Monday, July 15, 2019

Real Americans Stand Up


Real Americans have always stood up to bigots. The question is will the rest of us stand up now?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Time for Strings Cutting

"So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation."

"Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage."

"Trump is the puppet master." - Robert Reich

Personally, I prefer no strings attached. Thank you very much.

Here's the story

America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy.
Robert Reich
9 July 2019

I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that some Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.

But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become disempowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super-rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels?

I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. No meaningful regulation of Wall Street’s addiction to gambling with other peoples’ money. No end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from “shitholes” streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

He’s a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they’ve been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, “deep state” bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump’s deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he’ll stoke tribalism so most Americans won’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, won’t pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, and won’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations”.

The only way to overcome the oligarchy and Trump’s divide-and-conquer strategy is for the rest of us to join together and win America back.

That means creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of working-class, poor and middle-class Americans who will fight for democracy and oppose oligarchy.

White, black and Latino; union and non-union; evangelical and secular; immigrant and native-born – all focused on ending big money in politics, stopping corporate welfare and crony capitalism, busting up monopolies and stopping voter suppression.

This agenda is neither “right” nor “left.” It is the bedrock for everything else America must do.

Friday, June 28, 2019

One Voter, One Vote Takes Body Blow


Instead of turning the cleansing light of day on our disgusting partisan politics original sin – gerrymandering - the Robert’s Supreme Court has decided to breathe new life into that creepy-crawly-snaky-thing and allow it to continue hijacking our elections.

So much for the head court man’s promise to protect and defend the Constitution. He must have crossed his fingers when saying, “…I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich…”.

The Brian Dickerson, The Detroit Free Press, has the whole story here:

Supreme Court justices tell Michigan's Democratic voters to drop dead, Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press, 27 June 2019. 

Oh, here’s one more election rigging thing. This one was outed in 2016.

It's about how Mr. Fetid Zombie man himself, Karl Rove, was stymied by Anonymous, the Internet’s “sometimes guardian angel”.

Did Anonymous stop Karl Rove from Stealing Ohio again?



Thom Hartmann Program
Published on Nov 16, 2012

Thom Hartmann discusses an article that says the hacker group, Anonymous may have been involved in stopping GOP mastermind Karl Rove from stealing the election in Ohio this year.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Ah... I didn't Know That!

This just in from the I Didn't Know That Department... Americans really want a better life!

Yes, it appears we do want our government to work in our interests!

Oh My! What if this info gets out?

Life could suddenly become livable.

It's possible we could actually, really resolve a thing or two. How radical is that?

Robert Reich: America is More Radical Than You Think


Monday, June 17, 2019

Smarter & Wiser This Time


“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.”Art credit: www.panmacmillan.com
I’m looking for a miracle this morning. I'm prayin’ that we’ll be smarter this time than to be deceived by the same people that fed us all B.S. last time. That’s when we launched the biggest blunder in U.S. history - the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

All along I thought nothing could top the War in Vietnam on the Premier Blunder of All Time Hit Parade. I was wrong. How dumb to think that we couldn't top the stupidity of the Vietnam War.

In 2002 / 2003, I hope you remember, thousands fruitlessly protested in the streets against going to war. We chanted and cried to no avail. The U.S. neocons were determined to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people – ours and theirs – for the glory of the U.S. empire, I reckon.

So we did it. We went to war.

Have we forgotten that the reasons the administration gave for going to war were proven to be bogus? They lied so they could murder, pillage, destroy and create wealth for a select few.

I know that sounds harsh. Back then, we all so dearly prayed that our leaders were justified and acted honorably in our behalf.

Sadly, they did not.

You know, as I do, that their blunder has drained trillions of dollars of our national treasure. And, yet, it is still not over. It will never really be over. Our grandchildren will be paying for this insane adventure for the rest of their lives.

Still, that’s just money. Worse, in my mind, is the depravity of it all.

And they are doing it all once again. In Mr. Bolton’s demented mind it’s well past time to take out the Iranians. It’s their turn to feel Uncle Sam’s righteous wrath. But maybe this time our allies are standing up to his neocon bluster.

We, the people of the United States, should know better by now.

This time we must out the psychopaths for their insanity.

It’s time we show that we have learned a thing or two and to be smarter and wiser. This time, let's... get to where we're going by walking away from where we have been.

Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies - 1987



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Whose Socialism? Yours or the Corporations?


Way back in the 1936 at Madison Square Garden, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt said:


FDR was right then.

Likewise, Bernie Sanders is right today. During his speech at George Washington University, 12 June 2019, he said,

“While President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism,” Sanders said. “They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.”


It is time to guarantee our second Bill of Rights. If we do not... we will have none at all.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Can You See God?

Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof
and spire just how it was – except using glass(Credit: Eight Inc.)
Perhaps some day you'll travel to Paris, France and visit Notre-Dame.

You'll walk inside, sit down, look up and see God. Yes, right through the glass roof.

Here's the story...

Apple Store designer envisions rebuilding Notre-Dame using glass, Adam Williams, newatlas.com, 10 June 2019.

Following the blaze that damaged the iconic Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, the French Prime Minister announced plans for an architecture competition and a modern redesign. We've since reported on one interesting proposal from Vincent Callebaut Architectures and now comes another, courtesy of Eight Inc., which envisions rebuilding the spire and roof using glass.

Eight Inc. proposes to restore the Notre-Dame's roof and spire back to its previous condition but using glass. All the decorative flourishes including statues would be recreated, and it would be illuminated at night, lending it a really striking appearance. According to Dezeen, the firm, which designed the original Apple Stores, proposes to make use of structural glass to allow it to be built without supports ruining the transparent effect.

-more-

I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash - 1972


Sunday, June 9, 2019

We Are an Extended Family

A delusional billionaire’s perception of a world map. Credit: Aaron Nemo.

A recent trip to Atlanta brought back to my mind futurist Jeremy Rifkin.

I've followed him and written about him for years because his ideas make sense to me. Please see:
Canny Chinese… Metamorphosis into Smartest “New Capitalist”.

Many throughout the world agree, especially European and Chinese leaders. They have implemented his concepts and are moving their nations progressively forward by creating an improved life for all their people.

American political leaders have not. There are some exceptions, such as San Antonio's local government leaders (Mission Verde).

Still, for the most part, we are mired in and wasting precious resources on Mr. Trump’s insanely superficial, "alternative" world.

These two videos present a glimpse of Rifkin's world... our world... if only we would allow ourselves to have it.

Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization




Jeremy Rifkin on the Fall of Capitalism and the Internet of Things



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Please, Somebody Help Him… and the rest of us from him

Mr. Trump, Coming out of the mental illness closet.

Mr. Trump’s recent trip to the UK was an outing of sorts.

Not because of his usual antics and stupid statements, but because at least one of his mental illnesses, Delusional Disorder was completely outed. That is, outed to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

As one might expect, Fox News gaslighted and downplayed the UK protests.

The problem is their reporting alone is what the Trumpists follow day in,day out, never permitting themselves to hear or read anything else from another source. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely they will ever begin to detect a blemish on their knight’s armor, let alone learn that their leader /saint is seriously mentally ill.

Still, the rest of the world did see and hear the protesters as well as Mr. Trump’s declaration that he saw thousands of people cheering him, then saying to the world media, “Where are the protesters? So it was fake news.”

Mr. Trump displayed his delusions for the world to see.

The two question we must ask now are:
  • When will we do something to help the man and get him the mental healthcare he so clearly needs?
  • When will we help ourselves, protect ourselves, by relieving him of the staggering powers of presidency?
A woman posing as the Statue of Liberty stands next to the “Trump baby” balloon as anti-Trump protesters gather in Parliament Square on Tuesday. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)


Trump in the U.K. Day 2: 75,000 Protesters and One Weird Tuxedo | The Daily Show




Friday, May 31, 2019

Nothing Has to Stay the Way It Is

Angela Merkel at Harvard, 30 May 2019. Photo credit: NBC News
Angela Merkel spoke to Harvard grads the other day.

Her words resound with realism and wisdom:

Nothing has to stay the way it is...Anything that seems to be set in stone or unalterable can indeed change.

"Angela Merkel, Germany’s first female chancellor, drew from her own biography as the daughter of a pastor who grew up in East Germany and rose from political obscurity after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and German reunification in 1990 to the country’s highest elected office."

Angela Merkel Slams Trump's World View in Harvard Commencement Speech


TicToc by Bloomberg
Published on May 30, 2019

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel took aim at Donald Trump’s world view in a speech on U.S. soil, saying unilateralism risks bringing down post-World War II alliances and trade wars threaten the “foundations of our prosperity.”

“More than ever, our way of thinking and actions have to be multilateral rather than unilateral,” Merkel said in a commencement speech to Harvard University’s class of 2019 that combined tough criticism of nationalist policies with philosophical vistas of a change for the better.

"Merkel, 64, was addressing a receptive audience on Thursday as she seeks to halt a deterioration in the trans-Atlantic alliance under Trump’s presidency. In her 14th year in office, officials in Merkel’s government are beginning to speak of a point of no return in U.S.-German relations.

"Read more: The Moment Merkel Realized Trump Changes Everything for Germany

"At times, Merkel drew applause from the crowd by seeming to address the U.S. leader directly, urging graduates not to act on “first impulses” or to brandish “lies as truth and truth as lies.”

"Some 2,000 miles to the west, Trump reprised his America First doctrine in a speech to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, saying the U.S. won’t sacrifice its interests for those of foreign powers.

“We don’t do that anymore,” Trump told graduates. “In all things and ways we are putting America first, and it’s about time.”

"Merkel, Germany’s first female chancellor, drew from her own biography as the daughter of a pastor who grew up in East Germany and rose from political obscurity after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and German reunification in 1990 to the country’s highest elected office.

"Merkel joins a list of prominent commencement speakers in recent years, from Facebook Inc. co-founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and television host Oprah Winfrey. Last year’s address was given by U.S. civil rights pioneer and U.S. Representative John Lewis.

"Merkel is the first German leader to give an address at Harvard since 1990, when former Chancellor Helmut Kohl delivered it the year of German reunification.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Chobani Success... People Before Profits


Hamdi Ulukaya put people first... before profits. Here's the story:

"Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past -- and shares his vision for a new, "anti-CEO playbook" that prioritizes people over profits. 'This is the difference between profit and true wealth,' he says."

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Plan B Think Different

Dr. Benjamin Rush, Painting by Peale
Our government, as it is operating today, works for the wealthiest (the .01%), the global corporations, and their paid-off enablers, both corporate managers and elected office holders.

To make our society work for us, the 99.9%, including the masterfully manipulated Trump supporters, we must change our message and our paradigm.

One way to accomplish this is by converting the Peace Corps into a cabinet-level Peace Department, equal in stature to the Department of Defense, and empower it with the mission to develop and implement our national “Peace Economy” as an alternative to our current war economy.

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, a.k.a. The Green New Deal, thereby employing millions and creating $ trillions in new economic growth.

It’s unlikely that Mr. Trump and the Republican Party will transform for the sake of what is good and humane over “profit”. Throughout history it never has. In fact, no society has.

Consider, for instance, Dr. Benjamin Rush’s 1793 essay describing his Peace Department concept for “promoting and preserving perpetual peace in the United States”, was based upon Christian principles because, “…the Christian religion should be preferred to all others; for it belongs to this religion exclusively to teach us not only to cultivate peace with all men, but to forgive—nay more, to love our very enemies..”

The Rush concept failed. Just as countless others since have failed. Why? Because there has always been immense profit in war.

Plan B - Think Different - The Department of Peace - Peace Economy – a.k.a., 
The Green New Deal

But, today, due to technological advances in sustainable energies and the obvious need to rebuild our infrastructure, immense profit is waiting for the making... or exploiting.

We no longer need to make more bombs and bullets or expand our “empire” 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 creating more profit incentive for the 1%.

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

Change the message from emphasizing the Green New Deal and talk about the immense profits waiting for the taking through The Peace Economy.

Change the paradigm. Change our society for the 100%.

Apple - Think Different



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.