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Standing Upright

I have been going through some things left at my parents’ home and among them were two letters to my folks from my buddy Steve. Post marked with the military stamp, June, 1969, Vietnam. Apparently my Mother had sent him a calendar in a prior correspondence because he stated to her bleakly he had no use for a calendar. He was in the jungle, terrified. He remarked he had no idea what they were doing there and what was going on, otherwise it was polite chit chat. He was halfway through his stint then.

Steve was a young mentor of sorts for my younger brother and I when he worked for my parents. He taught my brother how to drive the ’51 Ford when they went on trash runs around my family’s resort. His smile never left his face. I never saw him mad, sad or remorseful, although I am sure he was all those things when he died in heavy combat a few months later.

His death was something I have yet to come to terms with and it brings me to tears often. The one thing positive it did for me was bring into focus how things are not always what they seem to be. I learned how to recognize the lies and have always stood up for what is right. I never marched, protested or wrote my congressmen back in 1969, I was only 13, but Steve’s death is seared into my brain like it was yesterday and has eaten at me for years. I came to understand the outrage over Vietnam, especially since 70% of the reason for flooding the rice paddies there with US soldiers blood was over shear ego on the part of President Johnson. He wanted to win.

Today, we find ourselves in a historically comparable situation, the difference being how we handle the lies. For well over ten years now there has been a campaign to use email forwards and social media to create strong differences of opinion among Americans. In division lies victory for the ones who can’t otherwise win. Rather than the public truth stretching of yesteryear we have blatant lies that find their way onto our screens. Those of us who lived through a part of Vietnam are for the most part cautious, but the steady drone of unfiltered twists of truth are bending even more focused minds. We are being pitted against each other and with intention; listen to the words next time you tune in.

I asked two friends of mine, one 84 years young and another 94, one a Democrat and the other a Republican WWII vet and former engineer at Los Alamos, what they made of this situation we are in. The Democrat said she is concerned certainly, but 1968 was far scarier she felt. My older Republican friend looked me in the eye and said, “We have had some pretty sorry Presidents, but this one is the worst and dangerous.” Indeed.

In 1968 I was too young to grasp all of it, but my eyes are wide open on this go around because of the attacks on all branches of our government and the Constitution on separation of powers to name just one. Our government was set up to be a “living” institution and therein lies the vulnerability of its’ existence. Many situations we find ourselves in are not legally covered or bound to the Constitution, it was considered that all branches install reasonable human beings and have a degree of integrity. Ethics, appointments, communications and blatant lying are not bound tightly to the Constitution. What is however is the oath to defend the Constitution and in the case of legislators they swear to defend the US against all enemies. Really, the oath of a President binds them to not much, they are on the honor system because no one ever imagined that the office would be bastardized.

Coming from a well-rounded upbringing of hardworking, honest people I would betray not only Steve, but my family and my country if I didn’t stand up for what is right. My Republican side is worried about the seeming illegality surrounding this President and the cover provided for him by members of that party.. Is he buying them or are they that afraid of him? Most former congressmen think they are fearful. Too, the nation’s we call friends are being discarded like so many used napkins; where will they be down the road when we need them? I am concerned that the wanton disregard for the people of this country and our relations in the world will get us all killed. I fear no checks on our behavior is going to denigrate our nation that has stood for what is right around the world for a century and a half. We are after all American’s and no one is going to ask what we think about our situation, they will lump us all together.

There are Steve’s out there right now around the world. They are not laying in six inches of water with rats crawling on them…yet, but they are the ones first to deal with the fallout of failed diplomacy or lack of any diplomacy try and they may well be the first to die. The Presidents guilt or innocence when it comes to Russia is yet to be determined, but there is no doubt he is shaking the trees for money as he buys, sells and trades at will around the world caring not at all about how it looks, the ethics of it nor the consequences of his actions. All he wants is to win for himself. Putin is not playing games…he wants to be the defacto ruler of the world and he will kill to get what he wants. In fact, he has already killed someone who contributed to the Dossier presented out of concern by Michael Steele to our country. He has tricked our President into doing his bidding, while we all watch the show.

Americans had better understand one thing; we are a party to a dangerous game around the world where dictators are suddenly friends with our President, and our allies are not. The United States have always been leaders around the globe and our allies have come to our side many, many times. We have to turn off the tube and read, and we need to stop allowing the ones so inclined to divide us. This is not a game to be played on Twitter or Facebook, this is our country. The people standing up are not all “liberals”, nor are they wrong to do so. What has kept this country going since 1968 is a basic decency in all of us, not guns and curse words, and we have never moved forward with division.

The First Stone

“Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to cast the first stone at her.” John 8:7. These are words to live by for almost any human being and were ascribed in the Bible telling of an angry Mob ready to stone a woman for adultery. The verse is a caution to those men who had worked themselves into a frenzy to stamp out their own misdeeds by calling attention to another. Something that is incredibly relative at this time of intense greed around the world.

The creation of commotion to deflect blame and winning at all costs is gut wrenching to most of us and many are throwing their arms up in despair when it comes to whom they should be believing. I dare say that insecurity is by design and something we all need to recognize before it becomes our downfall.

Women accusing Roy More, Donald Trump, Matt Lauer and others by and large have made up little of their stories; sexual impropriety happens on a regular basis around the world. Some of it we overlook as playful interaction, but a fair amount of it is more serious. Does that mean women run right over to their family or friends to tell them it happened? Most often no, it is bottled up inside for often times years and in many cases forever.

I was taught there was shame in sex and took that to heart, so why pray tell would I tell my friends, my Mother or anyone else that I had been abused? I was personally violated by a 65-year-old man when I was 12 and had no idea what to do about it. Men were always right, and I felt shamed. When he did it a second time I told my sister-in-law trusting she would not look down on me. She didn’t, but frankly offered no out for me other than to stay away from the guy. The one thing she did sternly advise was not to tell my Dad or he would kill the guy. Great, I was trapped, either I keep it to myself or I would be responsible for a dead man.

Maybe it was my outgoing personality, my need to fit in or my curiosity, but when another man that same year invited me to look at his apartment I followed him and was raped. I told no one. Were that man running for office now and especially the Presidency I damn sure would speak up, but not without reservation because a woman coming forward about greedy, self-serving men will be raked over the coals as we are seeing now.

The men of power who have something to lose are cat calling everyone of the women who point a finger at them, and the more guilty they are the more they run down their accusers. Almost without exception the one tossing these charges aside as made up or hired to discredit them are guilty as hell you can bet. I have heard one soft spoken man suggesting that Roy Moore had served time in the military and gone onto college so when he arrived home at 30 something all the girls his age were taken. Right. He was in no contact with women in the service or in college? Uh huh…

We are making excuses for people like Roy Moore and Donald Trump and their errant sexuality, but even looking at their records there is little room for acceptance. I heard the Alabama Secretary of State say in an interview yesterday that the people of Alabama want “someone in the Senate that will protect the Constitution”. Well then, I have to ask, why are they supporting Moore who was twice thrown off the bench for NOT upholding the Constitution? Trump is no different, pretending to be someone he is not when he offers folks that he will help them out and then turn around and be willing to sign legislation such as the tax-cut bill for few in the middle class and all of the super-rich and corporations who are still taking their money out of our country.

Both these men and others like them were self-serving sexually and are self-serving in government. It is important I think to ask yourself why it is they are going straight to blame. Why is it they will not say, as Franken did that they feel bad that any actions of theirs were taken to be more than what they intended? If it were any of us wouldn’t we be falling all over ourselves to correct those misunderstandings?

There was nothing consensual with those young girls and I see nothing in their records that make them a bit sympathetic to others. We are looking at an abuse of power here and I say in both cases we need to be looking at that stone pile.

