FAT CATS: What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg have in common? Together with five other fat cats are wealthier than the bottom half of the world’s poorest people. Gates leads the pack with a net wealth of $75 billion.
Teach your children, and maybe yourself, some important American history today. Do some reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch the video of King’s entire I Have a Dream speech.
You might even read the attached article about King.
Many Americans and citizens of other nations are worried about the coming of Trump. I’ve given this some thought and concluded that nothing can be done to totally shield us from the harm that precedes the arrival of this so ill prepared politician. All we can do is work on what we can to lessen the damage he is capable of.
The one solution I’ve arrived at is to distract and keep him distracted. We all know is his Achilles heel is his ego and how difficult it is for him to manage that ego when it’s been challenged. To date, anyone who has insulted him has ended up being counter attacked in the next day’s Twitter cycle. At the recent Golden Globe Awards Meryl Streep laid into him pretty hard about some of the things he did during the election. Next morning we were treated with a streak of anti Streep tweets from Trump’s Twitter Tower, (Please notice the wordplay!).
I’ve been trying to make sense out of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting and while none of these mass shootings make sense this one has a special element about it. The law seems to have allowed the shooter to have his gun near by.
With all the regulations regarding air travel that came out of 9/11 I’m shocked that you can travel with any form of firearm in any form of manner. Remember when you couldn’t even board a plane with a toenail clipper in your pants pocket?
As I understand it, the law permits one to travel with a firearm if you lock it and the ammo in a solid case and store that inside your checked luggage. You can’t carry it on to the plane with you and store it overhead, it must be secured in the cargo belly of the plane.
It was around 1997, off the coast of NC, that I brought my first shark aboard my brother’s center console. We were drift fishing around a manmade reef near Morehead City when some deadweight thing took my frozen shrimp and began pulling. There wasn’t any fight or sport. Just an exercise in lifting a piece of lead to the surface.
Once it surfaced my brother identified it as a dogfish and warned me about the sharp spine in front of it’s dorsal fin. We didn’t keep it but when I got back to Joe’s home I looked it up on the Internet and learned that it was the world’s most common family of sharks and highly prized for its food value. One major market is Northern Europe and the UK where it is sold in fish ‘n chip shops and labeled rock salmon.
American fishermen who harvest dogfish export almost all it to Europe. The fins are sold into Asian markets where it’s made into a cheaper form of shark fin soup.
Since that first dogfish I’ve caught a ton of them. In the colder seasons of NC they may be the only thing you catch and you’ll begin to see them as a nuisance. Most species of shark are great fun to catch. A common one in NC is the Atlantic sharpnose and a 10-20 pounder will let you know you’ve had your string stretched.
I’ve yet to eat shark meat but it’s on my bucket list. I have some trepidations about cleaning one since I’ve read that they urinate through their skin and if you don’t clean them properly the flesh will have the taste and flavor of ammonia. I need an old-timer to be with me and teach me the ropes.
The largest shark, and fish, I’ve caught was a 110 pound spinner shark. I caught it off the pier at Emerald Isle, NC. Took me about an hour to get it to the pier and I had to cut it loose since there was no way I could lift it.
Check out this short video of spinning sharks.
WE LOVE TO BOMB: Researchers have estimated, probably on the light side, that during the last year of Barack Obama’s administration the US military dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different nations. Continues to leave open the question of the worth of Curtis LeMay’s aerial bombardment as a workable strategy.
This past week was not comforting. Trump’s false information and lunacy wagon rolled on at full nonsense. Rachel Maddow did a revealing segment on the dishonesty for profit of the National Enquirer and other check out stand tabloid magazines. Breitbart dishonesty still held a seat at the right arm of Trump, and Vice News did an interview with the current leader of the asylum and reigning leader of the war on truth, Alex Jones. And, if you listen closely you can still hear the whiny little bitch, Rush Limbaugh, whimpering from his den of darkness.
That there is such a profitable market for such extreme entertainment does not speak well of us or our future. Add to the mix that Alex Jones said to Vice that we ain’t seen anything yet.
And by the way, check out my recent story about the website that’s keeping track of all Trump’s lies.
We are living in a post truth era and many of us seem to be enjoying it.
A couple of years ago I became aware of an organization called the Internet Archive. It is a repository of just about everything that’s been posted to the Internet since www was just a w. It is a favorite research tool for political reporters in their quest to keep the politicians honest.
Yesterday I received a message about the IA making available a growing collection of all the things Donald Trump has said since he rode that escalator to the ground floor of the Trump Tower to announce that most Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. That certainly wasn’t the first lie Trump told but it’s a good place to begin.
I’ll provide the link to the site but first I just want to say that each statement has been independently fact checked by one of the major fact checking sites that exist today.
NOTE: You may notice at the top of IA’s page they are halfway there to raise $5 million. The purpose is to create a mirror of their servers in Canada out of fear that Trump will attempt to shut their American site down.
THE GOOD CAPITALIST: A guy named Charles Feeney made about $8 billion during his working life. Then he decided to give it all away to various causes. It was just announced that Feeney had finished his mission. It’s all gone except for $2 million he kept so to continue his “modest retirement.” Just goes to show that not all capitalists are assholes and one can share and still live a good life.
