KUDOS TO CORA

(FILE UNDER MEN OF COURAGE & MORAL CHARACTER)
clapping

Alex Cora, manager of the 2018 baseball World Champions Boston Red Sox, has confirmed that he will not attend a White House reception with his team this Thursday stating his native Puerto Rico has not sufficiently recovered from Hurricane Maria to celebrate.

“We still have a long ways to go,” Cora said in regards to the state of Puerto Rico. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and just be consistent with everything.”Alex Corasmiley 3

bullying

 

“BULLYING – abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful.”

In junior high school I weighed about 145 pounds, I was gangly and scrawny, and my oversized ears and nose made me an easy target for the big boys waiting in the gym where I had to go after lunch on my way to my next class.  Punching, poking, slapping, and pushing became such a stressful occurrence that I ended the school day with an extreme gastrointestinal disorder.  But the physical abuse was more tolerable than the name-calling and ridicule of my physical appearance.  I recovered from the punching and poking much sooner than the hurtful words.

The teachers were aware of the ongoing abuse.  Their advice was to fight back.  Not only was that a stupid idea, the big boys collectively weighed about 800 pounds, but it was an unacceptable option in the tradition of my faith.  The end result was that a young junior high school student blamed himself for the abuse and felt he actually merited the bullying because he was not only ugly but a coward as well.

We hurt each other with actions and words most often unaware of our indiscretion.  Mindlessness is not a virtue but it is forgivable.  Bullying is not mindless.  It is intentional, demeaning, diminishing, and tragic.  Today’s media headlines tell of young girls who are bullied at school and on social media and then choose suicide as the only option.  As young as twelve years old, they end their lives over an act of social injustice which tells them they are unworthy of living..

Yes, it is injustice.  Bullying is an action and an attitude.  It is an outrageous verbal and physical assault on those who are vulnerable, those who are unable to fend for themselves.  It is cowardice at its ugliest.  As a nation we are witnessing bullying in our highest government offices, in the powers seated in Washington, D.C., in the Oval Office of the White House.  We witness bullying in corporate offices, in the entertainment industry, in the factory, and in schools.  It is fed by bias, racism, discrimination, sexism, xenophobia, and unfettered ego.

We are building a world where bullying is not tolerated.  In that world the pain inflicted by words and actions on weaker victims will no longer exist.  The tears and sorrow suffered in grieving for loved victims will no longer exist.  The strong and powerful will be made to serve and the meek will be exalted.  That world will manifest someday, but until then it is our responsibility as members of a righteous humanity to oppose bullying at all levels of society and courageously expose it for the cowardice which it is.

REVELATION 21:4

rainbow-solidarity

on bended knee

cropped-patriots1.png

Many years ago I served my country during the height of the Vietnam War.  Just a hayseed off the farm, I signed up with the Navy to be a hospital corpsman not realizing my government was desperately needing men of valor and courage to go into the jungles with the Marines.  I merely wanted to serve in a role of service to others, not in any combat situations.  It was my upbringing as a pacifist that led me to this decision.

After boot camp, hospital corps school, neuropsychiatric school, and a year on the wards of Philadelphia Naval Hospital, I was due for my deployment orders.  On the psych units where I worked, I ministered to men shattered emotionally by the horrors of what they had seen and done in the rice paddies and jungles.  Nearby on the orthopedic wards I interacted daily with the men who gave an arm, a leg, sometimes all their limbs to a war which was becoming increasingly unpopular.

At the height of the protests in the streets of Philadelphia against the war, we were restricted to the base for our own protection.  It was then that I questioned our government, I wanted to know why young men and women were rallying in the streets.  Certainly, our approved government propaganda would not provide any truth so several of us began listening to “the underground radio”, a local radio station which aired anti-war music and anti-government dialog.  Our base command threatened disciplinary action if we were caught listening to this “commie-inspired”  nonsense in the barracks.

That was 50 years ago when I was a naively trusting 20 year-old.  In retrospect, I believe that I would have taken a more active role in the protest if I were not also battling my personal demons which Providentially shortened my military experience.  Today, I know on which side of the protest lines I would have stood.  My government was wrong, it did not deserve my loyalty or my life.  But, what does a hayseed fresh off the farm know?

In the news headlines we see professional sports figures taking a knee to express their discontent with a government that apparently has learned nothing from the horrors of the Vietnam conflict, the civil rights movements, the gay rights protests of the 1960s through the 1980s.  Many athletes are putting careers in jeopardy to show solidarity with African-American players who see an increase of racial injustice and oppression within America.  They refuse to honor an institution or a flag which denies them equality.

