Real busy today, working on the County Mayoral Forum Hawaii County League of Women Voters is hosting. (We have no city governments.) Everybody is running for office. Three are serious candidates, but we, as a non-partisan organization, must invite all comers. We have an excellent moderator, and she'll be able to maintain order. Our present mayor is under indictment for credit card fraud and has termed out anyway. He used the county card he was issued to visit "hostess bars" in Honolulu. Well, he truly is a man of the people, but not in a way the public likes.
Fun, fun, fun.
I never seem to be able to get away from politics. Probably a result of living for almost 15 years as a foreigner with no voting rights. Over and over I vow to give it a rest, but never succeed in kicking the habit.
From today's Tribune Herald letters to the Editor.
I live in the middle of nowhere but expect to be able to get where I want to go in a hurry. I don't like to be held up by road improvements, and I think a road designed solely for emergency use should be opened up for me.
I crap on the aina, which means I am a free person. Imagine thinking people ought to put in septic systems or get hooked up to the sewer and pay fees!
My advice to people living in the red states: Get out. It's too dangerous to be in those places. Don't imagine that your job, status, community connections or any of that stuff will protect you. It probably isn't wise to live in conservative areas of the blue states either. Don't live where you feel like a member of an embattled minority.You can't win. Go where the consensus is in your favor.
It's appalling how my attitudes toward people are changing because of this horrible and interminable election cycle; it has revealed a lot about people that would otherwise be kept politely under wraps. It is quite a learning experience. Not all learning experiences are pleasant. I am sad that I can never care wholeheartedly for some people ever again, though, some in my personal life, some acquaintances, some media figures, and some semi-celebrity leftists I have admired and met in person as well. I guess people who had to give up on the Soviet Union may have felt this, in a much more extreme way than I am experiencing. Or maybe it's like being a devout person who stops believing in god.
I tend to react this way, because I am not very aggressive, and when faced with aggressiveness on the scale I'm seeing it now, I get very upset. I've put up with a great deal of this in my life and am sick of it, people being mean because they are miserable. The Trump nuts are easy for me to ignore. I know very few of them and have just cut them off. They are sick. It's tougher with people I have cared about and thought I had things in common with. But now they stand revealed to me as the petty and selfish people they are.
The Republicans, who are insane, will be defeated, and Hillary will become our president, constantly mobbed, constantly hated from all sides. A lot of the Sanders people are losing it, now that they understand they will be shut out, having shown their disloyalty to the Party. It's really really ugly on Twitter and in comments sections. I'm glad Hillary has stopped campaigning for the nomination and is running for the election now. She needs to stay above the fray.
My last posting on politics for a while. There are many beautiful things in this world, and I'm going to devote myself to them and take a break from the ugliness. It is heavenly around here.
Yep, the Sanders thing. But the foolishness is too much for me to put up with, and his rumpled charms don't do anything for me. I resisted piling it on, because I do feel a bit sorry for his dedicated followers, but I also know that it's mostly over. They are furiously angry anyway, so why not indulge myself in a little of that good old schadenfreude.
I don't think many local people care for Sanders at all. They don't know who he is or where he's from. As for me, I grew up with those types and figured they were useless. I like professional men, like doctors and scientists and engineers or men who can build things. Men who use their advantages well for themselves and those lucky enough to be associated with them. Those suburban bad boys with good educations! Terry is a scientist who also has practical skills, like being able to fix up a guest room downstairs and keep our cars in repair. Our prosperity rests on his smarts and his know-how, so I count myself a lucky woman. Surely, if we had to depend on my ability to attract money or on my practical skills we'd be broke and living in squalor! But our poverty would be noble!!!
At the Democratic caucus here what I saw were white people. Some of the other white people I've talked to are going for Trump, in the belief that he is a businessman and understands business and will be good for business. I did talk a while back to a local man who thought Trump was great because he was living the dream. The dream of loser guys with no taste! Blacks and other "minorities" are never going to go in big numbers for either Trump or Sanders. Hillary will draw them in, along with serious feminists who care about reproductive rights and pay equity and want action against attacks on equality for women (not a big feature of Sanders's populist shtick, which refers to Planned Parenthood as "establishment.) It would not surprise me if plenty of pro-choice women of both parties and independents and country club types will vote for her too.
Sanders has little general appeal, in short.
I did have a low moment when it looked as if Sanders might pull it off, because I spotted him right away as a phony who cares only about money and has always craved attention. His message to his fan base is, "I will give you money." How noble. Like putting down a small amount and winning the lottery. I'm repeating here what a smart professor of mine said once, "You can get rich by getting a million dollars from a rich person, or you can get rich by getting a dollar from a million poor people." Of course, inflation means that a million dollars isn't much and a dollar is nothing.
