Password Hell

We (not me) have created a monster. That monster is passwords. Who disagrees? And, yes, of course, I know that passwords are supposed to protect us from various kinds of cyber theft. They’re a necessary evil, right?

But some of us may not feel the need of such protection, being as we have little to lose. So, incredulous as it might sound, I want to be provided an opt out choice for password protection. Let me choose whether I want to be password protected.

In the beginning of all this craziness, I created a 4 character password that I intended to use everywhere, every time. That way, I had only one password to remember. And I’ll bet that many of you did the same. But you know what happened next. Soon, more characters were required. And then your password had to include a capital letter, and a number, and a special character. A new word was invented: alphanumeric. Then your password was gauged as to its “strength”. Most recently (yesterday, in fact), I was required to come up with a 16 character password. How bizarre!

So, to repeat, I want to be offered the option of turning down password protection. Give me the freedom to assume the risk of being unprotected from cyber predators, if I so wish. Give me the opportunity to free myself from password hell, and I might even take it.

And, there is a larger issue here, which seems not to have been so far considered. It is the cost/benefit equation associated with password protection. Is it possible that the aggregate harm done to the public from the imposition of password protection (the time consumed, the money spent and the aggravation inflicted) out weighs the harm that would result from an absence of password protection? Or, more to the point, the harm that would result to those individuals who, having been given the freedom to opt out of the system, have chosen to do so. I am, in other words, suggesting that we allow the question of password protection to be governed by free market principles, where account holders are free to choose it or not. Let the results of such assumption of risk govern individual decision-making.

And, while on the subject, I see a parallel circumstance in the imposition of security screening of air travelers. An immense government security apparatus, staffed by unemployables and morons (yes, you can quote me), has been created to protect us from terrorism, but, in the process, has created another kind of terrorism. Don’t you HATE airport screening? I do. Would you assume the risk of being on that particular plane that a terrorist has targeted, to be free of airport screening? If given the choice, I might. Is it possible (here, again) that the staggering costs – in time, in money, in aggravation – of security screening out weigh the presumed benefits of such screening? If the airlines and federal government provided us with “screening-free” flights, would you consider being on one of those planes? I would definitely think about it, that’s for sure.

Just how safe do we need to be? Are we so sniveling that we require all these elaborate, expensive and exhausting safeguards? I want to be given the choice of using passwords or not, and the choice of being on a screen-free flight, or not.

 

 

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Earth Day and Spring Flower Bonanza, April 22, 2017

It’s Earth Day today, and I visited two of my favorite spots. The first was the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, along the Rio Grande upstream of Pilar, NM, and the second was what I call Rinconada Canyon, for lack of another name.

Orilla Verde is the most downstream section of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, which is centered on the Rio Grande of northern New Mexico, and those familiar with this blog know that it is where I photograph bald eagles, waterfowl, otters and whatever else comes my way in the winter.

First, Orilla Verde.

This flower looks like the Desert Marigold we see in Arizona

Cliff Fendlerbush

Indian paintbrush

Yucca

Green hedgehog

Green hedgehog, artistic treatment

Teasel, alongside the river

Rinconada Canyon is on the upstream end of a drainage that crosses NM 68 at the east end of Rinconada, NM. A large amphitheater contains slot canyons and vertical formations eroded into soft sediments. This place has also appeared in my blog posts before.

Daisies

Golden pea

Low cryptantha

Prow

Overhang

The Chimney, along the margin of the amphitheater

White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth, feeding on Low cryptantha

White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth, feeding on Low cryptantha

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The Salt River, AZ , Part 3, March 25-26

We started the day with Quartzite Falls Rapid. This rapid used to be called, more simply, Quartzite Falls, because it’s most notable feature was a low but gnarly falls that usually called for either a portage or lining of your boats. Why the name change? Well … to make a  long story short, in the late fall of 1993 some boaters carried dynamite into the Canyon and blew the falls apart. Here’s what it looked like before its demolition:

Quartzite Falls, at lowish water, downstream view

Quartzite Falls, highish water, upstream view

The verticality of the drop created a very severe “backwash” (aka hydraulic), which could and would trap those boaters foolish enough to run the falls and, on a few occasions, drown them.

