open letter to president-elected trump

Dear President-Elected Trump

We respectfully request, that you immediately resign from the office of President of the United States.

While the business acumen you bring to Washington, DC is certainly of value, it is but one component of the skill set needed to be an effective leader of this country.

The United States of America is not a business being run from the boardroom at the White House.

The United States of America is a “melting pot” of many peoples, cultures, beliefs, and needs. And the people who have found their way here, need consistency, stability, and an environment that provides for them to create and move forward in lives they would not, and could not find anywhere else in the world.

The office you were elected to, is about insuring those rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The office is not about instability, pettiness and outright meanness; and yes, these are the attributes many of your constituents see daily in your uncontrolled reactions, your focused concern for a small group of citizens, and your “very” vitriolic comments regarding those who disagree with you.

Unfortunately, those that elected you were so focused on your business related rhetoric, or their dislike of the other candidate, that they failed to consider the deficiencies found in your character, and your inability to play well with others.

This request is respectfully submitted, thank you.

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On the Border

How Terump’s actions caused the border crossing violence.

Oh yes, “blame” for the rock throwing, gas grenade retaliation at our border, stops squarely at the desk of 45.

His fear-mongering rhetoric, and bully tactics to prove his effectiveness, were the direct cause of migrants behaving outside the norm. People fleeing from tyranny in their own home countries, dreaming of coming to the land where basic rights are respected, and the rule of law holds court rather the fears of those in power, are met at their destination with armed troops, sent to prevent “illegal” entry; with force when necessary.

The migrant was not presented with an opportunity to pursue the “legal” entry process. The migrant caravan was highlighted for the length of its journey by 45, with his control of the news cycle. They were called bandits, and terrorist, and worse. They were not deaf to the tirades from the White House.

But still they came. Not armed and dangerous, but with bundles, the clothes on their backs, their wives, sons, daughters, and hopes.

They arrived tired, and afraid. They arrived to see a fresh threat to their dreams. Not just bureaucratic procedure. They found themselves face-to-face with the very situation they fled. The threat of violence just for being there.

One has to ask, “How much do they need to endure?”

How much of what happened these past several days is exactly what Terump wanted to see?

This example, is the Terump method writ large. He wants changes. He even wants some changes that are possible. He does not want to follow the “legal” procedures set in place to make those changes. He is adept at creating “theatre” as justification for his actions.

How little staging does it take to escalate a conflict, where none need exist?

We would be well advised to remember that theatre is not real; it represents what someone thinks was, and what someone thinks might be. It can change our perception of the past, and influence our expectations for the future.

We still get to decide what is right.

I might throw a rock too.

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numb

I should not be here
The other’s pain
Overwhelms my grief
Shredding it as
Inconsequential
Refusing to accept
Solace or
Apology
With angry accusation
Judgement
I am numb
My existence
Made large
And destroyed
In the same instant
I am no hero
I am only here

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Is the Writing on the Wall?

7000 Refugees from Central America are moving north, through Mexico, for the border of our United States of America.

The group has already been branded by POTUS and the far right, as “Invaders.”  It’s members enumerated as “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners.”

The timing and the rhetoric may be coincidental, but in this time of “fake” news, coincidence is not likely.

Our Constitution reads, that in “Cases of Rebellion or Invasion,” the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended; as it was during the Civil War by President Lincoln.  As we have experienced in the wake of 9/11, the President and Congress … any President, and the political polarity represented by Congress, are more than willing to bend our Constitutionally defined Civil Liberties, in the name of safety and security.  And unlike the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, there does not seem to be any groundswell of desire to restore those rights.

Now the Supreme Court is “balanced” in favor of the current Administration, and the hoards are at the door.  The National Guard is headed for the border in Texas, or will be soon, by all reports.

It is only a matter of a 140 character Tweet from the throne of ‘the real’ POTUS, to declare a National Emergency, Marshal Law, suspension of enumerated Civil Liberties, including the November elections.

Are You Ready, to Trumble!?!

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50 years ago… and now

My lovely wife, showed me a video the other day.  It was of me, back in June, some hours after my CABGx5 surgery.  I was still all hooked up with wires and tubes, and intubated; I could not talk.  Those obviously groggy, I was also alert enough to acknowledge her, and nod in response to simple questions.  The disturbing thing about these video, is that I have no recollection of this moment in time.  I did not remember it when I woke and was relieved of some of the plumbing, the next day; nor do I remember it now.

There have been other surgeries, and this has probably happened before, but remains unspoken, undocumented, and unrevealed.

I do know of another block of missing time in my life.  A period from the fall of 1969, which I remain confounded about, to this day; almost 50 years later.

One afternoon, crossing the courtyard at Rockdale High School, I was hailed and approached by one of our RHS Featured Twirlers … Grace (not her real name).  I cannot express to you how shocked I was to find myself the object of her attention; the last time that happened was an embarrassing incident in Junior High where she informed the whole school, how she felt about me (it was not a good feeling).

Anyway, I digress … Grace handed me some ‘money’ and said it was owed to me by one of our energetic RHS Cheerleaders … Beth (not her real name either).  I was given no further explanation, and as soon as the monetary transfer was made, Grace took off; I stood there with my mouth open, wondering what Beth owed me money for.  And where was Beth anyway?

Beth was in the hospital; appendicitis, as I recall.  And that was the easy part.  Not normally found in the rarified company that was RHS female Royalty (okay, RHS females period), it was a few weeks before a common factor entered, and asked me if Beth had compensated me for the LP she borrowed from me, that subsequently melted, first in the backseat of her car, and then in an oven where she tried to gently heat it up to recover its intended shape.

Apparently ‘extra crispy’ crust was the desired result because the vinyl Chicago Transit Authority LP was placed on the rack without a pizza pan … imagine every cartoon depiction of this scenario.

In a surprise sidebar to this story, Beth and I developed a pseudo-friendship, we actually spoke to each other, and hung out at lunch.  Through this conduit, I was able to find out that she had borrowed the LP from me at an after-the-game “dance” at the band hall; a Friday night activity where RHS students listened (and sometimes danced) to music provided by their peers on the band hall stereo (which was pretty good for the late 60’s: TEAC components).

I did not recall then, nor do I remember now, ever having gone to one of these dances.  The evidence however, says I shared some of my eclectic musical taste with my peers, including The Chicago Transit Authority.  I do now actually have a picture in my mind of putting a record on a turntable, in the band hall, but I am unsure whether it is a real memory, or an induced one.

Along with being pretty strange compared to my classmates, back in the day, I was quite naive about the infiltration of the 60’s drug culture into good old RHS.  I have been disabused of this in the last decade or so, by my classmates, talking about our classmates, and who was doing what, etc.  Is it possible that I was exposed to some ‘illegal’ substance on an innocent evening in the RHS band hall, rendering me blank to that period time?

I sorta would like to know.

Maybe Beth and Grace (not their real names) will be at our 50th class reunion, and I’ll ask them.

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things my father did not teach me

Six years and a 98 days before the birth of me, September 21st, my friend was born. Something on the order of 22 years later, we were introduced; I was, 16?

My beautiful picture

The shop owner was covered-up with kids like me, asking him to repair my slot car, which I bought from him and promptly broke. This was a necessary service, but at some point I exceeded his patience with “broke.”  He said, “See that long-haired hippy guy in the back? Go ask him for help?” So I did. He squinted up from working on his own car, the smoke drifting up from his soldering iron, and a cigarette. Without hesitation (as I recall), he stopped what he was doing, examined my version of broke, and asked, “Do you know how to solder?”  I allowed as how I did not, and he offered to show me how.

In short order, I could solder reasonably well, and he acquired a ride home on Friday nights, from Austin Model Car Raceways. Then with his encouragement, I began building my own chassis (they were terrible). And I became the fourth wheel connected to the efforts of Honeycutt – Porfirio.  We covered a lot of miles throughout Texas, racing together through 1972.

During this time, he also inadvertently taught me how not to fold my blue jeans like my mother.

Instead of hanging them as if they were creased slacks, he shook them out, front forward, fold left and right waist together, pull the fabric out at the rear, and fold on the leg length; stack or hang. I do it this way, to this day.

He toned down my temper for losing. With just a few words, he convinced me that I was responsible for my own bad luck (actions? destiny?).  Had I not been driving so poorly, I would have not been in that section of the track, and my car would not have been “broke” by an impact with some else’s car.

It’s your fault. Take responsibility for your actions.

As important as these lessons were, he was not done. I was in college, and had aspirations of becoming a radio announcer, or maybe, a writer. I was busy with my “studies” and writing a monthly column for a slot racing magazine. Both efforts were not going especially well; I was flunking out of college (“Come on, all of you big strong men, Uncle Sam needs your help again.”), and I was turning in hand written copy without content. I really had nothing to say, other than, “I really love slot car racing.” Even I knew I was making it up, and this was not the way to achieve any portion of my 15 minutes of fame.

acu (1)

His criticism was quotable, and probably not acceptable from anyone else: “Don’t just write there; say something.”

I’m still working on that one, Jim.  Happy Birthday!

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retirement … the end of effort

Recent events, including the retirement of a high school classmate, and my own cardiac event, have conspired to trigger consideration of my own ‘end of effort’

The fact that I have reached an age where “retirement” is a consideration, will surprise no one more than me.  I never imagined I would live to be 30.  I don’t recall going ‘over the hill’ at 40. Fifty blew by with barely a blink, and I’m not sure how I slipped past 60 to my current age, pushing 70.

I like to work (the 14-year-old inside me, just said, “What you talking’ bout Rufus?”). I’ve had retirement funds, pensions, 401k, etc, but all have been decimated by time …and tide (four marriages and three divorces have taken their toll). Retirement is not an activity I have ever put much thought into. I actually scoffed at the thought, when Lena asked me about it. But after a little time, I was also forced to consider it, at least on a part-time basis.

Many of my high school classmates are retired, some for as much as decade. I see it as an inevitability, as I survive into my seventies.  Continuing to work is less of a problem than it was 20 years ago, both in terms of the day-to-day physical performance requirements in my chosen profession, and in the attitudes of employers who are embracing the benefits of an aging workforce (and the aged in their own workforce).  While relieving and enlightening, this does not address my own health concerns, nor the level of increasing fatigue I face each morning, in preparation for the day ahead (incremental, but more and more noticeable).

To continue working is a question of health and interest; to retire seems to be a question of health and finance.

IF I’ve invested right at $100k in the Social Security retirement plan, and my employers have matched that amount, the payback on this enforced investment, a payback which I am “entitled” to, amounts to about 25% of my current earning power.  That and additional investments I have accrued in the last decade, bring coverage of my current income to just over 40%.  Thirty percent (30%) of what I currently earn, goes into taxes; another 20% into various insurance plans, including health insurance.

If I did not have to pay income taxes on my retirement income, and if we had a system of universal “paid” healthcare for those of “retirement age,” I could retire with little impact on my living condition (which is the goal we all would like to achieve). However, we are required to pay taxes on our “retirement” income; although it is normally reduced, because its amount is also reduced.  Medicare (our country’s retirement health plan), while inexpensive by comparison to commercial health plans, does not provide the level of coverage normally needed by the aged, and must be supplemented.  It is not “paid” in either case (although the worker also makes worklife contributions towards its support, and is “entitled” to coverage).

Please note that “entitlement” (in its correct usage), is based on “investment.”  If you do not contribute to the plan, you are not “entitled” to its benefits.

And, other than administration (for which we pay taxes as compensation), our government does not “contribute” to our “entitlements.”  Fund Raiding, cutbacks, and elimination, are “theft.”

Will I retire?  For perhaps the first time in my working life, I perhaps hope to.  I also hope to delay that day a couple of more years, and be able to do it as a choice, rather than a necessity.

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Good vs. Not-So-Good

While working my way through the Internet Expanse a few days ago, I came across two articles.

These articles were addressing two issues in the female debate about the man. Somewhat diametrically opposed, I found the premise of judgment for each interesting, and would present them to you here.

  • As an aside, I will add that I was of course looking for myself in both of these lists.

‘How to Determine if a Man is Relationship Poison,’ and ‘How to Determine if a Man is Relationship Perfect.’

The “poison” article presented a 10-point list.  The “perfect” article presented a 14-point list.  It appears that being ‘perfect’ is more challenging than being ‘poison’ but, the articles widen the gap considerably.

The ‘perfect’ list is very specific; such as, “HE must enjoy holding your right hand, and a blue umbrella as you walk together, barefoot on a white sand beach, in a slow tropical drizzle.”  No mention was made of the shoes, but he is probably carrying them too.

To be considered “perfect,” your guy has to fulfill all 14 of the points listed.

The ‘poison’ list is general in nature; such as, “If HE holds his mouth in a grimace when you remind him about something, he is a control enthusiast, and is likely repressing abusive tendencies.”  The only acceptable behavior to stay off this list, appears to be complete acquiescence, and absolute control of all emotions without the loss of the ability to “talk about your feelings.”

To be considered “poison,” your guy only has to meet one of the 10 issues discussed.

This hardly seems fair, does it?

  • And, as an aside, I don’t appear to be nearly as ‘nice’ as I thought I was.
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Don’t Stop Writing

‘Don’t stop writing.’

I have “heard” this several times in the past several weeks, in new comments to a post I made over a year ago. But of course it is timely because I have not ‘published’ anything (to Facebook) since mid-June from somewhere on Route 66; or perhaps Midland.

I’ve been trying to record the time period in such a way that it can be enjoyed by everyone as a record of life changing events which many of us have and will face; by no means unique to me.

On June 14th, the day after I returned to Roseville from my Midland and back adventure, mid-afternoon, I experienced a cardiac event and was transported rapidly to the hospital. I was stabilized, observed, and admitted for stent insertion surgery on June 16th.

I owe this rapid response, diagnosis, and minimization of muscle damage, to my beautiful wife (resident MD/RN) Lena (Thank you sweetheart, from my heart).

The stent procedure was unsuccessful. The arteries were far less usable than hoped. I was then transferred to the Cardiovascular Surgery unit in Sacramento, where, on June 18th, I underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting x 5 (CABGx5).

I have known this procedure was in my future for more than 20 years. After being diagnosed with diabetes in 1997, the arteriosclerosis watch was on. A heart calcium count at the time was 225 (my current cardiologist refers to me as his patient with the astounding calcium score), which indicated at least moderate atherosclerotic plaque. Mild coronary artery disease being highly likely. Significant arterial narrowings possible .. a stress test at the time said that my arteries were impacted, but none showed the magic restriction point of 80%.

I modified my diet to what is still considered a ‘cardiac diet’: low fat, low salt, low cholesterol, along with the diabetic sugar restriction. All things in moderation … all things in moderation.

A stress test two years ago indicated that everything was still okay. That test was precipitated by a series of heat related problems I was experiencing, which were recently diagnosed as ‘vasovagal syncope.’

Today, I am 56 days repaired. On heart/lung support for five hours, my heart was stopped, new pathways grafted, and restarted.

This stop and start business is also the very definition of how one becomes a zombie.

I’m feeling great. Doing better than everyone expected (probably a month ahead of a normal recovery schedule). I have returned to work, once again able to look forward to vacations, and retirement .. maybe .. someday.

Meanwhile, I promise to keep wrIting.

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Vasovagal and Me

The short course

A vasovagal attack is a disorder that causes a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain and fainting. Vasovagal attack is the most common cause of fainting. The disorder is also referred to as neurocardiogenic syncope. A vasovagal attack may occur in a person of any age, but the attacks are more common in children, young adults, and the elderly.

A vasovagal attack itself is not serious; however, injury is possible during a fainting episode. Prolonged standing is associated with vasovagal attacks because blood may pool in the legs, thus reducing blood flow to the brain. Heat exposure can also lead to a vasovagal attack. As blood flows to the body’s periphery to cool the body, this may result in decreased blood flow to the brain. Heightened emotions, such as panic or fright, including seeing blood, having blood drawn, or being fearful of your life, may cause a vasovagal attack. Straining to have a bowel movement can result in a vasovagal attack from stimulation of the vagus nerve, which lowers the heart rate in some people. Another cause of vasovagal attacks is the rapid pooling of blood to the leg muscles after running or other strenuous exercise.

The signs and symptoms of vasovagal attacks have a rapid onset and occur just once or periodically. The attacks vary among individuals. Some people with vasovagal attacks have mild symptoms, such as light-headedness, while others may have frequent fainting episodes. Lying down and elevating the feet if symptoms begin, therapy to treat feelings of fear or anxiety, and taking all medications as prescribed can all help prevent vasovagal attack.

A vasovagal attack by itself is not serious. However, fainting may be caused by a serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if fainting is accompanied by serious symptoms, such as sweating, severe difficulty breathing, or chest pain or pressure, which may be combined with pale or blue lips and a fast heart rate. Also seek immediate care for injuries sustained during a fainting episode.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for vasovagal attacks but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.

Source: https://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/vasovagal-attack

The story

This condition has now struck me, three times in the past three years. The first during a day of work in the yard, while taking some relief in the rest room.

My own particular version includes rising body temperature, profuse sweating, shortness of breath etc … and I passed out the first time, after summoning help.

The second time must have been very minor. I do not recall the incident in detail, other than the trip down our stairs on a stretcher; not something I would recommend for the faint of heart.

The third time happened yesterday afternoon in the Roseville Mall, Macy’s. After responding to the demands of my body, I found myself exhausted, with light vertigo, shortness of breath, and sweaty due to elevated temperature. Lena responded by calling 911, and I had a happy ride in an ambulance. By the time we arrived at the local ER, I felt fine, and my vitals were great, but this did not deter the medical personnel in their insertion of an IV, and delivery to a cubicle for testing and observation. After the usual pokes and prods, repetitious questioning, blood draw, and a nap, I was released and able to return home.

Thanks to everyone, I am feeling good this morning, and have a full day of activities planned.

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Spend 2 minutes reflecting on an experience that helped you learn patience

…from the meyouhealth daily challenge

When learning to drive @ an undisclosed young age, my father let me drive the old Chevy truck home from the farm one day. On route there was a particularly treacherous downhill stretch of winding road just before the city limits, and this day it was filled with traffic, from 18-wheelers to tractors. I don’t think I showed any trepidation regarding the task, but my father spoke softly, telling me to just be patient. I did not have to be first down the hill to win the race, I only had to get down the hill. Be patient. It was a lasting lesson in how to work traffic using all your vehicle resources; accelerator, steering, brakes, and brain. Just be patient …and the horn! Did I mention the horn?

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