Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bedazzled 2016

Do you remember the movie "Bedazzled" with first Dudley Moore and then Brendan Fraser? The focus of their attention was a girl, a girl probably way out of their league. The Devil offered a deal to grant him wishes that help him get the girl. Of course, the Devil was lying and led the poor guy down a thorny path, changing him so that the girl would want him. The trick was that no matter what the girl really wanted, when she got it turns out it wasn't what -- or who -- she wanted. Not the sensitive guy or the macho guy or the intelligent guy or the wealthy guy or any guy he twisted himself into. The lesson was not to trust the devil, but the real lesson was that people don't usually want what they think they want? Confused?

Last year people watched and heard Ben Carson talk about the Constitution and American values and many, including me, said they would vote for him if he ran for President. Some have stuck by him, but most have not.

Americans want someone they can believe in and follow. Obama gave America glib and a man who said he would do things differently, be the most transparent president ever. He would give control of the country back to the people. As soon as Obama stepped foot into the Oval Office he turned on our allies, first by having the desk built from a war ship, the Constitution, removed and then by throwing out Winston Churchill's bust and countering the pen set, also made from the Constitution's planks, with a gift of an iPod with a music mix on it for Queen Elizabeth. Talk about class.

The years between his tenure have been marked by lies, recriminations, accusations, and an apology tour that has covered the world. Obama bowed low to Muslims and slighted Queen Elizabeth and our allies in Israel. He has lectured and preached to Americans from the pulpit about our lack of tolerance for Muslims and refusal to give up our guns. He has made a mockery of this country and plunged us into the greatest debt ever while blaming Bush and explaining that he was forced into increasing the debt and digging us out of the hole Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, banks, Wall Street, and insurance companies have force us into with their too big to fail shenanigans, fraud, and theft. He has not been the president he promised to be and has only mired this country and our government into a Black Hole of Calcutta proportions. He was not who or what he claimed to be and he has proven it with his lavish world tours, golfing, and kowtowing to Muslims here and around the world, refusing to call their savagery and rampaging across Europe and here in the USA terrorism while demanding more gun laws and people give up their guns because we are the only country in the world holding onto the guns.

Remember Ben Carson? He threw his hat into the ring only to be met with derision and disdain. He lied about what he remembers and everything he says is scrutinized with a body louse comb while holding him and his wife up to ridicule because she is not a trophy wife but a real person. We have treated Ben Carson like Brendan Fraser and Dudley Moore as he tried to play the game of politics and laid his heart and his philosophies to be pawed over, second guessed, and reviled.

Where are the people who would vote for him if he ran?

Ben Carson is not a seasoned politician.  Is that not what Americans claimed they wanted? He has a few gaps in his knowledge of world history and leads with his religion and what he learned at the feet of his teachers of the Bible. He hides nothing, not even his beliefs even though many think he is mistaken and naive in his beliefs.

The thing is, politics has nothing to do with religion and should not because of the separation of church and state, the holy grail of liberal politics that would destroy all mention of religion in the halls of government and on government buildings.

I do agree that religion needs to be taken out of politics and should not be a part of the political process, but what a wo/man believes indicates character. You remember character? That part of a person's makeup that Bill Clinton didn't say mattered as he continued to assault and sexually harass women everywhere, the character he showed when Monica Lewinsky and her cum-stained blue dress came out of the closet, and the character he demonstrated when he said in public and under oath that he did not have sex with Monica?

Character does matter and Ben Carson has demonstrated his character admirably as the political machine does its best to tear him apart, not because he is a Christian (surely not) but because he is unprepared to govern or lead this country.

Remember Obama? What are his credentials? How has he managed as Commander-in-Chief and leader of this nation? Ben Carson doesn't look so bad after all. At least Carson is what he says he is and shows it every time he appears in public, but he is still the guy the pretty girl -- and the voters -- are treating like last month's dog food. 

It's time to decide what we as Americans want and choose which man with character we will follow and support. Time to follow the old guard or the bombastic over the top entertainer or suffer through another President only out to line his pockets and live the life of royalty at the taxpayers' expense until there is nothing left to give. Will Ben Carson's character show he is the kind of man to use his last wish for the country to be happy, at peace, and prosperous or will we end up with Obama laughing while he lights the match and throws it into the oil spill that will destroy the country, the waters, and all US citizens while the Constitution and American freedoms burn?

That is all.  Disperse.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Another Holiday Targeted

It begins again. Another assault on American values as the most important holiday in the year occurring on July 4th is reduced to the day and month as if it is too hard or too impolitic to wish everyone Happy Independence Day.

To reduce the birth of the nation, this land, this America to a date is simply unbelievable. The Mexicans and drinkers throughout this country may be content to celebrate the independence of Mexico from foreign rule by shouting Cinco de Mayo and celebrating with alcohol is fine for them, but to celebrate the birth of the United States of America in such demeaning and reductive terms is simply wrong. It's unconscionable. It is as if the day is no more important than just another reason to shoot off fireworks and organize picnics and BBQs and drinking to excess. It is wrong.

It curdles my blood to hear and see Independence Day referred to as simply July 4th as if the date is sufficient to honor the fallen dead and the forefathers that broke from England to create a new country, a country that has become the single guiding light in the world, a model of democracy where refugees from the despots and tyrants of Europe and the rest of the world were guaranteed a welcome. Emma Lazarus's poem was the perfect fit for French's gift to the newly formed United States of America.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Lady Liberty raises her torch to welcome the rebels like our forefathers who dreamed a very different dream, a dream of having their voices heard and heeded by a government conceived in liberty that guaranteed no priestly cadre would determine their path in life, killing, mutilating, and burning those unwilling to knuckle under to the state religion. They embraced a country that offered them an opportunity to take their fates into their own hands and flourish where the stagnant caste systems of the Old Country no longer held sway and no despot or tyrant would ever condemn them for thinking and acting for themselves.

Those immigrants could worship as they chose without fear and speak their minds without censure. They were free and would gladly fight to keep those freedoms free from taint or outside control. They would gather in the streets and protest the greedy and anyone that would seek to extinguish their lights and their voices. They would fight back never accepting totalitarian rule from an increasingly inbred elite mired in privilege and power without restraint. They were free at last. Free from pomp and circumstance that has no more meaning than bread tossed to the starving masses when the masses should be allowed cake. They paid for the pomp and the circumstance and the jewels and finery of the monarchs and tyrants parading their excess for the starving and poor ground under their expensive heels.

To reduce the legacy of this country by simply referring to the date instead of celebrating the independence of equal participation in a democratic republic that would stand the test of time is ludicrous. Even a movie about aliens invading earth with more advanced technology against the puny earthling got it right. They didn't just celebrate the day they threw off the yolk of alien oppression and subjugation, they extended to the rest of the world, to every now freed human on this planet Earth, they shouted it loud and proud: Happy Independence Day. They were free of the enemy and could once again embrace the freedom for which they fought and died -- and triumphed. At least the movie makers got it right in the title: Independence Day. That their victory occurred on July 4th was coincidental, but I doubt any of those freedom fighters would ever reduce the most important day in the history of mankind to a date. To celebrating a date on the calendar, especially when many of the humans counted time and dates very differently. No, that day, that sequence of numbers and month names would never be reduced to the date. It would be Happy Independence Day.

And so it should be now.

Reject the happy 4th and remind everyone that the 4th day of July is a marker on the calendar that has not been diminished to the first Monday closest to the 4th to make getting time off work easier. Say it loud and often.


And never let anyone forget it should never be anything else. Do not let the most important celebration of our independence be anything but the joyful celebration of independence and not just another day. What's next? Ignoring Christmas and lumping it in with all the other end of the year celebrations by saying Happy Holidays? God forbid.

Keep the words of Lady Liberty in your hearts and in your minds and ever on your lips:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

After all, we celebrate the light of the world and not just a day for drinking and partying. 

That is all. Disperse. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Illegal Immigrants Demand Rights

As if the world and this country are not having enough problems, illegal immigrants have issued a Bill of Rights of their own and demand equal rights with American citizens. They are tired of being labeled as illegal immigrants and want to be called undocumented workers. They also don't like being called illegal aliens because the terms are pejorative and cast them in a negative light.

What about illegally crossing American borders to live and work in this country don't they get? They are called illegal immigrants and illegal workers because they are in this country illegally. It's called a crime, so why should the American people grant them full rights just because some pregnant woman snuck over the border to bear her child in America for free at an American hospital just to get Welfare and be allowed to stay in this country using that newborn child to tug on American heart strings and demand to be allowed to stay because they weren't caught early enough and the child should not be separated from its mother and family, that is also illegally in this country and be deported?

Hello! Are you paying attention? You are illegally in this country, the United States of America, and now you want to be rewarded for breaking our laws with the benefits of being an American citizen. Not likely.

While Obama is content to allow you to stay, the rest of America outside of California is not. We are citizens and we have the right to stand by our laws, something which you are obviously not willing to do because you broke the law when you came into this country without going through the legalization and naturalization process that was set up for immigrants. Why should you go to the head of the line because some liberal wants to use you to boost their political campaign and stay in office long after they should have turned in their badges and gone home to be a private citizen again? While liberal Democrats are content to use you to boost their votes, the rest of Americans are not. You have committed a crime and committing a crime to be here is not the best way to begin a relationship or to gain citizenship no matter what people like Obama and Pelosi and Harry Reid say. You broke the law. Why is that a difficult concept to understand?

Had you done the same thing in your own countries, committing such a major crime, I doubt that the police or the government would look kindly on your demands and let you live nnbattered and unbruised -- or let you live at all. Yet you come to the USA, commit the crime of crossing our borders illegally, and expect to be given a pass and free citizenship. What is wrong with this picture?

I have known a few illegal immigrants and heard their stories. I even considered marrying an illegal immigrant to allow him to stay in America though I knew he was in love with a young woman, an American citizen who was born in this country after her parents came to America legally. Her father would not allow them to get married because he was an illegal alien. Hot flash! The girl and her family were also from South America and they did not look kindly on my friend for crossing the border illegally and living illegally in this country. Kind of puts a different face on the situation.

I know what he went through in Mexico and that his brother was an aide in the President of Mexico's office. He came from a good family, but he wanted to escape Mexico and his middle class family and come to America. The problem was that he could not pass the legal immigration rules because he had been in jail and had already been deported back to Mexico once. Oops! But he bought more fake identification and cross the border illegally. Maybe that is part of why the girls parents refused to allow them to marry. They were probably afraid that he was using their daughter to get a green card and become a naturalized American citizen. Imagine? They looked down on him for being illegal and for committing crimes to stay in this country. Talk about prejudice.

California allows illegal immigrants to run for office and even to vote, although the votes they cast aren't valid outside of California -- unless they have found a way to sneak past the voting machines and the legal protocols to make their votes count in a national election. I believe that voter fraud is also a crime. California may be more lenient about breaking the law, but that is probably why they are in danger of bankrupting the state. Too many illegal immigrants on Welfare and food stamps and getting government handouts. Too many illegals being fed, clothed, and often even housed by the State of California while they illegal aliens send money back to their countries to bring more of their relatives over the border illegally to settle in California and take their share of the public pie.

Illegal immigrants are willing to commit as many crimes as necessary to get into the United States and yet do not see that their crimes make them ineligible for citizenship so they demand to be treated fairly the way they have treated US laws and regulations. Deportation is a small price to pay for breaking US laws. Be glad we don't behead, torture, and murder you for breaking the law.

However, that does not mean you are entitled to a fair trial or justice under US laws because you are not a citizen. Citizens have rights. Illegal aliens do not. Go home. Go back to your own country. You are not welcome here.

Oh, there are American citizens that welcome you because you mean cheap labor so they can keep more of their profits and cheat the USA and its citizens. There are penalties, among them fines and prison terms, but they won't be deported because they are already citizens. Greedy citizens who have used you for their own gains, but still American citizens. The illegal immigrants will be deported.

Of course, there is a process where you could be hired legally by an individual or company, which would give you a higher wage, and you'd be a migrant worker. If you left that company or individual and struck out on your own you would become an illegal alien and, if caught, would be deported.

The interesting part of the migrant worker program is that the workers complain that they don't make enough money. Huh? It is more than you made in your own country or you wouldn't be here in the first place waiting for your chance to run away and become an illegal alien using forged or stolen documents to get onto the public dole to get food stamps and Welfare so you can sit in your crowded apartment or rented house with a dozen other illegal aliens so you can sit on your backsides and get together with like-minded illegal aliens to put together a Bill of Rights so that you can force, cajole, or otherwise game the system in order to get equal pay and amnesty for absconding from the person who hired you and vouched for you, promising that you would stay for the length of your contract and then go back to your own country richer than when you left it. Instead, you committed a crime, and likely several crimes, to take US money and assistance so you could plan to force the US government to recognize you, give you documents, forgive your crimes, and become an American citizen. More crimes. More lies. More ways to remain in this country illegally until you are either deported or given amnesty. I don't know what it looks like to you, but to me it looks like theft of the American dream to which you have no right since you are in this country illegally.

I'm not sure if your actions remind me more of moths being drawn to a bright light, batting against the light until they get their wings singed and eventually die or being drawn to the bright light of a bug zapper and end up dead by electrocution or a horde of zombies attacking an animal or a person and devouring them like on The Walking Dead. Whichever way it ends up in reality, death by bug zapper or a bullet or knife through the brain, at least you would no longer have to deal with the US system of rules and regulations and we would not have to deal with you demanding what you have no right to since you broke those same laws to be here.

And demanding equal pay? I don't know if you read the news or understand the language since you are intent on remaining true to your own language and customs and beliefs and refuse to assimilate, but US citizens, especially women, have been demanding equal pay for decades, and you expect us to give you equal pay? Dream on.

The demand I find the most interesting and insane comes from those illegal immigrants to were maimed and hurt when they came to the USA illegally aboard a train called La Bestia (The Beast). Gangs of their own people or people in countries they passed through beat them and dragged them off La Bestia to take their place on the train. Many fell off the train and under the wheels onto the tracks and lost arms, legs, and often their lives and they expect the US government to compensate them.

"Along the route many will end up either losing their limbs or being killed as a result of falling under the wheels.

Many others end up being robbed or attacked by gangs.

If that is not enough of a risk, if you make it alive, you still have a chance of getting caught and arrested.

During a protest Monday, more than a dozen people in attendance had lost a limb in their attempt to cross the border.

They say it should not be that dangerous and are calling for safer alternatives."

It should be safer to illegally cross US borders? It shouldn't be dangerous to sneak over US borders? You want the US to send a train or a plane ticket or maybe a fleet of chauffeur driven limousines to make it easier for you to violate US borders? Obviously, you have been smoking marijuana or are high on coca leaves or cocaine or are simply insane. Why should the US make it safer for you to violate our borders? You must be high to add that to your demands or liberals have fed you too many moonshine drugged pies while you were waiting for your turn in the tunnel beneath US borders or in a hell ride across some stretch of the desert where the fence protecting US borders is weak or has been torn down.

It's rather like the criminal who held up a couple on the street and was surprised when he ended up bleeding and hurt on the ground because the couple carried guns to keep from being robbed. The criminal sues the couple for shooting him while committing a crime and expects to be paid. The criminal sees himself as the victim and wants to be compensated for attempting to rob and maybe injure or maim his victims. What you demand is the same thing.

Yes, it does happen and some left leaning liberal judge might let him get away with it, but there are not that many left leaning liberal judges in the whole of the USA to agree to allowing you to victimize Americans because you decided to break the law and enter the USA illegally. Get real!

You might ask what happened to my illegal friend.

After talking with an immigration lawyer, she assured us that marrying an American citizen was no guarantee that he would be granted citizenship. There was a process he would have to go through which would be conducted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. We would have to live together for 2 years and be interviewed several times a year to see if we were actually married or he was merely trying to get citizenship by marrying me. There would be agents of the INS watching us to verify our story and we would both be in trouble with the law if it was discovered he had married me for a green card. He would be immediately deported and I would be thrown in prison for breaking the law. I decided it was not worth it, not even if he paid me a lot of money, to break the law. I knew if he was caught and deported he would cross the border illegally again and keep crossing the border illegally until he was either deported for good or would die in the attempt to illegally enter the country.

He lost his girl because she refused to go against her father and he moved on, taking his fake documents, disappearing into the shadows of the illegal immigrant population. He would keep trying because he wanted to become a US citizen and any risk was worth the risk. Any risk but applying for a Visa and getting into the country legally. His brother, the President of Mexico's aide, would not help him and neither would the President of Mexico. His family had washed their hands of him and he was on his own.

Maybe he is among the millions of illegal immigrants picketing the White House and demanding to be recognized, demanding to be called undocumented workers, demanding equal pay, demanding a safer way to illegally enter the US, demanding not to be deported, demanding to be treated as citizens because they have a child born in the US after they sneaked into the US. Demanding to have a voice in government, to vote, to be treated as a law abiding citizen even though they are not law abiding or a citizen.

They are entitled to dream. They are not entitled to the American Dream. They are not Americans. They are criminals and the country cannot keep them nor will taxpayers continue to pay their taxes for them to get Welfare and food stamps and disability checks from social security because they paid into the system.

In the end, you buy your ticket and take your chances, except even that you refused to do when you illegally crossed US borders to be here. Accept your punishment and justice. Go back to your own countries. Work for change. Build your own dream in your own countries and fight for the changes and freedoms you want. That is how the USA got them. If freedom isn't worth dying for, then you obviously don't want it very much. You're freeloaders expecting to be rewarded for your crimes.

What will you do if your demands are not met? Riot (another crime)? Rape and pillage the country where you say you want to live (more crimes)? Take your demands and leave because the US people are being mean to you and won't recognize you as anything but criminals? Please, let me escort you to the border.

That is all. Disperse.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Reality of Zero Population Growth

I read an article this morning in the Wall Street Journal about how we need people having more babies to support the growing numbers of elderly. Elderly would be anyone over 60.

The reason is because there are too few people being born to grow up and make stuff so the people from 18-60 can buy it because the people over 60 are saving their money and retiring early -- and they spend their money on health care and necessities, having grown out of the need to get up early on Black Friday and fight over a cheap pillowcase just to get trampled. I'd call that progress, but the rest of the western world calls it pitiful and need of redressing. Even China and Japan and other industrialized nations are encouraging people to get busy and get pregnant -- many times.

That ties in with reports in Europe of why they are welcoming Muslim immigrants into the fold because they breed faster and can add the much needed children to grow up to be workers to support the growing numbers of elderly that burden their socialized governmental lives. It's a simple equation really. More young people working equals more money coming to the government to be dispersed to people who need it the most -- the elderly. And now the Muslim refugees who spurn the food given to them because they want money, money, money.

All those socialized countries are feeling the pinch -- or rather the sky falling -- because socialism and communism rely on a hard working population willing to give a substantial portion of their income to support the indigent, the poor, and the elderly. Oops! I'll bet that is why Obama, Pelosi, and Reid rushed to force the Affordable Care Act down American throats so they could invite immigrants from all over the world to come on in and take a piece of the socialized pie. I think that is how Argentina went bankrupt -- socialism and free good and services for all while more and more people piled on the free train and fewer and fewer children were born to take their place in the factories to give up their pay for the easy life of socialized medicine and other services.

I guess it's hard to see that your generosity is bankrupting the country and throwing everyone into the bread lines when you're having such a good time handing out the goods. The rich never feel the pinch what with tax loopholes and stealing from the poor to line their coffers with gold, gold, and more gold.

That is the problem. It's not that the desire to give is breaking the country's bank, but the need to get something for nothing which is the basis of socialism. Ayn Rand wrote in "Atlas Shrugged" about a company that went bust because of their implementation of their social program. Everyone worked according to their talents and everyone shared equally in the proceeds, except for those in the most need who got the lion's share of the proceeds. The owners never saw that the hardest workers were stiffed because more and more of their salaries were given to the people who had such bad luck and higher expenses, except that those that got the handouts kept having more emergencies, more bad luck, and more expenses. And how that philosophy of something for nothing spread. The Twentieth Century Motor Company imploded when the hardest workers decided they would no longer work for the neediest and instead went to other companies where their work was rewarded according to their production.

I see a variation of the same thing in the company where I work. It's not as cut and dried as the Twentieth Century Motor Company and I suspect the philosophy behind their policies has little to do with socialization or giving to the ones with the worst luck, greatest expenses, or most emergencies and more to do with treating the people who actually do the work and keep them in business like slaves. Every week I get to find out how much I make because there is no base rate or salary and errors and number of lines typed or edited in the course of the week vary from week to week. It's always a surprise -- a really nasty surprise.

What I have figured out is that the company keeps pay low for the people doing the work (that would be me and the other transcriptionists), forcing us to work extra hours and days to make up the difference between what we should be paid and what we actually are paid. In that way the company needs fewer employees and works the employees they have as hard as possible, spending the least amount on salaries. Of course, the company has to pay overtime unless the employee is making up time for the time lost because of low volumes of work, which is a cyclical problem in the industry. After all, other people get to take vacations and they tend to slow down production of reports during the holidays and summer so they can spend more time with their families. Not so the transcriptionist that is denied holiday pay or holidays and must make up the lost time and line counts on their own time, time they would spend with their families or cooking and baking or decorating the tree or any number of summer and holiday events and tasks.

The problem with this company is that they keep losing employees with experience, expertise, background, and knowledge because of their practices and have to replace these skilled and knowledgeable workers with kids fresh out of school or classes with only enough knowledge to be quickly overwhelmed and soon the proud owner of numerous written warnings about their performance.  Of course, these young workers also make the least amount of pay because it is nearly impossible to make any money when your line counts are low and your accuracy is in the toilet (below 99%) when the company samples 1-5 reports a week and any error will send statistics into a death spiral.

In other companies where I've worked over the past 33 years in this business, statistics were based on errors counted over the course of a week and over the total numbers of lines, usually about 10,000 lines per week, and an error valued at 1 point or 3 points was offset by the volume. Hard to offset the volume when everything is based on 1 or 2 reports and adjusted according to the number of lines in the report, which usually falls below 100 lines. Oh, they adjust up if the report contains more than 100 lines, but the bulk of the work falls well below the 100 line mark.

The company, even though they gobble up as many smaller companies as they can, is beginning to suffer from their business practices by losing more and more experienced and knowledgeable workers and getting fewer and fewer beginners because fewer and fewer are being born and have any interest in legalized slavery. They'd rather chat on the iPhones and burn up the credit cards at the mall than work for a living if they can help it, especially for slave wages.

At least the upper management are happy because their profits keep growing, although for how much longer is the question. They will implode soon because the word is out that this company is not a good employer and treats their workers with contempt and disrespect. There are still a few small companies out there and some hospitals and clinics still have transcription department in-house where they guarantee good wages, great benefits, paid holidays and sick leave, and a decent vacation package.

The point of this is that falling birth rates, the holy Grail of zero population growth so prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s, is costing the economy, the government, and socialized services, which is why countries are welcoming Muslim immigrants breeding like rabbits with multiple wives to cover the shortfall. I wonder if the countries will survive the onslaught of refugees long enough to realize the benefit of higher birth rates. I guess we'll see.

The Zero Population Growth movement was because of the worry over dwindling resources, but that was before socialized health care, Welfare, and other socialized services went into effect and many countries climbed on the socialized band wagon.

Socialism is like opening a bank that gives out free money. At first, the plan works well. There are enough people depositing and making money to give away, but then more people find out about it. They tell their friends. News services pick up the story and broadcast it nationwide. Then the international news services get the story and broadcast it all over the planet. People come from everywhere to take advantage of the free money, descending in hordes until they overwhelm the bank and the system and there are not enough savers and workers to put anything back into the program. The services slow down, the bank collapses, and a good idea dies with a nuclear bang that leaves a big black hole into which the country falls. And still more people arrive to take advantage of the free money even though there is no more and, angered at being promised so much only to find it gone, they riot and destroy everything in their path because they didn't get their share. That is the future of socialism and the countries that embraced it with righteous fervor.

That may be the future of the world and it is not a pretty picture. The day looms closer every minute -- destroyed by generosity. It is anyone's guess which will implode first, socialism or natural resources.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Myth and Fantasy? Maybe Not.

It gave people a good feeling to believe they were special, unique, original in the cosmic scheme of things, but it was always a lie. For years I have believed that we should take the ancient mythologies as fact and see the universe and our neighborhood in the solar system in the light of ancient truths. I have researched and read and continue to do so every day, pausing briefly to consume mass quantities of popular fiction as well. Every brain needs a break, including mine. Whatever it was that stirred -- or rather bothered -- me woke me at 4 a.m. this morning and I dove into a new search. I googled NASA, Nibiru, and probes and came up with the most extraordinary information.

NASA has long claimed that Zecariah Sitchin's books based on decoding Sumerian cuneiform tablets were bogus -- at least in public, while in secret they had taken the information and had been judiciously searching the skies and our solar system for what had been written thousands of years ago. From Sitchin's first book, The 12th Planet, on NASA has paid a great deal of attention to the Sumerian tablets and circular seals and what they contained.

Since the 1990s, I have wondered how a planet bound group of civilizations could have such profound knowledge of the solar system beyond their ability to see and experience could have such detailed information about the planets, moons, and movements of those heavenly bodies without being able to see them first hand, say from the viewing port of a space ship or planet with advanced technology and science on a massive elliptical orbit around our sun. And where did those individuals only a step or two removed from the beasts get their beliefs?

God was the logical answer and I'm sure the beings who from heaven to earth came (Annunaki) seemed like gods to their primitive minds saw them as gods -- and were told they were gods. After all, if we moved beyond our planet and into the stars, landing on some earth-like planet inhabited by protohumans, would we not also call ourselves gods and exert our technological influence over them? If nothing else, to at least see the travelers as gods that should be worshiped? Worship is a heady proposition and one that is intoxicating to ego.

My search revealed photographs and articles and people who think as I do. Of course, they are also decried by the world at large as lunatics, alternative scientists, fantasist, and liars, not to mention insane, but I have found that such personal attacks, while they do move the average person to discount such ravings as insanity, are proof that what they are saying has validity and someone, usually a powerful someone, is getting nervous and must not allow such thoughts to gain traction and believers. After all, fringe scientists and archaeologists and historians should remain on the fringe, an oddity or ragged, sackcloth wearing lunatic who might possibly be delusional and that could be contagious. What would happen to a world with eyes wide open and minds no longer controlled by competing religious dogma?


No one wants that and certainly not the Powers That Be that have worked so long and hard to cloak the truth in mystery and allegory and lies to maintain their control over the world. As long as people are fighting and destroying each other the likelihood of the world waking up too soon is lessened.

It's time to wake up.

Let's begin with NASA's lie that Planet X/Nibiru is a hoax and Google Sky keeping a specific area of their sky map blacked out. It's not blacked out any more and NASA's claims that the term Planet X denotes something that does not exist.

I've always thought that the name for something that doesn't exist is NOTHING. Silly me.

We're already feeling the effects of Nibiru's gravitational pull on the earth with extremes in weather: tsunamis from underwater volcanic action, the explosion of the great volcano in Iceland a couple years ago that affected plane travel in Europe and dropped temperatures because of the volcanic ash in the atmosphere dampening the sun's warming rays, increased precipitation, severe winters with record snow falls, and so much more. Liberal media outlets explain it all away with global warming and increase their demands to decrease our energy requirements and dependence on fossil fuels, pointing to finite resources dwindling and the coming resource wars. A lot of the blame is being leveled at the USA because we are the greatest abuser of natural resources. The truth is that it has nothing to do with manmade abuse of natural resources and everything to do with an extra planetary body exerting its considerable gravitational force on Earth. That planet is estimated to be 7x our size. We see daily what the moon's influence on earth so imagine the influence of a planet 7x our size.

The more religious among us point to the End Times and the sins of the people, but that is the usual prophecy when cosmic forces are felt and seen on our planet. I'd say it is easier for people to believe in an angry God and Man's sins than to see things as they actually are. The truth is a big pill to swallow and we have been conditioned to believe that God/god is actually the author of all the retribution and punishment coming to us for denying the existence of God or Allah or whatever than to see ourselves as pawns in the great cosmic chess game. 

Einstein saw God as a being or entity that did not play dice with the universe. In a similar vein, I see the universe as a well ordered clock, albeit a clock that creates time instead of merely measures it. Stars and planets and all matter of cosmic debris are born, live, and die with regularity. In our small corner of the universe we are born, live, and die recycling the star stuff that is the basis of our existence like a well run clock. But we are not unique. In a universe hundreds of billions of years old, it would be arrogant and ignorant of us to believe that the universe could only conceive of humanoid life once with an extinction event hanging over us like the fabled sword of Damocles.

In our fossil record and among the numerous civilizations that have come and gone there is proof of a very diverse genetic heritage that could easily explain junk DNA and why much of our DNA is in the OFF position. Extraterrestrial biological entities (EBEs) are out there among the stars, but they are also here on this planet with us -- and have been for hundreds of thousands of years. They never left, instead preferring to work from the shadows and from their descendants still loyal to them and in on the secret. The information is couched in allegory and plastered over with religious writing that obscure more than they reveal while theologians and believers blithely continue to interpret the information in terms of that angry god and man's spiritual being.

The End Times are coming and the latest predictions set the date for March 26, 2016, Passover in the Jewish and Christian religions. Or is it merely the end of our childhood and the beginning of an adulthood that includes the reality of our genesis into a wider cosmic stage.  

Planet X as it appears in closeup on Google Sky. The wings are likely the atmosphere or the fire of its passage through the universe.


Google Sky again without the infrared enhancements. Still looks like a winged disk to me.

Which is how the ancient saw -- or rather carved it onto their monuments -- the planet. No doubt the man in the disk does not symbolize an alien astronaut but symbolic of the fact that there were people on the flying disk.

Allowing for artistic interpretation and embellishment, this does look like the same winged disk seen on Google Sky. The twin serpents the symbol of the pharaoh, anointed ruler and god of the Egyptians. Paints rather a different picture of the mythology and speculated history that archaeologists have been feeding the people since they first went to Egypt to dig in the sand.

It also puts a different face on the history we were so sure about and the history that is coming to light as the old guard died and the rogue elements of history and archaeology have their chance at the podium. NASA has been diligently searching for Planet X (that nothing) since the 1980s and have been sending out probes to gather more data. And we were told it was to get a closer look at the solar system and the planets and moons populating our neighborhood. I'm sure that was what they added to the list, but the goal is and has always been to find the planet (brown dwarf, protostar, whatever) to validate the mathematics and the unusual nature of our solar system demonstrated by its passage through the cosmic neighborhood.

As I have said previously on this very blog, we are no longer children -- or mushrooms living in the dark and raised on compost --and no longer in need of the guiding controlling hand of an omnipotent and omniscient god. It is time to claim our freedom and our heritage and see the world -- and the universe -- naked in the clear light of day -- or as much clear light as we are likely to get when Planet X passes by us and further exerts its gravitational influence on our much smaller planet.

Not the End Times of biblical prophecy but the end of darkness and the true revelation/apocalypse, both of which mean enlightenment as the scales fall from our eyes.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th

It is Friday the 13th with all that entails and a whole lot of bad news coming our way.

Like the massacre in Paris that purportedly is another in the round of Muslim extremist violence in European cities where the jihadists have settled. I am always reminded of one of my boys' science experiments for school where he kept rats. He found out that a large population of rats in a very small space turn to cannibalism to free up room. Since radical Muslims tend to congregate in enclaves, I wonder when they will stop their violence against their host cities and begin cannibalizing their own. It's a thought that seems appropriate on this day of ultimate evil.

Aah, superstitions. Where would we be without them? For one thing we wouldn't be looking forward to yet another installment of Jason on Friday the 13th dismembering and massacring whoever gets in his way. Combat the fear by checking out these fun facts.

I'm not superstitious unless you consider that I consider it unlucky to debate morons and I have come across a whole group of them since I went back to Facebook to see pictures and videos of my granddaughters. Their mother shortly thereafter took a Facebook break, leaving me with the crazies and the political nuts that consider me dangerous because I promote the idea that not all religions, people, and policies are bad and because I frequently refer to historical facts that fail to prove their point. They counter with calling me names, the last bastion of the schoolyard bully and the bullies yes wo/men adherents. I always thing of A Christmas Story and Scut Farkas's toady with the green teeth. The Democrats call me a Republican and the Republicans call me a Democrat, having never actually read all -- or any -- of my posts and comments. The most pernicious thing I do is disagree with them or caution them to try another perspective. After all, if all one sees out the window is a garbage dump, it's time to find a window that doesn't look out on the garbage dump or at least buy some curtains.

The latest inhumanity I have perpetrated is in saying that not all Muslims are evil, murdering extremists -- because they aren't. I pointed out that Jews and Christians have done their share of murdering, bullying, destruction, and eradication of whole peoples and their written history only to be told that I should focus on more modern facts not contained in the Old Testament. The fact that Islam has been around for less than a century and is not featured in the Old Testament or that first century Christians massacred pagans and Jews and unbelievers, driving opposition from their new homes and destroying the history and writings and people of every non-Christian is met with more disdain and demands that I live in the real world in this century. Of course, they conveniently forget that modern day Christians even in the 20th and 21st centuries continue to murder, massacre, and destroy the people and anything in their path escapes them because all Muslims are evil. That smacks of the thinking that permeates George Orwell's 1984, another fact that eludes them.

Take Ireland for instance that has suffered through bombings, murders, massacres, and destruction that continues to this day. And they are Christians. Of course, they seldom wreak worldwide havoc, although Irish bombers have been known to sell their services to the highest bidder to continue bombing and murdering because it's a habit they're not likely to give up now that they have tasted its flavor.

