playing politics with the deliberately uninformed

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Until the last U.S. Presidential Election I was a life-long registered Republican.  I even took my corporate vacation during the RNC 2000 in Philadelphia so I could be a media relations volunteer the entire duration of the convention. I loved that experience. I met so many interesting people, and even lent a Congressman who was a platform speaker of some level cab fare so he could get to the Philadelphia Convention Center when he came to Philadelphia on Amtrak but forgot his wallet.

But the Republican party changed.  And maybe I have changed too, but if I am honest with myself and you my readers, the majority of my life I have always been a ticket-splitter.

You see, I do not subscribe to the quackery that if a candidate is of a particular party they are a bad candidate and I can’t vote for them.  I look at the candidates themselves NOT the political party to make my decision.  I have no misplaced sense of obligation to either political party, which is probably WHY I became an Independent.

But politics, including in Chester County, has continued to disintegrate since he who shall not be named took the Oval. Sorry, not sorry, it is the unfortunate truth.  And my opinion. This country is now like a daily episode of the now defunct ABC series Scandal.

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No longer does political civility exist.  Republicans think Democrats are evil and Democrats think Republicans are evil.  It is the theatre of the absurd. You can’t discuss the merits or lack thereof of ANY candidate.

And heaven forbid you not act like a perfect little political Stepford wife and share an article you find interesting. Like this one:

Philly-Area Media Chain Tells Readers: Don’t Vote for a Single Republican
“There are some Republicans that do a good job and should be taken seriously,” says the editor. “But they are sort of sacrificial lambs, unfortunately.”

by VICTOR FIORILLO· 10/31/2018, 9:12 a.m.

With the most contentious midterm elections in memory coming up in a matter of days, news publications across the country are publishing their endorsements of their chosen candidates. But one group of media outlets outside of Philadelphia has taken a much different approach.

West Chester–based Brandywine New Media, which owns the Times of Chester County, the Unionville Times, the Kennett Times, the Coatesville Times, and the Downingtown Times, has run a staff editorial telling readers that they should “not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot.”

Here is the Times of Chester County original editorial:

Editorial: An electoral shock to the system needed to save GOP
Oct 28th, 2018

As has been the case since the earliest days of The Times, we had planned to make endorsements in all of the 2018 elections….

But 2018 is a unique time in the history of American politics.

While some would try to paint a false equivalency that both of our major parties are bad, lacking ethics and are slaves to electoral expediency, we find ourselves unable to agree.

One party has been gripped by a mania, a cancer, and seems unwilling or unable to return to its roots, and instead panders to fear, anger and the worst instincts of a minority of its members: the Republican Party…..America needs two functioning parties to provide political balance and steady leadership. America needs a healthy Republican Party, as a counter balance to the occasional excesses of the Democratic Party — something sorely lacking now. If the current path continues unabated, we will see the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

….we suggest that you do not vote for any Republican candidate on the ballot. We know this is a difficult ask for many, but these times and our democracy cry out for a reset and only staggering losses will get the attention of elected officials and the party’s voter base in a meaningful way.

I have provided but an excerpt of BOTH the article and  editorial, but I strongly suggest no matter what your political persuasion you should take the time to read BOTH pieces in FULL.

I wasn’t going to write a pre-midterm election post, but when I shared the Philadelphia Magazine article by Victor Fiorello on Facebook a woman piped up and said because I shared the article and suggested it was an interesting read that I was making a political endorsement.  Allow me to quote her directly:  ““Well worth taking the time to read” is a political endorsement. Your message is not sharing information but suggesting endorsement of a political view that many in Chester County find reprehensible.”

Can I say WTF now? I mean WTF?  I am NOT suggesting endorsement. IF I was suggesting endorsement of candidates, I would say so. Suggesting an article about the current state of politics is an interesting read or a good read is NOT an endorsement of anything other than the actual article!

I actually would like to say thank you to Victor Fiorello for writing about an editorial I saw but did not take the time to read until he pointed it out. And I would like to say thank you to Publisher and Editor of Brandywine News Media Mike McGann. Mr. McGann that editorial is nothing short of honest and spot on.  And a little bit sad.

