31 March 2017 Accountability (Business, consumers and undocumented immigrant labor force)

Hello to you.  I hope this finds you well today.

The subject on my mind today and it has been pretty much since we moved here to North Texas is about businesses that employ undocumented immigrants.  As homeowners we’ve seen it first hand and the more I find out, the more realize I need to do a better job of researching the companies we use to do repair and construction work.  When we had our back fence repaired last year I found out afterwards the two men, both Hispanic and one was fluent in English, weren’t sure when or if they would get paid for the work they had done!  I was so upset!  When we had our foundation repaired a few years ago, most of the workers were also Hispanic.  Walking through as new homes are being constructed down the street, most of the workers up until the recent crack-downs were also mostly Hispanic.  It seems like we have a lot of businesses in our area, large and small, that make it a habit of hiring Hispanic immigrants documented or not.   I’m not accusing anyone of hiring illegals, just sharing my personal observations.

Will businesses hiring undocumented immigrants be held accountable in President Trump’s America?  A question I’ve had lately is who will be building the wall between here and Mexico?  Will the businesses who win the contract for the wall be using strictly American citizens or will they continue with the unethical hiring practices that seem to be occurring for everything else?  It seems to me that if you don’t make jobs available to illegal immigrants there would be less incentive for them to come to America in the first place.

It is not just American businesses that are responsible for the issue of illegal immigration – we as consumers are responsible as well.  This is where that word “free will” comes into play.  Whenever you make a choice about anything you do in your life, you are exercising your God-given  free will and cannot blame anyone but yourself for the consequences that come from your choices. 

It’s also about supply and demand and that is where we as American consumers come in.  I know most people don’t want to hear or acknowledge this, but we are responsible for the ethics behind every single purchase we make.  If you  choose to buy SUV’s and large trucks that take a lot of oil and gas to fill up, then you are partially responsible for how we get oil and gas and what happens to the people and environment as a result.  If you buy a home from a contractor that uses illegal immigrants to build it, then you are partially responsible for the immigration problem.  If you buy food that comes from businesses that do not ensure proper employee safety, food sanitation and environmental responsibility (use pesticides) then you are partially responsible for the propagation of an unhealthy food supply.

“We need a new law that owners of SUVs are automatically in the military reserve. Then they can go get their own goddamn oil. ~Jello Biafra, quoted in The Guardian, 3 November 2007″

The bottom line is the bottom line that business understands and that is the language of money.  If you don’t work for,  buy or support what they are selling,  they don’t make money.  Now is a time for mindfulness in all things.  Everything we do matters and it compounds over time.   We can no longer plead ignorance or sit in complacency.

I found a couple articles that go into this issue and I hope you will take the time to read them and then reflect on your personal role in this issue and how you can make a positive difference:

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/trumps_crackdown_on_illegal_immigrants_lacks_guidelines_for_businesses_that/

Immigration Law

Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants lacks guidelines for businesses that hire them

Posted Mar 20, 2017 01:45 pm CDT

By Terry Carter

While President Donald Trump’s administration is cracking down on illegal immigration, with stepped up deportations and proposing a wall on the border of Mexico, it has done nothing to address what some immigration officials for decades have considered the biggest problem: lax or nonenforcement of laws that penalize employers who hire undocumented workers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan, attacked the problem of illegal immigration from three angles: It gave amnesty and residency to about 3 million undocumented immigrants, beefed up border enforcement and made it illegal to hire undocumented workers.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests as well as members of Congress from the Midwest, which relies on cheap labor for the agriculture industry, supported the law only after sanctions for employers were weakened, said Peter Brownell, research director for San Diego-based the Center on Policy Initiatives. The result was low fines and a high-bar requirement that employers “knowingly employed” people who were in the country illegally.

“This made it difficult to prosecute cases,” Brownell said.

From fiscal 2009 to 2016, during the Obama administration, more than 2.5 million people were deported, while 1,337 business managers faced charges such as illegal hiring, tax evasion and money laundering.

“It’s always been easier to go after the workers,” said Doris Meissner, a former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which is now part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services. “But is that any more than just counting numbers? Does that actually change the basic magnet effect of the jobs? No.”

In 1999, then INS official Mark Reed had agents raid meatpacking companies in Nebraska that hired undocumented immigrants. Thousands of workers fled in the wake of what was called Operation Vanguard.

Reed testified in a congressional hearing as the crackdown was underway, touting it as a model for enforcement.

“The neon light is on,” Reed testified at the hearing. “It has been for decades, and that neon light is driven by jobs. As long as those jobs are available, those people are going to come in.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, rebuffed him. “Deportation is the strongest deterrent to illegal immigration,” Smith said.

Political pushback led to abandoning Operation Vanguard, and focus returned to arrests of immigrants and security on the Southwest border.

Reed said that the same immigration officials who had pushed for the crackdown in Nebraska, which lead to more than 3,500 workers quickly leaving, subsequently complained that it slowed down the slaughterhouses and hurt the state economy, as well as the fabric of the community.

“Turns out that these people—the workers—were part of the community,” Reed said. “Turns out these are the people who go to their church, the people they hang out at the bar with. And now they were leaving.”

Reed thinks the answer to these problems was there when the statute was enacted in 1986.

“When we did the amnesty in the mid-’80s and legalized everyone, we were supposed to seal the border and have a good guest-worker program and never have this problem again,” said Reed, now retired. “If we had done that, we wouldn’t be here today. But they purposefully didn’t do any of it.”

Two cases illustrate how big-name employers benefit from illegal labor and why undocumented workers are easily exploited:

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/19/big-name-businesses-exploit-immigrant-labor/

Big employers no strangers to benefits of cheap, illegal labor

Two cases illustrate how big-name employers benefit from illegal labor and why undocumented workers are easily exploited

by Travis Putnam Hill Dec. 19, 2016 12:01 AM

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors.

Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration. In this part of the project we look at how our insatiable demand for illegal drugs and cheap labor make the border less secure.

At an hour when many people are tucking themselves in for the night, the cleaning crew at an Austin-area Target store is just getting started. By the time it finishes in the early morning, workers will have cleaned the bathrooms, taken out the garbage, washed windows and carpets and polished the floors to that reflective white sheen on which the Target Corporation prides itself.

One of those janitors — a 57-year-old Mexican immigrant who preferred to go by his nickname, “Chunco” — has worked for various contractors cleaning Target stores in Central Texas for about 12 years, despite lacking the legal right to work in the United States.

And he’s not alone: “All of the [cleaning] workers I’ve known were undocumented,” Chunco told The Texas Tribune, speaking in his native Spanish.

While his immigration status hasn’t posed a significant roadblock to his continued employment, it has exposed him to the risks that come with working in the shadows. He and his fellow custodians have repeatedly been paid less than minimum wage and worked six or seven days a week with no overtime pay, according to court records and Texas Tribune interviews. In some cases, they accumulated those overtime hours when Target managers would lock them in the store for extra tasks.

“We’ve realized that [employers] prefer us for being undocumented because we just keep our heads down to get jobs,” Chunco said. “[We] can’t afford to complain. They take advantage of us being undocumented.”

What Chunco describes is a window into an expansive underground labor market in which illegal hiring is widespread, even among some of the biggest names in American business. Yet the risk of running afoul of immigration authorities is low. Employers skirt culpability by accepting fake documents that they are not legally required to verify, misclassifying workers as independent contractors or subcontracting to separate businesses that do the actual hiring — all while claiming they did what the law requires to verify their workers’ employment authorization.

