The GOP dog finally caught the car

What do they do with it now? Repeal Obamacare of course. Replace? That’s a different matter. Setting up a free market system of insurance to cover people with pre-existing conditions without a mandate of some kind sort and federal subsidies is impossible. It doesn’t matter how many policies can be sold across state lines. Cut taxes? Of course. Increase military spending? Yup. As if we weren’t in enough wars as it is. What about the deficit? As Dick Cheney said years ago, “Deficits don’t matter.” Make Medicare a voucher system? Great idea. Wait till a 64-year-old like me tries to buy health insurance with whatever voucher the Feds decide to give me. Privatize Social Security. Yessiree! Great idea until the next market crash a la 2008. Defund the EPA? So we can have air like China and water like Flint? Cutting taxes and regulations will unleash growth unlike any ever seen, and everyone will be rich. Where has that ever happened? Oh, I forgot, facts don’t matter any more. With the death of mainstream media, we’re left with the Breitbarts of the world with the head of Breitbart in the White House. But rebuilding our infrastructure is good, right? Yeah, right. Read Trump’s proposals for private-public partnerships. They consist of public funding for roads and bridges with the revenue streams, i.e. tolls, going to private enterprise. Where is the revenue stream for a new water or sewer system? Oh, we’ll privatize that too.

But Trump will quit or be indicted for his dealings. Good news, right? Wrong. President Pence will be worse. Trump has no ideology. Pence is a true believer.

We’re fucked.

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Liberal introspection, or lack thereof

There is lots of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth out there in liberal-land about Trump’s win. I’ve done my share too. In fact, I had to go to the dentist yesterday to fix a tooth I broke on election night. True story.

But what’s starting to annoy me is the number of people, especially women, who blame Hillary’s loss on her gender. That’s way too simple and ignores the very real alienation of a big swath of the electorate. Bernie tapped into that alienation in a way that Hillary couldn’t touch, and it’s not because we’re all sexist assholes. Gender aside, Hillary is the epitome of all that’s wrong with the liberal elite. The Martha’s Vineyard elite; the Davos elite; the Social Justice Warrior elite; the Goldman-Sachs elite; the college-educated smug condescending elite. Democrats used to be the party of the working class and social justice. What the hell happened? How did the Democrats allow themselves to lose touch with what traditionally has been their core constituency? They laughed at Reagan when he was nominated almost 36 years ago. They lost, and even all these years later, they still haven’t learned the lesson.

Hillary lost, and it wasn’t because of her crappy pantsuits.

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For what it’s worth

Not much I’d say, but here’s my election forecast:

Clinton will win by more than most of the pundits and analysts are projecting. One TV talking head made a good point when the panel was discussing Trump’s hidden vote. He said most Trump voters are loud and proud, and if anything there is a hidden Clinton vote. I think┬áhe is right and she’ll win around 340 electoral college votes.

The Senate is essentially a coin flip. I’ll go with those odds and call a 50-50 tie, with the controlling vote going to VP Tim Kaine.

I think this is the least-bad outcome, but as I said in a previous post, we’re all screwed.

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The End is Near

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When Ford replaced Nixon as President he said, “Our long national nightmare is over.”

Next Tuesday, I don’t think we’ll be saying that. Along with every national election prediction organization (FiveThirtyEight, The Upshot, Princeton Election Consortium, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Moody’s Analytics, and a few more), I think Hillary will win. They all seem to be predicting around 300 Electoral College votes. They can’t all be wrong, can they? But even if she wins, it will be a huge mess, because control of the Senate is far from certain. All of the above organizations are predicting Democratic control of the Senate, but the odds are a lot closer. If Hillary wins, but the Democrats don’t win control of the Senate, we will experience the gridlock to end all gridlock. It will make the relationship between Obama and the current Congress seem like a honeymoon. If Democrats take control of the Senate, it will only be marginally better. Things like Supreme Court Justices will be nominated and confirmed, but not much else will happen with the House firmly in Republican hands. And even if Democrats win the Senate, they’ll almost certainly lose it again in 2018. With all the talk of the disarray in the GOP, people seem to have forgotten that the Democrats aren’t in a whole lot better shape. They are a tired old party of the Establishment that has contributed a lot to the mess we’re in. Bernie at least brought in some new blood and enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm isn’t there for Hillary and the old guard.

