Category Archives: Wheat and The Chaff

Create a world where Trump is not necessary

Russell Brand: wise sage?

As it turns out, yes.

Listen to him–rather than get caught up in what you may think you know of the English comedian/actor with an unfettered biography of overcoming drug and sexual addiction–to glimpse him in this role, and perhaps to learn something while you’re at it.

Listening to him isn’t that hard. Brand’s intelligence, humor and honesty are anything but boring.

The hard part comes when we consider what he says, just as he did shortly after America’s coronation of its first Theocracy, i.e. the less-than-majority Presidential victory of Donald Trump and continued GOP control over Congress.

“The fact that Donald Trump is president of the United States is, sort of, not what’s important,” Brand said. “What’s important is the conditions that have occurred that Donald Trump becomes (the president).”

Brand correctly correlated widespread disenchantment both in his native England with Brexit and now in America with the election of Trump.

For five minutes of rapid-fire commentary, Brand lays out his case that the growing, educated, progressive majority has failed to understand those with whom they don’t align.

Or perhaps it’s as simple as my son often tells me, “I can’t stand how superior you elites act.”

Don’t get my wrong, my son loves me and we have wonderful, open talks about politics and social issues. He is a non-religious progressive on most social issues who is fiscally conservative and stridently pro-small government. He once voted for President Obama but now feels alienated. “Hope and change” to him, was the first political let down of his adult life.

Brand uses similar language, but from the perspective of a progressive insider. We have no idea how we’ve alienated those who have now kicked us from the halls of power in two of the world’s most powerful economies, he asserts.

Facts back him up. The “superior” hubris of the Democratic leadership continues to haunt this country. After voters looked to them for leadership in 2006, they spent two years doing nothing but trying to destroy the GOP. After progressives stormed behind an unknown named Bernie Sanders ten years later, the Clinton campaign never stepped foot into key Rust Belt states Sanders won, even after both Trump and Michael Moore said she would lose right there.

Our arrogance is destroying this country as much as the fact-deprived, right-wing proliferation of political spin regarding taxation, climate change and the economy. We can look down our nose at people who still deny global warming and believe the nonsense coming from Fox News, but they now control the government.

Thankfully, Brand as wise sage doesn’t just wax philosophical about these trends. He offers a clear path to a solution, one that is very, very hard to follow. I know this because for the last two years I tried to do it way more often than I tried to elevate my political agenda.

“Lets try and reach out and understand why someone feels like this and be loving and not be presumptuous,” he says.

And more to the point: “We have to create a world where a Donald Trump is not necessary… we have to change the way we treat each other.”

I believe this is as close to my personal “mission” as anything I do. But now, after the rise of a Theocracy that had no interest in conversation or listening for the entire eight years of the Obama presidency, after the election of a President who routinely uses abusive language, incites hate, condones and participates in the abuse of women, and who has a near pathological bent toward lies—after this election–I will listen while I actively resist this agenda of an American Theocracy.

This is anything but easy. Listening is decidedly not easy. Loving is nearly impossible. Resisting can be dangerous and disruptive. But this is my calling. I hope it will be yours too, so we can “create a world where Donald Trump is not necessary.”

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In defense of tolerance, resist but don’t hate

Now they expect us to be “tolerant.” We cannot be tolerant so that intolerance can be allowed. Too many people’s lives and hard-earned freedoms are at stake in the months ahead.

This is what’s a stake: a woman’s right to choose, the right to basic public health, increased institutional racism, the legalized right for same-sex marriage. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the right to avoid cataclysmic destruction of our planet.

Our challenge will not be to maintain the resistance. The extreme views of those in power will provide us daily motivation. They are tone-deaf to the movement of tolerance.

Our challenge is not to hate those who would oppress us. Our challenge is not to hate the “God” they espouse, especially those of us of faith who know a very different God.

The commandments tell us first to love God and love others. They say do not take God’s name in vain. Yet, the religious right will continue to act with such impunity of people they view as outside of the will of God that they scream Goddamnit at the top of their lungs with every act they undertake.

We take God’s name in vain when her so-called people vow to destroy Her creation — both the planet and the people who inhabit who they believe God damns.

Christopher Hitchens wrote in his book, God is Not Great, “Religion poisons everything.”

A segment of Christianity that veers far right, even away from moderate evangelicalism that is often wrongly viewed as bedfellows with this political ideology–even far right of George W. Bush’s fabled compassionate conservativism–controls our federal government.

This is no time for tolerance.

But it is also no time for hate, lest we become the thing we resist.

Walking through Greenwich Village the other day, I sought out the now landmark Stonewall Inn, home of a police attack that gave birth to the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians.

The Stonewall Inn is more than a gay bar. It’s the symbol of everything we have to lose in the coming months as the Theocracy of America takes complete control of the federal government.

The statue outside stands for a cultural victory that normalized what should be and should remain “normal,” the right to love who we want without fear.

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Most statues hark to a past era after victory is assured. A few weeks ago we wanted to believe that. Now, we know better.

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence–who is widely believed to be the person making presidential decisions under the Reality TV presidency of Donald Trump–is among the most far-right Christian trumpeters this country has ever elected to the state house, much less the White House. Pence has vowed a culture war built on a Christian theology touted by a minority–a fading one at that.

The same Congressional leaders who broke the rule of law and refused to approve a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court, will now try to stuff that court with religiously motivated justices who will defend their so-called view of “God’s law.” It flips a middle finger at the constitution and laws of the United States.

We will tolerate nothing of people who in the name of God promote intolerance that rivals that of theocratic governments in the Middle East. The world has lived through enough Crusades for one planet. We will defy them to try to again.

We refuse to let our LGBTQ brothers and sisters be threatened again. We refuse to allow their homes, their safeties, their marriages, their civil rights abused by a theocratic police state again.

We will resist, not fight. Who are we? We are now Muslim, Liberal Christian, Gay, Transgender, Female, Black, Latino, and on and on. If they make a target, we will all become that thing. If they try to register one group, we will all register. We will all refuse to tolerate this attack on our freedoms.

Somehow, someway, we will win the world back with love, not hate. This is something more powerful. It is the unified voice for the freedom of all, even those who would dare drag us into a religious-fueled state of intolerance. We will resist and we will love, and somehow, someway try to even love those who view us with such disdain.

This is the way of freedom.

Men of goodwill, step aside

Men. This is not our century. We’ve had a nice run, but in truth, we Effed it up fairly spectacularly. Today is the day we admit it’s time for a new perspective. Today is the day, finally, the phrase “the most powerful woman in the world” becomes impactful. Because a whole massive crowd of millions will vote for Hillary Clinton to become the nation’s next president. Simply put, #imwithher. And all men, everywhere, you really should take a hard look at doing the same.

Men, we’ve taken the greatest government ever established and profoundly abused it. Our Supreme Court is held hostage and our Federal courts have been mired with unfilled vacancies. Our Congress no longer cares about reasonable checks and balances, but instead panders to voter extremes with obstructionist, ill-tempered partisan battles. Yes, there are some women legislators at this point, but the government institution and party power brokers are almost all men. And frankly, they are awful. They have crushed the meaning of an informed, effective Republic.

This inevitable transfer of power should have been much easier. With the Republican Party offering up Donald Trump, a poster child of BMS–Broken Male Syndrome–any woman candidate should have won this in a landslide reminiscent of the Walter Mondale’s 49-state defeat. But two factors made this election less than the laughing stock it should be: 1) Hillary Clinton is a badly flawed candidate, and 2) The riotous anger of politically impotent men has risen to new levels of rage and voter insanity.

To be clear, a big reason Clinton is flawed is also what makes her arguably the most qualified candidate for President of the United States since Thomas Jefferson. She has a lifelong track record of service. She also has a lifelong track record of political machinations, which is the one thing an excellent man and strong President, Barack Obama, lacked. This is precisely why another Clinton scares the living stuffing out of the angry old white men of the GOP.  They have tested her mettle time and again and she has frankly, kicked their mother-loving asses.

But that success and lifetime of gamesmanship also helped create a powerful person who thinks she’s above the norms. Clinton suffers from hubris, which has often distorted her decision-making (hence, the email/server idiocy while Secretary of State despite plans for a presidential run). She’s anything but stupid, but she does stupid things because of arrogance. She has earned much of the distrust of the moderate voters who she needs most.

Clinton’s pivot toward the progressives is also fraudulent. She is an “incremental leader,” as California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom explained and will never go out on the leftist limb. To try to say she’s the right person for Bernie Sanders voters is a joke. They will work together in an awkward truce, but the progressives will never be hers, not should she pretend otherwise.

But these flaws aren’t the most significant reason Hillary Clinton’s candidacy will go on record as one of the most ineffective ever by a winning candidate. The real juice behind the distrust and vitriol is reason number 2: angry white guys and the frothing hate of the hardline right.

Blind with hatred for Hillary, the Right has tossed an ocean liner full of cowshit spin at her since the day she set her sights on the White House. Nobody could withstand such mind-searing attacks, especially since the vast majority are profoundly divorced from reality. This election season is where the ugly seed of the  2004 Swift Boat Veterans of Truth sprouted into an invasive crop of horror that we may never fully uproot. Truth matters nothing anymore. Hate Trumps All. Which is why the candidacy of Donald Trump exists.

But let’s not be fooled that Hillary alone earned this hate. Her husband was profoundly hated, spawning a new age of partisanship that has dominated governance, despite leading us in a time of economic growth and prosperity. President Barak Obama will likely go down as 1) one of the greatest presidents of all time, 2) one of the most beloved presidents of all time, and 3) one of the most hated presidents of all time despite saving us from the Great Recession and 10 percent unemployment.

The angry white men of the GOP can’t just oppose a candidate, they have to hate her.

Under the rule of men in the last three decades, elections and government somehow descended from a peaceful transfer of power to a civil war of hate and obstructionism. A government built on checks and balances and compromise has become a government built of fear, attacks and destruction.

This, my fellow men, is what our legacy will remember most about the end of our rule. Today, we go kicking and screaming off the pedestal of power, taking with us our cartoon candidate Donald Trump, who embodied the worst of everything we came to represent. We broke our government. We broke ourselves in the process.

So men, hate to break it to us, but we’re fired.  Thank goodness so.

‘Take sides:’ Trump shifts from inane to alarming

At the height of the Republican presidential primary a stranger and his friend stopped me on the street for no apparent reason.

“If you have to choose, would you vote for Cruz or Trump?” he asked me.

Without missing a beat, I replied, “Trump. This is all a reality TV show game for him. But Cruz, he really believes that hateful shit.”

Satisfied, they walked on. No other words were said. Random, interesting and reflective of the time a few months ago.

Now, I know I was wrong. Both presented a clear and present danger to American ideals of civil rights, tolerance and human dignity.

What started out as a great American con job–Trump saw the money Sarah Palin seized by turning a presidential election into reality TV and wanted more of that for himself–has now become one of the most alarming shifts in American politics since Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists.

On the day author, professor and advocate for peace Elie Wiesel died, I went to see the musical, Cabaret. Collectively the two events brought to mind the never-ending cycle of history’s repetition. We’ve seen this all before. It was horrific then, and it’s no longer a joke now.

Weisel himself expressed a similar truth when discussing one of his big disappointments in life. “Nothing changed,” he said. “Human nature remained what it was. Society remained what it was. Too much indifference in the world to The Other, his pain, and anguish, and hope.”

Cabaret’s stunning performance reminds us that fools in power often vilify The Other to fuel their rise. Does American 2016 replace Germany 1930? Do Muslim Americans replace Jewish Germans? Do the recession-weary poor from middle America replace the recession-weary poor from middle Germany? Does “Make America Great Again” replace “Heil Hitler?” After all, both Trump and the leader of the Third Reich share a popular appeal to the “blond hair, blue eyed,” pure nationalists to feed their egos.

Do I go too far? That remains to be seen. But enough trends, enough anger, enough xenophobia has been displayed to move Trump from an inane carnival barker to the second most likely person to lead the most powerful country in the world. If anything, such comparisons may be too late, not too early.

Like all megalomaniacs, Trump has begun to believe his own Wag The Dog spin. He’s cast a campaign of hate, fueled fear and racial division and spoken of attacking any number of “others” to propel him into an office he is entirely and utterly unqualified to hold.

The Grand Old Party has even begun to cave on its sense of decency and order. Those that have taken a stand against him have been shoved to the side. Those in power–Paul Ryan, are you going to lead this party?–have waffled. Winning is more important than the tenets of society this country is built on. Liberty? Justice? The bill of rights? All will be trampled under a Trump presidency that advocates more of the worst of American injustices like the World War II internment camps and the Native American reservations.

Listen again to the voice of the dearly departed: “Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the aggressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” Wiesel said.

Be silent no more.

It can’t go on. Not a day more. This reality check must cancel The Trump reality show, and it should never be purchased for re-runs. The common bonds of a decent people must come together across party lines to heal our deep wounds of division, or the final scenes of Cabaret won’t be a play, but a passion play of the Civilization of America and its last setting sun.

Digital technology that matters in far off places

For two decades I have banged out a living at a keyboard, tapping words onto digital screens that turned into something of some value–at least enough value I earned my living from it.

With so much time spent starting at a keyboard, I’ve seen both the good and bad of what interconnectivity can bring to my life. I’m ever grateful for technology, and yet wary of its constant intrusion as well.

But today is one of those genuine “I heart tech” days. A project I have worked on for many months culminated this week in the release of a new digital platform for The Barefoot College, based in a rural outpost of India.

Everywhere we turn these days, online and off, the needs of a struggling humanity confront us. There are so many causes and so many campaigns it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff of what we can and should do to give to others in a meaningful way.

The Barefoot College is the wheat. I could start here and an hour from now I wouldn’t have exhausted all the reasons why this incredible organization astounds with its mission, effectiveness and philosophy toward empowering the rural poor all over the globe. Consider this: Barefoot Solutions address 14 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals for large-scale, sweeping, global impact.

I invite you to listen to a compelling TED talk by The Barefoot College Founder Bunker Roy by clicking here. It’s all it will take to convince you to join the Barefoot Family by subscribing to its newsletter, donating a few dollar and sharing their astounding work with your social media networks.

Based on Gandhian principles of human grace and dignity, the entire college was built by the poor for the poor. It values rural wisdom in concert with modern education. It employs technology in ways that enhance the life of the poor, not detract. The Barefoot Solutions that turn illiterate women into solar engineers and trains others to be doctors, entrepreneurs and teachers among many other professions, have sprung from the life of the community itself. From this one rural outpost, the organization is now reaching into Latin America, across Africa and into the Pacific Islands with its rare combination of infusing poor communities with hope and plan for growth while honoring its principles of human dignity in every instance.

I’m humbled and honored to have helped create this site by banging my fingers on a keyboard. Please visit our new site. Click over to the donate page (it’s a developmental work of wizardry that you’ll never know existed) and make a donation. $75 will train a poor woman to return to her village a leader, a teacher and a solar engineer.

This is the wheat of nonprofit work. I hope you’ll support it and become a part of the Barefoot Family.

Coffee Party rises for 2016

I made my first-ever “political” donation to the fledgling Coffee Party.

I admit it. I wanted the T-shirt. The Coffee Party offer of a T-shirt pushed me out of my longstanding position as a former journalist and political reporter against political donations. I don’t even vote.

I’m not unbiased. Not by a mile as my son, who is my favorite debate opponent, can attest. But I avoid any meaningful contribution to party politics out of a conviction and commitment to what I think is the most important role: to provide accurate information to voters everywhere.

Cynics say everyone has a price. Apparently mine is just a T-shirt. So much for conviction and commitment.

Well, to be fair, not just any T-shirt. It was what the shirt signified–a return to civility, respectfully democracy and leadership–that made me want it. Their slogan is clear and laudable: Incite civility and reason.

As a former political reporter, I can attest, both are woefully missing. I started interviewing congressional leaders in during the Clinton Administration. At the time, everyone spoke about the dramatic loss of civility between parties. Something about the brazenness and blatant immorality of President Bill Clinton infuriated the GOP. For the first time in anyone’s memory, the primary agenda of the minority party was to destroy the president. Little did they know what lay ahead. Democrats adopted similar tactics when George Bush was elected. To be fair, his campaign promise of compassionate conservatism proven anything but, with dramatic shifts away from compassion and toward aggression both globally and politically.

When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, they failed to lead and set out to destroy the Republicans. The spin cycle of hate and division hit a high gear. Eight years of further polarization under President George Bush gave way to the Obama Administration where rancor and hostility have become the norm and legislation has become a distant memory. Consider that in just the other day… in the year 2016 … I read a story in the newspaper that the Republican primary agenda for the year ahead is to repeal Obamacare.

Really? That’s leadership? Still fighting a law that is several years old, has been passed by Congress, signed by the president, made the centerpiece of the 2012 campaign to defeat President Obama and failed AND was deemed legal by the Supreme Court. No law has likely ever been so validated and yet it remains the central position of the Republican agenda. When does a law become a law? Apparently never if either party doesn’t agree with it.

This lacks any semblance of civility OR reason. It’s hate politics and destructive and is ruining our government.

Civility is important, but reason is even more grossly lacking. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made a decorated combat veteran a symbol of cowardice compared to a candidate who used his family connection to dodge service within the so-called “champagne” unit, I knew reason had taken a holiday. That was in 2004. I have seen very little reason since.

The Coffee Party started as an idea on Facebook. But it’s a good one and has gained momentum. It now has a clear agenda:

Our path to restoring America’s republic and representative democracy:

  • Identifying and advocating for legislative fixes to reform campaign finance laws, Wall Street regulations, and the tax code;
  • Promoting cultural changes to address political disengagement, polarization, and widespread misinformation.

Our activities often center around encouraging inclusive, civil, fact-based, solution-oriented dialogue — online and in public places such as coffee houses — in which we meet, talk, become informed and engaged as fellow Americans, rather than as members of political parties.

The Coffee Party began in 2010, captured in a video by its founder Annabel Park. Ironically, it began when she said, “she kinda lost it.” Not exactly civil, but the result works.

At a time when so little of politics is helpful, interesting or productive, the Coffee Party is a start. Because let’s face it, anything is better than the current status quo when the hateful speech and xenophobia of the party candidates threaten all that is best about the American ideal.

Climate change now means migration on a massive scale

The Youngest One read about the horror facing Syria families trying to flee their worn-torn nation. Her eyes glistened in compassion. We talked about it through dinner. We talked about how hard it is to help. An hour later she set up her first crowdsource campaign, giving her Christmas to help others.

This campaign remained on my mind last week when I listened to a presentation by a global environmental expert, Konrad Steffen. I could go on and on about the stunning news I learned during just a 30-minute presentation, but let’s jump to the real headline.

In the aftermath of COP21 and political rhetoric that insists there is still a question about the widespread impact of climate change, consider this little separation of the wheat and the chaff:

Regardless of what we do now to change the course of global warming, ocean levels will rise about 3 1/2 yards on average over the next fifty years. In places like the northern coast of California, seas will rise more than six yards.

“Don’t invest in sea level property on the coast,” Steffen said. “You’ll be under water… Right now in San Francisco buildings are being built that will be under water before the next century.”

This is going to happen.

It may be far worse–like the-whole-Earth-underwater worse–but Steffen’s presentation focused on what is assured. Fact. Beyond a doubt and can’t be changed. There is no release valve on oceans. The water now melting in Greenland is filling the oceans and make them rise.

As significant as this news is, it’s still not THE headline. The real headline came in a comment Steffen made next when he said Europe and America are better off because they will simply lose shoreline. Nations that have no elevation will simply disappear. My mind first went to where Gilligan and The Skipper hung out. But that’s not what he meant. He wasn’t concerned about little-deserted islands, he was talking about the homelands to hundreds of millions of people all underwater within 50 years. A specific example he offered: “Bangladesh.”

I sat next to a coworker who hailed from Bangladesh. As my gut clenched, I heard him shift in his seat. At the first opportunity, he asked for clarification. “Did you say Bangladesh will be underwater?”

Yes. Can’t be helped. Sure, maybe if we get our shit together we will construct significant sea walls that keep the home to 8th most populous country in the world dry, but that’s a stretch. Steffen pulled no punches about the impact and the issue that this single environmental reality meant:

“A very large migration is coming that will start in the next forty to fifty years,” he said. “A wave of immigrants 50 to 100 times larger than what we see today. It will happen, unfortunately, no matter what. This sea level rise is on the books.”

Which brings me back to The Youngest One and her gripping sadness over Syrian refugees. We simply can’t imagine the widescale disruption that is coming our way.

Countries like Greece and Italy are already overrun with desperate refugees. Yet, xenophobic American leaders call for closing our borders. These are the same leaders who deny the impact and urgency of climate change. They mocked COP 21 compared to the threat of terrorism.

Really? When hundreds of millions lose their country, except some anger toward developed nations that did nothing despite knowing all along it was coming.

Steffen made one other point, almost as an aside that hit me like a right cross to the jaw. The American military, he said, is already building its coastal bases in preparation of 1-2-meter rise in sea level. Nothing shows what we believe more than how our military reacts. Since the political party most in opposition to climate change is also the most ardent supporters of the American military, it’s safe to say they don’t believe their rhetoric, not when they approve such a landmark shift in military policy. I wonder if we can track every pro vote for the Keystone pipeline to every pro vote for a military budget that is planning for sea level rise?I don’t know if such a trail exists, but such leadership is unconscionable.

Bangladesh has nearly 160 million residents. Will we welcome them even as our shorelines are displacing coastal residents everywhere? Think about that.

Sometimes, I think America has become the parody of “The Capital” during The Hunger Games. Then I remember The Youngest One and her Syrian campaign and so many other bright lights of hope just like her.

We can do better. But we have run out of time for talk. It’s time to do shit. And shut up with all the nonsense debate while we do. Humanity depends on it.

 

 

 

The broken spin cycles spins on

At first glance, I felt a wave of sadness. Then I just grew confused. Now I don’t know what I am.

I glanced at a photo of taken during Bill O’Reilly’s recent telecast in the morning newspaper today. It was one of those split-screen things, and O’Reilly was on half the screen and on the other were the sad faces of Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan. I’d show it you, but it would probably get me sued by Fox News because I don’t the rights to it and my hunch is they aren’t going to love what I’m about to write.

Steinle and Sullivan are the parents of Kathryn Steinle who was walking down Pier 14 in San Francisco with her father’s arm around her, enjoying a beautiful day when a random bullet killed her.

That was two weeks ago and now they are on Bill O’Reilly’s diatribe-based TV show. The show’s host, backed by Fox News, wants the government to enact “Kate’s Law,” a ridiculous mandatory sentencing measure that criminalizes being Hispanic and little else (let’s face it, O’Reilly wouldn’t be on this story of the shooter had hailed from Canada or been an undocumented tech worker from Bombay).

When it comes to pain, I imagine the list is 1) 16th Century Inquisition torture 2) the death of a child. If it’s not the worst, it’s right up there.

But something about a TV camera in your face chronicling the expression of a crumpled heart seems … simply, put, inhumane. As I considered this I grew from sad to confused. What in the hell were they doing on a TV show at a time like this, I wondered?

In a world where everyone is the star of their own social media reality show, I guess it’s acceptable to stand in front of a television camera at times like these. Maybe it’s not as awful as if seems to me. Maybe, I’m the one who hasn’t kept up with the times, and in a world where every sneeze is worthy of a Facebook posting and emotional pain is discussed via hashtag instead of in therapy, going on Fox News when awash in grief makes sense.

Maybe.

Then again, maybe not.

Maybe it is as terrible as it seems that anyone would even ask these parents to come on a TV show during this time of grief.

Maybe common decency still slams a table demanding respect for those in mourning.

Maybe our need to spin every random event in our lives has made us collectively so bat-shit crazy that we continue to hurt ourselves when life has hurt us plenty bad enough.

When I separate the wheat and chaff of my own emotions, I can’t imagine a TV camera offering a single point of redemption for Kathyrn Steinle’s parents. If a TV camera ever finds me at such a time, God forbid, I hope I have the clarity of mind to tell them to go EEF themselves.

I realize Steinle and Sullivan agreed to it, but for chrissakes, give them a break. I can barely make my mind remember my keys each day on a good day, let alone try to  make any kind of decision in the aftermath of such shocking grief. They get a pass. It’s like transition in pregnancy. Nothing during this time counts.

To their credit, they asked for two things during an interview yesterday: 1) For the finger-pointing to stop and 2) for something positive to come from this.

It that really too much to ask? That’s sounds like a whole cargo ship of common sense as compared to the political spin machine that has worked overtime since Kate’s death.

From the moment Kate Steinle died, the news spin has lurched with the velocity of a hurtling meteor burning every ounce of common sense in its path. Jim Steinle, who watched his daughter die, was being asked about deportation laws before he had a chance to pick a casket.

That’s insane, even for a reality TV-show, social-media-obsessed culture like ours that has convinced us that such publicity at all times is normal. It may be normal, but it’s also insane.

The politics of this random act of tragedy are terrible. Choosing a random victim of gun violence that plays out every single day in our country–because A) the victim was white and pretty, B) the shooter was an undocumented felon who wasn’t deported, and C) the crime scene was set in the most liberal city of America–may seem like good “politics” because of its political spin, but it’s nauseating. We could turn this conversation to guns, to mental illness, to addiction, to homelessness to any social woe and attach Kate Steinle’s name to it.  But that’s just more of the same, more political spin at a time that calls for none of it.

We’ve been spun for so long and so often by our cultural spin doctors we no long realize how important it is to be still. We’ve gone so far down a road of entitlement that suggests every wrong* must be explained and every pain deserves blame, that we no longer just grieve.

I don’t know what to make of all this noise about Kathryn Steinle’s death. I know this: I won’t read a word about it any longer. I hope the camera’s will turn off soon and her parents will get the rest they need to heal. Other than that, I know nothing, save this: Maybe Yahweh knew what He was saying in the Psalms when he said, “Be still and know that I am God.”

I suspect he meant it for times of terrible pain and times of terrific joy when the last thing we need is a camera switched on.

*When I say every wrong, I mean, of course, the politically advantageous politically wrong. The exceptions of the countless wrongs to the underclass, the poor, the non-American, the broken, the disabled, the addicted, the flawed, etc., we can’t ratchet up the energy to political spin all of those, like the thousands sleeping on the streets near Pier 14 every night, for example.

I can’t believe its butter

My brother told me a telling story about the last days of his mother-in-law’s life. She was dying from cancer at much too young of an age. My brother went into her refrigerator and saw she was still eating a strange product called “I can’t believe it’s not butter.”

“You can have real butter,” he told her.

But that’s how we viewed such things for far too long as it turns out. We thought food scientists could make better, healthier food than the stuff God had sustained life on this planet with since its first global turn. We thought things like butter were death to us and for years we made it a pariah of food. We thought that eating butter was a treat that a dying woman could afford but the rest of us… not unless we wanted to join her.

We thought wrong, way wrong as it turns out.

For decades we’ve been sold a bill of goods that has cost us billions annually and ruined our health. It’s been one of the worst scams ever perpetuated on the American people.

A new all-encompassing study by the reputable National Institutes of Heath found that a high-fat, low-carb diet “improves nearly every health measurement, from reducing our waistlines to keeping our arteries clear, more than the low-fat diets that have been recommended for generations,” a new story in Men’s Journal reported.

“The medical establishment got it wrong,” a cardiologist said in the article. “Their belief system didn’t pan out.”

Indeed, the results were so sweeping it took everything we’ve ever been told about eating a “low-fat diet,” which often centers on food scientist-created products to artificially remove fat from stuff we now call food, and turned it on its ear.

Another physician said the evidence that saturated fat is bad for your heart has “disintegrated.”

“In fact, a new Annals of Internal Medicine review of 72 studies and hundreds of thousands of subjects found no strong evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease,” the story reports. An NIH researcher said in 25 years of clinical trials there has been virtually no opposition to this finding.