It’s that “don’t ask, don’t tell” system that allows employers to benefit from cheap immigrant labor. The same shadows under which undocumented immigrants are hired can also obscure the further exploitation they often endure.

“The fact that they’re in the shadows makes them vulnerable,” said Bill Beardall, executive director of the Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that represents low-wage workers in Texas.

And he would know: A large portion of the center’s cases involve unpaid and underpaid wages to immigrant workers. Two of its cases illustrate the nature of this abuse, and how brand-name employers attempt to distance themselves from such transgressions.

Locked in without pay

Back in 2007 to 2008, the Equal Justice Center represented Chunco and 28 other janitorial workers in a lawsuit against Target and a contractor called Jim’s Maintenance for unpaid wages and overtime. According to publicly available court documents, Target’s lawyers asserted that the retailer was not a joint employer of the workers and thus not responsible for the wages that Jim’s Maintenance had failed to pay. Target instead claimed that the workers were employees solely of Jim’s Maintenance.

To Beardall, the notion that these janitors were not jointly employed by Target was “preposterous.”

“It was the Target night managers,” he said, “who let [the workers] in the building and locked them [in], and told them what to do at night, and wouldn’t let them out in the morning until the Target manager had walked around the store with the crew and said, ‘I’ll let you out.’”

The list of undisputed facts culled from hours of deposition testimony from parties on both sides of the suit reveals the degree of control Target had over the janitors. Target managers decided when shifts would start and directly told the workers when they should come in, which was usually around 10 or 11 p.m. Shifts were typically scheduled to end at 7 or 8 a.m., but Target managers regularly held the workers past the scheduled quitting time. And to ensure Target’s strict cleaning standards were met, managers would frequently lock the workers in the store for the entirety of their shifts.

“We’ve realized that [employers] prefer us for being undocumented because we just keep our heads down to get jobs. [We] can’t afford to complain. They take advantage of us being undocumented.”— Chunco, undocumented janitorial worker

Depositions from both sides also showed that the janitors often worked 60 or more hours each week, yet according to testimony, were never paid overtime. While Target kept records of the workers’ hours, Jim’s Maintenance did no such thing and instead tracked only days worked. The wages the workers did receive often came out well below minimum wage — in at least one case to the equivalent of $4.35 an hour.

In 2006, Target terminated its contract with Jim’s after an audit by Price Waterhouse Coopers found that Jim’s had improperly misclassified multiple workers as independent contractors and failed to keep required wage and hour records. Testimony from a Target official revealed that, even after receiving audit findings, Target did not take steps to report the violations to the proper authorities. Instead, it cut ties with Jim’s, giving the cleaning contractor just two days’ notice.

The end of the contract put Jim’s out of business since, as Beardall put it, “Its only function in life was to clean stores for Target.” To make matters worse, Target decided to hold on to $496,000 in fees owed to Jim’s for its services for the entire month of May 2006. As a result, Jim’s couldn’t afford to give the workers their final paycheck.

For its part, Jim’s Maintenance acknowledged in briefs to the court that it did not pay workers the required overtime wages. The contractor contended, however, that it was merely a “labor recruiter” and “paymaster” rather than a joint employer and that Target was solely liable for the unpaid overtime, as it was the retailer who forced the workers to work long hours. The court ultimately rejected that argument, saying Jim’s was, in fact, an employer.

The suit was eventually settled out of court, and Target never admitted any wrongdoing. An attorney who represented Jim’s in the case did not respond to requests for comment.

In an emailed response, a Target spokeswoman wrote that the lawsuit “dealt exclusively with wage and hour issues” and did not raise questions about the plaintiffs’ immigration status or that of anyone associated with Jim’s Maintenance.

“We can find no references in the court record that would indicate that Target knew that plaintiffs, nor any other people, were ‘undocumented,’” she wrote. “The issue instead was that their employer, Jim’s Maintenance, was failing to fulfill its obligations to keep proper records, including records of I-9 compliance. This failure to fulfill its contractual obligations ultimately contributed to Target’s decision to terminate its contract with Jim’s Maintenance.”

Court documents and a hearing transcript suggest the retailer’s lawyers may have suspected the workers were undocumented and intended to use their legal status against them in the suit.

Target’s lawyers sought to grill the workers in their depositions on matters related to their immigration status, specifically about the names and Social Security numbers the workers provided on their employment applications. They argued that if the workers had provided false information on their applications, it would speak to the credibility of their wage and hour complaints. But the Equal Justice Center filed a protective order to prohibit such questions, claiming it would have a “chilling effect” on the workers’ ability to enforce their legitimate wage rights. The judge agreed that the workers suing Target did not have to answer questions related to their immigration status.

“Employment rights apply equally to all workers, regardless of their immigration status,” Beardall said. “The problem is most undocumented workers don’t know that, and employers may not know that. If they do know that, they will nevertheless use those workers’ vulnerable immigration status to discourage them from enforcing their rights.”

Case of the fruit cutters

A similar case unfolded between 2012 and 2013 when workers who cut, bagged and stocked fruit at H-E-B grocery stores filed a class action lawsuit claiming that they had been cheated out of minimum wage and overtime pay.

The workers — mostly immigrants and women — worked at H-E-B through a contractor called Pastrana’s Produce, a company with offices in Brownsville and the Mexican border city of Matamoros. The lawsuit named both Pastrana’s and H-E-B as defendants, but the Texas grocer denied responsibility.

“They were trying to contend that women who were cutting up fruit and nopal in their store to be sold in the produce rack and paid for at the checkout counter, that those women were contractors not of H-E-B but of something called Pastrana’s Produce,” Beardall said.

In sworn affidavits, the produce workers claimed they routinely worked seven days a week, often for 50 hours or more, but weren’t compensated for overtime and did not receive an hourly wage. Instead, they were paid a set rate for each bag of produce that customers bought. That rate depended on the type of produce sold and tended to be so low that their paychecks never amounted to minimum wage.

“They were trying to contend that women who were cutting up fruit and nopal in their store to be sold in the produce rack and paid for at the checkout counter, that those women were contractors not of H-E-B but of something called Pastrana’s Produce.”— Bill Beardall. Equal Justice Center

One of the plaintiffs alleged that a manager at the H-E-B store on William Cannon Drive in Austin made her work in the cooler without any protective clothing — an allegation repeated by several others at different H-E-B locations.

To further exacerbate the problems, it seems the workers were discouraged from trying to recover their wages. According to the affidavits, some of the workers knew about a previous lawsuit between Pastrana’s fruit cutters and H-E-B but didn’t join at that time for fear of losing their jobs. They said a Pastrana’s supervisor told them the workers who did join would lose the suit as well as their jobs.

As in the Target case, lawyers from the Equal Justice Center argued that the workers were jointly employed by H-E-B and Pastrana’s because they were a vital part of H-E-B’s business. They worked only in stores owned by H-E-B and under supervision of H-E-B managers, who determined their work hours and daily production.

And also like the Target case, the dispute was settled out of court, with H-E-B maintaining that it was not a joint employer.

By the time of publication, H-E-B had not responded to questions regarding the case. And attorneys for both sides remained tight-lipped both about the terms of the settlement and the specifics of the workers’ immigration status — that is, whether they were authorized to work in the United States.

Michael Latimer, the lawyer who represented Pastrana’s, said the plaintiffs’ immigration status was never a question throughout the suit.

A woman who answered the door at the former addresses of one of the plaintiffs said she was a friend of the plaintiff and recalled him talking about his case against H-E-B. She also said he was undocumented.

The Texas Tribune was able to reach another plaintiff by phone, but when asked to verify whether the produce workers were undocumented, she hung up abruptly.

