About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

Raindrops

By Erik Dolson

There are days when you just don’t want to go anywhere.

The dark blue Sunbrella “canvas” stretches over stainless steel bows to form the roof of the pilot house. When installing, we pulled it tight. A steady downpour this morning drums on the canvas with many a different cadence.

If I calm my mind, there’s a higher, softer sound as rain directly falls to the surface with a “tap.” Then, there’s a slower, heavier “twop” as larger drops drip off the sail or the backstay where they’ve sat for a moment, joined with others and gained more volume. The different drops seem to fall to the surface in clusters, or waves.

The Coho ferry bellows its arrival. Of course, the sounds that arrive at my eardrum are waves, as well.

There are errands to do. I’ve got raincoats and hats, warm socks and fleece, and could bundle up and stay dry. But the idea of venturing out of my blue house to avoid puddles and traffic, then wait for a bus to take me to the chandlery a few miles away where there are probably crowds of sailors and fishermen and boaters of all types on a Saturday …

“Twop. Tap tap tap … twop. Tap tap tap, twop. Tap tap twop, tap tap twop.”

It’s not random, the beat of the rain on the drum of my roof, transferred to the skein of my awareness. There is a pattern. But I know, too, that the brain is a pattern perception / creation machine, and will create patterns always, even where none exist.

We played with that in my 20’s, after making a diffusing glass light box with blinking Christmas lights to watch as we played Rock and Roll. Yes, drugs were involved, along with waves of laughter that followed the seemingly synchronized play of light and music. I’ve observed how light changes, within and without, at different times of the year; suffered from patterns of my own creation when rebuffed, brimmed with joy when embraced with no explanation.

My desire to run to the chandlery instead of working on the novel is part of a pattern. I run often enough to do something else rather than sit and do what I should. There are probably waves in that, as well.

“Tap tap twop, tap tap twop.”

Decades ago I worked in a salmon cannery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I was “gas man” my first season, up whenever the incoming tide floated bow pickers and stern pickers, then wooden fishing boats that set long gill nets to drift across the Nak Nek River outflow to capture the river of salmon heading upstream to spawn, waves in a river of fish.

Another season I was tasked with cooking fish heads to make the oil that soaked the red meat of sockeye salmon in “one pound talls,” cans about four regular tuna cans tall that were sealed, stacked in racks and pushed along rollers into long retorts where they were cooked with steam. At the other end the racks of cans were pulled and taken by forklift into a giant warehouse where they cooled before labeling and boxing.

As thousands and thousands of cans cooled, the tops of cans that had popped outwards from the expansion of water into steam during the cooking, now popped back in. With a metallic but musical note. “Tink, tonk, tenk, tunk, tank, tink.”

Thousands and thousands of cans unheard except by a worker standing in a doorway watching rain pound the Nak Nek river as it poured into the sea, as salmon poured upstream under a different law of gravity, to spawn; a symphony of cans directed by air currents cooling one batch over against one wall, while a batch in another section sang together because they’d been removed from the cookers at about the same time, and near the entrance other batches with micro differences in the amount of meat or oil or water in each caused the timing of their contraction to be in sync with others of different composition.

“Tink, tonk, tenk, tunk, tank, tink.”

“Twop. Tap tap tap … twop. Tap tap tap, twop. Tap tap twop, tap tap twop.”

One of the things Jim most loved about living on a boat was that he “owned his time.” In a month or so, I will take the rest of his ashes to set adrift in a paper boat on Blind Bay, one of his favorites.

We are raindrops. Nothing more. During our vanishingly small moment in time, we sing a single note in an infinite symphony of causation, far more vast  and complex than we can ever comprehend.

This is a day to put off errands, to stay close, to listen.

Choices

by Erik Dolson

“You have to make a choice,” I told my daughter again, acutely aware of how many times I’d told her already, as if by sheer repetition the message might overwhelm whatever fear or reluctance that was holding her back.

“You need to have a plan,” I said. Again. She didn’t need another college degree, she needed a job. To jump into the river and become part of life’s flow toward whatever her future held.

