Author Archives: gregory

I’m an Addict

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August 13, 2018 – Gregory Franklyn

I’m an addict. It’s not something I just discovered and it’s not something I’ve ever made an effort to hide, It’s just an admission that pertains to the point I want to make today. If you didn’t know that about me, it’s probably because you never asked. I’m not one of those folks who lead with something like, “Hi, I’m Gregory, I’m Gay and I’m an Addict.” I couldn’t tell you whether my case of addiction is hereditary or not either, because I’ll never know who my biological parents are or what their challenges may have been.

But I’m an addict and I learned that I’m an addict from my experience of quitting smoking in 1988. It’s probably important to note that I have since begun smoking again, but I was smoke free for roughly 8 years. Within 6 months of quitting I gained about 45 pounds. I decided that this was not cool because I looked SO delicious at 155. So, I started dieting.

What I learned from dieting is; one – there are not enough carrot sticks or celery stalks IN THE WORLD to make me stop wanting a good hamburger. And, two; diets are counterproductive. They will make you fat! After, roughly 8 different diets over as many years I weighed in at 251 pounds. That much weight was unsustainable for me because my knees and ankles, simply were NOT having it. I was facing a wheelchair and I wasn’t cool with that either. If you diet, you have to STAY on that diet for the rest of your life, or you will raise your set point (your natural, or resting weight) each time you go off that diet. I can lose about 15 pounds, right now pretty much on request, but unless I keep on whatever diet it was, forever, I’ll gain it back again, PLUS a few more pounds, giving myself a new, higher, set point.

So, I started smoking again and within a few months I had lost about 30 pounds and my knees and ankles were happy,,, well happy enough that I was mobile, and that was enough for me at the time. I maintained that weight for over a decade now. But what I learned from the experience is that I’m an addict and although I THOUGHT I had quit smoking, I didn’t! I just quit smoking TOBACO. I started smoking other things like food and alcohol instead.

So here I am, face to face with my core condition of addiction. I had a splint put in my heart in March resulting from a terrorized midnight trip to the ER with what I thought was a chronic, excruciating, stomach problem. While there, I learned that it wasn’t a stomach problem at all, it was a blockage in an artery in the side of my heart. While there I also learned that I am diabetic, so now I’m struggling with smoking again because it’s bad for BOTH conditions.

There are two things here that I’m trying to figure out. One; when I quit smoking tobacco again, what will I start “smoking” next, and will that be as much of a problem as smoking was? Smoking is not the problem, It’s a symptom of a condition that will not go away when I quit smoking tobacco.

Two; does anyone actually recover from addiction, or do they just arrest the symptoms? Many years ago in a comedy bit that Cheech & Chong used to do Cheech says, “Before, I was all messed up on Drugs, now I’m all messed up on the Lord”. It was one of those “Bomb Jokes” where you laugh because it’s funny, then on the way home, you realize that maybe it wasn’t so funny after all. When people are in “recovery” Isn’t doing the “Program” or clinging to Jesus, or exercise, or playing piano, or whatever, what people “smoke” instead of their drug of choice? Isn’t one symptom of the disease supplanted with another, without actually addressing the underlying cause?

Discuss,

Gregory

A Bridge Too Far

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A Bridge Too Far

July 16, 2018 – Gregory Franklyn

I encourage people to vote! I care WHO they vote for, of course, but I don’t push people around about that because I also believe in people having the free will to tell their own story whether I find the plot to be distasteful or not. But today I want to talk about voting and why I do it, despite losing faith in its meaning.

I continue to vote and encourage voting just in case I’m wrong about this, but I don’t really believe it matters much anymore. Donald Trump being legitimized as President of the United States is my case in point today. I do not accept this “Whatever He Is” as having been legitimately elected to the office. Try as I might, I simply cannot force myself into a place where I can accept that the majority of the people of the US think he’s a good choice, knowing who he is and what he stands for. It’s not like before this election he was hiding who he is. He’s been telling us for 50 years that I know of, and counting.

I didn’t like Hillary in 2016, but I didn’t dislike her enough to vote for DJT, and that brings me to my first point. 2 Choices for the United States, and the world for that matter, is simply insufficient and causes people, more often than not, to have to select between the lesser of two evils. Today, people do not tend to vote FOR a candidate as much as they tend to vote AGAINST another. At least among liberals.

But right now, we have a perfect storm of wrenches jammed into the works of electoral politics that are unprecedented in our history. Electronic voting is an example. Most States use Electronic Voting Machines, particularly red states. Computers that tally votes give me the willies. I can’t bring myself to believe in such an ethereal method to tally votes. You enter your vote and hope it gets recorded, but you have no verification of that. No way to check that it was recorded at all, let alone recorded in the category I selected.

I have a wristwatch that can tell me how many steps I’ve taken today while monitoring my pulse rate and blood pressure and can report that back to me. I can tap on my cell phone’s screen and print a document to just about ANY nearby printer, but an electronic voting machine can’t print a receipt of the information I just gave it, so it can be verified? That’s a bridge too far for me.

Next, you have to ask yourself who has access to these closed voting systems that have no way to check the results if there’s a discrepancy? Who are the owners/manufacturers of these computers and what might their political leanings be? Who are the elected officials that oversee the implementation of these electronic elections? Are they partial to one party or another? How susceptible are these computers to being hacked? Well, I guess we know the answer to that one, don’t we! I live in Oregon. We vote by mail, which is the least hackable form of voting I know of. Every ballot can be verified and re-verified, if needed. There won’t be any “Hanging Chads” here. There’s a crystal clear, finite paper trail that can be followed. Duplicate ballots can be easily identified and discarded by comparing them to the list of registered voters.

Next we have the lists of registered voters themselves. States, particularly red States, are now purging voters from those lists who are not eligible to vote for any number of reasons. Those lists are notoriously suspect, as they purge, for example, convicted felons by name, AND derivatives of that name. For example, in 2016 a felon named Michael Jackson would be purged from the list, along with Mike Jackson, Michael D Jackson, M Jackson and any other derivative of that name without comparing birthdates, or any other information, to see if they are purging the right Michael Jackson. They are ALL purged. For more on how that happened in 2016 I recommend a movie titled, “The Best Election Money Can Buy”. The purges done in the past 4 or 5 past elections heavily purged Non-White voters.

