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Tubing

Tubing in the Mopan River in Bullet Tree Village, Belize

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.”

— poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Life is water.

Water is life.

Our bodies are something like 75 percent water.

In Christianity, water is a connection to God. By water, we baptize, we bless, we cleanse.

But water is symbolic in every religion. On one of their pilgrimages, Tibetan Buddhists go to 108 different springs, praying at each one.

Who doesn’t love the ocean, where you can literally tune your heart to ocean waves. Your happy heart. Your broken heart.

Philosopher Simon Critchley, who loves all sources of water, wonderfully describes a still lake as “a decaffeinated sea.”

Still, Critchley seems to prefer the sea to lakes and rivers:

    “The never-ending drone of the surf, sitting by the sea in fair weather or foul and feeling time disappear into tide, into the endless pendulum of the tidal range.

    “At moments like this, one can sink into deep reverie, a motionlessness that is not sleep, but where one is somehow held by the sound of the surf, lulled by the tidal movement.”

Me, I do love the beach: It’s one big reason I moved to Belize after all. (See here for the story on why I moved to Belize.)

But just as I relish the sound of an ocean’s music, I love the tune of a river when I sit quietly on its banks.

Down by the river: A “Mercy Seat,” fashioned from the hard wood of a Bullet Tree.

In the jungles of Belize, especially near sources of water, you’ll see wooden benches built low to the ground (Mayan bloods are extremely short people with short little legs) under blessedly shady trees, perfect for escaping the heat.

One day I was hiking along the riverside in the beautiful village called Bullet Tree, a mere three miles from my home.

I saw a toothless old Mayan man sitting on one of the benches, watching the river go by. His English was not great and neither is my Spanish always very fluent.

But we struck up a good conversation. I told him I saw benches like the one we were sitting on all over Belize. I noted that they are all are exactly alike, although some seat as many as three or four people, like the one we were on, and others only two.

“Yes,” he said, grinning and patting his hand on the hard bench cut from a Bullet Tree. “Mercy seat. Mercy seat.”

Turns out that’s what the old Mayans call the benches: mercy seats.

The mercy seats are, more often than not, close to a water source, usually a river or lake.

And where there is a source of water there is a merciful God.

Welcome to the jungle.

Listen to the music.

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Putting “God back in the White House” has created a hellacious national crisis.

So here’s my best guess on the New York Times “anonymous” mystery, which is scary but oh-so-politically-intriguing.

I’m convinced it was former Sen. Dan Coats, who demonstrated in his now famous and historic interview with Andrea Mitchell that he doesn’t give a spit at this point what Trump says or does to him.

Or … it could have been Secretary of State and former Congressman Mike Pompeo.

Or … there is a good chance it was Coats and Pompeo with a third insider, like one of the generals who is at Trump’s side every day.

At any rate, it certainly comports with everything we’ve been able to read in Bob Woodward’s latest bombshell book.

I think it’s one or two or all three — Coats, Pompeo and a third insider — who had a hand in writing what the Times dared to publish.

If for no other reason than the fact that Coats was especially close to John McCain, who is lifted up in the Times piece.

But then, so was our Secretary of Defense Mattis, who was literally keeping Mrs. McCain proposed up all those days and nights during McCain’s funeral in D.C. just last week …

Some have suggested Coats or such a cabal outlined it and gave it to somebody like a close family member to actually write. Even having a speech writer do it would involve one too many insiders and enhance the risks.

A cabal gives two or three people “plausible deniability.” The ability to say, “I didn’t write that, I swear!”

All kinds of plausible speculation is out there, which, again, makes it intriguing for those of us who are lifelong, incurable, opinionated political junkies.

Some of us are born with that curse.

At any rate, it’s scary that people in the White House that NOBODY voted for are having to go to such extreme, blatantly dishonest measures to prevent Trump from doing something catastrophic for the nation an-or the world.

It’s scary that there has been this so-called “soft coup” in Washington. I, like most Americans, hate the whole god-awful mess.

I much prefer such political intrigue in great novels or movies.

But herein lies the root of the problem: If Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders would grow some rugby balls and put the country ahead of their jobs and desire for stacking the almighty Supreme Court and passing tax cuts to benefit the already rich on the backs of the poor and working poor, we wouldn’t be here.

But then, the authors of the anonymous letter trashing their boss wanted those same extreme tax cuts and stacked Supreme Court and that’s why they hired on.

Nobody forced Coats or Pompeo or any other “resistors” in the White House to work for a sick, corrupt president who demonstrated his sickness and corruption in the most bizarre political campaign in history.

CORRECTION: In the original post of what follows, I incorrectly referred to Yemen as an African nation.

Yemen is located in Asia (which has 48 countries!) and is bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman. I have no excuse for the error. I believe that with nations around the world so interconnected, for better or for worse, it’s vital to get geography right.

Go here for more at Wiki.

Please go here to learn more about the war in Yemen.

We made a great weapons deal with the blood-thirsty, de facto Saudi dictator Salman last year, and now we’re complicit in the intentional bombing of civilians in Yemen.

Here’s a national news story that got precious little attention last week with all the funeral news and the usual Mueller-Sessions bashing.

In the Asian nation of Yemen, a 500-ton American-made bomb was dropped on Yemen children by our friends the Saudis and a Saudi-led coalition.

This kind of intentional bombing of innocents is becoming all too routine by our Saudi “friends.”

You’ll recall that back in May of last year, Trump was in Saudi Arabia bragging in a speech about the massive $110 billion arms deal that he and his Saudi dictator friend Mohammed bin “Woo Woo” Salman signed.

Trump promised that he would help Salman and the Saudis get a “good deal” from our American weapons makers.

That’s one promise he actually followed through with.

For America, Trump said in the speech, “This means, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

At the time, the human rights division of the American Bar Association came out with legal guns blazing because the weapons were likely to be used for war crimes in Yemen.

The ABA warned that the deal would no doubt violate U.S. law.

And what do you know.

That massive, $110 billion deal for weapons, which created new American jobs, has America exporting Saudi terrorism to Yemen while.

We’ve known for months, by the way, that Arabia’s Salman and the boys are in cahoots with al Qaeada militants, who the Saudis used to kill for us, in the terrorism in Yemen.

So much for international law and order and a more peaceful world and all that bloody rot.

Meanwhile, our American military leaders including Defense Secretary Mattis — who in his public time was funeralizing with the McCain family last week — are working overtime to reign in the Saudi terrorism!

Somebody needs to put up one of those billboards outside the White House to say:

Your Terrorism: Not good, America.” — God

CORRECTION: In the original post of this, I incorrectly referred to Yemen as an African nation.

Yemen is located in Asia (which has 48 countries!) and is bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman. I have no excuse for the error. I believe that with nations around the world so interconnected, for better or for worse, it’s vital to get geography right.

Go here for more at Wiki.

Please go here to learn more about the war in Yemen.

We made a great weapons deal with the blood-thirsty, de facto Saudi dictator Salman last year, and now we’re complicit in the intentional bombing of civilians in Yemen.

Here’s a national news story that got precious little attention last week with all the funeral news and the usual Mueller-Sessions bashing.

In the Asian nation of Yemen, a 500-ton American-made bomb was dropped on Yemen children by our friends the Saudis and a Saudi-led coalition.

This kind of intentional bombing of innocents is becoming all too routine by our Saudi “friends.”

You’ll recall that back in May of last year, Trump was in Saudi Arabia bragging in a speech about the massive $110 billion arms deal that he and his Saudi dictator friend Mohammed bin “Woo Woo” Salman signed.

Trump promised that he would help Salman and the Saudis get a “good deal” from our American weapons makers.

That’s one promise he actually followed through with.

For America, Trump said in the speech, “This means, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

At the time, the human rights division of the American Bar Association came out with legal guns blazing because the weapons were likely to be used for war crimes in Yemen.

The ABA warned that the deal would no doubt violate U.S. law.

And what do you know.

That massive, $110 billion deal for weapons, which created new American jobs, has America exporting Saudi terrorism to Yemen while.

We’ve known for months, by the way, that Arabia’s Salman and the boys are in cahoots with al Qaeada militants, who the Saudis used to kill for us, in the terrorism in Yemen.

So much for international law and order and a more peaceful world and all that bloody rot.

Meanwhile, our American military leaders including Defense Secretary Mattis — who in his public time was funeralizing with the McCain family last week — are working overtime to reign in the Saudi terrorism!

