Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting Near To The End

I have written about my Aunt Frieda before, but as I get closer to get to the end of life, the lessons that I learned from her are becoming more relevant and important to me.

Frieda was born and raised in Magdeburg, Germany. It is about 1-1/2 hours West of Berlin (150 km, 93 miles). Even today it is a delightful, beautiful middle aged town. She went to medical school, but had not quite finished when WWII came along and abruptly ended that dream permanently.

My Father's older brother served in the Army during WWII, and apparently was one of the allied soldiers who liberated Magdeburg. I don't know the details of how it came about, but he and Frieda met and they eventually ended up getting married. She loved Joe dearly. They had a wonderful, long marriage, and she was loyal and devoted to him even after his death from cancer many years later.

Frieda always had a lot of friends. People just naturally liked her, and she had a tremendous amount of energy. She had a dachshund that she loved dearly. All of her life she was active physically, up until the final year or 18 months at the end.

When her legs gave out on her she was devastated. It just totally destroyed her quality of life, which of course had a very negative effect on her outlook and attitude. I learned about Do Not Resuscitate from her. Once she could no longer get around her attitude towards life completely turned around. Each time I would call her, she went on and on about how much she hated her life now, and how much she wished that her life would go ahead and end. She was very ready to go, and was not at all happy about having to keep living out such a terrible end story.

I tried to be sympathetic, but I couldn't really. I guess that I had mixed feelings and felt that somehow she was being negative, weak and just wanted to give up. It seemed like a cop out.

Now I find myself in almost her exact same situation. I have always been active; one of those people who is constantly on the go. My legs have been one of my best assets. Hiking, racing bicycles, backpacking, snow skiing, mountain climbing, and scuba diving.

It just seems like my legs have let me down. Disloyal somehow.

I am typing this on the computer that I keep on the dining room table. After having peeled a Clementine orange and eaten it, I needed to go wash my hands. The kitchen sink is about 15 feet (4-1/2 meters) away. With the help of my cane I made the major journey over there. A pretty big deal, quite painful and a really major exercise.

I have been battling leukemia for almost ten years now. I am now in Stage 4 (there is no Stage 5). I think I have been strong and uncomplaining during this battle. I am not sure, but I think that I may now be in the process of kidney failure too. My legs have almost totally given out on me. I am in constant pain, and I cannot remember the last time that I had a good night's sleep.

It is considered rude or maybe not politically correct, but I have come to the conclusion I have every right to complain. I don't see how my quality of life could get much worse. This is not a temporary illness, from which I will recover. This is an inexorable decline. I own a high powered hand gun, so I have the means at my disposal to easily put myself out of my misery. I can now see that it is time to write at the end of the book: The End.

I now realize that it is totally insensitive and uncaring for people to be subtly putting pressure on me to continue with this pain and suffering, no matter how bad it gets. People who truly care about me should be listening with sympathy and compassion. They should be checking on me regularly by phone, and they should be trying to do whatever they can to make the remaining interval of my life as happy and painless as possible.



OBITUARY: On December 20, 2010 Paul Garland passed away peacefully in his home in El Paso, Texas.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The No Fast Moves Disease

As this medical situation continues to evolve, hopefully I now seem to be gradually moving beyond the phase of chest and nasal mucus. I still bring up a lot of mucus, but it seems like maybe it is a little less than it was a week ago. What with my fear of viral pneumonia, this would be good news.

The part of the disease where every tissue in the body aches terribly continues as strong as ever. Actually today it is much worse than it has been. It clearly is getting worse. Last night I wheeled the reclining office chair from my home office into the bedroom, right next to the bed. For several hours I tried sleeping it it. The idea being to spread the body's weight over a much larger surface area. The jury is still out.

When I am laying in bed, the thigh tissues get so painful from the contact and pressure from their own weight, that I eventually have to get up. Driving the little geezer mobility scooter my ass is just as unable to sustain the pressure which comes from the weight of the body; I suffer the exact same phenomenon even when driving the car and sitting on a nice soft seat. The ass skin and fat tissue are just no longer able to support any significant quantity of weight over time.

The feet and legs are sometimes more connected with the central nervous system; more common is for them to be largely uncontrollable, and for them to behave almost as dead weight. This is the situation today. The best advice when they are acting this way is, Keep all moves really slow.

