Monday, September 18, 2017

God is everywhere

A graphic argument for the probable existence of god

And Trump isn't. Nor is the narcissistic human being currently squatting in our UK house.

I'm writing this column for me, really, but if it helps anyone else, I'll be happy about that.


I'm weathering another of the storms of human life, particularly a human life in which, apparently, the one living it has a need to experience as much good and as much bad as can be crammed into each twelve months. Me, in short.

That having been said, every bit of bad I've experienced had my hand in it; I have made some really stupid choices. However, every bit of good has had the hand of God in it. (Yes, I know. Most of you think of me as an atheist. But read on; it will become clear.)

I'm capitalizing God in order not to put some people off. Me, I don't really call the entity God; indeed, I call the entity Mind. For it is an intelligence, not a big daddy in the sky helping out good kiddies and tossing lumps of coal at bad ones. It is no less and no more than universal law, the natural laws that keep the universe going, keep it from descending into chaos. If this were not true, you would not be reading this, because chaos would, in fact, have prevented the universe from existing in the first place.

For some, including me, god is natural law, mathematics, the quantum field which cannot support chaos but MUST seek equilibrium
So, OK. Whatever you call it, when I have been attuned to Mind-God-Yahweh-Prime Mover, the tempests I've created by NOT attuning myself to the aforementioned have been quelled.

Case in point: I stupidly allowed an unreliable graphic artist to remain in my employ when I got an ad agency in a very leveraged buyout 30 years ago. He lied. He manipulated. He cheated. Finally, he stole. He had told me what he intended: "I want to have ten grand to sit on the beach for six months."  I mistook it for office banter; who doesn't want to sit on the beach for a while? But with him, it was a plan. Later, a former JAG attorney I hired told me criminals ALWAYS tell you their plans if you have the wits to listen.

Within two months of that casual conversation on a drive back from a client presentation, the little creep had forged a company check and stolen exactly ten grand. He spent part of it trying to prevent my getting it back. But I won't bother with that part. Suffice it to say that the whole thing, including his holding my assistant hostage while he tried to extort from me ALL the money in my personal bank account (a total of 3 grand that day, as I had just that week paid myself for the first time in months as I had  paid everyone else first, which is what small business owners often have to do.)  By then, I was going with god, a little. So, at the bank, I tore up the check in front of the teller and asked her to please remember the face of the man standing at my elbow.  Then I threw him and his gang of thieves out of the office. Then I called the cops.
I was, and probably still am, one of the worst for saying, Right, sure, but knowing it is--must be--true. For all of us.

And then the real fun began.

Do you know how vicious and creative crooks can be when trying to protect their ill-gotten gains? It was nightmarish for three months, during which I bought and got incredibly good at shooting a Beretta 38.

The Beretta solved nothing; I never used it but on targets. My intense worry and fear (I did say he was vicious, right? But I didn't mention he paid people off to hunt me) put my entire life on hold, and all I did--besides worry--was attempt, however miserably, to keep my mind on God/Mind, and affirm that if I got out of the way, God/Mind would put it all to rights. Oh, sure, part of it is that one must "ask believing."  For a lifelong doubter like me, a person who had found Science of Mind less than a year earlier, that was not easy. Still, when I could crawl out of the depths of despair at the hurricane of horrors (I really won't go into them) for a minute, I was like Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street, saying, "I believe, I believe. It's stupid, but I believe." Over and over and over.

A chant that calls on the jewel of creation, the lotus, in Buddhist belief

Had I done it better, perhaps it would have taken less than three months to resolve. And I would not have sacrificed that length of my life to the deepest misery and despair I have ever had or ever expected to have.

But now I'm in the same sort of soup again. Why? Because I  failed to learn the first lesson; never, ever, ever, ever give a psycho an inch, and never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever ignore your gut feelings. Those gut feelings are messages, messages that you are bumping into the negative force field of a being--usually human--you want nothing whatever to do with. Hence, the explanation of the tenant we are now trying to remove from our house. She TOLD me she was a narcissist; she tried to buy the house when we had it for sale and couldn't complete, but she blamed it on everyone but herself. Then she wanted to rent it when we decided to do that rather than sell as it suddenly seemed prudent to keep the asset during these turbulent times. I didn't trust her. But she had two cats.......Just as I protected the poor, young, graphic artist, I protected her cats. My gut told me not to trust either the artist nor the tenant, but I didn't listen.

My gut was right. Both times.

It is a little better this time, even though the law firm I have hired to assist is dragging its heels (same as the one last time did, until I pushed them, hard), and the appearance is that we--my husband and I--are screwed.

But I continue: I believe, I believe. I really do believe. No, really. OK. So I'll always be a sort of sceptic no matter how perfectly Mind works in getting all the ducks, finally, in a row without my help.
My favorite prophet, Buddha. Science of Mind borrows much of his teaching.

I decided this morning I had to go with a "God damn it" prayer. At least two Science of Mind ministers have told me that if all you can do is just say, "Damn it, God, I can't stand much more of this. Get it done," it's OK You've got to be serious about tossing your thoughts into the Universal Mind, or it might think you are not quite ready for the tempest to quell and for you to get your life back. And the "God damn it" prayer is proof positive that you're serious; you want Universal Mind to operate for everyone's greatest good and you believe it can and will.

I'm ready. Do you hear that, Mind? Those ripples of thought? Mine are totally on living in our house with my husband and dog and having friends visit, and happily forgetting this monstrous creature I fully admit I allowed into our lives. Mea culpa, a thousand times. And with it, a hundred thousand iterations of "I believe; it is done. We are restored. She has departed in ways of peace if possible, or however she chooses for herself if not. With thanks."

And so it is.

Namaste! The divine in me honors the divine in you, a Buddhist greeting.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Off with their the ballot box next time

Your future if May gets the Repeal Bill passed.
Few people understand the Repeal Bill. Here's the only truth you need to know: It would totally change  the way laws in the UK are created, giving "off with their heads" power to the Prime Minister, in this case a woman who has no more business in her job than I have running a nuclear power plant. In both cases, the disaster would likely be gargantuan.