Elephant in the room

The cases are just two examples of how average citizens reap the fruits of unauthorized labor on a daily basis, even if they may not realize it. Undocumented workers toil away on towering construction projects and harvest crops in sunbaked fields. They prepare food behind kitchen doors and wash the dishes when the meal is done. They build homes, mow lawns and clean stores and office buildings.

While many decry the scourge of undocumented immigrants taking jobs from Americans, they rarely address their anger at the businesses that hire those immigrants, businesses whose low prices may depend on the low wages they pay.

“What you end up with when you have a group of workers who are relegated to a second-class status is it stimulates a race to the bottom where some employers, the unscrupulous employers, prefer to hire those workers precisely because they’re exploitable,” Beardall said.

And so often, those exploitable workers are undocumented immigrants.

“It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about,” Beardall said, speaking generally. “We live in a society where we don’t really want to acknowledge that … precisely because business depends on those workers.”

Chunco’s experience may attest to that dependence. For more than a decade, he has been on the payroll of a string of different companies contracted by Target to clean its stores.

“If a company doesn’t meet the requirements that Target demands, [Target] breaks ties [with that company] and another one comes in,” he said. “The next company comes in and asks Target if the workers are doing a good job. And if they say we’re doing an excellent job, we keep our jobs with the new company.”

So despite the lawsuit and dissolution of Jim’s Maintenance, Chunco is still buffing the same Target floors in the same Target buildings that he has for the last 12 years. And the disadvantages of working in the shadows haven’t quite disappeared: He said his schedule was cut to five hours per shift, but he’s still required to do all the work he used to do in eight or 10.

“When you’ve been here for a while, you learn that they do exploit you,” he said. “But we have to work.”

Jay Root and Elena Mejia Lutz contributed to this report.

This story is part of Tribune’s yearlong Bordering on Insecurity project.

Disclosure: H-E-B has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Meet Paige: Our new Facebook Messenger bot helps you keep track of the 85th Legislature. Subscribe by messaging HELLO to m.me/texastribune.org. Learn more.

 

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30 March 2017 Being mindful of the energy preceding our words and deeds, Dog Walking tips (Cesar Millan) and capturing beauty of dusk (drawings, photos)

Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.
Rumi

Good morning to you.  I hope this finds you doing well as you visit here at whatever time and place you are.  Today’s post is mostly pictures and some helpful advice from someone who Kyle and I discovered many years ago that helped us so much with understanding and interacting with our dogs and cats, Cesar Millan.  He is also known as the Dog Whisperer.  It was Cesar that helped me translate my understanding of how energy works between humans to my interactions with animals.

Everything and everyone is energy!

It isn’t what we say, it’s how we say it.  It isn’t what we do, it’s how we do it – the energy signal behind our words and actions are the first thing people and all forms of life consciously or subconsciously perceive when interacting with us.  Understanding someone’s words and actions is like the aftershock I want to say.  I use the word aftershock because what I’m describing is kind of like when Kyle and I experienced the 4.0 earthquake that happened in our town a couple of years ago now.  The first thing we experienced wasn’t the understanding we were experiencing an earthquake.  The first thing we perceived was the energy of the shaking and sounds the earthquake made.  It was after we felt that energy we were able to collect ourselves enough to comprehend what had just happened…..that we had been through an earthquake.

Our energy precedes us into everything we do and sometimes that’s why people and other living creatures will actively avoid us.  If you wake up on the wrong side of bed and go into your workplace with a negative attitude, that negative energy will precede your even stepping into the office!  Dogs, cats…pretty much any life form that isn’t human lol already knows about this.  They will avoid people with toxic energy even before a human being will.  It’s like they can see into our souls almost!  The natural world operates more in energy fields than the human “thinking” and “feeling” world.  So much more simple!  I think that’s why I often prefer the company of nature over other human beings.

Anyhew – here are a few helpful tips from Cesar that might help and encourage you with walking your dog….starting to walk your dog.

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/walking/6-tips-for-mastering-the-dog-walk

Source Internet – he’s going on a world tour this year btw!

6 tips for mastering the dog walk

27 March 2017 – leaving your dog in a fenced in yard can be like a prison. Walking your dog is good for both you and your dog!

By Cesar Millan

Here are six dog training tips on how to walk your dog and master the dog walk. When I’m out with my dog pack, I often walk about ten dogs at a time, sometimes even off-leash if I’m in a safe area. People are amazed by this, but it’s simple: the dogs see me as their pack leader. This is why dogs follow me wherever I go.

  1. Walk in front of your dog.

Walking in front of your dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.

  1. Use a short dog leash.

This allows you to have more control. Attaching the leash to the very top of the neck can help you more easily communicate, guide, and correct your dog. If you need additional help, consider the Pack Leader Collar. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind when giving corrections.

  1. Give yourself enough time for the dog walk.

Dogs, like humans, are diurnal, so taking walks in the morning is ideal. I recommend setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see if his needs are being met.

  1. How to reward your dog during the walk.

After your dog has maintained the proper state of mind, reward him by allowing him to relieve himself and sniff around. Then you need to decide when reward time is over. It should always be less than the time spent focused on the walk.

  1. Keep leading, even after the walk.

When you get home, don’t stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.

  1. Reward your dog after the walk.

By providing a meal after the walk, you have allowed your dog to “work” for food and water.  And don’t forget to set a good example by always picking up after your dog!

Hope you enjoy the pictures and that something “resonated” with you here today.  Much love to you from our house through the wires and on the winds that sustain us all!

 

 

29 March 2017 Flowers and storm clouds (pictures) and remembering a wonderful teacher (Mr. Richard Greeno)

Hello to you.  I hope you are doing well today.  Some “weather” came through early this morning but everything is ok at our place.  The spring storm season is off to the races here in North Texas – already having tornados and golf ball size hail in the area.  We are supposed to have more stuff coming in this weekend.  The nice thing about what I call “tuss-ups” is the air  and everything is nice and clean for a few days afterwards.

I went back to bed after Kyle went to work and woke up to hearing what sounded like Kyle’s voice calling my name a bunch of times and then I heard a loud “ding” which was a text from my Dad asking me if I remembered a Richard Greeno as he passed away Monday at the age of 88.  How could I forget Mr. Greeno?!  He is one of a handful of teachers from my time in school that I remember with great fondness and gratitude.  I can even remember what his voice sounded like and how animated he always was – full of energy and enthusiasm for well….EVERYTHING!  He was a quirky, funny and extremely energetic person who just lit up the world around him.  He was both my cross country running coach and my Biology teacher when I attended Lincoln Sr. High School in Sioux Falls SD.  A silly memory I have of him is his having us out on one of our many training runs he always had us doing and his nose started to run.  He didn’t have a tissue so he grabbed a leaf.  As tiny a memory as that is, in that little thing he did, he taught me about resourcefulness!  I know it’s silly to remember that, but that’s the kind of person he was.  He was never afraid to just be himself around us; one of the most authentic people I knew.  I am grateful for the time he and I shared in this world and my love and prayers go out to his family, friends and all who knew and loved him.

http://www.quotegarden.com/teachers.html:

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” ~Carl Jung

I hope your today is filled with all the best the God of your understanding has prepared just for you.  These past few months have been pretty rocky for me in many ways, and I know they have been for most anyone who stops by here.  The message I got this morning in my prayer and meditation was to stay in my Heart space.  No matter what comes my way, I must always try to see with the eyes of my heart. 

