Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Crossroads and Current Events

with 21 comments

There are times in life you know you’re at a crossroads.

For me, the most recent one was when my late husband Michael proposed to me. I’d been burned in two previous marriages, so taking that leap of faith again was hard. I did, though, because Michael was the best person I’d ever known — and I was right to take that leap of faith.

But there were others, and most of them had nothing to do with relationships.

For example, when I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity — or at least the desire — to transfer into the journalism school. I didn’t do it, because I didn’t want to start all over again with a new program. And I worried that my student loan debt — already formidable — would get even worse if I started a new program midstream.

I think I did the right thing to stay in the program I was already in, mind. But there were a few months where I wondered, “Am I doing the right thing? Would I be better off in the J-School?”

Anyway, the crossroads I sense now is different than both, but has elements of both. I need to take a leap of faith, and I need to trust that I’m already on the right course even if it doesn’t feel that way.

But perhaps I need to take a step back, and explain what the Hell I’m talking about. (Especially as this post is titled “Crossroads and Current Events.”)

I realized earlier this evening that over the past year, I’ve written mostly inspirational posts. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not what I would prefer to be talking about, and yet…it seems almost like I’m shying away from the stuff that’s more controversial, or difficult, or noteworthy, because to put myself out there in such a way requires more energy than I have some days.

For example, I am frustrated at what I see in the news. Here are three stories that just have bugged me, over the past couple of weeks:

  • Some people from the Bahamas lost everything, including their passports. But the US isn’t letting them in, even though there’s an agreement with the Bahamian government to help in times of crisis or tragedy.  Refusing to help an ally is not a good look for the United States in the first place; refusing to help an ally when they’ve endured a life-threatening event like a severe hurricane is unChristian and uncivilized.
  • There’s a policy from the Trump Administration that’s awful, and it has to do with children — some on legal visas from the get-go, some allowed in for humanitarian reasons — who have been told to leave the country. Even if their home country does not have the life-saving treatments these folks need, the Trump Administration does not care. Again, this is unChristian, and uncivilized; it makes the people of the US look like fools, that we’d have “leaders” like this putting sick children out of the country for no good reason.
  • Finally, I am appalled at the story having to do with the Air Force being told to refuel and rest at Turnberry in Scotland, all because POTUS Donald Trump has a hotel there that needs business. This is not the policy of the Air Force, nor of any of the Armed Forces; they usually — rightfully — go to military bases to refuel (and rest, if needed). This is the cheapest way, and it is the safest way. It also doesn’t financially enrich the sitting President of the United States, and since we have a Constitution that forbids such things, we should follow it. Or admit that the Constitution has no meaning in the 21st Century.

So, these are the three burning issues that have vexed me for the past week. But there have been others.

Why am I telling you about them now, though? It’s simple. My crossroad here is, “Do you want to be silenced, or do you want to be yourself?”

As I’m not interested in being silenced, I am going to be myself. I’ll still pick my spots to chime in, because I do have to save my energy for other things (or I’ll never get back to writing fiction).

So, my leap of faith tonight was to tell you what’s bugging me.  I hope you understand why I pointed out these three horrible issues.

As for my friends on the right, I pray they will understand my disgust and anger even if they (for some reason) don’t share it. (Personally, I would hope refugees needing help, kids being sick needing to stay in the country rather than being forced to go home to die, and the Air Force putting in at military bases to refuel are things we can all agree on. But in case I’m wrong, be civil in your disagreement.)

 

 

21 Responses

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  1. I’d like to see a cite for the third story because it sounds like a lie.

    (If the above is impolite, so be it.)

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    September 13, 2019 at 6:24 am

    • Sure, Paul. I’ll get you one in a bit. Look for it added to the post, and I’ll also put it at the end of the comments.

      And that isn’t at all impolite, Paul! (What is impolite is someone at my FB page, who said that all Ds are rude, little, nasty buggers who deserve to die, or some such. I deleted, unfriended, blocked…then someone else said something nearly as bad and I unfriended him but did call out what he said.)

      Barb Caffrey

      September 13, 2019 at 4:39 pm

  2. You are right to raise these issues which gnaw at you Barb, right because you have raised them in a civil and coherent way, pointing out the regulatory flaws and short comings (That’s the UK retired Civil Servant in me speaking).
    (The latter one was raised on the BBC newsfeed and has me scratching my head at the rationale behind it)
    You have to write, what you have to write.
    Keep on keeping on.

    deteremineddespitewp

    September 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

    • https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/08/trump-resort-air-force-probe-1485447

      As the article shows, the practice started in 2015 (before Trump took office).

      Since it is a civilian airport (but still able to accommodate military aircraft), it doesn’t have military housing for the crews so the crews have to use civilian facilities.

      While IMO the article writers aren’t pro-Trump, it still reads to me like “somebody is looking for a scandal”.

      Of course, it sounds to me that the Air Force is investigating this in order to “cover their asses” more than to find any wrong-doings.

      Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      September 13, 2019 at 10:34 am

      • I can see that point Paul.
        My concern is that in these days wherein a state must be sure of the security and safety of its staff and families, it should not have to rely on, nor place the burden on a civilian resource.
        As often in the case of governments, irrespective of what stripe, they will try and get things done ‘on the cheap’ and then there is a fuss when things go wrong.
        I would have thought a military could make arrangements to talk to the host nation’s military on such matters, again irrespective of who is at the top of the show.
        Worrying for the civilian airport and resources too.

        deteremineddespitewp

        September 13, 2019 at 10:42 am

      • Absolutely, Roger. Absolutely.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      • As much as we might preferer it not to be so, there is a place for A Military in this unhappy world.
        Thus by its very nature A Military operates at maximum efficiency within its own environment. The commercial, no matter how diligent and well-meaning cannot offer that level. The two cannot mix effectively.
        This is a sad fact of the constant very low-level war footing which a military must operate at.

        deteremineddespitewp

        September 14, 2019 at 2:18 am

      • Agree wholeheartedly with this. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        September 14, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      • deteremineddespitewp, you raised a possible valid issue but it’s a different matter than what Barb mentioned.

        I would not be surprised if she heard it second-hand with it phrased as “Orange Man Bad”.

        IE She didn’t hear the full story.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        September 13, 2019 at 10:51 am

      • No, I heard it on Shepherd Smith’s newscast, Paul, and he’s definitely no leftist.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      • It’s possible. I do know that this particular plane used to refuel at an AFB. As it should. And diverting and paying isn’t right — it definitely looks unConstitutional to me, though I’m not a legal scholar.

        Do you still want a cite? There are a few more good ones out there at the Hill (which is relatively unbiased) and, I think, I saw one at US News and World Report (which is still going online, last I checked), and they lean toward the right. (They were appalled, too.)

        Barb Caffrey

        September 13, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      • If you find a cite that contradicts the cite I was shown (elsewhere) and posted here, I’ll look at it.

        However, IMO based on this article, there was nothing illegal or unconstitutional done by Trump.

        This is something that predates him becoming President and as I said because these were civilian airports, the crews would have to use civilian hotels for stay-overs. The fact that one of the hotels is Trump owned is meaningless unless the Airforce personnel were Required To Stay In That Hotel not another near that airport. Nothing in this article says that they were Required To Stay In That Hotel.

        Until you provide other information, I’m of the opinion that some people are making a “mountain out of a molehill”.

        Now Roger’s comments about “security of military airplanes” at civilian airports is another matter but is something between Great Britain and the US.

        Based on vague memories, I got the idea that Great Britain at this time may not have enough operational military airports to support these US military air-flights.

        As for “non Lefties” being appalled, well there are anti-Trumpers outside of Lefty-land.

        To be blunt, I prefer facts not emotion in making judgments.

        PS, that article was given to me by an Anti-Trumper who thought it proved Trump is Evil but sadly he doesn’t need much to call Trump or Republicans Evil.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        September 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      • I worry about the security, Paul. That’s what I said initially, too. It was a bit buried, but that was part of why I thought this was bad. You put a plane way off course, because this particular place way off the beaten track is a Trump owned hotel. That’s why it must be investigated, because if they were forced to go there — or if they felt forced — that’s clearly a violation of the emoluments clause.

        But yes, it’s less than the other two problems, because no one’s going to die due to this (unless the security at Turnberry is just that lax, I guess — sorry, #snark). But they could from the other two.

        Certainly there are anti-Trumpers of all stripes. I know of one from Wisconsin, Charlie Sykes, who’s an anti-Trump conservative. (He’s a long-time radio host, now retired.)

        Politico tries hard to be neutral. So does the Hill. So does Shep Smith. But they get the news out there, and they’re important to read.

        There’s a lot of facts not in evidence yet, Paul, so perhaps this one isn’t as bad as it seems. But the facts we do know do not look good. (That much I’ll say.)

        Barb Caffrey

        September 13, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      • No, the “doesn’t look good” is nonsense.

        IMO Too many people are stuck on “Orange Man Bad” and will see anything associated with Trump as Evil.

        The Anti-Trumpers failed with Russia-Gate (remember the National Media thought it was True) and are looking for other garbage to throw at Trump.

        This Scotland thing *as you expressed it first* is a lie.

        The other two things are very likely more lies.

        Of course, with the clowns running for President on the Democratic side, I’m not surprised that the National Media, the Democratic Party and other Trump-Haters are peddling this nonsense.

        Oh, I don’t think I’ll be responding this thread again.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        September 14, 2019 at 10:49 am

      • Paul, we only can go with what is being reported. The facts are that Turnberry is being used this way, and it’s highly unusual, to say the least. Had Trump fully divested himself and his family — put things in a blind trust, say, the way Dick Cheney did (I never though I’d say I liked anything Cheney did, but I do like this) — then there wouldn’t be any way to complain about the emoluments clause.

        What you need to remember is, while this story may or may not be as bad as reported initially (and mostly, people were incensed that no one was looking into it), there are still other problems out there. The media for the most part does not like Trump, but there are some very good reasons for why they dislike him — a lack of honesty, transparency, and a bunch of self-dealing among them.

        There is a place for conservatives in this world, Paul. We need people to save the money, and point out where the money is being poorly spent, as well as the folks saying, “But what about that? And that?” (The latter mostly being liberals, in the US.)

        Trump is not a conservative, though. George Will, who is, can’t stand him. Charlie Sykes, who is, can’t stand him either. And there are a number of others who just shake their heads every day at the number of falsehoods Trump says, or the odd behavior via Twitter and elsewhere…because everything a POTUS does is noteworthy and newsworthy, almost by definition.

        But we’ve never seen anything like this.

        There is a book out there I’ve discussed before, but I have forgotten the name of it right now. It has to do with the fall of the Roman Empire (and the rise of the Roman Republic). The first thing that happened was, mos maiorum — I hope I’m spelling this right — fell apart. And mos maoirum was the expected behavior that everyone had tacitly agreed with for hundreds of years…but all of a sudden people decided, “Nope, I’m special, and I’m not going to abide by that.”

        The Roman Republic fell. The Roman Empire rose.

        I do not want to see an American Empire. I want us to stay a democratic republic. And dissent, comment, even if vigorous, is needed.

        And every POTUS gets this. Obama certainly got his share. So did George W. Bush. So did Bill Clinton. So did George H.W. Bush…etc.

        What I think, overall, is this: The Bahamas having a tragedy is a fact. We know this. And we know that people have been turned away because they lost their Bahamian passports along with everything else in the storm.

        And we know, Paul, that the sick kids have gotten letters telling them they have 33 days to leave the country — and these letters were all dated in early August, so this is the time they’re going to get put out, if it happens. Most of those kids are here legally. A few are visa overstays due to ill health.

        In addition, while I haven’t mentioned it yet, there are American citizens who’ve been held in those camps down at the border despite having documentary evidence saying they are American citizens. One of ’em lost forty pounds in less than two months before he was finally released. (The Washington Post has that story. So did other sources, as I don’t think you trust the WP very much.) That’s just wrong.

        Anyway, the Turnberry thing needs to be investigated. And the Air Force needs to explain why these planes were all of a sudden going to an out of the way place in Scotland rather than anywhere else in the UK that was on a direct line, including military bases it had refueled before.

        Because if they have a good reason for it, other than lining the Trump Empire’s pockets, that is, I’d love to hear it.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 14, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      • Yep, Trump is Hitler. [Sarcastic Grin]

        I’m tired of this nonsense. Good Bye.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        September 14, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      • I didn’t say that. And I don’t know why you jumped there.

        I don’t like him, don’t trust him, and don’t think he’s a good POTUS. But he’s not Hitler.

        Barb Caffrey

        September 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    • Thanks, Roger. *hugs*

      Barb Caffrey

      September 13, 2019 at 4:39 pm

  3. Dear Barb, “Trump Is Hitler” is exactly what you’re saying.

    Therefore, I’m no longer following your Blog.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    September 16, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    • I still don’t get it, Paul, but it’s your option who you follow, or not.

      The main thing I want, in this life, is for people of all stripes who are willing to talk to do just that. We may not always agree. (Sometimes we may disagree vigorously.) But we have to at least be willing to try to talk, even when it’s hard.

      I tend to think that we’re all reflexive right now about what we think we’re hearing and what is actually going on. What’s the truth, and what isn’t, seems to depend on the eye of the beholder…and yet, I don’t see how on Earth that can keep happening. It’s not good for us, as human beings.

      Ultimately the only ones who can judge the current POTUS are sitting in the Congress right now. They can either do it, or not, but they’re the only ones who have all the facts. Some of ’em don’t want to discuss these facts. Some of ’em don’t want to discuss _any_ facts at all, and that’s been true for years, long before this POTUS took office.

      You can believe me or not, but my view is very simple. We need truth, honesty, and as much transparency as we can get. We’re not getting it. And we’re getting a lot less of it with Trump than we were with Obama — and I didn’t think we got as much as we should there, either.

      Society is codifying, getting more rigid by the day. And that worries me. I don’t see a way to stop it. (I’m only one woman, anyway.)

      But if we have friends of different political persuasions, that at least gives more hope than not. We have more in common, ultimately, than we have differences. I don’t think we’re showing that, right now, not online, and in some ways not offline either. But I have faith that our common humanity will one day be enough.

      Anyway, I know you don’t agree with me, but I appreciate that you were willing to keep an eye on what I said for a while.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 17, 2019 at 8:35 am


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