There are Christians of every stripe throughout the religion, just as there are in Jewish and Muslim sects, that live to murder and destroy. But we're not supposed to hate all Christians because of the acts of a few, which is contrary to the idea that we are supposed to hate every Muslim for the actions of a few extremists. The connection is lost on the Christians calling for eradication of all Muslims. "Bomb them all and let Allah sort them out," in righteous anger as the Muslim jihadists scream, "Convert or die," to everyone else. None of them pay attention to history or how they keep reenacting the same bloody scenes as though caught in a time loop in the Grand Guignol. 

Here are a few of the highlights of Christian extremism.  A Sinhala Buddhist sect promoted violence against Christians and Tamils in the 20th and 21st centuries in Sri Lanka and Aum Shinrikyo engineered the Sarin gas attack in Japan in the mid-1990s using Buddhist and Hindu beliefs to justify his acts. In the 1940s Zionist Jews carried out terrorist attacks against the British.  And the list goes on and on. There are the Browns Shirts in Germany, the Red Brigade, and numerous other terrorist groups that have nothing to do with Muslims and all operated within the last 100 years.

The only thing these terrorists have in common is that they are all humans, members of mankind. They use religion to justify their acts and refuse to see themselves as terrorists or wrong and they won't listen to any arguments that humanize their targets. That is the point. In order to function as they do and believe their acts are justified by their chosen deity they dehumanize their targets. That is the first rule of any terrorist act for whatever reason one chooses to use: dehumanize the enemy.

As long as people are involved, there will be blood and terror and destruction because that is how they survive and thrive. One must blind themselves to truth in any form, demand proof that fits their warped view in order to continue their reign of terror. It is the basis on which war atrocities are made palatable and justified and how people willingly commit unbelievable inhuman acts of violence. They soothe themselves by claiming they are different, that their religion is peaceful, that their aims are right, and they are justified in ridding themselves and their region, state, country, and the world of such brutal animals never realizing that they have become just as brutal and vicious in their holy war against the opposition.

Until humans see themselves in an undistorted mirror they will continue to call for the eradication of those who sin against them and call it good, and they will condemn anyone who steps up to hold that mirror to their faces and asks them to look without the blinders and hatred obscuring their vision. More often than not the one who holds the mirror will be pushed aside and even murdered in order to maintain their shattered sight as if the Snow Queen's mirror shards are permanently lodged in their eyes, ears, and heart.

Humanity will never progress unless and until people are willing to give up their prejudices long enough to consider that not all people are evil and only the guilty should stand for their crimes, not their whole religion or the entire population of their kind. I hope that day comes soon.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Time for a Revolution

As I listened to Senator Ted Cruz's speech after the House of Representatives passed the latest budget bill I began to wonder who he was kidding. Yes, the budget is an unlimited credit card for Obama to indulge himself with over the next 15 months and it will be abused as Obama has abused every other aspect of his lofty position while pretending to care for and about the American people, but what did Cruz get out of the deal? Probably not much yet since the Senate has not voted on the bloated budget, but how much theater do Cruz and the rest of Congress expect us to swallow when we know that every greedy finger got their share of the American pie?

I'm not saying that Cruz is as corrupt and greedy as every other elected representative in Washington on Capitol Hill, but I know theater. Just like in prize fights, someone always has to take a dive in order to keep the bookmakers happy while making it look as good as possible that the fight was clean and honest. There is very little that I have seen in American politics over the past decade that remotely resembles a clean and honest fight or a single member of Congress that has been willing to stand up the Washington Machine to protect the interests of the American people, the very people who were hoodwinked into voting these thieve, liars, and con wo/men into office to suck on the taxpayers' teats. Here's how I think the budget deal negotiations went down.

Retiring Speaker of the House, John Boehner, just wants to go home and get out of the Capitol Hill slug fest that has become the daily grind of gridlock and dealing with an obstreperous President. He's willing to make any kind of deal to get out of town, including selling the taxpayer down the river. He did his tour and he is has a few days left to make his getaway with whatever he has managed to gather into his personal retirement fund over his years in office.

Pelosi, Reid, and Boehner sat in the conference room and hammered away at the budget proposed by Obama. Pelosi and Reid reminded Boehner what happened in 2011 when Republicans in the House under his leadership decided to refuse Obama's budget and passed a very slimmed down version of what Obama wanted. Harry Reid, then Majority leader, refused to put the new budget passed by the House of Representatives to a vote thus holding up funding the government. Reid knew that Obama would never sign the new budget since it had none of the items he listed in his original budget proposal and who took the blame? The Republicans. No doubt Pelosi and Reid promised Boehner they would do everything in their power to shut down government again and would allow another default of payments to creditors that resulted in lowering the United States's credit rating as the Republicans took another political hit. The American people would not stand for another government shut down and more national monuments cordoned off and guarded from the public as they had at the Vietnam Memorial in 2011. Either agree to the proposed bloated budget or the Republicans would never eat in Washington again -- or anywhere else.

They knew Obama would veto any budget that denied him what he wanted and how he wanted it so either give in now or risk not being re-elected next time around and maybe end up with Hillary as President in 2016.

I don't think it occurred to Boehner to fight or remind Pelosi and Reid that a 2/3 majority would overturn any veto Obama saw fit to use, but time was against him . . . as he saw it . . . and so he caved and the budget was passed.

Ted Cruz must have known something about what was going on behind the scenes and how the deal was brokered but, as he railed against the Washington Mafia and their corporate money and lobbyists bribes lining so many pockets, he didn't mention how he was involved. He may have voted against the budget, but just like that prize fight someone has to take the fall. It makes the whole theatrical performance that much more compelling and believable. If everyone falls into line like lemmings going to their deaths without a fuss even the average American would smell the rot.

I remember 4th grade and learning about Patrick Henry and his fiery speeches, especially, "...I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" still rings in my mind. I remember standing in front of the class and speaking those words, my small fist crashing down on the podium as I said the words, my body flushed with righteous anger and determination. I meant those words, but I wasn't a colonist fighting for freedom from an oppressive government using me to fund King George's excesses and eccentricities and being forced to pay higher taxes on tea and sundry goods imported from England. I was a fourth grader who believed freedom from oppression and taxation was worth fighting and dying for. I was an idealist -- and I still am.

Ted Cruz did not stir me with his words, but he did make me wonder whether he had been paid to take a dive. He is after all running for President in 2016 despite not being eligible by being born in Canada and a Canadian citizen. I know he held dual citizenship with Canada and America until fairly recently, but he is still not an American citizen born on American soil to two American parents. I know how lawyers tend to twist the words in contracts and agreements until they get what they want out of the deal regardless of the intent or the spirit of the contract and I see that Cruz is no different. He says he believes in the Constitution and yet he cannot understand the basic tenets of that document that deny him the right to run for President. That speaks volumes about his ethics and morals and certainly points to a big payoff for taking a dive.

He is right that the budget currently before the Senate is appalling, a betrayal of the American people in favor of a tyrant and a despot drunk on his own power while his wife, Michelle, is over in Pakistan giving Pakistani women $70 million of the $85 million allocated in the budget to pay for their education. I guess it doesn't matter that Muslim women, and these Pakistani women getting an education at the cost of the American taxpayer will be killed for seeking that same education. That's okay. It's only money. Money Michelle and Obama didn't earn and have no right to give away to Pakistan or Pakistani women when it could be used to pay for a college education for so many Americans while reforming the usurious rates charged for college loans. That $70 million would keep politicians from raiding social security to the tune of $150 million and continuing to use social security trust funds as their own personal slush fund. That $70 million would do so much good here in the United States of America where it was taken from Americans in taxes. I don't know about you, but I see the American worker being fleeced for the sake of a foreign country who should be taking care of their own people and not expecting America to do it for them.

I have listened to the world complain about American aggression and American wars and playing cop on the block to the world until I'm sick of it, but I have yet to hear even once complaints about American dollars to those same countries who take American money while spitting on the American flag and the American people without turning a hair or blinking. And they will continue to take American handouts while vilifying our government, our way of life, and our military as long as we allow it.

I am not advocating an isolationist policy, but I think it is time that Americans wake up and see that you are being fleeced without representation because our representatives are busing lining their pockets with soft and hard money, pandering to lobbyists and PACs while setting up their golden parachutes and socking away the taxpayers' hard earned dollars in the Cayman Islands or wherever the really chic and wealthy people keep their ill gotten gains far away from the reach of the IRS and the American government.

