Is Facebook and Twitter becoming a bit more conscious and aware? Maybe!

Facebook in their media relations page claimed this:

“Over the past few months, we have taken action against fake accounts in France, Germany, and other countries, and we recently stated that we will no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share false news to advertise on Facebook.”

I rejoice since I think at last the manipulations of nefarious activities manipulating the public, whether it is Russians getting conservatives hyped up into a mob mentality against the LGBT community, or having an unqualified real estate maven,  who seemed surprised  that he was chosen to be president, or providing a platform for hate speech for German Nazi’s, which happened to be against the law.

I followed the development of the extreme right groups who are often sponsored and supported by Russia – take hold in Western Europe and I was surprised since it used to be against the law to even whisper the word “Nazi”  in Germany.   The punishment in the 1980s was severe – over $1000 in fines or 2 weeks in prison.

How the world has changed since the Reagan era when we become “one world.”  Germans seem to have forgotten their history and now Neo Nazis are running around demonstrating and promoting their hate freely in public, protected by the free speech laws.  Erdogan’s dictator supporting Turkish soldiers are running around Germany turning in ex-soldiers, if they practice German free speech, and Erdogan tried to shut up a, perhaps a bit tasteless, German comedian.  He launched lawsuits in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerlands.  Only in Germany he received an audience by politicians who pushed for silencing their own citizens in support of the dictator.

Facebook and Twitter helped these trends, there is no doubt about it.  No matter how much they wanted to deny it or ignore it initially.  They forbade pictures of classic Greek statues and paintings from the Renaissance if they offended some religious desire – but hate speech,  even illegal hate speech was entirely ok to them.  We now know that it was because they made good money with it.  The bot factories paid precious advertising dollars.  Art lovers who shared a beautiful Botticelli painting could not compete with the foreign dictators’ budgets. People who portrayed rape scenes were okay, women’s nipples were not.  When questioned in Germany, they arrogantly proclaimed that the Facebook police were run out of India, thus not subject to German law. Only when Merkel got so frustrated by the public furor that she promised to shut the site down altogether,  was she able to get Zuckerberg’s attention.

Now in Germany they are working on a “Facebook-Gesetz” – a law that is targeting social media companies. the law is meant to stop social media companies from spreading illegal hate speech.  The German press is concerned that while there is an attempt to create such a law, it is far from certain that there will be such a law. Political infighting points that in Germany freedom of speech and the fight against hate speech vs. mob rule attitudes are literally at odds.

While politicians are discussing the pros and cons of the formulation it is up to Facebook to keep order “voluntarily.”  In German fashion, they don’t seem to care if they tacitly allow hate speech free reign while they fight about the way the law is worded.

Thankfully, there definitely have been some improvements as the top management of Facebook finally is starting to become aware that they may be destroying Western Civilization by allowing “free speech” to extremists, while being responsive to complaints by extremists whose goal is quite literally to abolish the Freedoms of  Western Culture as we know it.

Facebook informs us:  “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”  

Hopefully this is a priority and completed before the next elections.  Trump fans are right that Western Civilization is under attack, mostly by ourselves.  Business leaders will ultimately decide whether democracy will survive. Business leaders are pro democracy and those who are against democracy will decide our future as they deploy artificial intelligence who write programs which determine how we will be able perceive our world now and in the future.

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Time to think? Universities are starting to self reflect on their contribution to our culture.

Widener Library on Harvard Campus
Widener Library on Harvard Campus
Is the time-honored tradition of Fraternities and Sororities coming to an end?

A committee announced on Wednesday, July 13, 2017, that they recommend that  Harvard completely forbid students from joining “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations.” They feel so strongly about it that they wish to replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall.

Harvard is not the first University who is grappling with the problems caused by these “private” clubs.  Amherst College, Bowdoin College, and Williams College all prohibited undergraduate participation in fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations in recent years.

Undergraduate Council Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia, class of 2018 said the proposed policy completely “takes away personal responsibility and choice” from College students—and that it is unlikely to be effective.  “It’s simply going to either force [the clubs] underground or literally dry out any semblance of social life on campus,” Khansarinia said. “It’s really not the right way to go about this.”

The faculty needs to guide Harvard into the present-day realities and prepare students for life in a gender neutral world.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed in most traditional colleges and society at large.

Department of Labor Statistic about workforce participation by sex.
Department of Labor Statistic about workforce participation by sex.

Several of the social clubs, for instance the “Fly Club”  are seeking legal council on how they can fight the effort.

Statistics about rape point in a direction that something really needs to be done.
Rainn provides data that shows that sexual violence on campus is pervasive.

    • 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).2
    • Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
    • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
    • 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.

Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.

    • Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.1
    • Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
University culture have a profound impact on overall culture around the world.