Raft gets sucked back in, at Quartzite Falls, in low water. The stress on the boat popped a thwart. Note the guy at the ready with a throw-rope, on photo left.

This warning was painted on a slab upstream of the falls:

DANGER FALLS 1/4 MILE

But you could, and we did, run the falls at VERY low water.

Quartzite Falls, at very low water (David Hiser photo)

Back to Quartzite Falls Rapid in 2017. It was observed the day before that you could run the right-hand channel between a line of rocks (to your left) and the cliff on the right. This would carry you into the perfect position to take the drop straight-on. If, on the other hand, you approached by way of the main channel, the current would direct you into the left wall, requiring that you back away from that wall before setting up for the drop. This was more problematical, so we chose the line that had been observed.

Below: Video of Quartzite Falls Rapid, Mile 31.7. Britt is seen ahead of us.

Two clean runs!

Below: Video of Flo and Ethan in Quartzite Falls Rapid. They bump into the center rock, but no prob.

Quartzite Falls, Salt River

Immediately below Quartzite is Corkscrew Rapid.

Below: Video of Corkscrew Rapid, with Ethan/Flo and then Britt. This video was shot with my Coolpix P900, from the  cobble island that is located at the downstream end of the pool below Quartzite.

Below: Video of Corkscrew Rapid#2, Mile 31.8

The narrowest spot on the river is found just below Corkscrew.

Below: Video of Salt River’s narrowest spot, Mile 31.9.

Below: Video of Britt and the quartzite monolith seen to his downstream side. Britt is proud of the fact that he ran Corkscrew without knocking his beer over. There is a small campsite amongst the fabulous quartzite rocks at this spot, Mile 31.9

Immediately downstream of this camp is Sleeper Rapid, Mile 32.

Below: Video of Sleeper Rapid

One of the last whitewater challenges on the river is making sure that you don’t broach against the cliff, at Cliffhanger Rapid, at Mile 34.3. Of course, we’ve done that for fun, in low water.

Below: Video of Cliffhanger Rapid, Mile 34.3

Broached at Cliffhanger Rapid … (photo taken on prior trip)

and flipped (photo taken on prior trip)

Our name for this little mesa is Bunny Butte, which stands above the mouth of Cherry Creek, at Mile 35.9.  It is made of volcanic ash, and has some steps cut into that soft rock, which steps can be found on the east side of the formation.

Seen from atop Bunny Butte, Cherry Creek enters on river-right, Mile 35.9. Cherry Creek Camp is seen on river-left. In this photo from 1995, note that the river channel at the red “X” is completely unobstructed.

Downstream view of the river channel at the point marked with a red “X” in the above photo. Formerly unobstructed, the river is now filled with islands, small channels and lots of vegetation.

Cherry Creek has forever been a favorite short hike, with cathedral groves of cottonwoods and sycamores, and lots of birds. But, we were cautioned that a flood had trashed the creek, making the hike a difficult prospect. So we took a pass on it.

Ruin Granite pinnacle, Mile 37, river-right

Mile 37.9 Camp and a White Ledges peak on the left. Horseshoe Bend starts here.

Horseshoe Bend, at Mile 39.4. The Ruin Granite again appears here.

Two male mergansers follow a female

Desert marigold

In the distance, the Sierra Ancha, which feeds Cherry Creek

The river again cuts through the White Ledges, Mile 40

Saguaro and teddybear cholla cactus

Female merganser

Saguaroscape

Gooddings willows

Just downstream of Coon Creek, the Dry Creek Camp is actually located at the mouth of Chalk Creek, Mile 45.2.

We did 19.5 miles on this day, to position our last camp close to the take-out. This would provide us with an early start for home the next day.

Sun-lit cliff face, from our last camp, at Mile 50.5

Evening clouds

Hooded oriole, at our last camp

Our last morning, with 2 miles to the take-out.

