Friday, March 30, 2018

What's That Sound?

“Corporate advocates are constructing a system in which the ability to address economic inequality through democratic means is increasingly restricted."

"This, then is the legislative agenda of the one percent - a concerted, coordinated, well-funded attack by some of the richest individuals and most powerful corporations in the country."

"Its aims are to concentrate an ever-larger share of income and wealth in the hands of the most privileged, eliminate institutions that give working people leverage in the labor market, defund public services, lower expectations of what workers should be able to demand from their employers and citizens from their government and shrink the reach of our democracy in order to lock in place unpopular policies and forestall a populist backlash.”

Despite all of ALEC's successes, still:

"In 2015, Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned of an electorate characterized by widespread anger: 'There's something happening out there that is profound... we are in a dangerous political environment.'"

 – Gordon Lafer, The one percent solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America.

We now have the knowledge and the means to bring our Democracy back from the dead. We can make a life-affirming United States for ourselves and our grandchildren.

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth - 1967

Thursday, March 29, 2018

ALEC’s $1 Billion Democracy Obliterating Plan

Last week, I discovered a video of Gordon Lafer* discussing his book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations are Remaking America. (Lafer’s discourse, below, begins at about 8:50 in this 4 Apr 2017, Economic Policy Institute video. I read the book yesterday evening.)

The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America
Economic Policy Institute - 4 Apr 2017

Also yesterday, my brother, Gary, asked me for my thoughts about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments about Facebook “monetizing” member’s private information. You, know, making big bucks selling your personal interests and choices, in addition to your friend connections, to the likes of Cambridge Analytica for use by the politicos, like the Trump campaign.

Here’s the connection between Dr. Lafer and Tim Cook: I believe Lafer (PhD Political Science, Yale University, 1995) has figured out why… when the majority of Americans – Republicans and Democrats, progressives and conservatives – want similar changes in our society… nothing changes. And, from a humanistic point of view, our life situation keeps deteriorating.

I am guessing that Lafer might answer the question about Facebook with something like: Facebook is a corporation and it is rational for them to monetize member’s private information. It’s their business model. Apple has had a different business model since Steve Job’s time: charge an exceedingly high premium for products to induce a feeling of elitism over Microsoft/ IBM, etc., to stimulate sales from  the “zealot-like” Apple customer base.

In my mind, Cook’s comments about Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc., are remarkable in the sense that they are overflowing with disdain for his competitors as well as reflective of his personal arrogance.

Anyone who has followed Apple knows that Apple could care less for its customer’s “rights”. “Privacy to us is a human right, a civil liberty”, he says. In fact, there is no doubt that, if selling customer info were Apple’s business plan, he would do just that. The proof is in what Apple has done and continues to do, i.e. employing workers for “slave” wages and under conditions requiring workers to live in housing close by assembly plants so they are on call 24 / 7; retaining billions of dollars outside the U.S. to escape paying taxes, etc.

One of Lafer’s points is that it's rational for corporations to believe that what is a crisis for the 99.9% of Americans is not a crisis for them because the corporations’ fortunes are less linked to Americans as workers or as consumers than any time in the past.

Because corporations do things to further their financial interests on a planned, rational basis, they have been collectively working to ensure their interests are fulfilled and maintained no matter the inhumane outcomes or the democracy-killing impact of their actions on Americans, even their own workers and consumers.

Who are “they”, the corporations? Lafer points to more than 50 of the most well known and trusted corporations, as well as lobbyists, such as ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and a multitude of Koch Brothers funded corporations, nonprofits, think tanks, and organizations.

ALEC has evolved into the corporation fulfillment dream tool, working directly with state-level politicos, in all 50 states, to write legislation, work to get it passed and work to elect their “partner” legislators by providing not only election funding, but also worker bees to perform the door-knocking, phone calling, twitter tweeting and Facebook messaging for them. All that manipulation totals to over an estimated $1 billion in electioneering, democracy obliterating corruption.

Now, I understand why, throughout the nation, nothing gets done and why politicos are doing the bidding of ALEC and the corporate lobbyists, despite knowing that the corporate / ALEC “agenda is - on a bipartisan basis - deeply unpopular”.

The facts are that the majority of the American public:

  • Favors limiting the income of corporate execs. (2015)
  • 75%, including most Republicans, support immediate increase of minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (2014)
  • 80% think every employee should have a right to some minimum number of paid sick days (2015)
  • 90% say the federal government should spend whatever is necessary to insure that all children have really good public schools (2014)
  • 60% support national health insurance financed by tax money (2014)
  • Just over half think our government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich (2014)

So, how does ALEC advance an agenda that is going to make life less equal and harder for the majority of Americans without provoking a populist backlash?