How it works

In the UK, Primary Legislation are Acts of Parliament and must go through a long process of scrutiny and approval (or disapproval) by MPs and the House of Lords.

On the other hand, Secondary Legislation is made law often without any significant Parliamentary involvement. These laws can be quashed by the courts, however; primary legislation cannot, but can only be changed by Parliament itself.

Pretty good system; lots of input and checks and balances on the really important laws (primary), and less on the less important ones (secondary), but with the ability to remove them if the lack of scrutiny has produced a crappy law.

Gaming the system

But suppose you were a usurper of power, and thought Parliament would not rubber stamp laws you want--would not, in fact, create the primary legislation you desire. You could go with secondary legislation, as Parliament doesn't have to be involved and you could write anything. But what if Gina Miller got onto it, took it to court, and your clever little law was overturned?

If you're a despot, like May, that will never do. What to do? What to do? Your fragile ego cannot tolerate being taken to court and bested by an upstart like Gina Miller again. And of course, one must consider your promises to Nigel Farage, his overseer Putin, a raft of UK oligarchs hoping for a sewn-up financial system like Russia's....etc.

AHA! Make a secondary law that allows the Prime Minister to change primary laws. Obviously, she can't make a Primary Law that allows her to change primary laws, because she alone can't make a primary law. So she makes a secondary law that specifically allows her to alter primary laws.

Holy convolutions, Batman! Couldn't Gina Miller go to court to get that very secondary law--the one that hands the government to Theresa May on a take-away tray--quashed? One might assume she could.

Emasculating Parliament

But what if Frau Fuhrer wrote a secondary law that said it could not be overturned if it pertained to changes in a primary law? You see how this goes; Frau Fuhrer is building layers of protection against anyone being able to question the way she runs the government. I suppose it beats Kristallnacht, but not by much. The Repeal Bill is a precursor to any sort of excess Frau Fuhrer wishes to engage in, from allowing fracking in your back garden to banning anyone who ever shook hands with a Caribbean black person from remaining in the UK, to rounding up Muslims--or even the Irish--and sending them to concentration camps. 

Some, even many, MPs see the danger here. The House of Lords certainly sees it; after all, they are the last resort, generally speaking, and it would massively undermine their power to put the brakes on the loss of democracy.

But the imaginary pressure of Brexit is helping Frau Fuhrer to gather support for her scurrilous bill. Thus, she stirs the pot: What if we leave the EU without having transferred all  the EU laws into our own, thus leaving the UK with nothing to regulate business, food production, etc.? Scare tactic No. 1. But it's specious. At this point, there are still so many ways Brexit will never happen, they probably exceed the IQ of most Tories in office today. Even the current Parliament would no be so imbecilic as to attempt to run a government without a body of useful laws. To do so has a name: anarchy.

Absolute power to the absolute ninny

The only purpose of the Repeal Bill is to give Frau Fuhrer the absolute power to virtually overturn any EU law at all, at will, without the input of the MPs or the House of Lords. (And naturally, that power extends to ALL laws, not just those pertaining to the EU.)

The only time pressure, one of the spears she is using to try to ram this through, is that Frau Fuhrer wants the UK out of the EU as soon as possible so that she and her completely soul-dead cronies can make a small island into a large tax haven for hordes of oligarchs who've already begun profiting from the UK's misery. Sure, there is the imaginary date some year and a half hence, but since the referendum may yet be found to be illegal, she can't count on that. And the other members of the EU might well refuse to let the UK out of the union. So Brexit is by no means the done deal Frau Fuhrer would like us to think it is.

The US, a couple hundred years ago, had a rather large war about some states wanting to leave the union because they wanted to keep slaves, something the US would not let them do. While I doubt the EU would wage war against the UK, it won't have to. The simple fact of a veto by any other EU nation is likely to derail Brexit at the last, if the inability of Frau Fuhrer's illiterate negotiators to such much as express a principle doesn't do it first.

This is a desperate attempt by an out-of-her-depth hausfrau, living off the handouts of her financial advisor (read off-shoring) husband to gather to herself--her woefully inadequate self--decisions about what your employment rights are, what sort of protections your food has, whether your beloved can marry you and join you in the UK, etc.

The Repeal Bill must not pass. Write to your MP immediately, and tell him or her you have no desire to entertain the phrase "off with their heads" in your country, and if they do vote for it, it will be a political "off with their heads" for them next time at the ballot box.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trickle down theory; it works for cruelty

And ANY nation elected this depraved moron why?

According to the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, in the US, the person posing as the president:
  1. Creates his own media
  2. Exploits youth at a rally
  3. Endorses police brutality
  4. Demonizes people who believe, look or love differently
  5. Strips vulnerable people of their jobs, families and ability to live
  6. Thinks he should have more power. 
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May has introduced a bill in Parliament that would give her virtually dictatorial powers, a level of power in the hands of one person not seen in England since Henry VIII. Please note: "Off with her head" was the signal phrase of Henry's vicious reign.

But that's another story. Today, let us look, via the Anne Frank Center's list, at how the trickle down theory works for cruelty in America.
1. The Poser in the White House calls all media except that which he has created (and yes, there is now Trump TV) "fake." How is that cruel? First, his own media extols his cruel actions as good; those actions include, among other things, demonizing children brought to the US as infants, and now about to be kicked out of the only home they've ever known. The so-called "fake" news outlets, then, when they object to the Poser's lies, are discounted in the eyes of those who follow the false president. 
If the standard news media is offering what Trump calls fake, and they believe Trump, then the news media must be wrong. 
The standard news media (and human decency) says it is wrong to punish immigrant children for being brought to the US by their parents; but their claims are "fake" according to the Poser, so it's OK to be mean to those now half-grown children.  It's a convoluted process, but workable. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, but you can fool fools most of the time.

