or other cause, is conveniently, and falsely, attributed to immigrants ( they work for cheap wages, do not demand benefits, and so on ad nauseum.) In truth, the poorly educated immigrant, from Mexico or Central America, poses no threat to jobs in Silicon Valley or any other highly trained technical positions. Moreover, we are advised that there is a current need for basic labor in our nation, most especially in agriculture, but also in building trades, service positions, food processing, manufacturing as well as elsewhere.

What is sorely needed is a rational system of determination as to which immigrants are fleeing for their lives, and which are seeking entry for a better life for themselves and family. Those fleeing for their lives ought to be admitted, without delay, on legal and compassionate grounds. Those who, electively, come here for a better life, should be interviewed, classified by trade or skill, and encouraged to settle where such skill or trade is needed. We should bear in mind that the search for a better life, has historically been a distinctly American aspiration.

Incompetent leaders and poor economic conditions each have their own discoverable etiology; blaming scapegoats is an admission of hapless incompetency, and is shamefully immoral.




Post # 258         DIVERSION IN ORANGE

Recently, for nostalgic reasons, we watched a classic movie, an old fashioned western. As expected, a formulaic scenario and cast were employed; a tall, square-jawed, taciturn Sheriff, his girlfriend, a reformed “dancer,” a comic sidekick with a name like “sagebrush” or something similar, four unshaven bad guys, all interacting in the local saloon, owned by the enterprising girlfriend.  The Sheriff, of course, wore a large, immaculate, white cowboy hat, the unshaven, bad guys, dirty black ones.

The stereotypic plot, involved a bank robbery, which was engineered by the unshaven bad guys in the dirty black hats, with the aid of a tactical diversion; a fire set by them in a nearby wooden building. The fire, as nefariously planned, drew all attention away from the scene of the crime. This unremarkable movie is a useful and illustrative metaphor for the present writing.

The Founders of our nation, taking lessons from the painful and unjust history of central Europe, set out to create an innovative nation, a democratic republic where there were no class distinctions based upon fortuitous birth; where the government was to be selected by the people and was expressive of their will. In order to avoid autocracy, they designed three separate, co-equal branches, executive, legislative and judicial, each with the right of limiting any excesses of the other (“checks and balances”) and established a legally defined relationship between State and Federal Governments. The basic rights of citizens, such as speech, assembly, belief, and the other concomitants of liberty were protected from government interference. As time went on, following great national struggle, such unassailable liberties were extended to black Americans and women, who were not within the societal contemplation in the 18th Century.

Following a devastating depression and two world wars, the F.D.R. Administration was given to realize that relegating citizens to the vicissitudes of natural law, was unnecessarily cruel. The presidential administration articulated a new responsibility on the part of government to assist the needy citizen. Social Security, programs of unemployment insurance and other federal assistance were established. In keeping with this new undertaken responsibility, programs of practical assistance in areas of citizen need developed, including, food, education, health and assistance to the elderly and disabled. America, at long last, empathically assumed and attained the stage of morality of compassionate capitalism. As time progressed, promulgation and enforcement of regulations and were created, federal and local, to protect the health and safety of the American people.

Scientific and medical research priorities resulted in prolonged and better lives and major societal improvement, while academic research programs increased our knowledge of ourselves and our world. Advances in areas of biology, chemistry, physics, meteorological science and other areas of achievement made for a more advanced rational and knowledgeable society.

It needs mention that the above established rights and acquired knowledge were the result of hard work, great personal effort and true sacrifice. The above, abbreviated, selected and cursory review of   advances and accomplishments, especially in the area  human rights and empathic assistance, should not suggest that they were easy of accomplishment; rather they involved great dedication and sacrifice, often in the face of significant political, conservative and religious opposition.  These developments, in human rights and knowledge, resulted in the deserved development of admiration and worldwide respect for our nation. We were well engaged in the process of steady improvement and slow, but admirable, progress toward the realization of the American dream, when we were abruptly detoured, shocked and dismayed by the election of the cheap demagogue and faux populist, Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump is certifiably known to be an ignorant, egotistical, neurotically adolescent personality, whose mere claim to fame is that of a glitzy, oily television game show host. He and his installed entourage (we cannot exalt them by referring to them as his “cabinet”) from the very start, have embarrassed the country with their and his lack of knowledge, his inconsistent statements, his regular mendacity and direct attack on truth itself, his attack on the leading media, his admissions of sexual abuse (in an age when such abuse is reported to be especially flagrant) his utterance of bigoted statements, his reviling of nationally respected people. He had promised his voters that he would “drain the swamp” (of political influence and self-interested entrepreneurs) but instead, turned the White House into a bayou of alligators, selfish, corrupt politicians. He is responsible for a draconian immigration policy, in which babies and young children are torn from their mothers, is responsible for unjust tax legislation, has used his office for personal profit, and so many other immoral and illegal acts, which we cannot as a practical matter, hope to list in a modest blog post. Internationally, he has befriended our enemies and made enemies of our friends, including NATO; he has withdrawn from climate accords and has joined the sociopathic profiteers and the low information, reductionist citizens who oppose the findings of the world’s leading climate scientists—but stop—we cannot go on further, and must state our point, or, indeed, risk  being guilty of the very concern which prompted this writing.

The frustration, certainly is not in the practical inability to list all of Trump’s shameful acts, but to realize  the following. Remember the described action of the western movie. The tactical diversion in the film was an intentionally lit fire. Trump’s outrageous behavior and depiction, appears on every television screen, in every newspaper and radio program; like the diverting fire in the western movie, it has stolen away everyone’s attention, and thus permitted the republican conservatives to stealthily eliminate citizen rights and needed assistance; tactically unobserved by reason of the all-consuming, three ring circus of distraction by our magnificent leader. [They must have  seen the same old cowboy movie.]

For the democrats to succeed in taking back the White House and Congress, they are obliged to develop an affirmative, positive platform of their own, and present liberal and attractive candidates who earnestly and clearly represent the interests of low and middle class Americans. It must replicate, vigorously, the progressive – liberal platform that has typified the modern Democratic Party. Importantly, and strategically, they must direct their energies to their own positive message, and resist the tempting and tactical allure of the Orange Diversion.