The study is truly a game-changer because not only does it explode the billion-dollar, low-fat, processed-food economy and the artificial weight-loss economy that has directly contributed to the epidemic of obesity our country suffers, but it directly challenges the calorie-counting shibboleth that has stubbornly refused to go away.

Because high-fat foods, i.e. natural foods like avocado, nuts, lean meats and yes, the deliciously extravagant culinary delight we call butter, are high in calories, those treating the human body like a calculator have long said simple math would bring weight loss. For the millions who have tried it, and failed, we know how defeating it can be to watch those calories and reduce the joy of food to a computerized intake system only to see our bellies continue to bulge.

The definite word on this is in: “We no longer think low-fat diets are the answer,” says American Heart Association nutritional committee member, Dr. Linda Van Horn.

The practical application is the millions of dollars that went into funding and researching low-fat, contrived diets are finally flowing toward healthier, organic, local, non-processed and yes, high-fat diets.

It turns out, I had it right when I wrote the secret of how I lost 100 pounds: eat right (which means eat real food) and exercise. No, I didn’t make that up. I’m not Al Gore. But after years and years of never-ending diets when I finally said “EFF That!” and just started eating what I knew was good for me and working out with discipline, the weight came off (helped I’m sure by sobriety for the first time in my life).

But you know who knew it? My Nonie.  Until the day she died at the ripe old age of 95 she never went to a hospital for an illness and refused to eat the crap that everyone around her touted as healthy. She loved butter. She insisted on it. I remember when my Aunt came over and made Pasta de Pesto and refused to put in butter because it was unhealthy. Nonie groused. She didn’t eat it much when the food came. Later she was still grousing.

“It needs butter,” she mumbled.

She was right, in so many ways!

I leave you now with my new favorite recipe that I’ve used a couple of times a week recently to combat the trend toward carbs and sugar in breakfast (like in my favorite granolas or English muffins or even many fruit and yogurt smoothies). I call it Butter Bomb Coffee! But really, it’s no more my invention than eat right and exercise. I got it from an earlier story in Men’s Journal, which made the compelling argument that butter in my morning coffee would quell cravings and give me an energy boost. The Bride and I both tried it and felt the immediate impact! Enjoy!

Butter Bomb Coffee

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz cup of hot coffee
  • 2 pats of butter
  • 1 spoonful of coconut oil
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of half and half

Put all ingredients except the coffee in a mug then pour hot coffee over it swirling until its mixed. It’s da bomb!

 

Why This Pregnant Mom Refused the Mercury-Laced Flu Vaccine – SafeMinds Autism Environment

Some wheat and chaff advice for our readers:

So if you are pregnant right now, chances are your doctor is insisting you get the flu vaccine.

And chances are your doctor is not talking to you about the different vaccines available, the toxic chemicals in the flu vaccines, or why other ways to boost your immune system may be safer for pregnant women than vaccines.

We asked some pregnant mamas on Facebook what their doctors told them about the flu vaccine. Here’s what they shared: “My OB tried talking me into getting the flu shot, told me if I didn’t that my son would die. He’s a completely happy healthy 2-year-old now. He went as far as hounding me right up to the check-out window.”

“Talked about it? Kind of. Fear mongered? Yes. My OB had a patient almost die of the flu this past year although she admitted to the patient having other complications as well. The risks versus benefits were never talked about, just that I should get it. So I ended up getting it twice. Once in Jan. when I first became pregnant, and then once again 2 weeks ago for the new strain of flu.”

“My midwives always left it as a choice for me to make, but did point out that pregnant women are far more likely to be hospitalized if they get the flu than non-pregnant adults.”

“At 19 weeks I was told I had to wait till I was 24 weeks to get it. Then they told me I had to get it now. I said, ‘You told me it wasn’t safe before 24 weeks.’ The doctor said, ‘Well, we have new information now and it’s proven safer, and you’re far enough along.’”

What Pregnant Women Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine…

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via Why This Pregnant Mom Refused the Mercury-Laced Flu Vaccine – SafeMinds Autism Environment.