13 Oct 2017 Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To wrap this up.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Thoughty2

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

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

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

Bright Insight

Published on Oct 5, 2017

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

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

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

Evening Star – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

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

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

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.”

 

 

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.

 

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

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

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

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

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

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

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

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

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

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEDIA BACKLASH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

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

Some are considering leaving the country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

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

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

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◊♦◊

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

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

Social Powerlessness

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

I tune out

I’m sick of caring

What the latest fuss is all about

You are talking

Your lips move in slow motion

My thoughts are already walking

It doesn’t matter what I say

I just want you and your troubles

To just go away…..

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

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

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

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

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

SCIENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Canyon Its not supposed to be like this scene

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gang leader: Do you think I’m stupid?

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

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

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

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

The Mirror of Hate

I found this today whilst looking for some new paths to trod here on WordPress and wanted to share it. It’s so important in these divisive times to get to know each other and pull closer together.  This is an important read for those trying to understand what it can be like to be an immigrant trying to make a life in America.

A Light Circle

“What are you?”

I get asked this question all the time, wherever I go. “What are you?” I grew so tired of hearing it that I once answered on a whim: “Guess.” The man who had asked me proceeded to list off all the Asian nationalities he knew of: “Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Mongolian…” It was around the tenth guess, that I nodded. Oddly, he was not satisfied with my answer. To be honest, neither was I. He looked at me incredulously and walked away. I could understand his disappointment, perhaps he was hoping to achieve some sort of confirmation for his painstakingly-built system of racial order. At the very least, he made a good effort to pin me down.

In all honesty, I don’t really know what I am. On paper, I am a two-time immigrant, my husband is also an immigrant and my children are even…

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10 Sept 2017 Angels Everywhere and Dream within a Dream – Edgar Allen Poe

Good morning to you.  We are having a kind of “shitty” morning.  Poor Link is still having bowel troubles.  We are going to have to take him to the vet if this doesn’t get better today.  We had to kick May kitty out of the garage last night….ant invasion happened.  The food she doesn’t always eat just sitting around was too great a temptation to pass up on I guess.  She’s not happy with us for taking the garage away but I can’t have ants invading the house.  It feels like if we give one inch they would just take over the whole place!  Can I get an UGGGGGGHHH?!!!!!   Being an adult…through with it!!!

Source: Internet/aka friend FB post: Abandoning Adulthood by Maureen

Last night I was feeling the restlessness and discontent of these above personal happenings and just all the stuff going on in our world…feels like I’ve just been churning inside for months now.   I decided to visit a book that was given to me many years ago called Angels Everywhere Miracles & Messages by Lynn Valentine.  There’s something comforting about reading stories of divine interventions in these times:

10 Sept 2017 – cover of Angels Everywhere Miracles & Messages by Lynn Valentine

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. – Ralph Waldo Emerson (personal message for J, M and W today)

I have been rediscovering my love of poetry.  This poem resonated with the tone and pitch of our current times.  Sometimes it does feel like the tighter we hold on to the “grains of sand” of our lives the quicker they seem to slip through our fingers.  I am having to learn, as all eventually do, that there is no holding on to time.   

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-dream-within-a-dream/if you go to this link you can hear the poem read out loud, great poetry page!

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

8 Aug 2017 Finding a way to kinship with all and Pentagon commissioned report on PTSD in US military

Good morning to you.  It’s 9:16 am as I begin to write to you on this cooler, pleasant day.  I perused the news headlines and this made me think of the snippet of the dream I remember before waking up.  It was the oddest thing to dream about too!  I was standing with Brian Williams of MSNBC and he had a bunch of awards around his neck.  He seemed so happy to see me and like he knew me.  As we were talking, I saw actor Chris Pratt and some other man walking through a door and they seemed to be avoiding me lol.  I don’t know why they popped into my dreams but I hope they are doing well!

 

My thoughts about what I’ve been seeing in the headlines brought me to one of my favorite web pages.  With the second spin of their prayer wheel, this message came up.  I feel this message in my heart…..the age old questions we just need to ask ourselves to bring people and nations together instead of pushing ourselves further apart.  How are we the same?  What are all the things we have in common?  What good things do we share and how do we make the world full of more of those good things?  My dream for this world is that all of us might find a way to focus on how we are the same and less on how we are different.  Build more bridges so that we can meet one another.  Break down (and never waste the money to build) the tangible and intangible walls that keep us apart.

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

In striving to recognize the primacy of Fire and Light,
I feel kinship with my Zoroastrian brothers and sisters.
In striving to obey the Ten Commandments,
I feel kinship with my Jewish brothers and sisters.
In striving to be kind to neighbor and the needy,
I feel kinship with my Christian brothers and sisters.
In striving to be compassionate to creatures great and small,
I feel kinship with my Buddhist-Jaina brothers and sisters.
In striving to surrender myself completely to God Almighty,
I feel kinship with my Muslim brothers and sisters.
In the recognition that wisdom flows from enlightened masters,
I feel kinship with my Sikh brothers and sisters.
In remembering that serving people should be the goal of religion,
I feel kinship with my Baha’i brothers and sisters.
In my respect and reverence for Nature that sustains us,
I feel kinship with my Native American brothers and sisters.
In feeling that these and more are all paths to the same Divinity,
I feel kinship with my Hindu brothers and sisters.
In my love and laughter, joy and pain,
I feel kinship with all my fellow humans.
In my need for nourishment and instinct to live on,
I feel kinship with all beings on the planet.
In my spiritual ecstasy with this wondrous world,
I feel kinship with the Cosmic Whole.

universal reflection – v. v. raman – cape of good hope – 1999
The report about the Pentagon commissioned study regarding PTSD in the United States military of course caught my eye yesterday.  The aversion to the taking and or loss of another living being’s life  is something most of us have in common.  Suicide is personal for me and as a medically retired veteran who falls into the category of the study, it’s even more personal!  It’s important to note the study found that the use of firearms is the most common way veterans are committing suicide.   It’s also interesting to note how old this study is 2014!  Why isn’t it a 2017 report?!  Doesn’t seem like they are really staying current on this issue to me. 

Troops at risk for suicide not getting needed care, report finds

Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY , TEGNA 4:23 PM. EDT August 07, 2017

WASHINGTON – Pentagon health care providers failed to perform critical follow-up for many troops diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome who also were at high risk for suicide, according to a new study released Monday by the RAND Corp.

Just 30% of troops with depression and 54% with PTSD received appropriate care after they were deemed at risk of harming themselves. The report, commissioned by the Pentagon, looked at the cases of 39,000 troops who had been diagnosed in 2013 with depression, PTSD or both conditions. USA TODAY received an advance copy of the report.

“We want to ensure that they get connected with behavioral health care,” said Kimberly Hepner, the report’s lead author and a senior behavioral scientist at RAND, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization. “The most immediate action — removal of firearms — can help to reduce risk of suicide attempts.”

The report, titled Quality of Care for PTSD and Depression in the Military Health System, also found that one third of troops with PTSD were prescribed with a medication harmful to their condition.

From 2001 to 2014, about 2.6 million troops have deployed to combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Estimates on how many have been affected by post-traumatic stress vary widely — from 4% to 20%, according to the report. Meanwhile, suicide among troops spiked crisis proportions. The rate of suicide doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to the Pentagon. It has stabilized but has not diminished; the rate remains about the same for the part of the American public that it compares with, about 20 per 100,000 people.

The key intervention to prevent suicide involves talking to the service member about their access to firearms, Hepner said. It’s also one of the most sensitive, given the nature of their work and that many troops own their own guns.

“This is important for service members because suicide death by firearms is the most common method,” Hepner said. “So the provider needs to have that discussion about access to firearms. Not only their service weapon but their access to personal weapons.”

Guns accounted for 68% of suicides by active-duty troops in 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Commanders can be enlisted to put weapons out of troops’ reach, and family members may be asked to do so at home, she said. One reason that doesn’t happen more often, she said, is the stigma attached to mental health issues, and the effect notifying superiors may have on careers.

“These can be quite difficult conversations to have with service members,” Hepner sid. “Certainly limiting access to their service weapon would involve notifying their command.”

Researchers also found that one-third of troops with depression had received a prescription for benzodiazepine, an anti-anxiety medication.

“It is explicitly mentioned in guidelines for treatment of PTSD that benzodiazepines are contraindicated,” Hepner said. “We continue to see a relatively high rate of prescription for a medication we would hope would not be prescribed.”


Link to blog I wrote about subject:  https://saymber.com/2017/03/17/17-march-2017-more-distractions-from-the-affordable-care-act-fiasco-the-us-governments-latest-solution-for-paying-for-the-true-cost-of-war-and-bernie-sanders-repeated-warnings-going-unheard/

Back in March of this year, the House voted to approve a bill that would allow these same veterans easier access to firearms!  Very sad.   What their doing that said to me was they’d rather make it easier for veterans to die than to do the hard part, the funding, taking responsibility for restoring them to meaningful and productive lives!  It’s easy to pluck a 18 year old from a small town, dress them up in a uniform, put a gun in their hands and send them off to war than it is to put together that same person who is now half or less the person physically and or psychologically they were after they come back from the war zone. 

Source Internet: Quote from a past Governor of my home State SD, George McGovern,

America

House OKs Bill Making It Tougher To Keep ‘Mentally Incompetent’ Vets From Buying Guns

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A House-approved bill would require a court hearing before a U.S. veteran is deemed mentally unfit to own a gun. Here, rifles are seen at a gun shop in Merrimack, N.H., last year. Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

A House-approved bill would require a court hearing before a U.S. veteran is deemed mentally unfit to own a gun. Here, rifles are seen at a gun shop in Merrimack, N.H., last year.

Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are “mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent” or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

The legislation would add a new hurdle to the process of blocking a veteran whose mental competence is in question from owning a gun. While the Department of Veterans Affairs currently adds the names of veterans it deems unfit to own a deadly weapon to a federal background check system, the bill would require a court hearing before that determination is made.

“About 170,000 disabled veterans are deemed mentally incompetent by the VA,” NPR’s Quil Lawrence reports. “A VA-approved guardian makes some medical and financial decisions for them. Their names go on an FBI list so they can’t purchase guns — House Republicans sponsored the Veterans’ Second Amendment Protection Act to change that.”

Backers of the bill, such as Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, say it would help veterans avoid being caught up in a bureaucracy that can make it tough to remove a negative label. Roe also cited the importance of “removing the stigma of mentally ill people — that because someone is mentally ill, they’re a danger to themselves or others.”

On the other side of the issue, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., said, “When a determination is made that a veteran is mentally incompetent or incapacitated — for whatever reason — that determination is made to protect them, not to punish or deprive them.”

Critics of the bill include retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Speaking to Quil about why he opposed the bill, Chiarelli said, “Every single study you can read on this shows you that people in crisis — because suicide is such a spontaneous event — when they separate themselves from personal weapons the incidence of suicide goes down tremendously.”

The House legislation will now go to the Senate. It would change U.S. law by adding this section to sections governing veterans’ benefits:

Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes

“In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness shall not be considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 without the order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.”.