9 Feb 2017 – powerful words with the heart with wings. What we focus on gains power.

28 March 2017 The True Cost of Corporate Revenge (Corporate Coup d’état of the American Government) and Free Will

Hello to you, I hope you are doing well today. I was doing pretty well until I saw the latest horrors to come out of President Trump’s pen via yet another executive order regarding our shared Earth. When I see things like this coming from my government, I truly see one thing and that is….revenge.

Everything I have seen come out of this administration for the past three, almost four months now seems like a personal attack against all of us in America and around the world. I feel like we are now at the receiving end of 8 years of unbridled, pent-up corporate hate.

As I see it, our main defense has been, and continues to be how we spend our money. If we don’t buy it, they can’t sell it. If we don’t work for them, they can’t harvest and sell it.

What I am saying is the last card we have, and have always had, left to spend that cannot be taken, even by force and threat of death is: free will

If you choose to give away your “last card” by working for and or giving your money to the people and industries like are behind what President Trump is proposing to do, then you only have yourself to blame for what is coming.  A painful death from environmental pollution is indiscriminate and there is no place to hide, not even for those who think they will profit from this misery.

Profit from misery is a cardinal sin in my book.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/03/trump-executive-order-climate

Trump Just Released His Plan to Gut Obama’s Climate Policies. It’s Worse Than You Thought.

“A declaration of war.”

Rebecca LeberMar. 27, 2017 11:00 PM – see link for entire article

“The president will instruct agencies to rescind a moratorium on coal leasing on public lands; rewrite limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry; and ignore the EPA’s current calculation on the costs of carbon pollution. There are also broad directives reversing an Obama initiative requiring that federal departments consider climate mitigation strategy and the national security risks of global warming.

One of Trump’s more notable “Day One” promises is missing, however: The United States will remain in the landmark Paris climate accord for the time being—despite Trump’s pledge to “cancel” it.”

http://www.kyenvironmentalfoundation.org/coal-mining-health-risks.html

https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemicals.php?id=92 – Methane

http://westernlaw.org/article/report-living-near-oil-gas-emissions-increases-cancer-risk

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/air-pollution-everything-you-need-know

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/20/naomi_klein_on_trump_election_thisNaomi Klein on Trump Election: “This is a Corporate Coup d’état” – Journalists Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” and Lee Fang of The Intercept talk about the role of corporations inside the Trump administration and the inauguration

Don’t know why but on this train of thought Dr. Evil and his son Scott going to Group Therapy came to mind:

Austin Powers Group Therapy – Dr. Evil and Scott in group therapy

27 March 2017 What Would You Give (Poem) – taking time to appreciate the gifts of Nature

Hello to  you – I hope this finds you well.  Keeping it really simple today as I’m tired and adjusting to a morning without the sounds of my sweet Kyle’s voice and presence!  Today is his first day at work.  Much love and hugs to you reader(s) and I hope you will find a way, your special way, to make this World a better place.  Even if you can just manage a smile  and a heartfelt “hello” to a stranger – that’s a start!

26 March 2017 – the feeling outside was kind of “off” with the storms building and lurking about so I didn’t spend much time outside yesterday. We decided this looked like Mars lol.

Quotes that resonated from the Daily good today:

The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
William Shakespeare

Loneliness and the feeling of being uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty.
Mother Teresa

One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.
Dennis A. Peer

Today’s poem from my Grandma. To me, this Earth is more precious than money.

What Would You Give?

What would you give for a day in Spring,

With bright green grass and windy hills,

Sapphire skies and cotton clouds,

And the fairy gold of daffodils?

What would you give for a Summer day,

with your own rainbow overhead,

Butterflies and hummingbirds,

Hovering over each flower bed?

What would you give for an Autum day,

With leaves of orange and brown and gold,

The smell of wood smoke in the air,

And all of the love your heart could hold?

What would you give for a Winter day,

Whole landscapes glisten white with snow,

A blazing fire and af riend to share

Sweet memories of long ago?

Is there among us anyone,

With wealth enough to purchase all

This loveliness, no human hand

Can duplicate, however small?

What do you suppose the price

And value of such things would be?

No man who lives is rich enough,

….To buy what God gives us for free!

http://www.worldprayers.org/prayerwheel/index.html

Creator of heaven and earth,
You are me,
I am you.

prayer of a navajo girl – early 20th century

Sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses….take a moment to appreciate the gifts of Nature going on all around us each and every day.

You have to stop and smell the roses sometimes!

 

The rose garden of Kayoichou Park, Japan – 4K garden rose extravaganza

26 March 2017 Drawings, Spring (photos), Advocates for Homeless Call for More Housing, Better Service Coordination (KERA, Christopher Connelly) and ‘Right to Work’ Laws Increase Poverty, Decrease Productivity (neatoday.org, Columbus State Community College)

Good morning to you.  I hope you are well today as you visit here.  I’m feeling kind of foggy-headed this morning….my thanks to all those in heaven and earth that make coffee a reality!

Today is the “day before” going back to work and Kyle has been nervous, anxious and excited all at once!  I told him last night it’s like that feeling you get on Sunday night before you have to go back to work on Monday but on steroids lol.  I’m sure everything will go just fine,  jitters are normal when it comes to these things!

Yesterday, because of the rains we had, the air was really good and just a lovely day to spend outside.  I have been crying a lot when I’m out there but for a good reason….it’s just so darn beautiful.  Seeing the array of life doing all that they do to make our world come to life is so humbling for me.  Last night I sat with Link watching the sun going down and just the way the light came through the fence and softly lit the trees….they were literally glowing.  I was going to go get my camera and try to capture it but realized there was no way my camera was going to see what Link and I were seeing at that moment.  It was just for us.

Some quotes from the Daily Good randomizer (http://www.dailygood.org/) that resonated with me today:

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.
Helen Keller

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Harry S. Truman

We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.
The Talmud

We have enough stuff in the world — it’s just not in the right places.
Becky Morrison

When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.
Dalai Lama

The  subjects that I’m sharing about today in the “cut and pastes” to follow now, especially the problems of poverty and homelessness, resonate with me because of the experiences I’ve had through the years working with and talking to homeless people.  The reasons people become homeless and or wanderers are varied but one reason common to most, is the inability to obtain and keep stable employment that generates liveable wages.  In a country that is increasingly becoming Right to Work, stable employment is difficult to come by.   We’ve experienced, as has our family members, what it’s like to live in a Right to Work State and it is a very insecure way to live knowing that for just about any reason you could have a job one day and not have one the next.  This concept seems like a very short-sighted way to operate anything!  I feel that one of the core issues we need to correct to get our economy back on track involves economic security that comes from stable employment that pays liveable wages.  Putting people in a daily situation of not being sure whether or not they will have a  job is hard on people and their families.  Changing jobs frequently makes for a very unstable home life especially for children.  With the frequent moves that come with the gaining and losing of a job, comes the changing of schools and the leaving of friends and support systems.  This can severely impact a child’s sense of security and self-esteem over time (http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-Family-Moves-014.aspx).  There is much more to a job than just the money!

http://keranews.org/post/advocates-homeless-call-more-housing-better-service-coordination

Advocates For Homeless Call For More Housing, Better Service Coordination

By Christopher Connelly • Mar 23, 2017

A new report shows the number of people who are homeless in Tarrant and Parker Counties has not changed much over the past year. The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition released its annual homeless count on Thursday. It found 1,924 people living on the streets or in shelters, 14 fewer than last year.

“The number may not be significantly significant, but I assure you, escaping homelessness was significant for those 14 people, said Otis Thornton, who leads the coalition.