It is Not the Guns, Not the Flag and Not Even the 2nd Amendment

Time.com- PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 16: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) makes remarks after receiving the the 2017 Liberty Medal (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It does not seem to matter much which way the wind blows, many Americans of all stripes seem to get caught up in the breeze. Since 2006 when Obama announced his candidacy for President and the Internet went wild with literally millions of erroneous posts and email forwards, and the conspiracy theorists threw just about everything against the wall to see if it would stick…some of it has indeed stuck. We have had lines like: “Obama is going to get your guns”, “Obama was born in Kenya” and Bush not only knew about the twin towers coming down, he helped! “Granny is going to be killed when she gets too expensive under Obamacare”. Good grief.

Much of this was perpetuated in the name of winning politically and the rest for reasons known only to the ones who wrote them. Some of course more recently , as we are finding out now were thrown out there by Russian paid computer geeks. Who would ever have guessed that John McCain would be booed at a Trump campaign rally recently…yes, Trump is still filling his coffers at those rallies, and was compelled to throw McCain under the bus along with the NFL owners who donated millions to his campaign. McCain, a POW for five years and was a son to an admiral, when offered to be released early refused so that some of his fellow soldiers could go instead. The folks booing him are the very ones who profess God and Country in that order, but at the egging on of Trump the Nazi like response was anything but Christian or Patriotic.

John McCain was awarded the Liberty Medal recently because of his undying patriotism, heroics and thoughtful legislation that came to pass more often than not, with bi-partisan support. Most of America wants our legislators to get to work for us, the ones who elected them, and we want them to abandon the partisan politics, but the money machine will not allow for that. Lobbyists of corporations and special interest dole out billions to literally buy political loyalty to enhance their profits. The big play investors in these companies often have come in and out of government to further benefit their holdings by controlling decisions in primarily individual agencies rather than on the floors of Congress. This article really demonstrates just how things work https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/business/timken-bows-to-investors-and-splits-in-two.html and much of this was going on prior to the Supreme Court ruling where “corporations are people” came out of the Citizens United case. You kind of need to read in between the lines to fully grasp the implications of all of that article has to offer, but it does more to explain to us bumpkins just how things work. The opioid crisis is point blank evidence that no matter who we elect, by at least varying degrees, the big money controls our fate. Do we really think that electing a whole different set of people while leaving the money loophole in our politics is going to give us different results? Especially when they are practiced at finding money as people like Steve Bannon is.

Getting back to McCain…he is the epitome of a patriot and the only one of the GOP who pushed back on all of the lies about Obama when they were trying to set him up for failure and lamenting not having a President who would take orders. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2012/2/13/1064417/-Grover-Norquist-on-the-GOP-candidates-All-we-need-is-someone-who-can-handle-a-pen .  I don’t always agree with McCain, nor do I anyone else in politics including Obama because their moves are controlled by so many forces you cannot possibly imagine, and sometimes they are flat out wrong. But, having said that, McCain has tried to do what is right I am guessing for most of his tenure as a Senator as did Obama, Bush, Carter and others. In fact, I believe most people running for office have good in mind, but leaving runaway money schemes in place is like giving a starving horse a barrel of grain. You only have to look at the elected “tea party” candidates who were going to stop it all, to understand as long as that barrel is there, they are going to founder on its’ contents.

The controlling force in this country at this time is the rhetoric being thrown out there by corporations and their lobby arms, special interest and a President who might have been great had he stuck with learning government instead of leveraging it as a stepping stone for his interests. None of the rhetoric is by accident. Everyone saw how well it worked to sway people when it came to Obama, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They painted it up some for a Trump Presidency and grinned from ear to ear at how they thought it would work just as the Democrats believed Clinton would win hands down; it wasn’t meant to be in either case. The Republicans who trusted in a majority with a “Republican” President were thrown under the bus and the same practice is part of Trumps’ history in business. Our legislative members were never meant to work independent of each other and you can certainly see why.

Due to the rhetoric thrown out there both then and now, Americans believe that the “others” are after their guns and the 2nd amendment and not standing for the Anthem is somehow an attack on patriotism even as they do not stand themselves when they are watching the games on TV. I grew up with both guns and honoring the Anthem. There was a time in the ‘60’s however, that many took to flag burning because they felt left out of the process. Out of the process, sort of like now matter of fact. Unlike then, there is no flag burning in the NFL, and the people who first brought the protest as a result of police profiling and brutality came quickly to the determination that sitting on the benches was a little too disrespectful, so they are now giving the same reverence to abstaining as they would to an injured, fellow player; hardly flag burning. I neither condone nor pardon it, but do understand the reasons. Seizing on the moment, the efforts of the President to fuel a primarily black on white debate might better serve his country working toward fixing the disparities such as race, health care, wages and economic split. He could have been great for these causes.

This rhetoric is in part a learned thing for our President, and some of it comes naturally. In this case he saw the opportunity early on for a win for him by creating a them vs. us and always appearing to be the victim to create sympathy. When it became obvious that the Russians fingerprints were on our election process he went straight to defending the Russians and calling on the media for improper reporting later turned “fake news” after the discovery of very real fake news put out by Russian trolls. People got sucked into that so deep there are factions in the south that actually believe that Putin is great. Trump has never fully acknowledged the fact that we were robbed of one of the very tenets that sets us apart from much of this world; free elections and he has done much to cause mistrust of a free press. In fact, one of the countries without much of a free press is Russia. Sure, they call themselves a democracy, but every election is rigged and free press journalists are killed for their reporting.

So, to some basic questions…why is anyone defending Russia let alone our President who swore, on not one, but two Bibles to defend the Constitution? Why are we calling out one side or the other when tiny kids are gunned down and people rightfully get upset? Do we really think that was a right? Sure, it was the person, not the gun, so why are we not immediately demanding mental health money instead of coaxing Americans into scorching their neighbors? Do we really want to be left to the trolls on social media to give us all our news? Do we really want to pull our safe guards like that? Ben Franklin among others demanded a free press clause appear in the founding documents of this country for very good reason. Russia and North Korea are examples of not having a free press.

Back in the day when Trump was building hotels he stiffed contractors of their earnings. Those were people like your neighbors who had no recourse because he could out spend them in court. He demanded the licensed veteran vendors near his hotels be forced to stop selling their wares. Worse yet while he evokes boos toward John McCain from his misled audiences they seem not to know he dodged the draft, not once, but 5 times he got a referral for a sore foot.

While John McCain laid there for five years as a POW and other soldiers endured rats crawling on them in the soaking wet jungle for days on end, our President began his career with a million dollars his daddy gave him to get him off in business on that same foot. The gold star family he talked down for days during the campaign were, like McCain humiliated by this President and people chocked it up as simply another “tell it like it is” moment without “political correctness”. Lack of both common decency and any sense of patriotism was at play there, not a moment without political correctness.

The rhetoric marches on and frankly can almost be counted on with every new witness called in the Russia investigation or when someone faults the President in any way. I find it interesting that folks thought they were getting strength in him, when in reality he has done more than his share of whining.
The victims will continue to be blamed such as Puerto Rico citizens, the greatest show on earth will be visible at every opportunity and real patriots will continue to be the ones who will pick up the carnage when we are done. My Dad always said: “Watch what they do, not what they say”.

Why Do You Hate Your Neighbor?

I recently posted an article on Facebook about the Secret Service being strapped after the travel associated with protecting large family Trump. The President has the prerogative to travel domestically as well as overseas, so frankly Donald Trump’s travels to golf every weekend is simply the way it is. On the other hand, his son’s travel extensively on vacations and around the world business deals that the Trump organization should not be involved in the first place while their leader is President. It goes against all ethic rules for any of them to traipse all over the world selling Donald Trump brands. Alas however the Republican led congress and Senate are still stuck on defeating Hillary (no one told them Trump won?) and have not done a thing to stop him even though it can and perhaps will come back to bite all of us.

The ethics issues, while gross in themselves was not what the article was pointing out so much as stating that the large family coupled with frequent flyer miles, dozens of properties he visits and golf courses he plays had broken the fiscal bank for the Secret Service. There was no attached comment to my posting the article and I had seen a report on it on Fox just minutes before, so you can imagine my shock to be “disowned” for my supposed hatred of Trump by one of the people on my “friends” list. The misplaced reference to hate is amazing to me since Donald Trump has done everything he can to froth up hate at his rally’s and placed a premium on division to keep his base from looking at his overwhelming short comings, lousy business skills and past legal issues. Not to mention 10 years and counting of the nation listening to how terrible Obama was and is, right down to his birth in HI.

However, to blame Trump entirely for the division is missing what has gone on for the last twenty years and something Bush addressed during his Presidency. The blame primarily rests with redistricting or Gerrymandering as it is properly called. The concept of Gerrymandering set out to horde as many voters favorable to one party candidate or the other to make winning congressional seats easier for said parties. https://apgovernmentchs.wikispaces.com/Redistricting+and+Gerrymandering Gunnison County, Colorado for instance was recently split in half over a redistricting move by the Democrats in Denver to keep an Independent candidate who did not always do their bidding from being elected; they drew the line right behind her house. In recent years Republican’s particularly have redrawn many boundaries across the country to lock out minorities and gather voters favorable to their causes.

If the truth be known, a solid, concise message by either party would suffice to win the hearts and minds of the voters, but there is another very important part of party politics, and that is the money. With the winning of a Supreme Court decision by the group “Citizens United” establishing that corporations are “people” and they can give freely to candidates, a whole new world has opened up in dirty, pay to play politics. The same people who unleashed the dogs are now trying to ram through not only corporate giving, but totally unlimited funding. Since congressional legislators must re-enter the campaign mode every two years they spend an average of four hours every day dialing for dollars from small calling centers “off campus”. If they don’t raise the money or solidify the backing they will likely not be re-elected. Of course, it is expected of them to do the bidding of those corporations or organizations or they will advertise against them in favor of someone who will do what they want. The legislators are trapped between the corporations and the voters and for the most part they cannot win both.

Since Obama’s campaign appeared to be on track for the nomination in the 2008 election the Republicans on the Hill began to push back with advertising against him, but not in the conventional way. They began to use email forwards and social media that was just emerging as a possible tool to sway voters planting seeds of doubt. Their early attempts were unsuccessful, but as time went on people like Karl Rove and Grover Norquist perfected it and we see the results of that today…there are still congressmen repeating what Trump worked hard on; the idea that Obama wasn’t born here. It is a lie of course, but why let go of a good thing when so many people believe it? Of course, the Democrats rack up political discrediting mileage too, but the misinformation show of the last ten years is second to none and is proudly carried forward by some including Trump when he tells his supporters that the media is to blame for his problems. I for one find it distasteful to win at anything by lying or cheating, but greed (another story of our politics) wins at least in the short term.

All of this left the door wide open to the Russians who not only had the luxury of Americans being trained and gullible, but they had the model for a program of disinformation. The Russians have taken all they learned to muddy their hands in elections all over the free world and to divide the minds of people enough to move in economically. Putin is the richest man in the world and rigs with the power of money his own election every time it comes up. His greed is incredible and with him influencing the US or other democratic nations you can be sure it will be you who loses.

There are good reasons you hate your neighbor, but there is nothing reasonable or good that will come from it. To the contrary, if we are divided by the liars out there telling us bullshit we not only will fall, but we will fall hard. Hate is consuming and not a game I will ever play because it is a waste of energy. I will always stand up for what is right and respecting my family, friends and neighbors is part of that.

For Lori

I have lost too many friends, family and community acquaintances to the money surrounding cancer. This is honest and heart felt and there is in my view zero room for debate. It is time for action and anyone not understanding ought to look around in your community. Notice the pain and suffering and know that much of it is preventable.

For my friend Lori, my Dad, and others who have had to endure the sickness…and lost.

When I was a kid cancer wasn’t even spoken of except in whispers. Very few got it and no one knew what it was. We did not know whether it was contagious and certainly not what to do about it and frankly we still don’t. We dump the equivalent of drain cleaner into the bodies of folks who have “cancer” and pour untold money in to “a cure” for it, which in my view will I doubt ever be found.

