Saturday, September 23, 2017

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Klatch Time

Good Day World!

Have you got a nice hot cup of coffee going?

Good. Let's chat about some of the issues in our world today while sipping some Joe. Topics are wide open.

A new documentary on Vietnam came out last week and once again the North Vietnamese side of the story is sorely lacking.

If you saw it, I'd love to hear your take on the documentary. You can comment with the link provided at the end of this post.

Thoughts on Walls:

The hideous black WALL in Washington DC dedicated to those Vietnam veterans who died, is really a stark reminder of failed colonialism.

Trump's WALL is a right-wing fantasy that has failed to materialize...yet.
Joseph Fort Newton once said,
Joseph Fort Newton “Men build too many WALLS and not enough bridges.”
That's spot on for what's happening today.

On Natural Disasters:

Is it just me, or is there an awful lot of natural disasters happening this year?

Hurricane after record-breaking hurricane has been savaging the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and southern states. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas like a runaway freight train.

There's been earthquakes and volcanoes erupting along the Pacific "Rim of Fire." Mexico was especially hard hit with two big earthquakes.

Major fires across the nation this summer struck particularly hard in the west, with states like California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Montana burning out-of-control for weeks and even months.

Is it time to sit down and really examine Global Warming and what we can do about it?

What do you think is happening?

Is Global Warming fake news? Is it something we should be very concerned about? I'd like to hear your take on this topic that seems to divide so many Americans today.

If you'd like to send me your comments via email, my address is: richarddavestancliff@gmail.com 

How Close Are We To Nuclear War?

Donny and Kim's pissing match is getting serious. The two man-children are engrossed with throwing shit at one another, to the determent of a peaceful solution.

I try not to picture those two crazy bastards sitting next to "The Button." It harshes my high for the day.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Statues: Believe It or Not, We Do Have Progressive Heroes in Seach of a Statue Near You

Good Day World!

With all the controversy surround statues these days, I have a simple question to ask;

Where are the statues of famous progressive heroes in American history? 

America has been traditionally content to put up statues celebrating wars and the heroes who fought in them. That alone, is a reflection of what we see ourselves as; a militant nation.

If Americans are going to continue putting up statues why not celebrate our progressive heroes too? I'll just give you two quick examples.

You get to ring the bell if you've heard of both of these men.

James Armistead

If Independence Day should be about anything, it should be about celebrating the life of a black slave turned spy, who worked as a crafty double agent, and passed details to George Washington that provided the catalyst for a crucial victory.

In 1781, he joined the army and was put in service under the Marquis de Lafayette, who was desperately trying to fight the chaos caused in Virginia by turncoat soldier Benedict Arnold.

His forces diminished by British Gen. Charles Cornwallis' troops, Lafayette needed reliable information about enemy movements.

Enter James Armistead.

Using the intricate details Armistead provided, Lafayette and a stunned, but relieved George Washington lay siege to the town.

Concentrating both American and French forces, a huge blockade was formed, crippling the British military and resulting in their surrender on Oct. 19, 1781.


Stetson Kennedy

Stetson Kennedy, the writer for Superman recruited the Super Hero to fight the KKK in a novel way.

He infiltrated the KKK and learned about their inner workings. He took this knowledge to a radio station which had a regular Superman serial and sold them on the idea of running it as a special series.

The 16-part series, The Clan of the Fiery Cross, striped away much of the KKK's mystique and left their reputation in tatters.

By 1948 people were just showing up to their meetings and laughing at them.

Kennedy who was both a writer and political activist, coined the term "Frown Power," which encouraged people to frown when they heard bigoted speech in public.

There are hundreds of other examples I could give you, but these two illustrate my point well.

This is the 21st century, and Americans should be more aware of their famous brothers, and sisters, who made this country great without leading men into battle.

That's what teachers should be teaching children today.

Time for me to walk on down the road...


Thursday, September 21, 2017

RIP: The Bad Boy Who Became a Champion

Good Day World!