I became interested in saltwater fishing in the mid 1990, especially around the Morehead City, NC area. The Gulf Stream runs along the NC coast about 35 miles out and is prime fishing for dolphin, king mackerel, wahoo, and several species of tuna. The most prized tuna is the Atlantic bluefin and can bring huge money in Japan. The US government and the state control the tuna catch and the penalties for bagging one out of season can be substantial.
My brother, who lived many years at the coast told me one year a couple of guys had been out in the gulf stream and hooked up a pretty large and very out of season bluefin. Greed got the best of them so they hid it in the bilge and brought it to shore. That they had the animal for sale quickly became known and it didn’t take long before the tuna cops tracked them down. When it was all said and done the fish had cost them many thousands of dollars in fines, some jail time, and the loss of their 35′ center console deep-water boat, it’s trailer, and the big dually they used to pull the rig.
This memory was prompted by a story I just read about the first fish auction in Tokyo for 2017. The highest priced tuna brought $632,000 ($1,300 a pound). The same restaurant that bought this fish paid $1.76 million for a fish in 2013. That represents the world’s record.
What you don’t hear so often is how the demand for horribly expensive sushi is making tuna horribly rare. There is a worldwide need to place the fish on the endangered specie list before it ends up dead as the dodo birds.
I don’t know about you but I would like to be associated with people who will work to closely monitor the actions of the Trump presidency and bring pressure wherever pressure is warranted. But, I don’t want to drive to WDC and march in a Million Woman March. Last evening I learned of an alternative, organizing on a local level, with like-minded people, and truly resisting at the grassroots level.
An organization has been formed called Indivisible and its goal is to learn from what the Tea Party has shown us and adapt those lessons to fit progressive needs. To facilitate this a group of former Democratic congressional workers has written a small simple guide to help provide direction and ideas. To learn more about Indivisible and get your name on their email list go to their website.
And, to download a .pdf file of their printable guide just click on the link below.
FASTER & FASTER: Most of you own a smartphone and most of you probably are enrolled in a 4G LTE data plan. While 4G is fast 5G will soon be knocking on the door and it’s lightning. I just read that 5G could download the entire collection of Simpson episodes in the time it took to watch a single episode. You’re going to begin hearing about it but don’t expect to have it for a couple more years.
I was listening to a TV discussion this afternoon and one of the subjects talked about was how we are having to deal with things that most of us thought were long gone into the pages of history. As a history major in college I was required to take a class in historiography, which includes theories of why things change. One idea that most are familiar with is that history repeats itself.
There are other theories but what we’re seeing unfold today has elements that were common in the decades between the two world wars. Throughout much of the world there was a huge increase in militarists and nationalists groups. In Japan the military came to power and pushed for military solutions to Japan’s problems. In Italy and Germany people turned to dictatorial leadership and its promise of resolving the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression.
I grew up and became educated after these things had occurred. In my time most of us came to believe we’d seen the last of fascism, Nazis, genocide, and religious and ethnic wars. My generation grew up in the post war prosperity of the 1950s, got an education, a decent job, and went on to out do our parents. I suppose we thought it would always be that way, if not get even better.
Well, it wasn’t to be. Changes in business practices and rapidly changing technology turned against the middle-class prosperity I had witnessed. Millions of jobs went where labor was cheaper, became obsolete, or are now performed by robots. The good “people” jobs remaining in America now go to those who have a high degree of technical skill. What’s left are low paid, low skilled, and too few.
So here we are, back to those days when jobs are few, education expensive, young adults are still living at home, and whole parts of America is in ruins. The same feelings of despair that turned Germans to fascism in the 1930s have given rise to right-wing extremists in 2016’s America. Both Hitler and Trump are the products of people feeling desperate.
Next time you’re wondering what causes our story to change, add desperation and despair to the list. But keep in mind that history repeats itself so the good times may someday return. I just hope we don’t have to endure what the world witnessed that last time so many became desperate.
FOOTNOTE: Since I wrote this piece both Putin and Trump have began talking about increasing each nation’s nuclear arsenal. From out of nowhere the world is suddenly knocking on the door of another nuclear arms race and the weapons makers are seeing their stock values hit the roof. It’s good to be a war monger!
In an attempt to end on a happier note reading this article I’m reminded of the bit they did on Hee Haw about, Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me!
Just read about the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) writing and releasing a open letter to Trump explaining how many of his campaign promises threaten various parts of the US Constitution, established law, and international agreements. Afterwards I wondered how many people really know what the ACLU stands for and fights for.
In conservative circles the ACLU is seen as a threat to all things red, white and blue. But in more open minds the ACLU is viewed as a group of active attorneys whose mission is to help ensure the people’s rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. In doing so, however, they have often taken positions that some fail to understand. The example that comes to mind is their defense of a neo-Nazi group in Skokie, IL. A lot of people don’t understand that the Constitution says we have a right to assemble, but it doesn’t exclude Nazis.