Retired, Older than Dirt
But still Game
All the Same
70+ years old, blogger, former restaurant manager, district manager and Director of Sales, Credit Manager, Purchasing and Inventory in Coffee Business, Accounts Payable and Purchasing at a Civil Engineering firm
Last night’s hoopla regarding the primary elections particularly in Kansas where the good citizens of that fair state fixed SCOTUS. When I spied this piece among the piles on my desk, I could easily tell when my computer crashes. I am not what you would call a “neatnik” but I really go crazy throwing papers all over hoping a few will land in a way that suggests I really have been working on this piece.
I have enclosed a link to a website hawking the merits of “leftist views”. I’m not sure I know the difference between “leftist” vs “Left” or “left-leaning.” I am 70-plus years old and I am still a dunce!
I was writing another article when this fell out of my pile of papers. There was no way I could pass this by without a comment or two.
Maybe we will be to ask for Clarence Thomas’ resignation. His ascension to SCOTUS was a foreshadowing of Brett’s. His dalliance ended in the same result as Brett’s. We now know that Clarence, Amy, Brett, and Neil all lied when questioned during their testimony. Additionally, Clarence’s wife Gini was involved and perhaps deeply involved in the January 6th insurrection. What a mess and a disgrace our Supreme Court is. Supreme? My opinion of their scholarly endeavors is that they seem to be in Trump’s good graces — golf and more golf I‘llwager.
I am working on some blockbuster articles, why should all the professionals get all the adulation?
You’re missing the point. Everybody is. The GOP’s draconian anti-abortion laws have nothing to do with babies, life, religion, or anything like that. They’re meant to do THREE things:
1) KEEP Black/Brown people poor, and churning out cheap labor and desperate customers, spending their last pennies on basic survival (conservatives will only be happy when the underclass can’t sip a half-mouthful of semi-potable water, or breathe a half-lungful of fetid air, without them making a profit.
2) JAIL Black/Brown women for seeking abortions or even contraception; America’s perfected jailing Black/Brown MEN… they’re fucking GREAT at THAT, but Black WOMEN have shown themselves to be the backbone of the Democratic Party… sticking by them through thick & thin, and organizing TF out of them (thank you, Stacey Abrams!); THAT has to be fucking stopped, dead in its tracks!
3) DRIVE Drive away educated White people of breeding age. They tend to know their rights, fight for them, and also tend to vote for Blue. If they can be driven from Purple states, it prevents them from turning Blue, and could even turn them Red, again; the Texas GOP stated that, once Texas goes Blue, the GOP will NEVER elect another POTUS, or hold SWAY in Congress… They mean to see that never happens on THEIR watch.
Through their rabid, anti-abortion laws, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Education, and their draconian immigration/refugee policies, they mean to keep Black/Brown people — men AND now women — from organizing and voting. Voter suppression, voter-intimidation, Gerrymandering, and they will do the rest.”
“They’re pieces of shit, masquerading as human beings, and the sooner they’re pulled down from their positions of power, in government, finance, and business, the better.”
UGH! My back won’t relent! It’s been two weeks without respite.
OK. I’ll pop these two pills I got from the pharmacy. Thankfully the pharmacy is open on Saturdays.
One baclofen and one prednisone. These have got to work or I’ll go stark raving mad! I’ll lay down for a few and hopefully wake up in better shape.
What’s that? What are all those lights?
Where am I?
A guy comes up and looks down at me. “Do you know where you are?”
“No, what’s going on?” was my reply.
What’s that? What are all those lights and shiny metal?
A different guy approaches. I look around as he does and note the brown wallpaper. This thing I’m lying on is hard as a rock. This guy asks the same question “Where are you?”
“I don’t know.”
He walks away and joins the other guy in a big room with bright lights and lots of stainless steel, like a big fancy restaurant ballroom.
I can only lift my head a little but I see them sitting down in what appears to be a restaurant booth.
I must be fading in and out. Nothing is connecting.
The darkened room I’m in makes the brightly lit room all the brighter, I squint to see into the other room.
I notice one of the men walking towards me except this time he approaches on my right. He leans forward towards me. I take a mighty swing with my right arm. Whoosh! The sound it makes when it hits the air.
The next time I wake up, it’s dark, pitch black. What? I am really befuddled. I can’t connect two thoughts together.
A thought slammed in “ What do these two guys want with me, (overweight, bald, shortsighted, and a fashionably old coot like me (let’s cut the crap eh? I’m old, fat, bald, and I fart).
Does this something do to with me and or my body? “I must be shanghaied” was the only thought that came to mind, as in an old black and white Charlie Chan movie.
The next I knew I woke up in a doll house. I woke up once and heard kids running around. I woke up a second time and heard adult voices. (Wait is this real? I am beginning to question reality or was one just in my mind. Maybe neither! I don’t think I will be using the expression “out of my mind” anytime soon.)
Peering through an opening and I saw huge dollhouses. Large enough for live kids to play in. What? Colorfully painted, spaced wide apart for it was a huge room. At one time I worked for a company that had a 100,000-foot warehouse. That’s about the size of this room.
The next time I awoke was in a hospital bed in a brightly lit room.
I was still paranoid about what was going on and was suspicious of every visit by a woman in nurse’s scrubs. Even if, every encounter was short and each woman was pleasant.
It was hard to remain hyper-vigilant because I was seeing everything through jaded eyes and a foggy brain. What the heck is going on? Being shanghaied in a black and white movie was still bumbling around.
The next time I woke up it was daylight and I didn’t seem as groggy. Soon, maybe, I would be able to have a sober thought. I thought I should keep track of this stuff so I could it all into the police.
I could see other nurses just outside my door. I assumed it was a nurses’ station.
I started having a male nurse come in once in a while. How did I know? They wore different color scrubs with name badges indicating their first name and position, RN, CNA with the name of a hospital I recognized.
I think by the second evening my mind had begun to clear and I realized I was really in a hospital and a good one. I had been in here before. The only thing that suffered was the food quality. My favorite meal has been replaced. I wrestled with the menu to find what might become a new favorite. I was really upset and couldn’t stand the thought of what they had done to MY meal (get a grip).
I finally saw the date I had been admitted. I calculated I was registered for 6 days in the hospital and with maybe another two days on the front end. One of the nurses had mentioned that I was pretty out of it due to being drugged up. Huh?
The next day I still spent sleeping. But the staff was having a doctors’ show and tell. Doctor after doctor, therapist after therapist same in. It is true it is hard to get rest in a hospital.
One of the best serendipitous moments was being recognized by a woman that had worked with me forty-some years earlier. Her younger sister had babysat our three boys. Those were very pleasant moments. She was a charming young woman then and continued to be one to this day.
During an exercise walk yesterday I mentioned to the person supervising my slow, painful walk. A wonderful moment in my life is when a former employee comes up and introduces himself or herself to me and mentions that I had been a positive influence on their young life.
That is the most rewarding thing that can be ascribed to another. “ A positive influence “ is one of the kindest and greatest epitaphs a person can receive. What are you hoping to hear from someone you mentored?
These unprompted comments are not unscripted. How many hours of self-reflection did this person spend over the years evaluating their life’s work against the standards you set?