In June the Harvard Crimson reported:

Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.

A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.

In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

No one would dispute that people who engage in threatening deaths and child abuse and find it humorous or in anyway acceptable should not be let loose on society, much less on a top notch educational institution.

Is it time to think yet?

The “Fly Club” an all male institution retained an attorney who made some interesting points in an op-ed in 2016.   Silvergate:

"The report acknowledged the correlation between alcohol-fueled partying and sexual assault, which we believe implies that forcing independent organizations to go co-ed would only lead to an increase in the high-risk encounters that lead to assaults. Their proposed alternative is to create a blacklist of non-complying organizations, thereby abridging the freedom of association—a bedrock principle of our nation’s constitution—for its very own students.

This latter course of action is particularly galling: Harvard appears to be moving towards a policy that would expel students simply for membership in a club, while it simultaneously fails to properly adjudicate sexual assault cases. The University is blaming an entire class of students for the condemnable and illegal conduct of a small minority—a clearly backwards approach to community safety."

He later goes on to state:

"We are witnessing a return to the College operating in loco parentis, as it attempts to both dictate social-sexual norms and limit students’ independence. Harvard bureaucrats continue to expand their numbers while also attempting to bring independent single-sex organizations, including the Final Clubs and the growing number of Greek letter organizations, under their control, if not to eliminate them entirely.

Unlike past debates about sexual mores and student liberty at the College, undergraduate students appear unperturbed by, if not supportive of, this assertion of administrative control over their private lives, while the Faculty of Arts and Sciences seems to have little influence with regards to the issue. The administration is leveraging the current political climate to achieve policy goals that will unfortunately do little to prevent sexual assault, but will certainly make Harvard more illiberal."

In my opinion there is much to think about and the trend to have “Big Brother” forbid you to get drunk and rape people instead of encouraging public debates that allow a culture of inclusion, respect and with humanistic values to thrive voluntarily, is a debate that does and should go on and on until we all live in a free society in which everyone is safe from assault, and free to excel at their own personal highest level.

Equality in a society where women make up more than 1/2 of the work force is a must have.  Being able to feel safe is a need that both women and men should be able to enjoy.  How to accomplish that reality should really become part of the public debate.  Forbidding public gatherings of like minded people may just drive the activity underground and it may be unconstitutional. Eliminating “wanna be” and actual racists and rapists should be a must for every educational institution.  Racists and Rapists need therapy not more easy access to victims.  However driving racist and misogynist attitudes underground may not be a long term solution for our society either.

When studying Victor Frankl someone who has experienced the worst of human kind in person while he was incarcerated by Nazis during the Holocaust, we may learn that we have to raise our expectations of each other and teach our young future leaders to thrive and foster their wish and their ability to create “Lives with Meaning”, people who are happy and content while working on making life better for everyone. This is what moves people to feel content.  Busy and content leaders don’t have time to be jerks.  Most jerks are either unhappy and insecure or are pathologically damaged. As we know from some of our current public leaders being a jerk does not make you popular and the ill manners actually make people more lonely and give them a craving for attention and love that will stay unfulfilled. Nobody likes these lonely jerk or brute. We have to aim higher for our students. We need to encourage them to be the better.

Maybe it is time to bring back the education that is deeply rooted in the Humanities that sets the aim high and encourages students to create a better world.

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Staying calm when times of stress. Techniques that work.

Enjoy your inner rhythm and share it with your friends.
Enjoy your inner rhythm and share it with your friends.

Neuro-plasticity is the reason why we are able to learn and modify our responses to life’s events.  Over the past few decades many forms of therapy have been developed and practiced.  Over the past decade through new technology, gene therapy, and applied nano-technology we now know in no uncertain terms that the mind and body are linked.  The body is able to influence the mind and the mind is able to influence the body.

Dr. van der Kolk suggests that all effective treatments involve some way for people to learn to recognize when they change their arousal system. When a person learns how to become aware if they get upset, learns to take 60 breaths, focuses on the out breaths, they are able to calm both their brain right down.  We are able to choose to engage in soothing techniques like pressing on acupressure points. A most effective methods to calm frayed nerves are walks in nature.  The earlier in life children learn how to recognize that they are upset, that their heart is beating hard or irregularly, that their breath is short, the sooner they can be taught to engage in effective self soothing behavior.  It is wonderful that our children learn early in life how to calm down, practice yoga, go for soothing walks in nature.

Now that we are certain about the human mind’s ability to learn at every age everyone is able to learn and to engage in healthy self-moderating behaviors with positive effect.  After learning how to recognize that we are growing upset, and how to calm ourselves down when we get upset we can progress to the next step.

