12 August 2017

Why Are Identity Theft Efforts Being Allowed to Continue

How many have become intolerant of the same repeated trash being dumped into their lives through a series of unreasonable facsimile identities being superimposed, replete with accompanying assumptions, conjectures, and accusations which bear little or no resemblance to anything one has said or done?  If so raise your hands high; raise your voices long and loud. 

Do the on-going identity theft efforts responsible for the problems ever stop? They could, IF the people creating the problems were to be apprehended.

This time mailboxes have also been broken into, not only in the neighborhood, but throughout the area, even throughout the entire city on an ongoing basis according to the post office.  And of course mail was stolen.  Where I live the days of the postal carrier bringing mail to the door are long gone - well, more precisely they never started.  However it is not that way everywhere in the city.   The locked neighborhood mailboxes in this area each serve approximately 12 households.  The problem is that they have always been seen as an invitation to be broken into by the criminally inclined. 

The post office has installed new boxes but has not yet issued keys after two weeks time.  Nor were people notified of what had happened, nor were we told we could pick up mail at the post office, nor were we told our keys would not work and that new keys would be issued . . . . but not in the foreseeable future.  Nor are phone numbers to the branches readily available.  Only packages are being delivered.  I learned all of this when I managed to catch the mail carrier who had delivered a box to my door, before he got away!  Talking to him gave rise to my sympathy, actually, due to his "deer in the headlights" look. Very clearly I was only one of many who had managed to catch him to ask about the problem, before he made good his get-away after leaving a package at the doorstep!

Sure, I had tried to call the local branch when I found the mailbox vandalized.  However, The same 800 number is given for all branches, nationwide, and anyone calling it ends up connecting with a call center in the region of India.  A call back is offered, but it requires listening to several menus and responding to choices that do not cover the reason one is calling.  Pushing 0, to cut to the chase and connect with a person too early in the process, before recitation of all the menus, does not work.  Instead, it requires starting over and listening to several menus before 0 actually does work!  And the call back?  Expect it between 35 and 55 minutes.  I got mine at the 40 minute mark from a young woman with an East Indian accent who provided a bogus number for my USPS branch.  Called it and it was a non-functional line.   Nice feature, the USPS callback -  but an untrustworthy useless time waste.

Because the community mailboxes serve the purpose of inviting crime, it would be less costly for USPS to do house to house delivery.  Thankfully, in our neighborhood there is little or no likelihood of dogs running loose to interfere with mail delivery.  So why not door to door?  The post office says vandalism of the boxes and theft of the mail are running rampant yet remain unchecked, without the city, county, or state doing anything about it.  But mail theft is only one aspect of the many problems associated with identity theft attempts.  

There is also a relentless, pervasive vicious electronic effort.  Only the NSA used to have the equipment and skill available for easily reaching into people's lives, invasively, with electronic surveillance.  These days the smart t.v. you watch is smart enough to be watching you!  And anyone so inclined can learn to easily and illegally access and monitor the information of other people through use of their own electronics, like phones and computers, which can be used to access entire home networks through the phones and computers of other people - an identity thief's paradise.  Do not even let me get started about the overwhelming quantity of scam phone calls which the dysfunctional government do-not-call list no longer stops!   If you answer and speak, scam callers record your voice to try to use for their identity theft attempts.

Clearly there is a need for law-abiding skilled investigators, with ethics and people skills, to deal with the problems of identity theft efforts.  Stopping the culprits before they succeed at doing more damage to more people has become mandatory.  Are those investigators who are on the job lacking in skill, or ethics, or are they themselves not law abiding?  Or is it a combination of any or all of these problems?  Or, something else too.

Years of getting it wrong, after extraordinarily long periods of time spent "investigating" the same problems, and the same people, repeatedly, are an indicator of 1) the investigators having been misdirected and/or 2) a need for competent investigators. Repeated investigating for endless periods of time result in what folks targeted by identity theft experience as unwarranted additional invasiveness and harassment.

Reasonable people have to wonder if both the identity theft efforts and/or the investigative  problems that do not get to the origin, stem from application of activities allowed by the patriot act, which so many have forgotten remains in effect.  It was intended to root out terrorism by making increased invasive surveillance of citizens easier, like obtaining of personal information without a judge's approval,"sneak and peek" searches not revealed until "later" whenever "later" might be.  It also enables indefinite detentions of immigrants.   There have been portions removed, reinstated, or reinstated under a different name.  The Department of Justice presentation soft peddles what it actually does that is objectionable: The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) and some portions are questioned by many as being unconstitutional.  The ACLU is more direct about it: Surveillance Under the Patriot Act.  It says terrorist activities discovered by it's use are between 0 and 1 percent.  The Wikipedia entry provides more details than either the ACLU or DOJ websites.   Oh, how Herbert Hoover would have loved the Patriot Act!

When investigation after investigation of identity theft, ad nauseum and seemingly ad infinitum,  repeatedly goes down the wrong path with no results, then clearly there is a misdirection problem. And clearly the misdirection originates with those who intend to benefit from being an obstacle to the investigations.

The amount and extent of repeated apparent misguided investigative efforts of identity theft, together with investigative incompetency, have become astounding.  Because of the breadth and depth of ongoing efforts that never get to the sources of the problem, could part of the problem be that they are government directed cases apparently motivated by someone, somewhere, wanting to blame crimes on people who bear no responsibility for them, thus endless surveillance occurs rather than getting to the bottom of the actual identity thieving?  Is part of the problem surveillance by governments of other nations?  Are identity theft efforts being carried out by citizens or residents of other nations which make investigating them more complex?  Because the problem of identity theft is so resistant to solution, these are all questions that need to be asked about variables that could muddy the waters and make investigating identity theft problems more difficult to trace to the source. 

Identity theft is much more ill-intended pervasive and dangerous than merely trying to get access to the bank accounts of other people. Bottom line, the many facets of long-term investigations are all experienced as ongoing harassing invasiveness by people whose lives are repeatedly being targeted for months, sometimes years at a time by identity theft and investigation of identity theft.  Clearly there are prevarications somewhere in the investigative processes which lead to problematic investigations.  They throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works.   Prevaricating can not be allowed to continue to do ill-intended damage. The sources of it must be identified so an end can be put to the crimes, attempted crimes, and lengthy unproductive investigations.

24 July 2017

being #42

A Facebook friend posted a graphic of the results of one of those fun little quizzes that are so prevalent on FB.  But the result of the "Who Secretly Loves You" quiz was mean!  Her photo and first name were displayed along with the statement "Sadly, no one loves you."  Of course she was unfazed and undaunted by the result.  It is, after all, entertainment.  Someone else commented about doing the quiz also, with the same results - often the outcome of any quizzes - along the lines of the assigning of a "guilt by association peer group" 😎.

