Monday, September 26, 2016

Still Foolishly Waiting For the Old "Great" America?

People regret how America isn't the America of the 1950s. Are YOU the person of your younger years? No, and neither is America. Do you want to be? Disconnected from the world at large as it has moved on, even if you haven't? Therefore being completely dysfunctional, rather than just somewhat dysfunctional as any normal country is?

Obviously, this involves Donald Trump. Sadly.



Tonight is the first debate between candidates on both sides. America's and the world's hope for decency and progress, Hilary Clinton, and the InternNational Embarrassment that is... Donald Trump. It should make for interesting political viewing. Interesting Reality TV viewing. Interesting studies in the path politics is taking in the world. Because we're slow to follow other countries in some of this (like fights breaking out in congress...see Japan, Italy, etc.), but we're blazing the trail on other aspects of this complete nightmare.

Not American? Then Hope, and if you're into that kind of thing, Pray (not that it will do anything other than make you feel better for a little while, then let you down in the end), that this kind of thing doesn't befall your own country!

For the record, I don't believe any of those things in this article from the Washington Post on "Why Smart People Believe all the Crazy Things Trump Says", except the Bush Administration knowing about the WMDs in Iraq. That, as it indicates, shouldn't be on that list. Why? Because it's true/untrue in the best of presidential plausible deniability. From what I've gathered over the years from what those who have spoken out on it (and in some cases you have to read a book, remember those?), the Bush Administration pushed the intelligence community into finding what they wanted to hear. They had wanted to go to war in Iraq before Bush became president in 2000. And so on. All documented. All easily and reasonably pieced together. 

So no. The Bush administration WAS told there were WMDs in Iraq. But it's not that simple. It is in part how our government works, but in this case it was above and beyond and led initially to a reasonable conclusion which later turned out to be an unreasonable one.

But this here and now deals with things like Hilary's reputation, who she is, who the Clinton's are, who she would be as president. 

Right wing conspiracy about her as usual in these kinds of things, paints a picture of her as world class James Bond villain. It's a child's view of the world, such as Republicans and conservatives tend to paint it in "knowing" what they expect to believe, what they want to believe, what assuages their need for information where there is none. It's an amateur, arm chair quarterback view of the world. 

With just a little bit of knowledge in how to research, in digging into disparate information sources and discounting and supporting reality, in listening to and triangulating what those in the know, those involved in these things have said and shown to be true, the actuality is sometime, quite obvious.

It is the information and political form of seeking a black hole in space. A scientist finds what is there through what is available and what isn't. An amateur does not have full access to the same kinds of information and therefore there is a lot of chaff and fluff in that arena. To be sure there are professional style amateurs, but they are few and far between compared to the more lazy forms out there. 

And so we have a mass of people beleiving in conspiracies. And now they have a leader. First the Republican party since the 90s if not 80s, and now in Trump who will fight to win at all costs, at any price, even that of the veracity of America across the world, the ideal and substance of America itself, and the self respect and sanity of the American people, themselves.
Have you ever noticed how parenting, even just making it through life is a series of guesses and hopes that you got it right? Some seem to just slide through life making all the right decisions. Many seem that way but it's just their deftness at making people believe that is the case. Most of us make mistakes along the way and then it's about how quickly and accurately we react to make things work right. Sometimes it's a series of corrections we make to make our mistakes functional. Most of us find a way to make that appear effortless so our boss or coworkers or the public thinks we are brilliant when really, we are just making it through life. Those are the things conservatives yearn for. That illusion of our greatness rather than our effective humbleness. We present this bold and brash cowboy attitude to the world, but we're just doing the best we can. Bullies too, fearful of the world unless they are sociopaths, put forth a brave and brash face which behind that facade is a scared and ignorant child. The world has gotten so complex, no one really knows what the right answers are. Those who tell you they know, are liars and charlatans, or politicians. People we hired to make us feel safe and when we don't, we blame them, rather than ourselves. Once you realize... "We have met the enemy and he is us." You are only then approaching adulthood. Then you can look around and see how frightened and ignorant we are. Then you can realize those who profess greatness and wisdom, are just expert actors displaying to you what they know you want to see. You complain when you don't get what you want, and then when you do, you see how things don't work right and you complain. rather than tearing down, try to support and build up, to see the bigger picture, to see you count as much as everyone else and they as much as you. Once you see that, things will start to become more functional again. Until you see that, it will just be more of the same and you have to understand, we have built the world we wanted. Because what you do, is what you have done, have allowed to happen, have asked for. At some point ignorance is no excuse, not a justification and you have to take responsibility because being a part of a nation requires that. If you don't like it, leave. Because going up into the wilderness isn't disconnecting yourself from the nation, only leaving it, rejecting citizenship, does that. And you're not willing to do that. So get involved, learn reality and stop with your wishing for what never was or what you really don't want to go back to, when you merely think you want to because in your colluded memories, the past last sloughed off the bad and you're only remembering the good. Good us all around us. Make that your reality. And work to bring us all as citizens of one nation, as much more as we can, not just for you, but for Americans. Otherwise, you are not an American. You are an old Soviet comrade, bitching at real Americans who ARE trying while you call THEM comrade, push your form of belief onto them, those who have no idea what you're talking about. You need to grow up. That is why things seem so bad for you. Hurry up, because the rest of us are waiting on you.

NOTE: Now, post first debate between the two candidates, a lucid and accurate journalist in a Sydney Morning Herald speaks out. I give you, Jonathan Bradley: Donald Trump's debate performance shows he has no business being president.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Calling for New American Party Mascots

I wonder sometimes if our political party's mascots have any relevance whatsoever to today's world. They are established, traditional, and let's face it, weird.
"In a cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1874, Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion's skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” That's all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party."
“The Third Term Panic: An ass, having put on the Lion’s skin, roamed about in the forest, and amused himself by frightening all the foolish Animals he met with in his wanderings.” Thomas Nast for Harpers, 1874.
I think we can all agree, the Democrat and Republican mascots have outlived their usefulness. While they may have at one time been effective, when the parties switched their political paths in the late 1800s, the mascots should really have switched with them.
"So, sometime between the 1860s and 1936, the (Democratic) party of small government became the party of big government, and the (Republican) party of big government became rhetorically committed to curbing federal power." Natalie Wolchover - LiveScience.com 9/24/2012

The party of Lincoln, is no longer Lincoln's party. He simply wouldn't recognize it now.
So when Republicans say that, call them out. They're lying, or possibly more reasonably they're simply ignorant. The true mainstay of their party platform, Ignorance.
I'm proposing here however that we just kill them off. The mascots. We could have a big Republican sponsored game hunt. They should love that idea. Right?
My replacement suggestions are a slide for Republicans and a ladder for Democrats. Democrats are always trying to raise us up above the muck and Republicans are always trying to slip us back down into it, unless you have the money to save yourself. Which let's be honest, most of us don't have.
Republicans want things to be easy, not grey but black and white, good vs evil, as children view the world. They view things as simple when usually they are complex. Even if it kills people. Then they point the finger at their opponents, typically Democrats, liberals, progressives... or science.

When they do try to think in complex terms they tend to go in useless directions, spinning up obfuscations, improperly weighted situations, getting nowhere but wasting vast amounts of energy in looking like they are doing something, when they are just spinning their wheels and wasting as well, huge sums of OUR tax dollars with no apparent end in sight or purpose.

Other than self aggrandizement or extending their typically silly if not utterly destructive agendas. Ideologies based in make believe. Make believe frequently based in religion. Religion typically of a Judeo\Christian form. More of the three main defective revealed harsh desert religions from the Middle East.

Democrats however seem always to be trying to progress up to better things. While also sometimes using a slide for a short time...WHEN it just might be useful and helpful, overall it's hard and usually harder for them to do so.

And yet they keep on climbing, keep on trying, though usually too quietly.

While Republicans if they ever even try a ladder, only seem to make it up a step or two and then start in on any distraction they can think of. They don't want to do much, just appear to be doing much. Like a morbidly obese person trying to be distracted from doing exercise. Or in the case of extremist conservatives, to distract from any real thinking or analysis, or from doing any actual work and this is imperative...that they could be held accountable for.

So I give you our new modern political mascots: The Republican Slide and Democratic Ladder!

Now you just have to ask yourself. Which side of the platform do you want to be on?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Personal Strength

Yesterday was 9/11. There were thoughts of pain, death, strength, power, terrorism, reflection on who we are as a nation, as a people. Life, is more complicated that most of us can handle. We tend to buffer it with emotions, drama, even lies. Some of us use conspiracies as a buffer. It takes strength, more than we have sometimes, to handle reality.

Life is far more complex than we can typically see. But that is on a larger scale basis. I tried to pull it down to the micro level, to the individual level. To the level of two people, of one person. About how we perceive strength, what it is, when it should be used, how it relates to our lives.

In order to evoke thought on this 9/11 and its fifteen year anniversary, just another attempt at pointing out a few of the dangers to America today, not in order of import (or contempt):

-Religious fundamentalism with a death slant to it.
-Conspiracy theorists who mostly don't know what they are talking about and have based theory on conjecture and agenda based partisan politics.
-Nation building as we have been attempting it.
-Attempting to spread democracy in tribal nations without a cohesive nation.
-Using military power where any other power would work better.
-Putin and Putin's view of Russia.
-Kim Jong Un, and his and his military handler's view of North Korea and its relation to the world.
-China's fear of North Korea and it's lack of acting.
-Donald Trump, his lies, immaturity, self important narcissism and ignorance.
-Hillary, IF she doesn't change up our direction and continues to use old paradigms in world and national politics.
-Political and extreme Conservatives and Evangelicals.
-Unclear understanding of reality in national and personal considerations.
-Old paradigm views on running America and its interactions with the world at large.
-Maintaining wars to allow otherwise unallowable issues to play out.
-War.
-Military, industrial, corporate complexes to rule over the needs of people.
-Poor education.
-Cyberterrorist by international gangs like ISIS and cyberwarfare attacks by nation states like Russia and China and maybe if not probably also, NK. But really, wouldn't it make more sense for Russia to lay blame on NK, while China would not for obvious reasons?
-Poor infrastructure.
-Ignorance. Ignorance supported as intellect and occult knowledge of what is unknowable.
-Giving a voice to those ignorants and old paradigm thinkers (including racists, misogynists and bigots) who should not have one on a national basis and have quite simply not kept up with the world in our psychological, sociological and technological advances.
-Forcing others to continually have to prove negatives on a national basis.
-Terrorism

I'm pretty open minded. I accepted people voting for Mitt Romney, and even miniBush.

But supporting Donald Trump simply makes a travesty of our election process and you really need to face up to that if you support him.

Hillary, is no reason, no excuse to vote instead for Trump. It just exhibits your ignorance more grandly.

Voting for Trump puts one in a similar category with words like grandiose, delusional and self important.

IF you can't vote for Hillary, I do get that. Though you're probably wrong there too but that's another topic. I mean, you may be right in not voting for Hillary but from what I've seen, it's probably for the wrong reasons and the incorrect priorities.

However, if you can't vote for Hillary and you can somehow come to your senses, though if you vote republican I really don't have high hopes anyway, then simply do not vote.
Cast your vote as many do in casting for a third party.

Vote your conscience. If you can't vote Hillary, then do not vote.

Someone just made that clear this past week.

That some people simply should not vote. We shouldn't force people, pushing them into voting. If they don't know what they are doing or if they think they do and yet they don't; if they are smart enough to know not to vote, perhaps they know what they are doing, perhaps we should leave them alone.

For all the rest of us, vote sane, at the very least.

You know, the original intent of the Founding Fathers was NOT to allow everyone to vote anyway. Just those who could vote intelligently, with informed consideration, with a standing for and with the needs of the country and not simply for needs for themselves, but with a true and honest consideration for themselves and therefore...all of us.

I'd like to move beyond 9/11 today though. I want to move closer to home to each of us. From an international, from an national, to a personal level. From world or national strength, to interpersonal and personal strength and what that really is.

I realized something about strength today.

I was watching Woody Allen's film, Manhattan. There a scene, after he was with Mary after he had been with Tracy, after Mary had been with Yale, while he was married to Connie, after the divorce of Isaac (Allen) who was now with, as I said, Mary. Yale calls her, in the next room from Isaac.

Life can be in reality, hidden behind the scenes, out of our sight, complicated. It's one of the things Allen basis his films on, pokes fun at, brings up in various lights and tries to make us realize, life is not black and white. We tend to categorize things as good or bad but in reality, it is a very grey kind of thing. You see something bad, but in shifting focus sometimes, just a little, it becomes humorous, or understanding, even... noble.

Yes, some things are just bad, just pure evil. However much of what we label as such, simply isn't due to ignorance or a lack of understanding, if not simply of maturity.

It occurs to me, and I'm single now, but a while back I was married, married to someone I thought to be a very attractive woman. Attractive overall, not only in looks. Before I had met her, I was trying to get another job. After a divorce. And I found one. But the woman who interviewed me for the job, an attractive woman in her early 30s, from the beginning was extremely attracted to me.

I got the job. Eighteen months later I quit that job, at that point, with a new wife, the attractive woman I mentioned. I then contracted for some years (as a Senior Technical Writer). I ended up eventually at the company I've been now working at for twenty years.

During that first year or so, the women who had previously hired me elsewhere (the UW), was working then for a contract employment agency. We had both left the University of Washington where I had worked for seven and a half years, the final eighteen months for the department the woman had hired me for.

I was going through more than one contract agency and so wanted to give her my business as we had been friends and coworkers. Kind of like, we were family. When I had heard what she was doing, that she also had left the US, I looked her up. Then after talking with her, I signed up with her at her new agency.

See, I had accepted a job (where I still work for twenty-one years now at this point) because I had to, in the hope that I wouldn't work again for a large company. The new company was a thirty person company, but a subsidiary of a much larger company, which I had wanted to avoid after working for US West Technologies, a thirteen state company at that time in the 1990s.

The potential that I might find exactly what I wanted, was alluring. To exemplify my worry, I said I'd accept the job at the thirty person company as long as they guaranteed I would never work for the larger company, and because I had been out of work for five and a half months and we really needed the money. I had a family to support, a wife and two kids.

One day this woman called me to ask me to lunch. Nothing unusual there, I was used to agents taking me to lunch to woo me to a new job or consideration, and them picking up the tab. And she was female and attractive. I was married then and was not looking for anything outside of my marriage, but would you rather go to lunch with an ugly person who was interesting and funny, or an attractive woman who was? So I went, innocently.

We went to a nice restaurant near to my work at Von's ("Best martinis in town"). We had lunch. It was tasty, as usual. Then she hit me with it, taking me totally by surprise. Her husband was a real hot mess. He had gotten into drugs, he had robbed a store, gotten caught, ended up in prison for a couple of years or so.

She had her needs, she had her fantasy about me all these years and she had her proposal. We could have an affair while her husband was gone. I could have her. It would never affect my marriage, she wanted no more, just compassion, a friend with benefits, a friend. Someone to help her through those next two years. Would I consider, she wanted to know, that kind of a situation. I was still at that point in my marriage where I was completely satisfied at home.

Something that changed radically only a few years later as I entered into a nightmare of a marriage. One where only a decade or so later I realized there were serious surreptitious mental and emotional problems on my wife's side, potential for her having had affairs while she was away for weeks on her job. One beyond most people's imaginings. One that could easily make a MOW, a "Movie of the Week" type of heart wrenching type of a film.

What I realized today, while watching the film, Manhattan, was this... I should have turned her down as I did. But perhaps I should have had the strength to give her a good, deep kiss and then, let her go, forever. To release her from her fantasy about me, but give her that taste of what the imagination had been desiring so that from then on she'd have had a feel for the reality and thus, somewhat temper her imagination and desires. At very least, she'd have something based upon what could have been.

Considering after that day that I never saw nor heard from her again, I now feel some regret. Though at the time I would have felt betrayal to my wife whom I loved and lusted after very much, Lust appropriately place. I now feel if I were as strong an individual as I believed I always have been, then I should have said goodbye, given her that final gift, that present from one friend to another, on our parting forever, between two who could have been, and yet, never will be.

That is what I realized today when I paused the film, Manhattan, and thought about all this, realizing, I needed to write it all down and share it.

Still, I had to consider it all first.

What IF I had kissed her and after all, why DIDN'T I?

It's obvious, I suppose.

Was I THAT strong in denying her? Was I just immature? Would I have gone off with her, to have had an affair as she desired?

You know in hindsight, the affair would have been okay, possibly. Sometimes in doing what is wrong, you speed up the demise of something that will die, you save everyone pain, you save yourself grief, but you may also cause yourself the pain of knowing to thine own self not true.

My marriage in the end didn't work out. I have reason now to see how much I deserved al lot more compassion and affection than I got through much of that final marriage in my life to date. Perhaps I was the only strong one in denying another an affair with me. I was true to myself though, in not having that affair.

Had I not been married, had she not, I would most surely have had a relationship with that woman. No doubt in my mind. But I had a rule not to involve myself with those who were attached to others. Or when I was attached. I have higher standards than that. There are so many single people why would you ever get involved with someone with a potential for excessive drama?

Still, that's all not the point here.

The point is... reality. Just what IS, reality?


Monday, September 5, 2016

Allow The God Fearing to Rule the Day?

First off, Happy Labor Day! For more on that, see the link from my 2014 blog article on Labor Day.

Now, let's get to it!


Through the course of human endeavors,
before there was God there were Gods.
Before there were Gods there was Heaven.
Before there was Heaven there was the Sun.
Before there was the Sun there was darkness.
In that darkness there was no language.
There was no way to store and convey information
to any, to all.
But then there was language, then there was writing,
then there was, reading. But only to the few.
The few who had seen a book, who had a book, who learned to read.
This was magical. Words were magical.
It was unbelievable. It was powerful. It was Holy.
It was sacred. it was God like.
The Word became God.
Those who held the Word, became God like.
God has power. God IS power.
Those who serve God, have power.
To protect themselves from those they read to, the had to say they served.
Those who the servers served, they ruled over.
The servers became the served.
Their word becomes the Word.
Those who now serve Them, find themselves believing things.
Things not originally intended.
Things not currently intended.
Things that were never intended.
Those who believed, altered the Word of those who once served
and are now being served.
Then the nothing became the something.
And so the word was broken.

This is the problem in treating the modern day extremist God Fearing respectfully. Just as it is with the other extremists (and some even not so extreme) of the right wing politically conservative and Republican crowd. We should treat people respectfully to be sure, though not so much their beliefs, if respect for those beliefs are reasonably undeserved.

The trouble is in showing them respect, and therefore their beliefs, respect in discourse and debate tends also to lend a respectability overall. One they simply do not deserve. Religion has a lot of pretty (and not so pretty) words.

The trouble is, every religion breaks down because no philosophy answers all questions in every instance. A closed system such as any religion is, cannot answer all things in an ever changing universe. Which gives us a clue. ANY religion that seems to have ALL the answers, is a broken religion, a defective form of deity worship with a set of rules designed to subvert reality. Because there is no such thing as a philosophy that can answer all questions all the time.

It's like any form of government, not pure form is fully functional, only hybrids. It's why in part, Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

It's an uneven playing field right from the start. Which explains so much of the current situation in our dealing with true God Fearers. Both those politically in general as well as in Congress. If one treats them as derisively as they may well deserve, then it becomes the rational people who are seen as rude and illegitimate. Rather than simply taking an appropriate stand against utter silliness. Dangerous, silliness.

If on the other hand they are treated with respect, they receive a perceived legitimacy they have failed to prove deserving of. Other than a general respectful right to believe in any delusion they choose to come up with. Delusions that are typically supported by some ancient book of "wisdom" recorded over time, founded in antiquity and conjecture, based on imperfect observations, conflated histories and your basic magical thinking.

Such is our world today. It will change though. It has to.

Not because it's wanted, rather because in the end the Truth typically wins out. It is nature's course. It's the balance in history that sooner or later incorrect but accepted beliefs will be superseded from improperly recorded histories. Reality tends to win out in the end. Something that is becoming more and more prevalent as technology allows us anymore to record nearly everything, nearly anywhere.

The question as usual is, will these more accurate public appraisals of history happen within our lifetime?

As a friend once said to me in reply to this question:

"But who is the arbiter of silliness? To a devout evangelical, my atheism is just as silly."

I guess what I'm saying is that it's not so much what is on their side of the equation that is at issue. Some might even say that is a lost cause anyway. It is on our side, the side of those of us who might put up with it all, to ignore, to allow delusions to continue unabated. Out of good manners, ill conceived political correctness.

As a general rule we must all agree upon at very least a general baseline of belief. And in America it is and always has been through a government without religion. While now that seems to many load voices to be the outlier position. Something that grew out of fear that back in the origins of the post WWII cold war. A belief we allowed insidiously to creep into our national mindset, even into our pledge of allegiance, and onto our money.

It is not "In God We Trust" that we need to proclaim on a national basis, but "In Ourselves". To do what is right regardless of God, or whoever's God, or whatever religion, or even...no religion at all.

Our option needs to be government devoid of deity, and a government's belief based in Science. Reality as best our minds can fathom to use in our decision making. Since we cannot choose one religion over all others in a country where all religions are welcome (anyway those who don't go out and kill people over religion or some antiquated medieval view of God), then we simply have to choose... no religion.

To find order in no religion requires science. It's not a big leap in logic. Science that we need to be protected from through our government and if you will, moderated by our mindsets of Liberté, égalité, fraternité ("liberty, equality, fraternity"). Moderated by an individual's own beliefs even in religion and through ethics and morals.

The Grammarist defines Morals as the principles on which one’s judgments of right and wrong are based. Ethics are principles of right conduct. So the two nouns are closely related and are often interchangeable.

The main difference is that morals are more abstract, subjective, and often personal or religion-based, while ethics are more practical, conceived as shared principles promoting fairness in social and business interactions.

We need more of the practical and less of the ethereal.

In order to govern people, we need beliefs founded in what is real and functional. If prayer worked every time, I'd say fine, we can use that. But it is not fine, it does not work every time, if it even works at all, ever. And I'd argue that it never works. It merely buffers our reality. It is simply coincidental on any real results from its use and is pretty dysfunctional in any kind of way in governing people.

Here's the really important thing... to all theists, all believers, all religious types. In order to have all religions for all people, none must govern.

It is on us all to stop this madness. To allow those who wish to continue to believe in the ethereal as real, is fine in their personal lives, just not in their public lives. Especially if it affects others. including those of the rest of us who use the rational and real in our own daily lives.

Allowing the God Fearing to Rule the day couldn't be a bigger mistake. Shying away form this fact is only going to make everything worse. We need to speak up, speak out, stand our ground, Politely but firmly state our case and if necessary, bulldoze our public ways right over top of them if not straight through them if need be.

For our protection. For their own protection. For all of our protection. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trade Agreements

As you may know if you've read my previous blog, I've been moving out of my home of sixteen years into a new town, new house. My son (28 and 6'5") and I did the move alone for the most part over a weekend, the next weekend's Saturday and the following Wednesday (day after my birthday) to come. So I'm (we're) really worn out and mentally not at a peak. But I'll do the best I can on this week's blog. My apologies ahead of time should I make any obvious mistakes. 
Here's the thing about trade agreements.

We had prosperity in this country. Certainly compared to some other countries. A while back in the 1990s and before, we realized we needed the world to come along with us to support that prosperity. We needed to boost other countries in order to boost ourselves.

Along the way that got lost a bit in our not protecting ourselves as well as we should have. Of course to boost other countries we had to give some things up. It may have started innocently enough, but the trouble with it was that those in power and with money discovered they could benefit too. So of course, they got carried away.

We were originally told that some jobs would go elsewhere to other countries (the flood of jobs overseas). But that was supposed to be okay. And it was, but that meant pain here. It meant some types of jobs would disappear and go to not first world countries and just other countries.

It meant we would have to do other jobs, hopefully raising our standards of living, of jobs and levels of job types and our economy. We would make old world jobs, factory jobs, go away. We would start having better, higher paying jobs replace them. More high tech, service and first world type jobs.

That hasn't really happened to the extent that we needed now, has it.

Why is that?

The trouble there was that education started getting cut. Drastically. And other things. Our infrastructure has suffered. Needed education leading to the right types of jobs simply didn't develop. High schools weren't teaching our kids what they needed to know for getting a job out of high school anymore. They were stuck in a previous era as many still are.

Republicans more and more put off what they were supposed to do (along with some democrats). They got lazy. They claimed people should do for themselves. Do for themselves what we were all told they would set up for us, so we COULD do for ourselves.

That began the conservative trend to do for yourself, otherwise you were considered a loser. They began to warp what government was and should be. They worked to monetize government, privatize, incentivize .

This started to make the rich richer, the poor poorer. They knew that, but said the opposite and still do. It's failed, and their Emperor's new clothes are now seen as a nude Emperor. They did things like cut charitable services. "Let the churches and charities handle all that," Pres. Reagan said. "That's what they do best!" But it overwhelmed the churches and charities in trying to do what it would take a government to do.

We moved things from one stage, that didn't go to the other. Jobs suffered, people suffered, our economy suffered. In the end, we've all suffered.

Many (of the elite few wealthier class) have gotten rich though this and once won, they wanted to hold onto it. For some, at all costs. To others. To, us.

The masses have not gotten rich, the middle class has been dying because they aren't holding the reins, they can't group together to use the reigns they do have because they have been fractured by those who do have the power or simply the ability to do so.

Religion has told people to suffer, to put their energy into God, into prayer, but not into action.

Politicians have told people the same, but also given them hype and empty promises as evangelical techniques have suffused government.

We need a paradigm shift. We're on the cusp. Things can topple either way at this point.

While republicans and conservatives are pushing us back into the cup of poverty all while claiming it's anyone's fault but their own.

Democrats, many of them, don't get it either. They aren't helping as much as they should because they too do not fully understand. A few do though. Bernie does. And he has made others get it through his run for president. He has altered the talking points. Raised issues. Raised national consciousness. All while Republicans plug their ears and go on as always with their tired old arguments.

Part of the issue is that economics is complicated.

It's about not just America but the entire world. We have to consider the world, and ourselves, and the symbiosis between the two. It's a give and take. It's not just give. It's not just a take. It's give an take as things develop. It takes constant vigilance, occasional action, not too much action, not too little. We have an entire political allegedly conservative party dedicated against fixing this, and they think that is not the case.

A liberal party who also do not understand it clearly, but they are getting there. Finally. We need a progressive party handling things. Progressive in a way that shouldn't be considered progressive, but needs to be seen as such in order to maintain reality, affect correct and positive change with concerns for the masses and not just the wealthy, but the most and many and not the few and wealthy.

How does the few keep power over the many so well when there are so many?

Conspiracy theories, mis and dis information. Greed and perverts (not sexual but some of them to be sure as we see in the news, republican and religious leader after leader charged with crimes of illicit sex, hetero and homosexual (not hetero or gay sex as crime, but in paying for it and their dishonesty of it), crimes against women, children, things they most profess again). And fiscally related crimes. Even crimes against entire cities and in some cases, even humanity.

Crimes against entire cities in poisoning their water supplies. Abusing their power to shut down bridges. But of course, the "true criminals" THEY say... are in another party. It could never be them! It's others. Always others. But those others are not being charged with crimes.Those who are pointing the fingers are the ones being charged of late and finally.

We need to pay attention to reality, band together against what is really attacking us and holding us back.

Show me the money. Because someone has it. And it is not me, or anyone I know. And I'm doing far better than many others who are economically lower on the tables than where I fit in.

We need to see this. And act.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Special Blog Post - The Great Papa Spyk Has Passed

I'm very sad to say that we lost "Papa" Spyk this week.

NOTE on Saturday, August 20, 2016 11AM PDT: I am moving out of my house this weekend and have no new blogs staged for this week and won't have time to write any. I sold my house and we're packing and moving into a rental house with a year lease this weekend. I'm unsure where I'll move to at that point. But because of the situation both on the moving side and the Papa Spyk side, out of respect for him and in memorium, I will be leaving this blog up for this next week. And now.....

Papa Spyk wrote a book on his life titled, A Naughty Thing Called Life, (by Edouard Spyk Gheur AKA "Papa" Spyk).

A Naughty Thing called Life shares the honest story of Papa Spyk's experience, hoping to make a difference to other people's lives. Its about courage to love and be love. the way to heal himself by going through hell and back.It remind's the reader that there is a silver lining in every cloud. This book is a testament to Papa Spyk's focus of his energy from destruction to creation. - from his website 
From Papa Spyk's Facebook profile photo
Rob Leigh singing soundtrack song for Papa Spyk's Film.

Former bodybuilder whose heart exploded after 15 years of steroid overuse says it's a 'miracle' he's alive. - UK Daily Mail 23 November 2015

I'm so annoyed with myself right now. This week Papa Spyk passed on. His last two postings to his Facebook page were:

August 16 at 6:36am ·
Got some bad news and I'm scared.
I just saw the surgeon today and they found another two other massive Anuerysm that has ballooned out in my abdomen which needs to be replaced immediately cause if they bursts at any time and it's instant death, so they have to replace them both immediately and I'll have to come back after I've fully recovered from the op and have the next one done and then other one and he said they won't know till they open me up what they can do tomorrow and he's given me 2-4% chance of surviving the operation and I asked if they could do all three at the same time and he said if they do that they are giving 1% chance of staying alive.

Papa scared? That was devastating, and said it all. I pulled myself together and posted to him on his page just as many others were posting support to him:

Screw them! Never give up never say die! 
Give them back 100% chances by surviving, for YOU! 
Stay strong. We want to hear you say after all this, "I'm HERE! "

Then later, just this:

August 16 at 6:42am ·
Right on my stretcher being wheeled into theatre to go under the knife

And that was all....

I had started this blog about him in 2012 and never got around to finishing it. I always try to spread the word about people I like, whose works or books I find interesting and so on. And he had one interesting story, one very interesting life and I liked him. He was that kind of spirit of person where you just expected him, regardless of how life was against his body surviving, that he would be here, now and forever.

That was my mistake. Rather than share with him I was supporting him, sharing his story with others, I now have this to live with. It was a small thing perhaps and he will never know now about even this sharing of his story, this small memorial to him. I find myself now moved, broken somewhat with his passing. He affected me with his spirit as he has so many others. A man who should have died so many times and yet, kept continuing on.

I have promoted so many and now I wish I had gotten around to just this one more. I'll live my life now knowing I didn't and I should have. That is my burden. His, is over.

This is the first time I lost someone like this. Merely a Facebook acquaintance, but a force to reckon with. An indomitable spirit. One who affected all those whom he touched.

Peace Papa Spyk. Thanks for letting me to get to know you... just that little bit.

You'll be missed, by so many of us whose lives you touched.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Conspiracy Theory Debunking 101

There are those who think I just don't believe what I don't like to or agree with, with no thought to reality. That conservative and republican disseminated conspiracy theories are never true, regardless. This couldn't be further from the truth. There are big conspiracies and many small ones, especially during election cycles. This 2016 election has been rife with them.

It may seem that I never ascribe to right wing conspiracies. But it is because there are so many circulated by those groups and frequently one has to (should) admit, they are ridiculous. In fact, all too frequently.

IF you know a just little bit about actual conspiracy theory itself, you'll see that quite clearly. You'll see what not to waste your time on. What not to say, leading others into making horrendous political mistakes. And who to ignore. There is much as one author put it, voodoo behind these conspiracy theories.

There are far better articles on conspiracy theory and how to consider them, evaluate them, debunk and verify them, and how to help those lost down that rabbit hole. I just doubt most people would go that far to find out. So I thought I'd make a quick and easy to understand, overview. Not a step by step, but a how to look at it in general and to consider finding more specific information depending on the form of the conspiracy involved.

IF you know Hillary is murdering people left and right just like her husband did as president, if you know Benghazi is Hillary and Obama's fault, if you know that Obama is a secret Muslim, Gay, or founder of ISIS, then you really have to ask your self this....

Do you know for instance, that the Trump campaign is having an actual effect upon our nation's children? Belief in the negative side magical thinking as in religions, and non-existent conspiracies do have a real impact upon culture, business, government and most importantly, people.

Do you know anything about what makes conspiracy theories seem true, or attractive? Even when they ARE fully fabricated?

What is Optimality Theory actually about? Or critical thinking? Cognitive Dissonance? Other conspiracy theory terms and definitions? Do you know just what government, legislative, political and congressional processes actually are, how they work in reality? Do you understand market organization and optimization on conspiracies? How information deforms and conforms in an information vacuum? How belief in conspiracies conflates one sense of self worth? How it satiates need in areas of closure, self esteem, fear?

Enough.

Look, I will just offer you this. It's up to you to learn the rest, or else stop spouting conspiracies in your ignorance. And on ignorance, we are all ignorant. It is beholden upon us to find accurate information and to know that many times, especially in politics, there will never be enough information to make informed decisions on. It then takes one to have a clear and present understanding of peripheral issues and people. Clear of prejudice, or at least of undeserved prejudice.


Above is a meme slamming Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton yet again. Sounds bad. But when you consider actual reality, a different picture begins to emerge. You can refer to this link to read actually happened during his testimony, so you can judge for yourself. Along with (and without) the republican interference and spin during the testimony. In the article supplied in the link you can clearly see where Mr. Hicks obviously noticed himself during testimony that his words were being twisted by Republicans for political and partisan reasons.

"Daniel Pipes, in an early essay "adapted from a study prepared for the CIA", attempted to define which beliefs distinguish 'the conspiracy mentality' from 'more conventional patterns of thought'. He defined them as: appearances deceive; conspiracies drive history; nothing is haphazard; the enemy always gains power, fame, money, and sex.[7]
One of the worst things about conspiracy theories is the fact they are almost airtight. Every debunking or piece of evidence against it will be viewed as an attempt to "misinform the public", and the lack of evidence for it is viewed as a government cover-up.
The flood of conspiracy theories results in possibly-rational conspiracy theories getting lost in the midst of the noise of newsworthy but disingenuous ideas such as New World Order or the Moon landing hoax.
Not everyone involved in a conspiracy necessarily knows all the details; in fact, sometimes none do." - Wikipedia

Let's take the example of assassinations in a recent meme. Obviously if this were a single murder we were talking about, one would have to handle it differently. But we're not. And no, you cannot take the procedure for a single murder and apply it outright to the methodology of a multiple murder or assassination conspiracy theory. It is in details such as that where conspiracist's analytical processes break down.

This has been going around. It's been adding "victims", as someone new dies they get added to the list. We're up to four now in how many have died because of the DNC or Hillary's reputation and therefore, the inference is that she or the DNC had them killed. Even though the meme does not mention Hillary, in many conservative minds, it is clearly her at work here. At very least, it is on her behest if not covert direction because hey, who can know, right?


Then someone added another meme into this one:


But who exactly would order that? And why? Especially when there is no real and clear motive, but it simply looks superficially, that there may be one?

The insidious thing about these conspiracies is the believer and proponent never needs truth, proof, or facts. Just, belief. Easy. Right?

A confluence of facts (or perceived facts), a motive, possibly resources to achieve said conspiracy and the desire of one or more to believe.

For a murder as in this case it legally requires willfulness, deliberation and premeditation.

But here's the thing in assassination conspiracies and the reality of this type of operation. It presupposes vast forces behind the scenes that are alluded to by the believer. It gives more credit than deserved to involved entities. It requires a vacuum of facts for support filled instead by factoids.

Conspiracies involving multiple murders.

It is a big mistake to murder for political reasons. The United States has stopped doing it decades ago in the 1960s and for good reasons. It tends to come out eventually. It tends not infrequently to have a degree of blow back that makes it not worth it in the end and for an intelligent person, not worth it in the beginning.

In the case above, one murder in a murder conspiracy is a wash. Without actual proof, and if there were someone would be in jail, you cannot definitively state someone killed someone. So we get to throw out at least one as reasonably not involved in a conspiracy. 

Two deaths is still not quite a coincidence, nor is it not a coincidence. So we can effectively throw out two murders, or in some cases, simply deaths. IF one is not an obvious murder you cannot just randomly assign it as a murder. Yes, someone could fake a death, murder by fake natural causes, accident or suicide. But this is the realm of conjecture.

Would you believe these things if at the end of your decision, if you were wrong, you would be shot in the head? Or would you apply more critical thought, more awareness of conspiracy theory itself?

Three deaths (or murders) begins to enter the realm of ending the potential for coincidence and four, pretty much is ending that completely. If all elements necessary are apparent. 

However. That is if you have the connection (in this case, to the DNC or Hillary), the motive (someone attacking or damaging the DNC, Hillary or in Hillary's case sometimes conspiracists will just say someone made her upset or angry), and the access and resources (either the perpetrator murdering someone directly, or assigning someone to take on the task. 

This is where you have to start looking into each individual case, understanding that you already have the potential connections between Hillary and a need for these people to die. Does she actually have a need for someone to die and does the gain outweigh the cost if discovered?

The United States decided as mentioned above, many years ago that assassination is just flat out, not cost effective considering political and other blow back over time.

So. If we start to look at each individual death, what do we find? 

The supplied meme above related to the DNC, the Democratic National Convention. But in many minds it is directly connected to Hillary Clinton. Point one. Points two through five are as follows:

Seth Conrad Rich, murdered. Snopes. And the family has asked that people just STOP.
John Ashe, died suspiciously. Snopes. "WHAT'S FALSE: Ashe's corruption trial wasn't set to begin just days after his death, and he wasn't going to testify against Hillary Clinton."
Victor Thorn, dead of gunshot wound. Snopes.
Shawn Lucas. Died of unknown causes pending autopsy. Snopes. No one is going to have a process server murdered, literally murdering the messenger. Thinking otherwise is ludicrous.

With even a cursory examination of the meme, it falls quickly apart and not even coincidence in many ways and just a mean spirited attempt at disinformation.

We see the same in so many right wing attacks against the left, against President Obama, against Hillary Clinton, and soon to be against whomever follows.

The answer to these things is rather than blinding sharing them, furthering the ignorance, further damaging not just enemies of someone, but the country at large, further polarizing the nation, but to look into these. First never verify by going only into similar reporting sources. Look first at the opposite sources. Find what they say. If they are logical, look further into it. Then go back to the same sources (right wing most likely). Are they are saying the same thing, as if from one source, as if the same illogical orientations?

The answer it to think. To trace logic and see where it breaks down. Consider the source, always. If it's right wing, it doesn't mean it's wrong, but it does mean it most likely has "spin" on it. They MAY give accurate facts but not always. They will supply an orientation, shading the facts, making things look as bad as possible for someone. Rather that just supply the truth in neutral words and let the facts work for them. But they so often do not work for them and so they have to spin it, or lie outright.

Cut away the spin, look at the facts. Are there enough facts available? Typically there are not and like a Donald Trump speech, you have to read (whatever you like) into it. Where do the facts came from? Is there a vested interest by the reporter or agency reporting in making someone look as bad as possible? Does the source have an interest in them looking bad? Does the negativity feed into your own personal dislikes and beliefs?

That doesn't make it wrong, it means you may have some cognitive dissonance going on. The more that it true the more you need a warning light going off to double and triple check, to find actual facts and see through the spin or falsehoods, if any.

Be careful. Find the truth. Then, SHARE that. Even if most importantly, it goes against what others believe and wish to believe. Our country has problems. We're only going to fix them by forcing those sharing lies to share truths, or to take matters into our own hands and share the truth ourselves. At whatever cost.

Whether we like those truths or not.

Just don't do what Julian Assange has been doing in with Wikileaks in politically staging and releasing "truths" at just the right moment in order to do as much damage as possible. Because that crosses over form reporting, to political manipulation.

We need to all start being honest and truthful in the best ways possible, in order to support our nation so that it can shine to the world in the best light it can be seen in.

In closing...and in taking as example the conservative hatred for Hillary and Clinton's in general:

There is another side to all this. If Hillary Clinton is such a genius as conservatives claim, able to get away for decades with multiple murders, apparently hundreds of crimes and so on, and the US (and others remember) government, who better to run the complexities of a country and a world.

Bush? LOL. Trump? LMFAO! Be serious.

There is apparently no one that smart in the entire world. Oh, except for a Clinton. Of course.

Truth is, no one would cover things up that much for anyone, certainly not the masses of cover ups, and all the people it would take to do all the things she is blamed for. And to maintain that secrecy, for decades.

It's inherent in conspiracy theory to ignore that.

While it is actually is rather ludicrous. And sad. But let's face it. Reality cannot change belief based in  pure conjecture and magical thinking (especially for those raised in a religious fashion, even if they are now self-proclaimed atheists).

As well as decades of a concerted conservative effort to slander, which is not conjecture. Which is well documented. Which is admitted to openly to by the right. And so, there it is.

Conservatives are now merely believing because they were told to and cannot now change course and  thereby, "lose face".

Truly my friends, my condolences.