I am truly sorry that so many lack intellectual curiosity about the political times in which we live, or are afraid to check things out lest they turn into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife (Genesis 19).

I am so sorry so many choose to be deliberately uniformed. It seems to me life is more interesting when you don’t behave like a veritable ostrich and bury your head in the sand, but what do I know, right?

I also realize some love to hate me because I speak my mind and am a blogger and am just different from them, but lordy. I fully accept although I find it fantastical at times some people (even other women) cannot handle women who do not conform to some pre-conceived set of notions that remind me of 1950’s housewives wearing kitchen aprons. These people should keep their own side of the street clean and do not presume to tell me or anyone else what to do. Because in fact, THAT is what is reprehensible here.

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Being American means freedom of choice when you vote. It means being your own man or woman and voting your conscience.  Being American also means you have the freedom to read a couple of local articles without fear of being put in the stocks like some renegade 17th century New England Puritan. (calling Hester Prynne and all that)

Grow up and remember your collective pride in what it is to be an American and to enjoy the freedoms our forefathers fought and bled and died for.  We have the right, actually a duty to question the political status quo as Americans.  Right now the status quo has some major suckitude going on.  The political process is at present so incredibly contorted that our country is to be succinct, MESSED UP.

And to other women out there:  it took until 1920 and when 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Oh and another fun fact? Women in the state of Georgia could not vote until 1970.

Read up and vote next week people.  Vote for who you choose, not who some political party bobblehead from either party tells you to vote for.

Thanks for allowing the rant and Happy Halloween.

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american on american terrorism is NOT o.k.!

Today the news broke that someone in this country that someone is mailing pipe bombs to people like the Clintons, Obama, George Soros, and others.

That is truly a WTF moment.

These actions are not what the USA is about. These are not the actions of loyal Americans, but acts of domestic terrorism.

These actions are horrible. I don’t care what your politics are or what political party you belong to, no one should be mailing anyone pipe bombs.

I posted the New York Times article they published a couple of hours ago on my blog’s Facebook page with the sole comment of WTF. Sorry not sorry, it’s how I felt.

After I posted the article, the comments started. The one person who liked the article as in liked it because it was a good thing someone was mailing pipe bomb things to high ranking Democrats, took me to task because apparently I hadn’t posted articles when some Republicans were mailed envelopes with suspicious content.

Excuse the hell out of me, I didn’t know it was a domestic terrorism contest between political parties. I also had been blissfully unaware of that news report.

I used to be a total news junkie. I don’t watch the news very much anymore. Ever since this administration came to Washington our country has devolved into an angry hateful nation.

That is not my America. To me that is not being an American.

Truthfully, I am kind of sick of both political parties at this point.

The Democrats in Chester County evicted two teenage girls from the “Sunrise Movement” an event recently because they didn’t want them asking Governor Wolf environmental or pipeline questions at an event. They bought event tickets fair and square. So wrong. Of course one of the young ladies was already essentially ridiculed this summer by Wolf’s golf spike shoe wearing opponent Scott Wagner.

The younger voters might not have all the life experience of an older person, but they are the ones who will be inheriting the hot mess this country is becoming. Don’t discourage involvement. People are growing apathetic enough, myself included if I am honest.

The anger and rage coursing through this great nation is utterly terrifying. It has to stop.

We need to get back to civility within our political system.

In my humble opinion that also means we need to start systematically electing different kinds of politicians. We need to have representatives in elected office who actually represent us, not special interest groups, big donors, political party bigwigs.

Since the founding of this great nation people have fought and died for our freedoms. People need to remember what it is to be an American, and part of that is the ability to embrace differences in others. We are all not supposed to be identical. We are a nation founded by immigrants, and those people risked their lives to come here to escape political persecution, religious persecution, etc.

We need to stop the anger.

We need to stop the violence.

We need to just hit the pause button even in our own individual lives to be appreciative for the gifts we have been given by God.

Do something nice for a change. Turn off the political vitriol.

the farmhouse rots?

Yesterday I wrote about the old historic farmhouse in East Whiteland on Church Road.

This morning I happened to drive by as a passenger in a car.

Simply put, how in the hell is this farmhouse being preserved exactly? Does this perhaps more closely resemble demolition by neglect versus historic preservation? The freaking place is collapsing, it’s clearly visible from the road so WTF?

Also note the “planting” photos. Cheap trees planted too closely together. Wonder if any are on the invasive species list like the developer special Bradford Pear? Whatever these trees will be mostly dead in a few years, wait and see. (sorry not sorry, my opinion as an experienced gardener. I find it ludicrous that these developers clear-cut forest and field, only to plant poorly.)

If Toll Brothers can get up the sales office for their Great Valley Crossing Development don’t they have time or shouldn’t they have time to save the historic farmhouse like people were told would happen?

from anita hill to christine blasey ford

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I am watching Christine Blasey Ford give her opening statement.  As women we are all wired differently, but in my humble opinion this this woman is not lying. She is telling and reliving her truth on national television. (CLICK HERE not sure if link will change.)

When as a country do we stop blaming and shaming victims of any form of assault? This woman has been the target of harassment and death threats since she came forward? She and her family have had to MOVE OUT of their home? Her email was hacked this week?

She says “my responsibility is to tell the truth.”

I have watched the emotions run across this poor woman’s face.  I will note that while not consistently a Senator Diane Feinstein fan, I thought she was magnificent this morning.

I also thought Senator Chuck Grassley was a veritable tool in his opening remarks. He has been a tool consistently throughout. Senator Patrick Leahy just made me tear up when he said to Dr. Ford “We owe you a debt of gratitude…bravery is contagious.”

I remember watching what happened to Dr. Anita Hill vividly in 1991.  She has been quoted recently as stating :

“Access to equal justice for all is what was at stake in 1991, and it’s what’s at stake now,” said Hill, now 62 and a professor at Brandeis University.

A friend of mine recently said on Facebook:

For me, the striking thing about the reports of the (alleged) actions and behavior of  Kavanaugh & peers in the 80’s is how utterly unsurprising and familiar the stories are and how much I took such behavior for granted as normal throughout my high school, college, and twenty-something years.

Philadelphia’s Main Line prep schools are not very different from those in the suburbs of DC. In the 80’s …we marinated in a pretty formidable testosterone stew, and the drunken, groping party scene among the schools was the reality I knew. For the most part I stayed out of the fray, but certainly had moments in the heart of it all – it may have been luck that I wasn’t assaulted, but I’m aware of female peers who were and who still feel the impact today, even if they never reported anything. I’m familiar with some of the men I was told were perpetrators, who now are stable, engaged, contributing citizens who may not remember or even be aware of the impact of their actions years ago.

When I arrived at my traditional, predominantly male college, the drunken, groping fraternity party scene didn’t faze me since it corresponded to the social scene I knew, and was one in which I willingly participated. As in high school I mostly avoided assaults that some other women experienced, until the one time that I, dead sober on a weekday night, bumped into a male friend who was wasted, who wasn’t convinced that I didn’t want to hook up with him, who pinned me to the ground until I managed to push him off and run away. It’s just about the most scared I’ve ever been around another person – I can imagine the feelings of fear and panic and lack of control that Christine Blasey Ford may have felt – and avoided him for the next few weeks, yet I never went to campus police and may have only told one or two people at the time. Later the guy apologized to me profusely and sincerely. I believed him that he had scared himself as much as he had scared me. We remain friends and is someone I like, admire, and appreciate to this day. Not every woman at college was so fortunate.

Pledge season involved a lot of male nudity; it wasn’t unusual each spring to find myself on the dance floor with some drunken, naked guys (who by that point may have become so numb and inured to public nudity they didn’t think twice about stripping down). I thought it was adventurous and funny; in retrospect now I can imagine how unsettling or upsetting it may have been for others at the fraternity party. From my perspective at that point, that’s just the way it was – that was normal.

