Monday, August 20, 2018

Have We Lost Sight of the Spirit Of Law and Therefore, Ourselves?

Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election by convincing people he and HE alone could "Make America Great Again". Ridiculous. We haven't heard such a patently ludicrous thing since Pres. George W. Bush said we needed to invade Iraq and why, and not as such a narcissistic thing has  been said by an American president, perhaps ever.

By the way, remind me of when exactly we were so great, as great as some curious conservatives wish to believe we have been? To be sure, to outsiders wanting in, to those going up against America, we do seem great and we are the world's biggest economy and only and remaining superpower.

However, from within it all seems quite different.

Different again depending on if you are that 1% elite, wealthy, powerful, or if you are of the 99% trying to live beneath the weight of them above, those many below, suffering. All while the rich get more tax breaks for apparently magical reasons, again and again. Why, many ask? Why not, ask the many fewer, the even more powerful?

What is the fundamental difference between those two groups and why some ask, can't they just get along? In a country where there is so very much, why can't there be enough for everyone? How can there be when one group of a few wants so much leaving so little for the many?

After all, when one has more money then they could ever need to spend in a lifetime to live comfortably, Not to mention at all. Why then do they continue always too want, to need, ever more?  Especially when so many can barely make it through the day, or year. And while so very many do not, and have not.

I was at the grocery store recently and saw something I think is endemic and part of the problem today in American politics, and even culture. A problem with for the most part the right wing, conservatives and the Republican party overall.

A couple in the story were in the check out line with a full grocery cart. The store was quite busy. at the time They, he really, was in one line with his wife in the line right next to him for another checker. The counters were such that the running track holding groceries moving toward the cashier checker were opposed to one another with no barrier between the check out stands.

It was obvious what the couple were doing. Gaming the system. They were playing one line against the other and whichever of them in line got to the sliding belt first, was where the guy with the cart would hasten to go.

I was tempted myself in another line next to (both of) theirs. But I was curious how this would play out. Another guy then came up behind the wife and it was was obvious he was confused as she had no groceries.

I wanted to walk over and ask if they realized what a kind of unfair, it not a rather slimy thing it was that they were doing. Now you may have done this kind of thing too and as they probably felt, it was being very clever in saving (what turned out in the end to be maybe a whole entire minute, sixty seconds in all) in waiting time.

This is not unlike that driver on the freeway, jumping from lane back to lane then back again over and over and in the end you frequently find you have passed them by staying in your own lane. Of course as in gambling theory, that works out for them just enough that they remain addicted to the behavior. And yet research proves out, it's typically best to pick a lane in stay with it.

At one point the new shopper in line started to move forward, thinking he was next up as the woman in front of him after all, had no groceries. Perhaps, she just had a question? She was now at the end of the grocery track. With, of course, nothing to put on it.

It was about right then that the guy with the cart pushed pushed it over in front of the other new guy to join his wife. That was not obvious however until he cut off the guy who thought he was the next one with groceries. And that they were also gaming not on the system but the guy who was in line thinking he was next up. He said nothing, but glared at them with a reasonable amount of disdain. .

It's a thing in Seattle with our large ferry system that this kind of behavior has been made illegal. From past and unhappy experiences. If you were driving a car waiting in life at the ferry and pulled this kind of cutting over, it could not only get you ticketed, but possibly killed by another and irate driver. It is after all, rather unfair. Which is why the state has made it a ticketing offense. Cutting line, CAN get you killed.

From a 2010 article in the Kitsap Sun newspaper:
Ferry line-cutters will join high-occupancy vehicle lane cheaters in the state Department of Transportation’s HERO program. It encourages people to report violators’ license plate numbers by calling (877) 764-HERO.
After the first call, the cutter (or at least the registered owner of the car doing the cutting) will be mailed an educational brochure from Washington State Ferries. The second call brings a warning letter from the Washington State Patrol. The third elicits a $124 ticket.

My point of course in bringing this up is this. I wanted badly to walk over and ask the couple at the grocery store if they were politically conservative and mostly likely, Republican.

Because this is what I see with that party so very much. That mentality in their realm of if not cutting in on influence, at times even of offense. That belief that they are so much cleverer than others. Of making progress even at the expense of others.

This, is a smart person, as they see it. While others just see them as assholes.

Which are they? It really depends upon your orientation. And level lf laziness, greed and lack of compassion for others.

But, there is much more to this. To all of this, really.

We have long heard the lament of the conservative about the young, about the "Me" generation, about the selfish desires of the irresponsible young. It began actually at the dawn of time (see ancient graffiti even from Rome 2000 years ago, or even thousands of years before that). More recently the most rampant and newsworthy example may have begun with the Hippies of the 1960s. But the beatniks in the Beat Generation before them really started it for them. Something that seemed to evolve out of the duration but mostly the end of the Second World War.

