Monday, August 29, 2016

Trade Agreements

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part of the issue is that economics is complicated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need to see this. And act.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Special Blog Post - The Great Papa Spyk Has Passed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then later, just this:

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

And that was all....

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Conspiracy Theory Debunking 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Then someone added another meme into this one:

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

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

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

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

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

Conspiracies involving multiple murders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whether we like those truths or not.

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

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

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

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

Bush? LOL. Trump? LMFAO! Be serious.

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

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

It's inherent in conspiracy theory to ignore that.

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

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

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

Truly my friends, my condolences.

Achieving Heaven

I'm sick of Trump. I'm sick of liberal shaming. Sick of politics.

I've just sold my house of sixteen years. I moved in with an attractive wife I loved, buying a house that we'd keep long enough to get used to the new area and then sell and buy exactly what we wanted and where we wanted it. And then, the divorce.

But that is all long ago now back in 2002. Now my kids are grown. I'm nearing retirement.

I sold that house, now I have to move out. But it's been one thing after another all summer. New roof. Furnace needing fixing. No houses to move to. The housing market is a sellers delight, a buyer or renters nightmare. So many looking, so few selling. I'm down to the last two things.

Getting a place to move to and the Veteran's Association appraisal for the buyer's VA loan. Which is going to take longer than the buyers have in moving here from as far away as possible in the continental United States. A military family changing bases. The VA is backed up five to six weeks and we need it now. Not in September. I have to be moved on by the 24th of August.

This hasn't been going well. But, I sold the house. I'm outta here. Hopefully.

But, enough of reality, of all my summer woes. Let's see if I can stay off of Trump (or for how long?).

Here's my thoughts on abortion and other such things in politics and government IN general.
Pro-choicers want women to have the right to choose because we've lost so many women in the past to ugly situations due to it. It's better to have appropriate and professional care for women's medical issues. Safe and sane, right?
Pro-Lifers see that they are (typically) Christian and their beliefs say no abortion. Okay. They also see that if you have a moral responsibility to something, and you can act on it, you should. Thus, Pro-Life. Okay again.
Religious belief is not just a personal issue, it is a personal requirement.
YOU Must choose using your free will to make the "right" decision. If you take that decision away from someone on a religious level, they 1) do not practice and strengthen their beliefs, 2( you have taken that away from them 3) they do not have the ability therefore to make the "right" decision and choose say, good (God?), over "Evil" and 4) on a civil and American level you have curbed THEIR pursuit of Happiness, and safety.
Thus, in stepping beyond your personal choices in being Pro-Life to where you remove that choice from others, you have damaged their (your?) religion, you have abdicated your God's intent in there being free will and their NECESSITY to choose the "right" path, AND (more importantly to many) you have acted in a purely unAmerican way and antiFreedom fashion
So. What in the the HELL are you doing?
There will be those who see this as hypocritical, but it's not, unless you are one of those I referred to above who can't follow complex thoughts.
That all actually brings up another point.
IF you need to practice your faith, to build your God muscles, to tone up your morality muscles, it begs the question.
Why? Let's actually think about this. According to the Bible, God many Man in His Image, and Woman from Man and also in his image. Though kind of not totally as men and women DO look different and are in fact, different genders of the same species.
If you need to practice your faith, to stay strong, to keep believing through adversity, why?
It must be because you need that strength for something. 
Is it that to die and "be with God" you must have a certain degree of being able to keep your spirit together in order for it to make that ethereal journey from body to Heaven?
On the other hand, if that isn't the case and it's okay for Pro-Lifers to take away the choices from Pro-Choicers, then we don't need that strength of character in order to die and be with God.
I always believed that you need to strengthen your character, your morality, your spirit in order to achieve the goals you are told you will receive when you die, if you lead a good life.
Then someone came along and changed all that. Apparently you can be a raping, robbing murdering turncoat and if you repent when you are dying, zingo, get out of jail free card. You get to go to Heaven.
As a catholic you go through a ritual and you're saved. For Evangelicals, you just repent. No real ritual, just easy peasy, hey, I'm in Heaven.
Doesn't seem fair to those others, does it?
But here's the thing. The whole need to build character and strength in spirit caused some issues. So someone thought, hey, we can get those we can't now get, by changing things a bit. 
Trouble is they didn't really think that out very well. Yes, seemed like a good idea at first. But in practice and especially once it got acculturated, things changed from the original intent and results. 
Now here's another monkey wrench in the mix. IF you should build strength over a life time, if that is The Way, you don't always have to do it. You can skip work out sessions in body building, and still get there, still maintain an awesome build people will admire.
So you don't ALWAYS Have to do the right thing, just enough of the time so you are strong enough for what you need to be strong for. One could argue that to die and get to Heaven you really do need all the strength possibly and then some in life, to do what you need then to do.
However, there will always be a point at which one doesn't need more and so, you can potentially take breaks, have slip ups, or just do the wrong thing (preferably for the right reasons) from time to time.
There are no perfect answers.
That is lazy, and it makes things easier on people in general. 
And those are the issues.
No religion has all the answers. There IS no right religion. There are no easy or absolutely right answers. Life is complex, difficult, frustrating and yet, we still have to keep trying because you see, that is the answer.
Always keep trying your best. Trying to find the best answers. Trying to always better yourself and others, but Do NOT make other's decisions for them. That is their struggle, just like you cannot body build for someone else's body.
Because trying to would just be...stupid.

These are the people we are now in fear of who are putting us on a path to destruction, who won't allow discussions of gun violence, who think Trump can Fix the country, who think Republicans have been doing a good job and who aren't satisfied in life:

Allie Fox from Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux:

"Nature is crooked. I wanted right angles, straight lines. You cut yourself opening a can of tuna and you die."

My professor when i at my university told me about this book. He said I was much at the time like the character of the father who wanted right angles in life. Life is generally anything but right angles, even though we too frequently see them in life.

Once I understood, I worked to change and once I changed, a whole new world opened up for me. Life got lighter. People who enjoyed being around me, enjoyed me far more. Life wasn't an insurmountable thing I always seemed to be able to surmount. It became a much more fascinating, interesting, existable place.

The more I understood, the better things got. The more productive I was and I made those around me.

This isn't what I'm seeing this week in the RNC. It's not what I see in Trump.

We need to see that. They need to see where the right angles truly are, when they actually are even there.

Turning to actual world events and the monstrosity that is the 2016 American presidential election:

If you vote for president on the basis of fear, that is a cowardly act. Trump is energizing his campaign through fear. His supporters are being energized toward him through fear.

Vote for president on the basis of rational thought, facts and considered actual information, that is a brave and adult act.
If you use emotions through your vote, make it a measured, considered response. Not just on the basis of emotional appeal. Make your rational decision, then let your emotions free. But first be damn sure your emotions are based in reality. Because Trump supporters are not based in reality. Nor is Trump.
I am the only one who can save you! Has little to do with reality. Trumps call that:
"I alone can fix it!" Is total nonsense.
Who said this?
"Do not be afraid - I will save you." Trump? No. It's from the Bible, Isaiah 43:
"Israel, the Lord who created you says, "Do not be afraid - I will save you."

Trump's paraphrasing God. Just think about that for a moment. Stop rationalizing what you want to think he means, and consider from his perspective in who that man is, what he is really thinking, not what you want to believe he is thinking.
That being said those in control on both sides of the aisle, have not given people options for change as it feels like the same things over and over again, expecting something to be different. However in Trump saying he will change things it begs the question, how? Because once he gets into office and we find he really doesn't know what to do, he hits walls with congress which he's already hitting with those in power in his own political party, then what?

Not only will cowardly support have gotten him into office in the hope of change, they will find they have chosen a madman or worse, a fool, with no change on hand anyway. Things will be the same, only his tampering will make it worse.

That is a mistake people make over and over again. When you need change, when you feel desperate or worse, afraid, you start to make stupid mistakes. Beyond that, with no hope, not potential for change you eventually get into terrorism. Because that is in part how we come to the world today.

Those in power fight to maintain the status quo against reality and necessity and in the end, a minority stands up to invoke anarchy and with anarchy comes terror and abuse. When you take a religion and a culture from previous centuries and apply it to those conditions, you end up with what we are seeing today. Then within that we find abuse and issues with boundaries. All which we're seeing in ISIS and others of that type.
Yes, we need change. No, we do not need a Trump.
Those who are not Trump, need to wake up and push serious change, through intellect, information, understanding, cooperation and process enhancements or replacements. Before it's too late.
Once Trump loses this election, do not be complacent.
Be aware. DO something. Just not, ANY thing.
How does this tie in with considerations of heaven?

It has to do with how you see the world, the universe, the long believed afterlife. It has to do with magical thinking. Anything not based in the physical world is magical thinking. Like religion.

There are Republicans in office who have SAID we don't have to affect change (as in climate change) to protect our selves because...God won't let the earth die!


No, Heaven helps those who help themselves? What are you? Two years old?

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Great Terrorist Trump Con or America's Greatest Shell Game

Let's face it people, Trump, is a terrorist. And not a very bright one, regardless of his narcissistic view of himself. He's earned the venom some feel for him as well as the ridicule.

No. No sir, it is not. I'm sure it's mostly average if anything.
Terrorist: the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims.
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

He is using terror to divide us in calling on other nations to do his bidding. Calling for insurrection even political assassination. Using the violence of others to intimidate and terrorize us into voting for him. Something that would only work on a child, or someone with a childish mentality.

I really see no way in which he is not... a terrorist.

Even excusing or ignoring all that (as his supporters actively do)...America is being conned in the biggest bait and switch shell game ever. Here is what is so embarrassing about our Republican party and its presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump (who has called for assassinating Hillary Clinton) as well all his supporters. Most especially Republicans officials who support him... but won't even vote for him.

Regarding what he said on August 8th, 2016 about the 2nd Amendment people:

From my point of view, when Trump (AKA, Mr. Slimy) said what he said about Hillary and the "2nd Amendment People" yesterday, he claims it was political and not violence based (i.e., referring to voting, not assassination). And BTW Hillary is not anti 2nd Amendment anyway. it just points out that how much he's disingenuous, a political hack AND a moron of sorts. People are saying it was a call to violence.

However, when he ended it with "that will be a horrible day", he wrapped up that it was indeed about violence and his inference IS for a call to arms, not a call to the polls.

"2nd Amendment People" acting against Hillary (voting or otherwise non violent actions) would not end in a "horrible day", not to mention that would be after the fact of her becoming president.

However since the assassination of an American president would be, regardless of what Trump (AKA, Mr. Slimy) says, "a horrible day", that IS what he meant and intended. He's incessant references to questionable things such as this are disgusting, moronic, and lazy but give people a blank slate to write in whatever they want to believe. And so my blog this week in fact is about this fool, this conman, this BS artist. Apparently people left his speech that day, so maybe there are some reasonable people who had supported him. But are they any longer?

But this one was quite clear to me. As well as the former head of the CIA who said if you or I said this we'd have been arrested by now. Even Dan Rather got into it about this. And Wolfe Blitzer. Just to name a few. Someone on Facebook yesterday said they called the Secret Service who said they knew about it, were "getting a lot of calls and were looking into it." Apparently even the FBI is now interested. Some people's children, I tell ya. Give them enough rope and they will indeed hang themselves.

Many have called the Secret Service over this and they have said that yes, they know about it.
Not that anything will come of it. But wouldn't it be interesting if they acted upon it and arrested him for insurrection and soliciting a Presidential assassination.

Secret Service are smart guys. When Trump said that they should all have just walked away from Trump and disappeared when he said that, called in for orders, then returned... under protest. Though it would seem a political statement by a non political entity, it would have been a legal issue. Do you protect, or arrest a presidential candidate who breaks the law in public to such a harsh degree?

And let's face it, that would have made for awesome entertainment value.
I mean, delicious, comes to mind.

He's tapped into conservative's fears, but there is more going on than just that.

We are all being conned by a professional conman who has ripped people off all of his life. And he is being propped up by Republicans. Utter insanity. Now he is reading a script, pretending to be presidential, to hide the nutcase he is, in order to achieve our highest office. What do Republicans think is going to happen if he wins?

When you are being conned the best thing you can do is to realize it and then as soon as you realize it, admit it, and then walk if not run, the other direction. Possibly, find a police official to do something about it.

Though a good conman, which Trump seems to be, usually cannot have anything done to them because they either skirt the law, or they vanish in a puff of paper dust from your cash as it disappears with them.

Republicans who like Trump, in having it pointed out he is conning them, do what? Nothing. Or worse.

"Trump has hit a nerve with the American people. They are tired of cronyism and the government doing for their individual selves and people want a change." No there's an excuse to support a charlatan, a bully, an authoritarian, a wannabe dictator, and a fool.

First of all, we allowed our government to grow in that fashion. We are to blame for our lazy attitude to politics. But only so far. How culpable is a victim after all to the process of being conned, year in and year out, decade after decades. Being lied to not only by leaders but those we trust?

One president cannot change that. Without support. Stop voting for people who side with the few against the masses, first of all; who do the least for the most and the most for the least. And yes, Republicans are at the top of that list.

Second, a conman goes for that "nerve" he knows you have, where he sees your weakness. IF you then rationalize into his argument as you are being ripped off you are then following his agenda to rip you off. Not to mention, saving his butt in prosecution if he doesn't take that one half step into illegal channels.

Who is stupid then? Trump's own staff is suicidal? He doesn't pay contractors. Last year I was visiting my own cousin on the way back from Ireland. He used to work with a carpenter's union and had to deal with Trump in New Jersey and he hates Trump for ripping off their union, saying some didn't do good work, then turning around and asking for them to do more.

Trump's a conman and BS artist. Plain and simple. It's how he got to where he is in business and life. And now he's offering to do what he has done for himself to the American people? That my friends, is not good no matter how you cut it.

America doesn't and shouldn't rip people off. Reputation is everything.

>Trump has practically stood up and pointed at himself and said, I'm ripping you off stupid! And you smile, and hand him your wallet?

We are watching the GOP and Trump supporters being ripped off before our eyes and when we try to tell them, when they try to tell themselves, they hold their ears, screaming "LALALALALALA!" as they run toward election day.

I think chump and "a mark" are the terms for people like that.

The GOP is now one big chump in being Trump's marks. The Pleasures of Deception
, gives a humorous illustration of a how con-artist manipulates his victimScams, Schemes and Swindles: In a large and elaborately staged con, such as that portrayed in the movie The Sting, the big secret of the con is not that the victim is being taken by another person, but that the entire social situation surrounding the victim has been created specifically for the con.

“We can be fooled simply because our perceptions are dulled by habit, and we look at things through half-closed eyes,” writes Moss. “We see half a picture, and assume that the rest is there.”

I do not see where it makes any sense that if elected Trump is going to do any of the things people think he will do. It's not what con men do. What do they do?

Convince you they are wonderful, feed your greed whatever form that may take so you throw what you have at them, what it is they want and then, they walk away, putting themselves in the driver's seat, with your resources, and... your happiness.

Then one day you wake up and realize you have lost everything, and you have been a complete idiot. Only then do you see that you have been obviously taken but you couldn't, no, you wouldn't allow yourself, even in the midst of so many others trying to warn you, to see you were being ripped off.

Which makes you not a patriot, but a very, very sad individual indeed.

The rest of us would laugh at you because it is so ridiculous, because you are so delusional, so lost, if it wasn't something that was affecting us all in your foolishness.

And don't give me that Hillary is evil crap. She is the same old thing with the potential for SOME change while Trump is utter insanity and you're only making yourself look even more stupid if you follow that logic to it's conclusion.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt, always a straight shooter has this interesting consideration he posted recently on twitter:

Bret Stephen's in his weekly Wall Street Journal column talks about Go Along Republicans and called Trump a "sinner", accusing him of sadism, and suggesting he is a sociopath. He's not the only rational individual to do so as others who are qualified to know have said similar things about Trump. 

By the way, Russian President Putin likes what he sees in the media about Trump. As does the leader of North Korea. One Has to ask themselves about that. Some top espionage officials have said Trump is acting as an agent of foreign powers, either knowingly or unknowingly. Either as conscious agent or delusional dupe.

Fareed Zakaria this week on his show pointed out that Trump is not so much a liar, as he is and as Fareed said then and I say here and now, a "bullshit artist". He explained that the eminent moral philosopher and professor emeritus of Philosophy at Princeton University, Harry Frankfurt back in 1986 wrote a brilliant essay titled, "On Bullshit". He has also written about Trump in a May 12, 2016 Times magazine article, "Donald Trump is BS, Say Expert in BS".

That article starts with:

"And that makes him [Trump] even more dangerous. Donald Trump provides a robust example of someone who is, with respect to matters particularly relevant to the exercise of high political authority, neither well-informed nor especially intelligent...."

In his essay, "On Bullshit", Frankfurt says:

"Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point... In order to invent a lie at all, [the teller of a lie] must think he knows what is true. neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all... ...focus is panoramic rather than particular... with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color, and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the 'bullshit artist.'"

The only way out of a con is to first see it, then walk, no run, the other direction in as diametrically opposed to their path as is possible for you. A bullshit artist also relies on your good nature, as well as your bad nature using the techniques of both con and BS. Trapping you in your own desires for what they are selling, and keeping you from seeing reality clearly; countering your worries before and when they appear. It is a contest between your abilities and acumen, and theirs.

However the BS artist by the nature of their behavior always and eventually, when considered not even that carefully, loses all connection with reality. As we have seen lately with Trump.

"By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are." - Harry Frankfurt

I am currently looking for a new house to rent. I just sold my house of sixteen years and I have to be out of here by a certain date. I found the perfect house for me and I traveled on the ferry to Seattle to see it. The empty house had a tenant, a sigh for lease out front and had no idea about the arrival of my friend and I.

The emails from absent "owners" on a trip to a religious event in New York had all the right answer. Even through a few soft "red lights", they had all the right BS answers. Until finally I realized I was being conned. Then I noticed there were many other similar type cons with homes for rent. Deal with what has substance, what has physical access, I learned. They were taking my need to move soon, my desire for a deal almost too good to be true, using my own words against me for their benefit, until they finally went far enough over the edge that I called, BS.

I see the same kinds of behaviors in Trump, ever since the beginning of his presidential campaign last year and even before that when he dabbled in previous elections from a far. The "Birther" movement about President Obama's birth certificate, sowing deceit and confusion into our American political arenas. He could easily be someone sent by our enemies to disrupt our national stability. And yet, I don't think he was.
I think much of what is going on with him is more deep seated, and involves psychology or psychopathy.
Either way, really want to fix things?

Vote Democrat. Even if you are a Republican or anything else. Why? Because ti would devastate the Republican Party. Slap them in the face. Wake them up. Though granted after the 2008 and 2012 elections they seem incapable of waking up to their disastrous political agendas. Though they could easily break the downward trend in abandoning the NRA and the Christian evangelical right as well as evangelical tactics altogether.

They appear to be a zombie party, a party that has long been dead and still acts on the political stage. One now what a zombie leader in Donald J. Trump. One who appears to want only to stagger and and eat our brains. Forever wandering among the American political landscape seeking more victims and sowing more dissent and damage.

In no one or very few voting Republican, it would finally send a message, forcing them once and for all back to being the true party of Lincoln, no longer only in name.

That WOULD send a message. Though it isn't likely to happen.

It would however, after twenty some years since Newt Gingrich started the downward spiral in the GOP and polarity between the two parties, force them to see what losers they have become. Show them that we all DO see what they are doing.

AND it would send a signal to the Democratic Party saying the same. Then if Democrats don't wake up and smell the coffee too, Republicans just MIGHT in the next election in 2020 come up with a good candidate for change. Not a Trump, not a Cruz, but an actual and truly viable for the American people, candidate. If you voted then for that change, we just might get something going in kicking both parties to wake the hell up.

Voting Republican now though, in choosing Donald Trump, is only asking for not only the same, but so much more of the same that you will find you want to vomit every time you see him address the media and the nation as President of the United States of America.

Don't be a Trump Mark.
Be an American Citizen.

I will leave you with this from President Lincoln ending his first inaugural address:

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blue Was The Sky - or, Ballad of the Dissonant Mind

I was standing on the street. All alone. The streets were empty. For the moment anyway, traffic was non-existent.

A man came up to me and said.
"Sky, it's purple."

I looked up at the sky. It was the clearest blue I had ever seen. Not a cloud in the sky. I looked at the gentleman next to me, standing there staring between two buildings at a piece of the sky to the south.

There was a large solid glass faced building between those buildings, down the street. It gave the buildings a slight reddish hue to their dark tones. But the sky between them, that small tall rectangular piece of sky he was staring into, was blue as blue could be.

I said: "Uh. Sure." He looked at me, reading something in the tone of my voice.

"It is isn't it? A beautiful purple. Never seen that before like that. Don't you agree."

I was caught. I could lie to a perfect stranger, let it go, and maybe he'd go away. He smelled slightly of something, I couldn't put my finger on it. Musty. Confused smells of stored clothing and cardamom maybe. Cardamom left too long in a cupboard.

"Well, the sky is blue as I've ever seen." He gave me an odd look of disdain.  I felt a need to qualify my remark. "Those buildings, they have an odd color don't they? Kind of a purple color." He eyed me suspiciously. So I went on.

"Perhaps the sky and the buildings are playing tricks on your eyes?" I smiled at him, congenially. He reacted negatively to my comment, as if I'd called his being into question, as if I'd challenged his veracity, his sanity even.

"The sky is purple, I'm telling you. What we see is important, what we believe is more important. It speaks to who we are. I know. Yes. I know. You should know too."

What do you say to that? He was not happy, I could see beneath the surface, he was seething. I couldn't understand his passion, his adherence to his belief in a purple sky. I looked up. I looked up at the sky in such a way so as to invoke a desire in him to cast his gaze upward. But he continued looking straight ahead.

"That sky, is blue." I said this looking up above us, lifted my hand slightly to indicate the sky above.

"I've never seen a sky so purple," he said. He stared at the slice of sky framed by neo modern buildings and a super modern one beyond them, then looked over at me. As if daring me to disagree.

"Is there anything I can say to make you see that the sky is blue between those buildings?"

"Between the buildings? It's not purple just between the buildings." I looked up, back at him, between the buildings, up at the sky covering us, then back at him. He hadn't moved. I got the distinct feeling he may have had trauma to his neck, from the way he held himself. He wouldn't look up, or he couldn't look up. Something wasn't right.

"Purple huh?"

"Purple, no doubt about it."

"I always liked purple." He smiled.

"It's a good color. The color of sky."

I glanced over between the buildings. The sky appeared purple. A cold sweat broke quickly over my skin, and then just as suddenly disappeared as I glanced upward and saw a very blue sky. I looked back between the buildings and now the sky was again blue as it had been, as it was. I looked him full in the face.

He smiled, nodded and just, walked off. There was a bounce in his step. As if he was happy. Or had achieved something worthy of pleasure.

I looked back up and then forward. Perplexed.

The sky was still blue.

Up next on Monday, August 8th, 2016: "Donald J. Trump's Big Con".

Monday, August 1, 2016

Police Serving Justice

Part of the problem with these police shootings we've been seeing has to do with when police stop policing.

In dealing with citizens, you police them. You handle them, you manipulate them for their own and for other's best interests.

You do not just serve justice. You Protect & Serve.

Where does it say serve justice in that? I'd argue there's too much serving justice far too much of the time. When a cop approaches someone and thinks they have a gun, or sees they do and maybe they don't, when the cop stops policing, doesn't take the time, take enough time to verify what they are actually dealing with, when they aren't positioned well enough for there to actually be no doubt as to what is going on, then at that point, they are no longer policing.

Simply yelling at someone is not policing. Yelling at them appropriately, well that's another matter and that's, policing. Though avoiding the yelling is always nice. But once an officer pulls that trigger, they have gone from policing to serving potentially lethal justice.

Now within that realm, one well placed shot is policing on another level. A second shot then approaches (or achieves if not already) serving lethal justice and more shots... definitely is. Typically anyway.

Police need to be safe, to protect themselves. The problem is that police should not protect themselves at all costs. That's a fact. Police rush into firefights to save the innocent. Firefighters enter a blaze to protect and serve and sometimes, both police and fireman, die and they do it willingly.

And therein lay the conundrum. Once you stop policing and shift to serving justice, you cease to be a police officer and become something... more.

A militant, a martial person, a manslaughterer?

Now that's okay. Under certain circumstances, it's necessary, even preferable. But we have to make that distinction, we have to accept that reality. Yet when we do that, we also have to accept the other more important reality, even if by a little bit.

Someone tasked with using lethal force to police, has a higher responsibility to a civilian than to themselves. That's the job. Along with, if and whenever possible, going home at night to get up the next day and start it all over again.

Personally? I wouldn't want the job. Though I admit that at seventeen I did apply to the Tacoma Police Department. I was 350 out of 650 applicants on the testing phase and the fastest time that day on the obstacle course by far, by about fourteen seconds to be exact. That year the six slots went to all minorities.

Which, good for them, just, bad for me. Maybe.

A few years later I went in as Law Enforcement (no, not Security Police, that's another AFSC entirely) in the Air Force. I applied to the OSI and got accepted and got out and went to college. But I've always been, even in high school, on the cop's side (except of course when they were beating in the long haired heads of  my friends over something stupid like pot). I've had a good experience with cops since forever.

My older brother, didn't. He had a bad experience through the 1960s and 70s. But I learned from his mistakes and he told me how to act around cops. I used his suggestions and avoided so many issues. I got thrown in jail once, for an afternoon. I was seventeen and actually didn't do anything. But thirteen of us at a house in Bremerton Washington one day went to jail.

One guy of four of them who lived in the house I was visiting, took responsibility for the six ounces of pot they seized and they let the rest of us go. I was under age anyway. And again, I didn't do anything. I was just sitting down stairs and whatever it was happened upstairs but they took us all in anyway. I'd been visiting my girlfriend waiting at a friend's house who had introduced us. I was in twelfth grade in Tacoma at Lincoln High School. She was twenty at a college in Bremerton.

Cops ruined my day that day, made me miss my last class which I would have been back in time for, and I never did get to see my girlfriend. But I understand the police, from both sides. That's really my point here. Most of them whom I have met under any circumstances, we're okay guys. The one who smacked me around in Wildwood, New Jersey for no apparent reason wasn't such a great guy and when my cousin and I complained at the police station the Sergeant there agreed and said that guy was a bad cop, they all knew it, but no citizens would file a complaint against the fat jerk.

I was sixteen and when my mom, our mom's, found out what had happened, well, they weren't letting us go anywhere back near that police station. We were crushed that night in Cape May. But we got over it.

Yes, I'm white. I was 6'2" most of my life, around 6'1" now for some reason (probably not the sky diving accident years ago though). I have a privileged life, though back int he day with long hair it didn't' always feel like it when cops were dealing with you. But I seemed to have a way to calm them.

One time at about eighteen I got pulled over by a State Trooper late at night, getting into a freeway and really nailing it. The Trooper told me I was speeding, I said it didn't go very much over sixty MPH (speed limit was fifty-five). We disagreed, I disagreed with his assessment of my speed and he said, "Get out of the car!"

My friends shrunk into their seats. It was dark, we were between lights which were very far apart on that new stretch of freeway in Parkland, Washington just of 112th street. We talked, he realized my 1967 Camaro Z28 (it was two years before they used that model designation but that's what it was, then called, an RS\SS), and he told me to get into his Patrol car, while my two guy friends worried for my safety.

But when the cop found I was taking Criminal Evidence for Police (with a classroom full of off duty Tacoma Policeman trying to get promotions, and one other long haired kid like me, both of us at first terrified in that class, I could see it in his eyes when we learned who all these older looking dudes in suits were, detectives mostly) at the local community college and had applied with the police department, he tried to talk me into being a State Trooper. By the way, that turned out to be a great class. Though all the really cool things happened during the day classes and I was at night school.

I have to tell you, taking a class in criminal evidence, saved my butt over my life time more than once in being aware of things others tend not to be. Today because of so many police procedural cop and CSI shows on TV, people are more aware but there is still a lot of ignorance out there about what really is.

My point in all this talk is that I do understand police more than many civilians. I know I'm white and not black and I've had it easy compared to many. I've also experienced what it is like when things go wrong with police to some point anyway, and I can see how badly it could go. Now a days I'm even concerned about getting shot by "friendlies".

I also know how so much can be avoided if the situation is handled better than it gets handled, both by police but also by civilians. We need to recognize the good cops, the ones trying hard, those who make mistakes only someone gets hurt or killed, that we're all human on both sides of the fence but that there does seem to be a systemic problems going on in many jurisdictions.

I believe we're work out way through this. It will take time. The answers are out there. But it's going to hurt before it gets better.

One both sides of the fence. Still.

Protect & Serve.

And, respect your local police. There's no easy answer. We all need to work on it.

Including Congress. Including the NRA. Including Conservative's denials. Including Liberal's shutting out conservatives because their way of thinking is so disconnected with themselves, just as it is the other way around. We need to soften this disparity and disconnection. We need leaders who will do that for us and the country and therefore, themselves.

There is too much of "it's all about me" out there in the world. We need a paradigm shift in our national thinking, about guns, about people, about money, our priorities, about "us" against "them. We need to see guns as what they are, killing tools. And to understand why they are being used indiscriminately.

If we all had the right mindset, if we had a fully functional economy, we could all own guns and not go around killing one another. But that's in a perfect paradigm and humans are anything but perfect. So it just goes to figure that having so many guns is asking for problems. It's what we used to call, common sense. WHY do we have military style weaponry out in public hands. Even in the military when you're off duty (unless you're in a live, active war situation) you turn in your gun. Because, it's common sense. And the law.

When a gun runner was asked on a Vice network show recently what the main reasons were for killings on the street, the illegal firearm entrepreneur said, "Pussy and pride." Someone looks at someone or their woman wrong, and someone ends up dead over it. Issues about self-respect, lack of reasons for self-respect, lack of respect for life and weapons, have led us into a very bad place. Bad economy, little prospect for bettering one's life through education or work, a concept of instant gratification and wealth, we have a lot to fix and atone for.

Until we start up a way of thinking where we all think it's all about us, we'll continue to see this as it is now. With so much hurt and pain. But let's not forget, so much normality, and good things. People walking safely down many streets, crime and murders being down and we have to keep that up, support those doing the good works, fighting the good fights.

Let's just not lose track of reality. We're a strong county. Humans are a strong species. When it pulls together. We can be a stronger country, a stronger world, once we all realize that. But to get there we have to deal with issues as they really are and not how we believe they are. We have to dig and see the facts, even if it goes against our desires, beliefs, understanding or cognitive dissonance.

I do believe we'll get there. Just hang in there with the rest of us. Push for being positive whenever possible. Don't let people push fear on you. Stand up and tell them to sit down! Find the positive solutions. Think outside the box. Do not be led astray by your leaders. When they go off track, even if you love them; dearly, shout it out, let them know. Stand up for people, not just your group, your country, your state, your political party, or your gang.

We're all in this together. Dammit! Okay?