The Mink

We lost our first Old Dog Haven final refuge dog last week.

It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts on the event, although I can’t even count the number of triggers around the house that compel me, for just a fraction of a second, to expect him to be there. I know it will be quite a long while before that mental skip stops. A couple of days ago, Sharon told me that Minky was back, and in the instant before I realized that she meant his ashes were back at the vet, I had time to imagine some kind of miracle of doggie resurrection.

There are two ways to look at the loss of a pet like Minky. The first is the intellectual argument. He came to us at the end of a long life. We knew that going in. He had people who loved him until they could no longer be there for him. He arrived at our house with a multitude of health issues, any one of which could have taken him from us very quickly. He also came with the full support of Old Dog Haven, and that is no small thing. Sharon attacked the health problems with her usual relentless determination and efficiency, and he was quickly stabilized. I could tell when he bounced back because his fur started growing again. Once it started, it made weeds jealous. He had a few months of relative perkiness* before we noticed there may be something else causing problems. That “something” turned out to be pulmonary hypertension, a condition that would ultimately take him. He outlived his prognosis through a rigorous program of meds and, I like to think, love.

So now it’s over, and there is no question that we gave him almost 15 good months that he wouldn’t have had without us. There is no question that we did everything we could, and that we couldn’t have done it without Old Dog Haven. The question is always making THE DECISION, the agonizing discernment of when it’s time to say goodbye. With some dogs, it’s easy. They go from health to collapse in some acute and obvious event, or they just announce that it is time in way that a long relationship allows us to recognize. With a final refuge foster like Mink, it’s harder. We never saw him fully healthy; we only saw degrees of health that changed, sometimes slowly and sometime quickly, but the final call is muddy. It turns into a gray area mental game of what treatments are left to try versus how well they are likely to work and how much time they will afford versus the trend lines of health that have led to that point, and so on. It’s all too easy to form a circular argument that leaves only an intuitive call, one that we are never smart enough to know, in black and white, was the correct one. But ultimately, we make the choice based on the suffering of the animal, and whether we can do anything to stop that suffering.

The other side of the argument is the emotional one. There is no way to avoid it when a pet passes on. There’s the heavy sigh of a pet when you hold him, knowing that he regards you as the safe place in the world. There’s the careful balance of  your pet trying to be connected to you and your spouse, his other person, at once. There’s the way he runs to your feet in between challenges in a strange environment, The way he grunts in pleasure as you rub his neck. These things are hard to give up. Total faith from one person to another is nigh impossible, but from a dog to a trusted human, it’s routine. They give trust completely unless they have a reason not to. The risk of course is to regard this as a treasure to be held at all costs because it is so hard to find elsewhere in our lives, but in reality, it is a trust to be held for the benefit of the animal. They trust you to guide them, even into the end of their lives. It’s not easy to keep in mind, but it’s a duty we pay in return for even a single day of that animal’s pure faith.

If there is a third leg to this ethical stool, it’s probably philosophical. Physical problems: blindness, deafness, missing leg, and joint pain, do not stop a dog. They waste no time being angry with life, or God, or fate, trying to lay the blame for their misfortune. They simply move forward as best they can, without remorse, without resentment. They are perfect examples of perseverance. However, mistreat them emotionally and they will break. They grieve, they lose trust, they feel fear that has nothing to do with mortality, they feel embarrassment and pride in a job well done. Deprive them of these things and they suffer. The combination of instinct and emotional damage will turn a great dog into a snarling mess. And yet, like people, they are rarely irredeemable. It’s a matter of patience and rebuilding of trust in a bond of partnership.

A dog like Minky had his entire web of life and trust pulled out from under him. He had the advantage of being well treated by his first people, and so had a relatively easy time of slotting us into the comfortable patterns of his life. Some dogs are not so lucky. Our dog Elke went from stray to shelter to shelter to home, to me. She had the trust pulled from her enough times that we had to work together for quite some time before we established a working relationship that included trust. Even today, nine years later, she holds the echoes of mistrust, but she finds great satisfaction in those moments when she is connected without competition to her people. She’s a great dog, whose blindness doesn’t slow her down, but her memory of distrust occasionally does.

The point is that Minky was fortunate enough to pass through this world without any of the truly deep scars, but even those dogs who cannot feel that grace deserve that best we can give them. They will always give better than they get. I have no doubt that dogs have all the same benefits of soul and redemption that we do, and that Minky has gone to a place where he can reconnect with his people, his best sources of joy, and we were privileged to play a small part in carrying him to that ultimate reward.

Rampant Speculation

Please keep in mind that I’m a fiction writer, and everything here is not-completely unsupported, but unsupported nonetheless. If you can’t find your own support for this chain of thought, then I refer you to Google. Think of it as food for thought, and a focused synthesis of information and intuition.

