Sunday, May 26, 2019

Department of Peace

Convert the Peace Corps into Department of Peace

This Memorial Day, as most every day, I pray for a Department of Peace.

Yes, a formal, cabinet-level government body, equal in stature to the Department of Defense. It would be seriously funded and empowered with the mission to develop and implement our national alternative “economic war plan”.

The Department of Peace would be charged with ending our profiting from war by creating alternatives, such as leading our national economy toward a “sustainable energies” and infrastructure renewal economy.

My hope is that by adopting a Peace Economy we will finally cleanse ourselves of our addiction to killing and maiming for profit.

Among the words recently written to Mr. Trump and signed by 76 retired admirals, generals and diplomats, I found these:

“As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control.”

“The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.”

It’s not likely that Mr. Trump will incur a Saul-like-epiphany on his way to his Mar-a-Lago mansion and gulf club, thereby overcoming his ego. Nor is it likely he will push aside his war criminal, National Security Advisor's career-long drive for war with Iran of his

Further, for political reasons it is unlikely that our war-addicted society will transform itself for the sake of what is good and humane. Throughout history it never has. No society has. There has always been immense profit in war.

But, today, due to technological advances in sustainable energies and the obvious need to rebuild our infrastructure, immense profit is waiting for the taking. We no longer need to make more bombs and bullets to create more wealth for the wealthy.

That is why I am optimistic we can achieve what no other society has ever achieved: creating an alternative economy and thereby taking the profit incentive out of war.

We can start by converting the Peace Corps into the Department of Peace.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ON U.S. TENSIONS WITH IRAN

Dear Mr. President,

"We write to you to express our deep concern with the current escalation with Iran in the Arabian Gulf.  The mutual animosity between the United States and Iran, the accelerated deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region, and reports of Iranian preparations for attacks on U.S. military and diplomatic facilities are highly concerning and make for a potentially deadly confrontation.  A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost."

"As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control.  The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.  Washington and Tehran are talking past each other and taking actions the other views as dangerously provocative at best and the beginning of forceful action at worst."

"We were heartened by your reported desire to avoid war with Iran in favor of other tools, including common-sense diplomacy."  -more-


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Hello Worldwide Internet Starlink


All long-suffering cable customers, as well as people throughout the world who have no broadband Internet connectivity, have reason for optimism today.

On 24 May 2019, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched 60 satellites of its Starlink constellation. Starlink, is intended to provide broadband Internet connectivity, "anywhere on Earth from space in an array that could one day contain over 12,000 orbiting transponders".

Competing constellation satellite-based systems may soon follow, including: OneWeb, which is funded by an international consortium, and Canada-based Telesat.

Perhaps, these new providers will soon give Mr. Comcast and Ms. AT&T some real competition, bringing Internet connectivity costs and services in line with those customers enjoy outside the U.S.

Starlink Mission







Friday, May 24, 2019

For Hire: Courageous Leaders

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Do you believe we must no longer accept the flaws of our system of government and that must correct them so that our government will work for us?

I do.

To accomplish that we must support and elect new political leaders:

  • Leaders motivated to legislate for the benefit of each of us; 
  • Leaders not controlled by special interests;
  • Leaders free from the shackles of anachronistic xenophobia;
  • Leaders free from the shackles of anachronistic racism;
  • Leaders free from the shackles of anachronistic religious fundamentalism; 
  • Leaders free from the shackles of anachronistic “American exceptionalism” dogma; 
  • Leaders, courageous and on guard, legislating in our best interests, protecting the people of the United States;
  • Leaders, courageous and open minded, willing and able to legislate for progressive change in our best interests, all of the people of the United States.

Here’s one:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

"People will vote if there is something worth voting for. And a Green New Deal is exactly what that is.", Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Howard University, 13 May 2019.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Barefaced Manipulation and True “Conspiracy Theories”

Source: Daily Koss

Today I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view two insightful videos.

Yesterday, Mr. Trump walked out of an infrastructure meeting with Democrat leaders demanding that unless Democrats suspend all investigations into his misuse of the office of the presidency and a host of additional illegal activities, he will cease his administration’s cooperation to begin rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.

Mr. Trump, an acknowledged distraction / manipulation king and master flimflammer is not alone in the art. Others, like him, have succeeded in remaining in power by misleading their followers with a blizzard of B.S. and costly distractions.

How this is accomplished is discussed in the first video interview by Rob Kall (publisher of Op-Ed News, opednews.com) with Dr. Roy Eidelson, a clinical psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of, Political Mind Games.

In Political Mind Games, psychologist Roy Eidelson presents a unique and illuminating framework for understanding and combating the manipulative ploys of the 1%. He explains exactly how the rich and powerful mislead the American people--about what's happening, what's right, and what's possible--by targeting basic questions we ask ourselves everyday: Are we safe? Are we being treated fairly? Who should we trust? Are we good enough? Can we control what happens to us? Our doubts and confusion about these issues enable today's plutocrats to craft messages artfully designed to misdirect our outrage, fragment our opposition, and garner our support for an agenda that serves only the privileged few. That's how so many have come to believe that climate change is a hoax, taxes are too high, the military budget is too low, public education needs privatization, workers have it too easy, voter fraud is everywhere, healthcare isn't a fundamental right, poverty is deserved, and more.”



The other day I listened to Stephen Henderson (Detroit Today, WDET) interview two psychologists discussing why people believe “wild conspiracy theories”.

Henderson wanted to know, “How might we open a dialogue with people who believe in something that seems to defy all known facts and evidence?”

Toward the end of the interview I was struck by what I consider to be a simplistic method of determining which “conspiracy theory” is false.

Dr. David Ludden, professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College, explained, "As a general rule, I think you want to ask, if you have multiple explanations, which one is simpler? And probably the simpler one is the correct answer...That's how science works as well when we have competing theories... which one is simpler. This conspiracy theory is awfully complicated compared to the other explanation, so, I think, probably the conspiracy theory isn't true."

Wow, I thought. This guy has just ignored the past 100 years of U.S. history. Just one example, the outing of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, underscores his method for sorting truth from fiction is simplistic and dangerous. See Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article, The CIA and the Media.

However, Dr. Ludden did provide an insightful explanation of why people follow master manipulators, such as Mr. Trump, who often utilize false conspiracy tropes:

"The reason people believe in conspiracy theories is because it empowers them. It gives them the sense that they are in the know. They know something that most people don't know, or they understand something that most people don't understand. So, this gives them power. I think you're going to find that people believe in conspiracy theories when they feel that they have a loss of power and this gives them some way of taking back control, control of their lives.”

In the second video, James Corbett (corbettreport.com) explains why when you hear someone say: “Oh, that’s just another one of those crazy conspiracy theories”, you might consider listening with an open mind. Why? Because often they are based on fact and are eventually revealed as “true”.

Episode 356 – Top 5 “Conspiracy Theories” That Turned Out To Be True

“We all know the old trope of the tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who believes crazy things like “the government is spying on us” and “the military is spraying things in the sky” and “the CIA ships in the drugs.”

“Except those things aren’t so crazy after all. As it turns out, many of the old “conspiracy theorist” fantasies are actually true.”

“Here are five examples of things that were once derided as zany conspiracy paranoia and are now accepted as mundane historical fact.”







Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Why Has Peace Always Failed?


As you read this post the United States seems hell-bent on embroiling itself in one more conflict, one more war. 

This time Mr. Trump appears to be greatly influenced by his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, in addition to (I speculate) his own predilection for self-preservation by media manipulation and misdirection.

Bolton, in my opinion, for his immoral and inhumane activities during the G.W. Bush administration. He is an international war criminal. He is one of the architects of the Iraq war of aggression and the false Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) claim to "justify" it. For that reason alone, Mr. Bolton inhabits the same septic tank as those tried for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg following World War II.

Going to war, provoking war, is the tried and true tactic used throughout history by countless politicians, as a means of saving their asses and remaining in power.

Given this fact, why is it that the public seems to always fail for the obvious “go to war” manipulation peddled by people like Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolton?

I plan to ferret out a reasonable answer.

In the meantime, I discovered this 1982 article by Dr. James Clotfelter, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He lists seven reasons:

  1. Peace movements fail because they are not seen as reflecting the basic values of a society.
  2. Peace movements fail because they identify with such widely approved national symbols and themes as to deny themselves a clear identity.
  3. Peace movements fail because they focus on the past, the present or the distant future, rather than the intermediate future.
  4. Peace movements fail because they are unable, or unwilling, to convince people that wars hurt economies.
  5. Peace movements fail because they fail to bridge class and ideological divisions.
  6. Peace movements fail because they become identified with threatening symbols unrelated to peace.
  7. Peace movements fail because they become identified with appeasement of national adversaries.

Given the state of “keep Mr. Trump in office” politics and mankind’s lack of humanity, perhaps our only hope for sustained peace is some form of law enforcement of the artificial intelligence kind, e.g. the robot Gort, from the 1951 movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (4/5) Movie CLIP - Klaatu's Speech (1951) HD


Friday, May 10, 2019

Where ARE His Values?

Drum Roll, PLEASE!

Tappity, tap, tap…

Science has come to our rescue once again.

We now understand why Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) presents with symptoms, such as: a total loss of common human values; no signs of empathy; loss of integrity; toadyism, aka sycophancy; heartlessness, etc. His retrosplenial cortex has turned into rotten tomatoes!

Just kidding! Oh, what fun!

Here’s the real story:

Scientists locate brain area where value decisions are made, University of California - San Diego, medicalexpess.com.

“Neurobiologists at the University of California San Diego have pinpointed the brain area responsible for value decisions that are made based on past experiences.”

-more-

George Harrison - It's What You Value - 1976







Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Spineless Toady Press

A “toady” is a person who behaves obsequiously to someone important. Synonyms include: sycophant, creep, fawner, flunkey, lackey, groveller, and doormat.

When it comes to reporting the “news” all those synonyms and the word “toady” itself are outstandingly descriptive of our “mainstream” press, especially when reporting news about Mr. Trump, his associates, and the Congressional members of the Republican Party.

Look, we need real, fact-based reporting and commentary -  not spineless toady press repeating. Otherwise we are all doomed to be transformed into scum for Mr. Trump’s swamp and end-up looking like our spineless toady Attorney General (Please see above).

Oh, one more thing.

