Monday, May 21, 2018
I just discovered a song by one of my all-time favorite singers—Willie Nelson. It’s called Me and You. While it is said Willie was lamenting where he was in his life, I heard it as a political message just to me and you regarding where we find ourselves at this time. If you listen to it with that in mind, you will chuckle throughout. Here’s the refrain. “The world has gone out of its mind, except for me and you.” My sentiments exactly!
MORE THAN any other time in my memory, I need a reason to chuckle. I find nothing about the Trump administration funny. I find it laughable, but not funny. I used to let my day be guided by the inspirational “thought for the day.” Now my thoughts are controlled by Trump’s infuriating Tweets. To make matters worse, we have now been double-teamed by Trump and Giuliani. Trump tweets what we’re to concentrate on for that day, followed by Giuliani telling us. It’s orchestrated, and it’s called “Perception Management.” We used to call it “propaganda,” but perception management is propaganda on steroids. We’re constantly a target through what we read, what we hear, what we watch, and social media. Although Trump is a master of perception management, he didn’t create it. The Russians did!
IN 2003, the Russian Federation of Armed Forces (RFAF) changed their military policy to include the Cyber domain. Seeing their success, in 2014, the Chief of General Staff of the RAFF described a new form of warfare, reflexive control (perceptive management.) This process would target enemy leadership and alter their orientation in such a way that they make decisions favorable to Russia and take actions that lead to a sense of despair with their leaders and establish a base for negotiation on Russian terms. Further, it was explained that reflexive control considers psychological characteristics of humans and involves intentional influence on their models of decision making. This warfare is conducted by proxy forces consisting of media institutions and companies and overseen by the RFAF. Hmmmm. Make no mistake about it, we are the enemy, and the Russians had an easy target when Trump walked down that escalator.
ME AND YOU, and all the people of our country are victims of perception management warfare on two fronts. First the Russians, through their cyber hacking to affect our elections, through their state-run trolling farms to affect our ability to differentiate between truth and fiction, and successful control techniques of Trump’s weak mind. The second front is the perception management Trump inflicts upon us every day.
PERCEPTION management has nothing to do with the truth and in Trump’s case, his guilt or innocence. Perception management is whatever Trump wants us to believe. Coming from a man who has been fact-checked and shown to have lied 3,000 times in 466 days, I find everything he says suspect. Just because he says “no collusion,” and “witch hunt” every time he opens his mouth, does not make me more prone to believe him. Neither does his use of all caps and exclamation marks. I want proof because his word is not his bond. It didn’t work with me when Nixon said, “I am not a crook,” and it won’t work with me now. I will believe Robert Mueller and it seems that’s what Trump is afraid of. That’s why he and Giuliani are working over-time trying to discredit Mueller, the FBI, the Justice Department, the media, and anybody else that dares to speak truth to power. My daddy always said, “A hit dog hollers.” As that ole Jaws shark gets closer, the louder Trump hollers. I have always used that as a measure of the truth.
SOME PEOPLE can be put in a hypnotic state, others can’t. Some people can be fooled by perception management, some can’t. I will never surrender to this type of warfare. You shouldn’t either. Our nation depends on me and you.
SING IT WILLIE! “I used to have a friend I’d talk to. We used to sit on the fence. Anymore I can’t relate to him, cause he ain’t got a lick of sense. So, I’m asking you this question, I’m just talking to you, the whole world has gone out of its mind, except for me and you.”
Click to hear song: https://tinyurl.com/y9jarnsf
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
I have been involved in politics since I was a wee child. In fact, I learned a political lesson when I was just four years old. I was the youngest of nine children and my mother never passed up an opportunity to make a few dollars for our struggling family. Back in those days, it was a common practice for candidates to pay someone to pass out their campaign cards at polling places. I dutifully helped my mother by greeting people and giving them a card. I was having a great time until a man walked up that I adored. I greeted him with a big hug and he picked me up. I handed him “the” card. Everyone standing around started laughing and I was perplexed and embarrassed. I didn’t know what I had done wrong. I ran off and hid.
WHEN MY mother found me, I asked her why everyone laughed at me. She explained the purpose of the cards and explained the irony of me giving my friend the card of the man he was running against. I said, “Does that mean you aren’t going to vote for my friend?” She said, “Of course, I’m voting for him. But that doesn’t mean I can’t work for the other person and be friends with both of them.”
SINCE THAT day, I have never forgotten that lesson. The choice to vote for a particular person is a personal decision. It was never used to brand or demonize a person. You never saw people disrespecting each other because of whom they voted for. In fact, we were taught that you never asked someone whom they voted for. That was private. That’s why they had curtains on voting booths. Those days appear to be a thing of the past.
THERE IS so much divisiveness in today’s society between progressives and conservatives, i.e. Democrats and Republicans. When you can pick up a local newspaper and see hate speech headlines, such as “liberals are mentally ill,” things have gotten out-of-hand. It is not helpful to make blanket statements as that, because while ridiculous, hate breeds hate. Just because a person has a differing opinion does not make him/her mentally ill, or grounds to hate that person.
THE DIVISIVENESS between the two herds has become so explosive, our electoral process has been changed. To guard against any clashes at our upcoming Primary Elections next week, the Democrats will vote on Tuesday, May 22nd, and the Republicans will vote on Wednesday, May 23rd.
I HAVE chosen to share with you my personal decision for whom I’m voting for in the upcoming Primary. The hardest decision I had to make was between the two Staceys- Abrams and Evans. Speaking of divisive, this race has caused a great divide in the Georgia Democrats and my choice will not be appreciated by many. Many factors are considered when a person decides who will get their vote. Sometimes it’s an inconsequential reason such as “they tell it like it is,” or, “he will build a border wall.” In this case, I can relate to Stacey Evans. And that’s why I’m voting for her. Like me, she was dirt poor, but smart. The difference is, I could not go to college because I couldn’t afford the tuition. Stacey was fortunate to be a beneficiary of Zell Miller’s HOPE scholarship, in my opinion, one of the best pieces of legislation to ever pass in Georgia.
ZELL’S HOPE was a huge success. Then in 2011, Governor Deal and the Legislature made significant cuts to the Hope program that greatly reduced the number of poor students receiving the funds needed to get their education. If Zell Miller had presented the HOPE program in its current form, the people of Georgia would never have approved the lottery.
I HAVE met with Stacey Evans on two occasions. Her passion for re-instating HOPE to the Zell Miller levels is sincere, just as Zell’s was. Evans is a soft-spoken, impressive, and skilled attorney who graduated from UGA. As a State Legislator, she proved she can oppose the other side but still stay friends. I did really well without a college education, in my era that was possible. Not now. However, I’ve always wondered what greater heights I would have reached with a college degree. A vote for Stacey Evans will provide that opportunity to many more students from low income families. Also, it’s a plus for Evans that she has a Monroe County connection. Her campaign manager, Seth Clark, is from here.
Secretary of State: John Barrow gets my vote! I’ve known him for many years. He’s a dying breed in Georgia because he has the qualities of a statesman! Unlike our current SOS, John can make a decision based on the law.
State School Superintendent: Dr. Sid Chapman is my choice. With his experience in the field of education, I would feel secure with our educational system if Sid was educating our children. He’s also a talented pianist and a Methodist minister. Besides, Sid is from Griffin and resides in Barnesville. He’s our neighbor.
Commissioner of Agriculture: Fred Swann. My reason for voting for Fred is one of those inconsequential reasons I told you about. He’s my friend! However, he would bring a fresh perspective to an agency that has been run by the same people for many decades.
Monday, May 7, 2018
Ola! I’m baaack and refreshed from my trip to Puerto Rico! When George and I decided to treat ourselves to a special trip in celebration of our 49 years of marriage and George’s upcoming 70th birthday in a few days, we chose Puerto Rico for economic reasons. We reasoned that if we were going to spend money, we should spend it in a place that needs a boost to their economy. That’s the problem with we mentally deranged liberals, we’re always trying to do good.
THE RESEARCH we did for our trip assured us that not speaking Spanish would not be a problem. That’s true, only if you don’t want to talk to people. And I always want to talk! We played a lot of charades combined with our elementary Spanish and used our cell phone translator app. Yes, we managed. However, I returned from Puerto Rico with very few of my burning questions answered, especially the big one—how is the recovery progressing?
I LEARNED a few things. San Juan appears to be in good shape. We stayed in the Condado area, a touristy section known for its restaurants, hotels, beach, and casinos. We had no power problems except for ten seconds of complete blackness in the casino. My heart dropped to my stomach and all I heard was a massive groan from the crowd. It was a daily sight to see power workers in this area. It is my understanding if you venture out of San Juan to the mountains and rural areas, there are still vast areas still without power. In fact, one lady told me she lives five miles from the Condado area on a university compound for professors. She said her power was restored only one month ago.
WHILE ON the surface Puerto Rico seems to be slowly bounding back, I think the damage is much deeper and threatens the soul of the island. As we rode past the Capitol building in Old San Juan, there was a massive gathering and armed guards standing shoulder-to-shoulder guarding the front door. Our driver told us it was a protest over the closing of 283 public schools in August. After hurricane Maria, the school system lost nearly 40,000 students when tens of thousands of families fled to the states. School closings are the least of their problems. They are buried in debt. A few months prior to Maria, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy on $73 billion dollars. In 1976, the U.S. Government granted huge tax breaks to corporations to set up shop there to boost the economy. It worked and Puerto Rico boomed. Prior to then, Puerto Rico was supported by their agriculture industry which disappeared. In 1996, the U.S. Government repealed the tax cuts, phasing them totally out by 2006. The companies and their jobs left, and so did the young people. Now Puerto Rico is left with an older population and those dependent on Medicare, Medicaid, and no jobs for those young people who remain.
WITH THE dream of ever becoming the State of Puerto Rico nearly dead in the water, so-to-speak, Puerto Rico residents fear they are losing their beautiful Island. With housing values plummeting, investors have already started swooping in to buy beach-front properties for cents on the dollar. They are awaiting to find out if the new land owners will possibly be Chinese, Japanese, or Wall Street. The thought occurred to me that the condo where we stayed would be a perfect location for another Trump Tower.
WE STAYED in our first AirBnB and couldn’t ask for a better experience. It was located as close to the beach as one could get—only steps away from our front door. The breeze and the crashing waves never stopped. Sometimes I craved silence. I know all AirBnB host/hostesses are not created equal, but ours surpassed all my expectations. I did not expect her to take us on a driving tour of all the beaches and areas of San Juan, and I did not expect her to take us to the airport.
WE OPTED not to rent a car, although we regret not seeing the entire island. Most places we wanted to go was in walking distance, but I couldn’t walk. The week prior to our leaving for Puerto Rico, my grandbaby was hospitalized for six days at Navicent in Macon. The grueling walk every day from the parking lot to the Children’s Hospital inflamed my knees. Uber saved our vacation! It was cheap and most arrived within three minutes of our summons. Uber drivers are plentiful there because it is a new way for younger people to make a living. We used the Uber app linked to Paypal so we wouldn’t have to flash our bank card around. Then, all we did was step in and step out. Easy Pezy!
AND, WHAT do they think of Trump in Puerto Rico? My favorite response was from a man whose home was flooded, but salvageable, and whose three best friends and neighbors’ homes were completely washed away by water rushing down from the mountains some days after the storm. I asked how much help they got from FEMA. He showed me the sign for “zero” with his fingers. I asked him what he thought of Trump. He made the motion of tossing a role of paper towels while making the sound of an exploding bomb. That’s the universal language of Trump.
I STRONGLY urge you to visit Puerto Rico while it is still in its current state. I could feel the winds of change blowing in soon. It is very affordable. Airfare deals can be found quite often. Food is no more expensive in Puerto Rico than here. I recommend dining at Lote 23, a festive outdoor experience with your choice of many food trucks run by some of the best Chefs in Puerto Rico. It's a great place to mix and mingle with locals. Airbnb is an alternative to pricey hotels. I would also suggest only rent a car for a couple of days; the rest of time, use Uber. Now that I know what to expect, I will be returning rapido! See you there!