U.S. Business as usual in Latin America the age of Trumpism

Ever wonder what is going on down South…way down the continent?

No matter what havoc the US wreaks in the world, it is the same method of operation in Latin America…Imperialism is alive and well.      Our current leadership in Washington is fully involved in the often-nefarious goings-on, not missing a step in the affairs of the Central and South American countries.    The Latin American policies of former administrations: Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, etc., etc. back to the dark ages of U.S. history… are intact under Trump.

TeleSur is a Venezuela news site that daily features news of a myriad of developments from an other-than-Washington point of view.    As some of my blogging pals know, my education and background in Latin American History makes me keenly interested in that area of the world.

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/NicaraguaVenezuela-One-Enemy-One-Fight-For-Democracy-20180526-0024.html

[NOTE:  This particular link is to an opinion piece written for Telesur.   While it is <ahem…opinionated> I recommend it as informative and knowledgeable.]

 

 

Ten FAQ I get as a Flight Attendant

I posted this interesting post last year, and enjoyed it again just now. We read so much about flight attendants being mean or combative with passengers….so its refreshing to read this thoughtful and fascinating article written by a flight attendant who is also a blogger.

Ellie's Blog

FAQ: Some of the Questions I get asked the most as a Fight Attendant

Passenger: “Do you get to sleep on these long flights?” and “Where do you sleep?”

YES! In fact for most flight attendants a shift onboard revolves around the times we get off. A lot of the time crew will say “Let’s finish this service so we can start breaks!”. Our breaks are formulated around time to eat and time to sleep, usually ranging from 20 minutes (an eating break however I have seen crew take power naps on this break) all the way to the longest break I’ve ever had onboard 3 hours and 45 minutes (when you can really have a good snooze!). I’m sure all crew experience this, because it often gets spoken about, having to limit our water intake before our long breaks, because the most annoying thing is having to leave…

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The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan…revisited (re-posted)

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan

I have to hand it to Paul Ryan
the man just doesn’t quit trying!
Caught in a den of experts at lying,
and vying for votes by begging or buying.
Speaking loudly above all the jeering and swearing,
off this way or that…slipping and veering.
Poor Speaker Ryan, his smile running thin
against all the prying and querying…
wearying, not crying, he’s plying his wiles
and biding his time…working at herding his cats…
while trying to stay INSIDE the frying pan!
© Sometimes, 2016

Stranger than Fiction: again

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.    I had great fun writing it—

THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald
Who wanted to be rich, and grow up to be President
ha ha! said the people as he started to
stump
but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to
trump,
and win the game
opponents screamed like angry cat matrons
and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons
but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

“You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us,” they wailed
“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets
to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail
His crowd of the faithful grew and grew
’til they filled the land
so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015

Politics – do we really care? Re-blogged from Meeka’s Mind

This excellent post from friend acflory on her blog MEEKA’S MIND is the best thing I’ve read about the coming Year 2018 and Australian voters in particular and all Voters in general. Thanks for the re-blog!

Meeka's Mind

I’ve always had a problem with ‘-isms’ – communism, socialism, facism, capitalism, republicanism, you name it – because they all seem to miss the point about people. Homo Sapiens doesn’t give a flying fruit bat about politics until things go wrong.

I was a kid in the late Menzies era of Australia [1949-1966], and I remember hearing some adults moan about elections while others moaned about the general apathy of the Australian voter. You see, in Australia, we have compulsory voting…and the times were good.

In fact, by the early 60’s, the populations of the Western world were better off, generally, than they had ever been before. Not quite the age of surplus envisioned by Marx, but close, and some of us really were able to live ‘…from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ That’s what the Age of Aquarius, Flower Power and Free…

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Quoting Flip Wilson & a Post from Gronda Morin.