My eldest Brother is lecturing this week at the University of California Riverside (UCR) on the incredible amount of chemicals in our lives and how they effect us. His lecture is by invitation of the Chancellor of UCR where he is in standing as somewhat of an authority on the subject. I wish I could attend as we are like minded on this subject.

Cancers have crept into our lives over the course of 120 years or so and has increased at alarming rates in particular the last 50 years or less. Some argue that population increases are bound to expose more of it, but I beg to differ as the two have no numerical parallels. What has increased in my lifetime are the chemicals in our lives. Now there is a parallel.

When I was young my mother did laundry and we bathed in lye soap made from wood ash, we ate home canned foods much of the time and deer, elk and beef bought from a neighbor. If you talk to most folks in their fifties and sixties today most of them grew up on a farm, their cousins did, or at the very least their grandparents farmed. The crops were fertilized with animal waste; you picked the cotton and turned out the cows in that field to consume the stalks and fertilize as they went along. You gave back to the soil what the plants had extracted, by planting other crops, a practice called crop rotation. Crops were not fed chemical fertilizers and pesticides like they are now becoming addicted to the fertilizers and the microbes are killed off by the bug juice rendering the soil useless causing more use of both chemicals.*

At some point in my growing up we started using powdered laundry soap and store-bought eggs and chicken. TV dinners were the rage and we had to have plastic containers to store food in. The car interior went from cloth and wood to plastic… and well, plastic. We breathed deep of our newfound wealth of even being able to afford a new car without realizing that car might be killing us along with those plastic storage containers. The insurance companies and the furniture makers sought to protect us not from being sold cigarettes, but to protect us when we fell asleep with one on the couch and flame retardants were born. They didn’t stop there, they coated every baby blanket, shirt, drape, carpet with toxin emitting retardants now suspected of killing house cats by way of thyroid diseases.

What have we learned? Seems to me, nothing. We are pouring money into the repairs and doing nothing about the causes. The friggin’ wheels are falling off the car and we keep driving. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars treating one cancer patient and filling the pockets of the companies causing those cancers. It is not the farmers, they have been told that everything is fine and of course we believe our product salesmen and corporate led research. It is not the sales person in the clothing or furniture store, it is protection of industry giants through lobby of our politicians. For every dollar they spend on legislation and misleading, they get back a hundred for their investors who are like a hungry giant.

My younger Brother worked for a time at a Goodyear service facility where he was hired as the service manager. He worked with integrity and managed to increase traffic to the point that nearly every bay was full, every day. His supervisor came to him one day and told him he had to up his game. Bewildered my brother finally asked just how he was to do that when all the bays were full? His boss told him to increase revenue by lying to people until they believed they needed new brakes, or a transmission, when all they really needed were wiper blades. He quit.

When are we all going to say enough is enough and quit? How many cancer deaths will it take until we start asking questions? How many before the EPA and USDA scientist are not strangled by special interest telling them to ignore their findings? This has become entirely too routine for American’s, this cycle of bathing in chemicals, desperately trying to comfort the dying and allowing these coverups of the causes. Parkinson for one is proven to be related to farm chemicals. Thyroid health is being correlated with fire retardants.

How many Lori’s, Kathy’s, Steve’s, fathers, mothers and children will it take. We must get off this complacent attitude that someone will “figure it out”. They have, wake up and smell the roses that will not attract bees because they have bred the attractors out of them. When will it be you with the cancer? When will we collectively decide we do not want these companies experimenting on us? 98% of all the chemicals in our lives are never tested…think about that.

 

*To be fair, some of the farm chemicals used are, in small doses perhaps not immediately toxic, but what we do not consider is we eat a variety of vegetables, meats and fruit so added together your liver can only take so much before the toxins start bypassing it.