Learning how to avoid getting upset

The core idea of Dr. van der Kolk’s teaching is that we recognize that we are not a victim of what happens. We are able to do things to change our own thoughts. The new applied sciences in medicine overturn the mistaken belief that if we can’t stand something, we should just take a pill and make it go away.  The best treatment is to realize that when something is happening to we it is our own choice how we wish to   interpret the situation.  We can be frightened or we can change the sensations by moving, breathing, tapping, and touching or by avoiding touch. We are in charge of how we feel and we can influence the way we feel physically.  Dr. van der Kolk has devoted his life to creating tools that will provide us with the emotional management tools. Healthy body habits have positive effects on our emotional habits. With practice we become ever more in charge of our own physiological system.  We now know that we can calm ourselves down by talking or through one of the many other processes.  We greatly benefit from programs that provide us with empowerment.  Physical impact, like model mugging (a form of self-defense training), martial arts or kickboxing, or an activity that requires a range of physical effort teaches us to actually defend ourselves, stand up for ourselves, and to literally feel the power in our bodies are very effective. We can retrain our emotions to realize that we have power and we are not victims or our fate.

Dr. van der Kolk, M.D., teaches that to realize that we are not victims of circumstance. We are capable to focus our attentions on learning how to express ourselves better.  When we learn how to effectively communicate our feelings, we are impacted by other people’s behavior we engage in a positive way with others.  One way to learn is to share our feelings and  to seek out therapy to find the proper language for our internal experience. As we become more adept to share our inner life effectively and to learn how to communicate with others, the quality of our lives improves.

Dr. van der Kolk and communications experts teach that most of our communication takes place on the physical plan. We communicate by nodding our heads, we smile, we frown, move, shift our weight and stance. Kids and adults, who were victims of physical abuse and neglect, lose those interpersonal rhythms. As we engage in self soothing behavior and learn to express ourselves we are ready for the last and most fun step. Dancing, listening to music, play music, practice QiGong and find our own rhythm.  Soon our life energy will flow and we will enjoy life.

Dr. van der Kolk, M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His book Psychological Trauma was the first integrative text on the subject, painting the far ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues which need to be addressed for recovery.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has been involved in creating tools for stress reduction. Learn more by  Publications and Products

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Today, Supreme Court in US decides to support Trump for the first time, twice!

Hungarian Jews arriving at camp being separated
Hungarian Jews arriving at camp being separated
Unlike Comey, Gorsuch must have sworn complete and unwavering loyalty to Trump.

Trump is jubilant.  The now conservative US Supreme Court, supported by his appointee Justice Gorsuch, has ruled that his Muslim ban is partly okay until the time they will look at it in October.  Experts seems to agree that this is a sign that the Court will uphold his ban in October.

He and his son-in-law recently sold $110 Billion dollars of weapons to the ultraconservative Muslim country of Saudi Arabia, which is known to poison young people’s minds all around the world through their state supported Imams who prejudice against women, Christians, and are known to promote ISIS and attacks on Westerners.   But, money talks in Trump land. If you pay you get to play, if you are poor you get prejudiced against.  None of the Muslim nations whose citizens are now bannedhave as many known terrorists as Saudi Arabia.  So why aren’t the Saudi Arabian Muslim’s banned?  Why are only Muslims from oil-poor countries banned? Maybe because they are “useless” to the likes of Trump and his supporters who seem only interested in the Mighty Mammon.

Unfortunately, Democrats don’t seem to have any strategy to change the system, except to ask for their daily demand for small bits of money, as though being willing to ask for small donations is a badge of honor in the money driven world of Nancy Pelosi.  No wonder voters are turned off by both parties.

The second ruling supported by the now conservative US Supreme Court is to abolish separation of Church and State.  Yes, the Lutheran church merely wanted to have the state to pay for their children’s playground protective rubber mats. Seems benign, right?  However, as the Constitution is once more ignored they have now set yet another precedent.  First “Church-going” people don’t have to sell cake, they don’t have to support women’s health, now churches can demand tax dollars, and soon?  Well, it seems we are well on our way back to the Middle Ages.

The news about right-wing success is encouraging others to come out of the woodwork.  Hungarian Leader Orbán today honored Hitler and Himmler supporter Miklós Horthy, who was personally responsible for collaborating with the Nazis in sending over 600,000 Jews to the death camps. Today this mass murderer is celebrated in Hungary as the US lost its way and the Supreme Court ignores the Constitution, again.  This is a sad day in history and soon young people around the world will have to choose between Life and Death, again.

In the Federalist No. 2, “Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence” for the Independent Journal, written Wednesday, October 31, 1787 we find:

"It has lately been a received and uncontradicted opinion that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties.  However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number.  Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.  

It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty."