“More school by itself is not a plan.” She’d heard that before, but thankfully did not roll her eyes. She’s such a good person, and so capable, I did not doubt that future would be bright. I just needed to convince her.

“I’ll help in any way that I can, but I won’t help you stay stuck in Central Oregon. I wouldn’t be doing my job,” I said, not for the first time. We’d just moved her sister to a house in Portland, she and her mother and her sister and I. From there I headed north toward the boat, with a stop in Port Townsend, always one of my favorite towns.

It was cold and windy, though, and walking about was hard in the chill off the water. After an expensive night’s sleep on the top floor of a Victorian era hotel where I slept in a room named after Miss Pearl, a prostitute who lived and loved a hundred years ago, I drove on to Anacortes and took a ferry to Friday Harbor where I’d left Foxy almost two weeks before.

When I woke on the boat on Sunday, the day was surprisingly benign. I checked the weather online, listened to the NOAA broadcast and made a quick decision to head down the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria that morning, instead of waiting out the next storm due on Monday, which had been my plan.

The boat came together easily, so I cast off at about 10 am for a calm three and a half motor/sail to Victoria.  Foxy and I were well on the way out of Friday Harbor on the ebb tide, doing almost 10 knots down San Juan Channel to the turn at Cattle Point into the strait.

It was a bright and lovely day, little to do but look out for logs and watch for orca. I took a “project inventory” of what had been done on Foxy over the winter, and what remains to be done. It had been a productive, if expensive, winter.

There’s a new house on the boat. It improves life even more than I thought it would, providing another living area that is dry and bright, important up here in the Pacific Northwest. In southern waters, should I ever get there, the walls will come off and it will provide plenty of shade.

I’d just had a new fuel filter system installed in Anacortes. One wouldn’t think much technology goes into a fuel filter, a can of pleated paper, but new designs make changing them easier, with much less mess in the bilge and potentially in the environment.

I had the engine flushed at the same time; the silicate had dropped out of the coolant and collected in the bottom of the catch bottle. I realized it had been a few years and the previous job was only a partial flush because it’s hard to get a diesel engine up to operating temperature on the dock, heat necessary for the flush to do a full job..

I’d built the framework where the solar panels now hang, 1,080 watts of power to charge the batteries, and now the panels are properly wired. There’s a new wireless radar on the mast that works just as advertised, and the old one that shaded the solar panels has been sold, albeit for a pittance. The dinghy motor runs after the winter lay-up. Love them two-strokes.

The automated identification system (AIS) is installed and operational. I knew I needed one when, coming south from Alaska two summers ago, Irish and I hit that storm off the coast and a trawler suddenly appeared that I couldn’t identify and did not know if it was dragging long lines across my course.

Now I post my AIS location on Facebook when I take off from someplace, not so much because I think anyone cares that I’m out and about as to give authorities a place to start looking if I don’t show up. That’s assuming someone would be expecting me. I may need to work on that system.

There’s a new and yet another battery monitor that works with the solar panels and also gives me more information about, and maybe some control over, my batteries.

I wish I was a better electrician, but I’ve changed out the fluorescent lights in the galley and head (bathroom) for more pleasant LEDs that sip far less electricity; added a light to the pantry so my old eyes can see the difference between oats and brown rice, each in a container with a green lid, and avoid unpleasant surpises before coffee in the morning, and I added another light to the engine room so I don’t have to juggle a flashlight with my teeth to check the oil and water.

I own one LED not yet installed for the master stateroom and three more for corners in the engine room. I need two more after that, one for the closet where the life jackets hang and another for the aft stateroom. That should be good enough. We’ll see. It’s a boat.

Still not done is replacement of the propane system. That’s the last of this winter’s major projects. The hose that runs from  tanks in the stern locker is 30 years old and cloth covered, and the plumbing of that, like most of the other plumbing on the boat that I’ve removed, redesigned and reinstalled, was not done very well.

I have to change the position of the solenoid that, with a switch in the cabin, cuts off the gas. While I’m at it, I should probably swap out the old pressure regulator and old pressure gauge.