Next, we have ID requirements for voting. Many States, particularly red States, require forms of Identification that young voters and non-white voters would not likely have. They do that intentionally. For example for college students, their student ID is not sufficient. A State Issued ID in the State in which they reside at the time of the election is required instead. A college student would probably have a driver license or ID from the State where they live, but attend school in a different state. With these new regulations, they would be ineligible to vote unless they went home to do so. Where are they gonna get the money to do that, while they are buried in debt. These are all demographics that would have a tendency to vote Democrat, more than Republican. By the way, A gun license in Texas, which does not have a picture on it, is acceptable ID for voting. How many non-white people do you know who have a gun license?

Next we have voting district gerrymandering. There’s an interesting story about how the practice became known by that name and I encourage you to Google It. It’s actually pretty good story. Gerrymandering is drawing voting districts to favor one party over another. The drawing of those lines are done by the party in power in that State at the time the census is taken, which is in years ending in “0”.

The Repugnican Party has made no secret of its drive to achieve a “Permanent Repugnican Majority” in the US and have been able to draw those lines in the last several decades because of conservative majorities in more than half of the states because they were in power when the census was taken. It is working splendidly too! That is why more people voted Democrat in all elections, local and national, in 2016 yet Repugnicans occupy more of the offices in question anyway, all the way from local school board to President of the United States.

Hillary won the election in 2016. She won by a margin of voters equal to the population of Chigago, Illinois, the 3rd largest city in the US. But, regardless, we are falling all over ourselves to try, against everything we hold dear, to legitimize DJT as the winner. The Electoral College was SUPPOSED to be a check & balance against such trickery, but failed miserably to fulfill their charge to correct the political landscape to ensure the will of the people is heard. That’s probably why there is such a rustling in the bushes to eliminate the Electoral College altogether. Our Constitutional ideal is “1 Person 1 Vote” The Electoral College simply doesn’t do what it was designed to do.

But, Gregory, the gap in your argument’s armor is Barack Obama! If elections are rigged in favor of Repugnicans, how do you explain Barack Obama. I’m glad you asked, because I get to explain why I still have at least SOME hope for the veracity of voting and why I’m not absolutely convinced that I’m right about how badly the playing field is slanted in favor of Repugnicans.

Barack Obama won 2 Presidential Elections by such an overwhelming landslide that even with the field being heavily slanted against him, he won ANYWAY! The margin was so wide that even the tricks in place at the time of both elections weren’t enough to prevent the will of the people from breaking through. Now, I hear you, the official result was razor thin in both elections, by the numbers. But when you take into consideration the odds stacked against him by all of this, he actually won by an overwhelming landslide. A landslide so wide that it couldn’t be faked.

Anyway, I still vote and I encourage voting because there is still hope that it matters, and Barack Obama is the reason I feel that way. What might save us from certain demise is a blue wave in November in the States AND in Washington DC. Every time we are faced with a national election I tell you that this election is probably the most important election you will vote in, in your lifetime. It’s true this time too.

One of the Memes I’m seeing popping up on the internet these days is the #walkaway movement. I get it and I can’t say I disagree, but there’s something you should remember as you’re doing that. Lower voter turnout favors Repugnicans. Repugnicans vote religiously and because they CAN. The Democrats who CAN vote tend to #walkaway out of frustration about the ugliness of it all. Repugnicans know that if they can make the entire political arena SO distasteful that good people who would otherwise vote, #walkaway instead, they will win elections. And, they’re right.

So, I beg of you dear reader, don’t fall for it. Please Vote. The control of the Congress in both the States AND in Washington DC will determine who draws the lines in voting districts across the United States for the next 10 years. The Very Idea that that could keep DJT in an illegitimate position of power is a bridge too far, for me. DJT is not now, nor has he ever been, legitimately The President of the United States!

Much Love,

Gregory

 

 

 

How Can That Be?

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June 19, 2018 – Gregory Franklyn

I was born in Detroit Michigan in the spring of 1952. I was separated from everyone I knew as family no less than 4 times by the time I was 13, never to be reunited with any of the previous families I had known. While I have “Recovered” from the trauma to the degree that I have been able to function with enough normalcy to care for myself and have a pretty cool life most of the time, there is no question that I have been damaged by it. I’m better off than some and not as well as others.

As a result of my formative years being disrupted so dramatically, my view of what “Family” means, is different than most folks who have not suffered similar disruptions. Family is temporary and tenuous at its peak in my world, and love is conditional based on behavior. In my case it was being Gay and being a ward of the state of Michigan. Back then you were looked down upon generally because there was a prevalent view that orphans were lacking in some way that was deserving of pity. In the 50s and 60s being gay was considered a mental illness and was treated as such. As a result of the conventional wisdom of the time, I was put in psychological therapy a few times, until the State’s money ran out. There was no “Cure” for my condition. So, basically, at 66 years old, I still have it. (this is going to be important when I finally arrive at my point about all this)

Back when I was a ward of the court the Foster Care system in Michigan was generally a work program. Farm Families would get about $80 dollars a month for my care and would get free farm labor to boot. I resided for a few years in 3 such families; all three included various degrees abuse and exploitation. It was in these families that I suffered most of the physical, sexual and emotional abuse that formed my childhood. And I was powerless to stop it because I was a minor. My life was controlled by someone else. When not in Foster Care, I was housed in children’s homes and military academies in and around Detroit. There was abuse there too, but mostly from peers rather than adults.

I have often been accused of seeing the world through “Rose Colored Glasses” and being somewhat naive because I have a pretty deeply rooted positive outlook on life and even I don’t fully understand where it comes from. But I am grateful that it’s there because I got to be 66 because of it. I personally know a LOT of folks who didn’t make it this far. I’m lucky that way. But seeing the world through my Rose Colored Glasses doesn’t mean I don’t SEE the evil in the world, it’s rather because I have chosen not to spend much time there.

But, once I got control of my own life, things changed. I promised myself that I would not go back to incarceration situations like the children’s homes, Foster Homes and Military Academies of my youth. I made a promise to myself, that I have kept ever since, that I would not live with violence or abuse, period, full stop! I’ve had to make some accommodations and compromises along the way to keep that promise, for which I have no regrets. That, of course, isn’t much to set your life’s goal to. What could I have become had I not been separated from my families so early and so often. Had I not spent my formative years crying and trying to understand why I wasn’t “Enough”. It’s a pretty low bar to spend a lifetime struggling to achieve, which, finally, brings me to my point today.

What’s happening at the southern border of the US as I write today, is affecting me more deeply than any national issue this side of war and genocide. These children are ME, and all of this is causing me some PTSD that I’m having trouble cycling through. I am PHYSICALLY hurting along with the psychological disturbance we all must be feeling. I know exactly what these children are going through.

What is affecting me so much right now, is that I can’t seem to “Walk This Off” like I have been able to do with nearly every other tribulation I’ve ever faced. Over my lifetime I’ve developed a solid handful of coping and self care techniques, but they don’t seem to be doing much good at the moment. This is a BIG one, because it hits me right where I LIVE; This is ME! The tragic story you just read, MY story, is about to befall 2,000 innocent children. I feel powerless again, just like these kids do and just like I felt back when it was happening to me. These kids will never fully recover from this damage. I KNOW this personally. I’ve been through it 4 times. The laws of NATURE do not even seem to apply here! And, I cannot believe that the people who are in a position to make it stop, simply WON’T! My mind and my heart are simply NOT able to reconcile what is happening right now. It, quite Simply, does not compute!

Much Love,

Gregory

 

 

Just Do It!

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This piece was originally posted on February 19, 2014 – by Gregory Franklyn but bears repeating.

Why is it that we cannot seen to grasp that neither raising taxes, nor cutting spending is necessary to attack the deficit. More people paying taxes would have the same effect without raising taxes OR cutting spending. But we continue to follow big businesses who are arranging the law to allow the off-shoring of the very jobs that would provide the required tax revenue to reduce it.

Cut benefits to the people who need it most and give those benefits to the people who need it least, punishes people who are not exceptional in their ability to sell things. It creates an elite that honors only one thing. If you’re not a member of that club, you’re not welcome in this country. But do they consider that without those people who are not exceptional at selling things, there is no client base. There is no one to BUY the things they are selling.

Marianne Williamson did a talk on money about 25 years ago that has stayed with me ever since. She compared the economy to a being with a circulatory system. Her theory made me WANT to pay my bills. She said that NOT paying those bills, stops the circulation. Economies NEED circulation to thrive. My little section of the economy gets shut down when I fail to pay those bills.

There are benefits to circulation too. I have what, I guess, would be called “Loyalty Cards” for a number of stores that I shop in regularly. The coffee shop, for example. I get a free cup of coffee for every 8 that I buy. At the grocery store I get a discount when I reach a certain level of purchases. I can get those benefits because my money is circulating. These businesses know what Marianne Williamson was taking about. The health of our economy comes from it’s circulatory system.

On Wall Street money circulates, sure, but it is also being stockpiled. The money mantra is “He with the most money at the end, Wins!” Every one of those dollars that are not circulating, are cutting off the circulation to some part of our economy, weakening it in important ways. That circumvention of the optimum circulatory patterns, over 30 or so years, has brought us to the brink of collapse. Right now there is TOO much of our overall economy that is NOT in circulation causing parts of the whole to become diseased. The result is that more and more people in the economy are not participating because the circulatory system has been disrupted by stockpiling of money in fewer and fewer places.

Food Stamps/EBT cards are a good example of what CAN be done right now to increase circulation in the places in the economy where circulation has been all but cut off. EBT Cards stimulate the economy because those dollars are never stockpiled. They are spent immediately, right now, out of a sense of necessity. Every EBT Dollar spent in today’s economy stimulates over $1.50 in economic activity. If more people have more money to circulate, the entire economy benefits, including the wealthiest. They now have more customers with money to spend.

Extending Unemployment benefits is another thing we can do right now. People who collect unemployment benefits are not lazy. They have unemployment insurance BECAUSE they worked, until their jobs ware TAKEN away. We do not pay unemployment benefits to people who didn’t hold a job. Calling people on unemployment lazy, simply isn’t true. It’s mean spirited name calling.

If all of the jobs that have been off-shored to cheaper labor markets in the last 30 years had stayed in the US, we wouldn’t have a deficit problem. We probably wouldn’t be 37th in Health Care and 17th in education, either. Our thirst for extreme wealth for the 1% has led us down the path to solid mediocrity. We, in the US, are exceptional only in our ability to militarily dominate and our ability to see ourselves as exceptional when we clearly are not.

Now, Don’t get me wrong here. I do understand what’s at the core of Conservative Republicans’ argument against Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and even Obamacare. They see it as socialism and, as such, Anti-American. They fear that the more Socialism there is, the less freedom and independence their fellow Countrymen will have, and that strikes at the very soul of what America is supposed to be about,,, to them.

But, like anything of value, when taken to the extreme, becomes destructive. Take smoking for example. If you trace the history of tobacco you learn that Native Americans used tobacco as medicine. Tobacco? Medicine you say? Whatever for? Believe it or not, Tobacco, when used sparingly is excellent tonic for respiratory conditions. Yes, it helps you breathe better if you’re sick, and is NOT the least bit destructive when used as medicine. In fact it HELPS in maintain good health.

Freedom is another example. Follow freedom out to it ‘s logical end and what do you have? Anarchy! In order for freedom and independence to be a good thing, it must be balanced with the reality that there are things that individuals cannot do on their own, and that there are things that we have to share because there are more than one of us.  That, dear reader, is socialism. It’s joining together to do things that we cannot do on our own.

Medicine is an example. Back in the day, when a chicken had real value to a Doctor who could use it for eggs or a chicken dinner, it was reasonable for a sick person to offer it as payment for services rendered and Doctors considered it a fair deal. Medicine is a whole other beast now. That won’t work because it’s no longer a fair deal. The cost of medical care has so dramatically outpaced people’s ability to pay for it, that it’s no longer something that most people can afford to do on their own.

So, anyway, we’ve been in this economic situation before. We fixed it last time! Last summer I drove up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon to get out of the house and maybe have a cup of coffee. It’s a beautiful drive, up to a beautiful place, that now sustains itself on it’s own, and if you get the chance to see it, you should take it. My point about Timberline Lodge, though, is that it is a perfect example of HOW we fixed this problem last time we had it.

We fixed it by building things,,, BIG things like Timberline Lodge, like the Hoover Dam, like the Interstate Highway System, all of which are PUBLIC Works projects. Things we did together to stimulate economic growth, and it worked! After a while, it wasn’t necessary for the government to fund public works projects of that size and magnitude because the economic “Pump”, our fiscal Circulatory System, had been primed by these projects and was now flowing properly on its own. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Once you prime the pump, a certain amount of inertia keeps it flowing on it’s own.

We put unemployed people to work and paid them a living wage, so they had money to buy things. As a direct result, other people began forming companies, that hired more workers, to make things for these new wage earners to buy. It ‘s not rocket science. EVERYONE benefits when more people have more money. Beings thrive when circulation is flowing properly. When it’s pooled up in one location, other parts of the whole become wither and too often die.

What that did for us benefited every segment of society in America. Our economy grew, rich people got richer, poor people got subsistence, and there was an explosion in the amount of people in between the two. The tax base grew to its biggest point and we were not in a constant state of complaining about not having enough money to fund programs that really needed it. Like support for medical care which we could no longer afford on our own.

Right now, our infrastructure is crumbling. Bridges and roads are in critical need of repair. Sewer and water systems are crumbling. Our power grid, after all this time, is still not able to withstand a significant wind or snow storm, which happens EVERY year! We have lots of work that needs to be done and lots of people out there looking for work. What is it that is so difficult about this equation?

We already know it works because we proved it ourselves by actually doing it! Our current situation is a perfect example of what good a government can do for its people. All we lack at this point, is the political will to JUST DO IT!

 

Much Love,

Gregory

 

Putting it Out There

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March 5, 2017 by Gregory Franklyn

“You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” – Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln.

BREAKING NEWS: The Republican President just accused Former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his home and office in Trump Tower before the election. As usual, he provided no specifics or evidence of the claim, he just “put it out there”. My suspicion is that he did so to divert our attention from the many scandals that plague his young regime. He is a skilled manipulator of the Lame-Stream media and he knows they’ll go rushing to cover the story and, hopefully, keep them busy with that so they’re not focusing on him. He even suggested that this BREAKING NEWS BOMBSHELL  is equivalent to the Watergate Scandal in scope, to accentuate how earth shaking his accusation is. Everyone agrees that the accusation, if true, would be earth shaking.

IF TRUE!

His own Political Party is reluctant to weigh in on the claim, and those who DID, found it questionable. The questions they raised could backfire on the President in a bigly yuge way. If the wiretapping were Illegal, and it actually happened, and Former President Barack Obama were actually involved, it would be a very big deal for the Former President. If the wiretapping were legal, however, it would be a very big deal for The Republican President. It would mean that a FISA Court found credible evidence to suggest that The Republican President NEEDED to be wiretapped. That would be devastating to the White House and the The Republican President’s Regime. Which, incidentally, isn’t even 2 months old yet. But, if the wiretapping was legal, it would alert that same media he was trying to use to distract the media FROM him, to a serious problem TO him, that he alerted them to. Wouldn’t that be a LOL moment?

But running just below the surface of this accusation, and the way The Republican President presents it to the public, is the real story. The real story is about The Republican President’s skill at manipulating the media. He knows how most people watch the news. He knows that more viewers, than not, are doing something else while the news is on and they won’t be paying full attention to what is being said. The headlines that they’ll hear on the radio will condense it to a mere sentence or two, and that the television news will give it 2 minutes or less that they are not paying full attention to anyway. Not nearly enough time to tell the whole story, but it’s been “Put Out There”. The Former President is involved in criminal activity the likes of which we haven’t seen since Nixon was driven out of office in shame. It’s roaming around the ether, now, for everyone to consume.

There’s talk about it everywhere this morning. The implication that Barack Obama is a criminal. It has not been conclusively determined that the accusation is true or false, It’s just “Put Out There”. So the viewers who are only catching little snippets of the discussion, have this idea implanted in their minds and it is, consciously or unconsciously, coloring their perceptions of what’s happening in the executive branch of their government.

It’s the same reason that many Republicans, particularly Presidential Candidates, will continue to say something over and over, even after it has been conclusively determined NOT to be true. It’s a media manipulation technique. They know what 45 knows. The accusation doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be “Put Out There”, and it will take on a life of its own. They know that because they know that most consumers of the news aren’t paying that close of attention. It just has to be “Put Out there”.  It doesn’t have to be true. They also know that apologizing for the false accusation will not get NEARLY the press that the accusation gets, assuming that there even IS an apology. Personally, I can’t imagine The Republican President ever apologizing for ANYTHING, let alone a successful damaging of a Democrat.

Here’s an example of the technique from the 2016 election. Some of Hillary Clinton’s emails were found on a computer in the home of Huma Abedin, who was a chief Clinton Aide at the time. The Email scandal about a private server Clinton used while Secretary of State, plagued her throughout the campaign, it questioned her trustworthiness, and was finally determined not to be a problem from a legal, or security standpoint. However, it was “Put Out There” in the days before the election, that there was more to the story and that maybe the allegation DID have merit. Maybe Clinton really was untrustworthy. And then, the election happened before it was determined that the newly discovered Emails were already known to investigators because all of them were also on the server that the investigators had already gone through. But it was too late to take it back because the election had already happened. It just needed to be “Put Out There” just before the election for it to do its work. It didn’t need to be true.

Republicans have been using this technique for decades because it works. They have, under the direction of one Frank Luntz, honed this technique down to a fine art, and The Republican President is consummately skilled at its implementation. But. he is a spas, who regularly over-reaches. He is blunt, boorish, unsophisticated, UN-nuanced. He just “Put It Out There” without following the thread through to its logical conclusion. That would take more than a tweet. This time, I can only hope that his home and offices WERE wiretapped and that a FISA Court HAD determined that there was credible evidence to suggest that The Republican President NEEDED to be wiretapped. You know, we may get the President we elected after all! Wouldn’t THAT be something.

Much Love,

Gregory

What we Don’t Know

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February 24, 2017 – by Gregory Franklyn

“Toby, the sheer VOLUME of what I know that you don’t, could stop a team of Oxen” – VP John Hoynes in The West Wing

I’m still in denial! If you’ve been haunting these pages you’ve heard me talk about how nervous the whole concept of computerized voting makes me. The fact that nearly all of the companies that produce them are owned by Republicans. The Fact that I can print something from my cell phone, over WiFi or Bluetooth, to my printer, yet a computer voting machine can’t print the information I just put into it, even through a wire. Not to mention the Kloppenburg case in Wisconsin where the Democrat had won a Judgeship until a Republican elections official “Found” 14,000 votes, most of which were Republican, that handed the election to the Republican (and that’s just the one we know about). It all gives me pause. The fact is that there actually IS some room for doubt.

I cannot bring myself to believe that this election was real. I simply do not accept that 45 is legitimately The President of The United States. I admit it. I’m in denial. But there’s something else to consider, here. There clearly WAS some outside interference in this election aside from my nervousness. Even 45 was shocked by the outcome. And, the outside interference WAS slanted in favor of 45’s Campaign. That much we know.

The Russians HAD hacked the DNC AND the RNC, but only released information that would be detrimental to the Democratic Candidate, who, incidentally, won the popular vote by a margin equal to the population of Chicago. Let’s keep in mind that most voting in the United States is done by computer and that the Russians are known to have hacked the computers of the RNC and the DNC to help 45 and we don’t know the extent or reach of the hacking that took place. We don’t know!

What we are learning now, is that there were open lines of communication between the Russian version of the CIA and the 45 Campaign during the Campaign and we don’t know what the nature of that communication might have been. But we DO know that 45 publicly encouraged the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email. We also know that 45 is inordinately friendly towards Vladimir Putin. We know that there are a Russian Spy Ship and a few Russian Fighter Jets just out of reach off the east coast of the United States and that 45 doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

We know that the White House is doing everything they can to stop investigations into the nature of the communications between the Russians and 45’s Campaign. Going so far as to encourage FBI, CIA Officials, as well as Senate and House representatives, this week, to go on record stating that there’s no story there. “Nothing to see here, folks.”

We DON’T know what financial ties 45 might have with Russia because he steadfastly refuses to release his tax returns. 45 claims to be under the impression that he can’t release them because they are currently under audit. However there is no evidence to suggest that they ARE under audit, number one. And, number two; there is no reason, from a legal perspective, that would prevent him from releasing them whether they were under audit or not.

We also know that 45 has chosen Senator Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department and that Sessions is quite chummy with 45. Interestingly enough, Jeff Sessions will also be the person in charge of deciding whether or not to indict people when the nature of those communications become known, IF there should be a problem with the content of those communications.

We know that cabinet positions are being filled with unqualified people who have expressed disdain for the missions of the departments they will head. We know that Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon told us at CPAC this year that these people were chosen to “Deconstruct” the Departments they head. So, their qualifications to head those departments are irrelevant anyway because they were chosen for their eagerness to “Deconstruct” them.

It appears that the 45 Regime is attempting to shake the foundations of Government. To CHANGE the form and shape of the Government of the United States. But what, can we surmise, might be the goal of changing the shape and form of the Government? Forming, and shaping it into what?

Well, let’s have a look at that. Who is 45 and what is he about? He’s a businessman. Arguably a somewhat successful one, but we don’t actually know. We do know that he inherited a bunch of money and has taken part in a huge amount of land development, which, despite several failures, appears to still be there. Of course we don’t actually KNOW this because we don’t know his actual worth because he won’t tell us. So we CAN surmise that he is secretive in his dealings.

We know that he regularly contracted companies to perform work for his developments and then refused to pay them. So he has been known to cheat people to get ahead. We don’t have to wear out Google to find instances where 45 has told you something that is not true. In fact, people whose job it is to check such things report that 45 tells you 3 things that are NOT true for every one thing he says that actually IS true. 75% of the things that 45 says are simply not true, and they are VERIFIABLY not true. So we can say that 45 is a prevaricator of “Alternative Facts”. More commonly known as a liar!

Now, in a business setting, the boss is always right. That’s the environment that 45 comes from. You do what the boss says or you get fired. Sometimes you get fired even if you DO do as the Boss Says. The boss is in charge, full stop.

It’s not like that in a Representative Democratic Republic like the United States. Here you have balancing authorities. In this case, the Supreme Court and the Congress. In this form of Government, the Boss ISN’T always right, and you DON’T always have to do what the boss says.

UNLESS,,,,

You change the form and shape of the Government so that the Boss is always right and you have to do what the Boss says or get the !@#$ out. I believe that’s what we’re seeing happen here. The 45 Regime is attempting to change the form and shape of the Government.

Now, back to the election. I CAN accept that maybe a third of the voting population of the United States might want a “Boss” to run the Government. THIS specific Boss? Um, I’m an American and I know quite a few other Americans and I know that some of us are just plain Bat!@#$ CRAZY, some of us are acutely  uneducated, but so many more of us are loving souls, so many more of us are intelligent, educated, some of us are highly sophisticated, but MOST of us, across that spectrum, realize that we are privileged and we embody a strong desire, that is pretty deeply rooted in our collective psyche, to be good people and to be of some help.

I, obviously, am having a great deal of trouble reconciling that with a nation wanting to be represented by a secretive, lying, cheating, foul mouthed businessman. It just doesn’t make any sense! It didn’t even make any sense to 45 on election night. You saw him, he couldn’t believe it either. I think we didn’t believe it because it’s truly Unbelievable. I’m not talking about the kind of “Unbelievable” like the unbelievable prices during the annual “Toyotathon” or the “Sign & Drive” event. I’m talking about the kind of Unbelievable, like it didn’t really happen. I believe that as time progresses, we are going to find out that we’ve been played, hoodwinked, bamboozled. We’re going to learn the truth about what happened to us in 2016.

Maybe I’m NOT in denial after all, and those of you who know me personally will be able to recognize that I have very few joys in life that I find more delicious than being able to say, “I told you so”.

Much Love,

Gregory

We are Trump

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January 16, 2017 – by Gregory Franklyn

You will very rarely hear me use the term “America” when referring to The United States of America. There’s a reason for that. In reality, (not the type of reality that President Elect Donald Trump comes to us from, but the quantifiable reality that exists before it’s stars get fed a bunch of alcohol and are pitted against one another, and before the resulting entertainment gets turned over video editors) in reality, the US is not America, it’s a PART of the American continent . America refers to a continent located in the western hemisphere which includes South America, Mexico, The US and Canada.

But isn’t it just like us to claim the whole thing and refer to ourselves as if we’re the only country represented by the term? In sort of a nationalistic egocentric braggadocio? And, isn’t that just the kind of thing that Donald Trump would try to sell you? I mean, right now, Trump is taking credit for companies that are NOT moving certain parts of their manufacturing operations to foreign countries, as if he had something to do with it; as if they were actually going to move the operations to begin with.

“Make America Great Again”, he says. Kick all the Mexicans out of America! Um, Mexico is located on America! How are we supposed to transport an entire country to another continent?

But it goes far beyond just claiming that we are “America”. How about our claim of being #1. I guess we COULD say that if the measure of the #1 country in the world is by military size and weight alone. But what about education, we’re not #1. Health care? We’re #37! Infant Mortality, Nope! Happiness? Nope. Wages? #13. Economy? China and probably a few others. I admit that there WAS a time when we were #1, but aside from Military Strength, that’s no longer true.

I’m not trying to denigrate my own country, but we DO have some things to work out, and they are pretty deeply rooted in our cultural inability to accept reality. Just like Donald Trump. Here’s an example of what I mean. “American Cheese”. It’s a little thing that points to a much larger issue, but American Cheese is not cheese and it’s not American. It’s a product developed in The US and it’s,, it’s,,, OK, I don’t know WHAT it is, but it’s NOT cheese. You will notice that on your little pack of American “Cheese” slices, you will not find the word “Cheese”.

There’s a reason for that. It ISN’T cheese. It does not contain enough dairy products to legally be referred to as cheese. There are dairy derivatives in it, but the term used on the package is something like “Processed Cheese Food Product” or something. You will, however, find a glass of milk, and a round of cheese with a wedge cut out of it to give the IMPRESSION that what you’re buying is a dairy product. It’s even displayed next to actual cheese in your grocery store. It’s deceptive, and it’s just like something Donald Trump would try to sell you. While I’m thinking about it, Trump is kind of cheesy and kind of has the color and consistency of Kraft Singles,,, OMG, I’ve just made an argument for Donald Trump being “Processed Cheese Food Product”!

How about “The Patriot Act” I wrote about that in 2011. Here’s what I said:

“‘The Patriot Act’ is another good example of what I mean. This particular package of laws circumvents huge swaths of the civil rights granted to citizens of the US by The US Constitution. It is to say that denying and/or violating Constitutional rights is, in some way,  “Patriotic”. Of course that’s absurd, but it IS very American to refer to it like that. That’s how we roll! I think we should be legally compelled to stop referring to the act as “The Patriot Act” because it does not contain at least 36% acts of patriotism.” – Gregory Franklyn

We call ourselves “The Land of the Free” while we incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country in the world. We maintain a prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba where we have incarcerated over 100 people for over a decade without so much as charging them with a crime, let alone due process of law. We say our police forces “Serve and Protect” while stopping citizens from exercising their right to protest and assemble, and brutalizing, and sometimes even killing, unarmed citizens for such heinous crimes as driving, walking or standing while black, and showing up to peaceful protests dressed and equipped for war. In all fairness, I guess, TECHNICALLY, it’s not an out-n-out LIE. They didn’t exactly specify WHOM they are sworn to serve and protect.

My point this morning is that we, the citizens of The United States of America are living in a state of delusion about ourselves, just like Donald Trump is. It is often said that “We have the government we deserve” and due to the similarities between what we say we are, who we’ve elected and HOW we’ve elected him, when you think about it, he’s perfect for the job. We have become, after all, Donald Trump, and we are in denial about it. Just like him! Yes, we have some issues to work. Not the least of which is that denial is not a river in Egypt at all. It’s the state of our current affairs.

Much Love,

Gregory

Post Truth

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Post Truth

12/18/16 – By Gregory Franklyn

On November 9th we, here in the US, woke up to a new world whether we realized it or not. This new world is dramatically different than the world we lived in just two days before. In this new world, many things we have known to be true, are no longer so. Truth, for example. Truth is not that same thing it was last week. This week it is being described as “Post Truth” meaning, I guess, “Beyond Truth” or “After Truth”, and I admit some confusion about it. However, Donald Trump is a practitioner of “Post Truth” according to political analysts and pundits on TV.

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump says things that do NOT dovetail with reality as we know it, on a 3 to 1 basis. He has actually been clocked by, among others, Politifact.com. Whose job it is to fact-check what politicians and prominent people say. He clocks in at around 3 things that are NOT true to every 1 thing he says that IS. So, Roughly 75% of what Donald Trump says is based in some other reality.

This reminds me of the Bush/Cheney Regime. One of the principles guiding that Regime was that you can create your own reality by occurring in the world as if your viewpoint was accepted fact, regardless of whether it matches anyone else’s reality or not. In a sense, you can materialize your own reality into manifestation by force of will, or your use of language.

But this Conservative Republican ideal is nothing new. It goes back as far as Richard Nixon, that I know of. You’ll remember that Nixon resigned from the Presidency in shame for having broken a substantial handful of laws, including illegal wiretapping, bribery and burglary. As time passed, he was approached by British Journalist David Frost to do a series of interviews and he agreed to do it. President Nixon, in one of those interviews, absolutely blew the world’s mind when he admitted that he believed that, “If the President does it, it’s NOT illegal!” This was Nixon’s “Post Truth” in that he was willing into existence the concept that the Presidency IS the Law, rather than subject to it. You’ll be seeing more of this as the Trump Administration slowly materializes.

There are a couple of things that are going on here. 1st is the war going on between sophistication and Down Home Folksiness. Intelligence is seen as threatening/untrustworthy to people who feel like they don’t have it. The election pointed this out pretty clearly in 2016. When looking at voting precincts, those in urban areas went for Hillary and precincts in rural areas went for Trump. It has been like that in the last several elections. People in urban areas have more access to the types of things that would enhance intelligence and sophistication like higher education institutions, arts galleries, music venues, Libraries, museums, live theater, opera, orchestras and ballet. Some rural areas also have some of these amenities, but not all of them and not to the extent found in more urban settings.

Donald Trump is in the anti-intelligence demographic. He has publicly professed his love for the Uneducated. Here’s a quote from a speech in Nevada during the election:

“We won the evangelicals,” Trump said. “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”

That was a dog whistle to people who disdain education, who mistrust it. People who believe that sophistication is just people thinking they’re better than everyone else. That’s a complaint I get a lot in my life because I speak English as if I had paid attention in class. I was under the impression that I was SUPPOSED to pay attention in class, and now I guess I’m on an ego trip because I did? I know there are a lot of people in the US who are not white who will recognize that statement and it’s a tragedy.

Rather than support people who are educated, many want to bring them down to a less educated level for a variety of reasons. Some of it is ego. Isaac Asimov once said:

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

It isn’t, of course, but that should not be the measure of the value of a person. It is, however, a measure of a person’s worth when it is used as a weapon, rather than an inspiration. This very common idea is part of the cornucopia of reasons we are facing 4-8 years of Donald Trump. He is seem as a “Regular Guy” despite being a member of a special class of Americans who exist in a world to which precious few ever get admitted. His “Regular Guy” image is based on his use of language and it is an illusion.

This is all part of a conglomerated monolith of “Post Truth”. One of the most powerful individuals pushing “Post Truth” is a Conservative Operative named Frank Luntz. Luntz is a linguist that conults for the Republican Party. He helps them change the language used in politics to create a new reality based on a vision of the United States favored by republicans.

For example, when you hear ANY Republican talk about business, they always use the same word preceding it, and I mean ALWAYS! They use “Small Business” as if it were one word. That creates the illusion that they are talking about Bob & Alice’s Tavern, or the Maple Leaf Cafe. Those are small businesses. They are actually talking about “Big Business”, the multinational corporations that run the world right now. And, their use of it is SO consistent that even MSNBC and CNN routinely use it now.

Another good example is what is ecologically happening to the planet right now, and this is an especially slick one. The Scientific Community refers to is as Global Warming. Republicans only use that term when they are denying it’s existence. “Just look outside we are experiencing the coldest winter temperatures ever recorded this year. Where is this “Global Warming” you speak of?” But when they are talking about it as something that DOES exist you will hear them use the term “Climate Change”, which sounds a lot less like what is actually happening than the more accurate term used by scientists. This is all “Post Truth” and we, in the US, are DEEP in it. If you hear enough people say it enough times, you can make people believe it’s true, even though it is clearly NOT. Most of these language changes can be traced back to Frank Luntz.

Aaron Sorkin, in his TV series “The NewsRoom” had a couple of his characters arguing about what’s true in TV journalism. Will McAvoy, the anchor of the News Program the show is about, said:

“People get to choose their own facts, now!”

That’s the territory of “Post Truth” where we are, now.

Conservatives aren’t the only ones who do it though. Liberals and progressives no longer use the term, “Illegal Aliens” to describe people who enter the country illegally. The new term is “Undocumented Workers”. See what just happened. The question of legality, just vanished. Entry into the US without proper documentation is no longer a matter of what is LEGAL. Poof, It’s gone. Now we’re having a different discussion. The end result of these changes in our use of language is that we are creating New lies to cover up the truth as we had previously come to know it.

This is has all been growing slowly into our use of language for a long time. Since about the time of the Nixon Administration where we began to let politicians change the language we use to describe issues we face, based on their own political world view. In its earlier incarnation, we called it “California Speak”. Now, we are living in a New Reality where we have moved beyond truth into something else. WHAT that “Something Else” will be, will eventually be decided by whomever wins the fight to inject into our common use of language, the terms that we use to describe it. Like “Post Truth” for example.

I leave you with this little sound byte most commonly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln:

“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Much Love,

Gregory

World AIDS Day

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worldaidsday-december

December 1st was “World AIDS Day” and as a commentator who happens to be gay, I felt tremendous pressure to write something about HIV to mark the occasion. I decided not to! But if I had written something about HIV I would have said something about my own experiences related to the disease.

I would have talked about how I was introduced to it back in 1981 through reading in “The Advocate” about a medical phenomenon that, at the time, was known as GRID or Gay Related Immune Deficiency. It was a frightening prospect that was being studied by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and was believed to have originated with a German Flight Attendant with a penchant for having a lot of sex with a lot of men. Soon the CDC had discovered that the disease had already stricken a few villages in Africa and the race to understand GRID was on.

But there was a problem with the name of the phenomenon. In Africa the syndrome affected heterosexuals so GRID was no longer an appropriate moniker. There were investigations that blamed monkeys in the wilds of the African Continent for the spread of the dreaded condition, but they were unable to come up with a method of how the disease jumped species from Monkeys to Man. The new designation for HIV evolved into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Medical professionals wanted to distance the syndrome from being a “Gay” disease because they feared what they believed would happen if people thought that only gay men could get it. Sure enough, their fears materialized right before their eyes.

Unfortunately, the original name of the disease attached a stigma to the condition that remains today. The damage, not only to gay rights, but also to efforts to eradicate the disease, had already been done. Heterosexuals in Europe and the US believed that GRID was a “GAY” disease and therefore they were immunized by the mere fact that they were not Gay. And. Of course, the militant religious right wing morality thugs had a very frightening axe to swing at Gay & Lesbian people who were embroiled in a fight for equal rights.

I would have talked about the evolution of the syndrome from GRID to AIDS and eventually to HIV and how the awakening of our government took so long to accomplish. I would have mentioned that Ronald Reagan never so much as uttered the word AIDS until over a million people, worldwide, had already died from it. Up until that moment, no federal funds were allocated to research, or even treat, the disease other than the normal budget the CDC was already working with.

I would have talked about what happened here in Oregon as AIDS turned 10 years old. The Civil Rights battle came to a head with a statewide ballot measure called “Measure 9” in which a group of those religious morality thugs I mentioned tried to get the voters to approve an amendment to the state’s constitution that would lump Gay & Lesbian people with child molesters, rapists and sociopathic criminals. Their argument centered upon their insistence that AIDS was God’s wrath against those sexually deviant Homosexuals who were dedicated to recruiting your children into a tragic life of self-destruction. The ballot measure failed by a whisper of a margin in the 1992 election, but I recall that NO ONE considered it a victory. It was a street level demonstration of the worst elements of humanity and we all knew it. Even those religious morality thugs, that had considered it a life and death issue during the election, were ashamed that night!

I would have talked about 1993 when I sat in my little studio apartment in Portland Oregon feeling somewhat shell-shocked over the loss of no less than 5 personal friends who had died from AIDS so far that year, and it was only March! I would have showed you a series of poems I wrote to try and make sense of what was happening to me, and to my community, because I had to do SOMETHING with the overwhelming feeling of helplessness against this monster we still didn’t fully understand.

Of Course, I would have also talked about “Act-Up”. Act-Up was a radical group of men and women who were justifiably outraged at the lack of support and attention to the devastation the disease was causing in the lives of their friends and families and took their anger to the streets with civil disobedience actions and demonstrations. I would have talked about how Gay Pride Events all over the country were mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Gay & Lesbian people into the streets to make a stand for their personhood and their citizenship amidst a virtual ocean of resistance from mainstream America.

I likely would have ended up talking about how that research money that eventually, though far too late, grew from a trickle to a somewhat reasonable flow, made some headway in treatments for those who were infected. Today, unlike for most of my life, HIV is no longer a death sentence! There are effective treatments that are managing the disease, often for decades. But, a cure is still forthcoming. I would have said that I’m grateful for the progress, although still gun-shy from long hard winter that finally brought it to us. But I decided not to write about HIV because it always brings up such sadness in me that it didn’t have to play out like that! We could have done much better!

Much Love,

Gregory

Moral Character

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October 2011 – By Gregory Franklyn

The first Presidential Race I can remember was JFK v Richard Nixon. I was no more than knee-high to a grasshopper at the time and my primary motivation for campaigning for JFK was that he was much better looking than Nixon. Looking back, I was absolutely right about my choice albeit for the wrong reasons. I’ve carefully observed every Presidential Election since.

But, this primary season was the thrill ride of a political lifetime. Almost every Tuesday I was glued to the TV, channel flipping between MSNBC and CNN, and my fingernails are shorter than they have EVER been. What is striking to me as I look back at the whole process is how Democrats are, philosophically, more unified than I’ve ever known us to be.

One by one our candidates pushed for their particular flavor of universal health care, an end to the war in Iraq, an economic policy that could rescue American families from slavery 2.0, filing “No Child Left Behind” where it belonged in the first place, addressing Global Warming in a meaningful way and repairing what’s left of the tattered image of the US on the world stage.

You have to admit, being that unified in purpose is pretty rare for the Democratic Party. So my big question as the dust settles on the first phase of this election is, Why are we so divided? I’d like to have a go at that question and my answer is simple. Hillary Clinton.

The choices we had as Democrats this primary season wasn’t about policy at all. Barrack and Hillary are on the same page on almost EVERYTHING! This primary was about personality and character and the differences there are absolutely polar. Our choice was between hope and faith on one hand and pragmatism on the other! The fact that the contest came down to the very last voter is somewhat disturbing to me.

I blame Hillary for division in the party because she is a lightening rod for drawing fire. I don’t see it as having anything to do with her gender either. This woman is smart! Way smarter than me. By comparison, her cocktail napkin is a LITTLE smarter than me, but she’s a “take-no-prisoners” kind of leader.

I believe we don’t have universal health care right now because Hillary is a “Fighter” and fighters either win or lose, that’s what a fight is! But fighting doesn’t solve problems. I would hope that a man or woman as smart as Hillary would be able to see that. Barrack was able to see that a LONG time ago and he has built a movement that recognizes that dismissing opposition out of hand is what brought us here.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has changed America for the better. She’s right about the fact that women have waited too long for a real chance at the White House. So have African Americans! I sincerely hope that this uniquely American experience has settled the question of race and gender in leadership once and for all.

I believe that we made the right choice out of the options we were given because what the US needs most at this point in history is faith in our character as a nation. We need that even more than universal health care, more than education reform, more than,,,go down the list. All of that will naturally follow once we heal our minds, hearts and souls from the sickness of greed that has drawn us off course.

We once had pride in our moral judgment because our judgment was deeply rooted in strong moral values. We have lost that over the last four decades of leadership because our leadership has abandoned the moral compass that brought this unlikely experiment in Democracy from a fledgling handful of disgruntled English countrymen, to the greatest power on the planet in a little over 200 years.

Barrack and Michele Obama have shown us the character needed to lead this nation back to itself. They are leading us to a place where we respect that we are not perfect, we are not always right, and we are a much better people than we appear to ourselves AND the rest of the world. We are risk-taking pioneers who dream of a better world and set out to create it with our courage and our strength. We are a morally strong and resilient people who have, only momentarily, lost our way and this IS our moment in history to break out that map and get back on course. There are those who will say that we have gone to far to turn back now. To them, Barrack, Michele, Hillary and I say “Yes, We Can!”

Much Love,

Gregory