Comic Strip Wisdom…

Tom Wilson is a cartoonist who draws the “Ziggy” cartoons.  Cartoonists are a rare breed in that they can communicate with very few words and relatively crudely-drawn pictures.  Life as a professional cartoonist must take a brilliant mind, or a deviant mind, or a combination of the two since there are virtually no words employed to make the various points.

The cartoon today in the Journal Sentinel, one of the best parts of this declining newspaper now under the guidance/ownership of USA Today, shows Ziggy pondering his face while looking in the bathroom medicine cabinet mirror.  A very simple set-up by Mr. Wilson to be sure as are most of his drawings of Ziggy.

The caption is quite simple and quite profound simultaneously:

“If you’re sad over finding a new wrinkle…just think back to all the smiles it took to make it.”

I pride myself, which isn’t always wise, on being a very positive person that can typically find the good things in an otherwise crummy situation; which also is a great way to drive others bonkers if they have problems making that leap.  I admit this is purely a leap of faith, but that is sometimes all we have left in certain situations.

Faith is one of those very deep things we tend to tie to religious beliefs, and that is proper for faith is an absolute requirement if one is to be a real believer as a Christian.  We are confronted with so much that tends to fly-in-the-face of logic in our workaday lives that it sometimes just seems too overwhelming to stay rooted in faith.

And along comes Ziggy to help us wise humans get back to reality.  We will have wrinkles.  We will have problems.  We will be saddened by happenings.  We may wonder every once in awhile if we are right about this whole faith thing.  We acquire the signs of having lived by living.

Life means we’ll have some times when we are seriously challenged to hang on to our faith and to keep on putting one foot in front of the other until we emerge from that deep funk we had to get through.  Not one of us gets through this life without experiencing suffering and hurt.  We have choices in these situations.

We can pull ourselves up “by the bootstraps” even though the majority of us no longer have bootstraps, or we can choose the option of feeling sorry for self and making those around us miserable, too.  There are sufficient issues of real importance that we’ll encounter so we don’t really have to create our own situations by moping through our days affecting others with our cases of self-lament usually over things we ought not to be lamenting in the first place.

My tendency is to have a smile on my face throughout the day, and I know that makes some people uncomfortable or certainly makes them wonder what I take to be able to be the way I am.  If I have a secret it might center about the fact that I have a strong faith, I know there are bumps in this road we call life, and I know I want to get through the rougher patches as quickly and painlessly as is possible.

Simply, I do not enjoy being sad.  If I can find something to make me happy during a period of sadness, I will use that something as best I can to get to the other side of my current sadness.  The something is not alcohol or pills since that only makes things worse.  The something is usually whatever God has placed in my path over which I can revel and take my mind off other things.  It might be a pretty flower or a baby bird or animal or a beautiful sunrise or sunset, or any of a number of other things that we can see and experience if we open ourselves to that stimuli.

Does it always work so easily?  No, of course, it doesn’t.  But that means we just have to get back on that horse and ride it again.  Do I always get back on that horse right away?  No; I am as human or more so than many others.  So, I mope and frown and fail to see the beautiful things life brings to me for a while until someone or something hits me with the fact that my attitude is keeping me from getting through the fog and drizzle.

We are all similar in this regard, and we all need help.  The magic is finally coming to understand our own weaknesses and getting on with getting on.  Ziggy’s reminder about new wrinkles is an important reminder.  We can make wrinkles by smiling or by frowning…and smiling is a lot more enjoyable, and drives others a  bit nutty trying to figure out why you’re always smiling.

 

Democrats Think They’ve Found Reason

This story headline captured my attention…as story headlines are meant to do: Democrats sue Russia, Trump campaign over 2016 election.  It made it to page 9 of section A of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (owned by USA Today) this morning; not exactly front-page, bombshell-type news from those editors’ perspective apparently.

The Dems managed to bring WikiLeaks into this case, as well.  All the parties are alleged to have conspired to influence the 2016 elections in favor of Donald Trump.  The conspiracy is said to have launched a cyber attack to damage the Democratic Party and thus effectively had the ‘honor’ of electing Trump.

First, WOW!  We have heard previous reports of the Russians hacking the DNC computer system, stealing documents and employing WikiLeaks to disseminate the stolen materials.  This is old news; really old news.

All along, I thought it was the fact that we stupid American voters had no more common sense than to vote for Trump that caused Hillary to lose.  This simply sounds so far-fetched on its surface as to make it the understatement of the week, the month and maybe the year-to-date.  If there is sufficient truth here to gain a court victory, why wait so long?

