Monday, September 20, 2021

DACA Citizenship: It Could Have Been So Easy

What is it about political leadership that gravitates to the sneaky and underhanded while avoiding simple and practical solutions?   As  today's headlines (9/20/2021) report the breakdown of a plan to slip a massive immigration overhaul into a $3.5 billion dollar budget, it seems our leadership has sunk even further into a state of poor character and winner-take-all tactics.

The definition of good character in politics has popped into my head many times over the last few decades. It first came to my notice during the reign of Newt Gingrich, a Republican version of today's Nancy Pelosi.  Gingrich's 100 day agenda conflicted with the plans of then President Bill Clinton.  The tactics then were very similar to those employed now. Gingrich may have ushered in our modern era of aggressive House leadership but that is not to say other officials have not been just as ruthless and uncompromising in the Senate.   

I pose some question to those in Congress: Is your job to manage government and do things by procedure, or were you put in office to lead and do what is right even if the solution cannot be turned into a political advantage?  Did you ever think there was a simple solution to the DACA and immigration issue?  Did you ever look for one or is this all just about winning the fight?

I suppose both parties believe that, as leaders, they do the right thing while excusing themselves from any real ethical issues.  But the question as always is--does Congress (and any President) bother to look for a practical answer to the problem or is it more of an ego boost to strong arm resolutions and create more division in this already divided country? Isn't DACA, like abortion, nothing more than a polarizing issue that is valuable only when it is unresolved?

My first experience with a child of illegal immigrants came long before DACA existed.  As a teacher in an area with a large Hispanic population, it was normal to have diversity in the classroom. Even under those conditions, it was a surprise when a particularly bright and capable young woman revealed that she was not, nor could she become, a US citizen as she had crossed the border illegally when she was but three years old. Unlike her younger siblings, who had been born in this country, she alone lived without a path to citizenship and planned her after-graduation future in the shadow of uncertainty.

Immigration has never been a hard and fast policy in this country. Perhaps that is why it has become such a problem. But, there was a time when Congress acted to shore up immigration rules and put limits on who could and could not stay permanently. The focus was not paperwork but meeting certain requirements that helped future citizens assimilate into the local community. These requirements are clearly and easily found here

 

The provisions for citizenship set up more than a hundred years ago (1882) were, and still are, simple and straightforward. Citizenship can be achieved in as little as three years if the person is so inclined. Every President and member of Congress in the last decade has apparently forgotten that such laws are firmly in place and preferred to make this situation another 'never-ending political campaign debate. Choosing a signature on paper and political posturing over thought and creativity, an estimated 800,000 young people live in limbo since former President Barrack Obama created the Dreamers initiative in 2012.

 

By design, the requirements for citizenship are quite similar to the requirements of graduating from public high school. Students typically are required to provide proof of residence and to attend a minimum number of days to earn this credential. If education law is adhered to, students must demonstrate the ability to understand and converse in standard English and obtain a marketable skill before graduating. Frequently, students must be near or have passed the age of 18 and must have demonstrated some level of good character and ethical understanding for confirmation. All of these are found as a requirement for naturalization to this country.


There is, of course, the issue of the Citizenship test, but that is a relatively new provision in immigration law (established in 1986 and revised in 2018). That requirement is also a general part of the high school curriculum. Without realizing it, many native born Americans take the test for a grade in a Civics, Government or US History class. Some do not pass.

 

So what is all the fuss about and why are young people who have lived in this country for nearly their entire lives being denied citizenship? Clearly, it boils down to a lack of paperwork. Could Congress not put an end to this torture by simply adopting a procedure whereby DACA individuals provide proof of graduation from an accredited public high school in lieu of visa or permanent residence applications. Rather than the eight year timeline proposed by President Joe Biden punctuated by Supreme Court challenges and political grandstanding, citizenship could reasonably be granted without further delays.

 

While this will not end the debate of the current open border policy, it could provide a reasonable path to citizenship for children left in the care of what is supposed to be a good and caring country.


 

 


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Time for the Covid Talk, Mr. President

 Good Morning Mr. President:


While it may have been more respectful to send this directly to you as a citizen comment, I, like many citizens, long-ago realized that the chances of unsolicited input having any real impact on an elected official is approximately the same as winning the Power Ball Lottery with an EasyPick ticket. Nonetheless, there is always hope that these words will someday make an impression on you and your staff.

Mr. President, it is time for the COVID talk.

Too often in this country, federal and local officials have focused on the image of prosperity rather than long-term sustainability as a yardstick for change.  Never considering that these actions would have far-reaching consequences for millions of average citizens, you and other politicians took this country down a path to massive healthcare that thumbed-its nose at nature and broke the one abiding principle of medicine--to do no harm.  Like the opioid crisis that continues to kill an indeterminable number of poor and elderly, COVID-19 is not some freak occurrence of nature but the natural response of caring more about a political platform than healthy and practical living. 

Mr. President, what is this all about?  Do you really believe in vaccines so much that you are willing to threaten people with the loss of their jobs and income? Are you just now realizing that the millions of doses of vaccine that you and your predecessor mindlessly purchased are never going to be used?  What is this really about?

From the beginning of this pandemic, specialists cautioned leaders against banking on a one-time vaccine.  They knew the Coronavirus was endemic (common) and a natural part of building immunity for a healthy life. It has always changed rapidly for the purpose of challenging the body's immune system over time and it will continue to change regardless of the production of millions of vials of vaccine.  Ironically, the Coronavirus is easily kept in check when the environment is healthy and people live within those environmental guidelines. That, Mr. President,  is what Americans no longer have--a healthy and functioning environment.  

The enemy here is not a simple virus that will survive for centuries to come. The enemy here is fifty years of government acting like God to change the environment. If you want to bring an end to COVID-19, it won't be through semi-annual shots but when sulfur (a natural disinfectant) returns to the atmosphere and minerals like magnesium again dirty our water. 

Your strength as a leader is not in following a prescribed political agenda.  You did not rise to the top because you were better than the others but because you had a blunt ring of truth in your words. Now, you follow the advice of a paper-pushing doctor who is as responsible for this crisis as anyone in government.  Not once has Anthony Fauci recommended daily vitamins or more protein in the diet as a way to combat COVID. Not once has he acknowledged that immunosuppresant drugs counteract the very vaccine he promotes. Not once has Fauci laid out a path of  healthy living that does not promote the healthcare industry he has been tasked with supporting.  Is this about public health or public healthcare?

COVID will never end but the end of this crisis will come only when you listen to someone other than Fauci and consider that for all its perceived benefits, clean air and clean water are anything but healthy.  Thus ends the lesson.  


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Life Resumes: A Better Approach Ahead

As Labor Day winds down and we move into the Fall, it is time to get back to what matters--relating to people.  Certainly, personal interaction would be preferred to relying on a blog writer, but today's standard and social environment does not encourage open discussion.  As the country comes out of lock down, political parties, journalists and lobbyists continue to stir the pot for personal gain.  This author can only hope that those who follow this blog have gained some benefit from its words.  

Over the next few week, this platform will change its layout.  New pages will be added to organize older articles for easier access. A broader range of topics will be available and be related to ongoing current events.  Our partnership with Medium (www.medium.com) will also be expanded for greater access and searchability. 

Ultimately, the focus is not on what the author's thoughts but on what kind of information is needed to create an educated and  informed public.  Some may call that "misinformation" but without differing viewpoints that come together to form social consensus, there is no way to achieve peace and understanding.  Prayer, hope and legislation do not make Peace happen-only information can do that.  

Please return soon to see what we have accomplished for your enjoyment. Also remember that the author does not receive any compensation from advertisers or political supporters.  The information written here is thoroughly research and not intended to support any political agenda. 

Thank you for the opportunity to reach others. 

Sarah Schrumpf-Deacon


 


Sunday, August 22, 2021

COVID-19: Prevention through Nutrition

 Even now, eighteen months into this very real pandemic, it is difficult to understand the apparent panic that has overtaken those in power. To further exacerbate the fear and distrust that has hung over this crisis since day one, media outlets merely beat the drum of social guilt rather than provide plausible, science based reasons for a dictatorial response to its vaccines.  Why has there been such an emotional response by those who should be using objective information to advise citizens?  What are we not being told and why?

The answer may have come in two recently published studies that give new insight into exactly what makes this virus so dangerous to so many people.  

Nutrition as Factor

The first study by the Switzerland-based Blue Brain Project reviewed COVID-19 records to determine the one factor that tipped the scales in determining the difference between a mild case of COVID-19 and a stay in the ICU ward.  Irrespective of other disease, that one factor came down to blood sugar level in the days or weeks before infection.  

A second study conducted through an Asian-American partnership between Taiwan, Chinese and US(New York) based institutions looked at the opposite end of the question and found that a specific protein particle (lactoferrin) reduced the severity of illness for participants in the study. Interestingly, the full report of this study was uploaded to the US National Institute of Health's website over a year ago.  

Without getting into detailed principles of how this all works, the bottom line is simple.  The severity of a person's COVID-19 response may have more to do with their diet than with vaccination or exposure.

Blood Sugar Levels

Since early in the pandemic, the word was out that persons with "underlying medical conditions" were at greater risk of contracting the disease. But the why to that statement was never really explained.  By identifying high blood sugar levels as a common denominator in severe disease, it allows people to look at preventing the disease with or without vaccination. 

High blood sugar levels, while thought to be a sign of diabetes, can occur at any age, in good and bad health and be intermittent.  Typically, the condition is a result of a  plant-based diet and one that in turn is low in high quality protein. Alcohol can also cause blood sugar to spike or be higher than desired. Identifying diet prior to infection as an important factor easily explains why so many people fall ill following social events such as weddings, sports events, birthday bashes and church gatherings.  It may not have been contact with an infected person that was important but the high carbohydrate foods and drinks that are so often served at such affairs. With out high quality protein, the body's immune system is depleted and allows the virus to enter. 

Lactoferrin

The discovery of lactorferrin as a possible preventative for respiratory disease has, for the most part, gone unnoticed.  Moreover, the simplicity of this finding is not only supported by decades of nutritional practice but is cheap, easily available and comes in many forms.  What is the best source of Lactoferrin? COW'S MILK  To confuse this issue, media has reported that the substance which aids iron absorption and boosts the immune system is found in breast milk. A quick Google search shows it is readily available as a dietary supplement and can be found in milk, cheeses, ice cream yogurt and other diary products.  Keep in mind the same is not true of nut, soy, and oat milk products which have low levels of plant-based protein.  Why would the medical industry want to push vaccines when a natural preventative is already available?  

Vaccines and Boosters

Certainly, vaccines have made it possible to live long lives and reduced the rate of childhood death to near zero but vaccines cannot replace the body's immune system.  Vaccines only introduce a small level of infection.  It is still up to the body to create the antibodies necessary to fight infections. Without high quality protein in the diet on a regular basis, even the vaccinated person can become a convenient host to a virus as aggressive as COVID-19.  Vaccines cannot replace good nutrition nor can they improve overall health. Only good nutrition has that power.  

The Take-Away for the Future

For decades, environmentalists and health care providers have steered wealthy nations into believing health was something to manage and monitor. With COVID-19 that assumption may be far from reality. As people base more and more of their lives on plant based diets and drug regimens, the incidence of health issues climbs.  These two studies clearly support naturally reducing blood sugar levels and adding animal protein as a way to resist disease.  These findings are not new and were similarly identified a century or more ago by the March of Dimes and US Department of Agriculture when they identified poor nutrition as a major factor in childhood death. Childhood vaccinations are not the only reason a greater number of children now live into adulthood. 

It is regrettable that the largest health care industry in the world would push expensive drugs, vaccines and food choices rather than acknowledging a natural, proven preventative for major illness.  One can only hope that such information circulates throughout the general population and is not labeled as misinformation by those in control.  

Blue Brain Project Articl

Lactoferrin Article

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Back to Work: Changing Focus

 In two weeks, Labor Day weekend will be here and Summer will unofficially end. For me, and I suspect for many Americans, this vacation season was something of a reckoning.  The pandemic gave too many of us a feeling that life was at a standstill.  So many times, we were told that hopes and dreams, even responsibilities, had to be put off until a single, nasty virus was wrangled into submission by modern medicine.  For a few short months, it even seemed like life would follow that plan and go back to normal.  Except it didn't. 

At the same time that we dealt with a new unknown, the World was given a gift.  Some of us took this time to reevaluate the direction of our lives and how cultural mores warp our vision of the future. Now, even as leadership and media tells us otherwise, people are beginning to understand COVID was never more than a naturally occurring illness that has been a part of the world since the beginning of time.  Like all pandemics, this one has highlighted the weaknesses in civilization and taught the world lessons it would not have otherwise learned.  The bottom line is that we are human but we are not invincible. Nature is the ruler here and we must remember that. Understanding our individual place in this mix has great potential for improving human existence globally but for now we must focus on chipping away at what doesn't work here and now.

It does not take a psychic to see a change of focus is in the offing for the months and years to come. There will certainly be political posturing implying effective handling of this situation that was, and still is, out of our control. There will be businesses that come to a sudden and sad end leaving their owners heartbroken and financially wounded. There will be fewer products to buy and higher prices for them. To be expected, public health advocates will want to mandate masks and vaccines for every illness and, sadly, the medical community will side with them rather than admit their miscalculations during this crisis.  It is not surprising that the media never focused on those who adapted and kept this country going? How do the resilient millions who quietly paid their bills, managed their jobs, fed themselves and battled the disease feel about politicians and journalists who still focus on the emotional upheaval it created? What does that say about American values? Is a change of focus in order?

With Summer ending, there will be time to attend to the everyday details of life. People will begin to see the slight increases in bills for no apparent reason as companies change their policy to force customers into paying higher costs.  Food shortages will continue as product lines are cut  and distribution goes to large companies rather than small local suppliers.  Gasoline and heating costs will go up as climate advocates seek to limit production on natural gas and other fossil fuels. And, of course there will be the social guilt and petty penalties for refusing the unapproved and barely tested vaccines which would not be allowed on the market under normal circumstances. As families realize their stimulus payments are being eaten up by the need for corporate profits, the ultimate response may not be reluctant compliance but strong and stubborn defiance settling into a basic and hearty distrust of American leadership. 

This pandemic was a gift to the World--a chance to see society for the economically motivated system it has become.  Now it is time to make use of that gift and change the focus of what is important. Question higher prices. Shop local small businesses whenever you can and tell the owner when something isn't right?  Buy quality instead of junk and build wealth, not only by paying down debt but by refusing to be herded into services that have no long term gains.  Look for alternatives and stand up to the quilt and pressure of those who want your business for their benefit instead of your satisfaction.  A change of focus is just what is needed and it is time to say goodbye to getting back to "normal". 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Covid-19: Did US Surgeon General Just Ask Social Media to Censor Covid-19 Vaccine Posts?

