The Day The Earth Stood Still

There is no shortage of sci-fi stories about the entirety of humanity uniting to ward off some evil aliens. One of my favorite movies is, The Day The Earth Stood Still (the first one). In Brief, an alien came down with his big shinny robot and said, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER ON EARTH OR WE WILL KICK YOUR ASSES BACK TO THE STONE AGE! Of course he had to give us a display of his power and then we earthlings decided that maybe the alien had a good idea. Story over.

Our alien/Covid 19 virus is much more insidious and less interested in our well being and has the potential to slap the crap out of our world and devastate the world economy. Who knows just how this bug came to be, in a Chinese lab, bat shit, Alien cosmic dust or the evil Dr Strange, but the end result is, it is hear and killing humans faster than they can be born. Us old folks are more susceptible to its workings and anybody who is in a weakened physical state has a higher chance of dying.

Governments around the world have closed down and asked their populations to huddle up in their homes and wait this bug out. As a math teacher I have enjoyed watching the population learn a little about statistics as politicians and governmental officials struggle to teach the concept of flatting the curve. For those of you who have not figured it out yet, it means to slow the onslaught of the disease, stretching it out into the future, NOT decreasing the number of people who contrack the disease. The number of people who are susceptible to the disease is a constant and can only be changed if they are not exposed to the bug. This may prove to be next to impossible prior to a vaccine. This virus is one mean bugger and has continually amazed us with it’s resilience and most important, its ability to survive between host.

So hear we are in the middle of a pandemic event. This has occurred many times in our history and will continue in our future. It is natures way of controlling population and keeping the herd strong. In the past these diseases spread slowly because of the speed of travel. Today they spread like wildfire with the advent of aviation and people moving freely about the globe. Believe me when I say “I don’t want to die” but I accept the fact that this disease will take many people, especially senior citizen before it is done. I just hope I am not one of them. My defense is to stay strong, by eating right and exercising daily so that my body may be able to survive this evil germ if I am exposed to it.

Bottom line? I had a good friend who used the term crisis management to refer to how our schools handled many situations. Rather than thinking ahead to an event that was bound to happen, we generally wait until it attacks us and then try to figure out a way through. Every notable disease scientist has been warning us of the coming of this pandemic event for years. SARS MERS, EBOLA, MEASLES and many others are out there lurking, waiting for a window of attack. Believe me when I say you have not heard the end to EBOLA. Here in the US and much of the world we had no plan of defense for this newest virus. In sports terms we were caught on our heals. Now we are in the pandemic event and there are few avenues out without many people dying. Our leaders are weighing the price of human life against the profits of business. There are almost 330,000,000 Americans which makes us expendable in the eyes of big business. Many of us seniors are doing very little to support our economy other than spending our retirement and telling old stories we can tell over and over again. Lets face facts, we are expendable in the eyes of the capitalist monster devouring the earth, as are the many people who are challenged in many different ways.

These are difficult times and possibly fore warnings of times to come. These events may very well be Gia, a theory of the living earth, telling us we are not cherishing our world. There are pandemic events attacking various animals and plants in our world right now but we give little notice to them. Just as they are, we are merely visitors on this beautiful planet. Humans in our current form have been on this planet for almost a million years. As a point of reference, dinosaurs were here for almost 165 million years and if not for a very large space rock that struck earth, they would probably still be here! At our current rate, we are likely to destroy our planet in a couple of hundred years!

My advice, hunker down, try to eat as little processed food as possible, exercise, recycle, wear you mask to keep from infecting others (its not to protect you) and think of mother earth as our friend, someone to love a cherish. Stay safe!

BAT SHIT CRAZY!

According to several news outlets, there is a virus research laboratory 400 Yards from the market that supposedly was the origin of the COVID 19 flu pandemic. Some news outlets are claiming that this facility is studying corona viruses that originated in bats. These same news outlets are telling us that an employee somehow was exposed to the virus in the facility and carried it to the local public where it began its journey around the world.

Now, I am not sure how you would react to this, but if this all turns out to be true, I am bat shit mad! I am certain that similar crazy research is going on in our own country, but we did not start this! Our hands were not caught in the cookie jar. Dear China, IF YOU STARTED THIS, YOU OWE THE WORLD A BAT SHIT TON OF REPARATIONS! If you are going to play with this shit, than you are going to get your hands dirty (pun intended).

