2019

Real & Fake

Modestly Gloating: With Impeachment Drama hovering over our country, and the significance of Whistleblowers being manifested, I am gloating over the fact that I spoke about the importance of Whistleblowers in my Reevaluating & Revolutionizing blog, as well as in my July Fourth blog.

Modestly Moving On:

It seems to me that since Donald Trump began talking about Fake News the world seemed to have suddenly realized that there actually is such a phenomenon. Quite bizarre really, because the fact is that Fake News has been around for centuries, only in the not-so-long-ago most of it was called Propaganda. Remember that? It was a very popular term before the USSR became Russia, not that it was used only then. The reality is that Any Government, Political Party, Religion, or Person avidly endeavors to spread their own message of their Truth, while pointing to their opponent’s version as Fake (Propaganda, Lies, etc.). Sadly, many of us gullible humans have bought into these attempts throughout history causing us to create family discord in some instances, and ferocious wars at the other extreme. And nothing has changed!

Throughout the Twentieth Century especially, religious institutions, law offices, insurance companies, government bills, as well as many product instructions were written in script and language that was mostly incomprehensible to us ordinary people. We simply did not understand any of that gibberish, should we have bothered to read such things to begin with. The obfuscating, self-aggrandizing language was deliberate in most cases so as to keep us in the dark; other entities who used that same approach merely followed the trend thinking that it was the right way to do things. This is still the ongoing practice such as when we read the following:

. . . by signing/clicking, you agree to all our terms and conditions.

And how many of us really read those terms and conditions that are written in inexplicable language by sleazy, slick lawyers? Trust me, not many.

So, whether it is Fake News, or Lawyer-ese, most of us are on our own to navigate all that we read/hear, and to determine what is Real and what is Fake; what we should agree to and what we shouldn’t; whether to accept the conditions, or not. All at our own peril, and, indeed, peril it sometimes is. Here are just two egregious examples:

Fake News: Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.

Fake News: We have the best health and educational systems in the world.

Frankly, many of our Politicians are themselves Scammers and purveyors of Fake News – in my opinion and as one example – who, while enriching themselves and their cronies and selling us pies in the skies, are not genuinely looking out for us in any meaningful way. Moreover, there are real Scammers galore on every social platform, and throughout cyberspace waiting to pounce on us in any way that they can. How can we protect ourselves from all of that? And, more importantly our children, grandchildren and the planet from the malfeasance of our very sick political, social and cyber landscape here at home, as well as across the world? Clearly, we must get involved, because we cannot leave it up to “others” to do the job on our behalf, and unless we all do that through our awareness; protests and marches; monetary contributions; writing letters; phoning elected officials; voting (and not only in the General Election, but for the Sheriff, the Superintendent, the Prosecutors and all other candidates); signing up for organizations supporting integrity and transparency in politics, corporations, and on mainstream and social media, then nothing will change and this planet will gradually disintegrate into total chaos brought on not only by the environment, climate change and the absence of justice, but societal apathy as well.

We have to act as did about four million young adults when they marched on September 20th. (and continued marching after that) in the streets of many capitals and cities across the world demanding steps be taken to protect the planet from climate change. We’ll see what happens with that valiant attempt if all of us don’t support and follow up on it, thus leaving it only in the hands of corrupt politicians and corporations.  Many others, and in previous years, have marched demanding to be protected from mass shootings in our schools, academic institutions and public arenas, not that crooked leaders have done anything about that yet! How is that even possible were they not wicked to the core, and have we not continued to reelect them time and time again?

As for the MSM, please remember that they are ALL paid to sensationalize, scandalize, opinion-ize and monetize in a way that creates more revenues for them by whipping up those of us who listen to them into a frenzy. It is really sick! They do not discuss, or bring in unbiased panelists to discuss the sorry state of our education; the miserable state of our health industry in all of its aspects; inhumane prison systems and other numerous and vital issues to the citizens, because neither the Establishment, or the Corporations, nor the Advertisers want them to do that, and also, because with an average of one million viewers (give or take) they are not really addressing John and Jane Doe, but directing themselves to the Establishment and all its adjuncts. Remember that God does not speak through them and they do not speak for you, or for me. They are there to seduce and steer those of us who listen to them to their version of the Truth and their Propaganda. It is better by far for any one of us to listen/read/research all sides of the story before deciding on its validity. Being lazy enough to only accept what we are being told without validation makes us sheep. The Establishment, Corporations, Politicians and the Media want us to be exactly that. Let’s not give them that satisfaction.

