A Ghost From The Past

Greetings and Salutations;

     First off,   this blog entry is likely to be updated.  Civil Discourse is welcome,  but it is my forum, so if you post rants that descend to attacks,  or spurious claims,  you are likely to be deleted and banned.

World Trade Center burning, 2001/09/11

I was amazed today to see,  on my Face Book time line,  a lengthy thread about the destruction of the World Trade Center, on 2001/09/11.   I had thought that after decades of debunking,   the Conspiracy Theories had been laid to rest.   Apparently not.    So…I am going to touch on some aspects of that day and the events therein.

    I, oddly enough,  had a bad night on the 10th,  and had not been able to sleep,  so I was awake at 7:30 or so when the report of the first plane hitting the tower came in.   I immediately turned on the TV,  and did little for the rest of the day except watch in amazement and some horror as events transpired.   The images from that day are as clear today to me as they were 15 years ago as they first sprayed into my home across the airwaves.   It was a very chaotic day for much of the time,  as an event like this had never happened to America,  and,  we apparently did not believe that it COULD happen.   There was,  early on,  commentators talking about how they could not understand why anyone would do this!   It was like that first moment when one awakes,  and has to pry eyelids,  crusted together by the night  open to see reality.  We,  as a society,  were forced to confront the fact that America is NOT perfect, and that we do terrible things in the world for no reason other than expediency,  or short term gain,  or simple stupidity and misunderstandings of reality.   No one likes to be confronted with their failures,  and have their fantasy about their own perfection questioned,   so, of course,  many folks grasp at any straws they can in an attempt to avoid that ugly truth.
America can be a “Great Society” and does have many positive moments.   Look,  for example,  at the recent Wildfires in the East Tennessee area,  and how we, as a people, have banded together to reach out and aid our fellow Tennesseans.   We do not care who a person voted for.  We do not care what their race is.  We do not care how rich they are.   We reach out to provide needed aid, and support in this difficult time.
First off,  let me touch on the motivations of the terrorists that flew the planes into the towers.   This was not a surprise to the Intelligence community,  as there had been traffic about Al Queda preparing for a big attack for months.   At least once,  Pres. Bush had a briefing report presented to him in the daily,  morning  intelligence briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside the United States”.   Add to this the fact that Al Queda had attempted to bring the buildings down with a large car bomb some time before,  and, it should have been a matter of concern.   However,  stupidity and poor judgement does not a Conspiracy make.Then..there are the claims about a controlled implosion bringing the buildings down.   Evidence for this mostly comes from news reel footage giving close ups of the windows blowing out as the building collapsed.   Let us look at the sequence of events, though.
  • Airplanes,  loaded with Jet Fuel,  impacted the towers well up towards the top of the structures.   This sprayed the fuel through several floors and coated TONS of flammable items with it.
  • Jet fuel is not gasoline.  It is more akin to OIL,  so it does not flash off and burn rapidly as gasoline does.   So,  when it did ignite from any of the sources of sparks that showed up at the time,  it burned slow and hot for quite some time before being consumed.   This ensured that a LOT of flammable material was on fire.
  • When the planes hit the towers,   the skeleton of the building consisted of steel beams,  coated with a spray on fire insulation.   This insulation was designed to resist a “normal” fire,  of the building’s contents igniting and producing a lot of heat.  It was NOT designed to resist the pressures of tons of aluminum scraping by it,  or, the pressure wave of air from the impact and subsequent ignition of the fuel.
  • Steel,  while it is very strong,  deforms at temperatures far below its melting point.  That is why Blacksmiths can take a half inch thick,  steel bar,  heat it to a bright,  red hot,  and twist it into a spiral.
  • The design of the WTC was unique,  in that it was, basically,  a cylinder of steel girders with cross beams riveted to them to provide support for the floors.  When those floor joists were damaged,  and the floor removed by the impact,  this turned quite a few floors of the tower into a chimney –  which pulled in air, and helped fan the flames.
  • Gravity does not pull at an angle.   The WTC towers were two,  very tall,  cylinders,  standing on end,  on a fairly tiny foundation.   They had been built just as perfectly vertical as possible,  to minimize stresses and ensure that they would not self-destruct.   So…when the support beams partway down the tower started to warp and bend,  as a result of softening from the heat,  gravity pulled the top floors straight down.  Once the process started,  there was no stopping it,  as each floor destroyed added to the weight of debris falling.
  • As the pile-driver piston that was the upper floors hit a lower floor,  it would cause a spike in the air pressure on that floor…This,  along with the impact of the debris,  which started the tempered glass windows shattering,  caused the glass to blow out and away from the tower.  This seems to be the main “evidence” that the towers were imploded.
  • I find the idea that our government could create an event like this,  and keep all evidence of their plotting from coming to light for this long to be so amusing as to be like watching the clowns at the circus.   The Government is just not that competent at keeping huge conspiracies like this as a secret,  and I have yet to see any evidence that they COULD do this.   Time and time again,  leaks by the hundreds of Elected Representatives have revealed events that we have been in control of,  and shown what foolishness we, as a Nation, have gotten into.
    I could go on,  and I certainly admit there were some puzzling things that happened on that day.   However,   the explanation that it was a disaster  caused by the madness of people driven to extreme action by America’s actions,  is far more reasonable than the theories  this this was a “False Flag” operation by our government,  to try and manipulate the American Public.   Frankly,  we were not a lot brighter 15 years ago than we are in 2016,  and look at where we have ended up!
The Conspiracy Theory claims about the WTC destruction,  how it happened, why it happened, and who benefitted are all extraordinary claims.   Therefore,  they require extraordinary proof  to justify moving beyond the simple fact that it was an attack by a few madmen,  programmed by fanatics who hate what America stands for, and what our Society provides.  So far,  I have yet to see any such proof.   I see much speculation,  and “What if” type questions raised,  and strongly worded opinion pieces, but nothing is ever provided to prove these claims.
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave.
Notes on Presidential briefing about Al Queda/Bin Laden to attack,   presented 2001/08/02 – http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB116/
A Structural Analysis of the World Trade Center building failures – http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/0112/eagar/eagar-0112.html