Here’s how

The Corporate / ALEC Playbook for avoiding populist backlash:

  • Abolishing unions and worker's right to sue employers
  • Privatizing or elimination of public services
  • Restrict public's right to vote on labor standards or regulating corporate behavior
  • Lower worker's expectations of employers and citizens' expectations of government
  • Normalizing downward expectations to diffuse populace backlash and entitlement
  • They are working to establish a revolution of falling expectations

I don’t know about you, but all this ALEC stuff has pissed me off. I’ve decided to do my best to conjure up an ALEC antidote. Perhaps we will create several while we are at it, too.

*Lafer has an interesting background. He is a “political economist and Associate Professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center. Lafer has served as Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor, and has been called to testify as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and multiple state legislatures.  He is also a Research Associate with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), where he has written widely on issues of labor, employment and education policy. His first book, The Job Training Charade, explains why job training schemes remain a politically popular response to unemployment despite their manifest failure. Lafer started his career as an economic policy analyst in the Office of the Mayor in New York City under Mayor Ed Koch.”

Here is one description of Lafer’s book:

“In the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision, it's become commonplace to note the growing political dominance of a small segment of the economic elite. But what exactly are those members of the elite doing with their newfound influence? The One Percent Solution provides an answer to this question for the first time. Gordon Lafer's book is a comprehensive account of legislation promoted by the nation's biggest corporate lobbies across all fifty state legislatures and encompassing a wide range of labor and economic policies. In an era of growing economic insecurity, it turns out that one of the main reasons life is becoming harder for American workers is a relentless—and concerted—offensive by the country’s best-funded and most powerful political forces: corporate lobbies empowered by the Supreme Court to influence legislative outcomes with an endless supply of cash. These actors have successfully championed hundreds of new laws that lower wages, eliminate paid sick leave, undo the right to sue over job discrimination, and cut essential public services. Lafer shows how corporate strategies have been shaped by twenty-first-century conditions—including globalization, economic decline, and the populism reflected in both the Trump and Sanders campaigns of 2016. Perhaps most important, Lafer shows that the corporate legislative agenda has come to endanger the scope of democracy itself. For anyone who wants to know what to expect from corporate-backed Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., there is no better guide than this record of what the same set of actors has been doing in the state legislatures under its control.”

Click on the Reviews tab at the top of the page…

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hello, Superhighway Interstitium!

A newfound organ, the interstitium, is seen here beneath the top layer of skin, but is also in tissue layers lining the gut, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles. The organ is a body-wide network of interconnected, fluid-filled compartments supported by a meshwork of strong, flexible proteins. Credit: Jill Gregory. Printed with permission from Mount Sinai Health System, licensed under CC-BY-ND.

It does matter how you look at things.

For instance, for decades our scientists have been slicing and dicing tissue specimens, drying them, sticking them on slides, and then studying them through a microscope.

Now, comes a breakthrough discovery: We have a massive organ, the interstitium. No one knew about it until now because of the previous way researchers looked at tissue samples.

NYU Langone Medical Center researchers said the discovery of the, “previously unknown feature of human anatomy has implications for the function of all organs, most tissues and the mechanisms of most major diseases”.

Now that we have, “eyes that see”, we know that there is much more going on in our bodies than we previously thought. These researchers have discovered our body's superhighway.

“The interstitium, is found beneath the top layer of skin, but is also in tissue layers lining the gut, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles. The organ is a body-wide network of interconnected, fluid-filled compartments.”

“The researchers say that no one saw these spaces before because of the medical field's dependence on the examination of fixed tissue on microscope slides, believed to offer the most accurate view of biological reality. Scientists prepare tissue this examination by treating it with chemicals, slicing it thinly, and dying it to highlight key features. The "fixing" process makes vivid details of cells and structures, but drains away any fluid. The current research team found that the removal of fluid as slides are made causes the connective protein meshwork surrounding once fluid-filled compartments to pancake, like the floors of a collapsed building.”

"This fixation artifact of collapse has made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides for decades, and our results correct for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues," says co-senior author Neil Theise, MD, professor in the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Health. "This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool."

Here's the whole story…

Aretha Franklin - Freeway Of Love - 1985

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gen Z Pivots Toward Democracy
It's estimated that more than 800,000 people marched in Washington D. C. Along with student speeches and some professional entertainment, they heard the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Drama Club perform, “Shine". (See the performance at 2:15:55 in the video link above or below in the video from the CNN coverage of the Town Hall meeting, 21 Feb 2018.)

Shine was written just days after the murders by Sawyer Garrity (16) and Andrea Peña (15), two survivors of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.

Nothing says more to me about these young women and men and their determination to change our society for the better than the lyrics of this song.

It is a clear statement of their outrage and refusal of the "passive acceptance" of past generations. As Ms. Garrity says, "It’s our call for action and hope."

Shine - 21 Feb 2018

You, you threw my city away.
You tore down the walls and opened up all the gates.
You, you ruined this town.
You burned all of the bridges, and you slowly let us drown.

But you’re not gonna knock us down;
We’ll get back up again.
You may have hurt us,
But I promise we’ll be stronger and—
We’re not gonna let you win.
We’re putting up a fight.
You may have brought the dark,
But together we will shine the light.
And whoa, we will be something special.
Whoa, we’re gonna shine (shine).

We’re, we’re gonna stand tall,
Gonna raise up our voices so we never, ever fall.
We’re done with all your little games.
We’re tired of hearing that we’re too young to ever make a change.

‘Cuz you’re not gonna knock us down;
We’ll get back up again.
You may have hurt us,
But I promise we’ll be stronger and—
We’re not gonna let you win;
We’re putting up a fight.
You may have brought the dark,
But together we will shine the light, and—

Whoa, we’re gonna shine (shine)
We can hug a little tighter.
We can love a little more.
Laugh a little harder,
We can stand up and roar.
If we all come together, it will be all right.
Stand up for one another, and we’ll never give up the fight.

You’re not gonna knock us down;
We’ll get back up again.
You may have hurt us,
But I promise we’ll be stronger and—
We’re not gonna let you win.
We’re putting up a fight.
You may have brought the dark,
But together we will shine the light.
You’re not gonna knock us down;
We’ll get back up again.
You may have hurt us,
But I promise we’ll be stronger and—
We’re not gonna let you win;
We’re putting up a fight.
You may have brought the dark,
But together we will shine the light, and—
Whoa, we will be something special.
Whoa, we will shine.

For me, that Washington D.C. performance was not only symbolic of the March for Our Lives protest event on Saturday, 24 Mar 2018. It was a tipping point in the history of the United States. 

Generation Z has emerged. They are the "Pivotal" generation. They will be the force that "pivots" America back to the ideals of the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the U,S, Constitution. Not only that, these young people will make sure our government lives up to those ideals. 

"Across the country, there were more than two dozen marches that occurred in large cities, including New York, Miami, Cincinnati, Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Rallies were also held around the world in Israel, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., Japan, Belgium, India, France and Chile."

"In total, organizers estimated there were approximately 800 marches organized on Friday and Saturday — even one in Antarctica."

Our president? Well, Mr. Trump was in Florida, less than an hour's drive from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at  his private club, Mar-a-Lago, golfing.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sussing Out Optimism

Steven Pinker: Be Positive, The World Is Not Falling Apart.

After all the “decisions” twittering forth from the White House this past week, I decided I needed to suss-out some optimistic words. I found them presented by Dr. Stephen Pinker, cognitive scientist and Harvard Professor, in his presentation on “human progress and how “news tend make us more pessimistic than we should be.”

Dr. Stephen Pinker delivered his talk at the World Economic Forum, Davos. January 2018. He began by quoting David Deutsch, “Problems are inevitable, but problems are solvable.”

A few Highlights
“Solutions bring new problems which must be solved in their turn. Human progress is just not possible but has happened. It happens not by magic. It’s not a law of the universe. It’s the result of commitment to what I call the ideals of the Enlightenment, namely reason, science and humanism. To the extent that we commit ourselves to those ideals progress could continue. If we don’t, it won’t.”

Q. “If the media is part of the problem, driving our pessimistic view of the world, then what should we do differently as consumers of the news?”

A. “I don’t want to make the media the villain. Lord knows they have been the subject of enough intemperate attacks. It is thanks to the media that we know about what is going wrong. And, it is indeed futile to expect of the media that they just balance bad news with good news…. Have more heartwarming stories of tiger cubs at the zoo. That’s not what I would be advocating.”

“Rather, that the point of media coverage is to give us a picture of the world so that we know what’s going wrong. It must also show when things go right in order that we have a signal as to what actually helps, what the solutions are to the problems. If the picture of the world is that there are no solutions, things are bad and they are just getting worse and worse, then the rational response would be to just throw up your hands, be fatalistic, and just enjoy life while you can.”

“I would encourage as part of the ethics and professional standards of the media:

  1. That news be placed in historical and statistical context. 
  2. That an op-ed columnist should not use, ‘something that blew up yesterday’, as an indication that the world is getting worse. 
  3. All claims about trends have to be backed-up by statistical data and by comparisons of past periods: ‘things suck now but in many cases they were worse in the past’; ‘the Iraq and Syrian civil wars are awful, but the Vietnam war was worse’. People have to remember that.” 

Q. “Are you surprised by the change in the mood of our society during the past ten years and how do you expect it to evolve in the next five years? What can change the trend?

A. “I am surprised. There are in a lot of the countries that are actually pretty rich, pretty healthy, there has been an increase in pessimism. This is not true of countries in the developing world that have had the most rapid rate of growth. In China, the polls show that people are pretty optimistic about the future. The United States is maybe the most gloomy country in terms about expectations about tomorrow. And, there is an extremely high correlation between votes for Donald Trump and a belief that the country is heading in the wrong direction.”

“What can we do to change it? Well, I think we do need a more numerate and statistically savvy press and political class and intellectual class. I think there should be far more statistical thinking that is considered to be part of everyone’s basic education so that we aren’t mislead by incidents, such as, terrorism or shootings, into thinking that that is the direction of society as a whole. That is, that we have to push back against cognitive biases like the availability heuristic*.”
“Also, I think that education and public discourse should remind itself of how bad things were in the past, why we need institutions like free speech and liberal democracy, for all its problems. We need to be reminded of what happened in the cultural revolution in China, and Nazi Germany, and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and other cases in which we have learned from mistakes in history.”

“Part of our education should be about how bad things used to be so that we can properly evaluate these institutions that were solutions to those problems. If we forget the problems that they were originally designed to solve, we can take them for granted and then become cynical about them and indeed look at every gap between utopia and the state-of-the-world (there always will be such a gap, the world will never be perfect) as a sign of the corruption and evil of our leaders and institutions.”

Q. “It’s a beautiful talk. I really like how you give us perspective about how we should feel more upbeat than other people would have us believe. But, I want to ask you a question: Because the Enlightenment in some sense succeeded so well, isn’t there a problem that the world of knowledge has become some complex that most people can’t understand it. As a practicing scientist, I’m very well trained in all the things you talked about but if I go to some other field, it’s very hard for me to judge anything that is right or wrong. And, so, in a circumstance like that, I think in the end, discourse comes down to authority as opposed to reason. Maybe the Enlightenment has succeeded so much that the whole idea of rational discourse is no longer effective in today’s society. Look at autism and vaccines. Look at fake news, and so on. So, what mechanisms do we have to go beyond that beside using the traditional idea of, just talk it out and we will all come to the right answer.”

A. “We should not be misled by the outburst of irrationality at present into thinking the world has gotten less rational. In my college days, there was a huge growth in astrology, tarot cards, mysticism, crystal healing, and all kinds of nonsense that came up in the 1960s. Humans are always vulnerable to superstition, misinformation, lies, fake news, and conspiracy theories. These are really not new problems.”

“But, the point that you made, that, ‘do we have to fall back on authority because (of complexity) none us can be an expert on anything but our own field, if that’: The long term, global answer is, since we do have to trust others, we need ways of knowing which authorities to trust, namely, the authorities that deserve their epistemic authority by basing their opinions on evidence, open debate, a history of their beliefs being challenged, so we know that they deserve our credulity more than alternative authorities.”

“So, I think that institutions like science and journalism have to open up their workings, reinforce their methods at arriving at their claims, such as peer review in science, emphatical testability, fact checking in journalism, there has to be greater awareness that without those mechanisms, we humans are naturally going to gravitate toward fallacy, rumor, superstition, and ignorance.”

“That has to be part of the conventional wisdom. Knowledge is hard. You shouldn’t trust anyone. But the people who you should take most seriously are those that have a track record of doubting their own beliefs and constantly fact checking and verifying them.”

* The “availability heuristic” is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Trump EmBoltons His Swamp

Trump Swamp - now emBoltoned.

New , bigger Trump Swamp... Same old swamp monsters... now emBoltoned!

John Bolton is the newest Trump swamp monster.

Remember him? He's the unrepentant, neocon warmonger who gave us the War in Iraq based upon the false weapons of mass destruction lie.

He's baaaaaack.

"Trump has replaced his thoughtful national security adviser with a belligerent TV pundit. This is government by Fox News."

John Bolton finally made it into the White House. Does this mean war?, David Shariatmadari, The Guardian, 23 Mar 2018.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Neutral-Particle Beam Weapons in Space

one of three space-based particle beam weapons concepts cited in article.

A few months ago I posted an article about 9/11 pointing to the mounting proof that directed energy weapons played a role in the murder of nearly 3,000 people and the destruction of the World Trade Center building. A couple of friends laughed at me for talking about directed energy weapons, saying I'm no longer worthy of their respect for suggesting that they exist and we have used them and continue to do so.

Perhaps it's a good time to read about space-based weapons that have been around since the 80s in an "official, legitimate" media:

Pentagon’s New Arms-Research Chief Eyes Space-Based Ray Guns, Patrick Tucker,, 21 Mar 2018.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Kind & Loving Neighborhood

His Neighborhood was loving, kind.  Wasn't it?

Mister Rogers & Me HD Trailer  -2018

Rebirthin' American Government

Rebirthin’ American government begins with you and me. We must do this now. We have no choice because we are clearly well along on the road to catastrophe.

What will our America be like? I want us all to share a life-affirming America. Now! What do you want the new America to be?

Inequality in America Townhall Meeting - 19 Mar 2018

Guardian News
Streamed live on Mar 19, 2018
Sanders has said: "The issue of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time, yet it gets very little coverage from the corporate media." 

To discuss inequality, he has convened a town hall in Washington DC with Senator Elizabeth Warren, filmmaker Michael Moore, economist Darrick Hamilton and other experts

The Guardian

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

You, Too, Can Call BS

Are you a visionary?

Back in the 60s and 70s did you somehow know that we would be swimming in BS when 2018 rolled around?

If you were that perceptive, then you deserve the Nostradamus Seein' Way Out Stuff Award. Needless to say, you must already know how important this Calling Bullshit class is for all of us today.

As for me, I'm watching all these video sessions on YouTube. Not only because they are free, but  also because I'm learning important stuff about how to become a savvy media consumer. For instance, I’ve learned about Alberto Brandolini's Bullshit Asymmetry Principle: "The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."


I’ve also learned a new definition of Bullshit: "Bullshit involves language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to impress, overwhelm, or persuade - presented with a blatant disregard for truth, logical coherence, or what information is actually being conveyed."

Seriously, you must watch these videos! To pique you interest, here are the first two:

Calling Bullshit 1.1: Introduction to Bullshit - 2017
Dr. Carl T. Bergstrom, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington
Dr. Jevin D. West, Assistant Professor, Information School, University of Washington /co-director of the DataLab

Bullshit is everywhere, and we've had enough. We want to teach people to detect and defuse bullshit where ever it may arise. Synopsis: Our world is saturated with bullshit. Learn to detect and defuse it.

Calling Bullshit 1.2: Calling Bullshit on Our Own Bullshit - 2017

Jevin uses data graphics to boast about explosive growth at our website and Carl calls bullshit. Old-school bullshit versus new-school bullshit. Synopsis: Our world is saturated with bullshit. Learn to detect and defuse it.

Please go here for the whole shebang:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Lies... Fastest Movin', Longest Livin'

Recently it’s been a proven fact, to me anyway, that nothin’ gets around faster than a good lie, otherwise known as an “alternative fact”. And, those "big lies" have outstanding stayin’ power, too, longer lived than ole Methuselah, I’d reckon.

Well, now, you don’t have to take my word for it either. There’s solid proof... from MIT.

Here’s the whole story, so help me.

The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News, Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 8 Mar 2018.

“Falsehoods almost always beat out the truth on Twitter, penetrating further, faster, and deeper into the social network than accurate information.”

"It is unclear which interventions, if any, could reverse this tendency toward falsehood. “We don’t know enough to say what works and what doesn’t,” Aral told me. There is little evidence that people change their opinion because they see a fact-checking site reject one of their beliefs, for instance. Labeling fake news as such, on a social network or search engine, may do little to deter it as well."

"In short, social media seems to systematically amplify falsehood at the expense of the truth, and no one—neither experts nor politicians nor tech companies—knows how to reverse that trend. It is a dangerous moment for any system of government premised on a common public reality."

The Beach Boys - I Get Around - 1964

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Talkin' Truth


Why would Kim Jong-un suddenly decide to meet with Mr. Trump? Several reasons come to mind, of course. But none have to do with being cowed by the Amerikanski bully president. Au contraire! Now, with the world as his stage, and Mr. Putin as his wily ally, he can "outdeal" the "dotard".

Talkin' Points
Putin’s ‘Invincible’ Missile Is Aimed at U.S. Vulnerabilities, Neil MacFarquhar, David E. Sanger, The New York Times, 1 Mar 2018.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trump Appoints New Cabinet Positions

(Special only to DownriverUSA*)

Earlier this morning, via Tweets from the Official POTUS Bed, DownriverUSA received two exclusive Twitter messages saying that POTUS has created several, startling, additions and appointments to the President’s Cabinet.

While it is not yet known where these new positions will rank, as cabinet positions do, in the order of succession to the Presidency, Mr. Trump simultaneously named both the new positions and his appointments to fill them.

Mr. Trump further tweeted, “The Marine Core should expect a beautiful appointment soon.”

Secretary of the NRA
Mr. Yosemite Sam

Secretary of Outer Space
Mr. Marvin Martian

Secretary of Wall Building
Mr. Elmer Fudd

Secretary of Non-Finland Immigrants
Mr. Taz

Secretary of Deals
Mr. Sylvester

Secretary of Obama & Hillary Blaming
Mr. Wile E. Coyote

*Please forgive me, Mr. Looney Tunes. I could not help myself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Who Are We?

Huffington Post lead, 14 Mar 2018, 3:50 pm See story below.
Are we a compassionate people? Do we want our children to have a safe haven conducive for learning, free of fear and killing? After all, are we not, “the land of the free and home of the brave”?

Or, have we lost our courage, wallowing in self-interest and avarice - cowards, hiding from our responsibilities, remaining undisturbed watching our sports games and reality shows?

How is it that we have metastasized into a massive blob of cancerous protoplasm willing to sacrifice millions of souls in the name of "Democracy" and, now, our own children as they sit, trying to learn how to read and write?

How is it that we have allowed ourselves to become the antithesis of the people we naively believe ourselves to be?

Now is time we must actually become the people of, “the land of the free and home of the brave”.

Democracy Now!
Published on Mar 12, 2018

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, we take a look back at Washington’s record of meddling in elections across the globe. By one count, the United States has interfered in more than 80 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000. And that doesn’t count U.S.-backed coups and invasions. We speak to former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, author of “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.”

Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on nearly 1,400 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday.

Please go here for the story:

Today Is The National School Walkout To End Gun Violence, Hayley Miller,, 14 Mar 2018

"Thousands of students marched out of their schools on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland massacre."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Knowin' Somethin'

Join me now in my WABAC machine* to the summer of 1971.

My U.S. Army basic training experience began on 10 June at Fort Polk, Louisiana. And, this I can say about it: each time I flubbed up, my drill sergeant instantly made clear – directly into my face – that I had just stepped on my d**k and must face the ground, generate 50 push ups and run about a quarter mile or so with much haste.

Now, if it were 1971 and Sec. DeVos were a man, my drill sergeant would let her know that she was steppn’ on her d**k, too, for all the dumbass things she says and all the stuff she doesn’t know about her job.

And, yes, her incompetence will get our students killed – the ones she is supposed to be helping – just like stupid mistakes get your Ft. Polk buddies killed when all those bullets start whizzin’ about.

You know, teachin’ kids is not a good job for stupid people. It really does help the students when the teacher knows somthin’ about teachin’. Plus, the "active shooter" problem we now face in our schools can not be solved by a "clueless" ignoramus.

Somebody -  named DeVos - needs a drill sergeant.

For the facts about Michigan schools, please go here:
A Betsy DeVos cheat sheet for next ‘60 Minutes’ interview on Michigan schools, Ron French, Bridge Magazine, 12 Mar 2018.

*The WABAC Machine or Wayback Machine is a fictional time machine from the segment "Peabody's Improbable History", a recurring feature of the 1960s cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Betsy DeVos Interview Is TOTAL DISASTER

Friday, March 9, 2018

Don't Let SCAD Take Your Life

SCAD Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection - Mayo Clinic

Please, for the love you share with the women in your life, make sure you study this article and tell your physician you are concerned about SCAD.

The Uncommon Type of Heart Attack That Kills Healthy, Young Women, Dr. Joseph Mercola DO,, 8 Mar 2018.

As noted in recent news, the symptoms of an uncommon type of heart attack known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)1 is dangerously easy to overlook, as few SCAD patients have any history of or risk factors for heart disease. SCAD is a leading cause of heart attacks in healthy women under 55; the average age of SCAD patients is 42.

ABC News recounts the stories of two women whose sudden heart attacks were triggered by SCAD.2 Five weeks after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Maryn Cox suddenly developed troubling symptoms. "It felt like pressure, possibly gas; acid reflux, I wasn't sure what it was. One of my arms went numb, I started getting nauseous; cold sweats,” she says. The symptoms, while common, turned out to be SCAD, a condition few have ever heard of.

While SCAD is a cause of heart attack, it’s different from a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease. Essentially, SCAD occurs when the layers of your blood vessel wall tear apart from each other, trapping blood between the layers. As the blood pools and collects between the layers, your blood vessel gets choked off, killing heart muscle tissue downstream from the blockage, thereby triggering a heart attack.
  • Symptoms of an uncommon type of heart attack known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) are easily overlooked, as few SCAD patients have any history of or risk factors for heart disease
  • SCAD is a leading cause of heart attacks in healthy women under 55; the average age of SCAD patients is 42. Eighty percent of SCAD patients are women; 20 percent have recently given birth
  • SCAD occurs when the layers of your blood vessel wall tear apart from each other, trapping blood between the layers. As the blood collects between the layers, your blood vessel gets choked off, triggering a heart attack
  • Most SCAD patients are healthy. Risk factors for the condition include underlying blood vessel conditions such as fibromuscular dysplasia, extreme exercise and severe emotional stress
  • Common signs and symptoms of a SCAD-induced heart attack, and current treatment recommendations are included
Go here for the whole story

Dr. Sharonne Hayes, M.D., Mayo Clinic, SCAD Research Program Update: 2015

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hero Docs – Henry Ford Medical Group

What does it take to change a society for the better? Certainly, a first step is for people to stand up and voice their demand for a better life, a safer life.

Two courageous people who made that society-changing decision to fight for their beliefs come to mind for me: Candy Lightner*, the mother who “stood up against drunk driving” and Lilly Ledbetter**, the former Goodyear employee who fought for equal pay for women. There are several others.

But, the point is that by taking a stand, you, too, can change society for the better.

The Board of Governors of the Henry Ford Medical Group (HFMG) has recently made its position clear for a “gun safety advocacy initiative which will focus on producing real change”. They are actively asking their elected government officials “to take immediate steps to promote gun safety”.

The HFMG Docs are dedicated to patient safety and have declared: “As physicians in metro Detroit, members of the Henry Ford Medical Group (HFMG) are no strangers to this American calamity. We live with this every day and recognize gun violence as a public health crisis that demands attention and action now.”

“There is nothing political about limiting the access of children and the mentally ill to firearms. There is no disagreement that we must improve the availability and quality of mental health services for both children and adults to prevent gun violence.”

“We are not afraid to speak out on this urgent public health crisis. We believe that strong gun safety laws are needed now. We also strongly believe that the congressional ban on gun violence research by our CDC be struck down. If gun-related deaths were subject to the same type of rigorous epidemiologic scrutiny as any other public health crisis, public perceptions would change overnight.”

For their stand for gun safety, the HFMG physicians are heroes.

*Candy Lightner: Stood Up Against Drunk Driving
"After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a repeat DWI offender, Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in her home on March 7, 1980. Before MADD, there were little to no legal consequences for driving while intoxicated; her organization transformed American attitudes about drunk driving and successfully fought for stricter laws across the country."

**Lilly Ledbetter: Fought for Equal Pay
"Upon retiring from Goodyear after nearly 20 years, Lilly Ledbetter sued the company in 1998 for paying her less over the years than her male coworkers. The lawsuit climbed the judicial ladder until it reached the Supreme Court. Although they did not rule in her favor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a stirring dissent. Congress subsequently passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, changing federal law to better protect women in the workplace."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You Will Pay for Congressional Repeat Financial Disaster

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren says bank bill is 'dangerous,' could lead to another financial crisis, Shannon Young,, 6 Mar 2018.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act is another 2008 Financial Disaster in the making.

I still remember the last financial crisis from a few years ago. The Big Banks won. The everyday Joes and Janes like me lost big time. Please listen to the Congressional Budget Office: the “CBO estimates that the probability is small under current law and would be slightly greater under the legislation”. And, although the bill is supposed to benefit small banks, the CBO said it’s possible that JP Morgan and Citibank, specifically, would benefit from changes to the way that regulators measure capitalization for banks that are “predominantly engaged in custody, safekeeping, and asset servicing activities.”

Please do not support any Republican/Bankster legislation that helps the Banksters hurt Michiganders again. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said it best:

"Are you with the big banks and the Wall Street operators who wrecked the economy and got big bailouts, or are you with families and workers?"

The Democrats are going to mess-up the midterm elections by accepting bucks from the Big Money Lobby one percenters , the banks, and groups like the NRA.

Senators, especially Michigan Senators Stabenow and Peters, you must make the Democratic Party enact Progressive legislation and move toward the common people or risk not only losing the midterms but also what is left of our Democratic/Republic, too.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Our Awakening

Awakening: A Novel of Aliens and Consciousness
By Stephan A Schwartz

Well written and thought provoking, Awakening: A Novel of Aliens and Consciousness, by Stephan A. Schwartz, is akin to the greatest, culture-changing novels, two of which come to mind: Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle.

Beecher Stowe novel is “credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s” and through The Jungle, Sinclair successfully exposed corruption in government and business, plus turned a spotlight on the meat packing industry’s flagrant violations of basic health guidelines and sanitation.

The fact is that people read novels and are motivated into action through them. Awakening is of the same mold, but speaks to us, today, about the immediacy of our life challenges and the need for each of us to become actively engaged in confronting them.

Through main charters Arthur Davies, senior analyst for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Dr. Rachel Carter, Congressional Researcher, Library of Congress; and “Mike”, the enigmatic E.T. “detainee”, Schwartz compellingly weaves the theme that humanity is at a make or break crossroads. The crucial task at hand is to find and help awaken 10% of humanity to “change the nature of their beingness”. The 10%, through their awakening, will spur humanity to save the human species from itself.

Read Awakening: A Novel of Aliens and Consciousness. Perhaps you will agree with me. This is the message E.T. wants us hear, take to heart and make our life mission – for our own good.

Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now - 1972

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Graphene + Membrane Cholesterol = Miracle

Qi Zhang, PhD, Kristina Kitko and colleagues are studying the way graphene impacts nerve cell signaling in the brain. Credit: Vanderbilt University
Many discoveries are accidental. Take this one for instance. A Vanderbilt University graduate student and her professor were trying to measure electrical activity in the brain, but what they discovered came as “as a complete surprise”.

The Vanderbilt researchers discovered that the wonder substance graphene, “… may enable researchers to change how cells communicate with each other by manipulating the cholesterol content in the cell membrane”.

And the miracle? The Vanderbilt team demonstrated that graphene can affect “G protein-coupled receptors, whose activity are mediated by cholesterol… and, half of all drugs target these receptors.”

Here's the story:

Graphene material strengthens nerve signaling in the brain, Bill Snyder, Vanderbilt University,, 2 Mar 2018.

Less than 20 years after it was developed, a thin, resilient sheet of carbon atoms with remarkable properties known as graphene is transforming biomedical fields as far flung as tissue engineering, neuroprosthetics and drug discovery.

Because it readily conducts heat and electricity, graphene also may be a good biosensor. But it's not neutral. When Vanderbilt University scientists tried to use graphene to measure electrical activity in the brain, they found that it actually enhanced nerve cell signaling.

It did so by enabling nerve cell membranes to pull in more cholesterol. The fatty substance was used to make more of the vesicles that package neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells. More vesicles and more neurotransmitter meant stronger signals.

These findings, reported last week in the journal Nature Communications, came as a complete surprise to the investigators. They raise the possibility that graphene may enable researchers to change how cells communicate with each other by manipulating the cholesterol content in the cell membrane.

Graphene "not only may be a very good vehicle to deliver drugs but also a way to potentiate the drug effect," said the paper's senior author, Qi Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pharmacology in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Please go here for  the rest of the story.

Unspoken - Miracle - 2016

Friday, March 2, 2018

Say Hey, Delta!

Detroit Metro Airport . (WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)
Leavin’ Atlanta is really a tough idea to chew on and your CEO says "nope" to movin' elsewhere.

But, you know, Michigan’s Metro Airport is already one of your biggest hubs. And, it’s one of the best airports in the U.S., too.

So, now that those retrogressive Georgia political people have decided to kick your fanny around*, why not consider "Pure" business friendly Michigan?

I’m sure our political people can work out some kind of a favorable deal not tied to assault rifles and such.

We’d just love to have y'all come on up.

* Delta Just Doubled Down on Its Decision to Cut Ties With the NRA, Aric Jenkins, Time, 2 Mar 2018.

The Hey Song, Gary Glitter - 1972 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

That Boomerang Thing

From the goes around comes around file: "I wish I hadn’t tossed that thing out."

Mr. Wile E. Coyote of Looney Tunes fame must certainly wish he hadn’t tossed that boomerang thing out. After all, his was guaranteed to come back. Apparently, it did.

The same might apply to Mr. Trump’s regarding the “visa and alien” issue he regularly champions.
For instance, one must consider why Mrs. Trump’s entry into the USA has heretofore received so little attention. Until now.

Has that boomerang thing returned? Just askin’.

Here's the story:

The EB-1 visa is normally reserved for academics, doctors, and others with ‘extraordinary ability.'

At last, the White House has shared a bit of the mystery behind Melania Trump’s immigration to the U.S. The Washington Post reports that in 2001, Melania received a highly coveted EB-1 visa, generally reserved for renowned leaders in the arts, sciences, and business world. Hmm...

EB-1 visas, sometimes called “genius visas,” are normally given to highly accomplished artists, academics, doctors, and engineers around the world. Perhaps it should be explicitly said that Melania was neither an artist, nor an academic, nor a doctor, nor an engineer at the time. She was not engaging in any kind of “extraordinary” enterprise in 2001, unless you count her extraordinary tolerance for dating Donald Trump.

Of the million visas issued in 2001, just 3,376 were awarded to immigrants with an "extraordinary ability," according to the Post. Melania’s attorney told the paper the first lady was "more than amply qualified and solidly eligible" for the EB-1 visa, but would not provide any of the qualifications that Melania cited during her application. Recipients of the EB-1 visa must provide proof they have won a major award, along with “evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, evidence of work displayed at artistic exhibitions" or "evidence of original contributions to a field,” the Post writes. Nothing in Melania's public profile suggests she received any such accolades—her previous career was in modeling.

For months, the Trump administration has ignored demands to release Melania’s immigration papers—highly ironic as Trump has repeatedly spewed his disdain for immigrants, particularly for those without legal documentation. He’s been critical of families who immigrate together, referring to them frequently with the conservative slur “chain migration.” Of course, Melania’s family followed her to the country through this very same process.

Bobby Vee - Rubber Ball (1961)

(O.K. I didn't like the boomerang songs. So, for fun, I posted the bouncy rubber ball song from my youth. It comes back, right?)