My first thought comes from Mark Twain to whom is attributed:

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

The Dem’s lawsuit alleges that Russia was a “willing and active partner” in Trump’s campaign and apparently that these ne’er do wells helped Trump defeat Hillary.  The DNC Chair Tom Perez was quoted on Friday saying:

“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for president of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency.”

I am not sure that a political party is able to sue a sovereign country.  I am not sure the Democratic National Committee really wants to try to further explain Hillary’s loss…but maybe her ‘highness’ Hillary has threatened them with whatever to encourage them to fight for her honor.  The allegations state that “the Russian government notified the Trump campaign it had stolen Democratic e-mails and other information that it was seeking to use in support of Trump’s candidacy.”

It was apparently following this notification that the Trump campaign eagerly and willingly fell into lock-step with the Russkies in hopes of gaining the Oval Office.  This all sounds, pardon me for being so brazen, as something contrived in the ‘mind’ of Hillary Clinton that helps to explain her continuing embarrassment as a political competitor.

If there is sufficient truth here, why has it taken so very long to be exposed?  Why wasn’t this used during the campaign?  Why is it finally being laid out for us by the DNC?  Have Hillary and Company lost all semblance of believability?  Why hasn’t the investigative genius Comey been blasting this out for months?

Or can it be that this represents the final flailing about of a candidate who has lost her allure with the voters but hasn’t yet personally accepted that fact?  This is sad if anything.  Let us see where all this late-breaking 9 paragraph news item on page 9A takes us.

 

Governor Moonbeam…

Jerry Brown, elected Governor of California, earned the nickname “Moonbeam” years ago.  That he is liberal would go down as one of  THE understatements of modern history.  That he is not a fan of current President Trump would also qualify as a significant understatement.

So, when the President determined that states on the southern border of our country were to activate sufficient National Guard troops to serve as adjuncts to the Border Patrol authorities, there was recognized the potential for a coming confrontation of some sort between the California Governor and the U.S. President.

It must apparently be easier for Mexican nationals and others from South America to illegally enter this country than for innocent U.S. tourists to spend a day across the same border spending dollars to aid the Mexican economy.  That would be a reasonable conclusion when we look at the ministrations of the Governor when this ‘buffoonish’ President (from the Governor’s perspective) told the Governors of all states on the Southern border with Mexico to activate some of their states’ National Guard troops to protect our borders until sufficient manmade barriers could be erected/manned.  When activated, they also go on the national payroll so there was no baggage dropped on the states other the service of some of their uniformed citizens who would be ordered to Federal active duty.

Governor Brown, of course, refused to order ‘his’ troops to so engage illegals trying to cross the border.  His order to the troops read thusly:  the troops were “to combat criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers”.  He went on: “California National Guard will not enforce immigration laws or participate in the construction of any new border barrier”.

So, President Trump, not one to be bashful, said: “Governor Jerry Brown announced he will deploy ‘up to 400 National Guard Troops’ to do nothing.  The crime rate in California is high enough, and the Federal Government will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade.  We need border security and action, not words!”

It appears insufficient that cities such as San Francisco have become a drug users’ paradise under this porous border enforcement of Governor Brown with streets being overrun by those who have shot up and then lie about in the business district waiting for someone to help them to find more drugs to shoot…as city officials seem to be wont to do by creating more facilities for these people rather than to address the societal issue that breeds these poor people.

Simply on its face, a Governor should not be personally defying the lawful order of the President no matter the politics involved.  That Governor ought to be able, as well, to see the damage being done to his or her states’ citizens by the illegal flow of drugs across the border and the work of the city fathers to make things more comfortable for the users in their effort to avoid further damaging the tourist trade.  That might not have been so ‘necessary’ had the border been rendered nonporous already.

This then is pure politics.  There is no other proper term to describe Governor Brown’s actions and inactions.  Damn the realities; we’re not gonna play the conservative’s games.  Can’t make us!!!!

This goes on in California but does not go in Texas.  Both have borders with Mexico, as does Arizona.  Can this have something to do with the political leanings in each state?  Is this actually about the places where leaders say “can’t we all just get along” vs. where leaders say “this is illegal and we will support the federal effort with our national guard troops gladly”?

Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’…

Depending on your age and your memory, you might recall this great advertisement that featured John Cameron Swayze and a Timex watch as it went through various abusive testing.  At the end of the test, we heard the background mantra:  It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.  

If you are too young to remember this, or too old to be able to remember this, it was a great advertisement for what was then an upstart wristwatch company working diligently to gain market share from the ‘big boys’.  The prices were extremely competitive and the product was pretty darned good.

