Monday, March 27, 2017

Truth is a Prism

We think of lies and truth as black and white. Some people think of lies and truth as different shades of gray. Both are wrong. Truth and lies are both seen as light through a prism, fractured and of many colors like Joseph's many-colored coat. Even Joseph's story is as variegated as his coat.

Joseph's 10 brothers saw him as an arrogant jerk who had his father's favor. Yeah, Joseph told stories, stories Joseph saw as dreams that always left his older brothers bowing to him, stories that motivated his brothers to get rid of him and tell Isaac Joseph was dead. That was a lie, but seen in a more enlightened version, Joseph's older brothers sold him to slavers and let destiny determine Joseph's fate. Joseph was alive, his many-colored coat torn and bloody from the beating his brothers dealt him before throwing him in a pit, but Joseph would find out what it was like to bow down to men more powerful than he, masters who would buy and sell the arrogant jerk and force him to bow down. Joseph's brothers couldn't see that they were also in more powerful hands and Joseph's talents would lead to the dreams that Joseph foretold in his dreams.

That's the thing about destiny and fate, even though there are those who see the road ahead, they often do not see how we get from here to there, often fulfilling the very fate we worked so hard to thwart. It is the essence of the story where the beggar meets death at a certain hour on a certain street. Though the beggar never sees the whole story, the beggar is determined to avoid meeting Death by going to another city, turning the corner at the same hour on the same day he was told he would die, meeting Death who was as surprised as he when they met. The beggar dies, but not before Death tells him he was not expecting him because he lived in another city, the same city the beggar fled before arriving at the appointed place at the appointed time.

Writers use the same methods of telling lies and revealing truths, shining their light through a prism that reveals whatever lies and truths they choose to tell a story, and often a romantic story, such as Kurt Seyit and Sura, a Turkish romance set during the time of the Russian revolution that places an ingenue, Aleksandra Julianovna Perjenskaya, also known as Sura (Shura), at her first winter ball in Petrograd where she meets Kurt Seyit Eminof, a Russian first lieutenant whose family's service to the tsar goes back generations. Seyit's best friend is Petro, a wealthy Russian noble who has known Sura since they were children, and who has hated Seyit since their time at the academy because Seyit was stronger and better than Petro as a soldier, a wolf with the ladies, and a man, though he is the son of the Tsar's elite soldier, a Turkish Muslim who is therefore a peasant in Petro's eyes, a wealthy peasant, but in the end still a peasant.

Before the Bolsheviks rise and topple the old Russian order of Tsars and nobles, Petro kills a fellow Russian soldier when he panics. First Lieutenant Seyit, Petro's commanding officer, refuses to cover up Petro's cowardice and his murder, and Petro is forced to resign his commission and leave the army. Seyit gives Petro the option of resigning before he can be court martialed for the fellow soldier's death. Petro agrees and uses his family's money to take care of the soldier's wife and three children, leaving Petro with the knowledge that he owes Seyit his honor and his life. What Seyit does for his brother soldier fuels Petro with rage and a determination to get even at any cost, especially when Seyit and Sura fall in love.

Petro nurtures his rage and dishonor when he keeps the knowledge of Seyit's father's wishes with regard to his son's future plans for marriage. Boyar Eminof has decreed that Seyit may have his way with northern Russian women as long as he returns home and marries a Turkish girl when it comes time to settle down. When Seyit falls for Sura he doesn't tell her he cannot marry her because she is a Christian Russian. His father has decreed that Seyit may only marry a Turkish Muslim girl, a secret that Seyit keeps to himself because he is determined to marry the woman he loves, Sura, Aleksandra Julianovna Perjenskaya, a Russian noble woman his father will never approve.

In the midst of the Russian revolution, Seyit, who has been at the front lines of war, returns to Sura after he has been listed as killed in action, rescues her and her family from the Bolsheviks, and carries Sura off to Crimea to marry.

The thing about star-crossed lovers is the road to love is seldom paved with anything but trouble, death, and, in this case, lies and silence. Seyit's father dies before he can give his blessing, certainly before he is willing to even meet Sura. Adamant in his refusal, Seyit ends up burying his mother and father and must flee to Turkey, taking Sura with him, full of regret his father died without relenting and giving Seyit his blessing. Sura meets Boyar Eminof and is greeted with cold civility. She is Seyit's guest and is welcome to stay as his family's guest, but it is clear he will not welcome Sura as his daughter-in-law. Sura is a stranger, an unwelcome stranger Seyit could not honorably present to his family, though Seyit has told Sura he must prepare his family before he introduces her as his fiancee, a lie he can never undo in the wake of his parents' death or as his younger brother, Osman, dies in his arms from a Bolshevik's bullet. Seyit and Sura must flee or die as Osman dies in his arms never knowing that Petro's bullet kills his brother even as he believes he has killed the assassin, his comrade Mischa, another brother in arms, who has been cast as the villain by Petro who has been masquerading as Mischa with the Bolsheviks in Crimea even as he has used Mischa to cover his own tracks.

Petro's father has already discovered Petro's alliance with the Bolsheviks and has disowned him, though Petro's mother hands over the money and jewels to protect her son before he leaves to hunt down and kill Seyit and his other brother at arms, Celil, another boyhood friend and comrade of Seyit's. From that point on, the rest of the story of Seyit and Sura is a tapestry of lies, silence, illusions, masquerades, and violence as they move from the violence of the Russian revolution into the seething cauldron of Istanbul as the Turks fight for their freedom from Great Britain, plunging Seyit, Sura, Celil, and Petro into a world where violence, lies, and masquerades surround them once again.

The point is that even among the Turkish Muslim citizens of Istanbul in the neighborhood of Pera where Seyit and Sura find a home, Seyit's regrets about disobeying his father's wishes regarding marriage and his silence about what he still feels he owes his family and his allegiance with the Turks create a trap that swallows the love he feels for Sura until all that remains is betrayal, fear, and silence as Seyit plunges into the Turkish fight for independence from the English, putting his own life at risk and further destroying what is left of the relationship between he and Sura. Petro is glad to be able to widen the gulf between Seyit and Sura even as Sura hangs onto the belief that love will keep them together and she will be Seyit's wife in truth even as the Turkish Muslim girls see Sura as nothing more than Seyit's mistress and not his wife. Uncle Ali, the manager of the hotel where Seyit and Sura live, urges Seyit to do right by Sura and marry her, putting his regrets about not receiving his father's blessing behind him, assuring him that Sura will not ask Seyit to make good his promise to marry her out of pride and the certainty that Seyit will make things right. There is no need to wait for news of Sura's mother and younger sister because there is no way of knowing how long that will take. Seyit must honor his promise to Sura and marry her and not leave her in limbo waiting for her family, the right time, or whatever else crops up to do the honorable thing.

The problem with waiting is that at some point you have waited too long. Seyit proposes to Sura, the wedding date is set, Uncle Ali's family pitches in to make the wedding a success, but Seyit's rebel actions and Petro's friendship with the local commandant of the garrison at Pera result in Seyit being captured as he meets with the Baroness, a lover from Petrograd Petro used to sow doubt in Sura's mind and force a wedge between them, to tell Baroness Lola he is marrying Sura and Lola needs to move on with her life. Lieutenant Billy, with Petro's help, captures Lola and Seyit and makes it look like Lola and Seyit have gone away together leaving Sura waiting for a wedding that will never come.

That's the biggest problem between Seyit and Sura, the lies and half-told truths that Petro and Lola and others use to keep Sura and Seyit apart. It doesn't help at all that Seyit keeps Sura in the dark about much of his life, telling Sura she must believe in him no matter what to prove her love even as he goes off on another rebel mission or to put an end to past relationships or cover his half-truths before Sura finds out the truth. Seyit sees his actions as protecting Sura or keeping her from finding out what she already knows, that Seyit went against his father's wishes to be with Sura. Seyit tells the truth as he sees it, but never all of the truth because he believes that women need to be protected and only he can keep his woman, his true love as he calls Sura, protected as long as she never learns the whole truth, the reason behind his action, whether that is defying his family or aiding the Turkish rebels against the occupying English forces.

Everyone is telling the truth -- as he or she sees it -- but the truth is never the whole truth, just the truth as each one sees it, the truth that is in their own best interests.

Seyit was brought up to believe that a man's word is law and that he is protecting Sura even as he gives her a version of the truth that will protect her from his father's wrath, his rebel activities in Crimea and in Istanbul, his romances with Russian women like Baroness Lola, Petro's love for Sura, and Petro's nefarious activities. Petro lies to keep Seyit from discovering he killed Osman and worked for the Bolsheviks to protect his family's business and wealth, his alliance with Lieutenant Billy and how he steals from his own people to feather his next and pay off Lieutenant Billy, then later to keep from Seyit that he killed Baroness Lola and that he used Lola to set up Seyit on the night before his wedding to Sura. Petro lied to Alya to keep her from telling Sura he set up Seyit and was working with Lieutenant Billy when he killed Lola when she threatened to tell Seyit he was with the Bolsheviks and had Seyit's family killed, killing Osman before he could tell Seyit about Petro siding with the Bolsheviks and murdering their parents.