Looking back at this culture through the lens of 30+ years of maturation and experience, I feel a little like the proverbial frog in boiling water – if I had been dropped in, I might have jumped right back out, but having been immersed in it as it slowly heated up, I never noticed that anything might be amiss. For whatever reasons – obliviousness, immaturity, desire for social acceptance, preponderant male power and privilege, entrenched social mores – it rarely occurred to me to question what we then accepted as the norm. Others may have been more mature or enlightened far earlier than I. It’s taken me longer to wake up and recognize it as unhealthy and harmful. Waving your penis drunkenly in someone’s face (it’s surely happened somewhere, whether officially witnessed, reported, and documented at Yale in the 1980’s or not) is not funny or acceptable. It’s boorish and threatening, and also probably really unattractive. (Sorry guys – penises are usually pretty ugly!)

So there’s no real moral to my tale, just an observational outpouring based on my experience as a white, heterosexual, overly-educated woman of privilege who has lived primarily in affluent parts of America. The issues that have been raised by Me Too, Why I Didn’t Report, Time’s Up, and ongoing stories that shed light on the pervasive nature of sexual misconduct, assault, and crimes in our culture are bigger and broader than just my tiny little slice of life.

The stories being told by the women speaking out against Brett Kavanaugh, though, speak to a specific milieu I recognize. He may well be an intelligent, accomplished professional, a man of faith, a pillar of the community, and a devoted husband and father, but he could also have been an asshole as a teenager, especially when drunk, who casually and cavalierly exercised his entitled belief that girls were prey to be conquered or trophies to be won while glorying in his alpha male dominance and sexual prowess.

I don’t know him and I don’t know if that’s the case, but, if true, the actions outlined by his accusers fit a profile that I find fully believable and very likely possible. For this and many other reasons it really chaps my hide that a bunch of desiccated, crotchety, superannuated white guys are trying to force through a vote without some semblance of sensitivity to the nuances of the situation. There is nothing easy here, and it burns me up that the response by some of those elected to lead our country is to say, essentially, “hush now – stop making a fuss over nothing and let us go ahead and do what we want.”  Wonder how a younger generation of men may ever have picked up the notion that they might be entitled to casually and cavalierly conquer, belittle, and suppress women while glorying in their alpha male dominance. It shouldn’t be normal.

I shared my friend’s post because she is right.

As I was a few years ahead of her in high school, don’t think similar thoughts haven’t crossed my mind when it comes to the conversations which persist about Supreme Court nominee Kavanugh as yet another woman comes forward. (Since I wrote this yet another woman has come forward I will note for the record.)

Thinking about all the parties from high school forward and thinking about times even as a young adult in my early 20s having to dodge this total tool who tried to trap me in someone’s parents’ bedroom coming out of the bathroom at a party I completely agree.

Being slammed up against a wall of a bedroom like that was not sexy or fun, it was terrifying.

All I remember about that were thoughts racing through my head that I had to get out of there and telling myself I couldn’t afford to panic. I was able to knee the guy in the crotch to get away. I can still see the draperies, the coverlet and canopy of this now long gone proper Main Line master bedroom. I can tell you the bathroom I used was the interior master en suite bathroom in the back of the bedroom.

Most of us have stories like this from our single days. The funny thing is I don’t actually know many women who don’t have at least one of these stories, if not more. Most of us, myself included, have multiple stories. Suffice it to say, it was an experience I had as a teenager which propelled me in my twenties to just get out of that room.

Being raised by mothers who just expected us to be good and proper girls, did not actually prepare us for the reality of it all growing up. And how many of us had mothers we felt we could truthfully discuss these issues with? I love my mother but I know I couldn’t discuss it with her. I still couldn’t.

Back then, women/girls were blamed first. It was always “what did you do?” not “Oh my God, what can we do to make this right?” Even today, the initial knee-jerk reaction is to blame the women/girls first instead of listening.

Not all of us want to talk about these incidents. Because back then if you talked about them it was also whispered that you were “fast” or “easy”. The guys in this equation were just sort of patted on the back and sent on their way. It was expected, and almost condoned behavior. Just “boys being boys” only it never felt that way if you were on the receiving end.

I also remember the stories of college girls when I was a freshman who were supposedly “trained” by fraternity brothers when I was in college. “Riding the Train” of course today would be called gang rape. Back then it meant they all lined up and took turns. They would ruin a girl’s reputation but what they in fact did was commit gang rape. These things were whispered about, not reported.  We learned whom to avoid and what parties we probably should avoid. But the “boys” persisted.

