Time to choose sides again

Decisions decisions! We’ve got to choose between Assad and ISIS because, well we can’t just sit here and be happy (As Country Joe McDonald said, “there’s plenty of money to be made.”). Ho w the hell do we choose between the Taliban and ISIS? There’s so much love either way.

Neo-Nazis of Kiev or Russia’s pals in the east. Israeli tanks, bulldozers and bombers or Palestinian bottle rockets and rocks.

Or… how about this. Mind our own business. Seems like a worthy alternative.


We had the Old Fashioned Sing-a-Long today

I should say Dawn had it. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Sometimes I think I go so I can be the youngest person somewhere for awhile. But no. It is a totally enjoyable experience and if younger people would quit being so snooty and uptight they might find the joy in singing in a group where it is all for fun with no judgement as to the quality of their singing, just appreciation for the glory of the family of man.

Today Hal showed up without Elaine. He was downhearted. She was in the nursing home. We went to see Elaine after pizza with the kids, who were heading back to Southern Iowa after a weekend visit. Time is so dear.

Elaine was talking out of her head and crying. Confused. And Desperate. I’m not one to brag, but Dawn sang three songs and talked with Elaine and by the time we left she smiled and said goodby.

A quote from my friend Zephyr sums it up pretty well: “Without you, me and them there ain’t no we and without we there is nothing.”

Some contribute more than others. But that’s OK.

Lovin’ the Local Scene

They say to be an expert you need to come from a distance away. I was an expert once. I moved here from Montana in 1977. Now I don’t know much. I haven’t been an expert for almost 40 years.

But having spent my youth in California, I got to know some people who could be experts right where they lived. I knew Albert King and Charley Musselwhite, a couple legendary blues musicians.

Life is too short to ever miss a Municipal Band concert in Hampton. Chris Sauke and the band are experts right here, bringing composer’s works to life in a place that just seems made for it. The talent doesn’t stop there. Featured soloists and small groups serve up the icing on the cake of these weekly concerts we share as a community.

One thing that occurred to me as I bopped along to a march last Tuesday was how this scene wasn’t unique at all. All over the world there are communities sharing their talents, taking some time from their efforts at survival to enjoy the talents of friends and neighbors.

The opening act Tuesday night was the Sarah Dunn Band. I couldn’t get off work early enough to hear them. I noticed that they were packing up and driving off as the Municipal Band played. That’s too bad. I know Albert King or Charley Musselwhite would have never walked out on the acts for who they opened. They would have stayed to show respect for fellow musicians and perhaps learn something.

I have to admit, I’m no fan of the commercial formulaic brand of country music popular today but I hold nothing against it. After all, I believe the market is the best way to determine winners and losers. Maybe I’m just a crotchety old man remembering the good old days but I think I’m not all wrong. Lack of respect is making this a less enjoyable world. I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who noticed Ms. Dunn’s band’s lack of interest in our hometown musicians.

Maybe that is what professional musicians have become. I hear a lot of complaints about the “all about me” attitude. And I think it has a lot to do with the squeeze that the welfare / warfare state is putting on ordinary people. So much spending is no longer directed by the market that all the inefficiencies have stagnated the economy in unseen ways. To make up for that people must cut corners and it is manifested in rudeness.

To buck that trend let’s continue to resist the temptation to hurriedly dismiss the efforts of our neighbors. I don’t care if I’m no longer an expert. I like it here.

Lester William Polsfuss

The inventor and so much more would have been 100 years old today. Les Paul. Huh, what is it about these Pauls? He pioneered so many music innovations including the electric guitar and over-dubbing.

He said he could make $1000 a day playing country or $1 playing jazz. He ate and prospered nonetheless.

Here is a Wiki article about him if you want to follow up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Paul

Not often aired in public

Letter writer, David stinson, in the War Street Journal regarding an editorial comparing private data collection with government data collection: “Who is more likely to enter your house and kill you- a terrorist or law enforcement?”

The WSJ put this at the bottom of the page, but it was there.

Sanctions are war

In the Washington Post the headline reads, “Obama, Merkel link Russian sanctions to peace.”

It is a bizarre world, predicted by George Orwell, where simple words can mean the opposite. Sanctions are an act of war. Just think if Mexico had ships blockading San Pedro Harbor (in Los Angeles). Would that not elicit a response?

Like I’ve said before, Ukraine had a leader elected who favored friendly relations with Russia. But politicians in the West just can’t get over the joy of having an enemy because the fear factor brings interest and donations to their campaigns and profits to their cronies in the defense (sic) industry and other industry that can’t tolerate competition.

So they supplied arms and intelligence (sic again) to install a puppet for the West. Anarchy is freedom.


Letter to the War Street Journal about Rob Portman

Dear Editor,

Rob Portman knows the U.S. needs to rethink its failing Ukraine policy, but he is wrong in the way he spells out in his letter (The U.S. Needs to Rethink It’s Failing Ukraine Strategy, June 3 Journal).

He mentions Ukrainian sovereignty, a stable, democratic and prosperous future. It is hypocritical to call for Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy while we supported a coup overthrowing its elected president.

The bottom line; most Americans want to live their lives and don’t care about non-threats like Russia, but they feel powerless to do anything about it. So the Rob Portmans will continue to waste American lives and money to feather contributors nests and it will be accepted like the sun coming up in the morning.

Love, Fritz Groszkruger

Portman’s letter:

Regarding your editorial “The Russians Are Coming, Again” (May 29): The cease-fire in Ukraine isn’t legitimate, and Russia’s success in exploiting it demonstrates the need to rethink our approach.

President Obama and some of our allies seem motivated more by the desire to keep the conflict out of the headlines than to take meaningful action to address it. If that’s the goal, then the cease-fire has been somewhat successful, although the Russian violations are increasingly difficult to ignore. While visiting Ukraine last month, I was given evidence proving how the combined Russian-separatist forces have made a mockery of the February cease-fire.

The failed cease-fire demonstrates the effectiveness of Russia’s strategy and exposes the weaknesses in the Western approach. Both Minsk I and II contained no shortage of processes and procedures to promote a peaceful resolution. What they didn’t contain was any credible way to enforce the terms of the agreement. Thus, while Ukraine adheres to the cease-fire, Russia is able to violate it, while enjoying the moral and legal equivalency it grants.

The administration and some EU members have become so fixated on ensuring the “successful implementation of the February cease-fire,” they’ve lost sight of the broader policy objectives, which should be the defense of Ukrainian sovereignty and support for the economic and political reforms Ukraine needs to build a stable, democratic and prosperous future. Meanwhile, the president maintains his de facto embargo on any of the defensive weapons Ukraine needs to defend itself and force Russia to negotiate in good faith. Simply saying you have a cease-fire doesn’t make it so. It’s time the architects of our current policy realized that.

Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio)