From Great Evil Comes Great Good–Eventually, If We Do Our Part

“Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows.” So says Nichiren, founder of one of the largest sects of Buddhism. The Buddhism that this writer has practiced for 43 years.  That great good doesn’t come automatically.

We’ve said it before. We say it again with more confidence, as people are changing not just in America but around the world. We’ll stick to what we know best, America, in commenting on this principle.

America’s president, celebrated the nation’s independence by declaring “Black Lives Matter is a symbol of hate.” This, from a man who is hate personified. Click To Tweet

While others might recount the founders of the United States, he extolled as heroes, those who sought to divide it. Confederate generals that seceded in rebellion against the union. All in the name of maintaining their right of dominion over other humans–unwilling people of African descent first as slaves then as lesser beings not entitled to the privileges of whites.

He castigated those who would have torn down a statute of President  Andrew Jackson as ignorant of America’s heritage. Hardly, they knew full well Jackson was the one to  who forcibly removed Native Americans from  their historic lands to arid lands two-thirds of a way across the country. All so that Whites could settle in their verdant land. Thousands of the Cherokee died on that “Trail of Tears.” People who had a higher literacy rate than those whites who were freed from English prisons to settle in Georgia.

As we’ve said here before, Biff [AKA Trump] is the divider-in-chief. He want’s no “perfect union”—he wants a people filled with contempt for those different from themselves. His notion of making America great again is restoring those times when white supremacy was the law and the dominant culture of America.

Rather than honoring those who gave their lives in defense of the US against foreign adversaries, he and his minions ignore the payment of bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan by Russia. We still don’t know what hold it is that Vladimir Putin has on him, but it’s clear that Biff owes his allegiance to Russia, not America. Continue reading From Great Evil Comes Great Good–Eventually, If We Do Our Part

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#Book Review–The Forever War

Had this one on my list TBR. When the local library reopened (30 minute limit per person) I got my chance to get this classic, multi-award winner.

The Forever War (The Forever War, #1)The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book already has more than 134,000 reviews. It really doesn’t need another one. It clearly deserved all the the awards it got. Initially, I laughed a bit at the notion that the military would not only sanction but encourage sexual encounters among combat troops of the opposite sex. That said, Haldeman had the prophetic sense to have both men and women in combat roles. That wasn’t close to being so when he wrote the book.

While the military is resistant to change, especially regarding men and women in combat together (earlier about race), once the chain of command says go, all will eventually follow–grudgingly for some time, of course. Like Haldeman, I too spent a year in Vietnam; not too far removed in time from him. I know the nonsense that goes on. Although the “f*** you sir” sir, like the sex, seemed more than a little unlikely. Probably intended as a satirical jibe–maybe.

The main takeaway for me as a budding sci-fi writer (in my Third Age of life) is this: Be very careful in putting in near-year dates in your stories. Best to avoid dates of future events less than fifty years away. The same problem happened with Philip K. Dick’s famous novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, made into the now classic Blade Runner movie.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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America First–The MOST COVID-19 Cases and Deaths!

The US leads the planet in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Yes, with only four percent of the world population, it’s America First. That’s probably not what Biff (AKA, Donald Trump) meant when he adopted that international perspective. But he earned it.

Currently, twenty percent of new cases are generated in America. Five percent of those who contract it die–here and around the world. Over 125,000 dead so far–more than all military engagements since WWII.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Task Force held its first briefing–in two months! Here’s what VP Mike Pence, leading the briefing spoke of Americans “seeing encouraging news,” and said.

“all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly”

Seriously? 

If America leading the world in COVID-19 Cases AND Deaths, is encouraging–what the hell would he find discouraging?

GOP means: Gaslighting Offenders Party

More than half the states have surging cases of COVID-19.  Few, if any, reopened safely and responsibly.  Most of the cases in those states weren’t declining AT ALL .  Like Biff, Pence, Trump TV (AKA Fox News), all were pandemic deniers and/or gaslighters. Those red state governors had to dutifully, lemming-like, let people go wherever they wanted without any restrictions on social distancing or wearing masks. Continue reading America First–The MOST COVID-19 Cases and Deaths!

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Change is in the air–on the TV, the web, your town and around the world. That’s what this post is about. We will will get there shortly. Black Lives Matter.

November 3rd is less than five months away. The current poll numbers show Trump losing the election to Biden in a big way. Neither Mueller nor impeachment could put him away. COVID-19 and now Derek Chauvin, George Floyd’s killer are bringing him down. Well, actually, it’s his own ineptitude—his own incompetent impulses to crises way over his capacity.

That’s a discussion for another post. Today is about the changing times. To the rapidly evolving response, finally, to one more killing of an unarmed Black man. But first a brief explanation of a style change at Views.

Hereinafter, Trump shall be known here as “Biff.” Biff was Marty McFly’s primary antagonist in the Back to the Future movie trilogy. Search your recollection or the web for the physical resemblance. What urges the change are the character traits. Traits they share, like being a bully, dumb and good for nothing.

Biff’s tweets are typically false, insulting, vulgar, and sometimes libelous. We will call them Drumpf Droppings. (Biff’s grandfather Friedrich Drumpf, changed his name sometime after coming to America). Droppings are what birds leave everywhere. Drumpf Droppings extend the analogy—befouling America with their filth.

We’ll talk more about Biff’s declining election prospects another day. Today it’s all about what’s happening in America’s racial attitudes.

The Times They Are a-Changin,’ was a Bob Dylan album from 1964. There were indeed lots of changes in the sixties. Among them, a variety of laws were passed protecting the civil rights of African-Americans. Laws tell people what they should and shouldn’t do. They provide punishment for infractions. What laws don’t do is change people’s attitudes. That takes time and some intervening events.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. That’s how the beginning of a verse from Ecclesiastes goes. The reverend Al Sharpton cited the Bible passage at the first eulogy he gave for George Floyd. Pete Seeger wrote a song based on the entire passage. The Byrds version of the Seeger song was titled Turn! Turn! Turn!—an oft repeated refrain calling for change.

Change has been a long time coming.

Blacks have been killed in America since they arrived as slaves in 1619. They’ve been killed at the hands of police for nearly as long. Why is real reform on the table now? Was something special about George Floyd? Certainly special and loved by family and friends. Not the first unarmed Black man killed by a cop. Not the first on video either. What changed since Eric Garner’s death in New York City? What since events in Ferguson, Missouri?

Maybe it is the season. Maybe the time to turn. Continue reading The Times They Are a-Changin’

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The George Floyd Saga is being hijacked–take it back

We understand rage. Rage that can lead to violence. Violence doesn’t encourage change–it distracts from the message that it’s police behavior needs changing.

NOTE: Since 2015, Minneapolis police rendered 44 people unconscious by neck restraint. That practice needs to stop right now! That’s how George Floyd died.

Who are the looters, the rock and bottle throwers, the fire starters, etc.?

Don’t be taken in by them–they are NOT protesters. They are people with a different agenda. 

Continue reading The George Floyd Saga is being hijacked–take it back

Review of Watching Glass Shatter

Watching Glass ShatterWatching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked it, but I’d have given it a 2.5 if that were possible. That’s not so much the author’s fault as my expectation of a little more suspense/mystery and not almost entirely a family drama.

That said, the author does well at overcoming another bias of mine–not crazy about stories of the wealthy. Oddly, just read another one recently so maybe that annoyed me again. The same stresses and strains could be found in any family, rich or poor. It’s interpersonal issues that are the story–with wealth being nearly an incidental element.

Cudney does a good job of depicting the flaws of the various family members, especially the overly controlling mother, Olivia. He wraps it all up, neatly with a bit of melodrama. Unfortunately, it’s nearly with a deus ex machina that I won’t reveal because it would be a spoiler–identifying the adopted son.

Bottom line, if you like family sagas, this book will probably fit the bill for you. Just not my thing; not the author’s fault.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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Transcending Hate; Creating Value

Seeing things as they really are, without the illusions or delusions.

That’s the tagline for Views from Eagle Peak.  It’s a little long, but it’s what it is.

George Floyd. Cops. Minneapolis and more. Protests–peaceful and violent. Us and them. Self-identity–race, sex, job, age and much more. Attitudes and beliefs. Norms and Values. Hate.

We’re all human. That’s the race I put on those forms that ask for it. You can see from my profile picture I’m White. My wife of nearly 40 years is African-American. Her father wanted to kill us if we got married. Later he just said, “call me Dad.” That’s because, in the words of Daisaku Ikeda,

A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.

I prayed for his happiness and accepted responsibility for his attitude toward me–expecting to change myself and thus his perspective. Those things happened.

Blacks are seven times more likely to be killed by police gunfire than Whites are.  I don’t have statistics for death by other police behavior. When charged (rarely) and tried (more rare), few cops are convicted in the death of Blacks.

Racism is learned, not something people are born with. But, when growing up in whatever family and community one lives in, beliefs gradually accumulate. Continue reading Transcending Hate; Creating Value

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Acknowledgements: See citations to sources in text

Apologies for a Premature Post

One should always take a deep breath before posting.

Yesterday I urged a boycott of Twitter for it’s (and CEO Jack Dorsey’s) tolerance for Trump’s outrageous tweets. The problem is, the original one went out with very Trump-like verbiage. That’s intolerable, coming from me! 

I did several edits and updates yesterday. I came up with a more rational, more sensible version that reads like my normal self, eventually, and posted the improved version. 

It begins like this: Isn’t there enough hatred in America already?  You can read it here

Unfortunately, of course, it’s the first one that many will have seen via subscriptions. Which is why one always needs to cool off.  After a stressful day came the original post you might have seen, prompted by this:

I read how Jack Dorsey declined to delete Trump’s tweet of a conspiracy slandering Joe Scarborough–current MSNBC host and former GOP Congressman. It has been retweeted multiple times, a demonstrably false accusation that Joe murdered a former aide–more than 20 years ago.

It’s bad enough that he slanders Scarborough (the aide died of natural causes in Florida while Scarborough was in Washington, DC) but it also causes great pain for the parents of the 28-year old woman. It’s they who demanded the deletion.

Dorsey, quite apparently, doesn’t care. That’s why I suggest a boycott.

I realize that some people may have professional or business reasons to make use of Twitter. There are, of course, plenty of other similar programs to promote or communicate with.

I also understand that Dorsey is the founder and CEO of Square, an alternative for small businesses, street or market vendors to accept charges via credit cards. The rates Square charges are less than those imposed by banks for processing Visa, MasterCard, etc.  So, the boycott is just for Twitter–not Square.

Oh, and you may have noticed that Dorsey did enrage Trump by putting a “get the facts” label on two equally false claims about mail-in voting. Read about it in this NY Times article. What’s so laughable about Trump’s blasting Dorsey for being biased against him is that it came where else–but on Twitter. Does this not remind you of WWE or other theatrical wrestling events (which Trump is proud of)? Dorsey makes big bucks off Trump’s tweets. Trump excites his dwindling base by his regular conspiracy and slanderous tweets. This feigned outrage is just like the trash talk at pro wrestling events.

If you can’t boycott Twitter, at least tweet some outrage at the free rein Dorsey gives Trump. 

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Boycott Twitter Until Dorsey Stops Trumps Tweets

Isn’t there enough hatred in America already?

Does Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, have a conscience?

How much money does Dorsey make, via Twitter, for all the vile conspiracy theories, insults, racism, misogyny, lies and more that Trump tweets day after day. Twitter’s free, but the ad revenue streams in on the engagement that hate sells.

He won’t remove Trump’s tweets–no matter how much they violate the pitiful rules Twitter enforces on other people. People whose accounts are suspended or banned altogether. It seems he’s a real Trump fan.

BOYCOTT TWITTER!

Send Dorsey a tweet he will understand.

Maybe if it hurts Dorsey’s bottom line, he’ll at least dump Trump’s tweets–when he ought to ban him altogether.

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Planned Obsolescence–Smartphone Version

Rant–Replacing a Phone Needlessly

Time was, smartphone batteries were replaceable. Not anymore–practically speaking.

So what? The what is that the average life of the battery is 500 recharges. Let’s say a charge lasts 18 hours. That gives you 750 days–a little less than two years. What happens then? Well, it will still recharge, but it won’t last 18 hours anymore. Maybe 10-12. Then 7-9. Then, maybe it starts overheating and the glue starts loosening up that keeps the back on.

Now, the phone makers will tell you the batteries had to be smaller to make the phones thinner and enable all those features people want.  Really? Yes, so they can pay $500-$1,200 or more for an electronic device that will die if you drop it in the water (at least some, if not most of the time) or drop it on the floor, step on it, etc. Or you might forget it somewhere. It’s the most fragile device you have for the money.

Oh, but you can, theoretically, open the back and replace that skinny battery. Yes, you can buy a replacement battery and some tools (lots of tools) that will enable you to do that.  Less than $25! Oh, but you need a heat gun, too–if you don’t have one. That could be another $30-$75 if you want one with adjustable heat so you don’t fry the phone. You might as well order a new back for the phone too–probably less than $10. Why? Because the YouTube DIY videos will concede it’s a difficult task–they don’t tell you HOW difficult it is to do without destroying the back. The phone makers don’t want or expect you to replace the battery. They want and expect you to buy a new phone.

What happens to the old one? Well, it might get refurbished. It might get put in a landfill with other unwanted electronics. Not exactly environmentally correct, is it?

We will get the new back for the phone my wife had before she got her new one. We couldn’t get the back of the phone off without messing up the cheap plastic cover from the pricey phone. The battery was getting slow. She was going to give it to our son, whose phone wouldn’t hold a charge. Now it turns out both the front and the back of his phone (my previous one) are bowed out from the battery overheating. OK, it is older phone. We can then fix up her old one so he can have a better one, with that replacement battery that will last for 500 charges.

He’s been without a phone for a week now. The back cover we ordered from Amazon was originally coming from Wisconsin. Subsequently, it was coming from Oregon. Ah, then I recalled the news about Wisconsin coming down on Amazon for their lack of cooperation with health officials about their distribution facility in Kenosha–with 20 COVID-19 cases. Well, Jeff–do you think you might spend a few of those billions to take better care of your employees (disclosure: we have been buying lots of stuff from Amazon for some time now–selling too, like my Kindle books).

So, maybe you might consider demanding replaceable batteries. Or, maybe you might consider buying cheaper phones without all the bells and whistles. Seems like right now they really have us all over a barrel–if the phones won’t stay charged, we have to replace them. All because a battery won’t last!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Seeing things as they really are, without the illusions or delusions

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