Someone Has To Pay..

No, this post is not going to talk about taking revenge or seeking vengeance. Instead, it is about the idea of getting free information on what is going on in the world and particularly our country today. I think the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true in many areas of life including this one.

2017-02-19_11-13-29.pngI must admit up front that I am probably like most of the people in that I get at least part of my news from Internet sources. I used to get agitated when I clicked on a news article only to have some words to the effect that I need to sign up with a paid prescription in order to view the article. I almost always mumbled, “you gotta be kidding…”

But it finally it dawned on this dense brain of mine that someone has to pay if you want quality news information. Someone has to track down the info, get at least double verification of the facts, and then write the article in concise and understandable words and then someone else needs to check it for all the above. It takes people of talent to do that and they need to be paid what they are worth. In the past, the video versions of news sources were paid by the advertisers of the programs selling their products but that paradigm seems to be losing its effectiveness rather quickly now. How do we get reliable sources for our information? That is the question at hand.

One way is to pay for the service directly through subscription. I recently joined millions of others in this post-truth era who subscribe to the New York Times.  Why the Times? Because they have the most talented writers around. They stick to tried and true methods of obtaining the latest news.

With the abundance of fake news now proliferating the Internet, we need someone we can trust to give us the real facts.  “You get what you pay for” almost seems to be archaic in today’s world but maybe it is actually truer than ever.

Next time you read a news article or see it on a cable news channel, stop and think if this is really true or even pertinent? If you doubt it in any way look for another source of verification.  Especially it that news channel happens to be FOX news or MSNBC and most particularly when it comes out of the Oval Office…

 

How accurate are your Blogger stats? – Not Very..

Snippet Banner This snippet is for all my fellow bloggers out there, everyone else can just ignore it.   I have been looking into my blog stats lately and have discovered some interesting things. I am on WordPress and the general consensus is that it gets less traffic than Blogger because the Google search engine gives priority to its own app. But, what I actually discovered is that Blogger includes all the spambot hits as well as search engines who roam through the blogsite as a visit count.  Sometimes that leads to some rather gross inaccuracies.  Here is some of the stuff I found about that:

2017-02-27_10-39-20.pngOf course, these spam sites direct ‘hits’ to your blog, which may cause your stats to become inaccurate. You could say from looking at the screenshot above that I got 4,689 views, but I didn’t. To get a more accurate number, it’s a good idea to subtract the spam sites from your 2017-02-27_10-39-54.pngtotal. Doing that, you can see that I actually got 3,054. The fact that Google lets in these spam referrals is extremely annoying, although some people like them because they make their stats look good. But what’s the point in your stats looking good if the hits aren’t real?

Source: The Mile Long Bookshelf: DISCUSSION: How accurate are your Blogger stats?

2017-02-11_14-20-12.png2017-02-11_14-21-52.png

As it turns out I guess is that the Google search engine punishes Blogger blogs because it counts all the spammers and other bots that attack it as views, WordPress filters them out excluding them from your counts. And with Blogger even these inflated numbers can be easily faked by a readily available app.

Long story short, don’t count the blog stats you run across being anywhere close to accurate and  especially if you are hosted on Blogger.

Part 5 – The Narcissist Project: What Do They Hate?

What do narcissists hate?  Well as shown by the quote below they hate just about everything. Their hate is almost to the level of their fear of being discovered a phony. They especially hate everything that takes attention away from themselves.

What do narcissists hate?

Narcissists hate being ignored, being questioned, being seen as common, being criticized, being disobeyed, being disregarded, having to respect people’s boundaries, being left out, coming second, being told they can’t do or have something, having to follow the same rules as everyone else, not getting to be the boss, not being allowed special privileges, being asked to be more considerate, not getting their way, being disliked, not being well-served, not getting the attention and praise they want, and being told they’re wrong or at fault in any way.

Keys, Drew (2012-04-21). Narcissists Exposed – 75 Things Narcissists Don’t Want You to Know (pp. 25-26). Light’s House Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Given the first month of this new administration, it is easy to see so many of these traits in CO3, especially in his latest “press conference”.  He just seems to love being able to totally diss others and to have no boundaries in his personal conduct. It is nearly impossible to get a narcissist to be considerate of other people, conditions or circumstances as they are just TOTALLY focused on themselves 100% of the time. If it doesn’t make them look good then it is a total waste of time in their minds.

Remember this sourcebook was written well before CO3 entered the political scene so even though it looks like it, the book was not written specifically about him.

Now on to a personal story about my exposure to a narcissist.

As I have mentioned before my mother abandoned me when I was about ten years old to go look for a spouse who could take care of her as she thought she was entitled. In retrospect, that abandonment turned out to be a good thing as I was not exposed to her as to become critically injured during my formative year. 

It was about fifteen years later that she came back into my life. Her husband who was also a narcissist divorced her and married his much younger secretary. I’m sure that was near a lethal blow to my mother’s ego but like always she simply burned all the bridges and looked for another opportunity. She had one child from this husband and that gave her a substantial income from child support but that is another tragic story that will wait for another time. 

One critical characteristic of my mother was that she insisted on being better than anyone else. She often put down people as being fake but she immersed herself with fake identities.  She worked in a doctor’s office as a receptionist for a year or so that morphed into her being a doctor herself.  In her later life, she started putting “MD” behind her name and insisted everyone call her “Doctor”. It was not her first or her last fake persona, there were many others.

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

When we Christians shun our responsibilities….

Jesus clearly told us to be our brother’s keeper but somewhere along the way we Christians unapologetically shunned that responsibility. During the first three centuries, Christians were very much their brother’s keeper. They often pooled their resources so that those neediest were taken care of. They not only cared for their own there is even documented evidence showing that they took care of those not even Christians.  But, of course, this is what Jesus did so they were just following his lead.

The vast majority of Christian congregations today spend about 95% of what they gather on themselves or their organization’s hierarchy leaving little for the kingdom of God work particularly in the brother’s keeper area.  When that happened the moral goodness, which I believe to be also a gift from God to all humanity, dictated that the kingdoms of the world take over that task. Some do a much better job of it than others. The government of Sudan seems to totally reject the “brother’s keeper” mentality.  Many thousands die daily of starvation and political genocide. Whereas, thank the Lord, the government of the United States has generally taken up this task in our absence, at least to a partial degree. Or at least one of our political parties carries that mantle.

Now I’m not saying that Christians do nothing in this area. Indeed some of the best humanitarian agencies in this area are Christian based. But, their total contributions is almost minuscule compared to the need. Having religious institutions take over all the care for the poor is beyond the realm of possibilities so I guess we must depend on our governments to do that for us. It is said that government instituted by God so I suppose you could say it is now their duty. To even suggest as some do that since we Christians won’t do it our governments should stay out of it also is a total affront to the teachings of Jesus. It is indeed a sad day that many Evangelical Christians seem to be saying that very thing today. Shame on us for shunning this compassionate responsibility!

Letting Others Think For Us..

All of this conflicting rhetoric and division has many of us worried about the fate of our country but from the new “Quote of the Day” at the top of this blog, it sounds like that letting others think for us just might be the norm.

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.  –Alexis de Tocqueville 1835

2017-02-25_09-04-23.pngAlexis de Tocqueville who wrote the now infamous book “Democracy In America” was a Frenchman who traveled our country in 1835 trying to understand what made America what it was. His book is a must-read for anyone serious about understanding our country. I only recently came across this quote and it kind of surprised me to see that so many let others think for them even in his time.

I guess that is what leadership is for, to tell others what they are to believe! Of course, there are two camps in the regard today and neither one of them have the necessary leaders to give us real wisdom. They are just too busy fighting each other and contending with in-fighting in their own party to see the overall picture of our possible futures.

One party is determined to shut down almost all government responsibilities and the other is too busy trying to protect our minorities to be concerned about the rest of us.  Given these states of mind, true wisdom is completely missing from today’s dialog. How long can we exist in this current state is hard to say, but given the quote above it is not the first time we have been in this boat.. maybe it is just who we really are?

Making Stuff So Rich People Will Spend Their Money…

crayon-banner   I am a car guy, a good part of my TV viewing is the Velocity Channel where they routinely make and auction $200,000 to up to $4,000,000 cars. It seems almost every time someone goes to my favorite car builder it is to “fill in their collection”. They have most of the 60’s Cameros but need another to fill a hole.  Another show is where a guy runs around the country trying to find cars that his clients need for their collections. Car shows are no longer about the average guy rebuilding an old car in his garage, or at least the Velocity Channel version.

2017-02-18_10-38-17.pngThat got me to thinking about so many other cable shows where they are making stuff so rich people will spend their money.  The last few years the rich seem to have tightened their purse strings for fear of this or that. Trying to get them to spend so of it so it will trickle down to the rest of us is the name of the game. Of course, that makes total sense if you really look at it since one percent of the U.S. population control about half of our total wealth and the rest of us are only manage to scrape up only an occasional dollar or two of discretionary income. Not nearly enough to buy the things they make for their wealthy clients.

2017-02-18_10-40-26.pngRich guys don’t usually want what other rich guys have so you just can’t mass market to them. They want the bragging rights to say “this is the only thing like this in the world”.  When it comes to rich guys “the customer is always right” is the mantra so there is a lot of anatomy kissing going on in that world. 🙂

I see where CO3 upped the initiation fee from $100,000 to $200,000 for this Palm Beach golf club as soon as he got in the Oval Office but that just moves money from one rich guy to another. The moral of this story is if you want to join the ranks of rich guys you gotta make the current one’s toys.

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

What About The Soul??

With this post I am going to go deeply into philosophy and speculate on just what is life. I couldn’t decide if this post belongs in the “That’s Life” category or “Crayon Marks” so I put it in both.  🙂

2017-02-19_10-40-15.pngMan has spent ages trying to figure out what happens after we end our life on earth.  For Christians, Jesus tells us that our spirit leaves our body and goes to what we decided to call heaven. He tells us that marriages don’t count in heaven and we will live in one of the rooms in his mansion.  I kind of put these words as what a person who has infinitely more knowledge of a subject trying to explain something to someone who is ignorant in the matter. Kind of like a space traveling alien explaining to an aboriginal person what the stars really are.  They will put it in simple terms because they know we couldn’t fathom anything more.

What is heaven?  No one on this side of life really knows. But that doesn’t keep us, including me, from speculating.  So here goes…

When I die whatever causes me to be alive will leave my body and eventually my body will disintegrate back to the dust of the earth. That is if I don’t hasten the process by cremation. 🙂  My soul, which I choose for this post to call my life spirit will go to wherever life spirits go. If it is eternal as I think it is, it will either stay there or maybe get used for another body being born. Will it have memories of my past life? I would like to think so, that’s what reincarnation is all about, but if I believe the words of Jesus that we will not be married and other such social obligations then I kind of think my spirit will just be a spirit, the essence of life.

Much of my speculation hinges on the belief that life cannot be made, instead it is created by an omnipotent being. In past ages the heart, among other body parts, was believed to be the soul of a person, that is before it was discovered that all the heart really is is a muscle that pumps blood.  If life is somehow created in a laboratory sometime in the future then my concept of life spirits would like so many past ones will be thrown aside and replaced by something else.

Does it really matter what I think the life force is?  Not really, we need to concentrate on just living it to the fullest and watching out for each other. That is the real meaning of life to me.

It’s All About Trust.

This title is a pretty good description of what America looks like right now. I will admit that we are only a month in (God, it seems much longer than that!) so maybe we just need to give them time to get their ducks in order.

I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued….

2017-02-20_10-47-04.pngThe first conclusion is obvious. This administration is more like a medieval monarchy than a modern nation-state. It’s more “The Madness of King George” than “The Missiles of October.” The key currency is not power, it’s flattery….

We’re about to enter a moment in which U.S. economic and military might is strong but U.S. political might is weak. Imagine the Roman Empire governed by Monaco.

That’s scary. The only saving thought is this: The human imagination is vast, but it is not nearly vast enough to encompass the infinitely multitudinous ways Donald Trump can find to get himself disgraced.

Source: New York Times

I am a person driven by logic, anything else makes no sense to me. CO3 continues to rant and rave with one lie after another.  When will it end? My wife is a lover of TV courtroom drama so I get my share of that venue. The lawyers are always saying thing like “you tell frequent lies so why should we trust you to not be lying now?” That to me is the hallmark of this current administration. CO3 and all his cronies continue to shout blatant lies so why should I trust anything they say?

Trust is the name of the game for many of us. If we can’t trust someone then they lose all credibility to us. Like the quote above says I am having trouble seeing how this administration survives full term.  If it has to go down in ashes then the sooner the better as far as I am concerned.

  • CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

Many Americans Believe A Lot Of Dumb Stuff – AKA Lazy Minds

It is amazing to me just how dumb so many Americans are. It seems that in most surveys taken lately show that we are indeed in a Post-Truth era as my friends at The Week mentioned in their January 13, 2017 edition of their print magazine (edited for length):

Misinformation: Why facts are now irrelevant

Here’s some unsurprising yet depressing news, said Catherine Rampell in WashingtonPost.com. “Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff.”

  • 2017-01-06_09-24-05.pngnearly half of Donald Trump voters still believe the “bizarre theory” that Hillary Clinton helped run a child sex slave ring in a Washington, D.C., pizza joint, and 52 percent are certain Trump won the popular vote. (He lost by 3 million votes.)
  • About half of Clinton supporters “believe that Russia tampered with vote tallies to help elect Trump”—which is simply not true

Sadly, it seems that “the facts of political life are now subject to partisan interpretation,” said Juan Williams in TheHill.com.

  • 67 percent of Trump voters say unemployment grew during President Obama’s term in office, even though it shrank from 7.8 percent to 4.6 percent.

For a democratic system “based on the consent of voters who are fully informed,” the epidemic of willful ignorance is deeply troubling….

The irony is that the internet was supposed to democratize information, enabling “curious citizens’’ to become better informed about complex issues, said Jonathan Mahler in The New York Times. Instead, it’s made it possible for people to hide out in “closed information loops.’’

The internet’s lack of a filter has made all beliefs appear equally valid, since you can always find online “evidence” and opinion to back up even the most nonsensical notions, with no agreed-upon authority to differentiate fact from fiction. We truly have entered “a post-truth era.”

How did we ever get to the point that facts don’t really matter anymore? If truth is now irrelevant, what holds the moral fiber of a country together?  That is the most serious of all questions in a democratic form of government.  Given that a Liar-In-Chief now occupies the Oval Office we will likely see if facts REALLY don’t matter. After his first month in office he continues to believe that whatever he says is the absolute truth and anyone who disagrees with him is must flat out wrong!

  • Russia is our friend, not our enemy.
  • The real enemy is the press and their FAKE news.
  • My administration is like a well-oiled machine.
  • Global warming is a hoax invented by China.

This list could go on and on and the well continues to overflow with each passing day.

How long can we exist when so many of us believe in “alternative facts”? How long can we exist when we become so mentally lazy that we don’t bother to even attempt to tell the difference between truth and lie? I can only pray that two years from now we will wrest control of congress away from those supporting this “post-truth” era. It seems that the only thing CO3 has done is to add billionaires to the “swamp”, it will be up to us citizens to do the real draining.

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant

That’s how dictators get started …

Snippet Banner  The quote below comes from John McCain criticizing CO3 for saying the press is your enemy.

“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press,” McCain added. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. Thats how dictators get started.”…

“I just don’t think it’s possible in our society,” he said in the profile. “There’s too many checks and balances. The danger is not Trump perverting our Constitution or taking too much power; the danger is the polarization of America.”

Source: McCain criticizes Trump for calling media the enemy: Thats how dictators get started – Chicago Tribune

I would like to feel as secure as Mr. McCain that CO3 cannot become a dictator but he does have all the markings of one.  I have one of those love/hate relations with Mr. McCain as it seems that he sometimes goes about as far off the rail as CO3 but sometimes he just speaks the truth when others are too afraid. Maybe I just don’t like him when he doesn’t speak “my” truth.  There is a lot of that going around isn’t there?

* CO3 = Current Oval Office Occupant