Posts

What are We to Make of It?

Date: 5/12/2018

What a way to start the day!

Another disagreement.

Another temper tantrum.

Why does it always have to be this way?

I just open my mouth and the volcano erupts spewing hot venom from one end of the house to another.

Why do I feel challenged all of the time? Why can’t I just have a conversation in a normal tone of voice?

Paul Ratner guides us through the material first discussed by Paul Graham “How to Disagree Well. 7 of the best and worst ways to argue.”

But that will have to wait.

People Mentioned: Paul Ratner, Paul Graham, Evan Mandrey, Alan Dershowitz, Jeffrey Toobin, Mike Pence, Rudy Guiliani, Robert Mueller, Richard Nixon, Reagan, Chuck Colson; Paul Ryan, Norm Coleman, Corry Bliss; Jake Kasdin; White House Aide (no name), Mick Mulvaney; Senator John McCain; DID NOT VOTE; Senator Tammy Duckworth; Krish Vignarajah; Kelda Roy; Liuba Grethen Shirley; Joya Misra;

Major Topics: Discover two great sites; DRUMBEAT – efforts to derail Mueller Investigation, Republicans deserting the ‘rule of law’; Republicans on the hook for $1.5 trillion tax give away to the wealthy and corporations with no tangible increase in wages; AMERICAN TAXPAYERthe childrenthe 1%; very real threat to American Democracy; The Vietnam War; Today’s war; Veteran’s Statistics; “The Nation at War with Itself; The Beginning of the End – May 10, 2018; Economy of the North Shore of Lake Superior; THREE FORCES MOVING THRU HISTORY:Republican Corruption; YOUTH; WOMEN; VIETNAM INTO THE PRESENT; US ranking: Maternity Leave and Public Spending on Child Care and Education;Global Recession; Middle Class; the Middle Class disappearing act; FRUSTRATION;

 

 

I just discovered two sites that contain fountains of knowledge, “BigThink” and “The Conversation”. I want to devote a whole post just to pry open the lid on the information available on these sites. Amazing!

Both of these sites collect professional, academic topics and distills them for lay people. Very instrumental in explaining the hot topics of today.

Drumbeat

The drumbeat tempo is picking up. Faster. More intense.

I am speaking of Trump’s efforts to derail the Mueller investigation. How do we know that?

He has slammed his new mouthpiece –  Giuliani – shut.

The ‘Go-to-Lawyer’ renowned for successfully battling mob bosses into a whimper is now on the back burner. He is not up to corralling Mueller.

He has also sent the vice president of Donald Trump (in contrast to his title “Vice-President of the United States) to mouth words that first issued by Richard Nixon. Almost word for word. “It is time…”. “We have cooperated…”. and on and on.

C’mon guys. Such drivel.

Except that the base is lapping it up. As are the Republicans in Congress. Fox News is the lapdog panting at the master’s commands.

The American public or at least some of it has been here before.

Now a new iron in the fire to be wary of. The rush to war with Iran. Trump believes that a Commander-in-Chief will not be tried during wartime.

I sure hope he is wrong.

He has put the lives of so many young Americans at risk. It is unconscionable.

That the lives of Israelis and Iranians are at risk even sooner is unconscionable.

That Republicans are deserting the ‘rule of law‘ at an ever faster pace is even more unconscionable.

Why can they not do their jobs?

On the Hook

These members of Congress must be on the hook to Trump for something. I think it is mainly due to the fact that they want to continue to receive campaign funds from corporations and individuals that they gave such a huge tax break to back in December 2017.

Remember all the raises and bonuses that were going to flow out from the generosity of corporations big hearts?

Hah!

That money has rewarded the owners and stockholders by companies buying back stock so as to increase the value of the stocks they own. Some much for the windfall for the American Taxpayer.

And they are still trying to peddle that drivel.

These companies are thwarting the will of the American people. This has been going on since the first payoff to the wealthy and corporations by Reagan and now with the $1.5 trillion gift from the Republicans.

They have been very successful in thumbing their noses at the taxpayers. But I think that may soon end. Taxpayers put up with an immense amount of tomfoolery and criminality but even they will awaken.

What they forget is the stench emanating from Trump’s swamp is stronger even than during Nixon’s reign of the ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’.

Above the law. Wiggle out from under the law. Then Nixon found out he was wrong.

SAY WHAT???

A major thorn in my brain is the lawyer and Harvard Law professor and civil liberties lion, Alan Dershowitz.

Mr. Dershowitz is profiled in the article “What Happened to Alan Dershowitz” published on politico magazine.com.

This insightful article on article on Mr. Dershowitz was written by Evan Mandery, May 11, 2018.

Alan Dershowitz has been a lion as a strong advocate for civil liberties.

As a criminal defense attorney, he was on the legal team of OJ Simpson. He defended and gained the acquittal of Claus von Bulow.

His career goes back to 1963 when he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg.

He drafted a memo crucial to the death penalty being overturned when it was ruled unconstitutional.

Evan Mandrey portrays his public persona as “loud, provocative, brilliant and principled.”

Mr. Mandrey also notes that Mr. Dershowitz  is ‘relentlessly self-promoting” and tolerated by the legal profession because his “legal arguments have been acknowledged for their moral seriousness.”

Recently he has been arguing “that a sitting president could not be guilty of obstruction of justice.” (WHAT ???)

He has been shunned by friends of the civil libertarian persuasion.

Indeed, Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst for CNN confronted him directly on Anderson Cooper 360, “I don’t know what’s going on with you…this is not who you used to be.”

Mr. Dershowitz does not see himself as a turncoat. He’s waging war against what he sees are liberals who have “dropped their principles in a moment of political threat and are taking out their anger on a man who has been their (the liberals) staunchest ally.”

Alan Dershowitz Google Images
Alan Dershowitz

From a constitutional rights perspective, I can’t give a qualified answer on his positions regarding Trump since I am not an attorney under White House retainer.

