trump Sanders

I have been baffled and full of consternation over the polling front runners of the 2016 race for the Whitehouse. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are filling stadiums and topping the polls for their respective political parties. Surely no one will take them seriously –my immediate thought- as they threw their proverbial hats into the ring.

Their rhetoric is shocking, irreverent and- dare I say- revolutionary. They are far from the straight-laced pundits of previous presidential elections. America is eating it up.

Sanders, the Democratic front runner, is the neo-socialist whose platform is to use new laws, taxes and more government intervention in the lives of Americans to “fix” inequalities of wealth, race and gender.

Trump tops the polls in the Republican camp and daily increases his distance from the other 15 (yes count them) vying for the oval office. Mr. Trump is separating himself from the field by being the least politically correct politician of all time. He proposes outrageous solutions to our country’s ills, like building a wall to keep illegals from crossing the Mexican border-(oh, and getting the Mexican government to do it by threatening economic sanctions against them). He also wants to amend the Constitution so that citizenship is no longer a guarantee of American birthright.

As I marvel at the success of these two caricatures of American politics and try to understand it, my conclusion is that America is mad.

They are mad at never-ending wars and empty promises of economic reform. Decade after decade, and president after president, have driven us into a less free , less economically viable nation. They have given up on our political system and their approval of these nonconventional candidates is the proof.

America has “Silly Slate Syndrome”.

When I was a student at UC San Diego in the early 80’s, I ran for a student government office on the Silly Slate. Students were fed up with a student government that was increasing its power by instituting more and more regulations on campus reducing student freedoms. In reaction to that, a few of my friends and I formed our Silly Slate. The candidate for president on our slate could daily be seen wandering the campus in his bathrobe. I, as the candidate for Communications Officer had a platform of “I Linguini Major (actually Linguistics) I love shoes”.

The students loved us and we won by a landslide over more serious candidates with more serious promises of campus reform.

America apparently has its own brand of Silly Slate, but will silly fix America?

The Silly Slate of UCSD made a few reforms but one by one we lost interest and abdicated our rule to our less interesting opponents. Reform was more difficult than we thought and bureaucratic red tape more daunting.

My suspicion is that the outrageous promises of these outrageous candidates will be as empty as most conventional candidates.

If America wants true reform it is time to engage as citizens and take back the power that has been given to us by the constitution and stop waiting for our elected officials to do what we have been given the power and ability to do in restoring the Republic. We the people…

HG Conan

Last year and the year before I had the privilege of attending Comic Con by obtaining a coveted badge. It is an overwhelming adventure of sights and sounds and Hollywood A-listers. SDCC is dream come true to any fan of the colorful world of comics in all of its media renditions.

With 130,000 fans descending on San Diego for the event each year, the logistics for non-locals are daunting. My badges the past few years were always arranged within a few weeks of the event. This meant the monumental task of finding a place to stay when there are no hotels available with less than a $300 night price tag.

The first year I lucked out and was able to stay with a friend who had a lovely apartment in Point Loma. The second year, although I was not guaranteed a badge until the week before the event, I booked a hotel a year in advance with one of my travel memberships, but ended up dog sitting and apartment sitting for a family member in Oceanside.

Parking around the Convention Center during Comic Con is another challenge. The parking passes are expensive and hard to come by. The Public lots are expensive and also require reservations. The first year I drove from Point Loma to Shelter Island found free street parking and walked to one of the nearby hotels to catch a bus as part of the Comic Con Shuttle system. The second year I rode the Coaster Train from Oceanside to San Diego and then hopped a trolley to the Convention Center.

This year lodging and transportation were no problem at all, because I am now a resident of San Diego. I have a charming studio apartment in University Heights and I am just a $2.25 ticket from the convention center on the local SDMTS bus system with bus stops only a few blocks away. I did, however, have a bigger problem-no badge!

I heard on the news one night that there was a list of “free events” associated with Comic Con on the news station’s website, and checked it out.

I was aware of the free displays and activities in previous years, but the extent of what was available this year was truly amazing. It seems that the film, TV and gaming companies producing Comic related fare realize that there is a bigger audience that can be reached outside the confines of the Convention Center.

High on my list was seeing the panel for the Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2. This is because I am a big fan and wrote a book about The Hunger Games- Blessed Are They That Hunger. The panel was to be at noon on Thursday the first day of SDCC 2015 in Hall H. I did attempt to buy a pass on Craigslist from someone who lived near me but offered them less than they were asking for it and never heard from them.

