Monthly Archives: August 2014

Pro-Lifers – Hey, It’s a Free Country!

Pro-Lifers think the damndest things. They say that when a human sperm penetrates a human egg, the most amazing transformation occurs – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye! From what had been merely a well-documented  series of predictable biologic events, programmed over millions of years, suddenly out pops a full member of the human race, a unique and unrepeatable Homo sapiens sapiens. How does a pro-lifer know of this miracle for which there is no evidence? By faith, which we all agree is based on evidence not seen. Fair enough. iI’s a free country.

Here’s the problem. Here’s where pro-lifers say and do the damnest things. They insist I convert to their faith! as absolute in their certitude as a fanatic from ISIS. If I abort what for me is simply a zygote and for a pro-lifer a fellow citizen with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining, I am guilty of murder. W-h-a-a-a-t! ISIS executes by the thousands unbelievers who will not buy into their faith which by definition is based on evidence not seen.

Faith is fundamentally an aesthetic judgment. So I have no problem with the pro-lifers faith. Tastes vary. It’s not what they believe, it’s what they do. Here’s how they think and ACT.

“If one of our believers shoots you, Dr. Kurth, a physician who has performed abortions, well, takeTHAT and THAT and THAT! But this is America, so we can’t massacre you nonbelievers by the thousands. Instead, we’ll strip you of your murder weapons. We’ll repeal Roe versus Wade. We will harass and shame and terrify any woman who wants to have an abortion. Best of all, we’ll close every abortion clinic in the country. We’ll use the law, in every state of our country, to implement our faith. By every means, we will suffer every living soul infused at the instant of conceptualization to enter the human world, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

As I said, pro-lifers say and do the damnedest things.

Alison Grimes

I sent this email to ALISON GRIMES yesterday.
Dear Alison,
I heard your speech at the Kentucky Fair, welcoming the huge crowd to “Mitch McConnell’s retirement party.” When you got the audience chanting with you, referring to Washington, D. C.”Don’t Care! I Do” that was magnificent.
A few days later, I heard your debate with Mitch to the Farm Powers that Be. That won’t get it! You can’t, you must not break our hearts. Your election is the most important one in the country, come November. You have to win! I will  demonstrate to you how you will, herewith. Please listen to me, then decide whether I’m on the mark or simply an arrogant crackpot.
Before I write your speech and post it below so you can read it for yourself , I insist you won’t win by focusing on the fact that the 72-year-old Mitch, a 30 year member of the Senate, is the past and you represent the future. That won’t get it! You need to speak, FEARLESSLY, in thunder, by speaking the truth and the facts. Mitch is a staggering liar, utterly shameless. As Paul Krugman demonstrates over and over again in the New York Times, Obamacare is working brilliantly. Mitch says,without batting an eye, it’s the worst legislation in 100 years. If elected, he will not only bring glory to our state as Majority Leader of the Senate, but he will do everything possible to destroy, root and branch, that disaster known as Obamacare. This is how you should respond, over and over and over again, in every nook and cranny, every town and hamlet in Kentucky.
“Mitch says he will destroy the Affordable Care Act if only he becomes the leader of the Senate. He refers to the Affordable Care Act, sneeringly, as Obamacare. He turns the truth on its head. You want to know what we Kentuckians have done with the Affordable Care Act? We have embraced it. 520,000 of our neighbors and friends and family have signed up with the program. The number of our medically uninsured, I repeat, UNINSURED, has fallen from 20% to 10%. Can you imagine the relief experienced by those of us finally protected against medical disaster? Mitch will take away, as though rescuing us from the Evil Empire,TAKE AWAY from every last one of us 520,000 medically insured citizens, critically needed protection..And here’s where Mitch is either deliberately falsifying the truth or he is confused and doesn’t know what he is talking about.  He thinks he’s doing us Kentuckians a kindness by stripping over 500,000 of us of medical care.. And here’s where it really gets crazy! He offers nothing in return! He is just going to let us twist slowly in the wind, naked to the cruelties fate can spring on us.. You’d think the way he carries on he’s our benevolent grandpa. How stupid does he think we are?”
Okay, Alison, you’re only 35 years old. If you beat Mitch McConnell in November, you will change the course of history. That’s a hell of an assignment. It doesn’t change the fact the assignment landed on your young shoulders. But hell, Jesus got executed at age 33, but not before changing the world. I’ll write another speech for you. Here it is.
“It’s true, Mitch is one of the most important and powerful members of Congress. Keep in mind his power comes from seniority – he has been there 30 years– not from achievement. It is true If the Republicans take control of the Senate, Mitch will become top banana and that, he claiims, should swell our Kentuckian hearts with pride. If history is prologue to the future, what has Mitch done with the enormous powers he has already wielded? I will tell you. He has made this the most dysfunctional Congress in our history by filing 400 filibusters. The approval rating of Congress is 7%, the lowest ever recorded. This Congress has passed less legislation than any other Congress in history,. Mitch has made Truman’s do-nothing Congress back in the 40s look like they were on speed, or maybe suffering from a hyperactivity disorder. Our Senator has a lower approval rating, 35%, than any Senator in the nation.
“And what will Mitch do if he doesn’t become Majority Leader of a Republican-controlled Congress? He will  bring the legislative responsibilities of our duly elected representatives to a complete halt, a response to defeat one expects in a Banana Republic. In a way, his Bad Loser behavior wouldn’t make much difference. Mitch has already voted against raising the minimum wage, against equal pay for women, against unemployment insurance, against immigration reform. If you want to know the truth, he has said No! to everything. And he wears this record of complete negativity as a badge of honor, for which we should send him back to the Senate as a reward! What am I missing?”
Alison, I have sent you money. I have supported you at every turn. I don’t expect you to have the political genius of Elizabeth Warren, a once in a century political giant. Whether her visit to your state helped or not, I don’t know. But I’m sorry, the Call is your responsibility.
I am at your service. I will do anything to help you answer the Call. What you need above all is courage. You have my e-mail address.
Your obedient servant,
Frederick Kurth, M.D.
On Tue, Aug 26, 2014, at 01:52 PM, Alison Lundergan Grimes wrote:

Alison Lundergan Grimes

 

Add your name!Frederick,

Today is Women’s Equality Day – the day women in the United States were granted the right to vote. And even though it’s been 94 years since then, we know women still face barriers to full equality.

That’s because of people like Mitch McConnell – who, for 30 years, has championed an anti-women agenda in the U.S. Senate.

By voting against paycheck fairness and opposing the Violence Against Women Act, Mitch has played petty politics with issues that matter to women and working families.

Kentucky deserves better.

Sign our petition to tell Mitch that Kentucky needs a Senator who stands with women – not one who puts partisanship before people.

In the Senate, I will fight for equal pay for equal work, protect victims of domestic violence, and increase the minimum wage for working families.

Unlike Mitch McConnell who stands in the way, I want to remove the barriers women face.

I will continue to be a staunch advocate for women once elected Kentucky’s first female Senator – and that’s why I’m so proud to fight for women each day, and especially on Women’s Equality Day.

Add your name: tell Mitch McConnell Kentucky deserves a Senator who stands with the women of the Commonwealth.

Thanks for everything you’re doing.

Alison

Contribute

 

P.O. Box 1867
Lexington, KY 40588-1867
www.AlisonforKentucky.com

 

 

 

Alison Lundergan Grimes

 

Add your name!

 

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Republican Hypocrisy

Nothing puts me into a towering rage more quickly than reviewing the Republican position on funding of veterans’care, not only throughout the Obama presidency but beginning with Bush. The hypocrisy, the lying, the projection of their own cruelty towards veterans leave me feeling totally mad.
Bush not only lied us into the Iraq war, but authorized no funding for it and certainly no provision for the inevitable casualties and the care they would require. One of the reasons the deficit went from 5,000,000,000,000 to 10,000,000,000,000 under Bush was his fiscal irresponsibility with all aspects of the war he started.
I become a sputtering, incoherent, brain-blasted citizen when I review the history of the Republicans, the great patriots and protectors of the military, towards  the VA. They voted against providing federal jobs for wounded  veterans, against education opportunities, housing benefits. They voted every single time for decreased funding of the VA administration’s hospital and medical program. They blocked every effort on Obama’s part to increase funding..Senators likeTom Coburn from the Red, Red state of Oklahoma – you know, a state with true patriots – or the slimy Jeff Sessions, a racist as virulent as Sen. Calhoun fighting every inch of the way against the abolition of slavery a hundred and 50 years ago, openly, and nakedly, and shamelessly vote down any help for our veterans. Why the mainstream media doesn’t howl like King Lear carrying his murdered Cordelia, beats the hell out of me.
Why is there such a long wait for a veteran to get into the medical system of the VA, which once there he/she gets good care? Because the VA lacks enough doctors and medical personnel, that’s why. Apparently Bush did not know that the costs of entry into a war are matched or exceeded by the consequences of a war, particularly the care of the wounded and the familes of the dead. For fifty or more years! Millions of veterans of Vietnam are now in their late 60s or older. They have poured into the VA with the many medical needs of the aging. I forget the number in just the last couple years, but it’s significant. And of course the wars go on and on, the bitter legacy of Bush, generating huge numbers of patients, especially now that psychiatric disabilities are finally being recognized, particularly PTSD.
So it’s that damn Shinsecki’s fault. He didn’t give a shit. Did you watch him at his congressional hearing? He sleepwalked his way through it. Off with his head! And of course our community organizer, not a true American as a matter of fact, pays little attention to our brave warriors.
Someone please tell me how the Republicans manage to turn the world upside down, decade after decade, and they get away with it. Scott Brown is only two points behind in New Hampshire for the Senate race. Yesterday he was with John McCain, lambasting Obama – you got it – on foreign policy and  matters military.As everyone knows, only Republicans are up to the job.
I guess only George Orwell is my comfort.

