Keep America Beautiful – Think Like a Neighbor

The Almost Daily Binx, Silicon Valley, V. Caminiti 31 January 2012
 

While the grammarians argue the etymological provenance of ‘like’ and ‘as’ we feel very strongly that the substance of the slogan ‘Keep America Beautiful – Think Like a Neighbor’ is a reminder of values that our preoccupation with competing personal interests may have eclipsed. Values that have distinguished the American spirit when the Dough boys  went off to France in the early 1900’s, or when polio was stalked around the globe, or the Berlin Airlift after World War 11.

Even in the iconic settings of the 1950’s and the ostensibly contrasting back-drop of the age of Aquarius, America, Beautiful America, was in its roots, neighborly.  Yes we had, and continue to have aggressive social disorder, prejudice and some out-right dangerous social cancer.  It has always had more than sufficient representation. But still the neighborly essence of America the Beautiful is ‘coffee-talk’ and sometimes inspirational talk from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, Cairo; and, in muted tones, Kabul, Teheran, Lagos, Mogadishu …

There is so much more America, so much more hope, so much more patience … when you think like a neighbor.

South Valley Family Y – Changing Lives

by V.A. Caminiti, The Almost Daily Binx, Silicon Valley – USA

Annual Giving Campaign 2012

Well it’s a very unusual name, Annual Giving Campaign – since for campaigners, it’s a matter of getting so we can, in fact, give.  It is largest volunteer initiative within the entire Y organization, nationwide. And give we do; to our community, to local families and to children within our significant reach.  You may not know it, but the Y delivers all of it’s community support without a single penny of overhead paid from collected gifts (donations.)  That’s what makes us very different from many other philanthropic opportunities – 100% goes to our beneficiaries.

How Does the Y Campaign Help Our Community?

It could easily be said that the South Valley Family Y’s Annual Giving Campaign is a little bit selfish – selfish in the fact that by providing a healthy alternative for families at risk, we shift the odds in their favor. Frankly, there is overwhelming empirical evidence that when heighten a child’s access to a healthy environment the likelihood of his being lured into less favorable behavior is dramatically reduced.  That’s good for everyone in the community.

Then of course there’s programs like our Summer Nutrition Program SNP, where kids of struggling families may actually be victims of circumstance.  We heard from Maria the other night;  a young mother of two.  She told the story of how she had become a Y AGC volunteer because she was so moved by the impact our programs have on her children. They have been beneficiaries of our Branch and enrolled in our SNP and inspired the entire family to eat a more healthy diet.  She wanted to give back for the assistance she received, so what better way than to help raise funds and awareness.

Another story is from Matt, who worked through depression and health obstacles and credits the inspirational atmosphere, comradeship of a healthful environment and a challenge to do something bigger than confines of his mental walls would permit.  He got healthy, got trim and got a new career.  He’s now a Y professional directing youth sports activities and Camps at our Y.

What YOU Can Do !

Get involved in your community – and if you’re in our community – reach out and get involved.  Your local Y – The South Valley Family Y – is committed to our community.  There are no hidden agendas, no secret handshakes and no private interest groups.  However, there is an abundance of goodwill, knowledge and muscle – ready to help and ready to give you an opportunity of a lifetime to connect with people and fulfill your responsibility to your neighbors and yourself.

Here’s how you can get started:

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Remember

by V. Caminiti, The Almost Daily Binx, San Jose, CA

Remember when we didn’t mistrust the people telling us what happened. We were free then.  Journalists were often labeled ‘trusted’ when commentary and news were distinctly different.

Indeed we have a multi-media existence, a sound for every emotion, a song for every occasion and if we have a mobile app we can even produce a movie in minutes and share it with the universe.

I remember when my heart was home and most of you were welcome

I remember when your heart was home and the door was always open.

Remember when we didn’t think about money most of the day. We were free then.  Now, although mere metaphor, we’re shackled to our wallets and purses and we talk in muffled curses.

Indeed, we have richness in our lives, fancy cars, boats and some of us even have airplanes – summer homes, winter homes – and others with motor homes.

I remember when my heart was home and most of you were welcome.

I remember when your heart was home and the door was always open.

Remember when we weren’t selfish; long before obstacles took root between us.  We were free then.  That’s before they discovered how to manufacture controversy, loosely based on fact and/or faith.

Indeed we’re not so smart as hoped, we hardly even noticed our destiny stolen from us. While those who profit from the fights buy summer homes and winter homes and even homes that fly.

I remember when my heart was home and most of you were welcome.

I remember when your heart was home and the door was always open.

Remember when we didn’t yet have any serious opinions but were instead, seeking them. We were free then.  Now although mere metaphor, were beholden to ideologies because it’s our brand.

Indeed, we have preferences; even our software asks us that. Now although mere metaphor we’re defined by bits and bytes that we carefully prepare with style which makes up our personal profile.

I remember when my heart was home and most of you were welcome

I remember when your heart was home and the door was always open

Remember when we didn’t care how much each paid as long as we were all together.  We were free then.  Now although mere metaphor we reject those that cannot keep our pace.

Indeed we are very special now, initials on our pockets; expensive toys we girls and boys are wishing soon for rockets; we’ll fly about and hope for more and join a scorn-filled chorus about those in need.

I remember when my heart was home and most of you were welcome

I remember when your heart was home and the door was always open

 

The Unmistakeable Cure

26 June 2011, San Jose, CA – The Almost Daily Binx   https://binx101.wordpress.com

It was impossible to clear my mind enough to understand another paragraph of the voluminous non-fiction I was reading. I was left to power-down my Kindle and power-up my laptop, for there was something on my mind that was not accessible any other way.