From a civil rights perspective, I can’t give a qualified answer since I am not an attorney under a branch of government.

My understanding is: under the rules of governing you have to perform on the world stage in a manner that is above suspicion and reproach. Even a hint of a scandal should end your career.

I am not going to get into his legal arguments because I can’t accept them let alone try to explain them since they are foreign concepts to me.

Suffice it to say, I reject his positions as a ‘cop-out’ against a very real threat to American democracy.

I don’t understand how a legal scholar and practitioner can, in good conscience, fight on the side of Trump.

Back to my positions on Trump

Just as Nixon found that he was boxed in by his illegal actions, I believe Trump will be found out for his collusion and even treasonous actions.

Whether the Republicans in Congress will vote with their conscience or their wallet remains to be seen.

Trump with his abdication of the Iran deal which prevented them from building nuclear weapons has aimed the children of the United States and Israel and Saudia Arabia on a course that will end in combat.

The children of the United States won’t have to worry about all the jobs being lost (to artificial intelligence and machine learning) and because of Trump’s ill-considered trade war with China.

What better way to take a person’s mind off not having a job – throw them in a foxhole.

I wrote a blog post regarding the children of the United States being relentlessly killed by mass murderers. In that post, I also laid out a way to return our country from the grips of the 1%.

I also showed how, by standing up to wealthy and the corporations, the citizens of this country were able to wrest control from the greedy and return it to the real wealth of this country – its people. For a short time but nonetheless, the will of the people overcame greed.

The future our democracy is at risk. That is hard to say and harder to imagine. But the trend speaks for itself.

The children won’t have to worry about jobs – they will be sent into combat instead.

Since the gutless and immoral wonders that are the Republicans in Congress won’t stand up to Trump the die is cast.

Citizens United has freed money to flow from the wealthy to politicians without regard for controls, influence pedaling and outright fraud and corruption.

We are witnessing the results of that horrific Supreme Court decision in 2010. The Supreme Court opened the spigots of uncontrolled money to influence politicians to the detriment of the ordinary citizens.

But it will not continue forever.

I cannot see how any other administration can be more corrupt than this one.

What will stop the deepening of the swamp?

Is it ever going to be drained?

No.

It will implode from the weight of its corruption. 

What the pundits are missing.  And what the current Republicans are ignoring is that sons and daughters will be sent into harm’s way.

Voter suppression? Republicans believe in it.

Racism? Republicans believe in it.

Bribery? Republicans believe in it.

 

Guideposts to War

Vietnam

Those of you that are old enough, remember the build-up in January 1967.

The first of the large-scale operations.

The first Search and Destroy campaigns.

The first large numbers of US troops killed.

There were 480,000 US troops in South Vietnam at this time.

At its peak, the number was 549,500. (1969 and the war cost $77.4 that year; Total killed in Vietnam: 58,148; One out of Ten was a casualty; Total Wounded: 304,000; Severely Disabled: 75,000; Homeless in 2018: 39,471 on any given night (all conflicts); PTSD: one study showed TWO THIRDS of Iraqi War and Afgan War suffer from PTSD ( other surveys show between 8 and 13%

 

Veteran’s Crisis Line 24/7: 1-877-424-3838

agent orange patch

Asia, Europe, Africa

We are now fighting in Syria, Afganistan, Iraq, Africa (Somalia, Niger). Additionally, troops are in Poland, Ukraine, and Kuwait

There are currently 1.3 million military personnel. 450,000 are deployed overseas.

Now add in hotspots that are quickly escalating. Watch Israel, Saudia Arabia, Nigeria in addition to Iran.

Watch again the Vietnam experience.

Less than one year after the first large-scale operations in Vietnam, the March on the Pentagon woke people up. October 21, 1967, 2,500 US soldiers watched as 100,000 protesters descended on them.

March on the Pentagon  2,500 troops against 100,000 protesters

Flower Power was born!

One year later the Tet Offensive exploded. The American public started to not believe what the military and the government were telling them. America was NOT winning the war.

May 4, 1970

Mary Ann Vecchio a 14-year-old runaway at the body of Jeffry Miller

The Murdered at Kent State and the fuel it fed to protesters “They Can’t Kill Us All”

The result of the Massacre?

450 college campuses were closed as protesters increased the drumbeat.

Chuck Colson, Counsel to Nixon went to the basement of the Executive Office Building and encountered the 82 Airborne which was on standby. He remarked ” This can’t be the United States of America. This is not the greatest free democracy in the world. This is a nation at war with itself.” “Nixon: A Presidency Revealed” Broadcast February 2007

By 1973 there were 50 US troops in South Vietnam.

The Beginning of the End

How do the words of Chuck Colson resonate with you? (He would later serve prison time for his role in the Watergate Breakin)

” A Nation at War with Itself”

It is always a challenge to affix the label “The Beginning of the End” after the fact. To label is at it happens is, even more, a fool’s errand.

I will spare the pundits the chore of affixing the label in future years.

I will affix it for them.

May 10, 2018.

In a pre-dawn interview, Mike Pence called for an end to the Mueller Investigation.

He used almost the exact words of Nixon those many years ago.  Nothing has changed.

Money still rules.

Corruption is at a scale never seen before, even in the Nixon years.

When politicians, probably unknowingly, use the same words used by a major crook that was brought down. A new beginning is taking place.

Faced with the documents showing that not only AT&T and Novartis among other companies engaged Michael Cohen, “Trump’s attorney for favors”, but also a Russian Oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg also channeled money to Michael Cohen in the amount of $500,000, Pence has the gall to accuse Mueller to ‘wrap up’ the witchhunt?

By extension, Pence is also calling on all Americans that are lining up to accuse the Trump administration and it’s unholy cohorts, to cease and desist.

Americans don’t have the right to hold their government accountable?

The drumbeat increases in pace and volume.

More Republicans start to beat down Mueller and the investigation as merely a witchhunt.

Why am I so bold in my labeling May 10, 2018, as the beginning of the end?