Domestic Terrorists

Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
A few years back, I plowed through, cover to cover, Why Nations Fail, a blockbuster by Daren Acemoglu, an economist from MIT, and James Robinson, a political scientist from Harvard. The book is a product of 15 years work, and it created a sensation when first published. It is considered a classic.  Why does South Korea thrive and North Korea remain one of the poorest countries on earth? Why does Botswana grow and develop, Sierra Leone an economic disaster? The two scientists analyze ancient civilizations, societies in North and South America, Europe past and present .Acemoglu and Robinson demonstrate a common denominator in those states that succeed and in those states that fail. Put very simply,
Extractive political institutions invariably result in extractive economic policies. When there is a widening gap between the rich and the poor, between those in power and those who are economically exploited, that nation fails. The key point is that the history of a nation is not somehow inexorably decreed by geography or natural resources. It is a consequence of the political institutions that in fact shape the economic parameters that lead to a successful nation or one that is a failure. And who determines whether a nation hammers out a polity that is extractive, favoring those in power to keep accumulating power, or a nation whose political institutions are structured to be inclusive, welcoming and encouraging and above all supporting all members of society? Who?
The people!
Why did I have to read that damn book! I grieved enough for our country before the factual reality, given scientific scrutiny of that ballooning disparity between the one percenters and all the rest,
truly demonstrates how ominous it is. What am I supposed to make of a CEO at McDonald’s earning 1000 times more than the workers? In the 1950s, the gap between management and worker was something like 20 to 1. Since Reagan came to power, there has been a gradual but at first invisible economic exploitation of the worker.
I am supposedly retired. But the ruthless Rpublicans keep conjuring the ghost of Macbeth.. He faced a hell of a retirement:
     I’m sick at heart. I have lived long enough. The course of my      life is beginning to wither and fall away, like a yellowing leaf in autumn. The things that should go along with old age, like honor, love, obedience, and loyal friends, I cannot have. 
The TRUTH about the Republicans:
They are domestic political terrorists!
The Republicans have shut down our government. Openly. Nakedly. Shamelessly. And devastatingly. I heard Alice Grimes debate Mitch McConnell a couple days ago. If the Republicans don’t gain control of the Senate, McConnell will shut down the government for the remaining two years of Obama’s Presidency, He’s engineered 400 filibusters already.

Mo’ne Davis

Baseball is a game of failure. If you hit.250, you’re good enough to play in the Majors. That means you fail three out of four times. In over a century of baseball, only one team has won more than six of 10 games. And that was the 1927 New York Yankees, with Murderers Row and Babe Ruth hitting 60 home runs. They were entirely a fluke. They had a winning percentage of 714. No other team ever had a .600 winning percentage.

How about pitchers. A great pitcher is great one out of three games, good a second and struggling a third. It’s the inexorable law of baseball. Now my darling, Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old black beauty from Philadelphia, is a great pitcher. She is the only girl in the Little League World Series. She pitched a shutout against Delaware that got the team into the World Series. She won her first World Series game with a shutout. Yesterday was her third game. She struggled, getting six strikeouts but too many runs. Baseball, most strict in its arrest of grandiose fantasies, is inexorable.