As I perused the free events, I found that Conan O’Brien was broadcasting his show from the Spreckels Theatre downtown and featuring some of the stars that would be appearing at Comic Con. I also found out that on Thursday, his guests would be the Hunger Games stars. The tickets were sold out long before, but standby tickets were available if you were willing to show up at the box office at 8 am the day of the show.

I decided to take a chance and drove down to Horton Plaza. I was early enough to get a parking place before the throngs filled the gaslight district for Comic Con. The line was wrapped around the building and I dutifully waited until a Team Coco staff member gave me a wristband with my standby number. She told me to report back at 3pm to wait for a ticket. As I walked away a gentleman asked me politely what number did they assign me? I told him, “200.”

“There are only 148 standby seats you are not likely to get one,” he told me, “My friend has reserved tickets but all members of our party must be present. If you are willing to stay in line with us you can have one.” Of course I said “yes!” and “score” I was in there!!

We were to be in our seats by 4pm. I knew it would be impossible to find parking at the time so I hopped a city bus at a stop a few blocks from my apartment and within 30 minutes was at the theater.

The Spreckels Theatre is a historic theater build in the 1912 and touted as the first “modern commercial playhouse west of the Mississippi” (Wikipedia). It has been beautifully restored and was a fantastic venue for the Conan Show. It is also much more elegant than Hall H at Comic Con, not to mention more intimate since the audience size was about a fifth of the size as the Con. Our seats were in the orchestra section and we had a perfect view of the stage.

They did a few comedy sketches including an “origins” version of Conan and an Anime creation of Conan and his announcer Andy Richter. Then the Hunger Games Stars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, and Jennifer Lawrence were on the stage. I was much closer to them than I would have been in Hall H.

The only down side of being part of a live taping was the fact that the cameraman blocked Jennifer Lawrence as the cast was being filmed close up for the interview. I could see her up on the screen which helped. They did a bit where she said every swear word she could think of and Conan made a donation to charity for every one she said. TV audiences saw a bleeped version but we heard every salty word! Miss Lawrence you are not as sweet as you look!!!

Had I not insisted on sitting closer to the middle of the theater and kept my original assigned seat, I would have been filmed during a skit that was in the audience. I did see a quick shot of me as the camera panned the audience after the commercial break.

The show was fun and funny and Conan was very entertaining. And although I was badgeless it was my best Comic Con experience to date!!!

We each received a Special Comic Con Edition Conan O’Brien doll-Batman O’Brien!

Friday-day 2 of Comic Con I was tired from the previous day’s events so did not attempt any activities. Another advantage of being badgeless is that you don’t feel the need to attend everything because of the large financial investment a badge requires.

Had I been able to venture out, however, there was an unannounced free Star Wars Concert on the Green behind the Convention Center. Badge holders got entrance and a free light saber. The badgeless could enjoy the music al fresco and free.

On Saturday I hopped the city bus once again and headed for the Spreckels Theatre. I missed the 8am ticket line, but hoped I might be able to gain entrance. Unfortunately, they filmed earlier than they had on Thursday so I was too late to get a ticket.

So I walked to the Convention Center. I knew that there were some free events by the Hilton Bay Front Hotel. My path there lead me past the front of the Convention Center and I was audience to several outstanding cosplay characters as I shuffled along.

When I got to the Hotel I was amazed at the “free events” that awaited me. FX had a fantastic Fear Arena Theme Park with interactive activities including a Haunted House for “American Horror Stories”, a motion simulated entertainment for “The Strain”, a jousting re-creation for “The Bastard Executioner” and a large blow up snow globe of the Waffle Hut in “Fargo”. My favorite was a Kwikee Mart Truck handing out free Squishees in honor of the Simpsons. I even got my picture taken with Homer.

Waffle Hut

There was also a Carnival put on by the folks at “Adult Swim” and a “Scream Queen” Amusement Park complete with carnival rides and food trucks. There were many more free events all over town but this badgeless fan did not have time for all of them.

As its popularity grows, I am sure the free events will as well at San Diego Comic Con so don’t let your badgeless state keep you away. There is plenty to do and see for everyone! By the way, Conan announced that he will definitely be back next year!

ForestGraves

Today was a day of mourning.  In South Carolina there was a funeral for Senator Pinckney who was killed by a deranged 21 year old racist. It was also the demise of celebrating the Pre Civil War South with its heinous culture of slavery as the Confederate Flag is all but obliterated from American culture.

And today traditional marriage between a man and a woman has been laid to rest in favor of a redefinition of marriage by the U. S. Supreme Court.  While no one is celebrating the loss of Mr. Pinckney, the other two deaths are being lauded and hailed as a huge progress in the evolution of American society.

