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.
   We 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
Posted in Humanity, Nuttiness, Politics, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Ethics, General Thoughts, Nuttiness, Politics, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 – http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/automobile.aspx 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 – http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=57
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
Posted in Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Nuttiness, Political rants, Politics, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Beekeeping, Hive and Colony care, Ruminations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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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Hope For the Bees!



Greetings and Salutations;
Well, in these dark days of political insanity, bigotry and hate, there is at least ONE small ray of sunshine.   NPR has an interesting story about the discovery of a mushroom that may help bees build their immune system and be more successful at surviving the viruses and mites that are killing them off.  It is worth the read.

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Bees and Pesticides…Good Stewardship?

 Greetings and Salutations;
     The destruction of bee colonies by Nicotinoid based pesticides not only continues, but is spreading through the entire ecosystem of insects.   This article about it is short, but worth reading.  
Time after time studies have shown that overuse of general pesticides are killing off the bee colonies we love and need, and yet,  the companies continue to produce GMO plants that are resistant to these poisons,  allowing more and more of the stuff to be sprayed around.    I find it pretty hard to find anything intelligent, considerate of the future, or wise about these actions!    I am not even going to get into the fact that the trend in “commercial” produce these days is towards an item that looks pretty,  and has a long shelf life, but has so little taste it is hardly more than a texture source for the mouth.   
     Now, though, the toxins are getting so embedded in the environment that they are wiping out other species of bugs too, and, as the article points out,  this will have a huge impact on the food chain of various birds and other creatures.   It is just too much to express in any way that is readable….and is such poor stewardship of the Earth it is embarrassing.     
     I used to be fairly sure that an out of control Global Climate change would wipe out humanity.  Now, I wonder which suicidal path will get to us first?   Will drought caused by climate change wipe out our ability to grow crops and have sustinence?   Or will the destruction of the roots of the food chain cause a massive extinction event?    The coin is in the air, people!   Do we, as a species, what to give into our basic nature of desiring to die and take every living thing we can with us?   Or do we grow in wisdom, and, start working to clean up the huge destruction we have caused to the Earth, and live in harmony with it?
Pleasant Dreams.
Bee Man Dave
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Reading Comprehension – Harder Than One Might Think!

     Greetings and Salutations. 

     Although it is many, many months until the Presidential Elections,  the Right and Left Wingers are hard at it.   In this post, I am going to focus on a kind of mind-boggling moment from The Donald.   So far,  I could fill a goodly sized tome or two with his pronouncements that are so mind-bogglingly out in Left Field that one wonders if he is making a last minute attempt to take over The Daily Show, and bump Trevor!
     A few days ago, in one of the media events he so loves,  he was talking about how undocumented immigrants were taking over the country, stealing jobs from Americans,  and generally raising the crime rate.  It was part of his usual rant about building a huge fence along the Mexican border, to keep the scruffy ones out.   Well,  this time,  he ramped things up a bit.   Along with his usual rant about collecting and deporting every undocumented immigrant in America,  he went off on the “problem” of these pregnant, Mexican mothers sitting on the border until they are just about to deliver, then, running into America to have their child so the kid will gain “Birth right” citizenship.    He specifically believes that they should NOT get that citizenship, and in any case, he would deport the entire family back to where they came from – Ignoring any citizenship issues.   I could go on about how nuts this plan is, just from a logistics standpoint, but, I am more interested in the Birth Right issue right now.
     For those of us who are not Constitutional scholars, or, were  unable to stay awake in American History when the Constitution was studied…the concept of “Birth Right” citizenship comes from the 14th Amendment.  I will include a verbatim copy of it later on, but, right now, will say that it states, in fairly clear terms that “all people” born inside the borders of the country are automatically citizens of the United States.   Well,   The Donald went on to say that he had talked with a number of very good Constitutional Lawyers who were of the opinion that this clause ONLY applied to the freed slaves, and had nothing to do with anyone else.   Sadly, he has yet to give us the name of even one Constitutional scholar who is willing to say this!   So,  since he has decided that this clause of a Constitutional Amendment is unconstitutional,  he intends to ignore it, and claim that children born of undocumented immigrants are NOT citizens of the USA, but only hold citizenship in their parent’s country.  Now by doing this he removes ANY legal barriers that might keep him from tossing the entire family on to transport back to their country of origin.
     Needless to say, this has generated quite a furor online.   Among the educated, and the Liberals,  it has produced much laughter and many humorous remarks.   Among the Right-Wingers,  it has produced a lot of comments that seem to revolve around the ideas that they love The Donald because he is someone willing to stand up to the establishment, and, hoping that he gets elected so “we can get our country back”.   By the by, I have asked a number of times  what exactly this means, and have gotten NO answers yet.
     Well,  earlier today,   I decided that I would hop on it myself for a bit…so I  spent some time on Facebook, teaching Pigs to Sing. In thiscase, there was a lengthy thread started by an admiring post thatsaid how wonderful the Donald was for finally, accuratelyinterpreting the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Ofcourse, this is total nonsense, and simply demonstrates the ignoranceof the Right-Wingers. I had the following exchange thatdemonstrates my thesis fairly well, I think:

DaveMundt Hum…the Donald seems to have some difficulty with English. I do not see ANY language in the 14th Amendment that says the Birth Right clause applies only to Negroes. As a matter of fact the first two words of the Amendment are “All persons” which seems pretty inclusive to me. Perhaps his problem is akin to dyslexia, except he has some wiring in his brain that simply pulls up random words and inserts them into the text he is trying to read. In any case, Although this is the “Boogie Man” Issue of the Right-Wingers and has been so for decades, I believe it is hardly the most important issue in today’s world.   I really find it difficult to believe that any other nation is attempting to overthrow the United States by creating citizens that will have a legal right to be here!

Oh yes…as for the point about other nations and their procedure for naturalizing immigrants….Not only is it far easier to get a residency permit up front for most of the civilized nations in the world, but, the path to becoming a citizen takes a few years….not the up to 25 years it can take for obtaining US citizenship.

Like· Reply · 2 hrs · Edited

RR Then you have a liberal edited copy of Constitution, for it says former slaves. The 14th amendment did not even include Native Americans. Trump is right exclusively for former slaves.

Like· 1 · 2 hrs

DaveMundt Mr. RR —Here is the copy I was looking at – http://www.archives.gov/…/constitution_amendments_11-27… To the best of my knowledge, the National Archives has no political bias. If you wish to claim otherwise…you MUST provide verifiable references to prove it.

That having been said – You are factually correct that the Native Americans wereexcluded from this Amendment.   However, that was for the purposes of determining the number ofRepresentatives a state would have.  It had nothing to do with the Birth Right issue. However, do you have ANY Clue why Native Americans were mentioned in this Amendment?  Let me explain – Native Americans have a special status in the United States. They were considered a separate nation ( a status that continues until today). Here is a short discussion of the issue. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/617 This, by the by was eventually modified so Native Americans now are, essentially, holding dual citizenship (Per the 14th Amendment…) as members of their tribes, and as US citizens.  As regards the Reservations,  here is the authoritative word – http://www.bia.gov/FAQs/  

I am quite willing to cede that the intent of the Founding Fathers was to modify and remove the 3/5th designation of humanity that the ex-slaves had at the time. However, I argue that the Founding Fathers were looking PAST that specific use – hence the “All Persons” lead into the Amendment. Add to that the fact that there is NO language that makes the birth right section of the Amendment specific to ex-slaves or other people of color and I can see no logical explanation other than the Amendment  was intended to do exactly what it says….grant citizenship to ANY child born within the borders of the United States.

Hereis the Amendment in question…


Passedby Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note:Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.

Representativess hall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-Presidentof the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation there in shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.

The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment. 

     Because The Donald is such a great side show,  he is currently leading the pack of the 17 that want to be the Republican candidate for President.   This has generated a huge amount of attention for him, of course, but, the worrisome thing is that several other wannabes are making a strong effort to jump on the “Trump Bandwagon”  in order to get some of that adulation for themselves.   At least four or five of the potentials have already come out and strongly supported The Donald’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and said that if THEY are elected they will implement the same sort of deportation policies  that The Donald is promising.    It does not, in my view, speak well towards either their education, their intellectual abilities, or, their trustworthiness to fulfill the demands of the office and live up to the oath they would take IF they were able to get elected.    

     As with most Amendments,  the 14th  one covers several topics,  and so is likely to be confusing to those with limited reading skills and comprehension (and yes…I know I am being snarky here).   However,   to simply pick and choose lines from the Amendment, in order to push one’s agenda is just as childish, and foolish as picking individual Bible Verses out to prove a point.   One has to take either the whole thing or none of it.   This misuse of the basic document that defines us as a country and a society makes me fear for the long-term survival of America.   

Sleep Well
Bee Man Dave

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Send In The Clowns; Watch the Pundits leave!

Greetings and Salutations;

Last night was a kind of milestone in television, in my opinion. While most of the  evening was unremarkable, the juxtaposition of the two Republican”debates” with Jon Stewart’s last day as host of The Daily Show turned it into a stellar moment.

First off,there were the sound bite shows that passed for a debate between the Republican candidate wannabes. As I am sure everyone knows, Fox News decided that, since there were 17 contenders for the candidate’s position, the best course of action was to split the field into two parts. Based on polling results, the seven lowest rated candidates were relegated to the earlier show (which has been named “The Kid’sTable”). I alas, did not watch that debate, as sleep claimed  me while it was on. However, from reports of the content, it seems there was nothing surprising there. Then, at the “Adult table” debate at 21:00 the remaining 10 folks gathered in a lengthy arc across the stage.   Donald Trump was in the center (of course), with the rest of the group arranged in order of decreasing poll results out to the end. Fox had three of its anchors taking turns asking questions of the candidates, and,frankly, while they were fairly softball in their treatment of the speakers, there were some rather interesting moments during the show. More on that later.

One of the major factors that undercut this event as a debate was the fact that there were ten people on the stage, and only two hours to talk to them. This meant that each person had 60 seconds to answer  a question, and, 30 seconds for a rebuttal if necessary. That is not a debate, as it allows for NO complex or nuanced examination ofa given subject. So…nothing but quick sound bites for the news programs. This format also made it difficult for the moderators to call the candidates on it when they wandered off topic and did not answer the question they were asked, but, made other talking points.

In spite of those weaknesses in the format, there were some interesting moments. Donald Trump was called out on his hateful attitude towards woman and his contemptuous language towards them (ranging from calling them stupid, to bodyshaming).  Trump, in both his language, and his defense of his hateful attitudes, is interesting.   First off,  he jumped in and said that he only said these things about Rosie O’Donnell.   While it is true that he has had quite a feud going on with Ms. O’Donnell,  as the anchor pointed out, his hateful comments have been used against a number of women who have opposed him.   Then,  he went on to say that when he was being abusive,  it was all in good fun, and folks were just joking around and such.   As I was listening to that nonsense,   I was reminded of at least one client I had for many years.   He had exactly the same, cocky attitude (but not the money).   He would happily denegrate everyone around him, treat them like trained apes in a zoo,  and if called on it,  would be totally puzzled.  He even said to me one time that “he only gave me a hard time because he thought of me as one of the family”.   Considering the train wreck that hsi family was,  I can see how that might have been true.   In any case,  the bottom line is that abuse is abuse, and there is no call for it, and no way that anyone can or should be proud of engaging in it.   Trump’s attitudes that this sort of behavior is ok shows that he has a level of hubris that should  automatically  disqualify him for the presidency.
     Jeb Bush was kind of tentative in his statements, as I think he was trying to walk a tightrope of having a point of view,and yet not getting into it with Trump, or offending the special interest groups in the Republican Party. Christy was his typical, abrasive self, and played fast and loose with a number of statistics about his governorship (as of course, did various of the other speakers). Speaking of which, as expected, the entire two hours were packed with lies, partial truths, and agenda pushing spin. I was actually kind of surprised by the fact that I heard a few verifiable, true facts sneak though. Apparently accidents happen! Overall, I have to say that it was interesting enough to keep my attention for the two hours, and almost as amusing as the hour long tribute to Jon Stewart that followed it.

Tonight’sepisode of The Daily Show was an hour long, and, although there were a couple of efforts to stick to the usual format of mocking the insanity of the political and social scenes, it just did not happen. Pretty much it was an hour-long love fest of people doing cameo roles to let Stewart know what a great person and what a great force for good he has been for the last sixteen plus years. I am pretty sure that every on-air personality that ever was on the show made an appearance, and had an amusing interaction with Jon. There were even some very amusing clips of a variety of politicians and businessmen who he had zinged pretty well coming on and saying a cheerful “good riddance!” Perhaps the best moment, though, was when Steve Colbert went off  script at the end of the show, and gave a lengthy and heart-felt tribute to Jon that pointed out that he had done great things in his time on the show, not only in his pointing out the insane moments of the world, but, by helping many others into the industry, and teaching them how to seek and achieve excellence in there work. It is well worth searching this tribute out  on YouTube, and watching it, both because of the raw honesty of it, and, the fact that it is so hard for Jon to take that it looks like he wants to make a run for it to get away from the love. In contrast with the “debate” that proceeded it, there was nothing but truth spoken in this hour, and in such a way that it balanced out many hours of the evil and untruths that infest the broadcast waves most of the time.

I was watching the Daily Show pre-Jon, and I had some doubts when he first came on as the new host. However, he grew into the post, and became a true and amazing force for good. He deserves his time at the farm with his family…so thanks Jon, and do not be a stranger!
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Some Anniversaries Hurt

Greetings and Salutations;

     I am writing this in commemoration of the 70 year anniversary of bombing of Hiroshima during World War 2.   There are images here that are hard to view, but, are part of our heritage, so, should be faced.
     America is, so far, the only country in the world to have actually used Atomic Weapons against another population.   I can only pray that this remains true forever.    There are just some things that we, as humans should not do, and, I believe that perverting Atomic energy to kill is one of them that is WAY up the list.    Over the years,   there have been many debates about the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   There are people who passionately defend the action, and others who are just as emotional about pushing that it was a terrible mistake and should never have been done.    While these are valid arguments,   I am not going to address them here.  THe fact of the matter is that in July of 1945,  a group of men sat around a table and decided that it was the best course of action to drop the bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.    That and the events that followed cannot be changed,  so all we can do is look at the reality of history, and decide…do we want to do this again?
      When the Enola Gay dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, and it reached its set altitiude, it detonated, and in less time than it takes a heart to beat,  70,000 people vanished in a flash of light.   They were vaporised by the heat and shock wave produced by the blast.   Most of the city was destroyed – buildings flattened as if they were built of cardboard.    The people that were killed instantly were, argueably the lucky ones.   The survivors were left with terrible injuries from the blast and radiation,  and over the next few weeks another 70,000 or more died from those injuries.
   There are many, many more pict4uresof the results of this bombing,  and, while they are a challenge to view,  it is important that we look at them, and, as I have said before,  decide…what kind of society do we want to have, and what kind of society do we want to promote in the world?    Recently,  President Obama has, along with five other countries, has successfully created a treaty with Iran to help keep the proliferation of nuclear weapons from invading that country.   It shocks me to see that there are Right-Winger politicians in this country that are vehemently against this treaty,  claiming that it could be “better”.    THe members of Congress are threatening to veto the treaty, in spite of the facts that it will still happen, even if America is not part of it, and, it is the BEST deal so far to keep the focus of Iran on the peaceful use of atomic energy.   I hope that these people realize that, by fighting against treaties like this, they are voting for Hiroshima to happen again…and this time it might well be in OUR back yard.   Is this what they want?   I pray that this is not what is on their mind, and, that their eyes will be opened to the reality of not keeping the world as weapon free as is possible.
Pleasant dreams
Bee Man Dave
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The Economy – Bees and Humans…

Are These Equivalent?

*** Warning! What follows includes factual data, personal opinions and some painting with a broad brush ***

….. I keep finding interesting topics to mediate on  as I crawl around the intricate weave of the Net.   This time,  the  discussion that caught my eye was one between a woman from Ireland and a number of folks scattered around the USA.   She had the very apt question of “Can someone explain to me why none of the politicians in America give a shit about the working class?”  This, alas,  is one of those apparently simple questions that turns out to have many facets and complications that keep it from having a simple answer.  That of course, makes it worth further consideration, in MY book!   Needless to say, the question brought up a number of answers,  all good, and all looking at different aspects of the issues in America that have put the 99% into a waterslide to poverty.   I found my answer was getting long enough that I thought it would be worthwhile here, too, so,   let us dive into it….
…..One of the issues brought up was the concept of the (misnamed) “Right to Work” laws that so many states have.   The OP made the point that these, in spite of the name,  were NOT giving workers any power.   I, as a resident of a “right to work” state,  certainly agree that this law is a horrid thing for the workers.  We called it the “Right to be fired on a whim” law, with little actual humor to it.   The fact is that it gives the employer to dismiss an employee with no cause or explanation.   Granted most companies do gather a “screw up list” when they want to get rid of someone, to cover themselves in case the ex-employee decides to sue for wrongful termination.   However, that does not need to happen,   and the simple fact is that these laws remove much of the security an employee might feel when they do get a job.   What security is there if your supervisor/manager can walk in tomorrow and say “you are fired….these men will escort you to the door?”     Well…while the roots of this are a complicated story that I may take up later,  in short,  the Taft–Hartley Act, signed into law in 1947,  was created, basically,  to ensure that a worker could go into a company, and be free NOT to join the Union.   This was a strong attempt by the government and business to break the backs of the unions, which for the past 20+ years had pushed through many changes to business practices that were good for the workers but not so good for the upper level managers and owners.  It was the opinion of these bodies that the unions had grown too big and too powerful, so had to be broken up a bit.   The management did not like such things as strikes,   the inability to terminate employees at will, and the fact that a union negotiation almost always produced higher wages and benefits for the workers.    
…..Another issue raised was the idea that regulations and taxes were hurting small businesses and hounding them out of business, and even impacting the decisions of larger companies to outsource their jobs to foreign countries.  First off,  I had to disagree, in general, with the condemnation of regulations controlling business in America  The regulations on various industries were implemented because, before those regulations existed, businesses would  pull all kinds of tricks to make more money off the consumer, by creating a cheaper product.  
  • One abuse  that has been around for hundreds of years is adulterating food with cheaper fillers to increase profit.   the earliest examples were the millers grinding flour.  They would  dilute the wheat flour with gypsum dust or marble dust, which they could get for next to nothing.  This  would not kill a person eating the products made from the flour.  It DID increase their profit margin quite a bit.  It also lowered the quality of the bread baked from that flour.   That is a big reason we have the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with ensuring that foods we eat and the medicines we take are more or less what they claim to be, and that they will (at least) not harm us.      
  • Another example of the need for regulations and inspections that spring to mind (and is a hot button for many) is the ACA. One of the reasons for the ACA being created and put into law was to regulate the insurance industry and keep it from the many abuses they would  inflict on their customers, all in the name of higher profits. Before the ACA, the Insurance companies could write policies that covered NOTHING;  so the monthly premium was essentially pure profit. They would refuse coverage to individuals for random reasons, most of which seemed centered around the fact that these people MIGHT force them to pay out some of that cash they were collecting. They were able to put arbitrary caps on how much would be paid out for a given disease, or policy. If you happened to have a situation where they DID have to pay out any cash, you could see your premiums doubling or more a couple of months later. Finally. they could refuse to cover a problem because of a “preexisting condition” – even if that condition had NOTHING to do with the current problem.  There are many examples documenting these abuses available with a simple Net Search.
  • Before the Wage and Hour regulations, and the regulations calling for a safer work place were created,   it was a buyer’s market as regards businesses and workers.  There was nothing to stop a business from paying low wages,  and requiring the workers to labor in a hazardous environment without protection.   For example,   I was looking at a History Channel program talking about tower cranes and how they had made it much easier to build the amazingly tall structures that dot the landscape.   As a part of the program,   there were a number of old photographs like this one:

    Note, please, the fact that these guys have no safety equipment at all.  No hard hats, no safety lines,  no ear protection, nothing.   They are also WAY up in the air!

    (Thanks,  to the fine folks here: shangralafamilyfun for their allowing the use of this image.  I recommend visiting their site, as it has a lot of interesting pictures, facts, and thoughts on it!)  
…..  Not only was this the norm for iron workers,  but, there and in other industries,  there was no such thing as guards on the moving parts of machines.   It was but the work of a moment for a worker to get sucked into a moving pully/belt system, or large gears,  to  be maimed or killed.   Regulations forced businesses to create a safer environment for their workers, so injuries dropped dramatically.   Another  abuse  that should have ended was the habit of dumping sick or injured employees, even if their problems came from the job, so the business would not be liable for paying any of the employee’s expenses.
…..Now, that having been said,  one factor that is ignored by the antitax and anti-Regulation crowd is that, at least in America,  there are many ways to escape the burden of taxes and regulations.   For example,   tax rates vary according to the net profit of a business.   this allows the LARGE companies, who employ tax experts by the dozen, to make use of the tens of thousands of loopholes and twists in the tax laws.   This ends up with too many businesses paying NO taxes at all.   Now, I ran a one-person consulting firm for many years.  The net was too small for Federal attention, but, I did have to deal with the State boys.   Overall, as I recall,  the total taxes I had to pay on the Net earnings were in the 7% to 9% range.  It was a small hassle and not enough of a difficulty to complain about.    As for regulations,  I and many other small businesses (which, I believe are still defined as those with 50 employees or less)  are often exempt from many of the complex regulations that apply to larger companies.  There are, of course inequities in the system – it is after all a human creation – but, in general it is a small challenge and not one that typically would put a small business out of business.

…..Another issue that is touched on in the original replies, but not to any detail, was one that I think is very important. because it affects ALL parts of the economy.   That issue is the economic gap between classes of Americans that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 30+ years. This shift in economic blessings has produced a very small,  upper class that has a net worth of anywere from hundreds of millions of US$,  to a top number of US$40 BILLION or more.  There is nothing inherently wrong with being very rich…although it can easily  lead to a dangerous path.   In this case,  too many of the 1%ers who fall into this category are almost totally insulated from the 99% of the rest of the citizenry.   This leaves these ultra-rich folks almost totally  clueless about what the lives of the other 99% of Americans are like. I hear folks who either are in the upper income brackets (or want to be there)  saying really stupid things – like – “we need to cut government aid because it ruins the desire of the recipients to work. They would rather just be parasites, getting a free handout”  Or, “What? They are saying they cannot find work in their area? Well, then, they should just pack up and move to where the jobs are”. Or “If we try to redistribute the wealth to the lower classes through higher taxation of the rich, it will destroy the economy, because it is the rich that are the Job Creators”. Or (perhaps the worst of all) “you workers do not want the union to come in! they will just take a big chunk of your paycheck, live the high life, and will not do you a bIt of good”.

….To rebut these statements with some reality…
  • A vast majority of the people in America who receive government aid are not freeloaders, sitting at home,   eating chips, pumping out children and watching Soap Operas on the television.    No.   They are actually hard working people working full time jobs for wages that are too low to allow them to work, AND pay their bills;  They often cannot stay far enough ahead to even THINK about having a savings account, or escape from the drowning pit of renting that sucks huge percentages of their income away every month.  So…because of these terrible wages, and the annoying tricks that employers go through to ensure that they will not have to pay workers decently, or provide benefits touted by the company when trying to hire,   these good people are forced to go in and apply for EBT (Food Samps),  Medicare/Medicaid, etc.   Every day they pray that their car will run until tomorrow, because they can neither afford to get a new one,  or often, the repairs to get the vehicle back on the road.   Now there are some folks who work the system, but, that is a tiny percentage of the total number of American Citizens helped out by these programs.   Cutting the programs will not motivate those folks to go to work and it is a delusional belief that it will.  The people that work the system now will simply find other ways to work it, and perhaps to scam other people.
  • About that “Free Handout” part….That, too,  is foolish  because there is no state out there that allows a person to simply walk in, fill out a form, and get a debit card filled with “free” money to spend as they wish.    There are a large number of Department of Human Services workers who spend their days checking up on clients, to make sure that they are going to school or work registration as they agreed to do when they got into the program.   The systems, in general, require the clients to constantly update their employment and earnings status,  with the risk that if they fail to do this, they will be cut off.   Finally,  a change a few years ago to the aid system ensures that NO citizen can receive aid for more than 5 years…this is a life time limit, and, is a Federal law, so it spans ALL states.   Five years of tiny payments is not something that one can live on comfortably.
  • About that “moving to the jobs” idea.   While it is technically true,  it demonstrates the lack of understanding on the part of the well off about the lives of the 99%ers.   Moving is a complicated and expensive process.   Unless a person lives out of a suitcase already,  there is significant expense involved in getting the possessions they own packed up and moved to a new city, along with the expenses of moving their family.    There is the factor that once IN the new city, unless the person already has a job lined up,  there is the problem of getting enough money to survive until the new job appears.    While it may not be a huge monitary hit, the chaos and disruption of ones support community when one moves away is enormous.   It can add to the stresses of the move,  causing an increase in poor decisions.   It can impact one’s kids quite a bit, as they not only have to walk away from their comfortable surroundings and friends, but, they are dropped into a very different place…the learning curve to deal with the new society can be pretty steep, and it can affect the ability of the kids to absorb the lessons they need to have to survive in today’s society.   This will put them behiind.   there is much truth in the observation that once one slips behind in society,  it can become harder and harder to catch up to where one used to be.
  • The claim that wealth redistribution will hurt the economy because the Rich are the job creators has not been particularly true for many years now.   It was true that many years ago, when the Ultra-Rich of the day were gathering money,  it might have been a problem.   However, a large discrepancy between those days and today is that in THOSE days, the “robber barons”  understood that it was vital to pump a lot of their profits back into the company.  this may have cut the ratio of the earnings down to 50 to 1,  but, it did ensure that the workers not only had enough cash to be healthy and reasonably happy,  but, it slowly created a strong Middle Class that was able to purchase more of the “luxury” items that are denied to the poor.   More customers, more of a  market, more cash flowing in.  It is not a complicated system, in general.    However today, the story is quite different.  While it is a little hard to tell, the last numbers I saw indicated that the ratio of the salaries between the lowest and highest paid jobs in America, is closer to 2000 to 1.   In addition, much of the money is not being fed back into the company.   Rather it is going into investment accounts of stock holders, high end management.  Much of those proceeds end up in private, secret accounts in the Cayman Islands and other countries that really do not care about anything but getting hold of those billions.   Some of it goes to purchase more, and bigger, yachts, and bigger and “better” houses around the world.  The real job creators in today’s America are the small businesses created by foolishly optimistic entrepreneurs  who start with one or two partners and build from there. The rich, other than the fact that once a company gets some size and success, start circling it like hungry sharks, trying to purchase it,  have NOTHING to do with this.
  • Finally, there is the Union issue.   I have to say that in the past 20 years or so, the unions have, alas, become less of an advocate for the workers,  and more of a bureaucracy bent on perpetuating itself and making as much money for as little effort as possible.    However, in spite of that I believe that Unions are hated by, fought against and legislated against mainly because Management knows that Unions give power to the workers, and allow them to force changes in the company that will cut the money going to the top levels, but, will improve the lot of the workers.   This not only means an increase in wages and benefits,   but, making it harder for the companies to fire employees at will…thereby adding job security.  Yes…it is true that if one goes into a union shop, there is a fair amount of pressure to join the union.  that has annoyed Americans no end since the creation of “union shops”.  it is not so much that the dues are a huge percentage of their paychecks (although that is an issue at times),  but rather, there is the “surly teenager” attitude of over-reacting when someone tries to push us into something, even if it is a good thing.

…..Speaking to the last point a bit  more: That reaction, I believe, comes partly from the fact that – on an overall time scale of civilizations on Earth –  America and its Representative Republic form of government is more like a 8 year old child , than even a “teenager”.  We have been around as an entity for less than 300 years.  This is a babe in arms compared to the other civilizations that reach back several thousand years into history.   As a matter of fact, it amuses me to point out that not only is the USA younger than a lot of outhouses in England, but, New College at Oxford was about 113 years old when Columbus and his raiders discovered the Continent.   (New College, founded in 1379,   1490s for Columbus).
…..having dealt with that digression; I know America has some serious flaws in its economic structure.  Flaws that have gotten worse over the years.  I do not have any real answers, alas (which being a “fixer”, does  kind of annoy me).    However, I have come to believe that one of the only ways that the economy will improve for the workers is for the Unions to regroup,  and go back to their roots of  the 1920s and 1930s.   They need to stop snuggling up to Management and Government, and, start fighting for ALL workers, not just the ones that still pay their dues.   It is my opinion that over the past 30 to 40 years,  the unions have become fat and happy, getting a fair income from their remaining members, and often doing NOTHING significant to help those workers.    By going back to their roots,  they not only could help the workers, but, would likely find their membership increasing.  People are willing to support an organization that is on their side and fighting for them, after all.
…..As part of this resurgence,  we need more folks like John L Lewis, Samuel Gompers and Walter Reuther to get into the union leadership and re-invigorate it. They certainly had their weaknesses, and faults, but, every day they woke up with the desire to use the Union’s strength to improve the lot of the workers.  We also need artists like Bruce “Utah” Phillips, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, and many othertalented writers and performers  to write pro-union songs to explain why the Union is better than NO Union, and to mock the evil tht companies do.   Once the songs are written and performed,  both the old songs and the new should be put  back in the public eye.  On the positive side, with the universality of Net access, and the large number of Social Networking sites,  Video sites, and web pages,   it should be much easier to do this.
…..Now,  do I think this will “fix” the problem?   Well,  frankly, I do not know.   However, I do believe this change would be a positive thing for the workers of America.   It is not going to fix the problem on its own (Even as removing the Confederate Flag from Governmental buildings and public grounds will solve the terrible problem of racism in America – which is yet ANOTHER blog post)…but I do believe that it would be a step in a positive direction —  A direction that would return some respect and adequate wages to the millions of Americans who are struggling from day to day to feed their families,   keep a roof over their head, buy the wide variety of products (from medicines to appliences)  that are needed to live in today’s world..   It took decades,  after the rise of the Unions to correct many of the abuses inflicted on the workers.  It has taken decades for that progress to erode away.  However it CAN, with work and courage, happen again, and it SHOULD happen again…
…..Well, I am sure that if you are still with me, you are starting to say “so WHAT the Hell does this have to do with bees?   For me, it is a comparison (simplistic I know) of the two societies – in no particular order:
For The Society of Bees

For the Society of Humans.

…..As most folks know, bees have a very complicated, social structure However,   the social pyramid they form is focused on ONE thing,   that is the protection of, and growth of, the Hive. …..Within this society,  the individual members are often focused more on enriching themselves as individuals    The problem is that this means that Our Hive, the Earth, is being destroyed by the few for their benefit.
The colony tends to be ruthless. When the queen begins to fail to lay enough good eggs to sustain the colony,   she is killed or exiled.  A new Queen is created to take her place.   In the winter when the Drones (the only male bees in the hive) are no longer needed to impregnate a new queen,   they are exiled,  to die outside the colony.    …..Within the Human community,  there is a much fuzzier concept of building a good community and much less inclination to fix problems.   We, even today, re-elect 95% plus of the local, state and Federal representatives that hold sway over us.   This, in spite of egregious lying, abuse of power and creating legislation that discriminates and hurts many Citizens.   I would call for Voters to be a bit more ruthless,   and do NOT re-elect the person in the office just because they are there.   Follow the exmple of the Bees, and, if that representative is not creating good for the whole society,  replace them with someone who will!
The Bees are, essentially, one organism, in that each individual bee is able to do almost nothing.   However, in concert, as an organism of 20,000 to 40,000 cells,  the bee civilization can do mighty things.  While it is normal for humans to band together in tribes and teams and such,  very often they do not perform to the optimal level  because of their individuality and insistance on maintaining it.   Think of the last time your favorite team got wholloped by a much less talented team.  Why did that happen?   10-1 odds it was because YOUR team was a bunch of individuals, each jockeying for their moment of glory.   The OTHER team was a group that had submerged their individual desires, and created a gestalt where in,  like the Bees,  all the members worked for the common goal, ignoring personal glory..

….I am not, by any means advocating that bees are “perfect” in their society.   Nor am I saying that we, as humans, should suppress our individuality and become part of a Hive organism.   While there are societies that do that in a fairly succesful way (Japan comes to mind),   In most cases it is a process doomed to failure.    However, that having been said,   I also think that workers SHOULD take some examples of the bees and incorporate facets of that into their lives.   For example,   Join the Union,  and work to be a part of its push for better money, job security and working conditions.  Like the bees, if your leadership is not producing results,  band together to get rid of it and replace it with a new, fresh leadership.     As individuals,  it is very hard to change reality.   Take the Pyramids for example.   Each of the stones stacked up to create them weighed tons.   It would be essentially impossible for a single person to move those stones up the structure and get them set in place.   However,  get a real team of a couple or three hundred workers together,  and the task becomes possible…perhaps even easy.
Thinking of bees, and humanity and such puts me into mind of one of my favorite activists/folksinger/songwriter/all around interesting fellows – Pete Seeger.   I believe he sums up much of that I have been ranting about for some time now in his wonderful song “Step By Step”.    I have to recommend him as a good voice to add to one’s collection…   
Posted in Art, Beekeeping, Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Politics, Ruminations, Something Good This Way Comes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Guns in the house! Guns in the House!

