Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Amazing Super Powers of Hillary Clinton

It is beginning to look like Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President (surprise!).  The firestorm of internet tabloid articles vilifying her have gone into high gear. This morning on Facebook a friends post supporting Bernie Sanders was hijacked with links to article after article of the horrors of Hillary - none of which came from a credible news source.  After so many of them were posted it occurred to me that there was very little chance that all these articles could be true because there is simply no way Hillary could be in all these places in the time frames indicated. Or that she was even in the position of authority to do them when they say it occurred.  Unfortunately I do not have the time it takes to research all these dates and times but I'll bet someone out there does.  I would love for someone to do a linear timeline showing the events being associated with Mrs. Clinton and some sort of a time-warp distortion every time one of these events occurs when Hillary was clearly someplace else.  Maybe I'll send an email to John Oliver on Last Week Tonight on HBO - I'll bet his team could do it in no time.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Frivolous Contracts

Political conservatives always demand protection from frivolous lawsuits - I say we all need protection from frivolous contracts.

Last night while simply trying to watch an episode of Star Trek Next Generation - as I always do - I was presented with Netflix terms of use contract that required I agree to before I could continue.  Hadn't I done this already??   Having been burned by Netflix's policies in the past I decided I better read it before I accept it.  It was 45 pages long!  Not only that but there were glaring gaps in the document as if it had been edited many times but never proof read after that.  At one point it even said "We reserve the right to "  and then there was a big gap and then the next paragraph on a totally different topic.  That's really bad!

Before I go any further let me just say this:  Any contract that contains a phrase similar to  "The terms and conditions can change at any time with or without notice" is already null and void in my opinion.  It is simply wrong to imply that after I agree to your terms you can change it any way you want.  No!

Back to Netflix -  I felt that perhaps the on-screen version of the contract was maybe displaying different than the actual terms so I chose the option to have it emailed to me.  Sadly - the emailed copy was exactly the same - misprints and chunks of missing data.  And of course they have some similar phrase to the above in their 45 page document - it was about 15 pages in though. Since I wanted to watch my show and they indicate they can change their document at any time what choice do I have?  I accepted the stupid thing and enjoyed my program..  But what did I just do?  By the way - there is simply no way to contact Netflix for tech support or any other gripe.  They don't want to hear it.

These days nearly everything we do requires accepting one of these extremely lengthy documents where we are required to give up any right or protection just to use the service being offered.  We have no choice at all - either accept it or you don't get to make phone calls or get on the Internet etc.  This is very wrong.

Why do corporations have all these protections and we the consumers have absolutely none?  We cannot refuse any portion of the contract even if we strongly disagree with it.  It is an all or nothing deal and these contracts are part of almost everything we do each day besides breathing.  This is what I call corporate tyranny and I can't think of any other term for it.  

We need to elect people who understand the needs of the people - not just the needs of the corporations.  My Netflix contract should be very short - you provide a service and I will pay for it.  If you need to use "cookies" to track my likes and dislikes or need other information - then you should provide a simple checklist for such things that I can allow or not allow.  

May we track your viewing habits to provide relevant content suggestions?  - Yes
May we contact your friends so they might enjoy your content list?  - No
May we sell your personal information to marketers?  No!!

A contract is an agreement between two parties - not an all-or-nothing extortion.  In this digital age - changes need to be made and fast!  Lets get started today by electing people who protect people's rights while still offering protections for corporations.  That way we can wipe out both frivolous lawsuits and frivolous contracts at the same time.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blind Faith In Fake Money

Money isn't real.  It's completely fake.  It's made-up.  It's a farce.

Wait - that's the end of the story - let me start at the beginning.  Once upon a time in all the lands of the Earth, people traded things for things.  I might trade a chicken for some rice, some rice for clothing etc. etc.  Things like that were real - they had real value.  Commerce ran completely well on trading things for things.  Then, someone decided that we needed a representation of things - rather than real things to make commerce run better.  Money was born.

In the beginning money was backed by real things and then at some point we started putting value on some things simply because they were rare or pretty.  We put value on things like gold and diamonds and our money became based on the value of those items.  American currency was supposedly backed by gold and we are supposed to believe that there is enough gold somewhere that every dollar of our paper money is backed by so much gold.  That's a lot of gold!  It isn't hard to image that there isn't enough gold to equal the amount of American money in circulation.  So at some point, our money became fake.  Our money is simply printed paper and coins - that's all.  So why does it work?  Because we have FAITH that it is real.  We still believe that printed paper or a coin is backed by something of equal value and that faith in currency keeps the whole thing running.  Lately our faith in currency has grown even stronger so we don't even need printed paper or coins anymore - just a number on a computer screen that shows how much we "have".

Think about this:  In 2008 the economy crashed - not just here but in most world markets.  It happened very quickly.  That was a few years ago but try to remember - when the economy crashed - did you suddenly have less things?  Nope - most of us had exactly the same stuff for a while but somehow that "stuff" was worth less than it was just weeks before.  Your house may have suddenly lost thousands of dollars of value - even though it remained exactly the same.  You may have lost your job because your company couldn't afford to hire you - even though they were making the exact same things.  The exact same food at the grocery store became so much more expensive.  The same gas you bought last week suddenly cost so much more.  All of that based on the simple fact that an arrow on a Wall Street computer screen pointed down instead of up.  Nothing changed except an arrow pointed down.  Now things are getting better because those arrows are pointing up.  Same stuff - just worth more.  It's fake.  All fake.  And we all believe it.

Even the things I mentioned that were supposed to back up our currency are fake. Gold has very little value at all except as an excellent conductor of electricity and a few other traits that mean nothing to most of us.  Diamonds make great cutting tools and have some unique properties with light - but that is about the extent of their true value.  We put faith (value) on these things because they are rare or pretty - but it is blind faith because in reality those things are pretty worthless.  You can't eat gold or diamonds or at least I wouldn't recommend it.  When you see the phrase "In God We Trust" you might realize the end of the phrase is missing.  It should say "In God We Trust You Won't Realize That This Is Worthless".

It's interesting to me that all of us put such blind faith in something so completely fake as money.  We don't even think about it - it just "is".  But there is is a real cost to this blind faith.  We have allowed fake money to be more valuable than real things.  And the people or corporations who have the most fake money are the most powerful.  My previous article attempted to explain how we are under the throws of corporate tyranny.  The tyranny is real but guess what, the thing that makes it possible at all is completely fake.  Let me re-state that.  We put blind faith in fake money and then allow ourselves to be controlled by this fake money.  Wow!

A reasonable person who has gotten to this point in this article should have reached a simple conclusion if they agree with anything that has been said.  We have the power to topple corporate tyranny and income inequality completely by removing the blind faith we have in fake currency.  We need to go back to a time where we traded real things for real things.  If everyone woke up one day and decided they no longer believed money was real then it would simply cease to exist.  At that point all we would have is the physical things we currently have.  Granted - the rich would still be rich because they have more physical things - but their wealth would be reduced by anything that previously showed up on a computer screen or bank account.  Their possession would also hold different value because who would trade a chicken for a Gucci t-shirt when the Gucci name is completely fake and worthless?

Money is fake.  Gold is fake.  Diamonds are fake.  Wake up and believe in what is real.

Tyranny with a C

Some folks are terrified of government tyranny and have begun to stock firearms of all types in preparation.  This seems silly to me because no matter how big or automatic your guns are - they would be no match to the massive weapons of our own military.  These people live in denial but not just because they are out-gunned, but because they fear the wrong oppressor.  The real beast is not just our government but rather our government under the control of massive corporations.  Real corporate tyranny has been brewing for years but at this point in our lives it has possibly reached a point of true reality.

Without looking up the definition of corporate tyranny - here is my definition of what it is:  A state where large corporations have acquired enough resources and power to enable them to control world governments while disabling employment protections or government restrictions on their activities.

There is an important element to a corporation that allows this sort of thing to occur.  A corporation does not have the same lifespan as that of a human being.  Some of America's corporations have been around for over two centuries.  This endless lifespan allows corporations to continue to grow and encompass more wealth and power as the years go by.   Wealth and power go hand in hand as ingredients of corporate tyranny.  With enough money, a corporation can begin to control governments through legal lobbying.  As the corporations are successful at getting their issues passed in government, they can now grow and exploit resources more freely.

In the past this exploitation has been kept somewhat in check with government regulations.  These regulations were able to be enacted and enforced because our nations voting system was real.  A person's opinion was based on real facts and circumstances and votes reflected this reality.  However, as corporations grew and gained political power they were better able to control our government.  With increased communication thorough TV and more importantly the Internet - they are now able to sway public opinion with targeted ads.  This twisting of reality - especially to those who are not paying close attention has allowed the corporations to seat some very important people in our government including the Supreme Court.  The court has recently made some landmark decisions in favor of the corporations which relax regulation, increase the influence on our elections and stifle employment protections by dismantling employee unions.  In recent years the balance of power has shifted heavily toward the corporations.  They now have the power to "purchase" Senators, Governors and even Presidents.  The election of 2014 is a perfect example of this control.  A disproportionate amount was spent by the Republican party which is known as the party of business.  For them it was money well spent and the control of government power has tipped back in their favor.  This despite the fact that people overwhelmingly voted for issues that are not supported by this shift in power.  At this point - unless there is some sort of drastic change - I do not see it possible that power will ever be tipped back in favor of the people.  Money controls not only this country but the world in general.  When people have lost control of their own destiny - that is what I call Tyranny.