The digestive system continues to be almost dysfunctional. At this time the kidneys and bladder appear to be functioning almost normally, other times the urine is extremely low volume and very highly concentrated. Some of this can be attributed to dehydration caused by inadequate drinking of water. I still have no explanation, not even any kind of wild speculation, for the testicles and penis to be so grotesquely swollen. After taking a shower, looking in the bathroom mirror, the swollen penis appears almost to have large blisters circling the head.

I am not afraid of dying. I already seem to have accomplished everything I want. But I am afraid of continuing on with this horrible pain and suffering. I still have a bit of hope that I have infuenza, and that I may begin getting better. But I don't really believe it. I almost constantly think of that Taurus Tracker .44 magnum, loaded with the silver Glaser Safety Slugs, and putting it up to my head. It would be such a relief.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Dream Act

This proposed legislation finally died today. It was inevitable since many viewed this as a form of amnesty. The idea is good, although I think these kids need to have come to America when they were 10 years old or younger. And the amount of service needs to at least double. There probably should be an English language provision in it.

The real problem is, this time before anyone gets citizenship, the border problem has to be solved. Since we cannot built walls that tall or deep enough to prevent tunnels, the real answer is jobs. If the employers get in big trouble and pay large fines for hiring illegals it will help. By that I mean everyone from homeoners and farmers, to large manufacturing companies and food processors. Make the companies genuinely afraid of getting caught (what frightens companies is big fines and significantly lower profits), and they will stop.

After the continual undocumented alien entry situation is solved, then people will be more receptive to dealing with finding a fair way to provided citizenship to some of these illegals.

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Update - December 18, 2010

My abdomen has been bloated, distended, and very painful for a couple of weeks now. During the day the pain is bad, but at night it is very close to intolerable.

I haven't had a bowel movement of any significance in about the same period. Several times I have taken a fairly large dose of laxatives, but the only result has been a small amount of brown water about 10 - 12 hours later.

It seems like the body has just shut down the digestive process. The kidneys are still working a little, but they seem to be shutting down too. We may be facing a situation of multiple organ failure.

The respiratory infection battle which was making such a great mount of the nasal mucus and the mucus from the lungs seems to be abating. But even so the wracking cough continues, and I do still continue to cough up a big sticky load.

Much of the body remains very sensitive (painful) to the touch, from the thighs and abdomen around to the back of the torso. Hence laying down (to sleep) has become a big challenge. Perhaps I slept a little last night. Maybe not. It didn't feel like I got any sleep; and for a week or two sleep has been difficult.

The legs and feet barely work at all now. Even just lifting the legs into bed is a major undertaking. Inserting the legs, or removing them, from a set of loose fitting sweat pants sometimes is a major ordeal. The fingers and especially the fingertips are numb most of the time.

The dilemma continues. I am battling Stage IV leukemia (there is no Stage V). For several weeks now I have had at least one other serious illness layered on top of the leukemia. Perhaps influenza.

This is all so stressful that I am almost surprised I have not suffered a heart attack or some other major organ failure. I feel like the kidneys are borderline.

My criteria to myself has not changed. If the situation evolves into one where the pain and suffering become intolerable AND that it is all downhill from here, there is no hope that things are going to improve, then it is fair (maybe even sensible ) to consider the option of checking out at a time of your choosing. Rather than just accepting more terrible suffering which has to possibility of improving.

The goal is reduce NEEDLESS suffering. If there is even a remote possibility of improvement, then suicide is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Latest Report

Some remarkable things have been happening with my body during the last 24 - 36 hours.

The body's immune system certainly has not defeated the bad head and chest cold; or maybe it is the flu. But it does seem to be making a bit of progress, if progress is measured in the quantity of sputum, snot, and mucus being expelled. Both the head and chest are still very much engaged in the battle though.

My entire torso, front and back, has become exceedingly tender and sensitive. The mind comes up with all sorts of seemingly logical and horribly frightening ideas, but the odds weigh in favor of simple muscle soreness due to the constant wracking cough. But I fear that without this violent coughing my lungs would rapidly fill up with this sticky mucus. Then I would drown in my own juices.

Now some fairly odd things: My fingers are now almost completely numb. This makes typing, doing buttons on shirts, tying shoes, etc. a challenge. Basically the same with my toes and feet; even walking as little as ten feet has become a real quest.

Under my arms and all around my neck I have had these enormous swollen lymph nodes, which were really hard. Now in the span of just one or two days these swollen lymph nodes have become soft, and seem to have decreased in size substantially. I can speculate as to what is happening here, but it would just be wild speculation.

The diameter of my flaccid penis has increased by at least 50%. Makes aiming it a real interesting situation. I've lived with this weenie for more than 60 years, and I know it well. I can't even begin to speculate about what is happening here!

I am in substantial pain, and I am suffering about as much as I can ever remember. If I thought that things would inexorably only remain the same or go down hill from here, then the .44 Magnum Dirty Harry option would become very attractive. Fortunately I am not convinced of this.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lunar Eclipse


Next week America will see the finest total lunar eclipse until 2014. So will much of the rest of the world. December 20, my nephew Matt's birthday.

I have spent many hours watching and photographing the moon. The moon, Saturn, and Jupiter and her moons are my favorites. I've got 6 telescopes, and for just "watching" the 8" Dobsonian is my favorite. See what Wikipedia has to say about them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobsonian

In years past the inventor, John Dobson, spent spent quite a bit of time here in El Paso with the local astronomy group.

At the moment I am very sick. I was diagnosed with this CLL leukemia almost ten years ago. It has gradually gotten worse. Every night now I wonder if I am going to make it through the night. I am now in Stage IV of the battle (there is no Stage V).

I have seen many lunar and solar eclipses, both in Europe and here in America. I guess this one will do just fine without me outside photographing it.

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I Am No Longer An Obama Apologist

Is Barack Obama a sellout? Of course the answer is Overwhelmingly Yes. For almost two years I defended his compromises with the right wing, but no more.

This Bush tax cut renewal for the super rich is the most disastrous thing he has done. Add in a social security payroll tax cut and it is an absolute disaster. I won't any longer even bother to list all the ways he has hurt the Democrats and helped the Republicans.

Obama campaigned as one type of person, but once elected almost immediately began behaving as Republican In Chief.

If it were two years from now and I was in the voting booth I would either vote for, or write in if I had to, the independent senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders. Check out this website: http://www.sandersforpresident.org/

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Dr. Who Christmas

In the run up to the Dr. Who Christmas Special they have made a fun little Dr. Who game.

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/adventure_09/doctor-in-the-house.pdf

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Third Party Candidate To Oppose Obama

If looks like Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with the Democrats, may well be our man to run against No-Backbone Obama.

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e Book Readers

I have "almost" bought a Kindle lots of times. They seem like neat toys. These electronic books are getting much cheaper.

The problem I see is that many times I buy used books. Used paper books are FAR cheaper than the equivalent e Book. Also, not every book is available electronically.

So for the time being I'm staying with paper. In fact yesterday I was reading a very long article from the internet about how Mexico is losing it. After a few pages I printed it on my laser printer...it was far easier to read when printed on paper.

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The Disingenuous Republicans

The right wing talks constantly about how bad off the federal budget is. But they will not consider reasonable solutions, like reducing defense spending considerably, or raising the level at which rich people no longer have to contribute to FICA. In actual fact these lying bastards on the right want to totally eliminate Social Security and Medicaid. They use various synonyms like privatization, but they have been very consistent about their ultimate goal for many years.

Their continuation of the Bush tax cuts on the super-rich is going to have disastrous consequences. Their "compromise" with Obama has already meant substantial cuts to the mission and funding of the Environmental Protection Agency.

So why are these right wingers willing to allow substantial cuts (temporary) in the employee payroll deductions for Social Security? Simple. The Republicans can then claim even more so (incorrectly) that the Social Security retirement trust fund is in serious and immediate trouble. Absolutely untrue. The big problem is medicaid, but the right wing would prefer that we not understand the distinction. between the two social programs.

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WikiLeaks

(Once again it is 1:00 a.m., and all the sticky mucus in my lungs is making breathing and sleeping difficult.)

After seeing this unfold for several days now, I feel like I have a little broader perspective.

If hackers do actual or financial damage to a website which can be documented to the satisfaction of a jury of your peers, there should be some way to hold them accountable. But for the most part that is not what is happening in this situation. What with the anonymity of the web, and so many of the people using it employing fake names, this will be difficult to solve.

What WikiLeaks has been doing is really a different situation entirely. The New York Times and the Guardian Newspaper in England have printed much of the leaked stuff. These are largely governmental documents that have been classified. What we have found out in reading them is that in many cases having this information be out in the open just gives ordinary citizens and voters a better and more accurate view of what their governments really are doing. In many cases the government officials, even in democracies like the USA, have been saying one thing to the people, but actually pursuing a totally different course in secret.

In many, perhaps most, of the cases the purpose of this government secrecy appears to be only to protect the government from its own people. This is not how democracies are supposed to function. Over-classification is absolutely rampant, at least in America. So in this way what all this disclosing is doing is actually proving very positive. Uncomfortable for many of the people who this excessive secrecy has been protecting, but supportive indeed for government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

WikiLeaks, The New York Times, and others have tried to verify the accuracy of the information disclosed. They have even asked the government to help them weed out names or things which might put people in actual danger. WikiLeaks is not the one who stole and disclosed this information. I guess they encouraged it, but in many ways I am having a hard time defining big differences between what they did and what the New York Times has done.
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(It is 6:45 a.m. the next day. I made it through the night, even though last night I felt like a 50:50 chance of making it through the night was downright optimistic. I started showing signs of this respiratory infection five days ago, and so far it has gotten worse each day. My abdomen is very sore from all the coughing and trying to get rid of the mucus. My lungs and sinuses keep expelling large quantities of this mucus. The good news: One more day of one day at a time.)
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Super Sticky Mucus

It is 1:00 a.m.

I finally decided to just quit fighting trying to breathe, so I got up out of a nice warm bed. I guess that most of the people who would do that and are up now in the middle of the night are either old folks and/or sick people. If I turned on the TV right now I would probably see all the advertisements and infomercials directed at separating sick old people from some of their money. Geezer mobility carts (the modern day, battery powered wheelchair), all sorts of insurance, some of dubious reputability, and maybe even one of the Bernie Madoff type of so called investment advisers.

I was having problems with all the dryish, very sticky mucus in the lungs. It was there and I was very aware of it, but I wasn't having much luck in coughing it up. Then I remembered having bought a single person vaporizer about a year or two ago. I got up, and fairly quickly I found it in the back of the cabinet under the sink in the guest bathroom.

Here in the desert the relative humidity normally is fairly low. And in the winter it gets even dryer. Just bone ass dry.

You plug this thing in (they call it an inhaler), and put maybe 1/8 of a cup of water in it. Once it heats up it starts making hot, very wet air which you breathe in. The ideal would be to get the inside of your nasal passages and lungs nice and moist in order to help get this dryish and amazingly sticky mucus to come out.

I have been using it while I typed the above, and I remembered from when I bought it and used it the first time. Yes, technically it does make the heated moist air, but breathing it doesn't actually help nearly as much in real life as one would think it might. The super sticky mucus is a problem. It is my best option at this point, so I'm continuing, periodically stopping to try and blow my nose or cough up some nasty sticky stuff.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - CLL

I read on someone's web site today this description: "I am battling Stage IV leukemia, and there is no Stage V." That is a factually correct description of my situation too.

I won't bore you by going over the long list of symptoms of CLL again. At the moment I also have a massive head and chest cold, or maybe it is the flu. Lots of very sticky, green phlegm and mucus, from the sinuses and also from the lungs. I don't know if it is viral or bacterial, but I am conserving the few antibiotics I have left, now that I can no longer go over to Juarez, Mexico and buy more.

Of course this is America, so being out of work I have no health insurance, thus no access to the medical establishment.

What I do know is that the combination of a bad cold or flu, and the leukemia is just almost more than my body can take. I barely have the strength to walk the 15 or 20 feet to the bathroom. I arrive heavily out of breath. Raising my arm and keeping it aloft while I brush my teeth is pushing the limits of my stamina too.

At the end of the CLL road, many people die from pneumonia. Even with antibiotics and proper medical care, the body's weakened immune system simply isn't strong enough to win the battle. I don't think that is what is going to happen this time, but heaven only knows.

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Obama Fighting The Democrats

Don't you wish he would fight the Republicans this hard? He knows that the progressives and liberals don't want him damaged, so he can self indulge his bully like behavior.

Oh goodness, we sure made a horrible mistake electing this dishonest, no backbone, wanna be Republican.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Single Term Obama

After President Obama supporting the extension of the budget-breaking Bush tax cuts for the super wealthy, it now is firmly set in concrete. Mr. Obama will not win a second term as President. No way. Not a chance.

By authorizing drilling in environmentally sensitive areas where even Bush would not tread, he has demonstrated to the environmental community that he is anti-environmentalist. Same with his support for nuclear power. He is the most pro-nuke president America has had in a long time. His pathetic simulation of universal health care shows his timidity. Many millions of Americans still will not have access to health care. No responsible economist is saying that his reforms of the gross abuses on Wall Street are anywhere nearly up to the job. This guy is all talk, very little action.

He has greatly increased the funding and staffing for needless wars. The killings by drone with no trial, no charges, no judge or jury have expanded greatly. This expense of the military and intelligence is bankrupting America.

Obama has gone along with cuts in social security and other social safety nets. He has done nothing to help reverse, not even talk about, the growing death of the middle class. Banana Republic America.

Mr. Obama has no backbone. He is a wimpy, low testosterone man. He sometimes says the correct things, like during the campaign where he said he supported single-payer health care, but his actions have proven to be that of a warmonger and a right wing wanna be Republican.

He is a pitiful example of someone pretending to be something they are not. How sad.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

The Obama Tax Cuts

Since Obama and his Republican buddies extended the tax cuts for the super-wealthy, we need to stop calling them the Bush tax cuts and start calling them the Obama tax cuts.

This guy is an absolute loser. No guts, no backbone, no balls.

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CLL

I am in the phase of CLL where the itching is a pretty good imitation of intolerable. I did some research today on the internet, and I see that even my old leukemia doctor in the UK doesn't for sure accept that itching is caused by CLL. Apparently some think it may be a side effect of the various toxic treatments. But not with me, since I have had no treatment of any kind for my leukemia. Lots of blood tests, but no actual treatment.

There are even some reputable leukemia docs who do not agree for sure that the extreme fatigue and weariness is actually a symptom of CLL. To these people I say that, "You are full of baloney." It amazes me that with CLL being as common as it is, the doctors do not know more about it or have therapies that work better. CLL is still incurable for most people, and in some cases the patient would be better off and have a longer life expectancy without any therapy.

I am at the stage now after almost 10 years where my platelets have declined well below normally accepted minimum levels. Same with the red blood cells and hemoglobin. So if I do anything even the slightest bit active, the important tissues in my body quickly run out of oxygen. I can barely walk, and I nod off with little short naps throughout the day.

This afternoon it was beautiful outside, so I took the dog for a walk, with me riding the geezer mobility scooter. A friend calls his a motorized wheelbarrow. I kept nodding off while driving, and twice I drove off the sidewalk. Once I ran into the rock wall which paralleled the sidewalk. Fortunately no damage was done to the wall or to my scooter.

Twice during the course of our walk today we stopped so that Inu could sniff and pee. And I immediately fell sound asleep. I didn't drift off to sleep; it was like someone turned the light switch off. Each time he yanked on the leash to wake me up, indicating that we needed to continue on with our walk. The little guy really has become a service dog.


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Continuing The Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

No Backbone Obama is getting ready to cave, as always.

I just called the Congressman for our district at his office in Washington, D.C. I asked the lady to pass the message to Congressman Silvestre Reyes that I would like for him to vote against the bill extending the Bush tax cuts if the tax cuts for the wealthy are included.

I have a prepay cellphone, and this call from Texas to Washington, D.C. cost fifty cents. I urge everyone to call their representatives. It is time to start standing up to President Obama and his center right wing agenda, even if we have to wage a revolt within the Democratic Party.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Communication and Compromise

Since the invention of movable type by Gutenberg, and mass literacy, most of us have gotten our news from the same sources. Before radio it was the newspaper or even newsreels at the theater before the movie started. Then radio came along and there was a small bit of diversification. When TV got popular in the 1950's we all watched the same nightly news from the same commentator. Perhaps someone like Walter Concrite.