We cannot let this budget stand. If Congress hasn't the fortitude or the honesty or the balls to face down Obama and tell him NO then it's time for the people to do it for them. We got rid of one despot only to end up with another tyrannical despot living large off the American people. Throw them all out, Ted Cruz included, and start again. Make sure no politician who has made a career and made himself very wealthy can continue to feed off taxpayer dollars like a bloated leech. Vote for term limits.  Vote for no one who has spent more than 5 years in a political office. That kind of experience we do not need. Put men and women in office who will impeach Obama and hold him accountable for his crimes and misuse of his office. Put men and women in office who will not stand for another Clinton in office and make sure she and Lois Lerner and Koskinen, chief of the IRS, are brought up on charges and put on trial. Ban these people from ever holding political office again. Stop grousing and complaining and rise up against abuse of power. Take back this country.

And do not stand for politicians like Senator Ted Cruz taking a dive to look good for the camera while he betrays the American people. Stand up and fight for your freedom instead of standing their with your mouths hanging open while every freedom our fathers and forefathers ever fought and died for are taken away from us. Do not stand by while our country dies not with a bang but a whimper.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Careful What You Wish

\I know that I must be careful what I wish, but I didn't know it had already happened, that I got my wish. Here I am in the middle of it and I realize the wish came true some time ago.

The thing is, most people wish big. They want to win the lottery. They want to find Mr. or Ms. Perfectly Right. They want to own a huge estate with servants and oodles of money and everything they ever wanted displayed on every flat surface and on every wall. They want, want, want, want, want.

I didn't want much. I remember wishing that I had enough money not to have to look at price tags when I bought food and clothes and that I had enough of what I needed and not everything I wanted. One must always leave room for improvement. I reached that a long time ago -- at least where having enough is concerned. I have enough not to have to stress over price tags and have to decide what clothes, foods, whatever to give up to have something. I'm not wealthy. I'm not poor. I have enough. In fact, I have a little too much, but I did get there.

That's the thing with having small wishes. The wishes are fulfilled and it takes a while for that fact to settle in. I remember someone telling me that rich was hard. What's hard about being rich?

Okay, there is worrying about whether someone wants to be with you for the grab bags and door prizes or if they really like you. There's having to maintain a style to which one has become accustomed. There is the lifestyle that is expected of someone who has money, lots of money. There are expectations, people with their hands out, and the taxes -- unless you're rich enough to own a senator or four and do not have to pay taxes because, between the lawyers and the senators, you are exempt by law. Then of course one must pay for the lawyers and senators and it might have been cheaper to just pay the taxes. At least taxes once paid don't have to be paid again until the following year. Lawyers and senators keep sucking at the checkbook until there is nothing left or they die (or are bumped off). In that way, being rich is hard. So much upkeep.

My wishes were small. I still want a few million books sold, but it's not about the money. It's about having millions of my books in readers' hands. Doesn't mean I will write for free. Writers should be compensated for their hard work, sweat, blood, and tears, not to mention start up costs. Cover illustrators and editors also expect to be paid for their hard work, sweat, blood, and tears, not to mention for their expertise. It's the way of business, and one I've no problem paying for services rendered.

But I arrived. I really have what I wanted. A good income sufficient for my needs and some of my wants with a great view outside my windows and doors. I'm even living in my dream home.

My only wish now is not to have to work for the corporate thieves that currently - and begrudgingly - pay my salary. I have enough even without them, especially since my paycheck is less than workers at Burger King make, and I have skills, experience, expertise, and knowledge. None of what I bring to the corporation has been earned without expense and I am not being compensated accordingly. I'd rather they fire me so I can collect unemployment, thus giving me time to finish a few more books and hone my artistic abilities. I don't think it will take me long to figure out when that wish comes true.

I'm no slacker, but I do object to being used and abused and treated like a nickel whore picked up on some alley and taken for a spin in the alley by the dumpster. Like everyone who has earned their stripes and done their time in the field, I expect to be paid what I'm worth, which is probably why you won't find me leaning up against a lamp post or lurking near an alley waiting for some cheap john to throw me a nickel or a dime for my time. Even toilets get better treatment.

I had a chat with my supervisor the other day and she informed me that I must find a better solution to having the electricity going out than calling off work or cutting my shift short. I told her that I am saving for a whole house generator, but it is currently beyond my means on the pittance they deign to pay me. Her response was to give me a verbal warning about my attendance. And I was so hoping she'd fire me, except that's not going to happen since there is NO ONE to take the graveyard shift and work the accounts and hours I work.

I am the squeaky wheel in the corporate machine. When a doctor fails to do his job, I let my supervisor know. Every Single Time. I believe that doctors should be held accountable for the same rules I must follow: accurate information and accuracy in performing the job, especially since patient safety is the most important part of the job. But, no. That is not the case.

Doctors are exempt from following the rules and accurately doing their job. After all, they have malpractice insurance for that eventuality. At least that is the corporate policy. Doctors get a pass on following the rules and I must fill in the blanks and cover the doctors' collective asses.



I understand that doctors have degrees and experience, but they are not above the law -- or the rules. And I am going to keep reminding them of that fact as long as I am still breathing. That is my job. I am not going to cover their asses and I am not going to lie for them. I won't lie for anyone come to that.

In that case, enough is enough -- and far too much. Do your job. I'll do mine.

As for compensation, I will continue to be the squeaky wheel. Someone is bound to notice soon, either to pay me more or fire me. Either way, I win.

Enough is enough.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Paper versus Electronic Books

I've been reading -- really scanning -- articles about how paper books are better than the Kindle. One researcher did add reading on an iPhone but I got the sense that it was a trick to throw off the track.

What it comes down to is new technology versus old technology.

Books have been around in paper form for a few centuries. Before that books were printed on vellum/parchment which consists of the cleaned and scraped and tanned skin of lambs. Each book was hand printed and the designs painted directly on the skin and were the property of the church, especially in the Middle Ages, and of only the wealthy. Publishing has gone through many different phases since the lambskin days and the advent of printing the Bible on cheap paper so that the average man and woman could read, which was the initial reason behind the Latin Vulgate Bible (vulgate from the Latin word meaning vulgar or common).

Books before the 20th century were printed on cotton, rags to be precise, and rag pickers delivered much of the rags used to make books. Books printed on cotton paper have lasted for centuries, but not so books printed on pulp paper (hence the whole pulp fiction genre) which contains a high level of acid and crumble within a few years -- usually about 5 years of continuous use, and often less time. Pulp paper is cheaper to make and also cheaper to throw away as evidenced by the millions of tons of paper books that are thrown into landfills. That is pure waste. Those books are published by traditional publishers by the millions and most end up as the base for new land, new home developments, and reclamation projects that are built on the billions of tons of trash generated every day. Even in the dawn of the 20th century, publishers that actually printed high quality, rag content books were being bludgeoned into submission and out of business by the pulp paper publishers. After all, who really wants to pay a high price for a book printed on rag paper when they can get cheap books printed on paper pulp that must be purchased again when the old ones wear out?

Now comes the advent of electronic books, e-books, and the need for precious resources like cotton and rags and pulp paper declines -- and so does the need for big publishing houses churning out billions of paper books. Why buy a book that will be destroyed or succumb to the ravages of time and need to be replaced when electronic books are available that use so few resources and are cheap? And if those e-books are put out by a specific retailer that has managed to make a fortune manufacturing better and cheaper tools to read those ebooks what does that leave for the traditional publishers to do but give in to the retailer and cut their profit margin?

What we have here is a battle between pulp paper book publishers and Amazon and all the stops are being pulled out to destroy Amazon, or at least reduce it to a point where the publishers can retain their royalties and their market share. Ebooks will end their reign of prosperity and watch dog status over who does and who does not get published.

Some of the studies I've read have no double-blind or control group phases and seem to be based on pseudoscience rather than hard science that relies on facts and figures and repeatable experiments with hard data. Most people don't realize that publishers also own newspapers and media outlets as well as publish books and they control the flow of information demonizing their opponents in order to achieve their objectives -- more profits and control of the flow of information -- and books.

I will not fisk every single one of the articles I read, but I will say this: reading an ebook on a computer or tablet or cellular phone is not the same as reading on a Kindle. Those other devices have access to the Internet and usually notify the user that email or RSS feeds are available, pulling the reader away from the book currently on the screen. Such devices do not help the reader maintain their focus or their attention; there is too much else going on at the same time. A paper book has no bells or whistles and only the print on the page. When one sits down to read from a book one is going to be stuck there -- as long as the TV is not on and the myriad cable channels just a wrist flick away on the remote. No one mentions those facts.