Stories range from attempted assault to rape. And then there are all the women who won’t talk about what happened to them. Ever. Or not for decades.  Some women deal with it in therapy or somehow push through it.  And there are those who never dealt with these issues and what happened to them has continued to play a part in their now adult lives. Because as a society we don’t deal with these patterns of behavior, they persist to future generations. Maybe you will disagree with me, but those are personal observations.

And I don’t think as a society we can judge people for waiting however many years before they come forward. These were traumatic events and they have triggers. People can bury these things in their subconscious for years, until there comes a point in time or something triggers a memory and they all come flooding forward. And then it’s like these women have to live it all over again because they didn’t deal with it in the first place. And a lot of the times they didn’t deal with it in the first place because as a society we’ve only just started becoming supportive. As a society, we did not used to be so supportive.

Jessica Knolls’ book Luckiest Girl Alive comes to mind. It is kind of the way it was, although factionalized. Here is a New York Times article discussing the impetus:

 Jessica Knoll Reveals the Rape Behind Her Novel, ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’  

By Alexandra Alter
March 29, 2016

….She is no longer dodging those questions. On Tuesday, Ms. Knoll published a raw and chilling essay describing how the gang rape depicted in her novel was drawn from her own experience in high school, when she was sexually assaulted by three boys at a party, and then tormented by classmates who labeled her a slut.

“I was so conditioned to not talk about it that it didn’t even occur to me to be forthcoming,” Ms. Knoll said during a recent interview at her publisher’s office in Midtown Manhattan. “I want to make people feel like they can talk about it, like they don’t have to be ashamed of it.”

Anyway, I think these women deserve to be heard. I also think they should not be judged about how long it took them to come forward.

Societally, this is something that women are NOT supposed to talk about in public.(Just Google #WhyIDidntTell And while there are a lot of people who have used the #MeToo movement for personal gain, and there are plenty of women who were not truthful and cried wolf, it has also given a lot of women a voice that is long overdue.

I will also note I have a problem with women who cry wolf. Women who fake it in this category are reprehensible. They make it more difficult for actual victims of abuse to come forward and even be heard.  Sadly, my gut reaction to this whole scenario now unfolding on a national and international stage is still that I believe these women.

If you ever experienced anything like what these women are recounting, sorry not sorry, you know. You know because you experienced what has been pshawed off for far too long in this country as if not acceptable but almost expected as a rite of passage.

Anita HillThere is a recent Huffington Post piece that I think should be checked out:

Huffington Post U.S. NEWS 09/21/2018 02:26 pm ET
Rape Survivors Share Why They Stayed Quiet In Powerful #WhyIDidntReport Tweets
President Donald Trump tried to bolster Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by challenging sexual assault survivors who didn’t immediately call the police.
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By Ryan Grenoble

I also read this piece on The Cut:

THE BODY POLITIC SEPT. 24, 2018
When the Muzzle Comes Off
By Rebecca Traister

Watching these proceedings as they unfold today I am struck by the two lines of questioning: legal questioning by the legal expert Rachel Mitchell constantly interrupted by some absurd five-minute rule by I can’t desacribe as other than politics.

Dr. Ford was asked one of the things she remembers most, remembers vividly.  She responded the laughing.  Sorry, I remember being a teenage girl and right or wrong, and while boys might block it out, or compartmentailze it away, girls remember the laughter.

Being laughed at or about is something you do not really forget. You grow up, you move on (or should if you can), but you do remember. We learn from our own personal histories just like we learn from actual history. However this shakes out, we need to be different in this country.  It’s not about the political correctness police running amok, it’s a question of respect.

Whatever happens today, I hope it’s not another Anita Hill scenario.  For both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, put the politics down and get to the truth. Waht an ugly time we live in.

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r.i.p. john mccain

I will let John McCain’s final words be a lot of this post. He was a great American. He was an American Hero. We were lucky to have him in our corner.