Lieutenant Billy knows that Petro fears Seyit and does not want Seyit to know his part in the murder of his family or his alliance with the Bolsheviks or that he set Mischa up to take the fall and uses that to keep Petro in line because he has the letter Lola wrote to Seyit with proof of it all. Lola could have told Seyit at any time, but she believed that Seyit would get tired of Sura and come back to her so she kept the truth to herself, except the truth about her relationship with Seyit before he met Sura so she could use the truth to poison Sura against Seyit, the same truth that Petro used to drive a wedge between Sura and Seyit so she would turn to him and marry him instead. Even when Petro, certain that Seyit would never marry Sura, tells Sura that he has been in love with her all along and kept the truth about Seyit's family's wishes about marrying a Turkish Muslim girl to protect her, Sura thanks Petro and tells him that the only man she will ever love is Seyit. In the end, once Seyit is marrying Murvet, a Turkish girl from a conservative Muslim family, Sura runs to the Pera hotel to forgive Seyit once again. Ayse, Uncle Ali's daughter who is convinced Seyit will see her once Sura is out of the picture, puts on Sura's wedding gown and waits for Seyit in his room, climbing into Seyit's bed when she sees Sura coming to forgive Seyit for leaving her at the altar, tells Sura she is waiting for Seyit and that he went out to get something to drink. Ayse is telling Sura part of the truth (she is waiting for Seyit) but not all of the truth, just enough truth so that Sura will see that Seyit has moved on without her and Seyit will finally see that Ayse is the right girl for him.

Ayse has used the truth as a weapon many times before. She see Sura as no more than a mistress when she would be a wife to Seyit once Sura is out of the way, even though Seyit does not see it that way. He loves Sura, but cannot seem to stay out of trouble long enough or uninjured long enough to go through with the wedding he keeps planning and missing. Seyit finally sets Ayse straight, but that doesn't stop Ayse from telling the truth as she sees it, even when her father marries her off to his sister's boy, Hakki, or after she tells the truth as she sees it to her sister-in-law, Murvet, after Seyit marries her, putting Sura behind him as he moves forward with a life free of drama and trouble by marrying a Muslim girl as his father always wished, a woman who will treat him as the law, even though he must live with Murvet in his mother-in-law's house with Ayse. Murvet wants Seyit's love completely without Sura being a part of their past or their future, urging Seyit to go to the docks to say goodbye to Sura and put her once and for all in the past and say goodbye at last.

Every twist and turn in Seyit and Sura's story is motivated by the truth as someone see it, but truth all the same. Sometimes it is the truth a self-serving girl like Ayse uses to cause trouble even as she revels in the destruction and pain she causes as long as she can prove to Seyit he made a mistake not choosing her. Lola uses the truth as a weapon to push Sura out of the way so Seyit will come back to her, though her relationship with Seyit was never more than a casual sexual relationship. Petro uses the truth to further his own aims and to separate Seyit and Sura and end up with Sura as his wife, besting Seyit at last. Valentina, Sura's older sister, tells the truth when she tells Sura that Seyit will break her heart and that Petro is the man for her, a man she has known since childhood and a man she would've married had she never met Seyit.

The truth is often as much as a weapon as it is enlightenment and truth is seldom just white light to brighten the darkest corners. Politicians use the truth to hurt their opponents and to guide voters' choices, though very few politicians tell the whole truth because that might end up with voters making their decisions based on the facts and not propaganda. The government uses truth dressed up as propaganda and as a weapon to guide public opinion in order to muster soldiers and other governments to support their actions even when those actions will end in violence and death. The English saw the Bolsheviks as heroes during the Russian revolution because they stood up and tore down the Russian monarchy under the Tsars even as they decried the Turkish people as rebels and murderers for fighting against British monarchy to turn British soldiers out of their homeland, even from Australia throughout the British Empire, in order to govern themselves just as the Ottoman Empire fought the British Empire after hundreds of years of struggle that resulted in the lines between their empires were drawn and redrawn over and over. Every empire and country uses truth from their perspective to justify their right to rule and strip away the wealth of the land they conquer, from the Americas to the South Seas and from Canada to South Africa and everything in between. The truth can be a handy tool and an even handier weapon. It depends on the perspective. It doesn't take a historian to see how every war is the result of someone's truth.

I said in the beginning truth is a prism, but in reality truth is a multifaceted jewel refracting light and aiming it a direction that benefits someone. Where you are in the path of the light will determine how much of the truth you see and how you see that truth. Seldom does anyone get to see the whole truth, merely enough to validate your truth or cast doubt on someone else's truth. Everyone get something in the end, even if it's a glimpse of the many-colored light refracted from the prismatic effect of one of the facets of the truth. All we can do is hope and pray we are on the right side of light in the end.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What Women Should March For

When was the last time you heard about what was happening with the Equal Rights Amendment? Probably about the same time I did -- in 1972. Somewhere along the line with all the women marching against Trump and shouting slogans while wearing $40,000 pearls and telling why they are nasty women, we have lost the motivation and the message of the Equal Rights Amendment -- the ERA.

Trump is not the problem. The problem is that women are focused on the wrong problems when they should be focused on getting the ERA passed. The map above shows how far we have come and what we still need to do to get the ERA codified into law and become a legal constitutional amendment. We need at least 38 states to ratify what Congress passed on March 22, 1972 - the Equal Rights Amendment. Women did a better job of getting the right for women to vote passed and it only took about, what? 50 years? Blacks got the vote before women did, but women kept marching and fighting for the right to vote until the constitutional amendment was passed and became a part of the U.S. Constitution.

Women have excuses for why they dropped the ball and why the ERA has not been passed. Women have been busy.

Women have been busy with the anti-Trump campaign because Trump spells the end of democracy as we know it. At least that is what they tell the rest of the world.

Women have been busy standing up for the rights of oppressed women all over the world. Except that they haven't because young women in Africa and in Islamic countries are still not allowed to drive, can still be stoned to death if they fight for an education, and can still be murdered and have their genitals mutilated in order to keep their honor pure and acceptable to the men of Islam who pray to Allah.

Women have been busy with marches and A Day Without a Woman and Wear a Hijab Days while getting the ERA ratified by the remaining hold out states that have yet to put the ERA on their ballots and vote on it. After all, it is far more important for people to stop looking at Islam and Muslims as the enemy than it is to make sure the ERA is ratified by enough states in the United States of America. It is better to make sure our daughters are more tolerant of the hijab and honor killings and no go zones where Shari'a law is practiced, children are married off to old men to bear their children and taught to kill so that they can go to Paradise and get their virgins and live with Allah forever with their 72 virgins. The barbaric practices of a 7th century system of beliefs that is bent on the murder or conversion of all infidels and the destruction of all Jews is more important than getting the Equal Rights Amendment ratified by the remainder of the 38 states.

Let our food be treated with glyphosphates, our water and land by glyphosphate runoff, and illegal immigrants over run our country while we wait for someone to remember that we have yet to finish the job we started in 1972 to get the ERA passed. Don't women have enough rights already? Do women really need to have equal rights codified and ratified and part of the U. S. Constitution as Law when Hollywood elites wear strands of pearls that cost enough to pay for health care for at least a dozen poor children? Let the ERA wait. Women have more important things to march for. Milo Yiannopoulos needs to be kept from poisoning the minds of adults who might agree with his views or Ben Shapiro could convince people that they have the right to make up their own minds about what is and is not fake news.

Let someone else get the states to ratify the ERA. If there is a United States left after Trump gets through with it. There are so much better things to protest and fight for, like forcing Trump to show us his tax returns the way Rachel Maddow did to such great effect.

Maybe we should simply let our daughters pick up the fight in between protesting Milo, Ben Shapiro, and Trump while they choose which designer's hijab looks best with their new braces. Or we could wait until Islam has spread so far throughout the country that the Mullahs consider whether or not to keep the U.S. Constitution, as long as it doesn't conflict with the Quran and the suppression of women, when they raise the flag of the United States of Islam over the White House steps. Maybe by then, women can get their acts together and realize that the only time they will have sufficient time to get the ERA on states' ballots and get it ratified is when they no longer have any rights except the rights the Mullahs and Grand Mufti grant them while they tie their own hijabs to cover their naked hair and adjust their burqas so their sexuality no longer forces honorable Muslim men to forget themselves and rape, mutilate, and oppress such unchaste and dishonorable women too busy bearing their rightful husband's children and raising the next generation of women to be wed to middle-aged men who will be grateful for a chaste 7- or 8-year-old virgin who has been taught to honor the men of her Muslim family. By then, the ERA will not matter because it will not be allowed. Not as long as Allah is God.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Chameleon Effect

The eye has it.

Chameleons blend in with their surroundings to protect themselves against predators. Geckos and other insects and animals camouflage themselves for protection as well as stealth. The military industrial complex has adopted similar methods of hiding their weapons, transport, and some would say ideology. Any successful predator learns how to disguise intent, goals, and methods and replicates success without being affected by anyone and anything. In order to understand these human chameleons one must learn to think like them without being caught up in their ideology in order to defeat them. Such is the case with Muslims.

The problem is that understanding Muslims has nothing to do with accepting the belief that most Muslims are peaceful and just want to get along, to be a part of their community or country, and are not bent on destruction and sublimation of their adopted culture. That is wrong-headed thinking. To believe so is to fall into the trap of the chameleon effect. Muslims who have turned their backs on Islam and repudiated Mohammed's teachings will say the same thing. Reformed Muslims will tell say that Islam can be modified from within and can be reformed. They are lying to themselves and to everyone around them. There is only one god and that is Allah. To say anything else is part of the camouflage. It is hiding from themselves and from the rest of the world because the goal of Islam is to convert or kill. There is no other option.

I say this with sadness and not a small degree of remorse. Remorse because writing off an entire group of people goes against my grain. I am adaptable. I am willing to give unbelievers space and time to come around to my way of thinking and they are welcome to dispute and ignore my beliefs without fatal repercussions. I cannot do this with followers of Islam because I now understand how Islam works. It is in their five times daily prayers: There is only one god and that god is Allah. There is only one belief and that belief is that Allah is the all, the creator of the universe, the creator of all who exist in the universe. There is only Allah.

The world I grew up in and in which I live is malleable and changes from moment to moment. Islam is not malleable and does not change. There is no god but Allah and Allah is all. Muslim tactics have changed, but the words have not changed except as they changed in Mohammed's mind and in his practice. The Quran states that the first writings of Mohammed, the sutras of the Quran, are superseded by the later writings (teachings). As Mohammed changed, so changed his writings, his understanding, and his practices, but now codified in the Quran nothing else may be changed. Allah must be obeyed and his teachings are not to be changed not in any manner, not, as the Hebrews state, by one jot or tittle. It is the same for the Torah. When Hebrews copy the Torah, one small error means the whole will be destroyed. A jot or a tittle out of place and the whole Torah must be destroyed. There is no room for error. In that the Quran is the same as the Torah; nothing must be changed.

Hebrews, or Jews as they are currently called, make new copies of the Torah in the same way old copies of the Torah were made, by copying exactly what was originally written without a single error. The Torah is copied with mindful prayer and obedience to G_d and without error. Muslims, also called Mohammedans, Moslems, and other iterations, believe and practice the same with their reproduction, copying, of the Quran. No error is tolerated or allowed and mistakes are burned. There is only one god and that god is Allah and Mohammed is his prophet whose writings are sacred. Followers of Allah need no other books. All that is necessary for life is found in the Quran. Nothing else is needed or allowed. A faithful follower of Allah learns the Quran, committing all its sutras (lessons) to memory so that if the book is destroyed, Allah's words will remain in the heart and mind of believers. If all books are destroyed, only Allah's words will remain written on the hearts and minds of believers. All who believe in Allah and practice his teachings will be rewarded; all others will be destroyed until only Allah remains.

Judaism has changed through the centuries since its teachings were codified by Moses in the Torah, but the Torah has not changed. The same is true of Islam and the Quran. What has changed is Man. Man/humanity has evolved and adapted with the times. Islam has not adapted and has not changed. The goals of Islam are as they were when Islam emerged into existed in the 6th century: to convert all on this planet to Islam and to worship and belief of Allah. Nothing else matters.

As I've said before, taqiyya is an honored practice. Lying and camouflage are part and parcel of the practice and belief system of Islam. A true believer may say whatever is needed as long as the end result is Allah is the only god and all who believe in Allah remain. Islam is the quintessential proof that the ends do indeed justify the means. As long as Allah is the god of all and all believe, everything else can pass away because Allah is god and the only god is Allah. To believe otherwise is allowed for followers of Islam as long as the keep Allah in their hearts. Whatever a true believer says or does is permissible as long as the end result is to convert the nonbeliever to Allah. An apostate, a believer who repudiates Allah in heart and mind and turns against Allah, will be killed just as practicing homosexuals and Hebrews/Jews will be killed without mercy and without fail. In the end, there is no god but Allah.

To believe otherwise, to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt, to give them space and time to adapt, to believe that there is any god but Allah is to die forever, a chameleon unmasked, unprotected, and unwilling to continue living -- or to be a Hebrew/Jew. It is not xenophobia or intolerance, but wisdom to take Islam at its word that there is no god but Allah. To believe there can be peace between Israel and the followers of Islam is to court destruction. To believe that Allah will give space to Yahweh or Christians or anyone who does not follow Islam is folly.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pushing the Limits

The thing about limits is how far and how much push is needed is arbitrary. Until you push them, you'll never know which is which.

Hoda Katebi, a fashion blogger, sets how much she pushes against the limits imposed on her by the Muslim leaders, demanding more freedom, fewer clothes, fewer constraints on fashion. It is a safe bet from inside the United States and one could say  rebellion with few -- or no -- consequences. Hoda is not forced to wear a burqa and be covered head-to-foot to protect and maintain her virtue. Hoda lives in middle America, a small Oklahoma town where she was born, to Iraqi parents and has never known life in a Muslim controlled country. You could say that Hoda has had it easy since she has not bucked the Muslim system that demands she be covered head to foot in a burqa or similar all concealing clothing, but is her rebellion against religious constraints any less courageous or bold than a girl born in Saudi Arabia or Iran? It is a matter of degree, Koda wears her hijab loosely and gets away with wearing a crop top that barely covers her midriff while a woman born in Iran and living in the midst of Muslims born and raised in a more restricted culture would be considered daring if she refused to wear the all concealing burqa and went completely unveiled. As with any rebellion, there is always a limit.

Koda is a westernized Muslim and is allowed more latitude than if she had been born and raised in the heart of Teheran. Even so, rebellion is still rebellion and one has to start somewhere.

I remember the more modest clothes I wore and was expected to wear as a child and a teenager before the more rebellious 1960s when Twiggy wore mini-skirts and shorter skirts and tighter bell bottom pants were all the rage. As the oldest of five children, I was not allowed short skirts and my pants still covered my belly button and my feet. I came from a family where modesty and taste were of paramount importance. As the oldest, my rebellion came once I was out of sight of home, or at least far enough away that I could hike up my skirts and bare my knees. I was still wearing dresses to school and those dresses were children's clothes that were tight across my budding breasts and the hems covered my knees. I longed for pants, but pants were not allowed by the school dress code, not until I reached high school. I tested the limits as much as I could, but the limits were very restrictive indeed.

Once the school relaxed the dress code and I could wear pants to school, the least of my worries was the length of my hemlines. I could wear pants, but I was not allowed to wear blue jeans. I wore dress pants with sweaters and blouses that were modest and covered everything, but still could not wear jeans. That changed my sophomore year and I was finally allowed to wear jeans -- in theory. My parents still insisted in dress pants and dress shirts, but no jeans. All around me girls wore bell bottom jeans that had seen better days and were well worn while I continued to wear dress pants and modest blouses and sweaters. The closest I got to fashionable clothes was when I wore hand crocheted pot holder vests that looked fashionable over my dress shirts and dress pants. I still hiked up my skirts as soon as I was out of visible range of our house, but not often because I preferred pants to dresses, especially the middle-aged skirts and clothing my mother bought for me. She was determined that I would be dressed properly and as modestly as she could manage no matter what I thought.

Meanwhile, my sister, a year behind me in school, was allowed to wear mini skirts, jeans, and stockings. It was okay for her because she was skinny and leggy and still considered a child while I was considered nearly an adult and must continue to dress my age -- as long as my age was considered to be somewhere between middle age (over 30) and decrepitude and was dependent on my mother to buy my clothes. It is no surprise I got a job so I could buy my own clothes and a big surprise to me that Mom reserved the right to set the rules about what I could and mostly could NOT wear. I chafed at the bit and planned to defy the rules and wear what I wanted to wear, especially since I was paying for the clothes.

Likely to further minimize how much money I would have left to spend on clothes, it was decided that since I had a job I would also have to pay for room and board. I didn't expect that move, but it was my parents' rule and I obeyed no matter how much I argued against the restrictions. I continued to test the limits, but not very far as I lived in fear of being sent away to the Juvenile Detention Center and labeled a problem child. And still I pushed the limits, believing wrongly that since I could drive and had bought my own car, I would be allowed more privileges. It didn't take long to find out how short those limits were. I was still hemmed in by the rules and denied true freedom to choose and wear what I wanted to wear. All the new expenses (room & board, car insurance, gas, oil, repairs) depleted my meager budget and I continued to wear modest and appropriate clothes. No matter how I pushed against the limits, I remained at square one, a rebel at heart with no rebellious credits to my name, my reputation unsullied and unbesmirched, the worst of the worst kind of girl alive -- a nice girl, a good girl, obedient and responsible and praying for my 18th birthday when I would go away to college or get a job or at least move out of my parents' home and into my own apartment where the only rules were the ones I set. How naive and innocent I was.

In my senior year at school, I bought and wore my first mini skirt and my first pair of jeans and I wore them to school. I was triumphant in my rebellion and had no idea the rebellion would be short lived since I would finish the year married, pregnant with our first child, and working for a living while saving for a life I had not yet envisioned. My rebellion was over before it was begun and I was drowning in married adulthood saving every penny for the coming child and longing for the days when all I had to rebel against were hem lengths and midriff-baring jeans, neither of which I could wear for long as my body filled out with the coming child. I had never been a child, giving up childhood to take care of my three siblings, and would never get the chance to go to college or get my own apartment because I was a married woman. My life was over. I was someone's wife and would soon be someone's mother and I'd never had a chance to be just me.

That is the thing about rebellion. It comes and goes before you have a chance to get used to being a rebel since responsibility and being an adult comes close on the heels of childhood and rebelling against the parents and the limits of childhood disappear in a shadow as responsibility and adulthood take over.

It might have been different if I had gone to college or chose not to marry and have a child, but the girl who chose that path wasn't the one who writes this post.

Koda pushes against the limits of her religion, her parents, and her culture by choosing to wear a cropped top and letting her hijab slip down and allow her hair to be seen uncovered. Her rebellion may seen silly and even not very rebellious, but we play the cards we are dealt. Rebellion is about pushing against the limits, however small those limits may be. Oftentimes we fail as the limits are redrawn and the lines between acceptable and forbidden redrawn. Koda's limits seem daring among her family and culture and should not be measured against the cultural limits of the average American girl nor should they be lionized and determined to be courageous and limitless. What is courageous for one person may not be courageous for another. The only one who can determine the true nature of the rebellion is the person pushing against the boundaries and stretching the limits. At any time, those limits will change and the rebellion forced in another direction. Life is all about change and nothing changes more than limits -- perceived and actual limits. One thing about limits is that they can be pushed and changed.

Someone had to design and wear the first burqini just as someone had to decide that wearing a hijab didn't mean you had to cover your whole head. If no one pushed the limits, there would be no burqini, no hair partially covered by a hijab, and no one choosing to buy and wear a mini skirt and midriff-baring bell-bottom jeans.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Is Your Number Up?

  I'm watching "Vaxxed" and I suggest you do the same, not just parents with small children but all parents.

My son Eddie contracted viral spinal meningitis as a small child and, it turns out, right after he received the MMR vaccine. David Scott, my oldest, became ill after he had the MMR. Is this significant? I'd say so since both my sons, born in 1973 and 1975, suffered serious problems following MMR. I think the problem with MMR vaccines goes back farther than originally thought. The date in the movie given for the increase in autism is the mid-1980s, but my sons suffered problems 10 years earlier. What the CDC knew and when they knew it is only the visible part of this issue and the reality may extend farther back, at least 10 years back.

I forgot to mention the head banging my son David Scott did following the MMR vaccine he received. As a military dependent, the program for getting vaccines is as regimented as drill. For me, the regimentation goes back to being born into a military family. My conditioned response is obedience, following orders because that is the way things are. Bacterial warfare's history predates the MMR, but I now question the party line that my children were born this way. Eddie wasn't born with meningitis, and certainly not VIRAL meningitis, and he did survive the disease after 10 days in the hospital. Eddie's condition was so serious my husband was flown back to the US by Red Cross when he was stationed in Thailand.

David Scott's head banging and other repetitive behaviors continue to this day, though he is now 43 years old and have affected his adult life. I'd have to say that David Scott and Eddie may have some autistic spectrum disorder behaviors, though much milder than the children born in the 1980s. My youngest son, AJ, shares some of those behaviors as well and my family said that it was likely he was mentally retarded because he didn't talk until he was older. I chalked it up to "that's just the way he is" and refused to believe my son was less than perfect. I see it now, but I'm older and less trusting than I was as a young parent, and I know a whole lot more than I did 40 years ago.

It is never too late to learn and I am never too old to learn -- and to see -- what is so clear to me now. The data sets need to be set back another 10 years, and maybe even earlier than that to be safe. What we do not know can definitely hurt us -- and probably has been hurting us far longer than we realize.

My three sons would be classified in the Isolated Autism group because previous to the MMR they were normal, healthy boys with no pre-existing conditions. I see now that they still suffer from the effects of the MMR vaccine, each in their own way, but that is to be expected from the data presented in the movie and on the website Check it out for yourself.

I knew none of this at the time when my children were little. I believed what the doctors told me about their behaviors being normal for their age, and in part the doctors were correct. I can even say that after being accused of child abuse when David Scott was hospitalized for something else after receiving the MMR vaccine and my husband and I being accused of having beaten our son. The head banging David Scott did when he was tired, and the rocking and other repetitive behaviors we were told were normal were not normal at all, but they were normal for victims classified with Isolated Autism. My husband and I were subsequently exonerated as the head banging he did when tired and in his crib at the hospital, where we were not allowed to visit him until we had been investigated and cleared, was witnessed by the nurses and doctors on staff. We had been allowed to bring David Scott's favorite bear to the hospital before we were banned from seeing him until after the investigation and the marks on his forehead were caused by banging his head on his teddy bear and the key that wound up the music box inside, matching our description exactly. We didn't know about autism then and it is only now that I am putting the pieces of this health puzzle together 40 years later I see the truth of what happened to our son and to us and the hell we went through. Our son was diagnosed with an inability to metabolize potassium which was why he was hospitalized in the first place. I opted to treat our son by increasing his potassium intake through the foods he ate (bananas, raisins, etc.) and not by taking pills. At least in that regard I did my son a favor.

It is not only autism we need to scrutinize closer. Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed and the treatment for the disease has been hidden. Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer's, chronic pain syndrome, and other recently noticeable health issues should also be investigated and not by anyone who has ties to Big Pharma. All of these health issues can be traced back to the health industry and are statistically noticeable, provided the true statistics are made available and not lost, hidden, or destroyed. It isn't that I do not trust doctors, but where money is concerned, and we are talking about a whole lot of money, we need to be more cautious and scrutinize the data and the sources more carefully because we are being lied to.

Case in point: there is no need for anyone to take lipid lowering medications because heart disease is not caused by eating fatty foods like bacon and pork and lipids are not now and have never been the culprit in heart disease. The cause is inflammation, and that has been available to reporters and news sources for quite some time, and still doctors prescribe medication to lower your cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia are still be used in patients' medical records. Lipitor and watching your cholesterol will not cure heart disease and neither will eating fat-reduced processed foods because fat was never the issue to begin with.

We have been lied to and manipulated for decades and it is time we used common sense and asked a whole lot of questions -- even if it means being considered a nuisance. Doctors are not gods. They are people who have studied health issues and who are just as gullible and naive as are all average humans. Accept no one's word as truth until you have asked questions until you have no more questions to ask and then go back and ask your questions again. Take back control, not only with your children, but with your own health and the health of all of your loved ones. The only time it is too late to ask questions is when you are dead and either buried or cremated. Hopefully, your children and the rest of your family will ask the questions.

Eddie, my middle son, had a stroke in his early 20s. I'm not sure what caused it, but I wonder how far back I need to look for the reason. David Scott, is an alcoholic and has drug problems; how far back does it go? AJ has been talking since he was 3 or 4 and has issues with narcotics, but he also hurt his back and has a narcotic pain pump in his buttocks. AJ is in college studying health care and wants to help others. Eddie has 2 boys with autism. David Scott has 3 daughters; his son Connor died 5 years ago.

If you get your children vaccinated, wait until their are 3 or older and demand single vaccinations for mumps, measles, and Rubella. Do not accept the MMR vaccine, or any vaccine delivered in multilevel dosages, and do not get the vaccinations all on the same day. Get them one by one and space them out, watch for side effects, and do not accept the verdict that whatever symptoms occur are natural. You are injecting diseases, often lethal diseases, into your child's body that can affect their immune system, their health, their mental and physical functions, and their lives. Keep their health uppermost in mind and do not following the lemmings off the cliff just because someone in the world claims there is an epidemic of polio or measles or bird raging through the population. Ask specific questions, like how many people are affected, how many have died or been seriously afflicted, and out of how many. There is a big difference between 644 of over a million and half a dozen out of the entire population of a country of over a billion. Remember the claims of Zika virus resulting in microcephaly in newborn infants and how the cause was the insecticide being sprayed in villages to eradicate mosquitoes where the microcephalic babies were born and the fact that their mothers were pregnant when spraying for the mosquitoes occurred.

You're not paranoid believing that the are out to get you -- especially when they ARE out to get you.  You are aware of what is really happening. Accept no news reports as true until you have asked a lot of questions and demanded answers from more than one doctor with credentials that are not linked back to Big Pharma and the companies making and spraying the poisons.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The High Cost of Magic

The main theme these days is that magic comes with a price. Rumpelstiltskin and every show that deals with magic (The Magicians, Just Add Magic, etc.) repeat this mantra endlessly. You can change the world and people around you, but you will have to pay the price. The greater the change, the higher the price.