Today, she was ineligible to pitch, but had her team won she would’ve pitched for the World Series championship game on Saturday. When she pitched yesterday, 35,000 fans showed up. Four million watched on TV. On Saturday, surely the whole world would’ve been watching. The team lost by one run in today’s semifinal. Baseball merely shrugged.

There is another angle. Philadelphia lost to Chicago today. Philly has six or seven black players, Chicago 14. These are the only blacks in the tournament. Chicago plays Nevada on Saturday, a powerhouse team that has outscored its last opponents, 33 to 6.

Given the events in Ferguson this week, and given the relentless shootings in Chicago every week, I am begging the baseball gods to avert their meaningless stare for two hours on Saturday noon.
They do it once a century. They did it for Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

It is a new century. Do it for Mo’ne Davis. And me.

Darkness Visible

One can Google “Robin Williams Last Interview  with Jon Stewart.” There are flashes of Williams’ incomparable brilliance, but for eight agonizing minutes one sees a man sitting in darkness visible, hands folded on his lap in surrender, the battle won and lost.

Jon Stewart tells Robin that he has never looked better. I am reminded of Earnest Hemingway. He convinced his doctors at the Mayo Clinic, with his smiling depression, that all was well, went back to Idaho, and “on a blowing blue and white November day” shot himself. I am not faulting Jon Stewart. A world-class comedian, he was working hard at his trade. Besides, I have the benefit of hindsight.

I have said that brain depression requires a narrator, such as William Styron in his vivid and wholly accurate description of brain depression. This illness has usually no outward signs. It is a systemic illness, but its “active anguish” is more intense and relentless than any physical illness, even though it is a physical illness that affects above all the brain, especially the sleep centers, as well as the immune system, the gastrointestinal, the cardiovascular and so forth.

For those eight agonizing minutes with Jon Stewart, Robin Williams serves as incomparable narrator of brain depression.

Brain Depression

I’m back!  From the wilderness.

Sigmund Freud suffered from mandibular cancer for 12 years. He described his long ordeal as “most superfluous.” It contributed nothing to his creativity, neither joy, nor profound insights, nor sense of gratitude. Nada.

Physical Illness is a barren experience. It contributes nothing in its telling. In brief, it is boring. There is one illness, however, that in fact requires a storyteller. There is no other evidence of its devastation of the “active anguish” wrecking havoc in a person’s inner world unless given a narrative. And that the world discovered again with the suicide of Robin Williams. That narrative has been splendidly told by William Styron in “Darkness Visible.”

Robin Williams, as did William James who suffered repeated bouts of active anguish throughout his life, had brain depression. So did Styron. The brain itself, physically, undergoes pathologic breakdown. Brain depression is a systemic illness, affecting the entire person. Its chief symptoms, exhaustion and loss of reason, that is, an ability to think. A depressed plumber can’t fix a leaky faucet. A mathematician can’t do simple arithmetic. Brain depression must be differentiated from mind depression, depression that arises from external griefs.

Brain depression is frequently a fatal illness. 80% of all suicides are by depressives, their brain blasted by invisible demons. Art Buchwald called his psychiatrist that he planned to jump out of a 16 story window. The psychiatrist suggested that didn’t seem like a good idea. For reasons unknown, Art Buchwald agreed with his doc. So he spent months in a psychiatric ward, his magnificent mind and its incomparable sane judgment of us humans cranking out depressive and paranoid rubbish.

Robin Williams could not take it anymore. He had fended off the monsters by “performing.” Throughout his life, If he was one-on-one, he felt desperate, assailed by the dread of intimacy, his self agonizingly cratered by vulnerability. As soon as a second person entered the room, he could beat back the unbearable anxiety by the brilliance of his mind. And after a lifetime of “Once more unto the breach, dear friend,” he could no longer summon up the energy – once more. Anxiety on an obscene scale is a constant companion of brain depression. William Styron came within a whisker of suicide, saved not by a doc but a piece of classical music, maybe by Schubert. Again. for reasons unknown.

The one redeeming feature of brain depression is that when it mysteriously leaves it does so without a trace. Art Buchwald resumed his career as one of the world’s great humorists. William Styron regained his full powers as a novelist. Freud was not vulnerable to brain depression, and he continued working full throttle.  His Dr. ended his suffering, no longer superfluous but overwhelming, with a fatal administration of morphine. 12 years. Enough.

So, 10 WEEKS in the wilderness without the GPS of mind! What did you learn from that?

“Some folks have all the luck.”