Tag Archives: ethics

This One I Will Let People Make Up Their Own Minds

I subscribe to a newsletter online, it might actually be helpful to some people–it usually is for me: it’s called Medical News Today, and covers what is new in many medical fields. I’m particularly interested in what’s going on in depression research and some of the other medical areas, and while I’m supposed to be keeping away from the news, there’s usually nothing upsetting in it to me. Until today. An article published by Drs. Wiltermuth and Cohen, titled, “I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence.” Now, from the title it doesn’t actually sound so bad, it wasn’t until I read the abstract that I got upset and sought out more information. This is from USC’s business site:

USC Marshall Research has Implications for Team Building in the Workplace
December 23, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Some people hate to disappoint—and you should definitely get them on your team. It turns out individuals who are highly prone to feel guilty for disappointing their co-workers are among the most ethical and hard-working partners. However, new research suggests that these highly guilt-prone people may be the most reticent to enter into partnerships.

Scott S. Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with Taya R. Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, explains how guilt proneness may prevent people from forming partnerships in “‘I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence,” which will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Understanding this phenomenon, managers can make the best decisions about team building and increase productivity.

The Guilty are Good Workers
Highly guilt-prone people (i.e., people with a strong dispositional tendency to feel guilty for wrongdoings) make valuable work partners because a concern about letting others down drives them to complete at least their fair share of the work.

“Because of this concern for the impact of their actions on others’ welfare, highly guilt-prone people often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues, demonstrate more effective leadership and contribute more to the success of the teams and partnerships in which they are involved,” Wiltermuth explained.

However, these same behavioral tendencies may, in some instances, also lead these individuals to be reticent to enter into certain partnerships at work.

In five studies, Wiltermuth and Cohen demonstrated that highly guilt-prone people may avoid forming interdependent partnerships with people they perceive to be more competent than themselves, because benefitting a partner less than the partner benefits them could trigger feelings of guilt.

“It may come as a surprise,” Wiltermuth said, “but our findings demonstrate that people who lack competence may not always seek out competence in others when choosing work partners.”

In studies where Wiltermuth asked participants with whom they would like to partner to complete a task, given information about their potential partners’ expertise in that area, highly guilt-prone people with less knowledge or skill in that area were less likely to choose the most competent partner. They were afraid to contribute less to the task than their partner and, thus, let them down.

But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus
In the studies, highly guilt-prone people were also more likely than others to opt to be paid on their performance alone and to opt to be paid based on the average of their performance and that of others whose competence was more similar to their own.

“Guilt proneness reduces the incidence of unethical behavior,” Wiltermuth said. “Highly guilt-prone people are conscientious. They are less likely to free-ride on others’ expertise, and they will sacrifice financial gain out of concern about how their actions would influence others’ welfare.”

Those in supervisory roles can use this research to create the most effective dynamics in the workplace and increase productivity.

“Managers could try to ensure that highly guilt-prone people are creating the partnerships and perhaps even assuming leadership roles on teams,” Wiltermuth said, “despite highly guilt-prone people’s fear that by accepting these leadership positions they might be putting themselves into position to let their teammates down.”

http://www.marshall.usc.edu/news/releases/2014/guilt-complex

Above link goes to USC’s Marshall Business school.

Now, part of me sees the advantages in this, the other 95% screams out that it’s taking advantage of the guilt complex, which isn’t a good thing, as is something a lot of people with depression suffer from. I was so upset at the thought of people being used for something that makes them so easily manipulated by others that I simply started to cry. Granted, I’m going through dosage changes of my current med. I’m wary of businesses ability to use things like this in ethical and moral ways, and since I don’t think it’s ethical or moral to start with… I know businesses use personality traits already. In our society, which is so Corporate centered, the person at the top gets the money (the CEO), the heading, “But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus,” was just another kick in the stomach. So people shouldn’t get paid what they’re worth. It’s like Scrooge. This is a particularly Capitalistic p.o.v., where the concern is for how much the people at the top make. Look at where the US is compared to other countries financially. Last. Along with other English-Speaking countries that had followed the same model; eliminating apprenticeships, not caring so much for the workers and caring more for the shareholders and the CEO in terms of who benefits financially. The European model is different. Germany was at the top. They have apprenticeships. They are not as Capitalistic as we are. No, I don’t know a lot about business, only that they do things differently than we do, and the reason they have companies that have been around for a couple hundred years and are still at least all or partially family owned is that they are invested in the companies at a personal level. They are proud of them. Koh-I-Noor, who makes some of the coolest darn pencils ever, is celebrating their 222nd anniversary this year. They are Czechoslovakian. I’m noticing this a lot in art supplies from Europe. Faber-Castell has been around for a very long time, at least a hundred years, maybe longer. They did merge with another company. I don’t think they play the crazy take-over games there–I would have to ask my friend who lives in Germany, but I don’t think he pays a lot of attention to business either. He tries, like me, to support indie businesses, of which I’m a supporter as well. And which I’m sure doesn’t use guilt in their employees as a factor for putting together teams.

I have calmed down a lot, but I am appalled that this is considered psychology, and is being published as such, and as seemingly acceptable practice. It’s published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. I wrote a comment to the “article” on MNT, definitely influenced by the fact that I had a terrible experience at my last job and my current state of depression, which is accompanied by some feelings of guilt as well:

My opinion on this research is that using people because of their tendency to feel guilty about letting others down, “but they won’t ask for a bonus” is sick and unethical, and part of the reason that I hate the structure of business culture in America and other places that use tactics like this. At others’ expense to get ahead, and make more money for themselves. And this is Psychology? I subscribe to this, MNT, because I have MDD and have been suffering from a long episode of severe depression for over a year. I want to see what is being done to help other people like me who are running out of options, and also what is being doing to help with the other health issues I have, chronic kidney disease, migraines, etc. Not how our psychological problems can be used against us for profit. This is so disheartening. I recently had a breakdown because of stress and a med change that jumped too quickly for my system. If any of you corporate types read this and think this article is a good idea, consider the following; the Abilify that keeps some of your employees that may have guilt issues coming to work costs approximately $1,100 out of pocket, and some insurance companies only cover enough so they “only” have to pay around $431. That’s per month. That’s just one drug of many. Some of us have tried all the lower level, first line of defense against depression drugs, and they don’t work, so we have to up the ante. I’m very happy knowing I’m a long term guinea pig for Merck, when they don’t even know the dosages yet for their latest foray (that I’m aware of) into the anti-depressant market, but when you’re in a battle against depression, and you do happen to have a lot of guilt, you don’t have a lot of choice. It’s so nice to know that I’m a good candidate to help people, not because I’m altruistic, which I am, but because I also feel guilty for a lot of things which aren’t even my fault. Thank you for your support in my healing process by using me or people like me for your own ends. I’m not equating that everyone with guilt issues has depression, but often they do go hand in hand. For you to get ahead and build your little successful teams, how much are you putting out for your employees’ health insurance? What do you really know about your employees? I am so disgusted by this–you can just say that this is some troll, someone raving because of their “mental illness” that they would rather not see the “mentally ill” side of. But this is the truth, and sometimes is takes a mentally ill person to point it out in a way that you can see it for what it really is; not a good business decision, but an unethical money-grubbing ploy.

I hate the fact that I get melodramatic when I’m upset, but I have issues with people so isolated from real life, either because of socioeconomic reasons or Ivory Tower reasons (I considered going on to get my Ph.D in English Lit and teaching, but that fact, the isolation from reality, is one of the reasons I didn’t), that their grand “ideas” for improving business, despite how good they sound in their bios and how impressive their educational backgrounds, and despite the fact they are writing about psychology, they seem to know nothing about the morality of dealing with people empathetically, which in my mind is the most important aspect of treating people with and earning their respect. That’s how you get them to work their best for you. Acknowledge them as human beings, give them a living wage, good health insurance, days off without question, flexibility with their schedules if they need it; acknowledge that life is messy and it doesn’t just fit into a little box because the office manager wants it to. They may have sacrificed their life, but the people who work for them don’t have to. Genuine kindness and understanding, knowing the people who work for you, are what win their loyalty. Treating them with dignity. Do we really need to resort to using their guilt against them? Just because it’s easier than actually doing any of the aforementioned? Big business is killing itself. It merges and takes over and bloats itself like a giant amoeba, until, eventually, will it just collapse on itself? Because an amoeba is an ever changing thing, with no strong foundation, and without that foundation, in this case, the workers, the companies are only as strong as their weakest link. And when they resort to using guilt because it gets more done for less money from them, the word pathetic isn’t adequate. And if that’s what the psychological research is telling them to do? The psychological research from people who pride themselves on their interest in moral and ethical behavior in the workplace, what is the world coming to?

There are a couple of Robin Williams quotes I’ve been wanting to put somewhere, and I’ll probably make them email signatures at some point, but for now here they are, and feel free to use them as your email signatures if they touch you. They sort of have to do with the topic, kind of, but the first, I think, more with perserverence, and the second, a little how I started to feel at work, which was a sign I was in the wrong place, and if it weren’t for the financial issues, I should have left before a lot of what happened did.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
–Robin Williams

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
–Robin Williams

 

leavingbio.net

leavingbio.net

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A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System

Reblogged from takingthemaskoff.com

This is an excellent post on one scenario of how two people, simply due to the circumstances of their birth, end up on two separate paths. I know that sounds trite and like every other story, but please read this one

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System.
A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System
November 30, 2014 125 Comments

1

“You know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see the party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re weak, please let us in.” After about a week that song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of that food! I’m breakin down that door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry”

– Tupac Shakur

It is my hope that we have a silent army building. The revolution will not be televised. But I see the replies I get, and it gives me hope.

I saw an article in the New York Times basically saying there would be less shootings if the mentally ill had less privacy and were more easily forced to be hospitalized. This is the New York Times! Who are the sick ones?

I’m going to tell a story. 2 stories, of 2 different people. They are both true stories. Then you can see how this all begins and becomes a problem. I’ll go back and forth between the stories until their paths meet.

Here’s Dusty, I don’t know, age 3 to 5. Happy kid, plenty of love. Just loves everyone and loves the world. He doesn’t see color, sex, religion. He has nokind of discrimination, all he sees is love.

Here’s the second story. This is my cousin Donald. The man he is with is my father. Donald also loves the world, he sees no race, sex, and discriminates against no one. He is a very loving and giving kid.

Dusty gets older. He still loves everyone and everything. However, Dusty grew up in a home that was infested with cockroaches, and had been condemned 2 to 3 times. There was about 7 or 8 kids living there, they had no food. Dusty was the kindest of the group. He got beaten by his brothers, picked on, and thrown around. He was told “You are a loser, give me your money, do my work.” He did not understand, he gave whatever he had to others.

When I met Dusty he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had 4 brothers and sisters, they all smoked pot, drank, and never went to school. Everyone walked around this place with almost no clothes. They had only 2 bedrooms. The house was full of smoke.

Cockroaches were all over. They had no shower, and a bathroom with only a curtain covering it. The old guys would come around drinking, smoking weed, and getting physical. The older kids were getting worse also.

There was something special about Dusty, his heart. He was born with an amazing heart. He loved everyone, and gave all he had. To tell you of this kids strength, words won’t do it justice. As a 9 year old, he was growing up in a house in which every adult was punching, smoking weed, drinking, and stealing. Also, the gangsters knew where the weed was. THE house, that’s where they were. But Dusty, at age 9, he refused to smoke weed or drink or do any of that. However, being sweet and sensitive, he was an easy target. He did not stop loving though, he still loved them all. He saw through it, through everything, even as a kid. So what happens when you are extra sensitive, caring, and loving? You get pushed down, forced to create a mask, his was the goofy guy. This is the same house where I met Joe. Dusty and Joe were cousins and best friends.

Here is Donald. He is my cousin. He was a great kid. His father was a doctor in a small town, he made lots and lots of money. That doesn’t make Donald bad, and he is not bad. In fact, he’s a wonderful human being. I know this story puts him in privileged category. But, that is not his fault, he is still a caring, kind, and considerate human being. His father, my uncle, was once in jail for stealing cars and grew up to be a doctor. The thing about Donald was, he was born gifted, and extremely smart. He was above the genius level. He may have skipped a grade, I can’t remember. He was and is not a bad person.

However, while Dusty was seeing what he saw, Donald was going on trips, and getting the best life had to offer. He worried for nothing, he could be a kId and thrive.

Thrive he did. He is a talented, smart, and funny guy that had charisma. He didn’t have to worry about gangsters, getting food, getting raped, or having mice and cockroaches sleep on him. He had a huge bedroom, went on vacations, had all he ever wanted. He had great parents. Now another thing I noticed about Donald was that when I went to spend 2 weeks with him when I was 12, was that in this small town everyone drank, and did drugs, at age 12. Which is common for a small town. They were 12 and flung this. All of his friends.

One time we went to his friends house, the kid was sleeping and the kid woke up, and lifted his pillow and there was jack daniels. They all smoked and drank, except Donald. His parents taught him this.

Dusty did it on strength of character. Donald friends said “man your dad is always getting thanked in the paper.” That was true, small town legend.

Donald’s pressure was to follow his father, and that is a different kind of pressure. One that is often not considered a problem, the gifted child.

However, that is just as hard as raising a troubled child. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. What they both had in common was they were gifted.

Dusty then ended up going away for a while after missing so much school. His brothers would go just enough to not get sent away. Dusty was the extra sensitive one, he didn’t care. Me and Dusty and Joe had a bond, we all loved each other and saw behind each other’s masks. One time, on the phone, Dusty had called his mom and said, “tell mike I lo, well never mind,” he wanted to tell me he loved me, but he was afraid. I stopped hanging out there.

That’s another story, this isn’t about me. Dusty eventually surrendered and started using drugs. Then, they had a guy from Arizona living at the drug house, his name was Carl. He had packages of drugs delivered to the house all the time. The police got involved, and a sting was set up. So the package is delivered, they all have Dusty answer because he is kind and wants to help. So he always does, and he did on this case as well.

Well, he signed, and he gets arrested, and now he has a felony. They knew it was not him, he gets interrogated, and interrogated. Does he give Carl up?, nope, never. This was when Dusty was 19. That’s his booking photo. He went to jail, then he just got off probation recently.

This is someone you may see in jail, or at the shelter, or with the dirty clothes. That’s what you see, but this is what you’re missing when you make that judgement. These are the kids that come into our neighborhood, come to school, to church. We say get them out, those dirty kids with no manners. We don’t want to look at them, it’s like clutter in our clean house. We don’t want to deal with it, we want to pretend it’s not there. Then we may have to do something. So we ignore them and label them and call them losers or dirtbags. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

But that is how we all are part of the problem and we ask are co responsible for the inequality. You see these kids, these people, and no action is am action. Silence is consent.

Here’s Donald at age 19. He had a child. Now that’s a disaster if he’s in Dusty’s situation. However, Donald had great supports in place. His mom and dad helped the teenagers adjust, made sure everything was taken care of.

Donald was able to go to school and while Dusty was in jail, Donald was excelling. He finished college in 3 years and went on to medical school and finished. He’s a doctor. Now again, he’s not bad, not a superstar yet, I don’t think.

He is now starting to isolate, he is on a different level than others and he gets told that alot. So he believes it, so does his wife. So now the good doctor moves and starts dominating the medical profession.

They told me his iq is 156. I’m sure they told him too. He then joined the army like his father and got lots of medals and accolades.

Which is not bad. This is simply to show how we start to label and separate.

Here is Dusty taking care of his dying mother. He gets out of jail, meets a girl, and they have kids. He didn’t know how to have a relationship, he is on his own with no college, no skills, no understanding of life. Just love.

Then you have Donald with his 500 thousand dollar house that got egged.

How do I know this? Well his wife posted on Facebook that someone egged their 500 thousand dollar house but she wasn’t worried because they had security cameras all over the house. You know, to keep the “bad criminals out.”

Like clutter, she didn’t want to see that.

I also saw her post once that she was very upset with the mayor in the town they live in because he allowed a Wal-Mart to be built by their house. Her quote was “who else has to look out their 500 thousand dollar house and see a Wal-Mart, someone needs to stop this guy, do not vote for him.”

See as the separation is almost complete. What did dusty do to be placed below donald?

Nothing. But we see them each walking down the street and we treat them differently. That’s how we all contribute.

Dusty getting older, he split with his kids mom. He suffers from depression, severe depression. He feels rejected all the time, he smokes weed to forget, to not be himself.

He talks about suicide all the time. He misses Joe more than anyone. His heart is broken. Dusty and Joe spent all their time together. They even moved 2 blocks down from me for 2 years. I would drive by and wave. Really? Yes. I was no better than Donald. Even worse, because I drive by, and we still talked from time to time, but I was trying to get my life together. I could have said hi.

The doctor and his family. Now this is not an attack in Donald at all. It is about how we create separation. He worked hard, he’s caring, and he is a good man. He just started to believe he was different and better. He got told lies.

Lies we all believe, like, you need this huge house, cars, medals, and everyone to see how awesome you are.

So he fell in the trap. Here we are, the “look at us” photo.

You know how the native americans defined mental illness? They said anyone who lives in excess of what they need is mentally ill.

The doctors wife at the ritz.

Dusty and his kid at the laundromat.

The doctor and his boat.

Dusty at the playground. Having fun.

The doctors daughter with one of her trophies, she had special tennis lessons, beauty pageants, and she going to Oxford college on scholarship.

Same thing as Donald, smart talented kid. No fault of her own, the cycle continues. She is being brainwashed like he was.

He had a mask on as well. Still does.

Dusty being a dad and loving. He never knew life would be so hard when all he wanted to do was love.

The doctor is now continuing to serve and get accolades. To bad it’s all a lie.

Now this part is not real, but an example of what would likely happen from what I’ve seen in my years being in both worlds……

Now what happens if Dusty walks into Dr. Donalds office? How in the world can the doctor understand what Dusty is saying. Dusty says “Life isn’t worth living, I need to smoke weed.”

The doctors response is usually, “He just doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to work, he wants disability.” The thought process I’ve seen a million times. All the time, it’s the rule, not the exception.

So, let’s say Dusty had attempted suicide 2 times, and keeps coming back. He has to in order to get benefits and to get housing for himself.

The doctor is frustrated, in his mind he’s trying hard. That’s what life is, you just don’t behave like that in his opinion. In his world, you get up, work hard, and get it done. He can’t understand why Dusty complains that no medications work, yet continues to use drugs, and goes to the hospital.

He thinks Dusty has children, and he’s not taking care of them, he’s a “Predator” or a “Manipulator” or “Gamey.”

This is when I hear things like, why do they get free healthcare and we don’t. Almost a resentment at the patients. This is something that I see daily. The caring staff keep their mouths shut in fear.

So now Dusty has to be forced to take meds. He doesn’t get it, we have to help him. So we will put him on meds, and we aren’t going to listen to his side effects stories. We are going to force injections if he doesn’t comply with orders.

He can’t take care of himself. We have to in the doctors opinions.

Oh and, let’s charge insurance about 1500 dollars a day to do this. If the drugs give him diabetes, that’s too bad because he needs to be safe.

Good job young doctor, you’re saving the world.

Now Dusty has not been without weed for years, so asking him to stop is asking him to feel all these feelings that he has never felt before. Forcing him to take his mask off without support. The feelings he had been told to block his whole life, the feelings that have made him an outsider and not accepted.

Then give him a med that makes him feel no better for at least 6 weeks. Then it might not be the right medication, so we may have to start all over.

He will have side effects like drooling, sedation, diarrhea, and tremors. That occurs right away. Plus feeling all these emotions. Then when he sleeps too much we say that he is lazy, or non compliant with his treatment.

So we force him out of bed, and we make him go to groups with someone explaining all these “skills” he needs to use. Then he can’t participate due to the meds, the side effects, being off drugs his brain had coffee to rely on, and now having to freak with all these suppressed emotions.

So he is said to be non interested. So we need to give him more medications.

Of course we do.

Now he’s angry. No one listens, he’s sensitive, but he has had enough. He explodes from this and other patient’s likely taking advantage of him, and staff telling him when he can shower, piss, and treat him like a criminal.

Because, we say, look at his record, he is a felon. No one asks why or what happened, and they won’t believe him anyways, he’s a “manipulator.”

True story…

We had a young man admitted to our place the other day. I’ll call him “kev.” Abused age 1 to 3. A ward off the state at age 3. Picture a 3 year old being abused and taken from home, then a 3 year old in a privileged home, they’re is no difference, why do we seem to think as adults that there is? He was in foster homes his whole life, sexually abused, and beaten.Then at age 19 he committed an armed robbery, and he was shot 3 times. Then he Went to max security prison for 7 years. In prison, he cuts himself enough to need surgery, he has been known to swallow glass, and toothbrushes requiring surgery.

The assessment by “the team.” Is that he is “smooth, and manipulative.” He swallowed these things to get to go to hospital, a trip out of jail.

This is dangerous to call him manipulative. If I think you are manipulative then everything you do I take as a con. If we instead think of him as this kid who has a desparate need for acceptance and love, you will treat him differently. Then he will react differently. Then he gets better treatment. Our staff are young, impressionable, and eager to learn about psychiatry since it is romanticized on the media at times.

However if you work in government, they need to save the taxpayers money, they don’t want us spending “their” money. We have to hire inexperienced staff, because they are cheaper. We train them by what they see. The cycle continues.

So why would someone like Dusty shoot his doctor? It’s not so black and white if you look deep enough.

What’s the difference between…

This 19 year old young dad.

And this…

This young dad? (This is Joe and Anthony from last post)

The answer is nothing. Until we divide them. When we divide, we create class, uppers and lowers. When really we are all connected.

It won’t end. It can’t. Until people start fighting back. The battle is not going to be easy, we won’t see the end. We won’t see the victory. That will come after we’re gone.

But there is going to be a fight, we know that there is going to be a fight because we are going to start it. We will lose some, as we lost Joe. We won’t stop. Love always wins. Always.

If I’ve made you mad, then I’ve done my job. Happy people don’t create change. You have to be angry, you must have discontent to create change. So be angry. Then do something about it.

If 1 person reading this gets 1 thing and does something, that’s perfect. The ripple effect will be huge.

Love you Dusty.

The end.

If you want to see this in video.
Here it is..10 minutes I think.

 

The World Interpreted through Alice in Wonderland

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Consulting the Oracle

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First Meeting

Many Don’t Arrive

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A Meeting is Held

Alice is voted unanimously as Ambassador

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Waiting to meet the Red Queen

(With trepidation )

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A productive discussion did not seem in the cards

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And, in fact, became quite hostile.

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Things on the home front were not much better.

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With a heavy heart, Alice helped prepare her friends for battle with what little she could find.

      933D3D8A-C481-4B7F-A3BE-8F2C4626DDB3.png

Alice listened to the Mock Turtle’s prophecies of the outcome of the war.

    4E9FC6FE-AC4F-4C99-AF28-2985270D3379.png Is the Mock Turtle going to be right?

Mr. Putin, speaker with two faces?

Mr. Netenyahu, regretful of civilian deaths?

 

Who will take responsibility for their actions?

Who will pretend to paint the roses red with the blood of the fallen?

 

Enough is Enough: Silence is Acquiescence. So is Attendance.

There comes a time when people need to stop and think about the larger picture. Not about how something effects simply them as an individual, but how it effects an entire group of people and the possibility of what could happen to those people. Not surround ourselves in little bubbles of calm with the attitude that an issue doesn’t concern them and it effects other people, not them–it’s more important to stay calm and happy than be angry and upset, to actually feel passionate about a cause because it does effect people other than them. People they may never meet and may never know, but whose lives are just as precious as their own.

The Olympics were originally held in times of peace. We are not at war, but we are not at peace, either. It is not peace when the country chosen to hold the Olympics passes a law, unanimously, banning same sex relationships. A country with an active Neo-Nazi population. Where the stakes keep getting ratcheted up higher and higher. To where they are now.

What Vladmir Putin has said, and what a couple of others have said, are now so well known they’ve become common enough no one even needs to cite the sources. Minor comments leading up to the head of Telecommunications announcing that hearts of people who are gay are “unsuitable” for life. The pop star who said he’d burn gays, all of them, until they were all dead.

I had my own thoughts about this one and wasn’t sure when it would be addressed: no one is to talk to children about homosexuals. My question, what if they see someone they think might be? And they have a question?

Non-violent protests always ended up with someone getting hurt–never the police or whichever group had decided to attack them–and get away with it.

Homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children, or keep their own, because as parents they are evil.

So far, all of this is okay because some GOP Senator’s wife thinks Putin looks hot with his shirt off. Excuse me? And this is newsworthy because…?

Joachim Gauk, President of Germany, was the first person in a public position to announce he was not going to Sochi. Finally, someone with a conscience. He was followed by an EU official and the French Government. Others have declined. President Obama, Michelle Obama, and the Vice President and his wife will not be attending, but the US is sending a delegations containing representatives who are LBGT.

Putin has upped the ante. Now he has equated anyone of a different orientation as pedophiles. To paraphrase, “You’re welcome here, but leave our children alone.” Or maybe that isn’t paraphrasing. Games of peace.

15 Articles on Situation in Russia:   http://pridemedia.net/142/

Op-Ed Piece:   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/28/opinion/life-under-russias-gay-propaganda-ban.html

This is a headline from “Aljazeera America” from January 19th, 2014: Putin: Russia must ‘cleanse’ itself of gays, but they shouldn’t fear Sochi. In the article, Putin states that: “Population growth is vital for Russia’s development and “anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up,” he said, using a word usually reserved for military operations.”

I’m going to stop writing here in a minute. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Does anyone remember the concept that we study history to learn from our mistakes? The definition, one of them, of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Well, are we going to learn? I don’t think my guesses as to what could happen are out of the realm of the impossible or even the implausible. It’s been done before.

I think, considering Putin’s most recent statement, every single person, political official, judge, every single athlete, coach, journalist, reporter, announcer, should seriously think about whether or not the Winter Olympics at Sochi are worth it this year. Hold them somewhere else next year. I wasn’t sure about a boycott before. Now I am. Attending the Olympics in a country with a leader making statements such as this is wrong, from every standpoint. Ethically, morally, and as a violation of civil and basic rights. A certain soft drink company couldn’t make the right decision because capitalism won out over humanitarianism. Others planning on going don’t have to make the same decision.

Russia must ‘cleanse’ itself of gays

Some people may not want to go further than this. Some of the material is very disturbing, but so is ignorance.

Some pictures not suitable for children.

Continue reading

First Post of 2014

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”

–Groucho Marx

I hadn’t posted for a while before the end of the year. Personally, I felt I had said what I wanted to, needed to, and while it wasn’t necessarily the most cheerful thing in the world, I wanted to say it. Other things took over my life for a while. Dealing with other life changing things took over, leaving both blogs bereft for the remainder of the year.

It made me consider, what is the role of this blog in the first place? It started out to be a blog on writing and reviews. Other things crept in. I never thought I’d become so frustrated with politics and equal rights. With abuse of power. In this country, not elsewhere. Well, and elsewhere as well. What politicians choose to attack to divert attention away from whatever they’re trying to hide is astonishing. Something that hurts no one.

For example, a former Sheriff in Utah is going on a hunger strike in Utah until there is an uprising against same sex marriage, John M Becker of The Belerico Project comments:

When a former county sheriff thinks the law he used to work under is a higher authority than even state law there’s some serious misinterpretation of how the flow of power works.
I think this is a much more appropriate “Uprising:”

I’ve gone on and on about this, hundreds of people have. It’s no one’s business but the people involved whether or not they want to get married. Make it a Federal Law and quit this state by state ridiculousness. Just do it. Concentrate on the things that are really making the country fall apart, not the ones you’re pretending are to distract everyone. Get your priorities straight. It isn’t that equality for everyone isn’t important, because it is, and the sad truth is that it should have been a right years and years ago.

I like this, reblogged from the Give a Damn Campain, which sums up what I mean by my above statement:

Reblogged from Give a Damn Campaign

I don’t mean to end on an off note. I doubt anyone who reads or sees my blog are any of the people who need to see the above picture. I’m still, obviously, frustrated with the way things are going in politics, in the US and around the world.

Folks, being gay or lesbian or trans* isn’t something that can be cured. Could we make 2014 a year for really starting to believe that? After all, Amazon actually pulled a book on “turning your “confused” child straight.” Reparation therapy is child abuse. It doesn’t matter who does it, you, your church, a “program” you found listed in the back of God Today… Let me say that again. It is child abuse. You may think you have your child’s best interests at heart, but you don’t. You’re going to end up with a really screwed up adult who will most likely end up with depression and a higher likelihood of killing themselves than the average person with severe depression. If you think that’s a better alternative, get therapy. Now. Recognize that your child is still your child, still the same person, with the same sense of humor, love, and personality. Nothing is different except who they prefer to be with, that’s all. Your son or daughter is still a person who deserves the same dignity, rights, respect, consideration, and love they always hopefully had. Love is love, and that goes not only for whomever your child chooses to be with, but for the relationship between you and your child.

Thank you, Theo Fenraven, for reblogging these graphics where they’d be seen. I just thought I’d throw this in for a change of topic:HeatingAid_0

Poverty Levels in the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/01/05/poverty-map/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140106

 

Can Everyone Just Stop Talking, Please

There are times in my life when I feel so frustrated, so small, so unheard, so forgotten as a citizen that I want to stand on the tallest building I can find and just scream until someone pays attention to what I am saying. How are people, little people like me, heard in this country of Freedom of Speech, the right to arm bears (a much better choice, if you ask me–give those bears in Alaska a chance against Sarah Palin and her helicopters), the conservative right who literally make absolutely no sense. I don’t mean that they’re just illogical, the words that they string together to form sentences do not answer questions, they give no answers–they are a Möbius strip. I’m really not just saying this–look for this article on The New Civil Rights Movement’s web site: Sarah Palin: Atheists Are Suing Private Citizens Over Nativity Scenes ‘On Somebody’s Law.’

Why, I ask myself, do she and other people like her end up being heard? Because they’re stupid? I know I’m not the one with all the answers. I know I can’t solve all the problems. I know things can’t be fixed overnight. I used to want to work in International Relations when I was a kid, because I wanted to make the world a better place. I’m so glad I didn’t follow that path, because I would have ended up a disillusioned puddle of an adult. I don’t know what is wrong with the world. But today for the first time in a long time, because there’s a part of me that’s hardened to the daily horror that is the world, if one is paying attention–today I had to stop because I started to cry. I simply could not take any more. Any more illness. Any more famine. Any more war. Any more oppression. Any more GOPs smearing Nelson Mandela’s name and comparing the American national debt to apartheid. What? Any more of Syria, the Ukraine, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, and whoever else I left out.

And the white elephant has turned into an animal of a different color, a giant brown bear.

I do not hate or hold grudges against any country for what happened in their past. If you do that, you end up like Israel and Palestine, or Ireland and Northern Ireland, fighting wars that have been going on for far too long. The point is that what happened has already happened. I am not religious, but nor do I believe the “sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons.” We have been told, over and over, that the point of history is to learn from the past. Well, we’re all doing a pretty damn poor job of it. We haven’t learned a blessed thing. People are more interested in political maneuvering, the next election–I speak for the US, the only country I have experience to speak on. The usual rounds of mudslinging and defamation. And hatred, true hatred, growing against the LGBT community within our love thy neighbor religious institutions, the lovely christian right.

When I was growing up in the 1970’s, I had nightmares about nuclear war, the utter and complete devastation of the world. It seems many of the writers of dystopian young adult fiction didn’t grow up under that shadow–many of them are half my age. Maybe that’s why dystopian, apocalyptic fiction doesn’t appeal to me; for me, growing up, that was a true possibility (not that it isn’t completely out of the question now, but it doesn’t hang over us everyday like fog). My nightmares are changing. And again, they emanate from the same source; the bear is up and busy these days, passing some terrifying laws, one in particular. In my nightmares, it’s as if there’s a curtain and we can’t be sure what really is going on in Russia. We know they run propaganda–oh, wait, news, every two hours with their head of telecommunications telling millions of Russian citizens that people who are gay have “unsuitable hearts for living.” It’s pretty clear what the implication is. Whatever the means, they should die. But he quickly added that he has gay friends. Not anymore, I would imagine. I think “Who needs enemies when you have friends like that,” applies here. I don’t believe the bulk of the Russian people feel this way. Again, it’s the loud, brash, I-can-talk-over-everyone-else people who run the show. Whoever runs the media holds the power. What are they doing? I ask myself. Is this just the beginning? What do they intend to do? I don’t want to look at their past. There’s a history of many, many people ending up dead. And this scares me. Very much.

And the timing, with the Olympics. There’s the rub. What to do about the Olympics. Have countries boycott them, and the athletes who have been training all this time not compete? But tell me–what is worth more; precious metal on a ribbon around your neck, or knowing that you have made a difference, you have made a mark far bigger than a name that goes into Wiki with what place you won. You have made a statement about not just humanity, but the fact what is happening is not moral, it is not ethical, and it should not be condoned. Right now no one is to talk to children about people who are gay–how long before they actually start disappearing so the children don’t see them either? That is my fear, that is my nightmare; the mere possibility that could happen to someone I love.

And out of the darkness there is a small bright light.  A political figurehead who supposedly has no power in the political system. President Joachim Gauck of Germany announced he will not be attending the Olympics in Sochi next year. A politician with a conscience. Are there any others? The goliath that is Coca-Cola folded under one of the seven deadly sins. What I would ask, if I could shout and yell until people listened, is will the politicians around the world make a stand and follow President Gauck’s example, or will they crumple?

And after that I would dearly appreciate it if someone would bring me a glass of water.

Sleep well.

Plus ça change, plus c’est les mêmes.

2 Spies Beaten by Egyptian Soldiers

2 Spies Beaten by Egyptian Soldiers

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Climbing Ninja

Climbing Ninja

jacquesdem

Sovereigns

Sovereigns

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Spy report to Elizabeth I on Spain

Spy report to Elizabeth I on Spain

American Revolution Notes

American Revolution Notes

NSA Goes Too Far

NSA Goes Too Far

From Wikipedia, notes given below:

Events involving espionage are well documented throughout history. The ancient writings of Chinese and Indian military strategists such as Sun-Tzu and Chanakya contain information on deception and subversion. Chanakya’s student Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire in India, made use of assassinations, spies and secret agents, which are described in Chanakya’s rastra. The ancient Egyptians had a thoroughly developed system for the acquisition of intelligence, and the Hebrews used spies as well, as in the story of Rahab. Spies were also prevalent in the Greek and Roman empires.[2] During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongols relied heavily on espionage in their conquests in Asia and Europe. Feudal Japan often used ninja to gather intelligence. More recently, spies played a significant part in Elizabethan England (see Francis Walsingham). Many modern espionage methods were well established even then.[3] Aztecs used Pochtecas, people in charge of commerce, as spies and diplomats, and had diplomatic immunity. Along with the pochteca, before a battle or war, secret agents, quimitchin, were sent to spy amongst enemies usually wearing the local costume and speaking the local language, techniques similar to modern secret agents.[4]

  1. ^ “WHAT IS ESPIONAGE?”.
  2. Espionage in Ancient Rome“. HistoryNet.
  3. “Henrywotton.org.uk”. Henrywotton.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  4. Soustelle, Jacques (2002). The Daily Life of the Aztecas. Phoenix Press. p. 209.

I wrote a post ranting about the NSA earlier today. I erased it, put the Crazy Frogs in as I had intended before my temper got away from me, and did other things. I finally decided on the way I wanted to approach it–this one. Espionage and spying are nothing new. They have been around since there have been groups of people to spy on each other. Elizabethan England, it appears, was pretty bad. There have always been people who have a price, or who have done it because they are good at it.

Now, the playing field has changed. Drastically. There are still people who can be bought. There are still people who can be seduced. But really, why go to the bother when all you have to do is set up a scan? It’s too easy. They NSA has more data than they can possibly know what to do with. I’m sure a lot of people could give them suggestions. I’m so used to knowing that anything I do could be monitored, traced, saved, tracked…I almost don’t even care any more. Orwell was right, he just had the date off a little. Yes, I’m angry. I’m angry that the actions this overreaching department of the government which should have been reined in like the rabid dogs they were behaving like weren’t stopped before things got this bad. Angry no one was keeping a closer eye on them, instead of giving them carte blanche to, well, the world. Making a mess of foreign relations. It could be a T-shirt slogan: With Friends like US, Who Needs Enemies?

Nothing can ever be proved, nothing can ever be denied. They’re in the perfect position. The problem was they got careless, as sometimes happens with the bloating caused by power. The NSA is like Jaffar from Aladdin. Remember him? This would be a good time for a little intervention.

Infinite cosmic power...

Infinite cosmic power…

Itty, bitty living space

Itty, bitty living space

Fake Magic the Gathering Card

Fake Magic the Gathering Card

Of course, it isn’t so easy. Or as amusing. And I really hope that the person who made up the very clever MtG card learns to spell “Obedience” right. But otherwise a very awesome card, only four mana to tap, lasts indefinitely. Very nice. I always played blue, green, or white.

I think that may be what they think this is, the NSA–a game. A game of drones. Only people are getting hurt. Real people. Really getting killed. Not thermonuclear war killed. Dead. The more bits and pieces of the news that you read, if you can stand to stick with it long enough, the more pieces start to come together, and the more of a mess it becomes. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive. As allies, it seems Germany’s (oh why, why, the love of compound words–I respect and admire them, but it’s going to be a while before this one rolls off my tongue) Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)has been giving information to the US but doesn’t know how we’ve been using it. Dear Gods. They’ve also been doing what the NSA has been doing to its own citizens. Spying on them.

I will just say right now that I think everyone is spying on everyone else, and their own citizens. Why not? It seems the chic thing to do these days. Maybe that will make all of us feel better.

What I sincerely don’t believe in is the US spying on the citizens of other countries: that’s just greedy. Leave the French to France and the Germans to Germany and everyone else where they belong. I think you’ve done enough, thank you very much. Does anyone else remember the song by Peter Gabriel, Games Without Frontiers?

I really wanted to visit those countries someday. Oh, and Italy. Let’s not forget Italy. I’m sure they’re involved in there as well. Spain? I would really like to go to Barcelona, because Gaudi never seemed to make it over to the US to build anything here. I would like to see museums. I would like to see buildings that are older than this country, by hundreds of years. I want to see castles, and cathedrals, and if you f**k this up, President Obama, by not having kept a tighter rein on your–you know, none of the definitions for agent in Wiki fit what the NSA is doing. None of them. You’ve created something new, which is only appropriate, I suppose. Let’s just call them your Clandestine Computer Cavaliers (CCC). The CCC’s actions are on the cusp, if they haven’t already tilted, US diplomatic relations arse over teakettle.

Congress didn’t listen to their constituents during the shutdown, as they’re supposed to–after all, those are the people who elected them. They acted on their own agendas. How many rules of the US Constitution did they break then? What was their “punishment?” None of them fled to Russia for political asylum. They just cut off food to hungry women and children, closed Head Start programs, furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers.

How many rules are the NSA breaking now, “for our protection?” I’m sure checking up on women they’re interested in is “for our protection.” I’m sure the only protection they need is a Trojan…Horse. Remember those guys? They were sort of spies as well. In a way. It was underhanded, and not very noble of them. That’s war, though, isn’t it.

Are we fighting Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico? I didn’t think so. Technology has gotten ahead of us, faster than the NSA’s brains, and the CCC treat it like they’ve just plundered a candy shop. These aren’t toys. They aren’t little wooden horses.

This is not a game. This is real life.

I’m sure people are sick to death of my proselytizing over things like this, but WAKE UP! Where are your morals and your ethics? What is happening in this country? Why do you, President Obama, let it happen. Have you given up? Because I voted for you twice, and that, quite frankly, will just piss me off. Giving up. Be proactive instead of reactive. Fix things before you have to do damage control.

Yes, you like to spend time with your family, and you value that. I respect that. But, also in all respects, you’re not a normal man and you don’t get to have a normal life while you’re the President. It sucks, but it’s true. Your attitude has led us down the road of isolationism in terms of relationships with other countries, yet the actions of the NSA have reached out and grabbed other countries by the throat and throttled them. Not a good thing to do when we have an isolationist President.

This is going to take more than a few quick steps and fast thinking to fix. No one is happy. Everyone may be doing the same thing within their own bounds, and even if they aren’t, it’s not to the extent the CCC is. It is going to take genuine desire to fix the problem.

This needs to end. It needed to be over years ago. Keep this agency in line, or keep whoever is leading them in check.

Think on this; if the NSA hadn’t done so many illegal things, committed so many egregious wrongs against so many tens of thousands of people in multiple countries, it wouldn’t matter so much about Snowden, would it? Put it this way–if the FBI were working a case, and got a witness with all the information they needed, the names, the dates, the people under the names, the money, who else was involved, and got them to turn state’s evidence, the FBI would be in heaven. Because that person has all the goods on everyone. But the smog of moral turpitude seems to linger these days. I’ll just leave it at that.

Except for this. And a picture. I have to have another picture.

If you were a little kid, going to the principal’s office, and the principal already knows some of the story, and you know another person who knows the whole story as well as you do is sitting in the room next door, but you’re the one who is talking to the principal first, would you tell the principal everything first, and get it over with, or would you wait and let the other person do it? And then have to wonder what they did say, and what they didn’t say? Snowden can control this show a drip at a time, or you can, Mr. President, because it’s becoming a three ring circus of unprecedented proportions, everyone is watching, and this time, no one is laughing.

 Plus ça change, plus c'est les mêmes.


Plus ça change, plus c’est les mêmes.

Censorship in our Brave New World

There appear to be some issues with self published eBooks being taken down from some online stores amid accusations of “indecent and immoral content.” Instead of being taken as a case-by-case basis, some proprietors have determined it best to remove all self-published material, regardless of subject. The original complaint was against allegedly distasteful erotica. So now fantasy, historical fiction/romance, science fiction, etc. all have to take the brunt of these accusations. Every self-published author is now apparently some sort of depraved, sick individual. It’s not even a matter of quality control.

It’s a matter of content. So who gets to censor, and who gets to set the standards?

One site in the UK has actually taken their page down until they manage to remove all self-published material from their shelves, and has a holding page up with this statement:

A statement from WHSmith:
Last week we were made aware that a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours. This is an industry wide issue impacting retailers that sell self published eBooks due to the explosion of self publishing, which in the main is good as it gives new authors the opportunity to get their content published. However we are disgusted by these particular titles, find this unacceptable and we in no way whatsoever condone them.

It is our policy not to feature titles like those highlighted and we have processes in place to screen them out. We offer over one million titles through our eBooks partner Kobo, many of which are self-published titles. Due to the massive amount of self publishing a number of these titles have got through the screening process.

We are taking immediate steps to have them all removed. While we are doing this we have decided to take our website off-line to best protect our customers and the public. Our website will become live again once all self published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available. When our website goes back online it will not display any self published material until we are completely confident that inappropriate books can never be shown again.

We sincerely apologise for any offence caused.

In the mean time if you have any questions for our customer support team you can contact then here (customer.relations@whsmith.co.uk).      

What a statement–“until we are completely confident that inappropriate books can never be shown again.” It also could use a good edit. I’m a vegetarian. I’d really rather not see any books on BBQ or Slow Roasting Chicken. I don’t like guns, so I think we should get rid of all those titles as well. Oh, that takes out quite a number of mysteries, doesn’t it? Action/Adventure, too. I’m afraid of the water, so there go any nautical, Navy SEAL, or books about the Marines. Poor Patrick O’Brian! And books on pirates. My kidneys are going bad, moderately damaged. Better get all the cookbooks with too much salt out of there–it’s better for everyone’s health in the long run. And I find the idea of steak and kidney pie, well, extremely hurtful in this light as well, so out with those. I don’t particularly like the outdoors, let’s get rid of all the books on hiking. I can’t afford to travel, so I find it offensive that there are other people always talking about all the places they’ve been or are going to visit. Out with all the travel books on other countries.

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Why should I choose what anyone else can read? We have freedom of speech, at least supposedly, in the United States. I can only assume that the UK would as well. I’ve never been there. Can’t travel, remember? It sort of sucks sometimes, being one of the 99%. But I do have some rights, according to the constitution. Oh, but wait, we have politicians here who can’t remember how laws are made, what am I saying? I imagine they’d love to hop on this censorship train. The Tea Party may be more at home going by ship, though…

I didn’t have a question for WHSmith, but I did have a comment:

The only offense that has been caused here is the blatant censorship exhibited by a kneejerk reaction to a limited number of titles, not the entire body of work that is self-published.

This reaction is akin to making a blanket statement about an entire ethnic group or population. It is the equivalent of profiling by law enforcement. It is morally and ethically questionable, and smacks of an Orwellian mentality.

If paper burns at a temperature of 451 degrees Fahrenheit, what happens to eBooks? Luckily, you’re even saved that issue with a single click of a delete button.

Who makes the decisions of what is and isn’t acceptable? Who are our moral  police? In our “Democratic” United States, it appears that the ones who think they would be responsible for a task such as this would be the GOP and the Tea Party. Anyone who is following current politics in the United States knows just how moral and ethical they are.

As opposed to folding under pressure to appease the madding, misled, moral unintelligentsia in the quest to retain their almighty pecuniary tributes, I would urge you to consider where your actions will lead. Is it a moral and ethical place, or is it a place full of landmines and Molotov cocktails? Who will join you for happy hour then?

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
–Martin-Niemöller-Foundation

Sincerely,
Wendy Clements
Writer

Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Oscar Wilde

Hm. I would address this question to any online bookseller. I used to be a bookseller, for an independent bookstore. A real store. Yet even I mourned the death of Borders. It was one of the few places left for people to gather, talk, drink overpriced coffee and be surrounded by books. Granted, they never had the books I wanted, but still… I live in a university town. Our Borders closed. We have two branches of a used book store that has the potential to be a very good bookstore, another used bookstore which is loved by the community and provides wonderful events, and a couple of specialty bookstores. And the christian bookstore. We have a Barnes and Noble, however rumor has it they’re pulling the same sort of stunt on their online faux brick and mortarless presence. I haven’t verified that. The same claims were made of Amazon. I haven’t verified that either. Oh, wait, yes I did. Finn Marlowe now only has two books up. Not His Kiss to Take is missing. It’s at Smashwords, though–free.

I don’t know how many books are missing from Amazon. All self-published titles will be from WHSmith. Truthfully, things are so vague, other than “unacceptable” titles causing “offence” that I don’t even know what they’re talking about. There are plenty of books published by traditional, big 5 publishing houses with material in them I find offensive–some worse than what I’ve ever read in the self-published works I choose to read. Note the word in the last sentence. Choose. Choice. No one is forcing people to buy books of erotica. I think people are making that decision themselves. I don’t think they magically jump from WHSmith’s page to readers’ Kobos of their own volition, while managing to smuggle the money out of the readers’ accounts at the same time. Do these people who find the material offensive force themselves to read it so they can state their case first hand, or do they just read the blurb and look at the cover? Because really, blurbs only give a slice of the pie, American or British.

Books are such an easy target, and they look so innocent, but they scare some people to death. They might talk about something different from the status quo. They could be revolutionary. Although I don’t think it was a book that started either the French Revolution or the American Revolution. It just takes some people, as Jon Stewart put it, stringing these long words together into completely incomprehensible sentences that don’t even obfuscate the true meaning because there wasn’t any there to start with. See, I can do it too, except I think mine made sense.  Keep people confused. Confused people are easier to lead. When it becomes frightening is when it’s the misinformed leading the confused–a few very loud, dramatic, flag waving Palins to drown out the voices of reason and sanity.

The Tea Party is really such a waste of good tea–I only hope it isn’t Irish Breakfast, because that’s my favorite. They give tea a bad name, and I really think it would be such a nice thing to institute in the United States–afternoon tea. Some time to relax. Take a break from the frenetic pace of our lives. Read a good book. Instead we have people vying for the role of Mad Hatter. Maybe he’s available for the role of book censor. I don’t know what his political leanings are, or what his personal tastes in reading material are, but he has heard a lot of, “Off with their heads!” And I believe he possesses the requisite questionable sanity.

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
–Oscar Wilde

i read banned booksBenjamin Franklineyechart-banned-books