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Barbara Bush Funeral
April 21, 2018
Thank you MSNBC for airing the funeral at St. Martin's Church, Houston. Crying practically through the whole thing I let go of the anger I'd been holding inside from the Gulf War and the Iraq War. Now I don't hate the Bushes anymore. That's completely gone, washed away.
I am a lifelong pacifist and idealist who keeps foolishly believing someday the human race will evolve to learn to communicate and use nonviolent means to settle differences. You can just bet I was a tortured soul during both Bush presidencies and hated the Bush family.
The last few days I've learned much about Barbara Bush. I had no idea the Bush family was coming from a place of love. Now I get it. All I saw before this was her gruff exterior. Many people I know are having the same realizations, maybe especially people who were alive and voting in the years of both of those wars.
I want to take Barbara Bush's love with me into the next week when I must bear the next chapter America's "situation." For one thing, I will memorize this feeling of what love feels like and think about how we were trying to achieve the American dream. The dream still eludes us obviously, but like a war - maybe it's not any one person's fault.
Life is incredibly complex. However, it's clear today: love of feeling American and working together to make our country what we want it to be is the shield to protect us in the Cyber-cold War. The Russians want to destroy us by dividing us. They want to make us hate our government. But I'm not the only one who sees through their hate and jealousy. People across the country are crying and praying America will heal. Now today achieving forgiveness - we win.
How Today's Young People Roll
April 20, 2018
Today is nineteen years since Colombine. God that takes me back. I remember where I was sitting when I saw that on the news, and how shocked and depressed I felt when I heard it. Where your parents and grandparents grew up it was much, much safer because not every nut job had these weapons. It's tragic that despite everyone's most sincere efforts, the money spigot on the NRA (and Russia?) has won so far.
Surrealist News shout out to the students who walked out of their classes today. Please continue to speak out. This world is your inheritance, so dream it how you want it to be. Thank you for being so pro-voting - that's what we need.*
How Today's Old People Roll
April 20, 2018
Happy 4/20 old people - this is the first year we've heard the words "evolve" and "marijuana" in the same sentence. Celebrate!
On the Passing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush
April 18, 2018
Yesterday we witnessed the peaceful passing of a great soul. My sincere apologies and sympathies to the Bush family and others who loved her.
Now I realize we're all on the same side against a common threat: Russian military-grade propaganda influencing our culture. If you don't work for Russia, I want to reach out and be friends, so we all need each other a lot more in light of all that has come to pass since 2016.
So just for today, this week, or as long as you can - be one of those Americans who stands united in sadness for what we could be if we would just treat each other with respect. All human beings deserve respect.
March for Our Lives
Thousands gathered at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix on March 24. Following are photos by Louise Harris.
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
March for Our Lives in Santa Barbara
Marches took place on the same day across the country. I was in Santa Barbara, so I attended the march there. People gathered at De La Guerra Plaza, then marched north on State Street, around and back to the Plaza. It was a great day. - Nori
#MarchForOurLives Phoenix, Arizona
March 24 @ 10:00 am, Arizona State Capitol
Student-led protests in response to gun violence continue. We encourage everyone to attend. This is our time to push for gun regulation and mental health counseling. We will be heard and things will change.
Getting out to protest is the best medicine for these times.
Events are happening on a daily basis, and the best place to find out what’s going on is here: https://azresist.org
The weekly protests continue in front of Senators McCain and Flakes’ offices Tuesday mornings on Camelback Road. For more information, contact:
Haunting Words from 4-Star General Ret.
March 16, 2018
Ret. Four Star US Army General Barry McCaffrey
America's Teenagers Demand Safety in Schools
March 14, 2018
High school students across America walked out of class today to march in solidarity for gun control. Today marks one month since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and students across the country observed seventeen minutes of silence for the victims of Parkland.
Here at Surrealist News we are proud of these young people and stand with them. Enough is enough. Our country is divided, and putting military-style weapons on the streets is wrong. These young people recognize the truth and we support them.
Rebirth of the Cold War
March 14, 2018
Russians have reignited the Cold War with their March 4 chemical attack in Salisbury, England. This, following their meddling in other country's elections makes them a menace to the world. Unfortunately, Russia has followed in the footsteps of its ghost father, the Soviet Union.
Why has Russia done this? We may never know, but from what I can tell, it's probably because Russians feel cheated. They gave up their totalitarian ways to form the Russian Federation in 1991, then the rest of the world abandoned them. Yes, the world left the swaddling new country on the church doorstep and said, "Good luck! Call us when you graduate college!" It was a perfect set-up for a tyrant like Putin to step in and take over. He's so good at it, he steals everything and the people cheer him.
Putin wants all the money, like any good oligarch. He's also a ruthless murderer and adorable sociopath with deep insecurity and pain. If America can unite, we can win again, just like we did the first time. And if we do win Cold War II, let's help Russia get it together this time.
How do we win the Cold War? Let's look back at history:
• Rattling our military weaponry
• Competing in the space race
• Better educated population
• Stronger middle class
• More free enterprise
• Well-regulated business world
• Government more honest
• Better social safety net
• Better public infrastructure
• Better public colleges
• Freedom of the press, speech, and religion
• Better modern artists*
Plus we already had a few things in our favor - we were already leaders because we helped win World War II, we have a history of freedom, and our Constitution and other founding documents guarantee our freedom. But all these factors combined to help us win the Cold War. We must get back to that solid moral ground, and try again to be a beacon of light to the world.
March 12, 2018
Just a few questions here after the weekend's crop of scandas. Did Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get her job because her brother Erik Prince went to the Saychelles to set up a secret back channel between Putin and Trump?
Did Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao get her job because her husband, Republic Party Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell kept the Russia investigation quiet during the 2016 election?
Did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson get his job because Putin didn't like Governor Mitt Romney?
These are the questions Americans wrestle with this Monday morning.
Beware Bible-Based Cults
March 1, 2018
The biggest cults in America these days are what they call "bible-based cults." Cult leaders exploit the bible to attract followers. Cults revolve around charismatic leaders, define the outside world as evil, and manipulate followers to reject non-group friends and family. They may shun members who leave. They may demand extreme tithing and investment of time. These groups may be violent toward women and children.
Most evangelical sects are not bible-based cults, but pretending to be evangelical is a good way to fool people to think you're super-religious. That's why some bible-based cults portray themselves as evangelicals. Evangelical sects have been around for hundreds of years; but in the last ten years violent bible-based cults have proliferated on parallel tracks with hate groups, such as those the SPLC tracks.*
Bible-based cults can be as dangerous as any religious cult. Notorious bible-based cults include: Jim Jones (Jonestown), David Koresh (Waco), Charles Manson (the Manson Family), David Berg (Children of God). So if you feel your church could be a cult, listen to your gut feeling. There are plenty of legitimate churches around - stay away from any that creep you out.
Why Trump Won't Talk Russia
February 28, 2018
For a year or more, all the news show talking heads say Trump won't acknowledge Russia hacking because it would delegitimize his victory. That's not it and I yell this at the TV sometimes to no avail: "Trump knows what he did and doesn't want to talk about it."
