Friday, August 11, 2017

First Day at New School, Memoriam for Anna Adams, Benghazi, Anyone? What about Monica? Democrats—Get a Grip!

Already, my great-grandson De'Andre has started 4th grade in his new school in Florida, where he moved with his mother, granddaughter Natasha, in July. His teacher looks like a friendly lady.

Last time, I mentioned the death of my friend Anna Adams, just days before we were planning to celebrate her 80th birthday. She had a “green” burial without a funeral service. Here is something about her from my book Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras (pp189-190):

Another stateside visitor was Anna, whom I hadn’t seen since we were teenagers together in Colombia. After almost 50 years apart, we hardly recognized each other, but with our first embrace, it was like old times again. Valiant Anna, who still remembered Spanish, joined me on a medical brigade to La Ceiba, where a child’s father admired her beautiful blue eyes and begged her to marry him despite being already married, a rather minor detail.                  

On a side trip, Anna and I passed by some spikey pineapple fields en route to a mountaintop resort, Pico Bonito, where wild monkeys and toucans chattered overhead, then visited a Garífuna fishing village called Sambo Creek, and ended up eating at a Ceiba watering hole called Expatriates’ Bar. Next day, at a butterfly farm set among fragrant-blossomed orange trees, a crested lizard darted across our path, black birds with yellow wings flitted up to high-hanging nests, and flocks of wild parakeets chirped noisily overhead. We sampled bitter cocoa fruit and seeds, scarcely resembling processed chocolate.  

Back in El Triunfo, Anna contributed $35 to outfit Marina’s maid Sarita with prescription eyeglasses. When Sarita first donned the glasses, she marveled at the crisp, tiny details of flowers and insects never seen before.


Trump’s incitements to violence against Muslims, his urging of police to “rough up” suspects, do have real world consequences, such as with the attack on mosque in suburban Minneapolis. His threats on health care and uncertainty about the future of the ACA have led to premium hikes and triggered the very problems he direly predicted. Meanwhile, out playing golf on his so-called “working vacation,” he should put his twitter phone away.

Pence is wise to totally distance himself from speculations about a 2020 presidential run of his own, since for him to arouse even the slighest breath of suspicion of disloyalty toward Trump would put him immediately on the blacklist. He is in a very delicate position.

Where have Jared and Ivanka been? They were thought to be a moderating force. It will be interesting to see what sort of reception daughter Tiffany gets from other students when she starts at Georgetown Law School next fall. Being a Trump offspring is definitely a two-edged sword.

Trump likes to pivot to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails whenever asked a hard question about his own policies; now, reportedly Kelleyanne Conway has pivoted way back to Benghazi. Next, it’s going to be Monica Lewinsky.

However, as some pundits have warned, a national emergency, like 9/11, which put unpopular GW Bush over the top for a second term, could rescue Trump from the doldrums and have the citizenry rallying around him. Trump is already bungling his way into inciting a possible conflict with Iran and/or North Korea, which not only would be catastrophic in itself, but like GW Bush’s incursion into Iraq, actually win him a legitimate second term. The North Korean leader’s wild nuclear threats should not be met with the same from our side. Two crazies facing off, each with nuclear weapons, that’s very scary. Hillary warned during the campaign about having someone as unpredictable and unstable as Trump with his finger in the nuclear trigger. The stock market reacted negatively. Will I actually live to see the end of the Trump administration, something which is sadly affecting my daily mood and well-being? And there are millions more in the same situation.

Democrats desperately need an understandable platform or message and a dark horse presidential candidate—not Hillary, not Biden, not Elizabeth Warren, I fear, perhaps too far left, but still very likeable and smart and a woman! We women got cheated last time. Maybe she could actually make it?

