That All Men Are Created Equal

I want to change tacks (a sailing term by the way) diverging from my recent COVID-19 posts, and share some other news I found peculiar and enlightening yesterday, Friday, May 15. My readers who are sports fans, particularly football/futebol fans (Ark, John Z), should find this interesting, I hope.

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Some of you know that I am an avid football/soccer fan. I played The World’s Most Beautiful Game all my life, had a very successful collegiate career, and a rather short, average pro career then semi-pro career. All that to say, that along with the Canarinha, or Little Canaries of Brazil, I enjoy keeping up with our U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams, their schedule, who is coming up through the ranks as Wonder Kids and how our Youth Development is progressing compared to the Juggernauts of world football’s Pantheon. So off we go!

US Constitution and 3 Branches

From our Declaration of Independence, 1776:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That all men are created equal.” What does that mean exactly? How does it translate to 21st century America? Does it mean equality for all Americans? Does it mean a nation without prejudice, without discrimination and racism, and tolerance for same-sex marriage? If your honest about all of American history, in all aspects of American life, then the answer is no. Some Americans are not equal and do not have equal opportunity as others.

And even 244-years later Americans are still confused and fighting each other as to how those famous opening words translate. So in our Declaration of Independence, later spelled out in much more detail in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all her Articles and Amendments it was further defined and explicitly and implicitly explained, protected, and enforced by our Three Branches of Government. And yet many of us are still confused, sometimes fighting each other, and still practicing and supporting modern forms of discrimination, prejudice, and inequality in too many areas of American life. Case and point, from the U.S. Soccer Federation website May 15, 2020…

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION AND THE U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION

Today the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation released the following joint statement: 

We have come to an agreement that we believe is in the best interest for the sport in the United States. As we move forward, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work together to provide access and opportunities for all soccer players across the country, particularly those in low-income communities and others in need.

USWNT WC celebration

Celebration of the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup win.

That is all they said. Just 74-words long short.

Though the statement isn’t specifically spelled out in detail, barely at all, I believe what the USSF and the USSother-F are indirectly stating has to do with our now decades old Youth Academies and Development Programs across the nation. I find that highly intriguing and worth a bit of discussion should anyone be interested! Yes?

One reason why I find this highly intriguing for the men’s team is that since the late 1990’s and the FIFA 2002 World Cup in S. Korea & Japan—when our USMNT did phenomenally well with many highly accomplished players playing their club ball in Europe at good-to-great, elite, world class clubs with and against the world’s other elite, world-class players and coaches—the USMNT performances since 2002 have been a roller-coaster and shockingly unpredictable qualifying for the World Cups every four years and worse still, out of one of the easiest Confederations to WC-Qualify from:  CONCACAF.

Why is it easy, or should be so easy, for the men’s U.S. National Team to qualify for the World Cup every four years? Mexico does it pretty much every single time. Costa Rica and maybe Panama or Honduras qualify every so often. Three nations qualify out of a total of maybe FOUR traditionally power-house nations; three is perhaps more accurate. Yet, with all the financial clout, resources, and sporting athletes the United States possesses now and has possessed since 1994—when the World Cup was here last and President Reagan promised FIFA and CONCACAF we would have a premier football league by 1996 or 1998. From a 1988 New York Times article:

U.S. Awarded ’94 World Cup Tourney in Soccer

Fricker said the U.S.S.F. will begin developing plans for a national soccer league, one that will encompass in some way teams from existing semiprofessional indoor and outdoor leagues. The league, he said, would operate at three levels, based on ability, to create ”the ideal environment for America to develop highly skilled players.” Presumably, as the 1994 tournament approaches, the best players will win positions on the American team.
by Michael Janofsky, NY Times, accessed 5/15/2020

Unfortunately, none of this has really happened. Not for the boys and men. Why not? One of the USMNT’s most tragic performances since Reagan’s promise to FIFA and Americans in 1988 was not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. We were beaten by Trinidad-Tobago and thus eliminated, and after a very good showing four years earlier in Brazil (see below ESPN video).