It was the realization by an entire generation that we can live in America as we like. It was a natural outgrowth of the American ideal of individuality. Autonomy. Even, superiority. Of every man (or woman, a more recent concept it would seem) being king (or Queen?) of one's own castle. Of one's owned property, a somewhat new invention in the history of humanity, being of one's domain and not that of the ruling family. It it noticeable as an orientation many share on the Gadsden Flag wherein a coiled rattlesnake is situated above the words "Don't Tread On Me".

An orientation first put into worlds and came onto the scene at the dawn of this country:

The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia, and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto "Don't Tread on Me." This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag's symbolism. The flag is named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden (1724–1805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution. It was used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag, along with the Moultrie flag.- Wikipedia

See, it is in our nature as Americans.

The problem?

The problem comes up when the ignorant try to take an idea and run with it. It has lead to some bad things. Like the election of one Donald Trump as president. America's most likely top candidate for our biggest electoral mistake and worst president in US history.

We have bastardized that well defined sense of freedom and independence and brought forward some of the worst of those sensibilities. Like the sense of entitlement that comes with the "Me" orientation, the "me first" orientation, the "America First" orientation.

Why is it bad? Because as we've seen it leads to abusing others out of un unwieldy desire for oneself. From that comes wanting more until you have rationalized yourself into outright abuse of others standing in your way to wealth and success. All in the name of what?

"Me!" Freedom! Even, Patriotism!

Combine that with American capitalism and politics, and the post industrial age and what have we come up with? Profit engines, Profit margins. Quantifications of product and profit over the concerns of others.

Stockholders. Corporations. Business first. America first. The two together, globe trotted where business went hand in hand with government, in one of those thinking the other to be the reason for successes until finally one day each thought they were the reasons for the other's successes.

A polarizing consideration to say the least. Yet they continue to this day to work hand in hand. And so we have the warnings of the those famous and powerful ones who do have a sense of history and compassion for the American people. Some of them are even of the rich. They warn us to, "Beware the military / industrial complex". And, "Beware the corporate / industrial complex."

What they were saying is we need as citizens to protect ourselves against these vast fundamental interests so that they do not overtake the reason for America existing.

The Citizens. The possibilities of better lives. But not just for the few.

And yet, that is where we are at today. The GOP has lost control of all this in treading a dangerous path for decades now. The Democrats never really had control of it but they guided it much better. They try repeatedly and fail with some successes and wonder why.

All while Republicans have pushed and pushed some of the most ridiculous agendas, stunning even themselves of what they have worked toward, until now they too have lost control of their own pursuits.

Some say Donald Trump is merely a symptom. But he is an arm of that paradigm, set up by those forces, put in power by confusion, ignorance, greed and foreign powers. He saw his opportunity, and took it. A way to increase his wealth and power, and to protect himself. In a way not that different from what Vladimir Putin is doing in Russia.

This is not complex, until you delve into it. It is so obvious from the outside no one believes it. And yet, it is here.

It goes also back to the concept of the legal contract.

What was once a replacement of the handshake to seal a deal, especially with those you have and will never meet, the items of protection naturally included in a contract was originally there to protect both parties involved. But as the contract has been around nearly since the written word began its own purchase on humanity, time has served it up an immense learning ground until today it has become, weaponized.

Just as saggy drooping pants back in the 90s came from prison culture as it seeped out onto the city streets and then into fashion, so too the contract's format and nuances has found its way into our every day culture. We have found illiberal use in those protections so that once we have been protected by the contract, we have gone all the way further to reap whatever benefit we could. Even to leaving the spirit of the contract, to rape the economic interests of another for that of one's own benefit.

From that it was only a small leap, a shuffle sideways really, to where we are today. It has infected our culture, our work place, our entertainment, our interpersonal lives. Like a disease no one has ever noticed, it has infected an entire culture and has worked its way worldwide.

What have we lost?

Decency. Manners. Pleasantries without a forked tongue hiding behind them.

We no longer look at the whole situation when a contract is in place. We follow it to the letter of the law and the contract. Even when we know it is wrong, IF we can reap a benefit, a reward, a profit. And unforeseen, all the better. Even if it destroys the other person. Because why? Because THEY should have known better, we rationalize to ourselves. Because after all, IT'S IN THE CONTRACT.

This has disaffected us even in our police work, and of course our legal and judicial system, also our politicians so very badly, as well as many of our social structures. It has made us into not human beings, but machines of profit. And not always of monetary profit. We don't get interest on a loan if we can avoid it, we get a "vig", or "vigorish". The payment for the loan of the money.

When a better calls a bookie and places a bet, until that bet pays off or fails to and the money is paid, it is a loan between the time the bet is made to the time the payoff is made, or the vig becomes due. Historically a vig is much more than a traditional loan payback percentage, because when you cannot get a loan from a reputable lender, you go to someone not so reputable.