Perhaps there is hope in this text that was written so eloquently nearly 230 years ago.  Apparently the debate about State Rights and Federal Cohesion of the USA has been going on for a very long time. Maybe this great country will survive this latest onslaught of personalized greed and stay democratic after all – eventually.

 

 

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Dreams can come true. We can learn a lot from Finland’s Space Nation Program.

A few years ago this was just a dream. Now with Space Nation that trip to the moon will become reality for more and more kids.

Space Nation’s space project for schoolchildren Space Nation offers thousands of Finnish schoolchildren the opportunity to participate in a fun SpaceSeeds science project. A teacher / school can order a research package containing locally grown radish seeds and ordinary radish seeds.

The seeds of space have been exposed to space conditions for nearly six months when they were sent to the International Space Station in October last year. Teachers guide children sowing seeds, and the science pack material enables students to track and compare how the growth and characteristics of ordinary and sparkling seed differ from each other. The first moment of excitement is to look at which seed germs faster.

Space Nation will open up their US Immersive Experience division in the US in June 2017, by Kasimir Lehto, an accomplished Finnish immersive experience AR and VR film maker.

The CEO of Space Nation Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola is excited to start the many collaborations necessary to with all companies, space programs, educators and countries who are interested in joining Space Nation’s preparing all of humanity for life in space.

The space media company Space Nation (Cohu Experience Ltd.) rose to the forefront of the global space boom by announcing the launch of the Space Nation Astronaut Program accessible to all.  headquarters are in Helsinki, Finland, but our team spans from Helsinki to Madrid, Washington DC, New York, Florida, Houston, Denver and San Francisco.

Cohu Experience has built a strong network of leading space industry corporations as well as compiled an impressive advisory board including Michael Suffredini (former ISS director), John Barbera (formerly Turner Broadcasting), Michael D.Johnsson (Nanoracks, LLC.) and Peter Vesterbacka (Rovio Entertainment: Angry Birds).

The Space Nation Astronaut Program starts worldwide in 2017.

Learn more by visiting:  www.spacenation.org

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High School Nation donates more than $1.5 Million to improve the arts and music at High Schools in the US

High School Nation organized tours to High Schools around the Nation
High School Nation organized tours to High Schools around the Nation
High School Nation Donating Millions to Arts and Music Budgets as Schools See Huge Shortfall

Recording Studios to be Built in Every School

CAMARILLO, CA–(Marketwired – Apr 12, 2017) – High School Nation, the country’s largest secondary school touring music festival, will top the $1.5 million mark in donations to high school arts and music programs this year when it kicks off its 2017 60-city Festival Tour. The goal of High School Nation is to promote the arts and music programs in high schools across the country, and this year the Festival will expand its donation program to include the establishment of recording studios in each of the schools where it appears.

“We believe that building recording studios will be a major step forward in high school music programs,” says Jimmy Cantillon, CEO and co-founder of High School Nation. “High school teachers and principals are very excited about this addition to our program. It’s a huge undertaking but we have companies in the industry who see the value and want to participate in any way they can.”

During the Festival Tour, High School Nation will take over football stadiums on each of the campuses and present a two-hour concert and events that will celebrate the arts in public schools. In addition to music programs, the Festival supports journalism, film, fine and performing arts, fashion, photography, and stage production.

Corporate sponsorships for the Festivals are being provided by over a dozen companies including Sparkling Ice, Guitar Center, Crayola, and Mars. PepsiCo, Microsoft, and Sony have all participated in the tours. As part of the Festival, students will visit interactive zones to interact with products and educational programs including the truth Zone, the Full Sail University Media Zone, the Hollister Style Zone, Guitar Center Music Zone, and the Crayola Sidewalk Chalk Zone.

The Festival Tour kicks off next week and will feature platinum selling rock band Plain White T’s. “We’re stoked to be headlining the High School Nation 2017 spring tour,” said band member Tom Higgenson. “We love the idea of playing our music and at the same time being able to help High School Nation donate to public school music programs. We believe it is a very important time to be assisting music programs as much as possible.” The band originally formed in 1997 by high school friends Higgenson and Dave Tirio.

“We are excited to be joining the High School Nation tour for the second year,” say Nina Morrison, vice president PR and community relations, of Talking Rain Beverage Company, the makers of Sparkling Ice. “The arts are a very important pillar of the high school experience and we’re honored to be able to help support the various programs.”

In addition to the above, one of this year’s leading sponsors is Truth Initiative, a national public health organization that is inspiring tobacco-free lives and building a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco through the proven-effective and nationally recognized truth® public education campaign. “Young people are using their creativity, through arts and music, to change the world and that’s why being part of High School Nation is so important to truth. The teen smoking rate is down to a historic low of 6 percent and this tour is an opportunity for us to give teens the tools they need join us in getting the rate to zero, because we believe they are the generation that can end smoking for good,” says Eric Ashe, Chief Marketing Officer, Truth Initiative.