Original Image on BBC.com
On July 15, 2021, the White House and the US Surgeon General released a statement expressing concerns that social media was allowing average citizens to spread Covid-19 misinformation that conflicted with the stated goal of herd immunity and a 70% vaccination rate for all adult populations.  Additionally, there was a clear request for these outlets to curb the publication of such information.  Was this a not-so-subtle way of telling social media to get with the program or else?

Normally, I take the position that the difference between free speech and libel is in the mind of the reader/viewer and I take my lumps when my opinion is too sharp for others to handle.  But after Facebook has refused to run ads for a well researched, six month project that intends to bring out alternative lines of climate change thinking, some warning bells have sounded.  Why would anyone be interested in censoring productive discussion whether it be about Covid-19 or climate change unless it interfered with a stated agenda?  

Still, I am not ready to slide into the mindset of a police state and prefer to maintain a tone of civility when I point out government actions which fail to rise to the level of "smart".  At the same time, I look at the federal government as an institution that has simply painted itself into a corner with years of bad decisions based on economically driven advice and Intel.  The last time our country saw this level of misinformation, it lead to the war in Afghanistan. This time, however, the war is being fought on native soil and the combatants are its own citizens. 

By its nature, government cannot be completely transparent, especially in the case of national emergencies.  The deals that occur behind closed doors are a necessary part of the process but when those making the decisions have little or no education about what they are deciding, then "revolutionary" ideas have to surface for the good of everyone.  What the administration has labeled as "misinformation" has come about by trying to force nature to comply with economic demands in a way that goes against practical and common science. That is the reason people are hesitant to follow this lead. It doesn't matter whether the administration is Republican or Democrat. Shoving a one-solution-only decision down the throats of Americans has never worked well and the federal government should know that by now. 

Contrary to what the government has tried to spin, there is a great deal of evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines are far from perfect and that they were never going to have the desired results of a quick and timely end to this all too common virus. it is the assumption that citizens are not rational and knowledgeable enough to add value to the discussion that rankles this author.  Allowing barely educated social media addicts as well as self proclaimed social justice experts to judge the validity of science are just two reasons to be  outraged. 

Here are a few evidence-based points that the administration has avoided mentioning.  Interestingly, this research comes mostly from studies filed on the government's own National Institute of Health research archives.  The reader can decide what is and is not reasonable information.

  • Domesticated animals and wildlife are often carriers for a type of coronavirus that is specific to their species. Veterinarians are well informed about the virus and its nature. Coronavirus is not manufactured in a lab but is found anywhere there are colonies of animals living in high numbers. Bats and feral cats are two of the most common.  A main characteristic of the virus is its ability to mutate quickly and infect other species such as humans. That contamination can happen without warning and anywhere animals and people live in close contact. 
  • Because it can often be dormant in the body for long periods of time, a test for Covid-19 may not always pick up the active virus.  If there were no testing protocols in place, this would just be seen as a bad allergy or cold season and deaths would be attributed to pneumonia, heart failure, stroke or several other respiratory conditions.
  • Many rural communities may have experienced widespread Covid-19 outbreaks in the weeks before the government identified the virus and went into lock down. Rural populations are not as isolated as might be thought. Over-the-road truckers along major highways, holiday trips and special vacations during school breaks could have spread the virus to every part of the country before professionals even knew it existed. This possibility is pushed to the side in dealing with vaccination recommendations and mask mandates. Rather, rural populations are seen as stubborn and uneducated.
  • For decades, pharmaceutical companies have tried to produce human and veterinarian vaccines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  There has been little success. Using a computer to help speed the process of identifying the infection did not change the nature of this highly adaptable, commonplace virus nor does it seem that it was more effective than past attempts.
  • Testing of the Covid-19 vaccine during lock down and during mask mandates would have compromised drug trial results.  Using natural methods of infection prevention such as social distancing and face coverings made the vaccines appear more  effective than they are/were.  In a recent news article from the Israeli Times, that country, which was one of the first to be fully vaccinated, estimates the overall effectiveness of the vaccine to be less than 40%. Other sources speculate the protection period to be no more than 70 days.  Attempting to force vaccinations with low efficacy rates serves little purpose in bringing this pandemic to a close but makes huge profits for the drug companies that produced them.  What is the real goal here?
  • Healthcare methods that use immunosuppressants as part of a regular treatment put people at risk for contracting the virus multiple times. First, these drugs interfere with the vaccine and second, they weaken the natural response to additional infections. In a study published on the CDC website in August 2020, even health care professionals could not estimate the number of people using these drugs and expressed concern about how vaccinations would react to their use.  Could these break-through cases be more about conflicting medical treatments or is the vaccine just not worth taking? Unfortunately, no one knows the answer for sure.

To be clear, vaccines are a significant way to prevent major illness, but natural immunity builds over time and the effectiveness of receiving multiple vaccines each and every year has not been studied, especially when patients use medications that conflict with these vaccines. Vaccines should not be an automatic substitute for good nutrition, reasonable personal space and healthy living. 

Now two weeks after the original statement first hit the news cycle, there are other developments which impact this topic. On July 16, 2021, the FDA announced that it would take up to 6 months to act on final approval of the Pfizer vaccine and recently, the CDC has reversed its decision on indoor masking of all people, vaccinated and unvaccinated.  These precautions should not be needed if these vaccines did the job they are supposed to do.  

 

So, who is promoting misinformation--people like me who look at the history and nature of this virus or those who want to fix this medical issue quickly so that wealth can again flow in the States. That is the question which is ultimately up for debate.  

 Covid-19 may be the force this country needs for government to finally realize there is more to life than world trade, stock market prices and an ever higher standard of living that only some enjoy.  Sometimes, good health that comes naturally, personal safety and a reasonable level of comfort is all that is really needed to be happy and successful.  That, after all, is what is guaranteed by the Constitution.   

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Good Point Arizona: Voters Switch Parties in Record Numbers

It's time to give the Climate Change topic a rest for a bit and look to something else. This interesting development popped up on my news app this morning. 

Before explaining the news, maybe I should explain a bit about my attitude toward what is now referred to as "Social Issues".  This term is a catch all for anything any one wants to fuss about. But fussing in and of itself it unproductive.  I am an advocate for quiet, peaceful, individual (no mob protests for this girl) and active methods of speaking out against a government that is driven more by elections than citizen needs.  There is but one caveat--the debate, no matter how heated, needs to be respectful and civil. Investing in charitable causes, writing letters to the editor based on solid points (and blogs) about specific issues and supporting those businesses that seem to jive with a personal value system are all part of a good healthy way to protest an out of control government, That said, Arizona voters may have come up with an even better way of drawing attention to the dysfunction of government and that is to leave both parties and register as independents.  What a wonderful way to get politicians' attention!


While I am not able to speak to the accuracy of the figures in the image above (statistical research can be easily manipulated), it seems Arizona voters have decided to make their attitudes with both parties clear and it is a message that the country will be watching.  

In today's national elections, there are only four states that really matter--California, Texas, New York and Florida.  This is based on their populations and none are considered rural or disadvantaged states.  In the same way as politicians go after the larger states, it is the cities that are the focus of most local elections. Rural communities and their lower income populations are not considered unless the state is a "swing" state and could go either way. 

Arizona may have figured out a way to get the federal government to pay attention to it, and it may be a good idea for all voters in smaller states to consider adopting an independent political stand for the foreseeable future. 

Why? Because it sends a message that means rural and disadvantaged communities can no longer be taken for granted by either party. Often described with disdain because they do not vote for an agenda which is financially unsustainable and wasteful, rural communities are far more independent in their thinking than journalists and politicians realize. Even though rural America is where most of this country's food is produced, and most of its raw materials for manufacturing come from, political parties typically think rural communities are still in a Great Depression mindset--any job, any opportunity, any service is better than nothing. Perhaps its time for that mindset to change and stand up for rural rights. Other reasons to consider becoming an independent include these questions:

  • Why is going into debt always the answer to any political problem?
  • Why are politicians pushing vaccines and booster shots which are less than 50% effective and have been shown to have serious short term side effects for young people?
  • Why is our country exporting food when we are in the middle of a massive drought and food shortage ourselves?
  • Why did the government encourage companies to get larger and move out of disadvantaged communities which has only made them more vulnerable to cyber attacks and transportation hiccups?  
  • Why is the CDC allowing families to go rent free while the federal government pays families and the unemployed large sums of money so that they CAN pay their bills? 

Politicians work hard but they work hard at being a politician. Leadership is something that is very different and missing these days.  Maybe it is up to individual citizens to take a small, quiet, active but respectful step to tell politicians it's time to be leaders.  

Congratulations Arizona for breaking ground on a trend that I hope will become a nationwide movement.  Good Job!


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Climate Story Fake: Newsweek Claims Sea Creatures "Cooked" Alive

This is a one of several posts which relate to the author's book and study of climate change science.  Please read Air Pollution's the Answer! How Clean Air Policy Compromised the Planet and Human Health.  

Newsweek "Cooked" Alive Article

This bit of news was surprising coming from a reputable news agency like NewsWeek. On June 5, 2021 late at night author Aila Slisco quoted a Canadian news agency interview with Chris Harley, a marine biologist with the University of British Columbia. With no indication that this was anything more than a copied, albeit legally sourced, attempt at covering an issue that was three time zones away, information was limited to a file photo and a brief clip from the CBC news coverage with the transcript then turned into an article.   These types of climate change news arrticles are becoming more and more common as scientists risk their reputations and their schools in order to make the evening news.  Here is why Harley's observation is not only wrong but why as proclaimed expert he should know that sea life has a unique and wonderful instinct at self preservation. 

The evidence in the file photo was of a rocky beach with star fish, clams and other mollusks stranded at low tide.  Anyone along such a section of beach can attest that such barely mobile creatures are regularly in danger of drying out in the sun when the water recedes, even at much lower temperatures.   Harley claimed that "thousands" of such organisms lined the beaches and the smell was "putrid".  No head count and recovery of the specimens to study. No volunteers trying to save the stranded creatures, Just outcry and emotional predictions of the end of sea life.  Yes, the sea can smell pretty bad when it is hot out but it does not mean that a billion sea creatures "cooked" in the oceans as a result of the recent heat wave. 

As a cook and teacher of food science, the idea that anything could "cook" in the ocean, even in the middle of a heatwave is simply ridiculous.  Here's why.

1. In order for any food to "cook" it has to reach a temperature of over 160 degrees--at least 42 degrees higher than the highest reported air temperature in the Northwest.  With ocean currents regularly circulating water, it would be hard to sustain a temperature anywhere close to the air temperature of those days.

2. The CDC recommends a lukewarm bath temperature of no more than 110 degrees for children and babies. If the air temperature was less that 110 degrees there would have been nothing uncomfortable or dangerous in the water even for sea creatures.

3. Even a common sports fisherman understands that fish go to deeper and cooler water when the surface temperature of water becomes high. It is quite likely that fish and other creatures moved out of the area and into cooler waters during the heat wave but the idea that a "billion" creatures "cooked" is an unprofessional way of Harley and the University of British Columbia to make a plea for climate change advocacy. 

What makes scientists such as Harley and NewsWeek as a publication go after the sensational rather than the factual?  It comes down to one thing.  There is no proof, other than sensational stories and computer models, that greenhouse gases are to blame for climate change. Without proof that this version of climate change is real, advocates must look to emotions for support.  

Seems to me it would be far better to find the actual cause of climate change than to continue to embarrass science by promoting myths.  Climate change is real but admitting the cause and acceptng the solution is not something that comes easy to those in power. Air Pollution's the Answer! and Clean Air Policies are the cause, read the book to learn the details.  

 

 

Climate Study Fail: Yale Study Saves Water but Would Increase Drought

This is one of many posts in regard to climate change that has resulted form the author's publication of her book Air Pollution's the Answer!: How Clean Air Policy Compromised the Planet and Public Health.  Available on Amazon, Kindle and other providers. 

In the latest study from a prominent institution that promotes government policy more than sound environmental science, a Yale study wants to keep water from evaporating by putting solar panels across California's canals.  While this is a good use of space, it misses on one very important point--without water evaporation there are no clouds and without clouds there is no rain and without rain there is no water in the canals that are now covered with solar panels. Another climate study fail that confuses and desensitizes the public. 

Yale Climate Change Study

The danger of this type of junk science is great.  Largely made up of computer models and grad students who need to justify grant money for tuition and the school's program, studies like this do only one thing--promote a faulty agenda and confuse the real science that is causing climate change.  

The cruel fact is that without particulate matter (aka common dust and dirt) in the atmosphere (controlled by federal and state law) and without water that evaporates from things like canals, lakes, rivers, oceans and swimming pools, there are no clouds and without clouds there is no rain and without rain there is nothing but drought and heat waves.

For fifty years, federal and state governments, particularly those in California, have gone out of their way to clean up the air.  In doing so, they stripped the atmosphere of any chance it had to keep the environment in check. Clean air policies are the cause of climate change not greenhouse gases.  

It's time for citizens to decide. Rolling back clean air policies could "fix" climate change in as little as 5 years but federal and state governments would rather spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure to accommodate climate change that to solve it.  Isn't that called "Gaslighting". 

Hey Average American: Which do you want solar panels and heat waves or a few more cloudy days and rain?  The choice is yours.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

New Book: Air Pollution's The Answer! How Clean Air Policy Compromised the Planet and Public Health

Author Sarah Schrumpf-Deacon and Just a Touch of Sass.com are pleased to announce the release of their first book entitled Air Pollution's the Answer! How Clean Air Policy Compromised the Planet and Public Health.  It is available globally and in both digital and paperback formats.  

Contrary to what the Internet and social media tells us about climate change, there is a wealth of science out there that points to a far easier and quicker solution to climate change.  This book was written for the general public so that they can judge for themselves whether "old science" is better than "internet fiction".   It is available on several digital and print platforms.



Friday, June 25, 2021

When Blue Skies are 'Too Blue': Reprint

The Pandemic has given all of us some time to reflect and in doing so, some interesting questions have popped up. Now 10 weeks into researching and writing a book on nutrition and human health, I noticed the extremely blue skies during a slightly volatile winter.  The sky was just "too blue" for early March and it made me wary.  Blue skies belong in deserts not East Coast rural farmland. Was I finally losing my perspective after a year at home or is this nagging feeling that something is wrong worth looking into?

I suppose I started noticing the sky after my granddaughter was born. Always fascinated by clouds and stars myself, I hoped that she would come to Grammie's and sit on the back stoop and imagine what the clouds were.  But as i dreamt of those days, I got a funny feeling that might never be possible.  I hadn't seen actual CLOUDS in a while--you know, the kind that move across the sky and blot out the sun for a few brief moments only to travel on as quickly as they had come. Regardless of what the weather predicted, the skies here were overcast or completely clear.  The few times that the fluffy, white variety made an appearance, they were low on the horizon and never high up in the sky.  What had happened to the clouds that I knew as a child?  What did that mean for the long summer ahead?  What did it mean for the environment that depended on them? 

I had stopped listening to the panicked news reports of greenhouse gases causing global warming a long time ago.  I did not doubt there was something out there that was wrong with the environment but I knew carbon dioxide gas was not the cause of the heat wave that would hit every July nor did it keep my car windows from icing over for several months in the winter. 

 My education as a kid had been a good one.  As a child of the Space Race when the term STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) was first coined, a good understanding of science was one thing I had been given.  Following that with a college education that included physical science, sociology, psychology, microbiology and human growth and development, I knew the mass of a carbon dioxide atom  was not large enough to hold heat for very long.  To further punctuate the misguided nature of greenhouse gases, conduction of heat required sustained contact between molecules  and gas molecules did not touch each other often enough or long enough to do that.    As a farmer/ gardener, I had experienced the difference between soil temperature and air temperature every March.  Planting could start when soil temperatures reached 55 degrees even when air temperatures were much lower.  The sun warmed the Earth, not carbon based gases.

But if greenhouse gases weren't destroying the clouds as computer models said so, what was causing this phenomenon.  More importantly, why did no one realize that without clouds, the suns rays would not be reflected back into space where such radiation could do little harm. 

Surely, science had not become that ingrained into computers that people did not realize that clouds had a vitally important role in redistributing moisture and minerals around the globe.  As beautiful as they are, clouds perform a major cleaning process in the environment by taking high concentrations of mineral compounds (gaseous) and with water as a kind of glue, returning them to farmland and vegetation far away from where cities produce the nasty smog.  

As I was pondering the science that was so simply taught to me in elementary school, I wondered if people understood why greenhouse gas theory was wrong and why blue skies were not a good thing to have.  It had been fifty years since the Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed, had they been taught something different than what I had been taught? 

I gave one more look into the bright blue and cold Spring sky and realized this was a concept I needed to research further.  What had happened to the clouds? And sadly, why was noone concerned about their disappearance? 


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Questions Every Person Should Ask About Environmental Policy

This article is posted to complement the release of the author's first book, 

Air Pollution's the Answer! NOW Available on digital and print platforms.

The ability to ask questions and, more importantly, the need to ask them is a kind of intuition that comes with age, not just individually but culturally.  As we carry phones that are capable of answering our every unknown, the idea that the human race does not know how to ask a question will have readers clicking the next page as quickly as a finger tap.  But, had a few more questions been asked and fewer judgements been made, what is now called Environmental Policy may not have even needed to be an issue. 

Education, as defined by something more than the ability to read a public notice or write your name, has only been around for a century or so and was never intended to create a world of college graduates.  Recognizing that people were easily victimized without a basic education, new settlements and poorer communities saw to the opening of a school as soon as was physically possible.  Only when conformity became a workforce necessity did government finally get into the education debate.  The ability to think independently and ask questions did not work well in the days following the industrial revolution. Employers needed workers with common knowledge and common beliefs.  In 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act would be the first in a long line of education bills that would standardized what American workers needed to know and value.   While those skills have turned the country into a great economic power, they have also contributed to a country divided by misinformation, political grandstanding and distrust.  Climate change is a direct response to a society that was taught to conform not to think. 

In some respects, the country has regressed into a different kind of illiteracy. With the advent of the computer, it has become the god to which all questions are asked.  It tells us what is fact and as long as the computer says so, the information is never questioned.

Before an answer can be found for climate change, the public must question its faith in the computer and the value of its information.  People must ask questions and expect more than copied and pasted answers.  Here are three questions about environmental policy that can, and should, be asked. 

Why is infrastructure always the answer? 

The Great Depression was a horrible time in this country, both financially and environmentally.  The steps taken by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman had never been done before but put the country to work while giving it something people didn't know they needed.  The goal of infrastructure, then and now, is two-fold: to put people to work and to build something that is not necessarily needed. How does the conversation change when someone asks a different question?  What do we have to show for all this infrastructure? 

 As FDR and Truman laid out the plan to put people to work, we can only imagine the discussions. 

FDR to Adviser:  And who will be responsible for the upkeep on all these CCC projects?

Advisers: Once the economy is back to "normal" there will be more than enough tax revenue to keep things in good shape, Mr. President.  What we are doing here is top-of-the-line.  These improvements will last for decades and bring huge amounts of revenue into the states. They will be so proud of what we have given them that they will be happy to keep them like new!

FDR: Well then, since that problem has been solved, Let's get on with it!

Of course, that isn't how things worked in the end. Every locality and state is grappling with the cost of maintaining parks, highways, drainage projects and utilities that it neither asked for nor had any experience in managing.  Yet, the practice of hiring cheap labor to do back-breaking work is an institution the American workforce may never overcome. 

Environmentally, what is it that is needed here?  For most, if not all of its history, the United States as chosen to go bigger rather than better.  More land, more  jobs and more people have been the goals. Environmentally, those areas which were the most successful are now hurting the most from its environmental cost.  Should Americans trust the rhetoric like the illiterate public it once was or should it ask a lot more questions of our elected representatives, expect them to have a basic education in something other than economics and the law and require the infrastructure to be compliant with the environment not the other way around? 

In the eighty-five years since WWII ended, has the goal been to grow the economy or build something just because it could be built.  Hard and inflexible substances such as steel and concrete go against the environment which is constantly changing.  How will the environment respond when we again try to mold it to human expectations?


Why is the principle of global warming called "greenhouse gases"?

Did you know that the man who is credited with developing "greenhouse gas theory" did not invent the greenhouse, nor does it appear that he ever owned one?  So why would a person who had no experience with a greenhouse decide to call his work on radiation "greenhouse gases"?  Moreover, what would make him draw such sweeping conclusions that are now used to predict the end of Earth as we know it? That is a good question and one that the computer and internet never seem to address. 

Much like now, greenhouses in the mid 1800s had one purpose and only one purpose, to grow plants when the weather did not allow it to be done outdoors.  For the average person, it did not matter how it worked but that lemon trees could be grown in the dead of winter as a cure for scurvy and that orchids and other fresh flowers were always available to decorate the homes of the wealthy.  Additionally, medicinal herbs were grown as birth control, laxatives and immune boosters long before today's natural food trend became big business.

But, to the scientific community, particularly those who studied sunlight, the greenhouse presented a puzzle to be solved.  Anyone who tried to explain how the greenhouse worked named their theory "greenhouse something". Just like the company who markets the candle in the image above to get customers to buy this product over others, the word "greenhouse" was used as an attention getting device. The competition in the scientific world was great, even then, and the use of such a word had just as much weight as the brand Apple had in the 1970s. Multiple scientists worked on similar findings which became the basis of our knowledge of heat instead of climate.   It is only because of the internet and people believing what is on it that greenhouse gas theory has morphed into something that is different than the study of sunlight.  Just because one scientist concluded that three gases held heat does not mean they are causing the planet to warm up and die.  Climate change is real but if carbon dioxide, ozone, and water vapor had really been to blame, the planet Earth would have died eons ago. 

Could Green Energy and its policies be responsible for shifts in climate?