It has been a long time since I thought that Hillary would be good for America, on any level. Consider the recent wikileaks dumps as just fuel for the fire of a woman who lends herself to a wide range of horror stories of corruption that stretch back for many years. I never expected any corroboration of what I thought the patterns indicated, and like many, shake my head in amazement at the fact that so much has been released to support my dark theories. In other words, I was in the “anything but Hillary” camp long ago. For those of you who think it has anything to do with her being a woman, rest assured I have no doubt that a woman would make a good president. Just not this woman.

I could skip her speeches, which contain two hallmarks. One is that she is speaking of some alternate universe that defies our own observations. Two is that she continually levels a pointy finger and raspy nasal voice at Trump for doing exactly the things she does, except that he is a relative newb at anything she conjures up, and she is a consummate master at those exact accusations. I find it amazing. I also find it amazing that she can continually speak as if we don’t know anything, which I interpret as her complete disdain for our ability to observe and retain a memory of the behavior of herself and other political so-called leaders over the last decade or two. To be fair, this applies to politicians in general, on both sides of the aisle. Apparently their conspiracy of complexity is not quite enough to befuddle us stupid voters away from an observed pattern of behavior that fails to serve our best interests.

Unfortunately, we all fall prey to a lack of time to observe the issues from multiple angles, and the stark discomfort of having to hear completely opposing viewpoints to our own. There is no impartial news anymore. In order to derive some semblance of the truth, we are forced to check out multiple sources for almost everything and make our own judgement based on our best weighting of all those multiple slants of the same information. You can’t get it from a single newspaper, network, or third tier conspiracy site. You have to use your own ability to sift and weight information and decide for yourself, Welcome to the future.

So, based on on the information uncovered in the Anthony Weiner investigation of his atrocious behavior involving a minor from North Carolina, and following a string of disgraceful, and disgracing, behavior on his part in the past (#dumbassthinkingwithsmallhead), FBI director Comey has decided to reopen the investigation into Hillary’s email investigation. The former darling of Democrats everywhere announced this Friday, thus flipping the whole Democratic establishment into his worst enemy in minutes. The result of his former conclusion not to recommend indictment, or even a grand jury, for Hillary last summer has been an ongoing debate which has, among other things, apparently destroyed his reputation as an impartial paragon of justice, and has set up an internal revolution of discord at the FBI. Given new information from a laptop jointly used by Huma and Weiner, Comey has decided to reopened the Hillary investigation just 11 days before the presidential election. This laptop reportedly contains 650,000 emails, presumably containing sensitive information from Hillary’s infamous private server, with the distinct possibly that the notorious 33,000 deleted Hilary emails are among them. Of course, if any of it was classified information put in the hands of Huma and by association, Anthony Weiner, it’s already a tremendous breach of national security, and I’m ignoring lots of potential felonious charges to simplify the issue.

Also, if that’s the case, and Huma failed to turn it over in the previous round of investigation, that’s another crime to protect the Hillary mothership, committed by Abedin. Which means that she would ostensibly cop to Hillary’s larger direction of criminal activity to save Abedin herself from criminal indictment.

Given the extent of wikileaks emails, the laptop could contain almost anything. And thus the rampant speculation begins…

Suppose the best case scenario is simply that Hillary’s “extreme recklessness” with classified information allowed classified information to fall into the hands of Huma Abedin, who does not have the clearance to see such information, and on the other end of the spectrum given her rumored ties to various groups, feeds information to our enemies. Suppose that it is also in the hands of Anthony Weiner, who would be willing to trade any information to avoid his likely prison sentence for his terrible alleged sexual behavior with minors. This is the best case, folks. Even so, it is well beyond a life sentence based on precedent. As long as it doesn’t involve Hillary and her self built protected class, this is the kind of thing that destroy people’s lives.

The second best scenario is that it proves intent of Hillary’s understanding that what she was doing was illegal, and therefore needed active measures to cover up. This nullifies Comey’s summer  expression that given that he couldn’t prove intent, which was not part of the statute in question anyway, but let’s just say… She knew she was breaking laws and did it anyway, understanding that there was an entire machine in place to protect her, if not for her own sake, but to protect Obama, who knew all about it from the beginning (according to wikileaks). This is no surprise to observers of political maneuvering, but may be to those who still think our government still represents us.

