Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 28, One More Cultist…

Greetings and Salutations;

The other day, I posted an update about the Covid-19 issues to the FB Page devoted to news and discussion local to the Hamlet I live in. For the area, the thread blew up with 50+ “likes” (of various types) and quite a few comments…some of which drifted away from the original topic.

I have posted an excerpt here, more as an example of why it is America is crashing and burning than anything else. I admit that I did throw some gasoline on the fire, with the following reply to another small thread…

…Simply because Republicans are dumber than a bag of old hair, does not mean that you, I, or anyone else has to be.

This comment apparently hit a nerve with another reader, who got her panties in a wad over it…causing us to have the following conversation:

AMO: Dave Mundt: why are republicans dumber than a bag of old hair?

Dave Mundt: AMO:
1) THe current administration – run by Republicans – willfully ignored the danger of the world-wide pandemic (Remember #3 saying that when hot weather showed up, it would disappear as if by magic?)
2) Instead of facing the issue and admitting it was bad, they have down-played it, and pretending everything was hunky-dory ( did you see Pence’s statement yesterday that there was nothing to worry about, as we have it under control)
3) The Federal Government not only ran away from taking a leadership role in ensuring that few Americans were impacted, they refused to work with the states, saying it was all THEIR responsibility. THEN when the states started reaching out for medical supplies, including ventilators, the Feds started bidding against them…driving the cost up by 10x or more.
4) When several states managed to get large shipments of masks and other protective equipment, the Feds swooped in, and grabbed them out of the hands of the states…without, by the by, reimbursing the states for the items.
5) The Feds have sent millions of dollars of PPE and ventilators to Russia, to help them with THEIR Covid-19 crisis. And…they are stupid enough to believe that no one would notice or care.
6) 99% or more of the people claiming covid-19 is just the flu; we don’t need to wear masks; closing businesses; or are going out and mingling with other people in close proximity, with out care, are Republican.

I could go on for some time, but these are the high points.
Bottom line is that they have not only ignored the danger and refused to do anything about it, condemning millions of Americans to a serious disease, with long-term effects on life, and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. All this, and they expect the citizens to either be so stupid and willfully blind that they either will not find out about their mistakes, or will dismiss them, because they are obviously lies by Democrats, or because they have not been personally affected by the virus…yet.

AMO: Dave Mundt: I couldn’t even finish reading that mess. All I know to tell you is

  1. “by the by” is what sounds stupid as a bag Of old hair.
  2. I’d like to know where you got the information that the feds came in and took any medical supplies and from which state and proff that anything was sent to Russia or wherever
  3. each state wanted to set their own guidelines because all were not impacted at the same time the same way. I guess the democratic way would be to shut down the entire nation even if that area hadn’t been impacted yet?
  4. you’re the person that yells dont tread on me then yells the feds won’t help me. Hurricanes coming get out…I’m not leaving my home…why won’t they come help me?
  5. I’m a republic and I AM NOT “dumber than a bag of old hair”. Everyone doesn’t have to have the same opinion as you or the same beliefs to be intelligent. You can BLAME anyone and everyone who don’t agree with your political philosophy for covid and the weather and whatever #3 was that you referred to. Maybe you’ll get your hair sniffer, finger licking president that you want someday but that don’t make you smarter than a bag of farts but your attitude sure makes you smell like one. Don’t ever refer to me as dumb again.

AMO: Dave Mundt: Also I have not stopped wearing masks and I take protective measures against covid. It has nothing to do with being republican or Democrat

Dave Mundt: AMO: Ok…How about this…”All Republicans who deny the reality of the bad things happening in the world today, and refuse to take actions to protect their fellow citizens are dumber than a bag of old hair”

Dave Mundt: AMO: Good for you…keep being smart and wearing the mask. After all the life you save will be someone else’s. As for “#3″…that is my label for the occupier of the Oval Office. He is, after all, only the 3d president in the history of this country to be impeached.

As for taking supplies…
Governors saying FEMA is outbidding them for medical Supplies

Or if you prefer…
Fact-Check: Trump Administration Seizing medical supplies from States

This, by the by, is from the BBC
War For Medical Supplies

As for shipping covid-19 supplies to Russia.
US Ready To Send Medical Supplies to Russia

As for the states setting guidelines…that is true. HOWEVER, the Feds are supposed to support the states, no walk away from them…A given state, generally, does not have the financial power that the Federal Government has…which is ANOTHER reason why the cost of ventilators went from $5000 or so to $50,000 or more.

Oh yes…about your #4 point? I suggest you read a bit more extensively…the ONLY people who scream “Don’t Tread On Me” are Republicans and even more extreme Right-Wingers.

AMO: Dave Mundt: I understand how masks work. I am human. I am intelligent. I understand sarcasm. I also know that some people on this world are just mean to anyone and everyone who has a different point of view. I have friends and family members that I do not agree with but I don’t treat them like they are my underling because I feel like they are wrong. You go ahead, of it makes you feel better to ridicule and insult anyone who is different than you. Being ugly to others because they aren’t just like you is what’s wrong with this country.

Dave Mundt: AMO: I am both on the autism spectrum, AND have German roots…so, I am blunt. I am sorry if I offended you. I work very diligently to present facts that are evidence based, but these days, that triggers a lot of people.

I will not argue that I generalized about Republicans being dumber than a bag of old hair. I am insulted daily on the Net, and have learned to evaluate the insult, and ignore it if it is not valid. I forget that is not true with all. I hope my modification to narrow the description shows that I am aware of my error.

And all this from a person who allegedly went to, at least, a Community College! The thread would likely have continued for some time, but, I turned off commenting, as I felt there was nothing else worth saying in it.

Of course, in this same thread, there were a couple of folks that said Covid-19 was no worse than the flu, and, called me an idiot, so, it was fairly typical for Facebook. The Hamlet I live in is so Republican that there are typically NO Democratic candidates for office, as no one feels that the half a dozen votes out of a thousand they would get would be worth the expense and effort. It is this level of mindfulness that the country faces in November…and I fear that, unless Democrats overcome the apathy they have expressed in the past several elections we will see a continuation of the Republicans holding control…and destroying this country.

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

Posted in General, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHY is it that so many folks think education is crap in America?

Greetings and Salutations;

Today, I had a short interaction with a local woman on FaceBook. I have quoted it below. However, I wanted to say a couple of things up front. This woman has a high-school education, and, from her time line, is a #3 Cultist. She lives in the backwater community where she was born, and, glorifies the Confederate Flag on her timeline. The really sad thing is that she probably votes…

So…here is our conversation. I am pretty sure that it demonstrates the reality of the title of this essay.

Elijah Lawson: The COVID Death Count is Inflated
| Change My Mind | Louder with Crowder
Hah

Dave Mundt This {video} is nonsense. According to ALL medical folks the number of covid19 related deaths is actually very UNDER REPORTED! When I say under reported, I have seen reports that the actual number may well be 10x the number reported.

SH: Dave Mundt bullshit lmbo
SH: Dave Mundt and its not as bad as the flu

Dave Mundt SH: Bless your heart…talk to some folks that have survived it…or even better, get infected yourself. THEN come back here and tell me it is not as bad as the flu! Dave Mundt: SH: You say bullshit…Scientific American disagrees with you
How COVID-19 Deaths Are Counted

SH: Dave Mundt i still call bullshit its the common cold fool
SH: Dave Mundt there arnt any body if u die of a heart attack its still listed as crona
lysol killed the germs in the 70s

Dave Mundt SH:
1) The death certificate has several lines on it for causes of death. The primary cause is listed first…However, other conditions, such as a covid19 infection are listed as secondary causes. In the example you give, the heart attack might well be the cause of death…so it would be listed first. However, if the person has a bad case of covid-19 and there are no other issues, it is very likely that the infection had damaged the heart enough to cause the fatal heart attack.

It is a lie, spread by Right-Wingers and others with an agenda, that covid-19 is the only cause of death listed.

2) Yes, Lysol kills germs…it is toxic to living organisms. It also can break down the structure of some viruses. However, it is unproven it works against covid-19.
Can Lysol and Clorox products kill the novel coronavirus? The answer is … complicated

SH: Dave Mundt i never got oast the communists news network cnn i trust nothing they say FAKE NEWS

Dave Mundt SH: you can call bullshit all you want. However, your opinion vs the findings of science ends up with your opinion losing by a huge length.
Dave Mundt SH: Ok…I see your mind is closed…and you are unwilling to believe anything outside your narrow world. We are done.

SH: Dave Mundt not from cnn ROTFLMAO
SH: Dave Mundt i think for my self dont need ur lies from cnn lmbo really

God Help Us All!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I buried a cat today…

Greetings and Salutations.

Today was a difficult day, I am sorry to report. While it had positive aspects, it also had a big, dark, cloud of sadness to it. Because of this, I want to remind everyone why it is that letting one’s companion animal roam free is a bad idea.

I buried a cat today.
He was a lovely, stubby tailed cat,
who looked healthy and cared for.
He had powerful, green eyes,
His long gray fur was touched with White

He was laying, still and lifeless, in the road
When I passed him as I had to run out this morning.
When I came back, an hour later, he was still there.

I am a Guardian, so I could not leave him there.
I stopped, and collected his body,
Respectfully laying it in the back of the car.

I took him back to our land,
To find a lovely place,
under the branches of a cedar tree,
For his final resting place.

I dug him a bed of Earth, for his eternal sleep,
and carefully laid him in it,
to return to the Earth,
from whence he came.

I wept for him, and blessed his spirit
In its journey over the Rainbow Bridge.
I prayed that he found peace and happiness there.

I buried a cat today.
He was a stranger to me,
but he deserved a decent Place to Sleep
and some dignity in death.

Please…Keep your cats inside…build them a catio to enjoy Nature, in a restricted way. The cat I buried today did not even make the average 6 years that a free roaming animal usually lives…but he could easily have lived to the age of 18 or 20.

Posted in Ethics, General, Humanity, Observations, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 27 – A Real Revolution?

I thought, when the ground-swell of protest after Mr. Floyd’s murder began, that this event might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. That it is the blatant act of Evil that will waken the majority to realize what a terrible place we are in now, and, to FINALLY do something about it. I, for one, had really hoped that the Civil Rights movement and those battles, fought in the in the 1950s and 1960s was that moment. I have come to realize that I was misguided and, perhaps, too optimistic. Over the years since then, I have come to realize that they were an important step, but they were not the Sea Change that America needed to truly move towards a society where race was not a factor.

In the short time since we watched Mr. Floyd die on the street, there have been a LOT of changes that have moved not only America, but the world towards a more tolerant path. These include:

  • In America:
  • Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.
  • Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.
  • Dallas adopts a “duty to intervene” rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.
  • New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.
  • In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.
  • The Louisville, KY, Metro Council has voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants.
  • Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.
  • MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.
  • Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).
  • Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.
  • NASCAR bans Confederate “battle flag” from its events.
  • Street in front of the White House is renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
  • Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.

  • The attitudes of people, and their focus and mindfulness are changing.
  • The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.
  • The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.
  • The self-reflection, where many people (perhaps for the first time) are focusing on their attitudes towards race, and how those attitudes change the decisions we make.
  • The internal battles exploding within organizations over issues that have been simmering or ignored for a long time. Some organizations will end as a result, others will be forever changed or replaced with something stronger and fairer.
  • Too many people have accepted the violence perpetuated by the police, without question. The flood of video of these incidents is causing people to reconsider their automatic support of the actions of the LEOs.

  • Globally:
  • Protests against racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd are taking place all over the world.
  • Rallies and memorials have been held in cities across Europe, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • As the US contends with its second week of protests, issues of racism, police brutality, and oppression have been brought to light across the globe.
  • People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where ‘I have a dream’ is a real and universal political program,” Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, told the New Yorker.
  • In France, protesters marched holding signs that said “I can’t breathe” to signify both the words of Floyd, and the last words of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.
  • Cities across Europe have come together after the death of George Floyd:
  • In Amsterdam, an estimated 10,000 people filled the Dam square on Monday, holding signs and shouting popular chants like “Black lives matter,” and “No justice, no peace.”
  • In Germany, people gathered in multiple locations throughout Berlin, with 15,000 at Alexanderplatz, to demand justice for Floyd and fight against police brutality.
  • In Cologne, on Saturday at least 10,000 protesters gathered under the motto, “America we see you”, to demonstrate against racism.
  • In Brussels, on Sunday another 10,000 protesters marched.
  • A mural dedicated to Floyd was also spray-painted on a stretch of wall in Berlin that once divided the German capital during the Cold War.
  • In Ireland, protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside of Belfast City Hall, and others gathered outside of the US embassy in Dublin.
  • The Scottish Parliament has called for the immediate suspension of exports of riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets to the US.
  • In Italy, protesters gathered and marched with signs that said “Stop killing black people,” “Say his name,” and “We will not be silent.”
  • In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.
  • In Athens, Greece, protesters took to the streets to collectively hold up a sign that read “I can’t breathe.”
  • In Denmark, protesters were heard chanting “No justice, no peace!” throughout the streets of Copenhagen, while others gathered outside the US embassy.
  • In Canada, protesters were also grieving for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who died on Wednesday after falling from her balcony during a police investigation at her building.
  • And in New Zealand, roughly 2,000 people marched to the US embassy in Auckland, chanting and carrying signs demanding justice.
  • Memorials have been built for Floyd around the world, too. In Mexico City, portraits of him were hung outside the US embassy with roses, candles, and signs.
  • In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.
  • And in Syria, two artists created a mural depicting Floyd in the northwestern town of Binnish, “on a wall destroyed by military planes.”
  • The Scottish Parliament has called for the immediate suspension of exports of riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets to the US
  • Changes that are happening, or starting to happen
  • ALL of the huge protests that have been happening daily since the murder have been both peaceful, and, included people of all races.
  • There has been at least one instance where a cop was separated from his squad, and all alone, surrounded by angry protestors. The protestors formed a circle around him, and protected him while getting back to the other cops.
  • We are seeing very clearly why the militarization of the police force is such a bad idea. Time and time again, we have seen groups of peaceful protestors attacked by heavily armored police, shot with less than lethal ammunition, and gassed with tear gas banned by the world for use on the battlefield.
  • We are seeing a movement to radically reform police departments, to fix the issue that they are woefully incompetent at dealing with a vast majority of the situations they are called upon to intervene in.
  • We are seeing a serious movement to remove the military equipment that the police have been gifted with over the past 30 years or so. This is a vital step for reasons I lay out in this recent essay

The question I have, though, is this: Will we, as humans, push on, persist, and use these changes as the roots of a thriving tree of change that will help bring the entire World to a better, more tolerant, and more nurturing path? Or, will we, as has happened before, blaze in outrage for a few weeks or months, then, forget this, and move on to the NEXT emotional issue? I hope that this will truly be a Sea Change, and will both persist and grow over the coming years.

Mr. Floyd was murdered by a man who looked upon him as no more important than a cockroach. IF his death is to have meaning, it must be a catalyst to bring real change to society. I pray it will.

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Misc, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What does “Defunding the Police” mean?

George Floyd

Greetings and Salutations;

America is going through a terrible time just now, with huge protests all across the country (and even spreading out into the world) over the senseless murder of George Floyd. One of the major themes that has arisen is the slogan “Defund the Police”. Alas, there seems to be a LOT of ignorance, and confusion about what this means.

The Right-Wing is framing this as proof that the Liberals/Conservatives want to destroy the rule of law in society, by eliminating the guardians of that law. They are beating that dead horse into a pulp, of course, and using this ignorance to inflame the emotions of their base.

So..what are a broad spectrum of people in America actually wanting to see happen? The LEOs (Law Enforcement Organizations) in America have evolved over the years in very negative directions. It used to be that a large percentage of the police were residents of the area they patrolled. They were looking at people they knew, by first name, their neighbors. So, while there were still instances of abuse, they were far less common. It is more of a challenge to abuse people you live with, know personally, and see in the grocery store! Over time though, in more and more cases, the police became an outside force, being bused into an area to maintain “Law and Order”. It was no longer their neighbors, but, faceless strangers they were working with. It is far easier to dehumanize people one does not know…

In addition, the military, for reasons of its own, started distributing, for free, the equipment they had on hand to the local police departments. This resulting in the local police ending up with a lot of really cool toys. Since they had this equipment, they really wanted to use it…so, we saw the growth of heavily armored, masked people, carrying heavy weapons, and driving around in military vehicles. Think of what this does to the mindset of the average person… When all dressed up in the gear, they WILL start thinking of themselves as soldiers. This attitude is reenforced by the constant references to the “War on Crime”, the “War on Drugs”, the “War on Terrorism”. Why is this a problem? Think about what the job of the soldier is. In general, it is to go onto a battlefield, find the enemy, kill them, and destroy the resources they use to support their fight. Too many police have become “Wannabe Rambos”, and look upon the Streets as a battle ground and everyone who is not a cop is an enemy… Adding to this attitude is the fact that the training of police officers these days in America is pitiful. They go to an academy to train them to be officers for anywhere from one to six months. Then, they are dumped on the street, sometimes without even the probationary period supervised by a senior officer. Finally, that training is flawed, in that for far too long, thanks to the work of one man, the training of LEOs all over the country taught them that the way to resolve a conflict situation was with deadly force…not deescalation.

Another issue that has affected the entire force is that for the past 15 years or more, there has been a real push by White Supremacist groups to get their members on the police force. The proceeding link is to an excellent article about this, and the FBI warnings of the dangers of this trend. We, as a society, hope that the police will be objective, and even-handed in applying the law. However, as statistics show, this is not the case. In spite of statistics showing that people of color are far less likely to be involved in crime the percentages of the community of color stopped as suspects, and imprisoned is rather higher than that of whites. Even worse, we have seen a huge number of people of color killed by police, in spite of being no threat, and unarmed. The straw that is generating these protests is, indeed, personified by the murder of Mr. Floyd. Whether or not a given officer is an openly racist White Supremacist, though, there seems to be a disturbingly widespread image of people of color being bigger, more dangerous, and more likely to be armed that whites. As for this point…look at the killing of Tamir Rice Here was a 12 year old boy, with a toy gun, who was shot down within seconds of the cops showing up. Time and time again, we see situations where people of color are shot down by the cops, even when unarmed and following directions, and, white shooters who have just murdered many people are talked down, escorted to jail, and treated with respect.

Over time, Society has dumped more and more responsibilities on the LEOs without providing either consideration if they are the best organization to deal with these issues, or, providing adequate funding and training to give them a chance to deal with the situation in a reasonable manner. For example, in the day, the police were charged with the duty to uphold the law. NOW, they are expected to deal with domestic disputes, mental health issues, homelessness, and a number of other issues that have almost NO connection with law enforcement. It seems that in most cases, the result is “Arrest everyone and let the system sort it out”. Unfortunately too many of the mental health calls result in a dead civilian, whose only crime was that his mind was out of kilter.

Now, all that having been said…let me get to the point of this article. What are the goals of the “Defund Police” movement?

  • Remove ALL military gear from the LEOs. They should be limited to vests only, and not allowed to dress like storm troopers on the way to destroy a rebel base.
  • Add organizations within the Law Enforcement organizations that have the specialized training to deal with conflict resolution, either in domestic situations, or mental health issues. These folks should be using deescalation and not simply conflict and fear to deal with the situation.
  • America spends far more on LEOs than on social programs and such that would help eliminate the stresses that bring on violence, criminal behavior, etc. So, the budgets should be audited by an independent, forensic auditor, and some of the flow of cash should be diverted to programs such as I have mentioned above.
  • More attention should be paid to making sure that LEOs come from the neighborhoods they will patrol. The reasons for this have been touched on above.
  • The police departments MUST work to purge themselves of the bigoted, racist, white supremacist members of the force.
  • Here is an excellent article that touches on some other aspects of the call to “Defund”.
  • Get police back to the mind-set that they exist to “Protect and Serve”, and are NOT an occupying military force.

No one, short of a small percentage of very radicalized people, is calling for the LEOs to be disbanded and eliminated. However, most Americans realize that it is past time to implement some real changes, and, keep an eye out to make sure that the LEOs do not slip back into the old, bad habits.

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

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Care and Feeding of Cast Iron Cookware

Greetings and Salutations;

Cast Iron Skillet

I have seen several posts about cast iron cookware recently, some of which have expressed difficulties with keeping it working properly. I decided to take a few minutes from the madness of reality, and discuss what I have learned over the years. Cast iron has been a “go to” material for cooking for hundreds of years…it is strong, does a GREAT job of holding and distributing the heat, and can be formed into a multitude of shapes, from the simple pan we all think of, to deep pots, to ornate molds.

How to Prepare Cast Iron for cooking.

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Note…these comments ONLY apply to bare metal cast iron. The Enamel coated cast iron can be treated as any other cooking tool…wash in the dish washer, etc…the enamel substitutes for the seasoning discussed here.

Many folks have heard about “seasoning their cast iron”, but have no real idea of what that means. It is the process of adding a layer of polymerized fats to the metal, using heat. This is a vital step for a couple of reasons.

  1. 1. Cast iron, without protection rusts so quickly one can see it forming! This is actually a protective coating for the metal, as it stabilizes the surface a certain amount. However, it sucks for cooking purposes, because the rust will come off into the food, producing aesthetic issues, both from an appearance and flavor’s sake.
  2. The rust that forms tends to ensure that anything one cooks in the pan will glue to it as if it were welded..which makes cleaning a royal pain.

So…how do we go about seasoning a piece of cast iron? Here is my technique, which works well for me. This, by the by, is for cast iron cookware that is old, and, possibly neglected. Lodge, at least, sells their cast iron pans and such “pre-seasoned”. This is done, at the factory, with roughly the same steps I use, and produces a decent starting point.

  1. Start the oven heating to about 375F. Put either a layer of aluminum foil on the shelf under where the pan will go, or, a metal cookie sheet. This will catch any drippings that come off the pan.
  2. Clean the cast iron pan up, with very hot water and a Brillo pad, or a stainless steel scrubbing pad, to get rid of any rust or old seasoning on the pan.
  3. Dry the pan well with a towel. I will also set it on the cooktop, at a low temperature for a few minutes to get the moisture evaporated and warm it up. IF you have rinsed it with water at 140F or hotter, though, that step should not be necessary.
  4. Put a little fat on a folded paper towel, and wipe over the entire pan with it. Then, take a clean paper towel, and wipe off almost all of the thin layer of fat you have added to the surface. I have used a number of products for this step, and found that, in general, they all work well. I have used Lard, Bacon fat, Vegetable shortening, liquid cooking oil, and walnut oil.
  5. Put the pan, upside down, in the oven, and let it bake in there for several hours. The longer it goes, the better. I usually leave it in there for six hours. This heat treatment ensures that the oil is absorbed into the pores of the cast iron, and then polymerizes to a solid.
  6. When the baking time is finished, turn the oven off, and let it, and the pan cool down at their own rate. Depending on the oven, this may take a couple of hours.
  7. Repeat the above process up to 5 times. If doing it all at once, re-coat the pan when it reaches a temperature of 100F or so…warm, but not too hot to hold. I have, though, re-coated at up to 200F, but that requires care.

I suggest five cycles of this to build up a good, strong coating on the pan. However, one cycle is enough to protect it. The more cycles one uses, though, the more “non-stick” the cast iron will be. The minimum number I do is two cycles.

How to Care for your Cast Iron

Cast iron, once properly seasoned, is amazingly easy to care for. However, there are some actions that can kill it quickly.

Ornate, Cast Iron, Muffin Mold

Sometimes folks will spray their cast iron with cooking spray, before using it. This is typically NOT necessary. I am reluctant to do this, myself, because I am not convinced that the solvents and propellants in the spray will not damage the hard-won seasoning on the pan.

There is only one proper way to clean cast iron. That is with a clean brush/sponge/cloth, and very hot water. Never, ever put it in the dishwasher, or use any soap on it. You may believe using soapy, hot water will clean it better, but, it will not. ALL that will do is strip off the seasoning, and put you back to step one. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is less sticky than Teflon!

After wiping down the cast iron with the cloth and very hot water, dry it off and you are done. Again, I will at times, set it on the cooktop and heat it a bit to drive the moisture away more quickly.

One great benefit of cooking with cast iron is that many foods contain a fair amount of fats and oils. When those get onto the existing seasoning, they bond with it, and over time, improve the amount of seasoning in the cookware.

These hints will ensure that you will have a kitchen tool that will last lifetimes, and provide excellent service every day. Enjoy using them!

God Help Us All!

Bee Man Dave

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Scams on the Net

Greetings and Salutations;

Last week, I had a very interesting interaction with a person who, I believe, is a scammer. I thought I would post about it, in the hopes that folks will recognize the signs before a chunk of change vanishes from their pocket.

“Nita Mcclung”

Back at the first of last week, a person by the name of Nita Mcclung “liked” several of my posts. This was only notable because she also sent me a friend request, AND contacted me on Messenger, as she wanted to chat. Here is her picture. Now, I want to say right off the bat that alarms went off because of her eager desire to make contact. While youth tends to be stupid at times, I found it unlikely that a young, “hip” woman like this would be jumping on friending an old, grumpy guy with an independent Comic figure as his avatar (I DO like the Cerebus series by Dave Sim).

Cerebus, the Killer Aardvark!

However, I went ahead and friended her, to see what her scam was.

I have added our conversation below, and as you can tell from it, her story had more holes that a boat made from window-screen. I think that the conversation itself is fairly self-explanatory. I do want to make a comment or two about how I handled the conversation. These are good tools for dealing with scammers.

  1. Let them do most of the talking. Note that my responses are, overall either minimal, or, only include publicly available information.
  2. Ask questions that are fairly specific in nature. Also, as a part of that, look at the responses you get. Note, that in this conversation I ask fairly specific questions, and am either ignored, or, get vague generalities.
  3. The scammer always comes up with a plausible story as to why they desperately need what they see to be a tiny amount of money to help them with a disaster.
  4. They will sound very, very convincing…or at least, try to do so. Really listen to what they are saying, and use common sense. Does it sound as if they are really asking for help for a legitimate reason? Or does it sound more like an appeal to sympathy and emotion? If the latter, of course, DO NOT send them a penny.
  5. For that matter, in any case, unless you actually know the person asking in real life…do not send them money.
  6. Another warning sign is giving them your banking information. Give that to them and you have opened the door to the treasury. When I send cash to anyone, I use a service like Venmo, or Paypal, to provide another wall of protection against disaster.
  7. Not that Nita is happy to change her destination from California, to the area, just to meet me face to face. This is another red flag.

Now then, let us get on to the actual interaction. Read it, considering the points I made above, and see why the unwary might be hooked, but, being mindful can save a huge amount of trouble.

******** Day #1 ********

DCM: Hello
Good day! How goes your reality? I see you “liked” several of my comments on FB. Thank you for that…it is always good to get feedback that helps me figure out how far off reality I am!

Nita McClung: Yes,that is the reason why I send you a request to know more about you

DCM: Always good to make contact with new folks. I am, among other things, an artist of sorts… Here is a link to my Instagram Page, with some of my paintings.

I am Liberal/Progressive, and, not shy at letting my opinion be known.

I will talk with anyone as an equal, and, will engage in civil debate about any point a person cares to discuss. I do not tolerate lies, hate speech including white supremacist crap, misogyny, and any speech not supported with evidence.

I am also 65 years old AND on the autism spectrum, when one looks upon the fields where I grow my “Fucks”, lo, they will be seen to be barren!

Nita McClung: Well I’ll tell you a little about me, “am a Model by Profession but am presently in Ukraine for a modeling seminar that’s gonna be concluded in 3 days time but i will be back home in hopefully in the same day or next. Today makes my 7th day here in Ukraine. I am very creative”, “outgoing and multi talented. Always joking around and trying to make people laugh 🙂 🙂 🙂 . I also love photography! I have been modeling for a few years and would love to do more of it! Your turn i guess
👍1

DCM: Yes, I was, in another life, a semi-professional photographer. I did a few weddings with a real pro, and have some published work…which I really need to dig up and put on Instagram! Do you have any images online? I would love to see some of it.

That sounds like an interesting and challenging path you are on. I did some photography for the profession but, it was mostly fairly simple images, to be included in portfolios.

What all is being covered in the seminar? I suspect that using social media for marketing is ONE of the topics!😉😇

That having been said…my best wishes for your success. From the information on your timeline, I think you have a good chance of success. I am, by the by, MOST amused by your avatar image! It betrays a bit of attitude, and that, these days, is a good thing.

I hate to chat and run, but, I am in cat rescue, and, it is about time to check on the 17 cats living here, and get food, water, and clean litter for them!

Be safe…wear the mask…

Nita McClung: I am just very down emotionally and mentally drain a lot is going on with my life but I am gonna share with you when you really wanna chat I am gonna share with you! Can you tell me about your family background? Concerning my family it’s a long story that made me shed tears whenever I remember the past , well it’s really something i don’t usually wish to talk about especially someone i just met and really wish to nurture a friendship with My Mom from Australia while Dad originally from the states ,so I grew up on Australia before we relocated to the states some years back I am the only child of my parents. My mother was a major alcoholic when I was in high school especially. She raised so much Hell with me you can’t even imagine As she got older and way after I got out of the house she quit drinking and became a much better person but passed with a heart attack when she was 47.She Smoked like a freight train My dad later got in a terrible accident and died with an estate valued at around $4m made up of properties,gold, shares and savings in different places in the states,also Turkey,Australia and few more places. i’m my father’s only executor (next of kin) and beneficiary now i am eagerly waiting for the probate to be granted by the court. the granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the shares and property of my deceased father. the probate is the legal instrument that i will use in the law courts if necessary,which I have been waiting for and keeping me this un settled till it sorted it,but hopefully anytime from now
I’ll like to hear back from you

DCM: That is a very challenging situation, and I am sure it left you with scars.

Good luck with probate…once you have dealt with that, you should have a much better shot at achieving your dreams. Independent wealth DOES make life easier.
Have you sought out therapy to help with the healing process? I strongly recommend it, as a good therapist can do a great deal to help a person through the process.

Nita McClung: I am looking for a man that will be able to listen to me ,communicate his feelings to me,make me laugh,hold and comfort me in need Stand by my side, respect me,passionate lover in every way, support me in everyday,love me and only me,make me smile, protect me when needed Romantic time to time,constantly creative, and treat me right. in me a Man is going to find a woman that was blessed with an over abundance of passion to give to the ones I share my heart and soul with. For you to really know me you will have to experience me as the love that makes up my heart is like a waterfall, where the water never stops flowing down. In this case my heart is the waterfall, and the love and passion that flows endlessly is representing the water. I am a very unique person for many reason

DCM: An admirable goal. I wish you the best of luck with that. Alas, it can be a challenge to find such a relationship.

Nita McClung: Thanks
Well I have to be on bed now because time the time here is 2:03am
May you sleep well, and dream pleasant dreams. Stay safe!
Hope we can continue our conversation on Hangout

DCM: I am sure we shall chat again…

Nita McClung: Yes
But let continue on Hangout
Send me your Gmail address I’ll send you a message there
Are you gonna send me your Gmail address

DCM:Why Hangouts, instead of here?


Nita McClung: I don’t chat here that much
Not evertime am always here

DCM: I shall consider it…

******** Day #2 ********

Nita McClung: Cool
12:28 AM
Hello
How are. You doing

DCM: Hello…heading to bed, actually, as it has been a long day, and it is midnight here. Enjoy reality!

Nita McClung: Thanks for getting back to me
I’ll like to hear back from you in the morning

******** Day #3 ********


10:14 AM
Nita McClung: Good morning
7:18 PM
Hello
How are you doing today

DCM: Hello…other than the fact that reality is chaotic, I am hanging in there.

How did the seminar go today? Anything interesting in the topics covered?

Nita McClung: the seminar ended well with the Lord’s grace, full of joy and am very happy, Ya, “its good to go. I’m right head down to the ticketing agent’s office to book my flight ticket. I’ll email you with the flight itinerary as soon as i get booked. I don’t know if you would be able to pick me up at the Airport and if so I’ll tell you my dress code for you to recognize me. I will putting on suit with black jacket”, “So what’s your phone number so I can ring you when I land. Looking forward to converse in person

DCM: Where are you flying into?

Nita McClung: California
Only if you want me to come to meet you

DCM: Bless your heart…Since I live 2000 miles away from there, not a chance. But thanks for the thought!

Nita McClung: Good
I can just book the flight ticket from Ukraine down straight to your place and you can pick me up at your airport
What is the nearest airport to pick me up

DCM: Why, may I ask, should you want to do that?

Nita McClung: Nothing much but I see you in person
But nevermind if you don’t want

DCM: While it is sweet that you are so enthusiastic to travel to the sticks, and meet someone that you have spent 45 minutes chatting with…

Does that sound like a good idea?

Nita McClung: Not really
But just because I have a plain Heart
Yes
Nita McClung: “today is such a terrible one. i couldn’t book my flight back home due to no fault of mine. what really happened was when my credit card was accessed by the booking office here in Ukraine to effect payment to procure my flight it was denied on the account of lack of funds in the card!naturally”, i was surprised as I knew that a’int true b’cos I loaded the card full of money as i knew i was gonna make an oversea travel, so I called the credit card company demanding to know whats up with my money, “home only to be told that I made some purchases at eBay!certainly not me. I was then told that my credit card has been hacked. I was promised full investigation on the matter and if the company is found to be culpable they will be liable to refund my money. but this can only commence whenever I return to States. worst case scenario”, I am cash trapped at the moment as I have already given the airline agent part of the money for the flight ticket, settled my hotel bills, “all these left me depleted.”,

DCM: That does sound like a terrible day. Luckily, the credit card companies typically move very quickly on challenged purchases.

Nita McClung: Have call the bank manager to complain but he’s told me to get back home to do some bank verification before I can have access to my money

DCM: Overall, it is a good thing that the banks are careful with our money…although it can be a challenge at times.

Nita McClung: Now I need to get back home to do the bank verification so that I can get money back
But I need some funds to book my flight

DCM: I take it your bank does not have a representative in the Ukraine?

Nita McClung: Yes,they told me to come back home before they can do anything

DCM: What bank are you with?

Nita McClung: Please can you help me to the remaining money to balance up my flight

DCM: And…THERE it is!
Surely you have friends that know you better than I, that can help you.

Nita Mcclung: It’s commercial bank
Yes,but have message her but she said it’s only $200 that she have to help me that she just pay her bills
But the $200 is not gonna be enough for the flight ticket
At list if I can be able to see $350 I’ll make the payment of the flight ticket and get back home ASAP
Please help me out and safe my money,I don’t wanna lose my money
I promise never to disappoint you

DCM: Ha! trust me, you have yet to disappoint me.

Nita McClung: I don’t mind paying you back the money with interest
Just please try to safe my life and my money

DCM: Let me explain something to you.
You are presenting the face of a scammer, not a young, damsel in distress. So, there is not a chance I am going to send a penny.

1) Commercial bank has reciprocal agreements with several banks in the Ukraine. THEY could verify your identity easily.
2) You should have already had your return flight booked. It is standard practice to sell ROUND TRIP tickets to passengers.
3) You have friended a total stranger on the Net, and within a few dozen lines of chat, gone from a woman with MILLIONS in assets that the bank would verify…(as the executor of your father’s estate, you have full access to those funds) to begging for $350 to pay for a flight that, if you are booking it today, costs close to double that.
4) Your screen name may be “Nita McClung” but your FB id is tshewang.rinzin
5) For a young lady who claims to be from New York, your English is poor…and apparently you do not realize that NO ONE from New York says “New York, New York”.

Why should I believe you? And, by the by, I may be an old hillbilly, but that does not mean I am ignorant.

I suggest you find a comfortable place in the Airport, and talk with the airline’s managers and such tomorrow when things are open.

Bye. It has been interesting chatting with you.

It is not out of the question that I have made a foolish, but honest young lady sad. However, NOTHING in this conversation makes me think that this is the case.

After the concluding remarks above, I reported this ID to Facebook as a scammer, and blocked it. IF you get into a similar situation, I strongly suggest that you take similar steps.

God Help Us All

Wear your mask, and Stay Safe!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Covid-19 Thoughts, Part 03 Conspiracy Loonies.

Greetings and Salutations;

I am seeing more and more truly nutty theories being pushed as the Covid-19 crisis continues. The Conspiracy Loonies are out in force, pushing nonsense ranging from the virus being a biological weapon attack by China, to it being an overblown hoax by the Democrats to tear down the administration (Guess who likes this idea the most???) to it being a way for Bill Gates to inject tracking/mind control chips into everybody in the world.

I was just hooked into a thread that involves the “doctor” that the following essay mentions, so when I ran across this well written, and accurate discussion of why conspiracy loonies are a waste of time it jumped out at me. The biographical information given by the author checks out, by the way, so this is legitimate.

Stefan Richter Yesterday at 1:54 PM

Yo I’m not going to watch your 25-minute YouTube conspiracy video. I’m not even going to watch your 5-minute conspiracy video. This isn’t because I don’t have an open mind. This is because video is a shitty way to transmit information, specifically geared towards emotional manipulation, and I hate it. I can read probably about five times as fast as people speak, so if you want me to look at a write-up, I’ll try to find a time when I have the emotional energy for it. One of my friends was nice enough to summarize parts of it for me, which I respond to below. This is another long one.

I want to address, specifically, the first thirteen seconds of the “Plandemic Documentary” conspiracy video, because that’s all I watched. It starts by saying Dr. Judy Mikovits “has been called one of the most accomplished scientists of her generation”. Snopes did a good article on who she is: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/scientist-vaccine-jailed/
Basically she had done some reasonable science at some point, some of it on HIV, and then published a paper in Science about XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome. The paper was retracted because nobody could replicate the findings, and it was concluded that the XMRV came entirely from laboratory contamination. Someone else wrote a poorly-sourced paper about how XMRV could have gotten into humans via vaccines, and the anti-vax/plague-enthusiast community jumped on this as a possible way that vaccines hurt people. Mikovits also ran into some troubles with the law for allegedly stealing lab equipment after being fired. She’s now basically off the deep end and popular in the anti-vax community. I would say that pretty much anything she says should be taken with SERIOUS skepticism.

The problem with a lot of conspiracy theories/videos usually comes down to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gish_gallop
It takes a lot more effort to refute and argue against false claims than it does to make them. I’m sure that somebody at some point will come up with a comprehensive point-by-point refutation of this video, it just takes a while. One of the bigger mistakes we’ve made as a scientific community (and keep making) is that we let shit like this go unchecked for too long. It can be pretty obvious to someone with a scientific background (like the Bakersfield doctors bullshit) and still spread widely in the population.

-From what I can tell, a big claim in this video is that the pandemic isn’t that dangerous, and that the measures we’re taking are an overreaction. First off, I’d like to say that I have a very legitimate concern about the potential authoritarian consequences of what it’s going to take to track and treat patients. I have very serious concerns about the economic impact of what’s going on. I don’t think there’s a good way out of this, and I don’t think there are any completely good options. This shit sucks a LOT and it makes me really sad. What I don’t have time for is the infantile fantasy that those choices somehow don’t exist and that there’s some reason that this situation doesn’t actually suck as badly as it does. It’s possible that we’re overreacting as a society! It just really doesn’t seem likely. As I’ve said before, anyone claiming certainty about what to do here is somewhere between being overconfident and just plain lying. What I can say is that the overwhelming evidence so far indicates that the measures we’re taking are going to mean the American death toll of this disease being hundreds of thousands instead of millions.

SARS-CoV-2 wasn’t engineered in a lab:
People have been studying viruses for a long time. Part of that study involves manipulating them. There was a whole controversy a while back about making more lethal flu strains. That doesn’t mean SARS-CoV-2 wasn’t naturally occurring. It may seem suspicious that this pandemic is happening, but we as a scientific community have talked about this possibility for DECADES. SARS-CoV-1, MERS, recent flu pandemics, etc. weren’t this big just because we were lucky. Nobody is talking about how we made those in a lab (they weren’t) because nobody cares about them.

-I generally agree that nobody should profit off a vaccine. That’s a problem with capitalism, and the US specifically, and is true of everything in the medical community.

-About MDs being incentivized to report coronavirus cases (from a prior comment of mine):
This is a common conspiracy theory. People who claim physicians are over-reporting deaths typically point to the (true) fact that hospitals get paid a bonus for Covid patients, so there’s a financial incentive for claiming that a person died from Covid. This has a few major holes in it:

  1. Falsifying a medical record is illegal, hospitals get audited by CMS (Medicare) all the time to make sure the charts are accurate, and there are huge fines for lying.
  2. Hospitals do get paid extra, but physicians don’t, which is something people seem not to understand. This theory assumes that physicians are willing to put themselves at legal risk for the sake of a hospital (we almost always aren’t).
  3. There’s a huge list of conditions that allow hospitals to get paid more for admissions – low sodium, malnutrition, diabetes, etc. We don’t lie about these conditions either, because of 1 and 2 above.
  4. The extra money for Covid patients is for medical notes, not death certificates. This is a subtle distinction to people outside the medical field, but putting a cause of death on a certificate is a separate process from documenting in a note, and falsifying those is ALSO illegal.

The other thing that I would say is that if you have Covid, it exacerbates underlying conditions. Literally almost any other cause of death would be worsened by having an infection that lowers your blood oxygen levels. It can trigger heart attacks, COPD exacerbations, asthma exacerbations, set your lungs up for pneumonia, and (yes actually) make you more likely to die from a trauma. If you have an infection and die from almost anything else, you died in part from Covid. Just like if you have a pneumonia and die from almost anything else, you died in part from pneumonia. That’s how medical causes of death work, and they always have.

If people are coming at this from the perspective that physicians are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get more money, it feeds into their pre-existing biases, so it’s easy to see how that get amplified. I don’t know of any respectable scientists working on this project who think deaths are being over-counted – I’ve only seen it pushed by people who are already engaging in motivated reasoning to come to the conclusion that this epidemic isn’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe.

-Hydroxychloroquine probably doesn’t work, no matter how much anyone wants to believe it does. It’s still being studied, but preliminary data aren’t positive. Not sure what to say about that except that we do studies on these things for a reason – the plural of anecdote is not data.

-Apparently there’s a claim that people are holding off on developing effective therapies because they want to vaccinate everybody. The only way this thought begins to make sense is if you’re coming from a world view in which vaccination or the avoidance of a vaccination is a goal in and of itself. So again, anti-vax bullshit.

There’s some confusing claims in there about animals and the way vaccines are made. I’m going to chalk that up to crazy anti-vax bullshit and move on. If anyone has a better response, please feel free to jump in.

-There’s some stuff in there about how masks don’t work, how we develop immune responses from exposure to our environment, that sheltering from the rest of the world will hurt our immune systems, etc. This is, again, standard anti-vaxxer bullshit and does not comport with reality. Staying inside for a few months isn’t going to nuke our immune systems.

Like I said before, as far as I can tell this video is a tsunami of unrelated conspiracy theories and anti-vax talking points. Nobody is going to be able to address all of them satisfactorily. But if your position is “well 80% of this is clearly refutable but I wonder about that 20%”, at some point you’re going to have to realize that the most likely explanation for this entire video is that it’s politically motivated, written by anti-vaxxers, and that your baseline assumption should be that none of this is scientifically sensical. For example, there are no “good microbes” on beaches that we’re somehow specifically keeping people away from.

Conspiracy theories don’t take hold if they don’t appeal to people. Since a lot of the claims being made can’t possibly be falsified in a way that people will listen to, the question is whether or not this fits into the listener’s worldview. And the truth is, as far as I can tell, that it’s more comforting for many people to believe that someone is in charge (even with malignant intentions) than it is to see the world as an essentially chaotic system in which horrible things happen for no good reason.

Except there’s an actual reason this happened the way it did, at least in the US. It’s because we have the worst administration this country has ever seen, our president disbanded all the early warning systems, ignored everybody with relevant expertise, and as far as I can do has done very little on a national level besides steal hospital supplies from states.

Just a few quick things to add since this blew up a bit:
– I have a PhD in public health, I do research on antimicrobial resistance among bacteria. I’m not a virologist or epidemiologist, although I’ve taken classes in these disciplines.
– I’m an ICU doctor, and I see people dying from this disease every day I’m at work these days.
– I’m usually not interested in debating you or your friends on Facebook. This is a line I’ve set for my mental health.
– If we don’t have any mutual friends, I almost definitely won’t accept your friend request.

Thanks for being reasonable!

God Help Us All. Stay Safe!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Covid-19 Thoughts, Part 02. Truth can be ugly and painful

Greetings and Salutations.

Ran across the post on facebook just now. It is a long read, and a painful one…but, this is the reality of what is happening in hospitals every day. THIS is why we are shut down, and sheltering at home. I wish that everyone whining about the shut down would read this mindfully, and think about this…What if that patient was YOUR mother/father/brother/sister/best friend?

Julianne Nicole April 24 at 9:49 PM

I am a Covid ICU nurse in New York City, and yesterday, like many other days lately, I couldn’t fix my patient. Sure, that happens all the time in the ICU. It definitely wasn’t the first time. It certainly won’t be the last. What makes this patient noteworthy? A few things, actually. He was infected with Covid 19, and he will lose his battle with Covid 19. He is only 23 years old.

I was destroyed by his clinical course in a way that has only happened a few times in my nursing career. It wasn’t his presentation. I’ve seen that before. It wasn’t his complications. I’ve seen that too.

It was the grief. It was his parents. The grief I witnessed yesterday, was grief that I haven’t allowed myself to recognize since this runaway train got rolling here in early March. I could sense it. It was lingering in the periphery of my mind, but yesterday something in me gave way, and that grief rushed in.

I think I was struck by a lot of emotions and realities yesterday. Emotions that have been brewing for weeks, and realities that I have been stifling because I had to in order to do my job effectively. My therapist tells me weekly via facetime that it’s impossible to process trauma when the trauma is still occurring. It just keeps building.

I get home from work, take my trusty companion Apollo immediately out to pee, he’s been home for 14 hours at a time. I have to keep my dog walker safe. No one can come into my apartment.

I’ve already been very sick from my work exposure, and I’m heavily exposed every day that I work since I returned after being 72 hours afebrile, the new standard for healthcare workers. That was after a week of running a fever of 104 even with Tylenol around the clock, but thankfully without respiratory symptoms. I was lucky.

Like every other healthcare worker on the planet right now, I strip inside the door, throw all the scrubs in the wash, bleach wipe all of my every day carry supplies, shoes and work bag stay at the bottom of the stairs.

You see, there’s a descending level of Covid contamination as you ascend the stairs just inside my apartment door. Work bag and shoes stay at the bottom. Dog walking shoes next step up, then dog leash, then running shoes.

I dodge my excited and doofy German shepherd, who is bringing me every toy he has to play with, and I go and scald myself for 20 minutes in a hot shower. Washing off the germs, metaphorically washing off the weight of the day.

We play fetch after the shower. Once he’s tired, I lay on the floor with him, holding him tight, until I’m ready to get up and eat, but sometimes I just go straight to bed.

Quite honestly, I’m so tired of the death. With three days off from what has been two months of literal hell on earth as a Covid ICU nurse in NYC, I’m having an evening glass of wine, and munching on the twizzlers my dear aunt sent me from Upstate NY, while my dog is bouncing off the walls because I still don’t have the energy to run every day with him.

Is it the residual effects of the virus? Is it just general exhaustion from working three days in a row? Regardless, the thoughts are finally bleeding out of my mind and into a medium that I’m not sure could possibly convey the reality of this experience.

There’s been a significant change in how we approach the critically ill covid-infected patients on a number of different levels over the last two months. We’re learning about the virus. We’re following trends and patterns. We are researching as we are treating.

The reality is, the people who get sick later in this pandemic will have a better chance for survival. Yet, every day working feels like Groundhog Day. All of the patients have developed the same issues. This 23-year-old kid walked around for a week silently hypoxic and silently dying. By the time he got to us, it was already far too late.

First pneumonia, then Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), essentially lung failure. Then kidney failure from global hypoxia and the medications we were giving in the beginning, desperately trying to find something that works. Then learning that it doesn’t work, it’s doing more harm than good in the critical care Covid population.

Dialysis for the kidneys. They are so sick that your normal three-times weekly dialysis schedule is too harsh on their body. They’re too unstable. So, we, the ICU nurses, run the dialysis slowly and continuously.

They are all obstructing their bowels from the ever-changing array of medications, as we ran out of some medications completely during our surge. We had to substitute alternatives, narcotics, sedatives, and paralytics, medications we’re heavily sedating and treating their pain with, in an effort to help them tolerate barbaric ventilator settings.

Barbaric ventilator settings while lying them on their bellies because their lungs are so damaged that we have to flip them onto their bellies in an effort to perfuse the functioning lung tissue and ventilate the damaged lung tissue.

Lungs that are perfused with blood that doesn’t even have adequate oxygen carrying capacity because of how this virus attacks.

Blood that clots. And bleeds. And clots. And bleeds. Everything in their bodies is deranged. Treat the clots with continuous anticoagulation. Stop the anticoagulation when they bleed.

GI bleeds, brain bleeds, pulmonary emboli, strokes. The brain bleeds will likely die. The GI bleeds get blood transfusions and interventions.

Restart the anticoagulation when they clot their continuous or intermittent dialysis filters, rendering them unusable, because we’re trying not to let them die slowly from renal failure. We are constantly making impossible treatment decisions in the critical care pandemic population.

A lot of people have asked me what it’s like here. I truly don’t have adequate descriptors in my vocabulary, try as I might, so I’ll defer to the metaphor of fire.

We are attempting to put out one fire, while three more are cropping up. Then we find out a week or two later that we unknowingly threw gasoline on one fire, because there’s still so much we don’t know about this virus.

Then suddenly there’s no water to fight the fire with. We’re running around holding ice cubes in an effort to put out an inferno. Oh yeah, and the entire time you’ve been in this burning building, you barely have what you need to protect yourself.

The protection you’re using, the guidelines governing that protection, evolved with the surge. One-time use N95? That’s the prior standard, and after what we’ve been through, that’s honestly hysterical. As we were surging here, the CDC revised their guidelines, because the PPE shortage was so critical.

Use anything, they said. Use whatever you have for as long as you can, and improvise what you don’t have.

As we’re discussing medication and viral research, starting clinical trials, talking treatment options in morning rounds for your patient with the team of doctors and clinical pharmacists, suddenly, surprise! Your patient developed a mucous plug in his breathing tube.

Yes, that vital, precious tube that’s connected to the ventilator that’s breathing for them. It’s completely plugged. Blocked. No oxygen or carbon dioxide in or out. It’s a critical emergency.

Even with nebulizer treatments, once we finally had the closed-delivery systems we needed to administer these medications and keep ourselves safe, they’re still plugging. We cannot even routinely suction unless we absolutely have to because suctioning steals all of the positive pressure that’s keeping them alive from the ventilator circuit. One routine suction pass down the breathing tube could kill someone, or leave their body and vital organs hypoxic for hours after.

Well, now they’re plugged. We are then faced with a choice. Both choices place the respiratory therapists, nurses, and doctors at extremely high risk for aerosolized exposure.

We could exchange the breathing tube, but that could take too long, the patient may die in the 2-3 minutes we need to assemble the supplies and manpower needed, and it’s one of the highest-risk procedures for our providers that we could possibly carry out.

Or we could use the clamps that have been the best addition to my every day carry nursing arsenal. You yell for help, you’re alone in the room. Your friends and coworkers, respiratory therapists, doctors, are all rushing to get their PPE on and get into the room to help.

You move around the room cluttered with machines and life sustaining therapies to set up what you need to stave off death. You move deliberately, and you move FAST. The patient is decompensating in the now-familiar and coordinated effort to intervene.

Attach the ambu bag to wall oxygen. Turn it all the way up. Where’s the PEEP valve? God, someone go grab me the PEEP valve off the ambu bag in room 11 next door. We ran out of those a month ago, too. It’s all covid anyway, all of it is covid. Risk cross-contamination or risk imminent death for your patient, risk extreme viral load exposure for you and your coworkers, and most certain death for your patient if you intervene without a PEEP valve.

You clamp the breathing tube, tight. The respiratory therapist shuts off the ventilator, because that side of the circuit can aerosolize and spray virus too if you leave it blasting air after you disconnect. Open the circuit. Respiratory therapy attaches the ambu bag. You unclamp. Bag, bag, bag. Clear the plug. The patient’s oxygen saturation is 23%. Their heart rate is slowing. Their blood pressure is tanking. Max all your drips, then watch and wait while this patient takes 3 hours to recover to a measly oxygen saturation of 82%, the best you’ll get from them all shift. These patients have no pulmonary reserve.

All of our choices to intervene in this situation risk our own health and safety. In the beginning we were more cautious with ourselves. We don’t want to get sick. We don’t want to be a patient in our own ICU. We’ve cared for our own staff in our ICUs. We don’t want to die. Now? I’ve already been sick. I am so, so tired of the constant death that is the ICU, that personally, I will do anything as long as I have my weeks old N95 and face shield on, just to keep someone alive.

I’ve realized that for many of these patients in the ICU, it won’t matter what I do. It won’t matter how hard I work, though I’ll still work like a crazy person all day, aggressively advocate for my patients in the same way.

My coworkers will go without meals, even though they’re being donated and delivered by people who love and support you. Generous people are helping to keep local restaurants afloat. We can always take the meal home for dinner, or I can devour a slice of pizza as I walk out to my truck parked on the pier, a walk I look forward to every day, because it gives me about eight minutes of silence. To process. To reflect.

I’ll chug a Gatorade when I start feeling lightheaded and I’m seeing stars, immediately after I just pushed an amp of bicarb on a patient and I know I have at least five minutes of a stable blood pressure to step out of the unit, take off my mask and actually breathe.

Every dedicated staff member is working tirelessly to help. The now-closed dental clinic staff has been trained to work in the respiratory lab to run our arterial blood gases, so that the absolutely incredible respiratory therapists who we so desperately need can take care of the patients with us.

Nurses in procedural areas that were closed have been repurposed to work as runners. To run for supplies while the primary nurse is in an isolation room trying to stabilize a patient without the supplies they need, runners to run for blood transfusions.

Physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists being repurposed to be part of the proning teams that helps the nurses turn patients onto their backs and bellies amidst a tangled web of critical lines and tubes, where one small error could mean death for the patient, and exposure for all staff.

Anesthesiologists and residents are managing airways and lines when carrying out these massive patient position changes. Surgical residents are all over the hospital just to put in the critical invasive lines we need in all of our patients.

The travel nurses who rushed into this burning building to help us are easing a healthcare system. The first travel nurse I met came all the way from Texas. Others terminated their steady employment to enlist with a travel agency to help us. Every day there are more travelers arriving.

A nurse from LA came to me after she found out I was part of the home staff, in my home unit, where this all first started in my hospital what feels like a lifetime ago, and said, “I came here for you. For all of the nurses. Because I couldn’t imagine working the way you guys were working for how long you were working like that”. During our surge and peak in the ICU, we were 1:3 ratios with three patients who normally would be a 1:1 assignment. And they were all trying to die at the same time. We were having to choose which patients we were rushing to because we couldn’t help them all at the same time.

The overhead pages for emergencies throughout the hospital rang out and echoed endlessly. Every minute, another rapid response call. Another anesthesia page for an intubation. Another cardiopulmonary arrest. A hospital bursting at the seams with death. Refrigerated trailers being filled.

First it was our normal white body bags. Then orange disaster bags. Then blue tarp bags. We ran out of those too. Now, black bags.

The heartbreakingly unique part of this pandemic, is that these patients are so alone. We are here, but they are suffering alone, with no familiar face or voice. They are dying alone, surrounded by strangers crying into their own masks, trying not to let our precious N95 get wet, trying not to touch our faces with contaminated hands.

Their families are home, waiting for the phone call with their daily update. Some of their loved ones are also sick and quarantined at home.

Can you even IMAGINE? Your husband or wife, mother or father. Sibling. Your child. You drop your loved one off at the emergency department entrance, and you never, ever see them alive again.

Families are home, getting phone calls every day that they’re getting worse. Or maybe they’re getting better. Unfortunately, the ICU in what has quickly become the global epicenter for this pandemic is not a happy place. We are mostly purgatory where I work, so this snapshot may be more morbid than most.

These people are saying goodbye to their loved ones, while they’re still walking and talking, and then maybe a week or two later, they’re just gone. It’s like they disappeared into thin air.

That level of grief is absolutely astounding to me, and that’s coming from a person who knows grief. I was there at the bedside, I held my young husband’s hand when I watched his heart stop beating. I was there. That grief changes you immeasurably.

But this grief? This pandemic grief? It’s inconceivable. These families will suffer horribly, every day for the rest of their lives. They might not even be able to bury their loved one. God, if they can’t afford a funeral with an economic shut-down, their loved one will be buried in a mass grave on Hart Island with thousands of others like them. What grave will they have to visit on birthdays and holidays?

Yesterday, I was preparing for a bedside endoscopy procedure to secure a catastrophic GI bleed in this 23-year-old patient.

It was a bleed that required a massive transfusion protocol where the blood bank releases coolers of uncrossmatched O negative blood in an emergency, an overhead page that, ironically, I heard as I was getting into the elevator to head to the fourth floor for my shift yesterday morning; a massive transfusion protocol that I found out I would own as a primary nurse, as I desperately squeezed liters of IV fluids into this patient until we got the cooler full of blood products, and then pumped this patient full of units of blood until we could intervene with endoscopy.

Before the procedure, I stopped everything I was doing that wasn’t life-sustaining. I stopped gathering supplies to start and assist with the procedure.

I told the doctors that I would not do a required “time-out” procedure until I got my phone out, and I facetimed this kid’s mom because I didn’t think he would survive the bedside procedure.

She cried. She wailed. She begged her son to open his eyes, to breathe. She begged me to help her. Ayudame. Ayudame. She begged me to help him. She sang to him. She told him he was strong. She told him how much she loved him. I listened to her heart breaking in real time while she talked to her son, while she saw his swollen face, her baby boy, dying before her eyes through a phone.

Later in the day, after the procedure, his mom and dad came to the hospital. He survived the securement of the bleed, but he was still getting worse no matter what we did. He’s going to die. And against policy, we fought to get them up to see their son.

We found them masks and gowns that we’re still rationing in the hospital, and we let his parents see him, hold him. We let them be with their son.

Like every other nurse would do in the ICU here, I bounced around the room, moving mom from one side of the bed to the other and back again, so I could do what I needed to do, setting up my continuous dialysis machine, with the ONE filter that supply sent up for my use to initiate dialysis therapy. This spaceship-like machine, finicky as all hell, and I had one shot to prime this machine successfully to start dialysis therapy to try to slowly correct the metabolic acidosis that was just ONE of the problems that was killing him as his systolic blood pressure lingered in the 70s, despite maxing all of my blood pressure mediations.

Continuous dialysis started. You press start and hold your breath. You’re not removing any fluid, just filtering the blood, but even the tiniest of fluid shifts in this patient could kill him. But you have no choice.

His vital signs started to look concerning. I could feel the dread in the pit of my stomach, this was going south very quickly. Another nurse and the patient’s father had to physically drag this mother out of the room so we could fill the room with the brains and eyes and hands that would keep this boy alive for another hour.

She wailed in the hallway. Nurses in the next unit down the hall heard her cries through two sets of closed fire doors. We worked furiously to stabilize him for the next four hours.

Twenty minutes before the end of my shift last night, I sat with the attending physician and the parents in a quiet and deserted family waiting room outside the unit. I told his mother that no matter what I do, I cannot fix this. I have maximized everything I have, every tool and medicine at my disposal to save her son. I can’t save her son.

The doctor explained that no matter what we do, his body is failing him. No matter what we do, her son will die. They realized that no matter how hard they pray, no matter how much they want to tear down walls, no matter how many times his mother begs and pleads, “take me instead, I would rather die myself than lose my son”, we cannot save him.

We stayed while she screamed. We stayed until she finally let go of her vice grip on my hands, her body trembling uncontrollably, as she dissolved into her grief, in the arms of her husband.

This is ONE patient. One patient, in one ICU, in one hospital, in one city, in one country, on a planet being ravaged by a virus.

This is the tiniest, devastating snapshot of one patient and one family and their unimaginable grief. Yet, the weight is enormous.

The world should feel that weight too. Because this grief, this heartbreak is everywhere in many forms. Every person on this planet is grieving the loss of something.

Whether that’s freedom or autonomy sacrificed for the greater good. Whether that’s a paycheck or a business, or their livelihood, or maybe they’re grieving the loss of a loved one while still fighting to earn a paycheck, or waiting for government financial relief that they don’t know for certain will come. Maybe they’re a high school senior who will never get to have the graduation they dreamed of. Maybe they’re a college senior, who won’t get to have their senior game they so looked forward to. Maybe they’re afraid that the government is encroaching on their constitutional rights. Maybe it’s their first pregnancy, and it’s nothing like they imagined because of the terrifying world surrounding them.

Or maybe they lost a loved one, maybe someone they love is sick, and they can’t go see them, because there are no visitors allowed and they’re an essential worker. Maybe all they can see of someone they love is a random facetime call in the middle of the day from an area code and a number they don’t know.

Everyone is grieving. We’ve heard plenty of the public’s grief.

I don’t blame anyone for how they’re coping with that grief, even if it frustrates the ever-living hell out of me as I drown in death every day at work. It’s all valid. Everyone’s grief is different, but it doesn’t change the discomfort, the despair on various levels. We are at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basic survival, physiological and safety needs. I’ve been here before. I know this feeling. How we survive is how we survive.

Now that I’ve had the time to reflect and write, now that I’ve let the walls down in my mind to let the grief flood in, now that I’ve seen this grief for what feels like the thousandth time since the first week of March as a nurse in a Covid ICU in New York City, it’s time you heard our side. This is devastating. This is our reality. This is our grief

The healthcare professionals are attempting to bail out the ocean with a teaspoon.. They are doing the best they can, with inadequate resources and idiots who are too stupid or too agenda driven to realize the evil they are doing. We all need to take up arms, as it were, and become activists. How can we do this?

  • First off, FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Stay at home. Wash your hands often. Wear a mask when going out. Avoid excess trips out. Avoid people when out in the world. BE SAFE!
  • The quoted story is what is happening every day to our nurses and doctors…the people on the front lines against this pandemic. Actions on this list are, perhaps, the only way we can directly help them, and ease their stress. I have said for years…the best way to honor our fallen soldiers is to do everything we can to not make any more of them. The same rules apply to our medical personnel. The best way to help and honor them is to do everything we can to NOT make any more patients for them.
  • Reach out to friends and family regularly to make contact, and, check on how they are doing.
  • Remember that this crisis has added huge amounts of stress to everyone’s life, even if we are not physically ill. Calls to suicide prevention lines have leaped by 900% in the past couple of months.
  • Be mindful of hour YOUR government is handling the resources to fight this pandemic. On a federal and state level, there have been amazingly stupid actions, based on greed and ignorance, and not any rational scientific evidence. Think about that…and contact your state Governor and representatives to let them know if you think re-opening to “back to normal” is a terrible idea. Contact your Federal Representatives, and make it clear to them that the incompetence and foot dragging by the current administration is killing Americans now, and, will kill many, many more, unless the politicians, who have NO knowledge of dealing with a pandemic, and are driving by Party Agenda and greed only, must step asaide and put the Scientists and medical professionals in charge of the situation.
  • The elections are coming in a few months. The Republicans have proven time and time again that they do not care about a vast majority of Americans… NOW they are proving that they are perfectly OK with the majority of us dying off, in horrible fashion, if it allows them to push their agenda. They have lost any rights to hold the offices they are in, as they are no longer leaders but are grifters enriching themselves at the cost of our lives. Vote BLUE and sweep the majority of the remaining Republicans out of office, and keep them out for at least a decade.
  • Remember…once this crisis eases, America will be a smoking ruin of what it was. It will take at least a decade to begin to reach the levels of prosperity we enjoyed. The history shows that the ONLY party that makes that happen is the Democratic Party. If you are a Republican, and cannot bring yourself to vote for a Democrat, then, stay at home. Do not vote for the current crop of Republicans because you are a party member…

God help us all!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations, Snake Oil | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Covid-19 Thoughts, Part 01

The current pandemic has had a striking effect on the world in general and America in particular. Along with the horrifying volumes of infections confirmed, and deaths recorded that mount up every day, there are some (shall we say) sketchy opinions being spread around the Net. I thought I would address one such post here…both to show the level of misinformation available, and my attempts to combat this nonsense with truth and facts. I have tweaked my comments a bit from what was originally posted, to expand and clarify some points. The posts from the other participants are verbatim.

Enjoy the ride…for what it is worth.

LM: Ahhh, not everyone takes the influenza vaccine. Not everyone should be required to vaccinate for covid. Doctors are finding this to be very similar to the common flu we are all accustom too. Spread your fear, run and hide and live in tyranny for your safety…
bored of misinformation on this shite now.

SF:

LM: SF: what’s the context to those stats.

Do they also account for comorbidity?

Or simply the fact that someone had covid present in their system at the time of death?

SF: LM: It shows that COVID is 10 times deadlier and twice as infectious.

Dave Mundt: Since most of the folks that are blowing off the dangers of covid-19 are Rabid Right-Wingers, I am all for them not getting vaccinated when one appears. If nothing else, it will improve the gene pool by leaps and bounds as they die off either directly from the effects of the disease on the lungs, or, within a year or so from the damage it appears to do to many other internal organs.

LM: SF: infectious maybe, deadlier… eh. It just shows that they slap covid as the cause of each death, rather than the true cause. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent doctors are mis diagnosing autopsy’s to increase statistics.

Article: We Are Underestimating The Death Rate for Covid-19

Here are doctors (Dr Erickson) who tested over 5000 patients

Dave Mundt: LM: I agree that fear is dangerous and toxic…in many cases. In some cases it is a useful tool, enhancing our perceptions, and warning us, even on a subconscious level, that we are in a sketchy situation and need to USE those enhanced senses.

While the opinion piece from weforum.org is quite measured, and makes some excellent points, it is dated 04/April, which in terms of the activity of this virus is an eternity ago. I also have a small issue with the headline…because it really should read “Why we MAY BE overestimating the mortality rate…” The article is clearer about this, but, alas, too many people only read headlines these days.
Since 2020/04/04, when the article you link to was written, there have been some significant changes not addressed in it.

  1. Analysis has found that covid-19 not only damages the lungs, but, can damage other organs, leaving long-term effects. In general, the more severe the case, the greater the resulting damage that may happen. The end result of this is that we are likely to see a spike in health related issues, and early deaths over the next 50 years or so. However, how big a spike is unknown, until the statistics start coming in.
  2. There are increasing concerns from researchers that the antibodies created from an infection are not sufficiently strong to keep the infection from happening again. IF this is true, and, the isolation rules are being discarded, we could easily see a cyclical pattern of people becoming ill, infecting others, and then, possibly recovering. Then, those people become ill, and infect yet another circle of people…and perhaps part of that circle will be the person that was the source of the original infection.
  3. I suspect, too, that if this happens, the illness will likely become worse with each cycle, and so, increase the possible organ damage, the likelihood of lengthy hospitalization, and death.
  4. The article focuses on the point that we may be under counting the number of infections, but, ignores the fact that we may very well have a significant number of deaths that are not reported. As of today, not all deaths are being tested by the coroner for covid-19. So, there is a decent chance that they are being under counted. How does this affect the numbers? impossible to say without better data…and as of now there is not a lot of political will on the part of the administration to increase the number of tests run.
  5. Your offhanded remark that causes of death are being manipulated is sketchy at best.
  6. As for the video you mention from YouTube, Dr. Erickson, and his co-presenter, seem to have both an agenda, AND an inability to use statistics properly. Simply wearing scrubs, and sounding rational (at least on the surface) does not indicate wisdom, or a working understanding of the situation. As the following article points out, he may be correct enough, for his tiny area. However, there appears to be some serious issues with their data and the analysis which invalidates its use for the larger picture.

This pandemic has grown so rapidly, aided by the incompetent actions of the administration, including the massive cuts to funding for research, that we are struggling to play catch up, and understand how this virus works. In the coming months, I am sure we will find much more excellent data that adds to our understanding. The sad thing is that, today, we are playing catch-up. Because of this, we have at least 957,875 confirmed infections, and 53,922 deaths. The last time America had a crisis like this, that was the most widespread in the country, and has impacted, on a personal basis, the reality of Americans as a society, was the Vietnam War. For a comparison…it took 20 years for that war to wound 150,000, and kill over 58,000 citizens. We have left the number of injured in a cloud of dust, and, are on schedule to beat the War’s death toll by the first of May. Consider that this is barely 90 days into this cycle of the spread of covid-19.

My attention was originally caught by the casual way that LM: blew off covid-19 as being nothing more than the flu…There is so much data demonstrating how wrong this attitude is, the fact that someone could hang onto it is kind of amazing and sad. This questionable opinion is one that I have seen time and time again over the past couple of months, since the upwards curve of the infection graph started. His conspiracy loony comments that end off his original comment demonstrate the lack of substance his thoughts have.

I must say that, sometimes I wonder which is the worst plague on the face of America today. Is it the Covid-19 that is spreading like wildfire through the citizens, injuring or killing so many of them? Or, is it the willful ignorance that too many of these same citizens cling to…as exemplified by this thread.

God Help Us All!

Be Safe!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Politics, Questionable decisions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is Democracy Broken?

Greetings and Salutations…

The title of this essay is a short version of a question asked in a philosophy group today. I thought about it for a few minutes, and after replying to it in the thread, decided to add a blog essay…

The question in the title turns out to not be a simple question. It was asked in the context of America’s society and form of government, so, I ended up discussing it from that viewpoint…. Technically, America has never been a democratic nation. We are a democratic Republic, where the citizens are given the final responsibility for Government.

I do not quite know what “Is democracy broken” means, but, will take a stab at examining the question.
In the context of America…Democracy itself is not broken. However, right now, our Democracy is in a struggle against a burst of tyranny that has gotten into office. We are, alas, reaping the whirlwind from seeds we have been planting and nurturing for 40 years. This conflict is so basic and has gotten so extreme, I believe the future of the Nation is at stake. IF the citizens rise up and Vote in November, to remove the scourge of the Republican wannabe-dictatorship from the government, America has a chance of returning to a far more positive path. If people allow fear, stupidity or apathy to allow the current administration to be reinstated, i fear for the country and its future. In the past, short, three years, the current administration has completed the task of taking America from a respected, world power, to a joke that is the laughingstock of the world. It has mistreated and offended long-time Allies, causing them to withdraw from connection to us. It has withdrawn from vital treaties and programs addressing the very clear and present danger of climate change. It has created trade wars and inflicted tariffs on friend and foe alike, with the delusional belief that this is not costing America anything, and is actually costing THEM huge amounts of money. It has treated the entire world as an enemy, and as a result, caused Allies to walk away, and find their own way in the world, instead of looking to America for protection and leadership. They realize that there is no trustworthy leader of the country right now. To increase the feeling of instability, it has sucked up to some of the worst of the worst dictators and tyrants in the world…panting for their attention like a puppy who is lonely. It has, with no hint of regret, implemented some of the worst examples of human rights violations we have ever seen in this country…just like those tyrants I mentioned earlier.

It is a perilous time for the country, with many opportunities for complete, self destruction. However, IF, all Americans who still believe in the validity of the Constitution, and support the Rule of Law, over the whims of Mankind, will step up, persist and resist the evil that in engulfing us, I believe there is a good chance that the threat to the country’s long term survival can be fought down and defeated.

The covid-19 crisis is providing us with a real opportunity to implement positive change. The suspension of much of the commercial and private activity in the country, has provided us all the time to sit back, and really look at the path we, as a Nation, are on. We can decide if we like and are comfortable with this path…or if we have doubts that we cannot quiet about where we are headed. Sometime, between now, and November 3d, the reality of life will kick back in. We will be able to go to restaurants for a sit-down meal; we will be able to go to sports events; we will be able to go back to work and earn our way again. We will, then, have the chance to take action on our thoughts during the suspension.

I HOPE that most Americans have been forced to look at the dark and self destructive path that America is on. They will realize that many of us have been railing against this path for years, and, they will join together with all of us to say “No More!” I would like to see the number of Republicans “representing” us change to a tiny minority party. All the surveys taken over the past decades have shown that the more Liberal/Progressives in America outnumber the RIght-Wing, reactionaries who have held power for too long. It is, I believe, about time that our “Representatives” start to reflect the real state of the country…with its diverse demographics, rather than being the bastion of old, rich, white guys we have let it become.

History shows us that plagues like this can be the trigger for great change in our society. I hope this trend repeats itself, and Motivates Americans to get America back on a more positive path…to return to becoming that shining city on the hill that was the idyllic vision of many in our history.

Right now…to help this happen, the only path is to vote Blue on November 3d. Do not be dissuaded from this. Do not believe the lies that say your vote does not count. IF you have problems voting, reach out to friends for help. They will be glad to help anyone negotiate the issues of updating registration information, or getting transported to the polls. This year, though may be another sea change in voting. Because of the covid-19 crisis, there is a growing demand for mail-in balloting. If this is a question in your state…take a minute to communicate with your federal and state officials to let them know that you support this option. If your state offers mail-in voting…be SURE and send the ballot back in…

All that Evil needs to succeed is for people of good will to do nothing. DO SOMETHING!

God Help Us All

Stay Safe…and in homes until the scientists and medical folks say it is ok…not the politicians.

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, General, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 26 – Humanity’s Future?

Greetings and Salutations…

Today, on Facebook, a fellow asked an interesting question “Is there a future for Humanity?”

When I got to thinking about it, this question ended up being far more complicated than I had originally thought. So, instead of a reply on FaceBook, I decided to create an essay on my Blog. Following are my musings on the issues, and some possible ways to ensure that humanity both persists and ends up on a far more positive path, after this shut-down caused by Covid-19 ends.

I believe that, if we allow the reactionary, Right-Wing to regain power after this crisis, as they had before…The sojourn of humanity on this planet will end soon. By soon, I mean within the next thousand years. ALL around the world, we are seeing these folks grabbing power, and exploiting nature for profit, with no thought for the damage to the ecology they are doing…and certainly no consideration of how that will affect all of us in the future. This is NOT a sustainable path. In addition, we are seeing more and more people driven by hate, and intolerance, not love and tolerance. This can only re-enforce the Culture of Violence that humanity slips into, and will not end well for us.

If, though, the oppressed and disadvantaged people in the world take this period as a time to really look at how reality has changed, and, in the process ask the vital question “Is this the world we want to live in?” perhaps there is a chance that we will band together to radically change the path we are on.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, as an American. However, I would like to see some significant changes happen in this country over the next couple of decades. I would like to see such programs as a living wage, universal healthcare, and the UBI implemented. While these programs were decried by the Republicans and other right-wing reactionaries as being insane and destructive, this crisis has shown us that they are, rather, both an achievable goal, and a vital part of America moving back to a path to rebuild that strong, middle class that allowed us to become a Superpower in the world.

I want to see the issue of the massive and increasing wealth gap between the richest and poorest Americans addressed. In the 1900s, the Robber Barons had about a 50 to 1 advantage, and they lived lives of such unimaginable wealth and privilege that it is amazing to see. However, while they were often thieving, oppressive bastards, exploiting the workers, they also USED their wealth to improve the country. Andrew Carnegie, for example, took his wealth, and built fully stocked libraries all over the United States. He also funded universities. Carnegie knew that the best workers were the ones that could focus on a task, and follow complex instructions accurately. Where does that come from? Education. He knew that for America to succeed, we needed innovation and an increase in technology. Again…without education, that will not happen. Henry Ford paid his workers an unimaginably high salary for the time. Why? First off, he knew that he could be the best car manufacturer in the world, but with no one able to buy his product, it was a waste of time, so, not only did he build cars, he built a population that could afford those cars. Secondly, he knew that a well paid employee is a happy, dedicated employee who does a better job. This cut down on a LOT of expenses and kicked up quality production. The actions of these men are an example of why America, nearly unique in the world, developed a huge, prosperous, middle class. I recall, vaguely, a French philosopher saying that what makes America so strong is its middle class…and that was an accurate observation. If we look at history, we see that the most prosperous time for a majority of Americans was that period when the middle class was large, and, the income of a single wage-earner was enough to provide financial, housing and food security. The income was sufficient to support a savings account, and even allow for the occasional luxury. I believe that it was this financial security that helped support the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Having that security allowed whites to really look at the plight of people of color in America, and slowly, start to join them in their struggle for equality. (This is a complex enough topic that it likely should be another essay, though)

Why did the Robber Barons, such as, Carnegie and Ford, as well as others like them, share the wealth with all Americans? They were investing in the future. They, while far from perfect, had the view that a bigger, better, stronger America was a very good thing.

Today, the reality is very different. The wealth gap is upwards of 400 to 1. A tiny subset of people hold more wealth than 90% of Americans. What happens to that money the very wealthy accumulate? It generally goes into stocks and bonds, which produce nothing but more wealth for the very well off. It is almost never used to improve the plight of the majority of citizens. Currently, by the way, at most, 25% of the stocks in the market are held by individual investors. A vast majority of them are held by funds, investment corporations, and the like. There are a few exceptions to the rule that the wealthy do not use their money to improve the world…Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are two notable members of a small club of the very rich that are using their wealth to make the lives of people all around the world better. The Gates foundation has a history of supporting such causes as universal vaccination. However, today, there are trillions of dollars tied up in the hands of a few people.

The result of this accumulation of wealth by the few? Workers today have not seen a significant wage increase in years. The typical 2% or 3% they might get barely covers increased costs from Inflation. Employers are cutting benefits, such as health insurance, often either removing it completely, or, at best, deducting part of the costs from the employee’s paycheck. When companies get tax windfalls, such as the Republicans love handing out, they do not use that money to pay their employees a higher wage, or give them bonuses. Rather they use the money to buy back their own stocks…thereby enriching the owner, stockholders, and upper level management.

America’s middle class is shrinking. A small percentage of the members of the class are achieving the lofty heights of great wealth. A vast majority are sinking down into poverty, though. This is a terrible path, for it leads to despair, and barriers to escaping that pit of poverty, that can make it impossible to achieve their previous economic status.

What could we do about this? Well, Senator Elizabeth Warren, during her recent campaign for the Presidency, had a plan for that. She would have implemented a flat, 2% tax on ALL assets owned by the very rich – and by that, she meant people with a yearly income of more than several million dollars. This small percentage would have produced billions of dollars in revenue, which could be distributed to such programs as improving the quality of schools in America, increasing Teacher’s salaries, helping get the homeless into living quarters, and the like. Today, I recall that the top tax bracket is 37%. Of course the people that would hit that have bought lawyers and politicians, to provide loopholes, to avoid paying any taxes at all! Look at the current Occupier of the Oval Office, who bragged that he had not paid a penny in income tax in a decade, and that proved he was smarter than anyone else! Up to the Reagan era, the top tax rate varied up to 90%, and even then, the very rich lived lives of luxury (partially because they still had so much money, and partially because of those damn loopholes). I would go further than Sen Warren. I would call for a flat tax rate on the upper 0.01% of 50%, with no loopholes or special benefits allowed. I do not think that is unfair, or excessive, as it would still leave them with enough money that they, and several generations of their spawn could live in extreme comfort without lifting a finger. I would like to see that money go to a couple of major causes.
1) I would like to see it used to provide a Universal Basic Income for all Americans who make less than $1 million a year, of the current, Middle Class income. This should allow many of the people living in poverty to improve their situation, and give them the freedom to improve their skill-set, and get into even better paying jobs.
2) Hopefully, this would be enough cash to move us to a surplus budget, instead of a deficit budget. I would like to see this happen, and the debt start to shrink.

I would like to see some changes to the political game in America. For example, such changes as automatic voter registration, mail in ballots, a revamping of the Electoral College (which I may speak about elsewhere), term limits for Federal representatives, the restoring of the Fairness Doctrine as legislation, not simply a rule by the FCC, and a requirement that at least 15 years of complete tax information be made public by any candidates. On a state and local level, I want to see the process of laying out districts removed from the party in power. I would prefer that these districts be laid out by computer mapping programs, and approved by a vote. The current system is ripe for abuse…allowing candidates to choose their voters…instead of the voters choosing their candidate.

As for society, I would like to see parents becoming a more active part of their kid’s education. I think that this shelter at home period is going to ensure that many more parents come to realize how difficult the role of the teacher is. Perhaps that will cause them to be more supportive of those teachers…and less contemptuous of the idea of education. I would like to see those parents also teaching their kids the rules of tolerance, patience and empathy for others (however, that may be a pipe dream for most, it seems)

On an ecological front…we have seen how resilient Nature is. Once the unending dump of waste gasses into the atmosphere stopped, we have seen the air clear amazingly quickly. I was reading an article just the other day, that was reporting, with some surprise, that after a month or so of shut down, Mt. Fuji was visible from Tokyo for the first time in 30 plus years. In Tibet, the Himalaya Mountains are visible from 100 miles away, again for the first time in decades. I hope that seeing what a clean environment is like, will encourage more people to support a program of generating power from renewable sources, instead of fouling the air with burning coal and natural gas. I would even support the idea of increasing the amount of power generated from nuclear energy. However, I would not want American plants and designers to be in control of that. They have proven, over the past half century, that they have no clue how to design and build smaller, safer reactors and deal with radioactive waste in a better fashion. The last time I checked, the Canadians had an excellent design, that was almost bullet proof, and used pelleted fuel, instead of the huge, difficult to create, and fragile fuel rods favored by American designers.

In the long run, I believe that humanity has GOT to make these and other changes, or that thousand year lifetime will be gone in a flash. Perhaps, if America, with actual leadership (instead of an administration focused on pandering to the lowest common denominator) makes these changes, and demonstrates they do work to improve the lot of all, we can act as a catalyst for world change. We are far behind right now, as many European countries have implemented many of these changes…but even if we just catch up, that will improve the chances for everyone in the world. America does not HAVE to be “#1″…it is just as valid to walk, shoulder to shoulder, with the other, free nations in the world.

God Help Us All

Stay safe

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, General, Heath, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Short Look at a Grifter’s Journey

This just showed up in one of the threads on my timeline, and I thought it worth spreading a bit more broadly.


By Lucian K. Truscott IV:

“Donald Trump has tested positive — for the bullshit virus. He’s bluffed his way through his entire career and into the White House. But the coronavirus finally took him out.”


“There was a brief moment, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when I was on fire in New York City. I had a novel on the New York Times bestseller list. I had a new wife, and we had been dubbed a “literary power couple” in the tabloids. I had a movie deal in Hollywood, and Gore Vidal had been signed to adapt my novel for the big screen. I was invited to Upper East Side dinner parties, at one of which I found myself seated next to Henry Kissinger and across the table from Norman Mailer. But I knew I had really reached the top when my phone rang one morning, and the famous New York Post gossip columnist Steve Dunleavy was on the line, asking if it would be all right to publish on Page Six in the next day’s newspaper that Donald Trump’s latest starlet girlfriend had been my date the night before at Elizabeth Taylor’s birthday party at Studio 54. See all the star power in that sentence? And most of it was true! I had been at Elizabeth Taylor’s birthday party at Studio 54, the night when she rode into the place on a white stallion with the famous Studio image of the man in the moon sniffing from a teaspoon of cocaine behind her. But I hadn’t been with Trump’s new girlfriend, although I had spotted him at the party, standing in a gaggle that included the infamous red-baiting lawyer Roy Cohn and the designer Halston. It seemed that Trump’s then wife, Ivana, had learned he had been at the party with the starlet, and Trump had called Dunleavy with a favor to ask. Could he print a rumor that the girlfriend was with someone else, to get Ivana off his back? Dunleavy had seen me at the party, and for some reason selected me as the beard for Trump’s girlfriend. I said no, he couldn’t put me in his column as escort to Trump’s bimbo, and that was that.


Except it wasn’t, because of what my brief brush with the Trump penumbra of fame says about those days in New York in general, and Trump in particular. That wasn’t the only time I ran into Trump during my brief foray into the Manhattan stratosphere. I saw him at a boite called Le Club on the Upper East Side one night, ogling the young lovelies who teetered around the place in skyscraper heels and micro-skirts, their enormous cantilevered chests held aloft by power-bras seemly constructed by U.S. Steel.
I saw him at an East Side supper club one night promoting the Miss Universe Pageant, which he had recently purchased, apparently to audition “dates” for parties at Studio 54 and other popular nightspots. And of course I saw his then-boyish visage almost daily in the tabloids, grinning for the flashbulbs at nightclubs, prize fights, and ribbon cuttings for his collection of garish buildings that popped up around uptown Manhattan like some new species of deadly mushroom.


Trump was everywhere in those days in New York. You couldn’t avoid him if you dug a cave under one of those gigantic rocks in Central Park and buried yourself. Somehow you knew he would find you there in your underground hiding place, dig you up and force you to get back out there on the sidewalks and walk past another mirrored masterpiece with his name emblazoned in gigantic ugly letters. TRUMP. You couldn’t avoid him. He was like … what was he anyway? Oh, I’ve got it! He was like a plague! And New York City had caught it! It’s kind of funny looking back at those days in New York, when he was so ubiquitous that even my phone rang with cheapo-Aussie gossip-mongers asking favors for Trump.
Except it wasn’t funny when you think of the fact, and it is a fact, that those were the days when Trump honed his entire shtick, the same shtick he went on to ride all the way into the White House. Trump’s shtick as a celebrity in New York was the same one he used in his business. He bluffed his way into and through everything. His buildings were the tallest and the grandest and the most expensive and the most prestigious, even though they were none of those things. None at all. He added stories onto Trump Tower, seemingly just because he could. He told the world everything he had was the most expensive, even as he shopped his condos and cheap Trump vodka and cardboard Trump steaks at a discount to anyone with a buck. He bought the Eastern Airlines Shuttle for $365 million and renamed it the Trump Shuttle. It was an expensive flop that lasted only three years before he had to let it go in bankruptcy. Same with the prestigious Plaza Hotel, which he bought for more than $400 million and ran into the ground in less than three years, also lost in bankruptcy. Same with the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, which cost him $1 billion to build, another gaudy, grand, overpriced monstrosity he lost in bankruptcy. In all, Trump took out more than $3 billion in loans, $900 million of which he personally guaranteed.


His entire teetering gold-leafed mirrored empire fell, the whole lot of it, in 1992 at a big meeting with more than 50 lawyers in a big conference room in the law offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the firm that represented Trump’s largest lender, Citibank. Trump sat down and signed over most of his buildings, his jet, his yacht, his airline and his casinos, all of it in one afternoon, in exchange for more favorable terms on his personally guaranteed loans. The banks could have easily called Trump’s loans and left him penniless, “but we all agreed that he’d be better alive than dead,” explained Alan Pomerantz, then head of the real estate department at Weil.”

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to add some humor to one’s day!

Greetings and Salutations.

I just had an interaction on Facebook that provided ME with a bit of amusement, and, once again, demonstrated the sad state of education that too many conservatives have slipped into. The general discussion was about the issue of Covid-19, alas, as that is the firestorm of the day. Below, I quote the conversation that happened, including the Original Post that triggered it.

Facebook, 2020/03/14

EO: The thing is that this virus has been around for years look on a lysol wipe container, lysol cans and one of the viruses listed is Corona virus. The flu kills more people every year then this has and will it is an election year they making it a thing like the previous president election years. Yes it is scary and it sucks to see people dieing but people that are already have under lieing health issues which in the end does them in unfortunately. Hope this moves on and clears up before it bankrupts the economy and causes people to loose everything.

KDH: EO: you are very incorrect just do your own research and make your own decisions for your household. I hope no one you know, dies from this. I am concerned about a few of my close friends and my children

JM: EO: corona virus is a family of viruses. There are many strains. This corona virus is new. That’s why they call it “novel” corona virus 19. Or COVID19. The 19 is the year it was first discovered.

CV: EO: there is a vaccine we have been giving to cows for years. It mutated from animals. Now this is a different strain..

TS: EO: you are exactly correct!!!
Precautions weren’t taken like this when H1N1 was spreading in 2010 which was a much deadlier Virus that was deadly to people even with strong immune systems.
This virus is not even close and the rumors are pathetic and showing peoples true ignorance!!!

DCM: TS: Cling to that thought for comfort as you are listening to your lungs gurgle as they fill with bodily fluids when you get a bad case of Covid-19

TS: DCM: you Ignorant idiot , and you are I deal with MD’s on a daily, and now hourly basis- I will gladly but my knowledge that I actually get from medical professionals in the know against your dumbass anytime.
You’re the Epitome of what’s wrong with this country. Pure FN STUPIDITY!!!
Prove me wrong

DCM: TS: Sigh…better people than you have tried to insult me, and, alas, done a far more effective job. Instead of retreating to childish insults, demonstrate with evidence where my statements are ignorant, or “dumb-ass”

TS: DCM: you shouldn’t make Ignorant Statements –

DCM: TS: Remove the beam from thine own eye, before removing the mote from thy brother’s eye.

TS: DCM: lmao- you said when my lungs fill up with fluid- I guarantee my health is superior to yours, along with my intelligence.
Your lungs will fill with fluid long before mine ever will.
You sound just like a chicken shit leftist troll hiding behind a cartoon profile and posting from your moms basement!!!


DCM: TS: Bless your heart! Still got nothing, I see. Well, nice chatting with you. I needed some humor in my day.

TS: is a very Conservative, Right-Winger, and, it took only a couple of pokes with a sharp stick to bring that out. It did brighten my day a bit, I have to admit, although I also find some sadness in this sort of interaction. There are too many people right now who have the attitude of TS: and EO: They are downplaying the dangers of the Covid-19 virus, either through ignorance, or, because it is so fearful to them that they cannot face it, or, as has come up on other threads, the whole pandemic thing is nothing more than a Liberal Plot to overthrow “God’s Representative” now in the Oval Office. The Cult of Personality is very strong here.

Before I leave this, though, If anyone wants to give me feedback on my comments, that would be great. I admit I do not know the issues of the Covid-19 virus intimately, as I do not work with it, so, if I am wrong here…PLEASE set me straight!

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Advances in Healthcare, Ethics, General, General Thoughts, Heath, Humanity, Improving Life, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts on History, War, and Gun Control

An interesting thread sprang up on Facebook a day or so ago…and I thought it worthwhile to extract some comments from it and post them here… The original post that started this thread, went like this:

RL: Thanks to David DCM, we have a more accurate understanding of my post regarding a possible WWII invasion of California. He writes:

“there is truth here. However, there are issues. First off, killing a human is far different from killing a deer. If it were the same, then, all those country boys that joined the Army in ww2 would not have required the amount of training they did. secondly, This is meaningless in today’s world. When the world is filled with weapons that can see in the dark, and accurately put a kill shot on a target a mile away, not to mention drones and other killing machines, a guy with a rifle is not going to have the effect. As for the facts claimed in the meme about the day…well…here is some truth

The Meme, by the by, claimed that Admiral Yamamoto said it would be impossible to invade the United States, because we had so many guns in the possession of civilians, there would be one behind every blade of grass. I address this later on in this post.

DL: I wanted to answer this earlier,..but work happened. The original quote was attributed to Admiral Yamamoto, sic “…a gun behind every blade of grass” which was never said. An attack on mainland US was virtually impossible for the Japanese due to logistics. They needed to destroy the Naval Fleet at Pearl harbor to buy time to create a system of island jumps Iwo Jima, Philippines, and smaller Pan Asian islands to create a supply chain. Any advancement to areas in the Pacific required pre-staging of fuel and of supplies. They knew as they advanced to the Philippines would gain the attention of the Pacific fleet. Their crown jewel as I read was Australia. BUT they had to be able to not only get there but to supply the whole way and procure and supply while there. The U.S. was too far away and the land fighting force demonstrated in WWI, they knew it would be a lost cause relatively quickly. They could not get here by air without multiple refueling stops for ships and aircraft. We did the same to them starting with the battle of Midway, then second incursion into the Philippines. This is how I understand it.


DCM: I agree with this. The issue of supply chains is a real problem, even for countries like America. We have too many examples over the past 40 years or so of troops having serious trouble thanks to the lack of a viable supply chain.

From a strategic point of view, too, it makes no sense for them to reach out so quickly….far better to establish an area of control on the land right next to them, then, slowly start moving out.

DL: Then think 1941 regarding supply chains. The Japs only goal was to buy time to land grab. Even their alliance with the Germans was symbiotic…enemy of my enemy is my friend. There were at the time a LARGE series of Coastal defense systems on the west coast (Sometimes manned by civilians). The U.S. had them on the east coast through a series of old forts some active into the 70’s. NOT to mention that during the 40’s the “proving grounds” for military hardware was in the west. CA, had El Torro (Marines) for instance, multiple Naval installations LA, SF, San Diego, just to name a few. Army Air Corp (later USAF) was throughout CA, NV, and NM. The Japs knew this because they spied on us the level the Chinese do today (relative to time periods). AND for the same reasons the ChiComms are expanding today. They need resources. Back then Australia promised oil, gold, and space. That’s why they wanted it. Not to mention all of the other potential benefits. The underestimated the Aussies too, and badly. Just my opinion, but also my favorite subject. Love speaking with someone that knows this history. Thanks for the exchange.

MFB: DL What is interesting to me is that people continue to believe that someone’s opinion is fact. I agree that logistically it was impossible for Japan to invade the mainland. However, there are just as many people who say Yamamoto made the statement as there are who say he didn’t. No real proof either way. Still 2nd Amendment says we have the right to own whatever gun we chose to protect us from a corrupt government!

DCM: MFB: Hum…a couple of sketchy points in your post.

1) It is pretty well proven that this comment by Yamamoto is a hoax.

2) The second amendment does not say what you think it says. I quote: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now…in the day, a “well regulated militia” simply meant that any, arms bearing citizen was required to meet in the town square on a regular basis, where, they would receive rudimentary training in military discipline, and, would practice shooting for accuracy and speed.

Note that the amendment does not say “ANY Arms THEY WANT….” it is quite legal for the government to make it illegal to keep and bear certain weapons. For example – Tanks, grenade launchers, TOW Rockets, Apache Helicopters, Vulcan machine guns and the like. However, from day one, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of citizens to keep and bear such arms as low-capacity magazine rifles and pistols, and has not even limited the caliber allowed. if one has the ready cash, one can purchase a BFG 0.50 caliber rifle that is accurate and deadly to a mile or more. Machine guns, for example have been heavily controlled for decades. it is possible to own a fully automatic weapon, legally, however, not only is the weapon expensive, the background check is almost as thorough as the one for getting a Top Secret clearance, and the licensing fee fairly high.

Finally…this is a very different world than the world of the 1700s. Today, the military has such a pool of technologically enhanced killing machines that, while the idea a person armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 or similar weapon, and plenty of ammunition, could prevail is questionable at best. In addition, even a group of people attempting to build what is called a militia today would have to be very, very well off in order to purchase the tools that would bring them up anywhere close to the U.S. Military.
it would still be possible, if a significant percentage of the citizens took up arms, and practiced the asymmetric warfare of guerilla warfare. However, look at us…a vast majority of us are, in general, overweight, chained to a desk, and so get too little exercise, and spend our days typing on the Net…not keeping the skills of shooting and moving without trace through a forest.

Remember…to maintain one’s abilities to shoot accurately, the average person must visit the range once or twice a week, and shoot several hundred rounds. I do not do this. Do you? Do you know anyone who even comes close to this?

While the current administration does move one to consider using the 4th box that Citizens have to control the government, the Ammunition box, realistically, it is far, far wiser to use the third box – The Ballot Box. This means vote in every election; get as educated as possible about the issues, and the candidate’s stance on them. Do not be swayed by heated rhetoric, filled with lies designed to distract like smoke and mirrors, from the actions of the politicians, and vote for the person who actually follows through on actions that will help the most Americans.

What is my point here, you may be asking. I found this thread interesting for a couple of reasons. The first of which is the issues of looking at history brought up in it. Even in a history that is just a couple of generations back, the data we get from it is sketchy and argued over. It is fairly clear that Yamamoto never said the quote attributed to him…and yet a fair number of people both believe it, and use it to justify a stance on the level of gun control in this country. Is this deliberate lying to support an agenda, or simply gullibility stemming from a desire to believe what we read on the Net as truth? I am sure that there is a little of both going on here.

Secondly, there is clinging to the illusion that the government is being held in check by the weapons Citizens are allowed to own. As I point out, the military, if activated against a real threat, would have all the difficulty of a person stomping a June bug at making the people causing it to go away. Even today, as the current administration works to tear down the structure of laws that has sustained America since its founding, there are enough left that the actions of that administration are either blocked or slowed. While I am all for responsible gun ownership, I harbor no illusions as to what America would look like if a true rebellion were to arise. I point to Afghanistan as a classic example. Over the decades, Russia and America sent in tens of thousands of troops to deal with the situation there. They dropped billions of dollars worth of tools of war, from tanks to bombs, on the country. The Afghans, though, won the field. Russia pulled out decades ago. America is desperately trying to find a way to pull out and not look like losers. Look at the war that was fought there…it was classic guerilla warfare. The standard military, against a shadowy enemy that worked in small units, would implement a strike, and, then vanish into the hills. When I was in high school, I agreed with Jay Mohr’s assessment of the Revolutionary war, with the Redcoats marching in fine order down the center of the highway, glowing in the sunlight, while Colonists, in primitive ghillie suits, stood in the shadows of the surrounding trees, and shot them down. The Redcoats were sitting targets.

This is also why I continue to urge everyone to use that Third Box – the Ballot Box – and vote for the candidate who is most likely to do the best for the country as a whole, NOT just their rich buddies! And, of course, once they are in office, keep track of what they are doing, and be sure to use contact information to let them know if you approve of their performance or not. I am not a huge fan of petitions. Almost anyone can argue with, and ignore a petition with 10,000 signatures on it. However, getting 10,000 emails/phone calls/snail Mail missives is impossible to ignore. Politicians like the cushy jobs they get, both for the perks and for the 98% return rate…so they are not going to go against the wishes of the people who put them there…at least if they are smart that is. ANY politician can be replaced, and should be if they are hurting more citizens than they are helping.

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sadness Of Losing A Companion Animal

Greetings and Salutations.

Today A sad story came up on my Facebook thread. It is a perfect example, alas, of why I have a rule that any cats I am Guardian to are inside only.

This is Walnut. He lived too short a life, alas, and his death was unnecessary… His Guardian posted the image, with the following comment:

My cat Walnut passed away last night. A lady found him deceased in front of her door. And when Animal control came out I verified his remains. The animal officer thinks he got hit by a car on one of the main roads. I also remember people shooting off fireworks last night. So he may of been running home spooked and not paying attention. Going to miss him. He was my buddy.

All I am going to say here is repeat that, had Walnut been an inside only cat, he would still be bringing love to the family.

Cats that are allowed to roam outside have a life span of 5-7 years. Inside only cats can live 18 years or more… If you let your cat roam outside, ask yourself this: Do I want to have that companionship for 7 years? Or 18 years?

God help us all

Bee man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Family, Humanity, Observations, Ruminations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 25

Greetings and Salutations;

Anyone who is paying more than a moment’s attention to the world today knows that the political situation in America is dire! We have an administration that has engaged in despicable behavior and words since taking the Oath of Office in 2017. The actions of the Occupier of the Oval Office have been so blatantly offensive to Society and Constitution that he has become only the 3d president in America’s 250+ year history to be impeached. And then, the Senate voted to allow him to keep his office! The leader of the Republicans, “Moscow Mitch”, and another cowardly Republican, even went so far as to announce before the trial was held that it would be a Kangaroo Court, and, that #3 had nothing to worry about. Then, they had the audacity to stand up on the floor of the Senate, raise their right hand, and swear to do “Impartial Justice” in the trial to determine if #3 would be removed from office, and, perhaps banned from holding public office for the rest of his life. Did the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who was administering the Oath, and presiding over this sham trial say a word? Hell NO, he did not. At the very least, the Senators who had publicly announced they would not do impartial justice should have been recused from taking part in the trial. If it had been anyone else, they would have been imprisoned and fined for perjury.

Well, that having been said… I want to focus my attention on the next goal. Justice has been raped and murdered in the Senate, so, our next option is the ballot box. Over the past three years, there have been many fine speeches on the part of Democrats about what a travesty the current administration is, and, how it must be swept from power, in order to preserve the Republic and the Constitution. Now, though, it is 2020…and the actual election is rolling towards us, like an out of control freight train. We have had three debates with the Democrats, all in an attempt to winnow down the original crowd of 20 or so running for the office of President, to a manageable number to actually VOTE on in the coming primaries. 20 candidates are far too many, as it made it nearly impossible to produce more than sound bites for the first debates.

That, though, is not what concerns me already. In years past, the Democrats have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by getting into internal, family squabbles that fractured support, often ending up with a significant portion of the Party either not voting or voting for a third-party candidate that had NO chance of taking the presidency. In 2016, these were two factors that ensured that #3 was able to take the office. I had really hoped that the Democrats, as a group, would have learned a lasting lesson from the events of 2016. Alas, I am beginning to think that they have not. A year ago, the slogan of choice was “Vote Blue, no matter who!”, pointing out the fact that a bag of rotting hair would be a better president than what we had now. Today, though, I am seeing some signs of that solid support breaking up. I see a lot of impassioned debate about which Democratic candidate will be the new Messiah, that will save the Party, and America. There is no problem with this…although I am not so tribal that I am willing to put my complete support behind any candidate. As Treebeard, in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books put it “I am not entirely on anyone’s side, because not anyone is entirely on MY side”.

What does worry me is that I am seeing a reawakening of the old attitudes of “My candidate or no one”, and “The whole government is worthless because they do not pay attention to the Voters”. The problems with both these views is obvious, at least to me…and shows that a disconcerting percentage of the Democratic Party has become infected with the same virus of Intolerance, and unwillingness to compromise that has consumed the Republicans. We can be better than that!

As for the latter point, I am going to quote a comment that I spread around the Net quite a bit in 2014-2016. It is still as true today as it was then…and, I believe holds the same level of importance.

————————————————————————————————————————

First off, understand that anyone that tells you that a communication from you as a Constituent, to your Representative is a waste of time, because the politicians only pay attention to the lobbyists that write them the big checks, is lying to you. They are likely fearful that if you DO contact your Representative, it will destroy their chances for some big score from the Government or, they have an agenda that is not one you would support.
Now…to help change your government and what it is doing, there are some simple things to do.
1) Use this tool or This Tool – to track down YOUR Representatives.
2) Email or call them to let them know your objection or support for the item of interest. When you do this, be SURE to follow these guidelines:
…..a) Be Clear about what you are talking about.
…..b) Do not write a lengthy, emotional rant. Be polite, and simply tell them whether you support or oppose the issue, and give them a single reason why you feel that way.
…..c) Repeat as necessary.

I was reminded the other day that many, if not all, Representatives have a Twitter handle and a FaceBook Profile. Search those tools also, and add your feedback there too.

CLING to the basic truth that “All that Evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing” and use that as motivation to take action to make sure your voice is heard.

Your Elected officials pay attention when 10,000 emails show up. They pay attention when thousands of constituents call them up. Why? Well, it is fairly simple. They like their jobs! They know that the folks that are contacting them are the voters that care and are paying attention to what they are doing. They are also the people that can vote for someone else if they are sufficiently unhappy with the job the incumbent is doing.

Politicians might ignore a petition with 10,000 signatures, but, 10,000 emails, phone calls, or snail mail notes make a big impact and will get their attention.

Feel free to distribute this. It is available for use under the Open Source License – . The only limits are that it must stay intact (but can be extended) and I would appreciate a credit if used.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

I said at the start of this post, that our next option was the ballot box. Historically, there have been four boxes that Americans have used to create change in Society. We have now used two of them – The Soap Box, and the Jury Box. These two have failed, as we have a government on the Federal, and often the State, level that is neither paying attention to the desires of the Citizens, nor dispensing Impartial Justice to miscreants. In the Fall, we will, again, try the Ballot Box. Unless our elections are meddled with by the Republicans or the Russians, attempting to force a preferred outcome, our Government may change, and be able to move to a more positive path. IF the Ballot Box fails…will it become necessary for us to resort to the fourth Box? – The Ammo Box? And, perhaps more importantly, if it does, will Americans have the strength of will, and courage to do so? I do not know, although I fear the answer is no…and so, before I shuffle off this Mortal Coil, I will see America fulfilling the warnings of Orwell’s “1984”, or Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here”, and become a fascist dictatorship. I fear that, as with Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a majority of Citizens will simply keep their heads down, thank God it is not them that is the target, and pretend everything is OK.

I hope that I am wrong, and, that the application of the Ballot Box will return America to a saner place. It will take years to deal with the inflamed hate for “the Other” that the Republican cultists following #3 have, but, with a new administration and positive movement, at least the country as a whole, and the Constitution will be safe again.

God Help Us All

Bee Man Dave.

Posted in Ethics, General Thoughts, Humanity, Nuttiness, Observations, Political rants, Politics, Questionable decisions, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts on Religion, Part 2

Greetings and Salutations;

Politics and Religion…two topics that can always generate lengthy and, at times, contentious discussion. One of the several groups I follow on Facebook is a philosophy group that deals with various aspects of religion. When the angry atheists do not take over and fill it with posts, crapping on the “foolish mythology” of religious belief, some rather interesting conversations can take place. I thought I would grab the following one, before it vanished down the flood of words, as it has some interesting points in it.

Original Post, 2020/02/05 at 9:17 AM by H.M.

Religion vs. personal faith. Time to time I encounter this argument that religion and faith in Jesus aren’t the same thing, and therefore its okay for a Christian to agree with atheistic argument that religion causes more harm that good.

I can feel that there is something problematic with this argument but I can’t put my finger on it. Any thoughts?

Comments!

D. G.: I believe religion is dogmatic but faith is something personal.\

C. S.: The obvious problem is to deny Christianity is a religion.
You can point out how those who seemed to hate Jesus were the religious crowds and how His words and followers wouldn’t fit in at most churches even today, but that doesnt mean Christianity isnt a religion.

R. A. S.: It can be separated, but eventually in some contexts it leads to a No True Scotsman Fallacy or other fallacies. Essentially the person wants to be exempt from certain aspects of the religion as exampled on a whole, but they want to qualify for the belief related to the religion still while excluding those other parts. Sometimes it leads to cults / offshoots, other times the person may be a lay person who is unaware of the arguments for divisions/trains of thought; or if there is sufficient information to place them in minor divisions. Christianity is unlike Islam and many others (but I can’t speak on behalf of too many religions). Christianity allows individual analysis and conclusions for its holy texts, and often strongly encourages access to it, especially with mass production. This access alone instead of going through a religious leader is what has frequently led to the personal faith vs religion argument. Such an argument I might add wasn’t really commonplace in Judaism which it offshoots from, as rather few had access to holy texts.

I. G.: R. A. S. “christianity allows individual analysis and conclusions for its holy texts”
Matthew 12:25: Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

R. A. S.: I. G. so you believe Christianity has been ruined?

I. G.: R. A. S. yep. It has no place in the modern world

D. C. M.: I. G. An interesting point. However, I am moved to disagree for the reason that, while it is not the ONLY source for building a good, moral, ethical, life, Christianity has more, positive lessons on how we should treat our fellow humans than many religions. As I discuss in the blog post I link to elsewhere in this thread, even if one removes the concept of “God” from the Bible, it is a very useful collection of parables and lessons about how we should, or should not, treat other living beings. Having such a valuable resource at hand makes it far easier to teach one’s children the basic rules of ethics, empathy and the like.

D. T.: Fortunately the bible tells us what true religion is in James Chapter 1 vs 26 and 27. (26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. (27) Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

M. W.: D. T. the Bible is nit an authority though.

D. C. M.: M. W. What brings you to believe this? It seems like the quoted verses would apply very well to a Christian’s life, and, are even applicable to other religions.

There is quite a bit more in James about how religion should change one’s life, some of which has caused controversy through the ages. For example, he says “Faith Without Works Is Dead” Some folks have interpreted this to mean that there is some sort of scale out there that compares the good works of a person’s life with the evil that they do…and if the scale tips to the good side, one gets a passage to Heaven.

My interpretation is a bit different from this view, though, and is one that many scholars through the ages have come to accept. In my view, The good works we do are generated by our faith and striving to be more Christ-like in our lives. We do not believe they are a “get out of jail free” card, but a reflection of our inner beliefs.

I am re-enforced in this belief by the words of Christ, who said, in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And, as Romans 3 says “(23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
(24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
(25) Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
(26) To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

As I touched on in the opening to this comment, these words of James apply as well to a wide diversity of religions, from actual, “Christian” religions, to belief systems such as Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and the like.. This brings me to the opinion that the are reflecting a “Universal Truth” that underlays many philosophies.

M. W.: D. C. M. nice sermon, moat of it falls on deaf ears.
Christianity is only one religion among many and not the authority on the issue.

D. C. M.: M. W. I am sure you are correct. There are none so deaf as those that will not hear. My problem with issues such as what we are discussing now is that they are not simple things, that can be defined with a 280 letter tweet…so, in order to clearly explain where my head is at, I DO tend to go on a bit. Folks that know me well are careful NOT to ask me an essay question!
I am not arguing that Christianity is more than one of many…I have come to understand that there is more than one path to understanding. If I implied it was “The Authority” then, I was unclear in my comments. I would only say it is “The Authority” for Christians.
That having been said…my comment about “Universal Truth” is not intended to claim that Christianity is the template applied to all religions. Rather, I was touching on the concept that there are certain facts that are common to the human condition, no matter what religion or society we are a part of. I realize that is a topic that would likely create a thread at least as convoluted and long as this one, so, I was simply referring to it in passing, instead of delving into the concept.

D. T.: If any atheist or sceptic wishes to point to the failings of the church administrators down the centuries then they may be disconcerted to find that the bible has a lot of support for the unfortunate truths they may wish to point to. At no point does the bible give a rosy and idealistic view of ‘God’s people’ in either the OT or the NT. Whatever sins you can find to hold against the church authorities the bible can match that with unvarnished revelations about the corruption of human nature – including of course in those who claim to be religious leaders

  • S. S.: The problem is this: if one uses this method to, effectively, shield the text from the stains of the people following it, then why should we give *credit* to the text for the behaviors of people following it? It appears to make said text irrelevant.

J. C.: We should never judge a philosophy by its abuses.

S. S.: No one gives credit to the text for the (mis)behaviors of the people following it. Your point would have more weight if all Christians universally, and especially if Jesus himself proved themselves abusive, selfish, manipulative jerks. But that simply isn’t the case. So instead of the subset of jerks staining the text, the opposite is true. The text agrees with you that they are jerks.

M. W.: R. A. S. pretty much said it all.

When people try to disconnect their faith from their religion, what happens is people conforming their religion to their faith, instead of the other way around, causing many different religions and denominations. As an example; It would be like claiming that you are a Nazi, yet believe that hating and vilifying Jews is wrong, and any Nazi that does is not a TRUE Nazi. It’s all about having a personal relationship with Hitler, not who you hate or who you think is the master race.

M. W.: As an atheist I respect this idea, to separate the good from the bad. It shows that the person recognized the evil in the Bible and they cant-wont, event try to reconcile good with evil.
Dogmatic beliefs in religion are dangerous and I see no reason not to idolize a good person instead.

R. A. S.: Wonderful example above. Apologies D. T., but I’m copy-pasting to ensure if the comment is removed the example remains.

“Fortunately the bible tells us what true religion is in James Chapter 1 vs 26 and 27.
(26) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. (27) Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

So H. M. what we have with this example is 2 things:
1) Redefining “religion” for ones use;
2) Ignoring the religion in which the context is.

*sigh* I hate going into these TLDR’s, but it’s relevant and important here.

So the first thing is to define religion, and the “religion/religious” used in this passage.

Religion is generally defined as a particular system of worship or collective of faith for various followers.

The adjective used in this Bible passage is threskos (repeated as threskeia) which although shows an English rendering of “religious” derives from throeo which is to fear, giving threskos a more proper rendering of one who fears or reveres (their deity implied). In other words it is a term of reverence, not directly synonymous with piety or holiness, nor can it simply mean a person who practices a religion.

So James is basically saying if anybody considers themselves to be a person who reveres God, instead of losing control of their lips they should learn to help those in circumstances which they could not control. It doesn’t say anything about practicing Christianity really. And it would be a funny summation to say all Christians should simply be ascetics giving away to charities constantly.

What you do have within Christianity is a lot of information about the beliefs and system, which can be drawn upon. And examine any one individual’s practices. Even with different sects and types of practices in the world which each claim to correctly interpret the original languages.

J. S.: Yeah, well look. Religion is a goofy word and thing, in and of itself. People refer or consider it variously. Whatever they happen to have in reference might have legitimate underlying concerns they’re placing in front of their expression. It’s worth listening in communion with them instead of seeking opposition by problematizing their statements. Critique from the wilderness that the religion has made is where new life can be breathed into a god who was made dead by religion or vocal celebrity.

D. C. M.: I am ok with the original Post, and have an explanation about how a Christian can agree with an atheist/agnostic about the effect of religion on society.

This is an issue that I confront regularly, and, in the process of wrestling with it, have come to the understanding that “Religion”, as laid out by the Holy Books of the Abrahamic religions and others, can be a positive force in the world. I speak at length about my views on the Bible here.

The controlling factor that causes religion to be a negative force in the world is the way it is perverted by humanity, in order to support their, very human, agenda. For example, people who are anti-choice, often cherry pick verses that they can interpret to mean a fertilized egg is a human being. Folks that find the LGBTQ community icky, interpret verses to make them condemn single sex relationships. Folks who hate a given group (Muslims, Democrats, etc) will pervert the Biblical teachings to allow them to murder or or oppress their opponents without penalty.

M. M.: Well the Apostle Paul, at least, does not seem to have conceived of faith as a solely personal experience. To have faith, you had to be a member of the Assembly, the Church, and without membership in an association of a Christ believers, it’s not clear that Paul would have considered you truly a Christian.

  • D. C. M.: HA! Well, he would be in good company then! I have a list of folks that consider me to be anything from a “Questionable Character” to “Spawn of the Devil” because of my views on religion!
    Quite some years ago, I was watching an interview on BBC America, with John Cleese. This was, I believe, in the vicinity of the time when “The Life of Brian”, or, possibly “The Meaning of Life” had been released. Of course, they talked about the movie a bit, and then, Cleese got onto a very serious discussion of Martin Luther, and why his actions were taken so seriously by the Catholic Church. Cleese made the excellent point that, up to Luther’s questioning the Church, Religion had been very “Corporate”. The parishioners spoke to the Priest, and listened with (hopefully) rapt attention to the interpretation of the Bible the Priest would provide. Bibles were chained to bookshelves, and out of the reach of the common person, both because of that, and because of the inability of most folks to read Latin. As with all corporations, there was a hierarchy of control, up through the bishops, to the Cardinals, to the Pope…and all of it was oriented at being the source of Religious knowledge.

    Martin Luther, though, had the revelation that it was not the corporation that was important, but, rather, the one-to-one connection between the person and God. He realized that it was our responsibility, and our gift, to read the Bible, study it. and come to understand the lessons in it. This is one reason that, once he became a marked man, he spent a year or so translating the Bible into German…to make it accessible to everyone.

    In Hebrews, the Followers of Christ are told: “Hebrews 10:25 King James Version (KJV)
    25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Some interpret this as a call and a requirement to attend church on a regular basis, and, that it implies that (as you say about Paul), if we do not, we are not “Real Scots…sorry…Christians” I am all for church and Sunday School attendance, as it can be an excellent tool for educating oneself, and, focusing on the interpretation and message of a given set of verses from the Bible. However, as I have said to others – My Journey has taken me on a different path.

    That having been said, I would not consider myself to be “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” as the wide range of discussions I have on Facebook and other social media, as well as in real life, bring me into contact with believers and non-believers alike. As with Jacob, wrestling the Angel, these interactions force me to seriously consider what I believe, often bring me to new ways of looking at the information I have, and, provide me with new data about a given topic. All of this data gets meditated on, and may change my views.

J. S.: M. M. well. There was no such concept of religion as distinct thing separate from life. You’d be religioning (not a word and not a separate concept) somehow or another, regardless.

M. M.: J. S. sure, but I think the point stands that this idea of Christianity as a very personal and individual connection to God is a very modern idea, a product of the Enlightenment and its ideas of the individual.

J. S.: M. M. oh yes definitely. Peace to that. We’ve been fussing about the personal for a while, trying to work that out, to the point that now it’s equivalent to individual without any external reference. The atomic self, I think, is going to have to get a jostling.

M. M.: As I touched on before (and this is a minor quibble) Martin Luther was the origin of that personal connection to God. The Age of Enlightenment, while good for the philosophical growth of society was not supportive of religion in any widespread way. Many of its followers rejected religion (as many do today) as a myth that has no bearing on today’s society. They focused on Science, the growth of philosophical thought, and rationality, instead. There was a small sub-group of these folks that were not so willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and so, worked to keep religion as an important part of society, but they were a minority.

M. M.: D. C. M. I’d say Martin Luther planted seeds, but it wasn’t really until the Protestant Pietism of the 18th century that the idea really flowered.

D. C. M.: M. M. This is a valid point. It can be a real challenge to deal with the chaotic and complex history of Religion in the world, especially when struggling with such a radical schism as produced by Martin Luther. I often use the example of trying to change course as the captain of a SuperTanker. It is quite possible, but it is not a quick process, and takes a LOT of ocean! Luther’s original heresy and subsequent excommunication from the Catholic Church was the start of that turn. His several years spent, carefully translating the Bible into German continued the process…and increased the distance between the slow spread of Protestantism, and the Catholic Church. The process was helped quite a bit by the advances in Gutenberg’s Press, making it a quicker and easier process to print large numbers of copies of the newly translated Bible. I agree that the process took a leap forwards in the 18th century, with the growth of the Pietism you mention. (Here is an interesting article on this movement, by the by…). When I look at this progress, it is rather like an exponential curve…rising very slowly in the early days, then, hitting a point when it exploded.

To a certain extent, the sequence of events we are touching on here is not a surprise. Humans do not take to change well, at all, and are often resistant to any new thing. Luther’s diverging path from the Catholic Church was a huge and radical change in the view of the world, so, it was slow to be adopted. It was, I believe, the increased access to Luther’s arguments in published form, and the newly translated, German Bible, that began to spread the concepts of free thought, and questioning the establishment through a wider population. His concepts of that one-to-one relationship with God likely triggered an emotional response in many folks, motivating them to take up the cause and helped the growth of the Pietism movement.

One thing I found interesting in early studies of Luther and the growth of the Protestant church, was how pivotal Germany was in the process…this has nothing to do with the current conversation, but, it is an interesting point that all three of these major events, Gutenberg, Luther and Pietism either were native to Germany, or, had a large following there.

This is a somewhat lengthy discussion, and, alas, kind of a challenge to follow thanks to the limitations of HTML. However, it seems worth plowing through… Its discussion of the effects of Luther’s resistance to the Catholic Church and the path it was on has some merit…although the whole issue of the one-to-one relationship to God was not the only issue that Luther’s 95 Theses dealt with. That having been said, I thought that the issues of humanity dealing with change, in both a positive and negative way, were rather to the point in today’s political climate. Also, of course, the issue of Works vs Faith for redemption is another point in today’s world.

I have to say that I enjoyed the conversation, and debate. I hope it will speak to someone else too.

God Help Us All.

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Humanity, Observations, Ruminations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Helping Feral Cats Live A Better Life

Greetings and Salutations;

One of the activities I have been involved in for many years is helping feral cats lead better lives. At the very least, we who do this will trap, fix, and return them to their colonies. This has several benefits, including avoiding floods of kittens, some pretty nasty health issues, and, aggressive behavior that can cause fights and injury. One task that we take on is providing habitats for the cats, to protect them a bit from the extremes of weather that they are forced to deal with on a daily basis. I decided to collect some links to online resources here, and talk about how *I* go about the task.

Why should we help out the cats? Because I am sure some are going to raise this question, there are good reasons to work to create a stabile colony in an area.

  • Some people advocate killing the cats. This is a bad idea not only because it often ends up being a painful and cruel death for the animal, but, if a colony is eliminated, it will simply provide more territory for OTHER cats to move in. This can result in even MORE cats in the area. It can also cause rodent problems.
  • Feral cats do a huge amount to keep down the rodent population. Some folks claim they are a serious danger to birds, but, I am not entirely convinced this is truth. Perhaps in very constrained areas – like small islands – cats can be a significant force. However, for an open area, they would far rather chase mice and rats, over birds. BIRDS can fly after all, and cats cannot! If the Colony is maintained, with a Guardian that feeds the cats on a regular basis, this cuts back on the predation of birds also.
  • A managed colony will not grow, as the cats are all fixed. In the long term, the colony itself may disappear naturally, as the lifespan of a cat with unfettered access to the outdoors is around seven years. At worst, it will remain static, as individual cats move in to replace a cat that dies. These end up being “TNR”ed, of course.

Now, what does any animal need in the cold of winter and heat of summer? A safe, insulated habitat for them to take refuge in. I have made several, and spent very little money on any of them. For example, I have, on my porch, a two-story habitat I made several years ago for a pregnant feral to use. I got the materials from construction scrap, both from my house, and sources on Craigslist, and paid nothing for any of it. The basic structure is a 24″ cube, made from 1/2″ plywood, with corners re-enforced with 2″x2″ stock, I ripped down from 2″x4″ scraps. The top is removable, and, there is a floor, supported by more 2″x2″ stock, about half way up the box. The upper chamber, reached via a ramp and a hole in the floor, is heavily insulated, with foam from a discarded mattress set. The bottom floor is insulated with a sheet of 1/2″ rigid foam, and has a heating pad in it. The feral cats REALLY like this structure and use it quite a bit in the winter.

By painting the outside, with a weather-resistant paint, and adding a slanted, metal roof to it, this condo design would work well out in the weather too. Note: The Condo is supported on four bricks, to raise it up off the floor a bit. a similar support should be used in an outdoor setting.

Foam Cooler, to be converted to habitat

In many cases, though, a very adequate habitat can be made from nothing more than a foam cooler! All that is required is to get a cooler, cut a 5.5″ hole in one side, and find a way to hold the lid on. This can be done with duct tape wrapped around the cooler, a weight, or, using Great Stuff foam to glue the lid in place.

The cooler, with access hole cut, and straw packed into it
Typical setup for re-homing Ferals to a barn. When occupied, the cages have food and water dishes, and a litter box.

I prefer the first two options, as it is good to be able to open up the habitat for cleaning later on. After cutting the hole for the entrance, which should be done about 2″ or so up the side of the cooler, pack a thick layer of straw in the bottom of the cooler, and set it out. The cats will find it, and use it. It is important to use straw, not hay, because the latter is wet still, and can be a problem in below-freezing weather. Straw is very dry, and provides excellent insulation. The pictures along with these comments are of converted coolers I use when re-homing feral cats to barns. I found them on Craigslist for free, and they work great! As a side note, when getting ferals as barn cats, they should be kept in the cages for a month, fed every day, and interacted with as they calm down.

There are many resources on the Net for plans for inexpensive or free habitats. Here are some links:

I hope these are helpful, and that it will also get you to look at Feral Cats as a valuable resource, instead of a pest to be eliminated!

God Help us All!

Bee Man Dave

Posted in Ethics, Hive and Colony care, Humanity, Improving Life, Observations, Ruminations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sifting Through The Ashes, Part 24

Image courtesy of MoveOn.org

Greetings and Salutations;
We are in the middle of the Kangaroo Court of the Senate, whose one goal is to keep #3 in office. This whole process has focused my attention on the reality that we have got to push through legislation that will help keep such a miscarriage of justice from happening again. Because of this, I have compiled a list of changes I would like to see happen over the next 12 years. I suspect that it is incomplete, but it seems a good start. These are presented in no particular order…

  • Require that any bills sent to the Senate be brought to the floor within 30 days, or they automatically go to the president for signing. I am tempted here to say that they automatically become law…and, I really would not have a problem with that. The first option assumes that the occupant of the oval office is sane…
  • The state laws attempting to control the Electoral College need to be declared null and void. The “winner take all” and “unfaithful elector” laws are, in my opinion, Unconstitutional, and force the College to NOT reflect the will of the people. (I have written more lengthy essays on the EC on my blog, at http://blog.beemandave.com/)
  • The makeup of the Electoral College should be equal numbers of the two major parties, not the current method of populating it, which favors the most vocal party. IF a third party arises that has a significant number of voters – say – 15%, they should be allowed representation in the College.
  • It should be codified into law that ANY candidate for public office on a federal (and possibly state) level, must release unredacted copies of their tax information for the proceeding 15 years.
  • It should be required that the candidate MUST either divest, or put in a blind trust, ANY enterprises that they might be called to regulate. Divestiture would be the best option, but, a blind trust, set up by an objective, third party, is a viable alternative.
  • ANY appointed position that is subject to advise and consent by the Senate must be subject to that examination and vote within 30 days of a person being appointed, or the appointee is automatically disqualified from holding the office.
  • In any case where impeachment is brought before Congress, ANY Member who states a prejudice or prejudgment of the outcome must be (at the very least) recused from taking part in the proceedings, and, if they take the oath to do impartial justice, imprisoned for the remainder of the time spent in the impeachment process for perjury.
  • The Constitution is very liberal in its requirements to run for the presidency. I would like to see laws passed that add a requirement that any candidate for the office undergo physical and mental examination by objective, qualified doctors before being allowed to enter the contest. We have many, fine, medical establishments in America that could provide these doctors, or, we could request that the UN provide them.
  • In the case of an Impeachment Trial, the format should follow the protocols of a typical trial in the Justice System. The major change would be that witnesses would be required as part of the Senate trial. We have just gone through several days of debate and a pathetic vote by the Senate, which banned the introduction of any new witnesses, or documents. This, in spite of the fact that since the Articles of Impeachment were passed by the House, quite a bit of new evidence has come to the surface, and, witnesses, such as John Bolton, who were halted by the White House from testifying to the House committee, who made it clear that they would be willing to testify in front of the Senate. Of course, Bolton’s motives may have been because he felt he would get a better reception from the Republican dominated Senate, and other, less savory ones, but, still… However in banning his testimony, the Republicans may have shot themselves in the foot. His book, detailing the malfeasance he witnessed will be published in a few weeks, and when it hits the streets, it is going to make the Republicans look like gullible fools.
  • The example of Moscow Mitch, and his actions over the past decade have provided an excellent example of WHY term limits for Congress are becoming vital. I look at folks like Bernie Sanders, Howard Baker, John Duncan Sr, and a few other shining examples of long-term representatives who worked to improve America for all..and were willing to work with members of the opposite party to find a compromise, and, I question the need for it. Then, alas, I look at the current crop of Congressional Representatives, and I see that those men are becoming an extinct group… Because of this, I call for Laws to be passed to implement term limits for anyone in Congress. I would implement this in one of two ways: a) a simple, hard limit of 3-5 terms, or b) For every term served in Congress, the candidate must get an increasing percentage of votes to keep their seat. Start out at 50%, and for every term thereafter, add 10%….

I do not know the best way to handle the situation where, as has happened too many times with the current administration, that a Federal Judge has been seated who was clearly incompetent. A person who got their appointment simply because they were either supporters of the administration, or extremist, Right-Wingers who will do their best to drag us back to the 1950s in a vain attempt to keep the old white guys in power, blocking all others. Perhaps it would be appropriate to require that the person have significant experience on the bench, combined with ratings from objective review committees. After all, there is a lengthy list of judges, who have a cushy, life-time job now, who were rated as “Incompetent” by the American Bar Association! Of course, the Administration has claimed that this is nothing more than a liberal plot, but, it is hard to argue with a rating of “Incompetent” when the judge has, literally, NEVER sat on a case!

There is almost nothing good that has come from this administration, I am sorry to say. The fact that animal abuse is now a Federal Felony does not balance the exploding deficit, the attacks on Medicare and Social Security, the betrayal of allies around the world, the sucking up to some of the dictators with the worst human rights records in power today, or, the totalitarian way that the current administration is treating refugees seeking safety on our shores. I submit that if America is to survive as a society, much less a respected power in the world, we, the citizens MUST stand up and take the power back that we have given away. We must implement rational limits to what can be done by the administration, and basic requirements that ensure that we are clear in what we are getting when we elect a president. Another vital thing that has got to happen is that the Electoral College has got to be reformed, to move it back to what Hamilton called for it to be in Federalist Papers #68. Had the Electoral College done its job, as defined in that paper, this whole debacle could have been avoided.

It is my opinion that, even if we have a generation of Democrats controlling the government, America will not achieve the status it had 20 years ago. In some areas, we will likely NEVER restore our reputation. However, if we do nothing, make no changes to the laws, as suggested above, accepting the status quo as the new reality, I can see no future for the country but loss. We, at best, will become like England. A country treated with some respect, but that has no power left in the world. At worst, the countries of the world will come to the realization that America has become a rogue state, that cannot be trusted, and should be sanctioned.

God Help Us All!

Bee Man Dave

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