But what was the point of a mean result?  Maybe to draw attention to the quizzes?  The quizzes are intended to be mindlessly entertaining fun, aren't they?  Even so, the results are not usually mean.  So what was supposedly entertaining about that one?  The result does not refer to any particular type of "love", like romantic, caritas, friendship, parental, universal . . . ad infinitum . . . but that particular quiz is not the point of this comment.

There is also a post going around about something that has been on my mind, of late, associated with the abuse of the field of psychology, particularly by advertisers - but in actuality  anyone trying to sell something, including selling an ideology like the efforts of religious and political ideologists who are extreme zealots and want to forcefully superimpose their views onto others.  (There is rarely a fine line between sharing information about the battles we choose, and trying to "convert" others to embrace our views.  When we know other folks have not done their own research and drawn their own conclusions about an issue, it is foolish to want to "convert" anyone who has no reason for considering an issue to be one of personal interest.  But that is an issue beyond the scope of this comment.)  The post going around in the paper and online is speculation about the motivation behind these harmless seeming entertaining little FB quizzes.  Essentially, the article and video concluded what we already know, that these little quizzes are not necessarily intended to be as entertaining and harmless as they may seem to be, because: 
1) we give - access to our feed and our contacts and whatever personal information the makers of the quizzes can glean in their efforts to manufacture profiles, by conjecture, about us and our contacts;

2) we provide - those who create the quizzes with information about ourselves which they use to extrapolate what is then sold as a lot of psychological profiles based on their quizzes; quizzes which use transparently classic psychology models to label and categorize people; models that supposedly dig into the subconscious in an effort to use what is hoped will be discovered as subconscious weaknesses in people to be exploited (as if folks do not routinely do their own digging into the subconscious to the extent of having mastered control over it, while continuing to toss out whatever trash is found upon further reality check self-inspections);

3) we help - the quiz makers fulfill their profit-making purposes via their labeling and categorizing of people to create profiles they sell to advertisers . . .  or anyone else who is buying (e.g. political parties, religious organizations, governments -foreign and domestic, maniacal despots, you name it . . .  😎 );

4) we get - huge amounts of spam e-mail and scam phone calls because the access to information about us and our contacts has been sold.  
Even so, sometimes the quizzes are fun - sometimes!  My own life has been an open book for decades (of course not by choice - it felt extremely invasive at first because it was ) but I know when doing a quiz that I am not revealing anything about myself that is "secret" or "hidden" from myself. (Yes, I actually know myself better than anyone else does, and have since pre-teen days many decades ago.)  Although, clearly there is much about me, and everyone else being entertained by the quizzes, that is apparently hidden from those who write the quizzes, and do the profiling to sell to all bidders.  Their profiling is based on a combination of what we self-identify through answers to quiz questions, and whatever other information that taking the quiz has provided permission for them to glean from our feeds, likes, comments, and contacts.  The profiling also aims to establish the old favorite "guilt by association" as part of the profile being sold.  This is nothing unusual.  Cell phone apps do all the same profiling and selling.  When we use them our privacy is non-existent, although any type of over-the-air access renders privacy compromised, anyway - another topic beyond the current scope of this one.

But why make it easy for those whose intent is certainly not selfless, nor as harmless as we might want to assume, even if it is momentarily entertains us?  I usually delete the quiz website from my FB Apps section after doing one - more precisely after starting or finishing one because I start more quizzes than I finish.  Usually I do not choose to finish a quiz after a question or two is presented of limited choices I would not make, for example a group of garish irritating colors being offered among which one is asked to choose the most "appealing", or only subjective choices that skate over the edge of being ethical  with there being no choices resembling ones I might consider making. 

I figure if the people who create the quizzes want to categorize others for their purposes (profit-making from information mining) then if they are not willing to try to do it with at least minimal accuracy, I'm outta there after the second question which offers no acceptable responses!  Hasta la vista baby . . .  I'm gettin' outta Dodge . . . .  😎.

So!  Who is #42?  And what does #42 have to do with Facebook quizzes?  Well, he is a bold little critter with moxie who needs to be set free from being a captive rat in a maze, literally, and provided with a forever home as a pet, imho.  (Click on the caption below for #42's story.)
"Asshole Lab Rat Really Screwing With Scientific Study"
I like #42's approach to being a lab rat which demonstrates a well-known quantum mechanics phenomenon, an observer effect which means the creation of "opportunities" to observe changes the outcome of what occurs - sort of like when we have fun doing the little psych test quizzes. 

The take away?  If you want to know about someone, ask that someone directly.  Don't skulk around sleuthing and trying to make lab rats of people for profit, by employing transparent psychological testing and asking everyone else under the sun, except the person of interest - as if that person does not know or would not be honest about self.  Most people know best about themselves, I know I do.  And  most people, including myself, have no interest in misrepresenting themselves, even less in being misrepresented by others.

So, I leave you now, smiling and thinking about which fun little quiz to take next.  Hmm . . . . maybe one about past lives - if the questions provide good choices.  Past life quiz results are always so interesting . . .

30 June 2017

To be Silent or to be Irritating . . . that is the Question


"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?" 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

It is an age-old concern.

I, for one, am tired of being cheated then being forgiving and silent about it whether or not individual problems are resolved.   My old policy was to give only good credit where good credit is due. My new policy is to also give negative credit when and where it is due - publicly - whether or not the problem is satisfactorily resolved.

Dishonesty and cheating are an increasingly much larger problem at many levels.  They have filtered down, increasingly, to the personal level as well.  If we do not disclose the dishonesty and cheating of organizations (e.g. businesses, non-profits,  government) when they choose dishonesty, then our silence is the same as acceptance and encouragement.  It does not require much silent "encouragement" for deceit to run rampant in any organization, to the point that it becomes wide-spread corruption the enabling of which is often found to be dependent entirely upon unwritten s.o.p. for the purpose of deniability.

In addition to the fact that the internet makes it easier to call out unethical practices so that more instances are known by more people, there is also an increasing problem that has lead to more corruption, everywhere, partly because folks who can afford to be cheated find it more convenient to pay a few cents, or dollars, or hundreds or thousands of dollars more . . . rather than to take the time and make the effort to quibble about it.   For example, everyone has experienced the ongoing strategy of prices increasing, while amount and quality of products and services decrease.  Why is that?   How about because customers are too busy to quibble about a few ounces or shoddy service; or because something is less expensively and more easily tossed or replaced than exchanged or repaired even if on warranty. 

The strategy of price gouging is used repeatedly, consistently, and successfully because those using it are profiting at the expense of everyone when some can afford the convenience of ignoring the problems, which leads to the convenience of choosing to pay a little more to avoid prolonged time-consuming bickering about issues associated with unnecessary price increases and decreases in quantity and quality.  But "a little more" is highly relative.  "A little more" in every aspect of one's life slowly creeps into everyone's reality and adds up to eventually become an overwhelming amount in the lives of many folks.  Look at the history of increasing health care costs for an overwhelming example of that which affects almost everyone more than it should and destroys the economic responsibility, in terms of personal accountability, of too many people.

Cheating by businesses and employees at all levels of government occurs - across the board - increasingly.  If we do not call-out the various small problems of dishonesty, manipulative misleading, and cheating when it is more trouble than it seems worth to bicker about it, then it is considered to be silent approval by those engaging in the wrong-doing.  Then it encourages the belief in businesses and those who are paid to be "public servants" and to have the constituencies best interests in mind, that the entire public and/or constituency is ignorant, easily fooled, and mislead.  In fact, that belief becomes actuality when we do not all speak up about being wronged every time we are wronged, including when the wrong is righted and the outcome is as it should be.  It is tempting to assume that because the majority of people are parents these things are understood.  Is it possible that many folks really are so naive as to not understand that the longer adults are allowed get away with believing they are empowered to behave like naughty misguided children, the longer they will behave like naughty misguided children - some at the two year old level, some at the permanent adolescent level or anywhere in between?

It is a fact there is a lot of public grousing for good reason, and also a fact that people really get tired of rampant complaining.  Many people tire of their own complaints before anyone else does which results in some amount of self-limiting.  Even though complaining and the complaints of others can be tedious, they can also be encouraging because it demonstrates that people are refusing to remain silent about wrong-doing.  There is not always a fine-line between incessant pressure-releasing dumping or over the top criticism, and the effort to warn other folks to be careful for specific reasons by pointing out dishonesty and cheating (whether diplomatically or not) after it occurs and while doing one's part to stop it. How one says what is said and the spirit in which it is said, makes a difference in that respect.

It has become a matter of necessity that we must overcome the dishonesty and corruption all together, or experience increasing erosion of all that is good in life as it continues.  We all need to find our own most effective ways to do so with the minimum amount of annoyance to others.  Being irritating can not be completely eliminated, but it can be minimized.

I, for one, am going to continue to warn others about deceit which I personally experience, and know has occurred in businesses and government, as I hope others also choose to do - all of us in the least annoying ways possible to ourselves and other folks (except the offenders).  We have to depend on one another to do so or the few squeaky wheels set themselves up to be mercilessly harassed.  "Speaking truth to power" is how some refer to it - a catchy slogan and the point of it is understandable. However, I simply do not like equating deceit with power because I do not consider those who deceive to have actual "power" regardless of all the trouble, death, and destruction that is the  intentional result of deceit.  Wrong-doers only have power when we give it to them by being silent and allowing them get away with wrong-doing.

Unless one is very affluent, remaining silent about deceit will eventually overwhelm all aspects of  life.  The least affluent among us suffer first, most, and longest because of it.  But in reality it also  eventually catches up to the very affluent too who take longer to  understand the problems when they are people of integrity who are not causing the problems.  Ultimately, none of us has it better than our least common denominator - the most disadvantaged folks who need the most assistance because of equitable opportunity having been withheld.  Not everyone who is disadvantaged makes bad choices and engages in self-destructive behavior.  But those who do, especially when turning to crime, lower the bar of the least common denominator for all.  It is a far-reaching societal issue that is a symptom of a lack of adequate and appropriate foresight in our nation's elected and appointed leadership, along with their collective disregard for the welfare of others - including posterity.  Such attitudes eventually permeate entire populations when a nation's leaders, collectively, refuse to transcend greedy self-interest instead of doing their best to make choices that provide equitable quality of life for all.

We all need to do our best to offer warnings , as deserved, about what is dishonest rather than to complain, argue, obfuscate, and refuse obnoxiously to communicate about what we don't like because it might not, or does not happen according to the way we prefer - an attitude that creates "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" which eventually causes everyone to suffer.  No one has a franchise on knowing best about everything all the time.  No one.  I call b.s. on anyone who stifles civil communication and/or refuses to civilly communicate because of believing otherwise.   Do you?

09 April 2017

Followup about the Response to Rabbi David Godis' Article

This is an addendum to the article which can be found in the archive, at left, of 26 February 2016, entitled "Major American Jewish Leader Changes His Mind about Israel".

Although Rabbi David M. Gordis is a highly respected person within any American community, that hasn't stopped the ideological political zionists from, in their own words, dumping "disingenuous gobbledygook" on him because of his article.  I can't say how much BS was dumped on him because of it, but I will comment, here, on one article as an example, and provide a link to it.

There is a 15 July 2016 article online entitled "Israel and American Liberal Jewry: The Real Reasons for the Rift" by Martin Sherman.  The ludicrous comments would almost be funny if they weren't intended to be so denigrating.. 

Approximately a third of the way into the article after bemoaning who he tells us are the  miguided Jewish youth of America, he gets to work on "perverse" Godis with this bit of whimsy:

"[. . .] the moronic — and often self-contradictory — lament by David Gordis [. . .] as to Israel’s alleged moral degradation [. . .]"

Then under the heading of "Totally detached from fact & reason" we find another zionist lump of coal: [Any use by me of the singualr term "zionism" on my part refers to the stategic movement that is ideological political zionism.] 
"[. . .] Gordis then goes on to elaborate on his abstruse indictment of Israel today  [. . .]"

Next, an even more illustrative zionist lump of coal:
"[. . .]  Then in a wild diatribe, totally divorced from any semblance of reality, he blares: [. . .]"

Next: 
"[. . .] This is merely a small sampling of how intellectually dishonest the derogatory drivel of Israel’s “liberal” detractors has become. [. . .]"

And another
"[. . .] This narcissistic hypocrisy was aptly exposed in a perceptive piece in a Washington Post blog by David Bernstein, professor of Law at George Mason University. [. . .]"
Sherman then he goes on to quote Bernstein who falsely suggests Israeli Arabs are living the good life.  That may be true compared to their brothers and sisters in occupied Palestinian Territoty (oPT), but it is not true compared to Jewish Israelis.