“A Better Deal” trotted out as the new Democratic Party slogan does not grab listeners the way “Make American Great Again” has done. Democrats need to do better than that. Someone from Maryland has put his hat into the 2020 presidential ring, but the fact that I cannot even remember his name shows how much steam his candidacy has gathered so far. Tim Kane, though he was not stellar in his one national pre-election debate, is certainly a possibility too. As for the message, it should include something about not falling into a dictatorship, which seems to be what Trump is aiming for by making anyone who opposes him into an enemy; trying to gain control of the media; promoting jobs, protections, and benefits for himself and his family; falsifying data; controlling the electoral process; and withholding government subsidies and authorizations from those he does not like.

Jesuits close to Pope Francis are concerned about right-wing Catholic supporters of Donald Trump, according to a recent interview on NPR.  https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/376acfa0-5dda-37de-a678-f0fa9a0344dd/ss_vatican-addresses-catholic.html (Apparently Catholics voted for Hillary by a slim margin.)

Someone freezing their head at death in case it can be thawed out later and grafted onto another (someone else’s) body is a fanciful and silly idea. Let’s assume it would work (very doubtful, at least with today’s knowledge); while it might be quite interesting for them to emerge later into a world that’s moved on from when they first “died,” once again, they will face the prospect of death. As far as we know, nothing is forever except maybe space-time itself. Everything, ourselves included, has a beginning and an end, earth and all the planets, even the sun and the stars. It could be argued that already some people are living too long, losing mental and physical faculties, not doing anything useful or even interesting in life, in a word, becoming bored and boring and needing a lot of help from others just to survive every day. We are creating societies of more people who need care and who are not contributing. That doesn’t seem wise. I will say that even if I end being one of them—hope not. Once I’ve started a steep decline, I’d like to go quickly for the good of all concerned, including myself. (Ask me again when that actually happens.)

Now, on the 72nd anniversary of American atom bombs being dropped on Japanese cities, I recall that even as child, I never accepted that as a right and moral action, something that sullied Truman’s reputation for me for evermore.


Reporters without Borders has asked me to post the following:
https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/online-privacy-journalists/

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Peace Corps, Bravo McCain, Interpretation Agency Farewell, Cuba, Guns, Trump (still in office, unfortunately), Abortion Issue, A Death Foretold





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[Hope this posting is correct now--somehow, the whole thing ended up in title and I had to remove it the first time around.]
I recommend the following article, written by the parent of a Peace Corps volunteer, that appeared in the Raleigh Observer in North Carolina,

Bravo to Sen. John McCain in the twilight of his career for doing the right thing in voting against the Republicans’ so-called health care bill. He has been considered a maverick because of his sometimes quirky statements and actions, but the maverick came through heroically this time. Notice that while Senator Murkowski and her whole state are being mercilessly berated and threatened by Trump, he has made no such threats against McCain or against Arizona—very hard to personally attack a war hero, former Republican presidential candidate, and now probably terminally ill popular elected official. Meanwhile, besides the Trump administration keeping the health care market in a turmoil of uncertainty, the ACA website continues to trash its own product by posting complaints about “Obamacare” and not providing helpful information, in line with the Trump effort to sabotage federal agencies and programs from within—let the fox into the henhouse, then complain that the henhouse is not secure. It’s probably too much of a stretch for Republican lawmakers to actually heed McCain’s call to reach across the aisle to improve the flaws in Obamacare.

See a nice message below from a hospital nurse, where I no longer work as a Spanish interpreter because they switched to a much cheaper service making it not worth my time to work for the amount the new interpretation agency is offering. The new pay scale allows a native Spanish-speaker working their way up from child care and house cleaning to interpreting, particularly a non-citizen, to take my place and be satisfied with a lower payment, so more power to those taking over my position (though these new interpreters are not tested for their ability, especially in English and for knowledge of medical terms). I still am interpreting elsewhere, but after 13 years at that hospital, I do miss working there.

It was such a pleasure working with you. You were so good to us and most importantly our patients. You will be missed. I know that you will provide excellent services for those who need you. You should also be paid more because you are worth so much. Please let us know how you are doing.

The young man who came through Mexico alone as an unaccompanied minor, for whom I interpreted at an asylum interview, was not approved, so now must go before an immigration judge. His lawyer said these days, fewer asylum requests than before are being granted.

