One week of Truths

Truth

Here are some truths I’ve learned from this last week… Democrats won their candidate, in part, by manipulating the primaries, and are now buying back their base by adopting Bernie Sanders’ ideals. The shear number of American’s with the lack of Intellectual prowess to understand the relevancy and purpose of the BLM movement is a very scary affirmation of the overall intellect of this country. Car shows are made up of primarily conservative white folks. I’m still good, after all these years, at procrastination.

Keep it turning!

Spring Message from Keep It Turning

Spring

I sure don’t understand how a *small part* of my friends, or FaceBook® friends, or family can be so nice in person.. but so misogynistic, or racist, or bigoted, or ignorant deep down. I guess it’s the same reason I don’t understand the republican party these days, or those who support Trump. I’ve held a job, sometimes two or more my entire adult life. I’ve had days where I could not eat, or have been late on bills (very late), have been angry at the world, etc. I have made mistakes as well, but I’ve tried to learn from them. I have learned not to sell my soul, and I have learned to always take care of my responsibilities, even if it means the last resort of asking for help… from a friend, or family, or institution. That’s why I have also learned to not be afraid to help others in return. A church, synagogue or mosque, though maybe a solution for some, is not *required* to make this kind of symbiosis thrive. Helping each other is just required by any society.

Sometimes life is hard. I’m tired just about every day these days it seems, but thankful for each one of them that comes. I didn’t graduate from a 4-year college, but I learned there, and I learned in life. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to afford a “vacation” (the way most people know of the term), but I’ve traveled and have lived in places… taking a job as a pizza delivery driver, barista, or whatever, as needed to sustain myself and further my own well-being and knowledge. Seeing diversity and “living on this earth” (rather than being stuck away in a corporate cell for example) is more important than many people realize. Making a living in different ways gives you perspective. It frees your mind up a bit. It is fulfilling to experience different things. It is rewarding to have diverse friends. When you are poor, you still have choices. If you learn (perhaps over time) to make the right ones, your life will be happier and better the older you get.

We all die and nothing is permanent.

Pretending that stability is permanent has been a destructive idea for many. Working in the same place day in and day out, year after year, 50 hrs a week, may be fine for some, but there is no guarantee for most. The company could down-size, or fire you for whatever reason. The company could expect things from you that tear at your morals, or your enjoyment of life. The company could stifle options that would otherwise come to you. People can end up being a prisoner in their own “nice home”, perhaps because lenders cater to those with these kinds of jobs. Making a living this way is not always a good life, and is not always being responsible, especially if it means creating ignorance and hate within and/or manifesting anger or racist views.

We all have responsibilities, but some responsibilities are choices (taking on debt, kids, etc..), and some are given to us without choices. Sometimes we have to work hard for a long time to meet our responsibilities. Life is not about staying in that environment and in that cycle. Life is about getting out of that cycle and finding a way to a better place. Do you really need that home? Do you really need those material things? Do you really need that loan. What do you have to sacrifice to get where you want to be?

Like I said, I don’t pretend to understand the ignorance in the U.S. today, but maybe all of this stuff plays a part…. Bush telling everyone to work harder (for less).. making corporation executives richer, and the workers poorer… Corporations manipulating their bottom line to make the outcome best for the executives, leaving the workers fighting to exist. I’m sure I am being stereotypical here, and I’m also sure I don’t understand everything (I can’t walk in everyone’s shoes).. but I do know what I know. Hanging on to faux stability, however one can, selling one’s soul in the process, is failing at the one life that you get. There are opportunities out there if people choose to try.

Never sell your soul to the thing that feeds you.

Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe those [innocently] imprisoned who end up having empathy, sympathy, or positive thoughts towards their own captors. This kind of thing can happen without one even noticing it. If you are poor and hired by someone who pays you.. it solves many of your problems.. yes. You feel very grateful for your new found ease of mind. Don’t confuse this feeling with who you need to be to impress those people. You don’t owe anyone all your time. You don’t owe these people anything more than work. Your opinions are your own, and make no mistake… this kind of thing does not last forever. Your enjoyments are your own. Your goals are your own. Your morals are your own. Your soul is your own. Your mind is your own.

I’ve personally sacrificed this kind of “stability” long ago in favor of gleaning something out of this one life that I get and making myself into the person I want to be. I’ve done this with the cards that I was dealt. Dreaming, and not being afraid to act and work for those valuable things in life, is very important and fulfilling. However, please be conscious of what it is that you think is “valuable”.

I believe this kind of consciousness and these kinds of thoughts could really be a sea change for our society, and could make our entire experience (as a cohabiting species) better for everyone in every way. It is evident in the media and social media, and in those around you that ignorance, bigotry, racism, the vast income divide, and other major societal problems are immediate and present in our reality.

For myself, my choices in these areas have not only been acting on my dreams (creating a glass shop, writing music, and creating art, creating a business) and refusing that “life of Stockholm”, but also in my decisions in life (for example sacrificing personal gain for what is right), nurturing good friends, learning about nature and health, and caring for both society and family.

I don’t regret my choices of living life vs. “stability”. Though I am often financially challenged, I’m still here… dreaming, acting on those dreams, working hard, and taking care of my responsibilities. I am doing this with my morals and my soul intact.

Back to racism and ignorance. I have unfriended some of these people that are a part of my FaceBook® experience. I try to be tolerant, but these things (racism and ignorance) can affect masses of people, especially evident when a candidate for U.S. President with these characteristics is seen to have such support. I signed up for FaceBook® to enjoy it as well, and that is difficult to do with racist and ignorant comments entering my “timeline”. Yes, I could block users from my timeline without “unfriending”, but I feel that these people need to know how I feel. Posting this message, and acting by “unfriending”, are two ways I can express myself in what I see as a very important and present matter for our society these days.

I do have a hard time unfriending these people because many of them are nice people. So, this is my attempt to say to them, it’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to open your eyes and mind, and realize that life is not about being angry, or “stable” at all costs, or owing those that feed you (whom may have strong beliefs themselves and want you to believe as they do) with your own soul. Please don’t sacrifice your opportunity for a real and fulfilling life.

Don’t be afraid to change. Don’t be afraid to risk (risk friendships at work, or finding your place for example). Don’t be afraid to learn, and don’t be afraid of loss or death. Don’t be afraid to quit a profitable but morally tasking job. Just keep trying and keep learning. Have faith in yourself, in nature, and in those rare true friends that you find over time. Keep loving. Keep enjoying… and finally,

Keep it turning!

An Important Process – Super Tuesday 2016

Bernie Hillary

Folks, Almost 1/3rd of the states have voted now in 2016. Hillary and Trump have the momentum.

Democrats:
Unless you don’t take our government seriously, this year the democrats will be the only serious choice in the election it appears. Hillary did well on Super Tuesday, as expected. Bernie has a difficult road ahead. However, The hasty hard line of mainstream media is something of a mystery. There were no surprises yesterday. We haven’t seen contests in a third of the states yet, and the states that are left could easily favor Bernie. In the states that were questionable on Super Tuesday, Bernie did well and he could perceivably grow momentum, driven by the message of his movement, and take HRC in the long race. It does not help his campaign that the establishment stacked Super Delegates against him early. This Super Delegate system showed its dark side this year. It’s something that needs to be fixed in the future.

Republicans:
Way too much attention is being given to this side, but this, indeed, is where all the drama is.

Being more of a Bernie supporting liberal, I enjoy that “Drumpf” is likely the 2016 Republican Nominee after Super Tuesday on many levels: the level of its affect on a terrible and hurtful party of recent years, the level of the chance for another democratic president in 2016, the level of the mountains of republican money that was poured into the campaigns that ended up meaning nothing, and the possible end, wait for it, to our outdated two-party system in the U.S., and finally, the level of entertainment value… well, that is to say if only this were not a serious and important process.

if only this were not a serious and important process

The level in which I don’t like Trumps’ nomination can be characterized by the likes of a certain group of U.S. citizens seeing our country’s politics as if it were a WWF (fake) wrestling match. It’s entertainment that blurs the line of fantasy and reality. I am only speculating, but perhaps believing in Trump allows some to live out some kind of fantasy, and as well allows the ignoring of social responsibility. Perhaps believing in Trump makes life easier for some?