Why am I sad?  Why am I not brought to tears by the Gay Men’s Chorus singing the National Anthem on the steps of the Supreme Court?  Why am I unmoved by the rainbows covering social media-and coloring the site I post my blog on?

While gay marriage is being celebrated-who is celebrating heterosexual marriage?  Even among heterosexuals marriage is losing its appeal in favor of cohabitating without any formal commitment.

My life is not a bastion to marriage.  I am one of the survivors of the record level divorce rates of the 80’s and never found anyone who could convince me to try again.  Not that I have lived a wantonly wild, sexually liberated life since then.  I have mostly been content with a solitary life of celibacy.

But I have never given up on the hope of marriage. The hope of a soul mate who truly celebrates and cherishes my soul- a companion to do life with. It is a dream to aspire to in my journey of relationships.  It is the dream-for me-of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.  Marriage as it was ordained by the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible-a Holy rite.  The transformation of fornication under carnal knowledge to sanctified, holy-dare I say blessed sex.

Today’s American culture calls my dream a fairy tale-a fantasy-a hoax.

But they would say the same about my faith in Christ too.

So today among the rainbows and #lovewins-don’t hate me for mourning.

Serenity Prayer

A while ago I wrote a blog about Entitlement and The Christian right. I blasted Christians in America for expecting to have the same treatment that they once had when they were the majority.  As Our American society becomes more secular and less “Christian” the privileges of the religious right have dwindled.  I reminded Christians that the Bible offers many spiritual blessing for living a life of faith but it also promises certain persecution and suffering as well.  I am reminded of the extended Serenity Prayer that says:

“So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.”

Today I realized that I am not immune from this sense of entitlement.

I have had my share of trials and tribulations in my life.  The majority of them albeit when I was rebelling in some way against God and the teachings of the Bible.  When I have chosen obedience and a life surrendered and guided by the Lord, I have experienced far more blessings than problems.

But when troubles come, and none can go through life without a few, my initial reaction is indignation.  As though, as a child of the King none should touch me. It is understandable that I should feel this way.  After all the Bible does say;

1 Peter 2:9New Living Translation (NLT)

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

But just like the line in the Serenity prayer these promises and rewards will not be fully realized in this life, and I keep forgetting.

I must remember that the Priest I serve set the example of how to handle troubles with grace

Philippians 2:6-10New Living Translation (NLT)

6

Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to.

7

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

8

he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

He also reminds me:

John 16:33 (NLT)

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

God grant me……

http://cathyreisenwitz.com/blog/2015/05/18/how-the-hunger-games-made-me-a-libertarian/

obama care

I recently wrote about How Obamacare Forced Me To Be Dependent On The State .  Despite trying to avoid the grasp of government subsidized health care, I ended up on my state’s government funded health insurance.  On paper, it seemed great despite my philosophical ambivalence.  Free medical care, free prescription drugs, tests, etc. But what I saved financially was not worth the price I paid in substandard care.

My first lesson was in the enrollment process.  I mistakenly understood that I would be able to be part of one of our State’s large health organizations and asked for that as part of my application.  I was then told that I had to get permission for the health plan. I drove down to the offices of the Health Organization only to be told that unless I had been part of the plan within the last two years or had an immediate family member in the plan, I could not be enrolled.  I then tried to obtain a primary care physician through the University run program I previously had care with.  I was told I needed to get permission from that program to be accepted by my new insurance.  After sending information to the doctor I had chosen and several phone calls, I was told that unless I had a life threatening illness, they could not take my new insurance.

So, I opted for one of the three plans I was eligible for as the reality of my new program sank in and I could have none of the kind of care I was used to receiving with my private pay insurance.  When I got my new ID card I found that I was assigned to a Clinic.  When I called the clinic , they could not see me for 3 months due to the overwhelming back log of patients assigned to them.  I knew that this would mean that I would run out of my refills on my prescriptions before I could be seen by the doctor.  I had to beg and plead my previous doctor (who would no longer give me care under my new insurance) to give me an extension on my refills to cover me until my appointment.  At one point, the doctor wanted me to pay $70 out of pocket to see her just to get the refill.  There was no justification for this since I had just had a complete physical with her a few months prior.

Then, I got sick.  I had bronchitis that was impairing my breathing and causing asthma that could not be controlled.  I was also coughing up blood.  I went to the nearest Urgent Care which is what I always did with my previous insurance after trying to get an appointment with my clinic.  The clinic would not see me until the next week, although it was an urgent medical need.  The Urgent Care wouldn’t take my insurance.  So I called my insurance to find out where I could go.  They couldn’t tell me anywhere to go and suggested the nearest ER.

