Weathered, Creations of Man, and of Nature

This building was originally built in the twelfth century, in England.  The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.  Much of it has weathered away, with the help of the local people, who often used the fallen stones for new buildings.  But even the ruins are beautiful.

Bury St. Edmunds
Abbey ruins, Bury St. Edmunds

This spectacular example of Nature’s Creation, weathered, is Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Natural Bridge, Bryce
“Natural Bridge”, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

Funny, that natural arch almost looks like it could have been carved by men.  But no, we mimic nature, or try to.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/weathered/

 

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…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

…On the Other Hand… 2017 Wrap-up

2017 was an “on the other hand” year for RushBabe49.  For every great thing that happened, there was something disgusting in return.  No good thing goes un-punished, and 2017 was a great example.  Starting in January with the inauguration of duly-elected President Donald Trump.  Election night in 2016 was the most fun I had had in years, spending hours on the live chat on Ricochet.  Many members’ comments were priceless, and when we went to bed that night (some stayed up until the wee hours of the next morning) we were elated.  But the Left’s tantrums at having been defeated were not terribly unexpected, but they were more violent than we thought.  The “Resistance” was immediate and loud, and we have been putting up with it for the entire year.

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This response shows the level of culture of the majority of leftists.  They immediately start with the worst curse words they can come up with.  Too bad, President Trump remained in office.  The resistance was also widespread within the bureaucracy in DC, and every one of the new president’s appointments was drawn-out and fought tooth and nail by the “deep state”.  I remember being on a trip in February, and being regaled by all the crap thrown at Michael Flynn, who was forced out of his position for communicating with the Russian ambassador, which was part of his job!

The Deep State and the Democrat Senate Losers tried their best, but they could not stop the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, one of President Trump’s most important achievements in his first year in office.  President Trump has also had confirmed twelve new federal Circuit Court judges, a victory for Constitutionalism.

On the other hand, 2017 was marked by numerous murders of police officers, many in ambush situations, all over the United States.  By July, the total of police officers killed in the line of duty had risen nearly 20% from 2016.  The Ferguson Effect, where community members not only do not help the police solve local crimes, but positively hinder them, was much in evidence.  The murder rate in cities like Chicago and Baltimore skyrocketed, as gang members felt more comfortable carrying on their wars in many neighborhoods.

The employment situation in the US improved in 2017, as companies brought jobs back from overseas and opened new factories.  About 1.7 million new jobs were created in Donald Trump’s economy, and the stock markets reached new record-highs multiple times throughout the year.  Locally, tech companies have been on hiring sprees, with software engineers and systems analysts able to field multiple job offers and basically write their own tickets.

On the other hand, the cost of living in many big cities has also gone up so high as to price non-techies out of the housing market.  Landlords raise rents, and ordinary working stiffs have to leave town to find places they can afford to live.  Those of us who own our homes already just face increasing property taxes and utility fees, but we can remain in our homes.

On the other hand, we saw huge data-breaches that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans, who had NO choice of where their data were stored.  The big breach at the credit-reporting giant Equifax brought it home to Americans how fragile their hold is on their privacy.  The subject of cyber-security was a big one in 2017, and promises to remain so in the new year, and for the foreseeable future.

President Donald Trump’s 2017 economy also brought the opening up of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines and the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in places to oil exploration to increase America’s energy independence.  And the best news of all, the most consequential tax reform of recent history was passed in December, ensuring that the majority of Americans will see the government confiscating less of their hard-earned money.  The tax bill repealed the individual mandate of ObamaCare, so many young people will not be required to purchase unaffordable health “insurance” or pay a huge fine/tax.  Since their employers will also be paying less to Uncle Sam, employees may get another benefit from the new tax laws.  Many big companies have already announced special bonuses for their employees (including those sleazy liberal TV commentators who swore the bill was horrible for the country).

President Trump’s foreign policies have also borne fruit, with ISIS being deprived of most of the territory they held, the UN de-funded of $285 million, and Jerusalem being declared the Capital of the State of Israel.  We have now brought the Israelis back as our friends, when the Obama administration had denigrated them and sided with the anti-Semites in Europe.

On the other hand, 2017 has brought increasing conflict (mostly words so far on our part) with the madman at the head of North Korea, and the mullahs who still rule in Iran.  But President Trump is doing his best to unravel the one-sided Iran nuclear “deal” which was a terrible bargain for the US.  2018 is bound to bring more tensions on those fronts, but America will now be dealing from a position of Greatness, not leading from behind.

Illegal immigration to the United States has gone down dramatically since Donald Trump was elected, and that is in the absence of the border wall!  This shows that even the expectation of action can affect the behavior of those who might be affected by the action.  On the other hand, the “deep state” judiciary has continued to throw obstacles in the way of the President’s legitimate power to allow or not allow anyone to enter the US.  This makes me very angry, and so far every one of the “bans of bans” that makes it to the Supreme Court gets overturned.  I hope that in the New Year the Supreme Court will be able to finally rule that the Executive Branch is solely in charge of immigration policy.

Personally, my own situation has remained very good in 2017 and going into the new year.  Hubby and I are still gainfully-employed, mostly healthy, and comfortable in our home, with our owner, Kikyo the black cat.  I again played the full-length Messiah the day after Christmas, and was just transported by the wonderful singing of the choir; an excellent end to the season.

I extend my best wishes to all my readers and followers at Calling-All-RushBabes for a very Happy New Year of 2018.

Oh, yes, here are my two last photos of 2017, taken on a shopping trip this afternoon.

