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Calculated Risk

When humanity fails we all suffer. It seems there are more tragedies each day. Maybe it is because we are more connected but we are more connected. What used to take 6-24 hours to report is almost instantaneous today. It’s why I like following twitter for news—not big news sources but people in the field. I was about to go to sleep the other night when scenes from the Grenfell Tower fire came across my twitter feed. Horrible images and video with people saying they could see residents still trapped as the inferno grew. Images from the twin towers on 9/11 came flooding in from my memory banks—those awful feelings of despair for the individuals and their families.

 

I stayed up hoping to hear some news, hoping those people would make it out, but knowing what I witnessed in the video would not prove this true. I kept asking what about sprinkler systems. The more I watched, the more fuel seemed to be added to the conflagration. Come to find out—there were no sprinklers. WHAT? I’m used to living in the US I guess but that doesn’t always prove to be a safe issue.

 

Building codes are so important to have but some see it as unneeded regulations. I dare them to put their loved ones (or even themselves) in a building that hasn’t been deemed fire safe. To drive this point home, I live in a place where we pride ourselves on certain living conditions that seem to be above the norm but a few years ago, a retirement home (not nursing home) was built. It was for people who could still take care of themselves, could drive as they offered garages, and the like. I think it was two-story if I recall correctly—garage on the bottom with living area above.

 

A fire broke out one night. Even with a fire department down the street there was loss of life due to the building not being up to code. For one, there were no firewalls built in the complex. Yeah—I don’t know. Supposedly the fire inspector signed off on the building plans and then as it was being built and then again at completion. That was all a big mess because he later said it wasn’t his signature. And, this is here in the US where we do require sprinklers in certain situations along with a host of other things.

 

So I read an article about the Grenfell fire that keeps nagging at me (link). It equates sprinkler installments of established buildings as calculated risk compared to that of driving cars here in the US at a slower speeds so as not to die. DO WHAT? Yes, we know there is less of a risk of death at slower speeds but it’s not the same. Now to an actuary, this may seem to be equal—in reality it isn’t. People aren’t numbers. Accepted casualty rates aren’t acceptable and so on. Sprinklers and air bags might qualify for this type of discussion but we in the US have already had all of these discussions.

 

People don’t have to drive cars but they do need a place to sleep and that place needs to be made safe. I keep seeing people in the UK saying this isn’t the time to have this discussion. Sounds a bit like our gun debates that some people refuse to have. I understand our governments are different but it seems we have the same type of mindset about poor people…since there were poor people living in this building, they should be glad they at least had shelter — as in be happy for what they had. Roll eyes – yes I have read that several times and that they shouldn’t be expecting the government to take care of them not to mention the ones who blame the poor for being poor. Errrrrrr.

 

I could go on and on but sprinklers save lives. That’s a given fact. It isn’t debatable. It isn’t an opinion. It should never be up for discussion. Oh, by the way, they were adding cladding to the building to make it more aesthetically appealing. Even that was a bad choice since the material they chose can’t be used in the US but under certain conditions – high rises aren’t one of them because of flammability.

 

I’m so sorry for the loss of life from the fire. There are lessons to be learned. I hope everyone learns that this is not one of those accepted risks.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

This week I watched a video clip of Jim Bakker talking about the president—condemning anyone saying things against him and calling it hate speech. Where was Bakker when so many conservatives for 8 years called our president the anti-Christ and said all manner of evil against him and his family? Hmmm. Bakker believes President Trump was placed in power by God and yet, I guess he doesn’t believe that God placed President Obama in power. See the hypocrisy? Hmmm.

 

Bakker also calls for nothing to be done to Trump because this is God’s will. That it will cause all out civil war with Christians. Wait just a minute.

That if Trump is impeached, America will be punished. Eye roll.

He further goes on to say that anyone against Trump is the spirit of the anit-christ. Oh dear.

 

Bakker is trying to drive fear into the hearts of the believers. You may ask what’s wrong with what he is saying but I ask would he be saying this if he wasn’t peddling his long-term survival porridge in such a manner?

 

The man is a charlatan. He uses his charisma to draw in those who are willing to be led down such a road. I have to point out that this Trump worship is the same thing that is warned against in the bible but Bakker won’t be telling you this.

 

Franklin Graham also was and is shoving this to his followers but he’s not selling bomb-shelter food worse than MREs. They must have received secret information that all liberals are of the anti-Christ and that people need to listen to God and hate liberals—ok, loathe them. Don’t tell them about Jesus’ liberal tendencies and the first church’s socialistic policies. I mean…don’t dare mention the death of Ananias and Sapphira. These people identify anything coming from people of a liberal sense is evil and hatred but in honesty, I see it as these people are the ones yelling the hate. Bakker talked against words from the “left” while inciting people to use hate speech and thought. More hypocrisy.