So in the end we’ll not only be dead, but before we die we’ll all be fucked.

Maybe it’s time for some Yeats.

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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An Interesting Day on the Water

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Our next leg of our journey was from Tahsis (known for the Captain Ron docking maneuver) to Hot Springs Cove. It was a dreary day, and the winds were on our nose from the south, so we motored most of the way. It got interesting when we heard a frantic MAN OVERBOARD on the radio. We could only catch part of the conversation from the boat in question, but we could hear most of the Coast Guard response. The person on board was either a blithering idiot when it came to boating; in a state of total panic, or both. The lady on the Coast Guard side was a true professional. She tried to get the man on board to give her his position. He didn’t know what she was talking about. She tried to direct him to the chart plotter that she knew would be on board and get him to read the numbers that started with 49 something something, or 126 something, something. The numbers would probably be in the upper right hand corner of the thing that looks like a small TV or computer screen. It was painful to listen to. I’m not sure how the Coast Guard finally got something approaching a position, but they managed to get a couple of vessels in the vicinity to head on over. I listened to the position a couple of times before I managed to write it down. This was all happening well offshore, more than 20 miles away from us. We were at least three hours away. Meanwhile, we were experiencing 15-20 knot winds and 1-2 meter seas. Offshore, it would certainly have been worse. She asked him if the man overboard was still in sight – he said no. She asked what he was wearing – nothing, he said. Nothing? Did he take his clothes off? It wasn’t making a whole of sense. She was trying to get him to drive the boat slowly into the wind and waves so he wouldn’t drift too far away. After an hour or more of this, the man on board said he was going to go back to the fishing lodge. The Coast Guard lady laid the law down and said that unless he was in immediate danger himself, he was obliged to stay in the vicinity. I don’t know if he stayed or not. We lost radio contact. But by then, the guy had been in the water for at least two hours, and we assumed he would be dead by now. A few hours later we heard the Coast Guard say that a recovery (not rescue) had been made.

But Wait! There’s more! Here’s the story from the CBC.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rescue-of-vancouver-island-fishing-guide-absolute-miracle-1.3679492

We learned the next day that the guy had indeed survived. Some stories do have a happy ending.

We made it to Hot Springs Cove and had a great dip the next morning.

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Walter’s Cove to Tahsis

From Walter’s Cove, we wanted to go to Hot Springs Cove on the way to Tofino, but because we’d done so much motoring, we weren’t sure we’d have enough fuel to get to there. The closest fuel was in Tahsis Inlet at a fishing lodge and marina. It was out of the way, but because we didn’t trust the winds, we figured that was the safest bet.

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As it turned out, we were able to sail virtually all the way to Tahsis with winds of 10-20 knots from the NW. We flew the gennaker for a grand total of eight minutes before the tack line broke. The line was cut right at the exit from the bowsprit, so I surmised that the line had jumped the sheave on the block and cut itself on the side of the block. Rather than trying to fix it while the winds were blowing, we sailed with a reefed main and the full jib. That combination worked pretty well. We were sailing through some relatively narrow passages, but the winds were favorable and we didn’t have to do too much gybing. We did get pretty close to shore at times, and we did manage to follow an adolescent bear as he was foraging for food along the shore.

