Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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We will soon discover if what appears to some to be extreme Fascism will be contained by the United States judicial system. The checks and balances originally designed into our system have been blurred by political power. If religious organizations are liberated to use funds for direct political campaigning we will be in a whole new universe of crossed purposes. Many worry that when the president said he revoked Dodd Frank financial regulations because some of his friends have good businesses and can’t borrow (yes, that is what he said) that we are running fast down the road that brought us to ruin when Wall Street was too big to fail. Since we made up that term we have done absolutely nothing (except Dodd Frank) to address this too big to fail banking problem. The complicated regulations are never well understood by normal people, but we are clearly being told that banks will be able to lend more freely and do as they please (gamble) with the banks’ holdings as soon as this has been enacted. I am no banking expert, but this sounds very fishy to me. We don’t fully understand it, but we have political deja vu.
The executive branch of the government is intended to enforce the laws created by Congress. The president, the military, and the police are “arms of the law” intended not to make law but to enforce it. The judicial branch provides needed expertise to guide the executive branch to stay within the law. It adjudicates disputes about the laws that congress creates. The Supreme Court has been fully politicized to the point that the appointment is viewed now as extreme political victory. It is such a big deal that the present vacancy was “held open” until the election was concluded. This says a lot about The Supreme Court and Congress. This appointment is now a public political wrestling match which is getting messy. Is this how the government is even supposed to work?
The reason to watch the judicial branch very carefully now is that it holds the key to rule of law. With a strong independent and functional judiciary branch we can move forward and resolve disputes without running amok in political expediency. I currently trust the court system more than I trust the other two branches. In my own mind the checks and balances are wildly out of balance. A poorly educated public that does not understand how the government is intended to work is not very likely to be governed by a functional, rational leadership. This is a formula for Fascism. This is how rule of law is destroyed, with ignorance. I am not as much a subscriber to good and evil as I am to real and unreal. The evil I believe we need to fight in the world today is unconsciousness. If we think someone is criminally unconscious it is our duty to persuade them to make contact with reality. That task is much harder than judging or assuming anything about anyone. These are troubled times, gentle reader.
I have been an enthusiastic fan of the local social network, Nextdoor, since it launched. I started one for our neighborhood right away, and have worked to increase participation because I believe it has potential to drastically improve communication between neighbors as well as between neighborhoods and law enforcement agencies. We have made a few gains, but I notice recently that many members do not understand how the system works. A neighbor recently asked me where to find instructions to use the site. This inspired me to find this tutorial and create this post with some simple suggestions.
One of the most common misunderstandings seems to be about who can see the posts. Some folks think that because our police department is a member, and does post useful information to the community using the system, they are monitoring Nextdoor full-time. The posts initiated by the police force are visible to the force. All other posts are private from any government agency. There is a private messaging system with which to privately contact any cop who is in the system. Some officers also publish their phone numbers or e-mail addresses. This is not an official channel to report crime. It is a way to dialog about community issues that may include crime. The goal of Nextdoor is to increase engagement, not enter the arena of law enforcement. We already have a police force working very hard on that. Increasing engagement may eventually improve our crime statistics just because more pertinent information is shared.
The calendar and the classified sections are excellent tools to promote events or let neighbors know about services offered. The classified section provides free advertising between local establishments and local residents. The reason to use these special designations is simple. The conversation that is known as a thread or stream will move on with time and be buried by newer posts and conversations. New members will not be likely to search the conversations held in the past. They might, however, check the classified section or the calendar, just as they might in a newspaper. These useful sections are underused where I live. If a member shows interest in an event on the calendar Nextdoor will send an e-mail reminder when the event is soon to occur. There is a new feature I have not used much myself that tags, and recommends businesses that are discussed in the thread.
If you do not have a Nextdoor site in your area, I urge you to start one. It is available as an app for the phone, which most people use now. If you have a site I encourage you to use it to get to know your neighbors. It is free. What is not to like?
The theories used to administer law enforcement agencies have changed with the times. The current political climate demands a thorough examination of the criminal justice system from top to bottom. The DOJ’s 21st Century Guidelines are a step in the right idealistic direction. Much thought has been put into the basic “pillars” of law enforcement best practices. The country seems to be more divided each day on the subject of police relationships with the public. Some paint the entire force as rotten based on the criminal behavior now available for broadcast to the world. Others advocate for support for the cops no matter what they are doing. The second group always refers to a few rotten apples, but they never mention the rest of the proverb…a few rotten apples spoil the whole barrel. Staying with the fruit analogy, I think it is the responsibility of the administrators of cities to responsibly go through the barrels on a regular basis to assure that the law enforcement culture is not rotten.
The war on drugs has not only given us an opiate addicted society, but also great opportunity for the most common kinds of corruption to flourish. Arizona is a wild west state famous for “conservative” law enforcement, al estilo de Joe Arpaio. Indeed, Arizona has had some famous historical stand offs around law and order. The Gunfight at the OK Corral was exactly that. Doc and Wyatt are symbols of everything we love about Tombstone and the legends too tough to die. After the Earps and Doc shot the Clantons they high tailed it to Tucson, and the rest is history. The Arizona Rangers were founded in Tombstone during the Territory days, and still have a proud tradition, although today they are a volunteer organization. It is a serious challenge to maintain the proud traditions and, at the same time, be vigilant of corruption. It is not a black and white question.
How do you feel, gentle reader? Do you think there is a problem with individual cops, or with the leadership? Or do you feel everything is going well with the criminal justice system right now?
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.
Our bodies alert us to imbalance and disease long before a diagnosis can be made. I have always had excellent digestion, but a couple of years ago I had to make some dietary changes to stem some new symptoms I had acquired in my digestive tract. My thermogram showed inflammation all along the digestive system, but the real issue was that I felt bad. I had become a burping bubbling mess. I eliminated wine and beer, which made a huge difference in the problem. I also decreased, but did not totally stop, my consumption of bread. These changes, together with some attention to adding the foods that heal the spleen, helped me conquer my indigestion.
During the time I was studying my spiritual path as it coincided with all this unexpected indigestion in my body. I believe there is always some soul element of every physical manifestation. Indeed, I had unresolved, undigested issues about my home and environment that had serious consequences. Stress from trying unsuccessfully to put a stop to crime in our neighborhood had become a permanent drag. I was really sick and tired of reporting crime with no response and no effort made by authorities to stop it. The culture of willful blindness had won the day, and no progress was possible. Now there is a breakthrough!!!
This week our new police chief, Chris Magnus, starts his job running the Tucson Police Department. I have very high hopes that his new energy will uplift the community and bring people together to improve conditions in our Tucson neighborhoods. His reputation for community policing and success in reducing violence precedes him. We need to improve the working relationship between the cops and the citizens here. His experience should prove very valuable to improve the culture of TPD.
My new hobby is fermenting raw foods. I have tried concocting several beverages that are super simple to make and taste great. They have the added benefit of probiotic culture which boosts immunity and assists digestion. Over time the healthy bacteria growing in my beautiful beverages will improve my health, but for now I just love the flavors. At the moment I am fermenting some red cabbage kraut juice, a batch of swizzle, and a batch of ginger beer. When the ginger beer is ready I want to try a second fermentation to add more fizz. The possibilities of delicious new ways to digest the past are endless. Here are directions for you if you want to try making your own switchel, packed with electrolytes from the apple cider vinegar. To your health, gentle reader!!!
While protests on American streets continue a new protest movement is taking place on twitter. White people are discussing white privilege as experienced by them. It captures the other side of the policing story from the point of view of the beneficiaries of a highly prejudiced system. I think most of us know being white is an advantage, but we are not aware of how much of a boon it is to white criminals. Equal protection under the law, if it were to be equal, would extend all the way from safe, secure protected living environments for all to criminal justice that deals out fair and equal sentencing. If you take a look at this trending hashtag you will see some shocking examples of system failure.
I am white to the WASPiest extreme. See my super Brit ancestors to validate my whiteness. I live my life in such a way as to avoid all contact with doctors, lawyers, and police. I have been highly successful with this plan, in part because I am white. I have no crimes to report, pre se, except that I was an undocumented worker in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, off and on for many years. As a wetback gringa all privilege and courtesy was bestowed on me by the migra on both sides of the border. There was never any problem. I have not crossed the border since 2003 because things just became too complicated after 2001. The era of the #WetbackGringa, wild and free, became a thing of the past.
I think the #CrimingWhileWhite phenomena comes from unconscious prejudice embedded in our culture. I don’t think there is willful or criminal intent by police to treat citizens by different standards. That is why the grand jury is able to rule that there is no probable cause to try the cops who ended lives while on duty. These preferences, or assumptions that white people are not threatening society, are not consciously accepted by the individuals dealing out the uneven justice and protection. Systemic privilege as well as systemic prejudice exist in the collective beliefs of a culture. Just as people have shadow qualities of which they are unaware, so do institutions. Institutional shadow qualities are even harder to nail because there is no institutional Jungian shrink to assist the patient in seeing its whole being. The very nature of shadow prejudice is to hide and stay hidden because nobody wants to believe we are acting from such base instincts. I have been a petroleum princess in Venezuela and a wetback gringa in Mexico. I can tell you from experience the only thing better than being a white woman is being a bilingual blonde white woman. We are automatically above suspicion and nobody ever suspects we understand Spanish, so they say anything in front of us, assuming we will not know what they are saying. Have you ever had an experience of white supremacy or privilege, gentle reader?
I just learned about an app called City Connect that creates two way communication between citizens and cities. Our neighbors have been using Nextdoor, an app which connects neighbors for private secure communication. Our police department in Tucson joined Nextdoor in September, and has been using it to update the public on crime and safety issues. Nextdoor keeps private the neighbors’ interaction unless it is in response to an officer’s post. This system is excellent for building community and better communication between neighbors. It allows the police to give us vital information if an emergency should occur, and update us about crime trends and how to avoid being victims of those trends.
Nextdoor discussions range from yard sales to lost turkeys. I think our greatest achievement to date was the safe return of Lurkey the Turkey who escaped from his own yard, was spotted running up the street, captured, and lived to tell the story. Lurkey would have been a goner in this hood full of coyotes if neighborhood spirit had not saved his feathered tail to gobble another day. We have more members all the time, and the ability to communicate does enhance our safety and quality of life. I look forward to the growth and strengthening of Nextdoor in Tucson. We have just begun to use this fun and powerful digital tool.
We learned through an officer’s post on Nextdoor that City Connect offers a full menu of information about the TPD, everything you ever wanted to know. The one stop shop for information about the police and what they are doing includes:
Your city has to be a participant and have loaded up their profiles, etc. for you to be able to use this system. I am very pleased that our police department has taken this step to make communication smoother and easier. I think it will grow in popularity because it aggregates information in one place, and makes participation quick and painless. The same company has created another app called Citizens Connect, to enhance communication about civic matters. That sounds good too. Do any of the gentle readers have experience with either one of these apps? I think they are brilliant.
Invasive botanical species are like untended social problems. If they are ignored they will take over and eliminate the native species because they are powerful and destructive. Rhus Lancea is an invasive species that is taking over midtown Tucson. It was brought here as a landscape plant, but quickly got out of control. It is a relative of poison ivy, and causes some people to have serious allergic reactions, either respiratory or as a skin rash. It spreads by producing abundant seeds as well as by spreading underground by suckers. If there is irrigation water, rhus lancea will be very likely to sprout and grow, taking nutrients and moisture from the native or landscape plants. Since it develops such a network underground the tree is very difficult to kill. Cutting it down will not kill it, but will encourage spreading through the roots. It is like a street gang, very undesirable and hard to eliminate.
I have been thinking about how these invasive plants are like crime. If everyone ignores crime like tagging, vandalism, and gang activity it sucks the nutrients and value out of the neighborhood. If drug dealing and other crimes are tolerated they blend into the scene making the whole place less valuable and less safe. With no awareness, or worse, willful blindness to criminal and anti social activity we can only expect the environment to fill with undesirable behaviors. We have a vivid illustration of this right outside my front door. We pay landscaping company to kill our landscaping plants and waste large amounts of water each day. We (the owners of shares of our HOA) have just paid to have what was described as a dying mesquite tree removed from our sidewalk. Since it is not dying and is a rhus lancea, we have paid these gardeners to encourage the growth of all of the children of the tree, that have been left in place. The stump will probably grow back again too. If actions we take are based on ignorance we will not arrive at a better situation. Can you think of situations like this that remind you of government? Working against our own interests seems to be so common these days.
I am enthusiastic about Nextdoor.com. It has potential to become a tool of great value to fight crime and improve life. I invite everyone I know to start one for your neighborhood. I opened ours just a few days ago and we have gathered more than the minimum 10 members we need to have our site supported for free for our community. This is private, non commercial networking to improve the environment and create safer places to live. It is not connected to any government agency or political group. This start up knows that cities need this, and is developing the system with venture capital. It is brilliantly simple.
We have sunk to a new nadir in Tucson. Our neighborhood has a federally funded neighborhood watch consisting of only 5 households, for the sole purpose of willfully denying the presence of the charity scam, “Feeding the Homeless in Tucson’s Parks“. It is a sad state of affairs when your city will break federal revenue law, getting a grant to help a small group of white collar criminals break federal revenue law in front of everyone in the neighborhood. This makes it look like the best way to stay in any criminal business is to found a fake neighborhood watch to protect it, and help your local cops get a federal grant to help you deny that it is criminal to collect donations without reporting them to the IRS.
It is completely ironic to call this neighborhood watch when the majority has to watch the minority…and the authorities…openly break the law. This is why Nextdoor is an important way to clean up neighborhoods. When people know what is happening around them they can make improvements together for the benefit of all. When people live isolated lives, crime has more opportunity to exist. If there is a real neighborhood watch that succeeds in real life, I applaud you. In our case, we need to start by simply getting some neighbors to know their neighbors. That is progress in itself where I live.
Social Media is changing the way crime is done. Be aware of the connection. Keep yourself save and secure by knowing the odds and the methods, which are constantly evolving. Since the big fat Target at Christmas event we need to evaluate how and when we do anything on line.
The following post is a guest blog from Sandra Mills, a freelance write based in Los Angeles. Below, she uses some statistics compiled from sources such as Forbes.com to warn of the dangers surrounding over-sharing on social networks, and what the real-life implications might be if the wrong people are watching.
Social Media and Crime
Social networking might be the way to easily share tidbits of information about your life to the many people in it, but you might be sharing more than you think. Of course you are proud of everything you have accomplished. Great house, nice car and top it all off with a well-deserved vacation. But while you are sharing what you have done there is bound to be a person or two who want what you have without doing all the work. So they take what information you share about your wonderful life and start making…
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