The count found fewer homeless veterans, and fewer women, who say domestic violence is the reason they became homeless. At the same time, there were more families on the streets, and one in five homeless people is under the age of 18.

Thornton told service providers and homeless people gathered at a community meeting at the Salvation Army’s Mabee Center that he wanted to to improve coordination between agencies so that people have an easier time navigating services and hear “yes” more often. He challenged aid organizations and their funders to focus their efforts on ending homelessness.

“Something has to change, or we’re going to find ourselves in the same situation year after year,” Thornton said.

The homeless count is basically a snapshot created by hundreds of volunteers fanning out across the two-county region on a single night to survey people staying in shelters or sleeping outside.

While the count found more than 1,900 people in its one-night snapshot, the coalition’s report estimated that more than 7,400 people in Tarrant and Parker Counties experienced homelessness at some point over the past year.

Some don’t make it into the annual census because they’re difficult to find.

Carol Klocek, who runs the Fort Worth-based Center for Transforming Lives, said many women and families aren’t in the shelters because there are too few family units, and they avoid the camps and vacant buildings where a lot of homeless people congregate and get counted.

“Moms with young children want to stay away from those places as much as they can because they’re not safe,” Klocek said. “Who wants their 3-year-old exposed to those kinds of harsh realities?”

Others are missed because they cycle in and out of homelessness over time. Klocek said many women earning low wages and providing for small children teeter back and forth on the edge of being homeless.

“One of the mothers we worked with had her hours cut right after one of her kids had the flu,” Klocek said. “Suddenly she didn’t have enough to pay rent so they lived in her car for a time until she could work enough and save enough to get back into her apartment.”

Low wages are especially problematic in a region that faces a severe shortage of affordable housing. Across Dallas-Fort Worth, there are only 19 affordable rental units for every 100 poor renters. Klocek said it would take a job making $19 an hour for a single mom to afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth.

In his presentation, Otis Thornton put it another way: A worker making minimum wage would have to work 76 hours a week to afford an apartment of their own at market rate in Tarrant County, he said.

Either way you put it, he said the math just doesn’t work out for a lot of people.

“Year after year, the data shows us nearly the same thing: That if they had stable employment, and they made enough to afford somewhere safe and decent to live, they would not be homeless,” Thornton said.

Thornton said adding affordable housing to reduce homelessness would save money in the long run. Homelessness, he said, is expensive.

“It costs about $10,000 per year when someone is stably housed,” he said. “In contrast, it costs about $30,000-$40,000 when somebody is homeless. It’s the cost of shelter, but it’s also the cost burden on our health care, criminal justice, and other systems that hit everybody’s pocketbook.”

Thornton estimates it would take around $650 million to fix the housing shortage in Tarrant County. Still, he said money alone won’t solve the problem. He said that until the greater community sees it as a priority to help their neighbors find safe, permanent homes, homelessness will be a continuing reality in Tarrant County.

http://www.nrtw.org/right-to-work-states – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, map showing Right to Work States:

http://neatoday.org/2012/08/14/right-to-work-laws-increase-poverty-decrease-productivity-2/ – I know this is an older article but with 29 States, Missouri and Kentucky just this year, becoming Right to Work, it’s relevant.

August 14, 2012 • 12:45PM

‘Right to Work’ Laws Increase Poverty, Decrease Productivity

By Columbus State Community College

On February 1, 2012, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels signed a “right-to-work” (RTW) provision in the state’s labor laws, making Indiana the twenty-third RTW state in the nation and the first in more than a decade to pass a law undermining the ability of unions to organize and represent their members. As I write this, efforts are under way in at least a half-dozen other states, including Ohio, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon, to follow the Indiana example and further limit the rights of unions nationwide.

In RTW states, unions are prohibited from including in their contracts “union security clauses,” which require all employees in the bargaining unit either to join the union or pay a portion of its dues. Worker-friendly states, on the other hand, allow provisions for the union to be the exclusive bargaining agent for those workers who are eligible for membership, and also require all eligible employees to pay at least a portion of the union dues.

Despite the eagerness to adopt these laws, the question of whether RTW laws actually benefit a state economically has remained largely unanswered. In this paper, using the most recent data available from public sources, I have analyzed a spectrum of seven measures for standard of living, including Gross Domestic Product GDP), poverty rates, life expectancy rates, and “income gap,” and determined whether there are differences in these measures between the 22 RTW states (not including Indiana, which joined them after this data was collected) and the 28 worker-friendly states.

The results clearly show the adverse consequences of RTW laws on people living in those states, and should inform the good efforts of union members and allies to quell the ongoing efforts to spread these laws nationally. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.” The evidence presented here shows that Dr. King was absolutely right.

An Analysis of the Data

The GDP, or the total amount of goods and services produced in a year, is probably the most accessible single measure of standard of living. A high GDP positively correlates with a high standard of living, and changes in living standards can be swiftly observed in corresponding changes in the GDP.

According to 2009 data, the GDP per capita for worker-friendly states collectively was $43,899, while the GDP per capita for the RTW states was $38,755 or 13.3 percent lower. It is worth emphasizing that GDP represents goods and services produced, and is not the same as per capita income. Thus, the initial analysis of this measure indicates that the worker-friendly states appear to be significantly “more productive” than the RTW states.

Poverty rates: Obviously a state with a high standard of living would be expected to have fewer residents living in poverty. Using U.S. Census income data, and applying it to the two groups of states, we find again that RTW states have a lower standard of living. Eleven of the 15 states with the highest poverty rates are RTW states, while nine of the 11 states with the lowest are worker-friendly. Furthermore, the percentage of the 2008 population living in poverty in RTW states was 14.4 percent, while the percentage in worker-friendly states was 12.4 percent. To put this difference in perspective, if the rate of poverty in RTW states was extended across the nation, an additional 3,670,000 American men, women, and children would be living in poverty today.

Health insurance: One would expect that a state with a high standard of living would have more of its citizens covered by basic health insurance, giving them access to preventive care and swift medical treatment. And, once again, the Census data show that the worker-friendly states have a higher standard of living. Fully 11 of the 13 states with the lowest uninsured rates are worker-friendly states, while 11 of the 15 states with the highest uninsured rates are RTW states. The median uninsured rate for worker-friendly states is 12.6 percent, while for RTW it is 15.7 percent. Again, to put this in perspective, if the rates of non-insured citizens in RTW states were spread across the country, then an additional 8,640,480 Americans would be uninsured and suffer a lack of access to affordable health care.

Life expectancy: While there may seem to be little reason for a correlation to exist between RTW laws and the life expectancy of citizens in those states, life expectancy data from the Harvard School of Public Health was included here because it is a very common measure of standard of living. And, as it turns out, the data reveal a surprising trend. Of the 13 states with the highest life expectancy rates, 10 are worker-friendly states. Conversely, of the 12 states with the lowest life-expectancy rates, only two are worker-friendly states. In worker-friendly states, citizens can expect to live 77.6 years (the median), while citizens in RTW states can expect to die at 76.7.

To read on (and to see the author’s state-by-state tables for each standard of living), visit www.nea.org/thoughtandaction.

What we noticed is a common practice in the industrial/manufacturing sector is to hire people just up until they make tenure and qualify for benefits and then they fire them.  The other factor is shareholders, especially in oil and gas.  Weir, when the prices of oil and gas were going down so much a couple of years ago now,  fired a significant portion of their labor force with little to no notice.  These are the kind of “jobs” that the Keystone and DAPL are and will continue to create btw – insecure and temporaryWhat also comes with oil and gas Boomtowns, much like happened with the gold rush, is crime. 