How many hours of self-reflection did you spend in forming your ideas, and forming your plans on how best to coach your staff?
After my breakfast of French Toast and a chocolate malt cup — yes those are both on the heart-healthy diet, as long as I don’t eat anything else. Then, as the minutes of Tuesday multiplied so did the number of doctors, specialists and therapists multiply. An old saying flashes “ if you want to get well don’t go to a hospital. The last time I had even heard of new diseases related to hospital environments, I was told that there is a serious one that is an infection that often doesn’t end well.
When basic human functions go awry there is hell to pay in the pain department. Enough said.
It is really a good thing they got me hooked on those warm blankets to keep me coming back. Relaxing!
There are always some dumb things I do each stay. On more than one occasion I have left an Apple charger or cables when checking out. That gets expensive very quickly. In addition to leaving a headset behind. I started this stay with a real knuckleheaded goof.
I was lying in bed trying to find something to read ( cell phones & other electronics don’t play well around medical equipment) when a nurse came and volunteered she’d go to the library and find something.
She returned with a book about nursing. I laid it down thinking I would take a few minutes’ nap. I woke to a lot of talking in the hall. I tried to get someone’s attention to ask a question but their conversation was more important so they didn’t pay attention. I sat and stewed for a short time but a thought licked on how to get someone’s attention. I grab the book and fling it so it landed right in their midst.
I discovered the next day how mad that nurse got that brought the book and I threw it back.
This seems to be a good place to end this story.
A nurse just came in letting me know I am going home tonight!! Yahoo, I was settled on getting discharged tomorrow, but with Covid, they needed the room. So I’m going home tonight! That is the best thing about being admitted to the hospital-GOING HOME! It’s even better than the warm blankets.
I hope, if you run into a former boss or co-worker and they were positive in your life, please let them know you appreciated them and what they taught you.
How can we be all of the things we need to be and still carve out enough time to learn what we need to learn. The mechanical things yes, but even more how do we best interact with bosses, spouses, family, friends, and acquaintances. Maybe even more so in this year 2022, how do we react to the guy that just cut us off while speeding along, inside a multi-ton vehicle at 70 miles an hour?
I love this quote from Albert Einstein “ Strive not to be a success, rather be of value.”
COVID-19 created this inflation. Ending COVID will curb it.
Yes, inflation is lasting longer than expected and it is taking a bigger bite out of our paychecks than expected. The cost of gas had started to go down last week but Putin decided our costs should go up (a large chunk of his wealth is derived from oil and gas). The cost of climate change will be more than we can imagine and not just in dollars and cents. The lives of people and animals will be sacrificed to the world’s greed.
But first, the newest inflation fire (pun intended) is described in the book “Learning to Live With Fire”which was released by the United States Forest Service.
The explosion caused by Putin, see my commentary here, may make all of this moot. He wants ALL of the former slave states of the USSR back in his control. NATO cannot and will not let that happen! Who blinks first? This is another gift from Trump. As much as he and other Republicans try to blame Biden, he (and they) were the ones that weakened NATO, blew kisses at Putin, and let Putin think we were weak and disorganized. I am not surprised that Trump didn’t care to learn about the spirit and strength of the American people — just those of a criminal bent.
“By all accounts,” Senator Joseph Manchin has tweeted, “the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not “transitory” and is instead of getting worse.”
Harvard economist Jason Furman explained to Trevor Noah on his TV program that the Build Back Better plan is not as inflationary as Manchin claims. The benefits won’t kick in until AFTER the budgetary period is over, explains University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee.
This article does an excellent job of breaking down the budget of Build BackBetter and explaining the impact on inflation.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has been ducking charges that he act and do something to reduce inflation because families have been running hard into this wall.
“Corporate Profits Drive 60% of Inflation Increases”
I think businesses have manufactured some of the fear so they can keep prices high to regain some of the profit lost during last year’s pandemic shutdowns. Matt Stoller has an excellent article on his Substack Blog. He writes that he is convinced there is more to the story promulgated by Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001. He also served as Director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010. I have listened to Mr. Summers. It is my opinion that he is not neutral but is influenced by Republican theories. Maybe there is “more to the story?”
Matt Stoller proclaims: Higher prices aren’t just a result of supply chain chaos or government spending. Inflation is being driven by the pricing power and higher profits of corporations, costing $2,126 per American.
What do we common folk know about inflation?
If you read Politico’s Magazine History Section you may be familiar with this article. I will give full credit at the end of this article.
Disclaimer: I am not an economist. I don’t write like one. I am going to tackle a few articles on inflation because that is what I do. If I don’t know much about a subject I will investigate and write about it. It doesn’t lend itself to articles that go viral but that is not why I write. I do think every voting citizen should have a vague idea of how our leaders determine monetary policy. Or maybe, the President wakes up in the morning and says, “Self, I’m going to raise interest rates today.”
We will be looking at the “Great Inflation.” In 2006 or so we start running into the “Great Moderation.” Did you feel the shake, rumble, and roll? The next phase is well known. “The Great Recession” destroyed a lot of hopes, dreams, and lives.
This article is Federal Reserve Historyspecifically an essay on the Great Recession and its aftermath and is a valuable read. Each industry has a language of its own. Doctors have medical lingo, automotive mechanics have theirs. You will have the opportunity to read bankers’ lingo and decipher what they were saying. A scary image to me was the increase of household mortgage debt from 61% in 1998 to 97% in 2006. It is not a good idea to look at one segment of the economy also because a push in one place results in a pull in another. But when I was ordering inventory for a restaurant it gave me pause to order more than 10% to 20% from one vendor.
Mr. Hoenig retired at the age of 75. I understand this to mean he was dedicated, passionately believed in what he was doing. I think he only put down a project when he considered circumstances settled, or he was told to move on. I don’t have an answer as to the last part.
Consider America and its Finances circa 1970
In the seventies, as I recall, times were tough. A lot of major layoffs. If I remember correctly (yes, I am that old) the term “right-sizing” came into vogue to hide the cruelness of what the action really meant. I spent the first part of that time in the U.S. Army so I was suffering from a major reckoning of my finances.
Gas prices went up, and up, and up. We were driving a Pontiac Starchief at the time (a huge boat akin to Cadillacs). Another name for the model was “Gas Hog.” We were driving back and forth from Alabama to Northern Minnesota. On a trip home for Christmas, we ran out of gas in Wisconsin. I poured it all over my hands trying to get it into the funnel. The result was that I froze my fingers. That made my typist’s job pretty tough when we got back to Alabama.
Mr. Hoenig lived with the very dark side of inflation. We had long gas lines and massive price hikes at the grocery store. He was a bank examiner and, as such, had to close banks that were on shaky ground.
“He spent the seventies watching as the Fed’s policies helped pile on the inflationary tinder” that would soon ignite. These policies were known as “easy money”, meaning the Fed kept interest rates so low borrowing was cheap and easy to get.” “The Fed had kept interest rates so low during the sixties that they were effectively negative, which might be called “super-easy money policy.”
The Seventies became known as the ‘Great Inflation.”
This is called “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” This drives up prices on the things Americans were trying to buy because demand is high.