 

As comedian Flip Wilson once said in his “Ruby Begonia” monologue: “The King said: Those who have nothing, shall have less—and that which they have shall be taken from them.” And the people cheered, “Yay King, Yay King…”

 

 

Gronda Morin

It is bad enough that the republicans in the US Congress are hard at work to pass their 2017 Donor/ Corporation tax cut bill around December 19, 2016, which does little to grow the economy; where the economy is on an upswing and unemployment numbers are low, where at least 1 trillion dollars will be added to the deficit; where a major blow will be dealt to Obamacare with the ending of its mandate; and where it is very unpopular with Americans (about 26-29%), but it will please their donor base by which some lawmakers have been honest enough to admit this. If a corporation was acting on this bill, it is so bad that the executives would be guilty of malfeasance and for not honoring their fiduciary duties to their clients.

With this bill, we taxpayers who pay their wages are being shortchanged. Every tax break for the middle/…

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Dare I say Merry Christmas?

Who are all these people who object to the NOT saying the “Merry Christmas” greeting out loud?      Why are these innocent words a matter of top importance for the President of the United States?      Oh, right…I do understand that they are various Christian and so-called Christian groups who echo what they hear from their pulpits and take offense simply because others say they are offensive.

I never stopped saying “Merry Christmas” to people that I knew to be Christian.   But why make such a big deal about it?   Actually I approve of general phrases tossed about willy-nilly.     Happy Holidays is an all purpose phrase that is (or not) meaningful to other religious groups.   To be really politically correct… Jewish people can be wished  Happy Hanukka  if we want to be specific about the particular “holiday”  we greet others.   Or of course their is Ramadon, the Muslim holiday.   The African American holiday is Kwanzaa.

However…I always try to be careful in assuming any ethnic or religious affiliations.   With any luck the check out cashiers and service people will assume the lead and insert their greeting of choice before me.   Whatever they say, I follow suit.   If they say “Happy Holidays” I say the same thing back… or just “you too.”

ah well… checking back over this small post, I grimace slightly as all the potentially rude or wrong greetings remind me that I may forget someone, mis-label them, or just be ignorant of their orientation.     It isn’t that I don’t care, because in most cases politeness or common courtesy dictates what to say.     Also, there is always the fall-back phrase “Have a Nice Day.”     Or we could all adopt a special greeting such as “Happy Tuesday,” or  “Merry Friday.”

Peace be with you…as the Star Wars troops might say.

 

marching band music…sing loudly, don’t worry too much about lyrics

marching music please…. just try ignoring the band blaring out the Sousa beat, adoring crowds lining the streets… drummers drumming, flutes tweeting, symbols clashing… but I digress.       Back in the day I was a Girl Scout leader, and part of my duty as such was to lead the girls down the main street during the Memorial Day Parade (or other parade.)     In high heels no less….no, not stilettos…which were not worn by ordinary women for another thirty or forty years.

The Stars and Stripes Forever   must be sung very loudly… and if by chance ya don’t know the words (wink wink who does?)  just join the singers who use the alternate version….

“Be kind to your web footed friends,
for a duck may be somebody’s mother…”

John Philip Sousa – The Stars And Stripes Forever lyrics
Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears ‘mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom’s shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.
These Lyrics are informational only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content. User assumes all risks of use.   Lyrics assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage resulting from such use. All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners, and provided for educational purposes only.
http://www.elyrics.net

Then there is the Battle Hymn of the Republic:     Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord… he has stampled out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored… deal with the bullets with his terrible swift sword…  the TRUTH goes marching on!!!  oops…

uh….  folks, I really am embarrassed that I don’t know all the words….when singing the Battle Hymn one is excused if they just mumble over the tricky lyrics.    always there is “boompa dee,” “dee dum,”

I’m not good with remembering lyrics…

Now I will never get that out of my head… “Be kind to your web-footed friends…”

not your granny’s Columbus Day…

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day

This article is excellent on the subject of Christopher Columbus and the “discovery of America.” It is well worth the read, and deserves an A+ for research and attribution, factual information based partially on bona fide original sources including Columbus’s own writing.

Bartolomé de Las Casas,  Dominican Friar and later Bishop, is the author of The Destruction of the Indies, which details the systematic horror brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus.      De Las Casas is known as the Protector of the Indians, and was the Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico in the early sixteenth century.

