Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stealing the White House Silverware, too, Mr. Trump?


So, now we know. Mr. Trump is above the law.

By awarding himself the contract to hold the G-7 meeting next June at his Miami golf resort he will make millions of dollars.

No competitive bid. No problem. Mr. Trump makes the decision as to where the multi-million-dollar event will be held.

Yes, that breaks the law, but no one will prosecute a sitting president… ah… I mean conman/ thief. Call him what you will. Just don’t call him President of the United States.

Impeach him and convict him. Get him out of office before he steals the White House silverware, too.

Elvina - Nothing but a Thief - 2014



Friday, October 11, 2019

Let's Imagine Our Nation

Norman Rockwell - Four Freedoms
Given the constant turmoil we are living today and the fact that our nation has lost it's moral compass, I want to change course, stop the degradation and resume the path our ancestors blazed for us.

Let's imagine our nation to be the United States of our childhood.

The nation that not only created the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and Bill of Rights but also makes the words within them apply for all people.

The nation of equality under the law. The nation that defends human rights, no matter a person's skin color or ethnicity.

That nation that not only believes "no one left behind" but also never, ever abandons our people or our friends

Please. Imagine with me.

Now, let's make it happen today.

We really are the creators. We can make our nation be the nation we were all taught it was. 

Here's how:

"Make your future dream a present fact by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled.
That which you feel yourself to be you are.
And you are given that which you feel you are.
So assume the feeling that would be yours were you already in possession of your wish.
And your wish must be realized.
So live in the feeling of the one you want to be and that you shall be.
If this assumption about what you'd like to become is persisted in until it becomes your dominant feeling, the attainment of your ideal is absolutely inevitable.
You must first assume the feeling of a wish fulfilled in all aspects of your life."

Now, can't you feel yourself a citizen of the United States, "land of the free and home of the brave"?

YOU ARE THE CREATOR | Warning: This might shake up your belief system! Morgan Freeman and Wayne Dyer
Feb 9, 2018



Thursday, October 10, 2019

Trail of Tears Big Bucks Grab Repeated - $740 Billion

See ICE Detention and Trail of Tears photo credits below.
A long time ago, I remember listening, on my one-transistor radio, to Johnny Horton’s recording: Battle of New Orleans:
In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans
We fired our guns and the British kep a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico***

That song was the genesis of my thinking of Andrew Jackson as a hero. He was, in fact, a courageous military leader and respected by his troops, too, including the native Americans who served with him at the Battle of New Orleans (War of 1812).

Later in life, Jackson ruthlessly pursued, and became enormously wealthy through, “land speculation” - mostly native American land. Jackson was responsible for dispossessing thousands of native Americans of their lands (Trail of Tears) and profiting from it by reselling to white settlers.

I no longer respect President Jackson.

But, I know one person who still does, because he has Jackson’s portrait hanging in his office - Mr. Trump.

All this Jackson stuff has come to mind because I was wondering who is currently profiting from our modern day “Trail of Tears”, the immigrant detention centers and Mr. Trump’s border security industry.

"An analysis of the “border-industrial complex” by the Transnational Institute shows that the budgets of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have exploded in recent years. The combined budgets of the agencies have more than doubled since the mid-2000s — and are now 60 times higher than the immigration enforcement system received in 1980. By one estimate, the border security industry will more than double in value from approximately $305 billion in 2011 to some $740 billion in 2023."

I have never respected Mr. Trump. It is well past time for the United States to stop profiteering from exploitation and misery.

Here's the story...

The US Border Security Industry Could Be Worth $740 Billion by 2023, Michelle Chen, Truthout, 6 Oct 2019

Over the course of a few days in early 2019, Selene Saavedra-Roman went from starting her dream job as a flight attendant to scrubbing toilets in a dreary Texas detention center.

“I knew not to argue or talk back — refusing to obey the guards’ commands would end up hurting us greatly,” she recalled in her testimony last week at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigrant detention. Saavedra-Roman, who was born in Peru and came to the U.S. 24 years ago at the age of 4, was in the process of applying for legal residency. But she was detained at the airport in Houston, Texas, after flying in from Mexico. Recalling the trauma of being locked up with other migrant women in desolate squalor, she testified, “If you volunteered for the work program [in the migrant jail], you would be compensated $1 an hour,” though it was understood that refusing to “volunteer” could jeopardize their immigration cases.

While Saavedra-Roman’s harrowing experience in the migrant jail came as a shock to her, the system she was trapped in had been building up from the time she first crossed the border as a child. Her unjust detention was the product of the Trump administration’s hardline deportation agenda. But the militarized border that had ensnared her was the product of a massive security infrastructure that has been building up for decades. Although Trump’s unabashedly anti-immigrant agenda has amplified the brutality of the border regime, he is merely capitalizing on a massive, entrenched network of corporate power and political influence.

-more-

Photo Credits
*Men stand in an Immigration and Border Enforcement detention center in McAllen, Texas, on July 12 during a visit by Vice President Mike Pence. | Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post via AP, Pool
**What Was the Trail of Tears?

***Johnny Horton- Battle of New Orleans - 1959



Saturday, October 5, 2019

U.S. Labor Needs Honest, Inspirational Leadership

Sara Nelson, International President of the Flight Attendants Association.
Photo Credit: screen capture Now This
More than ever, the U.S. labor movement needs honest, inspirational leadership. Sara Nelson, International President of the Flight Attendants Association, is a proven leader who meets those requirements and much more.

To understand why I believe so, here are a few descriptive quotes from recent articles:

“No one is born with sexism, racism, ageism in their heart,” Nelson said in her Atlanta speech. “These are the tactics of the boss, of those who want all the money and all the power to deny us solidarity, the greatest force for good. Expose it. Call it out. Deal with it. And in our unions and on our picket lines we can do exactly that.”

“What Sara Nelson offers is a different kind of labor movement,” said Erik Loomis, a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island and the author of A History of America in 10 Strikes. “One that is, for the first time in a long time, charismatic and inspiring and one that speaks not only to current labor union members but also to the vast majority of the American working class that doesn’t belong to a union, or can’t have a union, or where it’s really difficult to form a union.”


Here’s More…

"Already, she’s been called “the most powerful labor leader in the country.”

"Not only does Nelson have the passion and presence sorely lacking in other labor leaders—who, for instance, can remember a single speech by Trumka?—she’s willing to fight at the front lines—not just for workers in her unions, but for all American workers—on a number of crucial issues."




Sara Nelson, International President of the Flight Attendants Association, talks to Dharna Noor at Netroots Nation 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Universal Vaccine to Prevent Cancer

Cancer cases art credit: Canon Medical Systems USA, Inc.
Cancer Facts


Wouldn't it be a miracle if we had a vaccine that could prevent cancer?

We may soon have one.

Here's the story...

Discovery of new source of cancer antigens may expand cancer vaccine capabilities, Arizona State University, medicalxpress.com, 2 Oct 2019.

"What all of the cancer tumor mutations have in common is making neoantigens, or small protein fragments called peptides made inside a cancer cell that the host's immune system has never seen before. The aberrant peptides ——only found in cancer cells——can prime the immune system in a vaccine."

"Surprisingly, the source of these neoantigens was found not at the DNA level but rather, errors in the RNA of tumors."

For more than a decade, scientist Stephen Albert Johnston and his team at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have pooled their energies into an often scoffed-at, high-risk, high-reward goal in medicine: to develop a universal vaccine to prevent cancer.

The mindset is simple, according to Johnston. Treat cancer just like an infectious disease. So, when his team looked deep within tumors, their research gold was discovering 200,000 cancer neoantigens, the components of cancer vaccines, that had been missed by others. They also found that enough of these neoantigens occurred repeatedly in different tumors that it might be possible to make one vaccine for all tumors.

Now, in a new paper published in Scientific Reports, his research team has demonstrated the first experimental proof-of-concept bearing the fruit of their labors.

Their tour-de-force study examined mutations in more than 50 cancer cell lines, and 85 tissue samples from Mayo Clinic Arizona cancer patients, as well as the blood from patients from five different late stage cancer types: lung, breast, brain, gastric and pancreatic cancers.

They have found a common, new source of tumor mutations that could offer three levels of therapy with a cancer vaccine: 1) a broadly protective, or pan-cancer vaccine 2) cancer-type specific vaccines (e.g. breast vs. pancreatic), 3) personalized cancer vaccines based on mutations unique to an individual.

To discover the neoantigens in tumors, Johnston's team developed a new type of chip. They made chips that presented all of the 200,000 possible neoantigens, allowing them to simply screen for the antibodies in the blood patients raised against them. This is much simpler than the common practice which involves obtaining DNA from the tumor and sequencing it, a starting point for "personal cancer vaccines' that many companies are now pursuing.

"Personal cancer vaccines are complicated and expensive," said Johnston. "Also, only about 40% of tumors have enough mutations in the DNA to make a vaccine from. We discovered that even 'cold tumors' at the DNA level make lots of mistakes at the RNA level. And the mistakes we focus on are frameshift peptides which are much more immunogenic than the point mutations used in personal cancer vaccines. Most importantly, we can make off-the shelf vaccines for therapeutic or even preventative vaccines which will be much less expensive."

-more-

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler - 1979

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Immigrants All

Our only difference is the date we arrived.
The other day Pope Francis unveiled a sculpture honoring refugees and migrants at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

The theme struck home for me because we are all U.S. immigrants. Every one of us, or our ancestors, arrived here from somewhere else, most often with just a dream and prayer in our hearts.

Our only difference is the date we arrived. Otherwise, we are all the same.

Here’s the story…

New Vatican Statue Proclaims Pope Francis’ Concern For Refugees, Carol Kuruvilla, huffpost.com, 1 Oct 2019.


Caption:VATICAN MEDIA / REUTERS Pope Francis attends the unveiling Sunday of the sculpture commemorating migrants and refugees by Canadian artist Timothy Schmaltz in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." - Hebrews 13:2 English Standard Version (ESV)

A new statue has been installed in St. Peter’s Square for the first time in 400 years ― and it’s a testament to Pope Francis’ enduring concern for the plight of refugees and migrants.

Francis dedicated the 20-foot tall bronze sculpture at the Vatican on Sunday to commemorate the Roman Catholic Church’s 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The life-size sculpture, titled “Angels Unaware,” depicts a group of 140 migrants and refugees from various cultural backgrounds and time periods traveling together on a boat. There are figures representing Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, Irish people escaping the potato famine, Cherokee traveling the Trail of Tears, as well as modern-day Syrians fleeing war.

A pair of angels’ wings peek out from the crowd, suggesting the sacredness of migrants’ lives. The artwork was inspired by a biblical passage, Hebrew 13:2, that encourages Christians to show hospitality to strangers, since by doing so, “some have entertained angels unawares.”

The statue by Timothy P. Schmalz is seen after Pope Francis held a Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees at the Vatican on Sunday.

In a message on Sunday, the pope decried economically advanced societies’ growing “indifference” toward migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking.

-more-

The Judds - November 21st, 1985 - The Tonight Show - Grandpa


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Whose Karma?

Living and Dying by the polls... Karma? CBS News poll on Trump impeachment inquiry
 Do you believe in karma?

In Hinduism and Buddhism it's the idea that the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, decide their fate in future existences.

The Christian concept of destiny or fate is similar and expressed with, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall they also reap". (Galatians 6:7-9)

I’m comfortable with the biblical kind of karma. Especially as I glance at today's corporate media headlines replete with talk of a Trump impeachment.

Still, I can't help but think about the past sins of our nation - our dark side as explained in The New York Times Magazine 1619 Project.

The days ahead will reveal whose karma will play out. Will it be our national karma or Mr. Trump's? Or, perhaps both are inextricably bound. We shall see.

In the meantime, I believe in Redemption. Don't you?

Here's a repost from 10 Nov 2017:

Do You Believe in Redemption?

One Sunday morning, a long time ago, I stood next to Mom and listened to her sing her favorite hymn, I Come to the Garden Alone.

I Come to the Garden Alone - Anne Murray - 1999


Back then, for me, it was just a beautiful song and I knew Mom loved singing it.

Today it somehow reassures me of redemption… my belief that we all can be saved from our own sins, the sins of others and evil.

This morning I read Pres. John F. Kennedy’s famous American University “Peace Speech” from 1963. I glanced out the office window and watched, mesmerized, at the beautiful sunrise before me. Suddenly thoughts of that beautiful song came flooding back in my mind.

It occurred to me that it would be a certain "redemptive" miracle if we all could walk in the garden together for a moment or two and consider together how much we do have in common… even people who believe and trust in Pres. Trump and those who do not.

Then I looked at my computer and read:

“So, let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”**

President John F. Kennedy, "Peace Speech" American University - 10 June 1963


I know miracles happen. I’d rejoice if a redemptive, talk and walk together in the garden could be one of them.

*Examples of Bad Karma 
As I see it, Mr. Trump seems to have accomplished all these in just this life:
  • Levying baseless allegations on others.
  • Laughing at somebody’s situation.
  • Taking away somebody’s everything.
  • Taking advantage of somebody’s situation.
  • Doing injustice to others.
  • Spreading lies and hatred.
  • Misuse of authority.
  • Cheating and hurting others.
  • Giving and taking bribe.
  • Being mute spectator and watching injustice happening to others.
  • Hurting others physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • Being rude to others.
  • Being unfair to others.
  • Forcing and bribing others to do something. Wonderful display of skills. What signal does it send to your family, country?
  • Judging instead of accepting others.
  • Intentionally creating hurdles in others progress.
  • Progress filled with unaccountably and injustice.
  • Hating others