…”a very, very, nice, long vacation.”…

Image result for donald trump golfing images

(photo…latimes.com)

…that’s what Donald Trump wants. That’s what he says he’ll do if he doesn’t win. In this case I, for one, would love to give the man what he wants.

Trump rightfully deserves to be put out to graze. No one has worked harder at distorting the truth than The Donald himself. God bless him. He didn’t even break a sweat in his Goliath undertaking, unlike Marco Rubio who was drenched in his own sweat according to Trump.

Trump is to be admired for driving his own brand of rhetoric that had him circling roundabouts of his own making that had the experts tied up in knots, stumbling over their own tongues.

The presidential candidate will go down in history as having done it “his way” all the way. Move over Sinatra, Trump can sing those lyrics better than you any day of the week…and some.

If I had to choose a despot-in-the-making for the 21st century, Trump wins hands down every time. The man can twist himself into a pretzel better than any yoga practitioner on both sides of the ocean. Doesn’t matter that he always ends up lopsided, unable to stand tall in his Italian made shoes. The ones he has copied in China for U.S. consumption. Or is that his daughter Ivanka’s entrepeneurial expertise?

Trump supporters are smart to entrust him with their lives and all that they posess, for there is no one more adept at the “art of the deal” than The Donald. As he said “Nobody knows the system better than me. I alone can fix it.” He should know. He’s been gaming the system for decades.

While he adamantly refuses to release any of his taxes, those under audit and those already done, he and his surrogates proudly admit that he pays the least amount possible. You can bet he’ll find a way to write off all expenses to do with his presidential campaign. After all, if he loses why should he be stuck “holding the bag.” That’s what the taxpayers are for…including his ardent supporters. The ones he likes to refer to as “uneducated.”

The Donald and his cronies, like Carl Icahn…Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary…are delighted to lead the “uneducated” towards “making America great again.” Icahn helped companies like TWA, where I worked in the early 80’s, reorganize so as to survive. Have any of you flown TWA lately? I didn’t think so.

I got pregnant so I missed all the “fun” when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. My coworkers weren’t so lucky when Icahn sold off lucrative pieces of TWA, and let the rest of the company sink into oblivion. Icahn is now worth $17 billion. Following are some of what he believes…

Image result for icahn imagesAnyone that makes me a quarter of a billion dollars, I like.
When you have no one to answer to, vendetta as investment strategy is as legitimate as anything.
You learn in this business: It you want a friend, get a dog.
My wife watches me like a hawk.
I’m a cynic about corporate democracy and boards.
(photo…channelnewsasia.com)
 
It could be that Trump considers Icahn a mentor, not just a friend. As for Icahn’s take on The Donald? “If you want a friend, get a dog.” Icahn’s words; not mine.
And in Trump’s own words… 

Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.

I vote we retire Trump, at 70 years of age, to his palatial, D.C. Mar-A-Lago on Pennsylvania Ave. The man needs to catch up on some serious sleep, and be allowed to capitalize on his run for the presidency. I can already see his brain going…

…cha-ching!…cha-cha-cha-ching!!!

………hugmamma.

Donald Trump and Carl Icahn attended a Tyson-Spinks boxing match in 1988 at Trump Plaza in New York City

Donald Trump and Carl Icahn attended a Tyson-Spinks boxing match in 1988 at Trump Plaza in New York City

(photo…uk dailymail.com)
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just because we can…

…doesn’t mean we should.

Americans tend to assume that our right to freedom of speech is God-given and encompasses everything and anything our brains can imagine. No matter that some of us have brains made of silly putty. Which, in my opinion, is the case with Messrs. Rogen and Goldberg of The Interview fame.

I may be old-school believing that some thoughts should remain just that…thoughts. However capitalism being what it is…“show me the money!”…as exclaimed by Cuba Gooding’s character in the film Jerry Maguire…even hair-brained schemes can see the light of day.

As moms the world over will agree…sometimes the only way a child learns his lesson is the hard way. And it looks like corporate mogul Sony who backed the low budget $40 million dollar fiasco hoping to reap $30 million in the first weekend alone, got punked and pranked up the wahzoo!

Back-pedaling is something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the media these days. Politicians do it all the time, as do celebrities. And lately, even mega rich sports figures have had to defend their questionable habits.

Thankfully the majority of us still know how to filter what it is we would like to do, and what it is we should and shouldn’t do.

It’s no secret that the rest of the world views America as the land where the spoiled children live. And yet, many still make their way here hoping for a little of what most of us luxuriate in every day.

Fortunately there’s more that’s good about America than the few crazies who make the headlines…

………hugmamma.

 

daily post challenge #196: are we becoming too dependent upon technology?

I think the question is centuries upon centuries upon centuries too late to debate. When the wheel was invented, mankind never looked back. When Leonardo da Vinci put wings on a human being, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. When Alexander Graham Bell tinkered with two cans and a piece of string, the IPhone was inevitable. Change, progress and capitalism are triplets in an ongoing enterprise.

The status quo is no longer static, if it ever was. Regression is impossible given mankind’s penchant for the next best thing. And capitalism…how can you even ask? Isn’t everyone aspiring to be Oprah, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or someone of lesser means, like the millionaires? Don’t we all wish we’d played the powerball lottery when the lucky winners are announced. I always query my husband afterwards as to why we didn’t buy a ticket. Then I’ll go out and buy $5 worth, lose, and forget all about the lottery until the next one makes millionaires out of middle-class folk like us.

If I were truly a hobbit in a cave, as I often say I am, perhaps then technology would have no bearing upon my life. And maybe there are those who live in isolation from the rest of society, like undiscovered tribes in South America. Unfortunately for these rare souls, technology will come knocking one of these days. They will be the unlucky recipients of the havoc technology has wreaked upon the earth.

Bulldozers are leveling rainforests. Man’s inventions are flooding the atmosphere with toxic gases. And in our race to stockpile more stuff, the internet and all its affiliated paraphernalia are making it easy to do from the comfort of our chairs and keyboards. We no longer need to expend the time or energy to get the stuff ourselves. It’ll be shipped in 7 to 14 business days.

So there’s no question that we are all affected, if not dependent upon technology and its benefits. And yet we seem to have a system of checks and balances. Having brains that obsess about everything, bodies which age without our consent, and Mother Nature prohibiting us from over-reaching, mankind is saved from the brink of total annihilation…so far.

Technology is a force with which to be reckoned, and we seem to be squeezing the life-juice out of it. Rather than dicker over our dependence, we should maintain constant vigil over its use for the common good of all people, and all species. But I’m not so sure we’re all on board in that regard.

…can we make the best of…pandora’s box…now that it’s wide open? …hugmamma.    

street paper, off-the-beaten-track news

 

Uploaded by Real Change and owned by Real Chan...

Image via Wikipedia

Picked up Seattle’s street paper, Real Change, from a vendor I’ve now seen for the second time outside the local Trader Joe’s supermarket. I’ll have to ask his name the next time; he’s very helpful, pushing empty carts back into their storage areas. He even came running as I dashed between the rain drops, taking the cart and returning it for me. 

A dollar per newspaper isn’t cheap by today’s standards, and I usually hand over $2 for one paper. I can’t help but feel it’s such a small price to pay to help another human being get by. But in addition to this feel good gesture, I look forward to finding “small stories” that are absent from mainstream media. To my pleasant surprise, Real Change ran an article about Hawaii and the white man’s role in its history.

Anyone who has read or heard anything substantive about Hawaii’s history, will probably  empathize with the natives who were out-maneuvered in terms of land wealth and self-governance. Unfortunately theirs is not a unique story; the Native Americans tell a similar one. Both have the same unhappy endings, although the Indians are making a tremendous comeback with their casinos.

But the romanticism of bygone days living off the land, taking only what was needed for sustenance, allowing Mother Earth to care for all species equally, was brought to an abrupt end. Buffalo were killed making way for trains, and the Indians were corralled onto Reservations, becoming the first recipients of government welfare.

Sarah Vowell signing books after a lecture at ...

Image via Wikipedia

“Saying hello to the Aloha State‘s complicated history” is an interview with author Sarah Vowell. Guessing from the accompanying photo, she looks to be in her early 30’s. I was impressed to think someone her age was so attuned to the sad events that had transpired in my ancestral history. But when I learned that Vowell is part Cherokee, I understood her interest in Hawaii’s dealings with the white man. To do her voice justice, I am letting the author of Unfamiliar Fishes speak for herself.

Cover of

Cover of The Wordy Shipmates

Cover of

Cover of Assassination Vacation

Sarah Vowell is a very, very busy person. She’s the New York Times bestselling author of “Assassination Vacation” and “The Wordy Shipmates,” a frequent contributor to Public Radio International‘s “This American Life” and she serves on the board of Dave Egger’s educational nonprofit organization 826NYC. She even lent her trademark deadpan vocal delivery to Pixar’s 2004 animated feature “The Incredibles.”

Vowell’s writing combines conventions of history, journalism and tongue-in-cheek satire that is often as hilarious as it is thought-provoking. She revels in the absurdities and contradictions of American history, exposing the hypocrasies of power while remaining personally committed to the ideals upon which our democracy was founded. Her latest book, “Unfamiliar Fishes,” explores the history of Hawaii, and the American missionaries, sailors, plantation owners and imperialists who arrived on its shores in the 19th century. Vowell recently took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss her work with Real Change. …

What is the historical significance of the glop of macaroni salad on a Hawaiian plate lunch?
On a Hawaiian plate lunch, which is a traditional mixed plate that is served throughout the Hawaiian islands, there is always a scoop of macaroni salad along with two scoops of Japanese style rice and then some sort of Asian or Polynesian fish or meat. The macaroni salad is this little American anomaly amidst that Pacific smorgasbord and the whole lunch hints at the multiethnic saga that is the history of Hawaii, starting with the arrival of the New England missionaries in 1820 and going up through the 19th century when the missionaries and their offspring founded the sugar plantations that became the foundation of the Hawaiian economy for about a century. And for those plantations to run, those New Englanders and their descendants had to import labor from all over the world–Japan, China, the Philippines and Korea–but also Portugal, and to a lesser extent Norway. My book is mostly about those people: the Haole, the Caucasians, the Americans who showed up and changed the islands. And so a glop of macaroni salad is not just a glop of macaroni salad: It’s indicative of centuries of change.

How do the words “aloha” and “haole” represent the differences between Hawaiian and Western cultures?
“Aloha” is to my mind the most Hawaiian word, and on the mainland we just hear that it means “hello” and “goodbye,” which is true and it also basically means “love.” But, literally translated, it has to do with the word “breath.” It can mean “the breath of life,” and the reason it’s said as a greeting is that the traditional Polynesian greeting is when two people touch noses and then literally breathe each other in.

Now the word “haole”–which also contains that word “ha,” the word for breath–there’s a sort of old wives’ tale or myth that the word “haole” connotes “without breath,” because the first Westerners who came to the islands, they did not greet one another in traditional Hawaiian. So, it’s supposed to be symbolic of how alienated the white people are from the breath of life. But really, it’s an old word and it can mean anything non-native including plants or animals. The story that I tell in the book is basically about the coming of the white people in general and the New Englanders in particular. These people changed the islands and a lot of native Hawaiians think for the worse. Besides their ideas about Christianity, capitalism and private land ownership, they also brought with them their diseases, which had a devastating effect on the native population, just as it did in the Americas. So the coming of the whites to Hawaii is a pretty complicated story and there’s some resentment toward those people on the part of native Hawaiians, which I find understandable.

Native Hawaiians

Image via Wikipedia

Generally though, Hawaii is a pretty easy-going, accepting place, and because of its multiethnic heritage, it is wildly integrated, especially compared to the rest of the country. It’s rare to find someone who was born in Hawaii who is just one race. Even the people who identify as native Hawaiian might have Chinese grandparents and American grandparents. But the origins of that are kind of nefarious. The reason that so many different kinds of people were shipped there wasn’t because the sugar plantation owners had this “It’s a small world after all” mentality. Their goal was to bring in workers from as many different places as possible because they felt that people who  spoke different languages were less likely to organize against the plantation owners.

How did the arrival of the New England missionaries in 1820 affect the institutions of Hawaiian society?
Radically. Those missionaries, they were smart people. As New Englanders, they were pretty democratic: Their only goal was to usher as many people into heaven as possible and they didn’t care whether those people were commoners or chiefs. But they recognized that because Hawaiian society was so hierarchical, they were going to have to convert and convince the monarchs and the other aristocrats first. And by sucking up to the ruling class, one major impact the missionaries had on society at large was convincing the Hawaiian government to outlaw fornication and adultery and to regulate liquor. Just as the first New England missionaries arrived, the first New England whalers had pretty much opposite goals than the missionaries, and so the Hawaiians got to witness Americans at our worst, at both our most puritanical and our most Orlando spring break.

Then, when the missionaries and their offspring started the sugar plantations, that completely revolutionized the Hawaiian landscape. They built these complicated, engineered irrigation ditches and diverted water so that places that had been dusty dry plains and near deserts became green with sugar cane. In traditional Hawaiian society, land had been held communally and was managed by the chief in concert with the commoners, but with the sugar trade, it became the American capitalist system of plantations overseen and owned mostly by white people and worked mostly by foreign workers. The native Hawaiians were increasingly shut out of their land and the Hawaiian population was decimated by as much as 80, maybe 90 percent, just by disease, so it’s hard to overemphasize how much impact the haoles had on Hawaiian life, government, culture, everything.

