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It Doesn’t Fly


In all its infinite wisdom the Grand Old Party, Washington State legislative version, would like to reject negotiated pay raises for state employees.  Kindly, the GOP suggests offering workers a flat $500 wage, although in Washington, the legislature has now power to negotiate pay raises.

That power lies with the governor’s office to negotiate contracts, and the legislature votes yes or no, without amendments such as altering the terms of the agreement.

A wonderful Yiddish phrase  captures this waste of time by the Grand Old Party.  Nisht geshtoygn un nisht gefloygn translates as ‘didn’t climb up and didn’t fly.’  As the article kindly put it, it means bullshit, or whatever was said was a fable, not the truth.

The WA GOP, having been told before that they cannot create alternatives to negotiated state employee contracts, could better spend their time fulfilling their duty to the state constitution and properly fund education.  The McLearly decision five (5!) years ago prompted the state court to fine the legislature, and and remind it of its obligation to fund public (K-12) education.

That being too hard,the GOP continues its delaying tactics of proposing changes to issues it knows it can’t legislate or further negotiate.

It doesn’t climb and it doesn’t fly.




Barber Chair Thoughts


Today I got my hair cut.  It’s an experience I dread because the barber’s chair is a place of gossip and endless talk, and I’m just not up for that.

I did talk a bit.  I asked the hair stylist (I guess that’s what you call a person who cuts hair, even if you’re not getting yours ‘styled’) a couple questions about her day, about whether it’s busy, and about whether things like whether and time of year have effect on how busy a place is.

Yes, she guessed, a sunny day will make things slower if it’s been raining a little while.  She didn’t comment on yearly patterns, and my guess is few people think about such things, and even fewer even try to predict such a pattern.

So, how does a barber shop predict how many people it needs to employ on a particular day, at a particular time of year?  How does an eatery (a fast food joint, a fine dining locale, etc.) decide how many people it needs preparing and serving food on one Saturday compared to the next?  How does a  retail store decide it needs x numbers of associates (terrible word) on one Saturday compared to the next, and no major sale on either?

It appears to me that the answer is they don’t know.  If you go to Subway (eat fresh?) sometimes there’s one person working alone during a rush; sometimes there’s three, four, five people and there’s no ‘rush.’  If you go to a grocery, or retail, store sometimes there’s quite a  wait to buy things, and sometimes it seems like you’re the only customer in the store.

Despite all the credit cards and member cards that every store now seems to encourage you to participate in, it doesn’t appear to help predict what people will buy.  Needing ink for printer I went not long ago to Best Buy and informed that cashier that the ink I needed was gone.  I was told, essentially, that it would be several days before they got a shipment of ink, because, with a major sale coming up the trucks were only bringing items like TVs.  Great!  So, because a sale approacheth, stock ye not small items.

The hair is shorter now.  … Until next time, when there may or may not be stylists in abundance.


So Conceived


A new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

So reads a truncated versions of one of the shortest, most eloquent, speeches in American history.
A nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal, we are testing once again, whether a nation so conceived, testing the notion of whether government of the people, by the people, for the people, can long endure.

Of course, we were engaged on a great battlefield of a civil war, meeting violence with violence.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

In my last post, which was an au revoir, I described that now I am engaged in a great battlefield of that war – which is to say, pursuing a Masters in Sustainable Peace in the Contemporary World.

By happy coincidence, one of my courses at this time is Nonviolent Transformation of Conflict.  Did you know that nonviolent methods of transforming a conflict are twice as likely to succeed as violent methods?

It is surmised that all political relationships and systems rely on the obedience and cooperation of individuals and groups.  What happen when people refuse to obey?  That is when they engage in nonviolence, or noncooperation.  There, in fact, at least 198 different methods of nonviolent action.  These work in both democracies and autocracies.  We are, of course, familiar with many of these, such as marching, protesting, and writing letters of objection.  Others might have slipped our mind, although we are intimately familiar with them in America, such as tax objection, boycotts, and general strikes.

I am asked what-are-we-going-to-do now!  Of course, there’s a couple options.  Do nothing.  Or Do something.

This nation can not long endure unless we living dedicate ourselves to a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and for that (non-)violent action is required.

(Temporary) Peace Out


I have tried to keep this blog going, and to keep the content informative.  I will try to continue to do so, but life might once again get in the way.

My sources inform me that I’m beginning a masters program (tomorrow!?!).  Specifically, a Masters in Sustainable Peace in the Contemporary World, at the University for Peace, mandated by the U.N., and hosted in one of the world’s more peaceful places – Costa Rica.  (I’m taking distance education for convenience, but still, there is a school in Costa Rica dedicated to peace.)

It sounds kind of exciting, but there’s so much I wanted to write about here.

I’ve been gathering hundreds of sources – enough to write a book – about Israel, Palestine, the U.S.  It sounds kind of like Fateful Triangle, but different.

There’s also the presidential race.  Every year we’re told this is the most important election of our life, and it sure seems it’s true this year.  It also makes me wonder what might happen in 2018, or 2020.  I have so many sources, and so much to say …

There’s the environment.  It’s kind of important, and there’s a lot to say and not enough time to say it.  Somebody has to do something about this time thing.

There’s race relations.  That needs fixing, not just talk.

There’s the economy.  After all, money makes the world go ’round.  Until then, though, make sure to read some works by Michael Lewis.

So, to use the common phrase, peace out.


Nine Eleven Fifteen years later


Fifteen years have passed since September, 11, 2001.  In the years following, on other September 11’s (and other days), I’ve tried to keep you posted about what has resulted since.  I began the long task of trying to compare an excellent September 11 report with the government’s 9/11 report – the same government report that has recently been further released, although mostly redacted; the same report that talks about how our friend, Saudi Arabia, is more culpable than previously thought).

I was unable to complete that comparison of those reports.  The truth remains, and is sometimes mentioned, that we don’t know most of the truth that led to September 11, 2001, most of the truth that happened on September 11, 2001, or the truth of what has happened since 2001.

I don’t know a complete summary is possible.  However, there is a lot of information.  Consider this:

almost 15 years have passed and that air war has never ended.  In Afghanistan, for instance, in just the first four years of the Obama administration (2009-2012), more than 18,000 munitions were released over the country.  And this year, B-52s, those old Vietnam workhorses, retired for a decade in Afghanistan, took to the air again as U.S. air sorties there ramped up against surging Taliban and Islamic state militants.

And that’s just to begin to describe the never-ending nature of the American air war that has spread across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa in these years.  In response to al-Qaeda’s brief set of air strikes against U.S. targets, Washington launched an air campaign that has yet to end, involving the use of hundreds of thousands of bombs and missiles, many of a “precision” sort but some as dumb as they come, against a growing array of enemies. Almost 15 years later, American bombs and missiles are now landing on targets in not one but seven largely Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen).

Remember that the people you vote for are the people who decide if we should bomb people that never attacked us.

Moral Compass


On the back of The Speech, by Bernie Sanders, one of the promotional quotes is from Sarah Silverman.  It says “[Sanders’] moral compass and sense of values inspire me.  He always seems to be on the right side of history.”

The same Sarah Silverman told Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters that they were being ridiculous for supporting Bernie during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.  Silverman was a Bernie supporter – in fact, a surrogate who introduced Bernie at events.  Perhaps Silverman lost whatever moral compass she once had.

In the introduction of The Speech, Bernie says “if we don’t stand together today, working Americans will continue fighting an uphill battle just to make ends meet and the end of each month.  We cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.  Now is the time to transform America.”

The time has come and gone where Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and she was nominated by the Democratic Party (the part about Hillary delegates behaving badly is a different story).

Bernie supporters appear to be split – and it’s hard to say at what ratio – over following him to Clinton, or following his admonishment that “we cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.”  It’s one or the other.

The standard argument for going from a Bernie supporter to a Hillary supporter is that we have a two party system, we are stuck with a two party system, and that Hillary is not Trump (I never hear arguments in favor of her policies, whatever they are).  The moral argument, such as it is one, is that Clinton is not Trump, and we’ll know how to push her around on policy (as if!).

The arguments against supporting Hillary are long.  Besides the conservatives who hate the name Clinton, progressives and other Democrats with a moral compass pointing to justice also call for Clinton to be prosecuted for actions while Secretary of State, or at least to just go away.  The moral compass here points in the opposite direction of her policies – the ones we know – like deportation and bombing.

I’m not saying the sudden Clinton supporters don’t have a moral compass.  The compass points against Trump.  It points to the regressive status quo.

I don’t think the Bernie Sanders progressives, now looking to Jill Stein as the progressive candidate, expect to win an election, or intend to ruin one.  Rather, the point appears to be to make a moral statement against Clinton and for progress, and at the same time catch the attention of those who count votes, so that they might look up and say ‘gee, what happened?  All these people have a moral compass pointing toward progress.’

Either you can heed Bernie’s call work with Hillary, or you can heed his call to “stand together … [w]e cannot settle for establishment politics and stale ideas.”  It’s one or the other.

It’s in our hands.




Coming together and falling apart


The Democrats are disunited.  Inside the Democratic National Convention there is no unity, with delegates walking out in protest, and chanting “no more war” when Penetta spoke.  Outside, it’s disorganized and disunited.  People don’t know where events are, people don’t know where to go.

The party being disunited, the sentiment on the street from true Bernie supporters is against party unity – that is, they are not (we are not) suddenly supporting Hillary Clinton.

The people united, it felt more like a gathering of friends who had never met.  Bernie supporters met each other on the street corner, cheered and pump fists at one another, and sometimes talked for several minutes.  Most agreed they would never vote for Hillary, and would write in Bernie or vote Jill Stein, depending on what their state allowed.

Many spent the day sightseeing.  We saw other at the liberty bell, at Independence Hall, City Hall, and many streets between.

The people are united, and the party is in disarray.

Not the planned result, I think …