Once the idea of carbon-based gases is thrown out as a cause, what could possibly be to blame?  Yes, human population has tripled in the last fifty years but there is no indication that population alone would cause such changes.  Even without people, the number of animals producing carbon dioxide far out number mere humans.  Could it be that, instead of finding the answer, leaders are reacting to fear rather than fact.  Is it that fear that is causing climate change?

How many times have harmful treatments been used as ways to “cure” a problem?Dunking and stoning of women seen as witches was common to cleanse their souls.  Cutting off hands to stop stealing or blinding because a man looked at the wrong woman did not stop either behavior.  It might be the use of leeches that fits this scenario the best.  Common two centuries ago, using leeches to drain bad blood out often continued until the patient could not restore itself and died.  Could it be that modern science by going after and removing gases is using the same concept on the atmosphere? 

Discussions of what needs to be done to ward off climate change have become unbelievably scary. Reducing carbon dioxide would jeopardize our food supply, turn our landscaping and yards to dirt even with rain and lead to massive starvation. 

As Americans are we willing to let this happen all because we trust computer models more than practical knowledge gained by asking questions?  I hope not. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Emotional Toll of Patience: Could Gun Violence Be Linked to Bad Customer Service?


It has been 48 hours since I asked an online customer service rep to address a problem with the company's website. The details are not really important but suffice it to say that this is not that different from a half dozen or more other interactions I have had in the last year or so. Since resolution of my problem does not seem likely to come anytime soon, my choices are to write about it or take it out on those around me.  My family is ever so grateful I have elected to spout off in writing, 

 The question so many in America fail to ask is what happens when someone does not have a more socially acceptable outlet through which to vent a growing level of frustration? Do we as a public even understand how frustrating our economy is?  Is violence a "gun" problem or a "lifestyle" problem?  It might be time to look at violence in this country as something more than a second amendment right.

Unapologetic Stubbornness

From the President all the way down to the fast food worker who cannot seem to get your order straight, there is an unapologetic stubbornness that makes it difficult to not feel angry. Patience may be a virtue but it looks like procrastination when addressing a problem.  The first amendment gives citizens the right to express an opinion--not to assume that opinion is more valuable than others and not for other viewpoints to be sidelined because it isn't profitable. With politicians taking a stand of division, why would businesses, medical staff, and even families feel the need to solve a problem rather than to dig in their heels and wait  until the other party gives in.  if a coin has two sides then more than likely a problem has two sides as well. How many times have worker's been killed on the job because of a simple issue that was not handled well? How many times did a shooting take place at a family gathering because an old wound had never healed?  Is it worth being right if it causes someone's death?

 Accountability Avoidance

 Have you ever noticed that customer service personnel are willing to help as long as it means putting the blame on someone/thing else?  The Internet company encourages buying a new router even though they know the problem is over booking customers. The drug company that treats side effects with yet another drug. Then there is the return policy for a company who says to throw merchandise away instead of sending it back.  Don't customers just pay for that waste in the end?  Another example is using blanket "terms of use" clauses to add surcharges and unauthorized services to a medical or repair bill. "You signed the agreement, ma'am."  Who wouldn't feel betrayed when treated poorly by licensed and trusted companies?

Poor Training/ Lack of Skills

Of all that is written here, the lack of training and skills for those in customer service positions is concerning.  Given a script to follow instead of training and knowledge about what they are talking about, service representatives have to be in the position of being harasses by people who just want answers.  Companies do not seem to understand that, even if the situation is resolved, the lack of confidence in these representatives leaves an impression of poor quality. There is no substitute for good communication and it cannot be faked with a script provided by the legal department.  This goes for email blitzes as well as mail ads.  The cost to business is high when customer servie is poor. 

 Artificial Jobs Stimulation

Since Truman used jobs and infrastructure to provide work for families during the Great Depression, this political move has been the go-to battle cry for everything from high immigration to climate change.  As long as government promotes jobs as the answer to all ills, there will never been enough jobs to quell the country's irrational fear of less than full employment. Rather than support a knowledgeable and skilled workforce that is well paid, the country seems to prefer a world of inefficiency, poor quality imports, and low paying wages.  Is there any real difference between one burger joint and another?  Do we really need another brand of green beans in the grocery store? Do workers really want to pay a third of their wages to support a for-profit medical community that seems to rely on one more drug or test?   

How much does all of this contribute to the level of public anxiety when a full time job does not provide enough money to cover the bare essentials?  People resorted to gun violence in the 1800s when businesses pitted one group of workers against another. Do leaders really think the American people are not as frustrated now as they were then?  Even back then, people understood that when life was secure and relatively free of frustration, gun violence became a thing of the past.  That did not come from police presence, gun controls or community patience, it came from creating a lifestyle that worked for everyone. 

As long as the media and politicians stir the pot with emotional rhetoric and support for its one-size-fits-all practice of adding jobs to the economy, the violence in this country will continue.  No amount of mental health care, gun control or patience will hide the insecurity and frustration that many Americans feel toward what is happening in daily life.  Past solutions may have worked in the past, but this is not the past and it shouldn't be treated as if it were. 


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Removing the Bandage: Why America Cannot Move On From its Past

 There are some things that just come with age.

One of those well-developed, hard-learned lessons is knowing when to let go of the past. It is regrettably a level of maturity that Americans have yet to attain. 

As Memorial Day begins a string of "national" holidays that will take residents into the religious season, the sad reality of these special days is that, to many, they have little or no meaning. For a country that claims the level of patriotism it does, how can its citizens not understand the significance of days that speak of its history? What is it that makes Americans avoid the good, bad and ugly of its past while expecting accountability from its government and those who had nothing to do with the events or their outcome? 

Like a wound that is allowed to fester instead of heal, America continues to pick at the scab with deliberate purpose to keep the healing process one that is slow and painful.  As long as Americans choose to nurse their wounds instead of moving past them, this land will never develop a national personality that embraces all races, religions and demographics. 

As children, each of us can remember a time when a skinned-up knee or bad cut seemed to defy healing. Bandages were decorated with colorful characters and patterns to make the reality of the damage less frightful. Even disguised by friendly images, the covering grew more dirty and sticky until the chances of infection became more dangerous than the wound itself.  This is how America deals with its history. 

In real life, bandages need to be removed every so often so that sunlight and air can allow them to heal.  That doesn't happen in this country.   What is it that keeps America from ripping off the bandage, tending to the wound so that it heals and proudly displaying the scar as a time when something was learned about life? Here the prognosis is always one of permanent damage and long and expensive recovery. 

In the same way children fight to keep the bandage on, Americans avoid learning from their past for one reason--FEAR! Fear of what might be under the bandage, fear of what it might take to treat it and fear of how big the scar might be on the face of a nation that is still young, vibrant and at the top of its game.

The difficulty in bringing this country together within a single purpose has always been the same--a population of people who came here because it appeared free of rules and oppression.  Difficult, if not impossible to manage, any country founded by those focused on individual opportunities, freedom of choice and non-conformity in thought will experience growing pains. Nowhere in the narrative of this country's "melting pot" image is a desire for individual accountability and social responsibility mentioned. Even after 230 years, America has the mindset of a teenager whose citizens have yet to learn they cannot have the benefits of adulthood and the a child-like view of responsibility at the same time.   By removing the bandage, accepting conditions as they are and letting the wound heal, Americans give up leverage over government officials who are only concerned about winning the next election.

The Founding Fathers understood that the Constitution needed to focus on the collective, not the individual. The document specifically opens with a pledge to create "a more perfect Union." It then explains the government's place in order to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty"--not for some but for all.  It would only take three and a half years for strong individuals to require the Bill of Rights be added to elevate personal freedoms over the welfare of a new country.  

Who is to blame for American reluctance to mature and move on?  The answers are many.  

First there are those who expect government to solve their problems.  They are members of every political party, race and religion. They can be found in every income bracket and age range. Some vote but some do not. Some serve their country in the military while others fight for social justice. With a mindset that claims historical events impact opportunity, people cry "foul" when they are unable to meet their goals simply and quickly. They have not yet reached a level of maturity that government's provisions for opportunity are not equivalent to insuring success.  At one time or another, all Americans have found themselves in this place if they are honest with themselves.

Leaders that focus on the Bill of Rights and not the original Constitution make up the next group.  From the President down to the most respected citizen in an unincorporated town of less than 100 people, their tendency is to take the path of least resistance. Give those who protest  what they want rather than stand up to do what is best for all.  Like a parent that is tired of dealing with a fussy child, they reward immaturity by giving in to the temper tantrums of small segments of the country. Such leadership wins votes but causes discord because the majority is left to overcome the obstacles which now make the job harder. As happens with the small child, the tantrums only get bigger and more difficult to control with the child learning a very hard lesson as it ages.

Finally, it is the rich and famous who feel it is their place to enlighten the country by explaining what should benefit the whole. Former presidents and first ladies, talk-show hosts and entertainers, and even royalty from another country feel it is within their right to tell working America what is important. They are even paid millions of dollars by advertisers or campaign donors to objectify causes and people in need.  When was the last time these people purchased clothes from a thrift store because it was a way to stay within a budget, rather than accept government assistance?  In the world of celebrity causes, there is little respect for those who live responsible, socially aware and respectful lives. Good people are pushed aside to make room for those who pick at the nation's scabs so that their wound is validated rather than cured. 

There is no room in the America of the future for pot-stirrers and co-dependents who weaken society instead of strengthening it. It is time to agree to disagree and respect the opinions and differences of others rather than profiting from them.

On this Memorial Day, every American has the ability to look at a hurtful past and deal with it on an individual level. Protestors, elected officials and those who create pod-casts as if they were sermons delivered from a pulpit cannot stop an individual from coming to terms with history.  The country that was founded on individual thought and choice is going to need to be the example for those who feel they hold influence over those who live here.  When individuals decide to come together there will be no stopping this country from becoming something that will benefit us all. 


 




Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Please Sir, Forgive the Birds!" - A Look at American Values

 With the long lock down of Covid-19 behind us for now, it was a welcome addition to a retired woman's routine to go to the local greenhouse to get seed for the garden and plants for the front porch. The trip was long overdue but the cool Spring weather had delayed it by a week or so. I had no idea that this trip would be such an eye-opening experience.

As patrons milled around the stands of herb, vegetable and flowering varieties, two men jabbered like old hens without any concern for who overheard them. There were comments about not being able to find the "right" variety and objections about how cool the weather had been. Jabs about the government and gas prices ramped up the rhetoric.  One half of the duo seemed uncomfortable with the conversation's direction and asked questions in what seemed to be an attempt to steer the dialogue into safer territory.  The louder, more animated man would have none of it.  

By now it was just my husband and I and the two men weaving through the racks. That was when I realized that America's brush with death had not been quite as earthshaking as it perhaps had needed to be. America's values were still a bit off. 

"If that was my car, I wouldn't be able to drive it until I had washed it!" came a clearly upset male voice from behind the rack of plants. "Why don't people take care of their cars? That's just a terrible way to treat a car."

Too busy to really pay much attention to the object of  the man's disgust, it was not until I returned to our car and my husband directed my attention to the bird poop, covered front hood that I made the connection. 

The target of the man's disdain had been an otherwise well-maintained, practical, twelve year old SUV that had been a recent purchase as a "retirement" upgrade.  The tires were good. The paint was in warm brown that hid most dirt. The windshield was clear and the tags up-to-date.  A half dozen large white blobs that washed off in the next rain shower, had caused someone to judge me harshly.  Nothing more. 


On our way home, my husband and I lightened the mood by creating sharp comebacks that could have been lobbed at the critic. 

"Please Sir, forgive the birds. I'll have a talk with them when I get home!" was my husband's favorite. 

As someone who uses a cane for both mobility and sight issues, my comments were a little less jovial. 

"Oh, I apologize. I will be sure to park it away from the store so customers like yourself will not have to see it. It won't take me that much longer to walk to the store."

OR

"I just can't wash the car like I use to. My doctor is afraid I will fall. I guess I will just need to stay home until I can get it washed."

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident. Nearly every recent venture into a public place has included some type of interaction that made me wonder if returning to society was worth it.  

Recently, a fast-food outdoor dining experience had a custodian start up conversations about politics and religion based on one simple question, "Where are your from?"  Then there have been the awkward phone calls from dental and medical offices trying to get us "back on the schedule" even during the peak of Covid-19 deaths. Were they concerned for my health or their practice? Strangest of all is the assumptions people make based on appearance or a single comment.  America is still a country of strong opinions and little room for compromise. My way or the highway seems to remain the unwritten motto of American culture.

Do any of us REALLY want to go back to NORMAL?  I will readily admit that I have a strong value system and am not afraid to express my opinion. It would be difficult to be a writer without clear insights, no one has to read what I write.  But, after years of experiencing a sense of loathing from people for minor infractions such as my voting preference or seeing a different path than the same one traveled for generations, it's time to say enough is enough. The idea that everyone except us live without some level of disrespect and prejudice is a fallacy promoted by those who benefit by dividing communities. 

Diversity does not mean being friends with everyone or giving up personal values to adopt others.  It means common civility and respect, while adopting a sense of decorum that does not put total strangers on the defensive with every spoken word.  

With mask mandates and social distancing guidelines being dropped across the country, it will be interesting to see if Americans value their neighbors more now then they did eighteen months ago.  Unfortunately, ss long as bird poop on a car is considered a character flaw capable of strong emotional disgust, this country will never be what it claims to be. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

If Humans Were Ships: A Lesson in Positive Thinking

****Yet another post that has been waiting its turn in my draft folder.  
For several years--to be honest since the late 1960s--the US has had this mindset that if you think something will turn out in a positive way, then it will do so. Some may pray for it. Others wish on a star or do good work so karma smiles on them. Even others write in journals about all the things they want to accomplish. But, is it as simple as thinking positively? Can mankind simply float above the bad and not let it inside? More importantly, should mankind ignore and resist the bad in this world but feel comfortable allowing it to  support society as they #StayUp?
 
My first experience with the topic of Positive Thinking came in my teen years through a Presbyterian minister by the name of Norman Vincent Peale.  His message, written in his book: The Power of Positive Thinking, was so uplifting that, from the very conservative viewpoint of the Presbyterian Church, he was considered a "cult".  And yet, what I remember was a message of  of self-improvement and action, not blind optimism, marketed guilt or self-recrimination.
 
The image posted above came from Facebook and is NOT a Peale quote. It was shared by one of the few people I have accepted as a Facebook "friend". I care a great deal about this person and consider her a true friend. But what alarmed me about this quote and her use of it was the air of isolation and separation that came with it. Too often, those who regularly share such quotes miss how off-putting they can be to others who are looking for a real human connection.  Could it be that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have replaced quality human interactions and created a population that would rather rise above injustice instead of developing relationships that remove it from the world?  
 
Looking at what would happen if humans were ships might be eye-opening.
 
Like people, each ship is unique - canoes look nothing like clippers and aircraft carriers greatly overshadow the lowly rowboat.  In the same way, each vessel has a different purpose.  The canoe is not effective on larger bodies of water and the aircraft carrier would serve little practical purpose if taken for a lazy afternoon of fishing. Maybe a bit more tongue-in-cheek of a description than called for but, people who toss out "positivity" may not always look past the emotional impact of their statements to see the flaws in them. Like boats, people come in all shapes and sizes. They also have different needs in order to be functional. 
 
Water is not the only thing that allows a boat to float. Before a boat can float, it has to be built. In this regard, shipbuilding and becoming an adult have many similarities.  
 
For thousands of years, shipbuilding with wood was an art that included attention to detail, a wise choice of materials and life-long maintenance. Positive outcomes came from hard work and concentration not positive thinking alone.  Like parents, teachers, coaches and the media who support children with little more than dreams and good feelings, boats that are built with poor materials and a lack of attention fail to perform well.  Positive thinking is not enough to keep a poorly constructed boat from taking on water. But, social media and popular culture continue to put undo pressure on the young by giving them platitudes rather than skills and strong relationships.  As any shipbuilder knows, a good design requires a vessel to have the strength to handle the pressure put upon it.  It also requires an observant captain and a supportive crew to steer it through a storm.  Does modern culture provide such support for individuals or does society opt to #stayup from what is happening while tossing out emojis, tap-n-go comments and virtual hugs as if they were life preservers?
 
Today, public impression dictates that news outlets, politicians and celebrities publish socially conscientious podcasts and charitable messages for those in need. In this way, those who make the news appear in-tune with those who financial support them without need for action or commitment. More often than not, their messages promote one race over another, one career as being more valuable then another, children as heroes one minute and victims the next, and mental health as something tragic but left to medication and therapy. Who really benefits from these messages?  Such a question is appropriate particularly when these news makers alienate so many in the process.
 

ironically, this post will end with three quotes from Normal Vincent Peale. Like so much of what is available on the Internet, many of his quotes have been abridged or handpicked to fit public discourse.  However, if one looks long enough, or has a fifty-year of hard copy of his work, it is possible to see that Peale was not into self-recrimination but advocated a pro-active lifestyle that was not based on rhetoric, protest or legislation. 

 

The first quote was picked to remind us that government cannot legislate positive race relations. The second is a reminder that social awareness initiatives may be sending a message of hopelessness and the last is a reminder that only in Disneyland does "Wishing on a Star" have a happy ending.  

“Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

 



Friday, April 30, 2021

It's Time to Use the "R" Word.

After being a news junky for the better part of the pandemic, I am finding my news feed a bit disturbing these days. After all, the pandemic is reportedly waning, right? This post has been languishing in my draft folder for more than two years. It has been one of those topics that a writer knows has value but isn't sure about the timing.  Today, it was time for it to be finished.

What do you think the "R" word is? Did you expect to see some off-the-wall rant that spewed venom against one ethnic group over another?  Did you click on the link to support or defend against what this writer had to say?  If any of these things happened then the timing of this piece is right on target. 

Two and a half years ago, the country was reflecting on the deaths of Aretha Franklin and John McCain.  An off-year election was coming in November and the rhetoric was as emotionally charged as it ever was.  

For a brief few weeks, with news agencies and events honoring these two American icons, the definition of "respect" was front and center in the minds of more than a few Americans. That is the "R" word on which this post is written.  If you are looking for a explanation as to how RACISM relates to that topic, please keep reading.

Franklin sang of R-E-S-P-E-C-T during a time when many populations felt used. At the other end of the spectrum, McCain lived a life based on his own strong sense of respect for others and the office to which he had been elected and reelected.  Franklin rallied the underprivileged. McCain called out the powerful to be responsible for all who lived in this country. Both of these people stood for the same quality by being a voice of reason. To the contrary, today's citizenry seems to have little understanding of what respect is and how it is attained.

With the Internet more inclined toward marketing ideas and products for gain than being a source of accurate and reliable information, it is understandable that there is confusion about what Civil Rights legislation is really all about.

In those days, there was a great deal of concern about how such legislation would be interpreted. Critics read that hesitancy as a desire to keep certain ethnic groups from achieving equalility. Instead of looking forward fifty or a hundred years, those in favor of the law never considered it would bring about an even wider gap in equality. 

To help understand the difference between what Civil Rights legislation says and what it does, it helps to look at how alcohol use is legislated.  

The assumption is that people are fined for "drinking" alcohol or in the cause of civil rights for being a racist.  Neither is the case.  Citizens can be fined for having an open beer bottle in a moving car or having a blood alcohol level over a set limit. They can be charged for driving erratically or causing a disturbance that impacts others. They cannot be charged with drinking alcohol, just like citizens cannot be charged with being a racist. Using the term has no legal effect.

In 1968, lawmakers knew that there was no way to legislate RESPECT but there was every way to legislate RACISM -- Yes, I said that right.  There are multiple ways to bring about RACISM and inequality through the use of legislation.  More institutionalized than actual racism, the mindset of today's younger, educated and socially conscious lawmakers have been raised on legislated custom designed racism to the point they cannot even see how it is returning this country to an ugly and disturbing time. 

Civil rights legislation, in very simple terms, only says that discrimination is illegal. It does not mandate equality, fair treatment and most of all, respect. Even the Constitution does not guarantee equality for individuals, just a place that is just, tranquil, safe and free.  Lawmakers who profess that the legislation is capable of changing human nature are guilty of gas lighting voters.

In the same way that state and local governments quickly passed statutes following the Emancipation Proclamation, special interest groups across the country used similar tactics after the passage of civil rights laws. This time it was not to restrict rights but to enhance the rights of some over others.  If the law allowed special treatment, then it was not discrimination. Soon there would be a flood of legislation giving preferential treatment to all manner of conditions.  From restoring voting rights to criminals and accommodating select physical and mental differences to sensitivity training and all kinds of financial assistance, a whole generation of people cannot understand why equal under the law does not translate into respect and acceptance by those who do not qualify for aid.

By putting every cause, every need, and every injustice in the hands of government, our country was robbed of the chance to develop long lasting, respectful relationships that crossed economic and ethnic lines.  Every legal maneuver was one more reason to avoid those who got help.  Community kindness and concern now had rules and citizens could be held accountable in the court of public opinion if they were not generous or tolerant enough. The best alternative was separation.  LIke the mother who calls out every child for bullying their child, government has unwittingly cleared the playground of those who would otherwise have welcomed the interaction.

Racism is not systemic to the average America.  It is systemic in the colleges, universities, courts and governments that sanction and promote these policies which do not align with the basic tenets of the Constitution. Again, the Constitution does not guarantee opportunity or prosperity, only that government will provide a place in which it is possible.

The Federal government of the United States has a long history of taking what belongs to one group and giving it to another.  At the time of the Civil War, a largely illiterate population made it easy to hoodwink freed slaves and ravaged Southerners.  Now the Internet and social media make the process of controlling the message a touch away. Reconstruction was an "R" word that was touted as time that would be good for the country. In reality it was anything but good.  

Racism is the "R" word that is now being used to distract voters from looking a bit too close and asking a few too many questions.  Only when Respect is the "R" word that is used most often will there be a chance for the United States to finally be the country it should have been long before now.