     Greetings and Salutations!
     Boy, time flies….I am apologetic for the slow updates,  but, between struggling with some health issues,  and, my CDO need to make sure that every post on Facebook is truthful,   There are only so many minutes in the day.
     I am sorry to record here that America appears to be at a social cusp,  where the two major issues of Bigotry, and Gun Control are causing much stress and strain.   I cannot deal with the first issue here,  as that is a HUGE topic.   However,  I am motivated to write a bit on the latter  issue….  recently a new  study was published examining the issue of carrying a gun for “personal protection”.    the link to the story is HERE.  I have to say that it seems to me to be a relatively even handed and objective bit of research.   The fact that I pretty much agree with its findings has little to do with my review, though!   I find it interesting that one of its conclusions is that it is far safer to attempt to escape from the situation than to meet an attacker with a gun or other weapon.   This is a lesson that ALL Martial Artists learn early on in their delving into the dicipline.   The goal that is installed in them is “do the minimum amount to allow one to escape…then leave, as quickly as possible”     I also find it interesting that there appears to be no significant difference in success, no matter what weapon is used.  Whether it is a gun, or a baseball bat, or a knife,   the success results are all very close to each other..    There are also some other interesting, earlier reports and reviews linked to from the above report.  I recommend reading them too.   Not to digress too far, but I have some observations  about these other studies and  reports that I wanted to touch on.  Most of my remarks are somewhat critical of the reports…as I do not agree with their techniques entirely.
  • The studies referenced  focus on incidents where a gun was involved in conflict.   They are less useful I believe, for setting policy, because they ignore the far larger number of guns owned by Citizens that are NEVER raised in anger or fear.   So…in short,  they are looking at ONE facet of the issue of gun ownership in America.
  • In some of the subsidiary studies (and the reviews by the authors of those reports),  we are presented with some horrific anecdotes about gun owners who injured or killed totally innocent people because they felt threatened, somehow.    To me, each one of these tales, as well as  the recent spate of kids killing others with guns they found in their parent’s house,  all show a serious lack of focus on education in America’s gun control laws.  Later on, I will address this a bit more.
  • I am concerned that the anti-gun folks out there will attempt to use this report to “prove” that guns are a scourge that should be taken out of the hands of Citizens, and only issued to “legal authorities”.   Now, I have spoken about how well prohibition has worked in America, so I will just refer y’all to the 18th and 21st Amendments as apt reminders of that “success”.   Another example, of course,   would be the  War On Drugs in America
     I am quite willing to admit that Americans have a “Gun Problem”.   However,  I disagree with what that problem is, and how to correct it.   Because I am tickled by bullet lists (in this context),  I am going to do it again!
  • I respect and agree 100% with the Constitution, and, of course, the 2d Amendment.   I also agree with the recent SCOTUS ruling that found that the 2d Amendment DID allow Americans to purchase (almost) any weaponry they want to have.    Who would I remove that ability from?    Not a complicated issue….Pretty much anyone that has proven, by multiple actions, that they are a danger to society and themselves if they are allowed to have a weapon.   This would include Violent felons convicted of multiple crimes,  including LEOs,  and folks that have shown that they do not have the mental capacity to handle a weapon safely.   What weapons would I keep from the public?    That is a little harder to answer, but, for the moment, I am going to go with guns that fire 100mm shells or larger,  weapons of mass destruction, etc.
  • Since (so far) most Americans do not fall into either of the  categories of violent felon, or psychologically unstable,  I asked myself what would I propose  as a way to allow Citizens the freedom allowed by the Constitution, and yet, cut down on the likelihood of terrible accidents and emotion-fueled killings and woundings?   I came up with the following….
  • Create a Federal “Driver’s License” program for gun ownership.  This would, I believe, make a huge difference in the way guns are owned and used in the USA.  Now…how would this work.   Here is what I have come up with:
  • I would create a program based on the model of the Driver’s License.   This would ensure that people who own a weapon have a significant level of training in its proper use.   It would also, I believe,  filter out many of the “impulse purchases”  based on fear or lies,  that tend to produce any of the unhappy stories listed in the media, and these studies.
  • This program would require anyone interested in purchasing a weapon to go to an authorized agency, and receive a significant amount of training in the proper use, transport and storage of a weapon.   Like a DL,  this would include both written tests demonstrating knowledge of proper techniques, and range time to ensure that the person would have some actual experience in what shooting a gun entails.   I would NOT require that the applicant purchase or have a weapon.  As a part of the course,   the agency could provide several calibers of weapons to use.
  • I can see the course taking anywhere from 15 to 20 hours, if we want to do a thorough job.   The written exam should include the basics of using a weapon – in no particular order,  Treat every gun as loaded; Identify your target clearly;  Always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction;  keep the weapon clean;   do not keep the weapon loaded and ready to fire…etc.   The range work would involve shooting at a variety of targets with at least four different weapons.   I would suggest a .22 handgun and a larger handgun – .357/.45,  etc;   Then,  move to a rifle.   This could just be a larger caliber, or perhaps, as with the handguns,  a couple of calibers.   Finally,  a shotgun.    In a really good program,   I could even see a walk-through type arena, with flip-out targets, to give the potential owner a real feel for the sort of quick decision making necessary.
  • The cost of the license should be around that of a DL,  and, should be good for a number of years – say…five years or so..
  • Also, as a part of this certification procedure,   the state would provide a complete background check of the person requesting the license.
  • I see a number of benefits to this plan.
  • This would, as mentioned earlier,  ensure that everyone getting a weapon would have some serious training on how to use it, and the effects it can have on a target.
  • It could be used to simplify the background check for a gun purchase.   A photo ID showing that the person has knowledge, and a number that can be looked up would remove a lot of complications.
  • It would make it difficult for anyone to know what weaponry the holder had.   As with a DL,  it would be quite OK for a citizen to walk in without owning a single weapon, and perhaps even with NO intent of owning a weapon,  and get some good information on the reality of gun ownership.   Other than a record of background checks that would accumulate,  there would be no count of what weapons had been purchased, without some intervention by the courts.  Issuing a search warrent should be the FIRST thing that happens before this information can be gathered.
  • without a license,  legally purchasing a gun MIGHT be possible, but it could be made a more lengthy and difficult process…perhaps even requiring that the purchaser bring in documentation to prove they have the appropriate training for their desired weapon, and would require a longer waiting period, while a background check is run by the state.
     I mentioned before that  we have seen some pretty sad stories of kids finding a weapon, playing with it, and wounding or killing another person.   We also have a number of examples of home owners who have “defended their property”  and have mistakenly killed an innocent person.   Shooting a person and taking their life is neither a joke nor a trivial event.  Although we see it hundreds of times every day on television shows,   the fact of the matter is that every time a person kills another living being (whether human or animal)  it affects our soul.  We need to be VERY attentive to that fact and NOT casually injury or kill another..    Anything that we can do to minimize that karmic burden is a Good Thing.
     Now…let me recount a tale from my past about this business of purchasing a gun for “personal protection”.    Some years ago (more than I care to think about),  I had a friend, whose mother’s house was broken into while she was away for the day.   She came back to find the door broken open and various items gone.   I suspected at the time it was a junkie,  because the things that were taken were items that could be pawned easily – Television,  some other small  electronics,  some jewelry,  etc.    Well,  Mom was really upset by this, as she is a very nice woman, and found it difficult  imagine this sort of thing happening.   It did not help at all when the cops interviewing her said that she likely got back within moments of the thief leaving the house!
     I was out at their house a bit after this,  visiting, and so got to hear the whole tale.  Also, it turned out that Mom was so rattled about the event and the fact she might have confronted the thieves, that she and I talked for some time about buying a gun for “self protection”.    She knew that I was fairly familiar with gun use, and went to the range off and on.  (yes…I suppose at the time, I could be qualified as an actul “gun nut”.)   In any case,   she wanted to run out that day and pick up a pistol.   I put the brakes on that, though,  and told her that while I totally supported her desire to own a gun,  I would only help out if she would play by my rules.   She was interested,  so, I went on to say that first off,  we were going to schedule a day where we could go out to the home range a friend of mine had,  so she could actually hold, and fire a variety of weapons.   She had, of course, never held or fired a weapon in her life!    Then, she and I would go through (essentially) the training program I mentioned above.   As a part of the range time, I was going to set up some watermelons and cantelopes,  so she could see exactly how much power the bullet had.
…..She and I went on to talk about the issues involved in shooting another person, and whether or not she could, when push came to shove, point that weapon and pull the trigger.    Just as an example,  I had her make a gun with her hand,  cock her thumb back,  and point it at my chest.   After emphasizing that she was to think of her hand as a real gun and believe that as strongly as possible.  I said “Ok…now pull the trigger three times and try to hit the center of my chest”.   That was a sobering moment for her, as even though it was just her hand, she could not do it.  Well,  we never went to the range,  but did pretty much decide that the next time she drove up to the house and thought it looked off -door open, etc – she would call the cops BEFORE going inside.
     To reach back to my comments about the tragic stories listed in these reports,   In every case that I have seen reported,   the person that owned  the gun had broken at least two or three of the basic rules of firearms safety.   They had stored their guns insecurely;  The gun was left in an unsafe condition (ready to fire with a round in the chamber);   They had failed to identify their target properly;  They had decided that an attack was better than retreat.     These folks have to live with the knowledge that they took a life that did not deserve to go,  and in the process damaged themselves and the friends and family of their victim(s).   That is a heavy burden, even if one wishes to ignore it.
      thanks for your time and attention….Comments are welcome, of course!
     Bee Man Dave.
Posted in Ethics, General, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Politics, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Time slips away at the speed of thought, it seems.

    Greetings and Salutations;

     I realized the other day that it has been six months since I added anything to this collection of ramblings.   It seems, though, that it was just yesterday.    So….What shall I talk about this time?
     Oddly enough….how about bees?   The winter is passing,   and in some areas,  it is warm enough that the bees are starting to stir again and venture out.   In a month or so, the colonies will really start waking up, and kicking into that “Spring” production cycle.   I wonder how many of us beekeepers will go to the Apiary then,  and find some percentage of the colony hives empty and cold,  or filled with dead bees?   Too many I fear!    It seems it is getting harder and harder to keep colonies alive and healthy.  There are, I believe,  several factors here.   First off,   the weather in the East Tennessee area remains a challenge for the girls.   The very hot periods stress the hive,   and the lack of rain makes it harder and harder for them to retrieve the water they need for survival.   Then, there is the weird weather temperature patterns we continue to experience.   This week, for example,  the highs are hanging in the mid 50s to low 60s.  A few weeks ago, we had single digit highs for a week or so.     Finally,   this insane rush to use more and more pesticides, sprayed randomly around like a deadly fog,  has GOT to be weakening the colonies.  Even if the pesticides do not kill the girls,   they do weaken the bugs,  allowing mites and other parasites to flourish, and, cutting the energy they have for good housekeeping.   The EPA has just approved yet ANOTHER deadly chemical which may have terrible effects on the colonies.   Here is an article about it:  About EPA Approval   What will it take for society to realize the vital importance of bees?   Will we have to have hundreds of thousands of workers in the fields, hand pollinating vegetables to keep society from starving?   And will we be happy about the huge increase in food costs that stem from this?   We can do without a new car, or  a vacation, or new clothes…but food is vital for our survival.   I suggest that everyone keep their eyes open for approval hearings like the EPA held for this toxin, and, let your opinion be known.
Remember –  THe only thing that needs to happy for Evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
Posted in Beekeeping, Ethics, Food, Heath, Hive and Colony care, Nuttiness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Politics…When Did Lying Become OK?

The following is an Email forwarded to me by a friend. Some variation of it has been around since 2011 (at least), but, it keeps surfacing.    Although normally I just ignore nonsense like this,  I decided this time to run through the claims and see if there were any valid claims in the pile.   I also put in some rebuttals, here and there, too.   As you can tell, if you plough through it, there is very little truth to this…. The Sad thing is that there are a lot of folks, including some fairly well educated people, who believe this nonsense… I apologize for the length of this posting, but, it kind of snuck up on me, and, by the time I realized how much there was, my CDO had kicked in, and I found it impossible to NOT rebut the lies I found.

 So…Here it is:


WHEN – he [President Obama] refused to disclose who donated money to his election campaign, as other candidates had done, people said it didn’t matter.

     While it is true that Pres Obama hasnot taken the time and expense to list the millions of people who donated small amounts to his campaigns, to imply that OTHER candidates DO provide this information is an out and out lie. Not a single candidate of either party is willing to release donor lists without being forced to do it. After all, how many donor lists do the Koch brothers show up on? Almost none….yet they are pumping billions of dollars into the political system to manipulate it so as to turn it into THEIR vision of paradise. And folks, if you think that vision is good for you….Well….think again.

