13 Oct 2017 Mustard Seed

Hello to you this Friday evening.  I hope you’ve had a good day from whatever point in your timeline you are at when you visit here.  I know it’s weird for me to talk like that to you but that’s how I think of this blog.  It’s a connection point between multiple dimensions.  Mainly mine and yours.  I think of each of us as walking, talking….living and breathing dimensions all overlapping each other.

The example I always use to illustrate this concept is thinking of when Kyle goes to work and I am here.  Unless I tell him what happened here while he was gone, he has no way of knowing what actually happened.  Unless he tells me what happens at his work, I have no way of knowing that either.  Even when we are both here at home,  even sitting in the same room, we are still recording unique perceptions of reality into our memory.   We are worlds within worlds!

Todays drawings weren’t spectacular but lead me to a particular passage from the Bible I’ve always thought was beautiful; the one about having faith as small as a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20New International Version (NIV)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

There are certain passages from the Bible, that even if I no longer participate in organized religion, have always resonated with me.  This particular passage is just such a one.  Revisiting passages like these gives me strength during times when I need it the most.  For me, that is what the Bible or any sacred text ought to be used for.  A resource to help, not a weapon to harm.

I hope that through all these billions of lines of wires, cables, electrical signals, dirt, ocean and sky….through all that is between my dimension and yours that this post helps make the moment you are in just a little better.

*I found this video to share, thought it might be interesting to you.  I didn’t know that Canada was the largest grower of mustard seed!

From a Tiny Mustard Seed

Published on Jan 29, 2015

Ever wondered where mustard comes from? Follow the production of mustard from seeding to harvesting.
Learn more about mustard at http://www.saskmustard.com.

*I found myself craving rhyme tonight and wanting more of the coolness of fall we got a brief taste of the other day.  It was 93 degrees here today!  Anyhew, I looked at several poems before finding this one.  I chose it because it spoke to me for some reason.  If you go to the actual site, you can hear each of the poems read out loud either by a person or computer  person.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/autumn-friends-2/

Autumn Friends – Poem by Sandra Fowler

If one could bridge the distance with a word,
A journey would become a pilgrimage.
Elegant letters slant across the page.
My leaf has found a home upon your coat.

My kind critic, I think it is our fate
To meet in stanzas of my poetry.
Simile and metaphor must be our bond
Until autumn blows one of us away.

Our rare rapport is irreplaceable.
Old moods glimmer on sills like fallen stars.
My little leaf says thank you every day.
It comforts me to know it traveled safe.

‘With my compliments to Mukund Dave for
all his eloquent reviews’

 

 

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13 Oct 2017 Friday

Hello to you, how are you doing wherever and whenever you are as you visit me here?  I hope you are well.  It’s Friday the 13th!  For the suspicious it is a worry but not for Kyle and I.  We were both born on a 13th day and sometimes our birthdays fall on Fridays and we just celebrate the day.  Whatever you believe, doesn’t assure but certainly increases the likelihood of it occurring!

I had some interesting dreaming last night.  The part I remembered just before waking was about agreeing to guide people through a meditation so they could go to sleep.  Basically do what I do for myself to try and fall asleep for other people.  So what was funny about this is I was actually doing this in the dream and it became much like a lucid dream experience.  When I woke up this morning I felt great lol!  Too funny.

I made the mistake, and I am trying to get better about it, of looking at the headlines.  Yeah, it’s like an addiction for me.  I wish I could just wave my hand, like we wave them over our Smartphones these days, and just make all the devastation, hurt feelings, fear, sorrow all that stuff filling so many just change to something else.  Silence the drums playing louder and louder war songs.  Alas the only special powers that I have, that are within all of us, can’t work all alone.  We lived in a shared reality.  Our thoughts, hopes and dreams whether they are positive or negative visions, all overlapping each other.  I truly feel that unless we figure out a path to unity,  define a unified vision of peace, the world will never truly advance beyond these times.

It will always be two steps forward and sometimes ten steps back.

We are taught from when we are very young that this is the law of nature.  This is how “balance” works.  If we don’t suffer then we can’t know what happiness is and vise versa.  I get it!  I guess this concept wouldn’t be so awful if there seemed to be some kind balance in our world between the suffering and happiness parts!  In my opinion, I think a lot of this imbalance is being driven by global media.  Not to jump on President Trump’s “Fake News” bandwagon, and he certainly hasn’t helped with all the stunt he’s been pulling since January, but there is definitely something going on.

To look at or watch the news, it feels to me, more times than not,  like everybody is out to destroy each other and the world!  I know a big part of that is because of how I’m getting news now versus when I was younger.  It was easier to avoid it when I was younger…just don’t read the papers and turn off the television.  Now that I live in a world where I do most everything using a computer connected to the internet…it’s almost impossible to avoid some snippet or another of news be it positive or negative!  Think about how long it took for people to find out about the sinking of the Titantic versus how quickly we found out what was going on during the Vegas shooting earlier this month!

Newspapers and news media outlets are having to work harder and harder to grab our attention to stay afloat and I think it is doing great harm.  I realize by reflecting on the direction my blog here has taken sometimes that I do the same thing!  I am constantly having to remind myself and Kyle reminds me too that I need to be writing for myself first – not writing with the sole intent of notoriety and to garner a bunch of followers!  Just my linking a bunch of negative news headlines isn’t helping make the world a better place!

So many people talking…shouting….sending messages…SOS!  SOS!  There is only a certain capacity in the world for the actual receipt of all these messages.  For every message there is a messenger and a receiver but now there is another problem.  With there being SO many messages, the messages aren’t getting through at all.  They can’t get through the wall only the condition of apathy can build!

I feel like one of the most dangerous conditions that has arisen from our modern world has been apathy.

ap·a·thy
ˈapəTHē/
noun
noun: apathy
  1. lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
    “widespread apathy among students”
    synonyms: indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern, unconcern, uninterestedness, unresponsiveness, impassivity, dispassion, lethargy, languor, ennui;

    rareacedia
    “widespread apathy among the voters”
Origin
early 17th century: from French apathie, via Latin from Greek apatheia, from apathēs ‘without feeling,’ from a- ‘without’ + pathos ‘suffering.’

After a point of saturation people either care too much and check out or just stop caring at all.  I feel the way the media is going about trying to grab us is with a disproportionate amount of negative headlines about EVERYTHING!  There has got to be some sort of balance restored in this.

To wrap this up.

I used to think our special power was love.  I don’t believe that anymore.  Love has become a term used in dichotomy just like anything else human beings have anything to do with.  Just as I would love a butterfly, another would love to hit it with their car for sport.  I didn’t want to believe my Mom and Dad when they said they had been to church and the priest said people use the word love too much.  In looking at my own use of the word in my daily life, yep!  I use it for everything, even things not even worthy of it.  That priest was right.  I am starting to live a very cause and effect existence.  My faith and trust in my fellow human beings has been sorely tested these past 49 years. I have resolved not to be Pavlov’s dog.  I have decided as of late that I will be God’s dog.  Some of the greatest lessons of this life have been taught to me by my life with dogs.  If I can continue to learn and become even be a fraction of the good all of the dogs I’ve know in this life have been for me, then I will eventually be a fantastic human being.