The third and worst scenario is that something completely unknown is about to be revealed, and Comey was forced to foreshadow it or to look like a complete fool. Rumor has it that Hillary is at the center of something very bad, something no one could possibly defend, and that information would have come from the NYPD. If it came from the NYPD without some involvement from the FBI, who looks like the fools? Of course, it could be that Comey was simply looking for a way to save his reputation and would grasp at any straw to reopen the investigation to show that he wasn’t a tool of the Democratically driven DOJ. Looking at you Loretta Lynch… He already has a a tainted record of being driven by the Obama system, and could go down in history as a tool. A man who had a reputation for truth and justice might push very hard to recover that reputation for impartial spine. Maybe it’s all a false alarm, as Rush freaking Limbaugh says, and it’s being used to bury the Wikileaks revelations in mind of voters. Or, it’s possible that Comey is a very intelligent man who knows that to cry wolf at this point would be the nail in his reputation coffin, and he has something very significant to say about Hillary. I guess we’ll see.

In any case, the evidence, and patterns surrounding her, point to an unbelievable level of corruption on Hillary’s part, and to paraphrase KD, “To imagine that even 10% of Americans would support her is frightening.”

Not Mine – But worth a thought.

My uncle forwarded this to me. Plenty of logical problems in it, but a lot of correctness in spirit.

#10 Only in America… could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate Obama campaign fund-raising event.

#09 Only in America… could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black, 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans – 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!

#08 Only in America… could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

#07 Only in America… can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

#06 Only in America… could you collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year – for total spending of $7 Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.

#05 Only in America… could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be called EXTREMISTS.

#04 Only in America… could you need to present a drivers license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

#03 Only in America… could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

#02 Only in America… would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just magically become American citizens. (probably should be number one)

#01 Only in America…. could the rich people – who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

Wherein I Become Political

Sorry to all you Hillary supporters out there.

Yes, Donald trips over his tongue more often than should be allowed. The sad fact is that if we men were feeding our unedited mental stream to a recorder, it would come up a lot like Trump’s recent 11-year-old comments. We’re really stupid like like that.

That being said, with the implicit apology to women everywhere who do not understand that you have this brain killing effect on men, there are literally infinite examples of this kind of idiotic “locker room” talk almost every time men get together. We can’t help it. We’re sorry, but you are more than we can resist. And isn’t that a good thing in the grand scheme of things?

I’ve been accused of a “subtle sexism” in my writing. I am thankful for the “subtle” part of that accusation. I believe that women can do anything, without any limits. My wife is more than a match for me in far more ways than I can count. I believe that women should have the same opportunities and get paid the same for the same job. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where the first consideration for a person’s competence may well be gender. I’m married to a consummate professional and I was raised by another. I also believe that women should have the ultimate choice about what happens with their bodies. I do not, however, believe that we should confuse equal with “same”. Women are different, and that’s a good thing. They approach many important problems with a different set of priorities and goals, and oftentimes that is exactly what the problem requires. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tied myself into a mental knot, and my wife has come along and untied the whole problem with a handful of words. Needless to say, that differing set of priorities and approaches has enormous value in the overall solution. The potential perspective is valuable. I’d love to equate that with the potential first woman president, but I can’t.

Hillary, on the other hand, is not expressing that value. No matter how often she declares herself the champion of women and girls, she is an almost perfect example of masculine values. Say the most expedient thing, do the most expedient thing to accrue the most power and money, and lie when it runs contrary to the narrative of the most expedient path to those traditional patriarchal values of power and wealth. Have a private and public policy and never the twain shall meet. This is a stated position that I find far more frightening than locker room talk. The current political climate is almost defined by the fact that so much lying is being thrown around that we have no idea what is really happening. Isn’t it a truly male method to lie when caught, and to keep lying until there is at least some question in the actual facts of any particular issue? Or more precisely, to keep lying until well after the evidence is overwhelming in contradiction of the lie. I used to think that Bush the Younger had mastered that technique, but Hillary makes him look like a lying amateur. So does Obama, for that matter.

Trump, on the other hand, is too clumsy to get away with the same tactic. So, even though his message is a bizarre mixed bag of potentially scary outcomes, he is not capable of the level of subterfuge that our political machine has perpetuated on us for almost my entire life. Isn’t that sadly refreshing? Trump has been caught talking like a teenager in a locker room. Big deal. He is a male pig. Just like the conversation that occurs every poker night at my next door neighbor’s house. If you are a woman, would you find it offensive? Most likely. Would you find it rare? Not a chance. Men with other men will always talk big about women because we find women the most important thing, the most mysterious thing, and the most likely to lend us status in any male vs. male conversation. Is it stupid? Yep, definitely. Will it ever change? Nope. Is it our fault? No again, because we will always find women to be the most important thing we discuss. As women from a male perspective, and I say this in a dangerously sexist fashion, will always be the most important and baffling subject that men will ever discuss. Women, you have that power over us. Rejoice!

