Monday, August 10, 2020

America's Slumbering Giant Awakes... And Brother, She's Pissed!

Interesting to note, I'm seeing some positive things happening. Like Black Lives Matters and Defund the Police. Or, Refund the Police, to redistribute some funds and services to more effective agencies and a more enlightened mindset. 


These have been pointing out we need to rethink, be wiser, seek to fix a broken police and judicial system. Look around, it's not that radical and even police over past decades have pointed this out. They're overworked, overused, and many times ill-used. 

I've watched for decades who police aren't as well trained, well manned, or regularly retrained as they are in some other countries. So much of our infrastructure has to do with a lack of funding. We want 100%, the best quality, as long as we don't have to pay. While one conservative business-oriented political party doesn't even want taxes at all and take what there is and consistently redistribute that tax money to those who don't need it... because they are so wealthy. And that translates back to them as, power.

I have time and again given my educated, informed opinion on all this and it is now finally being supported by even die-hard, life long Republicans supporting what I've been saying. It's amazing, astounding, and we have a long broken Republican party that has morphed into a Donald Trump GOP. 

And it is so bizarre. But at least we're beginning to see reality seep in and decency seep out. By a few anyway, but more and more on a daily basis. We may be seeing the end of a very bad road America has been on since the Reagan administration. 

One Republican is a former Republican strategist, political consultant, and author, Stuart Stevens in his new book, "It Was All A Lie". You can see/hear him on Amanpour and Friends, talking about what is going on today. How they knew exactly what they were doing. And now, through the "Lincoln Project" these people and Stevens, are speaking out. Against what has come of their decades-long efforts. 

LISTEN to these people, because so much now is being driven by ignorance, the uninformed and the purposely disinformed.

There has been much knee-jerking by conservatives, by racists, and bigots about "Defund the Police" which simply isn't about having no police. Rather, effective social services and effective policing. Not simply old-style, anachronistic, and conservative type abusive punishing.

Instead, we have dysfunctional practices that do not benefit a functional social structure or productive and effective system and are simply giving Republican, and sometimes progressive types, power and the rest of us concern, and at times disbelief. Abuse never fixes anything. Wisdom, consideration, facts, knowledge, experts appropriately applied,  do. 

We simply cannot keep doing the same ineffective practices and expect things to get batter. 

Cannabis. Abuse is hidden very often and around for so long it's now hard to even see.

Paul Begala (political consultant and political commentator) pointed out recently that he has finally woken up on the cannabis topic somewhat late to the game and pointed out that studies have now shown that in 95% of our counties that have more than 1% of blacks, they are arrested 364% more for weed than whites. They don't USE it more, they are simply ARRESTED more. 

So it has been a pretty useful tool of systemic racism and to populate our prisons including for profit prisons. Joe Biden too has got to wake up to this, as Paul points out. And he very well may. But it surely isn't going to happen with a Republican president any time soon. 

So yeah, kind of a disparity and a very good reason for #BLM to work this into their agenda. As Meghan Daum (author, essayist, and journalist.) said last Friday, they need to roll this legalize cannabis, anti-war on drugs message into their overall action. 

I'm amazed this hasn't either been included in the BLM message. Or for that matter eliminated from our country's legal system! We all have GOT to wake up! 

This has been one of my primary issues with Biden. Others I have with him could be easily alleviated (eliminated?) in choosing Susan Rice as VP. But I hear him too, he wants someone he can feel a camaraderie with, unlike what happened with John McCain and his nightmare VP candidate, Sarah Palin. Vet completely, then choose! 

Under current circumstances (with our First Criminal Trump and cohorts), I'm really not too worried about Joe. Just as Obama had "evolved" on gay marriage. And sure, some of that should have to do with the electorate and supporting what they elected you for, but you also have to LEAD as a Leader!. I am hoping Biden and VP, in not being Trump or the GOP, also will evolve on this topic, as well as a few others.

With Democrats, we do have hope. 

With Republicans, we're simply damn well LOST. 

Seattle, for one, is thinking about, instead of continuing to abuse and constantly move their homeless portion of their city, using social services and placements, and other ways to actually do something positive. Instead of just shifting them around the city, pissing off homeowners and businesses...as well as the homeless. 

At times, traumatizing those homeless who are already vulnerable and in dire straits. These people are not living the high life, they are disadvantaged and as we've seen, this can happen to just about anyone. Also, finally enforcing previously failed efforts to get Seattle's high tech massive corporations to pitch in

What do you do with a kid who is acting badly or a mental patient or a prison inmate who is out of control? Yes, sure. You can drug them, or punish them. But frequently lowering the lever of stimuli is helpful. As it is with sexual performance issues, which has proven effective through techniques like "sensate focus", by removing erotic stimuli and then reorienting. You wouldn't however, punish someone to help. You'd...help.

Our government has been broken now for decades.

The Republican party (now Trump Christian Republican party), has been broken for decades. Adding divisive religious issues simply disrupts functionality even more, which should be a private thing, as it used to be. Not the least in part because that backfires so often. 

The Democratic party is not broken (as conservatives like to say, from their own broken platform). Yes, they do seem to be too often ineffective. But that's not broken (like the GOP is...and again now, the Trump GOP). When someone uses underhanded means and you refuse to stoop to that level, sure, you appear ineffective. Because crime pays. It's WHY we HAVE laws and law enforcement because crime is easier and if we don't control that, chaos ensues and not in any good way. 

That's where we are today with Donald Trump. A man now stressed to stay in power before he is arrested, just as Vladimir Putin is doing, to avoid prosecution. But Russia is not America. WE have a good chance. Still. But not for much longer if we don't pay attention and ACT.

America has been in a gigantic TIMEOUT between the abuses of the Trump administration (supported by Russia) and Trump's GOP. Specifically so much by the actions of (really, the INactions of) Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Republican Senate. Trump's mostly Republican Senate. 

At least the NRA is losing its iron grip on our Congress and may soon be dissolved because of the criminal actions of Wayne LaPIerre and his three friends and the rest of their 72 person board. Personally, I would love to see a new organization to replace the now lost NRA to do what they did for so many decades until the corruption of LaPierre. It was once about safety and sanity. Like the American Government. 

We desperately need a return to a sane and rational America. And one of a new compassion.

We may very well be starting to rise out of our decades-long mental and social illness greatly brought on by this extremist, conservative-led GOP. A political party who has become an extremist group of late. Who have allowed their opposition at all costs to the Democratic party, to necessitate the Democratic party themselves to lean back merely in order to balance things out. 

America has woken...

Extreme? Yes. Perhaps we could lighten up a bit? Yes?

To seem to have gone too far left...merely to keep the ship that is America afloat. While the far right-wing has constantly and disingenuously claimed them to be TOO FAR LEFT. When they simply are not. Projecting their extremism onto those who are merely trying to neutralize the extremism coming from the right's side of the aisle. 

It's a mess, to be sure. As one can see simply in describing it. 

It is a national mental illness greatly brought on by the conservative movement into social and mental illness. Win, at all costs, no matter who or how many are harmed. Harm them more and you have more control. It is, madness! It is selfish conceit and greed now personified in Donald Trump in the White House and Mitch McConnell in the US Senate. 

But, are we beginning to see that change? America, to wake up from it? 

We very well may be seeing the end of this massive abuse from this conservative Republican Trump administration. A global pandemic, and Republican's and Trump's failure, could be the best thing that has happened to America for some time. All the truly unnecessary deaths notwithstanding, but that being said, in order to get her back on a sane and productive path once again, it's good to note that something good MAY come out of all this misery and suffering. 

An end to decades-long abuses. And a return to the American dream. The real dream. One that we can all attain and not just a kleptocracy, and one supported in many ways by a Russian Oligarchy which they took their notes from. 

No sane person thinks having the greatest number of citizens in prisons is wise. 

No sane person thinks fixing the economy is done by throwing trillions of dollars to a bloated military-industrial complex. One that now includes corporations. Global multinational corporations, just as we were warned so long ago to not do post-WWII...and then, we did it. Some corporations with bigger annual profits than that of many small countries. Sometimes several countries together. 

Is America finally beginning to bet the mental healthcare it needs? Finally? Even while refusing to supply healthcare, mental healthcare, and social health care to herself?

It may well be. It seems so and one can only hope. For we deserve better. Much, much better. We are American citizens who are being beaten and shot in the streets (being shot with a rubber bullet, that requires many reconstructive surgeries, or NOT, is still being SHOT), and accosting US with poisonous gas, not even allowed to be used anymore in wars. Yes, police count, but they are also doing the abuse too much of the time and yes, they too need consideration. They are also caught in the crossfire far too often. 

We are American citizens and we cannot let them forget that. And they cannot forget that themselves, but we have to hold them accountable. Even Ammon Bundy supports Black Lives Matter! 

Does not politics make for strange bedfellows? Indeed it does! 

But first thing? We need to fix our conservatively infected government, our corrupted Office of the President, and all the damages they have done. Then, deal with Trump's extremist conservative Republican party. Perhaps dissolving them much as may hopefully be done to a very corrupt NRA who has done vast damages to America.

As well as all those foreign AND domestic enemies who are aiding in all this.

#Vote? Yes, to be sure! But also, ACT! 

Now is the time. Do not let up. Do not stop.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Clean For all...Water, Air, Politics, Life

Before COVID-19, we didn't have enough jobs in this country. As with green technologies which we also need, as with PROPER and SAFE air filtration which would create jobs, simply making the world a better and safer place.

Brief aside:

Brief aside: This all brings up a good point about the costs of change, in this case about breathable air. Years ago I started spreading the word about concerns of clean water and how that will one day be the replacement for the gas wars of petroleum corporations around the world. Well? 
We're already seeing major international corporations buying up water rights, bottling it, and selling it back to desperate people where petroleum companies have poisoned regional potable water. That's been going on for years. It's despicable but does that stop them? No. Why? Because they're "performing a public service." As despicable as that may be. We've been seeing this with the Republican party and this Trump administration. Break something, then fix it, and claim higher morals. 
When I first saw reports about Coca-Cola Company Inc. I spread that information and warned back then, years ago, that after the upcoming water wars and corporate battles for potable water, would be...the breathable air wars. Or simply, somehow, charging us all for...air. Clean air. Or at least, those who cannot fight back, who are desperate.
How? I really don't know. But if Trump is any example of US not knowing and yet, still seeing the ridiculous being done? They will find a way.
People laughed at me then, still are. 
But it wasn't funny then. It's not funny now.
For perhaps, just perhaps...we are there, now.

OK, to continue...

It's past the time we install HEPA Filters, or proper filtration systems in public places and on airplanes, and on public transportation. 