This was a thread I found on the subject of the Weir layoffs:

https://www.reddit.com/r/oilandgasworkers/comments/2tqh95/weir_oil_and_gas_layoffs/

Oil and Gas Workers

The goal of this sub is to be an information sharing location between those with experience and those just starting out in the industry. From field work to horror stories to interview questions, anything goes. We all have strong opinions, so lets try to respect that and keep everything civil.

This is an archived post. You won’t be able to vote or comment.

For content that does not contribute to any discussion.

Weir oil and gas layoffs self.oilandgasworkers

submitted 2 years ago * by akuj1k1

So I work for Weir in Fort Worth and they have already laid off around 1800 people a few weeks ago. Now I’m hearing today that they are going to lay off more tomorrow. Anyone know anything? I’m wondering how many more they will lay off.

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[–]BBQ4life • 5 points 2 years ago

Just got my pink slip today at Weatherford. Got 2 people at my shop of 16, and there is more lay offs coming. YaY oilfield!
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[–]llamadama • 2 points 2 years ago

I’m curious as well but like anywhere it’s completely up in the air. The market is shit right now and there are a ton of fleets built due to the last upswing.
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[–]BBQ4life • 2 points 2 years ago

Just found out that 2 days ago Weatherford laid off 150 people at their facilities down in corpus Christi, and yesterday afternoon they went to our facilities south of Houston (pearland) to lay off some people there. I think the way of the future will be to go with smaller companies with good investors that are ran by ex-big company folks that were canned as well. Example being Black Hawk, all ex-weatherford hands, engineers, the COO is a former VP. But yeah, 9-1/2 years with Weatherford, 2nd generation at the company. Between my pops and myself we had over 45 years with that company.
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http://www.egyptoil-gas.com/news/oil-prices-prompt-further-layoffs-at-weir-group/

Oil Prices Prompt Further Layoffs at Weir Group

Thursday, 30th April 2015

Weir Group is to cut a further 125 oil and gas jobs in North America as the FTSE 100 engineer continues to feel the pain from the slump in oil prices.

The Glasgow-based engineer, which manufactures valves and pumping equipment for miners and oil and gas companies, reported a 23% fall in orders for oil and gas in the first three months of the year and said it expects the decline to continue into the second quarter., Tanya Powley writes.

The group warned in February at its full-year results that the plummeting oil price will hit profitability this year, saying it expected a “significant reduction” in group revenues and lower operating margins in 2015. At the time, it announced plans to slash 22% of its North American workforce, taking total job cuts to 1,200.

On Wednesday, the engineer said it planned to make an additional 125 job cuts as well as the closure of a number of service centres because of challenging conditions in the market. This would result in a further £10m of cost savings, the company said.

Keith Cochrane, chief executive at Weir, said: “Trading conditions in oil and gas markets were challenging through the quarter with a steeper decline in the North American rig count than the market had anticipated.”

The company said it was facing pricing pressure from customers, with discounts ranging from between 5% and 20% across its product portfolio.

Source: Financial Times

What else comes with “rushes” like oil and gas:   

http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/03/news/economy/oil-boom-crime/index.html

America’s Biggest Boomtown

Sex, drugs and murder in oil country
by Steve Hargreaves   @hargreavesCNN
February 3, 2015: 11:37 AM ET

A few years ago, the oil boom brought jobs, workers and money to Williston, N.D. But the influx of young men also brought a rise in crimes like prostitution, drug trafficking, theft, and even murder.

http://time.com/money/4712355/keystone-pipeline-donald-trump-job-creation/and here is the bottom line.

How Many Jobs Will the Keystone Pipeline Actually Create? It Could Be As Few as 35

Mar 24, 2017

“It’s a great day for American jobs, and a historic moment for North America,” Trump said from the Oval Office on Friday.

But “the majority of these jobs would be short-term in nature,” the State Department told MONEY.

In fact, when the construction on the pipeline is complete, there will only be 50 jobs available related to the pipeline — 35 permanent ones, and 15 ones for temporary contractors, the State Department said.

 

 

25 March 2017 American Health Care Act withdrawn, In the Woods (poem), supporting your local PBS tv and radio stations (KERA) and drawings

Good morning to you.  I hope this finds you well where and when you are as you visit me here.  Thank you for coming to visit!  It gets kind of lonely out here in cyberspace!

Well yesterday we found out that the American Health Care Act of 2017 bill was withdrawn after failing to gain sufficient support.  The reasons the Democrats didn’t support it made sense to me, the House Freedom Caucus not so much.  I don’t understand why they didn’t just work together to fix flaws in the existing program and call it a day but they didn’t.  The government of the United States is broken and having an identity crisis of epic proportions.  My prayers go out to each and all on this; this is painful I’m sure for all involved.

The truth is there can be no sides when it comes to the service of people and taking care of this beautiful earth.  If you don’t want to serve anyone besides yourself and your own(s) best interests, may be it’s time to get another profession or go back to the one you were in. 

American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was a United States Congress bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It was based on a plan first publicly released by House Republicans on March 6, 2017, and the first part of what its proponents claim was a 3-phase plan to repeal the bill. The AHCA would have repealed the parts of the Affordable Care Act within the scope of the federal budget, including provisions contained within the Internal Revenue Code such as the individual and employer mandates and various taxes, and also modifications to the federal Medicaid program. The House bill was withdrawn on March 24, 2017, after the Republicans failed to gain sufficient support to pass it.

Wikipedia

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/24/trump-blames-democrats-for-gop-health-care-bill-failure-says-obamacare-is-imploding.html – I think it was immature for the President to just blame the Democrats for this bill failing when it was the House Freedom Caucus and other Republicans who also did not give this bill their vote. 

Freedom Caucus

The Freedom Caucus, also known as the House Freedom Caucus, is a congressional caucus consisting of conservative Republican members of the United States House of Representatives. It was formed by a group of Congressmen as a “smaller, more cohesive, more agile and more active” group of conservatives.

Freedom Caucus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Caucus

We become what we repeatedly do.
Sean Covey

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Abraham Lincoln

Kyle chose the poem from my Grandma today:

Kyle’s choice for one of my Grandma’s newspaper clipping poems today.

In the Woods

I do not need a clock

in this green place,

God is my time

with His eternal face.

The trees are tall and strong,

The sweet birds sing

And silence seems to smile

on everything.

the sunlight fills my heart,

It leads the way,

Like the finger of God

This autumn day.

It’s a beautiful world

I make my own,

Walking with God

in the woods alone.


I don’t know how it is for you, but for us we don’t have cable television and rely heavily on streaming and free broadcasts like our local Public Television Station KERA.  It saddens me that our current administration is so out of touch with their constituents to even consider defunding this program and NPR which Kyle and I also listen to regularly.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/03/15/trumps-budget-will-likely-slash-public-media-but-the-biggest-losers-wont-be-pbs-and-npr/?utm_term=.0c87be039156 – use link for complete article which includes charts breaking out expenses.

“President Trump’s impending budget proposal is expected to include deep cuts to public media, among other things, which would surely delight Republicans who have been trying, on and off, to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for five decades.

In January, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) filed a bill (again) that would strip federal funding from an agency that receives $445 million per year. Lamborn said in a statement that “this is not about content,” but accusations of liberal bias have long been embedded in efforts to cut off the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

http://www.kera.org/ – once Kyle gets steady work we will be making donating to KERA (Public Television) a monthly commitment.  We are examples of people who live in a rural area, don’t pay for cable and rely on stations like KERA and NPR for news and information. 

http://keranews.org/post/15-amazing-things-you-should-know-about-texas-bluebonnets?_ga=1.64003943.911446977.1490449965 – if you love flowers like I do, this post will help make your day!

 

24 March 2017 Chalk Drawings, Fry Bread (recipe), The Evolution of Gratitude (The Daily Good), The Man Who Sold the World (David Bowie’s song that is a cautionary tale), White Americans Are Dying From A Surge In ‘Deaths Of Despair’ (Ann Brenof, Huffington Post) and Types of Liars

Hello to you – hope this finds you well.  It’s Friday morning as I write to you.  For some reason the song by David Bowie, The Man Who Sold The World, has been coming up a lot for me lately.  The words just resonate with the vibe of our world these days.  It’s  not my favorite song he ever did, but for some reason it’s relevant right now.  I made some Fry Bread yesterday and couldn’t remember if I had shared the recipe with you before.  I probably have – call it blogitis – what happens after you’ve been blogging for awhile and start repeating yourself and don’t realize it lol.  We really enjoy it and what’s surprising for how simple it is, it ties us over for quite awhile after we eat it.  Kyle says it’s because of the Love I put into making it!  Anyhew.  Love from our house to yours.  Try to stay in your Heart space — choose Love not Hate.   

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/03/24/the-evolution-of-gratitude/

The Evolution of Gratitude

Mar 24, 2017— Malini Suchak, assistant professor of animal behavior, ecology, and conservation at Canisius College, researches gratitude, discovering that “Gratitude is one of the fundamentally important parts of human life.” But why is it “as much a part of our social relationships as gossip?” Darwin himself suggested that humans and other animals share the “same emotions, even the more complex ones such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude, and magnanimity.” As for gratitude — her initial research among chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys suggests that Darwin might be right.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. –Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Man Who Sold The World “Live” – David Bowie Featuring Klaus Nomi /Joey Arias

The Man Who Sold the World

David Bowie

We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

I laughed and shook his hand
And made my way back home
I searched for form and land
For years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazley stare
At all the millions here
We must have died alone
A long long time ago

Who knows
Not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

Who knows
Not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

Songwriters: DAVID BOWIE

© EMI Music Publishing, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2902

This song is about a man who no longer recognizes himself and feels awful about it. For years, Bowie struggled with his identity and expressed himself through his songs, often creating characters to perform them. On the album cover, Bowie is wearing a dress.

Some of the lyrics are based on a poem by Hugh Mearns called The Psychoed:

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who was not there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish that man would go away

Some lyrical analysis: “We passed upon the stair” is a figurative representation of a crossroads in Bowie’s life, where Ziggy Stardust catches a glimpse of his former self, (being David Bowie) which he thought had died a long time ago. Then he (the old David Bowie) says: “Oh no, not me. I never lost control.” This indicates that Bowie never really lost sight of who he was, but he Sold The World (made them believe) that he had become Ziggy, and he thought it was funny (I laughed and shook his hand). He goes on to state, “For years and years I roamed,” which could refer to touring. “Gaze a gazely stare at all the millions here” are the fans at concerts.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/deaths-of-despair-white-americans_us_58d3e14de4b0f838c6301604 – I suggest going to this link, video is included that summarizes this article very well.  Here is evidence of what is truly at stake when you make promises you never intended to keep. 

White Americans Are Dying From A Surge In ‘Deaths Of Despair’

This may help explain Trump, according to economists studying mortality.

03/23/2017 08:16 pm ET

By Ann Brenoff

Dwindling jobs for white, poorly educated, middle-age Americans is not only destroying their livelihoods and marriages, but also their lives, two Princeton University economists argue in a paper released Thursday.

The mortality rate for whites with no more than a high school degree was about 30 percent higher than for blacks in 2015, according to the report, to be presented at the Brookings Institution on Friday. That’s a huge increase from 1999, when the mortality rate for this group of whites was about 30 percent lower than for blacks.

“This is a story of the collapse of the white working class,” said Angus Deaton, who co-wrote the paper with Anne Case. “The labor market has very much turned against them,” he told The New York Times.

Case and Deaton first noted the increase in mortality among middle-aged whites with high school educations in 2015. Their new report found that the trend has not abated over the past two years, and there’s been no reduction in what they call “deaths of despair” ― including those caused by suicide, drugs and alcohol.

The authors wrote that increases in deaths of despair are accompanied by a measurable deterioration in the economic and social well-being of whites lacking college education.

“It’s not just their careers that have gone down the tubes, but their marriage prospects, their ability to raise children,” Deaton told the Times. “That’s the kind of thing that can lead people to despair.”

The new study found that the highest mortality rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide among whites ages 45 to 54 are no longer limited geographically. In 2000, these deaths were centered in the Southwest. By the mid-2000s, they had spread to Appalachia, Florida, and the West Coast. Today, they are nationwide.

The trend affects whites of both sexes. Education level is significant because people with a college degree report better health and greater happiness than those who never attended. And while the death rate for whites without a college degree is rising, the rate for whites who are college graduates has dropped, Case and Deaton found.

Less-educated white Americans who struggle in the job market in early adulthood are likely to experience a “cumulative disadvantage” over time, according to the study.

“Ultimately, we see our story as about the collapse of the white, high-school-educated working class after its heyday in the early 1970s, and the pathologies that accompany that decline,” they concluded.

The research also speaks to the story of Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency. Trump won widespread support among whites with only a high school diploma, suggesting that this demographic saw him as a savior for their struggles.

Deaton pointed out to The Times that Trump’s first months as president have presented those supporters with a cruel twist, singling out the Republican health care legislation, which Trump supports.

“The policies that you see seem almost perfectly designed to hurt the very people who voted for him,” Deaton told the Times.

Reversing mortality trends that in many cases began in the 1970s could take years, the study said ― regardless of Trump’s policies. But some immediate steps could help. Deaton told the Times that routine prescriptions for opioids should be curbed, for example. More than 30,000 Americans died of opioid overuse in 2015

*I was curious about the difference in the types of liars when thinking about certain people in our headlines: 

https://www.truthaboutdeception.com/lying-and-deception/confronting-a-partner/compulsive-lying/types-of-liars.html

What is the Difference Between a Sociopath, a Compulsive, a Pathological, a Chronic, and a Habitual Liar?

A Sociopath

A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others. A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused—it is done to get one’s way). Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways (see lovefraud, for more on sociopaths).

Compulsive Liar

A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small. For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right. Compulsive lying is usually thought to develop in early childhood, due to being placed in an environment where lying was necessary. For the most part, compulsive liars are not overly manipulative and cunning (unlike sociopaths), rather they simply lie out of habit—an automatic response which is hard to break and one that takes its toll on a relationship (see how to cope with a compulsive liar).

The terms Pathological Liar, Habitual Liar and Chronic Liar are often used to refer to a Compulsive Liar

Take a quick survey and see how your lying compares with others – compulsive lying quiz.

For recent research on the topic of lying, visit our blog.

Related Information:

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23 March 2017 Dream about my Uncle (trucker’s), A Place in My Heart (poem) and The Man Who Planted Trees (Daily Good)

Hello to you today. I hope as you visit me from wherever you are in your time and place that you are well. I’m recovering from watching the news this morning.   When I see all of what’s going on, I try to remember when you plant rotten seed, you’re going to get rotten fruit.  Seed, in this case, a metaphor for what outcomes we get in this world from counter-productive and often divisive teachings occurring in our homes, schools, government buildings, media rooms, amongst family and friends.  You reap what you sow.  So for my part, I will continue to try to plant good seeds in hopes that even if they don’t germinate in my lifetime, someday they could!  What kind of “garden” are you planning?  Mind your seeds!

Be the change you want to see – Mahatma Gandhi

This morning I woke up after a dream about my Uncle Ron. The dream about my Uncle was triggered by seeing an older truck driver get out of his cab after we had put gas in our car on Monday. I immediately thought of my Uncle when I saw this man. He looked so stiff and exhausted as he got out of his truck to go in to the Quick Trip off of I-35.

My Uncle Ron and his Mom and my Mom.

My Uncle Ron was a truck driver for many years of his life and died of lymphoma (form of cancer) way too young. He was one of my favorite Uncles! I mean you know your Uncle is awesome when he remembers you love Foreigner 4 and buys you a cassette of their music for your birthday! I have many special memories of him which include his taking the time on his travels to come and visit me even after I was in the military. I can remember one visit in particular of his wanting to meet with my ex and I at a truck stop. I think we were living in California at the time. I can remember us getting to the designated truck stop and going in there to look for my Uncle and just seeing all these lonely and tired men sitting there. Men like my Uncle just taking a break from their lonely travels. It was so sad! I’m so glad that more trucker’s have found way to incorporate companionship into their work by bringing along their family and or pets.  My prayers go out to the men, women…families…that are out there making this world and all it’s goods go.

(one of my all-time favorite Foreigner songs from the cassette Uncle Ron bought for me so many years ago for my birthday!)

Anyways. The dream was of such a meeting with my Uncle.  For some reason in the dream I was running beside his truck and talking to him at the same time. I told him I was afraid to knock on his maroon colored cab door because it might startle him and cause an accident! I am grateful for such a dream and opportunity to remember such a good man.

Poem from my Grandma Schmidt for today:

A Place in My Heart

There is a place deep down in my heart

Which has sheltered me many a year,

A stronghold of Faith that defies all the worst

That we’re bound to come up against here.

There is a place in my heart full of Hope,

Like a spring in the desert of living,

And its waters are cool and they nourish my soul,

With the joy of unselfish giving.

There is a place in my heart full of Love,

That warms through the coldest night,

Sustaining my always, in spite of my fears,

As I walk toward the tunnel of light.

For I am a child of the Lord, and I know

From the start of the day ’til its close,

That Faith, Hope and Love are dear to His heart,

….and He’s given me plenty of those.

Each day is a push and pull between our best and worst natures and I am always praying the best will win out in the end. Much Faith, Hope, Light and Love to you today. Just BREATHE!

From the Daily Good, The Man Who Planted Trees: A Conversation with David Milarch

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/03/23/the-man-who-planted-trees/

Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? Walt Whitman

The Man Who Planted Trees

Mar 23, 2017— Twenty some years ago David Milarch hovered above the bed, looking down at his motionless body. Years of alcoholism and hard living had booted him out of his life. A cosmic commandment would return him to it. His improbable charge? To clone the world’s champion trees – the giants that had survived millennia and would be unvanquished by climate change. Experts said it couldn’t be done. Fast-forward to today, and Milarch is now the keeper of a Noah’s Ark of sorts, filled with the genetics for repopulating the world’s most ancient trees. Founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive he is on a mission to restore the lungs of the planet — a mission that now reaches close to 300 million people each year. “Spend a couple of days in an old-growth forest, you’ll come out different from when you went in. Those trees affect our physical, mental and especially our spiritual bodies. Redwoods have been on this planet for 400 million years longer than humans. I believe that trees have a soul, they have a conscience. And I do believe that anyone, everyone can learn to communicate with them.” Milarch shares more in this fascinating in-depth interview.

22 March 2017 Poor air quality (North Texas), “Just Ask”, chalk squiggles and Anthony Chavez: Continuing a Legacy of Inspiration (Daily Good)

Good morning to you.  It’s Wednesday, 9:52 am as I start to write to you.  Hard to believe it’s already the middle of the week!  Hard to believe we are almost to the end of March already too!  If the next four years can go this fast that might be a good thing lol!

So yesterday I spent a little time outside but not too much.  The air quality here has been very poor for us allergy sufferers lately.  We live in an area with cement plants, methane from the many natural gas wells we have around and in town, other industrial operations, lots of traffic, surrounded by states on fire and on top of that Nature is trying to do their thing and that means lots of pollen.  Some days I actually wear a mask but it’s probably not strong enough to strain out everything!  This morning I walked out and nearly got sick it smelled so bad;  I actually felt nauseous.  Either a herd of skunks came through the area or something else.  I can remember when they fracked the natural gas well in the fields behind our house it smelled like that too.  I’m hoping it was just a skunk!  I waited later than normal to walk Spot and Link, but even then my lungs burned and I was coughing when I came in.  We are supposed to get some “weather” towards the end of the week, some of it possibly severe, so may be that will help clear the air for a bit.  Clean air is not something to take for granted.  I feel bad for the people around here who have kids with asthma, older folks with COPD, lung cancer and other respiratory problems.

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/air-pollution/index.cfm – excerpt

“How is air pollution linked to climate change?

While climate change is a global process, it has very local impacts that can profoundly affect communities, not the least of which is air pollution.

Increasing temperatures are directly linked to poor air quality which, in turn, can affect the heart and exacerbate cardiovascular disease.  Examples of this may include a rise in pollen, due to increased plant growth, or a rise in molds, due to severe storms — both of which can worsen allergies and other lung diseases, such as asthma.

Scientists say an increasing rise in ozone levels are also a concern.”

Anyhew.  I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m whining or complaining.  I just like to spend a lot of my time outside and when this kind of stuff is going on I don’t want to be out there.  To me it’s the same sort of feeling someone might have if they couldn’t  go to their church building for whatever reason.  Nature is my church; it’s where I talk to the God of my understanding.  It frustrates me that we have people in our country, people who are positions that involve oversight and or preservation of our air, water, soil and natural resources that don’t seem to appreciate the gift that is this planet like so many of us do.  Because we actually spend time in Nature, we see that there is a plan for every single life on this planet….they are interconnected.  When you remove even a single part of the connection the entire component starts to fall apart.  We are each designed to play a part and this holds true for all lifeforms we share this planet with.

“I will not lose my hope in us and our ability to do not what’s easy, but what is right.  Doing the right thing is seldom easy but it is lasting. It is the stuff of visionaries. “

Kyle’s new word for today as he describes the two of us, we are “reasonaries.”  People who can see through bullshit lol.

Some quotes that resonated:

Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection with all things.
Jack Kornfield

Music is an immediate art; it’s always happening right now
Sam Andrew

One Touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
William Shakespeare – Troilus and Cressida

We’re all just walking each other home.
Ram Dass

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/03/22/anthony-chavez-continuing-a-legacy-of-inspiration/

Anthony Chavez: Continuing a Legacy of Inspiration

Mar 22, 2017— When Cesar Chavez died, 30,000 people showed up to march in his honor. He was the visionary force behind the United Farm Workers union and had led the Farm Workers Movement fighting for civil rights while promoting nonviolence. Anthony Chavez, seven-years-old at the time, knew him simply as –Grandpa. Today Anthony is a leader in his own right, he travels the country speaking on behalf of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, keeping his grandfather’s legacy alive, while advocating for service learning initiatives in the field of education. “I remind students what my grandfather said, ‘We don’t need perfect political systems, what we need is more perfect participation,'” Anthony says. His vibrant journey includes many years serving as travel assistant to Brother David Steindl-Rast, the world-renowned Benedictine monk, author and inter-religious pioneer.