One of the positive outcomes of the increasing rolls of the insured is supposed to be less uninsured using ER’s.  Apparently for those on government funded programs with 3 month waiting lists to see doctors, if you are sick you are forced to go to the ER.

I spent 8 hours at the University Hospital ER and had a battery of tests revealing a spot on my lungs and bronchitis.  I got two breathing treatments so got some relief from the asthma.  The ER recommended I be seen by my primary care physician within 2 days.  Needless to say there was no availability for that so I just continued to self- treat my bronchitis.

Three weeks later, I was due for a follow-up chest x-ray and my bronchitis was getting worse.  I managed to get an appointment with the Clinic because I needed to be seen by the doctor to get an order for the x-ray.

I had to park several blocks from the clinic because there was no parking available nearby.  My breathing was not great and the long walk was tough.  When I got to the clinic, I was told I could not see the doctor because the computer system was down and I was a new patient who had to have my information entered into the system.  I trudged back to my car as my breathing worsened.

I decided that I better go back to the ER, but there was no parking available, so I decided to try back the next day. I had more tests a breathing treatment and was given more meds for my worsening bronchitis at the ER the next day.  This time it only took a couple of hours not 8.

The day after that I was finally able to see the doctor at the clinic.  I got necessary orders for my x-ray and some blood work that needed to be done for a specialist I had been referred to by my previous doctor.

The clinic doctor was also supposed to get my refills to my prescriptions updated at my pharmacy and a referral from my new insurance for the specialist.  I made a follow up appointment in one month to get the results of my chest x-ray and be sure that the referral was accepted.

When I went to the clinic one month later, my doctor was not there that day and they were supposed to cancel my appointment.  Luckily, the on call physician was willing to see me.  They, of course did not have the results of my x-ray so I had to wait until they could get the report.

The referral for the specialist that I was supposed to see in three weeks had not been done. The on call physician put in the request for the specialist.  I later found out that my prescriptions had not been sent either.  The clinic was only open 10 hours a week and I was unable to contact them about my prescriptions.

Three weeks later I was able to see the specialist who was able to write a prescription for two of my three medicines.  The specialist wanted to order some tests and after a week I am still waiting for insurance approval for the tests. Yikes!!!

After all of this I found myself with an increase in income due to relocating for a new job to work along with my business.  This was my opportunity to opt out of this horrible insurance.  I am now among the privately insured again (with premiums partially subsidized). I was never so happy to pay the price of my insurance so that I won’t have to experience the high cost to my health and well-being of free insurance.

I am more convinced than ever what an anathema socialized medicine is.

http://cathyreisenwitz.com/blog/2015/03/31/heterosexual-christians-want-the-government-out-of-their-bedroom-too/

Thanks Cathyreisenwitz.com

Alexandria

Season 5 has been an interesting journey into the world of The Walking Dead on TV.  For the first time our rag-tag group of survivors have found a bit of utopia in the dystopic world they live in.  They have found Alexandria- a beautiful community of elegant homes in manicured landscaping with electricity and hot water and food, safely tucked behind an ominous wall.

But as the strange “man of God” Gabriel says in last week’s episode “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”.  There is an evil lurking in this shiny world.  The most dangerous form of evil is to deny its existence.   The people of Alexandria are under the mistaken impression that the only evil is the walkers outside the protective walls of their community.

They don’t believe that there could be any evil among the survivors so they do not allow anyone to be armed within the walls of the community.  They have rules and those that will not abide by the rules are exiled into the world of walkers outside the walls.

“The rules” do not allow for self-sacrifice or heroics to save and protect one another but there is a survival of the fittest creed that they appear to hold to.  Relationships among the Alexandrites seem to be shallow and forced and for the most part they isolate into their shiny granite-countered, stainless steel homes.

But they forget “the evil that men do.” I wrote in a previous blog how the anarchic world of The Walking Dead appeals to the mostly millennial and Gen-X audience who want a world without a controlling government.

As the series shows over and over the real evil is the evil perpetrated by the human beings not the living dead.  Anarchy cannot protect mankind from itself.  The selfish nature of the people of Alexandria is shown in the refusal to protect Francine from the Walkers on the constructions site and Nicholas’ every man for himself attitude on supply runs.  We are also privy to some physical abuse that is going on in Jessy and Dr. Pete’s home.  The greatest evil is, that Deanna the leader of Alexandria refuses to take action against Dr. Pete because his surgical skills are needed by the community.

Could it be that another more horrible evil is being perpetrated outside the walls by humans as well?  The naked woman tied to a tree to be fed on by walkers had to be the doings of the living not the walking dead.