I was stunned decades ago when I heard airplanes merely recirculated our air but did not filter it. I thought that was stupid. I had assumed, as many did and still do, that air would be filtered as too many humans together in enclosed spaces, are problematic. I asked an airline pilot at a party once, who told me that it would cost too much and be too much extra weight in every airplane. It wasn't plausible. But was it possible? 

That's the same excuse I'd heard decades before that about planes having a secondary mode of landing for each and every passenger, rather than simply crashing. Which I get. An ejection seat and secondary mode of egress, a parachute, would weigh massive amounts for each plane...but that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to look for solutions. Redundancy is always a good thing. But reality at times, and capitalism most of the time, preclude even considering it.

Redundancy is always a good idea but typically profit sucking and so corporate thinking negates it. Remember, it's always profit over people, whenever you can get away with it, or no one asks any questions, or thinks about it. As the auto industry did to us. The tobacco industry did to us. And so many others. As with the Dupont corporation and the toxic Teflon debacle. 

I have always thought that every home residence should have two things they do not have and people seldom consider. Something that has changed on the power conditioning since the advent of computers and more delicate digital equipment and computers being built into just about everything now. 

Proper air filtration and proper power filtration and protection. We're getting there on both.

But now if we would start to think about public respiratory health and real and proper air filtration, we would also create new jobs, HEPA level filters/systems or their equivalent, are always pricey. But finally, we would begin to see the prices come down. Just like with everything else. Greater use lowers price.

It's something to not just think about but start doing. And as we're seeing, doing now...ASAP.

This is the same as with other areas in our lives. Even politics. Another toxic environment that has no need to be that way. But we have allowed it until it has become a disaster. And it is far past time to clean up that mess too.

Just stop for a moment, with all this lockdown coronavirus going on, we have more time to stop and smell the coffee, or the garbage dump. Consider if there aren't other areas in your ilfe, in our lives, where we need some action, some cleanup, some redundancy, some protection, come control not governed just by profit margins and corporate thinking policies.

HOW can you, how can we...make all our lives better? 

So often, it's really not rocket science, or brain surgery, even if the tools used need to be. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Defund Police or Republicans?

Defund the police? Well, not really. BUT, it' makes the point and that's what was needed. Let me see if I can briefly break this down.

"The Power Of Good Trouble", said Congressman John Lewis.
"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind," said Mahatma Gandhi.

First, another relevant and informed perspective:

Maybe it's the Republican Party who needs defunding?

First off...

Let's say Trump loses the 2020 election. The next four years will be a nightmare of trying to fix all the damage Trump and the GOP have accomplished. This disaster formerly known as the conservative Republican President Donald Trump.

Giving them the delicious opportunity, while Trump whines in his Twitter background, to claim how defective the new President and Democrats are at running things. Running GOP broken things. Donald Trump broken things. For the first time in US history, the world pity's America.  It is easy to destroy, but hard to build and so leaves one open for ridicule and abuse. A Republican mainstay.

As Bernard-Henri Levy said:: "Be wary of Trump."

What did electing Donald Trump president do to America?
For the first time, a conspiracist holds the highest office in the country!
Among so many other travesties and ensuing disasters?

It legitimized a faux successful "businessman", a mentally ill individual.
It legitimized his and others' lies.
It legitimized conspiracies.
It legitimized mental ill-health.

Something set up by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

THAT is not a conspiracy, but a matter of record when Reagan shut down mental institutions. Cut funding for mental health issues. Dumped it all on police leaving so many mentally ill walking the streets, homeless, jailed, and imprisoned.

America has always been a little "buggy". American historian Richard J. Hofstadter labeled it, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Apparently, "Psychological projection is essential to the paranoid style of U.S. politics."

Just look at America today. QAnon? A conspiracy factory of people feeling a lack of control, needing to feel smarter than others. Even if they are not. Just like Donald Trump, their nearly religious leader for many of them.

Not to mention the multitude of political "time bombs" left for the new administration in many and varied ways. Even going beyond the political to literally damaging American families, the middle class and citizens directly, all because that is not the Republicans care or purview. Money is.

All while Dems painfully struggle to make things functional once again. In some cases, struggling against situations that are not even possible to fix. Mainly because as "Defund the Police" indicates, fixes aren't possible and restructuring is necessary. A reorientation to priorities and beliefs is required.

All while the GOP continues to harass and obfuscate, stall and do whatever they can, and did before, as with Obamacare when it began, to challenge and break and refuse to see things work at every turn and opportunity. As long as it is not Republicans running things. Rather than work hand in hand as it should be, and get things done.

Because it's not about the American people with the GOP, or with Donald Trump.

It's about power. About perception of the fragile reality of their reality-altered base.

Now...

Pres. Reagan first defunded social services and our mental health institutions to the point of breaking our nation, dumping that and other services...and REDISTRIBUTING them elsewhere. As with the police, jails, and prisons. Overwhelming them to the point of dysfunction. Damage. And deaths.

Speaking of Pres. Reagan...this: The Reagan Foundation has asked the Trump campaign to completely distance themselves from Ronald Reagan.

I know, right? Pretty much says it all.

To be fair, many of our mental institutions were already broken in the 60s, 70s and 80s. But that was reason to revamp, revision and rebuild. Instead, Reagan gave up and did more damage than anyone else back then.

In typical conservative Republican style austerity thinking, what Reagan did brought us to here, today in having not breaking further, but entirely eliminating some resources, rather than rebuilding them, rebuilding our mental health services and other too many other social services.

All because these "social services" are what? Socialist? Give me a break. That's just sheer ignorance, misunderstanding the meaning of...words. Words used to conflate, distract, obfuscate and reorient for political purposes. And Greed. A central conservative Republican tenet. They ARE the party of business, and more so, big business.

Yes, police need all the money they have and more.

But also... they need their methodologies completely reworked. Many of their current, forced services need to be broken down, replaced, redistributed to those departments in government who need to control them. So they can actually be functional, and useful to American citizens.

What this all means IS a breaking down and rebuilding, reorienting, redistributing in order to be functional, to actually do the jobs they are mandated to do. To bring back services to those who can do functionally them. With all the new information from these past decades, as we really have learned so very much.

Not simply to reopen those services, to let ignorant lawmakers decide how they should function. But to turn power over to those who actually know what they are doing. As with healthcare where insurance companies, legislators have so long tried to manage them. To dictate a doctor's intimate knowledge of a client and their needed medical services. When only the doctor can do that, along with the client, whom we used to designate as "patient".

But no, God no, that would cost money! Yes, service, functional, productive high quality services to save money in the long run, does cost money...now! We have to stop this short sighted, short term thinking so apparent in Republican efforts.

We have learned much these past decades about things the average American citizen, simply has not. And so many lawmakers are too average in their minds and efforts, beliefs and ideologies. Yes, even those from Harvard. Because too many, have taken a good education, and turned it against America. Ted Cruz comes to mind.

People are judging things now on very old information they have, information that has seeped into their minds from the mainstream. The grapevine. Or information they got from very ignorant or divisive, if not partisan articles from their political bubble, in the media or on the internet leading those laypeople to think they actually know something. When surely they do not.

With all the access to information we have today, what we see are people with a vast amount of information, and a very shallow degree of knowledge. Yes, you can talk to a completely stranger, or a person living on the street and they may know about a lot of things. But drill deeper and you find they know very little about each subject, or how it connects to other subjects.

Brief aside: some of those street people if you talk to them, are actually more aware and knowledgeable than many of our lawmakers. To be sure there are many who are uneducated, mentally disabled, if not just stupid. But believe it or not, you can find that in the US Congress today, too. Just listen to them talk on TV sometime. Or listen to "Pres." Donald Trump. Or listen to his niece and clinical psychologist, Mary Trump, or read her book about was a stupid inept disaster her uncle Donald Trump is!

Seriously, Donald Trump has no place in the White House. I have argued before, he never even should have been invited to the White House, let alone given our highest office in America. I mean, come on! Were voters high or something?

America's' biggest problem? Aside from Trump and his political party?

A lack of funding for necessary programs and a lack of understanding them. We need an end to Democrats trying to fix a system broken so much so by Republicans, trying to fix what isn't broken, but simply incorrect, or unnecessary. Or non-existent.

Mostly Republican legislators seem to have no idea what America really needs. It is why they stall actually doing anything so often.

We need to stop trying to fix what cannot be fixed. To rebuild what we truly need. Not by eliminating it but by wisely and effectively rebuilding an infrastructure to PROTECT and SERVE all. Not just some, American citizens. Not just the few rich and powerful.

We just cannot seem to fix our problems. Or maybe we just don't want to? Because we keep trying to fix what was purposely broken and long ago purposefully set on a destructive path. We are now watching ourselves self-destruct. And why? There is no good reason for it.

We need to see where the is the case, and then...dismantle it. And build it again as if for the first time.

But there is more to all this...how? Protest is one. Voting is another. But voting hasn't been working so well for America of late. So? Then what? Well? We're seeing it all around us today. the #MeToo movement kind of started the momentum. Then "BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) kicked things for good reason, into high gear. That began a world wide action as this kind of abuse was happening world wide.

The authoritarian pandemic has encircled the globe. Frighteningly, voters around the world have elected strongmen, authoritarians. But some countries pushed back. France for one. The UK got a smarter Donald Trump clone in Boris Johnson.

Russia in the meantime is having a great time abusing our our media and government. The UK government. The EU government. Working toward the destruction of western democracies. China is fighting for it's own form of global economic domination. Iran, along with Russia and China continue to attack our elections.

But maybe now, just perhaps, we've finally seeing the worm turn. Something, is happening. And like a cornered wounded animal. the authoritarians are fighting back, lashing out, knowing perhaps, that they are on the way out. And good riddance to them. They have hurt us ENOUGH!

But, it is not in our American nature to stand idly by and be beaten while we peacefully protest. It is against our sensibilities to stand and be beaten. Not without reacting to show our displeasure, our anger at injustice, to automatically defend ourselves.

Yet, we need to evoke "The Power of Good Trouble", as the sadly so recently late Congressman John Lewis had said.

Still, it is not in our American nature to stand idly by like Blacks in the South in the 1950s and 60s knowing what would happen if there were reactions other than peace to their abuse in protesting abuse.

It is not in our American nature to stand idly by like emancipation protesters in India who walked with Gandhi, while being beaten and shot, murdered in our own streets. Streets that we have paid for. Beaten and killed by our own police, who we have paid for. Knowing that if we struck back, entire protests would be slaughtered as they would have been and at least once were, by the British army. By "their" government. Which was never really "their" government.

Yet, time and again peaceful protests around the world have won. But through much pain and death. And are Americans willing and able for that? Going to war, dying with a weapon in your hand, having the opportunity to fight back is one thing. To stand idly by as you are beat into the ground, to survive with permanent damage or be murdered on the spot in order to horrify the country and the world at large, is quite another thing entirely.

I get that. We have a problem with authority. And yet, the conservative side of America who has always had a problem with authority suddenly under this Trump administration, seems strangely quiet about all that. Now they are angry at those rebuking authority. Once paranoid and angered by the potential of the government's "jack booted thugs" coming for them, now those are their guys?

Are we winning now? These protests? As this illiberal, authoritarian criminal president turns all against us and claims votes from our pain and righteous protesting?

ARE we winning? Or is this a stalemate? How can we break through the wall to overwhelm the other side? Sometimes a stalemate is a win. Sometimes it is a breathing moment, where you can turn the tide and in the end, win the day.

Are we winning the day? Surely, the 2020 election results will prove that one way or another.

The enemy now is our own delusional backward priorities as so well exemplified in too many of our laws. In the bigoted and ignorant attitudes of far too many American citizens. In our overtaken government, surely in these past four years. Overtaken by despicably illiberal Republican abuse for forty years now. And  surely now by this conservative mental defect of a Republican president, this Donald Trump administration.

FIGHT BACK, does not mean to fight back any more than "defund the police" actually means to defund the police. In that vein, we also need to defund this broken zombie, Republican party. A party that disdains the average American citizen, but is in a never ending honeymoon with the wealthy and powerful, with corporations, big business, industry, and the military industrial complex. The corporate/ military/ industrial complex.

Authoritarians like Trump grin as they use ever-bigger violence against protesters violence. After all, they have the entire government on their side and too many laws. Along with far too much power in the presidency. Power that even Republicans have complained about for years now that has gotten only worse.

As the world watches our pain and self-destruction in abject horror.

We all need to wake up.

Including those violent protesting who think they have already woken up but have fallen into a pattern of taking one step forward and being pushed three steps back.

We need to re-evoke "The Power of Good Trouble". And deal with it until we succeed. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Psychology of Avoiding Hate

Sen. Corey Booker said he understands that "people want an enemy." Donald Trump cannot survive without one and will create one whenever, and wherever none exists for him. But the psychology of hate points out to us, we're just hurting ourselves. And in this case, our country. America has a lot of healing to do.

I do not hate Donald Trump, or Republicans, or conservatives, or anyone, or anybody like Trump who sets themselves us to be an enemy. WHICH HE DOES. I never have. Not since childhood when my grandmother reacted negatively against my saying I hated someone, who was obviously a bad person.

It's what I appreciate so much about Buddhism. And about Aikido... where there are no enemies, only partners, not even opponents. All situations are merely learning and teaching situations.

Harmony, blending. Oneness. And America needs that more than ever. Here, and now.


It's why many years ago, perhaps the last time I had a street fight, when at one final point I threw the guy down. Hard. Even then I was growing beyond my Karate training, searching for something like Aikido, which I did not find until many years later. After military service, and in my first year of college.

As Aikido says, one "throws the world" at someone if they do not cease. Which is not an invocation, but a comment on an action after the fact. Meaning, it is not advocating harm, but commenting on, a description of... what happens.

Yet when my temporary training partner, whom I did not know, who had attacked me on the streetside, saw that he was possibly going to die as he went down there on the concrete sidewalk, in a split-second decision, I grabbed him and stopped his head from mortally slamming onto what was almost his plane of death.

He was stunned. As I helped him upright he asked me, "Why did you do that?" "Because," I told him, "this wasn't my idea. I never wished you harm, never wanted to hurt you. Or anyone. I certainly didn't want to kill you."

And as such, I am indeed unsupportive of Donald Trump's ignominy, his devisiveness, his vanity, stupidity, greed, and vapid self-interest. Not because I hate him, nor does that make me hate his ideals, his people, his supporters. Because I've seen what he has done to this country, purposefully dividing us to gain power for himself. I'm disgusted, and confused as to why his supporters cannot see that in him. It's kind of...bizarre.

Donald Trump has subverted all our GOP for his own ends, for it is all our GOP, even if you are not a REpublican. It's is an American political party, not an anti America one. At least it wasn't, until now. Until it because, forced into being, a Donald Trump Party, a populist party.

It is not a party anymore of Republicans, or for all Americans. Or even that subgroup any longer. Parties and people should have differences, but they need to work together for solutions. As was intended. For the common goals For the good of the whole.

While Donald Trump is doing the opposite. Just as the GOP has been striving to do now for some time before him. But Trump has ruled it far beyond the pale, now.

Now it is Win, at all costs! "Our" beliefs or none!

And that is not how America was ever meant to be. We are meant to work together, separately, not separately, apart. That, is a broken government and that, is what we have today. And it was purposely done by conservatives. Note extremist anti tax nut Grover Norquist's quote of his wishing to shrink the American government small enough to "drown it in a bathtub." More clearly:

Lobbyist Grover Norquist... "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." - Wikipedia

How is that a useful thing?

Looking from the other side, my opposition (yes, opposition, because they have designed this to have no blending, no working together), is because I see fundamental flaws in conservatism as practiced today in America. Because I can see quite clearly that Donald Trump has been incapable of being president.

As his niece Mary Trump has said in her book, Trump's character is too flawed for the presidency of THIS country. Maybe a banana republic has he has been trying to turn America into. A petty dictatorship, with a vain and petty despot as its destructive illiberal leader.

A country so diverse such as ours, albeit still not as cohesive as it should be. And now during the Trump administration, purposefully divided against ourselves.

People seem no longer to understand the difference between American Citizens and "the Other". Those so typically a looked down upon as minority, economically disadvantaged, or anyone of a different race or religion...or opinion, than theirs.

They can not seem to understand religion, as it long has been in America, should be and is a personal thing. One that belongs in their heart, not forced onto others. Not forced into the forefront of our government, or all through our government and governmental leadership.

A concern even our Founding Fathers were worried about.

To be sure, practice your beliefs, share your beliefs to those interested. Just stop forcing them onto others. Stop abusing others, no matter who you are, or who they are.

We are all Americans here. In most cases, even those not legally American citizens as they have that desire to be one. And that means something!

As the saying goes be careful. We don't know who we may abuse on our way up, as later on, on their way up, they may be watching US  on our way down. So be kind, for your own sake, if not simply for the greater good. We never know what the future may hold.

Especially if you are in OUR government or in our police forces. Ask yourself in that consideration, why police "Forces" and not "Peace Officers" as it should be and not disingenuously.

We need to reconsider our overall mindset on so very many things. We need to adjust our priorities which have for so long been warped by money, greed, corporations and profiteering.

We have gotten off the path and do not even know what path we are on anymore.

Republicans have for too long said they were concerned with the long term, yet seem only to actually worry about the short term, and short term profits.

If you are a part of our government, or are voting for our future in an election, then try, just TRY, to not consider only yourself first and foremost. "America First", as it is proposed...is a lie. An destructive abrogation of reality.

America is not about greed or selfishness. It's about all of US. Together. Not divided. And ANYONE trying to divide us, should be seen as suspect.

Just as Donald Trump is, and has been.

E Pluribus Unum: "Out of many, one." The original and real motto of the United States of America.

"In God We Trust", has done little more than to divide us since so foolishly adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1956 during our fervid and fevered anti-communist phase. A conservative knee jerk reaction to fear and conservatives forces are truly only useful in the short term, in an emergency. To pull back, slow down, lock up, and then get back to normal as soon as possible.

Rather than what we're seeing in making it a national mainstay and a new paty for America. One that will see America destroyed.

If you do really want America to be great, this is how we have to do it. Together. Not divided.

But even in the nonsense and destructiveness of today's authoritarian orientation, do I hate these people for the dark cloud they have forced upon us?

Still? No.

Because to do so would be to play into their hands,  and the hands of our enemies. And it will extend their stay in the forefront of our minds nad in the power we have acceded to them.

And that has got to stop. And it will. It inevitably will. It's just a matter of time. Of how much time we wish to accede to them.

My hope is that it will be short lived. And not an abomination such as we are seeing now in Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Because we are America. And we should not wish to become Russia. Especially when what most Russians want is not to be Russia, but an "America". But not American. A FREE Russia. Just as we need to be a FREE America.

And stop this nonsense.

Hate no one. Just strive for good. Good for US all.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Education and Sorrow

When I graduated high school, I swore off school. But not education. I continued on my own, as I'd always been a voracious reader. I was "grounded" to my room a lot as a kid and books saved me. Locked in my room, I was out in the universe having adventures, or learning occult knowledge. Things unknown to my contemporaries and my family.

My K-12 years were a misery, getting easier toward the end in high school, even though I worked nights since tenth grade. My ADD certainly made my first nine years of school difficult. Though, in my own way, at my own pace, I could excel. That seldom was allowed to happen. Not unusual for any child, to be sure.

But that had little to do with how our national cookie-cutter, 19th century industrial age school system worked. One that we mostly still have today.

"Assembly line them out to get factory jobs!" Time and resources and not enough teachers meant you do it how you are asked, or you walk. More accurately? You're tossed out. I'm sure ethnic minorities had it worse. I was lucky. I was white, lower middle class. But the lower your economic class was, the worse you had it. Ethnic distinctions or not.

I never knew there was a method. Not until I took "Study Skills" in college. Then things got a bit easier. I saw it listed and thought what a great idea! Why did n't they teach us this in K-12? Apparently, you're just supposed to learn it through osmosis. Well? Some of us didn't. Couldn't.

After the Air Force at twenty-five, I floundered for a while. Until I sunk into being nothing. Though I started to acquire a greater love of life. Shrooms, weed, and LSD aided that sojourn.

One day my older brother talked to me in his backyard, where I was living for a year in his outbuilding, in a loft I had refurbished. I was a minimalist then, but it was a freeing, enjoyable experience. Knowing all the while that I was not living to my potential and had effectively lost all I had gained while in the Service. At least materially. Well, I lost a marriage too. But that was on me, in marrying too young.

My brother convinced me to use my VA benefits. And so I started college. For the fourth time. Though this time being my only real effort toward a degree.

“Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth, the Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.” Lord Byron

But before I made my decision to start college and get an actual degree of some kind, I decided to take two weeks to ruminate and consider my situation, and my future.

I felt life had been somewhat painful up to that point. Though, I was making the best of it. At least, emotionally. Which was overshadowing my existence at the time. I had trouble finding a job after years in the military where I had great respect and responsibility. People's lives actually depended on me.

Now? No one seemed to want to trust me at all. Other than a few shady jobs I'd had. More than one of which had taken great advantage of me.

Over those two weeks, I considered what a degree, what higher education would offer me. More knowledge? Sure. A sharper mind. Hopefully. A greater understanding of both the world around me and the universe? To be sure.

I was quite aware of how, with greater knowledge, comes greater pain. I was very focused on that for that first week or so, not much interested in renewing my experience of being abused by a school system once again. But there was something I did not know yet about the difference between college and K-12.

During that second week, however, I started to consider how, with greater knowledge, also comes a greater appreciation of things. A better understanding of art, cinema, science, people, and living in general. There was an upside to it.

In the end, I decided I would give education one last try. After all, if I could survive the nonsense the military put me through, I could certainly deal with school of my peers. Though I would be older now, and returning to school after time away. I would have to get back to where I had been nine years ago when I graduated at seventeen. And that was a little unnerving.

Still, there would surely be wine, women, and song. This was not K-12, but an assemblage of adults. Or near adults anyway.

Once I got into college, took the study skills class along with my other first-quarter classes that first year. I settled in. People, other students this time, were different. People were there because... for a change, they actually wanted to be there. They paid to be there. Not like before where most of us wanted to be elsewhere and were working out issues about authority and our parents. Though, to bs sure some still were. But my K-12 years? Or parents did that to us. The government did that to us.

As one prof put it, he loved teaching college because the kids actually wanted to be there. They had made a choice. Most of them, A choice to be there. They wanted to learn.

And that was what I saw in my fellow classmates. It was addictive and invigorating. A bit shocking at first. Others in my classes would join in. It wasn't just the smart girl, speaking up, or the wise-ass clever guy joining in, all as the rest of us just sat there ignorant or annoyed. Or worse, bored.

People joined in the discussions. The learning invoked great attitudes and we all wanted to be there. I too wanted to be there. It was kind of amazing and rewarding, and after a quarter or two of classes, I was fully invested. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn more. But also, the more I learned, the less I knew I knew of the ever-expanding awareness of the vastness of all knowledge. 

This was better than partying all the time or doing drugs. It was also giving me something back for my efforts. Something that would remain with me for the rest of my life.

However, there was indeed a downside. 

Deep into the last part of the Fall quarter in my final year, I wandered into the Career Center at Western Washington University. I thought, maybe they could offer me some help, as soon, I would graduate. And...then what?

I sat with a counselor and explained my situation. She looked at me shocked and said, "You're late." I asked what she meant. I had months until I graduated. I believe, about three left. "See these other students in here?" She said. I looked around. A few students were studiously reading various things and filling out forms. "Yes?" What she said next disturbed and shocked me.

"They've been coming here for months, some for a year already. You should have been here sooner."

And sure enough, she was right. I never did find a job for after graduation. I graduated and moved back home, to Tacoma. And... ended up at the same job I had when I started college, and at the same hourly rate. I was crushed. Happy to have a job. But despondent. 

It was a letdown to be sure. Why didn't ANYONE tell me to prepare for leaving college? Eventually, I transferred up to Seattle to another store with the same company, MTS Incorporated. Tower Records. It was a fun place to work, not much money, and not the potential for advancement.

IF you weren't interested in getting your own store to manage. Which I wasn't. Reason there being, I'd been in retail sales since tenth grade at the Drive-In Theater where I worked nights all through high school. I'd started there cleaning the field the night after shows played. It was back-breaking work for a ninth-grader.

Someone once told me that to make money in life, you can't be the employee who physically touches any of the money made. You have to get away from that. Which surely managing the store would do. But I wanted more, yet.

I tried to get a job in Seattle as a starting psychologist and got hit with the hard reality that I was already getting paid more where I was. I was stunned. It wasn't much more but after money, time, blood, sweat, and tears to get a university degree, I'd make the same money? 

I had found before graduating at the career center at WWU that many students were already volunteering for unpaid jobs. Then later after graduation, many got hired. I couldn't afford to do that any longer now that I was working for a living. I'd blown that opportunity.

When I found that out while still in college, I asked a friend and fellow psych student about that and she said, oh yeah, sure. I've been volunteering with special needs kids for a while now. Years later she was a counselor at a K-12 school. 

And so, I found myself stuck in my job for a while longer.

Eventually, I was able to find my first computer job which began my life in IT work. Which eventually paid very well as I worked my way up. I shocked coworkers on my IT team, all of who had computer science degrees. While I had a degree in psychology. 

Regarding that. You'd be surprised how many skills are similar between understanding people as a psychologist and debugging computers, systems, networks, and programs. I did quite well at it.

But I've gotten off track here.

My original point remains. With greater knowledge comes greater awareness...and greater responsibility.

The same is true in the opposite direction for those who remain uneducated and bluster their way through, wanting to be treated as if they deserve the respect some of us have put so much time and effort into achieving. 

Then they start to talk authoritatively about sophisticated issues. Like medicine, or sociological issues. Or politics. Some to be sure are self-educated and deserve our respect. But they are the few.

Certainly, few, who can do it properly. Which is why higher education and structured learning was developed in the first place. Without it, it's too easier to miss entire areas of relevancy.

Too many think they can and have achieved that proper coverage of knowledge on their own, and surely, as most of us have seen...that is simply not the case. And we all have to suffer them and their ignorance as wisdom. There's one at least on every job in every career who thinks they know more than they do. It is a costly thing for them to be employed, until they are found out, and removed. 

In ending, I'll just say this.

More education is almost always better than less. To assume the opposite is dangerous... and abusive. Abusive to the country, to our fellow citizens and to ourselves, our family, friends, and our loved ones.

Whenever you are faced with a problem, an issue, a concern? Take the time to learn more about it. But also and just as importantly, about the surrounding issues. Even some that seem completely unrelated. Because too often, they are related in unseen, and unforeseen ways. 

Because everything is connected and should be seen that way.

Otherwise one day you find yourself poor in so many ways. You find an unnecessary global pandemic staring you down as you die and you wonder... "How did this happen?"

How? It is because with great knowledge comes greater responsibility and greater sorrow. And if you allow it, greater joy too.

But if you don't handle it properly, you will suffer. And others will suffer. We, will suffer. And we do not appreciate it. Especially if WE did do the work.
  
Just as we're all seeing happen today. All around us. All the internet armchair quarterbacks. Political pundits, not worth their weight in...swamp mud. 

Yet, it does not have to be like this. We CAN handle things right. To see our responsibilities. To act to address them properly. To find our job in life that will give you the best life. 

It doesn't have to be this way. We can do better. It just takes effort. It just doesn't have to be like this. 

It really doesn't. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Being a Good Republican

For those frightened of progression, of becoming more than we are or have been, who think America can not be more or better, or who can understand the concept behind a "one-world government"... pathetic doesn't even begin to exemplify that orientation.

UPDATE, 7/20/20 - Portland attacked by Pres. Donald Trump.

A conservative brought this up recently, which is why I'm saying this.

Pres. Washington said: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world." FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1796 - stated at a time in history when the world at large was much, much smaller.

We are the United States of America in a "Great Experiment".


The world is getting closer and closer, smaller and smaller, as we all advance into the future. No matter how much conservatives and Republicans fearfully hold us back from our inevitable destinies. Earth will expand beyond this planet. Then what?

Washington could never have seen how small the world would get from his vantage point in the 18th century. As we look to move beyond such separated nations and beyond this planet. Making our world ever smaller and ever larger at the same time.

And so we have to reorient now before it's too late as moving people off-planet one day will magnify our differences, our isolationism, and our foolishness.


So how is it that our country in this great experiment is not a model for moving forward into a kind of global leadership, which Trump has moved us away from. Trump has diminished us, again, and again, and again.

If not us, who? Of moving toward a kind of global citizenship? It's all going to happen anyway. So should we prefer China or Russia as the model for this planet? Or America? We already were situated for that leadership. Until Donald Trump's massively failed leadership. Failed in so very many ways. Our greatest domestic danger in our leadership in US history.

Choose, or avoid, and by doing so, avoiding, we choose anyway. We've screwed this up before. In 2016, as those who objected and so didn't vote for the other party, cleared the path and allowed Donald Trump to become America's worst POTUS in US History.

Why are some fighting this evolution? And this transition into what we are inevitably going to transition into. Or instead, destroy ourselves avoiding it? This kind of United States of Earth?

We are proving it works. Here, in America. As messy as it can get at times and as destructive as it can be under an ignorant, self-centered, greedy little man like Donald Trump? A man who exacerbates our differences for his own purposes and gain rather than bringing us all together under our commonalities and citizenry? Where instead he divides us against one another. With not America in mind, but his own power and profit.

FEAR is not what one bases a political party on for the people.

It is what you base a political party on for elites, for authoritarians, for those who wish to "Lord" it over their "lesser beings", their perceived lesser citizens. Their minions, the wallets they wish to ravage.

There is your fear to wallow in and yet, those people continue to support this nonsense.

It's really rather amazing. Really.

But then victims in a domestic violence home fully understand this mindset of the majority of Republicans. The not wealthy ones. As would the brutalized spouse or children who counter-intuitively will cling to their abuser.

Just keep doing what you're doing. Be afraid of every noise and shadow. Fight for your rights you believe you are losing all the time, and yet...aren't. And ignore your rights that you ARE losing, and cannot even see them slipping so rapidly away as you turn your world over to authoritarians and bigots, racists, and short-sighted miscreants.

So, don't even bother to notice or fight for all the rights we are actually losing.

Because that's how one is a good Republican. And a good, New Soviet, Fascist Trump American.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July! Respect ALL Americans, and...

Happy Fourth of July! We are living interesting, troubling times. But we can make it better and we will make it better. Even against these dark forces belaid against us. Just as we've always done. Just s we always will do. Remember what the fourth really means and what we went through to get here. Especially what our Founders went through to give us not a perfect country, but one where we can achieve always, greater and better things. And remember, many have actually died in order for that to be true.

If you enjoy the respect of those from other countries just because we are American...

Respect those who have achieved more in life than you have. They have earned your respect.

Respect those who are still on that path to get to where you are, or those above you, because you were once there yourself.

Respect those you believe or judge will never achieve what you have, or that of those above you, because they may one day, and you cannot know any different, achieve that, or more. Until then, until they die, you are only assuming. And yes, you may be right. But so what? Thinking that way is a petty view of life and you add to the destruction you look down on every day of your life.

Respect those who are not American, because the luck of the draw found us born in a country such as America. What if you hadn't been?

Respect those who are newly American because they have chosen to come here, because they saw America as a great place to be a part of, and they persevered to become an American.

Respect those who are newly residing in America, even if illegally, because you have not lived their life.

Respect those who are criminal, who have made bad choices, who even continue to make bad choices, because to not respect them, furthers their condition, adds on to it, and does nothing to turn them around.

Respect All Americans, regardless. The next time you talk to another American, remember all these things and treat them with the respect an American deserves.

Respect All Human Beings. Because you are one too and to disrespect them, disrespects yourself, and all human beings.

Respect ALL Americans.

Respect ALL Human Beings.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!