WHEN – he received endorsements from people like Louis Farrakhan, Muramar Kaddafi and Hugo Chavez, people said it didn’t matter.

     It is true that Louis Farrakhan said Obama was America’s New beginning. But, considering the crap that people of color have had inflicted on them for decades, I suspect that almost anyone that was not an old, white guy would look good.   Also, Pres. Obama IS a community activist, trying to improve the lot of the disadvantaged in America… Since then, Farrakhan has had plenty of criticism of President Obama. 

     Kaddafi not only did not endorse Pres. Obama, but, the fact that a little while after taking office, the USA, under the control of Pres. Obama, encouraged his overthrow and execution, which, if Kaddafi HAD been a supporter of President Obama would have put a chill on that relationship. . Remember that under earlier presidents, the USA had bombed many of Kaddafi’s homes, killing his children and wives, but missing him –so he would have no love for ANY part of the USA. 

      Chavez called Dubya “The Devil”, but did say he thought Pres. Obama was an intelligent man, and was a good president. Venezuela has suffered from sanctions so that sounds more like sucking up to try and get access to American Markets than any real love for Obama!  It is simplistic and unwarranted to imply that the endorsement of any of these men means that Pres. Obama is not one of the best presidents America has had in the past 30 years…

WHEN – it was pointed out that he was a total newcomer and had absolutely no experience at anything except community organizing, people said it didn’t matter.

     No one comes into the presidency the first time as an experienced veteran. Also, Pres. Obama is a constitutional lawyer and one step below a full professor in the subject. He has, indeed, done other things in his life. Besides, if the President is supposed to understand America and do what is best for ALL citizens, then, which is the better choice? A high-end lawyer who is so rich that they are insulated from the normal world (See examples of how Presidents have been amazed by a barcode scanner), and whose interactions with poorer folks are very carefully controlled and limited?  Or a man who has been down in the trenches, seeing how the government and other citizens screw each other over, how the average citizen’s financial situation is eroding away thanks to the greed of Wall Street, and, has  been fighting to bring justice, fairness and mercy to the needy in society? I would go with the latter myself.

WHEN – he chose friends andacquaintances such as Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn who wererevolutionary radicals, people said it didn’t matter.

     Do you remember the 60s, when Ayers and Dohrn were part of the Weather Underground? It was a time when radical changes were happening in American society, and, the government was proving exactly how much of an enemy of the people it was. It is true that they made some unwise decisions during that time, that had long-term consequences. But, they faced them, paid their price to society by spending time in jail and on probation, and, today are trying to be the best citizens they can be. As a part of that they are still questioning authority…but, now it is within the system. Can any of us honestly say we got through our 20s without making ANY bad decisions, or taking actions that, looking back, might have been done differently? I think not. So, let him/her that is without sin cast the first stone.  Again, while he might have been acquainted with them, there are no documented evidence  that he embraced their radical philosophy.

WHEN – his voting record in theIllinois Senate and in the U.S. Senate came into question, people said it didn’t matter.

     Ok…I did not search out everycriticism of his voting record, but, the first several I found were either on Constitutionally questionable laws, or, complicated and (in some cases) unnecessary laws that were subject to mis-use. SO, since the only folks that seemed to hate him for his votes are Right-Wingers, it sounds more like an agenda thing than a rational thing.

WHEN – he refused to wear a flag lapel pin and did so only after a public outcry, people said it didn’tmatter.

     He stopped wearing the pin as a matter of course after 9/11, because he saw a lot of people wearing it that were not acting like patriots and good, American citizens. He realized that it had become a meaningless symbol, and so decided he was going to make sure his ACTIONS spoke to his patriotism. I have to say that I agree, as I have seen too many people in the past couple of decades who have been waving the American Flag like an icon, but, acting more like the Taliban or ISIS. Actions speak louder than words….

WHEN – people started treating him as a Messiah and children in schools were taught to sing his praises, people said it didn’t matter.

     There is a book, “A child of hope” that is written on about a third grade level, that pushing the simple lessons of hard work, honesty, caring for others and trying to make life better for all. It is apparently used in some schools as reading material. Now, it is for 9 year old kids, so of COURSE it is simplistic…but, I do not see anyone besides Conspiracy Loonies and Right-Wingers who are claiming that it paints Pres. Obama as the Messiah! This is spin to push and agenda.

WHEN – he stood with his hands over his groin area for the playing of the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, people said it didn’t matter.

     There is a little to much interest inPres. Obama’s groin here. There is one -and only ONE picture showing him standing with his hands clasped in front of him during the Anthem. And yes, like most men, his arms are long enough that his hands are indeed, at groin level. Pres. Obama is a human like the rest of us. Who knows how tired he was that day, or distracted because of worries. Will we condemn a person for ONE moment? If we do. that will go a long way towards cutting the excess population!  I am sure that the author will be one of the few remaining alive, too, as she is obviously perfect every moment of the day!   

WHEN – he surrounded himself in the White House with advisors who were pro-gun control, pro-abortion,pro-homosexual marriage and wanting to curtail freedom of speech to silence the opposition, people said it didn’t matter.

     Pres. Obama, like every other president before him, has advisors that, in general, agree with his platform. This is hardly a surprise. After all, Dubya had Cheney as his number one advisor, and HE wants to take us back into the middle of the Cold War, to bankrupt America with war spending that enriches him and his buddies. As for the homosexual marriage thing…No one is forcing anyone to get married to a same-sex spouse. Rather, the push is to give those people who happen to love and bepair-bonded to a same sex person the same rights that every other American has. Finally, while there have been some issues with freedom of speech that I am not happy with….the changes are so far from what is implied here that they are not even on the same planet. After all, neither the Author, nor any of the congress-critters, or any member of Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh, or any of a thousand other people foaming at the mouth with hate over what President Obama is doing has vanished, or been censored. Know what would happen if Pres. Obama was REALLY intent on silencing opposition? Let us say you are Shaun Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh. One day your neighbors would wake up to find the front door of your house standing open, and no one there. There would be a chance that the same thing would happen at the homes of your parents, brothers and sisters. Everyone would be gone, and you would never be seen again. It MIGHT happen that in a few decades, some explorer driving through the deserts in the South West might find a femur sticking out of the ground, but,even that is unlikely. There might be a little burst of puzzlement over where you had gone, but, that would pass quickly, and you would be forgotten. That does not happen in America, because ALL presidents respect the Constitution and the limits it places on Government….We are a society of laws…not a dictatorship…and every one should thank their lucky stars this is true.

WHEN – he said he favors sex education in kindergarten, including homosexual indoctrination, people said it didn’t matter.

     Actually, there have been a number of scientific studies that have shown that a simple introduction to human sexuality to young children produces  positive results. They tend to be more understanding of others, respectful of the other sex, and less likely to end up unwed parents in their late teens. Of course one has to work on the level the kids can deal with. It is not like they are showing them hard-core porn and saying “This is how mommy and daddy made you”. As for the concept of homosexual indoctrination….that is so delusional that it ceases to be funny. It does not exist because homosexuality is not a choice! It is a result of the way the brain is wired, and, that is genetic in nature. If you really believe it is a decision one makes, then, let me ask the author…when did YOU decide to be heterosexual?  That having been said…yes…as a part of that sexual education, the subject of LGBT folks should  be addressed…it cannot be ignored. Also, by the by I suspect pedophilia will be talked about too…

WHEN – his personal background was either scrubbed or hidden and nothing could be found about him, people said it didn’t matter.

     Unless there is some proof to supportit, this statement is nothing more than an out and out lie,  included only to push the author’s agenda.

WHEN – the place of his birth was called into question, and he refused to produce a birth certificate,people said it didn’t matter.

     Why am I not surprised that the author is a birther? I am fairly sure she will hold onto that delusion no matter what. The fact of the matter is that there is much independent evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii, and, he HAS released a copy of his birth certificate. So, again…nothing more than a lie to push an agenda.

WHEN – he had an association in Chicago with Tony Rezco- a man of questionable character, who is now in prison, and had helped Obama to a sweet deal on the purchase of his home – people said it didn’t matter.

      Another lie. Rezco and Obama’s only connection was that they bought lots next to each other that had been subdivided by the original owner. Later on, Obama did buy a strip on Rezco’s land, to get a bigger yard (I assume for his kids). Rezco had nothing to do with Obama’s purchase. He got a discount on the house because it had been on the market for months and it was WAY overpriced. His bid was a bit better than the one OTHER bid for the house, so Pres. Obama was able to purchase it at a notable discount..

WHEN – it became known that George Soros, a multi-billionaire Marxist, spent a ton of money to get him elected, people said it didn’t matter.

     It is true that Soros contributed a million bucks or so to a PAC trying to elect Pres. Obama. On theother hand, the Koch brothers are doing the exact same thing…so I look at this as a wash. They are both massively rich 1%ers trying to change the world. As for him being a Marxist….does the author not realize that becoming a billionaire and being a “real”Marxist are contradictory views of reality – unless she is talkingabout Groucho Marx, I suppose… So…meaningless spin that basically says “A rich guy contributed money to get a Democrat elected”. Sadly enough, for the haters, ALL Americans have the right of free speech.  This means that anyone can contribute money to whatever candidate they think will be best for them.  I suspect that if some investigation were done, the author would find that Soros has contributed to Right-Wing candidates too.

WHEN – he started appointing White House Czars that were radicals, revolutionaries, and even avowed Marxist/Communists, people said it didn’t matter.

    First off, Czars is a media term, not a governmental title. It is meaningless and bestows no more power than the office they are in has. Secondly, almost any activist of that age was likely a radical or revolutionary in the 60s.  But what we are in youth is not what we are as adults. It is true that one of his appointments (Anthony Kapel Jones) said he was (for a period) a communist in the early 90s.  However, he was only in the administration from March to September of 2009, so, I do not think he had any great influence on policy or actions. I suspect a little research would find records of EVERY president firing someone who turned out to have questionable associations. So…again…spin to push an agenda.

WHEN – he stood before the Nation and told us that his intentions were to “fundamentally transform this Nation” into something else, people said it didn’t matter.

     This is true.  But what WAS that transformation?  I  submit that his goal was to try and turn America around from the path of self destruction it was on. He wanted to stop the level of unbridled greed in the financial world, and remove the unregulated playground that allowed the hedge fund managers to destroy America’seconomy, leaving it on the edge of death for a decade or more, while waltzing off with billions of dollars for themselves. These financial games not only came close to destroying America’s economic position in the world, but, it put millions of Americans in financial hardship, and in many cases ended up with them being kicked out of the house they had worked so hard to get. It has left many others with huge burdens from paying obsolete mortgages on houses that are worth 60% of what the original price was. It has hurt retirees because the investment income they depend on for survival and a comfortable life have taken huge cuts. Some folks have had their net worth cut by 60% or more….and have gone from a relatively comfortable state to wondering how long they can stay in their homes,and, each month having to decide “what do I spend money on? Medications? Utilities? Food?”.

     A part of the economic destruction of America were the multiple war fronts that Bush and Cheney pushed us into. Those debacles cost America a couple TRILLION dollars, thousands of dead, and tens of thousands of maimed young men and women that will carry the scars with them for the rest of their lives. There were a number of  sad things about these wars,  including the fact that we were pushed into it by a lie. There were no weapons of Mass Destruction left. Then there was the fact that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan were sources of the terrorism that brought down the towers on 9/11;  There is the fact that when push comes to shove,  we lost those wars. We bailed out,  leaving the region  in far worse shape than we found it, and, our actions while there have managed to create many, many people who now hate America and what it stands for so much that they are a huge pool of potential terrorists to draw from. And of course, I have to point out that after years of Pres. Buish chasing Osama bin Laden, and failing to capture or kill him, in a surprisingly short time, President Obama achieved that goal, and sent him to feed the fishes. More importantly, President Obama has worked, in spite of massive resistance from the Right, to draw down our presence in the area; Cut down the costs associated with the war; and get our kids back without more dying.

