Zero Tolerance?

State of the US flag 2018
“Star Mangled Banner”  by Carol Chamberland

How distorted and unrecognizable must things become for US to realize that our grand old flag is becoming a relic, much like its confederate cousin. Red, white and blue stood for unity. Red and Blue can’t even talk to one another these days and White is now a racist point of contention– not the purity those stripes were meant to evoke. We’ve become the Divided States. #SAD but true. Continue reading

another mass shooting

17 people– a dozen of them kids– are dead in another school shooting.
No one has called it a Valentine’s Day Massacre yet, but it is.      EnsoPeace

Since the Columbine shooting (in 1999), 150,000 students have experienced a shooting at their school (according to @jaketapper @CNN.)


 of @GunsDownAmerica and Thinking Cap Podcast.     Continue reading

and now Charlie…

Illustration for Home Digest by Rui Ramalheiro
Illustration by Rui Ramalheiro

Kind of odd and creepy that I’ve been writing about Charlie. One of the main characters in my fiction (work in progress) is named Charlie. He’s a robot repair guy, not a journalist and not intentionally named after Mr. Rose. However, I’ve spent a lot of time with Rose over the past couple of years.  He’s the first person I see every day (on CBS Morning) and I’ve watched his late-night PBS show for at least 20 years.

With current comparison’s to the Pandora’s Box myth, I feel compelled to say that the aBoP (listed on my pinned post, of books and projects) is a reference to that myth.  I’ll  post an excerpt of my intro that explains why, but first I want to say how #SAD I’m feeling to learn of this dark side of Charlie Rose.
We all wrestle with addictions and kleshas (Buddhist term for our habituated tendencies) but so tragic to see a lifetime career in shreds over uncontrolled behavior.

Rose has discussed turning to meditation (over the past year or so.) Let’s hope he continues and that it provides relief and insight.  As I posted on twitter:  “We are definitely at an inflection point. Constant focus on sex and power in movies, TV and social media needs serious analysis and contemplation.”  We must also look at the intense violence that we constantly feed our youth.  These issues are all inter-related and entwined.  A society that favors explicit pornography, horrific violence and rarely focuses on positive values is doomed.

History does repeat, so take a look at the downfall of past great civilizations like Rome and Greece to see where we are headed.

With that, the Pandora story is very apropos so I will share how I explain it in the intro of my in-progress fiction:

“In the famous Greek myth, the god Zeus had a daughter named Pandora. When the time came for her to be wed, the king of fate and thunder gave his daughter, and her husband-to-be, a locked box (actually it was a large clay jar or pithos, but in translation it’s always been called a box.) The important part is the admonition that Zeus gave the couple: to assure your happiness, DO NOT OPEN!  Pandora couldn’t believe that her father would give her a gift she could not enjoy. So sometime after the marriage, while her husband was away, curiosity got the best of Pandora and she opened the gift. The most horrid things came flying out. She had unleashed all the evils of the world.

There are many variations of the story known as Pandora’s Box. I like the one that implies Zeus had locked up all the world’s troubles and entrusted his daughter to keep humanity safe.

What are the consequences of our 21st Century society’s lust, greed, and endless obsession for more (of everything)? How far can we go before everything collapses? Can we change our fate by changing our attitude? and what if we don’t? Perhaps this story will prompt you to ponder these possibilities.

So, why did I choose to call my story “a Box of Pandoras”? One of our favorite New Mexico governors, Bruce King, once warned our state legislators, ‘If you pass that bill you’ll be opening up a whole box of Pandoras.’  It became one of his trademark sayings. Rest his soul, we still laugh about it. But he (and Zeus) were right to warn about unleashing the world’s troubles.”  (c) 2015 – 2017

Now, I better get back to writing…

Who is Moral?

It’s actually pretty obvious what’s at the crux of our HUGE political divide. How the Right (and Alt-Right) and Progressive liberals (even moderate Dems) can look at the same  240 yr. old Constitution and come to entirely different conclusions.  I just heard VP Pence conflate capitalism with liberty! How can the same founding documents be interpreted so differently?  It’s one reason why the Supreme Court Justice picks are of critical importance. Current U.S. law is based on the 1976 High Court ruling that money is speech (plus 1979 amendments and other citations led to the 2010 “Citizens United” ruling. Details in the Amendment Gazette )
MoralityCloudEveryone is shouting past the real issue– and each other– protesting, boasting or posting their own opinions, from the left, from the right. No one is listening!  So if you want me to say it plainly, take a deep breath… exhale.  Ready?

Under those rulings, money IS speech. Capitalism IS everything. We are living in Orwell’s 1984 and were even back then, under Reagan.

Progressives like myself, Independents and many Democrats believe MORALITY, not money, is our standard and right. Is it? or are we sadly mistaken?Integrity is Everything

If you think corporations and other polluters can buy the right to ruin our remaining protected, sacred lands, and ruin our health with toxic chemicals and unregulated poisons in our food, air and water, then you probably agree with the “Citizens United” view of America. Many of us view those actions as immoral and inhumane. We feel morality means true concern and compassion for ALL– regardless of stature or ability to pay. You know, “Liberty and Justice for All” as in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Politicians like Pence and Senator Jeff Sessions (R – Alabama) who is nominated to be our next U.S. Attorney General say plainly, they will uphold and enforce our laws.  Currently, that means money is speech and corporations can use unlimited amounts to buy and bribe their way into every aspect of our lives.  In other words, money talks  (literally!)

At the controversial Prayer Breakfast (Feb 2) Donald Trump assured the religious leaders that their churches and organizations would have UNLIMITED ability to “support” (give money through super pacs and donations) religious freedom. My jaw dropped when I realized they will use their deep pockets to buy the best attorneys, analysts and yes judges to make sure those laws remain on the books. I don’t believe that is what most hardworking Midwesterners and “Evangelicals” voted for.  They want jobs, but even when it requires dealing with the devil? (Writer David Brooks nailed it with his “Republican Fausts” opinion piece in the New York Times this past week.) Maybe Trump really is the #AntiChrist.

Trump and Co. say they won the election “fair and square” (despite their own claims of a “rigged system” and Russian involvement.)  The Resistance claims the election was stolen using dirty tricks like voter suppression, diversion tactics, outright lies AND Russian collusion.  Both sides are now claiming high ground and “moral authority.”

I vividly recall when the original alleged Moral Majority emerged.  I was a young reporter in the 1970s.  After Nixon’s impeachment, there was right-wing backlash to hippies, women’s “lib” and all the liberal politics of the time. Fundamentalist Churches began urging their members to support and vote for certain political candidates (often picked by their new leader Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell.) Midwest and Southern “evangelicals” (as they’ve come to be called) were pushing back against abortion, emerging gay groups and feminism in all forms. This is when they discovered the real power of the pulpit and the almighty dollar.  They gerrymandered districts, suppressed the minority vote and bought themselves a judicial system.  Somehow they’ve convinced themselves that is moral.  Me and 70 million other voters disagree. That is why protests continue.  We are the majority and we have a very different view of what is moral.

Regardless what our ridiculous Republican-concocted laws say, giant corporations and mega Churches are exactly what our Founders did not want running this country.  They crossed the ocean in rickety ships to get away from such oppression. But with a billionaire baby in the Oval, Faustian Bannon in his ear, and unlimited amounts of cash pouring in, it will take some savvy detangling to get us out of this mess.