Saturday, December 13, 2014

Change is good.

I used to be of the mind that change was something undertaken as a last resort, when nothing else seemed to be working. I am glad to report I have a different point of view on this subject, now. Yes, I have changed my thinking on this whole matter of change. The change I am referring to is happening inside of me, to me, for me, and is aimed at releasing the “me” that has always been here. It has been the “me” that I have kept tightly sealed somewhere deep inside for a very long time.

As this “me” emerges there are, undoubtedly, going to be those around me who are caught off guard, bent a little out of shape, or simply decide they can’t possibly deal with it at all. I have carried a self-resentment for years because I felt the need to keep certain aspects of my personality in a lock-box. I tried hard to be accommodating to the point that people around me felt it was all right to take advantage of my good nature and seeming lack of assertiveness. This invariably sent me to a position of some degree of disadvantage and resultant anger, as people thought I was giving them an open invitation to use me as a doormat and impose their will and philosophy on me. When the anger boiled over, most folks were not comfortable and tended to run for the hills.
It turns out that I actually possess my own will and philosophy; my own thoughts and feelings; my own sense of right and wrong. It turns out that, with the help of a handful of very caring people, I have discovered where I had all this buried, and how to bring it all back to the surface from the depths. These folks have allowed me to discover and acknowledge how, where, and when I got my philosophy, my thoughts, my feelings, my sense of right and wrong, and my ability to weigh things fairly and equally. They allowed me to discover where all that was hidden and that it was all right to fetch it and bring it all to the surface once again. They allowed me to reach back and discover when I had enjoyed these personality attributes to their fullest, and allowed me to accept the idea that it was a good thing to let these attributes see the light of day once again.

With a lot of help and support, I have allowed myself the luxury of becoming clean and sober. I have allowed myself to become free of psychotropic drugs. These newfound freedoms have made it possible to finally assert myself and stand up for what I want and need. I have a new respect for the eighteen, or so, inches around me, which is all I have the ability and right to control. I have let go of the idea that what others think, feel, or do has anything to do with me, what I am able to control. People make their own decisions, and no one else has any real or perceived control over that. Therefore, what anyone may think about me, I have absolutely no control over. What I do have is control over the way I act, react, and conduct my own life, and I am learning that that alone can be a full-time job. With that in mind, I consider myself to be fully employed. I accept the premise that change is good.


some ways to demonstrate assertiveness:
 - no more acceptance of rude, bigoted, politically ridiculous, factually inaccurate emails and/or statements to your face
 - no saying yes simply for the reason of “making nice” with other people; if your real answer is no, say no
- immediate vocal disagreement with anything directed at you that you don’t like, or believe in.
- honesty, over trying to smooth over any situation; even if that honesty doesn’t sit well with others
- no expectations of anyone ever agreeing with you on anything; what matters most to you is what you think and feel, not what anyone else thinks, or feels about you.
- You only control your own space; make good use of it
- show empathy when needed; but, not to the point anyone perceives you as weak
- never fear stating who you are, what you think, and how you feel
- tone the anger and aggression down to an assertive level not to be mistaken as a personality flaw to be exploited, or abused

Friday, November 14, 2014

How can you be tired and angry all at the same time?