And then laying off 230 $15.00 an hour temps without even showing any sympathy for them. Sheesh!
And his wife is awful and arousing much resentment. I can see why he kept her away from the campaign, but now they are trying everything and she's all over the media saying stupid things. And she's kind of a crook and a weasel, too. Not too bright, I would say. Funny. The first time I saw her I said to myself, "That woman looks like an educational administrator." Terry says that's the thing about being old, you have met many of the commoner varieties of humankind and can size them up pretty fast. A lot of elder grumpiness and lack of enthusiasm for the latest trendy things and people comes from experience. Of course, some people seem incapable of learning from experience, and getting up in years does not improve their judgement.
Sanders backers are probably busy right now, contacting our elected representatives in Congress who are superdelegates and telling them that Sanders expresses the will of the people of Hawaii. I'm sure Schatz, Hirono and Hanabusa will stand fast. Tulsi Gabbard , our Congresswoman, who left the DNC and came out for Sanders, will pay the price for her ambition. But she is young and can probably make a comeback. She miscalculated in her youthful way, but she is not a bad personl. I will not vote for her but won't actively oppose her either.
We just got word that the company Terry consults for is going to be making "an ominous announcement" later today. I'm very glad we have no stake in this outfit beyond the fees Terry gets to consult. But my heart goes out to the people who made sacrifices to work for them and even moved to Phoenix, bought homes, etc. etc. How awful. They dumped the CEO, but not soon enough to halt the death spiral of this startup.
I so often imagine what my life would have been like if I had been brought up in different circumstances with more tolerance for my inborn traits. Hastreiter is one of the "single ladies" Rebecca Traister writes about, who have done fascinating things with their lives and have really changed the social landscape for all women.
Gloria Hastreiter, Kim’s mother, says that Kim was a square, suburban girl—she grew up in West Orange, New Jersey—who gave no indication that she possessed an artistic streak. Gloria sent her to college at Washington University, in St. Louis, in the fall of 1969, with a wardrobe of A-line skirts and cardigan sweaters, blouses with Peter Pan collars, and penny loafers. “The skirts matched the socks matched the sweater,” Gloria said. When she and Kim’s father, Walter, went to visit two months later, they were met at the airport by a stringy-haired creature in workman’s boots, carpenter’s jeans from the Salvation Army, and an Indian shirt. “That was the beginning of her new life,” Gloria said. Kim says, “I went right for the weird, crazy people. It was, like, I’m ho-ooome!”
When I went that way, my parents yanked me back home. Too bad, a missed opportunity. But maybe not. I learned other things, most importantly, I think, what life is like for women in low wage, low prestige jobs. It sure would have been nice to go to art school instead, though, and hang out with the wacky people in San Francisco that I was denied access to. This was still the 50's and a very very oppressive time for young women. The oppression was at its worst just before it eased up, and I was a victim of that. And so were many of my friends. I did learn more about the "scene" later and was able to hang out some once I got away from my parents but was never really a part of it. There is an age when you are ready and can throw yourself into it, and by the time I got there it was too late.
Of her magazine venture, Paper, as it was getting off the ground:
The magazine’s finances were likewise do-it-yourself. Hastreiter went around the city selling ads; for a while, her mother was the bookkeeper and subscription manager. In the early days, Paper was often laid out, after hours, at the Times.
Imagine, a mother both useful and supportive! And the use of the Times facilities!
She also consults with Tar-Jay. I was just at our local store and bought jeans and tops, still having enough of a figure to wear such things, although at the high end of their size range. Well, Hastreiter's fun. I guess all that commercialized frivolity is dated now and kind of too cute, maybe, but still, what a gas!
I guess I am glad, after all, that I was forced (against my inclination!) to become a serious person.
I'm getting annoyed at the bullying that certain lefties around here are indulging themselves in. They are losing friends and allies and don't seem to realize it. I wonder if this is happening in other places, too.
...if you want to make a difference in this country, you need to be prepared for a very long, very frustrating slog. You have to buy off interest groups, compromise your ideals, and settle for half loaves—all the things that Bernie disdains as part of the corrupt mainstream establishment. In place of this he promises his followers we can get everything we want via a revolution that's never going to happen. And when that revolution inevitably fails, where do all his impressionable young followers go? Do they join up with the corrupt establishment and commit themselves to the slow boring of hard wood? Or do they give up?
I don't know, but my fear is that some of them will do the latter. And that's a damn shame. They've been conned by a guy who should know better, the same way dieters get conned by late-night miracle diets. When it doesn't work, they throw in the towel.
Most likely Bernie will have no lasting effect, and his followers will scatter in the usual way, with some doubling down on practical politics and others leaving for different callings.
"Late night miracle diet." That's funny.
Or: Sanders and his older followers are the Pied Pipers, leading young people away from the village into limbo.
What I dislike most about the older Sanders followers around here is that most of them are reasonably affluent, many with very good jobs, and yet they complain all the time about being outsiders and about how corrupt other comfortable people are. This could be the liberal firing squad we all know well, where people sit in a circle...
Here is a good 1977 interview with Margaret Drabble from The Paris Review. She is a contemporary of mine with a similar mentality but more natural talent and a better education and connections: one of the people whose writing kept me alive and thinking during those years in Switzerland. She mentions Angus Wilson, Doris Lessing and Saul Bellow as her favorites. They are from our parents' generation, the people of my age. I don't care for Bellow any more, although I did once upon a time. I adore Angus Wilson, but I wonder if younger people these days could understand him. All of these writers, including Drabble herself, are mostly of their time, maybe not meant for immortality.
I was very sad to hear about the death of one of my peers, an AAUW member, who did not have an easy life. Rest in peace. At my age death is a constant preoccupation, even for people like me with a sunny nature. That may be the thing about old people that younger people understand the least. Every day we are still around is stolen from the inevitable conclusion, the end of all our days. That is why I write so much here, to assert my continued existence. But I'm not going to run for office!
At this point, I don't know what I'd do without Rachel Maddow. She had Jane Sanders on.( I'm not sure whether this was before the campaign laid off 250 workers or after.) Maddow talked about the amazing amount of money the Sanders campaign spent. And they raised all that money and did all that advertising and had those big rallies, and they lost all but one of the five races on Tuesday. That's failure. Maddow was easy on her while getting the point across. But I imagine she could see that Jane Sanders was way way out of her league and decided not to put any pressure on her.
The impending Sanders disaster was clear enough to me, right from the beginning. They had not thought things out and did not have real goals. Otherwise they would have, for instance, told people to get themselves registered as Democrats so they could vote in the Democratic primary! I do think Jane Sanders is right that we need same day registration, better access, campaign finance reform, etc. etc., stuff the League of Women Voters has been working on for years. I guess they didn't know about these matters. Voter suppression never had affected them, after all. So I think all those Sanders people should join the League and help us out. That is, if we are not too "establishment."
And the Hail Mary pass visit to the Pope. That was so inept. So amateurish.
Really, why did these people think they could prevail? Because people in Vermont liked him? Obama had the Chicago party machine backing his campaign. It was as if Sanders had no plan beyond his stump speech, which he gave over and over, and showing how much money he could raise.
So I am feeling sorry for the Bernie people in a concern-trollish way. How so many intelligent people could have thought he had a chance is beyond me. One excuse I hear is that the people didn't know him and that the point of spending all that money was to make him more widely known. Perhaps.
I do love seeing the Republicans falling apart; for them my schadenfreude is heartfelt. They have held it for so long, but now they just taking big satisfying dumps on Ted Cruz. Imagine. They prefer Trump to Cruz. Cruz is the most unappealing politician since Nixon.
This evening I am very very sad about the death of Jenny Diski. And what she writes about the deaths of Doris Lessing and her son is heartbreaking. I could not finish reading her last piece in the London Review of Books. It is just unbuffered suffering. Doris Lessing was so important to me; her novels helped me through a dark period in my life. She kept my imagination alive in the years when I lived "down among the women" as the mother of young children, my home a small apartment in a foreign country. And Diski's terror and fury at her own approaching death are unbearable. More, tomorrow, maybe. But probably I won't be able to handle it.
A friend of mine went to Honolulu and had a meal at Assagio, a great restaurant, and saw The Book of Mormon. Let's just say I'm jealous! Ah well, stay home and save money. We'll be headed for Seattle in a couple of weeks. I'm very spoiled, I confess.
Anyway, for no reason at all I recalled an anecdote a friend of mine told me about a job he had in Switzerland. He was an itinerant chess player in Europe for several years. We met in grad school at Portland State University, where we got our certificates in teaching English as a second language. He got me a job at the community college where he was working.
I moved over here, but he stayed there and was eventually laid off after more than 20 years of dedicated teaching. His wife recently retired, and they have enough to get by; they have no children and rent a small apartment and live at a level of decent poverty. Whatever amount they can save goes to fly once a year to visit his wife's family in Japan.
Well, he was full of funny stories. My favorite is about the time he got a job as a sommelier at an Alpine resort in Switzerland. He knew nothing about wine, but he had a good line of patter in Yiddish and English, and the customers loved him. However, his boss, being a "correct" Swiss, fired him for being under-qualified and by his lights not taking his job seriously. He said, "Go back to America. Nixon vill show you how to verk!"
God what a funny guy he is. I think I'll phone him tomorrow. Find out if he feels the Bern. Probably. We can argue about that, and he can tell me a few more jokes and anecdotes. Maybe we could drive down to Portland and visit him. With the way we have moved around, many of our friends, the people we really really care about, are scattered all over the place.
