Monday, November 28, 2016

Stupid Lies


The difference between the two candidates for office is still visible, as is the problem with "President Trump" that remains and is deeply troubling.
 
What Trump says about the election results:
 
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
 
He made a specific and enumerated fact claim, that "millions" of people voted illegally.
 
1. There is zero evidence for this.
2. Trump has zero evidence for this.
3. Knowing that there is zero evidence for it, he made the claim anyway.
 
This is the exact sort of casual lying that should disqualify Trump from office. He has constantly and demonstrably made ridiculously false claim after absurd fact claim. Claims that are not supported by data. There are not just lies, they are stupid lies. They insult our intelligence, or should.
 
This is a problem and now it is our nation's problem. It's a problem because now, each and every time that "President Trump" makes a claim, we are obliged to treat it as a possible lie. If he claims that we "need" to bomb a city, how do we know we actually "need" to do so? Because so much of what he has said has been a stupidly false claim, we are obliged to treat everything he says as a false claim. We can't trust our own president (moreso than even normally!). The world can't trust the US.
 
This is why he should never have been elected in the first place.
 
THAT is what Trump says.
 
What the Green Party and Democrats/Clinton have said about the election, on the other hand:
From CNN:
 
"Wisconsin Green Party co-chairman George Martin said the party is seeking a "reconciliation of paper records" -- a request that could go further than a simple recount, possibly spurring an investigation into the integrity of Wisconsin's voting system. "This is a process, a first step to examine whether our electoral democracy is working," Martin said.
 
Both the Clinton campaign and the White House have said they see no evidence that any voting systems were hacked, although the Clinton campaign said Saturday it will take part in the recounts, joining with Stein, to ensure the recount is "fair to all sides.""
 
So, you can see, there are no irrational and sweeping false claims. There is a concern raised and, even though there appears to be no obvious hacking, because of concerns raised, they'd like to have a check to verify that the system is working.
 
That is how rational adults talk. That is how serious presidential contenders review data and make conclusions and act.
 
"Millions cheated!"
"Nu-uh! I'm not! YOU'RE a puppet!!"
"Crooked Hillary!" "Lyin' Ted!"
"I grab them by the p$%#y... I can't help myself."
 
This is how an ill-mannered, bullying, possibly mentally disturbed grade-school student talks.
 
He remains unfit for office.
 
One take-away from this, at least for now, is that all good citizens are obliged to treat each and every Trump claim as potentially false and in need of verification by responsible and moral adults.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can't Take This Music From Me


A song written by the great guys in the Steel Wheels (check them out) and sung here at my church by some friends.
 
" Hymns from the loudest voice til quiet ones rejoice Your bitter silence tasted
And to all the beaten down in those forgotten towns Let no more time be wasted

There are no words to sing this little song I bring I come here empty handed
There is no day too bright no darken night  There are no wishes granted

Can't take this music from me
music from me
you can't take it from me..."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This Remains...


In our friends and family
we will find our strength.

And we may well need it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

escaping thoughts


   his thoughts had escaped
to dreams of woods and wild
                and an old Eden

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Change is Life



There is,
in the Autumn of the year, a sense that I have
that is both true and false.
It is the sense that
time is winding down
that things are ending
and time
and flowers
and leaves
are fading and going away...

...and it somehow
sometimes
extends beyond the natural world
to friendships
and family
(as if they weren't part of the natural world!)
this sense that time is slipping away
and I'm
we're
powerless to stop it.
It is, of course, true.
But that truth is conditional and temporal.
Things are winding down
some things are ending
and that day is coming soon.
But other things are just starting.
Seeds are being blown on the wind
carried
and buried
and going into hibernation
to spring up again
one day and that day, too,
is coming soon.
New ideas are germinating
new friendships are resting
waiting to blossom
Old friendships will be reinvented
and reimagined
strengthened
Our own Selves are being
reinvented
and reminagined
and that change is all Good
or can be.
Change is life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Makes Us Smart


"That makes me smart."

This was Trump's throw-away line about the fact, raised by Clinton, that he has paid no taxes in at least some years. He was proud of being a multi-millionaire who contributed Zero tax dollars. He thought it made him "smart."

Any society has expenses we have to pay. We need our roads, infrastructure, police, fire departments, trash pick up, schools, etc. We have to pay for these things. And I fully understand not forcing those who are struggling to help pay much (the poor already pay a disproportionate amount of their income in sales taxes...)

But for the rest of us, we have a social compact, an agreement to pay for these common needs. To try to abuse rules to avoid paying our common expenses, therefore, is not "smart," and certainly not good. And certainly not if you are extravagantly wealthy!

It is greedy. It is self-centered. It is manipulative. It is petty. It is wrong.

And for such a person to boast about being a leech to run for public office pretending to care about our country... Well, his actions belie the point. You care about our nation, Mr Trump? Then show it! And one way to start showing it is to pay your fair share! Release your taxes. Pay back a reasonable amount of tax dollars that the rest of us had to shoulder so you could buy yourself gold toilets.

Until you do that, you're not smart. You don't care about the common good. You're just a petty little cheating freeloader and this admission should disqualify you, showing you to be fundamentally unfit for office.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Trip to Spain and France...


Here's a video featuring photos and sounds from our family's recent trip to France and Spain.

We landed in Barcelona, Spain and spent several days there. This was probably my favorite part of the trip. There was just so much to see!

From there, we took a train across the south of France, stopping for a few days in Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea. Very nice. I found an amazing music store there (although too late in our trip to visit there very long, unfortunately) with a wide variety of vintage instruments... guitars, mandolins, hurdy gurdies (look it up...), violins, cellos, banjos... they had it all!

From there, we took the Eurail Train up to Paris for a few days there. Obviously, there is more there than one can see in a few days, but it was a nice sampling. We could see the Eiffel Tower from our room and spent a day visiting the area around it. We spent a few brief hours at the Louvre, took a trip to the catacombs and took a boat ride down the River Seine. Amazing.

From there, we Eurailed back down to Toulouse, France and visited nearby Montauban, where the Trabues are from! That was exciting for me. We are fortunate in having a detailed family record of our escape from France. It was after the Edict of Nantes had been revoked by King Louis XIV, which had allowed for some religious freedom. After it was revoked, Protestants were forced to recant of their heresy and adopt the Catholic faith. Failing that, they would be tortured, jailed and killed.

They came for Antoine Trabuc (how it was spelled then) and he wasn't home, so they threatened his wife with torture unless she recanted. She played the Woman Card and said, "I can't recant without my husband!" so they said they'd come for her and him the next day. They were going to tie her hair to a horse's tail and drag her through the city until she recanted or died!

Antoine got home and they skipped town - leaving all they had behind - leaving Montauban on the River Tarn. I sat at the edge of the Tarn and skipped stones across the surface. I also visited several Catholic churches, but no grudges seemed to be held.

From there, it was back to Barcelona for a couple of days before catching our flight home.

And we could do all of this because of our kids!

We've had a rough few years, taking care of my parents in their ailing years. The kids knew we hadn't had a real, extended and work-free vacation for a long time so they saved up their own money, made arrangements for everything and surprised us with the news back on Donna's birthday in February! They are only 20 and 25 years old, both working part time, with Sarah still being in college. They are some wonderful, hard-working kids (as are most kids I know these days, it seems) and we couldn't be more proud of them.

I pass that on not to brag (okay, maybe a little to brag), but mainly to just celebrate the kindness and goodness capable of people in the world today. As troubled as the world seems these days, acts of love and kindness still do happen and it's great to celebrate it when it does.

Thanks, Kids!

(The video is ten minutes long and may be more than anyone is interested in, but there it is, if you're interested...)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trabue European Vacation


My beloved children recently arranged for a long vacation in France and Spain, and thus, I have been out of communication for a while. More to come, but here are just a few photos from the trip.

I have the best kids!







Friday, August 19, 2016

Night Reader


She loved reading
especially at night
and did all her best reading
by lightning bug light.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Born Again


       the world burns up
sinking into the fiery sun each night
          and is reborn the next day

                  or so some say

   but I don't think so...

    I say that the world moves on
              day after day,
  same as always.

and if it needs to begin anew
           it will be up to us to birth it





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Safety



Someone recently raised concern about how the US was "spiraling out of control" and in a dangerous place. I mentioned that the data does not support that fear. We are all certainly concerned about the very public violence that has been in the news recently, these acts are truly tragedies. But that doesn't change the fact that violent crime is trending downwards. This person responded saying, "Hey, if you feel safe, go ahead and vote for Clinton..."

I'm pointing out: It's not that I "feel" safe - although there certainly is some validity to that idea - but that, in reality, according to the data, we ARE safer. Violent crime (murder, assault, rape) is down and trending downwards. According to FBI violent crime statistics...

"Today, the national crime rate is about half of what it was at its height in 1991. Violent crime has fallen by 51 percent since 1991, and property crime by 43 percent. In 2013 the violent crime rate was the lowest since 1970. And this holds true for unreported crimes as well. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, since 1993 the rate of violent crime has declined from 79.8 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 people."

http://www.nationalreview.com/.../careful-panic-violent...

Read that again:

since 1993 the rate of violent crime has declined from 79.8 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 people.

Also...

"In 1970, during Nixon’s presidency, the violent crime rate (number of crimes per 100,000 people) was 363.5. It had been rising since 1961, and ROSE every year of NIXON’s “law and order” presidency.

It kept rising through the Carter, Reagan and Bush presidencies, peaking in 1991 at 758.2. During the Bill Clinton presidency, the violent crime began to decline, down 33 percent on his watch. It dropped another 9.5 percent under Bush II. As of 2014, the most recent year of national data from the FBI, during the Obama presidency violent crime is down 20.3 percent, for a rate of 365.5."

http://www.usw.org/.../donald-trump-is-wrong-crime-is...

Also important to note in that data: Crime began dropping during the CLINTON years (DOWN 33%) still trended down during the Bush years, but at a slower rate (9.5%), then the rate of decline picked back up during the OBAMA years (20%). We are just factually a safer people, at least as far as violent crime goes.

This is actually quite an important point. Some in the GOP/Trump's campaign are portraying us as fundamentally unsafe ("Make America SAFE Again"), to a degree that is almost silly (as Trump read through his list of disasters that are barking at our feet, I could hear Bill Murray in Ghostbusters adding, "Cats and Dogs... Living together! MASS HYSTERIA!!").

These people are betting that people will ignore the data and listen to their fear-mongering because, what else do they have? We ARE safer, now. The economy IS improving. The unemployment rate IS down. We ARE better off now than under the Bush administration. Human rights are being extended more in keeping with our better values.

Don't buy the fear-mongering and let's work to educate people. Things ARE better in so many ways, and certainly moreso than under the Bush administration.

Also (and this is important, too), ask people, "When you say Make America Safe Again... to what time period are you alluding?" If they're speaking of the Nixon/Reagan/Bush years, they are just mistaken. If they are referring to the "Golden Age" of the 1930s-1950s, well, violent crime may have been down, but moral crimes - Jim Crow laws, discrimination, the denying of rights and abuse of minorities... those "good ol' days" were pretty monstrous. Black folk, gay folk, other minorities were NOT safe during those days in very real ways.

Even if you think this, you should recognize that a large percentage of your neighbors hear you longing for the good ol days when "the blacks" and "the gays" knew their place and stayed in it and women recognized their place in the home... ie, you should recognize you will sound like a bigot when you say "Make America Safe, or Great, Again."

Look, I come from a conservative and traditional people. These are very good people, don't mistake what I'm saying here. Moral, concerned about justice and taking care of those who need to be taken care of... NOT bigots. Good, decent people. I'm not complaining about "the conservatives" and how awful they are as a group. I'm warning against those few in any group who'd use fear to divide and tear down. I'm warning against those few in any group who would say, "I am the one with the answers. I am the one who will save us from this apocalypse that will surely come without me!"

What I'm saying is that we're all in this together, that things are not as bad as some make them out to be, and that we need to unite, not divide, to solve the problems we do have and we WILL continue to do so together. Not because one man who says that things are going to hell and he's the only one to save us. That is something to be wary of.

I would hope we'd all be able to agree.