America – Great? Or not?

 Greetings and salutations;
I do not know about y’all,  but, as a Citizen of America,  who loves my country,  I am getting pretty damn tired of the Donald saying it is a pile of shit,  and we would be lucky for him to come in and clean it up for us.   That, to me,  is a combination of living in a beau monde’/Fantasy World and,  a painfully strong level of hubris  – allowing him and his minions to buy into this lies about America,  and the idea that The Donald is likely to “clean it up for us”.
America has its problems;  No one argues about that.   Over the decades,  we, as a society have supported our government’s engagement in illegal,  secret wars in Southeast Asia,  the Middle East, and other places around the world.   We have supported our government imprisoning civilians on foreign soil,  and torturing them on a daily basis,  in a vain attempt to extract information about terrorist activities around the world.   This in spite of the facts that many of these civilians were swept up by their own country,  in order to cash in on the bounties offered by our armed forces;  that they were, in most cases,  totally in the dark about terrorists,  because they were often the target of said terrorists;  We have supported our government in participating in illegal activities ranging from drug running to arms sales to anyone,  friend and enemy alike;  We have supported our police turning into a pseudo military force,  with the toys,  but not the training or understanding to avoid treating the citizenry as if they were enemies on the battlefield;   We have allowed the powerful in our society to luxuriate in their riches,  and leave people in need (the poverty stricken,  the folks with mental or physical health issues,  the Veterans we have created by our wars) to rot in the street;  We have allowed our governments to oppress subgroups of our society for no sane reason.   I could go on for a LOT longer,  but, this hits the high points.
Too many of these problems come from the intolerant and hateful speech of the Right-Wing,  although we Left-Winger’s can hop in that cesspool too.   Too many of these problems stem from the contempt for education and rational thought that has been growing in America for the past 30+ years.   There are many facets to this sad state of affairs,  but these are big ones.
    That having been said…in a larger sense,  America is STILL a great country.   Every day,  when I skim my Face-book connection,   I see stories of police and firefighters putting their lives on the line to go the extra mile and save citizens or their companion animals from disaster.   I see stories of citizens who go out of their way to rescue abused animals,  and try to get them healthy and into a good home.  I see stories of random acts of kindness to strangers.  I see postings from friends and strangers,  including pictures,  of experiences and lovely places in this great country that they have enjoyed.   I even have had the opportunity to debate, in a civil,  rational way,  the pros and cons of both Presidential Candidates.   So, it is my claim that for the Donald to claim that America needs to be made great again is an insult to every citizen of this country.   As noted before, we have problems.   However,  fixing those problems does not mean taking a wrecking ball to the country’s government, and world-wide reputation,  and rebuilding from scratch.   That is not the view of a negotiator,  but it certainly is the view of a fairly bad developer.
This election cycle is, with no doubt,  the slimiest and ugliest Presidential election I have seen in my 60+ years of life.   As the time grows short to November 8th,  when the election actually happens and the questions are resolved about who will occupy the White House for the next four years,  the Donald’s level of rhetoric is getting increasingly insane.   Just the other day,  at  a rally of his minions,   he claimed that if he loses the election it will be because of a world-wide conspiracy involving President Obama,  HRC,  and the vast ocean of uber-rich Commies  and Muslims out there that want to destroy America.    If this election were not so outrageously important, it would be a great TV Reality Show…   Should we, as a society,  accept and reward this kind of hateful rhetoric that is so obviously a lie?    The donald claims that he is the only one that can clean up the problems.   This is foolish,  and impossible.  If America is to improve, then, it will take the efforts of ALL of us…not one person.
How can we go about this?   We, citizens,  must focus on supporting the President,  and demanding of our elected Representatives that they take actions that DO move America forwards.  The petty tantrums and obstructionism of the past eight years have got to end.   The Right-Wingers need to look up and incorporate the definition of the word “Compromise” into their lives,  and remember that if they want to keep their cushy, well paid jobs,  they must GOVERN…not simply engage in infighting.
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
(oh, yes,  the picture of sleeping kittens is just to give you a moment of lightness in this annoyed post)

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A Contemplation on Truth

Greetings and Salutations;

As I poked through the Social Media postings this morning,  I saw many spews of hatred for Hillary Clinton,  claiming she is,  among other things a liar.   These posts,  and the general tenor of the Presidential Campaign this year,  have moved me to look at the issue of “Truth” and our requirements of it.   I am sure y’all will not be surprised to hear that there is quite a bit of hypocrisy in this debacle.  In fact, we are hypocrites of the first water,  as I believe we are demanding a level of “honesty” of some politicians far and above that which we require of ourselves. To top it off, many of us believe that the candidate we support reaches that goal of perfection!
Politicians are human,  just like the rest of us.  We all have an agenda we want to progress.   For us individuals,  it might be to get a new house loan;  or to get our kids to be good people;  or to get a raise at work;  Too often,  I fear,  it is to deflect blame for a mistake, and avoid punishment for that error.   For politicians,  it includes  an attempt to influence life on a broader scale, and,  change the lives of more people.   While working to achieve this agenda,  they, at times,  make statements that are false.    There are many reasons for this.  Sometimes,  it is because they have bad information.   Sometimes,  it is because they hold an idea or stance  based on opinion,   not facts.   Sometimes, they go too far in trying to interpret the truth in a way that strengthens their position.   Sometimes they out and out lie,  in order to get the voters to support them.
I believe, though, that it is a fool’s errand to judge them more harshly because of the simple fact that they are not always perfectly accurate and truthful.  Which of us is so pure of spirit and so free of the sin of lying,  that we can cast the first stone?   I certainly am not,  nor do I know anyone who is.   As we go through life,   we often “bend the truth”  to our advantage.   Is it “right?”…not at all.   Is it “human?”…Very much so!  However, to condemn a person because they are human is nonsense.
How then,  should we evaluate the politicians that want to control our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens?  I submit we should look at the preponderance of evidence when  forming an opinion of them and deciding if we want to support their goals.   Look at their actions,  and Life history,  as well as the words they are spraying out in an effort to convince me to vote for them.   Make a strong effort to NOT let one’s own prejudices filter the words and actions of these people.   I have suggested that it is best to  sit down with a pencil and paper,  and make a two-column list of the things the candidates have pushed as parts of their agenda,  and their views of reality.   On the left column…write down the things we do not agree with at all.   On the right column,  write down the items that we fully support.   Then,  look at that list, and use it to  decide which candidate best represents what YOU believe…and then vote for them.
Hopefully,  those truths will help in finding a good path, and electing politicians who will work to make our country a better place.
Now, then…some specific words about the current,  Presidential Candidates.
Hillary Clinton haTruth_Gone_Nbcnews-Hillary_Clinton.jpgs been in the public eye since she was at University,  working to improve the lot of, and,  protect the oppressed and poor in America.  I shall not list her accomplishments here,  as they are easily found online.   By objective analysis,  she tells the truth at least 75% of the time.   She has, through the years,  made mistakes, and had errors in judgment, which were based in the problems listed above in this note.  However,  she has taken responsibility for those actions,  has publicly apologized for them,  and has worked to never make that same mistake again.  In spite of this,  there has been a long campaign of hatred from segments of society  that attempt to paint her as the Devil herself.  These slanders are  a campaign based in lies,  but, has been so cleverly pushed that too many Americans have bought into the lies and so dislike her.
Donald Trump is painted by himself and his campaign as a paragon of perfection, a teller of Truth  and the Savior of the Country.   A large percentage of the public believes this,  in spite of the fact that objective analysis of his statements over the past 17 months has shown that 95% of the time…he is lying to some extent or another.  This ranges from misinterpreting the truth,  to such obvious falsehoods that fact checkers are amazed at his audacity.  Time and time again, he has lied, and done evil things,  yet,  as of today,  I have not heard a SINGLE example of him acknowledging his mistake,  taking responsibility for it,  and apologizing to those injured by it. I could fill up screen after screen of examples where he has lied, or, supports policies that will keep Americans from voting,  or remove civil rights from groups of citizens.  It is the work of a moment to look this up online though….  In spite of this horrible record of exclusion and oppression,  there are a large percentage of voters who swallow his claims whole,  and love him.
So…these two examples  bring up the questions that have bothered me for months now.   Why have we, as a society,  decided to tolerate a political situation where it is not only “OK” to lie,  but that behavior  is rewarded?   Is this the kind of society we want to live in?   Is “Truth” no longer important?     I do not like the view of our Society I get from the answers I believe apply to these questions.  What do y’all think?
pleasant dreams
Bee Man Dave.

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Where have all the bee-girls gone? Long time passing…


Greetings and Salutations;
Sigh….the world of the beekeeper is full of odd moments these days.    The problems with bees being killed off by environmental pressures continues, and hives across the land are being exterminated.    The stupidity of people continues to be amazingly obviouse,  and is costing the bees huge amounts.
For example,   a little while ago,  there was a burst of fear over the appearance of the Zika virus bearing mosquitoes in the United States.    Well,  the bright souls in South Carolina hopped into their spray trucks,   loaded them up with insecticides and spent days running around,  pumping toxins into the air.   The end result?  THey probably killed some mosquitoes,   but, they also killed millions of bees in the area!    The really sad thing is that if they had adjusted the TIME that they sprayed,  many of these bees would still be alive.   Here is a discussion about this debacle 
Robot-Bees_yellow-faced-bee.jpgOther states are taking saner steps.   For example,  Hawaii has just  declared honey bees an endangered species!   With luck, this will spread throughout the States,  and perhaps even get to a Federal Level.
There are some folks that believe that Technology can fix the problem too.    I jurobot-bee-robobee_11573.jpgst ran across THIS STORY   discussing the concept of creating millions of small robots that will take over the job that bees do to pollinate plants!   Now,  I am certainly a friend of technology,  but, to me,  this is, perhaps more offensive than half the nonsense that spews from The Donald’s,  and his surrogate’s mouths!    Why do I dislike this so much.  Well,  first off,  I am a beekeeper.   I do not do this because I look upon the girls as a mechanical resource that I can make a ton of money from.  I do it because I admire their ecosystem,  their success, and the calming spirit that drives them.   Bees are amazing examples of a hive mind,  and have many positive aspects.    I have to say that I do like honey too,  of course!
Replacing bees with technology has several problems for me.
  • It sounds as if it is an excuse for wiping a species off the planet…and allows us to avoid responsibility for that event.  We are called to be good Stewards of the Earth,  and killing off a species through greed or stupidity is NOT being a good Steward!
  • I do not think that the micro-robots being discussed will be able to do the job of pollination as well as bees perform it today.  Given a field of flowers,  will the robots be able to collect pollen and pollinate other flowers to an adequate percentage.
  • There are power limitations that will cause problems.    This includes processing power – in that it takes a chertain level of knowledge  to be able to navigate to a target,  perform an action,  and return to home base.   This also takes a fair amount of actual power.   Bees get their energy from digesting honey and nectar.   What will provide this energy for the micro-robots?
  • There is the reliability issue.   Bees are fairly tough organisms.   Can these micro-robots approach that?   What about the issues of the environment,  such as dust,  or rain?    How many of these micro-robots will be destroyed by less than perfect conditions.
  • This brings up the issue of costs.   Micro-Robots cost something to create.   Even if this is less than a penny each,   it will be a significant cost to the farmer…raising our food costs further.    Honey Bees, though,  are self-replicating.   The only thing the beekeeper needs to do to keep a supply growing in their Apiary  is to provide food,  water and a Queen.  Even if the keeper replaces that queen every three years,  that will be less than $10/year.   Will micro-robots be that cheap?  I rather doubt it.
  • An important part of the bee’s job is to create honey.    I find it VERY unlikely that the micro-robots will be able to do this.
So…I suggest that we, as a species,  would be better served by cleaning up our environment,  and making it more friendly to the bees,   than chasing solutions that will cost humanity money and resources,  and likely not work as well as a natural tool.
Pleasant dreams!
Bee Man Dave

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Notes From The Sky!

Greetings and Salutations;

     Just a quick note to remind everyone that this month is the Orionid Meteor Shower.    It is a lengthy stream of debris,  so will continue on,  gradually growing towards its peak around October 21st.   Take an early nap,  and try to go out to watch the sky at around midnight.    No one seems to have any idea how heavy a shower it will be this year,  but,  we know that the streaks will be impressive.   They are amazingly fast, bright, and often leave a glowing trail.   It is also warm enough that it can be a pleasant time.  Here is an image that will help locate it, and, a link to a more complete explanation
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Dealing with a Trumpster!

      Greetings and Salutations;

Today,  I was reading a thread on Facebook,  wherein  there was another one of the usual spewings of uneducated, unsupported opinion that show up any time one of The Donald’s Minions manages to get online.   Well,  there were quite a few comments to the thread, but one was SO great I had to grab it and post it here.   THe writer is a man after my own heart!   The subject of the original post was the sad situation of a developmentally disabled young man  who had the misfortune of driving a buddy who decided do kill a guy in the process of robbing his store.   THis was in Texas of course,  a place that loves death,  but, even there out of the many, many executions they have rejoiced in,  only a handful of people who were not directly involved in the killing have been executed.   Well,  anyway,   in the thread,  was this comment:
Pr****** Wh***** It’s to bad Texas can’t kill him twice. He should have stayed his ass at home instead of being part of a criminal act.
Of the various comments,  this is the one that caught my eye, and gave me such amusement:
E.S.  Pr***** Wh*****,  I know it’s not your fault that you’re an inbred mongoloid douchebag. However you should stop the madness and break the family tradition of fucking your mother, sisters, and cousins. Your gene pool isn’t diverse enough and it’s doing terrible things to your intelligence. Not to mention the horrible physical disfigurements. Next time you’re gazing upon the white trash trollop that is your sister/mother/cousin and you’re overcome with unclean thoughts. Resist! Your perversion comes at a terrible cost. Search deep down and see if you can get one or two of the remaining dozen or so neurons to fire and keep that tiny little pathetic excuse for a dick in your pants. I realize you’re probably a latent homosexual and are filled with great rage everytime you see man ass and are too cowardly to satisfy your greatest desires, but fucking your mother isn’t the answer. You should probably kill yourself.

Just a moment to remind us of what a sharp instrument the Pen can be!

Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Alternative Medicine At The Olympics

Greetings and Salutations;

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are in full swing this week.   There have been the usual mix of tragedy and injury,  and some truly amazing performances.   However,  what I really want to address here is the interesting twist that apparently a fair number of U.S. Swimmers and Gymnasts have taken up the fad of “Cupping”  to help them deal with the physical stresses and discomforts  that always come when one is pushing one’s body beyond its limits.    This treatment has been around for thousands of years,  and,  as with most Alternative Medicines,  has a number of practitioners who have made some pretty amazing claims for it.   As the above link indicates,  while there may be some benefits to it,  especially in conjunction with other treatments,   there have been no truly objective and large tests to separate the reality from the “Woo”.    
However,  the athletes showing up covered with large,  red bruises  did bring up some questions  in the media reporting on the games, and the bubbling brew of chaos that are the Social Networks.    One exchange that caught my eye was this one:
Margo  They look like giant hickeys!
Michael Bruising indicates damage. I prefer gentler therapies to increase blood flow!
Bonnie It’s not really bruising, Michael. It’s exteriorizing stagnant blood that has penetrated into the intermediate fascial layers where it can potentially cause inflammation and adhesions.
Now,  the first reaction I had to this exchange was “Hum…but,  Bonnie’s explanation sounds pretty much like the definition of a bruise,  with some questionable opinions about the flow of blood in the body mixed in to season the dish”.    I did ask about this,  but, alas, received no answer.  I will not bother to go into the details here,   but, to me,  this is “Woo!”   that has no merit beyond that of the Placebo Effect.    That having been said,  it also appears that it has no serious down-sides,  so,  if it gives our athletes the mental edge to push themselves to take a medal…good for them.
I do have one concern though.   That is the worry that people will leap on this as a cure for all ills,  and so will flock to practitioners who are less ethical, who will take their cash,  and perhaps deflect them from Western Medicine treatments that would actually do some measureable good.  
The Cyber-Ocean is deep,  and huge,  so interesting information can be found in it  with sufficient searching.    Above,  I say that Cupping seems to not have any serious down sides.  While I am still of this opinion,  in the interest of fairness,   I thought I would post this article that drifted by me.   The process is NOT without dangers…   Wounds Caused By Cupping
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Chatting With A Libertarian

Greeting and Salutations;

      It is the season of politics, of course,  and one interesting thing that has happened is that there is a surge of interest in third-party candidates.   One of the bigger parties has been around a LONG time, and this year the Libertarians may get significant numbers of votes.   Now,  will that produce a viable President Elect?   Or will it just act as a spoiler,  causing either The Donald, or HRC to lose enough electorial votes that the other one takes the office?   Only time will tell.
     In my discussions with a wide range of poltical views,  I happened to end up interacting with a gentleman who is a Libertarian,  and believes that the bible of politics should be the collected words of Ron Paul.   We have had some interesting discussions,  so I thought I would add them to the collection of non-beekeeping posts  (yes I am still a beekeeper…although thanks to a variety of factors it looks like this year is going to be a maintenance and rebuilding year for my hives…)   I have interspersed my comments with his here, to make it easier to tell what, exactly I am talking about….
“Seems to me that if there is any relevance in this quote to the situation today, it’s that the “great power” that “some believe can hold evil in check” is almost without question the ever-growing, omni-present, all powerful government. It literally seeks to “keep evil in check” in every facet of our lives, even by invading foreign countries to kill anyone who may ever think an evil thought. Even in the midst of the mighty expansion of power by the government, “progressives” plead with the population to give it more and more; progressives assert to the masses that any societal problem is really just a lack of government, in the same way the progressive doctor insinuates to his patients that their symptoms are from a lack of some prescription drug, rather than advocating personal responsibility.

If fact, in relation to the relevance of Gandalf’s quote to our current situation, there is no greater power than the US government, and that is an extremely scary thought to us libertarians who know that it is actually the “small, everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love” and charity and goodwill, coming altruistically and in the absence of a great power forcing us to act with such empathy. Gandalf’s quote is the libertarian’s fundamental position.

~Long live Dr. Ron Paul.”

The fallacy of the Libertarian is that EVERYONE will behave in an altruistic and humanitarian way. History shows us that this is NOT the case. For a couple of examples….Without the testing required by the FDA, the American market would be flooded with so-called “Cures” that have NO efficacy. In the 1800s, before regulation, there were tens of thousands of “doctors” selling bottles of liquid that would cure all your ills. They got rich off of selling bad whiskey, at inflated prices. I do have to ask you….”in the same way the progressive doctor insinuates to his patients that their symptoms are from a lack of some prescription drug, rather than advocating personal responsibility” What in the WORLD do you mean by this? It sounds as if you are supporting faith healing over modern medicine. Want a more precise example? I found out a few years ago that I had Hep C and it was on the verge of killing me. I had gotten it from contaminated blood that I had been infused with before there was even a test for it. The ONLY reason that I am alive today, and still have my own liver, is because I was lucky enough to get on one of the new treatments, and have it paid for by that government you hate. Should I be dead? And how would my taking personal responsibility have cured this disease?
To move to a financial arena…what about the financial crash of 2008? The financial industry had been deregulated (too much in my opinion) because of this sort of attitude. Did they do the right thing and help America grow by careful application of funds, loans, etc? NO! They went on a rampage that culminated in the crash of 2008, and in the process made BILLIONS of dollars for themselves. They even worked to keep the financial bubble going a year longer than it should have, in order to make more money for themselves….which made the crash even worse and the following recession (or depression…) that much worse and harder to get out of.
Again, a personal example. We had decided to move and build a new house and had started the process in 2007. We had been cautious investors, and had a solid financial plan that would have allowed us to live comfortably while building the new house. Well, the crash came and almost OVERNIGHT, 70% of our investment value went away….vanished in the winds. Since then, we have been struggling to keep our heads above water, and while we are continually close to the edge, thanks to the help of family and cutting the cash burn where we could, we are keeping above water.
So…your libertarian attitude that government control is a bad thing is again brought to question, as it was the lack of good government control that allowed this financial bubble to happen and burst, causing great hardship for MANY Americans.
“What other power on earth is greater than the US Government? What other central power structure has more authority, more oversight, and more power than the US Government?

Progressives obviously think that the Federal Government should oversee and conduct: Planned Parenthood, healthcare in general, education, mass surveillance, defining food, growing food, pre-emptive aggressive warfare, feeding the poor in America, feeding the poor abroad, having/raising the minimum wage, bailing out banks and investment firms, bailing out industries in general which are “too big to fail”, and many other duties. These are all things which “progressive” politicians like Obama and Hillary have advocated for or directly done. No offense, but progressivism is almost a complete adulteration and dismantlement of our original governmental structure, which clearly defined the President’s duties as well as the Federal Government’s duties, none of which I listed above are granted to them.

I say that progressives and liberals in general crave more government because look at all the problems we have and look at what progressives and liberals ask for, government! Can’t afford healthcare? Government. Can’t afford college? Government. Can’t afford birth control? Government. These are serious problems, but the answer is not inevitably government and it is a terrible condition to perceive solutions through the lens of government. Our original government was structured such that the Federal Government protected our individual rights and the States’ rights and sovereignty. All other problems were left up to State governments, local governments, and free people to solve.

The trend I see is a sacrificing of rights and liberties for an increased sense of security and protection from the government. I agree government can be beneficial; small, local and state governments. The national government protects our States and our rights, that’s it, otherwise it messes things up. Clearly it messes things up. Look at our education after 40 years under the Fed. Look at our food after decades under the Fed. The solution is to strip power from where it should have never been put, not to give the hungry beast more.”

“Libertarians do not assume that everyone will act with altruism and morals. We fully expect that there will people who simply will be grumpy old codgers. Those people will likely have a harder time and will likely have fewer friends and helpers, but we libertarians acknowledge their right to be a grumpy old codger. With respect to crimes, we libertarians have developed a genius way to deal with those who try to take the rights away from others or harm them; the Justice Department. So it’s not a “fallacy” on the libertarian’s part; it’s just that you assume we think everyone will behave, when really we know everyone won’t, so we have safety measures in place.”
Ok…not quite what I meant.  I apologize for being unclear.  What I was trying to say was “Ok…so who is going to step up and take care of the tasks necessary to keep today’s society running?  And how will that work?”  More specifically,   Someone is going to have to pave the road in front of your house;  pull the power and data lines to your house;  have cops, firemen and/or  EMTs show up when you are in trouble  Then we move on to the infrastructure of the country.   Who is going to regulate this, and ensure that it is working and kept up to date?   All of these are functions that the government provides.   Would a Libertarian Administration support these services?   Or would it cut funding,  and require each of us to contract to have these services and such as a private citizen?
Now…According to my research over the years,   Libertarians have quite simple philosophical points they hope to live by.   These are summed up in this quote: “Libertarianism is the simple morality we learned as children: don’t strike first, don’t steal or cheat, keep your promises. If you inadvertently fail to live up to these standards, make it up to the person you’ve harmed. If someone harms you, you may defend yourself as needed to stop the aggressor and obtain reparations. This simple morality works group-to-group just as it works one-to-one to bring about a peaceful and prosperous world.” – Mary Ruwart, author of Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression”   The most important point of the philosophy I run across is this: “Libertarianism is a political philosophy. It is concerned solely with the proper use of force. Its core premise is that it should be illegal to threaten or initiate violence against a person or his property without his permission; force is justified only in defense or retaliation.That is it, in a nutshell. The rest is mere explanation, elaboration, and qualification.” – Walter Block, Loyola University Professor and author of Defending the Undefendable     That having been said….What exactly does the Justice Department do, and how would it go about that job?
‘With regards to the FDA, this is where there are fallacies but you see none. The FDA has completely adulterated “food.” It h”as allowed dozens if not hundreds of chemicals and “food-like-substances” to be put into the food supply. I’m not saying that it’s not the Federal Government’s job to keep people safe; I’m saying that it’s the Federal Government’s job to prosecute those who poison the food supply with such a severe punishment that nobody else will try to put aspartame, fluoride, aluminum, or any of the other poisons the FDA currently allows. By the way, please check out the “revolving door” between the FDA and the chemical companies. Big money runs the FDA.”‘
     Ok.   I know that there are many folks that are suspicious of the FDA.  However,  I believe that your analysis of the department is focusing on the small percentage of failures and ignoring the many successes of the agency.   The fact is that everything you eat is made up of chemicals,  some of which are pretty bad for you in quantity.  For example,   here is a PDF listing all the foods that contain varying degrees of Formaldehyde   There are other examples, but this is going to be long enough that I will hold off on listing others.   The job of the FDA is this: “FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.Dec 7, 2015”  This does not mean that they test everything sold.   They would be the size of the Military budget if they could do that.   However,   The scientists there examine the studies given them from various sources,  and make their best recommendation about a given item.   Sometimes   those evaluations are followed exactly.  Sometimes,  political deals are made,  but, the bottom line is that very few really toxic things are allowed through,  and when they show up as causing problems,  they are removed from the shelves.   In short,  Aspartame,  Fluoride, and Aluminum that you mention are toxic in large enough quantities.   However,   there have been many, many studies that have shown that,  in the quantities allowed in food or drink,  these substances do not have enough impact on mortality to change the averages.   Yes…I can provide links – For Aspartame, as an example –   For Fluoride – According to the American Cancer Society “The researchers found “equivocal” (uncertain) evidence of cancer-causing potential of fluoridated drinking water in male rats, based on a higher than expected number of cases of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). There was no evidence of cancer-causing potential in female rats or in male or female mice.Jul 28, 2015”  As for aluminum – this hard to read article digs into the actual studies and discusses the conclusions found – bottom line with this report is that to get brain damage from aluminum,  one would have to powder a 12″ cooking pan, and eat it once a week.   In any case,  to say the FDA is the one putting anything into food shows confusion about the role of the agency.   It is the manufacturers of food that add a variety of chemicals to foods and remove others, in an attempt to make a more salable product.   It is a fact that the only   way to approach having “pure” food is to either grow everything yourself,   or purchase your food locally from people you know.   Neither option is a viable alternative for at least 80% of Americans.
     Now…as for your comment about the “revolving door” with industry.  I do agree that this is a problem.  I rather like the solution suggested by the New York Times

 “But consumer advocates are surely right that putting the industry in charge of supplement regulation is like appointing the fox to guard the henhouse. Clearly, the F.D.A. should not allow industry insiders to fill key positions. A permanent solution is for Congress to enact conflict-of-interest laws forcing employees above a certain grade level at any agency to recuse themselves from official actions that affect a former employer or client, including trade associations and their members.”

However, that requires action by Congress,  and for the past 7+ years  taking action has been a foreign concept to the Right-Wingers that control it.

“With regards to “modern medicine,” Hippocrates was the father of modern medicine. He said “let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food.” He also said that we should be able to doctor and cure ourselves by the age of 40. Obviously he could not foresee the terrible and dramatic deterioration of our diets and lifestyles. Maybe he was living in “utopia.” Hepatitis C is a terrible viral infection, but there are natural compounds in nature which effectively neutralize the virus and the damage it causes in the body. Of course, no doctor who was educated in western medical schools will know this because his curriculum is so strongly influenced by the trillion dollar pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry, in the very same way the agricultural curriculum is influenced by BigOil agriculture. I graduated from Clemson with a degree in Health Science; I can assure you that even this fine institution is very “western” in the way it views health, disease, and treatment options. I had many brief conversations in the classroom with professors over the myopic and segregated information being presented. Speaking of myopia, you say that “the only reason” you’re alive today is because of western medicine. That is quite an assumption, seeing as how many other protocols of medicine could very well have cured you, and indeed if it were not for a western way of life in the first place, you may have never contracted this virus; furthermore, if not for westernization spreading like a cancer on this earth, the Hepatitis C virus would likely not be so prevalent.”
     Oddly enough,   while I am open to the practices of other cultures (for example,  I do take Turmeric when I can afford it,  and I have been doing Tai Chi for close to 15 years),  I am  unwilling to accept ANY medicine or procedure without understanding what it intends to do, and without some fairly extensive clinical trials that PROVE that it will do what it claims to do.  As for Turmeric,  while some holistic healers claim great things for it,  I consider that to be whistling past the graveyard, or an attempt to scam money out of the gullible.  I have seen a significant number of real studies though, that show that the curcumin in it DOES have some positive effects on the body.   Simply because it comes from someone else’s culture does not mean that a belief in the palliative effects is justified.   For example,  thousands of Rhinos are killed every year simply so their horns can be ground up and used to cure all KINDS of illnesses.   Does it work?  Well,  as well as grinding a cow’s leg bone up would!  It is purely a placebo effect.  Hence,  one of the reasons it is not allowed to be sold or advertised for any of these uses in the United States.
     As for your comments on Hep C…They are without merit in my case.   When I was first diagnosed,  some six years ago,  I spent several years TRYING some of the alternative treatments.   The Results?   My viral load stayed high and the inevitable march of Death towards me was unhindered.   However,   a couple years ago,  I was one of the smallish number of people treated with Sovaldi and another drug.  The end result.  At the end of THREE MONTHS,  my viral load was zero.  I took the pills for another 90 days,  as the doctors wanted to make sure that all traces of the virus were gone.   I have had several blood tests since finishing the treatment,  and my viral load remains at zero.   While some of the alternatives did make me FEEL a bit better for a while,  they did not remove the virus from my body,  nor did they slow the damage it was doing to my liver.  When I first presented symptoms some six years ago,  my doctor was blunt.  He told me that there was a less than 50% chance that I would survive more than four years,  considering my condition.   Since I am quite “internal” and am in contact with my body and aware of it,  I was quite willing to accept his diagnosis.   However,   being a stubborn German (with one HELL of a strong metabolism),  I also was not going to roll over and wait to die.  So,  I started a journey of taking control of my treatment,  and pushing for treatments.  If one was available,  there had to be a damn good reason why I should not have it.
     While I appreciate Hippocrates and his huge leap forwards  in changing medicine from random superstitions to an actual, fact based science ,   are you advocating that we should walk way from the diagnostic tools and medicines that we have today,  and return to medicine as it was when he planted the roots of Western Medicine?   here, by the by, is an excellent, if short,  biography of him and his works 
     I would also appreciate your explaining a little further about your remark  “if it were not for a western way of life in the first place, you may have never contracted this virus; furthermore, if not for westernization spreading like a cancer on this earth, the Hepatitis C virus would likely not be so prevalent”  
“With regards to the financial collapse, Ron Paul warned of this decades earlier; there are videos on top of videos that are decades old which are of Ron Paul clearly articulating the political, financial, and social holes we are digging for ourselves. To me, the single greatest thing any American can do to further his understanding of the events playing out in the world today and how they are being handled by world governments and financial institutions would be to listen to every word ever spoken by Ron Paul. I’m very serious when I say that. Furthermore, the collapse is not finished, we are still digging the hole, and it will be much worse next time. The deregulation was purposeful. It’s going to take a lot more independent research on your part for you to understand the argument I’m making but suffice it say that the goal all along was have the taxpayers bail out the “struggling” financial institutions. The collapse was planned; it was not an accident any more than 9/11 was an accident.”
     First of all,  your assumption that I have not researched these claims assumes facts not in evidence.   Simply because I say that this is starting to sound like the unfounded fantasies of a Conspiracy Loony  does not mean that I have no knowledge of that whch you speak.
     However,  I would like to see some links from reliable sources that support you say about the Finanacial collapse being planned so the taxpayers would bail out the financial institutions.  While it is true that the government LENT large sums of money to various corporations, to help keep them from crashing down and causing worse problems,   it appears that ALL that money,  plus interest has been repaid.   Rather than saying that the collapse was planned,  I would say that the junk bond games that CAUSED it were planned and propped up by the banks and hedge funds.  Perhaps one of the best reports I have seen on this is here:  Note that without the efforts of Magnetar,  the bubble would have burst a year or so sooner,  which would have cause a lot of financial pain,  but,  far LESS than the world-wide crash it precipitated.   I am pretty sure, too,  that had Magnetar thought that there was a few more billion to squeeze out of the economy,  they would have propped things up for a bit longer.
     This economic crash that put a huge number of people into serious financial difficulties, was a DIRECT result of the financial lobbyists talking several administrations into doing what may have looked like “minor” relaxations of the regulations and oversight that would have kept this from happening.   This situation was purely out of greed,  and it worked for many of these wankers.   There were hundreds and hundreds of hedge fund managers and bankers who walked away with BILLIONS of dollars from this crash.  Know how many have gone to jail in the USA?   1 (ONE) sacrifical goat was thrown out so the Right-Wing congress could claim that they have “punished” the miscreants.   I have a bad attitude about this because over one weekend,  we saw the investments we had planed to use to pay for retirement, and to build a house on the property we had bought lose 70% of their value.   We are still struggling from that hit.   Now…Libertarians talk about “personal responsibility”.   We had a conservative set of investments,  and we had a financial course laid out that would have tied up about 80% of that cash as collateral and such.   Where was OUR “Personal Responsibility” in losing all those resources?
“The most unfortunate thing I see today with regards to people who are fired up about social and political change is this: that they know there is “corruption” within the government but to know the true extent of the corruption, the true breadth and depth of the corruption, makes them so uncomfortable that they not only don’t want to research it, they don’t even want to consider it. There is an agenda in action right now. Most big names in politics are involved, and many secret societies and organizations are involved. The Clintons, the Bush family, Obama, Kissinger, Rockefeller, Rothschilde, the Bohemian Grove, the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Tri-Lateral Commission. There is more information available than a dozen of the finest scholars could peruse. What I know is barely even the tip of the iceberg, but I’m damn sure not naive anymore. I’m not necessarily religious, but the Bible actually foretells what we’re seeing right now. To give a brief anecdote of my own, my dad’s best friend was in the FBI for 40 years. When asked about the FBI in general, he says it’s the most corrupt organization there is. Planting evidence, advancements made underhandedly, general negligence. They’re all like that, all the government organizations, which is why I can’t understand why people want to give it more money (we’re $17 trillion in debt by the way, $2 trillion more since Obama took office) and more power.”
    Ok…ALL of your claims about a world government, run by these “secret” societies”  has yet to have any actual documentation.   It falls right into that Conspiracy fantasy world that is used to push a variety of agendas.   Oh Yes…by the by…Reading rants without proof on a Conspiracy Website does not qualify as “more information”.   It has been my observation that some wild theory will get posted to a single website,  and then, like vultures to a carcase,  ALL the others will grab that story, and post it on their sites.  Some will take it directly.  Some will tweak it a bit, to fit the prejudices of THEIR audience. but, there are few examples of independent research.   Now,  I am NOT saying that some of these entities exist.  However,  they are hardly a world government, and they sure as the dickens are NOT secret.  After all,  The trilateral commission has a website where it talks at length about itself, why it exists, and what it does at the meetings.  Also, they post papers about what they discussed.   As for the Bohemian Grove…well,  I think this article pretty well covers it –   The Council on Foreign relations has a nice website –  and everyone and his brother knows about the Bilderberg Group.  The folks that go to these places are likely doing a higher end version of what we ALL do when we go to out of area conferences.  They are spending a bit of time sitting around arguing about issues, and listening to lectures detailing issues,  and the rest of the time, they are hanging out in rooms with a nice buffet, booze and cute servers,  networking and getting face time.
    Does any of this qualify as a nefarious plan to implement a World Government and enslave everyone?   Not by my standards.
    I do agree about the FBI, though.   Under that Cross-Dressing J. Edgar,  they did some pretty underhanded things and tended to act as if the rules did not apply to them.   Indeed, I am fairly sure that they still do that.   What can we do about that?   Same thing we need to do with every police department in America.   Go through and clean house.  Get ride of the sociopaths and bullies.  Keep the folks who believe in and try to live up to the oath they took when they joined the Bureau.   Easy to say,  but hard to do,  because the scum in the organization are also the ones that have been at The Bohemian Grove with high-resolution cameras and recorders,  and NO politician wants the truth revealed about some parts of their life.  For that matter we ALL have episodes in our life that we would prefer not to have splattered all over the News Channels.  These are also the folks that will use that information if they feel they are threatened.
     As for the debt.   I agree,  it is larger than it was when Pres. Obama took office.  However,  that ignores the more important facet of the problem…that of the deficit.   Since Congress holds the purse strings in our government,  The reason the debt was growing rapidly was because they had bought a LOT of toys and services,  by handing out IOUs (the deficit).  When ever one spends more money than one brings in, it causes the debt to rise…that deficit was HUGE when Pres. Obama took office.   In the 7+ years he has been in office,  he has managed, in spite of HUGE foot dragging by the Right-Wingers,  to bring that deficit down by more than 75%.  So…the debt is growing…yes…because Congress is still spending OUR money like a drunken sailor,  but, it is growing far more slowly than it would have if the deficit had not been dealt with.  Perhaps with the next Administration,  HRC,  since she is a white woman,  will get more cooperation,  and will do what Democratic Administrations ALWAYS end up doing…working Congress back to surplus spending,  and causing the actual debt to drop.   It shows a basic  misunderstanding on how economics works,  on the Governmental level,  to simply blame Pres. Obama for a total debt that is larger than it was when he took office.

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The Massacre at the Pulse In Orlando – Another observation.


Greetings and Salutations;
The attached image is of the Henley Street bridge, in Knoxville Tennessee. The mayor of the city has ordered the lamps on the bridge to be changed to a rainbow configuration, in memorial to the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando yesterday morning. Similar such memorials are being raised around the world. Now, Knoxville is a nice, little, city in many ways, but it is still not known as a hot-bed of tolerance for the LGBT community. In spite of this, there is this large, public display of support for the victims of this viscous attack, as well as a number of more personal moments of people praying together, and standing in support of the victims. All across the United States, as soon as the blood banks opened their doors, there was a flood of donors coming in to give a unit of blood to help the victims from Pulse. In Orlando, there were several places where over 1000 citizens lined up to await giving blood. GoFundMe, an internet site dedicated to collecting money to help folk’s causes, has, as of this morning, collected more that $1.7 million dollars in contributions, to be applied to helping the victims of the shooting.

While this is a sickening moment in America’s history, this act of Evil has not had the effects that the shooter perhaps wanted. Instead of a wide-spread support for his heinous deed, in general there is a tsunami of support and caring for the victims and their families. His Evil has brought out much good. Alas, there is a subset of Right-Wingers who are celebrating his act, but, they are a tiny and pathetic percentage of the population.

Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
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When will the insanity end? Thoughts on the Massacre at the Pulse in Orlando

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

         Greetings and Salutations;

     Once again,  the Mad Flood of hate,  bigotry  and violence that has permeated America has reared its horrible head and produced a tragedy of monumental proportions.   This morning,  at around 2 AM,  a madman  entered the Pulse in Orlando, Fl  and opened fire with a rifle.  The toll, as of the late afternoon, is 50 dead, and 53 in hospital with varying wounds.  While the data is still fuzzy,  as it is early times,   it appears that the shooter was offended by seeing a couple of guys, kissing each other,  and chose to attack the Pulse (which is one of the biggest, and best known gay bars in the area).   As the day has progressed,  there have been some weird twists.  For example,  apparently he called 911 and told the operator that he was swearing allegiance to Daesh and the current piece of slime that is heading it up  right before he went into the club.   He also has been working as a security officer for the past seven years, and had both weapons training,  and gun permits.   Although he was born in NYC,  his parents immigrated from Afghanistan,  so he was also a US citizen and, had not shown any obvious signs of radicalization before today.  His father has issued a statement saying that he and his wife were shocked and amazed at their son’s actions, and had no idea he was on this path.   On the other hand,  his ex-wife was interviewed and said that he had become quite abusive in their relationship before she got out.   The full story will come out,  I am sure, but, right now,  it is pretty chaotic.
     As always happens,  there is this momentary burst of folks posting rants about how Americans need to give up their guns (which is their idea of “gun control”).   I rather doubt that anything like this will happen as even this huge massacre will be unlikely to move legislators in that direction.   My view of the situation is somewhat different.   I believe that a bigger factor is the society of hatred, bigotry, and violence that we have allowed to permeate American society.   Today,  we have a Right-Wing Presidential Candidate who has come out in support of not only killing terrorists who attack America,  but, killing their families too.   He has promised that not only will he return waterboarding to the toolkit of the Spooks but, will authorize much more extensive torture in an attempt to extract information from prisoners.   He actively denigrates and disrespects almost every race that is not White.   He has claimed that ALL Muslims are terrorists out to destroy America.   He has claimed that Undocumented workers from Mexico are actually rapists and murderers.  I could go on, but, will simply say that he is not the only one of the Right-Wingers to support extremist views.   Because of this preaching hate,  there have been myriad attacks on folks that LOOK Middle Eastern,  no matter whether or not they are Muslim or not.   There has been a spike in vandalism against churches serving the minority community.   Even the cops are getting in on the “fun”…killing unarmed people of color on a daily basis.  Granted,  a couple of these psychopaths have been charged and gone to prison,  but, a vast majority walk, in spite of video evidence showing that their actions were uncalled for.  Perhaps saddest of all are the number of so-called Christian churches  who are no longer preaching the gospel of Love as presented by Christ,  but, rather, are picking and choosing verses from the Old Testament to support their agenda of hate and oppression against various groups of society.   I am of the opinion that part of the radicalization of today’s killer  came from being exposed to this hate speech and calls for action against those that are considered “Enemies”.
     What can we do about this?   I have no idea what the complete answer is,  but, I know some things that would make a difference.   For example;  We should spend more time examining ourselves,  and use that introspection to help us understand what controls our attitudes and actions.  Only then, can we stop being completely controlled by the programming given us by others and control our own life.
     We, who have decided to reproduce,  should take on the burden of parenthood with enthusiasm,  and teach our children to behave ethically, and with love and tolerance for all.   We should refuse to stand by as a spectator when we see Evil growing.
The shooter, for example,  planted a number of red flags that have been reported.  His descent into domestic abuse is a huge warning sign that his mind was being taken over by Evil,  and the sort of Evil which leads to very bad actions.   I am sure that a number of people knew about this, yet did nothing.   It is a shame, for example, that his wife – his primary target – did not go to the police and file a complaint.   I can certainly understand why she might have been too frightened to do so on her own,  but, if one of the silent watchers had stepped up to support her,  he could have been arrested,  and would not have been able to acquire the weapons he used in the attack.   His melt down over seeing a couple of guys kissing a few weeks ago should have been a warning sign that should have pushed someone to contact his employer and see if he could get some help.   We shall see what shows up in the next couple of weeks as the investigation continues,  but, I suspect he will have a record of increasingly fanatical posts to social media.  Again,  someone should have cared enough about him to try and get him help.   This reenforces the truth of that old bit of wisdom that “the only thing Evil needs to succeed is for Good Men to do nothing”.
     Pleasant dreams.
     bee Man Dave

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A Meditation on this Memorial Day Weekend

     Greetings and Salutations;
      I have been poking around online, and, on the cable channels this weekend,   and contemplating the state of the World in general,  and America in specific.   It is, I am sorry to say, not a very pretty picture  I see before me.    We are now in at least year 15 of our entanglement in the Middle East.   While technology – in the form of the drone program – had cut back on the number of American casualties,  the war is still killing and maiming too many people,  both innocents and combatants.
     I look back to the time, some 77 years or so ago,  when the World was caught up in the madness of World War Two.  Considering that World War 1 was called “The War to End All Wars”,   the fact that over 100 million combatants were caught up in a conflict that split the political allegiances of the countries into two, opposing camps,   changed the motto of World War 1 from a fervent wish to a sad irony.   Not only did World War 2 leave deep and lasting scars on the citizens of many countries,  it was the only time in the history of Mankind that nuclear weapons were used by one country against another.   No matter whether one holds the view that this was the best thing to do, or was totally wrong,  it did happen and is part of our heritage.
     World War 2 also saw one of the most widespread abrogation of the Constitutional Rights of a group of citizens that has happened in the history of the country.   As most of us may have heard of by now,  thanks to George Takei’s play Allegiance,   tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were rounded up and confined to internment camps for no other reason than they were not White Americans,  and looked like the enemy.   HERE is an article that discusses the situation, and includes many, contemporary images.     However,  the Japanese Americans were not the only group so treated.    A large percentage of the German American population in internees.ellisisland.jpgAmerica was subject to the same treatment.   In some cases, though,  these citizens were deported to Germany or other countries.    At the end of the War  these German Americans were also required to sign a non-disclosure promise,  where the penalty for talking about ANY of their experiences would be immediate deportation.   HERE is a good article about THAT side of the equation.   In spite of these massive attacks on the Constitutional Rights of these citizens,   many of them enlisted and fought bravely for America.     Thanks to the executive order that allowed the FBI and Military to sweep up anyone they wanted, without an recourse from the Law of the land,  these people lost everything that they had worked for their entire lives,  preserving only that which they could pack up and take with them.   After their release,  not only did they have to face the challenges of starting over from scratch,  but,  they had emotional scars that, in some cases,  were never healed.
     In 1945,   not more than a year after the end of World War 2,  the first American soldier was killed in Vietnam.   The French had been in Vietnam from before 1939,  but had finally come to their senses,  and pulled out in the early 1940s.   America, thanks to the Cold War concept of the Domino Theory,   dove right in, and stayed there for 30 years.   The Domino Theory, which for all y’all that slept through history class,  said that we had to prop up South Vietnam,  because if it fell to North Vietnam (and the Russians),   then,  Cambodia,  Thailand and the various other countries in the area would be taken over by Russia also, and before we knew what would be happening,   we would have Russian troops on our doorstep.    This proved to be  nonsense, and, while the South East Asia was a nightmare for decades,   none of the projected outcomes of the Domino Theory or the Cold Warriors came to pass.    We lost 50,000+ young men and women  in that war, and many times that number were left with physical and emotional scars that are still destroying their lives today.    For a variety of reasons,   American soldiers engaged in some of the worst destruction of human rights that we had ever done.    There were soldiers who wiped out villages of men, women and children,  simply because they looked Vietnamese, not because they had attacked the soldiers.   To add to the complications of the time,   America was going through some serious, political uproar and changes in Society during this time.  The 50s brought us the rebellion in music, personified by Elvis Priestley and others.   The 60s brought us the general rebellion against the traditions of society  with the Hippie movement.   The sad thing was that too many of us did not understand that there was a difference between the Government, and the Soldiers,  so, often, when the boys would return from the Hell of South East Asia,  they would be spat at, and called “Baby Killers”.   This “welcome” and the fact that therapy remains today to be nearly impossible to get are some of the  factors that that cause there to be  far too many Vietnam Veterans living on the street,  as well as  killing themselves.
     Our excursion into the Middle East has, alas,  not been the success that America’s leaders thought it would be.    Our actions there have caused the death and maiming of millions of citizens of the countries involved.   Our casualty list is short,  in that we have had under 8,000 fatalities,  and a total of around 57,500 killed and maimed.   Technology has made a huge difference for us.    America went into Iraq based on a lie – the existence of an active Weapons of Mass Destruction program –  and after overthrowing the government,  stayed there as an occupying force for years.   Much the same issue happened with Afghanistan,  except this excuse was to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden,  who was  allegedly using the country as a refuge.  Again,  American troops went in,  generally destroyed the government and the infrastructure of the country and stayed for nearly a decade.    The result of this has been a region thrown into chaos,   with several groups contending for power,  many, many civilians being killed.   The worst thing about this madness is that it has fueled a high-end terrorist group called Daesh,  who is trying to unify the area into a totalitarian state,  using fear and murder as their main tools.  This group also is reaching out and encouraging bombings and shootings in various countries around the world.
     Now…that all having been said,   you may be wondering why I am wallowing in this ugly history of America.   The answer is fairly simple:
     This is one section of Arlington Cemetery,  the final resting place of too many brave Americans,  of all races and  religions,   who, when their Country called them,  answered that call and gave all on the battle field,   fighting to protect the rights we are granted by the Constitution.    If you have never visited Arlington,  or, one of the many other Veteran’s cemeteries spotted around the country,  I urge you to do so.   Go there.  Walk among the tombstones, and contemplate the sacrifice of these brave men and women.
 homeless-vet-sleeping-600x400.jpg     Then,  look at the society you live in now.   Look at the growth of hate for folks that do not look like you.   Look at the reports, on a daily basis, of police who kill an unarmed citizen who is not resisting them, and, in many cases is already restrained.    Look at the next homeless person you pass on the street.  There is an excellent chance that he is a veteran




Now, take a moment to look at the Race for President this year.   The Republicans have presented a candidate who is a chicken-hawk,  who has expressed a willingness to use nuclear weapons, and to torture prisoners of war in order to extract information from them, and, claims to have raised millions of dollars for Veteran’s groups, yet has only distributed a fraction of that.  .   His total experience with the military?   He went to a military academy,  and spent considerable time and money getting out of the draft to avoid serving.    Add to this the Republican controlled Congress who claims (as does the candidate) to be a great supporter of Veterans,  yet, time and time again  has refused to pass appropriations and laws that would actually make it better for those Veterans.

Look at the way this same Congress has tried to obstruct President Obama’s programs, and, in spite of that,  he has managed to get a number of major items through, helping Americans, and improving America’s financial state.

Look at the way the Right-Wingers who support the Republican Party seem to have forgotten the concept of truth.   Day after day,  I see claims made that are patently false,  and have no basis in truth.   Yet,   the Right-Wingers NEVER call out these liars and demand they prove their claims.   Rather,  they accept these untruths and run with them.

As I contemplate the sacrifice that so many of our brave warriors have given over the decades,   I weep when I see the way we, as a society are spitting on their bravery and sacrifice.    Let us, on this Memorial Day,   make (and keep)  a promise to them that we will work to return to an ethical path that is controlled by the Constitution,  as it should be.   That we will put aside name-calling,   emotion based argument, and clinging to lies because they feed our prejudices and our agenda,.    I believe it is only this way that we can really honor the memory of these men and women and what they gave for each of us.

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Texas Rules The TextBook World (And why this is BAD)

Greetings and Salutations;

     Texas shows up again in my sights…and the news from there is mixed.   As I indicated in the title of this essay,   the Texas state School Board tends to control the content of the school textbooks used throughout the country.   Since Texas is such a huge market FOR those textbooks,  it is not a surprise that publishers are happy to knuckle under to their demands.    However,   I suggest that this kind of power is a real problem for all the kids in America,  and, will discuss why I think this.
     Let me introduce you to Mary Lou Brunner.  This Grandmotherly woman is (as one can see),  a Republican,  and, over the past month or so has been running for  a seat on TextBooks_MaryLouBrunner.jpgthe Texas State School Board.   Like MOST Republicans,  she drapes a flag around her shoulders,   to,  I assume,  prove that she is the REAL Patriot in the contest.    She looks like a kindly, little, old  lady that would have really great cookies ready for you when you show up at her house,  does she not?   In her role as a Grandmother,   we should be sure that she would dispense pearls of wisdom to us,  garnered from a lifetime of experience, and designed to guide us on the best path for us through this complicated Journey of Life.
However, alas,   appearances can be deceiving!   THIS ARTICLE details a number of her views of reality,  and,  frankly,  they scare the living daylights out of me.   In short, she is a conspiracy loony,  and believes that President Obama is a secret Muslim who speaks fluent Arabic, and is focused on destroying the United States..    Speaking of Conspiracy Loonies….she believes that the UN is controlled by the Illuminati,  and is part of this mysterious plan to put the world under a one government dominion,  all detailed in reports on “Agenda 21”.     Now,  for the past several months,   she has been running a strong campaign to get a seat on the Texas State School Board, and get her the power she needs to put HER Agenda into the textbooks used by all the school systems in America!     As of yesterday,  though,  as reported by the New York Times,  her bid was defeated by a somewhat more sane fellow by the name of Kevin Ellis.   The fact that she looked as if she had a lock on the seat for much of her campaign should worry all of us though.  .

     Why is the lock that Texas has on Textbooks a bad thing?

  1. Look at Mary Lou!   While she is, I am sure, a delightful person,   her views of reality,  and her desire to push her agenda ensures that textbooks will end up having data in them that has NO contact with reality.  This insistence on teaching Creationism in schools is foolish,  as it has no facts to support it,  but is little more than an opinion based on the fantasies of a fevered brow!
  2. Over the years,   the control that Texas has on content has caused history to be re-written to fit an agenda,  rather than the facts.   THIS ARTICLE,  for example,   speaks to the “sanitizing” of history to make our Founding Fathers look like Christians,   to ignore issues of integration, and to claim that America was founded as a Christian Nation.
  3. The issue of Creationism versus Evolution has been a hot button for decades.   THIS ARTICLE  discusses the changes demanded by Texas.
  4. Texas has, in the past,  required publishers to delete references to the LGBT community,  including removing contact information for suicide prevention and other help lines.   THIS ARTICLE touches on these changes
     I could go on however, I think this makes the point sufficiently well that one state’s ultra-conservative agenda has, and will re-write textbooks to match their prejudices.    It is my view of reality that schools should be purely fact based,  and presenting ONLY  scientifically valid data to the students.    There is no room in education for religious indoctrination,   or conspiracy theories based on lies,  or nothing but rumor.
     That having been said,   I am in no way trying to call for the control of what an individual citizen believes.   I, for one,  as a life-long Lutheran,  am quite comfortable with religion, and a belief system that includes it.    While I may feel that people who believe in conspiracies to take over the world, or control the population  are a bit sad, and rather ignorant,  I do not think that they should be banned from believing about the Illuminati,  or Chem-Trails,   or Vaccines,  or any of the flood of other theories that distract from reality.

      How would I fix the problem?

     Well,  that is a challenge!     One way would be to set up a section in  the Federal Department of Education,  whose job would be to write the specifications for school text books, and, then,  have the responsibility of vetting the books published to find which ones diverged from that standard.    This is appealing,  in a  way,  because it would tend to remove the local bias and prejudices from published books.   It would also leave the freedom for the publishers to print divergent books,   that individual states could purchase.     There are some problems with this approach of course.   For example,   it increases the size of the Federal Government.  It works on a “One Size Fits All” model that may not work well for the entire country.   Finally,  it still allows large school systems to purchase textbooks with the same sort of factual errors I mentioned above.
     We could eliminate the concept of printed textbooks entirely.   For the cost of one book,  it would be possible to equip every student with a tablet that pulls readings,  and tests,  from a server run by some level of school board.   This would save huge numbers of trees,  of course,  and would allow the data being presented the students  to be updated in a timely manner.  Problems with this?    Well,  first off,  it requires teachers to be flexible enough in their thinking to be able to deal with adding tablets and other technology to the classroom.   It is my experience that while this problem is easing as older teachers retire and younger ones take their place,  there is still a huge resistence in the school system to change like this.    It also requires that all students have a level of competency with using technology.  Again, this is rather better than it used to be, but, there are still far too many kids that have not developed the skills necessary to deal with the technology.    It would also be a body blow to the publishers,  who make a huge profit off school textbooks.   Finally,  it would take a level of competency to get the servers set up,  and running.   This costs money, and, schools are perpetually low on funding.
     If I could wave a magic wand and fix the problem, though,  I would go with the second option.   Not only is technology likely to be a huge part of our society for well into the future,   but,  there is such a flood of new information, and re-interpretations of old data happening that a printed textbook is close to being obsolete by the time it rolls off the press and into the warehouse..
     Pleasant Dreams
     Bee Man Dave.
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Take a SMALL step to help keep Earth Clean!


Greetings and Salutations;

On this Sunday,  as I take a moment to try and do some Good Stewardship of the Earth,  I decided I would take a moment and offer a suggestion on how YOU can help America, and the World.
     I realize it is a challenge to live Green,  and can look like a very daunting prospect that is full of sacrifice and being deprived of the things we have in our lives.   However,  as Ed Bagley Jr.  says… “You do not have to be perfectly Green….Just be as Green as you can be.”    So,  I am going to take a moment here and suggest a small change that will not only do good things for the Earth,  but,  will save each of us large amounts of money every year.
     The issue at hand is that of the plastic bottles of water we have scattered all over the place, and purchase in huge quantities.   Every year,  according to THIS ARTICLE  Americans pitch 20 BILLION empty bottles every year.   THink about that for a second.   That is a huge waste,  not only because many of these end up in Land Fills,  turning valleys into mountains,  but, that is a HUGE amount of oil that could be used for many other,  more productive purposes.   Another negative is that a large number of these bottles are dumped into the ocean, where they end up doing terrible things to the food chain.  As for costs….next time you pick up a bottle of water…think of the fact that the water you are drinking probably cost 1/10th of a penny…and you are likely paying over $1.00 for it
     So…let me offer you a simple,  inexpensive alternative that will end up saving you huge amounts of money and hassle.    Since, in many cases that water you are purchasing is nothing more than tap water….why not do the ecologically smart thing,   and get a re-usable water container and re-fill it.   Everywhere one looks,  it is possible to find a store selling reusable drinking containers,  with built-in lid and straw.   I have a number of aluminum ones around the house and use them regularly.   I also have a number of plastic,  water bottles that can be cleaned and re-filled.    While metal is better than plastic, in my opinion,   the more important thing is that every time one refills a container,   that is one more plastic bottle that is NOT going into the waste stream.
     Of course, I am not the first person to bring this up…THIS,  for example,  is an excellent piece that discusses the issues of disposable water bottles in more detail, and is well worth reading.
     Some folks fret about how clean this is.   The fact is that ALL the bottles I have run across have been safe for the dishwasher,   and that does a great job of cleaning and sterilizing the surfaces.    So…it is as clean, or cleaner,  than purchasing a case of water bottles at the store.
     One of the most insightful things that I have heard,  in the area of living Green,  is the quote from Ed Bagley Jr.  I mentioned at the start of this essay.   Try to be as Green as you can be,  and restore the Good Stewardship of the Earth that we need to have to survive much longer.
     Pleasant Dreams
     Bee Man Dave
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Ever Visited an Old Growth Redwood?

Greetings and Salutations;

      Some of the most amazing and majestic trees left in America are the old growth Redwoods, living out West.   However,  thanks to the issues brought on by Global Climate Change,   these treasures are in trouble.   Here is a very worthwhile article that I recommend we all read and contemplate what it is saying
Man Climbing Old Growth Redwood.
     These trees have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years,  quietly growing larger, and doing their job of providing habitat for the creatures of the forest floor,  and filtering the contaminents out of the air that blows through their branches.   Thanks to mankinds poor stewardship, and, actions taken without understanding the process of what was going on, or, the long-term consequences of those actions,  the climate is changing.  These changes have caused weather conditions to become more extreme, and, have put the Redwoods under serious stress because of the drought that every year seems to bring.    We need to understand that these great Trees are the canary in the coal mine.   They are warning us that the changes we are inflicting on Mother Earth can and WILL kill us, too.   We are at least as fragile as these trees, and so, when there is no growing weather left for food,  and there is no water for keeping us alive thanks to drought, and contamination of fresh water sources by Industry…Humanity itself is in danger.
   Most of us cannot be completely “Green”…and no reasonable person expects us to be.  However, we, as an attempt to return to being Good Stewards of the Earth, should make the effort to be as green as POSSIBLE.    Minimize our use of electricity and water.   Purchase vehicles that are smaller, and lighter, and, more efficient.   In spite of decades of proof, there are too many of us believe that driving a huge SUV that gets 8 MPG, in order to take ourselves to the store a mile away or our kids to school half a mile away,  is a good and necessary thing.
     Recycle what you can.   Yes…It is kind of a pain in the butt to take the time to crush aluminum cans and separate them out,  or rinse out the milk bottles and put them and other plastics in the appropriate bin for pickup.  However, a couple of minutes extra is not too much, I believe, to help ensure that our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have a world to live in.
     Have you read the book “Dune” by Frank Herbert?  Or seen the movie?    If not I suggest sitting down and doing this.   It will give you a much better picture of how life can be on a planet where fresh water is the exception, not the rule, and much of the planet is covered with sand…
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
Posted in Cosmology, Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas To Secede?

     Greetings and Salutations;

     Ok…I know a lot of the recent entries here have been pretty dark, and, to be accurate,  they DID reflect my state of mind.   However,   Today,  I was presented with a news story that brought a ray of amusement to me.   Here it is:
The Alamo!

The Texas Secession Movement!

     As the story points out this is not the FIRST time that Texans have brought up this damn-fool idea,  but, the fact that a large number of counties (10 by some counts,  20 by others)  and many, many online posters support this idea shows the lack of foresight that too many of the citizens of that state have.   Since I am Lutheran,  I do follow Martin Luther’s example of posting questions of importance to a public forum, in the hopes that it will generate some debate and deeper understanding of the issues.   So…Here Goes!
  1. Do the citizens of Texas realize that it has been determined several times by the court system that, since the Civil War ended,   there HAS been no right of a state to secede from the Union?   Here is an interesting article on one of the Supreme Court rulings  Please note that the state that BROUGHT the case to court was, indeed, Texas! 
  2. Let us assume for the next few questions, that Texas DOES vote to secede from the Union,  and, it is upheld by the Supreme Court.    THe first question that springs to my mind is this:   What  is the state going to do to generate the border guards and infrastructure?
  3. What is Texas going to do about Customs Inspectors?
  4. What is Texas going to do about a military of some sort to protect their borders?
  5. Texas has many connections to the Infrastructure of the United States,  including power lines,  fuel lines, Oil lines,   Fiber optic trunks, etc.   The moment they change to a soverign country,   a WHOLE different set of rules and tariffs will apply to the Electrical power,  Fuel, and Data that cross their borders.   What will they do about that?
  6. There is the question of trade.   Right now,  food and other consumer products can move in and out of Texas with no difficulties, or delays.   The only serious delay would be if the weigh stations find an overloaded truck, and it is required to park until it gets some of its cargo offloaded.  As touched on above, this will change radically when they become a separate nation.   What will Texas do about the increased delays of going through customs inspections (on BOTH sides of the border)?
  7. Tourism.   Texas gets quite a bit of revenue from visitors, ranging from casual tourists enjoying the food, landscape and peoples of the area,  to large businessess holding conferences and such.   Do they think that, with the necessity of Passports, and Visas, they are going to see this level of tourism continue?  I suspect not, as the excess hassles and expense of traveling to a foreign country will dissuade many folks from visiting the area.
  8. There is the question of Federal Funds going into the state.   The fact is that billions of Federal Dollars go into the state every year, to support the citizens, and the governmental programs that the state wants to progress.   That will disappear if they become a separate nation.   It is possible that they could receive foreign aid,  but, those numbers are typically MUCH smaller than they are getting now.
  9. To maintain an area as a soverign nation requires a right fair amount of government…Will Texans accept and support the increase in the size of the government that this endeavor would take?
  10. Finally,  do these citizens who are so eager to split off on their own realize that if their tiny nation is to survive,  they are going to either lose most or all of the benefits they derive from the government,  or they are going to have to accept large tax increases.   They will not have the ability to run up huge debts from deficit spending,  as the USA has done, as they will have nothing to back that debt.   ANYTHING that benefits the citizens and is done by the government costs money,  and that money has to come from somewhere.  What will you do, Texas?
     I will say that I am fairly sure that there are enough sane people left in Texas that any serious movement towards sucession would be quashed in short order.   I am also rather sure that a goodly number of the people who are pushing for secession are selling snake oil to the rest of the citizens,  promising them a land of milk and honey,  when all they will get is a mouthful of ashes.  
     However, as a Tennessean, who realizes that if it were not for the efforts of many of OUR brave citizens,  Texas would still be a province of Mexico,  I want to say, I support your desire to split away from the USA…and since it is doomed to failure,   I support even more those citizens who are pushing for this event to move to a more anarchistic country,  where they could be what they want to be – Free to do anything they damn well please!
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
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Brussels Bombed…and Americans say WHAT?

Greetings and Salutations;
This morning, three bombs were set off in the heart of Brussels,   leading to the death and injury of thousands of people.  It is easy enough to find detailed articles on this tragedy online, so, I am not going into those bloody and foolish details here.

Rather,  I have been somewhat interested in the American reactions to this event.  Of course, The Donald is saying that this is unacceptable, and when he is president, he will change the rules to allow our agencies to torture prisoners to get the information out of them.   Needless to say,  this ignores the fact that time and time again,  it has been proven that torture is a useless method of getting useful information out of an enemy.  All it does is push them to a point of telling the torturer what they want to hear,  in order to make the pain stop,  or pushes them to a greater level of hate, and likelihood that they will become a more violent opponent.   I just saw this post on Social Media, that I felt had to be replied to here:

“Deep deep down it’s jealousy…. The west has it all… When you live like dustmites that’s gotta make you a little green and disgruntled.. Some kids build huge castles out of blocks and others like to come along and kick them over… Guess who’s who?”

Now,  while this may have  a grain of truth in it,  it does show a lack of understanding of the motivations of the Middle Eastern Radicals who are often responsible for these acts.   This is what I wanted to address.

1)  Is it really jealousy that motivates these attacks?   I think not.  Not only does the West NOT have it all,  there are a number of other societies around the world that look at our greed and possession driven society and shake their heads in disbelief.   To claim that Western Civilization is the height of perfection shows a parochial point of view, a view that is based on prejudice not fact.

2)  Claiming that people in the Middle East “Live like Dust Mites” is also rather dismissive of a society that has been around

for many,  many years longer than America, and likely will still be here when America is nothing but a footnote for a history class.   It is true that the standard of living in much of the Middle East does not compare to American Middle Class (What little there is left of it),  but that has more to do with the fact that we, and before us the Russians,  have been pounding their infrastructure into fine pebbles for decades with machines of war.   The Middle East is also  an object lesson about the society that America is moving towards.  It is a society where a very small percentage of the people have all the money and power,  and the vast majority of the citizens are barely scraping by.  It is further along that path than we are,  but we are on that same road.

3) The post also ignores the religious aspects of the conflict between the fundamentalists in the Middle East and the rest of the world.   There is a small subset of Muslims who are driven by ignorance and fanaticism,  taught by Imams who pervert the words of the Qura’an,  to push their agenda of hate and death.   These people are not driven by greed.  They are driven by propaganda and a mistaken belief in their Scriptures.   We have the same sort of people in the United States.

An extreme example is that of Westboro Baptist Church,   although there are a lot of groups who believe they are following the teachings of Christ, but are only one or two steps away from these fanatics.   Now, I, for one, tend to think that this factor is one of the strongest,  as the West has been attempting to attack the Middle East for hundreds of years.   That is a legacy that can build a LOT of resentment.   Think, for example of the Crusades.   The West sent this army of heavily armed men into the Middle East,  and those men used the excuse of trying to free Jerusalem to rape, pillage burn and kill huge numbers of the inhabitants.   The Knights had no honor there,  they were no better than barbarians.   Jumping to a much more recent time,   a few decades ago, the Russians went into Afghanistan to “pacify” it.  they pitted heavy tanks against guys with rifles.   I suspect, that there were a fair number of atrocities committed during that conflict too.   Then,  after the Russians got tired of playing War in the area and bailed out,  American leaders came up with a nonsensical reason to justify their sending in troops to continue killing a few combatants and hundreds of thousands of innocents, including women and children.  This is no way to get a war to wind down!


Now…what can we do to improve the situation?  As individuals,  perhaps nothing huge –  Unless you, the reader, are the Leader of a Middle Eastern country,  or are one of the Ultra-Rich in America!   However,   we can each make small steps forward and with enough of us,  a mighty force of change can, perhaps help.   We can study the ENTIRE text of our Holy Book(s) and work to gain understanding of the full message of Christ, or Mohammed.   We can treat others around us with respect and not fear and hate.   We can work to support the organizations that oppose discrimination against people, both citizens and guests in our country, and finally,  we can vote for representatives on ALL levels of government that look to the welfare of the citizens and do what is necessary to keep America a country with goodness in its heart, and not evil.   It is a hard thing to do, and requires constant vigilance,  but, with work and time,  we can change the path America is on.   We can make it more difficult for people around the world to hate us, and wish to bring us harm.   The Right-Winger’s claims that the entirety of Islam is the enemy is both wrong, and suicidally foolish.   Apparently these candidate wanna-bes do not realize that if push comes to shove, there are 350 million Americans,  but, there are 1.3 BILLION Muslims in the world.   We are the minority here, and the probability that we would win a contest of violence with the rest of the world is slightly less than you or I winning the PowerBall lottery.   It is nothing but foolish grandstanding to claim otherwise.  It seems to me that it would be far more productive to work with the moderates in these countries,  to support their efforts to bring a more sane and modern for of government to the area.


Pleasant Dreams

Bee Man Dave

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Why does the World think America is nuts?

     Greetings and Salutations
     The following image/meme was posted on my FaceBook thread today,  with a one word comment of “Truth”.   It has motivated me to write a long-overdue Blog post.    What follows is the reply I posted to the image….  In addition  I wanted to add,  as my title indicates,  I believe this is an excellent example of why it is that the on going clown show of the Republican fight to come up with a candidate for this November’s presidential election is causing such a stir in the other countries of the world.
Anti-American Rant

An Example Of An Ignorant Rant

     I love the irony of putting the word “Truth” in juxtaposition with this meme. “Half-Truth” would be generous, as it is mostly without merit. First off, 125 years ago (which would be 1891. Oddly enough, many of the things that are in the first part one DID have to happen. Also, some of things listed were not a function of the Government – The issue with taking up a trade, for example.   Issues like that were controlled by the guilds for hundreds of years,  and these guilds are the source of many of the laws regulating who can work as a “Professional” in the area.   Also, many of the other items were put under the law to protect us citizens from each other.
       As for the issue of automobiles and driver’s licenses…One has got to remember that in 1890, a LOT of the roads in America were still dirt paths and not only were there very few automobiles, they were quite slow.  Here is a worthwhile article about the state of the automobile in America around that time – So, the idea of a license to cover the 2600 vehicles a year being built, when they were barely faster than a running man, is ridiculous.   As the speed, weight and power of the automobile increased,  the government instituted the requirement for a driver’s license,  to ensure that the drivers had some education on the rules of the road and the proper operation of this powerful machine.   Does the creator of this meme think this was a bad idea?  Would he really like to have untrained and ignorant people speeding around in vehicles that weigh a ton or more, and have enough power to push their top speed to 90 MPH or more?
Another point that is wrong is “asking permission to own a weapon”. There are no bans on law-abiding citizens to own a gun, up to and including some serious weapons like the Barrett .50 BFG made in Tennessee.   With the changes in society, though,  the government has seen it preferable to implement regulations requiring that one pass a background check to ensure that the purchaser is not a convicted, violent felon who has lost their right to own weapons. However, how is that a bad thing?  I am of the school that believes there should be a requirement that anyone purchasing a gun complete a course of education about the proper use, and storage of the weapon.   I talk about the problem and a way to address them  in this blog entry from a while ago.
     The claim about the 16th Amendment (which established and defines the ability of Congress to collect income tax) not being ratified is totally false –
While the creator of this meme may hate taxes, the fact is that the government spends money on what we, the citizens want. Government reflects the population – like it or not. The income taxes we pay are dues for living in this society. They pay for the paved roads we drive on, they pay for the standing army that we support. THey pay for fire departments to keep our property from burning, and police to keep evil doers from walking off with it, or attacking and injuring or killing us.  They pay for disaster relief from FEMA; They pay for a HUGE list of benefits and responsibilities that our country offers. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you want the goodies, you have to pay the piper.
     As for the ending rant about living in an open-air prison state, to me, this is nothing more than ignorance inflated by paranoia and anger speaking. While we may have had some of our freedoms curtailed, the fact is we live in one of the most free countries in the world. We can get online, and speak our minds, up to and including calling for the murder of the Federal representatives, with no serious consequences.   In other online posts,  we can malign the character of public figures, again with no consequences.  we can, in many states, hang a high powered rifle over our shoulder, loaded with a 30 round clip, and wander through public spaces, with no consequences. We have no limits on our travels in the United State, nor are we required to have identity papers with us all the time; and as a part of that the police cannot randomly stop us and demand to SEE those identity papers. There are many more examples, but, these examples are hot points for so-called “Prison States”.  In TRUE dictator state – Prison States –  If you do anything that annoys the powers that be, you will be vanished, and it is likely that your entire family out to your grandparents and the family dogs will end up in shallow graves in the desert.   If this were a true “Prison State”  does the creator of this meme realize that the many postings over the past seven years comparing the Obamas to dictators,  or monkeys,  or claiming Pres. Obama was not qualified to be President would have resulted in a lot of empty houses and vanished people if this were a Prison State?
     Look at the recent example of the college kid who went on a tourist visit to North Korea, and is now looking at a 15 year prison term at hard labor (and North Korean prisons are NOT fun places to be). His crime? He tried to take a propaganda poster from his hotel as a momento of the trip!  In a true Prison State, not only is this standard operating procedure,  but, half the citizens are watching the other half,  waiting to turn them in to gain brownie points with the administration.
     Finally (and this is a small quibble),  if the creator wants to have ANY credibility they need to go back to community college and take some remedial English course,  so they can learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”.   Showing one’s ignorance of proper spelling undercuts ANY valid points that might be hidden in a rant.
     It is my opinion that this meme does not point up problems with the country so much as it reveals the reality of how deep the pool of anger, ignorance,  and paranoia  is in a large percentage of American Citizens.      It is this bigotry that has fueled the rise of The Donald  as a candidate for President,  and is generating the nervous laughter around the world over the state of America.   As a Canadian Prime Minister said, quite some time ago when asked about having such a long border with America – “It is like a mouse sleeping next to an elephant.  The elephant may be friendly,  but, the mouse had better watch out every time the elephant stirs”.
     Pleasant dreams.
     Bee Man Dave
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Saving the Bees….And Butterflies…

  Greetings and Salutations;
     The bees in America have a lot of stresses that are causing them to die off.   Needless to say,  this is a Bad Thing,  because something like 30% of the crops in America and 90% of the wild-flowers are pollinated by these insects.   The main focus for the past years has been the way that neonicotinoid pesticides have weakened the bees to the point that they die as they fly out to collect nectar,  or,  are unable to fight off the parasites and viruses that can infest them.  The good news is that the Feds have put a hold on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until further studies can be done.  However,  there is one factor that has received very little attention,   and that is the loss of habitat.   One of the great sources of fresh blood for apiaries  are the wild bees that congregate out in the woods.   Well,   the changes in climate and the destruction of forests that have plagued the United States over the past few decades have cut down quite a bit on the number of places that bee colonies can survive and prosper.   The White House is quite aware of these issues,  and has, recently, released a plan to help deal with some of these, and, with luck,  the current loss of hives will slow, and perhaps even reverse.  Here is a link to the NPR story  dealing with this.
     In the spirit of thinking globally,  but, acting locally,  what can we do to help the bees?   I have some suggestions.
      If you have an open area (a lawn, or field, for example),  plant bee and butterfly friendly wild-flowers in as much of it as you can.   Not only will this add beauty to your environment,  but, it will provide a source of food for bees and butterflies.   I, for one,  like Butterfly Weed,  but,  there are a number of options.   Here is an excellent source of information 
Note that many of these flowers are perennials and so once you get them started,  they will return every year with no effort on your part.  Also,  they will keep producing blooms for most of the Summer.
     Consider adding aSTL_water-feature-art1.jpg small water feature to your yard…say,  a fountain, or a waterfall into a  rock-filled pond.   This will go a long way towards giving the insects an important source of water, and, by running a pump,  the water movement will ensure that it will not be a mosquito breeding ground.
 If you feel it is necessary to spray pesticides around the outside of your house,   try and use “more friendly” ones (the previous link has some suggestions).   I, though, would recommend that you consider adding Preying Mantises to the eco-system.   They are great little creatures,  and do an excellent job of eliminating other insects.  They are also self-sustaining
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave
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Some interesting questions…

Greetings and Salutations;

     A relative posted some questions about the issues of terrorism in the world today,  and, I have to say I found them worthy of consideration.  So…here are the questions and my responses.
how many Muslims in the world?
     Approximately 1.6 Billion
How many Muslims are terrorists?
      The last numbers I saw indicated there were roughly 200,000 members of Daesh – Which many Muslims say is NOT Islamic.   It would not be out of line to say that up to a Million are radical and have either directly or indirectly taken part in terroristic acts.
How many Christians are in the world?
     about 2.2 billion
How many Christians are terrorists?
      Not an easy question to answer as there are no easily accessible numbers. However, here is an interesting article that addresses the question –About Terrorist Attacks In America Also, there is this interesting examination of the issue –  The bottom line in both articles is that Muslims are responsible for only a small percentage of  the terroristic attacks in America.    As for the world as a whole….it MIGHT be true that Sunni Muslims do a majority of “terroristic” acts.   However,  that does kind of depend on what “Terroristic” is.  Also,  a vast majority of these attacks are against other Muslims,   so from America’s standpoint are meaningless.
Do Christians consider Christian terrorists to be true Christians?
     What is a “true Christian?” I, for one, who am a moderate in many areas, including faith, do NOT consider the many people who claim to be Christians, but cherry-pick verses from the bible, twist their meaning, and in general ignore Christ’s teaching to push a hate-filled and bigoted agenda to be Christian. In James, it says “Faith, without works, is dead”. Christ also said “By their fruits, ye shall know them”. There are millions of other Christians who share my views, and, so, I would say that a vast majority of Christians would say “no, they are NOT Christian”  Of course,  there is a spectrum of believe in the bucket “Christians”,  and that includes too many Conservatives who would say “yes,  they are true Christians,  because they are saving the unborn,  or opposing same sex marriage,  or, fighting the unbelievers,  or any other of a long list of rationalizations to excuse the fact that they are sticking with the Old Testament,  and NOT following Christ’s message in the New Testament.
Do Muslims consider Muslim terrorists to be true Muslims?
     While I cannot provide the supporting quotes, not being Muslim,  I tend to believe that there is no significant difference between Christians and Muslims in this area. The comments to the proceeding question apply here too. Now, the ONE difference I can see is that in my opinion the Qu’aran is, essentially, the Old Testament, which is a bloody record of the draconian response to the laws being broken. Islam does not have, or has not adopted, the New Covenant of Christ, as laid out in the New Testament. This, I believe, is one factor in why it seems the fanatics in that group can be so violent and appear to glory in blood. That having been said, one thing that has NOT been reported widely is the fact that tens of thousands of Imams have issued papers condemning the excesses of Daesh. Also, for every Muslim who murders unarmed innocents, there are millions who are loving, tolerant people who just want to take care of their family, and be friends with their neighbors.
Does each group consider the other group’s terrorists as terrorists first or the other group as a primary characteristic?
     I cannot speak for the Muslim community, but I suspect that their breakdown of belief is similar to the Christian community. That is…a vast majority look upon the attacks on an individual basis, and realize that they are the actions of one or a few fanatics who are not representative of the group as a whole.
I know for a fact though, that there are too many “Christians” – or CINOs as I call them (Christians In Name Only) who Do believe that if one Muslim is a terrorist…they all are. This ranges from the local garbage man up to candidates for president. This is foolish, hateful and not true, of course. I also find it interesting that these same people are totally blind to the fact that others might look at Christians through the same glasses when a single shooter kills at a Planned Parenthood clinic, or a movie theatre, or an innocent Muslim child is beaten and insulted simply for being a Muslim. It is a sad blindness.
What if any enforcement efforts can each group do to preemptively do to prevent its group of terrorists from terroristic acts?
     Again, not an easy question to answer. However, One common thread among all the fanatics who murder innocents is that they ALWAYS have left a long trail of red flags warning of the danger. Their personality changes as the spin up to do the deed, the social network postings, the changes in their daily activity, all are warning signs that something is wrong. We do not like to stick our nose into someone else;s business but, perhaps if friends or family had reached out to them, they could have been stopped before they went over the cliff. Or, as a last resort, the authorities should be notified and those authorities should actually DO something, instead of just blowing it off. If we had a more robust mental health care system, it could be an excellent tool for helping folks get out of their delusions. This could include Clergy who could engage the person, and attempt to clarify their misunderstandings and misinterpretations   Be that as it may,   this requires a diverse society that is non-judgemental and willing to take tha step of doing something that, up front,  may not be appreciated, and may bring some conflict and strife into the life of the person doing the intervention..
How to do that without placing limits on the free expressions of religion, regardless of how nutty that belief system may be?
    This is a tightrope, in that it is skirting close to the alligator pit of ignoring the Constitutional protections we benefit from. However, as I pointed out in the previous question, it seems like it could be possible to see when a person is slipping into the trap of fanaticism and homicide, and catch them.   Of course, at this point in time, we, as a society have tiny numbers of terrorist attacks. Perhaps we could simply continue as we are…with the cops doing their best to find conspiracies and arresting and charging those involved. We cannot eliminate these attacks, any more than we can ensure that we will never have another airplane crash.
That having been said, there are some changes to society that would, I believe, keep these from happening. a) Our would-be leaders MUST stop using the language of bigotry, hate and violence against those that are different from us. Look, for example at the fiery rhetoric being spewed out by the Right Wing these days!  They are condemning ALL Muslims based on the actions of a tiny percentage of them.  This has already had negative effects.   It has caused a number of people of color who may or may not have been Muslim to be attacked with hate speech and actual, physical injury.   It is causing our “leaders”  to build walls to keep people from seeking sanctuary in America in their attempts to get away from war and insanely fanatical behavior that is killing them and their families, and destroying their lives.  This in spite of the fact that these refugees have been through a rigerous screening process that has found that they have NO connections with terrorist organizations.   Too many of us ordinary citizens are attacking people who have done nothing,  simply because we have been filled with this delusional hate.   There have been several Muslim shopkeepers who have been attacked by psycho white guys.  There is the young girl who, a couple of weeks ago,  was attacked by several white boys at school,  beaten,  had her Hajab ripped off,  and called a “Sand Nigger” and other racist terms.  She is 13 years old!   The rot that produces this kind of hate and evil actions need to change.
    now….back to the question… We must, as a society,  make an effort to interact with, and come to understand the Muslims who are good citizens and who are fine people.   By doing this,  we can undercut the hateful actions that generate the sort of frustrated fanaticism that leads to these attacks.   The people we hate and attack are not the folks that are our neighbors, who we interact with on a regular basis.  They are the “Stranger”   the person who we can paint as being less than human, and so bei ok to attack and kill.
     This is, alas, a complicated issue,  with no easy answers.   However,   we, as a society need to move back towards the sort of tolerance and love that Christ taught,  or,  our society will be doomed to destruction.   As the above links point out,  a vast majority of terrorist attacks in America come from people that are NOT Muslim.   Becoming a more tolerant society and one that avoids heated rhetoric for moderation will likely cut down on those attacks.   A calmer state of mind will also cause the rest of the world to look at us with less concern, wondering if, like a mad dog backed into a corner,  we are going to lash out with death and destruction.   We are,  after all, the ONLY country on Earth that has exploded nuclear weapons on another country.   That is the sort of event that, if nothing else,  leaves everyone wondering…Will they do it again?
     Pleasant dreams!
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Muslims in America…we are shameful.


   Greetings andSalutations;

I hope, during this Christmas season, that I can post some positive moments from America, to remind all of us that the bigoted, hateful, racist  bastards we appear to be are just a small subset of the population. However, so far, it has been a challenge to find anything. Maybe soon, though.

That having been said. Yesterday evening a particularly annoying bit of news came up. HERE is a link to one of the reports In short, a young girl was attacked and beaten up by bullies on the playground simply because she is Muslim and was wearing the traditional head scarf -the Hijab. They tore the garment from her, and called her ISIS(Daesh). To add to the the shame, the police were called, but,refused to take a report, basicially blowing it off as kids being bad on the playground, rather than a hate-based attack. The school alleges that they are doing an internal investigation and will mete out any required punishment. Frankly, since it appears that the kids that attacked the young girl were white, and male, I suspect that nothing will come of it.

It is my opinion that actions like this are generated by what the kids learn at home, so, I would be inclined to hold the parents responsible for their kid’s actions. Granted kids at that age do not have the social barriers that ensure they will not randomly attack people, but, neither do they act so violently towards another kid. Making fun and teasing, yes, sure. That is NOTHING compared with what happened to this young girl. For all you folks out there supporing the flaming rhetoric of The Donald and other Right-Winger candidates…this is the world you are building. DO you really think that is the world you want to live in?  Why is it that all of a sudden,  it is OK for us to blame ALL Muslims for the acts of a fanatical few?   Should we treat all Christians as psychotics filled with hate because of the actions of the killers who shoot doctors as Woman’s Care clinics?   Or by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church?   I think most Americans would say “no”…because it is THEIR ox being gored,  not some one elses.

In reading this report, I was reminded of an interview I heard quite some years ago, with an administrator in the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation. He had, in his youth, grown up in a racist household and was a die-hard Skin-Head, and white supremacist. One day,though, when he was in his early 20s, he was at a White Supremecist rally being ranted at about white purity, and how all the Blacks should be sent back to Africa and how racial impurity was destroying America…all the typical nonsense. In between the speeches, though, he was talking to one of his friends, and he asked a very important question – “What would we do if we got our wish? That all the people of color WERE rounded up and deported? Who would we hate THEN?” His friend looked at him and said “Don’t worry man, we will find SOMETHING”. The young man was bright enough to think about this, and he came to the realization that these folks were not fighting to preserve something GOOD.  Rather,  they were fighting because they HATED people that were different. He also realized that the next group could be blue-eyed people, or left-handed people, or any other group that did not match their definition of “normal”. This flash of insight caused him to change his life path, leaving the Supremacist movement and their hate-filled views, and moving over to join in the hunt for Nazis. It was a most interesting article.

Pleasant Dreams

Bee Man Dave

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Another Pearl Harbor day ticks by.

Greetings and Salutations…

     Today is December 7th,   the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that changed America’s life path in too many ways to count.   I  look at America today,  and I see that even in the short 12 months since the last Memoral Day for this event,  there have been increasingly radical changes to our society…and few of them, alas, are good.   In the political arena,  the rhetoric from the Right-wingers is becoming more and more incendiary.   Donald Trump,  who, I would not have bet a dime on still being in the race, has not only jumped in feet first,  but, is the clear leader for the nomination of the GOP.   At last poll I saw,  he was leading the closest opponent  by upwards of 10%.    This is disconcerting,  as he has been, from day one,  the voice of truly radical,  fascist and Dictatorial speech.   It is amazing to me that he can go out and malign a given social group, and the polls show him jumping up each time.   For example,  he said, early on this year,  that the undocumented workers sneaking into America were mostly criminals – rapists and murderers.   UP jumped his rating.   He claims that Pres. Obama is doing nothing to secure the border,  in spite of the documented fact that the President has deported MORE undocumented aliens than any other president per year, and, he has bumped up the staff of ICE by 30,000 officers.   The Donald claimed that he saw video of thousands of Muslims dancing in the streets of New Jersey after the planes hit the World Trade Center on 9/11.  This is a known lie.  There were, at most EIGHT guys who were arrested for this sort of activity.   But, he not only sticks to his lie,  he doubles down on it, and claims that it is a huge conspiracy of the News media to hide the films.   Fianlly (although I could go on for hours),  today,  the Donald came out and said that he wanted a total freeze on the movement of ALL Muslims in and out of the U.S.  This includes tourists, citizens, etc.  It does not matter to The Donald.
     I wish I could say that the other 14 candidatates for the GOP were better, but, alas, while none of them are running the huge train wreck that the Donald is,  they all are working from a fantasy world that has no contact with reality, and are calling for (and demonizing) other groups.    Overall, the GOP which used to stand for CONSERVATIVE attitudes,  is moving to the radical Right, and becoming dangerous.
     This is the world that the brave men and women died for at Pearl Harbor and during the rest of World War II?   I rather think not.   They founght and died to preserve America from this sort of attack…the Fifth Column that destroys from within.
     In spite of the very dark place that America is in right now in too many areas (and I have not even touched on the increase in documentation about the LEOs injuring and killing civilians that they are either chasing or (in too many cases) have restrained and in custody)   Not all is completely ugly.  For example,  one of the shameful episodes of World War II was the sweeping up and internment of many Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor,  simply because they were Japanese.    They were held in these prison camps for much of the war,  and lost everything they had worked for.   Well,  in the past year,   George Takei and others have been instrumental in bringing a play about this situation to Broadway.   Titled “Alliance”  it looks at one of the families whose life was disrupted by this abrogation of the Constitution.  The story is based on George Takei’s famly,  so it is quite appropriate for him to be playing a big part in it.   This story was ignored completely by hisotrians and textbooks through the 1980s,  although I had read about it quite some years before and so was aware of it.   Finally, though,  with this play,  more and more Americans are learning of this obscene act, and hopefully seeing that it is an important warning that we should never let this happen again.   It was an ugly chapter in American History (one of many, alas),  so it is good that we are exposed to it and learn from it.
     Pleasant Dreams
     Bee Man Dave
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