11 Oct 2017 God’s Pop Quizzes – broken fences and dog poop

Hello to you. It’s a chilly Wednesday here as I write to you. Love the cooler temperatures! Really beginning to feel like fall but this is Texas, so give it a blink or two and that can change.  Did you chuckle when you read the title I chose for my blog today?  I hope so….it was intentional lol!

So this morning I was up early, just couldn’t get and stay asleep. Kyle’s current work schedule has us both pretty messed up sleep wise. We’ll probably fully adjust as he’s finishes the outage….just the way it seems to go.

I’m not a very pleasant person when I’m overtired and our neighbors dogs, who busted yet again through our side fence, got some choice words this morning as I shooed them back into their yard (think A Christmas Story with more expletives you can actually understand.)

Sons of B*tches! Bumpuses! (A Christmas Story Quote)

We’ve had this going on literally since we bought this house. My fuse gets shorter and shorter every time something like this happens. This goes back to the loan for buying this house not even being approved yet and one of their dogs was already busting through the fence. They’ve been through probably 10 or more dogs in the past 8 years. Nothing we’ve been able to do or say has dissuaded them from continuing to get dogs they don’t take care of like we take care of our dogs. They usually end up running away or getting picked up by Animal Control, dying , or doing what they are doing now, busting up the fence trying to get to our yard.  This said, our neighbors are good hard-working people.  They work a lot and the kids are in school most of the time, so the dogs get left alone a lot.  Dogs left alone do what dogs left alone do – they get bored, curious, hungry, restless and sometimes destructive.  These dogs seem to just want a different place to go poop.

I wouldn’t ordinarily be so nasty about this but this but I’m overtired and they have not only busted several holes in our fragile, rotting wood fence…they leave doggy presents for me to step in too. The fence needs to be replaced and we can’t afford to do it and I’m pretty sure our neighbor isn’t too eager to spend the money or effort on replacing the shared fence either.

Every time I get pissed off about this, I feel like I failed another “test.” God seems to do that to me with certain things….remember those pop quizzes you used to get in school with no warning? Yeah, it’s like that lol. Just when I think I’ve got something I don’t like about myself all sorted out, God will drop one of those pop quizzes and show me the truth. Nope! Big fat F!

After all, how can I expect the world to live in peace when I can’t even deal with something that simple without getting angry? I have some things yet to work on within myself. Leave it to the dogs and their smooshy stinky gifts to remind me of this glaring reality!

Does what I’m going through resonate at all with you today? Is there something you keep getting “tested” on that you know you need in improve about yourself?

A couple interesting articles about us and our technology habits…addictions:

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/10/11/mind-the-stream-where-mindfulness-and-technology-meet/

Oct 11, 2017— “Look around you. How many devices are bidding for your attention? If someone came into your dwelling space, could they tell what year it was by the technology that immediately surrounded you, or would they have to dig a little deeper?” Writer Emily Barr poses these questions, and others in this reflective essay that weaves together the latest findings around how our minds and our lives are being shaped by the technologies we use, and the steps we can take to make our interactions more conscious.

http://time.com/4974863/kids-smartphones-depression/

We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones

Markham Heid

Updated: Oct 10, 2017 8:24 AM ET

(excerpt)

“It seems like every generation of parents has a collective freak-out when it comes to kids and new technologies; television and video games each inspired widespread hand-wringing among grown-ups. But the inescapability of today’s mobile devices—coupled with the personal allure of social media—seems to separate smartphones from older screen-based media. Parents, teens and researchers agree smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate with one another and spend their free time. And while some experts say it’s too soon to ring alarm bells about smartphones, others argue we understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habit.”

 

 

Advertisements

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.

10 Oct 2017 Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it never happened (Mike Ditka comment: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of”

*10/10/2017 9:29 pm after thinking about this post, I decided to come back to it and edit some things, added a couple pictures and changed the title.  I have changed my “tone” a smidge because I know it’s a turn-off to my regular readers and sadly, the people I wish would see this sort of post and learn something will probably never even know it exists.  I know this goes both ways.  I know there are many things I haven’t taken the time to read that are written by people in total opposition to my perspective.  We generally, by nature, don’t go looking to read things that don’t resonate with who we are.   May be that’s part of the problem.  May be that is something I need to tackle for myself personally to help me to broaden my perspective on things!

Hello to you.  It’s Tuesday evening.  I see now that our President is getting his ego massaged by the media and owners from the NFL, he’s decided taking away their tax exempt status would be a good idea…you know….to punish the players.  I’ve never understood why they had it to begin with but not in the context of trying to punish players specifically.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-us-should-change-tax-law-to-punish-nfl/ar-AAtfjt3?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Trump says US should change tax law to punish NFL

And then this….