     In addition Pres. Obama  vowed to address the massively abusive health insurance industry.  Before the ACA, it was hard to get coverage. If you could get considered for a policy, the companies would dig into every aspect of your life, searching for a “pre-existing condition”  that would either allow them to jack up your premium, exclude the condition from the policy, or use it to deny you coverage. Many of the policies that WERE written were total junk. They were cheap…true enough, but God help you if you tried to file a claim. At that point, you would discover they covered nothing, and had such a high deductible that you would be out tens of thousands of dollars before they paid a penny out. Far too often the first action taken by the insurance company when you filed a claim was to cancel your policy. Even if you managed to keep the policy, every year you would see rate hikes of anywhere from 20% to 60%. Now, many of these abuses are regulated and either gone or on the way out. Recent studies have found that the actual cost of medical care in America is dropping to saner levels too…

     To touch on the economic situation in America again for a moment…When Pres. Obama took office, he  saw an America where the Stock market was augering down, and the deficit was expanding like a balloon on a compressor. During his administration, the Stock Market has recovered to values not seen since the late 90s. The deficit is down to something like a third of what it was under the previous administration, and continues to shrink. The economy is still very bad and very fragile, but, unlike under the previous administration,it IS recovering and may, in another few years reach a stronger point that it is no longer on the ragged edge of disaster.

     I could go on, as the list of things that are GOOD about President Obama wanting to change America is a lengthy one, but, I think this makes the point. It sounds to me as if the author is wanting America to stay on a path that is guaranteed to end up with us losing our position as a world power, and becoming more like England, in terms of our economy and influence.

WHEN – it became known that he had trained ACORN workers in Chicago and served as an attorney for ACORN, people said it didn’t matter.

     This is a quote from Politifact.com that pretty well covers this : “Obama once took on a case for ACORN. But Obama was never a staff attorney for ACORN. He did not do ongoing work for the organization. He handled one case along with two other attorneys. ACORN was one of several plaintiffs. And theU.S. Department of Justice sided with ACORN in the case. We think Rove’s comment suggests a deeper legal relationship between Obama and ACORN than actually existed. And so we rule Rove’s statement HalfTrue.”   Also, there is NO documentation that he ever “Trained ACORN workers”….So..this is nothing more than  spin to push the anti-Obama agenda.

WHEN – he appointed cabinet members and several advisers who were tax cheats and socialists, people said it didn’t matter.

     I  could find ONE person – Tim Geithner– who the IRS dinged for taxes he had not paid. In that case, his(fairly reasonable explanation) was that he was under the impression that the IMF (which he was attached to for four years) was paying the taxes. He did file the paperwork, apparently…. Now, I have had that happen to me, when I worked for a bit as a consultant. I was assured that the client was paying the taxes…yet…a few years later I got dinged for them because they had NOT done so. In any case, he did not argue about them, but, paid up, so…this seems like MORE Spin.   As for the Socialist issue….Having a society with a large amount of Democratic Socialsm is not a bad thing, and, if the author thinks America is not that, they are , again, delusional.   The Police Force, the Fire Department,   the Department of Transportation that  keeps the roads in shape, and builds new roads,  are all examples of socialism in America that work pretty well.

WHEN – he appointed a Science Czar,John Holdren, who believes in forced abortions, mass sterilizationsand seizing babies from teen mothers, people said it didn’t matter.

     Apparently, in 1977, Mr. Holdren wrote a book looking far into the future and speculating about possible roads that might be taken to do population control. Indeed, one of the projected roads  was forced abortion…but that was only one among several possible options. It was philosophical debate people…not a statement of core values. Also, what is important are his beliefs NOW and how he would handle reality now…Are any of us hanging onto the views we had in 1977? I suspect some are but most are not, because we have lived about 40 years, and, have a much broader view of reality. As for the Seizing babies from teen mothers….not only does that happen today, it has nothing to do with President Obama. It has happened for decades! Also I have heard people of all political persuasions arguing that this would be a good course of action. Now, the sad thing is that they really have no idea what to do once they have the babies in hand….as there are no easy or inexpensive answers to that part of the equation. So…does Mr. Holdren “BELIEVE” in these actions? I have not found a single website that has any objectivity that says “Yes”, and none of the rabid Right Wing sites care to provide quotes or links to support their stance. Once  again…a lie in support of an agenda.

WHEN – he appointed Cass Sunstein asRegulatory Czar who believes in “Explicit Consent,”harvesting human organs without family consent and allowing animals to be represented in court, while banning all hunting, people said itdidn’t matter.

     Ok…Mr. Sunstein apparently supportsthe idea of an “Opt Out” policy on organ donation. Right now,America has an “opt in” that requires the survivors to give permission to harvest organs. This “opt out” policy is quite common in Europe, actually, and, does not mean that the family cannot tell the doctors they do not want to donate. What the “Opt In” policy  does is increase the number of organs available for transplant.  It also saves time in harvesting the organs, and, with organs, time is of the essence. Every minute the organ is left in the body it deteriorates. So if it can be removed quickly, it is going to be in better shape for transplant. An “Opt Out” policy kicks up the number of available organs from the 2%-5% in America to the 70% or so that is common in Europe. The more organs that are available, the more people that can be saved, and live a relatively normal life.         As for the representing animals in court….that stems from many years ago, when Mr. Sunstein was advocating for abused animals, and proposed that Federal law be changed to allow humans to go to court to try and redress the injuries done to the animals. Finally, about hunting….He is against hunting for sport or fun…and there I agree with him,because I look upon anyone that derives joy from the act of killing another living creature to be damaged. He is fine with defense, or for food, though…again… I agree with him there.

WHEN – he appointed Kevin Jennings, a homosexual and organizer of a group called Gay, Lesbian, Straight,Education Network as Safe School Czar and it became known that he had a history of bad advice to teenagers, people said it didn’t matter.

     First off, why would the sexual preferences of the director of a program to keep schools safe placefor everyone be an issue? Almost all pedophiles are straight men, so should we complain about one of THEM being appointed to direct the program? The “bad advice” accusation has been made before,and, frankly, is questionable. In any case, any advice was given after he was (technically) and adult, and in private conversations. In addition, the events in question happened over 20 years ago… Are any of US giving out the same advice now that we would have 20 years ago? I hope not…because there should be   a lot of maturing and increases in wisdom over that 20 year period of living.

WHEN – he appointed Mark Lloyd as Diversity Czar [A person] who believes in curtailing free speech, taking from one and giving to another to spread the wealth, who supports HugoChavez, people said it didn’t matter.

     Well, first off, Mr. Lloyd was not appointed by President Obama. He was appointed by the FCC -which is an independent agency of the government. Look up this guy’s academic credentials. He has been an advocate for free speech and communication for decades. There is NO sign that he supports Hugo Chavez ,either – although, even if he did…so what? He was not at a policy level, or a cabinet level,  so, it would be unlikely that he would have ANY influence over America’s path. Granted the FCC does control communications, but, there have been ZERO instances of it attempting to censor speech that did not support the current Administration. Fox news, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh as well as many others are still on the air, are they not?

WHEN – Valerie Jarrett, an avowed Socialist, was selected as Obama’s Senior White House Advisor, people said it didn’t matter.

     Valerie Jarrett was not, and is not a communist or socialist. The closest she MIGHT come to it is that her father was rumored to have been a member of the Party for a while. But, again, no actual proof. A lie, created by right-winger commentators to push their agenda.

     WHEN -Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director, said Mao Tse Tung was her favorite philosopher and the person she turned to most for inspiration, people said it didn’t matter.

     Spin and a lie created by clipping outa sound bite. Here is what Ms. Dunn actually said:

     “DUNN: A lot of you have a great deal of ability. A lot of you work hard. Put them together, and that answers the “Why not?” question. There’s usually not a good reason.  And then the third lesson and typically  come from two of my favorite political philosophers, MaoZedong and Mother Teresa — not often coupled with each together, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you’re going to make choices. You’re going to challenge. You’re going to say, “Why not?” You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here’s the deal: These are your choices. They are no one else’s.  In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side. And people said, “How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this against all of the odds against you?” And Mao Zedong said  “You fight your war, and I’ll fight mine.”  Think about that for a second.  You know, you don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don’t have to follow other people’s choices and paths,  OK? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what’s right for you. You don’t let external definition define how good you are internally. You fight your war. You let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path.

     And then Mother Teresa, who, upon receiving a letter from a fairly affluent young person who asked her whether she could come over and help with that orphanage in Calcutta,responded very simply: “Go find your own Calcutta.” OK? Go find your own Calcutta. Fight your own path. Go find the thing that is unique to you, the challenge that is actually yours, not somebody else’s challenge”

WHEN – he appointed Carol Browner, awell-known socialist as Global Warming Czar working on Cap and Tradeas the nation’s largest tax, people said it didn’t matter.

Not only is Ms. Browner NOT asocialist, but, “Cap and Trade” is a Republican idea, supportedby them for years now.

WHEN – he appointed Van Jones, an ex-con and avowed Communist as Green Energy Czar, who since had to resign when this was made known, people said it didn’t matter.

     Touched on this earlier. Van Jones was a part of the administration from March 2009 until September 2009. He was forced to resign not because he was an ex-con or a communist, but, because he went onto news programs and ranted about stuff in a way that showed he was kind of fanatical and bat-shit crazy. So…Pres. Obama took the step to keep his administration in the Moderate area….and keep the fanatics out of it.

WHEN – Tom Daschle, Obama’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary could not be confirmed because he was a tax cheat, people said it didn’t matter.

     Actually, there were several reasons that made it obvious he would not be confirmed. The tax issue arose from the fact that he neglected to report the company car and driver he had as “income”  Apparently everyone was so used to him getting it free as a Senator, that it slipped through the cracks. He did realize the mistake, and self-reported it. He was a bit slow paying it because it he had not realized it would be such a “Jawdropping amount”. A bigger issue was that in the years since he had left the Senate, he had worked as a lobbyist for the health care industry – and that was who he was going to be overseeing. He may have thought he could do it objectively, but, I suspect the confirmation committee would have disagreed.

WHEN – as President of the United States , he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia

     And what? This proves that Saudia Arabia is over America now? This is a tempest in a tea cup,frankly. I recall this, and it was more of a polite “incline”. If nothing else, think of it as an example of noblesse oblige on the part of President Obama. At least he did not go strolling in the gardens hand in hand with the king!   Now, who would do that?  Oh yes, It was George Bush!

WHEN – he traveled around the worldcriticizing America and never once talking of her greatness, peoplesaid it didn’t matter.

     A lie. The closest to this that President Obama came was to say that we had made mistakes, and we were trying to clean up our act. He has NEVER slagged the Country either when in or out of America. However, when the government or people have been failing to live up to the American Ideal, he has not been shy about pointing that out.

WHEN – his actions concerning theMiddle East seemed to support the Palestinians over Israel , ourlongtime ally, people said it didn’t matter.

     Not even going to get into that barrel of worms very far. I will say, though, that Israel’s hands have not been clean for decades in this conflict. They have taken actions that, if it had been anyone else, would have caused the entire world to condemn them. It is quite likely that President Obama has pointedout this fact, and suggested that everyone clean up their act, and take a step back. President Obama would like to see a solution that allows the Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace, and not be turning the entire area into a blood-soaked rubble pit. SO, of course, he is suggesting solutions that involve the Palestinians getting a little bit, and the Israelis giving up a little bit. Hardly a reason to condemn him, or imply that he is doing a bad job. Would the author rather that we send over a flight of b-52s and carpet bomb Gaza into a glass-lined swimming pool, so the Israelis can build a Howard Johnson’s next to it?