Here’s one of the main arguments I made in my Confessions book about Latin American leaders’ support of Fidel Castro, stated cogently by commentator Jose Azel in the Miami Herald:
Given the abject failure of Cuba’s socioeconomic model, the sycophancy of Latin American leaders towards the Cuban leadership is perhaps best explained as a petulant form of anti-Americanism. It is not that the Cuban revolution has accomplished much for the Cuban people; it has not. It is that the Castros have successfully confronted the goliath of the North. That seems to be what Latin American leaders’ value from the disastrous Cuban experiment.

The Cuban military, which already controls most of the economy, is moving further. The experiment with licensed self-employment seems on the wane. The Cuban military has already dispossessed the license holders in the lucrative central Havana tourist area and now new self-employment licenses are not being issued.  

As Amnesty Int’l USA’s volunteer Caribbean coordinator, I have had 2 cases of Cuban asylum applicants being held in Immigration detention since the end of wet-foot/dry-foot. The case I am testifying for right now was sent to the USSR to study, then later became disaffected. His brother, also a dissident, died under mysterious circumstances. This man also once helped Oswaldo Paya, a prominent Cuba dissident (whom I once met) who also was killed under suspicious circumstances. Raul Castro has been doubling down against so-called self-employed licensees, no longer granting licenses and driving them out of central Havana so the Cuban military can take over that lucrative tourist market. Meanwhile, Venezuela, Cuba’s oil benefactor, continues to implode under directions from Havana, periling Cuba’s oil subsidies. The Cuban leadership in Venezuela is cutting off its nose to spite its face.

State Dept, is considering removing “democracy promotion” from its mission statement:
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Having a gun in hand seems to make it more likely that anyone—including a police officer—will use that gun. It sounds as though the woman in Minneapolis killed by a police officer might have startled him when she approach the police car and apparently hit the side. Although tasers can occasionally be lethal, that’s much less likely, but they can still disable someone temporarily, so police should use a taser first and a gun only as a last resort. While perhaps personal civilian gun possession has been declared a “right” (though not so considered until fairly recently), isn’t protection from being killed or injured by a gun also a right? What about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Trump needs to learn about probabilities, if, at age 71, he is capable of learning anything at all, since he thinks already knows everything and considers himself “very smart.” Any outcome is a matter of probabilities--never 100% certain. Yes, sometimes an undocumented person has killed an American citizen, but does that mean all undocumented or even a significant number are potential killers? The likelihood of a US-born person killing someone is statistically much greater. Likewise, while occasionally a male college student is falsely accused of rape and should be exonerated, many more college rapes occur that are never reported or where no action is taken. While an infinitesimal number of people may have voted illegally (and may have even voted for Trump!), many more potential voters have been turned away or discouraged from voting.

Stephen Colbert went to Moscow to the hotel room where Donald Trump is rumored to have engaged in “pee-pee” or a “golden shower” with Russian prostitutes, something filmed that could be used by Putin to blackmail Trump, although Trump supporters are so diehard that they would probably dismiss it as “fake news.” When I first heard about this alleged event, I thought it meant the prostitutes let Trump urinate on them, but now, it seems, it was the other way around, them peeing on him as lay on the bed or maybe he had another role while watching them pee on the bed (let’s hope they changed the mattress later). 

A more likely blackmail threat to Trump from Russia beyond just sex hijinks would be revelations about business contacts and involvements.

A former Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, Greg Andres is now part of Mueller’s investigation team.

Certainly, things have been interesting—even entertaining—with Trump in the presidency, though with some dire consequences for the country and the world (and for the Republican Party). If Trump actually told the truth about anything, would we even believe him?

Can Trump legally pardon all his family members and associates and even pardon himself? The latter seems like a stretch. Could Nixon have pardoned himself? Or Bill Clinton have done so, for that matter? Of course, Trump doesn’t care how that would look if he did try to do it. He is impervious to outside opinions of his own actions, which, in his eyes, are always successful anyway. And he doesn’t seem capable of planning ahead or doing strategic thinking. For example, he has simply told Republican lawmakers to fix the health care problem, but he had no plans or ideas about how to do that, nor does he seems to care what (Republican) governors want or about Congressional Republicans’ reelection prospects. Probably in his businesses, he simply told his underlings to go “fix” things and if they did not, they were fired. That may be what will happen to Sessions, despite support for him from Gingrich and others (Gingrich is also promoting his new book about Trump).