Nearly all Americans spoke the same language, practically everyone was a Christian and even went to church pretty often, literacy rates were at least as high as they are today, and with some minor regional differences we basically all were part of the same culture. If not, then you were isolated from society. Now some expect and demand that it be possible to be a success in American society while not even being able to speak the English language.

In the twenty first century it is common to have well over a hundred channels on one's TV. There are news channels dedicated to the right wing racists, and other news channels which pretend to be more balanced. I get most of my news from the internet, not the nightly news on TV or even PBS. One of the great things about internet browsers is that I can set up my home page almost whatever way I like. I have mine showing me the news from various smart and honest people like Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart. Of course I don't want to get my hands dirty by getting my news from the lying and biased racists like FOX News.

When watching TV (even on PBS) people don't normally talk and reason with each other anymore. Compromise for the greater good is a dying art. They talk at each other, and have no qualms about being horribly rude by constantly interrupting the other person. Trying to form a consensus is no longer fashionable. If the other guy gives or concedes just a little bit, then I should brutally slap him down, advance, and take full advantage of him.

Enjoying watching people get Punked, and even enjoying watching people get physically hurt; as well as "put down humor" are part of this same sadistic phenomenon. Isolation and anonymity are associated with this all.

This is President Obama's biggest problem. He still thinks that it is possible and realistic that people in Congress will form a consensus and compromise with each other for the greater good. That is why he continually gets brutalized and has sand kicked in his face.

Having lived almost twenty years of my adult life abroad I can say with some level of certainty that the problems of cooperating and forming a consensus are not somehow isolated to America. One thing is absolutely certain: If we do not all speak and use the same language our communication with each other will be even more stunted and defective. Spanish speakers in America, Turkish in Germany, French vs. Flemish in Belgium, etc. This Tower of Babel problem is very serious, and it appears to be getting worse rather than improving.

So how can we take this information and use it to help us lead better lives that are more satisfying? Beats me. I haven't figured that out yet. Maybe this is what living in a gated community is all about.

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Religion

I got an email from Amazon.co.uk this morning. Apparently they think I am seriously spiritually challenged, because they thought I might be interested in buying a CD called Vedic Mantras (Sacred Hindu Chants) by Saashwathi Prabhu. It includes the following songs: Om Chant, Om Namaha Shivaya, Atmashatak (Nivanashatak), Shiva Manasa Puja, and of course the rocking famous Swasti Mantra and Shanti Path.

I don't know what any of these words mean, and I don't care even slightly. Whether it is Hindu, Buddhism, Islam, Shinto, or Christianity I am sure that there are some people who actually live better, kinder, and more caring lives because of their blind faith. Not me.

In my experience all "organized" religions are about enriching the priesthood and their holding power.....maybe even taking unfair advantage of their parishioners. No thanks. I'll pass on the whole religion thing.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Dissolve The Government and Call For New Elections

Many Democracies around the world have procedures whereby the government can be dissolved and new elections called.

Under the American form of Democracy there is basically no realistic way to call for new Presidential Elections. Once you have a president you are just stuck with him until his term expires.

America is facing a turbulent period during the next 5 to 10 years. It is just so sad that we have to do so watching a guy with no backbone constantly caving in to the right wingers. It will take many years to recover from the Obama/Republican damage...if American ever does. This may just be the start of the rapid and permanent decline of America.

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Watching President Obama Self Destruct

Obama Has No Backbone

The latest episode in the sad decline of Mr. Obama goes this way.

The center right wing (the Obama administration) has been negotiating with (caving in to, as always) the radical right wing, also called the Republicans. The Obama led center right wing is once again going back on his campaign promises. They are going to continue the outrageous Bush tax breaks on the wealthy who earn more than $250,000 per year.

This right wing economic theory has been proven to be total hogwash. The Republicans are not bright enough to see that they are bankrupting the country and tearing it apart culturally. Some Republicans are blinded by their greed, but many others just don't care.

President Obama is not in any way a progressive or a liberal. He is nothing more than a spineless, no conviction, right wing Chicago politician.

Oh God, how sad. This is happening at the very worst time too.


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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

America, and much of the rest of the world, has really serious problems with their economies. I read yesterday that this is the worst the American economy has been in eighty years. In America we have an aging population as in Europe, Russia, Japan, and even China.

The Republicans no longer even try to hide their contempt for the poor and the working-middle classes. They and their tea party buddies are openly racist. It is their clear intent to eliminate government funded social security, and they have devoted a lot of time and resources to turning back Obama's modest health care reforms.

I am now in my sixties as are many of my friends. It is pretty common at this age to develop chronic diseases or serious, life threatening things like cancer. Young people think old geezers just quietly fade away. Maybe this is how it used to happen when the old folks were taken care of as part of a larger familial group. But now that the kids and grandkids live a long way away, and they are so busy keeping their own lives afloat, the communication with grandpa and grandma is becoming increasingly less frequent.

Many of the baby boomers who are just now reaching the 60's are well educated, and grew up during the civil rights and Vietnam War protests. We have believed in Democracy, capitalism, and the free market. And now it is all turning out to be a house of cards and false.

Democrats have moved so far to the right that they are virtual Republicans. The voters vote, especially us old folks, and then the elected officials do what their large campaign contributors want rather than what the voters back home want. American democracy has turned into a sham. Capitalism and the free market are destroying the middle class and enriching only the wealthy. The "trickle down" phenomenon has turned out to be Ray-guns hogwash and a complete lie.

So you have a growing group of rather angry old folks. Maybe even a bit bitter. Once the doctors tell you that you have incurable cancer, it changes your outlook subtly. Once you no longer have anyone dependent upon you, there certainly is far less to lose. Increasingly the census bureau reports more and more single person household. This is true of young people, but also among us old folks. Anonymity. A dangerous word and a dicey concept.

I am beginning to worry that some of the less emotionally stable members of the old folks group may start thinking about taking extreme action. If you have lost your job, have lost your house and family, and you have no health insurance you begin to realize that most of this is because of the breakdown in democracy and the evils of the market and capitalism. And greed and arrogance.

Then when the doctors tell you that you are dying of some incurable disease, there may be some who think, "Why not just put a large caliber bullet in my brain?"

More dangerous in my mind are the other old folks who might conclude, "Before I put that handgun to my own head, perhaps I can do society one more bit of good by murdering someone else first. Some dishonest, fat-assed, racist, right wing politician." It used to be only the red necks and radical right wingers that had these dangerous ideas. I fear that with the societal breakdown that is occurring we will begin to see more and more of the smart, well educated, progressive-liberal old folks coming to the same conclusion.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Car Ad Spoof - Really Funny

The best part is right at the end. video

Tax Cuts For The Rich

The overwhelming and vast majority of voters in the American Democracy do not want to continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Large majority.

The Republicans and their fellow travelers are beholden to the rich because of the way way that political campaigns are financed in America. I call this corruption and bribery. If Obama caves in to the Republicans now on this issue, then I give up on him. We may as well just go ahead and plan on a single term Presidency, with a Republican as our next President.

Democracy is not just voting for a candidate every few years, and then forgetting all about what the voters back home want. There have been cases where the legitimacy of the vote has been seriously eroded too; see Bush vs. Gore. President Jimmy Carter's foundation goes all over the world supervising and auditing elections to make sure that they are conducted in fair and transparent manner, and that the results are accurate. He says that there is no way the American system would pass the test. Not even close.

Representative Democracy means that once elected the public official should try his best to do his job in the manner that the people back home would want. So if most of the people in his district want to end the Bush tax breaks for the super rich, or do not want social security benefits reduced, then that is how he should vote on legislation or amendments. Regardless of how his largest campaign contributors might react, or whether he will be re-elected for another term in office.

Link to a good article on this: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/11/30/tax_cut_showdown/index.html

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It Is Cold!


Yahoo weather says that it is 25 degrees F (-3.8 degrees C) in El Paso, Texas right now. That is cold, for sure. But nothing compared with what my European friends are experiencing right now. The biggest airport in Europe (Frankfurt, Germany) has had problems remaining open as has Gatwick in London. I read that it has been below 0 F, and that the maximum daytime temperature is going to stay below freezing for the next few days. Snow everywhere.

In Amsterdam they have rounded up the homeless people and are requiring them to sleep inside. In other places it remains voluntary and a recommendation.

These are good times to stay inside, nice and toasty warm, and enjoy the beauty of the snow by looking out the window. Although really, if you are dressed up properly a nice walk in the forest or even snow camping can be very pleasant. Of course if you are not dressed correctly either could be quite deadly.

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