We are being indoctrinated and manipulated. No matter how the mantra, magic always comes with a price, is repeated the point is to set us up for the high cost of magic, the high cost of change.

I don't know about you, but I am not particularly ready to give up what I value most for magic and that is what we are being manipulated to believe.

This planet, and all planets, suns, and cosmic bodies, is alive as alive as the people who inhabit this universe. Everything is alive. The plants that grow to be eaten and the animals that are found in ever decreasing numbers that are used for their skins, their bodies, and their constituent parts are alive. This Earth is alive, from its surface and atmosphere all the way to its beating heart at the center, whether that heart is magma or a massive crystal chiming and connected to every other cosmic body within this solar system and the galactic center of this Universe. Yes, Virginia, this planet is as alive as you or I and just as vulnerable and strong and susceptible. We are connected, this planet and you and I, in every way. This planet and the Universe are alive and the source of what we poor, ignorant mortals call magic. The only cost is the same price we pay for breathing: mindfulness.

Yes, there is a price to magic, but not the price the shows, movies, books, and propaganda would have us believe. The price is being aware of our existence and the existence of the life that abounds all around us.

The price we are being manipulated into paying is not the actual cost of our life or the ability to change the reality we see, but the price we have been manipulated to believe is necessary. All of this manipulation comes from fear. We are being manipulated into believing the cost is our existence, our lives. To some extent it is true that taking hold of magic will change the reality we see -- or it won't. The choice is ours. We can remain in this reality or we can accept change and emerge into a different reality that allows us access to the real magic, the magic of awareness that comes with a higher density, the 4th density.

We have been preparing for ascension during this cycle of existence. We have been told by that a new Age of Man is upon us that indeed has passed us and left us behind. That is at the heart of the propaganda we've been fed. The New Age, the Age of Aquarius, requires nothing of us but acceptance. Religions have characterized this realization in many ways. The realization has been called The Rapture by Christians, Nirvana, Ascension, and so many other names and we have been taught to believe that only by living a perfect life will we be allowed to accept this magic at the cost of everything we are and everything we believe.

What we do not know is that this CHANGE is happening whether we accept it or not. We are ready to ascend to the next level, to the 4th density from the leaden grip of the 3rd density, to be changed, to ascend, to be perfected. All we need do is accept what is coming.

These Ages of Man are accompanied by cosmic changes. Our sun will emit a Flash, a cosmic sneeze, a emission of cosmic radiation that heralds the Age of Aquarius, the next phase of the cosmic cycle. Each cosmic cycle is purportedly 2160 years -- or thereabouts.

According to the lyrics of the song:

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius

Love will steers the stars. This is the second coming of the Christ consciousness, the time when Lucifer, Bringer of the Light, the opponent of God, will be imprisoned for 1000 years and the dead shall rise. I've always wondered how the dead can rise if their bodies were burned to ash.

Maybe we have it wrong, or rather the Christians have it wrong. We are not our bodies, the fleshly vessel we see in the mirror that gets fat and succumbs to the ravages of age. We are not even the images captured as memories in books and on videos. We are the eternal soul at the center of each living incarnation that is born, lives, and dies. Who knows? Maybe we do pay our karmic debts by living as insects or vermin or animals since they too contain the spark of the divine. All existence is life, from the smallest virus and bacteria to the most power -- and most vulnerable -- human. The sun, the planets, the moons, and everything we touch, see, and interact with all contain the divine spark. We are all connected to the Source of All -- the divine spark of the Universe, that which has many names (God, Allah, Buddha, and so on) and is light and dark. We are the Universe figuring itself out. We are extensions of the Eternal I AM bound to the cosmic wheel turning over and over until we become One with the Eternal I AM that is at the center of the Universe. The One Song that unites and binds all in existence.

Too esoteric and religious for you? Try something less difficult to grasp. Read Julian May's Intervention and the story of how humans achieved ascendance. The evil and the good, the sublime and the mundane, are all parts of the I AM. That is the magic. Julian May described the magic as powers of the mind and the guiding force in the Galactic Milieu series where the Remillard Family is the source of evil and transcendent good. Other species assist earthlings in ascending to the next phase of existence. That ascendance, or transcendence, is explained in many ways, just as it has become Magic in this time and this place on Earth during the Age of Aquarius. The Powers That Be, the forces that have controlled us for millennia, want us to fear Intervention and Ascendance, and They have spent ages convincing humanity that the price is too high.

The price is not too high and the solar flash will happen as it should have long ago. Whether we fear it or accept it, ascendance will happen. We will not cease to exist and we need not give up all we know and all we have to ascend. All we need do is accept the reality and leave this 3rd density and walk into the 4th density without fear. The only price we need to pay we have already paid by living life giving to others at least 50% of the time. The down side is that if we are not ready to accept our inheritance we will continue to live in the 3rd density, but without the Powers That Be that have held us down, stuck in the 3rd density but without the negative forces. The Powers That Be will be obliterated and the world we will inherit will be a clean slate. There is nowhere we can hide and nowhere that will protect us from the Solar Flash. With or without our consent, the Sun will flash and all will be changed. Love will steer the stars and guide our way as we are taught to wield 4th density powers. The scales will drop from our eyes and we will see truth without the propaganda and manipulation of the Powers that have distorted our view.

There is a cost to Magic. The price is seeing all with open eyes.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Democracy For Sale

Watching "Medici: Masters of Florence" again. Episode 4: Judgment day. Rinaldo degli' Albizzi has accused Cosimo de Medici of usury (which is tolerated in this day and used extensively by banks issuing credit cards), corruption (Donatello's statue of David was considered the portrayal of a catamite - buggered), and tyranny because the Medici were wealthy and good at their business. All that wealth must be a mask to seize power. In order to protect the democratic republic of Florence, Albizzi, a noble with little money and less influence and power than his family held by virtue of their untouchable, god-given nobility, strikes back at the Medici because his father, a bankrupt, was refused entry to the Signoria, the governing body of Florence, and Rinaldo blamed Cosimo, a young man like himself, of destroying his family's position in the Signoria and perverting the cause of democracy. Cosimo told his father that Rinaldo wasn't arrogant; he was afraid because his father's grain shipment was lost at sea and they were bankrupt. Giovanni de Medici, the head of the Medici family, informed the Signoria the Albizzi were bankrupt and used his son's confidence and new found understanding of Rinaldo to do so. Giovanni was correct. Had Albizzi been a smart businessman he would've insured his grain before selling it elsewhere so that if the shipment was lost the Albizzi would've been able to collect the price of the shipment. Short-sighted and fearful of losing his position in Florence led to the Albizzi's downfall. In order to get revenge on Cosimo, Rinaldo must lie and paint the Medici as usurers, thieves, and power mad. There is no doubt that there is more to the history of the Medici that what is shown in the series, but at the heart of the story is the truth that those who seek to control the people have no care for democracy unless the tyrants/power brokers can control the direction of the votes. These power brokers will lie, cheat, steal, and murder or harm anyone who gets in the way of their plot to maintain control. The one thing you can count on is that life is about change. The successful change with the times and profit while the tyrants and power brokers force the world to see and do whatever it takes to keep themselves in power even if it means distorting the truth and removing people by fair means and foul who get in their way. Instead of Rinaldo succeeding in killing Cosimo, Contessina, Cosimo's wife, pleads with the Signoria to change Cosimo's sentence to exile. With Cosimo out of the way, Rinaldo, flush with the success of getting rid of the Medici, over reaches as tyrants always do, and ends up being exiled a year later when Cosimo returns to Florence at the request of the Signoria and the people. Florence is dying from the iron grip Rinaldo holds on the city and fear for their lives and their business as mercenaries, Albizzi's paid mercenaries, roam the streets at will. Even Rinaldo degli' Albizzi's best friend, Pazzi, another banker, turns on him when Rinaldo decides to take full control of Florence and get rid of the Signoria along with any pretense of democracy. Pazzi sets Rinaldo up and Rinaldo ends up in the same prison cell where he kept Cosimo as he slandered the Medici because the Medici were tyrants. The same thing is happening now in this country as Obama and the Leftists set up their mercenary force to riot and disrupt democratic proceedings where Republicans speak. These Organizing for America (OFA) members are taught how to make it looks as though the whole country is in revolt against the Republicans and President Trump. Make no mistake about it, they are mercenaries just like Albizzi's paid thugs. These thugs are stealing and fouling democracy to make it look like the whole country is outraged at Trump's win in the 2016 presidential election and are agitating for Trump's impeachment because he is mentally unfit for the office of President of the United States, and this just a month into the 4-year term of Trump's tenure. If you can't rig an election, as Obama tried to do with Hillary Clinton, the next best thing is to steal the election. Organizing for America is Michelle and Barack Obama's private army with 35,000 operatives. Reports show that the operatives are given directions on how best to send the message that getting rid of Obama's legacy of climate change and a one world government is not going to be easy or without pushback. This so-called grass roots movement is the latest incarnation of Organizing for Action, which was Obama's grass roots movement to change the face of America purportedly to realize Obama's Hope and Change message during his campaign and then morphed into Obama's private army to enforce Obama's hope that the change he wanted to see was the change that would happen. It didn't happen with any lasting success. All that died when Hillary lost the election and Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Now Organizing for America's army of members are lining up to disrupt Trump's presidency and agitate for a new version of Hope and Change that will end with Trump's impeachment. Forget the contrast between what it costs to pay for Trump's family protection as they continue their lives and business and what it cost to send the Obamas on Barack's world wide apology tour that lasted for the 8 years of his tenure in the Oval Office, the golfing trips, fund raisers for the Democratic Party, and vacations, and even the White House cleaning staff's audible and public sighs of relief now that the messy Obamas have moved out. Pay attention to what is really going on and see how it measures up with Rinaldo degli' Albizzi and Cosimo de Medici and Albizzi's unsuccessful destruction of Florence's democratic state. We can learn from the past even when the past is resurrected and framed as entertainment. Albizzi was believed to be a godly man who paid the man guarding Cosimo to poison him in order to make it look like Cosimo was struck down by the Hand of God. When it became clear that the Rinaldo was losing the vote for Cosimo's death, he urged his son to start a fight in the Signoria's chambers and barred most of the Signoria, those that were still considered friendly to Cosimo and the Medici, from the chamber the next day. If you can't beat them with lies and slander, the next best thing is to make sure the opposition cannot get in to the Signoria to vote. That's one way to guarantee the votes go your way. When all else fails, hire mercenaries and control the city (or the country) with fear. Mercenaries who kill for money will also kill when they are no longer paid -- even if they end up having to murder their former employer because he owed them money. It didn't matter that Cosimo paid the mercenaries what Albizzi owed them and more besides to leave Florence. The fact remained that Albizzi didn't pay them and the one thing that mercenaries love more than murder and theft is money. The modern mercenaries of Obama's OFA aren't all there for the money. They are idealists who are willing to overthrow the government as long as it means Trump is impeached or thrown out. Like little children who have learned that there is a fair way and an unfair way to deal with the world, Obama's OFA mercenaries will keep screaming, "Not fair!" until democracy is ended or until democracy can be forced to vote the way the Left demands. That failed to work for Hillary. Only time will tell if this time democracy can be forced to kowtow to Obama and the Left's demands and replace Trump with Hillary. That is all. Disperse.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Illegal immigration: Eater or Eaten