 

Alice, can we go back to our normal world now? This upside down world is too much.

 

If you are a Christian, you might want to ask what Jesus would do. Did he condemn those all around him or was it the leaders of the church so to say—the ones who regulated the laws of the church—as in Jewish leaders? He had harsh words for those who were supposed to know scripture but yet didn’t follow them…those who professed to be God’s chosen but made horrible interpretations.

 

I don’t know who sold these people this belief that Trump came for and from God. I’m pretty sure someone can also make a case that he, Trump himself, could be the/an anti-Christ. I personally think it’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy–you believe it will happen and you make it happen. No real prophecy. People want to believe so badly in something but is not true. The truly faithful to this cause will not waver even when presented with facts. It’s become a cult like thing. Remember Jim Jones? I have a friend who lost someone in that massacre. The lady wanted to believe so much that what Jones said was real but inside she had doubts but not the courage to walk away nor the resources. From what I understand, she was caught up in it and it had gone too far. So sad to think how people get caught up in something like that, isn’t it?

 

Never worship a person. Admire them from afar and don’t take people’s words for something because they say they know what God wants. We have brains. We should use them. I’ve always wondered about the Heaven’s Gate cult—how did they go so far? They—to my knowledge—were not forced to do what they did unlike the Jim Jones last act.

 

Deceivers. Most do it for money but more than that—they want power. It’s a narcissistic trait but also sociopaths live for this type of allegiance. From my past experience, if a person truly comes from God or from true goodness, their message will be love and humility with no buts for excuses. And if someone feels as if another is taking something away from them, perhaps one needs to examine what is within. Peace is quite comforting.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

Festival

My children studied the events that led up to the various wars of the last century specifically Nazi Germany. Today, they keep up with the news and not just face time on TV which I think is a grand accomplishment in itself. Often they will ask, “What was it like… (fill in the blank)…back when (such and such) happened. I’ll give them my perspective even telling them how it impacted my life and shaped my beliefs. Not until recently have they experienced much of this for themselves.

 

They are shocked to hear how the leader of the American government treats the citizens and friends and allies. I frequently hear these words, “But Mom, this is what happened while Hitler was in power. Why don’t people see this?” I just smile and whence deep inside elated that they see it but deeply troubled that it is happening during their lifetime in the year 2017. I keep telling myself it’s 2017 but my brain doesn’t seem to believe it. We have had countless conversations of what it means to be politically correct and why treating others with respect is not a bad thing and we talk about the daily happenings and how it will impact future generations.

 

As much as I would love for this next topic to go away, it’s not. White supremacy is not a thing in my eyes. I don’t recognize it no matter how many people pledge allegiance to such a grotesque way of thinking. You may think white power type of thing has to be labeled in order to see it as such but it doesn’t. These things start subtly and become more of the norm just like you watch today certain people such as the alt-right/Nazi guy who visited Auburn University recently (I’m not writing his name anymore). He can call it what he wants but it is still about white superiority (in his mind). Watch any or all of his videos. In other countries, he would be in jail but we have what we call freedom of speech—however, that does NOT mean that we have to give him a platform on which to speak such as story after story in the media. Yes, people need to know what he says but he’s in the news as a regular guy (eye roll).

 

To many, he is a novelty, something different so he is of interest. To me, he speaks nothing but hate inciting hate in other people. Imagine doing such against other races of human beings just because they have a different pigment or different religion, etc. I’m rolling my eyes even more because it’s 2017. I grew up amid the civil rights fight and the push back against the government integrating the schools. I live and lived in the south at the time. It was awful. I digress.

 

May 1 was designated loyalty day long ago. It’s nothing new. I don’t agree with it. I’m fine with patriotism. I’m even great with it but we have a tinderbox full of hot coals ready to blow up into the biggest wildfire that has ever swept this country. This type of call to allegiance reminds me of the time leading up to Nazi Germany. Plenty have dismissed this but there are so many similarities. I have lived my entire life saying it couldn’t happen here but just like my kids are witnessing the happenings of today, I have to change my way of thinking. It IS happening here. Further evidence can be seen at our fearful leader’s campaign rallies even three months after inauguration. Same thing happened in Germany. It’s like they are following along the Nazi playbook.

 

What happens to people if they don’t pledge their allegiance or they don’t do it in a manner others think you should? Look at those who protested the national anthem or rather look at the ones who criticized those who protested. Do I get jailed or deported because I don’t subscribe to the same level of allegiance on loyalty day? Look at those who criticize the saying of “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” This is not saying let’s encourage better morale but saying dam* to anyone who isn’t like them.