2. Exploits youth at a rally. The Poser in the White House attends a convention of young men whose avowed aim is to be helpful to others, the Boy Scouts of America. He then says horrible things about his predecessor in office, and tells with great glee about the off-color and unethical--not to say immoral--exploits of one of his rich friends, whom he presents as a "great guy." Then he whips the youngsters into a frenzy. What are they to derive from this except that it is OK to say cruel things about others in public, it is OK to act in an unethical and immoral manner and brag about it, even collect admiration because of it?

3. Endorses police brutality. The Poser has pardoned a sheriff, Joe Arpaio, whose cruelty to those arrested and whose contravention of the legal system and constitutional guarantees is legendary. What are people to think except that it is now all right to decide to follow only those laws that accord with their biases, even if their biases are cruel? After all, the Poser made it acceptable.

4. Demonizes people who believe, look or love differently. Look no farther than the Poser's incredibly cruel, carried-on-national-TV imitation of a journalist who has a disability. What do people get from this? That mocking those who are different from the expected norm--REGARDLESS OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS--is acceptable. If it's OK to be cruel to the disabled, then it is equally acceptable to be cruel to those of other races and nationalities. The Poser went for the lowest possible cruelty--the only way it could have been more cruel was if he was mocking a black homosexual Buddhist from Mexico--opening cruelty as a universal panacea for the frustrations of his followers.

5. Strips vulnerable people of their jobs, families and ability to live. Even the most widely touted "success" of the Poser's job creation, Carrier Corp., is cutting jobs. The Poser has done virtually nothing for job creation; every time he crows about how great "his" economy is, he is really talking about the one his predecessor built over eight strenuous years after Mr. Obama's predecessor had pushed the US to the brink of another great recession. 
Even Mr. Obama couldn't turn around an economy in less than 8 months. The Poser has claimed from day one and to the present that the economy Mr. Obama built was built by the Poser. In days, then weeks, then months. It's a fiscal and physical impossibility, even if the Poser had the wits to do it, to turn an economy around literally  before one assumes office. 
In addition, the Poser is pushing for greater tax cuts for the rich, which will mean the poor will get less than they get now; you can't get blood from a stone, nor money from those who have none. 
And then there's his vow to overturn DACA, the program that allows young people brought to the US as infants to obtain citizenship. He is destroying lives and families, and pouring his excremental vomitus of anti-social activities over the nation's immigrant youth. Worse, he is literally pulling the rug out from under them--making their hard work and education count for nothing in a New York minute--and it doesn't get a whole lot more cruel than that. He is a role model for every marginally socialized racist in the nation, and his cruelty is trickling down.

Wealth and well-being does not trickle down. But there is no question about cruelty trickling down: it does. No millionaire is willing to let his/her ill-gotten gains trickle down, but most of them are willing to kick their own household staff, who in turn kick the infinitum. The Poser has taken it to another level, enlisting the lowest on the ladder to engage in trickling cruelty over those few even lower, or blacker, or more disabled, or more foreign than they.

6. He thinks he should have more power.  On what planet.....?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Compassion for lying tenants? What? Are you stoo-pid?

Sure does. When it's a landlord giving the benefit of the doubt to a tenant, the landlord's life goes to hell. Save compassion for animal rescue and the like, not for business. ANY business.

Compassion: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

Synonyms include pity, sympathy, fellow feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, mercifulness, leniency, charity, and a few more, none of which are highly active concepts. 

Sign all landlords in the UK need to have on their backs, in case there are any tenants who need instructions.

And therein lies a tale

One can feel charitable toward someone else without putting one's own head on the block, awaiting the guillotine to fall.

When we moved to France, we decided to rent out our house when it didn't sell in a timely manner, and then, we thought, if we didn't like France, we could return when the lease was up.

As it happens, we don't like France, having found it to be far different from what we thought it was before we moved. But that's another story and has more to do with us than with the French, who are great. (It's a lifestyle issue.)

When we had our UK house for sale, a lady tried to buy it for a ridiculous price, but  finally came up with a barely acceptable offer, which we accepted. Then, after we had the house off the market for weeks and weeks awaiting conveyance to her, she confessed that she couldn't get a mortgage. 

When we listed the house for rent, she applied. With her partner. Together, they could afford it; alone, she can't.

He split, stopped paying his half of the rent, and our agent has had to chase him. So, we issued a legal notice that her lease would not be renewed and she needed to leave the day it was up.

She has refused to do so. We are now faced with a lengthy (between three and six months) process through the UK courts to get her out. We can recover our expenses and any rent owed if we can find her, take her to court again, and garnish her wages. 

What has this got to do with compassion? 

I mistakenly thought it was a verb, not a noun. So I cited compassion as my reason for renting to her--despite her erratic behaviour when buying--because she has two cats and it is hard to find a landlord who will rent to people with two cats. We had had a cat, now deceased, ourselves and the house and garden were all set up for cats.

Now she has said she won't move out because she can't find a temporary lodging--she has asserted she is buying a house but we have seen no proof, and then there's her track record on that--because who would rent to her with two cats and a son.

A SON? Both she and her partner said on the application--and signed said application--that they had no children. NO CHILDREN. Neither minor nor adult. And now she won't move out because of her son, who really cannot be a minor if her age was accurately reported on a skip-tracing site I visited and he really was a teenager six years ago when she referred to him online as her "grumpy teenager"  might make it hard for her to rent something for the interim. 

Compassion is an attitude, not an instruction to give skanks unfettered access to things one has struggled for and loves such a one's house, to one's bank account, to one's peace of mind. To anything.  

Compassion is possibly the single most useless emotional state that can show up in a business deal. No, wait. It is less than useless; it is toxic.

Twice foolish

I hate to admit, this is not the first time my compassion has got the better of me. Years ago when I was buying rental buildings as a business--not my own home--I accepted one building fully tenanted as opposed to delivered empty, as many rental properties are delivered in the US where I then lived. When assessing the building, I assumed the first-floor tenant, who had her kids' drawings on the fridge and was a single mom, was fine. I wanted to help her and not make her move before closing because she was a single mom.