The current Administration is labeling them ‘unpatriotic’ for ignoring a symbol, a piece of cloth, or a song while attempting to coerce the NFL ownership to cave to the distorted concept that patriotism is defined by an unthinking adherence to tradition.  That tradition got over 58,000 American men killed in Vietnam.  Most of them were too young to understand the lies behind their government’s involvement in a conflict across the Pacific.  They could not fathom the corporate greed of the American military/industrial complex nor the powers that condoned a winless strategy.  They are undoubtedly true patriots whose sacrifice we should honor and revere, but we must learn lessons from their experience and never stop questioning our government’s agenda.

The one salient lesson I learned back then in Philadelphia is “you cannot trust your government.”  It was confirmed again during the Iraqi conflicts. Today that lesson is apropos when we consider the deep divisions brought about by opposing ideologies intensified by a contentious election amongst the people of America.  We don’t yet know what freedom-subverting designs are being implemented behind the façade of chaos and confusion.

The players who take a knee are doing so under the good graces of team ownership.  Like any job which any of us work, ultimately it is up to the owners what behavior is allowed on company time.  But this has become a much greater issue since the involvement tweeted by the POTUS.  He has negatively politicized the rights of each of us to express our displeasure with a government which we believe does not uphold the tenets of its founding documents.  He has denigrated the patriotism of the protesting players and in doing so he has categorized all of us who question the actions of government as being ‘unpatriotic’.  Choosing the playing field to voice discontent is debatable, but the right to do so is guaranteed by our founding fathers and is as heroic an act as participating in any military conflict.

Like the protestors on the streets of Philadelphia and Chicago during the Vietnam War, this voice of dissent must be heard.  Perhaps if our political talking heads had actually served their country in a military conflict as Senator McCain did, they would understand that saluting, placing hand over heart, removing hat, standing at attention does not a patriot make.  Patriotism goes much deeper than a superficial act of respect.

During Vietnam many died on the battlefields, many suffered, many were persecuted at home for expressing their love of a country which supposedly honors the free exercise of God-given conscience.  We were all brothers in spite of the government’s attempts to divide us.  Let’s remember that lesson as we face again a government which is lying to us and intends to split us to the core.  Don’t allow the lessons learned by blood and tears to be wasted on a corrupt, self-serving Administration.

angry emoji

 

WMDs

In any alternative dialog the Las Vegas tragedy could have been headlined as “Madman employs weapons of mass destruction to murder 59 concert-goers.”

Bush used the threat of WMDs to involve us in a war in 2003 which saw nearly a half million Iraqi citizens murdered in addition to thousands of American military personnel.  Our overwhelming use of firepower did not bring resolution to the people of Iraq, our persecution and consequent prosecution of Hussein did not stop the advance of international terrorism, and our military presence in principalities controlled by centuries-old tribal disputes has not deterred madmen from doing the things which madmen are known to do.  They murder.

The American breed of madmen is encouraged by the epidemic of violence which has blackened the souls of thousands of grieving countrymen.  The American breed of madmen is assisted in his/her diabolical schemes of murderous rampage by undeterred access to weaponry designed to be used only by soldiers fighting in combat situations.  And the American breed of madmen is supported by a senseless interpretation of rights under the 2nd amendment.  This underlying creed has facilitated the unfettered growth of the NRA (National Rifle Association) into an organization which became “an avatar of white anxiety” that viewed President Obama as someone who “wanted to deprive gun-toting Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms.”NRA

“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump thundered before cheering throngs at the NRA’s annual meeting in April. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

Under Mr. Obama’s Presidency, annual gun production skyrocketed 239 percent and the NRA membership hit a record five million.  It poured over $30 million into Trump’s campaign and millions more to stack Congress with gun-friendly lawmakers.  All but one of the NRA backed candidates won.  NRA millions

We Americans live in a war zone.  The terrorists we truly need to fear do not face the east five times daily to pray, they are not sequestered under the leadership of a man named Kim in North Korea.  The terrorist organization in our midst is a well-funded , politically involved, 5 million-strong, violence-promoting corps of quasi-militants who gather under the auspices of the NRA.  We need to wake up. This is not the NRA which decades ago protected the rights of sportsmen to own shotguns and rifles for hunting.  This organization promotes the accumulation of WMDs under the guise of 2nd amendment rights.  It is government approved terrorism.

angry emoji

 

 

 

let them eat cake

Larry and Gabby have argued over which of them should write the post covering this recent tweet from Trump while golfing in New Jersey.

“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.  They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

Well, howdy, howdy y’all.  Seems like I won the argument.  Larry just ain’t got the necessary range of adjectives to cover this tweet from the twat-in-chief.  He agreed that there comes a time in a man’s life when nice talk, sweetness, love, and compassion don’t stand up to the job that needs to be done.  Larry said, “Go for it, Gabby.  But remember I got the editing pen.”

Let me see here, buckaroos, where can I begin?  Naw, that word will get censored fer sure and my next thought is just too trashy even for a good ole boy like me, and I sure as hell don’t want them women folks out there to blush over any kind of reference to Trump’s genitalia….although a lot could be said about not much of anything.  Ever tell y’all the story ’bout the trucker with a master-blaster CB?  His  radio was so powerful it would shake folks outta bed living in the next state.  Turns out his bigggggg  radiooooo just compensated for a tiny doohickey.  Well, Gabby can’t confirm it but that’s the story and I’m sticking to it.  Whaaaat? The driver had a small 2 way transmitter for talking to his co-driver at the loading dock, a DOOHICKY.  “Hey Jim, you got the doohickey on ya?”  It’s kinda like a thingamajig.  Gawwwwwwd, you folks got some dirty minds!

But, I digress.  What brought driving truck to mind was them drivers had a need to boost their own weak egos by belittling other drivers.  They blamed everyone else on the highway for their own stupidity.  Never took responsibility for their own shortcomings.  Hell, according to them, they had no shortcomings.  They lived in that small-minded,  closeted world that screamed me, me, me, look at me.  I am somebody. Dammit, I am better than you and you need to agree with me.

Momma, bless her heart, called folks like them piss pots.  Y’all know about poor folks who’s so poor that they don’t have  a “pot to piss in”.  Well, Momma called them hi-falooting, showoffs that lived on the other side of town “pisspots”.  “Why,” you might ask?  I don’t know, she just didn’t like ’em.  Has nothing to do with my story.  But, here’s a shout-out to Momma, bless her soul.  Went home to be with the Lord in 1992.  Now, there was one sweet hearted woman.  Went blind when she was just shy of 30 years old, husband left her with a young’un, me, to care for.  And, with Jesus hisself as my witness, I swear I never went hungry or without clothes or without love growing up.  Didn’t have much, but, I knew I had a helluva lot more than them pisspots on the other side of town.

Me and Trump is the same age give or take a few months.  I hear his mom and dad sent him off to military school when he was a young’un.   Maybe that’s part of the reason he don’t know how to get out of hisself and show feelings for other folks.  Then daddy gave him a couple million bucks to play with out of college, so he really didn’t have much chance to grow up like the rest of us.  Kinda stayed in that military school mindset, college boy shenanigans, country club privilege.

Larry was a lil bit  concerned that I would unload with a barrage of nasty insults on Trump.  Hell, I’d like to even now as I write.  But, we all know he’s a poor excuse for a human being and anything I could add is just beating a dead horse.  But, it scares me what his message is to our young’uns.  What do they see when he goes into his rants on Twitter?  What kind of role model is he for our kids?

When we see on the screens all across America the Mayor of San Juan standing waist-deep in shit water pleading for help and Trump’s tweet in reply from the luxury of his golf club in New Jersey is that she shows poor leadership qualities and that the people of Puerto Rico ought to show a little more community spirit….well Gabby’s heart cries for justice on Trump, immediate and swift.  And I ain’t asking that of any human powers.  NosirreeBob, Gabby’s taking that directly to God Almighty.

Folks, contrary to popular opinion, I ain’t just another pretty face in the crowd. I’ve been educated in the finest of schools, the school of hard knocks.  I like quotes.

“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”

Let them eat cake.  Supposedly a great French princess said that when she was told that the poor people had no butter and eggs for brioche and bread was less expensive.  Just like our POTUS today, the great princess had no concern or regard for the peasants.  Trump puts on a great show, he surrounds himself with the best clowns, and he manages to divide the people with utter chaos, but, we know he’s just a pisspot……..hey, speaking of body fluids, did y’all hear the one about the Russian prostitutes?

 

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAW

 

smiley 3

 

 

 

 

NEWS FROM GABBYGRAYWHISKERS: Puerto Rico

irma

Here’s a shout out to Dr.Rex :

Gabby’s been heavy hearted since Maria destroyed our friend in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico.  Dr. Rex on her blog has tirelessly campaigned for the United States government to step up relief efforts and emergency supplies.  We get it on with the prayers and whatever support we can muster.  Sometimes, it just seems that it ain’t enough.

Dang it all, nobody deserves the supercilious remarks out of the head cheez whiz when he said Puerto Rico was in bad shape before the hurricane and has a huge amount of debt to reconcile.  C’mon, butthead-in-chief, where’s your compassion?  Aw hell, I forgot, you have none.  Never grew up with the rest of us who learned to face life without a silver spoon stuck in our mouth or other orifice.

Well, my fellow buckaroos, Gabby’s got a solution to the money crisis Trump referred to.  BANKRUPTCY!  Hell yes, what’s good for the goose is just as good for the gander.  Actually we’re talking turkey here but I don’t want to split hairs.  Four Trump bankruptcies shafted us between 1991 and 2009.  Shoot, bankruptcy is as American to them high financiers as apple pie is to us.  If deadbeat billionaires can do it, why not Puerto Rico?

And then buckareets, how about them taxes?   Why should Puerto Rico pay its taxes to a federal government that don’t support it?  And again, let’s just look to the tax-evader-in-chief.  Gobble, gobble!

Gabby might slaughter English usage and he might use inappropriate language, but he ain’t stupid.  NosirreeBob.

 

EEEEEEEEEEHAW

 

 

 

puerto rico

 

in crisis mode: PUERTO RICO

Trump Tweets Puerto Rico Was ‘Broken’ Before Hurricane Maria

After criticism that he had not tweeted about hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump on Monday night appeared to blame the island for its suffering.

puerto rico

 

“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” Trump tweeted. “It’s [sic] old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

Puerto Rico

Must I read between the lines to see the POTUS offering condolences, empathy for the suffering citizens of Puerto Rico, support for the rebuilding of the American territory?  Or perhaps, he has taken a cue from his evangelical support base……God takes revenge on those who offend….geez, what the hell did Carlos and Roberto do?

divide and conquer

A recent NPR report gives account of Joel Clement, a scientist who was director of the Interior Department’s Office of Policy Analysis. In this position under the Obama Administration, Mr. Clement in a 2013 report warned,  “that the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth and that the implications of the change would include rapid coastal erosion threatening villages and facilities, loss of wildlife habitat, ecosystem instability… and unpredictable impacts on subsistence activities and critical social needs.”

Having now been reassigned by Trump appointee Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to a position in an accounting office, Clement believes this demotion is retaliation for  “speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities.” Additionally he says, “….he’s turning whistleblower on an administration that “chooses silence over science.”

The current administration is quietly filling influential government jobs with supporters of Trump policies.  It is firing or demoting qualified individuals with years of government service who disagree and speak out about the direction Trump has taken.  This is the quiet revolution occurring behind the scenes without need for public/Congressional approval.  Wake up America!  Your country has been stolen by powers seen and unseen.  From the endeavors of Russia, corporate oligarchs, white supremacists, and Christian theocrats, the America a majority of us have cherished is a relic of the past.

Your POTUS is a master of deceit, the greatest showman on Earth, creating an atmosphere of outward chaos and division to conceal the inner workings of a despotic attempt to change the face of America.  But, he is a mere puppet of the greater powers which we need to resist.  Do not depend on your Congressmen or any other elected officials to counter this dismantling for they also have been bought by the same corporate greed which envisions an American oligarchy.  Keith Olbermann exhorts us to “resist”.  We can do so in the marketplace by reducing consumption and acquainting ourselves with the product manufacturers.  We can do so in government by knowing our candidates and choosing the ‘lesser of numerous evils’.  Most of all we must deny Trump’s attempt to divide and conquer.

 

 

NEWS FROM GABBYGRAYWHISKERS: football

RAH RAH RAH, SISH BOOM BAH, KICK THEIR BUTTS, MAKE ‘EM SQUEAL, GIVE ‘EM HELL, YEAAAAAA TEAM!!!!!!

 

smiley 3Now, tell me folks, don’t y’all think Gabby would have been a great cheerleader?  I mean, the raw talent just oozes out of every rah, rah, don’t it?  I was doing just fine in tryouts until I ended a cheer with “KISS MY ASS”.   They simply had no sense of humor, whaddyathink?

Well, now we know the good Lord had bigger things in mind when he led me down the cheerleading path.  I’m today a cheerleader for the Big Guy in the sky.  YessirreeBob.  Y’all call him/her whatever you want and cross your theological T and dot your religious I.  In my heart I know that the head honcho coach is the greatest power there is.  Ain’t no bigger game on earth than the one that teaches unity, sportsmanship, hard work, and brotherly love.  Ain’t no god contrived by man that scores more points on the playing field called life.  It’s an inside thing folks.  We grab the spirit that’s been put inside us and we run with it.  We make a difference in the lives of other people.  We act like ladies and gentlemen even when the opposing team is kicking our butts.  NosirreeBob, we never give up the ball to intolerance, bigotry, hatred, and racism.

Yeah, I agree that’s enough analogy for one post.  Hell, what do y’all expect for free?  A five-page sermonette?  But, this past weekend with the hoopla over professional football players standing or kneeling for the national anthem is just another indication that your POTUS is deranged.  He’s got Russia hacking our elections, Iran testing missiles, healthcare failure looming, young professionals facing deportation, a war in Syria, a war in Afghanistan, an opioid war, and Kim in North Korea threatening to blow us all to smithereens…..and your POTUS is attacking the NFL for being disrespectful.  C’mon man, even Gabby with his 1960s style ‘give-a-shit’ attitude and the morals of an alley cat has more sense than that.  Where’s Trump’s priorities?

Say what you like about my cheerleading abilities, but y’all know I’m right as a greased pig in the pit with this little exhortation (Larry said that was an appropriate word to use). What my Grandpappy always told me was to be aware of the smoke screens that politicians throw out.  They’s just covering the really important bullshit going on behind the scenes.  Get out your knee-highs, we’re gonna need ’em.

 

EEEEEEEEEHAW               smiley-face-2

prison for profit

“Our current criminal “justice” system has more to do with making a profit (through unpaid labor and filling quotas) and oppression of the marginalized than restoring individuals to wholeness and health. Though the United States holds only 5% of the world’s population, it houses 21% of the world’s prisoners. African-Americans and Hispanics are imprisoned at much higher rates, in spite of similar rates of drug use and crime as whites. [1] [1] African Americans and Hispanics comprise 32% of the US population, but comprise 56% of all incarcerated people (2015). See NAACP’s “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet” for more information” naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet.

Fr. Richard Rohr in his daily commentary on September 22nd, social wounds , speaks to the horrific cost to American society attributable to our system of law enforcement and punishment.  Not only are vast amounts of financial assets spent to incarcerate, an even great tragic loss is the waste of America’s greatest asset, its young people.

Based in Albuquerque, NM, the Franciscan admonishes a justice system which “has more to do with making a profit and oppression of the marginalized than restoring individuals to wholeness and health.”  He continues with statistics that support the beliefs of black skinned and brown skinned people that they are unfairly targeted and more harshly punished than white peers.

In my lifetime I have seen prisons transition from government-funded facilities to private for-profit entities which stand to reap a greater profit with an increased prison population.  The charge has been levied for several years that this is yet another device of a white controlled society to practice the brand of discrimination and racism which has existed since the abolishment of slavery.

Outside of the racial injustice issue, another great moral question of this privatizing of prisons is the incentive for unscrupulous judges to extract financial gain from the cases upon which they rule.  In my home state of Pennsylvania, such a travesty was exposed.

A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state’s juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as kids for cash .”

The judge is spending a lot of time in prison; however, the toll to young people cannot be reversed even as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008.

Jeff Pollins’ stepson was convicted by Ciavarella.

“These kids are still affected by it. It’s like post traumatic stress disorder,” Pollins told the Times Leader. “Our life is ruined. It’s never going to be the same… I’d like to see that happen to him,” he said.

This overt display of greed targeting the least capable of our society able to defend themselves, i.e., youth and  minorities, is not limited to a judge in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  It is a rampaging outgrowth of a society which not only condones violence against each other, but increasingly promotes violence in professional sports venues, in entertainment, and in cinema.

The POTUS encourages violence at his ego rallies, in his exhortations to the police to not be “so gentle”, in his stance on DACA, in his descriptions of female conquests, and in his approach to extremely delicate interactions with North Korea.  Unfortunately, and sadly, the voice of violence is what his support base is demanding and expecting.

“[This is] the urgency of the great choice we face as a species: will we choose to continue to affirm a culture of systemic violence—or will we build a culture of active, creative, and liberating nonviolence so that we can not only survive but thrive?”  John Dear, The Nonviolent Life (Pace e Bene Press: 2013), x. Note that Pace e Bene and John Dear are leading a Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions, September 16-24. Learn more at paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/.

As always, we do have a choice.  We can commit to live non-violently or we can become part of the “fire and fury” described by Trump in his tweet several weeks ago.

namaste rainbow