Winter tree 1

Winter tree 2

 

Ascend, Cast your Mind Higher-Photo Challenge

In 2012, I went to Washington, DC for the first time.  One of our first stops on our walking tour of the city was the Library of Congress.  I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the inside of the main Library building, and it felt like I took an hour just taking pictures of all the beautiful architecture and decoration.  You can see that the builders had in mind that visitors would be “transported” to a higher plane than just the mundane, so they did their best to help us to see how important the Library, and learning, are to our shared American Culture.  They took quotations from ancient and modern philosophers, and illustrated them.  I was awed, and I think I was meant to be.

Wall decoration, Library of Congress

Knowledge, Library of Congress

Ignorance, Library of Congress

Ascend, indeed.  All these plaques carry basically the same message, that people are meant to learn, and use their knowledge for good, and pass that knowledge to their progeny.  Just think of all the work that went into those plaques!  You’ve heard the phrase “Onward and Upward with the Arts”.  Embodied here.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/ascend-cmhr/

 

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

A Short ECON101 Lesson about Taxes

Right now, the US Congress is hashing out a “tax reform” set of bills intended to change the ways taxes are confiscated from American workers and savers.  Those on the Left often refer to “tax cuts for the rich”, showing their basic envy of people who actually EARN their livings in the real world.  Republicans, in the majority in both the House and Senate, and in possession of the White House, consider it their responsibility to reduce the tax burden on working and saving Americans.

The concept of “revenue neutrality” was originated by Democrats who are horrified at the thought of Government receiving one fewer cent of its lifeblood from those Americans who pay income taxes (currently just slightly over 50% of Americans).  A young member over at Ricochet opines that the current tax scheme MUST be “revenue neutral”, as the Federal Government is already overdrawn on its accounts and can’t tolerate any reduction in its “income”.

That is not true, and here’s why.

Reductions in Tax Rates, especially for high-earners, always result in more revenue for the government (small and large business owners keep more of their earnings, add employees to their payrolls, and create more taxpayers). Why is this so hard for people to understand? This is Econ 101. And why, oh why, should the all-mighty Government not shrink? Why can’t waste be eliminated from all levels of Government? The less Government confiscates from your paycheck, the more you have to spend, and save!

The problem is that those in Government do not trust their fellow Americans, who pay their salaries from their own legitimate earnings, to know how to allocate their own money. “Revenue Neutral” is a crock!

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year…

But it’s just too important for me to miss.  We (hubby and I) have so much to be thankful for, this year and every year.  We both have been incredibly fortunate to have kept our jobs all through the financial crisis period after 2007, and even advanced.  Hubby will celebrate 38 years at Big Aerospace Company in January, and I will celebrate 10 years at Supplier to Big Aerospace Company on January 2.  I was absolutely convinced that I would be toast when our big layoff came in November of 2008, since I had been there less than a year, but nope, I was spared.  We sure had something to be thankful for that year!

We are so lucky to have been born in this Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth (hat tip to Michael Medved), whose exceptionalism nurtures native-born and immigrant alike.  We have been allowed to make our own way, choosing our own careers and living arrangements, with minimal interference from the Big Brother State (even though it was touch-and-go during the Obama years).  And we never take for granted all the benefits of living in a country governed by a Constitution which protects our right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  No country, ever, in the entire history of humanity on Earth has ever been as prosperous and free as the United States of America, and I give thanks for that every single day.

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This year, I give special thanks to God for the tenuous health of my brother-in-law, who suffers from end-stage liver disease.  He is on the waiting list for a liver transplant, which could give him many more years of life.  Just think, this benefit has only been available for tens of years, and was developed right here in the USA (along with many other places).  It has been difficult for brother-in-law, but he is still around and livening up the holiday meal.

We give thanks for our beautiful cat, Kikyo, who keeps us smiling with her antics.  I love sitting, reading, with her on my lap purring.  Even when she has to go to the vet for a checkup, she explores the exam room and captivates the tech and the doctor.

Warm Cat
Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and I never forget how magnificent our mountains, lakes, and prairies are.  We travel all over the state in our private automobile, taking advantage of our Liberty.

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Diablo Lake from Overlook on Highway 20

Winding Road
Winding Road-Eastern Washington State

We give thanks for our fellow men, who help us every day, who build, maintain, and inspire all the infrastructure around us.  Whenever we drive over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth on US Highway 2, I always marvel at the ingenuity of the road-builders whose work enables us to drive in comfort many miles without even thinking about it.

We thank God and our families, friends, and fellow Americans, past and present, for allowing us to prosper, and live comfortably in the greatest, most unusual nation ever conceived by men on Earth.  Oh, yeah, and thanks to God for putting us on this beautiful planet in the first place!

[Featured Image by Michael Ramirez]

Peek at some architecture-Photo Challenge

Castle Rising, detail
Castle Rising wall. Note the overlapping barrel arches-they make a pointed arch.

This piece of building, obviously in ruins now, was the beginning of a breakthrough that formed the beginnings of Gothic architecture.  Want to see the rest of this very old building?

Castle Rising
Castle Rising

Here it is.  You can see the tracery wall in the middle front of the medieval castle.  A peek into history.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/peek/

Satisfaction…Human Ingenuity

I am always impressed with the products of human ingenuity, many of which were designed and built thousands of years ago, and still remain for us to marvel at.  Every time I drive down a mountain road, I can’t help thinking of all the engineering and labor that went into that road.  When I look at a tall building, or a huge containership, my mind says “human ingenuity”.  Some may think that other animals are as smart as we humans are, but when did any animal build something like these?

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VietNam Memorial

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BC Ferry, making its way through the Gulf Islands
Curtis Organ
Pipe Organ in recital hall at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

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