I did see one article mention that the resources used in creating the Kindle are toxic and cannot be recycled so plowing them into the landfill might cause serious consequences down the line, but so do cars and geo-engineering and contrails filling our atmosphere with heavy metals in order to control the climate, but no one mentions those either.

The solution to toxic materials is to make Kindles and other e-book readers out of sustainable materials that can be recycled or trashed in a landfill. I have not yet seen any claims by publishers that dumping millions of tons of paper books every single year into landfills has been stopped or the renewable resources that went into creation of those books being recycled or renewably sustained in another form -- outside of folding the pages and turning the unwanted, unread books into doorstops after they are suitable painted. Publishers also have offered no move back to rag paper or paper from hemp, both of which have a much longer shelf life and are less acidic than pulp paper books. What they haven't said is as loud as a scream of horror during a moment of silence -- and just as memorable.

If there is less attention to reading and more of a Mayfly attitude while reading an e-book on a device, blame the Internet and the millions of other things vying for the reader's attention and not the device, especially when the paper white technology pioneered by Amazon.com has been proven to be as easy on the eyes as a book on paper. The other features of the e-book are easily learned and e-books are a fairly recent technological breakthrough and need time for people to fully adapt.

If Norwegian high schoolers have trouble remember what comes next and cannot adequately discuss the plot points and characters of the novel or essay they are being given to read, I'd consider conducting the same experiment over a larger age range of the population with the same material and with different reading devices before claiming categorically that e-books provide no information and e-readers get less from the device than from the paper book without also examining the mind set, the behavior, and the tools used for the study. In short, a really scientific approach with double-blind and control group studies should be used and the bias left outside the testing facility.

There is room for both paper and electronic books and benefits can be had equally from both. 

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bias Optional

The headline caught my interest: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. It turned out to be an article in Forbes magazine by Jay McGregor. I read the article, which was about Mark Dawson, and about other self-published writers. McGregor noted that one writer had submitted her novel to traditional publishers and was rejected.  Those same traditional publishers are offering her a contract for the same book she self-published.

I shouldn't be surprised at the tone of the article, not after all these years of reading the same thing in the same format by numerous other writers of magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. What McGregor points out is that Amazon makes money no matter what the writer does. If the writer offers the book or even a series of books for free, Amazon makes. If a writer's book doesn't sell well, it still sells something and Amazon makes money.

What McGregor failed to say is the publisher that published Dawson's first book and let languish on the shelves, in spite Dawson doing everything he could to get the public to notice his book, made money for the publisher. In fact, it likely made more money for the publisher than for Dawson because they got a bigger share of the contractual/royalty pie.

The publisher that turned down Mel Sherratt's first book is now back at her door offering a contract for all her hard work -- and her books. She has written several and the book the publisher rejected sold 100,000 copies because of Sherratt's hard work. McGregor doesn't mention that the publisher isn't knocking on Sherratt's door with a contract simply to reward her for her hard work. The publisher knows that Sherratt's books make money and they want their share. Money is the bottom line for publishers -- and for Amazon -- but to slant the article so that truth is not immediately apparent looks biased to me.

No one is saying that Amazon publishes books from altruistic motives. Amazon is a retail business and the owner built his business because he wanted to make money. The same is true for Mark Dawson who wrote his book to make money and Mel Sherratt has written her books to make money. It's a job and jobs are all about making money. To say anything else is a lie, unless the subject is becoming a missionary or Buddhist monk.

Publishers make books to make money. It's that simple. Publishers didn't market Dawson's book because they did not see it as being able to make money for them -- the publisher. Publishers spend money on marketing only on writers whose books MAKE MONEY. That is how they justify the expenditure to the board.

Publishers rejected Mel Sharratt's first book because she hadn't sold 100,000 copies of the book before. Not until she self-published and sold 100,000 copies, writing several more books and putting her time and effort into marketing those books, were the publishers interested -- BECAUSE SHERRATT MADE MONEY and could make money for them. It's unlikely the publisher even realized they had rejected the same book the first time out because it never was on their radar. NO MONEY.

Say what you will, point out whatever writer you like, even pull Amanda Hocking out of your hat, if it had not been for Amazon -- and the hard work the writers put into marketing and getting their books in front of the public -- all of them would still be working the 9 to 5 grind and writing in their spare time. Successful writers aren't successful because a traditional publisher made them successful. They are successful because each of them did the hard work to promote their work and they kept writing. They would not have been noticed had they not self-published because traditional publishers don't waste their time and money on wannabes and new writers -- not unless there is money for the publisher up front.

Amazon doesn't charge fees to self-publish on the Kindle platform. Amazon doesn't charge for placement or marketing or anything. It's all up to the writer. Work hard and sell books and Amazon makes money -- so does the writer. 

Anyone who says they're not in business to make money is lying.  That's not bias. That's fact. It takes money to stay in business and to live, so money is the bottom line for everyone -- even churches and missionaries. Everything costs money. No money, no business. No mission. No charity. No books. No anything. Until publishers offer to publish books for free and leave selling books up to the writer, even if the writer has to pay for copy editing, book cover design, art work, and everything else, they have nothing to talk about. Comparing apples and oranges just proves that an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange not that they are equal or not.

Thanks to Jay McGregor for pointing out how these hard working writers made their book dreams come true. You have, however, not changed my mind that publishers are good and Amazon is bad. You did prove your bias and which side of the publisher versus Amazon fight you're on.

Truth is subjective. Most people don't realize that fact. There is only one recipe for success. Here it is: Write every day. Work hard and promote your books. Keep writing. Keep working. And books sales will come your way. 

Choose traditional publishing or Amazon publishing or whatever comes next, but in the end it is all up to you, the writer, to make your own success story. That's the plain truth and there's no bias added.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Have to Dig For It

Children believe whatever you tell them -- mostly. They're children. They have little experience of the world. They often haven't reached the age where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy haven't been taken away from them. They still believe in magic and fairy tales and their elders. They are innocent. They have not yet been perverted by candy, food, and money.

Nowadays the perversions begin a whole lot earlier. There's barely enough time to get used to the truth that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist nor does the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus/St. Nick/Father Christmas. Still reeling from the hidden lies told with straight faces by their parents and people they have trusted to care for them and guide them, they find out people do not live in the TV and shows are just regular people paid to pretend. Peter Pan is beginning to look pretty good and dreams about being whisked off to Never Never Land as a Lost Boy are nightly events not worth waking up from. They still have a sneaking belief in fairies and will shout loudly, "I believe," when Tinkerbell is dying on the stage and screen. They want to believe.

Children become adults and some small part of them still shouts, "I believe," when Tinkerbell's twinkling life slows and dims. They also believe in politicians and almost everyone they see on TV or in the papers or on the Internet because people who feature so prominently in the media must be doing something right. They will be pulled from one side to the other politically -- depending on who stirs their emotions, especially anger and outrage, the most. They follow the path of least resistance, herding together with the rest of the ill informed masses afraid to break from the pack and go it alone. They are afraid of being singled out and being made fun of for standing against the pack -- even for a brief moment.

Or they rage against the lies, half truths, and empty promises that vanish like soap bubbles in a hurricane -- or light breeze. Reveling in their rebellion and their ability to stand out and become famous for half a second for swimming against the current. After all, a little bit of fame, even for the wrong thing, is better than living and dying without anyone noticing.

The truth is out there, but it will take time and effort to find it out. Be a skeptic. Find the truth. Dig for it. Believe no one. It's the only path to enlightenment.

George Washington was truthful -- even as a child. After all, he chopped down a cherry tree and admitted it to his father when asked. He took his punishment for cutting down the tree and was praised for his honesty. He was a model of honesty. Too bad his biographer wasn't.

Parson Weems was a minister who wrote George Washington's biography. The publisher told Weems that his book about George Washington was boring and wouldn't sell. Weems spiced it up by adding the cherry tree story, claiming it came from an interview with an old man who knew Washington. More than likely the story was part of a parable dreamed up to illustrate that even famous men, men like General George Washington, were honest even as children and even faced with a father's wrath over losing his favorite cherry tree. After all, who would believe that Washington was an ordinary child growing up on a farm who knew the value of a healthy cherry tree producing good fruit that could be used to feed the family or sold to provide income for the family. Cutting down the tree and admitting, "I cannot tell a lie, Pa," when confronted with his crime was a far more powerful -- and in publishing terms, more lucrative -- story. Pastor Weems could salve his conscience with royalty checks and the acclaim that came with illuminating Washington's life for future generations of children learning early on that it is better to be truthful even in the face of an angry parent and the certainty of punishment. Tell the truth like George Washington and you will grow up to be a great man.