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When we finally got to the marina, the fuel dock was a bit crowded, but it looked like there was room for Rinpoche. Because there were boats ahead and behind the area I wanted to fit into, I couldn’t come in at a shallow angle, but instead had to come in at something approaching 70-80┬░. And I had a 20 knot wind that was blowing parallel to the dock. This called for a modified Captain Ron maneuver. As the bow of the boat approached the dock, I had a moment of panic (as did the dock attendants) that Rinpoche wouldn’t fit, and that death and destruction, or at least bent fiberglass would result. But I was past the point of no return. I went into reverse, and the prop walk sucked the stern in the dock while the wind kept blowing me forward. I nestled sideways into the dock. I heaved a huge sigh of relief while everyone on the dock marveled at my expertise. They assumed I had a bow thruster, and were even more impressed when I told them I didn’t. It took a few hours to get the kinks out of my arm from patting myself on the back. And for those of you unfamiliar with Captain Ron, here he is in action.

After replenishing our fuel supplies, the next item was to replenish our beer supplies. They told us at the dock that there was a liquor store about a mile down the road, so after we got our slip assignment, we went for a walk. After we’d walked for a while, I was wondering if we were walking the right way, so I flagged down a vehicle going the other way. I asked the lady driving if we were on the right track to the liquor store, and she said, “Yes indeed. Do you want a ride?” Being the lazy old man that I am, I instantly agreed. She turned around and took us to the store, and then waited for us to come out with our cases of beer. She then offered us a ride back to the marina. Cool! We got to chatting a bit, and I mentioned that I was from Saskatoon. She said she was from Rosthern, a town north of Saskatoon in the middle of what’s affectionately called Mennonite Alley. And yes indeed, she was a Siemens, a good Mennonite name. And get this, she had an Uncle Walter Friesen! We couldn’t find any common relatives, but inbred as the Mennonites are, I’m sure we shared some genes.

It was a pleasant evening at the dock, with a full tank of fuel and a fridge full of beer. And we did have some company.

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I thought this was some exotic species of raptor, but it turned out to be an adolescent bald eagle. A lovely bird in any case. At least lovely to look at. Anyone who has observed bald eagles knows that far from being majestic noble birds, they are lazy baby-killing scavengers. As a member of the Heron Habitat Helpers in Magnolia, I am well aware that bald eagles snatch something like 20% of the heron chicks before they’re able to defend themselves. And when they can’t find a baby-something to prey on, they eat half-rotted fish guts or any other carrion they can find. I think Ben Franklin was right. We should have chosen the turkey as the national bird. And given the state of the current presidential race, the turkey might be more appropriate.

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Winter Harbour to Walter’s Cove

Yes, the spelling of Harbour is correct, and yes indeed, there is a Walter’s Cove! How could we not stop there?

After rounding Cape Scott, the next major obstacle was Brooks Penninsula. That’s the big rectangle jutting out from the coast. This area is notorious for high winds and rough seas. As was becoming usual, the weather was not cooperating, with better weather always a day or two away. So we hung out in the Winter Harbour area for two nights before deciding to go for it.

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But Brooks lived up to its notoriety with high winds and rough seas. We got part-way there, and then backed off and anchored near Anchorage Island for the night. We had a bulletproof anchorage for night, and needed it. Winds hit 30 knots even in this enclosed bay.

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The next morning looked pretty good, so we went for it again. This time the wind and waves (or at least the waves) cooperated, as we motored around the peninsula, and even got pretty close to Solander Island. This island is like something out of National Geographic, with hundreds of sea lions and zillions of seabirds. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any National Geographic quality shots, so you’ll have to live with this one.

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Unbelievable as it seems, I didn’t get any photos of Walter’s Cove. It’s a sleepy little coastal town, without cell service, grocery stores, fuel, and worst of all, no booze. Many of the coastal towns are dry by local vote due to the high incidence of alcohol abuse. There is one small sport fishing lodge, but not a whole lot else. There were several commercial vessels there that I assumed were fishing boats. I was wrong. They were after geoducks (pronounced goo-ee-ducks), using a method that surprised me. The “fishermen” dove for the clams while using hookah systems to breath. They used high-pressure water hoses to flush the clams out of the muck. Is that the way they harvest them in the Puget Sound?

At this point, we’re roughly half done with our adventure, so there’s lots more to come. Stay tuned.

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