Monday, January 30, 2017


Photo from GOES-16  Courtesy of NOAA via Agency France-Presse

           As my friend Tom said when reviewing the recently released photo, "Spaceship earth still looks pretty good, despite all of the abuse." Indeed it does.
          But it confronts us with the challenge of protecting it and all of us from a dangerous man. We look at that in a moment, but first we celebrate.

forces of nature

    The rains of January have turned Santa Rosa Creek in Cambria into a river. These shots, where the creek meets the Pacific, show how a normally trickling creek has re-contoured the beach.
  It has moved with such force as to cut embankments and deposit drift wood in piles.

emergency signals
    First a word to readers, an apology. When I began Light/Breezes 7 years and more than 1,000 posts ago it was not my intention to fill this space with political analysis or rants. It still is not. However 42 years of journalism including investigative and political reporting and international documentary work has shaped and instructed my world view. I have devoted more words to politics in the last couple of years because of the reality we are living. 
    During my career I assiduously tried to remain non-partisan. In my personal life I have been bi-partisan. I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But I tell no one who I vote for. I am a pragmatist and favor those candidates who tilt toward solutions. I distrust all politicians and especially those who are ideologues. I admire those who engage in realpolitik.
    Some readers, and some friends have responded that I have been unfair to Donald Trump and so that brings us to the realpolitik of this moment.
dump trump
     Donald Trump is a danger to this Republic. He lacks the skill, temperament, ability to reason, finesse, character and intellect required of the President. He is a liar, tax cheat, shifty business hustler, sexual predator, narcissist and is not smart enough to know he is being used. I will give him this, he knew his reality television show audience would love him and he knew both parties had ignored some who had been damaged by the near depression and the changing nature of work in America. 
      It is not just that he has no mandate, a minority president behaving as if he'd won by a landslide, I think he lacks the mental balance to hold the office. I have posted all of this but everyday bears it out. 
      That is about Trump, a sick and deplorable cretin. More important is what this means to everyone else?
     I would not assail you were it not a great challenge to our future in several ways. You can read better analysts or ethicists but I would think it failure and cowardice should I not use this opportunity to engage your concern. 
   This is not merely sour grapes, or simply disagreeing with policy or politics. You win and you lose, that is life. No, this is to support the case Trump is unfit and a danger. 

where do they stand?
     What about the Republican Party? What about Trump voters? Before we wade any deeper there is an undeniable reality at work. He is acting, via executive orders, to do things the majority of American voters disapprove. It is fact most Americans don't want him in the office. They certainly don't want him doing what he is and threatening not only this nation but the planet. Presently most Trump supporters are in denial of that, even his serial lies. 
      It is important the Republican party leadership stand up to and even challenge Trump. Sadly, it appears, Mitch McConnell and even Paul Ryan would like to have it both ways. They want to use Trump for their own advantage. Unless they make a break they will be seen as cowards.
      Think I have overstated that? Consider this-from a man who served as counsel for Condi Rice when she was Secretary of State. This is a conservative Republican speaking to others of that stripe. The writer is Eliot A. Cohen in the Atlantic. 

"For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it."

      Mr. Cohen is director of the Strategic Studies Program at Johns Hopkins, an author and a highly regarded international analyst.  Consider this as he echoes what former Presidents, national security, intelligence and military leaders have said of Trump.  

     Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.

     I believe this. History has shown us a precedent. So, I am sorry if you come to this blog for something else, that I intrude  with these passionate thoughts. I write this as a defense for my daughters and my granddaughter. When I am gone I will have, at least, left an honest effort to help motivate people to think about the seriousness of how we live and respond, especially now, in the face of this unprecedented menace. 
 a future
     I will seek to guide this blog with photos, reflections and thoughts that are indeed filled with light. Still I will use the energy I have to cast light where it may illuminate.

     Now is not the time to bury your head in the sand and that is especially true for those of you who provided the minority votes that were enough to put this threatening menace in office. How much do you need to see? Millions around the world take to the streets, experts by the score warn about him, mental health experts offer their advice, he's already begun to destabilize international relations, he's replaced a military chief from his top council and replaced him by a Neo Nazi malcontent as strategist, he lies and obsesses about the size of a crowd, he believes he is above the law. It is madness. No administration in history has begun like this. Already social order is being pushed. When enough of you come to your senses it will help to remove this man.