As I pondered today’s blog topic and listened to the latest background sounds on my radio this old ad campaign came back clearly and vividly…and it hit me that we have the personification of this advertisement going on every day.  Every time we hear the latest press-driven hit job on our duly elected President, we ought to say to our selves…’He takes a lickin’ and he keeps on tickin’.

He not only keeps on tickin’, he continues to break new ground like we’ve not seen from a President for a long, long time.  He ventures into campaigns such as that of taking on and defeating North Korea’s dictator, something all other Presidents of recent vintage have chosen to ignore.  By “defeating” that dictator, I actually mean that he has tamed that dictator and forced him to recognize he needs to play nice for a change or he’ll even lose his absolutely required support from China.

Where others in the Oval Office have given lip service to the need to find ways to tame this dictator, President Trump has walked up to his front door and rung the doorbell so loudly and for so long the pudgy miscreant had to answer the door and actually begin to ‘play nice with others’ over the fear he’d lose his support from China.

The Mueller investigation would’ve forced other Presidents to cower in the corner, if there is a corner in an Oval Office, when this President essentially says bring it on but be sure you have your chin strap buckled ’cause it ain’t gonna be an easy fight.  I haven’t done anything wrong and I refuse to be brushed away like some crumbs on the Democrats’ neckties.  And, while you’re at it, make sure your own life is in order because I don’t usually let myself get stomped and shoved around without extracting something in return.

Through all these trials and tribulations, when you’d have expected that Trump would be the “shrinking violet”, President Trump has stepped up his game rather than hiding behind his desk…and he continues to win the battles each day brings.  We see the liberals running scared because everything they try blows up in their own faces…and they don’t seem able to learn a lesson from these explosions that have blackened their faces and destroyed their mantra of the day or week or month.

Through all this crap, yes “crap” is the correct word, President Trump continues to achieve things no one else in this office has achieved under similar duress…since there has never been similar duress unless we go back to the era of “Tricky Dickie” Nixon who brought his problems onto himself.

It may well be that time will have to pass in order for the real job being done for us day in and day out to finally be recognized.  That is what made me think of the old Timex commercial.  I have long felt that it is unfair for those who were ridiculed and belittled by their contemporaries to be long gone before the rest of society finally takes notice of all the good that came from those beleaguered people.

There are no current Democrats that can hold a candle to this President’s capabilities and his accomplishments.  There are no Republican contemporaries who have had the courage, and also the desire, to stand up and bang his political foes about the head and shoulders for their inability to see the accomplishments.  Dare not do that; might have to get my hands dirty and it might cost me votes.

Like Timex, there is often a lag between the acts of great people and the recognition that they were actually great people.  That probably will be what President Trump experiences but he has been there and done that in his business world, so he has a good idea of all this timelag…and does it anyway!

He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!

Koreas Appear to Make Peace a Possibility…

The two Koreas, North, and South, seem to have decided to attempt to make peace with one and other and have declared an end to the nearly 70-year stand-off.  The only real thing that has changed recently is the election of President Trump who is planning a trip to Korea soon.

What has occurred to make this seem something desired by the North?  President Trump was elected and he has a no-nonsense approach to things such as the two-Koreas.  Could it be that the North has seen the wisdom of getting out of the nuclear weapons business in return for some assistance from the free world?  Could it be that this new President is not the pussy-footer that past U.S. Presidents have been?  Could it be that his standing up to China has made a China-North Korea relationship seem not as attractive as it was recently?

President Trump is basically the sole change that has occurred in the world to have an effect on this communist relationship.  He is not the typical President who dances around such ‘delicate’ issues; he simply says what he thinks and is certain to remind people that he has the strength of will to back it up if that becomes necessary.

This is simply part of the string of things that have occurred since his swearing-in ceremony that seems to be a direct result of his sitting in the White House.  He does carry a “big stick” and he does not always ‘speak softly’.  That is indeed a different combination from other Presidents of both Democrat and Republican stripes.

For being what the Democrats claim is an abomination in the Oval Office, this know-nothing poseur is making things happen, and he is making it look easy after years of stand-off politics by both sides.   The North Korea-South Korea leaders meet in Panmunjom on April 27th and that is to lead to a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

It seems that sooner or later people of all stripes will need to come to their senses and reconsider what they’ve said and thought about Donald Trump since we elected him our President.  If he is indeed a buffoon, it seems we should’ve sought out a buffoon much earlier.

  • * * * *

Finally, on a different subject entirely, I have a wonderful personal physician who treated me to a word that was not previously in my vocabulary after I confessed as part of a physical examination that I tended to try to add a word that might not be well known to my blogs on occasion.  He made one available to me that I didn’t comprehend and couldn’t imagine how to fit into one of my sentences after seeking the definition.  I shall spare you, readers, the agony he subjected me to, and promise I will try not to do the same to you…and apologize if I’ve unintentionally already crossed that line.  Thanks for being a consumer of the Blog, Doc!

The Ten Commandments (of Logic)

Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments.  Some because we study our Bibles and others of us because there was a movie about all that.  There are actually at least two sets of the Ten Commandments and the one that is our subject today is known as the Ten Commandments of Logic.  These are important Commandments although they do not even come close to the original set’s importance.

  1. Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad Hominem)
  2. Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw Man Fallacy)
  3. Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty Generalization)
  4. Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (Begging the Question)
  5. Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/ False Cause)
  6. Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False Dichotomy)
  7. Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, a claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum)
  8. Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of Proof Reversal)
  9. Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Non sequitur)
  10. Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon legacy)

I would suggest that we keep this version of the Ten Commandments close at hand in the season of high politics since that seems the perfect time for us to be besieged by the use of illogical and indefensible arguments.

The “debate” over the new national health care plan, now known as ObamaCare, where a member of Congress who shall go unnamed, exclaimed that we had to pass it in order to find out what was in it seems, by itself, to be sufficient reason to invoke these ten rules during all times when Congress is in session.  We ought to also carry a small card in wallets or purses that contain these commandments for ready referral when we encounter a nonsensical representation that is full of fallacy.

We are each likely guilty of employing one or more of these illogical points on occasion.  That is easy in the heat of the moment when we are groping for that next, and hopefully, final point in our argument for or against whatever it is that has become the subject of all the passion.

We are reminded that even the use of impassioned jargon cannot be allowed to substitute for truth and for reason.  I have images in mind of people on the floor of Congress who regularly summon such ‘commandments’ to bolster their feeble arguments.  Unfortunately, the idea of stopping that person in his or her tracks and asking them what they think they’re talking about is not permissible in that great hall where the brilliant and erudite discuss what us peons will be required to do next.

Would that these ten commandments had been emblazoned on the walls of that great room during the debate on ObamaCare.  Would that any argument advanced on the floor of Congress be required to be subjected to this set of ten commandments…in the full light of day and not at “O-Dark-Thirty” as was the case with ObamaCare.

 

Perspective…

We’ve all likely heard this word many times in the course of our lives, and we’ll continue to hear this word since it means so many different things depending on your own perspective.  Sort of confusing so we begin with the definition:

PERSPECTIVE:

1a: a mental view or prospect  (to gain a broader perspective on the international scene)

1b: a visible scene; especially: one giving a distinctive impression of distance

2a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed placing the issues in proper perspective

2b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance, ie. trying to maintain my perspective

3. the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

4a: the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relations of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically: representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance

4b: a picture in perspective

We are urged often to try to see this or that from the other person’s perspective, and we are sometimes able to do that while at other times it is an impossibility.  Politics is particularly subjected to the word “perspective” as are the conversations we share with others on various things ‘political’.

We grow up with a fairly well-determined understanding of what’s what…and then we leave home and begin to experience things from all sorts of differing perspectives.  We have differing experiences from others with whom we might’ve been ‘joined at the hip’ and come together later in life only to wonder how he got to that place in his thinking, or how she could’ve possibly seen anything in him to make her want to spend her life with him?

It seems that most everything is impacted by ‘perspective’.  And perspective is impacted by experiences.  Since we each are “products of our own experiences”, are we silly to believe we can share the same or similar perspectives with another person whom we may not even know?  Or with a person we used to think we knew except he or she has changed somehow along this trip of living life?

We know there are optical illusions that seem very real.  Can there also be mental illusions that seem very real?  Is that what we mean by the term delusional?  Is there a possibility that only we are sane in this whole crazy-quilt world?  Or, are we all victims (at one time or another) of this thing known as perspective?

We are each unique beings.  We have had differing experiences which have contributed to the person we are today.  We are likely to continue to have different experiences so we are apparently likely to continue to become even more unique.

Our perspectives will apparently continue to evolve, so our positions on various things will evolve or devolve depending upon who is viewing us and what we have become…and will become next week or next month or next year.

Against this backdrop, it becomes quite easy to see how we change sometimes, or even often, without recognizing that we have changed an opinion or a belief or a position we’ve held for some time.  Maybe, since we all seem to be capable of changing based on perspective, there is not a constant Al Campbell or Shirley Jones or Dean McNamara.

If you think about this from the perspective of a childhood friend from whom you’ve been separated for decades, and how you marvel at who or what that person has become since you originally knew him or her, we can begin to accommodate changes in self as well as in others.  Change is simply reality.

It is all a matter of perspective and our understanding of that perspective.