Much of the conversations going around is a mix of denials and counter claims. I hope our news media spends the time and money to get down to the facts of this incident. There are claims that the virus was not engineered and this may well be true, but it apparently is a fact that the virus lab in Wuhan is studying the corona virus, which does exist in BAT SHIT! If this is not a smoking gun, I am not sure what is. If the news media follows this up we may someday learn the full truth of this story. As of now, I am leaning towards some smuck at the Wuhan lab was accidentally exposed to the virus, went home, maybe went to the market, who knows, and began the onslaught of death and misery that has encased our planet. I think it’s safe to say to China, you are in a world of (shit) trouble!

A simple answer to our energy problem and climate change

During the early years of my teaching career I spent much time promoting the science fair. One particular project that I remember well was pertaining to producing hydrogen with wind energy. Ryan Durst, my student, built a small windmill, constructed an electrolysis cell and watched the tiny bubbles roll off the electrodes of his cell when the wind blew. The excitement in Ryan’s eyes was infectious. Over the next couple of months we spent hours discussing the effect of this idea on society.

Skip several decades ahead and low and behold I am reading an article in Scientific American about the need to switch our society, the world, over to a carbon neutral energy supply, hydrogen! This idea has been floating around for a long time, but as long as the oil companies have a stranglehold on the world’s energy supply, I doubt anything will change.

For those who are not as versed in this area I will give you a quick explanation.

  1. Water, H2O, is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

2. In a process called electrolysis these two atoms can be split apart into Hydrogen and Oxygen using electricity.

3. The electricity can be obtained from wind, solar, hydroelectric or anywhere you want, to power the electrolysis cell.

4. The hydrogen can be stored and used later but it’s best use would be to run our electric generation facilities which would make them carbon neutral. That is another way of saying that they generate no carbon dioxide.

5. Benefits beyond producing no carbon dioxide:

a. Far fewer gas distribution lines across our great country or need to haul gas in trucks.

b. No more fracking and destroying our precious water supply.

c. The technology is already here.

d. All engines would be electric

e. Since the fuel is water and the waste is water there is no impact on the environment and unlimited fuel!

Of course, there are some minor problems to deal with but nothing we can not overcome. Fusion is the option that may loom in our future but it is far more dirty in terms of its effect on the environment. In addition the technical barriers of fusion are proving to be much more difficult than anticipated. The answer to our energy problems is sitting right in front of us. All we need to do is begin. Needless to say, the government will have to initiate this change because, as I stated before, the energy companies are not going to jump up and proclaim: can I go first, can I help save the earth?

THE NATIONAL DEBT!

The average American knows very little about the national debt, except its getting larger! Years ago the government talked about debt using the words millions of dollars. Over time it turned into hundreds of millions of dollars. Then it magically leaped into billions of dollars. Today we speak in trillions of dollars. Get ready for quadrillions. The truth is that these numbers are pretty arbitrary. Our government effectively abandoned the gold standard in 1933 and completely removed the gold standard in 1971. The logical question one might ask is: What does this mean to the common man and what does this mean to our national debt?

The answer to this question is really very simple. Before 1933 every dollar that was printed was backed by an equivalent amount of gold, of which much of it was stored in Fort Knox. With the removal of the gold standard there was nothing tangible to attach to the worth of the dollar. Think of it this way. Before 1933, every dollar that congress spent had to be backed up with real gold! This kept the purse strings tight and the governmental checkbook balanced. After 1933 there was no real cap to the amount of money congress used or made. With all that free spending power and capitalism already running wild, the dollars started to spew out of the federal coffers. It would be like us having an infinity checkbook! Well in order to get elected over and over again, congress began spending more money than they had which made the people very happy. Social programs flourished and wars were no longer a financial burden. The military became very large and expensive. Remember, we have a never ending checkbook. In today’s economy the worth of the dollar is attached to the relative strength of our country, and, the more money you print, the less valuable each dollar is. Here is an example of what I am saying. In 1913 one dollar would buy a great deal of stuff. In today’s world you would need to spend $26.07 to buy equivalent merchandise. Think about this: if you made $2000/year salary in 1913, that would be equivalent to $52,000/year today! If you think this does not effect you in any way, think again!