Ah, there you are, elusive thought, bugging me so persistently; causing me to re-read pages two and three times.  Have out with it, lest you be committed to a watery death with thousands of other unrequited thoughts, diving to their certain demise into the drain of my morning shower.

The thought has occurred to me on many occasions and I finally realized the trigger – disagreement.  Perhaps, not actually disagreement, as much as the manner in which people disagree.  I’ve become both spoiled and intolerant.  Spoiled, that is to say, by the wonderful friends and business colleagues I’m fortunate to have.  Those that put community before self-indulgence.  Good souls that are mindful and deliberate about good health. And, incredible individuals that listen as well as talk in conversations. Intolerant of those, whose preoccupation with self-indulgence and hyperbole, is as harmful to the environment as excess carbon.

It dawned on me that we friends disagree occasionally, but we never argue.  There is no eye-rolling and there is a most emancipating absence of sarcasm – unless dutifully recruited for a laugh (and there is much laughter.)  We’re bound together by a mission of improving the living condition in our community and engaged in business that is more than a pay-check. There are many of us and I purposely dull the line between my volunteer work and my career work – because from a fundamental perspective – I’m fortunate enough to now, approach them both the same way.

Everyday I learn something new. The process is so natural, preemptive disagreement is an event.  What’s there to disagree about?  Well perhaps, disagree is too harsh a term; maybe it is best expressed by saying sometimes we see things differently.  So, I’ll reserve the word ‘disagree’ for an exceptional moment or two that are certain to arise when humans of any sort are involved.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that we interact with each other in such a way that our egos are defeated by logic and by purpose.  We say things intentionally; we do things intentionally and we avoid bad behavior, intentionally.

By now this must sound very childish and naive.  That is perhaps the most amazing reality of the thought that has been poking me endlessly for weeks, interrupting my reading and distracting me from perfectly fine day-dreams.  I’m a happy child. Yes, a happy child, most of time anyway.   Even at work, where we openly engage in preserving childhood; interacting with partners and colleagues, unrestricted with the behavior modification we call adulthood, the creative juices flow, mistakes are easily admitted and corrected and we manage risks by learning about them and discussing them – not merely avoiding them.  We support each other.

So …  I came to an understanding.  It’s the gift of a rejuvenated childhood I wish for everyone. It’s what stops harsh words.  It’s what inspires curiosity.  It’s where faith is indelible  but not particularly explainable, and  it is where hope is manufactured.  Perhaps it’s even childish and naive to think that my writing this missive or wishing these thoughts are useful in any way whatsoever – but I’m very hopeful that it can’t hurt because it’s an unmistakable cure.

 

 

People to Sheeple and a Most Unfortunate Facebook Email

Some of Them … Our Very Own

The term ‘Sheeple’ , in this  iteration, is a  sad portmanteau of sheep and people, denoting the human who carelessly permits his liberty to be coopted and his rights abrogated by embracing the branding of a political party instead of calculating his responsibility as an American to exercise his right as a free-thinker and examine policy.  The latter is the least direct path, most rewarding and sadly … the road less traveled.

The evidence is abundant and the lure of the marketing forces is deafening from the ‘right’ because the resources are abundant and inspired by an oligarchy that is the portrait of avarice. Common to this abundant evidence is that promotion of ‘party’ over ‘policy,’ that is to say, the targets  of this guerilla marketing blitz are ‘low information’ voters – many of whom spend countless leisure hours  watching television, even though their other hours may be filled with hard work for low pay.

Sadly, many of them are our family and friends and they have exchanged slogans and easily remembered sophistry for what once was reason and logic. It is maddening and it assisted by the 24/7 cacophony of partisan newsy broadcasts that have managed to combine pseudo-intellectual dialog with diatribe and with the worst elements of theatrical wrestling; and, at the same time pitch journalistic credentials, even though they explain at great length how they are not ‘news’ shows but rather entertainment. This is a well-kept secret, because the ‘low-information’ voter insists he is watching the news when asked.

The ‘low-information’ voters are the perfect Sheeple because they are high spirited, living life and love to be associated with winners.  They love sports and fist-pumping and cheering and excitement – quite often because their jobs are unrewarding hard work and essentially unfulfilling.  Perhaps their lives are in disarray or families broken.  But make no mistake – this isn’t about class distinction, this is about conditional distinction, that is to say – low information doesn’t necessarily mean low income.  Although it is disturbing how many low-income low-information voters there are vociferously campaigning for politicos who are certain to trample what’s left of their meager benefits as citizens. It is most prevalent among the iconic ‘right.’

Bait and Switch

This extreme group, disguising themselves as conservative traditionalists, is predominantly the remnants of 20th Century royalists, overwhelmingly bankers and industrialists that are and have always been the courtesans of a global economy.  They controlled the requisite wealth in order to move the cog of world-wide business; and, while minerals and other natural resources have changed, as well as the locations of the most adaptable environments or subordinate economies, the game is largely the same.  It is reliant on a disproportionate number of laborers to fill a meager amount of labor positions.  In this way, it is an employers’ market and the company store concept, very often considered Fascism, reigns supreme.

