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June 2, 2017

Doing things ON PURPOSE

Purpose is a double-edged sword; guiding towards fulfillment and questioning actions to determine if they move towards fulfillment of purpose.  Many avoid defining purpose or publicly stating it to avoid judgment of outcomes.  Defining political purpose allows planning of strategies, objectives and tactics.  Political purpose brings people together when they buy into a common purpose and work toward achieving objectives. 

 

After last years election many decided to organize political groups because they were shaken out of complacency.  Some did not appreciate the importance of defining & agreeing on purpose as the first step in organizing any movement.  Instead of defining purpose many demonstrated in opposition to what they did not want to happen.  The things we do not want grows daily and are overwhelming, so finding a clear purpose is the great challenge & an necessity. .

 

Finding purpose

To find your personal purpose requires looking deep inside, writing down what you found, refining it, looking at it daily, memorizing it and living it. In Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission by Tina Su published in happiness, motivation she says:
A personal mission consists of 3 parts:  What do I want to doWho do I want to help?  What is the result?  What value will I create?

Mark Manson says in 7 STRANGE QUESTIONS THAT HELP YOU FIND YOUR LIFE PURPOSE “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?”– the questions include:

1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?
2. WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?
3. WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT AND POOP?
4. HOW CAN YOU BETTER EMBARRASS YOURSELF?
5. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD?
6. GUN TO YOUR HEAD, IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
7. IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DIE ONE YEAR FROM TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO AND HOW WOULD YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?

In 6 Keys to Finding Your Purpose, Solve the mystery of what you're meant to do with your life, Dr. Susan Biali, M.D identifies the 6 Es (keys).

1) Elusive  - your purpose will slowly emerge
2) Evolving  - sense of purpose will evolve and change.
3) Emerges - experience or purpose is calling to you - Give it a chance
4) Exactly perfectly timed  - If you’ve got a dream and your heart still beats with it, even though nothing seems to be happening, keep at it and don’t let go
5) Eminently  - qualified life considered you qualified for this amazing adventure.
6) Enjoyable Adventure - Don’t get too stressed about this or put too much pressure on yourself about clarifying your purpose. Your purpose might indeed be something grand and complicated, or it may be as simple as dispensing love and kindness wherever you go. Remember to be present in the moment, and delight in watching it all unfold. Life really is beautiful.


 

Giant Computer Network Rules the Planet

 

In the age of black & white Sci-Fi films & the Twilight Zone series two giant computers took over the world demanding that they be connected to each other.  Today the network is the internet, telephones, cable TV, content providers, social media, spies, crooks and YOU.  The network began with radio, which at the time seemed to be free as air and water – none of that was actually free.  The price for radio & newspapers before that was advertising.  Today advertising is the cost for being connected to the network.   Additional costs include; democracy, health, privacy, social interactions and productivity.  Although the advantages of the network are vast, the point of diminishing returns may have been reached, when advantages are out weighed by the costs.

 

Network Cost Consideration

Democracy – With the availability of information growing exponentially it has become more difficult rather than easier to discern truth from opinion or fake news.  The network has become a political playing field where twisting messages and media manipulation have become art forms, with devastating results.

Productivity – A worker can produce more with two hands than with one.  Smart phones have rendered much of the workforce one handed and distracted.  Pedestrians are hurt or killed in traffic because of the distraction of the smart phone.  Squeezing in a little more smartphone work cuts into restful sleep and makes you more prone to mistakes and zaps energy according to a study at Michigan State University in MSU Today

Health – Apps for cell phones are designed to addict, it is called brain hacking: programming methods that hijack peoples' minds to form a habit by using design techniques embedded in the products to make smartphones so appealing that you will use them, and other devices, more often.  People check smartphones compulsively and that causes anxiety particularly if there was no call or a call was missed.  An overload of cortisol caused by anxiety poses a health risk. While we need cortisol, as it has many functions, elevated levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and odds of heart disease. It also increases risk for depression and lowers life expectancy.  Inc.com explains how it works

Social interaction - Communication is 57% body language, 35% tone & 8% words.  Texting and email are at best ˝ as effective since they are essentially one way communication modes as compared to online chatting which is 2 way.  The best communication is face to face, but today we rely on less effective modes more than ever.  When a face to face conversation is about to occur and one party takes out their smartphone the conversation is trivialized because it can be interrupted by whoever happens to call, text, email  or sends an alert to the phone.  Parents picking up their kids at school with a phone embedded in their hand similarly trivialize the conversation with their kids.  The University of Derby found smartphone users in study spent an average of 3.6 hours a day on devices, often causing severe distraction from relationships and ‘real life’ while making them narcissistic. 

Privacy - The intelligence community knows lots about our communications except maybe face to face private conversations..  Search engines, internet service providers and various smart devices like smart TVs sell personal information to marketing databases; who in turn mine it for great profit.  There are not any safeguards that prevent your private information from being misused to harm you or to shape election results.  We are in the middle of a cyber combat zone, with hacking, phishing and network shutdowns in an age when we are dependent on technology in so many ways.

 

The network exists and we are part of it,
we can try to make it work for us or we work for it
.

 

May 4 2017

The best democracy money can buy  Trailer


Movie review of the Greg Palast 2016 film (made before the election)

Palast presents one answer to the question: How did the 2016 election happen?  The simple answer – Voter suppression.  The more complex answer has to do with a a document called the CROSSCHECK LIST created by the Kansas Secretary of State with the encouragement of the Koch Brothers.  Palast plays detective – only he is not playing – as he unravels how CROSSCHECK was used to steal the 2016 election.

Palast wrote in Rolling Stone

When Donald Trump claimed, "the election's going to be rigged," he wasn't entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of "voting many, many times." What's far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls.

Millions of voters with names predominant in black, latino and asian communities were purged from voter rolls because they were suspected of voting in more than one state.  The Secretary of State can make purges without notifying the purged voter.  Watch Palast explain how.

 

A second answer to the question: How did the 2016 election happen?

Hillary Clinton offered other reasons for the 2016 election results saying she was “on the way to winning” until two things happened: FBI director James Comey released a letter saying the agency was reopening its investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state and WikiLeaks published hacked campaign emails.  Watch her explain in an article Hillary Clinton: I’m ‘part of the resistance’

A third answer: Shattered, How Clinton’s Campaign Went Off the Rails

Jonathan Allen covers the White House and the 2016 presidential campaign for Bloomberg News just published a new book Shattered, How Clinton’s Campaign Went Off the Rails.  Allen was granted access to the Clinton campaign on the condition that he not write about it until after the election.  He insightfully tells the story of a campaign full of swerves and fast curves, where the possibility of her losing were not on the radar. 

Listen to Allen’s answer’s as to why the 2016 election happened in an interview by Mitch Jeserich on KPFA’s Letters & Politics.  He says after losing to Barack Obama in 2008 she went through the emails of her campaign staff to find out what went wrong.  She decided that a private server was needed to maintain campaign security.  Allen also points at a management style that discouraged criticism, making staffers too wary to point out errors or missteps, such as not campaigning in critical swing states.

April 27 2017

School Choice is No Choice

By Anita Johnson – PLUS Education Editor

Notes from Education Forum hosted by LaMorinda Democratic Club

On April 13th, the LaMorinda Democratic Club hosted an Education Forum.  The panelists agreed that schools in California are seriously underfunded. Privatization advocates are using problems caused by underfunding to justify charter schools.  Because charter schools are not accountable to the public, this trend is undermining our democracy and our children’s futures.  A very promising source of additional funding for school is corporate property tax reform. 

 

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson spoke followed by four panelists including Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Acalanes School Board Member Craig Cheslog, Daniel Hagen from Evolve and Kim Davis from Parents United for Public Schools FULL ACCOUNT of this important discussion.

Remains of Civilization
 
The super moon is still beautiful
It does not know.
A baby's coo still delights a roomful
She does not know. 
 
The birds warble unaware.
The fox slinks unknowing to its lair
The fall color of leaves lingers longer
Not knowing why.
 
.

 

We still hold our loved ones dear
Even more intently out of fear
We fight to distract ourselves from truth 
Knowledge is painful, pity the youth.
 
Ignorance bleated and then elected
A man by decent people not respected
His groping crudity and lack of worth
Is nothing compared to the demise of Mother Earth.

Eloise Hamann wrote this near the time of the 
November super moon after the election

Jerry Brown - April 7, 1938 vs Diane Feinstein - June 22, 1933

Diane Feinstein has pretty much declared her candidacy for the senate seat she has held since 1992.  There is only one political personality in California capable of taking the Democratic nomination and the seat from her, the governor.  Nobody is better suited to take on Trump head on than Jerry Brown.  Brown polled well recently.  Many progressives are looking for a younger replacement for Feinstein.  Brown looked young and tough last week - video.

In some of his harshest words to date against President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rallied a ballroom full of climate policy wonks and activists, telling them to ignore the “Alice in Wonderland” scene in Washington and continue fighting climate change.  But he stressed that the battle against global warming will be a long, difficult road.“Stopping carbon will be like stopping a heroin addiction,” Brown said in a keynote speech at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in SF.   Full SJ Mercury Story

HJR 48
Corporations do not have constitutional rights
Money is not speech

Big money in politics is a cancer on democracy, with a cure in sight.  House Joint Amendment 48 is the constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizen United and Buckley v Valeo, the two Supreme Court rulings that unleashed vast sums of money into the political system corrupting the electoral process and influencing actions on all levels of government.

35 members of congress are co-sponsoring HJR 48 including local congress members Barbara Lee, Jared Huffman and Ro Khanna.  2/3 of the congress, 2/3 of the senate and 3/4 of the state legislators would have to ratify the same ammendment for constitutional change.  An alternative method of changing the constitution is through a convention.  The threat of such a convention moved the passage of the amendment that gave women the right to vote. 
More info

What does ISIS want?

·           The group's ultimate ambition is a global caliphate won through a worldwide war between the US & allies and Russia, Iran, Syria & there allies.  With no air force, navy, ISIS relies on captured artillery and vehicles.  ISIS mostly relies on jujitsu and trickery to create confrontations. 

ISIS’ strategy is to help elect and promote nationalistic alt-right candidates who are blatantly anti-Muslim, causing resentment and fear in the not-yet radicalized Muslim communities.  Terrorist attacks like the one in Paris drive voters toward the nationalistic candidates, who in turn take actions that help ISIS recruit new terrorists.  French voters moved toward LePen because of the attack.  Nationalists like Trump and LePen are ISIS recruiters playing into their hands. 

 Read, What does ISIS really want at CNN.com

Is alchemy another word for Political Science?

On Earth Day 2017 there were hundreds of March for Science events round the world.  Although elected officials were at the events in Walnut Creek & Livermore, there was not a whisper about political science or anyone claiming to be a political scientist.  At Livermore no one mentioned atomic bombs, they talked about the labs protecting the country.  The scientists bragged about positive achievements in medicine, energy, electronic gadgetry, labor saving devices and safety.  Political science has its great achievements too, like government, democracy and justice.  And political science has its failures: war, WMDs, climate chaos, dictators, genocide, refugees, hunger. 

Political Science is really alchemy, turning poop into POTUS.  A weapon of democratic destruction using big political data to help campaigns micro-target voters for desired results is a recent political science & technology breakthrough.  Cambridge Analytica is a major purveyor of big political data with 5000 data points on 220 million Americans (watch on CBS).  The company owned by the Mercers, one of the Trump campaign’s largest donors.  According to Wikipedia the Trump campaign spent $15M with the UK companyThe Mercers’ company might have been more of an election year game changer than Vladmir Putin.

RESISTANCEMANUAL.ORG is a game changing positive breakthrough - a grassroots weapon of mass resistance created by activist political scientists based on the belief that “Action begins with information.  There are more of us who believe in equity and justice than those who support Donald Trump's ideology of fear and hate.  Together, we can harness the collective power of the people to resist the impact of a Trump presidency and to continue to make progress in our communities.”   The wiki-style website has political information on the state, local, national and international levels.  It tracks legislation, legislators, voting records, sponsorship of bills, and recommended actions you can take.  It is your political Swiss army knife.  They are looking for help creating new knife blades. 

As soon as you concede there is an elephant in the room,
you have to start cleaning up the poop.

 

Vermont’s former governor Madeleine May Kunin
thanks Trump for getting us off the couch and creating an activist nation

Watch an uplifting Democracy Now interview of the pioneering politician & former Governor.

April 12 2017

The Art Of The Swerve

Pickpockets work in teams that distract and pick.  Similarly magicians distract to draw attention away from what they are really up to.  The Trump team uses distractions to move its real agenda.  Kellyanne Conway hawking Ivanka brand clothes was clearly a distraction that used up the media oxygen for a couple of news cycles.  Sean Spicer saying that no one not even Hitler used poison gas – forgetting the holocaust and napalm in Vietnam – was also a distraction.  Trump’s tweets are distractions.  The world wonders what the Trump agenda really is.

It is estimated that 400,000 people have been killed in the 6 year Syrian war.  Over 180 people killed each day on average is horrific.  Trump concluded within 3 days that Assad killed 86 people with poison gas then Trump retaliated by killing 14 more people.  Trump got his information from the slam-dunk team that got us in so much trouble with the WMD slam-dunk in Iraq.  The Russians claim ISIS had the gas in a storage area that was inadvertently bombed, releasing the gas.  90 minutes before retaliating Trump alerted the Russians who told the Syrians the missiles were coming, the 14 people killed may not have been told. 

A week before the April 4th poison gas killings Trump was saying his primary fight was with ISIS and he would leave Assad in place.  What could have been Assad’s motivation to switch to chemicals from barrel bombs, which kill, really well?  Why would Putin allow it to happen?  MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell theorized that the attack was the result of a calculated move by Vladimir Putin to deflect attention from the mounting scandal that has engulfed the Trump presidency since the Kremlin’s hack of the 2016 election; a scandal bolstered by continuing news reports on the metastasizing body of evidence that some of his surrogates may have been in on it.

Consider the 72 hour response by Trump; shooting 59 missiles at the place where the gas attack was launched, how did he know he was not going to hit a poison gas depot?  If US Intelligence knew which buildings housed poison gas and avoided them – why did not the US ask Putin to get the poison gas out of there before it was used, per the treaty?  Half the US missiles missed their targets, but hit something else accidentally; the missile strike could have hit a poison gas storage area. 

In a swerve Eric Trump, the son said “the Syria Strike Proves My Dad Has No Russia Ties(no ties with hammer and sickle) he also claims his sister Ivanka convinced their dad to bomb Syria in retaliation for the poison gas attack. 

Image result for ivanka trump Daddy please punish Mr Assad, the pictures on TV really freaked out Jared  and I.   

Is Eric just being mean to his sister?

The American people have come to expect swerves from Trump, but what about Chinese President Xi, does he believe the swerves?  China has been trying to lead the world Golbalization Caucus, while Trump, LePen, Putin and alt right politicos in Europe are the Nationalism Caucus.  China has its own intelligence service that may know what is really happening and what is swerve.  The other major player is ISIS, they would love to see Russia and the US in confrontation, it is their only path to victory, and they too know how to throw a swerve.  It is possible that the gas was release by ISIS to coincide with Syrian bombing. 

Psychological concepts that explain the Trump era of politics
American politics can seem baffling. Psychology is here to help.

Click for full article on VOX.com

 

It is time to stop thinking of those we disagree with politically as idiots. The concepts that follow will help us understand why there is disagreement and why we have to respect others motives before we can have a meaningful conversation with them.  

Ř Motivated reasoning: rooting for a team changes your perception of the world. Root, root, root for the home team if they don’t win it is a shame
Motivated reasoning is the reason your “judgment calls” favor your favorite team, party or candidate.

Ř People who are the most well informed about politics are often the most stubborn about it.

Ř Evolution has left us with an “immune system” for uncomfortable thoughts.

Ř The argument that’s most convincing to you is not convincing to your ideological opponents

Ř Many people seem unashamed of their prejudices

Ř Fear has a powerful influence on political opinion

Ř Social norms that protect against prejudice can change in the blink of an eye.

Ř Authoritarianism is a personality trait correlated with fearing outsiders and supporting strong, punitive leaders. Trump tapped into authoritarian concerns, which helped form his political base.

Ř Collective narcissism is a personality trait similar to authoritarianism. Collective narcissists are a group of people who desperately need their group to be admired and validated by others. Collectively narcissistic Americans would feel the need for America to be revered the world over. They would need America “to win.” The political benefits of a narcissistic personality: Trump may not have a personality disorder, but he does have narcissistic tendencies. Studies find narcissists are good at obtaining power, but tend to be impulsive and self-defeating when they obtain it. Also: Scientists find that obtaining positions of power magnifies personality traits like narcissism. With power, people are freer to be their authentic selves.

Swalwell Dares Trump:
Declassify The Surveillance Documents

A Democrat on the House panel investigating Donald Trump’s ties to Russia is issuing an ultimatum: If the president is going to accuse members of the Obama administration of breaking the law, he should prove it.

“If the president wants to say that Susan Rice committed a crime, he has the power to declassify. No one else does,” Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said Wednesday. “So, he could actually show us where the crime was. I don't expect he will, because I think this is just more obstructionism.” Read more

DeSaulnier Town Hall Presentation

In February Congressman DeSaulnier hosted a political town hall in Concord to discuss the new Administration and how we can work together to fight for our progressive values and the rights of all Americans. This is the slideshow that was presented at the town hall.

March 28 2017

WHY IMPEACH

Robert Reich identifies four reasons Trump should be impeached for violation of the US Constitution which Trump swore to uphold:

1. The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause: China’s recent decision to grant his trademark applications for the Trump brand — decisions Chinese authorities arrived at directly because of decisions Trump has made as president. He owns a number of investments that probably also violate the clause.

2. Freedom of religion: Muslim ban’

3. Freedom of the press: Attacking the press.

4. Treason: Colluding with Russia during his presidential campaign.

The political will required for both houses to vote to impeach him does not exist today but as the evidence mounts and the public outrage builds it will may turn into an untenable situation for Republicans. The question for Democrats is impeachment worth the effort given Mike Pence.

Kris Welch on KPFA discussed To impeach, or not to impeach with author Norman Solomon & John Bonifaz of www.impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org which says “Anyone becoming president in the wake of an historic impeachment and removal from office of the sitting president based on massive corruption of the Oval Office and defiance of the Constitution will be under even closer scrutiny to follow the Constitution. It would crucially re-affirm the bedrock principle that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States. The alternative of allowing President Trump to remain in office while he continues to defy the Constitution and the rule of law is unacceptable and extremely dangerous to the future of our republic.”

Norman Solomon argued that no one is above the law, especially the President. Trump cannot get away with violating the constitution, loosing hard fought for ground in terms of nullifying portions of the constitution is unacceptable.

Impeachment requires a congressional investigation and then a trial in the senate. 2/3 in each house is required. When we get to the point Trump leaves office, the Republicans will be divided between those who voted for and against impeachment. A President Pence will be saddled with the Trump legacy and a divided party. That sounds like a much better situation than the current one. 

Congressional Inquiry – first step toward impeachment

Watergate was a slow process investigation with revelations and surprises all along the way. The process not only undid Nixon but it changed public opinion. Similarly today an investigation of the connections between Trump and Russia could result in the demise of his brand of politics.

TriValley Congressman Eric Swalwell is on the Intelligence Committee investigating the Trump Russia connections and has published publicly available intelligence called CONNECTING THE TRUMP RUSSIA DOTS .which includes:

After FBI Director James Comey revealed the existence of an investigation of the Trump Russia relationships Eric Swalwell quizzed the director. Watch Eric question Comey on C-Span (two segments at 3:17:30 & 3:39:30 of a 5 hour video). Eric connects the dots in 11 minutes.

Read the NY Times article What to Ask About Russian Hacking by Louise Mensch to learn more about the relationships in the diagram and the difficulties in dealing with FISA warrant obtained information. It is illegal to reveal that a particular FISA warrant exists. If a witness actually knows there was a FISA warrant to eavesdrop on Trump and his campaign then revealing that would violate the law. The article says “Witnesses cannot confirm or deny even the existence of a current national security investigation.” If Trump knew about a FISA warrant and TWEETED about being tapped, then he violated the law. More from Ms Mensch at Heat St (on the day before the election) concerning a FISA warrant giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia. Ms Mensch works for Newscorp (Rupert Murdock) which owns Heat Street.

 

The congressional hearings will be like Watergate on steroids.