Vanishing

I dialed in the conservative KOA Denver on the radio coming back from Salida the other day and happened on the Mandy Connell show. I had heard her once before and was impressed with her awareness of what is real in politics. She surely must be Irish with savvy like she has. She was a breath of fresh air for the conservative side of things after listening to Hannity for months, where every other word out of his mouth is “liberals” or “progressives” and more truth stretching than a taffy factory.

Ms. Connell was talking about gerrymandering and how much it controls our collective thinking within a given district and leads to division, because it circles the wagons of opinion around candidates and their drum banging messages. They never have to worry about working for the common good of American life because their districts are ready made for them depending on what color socks they wear in the political arena. They put their name on the ballot and they are in. Ms. Connell is a wise Republican, who although she has political views that differ from some folks she stands for democracy, a vanishing home for us all.

Our local district was split a few years ago and done by Democrats to mostly punish a renegade Democrat who dared to vote for and defend her home district rather than taking the hands signals thrown at her from the balcony to the Colorado Congressional floor. She dared to buck the tiger so they pushed her out of the corral, drawing the district line right behind her house and splitting a Colorado County smack in two.

There is at least as much money spent leading up to a census year on redrawing district boundaries as there is in both sunlit and dark candidate money and the party in charge gets the honor of building the corrals. There are various state initiatives and a large federal level one to tear down the fences, but those district boundaries are incredibly influential so the push back is huge. The American people could put a stop to it just as they are making headway for affordable health care, but the walls that need to come down are the very thing that keeps American thoughts locked up. Most do not even know what is at stake or even that there is such a thing, so they go on about their business as the segregation marches forward…the division is the result.

Within those districts the money buys a big bang for the bucks because they basically know which way the wind will blow when it comes to winning and losing. It is like gambling with a spotter behind the dealer and saves the corporations a ton of money and indigestion and their gaming can go on.

Never in the history of this country have we had so much money thrown at our candidates in a winner take all game. Our candidates are expected to curry favor from the first 48 hours they are elected until they are not. If they don’t play the game, they will not see another year as a legislator; steer legislation their way or they will find another puppet. It takes a skilled politician to stay in the business of actually helping Americans.

The most gut wrenching thing to come out of all of this is people being talked into pitting against each other. The gerrymandering and the money lead to nowhere good. The game of gaining the vote is a science right down to the talk shows we hear on television and radio, where many of them have never taken a journalism class in their lives or for that matter a poly sci course. Some stretch things, or in some cases outright lie to continue to beat the drum. It is a deception and the worst of it is pitting us against each other. If you listen closely and have some semblance of a memory you will find a pattern of windblown statements of defense that only a year earlier were leveled at the opposition.

Christ threw the money changers from the church for a reason and in the United States we are seeing exactly why. The money is buying separation because we are easier to fool that way. Your neighbors are not bad because they think different on some issues. They are not bad because they might have voted for someone else, that is the heart of democracy! As an Independent it is so hard for me to watch people trash each other for pencil necked CEO’s, talk show hosts and politicians, the latter of which for the most part don’t like these games any more than we do.

We will be struggling in a vanished democracy if we don’t wake up to the fact that we are manipulated from the time we get up in the morning until we sack out at night. This game is not ours to play, but it is ours to stop. We do have influence to get rid of the gerrymandering, demand campaign reform where the money is honest, and we have sway on a myriad of issues if we only band together. The current town halls are certainly a demonstration of that. Our Democracy is vanishing one dollar at a time, but there is time to catch it if we only do it together.

What Do You Want To Hear?

newspaperAt one point maybe 8 months ago I was thinking, ‘What the heck. Great leaders come out of nowhere at times, maybe Trump could fool us and really be good.’ Not that I was going to run right out and vote for him with the pretty lousy track record he had in business, but he was intriguing. That floated in and out of my brain until he started his incredible run at stabbing everyone who walked by; the disabled journalist, Megan Kelly, John McCain and other legislators, Muslims, women, veterans, Latinos and active duty servicemen. I know these people, all of them and they all contribute to our society. All of the outlandish things he was saying enabled him to be on television every hour of every day on all the 24 hour news channels. He never spent a dime on all that incredible coverage for a year or better, yet he decries the media as being unfair at every turn. They reported on things he said, none of it was made up, but he didn’t like the impact it was having on his image as he got deeper in the swamp he was creating. Instead of changing his ways he blamed the media for HIS shortcomings…Therein lies my concern.

