Rules Without Question

***12/2019 – I’m updating my 2017 post on being rebellious without fear. I re-read it recently and felt it needed more commentary to reflect what is going on today, especially as we approach the New Year. Namaste, and thank you for reading. All the best to you for a productive and healthy 2020. 

As society marches obediently into its Orwellian, authoritarian future, I find myself troubled by the rising herd mentality and the general lack of tolerance for rebelliousness.

What is rebelliousness? In its less evolved expression it is needlessly destructive, like burning and looting local businesses as a protest of corporate labor standards. It’s the rogue chaos agent, ski mask clad, infiltrating an otherwise peaceful protest. Rebels without a clue. Yet at its most constructive, rebelliousness is a vital part of the creative process; of  connecting to our passions; of learning and being alive. It is the courage to stand up for what one believes in, or speak truth to power. The whistleblower is a perfect example of constructive rebelliousness. 

Currently under-appreciated due to political correctness and social outrage culture, the rebel is having a time out. The rebel with integrity has no scapegoat, thus relegating those without the mettle to merge with the masses and disappear. 

So-called “correctness” is literally mutilating language. Reductionist politics have herded American voters into camps of “Right and “Left” absolutism and instead of employing our critical thinking skills, we’ve opted for group-think. Personally, I do not enjoy being trapped on this merry-go-round, but I see that many do, for having an “other” to blame is mighty handy when problems arise. 

News anchors speak to their viewers at a sixth-grade level, dumbing down everything, omitting inconvenient facts – sometimes outright lying to the audience. They stoke fears and provide a reliable, revolving cast of boogeymen.

Americans are engaged in infantile (and completely mutual) psychological projection with seemingly little self-awareness. What-aboutism, for lack of a more succinct term, is the rule of today. Why bother to pause and reflect on the issue at hand when you can just deflect and drown out your opponent? 

Google, Facebook and YouTube are de-platforming, shifting algorithms, and outright yanking content that it deems “suspicious”, a deliberately vague term that gives them ample power to stifle the flow of information.

McCarthyism is back in vogue, and if you dare to venture outside of the prescribed Left/Right lane of your chosen people you will be viciously cast out and dragged into the Twitter town square. Innuendo, baseless accusations, and outright censorship has been normalized. A quick look at one of the many “fact-checking” websites is all one needs to reaffirm their particular bias. Researching something for oneself is considered ludicrous and the domain of those wearing tinfoil hats. Discourse is dead, curiosity killed the cat, cancel my subscription, and DON’T date a Trump voter. Le sigh… 

Last month, Greyzone journalist Max Blumenthal had a swat team show up at his D.C. home to arrest him. Apparently, some food was thrown during a protest at the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. earlier this year…? I’m unclear as to whether Blumenthal himself was armed with produce or simply having a snack, however the U.S. government takes assault with a deadly banana very seriously and promptly arrests offenders… 6-9 months later. I’m sure it had nothing to do with his reporting on U.S. hegemonic shenanigans abroad – if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, fruit ought to be classified as a deadly weapon  

Yes, that is sarcasm, yet another nuance of conversation that is not fully appreciated in our humorless, perennially offended culture. The very irony of our looting, murderous government taking umbrage to fruit tossing as a punishable act is hilariously hypocritical. But that’s how the cookie crumbles I guess: when you report on CIA sabotage and such, you’re bound to make powerful enemies. Blumenthal’s arrest comes conveniently on the heels of his recently published book The Management of Savagery, an unflinching and fascinating investigative tome on American hegemony abroad. After two days of being locked up without a phone call or a lawyer, he was released. 

Charges have since been dropped but the unspoken threat to journalists is clear. The sun is setting on the internet Information Age and Julian Assange is the government poster boy for what happens when you expose corruption.

The government targeting an American journalist on a Saturday morning for a surprise arrest should have had all the news networks on fire. Mainstream press was indifferent or perhaps unaware, but either way it’s hard to keep calling the news news when reporting on 3am presidential tweets trumps unconstitutional treatment of one of their journalistic peers. 

The silence of MSM on many nuanced issues of national interest has been deafening.  The idea that “America” was founded on tax evasion and revolt against an over-reaching British hegemony seems at odds with what we’ve become. The press was a vital part of that revolt: producing pamphlets and disseminating information helped form the binding ethos of the American Revolution. Yet today, in the age of the internet, the public seems unable to muster much outrage over the grift at the Pentagon, another topic not getting anything more than fleeting mention on any news outlet I’ve seen.