It has always been a popular piece of advice to put money in a savings account in your local bank. OK, so the bank may pay 2 or 3 percent interest. Inflation is usually 2 or 3 percent per year. Add to this the fact the government will tax you on the interest and guess what…you made nothing! Here is a good one, a person paid $120,000 for a house 20 years ago and now its worth $300,000. Guess what, inflation is all you are seeing. Tack onto this the thousands of dollars you paid in interest, repairs and upgrades and I am pretty sure you made squat, in fact you probably lost money! Now you get to find a new house in the $300,000 range and you probably can’t find one if you live in a metropolitan area.

Back to the national budget. Here is a chart of our country’s deficit over the last 20 years. Remember, all these numbers are inflation driven numbers, 26 to 1 based on 1913 dollars.

George W did an ok job of keeping the budget in a decent range despite the war he started. But, because of the relaxed regulation placed on the financial market mainly by Reagan, the markets extended themselves so far away from reality that a crash was inevitable, and it happened at the end of Bush’s term. That left a mess for Obama to clean up and he did a fairly good job. The Obama administration had to borrow large amounts of money to pull us out of the recession and by the end of his second term, brought spending down to more acceptable levels.

Now Trump enters the picture. As you can see by the chart spending is taking off! Because of the insane amounts of money being given to the military complex, a very large tax cut for industry and the wealthy, and now the total mess he has made with covid 19, the budget is going to soar for many years.

The bottom line here is this. All these numbers are inflated numbers and have to be weighed in the grand scheme of things. Yes, we are spending far too much money making the rich even richer. According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, 1% of the world population owns 44% of the worlds wealth. As you might have figured out, most of those very rich people live right here in the good old USA.

Our congress and president are owned and operated by rich corporate America. If you want my quick answer to begin to solve this mess, TERM LIMITS and over turn CITIZENS UNITED! This is depressing stuff! My one last point I wish to make is that the deficit decreased substantially during the Obama presidency.

Kids at play in a modern world.

I watched two preschoolers pretend to work on an imaginary computer while saying all the things that they may have heard older people say. They were imagining typing on a turned off computer. Now, to the millennials this might sound like normal play, but to us older folks this sound insane! Do you remember playing in the dirt with toy trucks? How about baseball cards on the spokes to make your bike sound like it had an engine. I bet some of you even played capture the flag. Being children of a nation that tends to be at war with someone most of the time it was only natural for us to play war. Folks older that even I am, played kick-the-can for lack of a better thing to kick.

We face a real problem with the youth of today. Do not jump the gun here in their defense. There is nothing wrong with them. It is us who have created this strange world they are growing up in. Most child psychologists are not real comfortable with the environment in which many children are being raised. Their main premise, as well as mine, is that children need to play. As children get older they need to spend more time away from the umbrella of their parents. The term ‘helicopter parent’ has become the new buzz word. Many parents hover over their children correcting ever tiny thing they do. Children need to learn the skills they will use as adults to deal with the many complex issues of adulthood. These are learned skills. You do not learn these skills by being lectured by your parents, you learn them through hard knocks and disagreements with other children. Now throw on top of this problem the use of cell phones by younger and younger kids and you compound the issue even more. Do you remember traveling with your parents to the beach or to visit a family member and all the kids were locked in a tiny vehicle with nothing to do but interact with each other? Most parents dreaded this but I believe this was valuable time. I remember my middle son usually had a flatulation problem so we set him as far back in the van as we could to avoid conflicts. Often times I would hear crazy things come from the back of the car like, “He touched me” or ” He’s looking at me, tell him to stop”. After a couple of hours of threats like ” don’t make me pull over” or “if you kids don’t behave we are turning around” or the worst thing” if you kids don’t behave we will not stop for lunch” or the standard “don’t make me come back there”. This is an interesting threat since I was usually driving the car. Now you are thinking of those days with fond amusement but I assert that these experiences were character builders for the children and maybe the parents. For a better perspective, imagine what it was like to haul kids across the country in a wagon train!

Lets look at today’s modern traveler. Many travel in very nice vans with more conveniences that one can imagine. Air flow is very well controlled which helps alleviate the odor problem. The cabin is much quieter, which helps with the noise Car seats, in addition to restraining the little buggers, allows them to see out the windows. The icing on the cake, they have their own computer terminal with access to movies, games or most anything one can imagine. Maybe your child even has their own personal phone so he can spend much of the time talking to their girlfriend or boyfriend. So now we have a family traveling together in a vehicle without any interaction with the other travelers. This certainly makes the trip easier for the parents but something inside me says that that family is missing a valuable growing experience.

Children need to be children! Children need to learn to play and cope with the many differing personalities of their friends! Parents need to let their children explore their surroundings without hovering over them. Kids need to play games with other children without parental involvement. If you haven’t noticed, the world is getting crazier every day. Many adults are not able to cope with society because they were never allowed to develop these skills. It is my belief we have a president who was never allowed to grow up in a normal way, which is why he acts the way he does. Folks, this road we are on is not going anywhere good. If we do not allow our children to grow up without all the insane distractions that they encounter on a daily basis, we are doomed as a culture.

Why we live in a drug society

Is it any wonder that the world is saturated with all kinds of mood altering drugs?  If society would take its head out of the sand and really look closely at itself, it would see a world that is inundated with drugs.  I’m talking about tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, over the counter drugs and that is just some of the legal ones.  Then we have the world of illegal ones like heroin, opium, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine just to name a few!

Now I must admit right out of the blocks, that I am a weird cookie based on society’s standards.  I never drank beer, never smoked pot, never smoked a cigarette and only in my older years have I acquired a moderate taste for a few drinks and some sweet wines while hanging with my lady.

The fact that my parents were heavy smokers and occasionally got drunk, caused me to decide at a young age that I was not interested in indulging.  Because of this I was not much fun at parties and not interested in participating in the bar scene. I never had the urge to take my sons out drinking as they entered manhood which is almost a rite of passage in our world. Two of my best friends as a young adult spent much of their time trying to get me to indulge! 

Enough of that.  I just wanted my readers to know that I am writing this piece from a different perspective.  So, back to my question, why is man so entranced with drugs?  Let’s do a little history.  In olden times, say 400 years ago and beyond, drugs were hard to get.  Alcoholic drinks required a tremendous amount of labor and produced a small amount of drink.  In order to be a drunk back then, you had to either have a lot of money or a source of free booze.  Another example of drug use that people like to present is the American Indians, who used opium derived from poppy seeds.  You do realize that it took a lot of poppy seeds and a lot of labor to make their drugs, therefore, they were saved for ritualistic ceremonies to reach out and talk to their gods.  I am sure the concept of an addict was very rare.  

Now lets move to our time, when drugs are mass produced by evil corporate giants for profits beyond most of our imaginations.  Drugs used to be a rare commodity.  In today’s world most anyone can go out their front door, without traveling far to find most any drug they wish to have.  Now, throw in a younger generation anxious to rebel and you have a new problem, addiction at a young age!  We are losing young people at a rate, that in the past, would have made us panic, but in our world it has somehow become tolerable.

Finally here is my theory which is not that far off the beaten path but I want to say it in simple form: 

Couple together the high stress, production driven mentality of our world with the corporate greed which supplies chemicals to help us forget the inherent stress of our money driven society and you have a drug driven society.

Here is how we fix that:  

  1. Educate people to be self sufficient and capable of discerning fact from non-fact.  In simple terms, fix education!
  2. Allow families to be families where they sit together and eat meals.
  3. Hand held communication should be treated like a drug and not given to children until age 16 or older.
  4. All people should have equal access to full medical services without economic strain.
  5. Tax the very rich so that the masses can enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives.  We are the ones doing the work!  This alone will ease the drug problem.
  6. Hold pharmaceutical companies to full economic accountability for the drug epidemic we face and they created.

So there you have it, like always, a quick and concise picture our world/culture/society and one of its major problems. You can take this to the bank, but its not worth anything there.

Friends

I have been thinking of all the crazy things I have seen in my multitude of journeys around sister Sol ( I am referring to the sun) and it occurred to me that I have made a lot of friends, but in addition there are a few individuals who do not care much for me. Recently I have felt as if my number of friends has decreased. I am beginning to believe that the angry political climate that has enveloped our society has made me more cautious of who I call friend. I often find myself wondering what people’s political views are.