Since they aren't reputable they are most likely illegal and so the reassurance on the loan can go to illegal extremes. A "beat down", breaking legs, or even murder if the loan is big enough and payback is obvious not to happen. After all, one has to make an example so others won't try the same thing.

The point in all this is we have gotten way off track from being decent human beings to one another. Of course we need protection. But we have let that shade our minds merely because of greed. To get, or take, all we can.

Why? Because it has been so hard to get anywhere?

Why? Because the powers that be, those with wealth and/or power at the top have made it so. Eventually that gives us a mindset where it is okay to harm others, in order to get ahead. We don't seem to look at why things are that way, or who did it. To us. In fact we see many supporting through elections, voting again and again for those very same people who are the most abusive in a modern form of societal self flagellation. "It is OUR fault you did this to us, so beat us and please do it to us again!" Really?

"Please sir, may I have another?"

It makes no sense. But it comes out of ignorance. Out of struggling to make ends meet. And all the distractions thrown at us by those in power. Their tools? Wage control. Consumerism. Planned obsolescence. Marketing. Political spin and lies. Governmental or political tools to abuse us such as Gerrymandering, voter suppression.

Other legal abuses like keeping cannabis illegal. Refusing to have "free" healthcare. The vast sums made off of cannabis remaining illegal alone are astounding and go into so very many different businesses and government departments. A huge waste of money that could be doing real good elsewhere.

To end, we have been put into a mindset by others and ourselves, to diminish ourselves as people and as a nation. We can be, America a Great Nation. But we have to start at home. We have to start with ourselves, our family, our children. Our future. We have to start with our orientation, our mindset.

We have to realize the answer to life is not constant excess and taking all you can get, but in solid work as well as expectations and moderation in all things. Feel free to be excessive once in a while. It's also healthy to do nothing at times as well as to go to great excess...sometimes. But as one should moderate one's life, one too should moderate those peaks and valleys.

Always remember, in what you take for yourself, someone else somewhere is losing for your benefit.

That does indeed, matter. It also makes you who you are. And so you have to ask yourself, who do you want to be? More importantly, who do you want others to see you being? Who do you want your children seeing you be and who... do you want them to grow up to be?

Donald Trump? I seriously hope not. For your sake. For their sake.

For all our sake.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cameron Crowe's 2011 "Pearl Jam Twenty" Documentary Nearly Killed Me

Have you seen Cameron Crowe's documentary: "Pearl Jam Twenty."

I'm so pissed about that. No, not the documentary. Just about my past. No maybe it didn't nearly kill me, but it did remind me of some things that nearly had.

First let me say that Pearl Jam is playing their first Seattle show in nine years on August 8th, 2018 in two days. I've blogged before about working with their bassist Jeff Ament at Tower Video back in the 80s when he was playing with his band Green River and before Mother Lovebone. Jeff was a great guy to work with, always a smile, always positive. I was his supervisor and when he left he turned his position as media buyer over to me. A job I'd also had at the Tacoma Tower Video store just after graduating from university and one I took in Seattle to be the top Tower media buyer worldwide at one point.

I sat there watching the documentary with its footage of the Seattle, remembering how I lived near downtown during the 80s, just being frustrated. So I thought it might be interesting to blog about it and get it off my chest. Maybe something will be interesting to someone. Or maybe someone will appreciate the frustration of what I went through. Especially, in hindsight.

I was working at Tower Video Mercer store in Seattle. I've mentioned all this before, but this time it is in the context of what Crowe's doc was all about.

At some point in the documentary they talk about Eddie's first time with the band, how they came together. Eddie was talking about his dad, saying he hadn't known who his dad was until after he was dead. In a way, I could relate. I knew my dad, but hardly. His choice I'm made to believe.

With all the documentary had to show, with my past, our city we lived in, in knowing Jeff, Ament (Pearl Jam bassist), in working with him at Tower Video, in his having passed on his position as media buyer to me, in my having missed out on all that was going on in Seattle mostly because I had no money, and so little adventure left to me back at that time. Trapped by nearly everyone I knew living in Tacoma or Bellingham, where I so recently had received my university degree in Psychology, as well as a minor in creative writing in fiction and screen and script writing.

But at that time I was at the bottom. I even came close to killing myself during those drug fueled days, those wild 1980s. But that's another story.

I remember showing up one day at the Video store and one of our employees whom I was close to,  came in on her day off. She was hyper, there was blood all over her jeans, there was toilet paper taped to her wrists. It was obvious the kind of night she had. There were a lot of people in the store at that time. The girl she was living with was there.

I called her over. She came up to me, at the bar there, the effective barrier between the customers and their needs all day every day, and ourselves. I asked if she was okay. She said she was. I said, what is that about? She said, it's just what happened, why should I hide it? I looked around, everyone was busy, I pulled back the sleeves on my black jacket so she could see the toilet paper taped to my left wrist. Her eyes opened big, she looked at her writs, then at mine. Her eyes beckoned a question.