Narrow channel and reeds, Shute Springs, Mile 51

same as above

Mile 51.5

Mile 51.8

The last narrows, Mile 52

Bighorn sheep, nearing Pinal Creek, Mile 52.1

The Hwy 288 bridge, seen through the encroaching reeds, Mile 52.4

We got away from the take-out in mid-morning, and back home (Embudo, New Mexico) before dark, while Flo and Ethan returned to Phoenix and then California. It was another great trip on the Salt – certainly the second most amazing river in Arizona!

Postscript:

It can be assumed that, in the absence of preventative measures, tamarisk, reeds and cat tails will continue to take-over the riparian zone of the Salt River. Tamarisk can be controlled by the Tamarisk beetle, which has been introduced with good results on the Colorado River. I asked the USFS why they hadn’t introduced the beetle on the Salt. Their reply was that they were lobbied by AZ birding groups who saw the tamarisk as desirable habitat for birds. But the beetle will likely arrive on its own, one of these days. Otherwise, I’m guessing that only a massive flood is capable of tearing out the established tamarisk and reed, with the former the tougher of the two.

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The Salt River, AZ , Part 2, March 23-24

We had arrived at one of our favorite lay-over camps – Blackjack Wash. It, too, was over-grown, but still made a great camp. Blackjack Wash, at Mile 31.0,  is located .7 of a mile upstream from Quartzite Falls Rapid – the “power spot” of the Salt River – and one can hike downstream from the camp to, first, obtain a view of the rapid from above and then continue down a wash to the rapid’s edge. Additionally, one often gets the opportunity to watch boats run the rapid from these vantage points.

Campsite at Blackjack Wash, April 2017, upstream view. Compare the amount of foliage in this photo to the one below. Also, in this photo, note the new island just off the river-right shoreline (photo left)

Some of the new foliage now being seen along the river includes the native Gooddings willow. This medium-sized tree is very handsome and (IMHO) a welcome addition to the riparian zone. So … why did the Salt River riparian zone get so over-grown? Some years ago, two very large wildfires burned through a number of Salt River tributary creeks and drainages, laying many thousands of acres bare. From these burned and bare areas, subsequent monsoon rains carried off large amounts of soil, some of which got deposited along the banks of the Salt River. And this new soil (we were told) is given credit for stimulating the growth of vegetation in the riparian zone of the Salt River.

Blackjack Wash, in 2005, with low water and considerably less vegetative cover

Some Blackjack Wash flora.

Desert rosemallow

Saguaro

Arizona fishhook cactus

Feather dahlia

Saguaro and ocotillo.

Brittlebush, saguaro and a blooming purple hedgehog cactus, left of center

Barrel cactus

Some camp and other scenes.

Our camp was generously supplied with liquor

Flo and Ethan, upstream view. Beyond them is seen the first and lowest flatiron in the White Ledges flatiron group of four (which is more fully explained below).

Waves in the flames and the river. Pitchy wood throws black smoke from our campfire, which is contained in a fire pan

All the rock formations here are steeply tilted. These rocks are part of the Yankee Joe Formation, evening downstream view

Titled Yankee Joe slabs across the river, with a peak of the White Ledges to the left, downstream view

Across the river, tilted Yankee Joe slabs below and White Ledges flatirons above

The river has cut through the steeply tilted White Ledges at Blackjack Wash. Continuing downstream, this layer then runs parallel to the river and has been carved into a number of flatiron formations, four of which are positioned across the river from camp. All of #2 and parts of #1 and #3 are seen in the above photo. Below is  flatiron #4, the highest of the group, downstream view. BTW, where have you seen flatirons before? Perhaps The Flatirons at Boulder, CO? – which are formed in sandstone layers. Here is the Wikipedia definition of a flatiron: “Traditionally in geomorphology, a flatiron is a steeply sloping triangular landform created by the differential erosion of a steeply dipping, erosion-resistant layer of rock overlying softer strata. Flatirons have wide bases that form the base of a steep, triangular facet that narrows upward into a point at its summit. The dissection of a hogback by regularly spaced streams often resulted in the formation of a series of flatirons along the strike of the rock layer that formed the hogback. As noted in some, but not all definitions, a number of flatirons are perched upon the slope of a larger mountain with the rock layer forming the flatiron inclined in the same direction as, but often at a steeper angle than the associated mountain slope. The name flatiron refers to their resemblance to an upended, household flatiron.”