I'll bet you never watched Babylon 5 or realized you watched contestants playing the Game of Life. Forget that B5 hung in space over a dead world. Forget the gate technology that allowed ships to traverse the darkness from civilization to civilization. See the episodes as ripped from the headlines depicting current events. The two players in the Universe were the Shadows, the Great Evil, and the Vorlons, the Light. They were more than Evil and Good. They were warring siblings fighting their battles through the people of the Universe, the younger races that looked up to the Shadows and the Light as we look to our political parties. The Shadows and the Vorlons were the two sides of a coin, separated by perspective, the two sides of the Galactic Mirror. No different, except in our perception of them. Ultimately, Shadows and Vorlons enslaved the younger races. The Shadows and the Vorlons were the masters and the younger races their slaves, puppets playing out the end game, choosing which side of the mirror reflected what they saw, the image of their deepest desires.

Mr. Mordon was the human face of the Shadows whose only question was: What do you want? The answer bound the person to the Darkness or the Light, reflections of siblings, remnants of the Old Race, brothers or sisters depending on your point of view, destroying worlds and systems in their seemingly eternal tug-of-war. The Shadows preferred kicking over an ant hill to stir up the ants to battle other ants so the winner emerged as a stronger, smarter, and better ant while the Vorlons nurtured the races, tampering with their DNA to make them stronger, better, and smarter than the ants that preceded the ants the Vorlons reshaped to create better ants. It didn't matter which species died as long as the winning side was their side. The Vorlons cared that their nurturing would win and the Shadows preferred their aggression would be the winning side.

How is the illegal immigrant question different? You may think it's a matter of degree, but essentially it is the same. It is always the same. The only thing that has changed is the label we put on it to make what has become immature, irresponsible, and wrong acceptable and palatable. It is the same thing it always was and the new label changes nothing but our perception of the problem. Labeling garbage as art or social justice. It is still garbage. The Conservatives are the Shadows and Liberals are the Vorlons. The methods vary, but the end is the same. Slaves are slaves whether they are nurtured or forced to action. Illegal immigration is just another label for slavery. All the arguments for the rights of illegal immigrants and the liberal calls for social justice change nothing. White washing manure doesn't change manure. It may look better painted white, but it is still manure.

When we discuss illegal immigration we are still discussing slavery. Let's get that straight from the outset. Give us your poor, your starving, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They are people willing to give up everything so their children have food, shelter, and clothing, a reason to get up in the morning to earn a few pesetas or pennies or dollars to buy food, shelter, and clothing to make the future less frightening and more comfortable. Centuries ago the system was called feudalism. A lord claimed title over the land and the serfs who inhabited the land and took what they wanted from the serfs: their daughters' virginity, the food from their mouths, and their freedom to choose their own lives. Though the resources were the Lord's due (determined by the Lord and taken from the people who had no say), those resources were stolen.

Feudalism became colonialism and serfs became slaves, conquered tribes, the losers in tribal warfare or stolen to be sold as slaves for money and goods that could be sold or traded for more food, shelter, and clothing. The serfs were slaves to their Masters as surely as the tribesmen, women, and children were slaves to be chained, bound, and packed like sardines in the holds of ships and given just enough to eat to keep them alive until they could be hosed down and sold at auction. Tribes preyed on their neighbors as predators prey on the old, the sick, the weak and vulnerable, and the young to be brought down and killed to feed themselves and their offspring. It has always been thus: the larger and more powerful prey on the weaker and their continuation was assured. Big fish prey on little fish and the bottom feeders get the scraps, but every species wins as they prey on weaker species, and sometimes on each other, in the never ending struggle to continue. Might makes right. Vegetarians point to the grass eaters as harmless because grass eaters consume only grass. What about the grass? Does grass not live? Does grass not grow, procreate, and live? So you choose not to eat animals, make a point of eating nothing with a face; you eat plants. You are harmless, as harmless as a cow, sheep, or buffalo. What if plants don't want to be eaten? What if plants have feelings? Are you not destroying another species for food, to quiet the rumbling in your belly? You kill to eat. Plant or animal, you end their life to continue your own. That is the cycle of life on this planet and in this time. That is also the reality of slavery. Illegal immigrants are the slaves who choose to walk through any danger, endure any hardship so they can feed, clothe, and house themselves by any means necessary. Those means in this time and in this country mean breaking this country's laws, the United States of America's laws to sell their labor, their time, and themselves for food so they can continue another day, another hour, another minute as long as they continue to exist. When this country was a colony belonging to Great Britain, an extension of the Great British Empire, people sold themselves and their children for a specified period so they too could come to this unexplored land to make their fortune, but really to ensure they would have a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat. These indentured slaves were guaranteed a certain quality of life and they were fed, usually with the scraps from their Master's table, but they were fed. Captured enemies were sold to enterprising men and sent across the vast oceans in the bellies of ships where they might die, but they might also live to be sold as slaves. Slaves were cheaper than indentured servants and there were no contracts. Masters paid more for indentured servants than slaves and that cut into profits. It is a simple equation. Cost must never equal or exceed profits. Smart Masters spent less in producing a crop in order to reap great rewards. Indentured servants cost more than slaves. Indentured servants worked only for the term of the contract. Slaves worked until they were traded, sold, or died. Pay one price and slaves will work, breed more slaves who will breed even more slaves. Slaves were an investment for the future that continued paying dividends for generations to come. Illegal immigrants are the latest label for slaves. These slaves provide the labor to pick the crops that will be sold at the market and cost less than hiring documented workers. That means more profit after the crops are sold. Call them resources, undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, whatever label you choose to salve your conscience and give slavery a makeover. In the end, these poor huddled masses are still slaves, resources that will make more money for their employers. These resources with faces and names are the latest on the list to be plundered, raped, and pillaged. Yes, there are good employers (masters) and bad employers, but ultimately they are Masters and the people are slaves. You are either the big fish that eats or the smaller fish that is eaten. No matter the perspective and no matter how you agonize over the rights of the fish that ends up as food, the fish is still eaten and nourishes another. Why else would the wealthy and powerful hire illegal immigrants? It is not to save them from poverty and ignorance. It is to cut the cost of the labor so that there is more money to buy bigger and better comfort. It's economics. The best economy is one where the cost never exceeds the profits and comfort at a cheaper price is much more comfortable. It all comes down to degree. Will you sell yourself for enough food to live another minute, another hour, another day or will you sell someone else for your comfort to someone who is buying so they will have more money to buy more comfort? It is always one species preying on a smaller, weaker, more vulnerable species. Have no doubts about that. Whether you eat meat or plants, you prey on life. What do you want? When you play the Game of Life, you eat or are eaten.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Dark Eden

I wanted to like Dark Eden and I did initially. The repetition didn't put me off at first and then it became monotonous and then expected: good good, bad bad, and so on. Borrowing from George R. R. Martin and other authors who decide to tell their story through various characters by choosing to tell the story from a single point of view and picking up where the previous character left off is getting a bit dated, but did move the story forward, albeit from an often oppositional point of view.

What I found most interesting was the narrative that one man and one woman decided to populate a planet they had chosen to remain on by themselves and the only birth defects were hare lips (bat-faced) and clubfoot (clawfoot) deformities after generations over 163 years of breeding indiscriminately and frequently. The Family must stay together, which is the central theme challenged by one newhair (teenager 15 years old at the beginning of the story) who has deliberately killed a leopard instead of climbing a tree to get out of the leopard's way. John Redlantern is first lauded and awarded one day free of community chores and then hunted as his unorthodox behavior continues and is viewed as disruptive until he is finally hunted by a batfaced older Redlantern who has been denied slipping with any attractive female, especially the female he most desires, a Spiketree female who publicly and often spurns him for Juicy John Redlantern, a handsome newhair who is also the slipping (sexual) favorite of the Redlantern branch of the Family. For a group/branch leader such behavior is frowned upon because she was his surrogate mother, though not John's biological mother, and he was consider too young for slipping (sexual intercourse).

The evolution of Earth speak is charming, if confusing at times: veekle for vehicle, Secret Ree for secretary, and so forth. (I still cannot parse Strornry and any enlightenment is most welcome.)

Eden is dark except for the plant and animal adaptations of producing their own light and heat on this dark and nearly completely undisturbed and unexplored planet and all long for the Earth they have been told about but never seen with its brilliant light from above as bright as a Whitelantern tree's interior. The Family members, the generations of Angela and Tommy's progeny, a black woman and a white man, have stayed where the Landing vehicle (veekle) arrived and took off from with the three men, two fugitives and one policeman sent from Earth to bring them back after they stole the galactic cruiser, Defiant, to go joy riding because one of the thieves was listening to Jesus instructing him to take the Defiant and fly off into the vastness of space to explore and find new worlds, according to the story handed down by the Oldest (blind and infirm oldest of the Family) every Any Virsiry (anniversary) 365 wakings (days) from the previous annual recitation and re-enactment of Tommy and Angela's story.

That generations of Tommy and Angela's offspring have remained in the same vicinity for nearly 200 years is as surprising as it taking that long for some curious youth to ask questions and demand answers as to why they have to stay in that exact spot while the resources dwindle and the Family go hungry when there must be more places to explore and settle down. It is not mentioned, but their continued inbreeding from the same shallow genetic pool would continue breeding the same defects, clubbed feet and hair lips, often with continued and increasing defects until they breed themselves out of existence.

It is unfortunate that it took Chris Beckett 2/3 of the narrative to get to the point and then raced through the last 1/3 of the book to wrap it all up with the ending I suspected at the beginning. That was a bit of a let down in the end, though there is room enough for more, vastly more. An interesting book with too many repetitions and far too little development after seemingly endless insight into John Redlantern's motives and actions. Beckett raced through what should have been the focus of the story instead of the rushed ending. 3/5 stars is the best I can give. Moderate execution of a treasure trove of possibilities. Better luck next time, Chris.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Reimagining the Future

I've some thoughts on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. I originally thought when ACA was first proposed that Medicare should be expanded and was roundly criticized. I still think that expanding Medicare would be a good place to start for universal health care as the bureaucracy is already in place. Get rid of Worker's Compensation and use their budget and employees to fill the gaps that the current Medicare bureaucracy doesn't have or will need since there will be no need for WC since everything would fall under the healthcare umbrella. Result: smaller government, no need for further funding, and less red tape for workers injured on the job. No need for networks or the red tape that go with all that because they are all American citizens in need of healthcare. No need to hire more government workers since the workers from Workers' Comp are already trained and can be shifted to the expanded Medicare division. Streamlining shouldn't be an issue as long as bureaucracy antics are stopped. For instance, padding a budget to make sure you have the funds for overtime in case you need overtime by requiring mandatory overtime to spend the budget you already have in order to justify a budget hike the next fiscal year.

At any rate, Medicaid would no longer be necessary either since a universal health care plan based on Medicare with the resources, skills, and knowledge of the already existing Medicare bureau would cover welfare recipients since they are citizens and thus entitled to universal health care under the expanded Medicare umbrella. Deal with Medicaid in the same manner as WC by using trained employees to fill slots in the expanded Medicare division and divert funds from Medicaid to cover the UHC (universal health care) plan. Smaller government, same budget, and utilizing the existing personnel and expertise. Result: consolidation of health care services to the people.

People could purchase insurance based on far more competitive rates since health insurance will no longer be mandated by law. Insurance companies will have to restructure their current plans and costs in line with the UHC as will hospitals and providers to reflect the changed landscape of UHC for all citizens. Welfare will be reduced since Medicaid will no longer be part of the bureaucracy or the welfare system. By reducing costs across the board in the health care industry and resetting the insurance business by taking them out of the overall health care costs, we can begin working on lowering the cost of drugs and streamlining medical care.

The biggest complaint about universal health care is what would happen to the health care industry and insurance. Take insurance out of the equation and re-allocate budgets and costs in line with expanded Medicare, get rid of Medicaid and Workers' Comp and use their resources and funding to cover expanded Medicare, and we will see a better regulated health care industry overall.

Granted, I'm not a bureaucrat, but I have worked in the health care industry for over 30 years in insurance, claims, workers' comp, medicaid, medicare, and in hospitals and doctors' offices so I have gained some insight into the problems and some solutions. It doesn't take a bureaucrat to fix the problems of bureaucracy but talking with the people who have worked in and with the red tape that gums up the works. I have solutions for the homeless issue as well and it doesn't include banning them from the streets with an 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality, but a plan that will rehab high crime areas, repurpose resources, retrain the homeless, and give them education and skills to get back into the mainstream based on my own experience being homeless for a short period of time in the 1980s and looking at the problems first hand. We do not need more government, we need common sense solutions to the issues on the ground. Less political rhetoric and more elbow grease and common sense solutions.

I am offering something other than empty wishes and anger. As an American citizen, this is my ante for the common pot.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

You Didn't Build That

I didn't catch the whole speech, but I knew what Obama meant when he said, "You didn't build that." I heard different parts of his speech at other times, mostly not in a favorable way. It was Obama after all. But I knew what he meant from the first minute I heard the words. I wasn't going to comment on it, negatively or positively. There was no need. The Left and the Right were already commenting, oftentimes in a nasty manner. The Obama Choir was in full voice shouting down the Tea Party clamor. They didn't need my two cents. After all, what did it matter anyway? I'm one person and very little I say matters even when I want what I say to matter. I am forgettable and indistinguishable from the background noise. My one voice will make no difference. Since I avoid pointless battles, I felt secure in my decision to keep my words and my thoughts to myself.

I was wrong. I was ignorant.

Whether I said the words out loud or not, the very thought and my reluctance to join the clamor did matter. They still matter and not just because I'm writing them down to send out into the cyber void. They always mattered because my thoughts, like my unspoken words, are real. They have weight. They make a difference.

They make ripples.

And here come the shouts and name-calling from the opposition. There is always opposition, except in story books where good triumphs over bad. Those stories where good triumphs also cause ripples when the author thinks about the story, puts the words together, types them onto paper or creates them on a screen and sends them into the virtual world, and every single time someone reads the story and laughs or cries or stops to wonder what it all means. Those first ripples create more ripples and each ripple creates ripples and the ripples keep spreading out and out -- and in and in -- forever.

Nothing goes on forever you say. You probably believe in forever after and eternity and the vastness of God or Allah or whatever name you give to the Infinite All the created everything. That created you and even me. Everything goes on forever.

That is what Obama was saying . . . badly . . . but he did say it. Nothing you create is yours alone. It is the result of everyone who helped you make your vision a reality, from your parents to your teachers to your friends and community to your banker, the workers, and the men and women who helped make your creation a reality. It doesn't stop there. The ripples keep going to the people who advertise your work by talking about it, by putting together a marketing campaign, and by continuing to raise awareness of your work by keeping the words flowing. Every person who buys or appreciates your work, long after you are dead and gone, create ripples that create ripples that keep creating ripples. Then, long after you are gone someone will find your work dusty and covered with cobwebs or see an newspaper write-up or read about it in a book, hear about it from someone who knew you when you were putting it all together, and so on and so on and so on forever. Whether in memory or in use, that initial thought you believed was yours was a single ripple in an infinite pond, something you built in your dreams others helped you make tangible reality, helped you build that.

Okay, so I used a whole lot more words than Obama, but the message is the same. You had help to build whatever. You did not build that alone.

Nothing we do, even when we think we do nothing, is ever done alone. No, I'm not talking about the people that believe that God (or Allah or Mohamet or Baal or Lucifer or whoever/whatever) is the author of all. He/She/It is not the all. Nor are you or me or some nameless someone down the road out of sight.

A little too religious, holy . . . forgettable for you? You don't go for all that self-righteous, mumbo-jumbo, airy-fairy, New Age crap. Does it make you nervous? Anxious? Frightened? What if . . . ?

What if.

Obama wasn't the first to create "You didn't build that." Millions of people did that long before Obama's time came up with the same idea. Obama built on someone else's words, someone else's thoughts, someone else's ideas. He did not build that. He had help -- a lot of help standing on the shoulders of others. The words might have been a political slogan, a lesson to a child, an explanation of so much more than just the words, the teachings of a priest, a leader, a father, a mother, or a friend. All that is happening has happened before, many times before. I'll bet you've heard or read that as well. It's true and here is where it gets uncomfortable for some of you.

We are all connected. We are ripples in the stream of time and consciousness forming, colliding, ricocheting off each other to create more ripples creating more ripples -- forever. Everything we do affects everything else. Describe it in scientific terms, refine it until it can be expressed in an equation as simple as E=mc2. No matter which way it come out every thought, every word, every action, every inaction, everything affects everything else.

From the beautiful and sublime to the frightening and ugly, it's all connected. It's not just you and it's not just me or her or him or them. We are all connected.

In simplest and graphic terms, what ripples you make affect everything and everyone around you. You pick up a dropped spoon or pencil and put it on the table or give it back to the person who dropped it. Ripples. Someone finds the spoon on the table or the pencil dropper smiles and thanks you. Ripples. The spoon dropper in a moment of irritation throws the spoon against the wall or the floor or through an open door and hits the boss when she walks past while the pencil dropper notices the pencil is broken and screams at you for breaking their pencil that they can no longer use because they don't have a sharpener. "It's your fault!" they scream at you, spit spraying your face. Ripples. What you do next will either make things worse or make them better. Ripples.

The ripple effect is the same as the butterfly effect. The only difference is the way the effect is illustrated.

Whether or not I added my voice to the clamor when Obama spoke those words, "You didn't build that!" I created ripples. I affected someone or something even though I kept my words to myself. The thoughts I kept to myself had as much effect as those unspoken words and how much of a ripple I caused is determined by my emotions. I dismissed Obama's words out of hand. It didn't matter. He didn't matter because people would still see and feel the same way because Obama said the words. I didn't care. No matter. I still created ripples. I still had an effect whether I knew it or not. Ignorance is no excuse.

And here is where it gets scary.

All those unspoken thoughts, all those hidden dreams and fantasies, all those secrets you swore to keep to yourself, every random angry thought, all those times you wished someone harm or worse, all those thoughts floating out there in the void you were sure were locked in some hidden corner of your mind are ripples.

Every fish, insect, and species living under the water, no matter how deep, create ripples. You may not see them on the surface, but the ripples are there all the same. So are all those thoughts, secrets, fantasies, and emotions hidden beneath your surface. Think of the ripples created by all that life below the surface of the pond. It doesn't matter how big the pond is, even if the pond is as vast as the seven seas or the world's oceans, there are ripples from all the sea life from the deepest depths to the sea life close to the surface where their movements are not visible to the eye, your eye. Ripples.

Yes, that butterfly in Brazil can create a tornado in Texas -- and here's the kicker -- as long as the butterfly in Kathmandu doesn't get in the way.

No matter what Obama intended when he spoke those words, "You didn't build it!" that is not sound byte remains. What remains is Obama taking away the pride someone feels when their dream becomes a reality. Obama trampled on their dreams, turned an accomplishment to nothing more than trash that will end up in a landfill. My silence, my unwillingness to speak, my ignorance changed the effect those words could have had. My choice to refuse to add my words and my voice to the clamor made a difference. My ignorance is no excuse. I knew what Obama meant and said nothing.

This butterfly in Colorado contributed to the forced that made something meant to be positive, to be inclusive, into a weapon and a joke.


That is all. Disperse.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Different Kind of Green

 Sometimes too much information is TOO MUCH information and not helpful when making life changing choices.

I've read numerous articles, listened to far too many experts, and spent a load of cash trying different products supposed to make me healthier. The problem is information overload beneath an avalanche of data without the time necessary to thoroughly sort through it all, check out credentials, and verify scientific papers and statistics, most of which are contradictory and decidedly not helpful.

I no longer believe that a pill can solve all health problems and I know for certain that drug companies are more interested in problems than in health. That much has been easy to sort out.

Blame my focus on health on the early (very early) lessons learned that one can only be healthy when one is the size and shape of an anorexic bean pole that shows off the clothes because making the clothes look good is all that ever matters.

I was a gawky child with oddly shaped parts, mostly notably thick ankles, thick calves, and blocky looking legs. The rest of me was pretty average in some areas and too mature for my age in others, as I was regularly reminded every time I was forced to drink reconstituted Carnation dry low fat milk and given diet pills at the age of 8 or 9, until the doctor said I was far too young to be on drugs. The result was that every mouthful I ate was constantly scrutinized and taking too much meat, too many pieces of broccoli, sliced fresh tomato, or salad followed by the public shaming, most effective and most often used during family dinners. The tablespoon-sized piece of meat, no matter how I nibbled at it, went too quickly and I was always hungry for more salad and more vegetables, especially the kind kids usually do not eat. I couldn't get enough, but then most of a person's growth happens in those years up to the middle teens (and for another 10 years) laying down the skeletal and muscle growth that supports an adult throughout their life. In short, kids are always hungry because they are still growing.

At any rate, through the diets, forced austerity, and deprivations, not to mention the pregnancy years (one right after another), I had an unhealthy relationship with food. To me, food meant deprivation and denial -- a whole lot of denial -- of the foods I loved the most, vegetables, fruits, salads, and the occasional (when we could afford it) steak.

As I've aged, I have learned more about food and about what little I know of my genetic and familial history, and have decided that maybe becoming a vegetarian is a good choice. I still cannot decide whether corn, whole grains, legumes, and peas (I do enjoy them all) are healthy or harmful. I worry about diabetes (corn, green peas, whole grains, and legumes are no-nos and lead to diabetes) because so many of my relatives have had and continue to have diabetes. I don't want to be one of them. I am concerned about which is healthier, grass fed or grass finished, meat. I already search for the best place to get fish and how much mercury and toxic effluvia are contained, avoiding shellfish of all kinds, and won't eat farm-raised fish because of the antibiotics used in massive doses because of the conditions in the fish farms which beggar imagination and are horrifying enough for me, even more so for the fish confined in over crowded pens for the sake of maximizing profits and ignoring the needs of fish and the people intended to eat them. Not even with a really good sauce.

From that perspective, going vegetarian is probably the best route for me. But then there are the conflicting studies, conflicting views, and conflict, conflict, conflict with not a clear truth anywhere to be found. Even choosing to be vegetarian, there is the issue of whether that would be just as restrictive as the rest of my life because of what I should, probably, must give up to be healthy. It's all so confusing.

I watched a documentary last night about the plant-based lifestyle showcasing athletes who have grown big and strong with loads of stamina and look healthy and fit. I've seen athletes touting carb-loading before strenuous events, low carb and high protein/paleo/Atkin's plan adherents and the many rebranded but still Atkin's based plans, the fruit-only plans, the vegan and vegetarian plans, and everything in between. I've heard that soy-based foods are healthiest -- and unhealthiest -- choices and then there is the prevalence of GMOs in soy and the nearly universal use of soy to make all kinds of meat substitutes and replacements for estrogen to ease menopause (which is behind me now), lost weight, grow hair, battle diabetes, etc. until I am tired of listening, reading, and making sense of out what has become mindless nonsense touted by whichever corporation has figured out a way to sell their snake oil for the most money by bilking the most people.

I can live without meat and fish as I have lived without shellfish and fish without scales like bottom-feeding catfish, but I'm not willing to do without vegetables and fruits. That far I will not go.

As long as I can be sure my plant-based foods are non-GMO, not treated with glyphosates at any point from preparing the soil to harvesting the food, and are from organic sources grown with organic practices, I'm good. There is no one to tell me I cannot have more salad, another ear of corn, or more Brussels sprouts to go with my baked sweet potato. I choose plants and will explore the adventure of plant-based foods until I find no more plants to discover. I might even resurrect a few plants from the past, anything is possible.

One final thought. Roman soldiers, and gladiators, were called barley eaters. From my historic research, only the wealthy could afford to eat meat regularly or had access to the finest fish. The bulk of the common Roman soldier ate barley bread, vegetables, olives, dates, and legumes and they conquered the known world. I'll take a page from their history and choose barley, corn, vegetables, herbs, fruits -- plant-based foods. Imagine fields of growing fruits, vegetables, legumes, and tubers instead of cattle, sheep, and hogs. Better yet, think of all the oxygen all those plants will add to the atmosphere. Fresh country air will have a very different aroma then.

That is all. Disperse.