We live at present with turbulence and ugliness that is NOT a hallmark of being an American and certainly resembles no Republican party I recognize and, in fact,  it’s a travesty. Maybe you don’t like my opinion, but it is what it is and I am not alone in my sentiments.  In my humble opinion, John McCain represented a good portion of  what I respected  once about  most Republicans.

Sad trivia: John McCain died 9 years to the day from when Ted Kennedy died…and McCain and Kennedy  died from the same cancer.  Sadly, I will never view Ted Kennedy with the same eyes.

Time for a brief segue… (come on now, it’s only a wee ramble…)

When I was child, Ted Kennedy was in Philadelphia.  It would have been after Chappaquiddick.  Anyway, he was making a stop at the American Catholic Historical Society at 263 S. 4th Street in Society Hill.  My family at the time lived at 271 S. 4th Street.

I was a little girl with an autograph book (remember those?) and I knew a Kennedy would be a few doors down from listening to all the grown-ups talk about it.  So I asked my parents if they could take me down for an autograph.  Kennedy got out of the car. He didn’t see me and waved his arms out I guess to wave at people or greet them or something a politician would do… and he knocked me down. Seriously and for real. He didn’t stop to see if the little girl he knocked over was o.k.  But that is why at an early age, I became an UN-fan of Senator Ted Kennedy.

Back to John McCain.  He was true to himself and to the American people. You can’t ask for more than that in a public servant/politician.

John McCain was a man whom I would have been proud as an American to have had as a President.  Sadly, they paired him up with Caribou Barbie, otherwise known as Sarah Palin.  He would have had a much better shot at becoming President I think if they had not stupidly chosen Sarah Palin. No I have nothing kind to say about Sarah Palin. I have always found her to be ridiculous. Her comments upon his death are no exception. She sounds like a bitter divorcée who lost her alimony or something.  However, since even our current President is apparently lacking in the decorum at death department, why should Scarah Palin be any different? Maybe she’ll be the next new hire on the White House edition of the Apprentice?

The New York Times has written  a beautiful obituary on John McCain . READ IT HERE.

Excerpt from New York Times Obituary:

John S. McCain, the proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81.

According to a statement from his office, Mr. McCain died at 4:28 p.m. local time. He had suffered from a malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma, for which he had been treated periodically with radiation and chemotherapy since its discovery in 2017.

Despite his grave condition, he soon made a dramatic appearance in the Senate to cast a thumbs-down vote against his party’s drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act….A son and grandson of four-star admirals who were his larger-than-life heroes, Mr. McCain carried his renowned name into battle and into political fights for more than a half-century. It was an odyssey driven by raw ambition, the conservative instincts of a shrewd military man, a rebelliousness evident since childhood and a temper that sometimes bordered on explosiveness.

Also read this Penn Live Editorial and here is an excerpt:

With McCain’s death, a call to serve | Editorial
Updated 3:43 PM; Posted 2:19 PM

By PennLive Editorial Board penned@pennlive.com

Fittingly for someone who always seemed larger than life, the death Saturday of U.S. Sen. John McCain at the age of 81 seemed like several events wrapped into one.

For McCain’s family, friends and colleagues – both in Washington and across the nation and world – it was a time to mourn a beloved father, spouse and colleague who battled bravely against an aggressive form of brain cancer to the very end.

For historians and political scientists, it offered the chance to observe, in real time, the passing of one era of American politics and the continued dawning of a new – and very different – one.

And for the rest of us, it was an opportunity to reflect on an extraordinary career of public service….Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who appeared at McCain’s side throughout his 2008 White House bid, said his longtime friend “lived a life to service as few others have. And when you take a look at that lifetime of service, his was performed with unfailing integrity.”

….He taught us that we work best when we work together.

I hope you read the entire Penn Live Editorial. It is brilliant.

Finally, The Washington Post Obituary on John McCain:

John McCain, ‘maverick’ of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81

By Karen Tumulty August 25

U.S. Sen. John S. McCain, the son and grandson of four-star admirals, was bred for combat. He endured more than five years of imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese as a young naval officer and went on to battle foes on the left and the right in Washington, driven throughout by a code of honor that both defined and haunted him.

Sen. McCain, 81, died Aug. 25 at his ranch near Sedona, Ariz., his office announced in a statement. The senator was diagnosed last year with a brain tumor, and his family announced this week that he was discontinuing medical treatment…..A man who seemed his truest self when outraged, Sen. McCain reveled in going up against orthodoxy. The word “maverick” practically became a part of his name.

Sen. McCain regularly struck at the canons of his party. He ran against the GOP grain by advocating campaign finance reform, liberalized immigration laws and a ban on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — widely condemned as torture — against terrorism suspects….Once Trump was in office, Sen. McCain was among his most vocal Republican critics, saying that the president had weakened the United States’ standing in the world. He also warned that the spreading investigation over Trump’s ties to Russia was “reaching the point where it’s of Watergate-size and scale.”

John McCain was indeed a maverick. And American here. An example of a dying breed of public servant.  We need more like him from both parties.  I think it’s high time to look for actual public servants, true voices of the people. Not puppets for their respective political parties, beholden to lobbyists and deal makers.

John McCain, thank you for your service. A literal lifetime of service.  You weren’t perfect, you did not pretend to be, but I think you were amazing.  May your memory be a blessing.

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not our pipeline

Pipeline and sinkhole. Just The Fact Please photo. November, 2017

Before I moved to Chester County, I was somewhat ambivalent about Sunoco and their pipelines. Among other things, I grew up with a father who was for years, in-house PR for a then major oil company.  And part of that was during the Exxon Valdez era.  But oil companies had deep pockets and what did I know? Nothing was near where we lived and those oil company deep pockets were always giving box loads of stuff to schools, bought full page ads in school newspapers for the kids of employees, etcetera.

When you first hear about problems with pipelines, pipeline construction, or even fracking, it is like this fuzzy thing out of focus ahead of you in the haze. It can’t possibly affect you. Until it does. And in my opinion, it is.   I have friends who hail from Western Pennsylvania who literally have been warning people for years.  And they are just nastily labeled “fracktivists”. Guess that is the new label for “concerned citizen”? Because I have got to tell you, the people I knew who once lived in Western PA are…wait for it…MOMS.  You know how dangerous moms are, right?

Then it seems like in an instant but a couple miles in either direction from where you live as far as the crown flies in any direction, stuff starts to happen.

Well issues.

Sinkholes.

You feel like local municipal officials and politicians are just covering their ears saying “na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na” in order to NOT have to listen to residents.  Respected environmental activists are labeled as being alarmists.

Then all of a sudden the  PA DEP seems to wake up and temporarily halts work on Sunoco’s Mariner 2 Pipeline.  Only as per residents in some affected Chester County neighborhoods and State Impact by NPR  that might not quite be true as they report on January 9, 2018:

When Danielle Otten woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to see men working on the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site that sits about 40 feet from her backyard, along Devon Drive in Uwchlan Township, Chester County.

For one thing, work in the area had stalled after drilling dried up and damaged nearby water wells this past summer. And just last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a court order halting construction along the 350-mile long pipeline after Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners continued to violate its permits, causing damage to private water wells, streams and wetlands…..When DEP issued a stop work order to Sunoco last week, it appeared that all work would halt aside from drilling and erosion controls that had to be continued in order to prevent additional environmental damage. But a spokesman for the DEP now tells StateImpact that when it comes to anything other than earth disturbance or water crossings, the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction.

 

In Chester County, as a resident, you can’t avoid the truth of the pipelines. And the risks and dangers. So many of us are on wells. And so many with wells are already having issues. And then there are those other pesky things…you know like sinkholes and so on?

The jarring visuals you see with your own eyes like the beautiful swaths of lands torn assunder are burned into your brain.  Once you see it, you can’t un-see it and you wish you could.

Swing sets and play houses of small children sit in macabre juxtaposition to giant earth moving machines and huge pieces of pipe.

Giant walls, pipes, and earth moving machines also sit across the driveway from senior citizen apartment complexes and grocery stores.

Pipeline so close and on top of churches and schools in addition to residential neighborhoods and please, tell me, how is that safe?

Next to firehouses too? So basically, Sunoco puts those supposed to protect us at risk as well?

You have friends and former neighbors who have Sunoco gobbling up their land for the pipeline.  You count your blessing like we did that we moved long ago from certain parts of Chester County because otherwise this view could be your very own backyard:

Uwchlan Safety Coalition photo

Only you can’t help but wonder if your slice of heaven will remain unmolested by pipelines? Like Medieval Feudal Lords, you are never quite sure what they will swoop in and take, are you?

You are, as residents of Chester County and elsewhere, supposed to bend over and accept these new vistas:

My photo, taken July, 2017

When you say “no I think this is bad” there are people who will  jump all over you. “It’s perfectly safe. You don’t know what you are talking about.”

Perfectly safe? Is that why CBS This Morning ran and over FIVE minute segment on the national news this morning from coast to coast?

Sunoco is raping our land. They are depleting it, irrevocably changing it and in my opinion putting us all at risk.  It is not OUR pipeline, it is THEIR pipeline being forced upon us all and we are not benefiting from it.  This isn’t OUR infrastructure, it’s Sunoco’s infrastructure. What they take is being shipped OVERSEAS.

As another friend Ginny said to others:

Sunoco cannot replace the large, mature trees they are chopping down for this. Nor can they restore the fragile and important wetland there if they wreck it, just as they couldn’t restore the private wells that they wrecked in Marchwood this summer with this pipeline. 

Living with hazardous liquefied natural gas lines is not a part of living in suburbia. In fact it is reckless to put these lines through densely populated areas, right alongside houses, schools, apartment buildings, shopping centers, seniors homes, etc. 

And now, Sunoco also wants Chester County Library’s freaking lawn? (See Dragon Pipe Diary)

When does it stop?  When did Corporate America’s rights become more meaningful than ours in Chester and Delaware Counties and elsewhere in Pennsylvania?  Why are we as residents being forced to live with something that destroys and takes and give nothing back in return? Why don’t residents matter? Why do we spend so much time feeling like our elected officials have forsaken us on this issue?

And why is it when you mention anything about not liking or distrusting pipelines some fool will always hop up and cry foul partisan politics? I mean do they really think we are such imbeciles that an issue which is non-partisan and affects EVERYONE is an example of partisan politics?  Take off the dunce caps, because opposition to Mariner East is clearly bi-partisan.

Pipeline, East Goshen. My photo. Summer/Fall 2017

Today in addition to the CBS News report, Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety is a nonpartisan, fact-based, grassroots coalition of locally-based safety groups, made up of concerned Pennsylvanians from across our Commonwealth issued a press release:

Well guess what? I believe these folks, and this pipeline and it’s march across Chester County and elsewhere terrifies me.  These people protesting are our neighbors and friends. And there are quite the growing numbers of experts, environmentalists and others who believe these residents.

There is also a very important petition circling. It is directed at our rather elusive Governor Tom Wolf on Change.org asking him to protect our communities under the PA Health and Safety Statute.

Please sign and share this petition today.

Here are some articles:

Dragonpipe Diary: Sunoco’s destructive plans for the Chester County Library lawn

State Impact PA Despite DEP order to halt Mariner East 2 construction, some work is still allowedJANUARY 9, 2018 | 5:34 PM Susan Phillips

State Impact: Water problems persist along Mariner East pipeline route despite court interventionOCTOBER 12, 2017 | 5:03 PM BY JON HURDLE

State Impact: DEP issues violation to Sunoco for another spill of drilling fluidAUGUST 30, 2017 | 6:40 PM BY JON HURDLE

grist: BRIEFLY Stuff that matters PIPE DOWN

Daily Local: Pennsylvania DEP shuts down construction on Sunoco gas pipeline By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal,com POSTED: 01/03/18, 5:25 PM EST

Daily Local: DEP accuses Sunoco of unauthorized drilling By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com POSTED: 01/02/18, 3:49 PM EST

Daily Times, Phil Heron: Editorial: Economic benefits alone won’t resolve pipeline concerns

Look at the end of the day, did we come to Chester County for this view below? I don’t think so. We need to protect what is ours.  And what is ours, is not necessarily theirs.

#Resist

Uwchlan Safety Coalition Photo