Yes, I do believe! I believed in our USMNT not only during the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, but for our national men’s teams from 1994-1998 because we had several talented boys playing for clubs in Europe and South America! Some of them came through the mediocre NCAA-D1 programs, yes. But many of them did not waist those four irreplaceable years, went to play with outstanding foreigners in other divisions and leagues, then went abroad to improve. That is, improve European or South American style. Yes indeed, we had the talent then, we still have it now! What has been going wrong?

Another case and point. Ever since the incredible tournament play in the Group Stage then Round of 16, continuing into the Quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, our absolute pinnacle to-date for soccer history and our boys, and we are still struggling! Something has not been jiving in U.S. men’s national team football, in our professional leagues like the defunct NASL, the old MLPS, the USFL, and now MLS as well as in the Youth Development programs the last 26-years or more? Twenty-six years is a time-span of at least one or two American generations! Do we now have a blurred answer, a sort of iffy cloudy answer now?

What are the USSF and the USSother-F saying, but not saying?

I would love to see your thoughts about this Joint Statement, its implied cause(s), and the implications and possible outcomes.

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USSF logos - breaker

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Color-coded Alerts?

Yesterday Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a new mechanism for measuring the spread of coronavirus in our 909 mi² county and thus a recommendation-only for the public movement or outings by residents of Dallas County.

As of yesterday, May 11, 2020, new infection cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County reached 253. For at least the last 10-12 days the county has seen new cases hit about 250 per day. Jenkins was reluctant to say with certainty that we have finally plateaued with new cases, but he was willing to speculate that we might be getting there soon. Judge Jenkins did remind Dallas County, however, that we are still in the Red-phase of highest concern and precautions. Let me restate and emphasize that again:  We are still squarely inside the Red-phase of public health and safety! Red is the recommendation to stay home unless your’re performing essential (critical) activities.

What exactly are those “essential” (critical) activities? Fortunately, he and Dallas County health experts spelled them out precisely here in this public document! Below is the top of page 3, but I hope you can take a quick look at the entire table.

Annotation 2020-05-12 012524

The full Table begins on pages 3 — 6 and list exactly what the acceptable activities should be and by default exactly what is NOT acceptable or recommended.

Personally, I am undecided as to the real projected effectiveness of this measuring system then recommendation-only guideline for an already restless, rebellious, very self-consumed (minority?) population in our county, the DFW metroplex, and many specific 2016 demographic areas across Texas. Therefore, I wanted to ask my Followers and visitors your thoughts. Share below your opinions about this new Color-coded Alert system. Do you think it can be effective for 2.7-million residents of Dallas County? If so, why? If not, why not? Your feedback is valued and appreciated. Meanwhile…

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Live Healthier — Love More — Laugh with Family — Learn More Science!

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Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19

The madness, the sheer ignorance, or insanity of this modern life, of complacency and certain human logic often cannot be fathomed, not in the least. Today I am beside myself.

A wealthy women’s Republican organization took to the grounds of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 demanding businesses reopen and workers return to their jobs immediately. Their demands came in the wake of still rising confirmed infections of COVID-19 cases of 2,602 (90 more cases) on April 20th from 2,190 on April 15th, including 9 additional deaths in those five days. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County are still rising according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services.

PCRW protest Dallas

The Park Cities Republican Women is a political club of wives and women from two of Texas’ most wealthiest urban municipalities within Texas, University Park and Highland Park combined, and second only to Collin County consisting of opulent towns like Plano, McKinney, and Allen, Texas. These two counties are the bulk of the wealthiest Republican seats in North Texas for the last 25-30 years. Some of the nation’s richest billionaires live in three of these four Dallas neighborhoods. At one time in recent history these neighborhoods all barred non-whites from entering these areas of residence.

Park Cities Republican Women Board

Dallas Park Cities Republican Women Executive Board

Researching and digging into these ladies’ current occupations and their husbands’ and those business ties and ventures certainly yielded a very clear bias leaning to DFW mega-businesses in sectors like but not limited to real estate, financial-wealth management, and mass media corporations. That digging also resulted in determining that several of these women on the “Executive Board” are not native Texans or even more than 3rd-4th generation Texans. It soon begs the question, How many times have these ladies gone to and spent significant time in Dallas’ most impoverished areas (Pleasant Grove? Wynnewood or Beckley Club Estates?) for simple charity or stimulus packages/plans for critically needed improvement in basic, public socio-educational programs?

Aside from these protester’s political associations and postures the more pressing, more critical question to be asked is what is required to stop and reduce COVID-19 infections and subsequent deaths. After all, is it not human life, the unnecessary loss of innocent lives that are most important, most morally responsible that is the top priority? Isn’t that the highest importance as if it were your own child or your own parent? Is that an overreaction by anyone who’s own child/parent might be infected with COVID-19?

Overreaction? Seriously!? What planet do you live on!?

No. It is anything but an overreaction people. As of today, April 25, 2020, there are 2.79-million people infected by COVID-19 around the world. To date there have been 196,000 deaths from coronavirus; over 52,400 in the U.S. and rising still. All one need do is examine Italy’s COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.

italy_newplot

From a March 23rd Vox article:

What’s scary about Italy’s experience is that Italy wasn’t exactly passive in its response to the virus. The country did act, quarantining a dozen towns in northern regions on February 23, urging the public to engage in social distancing, and ordering the closure of all schools nationwide on March 4.

The reality, however, of wisely and scientifically managing one of the worst, most devastating pandemics this country has faced since January 1918 with the Spanish Flu pandemic, is that there is a very specific, safe plan to slowly ease out of Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home orders that were ordered to save lives. It is simply called public health and protection of American lives directed and implemented by our elected government officials, on all necessary levels. That’s the theory anyway.

The plan has several phases: Phase one is slowing the spread through social distancing, while ramping up testing capacity, and ensuring hospitals have the equipment they need. In phase two, social distancing restrictions ease while public health workers continue to track and isolate cases.

But it will take a lot to get there. The authors argue these decisions need to be made on a region-by-region basis: Phase two should only begin after 14 days of sustained case reductions in an area, and only after testing capacity is dramatically increased.
Resnick, Brian, “How to safely end social distancing,” Vox.com, accessed April 25, 2020

There is still so much that is unknown, undetermined about the COVID-19 virus, how it spreads so easily, so quickly, and how it is quickly detected. We just learned that six more symptoms have been added to the original 4-5 symptoms. On top of this new evidence there are people in China and Japan that after recovering from infection they have become reinfected with COVID-19. The fact is there is simply not enough collected data and research to determine with certainty whether these new cases were in fact positively infected the first time (U.N. announcement). Therefore, with a known incubation period of at least 14-days before COVID-19 symptoms manifest in patients, it is much more safe for medical professionals and the general public to err on the side of caution.

Remarkably there is still push-back from many Cash-worshipers. The Park Cities Republican Women’s club is not the only protesters voicing their defiance. Lulu Garcia-Navarro hosts NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and she along with Kirk Siegler talked with former Salt Lake City, Utah police officer Eric Moutsos who has become overly vocal since being put on administrative leave from the SLC police department:

In my opinion, not being able to provide for your family is a hundred times bigger health crisis than any virus.

Quarantine is for sick people. It’s when you lock sick people away. But when you lock healthy people away, that’s tyranny.

Moutsos is not alone in his self-made celebrity status. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already made controversial remarks against the sanctity of life for all Americans by stating senior citizens were more concerned about money, paychecks, and the economy. From NBCnews.com:

“And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us,” Patrick said Monday night.

He went on to say that he didn’t want to die but that “we’ve got to take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”

On the contrary, reality according to epidemiologists and virologists around the world is that too many Americans are underestimating how long COVID-19 disruptions will have to last. They blame much of this false hope on the Trump Administration’s erroneous information and timelines disseminated in Press Conferences:

…but quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said.

“The administration has consistently shown a desire to underplay the severity of whatever is coming. And they’re constantly adjusting that — as it becomes harder to deny the reality will be worse than what they’ve conditioned people for,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

But experts say that, even if some restrictions are relaxed, it’s unlikely life as normal will resume in early May.

“Decisions to reopen society should not be about a date, but about the data,” Frieden, now president and CEO of the global public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, said during a briefing Wednesday for journalists. “How well and how quickly we do these things will determine how soon and how safely we can reopen.”

Still A Small Minority

Fortunately, these protesting Cash-worshipers represent a small minority in the U.S. as well as Texas. The Texas Tribune’s Brandon Formby and Ross Ramsey write:

Two-thirds of registered Texas voters agree with decisions by Gov. Greg Abbott and several local officials to suspend nonessential business operations. And more than three-quarters of voters support orders to stay home except for essential activities. The poll’s findings come as Abbott says he will soon announce plans to reopen a wide range of Texas businesses.

According to Politico.com only 30% of Americans say getting the nation’s economy up and running is a first priority despite what some news media corporations promote. Here is what Gallup Polling states:

The average American is unequipped to make scientific judgments on virus-related matters. Americans are better able to make judgments on the financial and economic impact of the shutdowns.

While other Gallup data show that a majority of Americans (55%) say they can continue following social distancing practices without significant financial hardship for “as long as is necessary,” 8% say they’re already experiencing significant financial hardship, and another 14% say they will within a few more weeks.

[…]

58% of respondents in the survey chose… “the United States will move too quickly in loosening restrictions and the virus will continue to spread with more lives being lost.”

As of today, the majority of Americans do not want to risk more extended restrictions of Stay-at-Home orders by foolishly and prematurely reopening. This is clear.

Will American History Repeat Itself?

Assistant Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Michigan University, Alex Navarro, detailed the historical accounts of the 1918 Spanish flu in 43 cities:

“There was a lot of pressure in pretty much all of these American cities to reopen,” said Navarro, whose research was done in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “When they removed those restrictions too soon, then many cities saw a resurgence in cases.”

Government authorities in California and much of the West Coast in 1918 – 1919 were doing everything right, they were ‘flattening the curve’ as repeatedly told by doctors and scientists of virology and epidemiology. Sadly, by November and December 1918 too many business leaders and moguls put huge pressure on government officials to reopen and return our struggling economy to normal. Those Cash-worshipers then used the press to further promote and propagandize their declining riches.

San-Francisco-influenza-1918

A congregation praying on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, where they gathered to hear mass and pray during the influenza epidemic, San Francisco, California, 1918 — Hulton Archive / Getty Images

But three weeks after that celebration of removing their masks, the city saw a dramatic resurgence. Officials at first rejected the idea of reopening the city and suggested residents could voluntarily wear face coverings.

But shortly after the New Year in 1919, the city was hit with 600 new cases in one day, prompting the Board of Supervisors to re-enact the mandatory mask ordinance. Protests against the mandate eventually led to the formation of the Anti-Mask League. The detractors eventually got their way when the order was lifted in February.

And as PBS’ poignant Frontline documentary Coronavirus Pandemic proved this past Tuesday, April 21st, the American economy is not just taking a blow from COVID-19, the nation’s economy is suffering directly because of Washington D.C., the White House, and specifically our incapable fake President who delayed and downplayed the seriousness of the virus. He has never been a true leader prior to or during his Presidency or one who proactively or consistently shows compassion, sympathy and empathy for all Americans, or much less the ability to admit publicly when you’ve truly f*cked up. Has the man ever taken full responsibility for his f*ck ups as the country’s incapable leader? The truth doesn’t get any simpler nor more clear.

Nevertheless, getting back to the real issue: the science, when your country’s top, foremost doctor of infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci states If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing then even a preschooler understands what must be done no matter how badly your pocketbook is hurting. Duh!

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Addendum 4/28/2020 — this is an excellent interview by Michel Martin of PBS’ Amanpour & Company called “Former Sen. Bill Frist on the President’s Pandemic Response.” It is well worth watching:
https://www.pbs.org/video/former-sen-bill-frist-presidents-pandemic-response-h6futh/

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Listen to Experts

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Republicans Say Trump is Done

When I read this headline The Trump Presidency Is Over followed by the sub-header of It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain. written by a life-long Republican supporter and contributing journalist Peter Wehner for The Atlantic, I was relieved and astonished. I had to stop my current work on a different blog-post and quickly share this news. Really? Say it isn’t so! They are indeed rational?

Finally the moderate, but deeply loyal party-line Republicans who foolishly bought into Trump’s dump-truck loads of ridiculous rhetoric were waking up out of their coma and stupor of hardcore, blind party-lines-first addiction and foremost gaining some rational logic, critical-thinking and assessing, re-establishing needed science, and returning to an old American tradition of the greater good for all Americans. Someone who finally came to their senses, a long-time Republican devotee was finally courageous enough to speak-up and say enough is enough from this Mob-style, audacious, delusional, lying Con-artist! Bravo, bravo, BRAVO Peter Wehner! Here are his opening two paragraphs:

When, in January 2016, I wrote that despite being a lifelong Republican who worked in the previous three GOP administrations, I would never vote for Donald Trump, even though his administration would align much more with my policy views than a Hillary Clinton presidency would, a lot of my Republican friends were befuddled. How could I not vote for a person who checked far more of my policy boxes than his opponent?

What I explained then, and what I have said many times since, is that Trump is fundamentally unfit—intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically—for office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a president, in part because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a president will face an unexpected crisis—and at that point, the president’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.

But let me skip ahead in his telling article to correctly be as fair as possible on his own party’s representative, as opposed to a true representative of the American people as a whole or the U.S.’s core principles of a Constitutional democracy and supporter of all its sacred institutions:

To be sure, the president isn’t responsible for either the coronavirus or the disease it causes, COVID-19, and he couldn’t have stopped it from hitting our shores even if he had done everything right.

[…]

That said, the president and his administration are responsible for grave, costly errors, most especially the epic manufacturing failures in diagnostic testing, the decision to test too few people, the delay in expanding testing to labs outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and problems in the supply chain. These mistakes have left us blind and badly behind the curve, and, for a few crucial weeks, they created a false sense of security. What we now know is that the coronavirus silently spread for several weeks, without us being aware of it and while we were doing nothing to stop it. Containment and mitigation efforts could have significantly slowed its spread at an early, critical point, but we frittered away that opportunity.

I hardly need say anymore on this complete failure of Presidential and Executive Branch experience, leadership, and savvy to run a great nation such as the USA that so many duped Americans helped put in the Oval Office on Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C. What IS going to be horribly sad and unforgettable for the legacy of one of America’s worst Presidents in all our 244-year history and 4-years of instability is that he was basically clueless of federal protocols and foolish in thinking our nation could be run exactly like his dubious private businesses, six failed bankrupt ventures included, and dupe a large portion of American voters into thinking radical, extreme, bullying, fear-spreading, and reckless business-dealing would EVER work in governing a global economic player-nation with a plethora of other diplomatic and foreign entities, especially when valuable allies and semi-allies require superb grace, wit, respect, and often a show of stoicism and verbalizing less as opposed to bowing up your chest and behaving like a 10-year old school-yard bull in a China closet.

Enough said. Take it on the chin America, learn this painful lesson. Then please read the entire Peter Wehner article in The Atlantic and his critique of our fake, tragically bogus, “unfit” President that duped many, MANY American voters in 2016.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Turnips & Tranquility

Where has time gone? What in the world am I doing now halfway through my life? Why am I still busting my ass HARD and yet feel I am no better off than I was when I was 25, 35, or 45-years old?

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A dear friend called me the other week to ask how I was getting along. They had not heard from me in a long while—I am no longer on any popular social-media, namely Facebook, and for very good reasons. Remarkably and a bit perplexed by my unknown lostness, I found the concern odd. On the contrary, I am very much present, alive and stuck-in the typical hubbub of American life. Go go GO! Never stop! Never sleep! Make wheel-barrows of money in 28-hours a day! That’s the expected spirit here!

Yet, not being on Facebook, Instagram, Qzone, or Twitter apparently puts me off the grid somehow, or out of touch from civilization somewhere on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean ala Tom Hanks in Cast Away! Should I scream “WILSON!!!? Would 20-year olds even know that reference? Last I checked, my cell phone works perfectly. Live talks on the phone are still around, used, aren’t they? We do still speak face-to-face, correct? In proper English, not strictly acronyms in 30-character texts, yes?

Nevertheless, there was a good reason why my good friend called. The truth is I have indeed been swamped and overwhelmed not just since last Fall 2019, October to be exact, but particularly the entire month of February this year.

I am just trying to squeeze as much money out of everyone else FASTER than they can squeeze more money out of me.
Me, Professor Taboo from “How To Survive in a Cannibalistic Hyper-Capitalist Economy of America.” ®2020.

That was my final description of what my last two years have become after briefly explaining to my friend why I seemed to be lost somewhere out there. We both had a good laugh about my seemingly new, yet unintended mantra. This is no easy bloody race and it never ever ends, especially if one was not born into privilege or great wealth.

One debacle out of several I have found myself in these last 4-6 weeks was trying to speak with an actual LIVE human being both at my cell phone provider (Verizon) and with my bank regarding a second round of recent fraudulent debit/credit card charges in Atlanta, GA, Silverton, Idaho, San Francisco and Berkley, CA. Not only am I a continental traveler, but I seemingly fly in my supersonic Lear-jet from coast to coast and in between. I WISH! That’s the funny part. What is not at all funny is that it is quite difficult to begin speaking right away to an English-speaking human being. My first 5-mins with Verizon, as I satirically remember it:

“Welcome to Verizon Wireless Customer pleasuring. Are you calling about phone # (my cell #). Push 1 if this is correct. Push 2 if this is incorrect. Push 3 if somewhat correct. Push 4 if a little incorrect. Push 5 if you like ham sandwiches. Push 6 if you like green eggs with ham. Push 6½ if you enjoy Dr. Seuss. Push 7 if this menu gives you pleasure. Push 13 if it does not pleasure you. Push 8 if you want to hear all options again slower. Push 9 or 0 if you honestly think [laughing in background proceeds] you’ll get a human being to talk to.

[I make my selection]

“I’m sorry, I did not understand your input.” Then everything robotically returns to the beginning and repeats. I am in an eternal, computerized loop somewhere in Never-never Land.

Most likely this year will be dotted with several family funerals of very close aunts and uncles to Mom and sister. I am now at an age where many of my elderly aunts and uncles—perhaps even one or two of the oldest cousins—when numerous funerals could occur this year and next. One funeral has already taken place last month, a 91 or 92-year old uncle. Another is likely within the next 2-4 months, maybe? That generation and my mother’s and father’s generations typically had large families of five, seven, or in my Mom’s case eleven siblings.

In other personal events I am having to once again search for and find more feasible housing. Whether most Americans are thriving and succeeding in their pursuits of happiness, health, occupational and financial stability and mobility depends mostly on who you speak with… at length. It is a heated controversy right now and for very good reason! Why? Saturation of false and/or misleading information, facts, statistics, and contextual causes and effects. Take a close look at this graphic on affordable Texas housing from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Notice the $40,185 wage figure:

TX Housing Needs 2019

For more extensive details and data on “affordable” housing in Texas, a contradiction in terms I assure you, click here.

Most low-income (non-caucasian?) households in Texas barely make $28k to $38k per year ($14–$18/hr median) combined as couples and they’re lucky if they are afforded decent-to-good healthcare coverage from Texas employers trying everything within their power to avoid hiring full-time, 40-hr/week employees. With part-time employees (<30 hrs/week) health benefits do not have to be provided. In fact, in Texas there are no laws forcing employers to ever offer any health insurance to employees. Most do, however, only if you work 40-60+ hour work weeks; the higher the wages/salary, the more hours they demand expect from you. These are the extreme benefits and perks for businesses and business owners based in Texas, an At-Will labor-law state. This is one big reason why the Red-state of Texas has now become the 2nd fastest growing state in the nation the last 20-25 years. Cheap uneducated labor. It passed Florida last year I believe. Nevertheless, after three rate-hikes in 3-years and as a single man, I can no longer afford paying $1,360/month for my current housing and keep up with the cost-of-living.

On other news topics, I believe I have some 7 or 8 unfinished, Pulitzer Prize winning blog-post drafts each on different topics waiting their completion. Those have been on the dust-bin shelf since August of 2019. I’m lucky I almost finished this post. Several more go back further, one back to 2015 when a then divorcing friend said she’d Guest-post it for me about not divorcing when kids less than 18-years are involved. Hah, she’s now already remarried and never thinks about me anymore. Kind of funny really, how “traditional” marriage does that to people—their social-life shrinks to zilch, nada, near empty when it comes to the single opposite sex. Hmmm, imagine that.

On more news, last week and last Monday I had to spend an excessive amount of time on the phone with our county voter registration office as to why my new “permanent” registered card hadn’t arrived after 5-weeks of reapplying. Apparently my very “official temporary” card was invalid this year. I didn’t realize it had gotten so complicated. No wonder Texas has one of the poorest voter turnout rates some 20-years running! Hell, I’m an educated white man and it has become very challenging for me!

These last 6-weeks I’ve had to deal with my bank twice in less than 6-months on credit/debit card fraudulent charges. Wait a minute! When I started drafting this post last week I already mentioned this didn’t I? However, it does still continue so I too will continue it. HAH!

Keeping my personal and financial information private and protected these days is quickly becoming near impossible in this day and age of super hi-tech. Ah, but as a result, that births and stimulates another derivative industry that is profitable, doesn’t it? More and more businesses or corporations manipulate require all of it to do “better business” with you or provide a VIP service, even if you know it will only be a one-time transaction. Plus, more and more billing tasks or business dealings, contracts, etc, are for the most part entirely online. Gone are the days where you do your business in person, face-to-face. How sad. We are gradually losing our organic, communal-social contact and interactions with each other when facial expressions, hand and body movement, voice tones and inflections were important, critical in some cases, but are now unnecessary impossible on computer or cellphone screens. Am I the only one noticing these swift changes and higher risks? 🤔

I am going to skip over my health and hypertension concerns and developments over the last 10-12 years. Pretend like I never mentioned it. Besides, it would add 500-800 more whiny words to this post. Hahaha. All of you can thank me later for my kindness. (grin and wink)

Hey, I am not irritable! Well, not yet psychotic. No one has dialed 9-1-1 on me for the police. 🤣 On a positive note, I am totally digging Netflix’s Moving Art series by Louie Schwartzberg. Seen any of it? The photography and filming is unreal, vivid, and astonishingly beautiful and soothing! Or as I state in my title:  Tranquility. Check it out if you enjoy spectacular views and relaxing or cultural music on location. Here’s a teaser for season 3:

Well, I’m done. Time is over, gone. I’ve run out of it again. Reality in this great state and nation beckons for my loyal, patriotic servitude in this socioeconomic system for some, but not all. It could be much worse, right? 🤪 I could be fleeing for my life from gangs and drug cartels in Central America! But I’m a 7th-generation Texan-American! Those types are already here! I don’t have to relocate to appreciate what I was born into! Wooohooo! My turnips are shriveling up! 🥳 🇺🇸

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March 9, 2020 Addition — This is a provocative article and streaming series looking into the unethical, exploiting, unscrupulous practices of real estate moguls and firms across the U.S. by The Daily Beast and the Netflix series Dirty Money, season 2 airing Wednesday, March 11th.

The second season of Netflix’s docuseries examines a number of shady financial schemes—including that of “Slumlord Millionaire” (and Trump son-in-law) Jared Kushner. […]

The overarching portrait painted by “Slumlord Millionaire” is of unrepentant real-estate scumbagggery. And somehow, it gets worse! Now ensconced in the White House, Kushner has exploited his undeserved political role to obtain lucrative financial deals for his family, which in turn has made him a figure easily exploited by foreign powers eager to gain leverage over the president. It’s a lose-lose scenario for everyone except Kushner and his cronies. The efforts of Housing Rights Initiative founder Aaron Carr and New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres have sought to end some of Kushner’s more shady tricks, such as renting units in buildings for which he doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy. Yet the man continues to live the untouchable life thanks to his stature and sway, including over dim-bulb tenants that lament their Kushner-created nightmares and yet confess that they voted for Trump because “he takes care of business.”
by Nick Schager, Netflix Takes Aim at Jared Kushner: ‘A Tier-One Predator’ — Preying on the Poor, The Daily Beast, accessed March 9, 2020

Reception and critical reviews have been highly praised for the series so far. These practices, rent-seeking techniques in business sectors, including housing markets, have also been pointed out in highly acclaimed and awarded research and published books Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer and Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University Nancy MacLean.

There are a number of other in-depth documentaries on the subject of public policies and governing, state and federal legislators and executive administrations becoming puppets to multi-million dollar corporations and their Washington D.C. lobbyists. One example is the award-winning investigative documentary Inequality for All by Jacob Kornbluth. What has happened and is happening behind the scenes of private business-sectors mixing with and influencing state/U.S. policies and governing are NOT illusions, conspiracy theories, or Victim’s Complex. They are real and factual.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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