It took a week to get hold of the man I’d hope would do this work, but he’s has to fix an expensive boat that hit a log crosswise at 25 knots, damaging a whole lot below the waterline. So I’ll probably do this one myself. It may be propane, but it’s just plumbing, right?

I dropped the old lifelines off at my chandlery to be remade, tough new stainless lines around the deck to replace old vinyl covered ones that had at least a few cracks where corrosion was seeping through the covering. Lifelines are not something you want to fail when you put your weight against them, intntionally or because you lost your footing.

Oh, as soon as the weather warms a bit and I can sit comfortably on the foredeck, I have to polish the cones on the anchor windlass so the anchor falls to the bottom at a controllable rate. And install my wireless windlass control, so I can put the anchor down under power or pull it back up while I’m at the helm in back, with steering and throttle controls. That’s a consideration when single-handing a boat out in the bays and anchorages.

This is all part of the plan: Prepare the boat for this summer, and maybe next winter, too. After March surprised Central Oregon with 30 inches of snow in three days, I do NOT want to spend another winter there. No. Just no.  Maybe Mexico.

When I pulled into Victoria, docking was bit tricky. The wind pushed me away from the dock, and when neighbors came to help, I gave very poor instructions. It’s different looking down at the lines than standing on the dock looking at the boat, and I communicated poorly.

There was no damage, it was all good, but I hate being incompetent and had to give thanks and make some apologies for asking the impossible. This being Canada, apologies were gracefully accepted.  I still need to come up with a better plan, and maybe shorter lines, for docking in difficult conditions.

Afterwards, when I was sitting back with coffee, I checked in with Irish to make sure she was okay after traveling back from her dance contest in Indiana. She surprised me with news that she was getting another dog the next day, a puppy.

It was an arrow well placed. I hate it when significant news is kept from me, even when it doesn’t directly affect me. A little hangover from an unpredictable childhood, I suppose, but I had no right to question her decision, and Irish pointed this out. And that caused me to ask, what the hell, why is this an issue for me?

It took an hour or two. Her desire for a dog has been deep and long standing. Keeping her from getting a dog was a major guilt of mine last summer, when we were still together. She brought it up often, but a dog, and those responsibilities, weren’t part of the plan.

It wasn’t the tipping point in our breakup, certainly, my guilt not the dog, but it was a factor. It was something she wanted so badly, and she’d suffered so much. And I wanted a dog pretty badly myself, since I’d lost mine in the divorce, but I’d made a choice and had a boat, instead.

Her being able to get the dog she wanted should have brought me joy, but instead made me feel lonely, small and selfish, because it highlighted, or underlined, the fact that she’s not here in Victoria, and I haven’t had a dog in a good long time, either. Now that I write this, I think my childish reaction came from the realization that by acquiring this dog, she is finally ready to move on, as I have urged her to do often enough. Now I am proud of her, happy for her, but still miss her, too. I’m allowed my contradictions.

Decades ago, when I was chasing adventure around the world for a couple of years, I wrote my father that “Loneliness is the price of freedom.” Sometimes the choices are not easy, even the ones we put off as long as we can. We still choose. That’s what I’m trying to tell my daughter, we choose even when we don’t, even when we hide from the consequences.

It’s all good, I told myself after a day or two.  I’ll get the propane locker plumbed and the tank refilled, and I’ll fix the BBQ while I’m at it, install the new lifelines, and then I may just take off. That’s a decision I can make, after all.

There’s no reason to overstay in Victoria, as much as I love this place, when there are places I haven’t yet been. As I used to say, what seems like long ago, it’s time to Rock and Roll.

Fledging

by Erik Dolson

Two ducks have arrived at the pond. In years past I’ve chased them off, not wanting the mess they bring. This year I watch, wondering where they will choose to build their nest.

Tonight, my daughters and I may be having our last dinner together in this house I built 11 years ago in the middle of my divorce from their mother when they would have been about 12, maybe 13. Close enough.

They may not be feeling this as I do, and I’ve not decided if it’s fair that I share my sense of loss with them. For Kasturi, who is leaving on Friday for a new life in Portland, this is the start of her life as an adult. She never seemed as “attached” to people as her sister. I don’t doubt her love, but she’s more capable of letting go.