Make no mistake, I have many friends who do not agree with any of my ideas and that is fine, but I still have a sense of wonderment about how they reach certain beliefs. Even as I write this I have the urge to mention certain beliefs that I hold true, but that is not the reason for this article. I am thinking on paper as to the nature of the polarization that is occurring in our country as well as many parts of the world. Some historians believe that Germany also became very polarized before the rise of Hitler. There is the idea that the move towards tribalism is due to the continued decreasing number of individuals who control the national wealth. Us, not the rich folks, are being squeezed ever tighter as the wealth surges toward a smaller and smaller group of people. Once the richest group of middle class people in the world, we are slowly dipping closer to a country of overworked, underpaid, lower class people. Maybe someday we will be the laborers of the world like the Asians are now. Much of the world idolized us as the gleaming example of distributed wealth. The truth is, that has never been totally true. There was simply so much money to be made at the beginning of the industrial revolution that we had a very large middle class. Realize that this did not occur until the workers unionized and forced the industrial giants to share a small portion of the enormous wealth they were accumulating. They did not give it up easily and to this day are fighting to put the worker back at the rear of the line, while profits soar to unimaginable levels.

If you remember, I was talking about friends, those folks that we can rely on when times are rough, or when you need a hand doing something or just being there to listen. If I were a greedy, wealthy businessman, the last thing I would want, would be comrades amongst my employees. I would do everything I could to create distrust and fear among their fellow workers. United we stand, divided we fall is a pretty great saying and applies very well to the current situation we are in.

So remember, that schmuck working next to you is far more likely to lend you a hand, then the man who owns the plant and only cares about the bottom line. Let me say it another way, your friends are more likely to be the people sharing the trenches with you regardless of their political affiliation.

Sailing across the Carribian

Winter is my least favorite season. Short, cloudy, cold days are not my cup of tea. I believe I suffer for Seasonal Affective Disorder, (SAD), brought on by the above. I have learned that a trip south can help me make it through this dreary time. I have also learned that the further south one goes, the warmer it is. So, this year we decided to venture all the way to the 12th degree of latitude which just happens to be in Grenada. Everyday while we were there was a warm, sunny day with a slight breeze. In Grenada we boarded the Mandalay, a 236 foot, three mast, 97 year old clipper.

The Mandalay

After a 6 hour flight, stopping in Charlotte for an hour, we arrived in Grenada, where we spent the night in an AirB&B cabin.

The Cosy Hut

While in Grenada, we walked around one of the ports and observed the yacht. The first photo below is the mother ship and the second picture is of the “play thing” ship. In other words, if you took the first ship, the second ship followed you around, carrying all your toys, like a small helicopter, jet skis, ski boat and probably most anything you could want. It is educational to see just how rich the rich are.

Main yacht
Play thing boat
The Tender

The Mandalay was anchored about a 1/2 mile out in the bay so we boarded “Tenders” to get to the ship. I believe these boats were as old as the Mandalay, but they still floated well and served their purpose.

Our clipper awaits

After all 28 of us made our way via tender to the Mandalay, we were ready for a relaxing seven days on the Caribbean. Many had sailed before and some had sailed on the Mandalay. In fact, one man had sailed on the Mandala 30 times over the last 30 years! We were welcomed aboard with rum punch swizzles and tasty snacks, a late afternoon tradition. After settling into our cabins we were summoned to the middle deck to be educated on the art of safety aboard a clipper ship. After a relatively short speech from Captain Sly, who some felt sounded similar to Jar Jar Bink from Star Wars, we all drifted around the ship getting to know our fellow sailors. Soon it was time for dinner, so we all had a seat in the galley and prepared to be fed. The meal, like all the following meals, was tasty and nutritional. In fact, I lost a pound while on board. The next morning, before I was awake, we set sail for our first unknown destination. Captain Sly felt that the mystery of where we might be going added a certain mystique to the trip. The water was crystal clear and calm which made the first day very enjoyable. It was a comfortable 85 degrees with a slight breeze. Later that day we arrived at an island, made our way via tender to the pristine, quiet, deserted beach and soaked up the sun, did some snorkeling and just relaxed.

Beautiful beach

After a wonderful day at the beach we tendered back to the Mandalay for a fantastic dinner. Later that evening we headed to some new destination.

The next morning we woke up to a small Caribbean town just waiting to be explored. Apparently many of the yacht owners felt the same way based on the boats in the harbor.

Check out the 5 mast sailing ship. Wow, what a behemoth!

On this island, which I do not remember the name, we did a tour of the island in a small Toyota truck with seats in the truck bed. It was a tight fit but all 10 of us crammed in the truck bed. The first stop on the tour was the model ship builders who built their ships with no power tools They were beautiful but just a little outside my budget. You could drop several thousand dollars in this shop but they were incredible works of art!

Next we went to a Hawk billed turtle sanctuary. An amazing man was single-handedly trying to save these endangered turtles. As a young man he hunted these turtles with little knowledge of the damage he was doing. As he aged he realized his work was destroying these extraordinary creatures. This particular turtle is prized for it shell which in the past was used to produce eye-glass frames and guitar pics. Recent storms had affected the number of turtles he could foster. Each turtle had to be raised until they were 5 years old before being released into the wild. If you have some money that you are not using right now, donate it to the Hegg turtle sanctuary.

This is the turtle guy. Bequian Orton King

That night we returned to our ship for a lovely dinner and great company. Later on we headed off to bed so we would be well rested for our next day’s adventure at some unknown island. That stop turned out to be the southern tip of St Vincent Island. With our new friend Rick, we decided to venture about the island on our own. After tendering over to St. Vincent, we hailed a cab and asked him how much it would cost for the three of us to get to the botanical gardens. He responded $20. We jumped in and held our breath as the cab weaved it’s way through the steep hills and tight turns until we arrived at the garden.

Little Dorothy next to the giant Eucalyptus tree

The botanical garden was beautiful and the three of us enjoyed exploring until it was time for us to head to the beach and do some snorkeling. Magically, the price of getting a cab from the ship compared to getting one back to the ship went up significantly! What cost us $20 was now up to $60 and we were wondering if we had enough money to get home. We counted our pennies and thought we may have had enough to go snorkeling and then back to the ship…we counted wrong…Added to this, my cell phone fell out of my pocket at the botanical gardens and we had to backtrack on the way back to the ship and pick it up. Needless to say, we were getting a little worried. So, after some serious negotiating with the cabbies we made it back to the ship. Our companion, Rick was enjoying it and compared it to an adventure. That is one adventure I would have preferred to miss.

The Mandalay and company

This is a picture of our ship at our next to last stop in St Lucia. It is a beautiful little harbor for smaller boats to anchor.

Back to the ship and ready for the crab races. All the money bet on the crabs was donated to a local school, so it was worth it. The last night passed quickly and the rum flowed generously. The next morning we sailed into our final port, northern St. Lucia. We said our goodbyes to our many new friends and headed to the St Lucia airport, almost 50 miles away on roads that would challenge a mountain goat. Upon reaching the airport, along with a thousand other tourists, in an airport made for a couple of hundred, we patiently waited for our flight across the waters to home. After several hours we were on our plane and heading back to America.

The motley crew

This was a fantastic trip for Dorothy and I but the best part of the trip was the amazing people we met. I hope to stay in touch with many of them!

This is our crew who fed us and kept us safe

If you ever get the opportunity to go on a real sailboat, TAKE IT! You will never regret it! Bon Voyage.

The complicated world of healthcare

Let me start out at the beginning. About one hundred years ago or so, doctors came to your house, gave you some pills that probably did not work, told you to rest regardless of what was wrong with you and you gave them a chicken or a slab of ham and everybody was happy. Of course, life expectancy was far less and crippling diseases ravaged the population, but it was affordable. Slowly, modern medicine began to evolve and actually was able to cure some diseases like polio, bacterial diseases and sometimes a minor gunshot wound. Not many doctors went into medicine because they planned on making a lot of money, but rather to help their fellow man. Medical technology, like most technologies of the time, moved along slowly at first and then began to gain steam as invention and understanding of the human body began to accelerate.

Around 1850 the first accident insurance was introduced, and not until 1920 was the first hospital and medical insurance plan offered. It was offered by hospitals as a way of setting aside money in case of unforeseen medical expenses. Enter capitalism! Some visionary capitalist saw the potential to make a lot of money. I doubt that he envisioned the enormous profit that today’s insurance companies and medical companies make, but he did see dollar signs floating in the air. I imagine that this entrepreneur went to a hospital and offered to take the burden of monitoring insurance costs and dispersal so the hospital could concentrate on what they were supposed to be doing, healing people. This sounded like an excellent idea and hospitals around the land quickly joined the movement. As you can imagine, many of these insurance companies began to consolidate, becoming more powerful, thus increasing their control and profits.

Capitalists of the time saw the writing on the wall and began positioning themselves for the largest ripoff in human history! If they can control access to people’s health care and control the flow of these new technologies, they can make more money than anyone had ever dreamed of before. Think of it this way, if someone created a pill that allowed humans to live for another 100 years, how much would that pill cost? Whoever controlled this new pill would make more money than anyone in human history! Of course, money is needed, and lots of it, to make use of the medical system, which in a screwed up kind of way, is offering an extended life span if one can afford it.

So here we are today, a doctor’s visit for the common cold or flu is a major expense. Injuries that could be treated and allow a person to live a more productive life are ignored due to prohibitive cost. Pharmaceutical companies, medical instrument companies, insurance companies and hospitals CEO’s are laughing as they drink champagne on their yachts in the Caribbean while Americans suffer from their greed. Politicians rake in enormous contributions from these large corporate beasts to ensure their reelection and convince the people that they are going to change things.

The old saying that you can’t let the fox guard the hen house is where we are right now. Large corporations are controlling the vote of our elected leaders (thank you Supreme Court with your Citizens United ruling) thus ensuring the continued subterfuge of the American citizen! This is not a blue or red issue, this is a grab for power equal to any in history. You and I are the pawns on this board and the large hand that moves us around at will is corporate America making sure they are rolling in the money and power.

If you have read this far and are wondering what you can do to change this picture, the answer is easy, Do not vote for any politician who takes money from corporations! If you want to be a one issue voter, make this your issue! I can not say I am optimistic that we will make this change but I must hold on to the hope that we do, so that our children and their children will have a world to live in free of corporate greed and corruption.

Once a Trekkie always a Trekkie.

Walmart is our buddy…NOT!

I almost became sick while watching a commercial for Walmart the other day. If you are old enough to have witnessed the rise of Walmart over the years you would have been as upset as I was/am. I remember the days when the MADE IN USA signs hung all over the store. There were Walmart associates in most every department to help you find what you were looking for. Lines were rather quick and service was pretty good for a retail store. As you may know, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, died and with him died his vision of a fun, friendly store. In this commercial they said things like “we see a spark in every customer”…yeah, they see a spark, somebody’s getting so mad they burst into flames while waiting a half hour in line! They said “they see a kindness in humanity”! Have they not witnessed their silly Black Friday sales? People fighting and climbing over one another for stuff. How about “we see a spark in every smile”? The minute I walk into Walmart a certain dread takes over my mind as I weave through the countless isles trying to figure out were they have hidden an item, with no help to be found. “We see a kindness in humanity” Let me explain to you what you are seeing. That kindness is the onslaught of depression at having to spend so much time in your store and your checkout lines. I love this one, “We saw 20 million people just yesterday”. Yeah you did, and most of them were standing in lines!

I saw a Facebook ad where they were bragging about their new inventory robot that will take another bunch of jobs away from their stores. If you have not noticed, there are fewer and fewer people working in Walmart. With virtually no help, self-check out lanes and now automatic inventory robots, the Walmart of the future will be manned with security agents to suppress the vandals, and they will not have a clue where anything is.

So Walmart, snap out of it! Why not make commercials where people are roaming about the store lost and confused as to where an item is. Or how about a poor soul who dies of dehydration while waiting to check out. I shop at Costco whenever I can. Have any of you ever shopped there? They are quick and efficient. Employees move about the store as if they were on a mission, not like the earth’s about to end. I have noticed over time that many of Costco’s employees stick around for years. They stick around because they are paid well, treated with respect, insured and generally happy with their jobs. Can you say that? Have you become so big and bureaucratically cumbersome that you are unable to evolve, to improve and keep your employees? I am sure there are very few left who remember Sam’s dream and what it entailed. Anyone who did would join me in asserting that old Sam would be turning in his grave if he walked into a Walmart today. I miss you Sam!