Unfortunately you can't fight corporate tyranny with guns because the corporation can survive war.  For this reason I believe that corporate tyranny is worse by far than government tyranny and at some point they become one in the same.  It will be far more difficult to escape the clutches of corporate tyranny then that of any other power.  I made a suggestion years ago that would have at least slowed the growth of corporations but since nothing like BECi has been implemented we have simply lost control.  However, there is something else that could shift the power back to the people.  It would require a giant leap of faith - or rather a giant lack of faith in something we all currently believe in.  It will be the topic of my next article sometime soon.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'm Afraid of Ebola

A lot of people first heard about Ebola only a few weeks ago - I've been watching it for years.  The reason Ebola is so scary is not only in the way it kills people but that there is no known cure for it.  The only way to control Ebola is to contain it.    I've been watching it for so long because I'm not one of those "over there" type people.  I realize that diseases like Ebola do not care about imaginary lines on the ground, or the color of someone's skin or even where they live.  I know that if it is happening "over there" then it is happening to all of us right now.

It now appears that Ebola has escaped the imaginary lines - and moved on from just "those" people.  It's being reported in several other countries including the USA.  Once again - the only way we currently have for controlling this disease is containment - that is the most important point of this post.  And we seem to be very bad at that.  The CDC has made some gigantic unacceptable mistakes and we are now seeing what I believe will be the thing of our worst nightmares.  I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

The media is somehow saying simultaneously to not panic and to panic.  My view is panic!  Well not so much panic as immediate and drastic action - TODAY.  Actually - YESTERDAY.

Why yesterday?   I'm talking about the cruise ship incident supposedly ending today.  A person who had contact with Ebola - under medical precautions - went on a cruise ship just days later.  As of now - all looks good.  The trip is ending and the person isn't showing any signs of Ebola - the passengers are getting a refund and it looks like a happy day. Let's hope it is.  But this can - and in my opinion will - happen again any day now.  

The cruise ship is a worst case scenario for this type of disease.   The airplane incident last week was bad (and still is) but this is worse and here is why.  The ship involved was big - but lets assume for this example a smaller cruise ship with 2000 passengers and only 500 crew.  Let's say one passenger is sick with Ebola and doesn't realize it - thinking it might be flu or one of those other viruses that get people sick on cruise ships all the time.  Now they are in tight quarters with 2500 other people for a week.  That's a lot of potential contamination!  But that is just the start.  Now a week later 2000 people get off the ship and get on planes, trains, and automobiles to places all over the WORLD where they live or work - none of them seeming sick at the moment.  Multiply 2000 people by the amount of people on the airplanes, and trains alone and the number suddenly gets quite huge!  But there is something else we need to remember - there are still 500 crew on the ship waiting for the next 2000 people to board that same day.  I'm terrible at math but I'd say we are talking about a very big number.  And remember - the only way to stop Ebola is containment.  I say panic!

Hopefully the news today is true and so far the person in question is OK and not contagious.  And hopefully the CDC, WHO and other world organizations are learning to handle this better.  But it doesn't take a medical worker who was tending to a patient to start this chain of events into motion.  All it takes is ONE regular person - who happened to acquire Ebola somehow - who doesn't realize it - and is now enjoying a nice vacation on a cruise ship.  One person.  That's all it takes to potently infect hundreds of thousands of people in a very short time.  At that point - I think commerce and travel would have to stop completely in order to TRY to control the spread.  

Wouldn't it be a better idea to do it now instead?   My recommendation is a total world wide travel ban - but that's not going to happen.  So what can we do?  Until a vaccine is developed we only have one choice.  Contain Ebola - including "over there".  The entire world needs to focus on every case of Ebola - especially in Africa.  The same reaction to the few cases we have here should be happening there.  It's our only hope of containing Ebola.   Until there are no cases of Ebola anywhere for at least a month - we are all in danger.

Just for the record - I don't believe the official news about Ebola.  I think the following are likely true:

1.  Way more people are infected than is being reported.
2.  It's far more easy to transmit than we are being told
3.  The 21 day safety zone is imaginary - and dangerous to use.
4.  I think people can infect others before they show signs themselves.