Imagine, we’ve permitted a greedy media megaplex to force most Americans to pick sides.  We’re a society of images and what better image than celebrity, even if the celebrity is consummate failure and his history is mostly a blend of trust fund and crafty press.  You already know where I’m going with this right?  Of course, I’m talking about Donald Trump.  NY’s professional real estate mogul – wink / nod – who has presided over more bankruptcies than Mormon Church inventor Joseph Smith had wives.  The man who recently used tongues of the mid-millennia to express that he’s always had a “good relationship with the Blacks.”  But he is a celebrity, and just as peculiar as half-term Governor Sarah Palin, he is embraced by the royalists posing as a legitimate political party because he is an icon.  It doesn’t matter if they are each without any usable knowledge, helpful experience, or even a believable curriculum vitae – they are celebrity and when the company store is looking to placate the uninformed – celebrity will do it every time.

Dancing with the Stars, apparently the favorite show of the low-information voter starred, now convicted felon, Tom Delay.  It didn’t matter that he has been judged to have stolen money, abused power and the federal code; not to mention racketeering overtones in other lawsuits not yet completely through the legal confidence course – he has celebrity and the low information voter loves celebrity.

The other thing the low information voter loves is a good slogan.  Take America Back, a personal favorite is the bait and switch of the century.  It implores the uniformed to scream at those that are describing themselves as liberal Americans and pick fights with them. The talking heads that otherwise have no credentials whatsoever in journalism, implore their loyal regiments of uninformed to “Take America Back!!” so their royalist masters can send the labor portion of America off shore and evade taxes. And they do.   This is compounded by an appalling cadre of former / retired public service employees whose entire base for wealth was made possible by liberal ideas – that is to say – union protection, pensions and deserved compensation for education and time-in-grade have embraced the phony conservative’s argument and lionize the phony conservative’s icons.  It is greed, not logic – it is hypnotism – it is incredibly sad.  To embrace a myth when you one cashes checks written from the earnest labor of liberalism to me is the depths of hypocrisy.  It is negligence and cowardice and worst, going along to get along without any idea of patriotism or history.  It is unimaginably stupid.

And Now the Email

So there I was giving an honest reply, to what I consider, an unfortunate conclusion by a friend posted on their own Facebook wall.  So I rejoin the assessment, politely and without malice.  Another “friend” of my friend offers a wise crack that was intended to get a laugh from the original friend but at my expense even though he does not know me, in other words, weapons grade hubris.  The individual, in my opinion was rude but it wasn’t the end of the world.  I invited the party to join me privately if he felt compelled to make stupid remarks, and we could spar in private instead of soiling my friend’s wall.  Alas, my friend thought his conduct was out of line and asked him to write me a note privately and concede and possibly offer contrition.  He did so by identifying himself as a Republican, explained he was trying to get a laugh and without knowing anything about me except my comment about global economics and US aid – the difficult matter that it was the basis of the underlying comment, and then proceeded to write that we have nothing in common and any conversations would be fruitless.  In other words, he had no interest in policy or policies – he was a Republican, much like being a Yankee or Sox fan, he was immovable and it didn’t matter what the issue might possibly be – he loves his brand.  Verbatim: “I am a Republican ….” These were the first words he wrote when the topic on the table was not political.

That my friends, is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard in my life.  A human, lucky enough to be an American, has voluntarily hobbled his free-speech, free-thought and personal liberty in order to be a loyal card carrying member of a political party instead of having an actual and practical interest in his country and actually practicing patriotism, which has little fist pumping but much page turning.

The iconic right is a cancer foisted on the breast of America and it is terribly sad and destructive.  I think of a fortunate American relinquishing his rights in order to repeat slogans and realize we all die a little as a society – because some people have stopped thinking and prefer brand loyalty, party loyalty to patriotism, which according to the constitution as I have studied is inclusive to all Americans.  Very sad indeed.

Epilogue

Despite these unavoidable and sometimes distressing interstices, confinements that is to say, where reason cannot take a deep enough breath – I am routinely inspired by young people. They get it.  They may have to hold their tongues at the obese, intellectually lazy and self-destructive generation preceding them, but they are smart.  They do consider policy, they are only bound by politics as much as their predecessors may control their sustenance – but  when they are left to their 0wn they are inspiring.

I’ve seen it through their volunteerism, their sense of fairness and their drive to fix things.  They are our wealth, and for the most part they are incredibly productive.  Many don’t even have televisions.  They can see the road ahead, even though it is hogged by many corpulent Sheeple, but I enjoy everyday I get to work with my young colleagues because they renew me, where many of my contemporaries abandoned what we know to be right.

Compassion and Intellectual Curiosity Aren’t Optional

The Warning to Facebook “Friends”

… some will never see this because I ‘un-friended’ you because you were offensive…

If you are viewing this from Facebook and find that you are offended by what I have written here – please ‘un-friend me’.  I don’t want to be friends with you any longer.  Chances are, if you are offended,  we have nothing in common and are only friends because we thought it was a novel idea.  Some of you will never bother to read this, some will never see this because I ‘un-friended’ you because you were offensive in your political comments, your lack of compassion or I simply discovered that you are not particularly interesting or thoughtful.  So please, ‘un-friend’ me, have the courage to part ways and lower your silly friend count.  You don’t even have to say good-bye, just click ‘un-friend’, we’ll both be happier.  And, if you do have the courage to want to intellectually challenge my assertions, please send me an email or comment.  Just don’t complain – the way to complain is to ‘un-friend’ me.

Freedom and Responsibility

… you’re wasting opportunities to do great things with your chronic complaining – and frankly – I quit you.