Flatiron #4 – the highest of the group seen from camp

Below, ripple-marks on different layers of the Yankee Joe Formation, seen across from camp. Each individual layer, deposited at a different time, and under different conditions from the other layers, shows a different size and orientation of the ripple-marks. BTW, these ripple-marks could be casts of ripple-marks of over-lying layers. I’m not enough of a geologist to be able to say, one way or the other.

Tall saguaro and slabs

Blackjack Creek, in the Yankee Joe Formation

White Ledges peak, upstream of camp.

Looking down at Quartzite Falls Rapid from an overlook on the hike downstream. The White Ledges are again cut through here. The layer then continues to the high point of the ridge opposite and to and through the distant mountain on the left (photo taken on prior trip).

Looking upstream from the same overlook as in the above photo. From right to left,  we first see the White Ledges in the far distance, as the uppermost layer on a mountain ridge, then as a series of flatirons paralleling the river and finally the large flatiron on photo left. We call the slabby face of this flatiron “Waldo Wall”. This is the same face seen on river-right at Quartzite Falls Rapid in the above photo. (photo taken on prior trip).

The end point of the hike are these red-blue-grey quartzite layers that overlook the rapid, with White Ledges boulders opposite ( (photo taken on prior trip)

Some of us watched a group of commercial rafts take an unexpected approach to the rapid, which we imitated the next day when it was our turn, with very satisfactory results. The next post will cover the remainder of the trip.

Here’s the link to the post of Part 1:

https://believesteve.org/2017/04/18/the-salt-river-az-part-1-march-20-22/

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The Salt River, AZ , Part 1, March 20-22

A combination of low water years and no success in the annual lottery kept us away from our second most favorite river in Arizona for 7 years. We had first run the 52 mile Salt River Canyon in 1982, and returned practically every April thereafter for one or more trips. This year, because of the effects of climate change, which had moved the advent of warm temperatures forward by 3 weeks, we put in for a March date, and drew March 20. There is no limit on the number of days one can spend on the river, and we decided on a 6-day trip, which makes for a leisurely pace and at least one lay-over camp (where one spends two nights at the same camp) possible. Our party consisted of my wife Kathy, me, Britt Runyon Huggins (Operations Manager for our river company – New Wave Rafting Co.), my son Ethan and his wife Florence Landau.

Kathy, Britt and I arrived at the put-in, just downstream of the Hwy 60 bridge, in mid-afternoon, and were soon joined by Ethan and Flo, who had flown-in to Phoenix from Alameda, CA. Ethan is a former NWRCo. guide, who also has a few Grand Canyon trips under his belt, but had never run the Salt. Flo had no prior river experience.

There was plenty of activity in the launch area – commercial parties, other private parties and a group training in Swiftwater Rescue. We busied ourselves with rigging our boats for the balance of the afternoon, and were ready to crawl in as it got dark.

We were the first private party to get underway the next morning, and enjoyed a day of exhilarating whitewater on what is known as “The Daily”. It’s called that because commercial one-day trips are made possible by the fact that the White Mountain Apache Tribe Road #1 parallels the river to the Hoodoo River Access, 9.3 miles downstream of the put-in. It’s a great one-day trip.

Our party. From left to right: Ethan, Flo, Britt, Kathy and me. Our boats are behind us: 2 14′ Sotars and a 14′ Aire

Kiss and Tell Rapid, barely 50 yds. downstream from the launch beach (Mile 0.1). The current runs directly into the quartzite cliff and then takes a 90 degree turn to the left.