It must be remembered that the Good Book says “No one is righteous—     not even one. 11 No one is truly wise;     no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away;     all have become useless. No one does good,     not a single one.” 13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.     Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” 14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “They rush to commit murder. 16     Destruction and misery always follow them. 17 They don’t know where to find peace.” 18     “They have no fear of God at all.” Romans 3:10-18

This is true of mankind in the real world as much as the fictional world of “The Dead” even if Gabriel tears the pages out of the Bible.

bibi

This was a historic week.  For the first time in U. S. History an American President refused to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel or even acknowledge his visit to the United States. Instead, without the consent or approval of the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives invited him to speak to a joint session of Congress.  This was scandalous.  So scandalous that in protest and solidarity with the president, the vice president and approximately 60 Democrat members of Congress boycotted the event.

Historically the U. S. has been Israel’s strongest supporter and ally. Since World War II the U.S. has given over $121 billion   in aid to Israel.  There are political and philosophical reasons for this support, but the overriding factor is spiritual.  Eighty three percent  of Americans claim to be Christians. Because of the historic importance of Israel, specifically the Jewish roots of Christianity, the majority of Americans believe in supporting Israel.

Christians believe in the Bible.  The Bible is the historical transcript of the History of the Jewish people and the development of the Jewish sect we now call Christianity, named for Jesus the Christ or Messiah, who was prophesied in the Torah or Old Testament of the Bible. Christians understand that the establishment and protection of the nation of Israel is critical to future prophesies concerning the return of Christ and the End of the World.

Christians also believe the pronouncement of God over Israel and the Jewish nation to the father of the nation, Abraham:

Genesis 12:3New Living Translation (NLT)3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

It seems that those who boycotted Mr. Netanyahu may have suffered a little bit of a curse based on this clip from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” .

The main purpose of Bibi (Netanyahu)’s  speech   was to encourage America’s support in standing up to their biggest bully-Iran.  He drew references of Israel’s past bullies the Nazi regime and the Pharaoh of Egypt. He reminded us that the price of Hitler’s regime was more than 60 million lives Jew and non-Jew as well.  He warned that Israel’s current bully Iran could cost the annihilation of the world as we know it. In other words, what is good for Israel is good for the world.

He also reminded us that this time, unlike those other times in its history, Israel is a formidable force in the world that will stand alone if necessary.

As he spoke, I reflected on the prophesies of Israel as told by St. John in the book of Revelations.  According to these prophesies Israel will stand alone against the armies of the world.

Revelation 20:9New Living Translation (NLT)

9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.

America has lost many of God’s blessings as it turns further and further from the Christian nation it once was.  Will the blessings turn to curses because of an administration that no longer supports Israel or will it continue to stand because it stands with Israel?

oscar statue

I blogged a few weeks back about how depressing the Oscar nominees were this year and how in the midst of wars and beheadings, protests and murders all over the world, Americans just want to escape.  This is evidenced by the fact that the biggest money makers  for Hollywood were all fantasy and sci-fi fare.

More than any other Oscar Award Ceremony  in history, this year’s show was charged with the reality of the world situation despite what the American movie goers voted for with their hard earned American dollars.

The first dose of reality for me was the winner for best short documentary Crisis Hotline Veterans Press 1. This was a humbling moment for me because I had entitled my previous Blog on the Oscars “And The Winner Is…The Suicide Prevention Hotline” not knowing that this film was up for an Oscar.  Making light of such a serious subject made me ashamed.  The fact that I am a mother of a veteran who suffers emotional issues, made me horrified at my blunder.

The next reality check was the winner for Best Documentary, Citizenfour-the story of Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA.  Seeing Glenn Greenwald holding an Oscar moved me to tears as, I reflected on how much was risked and the price that was paid to inform the American public about the immense breach of privacy that they suffered by the US government.

Laura Poitras, the Director said in her acceptance speech ,

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

The glamour and glitz of the fantasy world of Hollywood was breached by the real world.

We were confronted by the suffering of those with ALS through the story of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, which won the Best Actor nod and those with Alzheimer’s Disease with the Best Actress win for Still Alice.

We wept during the powerful rendition of the song “Glory” with the realization that the fight for racial equality is not over. We were admonished to continue the fight for gender equality in the workforce by the Best Supporting Actress winner who portrayed the struggles of a single mom in Boyhood.

We were faced once again with the struggle against suicide in a cruel, ridiculing world because of The Imitation Game, which won best adapted screenplay.

It may have been the most political Oscar Award Ceremony in history, but it was also the most meaningful.  The hope is that we as individuals will take these messages and do our part to continue the fight. Just maybe, then we can have the America of our dreams and not our nightmares.

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