Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Cure for Disgust

Iris in Lana's garden 

California poppy by a road side

        I come bearing flowers hoping they have an ameliorative affect. I also violate every standard of story telling by beginning with an apology.

   I am disappointed to have the need to return to the insanity that passes as our political reality. I am sorry. Sorry to intrude on spring, but even more sorry that we endure this democracy threatening episode.

    So as we thread a few stitches of analysis, I hope the flowers from around here on the California central coast assuage your disgust. They have been a joy to this writer. 

    CS Lewis wrote, "Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things-ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption and stupidity." 

    Some degree of fear, therefore, is in order.

wild blooms on path to beach
the republican link to terrorism
   Before writing this post I participated in a briefing with cyber security experts from the intelligence community, academia and cyber security companies. The primary thrust was the dark web and criminal and national security risks, especially in the light of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware incident that created gas shortages on the East coast.
    Two of the experts noted that among the most active visitors to portals of the dark web, encryption services and marketplaces selling identities and credentials, are domestic terrorists involved in the insurrection. They are amongst those who propagate the lies and deceptions designed to undermine citizen belief in the credibility of our government and our electoral process.
    When Republicans cared about national security, some of their more zealous would warn that leftists were sewing seeds of doubt in America. They saw it as a Soviet inspired attempt to undermine our beliefs, our system of government, and our faith in our Democracy.
    The recent ex-president spent 4 years pleasing a former Soviet KGB officer by spreading poison about our election process, our media and anyone who dared to challenge his corrupt and complicit, though inept, regime. 
    Trumpism is a disease of the American spirit for which we must find a vaccine, or cure. 
   wild land in bloom

   The Republican party has been recast in his image, thus a party now founded on deception and duplicitous to its core. The test of fealty is to lie.
    With their vow to deceive and their moral bankruptcy it calls into question every legislative action and intent. Joe Biden, Democrats, and the US citizenry needs, and is better, with a loyal opposition that believes in a democratic republic. Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy preside over a nest of vipers. They are men without courage or honor. They are enablers. 

    As Republicans in state legislatures change voting laws, a chilling truth emerges; If they were to win control of the House of Representatives there is the highest likelihood they would not certify a Democrat presidential win. 
    They want power at all costs. They refuse to respect American history and tradition. Liz Cheney speaks truth about Trump and what he is doing to America.
     layers of texture of spring bloom
   A video, leaked to the media, catches the director of Heritage Action for America, a right wing political action group, bragging about drafting the legislation that states have used in changing voting laws to their favor, 
    "...or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has 'that grassroots, from the bottom up' type of vibe," she said.
    They will spend millions to change state laws to suppress votes, change election rules and election boards. It is a well funded, coordinated right wing effort to take away votes from those who oppose Trumpism, or who are not white. It is part of the authoritarian mindset, out to upend democracy.
    "We literally give marching order for the week ahead," she says on the tape. "We're singing from the same song sheet of the goals for that week where the state bills are across the country."
    The threat to our way of government comes from those who spread or believed the lies, mounted the insurrection, or who aided and encouraged it including most Republican House and Senate members. Republicans on the Hill are doing all they can to avoid an investigation into the worst attack on the Capitol since the British burned it in 1814.**  

    echium-pride of madera 

    You probably read of the New York Times investigation about how the right wing Project Veritas ran a scam to try to discredit Lt. General HR McMaster, a Silver Star  combat Veteran. He was the National Security Advisor at the time. Why? The Republican dirty tricksters didn't think he was loyal enough to Trump. A Republican staff member of the Senate Judiciary Committee was involved.
    The Trump anti democracy cancer is rampant. Liz Cheney is absolutely correct, Trump and his Republican supporters remain a threat. They diminish the standing of the US on a global measure.
blooms on the back hill

    I expect Trump will be ensnared in legal entanglements in the not too distant future. The brainwashed populism, white supremacist nationalism and deglobalization grievance culture he motivated is up for grabs. There is no shortage of poltroons who have been to pay supplication to the authoritarian would be king, while they hope he is not a bigfoot candidate in '24.
wild bloom ocean side
wild radish in bloom and a thistle
(ranchers hate the thistle but the Scots DNA in me gives it a cheer)

    The use of news clips from the Trump years demonstrate the sheer ineptitude and doltishness. Still those who take their cues from right wing media are stuck in a deceit that has stolen their judgement. 
    That was the theft of the last election, along with the abandonment of honor, and democratic principle. 
    ** In 1856 a pro slavery congressman beat an anti slavery Senator with a cane. Two years later 30 Congressmen got into a fist fight. 
    In 1860 pro slavery advocates threatened anti  slavery congressmen with pistols. 
    Three sticks of dynamite exploded in 1915 in a protest to US help in WW I.  
    In 1954 four Puerto Rican independence supporters fired guns shooting five congressmen who survived. 
    A 1971 bomb did damage but no injury in what was claimed to be a Weather Underground protest of the bombing of Laos. 
    In 1983 a bomb damaged the Senate side in an action by a the Armed Resistance Unit protesting military incursions in Lebanon and Grenada.
    The January 6, 2021 actions of the Trump mob of insurrectionists trying to stop the certification of the election and seeking the assassination of Vice President Pence was the deadliest Capitol assault in history. 138 police officers were injured. 
    Doesn't common sense demand an investigation?
a couple of Lana's orchids

    A little more about the berries. They were harvested from a planter box patch that Lana labored to protect from birds, raccoons and a grandson. We cannot grow strawberries in our ridge gardens as we did in the loamy soil of our Indiana gardens. So those five are a bit of a trophy, though the real champs were those we raised in our truck farm patch in the glacial hills of Morgan County. We had a lot of berries, and that was a good thing because we had to protect them from the birds, raccoons, our daughter Kristin and her lab, Inkie.

    Stay safe. 
    See you down the trail. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Adventure in the Pacific

         The surf and warm sun had worked me toward a meditative trance when a flash of red, ripping through my view had me ambling for the camera.

        The kite surf rig was in free drift. We had noticed a couple aloft just up Highway 1 north of where we parked to walk across a bench of land to the beach.

    In a moment I saw the rest of the gear, the pilot, ocean swimming in a steady surf. I thought he must be exhausted as he alternated between a back stroke and breaststroke. We wondered if we should alert beach rescue as we trained our attention on him.

        He stood up, saw his rig traveling south in a stiff breeze so it was back into the swim.

        He caught a kind of break- the rig was headed toward a cove further south.

        He was able to walk the shore watching as the gear moved toward a landing. What he may not have expected was playing the game of chase amongst a few elephant seals snoozing on the shoreline. 

        I thought he must be drained. Keeping the kite aloft while surfing would be demanding enough. The extra output of ocean swimming and then a long beach walk may have been more than he bargained for.
    The frame below is from his relative position as he came ashore. The rig was heading for the cove at the end of the beach in this shot.

        If you look carefully you can see it nestled to the left of the frame below.

        Below he has his back to one of the larger elephant seals who is letting loose with one of their snort roars.
        Sorry for the soft resolution and fuzziness of the shot, but it places the red rig in the collection of molting elephant seals.
In the frame below you see him at the far right retrieving something. 

        In the shot above a couple of the elephant seals appear to be taking an interest in that new red visitor to their domain.

            I was trying to decide what to do as we hiked back to our car, thinking I'd drive up to where I had seen the other rigs.

        We met a guy in a wet suit heading toward the beach. He said he was there to help a friend. I told him we had been a bit worried as his buddy had been stroking and chopping hard in the surf.

        "Oh, he's not happy, I can tell you that," he said smiling.

        "That's a lot of hard work for a sport" I said.  He just chuckled as he continued his long hike. 

                I suspect the story will be told a few times.

          Stay safe.

          See you down the trail.