This is mind-boggling to me! What company missing over $21 trillion would get 100% budget increases year over year? It’s logistically insane. And yet, that’s what the Pentagon does with our money. Rather than put a freeze on spending until they can make sense of the first damn audit they’ve undergone in 20 years, quickly and quietly rules were put in place that will make their future audits even less transparent. Where in the actual fuck can anyone get a job with zero accountability and unlimited cash flow? If you stole money from the bank or mismanaged the books at your office you’d be fired or in JAIL. Yet the Ferguson, MO police shot teenager Michael Brown – a child! – over a stolen $5 CIGAR. Right??

The rules apply to you and I but not to the people with any real authority or actual responsibility for stuff that matters. Our leaders are hanging out with pedophiles and sex offenders, grabbing the world by the pussy and living very well off our money and hard work. Meanwhile, they’ve thrown so many boomerangs and distraction bombs into the news, they’ve got us policing ourselves! We the Sheeple, strangling every opportunity for true debate because we’re too busy attacking each other over petty grievances, shaming counter-culture and ridiculing critical questions as conspiracy. 

Everyone is home watching Netflix, smartphones in hand, grumbling about tweets instead of  protesting in the streets. In fact, the very act of protesting and demonstrating is now looked down upon. Ask yourself, why is that? When did that happen? 

It’s time to get angry at root causes, not gender pronouns or tweets. I honestly believe the spectacle is by design, not by accident.

It’s not a bug: it’s a feature, these distractions. There is rumbling around the world about alternatives to the U.S. dollar as a world currency. If the U.S. loses it’s status as the global benchmark for currency we are in for another looting of taxpayer money on a very serious level. 

The financial “crash” of 2008 was just such a looting. The word “crash” is pure propaganda, considering a crash implies an accident and the financial institutions actually caused that crisis quite purposely by betting against their own shady derivatives and predatory mortgage instruments.

They double dipped: make money on the sale of repackaged “AAA rated” (ha) financial instruments to investors, then place market bets to undermine them because they’re actually at high risk for default. Grift on the way in, grift on the way out. Oh, and the bailouts? They reinvested that money overseas, ba-bye now.

Austerity for the American people, griftopia for the elite few. Free market my ass. 

Many news outlets made fun of the Occupy movement, or treated them as an annoyance. I have to admit, I didn’t fully understand the movement at the time because I hadn’t been educating myself: I blithely accepted whatever CNN told me, even when I was in my gut uncomfortable with the pat explanations. I looked no further, as many do, busy with the day to day of my life. 

My original post follows below. May you be inspired to rebel in 2020. I bid you peace. 


It strikes me oddly that society-at-large is respecting rules set by those who don’t follow them whatsoever. When you think about it, most people are pretty structured. And decent.

Still, I’ve got a problem with the hypocrisy of today and I don’t see any good reason to follow most of the rules I follow, so why do I? Fear of my government. Fear of prison. Fear of having everything I’ve ever owned or worked for taken away from me. Those are the big ones, anyway.

Most of my life, I’ve set my own rules. Sometimes this has frustrated the people in my life, but I’ve kept them entertained. It’s mostly frustrated me, really. One can’t be too principled, at last in my eyes, but my principles have often thwarted my efforts at achieving much of anything.

I write this today because in the midst of planetary tension and transition that I think we are all feeling, there is another type of tension occurring. Because for all our religious institutions and rules, many of us are in a spiritual crisis.

My values are not the values of my parents. I’m a child of the 70’s and grew up with lots of freedom; some might say too much. It didn’t matter. What wasn’t given to me I took without a second thought about who I hurt or what danger lie in my choices. I was fearless, I suppose. But it was the type of fearlessness that accompanies naivete and curiosity.

Today, as a parent myself, I often shudder when remembering particular moments in my life. Like the time I got stuck on a slender shelf no wider than my 9 year-old feet on the face of a mountain in the woods for hours. Or at 19, when I accidentally almost blew my own head off with a gun.

The very fact that I remain in my human vessel is suprising to me.  Some might even call me “lucky”, a word I despise because it fails to recognize my will, or give me any credit at all for the choices I have made. “Lucky” gives all the credit to an invisible God, who may or may not exist, never mind have any preference about particular outcomes.

Given the kind of person I was, the kind of people I had for parents were ill-equipped to deal with the particulars of bringing me up to deal with the sort of mind I had. I was brought up to follow the rules, strictly. To repress anger. To become something decent in this world – what was expected of me, not only by my parents but what they felt was expected of their child by the familial bonds of authority they adhered to all their lives without question.

I began questioning my given religion in the third grade, and these questions were always unwelcomed and shut down by both the church and my family. So, I found my own avenues of Earthly knowledge and hid much of who I was, and who I was becoming, from my family.

This is not an indictment of my parents. They were doing as they were told by their own parents. They were following rules they never criticized or questioned. Their path to happiness was not varied: it was clearly defined by those who raised them as the path of least conflict, least resistance, most obedient, and least individualized.

Part of this happened, I believe, as a result of their parents having lived through WWII. My grandfathers both served: my father’s father in the Greek Army, and my mother’s in the U.S. Navy. Things were very difficult for people in Greece in the 40’s and Dad’s parents desired for my father to come to the U.S. rather than be an Air Force pilot and risk life and limb. He obeyed and came here in 1969, and he and my mother obeyed years later when the Catholic church threatened Mom with excommunication if my parents baptized me as a Greek Orthodox as they’d been planning.

I think the one rule my parents ever broke was their marriage itself, which was frowned upon by both sides of my family. Alas, my mother was already pregnant with me, and cardinal rule no matter what your ethnic background in 1974 was to keep things respectable. Abandoning the pregnancy and the responsibility of duty to be a married, two-parent household would have meant an emotional hardship and ostracization from their communities that would have been deeply difficult to bear.

For as long as it has been around, shame as a tool has never stopped anyone from doing anything shameful. It simply goes dark, the disobedience. And I mean dark in the sense of secretive or even illegal actions, and also those which are psychologically rested within the subconscious. The subconscious is where the repressed turns deviant and acts as an Executive Director to the Ego, manifesting in all sorts of quirky behavior that people are blind to in themselves.

When we shame someone into following the rules, we attempt to control them through fear. It’s not a fair fight, in my opinion. But we also live in a world where the God-figure of every religion is a deity of preference and judgement, both very human characteristics, ironically. We humans accept all sorts of unfairness in our lives, without question.

I’ve broken all the rules, and eventually I learned that to be a true rebel sometimes you need to follow the rules – or at least enough of them to get near the marrow of the rules you really want to break. Breaking the right rules is much more effective than I could have ever dreamed. I live by my values, and those values were not handed down. They were closely examined and set by me, who, as co-creator with the Divine, am the ultimate master of my soul.

A life without examination is not worth living; feed your soul! Test your boundaries. Give your head a chance to expand and explode and then put it all back together again. It’s completely spiritual work and will bring you closer to the God of your choosing than you ever could have dreamed. Heck, you might even witness a miracle. I know I have. And believe me, I am not special.

Just don’t ever tell me, “just because” or “that’s the way it’s done” because I will overthrow any chains that bind me very quickly and unapologetically. I remain respectful to myself and those around me, of course.

In the workplace, I don’t refuse my boss’ request for me to do something a certain way, for example. But I do point out that there might be a better way and sometimes argue my point before doing exactly as I am told. If asked to do something which diverges from my core values, then I simply refuse. And yes, I have quit before when in toxic work situations. Explosively so, in one case, but that’s a story for another day.

We can apply this attitude to politics, our churches of choosing, our communities and our families. The effects ripple right out. People are more flexible than we imagine them to be, and often the outcomes we fear are not even close to what occurs when we honor our personal truths.

Now, I know it’s not simple to switch into this rule-breaking mindset. I’ve probably read a hundred spiritual texts to aid in the development of my particular mindset. One has to question their intentions unremittingly and be willing to call themselves out at the slightest whiff of bullshit. This takes a little practice because our egos are in the driver’s seat and the ego wants to win, always.

Spiritually I suppose I’ve got a Buddhist-Pagan vibe going on. I blend detachment with potential outcome to arrive at my decisions. I’m not Wiccan but part of the Wiccan rede seems a fitting summation for today’s thoughts: “Do what ye will and harm none.” It asks us to evaluate the morality of a decision, before taking any action.


whether you prefer awareness  

– or not –  

this extraordinary enthusiasm  

is a closeted ecstasy  

it exists for me alone 

and at what cost, this episode?  

with painstaking mechanics I must now distinguish each distracted idea 

captured from angular consciousness  

and divine it a home; a place!  

O, Lord I am so shamefully busy 

enchanting, I’m enchanted  

a blessed thing, this curse 

given how coldly memory essentially murders all thoughts from the deep during my interludes of coping 

only to return them to me at breakneck pace, each of paramount weight  

arriving on fire 

eyes blazing like lamps  

magnetically vacuuming up all these rare fruits  


rendered while life seemed so interesting 

and my solitary-ness less burdensome  

following reverie is often hardship 

(I’m not sorry) 

yet: if mourning seems imminent, thus avoidable, forgive me 

my grace has grown thick with effort and feebly gnarled with age 

and so it goes –  

the clouds never lighter, distant lightning names new invisible fears which every day multiply  

these lullabies – sing! – through the years

measured in decades that accumulate and coagulate

a blind yearning for millennia  

dreams, self-knowledge, hope

metaphysical trinkets and fascinations 

– collected adventures –

these are all I have to offer 

coveted by no one, but precious to me 

these curious collections breathe life into  

inner archetypes, masochists and eternal hypocrisies 

life’s dense human chapters bow deep in humble tribute to unconquerable souls 

unsure of the path  

yet craving resolution  

A Requiem for Privacy Lost

“It is with knowledge of the human being, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his automatism as well as knowledge of social psychology and analytical psychology that propaganda refines its techniques.” 

– Propagandes, Jacques Ellul 

Creepy logo of the Information Awareness Office, an agency reportedly scrapped by the US government.

What is privacy, and why should we care? More and more, people are comfortable living their lives quite publicly. Social media gave us an avenue to connect with old friends and share, which I happily embraced by posting many pictures of my cats, my kid, and my cooking. 

I’ve been on Facebook for ten years now, and sometimes cringe at the “On This Day” memories. No longer do the actions of the present disappear into the annals of time. Our day-to-day banalities are digitized and exist forever. 

I now know details about people I haven’t seen in years, sometimes quite intimately. And while I love the feeling of community and easy access that technology provides, I find it unsettling that anything I’ve done in the last 15 years can be digitally “remembered” fairly quickly, and by a host of stakeholders. My phone company, my phone manufacturer, any app I’ve downloaded has varying degrees of access, and the National Security Agency all know where I go, who I speak to, the messages I send, and the schedule I keep on my calendar. 

In the early 90’s, my only worry was about my jealous boyfriend looking at my beeper. When I got my first cell phone in 1994, carrying it with me was just a night thing for safety. Today’s tech is sophisticated and collects information about my life that is fueling a multi-billion dollar data industry. Healthcare insurance companies collecting data off the Activity Tracker on my Apple watch are using it to inform how they will treat me as a customer. My 90’s-era boyfriend stalking me drove me nuts but at least he couldn’t refuse to cover my pre-existing condition because I missed three fitness classes last week. 

Devices and apps that geo-locate us have made our lives more convenient in myriad ways which seem innocent enough. But how these conveniences affect us and what we are trading in return for it are another matter entirely. Neither average Americans or Congress are prepared to understand how AI will change us in the years ahead. It has already changed us profoundly. 

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), an arm of the military that develops emerging technologies, has been psychologically profiling Americans and developing specific communication designed to infiltrate and disseminate propaganda to influence public opinion. 

With the passage of the Patriot Act and it’s unholy follow-ups, the Protect America Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, both the Bush and later, the Obama administration, widely expanded government power. 

Take the ironically named Protect America Act, for example. This act was enacted to protect phone companies from being sued by Americans for violating our privacy. All the major phone companies had been secretly giving the Bush administration access to ALL our phone records thousands of times a day, dating back retroactively to 1983. The name of the act itself is a clever piece of propaganda.

Due to the Patriot Act, warrants are no longer necessary for searches. Our 4th Amendment protections are vital to preventing police and military over-reach, yet when they were axed the public bought the yankee-doodle-yackey about needing to capture evil-doers. Today, anyone accused or suspected of being a terrorist can be thrown into jail indefinitely without a trial or due process.

The FBI is constantly introducing new language and expanding their definition of who or what is potentially a threat. In the wake of many mass shootings in the U.S., recent bulletins by the FBI link mental illness with so-called conspiracy theorists as dangerous.

Think about this: because of all the information the NSA has via the PRISM program and others, there are many ways Americans can be targeted via their data. It is not hard to conceive that Google searches and YouTube videos watched will be an easy way to target potentially “dangerous radicals” for police or intelligence agencies to preemptively question or arrest in order to mitigate a future crime. If you knew that your curiosity rabbit-hole at 2AM might win you a knock at the door by the FBI you might think twice about clicking or even searching for certain topics. This is how censorship works. This is how the government could create enough paranoia so we simply police ourselves.

A New York Times journalist reported on the Bush administration and NSA’s widespread spying and data collection of U.S. citizens back in December of 2005. The story was initially due to print in September of 2005, but the Times suppressed the article at the behest of the Bush administration because of the upcoming election. By December, it was clear the story was about to break elsewhere so NYT went ahead and ran it: Bush had already won his second term.

Once the story was out, the propaganda machine began its cleanup. The public was fed the usual rhetoric about patriotism, safety and country at the same time the Protect America Act was being drawn up. It served not only to give AT&T and the rest of their corporate comrades immunity from civil action but also to continue the very spying program in question.

Shady business got even shadier when the Inspector General’s investigation into NSA mass surveillance produced a report that was conducted as a panacea for public outrage. And rather than bore us with the usual redacted glory reserved for declassified documents, they made up a second, shall we say… scrubbed report and passed it off to the public as the real one. 

So today, I give you this requiem, an homage if you will… let’s have a toast to privacy lost, and remember fondly Mr. Bush in his ten-gallon hat at the Crawford Ranch, and Mr. Obama whose beautiful speeches I sorely miss, even if he was a two-timing son-of-a-gun who sold us out with a smile. 

With a 2013 budget request of approximately $10.8 billion, the NSA is the second-largest agency in the U.S. intelligence community. It is headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Here are five examples of privacy rights you probably weren’t even aware you’ve lost. Fallen by the wayside, quietly, swiftly… May they forever rest in peace. 

  • Privacy of your trash via the Waste Watch Driver Training Program, active in 170+ U.S. cities and towns. 
  • Privacy of your DNA: if you were born after 1963 in Massachusetts; 1970 or so elsewhere in the U.S. your DNA is taken by the hospital and is now stored in various government facilities from state to state. The states claim a right to your genetic material and use it for their research. 
  • Privacy of transaction: welcome to the darknet, aka Echelon, PRISM, and [X]Keyscore. I’m not sure I could say this better than Andreas Antonopoulos did in his TED presentation: …“The darknet is operated by intelligence agencies because they are on a daily basis committing massive crimes against human rights, they are orchestrating a totalitarian financial surveillance network that monitors everybody’s transactions and as a result everybody’s location, everybody’s purchasing preferences, everybody’s political preferences and what kind of porn you watch, because all of that is tied to your financial life. Because everything is tied to your financial life. This system of totalitarian financial surveillance is the darknet. They don’t fear the darknet, they just don’t want us to have one.” 
  • Privacy of location: I touched on this already but it still bears emphasis. Even if you turn your GPS off, your smartphone is a personal tracking device that is constantly triangulating your location via cell towers and WiFi, then sharing your information thousands of times a day with the NSA and likely a host of third-party companies. 
  • Privacy of thought : Cue the Orwellian nightmare: researchers at New York University and University of California have created a mind-reading machine. Similar to facial recognition, it’s a software that reconstructs images of a person’s mind using brain scans. We will have commercially available mind-reading technology, presumably to help disabled people type. Google did try to sneak an entire “smart city” facial cam recognition system by the residents of Toronto without public review but hey, I’m sure there’s no reason to worry about anyone using it for nefarious purposes, right? 

References for this story include the following:

How Big Data Is Changing Healthcare: 

Privacy and Security in the Era of Digital Health: 

How Businesses are Collecting Data and What They’re Doing With It: 

Project Censored: The Homegrown Terrorist Prevention Act: 

MALINTENT: Homeland Security Gets Inside Your Head: 

Total Information Awareness is Back: 

Report: NSA’s Warrantless Spying Resurrects Banned ‘Total Information Awareness’ Project: 

The Cambridge Analytica Files: A Guardian investigative report: 

The Patriot Act: 

Protect America Act of 2007: 

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: 

Bush Lets U.S. Spy Callers Without Courts: 

James Risen Recalls ‘Game of Chicken’ with NYT Editors to Reveal NSA Spying: 

Snowden Files Declaration in NSA Spying Case Confirming Authenticity of Inspector General’s Report: 

How 9/11 Birthed the Modern Surveillance State – YouTube Clip of Edward Snowden interview w/Joe Rogan: (3) Snowden – How 9/11 Birthed the Modern Surveillance State | Joe Rogan – YouTube 

Garbage Men Being Trained to Spy on Customers:; Waste Management Trains its Drivers in Waste Watch Program:; Waste Management’s Waste Watch Program, Reporting Suspicious Activity: 

Newborn DNA banking:; DNA Collection at Birth – The Death of Genetic Privacy: 

Andreas Antonopoulos TED Talk– How Bitcoin is Changing the World:  

The Robot That Knows When You’re Lying: 

How Far Away is Mind Reading Technology?: 

Mind Messaging – Thoughts Transmitted by Brain to Brain Link: 

Mind Reading Brain Scans Can Retrieve Images From Human Memory:

This New AI System Can See What You’re Thinking:

DreamRose Lifestyle Magazine – Fall 2019

Our inaugural issue! My partner Annmarie LaFauci and I actually put this to bed late last month, so excuse the delay in debuting it here. This is our first go at putting a project like this together and most of the work fell on just a few passionate – but unpaid hands.

Launching a magazine and getting our bi-weekly show off the ground has been a labor of love, and I still work two side hustles in order to dedicate myself to writing independent content that I find meaningful and interesting.

Many teachable moments were had in the creation of DreamRose Lifestyle, but luckily we love to learn and my partner has incredible tenacity so the setbacks we experienced were instructive.

My contributions include the cover story on Boston-based pop group X’s & O’s, an investigative piece called A Requiem for Privacy Lost, and the first-ever Luxury on a Leash column, a concept I came up with while on vacation back in August.

I assisted with editing contributor content, but I’ll let readers guess which articles I meddled with. Those who know my phrasing style will probably spot it, but my aim when editing others’ work is to maintain their voice as authentically as possible.

Overall, this was a BIG opportunity for me to stretch as a writer, editor and journalist. Thanks to ALL the contributors, stylists, photographers and bloggers who helped this issue come to life. Everyone that is part of this magazine is a proud Bostonian!

I hope you enjoy it and please, send me your feedback or ideas on topics you’d like to see covered next quarter either in the comment section below or via FB message to my Jennifer Psallidas, Writer page.

All the best – Jenn P.

The Pentagon’s Coup is Complete

Dear readers: $1.48 Trillion in spending for the Pentagon has been approved by the House.

If you can look at that list of 219 Democrats without the urge to vomit or violently punch someone in the throat (that was my reaction), then guess what? Your programming is complete, congratulations. You have been fully lobotomized.

The party of the downtrodden has overwhelmingly decided to support a lying dictator (no matter what they might say on TV) AND this psychotic, murderous Pentagon with their ever-growing need for more weapons, more destruction, and more support for the folks that ARE MISSING $22 TRILLION ALREADY. Think about that.

The only thing the Pentagon doesn’t want more of is agency-wide accountability. The last audit was two years ago now, one of only 3 in the last 25 years. The missing $22 Trillion that the Pentagon just can’t account for seems blackly comical, except it’s not.

We keep throwing our hard-earned cash at them without batting a single eyelash. THIS is the very definition of a dystopian reality we’re living in now, bitches. Buck up, and pay yer’ taxes, fight our boogeymen, and don’t protest. The CEO of Lockheed Martin needs a new yacht.

Oh, how I long for September 10th… Remember that day? When Rumsfeld announced a “war” on the Pentagon’s budget because they were missing $2 Trillion? How cute. That number has now usurped the GDP of India.

Of course the very next day the Pentagon was hit by a plane, so we forgot all about that silliness and immediately pumped more dollars than ever into military budgeting. Interestingly tactical, that a Boeing 757 (that no one has footage of anywhere) should hit the Pentagon’s accounting department. Those bean counters never knew what hit them. Sorry guys, but we’re not doing that anymore…

0 1 0 9 1 4 – F – 8 0 0 6 R – 0 0 5 FBI agents, fire fighters, rescue workers and engineers work at the Pentagon crash site on Sept. 14, 2001, where a high-jacked American Airlines flight slammed into the building on Sept. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the building and followed similar attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Cedric H. Rudisill. (Released)

Personally, I find it a little weird that the Pentagon hit doesn’t look like the WTC tower. I know we have two different angles of impact and there are likely other factors involved but this doesn’t look like a plane hit the building at all. A Boeing 757 has a wingspan of over 120 feet wide. More pics of the aerial damage are available at

A 757 cut through the North and South Towers like butter. America watched as an airplane was swallowed whole into the 78th floor.

Footage of the South Tower upon impact. I have been doing 9/11 research for two years and I’m noticing a lot of footage being scrubbed from YouTube. Download while you can:

Our Pentagon and government has been shown time and again to be completely and obscenely wasteful without remorse and without a shred of accountability to the American people who fund their warmongering ways. When we will we have enough of political parties which are designed to divide us and keep us distracted from the serious problems we have? We could have had a completely green energy system implemented by now, and these covert wars of conquest in the Middle East and South America must be stopped. THOSE are our biggest problems.

Without resolving those issues nothing else can happen. We must look at root causes if we are to challenge and fix our democracy. The hour is late but we can still do something about it, I believe. Maybe that’s a foolish belief but I will fight for peace overseas and transparency in our government’s spending until my dying day without regret. It doesn’t matter if I make any real difference in the world, it only matters that I continue to speak for what’s right.

Each and every person can do this – I know the urge to give up is strong, but don’t. Use common sense, and don’t hate your Republican neighbor. Clearly the Democrats are on board with never-ending war, at the expense of all the other things we could do with that money. Trump is a symptom of the disease, not the cause.

Check out the article from Common Dreams that references the recent budget vote in the House.

Ex-Offenders Matter: Sister Hearts

After spending 13 years in a Louisiana prison, 6 of which were in solitary confinement, Maryam Henderson-Uloho was free (so to speak).

She found herself struggling immediately. As a felon, she was unable to rent an apartment, find work or get a credit card. As she puts it, “You’re not allowing me the tools that I need to sustain myself out here in society.”

Realizing that safety was of paramount importance for women in particular, she started Sister Hearts, a thrift store and “re-entry” program “focused on providing ex-offenders with a safe environment to achieve their goals with dignity.”

Incarceration in the U.S. does little to actually rehabilitate inmates, nor does it adequately prepare them for the uphill process of putting their lives back together outside prison walls. Meeting deadlines with probation officers is non-negotiable and include finding employment, a place to live, money to pay fees, and reliable transportation to accomplish these tasks.

The imminent threat of going back to prison adds additional pressure, and many do just that: a 9-year (2005-2014) Bureau of Justice study shows 43-55% of ex-offenders end up back inside. More than 30% of those who re-offend do so within the first 12 months of release, with the first three years showing the peak arrest rates.

Extended time in solitary is particularly traumatic. Studies have been able to measure DNA rewiring and physical changes in the brain occurring within the first 24 hours. Mental trauma akin to having suffered a head injury and PTSD make assimilation back into to daily life painfully difficult.

And I don’t have a study to quote but I’ve personally observed what I will call an unsympathetic, rather unforgiving public sentiment toward felons in general. It seems “time served” for some people means nothing and felons are not to be afforded the benefit of a second chance. I’ve heard people say things like, “Well, I’m not the one who went to jail.” Or my personal favorite, “They shouldn’t have broken the law in the first place.”

It’s beyond the scope of this post for me to get into the particulars on the failings of the justice system, but at the very least consider that a prison term was served, and ex-offenders are not escapees. Supposedly people serve time so they could pay their “debt to society” for whatever wrongdoing was done.

I think it only makes sense support those coming back into our communities by allowing them the rights that other people have. Otherwise, why let them out in the first place?

Anyway, do check out the film short I posted. Henderson-Uloho’s compassion for others in similar circumstances is a gorgeously moving thing to behold. If you are able, I encourage you to donate. She has lots of options for directing funds to help out in specific ways, like with basic toiletries or a fresh bed. Or just a straight-up digital cash gift works too.