 

It took a while for Germany to change over to Nazi control. It didn’t happen overnight but they had a reason for enacting each rule they came up with in order to go against another group of people. Similar to what is happening here. This is fascism pure and simple. We are not at the eve of a fascist government – we are in a full-fledged fascist regime.

 

Silencing the media is one of the crucial parts of this. When free press is wiped out, freedom of speech is next to go. And, one of the most difficult things to watch lately is the abuse of power over the justice system. Our democratic republic (giving that name is wishful thinking—I know) was established so that there are balances of power – to keep any single branch from having autocratic power. That is being abolished by strong-armed tactics (bully ways). More eye-rolling on my part.

 

I could go on and on but loyalty day to me symbolizes the cementing of this fascist type of government. Clearly seen by many and by his own words this past week, the man was not prepared for this position as president. Most of us know the job is difficult. He spent eight years criticizing President Obama because he thought the job was so easy. He’s a madman who wants to laud himself with great honors probably because of some family issue when he was growing up. He will always surround himself with things that tell him he is great because he cannot accept mistakes he makes – failure. He will always blame someone else. This is not different from other politicians but this is not characteristics of a president.

Martyn Pattison – Wikimedia Commons

As for me, I am choosing to celebrate the Gaelic customs of Bealtaine (Beltane) – the ancient fire festival ushering in the summer season. I tend to honor Mother Earth – she is what is important to me. If we don’t take care of her, there is no reason for anything else.

 

Happy Gardening and Happy Bealtaine! 🙂

Winners and Losers

Art is said to imitate life. Such examples exist of present, past, and future. We also use it to give a more accurate representation of past events using exaggerated means.

 

In the movie, Tora, Tora, Tora, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was credited as saying,

 

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

 

No record was ever found that he actually said this but given the totality of what Pearl Harbor led to, it’s not out of the question that this sentiment was at the least considered by some. To me, it serves as a reminder of what we should contemplate as in the ramifications of war before we engage. Diplomacy goes a lot farther than slaughtering others.

 

No one wins at war. No. Our president and many others are wrong. Many want war because they have invested heavily in weapons of war. We have learned nothing from the past 50 years it seems. I want to be very clear in my views of war on terror. There is no winning. There is no end. It becomes a circle and in the end we stoop to their level and become nothing more than the extremist.

 

I have been horrified of how low we are willing to go in the world. Was I horrified at the chemical weapons used on the Syrian people? Of course I am just as I have been. I have also been enraged at all of the civilian causalities we have caused with our presence on foreign soils…all of the drone strikes…and depleted uranium ordinance – which by the way is a war crime.

 

I needed to write this. I want my view out there but my apologies for my mistakes. I am not doing well but with any luck, I hope to improve.

 

Happy Gardening! No matter how bad it is, there is sunshine somewhere. 🙂

Compassion

 

There is a young lady I know who is just as sweet as she can be. I’ve known her for more than 20 years and think the world of her. Hopefully our paths have many people like her who enrich our lives. She makes life more valuable by just knowing her especially when people are not quite so nice such as the following…

 

The other night I got into a discussion with a guy who was trying to shame someone on social media. He called a person gay and started telling the person how God doesn’t accept gays, etc. You may know the drill. “You are sinning against God.” Well, that’s about the nicest thing he has to say.

 

This guy makes it his mission to go after people who he thinks are less holy than him – the less righteous in his eyes. Most all of the people he attacks are not gay but that doesn’t stop his hatred and awful attacks. He enjoys it and then he has the audacity to shout he is “Christian” and that others are not.

 

He mentioned that “gays” have more depression, commit more suicide, do more drugs, and have more health issues than heterosexuals. He’s lost by the way if he believes all of this of which he does. I had to point out that it is people like him who contribute to depression and suicide by telling them how awful they are and that they have no hope for eternal life — that they are unholy and all of this garbage. He firmly believes he is pointing out “truth.” The quoted words are his.  

 

He’s not the only person that goes after and attacks others while proclaiming himself a Christian. I like to call him a Pharisee but that is quite insulting to the Pharisees – my apologies. I’ve not always been the way I am today and that’s a good thing. It shows that I have grown. Growing up with absolutes makes life almost impossible. 

 

You know what is a “sin?” The young lady’s father who doesn’t speak to her because she is in fact gay. He wants her to attend a certain church so they can pray the gay away. Now, that’s a sin.

 

I wish people would quit judging others. It is not their job in life. If you choose to believe in a certain faith, please be kind to others. For those people who call themselves Christians and condemn and say people are going to hell, I will forever stand with the people they condemn. If you read the Bible carefully you will see Jesus did that very thing.