 

Pavlov‘s dog is classical conditioning, originally experiments using dogs by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. In 1904, Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize for his physiology work.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlov%27s_dog_(disambiguation)

 

 

 

 

11 Oct 2017 Today’s Youth are Depressed, Here’s Why (Thoughty2, You tube), THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization (Bright Insight, You tube) and Evening Star (Poem by Edgar Allen Poe)

Hello to you.  It’s 9:28 pm on this Wednesday evening.  How are you?  I’m doing better after Kyle and I were able to talk with our neighbor about the fence, dog and poop situation this evening.  Sounds like chicken wire will be the solution until we can all afford to replace the fence entirely.  Works for me!  It made me feel better to be able to apologize for the outburst this morning and get things sorted out.  All he heard was yelling and wasn’t sure what was going on.  It had been bugging me all day!  I don’t like being mad at people or having unresolved conflict with people.

So this evening Kyle and I were able to squeeze in part of another episode of the Living and Dead BBC One program…make it last as long as we can lol.  We also did our You tube channels scan for stuff to watch and came across this very insightful video from the Thoughty2 channel about why the youth of today are having so much trouble with depression.  It ties in nicely to the links I shared on my previous post today about Smartphones and their effect on young people’s mental health/self esteem and suicide related issues.   This video addresses a lot of things people may have not considered when making harsh judgements about young people of the past couple of generations.

Today’s Youth Are Depressed, Here’s Why…

Thoughty2

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – Are You Lost In The World Like Me? (Official Video) – this little film sums it all up so well….so sad but true.

This is a video I saw yesterday that was very interesting to me too.  It inspired the chalk drawing I did of the Sumerian and the Reaper.  I have found the story of the Sumerians quite fascinating and kind of crossed paths with some of their history, specifically their language of the cuneiform, when I was trying to get some closure on the character Vanessa Ives from the show Penny Dreadful: https://saymber.com/2016/09/20/20-sept-2016-vanessa-ives-of-penny-dreadful-and-lilith-cuneiform-sumerian-language-finding-mementos-of-your-past-revisiting-harsh-lessons-of-farm-life-and-death-as-a-city-girl/

THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization

Bright Insight

Published on Oct 5, 2017

How is it possible that the Sumerian’s ONLY get 1-3 Sentences in the Textbooks? The world’s FIRST human civilization that dates back 6,000 years, that created our modern system of time, the calendar, writing, agriculture, and everything else is not required learning in school. This video outlines what the Sumerian tablets/records.

Here to close…this beautiful poem by Edgar Allen Poe that I have never read before:

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/evening-star/

Evening Star – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

‘Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro’ the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
‘Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass’d, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

Sending hugs, love, hope and all the good I can muster through the wires to you…..please do pass it along 🙂 

8 Oct 2017 The Living and the Dead (BBC) and positive story about how even the most extreme people are capable of change ( The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos)

Hello to you….it’s Sunday in my here and now as I write to you.  How are you doing in your here and now?  I hope you are in a good place.  I’m navigating my way back to a healthier head, heart, mind and spirit space myself.  We’ve started watching a very interesting BBC show that I had been waiting to be available on Amazon Prime.  It’s called The Living and the Dead starring Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer.  WOW!  So worth the wait!  The cinematography alone is just amazing.  I find myself wishing I could just have many frames of the show as reference for doing paintings.  We watched the second episode last night and are hooked.  I won’t give away too many spoiler for those who want to explore the show, but a concept I was fascinated to see employed …the overlaying of dimensional realities.  Are ghosts just versions of us from other dimensions peaking through another reality…the veil?  Are ghosts just the overlaying of dimensions and timelines?  I thought Colin was brilliant in another fantastic BBC show, Humans and he is just as great in this one.  Sadly, while looking for more information on the show, I see it didn’t get a second season….sigh.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/living-and-dead-casting – this article was prior to production, but it gives you a great feel for what it’s about.

Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer set to thrill in new supernatural BBC One drama The Living And The Dead

The Living And The Dead is one of those scripts that you read and are instantly compelled and engaged by. It’s intelligent, chilling and engrossing.Colin Morgan

Date: 07.08.2015     Last updated: 10.08.2015 at 12.28
Category: BBC One; Casting; Drama
Colin Morgan (Humans, The Fall, Merlin) will play the lead role of Nathan Appleby in brand new eerie mystery The Living And The Dead.

The original six part series for BBC One, created by Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Moonfleet), will also star Charlotte Spencer (Glue, Stonemouth, Line Of Duty), as Charlotte Appleby, Nathan’s wife. Charlotte was BAFTA nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2015 and Colin won a National Television Award for Most Popular Male Drama Performance in 2013.

“What lies beneath should be left beneath”

Somerset, 1894. A house that’s almost as old as the English countryside itself. A brilliant young couple inherit the farm and are determined to start a new life together. But their presence in this isolated corner of England starts to unleash strange, unsettling and dangerous supernatural phenomena that will start to threaten their marriage.

This is a drama steeped in the eeriness of the rural world at the moment when the industrial revolution came crashing in to disrupt all the old certainties. Uncanny, intriguing, disturbing. At the series’ heart is the love story of Nathan and Charlotte Appleby: deeply in love with each other but put under extraordinary pressure, they will have to fight to save their marriage and their home.

Colin Morgan says: “The Living And The Dead is one of those scripts that you read and are instantly compelled and engaged by. It’s intelligent, chilling and engrossing. It’s going to be very special and I can’t wait to start working on it with the wonderful creative team.”

Charlotte Spencer says: “It’s always been a dream of mine to appear in a period drama and they don’t come better than this – fantastic, original scripts and, in Charlotte Appleby, a superb character who’s strong, passionate and gutsy. Couple this with an incredible director, crew and cast, I can’t wait to get started!”

Ashley Pharoah adds: “I am completely thrilled that Colin and Charlotte are joining us on our adventure. The characters they play – Nathan and Charlotte Appleby – dominate the series and I couldn’t be more excited to see what they do with them.”

Faith Penhale, Head of BBC Wales Drama Production, says: “Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer are two of Britain’s most exciting and talented stars and I can’t think of anyone better to bring to life Nathan and Charlotte Appleby, the beautifully drawn couple at the heart of Ashley’s bold and brilliant new series for BBC One.”

The executive producers are Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham for Monastic Productions, Faith Penhale, Head of BBC Wales Drama Production, and Katie McAleese for BBC Wales Drama Production.

Eliza Mellor (Poldark, Death Comes To Pemberley) is producer and director Alice Troughton (Cucumber, In The Flesh) will launch the series.

Commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, and Ben Stephenson, previous Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, The Living And The Dead is a BBC Wales Drama production in association with Monastic Productions and co-produced with BBC America. It will be distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide.

Filming has begun in the West Country.

Notes to Editors

Photo credit: Robert Viglasky.

CK1

The Living and the Dead: Trailer – BBC One

To close so Kyle and I can get on with what little we have of OUR time off together……..

Last night before bed I did one last glance at the headlines, which I know isn’t good for my sleep but I was rewarded before Kyle accidentally flagged me and turned off the internet.  It was this Washington Post news story  by Lindsey Bever that I felt was important to share.  This story about Michael Kent and his amazing probation officer Tiffany Whittier shows me there is hope for humanity……people can change if they want to….if they try.  This story also is a current example of what my post yesterday that went into  how early childhood trauma and experiences with bullying, from the perspective of a white male, can shape that white males future: ( https://saymber.com/2017/10/07/7-oct-2017-lets-stay-together-dream-and-song/)  My brother-in-law experienced bullying when he attended a public school in New Mexico that had a population primarily made up of Hispanic children.  It got so bad that Kyle’s parents pulled him from public school and started home schooling all the kids after that.  It’s important to recognize it’s not just minorities who suffer in this way.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/10/07/the-ironic-friendship-that-convinced-a-former-neo-nazi-to-erase-his-swastika-tattoos/?utm_term=.8d363a35b126

The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos

The Washington Post
Lindsey Bever
Michael Kent and an unidentified “comrade” in Phoenix in 2006.
© Courtesy of Michael Kent Michael Kent and an unidentified “comrade” in Phoenix in 2006. Michael Kent’s dedication to a racist cause was spelled out in ink on his skin.

 The white supremacist symbol “1488” on the back of his neck.

The swastikas drawn on his neck and chest.

And the “WHITE PRIDE” banner stretching from shoulder to shoulder.

Kent got the tattoos in prison, when he was still a neo-Nazi — earning each letter in “WHITE PRIDE” by, he said, “messing people up.”

“I was a real piece of crap,” Kent told The Washington Post. “I regret a lot of stuff that I did. But I can’t take it back, and I’m glad because it made me who I am today.”

Kent, 38, said he is now having his neo-Nazi tattoos covered up after making the decision to leave a life of hate behind him.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

That decision, he first told ABC News, grew slowly out of a surprising friendship with his probation officer — a black woman.

“I told her if it wasn’t for her, I’d still be deep into this stuff,” he said.

Tiffany Whittier, a probation officer in Pinal County, Ariz., was assigned to handle Kent’s case a decade ago.

Kent, who had served time on drug and weapons charges, was released from prison in 2006; about a year later, his probation case was transferred to Whittier.

Until then, he said, his probation officers had always visited him in pairs.

Then Whittier got his file — which included pictures of his tattoos — and she visited him at his house alone.

That earned her instant respect from Kent, who said he was emotionally moved by her boldness — by the fact that she didn’t fear him or what he represented.

“She showed up, and I lost it,” he said.

His house was cluttered with Nazi gear — including a decal reading “extreme hatred” over an image of Adolf Hitler, with a swastika and Nazi Germany’s iron cross. There were also German war flags.

“She asked me why,” Kent said. “I told her, ‘This is me — take it or leave it.’ ”

Whittier said it was not her job to judge Kent. She was simply there to make sure he did not violate his probation and wind up back in prison.

Still, she did not stay silent.

One Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kent asked Whittier: “Why are you working on James Earl Ray Day?” She sternly told him his remarks were inappropriate.

Another time, she half-jokingly told Kent that he should replace his Nazi symbols with smiley faces — and he did it. His nickname was Smiley, he explained, and it “made a lot of sense.” So he put posters of smiley faces where racism had once been on display.

As time went on, Kent said he started leaning on Whittier for support.

When his first child was born.

When he and his girlfriend broke up — then got back together, eventually marrying.

And then when they divorced.

In the middle of it all, in 2010, Kent completed his probation.

And, Whittier said, their professional relationship started to develop into an “ironic” friendship.

As his life progressed, he said, so, too, did his views about race.

“Michael did the work,” Whittier said. But, she said, she is glad that she had “an impact on him.”

Kent said it was the respect that Whittier showed that made him want to take down the Nazi symbols. He did so out of respect for her, he said.

His neo-Nazi views, he said, evolved from racial encounters growing up in a mostly black neighborhood in Erie, Pa. He was bullied by black children, he said, and his mother was assaulted by a black man.

He said a man broke into her window and climbed on top of her, but she drew a gun and started shooting at him.

Kent was only 6 or 7 at the time, he said. He started to see black people in a negative way, and his hatred for them “started growing stronger and stronger and stronger” until he became a full-fledged “skinhead.”

In the 1990s, he started to join demonstrations, including a neo-Nazi rally in Arizona to support the state’s controversial immigration bill, SB 1070.

He said he “destroyed people’s lives” — both by recruiting others into his racist lifestyle, and by “putting boots to people” of other races.

Over the years, Kent found himself in and out of prison.

He said he doesn’t even remember why he went to jail the first time, when he was a young teen; but records show that in the early 2000s, he was put in prison for the first time for dangerous drug violations, theft, trafficking stolen property and promoting prison contraband — a charge he said stemmed from a stint in county jail in the late 1990s, when he brought drugs into the correctional system.

He was later imprisoned on a weapons charge. Kent said he had attempted suicide with a gun — which, as a felon, he was not permitted to have in his possession.

It was in prison, Kent said, that he got his Nazi tattoos; prisoners melted down chess pieces, hair grease and Styrofoam cups, mixed the soot with soap, and then injected it with sharp guitar strings.

But eventually, Kent said, those symbols — and that lifestyle — were in his past, and he wanted to leave them there.

He explained to Whittier that he had started to see people differently — learning not to judge, but to accept them.

So Redemption Ink, a nonprofit whose website states that it gives free coverups to people with “marks of gangs, prejudice, and hate in the form of a tattoo,” connected Kent with a tattoo shop in Colorado, where he now lives.

“We called him and said, ‘We’d like to be the next step in your journey,’” David Brown, co-owner of Fallen Heroes Tattoo in Colorado Springs, told The Post. “Michael was truly committed to this deal.”

Kent has had some sessions and still has more to go — but, Brown said, he is on his way to closing “this chapter in his life.”

Now, Kent said, he lives alone in Colorado, where he works 60 to 80 hours a week on a chicken farm — doing maintenance, managing heavy equipment and even making the feed for the chickens.

He said it’s “hectic,” but he enjoys it.

And Kent said he owes it all to a black probation officer who gave him a chance.

“Because of her,” Kent said, “I am the man I am.”

Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier in 2017.© Courtesy of Michael Kent Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier in 2017. This story has been updated.

Source: Washington Post/internet
and courtesy Michael Kent: Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier

7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

Hello to you. How are you? I hope your doing well. I had a fun dream last night of costume shopping. The parts I found, after opened kept being used or dirty. I just couldn’t find the right one. Then I remembered I could sing like Tina Turner and started singing one of my favorite songs she’s sung, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

I’m so in love with you Whatever you want to do Is all right with me ‘Cause you make me Feel so brand new And I want to spend My life with you

Since, since we’ve been together Loving you forever Is what I need Let me be the one you Come running to And I’ll never be untrue ooh baby

[Chorus] Let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, Happy or sad Good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody tell me Why people break up? Turn around and make up I just can’t see You’d never do that to me Would you, baby? Staying around you is all I see Here’s what I want to do

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

This morning, after scanning some headlines, I see the tide has risen again for anti-gay sentiment around the world.  What I suspect is all of these petty and divisive tactics are just another distraction technique by the “powers that be” as they make arrangements for WWIII.  If we are divided and angry we will be more likely to be compliant to their plans.  The Rainbow Raids in Egypt just the latest overseas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/rainbow-raids-egypt-launches-its-widest-anti-gay-crackdown-yet/ar-AAsZZuj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Rainbow raids: Egypt launches its widest anti-gay crackdown yet

Sarah Hegazy has been jailed, beaten by inmates, and could face a life sentence in an Egyptian prison if found guilty of “promoting sexual deviancy” and other charges tied to her alleged crime: waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.