As a boxing fan, I'm feeling kind of nostalgic today.

A great champion passed away yesterday.

Let me tell you a little bit about him.

He grew up in a rough neighborhood in New York City's Bronx borough.

He was beaten up one day, and when he went home his abusive father gave him an ice pick to defend himself with.

Turns out the kid had a punch like dynamite and didn't need the ice pick.

Soon he was fighting other neighborhood boys in matches that adults bet on and ended up at a juvenile facility for attempting to rob a jewelry store.

As an adult, he was abusive to women and once severely beat his wife Vicki and his best friend after hearing they were having an affair.

Although he refused to take on a mob-connected manager he did agree to throw his 1937 match against Billy Fox for a shot at the World Middleweight title.

In 1949, he got his big chance and fought Marcel Cerdan and won the Middleweight crown. He held it for two years before losing it to Sugar Ray Robinson.

Martin Scorsese's 1980 movie "Raging Bull" was based upon his autobiography.

In case you still haven't guessed who I'm talking about it's Jake LaMotta. 

Ring Magazine ranks him 52nd on its list of the 80 best fighters of the previous 80 years.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Another Attempt To Replace and Repeal Obamacare is Slithering Around Congress

Good Day World!

It's a chilly morning outside today in Medford, and my coffee fix is more enjoyable than usual. 

Are you ready for another round of repeal and replace Obamacare?

I know. I thought that horse had died too.

A new bill, The Graham-Cassidy Bill, is slithering around the halls of Congress  looking for support right now.  

Incredible as it may seem, there are still stuck-in-the-mud ideologues in the Republican Party who want to take another run at overturning our health care system.

Despite Mitch McConnell's admission last month that the bill was dead, and Obamacare was the law of the land, these pinheads can't let it go.

Interestingly enough, Trump is not even the one that came up with this new assault on American healthcare.

The sponsors are trying to shove it through the House and Senate before September 30th, the deadline.

 This Senate bill, if passed by the House, would gut core protections of Obamacare – including "essential health benefits" and cost protections for those with pre-existing conditions – and blow up Medicaid as currently structured.

Once again it's going to be a close vote. McCain will probably  vote no - so Republicans need every single vote they can get. They figure their ace-in-hole is Vice-President Pence's tie-breaking vote.

But history is poised to repeat itself thanks to dissent within the party.

If Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska vote against the bill, which is very likely because a majority of their constituents will be adversely affected, the bill will die on the floor...again.

Meanwhile, what about that big Tax Reform bill Trump has been pushing? Two other little items are also hanging out there on the GOP agenda - DACA, and a new Budget for the country.

So far the GOP is zero on passing any major legislation. At the rate their going now it's conceivable this Congress is going to make history for the wrong reason; it's inability to pass a law.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Reflections While Drinking Coffee - The Best Time in the Morning

Good Day World!

Between sips of scalding coffee each morning, I try to solve the world's problems for an hour, sometimes two hours, and then it's on to other pursuits.

I scan at least 10 newspapers from across the nation and compare how they each handle the telling of the same story. If you want to catch subtle bias you need not go any further than headlines.

Hi! My name is Dave, and I'm a coffee addict. I'll bet you are too, or you wouldn't be reading this. I do make exceptions for hot tea, however.

Our Liar-In-Chief address the United Nations today. How surreal is that? I keep snapping my fingers just in case it was a bad dream, hoping to suddenly wake up.

To see someone with less morals than a tomcat (with little paws) talking to the leaders of nations from around the world is truly a Twilight Zone moment.

Tell me you don't cringe when you hear about Trump's latest tweets?

Beyond Trump...

Are you located in one of those areas where fires are burning?

It's been terrible here in Medford, Oregon. Our air quality reminds me of the smog I use to live with back in the 60's, in Southern California.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but if you were planning a trip anywhere in the Caribbean next year you might want to think about another vacation location.