Does being tired of the B.S. swirling around you make you angry? Or, do you get angry first, then get tired of being angry? Either way, I’m learning that what comes first really doesn’t matter much. If the correct mix of people, places, and things exist in your life, this combination of emotional and physical feeling have the ability to create some very powerful thoughts. If these thoughts are personally positive, they can make your life much simpler and easier to deal with. The polar opposite is letting these thoughts get to you in a negative manner that can ruin an otherwise pleasant day.
To keep this all on the positive side of the coin, there are choices you can make that will give you the best chance for success in achieving a good outcome. The power of the word “NO” is something that I have found almost impossible to grasp until now. It’s such a simple little word, but its correct usage in everyday life might make the difference in whether you succumb to life’s constant attacks, or allow yourself to rise above the day-to-day trivialities that can drive you into the gutter.
The human element in interpersonal relations and perceptions play a huge role in how you ultimately feel about your surroundings; including the people around you. I guess some of us, myself included, have a personality set that somehow signals a character flaw that others feel they can take advantage of, or exploit, in some way beneficial to their own agenda. The outward projection of a quiet, introspective personality has led to family, friends, and casual acquaintances attempting to control, and/or manipulate, me for their own, mostly questionable and selfish, purposes.
The work I have done on my own feelings, emotions, and thought patterns over the past four and a half years has led me more to the positive side of that coin. It’s not always an easy task to stay on the positive side, and, occasionally, the negative side sneaks up and bites you in the butt. I have learned not to run from these negative situations, as I would be doing in the past. I now possess the tools to express my anger in such a way that is beneficial to my own wellbeing. Even if I find myself quickly sinking into the doldrums of anger and self-pity, I no longer feel the need to wallow in the mire for weeks and months on end. I have drastically shortened the time in which I blame myself, and get bogged down in self-doubt and self-recrimination. I can now realize that, just maybe, it’s not me. I can now realize that other people, places, and things can either share the blame, or fully accept the blame. I can now accept that maybe, just maybe, I don’t need these negative forces working against me. To this end, it is very comforting to know how to take command of that little word “NO”. There is a full list of other expletives that convey the sentiment of “NO”, and it is nice to have a command of those words when the situation calls for something a little stronger.

But, some things will probably never change. The biggest, most threatening thing that will probably ever change is the learned fear I have of losing control in a fit of rage and anger. I have seen what that looks like, and it simply is not a pretty picture from any perspective. My learning curve will be a long one that, hopefully, will lead to my ability to portray a more confident, outgoing public persona. Unfortunately, the people closest to you are the ones who will be the last to recognize the change, and the first to continue abusing your perceived character flaws.
A short word of caution: Do not keep pushing your own agenda on me. You might not like the outcome. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Getting back to basics is a very good idea. I think this is what folks mean when say, “We want our Country back”. The following “new rules” will demonstrate how the Federal Government system can change without reinventing the wheel.
Restructuring Social Security

1)  The States will get involved in running a “public” retirement 
account that will be a duplicate of the existing Federal Social 
Security program.
2)  Anyone who has contributed to their Social Security account, 
and has paid less than $2,000.00 at the Federal level must transfer 
what they have on deposit at the Federal level into their State of 
residency retirement account, or a Private Sector retirement plan. 
When they are out of the Federal system, they must deposit, from 
their paycheck, the same amount of withholding money to their 
new plan as they did to Federal Social Security. This will be 
applicable only to those who have paid less than $2,000.00 into 
their existing Social Security account.
3)  For those who have paid $2,000.00, or more, to Social Security, 