WHEN – he took American tax dollars to resettle thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to the United States ,people said it didn’t matter.

     This is a lie.   America did spend several millions of dollars, but, it was for humanitarian aid (Food, water, blankets, clothing, etc)  and was NOT used to relocate anyone to the United States.

WHEN – he upset the Europeans by removing plans for missile defense system against the Russians,people said it didn’t matter.

     It is true the missile defense system was scrapped.   And, I am sure there were some Europeans that were upset about it.   However, the threat is not from Russia, but, from Iran and similar countries in the Milddle East, so the attention was turned to changing the location of the equipment.   Add to that the fact that it did not work well at all, and, it finally became obvious to even the dimmest wit that it was a waste of money.

WHEN – he played politics in Afghanistan by not sending troops early-on when the Field Commanders said they were necessary to win, people said it didn’t matter.

    So, the author is second-guessing the President’s decisions here?   Show some proof that the field commanders EVER said that it was a winnable war, or that there were complaints that Pres. Obama sent in troops after too great a delay.   The lie here is that anyone really thought that a war in the Middle East was winnable!   It never has been, and, America is not a miracle worker that COULD make it happen.  

WHEN – he started spending us into a debt that was so big we could not pay it off, people said it didn’tmatter.

     A lie.   Since President Obama has taken office, the deficit (and therefore the growth of the debt) has steadily decreased until is is a fraction of the legacy the previous administrations left.   In addition….to ignore the fact that the current debt is the product of decades of foolish policy decisions and pork-barrel greed (mostly by Republican administrations)   is denial of the first order.   If the author wants to find a scapegoat for the debt,   then look to the administrations who passed huge tax cuts, mostly helping the rich and ultra-rich,  yet, continued to spend money like drunken sailors.   Again…those were Republican administrations!

WHEN – he took a huge spending bill under the guise of stimulus and used it to pay off organizations, unions, and individuals that got him elected, people said it didn’tmatter.

     Unless there is documented evidence of this, then this statement is nothing more than a lie, attempting to smear the President.

WHEN – he took over insurance companies, car companies, banks, etc., people said it didn’t matter.

     Ok…President Obama did NOT take over anything.   Some banks, which were insolvent were closed and sold to other banks.   Every automobile manufacturer who received the stimulus LOAN (mentioned above, by the by) has repaid it, with interest.    As for insurance companies being “taken over’….what companies?   I do not know of a single instance of the government taking over an insurance company.   And it did matter because these actions saved millions of Americans from even more financial losses, and, helped regenerate automobile manufacturing in the USA….which kept people working and earning a living.   To me, that sounds like a good thing!

WHEN – he took away student loans from the banks and put it through the government, people said it didn’tmatter.

     This is a lie.   The administration has NOT removed student loans from the private banking system.   Now, the government has always provided student loans,  but, only as one of several options.   

WHEN – he designed plans to take over the health care system and put it under government control, people said it didn’t matter.

     The author is saying this like it was a bad thing, and, frankly, people DID say it mattered!    After decades of being abused by the Health Insurance industry,  the ACA addresses and regulates the worst abuses, and, ensures that ALL Americans can have access to affordable health insurance.   Already millions of Americans that did not have insurance now DO have it, and are able to deal with health issues before they get to be so much of a crisis that a trip to the ER and its horrendously expensive care is the only answer to curing the problem.    To imply this is a bad thing for the citizens is, again, a bald-faced lie.

WHEN -he claimed he was a Christian during the election and tapes were later made public that showed Obama speaking to a Muslim group and ‘stating’ that he was raised a Muslim, was educated as a Muslim, and is still a Muslim, people said it didn’t matter.

     This is such an obvious lie it is amazing anyone has the courage to drag it out again.   It has been refuted so often it is not even funny.   Like it or not, Pres. Obama is a Christian, has been a Christian for most if not all his life, and, has no inclination to become a Muslim.    Now, it is quite possible that, when younger, he did attend a Madrass (which, by the by is the exact same thing as the Christian Schools in America),  as part of his educational journey.  However, he was there to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, just like the rest of us…not to be indoctrinated into a religious belief.   His attendence at a Christian church for his entire life indicates that he is not a very good Muslim at all.

     That having been said….why does it matter?   If the author will read the Constitution, she will find that one’s religious beliefs are specifically banned as a criterion for qualifying for an office in the government.   As long as the president fulfills the duties he swears to in the Oath of Office, who or what he worships is not relevant. 

WHEN -he set into motion a plan to takeover the control of all energy in the United States through Cap andTrade, people said it didn’t matter.

    Ok…again…Cap and Trade is a REPUBLICAN plan, not a Democratic plan.   Secondly, the government already controls the    Electric Utilities which keep our lives ticking along. Utilities like this are a governmental function, and even the privately owned generating plants are heavily regulated.   Finally,  President Obama has been in office for five years or more now.   There are no signs that any such energy takeover is happening, and, to say it is being hidden is foolish.  Nothing that big could be hidden from the media, and, they would be all over it like ducks on a June bug.

WHEN – he finally completed his transformation of America into a Socialist State , people woke up —but it was too late.

Add these up one by one and you get a score that points to the fact  that Barrack Hussein Obama is determined to turn America into a  Marxist-Socialist society.

All of the items in the preceding paragraphs have been put into place. All can be documented very easily.

Before you disavow this, do an Internet search. The last paragraph alone is not yet cast in stone. You and I will write that paragraph. Will it read as above or will it be a happier ending for most of America ?

Don’t just belittle the opposition.  Search for the truth. We all need to pull together or watch the demise of a free Democratic society.   We need to seek the truth and take action for it will keep us FREE.   Will our Republic survive? Our biggest enemy is not China , Russia , North Korea or Iran . Our biggest enemy is our complacent selves.The government will not help, so we need to do it ourselves.

     Question….will you delete this, or pass it on to others who don’t know or chose to ignore Obama’s actions and his plans for the USA, so that they may have facts, use discernment and better judgment when it is time to vote in November, 2016 and the ensuing years?

It’s your decision. Does it matter?……AND WHEN?*

     As for this closing paragraph on the letter….I believe that I have not just belittled the author….but have provided factual data to point out the fallacies of their rant.   As for their claims of “easily proved”  and such….nonsense….again, my replies are based on Net searches that found dozens of examples undercutting their opinions.   The thesis that Pres. Obama is trying to turn America into a Marxist-Socialist state is foolish and unsupported by ANY facts.    Oh, and why refer to him as “Barack Hussein Obama?”   It sounds to me as if the author is trying to sneakily make him seem more of an outsider…NOT of the tribe, so, probably a danger to the tribe.   Classic manipulation, but, pretty childish of them I have to say….


     One ofthe really sad things about this rant is that the author is happy as a clam to complain about how terrible things are, yet, they offer no options about what they would prefer to do to fix the problems.

     For example, the author takes a couple of shots at the ACA. Ignoring the fact that it has already provided many benefits, in spite of its chopped up version that the Right-Wingers forced on the administration.   it has already gotten affordable insurance for millions of Americans; It has eliminated many of the abuses the insurance industry implemented in order to make more profit from the American public, and, it is causing the cost of health care to decrease a bit. More people are able to go to the doctor before an illness becomes a crisis and requires a trip to the ER (Which is the MOST EXPENSIVE way to treat a problem). This is helping keep people more healthy and productive. An increasing number of Americans, both who have already benefited from the ACA and who have just heard of it, are changing their opinions away from hating it to actually liking it. I saw a poll recently that found that when people were told some benefits of the health care law, and,asked if they liked ObamaCare, they said they still hated it. Yet,if the same benefits were listed and it was called the ACA, they said they liked it pretty well.

     That having been said….what alternative does the author offer? Should we keep the old form of insurance, and return vast numbers of Americans to a state where they fear going to the doctor because they are sincerely afraid that they will end up financially ruined and in bankruptcy from the costs of treating their issues? How is THAT good for America?

     This continual drumbeat of President Obama trying to make America a Marxist/Socialist state simply proves that the author has no understanding of either philosophy, and,  perhaps should spend a bit of time getting some education before posting rants like this.

     As I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, this Email, in various permutations has been around since 2011 or earlier, and, has NO more truth to it now than it did then. It is nothing but ignorance and hate, spewing out and attempting to inflame the emotions of the less educated so as to keep them from thinking about how they are being manipulated in order to keep the 1% making money without fear of regulation or law.

Posted in Characters, Ethics, General, General Thoughts, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political Foolishness

