Dreamer’s World March 31, 2018

  This week has been a very busy one for me. Work was more hectic than usual, there was the self-assessment that had to be done in the close of the current reporting period, which is always fun. I also had to start thinking of new objectives for the next reporting period that starts soon. This was on top of the normal routine work and the crisis phone calls for help from people. To add to all of this, I suffered a major bout of insomnia on Tuesday night and called in sick on Wednesday as a result. I was extremely happy to be finished yesterday.
    The upcoming move to the new apartment continues to hurtle towards us. It will soon be just 2 weeks before the move, this marks the point at which I begin to pack items away and prepare for the move. Hal has already been at it for 2 weeks. I need to conserve my energy for now.
    Hal did get a new cell phone this week, a Samsung Galaxy S9+. While it is a great device, I just have never been a fan of Samsung products. They always make things too complicated for my taste. I prefer my Google Project Fi phone to anything else available right now. Hal is very pleased with his new phone, and I decided that I would upgrade something of my own.
       I have an ancient Sony digital camera. It is at least 10 years old, and I no longer have the cable that connects it to a computer for downloading or to charge the internal battery. After some internet research proved that a replacement cable would be too expensive, I decided to get a new digital camera. I looked at Best Buy and saw a Nikon that I really liked. It does the 4K video in 1080p, and I thought that the price wasn’t too terrible. I didn’t buy the camera at the store. Instead, I came home and looked it up online to see the reviews. The reviews all stated that it was an excellent camera for the price. I then noticed that it was available via Amazon, and for $50 more I could also get a case, SD card, rechargeable batteries and other things that I would have had to purchase separately if I bought the camera through Best Buy. I placed the order thru Amazon and I am hoping that the package will arrive by Tuesday, which is the projected date.
       I might use the new camera to start developing a vlog for myself. This is something I have thought about in the past, but I lacked the proper equipment for it. I am not making any guarantees, but it is a subject for me to ponder over in the coming weeks.

DownWithTyranny!: Did Putin Puts Millions Of Dollars Into The Trump Campaign Through The NRA?

DownWithTyranny!

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

— Sinclair Lewis

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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The NRA is not required to be transparent about how money moves between its various political entities, and this leaves questions unanswered about how these foreign funds were ultimately spent.


In the context of ongoing investigations, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, wrote to the National Rifle Association earlier this month asking, “Can you categorically state that your organizations have never, wittingly or unwittingly, received any contributions from individuals or entities acting as conduits for foreign entities or interests?”


The NRA said that in fact they do receive foreign money, but not for election purposes.


“While we do receive some contributions from foreign individuals and entities, those contributions are made directly to the NRA for lawful purposes,” NRA’s General Counsel John C. Frazer wrote to Wyden in a letter obtained by NPR. “Our review of our records has found no foreign donations in connection with a United States election, either directly or through a conduit.”


…Wyden also demanded to know whether any Russian nationals or foreign individuals had been members of the NRA’s donor programs, and whether the NRA received any money from sanctioned individuals.


While the NRA claims it does not receive foreign money for election purposes, the movement of its money between accounts could make it difficult, if not impossible, to track how the money is spent since it is not isolated or sequestered.


The NRA has a variety of accounts, and the NRA Political Victory Fund is their official political action committee and must report all of its spending to the Federal Election Commission.


It also has other accounts that require less transparency, and do not report spending to the FEC– and in those funds, the NRA told Wyden, they “receive funds from foreign persons only for purposes not connected to elections, as permitted by federal law.”


However, the NRA acknowledges that money moves between those accounts: “transfers between accounts are made as permitted by law,” the NRA’s general counsel wrote.


The NRA did not immediately respond to a request from NPR to disclose the total sum of its donations from foreign sources.


…The controversy around the NRA and alleged ties to Russia center around one man: Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin. Starting in 2011 Torshin began cultivating ties with the National Rifle Association, establishing relationships with NRA officials, most especially former NRA President David Keene.










The Obama Administration, in March, 2014, blocked Dmitry Rogozin, a hardline deputy of Vladimir Putin’s, and the head of Russia’s defense industry, from entering the United States. This was retaliation for Russia’s invasion of the eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The same executive order banned imported Kalashnikov firearms, which the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action protested.


In September of 2015, the NRA, sent a delegation to Moscow that met with Dmitry Rogozin. The meeting with Rogozin, who is sanctioned by the U.S., is not illegal, so long as there no business transacted. So, why have a meeting?


The NRA had objected to U.S. sanctions that blocked Russian-made guns. However, David Keene, a former NRA president, who went on the Moscow trip, stated the meeting had nothing to do with America’s politics. As a 501(c)(4) organization, the NRA is not required to disclose its donors. (No transparency here.)


…It is illegal for foreign countries and citizens to donate money in U.S. campaigns. Should a Russian agent donate funds, by funneling them through the NRA, it would be very similar to money laundering. There is growing evidence that money coming from hidden sources may be influencing U.S. politics, by way of two paths. The first is through the President’s obscured personal finances, and the other is through secret contributions. Russian bribery and collusion may run much deeper than many people realize.


The FBI is now investigating the NRA for funneling money from Russians to the election. This violates U.S. election laws, which prohibits the use of foreign money in U.S. elections. In the last few years, the NRA has formed relationships with a number of well-connected Russians, which includes Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank.

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Dreamer’s World March 27, 2018 – Life Without FaceBook Isn’t So Bad After All

    It has been approximately one week since I deleted my FaceBook account. Apparently, I was ahead of a small but growing trend of people who are fed up with the intrusive nature of FaceBook, especially after the discoveries about how personal information was shared without prior knowledge. I think that I deleted my account just before the Cambridge Analytica revelations, my reasons were my own, but the news of the unauthorized sharing of personal data would have made up my mind to do the same thing.
    There was a shock at first. I had to delete the FaceBook app from my phone and computer. It wasn’t due to any great temptation, I found its presence a reminder of why I deleted my account in the first place. I have had a few complications where I linked my FaceBook account to another app for convenience, I am changing those as I run across them. Finding these links reminds me how insidious FaceBook had become even without the illegal release of personal information.
    I had deleted FaceBook once before. I went back to it after a friend of mine died unexpectedly. It turned out to be the most convenient way to keep in touch with his family. As the contact with them slowly ebbed away, I was left with the tidal wave of information that I had no use for. I attempted to create my own space on FaceBook but found it all somewhat overwhelming for a private person like myself. The lack of interaction with other users, particularly people I knew personally, just added to the sense of alienation.
    I made the conscious decision to delete FaceBook and the equally conscious decision not to make it a public declaration on that site. Public renunciations and statements that a user is leaving, followed by a list of grievances, never appealed to me. I realize that some will consider this blog a replacement forum for doing the exact same thing, but this is my platform to write about what I want to write about. There are no personal accusations, intentional or otherwise, for someone to take offense at since reading this requires a little more time and not just an instant “Like.”
    The adjustment to being FaceBook-free once again is quick and painless if you don’t dwell on it. Finding that there is life to live in the real world is more than enough compensation to me. FaceBook just isn’t for me.
    As for the illegal release of personal information, I hope that this is a wake-up call to the public and to social media in general. I urge readers to take the necessary precautions to protect their data and privacy.

Dreamer’s World March 26,2018 – When Writing Tools Fail

    Few things can be as aggravating as having issues with writing tools. Just when I think that I have developed a streamlined way to get my blog posts published, something inevitably goes wrong, and problems prevent the process from working as it has in the past. The reason I developed a system in the first place was to make writing easier. When things work as they are supposed to, I never notice things. When there are problems with the process, they instantly become apparent to me, and I then have to respond to these events to fix them if possible.
    Of course, these interruptions to the routine take time and energy away from my writing, and that depresses me. I have to find a fallback position to resume my blog post and try to retrieve the train of thought I had going. It is never easy to do this, but if I am writing something meaningful, I can usually recover quickly. Today I shelved the original post to write this one. The inspiration for the blog post I wanted is just gone. Perhaps it is a sign that I am not supposed to write about that particular subject right now.
    Experience has taught me not to get upset when this happens. I know that whatever I have designed will eventually fail for some reason, and that is out of my control. Getting angry does no good, although at the time it feels good to release the frustration.

Dreamer���s World March 25, 2018 ��� Our Scars Are The Badges Of Our Experiences

    One of the benefits of growing older is the ability to look back at our lives and wonder how in the hell we got to where we are today? Life is full of mistakes and errors in judgement, no one is immune to these things, and yet we still have to keep moving forward with our lives. A wrong choice doesn’t condemn us unless we let it. It is how we respond to those errors that ultimately defines us. Our scars are the badges of our experiences.
    We have no control over other factors that determine who we are. Something as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have a profound impact on us. I think of the Parkland students when I say this. Those kids were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing when tragedy rocked their lives. What kind of world are we living in when kids go to school and don’t come home again because they were murdered at their school? Sadly some of those students will never have the opportunity to look back on their lives and wonder about the things that shaped them. What I have seen from the survivors is strength and courage, and a refusal to let what happened to them destroy their lives. It gives me hope for their future as well as for those whom they influence.
    My background is nowhere near that dramatic. My mistakes and bad choices are not out of the ordinary, and they are numerous. I still have some scars that are sensitive and not properly healed. I don’t know if they will ever completely heal, but they make me who I am today. Trust and closeness are the two main scars I still have that are very tender and sensitive.
    I have made some terrible choices in the past regarding friends. I would have been so much better off without those people in my life at all. I find myself wishing that I could go back in time to warn myself about the mistakes I was about to make, but everyone feels that way about something in their past. The results of those bad choices still linger and affect me to this day.
    Even though my present response to a similar situation or person has changed from what it would have been before, that is part of the healing that I mentioned. The fight or flight response is something primal in all of us. When I was younger, I was much more trusting, today I am not quite the complete opposite, but it is very close to a 180 degree turn.
    I grew up learning to be self-reliant from my parents. That has been a tremendous help as I have grown older. I never depend on other people for too much, except Hal. Hal knows the demons I have struggled with, and continue to. Time has made us into one, and that bond in unbreakable now. However, I find that I am not willing to stretch out for other people as I used to. My life has reached a level of calm that I struggled to attain. I don’t want to fuck that up for any reason.
    My scars are the badges of my experience. They define me and make me who I am. It is foolish to try to undo this because I am who I am and that is just fine with me.

Dreamer’s World March 25, 2018 – Food For Thought

    I am still processing the #MarchForOurLives event that happened yesterday. I am affected more than I realized at the time by what I saw and heard, and it has me thinking about things. The things on my mind are deep and complex. I never thought I would be facing them today.
    The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous speech in Washington DC on August 28, 1963. I wasn’t born yet, but as a child, I learned about the importance of that day and that speech and what it meant to America and the world. It was a milestone in history, and the effects still resonate today.
    I heard multiple mentions of Dr. King and his message yesterday. I was stunned and pleasantly surprised to see Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Dr. King appear and speak at the rally yesterday. It is clear that the message Dr. King left to us is still potent and applicable to each generation. We still have a long way to go, and we can never rest until the journey is complete.
    The #MarchForOurLives event yesterday has the potential to be a seminal event in this nation’s history in the same way that Dr. King’s speech was. There were differences, Dr. King was already well-known before his speech, the Parkland students and those they invited to share the stage with them aren’t public figures….yet. I saw several of the young adults that will be formidable leaders in whatever they choose as their career path.
    Dr. King spoke for almost 20 minutes. I don’t believe any of the speakers yesterday approached that length with their speeches. I don’t feel this is a significant factor because the total length of the combined speeches yesterday was far more than Dr. King’s speech.
    I have the suspicion that I witnessed something extraordinary yesterday.  I believe yesterday was a seminal moment in our history.  I am not ready to elevate yesterday to the level of Dr. King, but I am not willing to write it off as insignificant either. Time will tell how future generations will compare the two events.

Dreamer’s World March 24, 2018 – March For Our Lives

    
I don’t know how to describe my reaction to the #MarchForOurLives rally that took place in Washington, D.C. earlier today. Hours later, and I a still feeling intense emotions about what I witnessed on TV. Tears flowed as I watched and listened, I am sure that happened to plenty of people around the country and the world.
     I am proud of these kids. I admire their tenacity and their persistence. I respect them for their dedication to this cause after being thrust into tragedy against their will.
     I am amazed at how quickly they turned tragedy into a call for action through social media. They suffered the accusations of being fakes, of being paid actors, of being political pawns, and have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the future.
     I picture myself at their age and wonder if I could have done the things that they have? I honestly want to think so, but I am glad that I never had to learn to become a good citizen and an inspiration to others due to a tragedy like they did.
     I watched and heard and saw them become young adults in the last five weeks. Even while some of them were speaking today, I could hear that they are still the teenagers that they are supposed to be in spite of what has happened to them.
     I am thrilled that they learned to include others who have suffered from the same terrible violence. They recognized that their notoriety gave them the responsibility to speak out for everyone, and not just for themselves. Acknowledging and sharing the stage with others from different parts of the country showed great wisdom. It also demonstrated that these young adults are savvy beyond their years. The Parkland students acknowledged that they are only the most famous, not the only victims of gun violence.
      saw plenty of potential leaders speak today. Our nation will be better if we encourage them, it will suffer if we ignore them.

My emotions are still in flux here. Eventually, things will settle down, and I can get a handle on things again. Until then, take a moment and remember the lyrics that the late John Lennon penned for “Instant Karma.”

“Why In The World Are We Here? Surely Not To Live In Pain And Fear.”

Dreamer’s World March 24, 2018 – March For Our Lives

    
I don’t know how to describe my reaction to the #MarchForOurLives rally that took place in Washington, D.C. earlier today. Hours later, and I a still feeling intense emotions about what I witnessed on TV. Tears flowed as I watched and listened, I am sure that happened to plenty of people around the country and the world.
     I am proud of these kids. I admire their tenacity and their persistence. I respect them for their dedication to this cause after being thrust into tragedy against their will.
     I am amazed at how quickly they turned tragedy into a call for action through social media. They suffered the accusations of being fakes, of being paid actors, of being political pawns, and have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the future.
     I picture myself at their age and wonder if I could have done the things that they have? I honestly want to think so, but I am glad that I never had to learn to become a good citizen and an inspiration to others due to a tragedy like they did.
     I watched and heard and saw them become young adults in the last five weeks. Even while some of them were speaking today, I could hear that they are still the teenagers that they are supposed to be in spite of what has happened to them.
     I am thrilled that they learned to include others who have suffered from the same terrible violence. They recognized that their notoriety gave them the responsibility to speak out for everyone, and not just for themselves. Acknowledging and sharing the stage with others from different parts of the country showed great wisdom. It also demonstrated that these young adults are savvy beyond their years. The Parkland students acknowledged that they are only the most famous, not the only victims of gun violence.
      saw plenty of potential leaders speak today. Our nation will be better if we encourage them, it will suffer if we ignore them.

My emotions are still in flux here. Eventually, things will settle down, and I can get a handle on things again. Until then, take a moment and remember the lyrics that the late John Lennon penned for “Instant Karma.”

“Why In The World Are We Here? Surely Not To Live In Pain And Fear.”