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Archive for the ‘BY THE WAY’ Category

That horrid mean-spirited chant was ever-present at every Trump rally during the painfully long campaign. Often it was followed by certain attendees  who added hateful calls of “F…k the beaners”.  I, as well as millions of other citizens were horrified by this blatant display of bigotry and ignorance.  But it continued all throughout the months leading up to November and continues to be advocated by Mr. Trump, although not quite as often because now that he is in the oval office, he finds he has MANY MORE ISSUES TO DEAL WITH.

To further add insult to injury, campaign Trump insisted the wall would be built and that Mexico would pay for it.  That arrogant remark provoked vehement denials by Mexico’s president, Enrico Peña Nieto.  This unfortunate exchange has only served to damage our relations with our southern neighbor.

Illegal immigration is definitely an illegal act in my mind, just as any other illegal action. However, we do have a wall on many parts of the border, we do have border patrols AND we must take into consideration WHY are people trying to escape.  I am speaking ONLY about families, women and children either trying to extricate themselves from abject poverty or to join family members already in residence in the United States.  Drug dealers for the most part use many other undetectable means by which to import drugs into our country. There are tunnels that open up in San Diego, there are bundles that wash up on Florida shores.  There is BIG $$$ in drugs and no matter how tall, how big or how beautiful the wall is, the drugs will continue to flow because like any other product it really is all about SUPPLY AND DEMAND.  So look to our own, we are the consumers!

But enough about the philosophy and justification of The Wall – this is really about THE LIE that so many voters swallowed!  Guess what? MEXICO IS NOT GOING TO PAY $21 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE WALL.  My God, $21 Billion dollars could cure cancer, feed hungry children in Appalachia, educate every child in the country and probably send them to college too.  Can you even wrap your head around  $21 BILLION DOLLARS?

Don’t take my word for it……………………

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No measured words, no Uhs to buy time to think.

The truth is hard.

The truth is hidden.

The truth must be pursued.

The truth is hard to hear.

The truth is rarely simple.

The truth isn’t so obvious.

The truth is necessary.

The truth can’t be glossed over.

The truth has no agenda.

The truth can’t be manufactured.

The truth doesn’t take sides.

The truth isn’t red or blue.

The truth is hard to accept.

The truth pulls no punches.

The truth is powerful.

The truth is under attack.

The truth is worth defending.

The truth requires taking a stand.

The truth is more important now than ever.

(THE NEW YORK TIMES) 

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What would WC have to say with viral social media ie, TWEETS!

                                                                                                                                       

 

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Although I practically took an oath not listen to or watch any of Donald Trump’s speeches, I broke my own promise last night.  For an hour I sat and watched and listened to the presentation to the Congress.  It’s true, he did sound like a politician finally BUT I thought that the people who voted for him believed he was NOT a politician, but rather an outsider he was going to drain the swamp.  

There were LOTS of promises last night and as the bill-payer in this household, all I kept thinking was ‘I must be too old for the new math’!  If he makes deep cuts into the corporate tax and cuts taxes for the middle class and lowers the insurance rates and tells the hospitals to charge less for drugs and services, builds new bridges, repairs roads and airports …WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL THIS?

The first 30 or so days since his inauguration have been to say the least chaotic.  There were firings, leaks, tweets and turmoil – “SO SAD”.  But hey you gotta laugh sometime or you’ll cry so for your pleasure and mine and for those of you who were too tired last night to watch Stephen Colbert, here he is doing a live show post the speech to the Congress.

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WHO SHOULD WE FEAR??

“We must keep our country safe”, says Donald Trump at a campaign-style rally in Florida yesterday.  BUT HOW??? That’s really the question we all need to ponder. It’s best to look at the facts, the statistics and then make a rational decision as to who or what you really need to fear.  Here are the FACTS:

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Falling Off A Ladder Is Not Fun

  1. MEXICAN DRUG DEALERS, MURDERERS AND RAPISTS:  That sounds quite ominous, however, that statement wasn’t backed up with any facts or statistics.  I have a cottage on the Jersey Shore in an area heavily populated with Mexicans.  I see them carrying vacuum cleaners and buckets into homes they are cleaning. I see them bussing tables at all of the restaurants all over the shore.  And at 5:00pm when they are finished working and the beach is free, I see whole families walking to the beach past my porch.  So I for one, am not going to put Mexicans, illegal or otherwise, on my fear list.  NO FEAR
  2. TERRORISM:  Isis is a heinous organization.  Are most of their members Muslim? Yes!    Do all Muslims belong to Isis? No! I am very concerned about our national security and especially my own since I live in New York City which is, a) the Financial Capital of the world, b) a coastal city, and c) densely populated. BUT here are some interesting points;  
  3. Between 1975-2015, terrorists born in the 7 countries designated by the Trump Ban have killed ZERO people. Yes, ZERO according the to Cato Institute.*  NO FEAR
  4. GUNS: In the same period, GUNS killed 1,340,000 people including murders, suicides and accidents.*  1.34M that’s a lot of people!  A whole lot of people! FEAR
  5. It’s TRUE that MUSLIM AMERICANS  both born in the U.S. and immigrants from countries other than those subject to the Trump travel ban, have carried out deadly terrorism in America.  There has been 123 such murders since the 9/11 attack and 230,000 other murders.* NO FEAR
  6. Last year Americans were less likely to be killed by Muslim terrorists than being one. That risk is approximately one in a million! * NO FEAR
  7. LADDERS, STAIRS, BATHTUBS AND LIGHTNING kill more Americans than Muslim terrorists. FEAR
  8. HUSBANDS:  are scary because in America, they can have guns.  In other countries, brutal husbands put wives in the hospital.  In America, they put them in the grave.*  FEAR
  9. “I will get rid of  GUN-FREE ZONES ON SCHOOLS”, Trump said last year.  “My first day, it gets signed, OK, my first day.”*  He hasn’t yet…. FEAR
  10. The House of Representatives voted last month to end the restriction on people with severe psychiatric disorders buying guns.*  FEAR
  11. SILENCERS:  “It’s about hearing protection,” Donald Jr. (Trump) explained in a video made for SilencerCo. , A Utah company that makes silencers. “It’s a health issue, frankly.”*… FEAR
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In this case Silence is NOT Golden

**Information derived and quoted from the New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof.

The only fear we have to fear is fear itself.

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I’m perversely glad that Donald Trump is president (not mine of course), because he has brought enlightenment and commitment to our household.  My husband is pleased and happy that I am now reading more than the Wednesday Food Section and Sunday Styles in the daily delivery of the New York Times to our apartment.  Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof (well I became a fan of his way back to Darfur), Charles Blow and the letters to the Editor are now part of my morning routine.  And as the day wanes I’m often drawn to my blog so I can spout, pout, complain about Mr. Trump.  I had virtually abandoned my blog over a year ago but this seemingly endless supply of content and the deeply disturbing emotion Trump stirs in me, have breathed new life into Pbenjay’s Blog.

Maureen Dowd wrote about the silver – NO make that the  gold lining one can find in the daily chaos in the Oval Office.  She mentioned how “he has breathed new zest into a wide range of things: feminism, liberalism, student activism, newspapers, cable news, protesters, bartenders, shrinks, Twitter, the A.C.L.U., “S.N.L.”, town halls, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Hannah Arendt, Stephen Colbert, Nordstrom, the Federalist Papers, separation of church and state, athletes and coaches taking political stands and Frederick Douglass.”

Every time DT mentions “the “failing” New York Times, the digital subscriptions and the stock price jumps.  Americans are eager for help negotiating the disorienting Trumpeana Oceana Upside Down dimension rife with gas lighting, trolling, leaking lying and conflicts”.

Look what he has done for “Saturday Night Live”!  I haven’t watched that show in years and now the show’s ratings are at 20-year high.  The power of the Tweet is proving to be a boon to “S.N.L..”

Personally I’ve found new words to integrate into my vocabulary and bring new life and meaning to some old ones.  During the very long campaign, I found myself wondering about the stamina of some friends and the temperament of my spouse and co-workers. Up until one of the debates I hadn’t thought of the people I might not be friendly with or didn’t care to associate with as a basket of deplorables.  And how clever to refer to some of those same people as skittles.

I thought the spike in my blog readership was all about me but then I realized how braggadocious I sounded and so let me give credit where credit is due and say “thank you Mr. President” for injecting new life and humor into my writing.  I’ve also become acutely aware of the dangers of cyberwarfare,  wondering just when my blog will be hacked by some  fat 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed somewhere.  Some days I never leave my apartment because you never know when you’re going to be the subject of stop and frisk.  These are dangerous times, you know!

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Well they’re not really here, in fact they were Ukrainians.  Yesterday afternoon, we went to The Lehman Arts Center and watched the most amazing performance of Russian classical music expertly performed by The National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine.

The land of the Czars and Tzars has given us some of the greatest composers in the 19th and 20th Centuries.  To name a few and some of their more well known concertos and symphonies: Pyotr Iliyich Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, 1812 Overture.  Igor Stravinsky – Rite of Spring, The Firebird, Petrushka.  Dmitri Shostokovich – Suite on Finnish Themes,  Sergei Rachmaninoff -Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagagnini, Monna Vanna, Piano Concerto I and II, Sergei Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf, Romeo and Juliet, The Love of Three Oranges, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsokov-Capriccio Espagnol, and my favorite Scherherazade.  So much talent!

The first piece was Rachmoninoff’s Symphony No.3 and it was an elaborate production with full orchestra and three movements.  From where we were seated, I had a full-on view of the whole orchestra. Besides the usual violins, violas, cellos, oboes, French horns, clarinets and bass fiddle, Rachmoninoff included a harp, a triangle, symbals, a tambourine, and percussion.  Most of Sergei Rachmoninoff’s work is complex, especially his piano concertos, and in this Symphony it was quite evident.

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Dima Tkachenko – Violin Virtuouso

The real highlight of the concert was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with soloist Dima Tkachenko.  He was a child prodigy playing the piano and the violin before he was six!!  He has won numerous competitions and was awarded the Guildhall School Concert Recital Diploma (Premier Prix).  I was overwhelmed and swept away by his mastery of his instrument.  Like most virtuosos, in his hands the violin becomes an extension of himself.  Pure genius.  Under his expert manipulation, the violin sang, I mean really sang.  In his intensity, he broke at least 8 strings on the bow.  The violin is a wondrous instrument capable of producing an unbelievable number of sounds and notes in rapid succession.  The standing ovation lasted long enough to convince Dima to give us an encore.  And OMG, he played for at least another 10 minutes.  I don’t know what he was performing but it seemed to incorporate every nuance of sound and technique known to man and violin.

The Firebird Suite is one of Stravinsky’s better known compositions.  I have heard it many times however, the technical proficiency and emotional commitment of this orchestra is quite extraordinary.

Lastly, we were treated to a brief and informative talk by the conductor, Theodore Kuchar, who gave us some history of the conflicts his country has undergone for 100 years.  He explained that pure Ukranian music existed outside of better known Russian composers and proceeded to introduce a famous Ukranian piece.  We also were treated to a beautiful excerpt from a movie soundtrack created by Ukranian born Myroslav Skoryk.

All in all, I can’t think of a better way to have spent this gray, rainy and chilly Sunday afternoon.  It was a peaceful and joyful break from the daily stress of the political shenanigans going on.

 

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One of my favorite columnists in the New York Times is Nicholas Kristof; the title of this blog was the heading of his column published on Thursday, February 9th.  Apparently he challenged his readers to write a poem about Mr. Trump, some of which he published this week.

There was one in particular that caught my eye and I’m sort of borrowing it with credit given to its author, Dan Letwin, a history professor at Penn State.  His piece is titled “Ode to Alternative Facts”.

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An Enlightened Child

” Well now, Kellyanne Conway has lately conceived of a new understanding   of what to believe.    When the truth gives you heartburn, don’t worry, relax.    You can always resort to alternative facts.   Oh it works for the Donald and all of his hacks    As they go  ’bout promoting their retrograde acts.    Don’t fret if your documentation is lax.   You can always get by with alternative facts.    Don’t fear all those women with signs on their backs    The straight and the queer, the whites and blacks.   You can trivialize them with snide little cracks    And wash them away with alternative facts.   Just as loggers might swing an alternative ax    And fell a giant tree  with alternative whacks.   When the truth won’t cooperate, try some new tacks.    We live in an age of alternative facts!”

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Fake America Out Again

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