The way things grow on the Hamakua coast must be seen to be believed. I continue to enjoy the camera on my new toy, the I-phone 5. Just a panorama shot and a video from our walk yesterday evening, on the other side of the highway from our neighborhood. This is what the untended tropical rain forest where we live looks like. It's mostly introduced species, fighting it out for dominance.
Water coming down the mountain on its way to the ocean. This movement of water has created the many gulches along the Hamakua Coast.
We are going for our weekly lunch date in downtown Hilo. Tomorrow is Friday, and friend Mary will be back from her long visit to the Mainland! Thank god. I've really missed her. BTW: This vid is upside down. Still work to do on mastering the I-Phone camera!
The Sanders campaign has done a good job, giving Hillary Clinton an opponent, who has forced her to explain her policies and plans. An article in the New York Times, How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk,has put me on her side of an open commitment to dialogue about policies the military favors, since the military is not going away and must be come to terms with.
“Hillary is very much a member of the traditional American foreign-policy establishment,” says Vali Nasr, a foreign-policy strategist who advised her on Pakistan and Afghanistan at the State Department. “She believes, like presidents going back to the Reagan or Kennedy years, in the importance of the military — in solving terrorism, in asserting American influence. The shift with Obama is that he went from reliance on the military to the intelligence agencies. Their position was, ‘All you need to deal with terrorism is N.S.A. and C.I.A., drones and special ops.’ So the C.I.A. gave Obama an angle, if you will, to be simultaneously hawkish and shun using the military.”
This is not the same as saying one is in love with the military! It's realpolitik. Obama's preferred strategies of espionage and targeted killings and drone warfare are nothing to praise. As Medea Benjamin herself says, the peace movement is dead and has been since 9/11. If the military policies are out there, they can be protested, so what we need to call for is openness. All this secretive stuff gets a pass these days, for the most part. I want to see Glasnost for the military, which means engaging them in dialogue. I think Rachel Maddow and Al Franken would agree on that.
From David Brooks, who visited Hemingway's finca in Cuba, we learn that Hemingway worried about his weight and was a great writer. Punchy! Honestly. My report is much better, and I took nice photos, too. You can look it up on the search thing, if you want to.
These big and tall coconut trees will have to come down next year. It's a gamble leaving them up now, But thanks to Mafua, the Tongan tropical tree trimming specialist, these trees won't be dropping coconuts and fronds on people's heads.
We have about 50 immature coconuts and have been drinking a lot of coconut water. I'm really going to miss those trees.
I'm glad to say that the prison where I worked was not like this Florida one. We dealt mostly with sex offenders (75%) and drug offenders and a few murderers. The reason I know this was a good facility was that none of us became hardened to the situation we were in. There were no guards in our education facility unless we requested them. I was threatened a couple of times and guards came right down to deal with the offender. The guards and most of the other personnel were from the same demographic as the prisoners, which may have helped to make the prison culture less confrontational. One white guy was badly beaten up, though, by other inmates, and he was punished for incitement and sent back to the prison on Oahu. And a lot of unsavory sex stuff went on, too, but, well, it was a facility for sex offenders!
So lots of off the books stuff happened, but things ran as well as one could expect, I suppose. We had several severely psychotic prisoners to deal with and one seductive "mahu" who drove everyone nuts and was eventually sent back to Oahu.
In the years of prison reform, the educational facility had college prep and Pell Grants, but that had been eliminated before I got there. What we offered was basic math and reading/writing and high school equivalency programs. The state provided a simplified syllabus and workbook for an undemanding but information rich course leading to a diploma. GED was too hard for most, who had about 6th grade reading competency. My excellent boss and now my closest friend here, managed to equip us rather well with discarded and donated computers and instructional material. She finagled some distance learning out of a community college and ran job fairs, really did her damndest for the guys. There were also effective automotive and agriculture programs, run by part timers working with tiny budgets.
Both of us retired before the Republican governor shut down the facility as a favor to her friends in the profit making private prison industry, which has its facility specially built for Hawaiian prisoners: in Arizona! We scoffed when this was touted as a money-saving measure. Nothing could be as bare bones as our prison was, but we did the job. The Arizona prisons just warehouse the guys. There are no programs there , as far as I know, except "faith based" ones.
The reason I think this facility was OK if not ideal was that I did not become hardened, nor did I modify my approach to my students but always treated them like people who wanted to learn and succeed at their studies. Some of the corrections officials were goons, rightly enough, but they were too lazy to do much damage to the inmates. Everything was on a small scale and "human" level there. No one was dehumanized, and that's probably the key.
The facility has re-opened, but there is no way to find out what is going on there now. I hope there will be some inside glimpses some time.