Somebody needs to put up one of those billboards outside the White House to say:

Your Terrorism: Not good, America.” — God

Here is the link to the new GoFundMe page, which I set up for the current school year 2018-19, for those who prefer that route.

For those who prefer to donate via PayPal, I have an account at revpaulmckay@gmail.com.

Or, if you prefer to deposit directly to my Bank of America account, which one donor does, contact me via email.

Stephanie begins school full-time Monday and is can’t wait for the new school year.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2018 UPDATE.
Greetings from San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Belize, where Stephanie Garcia will begin her second year of high school at St. Ignatius in Santa Elena.

Actually, she started back to school two weeks ago for “review classes.”

AS FOR THE $1,100  (U.S currency) goal for her second-year expenses, I’ve raised $600 — more than half!

Of that amount I spent just north of $100 shopping in Guatemala, where things are cheaper at the markets, for items like her school bag, supplies like pens and pencils and pads and such, new dress shoes to go with the uniform and other shoes and socks needed for casual or special needs like the dance troupe she’ll participate in.

I also spent $75 on three hefty new books and another $60 or so on workbooks and study guides. One of the nice things about the second year is that she has books I bought last year that she can use again this year or throughout the four years of high school.

Also, friends who are a grade ahead or two ahead of her gave her gave her books they won’t be using anymore.

As I noted before, I paid $275 out of my pocket on her tuition back July. Between that and a government grant she’ll receive and a little money held over from last year, the remaining balance for the school year is only $30 which I will pay next week.

So I’ve expended only $235 so far.

But, again, school doesn’t officially start until the coming week. And as I’ve noted, it’s the extracurricular expenses, field trips, meals, snacks and misc. costs that take big bites out of the budget — some of which I cover out of my own pocket here and there.

So I do have a monetary stake in funding her education myself.

But I couldn’t possibly put Stephanie through school without the continuing, generous donations of people like the following:

Kay Anderson, Carol Lusk Rowdoskas, Babe Watts, Cathy Gordon, Freda Marie Brown, Burke and Sarah Watson, Kevin and Marie Moran.

Also, Kevin Dietrich, Janis Beck, Sharon Miller, Cherie Nienstedt, Diane Flannery, Susan Leddy, Jered Cady, and Linda Novak.

For those who prefer to donate via PayPal, I have an account at revpaulmckay@gmail.com.

Or, if you prefer to deposit directly to my Bank of America account, which one donor does, contact me via email.


We hear it said so much and so emphatically these days that ALL LIVES MATTER!!!

And of course every life matters, including the lives of brown babies.

On social media and TV news, I’m constantly seeing or hearing “Thoughts and prayers for (INSERT HERE)” being lifted up.

So why is this still happening in America? Why do I never see or hear “Thoughts and prayers for the children and their families dying and suffering in American custody?”

How would you react if your little girl was ill with a cough high fever and a caregiver gave the baby Tylenol, an antibiotic — which didn’t work — and honey? (Yes, honey.) What would you do if your child died from a common cough and congestion?

    — STORY BY JOSH HERMAN AT https://www.countable.us/articles/8396-baby-dies-weeks-release-ice-custody-do-need-reform-family-detention-system

    What’s the story?
    A Guatemalan mother is suing ICE, claiming her 19-month-old daughter died shortly after being released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in south Texas.

    The news comes as the Trump administration looks to expand its use of detention facilities to house immigrants who cross the border illegally. In June, immigration authorities requested 15,000 additional beds for detained immigrant families.

    What’s the backstory?
    In March, Yazmin Juárez, 20, crossed the Rio Grande with her daughter, Mariee, seeking asylum from violence in Guatemala.
    Border agents apprehended Juárez and Mariee and transferred them to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
    Mariee was healthy enough upon arrival to be cleared for detention at Dilley. But one week after arriving, the child developed a cough, congestion, and a fever of over 104 degrees.

    Juárez’s lawyers say medical staff prescribed Tylenol, an antibiotic, and honey, but Mariee’s health continued to decline.
    “The conditions at Dilley were unsanitary, unsafe and inappropriate for any small child,” said R. Stanton Jones, a lawyer at the firm Arnold & Porter, which is representing Juárez.

    Jones alleges that when Juárez raised concerns about her daughter’s deteriorating condition she wasn’t taken seriously.
    “The medical care that Mariee received in Dilley was neglectful and substandard,” Jones said.

    Legal papers filed Tuesday claim Mariee was still ill when she and her mother were released from Dilley to stay with family in New Jersey. Hours after arrival, Juárez took Mariee to the emergency room. Six weeks later, Mariee died.

    “It was unimaginably painful for Yazmin,” Jones said.
    What is ICE saying?
    In an emailed statement to news outlets, ICE said:

    “ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency’s custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care. Staffing includes registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, licensed mental health providers, mid-level providers that include a physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner, a physician, dental care, and access to 24-hour emergency care.”

    What are medical professionals saying?
    A pediatrician who reviewed Mariee’s medical records disputes ICE’s claims, and says the child did not receive adequate care in Dilley.
    “Nobody at any time decided to actually have a pediatrician or a doctor see the child,” said Benard Dreyer, the director of pediatrics at the Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, and a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
    “Can we guarantee that if [she] had been sent to the hospital a week earlier, it wouldn’t have been too late? I can’t guarantee that,” Dreyer told NPR. But he adds, “the child was very sick and should have been sent to a hospital.”

    In July, two doctors contracted by the Department of Homeland Security released a scathing assessment of care at Dilley and other family detention centers.

    “The threats to health and safety of the children are not merely theoretical,” the doctors wrote. Family detention is “an exploitation and an assault on the dignity and health of children and families.”

    What do you think?
    Are you concerned about the medical care children receive at family detention centers? Do you support ICE’s plan to expand the use of the facilities? What should happen to unauthorized immigrants once they cross the border—detainment or monitoring devices? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

— Matthew 25:23 (NRSV)

Sen. McCain could not raise an arm because of the unbelievable torture his body endured in years of captivity.

Everybody in American who loved John McCain, and that’s the vast majority of Americans and people around the world except Putin and friends, hated John McCain sometimes.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (D) and U.S. Senator John McCain the Maverick Republican.
REUTERS photo/Fahad Shadeed

I loved Sen. McCain, but it took me a long time to forgive him for inflicting Sarah Palin on us.

History has revealed that McCain very much wanted then-Democrat and senatorial colleague Joe Lieberman for his running mate, which would have been a huge gamble. But he caved in to advisors and gambled on Palin.

His presidential campaign was sunk from the get-go anyway, at a time when Americans were so down on the endless wars McCain and Bush backed, not to mention the Republican president’s near-economic Depression.

McCain was way too hawkish and pro-war for my taste, and that’s what I hated about McCain the political leader.

But that’s how great leadership goes. A great leader is willing to stand like a rock and be decisive, strong and principled in ways that are sure to win love and praise from some quarters and intense hatred from other directions.

A great leader can also apologize when he or she is dead wrong. McCain’s biggest apology to the American people came when he got caught up in a big economic scandal back in the day.

A strong leader has a big, healthy ego, but is humbled by the office he or she holds. McCain said constantly over his long and very long political career that he was imperfect and made more than his share of big mistakes.

A strong political leader is not only decisive, but also articulate enough to explain, in unambiguous and eloquent terms, the reasons for his or her votes, as McCain did.

There was a whole other John McCain, the military hero, who was superhuman in his tolerance for pain and suffering. He was equally superhuman in his integrity and principles for rejecting two offers by his captors for early release after they learned his father was an admiral in the U.S. Navy.

See here for an overview of the torture the POW John McCain endured.

And here’s another mark of his admirable integrity: McCain was a man of deep Christian faith, but quiet faith, the best kind of faith.

Unlike 99 percent of Republican politicians today, he never, ever pandered to Christian voters to win favor.

And of course, there was John McCain the family man. Along with his beloved wife Cindy, he fiercely protected the privacy of their seven children. All of the McCain offspring except the fiercely political Meghan wanted nothing to do with being in the public eye.

Love him or hate him — and most all of us hated his politics sometimes — he made a mark in history the size of a battleship.

Well done, sir. Take your perfect rest, your perfect peace.

A 2016 Twitter photo from John McCain’s wife Cindy at the wedding of son Jimmy McCain where all seven children are pictured in this incredibly diverse and military-loving family.