Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Crawling on our bellies through the mud, James Bond style, we quietly exited the castle. Our scuba gear was hidden in the brush at the end of the tunnel. We had the documents we needed to prove the identity of the spy we had come to investigate. Her tricky double agent status had fooled us into thinking she was interested in helping us. As we proceeded with some caution we discovered her true intention was theft and subsequent sale of our defense plan. Ever since that covert meeting at the tavern she had turned up in curious ways. We sensed that we were being followed, and took pains to put her off our scent. Finally we discovered the source of her power and wealth. She was fully funded by the Inquisitors, and was expected by her masters to defeat us through espionage.
Our island was infiltrated by the Inquisitors without our knowledge. The slow trickle of foreign settlers all claimed to be loyal to our mission. The last island in the sea that was not ruled by a conglomerate was to be our Eden. We planned to live in harmony with nature, cultivating the plants, the social customs, and the laws that would preserve our tiny paradise. Refugees from all over the world had journeyed to our island to take part in this bold social experiment. Science and politics had failed us when they combined to dominate the world. Our diet had been reduced to just corn, potatoes, and animal fat. We were starving on many levels. The abundance and freedom we once cherished had been sold. Humanity had sold itself for secure employment in a mysterious system that enslaved the populace. Now our survival would depend on our ability to weed out those who intend to destroy our culture.
The justice system had been corrupted, but there was a single official who retained both integrity and power. The Judge Most High still had the ability to rule in favor of morality. He told us that with evidence he could convince the other rulers to allow our culture to survive in freedom. Some of the most powerful rulers had started to think they had gone too far with the total control of agriculture, environment, and religion. They feared creativity had been wiped out forever to feed the factory machine. They feared the automaton nation might eventually become too weak to survive under the strict and repressive circumstances. They wondered if nature was angry at the killing of all her diverse species for the sake of “markets”.
We managed to sneak away, but wondered if we could make it to the Judge Most High without being caught. We saw a hazy figure blocking the end of the tunnel that lead out to the beach. At first we could not distinguish if the figure was man or woman, friend, or foe. We continued in silence with deep anxiety, wishing for the best. Finally we saw that the Judge Most High was waiting for us. Our fate was sealed. Either the Judge Most High was truly an ethical figure, or we were about to turn over evidence to a double agent. There was only one way out of this predicament. It was show time.
This story is written in response to Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo photo prompt this week. Tune in to read, write, and comment here. It is fun to see how many differences there are in the responses.
The Latin phrase qui bono means as benefit to whom? In legal cases it is used to determine who might be responsible for criminal acts. I have been watching the series on Showtime, The Borgias, an accurate portrayal of the family and history of Italy. The key figure in the drama is Rodrigo Borgia, who reigned as Pope of Rome Alexander VI. He was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He was a highly controversial figure who ruled the Roman Catholic Church with an iron fist and very little respect for church doctrine. His personal excesses were epic, and his bastard children were all lavished with money and power.
The politics of Italy were complex and treacherous, with the Vatican serving as king maker and power broker. Alliances and secret plots were rampant. They Borgias made enemies of many of the families, the most prominent of which was the Sforza clan. First the Pope’s daughter Lucrezia is wed to a Sforza, but obtains annulment from her father a few months into the marriage. Her husband is later murdered by her brother Cesare. Castles are placed under siege and bloody battles are fought between the Sforzas and the papal army. Intrigue inside and outside the Vatican was rampant. The Borgias were known to be masters of the art of lethal poison. A plot nearly succeeds to kill Rodrigo with a glass of wine, but his daughter administers charcoal and saves his life. It was a wild game of liar’s poker.
As I watch the crazy politics unfold in 15th Century Rome and the church I can’t help but be reminded of present day politics. Spies, traitors and terrorists determined the outcome of Borgia power struggles. It appears we are wrapped in a double or triple plot in real time with much subterfuge and mystery clouding our election results. When enemies of enemies betray friends we need to ask a basic question: “Who benefits from this?” This concept was alive in ancient Rome because it points to the cause rather than to the red herrings intended to confuse.
If 400 pound hackers, of Russian or other origin, can change the election results in the United States the question is “Qui bono?” What do you think, gentle reader?
If we make it through this Thanksgiving week without a flood of car traffic invited to park outside our front door to donate to a charity scam it will be the first time since I have been in my home. Our HOA has forced the homeowners here to host a donation drop off in the fire lane of our private property for the entire time I have lived here, almost 15 years. Literally thousands of cars have passed by my front door to leave junk, or food, or volunteer hours preparing food for the public for a fake charity. The HOA board has a fiduciary (legal) responsibility to protect the property value of the corporation, but they see fit to use our property to show off their own fake philanthropy to the neighborhood. They operated these scams all year, and solicited donations in various ways. They used the US Postal service to solicit funds from the neighbors, which was incredible. Holidays were special times when we had non-stop cars drive through and park for hours to donate to the charity scams.
The most amazing feat they accomplished was to go to court and get a restraining order from a city court judge. They told him they were “giving back” and need to restrain the people who live here and own the driveway with the fire lane they occupy from stopping the charity scam donations or food prep. We tried for years to stop it through our official Tucson Police Department neighborhood watch, but the cop was in favor of both filling the fire lane with cars, and inviting the public to drive through this driveway we have to pay to pave in order to keep the white collar criminals happy. She did not even know them, but wanted, in general, to make this a shittier place to live. She encouraged the HOA board to trash the environment and break federal revenue law. It seems she was just untrained or not paying any attention. There was no way to know what she was thinking because she simply refused to respond when we reported the crime. She was able to influence the whole city government to refuse to enforce the fire lane law here for reasons known only to herself…or more likely to nobody, since it was a mindless clueless action. Cluelessness is contagious and soon the whole city government was too clueless to even collude with each other. They had manifested the ultimate willfully blind untrust. They unknowingly were the biggest promoters of obvious crime in front of all of us in the area. They stuck to their guns for more than a decade, and last night there were 4 cars in the fire lane and 1 in a neighbor’s driveway without permission. If a fire had broken out they had blocked people into their garages who would be trapped while the fire truck would be blocked. They don’t see any reason not to expose us to that kind of risk.
After being forced to live with this full time donation drop off site in my front yard for years, the neighbors and I petitioned the newly elected mayor, who is a lawyer. He refused to respond, and in fact since the first petition in 2013 he has not been willing to respond to the citizens here who petitioned his office to halt the charity scam activity that freaked the whole neighborhood out. His office thinks it has a right to remain silent while refusing to give us any law enforcement services for more than a decade. They are not trying to refuse to perform. This is the extent of the ability they have. They send out a cop to promote charity scamming and filling the fire lane of the property with as many cars as possible, and then refuse to respond when we ask for at least a clear fire lane. No can do. I have pointed out the total number of nights our fire lanes have been clear in the last 15 years. The number is stuck at 6 nights total. They passively aggressively pretend that this law enforcement task is impossible for them, so they can’t do anything to improve this situation. They manage to keep the fire lanes clear downtown. They do know how to write these expensive tickets. They prefer to ignore the issue. They have fully trashed our hood as well as trust in the police with their actions. I still can’t get them to repair the damage because it would include admission of an error. They are sticking with deeper clulusion. This is why we can’t have nice things.
If we were having coffee today I would tell you that I am dedicated to simple pleasures like coffee with you right now. I have some spiced cider, a selection of teas, and we still have lots of nuts to go around. Please help yourself and take the load of your feet for a few minutes. As I told you last weekend this friendly digital drink downing party between writers is a welcome safe space to hang without exposure to crazy political hoo ha. This rare and exotic privilege to hang out and share personal thoughts is very valuable to me. The trauma of the political season has exhausted everyone. This is a time for healing by sincerely listening to others.
We have been subjected to far too much hate speech and faulty logic. The big November surprise of the election of Donald Trump has twisted history. We will now change the narrative of our story along with the costuming, the moral values, and the judicial system. After I considered the facts, although I did not vote for him, I do share the frustration about dysfunctional government that his supporters claim to be able to remedy. I despise the wasted days and wasted nights we spend supporting the Congress while they bicker our money down the drain. My solution to this problem would be different, but we agree that there is a giant problem. I do fear and loathe what has happened, but I also have been upset about the government’s dysfunction for my entire adult life. As soon as I started paying taxes, before I could vote, I started freaking out. I have voted in every election since I turned 21, but feel that many of my choices have sucked. My taxes have not been spent in my best interests. I am not sure whose interests were served, but I can tell mine were not. My level of approval has not changed much over time. It hovers around 2%. There is no love lost.
Some people think he will not be able to deliver on any of the bombastic promises. Others think he will do wonders for the economy. He seems determined to roll back civil rights and health care legislation, but he has no experience in making laws. This is a volatile experiment being felt around the globe. It is explosive and pernicious. Nobody knows what will happen.
My focus is where is usually is, at home. My well-being begins and ends at my house. I have limited control over the way the larger cookie crumbles. Here in midtown Tucson I have purchased some perfect comice pears, some brie cheese, and some tangerines. I am shifting the menu to holiday specials without turning to sugar to create them. We are setting out on a gourmet journey into fabulous fall flavors. Eating delicious food at home can make up for a lot of terrible things out in the world. I have tiny solar lights all a twinkle outside. In a few weeks I will start to plant my fake poinsettias in the front yard. I bring them out a few at a time. The week before Christmas it goes into full coverage. I am amazed how long these fake flowers have held up, since they spend a month each year outside in the yard. I plan to pursue my own festive plans without taking on a burden of worry. Actions are of the utmost importance now. Just as we can’t be bullied by foreign terrorists, we can’t give up our own peace and quiet to worry about the government. I plan to keep a warm place for you by the wood stove all winter. Thanks very much for visiting today. Take a ripe comice pear with you for the ride home.
Do check out all the coffee sharing action here. Visit the contributors, leave comments or write your own weekend post to let us know what you’re thinking and doing.
There is an ethical ladder that ascends to the highest moral code. As children we should be taught how to climb that ladder by example. Unfortunately many children are witnesses to adult misbehavior that leads them to cling to a low rung on the ladder. As we go through life we respond to situations according to our ethical code. There is a sliding scale for moral fortitude, depending on the difficulty of the stand, or the popular opposition to the truth. It is obviously easier to go along with the crowd no matter what they do. People who stay down at that level just want to not make waves. They do not consider how they contribute to the morality of the entire world.
At the bottom of the ethical stairway is only one consideration:
If we mature we start to realize there could be more:
As educated adults participating in a community we may start to notice:
On which rung do you live most of your life, gentle reader? I encourage you to take the highest ground possible, not just for yourself, but for the entire world.
I have been watching the HBO John Adams series about the American Revolution and the first American continental congress in Philly. It helps me see that our politicians are not in the worst situation in our history. Neither are they less favorably aligned than in the nation’s past. This congress we have today is about the same as all ruling bodies have always been, since the Roman Senate. The use of power by humans on earth has been punctuated with misery and cruelty. Conquest, political or military, has been imposed on nations, colonies, and entire continents. War and Peace have hung in the balance more times than we know, but always for the same reasons. War is an archetypal situation that repeats itself.
When we say history repeats itself we mean that archetypal events continue to occur. In the arch of recorded history we have seen the pendulum of power swing from feudalism to anarchy. Leaders have been both born and created in the struggle to survive. We think of those leaders as the representatives of the entire culture, but they may merely be the most famous. We know less about how the common person lived than we do about the fancy and well born. I know this very well from my study of my own ancestry. I learn more all the time about America by studying my ancestors’ lives. None of my forefathers was famous during the American Revolution, but many did fight in it. Power does flow through the events of man, but my religious ancestors would all say that fate is sealed by divine providence. Man is just a player on the eternal stage.
I think the time is right to bring back the tradition of wearing the dunce cap. John Duns Scotus ( yes, exactly like SCOTUS) created the dunce cap as an educational tool. He was born in Scotland in 1266, so he might well have been hanging out with my ancestors, perhaps even influencing their upbringing. Both of my parents have Scottish ancestry. The Subtle Doctor, as Scotus was known, was a famous philosopher, teaching in Oxford, Cambridge, and Paris before his fall from grace.
It seems the doctor was stabbed to death for his school of thinking. His students used their pens to kill him because he was trying to “make them think”. Now we have to ask ourselves which one of these “schools of thought” was crazier than the other, and also is the pen mightier than the sword.
For modern use I think we just make corrupt officials who are caught breaking the law to fashion their own caps out of construction paper. They all need to sent to sit in the corner for public humiliation until they repent of their stupidity. Do you think this could work, gentle reader?
What is the opposite of resisting arrest? The cops resisting citizens who want to present evidence to stop crime is that. I have spent almost a decade trying to stop the obvious crime in my immediate neighborhood. This has turned out to be an illusive dream because I could not manage to show the TPD the evidence. Once this had been going on for a few years, we were then subjected to a fake neighborhood watch for the sole purpose of willfully denying crime is crime. This proved the point that crime left to fester just get worse. Now we were forced to keep all the crime in place, and pay taxes to support a fraudulent neighborhood watch. Everything has gone in the opposite direction of justice. We have been forced to keep the crime we have (which is significant) by a completely clueless system designed to serve and protect us. You don’t have to be shot in the back by the cops to have your life ruined by their dishonesty.
Finally, about a month ago I physically took the evidence to the station for the captain to review. During the month nobody has contacted me or informed me at all. This week TPD sent 3 cops to my house to ask what is happening, as if this is the first time they have heard of this. I showed them the evidence I still had at the house and told this very long complicated story one more time. They did not understand and asked me to call 911 if the ongoing financial fraud continued. This is not a realistic way to stop financial fraud.
Still TPD is completely silent. I told them I am not at all comfortable leaving that evidence at the station since the captain is on vacation, and he is specifically the only one I can trust. Silence. I fully expect that evidence to disappear at the Midtown police station and the whole 10 years of obstruction of justice to be swept under the table. We hear about corruption in government, but I have lived through a decade of it at the most extreme levels. These people aren’t even in collusion. They are simply clueless, too clueless to even collude. This is the scariest discovery I have made. They don’t intend to prevaricate. They just have no contact with reality. This corrupt bubble must be broken for the safety of us all.
The first and the only rule in whistle blowing is: Never stop!!!! The second rule that I have learned is: Contact the Department of the Treasury. I have had to blow the same whistle about the same crimes being committed by the same people in the same place for over a decade. Finally, I think I have reached an organization interested in enforcing the law. The United States Department of the Treasury has seen it all, and knows from experience how corrupt government can be. The Royal Canadian Mounties may always get their man, but the IRS always gets their (our) money. I have been frustrated that none of our public officials or law enforcement agencies is interested in stopping obvious crime, but I now have a more realistic view of what to expect from the people I pay to enforce the law. It is naive to think that intense corruption that obstructs justice and fails the public trust does not exist at every level of our government.
I have lived next door to a charity scam operated by our HOA board for more than 10 years. My first request for help was to the local city Council member, Karin Uhlich. She never responded to dozens of requests over more than 5 years. Her assistant, who lives around the corner from me and is a “neighborhood outreach” employee has never been able to respond to the many requests I made for her to look at the evidence. I contacted John McCain two or three times with no response. I called and e mailed Ron Barber to try to get some help for the crime situation in our neighborhood. His office had the nerve to ask me how I liked the customer service from his office when I contacted it. I said I gave them an F since they never responded at all. They never responded to that either. The Tucson Police Department has willfully denied these crimes by creating a fake neighborhood watch comprised of only the criminals involved in the HOA board. They then go ahead and ask for a grant from the Feds to willfully ignore federal crimes and call that neighborhood policing. Dozens of requests to the TPD have been willfully ignored until last spring when Lt Frank Hand begrudgingly admitted that charity scamming is criminal and gave me the correct form to contact the IRS to claim a reward and stop the crimes. I had made attempts to tell the IRS many times, but Lt. Frank gave me the secret key to success…they only respond to the correct form. I filed the form and within about 3 months I had a response. This was heavenly after so many years. If I had it to do again I would physically camp at the IRS until I had a chance to submit evidence. I completely understand why Edward Snowden chose to tattle outside the country. Doing so to the agency invested in the corruption can only end in heartache.
The neighbors here petitioned the mayor of Tucson, who is a lawyer and should be able to discern crime from charity, for two years before officer Frank called me. The cops are not lawyers, so we think the mayor has responsibility to end obstruction of justice rather than participate in it. The sad news is that our government is not open to hearing evidence that will show how unethical it is. It will go to great lengths to deny reality if that reality includes crimes committed in broad daylight by our public officials. It is a shared deluded consciousness that endangers our society. Who knew you could be made so happy by a letter from the Internal Revenue Service???
What are the factors that leave the bitter and putrid taste we have in our mouths from the election year? Some feel the Supremes let all the dogs out when the allowed superpac money to influence us without disclosure. I believe we know which interests support which candidates, so the secrecy is not the issue exactly. What I notice this year is that wounds are the stars of the show. The festering rust belt unemployment wound is pitted against the draught stricken farmer wound, or the immigration wound, with the neediest winning temporary, meaningless attention. Like siblings in a poverty stricken family who must srcap for everything, childish whining leaders of the government constantly remind us of the undeserving nature of the other side of the aisle. We know never to believe the statements they make or the reason they employ. We know they are all in the pockets of the lobbyists. Nobody has any faith that the greedy, out of control people who spend our tax money have any principals that do not bend for funding. Our government is corrupt, which means that we pay for a lot of action that is destructive rather than productive.
The congress likes to tell the story that they make sausage. They throw all the requests together in order to make laws that will pass both houses. The lobbyist funding that influences every vote speaks much louder than the public interest. The public interest has no lobby, and therefore is not powerful enough to take a senator out to a fancy lunch or ball game to discuss the public’s point of view. The federal government has not had time to do it’s job for years because it is campaigning all the time. The need to feed the political machine to keep the candidate on the trail starts and ends with corporate and industry lobbies built for the purpose of creating legislation favorable to partisan causes. This is why the sausage is always full of disgusting unknown substances and crazy consequences. Nobody is the wiser, since the bills generally are almost impossible to read or comprehend. Nobody expects these laws to be enforced. That is what seems to me to be the big bitter joke.
The most important factor that creates that bitterness is lack of enforcement. The lawmakers put on some Kabuki theater of right and wrong through legislation wars. In the meantime, we maintain gigantic agencies with so little oversight and supervision that nothing works. All these laws on the books require offices full of civil servants, and buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure. None of them seems to require enforcement. The civil servants drive around in the civil vehicles ignoring fraud and corruption. They are concerned primarily with the benefits of their jobs, the continuation of their jobs, and doing as little work as possible. Enforcement is the least of their concern. Since the elected official who is in charge of the office is absent campaigning, waste is the word of the day.