"You too? YOU? Why?"  She was echoing my own questions. We both thought the other had the world by the tail. Funny how we misperceive reality in someone we know fairly well.

We both survived that experience. We talked about it, briefly. We both walked away and lived to this day.

Many filtered through Tower stores in Seattle back in those days. Bands did "in stories", signing things, selling albums.

Playboy playmates also did in stores. One I even got to go up to the Space Needle at midnight with for drinks. Teri Weigel was her name. She was like most playmates I met, smart, vivacious, personable and a surprise to some, very professional. It was drinks with her across the table from her and her playboy handler, as well as about six other Tower people, including the district manager, a rather slimy little man, no one much liked who worked with him.

I still have the photo Teri congoled me into taking with her around here somewhere but as I'm still moving into my new house at this time, my main hard drive is still in a box in the basement until I can open enough boxes to have room to set up our new sound studio that we will use to produce more new audiobooks of my stories and perhaps record some local musicians who have shown some interest.

Teri was engaged to a guy back home, a secret she only shared with my apartment mate's / store manager's soon to be fiancee, wife and then ex wife. I was to be his best man, as he was eventually mine with my own soon to be fiancee, then wife, my son's mother and eventually my own ex wife.

Those were wild times. Weed, alcohol and drug fueled times. One night stands, multiple night stands, but never quite enough. Adventure thankfully came to us at Tower.

One night I looked up as I was putting away video tape boxes on the "floor" of the store, the public area where people chose their films for the night and realized that at 6'2", I was being dwarfed, not by one, but by about six other guys. It was daunting. Stunned I wandered back to the counter where I asked an employee, "What the hell is going on?" One of them came to my aide saying, "Don't you recognize half of the Seattle Sonics Basketball team? They're hanging at one of their homes and just in for some tapes to watch."

But no. I hadn't recognized them. It was surreal. An odd feeling being the little guy in an entire room. But it was a relief nonetheless to find a reason I was feeling so very tiny all of a sudden.

There were times that rock bands were in the store also looking for videos to watch on their off times. Or sometimes they'd just stop by to hang out and chat. One time I caught the lead singer of one well known local band (Mud Honey? No, I don't think that was them... Soundgarden? Metal Church? Maybe?) on top of one of our store counters, acting the front man in an empty store, just feeling good and having a good day. There were some bizarre scenes at times in that store, now long gone.

It would seem just about everyone showed up at Tower Video for films to watch. Bruce Springsteen's manager showed up one night to get Bruce some films.

One night I was wandering around downtown by myself and almost ducked into a dance club I'd never been in that was down some stairs, but instead I moved on. I kept hesitating, something pulling me into that place, but I didn't go. Mostly for lack of money. I could have gotten in, but that would have defined my night. Instead I hit a few other places. When I got to work the next day, I discovered that had I gone in, Gwen Stefani and band No Doubt had been there dancing the night away.

So much was happening all around me during those years and somehow, I missed most of it. But then, had I been working at some retail outlet other than Tower, I probably would have missed all of it.

Getting back to Crowe's documentary...

I do have to say it was a pleasure and yet a rather painful thing to watch. So many memories of those years flooded back to me, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. All those things I missed that were all around me back in those days was devastating. I knew things were going on back in those days, but not to the extent to which I missed out of so very much. I was at one point at my lowest point in my life which in part explains why so much zipped by me. And so in that sense, it was great to see just what all was going on in Seattle at that time.

Crowe's produced a great little documentary and if you have any interest in the Seattle music scene or to be sure, Pearl Jam or the bands associated with their coming together originally, it's definitely something to check out.

But then, those are what memories indeed are, aren't they....

#concert #PearlJam #Seattle #Tower

Monday, July 30, 2018

Lose Weight the Sensa way! Oh really?

Wow, Sensa, sounds great. Use it like salt, you can lose up to 30 pounds quickly.

What a deal! Right?

Think again. Okay, now, think again. This is an old topic. But it's endemic of these kinds of things. Do be aware. When something sounds too good, do consider it probably is. Hard work usually pays off best.

According to Health Hound web site, Sensa's claims are questionable, at best. Check it out:

"[Sensa's] Dr. Hirsch claims there was a peer reviewed study supporting the claim that subjects lost over thirty pounds using Sensa (versus the control group that lost only 2 pounds). The claim is that this study was peer reviewed by the Endocrine Society. The Endocrine Society says they did not review the study. On ABC’s 20/20 news they stated that, “they were surprised and troubled by the promotional nature of his presentation”. In fact, none of the internal “studies” are confirmed by any respectable body."

That would be bad enough to wise you up to at least, "wise up", but there's more.

"Customers simply don’t appear to be happy. Please go through the comments below. It appears Sensa’s free trial offer is kind of tricky. It is not only on this blog, but all over the web… Community doesn’t lie.