Then we get to the heading "Beneath the disingenuous gobbledygook" where he finally comments about Israel occupying Palestinian Territories, where he wants to firmly trounce "disenchanted 'liberal' Jews" who denigrate Israel because of "Israel's interaction with the Palestinian-Arabs across the pre-1967 Green line (a.k.a. the 'Occupation')"

"Interaction"? And he isn't joking.  Please. Not wanting to call the occupation what it is, an occupation, does not make Israel's "interaction" with Palestinians in oPT (like instances of genocide in Gaza) any less criminal.  But of course his purpose is to criticize Gordis' for speaking the mild truth he did speak, which did not include comments about the Gaza genocides.

Then Sherman moves on another flight of fancy with:
"[. . .] wildly irrational in terms of its internal logic [. . .]"

Another doozy from Sherman "[. . .] unswerving doctrinaire zeal “liberals” cling to the perilous prescription of touting tyranny  [. . .]" as his article segways into seemingly putting Godis in the position of carrying the banner for the parade of "American Jewish liberals" he repeated trots out to criticize, without identifying any by name, of course - other than to suggest they are American Jewish youth.

And of course he would be remiss if he didn't trots out this one: 
"[. . .] But if US 'liberal' Jews frown upon the coercive measures that Israel is compelled to use against the Palestinian-Arabs, were they to apply the same criteria to their own country, they would have good reason to feel even more disenchanted.  [. . .]" which is the launching into  of a verbal attack on U.S. - for doing Israel's evil in the region (without saying as much, of course), as if he doesn't know that a the reality of the zionist problem the American Jews he finds faults with, actually recognize.

Then under the heading of "Expose and inform", as he nears the end, he shows us that he wants to keep his credibility as an ideological political zionist, by trotting  out the obligatory poor Israel card which he does with this passage: 
"[. . .] Sadly, Israel has done inexcusably little to harness the facts to rebuff the attacks on its democratic credentials and has allowed imperative coercive actions to ensure the security of its civilians against an implacable foe, to be portrayed as racist brutality. [. . .]"

Who can not refrain from a brief chuckle at the foolish, predictable irony of his infuriating words that lose touch with reality?  Of course, there is not only "little" done by Israel, but absolutely nothing Israel can credibly say or do to make its actions any less "brutally racist" against it's unarmed "implacable foe" which repeatedly results in Israel's  "imperative coercive actions" primarily in the form of attacks on the most vulnerable - the women and children, and very young children, who Israel allows settlers and soldiers to harass, hurt, maim, and kill, jail and torture, all in the name of its lawless alleged "democracy", and "security".

Then in conclusion Sherman, too, criticizes Israel - by saying Israel does not fulfill its "obligation to aid pro-Israel advocacy on university campuses".   Well let's hope that trend continues.  It is likely too because some University campuses have become more astute about identifying blatant bigotry than they once were, after their students made an issue of the actuality of Israel's shenanigans being bigoted, lawless, murder (including by American citizens who are also Israelis living in illegal settlements in oPT - a can of worms most avoid with a 10 foot pole, but shouldn't).  Thus University campuses are no longer as tolerant of the prevaricated, twisted-truth hasbara pro-Israel advocates want to spout on their campuses in efforts to justify  Israel's criminality. 

So, needless to say, there have been unpleastant reverberations from the ideological political zionists in the form of vicious efforts to give Gordis grief because he had the courage to mildly, I repeat "mildly", point out the problem of the Israeli government's ideology of political zionism even though he didn't label it as such.  I hope do those who have cheered on David Gordis' change of mind and heart about Israel's criminal duplicitous ways have chosen to be there for him as his support system to fend off the zionist BS.

The Matter of "Territorial Imperative"

"MEANWHILE : Does Territoriality Drive Human Aggression?The question is the title of a 14 April 1999 article by Steven Levingston (@SteveLevingston) and International Herald Tribune (the genealogy, DNA, evolution of IHT), posted online at the New York Times opinion page.   It is worth reading,, currently, because it addresses an always pertinent issue.

Anyone who has a problem understanding the current pertinence might try substituting, "Syria" (or Iraq, or Palestine) for "Kosovo", and substituting "the M.E." region for "the Balkans".  Or "Sudan" (or Rwanda) and the region of "East Africa" could be substituted; or Viet-Nam (or Korea) and "SE Asia"; "Afghanistan" and "NW Asia"; "Germany" and "Europe";  . . . the list goes on.  Most are sure to find at least one conflict of familiarity to substitute, if necessary, because of it having occurred during a time of paying attention to the interrelated global complexities of the causes and effects of armed conflicts.

But, first consider if there is an answer to the question "does territoriality drive human aggression".   I think we can consider it to be an easy and simple answer - that being "yes". 

Does anyone really imagine that territoriality does not still drive human aggression?  Unfortunately, there is paltry evidence to suggest otherwise.  Co-existing peacefully by sharing space and resources, equitably (repeat - EQUITABLY), remains the lesson to be learned by our species.  Many species of animals have clearly learned the lesson but, demonstrably, the human species has not.

When herds of the human species want to increase the contiguous extent of their territory, with the intent of increasing the space and resources which they control, they do so with the intent of subjugating or annihilating the inhabitants.  The lawlessness of refusing to respect the rights of others as much as our own rights, is visible at all levels from local bullying to global conflict.  

Clearly, human herds have yet to learn how to co-exist equitably and peacefully.  However, it is not as if human herds are unaware of how to do so.  Instead, simply put, it is a matter of a willful disregard for other herds (including non-human species) which embraces the intent of either subjugating them, as the "merciful" option no matter the extent of it's cruelty, or annihilating them through short-term genocides (most often deadly armed attacks of many types), and/or long-term genocides which in addition to short-term instances of genocide also embrace a larger variety of slower means
to the same end. (often many forms of health-eroding deprivation and/or pollution).

Demonstrably, many of the human herds find it to their advantage to "divide and conquer" by fomenting unrest as a way of encouraging resident herds to annihilate one another.   Then they swoop in to make the territory their own by subjugation and/or annihilation of it's remaining inhabitants.  Of course when resident herds call on other herds from outside their regions, it complicates matters by making acquisition more of a gamble for the herd wanting to expand control of adjacent territory.  It creates a paradox which, over time, could potentially result in a much larger prize of more territory , or, instead, a potential loss of much more than the territory of immediate interest. 

Acquiring territory is always a very high-stakes gamble.   Gambling is another weakness of human herds which seem unsatisfied with enough, or in mathematical terms with being "equal to".  Instead they want "more than" solely for the purpose of personal exploitation intended to result in wealth by control of, and limiting of other herds' access to resources.  Clearly, 
co-existing peacefully by sharing spaces and resources, equitably, without doing so because of either subjugation or annihilation, remains the lesson our entire human species still needs to demonstrate has been learned and is being successfully applied.

Regardless of the claims of some human herds who believe they are civilized and/or religiously motivated in their subjugating and annihilating endeavors, subjugation and annihilation  are neither civilized, nor religious in the sense of being spiritually enlightened and evolved.  Neither subjugating nor annihilating is the way to demonstrate that the lesson has been learned of co-existing peacefully by equitably sharing space and resources, regardless of any justification used as an excuse for using them as the means to a desired end.

The passage of time, in terms of millennia, in which the same problems continue occurring, seemingly indicates there are resistant problems that plague our species.  Consider those of our species who demand recognition as leaders for the purpose of acquiring the power of decision making for other individuals, collectively.  They do not take a turn serving for the purpose of fostering peaceful coexistence between and among herds but, instead, compete viciously to further the goals of their own personal greed at the expense of whatever human herds they believe they can succeed at scapegoating.  Greed - t
hat problem, alone, indicates our species has a resistance to learning anything that interferes with the addiction to greed.  As such, the human species does not seem to be nearly as intelligent as it likes to imagine it is.

Additionally,
leaders in government whose self-interest is their over-riding reason for being recognized as leaders, along with their appointed side-kicks, and the elected leaders who are tasked to represent constituent needs, are all often given too much power as leaders.  Too many are willing to give up their own power of personal decision-making, as individuals and as members of their herds even when, as individuals, we are all recognized by agreed upon law as being empowered to provide input which must be considered in the decision making processes at all levels of government.  Simply put, our laws entitle us to contribute our opinions to government decision-making but too many of us don't do it. 
Not accepting the right and responsibility of self-governing by contributing to decision-making - that problem, alone, indicates a resistance to learning why free-will is acknowledged as empowering individuals to contribute to collective decision making.  As such, the human species does not seem to be nearly as intelligent as it likes to imagine it is. 

The article reminds us there is much work for everyone to do when it comes to the as yet unsolved problem of territorial imperative.  Once more, if there is a problem understanding the current pertinence of the 1999 article, then simply substitute a conflict and region of familiarity.  Because, the foundational problem is simply a matter of the same repetitive problems of unfettered human weaknesses often motivated by greed coupled with the weakness of clinging to sacred ignorance, which are occurring within the same region - our home our planet - throughout the decades, centuries, and millennia during which time the various herds of our species have had ample opportunity to truly thrive by learning to co-exist together, equitably.  What does it say about collective human intelligence when, after untold millennia, human herds continue to fail in that respect?

12 March 2017

"A White House Devoid of Integrity"

"A White House Devoid of Integrity" is the title of an article published in "Time" this year.  The article is dated 17 January - a few days before the recent inauguration (click here to read it) .

Now that nearly two months have passed with a new president, now that our legislative bodies are again in session, questions arise.  Is the situation really as bad as the article suggests?  More to the point, as the title suggests, is our president devoid of integrity?  Or is the question exaggeration and harsh critical opinion, perhaps voters remorse, understatement, or simply good healthy skepticism?  Will it get worse before we decide?  And make no mistake, it is our job as citizens, every one of us, to OBJECTIVELY decide about everything government is supposed to be up to, equitably, on behalf of we, the people - and not supposed to be up to at unconscionable cost to we the people.  That means it is our job to pay attention and educate ourselves about process so that when we question and advise we know who to talk to with as much brevity as possible, in effective ways armed not simply with opinions but with necessary facts . . . like specific concepts accompanied by facts that substantiate our opinions; like bill titles, numbers, and passages in question.

Part of our job as citizens is to put the skids on those in government, at whatever levels of government they are found, when they do not represent the integrity of our nation, state, county, and town.  I want to point out that more local levels of government, like city and county, though on a smaller scale, are complex because of the need to balance local decision-making between meeting the needs of the people, and being in accordance with the pertinent regulations and laws of all higher levels of government.  So we all have a big responsibility, at several levels, as people who are empowered to self-govern.  Self-governing means being part of the decision making process. 

Those of us who have taken the oath as part of our job, to defend our federal Constitution against foreign AND domestic tom-foolery that has reached the level of "enemy" attitude and behavior, took it as a serious lifetime commitment.  Given that elected and appointed government officials take that oath, it is our job as citizens to remind them of that responsibility especially when our nation's stated values, principles, and ideals are threatened, and worse misrepresented.  It is our job - be the threat by those outside our nation, by those inside our nation, or, sometimes, by those who serve in government when they choose to first serve their own self-interests, or a foreign nation's interest, or corporate interests, before equitably serving the basic needs of we, the people - ALL of us.

President Obama impressed upon a whole new younger generation or two of Americans, the value and importance of becoming involved in political process as the advisors to government which it is our responsibility as citizens, to be.  Learning how to do so effectively, by using the system to evolve the system is an ongoing process that requires patience, perseverance, and the acquiring of detailed knowledge about the issues we are willing to take on.  No one can take on every issue.  But if we all do as well as possible in our advocating for issues we can and do take on, then we can have faith in ourselves and our fellow citizens to have our entire nation's best interests in mind and at heart. 

Part of doing as well as possible is the persistent follow-up of making government officials accountable to us about what we have advised.  That means we need to thank them when they do take our advice, and we need to make them accountable to us when they do NOT take our advice.   To do so is to educate them and to be educated by them.  Only those folks in government who are willing to be educated by we, the people, their constituents, are worthy to serve us in the offices to which we elect them.  That means when those you advise do not represent your wishes, then it is your obligation to yourself and everyone else, to find out from them why they have not.  To do so is part of the ongoing debate which is also supposed to exist between the constituents and those we elect.  Everyone learns something which contributes to more satisfactory decision making.  It is part of the process of win-win compromise and good governing. 

Remember - good government it is not a competition with a winning side and a losing side, as political party leadership tries to lead us to believe.  We need to remind those in office of the bottom line which is that although political parties owe allegiance to those they agree to promotes as candidates, it is not the party to whom the elected owe their allegiance.  They owe it to we, the people - ALL of us. 

Remember, also, that we do not elect folks to make our decisions for us.  We elect them to make decisions on our behalves.  The not so fine line of difference is that when decisions are made on our behalves, we have been part of the process that enables our legislators to be able to do their jobs of representing our needs.  Talk to any legislator and almost all of them will say they need and want more citizen participation.  Without it they can not make informed decisions which reflect the needs of their constituents.  Without it the risk is that our elected officials will represent what the lobbyists request who are paid by large corporate, industrial, and professional organizations to promote their special interests in preference to the needs of the constituents. 

Good government is a process of civil debate, often length civil debate when all those who should be involved in it are involved in it.  It is designed to accommodate ONLY a win-win scenario which meets the needs of all Americans, equally.  Our job, collectively, as citizens, is for each one of us to to make the governing process happen as it should.  It is not the work of the faint-hearted nor the apathetic.  It is the work of responsible American citizens who stand up to be counted as such.

10 March 2017

Revamping the Affordable Care Act

Currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part.  So if they  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier.

Revamping the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is like putting lipstick on a pig.  Don't get me wrong, ACA is better than what we had, but a far cry from what we need.  What we need is not what the current efforts to revamp ACA are dedicated to trying to produce.

Watching Speaker Ryan on C-SPAN, as he speaks from a health insurance industry perspective, he is doing his best "used car salesman" pressure tactic routine, the revamping of the Affordable Care Act.  In doing so he makes it abundantly clear that he buys hook, line, and sinker into the "old=sick" risk pool stereotype.  One has to wonder if those are the expectations Speaker Ryan has for himself in old age.

The old=sick conundrum was a pet peeve of mine long before I could be categorized as old! Why? Because it goes without saying that along with life style choices, taking good care of health throughout life, including successfully navigating through pollutants (in air, water, soil, food; industrial pollutants, insecticide, radionuclides, etc.) makes a good BIG difference in the amount of health care that might NOT be needed for medical conditions which might NOT manifest in later years . . . unless there is a cumulative over-burden of pollutants, exacerbated by unhealthy life style choices (including nutrition). 

Not all retirement aged folks are health insurance liabilities simply because of being elders!  These days the health effects of pollutants cumulate so quickly that young=sick too - like childhood obesity from poor nutrition (and polluted food and water), outgassing from furniture and carpets, chemicals in fabric softener, pesticide residue on everything, not only from growing and harvesting of produce, but also absorbed by and through packaging because of insecticide gas used by shippers (often
naphthalene which is very evident from the clinging "moth ball" odor). Then there is the myriad of inoculations, so many all at once, which in some cases have proven to cause medical conditions which never should have been unforeseen had there been adequate research.  Add to that serious medical conditions from industrial pollutants in which category we should also put at least some pharmaceuticals. 

And of course there is pollution from wheeled vehicles, also airplanes and rockets said to produce much more than that of wheeled vehicles, which brings us also to the effects of pollutants on climate.  That is a whole additional issue, also related to health issues thus the structure of our health care system.  The list of pollutants goes on.  Many of today's pollutants did not exist or were not polluting the environment of my own rural Grandparents when they were growing up and when they were raising their children.  Consider that in 4-5 generations since 1900 the variety and number of environmental pollutants has increased exponentially.  Pollution from coal burning is one of the few that has been reduced.  Government is not efficiently monitoring, outlawing, and enforcing policies which minimize the problems.  And worse some of the dangerous chemicals that have been outlawed are in use again, like DDT. 

Pollution really does increasingly effect everyone's health in negative ways - if not immediately, then cumulatively later in life.  One effective way to spend less on health care all the way around is to reduce and get rid of pollutants, especially "hidden" pollutants that are in everyone's environment over which we, the people, should take more control.  It is we, the people, versus government sanctioned polluters . . . and currently we, the people, are batting zero because we are not persistently asking questions until we get appropriate answers from our legislative bodies at all levels of government, who are not supposed to be representing corporate needs in preference to the needs of we, the people.  The polluters vs people game is "fixed", currently, and will remain so until we, the people, persist in speaking up about the problems.

It is simple common sense that pollutants cumulate and eventually lead to health problems.   It takes diligent work, including acquiring personal knowledge, to detox as we go through life, because until serious medical conditions manifest the "illness industry" wants to do little or nothing other than provide pharmaceuticals for symptoms which in many cases increases the pollutant load in a body, some pharmaceuticals creating side effects and medical conditions as bad as, or worse than the symptoms for which they were prescribed.   Those who have helplessly experienced the "illness industry" journey through life of loved ones, know exactly of what I speak!  

Worse, the medical insurance industry masquerading as health care refuses to cover holistic health approaches that deal with treating health problems more naturally when possible, and preventing health problems while creating and maintaining optimal health, at far less cost because holistic care can minimize the likelihood of serious medical conditions developing.  Simply put, no health care system is adequate without also covering cost effective holistic approaches to healing and maintaining good health.  But neither original ACA nor revamped ACA do that.  It is doubtful at this point that the single payer system we need to establish would embrace holistic health.  Although there is some movement in the direction of embracing and teaching integrative medicine at medical schools, we do not see that dimension of care reflected in any legislative discussions about what ACA provides.  Instead we see "the system" in our own nation as the  problem it is.   Compared to other nations it has become a for-profit institutionalized illness industry from which the insurance and pharmaceutical industries profit, and in doing so it leaves many patient needs unmet while it limits the adequate exercising of health care professionals' skills and abilities. 

Health, Education, and Welfare used to be a government department. And it certainly is the work of government to set and enforce minimal standards regarding all three, throughout the nation.  But for many decades government has been falling short in it's responsibility for all three.  Is it any wonder the department no longer exists as an umbrella for these three standard setting and enforcing areas of government policy?  Again,
currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part.   So if they  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier.

We, the people, need to be asking where the profits from the exorbitant costs of the current system are going.  Even with insurance, dealing with a major health issue leaves people in bankruptcy.  Part of the problem is that people pay for convenience.  But, when did we become a nation of people who pay every cost for health care set by insurance companies that is asked of us, without question?  We pay without question because the more affluent among us can and because it is convenient - at least more convenient and less time consuming than questioning rising costs and the quality of health care.  Throw more money at it and it will improve, is the mantra.  Get more money and ask for more money, is the mantra in response.  It has become a vicious circle because the unquestioned costs become unquestionable costs of convenience for the more affluent.   And costs continue to increase for all as access to care decreases so that unless we do evolve to a not-for-profit single payer national health care system, a large majority of Americans will be left without access to even basic health care.  Because, it will simply not be affordable and because it does not adequately meet patient needs, but instead meets the needs of those who monetarily profit from the system as it is.  Who is profiting from the exorbitant cost associated with the system of health care?  Let's follow the money and find the problems.

One more time,
currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part - a big part.   So if our elected legislators  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier which is what we all deserve.

05 January 2017

Remembering Grandpa and Waxing Lyrical about the Past

Recently a cousin’s daughter posted a somewhat stunning profile photo of herself on Facebook.  As I briefly puzzled over what it was about that particular photo which drew and kept my attention, I realized she looked like a little imp turned into a fairy-tale princess at her wedding . . . a simple circlet of tiny twinkling pink and blue lights on her head  - the entire photo a lavender hue.  It was definitely a Fairy-tale Princess photo, but more than that.  Had she been playing with their children when the photo was taken?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I have not asked.

Many of us  remember the stories of fairy tale Princes and Princesses from childhood.  These days the children may be more likely to remember fairy tale movies instead. But they are the stories we all really, really, really wanted to believe were real, even though we knew the fantasy in them was not.  Even so, we learned the good lessons they were intended to teach.  “They sunk beneath our wisdom like a stone” so that what we remember seems only to be the fantasy of the fairy-tale which we knew to be just that - fantasy.  The young woman, and little girl who I simultaneously saw in the photo might be living her fairy tale.  She could easily fit into her favorite fairy tale as a heroine of her story.   Perhaps it was the Lavender hue together with the circlet of tiny pink and blue lights?   Lavender is clearly her color.  However, because it is not simply any photo, because she is family, looking at the photo, again, for whatever reason there is something about the photo that leads me to recognize her great-grandpa Lloyd in her countenance - which has been captured in the photograph as an improved upon  Mona Lisa look and moment.  I find myself looking at her photo as her great grand father’s, great-grand daughter thus one of  the little princesses in his life, along with his daughters and  granddaughters - and all the little princes too, one of which being from whom she descends

That is how we in the preceding generation felt with our Grandparents - like little princes and princesses . . . at least most of the time.  They seemed to know, understand, respect, and be able to skillfully guide us into our growing individuality much easier than our parents were able to do.  They were Grandchild Whispers!  Thus is the nature of Grandparents who do not have a more limited perspective of being unable to see the forest for the trees at times, as most parents experience to some extent (more so with the oldest child, or with the new territory of a special needs child).  

Looking at my cousin’s fairy-tale princess photo (to be precise, first cousin once removed) was like seeing the faces of those who we love in children . . .  something we observe, frequently, in young children as they are growing so quickly their first few years.   But Grandpa was gone before any of the Greats, of which she is one, came along.   I wish they all could have known him.  The spouses of cousins and siblings didn’t know him either.   He was gone before they became part of the family, before some of the grandchildren, and long before any of the great grand children arrived.  Remembering, almost is like a fairy-tale from long long ago; a fairy tale - not because life was easy then and all good which is the resolution of the best fairy tales, but because the good is what we choose to bring forward in life and reproduce to the best of our abilities in our own lives and the lives of others.

My most vivid memories of these Grandparents remain from early elementary school age.  Lloyd Oliver Gossage - a Medic in WWI - was the oldest of three children; two boys and a girl.  Grandpa and Grandma married on Valentines Day 1921.  Grandma was the oldest of 10 children.   I was the oldest granddaughter of, eventually, six granddaughters, and as such also the fourth grandchild, of 15, nine being grandsons.  The fairy tale princess who is the star of this story is the second child of the third grandchild.  Her father was born 8 months and 1 day before me; his brother 8 months and 1 day after me.  It is as if our births within the family reflected the unique bond of our parents.  That bond existed, in part, simply because of family but also because, of the six children my Aunt was the first daughter.  I always felt a special bond with her too.  She truly loved children, and was very much an extension of her father’s qualities and love.   My Dad was the first child, and enough older to truly enjoy the arrival of a first baby sister as the fourth child in the family.  He was very protective of her through out their lives - of all the girls actually, more so when growing up than of his brothers who were closer in age - together a trio of rowdy, rambunctious boys, when allowed to be.

When I was in early elementary school Grandpa taught me how to milk a cow ;) as he probably taught all six of his children at some point in time, and later, his grandchildren.  Grandpa Lloyd was a quiet, steady, gentle presence, soft-spoken, no one kinder, a heart full of love  - and love for the outdoors.  Is that how all the cousins and his children knew and remember him?  I suspect so.  It is certainly how I knew and remember him.  The outdoors and Grandma were his home - the home he loved with an immeasurable breadth and depth.  When he was at rest inside from all the day’s work outside, rain or shine, hot or cold,  he would read.   Rarely was Grandpa without a book, or newspaper, or a professional periodical in his hands, while inside - even with the cacophony produced on the occasions when all the grown children and the grandchildren were able to congregate at holiday times.  Even on those occasions Grandpa was always a place of stillness in the exciting and chaotic vortex a passel of children will create, and in which they thrive until it exhausts them, or those around them who send them outside to play!   I don't know for sure, but it is an educated guess, for many reasons, that it was probably Grandpa who spent the most time reading to their young children when they were pre-school age - reading out loud to them exactly what he was reading for himself.  And it was probably Grandma who treated them to a fantasy children's story now and again. 

Grandpa was born in Marathon County Wisconsin just prior to the start of the 20th century that being very late in the 1800s, then raised by a widowed father near Lake Coeur d’Alene, from around about the age of 10 years old, onward.  His Wisconsin Grandfather had lost an arm, the result of an injury as an Ohio soldier during the Civil War.   His father, Great Grandpa Robert, had migrated with his young family from Wisconsin before Grandpa was 10 years old, via Montana where he had owned land in the mining district, before settling in the mining district of the panhandle of Idaho.  Grandma’s family had arrived to the region from Minnesota where she was born, when she was eight years old. 

Grandpa knew weather, and climate, inside out.  Of course I only realized this in much later years at which point I since have been in awe of his near genius expertise in that respect, same as  I am in awe of that seemingly natural ability in the ancestors of many in whom that skill was a necessary survival skill that had been developed.  I continue to  also be in awe of the descendants of these folks who choose to carry on with the same tradition and the embodying of that skill.  It is becoming a far less common skill than it once was, the wisdom of which passes seamlessly, and almost unrecognized as such, from one generation to the next.  

Grandpa was also a realist (so was Grandma) with his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground - always a serene countenance who as an adult brought a wonderful dimension of the cosmos to reality for those in his life.   I learned from watching him how to roll a perfect cigarette (though I never needed to do much calling on that skill ;) )  From observation, I found years later that I too had what seemed an inborn skill for the rolling of a perfect cigarette.  Grandpa kept a red metal can of Velveteen tobacco the size and shape of his shirt pocket, in his shirt pocket.  He was not a constant smoker.  When he smoked it was an event predicated by skillfully removing exactly the correct amount of tobacco from the red container, placing it on the carefully held paper in exactly the right place, then proceeding as if by magic to create a cigarette.   He smoked  actual tobacco without modern day pollutants and additives, thus never suffered from damage to the lungs for that reason, nor because of excessive smoking. 

I also learned from watching him how to correctly fell a tree in the woods,  and decades later did so correctly (although a small trunk not destined to be cut into lumber, and not in the woods).  I did it correctly though because of remembering how he did it.   Grandpa was also an Aquarius, as was Grandma.  As such, when discipline was necessary, it was the imposing of expansive limits as learning experiences, rather than the cruelly punishing and isolating limits of discipline superimposed by some adults.  That does not mean they did not get angry if required.  I’m sure their children could tell many tales of their own experiences.  I have experienced Grandma being a force of nature when it was necessary, but not in a harmful way when discipline was necessary.  I never experienced Grandpa being in “angry force of nature” mode.

No one could produce a meal like Grandma could - from start to finish - on the wood burning range; everything ready on time and cooked to perfection.   From a young girl's perspective it was truly a production which was an awesome sight to behold. Smooth as clock work, no wasted time, no extraneous tasks, no wasted motion - she seemed to effortlessly coordinate and manipulate time, perfectly, and in doing so created a fluidic gracefully choreographed counterpoint “dance” of sorts in coordination with the required tasks.  She truly was a sight to behold while preparing dinner.  And dinner at Grandma's was always a blessing. 

From watching and “helping” Grandma I learned to make butter, cottage cheese, and Apple Butter while still early elementary school age.  No one's homemade bread was better - especially with a slather of butter and a little sprinkling of sugar, as a treat; or sometimes Apple Butter if the previous year's store of Apple Butter in the cellar had not yet been depleted.  Grandma made it from fruit the size of walnuts  produced by the small Crab Apple "orchard", consisting of a few trees out behind the barn.  

And I remember from having been very young, taking a nap on their bed which was covered with a quilt. Grandma told me she made it from all the clothes they had worn out which were too full of holes or too thread bare in spots, that it was not possible to resize them for the younger children, thus they become unusable as clothes or cleaning rags, and instead became the fabric of the quilt.  I truly loved that quilt - all the life and love it embodied as their immediate family’s history in the way that only some quilts do.   The squares weren't more than three inches across with the foundation inside being an old worn blanket, first restored to pristine cleanliness, then becoming the inside foundation of that quilt.  It was a “real” quilt . . . the kind that is tufted together securely from one side through the blanket to the other side, with a tightly secured knot of yarn at each apex of each of the seemingly endless squares.   I am not the only Grandchild to have fallen asleep on under that quilt while trying to count the squares!   It was a very sturdy warm quilt which it was impossible to imagine would ever cease to exist.   I was always determined to make a similar quilt from old worn out clothes . . . and still am. 

I used to feel so sad for all of the newer and younger extended family who had never had the opportunity and experience of knowing Grandpa in his tangible, corporeal form - and the life Grandpa and Grandma had made together for their family.   By having done so they contributed their love to all the grandchildren, yet to be born grandchildren, and additions to the family in the future by marriage, thus also the great grands who would arrive in their own time . . . ad infinitum into the future, long after our grandparents were gone.  

I feel so very fortunate and grateful to have experienced only the good there was to know, even though I knew of many of their difficulties.  The strong love is what lives on.  I have learned in my own many decades as an adult that it is the good, only the good, which ushers in and becomes a part of the life force of each subsequent generation whether or not we are able to identify it's origin.  That does not mean we do not learn about the difficulties, heartbreaks, and sorrows of the generations before us, which are also a part of us in a unique way so that we feel an amount of empathetic emotional pain to our depths about it and because of it.  That too is an inheritance of individuals in subsequent generations.  

What it does means is that the priceless treasures which help us to rise above and move beyond difficulties were also passed on to all of us from our ancestors.  Whether or not their environments enabled their abilities to transcend their difficulties, we also inherited the resilience and love that our ancestors needed and worked hard to find, create, and recreate so they could try to move forward to  provide for their families and experience as much good in life as possible, however difficult it was at the time to do so.  When we understand, thus tap into that love and resilience as our birthright, it becomes a part of us, an ever expanding inclusive love and resiliency that is a treasure from our ancestors, to all their descendants, in their own times, to improve upon and increase as we each embody it in our lives, whether or not those ancestors were gone before our time, and whether or not we knew them or knew of them. 

Everyone on this earthly sojourn has so many ancestors to be proud of for a variety of reasons regardless of whatever difficulties and injustices those ancestors experienced or may have caused, in life.  Whatever their errors they are not ours to account for, understand, yes - condone and account for, no.  Their sustaining treasure through the ages, given to us to make our own, is their genuine love which we add to, each in his or her turn, so that it grows exponentially as it moves into the future with the arrival of subsequent generations.  And that love reaches us from a from a point of origin we have in common that is at least as old as the dawn of humanity.   It is a palpable part of the reality of every person on earth, with the potential to extend far into the future from the momentum we provide when we embrace the inheritance of that love, ourselves.

I saw Grandpa in the face of my cousin’s daughter.   I saw him as her Great Grandpa.  Wow.  So why did that bring a tear of joy?  First, undoubtedly, because she did not ever have the opportunity to sit on his lap and be held by him and read to by him, while he was living.  Secondly, because I saw only the young carefree child her Great Grandpa  would have held on his lap and read to until she wriggled around enough to be set free to run outside and play, even though at the same time I have a present awareness of the heartache she has experienced in her life.   And perhaps because, in part, it is also the season of the year to put aside dwelling on the difficulties we experience, and instead reminisce about all that has been good and will continue to be good in our lives as we move into a New Year.   But what produced that tear, initially, was an unexpected glimpse of Grandpa peeking out through my cousin's photograph.  

Whatever anyone else may have seen in my cousin's fairy tale photo, and whomever else anyone may have seen in her countenance, I saw in it, and in her, generations of our ancestors extended from the past as far into the present as the children she is raising.  And who knows for sure where, from there?   It reminded me that as family, and as importantly the human family, we experience our grandparents, some times great grand parents too, being focal points who actively provide a continuity of love, as part of a universal fractal process from the past into the future; a legacy process emanating from all previous generations and  continuing on through all descendants into the future.  It is the same universal process of which everyone is a part in their earthly sojourn.  It is the job of each of us to do justice to those before us by doing our part to improve upon and expand the range of that perfect love from the distant past with which we have all been blessed.