First off, listen to him…he blames everyone for his shortcomings and has his whole campaign and more recently the media. The idea that the media is somehow unfair is a tactic many have used for years now to pull attention away from themselves. Sarah Palin did it convincingly for some, when she and her husband were facing ethics violations for firing a state trooper who would not do her personal bidding, setting us on a course of drifting farther and farther away from the truth. It was really hard for me to believe that people actually took her serious back then, but her legitimacy was cemented when the idea of a non-fact media began to take hold with her followers. It grew out of the age of people buying fake animals on the internet with real hard earned money simply to play on a fake farm…

All of that brings us to today where facts and reality are so blurred with intentional falsehoods that legislators and candidates can reel off one after another without anyone batting an eye. You see, we have been hearing all those things in email forwards and on social media for some time now, which of course proves beyond doubt it is all correct; right? The truth takes forever to make it around the world, but a lie is instantaneous.

As if that is not enough, the media in general is being denigrated by some politicians and people of trust to the point that many believe nothing they report is correct…accept Fox Network and pundit stream. Somehow folks do not see that they too are mainstream media, or at least they want you to take them that way. In recent years under Roger Alies Fox became very slanted to the right and somehow that was okay and slanting left is not? I have yet to understand that take on things, but hey I do not have a gullible personality and happen to believe that opposing info is good for democracy.  As for Fox, since their groper in chief Alies was fired, they are sounding a little more legit and have actually come down hard on their anchors for reporting marginal online polls and information from not so credible sources. Brett Baier apologized profusely a couple of weeks ago for reporting that Hillary Clinton was “under indictment” when in fact she was not and never has been. He had been given false info by a pundit. Fox has a few quality journalists these days that deserve a network that is not bent.

Blurring the lines even farther, the “fake news” which is all the rage today like those farm animals of ten years ago, is flooding social media from Macedonia with ridiculous stories. There is pretty much zero truth in any of it.

Trump has had the bed made for him on the mistrust of the media by his predecessors in the last several years, so it is only natural that he pick up where they left off and that is a scary thing when pushed by a President. Without the press and giving social media legitimacy, he and others are free to roam out of site without so much as an idea what they are doing with our tax dollars, our neighbors and in the larger world.

We have to understand that although sometimes leaning a bit one way or the other, the free press is overall not setting out to deceive us and they are all we have to keep an eye on our country. Most of them will bury a story on page 6 now and then if it doesn’t suit their audience or even leave it out all together, but they are by and large journalists who stand by their stories and have the proof to back them up.

You would never buy a car without looking under the hood or buy a horse without looking it in the mouth, so why pray tell are we being sucked into this idea that our freedom of the press is a bad thing and reporting on some of these guys is somehow unfair. Bull shit. If they have done bad things or will I want to know about it, left or right.

The single most used tool by dictators is to dispatch through state run media the message they want you to hear. People like Putin and Kim Jung Un of North Korea, they have their state run news and you will get whatever they want you to hear, not what is real. Trump will never tell you that Russia has an economy smaller than Calif. or Putin has broken it so badly all they have is oil and that Putin’s people are starving because money intended for food there was pocketed by Putin. Putin tells his people how great things are and they are blissfully ignorant, only the elite have a dime. No car, no food no money for anything, a stark difference to the U.S. both in what they have and what they hear.

Please read and listen with a discerning ear and check out what you read on the Internet. Not with more of the same, but with opposing views…that is how we learn. The American people are not stupid, this controlled media tactic was successful in Germany with well educated people. Understand that the press is all we have between our government and us, and by and large it sets out to learn the truth. What do you want to hear? Listen to all of it, not just what you want to hear. Losing the Constitutional right to a free press is the end of our free society.