So aside from not losing weight, people are getting charged $89 not once, but twice before they are able to stop the billing. And getting a refund doesn’t seem to be that easy. In short, it appears to be one of those over aggressive marketing organizations that I love so much."

So, it sounds like these guys are your worst nightmare as far as taking a chance on a product. Of course, Health Hound has an alternative, but rather than that, check out a real backed up program. Some of the most notable food in a box programs, do work but are expensive; they help because they are easy. You open the right box at the right time and eat what's there. Follow the program, you lose weight. Exercise, you lose more.

According to an article on the Mayo Clinic's site by, Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D."

"Alan Hirsch, M.D., who developed Sensa, says proof of its effectiveness comes from a six-month study he conducted in which participants lost an average of 15 percent of their body weight. The makers of Aroma Patch and SlimScents point to another study by Dr. Hirsh to bolster their claims. That study, which was reported in a medical journal, showed that volunteers who used an aroma inhaler lost an average of 2 percent of their body weight over six months. Neither one of these studies looked at whether participants were able to maintain the weight loss.

"So can these weight-loss products lead to significant, sustainable weight loss? The jury is still out on that question. Even the makers of these weight-loss products acknowledge that losing weight comes down to diet and exercise. It makes more sense, then, to skip the scents and focus on what's proven to work — reducing the calories you consume and increasing the calories you burn through exercise"

Exactly, it still takes effort to lose weight. That starts with attitude. You have to want change to effect change.

For a different kind, try Kinetix, backed by Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah's Blue Shield groups so much that they bought the company. I tried it a couple of years ago and it worked pretty well for me. I steadily lost weight and felt much better.

The final word on this is that there is no magic dust you can sprinkle on your food to lose weight. It still takes balance and effort (exercise, denying eating at the wrong times, like after two hours before bedtime). Smaller meals and snacks, properly spread out through the day, watching your intake and output, like someone said, its really a numbers game, take in the right amount, put out the right amount. The rest just happens.

Eat right, workout, you lose weight. Start now. It's January. Begin today, by time its summer, you will appreciate it. Don't be caught in the Summer, thinking, "if I had only started in January, I'd be there now."

Just do it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Climate Change And The Humans Who Deny

Climate change deniers are on par with the flatearthers. They are purposely ignorant and refuse reality. It's a human based mindset that evolves along the lines of man made religions. And yes, they are all man made, or human if you prefer. Though if I were a woman I wouldn't want credit for what men mostly did in the past and are still doing today. But hey, equality brings with it responsibility. Sometimes even for things you aren't at all responsible for. Though to be fair, women do have some responsibility in the evolution of religions. Even though they seem to be the most abused by them.

As for climate change today you truly are simply stupid to deny it. Who denied it for so long? Conservatives and Republicans, and those who even passed laws denying it in places like South Carolina.

As for humans being responsible, perhaps not just for climate change, but to be sure for excessive climate change, the evidence is clear and again, you are of the mentality of those mentioned above if to deny it. Best case? You're ignorant of the facts.

So let's skip the facts.

Consider this. that humankind once killed one another directly, manually, with sticks and bludgeoning weaponry. When your enemy felt the impact of your attack, you were directly through that weapon connected to them.

Now let's modernize. Mechanize. Which we do so very well.

Once humankind realized they could use simply machines to kill, the thrown implement came into being, the rock, the spear, the arrow. In some ways that began our decline, but also our evolution and our rise to the top of the food chain.

Let's advance that a bit.

We invented the musket, then mechanized it further into the cartridge, beyond that to the bolt action, to the semi and full automatics. Along with this obviously there were explosives.

Then, the atom and nuclear bombs came on the scene.

So to think humankind cannot affect even a planet sized environment when they have mechanized pollution through industry and individual polluting devices such as cars, boats, planes and so on, not to mention, industrialized animal product production, is to exhibit a vast lack of understanding of our history and capabilities that literally boggles the mind.

Not to mention we have extracted fossil fuels from the ground which laid buried for millions of years and we have then used those to energize our lives, releasing into the ari ancient carbons which are quantifiable and qualifiable.

That is, we can track them.

There is no question about it. Humankind is escalating climate change to a massive degree with our 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 days a year intensive world wide mechanized polluting systems which have gone on now for over a hundred years.

We couldn't have done a better job if we had actually been trying to pollute and affect massive climate change. Even polluting massively poisonous substances into our own living spaces, the air we breathe, the water we drink and more.

IF you still deny humankind can and has evoked excessive climate change, then it's only fair and reasonable for you to be labeled: stupid. Sorry, but you're denying reality does not mean the rest of us have to, and as well, die because of it.

It does mean however that we do have to fix this as best we can, altering our current course of progress, or lack thereof, entirely perhaps without you.

Even to your detriment if you stand in the way.

It's your choice really. Help or get out of the way. Or be run over with our progress and positive changes.

Think about it.

#gOP #Republican #conservative #climatechange #climatedeniers #flatearthers #TheIdiotElite #POTUS #realDoanldTrump #VPOTUS

Monday, July 16, 2018

GOP and Conservative Disinformation Must Stop

Dear American Idiots. Stop destroying this country for your desires and pleasures. Pres. Trump, Stop! GOP, Stop! Conservatives, Stop. NRA, STOP.

And now with the Putin and Trump love fest summit today....

It's both rewarding and disconcerting to hear mention so much lately of Russian disinformation tactics and validation of what I've been saying for some very long.

I've been talking about Russia, disinformation, and the GOP and conservatives, the NRA, and others since long before my first blogs back in 2010. I've seen the tobacco cartel using it seemingly forever. The NRA then picked it up. Conservatives loved it and the GOP picked it up. Donald Trump used underhanded even pieces of Russia operations and certainly tactics to become president.

And there are so very many other concerns with Trump as president and I won't even go into what a nightmare it must be for his interpreters to convey his word salad sentence to any other foreign leader and it's a miracle we're all still alive at this point. As example Trump has berated Germany for spending billions and billions on Russian oil, but what about us then? Forbes article.

To have studied the Soviet state and KGB for so long, nearly since childhood for me, then to see it creeping into America, has scared the hell out of me for years. And I know I sounded like some crackpot to far too many. Until hopefully, now. Now because we're seeing investigations into it that go all the way up now to the presidency.

I did a search. My first mention in my blog of old Soviet disinformation tactics in America was in July of 2010. First mention in relation to Republicans was in June of 2011 about their flooding the media with lies about cannabis. November 2012 in relation to the GOP and climate change. June 2012 about Edward Snowden (during Obama administration, showing I wasn't blind to what Democrats were doing either, but they cannot hold a candle to what the GOP and conservatives had been, were then and continue to pull). July 2014 in relation to Fox News. March 2015 in relation to Tobacco companies, Congress, even robotics and a thing called Ethics. December 2015 in relation to guns, the NRA and the GOP. In December 28, 2015 in relation to the GOP and memes. I think this may have been around the time Russia was ramping up their disinformation leading to the 2016 election. July 2016 about conservatism, the GOP and disinformation. And many other times I mentioned it in blogs and the many, many times I've posted on social media, especially Facebook about it.

And no one was really listening. No one seemed to be paying any attention.

Until now.

And is now too late? After all, Trump is president. The GOP have Gerrymandered us into insanity. The vile have been empowered. And we are flailing and quickly getting nowhere.

Are we now too late to reverse the insidious crawl of the old Soviet, through the new Russia, through Putin, through their arm in the GOP?

I hope not. Start listening, start acting. Stop listening and start ending this fake news crap, this fake president nonsense, this fake GOP business as usual and let's return to American ideals and actual business and true politics beyond the old Soviet cancer that has spread throughout our media and our country now.

Is there hope? Yes, possibly. From 7/15/18:

Are we finally seeing #Democrats...anywhere, in this case California, beginning to reduce the anachronistic weight of their sedentary bulk to finally be fit enough to fight for us in the present to remove Republicans from their ongoing and abusive, bear trap lock on our government for their incessant and damaging and even anti American actions?

One can only hope....

#GOP #Republican #Russia #disinformation #POTUS #realDonaldTrump

Monday, July 9, 2018

Food Stamps?

I wrote this blog back in 2011 I think.

I guess to follow up my Fat man comment yesterday about sideshows, the AMA has labeled Obesity a disease now. Really. Is it a disease? Or is it just (for 99% of people) a matter of priorities, discipline, education? Is it more of a last ditch effort to get a handle on this national tragedy?

The more you look into the common diet in the US the more you begin to distrust corporations. Michael Pollan in his new book "Cooked" has said that people who eat food cooked by people and not corporations are showing to be healthier.

"Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) released a statement on Tuesday arguing that food stamps provide a good life for people as long as they use them wisely. Donny Ferguson, who serves as Congressman Stockman’s communications director and agriculture policy advisor, was able to buy enough food to eat well for a week on just $27.58, almost four dollars less than the $31.50 “SNAP Challenge” figure." [from "Continuing the Tradition of Black Intellectual Thought"]

For $21.55 Ferguson purchased at Dollar Tree:
Two boxes of Honeycomb cereal
Three cans of red beans and rice
Jar of peanut butter
Bottle of grape jelly
Loaf of whole wheat bread
Two cans of refried beans
Box of spaghetti
Large can of pasta sauce
Two liters of root beer
Large box of popsicles
24 servings of Wyler’s fruit drink mix
Eight cups of applesauce
Bag of pinto beans
Bag of rice
Bag of cookies

But the food he bought had very little protein and was not the most healthy of choices. I'd like to see this guy actually eat that food for a week, or live on it for months or years and see what it does to his body and mind. Look at the sugars (Honeycomb, Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly, Root Beer, popsicles, fruit drink mix, applesauce, cookies - a plethora of corn syrup products). You may be able to eat on that amount of money, but you are not going to be as healthy as you could if you have more money to spend on food.

I would never have bought those things when I was on food stamps, which I was for a while just after I got out of the military and before I got into college. I used to dream about buying meat and proteins. Maybe I could afford eggs for my Top Ramen (a fabulous cheap product you can throw anything into for a meal that differs day to day). But not the healthiest noodles to eat. One of the things about my post military and later on in college diet was that I got sick of eating the same things day in and day out.

Finally I discovered as many have that Top Ramen rocks.

You may be able to eat on that amount of money but you are not going to be as healthy as you could if you have enough money to spend on healthier food and can afford real proteins (no, vegetarians, we're not looking here for your input, even though you may be right because many people do not see a vegetarian lifestyle as a viable choice for them, even though it may work to their benefit). Baby steps, okay?

When I got out of the military I had a rough time. I was on food stamps for a while until I got into college and could use my Vietnam Era VA benefits. The work I did in the Air Force just didn't translate well back then to a job. I had to take a string of rather demeaning jobs until I simply couldn't take it anymore and gave up. It took me about a year to heal up and get things together.

My then ex wife, as our marriage didn't survive the military years, was a vegetarian and I had eaten well for years. To then go down to what I did after leaving the military was both enlightening and disconcerting. I finally got a job and got off food stamps, and thank God they were there when I needed them.

When I was in my third year at University, after moving to a different city where jobs were few in being available to students, I did't have and luckily didn't really need a job (and frankly I really needed to be a full time student, working day and night on my studies) and so I had very little money.

Both times what I found was that protein is very expensive and you either can't afford it or very much of it. Lots of carbs were cheap and I became more and more disgusted on what I could afford. This wasn't on food stamps because I felt I shouldn't dive into that since I was surviving and others needed it more than I did. Like I had earlier for a while after leaving the service. Others who couldn't attend college at all. But then, thank God for local food banks.

Still, foods you might prefer not to eat are far more affordable on a low income. I realized back then for the first time that you cannot live very healthy on the types of foods affordable at that economic level. There is a lot of talk about alternative lifestyles and how cheap it can be to grow your own, etc, but once again, that's not viable for many people.

TODAY (7/8/2018)

And now Republicans want to cut food stamps, end programs necessary to people's lives and continue to discredit citizens, humans in America, because they are "too lazy to become rich." That is such a stupid statement only an asinine person would even consider saying it and no decent person would.

We need to end this stupidity ASAP with due prejudice and far more than any of the programs these Republican want to end.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Normalizing Death & Independence Day 2018

First off, I would like to wish for you all to have a very happy, fun and safe Fourth of July Independence Day celebration!

I have found memories of my growing up and having very happy 4ths. Until I found myself in the middle of an explosion once back in the early 1980s (an experience that made it into my screenplay, The Teenage Bodyguard).

I've seen this in others. They love explosions, until they are involved directly in one either in civilian life, or actual war situations. They are not fun, when you see, when you feel the reality of an explosion. When done in a war situation, where one explosion or even is not the end, where you know you have more coming, perhaps until you's a very different experience than we experience in our mild by comparison, Independence Day celebrations.

Which are by law, to be safe and sane.

Yet I think most of us entirely miss the concept of the Fourth of July celebrations with fireworks. Yes it reminds us of war, kind of, but we've been too far removed from all the danger. All the damage. Well parents and authorities do try anyway. But let's face it, once our children grow up and move out, they can become the province of police, emergency services and ERs around the country.

So many of especially conservatives and our new form of American faux and neo patriots, seem to have missed the point entirely. Just as many of them seem to think that our "right to bear arms" is a fun pastime and guns are toys. That life isn't precious and that we can just chalk up the mass murdered to being collateral damage to our 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

As we have seen, Afghans and Iraqis, Syrians and others who have had to abandon their countries know full well to what I refer. While many Americans have no clue whatsoever in our privilege and entitlements and do not even recognize it as such, for what is going on in our celebrations of distant explosions and bright pretty lights in the sky.

Which in war still terrify in their beauty. But the key word there is... terrify.

I would suggest this from our government from here forward...

People can have their bright, loud but harmless fireworks displays which authorities limit on power and effect since people will literally (and do) kill and main both themselves and others when due care is not undertaken.

But perhaps, one night a year our government at each of its various levels needs to fire fireworks off above all neighborhoods. Fireworks guaranteed to break at least some windows in homes and terrify the young and elderly, and all the rest of our clueless middle of the road types.

You know, the one's Republicans don't care about except for votes and money and enhancing their positions of power and illiberal permanency through Gerrymandering, voter suppressions and even illegal Russian involvements in our elections.

People should wake on July 5th exhausted from lack of sleep doe to the fear and intensity of the explosions to REMIND us what war is about, what it's like, how you are in living through it. If you are so lucky to do so.

We have forgotten as a nation. To be sure, our soldiers have not as due to our ongoing warmongering, we have so many now who do remember, because they had experienced it for real only a short time ago, if not...yesterday. Or today.

Alamy - A Royal Navy fleet bombards Fort Sullivan in Charleston Harbor on 28 June 1776. The Revolution was rife with such fights, large and small, coastal and riverine, making it “without question, the largest and most significant naval war of the 18th century.”
American civilians should feel and see damage in their neighborhoods, experience at least the fake destruction, the trash everywhere from remnants of major fireworks in the air. They should walk a bit like zombies through July 5th and light versions of short term PTS and exhaustion so they can truly experience, or remember, to know (perhaps again) just what it is like to have suffered through what birthed this nation, and what others are currently going through around the world.

Because if we all truly understood it, would there really be anymore wars around the world? Or would we make it our life pursuit to find ways to make diplomacy work and to curtail its ill conceived cousin, corporatism and corporate thinking, which many times have spawned these wars? Or to have set up future groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or ISIS to start or continue their own versions of the wars they were born from?

That, is the purpose of a celebration like this. And no, I do not really suggest we do this. But we need to find a way to bring this home, to see it and feel it, experience it, to find the enlightenment of the fear involved, the ongoing terror, the resulting damage, death and perhaps permanent PTSD.

Remembering. Knowing. Going forward with the intention to truly be able to appreciate what you have and what has been sacrificed since the birth of this nation in order to give them the safety and prosperity we all now have and have been born into. Or have migrated toward. Legally or illegally.

We have spent decades decreasing the threat of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction into manageable weapons and scenarios. Our attempts to beat our weapons into plowshares has led to our massive wars becoming smaller and more conventional and in some cases we have gone from nukes to knives. More urban warfare. Small groups, drug cartels rather than wars again nation states.

From fears of wars on our soldiers to terror on civilians by terrorists, some with religious bents, bending their religions to mean whatever they wish it to mean. And to be sure, that is one of the concerns about religions and conventions of magical thinking.

So we now have nations and leaders who abuse their people so much, where groups such as ISIS or drug gangs, due to poverty and shutting down crime in one country so it seeks another, that we now have millions of displaced civilians seeking refuge and too many unempathetic ears and hearts turning them away. In some cases, turning away those who are products of our past transgressions. Actions in one place, that have festered and burst in another.

Then when they seek our help, we treat them like filth and criminals. We have situated ourselves in America today where we have a president who calls out these innocents, purely for political power, as just such despicable humans, when those types are actually the ones doing the name calling and barring hopeful innocents from our shores and borders. Even when that is what America was founded upon; even when that is what America was built, certainly in part, to do.

But fear, weakness and consciously structured economies, designed to keep citizens in need, have made us weak, while we cry about our strength. Make us hypocrites, while we proudly announce our great moral authority. Make us despicable while we rant about our intellectual superiority. All which makes us nothing, if not lesser so.

As for those illegals, or for those seeking legal sanctuary, for those refugees we need to turn not our historically blind eyes toward their home nation's conditions, but our enlightened eyes, minds and open hearts to realize, and to avoid in the future, especially where we the ones who set up those conditions for their seeking asylum from us in the first place.

Rather than simple mindedly, unthinkingly, labeling them as criminals. When all they want is what we want. Safety, security, hope. Hope for themselves, for their families and loved ones, and for their children. Children whom we recently and still are abusing on purpose, for political effect and for power.

Then and only then might we actually start to see an outpouring of empathy and a determination to not only help war displaced victims, but to actually and permanently work to put an end to despots. All Despots. Yes, like our own current illiberal overly and unnecessarily conservative GOP and their leader, our greatest and most despicable pathologically lying Pres. Donald J. Trump).

"Mr." Trump is playing world politics like a board game. Monopoly? Or perhaps his own 1980s board game, narcissitically called, Trump: The Game. We are not a game. We are not, something for sociopathic leaders to manipulate for their own pleasure. And yet, he does.

We need to put a stop to all such idiotic beliefs including our current forms of destructive capitalism, the travesty of religions such as evangelicalism, radical Islam or whatever else theistic crap that may crop up, the authoritarianism and populism today that is so destructive in places like North  Korea, Russia and elsewhere, all these things that do tend to lead a clear path to abuse if not finally to...war.

We can turn this around. We have done it before. After all, it's why we have Independence Day in the first place. So do go forward, but do it with purpose. Do it with an understanding that to celebrate the Fourth is to know why you do so and to realize that to celebrate it, means you have to, you still have to...fight for what is right. And not just what is seemingly good, right now.

But hey... Have a very Happy Independence Day!

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