At closing, the seller told me she was famous. How so? Her ex-boyfriend, a brutal criminal whose photo had graced the cover of Time magazine, had shot her, ruining her elbow. He had killed her boss. She was a social worker, which is how she had met him. During her tenancy, she called me on a chilly Saturday in November saying there was no heat. How could that be? I had had 650 gallons of furnace fuel delivered earlier that week. I went to the apartment to meet the Health Department inspector to whom she had complained. He was about to fine me, when I whipped out my receipt for the fuel and told him only two two people had keys to the basement door: she and I. She had one because her kids' bikes were stored there. It probably came in handy when she sold off the fuel. 

I did not get fined. I also told her to buy a space heater because I wasn't having an emergency delivery charge for a weekend and more fuel would be supplied on Monday, and she could give me the key and store the bikes in the foyer. 

A few weeks later, she called the cops, having accused my husband of writing rude things on her in yellow paint outside the house. Again, I drove to the place to meet the cops. By the time I got there, he had already weaseled it out of her two skanky offspring that they had taken the paint a few weeks earlier--from the basement--and decided to use it that way in retaliation for being cold for a weekend. Please recall, their MOTHER had made them cold for a weekend by stealing and selling the furnace fuel.

I should have insisted on an investigation and had her arrested for the first incident. Or certainly the second. But I just evicted her instead, a much, much easier process in New York than in the UK.

By that time, my compassion was worn out, though, and I didn't feel anything but relief when she was gone. Shortly, I sold the building to the young man who rented that flat after her. I had had enough.

No more Mr. Nice Guy 

Now? I've had more than enough. I've had a feast. And today, I read a UK landlord blog which advised "when dealing with tenants it is best to act on the basis that they will not keep their word."

Well, that makes it easy. We were considering having our solicitor ascertain if there was any truth to her claims to be wanting just a little more time as she is buying a house. Wait...hadn't we heard that before?

Compassion. Useless when doing business. I believe that when a liar or con artist (see stories above) gets a whiff of empathy or sympathy off you, just open your checkbook and start writing. Reach into your pocket and take out a tissue. Open the liquor cabinet and pour out a stiff drink, because you're going to need it.

Fortunately, we brought back with us to France a large bottle of Hendricks gin from our recent trip to Open Season on Landlords Land, the UK.

Copyright 2017, Laura Harrison McBride

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Zen of Neutralizing Donald J. Trump

I have been obsessed, along with every other decent human being I know, with bashing Donald J. Trump. Indeed, until today, I have  rarely used his name since Nov. 8, 2016 but only such things as Cheeto, 45 and so on to deny his corrupted ego its desired stroking. But with what I am about to say,  the universal mind (or you can say Great Spirit in the Sky, or God, or whatever you call the animating force of all that is) needs to know who is in question here, and so do you. If we are going to use quantum physics and actually change things by thought alone, then we had better be quite sure about what it is we are changing.

That having been said, a short primer on thought power for those new to it, via a few quotes:

1. The greatest force is derived from the power of thought. The finer the element, the more powerful it is. The silent power of thought influences people even at a distance, because mind is one as well as many. The universe is a cobweb; minds are spiders.
Swami Vivekananda

2. It's not the situation that's causing your stress, it's your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice, and it has nothing to do with what other people do or think.
Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD

3.  The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.
~ Norman Vincent Peale

4.  And finally, Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

This is the most important. THIS is the one that will allow you, once you believe it, to effect change without lifting a finger, railing against the fates or any other non-quantum nonsense.

The most perfect mind we know of

What mind, then, was the author of Philippians talking about? The mind that could quell a storm with a word, create wine from water with a thought. Raise the dead with a thought. Change the course of western civilizations with his thoughts.

I have studied Religious Science, also known as Science of Mind, for about 35 years now. And I'm finally beginning to get the hang of it; my useless "real world" teaching--the same that most of  us had unless our parents were Buddhist monks--gets in the way of my understanding the quantum physics that is, in fact, the only reality. A thought is energy and can be measured, just like electricity. Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transmuted. Thus, the Religious Science belief that "thoughts are things." The power of thought is measured most easily by effects.


Simple demonstration. A little kid said, "Daddy, but what if I fall?" the first time she used her new ice skates. She was thinking FALL not SKATE. Thoughts are things. Before her father could grab her tiny hand, she had fallen. She thought FALL; she fell. BTW, the kid was me.

Did that convince me? Hell, no. It has taken years and years and years of practice for me to get to actually using what I know to be true; thoughts are things. Or sometimes events.
 OK. Here's another one, real life, real time. A butterfly just came in my office window, fluttered around for a minute, and left.

I have never seen any insects in this office except mosquitoes and stinging bees. Why? Because until today, when I came upon the magical thought of releasing Trump, my thoughts ran more to JAIL TRUMP. MELT THE FAT ASSHOLE. Etc.

The butterfly was, I think, drawn by the more peaceful atmosphere in my office, which is on the top floor of a tall French house, above where butterflies would usually flit around.

I didn't come to the Zen-Trump thing directly, though. I came to it via my intense and debilitating upset at the moment about the horrific tenant infesting our house in the UK, making the move back from France both upsetting and expensive. Lawyers will be involved, and because the deadbeat squatter is refusing to leave, and we have no idea how long the courts will take, we have to rent something while she enjoys the fruits of our labours if we want to move back to the UK in a timely manner. So finally, I said, yes, I have to release her to her fate. It was a revelation...but it has obviously not yet sunk in. I'm working on it. I know it works. I've done it before.

When you pray....

I am making the needed moves in the world, just as we need to make the needed moves--such as writing to Congress--about Trump. Release is a form of prayer, and as the Amish say, when you pray, move your feet.