Sabitri is more sensitive. If the significance comes up tonight, she will shed tears. She’s the one who cried for many hours in my arms  when brought from the orphanage in the highlands of India 24 years ago. Her move will be around the beginning of June, destination as yet unknown.

But tonight, I’ll fight back tears as this moment I’ve aimed at for a long time, the fledging of my babies, arrives with a heavy load of sadness. It’s just one more tonight, I’ll tell them. You’ll be back, I’ll say. Words aimed at my own heart more than theirs. They will never be back to this house as children.

By coincidence, if there is such a thing, I’ve been talking to others recently about loss. Buddha, and Epictetus the  Greek, said suffering comes from attachment. Detachment is all well and good, and letting go in order to appreciate, but it’s sometimes hardest to let go of that which we wish not to hold.

Loss. I’d like to let go of this sense of loss. I want to see my daughters free and flying, but not have this sense of loss. I used to say that God was unfair to women, giving them maternal instinct without giving them an “off switch.” Fathers suffer, too, I find.

The ducks paddle around, seemingly content, but always moving, searching. I discovered ordinary ducks can fly under water, disappearing and popping up as far as ten feet away.

I’ve often wondered how the trauma of losing their mother five days after they were born, then the adoption and loss of their loving caregiver, and the trauma of riding down from the central highlands of India in a noisy car with huge white strangers, affected the twins.

They seem like happy, healthy adults, not too different than their peers. That they were living with their parents at age 25 is not that abnormal now, I’m told.

That neither has had a date that I know of is perhaps less normal. Did the tumult of the divorce, or that of my relationships following, cause dysfunction? Social exclusion during middle and high school? Or maybe they just don’t share everything with Dad.

K.C. has been living in her mother’s home, Sabitri in mine, for the last several months. I’d pushed to separate them, believing that their dynamic as twin sisters kept them from maturing into their separate “selves.” And they are very different.

They blossom, now. They seem to be facing life without huge fear, certainly without the damage many others have suffered. If they’re a little closed, even to each other, perhaps that’s health, not evidence of harm.

The ducks leave during the day. I don’t think there’s enough growth in the pond to feed them, let alone a brood. Spring grasses have not perked above the soil, and there’s not much cover or safety from coyotes.

After dinner tonight, K.C.will head back to her mom’s to keep preparing for Friday’s move. I told her last night she should pack up things from her bedroom here, as well. She told me she had planned to that today, since she was coming over for dinner anyway.

“Anyway.”

It’s obvious dinner tonight will be more significant for me than for her, and maybe for her sister. Their lives stretch out before them. I can easily see that at my age and given my adventures, this dinner could be our last. As they separate from each other and leave this home, I can easily believe it will be for the last time.

It will be, at least, the last time in this life as it is, as it was, as it has been.

And as much as it hurts, that’s how it must be.

AOC lays it out there

By Erik Dolson

Many of you believes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist. Okay, I’d argue even she may not know if that’s true in the literal, economic / political sense, and that labels don’t matter.

Many of you chide her for the Green New Deal. Okay, let’s set our sights much lower, maybe on the old gray deal which is the legacy we’re leaving our children. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Many of you are tuning in to the pernicious videos and memes spread by the Koch Brothers and Hannity and Marathon Oil that AOC not real. That she’s an actress parroting the words of other people. Okay, let’s pretend she’s an agent under Soros’ mind control.

Okay. So watch this. It won’t change your mind, but maybe, possibly, just might give you something to think about.

I repeat: AOC is becoming one of the more important voices in American politics.

Did Boeing hide a problem?

By Erik Dolson

How is it that communist China moved more quickly to protect their flying public by grounding the Boeing 737 Max than the Federal Aviation Administration moved to protect Americans? Why did the FAA wait until world condemnation drowned out their excuses?

It could not be because Boeing has the second largest lobbying budget in America, after AT&T, right? I mean, no company would put profit ahead of safety, right? Not here in America, where the free market all but guarantees that each and every company puts the welfare of customers over the bottom line, every time.