First, it is the day I started to write this post.

Secondly, there are powerful forces working in the undercurrent of Trump’s wave “Make America Great Again”.

The Forces Now Moving thru History

Two very important forces are moving thru history. There is a third but it is not as much as the other two.

Reason #3: Republicans are more corrupt now than at any other time I have watched politics unfold. Not even during the Nixon era were the Republicans as corrupt as they are now.

Paul Ryan may be leaving Congress but he is still leaving his corrupt footprint for history to follow.

Three days ago a party led by Ryan and including Norm Coleman a Minnesota politician who chairs the Republican Jewish Coalition, Corry Bliss who oversees the super PAC and Jake Kasdan. Ryan’s wife Miriam was also along for the ride of a lifetime.

Ryan pleaded the Republicans case with Sheldon Adelson to pry money out of this mega wealthy donor.

Since Ryan can’t legally solicit or accept a seven-figure political donation he left the room after his jawboning.

After he left, Norm Coleman made the ask and secured a $30 million contribution.

Aren’t political crooks fun to watch? I have often wondered whether Ryan or McConnell or Trump for that matter ever consider how history is going to record their actions?

Maybe it won’t condemn them. Maybe they will be the torchbearers heralding a new era in American politics “Come Feed My Bank Account” as opposed to ‘Come feed my children’ as Jesus requested.

Of course, we know that Sheldon Adelson acted out of the kindness of his heart and expects nothing in return for his $30 million. My goodness no. That would be a quid pro quo which is illegal in finance contribution regulations.

But wait! We now know that Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and now also the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that he is dismantling, announced to a roomful of bankers that he only talked with people that donated to his campaigns when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

No behind the scenes snarking for him. He even had the gall today to defend the White House aide that made a snide remark about John McCain ‘dying anyway’.

Apparently, the Trump base laps this stuff up. In that case, they are correct in their threat that if Trump goes down there will be armed rebellion.

If you doubt what I am saying check this site for the newest news on the latest and greatest #MAGA.

Please get a good breath of clean air before dumpster diving!

I have taken to calling Republicans and others who promote the ‘share the love’ campaigns of Trump – dumpsters.

I am sure none of my Facebook ‘friends’ follow me any longer. Just as I am sure that when Trump goes down and evil is always pounded at some point there will be an armed rebellion by the dumpsters.

So that was my third point – Republicans are more corrupt now than at any time in history.

My second important piece that is moving thru history and will give Americans a chance to reclaim our country.

YOUTH

Republicans have passed voter suppression laws in many states to keep minorities from voting.

A glaring case from Texas concerns teens registering to vote. You can use a conceal/carry license to register to vote but not a student ID! This includes college student IDs.

Due to the confusion surrounding the requirements and opportunities to vote, only 43% of eligible youth voted in 2016.

This year there are major campaigns to register young people to vote. I read that one state is even 16-and 17-year- olds to vote. They can’t vote until they turn 18 but the paperwork will already be completed.

In California, they can even register to vote online.

 

WOMEN!

I hope that all the people that did not vote in 2016 (AND YOU WERE THE ONES THAT ELECTED TRUMP!)   will reconsider their choices for 2018 and 2020.

The Graphic 'DID NOT VOTE' was the deciding factor in the results of the 2016 elections Google Images
The voter ‘DID NOT VOTE‘ was the deciding factor in the results of the 2016 elections

As women were a major deciding factor in electing Trump (46% of white college-educated women voted for Trump in the 2016 election!) I do not know why.

The same margin held true for the election involving Roy Moore in Alabama except that he did not win.

Why women have voted that way I do not know. Nor do I know why so many women are now on fire to defeat Republicans. But that news is always good news.

Some big events that are shining light on women in politics:

Senator Tammy Duckworth is now permitted to nurse her newborn on the Senate floor!

Maryland’s Krish Vignarajah and Wisconsin’s Kelda Roy made waves with their campaign ads showing them nursing their infants.

According to an article in ‘The Conversation” a Democratic congressional candidate in New York, Liuba Grechen Shirley was just granted permission from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds to cover the cost of childcare while she runs for office.

However, it is still very discouraging to read in “The Conversation” of April 19th in an article by Joya Misra, Professor of Sociology & Public Policy, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that parental leave and maternity leave are so dismal in the United States to the rest of the world.

Paid Maternity Leave around the World 'The Conversation'

As you can see Finland rates as the most generous country in the world by giving 161 weeks of paid maternity leave. The US? ZERO WEEKS! Other countries that share the same position as the US? Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.

I wonder if Trump-land is going to introduce legislation to fix this stark and unflattering discrepancy? Your thoughts?

Public Spending on Child Care "The Conversation"

In a world lead by France where 99% of children age 3 thru 6 receive support for child care.

The US ranks below Hungary and above only Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

The only way this conversation will be changed is for women to enter politics at all levels and get elected so that the real cultural values of this country will be recognized.

Women don’t have to be elected to office in order to have a voice in how this country is run?  There are so many opportunities to get involved and legally influence the legislators across the country.

Please follow this link to the World Economic Outlook website to find several eye-opening statistics and trends regarding the topics above and others such as how globalization is spreading tech across borders.

IT PACKED A WALLOP

While I am still out of sorts from the preceding topics I will close with what I consider a major disaster.

The global recession may technically be over but it still casts a black shadow in the United States.

This dragtline represents the darkness over the United States that still prevails from the last global recession. Google Images
This drag-line represents the darkness over the United States that still prevails from the last global recession.

Nighttime is still here for the middle class.

In fact, the middle class was the big loser in the last economic downturn. The rust belt is disappearing at an increasingly faster rate.

A study by Joseph Morreale, Dyson College of Arts & Sciences, Pace University with Julia Young, Pace University depicts the loses of the Great Recession (late 2000s).

The middle class in the United States of America is only a shadow of its earlier self.

Their analysis showed that from 1970 to  2010 the middle class shrunk by 6.9%.