Social Media as Russian Propaganda
February 22, 2018
If you've been paying attention to the news, you know the Mueller investigation indicted thirteen Russians for injecting propaganda into our social media.* They continue to do it, and they jumped on the gun issue this week, accusing the victims to be actors. Anything that tends to divide us and make us more angry could be coming from the Russians. In 2016, the Russians posted propaganda to make people throw up their hands and not vote. This was effect, and as we all remember, Hillary Clinton's character was unfairly smeared, and Jill Stein benefitted. As far as Bernie Sanders, he asked his voters to shift their support to Hillary, but something went wrong, and his movement went into a tailspin. This was intentional.
Facebook has made some motions to try to bar Russian advertisements, but they've done little to nothing to root out the problem of Russian influence. They may fear purging fraudulent accounts would hurt them financially by lowering their subscription numbers. They seem to be treating the situation as a PR problem, instead of a threat to our country. They claim they can't do anything about it, but they could hire people to look for Russian propaganda and report it. They could pay attention to the hashtags and articles current in propaganda news. Then they could search their site for materials that push those lies.
Facebook's inability to fix this problem immediately is disgusting. Maybe we, the people who give Facebook its content could have a protest. Let's all pick a week when we will boycott Facebook. If enough of us stay away from Facebook for a protest, we can send a message that we see their lazy negligent attitude and will leave them if they continue to provide a platfrom for anti-American propaganda.
Guns and Drugs Rip America Yet Again
February 17, 2017
If you listen to pharmaceutical ads on TV, it's obvious pharmaceutical drugs have side effects. In some cases, the very drugs meant to treat mental illness can cause depression, insomnia, and other emotional changes. Back in the 1970s as a teenager I was under the care of a psychiatrist and was on multiple medications. In particular, Valium, prescribed for sleep, made me feel suicidal. Before that, and after I quit, since that time, I have not felt suicidal.
Back in the beginning of school mass murders, Columbine in 1999, news came out that the shooters were prescribed psychiatric drugs. CNN and other reliable news sources reported this fact, not just Scientology's CCHR International. Scientology and their pseudo-science approach to mental health aside, the real problem may be a combination of easy access to rapid-fire rifles, along with mental health issues. The main issue being the drugs shooters may have been taking.
Violence happens for many reasons, including childhood abuse or family violence, and poverty may have an influence. There are many issues behind the cause of violence, but unfortunately, the two worst problems threaten the bottom line of powerful corporate interests. The gun industry benefits from the National Rifle Association's advocacy, and politicians consider guns beyond reproach. Even though the Second Amendment includes the words "well regulated," the NRA has chipped away at regulation to make multi-fire rifles easy to get, even for terrorists and people with mental issues. The pharmaceutical makers have a similar sort of immunity from regulation, legally or implied.
Further, in some cases it's against the law to keep permanet records of who buys guns, or how guns are used.* There's probably similar prohibitions - legal or implied - against keeping track of how many murderers were taking psychiatric drugs, or other pharmaceuticals with side effects indicating violent behavior.
Mueller's 37-Page Indictment
February 16, 2018
Click here to read the full document.
What Divides Us?
February 12, 2018
An old website, 3rd Party Central,* published this list of criteria to help people decide which political party mirrored their interests. Their premise: our political preferences rest on what we would regulate more, or regulate less. This, and what to fund with your tax dollars, are the arguments that form the basis of our culture wars. Back when they published this list in 1998, times were more progressive than now. However retrograde we have become in the new century, these are still the issues that divide us:
1. regulation of radio, TV, press, and internet content.
2. regulation of licensed gun ownership.
3. regulation of the health care industry.
4. regulation of minimum worker wages, and benefits.
5. regulation of hiring practices, and quota legislation.
6. restrictions on immigration.
7. regulations on use of natural resources.
8. regulations on use of private property.
9. regulation of marijuana and other drugs.
10. regulations on sex by consenting adults.
11. restrictions on abortion.
12. subsidies for the poor.
13. subsidies for scientific research.
14. subsidies for businesses and farms.
15. regulations on lobbying and campaign financing.
16. federal involvement in public education.
17. federal involvement in entitlement programs.
18. federal law enforcement agencies.
19. subsidies for foreign democracies.
20. military defense of other nations.
21. US commitment to the United Nations.
22. taxes on personal income.
23. taxes on corporate income.
24. taxes on gifts and inherited wealth.
25. taxes on imported goods (tariffs).
This list was originally published with this attribution: "Upsetting the political machine since February 1996. 3rd Party Central is a service mark of Keynetic Systems, LLC. Web design by Keynetic Systems © 1998."
February 10, 2018
Dear Democrats - so the Administration has declined your request to release your memo. Now you have more proof they are hypocrites. I can solve that one for you right now: they are hypocrites. You don't need to look for more proof. They are also bullies. You don't need a fight with them.
Instead of sinking to their level, turn it over. You are obviously the adult in the room here, so act like it. It would be great for the rest of us if you let the Dem memo go. You don't need a parade. You don't need to refute them. You need to outsmart them. Being smart is the answer right now. So think - think - think. Observe, listen. Then get some rest. Then come back to the House renewed - and outsmart them.
Why is the Stock Market Crashing?
February 6, 2018
There's an old story of an emperor who was so self-serving, surrounded by sycophants, that when two weavers promised him an outfit that stupid people could not see, he went for it. The emperor proudly wore the new outfit and the sycophants were afraid to tell him he appeared naked. The citizens lived in fear of him, so they didn't speak up. Finally a child who was without fear pointed out: "He isn't wearing anything at all!"
Economic boom and bust cycles do not happen automatically. There are many factors, but in general, good economies are the result of good regulations, progressive income tax policies, a functional government, and fair business practices. Bad economies are the result of bad leadership, bad laws, bad tax policies, and incompetent, self-serving leaders.
Phoenix Women's March in Photos
February 2, 2018
We had 20,000 people for the Phoenix Women's March, held Sunday January 21 at the State Capitol. I was there, but intentionally left my camera at home because I had so much to carry. Luckily, one of my contacts sent a great collection of photos by J. Holden. Her photos catch a feminist wave that takes me back to the seventies. Back then I took a lot of women's studies classes in college and accepted women's rights as an established fact. It's been hard to watch, but over the last couple decades we've seen an erosion of our rights, and the rise of conservative people who want to take away our rights. Thank god women are speaking out now. We are the conscience of humanity. Our voices are strong now, one of the brightest moments for women in the history of the world.
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
Photo by J. Holden
More photos - click here - or scroll down.
Let He Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone - Please
January 30, 2018
Surrealist calls on Republicans in the legislature to stop this president. Is there anyone on the Republican side who is not living in sin with Trump/Russia? If you are not taking money or other help from Russia, you are without sin in this situation - so let's go. Cast a couple stones. The rest of us see what's going on and we want you to protect our status as a sovereign country. Wake up and look at what's going on. He's a useful idiot to Russia, he's obstructing justice, and he's destroying America's reputation worldwide.
If you really are without the sin of Russian complicity, they you have to lead your followers. Don't look at the polls and say, gee everyone else is brainwashed, guess I'll follow the herd. You must lead your people to the light. You are no better than the worst Russian spy or useful idiot if you look at the polls and try to pretend you support this president so you can get reelected. That's a disgrace, and not something you can just rub off. Lies and cowardice stain your soul.
More photos from the Women's March
These are by Louise Harris, one of our protest pals!
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Photo by Louise Harris
Louise got one of me - seen holding a sign that says PRAY. While I'm not a religious fanatic anymore, if there ever was a time to pray, it would be now.
In Fire and Fury, author Michael Wolff came in and worked half our national jigsaw puzzle for us.
Russia Investigation - New Details
December 30, 2017
Today The New York Times reported there was a meeting between foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Australia's most senior diplomat in the U.K., High Commissioner Alexander Downer, in May 2016. At that meeting, Papadopoulos bragged about dirt the Russians had on Hillary Clinton that could throw the election to Donald Trump.
On MSNBC Live today, Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor Nick Ackerman summed this up:
"It seems pretty hard to believe [Papadopoulos] didn't pass this information along to the Trump campaign. . . . this puts the Trump campaign right into the conspiracy to steal these emails and to use them to throw the election to Donald Trump. That's the crime that's being investigated, conspiracy to violate the federal computer hacking law and to use the fruits of that crime to get Donald Trump elected."The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was put in place in 1986. Listen to the discussion: Ackerman-MSNBCLive12-30-2017.
Russia Investigation on its Tracks
December 17, 2017
Today on MSNBC Live, Richard Painter gave the following remarks:
I think if [Trump] fires Robert Mueller on December 22, we're going to have to have a House and Senate Judiciary meeting on December 23rd, on Christmas Eve, on Christmas day, and if we don't get Mike Pence in there in the White House by New Years, then we're going to have a disaster for the Republican party. . . . And this is not like Watergate. This is much worse. This involves collaboration with a foreign adversary to disrupt our democracy.Click here to listen to Richard Painter on MSNBC Live today.
Most Americans Don't Own a Gun
December 10, 2017
This graphic tells the story of America and guns, published earlier this year in the Washington Post. We have 19% who are gun nuts, and 3% who are extremely nuts.
Further math. There are 245,556,000 American adults. Nineteen percent, or 46,655,640 people, own all the guns. Three percent, or 7,366,680, own half the guns.
There are an estimated 270 million to 310 million guns in America, so let's take the average - 290 million guns. If 46,655,640 people own fifty percent of the guns, that makes roughly three guns each. If three percent, 7,366,680 people, own 145,000,000 guns, that's an average of nineteen guns each.
Any gun can be dangerous, but crazy people who hoard guns seem especially dangerous. Out of the three percent who own lots of guns, some are collectors or dealers. The rest are plotting mass murder, a military takeover of the government, or both.
How to Fix Gerrymander-Problem
December 8, 2017
In most parts of America we use the Governmental Rectangular Survey System GRSS to describe the land - and it ought to be the basis for drawing districts. Congressional districts would be adjacent sections inside a township. If the population is too low in one township, group townships together in quadrangles. That's the only fair way to do it. Then put the polling place near the middle of the townships (or quadrangles). Or simply mail in the ballots - the best and least expensive system. Here's a drawing I made of the GRSS for my real estate students.
2020 is Coming Up
December 6, 2017
The Democrats need to find younger candidates to run for president in 2020. To do our part in this quest, Surrealist.org has put together a list of the youngest Democrats in office in Washington.
Name - State - Birth Date - Age
Claire McCaskill Missouri July 24, 1953 64 years
Bob Menendez New Jersey January 1, 1954 63 years
Mark Warner Virginia December 15, 1954 62 years
Joe Donnelly Indiana September 29, 1955 62 years
Sheldon Whitehouse Rhode Island October 20, 1955 62 years
Heidi Heitkamp North Dakota October 30, 1955 62 years
Jon Tester Montana August 21, 1956 61 years
Jeff Merkley Oregon October 24, 1956 61 years
Tim Kaine Virginia February 26, 1958 59 years
Maria Cantwell Washington October 13, 1958 59 years
Gary Peters Michigan December 1, 1958 59 years
Bob Casey, Jr. Pennsylvania April 13, 1960 57 years
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota May 25, 1960 57 years
Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin February 11, 1962 55 years
Chris Coons Delaware September 9, 1963 54 years
Michael Bennet Colorado November 28, 1964 53 years
Kirsten Gillibrand New York December 9, 1966 50 years
Cory Booker New Jersey April 27, 1969 48 years
Martin Heinrich New Mexico October 17, 1971 46 years
Brian Schatz Hawaii October 20, 1972 45 years
Chris Murphy Connecticut August 3, 1973 44 years
Tammy Duckworth Illinois March 12, 1968 50 years
Senator Doug Jones Alabama May 4, 1954 63 years
Tina Smith Minnesota March 4, 1958 59 years
US House of Representatives
Rep. Joe Kennedy III Massachussetts October 4, 1980 37 years
Rep. Mike Quigley Illinois October 17, 1958 59 years
Rep. Adam Smith Washington June 15, 1965 52 years
Rep. Joaquin Castro Texas September 16, 1974 43 years
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries New York August 4, 1970 47 years
Rep. Adam Schiff California June 22, 1960 57 years
Rep. Eric Swalwell California November 16, 1980 37 years
Rep. Ted Lieu California March 29, 1969 49 years
Rep. Jim Himes Connecticut July 5, 1966 51 years
This list is incomplete - please send more names and I'll add them.*
Why Trump Voters Support Trump
December 3, 2017
An article in The Atlantic looks at who voted for Trump and still supports him. Contrary to the popular narrative, Trump voters are not generally financially distressed. They are mostly white people who strongly identify with being white, who feel minorities are holding them back or holding back society. Further, they tend to think society has gone downhill since the 1950s.
The article is "The Nationalist's Delusion: Trumps supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination" - theatlantic.com.
Editor's Note: I've been around since the 1950s. The fifties were great for mid-century architecture and furniture, flashy cars, and the birth of rock 'n roll, but I'm grateful I was never exposed to signs of segregation when I was growing up in Los Angeles. The fifties was a more difficult era for women and people of color. I'm glad to be here in the twenty-first century with better equality for all and fun electronic gadgets.
Women as Equal Humans
November 29 2017
Today on MSNBC's show MTP Daily, Maria Teresa Kumar, Susan Glasser, and Michael Steele talked with Chuck Todd about politicians who treat women like objects. Maria Teresa Kumar made the point we are not as far ahead as we thought culturally. We had our first African American president, then we thought we were ready for our first woman president. Michael Steele made the point - overall, sexual harassment and treating like women has gone on since the beginning of history.
We are witnessing a paradigm change—the emergence of women as equal human beings. This is good news because women have not at all appreciated all the inappropriate touching and other disgusting behavior. We expect a lot from men, and when you turn out to be that type of man, it's disappointing. For the victims it's a disgusting experience.
I want to add, the 2016 election racked up this giant leap for mankind. Hillary Clinton, the wife who was faithful to her sexually promiscuous and abusive husband, lost to Donald J. Trump, a sexual harasser. Maybe it made women more determined to speak out. We have had to be extremely brave over the last year, and that courage is only getting stronger.
The real story here is the emergence of women as equal human beings worthy of respect. This is not the end of that journey, it's the beginning. Be nice to each other people because life is difficult and the goal is to make it better for everyone. Men could start by 'fessing up and stopping their bad behavior. Women can help by remaining calm, honest, and brave. Keep the #metoo movement going.
Trump Mortifies Himself Again
November 27, 2017
Today while Trump was supposed to be honoring Native American Code Talkers, he went off script and called Senator Elizabeth Warren Pacahantas again. On the news tonight, Chris Hayes interviewed Gyasi Ross, attorney, and member of the Blackfeet Nation. Here's part of their exchange.
Chris Hayes: Your response to that scene in the White House today?
Gyasi Ross: Well you know, I want to push back a little bit that this wasn't an insult to Elizabeth Warren. This was an insult to the descendants of Pocahantas.
This was an insult to Native people generally.
This was an insult to Native women.
I would like to paraphrase my elder, my esteemed elder Faith Spotted Eagle, by saying that Donald Trump, his filthy nasty lying deceitful lips do not deserve to utter Pocahantas's name.
And moreover, he certainly doesn't deserve to do it while honoring these men who fought and were willing to use their heritage; use every single resource that they had to leverage to bring victory to the United States.
He certainly doesn't deserve to utter those words at that time.
Editor's note: This statement speaks for me too. Another thing that bothered me was when Trump placed his right hand on the Code Talker's shoulder while telling his little story about Pocahantas. Think of what he has done to innocent women with those hands. It would probably be better for him to keep his insults, racism, and dirty hands to himself.
My Two Cents on Sexual Harassment and Abuse
November 19, 2017
My master's thesis is on whether to use art therapy with juvenile sex offenders. Since earning my degree in 1991, I have used art therapy with abuse victims and people leaving religious cults. Because it's been a continuous thread in my life for twenty-six years, I find it amusing to watch society at large learn and become more aware of sexual harassment and abuse. I also find it interesting society is becoming more aware of the problem of cults, thanks to Leah Remini and other cult discussions on TV.
Although everybody fears and dislikes sexual assault, it's especially difficult for children. They generally find it humiliating, confusing, deeply disturbing—even terrifying. At least adults know about sex and have some experience with it. American parents typically shelter their children from sex and some families never get around to discussing sex with their children. It's terribly hypocritical, since where do children come from? Sex! Plus, knowing nothing about it makes them more vulnerable to abuse.
Nevertheless, if exposed to sex, or talk of sex too young, it can have an adverse effect on children. Thus, parents usually avoid the subject. When a pedophile attempts to lure a child in, the child has no idea what's happening. Children are born innocent, and unwanted sex takes away their innocence. A metaphor I've always used is of tree topping. It's less common today, but back in the 1950s, people routinely topped trees. Topping means men with chainsaws climb up in the tree and cut off the crown. They throw the crown into a chipper and voila—they've taken away the tree's ability to live a normal life. The branches will never grow back the way they were, even if the tree develops suckers and continues to live.
Raping a child, or even harassing a child, or otherwise breaking their emotional boundaries with sex, takes away the child's crown. Acute help from a qualified counselor can mitigate the abuse, and it also mitigates the abuse if the abuser is caught and punished. However, too often, children grow up confused about what happened to them, and often feeling guilty, alienated, and angry after what happened. Victims who never get into recovery usually either turn their anger on themselves, or on others. If they turn it on others, they typically pass the abuse on to younger generations.
The word pedophilia technically refers to abuse of children, and there are other words for sexual abuse of teenagers (hebephilia, early adolescence, and ephebophilia, mid-to-late adolescence). However for legal purposes and otherwise, we typically use the word pedophile to refer to adults who abuse anyone under the age of consent. Pedophiles always try to get the age of consent lowered, so in backward places, the age of consent is too low. Ideally, children can grow up at their own pace, and experiment with physical intimacy toward the end of high school and in college. In the best case scenario, young people fall in love with a compatible mate, marry, and raise a family.
Life is not always a fairy tale, but the more people who are allowed to grow up and take on the world of sexual experience on their own terms, the better. Having sex too young, especially if the experience is violent, leaves lifelong scars. The worst tyrants in history are often unhealed childhood sexual abuse victims. Do your part to raise awareness of the damage sexual abuse causes, and make sure to protect your own children, or get them appropriate qualified counseling if they are abused.
For more information, check out my books and web pages on the subject, listed here: childabuseinfo.
Full Transcript of George W. Bush's Speech
October 19, 2017
Transcript of George W. Bush's speech delivered at the at the "Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World" event in New York, October 19, 2017.
Thank you all. Thank you. Ok, Padilla gracias. So, I painted Ramon. I wish you were still standing here. It's a face only a mother could love - no, it's a fabulous face. (Laughter.) I love you Ramon, thank you very much for being here.
And, Grace Jo thank you for your testimony. And, big Tim. I got to know Tim as a result of Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center along with the Clinton Foundation, with help from 41 and LBJ's libraries.
I am thrilled that friends of ours from Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Venezuela are here as well. These are people who have experienced the absence of freedom and they know what it's like and they know there is a better alternative to tyranny.
Laura and I are thrilled that the Bush Center supporters are here. Bernie [Tom Bernstein], I want to thank you and your committee. I call him Bernie. (Laughter.)
It's amazing to have Secretary Albright share the stage with Condi and Ambassador Haley. For those of you that kind of take things for granted, that's a big deal. (Laughter and Applause.) Thank you.
We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats - yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.
Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other. And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.
For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.
We know, deep down, that repression is not the wave of the future. We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to, or owned by, any culture; it is the inborn hope of our humanity. We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.
This is not to underestimate the historical obstacles to the development of democratic institutions and a democratic culture. Such problems nearly destroyed our country - and that should encourage a spirit of humility and a patience with others. Freedom is not merely a political menu option, or a foreign policy fad; it should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.
That appeal is proved not just by the content of people's hopes, but a noteworthy hypocrisy: No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies. Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.
Yet for years, challenges have been gathering to the principles we hold dear. And, we must take them seriously. Some of these problems are external and obvious. Here in New York City, you know the threat of terrorism all too well. It is being fought even now on distant frontiers and in the hidden world of intelligence and surveillance. There is the frightening, evolving threat of nuclear proliferation and outlaw regimes. And there is an aggressive challenge by Russia and China to the norms and rules of the global order - proposed revisions that always seem to involve less respect for the rights of free nations and less freedom for the individual.
These matters would be difficult under any circumstances. They are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence. Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis. We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism, and deep questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union.
America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.
There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this "democratic deconsolidation." Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.
We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions - forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.
We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism - forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade - forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.
We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments - forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.
In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.
This is part of the reason we meet here today. How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That's the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. That is what Pete Wehner and Tom Melia, who are with us today, have answered with "The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World," a Call to Action paper.
The recommendations come in broad categories. Here they are: First, America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.
America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country's divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it's conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won't succeed. But foreign aggressions - including cyber-attacks, disinformation and financial influence - should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.
The second category of recommendations concerns the projection of American leadership - maintaining America's role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets.
Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement: In the cultivation of new markets for American goods. In the confrontation of security challenges before they fully materialize and arrive on our shores. In the fostering of global health and development as alternatives to suffering and resentment. In the attraction of talent, energy and enterprise from all over the world. In serving as a shining hope for refugees and a voice for dissidents, human rights defenders, and the oppressed.
We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization. People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can't wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions.
And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind. The first step should be to enact policies that encourage robust economic growth by unlocking the potential of the private sector, and for unleashing the creativity and compassion of this country.
A third focus of this document is strengthening democratic citizenship. And here we must put particular emphasis on the values and views of the young.
Our identity as a nation - unlike many other nations - is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. (Applause.) And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.
We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.
Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.
For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.
In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.
Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague. The goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. The Prague Charter, signed by champions of liberty Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, Jose Maria Aznar, called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that suppress peaceful opponents by threats or violence.
Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. Little did we know that repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and to undermine the legitimacy of elections.
Repressive rivals, along with skeptics here at home, misunderstand something important. It is the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority. Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal.
Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence. But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation. The American spirit does not say, "We shall manage," or "We shall make the best of it." It says, "We shall overcome." And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another.
SOS Message to ROW (Rest of World)
October 14, 2017
Message to the rest of the world from Surrealist.org editor Nori Muster. This situation with the big orange is terrifying. We protest, we call our senators, representatives, governors, and mayors every day. We are suffering because this was inflicted on us. The vast majority of us voted against him, or not at all. He was elected by Russia with the help of Facebook and Twitter. Also with preparations from the Republican advance party, which spent decades on voter suppression.
As one individual here, I offer my sincere apologies for what big orange is doing to Iran, North Korea, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and all others he has harmed. Unfortunately, he gets his information from Info Wars, Fox News, and Breitbart, the biggest Russian propaganda stations besides Sputnik and RT.
Most Americans are with me - upset about what's going on. No matter how much we call our public officials, so far they have been completely powerless to act. We will keep trying. Please pray. Our prayer is to protect ourselves from big orange, and bring him to justice. He is finally about to spend the last few pennies left in his karmic savings account. This circus you see taking place here is the theater at the gateway of hell. They allow us to see the play so we get why it's important to be honest, to have an ethical standard, to be kind, to know the truth.
I'm a writer who studies cults and people who were abused in cults. Sadly, the biggest cult in America right now is the network of bible-based cults. Cult leaders can use any philosophy and turn it into propaganda. "God wants you to . . ." goes a long way if you believe in god, and the person saying it is your guru, your link to god. Americans used to go for guru groups, but not so much anymore. That's why bible-based cults have taken over. Most Americans are Christian, so parents are not immediately alarmed when their kid away at college writes home to say they joined a church. Okay. Then it can take years before the parents realize their children are in a cult and their grandchildren have suffered physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse the cult teaches. Here's an interview I gave about a violent bible-based cult in Tucson, Arizona: Steve Goldstein interview, KJZZ FM.
October 8, 2017
Sociologists, political scientists, and futurists have long predicted minorities, all counted together, will outnumber whites in America in the twenty-first century. This destiny has already come to pass in California. Although America is a place where people from around the world can live together free from tyranny, a minority of whites reject this vision.
Unfortunately we have white supremacists, people believe the white race is better than everybody else, and should therefore run the world. They've come together under the slogan, "Make America Great Again." This has come to mean "make sure we never allow people of non-white background to share equally in power ever again."
That explains a lot. Think about it.
Hurricane Maria: West Side Story Redux?
October 7, 2017
There's an old story, West Side Story, where two street gangs fight it out over Maria. The Jets are the white kids and the Sharks are the Puerto Rican kids. Tony, a former member of the Jets, and best friend of the Jet's leader, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks.
West Side Story, a mid-century modern Romeo and Juliet with music by great American composer Leonard Bernstein, came out in 1961. Then fifty-six years later Puerto Rico is devastated when a hurricane named Maria hits. It could be ancient karma, or simply a strange coincidence.
After seventeen days, people are still in danger of dying for lack of clean drinking water. Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico the morning of Wednesday, September 20. This could turn into another Katrina. People can only go so long without food and water. Wake up and deliver, America.
After reading this, a friend added:
"Every time there's a disaster, anywhere, it's always a delivery issue. Let's get creative out there. How about horses, hot air balloons, fishing boats and immediate air drops? You don't need to 'assess' anything to know that people need water and food." - ltbl
And bring solar panels . . .
Russian Bot News Today
November 5, 2017
Russian bots are still insinuated in our social media. Their latest messages to us are meant to sow confusion and dissension over the sports stars who take a knee during the national anthem. Bots have planted fake news about the shooter in Las Vegas. You can always tell fake news, unless you're already bot-brainwashed.
If you find a bot spreading misinformation on Facebook, report it. This is the second best option, since the people who run the social media companies are apparently helpless to do anything about this. Traitors to the country by neglect.
Another way to call out bots is with your friends. We often have friends we don't know in the "real" world, and we may have accepted their friend request because they were apparently friends with your real friends. If one of these unknown people sends you fake news or hate news, first tell them to stop. However, if they appear to be a fake curated account, unfriend and flag them.
If it's a friend in the real world, or a realworld friend on Facebook, inform them of their mistake in sharing fake news. If they can't get it, unfollow them. You'll still be friends, but won't have to put up with the stupid posts they share. This will also prevent people on your feed from seeing their erroneous postings.
Also a request to the media: please keep reporting when you find Russian fake news propaganda is circulating. Quote the headlines and sources so people like us can look for, and flag it. If we flag fake news on social media, it might also alert the social media corporations, who appear to be pretending to sleep.
Most Lethal Mass Shooting
October 5, 2017
On Sunday night, terror broke out at the Las Vegas Strip when idiot madman and millionaire scum Stephen Paddock broke the windows out of his hotel suite above the Mandalay Bay resort and showered bullets on a crowd watching the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Fifty-eight innocent people died, and more than five hundred were wounded.
The Route 91 festival website now shows only this statement:*
On behalf of the entire Route 91 Harvest Family, we are completely devastated by the events that occurred on the night of October 1.
Editor's note: While watching and waiting here at Surrealist News, I already called my legislators begging for gun control. America is awash in a sea of assault weapons and gadgets to make them fire like automatic weapons. The abundance of guns enables senseless violence to continue to take place.
This tragedy strikes home for many, especially here, Las Vegas, being one of my favorite cities.
Senators Report Russia Investigation Progress
October 5, 2017
Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, delivered a chilling progress report yesterday on the Russia investigation. They confirmed with absolute certainty Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. They confirmed the Facebook, Twitter, and other social media's part in Russia's plan. They said they have concluded parts of the planned interviews, but have twenty-five more interviews scheduled for this month.
They Think True Americans are Stupid
September 27, 2017
The Republicans in Washington, DC (with the exception of a few) think we're stupid. Their president promises better health care with lower premiums, then they repeatedly try to shove through a bill that would cut millios of people off their health insurance and reinstate preexisting conditions.
Republicans hold the majority of States, the federal House and Senate, and the White House, but instead of doing something good for the country, all they do is salivate over cutting taxes for the rich. Today they put forward ideas for a tax bill that would raise our taxes and lower theirs.
The Republicans in DC (with the exception of a blessed few) are out of touch. Either they can't hear us, or they pretend they can't hear us. Republican legislators, listen to us: We want good health care we can afford. Also, we want the rich to pay more tax. If you pay more, we can pay less. We want you to pay your fair share to finance the country. It's a good old country.
Myths about Health Insurance
September 23, 2017
My US Senator Jeff Flake went on TV and ranted about how evil and bad Affordable Care Insurance is, and how desperately we need to get rid of it. The Republicans have lied and lied and lied, then topped it off with abuse. They are stingy when it comes to reimbursing the insurance companies for the subsidies, and threaten to not pay at all. They've cut back enrollment times and cut budgets to advertise.
In truth, the ACA has been a godsend for so many Americans. Maybe that's what Republicans don't like about it - anything good for America seems to get under their skin. They say they have to "repeal and replace" because that bit of propaganda got stuck in people's heads. It was pure propaganda and most people who are now in danger of losing their insurance either don't know about it, are too stupid to believe what's at stake, or a few are worried. However, "repeal and replace" is just another lie Trump and his ilk planted in people's heads. It's just another lie, like the birther controversy, or the Hillary email controversy. The Republicans are awash in an ocean of lies and propaganda.
How We Won the Cold War
September 23, 2017
In the opinion of Surrealist.org News, good public education and a social safety net helped America win the Cold War. Rattling our weaponry and using diplomacy also helped, but a big factor in our victory was to provide good public education and good social institutions. We also had more freedom of press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech than Russia. While Russia invested in their military, they neglected their people. During the Cold War, they did their best to cover up rampant poverty and lack of freedoms. They wouldn't even let visitors into their country for tourism for many years. People still live in poverty in Russia, while oligarchs operate the country like a kleptocracy.
America has always been different, we care for each other, and great presidents of the past have instituted pillars of the social safety net to care for Americans in distress. However, beginning with the twenty-first century, it's been a crap shoot. Will you die in miserable death in a broken down public hospital after bankrupting your family? Or will you get your basic needs for medical care taken care of efficiently and go on with your life?
Connecting the dots: who is out to destroy the social safety net in the USA? The Russians? The Republican legislators? Apparently. Who wants to see Americans fighting with each? The Russians? The Republican legislators? Apparently, yes. For example, why would Senator Mitch McConnell refuse to consider President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland? Answer: apparently to drive a wedge and drive good Americans insane. Republicans who benefitted from his obstruction say "bravo, well done," and they get the Supreme Court justice they wanted. They think it's great. They don't even realize how bad it makes the rest of us feel. What happened was not fair. It reeks of anti-Americanism because it gets Americans fighting with each other.
September 23, 2017
InvestigateRussia.org is a new website to compile breaking news about the Russia investigation. Log on to confirm your worst fears.
Dear Petroleum Industry
September 9, 2017
Dear petroleum industry, the storms and fires are here, so as a nation, we've rescued and ushered victims from their soon to be damaged or destroyed homes and cities. Dear petroleum industry, would you please pay for the damages? Even if you didn't cause the climate to go out of wack—and nobody is saying you did—but you have more money than all the rest of us put together.
Strengthen Voting Systems
September 7, 2017
On TV yesterday, Rep. Eric Swalwell said the House Russia-investigation committee is going off off-track again, wasting hours cross examining former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Rice rightly unmasked Americans suspected of playing with Russian election interference. Rice did nothing wrong, so it looks like House members are just trying to stall. Maybe that's to make the yahoos think both sides played a part in something totally on the Republican side. No Hillary did not collude with Russians, sorry. Neither did Susan Rice.
Rep. Swalwell said the number one goal of the House investigation is to secure our voting systems. We know for sure Russian hackers broke into the voter rolls in about half the states. Further, Russians placed propaganda ads in social media, and yesterday Facebook issued a statement admitting they sold ads to a shady Russian p.r. company. We also know Russians troll farms opened thousands of fake accounts on Twitter and other social media, where they launched argument bots with links to to propaganda.
Further House dysfunction: Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed documents from the FBI and Attorney General, without agreement from the rest of the committee, and without first asking for documents without a subpoena. Nunes took this step, even after recusing himself last April because of inappropriate interactions with the White House.
Luckily, there are other investigations and lawsuits on Russian interference into our democracy. However, we need the House investigation to move forward too. There's a lot to do and we have elections coming up in a year. First, we want social media companies to shut down all Russian troll farms on their network. Second, we must use paper ballots - like they did in European countries who realized they were under Russian attack. They are smart and their elections were honest, with the result their citizens wanted.
How stupid are we in America? How aggressively have the Russians infiltrated our system? Without the House investigation, we may never know. Get with it House. We deserve the right to vote because our forefathers died by the thousands to keep us a free country. We win our future when we vote Russia out. If Russia wins, we lose by voting more Russia in. Do you want to wind up like Russia, where the head of state steals all the country's assets for himself? Think about it and call your Representative. Tell them you support Rep. Swalwell and the House Russia investigation and you want them to show their support even if they're not on the committee.
The Art of The Deal
September 6, 2017
Okay, debt ceiling, here's the headline of the day (so far): "Trump Sides With Democrats on Debt Ceiling Extension, Harvey Relief." That's the kind of deal making that could work. However, we never know what to expect next. This has been a stressful, confusing phase of American political history.
Crazy Making Over DACA
September 6, 2017
We support the Dreamers and resent the crazy-making statements about their immigration status yesterday. In the morning, AG Jeff Sessions announced they were out after six months - make plans and pack your bags. Then in the evening, Trump said if Congress doesn't act within six months, he might revisit the issue.
Trump, if you love the Dreamers, stop messing up their lives. Your cop out is not welcome. This is cruel and unusual punishment for people who did nothing wrong.
September 3, 2017
Leaving St. John's Episcopal Church this morning, a reporter shouted: "Mr. President - will you attack North Korea?" Trump said, "We'll see." That was a terrifying moment and hopefully he will not attack. In fact, that was really a bad question. I'm usually not fussy over grammar, specifically double negatives, but this is an example of why we want to think about what we want, instead of what we don't want.
I take the reporter to be a good man, but he got his question so wrong. To the twisted mind of President Trump, he could hear it as, "Mr. President - will you attack North Korea? Pretty please? You can do it, don't be a wimp." Plus it's a double negative - attack is negative and North Korea is negative. If you only get one shot, the proper question would have been: "Mr. President - what will you do about North Korea?"
Somebody should tell Trump he has a chance to show self-control and possibly turn his presidency around. All he has to do is don't react to Kim Jong Un, except to get together with like-minded world leaders and work out a plan together. That's just one of many ways Trump could demonstrate self-control this weekend.
September 3, 2017
You can't prepare for a hurricane like Harvey, I guess. Also last night, apparently Kim Jong Un of North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb. You can't plan for that, either. Thus, today our world is holding together through crisis management. This is the default method of running things for people, and groups of people, who don't plan for emergencies.
During this time of crisis and chaos, we also have a threat hanging over our heads. Will the president turn on the 790,000 Dreamers? America needs to hang together right now, not split ourselves apart at the seams. All this hassle over immigration.
Here's my ancestors' story: they came here on a boat, proved they weren't sick or crazy, signed some paperwork, and got in. Right now we can't be that lenient, but can't we be lenient when there's a good reason? DACA helped our country because it gave a lot of good people a chance to contribute. Isn't that an American value?
Suggestions for Effective Tax Reform
August 30, 2017
These are concrete steps the Senate can take to make taxes more fair for people who make between $9,000 and $400,000 a year.
• Lower or eliminate tax rates for people in the lowest tax brackets. For example, people living in poverty at $9,000 a year currently must pay $900 in federal income taxes, leaving them only $8,100 to live on for a year.
• Lower payroll taxes - let working people take home more of their paychecks.
• Deduct credit card interest - relief for people with heavy credit card debt.
• Tax benefits for people who make their student loan payments in good faith - relief for people struggling under student debt.
• Keep capitol gains low for people who make less than $400k - tax relief for people in lower income tax brackets.
• Keep the $400k tax bracket - people who earn more than $400k per year continue to pay higher capital gains, etc., as instituted five years ago to repeal GWB tax breaks for the rich.
• Set new progressive tax brackets for annual incomes of $1m, $25m, $50m, and $100m. Currently, people who make a hundred million dollars a year pay the same tax rate as people who make a half million a year.
August 26, 2017
Note to history: we are in the second day of Hurricane Harvey, now a storm flooding Houston. In this difficult situation, we bow our heads, no matter what religion (or no religion) we are. We are Americans grieving for our country, and for the people affected in this storm, and for everything that's been going on. It's a gathering of sad events in a scary time.
We pray for peace between America and North Korea
August 18, 2017
Find the facts about the Trump-Russian connections at the Bill Moyers Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump. Link here: billmoyers.com.
Unite-the-Right Tiki Light
August 15, 2017
Tiki Brand published this statement: "Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard" - a little flower growing from the crack of this racist sidewalk. Another advantage of the Tiki Brand lighting - the world can see the faces of the supremacists. Being a racist may feel so natural, they were ready to come out of the closet. They probably didn't calculate they would get consequences for their display of raw hate.
The best way to heal hatred is to experience the consequences of the philosophy. Just by virtue of being a supremacist, you turn parts of the world against yourself. You even turn parts of your inner self against yourself. You deprive yourself of the ability to improve. The first step to becoming a better person is to admit to yourself the obstacles you face in daily life are either of your own making, or things you can overcome if you try. You might even try making friends with people outside of your own race.
My theory is hate is rooted in child abuse. Unhealed child abuse victims become fixated at the age the abuse started. It's like topping a tree. Once the crown of the tree - compared to the child's innocence - is gone, the tree cannot grow into a mature tree. The abuse prevents victims from growing emotionally into adults who can handle life's problems. They remain emotional children. This brings me back to child abuse, or growing up powerless with no sense of justice or friendliness.
Child abuse victims begin to heal once they tell their stories to an empathetic listener and feel validated. Abusers begin to heal once they tell their story and get the negative consequences, scorn and disapproval for their actions. Abusers of all sorts - alcoholics, supremacists, egomaniac sociopaths, pedophiles, and liars - can reach healing through the gateway marked "here are your consequences, come on in." Other that that, there is no other way for sociopaths to begin to heal. Unhealed living a life in denial, they must blame their inner state on someone else. It's all about avoiding consequences for the hurt they have caused. They can only work out their victimization issues if they're also willing to work on their perpetrator issues. Especially after this weekend, shame on supremacists everywhere.
So give the ID'd supremacists a piece of your mind. Give them disapproval. Tell them what you think of them. But do not hit them. Do not send them death threats - the Russian bots will take care of that for you. If you want to, forgive them, but you don't have to for now. There will be plenty of time for forgiveness later if the situation evolves and supremacists change their ways. Imagine welcoming them back to society when they recant their racist ideology. This is already happening, because we've seen several former white supremacists interviewed on TV news shows.
For now most of us don't even understand the iceberg we're looking at. One thing we do know, immaturity and hate attract negative attention - that's why the old KKK wore hoods.
The President Rambles Threats to North Korea
August 10, 2017 - 11:58 a.m.
August 10, 2017 at noon here in the western USA, the President is giving a rambling press conference provoking North Korea. He says the whole world is behind him. Then he's called a national emergency on the opioid epidemic. He's like a child on a ride at Disneyland. Please please do something about this, Republicans. Nobody is behind him, admit it. We are all contemplating our mortality this week. Everything he does or says makes us more upset. You can't fix this, just as you cannot fix an addict.
What Made Vladimir Putin the Gaslighting King?
August 8, 2017
First, let me tell you my credentials and why I want to comment. I want to make a case he may have been a child abuse victim. I earned my master's degree studying how to use art therapy to help juvenile delinquents and child abuse victims recover. Part of my studies was to learn what they say goes on in the mind of a perpetrator. I've studied this subject since grad school, 1990.
Now I know way more about the subject than I wish I knew, but have come to peace with it. I've listened to the stories of at least a hundred people who were abused as children in religious groups. At some level I perceive, Vladimir Putin reminds me of my research population. Unhealed victims have a fifty-fifty chance of turning their anger on themselves or turning it outside as perpetrators. Further, victims-turned-perpetrators replicate the abuse as they remember having suffered. It's similar to repeating the same mistakes our parents make - everyone does it to one degree or another.
With the abuse microscope I got from Western Oregon University, please allow me to peer into Vladimir Putin's soul and tell you what I see. The good Doctor Sigmund Freud called child abuse "soul murder," and I agree, it can kill the soul if not treated. I perceive in Vladimir Putin a frightened inner child, wondering why he was being abused.
The child grew up despite the pain. But the pain from the abuse and his internalized pain drove him to create a life where he is now the absolute ruler of a vast portion of the surface of the earth. He is idolized, rich, and best of all, he can kill anyone who triggers his abuse issues. I bet Putin has killed off one opponent or journalist for each time his soul was murdered.
Another behavior he may have learned as a child is the art of propaganda. Perhaps the abuser, along with his or her cast of codependent enablers, confused the child to make him forget what was happening to him. Incest families have their ways to discourage secrets from coming out, but maybe Putin's family was especially devious and cruel. We can see that in Putin's propaganda machine, and how he has used it to manipulate and gaslight us. When you see what he tries to do to us, that is possibly a window into the way people treated him as a child.
The only difference between the abuse he suffered and the abuse he's inflicting is the scale. The way his life worked out, he got the ultimate revenge. He was one child abused in one family, but now he can abuse every child and every family. He can even abuse people in other countries. As my last comment on this, when Putin was growing up, if he was abused, as it appears due to his sociopathic tendencies, it wasn't fair. He deserved help that never came. However, now as an adult, he is karmically responsible for all his actions.
Disclaimers: the statements here may or may not be accurate, but are my opinion.
August 3, 2017
Long before Trump associates started forgetting all these meetings with Russians, we had American values. These have eroded gradually over the years. Is it from years of psychological warfare from Russia and other anti-American forces?
Just a reminder of our traditional American values:
A pledge we learn from childhood we are one country indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. This has been more of an ideal than reality, but it's something we strive to achieve.