Like drug makers. Or insurance companies. Or Goldman Sachs. Monsanto. Though they might be tempted, they just wouldn’t.

But … Boeing? Boeing wouldn’t even be tempted, even after their move out of Seattle to Chicago.

Even as Republicans are ever more successful at dismantling agencies that protect Americans from corporate greed, there are limits to what those companies would allow, right?  Lead in drinking water? If you can’t taste it, you can ignore it. Pesticides and herbicides causing cancer? Wear thicker socks. Lethal paint strippers sold in Home Depot? Hold your breath during application. Air polution? Lower standards because Big Oil profits are threatened by electric cars!

Boeing 737s falling out of the air? We’ll wait for more information, the accidents look similar but may not be, pilots had concerns some time ago and we at Boeing were listening and apologizing! We were also making LOTS of MONEY but you need to believe us when we tell you that Safety is Our Number One Concern!

There was a time when heads of Japanese companies would commit suicide over disgracing their company and nation for acts similar to this. There was a sense of honor, and consequently, a belief in dishonor. Had Boeing done the honorable thing and immediately and voluntarily grounded its own fleet and admitted it failed to adequately inform and then train pilots in new systems, and possibly had a design flaw in their money making work horse, I’d applaud the company and government oversight.

But Boeing didn’t do that, and neither did the FAA. There was so much mistrust that the watchdog had been captured by the wolf that Ethiopia, site of the second crash (just a “shithole” country according to the man standing on the desk in the oval office and sending out scream-tweets), would not send the plane’s data recorders to the U.S. for analysis, but opted for France (home of Airbus) instead. We are definitely Making America Great Again.

Who at Boeing is responsible for decisions that led to the deaths of over 300 people in two aircraft accidents? Which executive made the call on limited training, on silence, on pretending that a software kludge made up for bad engine placement? Which engineer raised his or her hand and said, “This is not right.” We need names.

What communication occurred between Boeing and the FAA after each accident? What internal communications occurred within Boeing? Who wrote what to whom? It’s time for subpoenas. It’s long past time that we held individuals responsible for corporate malfeasance, and stopped slapping a corporate wrist. We need names.

There are executives at Wells Fargo who still have jobs, long after “new accounts managers” were fired for not foisting enough fake services on unsuspecting bank customers. We never got names.

But … Boeing?

If this is as bad as it seems, without parsing words or the utterance of greasy little excuses, it will be time for heads to roll, time for some executives to fall on their swords.

Godaddy lost Jessicabooks.com

by Erik Dolson

I’ve been a loyal Godaddy customer for years. I have 21 domain names registered with them, and had two websites.

Until last month, when I was “migrated” from Linux to C-Panel by an enthusastic young salesman. Cost me $423. He touted the savings he was giving me, along with other benefits.

Except, Godaddy lost the Jessicabooks.com site. I contacted them several times. Techs (after very long waits, at times) kept telling me to wait, sit tight, chill out, it would happen. Then it was too late. All the files disappeared. This was the primary sales site for “Indecent Exposure.” The Jessica blog, etc.

Godaddy is giving me a refund for the last $112 I gave them to “migrate” my site into oblivion. Out of about $600 spent, maybe more. I told them I was unable to express all my appreciation.

So, if you have a domain hosted by Godaddy, be reluctant to make changes that they recommend until you’re very sure that it’s necessary. Back up your files, because Godaddy won’t.

I’ve lost hundreds of hours of work. Damn it all.

So, if you click on a link from my site or a facebook page or an ad and you get a “File Not Found,” that’s why. I’ll clean it up as soon as I can.

Socialism or Social Justice?

Tom Cantrell, a friend and a smart guy whom I respect immensely, wrote me an email questioning my stand on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I responded. We have different points of view. He has agreed that our discussion can go forward in this blog. I have opened it up for others to contribute, but there are rules.

Rule #1: This is my publication, these are my rules, if you don’t like the rules, that’s okay.

Rule #2: No cheap shots. Some will say I take cheap shots. I will change something if I think I should, but see Rule 1.