More examples: 

I had to release my dedication to independence before my husband appeared. I had to release my desire for a Thoroughbred horse before me beloved Quarter Horse, Major Yeats, appeared. I had to release my distress at an injured tendon before it would heal; right, as of today, after a year and a half, it is beginning to heal. Why? Because I released the need for the pain. Whatever that need was.

So there it is, folks. We have to release Trump to his fate. By hating him so much (which is reasonable of course), we are holding his presence near us, with us, around us.

So chant, three times a day: I release Donald J. Trump to his fate.
By the way, this works on the universe's timetable, not yours. It might be quick, or you might have to exercise patience.

Also imagine Trump as a bubble floating to the top of a pool of water, and bursting into nothingness when reaching the surface. I must imagine the renter situation the same way. And the pain of my injury.

I've got my work cut out for me. But so do you. If you have fewer than three issues of various distress in your life, you are either exceedingly lucky, or you know a whole lot more about release than I do.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Brexit: The 3 top reasons Leavers are dumber than Trump

Boris Johnson, poster boy for all that's wrong with the Tories, Brexit and public school boys--and Leavers followed the fool
People had all sorts of excuses for voting Leave in last summer's ill-conceived referendum, an instrument of public import that was no more well-thought-out than the average questionnaire regarding your preference in hand soap slipped into your grocery bag. And that's about how much influence it should have had on UK politics.

But of course, the Tory party is nothing if not a collection of useless public school boys looking for love/more money anyplace they can find it. So they elevated their schoolboy search for love in all the wrong places to a position of NATIONAL IMPORTANCE, when, really, they were just masturbating because they couldn't get the bankroll of their dreams without working for it. We should have washed our hands of their juvenile prank, and then told them to go wash theirs...since they had been busy masturbating for more than six years.

However, they quickly spread their whining throughout a group of voters who were also not feeling the love.

 Of course those voters weren't feeling the love;  Tories, who equate money directly with love, had put those voters on an austerity diet so the Tories themselves could rake off more from what are meant to be public coffers--the NHS, education, housing. Or privatise functions, and give those functions to their poor friends, the ones living on less than 500K a year.

At referendum time, the Tories were bloated with money, but they were starved for power; the peasants were starved for love. All this made a perfect storm for vampires named Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, Jeremy Hunt, Theresa May and a small nest of additional vipers, most of them figuratively or literally under the thumb of Vladimir Putin. Chief among the Putin dupes is, of course, Nigel Farage. 

Luckily for the Tories, and unluckily for the nation, when peasants are starved for love, they'll even take a known abuser into the house. Which they did. In droves. (Fortunately, they began to see how badly they were likely to get bashed, so turned a goodly number of them out recently. Unfortunately, they replaced the vipers with a large, two-mouthed rat named Jeremy Corbyn and his little ratling of a completely useless Labour party.)

But, on to the meat of it all, the reasons Leavers are dumber than Trump

No. 1, then and now: Because of the £350 million for the NHS.

Crap quotient: 100%. Did they really think the EU was going to say the UK could just walk away without paying something, like all its neighbours, for the privilege of 70 years of peace? For cleaner oceans and air? For being a destination beloved of global tourists? For building an intertwined economy that can hold its own regardless of what former superpower US was up to? And, of course, German-nationality seeker/Putin BFF-wannabe Nigel Farage lied about it from the start. Could Leave voters not figure out that a man who failed to become an MP seven times, finally made it as an MEP and proceeded to bite the hand that feeds him--the EU--was no damn good? And therefore anything he tried to push on them was no damn good? Can you spell astonishingly credulous? (No, well, look it up.)

Sir Alec Issigonis, Greek-born inventor of the beloved Mini

No. 2,  then and now: Because foreigners are taking our jobs.

Crap quotient: 100%. Who is it picking those crops, emptying those bedpans? Right, you are. You aren't? Really? Wot's that then? Yer on the dole and it would go away if you took a job. But you didn't want those filthy immigrants to do it. And now you think completing a Brexit would fix things? About the same way another hammer blow fixes a broken clock.

No. 3, then and now: Because...sovereignty.

Crap quotient: 100%.  No matter that most of you have no clue what it means and couldn't manage to have any if you were tossed out of your Council house on your butt with no job and no benefits either. Sovereignty means control of your own destiny. Possibly you can tell me how a nation that runs itself, as the UK does, has lost its sovereignty. It cannot lose it by cooperating for mutual good with its neighbours, any more than you lose your individual sovereignty if you agree with your neighbor that you'll grow tomatoes because your soil is good for that, and he'll grow beets because his soil is good for that. And then you'll share, and together sell off any excess. Or, if your crops fail, you'll arrange to buy some from someone else at a good price.  Cooperation does not equal loss of sovereignty; it equals being a responsible member of a peaceful community, which sometimes requires compromise. Not loss of sovereignty; compromise.  Look it up.

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shit floats: Only explanation for Cheeto still being around

We can only hope. (The Guardian)

When Hurricane Katrina all but killed off New Orleans, and Bush showed a massive degree of ineptitude in dealing with it, we thought we had seen the last of that sort of presidential malfeasance.

Just this morning, I saw a photo of Bush hugging a hurricane victim, comforting her, as Mr. Obama later did in the disastrous East Coast hurricane during his tenure.

So maybe Bush wasn't so bad. I mean, I don't recall people on Facebook actually wanting him to die, as is seen so often regarding 45. Those of us who knew he was certainly in the bottom third of presidents simply wanted him to go away before he made a bigger mess.

BLOATUS and the HO-tus can do nothing but create disasters; they ARE disasters. One can only produce what one is. Example: Mother Theresa could produce only good effects because she was 99% good herself.

BLOATUS and the HO-tus are at least 99% pure crap. Maybe, to borrow from Ivory Snow commercials, they are 99 and 44/100ths percent pure crap. And so, what they produce and what they attract is almost impenetrable crap, also explaining why it is so difficult to get rid of them. Those of their supporters--Republicans in Congress, for example--who are only 79% pure crap often use their own 21% vestigial decency to excuse BLOATUS.

