Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Portrait of Neo-Con Operatives

A portrait of neo-con operatives

Is it the haircut that seems so similar?

Or is it the face of a zealot who will do anything to fulfill his aims?

This is the portrait of men who kill for Christ.

Thoughts about being Average

I have never claimed to be average. I have no ambition to be average or normal. To me, if you ran the statistics on domestic violence, drug abuse, cigarette smoking, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, and the use of chemical herbicides, and insecticides, all would be average and normal. The family which practices Non-Violent Communication, eats healthy home-cooked food, avoids plastics, walks or rides a bike instead of burning fossil fuel, and pulls their weeds is not at all average.

I do everything I can to try to slow climate change. I admit, I drive a gasoline-powered car, but can't afford a hybrid or electric car. I get around town on my bike for most errands and only use my car when I have to haul freight or travel in the rain or dark of night.  I dream of a biodiesel SUV, but current regulations prohibit such vehicles into the USA.  I waited 2 decades for a front loading washing machine to be permitted into the USA; I am already a decade into waiting for my biodiesel SUV.

In addition, I am slowly phasing plastic out of my life. Plastic is difficult since nearly all tools and appliances are made with plastic nowadays, and single-use plastic bags have been banned in the State for a year already. Garbage bags are one of those things that are hard to shift away from plastic. I commonly reuse single-use plastic bags to line my garbage cans. As such, I brought about 150 single-use grocery bags from my sister's home in another state. That number of bags should have been sufficient for 5-10 years of garbage pail liners.

Part of the regime includes recycling. All food waste goes into the compost, which we use to fertilize our crops.  Meat bones go into the curbside yard waste bins. Our town recycles everything except plastic bags and Styrofoam, which have to go into the landfill waste. The waste management company not only pastes a large label to the recycle bin explaining what can be recycled and how, but also sends similar announcements in the mail. One such notice is attached to our refrigerator to remind everyone. Even our waste management company suggests we rinse the food waste off of the recycle items in this devastating drought using gray water.  So we have a gray water catch basin in one side of the double sink with a hand-held ladle for use in rinsing recyclables and dishes destined for the dishwasher in the other sink.

At election time, I collect all the voting literature in a big pile on the kitchen table. I collect the opinions of the various newspapers and political action groups and add them to the pile. Then I schedule a few days with my sons to sit around the kitchen table studying the pros and cons of every candidate and initiative, until we all fill out our ballots together.  I have come to understand that traveling short distances by bicycle, avoiding plastic, reusing plastic bags, recycling, composting, use of gray water, and studying the ballot before voting are not average but rather exceptional.  

The purpose of this lengthy prologue is to introduce our new housemate. He is part Native American, but doesn't know what tribe. He feels a kinship with green-growing things and talks in sacred terms about "ceremony." Yet, he lives on an egg farm a buys his eggs from the grocery store.  He uses a roll of toilet paper a day but declines to purchase toilet paper made from recycled material.  When our new housemate saw my sons and I studying the voting literature, he remarked that "nobody does that." I assumed he meant that he has never seen anyone do that. He meant that he has never himself done that. He said that the "average person" doesn't study up on the issues before voting. I think he is right. It makes me wonder why the government and all the newspapers even give us all this reading material if no one bothers to read it. I am perplexed.

After several months of gently orienting the new housemate to recycling and the use of gray water, I find him doing a laundry every day with just a few rags and not a full load. I find soiled cans in the trash and plastic bags in the recycle bin, and the gray water will be polluted with grease and food waste requiring even more water just to clean the gray water basin. He takes at least one shower per day and flushes the toilet more than 10 times/day. He has already depleted my imported bag supply and had to buy a box of plastic bags from the store to replenish the supply. He takes the garbage out daily needing daily replacements of plastic garbage bags. All the food he buys is wrapped in individual plastic packages, and throws his CRV (return deposit) beverage containers in the trash. It is beyond his comprehension why we should conserve on plastic bags, let alone recycle according to the city requirements. Every day I pick food and cans out of the garbage, plastic bags out of the recycling. My new housemate smiles and lies to me saying he will try to get it right next time. After all, it is written in his lease that he must recycle according to the city's requirements.

The housemate contends that the "average" person doesn't do any of this. He states he is a "team player," and if the majority don't bother recycling, composting, conserving water or reducing the use of plastic, then it wastes his time to do otherwise. I was astounded at his use of wasting time as the reason not to recycle since he wastes a lot of my time talking about himself to me. I have known this man casually for many years and am well aware that most of what he says is rhetoric. In essence, he will sit for an hour watching me pick his soiled cans out of the garbage and rinse them with gray water while he goes on and on about himself, his family, his extended family, the farm in which he feels a kinship, the construction jobs he is so proud of, and his health issues. I have heard it all before. But he doesn't have time to rinse the cans out himself because he is a "team player," his team being the unknown "average" people whom he assumes never comply with the policies, laws or rules. 

In a certain sense, he is right. The average person doesn't connect their car trip to the corner store, their garbage full of plastic wrappers, single portion wrapped food items, disposable plastic eating ware, daily showers or toilet flushes with the melting ice caps, the continent of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or the fact that their citrus trees and bougainvilleas froze to death last winter or that the shoreline parking lots are now flooded.

Here is a word about ignorance. Ignorance is the condition of ignoring. To ignore is to know the facts and choose to not take heed of them. It is one thing to be a baby never having been exposed to the information. One would refer to such baby as being ignorant but in fact they are uninformed. They can't ignore what they have never known. It is entirely another case when every package of cigarettes has a lethal warning on the side and a person smokes them anyway. It is another thing when a diabetic eats a doughnut, or someone with lactose intolerance has a root beer float, or if a woman votes for a candidate who proudly admits to sexual abuse.

So, I have to conclude that my new housemate is right. The average person ignores the facts.
It is the topic for another essay what drives the average person if not facts and regard for their own welfare and the welfare of their community. And if it is isolated to the USA or if this kind of ignorance is worldwide. And if it is unique to this time in history, or if the use by people in power to convince the average person to ignore the facts has always been used throughout recorded time. And why people prefer ignorance when given a choice. All topics too extensive for today's exploration of what is average.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

About feeling blue

The gift of life is very precious. We are not given life for no reason. We, the living, need to find out what that special purpose is, and then carry it out. The purpose is usually about healing the world, tikkun olam.  And like the flapping of the wings of a butterfly, everything we do affects everything and everyone else in the world just a little.

I imagine humans were created in order to help the omnipotent eternal Being develop wisdom. Limitless power and unending compassion doesn't mean that S/he is wise. It is a commandment in Judaism for all Jews to work on fixing the world. That's probably why so many world leaders have been Jewish.

Feeling down depends on a lot of reasons. Sure! Lots in life sucks! But we can't have pleasure without pain. We can't have happy without sad. Yeah. Take a pill and be neutral all the time. Ugh! Feelings and emotions are part of the mind-body complex that we have been given this time around. Without the precious gift of life, there would be no feelings. So the choice is nothing or everything. I observe my feelings with interest and seek to find the true message the emotion is trying to tell me. What lesson is there for me to learn from this emotion to make me wiser?

If the emotion is unpleasant, I observe with interest what unpleasant feelings do to my body, to my throat, my gut, the hair on my back, my heart, etc. I also observe that I feel repelled by the unpleasant emotion. I observe this all with interest. I am timeless, and currently embodied in this corporeal temple for a few years, to help the eternal One heal the world.  

In addition, a junk food diet will make anyone feel blue.  Proper nutrition including fruits and vegetables are essential for good mental health.  B-vitamin deficiency is known to cause or exacerbate mental health issues.  We take a daily vitamin over here of B-50.  It helps to keep us sane.  

Aerobic exercise gives off natural endorphins that act like anti-anxiety medication.  A sedentary lifestyle eating junk food texting to your friends on your smart phone is bound to cause metabolic changes that will make you feel depressed.  

Volunteer your time to those less fortunate than you. Their horrific stories make our woes seem so minor.  Start counting your blessings instead of focusing on the empty half of the glass.  I'm alive!  I can still walk and talk and think and feel.  I have a safe, warm, comfortable place to sleep and people who love me.  I have enough money for my needs.  I have another precious day of life for tikkun olam, to heal the world. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The election of 1912 was very similar to today a century later

I finally finished reading "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It has been an amazing read since conditions a century ago were very similar to now. Only the political parties seemed more honest.  

It was mainly focused around the election of 1912, in which all 4 candidates agreed that corporate abuses were the #1 issue. All 4 candidates were in the Progressive spectrum.

Republican William Howard Taft was formerly Roosevelt's sidekick in the Progressive Republican agenda to regulate corporations, break up the Trusts, promote labor rights, and conserve land from the greedy hands of mining corporations and preserve them for the People. They favored a post office bank, child labor laws, 8-hr workdays, Workman's Comp insurance, European style social insurance, direct election of Senators, prohibition of corporate campaign donations, and a progressive income tax. Taft wanted to break up all the trusts. During his first term beginning 1908, he made a lot of compromises. By 1912, he was considered the "Conservative" of all the Progressives running.

Not being chosen by the Republican convention, former President Teddy Roosevelt felt Taft had abandoned the Progressive agenda by compromising with the corporations on some things, so he started a new party called the Progressive Party. But since everyone associated it with Roosevelt, people liked to call it the Bull Moose Party. They were also advocating women's suffrage, and the rights of referendum on 5-4 split SCOTUS decisions. His platform was that all power belongs to the People and money is to serve the People, not be master.  People are more important than property. 

On the way to Roosevelt's first speech as the Progressive candidate for President, an assassin shot Roosevelt at point blank range. The bullet was slowed by the 50-page speech he had written and folded in half to fit into his breast pocket. The bullet lodged in his rib, and he went on to give the entire speech anyway before spending the remainder of his campaign convalescing. He still beat Taft 27% to 24%. He never regained his robust health and died 6 years later of a cardiac embolus.

Calvinist intellectual Woodrow Wilson, governor of New Jersey, was the Progressive Democrat. He was chosen at the Democratic Convention on the 48th vote. Can you imagine if there were 48 votes at the upcoming Democratic Convention in Philadelphia? If so, I'm sure Bernie would be the winner! Wilson had almost the same agenda as Roosevelt and Taft. Only, Wilson was a southerner, and so firmly believed in segregation. He institutionalized segregation in many government services. He also initiated the Federal Reserve in order to control the money supply. But as a candidate, he was an anti-corporate Progressive. He won with less than 42% of the vote.

And Eugene Debbs ran as the Socialist candidate for the 4th time. No, the campaign was not conducted from prison this time; that would be 1920, when he was convicted for Sedition for speaking against the war. He was not just anti-corporate; he believed that the whole Capitalist system was wrong and was impossible to regulate. He promoted common ownership of the means of production, co-op prisons, a national bureau of health, abolition of both the Senate and the presidential veto. 
All of these Progressives envisioned an expanded role for the government beyond just national defense.  They all felt to one degree or another that the role of the government was the welfare of the People.   Unlike today, when only the Green Party expresses values like the Progressives of 1912.  Both our current Democrat and Republican Parties kowtow to Wall Street and corporate interests, just like the corrupt legislatures that the 1912 Progressive candidates were striving to fight. 

The things I liked most about this book are these:
1. Every time they described the boundless energy of Teddy Roosevelt, I thought of Aric Cordell.
2. It really put into perspective the current 2016 election when we are facing mostly the exact same issues.
3. The incredible Muckraking journalists, Ida Tarbell, Jay Baker, Lincoln Phillips, Sam McClure, etc., thought that when they exposed the corruption to the American People, that justice would prevail. They all became disillusioned understanding that the general public doesn't care a whit.
4. It contrasted the campaign styles of Roosevelt and Taft. Taft was straightforward, trustworthy, logical and linear, and wanted to be loved. Roosevelt wanted to win. He rode the public sentiment like a surfer, and learned how to manipulate the legislature in order to get what he wanted. It teaches me how much of getting political justice has to do with manipulation.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The 1912 Democratic Platform was far more Progressive than now

The thing about voting in California is that your absentee ballot only gets counted if you submitted it well in advance of election day. Absentee ballots submitted on election day don't get accounted for until almost a month later. Since the polls in CA close 3 hours after those in the east, by 7pm on election day, Californians have a pretty good idea of how the rest of the nation voted. If it is close, you can vote for the lesser of 2 evils. In 2000, I voted for Gore instead of Nader at 7:45pm. If one candidate is distinctly ahead, you can vote for the best of the lot, because your vote becomes a statement at that point. In 2012 when Obama was far ahead of Romney, I proudly voted for Jill Stein.

The question is, if the race is close, do you vote for the best choice thereby possibly allowing the worst candidate to get elected like in 2000 when Nader got over 2% of the vote which supposedly stole the election from Gore. The fact is, Nader took the blame but Bush stole the election in a rigged system. The next question is, when the system is rigged, what difference does it make how we vote?

It was obvious to Gore in 2000, to Kerry in 2004, and to Sanders in 2016. The system is rigged and they ended up walking away rather than challenge a corrupt system. Bernie at least used his considerable influence, having nearly as many primary votes as Hillary, to squeeze a few progressive concessions into the Democratic platform. Bernie wants it to be the most progressive platform the Democrats have ever had, but he has overlooked the far more progressive 1912 Democratic platform listed below.  Woodrow Wilson was the Democratic candidate and winner. Link to the actual text of the 1912 Democratic Platform
Curb corporate abuses with:
  1. Honest tariffs
  2. Regulation of Railroad rates
  3. Break up the monopolies with Anti-Trust laws
  4. Prohibit all corporate campaign contributions
  5. Regulate of Interstate Commerce
  6. Conserve of National Parks and wilderness lands free from corporate exploitation
  7. Nationalize of Alaskan coal before the giant monopolies take them
  8. Labor Rights
  9. Oppose the Federal Reserve but favor public banks
  10. Post Office Bank
  11. A Civil Service Law rather than the Spoils System of government positions
  12. Direct election of Senators
  13. Farm credit reform
  14. A Progressive income tax
  15. States Rights
  16. Presidential primaries in States
  17. Pure Food and Public Health
  18. Decrease poverty and the high cost of living with redistribution of wealth
  19. Control the Mississippi and use it to generate power
  20. Enforce the Monroe Doctrine with a strong navy
 The fact is, that in 1912, everyone was so sick and tired of the giant corporations getting filthy rich at the expense of everyone else, destroying free trade and monopolizing the industries, that all 4 candidates in the election were Progressives.  William Howard Taft, the incumbent, was in the Progressive wing of the Republican Party.  Woodrow Wilson was in the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  Former Republican Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican vote by starting a third party called the Progressive Party (aka Bull Moose Party).  Eugene Debs was a Progressive Socialist, left of the other 3 Progressives.  1912 Election candidates in Wikipedia

Conditions a century ago sound a lot like now.  Obviously, whatever the Progressive Reformers did to control corporate abuses a century ago didn't last.  History repeats itself.  But where are our Progressive reformers now, to break the stranglehold of the corporations? 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Our Public Servants Choose to Deceive the Public about Election Results

How can an election be determined on only 40% of the vote???
California has 30 days to report all the mail-in and provisional ballots. Since closing polls saves money, the majority of voters in Mendocino County use mail-in ballots. The County Elections page disingenuously reports 100% votes counted when only 40% of votes were counted in that report.

In that 30 days when the majority of the votes are counted and NOT REPORTED, campaigns change, lives change, decisions are made, all based on counting less than half the votes. When I asked Sue Ranochak, the elected official in charge of these things, she replied that it has always been done that way, even when Marcia Wharff was in charge. Keith Wyner asked Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who referred him to IT. His answer was that it is a software issue.

If it is neglect or a software issue, it is still a matter of our public servants deliberately or negligently deceiving us, the voting public, as to the true results of the election. THE SYSTEM IS FLAWED!!!!
When asked, our county elections official, Susan Ranochak, responded:
The way we've reported our election night results haven't changed.  The number of precincts reporting is always 100%.  The reason for this is all precincts have reported whether it's one vote in the precinct or five hundred.  It's also imperative that the polling places are included in the these results as 100% accounted for.  That in no way means that all the votes are counted.  That is why we identify the report as the final election night report.  When the canvass is complete and the results are posted  we label that report as the final official results.  We do not use the term final official results until we have completed the canvass.
Your are correct some counties have provided additional updates.  It is up to the individual registrar how many updates they will provide during the canvass.  I choose to wait until the canvass is complete and only do one update.  This is not something new.  I've done this during my tenure as Assessor Clerk-Recorder/Registrar Of Voters.  My predecessor Marsha Wharff also thought this was the best route too take so this has been going on for a considerable length of time in Mendocino County.
 "this" refers to deceiving the voters about the results of an election for a month. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Considering the ethics of forced vaccination programs

 March 20, 2015
I am a school nurse, as well as a student of ethics.

As a school nurse, I am a representative of the State and am required to advocate for vaccines as part of my job description. I make sure all my schools comply with CA State vaccination mandates.
At the same time, I understand that every student at school is someone's family treasure, and we are charged with the duty of keeping the students safe while they are in school.
I don't doubt that many of the vaccines are efficacious and safe. I remember how in my childhood, everyone was forced to get a smallpox vaccine. I remember taking my own perfect infant daughter to be marred and scarred with a smallpox vaccine. But it wiped smallpox off the face of the Earth. It was a success!

But since the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, it has been deemed unethical to force medical treatments upon people without their consent. Then we must weigh which is the higher good, to protect the public from deadly diseases, or to give people sovereignty over their own bodies, and those of their children?

The press release from Senators Feinstein & Boxer concerning Head Start students about preventing "deadly diseases like measles." The CDC reports that over 1/4 of children under 5 who contract the measles have to be hospitalized for diarrhea (24%), dehydration (21%), and (17%) pneumonia. No cases of encephalitis and no deaths were reported. NOT DEADLY! Yet, at least 3000 - 49,000 people die each year of influenza, and I don't hear anyone talking about forced flu vaccines. I think perhaps you are jumping on the measles panic bandwagon with this legislation to force vaccines on children without the parents' consent.

When smallpox and polio vaccines were invented, they were public health miracles. But now we have a government that cuts funding for FDA research, fast-tracks vaccines, and protects corporate rights more than human rights. Many people are suspicious of what the government sponsors these days because our members of Congress seem to have mostly sold out to corporate interests and no longer protect the People. We have been betrayed by our public servants.

Many people feel that natural immunity is superior to vaccinations. As such, they breast feed their infants to protect infant immunity for the first couple of years. They feed their children organic foods, live far from air pollution, and wash their hands before meals. They believe that good health is the best protection, and if their child catches a disease, it will be mild and provide a better lifetime immunity than a vaccine manufactured by a big pharmaceutical corporation interested in maximizing profits. Considering how our government has betrayed the People time and again, many people prefer good health and natural immunity to injecting manufactured serums into their precious children.

I don't know what is right. Historical vaccination programs have been a boon to worldwide public health, but never before have world governments been as influenced by profiteering corporations as they are today. To me, informed consent is the most ethical thing to do. I can't bear the karma of forcing parents to vaccinate their children against their wishes. I just give them the facts and let them decide.

I suggest you get off the measles panic bandwagon and stay off the annual pandemic panics and instead advocate for more money for schools to hire school nurses to teach health promotion. The fact is that most of the school nurses in northern CA shamefully have caseloads of 4000 students each and have no time to do prevention programs. School nurses advocating good health is no longer a priority in CA schools, and school nurses have had their hours cut and caseloads expanded as if they are being phased out as unnecessary expenses. Instead, the government is investing in vaccines. And you want to take away the parent's right to sovereignty over their child for a mild childhood disease like measles.   I don't think it is ethical.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What can we do about bad laws?

Photo of British suffragette Ada Wright being beaten for breaking the voting law
This is what happens when you break the law. She's lucky they didn't shoot her! They might have if she were Black in the USA.

In 1492, it became illegal in Spain to practice Judaism. Let's say a Spanish family secretly lit candles Friday night to keep the Sabbath holy, then went to church Sunday morning, removing their hat in the Christian style of respect, and genuflecting with holy water at the sanctuary door. Then Monday at school, their child accidentally mentions the Sabbath candles, this picture might be that child's mother after the teacher had informed the police of a known family that breaks the law.

What do citizens do about bad laws? There is a list of bad laws too long to mention here. At Move to Amend, they try to convince corrupt members of Congress to amend the Constitution to state that Rights are for natural persons only. They think that a groundswell of public sentiment might sway the Congress. At Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, they say we should write local laws that directly violate the bad laws, and take it to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to achieve justice in the law. Mahatma Gandhi advocated non-violent direct action even risking death at the hand of those enforcing the bad law. He even advocated home rule in his 1910 book, "Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule." by M.K. Gandhi 1910

How do we achieve justice in the law? Should we include illegal provisions in our new Mendocino County charter like banning the constitutional protection of rights to fictional persons? This is like the "Emperor with No Clothes." It is obvious to everyone that the Bill of Rights was aimed at humans. Yet everyone is somehow willing to accept that under a quirk of the law, that aggregates of money charted by a state to do business have equal protection under the law as human beings or citizens.

I wonder if we include something that contradicts currently established laws, i.e. that fictional persons have rights protected by the Constitution, that even if the voters approve the charter at the polls, would the Secretary of State even ratify a charter with provisions directly contradictory to known law? We should call him and ask.

I wonder if the police would beat up a corporation like this if the corporation tried to vote?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Banning Neonicotinoid pesticides in the charter vs. stating our rights

On Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 11:08 PM,> wrote:
EPA Confirms Activists' Longtime Claims: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Threatens Honeybees

Els asks, "How does this square with the CA Department of Pesticide Regulation that regulates all economic poisons? Can a charter county override that?"

My response:
That's a good question.  All the thousands of pounds of Roundup that is used on our school campuses has been approved by Chuck Morse, the County Ag Commissioner. 

That's what Community Rights is all about.  They say that we the People have the right to govern ourselves and protect our health and welfare.  Therefore, they advocate making local ordinances that contradict bad state or federal laws, and give the example of the women's suffrage movement. 

Personally, I think that even if the people vote in favor of something like prohibiting corporate constitutional rights within the county, a charter with such wording may not get ratified by the California Secretary of State. 

So if we want specific things like that in the charter, we may need to wait until we tack on an amendment in the future.  That can be a new project for Move to Amend in our county.  I'd vote for it.

Until then, we can clearly declare our right to protect our health, safety and environment within the charter.  That's what I call a Community Rights Charter.  I'd rather see global rights in the charter than specific items like neonicotinoid pesticides.  The chemical industries will just invent another pesticide even worse.  But a statement of our right to be free of chemical trespass, the right to health, safety, environmental protection, and the right to protect our agricultural lands and clean food supply, etc, will better serve us. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why can't we practice our 1st Amendment Free Speech rights at the post office?

Until the Patriot Act was passed, we used to be able to gather signatures for ballot measures and propositions in front of the post office.  I call that the citizen's 1st Amendment right to petition the government for redress of our grievances.  Others call it 1st Amendment Free Speech rights.  In 2012, when we were gathering signatures for Prop 37, the GMO labeling effort, and Measure F, the anti-corporate personhood rights effort, the Ukiah postmaster called the police to drive the petitioners away.  I asked Steve, one of the clerks there, who replied that citizens can't petition in front of the Post Office because it is private property. 

I have heard that the USPS had privatized some of their services, but I had thought that the Post Office was federal property.  In a democracy, the government is formed by the People to serve the People, and therefore, all Federal property belongs to all American citizens. 

I had also heard that the Patriot Act had a provision that prohibits ordinary citizens from getting within a certain distance of any diplomat.  Thomas Jefferson is probably turning over in his grave about that. But it shouldn't pertain to the Post Office since there are no diplomats inside. 

Even if the Post Office was private property, the Supreme Court 1980 Pruneyard Decision ruled that 1st Amendment rights are higher than private property in places that can be considered equivalent to the town square, like a modern shopping center.  I would pose that the Post Office is also equivalent to a town square.  So the fact that American citizens can't practice our 1st Amendment rights in our democratic nation in front of the federal post office perplexes and alarms me. 

Can anyone tell me why the Post Office is now off limits to citizens to practice democracy?  Will we have to get arrested gathering signatures in front of the Post Office and take the case to the Supreme Court?