Rule #3: Stay on topic. We are not going to talk about the Meuller probe, or chem trails. Who decides what’s on topic? C’mon.

Rule #4 (as of 9:00 a.m. March 8, 2019): You’ve buried me! I am unable to respond to the sheer volume of words coming in via email, Word .docs, comments, with photos, etc.

Therefore, limit your responses to ONE point. Under 500 words. Comments MUST be posted here, below. Sign in, do the Captcha dance, and I will try to get them up asap. If you want to drop me a note (“Hey, Erik, I put a comment up, where is it?”) that’s fine.

~ Erik Dolson

On Mar 4, 2019, at 9:06 AM, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Erik, you are not really advocating Socialist governing concepts are you??

On Mon, Mar 4, 2019 1:21 pm, Erik Dolson wrote:
Tom, that’s such an open ended, loaded, and ill-defined “gotcha” question, I can’t possibly answer it.

Tell me what you mean and are referring to. Give me an example based on something I wrote or said. Disagree with the specific, and let’s talk about it. If you want to discuss something, be fair in your question.

To Erik Dolson:
I do not intend to be rude but I do intend to be direct. The reason I asked was to understand why you have so much respect and agreement for AOC’s (U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) thoughts and opinions. America is a Republic and AOC does not believe in a Republic system of Government. AOC has made it clear that she supports Socialist style of Government. There is a difference in making laws based on the support of the majority versus imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority. No gotcha, just curious.

To: Tom Cantrell
Tom, I have clearly stated that I disagree with some of her ideas: “I was skeptical at first and don’t agree with everything she believes, but I do think she is fast becoming the most important political voice in America.”

No support for socialism there.

Again, you do not give me a specific statement that I made or that AOC has made to discuss. Show me where I have said, or for that matter, where AOC has said, that she promotes “imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority.”

In any case, a minority can hope to pursuade a majority that there are other points of view. That used to be the strength of America. And there is no disagreement from me that some of her views are currently a minority opinion. That the right seeks to supress her ideas by saying they are unAmerican, as you do here, is an indication of their power.

My enthusiasm for AOC has to do with her willingness to put in the work and ask tough questions. The first post noted her questioning the way corporations can and do buy senators and representatives and how this hurts ordinary Americans. The second was about AOC asking Trump’s consiglieri Michael Cohen who knew what about possible racketeering by Trump.

Nothing to do with socialism in either case.

At 10 p.m. on March 5, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Eric, my question was: “Are you advocating socialist governing concepts” ?

 I was not implying that you suggest imposing laws that the minority think are best for the majority but you do think she is a fresh voice.  So I asked you a direct question as to your views/advocacy on Socialist governing.

As for AOC, here is what she has said:  “Yup. If you don’t like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we’re in charge – and you’re just shouting from the cheap seats”. 

I am sure there will be other polls that some will point to but here is the best one I have seen and not only provides the exact question that was asked but also provides the demographics. https://remingtonresearchgroup.com/green_new_deal_survey/

 As for the Green Deal being a socialist ideal here is another poll with good info. https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/432102-most-voters-view-green-new-deal-as-largely-socialist-poll-shows

 I can not agree that I am suppressing her opinions, however if the majority of Americans do not agree with her or me, it is not suppression it is free thought.  I am not agreeing with her that is clear. 

The real irony with the concern of suppression and BIG money in elections is the actions of the past to the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus.  As we all know the IRS took a very long look at these groups and all conservative groups.  The IRS denied them 501-C status, investigated conservative groups for months/years and even tried to fine them.  So little said by so many about their fight against BIG money and it’s influence at that time.  The fight is the same but the people are different, but now those fighting are a breath of fresh air.  I would call that discrimination.  To be clear I am not suggesting that you did this.

I agree that the minority can or may convince the majority to change their line of thinking but I doubt it will happen. The attitude as been broadcast by the Political Party Leaders that a Party must stand shoulder to shoulder and vote the party line, no matter how bad the legislation is or what it’s effect would be.  Sure there will be one or two defectors but not enough to make a change.  When one sees a party that has defectors in the range of 5 to 10 people one should ask them selves a few hard questions about fair and free thinking or if they are also just following the party line.. 