As for citizens, apparently, about 30% +/- of American citizens are, at minimum, 79% pure crap. Can you imagine showing up to see a man who had just made it possible for his crony bad-builder friends to erect flood- and storm-damage prone buildings in future, and then had the nerve to come and hold an impromptu re-election rally? Unless, of course, you had come to protest, which they hadn't. These are the part of the gene pool that should have perished, not the nurse who died saving her child, not the old couple found floating in the home they loved, not the policeman hurrying through the rising waters to help.

The fact that neither BLOATUS nor his slavering, mangy, manky, skanky followers has a clue that they are, in fact, virtually 100% pure crap should be enough for those who are no more than 79% pure crap to marginalize them, to get them out of public life, to ignore their sickening howls for emoluments they do not deserve. On the basis of his behavior regarding Hurricane Harvey alone--and his daughter's simultaneous promotion of tax reform to deliver more money to the wealthy--BLOATUS needs to be tossed out of office. Impeached? Well, OK. But it takes a while and costs a lot of money.
The lowest end of the American gene pool greets BLOATUS at Corpus Cristi firehouse during Hurricane Harvey disaster. If you know any of them, please post their names so humans can unfriend them.

Just invoke Article 25 and have done with it. Done with him. Done with the disaster Putin has installed in the White House. Done with BLOTUS and his sleeper wife, HO-tus. Done with his plastic, moronic, talentless daughter. Done with his Beavis and Butthead sons. Done with his bar slime hangers on. Done with his footsie with the perennial evil empire, Mother Russia. Done with his patty-fanny with Frogboy Farage's UK, now on its own killing ground because of Putin's adventuring into its politics through Farage and Boris Johnson, characters at least as despicable as BLOATUS.

Sure, we'd probably get Pence then. But while he is a dumbshit faux-Christian, he's probably no more than 83% pure crap. So it would be an improvement. At least, we would save some money on BLOATUS' and HO-tus' gilt-edged lifestyle, leaving us more money and more time to defend American democracy from the scary, ragged, uneducated end of the basically hollow Republican Party.

And that we must do to survive.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Brother against brother? Yes

Civil War era artwork of Lady Liberty with the American flag.
This morning, I noted that a friend had put up the following statement on Facebook: "It looks as if it is going to be brother against brother."

Yes, it is. It is the same in the UK over Brexit, if not quite as violent. I have dismissed cousins over the Cheeto issue. I have dismissed my homeopath in the UK over the Brexit issue.

These divisions are not simply between Democrat and Republican, Tory and Labour, divisions of reasonable people on exactly how public life is to be approached, with discussion and compromise. These are divisions engineered by those who want power, ALL the power, and will do--and have done--anything at all to get it. Lies are the least of it.

There is a single hand behind it all, which is not to say there aren't lots of willing flunkeys, including Cheeto and Farage and May and McConnell ad infinitum it almost seems. The hand is Putin.

Years ago, a man named Robert Gerrard spoke at the Religious Science Church (not Scientology; Religious Science is a spiritual philosophy) in Fort Lauderdale when I lived there in the mid-80s. He was fascinating. He said that no matter what happened in the future with Russia, it could never, ever be trusted because power and enslavement of the weak was its spiritual profile. His warning has come to pass.

Americans and Britons think, just because Communism is not extant in Russia anymore, Russia's leaders are normal. They are not. They are despots just like centuries of despots--mad strongmen--the Russian people have been willing and even eager to follow. It would be well to recall that a great many US and UK Jews are descended from people who fled to those two nations because of the pogroms; it would be well to recall that there simply are few Jews left in Russia, so there is little problem. Ditto—and more so--for blacks. Even the darker people around the Caspian Sea have proved too swarthy for the Russians, and so they have marginalized and bedeviled them.
When you do an image search for Mother Russia, this is one of the images you get.
When Barter Theatre took a play on the road to Rybinsk 20 years ago, one of the black actors who went told me people ran up to him in the streets of St. Petersburg to touch him to see if the color rubbed off. That's not really an aside; Putin has a "cleansed" society; all that's left are Russians (he has gone after the Asians and other non-Russians hammer and tongs, as noted above), and he would like the whole world to be HIS world and be the same as Mother Russia, the frozen, heartless tracks of forest and frost and ugly cities stretching from the border with Europe to the Pacific Ocean.

If Americans and Britons want to ignore the very real history and the very real nature of Russia, then it's all over. Clearly some do; they are masquerading as Nazis, but if it turns out that it is really some Putinist thing they are to be, then that's what they'll be. They are power-mad, like those they admire, but lacking anything but false bravado and cheap weapons with which to imitate them.

Vladimir Putin is the wealthiest human on earth, and he didn't get there by selling candy bars door to door. He got there by threats, violence, subterfuge, the very same tactics now used by the so-called president of the US, and to a lesser degree by the UK's PM. Cheeto doesn't have the balls Putin has; he can be caved. But yes, I think it will take brother against brother to do it, and frankly, whoever has the biggest balls wins.

Blood brothers, make no mistake. The one on the right is dominant.
I think we had all better hope that the mainly pacifist left learns that there are times for every season. This is the season of the witch, and the witch must die.


A personal note: We are returning to the UK from France shortly for many, many reasons, none of which involves the French people, whom we have found to be universally pleasant, welcoming and sensible. Among my personal reasons is the desire to be there to help shift Putin's despicable horde out of public life in the UK and restore the very pleasant, kind and livable UK I found when I first moved there 7 years ago, when a Labour government was still in power. (I hasten to add, the current Labour leader has been co-opted by the forces of evil, so it will be quite a battle.) I expect to continue writing about both the US and the UK, as I have done, and not about France at all; the French don't need my help--they elected Macron and sent LePen to the trash bin--but clearly, the Anglo world needs every ounce of help it can get.