Protect the environment. This was always a bipartisan value until big money interests came in to buy off legislators. Voting rights and fair elections are American values.
Immigration is an American value. Although at times in our history, people have tried to limit immigration, we are a nation of immigrants.
Promoting the general welfare is provided for in the Preamble of the US Constitution and remains an American value. Legislators who try to sabotage the general welfare are knowingly or unknowingly working to undermine the country.
Americans Come Together Amid Threats from Inside
July 27, 2017
There's one thing we can do, as Americans, to hold our country together. We can unite. The storms are mostly coming from inside. According to Huffington Post,* Trump asked Russia for help with the election one year ago today.
And what has he done with the power selling his soul gave him? He's left a wake of abuse. For example yesterday, the headline:
Today in 1948: Truman racially integrates the military. In 2017: Trump bars trans people from serving. Two very different decisions on the same day, decades apart.*
Our health care system, and therefore economy, is hanging by a thread. People's lives and jobs are in danger. And why? Our Republican legislators are spinning out of control, while the Democrats stand on the sidelines wishing they could help. It's like watching helplessly as your companions are pulled inextricably into an eddy. Some eddies will eventually release you back to shore or a safe rock, while others will slam you into the rocks or pull you under water and kill you.
What can we do to minimize the damage? First, realize this is being done to us. An unseen hand is orchestrating the chaos. What if key members of the legislative and executive branches work for anti-American forces, and their goal is to destroy our country? Everything they do seems to promote exactly that. Erase all notion of truth, then sabotage the health care system. That would pretty much do the trick.
To get out of this situation, we have to come together and unite as Americans. People eligible to join: anyone who does not work for Russia, is not being blackmailed by Russia, is not being threatened by Russia, and does not owe money to Russian banks. If you are in this category, you have a lot in common with right-wingers who regret their vote for Trump. You're kissing cousins with Republicans who were never-Trump. If you wanted Bernie, you have a lot in common with every American not under kompromat with Russia.
If we stand united, we can take our country back. Why? Because non-kompromat politicians will come forward and take back our halls of government from compromised politicians. Then we can get some work done to make things better for everyone.
How to make it happen: show extra kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and love you might not otherwise show. Every time you see a fellow American, nod with the knowing we must come together to save our country. Pretty soon we'll be see the hundredth monkey effect, and we'll all be nodding and shaking our heads, realizing we have more in common than we have differences. We all want good health care and good jobs, a social safety net, an educated population, and a leadership role in world affairs.
If you are a rebellious young James Dean or Courtney Love, you can stand side by side with your fellow Americans and contribute to the common cause. No matter your race, creed, religion, income level, profession, background, or political viewpoint, you are an American, and you fit in the spectrum of our heritage. We are a rainbow of people and we stand united against Russians invading our elections, or our minds.
We the People . . .
Our Constitution was signed September 17, 1787, then ratified June 21, 1788. The real birth of our country is June 21, 1788. Note three often-overlooked benefits to the People enumerated in the first paragraph—the Preamble—of the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Where Democrats Stand
July 17, 2017
Democrats believe in health care for all. They brought us the Affordable Care Act and want to make it even more inclusive. If Democrats had their way, we would have a public option in areas where zero or only one plan is available. If Democrats would get everything they want, we would have universal health care provided to everyone without the need for insurance companies. All doctors and hospitals would be financed by The People, and all people could go to the doctor and hospital of their choice. Democrats want people to get good health care without financial hardship.
Democrats believe in taking care of the planet. They brought us the Paris Accords. If Democrats had their way, we would convert to renewable energy and leave the fossil fuel paradigm behind. Democrats have fought forever to get higher standards for environmental protection. Republicans used to care about the planet, but now they only seem to care about making money at the expense of the planet.
Democrats believe in equality and justice for all. They brought us gay marriage and laws, and other laws that prohibit discrimination. In the past, Republicans also wanted equality, but lately the Republicans have become the party that wants to restrict transgender access to public restrooms. Even with such stupidity, Democrats continue to be the party that fights for equality.
Democrats believe in regulation, especially regulation of financial markets. Although regulation makes it more difficult for big corporations to make big profits, Democrats believe in protecting the consumers. The Democrats brought us the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011 to protect against financial abuses, especially by banks and credit card companies. The Republicans have fought and fought to try to prevent/not staff/or close this agency.
Democrats believe in progressive taxation. They brought us financial reforms, such as rolling back some of the George W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They also brought the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 to prevent another market bubble-crash. The Republicans want to repeal it. The Democrats want the rich to pay their fair share to lift up the whole country. Democrats want to see a healthy middle class, while Republicans believe it's every man for himself, and those who fall in to poverty probably don't deserve a good life.
Suggestions to Fix the Affordable Care Act
July 6, 2017
Here are concrete steps the House and Senate can take to improve the ACA:
• First step: The federal government assures the insurance industry it will fund the ACA as obligated by law. The federal government accepts the existence of the ACA and agrees to move forward and make it better.
• Close the donut hole for people who make too much money to qualify for subsidies, but still can't afford health insurance. Offer them a subsidy if they can prove a hardship, such as a high debt to income ratio due to student loans; having to support a disabled child, or other hardships.
• Cover more Americans. Allow additional states to join the Medicaid expansion with no penalties.
• Allow a public option for insurance in areas that have zero or only one option for insurance available.
• Negotiate prescription prices.
• Increase fraud investigation.
• For healthy and moderately health patients, put more focus on prevention and mitigation, including guidance on diet, exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, etc.
Please join us in affirming peace in the world, and an America of peace.
We believe in a rich country with an inheritance in the public sphere for all citizens.
True Americans Indivisible
True Americans is a registered IndivisibleGuide activist group.
Meet us at 2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona.
Summer hours for protesting - Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00 a.m.
Bring your protest sign (or borrow one when you get there) and write a statement expressing your views to drop off at the Senators' offices. Senator Flake's office is on the north side of Camelback Road and Senator McCain's office is on the south side.
If you have a particular issue you want to discuss with the Senators in depth, make an appointment in advance:
Senator Flake (602) 840-1891, 2200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Senator McCain (602) 952-2410, 2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
If you can't be there, please call to express your views:
Senator Flake - Washington, DC - (202) 224-4521
Senator McCain - Washington, DC - (202) 224-2235
Tuesday February 14 in front of Senator Flake's office.
Find Events and Meetings in Arizona
Visit the AZ Resist Calendar to find demonstrations, meetings, and other opportunities to meet with like-minded people to make your voice heard: azresist.org.
Donate to the Indivisible movement - click here.
Find local events through the Indivisible site (also please post your events here): act.indivisible.org/event/local-actions
Nori Muster, Facilitator
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"Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks; and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks." - Phillip Brooks (American clergyman and author, 1835-1893) • "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley (English writer, novelist, philosopher, 1894-1963) • "If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way." - Emile Zola (French novelist, 1840-1902) • "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (English philosopher, 1788-1860) • "Truth may be stretched, but cannot be broken, and always gets above falsehood, as oil does above water." - Miguel Cervantes (Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet, 1547-1616) • "Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." - Peace Pilgrim (American peace activist, 1908-1981)