Our Fore Fathers provided us with the best solutions for prosperity and Governance which can be proven by comparing America to any other country in history for success and freedom for period of 242 years.  Our Fore Fathers warned us time and time again thru the Federalist papers, Bill of Rights, Constitution and multiple speeches regarding other systems of Government yet we seem to try to flirt with the very things they warned us about.  We are acting as rebellious teenagers and trying to do what has already been done but expecting different results. Looking at the political landscape, I do not think the” tyranny of the majority” has fueled that length of success and prosperity of America for over 200 years, in fact I think the opposite.

At 10:30 March 5, Erik Dolson replied:

Tom, this is a bit of a moving target, but I’ll do my best.

Your first emails to me clearly indicate that since I expressed appreciation for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that I was advocating “socialist governing concepts.” Your phrasing noted. Which is still not true, see argument above.

It’s as if I’d said that since you’re a capitalist who favors deregulation, you want more people to have lung cancer, more lead in drinking water, tornados or wildfires to kill hundreds of people. I know that you are not in favor of poisoning children with lead in their drinking water. That’s the danger of labels, right?

None the less, you did say that AOC favors minority rule, if you will pardon the short hand. Which I don’t think is true and you don’t really offer much evidence.

The right wing has stuffed the media with mischaracterizations of what AOC said about the Green New Deal (which I do NOT support in total). It took 6 Google pages to get to an actual quote and that was from a British newspaper, once you get through “Glocknews” and the “Washington Examiner,” “Pig-in-the-Poke Daily,” etc. Six pages, that is not an exageration.

Here is what AOC said: “So people are like ‘Oh it’s unrealistic, oh it’s vague, oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing’ and I’m like ‘You try! You do it!’ Because you’re not, so until you do it, I’m the boss, How about that?”

See the words, “You try! You do it!” and “…until you do it?” She is putting ideas out there. Boy, does that have the right wing riled up. The first six pages of a Google search full of fear and loathing that a 29 year-old freshman congresswoman said  the planet is in danger and Americans need a future!

Damn straight I think she’s becoming one of the more important voices in American politics. AOC is trying to start a discussion about what is possibly the greatest threat to mankind since the last comet hit the earth. She is trying to put Americans to work (albeit poorly, in my opinion). She is trying to address the corrosive influence of Senators for Sale.

About damn time we had these dicussions in ways that Americans can understand.

Your comments about the majority of people being opposed to her concepts or her words? A majority of people think we need a better health care system. A majority of people think Trump’s unfit for office. If you want to credit opinion polls, then let’s go with those, too, okay?

Tea Party and Freedom Caucus? I will admit to disparaging both. And some were targeted by the IRS for abusing the system, possibly some which had not. But they had a pretty good run until they got swallowed by Mitch McConnel and Trump Republicans who rammed through a non-conservative, hyopocritical, budget busting give-away to huge corporations which are not hiring more workers but using their tax break windfall to buy their own stock and prop up share prices, further enriching the top 1 percent.

And when it’s time to cut the budgets, it will be the poor and middle class who will bear the burden because “America can’t afford these dangerous deficits.” The rich will scream “class warfare, class warfare” when they were the ones who started it.

Remember how Main Street bailed out Wall Street? Wall Street took the money and gave themselves a raise.

Slavishly following the party line? You’re talking about Republicans, right? Lockstep for years, now? Right? Okay, agreed.

As to your comments about our form of govenment, our forefathers, other forms of government, etc.? Non arguments, more of that “she opposes DEMOCRACY!” fear mongering, kinda like saying that since the sky is blue and chocolate tastes good, you’re on the side of right.

The biggest threat to what our forefathers envisioned is sitting in the White House, tweeting Fox News releases to undermine the very principles you say are important.

Inexperienced?

by Erik Dolson

Amid all the grandstanding, all the buffoonery, all the showy “Look at me!” from both parties at the hearing featuring Trump consigliere Michael Cohen on Thursday, one individual stood out for professionalism, attention to detail, and productive questioning: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Among all those lawyers pumped up by their own hot air, the bartender / waitress from Queens, New York was there to do business. AOC put them all to shame. Democrats are upset she beat one of their old guard? They should be weeping their thanks to heaven. Republicans are right to be afraid.

If you have a chance, find a replay of the hearing. It’s eye-opening.  One person there was focused on doing the job she was elected to do, and that’s the 29 year-old freshman congresswoman who has been called too inexperienced to be effective.

Sometimes, “experience” is just a lot of practice at doing a lousy job. She’s raised the bar, fellas. It’s time to get to work and quit playacting like you matter just because you had enough money to buy a chair in Congress.

Ack! I’m conservative!

By Erik Dolson
I received a text from the Bernie Sanders people yesterday, asking if I was on board with his new campaign to become president. I told them “No.”

No, because Bernie is stepping on his necktie. Elizabeth is scaring people. Too many others are saying “YES!” to fringe ideas. Bill Clinton and Obama know what the message has to be. Is anyone listening? 

Message: “America is facing challenges and is under attack. We need to face these challenges and attacks with policies that benefit ALL Americans, not just the top one percent (Republicans) or one-issue groups (Democrats).

Owners of capital are investing in automation, not in people. We are losing jobs to Asia, and to robots that build cars or pick crops. Our economy will founder if Americans don’t have work: social security, medicare, infrastructure, military, all depend on America working — and buying. To work, Americans need health, education, and infrastructure, not tarrifs, monopolies, and corrupt politics.

America’s health care system is a relic left over from WWII. We have the most expensive medical care in the world, but our health is just average in terms of outcomes. Why? Because special interests take advantage of their power in Congress to line their pockets with our tax dollars.

For solutions, Conservatives and Democrats can together look to the free market, but not the hoax we have today. Government should not get into the business of making medicine, Ms. Warren, but Americans should be able to buy the least expensive high quality medicine from any place in the world, Mr. Romney.

We need to lower “barriers of entry” so new companies with new solutions can enter the market. Reduce patent periods. Enact policies that favor investment. And ultimately, either break up or restrict oligopolies that are killing Americans with their profiteering by jacking up prices by 200 percent, 500 percent, 1000 percent on drugs that have been around for decades.

Medicine should be tested by our government for quality and purity. It is not “bureaucratic” to ensure health and safety. How does it happen that blood pressure meds sold to millions of Americans were made with chemicals from China contaminated with carcinogens? How does it happen that insurers or pharmacy benefits managers did not tell patients these drugs were contaminated?

We need to accept that robots have arrived and are taking what used to be high paying, middle class jobs. We can not prevent this, because other countries will outcompete us if we do. But we do need to guarantee that the information age does not lead to an age of American impoverishment, even more divided between those who own robots and those without jobs, which is where we’re headed now under Republican management. This will involve hard redefinitions, but if Americans don’t have income, businesses don’t have market.

If we pull apart, we will fail. If we pull together, we are unbeatable. Everyone in America, Democrat and Republican, libertarian and socialist, has a stake in the outcome.

Sadly, the Republican party has decided to lie to America by claiming that tax cuts were evenly distributed, that we can’t afford decent health care for all, that a rigged economy  represents a fair and honest playing field. These arguments are the result of money buying power to rewrite laws in their favor.

Democrats have tough disagreements. Gay rights versus a baker’s liberty to choose for whom to bake a cake. The difficult line between abortion and a woman’s right to choose. Individual freedom to achieve versus the right of an individual to fail, and expose all of us to the reality of being human.

Everything can’t be done, and Democrats should not try to do everything, or promise everything. But generally, the Democratic party offers the best chance of success for farmers in the midwest, for displaced factory workers in the northern states, for coal miners left out in the southeast, and for coastal cities facing massive disruption as the world grows hotter as the result of unfettered greed. 

But to develop a winning strategy, Democrats HAVE to listen to people outside their own tiny circles. So, no, Bernie, you are not the right candidate for the job.

Ideas are what Democrats have to sell. ALL of America is the market.