The crackdown comes as Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, is under fire for its human rights record and the United States has withheld some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Hegazy, the only woman rounded up in the three-week-old campaign, says police goaded her cellmates to abuse her during her first night in prison, where she is being detained for 15 days and interrogated by special prosecutors who usually focus on Islamist militants.

“This is the game they (police) always play, especially since she is a girl. They incite the other detainees and say ‘this girl wants men and women to be gay’ so they harass her. I saw scratches on her shoulder, she looked very disheveled and exhausted. She was beaten,” said Hegazy’s lawyer Hoda Nasralla.

A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

Lawyers for other detainees said their clients faced similar treatment. Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.

At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says. Judicial sources do not deny the examinations take place but say they are legally carried out and are not a form of abuse.

Egyptian authorities do not deny going after gays and an investigation report provided to Reuters by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) openly refers to the police’s campaign on homosexuals.

Police, state-aligned media, and the religious establishment all see it as a public duty to combat the spread of homosexuality.

Ten men have already gone on trial during the recent sweep and received jail sentences from one to six years.

MEDIA BACKLASH

On Sept. 22, at a concert packed with 30,000 people headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concert goers raised a rainbow flag and, within hours, the image went viral.

Almost immediately local media, dominated by state-aligned television personalities, began a campaign against homosexuals, saying they were receiving foreign funding, and hosting callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt’s media regulator then banned homosexuals from appearing in the media unless they were “repenting”, calling homosexuality a “shame and a disease that should be kept under wraps, not promoted” in order to protect public morality.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said it would stand against gays in the way it stands against Islamist extremists. One church organized an anti-gay conference.

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the State Security Prosecution, which normally investigates terrorism and other national security threats, to investigate the flag incident.

At least four people, including Hegazy and 21-year-old Ahmed Alaa, were arrested for allegedly raising the flag although one man has since been released.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men – a common tactic in Egypt – to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.

At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case, which drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.

But the current wave has already surpassed that incident both in numbers and in state action, with defendants facing much faster trials than usual, said Dalia Abd Elhameed, EIPR’s gender and women’s rights officer.

No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record.

Washington denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a further $195 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U.S. sources told Reuters in August.

Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.

It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U.N. expert on anti-gay violence and discrimination. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U.N. General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.

Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.

EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said. Many of these cases went to court where the average sentence was around three years in jail, although in some cases it went up to 12.

Sisi has been criticized by the Brotherhood as being anti-Islam, and rights groups say tough treatment of the LGBT community is a way to counter that while diverting attention from the country’s tough economic conditions.

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear. Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest.

Some are considering leaving the country.

But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger.

“I don’t feel comfortable just being myself. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.

A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.

They posed as police officers at some point, playing on a common fear for gay Egyptians, before stealing items from his flat. The man says he later felt going to the police was almost as traumatic as the incident itself.

Police records show officers create false dating profiles and set up dates only to arrest the men who show up. Sometimes they tell the men to bring condoms then use them as evidence, Abd Elhameed said.

“There are people in the Interior Ministry who take our money as taxpayers to engage in sex chatting with people then arrest them. It is as ridiculous as this; the evidence sheets include nude photos and erotic chat transcripts.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

A part of me understands it and a bigger part of me does not accept it as rational behavior to be hating anyone for trying to be who they are. To me targeting a vulnerable population like the gay population is the stuff schoolyard bullies do to make themselves feel better.  As an empathic person, I often find myself trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Lately, it’s been trying to understand why it seems there is so much hate on the part of some white people, white men in particular, against anyone who is different than they are.

It occurs to me the conversation I had on the way home with my father-in-law after we went to the State Fair and the topic about the NFL kneeling issue came up. From my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s perspective, both of them upper middle class and white, the NFL is a business and no place for such protests. People watch football to escape such things. Well I came back to that with, “If you put yourself in the place of the these mostly black athletes who’s people are being treated the way they are….” The comeback from my father-in-law was swift. He said he felt that these guys were making millions of dollars, what do they know of oppression. I retorted that many of them come from the places the people they are kneeling for came from….it was there only way out. He didn’t agree with me, he said that as a white tax payer it’s not his doing that this is going on. I could tell the conversation was only going to escalate to an ugly place so I didn’t say anything else. I knew mentioning that his tax dollars are paying for some of the law enforcement who are shooting unarmed black men and paying for politicians who are constantly putting together legislation like banning immigrants, building walls and anti-tay bathroom bills wasn’t going to end well. In my estimation, something was lacking from my father-in-law in this conversation and it was empathy. In our short conversation, he just couldn’t and didn’t want to try and understand the people we were talking about.

My parents, also white, are much the same. I grew up with and am still surrounded by a great degree of intolerance, even hostility on the part of white people when it comes to anyone who is different…meaning not straight, not church-going, not white.

I love my family but have spent most of my life agreeing to disagree with them about issues such as this.

My dear Grandma Carol Becker and I – she was one of my Moms and is such a huge part of who I am today

So how did I end up the way I did? Being different, being bullied in school, being the “other.” When you go through hard times or are treated differently for being who you are, in my case as a child being overly sensitive and poor, you learn empathy almost as a self-defense mechanism!   I can remember walking home from grade school and having white male classmates hurling snow balls at me and calling me names.  I credit the greatest part of my empathic ability to having two people in my life, my Grandparents, especially my Grandma Becker, who fought for unity and equality for all people that “saved me” from ultimately becoming an angry, hostile, racist white bigot.

The emotion of fear can either motivate you to great empathy and love or it can also push you to hate, hostility and even violence.

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich – which remains incomplete because of it’s perceived pro-gay message: https://globalvoices.org/2017/05/12/diversity-interrupted-anti-gay-crusades-mar-ukraines-tolerant-facade/The incomplete monument serves as a conspicuous reminder of Ukraine’s unfinished battle against homophobia—a problem that has been accentuated by a recent spate of homophobic attacks.Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Façade – “

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This article does a fantastic job of possibly explaining why empathy is lacking in many white males.  Fear seems to be at the core of anger….lack of empathy:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/angry-white-men-wcz/

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

Instead of ignoring the anger, put it to a positive use.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There is something very wrong with (and for) many white men in America. They are so damned angry.

It is a phenomenon that is distinctly un-lovable, and yet love may be the most effective response.

As a member of that cohort, I get it: every rule we were taught growing up has changed, every promise that was made has been broken. How we interact with women, privilege and all that it manifested for our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers, and everything it meant in terms of being a man, a provider and protector…. Gone.

The problem is the role of virile alpha male provider/protector is hard-wired into our brain. It is our very definition of “manhood.” Faced with uncertainty and change, the response of circling up protection around what we “know” and responding aggressively against the unknown, is second nature.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline.

Being AGAINST something focuses that energy like a laser, whereas being FOR something diffuses positive energy into an array of options. This is why right-wing talk radio works and attempts at liberal talk radio have failed miserably. Conservatives have bulleted talking points that are relentlessly AGAINST something. Even when they say they are “pro-life,” the focus is so narrow, that it comes down to being AGAINST abortion and nothing more. They’re AGAINST “Obamacare,” but press them for an alternative and you get a look of canine puzzlement. Progressives, meanwhile, want to include everybody and can’t seem to herd the cats. Applied to light, it is almost literally the difference between generating heat and illumination. Negativity feeds on its own energy.

The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline. As in pre-WWII Germany, racism whispers in the ears of white men, “It’s not your fault you can’t provide for your family, that you’re not going to do as well as your father did; it’s THEIR fault!” and it points it’s bony finger at women who’ve gone to work (“because if you were man enough, she wouldn’t HAVE to work, taking a job away from a man.”), Or at immigrants. Or anyone else who is “different.”

It’s easy to feel bowled over by the laser-focused blast of anger and negativity, or feel the need to match it in kind. The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

I get it. Angry white guy is exhausting and distinctly unsympathetic. There is much to hate about hatred, but that can only yield more of the same. If we can bring ourselves to recognize bigotry, gun culture, misogyny and white male rage as merely the outward symptoms of a very real fear, we can meet fear with empathy, compassion and even love.

◊♦◊

The solution is found in realizing that our fathers’ definition of what is to be a man doesn’t work anymore and we haven’t filled that void. Packing a sidearm for a Starbucks run and curtailing the rights of others doesn’t make one a man, it makes one a frightened bully.

Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose.

A man is someone who calls fear by its name and leans into it anyway. He is not owned or diminished by it. He realizes that evolution favors not the strongest, but the most adaptable. He realizes that complicated times demand agility. He applies his solution-finding skills in new and innovative ways, as his forefathers did before him.

Angry white men are in their final throes because they refuse to find a way to adapt and evolve. Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose. That’s why we’re seeing terrorism, fascism and a spike in suicide among working class white males. It’s a fine line between offing oneself and making it a political statement by taking others with you.

Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from a very insightful article I found in my quest to try and understand where the hate is coming from towards gays and minorities.  The part I’ve shared, is very resonant to what I have observed going on with young people as I’ve grown up.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

(A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays.)

Social Powerlessness

In contemporary American society, young people–from the poor to the upper middle classes–are systematically neglected and devalued. Lacking access to meaningful, challenging experiences, and sensing a declining potential for success in today’s increasingly service-oriented economy, they are often frustrated, discouraged, and socially alienated . Young White males in particular face the contradiction of being taught to expect hegemonic masculine power while being denied any real access to it. This contradiction fosters “power- seeking, adventurist recreational activities at the expense of others who also lack power within the social order,” such as women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. Trapped in a temporal vortex between devalued adolescence and adult male privilege, teenage males are given tacit permission to engage in a certain degree of rowdiness and aggression, under the auspices of “boys will be boys.” This is particularly true for young men from more privileged strata, such as the fraternity boys discussed earlier, for whom peer group dynamics and thrill seeking often lead to exaggerated displays of masculinity regarding which society largely looks the other way.

However, if violence becomes a pervasive way of life and endures into adulthood, the scale tilts from socially excused to maladaptive. Eric’s aggression, which led to 3 years behind bars and cost him an education, is illustrative of a violent lifestyle that falls outside the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Describing how he drank and fought his way through adolescence, Eric said, “I used to beat people up, just to beat them up. When I ran out of people I didn’t like, l’d beat up people my brother didn’t like.” Of his assault on the businessman, he commented, “I got satisfaction out of kicking the guy.”

Eric’s masculinity has the exaggerated quality of masculine protest , in which violence is employed as an overcompensation for perceived weakness. Connell (1995) views this protest masculinity as a social, rather than individual, practice. In what he labels marginalized masculinity, economically and socially disempowered men like Eric “claim the potency that European culture attaches to masculinity” through a facade of power when their actual circumstances provide “no real resources for power”. In other words, males who incorporate the gender-norm expectations of hegemonic masculinity yet cannot realize these expectations due to their economic or racial status may act out in extreme manners, often with homosexuals as their targets.

This is by no means to imply that the majority of men from lower-class or racial minority backgrounds respond to poverty and oppression with hypermasculinity and violence, even in the most compelling of peer group situations. In most cases, a predisposition is engendered through childhood socialization involving not only poverty and social oppression but also violent victimization and exposure to violence . Eric, for example, experienced not only childhood violence but also parental abandonment, alcoholism, and death. And when Andrew was a child, his sadistic father routinely beat him with weapons while verbally deriding him. Andrew said it had taken him many years to learn to control the violent impulses engendered by this paternal abuse.

One of the hallmarks of the marginalized masculinity that may develop out of childhood poverty and violence is a preoccupation with a masculine front, or the protection of reputation and pride. Recall Eric’s explanation that his relative’s gay friend deserved punishment for disrespecting him. And although the businessmen whom Eric and his friends assaulted “didn’t even know it was coming,” among Eric’s peers the assault was far from surprising. For them, the men’s eye contact, laughing derision, and profanity were provocative challenges requiring physical response. Indeed, cognitive research has identified sets of norms, rules, and expectations that are shared within subcultures and lead to this type of predictable, even ritualized, social aggression.

Studying a group of economically and socially disenfranchised White youths similar to Eric’s peer group, Pinderhughes (1991) found perceived powerlessness and victimization to drive their ritualized social aggression against both homosexuals and African Americans, whom they perceived as “taking over”. In these situations, power and violence are in a sense opposites, for “where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears when power is in jeopardy” (Arendt, 1969, p. 56). Thus, whereas violence is often seen as an expression of power, in Eric’s case it can be alternatively conceptualized as a response to real or perceived powerlessness, wherein affluent, presumably gay men wearing expensive clothing symbolize undeserved “special rights” for minorities. …

 

 

5 Oct 2017 What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health (Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire)

Hello to you.  It’s 4:19 pm on this Thursday afternoon as I write to you.  I have spent the day trying to work through some of my anger and frustration that I expressed in my earlier post today and the past couple of days.  I am not liking the person I have been the past few days and I know why.  My sleep has been poor because of Kyle’s work schedule  and I have been inundating myself with negative news!  Not a good combination!

This is a poem I wrote today as part of my therapy, not one of my best, but it describes what it’s like to “tune out” when someone is going all negative at you:

Tuning out – Jackie Wygant 5 Oct 2017 /1:36 pm

I tune out

I’m sick of caring

What the latest fuss is all about

You are talking

Your lips move in slow motion

My thoughts are already walking

It doesn’t matter what I say

I just want you and your troubles

To just go away…..

I feel like I should apologize to those of you who regularly visit me and have been subjected to the torrent of negativity I’ve been expressing here, but I think, I sincerely hope, you understand what I’m working through.  This blog, from it’s inception, has been an outlet for me….a tool in my sanity toolkit.  Lately I have had to work extra special hard at keeping my lid on top!

What’s happening is my trying to be a responsible and informed citizen about what is going on around me has become quite toxic and addictive.  Yes, you can become addicted and actually start to rewire one’s brain after repeated exposure to negative news. This article from the Huffington Post is a couple of years old, but the information still is relevant.  I thought it might be helpful to share so if anyone else is going through what I have been, they can learn about what’s going on in their head!

What do you do to rid yourself of anxiety, stress, anger and frustration?  What are your coping mechanisms?  I’d be curious to know!

19 Sept 2017 – first drawing of the day. This is my husband Kyle trying to keep me from getting sucked into the negative goop of mainstream media!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/violent-media-anxiety_n_6671732.html

SCIENCE

02/19/2015 08:49 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2015

What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health

The world isn’t falling apart, but it can sure feel like it. The news can be violent, depressing and emotionally-charged.

“Terrorism is newsworthy because it is inherently dramatic and threatening,” political scientist Shana Gadarian wrote in The Washington Post in October. “Media competition means that journalists and editors have incentives to use emotionally powerful visuals and story lines to gain and maintain ever-shrinking news audiences.”

This may be driven partly by our natural negativity bias, which leads us to pay more attention to things that are dangerous or threatening.

According to some psychologists, exposure to negative and violent media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects beyond simple feelings of pessimism or disapproval. The work of British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in the psychological effects of media violence, suggests that violent media exposure can exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Negative news can significantly change an individual’s mood — especially if there is a tendency in the news broadcasts to emphasize suffering and also the emotional components of the story,” Davey told The Huffington Post. “In particular… negative news can affect your own personal worries. Viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.”

According to Davey, the way that negative news affects your mood can also have a larger affect on how you interpret and interact with the world around you. If it makes you more anxious or sad for instance, then you may subconsciously become more attuned to negative or threatening events, and you may be more likely to see ambiguous or neutral events as negative ones.

On a neurological level, when we’re confronted with images of violence, we know that images or videos depicting violence are categorically different from actual violence — so we don’t process the input as threatening stimuli. However, we internalize the negative stimuli, which can affect mood and cause one to feel more negatively towards the environment more broadly.

“These images change our overall mood to a more negative one — more sad or more anxious — and it is this change in mood that leads to psychological changes in the way we attend to things around us (e.g. we are more likely to pick out things in our environment that are potentially negative or threatening),” Davey explains. “This can have a vicious cycle effect on mood generally for some time.”

Some research has even suggested that viewing traumatic images in the media can cause PTSD-like symptoms. A 2001 study found that watching the events of 9/11 on television was enough to trigger PTSD symptoms — such as worrying about future terrorist attacks and reduced self-confidence — in some viewers. Severity of symptoms, interestingly, was directly correlated with the amount of time the subjects spent watching television.

A recent study also found that being frequently exposed to graphic, uncensored images of violence is emotionally distressing to many journalists working in newsroom settings. The journalists who were regularly exposed to violent video footage scored higher on indexes of PTSD — including re-experiencing, avoidance and general anxiety — as well as increased alcohol consumption, depression, and somatization (physical signs of distress in the body).

The researchers noted that over time, exposure to graphic violence can cause a process of either sensitization, in which the individuals becomes more sensitive to emotional distress upon viewing the images, or desensitization — a sort of numbing process in which individuals become habituated to what they see — to occur. This numbing effect, which causes the brain to exhibit less of an emotional response to disturbing stimuli, has been observed in those who have been repeatedly exposed to violent video games.

The diagnostic criteria for PTSD — which was appended for the DSM-5 to recognize that not only experiencing something traumatic oneself but also witness a life-threatening trauma to another could lead to symptoms of the disorder — acknowledges this to some degree. Davey notes, however, that the DSM description does say that these events should be witnessed in person.

Of course, it’s important to note that exposure to negative news is unlikely to cause depression, anxiety or PTSD in individuals who are not already prone to these conditions. But it can still lead to a pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light — leading us to ignore and overshadow the many things that are working.

What’s clear from this research is that more positive news is needed to outweigh the violence and destruction we’re exposed to every day. As psychologist Steven Pinker and international studies professor Andrew Mack write in Slate, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, despite what the headlines suggest. Violence has actually decreased, and quality of life has improved for millions of people. Journalism should reflect these truths.

As Positive News founder Sean Dagan Wood said in a recent TED talk, “A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society, and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.”

 

 

5 Oct 2017 A skim over the headlines and what it shows me

Hello to you.  It’s Thursday morning yet as I finish compiling all of these articles.  I did it because I had to find some healthy way to channel the energy in the generally shitty attitude I have about this world right now!  My neighbor asked me how I was doing yesterday after she brought us half of a delicious cake she had made and I was honest with her.  I said tearfully, “Not very good, I am just pissed at the world right now!”  I know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling.  I got a letter from one of my pen pals yesterday and she even said that she and her family have tossed around the idea of moving to Canada, anywhere but here,  until this bullshit is over.  It doesn’t matter where you go now though really.  Look at what happened in Germany’s recent elections!  

http://www.turkishny.com/taha-meli-arvas/160-taha-meli-arvas/253745-germany-elects-nazi-sympathizers-while-the-krg-wants-a-better-deal

Germany Elects Nazi Sympathizers, While the KRG Wants a Better Deal

On Sunday, German voters gave Chancellor Angela Merkel a resounding vote of no-confidence. Nearly 66 percent of Germans voted against Merkel and her Christian Democrats Union, their worst showing in nearly 70 years. Despite losing a quarter of her supporters, Germany’s arcane electoral system will allow Merkel to become chancellor for a fourth term. The remaining votes were split between several smaller parties, including the “Alternative for Germany” party, or AfD. The far-right AfD is known for being a party that has morphed into one of Nazi sympathizers and radical xenophobes from its humble anti- “common currency” beginnings.

The powers that be have been massaging this game for quite some time and with few bumps to impede their progress, are putting all the pieces in place we swore would never happen again after WWII.  They have got plenty of desperate and ignorant fools to help them do it too!  

So anyways. 

I was curious to see what was going on with regards to things besides the rising gun debate, which I’m happy to see this morning that there is sensible stuff going on – the Democrats and Republicans at least agreeing we don’t need bump stocks being added to guns to make them more deadly to shoot. 

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/05/republican-proposes-ban-of-bump-stocks-used-in-las-vegas-shooting/

 Republican proposes ban of “bump stocks” used in Las Vegas shooting

“A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’'”

Matthew Rozsa10.05.2017•8:33 AM

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida announced that he would support a ban on “bump stocks,” devices that allow semiautomatic guns to fire more rapidly. The Las Vegas mass shooter reportedly had two bump stocks in his Mandalay Bay hotel room.

“I definitely think we need to revisit the issue of gun safety. A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’” Curbelo told WLRN, Miami’s NPR affiliate. After noting that bump stocks are “a blatant circumvention of the law” banning automatic weapons, Curbelo argued that “I believe this presents an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to finally come together to build consensus around common-sense gun policies.”

He added, “Right now the best candidate for a common denominator is to focus on these bump stock devices, which are so deadly and so potent.”

Curbelo has advocated gun control policies in the past, such as a bill he filed in 2016 that would have banned people from owning guns, who were also prohibited from flying. The difference here, though, is that there are other Republican congressmen who feel the way he does about bump stocks.

“I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic,” said Rep. Bill Flores of Texas to The Hill.

With just a skim over the internet looking at key issues going on in this country, I can see where President Trump and the GOP is focused and where they are not.

I have not put the entirety of the articles here, please use the provided links to read the articles if you wish to read them in their entirety.

Overall, what I see is President Trump, his cabinet and the GOP seem to think it’s more important to fund building walls and the war machine than it is on the people and the programs the people of this country desperately need.   It would appear as long as you are in line with the Fuhrer’s in Chief’s *cough Trump’s agenda, have corporate/lobby funding, are championing corporate interests and don’t get caught hitching rides with oil barons you are gtg…..these people have sold their souls and our country and seem to have absolutely no remorse for doing so. 

As Jimmy Kimmel said the other night after the Vegas shootings , “It’s like somebody has opened a window to hell!” Yeah Jimmy, they have. 

4 Oct 2017 Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing Jimmy Kimmel’s Window to Hell Alvarado TX

These are just a fraction of the headlines I could have listed here…..there are just so many:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2017/09/28/59533ed8-a4b8-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html?utm_term=.7fb38933e5b6

Zinke took $12,000 charter flight home in oil executive’s plane, documents show

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show.

The flight, along with private flights during a trip to the Virgin Islands, could propel Zinke into the growing debate over the costs of travel by Cabinet secretaries, some of whom have chosen expensive charter jets and military planes at high expense to taxpayers over the cheaper option of flying commercial.

https://hotair.com/archives/2017/10/03/pence-chief-staff-hey-whos-purge-gop/

Pence chief of staff: Hey, who’s up for a purge in the GOP?

Old and busted: Ambassador Mike Pence. New hotness: Inquisitor Mike Pence? Politico got its hands on an audio recording of the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, meeting with big-ticket GOP donors to plan for the midterms. Rather than follow Pence’s public signals for intra-party unity between Trump loyalists and everyone else, Ayers told donors that they needed to conduct a purge that will eject any Republicans with insufficient loyalty to the president:

But Ayers reserved his harshest criticism for congressional leaders and members who have not offered full-throated support for the president.

“Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers said, according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by POLITICO.

Did that sound crass? Not as crass as what followed:

One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”

“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

http://federal-budget.insidegov.com/l/120/2017-Estimate

2017 United States Budget Estimate

GDP: $17T

Total Receipts: $3.21T

Total Outlays: $3.65T

Total Surplus or Deficit as Percentage of GDP: -2.6%

* Note: Budget estimates are based on projections from the Obama Administration. To the extent feasible, the data have been adjusted using chained 2009 GDP to provide consistency with the 2015 Budget and to provide comparability over time.

2017 Key Facts

The U.S. government is estimated to collect $3.21T in tax revenues and spend a total of $3.65T in its 2017 budget, resulting in a deficit of $443B. The deficit is expected to be 2.6% of its total estimated GDP of $17T that year.

All numbers are adjusted for inflation.

total revenues

$3.21

trillion

total spending

$3.65

trillion

total surplus/deficit

$-443

billion

total surplus/deficit as % of GDP

-2.6%

GDP

$16,985,900,000,000

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-panel-approves-dollar10b-for-border-wall/ar-AAsUDwd

House panel approves $10B for border wall

The House Homeland Security Committee approved Wednesday a border security bill that includes $10 billion for a border wall.

The Border Security for America Act, proposed by committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was passed along party lines, 18-12.

The bill now heads to the House floor amid debate over whether border security provisions should be attached to potential legislation to protect recipients of the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/senate-pentagon-spending-bill.html

WASHINGTON — In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/03/555166767/lapse-in-federal-funding-imperils-children-s-health-coverage

Congress finally seems ready to take action on the Children’s Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed Sept. 30.

Before the deadline, lawmakers were busy grappling with the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families.

CHIP, which has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, helps lower- and middle-income families that otherwise earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid. Besides children, it covers 370,000 pregnant women a year. Like Medicaid, CHIP is traditionally paid for by state and federal funding, but the federal government covers most of the cost.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee posted its bill just before midnight Monday. It mirrors the Senate Finance plan by extending funding for CHIP for five years and gradually phasing down the 23 percentage point funding increase provided under Affordable Care Act over the next two years.

http://educationvotes.nea.org/2017/10/04/public-service-loan-forgiveness-thrust-peril-trump-devos-budget/

Public Service Loan Forgiveness thrust into peril by Trump-DeVos budget

Greg Cechak is a 31-year-old sixth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania, who owes about $80,000 for his state university education. He and his wife, another public school teacher, also are the parents of two small children, who he worries he’ll never be able to send to college because he’ll still be paying off his own student loans.

The light on the horizon for the Cechak family—and more than 600,000 additional teachers, firefighters, and public-service employees—is the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which hopefully will erase the majority of his federal student loan debt after Cechak has paid 120 on-time monthly loan payments.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of PSLF, but the program recently has been thrust into peril by the Trump-DeVos proposed budget, which would eliminate PSLF. In response, a congressional caucus dedicated to protecting PSLF was formed this fall by two Pennsylvania Republicans—U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, and thousands of NEA members have called on Congress to protect PSLF.

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-05-23/donald-trump-and-betsy-devos-budget-would-destroy-public-schools

President Donald Trump released his administration’s first full budget Tuesday, and the reactions from Capitol Hill make it look like it’s dead on arrival. That might be true, but it shouldn’t make those of us who work to improve outcomes for students any less concerned. As former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said whenever he talked about President Barack Obama’s budget proposals, budgets reflect our values. And when it comes to education, the values of Trump and his education secretary Betsy DeVos couldn’t be clearer – private schools deserve money, and public schools and vulnerable students don’t.

At a high level, the outlines of Trump and DeVos’ education priorities became clear in March with the release of the administration’s so-called “skinny budget.” As a result, much of what is in today’s full budget isn’t surprising. The proposal would cut the Education Department’s funding by more than 13 percent and slash overall funding by almost $11 billion, including eliminating $2.1 billion in funding for teacher professional development and support, which could pay the salaries of more than 35,000 teachers, and $1.2 billion for after-school programs, which support working families and serve 1.6 million students.

At the same time, Trump and DeVos would push over $1 billion of new money for private school voucher schemes and other school choice programs. In essence, states and districts will have to enact DeVos’ preferred school choice policies in order to recover some of the cuts to longstanding programs.

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/353905-dems-release-own-infrastructure-principles-in-absence-of-trump-plan

Dems release own infrastructure principles in absence of Trump plan

A group of House Democrats released their own set of infrastructure principles Wednesday, as the White House has yet to unveil more details about Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package.

The New Democrat Coalition laid out three major steps Congress should take to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure: fund it, fix it and foster it.

The group prefers to use the revenue from repatriation, or taxing corporate earnings stashed overseas when it returns to the U.S., to upgrade U.S. infrastructure. They also want to see robust, long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2017/10/04/trump-administration-denies-endangered-species-protection-pacific-walrus-and-two-dozen-oth-25-specie/732704001/

From walruses to turtles and woodpeckers to toads, the Trump administration Wednesday declined to list 25 species as endangered, noting that extra protection “is not warranted at this time.”

Of particular concern to environmental groups is the Pacific walrus, which had been considered a candidate for the list due to the dramatic loss of its Arctic sea ice habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which determines which species can be classified as endangered, reported that it can’t say with certainty that the Pacific walrus is likely to become endangered, despite an extensive loss of Arctic Sea ice due to global warming.

“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperiled wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species.”

Ahhhh some sense?!!  Whew!

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/03/gop-leader-shelves-nra-backed-silencer-bill/

GOP leader shelves NRA-backed silencer bill

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders called for unity and prayer Tuesday after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, but offered no new legislation to tighten gun laws and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved indefinitely.

“We are all reeling from this horror in Las Vegas,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference. “This is just awful.”

Ryan said there’s no plan for the House to act soon on a National Rifle Association-backed bill to ease regulations on gun silencers. A House panel had backed the bill last month and lawmakers were expected to move ahead on the measure.

The bill is “not scheduled right now. I don’t know when it will be scheduled,” Ryan said.

 

 

 

4 Oct 2017 It’s time for people who want to own guns to do some soul searching

Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

Hello to you. How are you doing? I wish I could say I’m doing well but I’m not. I’ve had a couple of days to process this latest act of terror in our country, carried out by one of our own people by exercising his 2nd amendment right on a bunch of innocent people.

What came to me this morning is the concept of supply and demand when it comes to guns.

People want, buy, collect and even steal guns….so there are more guns. Pretty simple.

The people of this country, even the law abiding gun owners, which until Monday, the Vegas shooter was, are partially to blame for there being so many guns.

To say, as a gun owner  your not responsible for what keeps happening is kind of like blaming Shoe manufacturers for there being so damn many shoes. If you didn’t buy shoes, do you think anyone would be making shoes?

After something like what happened in Las Vegas on Monday happens we want answers, we want justice, we want more laws, we want something to close the hole somebody like this guy shot into each and every one of our souls by doing what he did. We want things like this to stop happening and yet they don’t! Why?!!

What happens when you make and put a tool, designed purely for killing and destruction into the hands of a mentally incapacitated individual be it the temporary condition of passion (losing a job, infidelity in a domestic situation, road rage, the neighbors dog barking, pissed off at the boss) or chronic? People and animals die.

Kyle was talking to hunters at his job yesterday about why would hunters need silencers on a gun? You know what the answer he got? “Because it’s cool.” Yeah very sportsmanlike you going up to a deer with a silencer!

Can you imagine how many more people would have died in Vegas had this man had silencers or even muffling devices on the guns? Listening to one of the hero’s who was there driving dying people to the hospital, a marine, there was no way to fight back. Even if you had a gun, you couldn’t have defended yourself from an aerial assault like the people in Vegas went through. So running to the gun store to defend yourself against people like this isn’t doing anything but driving up the money in some gun makers 401k!

Now they want to go after Hotels and better crowd security to fix this problem. This isn’t a hotel problem or even totally a gun problem, this is a PEOPLE problem.

We have a country full of people who for so many generations have been taught by every institution to include churches and our own homes that revenge and fighting back is ok. When you are wronged, rather than do what the God you proclaim to be your savior tells you and turn the other cheek, you pull out your Bible and your gun and start shooting. You may say that isn’t so in your household but I ask you to take another look. If you support self defense by bearing arms, endorse war and things such as capital punishment, you believe in revenge and are modeling it for your children and anyone who knows you.  If this man had lived, I guarantee you the entire country would have demanded the death penalty for him.

We made this problem and until we change our minds, hearts and souls about all that is tied to the owning of a gun, nothing will ever change no matter what we do or don’t do.

Ask yourself, those of you who own guns, “Why do I own a gun(s)?”  Ask yourself, if you were to kill someone in self-defense and found yourself enjoying that, who is going to stop you from becoming like the people you are defending yourself against now?!  Ask our war veterans with PTSD about that!  How do you shut that off?!  I asked my neighbor this question after she went out and bought a gun to protect herself in her shop here in town after there were a bunch of armed robberies in Walmart parking lots.  She couldn’t answer me. 

This is what my NIV Study Bible says about Revenge and Love for Enemies and I’m pretty sure it says much the same thing in most gun owners Bibles.

I looked and the Concordance of my Bible there is nothing referenced about Self Defense, about 2 passages about Revenge and for Love and Forgiveness…5 pages.

Luke 16:13: No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

If you buy a gun, for whatever reason, you are saying with your financial support that you endorse the continued manufacturing of guns and all the activities they are used for which includes mass shootings.  I know you don’t want to hear this you law abiding gun owners, but it is truth.    Just because you aren’t using guns to go out and harm people or yourself it doesn’t mean you won’t and other people are!  When you make anything and put it out into the world like we have with gun, unless you exercise extreme controls over such a thing, you no longer have control of it.  Our latest shooter was “law abiding” until he wasn’t!  He was like most other law abiding gun owners in this country until something in his head and heart stopped working right.  Think about that before you join so many others that caused gun stocks to rise in this country by running to the gun store to get yet another gun or stock up on ammunition because of this! 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/02/investing/las-vegas-shooting-gun-stocks-sturm-ruger-american-outdoor-brands/index.html

Gun stocks up after Las Vegas shooting 
by Paul R. La Monica   @lamonicabuzz
October 2, 2017: 3:12 PM ET

Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) were up 4%, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, gained more than 3%. A company named Olin (OLN), which owns the Winchester brand of ammunition, rose 6% to an all-time high.

 The stocks have tended to rally in the immediate aftermath of mass killings, which sadly have become more routine.

The Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016. San Bernardino in December 2015. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.

Investors had bet that these massacres would lead to tougher gun control laws, especially because of tough talk from President Obama.

To close.  This scene from the movie Grand Canyon, a movie made back in the 1990’s has always stuck with me, especially in regards to the gun issue.  I couldn’t find the full scene with the complete dialogue:

Grand Canyon Its not supposed to be like this scene

This is the actual dialogue from the movie since I couldn’t find the complete video clip.  This is at the beginning of the movie when Danny Glover, a tow trucker operator comes up to rescue Kevin Kline after his car runs out of gas in a bad part of town after a basketball game. A carload of gang members has gotten to Kevin Kline first and Danny has to negotiate with the gang’s leader to get Kevin’s car (and Kevin) out of there safely.  Is this conversation the answer as to why so many people want to have guns?  Respect?!  I don’t think gun ownership today is just about being a “Sportsperson” anymore…….was it ever?

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/g/grand-canyon-script-transcript-kasdan.html

Gang: Yeah, man, what’s goin’ down? This is fucked up.

Glover: Get in the truck. You’ll ride up with me. – Are you the one I’m talkin’ to? –

Gang: Hey, we all decide what goes down. – So don’t fly that shit. – Yeah, man, fuck you!

Glover: Am I talkin’ to the right man? That’s what I thought. Look, I gotta ask you a favour. I gotta ask you to let me go my way here. Now, this truck is my responsibility. Now the car’s hooked up to it, I’m responsible for that, too. Any shit comes down now, it’s my ass. You follow me?

Gang leader: Do you think I’m stupid?

Glover: Just answer me that first and then we can talk. I don’t know nothin’ about you, you don’t know nothin’ about me. I don’t know if you’re stupid or some kinda genius. But I do know this: I gotta get outta here and you got the gun. So I’m askin’ you a favour for the second time. Let me go my way here.

Gang leader: I’m gonna grant you that favour. And I’m gonna expect you to remember this if we ever meet again. – Yeah. – But first… you gotta answer one more thing for me, and you gotta tell me the truth. Are you askin’ me a favour as a sign of respect… or are you askin’ me a favour cos I got the gun?

Glover: Man, the world ain’t supposed to work like this. I mean, maybe you don’t know that, but this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to be able to do my job without asking you if I can. That dude is supposed to be able to wait with his car without you rippin’ him off. Everything’s supposed to be different than what it is.

Gang leader: So what’s your answer? You don’t have the gun, we ain’t havin’ this conversation. That’s what I thought. No gun, no respect. That’s why I always got the gun.

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