In the same time period, the Top 20% of all households rose 6.9%.

The Pew Research Center published an income calculator which stated that “half of the American adults lived in middle-class homes in 2014.”

“In percentage terms, 51% of adults lived in middle-income households, 29% in lower-income households and 20% in upper-income households.”

The PEW Center’s new analysis “shows that the American middle class lost ground in the vast majority of metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2014.

The share of adults in the lower-and upper-income ranks in most areas rose in most areas.

“There was more movement into the upper-income tiers in about half of the areas, while in the other half there was more movement downward.”

I entered my personal data similar to my status.

Based on household income and the number of people in your household, I was in the lower-income tier, along with 20% of adults in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area.

The lower tier in this area was 20% in Minnesota compared to 29% for the US.

“Among  all American adults with my education, age, race, ethnicity, and marital status,  11% are lower income, 58% are middle income and 31% are upper income.”

(The calculator is weighted so that each household’s income is equivalent to a three-person household (this is the whole number nearest to the average size of the U.S. household which was 2.5 in 2014).

A comparison of the results of the two studies are similar to the Pew report which designated 11% more people to the upper-income bracket.

Morreale and Young, after a lot of testing, settled upon the variables that were most significant:

Percent of college education (2 or more years in college)

Single-parent households (Female Householder)

Unemployment

Real GDP (in billions).

This demonstrates the birth of the discontent among middle and lower income levels as to government not listening, loss of middle-income jobs and increases in economic and social strife.

No longer is the belief held that if you worked hard enough, smart enough and long enough you would achieve middle-class standing.

The worse the economy got the worse a lot of the middle class got.

The more the economy grew (small but steady during Barack Obama’s term) the worse a lot of the middle class got.

People could not and still cannot get ahead.

Unless they can get the education necessary to learn the new technology namely machine learning and deep learning, and neural networks they now will realize the loss of a dream.

I spoke with two men in the waiting room on a recent afternoon. One was an auto mechanic that owned his own shop and the other was a retired man living north of Grand Marais in Cook County, Minnesota.

The comments of these men centered on the cost of new equipment or updating the equipment used to run his business so he decided (as do many other mechanics and small business owners)  not to invest many thousands of dollars in computer equipment and training.

Manufacturer’s certified technicians were nonexistent in rural Cook County

A dealer of recreation vehicles and equipment such as snowmobiles, chain saws, lawn mowers complained bitterly of training mechanics from no experience to manufacturer certification only to lose them to the lure of more money in the city of Duluth, MN.

Cook County is a favorite place for big city folks who travel the 3 or more hours to the wilderness of Cook County. They are fleeing the rat race of the ‘big city’ to recreate in the many lakes, forests and yes, even a  ‘mountain’ or two.

The real bite is that manufacturers of the equipment used in the playground of Cook County (and no doubt across the nation) require that warranty work must be completed by certified mechanics.

The Frustration Runs Deep

At almost every new thought, the mechanic I was speaking with, took off his obligatory baseball cap (grease stained and crumpled so it was almost not recognizable as a baseball cap! MAC TOOLS was emblazoned on the front) and ran his hand through his hair, raised an arm in frustration and slammed it down into his lap.

The retired gentleman recalled the small business owner as saying that since he would train new technicians only to lose them to a car company or something else in Duluth, he was his highest paid technician.

Frustration at not being able to have any influence on one’s destiny runs deep and wide.

While this frustration may account for many of Donald Trump’s supporters, I still do not understand how these smart, intelligent men (they claim to be not smart or tech savvy except for the mechanic who admitted that he had a smartphone “but only for business” but said that he could go on the internet and learn something) find the gumption or whatever the elusive connection is called, to support #MAGA.

Good, honest, decent men ensnared in the massive changes underway in the current market and not desiring because of age, health or another reason, did not/could not learn all the new technology, “there is no way to keep up with the changes.”

What a massive, unexpectedly complex post. One topic was encased in another so that both had to be acknowledged, however briefly.

But that is the way in today’s world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution stomps on. Sometimes it ravages people’s live. Sometimes it increases the options for other people. But always under the HARSH gaze of politics.

Footnotes:
Morreale, Joseph, and Young, Julia, "Impact of the Great Recession on
Middle-Class America" (2012). Student-Faculty Research Projects. Paper 2
https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/ugfacprojets/2
Richard Fry and Rakesh Kochhar: (https://pew research.org/staff/richard-fry);
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/5/11/16/are-you-in-the-american-
middle-class/

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

Black and white hydride tea rose with water droplets on it's petals. Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
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Let’s Talk!

Date 5/5/2018

As Kathy Griffin would say.

As Michele Williams would no doubt say.

Since when is it a crime to speak your mind in this country?

I guess since the fascist dump and his minions took hold.

Hey Base!

You have had your chance to speak your mind since the end of WWII.

Did you?

YOU have had your chance to speak up for the last 50 YEARS! to make your opinions known. To be part of the American Discourse.

If YOU didn’t?

TOO BAD!!! Don’t try to prevent others from doing so now.

Did YOU serve in the Korean Conflict?

Did YOU serve in the Vietnam War?

Did YOU serve your country at all?

Did YOU stand up for the rights of Minorities?

IF NOT!

I don’t have any use for your ‘OPINIONS’.

If YOU didn’t have the guts to let the draft take you.

If YOU didn’t have the guts to stand up for the rights of those less privileged than you.

If YOU don’t have the conscience to wonder if YOU should be helpful to those less advantaged than YOU!

If YOU are only concerned about how much the government can make for you!

Then I don’t have any use for YOUR opinions. AMERICA has ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS stood up for more than ME!

Since the REVOLUTION IN 1775  is has ALWAYS BEEN THUS!

Now it seems to be ME! ME! ME!

Get over YOURSELF!

I have had Facebook ‘friends’. Yes believe it or not.

When I found out that they vehemently espouse the Populist, Nativist belief system!

I UNFRIEND them.

They don’t deserve my time to read their drivel.