My interest in this topic is the subject of the unpublished doctoral dissertation, which I spent ten years writing.   Unfortunately I did not complete the final draft, so it was never published.   However, before I die I hope to publish at least some of my work on my blog, at least.

Caribbean geography lesson…

Every now and then I like to get out a map and reassure myself that when not knowing the location of Yemen, or Utah, or Antiqua (for example) all I have to do is look it up on a map. A paper map, preferably, but sometimes even an online map will do.

So I wanted to see if Puerto Rico was really far out in the middle of the ocean someplace, or, as I suspected…in the Caribbean. So I did a search “Puerto Rico” and Bing zeroed in on a nice map of the island, in great detail of cities and even roads and topographical details like mountains. Zooming out to get the big picture…including the Pacific Ocean and all of Russia…the exact location of Puerto Rico became instantly remembered.

Looking Southward, from Florida, the island is sort of beyond Cuba, north of Venezuela, and in a line with other islands and chains of islands in the Caribbean, forming a line of defense reinforced by territories possessed by friendly allies: the French, Dutch, and British. This was perfect—especially back in the days of the conquest by Spain of the New World.

Actually the United States was interested in keeping the Spanish at bay as much as possible, while maintaining a strategic position of buffering between the British (our best friends forever) and “other” European or South American nations from getting any ideas. Or Japan…or anyone else.

The last good-size war the U.S. had with Spain was the Spanish-American War, which effectively booted the Spanish out of the area and declared US hegemony in the close-in islands, including Puerto Rico. It is true that the U.S. had a good line of defense in the Caribbean, and although U.S.-Cuban relations suffered during the Cold War…to the point where until the Cubans would acquiesce in being beaten by the U.S. Embargo, which effectively put Cuba and the Castro Dictatorship in its place as an oppressed and bullied island which “refused to straighten out” and endured sixty years or so of hardship and political hassles because of it.

At the end of the Spanish-American War in 1899, part of the spoils agreed on by the two nations was the prize of Puerto Rico…ceded to the U.S. by Spain. One of the results was that the Spanish-speaking citizens were required to speak and use English-only.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, and thus Puerto Rican citizens are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to vote in U.S. elections…except for the office of President. They elect representatives to the U.S. Congress, who are on the same basis as reps and Senators from the 50 other states.

One difficult hang-over from the early 20th Century is THE JONES LAW, which forbids Puerto Rico to receive shipments of any materials or products from any sources except on officially sanctioned United States registered Ships. The result of this is that now that Hurricane Maria has devastated the Puerto Rican island, the Jones Law limits what foreign aid they can receive. The U.S. Congress has the power to rescind or modify the law…but has so far declined. It may be nteresting to note that the Jones Law has been suspended in other U.S. ports under emergencies created by Hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, as well as other U.S. controlled islands in the Caribbean.

The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort has, as of this Wednesday morning, been sent to Puerto Rico. The reasons for the delay apparently have been worked out, especially the excuse of the ship being “too big to park in the harbor…” and the hospital ship will anchor off-shore and apparently transfer patients from the mainland of the island by helicopter.

https://www.bing.com/maps?&ty=18&q=Puerto%20Rico&vdpid=202&mb=19.029888040912922~-69.22080993652341~17.464867724672842~-64.03526306152341&ppois=18.2491397857666_-66.6280364990234_Puerto%20Rico_~&cp=18.2491397857666~-66.6280364990234&v=2&sV=1&style=r&trfc=&lvl=7

Sticks and Stones and “Dotards”

Re the sticks-and-stones contest, following the old adage that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”      Remember when some kid would spew off a string of bad words and mean but innocuous insults, and Mom or Grandma would sooth hurt feelings with the little rhyme…which in effect meant “if some kid hits you let me know, but if he calls you a bad name just laugh it off.”   Now like as not she might look around for someone to sue.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il  has resurrected a good old  English word to toss at Donald Trump in insult: “dotard,” an Old-English word from the 14th Century. This cool new word, according to the excited media,  spurred linguists and English teachers all over the world to research the word—dotard.

Not that the word “dotard” is especially archaic, not to disappoint media writers that want to insinuate that Kim Jong-Il may be more knowledgeable than Donald Trump.  Within arms reach I find a variety of dictionaries, including a nifty little volume called New Oxford Spelling Dictionary:  The Writers’ and Editors’ Guide to Spelling and Word Division.  Edited by Maurice Waite, published by Oxford University Press, 2014.*

There, right in alphabetical order between the words “dotage” and “dot-com” is— “dotard,”   pronounced to rhyme with soldered, watered.    The etymology is from the same as:  doting,  one-who-dotes…as in a doting-grandfather.

It was a fun image to imagine the North Korean leader poring over his archaic English dictionaries searching for insults.

  • The most recent Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2004) also features the word “dotard” right in proper order.

 

 

Let’s not all jump to conclusions about Venezuela….wagging the dog

Desperate for red herrings and issues to change the subject of our president’s involvement with Russia, the pending sword swinging over the heads at the White House wielded by special investigators, and last but not least the raging chaos over racism and white supremacy—now the administration has raised the good old topic of raiding South America.

Venezuela has long been a target for United States attention…OIL…is the reason.  Human rights and that kind of stuff is always secondary.

The Venezuelan government has the support of Bolivia, Cuba, China and Russia, among others.       Colombia…no.    This is not an exhaustive list….

The main reason these countries do not want us down there snooping around (as if the CIA et al have been ignoring the southern hemisphere.

Here’s a couple of research points:

Organization of American States (OAS)
Council of the Americas
Summit of the Americas

It appears that the same old-same old — favorite whipping-boy is any country in Latin America— and Venezuela has been the target of our government for years through several administrations.    Trump didn’t invent the problem, but his administration obviously intends to make Venezuela  a very good target to get attention off of the Russians et al, and the pending explosion in our government.

Please don’t everybody jump on the bandwagon.   Misinformation is the bread-n-butter of foreign relations.

There will be floods of misinformation coming out of Venezuela!

(…to be continued)

 

 

 

 

Of Statues and Soldiers…

Why are angry mobs allowed to destroy Civil War statues?      If they have to be taken down, properly and carefully by local government authorities—why not store them temporarily at a museum or some other place appropriate.     Smashing them to rubble is foolish…no, let me say stupid…and knee-jerk reactions to political correctness.   Gratuitous pandering, perhaps.

Except for one thing—there seems to be NO thought or reasoning to these actions, only public showing-off.       This kind of destruction of public property is against the law, for one thing, and morally wrong for a few hot-heads to decide for entire communities that historic statues need to be not only removed…but demolished.

Most villages and towns have a statue of a civil war soldier in its town park, or round-about in the highway, or city hall.     The statue stands proudly with his rifle, standing vigil of pride and gratitude to the soldiers who died fighting for their side in the Civil War.     North of the Mason-Dixon Line, approximate borders between states (Ohio and Pennsylvania in the North, Kentucky and West Virginia, etc. in the South.

It boggles the mind thinking about the problems involved in removing Southern statues…and by extension perhaps Northern statues as well?   That action would likely cause great unrest, being that the Union troops were on the winning side, therefore perceived to be the “right” side.     The fact is that the Civil War, was fought over state’s rights to maintain slavery….simplified, but that’s how it was…hyperbole and “regional history” aside.

The Generals and other high-ranking bigshots are usually the ones mortalized in statues:  the southern generals Robert E. Lee,  Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson,  James Longstreet…etc., etc., etc.     But the rank-n-file soldiers were young volunteers, then draftees, pressed into service by their respective sides, especially in the latter years of the war.  They had    little choice, and high-minded rhetoric about noble causes and patriotic duty hardly affected the lowest level Johnny Reb…who went to war because he had to.

 

 

the crisis d’jour

As if it wasn’t near perfect…
now here’s just what was lacking—
a beautiful woman spy
(er…excuse me…lawyer)
of course she has official backing.

The question that begs
to be thoroughly scrutinized:
were these Yankees duped
by nefarious, erstwhile  spies…
or are they just stupid?