A foul-mouthed, uncensored Anthony Scaramucchi combined with an unfettered tweeter like Trump, now there was a nasty combination. General John Kelly seems to have taken charge now by getting rid of Scaramucchi. So maybe “Mooch’s” wife can withdraw her divorce filing.

Whew! Trump has announced that he is going on vacation—after all, he’s “worked” so hard! That may give us a respite, thank goodness. I wish the rest of his folks would take a long vacation. Life is already hard enough—why let a deliberately vengeful minority make it worse for everybody else? I have never seen a gang so mean, nasty, and vindictive, so gratuitously cruel and just plain liars. Like reality TV, which was Trump’s training for the presidency, not everything said is even remotely true and real.

One happening under Trump for which he may deserve some credit, is that not only did the stock market not fall, as some pundits had predicted, but in anticipation of possible tax breaks, it actually has risen.

A local high school soccer star told Immigration about his college sports scholarship and, within days, he and his brother were deported to El Salvador.  https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/f24dbf41-ea46-33fe-9af4-61113f1bd04d/ss_brothers-deported-to-el.html
Some of us--myself included--might like to imagine a future scenario whereby these egregious deportations (happening in every state) might be reversed under some special amnesty, though I agree that’s just wishful thinking and really farfetched.  While some folks might cheer “getting really tough” on refugees and immigrants, many more of us are appalled and hurt. What about majority rule? We might even stipulate that as a condition of their return, these folks would have to spend a certain amount of time in a region that is losing population, including some of the strongholds of “deplorables.” That way, the latter might find they have some common ground with immigrants.  

What’s the point of most of the Trump administrations actions? How do they benefit the rest of us? I could not feel very sorry for Jeff Sessions when Trump was running him down because Sessions has been so relentlessly racist, so devoid of human sentiment, playing to the worst instincts of Trump’s shrinking base. He’s a funny-looking little man with no power of communication or self-confidence who nonetheless managed to be elected to the Senate and now has glommed onto Trump, hanging on for dear life. Must the rest of the American people remain hostages of what Hillary Clinton rightly called the “deplorables”?

This is cute spoof of Trump immigration policies, featuring the statue of liberty, a French woman who doesn’t speak English spreading pro-immigration propaganda.
https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/white-house-accuses-french-woman-of-spreading-pro-immigration-propaganda?mbid=nl_080317%20Borowitz%20Newsletter%20(1)&CNDID=38182798&spMailingID=11619202&spUserID=MTMzMTg0NDQ3MTgyS0&spJobID=1220268245&spReportId=MTIyMDI2ODI0NQS2

Most Americans remain hopeful about the future, despite Trump’s assumption of the presidency. Many of us are looking forward to the day when he will be gone from office, the sooner, the better. A huge cheer will go up in the US and around the world when that happens. Until then, his faithful supporters may still be expecting his promises to be fulfilled.

As both an adoptive and a birth parent, and a life-long Democrat, I agree that the Democratic Party should have a “big tent” on the abortion issue. Although I participated in the January women’s march in Washington, DC, I am not a “right-to-choose” militant. Contraception, morning-after pills, frozen embryos—no arguments there, but certainly after the first trimester, there would have to be a very strong reason (in terms of mother’s or fetal health) to undertake an abortion, a position that the majority of Americans support. If the Democratic Party wants to win (or win back) Hispanic and Catholic voters, they have to become less self-righteous and rigid on the abortion issue.