There is a great sense of freedom in having a my own column.  It is about my opinion and occasionally about the opinions of others; and, often, my opinion about others’ opinions.  I get to do the same at News Trust as a host, founding member and reviewer.  It’s also my privilege to be able to express my opinion in the non-profit that I volunteer, in fact, it’s encouraged.  And lastly, I leverage my opinion because it is my responsibility to use whatever cognizance, experience and gifts that I have to improve the human condition – and it’s yours too.

So what does that mean?  Well, perhaps understanding what, who and how things operate in the world would be a good start.  Please, don’t bore people with a myopic view of the world that labels people or practices because your favorite TV icon said it was so.  Let’s return to reading and thinking and knowing what you’re talking about.  You complain that you’re gaining weight ?  I’ve great news for you, thinking burns calories.  It certainly burns more calories than watching Dancing with the Stars.

Many of us have families that love us.  Shouldn’t we be the best that we can be?   That’s not going to happen hiding in a cave with our toys and our selfish behavior instead of interacting with them. They need us and we need them; and often, it’s not just about partying. Those of you that have packed the tools or wall-papering paraphernalia to assist a friend or relative know what I’m talking about.  What greater joy than helping a friend.  Certainly more joy than posting : “Uggg!!  It’s raining, why me?”  Who cares – family or friend – you’re wasting opportunities to do great things with your chronic complaining – and frankly – I quit you.  In fact, it is my opinion that everyone should quit you and re-purpose those minutes to capture good messages from worthwhile sources rather than to listen to endless stories of you texting about your struggle in traffic or your long day’s work.  Get a dog, see psychiatrist, or call any friends you have left for help.  I’ll show.  But for goodness sakes – enrich us all, stop using social networking as a toilet.

You have freedom and you also have responsibility to all of us.  At least you should.

World Views

… you repeat the same bologna that your heard on a foreign owned TV News station that is  in concert with the greediest industrialists the world has ever seen.

This is code from a distinct part of society that has been co-opted by political parties, extremist ideologues and other liars that picking-off the middle class very much as ducks in a carnival shooting gallery.  Your ribbons, your slogans and your distasteful contempt for humanity is shameful.

How dare you use slogans and send me messages about Support the Troops while you openly support politicians that have worked intensely on cutting budgets that fund supporting the troops.  I don’t want to be unkind – but you don’t sound smart when you repeat slogans that are plain stupid – like “Take America Back!”  How asinine and thoughtless of you to think because we support different politics that I don’t have a share of America because we disagree.

Moreover, you don’t even know what your politicians voted for that directly harm you and me.  Yet because you fit into some demographic that you have been duped because you are too lazy to think – you repeat the same bologna that your heard on a foreign owned TV News station that is  in concert with the greediest industrialists the world has ever seen.  And, their misinformation is debunked daily in the miniscule and smothered remnants of actual journalism. That’s too much work, turn on American Idol… yea !!

It’s mind-blowing how so many of you could get all worked up about Flag pins and symbols yet I don’t ever remember seeing a lot of you on the bus to basic training.  I don’t remember seeing you in formation and I don’t remember seeing many of you with boots on the ground.  But you’ve got that flag on your car, your motorcycle, your trailer, your golf bag and your Costco shopping bags.  After all, real Americans are all about ribbons and fist-pumping, not thinking and action, right?

Stop the Laughter … Stop My Heart

I see my Grandson laugh because we are sharing moments – brief moments that are pleasing …

Laughter fuels my life.  It is decompression, nutritional and cathartic.  When the laughter stops, my heart will have stopped beating, and I’m not quite sure if this is metaphor.  It doesn’t seem so.  It’s one of the few things (other than many people) of which I actually have faith.   Yet, I don’t find cynicism funny at all, yet I hear enormous amounts of laughter associated with it.  It’s deeply saddening when a message can only be delivered at the expense of another human being or group of human beings.

Sure it’s easy if the human lives are just images on a computer screen or television – but if you had ever traveled and lived among ‘those people’ or even experienced these lives through thoughtful study, you would get the same nauseous feeling when you have to endure a blow-hard spouting off unkind and dangerous words about other people, here and abroad.  There was joke circulating on FB recently that a “friend” posted – it was horrific, offensive and abusive.  The guilty party won’t see this because they have been omitted – even though I’ve known them for 40 years.  Like I said – I quit you.

Laughs begin with smiles.  Laughs do not need victims. Laughs are a natural occurence in humanity as are cries.  They are balance.  I see my Grandson laugh because we are sharing moments – brief moments that are pleasing and instantly I am laughing.  We communicate with laughs, we embrace with laughs and we comfort with laughs.  Laughter is beauty.  When laughter is the tool of ridicule we are wounded as a species.  Worse, looking the other way is the height of the lowest form of cowardice.

My Generation … the Worst

… think of us as Kobe Humans – you know – Kobe beef … the Japanese cows that are massaged…

Hey, I get it, they don’t teach civics any more in schools.  What have we done.  Thank goodness there are next generations.  We have, in record time, elected officials and permitted practices in our Nation that have empowered an insatiable appetite for more of everything; and at the very same time, endorsed policies that will guarantee less of everything for most of us.  We stopped thinking and just piled on at the trough.  Shame on us!

There is a National nutritional crisis at the same time there is an obesity crisis.  Why?  Because we have volunteered to be pigs.  It’s that simple.  And we’re good at it.  We consume over 25% of the world’s energy because 99.9 percent of our population are obedient little pigs.  We eat crap, we feed our kids crap, we sit on our butts and we grow huge.  I think of us as Kobe Humans – you know – Kobe beef … the Japanese cows that are massaged and pushed around on carts so their flesh remains fatty and tasty.  The only thing Americans are missing is the massage.

Our veins are so clogged we need boner pills to have sex and cholesterol medication so we can eat the garbage food that corporate conglomerates have paid millions of bucks an hour in order to convince us to buy and eat it through non-stop multi-media marketing.  I predict in years from now, this voluntary holocaust will seem be greeted by future generations with shrugged shoulders and gasps.  How could a species be so singularly focused on hating each other and themselves so aggressively?

We Can Change the Future

… you didn’t serve stop waving the damned flag like its your family room drapes and learn what you’re talking about.

Of course we can change it.  We always could. The question is do we have enough courage to go through the withdrawal.  Can we stop stuffing our faces long enough to hear ourselves think.  Can we turn off the television and actually read books and newspapers.  Is it possible for us to stop talking about losing weight and begin to do something about our state of ill-health.  Can we feed our minds what they need to be creative and resourceful.

There’s a lot of you (if you’ve made it this far) who are either very angry at me or nodding in agreement.  If you’re angry at me – unfriend me now !!!  I don’t want to be friends any longer.  I need the space for positive energy and positive thinking.

And if you are family or friends that want to change – change.  You know who you are.

You, the one that hasn’t shown up for anything that you promised.  Quit feeding your incredible selfishness and hiding in your cave.  You’re a good person and you have let down people who were counting on you to part of their lives – not to do the same thing you’ve done all your life and that is to be consumed with yourself and hold grudges.

And you, stop you’re damned complaining or ditch me.  I don’t care if I love you … you are not holding your end of the bargain and you are consumed with your feelings instead of living.  It’s exhausting learning of your disappointments.

And you, big talk, you didn’t serve stop waving the damned flag like its your family room drapes and learn what you’re talking about.  You have a brain too, not just a mouth.  Think and people will stop running from you.  You’re rude, you’re insensitive and your dispassionate comments about other people are painful.

And you, the one that’s always there for me.  Don’t let me get away with being a talker and not a doer.  Continue to call me out when I disappoint you.  Hold me accountable and I’ll continue to improve.  I may back-slide but it will only be for minutes because you are what make this journey exciting and fulfilling.


John McCain: The ‘Low-Information’ Candidate

I was requested to re-post this article that was written during his Presidential run against President Obama – VAC
30 October 2008

Weapons-grade contempt

One need not be detective or forensic scientist to determine the extent of the weapons-grade contempt emitting from John McCain.  The list of recipients is endless.  While the non-stop tirade begins and ends with the “media” it’s the other accusations that are startling reminders of John McCain’s profound lack of leadership skill, his shudderingly feckless statesmanship and his blatant and purposeful dishonesty in his campaign rhetoric.  McCain’s lead among low information voters is not only because he has pandered to them by appealing to the remnants of our National disgrace, but the fact that he is the ‘low-information’ candidate.

Meanwhile, moving in a consistent and progressive manner, Barack Obama does not respond to McCain’s routinely personally offensive talking points.  In fact, Obama never mentions Sara Palin, and only mentions McCain’s name when associating him with policies that he’s supported.   No personal attacks, no inferences of subversive activity.  Most surprisingly, McCain who has staggered through some very questionable professional relationships, has apparently not sobered up enough to realize that he has probably finished himself as an American statesman, period.

Lost the Media Friends

John McCain, of late, has complained about the press – something he didn’t generally do.  The problems between McCain and the press occurred in a number of events with different people that decided that it was time to ask John McCain real questions since he was waging a war against the survivor of the modern history’s longest Democratic race.  There was much more on the table and without question demonstrable differences between the candidates in demeanor, education, life experience and political experience.

Apparently though, John McCain’s witty remarks and warm gestures to junior and senior journalists, treating them like the neighbors puppies, was not going to sell this time around.  There was a public demanding information – and McCain had a endless stream of banalities, slogans and generalizations – but often his facts were wrong at the first, second and even third attempts and reexplaining himself.  Each juncture resulting in another journalist losing their seat on the McCain traveling press corps for asking a question that was not on the McCain preferred question list.  While there is no real list – one would surely realize when they asked a question that didn’t appear on the non-existent list as the Straight-Jacket Express would figuratively leave them sitting in the middle of nowhere while it sped away.

Not Mavericks – Desperadoes

The most remarkable example of how John McCain equates campaigning to war.  Most clearly he’s adopted a plan that isn’t from the ‘Dao of Strategy’ but only from the ‘Dao of War.’  In doing so he has conflated military actions with political campaigns and he and his minions have set their sights on destroying Barack Obama.  While it’s true, politics does use military terminology, including the word campaign, it is about ideas – not blood. The critical mistake he’s (McCain) made is that it is quite apparent that the American public does not aspire to be like John McCain, but are more attracted to the persona and temperament of Barack Obama.

This goes to one central point – that being the primary obligations of the next President.  Team builder, confidence builder, critical thinker, calm and careful consideration and a keen intellect.  With all due respect, as shamefully small as that amount may be – John McCain possesses none of these qualities.  Obama rises to all of them and it simply means there is no choice for the American electorate to make – John McCain has made that most emphatically clear.

Just Do It

It has been my pleasure to talk with readers, friends and loved ones. A very few in disagreemnet with my judgment, and to them I simply state – it’s time to give it up.  I heard the story about life-long Republican support, frankly there have been enough career politicians that are Republicans and supporting Obama to shatter your argument.  I’ve heard about silly ramblings about free-lunches.  Sadly, there is no shred of truth to equate Obama with free-lunches, that is a silly argument that Herbert Hoover will forever have as a legacy.  And lastly, it was a collective hubris that got us into this mess.  It was many of us thinking that we were more important than our neighbor and going to great lengths and expense to prove it – so much in fact that we’ve consumed ourselves into a very unhealthy state.  Our egos are long out of the reach of our economics and our faith in religions that preach about walled communities have created division where there was none.  It is time for us to act like intelligent beings that hope to heal society so that there is an equality in opporunity.  In that case our next discussion will be about personal responsibility – but now is not the time for that discussion to be the focus.  You know that the right thing to do – even if you have a lot invested in thinking otherwise.  Just do it and stop wasting your energy on your ego – just pitch in – we need to do this together.

The Mutant Project

What’s it all about?

The Mutant Project was the brainchild of Mutant Innovations, as a way to create a brand awareness of their line of consumer electronics products.  It is, though, not a Site where anything is sold.  The creators are adamant about shamelessly leveraging their brand but not permitting it to be a commercial Website.

Instead they have created an interesting concept of producing a entirely Web-based novel that is, for the most part, always in character and occurring far in the future.

The Concept – Wholesome Science Fiction

It is the intent of the creative team – The Silicon Valley Irregulars – to purely entertain.  In doing so, they decided that it would be fun and engaging if they provided some passive tools to explain concepts and include embedded links to definitions for younger readers so that this experience could also be educational, in a manner of speaking.

Entertainment is ubiquitous in our content rich world, yet it is mostly fleeting.  A sound-bite megaplex of fast paced and concentrated stimuli that searches for a demographic as opposed to a cultural investment that invites a more thoughtful participation.  In the case of The Mutant Project, the plan is to include the readers and ultimately invite them to participate in the creative process.  This may include featuring original art as part of the graphics and audio versions recorded and submitted by readers so that the visually impaired, or anyone for that matter, who would benefit from audio versions can listen to the story.

The Story Preview

For this it is best to visit the Website.  Once there you will notice it is a very simple Blog layout which was selected because of it’s simplicity and ease of use. The promotions by the Site’s sole advertiser are very reserved which deserves kudos and respect, since this is an artistic adventure and not a blatant marketing scheme.

The story begins on the planet Earth around the year 4000.  Much change has taken place on the planet from what we know today and the initial characters are emerging as Geologists, Paleontologists and Archaeologists of a most curious team under a Professor, considered by the planet ruling council, as the foremost authority on ancient Earth.  His team of crack scientists / graduate students are an amazing example  of discipline, courage and training.

Also, denizens of the planet are the low-landers.  Groups of humans decended from those that survived the turmoil of tragic events much closer to sea-level than that Scientific Community that now, in many ways, remain protectors of the planet.  We hope you enjoy visiting The Mutant Project

Gov. Spitzer Set-up? More to Eliot Mess Story?

Reprinted by requests

– Originally pubished – 11 Mar 08, The Almost Daily Binx, San Jose, Ca, by Binx101

Is Prostitution Prosecutor being Persecuted ?

“… he did knowingly transport and hire the hooker … “

Spitzer swearing inNot a full day has passed before the story seems to already have gotten thrown off (or perhaps ‘on’) the rails. We think that the countermeasures were predictable. There is an article at Raw Story that is more revealing, but not convincing. In brief, the story suggests that Scott Horton, NY Attorney and Harper’s contributor believes Gov. Spitzer was set up. We think Raw Story just wanted to scoop because they didn’t even use Horton’s first name in the article. Right there was a tip-off.

Secondly and maybe even more revealing, the article features a picture of Horton, not Spitzer. We think that this is more revealing about the purpose of the original article as a way to self promote Horton than to point to any definable plot against Spitzer. After all … he did knowingly transport and hire the hooker, no ? He did confess to having, at least, disappointed his family and State, no ? But to listen to Horton’s suggestion, he thinks Spitzer should be invoking the ‘Shaggy’ defense “It Wasn’t Me!” We think Horton’s premise is a self-aggrandizing attempt to throw his name in the political spotlight.

Sad But True

“… didn’t require the skill of Sherlock Holmes …”

As for the original report by Brian Ross at ABC, it was a good and the many other reportsHolmes have made it clear that Spitzer was the object of the investigation and that suspicious money transfers were the original object of the investigation. It is not difficult to understand, certainly for a crime fighting prosecutor, that criminal investigations are a continuous set of theories that lead professionals in various directions. It doesn’t matter whether its a U.S. Attorney or Daschell Hammett – everyone with a pulse over the age of 12 pretty much understands this global reality. This didn’t require the skill of Sherlock Holmes to uncover. Perhaps he and his wife have an understanding. No doubt they do now.

At the Speed of Might

“… paranoia would have served him as a better mistress.”

We think it highly likely that Spitzer has made an enormous cast of enemies in his rise to power. He has been noted for a fierce fighting style and he has been quoted by a list of Msters Bookdetractors – having made direct threats about prosecuting prominent evil-doers. We think paranoia would have served him as a better mistress. In an instant, the Eliot Spitzer has become a household name that will likely be the new “Hypocrite” for a time.

While Spitzer would have to prefer being defined by his successes, as he is portrayed in a highly flattering Eliot Ness-ish portrayal of an avuncular crime fighter in Brooke Masters’ book: Spoiling for a Fight – The Rise of Eliot Spitzer; we are loathe to think of the next books that will sum up the corporate rocking Governor Spitzer because he, essentially, cheated on his wife and hired very expensive hookers.

The Political Process Will Pay the Price

“… everyone’s vision will be obscured by the political food fight.”

Make no mistake about it, allegations will fly – novels will be written and a few fortunes made over Eliot Spitzer’s indiscretions and quite possibly, crimes. It’s the very fuel the that keeps the lights burning so that as we stare at the fire – Washington insiders are busy shredding the Constitution. He’s a Democrat and before long some bloated Right Wing hate monger is going to reveal that he once dated Hillary and before long the Left will respond and everyone’s vision will be obscured by the political food fight.

So Eliot Spitzer’s romp was more than just a whipped cream and a trip on Amtrak. This was a harpoon to Democratic Politics and a further leg-up to the neo-cons, who have hijacked the Republican Party and replaced it with politicians – the likes of highly offensive and disturbing Rep. Steven King of Iowa, or Rep. Jack Kingston of GA, two of the House’s most blatant graffiti artists, who will, most assuredly, tie this into Barack Obama’s middle name.

Insurance is NOT the Prescription for American Poor Health

This article was originally published in May 2009 –

The Almost Daily Binx, San Jose-CA, V.A.Caminiti – [Second in a series]

Public Safety / Public Health

…capitalism mutated in the very same way as we encouraged the banking industry to strip safeguards

Can you imagine if you had to be insured to receive basic police services?  How about clean water?  Sewer?  What if you dialed 911 and the operator asked you for your location and your 911 insurance code?  How did the American public become so disinterested and callous in only a few short very greedy years.  Once again, our flaws have seemed to overwhelm our instincts.  Even self-preservation and our natural desire to propogate the species seems to have been compromised to our own detriment.  Isn’t it unnatural for us to not be concerned with the health of all our neighbors – their well being.  How did we become cheerleaders against ourselves – humanity ?

Be very careful and very thorough when approaching this discussion.  The rules, the basis and the players have all changed.  When this discussion took place back in the 1960’s – the very same insurance companies that were prohibited from engaging in risky investments with their financial reserves were essentially providing a public service.  But alas, this is where American capitalism mutated in the very same way as we encouraged the banking industry to strip safeguards and effective regulation, such as Glass-Steagall.

Capitalism is a particularly useful economic tool.  It inspires great things and great philanthropy.  Unfortunately, there is a selflessness to philanthropy and charitable deeds that seems to have eluded many Americans.  While it is a great transition to move from selfishness to selflessness – the journey of the transition is a school unto itself.  Humility knowledge and the gift of discernment may in fact be the destination; however this is all as personal as prayer.  Our public practices are the product of this personal investment; and our business practices can be joyful in the fact that as capitalists and business owners we are part of a community of those that make our business run efficiently and profitably.   Whether a business owner, operator or employee … we all have the responsibility to contribute to the public welfare as well as for those around our own campfire.

This article doesn’t have sufficient literary real-estate to foot-note all the particulars so without apology we’ll aim for bold points.

Cui BonoWho benefits?

Shareholders, stakeholders and investors benefit.  And any departure from this financial turbine is described by the neo-con extreme rightists as a move toward Socialism.

This Latin phrase familiar to many means – ‘who benefits?’  Precisely.  Who benefits if our Health approach is saddled with not one, not two but three layers of profit for absolutely no value to the insured?  Who?  Well it is shamefully simple – the industries that have self-proclaimed they are essential to the delivery of health care – but actually – they deliver the illusion of health care and enormous amounts of red-tape and acrimony.  Millionaire doctors are common-place.  We’re not talking about upper middle class, respectable gentry – we’re talking millionaires in alarming disproportion to the ability of their customers to deliver that kind of wealth for services.

The answer to this puzzle is even more alarming.  Just imagine that a group of entrepreneurs managed to create a collective of physicians and hospitals and convince them that they could guarantee payment for performed services.  We’ll call them the health insurance group analysts.  Now imagine that small private and institution run hospitals are bought up by another entrepreneurial enterprise offering consolidation of services in order to increase profit and contain costs.  Sounds great, right? And then let’s round it off with yet another group that helps design and counsel physicians and hospitals in how to play the game.  The only thing we haven’t actually talked about yet is delivering health care to sick people – so far the discussion is only about money.  And there’s more to come.  Public offerings, new consolidators of health administration and create the fertile birth canal for an entirely new industry; that is, Medical Administrative Services companies whose primary deliverable is processing the voluminous medical insurance paperwork for corporate physicians.

Who benefits?  Shareholders, stakeholders and investors benefit.  And any departure from this financial turbine is described by the neo-con extreme rightists as a move toward Socialism. After all, the promotion of the public well-being has been removed from the very essence of corporate capitalism in stark contrast to its very reason for existing – so why not replace the beneficiaries of health system with shareholders instead of citizens.  The neo-cons and the convoluted agenda they promote have altered the course of modern society, backward to the 1920’s.  It appears the only public services left that haven’t been dismantled are Police, Fire, Water and Sewer – but not for the lack of trying.  In many enclaved real-estate developments around the country, insurance company underwritten private fire companies have been put into service.  They respond to fires of their insured – only.  Sound like the roaring 20’s?  Does it ring of ‘protection’ schemes during the height of the Volstead Act and other ancestors of the equally disturbing Patriot Act?

Debating / The Baiting

…and other buzz words that are the intellectual equivalent of knock-out drops are still the descriptive terms for the argument.  That is to say – the arguments they are having in the public forum have been crafted by the insurance industry.

The Argument for Basic Public Health – what the disrupters call Socialized Medicine – has never been stronger or more sensible.  Tragically though, half the support for the argument disappears because Progressives and Liberals have not been represented – graft free – through the Democratic Party.  The public may be “trusting” their Democratic President with unprecedented solidarity – but they are not as trusting of the Democratic Congress.  Much of this is the result of desperate Rightist pundits working the rope lines whenever and wherever possible.  Hillary Clinton was famously lampooned by ultra-rightists talking heads for her clumsy declaration of a ‘Vast Right Wing Conspiracy’ – but as history has revealed, there are plenty of Right Wing C0-dependents deserving of scrutiny and deposition, at the very least.

However, a significant amount of skepticism haunts Democrats and will continue to haunt them because of the public perception that they were nothing more than ‘eloquent shoulder-shruggers’  that argued vociferously during elections but actually accomplished little else during the 12 years, including 6 years of total American National Government madness.  The bulk of the screaming and dissent ultimately emanated from the Internet wired public. Very few voices in the Democratic Party were brave enough to live their convictions and distinguish themselves with articulate disagreement or simply brave fundamental disagreement.  Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, respectively, come to mind as demonstrative of some of the distinguished few.  And while there are more – most played it safely by putting on their war-paint for Kodak moments, while the public groundswell shook them up.  If nothing else, the Democratic Party went through some significant changes it hadn’t planned when many of the dinosaurs were retired during the last Democratic portion of the last Presidential contest.  So keep in mind – supporters of the President are admiring him for being a Republican and a Democratic dinosaur slayer, although Congress does not share that distinction.

Surely the endless stream of Congressional tidbits about entitlements, insurance reform and other buzz words that are the intellectual equivalent of knock-out drops are still the descriptive terms for the argument.  That is to say – the arguments they are having in the public forum have been crafted by the insurance industry.  They haven’t been crafted around American Health, yet we bought the bait and are fishing with it.   The simple fact is – the reason our health care is so expensive in this country is fundamental.  Unlike public safety, Police, Fire, Water, Sewer and other basic citizen’s services – health is for profit and the ultimate goal of the insurance companies is to minimize benefits and maximize profits. That might even work in a well running capitalistic economy, but that train is most demonstrably off-the-rails as well.

We have been, in effect, brain-washed into believing that our health system is requires insurance reform, when simply – no insurance would be the better solution.  A public health system serves everyone and if those of significant wealth chose to have private health services – the system would in no way prevent it.  Similarly, insurance fraud – one of the singularly most expensive non-return expenses of our health system, would essentially vanish.  The opportunity for young people to participate in community service by volunteering as part of National health programs could help end the reign of terror held over us by the collective avarice driven by the requirements of  ‘return-on-investment’ of  insurers and health services companies.

What’s the Prescription?

… recapture our self-respect and once again become brave good neighbors and partner with our brave young citizens who have put their healthy young blood on the line without question, while we have sat idle and permitted the looting of our treasury and over 55 years of international good-will and leadership.

It seems as though we need to finish the diagnosis in order to prescribe a fix.  But this becomes particularly difficult because Congress has made some startling assumptions.  That is to say, that by empowering only the parties that abused the system and engineered a health insurance paradigm that ostensibly circumnavigates accessible efficient health care – we’re in actuality only treating symptoms and not the underlying disease.  At the very least, this is an overwhelming deficit in our overall public safety and Homeland Security approach, which should be of paramount concern when talking about the overall health of Americans.

The health care reform discussion continually addresses improving the obfuscation as though there were legitimate solutions to be found, therein.  There haven’t been and will not be solutions by supporting an approach that at its roots is health-for-profit.  That would be as inane as suggesting that an alcoholic should be treated by changing brands of Gin.

We need to call-0ut the writers of the new public lexicon that have indoctrinated an alarming number of Americans in believing that a responsible functioning public health system is tantamount to Communism.  We need to demand that public figures be held accountable for their rhetoric and challenge those that have used their seat or office in Congress as a personal lobbying firm shilling for corporate interest instead of representing the public good as they promised by taking their Oath of Office.  So we must begin with ourselves.  Our understanding of health – preventative medicine – education – exercise – nutrition needs and enormous overhaul. But, equally important – we need to consider how insurance became the controlling factor in delivering health services.  After close historical and modern perusal, it is clear that these additional burdens to the pockets of Americans were designed out of greed, not an interest in protection as is suggested by aid or relief, but perhaps more in line with “protection” as in type of policies the Sopranos’ might offer their clients.

Here’s a prescription for another common unfortunate ailment – complacency:

  1. We recapture our initiative to think in private and practice in public.
  2. We stop promoting bad practices and stop habitually adopting talking points of broadcast ideologues that profit by misinforming the public and further profit by shilling for financial interests.
  3. We exercise our capitalistic right to withhold business from broadcast personalities that pretend to be journalists and actually engage not in commentary but in propaganda, even if inconvenient.
  4. We (many of us) must admit that we were willing accomplices and contributed to this mess by our actions or inactions.
  5. We take responsibility not only for the welfare of our families or those we hope to impress – we take responsibility to think on a larger scale than our personal comfort and thus improve our Nation.
  6. We take the time to know things that are important and stop making excuses because it takes time or interferes with our leisure.
  7. We recapture our self-respect and once again become brave good neighbors and partner with our brave young citizens who have put their healthy young blood on the line without question, while we have sat idle and permitted the looting of our treasury and over 55 years of international good-will and leadership.
  8. We do not live in fear and we practice rules of law – instead of languishing in rules of exception.