they can transfer out of Social Security and into their State plan, or a Private Sector plan, or stay with their current Social
Security plan. When they opt out of the Federal system, they must deposit, from their paycheck, the same amount of withholding money to their new plan as they did to Federal Social Security. This will be applicable 
only to those who have paid more than $2,000.00 into their existing 
Social Security account.
4)  The State run retirement accounts will accrue no interest, as in the 
current Social Security scheme. The Private Sector accounts will be 
interest bearing at rates that are normal to investment, annuity, or 
stocks and bonds. The individual will be able to set up retirement 
accounts offered by any financial institution, private investment plan, 
any Corporate sponsored retirement plan, or any Brokerage program. 
The plan owner, not the plan administrator, will decide on just how 
much risk to take in any of the Private plans they choose.
 5)   Both State run and Private Sector plans will be fully portable and 
transferable in the total amount available – minus a standard $50.00 fee. 
Example: If an individual were to move to another State the amount in 
their current Private Sector, or State account will be transferred to either 
the State run program, or any number of Private Sector retirement 
programs in the new State of choice - minus the $50.00 transfer fee. 
If available, they may stay with their current plans. The money available 
for transfer will be transferred in full to a new plan only after any residency 
requirement has been fulfilled in the new State. The individual plan owner 
will be responsible for all appropriate paper work for the transfer from the 
old State and to the new State, and complete the transfer in a timely fashion. 
If you currently have paid $20,000.00 into a New York State plan, and you 
move to Wisconsin, you will have to leave your money with the New York 
State plan for the six months required to establish legal residency in Wisconsin 
(legal residency wait periods vary from State to State, so your transfer will be
conditional on the new State’s requirements). A waiting period is not necessary 
for Private Sector plans. Only at the end of this waiting period can you move 
your retirement monies from the old State to the new State – again, minus 
the transfer fee of $50.00. The $50.00 transfer fee will apply to each 
State-to-State transfer.
 6)  Early withdrawals from any of the new plans will result in fees and 
penalties similar to those set out for IRA’s, 401-k’s, etc.
This is a way to wean the current generation off Social Security and into a 
State-run plan, or a Private Sector plan. The number of people who are 
eligible and opt to stay in Federal Social Security will become an 
ever-diminishing number of people due to simple attrition. As the Federal 
level declines, the State and Private levels will increase until there are no 
longer any participants in the current Federal plan. With these retirement 
plans at a more local level, there will be more conscientious oversight, and 
less room for fraud. Also, the States will be barred from ever using the State 
Retirement plan as leverage for bond ratings, and/or borrowing, and/or 
outright spending. Creating these State level and Private Sector retirement 
plans will result in more money circulated into the National economy, and
have the effect of creating more small businesses and more jobs. This, then, 
leads to a more firm middle-class tax base on which to run governments at 
the Local, State, and Federal levels. Of the six basic statements in Preamble 
of the United States Constitution, this one movement satisfies most of half 
of them; “insure Domestic tranquility”; “promote the general Welfare”; 
and, “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity”.
          Restructuring the Standing Military
“...provide for the common defence...” Nowhere in the Bill of Rights and/or the full U.S. Constitution is there the word “offence” when related to any mention of a military force for the 
United States. The word “offence” is only used in conjunction 
with Justice and the Legal structure of our Society. Defence as a 
military concept applies to “a well-regulated Militia, being 
necessary to the security of a Free State...” (The Second Amendment) 
The phrase, “...of a free State...” points to a condition whereas individual 
States will maintain sufficient Militia as to protect the Nation. This covers 
a State-by-State obligation to form what we would consider the National 
Guard. Nowhere in the Constitution is a standing military mentioned. This 
might lead to a reasonable conclusion that our current National, standing 
military force exists solely for “offence”. If you take this conclusion to the next 
level, you can easily surmise that the formation of a standing military was for 
protecting our “overseas” interests. By having “overseas” interests, are we not 
in the business of Colonialism? This would seem strange, as Colonialism is a 
big part of why we revolted against Great Britain; indicating that we might 
not be too fond of “lording” over other sovereign Nations, or Nation States. 
Now, one could make the argument that our standing military is 
unconstitutional. Some may argue that the best defence is a good offence, 
and thereby the justification for a standing military. Either way, nothing 
about a National standing military is mentioned by our Founding Fathers.
The first one hundred years of our Nation’s existence actually saw invasions 
on our claimed and/or sovereign territories. We were visited by the British a 
few times; by Mexico a few times, and the Native North Americans along 
with the French tiptoed over the line occasionally. All of that action could 
have easily been taken care of with a “well regulated Militia” drawn from 
each State without the need for a standing Army. And, from time to time, 
we found it necessary to venture outside our Borders to “protect our 
National interests”. That just sounds too much like good old Colonialism to 
me. A cursory look at our history indicates that we've been doing this 
“offence” thing for as long as we've been a sovereign Nation. As of late, we 
don’t even bother to declare War on anybody; we do it by Congressional 
Resolution, or Executive Order.
Currently, there are more folks in the National Guard and Reserves than 
there are in the all-volunteer Military. Logically, this would seem a pretty 
good time to dissolve our standing volunteer Military and revert to the 
original intent of our Constitution by organizing a “well regulated Militia”. 
The military/industrial complex could still produce our weapons of mass 
destruction, and we could put them on display on a regular basis to 
discourage any thoughts of invading our shores. Reverting to a “Militia” 
status might have a beneficial effect on our “intelligence” community. 
We could afford to meld the best of our current “intelligence” Agencies into 
one entity that would serve our National Defence. There would have to be 
outside counsel to figure out what to do with the Pentagon; perhaps a 
National indoor sports venue could be the result of dissolving our 
overwhelmingly burdensome Department of Defense. Also, the last 
paragraph of Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution needs a rewrite 
based on the States providing a “well regulated Militia”.
            Restructuring our Education System