 

There are “Christian” evangelists who are leading the call against people who are gay and other parts of the LGBTQ community. They call their followers to push against the “sin” and to rise up but in fact they are calling their followers to push against people. Listen up, if you feel this way, read the Bible and find that Jesus was against the law condemning people. He took the sides of the people in need – against the bullies. Love supersedes (Mosaic) law by his own admission. Perhaps it is because if you put yourself in the position of others, then you will not be so quickly to condemn since he called for people to love others as ourselves. Then look at what was reiterated over and over – humility. The last will be first and the first will be last. Being humble should be a daily challenge for all who spend their waking hours condemning others. 

 

My life is better today for all of the “gay” people I have known through the years. If you say or think EWWWW, then you might need to start thinking about people as people and not what they do when you don’t see them. That’s about as nice as I can put it.

 

Happy Gardening and please treat others in the way you would like to be treated! 🙂

 

 

Each day I’m a little more embarrassed about my president but today was hurtful. I know it seems a small thing but it’s Friday and the end of two very bad weeks from this administration. It’s just too much to take. People will say I’m picking but it’s the overall lack of respect for others that gets me about this administration and president in particular. I shouldn’t be surprised. They did say they hate being politically correct which I just thought was being human and decent. Oh well.

 

I was always told that you can tell who is a gentleman if the man holds the door open or allows the woman to walk through first or opens the car door and such. Now, I know there are some women who might argue against this type of behavior but men should still offer and not feel hurt if the woman turns him down or says for him to go first. Many women are trying to be courteous though some might take offense. Me, I say thank you. Anyway, it looks bad when a man doesn’t do these things especially in public. Case in point is our president.

 

You may argue against this but most men would allow their wife to enter the building before them. They would even open the door for their spouse and anyone else as a gesture of good etiquette. If you can’t treat your wife with decency then I know you won’t treat anyone else with decency but then again, anyone caught saying the things he has said is just trash I don’t care what excuse you give.

 

Not shaking Chancellor Merkel’s hand today was just awful but what’s worse is the posture of this man and the way he came across before the press was asked to leave. You may say this was an informal time and all is good and I will say, bollocks. BBC World tweeted a link to their story and asked about the body language. Here is a shot.

 

 

She was sitting with legs crossed and hands together. Trump was sitting lunging forward over his knees with hands pressed together. He was frowning most of the time and she had a light-hearted smile. Someone in the room asked if they would do a handshake. With no response from Trump, the chancellor asked him and was ignored. Ok…

 

What does this mean? Even though her legs were crossed, she was relaxed – comfortable. You could tell by her shoulders. I would add that she seemed cautious but most likely she was in her comfort posture before the public. She didn’t seem uptight but at ease. Trump was tense, rigid, frowning. In some ways, he looked fuming. He was not comfortable in the situation. When she addressed him, he would not face her and acted like she wasn’t there. That was really awful. This was more than an innocent gaffe. He looked like Mommy just told him he could not have dessert until he ate all of his vegetables. He really looked like he was pitching a temper tantrum.

 

The home country (the US in this situation) should make the effort to create an atmosphere comfortable for the visiting dignitary. This wasn’t happening in the room at the time but she has come to the US on several occasions to meet with the sitting president. This was not her first rodeo. So often during the debates, we are asked who won the debate. Clearly, Chancellor Merkel was in control of this room. She didn’t flaunt it. She wasn’t overbearing. But Trump behaved very poorly and it embarrasses me.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

Would you stop?

Someone is stopped by the side of the road in need of help. They could be anyone you want them to be. You decide to stop. Do you ask them what their political preferences are? What about their religious beliefs? Do you ask if they are married, have been married, divorced, etc? See where I am headed? I see someone who needs my help, I don’t hesitate and say someone else can help them. For example, a man in the neighborhood fell off his tractor in a ditch and the tractor fell on top of him. I think I wrote about this in my blog. He was in need of help. I stopped. The girls and I pulled the man to safety. It was automatic.

 

Now, what if the person doesn’t look the same as us? What if they are one of “those” people? I don’t know what one of “those” people are but I had friends who looked at those they didn’t accept as “those” people. That is how they referred to them — as THOSE people. Do you stop and help then? Do you make excuses? What makes you help or not help?

 

I’ve picked up people walking the road who needed help. Sometimes I’m by myself and sometimes not. I don’t always do it and I kick myself when I don’t. On more than one occasion we were returning home with the car full of stuff (groceries or what-have-you) and there was no room so I didn’t stop but I felt bad that I didn’t. I try to console myself by saying I had an excuse. I did but that shouldn’t be my go-to thing. It’s easy to find excuses why we can’t do something.

 

I wonder if the political climate is causing us to not reach out to others. People will always be in need. That’s why we are here – to always help. It doesn’t matter what the person’s background is. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs are. It only matters if we are willing to treat another as a human being.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

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