“We are extremely thrilled to partner with High School Nation with its mission to make the musical instruments easily accessible to students,” says Brian Berman, Vice President of Marketing at Guitar Center. “Ensuring people have a creative outlet to express themselves in the form of music is very important to us at Guitar Center. High School Nation is doing a great job of providing opportunities for children across the U.S. to experience the invaluable gift of learning and playing a musical instrument.”

“Consumers naturally associate Crayola tools with coloring; it made sense for us to embrace that association essentially with kids of all ages, including teens and tweens, and be there for them,” says Kimberly Rompilla, Director of Platform Marketing at Crayola. “We have been involved in new product introductions and new initiatives with High School Nation and this Spring, we are excited to provide a colorful twist to teen outdoor activities, helping kids to express themselves throughout the season.”

The tours also feature a number of young, emerging performers brought in by record labels that see the benefits in being a part of this movement. RCA, Capital, Warner Bros. Records, and DreamWorks, are among the half dozen labels that have participated in the success of the Festival Tours.

“At the center of our Festivals are performances by some of the music industry’s hottest young rising stars,” Cantillon adds. “It’s one of the only opportunities for record labels and consumer products companies to come together to entertain, engage, and give back.” High school students, who spend over $260 billion per year on consumer products, are a significant audience for both the music industry and corporate sponsors.

About High School Nation:

High School Nation keeps music and arts programs alive for students across the country with donations, equipment and facilities.

Our Festival and Concert Tours are the largest events in the nation donating recording studios, musical equipment and funding for schools through on-campus sponsored live music concerts, and hands on activities. To date we have provided nearly $2 million to more than 200 schools and 600,000 students across the country.

Our culture is built around the development of innovative activities with significant and lifelong impact on teens. Through HSN, teens gain the chance to make music and the arts a significant part of their personal and, in some cases, future professional lives. Schools receive much needed funding to continue their educational programs, recording artists gain exposure to their biggest fans and brands make favorable and trusted impressions on a huge, underserved group of young consumers.

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Trump claims he is “the least racist person” ever. Well, how about the Dalai Lama?

Racism or lLove that is the question
Racism or Love that is the question
During Netanyahu’s visit a reporter wanted to know about the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and concerns that the new administration was encouraging xenophobia and racism.  The NYT reports:  “There is no question that hate crimes and malicious speech have accelerated since the presidential campaign, with Jews among the prime targets. The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic talk in the United States has reached levels unseen since the 1930s. And there have been bomb threats against Jewish centers across the country.”  The NYT goes on: “As for racism and anti-Semitism, he said “bad things” have happened “over a long period of time” and gave no hint of appreciating how his nationalistic, anti-immigrant policies and fear-mongering have been a dog whistle for the alt-right.”
The media discussed this terrible response which did not address the havoc that organizations like Bannon’s media property Breitbart, who is known as one of the wife-beating men in the current GOP administration. Trump chose this racism promoting man as his most trusted advisor.  Trump even is known to sign Executive Orders that were placed by Bannon in front of him, without even reading them, and without informing the National Security Organizations. Bannon calls the shots because Trump chooses this racist to call reign supreme.
Instead of taking the opportunity to reassure the country that he will uphold the US constitution, which does not allow racism, he simply whines about feeling accused.  The President of the US, and the leader of the until recently “free world,”  failed with his answers to this important question. The horrible rise in racism and anti-Semitism fostered and fomented by Breitbart, Bannon and his ALT-Right racist segment of the US population.  The ALT-Right is emboldened by Bannon and his media company. Trump hired him and until he fires him,  Trump is the boss, he is responsible. Bannon created speaking opportunities for racists, Ku Klux Klan Members and people who engage in the Nazi salute.

The dictionary explains: “A racist is a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”  Trump has claimed in several interviews that he finds being questioned whether he is a racist “offensive.” So why does he keep promoting racists?

Trump was raised by a father who was a registered Ku Klux Klan member, and his grandfather rented out women.  We can realize that many of his attitudes were formed during the pre verbal phase of his childhood. Trump rates women on a scale of 1 to 10, typically considering the age and the women’s bodies.  Not their mind, not their personality, he sees women as possessions and as objects.  He thinks that his being so attracted to women that he is compelled to touch them without invitation, is proof that he “loves” women. He succeeded in frightening and empowering women by the millions to leave the coziness of their homes to actually physically take to the street to protest.

It is quite possible that Trump is completely unaware of his attitudes, or how his actions, words, and attitudes perceived by an innocent bystander.  Clearly Trump doesn’t have much respect for his own voters.

Donald Trump made the following statement in a 1998 interview with People magazine:

If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.  
                                                           Donald Trump

Trump admires dictators who murder their own citizens, he hired billionaires after claiming through out to the Fox News watching audiences that he would “clean the swamp.” And claimed Hillary giving speeches was proof that she was pro-Wall Street. Now on a near daily basis Trump brings in his “very capable” – often previously accused of fraud – Wall Street friends to run the government. It is obvious that he and his Wall Street Friends rode into the White House by making false promises – Better Healthcare than ACA – Better Paying Jobs – Safe Streets – and a GOP that would be winning so much they would get “tired of winning.”

Meanwhile here is a quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
 ― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
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Amid questions about ethics Andy Pudzer withdraws himself from nomination for Secretary of Labor

Pudzer who is responsible for such misogynist ads, withdraws over conflicts
Pudzer who is responsible for such misogynist ads, withdraws over conflicts

Puzder who fought for lower minimum wages or automation in the fast food industry finally realized that even some Republicans are more pro-worker than he planned to be.  He has been sued numerous time for underpaying workers, which is illegal.  The Labor Department claimed that in 2,561,000 earned $7.25 or less per hour.  Please note that all minimum wage workers who live in states with a higher minimum wage than the Federal Minimum wage rate are not even included in the statistics. Chart

Puzder fights against raising the minimum wage for his workers while paying himself more very well.  Meanwhile, according to CKE’s final public disclosure after going private—Puzder made more than $4 million in salary and bonuses.

Mother Jones reported in December:  “Back in 2004, the company agreed to pay $9 million to settle claims that it had not paid overtime to store managers. In 2013, CKE was hit with a class-action suit for “allegedly failing to pay its general managers overtime, even while requiring them to be on call 24 hours a day,” reports Law 360.”

In response to the proposal to raise minimum wage, Puzder vowed to replace workers with machines. This is what he sarcastically said about machines: “They’re always polite, they always up sell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

Donald J. Trump strongly defends Andrew F. Puzder, his chosen secretary of labor who is an outspoken critic of the worker protections enacted by the Obama administration.  Trump, accused under oath of raping his first wife, defends Puzder and claims that he is treated “unfairly.”  Really?

Puzder’s ex-wife Lisa Henning was terribly abused by him. She said that Puzder  in a widely reported interview that “attacked me, choked me, threw me to the floor, hit me in the head, pushed his knees into my chest, twisted my arm and dragged me on the floor, threw me against a wall, tried to stop my call to 911 and kicked me in the lower back,” according to a 1989 Riverfront Times article.

At last Puzder withdrew his name from the nomination.

Now that Trump, Bannon and Puzder had been accused of spousal abuse, we really need to start wondering.  We know that the best predictor for terrorist is a history of family violence.  Hmmm.  Maybe we need to look at our government through the lens of Domestic Violence.  Article

 

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Stop! in the name of love…

Sea of Roses
Sea of Roses
Valentine’s Day makes us contemplate the meaning of love

Some people wonder how to stay with a war hero husband. Of course when your spouse is on the front you are afraid of loosing him or her.  It is easy to feel the potential loss as ever deeper and growing true love.  The fear of loosing him or her, may actually grow your commitment to be there for your spouse, and to love your spouse with all your heart and soul.  You care for and love your spouse so very, very, very much.

Later you are so glad that they survived, so thrilled that they came home with out loosing life or limb.  You are so happy when they come home to you and your kids.

Veterans returning home.
Veterans returning home.

Trouble is that if he or she is suffering from a severe case of PTSD, your life will change as well.  PTSD when expressed in a volatile and dangerous way is contagious.

Here is a true story:

A man, a vet came home from the war.  He was such a lovely, intelligent and charming man.  When he was conscious, that is.

When he wasn’t conscious, he turned into a hurtful, brutal and dangerous man.

In fact, because he was from a very good family, he was raised with the believe that a woman should be protected and cherished.  He had many sisters and was raised to be protective of them as well.  When he fell in love a deep calling rose up in him and he knew that he could be good for something, he could be a hero caring for his little woman.  Even after all the atrocities he had witnessed during his service.  He could protect that this lovely and shy girl who would be his bride.

The lady was raised in a Christian home and as a proper women who would love and cherish her husband. She was raised to believe that a husband and wife were bonded in the commitment to make marriage not just a holy sacrament, but also to obey and honor her spouse and support him in every possible way, in sickness and in health.  And she was raised to support her husband’s growth in his career and standing in the community.  In short a lovely and very proper woman.

And, OMG, it really worked. They started life together and enjoyed it fully, they worked hard, and bought a little home.  They planted a garden and had common hobbies. He took her to romantic dinners, and was very proud of his “little woman.”  They were very much in love and looked forward to a bright future with a lovely family.

What she had not realizes when they had this whirlwind romance, was that somehow during their romance, he didn’t experience any of the symptoms of the PTSD he had sustained in the war.  His parents and siblings thought the young woman was a blessing in all their lives.

Then after they married he experienced some stress at work and the PTSD that the woman knew nothing about returned. The trouble is, when you are married to a man who has PTSD, no matter how many flowers you receive, no matter how many declarations of love you received, no matter how sincere these declarations actually are, the man may turn on a dime.

With a nightmare, with some trigger you were unfamiliar with, you might get hurt, beaten, strangled and severely physically compromised.  The emotional pain is insufferable. A proper women may try coping mechanisms that they are taught. This woman tried to cope with the danger and pain by praying.  She forgave him, she loved him, and she was determined to stand by her man.

The praying really did help her to keep her calm, but it didn’t keep her safe.  Eventually she ended up in the hospital with a severe cut in her head, bruises all over her body, and she needed to get stitches so quickly to stop the severe bleeding, that she ended up with 27 stitches on her shaved skull without anesthesia.

Love alone is not enough.  So if you have a good reason, a wonderful reason to love a man, a mighty and wonderful man. and he hurts you.  Stop, in the name of love!  Stop.  Stop pretending it will get better, stop thinking that it is your fault. Stop. Stop the lies that keep you bonded to such an unhealthy situation.

Get help!!! Help is out there, and you can be free of an abuser. Even if you know that it is not his fault that he experienced such terrible hardships and pain. It is not your fault either and you don’t have to deal with it on your own.

PTSD is recently acknowledged as a potential result of war engagement. But if you are just a kind woman who loves your man, you may need some serious help to keep you and the children safe.  Love alone will not heal this potentially dangerous condition. And, as many people found out, the constant stress and danger of living with an unpredictable, hurtful, disrespectful man, causes the spouse PTSD as well.  Unfortunately  it is contagious.

So get help.  He needs therapy.  There are some forms of therapy that are promising.  But while he is in therapy, you and the kids may have to watch out for your own safely.  The lady in the story eventually knew that she had to leave him, so he would not turn into her murderer.  She did this after he held her at knife point of a long kitchen knife for 1 and 1/2 hours talking like a crazy man, wondering aloud if his pain would stop, if he killed her. She finally realized that it was her god given duty not to help him ruin his life entirely.  She realized that she could best help him by being away from him.

The shock of loosing her helped him.  He got therapy for PTSD and after 10 more painful years, he slowly got better.  He told her that he was glad for both of them that she had left when she did.  By leaving him she helped him to stop the negative spiral he was on.  The loss of her and her love woke him up to the fact that he had a serious problem. Before she left him, he thought “she was the problem.”  He thought if she was kinder, or more strong willed, or funnier or not as afraid of him, or not as angry, he would not have had to punish her all the time.

He told her that he strongly believed he may actually have killed her eventually, if she didn’t leave him.   A study in 2015 showed that 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew. Of the victims who knew their offenders, 62 percent were wives or other intimate acquaintances of their killers.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.  More

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is get away from someone you love.   For the rest of us, who are in a wonderful and happy relationships that works or can be nurtured into working, we may wish to support those who are not so lucky.  Support the National Coalition Against Family Violence

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Good Guy Billionaire: Who is Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg?

Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg
Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg

Ms. Priscilla Chan is a former grade school teacher and a recent medical school graduate training to become a pediatrician.  She has a strong commitment to health and put’s her wealth toward the common good. Her parents came as refugees to seek a better life.  Now she is one of the top Billionaires who is committed to make life better for everyone.

In an interview with Today, Priscilla Chan recalled: “If you’re the first generation to go to college, sometimes you don’t realize your potential until others point it out.”  For her, those individuals were her public school teachers, whom she credits for “getting me excited about learning.”   Priscilla spoke Cantonese growing up, learned English in school and life, and studied Spanish to server her patients better.

Her commitment to health is genuine and unsurpassed.  She met her husband Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard where they were first class mates and later they dated.  They dated for 10 years before deciding to get married to form their family.

She and her husband donated $600 Million dollars through her charity organization CZI to create a Biohub together with University of California at San Francisco, Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley, which will be headquartered next to UCSF’s Mission Bay
campus in San Francisco.

She is an amazing woman who is one of the best examples of what America genuinely stands for.  Immigrants who seek a better life and in turn make life for the rest of Americans a better place.  Thank you Ms. Chan Zuckerberg for sharing your big heart, brilliant mind, and wealth for the greater good.

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Charter School Fraud is rampant and proven and now we have dubious DeVos

Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
The National Education Association expresses deep concerns

A recent study provided that only 41% of Cyber Schools were deemed “academically acceptable.”  The graduation rate on private Cyber Schools was less than half of that of brick & mortar public schools.  So why is the new head of education so interested in providing an easy platform of proven tax dollar theft?

This is not “liberal hysteria”  this is a genuine concern based on real facts.

California

Jessica Calefati of the San Jose Mercury News provided in-depth research about the for profit company K12 Inc. which lead to a $168.5 Million settlement with California. There are proven claims that the Virginia-based Charter School manipulated attendance records and overstated its students’ success.  The SJMN stated in its article: “Harris’ office found that K12 and the 14 California Virtual Academies used deceptive advertising to mislead families about students’ academic progress, parents’ satisfaction with the program and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission.”  Over a twelve year period the fraudster charged the State of California $310 Million dollars.

Despite these findings the Atlantic Monthly reports:

“DeVos invested in the online charter-school operator K12, which targeted the growing home school market. But K12’s overly expansive business model made it both significantly less profitable and more prone to regulatory and operating deficiencies than smaller, less ideologically driven competitors. K12 still trades below its IPO price from 2007. K12 was one of dozens of companies originally backed by Michael Milken’s ambitiously named Knowledge Universe, as part of an expansive effort to revolutionize education.”

Pennsylvania

Account Neal Prence, 61, admitted guilt in defrauding the government by helping with illegal accounting practices.  AP reported that Nicholas Trombetta, 61, acknowledged using the school’s money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying a Florida condominium, homes for his girlfriend and mother and a jet airplane, while socking most of the money away for retirement.  Trombetta used Avanti Management Group, the National Network of Digital Schools and other companies Trombetta also created to perpetrate the scheme.   The fraud was uncovered thanks to the tireless work of the FBI.

What seems surprising is that despite the fact that they absconded admittedly with $8 Million dollars the maximum sentence the law allows is:  “The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 100 years in prison, a fine of $3,250,000, or both for Trombetta and five years’ imprisonment, $250,000, or both for Prence. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Assistant United States Attorneys James R. Wilson, Robert S. Cessar and Stephen R. Kaufman are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.”    More

Ohio

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow lost appeal to allow the state to audit the attendance of their online charter school.  The Columbia Dispatch reported on November 13, 2016:  “ECOT could not substantiate nearly 60 percent of full-time students were getting the minimum 920 hours of “learning opportunities” required by the state, meaning the state could ask the school to repay more than $60 million of the $106 million it received in state funding last year. Eight other smaller e-schools also were unable to justify their reported enrollment totals.”   It seems House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, was not worried about ECOT or Ohio’s other online schools potentially defrauding Ohio.  He simply excused their behavior by saying:  “There are always two sides to the story.”  His comment implies that there may be many more sides than that. Why would a House Speaker support Ohio citizens being defrauded?

These are only very few examples.  Now with DeVos and her side kick Jerry Fallwell Jr. in charge of “education” we can be sure there will be many more major thefts.  We are now in the era that US founders wanted to avoid:

It is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

And the Congress is working feverishly on abolishing the oversight office of ethics to aid the business interests of their now fellow leaders. Here is a great link to a speech Walter M. Shaub, Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, gave at the Brookings Institute in January 2017.  Link

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Under the DeVos administration how will our kids meet their best friends?

Best friends are found in schools
Best friends are found in schools

Most people’s best and oldest friends are from our early schools days. DeVos is known to take the life long pleasure of socialization so that if a child or parent signs in online for 1 minute the “privateering school” seems legally is entitled to steal tax payers money.  If tax dollars earmarked for education go to pay for private homes of girlfriends instead of education, it should be wrong.  But DeVos disagrees and the GOP gives her free reign to create theft rings.  More

Eli Broad who sponsors the best and most high performing charter schools in the country tried to stop her plan to defraud the public much like her brother Eric Prince did with his billions Dollar thefts in war of Iraq with his privateering military company Blackwater. To this day Eric Prince finds it offensive that people hold him accountable as to how he spent taxpayers money. Eric Prince said in recent interviews in an Alt-Right media company that he should not be accountable because the missing Billions and Billions of dollars were spent in a “private” military company and therefore he should not have to disclose the where the missing money went nor where it is now.

The only lesson the public can learn is how bottomless the sense of entitlement has become under our dysfunctional government that provides no oversight and no accountability of how and where our rapidly disappearing taxes and pensions has become. Unrepentant thieves have overthrown the government. DeVos will be a disastrous example of self righteous thievery of billions of taxpayers money due to funneling American public funds into “private” pockets. Another billion dollar heist is underway and sanctioned by Paul Ryan and McConnell. No wonder they want to silence the voices of reason.

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