With those 4 points in mind - reread this post and decide if you are also afraid of Ebola.

Update 11/17/14 - Apparently there is some sort of effective treatment or cure - for those with money.  As of today I believe we have had 5 cases of Ebola in the USA - either because they were brought here or they caught it caring for those that were brought here.  3 of those cases have been "cured" while 2 died.  In fact, the USA was "Ebola Free" for almost a week before another sick doctor was brought here for treatment.  Sadly, this doctor was already seriously ill when he arrived and he died today (death #2).  It is a very sad case - and one that sets off new alarms for me.  This doctor wisely tested himself after he began to feel ill - but the tests - 2 of them - showed he did not have Ebola.  A third test came up positive.  This means that while the doctor was symptomatic and therefore contagious, he was not quarantined.  Who knows how many people came in contact with him during that time.  Thankfully he was only brought to America after he was already in isolation.  Now the 21 day clock starts over for everyone who helped transport and care for this brave doctor.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hogfish With Lipstick

I saw a news story the other day on yet another boat that is being intentionally sunk in the ocean to create an artificial reef.  It sounds like a great idea and brings up wonderful images of fish and coral and tropical beauty.  However, reality can be quite different.  The phrase "artificial reef" is simply a nice way to say "disguised trash".  We use this nonsense all the time to justify dumping trash into our oceans.

Here in South Florida some years ago, someone had the bright idea to dispose of old tires by depositing them into the ocean and creating an artificial reef.  Can you guess what happened?  Here is a USA Today story showing just how bad of  an idea that was - and still is.  Thousands of old tires tossed around in the ocean current as nothing more than the trash they are.

And yet we are still doing it.  Every time we come up with a heap of trash that nobody wants to deal with, someone decides that the ocean is a perfect place to dump it.  We send broken up concrete from buildings and bridges, old boats and ships, and lots of other things that don't belong in the ocean.

I have a better idea.  Let's let the Earth create it's own reefs and find a way to recycle our trash.  Humanity depends on our oceans for everything - without them we are dead.  There is abundant life in our oceans - or at least there used to be.  But as with all of nature - our oceans rely on a delicate balance that is easily destroyed making them unsuitable for life.  It is careless and selfish to simply dump our trash there for any reason.  Speak up against artificial reef projects - your life - our life depends on it.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Rx For Life (and possibly an early death)

I've written many articles in the past accusing the pharmaceutical companies of suppressing a cure for HIV / AIDS because there is more profit in treatment than there is for a cure.  The same goes for the common cold - billions of dollars in profits would be lost if the common cold could be cured.  Well I truly believe that there already is a cure for both of these viruses and many more ailments .  But simply put - for big pharma - cures are bad for business.

The modern day focus of big-pharma is not only in perpetual treatment - but also in prevention through subscriptions.  One might also call it subscription by fear.  The more scary the ailment is - the easier it is to "sell" a subscription by fear.  HIV/AIDS is a perfect example.  PrEP using the drug Truvada is supposed to be the answer to all your fears.  But you should be more afraid of PrEP.

A little background for those who might not know what PrEP or Truvada are.  PrEP is defined by Wikipedia as "any medical or public health procedure used before exposure to the disease causing agent, it's purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease".  Truvada is a medication that has been historically used to treat those already infected with HIV.  Now it is being marketed as a PrEP or pre-exposure treatment option.  The target group are those people who are in relationships where one person is HIV- and one is HIV+ as a way to prevent the other from becoming infected.  It sounds like a good thing - and in some cases it is - but there is a very dark side to Truvada.

First off - Truvada has a very long list of LIKELY side effects - the biggest of which is extreme liver damage.   Other serious side effects are too much lactic acid in your blood which can cause a whole list of potentially life threatening conditions.   Let me stress the word LIKELY here - MOST people being treated for HIV infections are already experiencing these serious side effects.  And now they are wanting otherwise healthy people to go on a lifetime prescription of this dangerous drug in order to have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person(s).  In my opinion - that's bad.  Very bad.

Next - Truvada needs to be taken every day without failure to be effective.  Some studies show that a skipped dose here and there might be OK but in reality - every day is the requirement.  After all - if you skip too many doses and do get HIV - you will likely be treated with Truvada.  This means that if the pharmaceutical company can convince otherwise healthy people to start this drug - they have a life long "client".  Truvada is also an insanely expensive drug but it can be covered by insurance.  In my opinion - that's also bad.   Very bad.  Those costs will affect all of our health care costs.