When it comes to our National education system, the most urgent bridge to cross is that of duplication. If you haven’t seen the organizational chart of our Federal Department of Education, you really should look at it. The way in which it is put together leads one to wonder what, if anything, 
productive and/or useful comes out of this monstrous bureaucracy. Having perused at the Federal level, go check out your State’s Department of Education. 
Lay the Federal and the State side-by-side. Do you see any 
redundancies? I have done this exercise with the New York State Department 
of Education, and found the Federal Agency is almost a carbon copy of the 
State’s Agency. The most efficient way to run an education system is to bring 
it down to a local level where it is manageable. The States could easily take 
this on and use a Federal Department of Educationally for guidance in 
curricula and some basic standards to achieve a National benchmark. 
This can be accomplished with about ten percent of people current working 
at the National level. The folks who no longer have a Federal job can work 
at the State level, and, probably, produce a better product than they do 
sitting in Washington DC. 
            Restructuring the Electoral System 
The U.S. Constitution spends a lot of time and effort on our elected officials, 
the makeup of our Legislative Branch, and how we are to conduct National 
elections. Two omissions that were probably taken for granted at the 
beginning are any formal mention of term limits for our Legislators, and 
that elective office was not meant to be a career. I don’t suggest that I have 
the exact number of years a person can serve, but there has to be a reasonable 
number that we can all agree on. My personal preference would be four 
terms in the House of Representatives, and three terms in the Senate. 
The Executive Branch might do better with a three-term limit. It seems 
there is a lot of unfinished business with the current two-term limit. Three 
small changes involving the Supreme Court might be in order. First, let all 
the judges be elected by the citizenry they are supposed to represent. 
Second, increase the number of judges from nine to eleven. These changes 
would more fully cover the will of the people and add a broader dimension 
to court decisions that affect the whole Country. Thirdly, apply term limits 
to the Supreme Court. I don’t think it is fair, or just, to have, for instance, 
an octogenarian ruling on cases that involve current issues that they don’t 
understand. Another concern is that of our “Electoral College”. This is such 
an antiquated mechanism that it has become the main reason why people 
don’t turn out to vote on a regular basis. When our citizens don’t vote, we 
have lost our democracy. 
            Re-defining What Issues Do Not Belong at the Federal Level 
Our Supreme Court and the rest of our Federal Government have no 
prerogative to weigh in on issues such as abortion, birth control, same 
sex marriage, whether Corporations are people, etc. They should proclaim 
that these categories are not issues that should involve government, and,
therefore, have no place in the Federal Justice system. The Legislative 
Branch can produce Law that the Federal government does not have any 
obligation to, nor will they pay for, categories such as abortion and 
contraception. A strong and rational moral fiber of the citizenry should be 
deciding these issues, not the Federal government. Most of these 
“controversial” topics were left out of our Constitution because at the time 
there was no perceived need to address them politically. 
            Re-sizing the Federal Government
As previously mentioned in reference to the organizational chart for the U.S. Department of Education, you can skim through every other Departmental and Agency organizational chart to get an idea of the sheer weight of our Federal Bureaucracies. When you sink your teeth into one of these Departments, or Agencies, you quickly realize that not only is there redundancy at the State level, but also the job they claim to be 
doing can done with less than half the staffing they currently have. There a 
lot of arguments that would have you believe that shrinking the Federal 
government would create an unemployment fiasco. Granted it may sting a 
bit at first, but in fairly short order the States would take up some of slack, 
and, by infusing the economy with more money from consumers, there 
would be more opportunity in Private Sector employment. Rewriting our tax
laws would go a long to achieving close to full employment, as would 
reconstructing, or throwing out, a lot of our Treaties and Trade Agreements. 
If we can’t take care of ourselves, how on earth can we expect to take care of 
anyone else? The serious and responsible avenue would be to get our own 
house in order, then try the broader, international thing without being 
“colonial” about it. Nobody is going to take us seriously if we don’t fix
what’s wrong inside our borders first.
Restructuring Social Security
Restructuring the Standing Military
Restructuring our Education System
Restructuring the Electoral System
Re-defining What Issues Do Not Belong at the Federal Level
Resizing the Federl Government


“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.”
 Let’s take a look............
1)         We the people of the United States”:
If you are a citizen of the United States, you are “we the people”. 
No discussion necessary.
2)         “...a more perfect Union”:
You can lump three items into this category: a democratic society, a democratic 
form of governance, and a capitalistic economy.
3)         “...establish Justice”:
There is obviously a need for Laws. Just how intricate, obtrusive, and 
overreaching is a subject of contention that needs a lot of clarification.
4)         “ Domestic Tranquility”:
This can construed as allowing social regulatory Agencies such as Police Departments. 
This also brings into question the Rule of Law discussion. It may also involve information 
gathering Agencies like the CIA, the NSA, etc.
5)         “...common defense
The original intent here was to maintain a well-regulated Militia; i.e. the National 
Guard and the Reserves. It does not address a standing Army (Military). 
Please note the word, Defence.
6)         “promote the general Welfare”:
This has nothing to do with modern-day entitlements. It is aimed at the promotion of trade 
between the States, and as a check/balance on runaway Capitalism. It also addresses public 
safety and infrastructure.
7)         “secure the Blessings of Liberty”:
This is a barrier against the State, or the Federal Government, imposing themselves on the 
lives of the citizens of the United States by the passing and enforcing restrictive Laws and 
Regulations. This is the one statement that is strictly for “we the people” and has no intent 
of any governing interference.

Somewhere along the way, 
these seven short statements 
were swept under someone’s rug. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


                                       Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Given that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome each time. Is the United States of America ready to re-engage the Mideast in armed conflict, again? (We can’t even seem to call it “war” anymore.) Haven’t we learned anything from our latest fiasco in the desert? From the sound-bytes coming out of Washington, DC, it certainly seems we will never learn from our mistakes. I thought the Viet Nam War was supposed to teach us all we needed to know about open-ended, limited engagement, conflicts without any exit strategy, or end game.
A new Century, a new part of the World, and we find ourselves mired in the quicksand of the Mideast deserts among tribal communities who have been at war with each other for thousands of years. We find ourselves, once again, without an exit strategy, or an end game, and on the verge of being sucked into ground combat in the very near future. What could possibly go wrong?

I need to make one thing very clear, right up front. The National Media, both electronic and print, have taken the American Public for a bunch of ignorant fools. The “facts” they so easily string together make absolutely no sense when placed in the same sentence, or argument. The “facts” they so easily string together are not, indeed, facts. Most of what is spewed over the airwaves and in the papers is total fabrication. What is amazing, to me, is that these fabrications are so transparent if their attempts to foster one editorial position, or another.

When the President of the United States says that he will not commit ground troops to a renewed engagement in the Mideast, you cannot tell the American Public that the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces is overriding that statement by saying he “envisions” there could be a day when ground troops would be a necessary commitment. The President is the Commander-in-Chief, and what he says goes; no matter what. The Chief of Staff is simply stating a military possibility that needs to be considered,; even if not used. I do have a bone to pick with the President, however. He tells the American Public that there are no “combat” troops currently being sent to the Iraq; they are only behind the scenes advisors. I harken back to 1956, when President Eisenhower told us that he was only sending “advisors” to South Viet Nam. Does anyone remember how that worked out? Another bone I have to pick with the President and the Press is that they have both insulted the American Soldier by referring to them as “boots-on-the-ground”. If you can’t respect the men and women, you send off to war. Perhaps you don’t have the right to do so in the first place. These men and women are not simply a bunch of boots on anybody’s ground. They form the backbone of the American Dream and the American Democracy, so don’t ever disrespect them; what they do for you, they do willingly. And, one more bone to pick with the Press. When you are good enough to seek commentary from a recent Veteran, or an Active Duty member, please save a few seconds of your precious time to thank them for their Service to their Country. By skipping by that part of the program, you are, once again, showing your total disrespect for our men and women in Uniform. (note to newscasters: Our Military men and women are the only reason you folks have the liberty to do what you do, night in and night out.) And, please, all of you, stop lying to us. We’re not that stupid, and we see right through you for who you are and what you’re trying to do. One little caveat to the American People. Wake up, folks, your Country is being yanked from under you and only you have the power to set things straight, again. You know who you are!

Now, getting back to the Mideast, would someone please pick up an elementary school history book on this the part of the World? No fewer than five “Empires” have tried to conquer and occupy this region. To date, no one has succeeded. I realize that there are some in this Country who just can’t understand why those Arabs over there won’t take to our style of governance. Why wouldn’t they want the very best the West has to offer in societal, political, and economic systems? We can show them the way to their salvation through democracy and capitalism; it’s so easy. Apparently, the folks who have been running our Foreign Policy for past eighty years have neglected to pay attention to history, and have, instead, been bent on spreading American Exceptionalism throughout the World. We seem to just love that “Nation Building” thing. When does this Country wake up and realize that there aren’t a lot of people who think the same way we do. They have a very different view on the meaning of Religion in their lives. They have a very different value system for their society; they like their tribal hierarchies. And, most of all, they don’t like to be told what to do by people who don’t understand them. And, history will prove me right, they don’t like being told what to do by people who do understand them. They’ve been warring among themselves for thousands of years, and they don’t trust one another, either.

So, I ask the question, “What are we doing over there, and why would we want to go back for more?” I don’t think our Government has the answer to that. I am inclined to think that the Military/Industrial Complex has the answer, and they aren’t talking. Maybe our most favorite dick, President Cheeney, could shed some light on the problem. What say you, Dick?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Missile, missile...My Kingdom for a missile!

Let’s see: Genocide in the past in the past, say, 130 years has seen the industrial world sit back as if nothing was going wrong. The alarming rate at which this seems to happen around the world has to be telling us something about human nature. Why do we tend to “look the other way” especially when our so-called friends and allies engage in such a practice? Hell, why do we turn and look away when not-so-friends and enemies do it?
When I see the “civilized” societies of the post-industrial era embark upon a genocide, I must believe there is some commonality in their motives. Indeed, there are perhaps three commonalities in this situation. The first would be ownership of real estate. The second might be simply a matter of exceptionalism, including what is thought of as religious war of jihad. The third certainly could be for reason of some economic gain. These three are neither mutually exclusive, or in any order of priority or hierarchy. A thread in these commonalities seems to be one of “entitlement”. One example of all three commonalities would be that of Turkey’s genocide of the Armenians. The German genocide in the middle of the last Century might fit well into all three, as well. The genocide, aka “ethnic cleansing”, after the break up of Yugoslavia at the end of the last Century fits neatly into the “exceptionalism” category.
There are hundreds more examples all across the Globe during this time span; these are but three. Which leads me to the economic reasons for waging a genocide, and a timely question of whether the Palestinian – Israeli war which has gone on for sixty some odd years is more economically based than either exceptional, or a simple land grab. I must admit that when I hear of Dick Cheney sniffing around the edges of a messy conflict the red flags start popping up at an alarming rate. There is either a gut feeling, or a base of knowledge, that points to a mother load of oil sitting beneath Palestine. The ageless Cheney wouldn't be anywhere near this hot-spot if there wasn’t a potential of vast amounts of money to be made from drilling rights. Oh, did I forget to mention that it is rumored Halliburton (Cheney’s other person-hood) has, or will sign contracts for drilling right in the West Bank.
My major problem with this end of the Palestinian – Israeli war is that the land being leased to Halliburton by Israel actually belongs to Palestine (Take a look at the maps on the historical shrinking of Palestine since 1949.) My second major problem with this is that the industrial Nations have let this go on, unchecked, since 1949. Our modern day, democratic governments have been fueling the fire by engaging in Arms and Technology “sales” to Israel to defend itself from a people whose land they are stealing. If you can make rational sense of that, you’re good.

So, let’s truly think of the act of genocide as we witness the annihilation of the Palestinian people while the “developed” Nations fiddle and Rome burns.