As for those other malevolent Scammers who invade our phones, emails, social media platforms et al, here, and to begin with, are two articles (and there are many, many more) that you should read for your own protection, and, if possible, print and re-read periodically:

https://www.securityweek.com/dont-take-bait-look-latest-phishing-trends

https://www.ic3.gov/media/2019/190919.aspx

https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-49741675

Here, too, are some Tried & True “Do and Don’t” refresher suggestions for all of us to be aware of (especially Facebook users):

  1. Go to your Settings and see to it that you type in the Least Amount of Information being asked of you. Hide your Birth Date so that no one in the public sphere can see or access it. And, yes, any bad actor can obtain our birth date and a whole lot of other information about us, but there are many tools out there to make this harder for them. Research and avail yourself of these tools. Do it Yesterday!
  2. Be careful who to Friend, and do not accept Friend requests from anyone before checking them out and validating that they are truly authentic Friends of your Friends and not Scammers.
  3. Make sure that all your Posts are for sharing with Friends. Once you share by clicking on the Public button you open yourself up to a can of worms that you do not want, or need.
  4. If you are signed on to receiving any posts from online magazines/organizations/institutions/universities or any entity that posts for the general Public do not Comment. If you do, you are opening yourself up to any Schmuck, or Schmukette, to respond to you by yelling and screaming at you if they do not like/agree with your Comment. Posts from these entities are Public, and while you are not posting for the Public, their platforms are Public and hence your Comments will be. Only use the Like button, or its attachments on such sites, or send them an email. Otherwise . . .
  5. When you post something on your wall do not think for one second that All your Friends will see that post. The algorithms are coded in such a way that only a “handful” of your Friends will see your post. Moreover, while that “handful” might change with every post, it will continue to be only a “handful.” Likewise, you may not see some, or many, posts from your Friends and for the same reasons.
  6. The Social Media Platforms are monitoring our every move and they are censoring “bad” stuff such as hate, incitement, threats etc., which is good. However, they are also blocking some of the posts that they deem you do not need to see, which are sometimes posts that you really want to see. It’s called Algorithms, and it can sometimes be akin to Censorship, and at worst to Brainwashing, which makes me wonder why Every Narcissist CEO of these corporations wants to impersonate God? And how arrogant is that?

As Tony Chalhoub on the Monk television series used to say: “It’s a jungle out there!”

2019

Reevaluating & Revolutionizing

Here’s a Huffington Post headline of August 31st. that blew me away! “Over 40 people Have Been Arrested as Potential Mass Shooters Since El Paso.” This is only in One Month! Think about how many we would have been mourning had the FBI not nabbed those criminals, most of whom were teenage boys, men, as well as a few young women. Horrors! And we still haven’t done anything to curb this deadly epidemic! What the hell are we thinking? However, I also know that most of the roughly 35,000 agents, detectives, lawyers, scientists etc. working at the FBI are doing their work in the 56 field offices of this nation every single day and hour with diligence and professional conduct. This is good news! Their successful cases, especially lately, prove this and reaffirm that the law has to apply equally for rich and poor, black and white, powerful and powerless for there to be the badly needed trust in the justice of our laws – one that has been badly shaken in recent years, especially.

These days there are more people than ever wondering how it is that the United States of America, especially since the sixties, has managed to screw up itself and the world to this abominable dimension. There are books, documentaries, films, magazine and online articles, speakers, organizations, coalitions, movements all analyzing and dissecting the Politicians and Events that have brought us up to this heinous point where we are at war with the world and amongst ourselves. How can it be that this Democratic Republic that landed a Man on the Moon, enacted Civil Rights, marched for Women’s Liberation, upheld its core Values of Equality and Freedom for All could have also caused a horrific war in Vietnam, expanded its Military Power all across the Globe, started wars in the Middle East that have ravaged the region and are still doing so, and is now in the process of upending every civilized and civilizing rule, regulation and law that the whole world looked up to us for, and, of late, does not do so anymore, even though the jute sacks stuffed with dollars make their way periodically to all the corrupt puppets we call our “allies” as they enrich themselves and their cronies and oppress their people all the more! And what a corrupt, and corrupting, foreign policy this is! We have sunk so very low in the eyes of even the most backwards and immoral of nations! Tragic and sad!

The Presidential Candidates of the Democratic Party have been presenting us with challenges and policy ideas which are pointing us in the right direction of where it is that they envision we should take this nation. Marianne Williamson’s recent inspirational and pragmatic book: A Politics of Love summarizes concisely and precisely why she and all the contenders agree that it is time for the Government of the United States to start addressing the well-being of All its citizens rather than the greed and corruption of its corporations, its entrenched political class and its runaway capitalism – a formula that has proven over decades that it is not working, that it cannot work and that, historically, it has never worked anywhere else either. It is time for Reevaluating and Revolutionizing the defunct methods which have not served our citizens, the country, or the world and which are domestically, as well as internationally dangerous. And, every day, there are more and more people realizing this sad truth. Where will it all go? Will it be merely a tempest in a campaigning teacup, or will it gather steam and steer us all above Party lines and towards safer, more inclusive, less vindictive and less troubled shores that the majority of this country are yearning for?

Most of us realize that there have been many scientists, investigative journalists, writers and gurus warning us for decades that we are at the eleventh hour. They have been sounding the alarms mainly regarding two issues: nuclear annihilation and environmental catastrophe. They knew, before any of us, that greed, arrogance and ignorance could trigger the nuclear button; that corruption and avarice could ignore our ailing planet while we were all being lulled by promises, empty talk and expedient policies such that we ignored all those sirens going off in our own backyard. No one has done this better than our President who, on the same day that sixteen-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg with her dire Climate Change message sailed into the New York Harbor, was gutting the EPA regulations even more than he already has by scrapping a rule that reduced the dangerous methane levels being released into the environment, thus totally disregarding the climate threat that this posed and which he has called a hoax! Disgusting!

But Change can, and does, happen when the will of the people to survive in harmony with the environment, and with dignity, justice and equality for all becomes a clarion bell! There are signs of this everywhere I look, which raises my spirits and gives me reason to hope that perhaps, just maybe, we can, at this eleventh hour in our planet’s and country’s life, reverse course and begin the healing process.

My daughter has been my Muse for today’s post. She has pointed out some terrific happenings that reinforced my sense that things could change. Here are some of those:

A new organization in Fairfax County, Virginia that goes by the name: Mothers Out Front is rallying support for the entire school system to upgrade its fleet from toxic diesel buses to zero-emissions electric buses beginning with a test bus in 2020 and completing the transition by 2024. That is a fantastic undertaking and, hopefully, will span the nation!

Profs and Pints (they have a Facebook page) brings college faculty members into bars, cafes, company offices and other venues to share their professional knowledge for a small fee. This endeavor could be inspirational, transformative and edifying. Another fantastic idea for raising awareness!

“Fashionopolis” is a new book by Dana Thomas that should make every female concerned about the environment to open her closet and feel abashed! We all have way much too much! According to Dana, Americans sent 14 million tons of clothing to landfills in 2018. Think of that! And it is all because of “the production of trendy, inexpensive garments in vast amounts at lightning speed in subcontracted factories . . . a dirty, unscrupulous business that exploited humans and Earth alike . . . is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all industrial pollution annually and releases 10 percent of the carbon emissions.” The author continues: “Buy less clothing, and buy as responsibly as possible . . . seek sweatshop-free labor . . . fix clothes that start wearing out.” We should all contribute our part to healing the environment rather than continuing on the egoistical path of a damaging and avaricious consumerism that we have been high on for decades. This, too, is good news if we all apply it, as we should.

Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, have been hounded, smeared and maligned by our government for Whistleblowing and hacking/publishing our war scandals and crimes for years. However, they, as most Whistleblowers, are courageous people exposing terrible shenanigans that governments and corporations continue assaulting us with on a daily basis. Recently, a second-year heroic graduate, Arwa Mboya, published a guest column in MIT’s student newspaper which exposed the sleazy Jeffrey Epstein contributions to the institution. Following that daring Whistleblowing, the Media Lab Director, Joi Ito had to resign, especially when the disclosures came to be known that MIT had concealed the fact of Epstein’s contributions and kept his name anonymous so no one would find out and scandalize them. Groveling for monetary donations, from anyone, anywhere has become a trademark of our venerated institutions as the College Admissions Scandals proved. Preposterous! However, in government, as well as in corporations, more and more Whistleblowers are emerging and exposing the endemic corruption without whining about how they will “lose their job.” They believe that the public good is more important than their job security. That, too, is fantastic!

Yes, incremental and small changes occurring here and there and everywhere will definitely contribute to our Reevaluating and Revolutionizing ourselves, our own home environment and the world’s environment. This is all good and more reason to be optimistic despite all the tragic stories continuing to happen across our miserable world! All fingers crossed!