Thursday, December 22, 2016


The year is winding down.  Our worst fears for the election have come to pass, and the electoral college didn't save us.  I'm not sure we'll be able to hold our nose and bear this for four years like we thought when George W. Bush was elected.  Bush was dumb, but not evil.  Even though he was surrounded by evil, we knew he loved his country.  I don't believe Trump loves anything but himself and money.  Whereas Bush was bumbling dumb, Trump is arrogant, dangerous dumb.  He is filling his cabinet and administration with the worst of the worst.  I worry for the environment, for international relations, for our civil rights, for my children's futures, and our economy.  

I have tried having calm, honest discussions with Trump supporters.  More often than not, when I try to get to the bottom of why these people voted for Trump, or even Republican, when their party has done nothing to improve their lives, I'm usually given reasons that are not based on facts.  When I present facts, I'm told they're a liberal spin.  It's kind of like trying to convince them about global warming.  They refuse to believe the facts.  The thing about facts, is that they're true whether you believe them or not.  What a horrible thing hate media has done to our nation. Not only has it divided us as a nation, but it has fed some of us so much misinformation, that there's no convincing people of the facts.

How will we dig ourselves out of this mess now?  Bush and his cronies crashed our economy, got us in two wars we had no business being in, and allowed the erosion of women's rights, and provided an environment that was hostile to gays.  Trump's gang are in the process of dismantling the very fabric of our democracy.  Trump is appointing people to head agencies that they hate and have wanted to destroy.  How the hell are you supposed to successfully head an agency that you don't believe should exist?  Trump and the Republicans plan to end the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and throw millions of people off their health insurance.  They plan to end and privatize Social Security and Medicaid.  Their rich corporate friends are going to get even richer with our tax dollars, and we will suffer.  Trump is planning to "re-build" our infrastructure by selling it to private companies at a bargain price, and have tax payers give those corporations monetary incentives to rebuild the infrastructure.  In the end, the taxpayers will lose their infrastructure assets and pay the corporations for the privilege to use them, after paying the corporations to fix them.

Here are some examples of how this works.  It's like the taxpayers of a city paying to build a stadium to get a professional sports team for their city.  The public pays for it, but then the team owns it and charges the public when they come to see games played there.  It's like toll roads and toll bridges.  The government "donates" land to a private company to build a road or a bridge.  The government gives the company tax breaks, and/or gives them part of the money to build said road or bridge.  In the end, the company now owns the land where they put the road or bridge.  It was built with taxpayer money, and the company charges the public to use them.  This privatization also ALWAYS costs the taxpayers more than if government handled it because what people don't know, is that there are laws that when government operates a school, a prison, a toll road, a utility, etc., they are not allowed to make a profit doing it.  They can only charge what it actually costs to run and maintain it.  Corporations always aim to make a profit so they will always cost more than government.  Some people argue that corporations will run things better, provide better service, but the research shows that's not true.  This is part of the Republican spin, tell people government doesn't work, do everything you can to prevent government from working right, then say, "see we told you government doesn't work," then privatize the hell out of things the government used to do just fine, so your corporate buddies can get rich, and funnel money back toward their congressional whores.

So I'm feeling particularly pessimistic about what's to come.  I don't know what to do to stop this madness.  I feel like I'm in a sinking boat, with more holes than I've got fingers to plug, while people on one end of the boat are ripping it apart to make money while we're all in the process of sinking.  Just over half this country sees what a disaster this Trump administration is going to be, and the other half just doesn't get it.  They think we're being sore losers, but it's not that.  If only it was something that minor.  It reminds me of group projects in school.  Invariably I would be in a group with the lazy, the cocky, the over-confident, and the fools.  They would screw around the whole time then panic when the due date arrived and want to turn in crap just to get a grade.  Meanwhile, I began the project as soon as it was assigned, did a good job, and had it completed before the deadline.  Now this election is that group project.  I don't want to suffer for their ignorance, but I'm being forced to, and they just don't see what a crap candidate they've foisted on the country.  I don't care if people make crap decisions that only affect them, but it pisses me off when their crap decisions harm me or this country.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Time for recovery

Our dog, Lambeau has been going steadily lame in his hind quarters.  The veterinarians here couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.  So we eventually drove three hours and took him to the vets at Cornell.  They diagnosed a number of things: two blown out knees requiring ACL surgeries, mild hip dysplasia, and arthritis in the lower spin, hips, and knees.

Thursday he had his first knee surgery.  Everything went well, now we have 8-12 weeks recovery and physical therapy.  The good news is that he's putting weight on that leg and doesn't act like he's in pain.  The bad news is he won't lie still unless I'm sitting in the room with him.  This is going to be a long winter.  :-(

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...