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/mike-ditka-on-protests-there-has-been-no-oppression-in-past-100-years/ar-AAtfsDd?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Mike Ditka is unhappy with the protests that have gone on during the national anthem dating back to last year, and the legendary NFL coach has perhaps the most mind-boggling view on the topic of anyone we have heard.

In an interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One Sports on Monday, Ditka said he agrees with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that any player who kneels during the national anthem should not be allowed to play. In fact, Ditka doesn’t understand why players are protesting. As far as he’s concerned, there has been no oppression in the United States in the past century.

“All of sudden it has become a big deal now about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” Ditka said. “Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think that the opportunity is there for everybody race, religion, creed, color, nationality, if you want to work, if you want to try, you want to put effort into yourself, you can accomplish anything.

“We’ve watched that through the history of our country. People rise to the top and became very influential people in our country by doing the right things.”

We don’t want to get into a detailed discussion about U.S. history, but Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Schools were still segregated prior to 1954. We could go on and on and on, but anyone who says oppression doesn’t exist in this country is misguided.

Ditka said he has no problem with people protesting, but he doesn’t think the football field is the appropriate venue.

“Is this the stage for this? If you want to protest, you have a right to do that,” Ditka said. “But I think you are a professional athlete and you have an obligation to the game. I think you have to respect the game, and that’s what I think is the most important thing. I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions.”

There are plenty of people who share Ditka’s old-school mentality, and we have even seen one head coach implement a policy the 77-year-old would agree with. But saying there has been no oppression in the past 100 years is just asinine.

http://www.blackpast.org/timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1900-2000 – the past 100 years of specifically Black History

The statements Mr. Ditka made here make him appear to be a very ignorant person.  On this timeline I’ve linked, you can see in the past 100 years there were many advances and firsts for people of color but there are also many examples of just how much more difficult it has been for people of color in this country than for whites.

I honestly don’t think we have found balance on this issue for any “side” but having public figures like Mr. Ditka  denial of 100 years of history littered with oppression, crime, abuse, murder and discrimination is not helping the conversation.  His comments are yet another example illustrating how even if a group of people are living an identical reality, their perception of it will not always reflect the truth of their shared reality.  Perception is a wicked thing especially when it comes to the hot button issues we are facing today like equality for minorities, women and the LGTBQ community.   His   comments are also a great current example of what I mentioned before in a previous blog about people lacking the ability to empathize with others.  His attitude reflects one I see quote often in people from his generation  and that is if it didn’t happen to be personally, if I don’t remember it happening, it never happened.   

Well I will step up, and affirm oppression has happened and is still happening to people of color.  It happened and is still happening to women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.  

Here are just a few documents I have that my Grandma Becker made sure to give to the family so we would know and be proud of our part in history — fighting for equality for all people.

I wish my Grandpa Becker, a former pastor who was actually a part of the 100 years dismissed as oppression free, was still here to talk to people like Mr. Ditka and share what it was like for him and two other men to drive down to Mississippi to help people of color register to vote.  This during a time when others doing similar things were murdered for doing it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Chaney,_Goodman,_and_Schwerner

Freedom Summer Murders

The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, involved three activists that were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi in June 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement. The victims were Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi. All three were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). They had been working with the Freedom Summer campaign by attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote. This registration effort was a part of contesting over 70 years of laws and practices that supported a systematic policy of disenfranchisement of potential black voters by several southern states that began in 1890.

The three men had traveled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the community of Longdale to talk with congregation members at a church that had been burned. The trio was thereafter arrested following a traffic stop outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speeding, escorted to the local jail and held for a number of hours.[1] As the three left town in their car, they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abducted, driven to another location, and shot at close range. The three men’s bodies were then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried.[1]

The disappearance of the three men was initially investigated as a missing persons case. The civil rights workers’ burnt-out car was found near a swamp three days after their disappearance.[2][3] An extensive search of the area was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local and state authorities, and four hundred United States Navy sailors.[4] The three men’s bodies were only discovered two months later thanks to a tip-off. During the investigation it emerged that members of the local White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved in the incident.[1]

The murder of the activists sparked national outrage and an extensive federal investigation, filed as Mississippi Burning (MIBURN), which later became the title of a 1988 film loosely based on the events. After the state government refused to prosecute, in 1967 the United States federal government charged 18 individuals with civil rights violations. Seven were convicted and received relatively minor sentences for their actions. Outrage over the activists’ disappearances helped gain passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[5]

Forty-one years after the murders took place, one perpetrator, Edgar Ray Killen, was charged by the state of Mississippi for his part in the crimes. He was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005 and is serving a 60 year sentence.[6] On June 20, 2016, federal and state authorities officially closed the case and dispensed with the possibility of further prosecution.

This is a picture of my Grandpa Harold Becker with a young black man whose name I do not have on the winter my Mother died.

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.)

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 Angels with paws (service dogs help Las Vegas shooting victims) and drawings

Hello to you this Saturday afternoon.  I hope this finds you doing well.  I wanted to share this wonderful story from the folks at Today about what I and so many others who share their lives with dogs or cats already know – they are healers!  To me they are angels with paws.  I think  what the folks from Lutheran Church Charities did by bringing these dogs to folks trying to heal inside as well as out after the mass shooting in Las Vegas is just a beautiful and loving thing to do!  There is a reason dog spelled backwards is God.  Our Sammy was one of the first to show me here on earth God’s love….no judgement, no boundaries, no limits….just pure unconditional love.

Me with our cocker spaniel Sammy on 25 Dec 2009. He passed away 27 April 2011.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/paws-on-the-ground-comfort-dogs-bring-much-needed-love-to-las-vegas/ar-AAt1zyL?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Paws on the ground: Comfort dogs bring much-needed love to Las Vegas

Ethan Sacks
For many scarred by seeing the carnage inflicted in the Las Vegas mass shooting, a little comfort came courtesy of man’s best friend.

 Nineteen trained golden retrievers from across the country padded their way to Las Vegas this week courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to provide comfort for those affected by the attack, which left 59 dead, more than 500 wounded, and thousands of families and friends emotionally devastated.
But even those who survived the carnage at the Route 91 Harvest festival without physical wounds desperately needed that nuzzle — like Sunrise Hospital director of guest services Tracy Szymanski, who is still persevering through her job despite having been in the crowd Sunday night.

“I came straight to the hospital from the venue at 10:30 at night, still wearing my concert clothes, because I knew there were things I could do to help the families,” Szymanski told TODAY. “It was a sigh of relief when the first dogs arrived Monday morning, because I knew the cavalry had arrived.

“I felt I had help at a time when I felt helpless.”

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. The comfort dogs, along with their 30 human handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs unit — veterans used to having their “paws on the ground” after disasters, natural or otherwise.

The unit’s canine caregivers brought survivors some solace after the Sandy Hook shootings, and more recently, provided comfort to parts of Texas and Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

And even amidst all the horror of the Las Vegas shooting, it’s amazing to see how quickly these four-legged pros can spread smiles, LCC president Tim Hetzner told TODAY.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “Dogs are non-judgmental, they don’t take notes and are comfortable to talk to,” Hetzner, who oversaw the Las Vegas mission, said.

“A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about (the trauma), and people find it easier to do that with dogs.”

Those dogs — including one, Lois, who is based in Las Vegas and a regular visitor at the Sunrise Hospital — have been busy. “Because of the magnitude of this event, just about everybody who lives in Las Vegas has been affected,” said Hetzner.

Besides working with survivors and grieving families, the comfort dogs visited a high school where several students were injured in the shooting, hotel workers helping victims’ families, and traumatized first responders.

They have also visited the coroner’s office, both to support victims’ loved ones and staffers wading in such overwhelming grief.

It’s extremely emotional work for the dogs.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “The dogs have an ability to tell when someone is suffering, so after working with them for a few hours, we take their service vest off, pull a ball out let them run around and be dogs for an hour,” said Hetzner. “These are golden retrievers, they like to retrieve. That’s how they work off their stress.”

The current team is being flown out Friday to be replaced by a new, rested crop that will stay through the beginning of next week.

“They come up to you and get dog hair all over you, and then just nuzzle up to you and put a smile on your face,” said Szymanski. “Every morning, as the person who supervises their visits at the hospital, I get to get my first dose.”

“It helps me process everything.”

My father-in-law gave Kyle and I this after Sammy passed away. It is so true!

 

 

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. …

 

 

6 Oct 2017 Chalk drawings today and sleep (the effect of smartphones and even sleep trackers)

I hope this finds you well and that you have a wonderful RESTFUL weekend!

DivineSpice

Dine . Divine!

Mrinalini Raj

I LEAVE YOUR ROAD TO WALK ON MY GRASS.

raulconde001

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Be Blogger (Official)

I am a freelance writer and blogger with a passion to create original content. I develop web content and write for online and offline magazines. I'm a seasoned blogger with expertise in writing impressive blog posts, comments, and use of social media.

Inspire me

Love, Relationship, Lifestyle, Purpose, Marriage & Family

C.E Hall

Freelance Content Writer

A Light Circle

Welcome to a Light Circle

Butterfly Mind

Creative Nonfiction by Andrea Badgley

thewallgalleryblog

Artist Kirt Tisdale talks about his Art Gallery

My Cup of English Tea

Setting up a Brand-New Life in London

FLOW ART STATION

THE CONTEMPORARY MAGAZINE

World Hum Map and Database Project

Research and World Hum News from www.thehum.info

Hear The Flowers Sing

A girl's attempts at exploring a city's essence

dymoonblog

A fine WordPress.com site

Easy Blog

All about our truly best friend...

Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

A Blog of memories, thoughts, feelings, and second chances...

Endless Light and Love

My Spiritual Journey