Though it is unlikely Weems thought of telling a lie in order to illustrate how important it is to tell the truth, one wonders. I wonder. The thing is, I cannot know for sure how Pastor Weems felt. I didn't know him and he never recanted the story he told from his pulpit and published in his biography of Washington. In for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes.

There is always someone to -- or something -- to lead the honest man off the path of truth. That is where Diogenes should have begun his search -- off the beaten path and deep into the forest darkness.

Anna Leonowens was an ordinary English woman whose husband died and left her with a child to raise and insufficient funds to live in the style her husband had accustomed her to when he was alive and well and earning a good income. Her husband, Thomas Leon Owens (shortening his name to Leonowens at some point), was a clerk, but earned enough to support his wife and soon his family. Thomas and Anna had four children. Two died in infancy and two, Avis and Louis, thrived.

Like most British families, the Leonowens traveled about the British Empire and seeing the empire on which the sun never set until Thomas died, leaving his wife and two children to fend for themselves. Luckily, Anna had taught school and was offered the position of teacher to the new king of Siam (Thailand), Mongkut's children, the result of frequent visits to his wives and concubines in his well stocked harem. After all, he had time to make up since his early life had been lived in a Buddhist monastery before he became king and conjugal visits were not allowed. He wasn't married. He was a Buddhist priest, so marriage wasn't part of the package.

Anna took the position after sending her daughter, Avis, back to England to school and taking her son, Louis, with her. She taught the king and his children and wives the English language and about the world and current events, as she knew them. She later wrote her memoirs about her experiences in two versions: The Favorite of the Harem and The English Governess at the Siamese Court. She also wrote several travel articles using her life and experiences. Much of what she wrote was from the point of view of the feminist who saw the Siamese court and the harem in terms of subjugation, especially where it concerned women.

Her husband became a British Army officer instead of a clerk. One wonders if it was a matter of gilding the lily or romanticizing her life and her dead husband for prestige or simply vanity.

Margaret Landon turned Anna's public lectures and writings into a novel: Anna and the King of Siam, which was a fictionalized version of the stories and published in 1946. The book became a movie with Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne and eventually with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner after Rodgers and Hammerstein bought the book for the stage in which Yul Brynner created his version of Mongkut the scientific King of Siam that resonated with the public.

Two Siamese authors wrote their own account in 1948 and sent it to America, but the image of Anna and the King based on the movie and stage versions remains the true one in the West.

As romantic as the story has come to be, an English governess and her unspoken tenderness towards the despotic and cruel, but compelling figure of the King of Siam, most recently played by Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens and Chow Yun-fat as King Mongkut, the idea of such a romance in reality is one that Asians, and in particular to the newly independent India as an inaccurate western insult to an Eastern monarch.

Consider how much more outraged ancient kings and pharaohs would be if they could see what we have turned their lives and history into in our zealous pursuit of historically accurate entertainment and scholarship.

Let's forget for a moment the outrage the Siamese, now Thai, people feel that Mrs. Leonowens had lied about their king who would never in a million years have given her a second lingering and longing look -- let alone a first. After all, the British, and most white races, fancied themselves more seductive and sought after by brown-skinned princes, rajahs, and kings than is possible, forgetting for a moment that Indian rajahs saw English women as pale and unappetizing next to the dark-eyed beauties of their own subjects. Japanese women did not long for British officers or kill themselves when their British lovers leave them to return to the fleet and home taking their illegitimate children, as in Madame Butterfly, and no Siamese King ever thought more of the British woman he hired to teach English to his children, princes and princesses, and to the women of his harem, than he would have thought of any servant. One might even sigh and say, "Oh, those British. They are such romantics -- and liars, but what can one do?"

Anna's lie has been instilled into popular memory because of its romance, not because it is true (it is not) but because it gives the romantics among us the hope that even in danger in a foreign country, if one is audacious and courageous anything is possible -- even when one doesn't take advantage of the situation. After all, there are standards to maintain and one mustn't lose sight of the differences between civilized British women and savage and backward Eastern despots no matter what.

When the facts of recent events being portrayed by people with their own views and agendas aren't remotely correct, how can we expect to find truth in the suppositions and theories of men and women of science and history reconstructing the past from a perch thousands of years later and without an understanding of what life was like? I am reminded of a little book, a pamphlet really, called Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay.

The time is 4022 CE (common era) written about a civilization that perished in a day in 2025.  Macaulay's story is much like Jonathan Swift's essay, A Modest Proposal, that advocated cannibalism of the poor's children to provide food for the British people and relieving the burden of raising too many children on the poor. Motel of the Mysteries is a spoof of Howard Carter and Lord George Carnarvon's discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankamun and illustrates the point that using such finds to recreate the entire history and reality of a culture and its civilization is less science and more fantasy. YouTube has an interesting recreation of Macaulay's spoof here. Keep in mind the video is an adaptation of the story. Pick up the book, about the size of a large coloring book, and read it.

There are many examples of lies becoming the stuff of legends and given out as truth. Mostly, those flights of fancy are called fiction, but when one puts memoir or biography or history in the title, the masses will believe everything between the covers is fact -- and truth. Add science to the title or letters to the author's name and the Truth-o-meter automatically goes to the top -- even when there is little more than theory and conjecture on the pages. Consumed as we are with reality television and factual exposes that contain few facts and even less reality, we seldom go looking farther than a friend or talking head for validation, neither of which will have looked beyond the words printed on the page or hot gossip over the back fence.

The point of being able to read is that one is often obliged to go to the library or search beyond Wikipedia or Google to find answers, to get to the bottom of the story. If one does nothing else it is best to keep this in mind: Everyone lies. The more letters behind the name, the higher a holy man gets in his chosen religious profession, the more money he gets from publishers and producers, the better the likelihood the lies will increase along with the balance in his bank account and the length of the limo that chauffeurs him to his latest appearance for readings, lectures, sermons, talk shows, etc. Trust no one and nothing, not even books.

In today's world, the pressure to publish or perish has increased with the popularity of and pervasiveness of the media. Newspapers and magazines will flourish for a year or a few decades and then disappear from view if they fail to titillate and attract the fickle public. Academic halls are full of teachers and teaching assistants hoping for their chance to earn tenure and be noticed, neither of which will happen if they buck ignore the politics of the academic world, fail to publish, and buck the system (in other words, refuse to toe the party line). The pressure is even greater in the modern world to conform and produce. That is how to get funding for digs and be granted tenure. Anything else means living in limbo and ending up a talking head on a radio talk show on conspiracy theories and aliens or in a cheap video with as much respect as any huckster or con artist promoting the latest hoax and conspiracy theory. In other words, one ends up on the academic heap with a shattered reputation and no professional future. Start drinking heavily and mainlining heroin now. Don't waste your time.

The chance of finding the facts in that kind of environment decreases daily. Photoshop stands in for actual photographs of wars and skirmishes and video footage of atrocities are staged for effect. It takes a lot of digging in dusty books and among the cobwebbed stacks in secondhand bookstores and libraries to get within spitting distance of an obscure bit of data or an actual fact that rings with truth.

Take no one's word at face value. Believe nothing and no one, and especially discount the testimony from insiders. They are about as useful as a tip at the race track from a groom that was just fired. Keep in mind that everybody lies, some with thoughts of fame and money on their minds and some with visions of recreating the past within the confines of academic pursuits but with a mind nurtured and fed on fantasy and fairy tales. Not everyone lies in the same way or for the same motives, but mankind is not often pure in its intentions. We create the worlds we wish to see, blending fact and fiction and possibilities into reality -- or at least what is seen as a version of reality that has little relationship to truth.

It means living in a world where suspicion is the norm and where you might have to get out the magnifying glass to get a closer look, but at least the chances of being hoodwinked are less.

Or you can read and keep an open mind -- or at least make up your own mind without relying on gossip or the media to make up your mind for you. Beware the herd -- or mob -- mentality. The IQ goes down faster the longer one follows the crowd. In short, figure it out for yourself. You might end up using the education you were given in public school for something other than reading cereal boxes and filling out quizzes on what the shape of your fingers says about you. Have fun, but beware the easy answer.

It's not easy making up one's own mind and avoiding the urge to gossip or follow the mob with the pitchforks and torches and it is certain more difficult fighting against the crowd when the put-downs and personal attacks begin, but the payoff is in being sufficiently informed to make an informed decision. It might make the world around you better if you hold yourself -- and everyone around you -- to a higher standard of truth.

That is all. Disperse.