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Reflections on Pearl Harbor Day

Greetings and Salutations;

Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor_Japanese_planes_view_Small.png

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Other battleships moored nearby are (from left): Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. On the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender Tangier. Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire. Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.

75 years ago,  the Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor  in Hawaii.  The attack was by 352 aircraft, in two waves, and, was amazingly successful.  Their goals were to destroy as many of the warships in the harbor as was possible,  kill as many military personnel as possible,  and demonstrate to America that we were not the superior force in the Pacific.  They were partially successful,  in that the attack damaged or destroyed 20 ships,  killed a couple thousand military folks,  and wounded another 1000 folks.   However,   the end result was NOT successful.  By demonstrating their military prowess,  the Japanese hoped to keep America from joining in the growing World War.   Their attack did just the opposite,  as it generated enough support for Roosevelt that it was trivial for him to get a declaration of war through Congress in short order.
This attack lead,  directly,  to a curtain of chaos and madness engulfing the world,  killing millions of youth,  destroying everything from simple cottages that were the homes of good people,  to archeological treasures,  to great cities,  culminating in the ONE time that Nuclear weapons have been used in conflict.

The USS Arizona (BB-39) burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. USS Arizona sunk at en:Pearl Harbor. The ship is resting on the harbor bottom. The supporting structure of the forward tripod mast has collapsed after the forward magazine exploded.

The scars of this event persist today, 75 years later.   The U.S.S. Arizona is a permanent memorial in the waters of Pearl Harbor.  It is visited by millions every year.

Some of those visitors are there because it is a classic tourist destination, and their tour group is scheduled to stand on the bridge over the resting place of the great ship and its crew.
Some of those visitors are there to crow over the success of one side inflicting terrible wounds on the other side.
Some of these visitors are there because their family members went down with the ship, and it is their final resting place.  They have come to weep over the loss,  and to remember the grandfather who never came home.
Some are  on the bridge to contemplate the evils of war,  and, of the bigotry,  racism, hate, and greed that drives mankind to it…and to ask the question “What can we do to keep this from happening again?”.

If you were standing on the bridge over the Arizona,  what would YOU be thinking about?

Earlier today,  I heard a short interview with a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.   He was a Navy man,  and,  ended up near the Oklahoma (which had taken several bomb hits and rolled during the attack).   He told of being near the hull of the ship,  and hearing the survivors inside,  banging on the hull.  They were trying to get attention,  so they could be located and rescued.   The chaos was so overwhelming, though,  that it took several days for crews with cutting torches to get to the ship.   During that time,  the banging got weaker and weaker,  and there were fewer and fewer hits echoing out,  as the trapped survivors succumbed to CO2  poisoning and died.   By the time the rescuers were able to cut into the hull,  and make an entrance, most,  if not all,  of the crew trapped in these compartments were dead.   They had spend their final hours in total darkness,  partially submerged in water,  breathing air that slowly became death,  not life.   This man,  who is 93 years old this year,  was heading back to Pearl Harbor, perhaps for one last time,  to take part in memorial services.   His family said that he had carried those dark images with him for decades, and never spoken of them,  until last year when he finally opened up and started talking about the attack and its aftermath.
We all have events in our lives that leave deep scars – the loss of a companion animal,  the death of a friend,  the death of a parent, and the like.  I am sure that there are nights when we lay in bed, surrounded by darkness,  and relive that moment when the trauma happened…Those moments are hard to revisit, but,  I cannot comprehend living with memories such as were left by the attack on Pearl Harbor,  and remaining sane.   I am very glad that he, and the other old guard who are finally talking about their dark experiences with others are able to do so.  I hope it will bring them some peace, and heal some of the old wounds that they have carried for so long.
In closing,   I hope everyone that reads this will take a minute or two,  and contemplate the evils that mankind is prone to engage in.   Learn from this moment in history.   Be vigilant about how we are treating each other…and work to focus on respect for others, not demonization.   Honor those who have fallen while fighting for principles they believed in.  If YOU are a veteran with dark memories,  do not repress them forever.  You have friends,  from both the civilian and military worlds,  who can and will share your burden.  They will not condemn or judge…but will support and help you deal with those festering wounds.
Pleasant Dreams???
Bee Man Dave

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Wisdom from Jason Kander

Greetings and Salutations;

I ran across the following,  penned by Jason Kander of Missouri,  after he was narrowly defeated in a bid for a Senate seat in last Tuesday’s election.   It is a strong and true call to all Liberals to not give up…to not surrender.   We may be mourning still,  but,  let us focus on the future,  and work to overcome this setback.   Let us make America BETTER!
JasonKanderCapitol.jpg

This is the message where I’m supposed to thank you for all you’ve done for me, tell you how much it meant to me, and then say my goodbyes and wish you luck on your journey. I’m supposed to say something like, “Perhaps our paths will cross again.”


But that’s not how I roll. Of course, I am thankful to you and I’m forever grateful for this experience. But why wouldn’t I be? Let’s talk about something important.

We’re all disappointed about Tuesday night’s results. We lost an election. In fact, we – the Democrats – lost a whole mess of elections on Tuesday.
But please know that I’m going to be fine. My wife is gorgeous and brilliant and my son True is my best little buddy in the world. We are not the people who will be hurt by these election results. So please don’t spend any time being sad for me. If you’re going to be sad for someone, make it the single mom who has cancer and is scared to death about being unable to keep her insurance to continue treatments without Obamacare. Worry about the undocumented student who has only ever known this country and is worried about what happens to her now. Worry about the minimum wage worker trying to stretch $30 into a full grocery trip. Let your heart go out to the college student saddled with enormous debt and unable to get help from a parent whose own graduate degree has forced him into bankruptcy.
I met each of those people, in real life, during this campaign. And it fueled me the whole way. But here’s the thing, that fuel is still in my tank. Why? I love this country and I won’t let losing an election force me away from the process.

Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Yes, Donald Trump is going to be President and the Republicans control the House and the Senate, but I need that to double your resolve, not cause you to give up on our politics.

Be proud of the campaign we ran. In a “red” state that Donald Trump won by 19%, we came within 3% of turning the Senate seat blue. And we didn’t do it by hugging the middle and pretending to be moderate Republicans.

I wouldn’t change a single day on this campaign. I’m proud that we took on some of the biggest names in Republican politics and darn near shocked the world. We fought for smart environmental policies, for unions, for LGBT equality, for commonsense gun safety, and a host of other important causes. I’m proud that we didn’t back down and that we demonstrated that the most important thing Democrats can do is make their argument.

If you were a part of this campaign in even the smallest way, you might feel like stepping away from it all to lick your wounds. Maybe you think you’re done with volunteering or donating or even believing in anything changing. Well, you won’t get a pass from me. Staying engaged has become more important than ever.
And this is the time to maintain that engagement. A new generation is stepping forward in America. Don’t let anyone tell you that this generation is selfish. This is a generation that cares more about ideas than ideology and measures patriotism not by a politician’s eagerness to go to war but by their willingness to do what’s right no matter the political cost. And this generation knows better than to let any politician – even a President – tell them that a changing country is a declining country.

I don’t know what I’m going to do next or even whether I’ll ever place my name on a ballot again, but I know I’m not leaving this cause behind. To truly care about this country is to demonstrate that you care about her politics the same when you’re winning as when you’re losing.

America needs you now more than ever. So don’t quit! This generation is patriotic, creative, selfless, and – most importantly – numerous. My campaign might no longer be the vehicle for your activism, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from standing up and making your voice heard.

Take some time off…

Ok, was that enough time?

We have work to do. You in?

Pleasant Dreams…
Bee Man Dave

 

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The Aftermath

Greetings and Salutations;
It is now the second day since the election,  and,  while my mind is in a very dark place still,  I am sane enough to consider some questions and thoughts about the next four years.    
Right now,  though,  the emotions are very raw.  The huge percentage of the voting public that voted for Secretary Clinton  are in mourning,  both for that loss, and for what it will mean for our country in the future.   That future looks pretty dark right now. 
The Social Media is full of Right-Wing Trolls,   gloating about their “Victory’  and telling those of us who are Liberal  that we should get out of of the country,  or stop being babies,  or any of a dozen other contemptuous things.    
In what might be an amusing turn of events,   the Right-Wingers have already started saying that we need to pull together as a people,  and give the Donald the respect he “deserves” having won the office of the President.   The irony here is strong,  considering that this is coming from a group of people who have spent eight years disrespecting President Obama  in some of the most foul and childish ways.   Many of us have sworn to give the donald exactly the same amount of respect that he and his party have given the past two Democratic administrations…that is..none at all.   If the donald works very hard,  in four years he might earn enough respect to keep people from spitting on the ground when his name is mentioned.   However,  his path is very narrow.
Another disappointing aspect of this election is the fact that,  in spite of the apparent interest in it,   according to statistics gathered on Tuesday,  some 45% of Americans did not vote,  in spite of being eligible to do so.  The fact that almost half of the electorate had so little respect and care about their nation,  their fellow citizens and themselves to take the time to vote is, alas,  not surprising,  but it is so sad that it brings me to weep for all of us.    Out of the remaining 55% that DID vote,   the donald got 25.5% of the votes.   Secretary Clinton got 25.7% of the votes.  The remainder went to the spoilers and wanna-bes of the Libertarian and Green Parties.   Now… this is the second time in the last five elections that the winner of the popular vote has LOST the Electoral College.  There is little else to say about this, alas,  as that will never change.  The Republicans are the ones that benefit the most from this scheme,  so they will put up roadblocks to any attempts to change it.
After some contemplation,   I have posted variations of the following statement to various social media: “For y’all who voted for the donald.   Remember that whatever happens in the next four years,  YOU deserve it;  YOU asked for it”.  Of course many of the Right-Wingers are happy about this…others,  who think a bit more deeply,  are not. 
So..the reality is that the country has elected a man to the Presidency who has shown himself to be a racist for decades.  Starting with his anti-black renting policies from the 1970s that got him a Federal Civil Rights case,  to today,  when the official newspaper of the KKK rejoiced at his election,  and a large percentage of his voter base are White Supremacists of some stripe.   The country has elected a man who has been recorded time and time again bragging about engaging in sexual assault on women.   The country elected a man who has said,  several times,  not only how much he admires dictators in the world,  including Putin  and Kim Jong Un,  but,  has stated that he believes that the First Amendment needs to be changed to weaken it and make it easier to suppress dissent.  The country elected a man who is documented as lying some 95% of the time!   The list of reasons that the donald is bad for Democracy goes on and on and on.   And yet,  the voting public,  by a slim margin,  elected him President.
One of the reasons that a large percentage of his minions  stated for electing him was (essentially) that they were tired of the status quo in the Federal Government,  and wanted to burn the house down to get a change.   They also said that they supported the donald  because he was not afraid to speak his mind.   Well,   having said all that,  one of the facets of last Tuesday’s election was that almost EVERY incumbent Congress person was returned to office!   Again…the irony here is amazing and,  I fear, speaks to the lack of ability to engage in critical thinking that Americans suffer from.    Also…I have tried asking the minions over the past year…which thing is it that the donald says do they support.   He has a continual track record of saying two contradictory things – often within hours of each other – and claiming that is what he believes.  Most of the time,   I get no reply.  Sometimes I get insults and purile name calling.  Sometimes I get excuses that what he says is not what he really means.   Usually,  if I get a response that addresses the question,   they,  like the donald,  pick one stance and claim that the other one did not exist.
So…while there is so much more that I could address here,  I am going to leave some of it for future postings…
I want to end by asking the question “What can we do to mitigate  the destruction looming over the country?”   Much to my frustration,  I have no magic wand that I can wave to make everything better.   However,  there are some things that we can do.
  • Get your Congress-Critter’s email and snail mail addresses,  and their phone numbers.   Put them in your contact list,  and use them on a regular basis.   When you see a news article that reports of anyone attacking the Constitutional rights and protections of you or your fellow citizens,   take five minutes and contact your Federal Representatives.   Let them know that this is unacceptable.   Also,  urge your friends to do the same thing.   There are two forces that will move a politician.   These are checks from lobbyists,  and a tall stack of letters and messages from constituents.   Make sure that there is a tall stack on their desks.  If you find out about a company supporting a policy you do not agree with,  contact your Representatives to let them know this is unacceptable,  and taking funds from that company will have negative feedback.   Let the corporate offices know that you will not patronize their shops because of this attitude of theirs.    Again…urge your friends to do the same thing.
  • Vote.   The fact of the matter is that the donald took the Presidency by the slimmest of margins.  In some states,  it was just a few thousand votes out of millions of votes cast.  This means that if a small percentage of those 45% of voters who gave up had come out and voted,  today would be a different day.   We Democrats  have a problem with being easily dissuaded,  because,  I suppose, we are – at heart – pessimists.   We have to fight against this demon whispering in our ears, and vote.   Every Vote Matters.  On that point…do not skip any election.  Vote with the same enthusiasm in the mid-term elections that one would vote in the Presidential Election.   The state and local elections are closer to each of us, and have far more of an influence on our lives.
  •  “All that Evil Needs to succeed  is for good people to do nothing”.   This does echo the topic of despair that I touched upon above.  Now, though,  I am looking at the non-political part of our lives.   One of the truly sad things that I have seen over the past 16 months is a flood of out and out lies from the Right-Wing  on the Social Media, and in life.   I do not advocate seeking out conflict,   but,  to remain silent when lies are posted is betraying ourselves and our principles.   I asked,  in a blog entry a bit ago,  when it was that lying became OK in today’s world?   I was reared by my parents to be a tolerant, patient,  TRUTHFUL  citizen.  Yet everywhere I turn these days,  I see politicians and business owners producing the most obvious lies,  and having the people swallow them as if they are the sweetest truth in the world.   This, to be up front about it,  makes me a little crazy.   I have been blocked by a number of Right-Wingers on Facebook,  for example,  because I have called them on their pushing lies.  I have posted the truth, and, provided links to back up my statements.  When I ask the Right-Wingers to do the same,  I get insults, name calling,  and blocked.   However, if we are going to claim that we are ethical humans (and I do not care if you are Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist,  Christian,  Hindu, or whatever) then,  we MUST NOT condone and accept lies as acceptable.
  • 4)  Let us not demonize our opponents.  President Obama,  yesterday,  made a very good point.  He said:   “Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. “
Over the past decade,  the tendency for one side to demonize the other has grown, and today, we are reaping the whirlwind from that evil seed.  Democrats are not demons.  Republicans are not demons.  The fact that we have treated each other as such for so long is a big reason that the negative issues of society are so bad right now.   It is very easy to push people into a little box  and define what they are.  However,  as I have asked before…who believes that, when the election is over,  and the Democrats and Republicans meet in their offices,  that looking at each other as demons set on destroying the country is going to create an environment where the Nation will be improved?   I am well aware that this is such an ingrained part of the scene that it will take years – if not decades – to change.  However,  if we want America to exist long enough to celebrate its third centennial,  we had better get to working on it.
Pleasant dreams…
Bee Man Dave

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“The World Turned Upside Down”

2016_Election_hexmap-232am.png
Greetings and Salutations;
In the wee hours of this morning,   November 9th,  2016,  the  Presidential election  produced an unexpected, and (for many)  a chilling result.   As the above map shows,   the donald was voted in to the Presidency.    It is difficult to know what effects this will have in the long term.   Many Americans,  on both sides of the contest,  are whistling by the graveyard,  saying such things as “he will  not really do ?????”  or “America needed a reboot,  and Donald Trump was the perfect person to do this”    I wish I could be that optimistic.   This election has been marred by unending lies;  violence by the donald’s minions,  and some amazingly hate-filled speech.   I fear that the brush fire of anger and bigotry that the donald has ignited will continue to grow and will make our society worse than it is now.
May God have mercy on us.
Pleasant dreams;
Bee Man Dave

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America – Great? Or not?

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

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A Contemplation on Truth

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

 

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

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Notes From The Sky!

Greetings and Salutations;

     Just a quick note to remind everyone that this month is the Orionid Meteor Shower.    It is a lengthy stream of debris,  so will continue on,  gradually growing towards its peak around October 21st.   Take an early nap,  and try to go out to watch the sky at around midnight.    No one seems to have any idea how heavy a shower it will be this year,  but,  we know that the streaks will be impressive.   They are amazingly fast, bright, and often leave a glowing trail.   It is also warm enough that it can be a pleasant time.  Here is an image that will help locate it, and, a link to a more complete explanation
orionids_2012_jpg_16414-580x326.jpg
Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Dealing with a Trumpster!

      Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

Pleasant Dreams
Bee Man Dave

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Alternative Medicine At The Olympics

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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Chatting With A Libertarian

Greeting and Salutations;

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

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

~Long live Dr. Ron Paul.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Massacre at the Pulse In Orlando – Another observation.

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

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

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

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

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

         Greetings and Salutations;

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

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A Meditation on this Memorial Day Weekend

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Greetings and Salutations;

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

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

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

      How would I fix the problem?

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

BottledWater.jpeg

Greetings and Salutations;

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

Greetings and Salutations;

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

Texas To Secede?

     Greetings and Salutations;

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

The Texas Secession Movement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Pleasant Dreams

Bee Man Dave

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