The Persico’s Annual Holiday Letter

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to You from John and Karen Persico

Karen asked me to start our annual holiday letter.  I was trying to think of a cool “theme” to carry through the letter. I remember when I worked for the Wisconsin Job Service, we categorized jobs under the following:  People, Things and Ideas.  If I add Places, I thought it might be a good scheme to use.  I will defer to Karen on People and Places, since I have always liked Ideas and Things better than People.  Of course, People does not include any of you.

Ideas:  I truly like the idea that we should be about compassion for others less fortunate.  Kindness to those in need of help and Courage in the face of old age and death.  I have been attending seminars on caregiving and Dementia to help me to better understand the impact that these could have on my life and the life of others around me.  I notice that as I age and my friends age, there is a tendency for us to play it safe and to pull in on risk taking.  Maybe that is inevitable, but I think we (I) need to fight back to some degree against it.  Well, that’s all on ideas.  I have left out politics since I am sure that none of you want to hear any of my ideas about it.  Don’t blame you one bit.

Things:  Karen and I bought our first TV set in nearly forty years.  It is a “Smart” TV that we are using via WIFI to watch Netflix and Amazon videos.  Karen likes listening to music on it.  We get no commercials or FAKE NEWS. 😊  If you want to see a vison of the future of “Things,” read the book: “Building the Internet of Things” by Macie J. Franz, a VP of Strategic Innovation at Cisco.   The future will be unbelievable in terms of things.  We will all be around to see some of it.  Well, time to turn this over to Karen.  She is going to her 3 times a week Zumba class now but will return shortly. — John

People and Places:   It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am not nearly as organized as John, so I’m lumping people and places.  They usually go together anyway.  The rhythm of our snow-birding life continued between Fredric and Arizona City with a wonderful addition this year of a trip to England in the fall for nearly a month.  We were very fortunate to have John’s sister Jeanine (my sister too) travel with us.  WIN_20170919_06_37_03_Pro

We spent most of the trip in the Cotswold area in a stone cottage dating from about 1740 (where I had my first ghost experience).  From there we did day trips to quaint villages and castles with a 3-day jaunt to London.  Jeanine and I rode the London Eye, we saw Kinky Boots in the theater district, and did all the usual touristy things.  We felt like we were living in one of the many BBC shows we’ve watched over the years.  A highlight for me was being able to sing in the choir of St. Mary’s the Virgin during the Tetbury Music festival.


The town of Tetbury above is where we stayed. 


Karen sang here with the choir for the service the morning of the Tetbury Music Festival.  St. Mary the Virgin Church. 


The staircase where Karen saw her ghost. 


A typical country road.  They still give me nightmares. 

Went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Kinky Boots and up in the London Eye.  Spent three days in London just doing the usual tourist stuff. 


Great to come home each day to our little cottage and cook our own meals.  We would pick up groceries each morning before going out and then cook and have a fire in the evening.  This was our little kitchen area. 


A nice little place in Tetbury to eat out.


Some friends we met in the country side while visiting different places.  We met up twice. 


I found this great trail for hiking and running each day. 


Our children are doing well.  Juli spent much of the year planning and sewing for Garrick and Kat’s wedding last spring.  The newly-weds are living in St. Paul.  Susan is working an extra job to help get her boys through college.  Zach is a senior at Augsburg in Minneapolis and Sam a high school senior in Northfield.  Juli’s Logan is a high school senior in St. Paul, so there will be lots of graduations this year.  Kevin has become a commuter between the Bay Area in California where he works for LinkedIn and his new property in Northern Wisconsin.  It will be nice to live in the same state at least for a few months of the year.  Megan has had an eventful year, moving into a new apartment, surviving the death of her dog Moose, adopting a new Min-Pin, Bambi, and completing her first novel.

John and I are (thankfully) healthy and busy, though a bit slower than we used to be.  It sure feels like it takes longer to do less now.  John has been attending some classes and learning more about caregiving in preparation for us taking care of each other.  He’s been substitute teaching in AZ with interesting stories, particularly of the grade school classes.  He’s taught everything from kindergarten to high school dance classes.  His creativity and organizational skills can get him through most situations.   I’m still working in consulting and ICD-10 coding and playing my dulcimer(s).  We did the usual dulcimer festivals and weekend trips.

We wish all of you a wonderful Christmas season and a blessed New Year.   John and Karen

John:  Could I please say one nasty thing about our politicians? 

Karen:  NO! 

John: OK DAM IT!



Bully in Chief and Liar in Chief!

‘He is a bully’: Gillibrand hits back at Trump over demeaning tweet

Senator Gillibrand

Trump is not only THE Bully in Chief, he also is THE Liar in Chief. I am still waiting for one journalist to be honest and call this guy a Liar.  At least Senator Gillibrand has the guts to label this lowlife for what he really is. We have a President with NO integrity and a Senate full of politicians with not much more integrity. Do you think this poor excuse for a human being would still be president if even 1/4 of the Senate had the guts to speak out and call him for what he really is?  He no more deserves to be president than Benedict Arnold.  Time for more calls to impeach him.  Time for more Americans to speak out.  Let the waves of indignation and moral outrage roll down and sweep him out of office.

No bigger mistake has been made in the history of this country than the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America.

Time for Questions:

When will we impeach this lowlife?  What about the people who helped to put him into office?  Have they any regrets?  Are you speaking out?  If not, when will you add your voice to the chorus of people who have the courage and integrity to speak their piece?


Life is just beginning.

Trump is not the end but the beginning.  We are going to see more rights for people in the world, more justice, more compassion, more of what will make American’s proud just as soon as we dump trump.




The Secret Plan the Republicans Have to Help the Poor!

tax plan

The Republicans have a secret plan for eliminating poverty.  The basis of this plan is that if you eliminate the unfit you will not have any more poverty.  This strategy derives from theories first formulated in the middle of the nineteenth century.  These theories were subsequently labeled as “Social Darwinism.”  The online encyclopedia Britannica gives the following definition of Social Darwinism:

“Social Darwinism, the theory that human groups and races are subject to the same laws of natural selection as Charles Darwin had perceived in plants and animals in nature. According to the theory, which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weak were diminished and their cultures delimited while the strong grew in power and in cultural influence over the weak. Social Darwinists held that the life of humans in society was a struggle for existence ruled by “survival of the fittest,” a phrase proposed by the British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer.”

Social DarwinismThere have been many theories proposed for the policies held by Trump and his Republican supporters.  They include “Greed Theory.”  The Republicans are held to be greedier than most people and only want to accumulate as much money as they can.  Another is “Hate Theory.”  This theory holds that since most Republicans are White European in ancestry, they loath and detest any people who are different then they are.  This includes Asians, Blacks, Indians, Latinos and any immigrants not from Europe.

The final theory proposed is what I call “Fear Theory.”  This theory holds that the motivation behind Republican policies stem from their innate fear that everything they have will be taken away by those who are less privileged.  Thus, we find Republicans building big houses behind big walls and in gated communities protected by private security police.  In addition, with the help of their friends in the NRA, they stockpile vast array of weapons in case of home invasion or an all-out assault by the underclass of America.


The above theories assume a very pejorative and negative rationale for the actions of Trump and his allies in Congress.  I have come to a different conclusion.   Why is my conclusion and theory important?  Most of all because it does not ascribe any negative motivations to the Republicans.  My theory assumes that current Republican theory is derived from a set of basic assumptions first formulated in the late 1800’s.  Thus, Republicans are not greedy or hateful or fearful as much as they are misguided and misinformed.  I came to realize this fact through the intersection of two quite different events.  Here is how it happened.

Four or five times per week, I go for a run.  Down here in Arizona, I have been running in the Casa Grande mountains.  I usually get up in the mountains about the time of sunrise.  My runs are over hilly, twisty, rocky, mountainous and desert terrain.  My only companions this early are the cacti and numerous birds that populate the desert.  Occasionally, I see a coyote, javelina or long eared jack rabbit but mostly it is peaceful and quiet.  As the sun rises over the mountains, the blue sky is colored with red and yellow hues that create a pastiche of colors which are simply breathtaking.  It is hard not to think that I am in heaven when I am running in the mountains in the morning.

mountains in morning

I was on such a run about two weeks ago when I was struck with an inspiration.  I suddenly realized that everything the Republicans have been doing is based on one simple idea.  They want to create a system whereby the “elite” have the benefits of their status as superior beings.  Thus, healthcare should be for the elite and the poor can go to the emergency ward because they will not be able to afford insurance.  More of the poor will die but that is consistent with Social Darwinism.

“Their disappearance from the human family would be no great loss to the world.”
― Henry Clay

Education will become an elite system.  The poor will go to inner city public schools deprived of money and resources where they will be treated more like prisoners than learners and security guards will make sure they behave.  The rich will go to well-funded private academies where they will learn to take high paying jobs as captains of industry.

Social Security will be replaced by an elite system of stocks and bonds whereby the rich can use financial advisers to double and triple their contributions.  The poor with little knowledge or skills in the stock market will lose what they have contributed and soon find they have no retirement money.  More prisons will be built (and ironically will be government funded) to protect the rich and lock up any dissidents who dare to complain or who become public nuisances.

“The forces which are working out the great scheme of perfect happiness, taking no account of incidental suffering, exterminate such sections of mankind as stand in their way, with the same sternness that they exterminate beasts of prey and herds of useless ruminants.”  ― Herbert Spencer,

As much as I liked the above scenario, since it seemed to provide a good fit for the current Trump and Republican policies, there was still something missing.  I could not quite put my hand on it, but it still cast the Republicans as “bad guys” with evil motives.  Why should the Republicans be any more evil than the Democrats?  My theory did not explain this.

helping-othersAbout a week later, I was substitute teaching in a Casa Grande High School.  I drew an eleventh-grade social studies class.  The teacher had left an assignment wherein the students had to find certain terms and concepts associated with the second industrial revolution and write definitions for each of them.  Included among such terms as: robber barons, corporations, patents and trusts was the term “Social Darwinism.”  One of the students asked me to explain it beyond the simple definition she found on line.  I tried to recall my ideas relating to this concept from many years ago.  I gave her my explanation and then later I looked up the definition at Wikipedia.  I was struck at how well my memory had served me.  It was at that point that the proverbial light bulb or blinding light of inspiration hit me.  I suddenly realized that the Republican Party was not just trying to create elite systems but they were also trying to build on the theories of Herbert Spencer.  The following excerpt explains this theory very well as it applies to many current concepts such as: trickle down theory, privatization, corporate welfare and tax reform.

“Social Darwinists took up the language of evolution to frame an understanding of the growing gulf between the rich and the poor as well as the many differences between cultures all over the world.  The explanation they arrived at was that businessmen and others who were economically and socially successful were so because they were biologically and socially “naturally” the fittest. Conversely, they reasoned that the poor were “naturally” weak and unfit and it would be an error to allow the weak of the species to continue to breed. They believed that the dictum “survival of the fittest” (a term coined not by Charles Darwin but by sociologist Herbert Spencer) meant that only the fittest should survive.”  – Social Darwinism in the Gilded Age

social darwinismSo, there you have it.  Trump and the Republican Party are not greedy, hateful or fearful of others, they simply do not believe that you have a right to anything unless you are also rich and successful and White like they are.  Based on the concepts of Social Darwinism, they have the right to whatever you have if they can find a way to take it away from you.  If you cannot keep it, that means you are inferior.  If you are inferior, you have no right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  According to Social Darwinism, the elite will eventually Trump the poor because they are stronger, smarter and more fit.  This will eventually result in a society wherein everyone is fit, and everyone is trying to screw everyone else.

“Truly, this earth is a trophy cup for the industrious man. And this rightly so, in the service of natural selection.  He who does not possess the force to secure his Lebensraum in this world, and, if necessary, to enlarge it, does not deserve to possess the necessities of life.  He must step aside and allow stronger peoples to pass him by.”
― Adolf Hitler

Today we have a Fake President, Fake News, Fake Christians and a divide in this country that rivals the divide that we had prior to the civil war.  We have a nation that has forgotten its roots and that has succumbed to the vilest theory to ever afflict humanity.

Time for Questions:

Do you think it would be better if the poor would just die and save us all the trouble of taking care of them?   What do you think we should do with the disabled and mentally challenged?  Should we start a eugenics program to get rid of them?  Who should help the poor, refugees, immigrants, hungry, sick?  What would Jesus do?

Life is just beginning.

“They said ‘specialist children’s wards,’
But they meant children-killing centers.
They said ‘final medical assistance’
But they meant murder.”  ― Ann Clare LeZotteT4

%d bloggers like this: