8 Dec 2017 Old town visit, Jan Ingenhousz (Photosynthesis), Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his interns, CRISPR-Cas9 (Gene editing) and Our Father (prayer)

Hello to you. How are you this morning? I am on my second cup of coffee as I write to you….another night of poor sleep. Kyle says that after the Vet’s office calls us to collect May’s ashes and we bring them home, may be I’ll be able to rest. I’ll admit I do keep listening for her voice. Last night before bed I did a drawing and she was definitely there in my thoughts as I did it:

7 Dec 2017 – Drawing I did before bed last night. Missing our May kitty.

Yesterday afternoon I went to our town square to see if one of the shops, Indians and Outlaws (https://www.facebook.com/Indiansandoutlaws) in particular, still had some of the home-made soaps I bought last year.  Kyle’s youngest brother just loved the lemon soaps.  The shop owner, Brian and I had another one of our far-reaching spiritual talks.  He told me he loves it when I come in there because of the discussions we get into.  As we talked he was saying it was funny how many things we were talking about overlapped with conversations he had just had with other people.  I love it when that happens!  He reminds me of my Dad’s brother Uncle John when he was younger.  He could be family!  Part of our conversation before I bought the soaps, was about our physical bodies just being earthly vessels – Brian’s words and I really liked that way of saying what we both believe.  These bodies are just earthly vessels.  We both also feel like Jesus never left us – just became part of us all.

7 Dec 2017 – it was cold after I got back from talking to Brian but I was so inspired I did this drawing.

After spending time with Brian, I walked down to Alvarado Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles to see how everyone was doing in there: (https://www.facebook.com/Alvarado-Gifts-and-Collectibles-147253735447257/ or  http://lloop27.wixsite.com/alvarado-gifts)

Snowflakes had started to fall, which was surprising to us all!  Apparently Brian and Mr. Davis had a friendly wager going on between them about that the day before!  I was sad to find out that the owner’s mother-in-law Darlene son Michael wasn’t doing very well.  It sounded like they weren’t sure if he would be with us much longer.  Michael suffers from muscular dystrophy.  They lost his brother recently from the same condition.  The two boys had shared the same room for 12 years.  I can only imagine how lonely it must be for Michael without his brother who probably understood him better than anyone on this earth.  My prayers are with these folks.  It’s tough to face such things, especially during a time of year that is supposed to be happy.

So this mornings post title and subject matter may seem oddly patched together. It started with my seeing Google celebrating the 287th birthday of the Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist named Jan Ingenhousz. I didn’t remember hearing about him so when I looked and saw he was responsibly for the discovery of photosynthesis in plants, I had to know more!

http://time.com/5055533/jan-ingenhousz-google-doodle-photosynthesis-plants/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Ingenhousz

Jan Ingenhousz or Ingen-Housz FRS (8 December 1730 – 7 September 1799) was a Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist. He is best known for discovering photosynthesis by showing that light is essential to the process by which green plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.[1][2][3] He also discovered that plants, like animals, have cellular respiration.[4] In his lifetime he was best known for successfully inoculating the members of the Habsburg family in Vienna against smallpox in 1768 and subsequently being the private counsellor and personal physician to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa.[5]

As I perused the news headlines, I was curious to see what happened with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his interns. It turned out there was “plant-related” discussion, about cannabis (Marijuana) in particular (see the actual video by using the link):

http://www.businessinsider.com/interns-confront-jeff-sessions-on-police-brutality-gun-control-marijuana-2017-12

Justice Department interns confronted Jeff Sessions over police brutality, gun control, and marijuana

Michelle Mark

Justice Department interns posed tough questions to Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an event over the summer, newly published video shows.

Sessions told one intern that “other places in the country” have different views regarding excessive use-of-force from police officers.

He told another that marijuana is not a healthy substance.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was grilled by Justice Department interns over the summer about contentious issues like police violence and marijuana legalization, an internal video obtained by ABC News shows.

During the private event, one intern asked Sessions about Philando Castile and Michael Brown, two black men killed in recent years by police officers who were not convicted for the fatal shootings.

“I grew up in one of these communities,” the intern said. “I grew up in the projects to a single mother. And the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors but the police.”

Sessions, appearing frustrated, replied, “Well, that may be the view in Berkeley, but it’s not the view in other places in the country.”

“I hear you, I hear you,” Sessions continued. “We’ve got a situation where we need to confront violent crime in America in cities that have abandoned traditional police activities, like Baltimore and Chicago. Murder rates have surged, particularly in poor neighborhoods.”

Sessions went on to say that the Justice Department is committed to defending Americans’ civil rights and would prosecute police officers who violate them.

Coincidentally, the video’s release occurred on the same day as the sentencing of former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, who will serve 20 years in prison for fatally shooting Walter Scott in the back as he fled a traffic stop in April 2015. Slager pleaded guilty in May to federal civil rights violations.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Thursday that Sessions’ discussion with the interns was intended to give students the opportunity “to have robust conversation — even debates — about the challenges facing our country with the attorney general.”

‘Marijuana is not a healthy substance’

Another intern posed a fiery question comparing marijuana deaths to gun deaths, remarking that the latter was more statistically significant.

“Since guns kill more people than marijuana, why lax laws on one and harsh laws on the other?” she said.

Sessions responded that the question was one of “apples and oranges” and asked whether she was aware of the Second Amendment.

“I intend to defend that Second Amendment. It’s as valid as the First Amendment. So that’s my basic philosophical view about it,” he said. “Look, there’s this view that marijuana is harmless and it does no damage. I believe last year was the first year that automobile accidents that occurred were found to have been caused more by drugs than by alcohol.”

He went on to say that “marijuana is not a healthy substance, in my opinion,” arguing that the American Medical Association is “crystal clear on that.” When Sessions asked the intern whether she believed that point, the intern responded, “I don’t.”

“Okay, so Dr. Whatever Your Name Is, you can write to AMA to see why they think otherwise,” Sessions said.

I don’t entirely agree with the Attorney General either and found his reply to the intern rather rude. A few pro’s and con’s about Marijuana:

http://www.cannabissearch.com/articles/pros-vs-cons-of-marijuana/

Pros vs. Cons of Cannabis

There are many great things that cannabis has to offer, both as a medicine and a potentially legal drug in the future. On the other end of the spectrum, there are a few negative aspects about this medication. Under current federal law, the Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance. This is means that the U.S. government feels that there are no accepted medical benefits, it has a high potential for abuse and is unsafe for use even under medical supervision. As of now, 16 states and territories currently permit medical marijuana use for patients with legitimate prescriptions for the substance. The following will chronicle both the pros and cons of medical marijuana use, as well as legalization.

Pros

Despite the fact that the government has classified cannabis as a Schedule I substance, it has been proven that marijuana is helpful in the treatment of many medical ailments, ranging from cancer to anxiety. One of the main reasons many feel that marijuana is still illegal is because of the minimal amount of effort the government has put into testing its medicinal value. Were cannabis to be legalized, it would be easier for scientists to conduct tests proving marijuana’s effectiveness as a medication. Another positive outcome of legalization would be the immense amount of jobs it would generate for people such as Oaksterdam graduates. Taxing marijuana (like we now do with alcohol) would also assist in maintaining a steadier economy. In California, medical marijuana generates over $14 billion per year. Ironically, the United States government spends an estimated $10 billion per year trying to rid the streets and dispensaries of marijuana. Imagine how much more revenue would be generated if you could purchase it at a convenience store.

Cancer patients and/or those undergoing chemotherapy find medical marijuana extremely helpful in reducing vomiting, nausea and increasing appetite. Most of these patients are taking enough heavy-duty medications as it is, and rather than take one more for appetite increase (that often doesn’t work), they turn to medicinal marijuana. Also, prior to undergoing potentially worrisome treatments or doctor visits, these patients will find that using medical marijuana prior to these trips can relieve much stress, tension and anxiety. AIDS patients also find this medication helpful in increasing appetite and maintaining some muscle mass.

Shown to provide relief for those suffering from pain and muscle spasms associated with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS), cannabis also helps with chronic pain and depression. Many patients with severe and chronic pain are prescribed medical marijuana, especially those who do not wish to take such “hard” drugs as Oxycontin or Vicodin. There are many more medical ailments that cannabis is capable of treating, including migraines, glaucoma, insomnia, asthma, anorexia, as an alcohol substitute and even ADHD/ADD.

Cons

While exceptionally helpful in treating a wide array of medical problems, as with an medication, is has side-effects. Ingesting cannabis slows the motor skills and reaction time, can sometimes cause paranoia and mood swings, fatigue and increased appetite, while under its effect. Long-term effects of marijuana use include memory loss, confusion and/or a delayed thought-process, blockage of blood vessels and can lead to lung cancer if continuously smoked (not vaporized or eaten). It can also cause loss of motivation, cramps and rarely diarrhea.

Then the path I’m on this morning lead to an article about how Scientists are playing with DNA again. In my mind, this next leading connects back to plants, to the “first” creations of the force, the “God” that created all of existence.  This article is yet another, of too many examples of  how humans insist on continuing to muck around in creation.  Sometimes it seems to me they do it more for  personal glory and profit than for humanitarian aims:

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-crispr-gene-expression-20171207-story.html

Scientists use CRISPR to turn genes on without editing their DNA

The revolutionary gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 is best-known for helping scientists edit a strand of DNA more precisely and efficiently than ever before.

Now, researchers have demonstrated another use for the CRISPR complex: changing what genes are expressed without altering the genome itself.

…………………………………

What this looks like is yet another money-making scheme. Rather than a cure we get another, more expensive treatment option. There will more than likely be the Elysium movie version of such a treatment (for the wealthy) and the rest of us will most likely only have the repeated treatments option like we currently do to “treat” cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other common ailments:

“Our final goal is treatment of disease, so we want to make sure this technique is really working,” Hatanaka said.

Komor said the work is exciting, but she noted that the end result would be a disease treatment, rather than a cure.

“So a patient would likely require repeated treatments depending on the particular disease,” she said.

For example (lead to this article next); could this CRISPR “treatment” potentially cure the incurable Alzheimers disease? Or would it ultimately just be like what is going on in the realms of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases? Kyle and I suspect one of the reasons Bernie Sander’s proposal for healthcare for all Americans (https://berniesanders.com/issues/medicare-for-all/) hasn’t taken hold and been approved is because it would not be in the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry.   Would we see more cures if there was no profit to be made from long-term “treatments?”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/new-estimate-says-46-million-americans-headed-alzheimer-s-n827456

New estimate says 46 million Americans headed to Alzheimer’s

by Maggie Fox

Close to 50 million Americans could be in the early stages leading to Alzheimer’s disease right now, according to a new forecast.

And 6 million people likely have it now, the team at the University of California Los Angeles calculated.

The forecast is based on a lot of supposition as well as some hard data, but it’s the best estimate of how badly Alzheimer’s will affect the country in the coming years, said Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association, who was not involved in the research.

Finally lead to prayer. I know from my own personal experience that when people I love and care about are sick or dying I pray to the God of my understanding. There was this headline today:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pope-francis-wants-to-change-line-of-our-father/ar-BBGnr4G?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Pope Francis wants to change line of ‘Our Father’

Pope Francis has suggested he wants to make a change to The Lord’s Prayer, widely known among the faithful as the “Our Father.”

Specifically, the Catholic leader said in an interview Wednesday he would prefer to adjust the phrase “lead us not into temptation,” saying that it too strongly suggested that God leads people to sin.

“That is not a good translation,” the pope said, according to Reuters.

The phrase “do not let us fall into temptation,” which the Catholic Church in France has previously decided to use, would be a more appropriate alternative, Francis said.

He added that the phrase used by the French, or similar wording, should then be implemented around the globe.

The prayer originated from Jesus’s language of Aramaic. It was then translated to ancient Greek, and later to Latin.

The pope earlier this week weighed in on President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would aim to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Francis said he was “profoundly concerned” and appealed that “everyone respects the status quo of the city.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

In my curiosity to see if there was something official on the Vatican site, I found this which coincides in the date timeframe of the final article I’m linking:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/cotidie/2013/documents/papa-francesco-cotidie_20130620_our-father.html

POPE FRANCIS

MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE

Pray Our Father

Thursday, 20 June 2013

(by L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 26, 26 June 2013)

There is no need to fritter away words in order to pray: the Lord knows what we want to say to him. The important thing is that our first word be “Father”. Jesus’ advice to the Apostles was what Pope Francis, in turn, offered during the homily at Mass on Thursday morning, 20 June, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Concelebrating, among others, was Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, who was accompanied by some staff from the dicastery.

Thus the Pontiff repeated Jesus’ advice to the Apostles when he gave them the Our Father, according the Evangelist Matthew’s account (6:7-15). In order to pray, there is no need to make noise or believe that that it is better to use more words. There is no need to trust in noise, the noise of worldliness which Jesus pointed out, “to sound the trumpet” or “making oneself seen while fasting”. To pray, the Holy Father repeated, there is no need to heap up empty phrases: Jesus called this a characteristic of pagans.

Pope Francis went further, confirming that prayer must not be considered a magic formula: “Praying is not something magic; one doesn’t practice magic with prayer”. As he often does, he recounted his personal experience. He said that he never turned to sorcerers who promise magic; rather he knew what happened in meetings of this sort: many words are used to obtain “healing one time and at another time something else” with the help of magic. However, he warned, “this is pagan”.

So how should we pray? Jesus has taught us: “he says that the Father who is in heaven ‘knows what you need before you ask him”. Therefore, let our first word be “’Father’. This is the key to prayer. Without speaking, without feeling this word, praying is not possible”, the Bishop of Rome explained. Then he asked: “To whom do I pray? The almighty God? He is too far away. I don’t feel him; neither did Jesus feel him. To whom do I pray? The God of the cosmos? This is quite frequent nowadays, isn’t it? Praying to the cosmic God. This polytheistic model comes with a superficial culture”.

Rather, we must “pray to the Father”, who begot us. But this is not all: we must pray “our” Father, that is, not the Father of a generic and too anonymous “all”, but the One “who begot you, who gave you life, who gave life to you and me”.

———–

I don’t agree with everything here, to me the term Father is exclusive and paternalistic. I have a loving Father AND Mother and that is not the case for many people on this planet. There are many people who hate their parents and to inject these terms into their prayers often keeps them off prayer altogether. Turns them away from any concept of God altogether.

I believe masculine and feminine energy of creation applies in “heaven” as on earth. I have learned to pray like supposedly Jesus did when he talked to the God of his understanding which it is written was his Father, “Not as I would have it, but as you would have it. Whatever is for the greatest, most loving good for this (person, place or situation.” Then I let it go. I agree with the Pope that when you use too many words or place too many conditions in your prayers you seldom if ever get an discernable answer.

I was curious to see if there would be any articles like this to back up my theories here as to why so many people have turned away from organized religions and was lead to this article:

https://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why

More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?

January 15, 20133:21 AM ET

Heard on Morning Edition

NPR Staff

Rigoberto Perez (from left), Kyle Simpson and Miriam Nissly participated in a roundtable discussion about religion with NPR’s David Greene at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

Coburn Dukehart/NPR

One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion.

NPR’s David Greene wanted to understand why, so he gathered a roundtable of young people at a synagogue in Washington, D.C. The 6th & I Historic Synagogue seemed like the right venue: It’s both a holy and secular place that has everything from religious services to rock concerts. Greene speaks with six people — three young women and three young men — all struggling with the role of faith and religion in their lives.

Interview Highlights

Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an “agnostic bent.” She loves going to synagogue.

“I realize maybe there’s a disconnect there — why are you doing it if you don’t necessarily have a belief in God? But I think there’s a cultural aspect, there’s a spiritual aspect, I suppose. I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don’t think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with.”

Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn’t believe.

“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. I remember growing up, in like fifth [or] sixth grade I’d hear these stories and be like, ‘That’s crazy! Why would this guy do this? Just because he heard a voice in his head, he went to sacrifice his son and it turned into a goat?’ There’s no way that this happened. I wasn’t buying it.

“Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”

Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says “Salvation from the cross” in Latin.

“It’s a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, ‘Oh, you’re a Christian,’ and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, ‘What does that mean?’ and it’s like, “It’s Latin for ‘I made a mistake when I was 18.’

“When I first got the tattoo I remember thinking, ‘Oh, this will be great because when I’m having troubles in my faith I will be able to look at it, and I can’t run away from it.’ And that is exactly what is happening.

“I don’t [believe in God] but I really want to. That’s the problem with questions like these is you don’t have anything that clearly states, ‘Yes, this is fact,’ so I’m constantly struggling. But looking right at the facts — evolution and science — they’re saying, no there is none. But what about love? What about the ideas of forgiveness? I like to believe they are true and they are meaningful.

“I think having a God would create a meaning for our lives, like we’re working toward a purpose — and it’s all worthwhile because at the end of the day we will maybe move on to another life where everything is beautiful. I love that idea.”

Melissa Adelman, 30, raised Catholic

“Starting in middle school we got the lessons about why premarital sex was not OK, why active homosexuality was not OK, and growing up in American culture, kids automatically pushed back on those things, and so we had some of those conversations in school with our theology teachers. The thing for me — a large part of the reason I moved away from Catholicism was because without accepting a lot of these core beliefs, I just didn’t think that I could still be part of that community.

“I remember a theology test in eighth grade where there was a question about homosexuality, and the right answer was that if you are homosexual, then that is not a sin because that’s how God made you, but acting upon it would be a sin. That’s what I put down as the answer, but I vividly remember thinking to myself that that was not the right answer.”

Rigoberto Perez, 30, raised as Seventh-day Adventist

“It was a fairly important part of our lives. It was something we did every Saturday morning. We celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. It was pretty hard growing up in a lot of ways. We didn’t have a lot of money, the household wasn’t very stable a lot of the time, so when something bad would happen, say a prayer, go to church. When my mom got cancer the first time, it was something that was useful at the time for me as a coping mechanism.

“While I was younger, my father drank a lot. There was abuse in the home. My brother committed suicide in 2001. So at some point you start to say, ‘Why does all this stuff happen to people?’ And if I pray and nothing good happens, is that supposed to be I’m being tried? I find that almost kind of cruel in some ways. It’s like burning ants with a magnifying glass. Eventually that gets just too hard to believe anymore.”

Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.

“I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that’s where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Dec 2017 Contradictions and Hypocrisy – when actions don’t match your words (Gun violence in America and Peace in Jerusalem)

Hello to you.  It’s 6:04 am and I know most people are going to tune out of what I am sharing here but I have resolved a long time ago that even if one other person is helped by anything I have to say here, even if it’s only me, then I have fulfilled the mission of the blogger.

This said……

News headline I read this morning:  House passes bill to let gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines  and then I read President Trump’s speech about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…..two words came to mind….contradiction and hypocrisy.  The second word very apt with regards to Jerusalem as it comes from the book about a man who was declared a God who had the same problem with the Government officials of his time; some things never change!  I had just recently mentioned my being happy that 16 retired military generals were trying to influence sensible gun control legislation and apparently the House was unmoved to take any such sort of action.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/after-mass-shootings-retired-military-commanders-urge-congress-to-address-gun-violence-crisis/ar-BBG2X1c?OCID=ansmsnnews11

After mass shootings, retired military commanders urge Congress to address ‘gun violence crisis’

There is an irony to there being 16 noted entries of hypocrisy in the NIV Bible translation.  At least these retired generals are trying make up for their part in the violence that exists in this world: 

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=hypocrites&qs_version=NIV

16 Bible results for “hypocrites.” Showing results 1-16.

Suggested result

Matthew 23 [Full Chapter]

[ A Warning Against Hypocrisy ] Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. …

Bible search results

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

[ Prayer ] “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

[ Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees ] “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.” From President Donald Trump’s speech as he justified to the world recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  How about we try some new approaches to stem the violence in our own country Mr. President and members of the House of Representatives!

 

http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

Gun Violence Archive

Vox

Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts

October 02, 2017

Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts

Read Article

Washington Post

Trump promised to end the “American carnage.” Gun deaths are up 12 percent.

July 27, 2017

Trump promised to end the “American carnage.” Gun deaths are up 12 percent.

Read Article

Media Matters

Mass Shootings Still Happen All The Time, So Why Does The Press Look Away?

April 01, 2017

Mass Shootings Still Happen All The Time, So Why Does The Press Look Away?

Read Article

Last Vegas Review Journal

Las Vegas Shooting

October 26, 2017

In-depth coverage of the Las Vegas shooting.

Read Article

Newsweek

There Have Been More Mass Shootings in the U.S. in 2017 than Days

August 30, 2017

There have been more mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017 than days.

Read Article

The Guardian

Mapping gun murders at the micro level

March 21, 2017

Mapping US gun murders at a micro level: new data zooms in on violence .

Read Article

Gun Violence Archive

 Again – Republicans have been given an opportunity to try and bring peace to the people of the United States with regards to gun violence and once again…..epic failure.  Who are we to talk to any other country on earth about how to attain peace?!   Hypocricy and Contradictions yet rule the day and an entire country: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-passes-bill-to-let-gun-owners-to-carry-concealed-weapons-across-state-lines/2017/12/06/844bd7b2-dad2-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html?utm_term=.5c38649b6443

House passes bill to let gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines

Demonstrators at the Capitol on Wednesday protest concealed-carry legislation. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By Katie Zezima December 6 at 6:27 PM

The House on Wednesday passed a bill that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

The bill, which the National Rifle Association has called its “highest legislative priority,” passed 231 to 198.

But the fate of the bill remains uncertain. It was linked this week with legislation to improve the national background-check system for gun purchases, a measure that has rare bipartisan consensus. House Democrats accused Republicans of “trickery” and “sabotage” in tying the two bills together.

In the Senate, Democrats have said the combination bill is a non-starter, and senior Republicans have said that pairing the bills could torpedo them both.

7 Dec 2017 Trump says US recognizes Jerusalem The speech in full

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42264868

Trump says US recognises Jerusalem: The speech in full

1 hour ago – 7 Dec 2017

US President Donald Trump announced in a speech on Wednesday that Washington was officially recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Here is the full transcript of what he said, as released by the White House.

When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognise that that city – and so importantly – is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognised the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem – the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the state department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.

In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul. With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region.

There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and co-operation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity, lifting our sights to what it is possible; not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach.

So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.

I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: the Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong. But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror.

Vice-President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilised nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate – not violence.

And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region – political and religious; Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish and Christian and Muslim – to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.

con·tra·dic·tion

[ˌkäntrəˈdikSH(ə)n]

NOUN
contradictions (plural noun)
  1. a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another:
    “the proposed new system suffers from a set of internal contradictions”
    • a person, thing, or situation in which inconsistent elements are present:
      “the paradox of using force to overcome force is a real contradiction”
    • the statement of a position opposite to one already made:

      “the second sentence appears to be in flat contradiction of the first” ·

      [more]
      “the experiment provides a contradiction of the hypothesis”
hy·poc·ri·sy

[həˈpäkrəsē]

 NOUN
hypocrisies (plural noun)
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
What was behind these numbers?  I think, but am not for certain it is because of a word everyone knows the definition of:  Fear

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-11-27/fbi-record-number-of-gun-background-check-requests-on-black-Friday     Gun Background Check Requests Skyrocketed on Black Friday

Requests soared past 200,000 — a new record.

By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer |Nov. 27, 2017, at 10:23 a.m.

A gun with a pink grip is seen for sale at the Eagle Sports gun range in Oak Forest, Illinois, July 16, 2017.

The spike in numbers comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. (JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)

The FBI received its highest number of background check requests in a single day on Nov. 24 — Black Friday, the big post-Thanksgiving shopping day. The agency reported its National Instant Criminal Background Check System received 203,086 requests, according to USA Today. This beat the previous single-day record of 185,713 requests reported, also on Black Friday, in 2016.

The number of firearms sold on Black Friday is likely higher, however, because multiple guns can be bought by one person in a single transaction, which requires just one background check. A background check is required to buy a gun at federally licensed firearm dealers and takes just a few minutes. Since the establishment of the instant background check system in 1998, more than 230 million background checks have been run, 1.3 million of which have been denied, the FBI reported.

Ineligible gun buyers include convicted felons and anyone under a domestic violence protective order, NPR reported.

The surge in numbers comes days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the NICS by the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A break in the system allowed a court-martialed Air Force veteran to purchase a rifle he used to kill 25 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas earlier this month. Had the Air Force reported his criminal history to the FBI, he most likely would not have been able to purchase the murder weapon.

 “The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is for us to be able to keep guns out of the hands of those that are prohibited from owning them,” Sessions wrote in a memo on Nov. 22. “The recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas revealed that relevant information may not be getting reported to the NICS – this is alarming and it is unacceptable. Therefore, I am directing the FBI and ATF to do a comprehensive review of the NICS and report back to me the steps we can take to ensure that those who are prohibited from purchasing firearms are prevented from doing so.”

 

Reblog: ”My Religion Is Humanity” — Be Blogger (Official) and message from Warriors of the Rainbow Strange and Prophetic Dreams of the Indian Peoples by William Willoya and Vinson Brown

True Humanity

via ”My Religion Is Humanity” — Be Blogger (Official)

A very thought provoking post from Be Blogger (Official) here on WordPress:

Excerpt:

“It is a fact, Religions today no longer serve the purpose for which they came into existence. The very basic theme of each religion was to teach, how to love each other and bring us closer to ourselves and to God. Today the opposite is happening, Religions are not uniting but dividing us. Forget the differences from religion to religion, each now has so many divisions. The biggest problem Religions are bringing in is Fundamentalism and intolerance, giving birth to Fanatics, who are ready to destroy our freedom, just in the name of religion.”

This part really resonated with me.  It speaks to the messages in one of my favorite books, Warriors of the Rainbow – Strange and Prophetic Dreams of the Indian Peoples by William Willoya and Vinson Brown:

Page 7

“But we have learned the white man’s religion,” protested the man.  “There is much good in his religion.”

“there is much good in his religion, it is true.  But most white men use their religion as a child uses a toy.  when the white man thinks it is useful to him, he remembers it, but when it interferes with his pleasure, he forgets it. In the old days we Indians helped each other in trouble; even the weakest were helped; we really lived our religion.  Then the white men came with ambitions to change the ways of the Indians.  When they brought love, as some few did, this was good, but when they brought the breaking up of our people into little religions, and laughed at our religion, this was bad.  Jesus never taught these little things that divide the white men and divide the Indians who listen to them.  His love was too big for such small things.  Let the white men learn again the truths of their own religion and no longer will they build walls between themselves and between other people of the world.”

 

14 Nov 2017 Beyond Attachment to Names (mevlana jelaluddin rumi ) and drawings

14 Nov 2017 Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing 1159 am Alvarado TX 1

14 Nov 2017 – It doesn’t matter what your name, your label, there is one cause for us all….unity.

14 Nov 2017 Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing 1222 pm Alvarado TX 1

14 Nov 2017 – No more yellow ribbons…no more war.

14 Nov 2017 Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing 1141 am Alvarado TX 1

14 Nov 2017 – We rise.

http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/celebrations/move_beyond_any_attachment.html

Move beyond any attachment to names…..

Every war  and every conflict between human beings has happened because
of some disagreement about names. It’s such an unnecessary foolishness, because just
beyond the arguing there’s a long  table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.


What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured  into a huge basin. All religions, all this singing,
one song.  The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight
looks slightly different  on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different
on this other one, but  it is still one light. We have borrowed these clothes, these
time-and-space personalities,  from a light, and when we praise, we pour them back in.

mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century

Reblog: Sit With Me For Awhile — Misifusa’s Blog

Come sit with me for awhile. Right here, dear one, on the bench. Let us enjoy the sunshine on our faces and its glistening sparkles on the water. Look up, see the leaves changing hue. Fall is in the air. I am well dear girl. Looking down on you with joy in my heart. You […]

via Sit With Me For Awhile — Misifusa’s Blog

This is a beautiful message today that spoke to my heart and I felt I should share it.  May be the words will speak to you too.

9 Oct 2017 In the moment, Poem (California on fire again) and revisiting the past (can be painful!)

9 Oct 2017 – drawing I did today…The Amnesiac’s. I was thinking about how it seems like we keep forgetting things that are important.

Hello to you.  It’s Monday evening as I start to write to you.  How was the day you just lived today?  How are you doing in this moment?  What is everything in your “now?”  For me it’s drinking coffee that is a tad bitter but I’ll keep drinking it because I don’t want to waste it.  Link and Spot are on edge because I was just outside and rang the doorbell like an asshole after walking Kyle out and looking for gecko’s….only found one.  Ever since we put up the new siding…less gecko’s.  May is meowling again about who knows what and it drives me crazy….sounds like a baby crying.  Almost impossible for me to ignore her even if I try.  I am in no physical pain, comfortable temperature and there is an annoying smudge on my glasses again.  I hear the random pinging of raindrops on our metal siding which is a good thing.  I’m grateful for this moment I am in and grateful to have this cyber place in which to express my random “stuff.”  I’m grateful for whoever you are reading this, for your taking a moment from your busy world to visit me.

I have some quiet time to myself so this is going to be long lol.  I’ve finally resolved to myself that brevity is never going to be my thing lol!  If you don’t have time right now, please come back when you can.  There is something for you here. 

Yeah…..so I wrote this little poem today.  It’s not positive, complicated or even very eloquent….just one of those poems that started to come in while I was doing something else and I jotted it down.  Then I saw on the news later that California is burning even more so than normal…..sigh.  (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires/index.htmlFast-moving wildfires kill 10, spur evacuations in Northern California By Ralph Ellis, Joe Sterling, Paul P. Murphy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 7:48 PM ET, Mon October 9, 2017)

9 Oct 2017 – Jackie Wygant poem

I hate you

You hate me

I hate me

So it goes

Through our family tree

Barren seed in fallow soil

A life

Of blood, sweat and toil

Where is the love we once knew?

Is it only ember and ash now

Against the darkening red, white and blue?

It’s weird sometimes the random things that I will pick up and they end up in poems, writings and my art.  Guess that’s the way it’s always worked for me.

Today I found something out about myself.  It’s now not an easy thing for me to look at pictures from the past….just as bad as reading my old journals.

Kyle was sleeping and the internet was off so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some old photos from 2009 when we still lived in Newark DE and some since we’ve been here.  This turned me into a mass of sobbing wet tears.  What happened that really set me off was I saw video I had taken of our kitty Amber when she was still here and our Spot during one of the visits from the squirrel.  The furniture in our house was different.  We still had the pergola which the squirrel has sorely missed since its removal.  We still had our old back fence!  In just a short little video I saw how much time had gone by and all that was changed….missing.

5-march-2015-my-sunbeam-kitty-amber-alvarado-tx

Part of my current resentment at our remaining cat May is May has never loved me like Amber did and she’s still alive and Amber isn’t!  It’s so hard for me to get over that!  Amber was the kind of cat that was more like a dog than a cat in her personality and behavior.  She got that way after we got our cocker spaniel Sam.  She was smart enough to figure out that if she was going to get any time with me she had to become more like a dog.  So she did!  Amber was a big part of my heart.  I used to hold her when she’d come visit me on the toilet and just hold her and start crying I loved her so much.

Yeah…..but I think Amber has found her ways, through perhaps the ashes we spread about the yard, to find her way back to me.  Whether it be a positive or negative insect interaction…..sometimes it seems very personal lol.  Like a fragment of Amber making herself known to me whether it be a fire ant bite or a butterfly randomly flittering through my hair.  Amber isn’t the Amber I knew….she’s much more and that comforts me some.  It’s just when I go back looking for what she was and isn’t anymore that hurts so bad.

What happened to me today reminds me that we must be careful going back for what we have lost.  We can be reminded how much it hurts that we can never get any of it back.  Even if we can get something back from our past,  it can never be exactly as it was.  Kind of like it was for me after joining the military and going home to visit.  I wasn’t the same person even if the people and places I left behind were much the same.  Going backwards on anything can sometimes open wounds that had finally closed.  I am reminded of this today.  Sometimes I go back to things better left in the past.

I don’t want to forget the past ever happened.  I don’t want to forget the people, animals, places and things that made me the me I am now.  I just really had it hit me today looking at those old pictures and videos that I don’t want to emotionally torture myself in my present with facts  and parts of history that are fixed….set….unchangeable.

There will never be another cat exactly like Amber in my life.  There will never be the exact version of any other person, animal, place or thing that I loved after they have left this physical world or been destroyed.  For as long as I live and can retain my memory, they will exist in my mind, heart and even my soul.  Even fragments of their existence, rejoined with the energy God of my understanding, will remain in the air, the water, the food, my sleeping and waking world …but they will never be them again.  They are part of my past and I cannot get them back again!

This was taken during a visit to the San Francisco CA Zoo in *cough* Nov 1987! The note on the wall behind me, “This bench is reserved for primates only” is appropriate lol!

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Beebe – the first time I saw this was when I visited the San Francisco Zoo:

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.

  • The Bird (1906)

I feel like my little blurp here could be a bit of a cautionary tale of the direction I see us going in this country….in this world.  I see a fading mass of people trying to take those newer on the scene kicking and screaming back to the caves by the hair without Wi-Fi.  Why?  I think, speaking as someone who can be averse to change, because it’s comfortable, it’s safe, it’s familiar, it makes them feel like they have control over something and it means not having to change.  This world is changing so fast!

This is an ironic observation as I live in a world of people who seem to thrive on change and new external stimulation!  Kyle and I notice this especially with video games and how the industry seems to have such a hard time “feeding” gamers with new content.  As soon as new content is released, people eat through it like a bag of chocolate and get pissed and act like addicts going through withdrawal waiting for their next “hit.”

We want change but we want to control the how, where, when, why and what of it happening.   For many, and this is the case for myself, not having any sort of input or control over changes like those coming from our government,  that affect me and those I love,  has left me feeling quite powerless and angry.

I  cannot really get to mad at my parents, teachers and other role models in my life for all the dirty secrets I’ve found out about my country and the world since my growing up years.  I’m finding out from personal experience that history is a contextual thing.  It’s also a matter of perception…your experiences, your background, your family, your education shape your perception of the world and how you live in it.

Depending on where you are in time and what you know at that time, determines how you live in that segment of history.  What was acceptable behavior for white people in the context of history going on during the time of slavery isn’t what should be going on in our current times in the context of modern history….why? Because we know better!  My parents and all the teachers through my life probably didn’t know or realize half the things that have come to light in our current times.  Now we do know what was and is still yet going on.  Are we as a world going to just keep revisiting and repeating the past or finally let go, let God and move the fuck on?!!

I think we have a lot of people in this world who feel powerless in our times.  So they are clinging on to whatever they can to give them some sense of stability…certainty.  Many are choosing to hold on to history, be it positive or negative, to have some sort of certainty, identity, purpose and meaning .  I am living in a country that makes it seem like you have to go on America’s Got Talent or something to be worth a shit…to have value.  If you have ever watched that show, you have seen the lengths people will go to be worth something.  They will nearly kill themselves!  It feels like you have to “be something, someone or connected to something or someone” in order to have any sort of self-esteem.

People are still not being taught how to light their own fire inside.  They are still being taught in every conceivable way that they must seek their value and worth outside of themselves – other people, places and especially things.  It’s a lie perpetuated all the way back to the first real fire I think!

Anyhew….

Kyle and I watched this tonight and I thought John did a really good job on this very sensitive subject in our country – confederate monuments.  I didn’t know that a large majority of monuments in our country that depict Confederate themes were erected decades after the Civil War was over, meant to be the middle finger of sorts towards minorities and many were dedicated by members of the KKK!  I think these statues should be put preserved, as John suggests here.  I think they should definitely be put in museums with background information and historical context provided.  I think destroying the statues would be not much better than what everyone has gotten upset about ISIS doing.  It isn’t a good idea to erase history…especially history we really shouldn’t repeat!  I feel like people should be able to choose to go to a museum and view them versus not having a choice about being subjected to them in sometimes unavoidable public places.

Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

We can only go forward and through….that’s the only way to survive the callous master that is Time.

 

9 Oct 2017 I see it too Senator Corker (concerned with the president’s volatile behavior and that rhetoric from the White House could set America “on the path to World War III”)

Hello to you.  It’s Monday here again!  This weekend was restful for  Kyle and I and I’m grateful for that.  It was so good to have him home again even if it wasn’t for very long!

I saw in the headlines that things have escalated again with the NFL kneeling issue and now owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys are actually saying they will fire players if they don’t stand for the flag before games: (https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2017/10/08/cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-player-disrespects-flag-allowed-play.)  I guess he finally let President Trump get to him.  I thought he was standing up with and for his players….guess not.

I say, fine, do that.  I get it, professional football is a business.  What I would say to anyone who doesn’t agree with people like Jerry Jones and the President, there is another way you can protest…..don’t choose to play football period.  If you are playing, find something else to do…walk out!  Can you imagine how fucked these people would be if they didn’t have any players?!

If you are considering playing, go to college, learn a trade, become a teacher, become some sort of scientist….do anything but play football.  Protest with your freedom to choose another career.  Use your 1st Amendment right of free speech (while you still have it…sigh) and start booking speaking engagements at public schools and colleges in mass and warn the young men and women who are so desperate to follow in your footsteps for the perceived fame and glory of professional football.  If White Nationalists can book those sort of gigs (https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/uf-white-nationalist-speaking-event-scheduled-for-oct-19/The University of Florida says it has confirmed Oct. 19 for a speaking event featuring white nationalist Richard Spencer) so can you!  Bankrupt the “business!”  Shut down their pipeline of disenfranchised youth who see professional sports as their only way to escape poverty, injustice and crime.  Pool your resources together and make sure young people have other choices.  What are they going to do?  Start drafting people like they did in the 60’s for the military to make people play football?!

I understand what people like Colin Kaepernick and so many other up to recent games have been trying to do.  It is within your power to find another peaceful, meaningful and powerful way to make change in this country!  A way that people like our President and the “owners” like him can’t affect with Twitter.

Speaking of Twitter and our President.  ZOMG!  Why the hell haven’t they blocked him from using it yet?  Why are people still following this guy?! There’s another way to peaceful protest against a narcissistic bully!  What would he do if he woke up one day and found out the only person following him on Twitter was himself and the NSA?!  The reason I’m bringing this up is because of the latest duel he is having with someone from our government, Senator Corker a Republican from Tennessee,  who has decided to stop drinking the koolaide.  This weekend he actually expressed he’s as concerned as I am about what President Trump’s tirades on Twitter are doing to this country and the world.   I wish he and the rest of these fools in the GOP would have heeded the warning signs before we got here as it’s almost too little too late!

Kyle and I suspect that the President might have a Hero complex, that he actually wants World War III so he can be the hero, push the button and “save the world.”

“Syndrome: See now you respect me because I’m a threat. That’s the way it works. Turns out there are a whole lot of people, whole countries that want respect and they will pay through the nose to get it….”

I hope we are wrong, I’m still hoping that “this” that has been going on since January is all some sort of global reverse psychology experiment but I don’t think so.   In my heart of hearts I want to believe Trump, Pence, Sessions and others like them in our Government, not just Republicans either,  aren’t what they seem, that they are actually good people.  Yet day after day,  headline after headline,  Tweet after Tweet….it’s getting harder for my heart to find any good yet in them.  Good people don’t intentionally, very publicly,  bully and attack people, specifically minorities, LGTBQ, immigrants and sovereign countries…pretty much everybody who isn’t them – especially people who don’t do exactly what they want them to.  What I am seeing start to evolve here in the US is a gradual dictatorship.  If you watch, fewer and fewer rational people have the stomach for this administration so they resign if they aren’t fired first.  What does this do?  It leaves a power vacuum to fill and who is going to step up to the growing number of empty spaces?  It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure that out!  If you are a concerned citizen, pay attention to the headlines in and out of our country and do what you can while you can still do it.

https://www.anxiety.org/psychology-of-dictators-power-fear-anxiety

The Psychology of Dictators: Power, Fear, and Anxiety

Mao Zedong addressing a group of Communist Chinese workers
Mao Zedong addresses a group of workers. He survived assassination attempts which may have given rise to anxiety and paranoia.

They see themselves as “very special” people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others … Not only do dictators commonly show a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,” they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder.


Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong (or Tse-tung), Josef Stalin, Pol Pot – names such as these haunt our cultural imaginations. These men were, by all available accounts, totalitarian dictators, who sought to maintain complete control over their respective governments and populations through radical methods, including the systematic murder and imprisonment of all who stood against them1-4. In some cases, the terror they wielded helped them maintain power for years and emblazoned their names into our history books forever. Each of the names listed above is responsible for more than a million deaths, and even those citizens who were fortunate to have survived their reign lived in persistent fear of death, forced labor, or torture.

Dictatorial leaders such as these represent the extreme potential of the human capacity for evil, and yet, despite their apparent omnipotence within their individual spheres of power, these individuals also tended to suffer from excessive anxiety – mostly regarding paranoid fears of citizen uprising and/or assassination. For example:

    • Saddam Hussein displayed a level of paranoia so great that he had multiple meals prepared for him across the Iraqi land each day to ensure that no one knew where he was eating. He even went as far as to employ surgically altered body doubles5.
    • Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea and the father of current leader Kim Jong-un, exhibited such an excessive fear of assassination while flying that he exclusively traveled via an armor-plated train6, including when he traveled as far as Moscow7.
    • Than Shwe, a Burmese dictator, was so concerned about the tenuous nature of his rule that he once moved the capital of Burma to a remote location in the jungle without running water or electricity; an extreme tactic that was spurred on by the advice of his personal astrologer8.

Power and Fear

In each of these dictatorial examples, men who sought to rule with an iron fist appeared to also behave in a manner driven by a hidden, extreme, and sometimes irrational fear of what fate might befall them.

This behavior does not seem to align with what we know of dictators. Not only do such individuals wield far-reaching, real-world power, a large number of these individuals also maintained a cultural and political environment that fed grand delusions regarding their self-importance. For instance, Saddam Hussein thought of himself as the savior of the Iraqi people5. Muammar Gaddafi once had himself crowned the “King of Kings” of Africa9, and the North Korean Kim line of succession proclaimed themselves to be almost god-like10. Why would individuals who are so confident in their power have such severe anxiety?

One explanation is that many of these individuals were actually under constant threat of assassination. For instance, a former bodyguard to Fidel Castro said that he was aware of 638 separate attempts made on the leader’s life, some of which were orchestrated by the CIA8. Mao Zedong survived an assassination attempt, plotted by high ranking officers within his own military11, and Saddam Hussein’s own sons-in-law once attempted to kill his eldest son5. With such real and present threats, even from trusted allies, some sense of paranoia might be warranted.

Given the extremity of many dictators’ fears, though, further explanation is warranted. An additional explanation of their behavioral patterns might be rooted in their individual personalities. Colloquially speaking, people often use “personality” as a synonym of how interesting a person appears to be in the eyes of onlookers, both within and from outside their respective sphere of influence. For instance, we might say that a loud comedian has “a lot of personality,” whereas we might describe someone we view as boring and quiet as “lacking personality12.” In the psychological literature, though, personality is defined as the “enduring patterns of thinking and behavior that define the person and distinguish him or her from other people13.” In other words, your personality is what makes you distinct from those around you. In studying personality, psychologists can examine common traits across people and note how these traits may interact to predict behavior. In so doing, researchers can develop a better understanding of why people behave the way they do over the course of many years.

Narcissism Is A Consistent Trait

With regard to dictators, one particular trait that consistently stands out as relevant is narcissism. Narcissistic individuals have a “greatly exaggerated sense of their own importance” and are “preoccupied with their own achievements and abilities13.” They see themselves as “very special” people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others.

When narcissism becomes extreme to the point that it:

    • interferes with daily life
    • appears to be unusual as compared to others within a society, or
    • permeates multiple areas of an individual’s life …

… that individual may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, which is defined by a:

    • “pervasive pattern of grandiosity”
    • “need for admiration” and
    • “lack of empathy14.”

These individuals are “preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success” and “power.” They believe they are unique and can only be associated with others of equally high status. Furthermore, they require excessive admiration to remain happy, possess an extreme sense of entitlement, exploit others, and are often envious of others.

Vindictiveness Is Common

Descriptions of narcissistic personality disorder seem reminiscent of what we know of dictators. Not only do dictators commonly show a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,” they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder. For instance, in now famous psychological experiments, researchers found that highly narcissistic individuals were more likely to try to punish those individuals who negatively evaluated their work, even when the narcissistic person believed they were administering painful electric shocks15-16. More recent work shows that, after a negative evaluation, narcissistic people will demonstrate greater aggression even to individuals unrelated to the feedback17. Such experiments can help us understand the aggressive behavior of dictators, who are known to lash out against negative evaluations18.

Surprisingly, narcissism could also help explain the anxious behavior displayed by dictators. Researchers have identified two forms of narcissism: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism19. Though grandiose narcissism is associated with all that you might expect from a narcissist (e.g., grandiosity and aggression), vulnerable narcissism is associated with an “insecure grandiosity,” which seems to produce intense defensiveness and feelings of inadequacy20. Such individuals are often described as being “worrying, emotional, defensive, anxious, bitter, tense, and complaining19“.

These components can be so extreme that narcissistic personality disorder can be misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder, which is associated with high levels of anxiety14. The intensity of the emotional experiences produced by narcissism in combination with actual dangers could produce remarkable levels of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty – to the point that one might actually consider moving their entire capital to the middle of a jungle based on the advice of an astrologer8.

Predicting Future Dictators

Given that the majority of dictators seem to be incredibly narcissistic, could we possibly use that fact to predict individuals who are likely to become dictators? That is, if we know the prominent people in an unstable country, could we predict which of those people are likely to try force their way into power and try to stop them? This question is difficult to answer. First, not all dictators come to power in a similar manner or under similar circumstances. For example, Hitler came to power after an intense propaganda campaign and copious amounts of intimidation and violence on the part of the Nazi Party21. Mao Zedong became dictator after serving as a successful military leader throughout a long civil war22. Saddam Hussein climbed his way through the Iraqi political system for years until he was able to strong arm his way into power23. Finally, Kim Jong-un, who by available accounts, was raised in an extremely privileged, “Western” childhood24 also went on to exhibit the traits of a dictator.

Moreover, researchers remain uncertain as to why narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic behaviors emerge. We know that the majority of individuals diagnosed with the disorder are male14, and researchers speculate that certain genetic factors and parenting styles may increase the chance that someone develops the disorder. However, further research is necessary to understand whether these factors cause narcissistic personality disorder.

Combined, these factors make it incredibly difficult to predict which leaders will embody dictatorial tendencies. We simply do not fully understand the contributions of cultural, environmental, or political influences that facilitate the rise of a dictator. However, that does not mean that research into these issues is a fruitless endeavor. By better understanding the sociopolitical contexts that allow dictators to attain and maintain power and further investigating the role of personality, we may one day be able to proactively identify and attenuate dictatorial leadership prior to the emergence of their often horrific actions. In so doing, there would be the potential to save countless lives and stem the tide of years of oppression in many countries.

4211

Date of original publication: August 01, 2016
Updated on: January 12, 2017

 

9 Oct 2017 – drawing I did last night before bed, I labeled Watcher. Which ironically looks a bit like Mr. Incredible with long hair! It’s funny how I get clues as to where to go for these blogs.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bob-corker-trump-world-war-iii_us_59dad12de4b0f6eed3513cf8
POLITICS

10/08/2017 10:13 pm ET

GOP Sen. Bob Corker Says Trump’s Volatility Could Spark ‘World War III’

“He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) blasted President Donald Trump in a scathing interview with The New York Times on Sunday, saying the “vast majority” of congressional Republicans were concerned with the president’s volatile behavior and that rhetoric from the White House could set America “on the path to World War III.”

During the interview ― an unprecedented assessment of the head of the senator’s own party ― Corker said Trump concerns him and that the president’s proclivity for Twitter tirades had “hurt” the country during times of negotiation.

“I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Corker said, adding that “everyone knows” the “president tweets out things that are not true.”

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” Corker continued. “Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Corker, a powerful and respected Republican, was an early supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign but has since become one of his most outspoken critics in the Senate. He lambasted Trump over his response to protests by white supremacists in August and has been critical of the president’s foreign policy decisions.

Corker continued such condemnation on Sunday when he said the president was running the White House like “a reality show.”

“He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” he told the Times.

Trump launched his own Twitter crusade against the senator earlier on Sunday, saying Corker “begged” the president to endorse him for re-election. Corker announced his impending retirement from Congress in September.

“He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS,’ Trump tweeted, before continuing: “He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”

Corker fired back an hour later, saying it was “a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

Finally, this speech is very timely and resonant to what I’m watching happen in Washington right now…..I really think it’s almost too little, too late folks!  Where was your conscience, misgivings, doubt and resistance before now?! 

Obama blasts GOP for creating Trump & running away at last minute in Columbus speech

http://time.com/4531245/barack-obama-swamp-crazy-speech-transcript/ – – if you use the link, which I recommend, there is video from the actual speech

Politics

“This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again,” he said. “Look, I—and there’s sort of a spectrum, right—it’s a whole kind of ecosystem. And look, if I watched Fox News I wouldn’t vote for me.”

Read a complete transcript below.

OBAMA: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Hello, Democrats! (Applause.) O-H!

AUDIENCE: I-O!

OBAMA: O-H!

AUDIENCE: I-O!

OBAMA: O-H!

AUDIENCE: I-O!

OBAMA: Oh, it is good to see you all! (Applause.) Thank you. I’m just warming you up. (Laughter.) Because I know the Buckeyes have a big showdown at Wisconsin on Saturday night. (Applause.)

Thank you so much, everybody. Please have a seat. I’m going to talk to you for a while, now. (Laughter.) Tonight, we’re here to talk about the showdown that’s happening right here in Ohio over the next few weeks. (Applause.) And, of course, it would not be an Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner without your former governor and your next United States senator, Ted Strickland. (Applause.) Love this man. Your current Senator, who is fighting for you every single day, Sherrod Brown. (Applause.) A couple of your outstanding members of Congress, Joyce Beatty and Tim Ryan. (Applause.)

I know the Ohio Democratic Party has been preparing for this election. You know a strong party depends on great public servants being elected at the local level, and the school boards, and the city councils and the mayor’s office. And your field operation has helped us win important races from Akron to Toledo, Chillicothe to Warren. And through the spring, even as we Democrats had a hard-fought primary, you kept signing up thousands of volunteers, registering thousands of voters, organizing on campuses all across the state. You were already looking to the fall campaign. So we are going to benefit bigtime from the infrastructure that you’ve already got in place.

So I just want to say thank you for giving us the edge that we need. Thanks for organizing. Thanks for mobilizing. Thanks for not getting tired. Thanks for still being fired up and still being ready to go. (Applause.) Because right now is when the fruits of all that labor are going to start paying off. It is game time. Kickoff was yesterday. Early voting started yesterday. (Applause.) The game does not start on November 8th, the game ends on November 8th.

So, everybody here, enjoy your dinner. (Laughter.) Everybody looks cute. (Laughter.) But tomorrow, you got to put on those walking shoes. You got to start making those calls and knocking on doors, getting everybody out to vote early. That’s how we won in 2008. That’s how we’re going to win in 2016. (Applause.)

Because, let’s face it, let’s face it, Ohio is always close. I don’t know what it is about you guys. (Laughter.) Just making me stress. I’ve always got to watch the TV — what’s going to happen in Ohio? (Laughter.) I mean, I pretty much parked here in the final days of both of my campaigns. In 2008, I was here in Columbus two days before Election Day. In 2012, I was here the day before Election Day. And it makes me think about how far we’ve come together — not just the fact that I had no gray hair in those pictures. (Laughter.) Think about the road we’ve traveled. Together, we fought our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Our businesses have now turned job losses into 15 million new jobs. (Applause.) We turned around an auto industry that Ohio communities depend on, and our automakers are making the best cars in the world and they are selling more than ever, thanks to outstanding UAW workers who take great pride in what they do. (Applause.)

We slashed our dependence on foreign oil. Folks don’t even notice gas prices being cheap anymore. We more than doubled our production of renewable energy. We’ve got incomes rising again — rose faster last year than any time on record. All demographic groups. Poverty fell last year by the largest amount since 1968 — since I was seven years old. (Applause.) The uninsured rate is at an all-time low — 20 million people have health insurance that didn’t have it before, including folks right here in the great state of Ohio. (Applause.)

We brought more of our brave troops home to their families. We delivered justice to bin Laden. (Applause.) And in today’s America, wherever you live, you can marry whoever you love. (Applause.)

We’ve been busy. (Laughter.) We brought about change that’s made a difference in the lives of people all across this country. There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not substantially better off today than we were when I came into office. (Applause.)

That’s what the hard work and the determination of the American people can do. That’s what strong, principled Democratic leadership can do. (Applause.) That’s what a President who has your back and is listening to you and cares about you can do. (Applause.) And that’s what great members of Congress and a Democratic majority in Congress can do. And that’s why we’ve got to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. (Applause.) That’s why we’ve got to elect Ted Strickland to be the next great senator from Ohio. (Applause.)

I will not be on the ballot, but everything we’ve done is going to be on the ballot. (Audience interruption.) Oh, lord, what’s going on now? Who’s hollering? I can’t even see you. Well, it’s great to see you, but I’ve got all these folks I’ve got to talk to. (Laughter.) Maybe you can get me a note. Write me a letter, all right? (Interruption continues.) Okay, I got you. Okay, thank you. (Laughter.) I can’t hear you that well. I promise you this will go better if you talk to one of my staff up there. I got you, okay. All right. Thank you. (Interruption continues.) Okay, I’ve heard you. Let me now talk to everybody else. Thank you. I love you. All right. Thank you. (Applause.)

Thank you. Thank you. I mean, I’m getting old so I can’t hear that well, I can’t see that good. (Laughter.) (Interruption continues.) I got you. (Laughter.)

Where was I? (Applause.) So, look, I’m not going to be on the ballot, but all the progress that we’ve made, all that stuff goes out the window if we don’t work as hard as we can to win this election. And I’ve seen what hard work looks like here in Ohio. (Applause.) I’ve seen it. I’ve benefited from it. I got elected by it. And now Hillary and Ted and every Democrat up and down the ballot has got to do the same.

I know that folks say this every four years, but this time it’s really true — (laughter) — I cannot think of a more important election in our lifetimes. (Applause.) Because the choice between candidates has never been this stark.

And it’s a choice between somebody who is as qualified as has ever been to run for this office — somebody who’s, over and over, proven that they know how to lead and how to work and understand the issues that working families are facing — that’s on the one hand. And then on the other hand, you’ve got somebody who, each and every day, every time he talks proves himself unfit and unqualified for this office. (Applause.)

And I don’t need to spend a huge amount of time selling this crowd on Hillary. If you want to hear the best case for Hillary Clinton, if you want to hear the very real stakes in this election, I would advise you to link up to Michelle’s speech from earlier today in New Hampshire. (Applause.) She was pretty good. I mean, she — that’s why you get married, to improve your gene pool. (Laughter.) So your kids end up being superior to you. (Applause.)

So I don’t need to sell you on Hillary. And I don’t need to sell you on Ted. You guys know her, know him, have seen the track record that they have put together. But I’m going to go ahead and say some nice things about Ted anyway because he’s here. (Applause.)

You know, I could not be prouder to call Ted a friend. He was a great Congressman for the people of southeast Ohio. (Applause.) He was a great governor for everybody in Ohio. He was a great campaign co-chair for me in 2012. (Applause.) And there’s a reason that Ted has always put working families first — because in those families he sees his own family. He knows what it’s like to struggle. He knows their hopes and their dreams.

He’s the son of a steelworker. He’s the first in his family to go to college. He’s a minister who doesn’t just talk the talk, but lives out his faith, and a public servant who puts his values into action. (Applause.)

So when he was in Congress, he fought to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program — working alongside Hillary — something that still helps millions of children today. As governor, he froze public college tuition and made it free for Ohio veterans, which helped more young people succeed. (Applause.) And even though he took office as your governor about a year before the recession hit, by the time he left, Ohio was the fifth-fastest growing economy in America. (Applause.)

Ted delivered, and when it mattered most, he had your back. So on issue after issue, Ohio voters have a clear choice in this election — between somebody who sides with Ohio’s working families, and somebody who sides with the special interests who want to block all of our progress.

So if you care about workers’ rights, then the choice is pretty clear. Ted believes we should protect overtime pay so folks get paid what they’ve earned, that workers should have the right to bargain for better pay and better benefits. (Applause.) His opponent helped strip overtime from six million workers, backed a bill that would make it harder for workers to organize.

If you care about higher wages, the choice should be pretty simple. Ted believes that, in 2016, women should get equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) His opponent has voted against equal pay five times. When it comes to the minimum wage, in 2015 I told members of Congress if they truly believed they could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, they should try it. And if not, they should vote to give America a raise.

Ted actually tried it for a full week. He actually did it — walked in a minimum wage worker’s shoes. Understood how hard it was. Understood the reality of a single mom who’s working full-time and, at the end of the day, still doesn’t have enough to keep a roof over her child’s head or make sure that they get a good meal. That’s why Ted keeps fighting to raise the minimum wage. And his opponent has voted against it again and again and again. So that’s the choice in this election.

If you care about keeping our cops and our kids safe, you’ve got a choice. Ted Strickland supports common-sense gun safety measures like background checks, keeping assault weapons out of the hands of terrorists. (Applause.) Shouldn’t be controversial. His opponent blocked background checks and opposed a bill to stop people on the terror watch list from buying a gun. That’s why, as of last month, the NRA has spent more money against Ted Strickland than on all the other House and Senate races combined. Think about that.

If you care about our justice system and our most fundamental rights, then you’ve got a choice. Ted thinks we should have a full Supreme Court. (Applause.) That didn’t used to be a controversial position. Apparently, it is now. His opponent has helped to deny a simple yes-or-no vote to somebody who almost everybody agrees may be the most highly qualified nominee in history. Why? Does he think President Trump should fill the seat with somebody instead?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!

OBAMA: Does he have confidence that that would go well? (Laughter.) Which brings me to another fairly substantial difference. Unlike his opponent, Ted Strickland has never supported Donald Trump. (Applause.) Hadn’t done it.

Now, I understand that Ted’s opponent has finally withdrawn his support from Donald Trump — after looking at the polling, now that it’s politically expedient. But he supported him up until last week. So I guess it was okay when Trump was attacking minorities, and suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, and insulting Gold Star moms, and making fun of disabled Americans. I guess that didn’t quite tip it over the edge. (Laughter.) Why was that okay?

And now he says he’ll vote for the vice presidential nominee instead — except that guy still supports Donald Trump. Does anybody really think that Ted’s opponent is going to be a check on a Trump presidency? Are we really going to risk giving Donald Trump the congressional majority he’d need to roll back all the progress that we’ve made over the past eight years?

AUDIENCE: Nooo…

OBAMA: Look, we know that most Republicans don’t think the way Donald Trump does. Even in a banquet like this, full of hard-core Democrats. (Applause.) We have Republican friends, we’ve got Republican neighbors — at the Little League game, soccer game. At the parent-teachers conference, we meet them. Some great people. We don’t even think that most Republican politicians actually really believe that Donald Trump is qualified to be President. (Laughter.) I know because they — I talk to them. (Laughter.) They’re all like, man, this is really bad. (Laughter.) We’re just trying to get through this. (Laughter.)

But so the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years — (applause) — primarily for political expedience. So if Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the anti-Christ, you know, it’s just politics. (Laughter.) You think I’m joking. (Laughter.)

If somebody completely denies climate change, or is filled up with all kinds of conspiracy theories about how me and Hillary started ISIL, or that we were plotting to declare martial law and take away everybody’s guns.

We did a military exercise — the Pentagon does these periodically in Texas, and suddenly all the folks in Texas were all like, they’re going to take over right now! (Laughter.) I’m serious. And then the senator down there said, yeah, we better look into that. (Laughter.) And the governor says, well, I don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know? (Laughter.) What does that mean? (Applause.) Really? You think that like the entire Pentagon said, oh, really, you want to declare martial law and take over Texas? Let’s do it under the guise of routine training missions — (laughter) — and everybody is going to be — but they took it seriously.

This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again. (Applause.) Look, I — and there’s sort of a spectrum, right — it’s a whole kind of ecosystem. And look, if I watched Fox News I wouldn’t vote for me. (Laughter.) I understand. If I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, I’d say, man, that’s terrible. (Laughter.) Fortunately, I have more diverse sources of information. (Applause.)

And I want to make a serious point here — because I’m really not exaggerating. Everything I’m saying are actual things that have been said and that people — a fairly sizable number of people in the Republican primaries believe. And the people who knew better didn’t say anything. They didn’t say, well, you know what, I disagree with his economic policies, but that goes too far. They didn’t say, well, I’m not sure if his foreign policy is the right one for America, but we can’t allow our politics to descend into the gutter.

People like Ted’s opponent — they stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it. (Applause.)

And that’s what’s happened in their party. All that bile, all the exaggeration, all the stuff that was not grounded in fact just kind of bubbled up, started surfacing. They know better, a lot of these folks who ran, and they didn’t say anything. And so they don’t get credit for, at the very last minute, when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on — (applause) — you can’t wait until that finally happens and then say, oh, that’s too much, that’s enough. (Applause.) And think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate. (Applause.)

You don’t get points for that. (Applause.) In fact, I’m more forgiving of the people who actually believe it than the people who know better and stood silently by, out of political expediency, because it was politically convenient. (Applause.)

And if your only organizing principle has been to block progress and block what we’ve tried to do to help the American people every step of the way, so you’re not even consistent anymore — you claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate? (Applause.) And stand by, and endorse, and campaign with until, finally, at the 11th hour you withdraw your nomination? You don’t get credit for that. (Applause.)

You’re the party that is tough on foreign policy and opposes Russia — and then you nominate this guy, whose role model is Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB? (Applause.) I’m sorry, what happened? (Laughter.) It’s disappointing. It really is. Because, yes, I’m a Democrat, but I’m an American first. (Applause.) And I actually believe in a strong two-party system. And I think that the marketplace of ideas should have a reasonable, common-sense Republican Party debating a reasonable, common-sense Democratic Party. But that is not what we have right now.

And the reason is because people like Ted’s opponent who know better have stood silently by. They’ve been trying to block everything we’ve tried to do to help working folks for years now. Even here in the state of Ohio, they opposed us trying to save the auto industry upon which hundreds of thousands of jobs depend. And then when it works out pretty good you’re taking credit for it. Man, look at this economy, it’s gone great. (Laughter.) Yeah. (Laughter.) But you sure didn’t help. (Laughter.) It wasn’t because of your policies. That’s not why Ohio grew. That’s not why folks got back to work. (Applause.)

So the point is, if your only agenda is either negative — negative is a euphemism — crazy — (laughter) — based on lies, based on hoaxes, this is the nominee you get. You make him possible.

Now they’re shocked. It’s like remember that movie, Casablanca — the guy walks in, shocked that there’s gambling in this establishment. (Laughter.) Young people may not understand that reference. Go back, watch “Casablanca.” Great movie. Humphrey Bogart. (Laughter.)

So Donald Trump may make most Republican politicians look a little bit better by comparison — I mean, it’s like the bar has gotten so low. But these are the same Republicans who tried to block us from rescuing the economy; did not offer a single vote when it came to the recovery package that made sure that we started growing again, long before any other advanced economy did. Same folks who didn’t vote for the auto industry assistance that resulted now in record- breaking auto sales. The same folks who tried to take away folks’ health insurance every chance they get; who refuse to allow votes on giving minimum wage workers a raise; refuse to support making sure women earn equal pay for equal work. How hard a concept is that? (Applause.) Why would you want your daughter to get paid 80 cents for doing the same job that somebody else’s son is getting a buck to do? That doesn’t make any sense. (Applause.)

So don’t act like this started with Donald Trump. He did take it to a whole new level. I got to give him credit. But he didn’t come out of nowhere.

And that’s why we’ve got to win this election at every level. That’s where you come in, Democrats. That’s where your work will make a difference. That’s where all the volunteer recruitment, and the voter registration, and the campus organizing comes into play. Because when Democrats have everybody on the field, we can’t lose. And the other side knows that. That’s why they’re always trying to make it harder for folks to vote. (Applause.)

Which, by the way, that’s a big difference between our parties. We’re the only advanced democracy that has one party’s central principle being let’s make it harder to vote. It doesn’t happen other places.

We don’t think more voices participating in our democracy makes us weaker. Just like we don’t try to divide people by race or faith or orientation or gender. (Applause.) We believe we’re stronger together, not divided. (Applause.) And if we keep speaking to Americans’ hopes over their fears, and if we inspire them rather than divide them, if we have concrete plans to respond to the very real challenges that folks face with the same sense of urgency and compassion and empathy that we feel in our own families and our own communities — if we care about every kid the same way we want this country to care about our kids, then we’ll win in November.

I know that at times this has been a deeply dispiriting election year. And as I think back to 2008, or even 2012, and the sense of energy and hope that we felt, and I think about all the incredible work that we’ve done and the promises that we’ve delivered on, sometimes you wonder, how did we get to the point where we have such rancor. And there are a lot of theories about it. People have real struggles in pockets of this country. Change is happening fast, sometimes faster than we feel like we can absorb. There’s a constant stream of information coming at us, and so much of what attracts attention is the bad news instead of all the incredible things that are taking place in every corner of this great land.

But some of it I think really does just have to do with the fact that what’s best in us has all too often stood on the sidelines, and hasn’t been heard, and has left the field to some of our worst impulses.

So I want all of you to understand, when I reflect back on these eight years, and I think about all the places I’ve been — all 50 states — towns and hamlets and big cities, suburbs and metropolises, and met people from all walks of life, on the factory floor, in classrooms — there’s so much goodness in this country. There’s so much decency in this country.

(Applause.)

There’s so much hard work going on in this country. There’s so much ingenuity going on in this country. There’s so much optimism in people’s day-to-day lives, and so much resilience. And we’ve just got to give expression to that.

We have to reflect our best selves. And that means even during political campaigns. We’ve got to show our kids the values that we want to pass on to them.

And you know what, the Democratic Party is not perfect. I can say that even at a Democratic Party dinner. (Laughter.) We have our own blind spots, and we have our own disagreements. We have interest groups that oftentimes are understandably thinking about their narrow slice of the issue. And sometimes we contribute to sort of the lack of civility in our politics. We don’t always check ourselves. There are times where we’re not consistent in what we expect from our own leadership versus others; times where we ignore inconvenient truths ourselves.

But what I’m really proud about, what I continue to fundamentally believe is that, at it’s core, the Democratic Party believes that everybody counts. (Applause.) The Democratic Party believes in ordinary working people being able, if they’re working hard, to get ahead. The Democratic Party believes that we got to leave a country and a planet that’s better than the one we inherited for the next generation. (Applause.) The Democratic Party believes that everybody has dignity, and everybody has respect, and everybody is worthy of consideration. And the Democratic Party believes that we’re all in this together. (Applause.)

And that’s what we have to show for the next little less than 30 days. That’s what we have to fight for. This isn’t just about winning elections. It’s also about affirming this democracy and affirming the basic idea that people who love their country can change it. That the most important office in this country is the office of citizen. (Applause.) That ordinary people, when they get together, can transform this nation and can solve any problem, and can overcome any obstacle, and can heal any division.

If you believe that, if you don’t just go through the motions this time, but if you really dig deep and think about what’s best in us, and what are we fighting for and how do we give expression to that — if you believe that, I guarantee you we will not just elect Ted Strickland as the next senator from Ohio; we will not just elect Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States — but we will secure a brighter future for the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

And I’m going to be right there with you as a citizen of these United States. (Applause.) I will work hard, and I’m going to organize, I’m going to mobilize, and I’m going to make some phone calls and I’m going to knock on some doors! (Applause.) And I want you along there with me. Because we got to keep this thing going. Because the journey is not done yet. (Applause.) Because I’m still fired up and I’m still ready to go! (Applause.)

Thank you, Ohio! (Applause.) God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

3 Oct 2017 It was a freaky Monday

Hello to you.  It’s 5:20 am on Tuesday morning as I start to write to you.  We found out musician Tom Petty is dead….RIP Tom!

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/03/555157788/rock-star-tom-petty-dead-at-66 (excerpt)

“Rock star Tom Petty has died, his manager Tony Dimitriades announced Monday. He was found in critical condition at his home in Malibu, Calif., Sunday night after suffering full cardiac arrest, as first reported by the website TMZ. Petty was taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he died on Monday at 11:40 p.m. ET. Petty was a widely lauded songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He was 66 years old.”

Yesterday was like one of the weirdest and most horrible days ever.  It started out with Kyle trying to fix his wedding band on my ring sizer and snapping it in half.  Then in a case of creepy foreshadowing to the shooting in Vegas,  the singer Marilyn Manson was attacked by two gun props on stage and hurt bad enough he had to cancel some shows.  Then we found out about the shooting in Vegas.  Then later in the evening I was going to check our mail and I heard this popping and cracking noise like fireworks behind me.  I turned around and was pissed at first that people would be lighting off fireworks and then as Kyle drove into the driveway, our neighbors tree decided to just drop about half of itself on their front lawn!  ZOMG!!!  WTF?!!!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/10/01/marilyn-manson-tour-on-hold-after-giant-gun-prop-topples-on-him-during-show/?utm_term=.bd39c821074b (excerpt, actual article has video clip of what happened)

Marilyn Manson tour on hold after giant gun prop topples on him during show

Numerous videos taken by audience members showed the prop falling on the shock rocker as he was performing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” his cover of the Eurythmics’ 1983 hit, partway through his concert at the historic Manhattan music venue.

As Manson finished a verse, he appeared to turn to face a tall scaffolding — with two oversize props shaped like guns attached to it — at the back of the stage. Soon, the entire structure began tipping over onto Manson, who tried to shield himself with his right hand.

Source internet: Prop at Marilyn Manson concert that fell on him

Understandably, with all this crazy going on I didn’t sleep very well again.  I think our boy Link was trying to gas me in my sleep  as I kept smelling shit…his nickname is “Stinky Linky” and he sure lives up to it by goodness!  Anyhew….the snippet of a dream I remember was very strange.  I was with a man who took a knife and shattered a diamond into thousands of pieces that fell all over the floor.  I exclaimed to him, “You ruined my diamond!” then I got on the floor like when I’m doing beadwork and a bead gets away from me, and  tried to pick up all of the pieces but some were too small.  Just before the dream ended I caught a glimpse of a man holding his hand over a covered drink on a table.   Not sure what the symbolism is for this one!  May be this is my mind working through my thoughts about God being in the pixils…..the tiny pieces that make everything solid in our reality?  Hard to say.   Yesterday was just messed up on so many levels for me.

There is more information, but not much coming forth about the Las Vegas shooting.  Sadly and predictably,  our government is going to do what it has done every other time a shooting like this has happened, especially a GOP run one, they aren’t going to do shit.  The NRA and gun lobby is just that powerful I guess?!  Or is it just a case of saying “fuck it!!!”  I agree there are no easy answers with a country literally awash with guns and the blood of innocent people they are being used on.  At least make modifications like were made to some of Mr. Paddock’s guns (bump stocks in particular) completely illegal:

http://www.newser.com/story/249492/police-las-vegas-shooter-had-42-guns-in-hotel-home.html

(Newser) – Police investigating America’s deadliest mass shooting say they have found a total of 42 guns belonging to Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock—19 in his Mesquite, Nev., home, and 23 in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino hotel room that he fired into a concert crowd from, killing at least 59 people. Law enforcement officials say they found multiple loaded high-capacity magazines in the hotel room, suggesting the death toll could have been even higher if police had arrived later, ABC reports. His arsenal included high-powered rifles capable of penetrating police armor, officials say. More:

  • Bump-stocks. Officials tell the AP that Paddock had two “bump-stock” devices capable of converting semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic firearms. Weapons expert Massad Ayoob tells the Guardian that the devices are legal but serious shooters tend to avoid them because they reduce accuracy. But that would not have been a problem for Paddock, who was “hosing a two-acre area with 30,000 targets,” Ayoob says.
  • Ammonium nitrate. Police, who have been searching a Reno property belonging to Paddock as well as his hotel room, vehicle, and Mesquite home, say they found several pounds of the bomb-making ingredient ammonium nitrate in his car, NPR reports.
  • Rifles on tripods. Federal law enforcement sources tell the New York Times that the weapons found in Paddock’s hotel room included two rifles with scopes set up on tripods in front of two windows. One official says his arsenal included AR-15-style assault rifles.
  • Legal machine guns. Wired looks at the different ways in which Paddock could have achieved such a deadly rate of fire, They include bump-stock or “gat crank” devices, illegal modifications to turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones—or buying one of the hundreds of thousands of machine guns that were made before the 1986 ban on such weapons and are owned by civilians in the US. The right to own those weapons was “grandfathered in.”
  • Background checks. Two Nevada gun shops have confirmed to NBC that they sold Paddock guns in the last year. They say he passed the necessary background checks and staff would not have sold him the guns if any “red flags” had been raised. “We’re very sad about the news of this tragedy. We’re in the business of selling firearms legally and took all precautions on this sale, as we do with all sales,” says David Familgetti of the New Frontier Armory in North Las Vegas.

(Neighbors say Paddock seemed normal, apart from his gambling.)

I will leave you with a couple of poems I wrote many years ago that seem resonant in our current times.  I’ve noticed several hits on this drawing I did back in July of 2005.  I was drawing A battle between the positive and negative forces in our world and the other side and all of it setting our nation’s capital on fire.  Pretty accurate of what is going on right now.  The chess game between “heaven” and “hell” and we are all, even the ones who think they are running things, just pawns on the board of life.

 

Pawns – Jackie Wygant 11 Sept 2008

The chess board rotates on a tilted table

The pieces not just black or white

The chessboard as old as Cain and Abel

Every living thing in it’s place

Every living thing in due time

Moved to another space

The players play with hands shielded from view

Everyday a new play

A grand perception, distraction each day anew

Nothing by chance

Carefully strategized by the powers unknown

The pawns dance

21 May 2017 123 pm Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing The Messenger with one blue one green and one gold blue and green eye Alvarado TX 3

Time for Reflection by Jackie Wygant 30 Sept 2008

The leaves have started to fall down

The king and queen dissatisfied in their kingdom

Have started to lose their crown

Their room of treasures has grown wearisome and bleak

How much they have taken in their spoils

From the downtrodden and the weak

So in the darkness, in a castle made of sand

They realize now is a time for reflection

A time to live a life may be not so superfluous and grand

Time to dust off the playthings of the past

Not gold, silver and the coin

These things disappear into time and do not last

The old kingdom blows away, a seemingly whirlwind of dust

The crowns and jewels

Tarnish and rust

In the fields and meadows green and filled with song

All is forgotten

The king and queen soon have no recalling

Of what went wrong……


9 May 2017 Responsibility

Hello to you today from wherever and whenever you are stopping by. Today is going to be an “inside” sort of day I think. For the past two days Kyle and I have been besieged by allergies! It’s been dry, windy, it’s spring and lots of grass cutting going on.  Wanted to mention to my pet people that I found out using a dish washing soap like Dawn is best to remove a topical flea treatment if your dog experiences and adverse reaction like ours have recently.  Regular dog or people shampoo’s won’t get it out.  Our dogs haven’t been doing well with topicals, so we are going to try the internal – not wild about that idea either!  But with how many wild and stray critters we have around here carrying ticks and fleas, we can’t really leave them untreated.   Last year one of the dogs or us actually brought a tick into the bed!

Yesterday was a very nice day for us. We went to one of our favorite local eateries, Taqueria Torres (https://www.facebook.com/Taqueria-Torres-514132938621565/) and as always it was delicious! You can taste love and happiness in every bite – it permeates the place! I think part of the reason we like the people and the place so much is there is such a peaceful and spiritual energy.  They   express their spirituality in their decoration and on one of their message boards in particular was a message that resonated with me from the Bible, James 1:26:

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (the rest of the passage) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after ophans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This passage resonated with me and my own struggle with knowing when to speak and when to listen when it comes to matters of the spirit and religion! Sometimes it’s just better to agree to disagree!

Yesterday in the mail, as if to celebrate our special day, a package from my beautiful friend Natalie from the company Pocket Orgonite arrived. She had chosen some pieces that she felt were for me and sent them as a gift. They look a lot like the being in the drawing I did the other day! Pink and blue pyramids! The smallest piece actually helped me get through the allergy attack Kyle and I both suffered after walking to and from lunch! The bracelet is still on my wrist! It’s much like one my friend Cyndy had sent but broke. I am honored and humbled by Natalie’s beautiful work and gesture. I am planning on sending her an example of some of my crafts in reciprocity.

Had a weird dream this morning and this song comes to mind to recall it for you:

Robert Hazard – Escalator Of Life (1982)

What I remember of the dream Paul Ryan was in it and there were a bunch of people on an escalator. It was almost like watching an amusement ride but there too many people being crammed into it. It started to get dangerous and sparks were flying and people were screaming. At the end I remember seeing someone sticking a stick with what looked like, well to be honest, poop on a stick, into someone’s mouth.

What comes to mind is what happens when you try to cram all sorts of different people into one system, “one size fits all”….you get a shit-stick of a deal out of it. That’s what I feel about what’s going on with this Healthcare business. There is “no one-size fits all” answer when it comes to taking care of people – especially in the realm of Healthcare. I feel like what is going on with this repeal/reform is totally missing the mark of what actually needs to be dealt with. The “American Healthcare Escalator” itself – the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals….ahhh but that is too hard….takes too much time and means admitting responsibility for our current “death spiral” of a program ! The elephant in the room on all of this – the very same party that is trying to “fix” this mess is the same party that did everything within their power to obstruct, sabotage and neuter Obamacare!

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20170305_Commentary__Obamacare_s_flaws_were_designed_by_Republicans_to_make_it_fail.html

Commentary: GOP’s legal and political sabotage crippled Obamacare

Updated: —March 5, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST

by Abbe R. Gluck

Like a healthy body, a complex federal legislative scheme needs nurturing. Obamacare was starved to death by its legal guardians – the U.S. Congress – the same caretakers who now have the audacity to argue that the law has collapsed of its own weight. That’s like refusing to feed a newborn and then saying it died because it was sick. You can bet that if a Republican replacement bill ever passes, this Congress will give it a lot more care and a chance to actually succeed.

Let’s be clear. Obamacare was not perfect. But how could we expect a federal law so complex, affecting one-fifth of our economy, to be perfect from the get-go? Congress never gave it a chance, or even a tweak, to help it work. The amount of legal and political sabotage incessantly directed at the Affordable Care Act appears to be unprecedented in modern American history.

Political opponents filed a lawsuit the very day the statute was enacted, arguing that the insurance purchase requirement – which President Barack Obama modeled on Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health reform – was unconstitutional. Republicans then turned the state-based implementation of the statute into a political football, proclaiming that any governor who implemented a state exchange or expanded Medicaid was a traitor; never mind that the idea of resting the exchanges in the states in the first place came from Senate conservatives (or that nearly a dozen Republican governors eventually had the courage to say that the Medicaid expansion was in their states’ best interests and did it anyway).

When the Supreme Court, in 2012, refused to strike the statute down, the opponents didn’t stop there. The charge to their allies, which came from a high-profile 2010 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute, was to adopt a strategy designed to “exploit” “bits and pieces” of the law, calling it a “bastard [that] has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene.” That birthed the second Supreme Court case, one that attempted to take advantage of four sloppily drafted words in the 2,000-page law to argue – impossibly – that Congress never intended for the subsidies essential for all the ACA’s insurance reforms function to apply to the federal insurance exchanges. The Supreme Court quashed that suit too, in a definitive 6-3 smack-down, but not before the uncertainty caused by the suit prevented a smooth implementation.

The opponents didn’t stop there. Next, they took aim at the “three R’s” – the provisions of the statute on risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors. Simplified, those crucial provisions gave transitional financial relief to the insurance industry to stabilize the market and insurance premiums as the ACA began implementation. Congress never gave these a chance either. Instead, in 2013 it let Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) brand them an insurance “bailout” and then passed laws preventing the appropriation of some of this critical funding. Never mind that a federal court has now held that the government must pay the contractually obligated amount regardless, Rubio’s law notwithstanding. The damage was done.

What’s more, the House then brought a high-profile lawsuit arguing that another critical part of the ACA’s funding – the “cost sharing subsidies,” payments to insurers so they can charge individuals lower premiums – had not been properly appropriated. And that’s not even to mention countless other suits aimed to chip away at the statute, from challenges to its birth-control provisions, to its legislative process, to its implementation of the employer insurance mandate.

As noted, the statute wasn’t perfect. The insurance subsidy amounts were set too low in the law as drafted; a normal, responsible Congress would have stepped in to change that. Obama made his own mistakes, too. For example, many believe that the Department of Health and Human Services’ generous interpretation of the ACA’s grandfathering provisions narrowed the insurance markets in ways that contributed to premium increases.

Even with this strangulation, however, the ACA has had some enormous successes. Not only have 20 million more Americans been given access to health care, but health costs are way down and data on positive health outcomes are starting to come in. Indeed, the best testament to the ACA’s success is the fact that all of the proposed Republican plans keep its basic structure – requiring insurers to cover everyone at roughly equal prices, continuing support for Medicaid, and largely leaving many of the ACA’s less controversial provisions in place.

If there is any great weakness in the ACA, it is its overreliance on the insurance markets as the primary means of expanding health access. That makes the statute extremely vulnerable to the insurance industry and its politics. But that is a Republican preference. It’s a way to keep health care at least somewhat in the private sector, rather than federalizing the entire insurance scheme into a national version of Medicare for all. The part of the ACA that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) claims is “collapsing under its own weight” are these same insurance provisions; and they are collapsing because Congress double-crossed the insurance industry for political gain.

And here’s the kicker. The very first proposed regulation released by the Trump HHS aims to stabilize the very insurance markets that Congress and the ACA’s opponents spent the last seven years trying to undermine. President Trump met with top insurance CEOs last week to continue that effort. And of course, the Trump administration and the House of Representatives have decided to put the House’s cost-sharing-subsidy lawsuit on hold. Because if the House gets what it wants, it will further destabilize the insurance markets – and that no longer seems such a good idea now that a Republican is responsible for the ACA.

Trump has called Obamacare a “disaster” more times than one can count, and recently said, “Dems are to blame for the mess.” Let’s be clear about who is accountable. Considering how much the ACA has accomplished, just think what it could have done had our Republican-controlled Congress bothered to actually support it.

Abbe R. Gluck is professor of law and faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School.

John Oliver’s latest on yet another hornet’s nest getting sticks poked into it:

Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Reblog: Passover from Rachelmankowitz

I feel like I want to take a pass on Passover this year. I’ve done it before. I tried to do the whole thing last year – closing up cabinets and shopping for matzo meal and gefilte fish and kosher for Passover candy. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking up articles about […]

via Passover — rachelmankowitz

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