That person is not deserving of respect the title of AMERICAN CITIZEN! conveys on them.

Are they an American? Yes.

Can they vote? Yes.

Are they deserving respect as an AMERICAN CITIZEN? Not a fat chance.

What have they done that has earned RESPECT?

An immigrant that has contributed to the growth of DEMOCRACY, to the growth of the AMERICAN IDEAL  is MORE worthy of respect than a tadpole on a slimy rock!

The person that has squandered their devotion and allegiance at the altar of POPULISM rather at the altar of ‘WE HAVE A LOT TO OFFER THE REST OF THE WORLD!’ and has not earned the respect to be known as an AMERICAN CITIZEN.

That person does not understand that being an AMERICAN CITIZEN means to be part something bigger than THEMSELVES.

That person is history!

If that person is ready to accept is ready to accept that being an American Citizen means that they must be part of something Bigger than themselves!

Then and ONLY then will I accept them as an AMERICAN CITIZEN.

Otherwise, to continue to spew words and promote the actions of a NAZI or a WHITE SUPREMACIST means to be a dreg found at the bottom of history as a FASCIST!

They are not a democrat. Yes, small ‘d’. As in democracy.

If someone willing to accept that others are as deserving of respect as they are then they can attain to the virtue of known as a being a democrat. Then that someone is deserving of an honorable place in history.

If you look down on others as ‘dogs’.

If you look down as on others as deserving of less respect than you.

Then you are not deserving of the title AMERICAN CITIZEN!

Do you accept others as deserving of less respect than you?

Do you accept yourself as being more worthy of a place at the banquet table that Jesus has laid out than others?

You have chosen your place and it is not at that table.

You are not in the place that Jesus has chosen for you!

You have decided that you are NOT welcome at HIS  banquet! Read the REAL gospel! Not the FAKE one.

GOD DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE!

men do

If you feel you are BETTER  than someone else

You are the one that is not welcome!

You are certainly welcome to your opinion.

You are not welcome to your own GOSPEL!

You are the one that is UNWORTHY!

And that is OK.

That is YOUR Choice.

Shalom!

GOD IS FIGHTING FOR YOUR PEACE!
Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

Black and white hydride tea rose with water droplets on it's petals. Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!

 

 

You Sold Your Soul

Date April 27, 2018

(I know some of my former, ‘friends’ if any of them still hang around here, are going to get really steamed if they read this post. And that’s OK. When the Democrats kick the republicans out of power they will get their comeuppance also.)

Another week of no spine republicans. No capital r anymore. They have abdicated all right to respect and honor.

What was this week that was different?

It wasn’t.

Another House report from the non-intelligence committee that absolves trump (no capital here either) of any and all blame. Since they are lifting the guilt from his shoulders it means they must be placing it squarely on their shoulders.

In an article in the Washington Post on February 6, 2018, author Michael Gerson makes the quip that Speaker Ryan and trump are either “deluded or deceptive.”.

Since the redacted report of the year-long ‘investigation’ was released today, I thought it appropriate to take a look at the whole charade the republicans are playing in front of the American voter.

They read the reports that trump is all well and good in his world of misfits and they must assume that they can play in the same mud with him.

I am 68 years old and have lived through Reagan and Bush too. They, while stripping the middle class of its wealth and in Bush’s case run up a war debt that America’s soldiers are still paying for in today’s blood, did not have the brass balls to shake in front of the voters like trump’s minion do.

Brass Balls Google Images
Brass Balls Google Images

Of course, if we are speaking of republicans brass balls they swagger like this

the swaggering brass balls Google Images
Swaggering brass balls Google Images

“We were honored. It was a great report, no collusion, which I knew anyway. No coordination, no nothing. It’s a witch hunt, that’s all it is.” trump said.

I am going to return to the well-turned phrase of Mr. Gerson. In February, two short month’s ago, he wrote: “With the blessing of Republican leaders, the lickspittle wing of the GOP is now firmly in charge. The existence of reckless partisans such as Nunes is hardly surprising. The nearly uniform cowardice among elected Republicans is staggering. One is left wishing that Obamacare covered spine transplants. The Republican-led Congress is now an adjunct of the White House. The White House is now an adjunct of Trump’s chaotic will.”

Today of all days the ink is not drying well on the republican’s report. Newly surfaced emails indicate that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with trump campaign associates in 2016, once worked with Russia’s chief legal officer in an effort to thwart the Justice Department, The New York Times reported.

So while trump bald-facedly declares that there is no collusion the lawyer that met with son Donnie and son in law Jared again makes an appearance. But in more detail.

Trump can hack sputum on his own intelligence services all he wants they will continue to do their jobs and lay bare all the illicit actions he is trying to hide. This lawyer even admits that she is an informant. Isn’t that a hoot? The Russian is more honest than the American crooks.

I think another testament to the ill-gotten gain of trump is the way those who have colluded with him against the American voter are abandoning the rat-infested ship of state.

Paul Ryan is leading the charge out the door. Going back to 1930 according to Vital Statistics on Congress 1992 was the highest departure of representatives. That year 29 republicans did not seek reelection. This year, so far, 39 are not seeking a return.

I would like to step away from my vitriol for a few minutes, not very long I can assure you

If I remember back to my youth when I wanted to be a writer, an important tool in a wordsmith’s belt was a device called imagery. Using a picture of one thing to highlight, illustrate, what you were trying to say about another. (Teachers did I get that correct?)

In Mother Jones, a favorite of mine, an article by Jackie Flynn Mogensen January 25, 2018 talks about mosquitoes.

The gist of the article is that when you “swat at a mosquito it could remember you for days.”

If you have spent any time camping in the woods or even sitting in the backyard and you’ve been plagued by a solitary buzzing around your ear please be heartened. “You may actually be able to train that bloodsucker to avoid you for a while.”

