You Can’t Fix Lack Of Ethics Anymore Than You Can Fix Stupid


We all know you can’t fix stupid. The fact that a majority of the worlds population turns to religion to keep them moral and that they fight to the death to defend their religion for fear of how much carnage mankind would leave without their religion proves to me that you cannot fix lack of morals either.

There are many however who feel you can fix a person’s ethics, morality or lack thereof. They believe you can rehabilitate a rapist, child molester or murderer. (I of course am not referring to those exceptions as far as some 18 year old who has a relationship with a 16 year old or the person who kills a child molester for molesting their child for example. ) I don’t believe you can fix those people. You might be able to stop a rapist by removing him from opportunity or even chemically castrate them but you can never fix what drives them to rape in the first place. The same goes for child molesters and murderers.

There is to me no difference in the level of moral bankruptcy of Trump supporters. There is no point in arguing, debating or even trying to reason with a Trump supporter about his constant irrelevant and pertinent lying. About his lack of knowledge about even the basics of his job. About his absolute disrespect of the office that he holds. About his mental laziness and not bothering to read even the shortest of life and death important reports, documents or briefings. About his ignorance to the crimes against humanity that the rich foreign leaders he idolizes and caters to.

It is pointless because they know. They are aware. They just don’t care. They don’t care about the pointless lies. They don’t care about the brutish buffoonish behavior. They don’t care about the racism and the sexism. (Which in truth he isn’t really either a racist or a sexist. He doesn’t care about either one as long as the person is wealthy. The only prejudice he really has is against poor people.) They just plain don’t care.

They don’t care because Trump carries out their political, religious or business interests.

It is really that simple.

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What’s The Difference?


Recently there was a live streaming of a mass shooting on facebook. There is a lot of blame put on facebook and a lot of discussion about what to do about this. Realistically for every account on facebook to be monitored there would have to be as many monitors as users. Does facebook have any responsibility in this? Sure. But so do many other entity’s and people. But that is not the issue here for me.

My question is this; how is live streaming of a crime any different than when the news airs surveillance video on the air, or when those reality shows air the video? Take it one step further, what about when Hollywood buys the rights to the story and makes a blockbuster film about the crime? What about all those prime time crime shows that get their story lines from the head lines? I guarantee you that if I played the video of that live streamed crime I found on you tube after the fact it wouldn’t be a problem.

I am not saying the live streaming is okay. I am simply asking what is the difference?

Inappropriate or Unacceptable? (Joe Biden’s ‘friendliness’)


I have edited this post by adding this beginning paragraph as I was not happy with the way it came across. So, I want to stress that I have respect for Biden. I hope he doesn’t run in 2020 for reasons unrelated to this issue, however, if he does get the Democratic Ticket I will vote for him and I would be proud have him as my president. The man has character. Character is recognizing that you made a mistake. Character is acknowledging and respecting someone else seeing your actions or your words as a mistake even if you do not. Character is owning up to and taking responsibility for those mistakes. Character is something Joe Biden has an abundance of. That being said,

When I first heard of the accusations of Joe Biden and inappropriate touching of the back or the knee I was outraged at the pettiness of them.

I adamantly protested in his defense and was incensed about the comparison between him and Trump.

Then I started watching clips of Biden’s repeated habit of kissing women on the side of the head or the neck, his embracing and slight caressing of shoulders and backs. I listened to his response to these accusations and respected his apology for making the women feel uncomfortable and respected that he would not apologize for his intentions and believed that they were not sexual or dominating in any way.

Then I started asking myself what exactly were his intentions then? He has not said. The next thing that came to mind was ‘does it really matter what his intentions were when it comes to whether or not his behavior was inappropriate’? I would have to say no, it doesn’t matter what his intentions were or were not.

I have male friends who are very hands on with friends. Myself and my whole family are huggers, we see each other all the time and always hug on departure every single time, with every one. I am grateful that we are all so close. Then it hit me, we are all very close, my family and me. Friends within my immediate circle and even ones outside of that circle and I are close enough to hug on social occasions. Social being the key word here.

Being touchy feely with those close to you in social situations is absolute acceptable and anything but inappropriate. But Joe Biden wasn’t in social situations on the videos I have been watching. He was a man of great power and in a position of authority attending or part of very ceremonial situations with women in a professional setting. This is absolutely unacceptable and anything but appropriate.

Even without the way he treated Anita Hill this is an issue for many women and it should be.

His behavior is at best overly familiar.

Still, the comparison between Biden’s behavior and Trump’s behavior is outrageous.

The Check On The Balance Of Power Has Bounced (The Mueller Report)


I have been really overwhelmed with how much there is for me to blog about on this matter which has resulted in my not writing anything at all. I have just about given up. I decided to try to tackle this a little at a time in a series of posts. But where do I start?

I was going to just start with the hot topic of the day, but there are many of these hot topics dominating the news on any given day and today is no different. To make this even harder within each topic is a series of other issues the stem from each one. I will try my best to stay on topic and not jump back and forth between guaranteed subtopics that will stem from it, though it may prove to be difficult.

Let’s start with the Mueller report.

Many months and many millions of dollars were spent on this investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice by the Trump administration resulting in a 445 page report which has been handed over to the Trump appointed District Attorney who is the one and only person who has seen this report, the one and only person who gets to decide who else gets to see and exactly how much of it they will get to see. As it turns out the DA has decided that no one else will get to see the report, no one. The DA did however provide Congress with a 4 page summary of what the report said. A summary that he wrote which included his conclusion from his interpretations of its contents.

Here is where I get flustered. There are so many things wrong here.

First let’s look at the official job description of the Attorney General;

The principal duties of the Attorney General are to:

  • Represent the United States in legal matters.
     
  • Supervise and direct the administration and operation of the offices, boards, divisions, and bureaus that comprise the Department.
     
  • Furnish advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the President and the Cabinet and to the heads of the executive departments and agencies of the government, as provided by law.
     
  • Make recommendations to the President concerning appointments to federal judicial positions and to positions within the Department, including U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.
     
  • Represent or supervise the representation of the United States Government in the Supreme Court of the United States and all other courts, foreign and domestic, in which the United States is a party or has an interest as may be deemed appropriate.
     
  • Perform or supervise the performance of other duties required by statute or Executive Order.

Source; The Department of Justice website; The Office of Attorney General.

 

This was an investigation of the Trump administration. The AG was appointed by Trump.

The AG on the recommendations of the Justice Department, in this case Rosenstein and Mueller, is the sole decision maker on whether or not to prosecute. He decided not to. He did not see any sufficient evidence in this report proving that Trump obstructed justice.

I do not understand where it is written that the AG has this power, especially when it pertains to the president.  Nor do I understand how exactly this would play out if he did decide to press charges. The AG is supposed to represent the United States, in this case it would be against the president. The president who appointed him, and the president who can fire him. One does not have to be a legal scholar to see the flaw in this set up.

That being said, it is a joke that no one really knows if a sitting president can be indicted or not.  Article 2, Section 4 of The Articles of Confederation state;

The president, vice-president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. 

How exactly is one supposed to get a conviction of a president if the president cannot be indicted? It seems to me that the requirement of a conviction before being removed from office would indicate that the president would have to stand trial to be convicted and how exactly can one convict without and indictment? And how can the only office that has the power of impeachment  decide whether or not to impeach without first having all the evidence needed to make this decision? The fact that members of the House are being denied the findings of an investigation that would enable them to decide whether or not to impeach a president is in itself obstruction of justice by the Attorney General who was appointed by the President; and there is no doubt in my mind or many others that the choice of this appointment was swayed by the fact that the president knew his appointee didn’t believe the president could be indicted.

The corruption, what fills the swamp is not the politicians alone it is the very system which allows for this corruption in the first place.

 

 

 

Loss of Patriotism


I have been experiencing the longest period of writers block ever. I can usually put my finger on why I go through these phases rather quickly and then the gates open soon after. This time I have knowingly been in denial as to why, I have lost my patriotism and it has left me speechless.

This loss of patriotism didn’t happen overnight.  In my lifetime I have seen the assassination of a President that to this day has never been conclusively solved and the people have been fed story after story none of which would be believed by anyone of sound mind. I have seen the Viet Nam war and all the crimes against humanity committed by our own military and government leaders. I have seen the Civil Rights movement and the assassinations of its leaders, the shameful and criminal treatment of black people in this country that is still there today that has brought no action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen a mass shooting practically every day for years and years with no action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen the discrimination against women that has still not brought action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen Watergate. I have heard the lies and conspiracy theories about 9/11. I also grew up in Los Alamos N.M. where the atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of people; and the hydrogen bombs that were tested for decades were built. I know the atrocities committed by human beings against our own kind. 

All these things and my knowledge of history chipped away at my patriotism all my life, but I still had a hint of pride in the country I lived in.

I had an idea of what we as a nation could be and it gave me reason to keep up my activism. Sometimes with a fervor.

When I went to D.C. and stood before the Lincoln Memorial; on the spot where MLK gave his famous speech my eyes welled up.  I felt a sense of awe at the majesty of the Capitol Building and felt inspired at the engraved words on the walls of the Library of Congress. Standing in front of the White House I felt humbled. 

Then I walked up to the Jefferson Memorial. And though I had formed my opinions of Jefferson long ago, written many words expressing my anger at his hypocrisy, it wasn’t until I saw the larger than life marble statue of the man and his words engraved in stone that stood dozens of feet high that my anger made me question my patriotism.

Martin Luther King Jr. was memorialized by a square block the size of a doormat that one could walk over without even noticing it was any different than the ones around it; you had to be looking down as you walked to see it and it was in front of a magnificently large figure of Lincoln that one couldn’t help but be looking up at as you walked across the stone of the peaceful black preacher who influenced our country as much as the man who freed his ancestors from slavery.

And there was Thomas Jefferson. The size of mythical giant. An entire building dedicated to a man who owned hundreds of slaves when he wrote the words ‘all men are created equal’. A man who refused to free his own slaves. I have heard all the defenses of why he would not do so; the loss of income would have left him poor, he would lose his plantation. That is what great men do. Great men deserving of such a monument sacrifice fortunes and even their own lives to do the right thing especially over something like slavery.  And this glorified slave owner is known to have fathered many illegitimate children through the rape of his female slaves. Thomas Jefferson was a serial rapist and there he is larger than life in front of the words that immortalize him and prove his hypocrisy at the same time.

Those words are hollow. Those words are an insult to my intelligence. Those words were also very carefully chosen.

Many days and many hours were spent at conventions with debates over those words. Each and every word was considered as was it’s placement. Those words were meant to be the bond between the people and their representatives. Those words dictate our very lives and the rights we have to them. Those words define what patriotism in America is. 

Patriotism is learned. Patriotism is taught in the lessons of the founding of America. Lessons that are taught through the words of the founding fathers and those documents that are encased in glass, preserved as if they were sacrosanct. The words ‘endowed by their creator’ bring the reverence of scripture to those words. It also makes a belief in god part of the doctrine of American patriotism. 

I still felt a sense of patriotism, maybe diminished but it was there.

Then Trump became president.

My patriotism turned to cynicism. Cynicism turned to poco-curantism. 

All that has happened in this presidency has done more to erode my patriotism than everything up to his being elected. Not just because he was elected but because Trump has brought to light all the many many many flaws in our Constitution. Trump has not made a mockery of it he has merely shown what a mockery it already was.

There is no uniting this country. The Constitution itself sets up the divide that has always been there. The Constitution is the perfect script for a reality show and America finally cast the perfect man for the leading role.

In a true democracy where the majority rules, only the majority rules. The minority is not considered what so ever. Their voices are not heard, their wants, needs or demands are ignored, they have no right to be protected from injustice resulting from the majority rule. A Constitutional Republic is meant to be more ‘fair’ than a true democracy.  Here we have representatives that speak for us. We have representatives that fight for rights of the minority; to protect us from injustice of the majority rule.

Our government is meant to assure that not one person or office has absolute power over any other. Three separate offices of equal power; a balance of powers. All these offices are made up of the representatives we the people put there by the process of elections. Every vote counted.

Sounds fair right?

Read the fine print.

Let’s break it down. The Legislative Office. These are all elected officials. Congress which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate consists of representatives from each state. The House consists of representatives from every district within each state. Though both are one office they are separate bodies of power. Both bodies have representatives from both parties. Both bodies have ranking members that come from the majority party within each body.  The House must vote first and what passes then goes to the Senate for a vote.

A vote that will only be taken if the Senate majority leader brings it to the floor. The Senate majority leader has absolute power of what gets a vote and what doesn’t.

The Executive Office. These are elected officials. Every citizen gets to vote for this office. However we do not get to directly elect who holds this office. The Electoral College does. The Electoral College is made up of people who are voted in by party committees. These committees consist of members of the House and Senate. So the House majority party and the Senate majority party get more votes resulting in their party having the majority of electorates. In short if Republicans are the the majority party in the House or the Senate then the Republican party gets more electorates. Which means the Republican candidate will most likely win the electoral vote and become president.

The Judicial Office. The Supreme Court. This office is made up of judges appointed by the president. These are lifetime appointments. The must be confirmed by Congress. If the president is a Democrat and nominates a judge, and Congress has a Democrat majority the nominated judge who will most likely also be a Democrat will most likely be approved. However is the president is a Democrat and nominates a Democrat judge but Republicans are the majority the judge most likely won’t be approved.

Now, judges that are approved hold a seat on the court that are there to rule on laws that are passed and whether or not they infringe upon our god given rights. (No there is no separation of church and state when behind the bench of the highest court in the land it says In God We Trust underneath the sculpted face of Moses who is also engraved in the wooden doors to the court room holding the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.) They are there to interpret the Constitution as it applies to we the people and to the other two offices of power, one of which appointed them and the other of which approved them.

Then we have the other offices of the administration. The Department of Justice for one whose head is the Attorney General who is appointed by the president. The AG goes through the same process of Congressional approval. The AG has the absolute power over what will be brought before the Supreme Court. The AG has the say of what if any charges will be brought against the United States of America which includes the offices of power.

Where is there any balance of power?

Trump is proving every day that the joke is really on us. Because that is how I see those words now, as a joke.

And not a very funny one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Is This Democratic?


Our government is supposed to be a Democratic Republic. The founding fathers drafted all those documents to assure this. Either they failed miserably or they had a different idea of what democracy means.

There has been a lot of finger pointing as to who is dividing this country. There isn’t much dispute about the fact that the country is divided, the dispute is who is dividing us. Truth is the founding fathers did from the get go.

The Constitution is the foundation for how our government is structured. It is supposed to be a system of checks and balances, at least the founding fathers said it was yet they set it up to be anything but. The president who is an elected official, only needs to be a natural born citizen, over 35 years of age and must have resided in the country for a certain number of years. That’s it. Those are all the qualifications necessary to occupy the office of the most powerful person in the free world. A high school equivalency is not even required. There is no application to fill out, no resume’ submitted. There isn’t even a basic quiz to demonstrate literacy on any level. Now I get that the founders were all wrapped up in this new found freedom, that they wanted to start a new world where anyone could achieve anything they wished; anyone could obtain the American Dream. I don’t think they put anymore thought into it than that.

The president who doesn’t have to have a minute of experience in anything, who can literally have zero knowledge of or even a fundamental understanding of government operations, policies, procedures or laws. No military experience is required for the president who is also the Commander in Chief of all 4 branches of the Military. The president doesn’t have to have a clue about the  cabinets and departments under his command; what they do, how they do it or who is supposed to answer to who. The president is the one who appoints people to head the Secretary of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. The president can nominate anyone for any position regardless of there expertise or experience in that particular office or in public service of any kind.

The president also appoints the Attorney General and Supreme Court Justices the former is the office that is suppose to represent the government and the latter is supposed to be part of the system of checks and balances. Given just that fact right there the system is doomed to fail. The president has hire and fire authority over the offices that are responsible for keeping the executive office in check. The president is the only one who has that authority.  The president also appoints  the heads of the FBI, the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff and circuit court judges. The presidents authority to fill all these position absolutely undermines the idea of democracy, how is this a fair system when only one party has the right to control everything unchecked?

And these positions are filled and vacated with each presidential term, which means that the fundamental administrative procedures can be completely different every four years. Procedures like environmental protection which includes laws on emissions and industrial pollution, control over educational standards and budgeting, health insurance laws, women’s rights, rules for financial institutions, tax rates, gun laws, marriage laws. This  is absolute instability and chaos, especially when the person in charge has no idea of how things he is in charge of operate.

Now lets look at Congress. This whole idea is anything but democratic. The Speaker of the House has the absolute authority over what comes up for or vote; and what doesn’t. How is it democratic to refuse to let something like gun control law proposals to be voted on? And when the speaker is from one party and members of the other party know that a bill they don’t want passed is up for a vote they have the option to take advantage of  this wonderfully brilliant idea called filibuster. A filibuster is when a member of Congress uses their right to debate a bill on the floor to simply run out the clock, like a quarterback taking a knee and running the clock out. Ted Cruz a republican actually spent over 12 hours reading Dr. Seuss books. Seriously. The clock ran out and the bill didn’t get voted on so it was just simply filed away and that was that. Better yet is the right that one party has to just change the rules when they know a bill they want passed is not going to get the votes needed to pass by lowering that number. For any individual bill they can just decide that only 51 votes is needed instead of the standard 61. Very democratic.

There are many other things that upset this system of checks and balances as well as the democratic process like the president meeting with members of his own party within Congress without the other party members of Congress there. The current administration is currently under investigation for collusion with Russians. Those in question seem to be very indiscreet and bold in their actions and attitude about the whole thing. Why shouldn’t they be? If they are indicted or found guilty the president can just pardon them. Sweet deal if you are someone who is willing to commit crimes to benefit the president. This not only allows room for criminal activity it practically guarantees it.

The simple fact that there can be, or always is a house majority negates any hope of democracy. When one party ‘controls’ the Congress and one party is represented by the highest office in the land how is that a democratic government?

 

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Looking at Racism Through White Eyes


All though I am of Hispanic descent on my dad’s side the Irish and the Pennsylvania Dutch took hold of my appearance. I grew up in a town where there was only one black family that I know of in the one high school town of Los Alamos. I never personally saw or experienced bad neighborhoods, (Los Alamos is one of the wealthiest towns with the most Phd’s in the country) or segregated schools or even different classes really for that matter. The closest thing to this was Espanola which was several miles away, down from ‘The Hill’ as we used to call our little home town.

Racism just wasn’t an issue or even a forethought growing up. As a young adult I became very interested in history. I studied the Civil Rights movements, I read as many books as possible and watched endless documentaries on the subject. I saw how horrible people were and the activism was awoken in me. My kids were raised in this environment and were subjected to endless hours of discussion and documentaries on the issues of racism and sexism. I raised them to be open minded and to stand up for what was right and to speak out against prejudices and injustices in the world.

I feel deeply about this issue but as a white person I can never really empathize with racism, as a woman I can absolutely empathize with oppression but not on the level that black people do.

I can and do talk about racism with my friends and family and do what I can to help end it. But one thing I can never do is talk to black people about it. I don’t know any personally. The couple of times I have reached out to a black person on social media and tried to discuss racism on any level whether is was asking what offended them and why or to offer my support I have received a somewhat indifferent cold shoulder with minimal response, just enough to not ignore me or I have been chastised with comments like ‘don’t pretend to know how I feel’ or ‘you can’t possibly understand’. They’re right, I don’t know how they feel nor do I really understand.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t give a damn about racism, it’s doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to fight racism, it doesn’t mean I am trying to apologize for my whiteness or that I am being or doing anything other than genuinely wanting to end racism.

I read a lot of articles and posts about how difficult it is for black people to talk to white people about racism. But I never see or hear any white people speak out about how hard it is for those of us who are not racists to bring it up or even join in the conversation with black people.

And I don’t know how to fix that.


With all the controversy surrounding the NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem their is one complaint that I hear more than any other, that taking a knee during the National Anthem is disrespecting the flag and the veterans who fought and died defending that flag. I hear the same people telling me I must respect Donald Trump just because he is our president.

I have yet to hear one veteran saying this. I am the daughter and sister of veterans who actually say they didn’t fight to defend the flag or the anthem. They fought to defend our freedom. That freedom includes freedom of expression.

That being said this idea that we have to respect the flag, the anthem and the president for that matter, blindly respect them just because they are symbols of America is deeply disturbing to me. In life people have to earn respect. I raised my children to never disrespect an adult but I also taught them that they do not have to respect every adult just because they are adults.  (Let me say here that not showing respect and disrespect are two very different things.) Every adult have to earn  respect, even from children. I believe that, that blind respect is why many children are abused and molested because they are taught that they cannot say no to an adult and that they must respect what they say.

There are and have been many countries whose leaders demand respect blindly. Countries that have their leaders faces plastered on the sides of buildings several stories high. These are the same leaders who starve, enslave and murder their own people. They must pay homage to flags that represent regimes like Kim Jong-Un or Mao Tse-Tung.

Just like people flags have to earn respect as well. I have respect for the American flag, for what it could and should represent but I don’t have respect for what does represent and that is a country with a president who is a white supremacist and misogynist.

Then there is the complaint that these athletes should not be expressing their political views while ‘working’. First and foremost this is not a political view. Yes they make millions of dollars and yes without the fans they would be nothing and many those same fans are calling for them to be released or fined or suspended. Many even call them ungrateful. Ungrateful? The fact that they are willing to lose it all, to sacrifice all that money, fame and fan adoration for a cause they believe in is worthy of my admiration alone. That’s what great men do, they sacrifice for the sake of others, they risk it all for what is right. If Thomas Jefferson had been such a man he would have suffered the economic loss to his plantation and released his own slaves before he wrote those words ‘all men are created equal…’, had he had the courage of his convictions maybe these athletes wouldn’t have to take the knee in protest today.

The very first public protest against racism by an athlete was during the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal platform after receiving their Gold and Bronze medals and raised their fists during the National Anthem, with Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman showing support by wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights campaign button on his uniform.

They paid a heavy price for their action by being barred from the Olympics for life and the backlash here at home was loss of employment and they even faced death threats.

If the Olympic committee would have acknowledged the struggle for racial equality instead of banning two great black athletes maybe these athletes wouldn’t have to take a knee today.

I admire these athletes for the stand they are taking. I don’t admire Donald Trump for chastising them, he is the embarrassment to this country not those football players, those football players do us proud.

The Salute

 

 

Steve Bannon; Fired or Reassigned.


What the news reported is that Steve Bannon was fired or let go, or that he was forced to resign The manner in which he left the Trump administration isn’t the only a factor here. The reasons why he left the point that matters here.

Bannon and Trump have been ‘friends’ for a long time. Trump had nothing but kind words about Bannon after he left. Trump doesn’t do niceties. They had no falling out nor was Trump pressured into letting Bannon go. Trump doesn’t do anything unless there is something in it for Trump.

Bannon had no business being any where near the White House in the first place. This is a man who is undeniably a Nationalist, racist and misogynist. His magazine speaks for his views. He was given a key position in Trumps administration and a very high security clearance. What his position really was I am unclear of. I doubt the role of Senior Adviser requires a top security clearance that allows you to sit in on highly classified meetings.

So now Steve Bannon has 6 months of learning the ins and out of the workings or the White House, he has 6 months of clearance to classified information, 6 months of networking among the Washington politically elite.

Now he is back out in the real world and returned as the editor for the American editions of Brietbart Magazine which here in America at least is a White Nationalist rag. If we think he was dangerous in the White House, think about how dangerous he will be out of it with an unobstructed view of Capitol Hill.

He was let go supposedly because he was hurting the Trump White House. But one should read between the lines on this one. I think he was let go to better help the Trump administration. He is no longer expected to be politically correct, he is no longer under the restrictions of Constitutional governing, he is no longer required to follow Presidential protocol, he is no longer the rest of the administrations responsibility or concern in a legal sense. He can no longer be held accountable as a government official for any of his actions, his beliefs or his advice to his good old buddy President Trump.

We cannot afford to let Steve Bannon slither under the radar without anyone seeing him coming. Mark my words. There are more things going on in Washington and on Capitol Hill than are dreamt  of in our nightmares.

Subliminal Influences


There are some influences that are known to be subliminal.  We all know racism, bigotry and misogyny for example are learned. We usually think of these attitudes as being learned from parents, teachers or other adult influences in our lives. I don’t think that many of these influences are intentional, that we may not even realize we are teaching these ideas at all.

Fairy tales, bedtime stories. tales around the campfire, legends and literature have other things in common other than being sources for entertainment, they all subliminally influence or ideas of racism.  The Knight in shining armor on a white horse, the young beautiful blond haired blue eyed princess or handsome prince who lives in a beautiful crystal palace always represent whats pure and good, what’s desirable to be or to have. The fallen warrior or bastard son of a king on a black horse, wearing dark clothing or armor, the old ugly witch or dark haired spinster that lives in a dark cave always represent whats tainted and evil, what’s undesirable to be or have.

Brides wear white, they are innocent and naive, widows and mourners wear black, they are old and mean. The good witch of the north wore white and had blonde hair with blue eyes, the wicked witch of the east wore black, had dark and eyes. Doctors where white coats, they cure and save lives, morticians are usually dressed in dark suits, they embalm and bury dead people. Snow is considered crisp and clean while mud is considered slimy and dirty. The white flag is used for a truce while a black flag is an emblem for piracy or anarchism. Angels wear white, god wears white while demons are black skinned and have dark eyes. Daytime and sunlight are considered safe while night time and the darkness are something to be afraid of. The unicorn is white while the devil dogs are black. White is good and beautiful. Black is evil and ugly.

In the middle ages when owning possessions began to determine your social status, women were such a possession and her appearance set her worth. Lady’s of class were expected to have the whitest of skin. This skin color distinction came from the fact that the working class would labor outside where they were in the sun. Servant women were the ones who hung out the wash, got food from the garden, went to the market etc. Their skin would tan, darken. A lady never did these menial tasks and therefore not exposed to the sun, leaving her skin a nice white complexion. Pale skin was desirable because the life of a lady, a life of wealth and luxury with servants was what every woman wanted, it was good. No woman wanted to be a servant. Dark skin was undesirable because the life of a servant, a life of labor and poverty serving others was not what any one wanted. White is desirable. Dark is loathsome.

These influences come from books, movies and advertisements. These subliminal messages have to influence our ideas about race. On some level. We are all in these subtle ways part of the problem when we tell those stories to our children.

Hitler carefully and purposefully used the word ‘exterminate’ the Jews. Not kill, not murder not put to death…exterminate. One murders or kills people, one exterminates insects or rats. Using that word subliminally is part of the reason Hitler was able to get an entire nation to help with this cause, or at least to be indifferent about it.

Then there’s calling a storm violent, or raging or even harsh not only personify how we look at weather but it subliminally convinces people that these events are the result of gods wrath.

The use of a word however inconsequential it may seem can brainwash an entire population. The use of an image can blind a generation. Subliminal messaging can oppress and enslave entire races of people.

Just something to think about.

 

Salt and Fire


This film was directed by Werner Herzog. I know him from his film Dinotasia but he does a variety of off the cuff films that bring awareness to various historical events.  Lawrence Krauss has a supporting role in the film, his film debut was quite entertaining.

The films intention was to bring awareness to climate change. This was meant to be a different point of view than the film Before The Flood but about the same subject of climate change.

I found the film hard to follow. I was left with a feeling of ‘what was that all about’. With the dialogue that followed I understood what Herzog was aiming for but I personally felt he fell short. Jeffrey Sachs was also on stage for the dialogue, he is an economist who currently works in Washington with Congress providing advice that isn’t very often listened to regarding the need for funding to fight climate change. He was very outspoken about the refusal to acknowledge this disaster on Capitol Hill. Krauss was as I said entertaining in the film and I loved it.

It was worth going to see because Krauss was in it but I didn’t think much of the film otherwise to be honest. Still a great cause to bring awareness to climate change and props to Krauss for doing so.

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Before The Flood


This film was directed by Fisher Stevens, I remembered him from the movie Short Circuit. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates and travels the world speaking to experts and speaking before large audiences about climate  change. It is a very powerful deliverance of the dangers of ignoring this disaster. There is continuously stunning footage how the world is slowing warming and offers strong evidence and scientific data to back up these claims. DiCaprio is admirably using his celebrity status to promote awareness for this cause. I found the film informative and captivating, even for someone who is painfully aware of what is happening there is more too see here.

Krauss had a great conversation with Fisher Stevens following the film. It is very obvious that bringing awareness to climate change is something both Stevens and DiCaprio believe in wholeheartedly and that they are not in this for the fame or the glory but for the good of mankind.

And as always Professor Krauss was warm, friendly and enthusiastic after the event at the book signing. I am out of books for him to sign but he did sign my program and graciously took a photo with me.19401891_10214004907145158_2225545743545626441_o

Great Debate: the Future of Artificial Intelligence, Who’s In Control


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Eric Horvitz is managing director of Microsoft Research’s main Redmond Lab, an American computer scientist, and technical fellow at Microsoft. Horvitz received his PhD and MD degrees at Stanford University, and has continued his research and work in areas that span theoretical and practical challenges of machine learning and inference, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and more. He is a fellow of numerous associations and academies, has received numerous awards, given both technical lectures and presentations for diverse audiences, and been featured in the New York Times and Technology Review.

Jaan Tallinn is co-founder of Skype, Estonian programmer, investor and physicist. He is partner and co-founder of the development company Bluemoon, Board of Sponsors member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute. He strongly promotes the study of existential risk and artificial intelligence, and the long-term planning and mitigation of potential challenges.

Kathleen Fisher is a professor in and the chair of the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. Previously, she was a program manager at DARPA where she started and managed the HACMS and PPAML programs, a consulting faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, and a principal member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Labs Research. Kathleen’s research focuses on advancing the theory and practice of programming languages and on applying ideas from the programming language community to the problem of ad hoc data management.

Subbarao Kambhampati is a professor of Computer Science at ASU, and is the current president of the Association for the Advancement of AI (AAAI). His research focuses on automated planning and decision making, especially in the context of human-aware AI systems. He is an award-winning teacher and spends significant time pondering the public perceptions and societal impacts of AI. He was an NSF young investigator, and is a fellow of AAAI. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and his PhD from University of Maryland, College Park.

Lawrence Krauss is an author, professor, physicist, public intellectual and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, where he is also Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics.

The Origins Panel will bring rich, enthusiastic, and perhaps surprising perspectives to these questions of vital importance for our future having to do with the challenges and benefits of upcoming developments as AI changes our world.

This public event is associated with a closed scientific workshop that will be held to spark discussions, asking participants to envision and address potential adverse outcomes of artificial intelligence.

Materiality of a Vacuum


Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek is Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Origins Project Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University. He received the Nobel Prize in 2004 for his work on asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong interaction. From the Origins Web Site.

The lecture was actually rather enjoyable. I was afraid it would be over my head but Professor Wilczek has a way of putting things that are not only comprehensible but funny in a geeky sort of way.

He posed the plausibility of parallel 2 dimensional worlds that left one thinking.

The dialogue following the lecture was the typical physicist banter and subtle competition fueled a little disagreement here and there. It was a good evening.

And I got my 10th and final book signed. Professor Krauss was gracious as always.

My Brief Interview With Professor Krauss


Professor Lawrence M Krauss graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me on his thoughts about some things Robert Oppenheimer wrote. Here are the first few. I hope to get a couple more out of him but we shall see. I am very grateful he took time out of his busy schedule to indulge me.

Conversation: Inconvenient Truths – From Love to Extinctions


This panel consisted of writer Elizabeth Kolbert, publisher of Skeptic Magazine Michael Shermer and professor and archaeologist Curtis Marean.

Kolbert talked about species that have gone or are near extinction; very informative, archaeoligist Marean discussed the evolution of man and how they migrated and populated the earth. He talked about the traces of Neanderthal DNA in today’s humans.

Michael Shermer who is one of my favorite intellectuals discussed ways to engage in civil debate and conversation with those of opposing views on subjects that can get pretty heated like religion.

 

And as always Professor Krauss was personable and gracious. He signed my copy of Beyond Star Trek. Shermer signed my copy of The Moral Arc and took a photo with me. I will post links to the video when it airs.

Political Bodies; Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights


This was an excellent dialogue. Two of the panelists were Transgender and they had some very powerful stories to tell. The fact that Lawrence Krauss is socially aware in areas that don’t intersect with science speaks volumes to his character.

And again he had time to sign two books this event, my copy of Quintessence and The Fifth Essence.

Here are the links:

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 1

Sex, Gender and Reproductive Rights Part 2

Mariette DiChristina and Lawrence Krauss


Mariette DiChristina is the editor of Scientific Magazine and it seems a good friend of Krauss’. She was interesting and funny, though she doesn’t have a scientific background, which actually makes her more appealing to us average Joe’s, she has a good grasp of scientific knowledge and she is a logical thinker as well as an experienced journalist. I enjoyed the evening very much.

And as always Krauss had time to sign another book, my copy of Lee Burvine’s The Kafir Project for which Krauss wrote the forward.

The questions; Did you re-publish the uncensored article by Hans Bethe and Have you ever published anything by Oppenheimer were mine.

Here are the links:

DiChristina Part 1

DiChristina Part 2

Dialogue: Downs and Krauss


This one was extra interesting as I grew getting my news from Hugh Downs and watching 60 Minutes. Downs is in his 90’s and incredibly sharp witted, age doesn’t seemed to have muddled his mind. He forgot a few details when answering questions but just little details and only a couple. He was funny and warm.

As usual Krauss was his awesome gracious self. He signed my copy of Hiding in the Mirror.

The question; Have you ever protected a source that you felt shouldn’t be protected was mine.

Here are the links:

Hugh Downs Part 1

Hugh Downs Part 2

Einstein’s Legacy; Celebrating 100 Years of the Theory of Relativity.


I most definitely have to admit I was in a little over my head on this one. However, Krauss as usual explains things so that any layman can understand physics, at least the basic principles of it. He had a panel of scientists for this one, Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at California Institute of Technology, Kip Thorne, Theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Adam RiessDiana Kormos-Buchwald, Professor of History at California Institute of Technology and director of the Einstein’s Papers Project.

The discussion was very interesting, I learned several things about Einstein’s career that I didn’t know before. They also discussed the discovery of gravitational waves! The last guest to speak on the panel was Kip Thorne, he was the science adviser on the movie Interstellar. I hadn’t watched the movie but did so a couple of days later. It was fun to have heard the inside scoop on some of the scenes.

As usual Krauss was very personable with his fans and at the book signing. He signed my copy of Atom.

Here are the links:

Einstein’s Legacy Part One

Einstein’s Legacy Part Two

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