So we have a man who has said typically boorish and male things about women, yet puts women in high level positions within his multi-billion dollar/thousands-of-jobs enterprise in which most of his employees feel that he looks out for their best interests, and pays them the same as men, versus a woman who lives out very male values and in her limited experience as an employer of women, pays them 30% less for the same level position as men in the Clinton Foundation, which incidentally exists to spend 90% of its income to enrich the Clintons while taking money from the worst examples of women’s rights in the world. To be fair, I suspect her closest advisors are paid very well. Well…. You call it. My view is that Hillary is no champion of women or children. She certainly hasn’t helped either group in a full career of claiming victory. Frankly, I’m amazed that with all the effort to discredit Mr. Trump, they haven’t found armies of people to testify against him. Apparently he actually does behave himself pretty well. If not, the media would gleefully dump hundreds of interviews on our heads. On the Hillary side, we have decades of well documented misbehavior and elite disconnection from the reality of our existence under her entrenched system and a profound lack of positive results.

Now let’s broaden our view. Here we are with a government, constitutionally called to look out for our best interests first, that in reality looks at our best interests last. I’ve long said that there are  only two conclusions that fit the facts. Either we keep electing total idiots, or the people we keep electing are working for someone else. Who might those others be? The first and most benign view is that our so called representatives quickly forget what it feels like to be on this side of the privilege line, and are simply working for themselves. In a world of more sinister possibilities, pure selfishness is a very calm conclusion. I mean they, meaning our elected representatives, have all kinds of favors and loopholes through which they can enrich themselves without anyone, meaning us, noticing until it’s too late. A more scary conclusion is that they are working for someone else. Although I’ve seen plenty of conspiracy theories about who someone else might be, I can honestly say that I have no idea.

Logically, “they” can be grouped into special interests or some kind one world government idea, which based on recent wikileaks and about a million statements, Hillary clearly supports. It is purely logical that the biggest impediment to a one world government is the American middle class, which has wielded enormous economic and political power to go with our independence and access to opportunity. Until recently at least… Those of us in the American middle class are losing economic power through globalization and loss of jobs. We are losing political potency through a rapid loss of economic power and a cultural sell job that is trying to convince us that the American culture is not only useless, but something to feel guilty about. Thanks, Obama, who manages to disparage American values on a regular basis. How do we lose the heart to fight for our way of life? Obama. Any president standing in a foreign country talking about American laziness is saying more about himself than those under his condescending crosshairs. None of this is to say that our culture is in any way perfect. It is really more of a supporting leg in the way that we built our economic success. I’d say that leg needs some heavy sanding and a new coat of paint right about now.

How do we continue to lose the idea that we have a culture worth preserving? Some combination of overwrought political correctness combined with Hillary’s third term of Obama. Who does this ideology benefit? Not us. If we a want world that seeks fairness above all else, then we have to be prepared to lose more of our way of life than others would gain. If we want to maintain our quality of life then we need to be prepared to put America first, a phrase that has been reduced to a trucker hat slogan. Anyone who has been to third world or post Soviet nations can attest to the fact that we are blessed in this country, and we should do whatever it takes to avoid becoming a post-American nation.

So what works at this point? First off, we need to forget globalism until it works for us. It’s a nice idea of inclusiveness that will destroy our quality of life. Trump stands for this concept. Even the most critical interpretation of Trump’s stance indicates that he is working to preserve his wealth into a future that will no longer support it. If Trump can’t go from today and grow wealth into the future, then what chance do we have? Hillary stands for eroding our quality of life as fast as she can manage it. The only limit is how much discomfort we can withstand, like the proverbial frog in boiling water. If “they” move too fast, we sense the danger and jump out before we are cooked. The movement of support for Trump, and Bernie, we’ve seen in the past year indicates that “we the frog” are feeling the heat. And we should. Hillary’s record alone makes this point clear. She exists for her power at the expense of the American middle class, which in turn stands in the face of a “global open borders, one step from a global government” reality. Anyone who thinks a real hemisphere free trade system protects our way of life, please raise your hand.

Long story short, Hillary represents a future of global oligarchy that doesn’t care about Joe Six Pack and his opportunity of future success against the “fair” balance with every third world nation. We will fall far further than they will rise. Trump, warts and all, represents a preservation of our saucy capitalist values, which includes American exceptionalism, and the middle class existence that rides on the success of that vision. It’s your choice, and rightly so. Just think it through…. and then feel free to write in a vote for your favorite aunt, who is almost guaranteed to run the country better than anything on the ballot. But then, whose favorite aunt is the best? Let’s pick one of those charming ladies who has no fear of saying exactly what she thinks. They are the best.