Mosquito surrounded by the names of diseases it spreads, malaria, zika, dengue Google Images
Mosquito surrounded by the names of diseases it spreads, malaria, zika, dengue Google Images

The brains of mosquitoes are not a big as this (.) period. But they are finally tuned blood-hunters. A new study by researchers from the University of Washington, the University of California-Riverside and the California Institute of Technology suggests that the mosquito species responsible for all of the nasty diseases listed above is actually capable of learning.

I wonder if the same will hold true of the blood sycophants on our society, the republicans?

Are they tired of getting womped on not only by trump but they must sense (I never said they were dumb just abject of soul) that they have so poisoned the minds of voters they know there is no redemption?

On the other hand is trump. He debases them every chance he gets and that has to get very old.

At one time the GOP, the Grand Old Party stood against the extension of slavery and eventually for the abolition of slavery altogether.

A short history.

The Whig Party, which was formed in 1834 to oppose the “tyranny” of President Andrew Jackson, (have we heard that name being admired in recent history?) had shown itself incapable of coping with the national crisis over slavery.

Some former members of the Whig Party met in Rippon Wisconsin in 1854 and founded the Republican Party. This meeting is remembered as being held on March 20. Their first presidential candidate was John C. Fremont.

By 1860, the Southern slave states were threatening secession if the Republicans won the presidency.

In November 1860 who was elected president? Abraham Lincoln and six weeks later South Carolina seceded. Within another six weeks, another 5 states joined in. In April 1861 the Civil War started when Fort Sumter was fired on.

Of course, the republicans weren’t very nice ‘winners’. They forced “Radical Reconstruction” on the South.

We heard and saw last year of the Civil War Statues that came tumbling down. Some Southerners protested that the honor of the south was being despoiled.

While other people, who read history knew that the statutes were symbols erected after 1877 and had nothing to do with the pride of the South. The statues were erected thru the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and were symbols meant to keep blacks in their place. They held high the Southern price known as the Jim Crow laws.

US Flag behind barbed wire Google Images
US Flag behind barbed wire Google Images

Were you aware that the private prison companies in this country force immigrant detainees (not guilty, just detainees) to work for little or no money? And these private prisons have a powerful group of advocates? Eighteen members of Congress, all republicans.

In the 2016 election cycle, private prisons gave a record $1.6 million to candidates and parties and outside spending groups.

That was almost triple what they’d given in 2014 and more than double of what they gave in the 2012 presidential cycle.

Geo Group was responsible for most of that. It gave $300,000 to super PACS including one backing now-President Trump.

Since 1990 private prisons have given 73% of their total to republicans.

These prisons have seen an increase in lawsuits claiming they are human traffickers.

Private prisons housed up to 18% of federal prisoners in 2015 (and 75% of federal immigrant detainees). They also hold about 7% of state prisoners and an untold number of locals in jails in Texas, Louisiana and a handful of other states.

There are claims that private prisons can save money. That is not proven.

What they do is donate!

Silhouette of people behind a barbed wire fence. Google Images
Silhouette of people behind a barbed wire fence. Google Images

Another little republican side hustle?

Tip Pooling.

Who has worked as wait staff and had to share tips that only you had earned but had to share with others who didn’t work as hard or a well as you?

THIS IS NOT THAT!

This is the owners of tip enterprises, taking tips of the workers who had earned them, and pocket the money for themselves.

This is all well said Mark Mulvaney, now the Consumer Affairs Protection protector. As long as the owner paid the staff the required $7.25 per hour mandated by federal law.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that workers stand to lose $5.8 billion per year. Now can you see the republicans lips smacking?

How did they pull that one off? By deleting references to the amount of money that businesses could skim. This has been a particularly good trick the administration has learned.

Delete negativity in its reports!

As you can tell I have been saving some of this research since January.

Any tidbit? I am physically ill from writing this.

Everything I thought I knew about even the most jaundiced, bitter, resentful person in this country does not compare to those that stand by, no, that actively allow and countenance these despicable acts.

I think I can guarantee that someday the tide will turn. And I hope that when that day comes, the new landlords don’t treat the republicans the way that they treat others.

Thanks for stopping by.

Proud to be the Elephant in the Room Google Images

Craig

Black and white hydride tea rose with water droplets on it's petals. Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!

 

 

Recovery from Brain Stroke

April 23, 2018

BUT FIRST!

A JAW-DROPPING STUDY

This is just a tease before the main course. But it is so GOOD I couldn’t wait to spill the beans!

This is just a tease!

I found researching topics regarding the brain to be very difficult. I’m not sure why but maybe the terminology, maybe the subject matter, maybe the seriousness of the articles or the fact most articles dealt with people’s injuries or illnesses?

Regardless, I thought I would try to draw you into the main portion of this post by offering a really cool tidbit of information.

The topic of this article on singularityhub.com is: “This Memory Prosthesis Boosts Recall in Humans by Roughly 40 Percent!” (the exclamation point is mine). The article is by Shelly Fan published on April 10, 2018.

This study describes the ability of the researchers headed by Dr. Robert Hampson at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, “to extract memory-encoding electrical signals directly from a group of human volunteers while they performed a memory task.”

SAY WHAT?

When asked to recall the task, “the researchers injected the signal back and it boosted the volunteer’s performance by roughly 37 percent!”

WOW!

The results of this research are published this month in the Journal of Neurol Engineering.

That scientists could identify and distill a patient’s own brain cell’s code into ‘electronic’ memories is a monumental step.

To translate the memories into Zeros and Ones is mind-boggling.

Imagine an Alzheimer’s patient or a stroke patient. They will now have a glimmer of hope to form new memories now that this finding will give their failing brains a boost.

Dr. Theodore Berger explains that something as abstract as a memory can be encoded as a mathematical equation. These equations are translated as electrical impulses and then re-implanted back into a person’s recall as a new memory.

Dr. Berger is a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California.

With Dr. Dong Song, he developed a new model of hippocampal processing  (the hippocampus is a part of the limbic system responsible for long-term memory) that distills electrical signals of a rat learning to pick a correct lever into a computer code.

The researchers then used the same methods to restore memory deficits in monkeys.

Then came the work with 22 patients awaiting surgery for epilepsy.

This is where the article gets really scientific. I don’t think I can do it justice. So I must refer you to the article at singularityhub.com

A word about the very accomplished author: Ms. Shelly Xuelai Fan is a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco where she studies how to make old brains young again.

Onward to the Main Post

I am researching and writing this post (it will be part of a series) as a personal project. A dear friend and mentor suffered a devastating stroke.

His amazing perseverance and strength of character have brought him healing farther than I could have imagined.

He stills suffers on several fronts. I am trying to find a procedure, a medication, a tool that may help him further his progress.

I hope that soon one of these next research projects will provide the impetus for a company to formulate medications that will serve him well.

So Much Research

How do I sort all the research?

“Health Hub – Brain & Spine Health – Can a brain heal itself after a stroke?”

“Mechanisms that regenerate brain cells after stroke discovered”

“Post-stroke pain treatments – The Complete Guide”

“Recovery after stroke – Dealing with Pain”

This is a just a tiny sample of the information that is available. Some of it seems rather simplistic like, “What to do if you cut yourself with a rusty soup can?”

The rest is written in medicalese that my dim brain just glazes over trying to read it let alone comprehend what it means.

Perhaps I am just hoping for more grade level five articles. Perhaps I am just not good enough at researching technical topics.

I have been putting writing this post off for so long just because I feel so inadequate. But I must push on.

I should start at the beginning.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a ‘brain attack”. A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off.

When a stroke occurs brain cells are deprived of oxygen and die. When brain cells die abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory or muscle control are lost.

How a person is affected by the stroke depends on where the stroke occurs and how much damage is done.

A ‘small’ stroke may cause some temporary weakness of an arm or leg.

Large strokes leave people permanently paralyzed on one whole side of the body or they can lose the ability to speak.

Some people recover from a stroke. But over two-thirds of survivors have some disability.

By the Numbers

Each year 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke

More women than men have strokes

A stroke happens every 40 seconds

Every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke

Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S.

Types of Strokes

HEMORRHAGIC STROKE

A brain aneurysm that bursts or a weakened vessel leak is one of two types of strokes. It is the least common but causes the most deaths.

ISCHEMIC STROKE

A blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a clot.

TIA

When blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can mimic stroke-like symptoms. These appear and then last less than 24 hours before disappearing.

A TBI, traumatic brain injury is not a stroke nor is a stroke a TBI.

Pain

Injury pain – If you have damage to body tissue, you feel tissue pain.

Neuropathic pain – This is damage to brain’s pain-processing pathways. This is central post-stroke pain (CPSP) or nerve pain (about 12% of stroke survivors will suffer from central post-stroke pain. The brain is used to receiving normal sensory inputs, when it doesn’t, the brain itself produces the painful sensations.

Headaches – are more common after a hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a break in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain. Irritation of the lining of the brain or pressure on the lining can then cause headaches.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. Blood cannot get to that area and damage occurs.

Headaches can also be a side effect of medications. A dull, generalized headache can sometimes be part of post-stroke fatigue.

Duration of Pain

Pain can be acute or chronic. Chronic pain often needs different treatment than acute pain.

Treatment and Recovery

Treatment can be with medication such as NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or steroid injections if a specific part of the body is injured.

Opioids can also reduce pain.

Psychological treatment is used to help change thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors related to pain.

Electrical Stimulation uses electrical impulses to activate nerves.

Exercise and devices to help support the exercises are used.

Keeping active is important because the body releases endorphins or natural painkillers.

Pain Management Clinics are available to teach techniques to cope with chronic pain.

Repairs

Way back in 2009, a new study pointed a way that could help stroke patients recover lost motor ability.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in combination with occupational therapy boosted recovery better than either treatment on its own.

The researchers used a simple device, a nine-volt battery connected to large flat sponges, moistened and applied to the head.

I have used the above tool, it is now called a TENS device. I now use an ‘Alpha-STIM’ device that aids in pain relief, relief of anxiety and depression, and also insomnia. The electrical microcurrents generated by the device stimulate the body and brain.

The Alpha-STIM M is manufactured by Electromedical Products International and provided to me by the Veterans Administration Healthcare System.

This device sends microcurrents at much lower levels than a TENS unit and the effects are longer lasting and cumulative. The price is correspondingly different. A TENS unit to relax muscles can be purchased on Amazon for about $30.00. An Alpha-STIM is about $800.00 and must be prescribed.

In 2009 studies showed patients had improvements lasting from a week to three months with an Alph-STIM.

The Dawn Study

“Standard stroke treatment guidelines have long dictated that there is a six-hour window to start treatment. However, a new study has shown that even if thrombectomy is performed beyond that timeframe, the benefits to patients are meaningful.” Futurism.com April 6, 2018, written by Brad Jones

The DAWN study observed 206 patients who were admitted to hospital between six and 24 hours after a stroke. One set of patients were treated according to standard guidelines.

The other set was treated using a procedure known as endovascular clot removal therapy. This is a thrombectomy.

In this study, 48.6 percent of patients that received this procedure could perform normal daily activities within 90 days after treatment.

Only 13.6 percent of patients achieved a comparable level of activity after receiving standard therapy. This test pertains to situations where the damage is minimal.

When presented to the Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology’s 10th Annual Meeting last week it was met with a standing ovation from attendees.

A thrombectomy can be an effective way beyond current standards. There is an adage “time is brain” when it comes to treatment for stroke.

If you or someone you know may be having stroke get to the emergency room as soon as possible!

Continuing New Developments

A MECHANISM THAT REGENERATES

LUND UNIVERSITY, SWEDEN

Scientists in Sweden made an astounding breakthrough as published in The Journal Science. Working at Lund University and Karolinska Institutet identified an unknown mechanism in the brain.

They found that this mechanism produces new nerve cells after a stroke.

“This research shows that cells called “astrocytes” form new nerve cells in the injured part of the brain following a stroke.” This process follows astrocytes forming immature nerve cells which then develop into mature nerve cells has only been mapped in mice.

Zaal Kokaia, Professor of Experimental Medical Research at Lund University said: “This is the first time that astrocytes have been shown to start a process that leads to the generation of new nerve cells.”

“The scientists identified the signaling mechanism that stops this conversion from happening in an uninjured brain.”

This mechanism is stopped in a healthy brain and therefore stops the development of new nerve cells.

After a stroke, this mechanism is suppressed and astrocytes can then regenerate new cells.

“The major advancement with this new study is that, for the first time, self-repair in the adult brain involves astrocytes entering a process by which they  change their identity to nerve cells.”

Now the task is to see if astrocytes are converted to neurons in the human brain that has become damaged or diseased.

Astrocytes, spidery cells that are interspersed between neurons, carry a latent program that can entice astrocytes to replace neurons.” Science 10 Oct 2014; Vol. 346, Issue 6206, pp. 237-241 (see the image at the beginning of this post for the depiction of a mouse brain).

Olle Lindvall Senior Professor of Neurology states that this could become important not only for stroke victims but also people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Strokes per year in the US 795,000 about 600,000 are for the first time and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. About 140,000 people die each year in the US from a stroke.

Striatum - input center for the basal ganglai Google Images

Basal Ganglia - best known for facilitating Voluntary Movement Google Images

The basal ganglia receive signals from the cerebral cortex and facilitate voluntary movement. Parkinson’s disease affects the basal ganglia pathways resulting in slow movement, tremors, and rigidity.

More new News

In an article in Brain & Spine Health posted on Monday, May 11,2015, entitled “Can a brain heal itself after stroke?”

“Neuroscientists believed the brain cells you were born with were the only ones you would ever have. Recent research centers on neurogenesis, the ability of the brain to create new nerve cells.”

“The new research involves stem cell research in learning how to maximize the benefits of this discovery.” Jon E Bentz. Ph.D. clinical neuropsychologist with Lancaster General Health Physicians Neuropsychology writes in Brain & Spine Health.

FDA APPROVED DRUG STROKE REPAIR

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

New research using a drug already approved by the FDA for clinical trials showed researchers could reduce brain damage and boost the growth of new brain cells in mice suffering from a stroke.

Researchers from the University of Manchester using this drug (that has already been approved) developed a new treatment that can promote repair in damaged areas of the brain due to stroke.

They used a drug, interleukin-1receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) which is anti-inflammatory drug already licensed for treating rheumatoid arthritis. 

Along with researchers from Unidad de Investigacion Neurovascular, Departamento de Farmacologia, Facultad de Medicina, in Madrid Spain and the Department of Neurology at Yale University, they published an article “Reparative effects of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in young and aged/co-morbid rodents after cerebral ischemia” describing that IL-1Ra improves stroke outcome in both young and aged/co-morbid rats. It also not only increases stem cell proliferation but enhances the number of newly born neurons.

Their findings then further highlight the therapeutic potential of this clinically approved drug. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, Vol  61, March 2017 pages 117-126 ScienceDirect.com.

This study is a year old. The studies in this post travel thru time from 2014 to 2017. The next phase is to research studies to see if new information has been attained or even if some of the research using already approved interleukin has been approved for use in humans after suffering a stroke.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

Black and white hydride tea rose with water droplets on it's petals. Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!

 

 

 

Neuroscience Advances – Alzheimers and Electronic Toys for Infants

April 22, 2018

Two articles I just read are of such importance that I will share them now rather than incorporate them into a longer post.

Advances regarding Alzheimer’s

An article published in the April 22 issue of  Neuroscience News references an editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The editorial “indicates that certain microbes  – a specific virus and two specific types of bacteria – are major causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The Journal is published online and is a highly regarded peer-reviewed journal.

This “landmark editorial summarizes the abundant data implicating these microbes, but until now this work has been largely ignored or dismissed as controversial.”

Professor Douglas Kell of the University of Manchester’s School of Chemistry and  Manchester Institute of Biotechnology is one of the editorial’s authors.

“We are saying there is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component, and this can be woken up by iron dysregulation. Removing this iron will slow down or prevent cognitive degeneration – we can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence.”

“Professor Resia Pretorius of the University of Pretoria, who worked with Douglas Kell on the editorial, said, “The microbial presence in the blood may also play a fundamental role as a causative agent of systemic inflammation, which is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease”. Furthermore, “there is ample evidence that this can cause neuroinflammation and amyloid plaque formation.”

The findings of this editorial could also have implications for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, and other progressive neurological conditions.

Graphic of Brain showing divisions activity Google Images
Graphic of Brain showing divisions activity Google Images

 

Electronic Baby Toys Associated with Decrease in Quality and Quantity of Language in Infants

First, publishedNeuroscience News.com December 31, 2015, is an article indicating that “electronic toys for infants that produce lights, words and songs were associated with decreased quantity and quality of language compared to playing with books or traditional toys such as wooden puzzles, a shape-sorter and a set of rubber blocks. The article was published online by JAMA Pediatrics.”

“Anna V. Sosa, Ph.D., of Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, and colleagues conducted a controlled experiment involving 26 parent-infant pairs with children who were 10 to 16 months old.”

The participants were given three sets of toys: electronic toys, traditional toys and board books with farm animal, shape or color themes.

The results were that the children vocalized more with the books. Parents also used less content-specific words when playing with toys other than the books. The biggest difference was between electronic toys and books.

“These results provide a basis for discouraging the purchase of electronic toys that are promoted as educational and are often quite expensive.”

Both playing with traditional toys and book reading are most conducive to language-facilitating activities.

Electronic toys are discouraged as not promoting growth in language-facilitating activities.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

Black and white hydride tea rose with water droplets on it's petals. Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!
Svetlana Manic 282267 Unsplash!