I send this to my fellow U.S. residents who are trump supporters, of which there are apparently a significant number. In supporting a (self-proclaimed) billionaire, Reality TV actor, misogynist, arguably racist and bigoted, wall-building, out of touch, pope-bashing, business-failing, narcissistic liar, you are the people who don’t take our country and it’s well-being seriously. Maybe you have just given up? Maybe you have been hurt so many times in life that all you can do is take your crack at the establishment to express yourself? I don’t know. Perhaps you are the 35% plus of Republican Party base who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya (according to Lyndsey Graham on CBS). If that is the case, that would imply a lot of things, and at that point, all reason is thrown out the window.

Trump is an entertaining figure. He demands the center of attention when he is in the room. I personally enjoy that he is not afraid to speak his mind. There is a part of him that I like to… but I’m sorry people, these qualities are not merit for an important position such as President, they are merit for an entertainer, businessman, and perhaps interesting character.

Summary:
It’s still a long race yet, in my opinion. My guess is that Sanders will do better in the states to come. The media is not much smarter than those people who think Trump will be a good President. They don’t take this race seriously either. They cater to drama, and the center of attention. They don’t seem to have the ability to discuss deeply the issues of the actual and likely candidates that will affect the American People in the coming years and decades. Yes, everyone likes chaos… the brawl that is about to take place in the Republican Party, but let’s not forget that this is an important process. Let’s not forget about electing the best candidate and fixing the problems that face our nation.

Keep it turning!

2016 Presidential Election

Feel the Bern

Folks. This year we are harshly seeing the long effort of the New Republican Party, perhaps spawned from the Regan era, finally beginning to eat itself from the inside out. The advances the “new” right wing has made in recent years is a direct result of a small faction of organized people backed by some big donors, and utilizing the new tools, such as social media, to reach masses. It’s a storm that has been brewing for a while… and as all big storms, it does it’s damage, and it finally ends.

Make no mistake that this year the savior of American Politics, as in the past, is in the Democratic candidate. Yes, I too wish we are not a two-party country, and maybe we soon won’t be, but this year, it is indeed important to save our country and help demolish this bastardization of a Republican Party.

This years GOP is only missing Jerry Springer to moderate the entertainment. Entertainment is the best word I can come up with for an agenda that features white, racist, lying, billionaire, war-mongering, misogynistic, science-ignoring, Pope-hating, obstructionists as candidates for our President.

Make no mistake, this flag is what Bernie stands for people. Hillary is riding along, Bernie is leading this change.

Go Bernie!
Bernie Sanders

Keep it turning!

Online Social Skills – propaganda, and polorization

In my opinion, polarization is a sick agenda of the likes of certain media, lobbyists, corporations, and politicians, which I think should be left to those certain sick entities. If you, as an individual, buy into this “polarizing” propaganda… you are not a person I want to interact with / hear from on a daily basis. Polarizing a topic is the worst way to solve or express any issue. It leads to unnecessary (and shallow) arguments and emotion, forces people to choose sides, and eventually is boiled down to stereotypical and useless catch phrases. It thwarts any chance at real and productive communication.

In what I will describe as a social online phenomenon, because it is not understood by me.. many people don’t have the same filters (social skills) online as they do in person. For some, being online is a chance to spout views in a way that they normally do not spout in person… apparently. So, I have become somewhat of an @ssHat lately and have de-friended some people that I’m fairly certain I usually get along with in person just fine. To those people, sorry if I’ve offended you, but I am now enjoying FaceBook much more having done so, and am perfectly okay with this decision. Yes, I could have hidden these people from my timeline ( and I have a couple of those as well ). I do know about that feature. De-friending is my way of sending the message that I want to send, which is “Learn some online social skills”. I don’t get to send that message by simply hiding them from my timeline.

I feel bad that these people I have de-friended don’t feel like they can talk about their views in person, and in a way that can actually be discussed, or reasoned, or disagreed on respectfully. If you really feel a certain way, then why hide it in “real life”? Maybe it’s because you know people would be offended if you presented things the way that you do online?… shallow catch-phrases, polarizing stereotyping. Or, maybe it’s because your views show that you require therapy. Maybe not… I don’t know. But I know there are reasons to de-friend people, and I am okay with that.

For those who behave as I described online, if you’ve passed the 9th grade level, it’s my suggestion that you consider my message and apply social skills to your virtual life as well.

Keep it turning!

Attack on Wisconsin State Parks – et al

Okay, today I’m bothered enough to write about regional politics. I usually don’t allow myself the time for this kind of thing because, well, there are many more important things in life to give time to.. like clipping finger nails, or reading to a cat. However, our governor thinks he is some kind of presidential candidate superstar who can stir the pot and cater strictly to his big business, out-of-state supporters, without giving any thought towards the people of Wisconsin of which he serves.

If you don’t know about the Walker controversy, there is plenty to find on the interwebs, but suffice to say that he’s a puppet for the Koch brothers

Governor Walker

Occupation: puppet

(and other out of state investors) who has bought and convinced enough people in Wisconsin to be elected for a second term. He develops his policy behind closed doors and formulates it in a way that leaves the public with a guessing game of his real intentions, which end up being pretty much whatever his billion dollar Texas supporters want… well, that is my perception anyway.

Today the story is “Governor” Walkers budget proposal cuts for Wisconsin State Parks. Basically he wants to eliminate funds for our State Parks by increasing the costs to users of the parks. Now… if this statement alone doesn’t provoke any sort of position in you, to let you understand why this is a problem in my (and many other Wisconsinite’s) eyes, let me give you a bit of history.

Wisconsin has a deep-rooted history when it comes to the environment and state parks. We raised a great supporter of these causes, ala Governor Nelson. Though I wasn’t around when all this happened, I have read about it, and it is felt when living here and visiting the state parks. G Dog (as I will now call him), realized the land in Wisconsin is it’s greatest resource.

The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around. – Governor Gaylord Nelson

Have you ever heard of Earth Day? G Dog created that. Yes, Governor Nelson (also State Senator) had a real impact to preserving our beautiful natural habitats of Wisconsin. This was during a time when wood harvesting was in full boom in Wisconsin.

wood harvesting in Wisconsin

wood harvesting in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has some of the richest diversity of tree’s that I have seen in the U.S., and it used to be covered in them. Big business and greed would have taken all and left nothing without Government regulations and people like Governor Nelson. If you don’t know this already (many apparently don’t), government exists in part because these kinds of self-serving entities (big businesses) don’t always have the best interests of the society in mind.

Today there is fracking.. a business which Governor Walker is again, not-so-subtly challenged when it comes to Wisconsin’s best interest. It is not unheard of for state parks to turn into fracking opportunities or temptations. I’m not going to site this statement, because we have this thing called google which allows people to do their own research, and become smart on their own, without me doing all the work. :-).. and because this is my blog and, in my own small world, I can say what I want without qualifying every little thing. Okay then… where was I?

Oh yes, Governor Nelson.

Wisconsin Governor Gaylor Nelson

Wisconsin Governor Gaylor Nelson

Governor Nelson was someone Wisconsin can look back to with pride. The founder of Earth Day. A proponent of small business. A person who was born and raised in Wisconsin, and who had Wisconsin’s best interest at heart. (see his Wiki page) G Dog wrote a book: Beyond Earth Day. This is the legacy that Wisconsin has when it comes to our State Parks and our Environment. We liked him so much we named a state park after him. This is just one reason people are upset.

My personal opinion is that State Parks serve a great purpose. They are a piece of our land where everyone becomes equal in the enjoyment of it. Those poor or rich, gay or straight, white or minority, can all visit these parks and experience a glimpse into what Wisconsin truly is.. which is a beautiful land for all people.

Wisconsin State Park

Wisconsin State Park

Also, nature simply needs to be preserved. Many people may not be in tune with this, but nature is the very thing that heals you, grounds you, and keeps you a part of this earth. It needs to be protected, especially when there are forces out there who are looking to harm it (by capitalizing off of it). State Parks should be accessible by all, perhaps especially those that may not have the ability to take vacations or travel. I have heard that the proposed raise in fees is nominal. I disagree. Please don’t judge a fee amount when you haven’t lived in the shoes of our lower income bracket society. $28 compared to $25 is indeed a difference. If I had my drothers, it would be less than $25.

My problem with Scott Walker is that he doesn’t get any of this. His efforts lie with the agenda’s of out-of-state supporters. He goes about implementing his agenda’s in covert and manipulative ways, not being straight with the people of Wisconsin. He takes money from areas such as the State Parks to then add spending towards those who gave him money for his campaign, such as certain road construction companies. This is not a person who has Wisconsin at his heart. It’s a person who toes the line of those that give him the most money. It is beyond me why good people get so brainwashed, that they think electing a guy like this is good for them. Go ahead, take the gun you love so much, and shoot yourself in your foot. Maybe you can convince yourself that it is good for you.

Keep it turning!

Even a mighty redwood falls

redwood

It’s an interesting thought, what it takes for any seedling to grow into its full plant. First, a magical spark.. arguably out of the scope of control by us mere mortals. Then perseverance, avoiding hardships such as drought, reaching out to find those nourishing rays of sun, fighting the violent attacks from whatever is larger and more mobile, such as foragers or harvestors looking to take all the good things a plant has to offer. A plant has to dig its roots deep in order to make a lasting stand on its own, perhaps benefiting from care or luck from time to time. Well, perhaps 10′s, 100′s, or 10′s of 100′s of seeds will never see their full growth.

Like our individual efforts in dreams or relationships, some of these plants ( the few that make it ) will grow bigger than others, have longer lifetimes, see more trials, and just generally have a larger impact. Just imagine the trials successfully traversed of a fully-grown redwood or oak tree, and the odds it had to overcome to get to where it is.

In this sense, it can be a sad day to see a fallen full-sized redwood or oak, but the evidence of majesty lingers and is hard to discount, long after the fall has taken place. So it is true for a realized dream that has come to an end. The dream may be over, but its existence and its presence, cannot be discounted.

Keep it turning!

NFL, Bose, Beats, and the war via headphones

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

I thought headphones were the buzz of the mid-80′s. The walkman was the the gnarley new contraption and it was a must-have of the teens of that era. With Apple recently purchasing a predominately headphone maker, Beats by Dre, for 3 billion… I guess that fad has never faded. However, if you are an NFL player, be very careful at work what type of headphones you like.

What I don’t understand is how a public-image company (non-profit) like the NFL, can make business deals which enforces it’s public-image colleagues to wear certain brands of clothing and accessories. Obviously I wasn’t born yesterday, and am just realizing today that there is a lot of leverage in the form of money which goes into public image…. For crap sakes, I live in Wisconsin, where 70%+ of our governors electoral funding came from Texas so they could have a puppet to move their agenda forward.

With the age of information exchange, there has never been a more tenacious effort to buy public image. Everything in the public eye seems to boil down to the almighty dollar. You (the person reading this) likely believe or like something, because media told you to do it. Sorry, that is just statistics and facts. However, I’m hoping that you (the person reading this) are one of the minority percentage who can think for yourself.

Yes, there are a lot of injustices dealing with the purchase of public image, but I will use headphones in this article to limit the scope and my point for chatting about this apparently news-worthy topic of today.

First, here is some context:

Bose, with their exclusive contract with the NFL, recently payed Russel Wilson and Clay Matthews to support their product.

Russel Wilson and Clay Matthews – Bose commercial

Colin Kaepernick was fined $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre.

Apple may remove Bose products from the AppleStore.