     See you down the trail.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


    The scope of the American divide was clarified in California when Governor Jerry Brown defied the "alternative fact" reality of the Trump regime. It also cast new light on the questionable legitimacy of the new presidency.
    Noting California is the sixth most powerful economy in the world he said this state "is not turning back now, not ever."   He called for courage and persistence as California continues to work on climate change, health care and assistance to emigres.
    "We have heard the blatant attacks on science. Familiar signposts of our democracy-truth, civility, working together-have been obscured or swept aside," the Governor said.
     He quoted the Woody Guthrie anthem, This Land is Your Land including an oft deleted verse,
       "Nobody living can ever stop me,
        As I go walking the freedom highway;
        Nobody living can ever make me turn back
        This land was made for you and me."

alternative legitimacy 
       A fact Kellyanne Conway or her boss can not deny is the minority status of the regime. Yes he was elected by the electoral college as is legal, but it is also true he was clobbered in the popular vote and it is true he was rejected by establishment Republicans. But the real factor as to his legitimacy or lack of it, is his disconnect between facts and the lies he spews. As he has done historically he denies reality. Many, if not all, of his followers believe him. They live in a fantasy land, constructed by deceit and ignorance.
        Most of his followers think unemployment rose under the Obama White House. It did not. There has been record job growth. He paints the bleak picture of America gripped by crime and carnage. Crime rates have dropped dramatically, despite the tragic mass shootings empowered by the NRA and its belligerent disregard of America. The economy is not in ruin, it has been on a record setting period of growth, following the near depression. There are more disconnects. In fact the lies are well reported but his supporters are disconnected from truth, they believe their liar in chief.
        Will those who supported him come back to reality? The man now refuses to release his tax returns though he promised to. He is moderating his hardline on deporting illegals. He railed at Goldman Sachs and used Hillary Clinton's connection to the firm as proof of her corruption. He has now designated 5 Goldman Sachs alumni as key members of his team.
        His team includes predatory lenders, crooks who made the life of his "ignored" supporters a hell.  There is the ever charming Conway who claims there are "alternative facts." Here's one, she was reportedly in a fist fight at one of the inaugural balls. How's that for class?  It appears his press spokesman Sean Spicer has saved his job, for the time being. After the weekend tantrum his first regular briefing was more civil and traditional though he too had trouble with facts. He refused too acknowledge that unemployment, as reported by his federal regime, is at a low of 4.7. Spicer said Trump doesn't look at statistics. 
      Perhaps the most festering problem is his bosses continued conflict of interest. What is at the core? There are credible sources who suggest that Trump is mentally ill, in the grips of a narcissism so powerful that he really doesn't know the truth or in his predatory mind doesn't think it applies to him. As he has said a few times he is next to God in ability. The ego maniac in chief may well be so far out of touch he is in fact a danger and at least illegitimate.  How many times can you lie at the rate he does and not be too sick to hold office?  
      The lies and disconnects are warning signs. Yet we live in the "post-truth" world where your opinion matters as much as the truth or facts. I used to think the dire pronouncements about what catastrophe he could bring were over started. Not now, now that so many devotees of the vulgarian refuse to believe the truth. He's perfect for the so called freedom caucus who want to destroy the government. He and they are a disease in the American body.

fresh and healthy
        Aside from the obvious success of California's economy and a Governor, respected by Republicans and beloved by Democrats the other good news is the ending of the 5 year drought.

     Growing up in Indiana I was used to hard rains, something I had not seen here on the California central coast until this year.
   In five days we had 6 inches of rain in our Phillippi gauge on the ridge. Our total for the year is almost 27 inches. In some places there is evidence of the saturation.

     As we move forward in these uncertain times I can't help but wish a man with the judgement, balance, vision, experience, governing skill, bi-partisan support and character of Jerry Brown was leading this nation. For those of you majority of Americans who worry about the miscreant freak who sits in the oval office, know this western Republic will have your back.

    See you down the trail. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017


     The American majority speaks. Tens of millions of Americans braved all manner of weather to let the world know what it thinks of the change of American government.  Millions more around the world joined voices with the Women's Marches.
   This is not just a story of big cities. Beautiful San Luis Obispo is a city under 50 thousand.
There were many cities drawing more than that SLO's total population, but every voice counts. 7,500 registered for the San Luis Obispo March, crowd estimates put the number at 10,000 people-huge for a city of 46,000.
read the signs
the vocal majority is being heard

    We marched for our daughters and our grand daughter on her first birthday.

   On this day the American Majority drowned out the Trump fringe and minority. But the messages heard from LA to Washington, Seattle to Miami were echoed around the world.
Photo from the New York Times
          This kind of "greeting" of a change of American government is without precedent. One presumes those reading these signs include Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. 

       Those old lyrics come to mind-
     Come gather around people
     wherever you roam
     and admit that the waters
     around you have grown
     accept it that soon
     You'll be drenched to the bone
     And if your breath to you is worth saving
     then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changing.

    It appears the majority of Americans will insist on it.