You write about David Malo as a figure who embodies the transitional period of Hawaiian history between traditional culture and Westernization. How does his life and work capture this?
Well, he’s a really interesting figure, and probably because he’s a writer, I really identify with him. When the first missionaries showed up, he was pretty old. He was nearing 30 when they taught him to read and write, and he happened to be, luckily, one of the Hawaiians who had been the keepers of the oral tradition. So he knew all the old chants and genealogies and was intimately aware and knowledgeable of all the old customs and the stories of the old chiefs and priests and the old religion. So after the missionaries taught him to read and write, he wrote “Hawaiian Antiquities.” He also became a very devout Christian and was eventually ordained as a minister.

But later in life, he still had nostalgia for the old ways even though he (was) a true servant of Jesus Christ. He wrote this rather melancholy letter to some Hawaiian friends that I quote in the title to my book: “If a big wave comes in, large and unfamiliar fishes will come from the dark ocean and when they see the small fishes of the shallows they will eat them up.” And it turned out to be the truth. When he died, he asked to be buried up this hill that was really hard to get to because he just wanted to be where no white man would build a house. But his book is really quite beautiful.

Native Hawaiians

Image via Wikipedia

The events leading up to the U.S. annexation of Hawaii were driven by the opposing ideals of Lorrin Thurston and Queen Liliuokalani. Can you explain the political and cultural conflicts between these two figures?
Lorrin Thurston’s major problem with Queen Liliuokalani was just that she was a queen. Even though he was born in Hawaii and because he was a descendant of the missionaries, the whole idea of monarchy was just something to disdain. And that is something I can kind of identify with. To me, there’s no inherent value in monarchy. That said, the Hawaiian kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy and as monarchies go, it was wildly inclusive. I mean, the Hawaiian monarchs welcomed all these foreigners into their kingdom and into their government, including Thurston.

Ship's landing force at the time of the overth...

Image via Wikipedia

Although to me there’s nothing inherently great about a queen, she was, I think, for that time and place, pretty much the ideal ruler. She was an impressive person who was schooled by the missionaries, so she was a very devout Christian who at the same time was a very proud and knowledgeable native Hawaiian. So by the time the queen became the queen she was plotting to reverse that constitution which had also severely limited native Hawaiians’ right to vote for their representatives. That’s when Thurston and his pals conspired to oust her to support their own sham of a constitution. Even though she had overwhelming native support, the native population was in such decline that there just weren’t enough of them to put up much of a fight.

The Three Cherokee. Came over from the head of...

Image via Wikipedia

You write about a double-sided view of American history that you have come to know through your own experience. How does Hawaii represent this notion of America as two places at once?
I’m part Cherokee and was born in Oklahoma because some of my ancestors were forced by the U.S. Army at gunpoint to march across the country in what came to be called the Trail of Tears. So, that’s always been a little bit of a caveat to the story of American exceptionalism that I was certainly taught in school. You know, I’m all for self-government and the First Amendment and all that stuff–but there’s always a part of me that knows firsthand about the failures of those ideals.

The annexation of Hawaii, as many of the dissenters of the time pointed out, really does contradict the ideals put forth in the Declaration of Independence. In 1898, when the U.S. annexed Hawaii along with Guam and Puerto Rico and invaded the Philippines and Cuba, we became a global empire overnight. A group of Americans, a lot of them in the highest echelons of the government, were more concerned with power and greatness than our core ideals of republican forms of government. One of those men was Henry Cabot Lodge and he gave (this speech) in 1900 to poo-poo all of the anti-imperialist sissies where he just demolished the idea that consent of the governed is even possible. He talked about Thomas Jefferson, the author of that phrase, being the greatest expansionist in American history who, when he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, acquired the biggest chunk of land at once that we had ever acquired, and it didn’t even occur to him to ask the consent of all the French colonials and Indians who were living out on that vast continent he had just taken over. So, I think Lodge sort of has a point.

It is interesting to me that throughout American history, this idea of government based on the consent of the governed is at our core, but also this contradictory process of expansion. The Hawaiian annexation definitely is a part of that because the Hawaiian people, once annexation was afoot, they rallied and collected thousands and thousands of signatures and sent them to Congress, protesting annexation. It was definitely something that the Hawaiian people were completely against and yet the United States annexed those islands anyway. So, I guess in that sense it jibes with my view of the country as having these lofty ideals that we frequently betray.

Interviewed by Robert Alford
Contributing Writer