Here is where the really terrible part shows up.  The makers of  Truvada are also marketing this expensive lifetime prescription to otherwise healthy people who are sexually active as an ALTERNATIVE to condoms.  That's huge.  I get tested for HIV regularly and within the last couple of years - I've always been given a speech by the technician about the "option" of using Truvada.  They are required to give this speech because the makers of Truvada are sponsoring the free HIV testing!  Even my primary care physician has given me the speech because the foundation they work for are  sponsored by the makers of Truvada.

So here we have a situation where health conscious people who are simply trying to get a free or low cost HIV test, are being marketed by their own fear of HIV into a life long subscription to a potentially deadly drug.  Healthy people subscribing to a drug that will likely make them sick.   And all it takes is fear.  In my opinion - this is criminal behavior.  But of course it is perfectly legal - no matter how wrong it is.  This is proof positive in my opinion that big-pharma do not care about lives - they only care about profits. Can't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and one more thing.  Once you are convinced you can toss away those condoms that have proven to be very effective, very easy, and very affordable - you are now susceptible to all sorts of other STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HPV and many many more.  Not to worry though - there are treatments for all of those provided by - you guessed it - big pharma.  Cha-ching!

America and the world need to start fighting back against big pharma.  We need to keep our own fear in check and let these companies know that we will NOT be a lifetime "client".  We must DEMAND cures - not just treatments.  This is the age of scientific discovery where we can produce human life in a test tube - surly we can find a cure for a few bad bugs.  Next time you are getting an HIV test, grab some free condoms and tell the technician you will not be a pawn in this big money game.  Say No to PrEP - say No to Truvada.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

If It's Obama's Idea - It's Bad

President Obama has had to endure unprecedented opposition during his years in office.  Republicans can't agree on one single idea or agenda.  Several weeks ago it seemed we were on the brink of war with Syria.  President Obama tried in vain to convince Republican leaders that military action was necessary to stop chemical weapons from being used against their own people.  You read that right - President Obama failed to convince Republicans to go to war.  Republicans love war - they make obscene profits off of war - so why do they oppose it so much now?  Because it's President Obama's agenda.  Only history will show if this is correct or not but I suspect the President is actually using that opposition to his advantage.  If he had argued against military action - you can sure bet the Republicans would have argued in favor of it.  If this type of physiological governing is real - I think it's brilliant!  But it depends on total opposition - the kind that President Obama has had to deal with.

This is not the only example either.  If you think back on the first election, President Obama argued against  more off shore oil wells.  Then, once in office and facing the total opposition - President Obama suggested we drill offshore.  This was met with strong resistance from the GOP - even though they fought for it during the election.  It sounds crazy but it just might be true.  Again, only history will tell and even then it would be clearly debatable.

Perhaps President Obama should have strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act - maybe then it would have been fully supported by the GOP.  After all, it was their idea to begin with.

Fox News (Head) Spin

If you heard explosions last week - it might have been frequent views of Fox News heads exploding.  I only saw re-caps on The Daily Show with John Stewart, but the message was clear - er I mean unclear - wait - what??

You see over the last several weeks the Government was "shut down" over budget battles and Obamacare.  One could argue who was causing the problem (Republicans!) but the entertaining part of it was on Fox News.  There they somehow had to juggle the idea that Government is bad - while also showing the outrage at things that were closed.  They tried to convince viewers that the shutdown wasn't real by calling it a "slim down" (actually correct) at the same time blaming Democrats for closing the National Parks.  If it's just a "slim down" then it's not really that big of a deal - right?  But those darn Democrats caused this horrible mess!  They also had to convince viewers that Republicans were correct in not negotiating on a compromise - while at the same time blaming the Democrats for the very same thing. If anyone is still considering Fox News as a legitimate news source they are crazy.  But they do - and they are.

The thing Fox News didn't likely report on were the actual Government services that real people depend on that stopped.  There was outrage at Veterans not being able to see a memorial - but no concern for those that might not have a meal - including some of those very same Veterans.  People went without paychecks, necessary food recalls were not done, the FAA was not watching over your flight and the list goes on and on.  All this from just a "slim down" - imagine if the Government actually had shut completely down.  But that would be good - right?  No bad - isn't it?  Arrrgh!

If this were an isolated incident on Fox News it might actually be funny - but it wasn't an isolated incident.  They twist, turn, and fabricate "news" into something that supports their agenda on a daily basis.  It should be illegal.  Yet somehow they manage to keep going - and the people still watch - and the people vote the way they were guided.  Except in this case they might not know where they were supposed to be guided!  Once your head explodes it's difficult to vote anyway.