Below: Video of Kiss and Tell Rapid, Mile 0.1. All the videos shot from the boat were done with a little Lumix waterproof camera that I kept in a pocket of my PFD (“personal flotation device”). Please forgive bouncy videos caused by bouncy rapids!

From here, the river runs 2.7 miles around Mule Hoof Bend, returning to a point 0.2 miles away from this rapid, on the other side of a low saddle.

Below: Video of Bump and Grind Rapid, Mile o.9.

Ethan and Flo, at the foot of Bump and Grind Rapid, Mile 0.9

The shiny surface of this quartzite boulder is a cast of a ripplemarked and cracked near-shore seabed

Below: Video of Maytag Rapid, Mile 1.1.

Below: Video of Reforma Rapid (aka Grumman Rapid), Mile 1.7.

Below: Video of Exhibition Rapid, Mile 5.5

Below: Video of T-Shirt Rapid (aka Mescal Falls), Mile 8.6. This is the biggest hole on the day stretch.

We passed the Hoodoo River Access and continued into a roadless canyon, with the Salt Banks the next stop. The name of the river is derived from this geological phenomenon, a salt spring that has created an overhang and walls laden with salt formations.

Ethan and Flo drift under the overhang at the  Salt Banks, Mile 10.0. Mini waterfalls of mineral-laden water spatter the surface to the left of the raft.

Salt Banks

Salt Banks

Salt Banks overhang, with very small waterfalls

Salt Banks overhang, with very small waterfalls

Salt Banks. Cliff swallow nests occupy some recesses

I had put together, two years or so ago, a draft of an iBook on the Salt, similar to my published iBook on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1). But I was holding off on publishing it until I had had another opportunity to run the river, take more photos and video and see what changes had taken place. And, indeed, significant changes had taken place. The river corridor we saw this March was now hugely overgrown with three invasive plant species. This process had started 20 or more years ago, with the establishment of tamarisk along the shorelines. We had seen this bushy tree take over numerous campsites over the last number of years, and the invasion had continued while we were away. And now, added to the tamarisk were cattails (Typha angustifolia T. x glauca) and Phragmites reed (Phragmites australis, or common reed). The cattails were sparsely distributed, but the reed had taken over the lower canyon, as will be seen farther along. And, the low water years had enabled the tamarisk to both reach farther out into the channel, and establish new islands in mid-channel. Many areas of shoreline were now harder to access (see photo below).

We had to shove our way through the tamarisk to get to the camp. Yes, those are saguaros on the slope across the river

Evening view downstream from our first camp, Mile 11.2

Saguaros!

The anticline at Rock Creek, with a paleo-Indian ruin located under the overhang seen in the center of the photo, Mile 11.8. This ruin is now included in a White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) sensitive area, which forbids entry to the public. Ahead, the river makes a hard left turn at Rockgarden Rapid.

Below: Video of Rockgarden Rapid, Mile 11.9

The river turns to the left below Rockgarden Camp, and runs straight for just under a mile. Then it turns right, and one is now on the approach to The Cheese and Rat Trap rapids.

Below: The Cheese Rapid, Mile 13.3. The river enters the Ruin Granite.

The Cheese Rapid leads directly to Rat Trap Rapid, which is seen ahead as this video ends. Why didn’t I video this scenic and interesting rapid, you may ask? I had intended to do so, but the camera battery ran out with no time to change! The Cheese and Rat Trap rapids begin the White Granite Gorge. A short ways below the latter, the river turns right, and immediately drops into White Rock Rapid.

Below: Video of White Rock Rapid, Mile 13.6

On river-left, just downstream of White Rock Rapid, is a gorgeous display of fluted and polished granite. It’s worth a few minutes examination.

Sculpted Ruin Granite, Mile 13.7

Sculpted Ruin Granite, Mile 13.7

The White Rock Gorge continues with delightful Class 3.

Below: Video of Class 3 whitewater, with Ethan followed by Britt, Mile 14.

More sculpted granite is seen on river left, opposite a granite island, at approx. Mile 14.5.