This hurricane season has been epic. And, it's not over yet, as hurricanes Jose and Maria hit the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. Florida and other Southern states have also suffered tremendous damage from hurricane Irma's high winds and rains.

Texas will be picking up the pieces from hurricane Harvey for the next decade. FEMA is stretched thin and Congress will need to give the agency more funds when they do the budget.

That is, if Congress can even pass a budget. They're talking about a passing a major tax bill, repealing Obamacare (I know, again), and if they should let Donny build his wall.

It's best to do, like I do. Count to ten slowly.Then breath. Now, might be a good time for a Krispy Kreme donut. 

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, September 18, 2017

What Happened to the 'Woodstock of American Rallies'?

Good Day World!

Did you happen to see the "Mother of all Rallies (MOAR)" in Washington DC's National Mall Saturday?

It wasn't exactly inspiring, to put it mildly. Trump supporters have been planning for a huge rally to support the Liar-In-Chief for months. 

At first, they boasted there would be a million supporters of Donny's polices attending MOAR.

A week before the supposed  "Woodstock of American Rallies" the organizers downsized the projected attendance to 10,000.

When the big day came...there were less than a thousand people walking around with Trump "Make America Great Again" hats, and signs. They were a colorful group to be sure.

Many were dressed in red-white-and blue costumes that could have been raided from an old performance of Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney.

The organizers said they were sending a message to the world that mainstream Americans must be heard. That statement obviously came from a warped cult that sees themselves as 'Average Americans."

Actual Mainstream Americans weren't tuned into the MOAR fiasco Saturday. Nielson ratings show they were watching college football.  

If the organizers were dismayed by the dismal attendance you'll never know about it. Leaders from alt-right groups were the featured speakers.

As of press time, I haven't been able to get any attendance statistics for any of the 30 other rallies that day - including one staged by Juggalos who say they need to be taken off the FBI's terrorist watch list.

Was it a coincidence that side-by-side rallies were sponsored by clowns?

There was some concerns there would be trouble. Everything went fine, however.

Mere blocks away, there was a counter protest opposing white supremacy.

Near the White House, there was a protest against Russia’s election interference.

Just another Sunday in America...

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Here's One Bad-Assed Pirate I Bet You Never Heard Of'

Good Day World!

Ahoy Matey! It’s Pirate Appreciation Day at my blog.

I’m going to introduce you to a pirate that you didn’t read about in school. For that matter, anywhere.

Now, you’ve probably heard of at least one of the following pirates:
 Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart), and Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam).

But how about Fire Fart the Pirate?

No, really. I’m not making this up. This dreaded 17th century pirate’s name was Antonio "Botafoc." The word botafoc means "fire blast" or "fire fart" — his real last name is lost to history.


FIRE FART’s HISTORY

With a name like Fire Fart, Antonio must have been a real bad ass. (Pun intended)

His story ties in with the Vatican, and now thanks to a new book “The Spoils of the Pope and the Pirates, 1357: The Complete Legal Dossier from the Vatican Archives,” by The Ames Foundation, his story can be told.

Here’s the condensed version:

The Vatican was once involved in piracy and bribery (tsk tsk), according to new documents from its archives. The newly published documents detail a medieval story about a dead bishop's treasure, the pope, and a pirate named 'Fire Fart.'

Fire Fart was always prepared for battle. His ship was heavily. Records indicate that his crew carried cutlasses (swords with curved blades used by sailors and pirates) and war pikes, and his galley had at least seven ballistae, which were large, crossbow-like devices capable of launching 9-inch (23 centimeters) stone bullets at high speeds.

Despite Fire Fart’s powerful ship the day came when a Dutch fleet put an end to his pirating career.

Fire Fart’s crew was hanged, but he, and his officers were let off with a fine, according to the Vatican records.

Back then, just like today, money paved the way to freedom.

History hasn’t left any clues on whatever happened to Fire Fart, but I suspect he changed his name and led a quite life somewhere far from the sea.

Time for me to walk on down the road…