Copyright 2017 by Laura Harrison McBride

Monday, August 14, 2017

Put your frickin' money where your mouth is

Unlike most of my posts here, this one is highly personal, so hold your hats. If you don't like it, go in peace, but go. If you do like it, fine. If you want to debate me, fine. If you want to bash me, go find the skinhead group of your choice, collect your white hood, and wait for the racist rapture.
If you're coping with the disaster of Cheeto by hoping and praying, you may be making yourself feel good, but you're doing squat for anyone else. 
Stressed to the max? Who isn't? Already tucking some "giving" into your day--saying hello to the local crazy lady or giving a quarter to a panhandler--so that makes it OK? Nah, you're just paying lip service to changing things. If you are one of those who goes to church and gives a dollar because you're 'broke,' try again. You can find another one to send to or some other worthy cause for change, unless you're living on the street, in which case you get a pass, in which case you are not reading this anyway.

A friend put up on FB today photos of quilts--tons of them--his church made for refugees. Lots of busy people donated lots of time to put in those tiny stitches. Bless them. And I suspect they also tossed some money into the basket as well. I'm not big on organized religion, but when it does actual things as well as praying about it, yes, that is what Jesus would do, as I understand it. Loaves and fishes, turning water to wine, bringing people back from the dead and hugging lepers.

As for me, I've got both Cheeto and Brexit to worry about, with my retirement coming from one nation and my marriage in the other. So don't piss me off by chronicling how tough it is for you. It's tough for us all. And the older you get, the tougher it is...unless you are just starting out, in which case it is probably tougher even than for us old farts, whose physical energy is ebbing and whose brains and hearts have had all too many years of putting up with it, and we are fucking exhausted. But we go on. 
If you haven't got started on your job/life/career yet, it's probably plenty scary and stressful. And I'll help you if I can. I think most of us would. Unless we are racist Trumpanzees or Brexiteers.

Not a week goes by, despite my deep and abiding terror and disgust, that I don't send a bit of money to some organization or other trying to amend this right-wing juggernaut so that fewer are killed or harmed by it. Indeed, I usually find two or three things to donate to every week. Not much, usually only ten bucks at a time, and I'll be the first to say I'm not hurt by it. One could say I'm lucky, and I am. But I worked hard to make that luck. However, even when ten bucks was a huge amount for me--and there are lots of times in my life that it was--I still eked some coinage out for causes and other charity.

Nor am I saying "poor me" here. I can somehow handle it; I managed to get to 70 handling it, with a few respites, one of which was handed to me gratis by my brother and late sister-in-law who invited me in from the cold of freelancing for three months once, and helped me restart. We had a blast, as well, lots of laughter. It restored me; now that my sister-in-law has become pure spirit, I wish I could do the same for my brother. Although I think nothing really can.

So what am I saying? What I'm saying is stop already with thinking just being kind is going to change things. It won't hurt, that's for sure. But use some discernment. If you are being kind to skinheads, you are being unkind to the rest of society. No one says you have to hit them (although there are times....), but kindness consists in making sure others have, in so far as you are able to provide it, what they need. 
The nation--two nations, the US and the UK--need people who are going to refuse to walk the path the leaders have planned. It won't be enough to nod politely and drop a quarter in the panhandler's hat, although you should do that, too. But if you think it is enough, you are part of the problem. You need to work to get out the vote, by shoe-leather power or donations or both. You need to write letters. You need to refuse to smile sweetly when someone says they'll give Trump or the Brexiteers/Tories a chance, even if it's your mother. Trumpanzees and Brexiteers/Tories have had more than they deserve, but they are greedy, and will take all we give them and turn it against us. 


Now, I've got to go write something so I can make another few "ten bucks" for the cause and eke out the time to write another polemic to change some hearts and minds as well.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Longing for the simplistic crookedness of Richard Nixon

"I remember Richard Nixon back in '74, and the final scene at the White House door....." (James Taylor, Line 'em up)

I rarely begin any piece of writing with a quote, but in view of the horrors being wrought by the occupant of the White House, and our desperate need to be rid of him, it seemed apropos.

It seems as if the entire Nixon saga of double-dealing, theft, lying and getting caught at it was so much gentler than the plane crash that is today's Washington, D.C.

Nixon was a horrid president; he was a horrid man, consumed by envy of those smarter, quicker, more attractive than he. He forced on the population a winter of frozen wages and of going to work and coming home in the dark when he abandoned Daylight Savings Time to save oil. Not that we didn't need to save oil; he was also responsible for the gas wars. Remember those? People killing each other in lines waiting for a few gallons of fuel to get to work. I worked in Manhattan as an editor and lived in Manhattan; my husband worked as an investigative reporter for a newspaper in Stamford, CT. He had to have gas; he suffered the lines. That whole winter was grim, the grim result of self-serving actions by the first petty thief among sitting presidents; usually presidents mastermind bigger thefts, like whole nations for example, but not campaign information regarding their own tawdry futures. It was pitiful; it was sleazy.

And of course, there was the rout from Vietnam overseen by Nixon. But still, at least we were, however ignominiously, out of that morass of failure.

Nor can we ever--nor SHOULD we ever--forget Kent State, when ill-trained National Guard units fired on protesting students at the college, killing four and injuring nine more, one of whom was permanently paralyzed from the chest down. One student exclaimed, as widely reported, "My god, they're killing us."

Yes, they were. At the time, that was an extreme response to civil disobedience, at least extreme for the past several years, and extreme outside former "slave states" where, in the mid-1960s, civil rights workers were killed, although not generally by "friendly fire."

At this moment--on this day when there is a Russian-backed pretender to the US presidency threatening nuclear war in order to  keep his ill-gotten post--I wish for the simpler times of a simple crook, Richard M. Nixon. He once said, "I am not a crook." No, actually, he wasn't. He was a thief, which is different, and a burglar and a small-time liar.

The current usurper of the American government's highest post has also told us what he is. He is the greatest, he often says. He NEVER says the greatest what. He simply uses the word greatest in reference to himself. So we are left to interpret. Fortunately, it is easy. He is the greatest traitor ever to sleep a single night under the roof of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. He is the only president installed by a hostile foreign power. Therefore, he is a priori the greatest of those.

He is a crook. He is a crook to the least quark in his least molecule. He was spawned by a crook who was spawned by a crook and lord knows how many generations of whore-mongering, cheating, lying, delusional Drumpfs spawned world-class skanks before that. I suppose I could do the thing on his family--we have enough names to start with--but I don't have the stomach for it.

Nixon was distasteful, unsavory.

Herr Drumpf is so foul, so evil, that most of us cannot even bring ourselves to say his name. It would be like bringing satanic forces to life, never mind that they are already quite volubly alive, spouting hate, forcing weaker others to do their craven bidding. Congress. Any number of sycophantic wannabes who wannabe something, anything, and are willing to compromise with disaster for others to do it. And now he's trying out his purloined powers on another madman, and one with a history of making his mad fantasies come true. He, like Herr Drumpf, is the product of a long line of similarly diseased human beings.

Herr Drumpf is surrounded by a platoon of demons even the Renaissance writers of Italy, tutored by a bloodthirsty, power-lusting Church, could not have imagined. Is there any character of Dante's that even comes close to Steve Bannon? It has been some years since I have read The Inferno, but I think not. Reading it at university didn't keep me awake nights; the mere mention of Bannon gives me cold sweats and nightmares.

Miller is the image of Voldemort from a modern fable cycle by J.K. Rowling.

Pence is the embodiment of every male Puritan of Boston in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, pitiless religious hypocrites with too much power and no soul at all.

One must search all of literature to collect as festering a group of characters as are found surrounding the current usurper of the White House. And even then, one would fall short. Because in literature, the walking pustules of corruption don't generally have access to apparatus that can destroy most of humanity, horribly, needlessly, and to fulfill their own intrinsically destructive dreams of personal godhood.

Illustration, Dante's Inferno, Canto III--or the West Wing, Aug. 9, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Five fun tactics for surviving Trump and/or Brexit

Thank goodness LePen did not win the presidency in France. Can you imagine how difficult that would be, if you are, for example, a former Yank who lived happily in the UK but moved to France to avoid Brexit? Oh, well, I realize that's probably just me, or a handful of others.

Still, few Anglos of any stripe are not suffering because of the deranged tenure of Donald Trump and the debased tenure of the Tory Party and Mrs. Mao. So I decided to see if I could find a list of things that might help us all survive. Here is it. 

1. Salami. This is now and has long been my favourite comfort food. Why? Simple. It tastes good, and delivers a huge wallop of fat, needed to keep your nerves in shape (truly, nerve sheaths require fat, and nerves are being sorely tested at the moment) and some protein. So eat your salami every day.
 By Chawarma - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Or, you buy it ready-sliced and packaged. ( By Chawarma
2. The Blues Brothers. If you can spend at least a few minutes getting down with Jake and Elroy, or maybe, better still, Aretha (since what she says is what we are ALL saying to Cheeto and Mrs. Mao), you might survive another day.

3. Take a nap. Naps are good. Look at what they do for babies and their caregivers! The babies wake up with more energy and hungry (see salami, above) and the caregivers have had a chance to recoup their psychic energy. I like to nap in late afternoon, leaving at least an hour before I need to start preparing a meal. If I fall asleep instantly for 20 minutes, fine. Rest and time saved for other things. If I fall asleep reading and snooze for the full hour (more usual), then I've processed some of the day's shit in my subconscious and will probably sleep better during the night. Plus...salami. You must eat a slice of salami on waking, or you'll just resent making dinner because you're so hungry.

4. Play with an online Magic 8 Ball. Ask it the questions most troubling to you. One such would be: "Will Donald Trump be carted out of the White House in a straight-jacket before he causes North Korea to bomb Tokyo?" This is a no-brainer. If it says he won't, at least it's not the US or the UK being bombed. If it says he will, then we are all home free. But remember: Even online (or so I've been told), the 8 ball responds to your own concept and so you are almost guaranteed to get a Yes or at least a Maybe or Ask Me Later on the straightjacket question. This can only be good for your attitude and peace of mind.

There are a lot of 8 balls on the internet. I asked this one, "Will Trump be impeached?" and the answer was "Definately." Well, OK, it misspelled it, but I knew what it meant. It is a free 8 ball, after all, so if you have to correct it's spelling, who cares?

5. Gin. If you are not a fan of gin, then probably you are beyond hope anyway, Donald or no Donald, May or no May. (OK, I have overstated the case. You are allowed to use vodka. Against my better instincts. It's of Russian origin, you know.) Go to or organize a gin tasting. This can be for a large group, or just one. The secret is to have several styles of gin (or vodka if you must), and taste them to see which ones would be best in a dry martini, which with tonic, which with a cube of ice in a small glass.  Make sure you have enough types--eight or 10--and that you limit each taste to a single jigger with each mixer--tonic, water, nothing, whatever--for a maximum of 40 or 50 tastes depending on whether you want to embrace the entire raft of possibilities, or choose only a few. When you're done, if you are able, write down your favorite. If you are not able, just lie down on your bed, one foot on the floor to stave off the ceiling swirlies, and yell "Fuck Cheeto" or "Fuck May", whichever is most significant to you (or both) and fall asleep.

You'll need more than this. Try to include some locally produced boutique gins, and without doubt, the magical Hendrick's must be on the menu.
When you wake up, go to number 1, above, and repeat. You can stop there, or you can do all five again until success is achieved and both of the world's premier imbeciles have been removed and locked away someplace safe for the rest of us.


Bonus: Here's a clip of James Brown singing "Can you see the light." Perhaps it would be best to save this for a while, until the Magic 8 Ball tells you who's going down, and when.

God is everywhere

A graphic argument for the probabl e existence of god And Trump isn't. Nor is the narcissistic human being currently squatting ...