More sculpted Ruin Granite, just upstream from the former Boatpatch Beach, Mile 14

31.6 WhiteGraniteCanyonX DSCN8018

same as above

Brittlebush, saguaros, ocotillo and sotol

Next up is Canyon Creek, on river right at Mile 16.0.

Below: Video of approaching Canyon Creek, Mile 16.0. The video ends as we head for the eddy, which now has a grove of tamarisk growing in it. These are, however, handy for tying off to … but one can easily foresee the tamarisk eventually filling the eddy completely.

Below: Video of the approach to Canyon Creek, Mile 16.0.

Gleaming Ruin Granite at the mouth of Canyon Creek, Mile 16.0

Ruin Granite at the mouth of Canyon Creek, downstream view, Mile 16.0

Fairydusters, at Canyon Creek

Group of rafts heads downstream from Canyon Creek towards Granite Rapid

Don’t miss the short hike up Canyon Creek, to a deep pool surrounded by beautifully sculpted granite rocks.

Long deep pool on Canyon Creek, downstream view

Sculpted granite

Eddy at Canyon Creek, a few yards upstream of the mouth

Below: Video of the mouth of Canyon Creek, Mile 16.0.

Granite (aka Hades) Rapid is located just downstream of Canyon Creek, at Mile 16.1.

Below: 2 videos of the very scenic Granite Rapid, Mile 16.1

Crested saguaro and ocotillo

Camp #2, Mile 16.6

Camp #2, Mile 16.6, with first light on Canyon Creek Butte

37.2 WhiteGraniteCanyonAshCkX DSCN8063

Just below the mouth of Ash Creek, downstream view, Mile 16.8. Canyon Creek Butte is seen ahead.

37.3 WhiteGraniteCanyonAshCkX DSCN8064

Small rapid at the mouth of Ash Creek, Mile 16.8, upstream view

38. RockM.17DSCN8067

Granite monolith, Mile 17

38.1 GleasonSaguaroDSCN8086

Saguaro, in Gleason Flat, Mile 18

The Black phoebe, a flycatcher, is the most common bird seen along the river corridor

Rapid in Gleason Flat, Mile 19

There is 4 WD road access to both sides of the river at Gleason Flat. The Salt River Canyon Wilderness begins downstream of those accesses, at Mile 19.3.

Gleason Flats ends at at Mile 21.2, as the river enters a canyon of the metamorphic Redmond Formation. Eye of the Needle Rapid is found a short ways downstream.

Below: Video of the approach to Eye of the Needle Rapid. Watch out for a large hole on a bend to the left. Then stay left for the slot that is the “eye”of the rapid.

Below: Video of Eye of the Needle Rapid, Mile 21.5

The excitement continues with Black Rock Rapid, less than a mile downstream, at Mile 22.2.

Brittlebush, at Black Rock Rapid, Mile 22.2

Below: Video of Black Rock Rapid, Mile 22.2. This video was shot with my good camera – a Nikon Coolpix P900.

Below: Video of Black Rock Rapid, Mile 22.2.

After Black Rock, the canyon opens up and runs straight for just under a mile. You pass Hess Canyon, on the left, at Mile 25.5. About a half-mile below Hess, at a hard turn to the right, you encounter the channels and islands seen below.

Bedrock channels and islands, Mile 25.8

Screwdriver Rapid, Mile 26.4

Below: Video of Devil’s Pendejo Rapid, Mile 26.6.

Lower Corral Rapid, Mile 29.2

The start of the Pinball stretch, Mile 29.4

Pinball

Pinball

Britt enters The Maze Rapid, Mile 29.8

Below: Video of The Maze Rapid, Mile 29.8.

Notice the big rock to the left of the raft, at 30 sec. into the video. This rock fell into the rapid at some un-determined time in the last few years. Here, for comparison sake, is a photo of this rapid (at a similar water level), before the rock fell in. This rock added to the maze-like nature of the rapid.