Anna Adams, whom I have known since were both age 14 and living in Colombia, has just died. We, her friends, knew she was seriously ill, but we were planning to celebrate her 80th birthday in Providence, RI, where she lived, later this month. So sorry she didn’t make it as she had made elaborate plans which we, her friends, were trying hard to fulfill. I, at least, hoped the pending birthday party might give her the will to survive that long. She visited me in Honduras when I was in the Peace Corps there and twice she and I went with other friends to spend time in Provincetown at the far end of Cape Cod. Despite COPD that required her to use a respirator, Anna remained upbeat and hopeful and mentally sharp. She miraculously survived being run over by a vehicle belonging to her assisted living facility, spent two years in the hospital recovering including the amputation of a leg, finally won a settlement against the assisted living facility, and now has died of cancer. Unfortunately, the other side stalled in going to trial, probably hoping she would die first, but she outsmarted them on that score. Yet, their stalling meant she didn’t really have much time to benefit from her settlement. She was a valiant and loyal friend.  


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nigerians’ Departure, Honduran Visitors, Friend’s 70th Birthday, Book Translation, Etc.



I put the photo of me wearing my Honduras Peace Corps t-shirt next to an airplane seatmate wearing his Panama PC shirt on LinkedIn and it has had over 7,000 views there—never expected it to be an internet sensation. Here it is again. 






Photos above refer to a 600-page book I am translating from Spanish to English for a friend. The intact published Spanish version is on the floor, but I also have loose pages from the book. Each time I've translated both sides of a page, I throw it on the floor to make me feel like I'm progressing.
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Below: I had two summer visitors from Honduras, Gustavo, the judge from Choluteca in my Honduras Peace Corps book (Triumph & Hops: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras), and his wife.







Haruna, one of my GAO visitors, had to leave early, but Stephen (above) stayed until the end and got his certificate of completion. A GAO friend and his wife and I joined him for lunch at a local eatery the day before his departure. I miss both Stephen and Haruna, but am enjoying a sort respite from visitors.






Above, my friend Pam's 70th birthday--she gave me permission to post photos. Her husband roasted a whole pig for the occasion and her daughter, shown with her on the left, 2 photos up, came out from California for the occasion. (It's a milestone I've long since passed.)

Short, cogent article below about Trump’s war on the press. Berating the press is not only a favorite form of protection or denial for Trump, but is part of keeping up his image of a being combative tough guy.

Rumor has it that Trump wants to buy TIME magazine—then he can put a bona fide heroic photo of himself on the cover!

One has to wonder if cancellation of the longstanding plan to move FBI headquarters to a new location was retaliation for FBI investigation, current and future, into Trump’s affairs?

It’s so sad that the fluke of Trump’s election has ushered in a government of blatant cruelty, stinginess, and greed, a malignant government, whatever the issue or policy. What hurts me most is the cruelty of deportation orders—Iraqi Christians, a 20-year Mexican coffee farmer deported from Kona in Hawaii, and the parents of four American teen and preteen siblings living in San Diego, leaving them to fend for themselves. If it’s not broken, why break it? Why deliberately disrupt lives for no good reason? Common sense, fairness, nuance, are simply not applied by either Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump. They are impervious to appeals to empathy, an emotion with which they apparently lack, except when it comes to the Trump family, which is accorded all sorts of protections and perks.

As for Obamacare’s failure, Trump can take steps to make that happen. Already, all the uncertainty is riling the healthcare market.

Texas U.S. Representative Bill Flores, a Republican now in his fourth term in the state’s 17th District, told a local CBS affiliate that Trump’s children, as well as his son-in-law, should be bounced from the White House. A good idea!

Honduras is on "red alert" over the number of women being murdered, according to the country's rights activists. Members of 20 different women's groups have banded together to highlight the problem, saying at least 18 women were killed in the past two weeks. The organizations say out of 463 women murdered last year, only 15 cases were investigated. The country's overall murder rate is down, according to official statistics. The state figures, released this week, show the total murders fell by 22% in the first six months of this year. The government says it is making progress and is working to reduce violence across the country https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/4becb051-f7ad-394c-a7c0-af2e0cdfc24b/ss_honduras-on-%27red-alert%27-over.html

My friend and former housemate, a water specialist on contract with USAID, was off to the Congo where many unfortunate South Sudan refugees have fled and need clean water in the refugee camps. Of course, like all good things, including Peace Corps, Trump’s budget wants to cut USAID and foreign aid to give tax cuts to the upper brackets.


AI  issued an Urgent Action for our Turkey director: https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-free-director-of-ai-turkey-turkey-ua-166-17/

Our organization also issued two new UAs for Cuban prisoners:


However, we just got word that the three siblings below have been released


Panama offers Cuban migrants a ticket to Havana and $1,650 each. Most don’t want to return there.

I dreamt about my late son Andrew, who died in 2004. I was surprised to have him show up after so many years. He said he had been living and working in California and would be moving back to our area, which pleased me. My daughters still have pieces of his clothing,




Thursday, July 6, 2017

Nigerian visitors, Oregon Family Remembrance and Reunion, Honduras, Vehicle as Terror Weapon, Basic Income

Here I am in my home office with my Nigerian GAO visitor (at right, since departed) and two additional guests whom he invited to our house. Along with Stephen, another Nigerian, I was almost began feeling like the minority American in my own house! The Nigerians do speak English, but also chat together in other languages, as is common in Africa. Nigeria is a country I've never visited, but would like to see some day, having heard so much about it. Do we ever have enough time, money, and reasons to explore so many interesting parts of the world? I've lived in or visited most countries in Europe and the Americas, but been to only three in Africa: Kenya, South Sudan, and Morocco, in Asia, only to Japan and Thailand. But, since 2000, when I joined the Peace Corps in Honduras, that country has been my main destination, 13 times in the 13 years since Peace Corps as a medical brigade volunteer and interpreter.

Below, photos from late June 2017 "Joe family reunion" in Portland, Oregon, also a memorial held there for my late ex-husband's sister who passed away at age 84, just days before our scheduled get-together. Although I was divorced after spending 24 years as a member of the "Joe" clan (last name's spelling thanks to Papa Joe when he arrived from Korea), later, because of marriages, my own side of the family are practically the only ones still bearing the odd "Joe" last name. (I'm glad now to be accepted back into the fold.)



 Above various gatherings, not everybody together at all times in all places. Our gathering spanned several days.

Left and below, eating at pirate-themed  restaurant. (If I were better at arranging these photos, they wouldn't take up so much space.)

Family members came from the east coast (ourselves), Minnesota, California, and various parts of Oregon.

Above, my nephew Darrel, a loud snorer, right,  great-grandson De'Andre in pool at our Air B&B rental with my nephew Conrad. 



 Below, Darrell with daughter (a model and clothes designer) in the California Bay area. De'Andre in hot tub.






Below, making Korean mandu, something I once often made years ago with the family.



Above, center, new widower Bernard, age 85,  wife of the recently departed and mourned Elizabeth; at left is my granddaughter Natasha,



 Early fireworks

The beautiful gardens of our rented house put me in mind of one of my favorite childhood books, The Secret Garden. 






 


Below, Multnomah Falls--the others crossed the bridge partway up, but I stayed behind, being afraid of heights.
Osprey below is a common bird of prey in the area, seen here in the falls' museum.




Above, on flight back to DC, fortuitously and with completely random seating, I found myself next to another former Peace Corps volunteer, both of us wearing our PC t-shirts, his for Panama, mine for Honduras. Small world! 


We had such a wonderful reunion with my ex-husband’s family, people I was once close to but was cut off from for a time after 24 years of marriage to my late ex-husband, who remarried. They all accepted me as if I had never been gone. Now we were brought together again, as can be seen, but sadly, my ex's older sister, Elizabeth/Betty, age 84, died days before our scheduled get-together.

Since I don’t have or watch TV in my own home, it was revelation for me to see it airing fairly constantly at the AirB&B house that we were renting. There are lots of commercials on TV depicting an idealized version of the American family, a Mom, a Dad, a couple of kids playing outdoors while a dog romps with them. The news and ads seemed repetitious. I’m so grateful for more balanced and substantive public radio news with few ads and I only hope Trump Inc. won’t manage to gut that, along with other damage he is doing.

Apparently Comey was not the only government official that Trump leaned on to stop the Russia investigation. But others have apparently testified to that behind closed doors.

Team Trump plans to reduce Peace Corps spending by close to $12 million immediately. This is not good news and could portend even deeper cuts in the years ahead. More at : http://peacecorpsworldwide. org/taylor-dibbert-now-isnt- the-time-to-cut-peace-corps- funding-guatemala/


Sen. Bernie Sanders has gleefully pointed out Trump’s praise of the Australian single-payer health care system in a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after making unfavorable comments about our own system.

No need to say much about Trump’s continuing weird and concerning personal behavior, which speaks for itself and which may still inspire his base—the worse he acts, the better a shrinking number seem to like it—and is something which the spineless Republican Party mostly fails to acknowledge.  Maybe he likes being an outrageous showman to distract from his other problems: lack of broad popularity, the Russian investigation, his dearth of knowledge and plans, his apparent mental and emotional deficiencies. The guy seems impervious to embarrassment and unaware of normal expectations. (His family and staff must secretly be cringing.) He and Kim Jung-Un, two crazies, are a dangerous, possibly combustible, combination.

Of course, Kim’s ace-in-the-hole is nuclear capability. Thank goodness that the Soviets halted Cuba’s attempt to acquire the same, or we might be facing a similar threat much closer to home.

I was at a recent interpretation assignment for speech and behavioral therapy for a boy and his father. The boy is being regularly coached to pay more attention, wait his turn, and respond appropriately. Too bad Trump won’t be attending any such therapy to help him learn to behave in a less impulsive and more socially acceptable manner, but maybe it’s too late for him. My 9-year-old great-grandson would be as capable as Trump of declaring that North Korea has engaged in "very, very bad behavior” and that “something will have to be done about it," warning of “severe things” (such as what?). Maybe Trump wants to keep Kim guessing?

As part of the American majority who never voted for the Donald, I do feel resentful of the quirks of the electoral college and Republican gerrymandering which have allowed an uniformed and vindictive minority to hold our country hostage with this clown. In the other hand, he makes for a lively news cycle, ample fodder for conversation, and is certainly one for the history books. 

Glad to hear there has been a stay of deportation of Iraqi Christians.  Can’t Trump’s evangelical supporters get behind the effort to support them?
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/22/iraq-deportation-us-judge-halts-detroit-ice-raid

Environmental activist Bertha Caceres’ daughter and namesake, carrying on her work in Honduras, reportedly narrowly escaped a machete attack.


Vehicles being used as terror weapons has proven to be a frightening new development since vehicles are everywhere and readily available, and are also needed in everyday life. 

Finally, since greater automation allows more production with fewer workers, there will be no going back to the mass factory jobs of old (sorry, Trump) nor a romantic return to rugged frontier individualism and survival of the fittest, a vision at least given lip service by many Republican politicians. Nor should the financial benefits of automation accrue only to CEOs and shareholders, but can be more equitably distributed in a national “safety net,” if you will, including in support of education and the arts, to offer people more avenues of what we used to call “purposeful activity” when I worked at the occupational therapy association. A guaranteed minimum income, universal health care, and support for education at least at the community college level (Hillary Clinton’s plan) would benefit the economy by promoting jobs—both in the health and education sectors and by providing buying power to benefit recipients. I am not advocating Soviet (or Cuban) style top-down control of the entire economy or full-blown socialism, whatever that means, but something along the lines of the system of the Nordic countries have adopted, with regular, fair elections, a competitive economy, substantial taxes, and a basic minimum social safety net. Those countries have proved that such a system can work in the real world. Henry Ford deliberately paid his workers enough to buy the cars they made—what goes around, comes around—we need to keep the economy and life moving and even Donald Trump cannot take it with him.

Here’s a start in the US--from Business Insider: Hawaii just became the first US state to pass a bill supporting basic income — here's the man behind it--State Representative Chris Lee.