This is similar to today. When the economy was allowed to re-open, many people had unspent dollars from the government assistance payments they had received. They had no way to spend the money on vacations. There was no gas cost going to work while locked up in the house. In the end, we were happy to start rockin’ again. There weren’t enough goods on the shelves to satisfy Americas’ appetites. Business owners ordered heavily and saw, in my opinion, an opportunity to recoup some of the losses they suffered in the prior 18 months of the pandemic and pumped up their normal margins.
The store shelves are now empty due to pandemic logistics, the assistance money has been spent, and the owners have no incentive to back off prices yet.
Does that sound about right?
Consider Today’s Landscape
I noted that as a bank examiner, Thomas Hoenig had to clean up the messes of failed banks. In 2010, he was president of the Federal Reserve regional bank in Kansas City. As such, he had a seat on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. He was also on the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee)rotating basis,
The next meeting is on March 15, 2022, and probably will examine a few major themes.
The Fed’s policy is to maintain inflation at 2% in the long run. January’s inflation rate was 7.5%, the highest since 1982.
How high will it raise rates?
It is almost a foregone conclusion that it will raise rates. The real question is by how much? Experts think it will raise rates by half a percentage point. That will be the biggest increase since 2000. So Fed watchers are in a “hold-your-breath mode.
Number of rate increases in 2022
Some economists are forecasting 1.5%. They will try to tackle inflation without slowing growth.
Shrinking the bond portfolio
The Fed used its bond program to ease the effects of the pandemic. It had the desired effect of stimulating the economy but now have to decide whether to sell the securities or just let them mature.
What is your thinking on these decisions to be made?
Thomas Hoenig had opportunities to vote against the easy money policies of the eighties and nineties and he took them. That wasn’t popular in banking circles. But he had seen the effects of easy money and the resulting pain during the seventies.
Voting against other Fed Reserve Governors was not popular, but he stayed the course.
The Fed was intervening in the economy to an amazing degree. This was new territory. The Fed was keeping money “too easy for too long.”
A big thing to remember is that when the Fed opens the spigot, reactions take a while to set in as it filters through different markets. It was increasing the monetary supply by printing more and more money.
These money policies caused an increase in the cost of bread and butter. As a bank examiner, he knew there were more problems than that.
“The money also drives up the price of assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate.”
During the seventies, low-interest rates fueled demand for assets, which eventually inflated asset bubbles across the Midwest, including heavy farming states.” States with extensively planted crops like Kansas and Nebraska and energy-producing Oklahoma were particularly affected. When asset prices skyrocket, the dreaded asset bubbles are created.
Farmers talked themselves into borrowing cheap money to buy more land. Sales of more land boosted demand for land and pushed up land prices. The assumption was higher land prices would cool off demand.
Consider what happened in Real Life
Rising land prices enticed bankers to believe that this collateral would continue to increase in value so farmers would have an easier time repaying the loans.
This is the loop that spins your head. Asset bubbles churn out loops that get stronger with each spin and drive up the cost of assets.
These scenarios, with the reality of today’s higher asset prices, drove up the value of tomorrow’s asset prices even higher, increasing the spin to run faster and faster.
These bubbles didn’t stay out on the farm. Assets in oil and natural gas did the same. “Rising oil prices and cheap debt enticed oil companies to borrow money and drill more wells.”
Banks built new side businesses dedicated to risky energy loans and their mineral leases. Commercial real estate did the same spin. Everybody was happy except consumers who had to pay the higher prices. WIN “Whip Inflation Now” was the slogan under President Gerald Ford (1974 to 1977). Chairman Paul Volcker raised interest rates from 10% in 1979 to 20% in 1981, the highest they’ve ever been.
Economic havoc resulted! The unemployment rate rose to 10% and homeowner’s mortgages went to 17% and in some places even higher. Volcker realized the banking system would not escape the destabilization of the entire financial system.
Hoenig was right and had argued all of these points. He was ignored.
Today we are reaping the benefits and living in the world he warned of.
The Fed is again in a vise.
Inflation is rising than the Fed believed it would just a few months ago.
Now, add in Putin, with his war against Ukraine has blown all projections to pieces. Higher prices for gas, goods, and cars are fueled by the Fed’s earlier unprecedented volume of money printing.
Between 2008 and 2014 the Federal Reserve printed more than $3.5 trillion in crisp bills. This is almost TRIPLE the amount of money created in its first 95 years! Three centuries’ worth of growth in the money supply was crammed into a few years!
Money poured through the veins everywhere — people, banks, and the entire financial system. Stocks, corporate debt, and commercial real estate bonds plowed prices up through all the markets.
Since 2010 Hoenig consistently voted against the plans. He pitted himself against the Fed chair, “golden boy” Ben Bernanke who had formulated the ambitious plans. He also forced their execution.
Hoenig was the one negative voice. He retired in 2011 with a tarnished reputation. The future turned out as he warned. He warned and he warned — about one thing: coming inflation.
Consider the Consequences
Hoenig wasn’t concerned only with inflation. The record, available 5 years after the activities, shows he worried the Fed was on a risky path that would deepen income equality, stoke asset bubbles, and enrich big banks over everyone else.
He had seen it before. The Fed was getting sucked into a money-printing sinkhole. In 2004 Fed economist Edward Nelson wrote “the most likely cause of inflation during the seventies was due to the Fed keeping its foot on the money printing pedal called “monetary policy neglect.”
Another economist wrote a 2,100-page history of the central bank. The author, Allen Meltzer was not as kind as Nelson. “The Great Inflation”, he wrote “resulted from policy choices that placed more weight on maintaining high or full employment than on preventing or reducing inflation. For much of the period political pressures and popular opinion were reflected in the choices.”
The Fed shifted money from one part of the economy to another. The shifts encouraged speculation and shifted money from the poor to the rich since the rich own most of the assets.
I hope you enjoyed learning how other people in high and rich places decide how you should live. I hope and pray the war doesn’t become the conflagration WWII did.
Back in 1966 (I graduated high school in 1967) a movement reached status to promote an end to the world’s troubles. No Accountability!
Black Sabbath resurrected the theme in 2013 with their song God Is Dead?.
Maybe you can make sense of the lyrics. I provided a link under the band’s name.
Of course, as usual, we were behind the curve. A major promoter of “God is Dead” was Frederich Nietzsche.
The political message of Nietzsche’s “God is dead” was an article by Lesley Chamberlain in the Guardian on February 7, 2012. She laid to rest our current interpretation of Nietzsche’s “death of God” in his 1884 book and again in 1888.
He advocated that we separate God reason. He was not advocating that God was dead.
Another significant reason to understand differences in culture and language between cultures and times. Indeed, Nietzsche borrowed his statements from René Descartes(1596–1650). His primary claim to fame was as a mathematician.
The takeaways I want to leave you with:
God’s existence does not depend on us; our thoughts and feelings. I believe that He’s bigger than our little brains.
Just because you can’t “see” or “feel” God and how he is working in our lives doesn’t mean He/She is not acting in our lives. (Yes, God has many attributes that we associate with women.)
Take that hideous war in Ukraine. I read somewhere that Putin is a Christian. That proves the point that “faith without works is dead”. Not that our works save us, but that because He saved us, we show our faith in how we live our lives. Look at the actions of the young man who drives supplies around the city of Lviv. He is from Norway but is donating his life, as do other drivers from Norway and Belarus, distributing supplies to medical facilities. The volunteers who are answering the call are taking care of children, helping people leaving Ukraine, and living their lives at risk of being killed as they perform myriad other tasks.
We can also see God acting on the battlefield as one soldier cares for another.
We can’t despair as we know God is amid these horrors, caring for His people.
Let’s live the life He calls us to.
My favorite saying is “Shalom.” It means God is fighting for your peace!
You thought Omicron spread fast? Its new variant doesn’t even slow down for speed bumps
China is suffering its first big Omicron party. 40 million people are on “life on pause”, their term for “lockdown.” One whole province is suffering that fate — Jilin.
China is also resorting to using a Pizer vaccine. Imagine if you will 1.4 billion people have been “on pause” at some time during the pandemic.
They stress over 3,000 new cases a day are erupting (March 15, 2022). Compare that to the 26,000 Americans on the same day.
I hope I prepared you with my article of a few days ago. If you didn’t have a chance to read it you may have had a heart attack reading today’s headline.
The current breakdown of B.A.1, the first Omincron virus compared to B.A. 2 your current disease de jour:
> New Jersey and the rest of CDC‘s Region 2 39% compared to 23.1% for the rest of the U.S.
> New England 38.6%
> California 27.7% the same rate applies to Nevada and Arizona
Certain segments of the population were slow out of the gate, but managed to catch up to — or even surpass — the national average by January 2022, according to TIME’s analysis. Mostly, these are America’s marginalized communities: Black and Hispanic people, LGBTQ people, those living in under-resourced counties, and the uninsured. Vaccine uptake among these groups didn’t happen in a sudden rush in early 2021 but rather at a slower, steadier pace over much of the last year. Community health organizations say that’s because certain demographics have required more personal outreach, information, and support than the initial federal vaccine rollout offered.
The Ukraine War is insanely important, I agree. But…
In business productivity, you are always told to determine the most important thing and do that first. That “thing” is not the crisis “thing”. It is not the “thing” that has people are beating your door down.
Over 1,000,000 people subscribe to the newsletter by James Clear. He says “the phrase “Do the most important thing first each day” is just a simple way of saying, “Give yourself a time and space to work on what is important to you each day.”
I have this matrix front and center on my monitor:
I challenge you that the most important thing is that, as a society, we correct the terrible imbalance of inequality.
“The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety, and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”.
I am going to familiarize you, in the next posts, with a report from 2009. (It uses data gathered in Great Britain but I haven’t found all of the same statistics available for the U.S. yet.
As a starting point, I am going to use this PowerPoint presentation:
Let’s start with a few broad statistics:
The middle class constitutes a slim majority of the U.S. population (52%) but it is less than it was a century ago
The share of income captured by the middle class fell from 62% in 1970 to 43% in 2014. Drawn from “Investopedia” “Which Income Class Are You” updated by James Frankenfield October 18, 2021″
But not all economic indicators appear promising. Household incomes have grown only modestly in this century, and household wealth has not returned to its pre-recession level. Economic inequality, whether measured through the gaps in income or wealth between richer and poorer households, continues to widen. PEW Research January 9th 2020, written by Juliana Menasce Horowitz, RuthIgielnik, and Rakesh Kochar in their report “Trends in income and wealth inequality”.
“Trends are that wealth is growing for the top 5% of families.”
We will find, in the PowerPoint slides, data that shows how harmful this is to society.
In the article “We Have What It Takes To Meet The Crisis in Our Democracy” published February 13, 2018 by “Waging Nonviolence”. Adapted from “Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America WeWant” by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen (Beacon Press, 2017). Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press.
“In 1999, Dee Hock, founder of Visa, quipped, “It’s far too late and things are far too bad for pessimism.”
“But 18 years later, pessimism can feel like the new realism.” Frances Moore, Adam Eichen
“Once we believe something is essential, we don’t need to know that its realization is certain or even that our odds are great in order to jump into action. We need only believe it’s possible.” Frances Moore, Adam Eichen
“After all, justthree Americans control more wealth than the bottom half ofus. In last year’s election, less than 1 percent of Americans provided most of the $6.4 billion in campaign spending, worsening an imbalance in the political influence that’s long been with us. Even in the 1980s and 90s average Americans, according to a data-deep study, exerted “near-zero” influence in Washington” Frances Moore, Adam Eichen
Within means WITHIN!
Don’t worry about the next country. What is your country like?
Do the rich have better healthcare?
Do the rich have better access to healthcare?
Do the poor suffer from lack of healthcare?
Do the poor suffer because they don’t have a way to get to a doctor? Or dentist? Or optician? Or audiologist?
Do the elderly suffer? Are the elderly made to wait long periods to receive healthcare?
Do women get discriminated against for not being able to get abortions?
Do children get discriminated against because the insurance companies won’t cover their illness or condition?
Have YOU EVER BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE YOU OWED AN INSURANCE COMPANY MONEY?
Because you had been in jail?
Because you were addicted to alcohol?
Because you were addicted to drugs?
Are all people created equal?
Are all people the same before the law?
Why aren’t all people treated the same?
How do we stop discrimination?
Why would somebody think they are better than somebody else?
Republicans have changed laws on who can get healthcare!
It wasn’t until Democrats passed the AFFORDABLE CARE ACTTHAT INSURANCE COMPANIES COULDN’T CHARGE DIFFERENT RATES FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE!
REPUBLICANS HAVE CHANGED SOME OF THAT TO REQUIRE DISCRIMINATION!
Don’t believe them about anything unless you compare what they say to what Democrats say! WORD FOR WORD.
It may take some reading but that is how you find out who the HUCKSTERS are!
YOU ARE GOING TO BE VERY TIRED OF ME BEFORE I FINISH MY RANT!
Russia is hammering the capital city of Kyiv. Will they collapse & as the oild city is turned into rubble?
Now I have another name to call REPUBLICANS:
Dan Rather offered a prayer: “ I pray for all those in harm’s way. I pray for all who desperately yearn for peace. I pray for some way out with a minimal loss of life. I pray for hope, and the wisdom of our leaders in a time of peril.”
I assume that everyone is aware of the most recent devious action of the tyrant Putin.
One thought struck me. Biden has nullified the common Putin (Russia) ruse. They always lie. He starts with the assumption that they are lying and demands compliance before granting the negotiating point. This is a change from at least the last 50 years. Bravo!
It is not just the Russians!
Republicans are lying their noses off. Their noses are so long they must be running up their neighbors’ butts.
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. We often associate it with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. Hm.
The doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party c. 1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.
In this Introduction, I will inform you of “THE WORST THAT IS YET TO COME” in the following sections.
In the first part, we will discuss four items spelled out by Dr. Bobby Azarian regarding how Trump makes and keeps his supporters irrespective of the logic.
1: Practicality trumps Morality
2: The Brain’s Attention Span is Strongly Engaged by Trump
3: America’s Obsession with Entertainment Celebrities
4: “Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn”
We arrive at number 5 of Dr. Azarian’s presentation.
5. The Fear Factor: Conservatives are More Sensitive to Threats:
“Science has shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening.”
In the Journal “Scientific American” a study found that “conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals.”
A brain-imaging study published in “Current Biology” revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety.
A study published in “Smithsonian.com” found that it is possible to predict whether someone is liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity as they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies.
“Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety.”
We learn of “Terror Management Theory”
6. The Power of Mortality Reminders and the Perceived Existential Threat: A part of Sidney Solomon’s“TerrorManagement Theory” explains trump’s fear-mongering. “Humans have a unique awareness of their own mortality. The inevitability of one’s death creates existential terror and anxiety.” (Existential: concerned with existence; affirming the existence of a thing. Google)
Fear-mongering encourages people to “more strongly defend those who share images and identities against those who do not share the same.”
Death reminders “may influence voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates” (in favor of George W. Bush in this study).
Trump’s constantly emphasizing of threats may make brains respond “positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric.”
Dr. Azarian lays that out while most politicians lie, but none lie with the magnitude or frequency of Trump.
Dr. Azarian has drawn some of his conclusions from a 2017 review paper published in the “Journal of Social andPoliticalPsychology” the psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew.
“The Dunning-Kruger Effect explains that “the problem isn’t that they are misinformed: it’s that they are completely unaware they are misinformed.”
A new study in the Journal “Political Psychology” carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, hammers the Dunning-Kruger Effect home and even expands on its implications.
As predicted, the results showed that those who scored low on political knowledge were also the ones who estimated their level of knowledge. But that wasn’t all. Ian Anson found, “when participants were given cues that made them engage in partisan thought, the Dunning-Kruger Effect was made even stronger.”
This occurred with both Republicans and Democrats, but only on those who scored low on political knowledge, to begin with!
I call this image, “The Jokers sing the praises of shallow people”
“Trump doesn’t like the term ‘Deep State. He thinks it ‘sounds so conspiratorial’” (‘The Hill Rising’ with Krystal & Buck January 16, 2019).
These posts are based on more than a year’s research. I originally posted them on HubPages in January 2019.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded this group in 1923 with the purpose of undertaking clandestine acts to preserve his current government structure so his power would remain strong.
In 2019, it looks like this:
Deep-State today is usually used to describe Trump’s enemies.
I have turned him on his head and used it to describe HIS activities, personnel HE uses to subvert the government of the United States of America.
Last weekend, Friday, January 11th, 2019, The New York Times started an avalanche of articles, discussions, and arguments with the story on Trump as an asset of Russia.
This was an exciting story over the weekend. But it was nothing new to me. I have believed since at least March 2015 when I started to write a blog exposing him as a malignant narcissist and enemy of the United States.
It is an important background to my current belief that Trump is doing nothing less than dismantling the Federal Government!
I believe it explains the expose by The New York Times showing the actions of Trump in starting and prolonging this shut down of the Federal Government. I believe it also explains why Republicans have not come to the aid of the United States.
Republicans are aiding and abetting his conspiracies and criminality because they will snatch up the pieces
What Are Your Thoughts?
My Post after MUCH Jamming and Studying
I have not understood how Trump is able to keep up to 45% of the US voting population tied to his apron strings.
I have written at least two posts to my WordPress blog ‘www.dabblerducksbuttscom.wordpress.com’. “How Do I Understand? aka New Information into Old Thinking”.The second post is“How do We Recover: The Rise of the Intolerants. (I provided links a little further down)
I found an article by Noah Berlatsky “The Trump Effect: A New Study connects White American Intoleranceand Support for Authoritarianism.”The Trump Effect by Noah Berlatsky
Mr. Berlatsky’s “research suggests that when intolerant white people fear democracy they abandon their commitment to democracy “.
Hillary Clinton decried the ‘Deplorables” during the campaign of 2016. I call them the ‘Intolerants.”
I boil it down to this expression“I am entitled to my dream which promises a living and certain comforts. I will not let people less than me (blacks and browns) come in and take that dream from me. (Reason #8 see in the next post.) in greater length
I have been writing about trump since at least March of 2015. The research has been grueling but enlightening. Enlightening as I learned the tricks of master fraud and disheartening as I have seen how many people still follow him.
What will be the outcome of the 2020 election? If he loses the vote will he surrender his throne as preeminent fascist America has known?
I did not realize that extremely intelligent scientists were studying the very topics that I was researching in my quest to understand.
As you have seen I am partial to the work of Dr. Bobby Azarian as published in Psychology Today.
David Dunning of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and many other brilliant researchers have pinpointed the exact tools Trump uses to bamboozle his loyalists.
These aren’t all stupid people. They are United States Senators and the United States congressional representatives. Obviously, many follow the money spread out by Russia as it seeks to dismantle its most feared enemy — the U.S.
But then, how can Americans, many of them military, desert the oaths they swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States? They watch and they see it trampled by Trump, Putin, and other despots.
Surely, there will be a serious hot seat in hell that awaits them.
How to understand why people would choose to follow trump. Why would they follow him after two years into his presidency when he was making me gag on his criminality?
Trump hoodwinked his supporters.
Dr. Azarian wrote an article that appeared in “AlterNet” on July 23, 2018. The heading read:
“Those who score low on political knowledge overestimate their expertise more when greater emphasis is on political affiliation.”
I stated this in the last post in a different way “People that think they know what they are talking about, (those in Trump’s sphere of influence) rarely know what they don’t know!
Does that make sense?
Maybe I should say “too dumb to know that they are too dumb”. A bit harsh? Maybe. This, you will recall, is the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
A new study by Ian Anson, a political scientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, “found that the Dunning Kruger Effect applies to politics, but it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are more salient.”
Maybe try this: The more emphasis that is placed on political affiliation, the more those who score low on political knowledge, the more they overestimate their expertise.
Deliver “alternative facts” boisterously, often, and sprinkle in some “dog whistles” that appeal to their baser instincts and we see results like these:
“In 2016 and experiments found that 45% of Republicans believe the Affordable Care Act included ‘death panels’ and a 2015 study found that 54 percent of Republican primary voters believed then-President Barack Obama to be a Muslim.”
Perhaps the scariest study was the one that found only 25% of Republicans believe human activity contributes to climate change.
Even more scary is the study that showed that in just two years 2015 to 2017 Republicans came to believe that 58% say that a college education “negatively affects’ the state of the nation!
The last time I remember these activities being used, George Wallace was hammering out ‘dog whistles’ to drum up support for his run at the presidency. An assassin’s bullet felled him before the votes were cast.
We recognize voices from the past have not been quieted or changed. How do we move on?
Fear-mongering is a powerful tool used for a very long time. Fear has been the number 1 go-to emotion.
But the new tool of the political right is ANGER. It is the tool to divide and conquer.
The politics of fear are pretty well understood, so I will insert some scientific stuff now.
In the Journal “Cell Biology” studies show that “liberalism is associated with a larger volume of gray matter in the anterior cingulate cortex.” We associate conservatism with an increase in the size of the right amygdala (but not theleft amygdala).
I will leave this topic with this tidbit: “we associate stronger liberalism with increased sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual pattern.”
Dr. Suhay (Elizabeth Suhay Ph.D.), and Cengiz Erisén of American University are authors of an anger study and its role in the political formation. Their results “suggest that both conservatives and liberals are experiencing greatly biased assimilation of political information.” To find out how anger fuels our political beliefs, I suggest you dig into this a bit.
Trump is using opponents toward more extreme political stances that are less popular with the average voter. We are seeing this with the Democrats as they wrestle with impeachment or some other course of action. Of course, we have to ask, can we stay calm rather than let our feathers get ruffled over Trump’s hateful messages and his appeal to tribalism?
So what’s next? Anger feeds the beast.
How does this all play out?
My fear is how long will it take this country to stand tall again? How long will it take to right the ship of state?
The days of the U.S. being held in high regard are over. It will never again be a beaconon a hill for other nations to follow.
How will our young people turn from the bitterness, the hatred, the anger, the atrocious deeds inspired by this lout?
Generations will ponder the solutions. I just hope they are smarter than I.
It is a subject that has turned my head inside out. The answers from this research are now making sense.
How people could 1: believe in him in the first place; 2: vote for him; 3: continue to hold him up as the next messiah even though he has stomped on their dreams and finances so many times.
I have mentioned that I have relied on articles by Dr. Bobby Azarian, a neuroscientist, titled “Mind in the Machine” for documentation. I have also relied on my published posts for topics and research materials.
Some of the blog posts I have published on “dabblerduckbuttscom.wordpress.com” are:
“How do I Understand? aka New Information into Old Thinking”
“How do we Recover? The Rise of the Intolerants”
“Who is this Man? Aka Repetition Makes it So”
“My Rant 3 Let’s Talk,” “Temper Tantrum”
“Cognitive Dissonance,” Series
I think you will find that a majority of posts connect to Trump. I hope this post draws them together so that they are not so far-flung and disorderly.
I had hoped this series would be a catharsis and I could cast trump and his rats from my spirit. But I now fear that may not be so.
My hope is in the women. My hope is in the young people. My hope is that millennials whose own hopes of earning a piece of the American Dream are dimming.
Hopefully, they will step forward and step up to cast off this blight and restore the old order in a new form.
I hope that never again will people not carry out their duty. Their responsibility is to seriously consider for whom they cast their vote.
The activities that have brought this division into our country to light are beyond counting. The upheaval is beyond measure.
In the Prologue, I explained my choice of the title “Trump’s Fear Factor” and combined it with my phrase Trump’s Deep State. The dictionary.com’s definition of ‘deep-state’ we found that the origin of the term is from the secret Turkish network known as derin devlet.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded this group in 1923 with the purpose of undertaking clandestine acts to preserve his current government structure.
If you have followed Rudy Giuliani’s antics on television trying to obfuscate the activities (most illegal) of the Trump administration, you have seen how Trump is using the deep state to subvert the government of the United States of America.
But one last hurrah — this series may be my catharsis–I hope.
The Last Hurrah
I keep saying I am going to clean out my WordPress blog of all the political stuff so that I can unhook myself from the depressing topic of trump.
I have spent over a year researching the question: “How did Trump attract such a following? Why, and why do they continue to support him
I believe Trump will dismantle the federal government. Republicans will grab the pieces and privatize them. It is their ticket for staying with trump. They will get rich from the skeleton.
Just today in the “Huffington Post” is an article titled” Republicans Cynically Demonized Government for Decades. The Shutdown Belongs to them.” (dated Jan 23, 2019).
Several bits from that post: Reagan’s catchphrase that Republicans still parrot “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Republican plutocrats like “the Koch brothers have spent millions convincing ordinary Americans that government is the enemy.”
They have been successful. “A 2015 Gallup poll showed that 57% of Americans favor reducing the size of government.”
A real telltale doozy “Cut it or shut it” Mike Pence chortled in 2011.
A jarring tidbit “96 percent of Trump supporters are literally angry at federal policies.”
Real scary but true “many Americans who benefit from government help are in denial. “The classic example is the angry constituent who told his congressional representative “Keep your government hands off my Medicare. But this ignorance is too pervasive to amuse.
The numbers are shocking: depending on the program, they include a range of 50 to 65 percent of those that benefit from 529 tuition savings plans, the home mortgage deduction, student loans, or childcare tax credits; 40 to 50 percent of those receiving Social Security, Pell Grants, unemployment insurance, veterans’ benefits; and 25 to 40 percent of those receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.”
“Left unanswered was whether these folks believed their benefactor was the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy!”
“These delusions are prevalent in red states, which contribute the least in federal revenues and rely most heavily on federal services.”
Note that Republicans are the ones most frequently scapegoating federal employees.
An article by nbcnews.com heralds the statement that the Trump admin is planning on many more weeks of the shutdown.
One last tidbit shows the immense control Trump has over the Republican party. “The RNC just voted unanimously” to cancel the 2020 Republican primary, so Trump could run unopposed.
Back to Dr. Bobby Azarian:
8. Relative Deprivation — A Misguided Sense of Entitlement:
This is a major topic for one of my blog posts.
“Relative deprivations refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which you believed you are entitled to.”
“It is the discontent felt when you compare your position in life to others” who you feel are unequal or inferior to you. But these people have more success than you.
This is common in “swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”
These feelings can be economic, racial, or immigrant-based. These feelings ignore the fact theyare not keeping pace with the “accelerating” pace of education.
We will witness this as the Fourth Industrial Revolution passes our citizens by.
9. Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others:
“Racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.” Enough said.
10. Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable:
They may appear to be just odd quirks in a modern society but the followers of crackpot allies of Trump “and like Alex Jones and the shadowy QAnon” some may have psychological illnesses like paranoia, delusions like schizophrenia, or at least are vulnerable to them.
Trump dumps on farmers in Iowa but they will still vote for him. Do they suffer from this?
The link between schizotypy and belief in conspiracy theories is well-established. A study in the Journal “Psychiatry Research “shows that this condition is still very prevalent in the population.
Other things this personality type may believe in are magical thinking, the government creating the AIDS epidemic, etc.
Trump and his media allies “target these people directly.”
Visit alt-right websites and discussion boards to see evidence of this manipulation.
There are additional topics that range from Trump tapping into the nation’s narcissism to understanding the racist brain.
My first blog post was in Google’s Blogger in May 2016. ( I posted in Facebook earlier.) I communicated with one other person regarding my dire misgivings regarding trump. I wish I had saved those original thoughts. Craig Martineau.
republished 5/10/2019 (originally published on Hub Pages in January 2019)
I started this series as a continuation of two posts I had made on another blog “dabblerduckbutts.com:
How do I Understand? aka New Information into Old Thinking.com
How do We Recover? The Rise of Intolerants.com.
In the Prologue to this series, I defined“Deep State” as it was originally used and how I transferred the power of these words to be Trump’s activities since it describes “a clandestine network entrenched inside the government (Dictionary.com)
Besides the research I have done since the time Trump began his run for the primary nomination (approximately March 2015), I have leaned heavily into the work of Dr. Bobby Azarian, a neuroscientist, for the post.
Dr. Azarian’s work is “Mind into Machine” and appeared in Psychology Today.
Dr. Azarian uses works by UC Santa Cruz psychologist and professor ThomasPettigrew, psychologist Sheldon Solomon‘s work “Terror Management Theory” and psychologist David Dunning’s work “The Dunning-Kruger Effect.”
The first post discussed Dr. Azarian’s topics:
Practicality trumps Morality
The Brain’s Attention System is Strongly Engaged by Trump
America’s Obsession with Entertainment and Celebrities
“Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn,”
Fear Factor: Conservatives are more Sensitive to Threats
The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Humans often Overestimate Their Political Expertise
Relative Deprivation — A Misguided Sense of Entitlement
Lack of Exposure to Dissimilar Others
Trump’s Conspiracy Theories Target the Mentally Vulnerable
I am going to continue with a few new topics. The last post in this series will complete Dr. Azarian’s key topics and I will introduce a few new ones.
11. Trump Taps into the Nation’s Collective Narcissism:
This narcissism is a shared belief “in the greatness of one’s national group”. We have seen how this unrealistic belief, I label it a curse, is unleashed many times in our history.
A study published in 2017 in the Journal “Social Psychological and Personality Science” found a “direct link” between national collective narcissism and support for Donald Trump by Thomas F. Pettigrew.
“Collective Narcissism involves negative attitudes and aggression toward ‘outside’ groups who are threats.”
Trump “exacerbates collective narcissism with his anti-immigrant, anti-elitist, and strongly nationalist rhetoric.”
He refers to his supporters as true patriots or “real Americans” and pushes his brand of superiority, success, and wealth.
12. The Desire to Want to Dominate Others:
This desire is “a distinct trait similar to an authoritarian personality.” It “refers to people who prefer the social hierarchy of groups.”
These groups have a high social status and trumpet their dominance over low-status groups. These people are “typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest”.
A 2016 study in “Science Direct” compared cognitive (relating to) ability and authoritarianism to understand support for Trump and Clinton.
One of the first recollections I had of Trump was his “grand sense of self” especially as he compared himself to others.
I cannot imagine how people work for this man. He is domineering, ‘bossy’, heartless, and I could go on and on.
This study tests “two ideological beliefs, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation.”
The results are illuminating.
High right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance predicted that people had more favorable attitudes toward Trump.
Lower cognitive ability predicted that people would have greater intentions to vote for Trump and lower intentions to vote for Clinton.
Why is this not a surprise? I believe this study and others point to results I think are pretty self-evident.
As we go to the next points, try to tie them back, in your mind, to earlier discussion threads to see if you too find the truths almost self-evident.
13. Authoritarian Personality:
This explains trump’s and also his follower’s tendencies to be obsessed with rulers like Putin, Xi Jinping, and Duterte of the Philippines.
Please take note that ‘authoritarianism’ refers to the advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and with the lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others.
They displayed authoritarianism to Trump and his supporters.
As Trump drags our federal workers through his shutdown, not only does his disregard for the welfare of others shine through his actions, but we see the same characteristics in many of the Republican legislators that don’t stand up for their own constituents.
Wikipedia defines “authoritarian personality,” as a belief in total andcomplete obedience to authority. They display “aggression to outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences and a rigid hierarchical view of society.”
“Authoritarianism is a fear which makes it easy for leaders who exaggerate threats or fearmonger to gain their allegiance.”
In my post “How do we Recover? The Rise of the Intolerants” we see these people will overthrow the democracy that is theirs for a total and usually cruel rule of a dictator.
I think the relationship between Hitler and Joseph Goebbels illustrates this precisely (see my blog post “Who is the Man? aka Repetitions Make It So.com” dated August 8, 2018.)
Goebbels slavishly followed Hitler and lifted him at the grand spectacles of the Third Reich.
If you are interested in an in-depth study of authoritarianism, I recommend: “The F Scale as a Predictor of Fascism: An Overview of 40 Years of Authoritarian Research”. The author isJoseph Mellon
Trump laces his speech with absolutist terms like “losers” and “complete disasters”. His loyal supporters lap this slop up like rabid dogs.
Matthew Mac Williams in a “Politico” article, defined the trait which predicts whether you are a Trump supporter. In fact, that is the title of his article “The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter “published on January 17, 2018.
Care to guess the trait? Terrorism following Authoritarianism.
Trump plays directly to these inclinations of his supporters at his pep rallies.
A surprising fact: the political scientist Professor Marc Hetherington“found that authoritarianism matters more than income, ideology, gender, age, and education” that predicted whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
I believe Trump, by what he has shown us, will continue the divisiveness and sow the discord of his authoritarianism.
He will not let go of his corrupt dream of ruling the United States as a fiefdom of Trump Incorporated.
How do we stop this?
The destruction of his rule by personality will be brutal. I think people are in place to do just that. “The Select Committee for January 6th” seems to have the integrity and strength of character to run him to the ground.
The “Deep State” that he has insinuated into every corner of our democracy will be much harder to eradicate since we have a little legal course in rooting people out. In that case, our course of action will be just as bad to our democracy as he is.
Much harder still is reuniting the broken halves of the citizenry.
If we don’t repair all three, the chances of collapsing back into the position we currently live in.
Even if we do all things right and have the fortitude and patience to get it done, I can’t say we will succeed.
“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness “on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and “accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
“Mindfulness is the basic human ”ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”
I just read a post about post-Christianity America and how irrelevant we are to millennials and society at large.
I let out an audible ‘whew’ when he (Benjamin Sledge of “HeartSupport” started to discuss how much better Christianity will be when all the false believers die off and the Christian churches become vibrant again.
It is such a shocker and eye-opener that I have linked to it here if you are interested. It is a well-written piece.
It is also a re-affirmation of what we are reading and studying, how to let the Holy Spirit work in our prayer life and help lead us thru the dark night of the soul (if that is what we desire- it is not a requirement) so that people will Jesus living in us.
Mr. Sledge quotes Dr. Timothy Keller “we are so loved that we don’t despair when we do wrong, but so sinful that we have no right to be puffed up when we do right.” If you read the article at the link you will find that Dr. Keller has some teachings that require the historical Christian church to hesitantly approve of his gospel.
But remember Paul’s cautionary instruction in Philippians 1:18: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” (NIV).
We started this post by looking at the definition and explanation of Mindfulness.
A Google search will display a graph on how much and how fast Mindfulness has grown in recent years. It is astonishing. The Veteran’s Administration even has an application for your phone to make it easier to use.
But I would ask you (without looking back at definitions of contemplation:
Which do you prefer in your life Mindfulness, or contemplation or both?
2. Which do you think is more necessary for today’s society?
3. Which do you think would have the biggest, best impact on today’s society if a majority were to start practicing it?
St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross were good friends
“A Taste of Silence” by Father Carl Arico
“The classic meaning of contemplation is “resting in God.”
“There as two types of contemplation: acquired and infused.”
Father Arico goes into much detail describing all of the terms involved. But I will leave the details to you and spell out as plainly as I can the terms I will be using.
Father Arico states:
Acquired contemplation is the effort we put in under the prompting of the Spirit to rest in the presence of God.
a. This can be concentrative or receptive
i. Examples of concentrative prayer are discursive meditation, visual meditation and affective prayer
ii. In concentrative we use our faculties (imagination, intellect, will) to produce the effect of resting in the presence of God.
iii. “Examples of receptive could be the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), Christian Zen prayer, or Christian meditation-the repetition of a mantra.”
(The Jesus Prayer is an historical prayer of the Eastern Catholic churches.)
An easier way maybe with a comparison: But remember this exercise in terminology in no way has an effect on your prayer.
It is merely to acquaint you with some terms.
A. In concentrative acquired contemplation, you are concentrating, you are active
B. In receptive acquired contemplation, you don’t try to understand, you don’t try to feel anything, you surrender, you consent. If you get an insight, you let it go. You simply want to be letting everything go for the sake of resting in the Lord.
“Some people as they become more comfortable in simple prayer forms begin to feel uncomfortable with the wordiness of prayer talk. It is a process of being away from discursive prayer and meditation. This doesn’t mean it is bad to use the words and symbols of discursive prayer it just means we are maturing in prayer. We don’t stop with these prayers. They become even more meaningful. It just means there is a simplification taking place.”
Infused contemplation is a gift from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit sees the effort we are making to rest in God’s presence. We can only go so far on our own. Then the Spirit takes over and brings us to deeper rest. All prayer is a gift from God.”
Let’s look at the two opposites. In acquired contemplation, I can say ‘I did this’, ’it had this effect and I’m going to do that again.”
“With infused contemplation, all I really know is that I was there. We are moving without effort, without flaw. In the dance of prayer, we are united, one with God. From this loving union flows a loving knowledge transcending abstract conceptual knowledge. The infused quality of this loving knowledge indicates that it is wholly a gift from God and is totally beyond human capacity. No human effort can bring it about. It is pure gift.”
“Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest and paleontologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man (in 1923–1927).
He defined the gift of the Holy Spirit this way: “To lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to give one’s deepest to him whose depths have no end.”
Now Father Arico gives us a glimpse of where he is leading us-into Centering Prayer.
“Centering prayer (receptive acquired contemplation) is a method to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to cooperate with this gift (infused contemplation).
It is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. During the time of prayer, we consent to God’s presence and action within us.”
“Centering Prayer is preparing one to receive the gift of infused contemplation if the Spirit so chooses to do so.”
At this point, Father Arico starts exploring what is meant by transformation. In Scripture we hear about a “new creation”, “born again”, “I live now not I but Christ lives in me”, “unless you are born again of water and the Holy Spirit you will not enter the kingdom of God.”
“The new life we are called to has been called “transformation” by contemporary writers.
The process of transformation simply means a complete overhaul by the Spirit within each of us.” The liturgy has a fine summation: “Through him and with Him and in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen.”
God the potter continues to work in our lives. We need to look at the potter. The potter has to break the old mold in order to replace it with a new one, so we must let go of the old self and replace it with the new.”
We now have an awful tension within us- if we take only part of the message.
We see faithfulness to God as the path to peace and harmony.
But it is also a path of unrest when we must change our preconceived notions of what life is all about. You now see it means accepting the uncertainties of the journey.
Earlier I mentioned St. John of the Cross, he wrote “Dark Night of the Soul.”
“This night is God’s transforming process. The dark is our resistance when we don’t want to change. We arm wrestle with God and fight against changing with all our might.”
As we move thru this dark night, we start to feel our of control. We have felt that we have had our prayer routine scheduled and in good order. Soon the old answers aren’t working anymore. Are you falling apart? Maybe you feel like you are losing your dedication. If you are faithful to your prayer life, you will find that God is moving you into a new way of life.
“You will need to learn that you are not always in control. It does not feel that way, but it is true. Many run from this experience of brokenness. We fear it. Yet it is part of the transformation.”
These transformations are not done by us. “They are being done to us because we are open to remaining in the presence of God. We become open to become what we are called to be.”
We are probably are not even aware of the changes in our life. Other people are. Some may even mention it to us. But this is not something we are ‘working on’. But the Spirit is working on us, and in us and thru us as we begin to live out our calling.
You will notice the difference in your life. Peace will come to your spirit. Joy will come to your heart. Clarity will come to your mind.
The ambulance, lights blazing and siren blaring roared into the parking
Of course, the fire engine and patrol cars had to tag along.
They did their questionnaire and decided I had to get out of the
I alerted them to the fact that was a problem since:
1) I could barely breathe and 2) my legs were mush.
They brought out the coolest tool- a semi-rigid blanket.
Somehow they worked it around me, I stood up and they laid
me back on the blanket and moved me to the gurney. In the blink of the eye.
I have said on many occasions in the last two years – I will take a med-tech instead of some doctors. These people that work for Mayo Clinic Ambulance are AWESOME!
If you don’t have a primary doctor eligible to work in the hospital (my primary is a VA doctor) you don’t get a specialist. You get a hospitalist.
“His” opinion of why I had so much chest pain was: The upper chamber of my heart emptied into my lower chamber before the lower chamber had emptied.
They gave me some pills to slow down my heart rate.
I had three more of those attacks.
I wasn’t expecting anything different when I went to the emergency room on my birthday November 14.
That was the day I died.
Trying out my shiny new defibrillator
The power supply was implanted under my armpit and the wires were plugged into my heart.
It was implanted on November 16, 2018.
January and February were good – no new attacks.
The pills are working!
The defib hadn’t gone off.
March – a little one. Another pill to take.
April was good – Whoohooo! Better living thru Chemistry!
October “DAMN!” That hurt. What the hell!!!
If I had been standing I would have been on my butt!
Ambulance was called.
NOW thoughts were dancing in my head and not of sugarplums either.. The roads – especially the freeway in Duluth MN is enough to jostle every brain cell out of you.
Laying on your back on gurney.
In an ambulance. Rocky back and forth, and bouncing up and down.
I wrote a nasty email to the mayor once I was settled into my room.(My wife says I am too negative and mean to people. I guess I don’t understand her question.) I suggested to the mayor that she have the guy in charge of street repairs try riding in an ambulance on his streets.
Ambulance tech shaking and shoving a needle into an artery.
The ambulance techs has to prep you so if needed IV intervention as soon as you get to the ER you are ready to go.
I have had techs give me better IVs than nurses – By Far.
The ABSOLUTE WORST! IV’s are the ones they put on the top of your hand. They hurt for weeks afterward.
The ABSOLUTE worst IV? An ER doctor. He tried putting it in my hand three times. Three times!
I told him to put it in the crook of my elbow. My artery jumps right out of my skin there.
“No. It will pull out.”
I wake up in my room.
The IV is stuck in the crook of my arm!
To Finish the Story
I was in absolute pain every. For one and a half hours!
To the hospital I hollered.
In the ER I hollered.
By now I am screaming at the top of my lungs. An electric elephant was sitting on my chest and doing the tango.
I learned later that my heart rate was 228 instead of the normal rate is 100 – 150.