The Maze Rapid, before the big rock fell in

Mid-stream bedrock obstructions, below the Maze, Mile 30

The White Ledges run along the ridge top seen downstream. Mile 30.5

The White Ledges are a very unusual and striking geologic feature. They are formed of the White Ledges Quartzite, which is an extremely hard and erosion-resistant rock unit. The softer rocks found both beneath and above the White Ledges have eroded away to the degree that the White Ledges are often seen to stick out from the slope, such as in the photo below.

Just before Blackjack Camp, sycamores grow along a hillside spring. The White Ledges, which the river cuts through at Blackjack Camp, are seen just overhead, Mile 29.9.

Day 3 ended at Blackjack Camp, Mile 31.0, where we had to battle our way through the reeds to gain access to the campsite, which we intended to occupy for two nights.

Part 2 of this post will cover days 4-6 of our Salt River trip.

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The Donald Chronicles, #45 – Apr. 18, 2017

First, some natural beauty, to remind you that The Donald has begun the process that will  ravage our natural heritage.

Swallowtail butterfly on lilacs

So … Stunt #1 was the bombardment of the Syrian airfield with 49 Tomahawk missiles. Bravo Donald!

Stunt #2 was the dropping of the Mother of All Bombs on Afghanistan. Bravo again, Donald!

What will The Donald do for Stunt #3?, one must ask. Will he start a war with North Korea? There is certainly plenty of saber-rattling going on, as regards that miserable place. The American public will love it … unless NK retaliates with an  A-bomb topped missile that takes out Seattle, of course.

Never have so many been in so much danger before. The Donald seems poised to bring hell to earth. If I were half my current age, I would be thinking hard about where I could go to get away from The Donald. The Donald has brought a new kind of exceptionalism to the America I was once so proud of. Now America is exceptionally dangerous to the rest of the world, and I shudder to think of what the future will bring.

But allow me to close with a glimpse of natural splendor:

Bighorn ram, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, NM

 

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The Donald Chronicles, #44 – Apr. 13, 2017

I took an extended vacation from Trump, doing fun things with family members. Here I am with wife Kathy and grandkids Kara and Benet, skiing in California (Alpine Meadows) last week.

Kathy, me and the kids, at Alpine Meadows

So … as regards The Donald, it’s been more of the same insane shit. The most insane of which was the bombing of an airbase in Syria, which can only be regarded as a stunt intended to bring up the ratings of out Entertainer-in Chief. DT has been called a lot of things, but what term best summarizes his various styles of dysfunction? I suggest this one word: pathology. DT is one pathological puppy.

And here, Robert Reich (Huffington Post) presents Trump voters with a comprehensive list of DT’s broken promises.

  1. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. Then he bombed Syria.
  2. He said he’d build a wall along the border with Mexico. You bought it. Now his secretary of homeland security says “It’s unlikely that we will build a wall.”
  3. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. Then he brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses.
  4. He said he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “wonderful.” You bought it. Then he didn’t.
  5. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. Then he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.
  6. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually. You bought it. He hasn’t, and says he never will.
  7. He said he’d divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest. You bought it. He remains heavily involved in his businesses, makes money off of foreign dignitaries staying at his Washington hotel, gets China to give the Trump brand trademark and copyright rights, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.
  8. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said. You bought it. Then he put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.
  9. He said he’d surround himself with all the best and smartest people. You bought it. Then he put Betsy DeVos, opponent of public education, in charge of education; Jeff Sessions, opponent of the Voting Rights Act, in charge of voting rights; Ben Carson, opponent of the Fair Housing Act, in charge of fair housing; Scott Pruitt, climate change denier, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Russian quisling Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
  10. He said he’d faithfully execute the law. You bought it. Then he said his predecessor, Barack Obama, spied on him, without any evidence of Obama ever doing so, in order to divert attention from the FBI’s investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives to win the election.
  11. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the generals did. You bought it. Then he green lighted a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though  his generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained
  12. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. You bought it. He has by now spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.
  13. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times “fake news” and said they were his enemy. You bought it. Now he gets his information from Fox News, Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars. 

That’s all. Let me help calm you by offering some mountain beauty.

Dead tree, Alpine Meadows Ski Area, CA

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