Being a residence of Wisconsin, I was somewhat disappointed to see two of my favorite players support Bose and the NFL in this situation. Why? well, I don’t agree with a public-image company, a non-profit, a quintessential American entity, making deals that enforce their colleagues to behave in a certain way when it comes to non-harmful freedom of expression. The America I know and love, fought for, and was founded on, some great ideals: independence, equality, freedom of speech, justice for the individual, and democracy, etc. The rights of the individual should be a predominant example of America, and a sport that is supposed to be quintessentially American, should follow this example.

Now, I don’t actually own, or care about, either Bose products or Beats by Dre products… (I still love my walkman foam headphones).. but I do care about the injustices that happen with leverage of public opinion. I do care about freedom of expression… and I’m somewhat of a football fan.

When it comes to the NFL.. Keep leverage and politics in the commercials please. I can turn them off and still watch the game. If watching football simply becomes an effort to sell me something, I can turn that off as well… because I’m an American.. with an earned freedom of choice.

Keep it turning!

2013 New Years Toast

Nothing means anything until there is context

Really.. what is the number 12, without the number 11?
What is a good feeling, without having known feelings of pain?

Those are obvious examples, but what about the not-so-obvious ones.

If you don’t try new things, how do you know what you like?

If you think you like where you are, but haven’t gone anywhere else, how do you know you like where you are?

If you want meaning in life, you have to have context and perspective. How do you get those things?… Experiences, understanding and education?? Yes, but I don’t think those things are achievable without some action.

Here’s to 2013. May we open our eyes, and minds, and maybe jump out of our comfort zone a bit and find the will to try and do a few new things… to gain perspective… to find meaning.

Keep it turning!

Republican Convention 2012 – “We Built it” and symbiosis

It is funny to me that the Tampa republican convention 2012′s theme is “We built it”.. which is a spoof based off of a remark by the President in a Roanoke, VA speech in July of this year. It is “funny” because it is a bit ironic and shows the shallow nature of the republican party today. The main point the republicans are making with the theme is that they worked hard, sacrificed, and indeed, they built it.. which is actually not so different than what the President was saying in his speech.

The speech they refer to is HERE and the remark they are referring to is at or around the 34:50 mark (but I suggest you listen to the entire speech to understand the full context).

The context of which Obama was referring, in my simple definition, was one of symbosis. It’s the idea that we as a society rely on each other. What affect I make on the world effects the world. That sort of thing. It has nothing to do with not giving any credit to individual effort.

In fact, about 2 seconds after the “You didn’t build it” remark, Obama qualifies his point with:

“The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There’s some things just like fighting fires, that we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service…”

The President is talking about “It takes a village”. He is right. Rich people owe a lot to the society that helped them prosper. To think you “did it” solely on your own, is simply ignorance and/or delusion.

This idea does not take away from individual effort. People are wealthy for a variety of reasons, but those wealthy people who worked hard and made responsible choices should indeed be respected. Their main reward is their wealth perhaps, but they should also be respected for their ability and effort to get to where they are. No, they are not god, and they are not generally better than another person because they have money, but those that made good choices, or had a good idea that turned successful, should be respected. It’s not unlike an Olympian, who has diligently worked at making his/her body perform amazing feats of envy. Those athletes should be applauded and rewarded for their effort just as those individuals who became wealthy honestly should get due respect.

However, no amount of respect or wealth should justify an island to those wealthy people when there is suffering in the village, such as what there is with our recent economic depression (that rivaled the great depression). Rich people should not pay the least percentage in taxes, they should pay the most… why?, because of symbiosis (what affects the village, effects the wealthy individual and we all need each other to survive), but mostly, because “it’s the right thing to do”. I could go into the whole duplicity of the republican party and their claim to god, and how the bible teaches us to be loving and generous… but those are worms in a can that don’t need to be opened in this blog post.

Suffice to say, because much of the time the moral compass is missing in situations of money, the government needs to make sure the village is protected. No man should be above the safety and health of the village that we call America.

Keep it turning