Mr. Trump’s daily barrage of misdirection, previously known as “tweets”, must be labeled as such. Perhaps, the posted headline could be: “What Mr. Trump Said Today”… in 2 point type.

Here’s one concept I posted last August… (Please click through for a readable PDF.)



Dr. Reich is right…

Robert Reich: How Trump Plays the Press



Published on Feb 4, 2019
Robert Reich explains how Trump distracts the media with his lies and antics.

Robert Reich: Divider in Chief



Published on May 6, 2019
Robert Reich explains how Trump divides America along racial, ethic, and religious lines as part of his political strategy.


Friday, May 3, 2019

Hatreds and Fears

In an instant, Grandma torched the Stars & Bars.

How far will Mr. Trump’s supporters follow him now that it is obvious, he is willfully in contempt of Congress; obstructing justice; and ordering his administration to disobey lawful Congressional subpoenas?

Somehow an army of  Christo-Trumpists are now conflating Mr. Trump with a Jesus Christ-like figure, sent from God herself, to bring about The Rapture and punch their tickets to heavenly salvation.

Other Trumpists can see no wrong with Mr. Trump and his 10,000+ lies; department-by-department disassembly of our government; unabashed grifting, sexism; racism; and unhinged cruelty directed at anyone save white .01 percenters.

Talk to any Trumpists and you will instantly hear a diatribe against Hillary, Obama and the Godless Democrats. You will also clearly sense a willingness to believe Trump no matter how outrageous his declarations or disgusting his actions of the day happen to be. They support him and will follow him regardless.

But how far?

I have no doubt that Mr. Trump is willing to test his supporters’ faith in him no matter the cost to them. We will soon find out how far they are willing to carry his baggage.

I hope some sanity prevails because Trump is not worth a reprise of out last bloody Civil War, which was supercharged with hatreds and fears that are still driving us today.

About hatreds and fears...Here is a repost of my article.

Along the Way

When I was a child, my family next-to-never went on a real vacation… you know, like go somewhere far away to see something. I remember one time, though, in the late 1950s when we did.

We left Akron, Ohio and headed for Washington, D.C.

Along the way we stopped at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We walked a little of the battlefield and saw the big Cyclorama painting of Pickett's Charge and then watched a movie. Later, we visited the museum store. As a remembrance, our mom bought us two little U.S. and Confederate flags.

A while after we returned home, our grandmother came to visit us. She ventured into our parents’ basement where my brother and I kept our stash of electric trains, model airplanes and assorted childhood treasures.

Almost as her foot touched the last step down into the basement she locked onto that little Confederate flag, grabbed it and threw it into the incinerator. Before my unbelieving eyes she ignited the flames and our precious vacation artifact went up in smoke.

I remember her saying something like, “You will not keep a rebel flag in your home.”

I didn’t understand why she felt so strongly as I watched her torch one of the only two vacation remembrances we had in our entire childhood.

Later I learned from other relatives that according to family lore one of our relatives had been killed at Gettysburg. He had served in a Pennsylvania cavalry unit.

Grandmother, who was born nearly 30 years after the American Civil War ended, carried the wounds of her forefathers into our time. She was compelled to give my brother and me a clear and strong lesson about who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side during a war which happened almost 100 years before we were born.

Don’t get me wrong, grandmother was not a bad person at all. I remember her as one of the kindest and most loving people in my life. Still, she did not hesitate to share her opinion about most anything, most especially about the important things in her life. And, I admire her for that, too.

Further, I’ll own up to the fact that, had I lived back then, I’d most likely have served the USA rather than the CSA, because I cannot abide the idea of slavery of any kind — racial, sexual or financial.

So, here is my point: most hatreds and fears which shackle us today have been taught to us by our forefathers. They have been passed down from generation to generation, and for the most part have not been personally experienced.

For centuries, politicians, dictators, monarchs, salespeople, educators, psychopaths, clergy and fundamentalists of all flavors have played upon the “passed down” fears of people. It has cost us dearly in untold loss of life and misery.

History is replete with examples. In fact it makes no difference which ethnicity, group, tribe or nationality one investigates, one will discover examples of “leaders” who have played the “fear card” to spark and stoke his or her followers toward violent and ultimately self-destructive acts against neighboring tribes or “others” who are racially different or practice a different religion. Or, worse, think differently.

As humans we all share a zillion fears of our own making, but for the most part they are relatively minor and not as destructive compared with those which are passed down. Among the most common fears are not being good enough; missing out on something; failure; being alone; and, not being accepted.

If one has the will, the fears passed down from our ancestors and those we conjure up by ourselves can be overcome. One can find expert help, a multitude of programs and self-help books to discover the pathways to shed fears, hatreds and nightmares.

Why would one want to do that?

When we continue the fears of our ancestors, we warp our own view of reality. The more we let someone else’s fears drive our lives, the more ordinary the warped view becomes. Over time we move further from reality, our choices become obscured, and we become less able to ferret out truth and consequences. Eventually, we find ourselves unable to make good choices and as a result, we relive the mistakes that our ancestors made. (1.)

1. Based upon: “Is Lying Bad for Us?”, The Atlantic, Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, Feb 2013. “Perhaps the most powerful moral argument for honesty has to do with what the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre called ‘bad faith.’ Liars deceive others, but in a sense, liars also deceive themselves. When we lie, we tend to distort our own view of reality, and the more often we lie, the more habitual this distortion becomes. Over time, the habit of lying divorces us further and further from reality, so we see less and less clearly the choices before us and what is at stake in them. Eventually, we may find ourselves unable to see what we are really doing and how it is affecting others and ourselves. We end up leading inauthentic and irresponsible lives.”

Paul Robeson - Swing Low Sweet Chariot - 1933


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Don't Worry Be Happy

Photo Credit: Palm Tree Yacht Club
Driving home to Grosse Ile is a major pain some days.

First, on average we spend one half of our year enduring cloudy, dreary days. GI (Metro Detroit) averages 75 "sunny days" and 105 "partly sunny days" each year. That means it's really hard to stay out of the grasp of the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) monster. Especially around the end of February.

Second. I've discovered that if I don't come home through Trenton on West Rd. or E. Jefferson past the derelict steel plant, no matter the time of day or day of the week, I can spend a whole lot of time waiting for stalled RR trains blocking the road. Sometimes they will decide to roll over and give up an itty-bitty bit to let me pass. Other times, I'm not so lucky.

And, third, the “free” bridge. It may not be open. It may be under "inspection", swinging for some passing boat and get "stuck", or otherwise occupied doing whatever – except allowing traffic to pass.

Now that I’ve emptied my complaint jar, I want to say how wonderful it’s been to pass by the GI Palm Tree.

Each day, that bit of whimsy helps keep me centered, offering a reminder that I’m now entering a great place to live. It’s a beautiful nature’s preserve... sort of a "sunny Caribbean island"... just a little northern, with wonderful people. And a local government, with outstanding public servants, representing the will of the people. After all, local government is government by the people, with laws written by people. It’s not people created by ordinances, like in other towns.

Except... when it comes to that bit of whimsy... The GI Palm Tree.

The Township Council decided to ignore the 3,000 plus comments favoring keeping it shinning on GI Parkway.

Nope, it had to go.

If we leave it, some terrorist group might put up some sign declaring death to the free bridge… or fix the “damn roads” or something worse.

One elected township official declared it “some hideous piece of illuminated trash that greets us as we cross over the county bridge"… trailer trash… and demeaned even more by saying, "it is inappropriate as representative of our island."

Odd, I thought. He must have some special “Appropriateness Rx”, unknown to the rest of us.

Free GI's Palm Tree...Let a little whimsy free your heart and mind.

Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy - 1988


Saturday, April 27, 2019

US Politics Where we Are


Where is Chauncey Gardner? We need him! (Peter Sellers, as Chauncey Gardner, Being There, 1979.)
Here's an excellent presentation of our political situation:

Chomsky BRILLIANTLY Dissects Trump, Democrats & RussiaGate


The Kyle Kulinski Show airs live on Blog Talk Radio and Secular Talk Radio Monday - Friday 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Eastern time zone.

Being There (1979)


Where is Chauncey Gardner? We need him! (Peter Sellers, as Chauncey Gardner, Being There, 1979.)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Facebook Crime Scene


If we are to have a free and fair election again, we must do more to make it so.

Why? Because our social media has enabled “subversive manipulation to break our election laws".

Our technology has become a crime scene because, “What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook. Only you see your news feed which can include ‘lies in darkness, paid for with illegal cash.”

Thanks to my brother, Gary, for this Ted Talk by British investigative journalist and features writer, Carole Cadwalladr, explaining the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.:

Facebook's Role in Brexit - and the Threat to Democracy






Doing More About our National Cancer


Have you regretted saying something or missing an opportunity to help a friend or loved one?

I have. And, lately, I've been mentally revisiting my past failures, thinking about how I can make amends, much like a repentant alcoholic does through Alcoholics Anonymous' Twelve Steps Program.

Unfortunately, many of the people I’d like to talk with have passed. So, in this world anyway, I have no way to correct my past failings.

However, today, I can be the person that I wasn’t in the past. Today, I can do the right things I neglected to do in the past. I can say the right things and not say the dumb ones again.

So, with that thought in mind, a couple of years from now I know I'll be thinking, "Why didn't I do more to stop Trump before he metastasized into the cancer that destroyed Democracy?”

Fortunately, I’m not the only one noticing what Mr. Trump is turning into. Anderson Cooper has noticed, too, and that burden is not mine alone to shoulder.
And, this, about gaslighting, i.e. misleading and misdirecting, by discrediting what we hear them say and what we see them do. This is only one of the tactics that Trump, his son-in-law, and other Trumpists have mastered.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wrong Road Trip

Donald and John a boy president and his imaginary publicist

Very Sorry.

Yes, very.

This spring, the USA is definitely taking the wrong road trip.

Tom the Dancing Bug, by Ruben Bolling (the Pulitzer Prize-losing cartoonist) illustrates why, "Donald and John a boy president and his imaginary publicist".

Animal House, Road Trip clip - 1978


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On Track to Beat MS

Annette Funicello died of MS complications.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.”

Millions suffer with this debilitating disease. But, it now appears that scientists are on track to beating it.

Here’s the story…

Synthetic molecule shows promise as multiple sclerosis treatment, Ben Coxworth, newatlas.com, 18 Apr 2019.

“In multiple sclerosis, the body's immune system attacks and damages myelin, which is the insulating layer on nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. This causes the nerves to short-circuit and cease functioning properly. In "a potential game-changer," scientists have now demonstrated that a synthetic molecule can restore compromised myelin.” -more-

Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon - Beach Blanket Bingo - 1965




Monday, April 22, 2019

Throw Off Shackles of Scientific Dark Ages Thinking

Even a superficial review of history uncovers this startling fact:

Nearly every societal advancement or improvement; scientific accomplishment; product revolution; and engineering accomplishment has been attained as a result of “different thinking”. That is thinking that is not constrained by currently accepted standards, consensus science, or religious / political dogma.

Breakthroughs require unrestrained freedom of thought.

Consider this Our Challenge: Think Different.

The Electric Universe Theory is a case in point.

Please allow your mind to expand while you free yourself of the shackles of scientific dark ages thinking…

PART ONE -- Wal Thornhill: Black Hole or Plasmoid? | Space News 


PART TWO -- Wal Thornhill: On the Black Hole's Non-existence | Space News


Friday, April 19, 2019

Impeach Trump & Bring Jimmy Back


While we all obsess over Mr. Mueller’s report, one main take about our USA goes on and on.

Here are two observations about The Report. First, Congress must now do its job and immediately begin impeachment proceedings because the report clearly found 11 instances where Mr. Trump obstructed the Russian investigation.

Second, the Russians did interfere in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump has done nothing to protect and defend the USA from continuing Russian election manipulation, therefore, we must demand that the Trump Administration immediately protect the USA from the Russian onslaught. Further, we must make it clear to the Russians that we will seek redress in a multitude of ways for their interference into our affairs. The Obama administration did take some.

Importantly, throughout our Report obsession of the past few days, we have forgotten that Trump did not accept that the Russians meddled in our election (and they continue to meddle in our affairs) plus he “withheld” the Obama administration’s sanctions against the Russians.

In my mind that does not bode well for the hotel mogul and TV star.

The USA goes on and on….

Which nation is the most warlike nation in all of history? Why, it’s us… the USA.

This from Jimmy Carter: “…the US has been at peace for only 16 of its 242 years as a nation.”

He continued, comparing the US with China, which is not at war with anyone, “China’s peace dividend has allowed and enhanced its economic growth, Carter said. “How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?” he asked. China has around 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of high-speed rail lines while the US has “wasted, I think, $3 trillion” on military spending. According to a November 2018 study by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, the US has spent $5.9 trillion waging war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations since 2001.”

“It’s more than you can imagine,” Carter said of US war spending. “China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”

“And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover,” Carter told his congregation. “We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing, we’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of say South Korea or Hong Kong.”

So, one president is a traitor, conman and scumbag, while the other is a patriot, statesman and knows right from wrong. Clear enough? Let’s impeach Trump and bring Jimmy Carter back for another term. What’d say?

Barbra Streisand - On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever) - 1970

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Believe and Stop Being Scared


You can't do what you can't believe.

But. if you have a plan to reach your goal, you can reach your goal.

Here's the plan. Believe. Stop being scared. Now, let's do this!

A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


The Intercept
Published on Apr 17, 2019

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like? The Intercept presents a film narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple.

Set a couple of decades from now, the film is a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?

We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.

This film flips the script. It’s about how, in the nick of time, a critical mass of humanity in the largest economy on earth came to believe that we were actually worth saving. Because, as Ocasio-Cortez says in the film, our future has not been written yet and “we can be whatever we have the courage to see.”

More about the video here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reboot?

I'm all for new technology, research, discovery, etc., especially when it works. When it doesn't, not so much.

This latest advance has me thinking, "I'm really happy not to be among the first users".

Here's the story...

CRISPR used to build dual-core computers inside human cells, Michael Irving, newatlas.com, 17 Apr 2019

Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much (Official Music Video) - 1997 


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

By Degrees

Growing up in northeast Ohio I never thought much about how people made a living. Most people I knew worked for the tire companies. The factories were just down the road a few miles from our parent’s home in Akron.

But, as I grew up, most of those jobs faded away, little by little… by degrees, you might say.

Later came the draft. Having little choice, most every male I knew was drafted or volunteered for the military. Nobody I knew, “evaded the draft”. Back then, as I saw it, we had no choice. We all went, one way or the other… but, individually, you might say… by degrees.

Most of us just accepted the draft and the loss of jobs because, we thought, “There’s nothing we can do about it. That’s just the way it is”. We went along. Accepting.

Flash forward to today. We’re still accepting. But now it's continuous war, poor healthcare, wealth inequality, deteriorating infrastructure, loss of our rights, hatred of everyone save white Republicans, welfare for the corporations and the .01%, predatory capitalism for the rest of us… and gun violence for our kids… all this by degrees, of course.

We can move away from this, you know. It does not have to be this way.

We don’t have to accept the way things are today… by degrees, of course. By degrees.

Consider the Green New Deal... by degrees, of course.

By Degrees

Mark Erelli
Published on Oct 19, 2018

ROSANNE CASH, SHERYL CROW, LORI MCKENNA, ANAIS MITCHELL, JOSH RITTER, and MARK ERELLI join forces to benefit Giffords: Courage To Fight Gun Violence. Pay what you want for the song & learn more about the project at https://www.bydegreessong.com

Written by Mark Erelli, Hillbilly Pilgrim Music/ASCAP



Monday, April 15, 2019

Don't Be Raw Meat for the Trumpists


This past weekend and today, Mr. Trump once again played his famous misdirection trick.

This time it’s:

“Looky here at what Congresswoman Omar said about terrorists and 9/11”... which he took out of context and mixed in with some 9/11 video... and then offered up, like so much raw meat, to his famished supporters and the media, so they wouldn’t notice that he was trying to end overtime pay for low-earning Americans and cut billions from Social Security and Medicare.

If you are a Trump supporter, you best watch what your man is doing with his other hand when he tosses you that raw meat. If you're not a Trumpist, then don't let Trump make you his raw meat treat. You earned that overtime and your Social Security and Medicare, too.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son -1969








Friday, April 12, 2019

Something Smells Rotten in the White House


So, according to Mr. Trump’s Department of Justice, it’s O.K. that Mr. Trump’s hotel and golf resort businesses take payments for rooms, etc., from foreign governments, lobbyists and loyalists.

According to the DOJ guys it’s not wrong to take payoffs, maintain ownership while President of the USA and, by the way, not show his income tax either.

If that is not smelly, I guess the smell of rotten garbage is the new Republican perfume.

Something Rotten "Bottom's Gonna Be on Top" at 54 Below


Something Rotten! Performs “Hard To Be The Bard” at “Broadway In The White House”




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mine! All Mine!

Dr. Reich explains The Truth... as I see it, too... how the wealthy and corporations receive billions in corporate welfare; plus, Seven Economic Fundamentals in under 90 seconds.

Robert Reich: Socialism For The Rich, Capitalism For The Rest


Robert Reich: 7 Economic Fundamentals



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Looking for More... Hope, Freedom from Violence

Chicago PD

Looking for something to watch the other day, I waded through Netflix and then Amazon Prime. We long ago gave up watching “network” TV and cable programming.

I absolutely hate commercials, especially those local newscast car dealer, roof repair, realtor, and law firm commercials. Next on my “instantly-mute-them” list are every one of those disgusting drug commercials that appear on the network newscasts.

Searching… looking for something that appeared to be "Not", as in, not about cops beating people or stealing from them; not about sex crimes; not about murders; not about drugs; not about psychos; not about betrayal; not about monsters, vampires, etc. You get the idea.

After about an hour of looking and finding a ton of the above, but zero interesting programming, I went back to research a little about our love of “violence entertainment”.

I found this comment from Dr. Emanuel Tanay, MD, retired Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University:

“Violence in the media has been increasing and reaching proportions that are dangerous.”

“You turn on the television, and violence is there. You go to a movie, and violence is there,” Tanay told Psychiatric Times. “Reality is distorted. If you live in a fictional world, then the fictional world becomes your reality.”

"The average American watches nearly 5 hours of video each day, 98% of which is watched on a traditional television set, according to Nielsen Company. Nearly two-thirds of TV programs contain some physical violence. Most self-involving video games contain some violent content, even those for children."

Tanay noted, “Anything that promotes something can be called propaganda.” What we call entertainment is really propaganda for violence. If you manufacture guns, you don’t need to advertise, because it is done by our entertainment industry.”

"In reality, the number of violent crimes has been falling, but the public’s perception is that violence has increased. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the overall violent victimization rate (eg, rape and assaults) decreased by 40% from 2001 to 2010. Similarly, the murder rate in the US has dropped by almost half, from 9.8 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 5.0 in 2009."

Yet the propaganda, Tanay said, makes people feel that crime is everywhere and that guns are needed for protection.

That, I thought, explains everything: "... (our) entertainment is really propaganda for violence."

George Harrison - Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) - 1973




Monday, April 8, 2019

Catch a Falling Star & Put it in Your Pocket


Faster than light? Naw! Nothing can go faster than light.

Wait. Slower?

These people have figured it out. They have a way to control the speed of light... even make it go backwards, too!

They're from Central Florida. Here's the story...

Researchers develop way to control speed of light, send it backward, University of Central Florida, phys.org, 4 Apr 2019.

"University of Central Florida researchers have developed a way to control the speed of light. Not only can they speed up a pulse of light and slow it down, they can also make it travel backward."

"The results were published recently in the journal Nature Communications."

"This achievement is a major step in research that could one day lead to more efficient optical communication, as the technique could be used to alleviate data congestion and prevent information loss. And with more and more devices coming online and data transfer rates becoming higher, this sort of control will be necessary."

-more-

Catch A Falling Star - Perry Como - 1957


Friday, April 5, 2019

Our Balance is Broken

Art Credit: The Henry L. Stimson Center.

I'm hazarding a guess that most of the people in the U.S., that is the 99.9%, would agree that our system is broken. It's out of balance so to speak, with the .01% holding the winning hand, politically and economically, too.

How has this come about? Dr. Robert Reich has a good explanation.

Here's the whole story... it's about "countervailing power"... America's Economy Is Unsustainable

"...go back to the first three decades after World War II – a period that coupled the greatest economic expansion the world has ever seen with the creation of the largest middle class the world has ever witnessed. The great economic thinker John Kenneth Galbraith asked at the time: Why is capitalism working so well for so many?"

"His answer was as surprising as it was obvious: American capitalism contained hidden pools of what he called 'countervailing power' that offset the power of large corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy: labor unions, state and local banks, farm cooperatives, and small retail chains, for example. All of these sources of countervailing power had been fostered by the New Deal. They balanced the American economic system."

"But since the late 1970's, these sources of countervailing power have been decimated, leading to an unbalanced system and producing widening economic inequality and stagnating wages. The result has become a vicious cycle in which big money–emanating from big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy – determine the rules of the economic game, and those rules generate more money at the top."

-more-

So, today's question is: Can we get our Mojo back... our balance?

Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin'- 1957




Thursday, April 4, 2019

Monitor Corp Execs


I read recently that a high percentage of corporate CEOs are borderline if not full-blown psychopaths. These are the breed who run our global corporations.

Why? Because their psychopathic personalities traits enable them to stomp out competitors and succeed in the dog-eat-dog corporate environment.

Plus, psychopathy is indispensable when it come to ruthlessly tossing way anyone no longer considered useful or for working a scam, or for selling poison to the public.

For their psychopathy and for winning at any cost, the CEOs and their enablers are outrageously rewarded while the rest of us get zero, or more likely, lose what little we do have.

Anyway, for the world to stave off the next “rebellion of the paupers” due to our currently outrageously out of balance wealth distribution, it is obvious to me that we need some inventive method to ensure that our “powers that be”, the corporations (and politicians), are brought back under lawful restraint.

We need some sort of moment-by-moment way to ensure that the top dogs are not stealing us blind, feeding our babies arsenic, or creating the next false flag operation to kill our children so they can make a few more silver coins.

We need to Monitor the corporations in the tradition of Gort (The Day The Earth Stood Still). That is some form of artificial intelligence (AI) or an alien implant technology must be put to good use, posthaste.

That way we’ll know what the buggers are up to and we can do something before they blow up the world.

The Pointer Sisters - Jump (For My Love) - 1983



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ready... or Not? Diagnostic Lab in Pill or Smartphone

Photo credit: Lingyu Hong
Princeton University researchers have successfully adapted microchip technology to function as a biosensor and identify viral infections or diagnose blood disorders. The new microchip technology replaces costly diagnostic labs and skilled technicians using “complex and bulky optical instrumentation”.

“The new system is almost as small as a grain of salt, and far less costly to manufacture than current diagnostic systems.”

Explained Kaushik Sengupta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and one of the project's leaders, "All smartphones carry a million-pixel camera. How do we turn this into a device that allows laboratory-quality diagnostics?"

"When you combine these massively scalable optics with a billion transistors in a same chip, a whole new set of possibilities opens up. To make things so small, we had to do them in a fundamentally different way," Sengupta said.

Because the tiny structures are built in the silicon chip, the researchers said the system can be mass produced and does not require detailed assembly in a lab. Sengupta said the ability to quickly and cheaply manufacture the device will be critical to the eventual production of new sensing equipment.”

"Once we make the diagnostics cheaper," says Sengupta, "we can enable diagnostics in the developing world. And it's not just diagnostics. What we have come up with here is just a low- cost, tiny fluorescent sensor, and you can use fluorescent sensing in many different things: for food- and water-quality monitoring, environmental monitoring, and industrial applications."

Ah, yes... these are the days, my friend, these are the days... of a smartphone diagnostic lab.

Please go here for the rest of the story….

Shrinking a medical lab to fit on a fingertip, Bennett Mcintosh, Princeton University, phys.org, 2 Apr 2019.

Mary Hopkin - Those Were The Days - 1968



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Dancing in Your Garage

Dance a little in your garage... you might develop something new.

Consider the garage inventor or the guy with the outlandish idea that flies in the face of accepted thinking – dances to his/her own drum.

Why? Because these people are of the special breed who make new things happen, invent new solutions or solve those impossible-to-solve challenges – the ones accepted science says are impossible to solve.

What drives them? A never give-up attitude for sure. But it’s always much more than that.

Here’s the story:

In Praise of Crazy Ideas

“In 1971, Judah Folkman, then a 38-year-old surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, proposed a radical idea: tumors in the body send out signals that trick surrounding tissues into helping them grow. The signals instruct these tissues to sprout new blood vessels, which can deliver oxygen and other nutrients to cancer cells. He suggested designing a new kind of drug, one that would block those signals, preventing or destroying the new blood vessel growth and starving tumors.”

“Cancer at the time was treated mainly by flooding the body with poison (chemotherapy) or searing it with radiation. Folkman’s idea of subtly targeting some mysterious communication channel between tumor and host was met with scorn. When he spoke about his idea at scientific meetings, Folkman said, the room would empty out: “Everybody had to go to the bathroom at once.” One year, the criticism was so intense that Boston Children’s Hospital convened an external committee to review his research. The committee judged his work to be of little to no value. He was asked to resign as chief of surgery should he choose to continue the studies. He resigned and, fortunately for all of us, continued his research.”

“Today, Folkman’s thesis underlies nearly all modern approaches to treating cancer, from anti-angiogenesis therapy to cancer immunotherapy. The work has resulted in dozens of FDA-approved drugs that have helped hundreds of thousands of cancer patients, and has inspired the development of a broad new category of drugs, VEGF inhibitors, that can reverse a certain form of blindness (that caused by macular degeneration).”

Please go here for the whole article.

And, here, too, for six multi-billion dollar companies that were started in the founder’s garage… all this proves to me that when you hear, "That's a dumb idea or That can't be done"... go ahead and make it so. Dance in your garage.

6 $25 Billion Companies That Started in a Garage

“Every new company has to begin somewhere. These 6 world-famous ones--worth more than $25 billion each--started in garages.”

“All of these renowned companies have proven that success truly depends on determination, faith, and hard work. No matter where you start your business or how much money you originally put into it, passion, commitment, and courage are often all you need to make your company a success.”

“In case you need objective proof, here are some of the biggest companies in the world, all of which were started in their founders' garages.”

-more-

Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance- 2000




Monday, April 1, 2019

So, What's hitting Your Head?


President Harry Truman, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948 
Photo Credit: Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

It’s interesting that the America that Mr. Trump and his supporters want to “Make Great Again” is the America of the late 1930's, 1940's and 1950's.

So, what was going on back when Harry Truman was President and working the campaign trail?

In 1948, the USA was in good shape after Roosevelt and Truman. WWII was over and prosperity was on the rise for everybody.

But, the Republican controlled Congress, the famous, “Do Nothing Congress” was doing its best to undo all of Roosevelt’s New Deal social progress programs. (Later, President Eisenhower, a Republican, knew better than to undo the New Deal just to make the multi-billionaire Texas oilmen happy.)

From President Harry Truman's speech, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948:

“So long as the farmer, the worker and the businessman pull together in the national interest, this country has everything to hope for.

“But it is terribly dangerous to let any one group get too much power in the Government. We cannot afford to let one group shape the Nation’s policies in its own interest, at the expense of the others.”

“That is what happened in the Nineteen Twenties, under big business rule of the Republicans. Those were the days when big corporations had things their own way. The policies that Wall Street big business wanted were the policies that the Republicans adopted. Agriculture, labor, and small business played second fiddle, while big business called the tune.”

“Those were the days of Republican high tariffs – tariffs that penalized the American farmer by making him pay high prices for manufactured goods, while he was receiving low prices for his crops.”

“You remember the results of the Wall Street Republican policy.”

“You remember the big boom and the great crash of Nineteen Twenty-nine.”

“You remember that in Nineteen Thirty-two the position of the farmer had become so desperate, that there was actual violence in many farming communities.”

“You remember that insurance companies and banks took over much of the land of small independent farmers. 223,000 farmers lost their farms.”

“That was a painful lesson. It should not be forgotten for a moment.”

“All through this century the American farmer and worker have been the victims of boom and bust cycles – with the accent on bust. And they have suffered alike in these misfortunes.”

The USA Trump and his cohort are foisting upon us today is a far cry from the USA of the 1930's and 1940's, the Roosevelt/Truman New Deal era (which was continued by every president up to Reagan, who began to dismantle it). Our prosperity was a direct result of the New Deal programs put in place to overcome the Republican Party policy disasters of the 1920’s, policies which are strikingly similar to those the Republican Trumpists are again putting in place.

Mr. Truman made no bones about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. He continued:

"How many times do you have to be hit on the head before you find out what's hitting you? It's about time the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them."

“Why is it that the farmer and the worker and the small businessman suffer under Republican administrations, and gain under Democratic administrations?”

“I’ll tell you why. It is a result of a basic difference in attitude between the Democratic and the Republican parties.”

The Democratic party represents the people. It is pledged to work for agriculture. It is pledged to work for labor. It is pledged to work for the small businessman and the white-collar worker.”

“The Democratic attitude puts human rights and human welfare first.”

“But the attitude of the Republican gluttons of privilege is very different. The big money Republican looks on agriculture and labor merely as expense items in a business venture. He tries to push their share of the national income down as low as possible and increase his own profits. And he looks upon the Government as a tool to accomplish that purpose.”

“These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men. And it is their constant aim to put the Government of the United States under control of men like themselves. They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship.”

“Our intentions are made clear by our deeds. In the Twentieth Century, every great step forward has come during Democratic administrations of the National Government. Every movement backward has come under Republican auspices, and it is the people who have paid dearly for these reactionary moves.”

“I’m not asking you just to vote for me. Vote for yourselves! Vote for your farms! Vote for the standard of living that you have won under a Democratic Administration!”

“Get out there on Election Day, and vote for your future.”

The problem we have today is that both parties are in the pocket of big business. Both do the bidding of the global corporations to the detriment of small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business. (The 99.9% of Americans.)

One great hope for our future is that the Green New Deal Democrats will remember that “standing for” small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business, made the prosperity we enjoyed from the 1950's through to the Great Recession (2007-2009), that very prosperity the Trumpists say they want again but have no idea how it came to be.

I’m guessing that you’re tired of getting hit on the head, too.

Still,  the question remains, how many more bashes to the head will it take before we figure out who is hitting us and we make our system work for us?

News clip from President Harry Truman's, Dexter, Iowa, speech, 18 Sept. 1948


Please go here for the transcript of President Truman's speech.