     Greetings and Salutations;
     There has been a burst of mindless lies and rants from Right-Wingers showing up on Face Book and while I realize trying to combat the problem with facts is probably like trying to keep the Ocean Tide from coming in,  I thought I would not just sit by and do NOTHING.   So…When the above image showed up on my time line, I decided to grab a copy, and, discuss here each of its “points”.
     My first thought upon seeing  this sort of rant is “What in the world are they trying to do with this?”    It would be nice to believe that some thought had gone into it, and, it was designed to generate debate on how to improve America.   However, as Click and Clack say…some people live life unhindered by the thought process.    Rather, I realize that this is nothing more than a whiny rant that has no interest in improving things, but, rather just exists to spread hate and dislike.
     So, now, let us look at  each of the points raised in the image.
     1)  This is Pres Obama’s second term, so, by the Constitution, he cannot run again…so in a few years they will get their wish.  He will be gone and someone else will be elected..  Of course,  they are ignoring the fact that during the five years that Pres. Obama  has already served, he has accumulated a surprisingly lengthy list of quite positive accomplishments, all if which are aimed at improving America.   This has happened  in spite of unending and strong opposition by the Republicans and other Right-Wingers.   A few of the positives?
     a) Osama Bin Laden met his end and was fed to the fishes (Respectfully, of course).
     b) the Deficit is reduced by 3/4 or more from what it was when Pres. Obama took office.
     c)  While the economy is still terribly fragile,  It has improved a bit, and, there is some hope that it may regain much of the strength it had some 10 years ago.
     d) The Stock Market has regained a huge amount of value, reaching numbers it has not seen in a decade.
     e) The ACA is the law of the land, and, after a rocky start, is proving to be a boon to millions of Americans.   Perhaps most importantly, it has curbed many of the abuses by the Insurance Industry that allowed them to cancel policies without reason,  sell crap policies that took huge premiums but provided nothing in return, raise premiums by huge percentages every year, deny people coverage due to “pre-existing conditions” – some of which had NOTHING to do with serious health issues, and, cap the amount of money they would have to spend on a policy holder in case they managed to get a claim approved.
      f) We are no longer deeply entangled in the wars in the Middle East, taking the huge numbers  of casualties that we were during the previous administration.
     There are a lot more, but, these are a few, good examples of why I believe that wishing that Pres. Obama was “gone” is foolish and based on factors that have nothing to do with his performance in office.
     2)  Closed Borders?  REALLY?   If the borders were truly closed, and it was impossible for undocumented workers to make it into the USA, what do these people think would happen?  Like it or not, undocumented workers are a vital part of the American Economy now, have been for some time and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future.   After all,  who is going to pick the produce, clean the toilets,  build the houses and do all the really hard work that it takes to keep America going?   Are Americans going to take those jobs?   I know that they are not going to work for what the producers pay the undocumented  workers.  Now, if the borders were closed, and Americans DID take over the jobs,  it is likely that they would demand more money for less work.  That would cause a jump in prices for everyone.  Also, I suspect that there wouldb e a drop in availability of goods and services,  because it has been my observation that American workers often do not have the focus or speed that other workers exhibit.   So…it gets back to the question I started with…who will replace the undocumented workers, and, how much will YOU be willing to pay them per hour to do it.
     3) Right now, it is true enough that English is the defacto language of the USA.  However,  that is mainly because English speaking citizens are in the majority, at least for the moment.   For us to not even attempt to accommodate people who speak another language really shows what small, shriveled souls we have.  Read the Constitution.   The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, chose not to create an official language for the country.   Even then, they realized that  America was going to be a melting pot culture  that would attract people from all around the world.  People  who spoke a multitude of languages.   They wanted America to WELCOME those people, because they also understood that the  alloy of these differing peoples would create a country that was far stronger than it would be if it were “pure”.    Finally, If you have a problem with interacting with folks that do not speak English well, I would suggest that it is far better and more productive to learn a second language, then be an egotistical twit and force others to learn YOUR language.
     4) This point seems to imply that American life is NOT controlled by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.   Again…kind of delusional… I look around and while I see some things happening that are infringing on those rights,  I do not see a wide-spread erosion of the Rights guaranteed us as Americans by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.   Since I seem to be missing something, I wish that one of these Right-Wingers would be kind enough to explain to me why they are saying this and what I am missing.  Actually, considering the number of Right Wingers who want to remove Constitutionally guaranteed rights, this is even more puzzling.    After all, it is not the Liberals who are protesting and raising a big stink to try and force the elected officials to block people from their right to vote,  to block children from getting a good, broad education that will allow them to be successful in today’s world, and, are trying to remove the rights of citizens to make personal decisions about their own bodies and life.   It is the Right-Wingers who want to expand government to deny these rights to citizens.   Explain that to me, please.
     5) Mandatory drug screening?   Been there, done that,  and it was an expensive failure.  Less than 1% of recipients were found to be using and, since MILLIONS of dollars were spent on the program, it ended up costing around $40,000 to find each one of them.  The only people that really benefited from these programs are the rich Right-Wingers who run labs that test for drugs.
     6)  No Freebies?  I am not sure that this means to the Right, but, to me, it shows a sad lack of understanding  about what people are getting in benefits from the government.   The food and support benefits provided the poverty stricken in America are hardly generous, are limited to 60 months in the LIFETIME of the recipient, and, are challenging to get and keep.   Actually, Walmart makes out better than most of the poor.  It is reported that Walmart salaries for many workers are so low  that we taxpayers are giving the stores  many tens of thousand of dollars a day to provide benefits to their workers, so they can afford to work for the company.  Also, the rich and ultra-rich get such generous tax benefits that they avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.   It also ignores the fact that many undocumented workers are both so underpaid that they would starve without aid, and, are paying income taxes and such that they will NEVER see any benefits from.  It would be worthwhile for some folks to follow this link, and  read the article, so they will have some facts about the subjects they hold such strong  opinons about.
     Reading this statement really kind of makes me think that the poster is proudly proclaiming that  we are NOT a Christian Nation, but, a collection of greedy, self-centered, grasping bastards that would  kick a starving child to the side of the road if we happen to see them!   Good to know, I suppose, since it clarifies what the rest of the world can expect from us.
     7) A Balanced Budget?   Sure…and easy to do with these two actions:  a) Cut the military budget, the vast amount of pork, the benefits enjoyed by the Federal Representatives,  and the “Black Budget”.  b) Raise tax rates on the part of society that can afford it the most – the Rich and Ultra-Rich.
     8) Tax Reform?   Sure….As mentioned above, raise taxes on the rich and ultra rich.  In the process, eliminate loopholes that allow them and the large companies to hide their income in other countries, and, so, avoid paying any taxes at all.  I realize that to many Right-Wingers,   this means “Stop collecting taxes”, but, again, that is delusional.  There is nothing magical about the government.  It needs to collect money from someplace to pay for the services it offers to the citizens.   No money coming in…at some point, the services will stop.   No one wants to pay taxes, but, everyone wants the services that they get.
     9) Term limits?  Do not make me laugh.  We already HAVE term limits for elected officials at every level.  It is called “getting out of the recliner on election day and voting for someone besides the incumbent.”   Who is responsible for the fact that, traditionally, 95% of the incumbents are returned to office?   You and I and too many other citizens are responsible.  Every American who does not stand in the election booth on the date, and record a vote for someone else  is responsible for elected representatives keeping office well past the time they should leave.
Posted in Ethics, General, General Thoughts, Humanity, Misc, Nuttiness, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Life is Complicated…Observations on Jackson Galaxy

     Greetings and Salutations;

     Over the past year or so, I have started watching Jackson Galaxy’s Animal Planet program, “My Cat From Hell”.   I have to say I like it a lot, as Jackson does a great job of analyzing the family dynamics and finding ways to modify the behavior of the people and animals to make sure that everyone has a positive life.   I will say that this show has also re-enforced one of my basic rules of life – that is that there are no bad animals, just bad owners.    While there have been a few cats that have had actual issues that made them difficult to live with (The most recent, and perhaps the most famous one, is Lux – the “911 cat” who recently became an internet and news sensation because he was so violent that his owners felt they had to call 911 for aid),  a vast majority of the issues are caused by clueless attitudes and actions on the part of the humans in the house.   The fact that Jackson does such a good job of analyzing these issues, and finding ways to re-direct and educate the owners in a non-threatening and non-confrontational way says a lot about him and his talents.    He is not a bad musician either! Over the past year or so, as his program has gathered a following, he has expanded his commercial presence…which is fine of course.   He needs to take advantage of the fame while it lasts. 
     Alas,  not all is happy in Galaxy-Land.   As part of his online store (which does sell quite a number of excellent products),  he has something called “Spirit Essences”.   Now, I had not paid much attention to these, but, recently, thanks to some stress in the cat population here, one of the cats was getting a bit hinky and having some difficulties interacting with the other cats.   So,  since Jackson has, in his Spirit Essences line a couple of products that are designed to deal with the sort of issues I was having, I looked into getting a couple of bottles and trying to modify the cat’s behavior.   Well,   I was terribly disappointed to find that Spirit Essences are nothing more than homeopathy!  And, for $23+  per ounce, that is REALLY ANNOYING to me..  At least he is honest about it, in that the listed physical ingredients in the bottle are water and alcohol.   The description of the process, though, explains that the water  is “treated” by shining colored light that has been refracted through special  crystals  into the water, and, apparently, waving various herbs, flowers and other plants at the water.  The water then “retains the energy” of the materials and lights, and then somehow imparts that to the companion animal  it is applied to.  This is, in my considered opinion, nonsense and nothing more than a way to suck huge amounts of money out of people for water and a small shot of alcohol. Homeopathy has been discredited time and time again…it just does not work.    At best,  the Essences are providing a Placebo effect…but, the claims of the water magically holding onto the energy of the light and plants are just silly.  If the cats that these Essences are used on actually have behaviorial changes, it is because of the increased handling and interaction by the owners  as part of the instructions for the proper application of the Spirit Essences.
     I really like Jackson, and, appreciate the work he does both to improve the lives of the individual cats who end up on his program, the education he provides about the reality of cats and the way their mind works through the show, and, the support he gives for various shelters and rehabilitation programs around the country, so it pains me to see this sort of foolishness being included in his bag of tricks.  In my opinion, if you purchase the Spirit Essences…do not be fooled into thinking you are going to get a magic cure in a bottle that will do anything positive for your companion animal. .   Rather, look at it as a contribution to Jackson’s ongoing programs, and, to specific shelters he is supporting (a part of the selling price goes to a shelter)
     I am fairly sure that Jackson will not ever see this, or hear of it….there is just TOO much noise on the Net.   However…if anyone DOES read this that has contact with him….Please, Please….change the blasted formulation of the Spirit Essences!   Put SOMETHING in there besides Water and Alcohol….It will not affect the cost of production any huge amount, and, at least you will be selling something that might do some good!   I will suggest (and I give up ANY claims for compensation for this suggestion) that you actually put extracts of the herbs and flowers in the bottles.   There is a lot to be said for Aroma Therapy, and, cats DO have a VERY sensitive sense of smell.   Jackson….You do a huge amount of good in the world, with your campaign to help companion animals have a good, long life, and, your other good works…but, the homeopathy thing is a stain that can cause big problems for your growing empire.    
      Pleasant Dreams
      Bee Man Dave
Posted in Ethics, General, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembrance of Things Past…

     Greetings and Salutations;

      Proust, in his famous tome “Remembrance Of Things Past”, spent something like a dozen pages describing the joys of having some Madeline cookies and Tea in the afternoon.    Now, to a certain extent, I can understand his enthusiasm, as I have made Madelines myself, and, the delicate, lemon flavor of those foamy treats is a great taste treat.   I would make them more often, but, they are labor intensive, and, I have not had the time or energy to spend on them for far too long.   I will mention in passing, though, that once when I took a couple of large platters of them to a dinner party of a circle of friends,   I took about six of them back home with me, and, the only reason I took that many was because I was kind of a hard-ass about it.
     However, while that is a pleasant memory,   that is not the one I wanted to mention here.   No,  my topic is really supposed to be Jello chocolate pudding .  I prefer the cooked version over the “cold milk” version, as I think it creates a slightly better flavor and texture.   But, that is personal prejudice….   It had been a while since I had cooked any up, and, yesterday, while I was casting about in the afternoon, to see what I could put together to eat, I noted that I had quite a few boxes of the pudding mix in the pantry.  It had been on sale last year, and, so since at the time, I had a buck or two to spare, I stocked up.   I moved on to cut down on the number of mix boxes, and increase the amount of ready to eat pudding in the refrigerator, ended up with a nice bowl of it cooling on the counter in fairly short order.   One little bit of cooking technology I discovered a bit ago was that it works amazingly well to microwave puddings and custards.   It is amazingly efficient (cutting several hours of cooking in the oven to half an hour or so), and, with the proper sequence of heating and stirring, creates a pudding/custard that is every bit as good as the slower cooked one
     Finally, I was able to spoon out a bowl of the rich, dark custard, and take a bite.   Like Proust, this taste took me back into my memories to a Young Adults Retreat we had held about 25 years ago.   My good friend, Bill M, my sister, Cathy and I were the active force creating the event, and dealing with the logistics of it.   At the time, we were all very active in First Lutheran’s programs for youth and young adults,  so we stayed quite busy.   As a matter of fact just a couple of weeks before, we had run a Youth Retreat.  Of course, food is an important part of these events, and, we were casting around to decide on some sort of slightly sweet dessert snack for the Retreat.  At the Youth Retreat, we had experienced a run on the chocolate pudding.  No one wanted the Vanilla, but, we ran out on the first day of the event (and kind of struggled to deal with the next two days because of it!).  Well,  the Young Adults group was only a few years older than the youth that had run through the chocolate pudding like locusts through a wheat field, so we thought we would be smart and get plenty of extra pudding so as not to run out.
     Of course, as one might guess,  the age difference of just a few years made all the difference in the world.   Almost NONE of the chocolate pudding got eaten over the weekend, and so we were stuck with gallons of the stuff.  It was actually pretty good, though, but, there was just so much of it.     We ended up contributing some to a food bank, as I recall, and took a bunch of it for us to have.   I made it through the stack of cans I had ended up with, but, I was pretty sick of chocolate pudding by the time the last bowl was gone.  It was several years until I would eat a bite of the stuff, and, even today, the mention of a truck load of chocolate pudding remains an inside joke for us.   
     Bee Man Dave
Posted in Food, General, Humanity, Observations, Something Good This Way Comes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments