THINK THANK

 Three faces, representing different facits of self, think, ponder, and meditate in the think tank.

THINK TANK

As I watch what’s happening in the world today, it blows my mind how we’re blowing it as a species. A new UN report warns that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, while the “leader of the free world” calls climate change a hoax. Instead of moving us forward, he’s making moves that lead to exactly what the UN report warns us against. One of the last important messages left to us by the late, great Stephen Hawking, was that the solutions to our environmental challenges and potential AI threats will come from science and technology. Yet, we are living in a time that increasingly pays little heed to truth, facts, and science. This is truly insanity, given the immensity of our situation and downright stupid given what we know to be true.

In a speech last year, Hawking said, “We are witnessing a global revolt against experts.” That’s a scary thing. I’m always amazed that so many people put so little emphasis on intellect when choosing our leaders. Me, I want the smartest man or woman in the room to be making the big decisions. I couldn’t care less if they’re someone I might want to have coffee with. I want them smart, super smart, capable of formulating brilliant solutions to the challenges we face.  And I want them to have a team of the best experts available to help them think the big things through.

So I dream of a time when science and thinking become valued again, when decisions are made logically for the good of the species.  Hawking also said, “Humanity is on a path to either disaster or the stars.” The path we’re on right now is the former. We need more open minds. We need to bring facts and science back into the collective decision-making. We need a few more think tanks and a populace that pays heed to experts. Hawking said that the fate of humanity is totally up to us. Wouldn’t it be cool to be moving in the direction of going to the stars? Now that’s a think tank I’d like to see happen. @blueravenartist

THE IRONY OF RACISM

 black and white silouettes with words on top talking about the irony of racism.

THE IRONY OF RACISM

The irony of racism is that we all descended out of Africa from a single female who walked the earth 150,000 to 234,000 years ago. Scientists call her Mitochondrial Eve and she was the many-many-greats grandmother of every person currently living on the planet. Which means that, however distant, every human being on the planet is actually related.  Skin color is purely the result of adaptation to the environment through time, carried on via DNA, continuously being homogenized when one set of DNA met another.  After all, it’s just color, easily blended. In humans, the variation between races isn’t indicative of major differences in DNA. If you take any random two humans, their DNA generally varies by less than 0.1%. We are largely the same throughout because we are all of the human race.

Skin color has no bearing on who a person is, other than that imposed upon him or her by society. So when someone claims they are superior or more valuable simply because of the color of their skin, doing so shows an ignorance that shouldn’t exist in the 21st century.  As the human race becomes even more homogenized, we’ll move past something as foolish as judging people by skin color.  But at the moment, the powers that be are trying, quite effectively I might add, to divide us, because dividing us allows them to hold on to power and resources.

A new 2017 FBI report shows a spike in U.S. hate crimes of about 17%, meaning 7175 hate crimes and those were only the ones that got reported. This is the third year in a row the FBI has reported a steep increase.  Although hate crimes encompass religion, sexual orientation, gender bias or disability bias, fully 59.6% were motivated by hatred over race or ethnicity. Is this really the America we want to be? We are all human beings. We need to stand up against such vile tactics. Let’s not let them use race to divide us.  @blueravenartist

THE HOUSE TURNS BLUE

THE HOUSE turns blue

THE HOUSE TURNS BLUE

We made calls, canvased, protested, we made art and wrote political commentary. We voted in record numbers to try to recover some power from the corrupt forces in Washington. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we DID make progress. Primarily, we turned the House blue, which gives us at least a fighting chance. Now that we can set the agenda in the House, we can once again fight for affordable healthcare, reasonable prices for drugs and to protect the 130 million Americans living with pre-existing conditions. We’ll do what we can to protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. We’ll channel resources towards shoring up our infrastructure. We’ll fight for a living wage for all Americans. A blue Congress means a Congress that works for the people.

“We will drain the swamp of dark interest money. The Democratic Congress will be led with transparency and openness so the public can see what’s happening and how it affects them.” Nancy Pelosi

According to Leader Pelosi, a vote on campaign finance reform legislation tops the agenda, which rocks, but we don’t have much power to make these things a reality when we only control once branch of government. We’ll have to wait until 2020 when we take back the Presidency to really have impact. Our fight is not over.

But here’s what we CAN do. Since the Blues will now have control of Congress, they can set the agenda. They also will chair all of the committees, which means that committee chairs will have the power to call top Trump administrations officials to appear at hearings to answer questions about their actions. We’ll be able to look into all the nefarious activities the Reds have been committing and covering up. And we will, to some small extent, be able to hold the President in check.

Demographics continue to change in our favor. Millennials and the younger crowd are voting in larger numbers. More women are in positions of power. It’s not some huge, rip-roaring win. But it’s a step forward in our fight to bring some sanity back into Washington.  We’re moving in a better direction and I know I’ll sleep a little better tonight.  I’m loving a blue House. How about you? @blueravenartist

SCALES OF INJUSTICE

SCALES OF INJUSTICE

SCALES OF INJUSTICE

When the far right Supreme Court made Citizen’s United the law of the land, they basically gave Corporations the ability to buy legislation and in doing so, design the playing field in their favor. That’s how resources have been transferred from the masses to the very rich. Slowly, law by law, they rig the game. The only way we stand a chance against this is to tsunami the ballot boxes tomorrow. We need everyone. We’ve got to do it. There’s so much at stake.

Health care: If the Reds hold the House, Obamacare will be history. Republican proposals could permanently cripple Medicaid. Millions will lose coverage. Pre-existing condition? You’re out of luck. Medicare and social security will be next. The Reds want that money for more billionaire bonuses.

Women’s rights to control their reproductive lives: In fact, women’s rights to retain control of their very bodies. That a bunch of old, rich men could take body autonomy away from us is outrageous—completely unacceptable.

Our image in the world has collapsed into a chaotic mess that’s spread uncertainty and fear across the globe. No one has a clue what Trump might do at any moment. He’s alienated our staunchest allies and befriended despotic dictators. His off-the-cuff tariffs could pull us into a recession. Our human rights activities are atrocious. We need a Blue Congress, who can at the very least, slow him down until we can dump him in 2020. (Unless Mueller comes through before then. Go Mueller!)

Climate change: A new UN report warns that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. It’s imperative that global warming is kept to a maximum of 1.5 C; anything beyond even a half degree will significantly worsen the risks of floods, drought, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.  A report like this should have the whole country talking; but no, the populace has been caught up with the Trump reality-TV side show.  And the ultra-rich 1% continues to suck up all the resources on the backs of the 99% masses. Not okay. Not okay at all.

Don’t let the ultra-rich continue to take it all. Everyone deserves a descent life, not just the blue-bloods. The only way to regain any power for the rest of us is by voting. So vote! Let’s bring a little justice back into the picture. @blueravenartist

ONE BALLOT TO GIVE

one ballot

ONE BALLOT TO GIVE

I regret that I have but one ballot to give for my country. I wish I could do more. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. But we have to remember that our one ballot is one of many that will be counted and that count will determine who makes the choices about our future. With so much against us: voter suppression, cheating, gerrymandering and especially big money, we need to turn out big time to counter these obstacles. So even though I have just one ballot, I’m damn well going to make sure it gets counted, because every freaking ballot matters. I’m just hoping you all get your ballots counted too. Are you with me? Progressives unite; push forward. @blueravenartist

IN MEMORY OF ALL THOSE LOST

IN MEMORY

IN MEMORY OF THOSE LOST

We call out the hate and bigotry that lead to the murder of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue this weekend because some monster had been convinced that “Jews” were taking over “his” country. We call out the hatred that prompted the white supremacist to ram his car into a group of peaceful protesters, killing innocent Heather Heyer at the White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville. We call out bigotry and hatred that prompted an avid Trump supporter to send out pipe bombs to Trump rivals and journalists who criticized him, in one of the worst domestic terrorist attempts in our history.

In June, five journalists at the Capital Gazette newspaper were gunned down in the deadliest assault on journalists in the U.S. since 911.  When the President calls journalists the “enemy of the people,” journalism, so essential to a working Democracy, is becoming a dangerous profession. Even more dangerous is the threat to our country.

When the President routinely implicitly and explicitly calls out for violence against his political rivals and journalists who criticize him, it gives cover for bigots and haters to act on what he’s promoting. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”

Journalist Katy Tur reported that the President and White House repeatedly stoked divisions since the Synagogue shooting, including repeated attacks on the media just hours after the FBI confirmed that another mail bomb had been send to CNN, a company Trump continuously rails against. When Trump continuously stokes violence, violence will follow. One of the first steps to fascism and authoritarianism is to discredit the press and rally against scapegoats like, well, anyone not white and rich. We need to stop this before it grows like a cancer, destroying our democracy. So in memory of all who were lost, we hope more people will wake to what’s going on. Meanwhile, our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones. And our hearts are broken at this blow to who we are, who we used to be, as a country. Vote BLUE next week. The future depends on it. @blueravenartist

SOMETHING GOOD

Tree of light

SOMETHING GOOD

This week I’m in need of a little positive news, something that brings a little light into my world. I have to admit I’m a certified tree hugger. Trees are my pets every much so as your cats and dogs. I love how they change in the seasons, so fresh in the spring, especially those that flower and smell so fragrant, so lush and full in the summer, so colorful in the fall.  I even love bare trees, their branches stark against the slate winter sky or lined with brushes of snow.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, something this planet desperately needs more of. They supply the oxygen we breathe. One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people. That’s impressive…and vital to our survival. Planting more trees is one of the steps we need to take to combat climate change.

So I was pleased to hear that the National Forest Foundation planted a record 2.6 million trees in 2018.  “We are thrilled to have planted this many trees in one year,” said Wes Swaffar, the NFT’s director of ecosystem services. “The credit for this milestone goes to our many supporters and partners. Together we’re making a big difference for our forests.”

What’s more, the NFF has announced a campaign to plant 50 million trees on National Forests on Earth Day 2018. You can follow them on Instagram @nationalforests I just wanted to give a shout-out to them, well done everyone. Thanks for the good news. One step towards saving the planet.

Find me on Instagram/Facebook @blueravenartist Check out our store for canvas art prints and other items with my graphics.

CANADIAN CANNABIS

BLUE RAVEN RAVE 3

Canadian cannabis smokers are getting their grove on and doing it legally. Millions who used marijuana under the table for medical reasons are breathing a sigh of relief because the herb that means everything to their quality of life is now legal. 2018 just might be the year that marijuana wins the war against prohibition. Gallup polls show support for recreational legalization at 64% and for medical marijuana as high as the 80’s. There are plans to pardon Canadians who’ve been convicted of possession of 30 grams or less; smooth, sensible move, Canada. Hopefully the United States will follow suit, pass legalization federally, and pardon all those non-violent offenders who have been jailed for simple possession.

Currently, 9 states and D.C. allow recreational marijuana use and medical use is legal in some form in 31 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.  This year, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah have marijuana legalization on the 2018 ballot. What’s more, it looks like the measures have a good chance of passing. Hopefully, this will get the younger generation to the polls. The dominoes are beginning to fall.

According to a wide-ranging California survey as reported in the Post, 92% of medical marijuana patients say that cannabis alleviated symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and cancer. Americans suffer from one or more of approximately 687,696,716 cases of aliments or diseases of which cannabis has been shown help…at a much lower cost, I might add. That it has taken so long to legalize and especially decriminalize marijuana use is just foolish. We’re a nation drowning in healthcare costs, much of that for ridiculously expensive pharmaceuticals..

Criminalization has done tremendous harm to the people whose lives have been ruined, not by the substance, but by the industry that profits off jailing users. People of color are overly subjected to penalties. We need to have laws, sure. But they should be sensible laws. So congratulations, Canada. It's nice to have a little good news once in a while, don't you think? @blueravenartist

REPAIRS

Repairs

REPAIRS

.

We’ve come a long way in understanding the human mind, but much of it remains a mystery. We alter our state with substances from coffee and alcohol to seemingly unending drugs but still, as Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” And when the world is in such chaos, it seems that happiness is often elusive and peace of mind hard to find.

.

Sometimes I wish we could just tinker with our brains as though they were simply clockworks; adding a little calmness here, turning up the motivation there…adding a little creativity. It would rock if we could make an adjustment and cure insomnia, control pain, engage the body to heal itself. There have been those who have made meaningful strides in harnessing the power of the connection of the mind and body. Mindfulness meditation has been proven to be of significant value in how one experiences the world. There are other modalities that are beneficial as well if one is willing to work at it.

.

Still, I wonder if I will live long enough for science to have truly significant breakthroughs. I know that, if given the opportunity, I would love to design a few “repairs” to my own brain. How about you? @blueravenartist

It'll Change Back Again

climate change

IT’LL CHANGE BACK AGAIN

A new UN report warns that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. It’s imperative that global warming is kept to a maximum of 1.5C; anything beyond even a half degree will significantly worsen the risks of floods, drought, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.  A report like this should have the whole world talking; but no, we’re caught up, as we have been for the last two years with the Trump reality-TV side show. 

“The world our parents and grandparents grew up in – is gone forever. There is no going back.” Jeff Goodell ROLLING STONE

Goodell goes on to say, “A thousand years from now, when some vaguely human-like machine digs through the ashes of the Twenty-First century and tries to figure out what happened to those once-thriving animals called Homo sapiens, it may be confused about why an intelligent species that could build rockets and write songs like “Imagine” couldn’t heed warnings of its own destruction. A key question for future historians of the universe: How stupid were those humans anyway?”

The problem isn’t that Homo sapiens are stupid. It’s that the leader of the free world is.  Perhaps stupidity isn’t it exactly. It’s more like abject ignorance, overwhelming greed and a complete lack of caring about anything other than his own self-aggrandizement.  

When pushed by the ever-persistent Leslie Stahl arguing scientific fact and the recent uptake in severe weather events, Trump finally said, “Something’s changing and it’ll change back again.” Like the seasons? Or perhaps the stock market or whether or not we wear skinny jeans. The man doesn’t have a clue about cause/effect, nor does he care. He’ll be dead before things get really bad so WTF? He’s going to get his while the getting’s good. It’s worth sacrificing the future of humanity, even if it’s just to get a two-minute applause jolt from his base. Yes, he really is that petty…staggeringly so.

I’m not going to lay out all the science here. I’d recommend the excellent article in ‘THE GUARDIAN’ that does. But what it comes down to is we’ve gotten ourselves in a pretty desperate situation that we can’t reverse entirely. But we CAN slow things down and take steps to give future generations a fighting chance. That’s why it’s vital we go BLUE next month and in 2020. This next vote might be the most important one of your life. It surely will be for your descendants. @blueravenartist

BLIND & HANDCUFFED

blind and handcuffed

Most of us were relieved when Senator Jeff Flake called for an FBI investigation before he’d vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Although Trump said he wanted a “comprehensive” FBI investigation, we now know that’s just another Trump lie. In truth, the FBI was severely restricted both in time and especially in scope. They only interviewed four witnesses and each step the FBI might want to take had to be okayed by Trump.  

 

More than 40 people with potential information into the allegations against Kavanaugh weren’t contacted for interviews. One accuser, Deborah Ramirez, gave the FBI a list of more than 20 people she said either heard about later or were witnesses to Brett Kavanaugh exposing himself to her while drunk at a college party. None of these people were contacted. There were potential witnesses who were attempting to contact the FBI no avail. This whole reality-TV production has been a sham. They were doing an “investigation” but only investigating anyone that Trump thinks might help Kavanaugh. This confirmation is a travesty in so many ways. @blueravenartist

White Male Rage

white male rage

WHITE MALE RAGE.Trump and the GOP are stoking white male rage and have turned what were multiple credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh into a Bizarrow World of conspiracy theories and reality-TV drama. The story line is this: The corrupt Democrats, led by the Clintons, staged the attack against Kavanaugh because they were mad that Trump won the election. Judge Kavanaugh is REALLY the victim here. He’s been tortured and wronged in the worst way. How DARE he have to answer questions? He’s a Judge! He went to Yale! He’s a rich, entitled white man. He’s entitled to be angry.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Trump apologized to Judge Kavanaugh and family on our behalf, yes, OUR behalf. "On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure," Donald Trump Then he out right lied, saying  “under historic scrutiny,” Kavanaugh had been “proven innocent.”.The con is that the real threat regarding sexual assault is to MEN, specifically white men.  Men are the ones who need to fear. Theirs are the lives being ruined. And It's working to rile up the base. Bizarrow indeed..“One of the most revealing moments of this dark, historical moment occurred on the day when both Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh testified about his alleged attack on her decades ago. While she was calm, credible and forthright, he was the opposite, a towering inferno of privileged, white, male rage. She was the person who had lived for so long with the memory of a sexual assault in which she says she feared for her life, while he was being considered for one of the most influential, powerful positions in the country. And yet, he was the furious one, a dynamic that clearly made sense to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican members, a group consisting solely of white men.”  10/8/18 Jared Bernstein of ‘THE WASHINGTON POST’

They might not have grinding gears for teeth or lines like an animal, but we’re facing this riled-up white male rage in 28 days. Just 28 days to turn this around. White male rage…just another entitlement of white male privilege. @blueravenartist

Who Owns Your Womb?

property of

Who Owns Your Womb?

Despite all the evidence against him, the Kavanaugh confirmation is a done deal. The investigation was a sham, completely controlled and limited to testimony orchestrated to exonerate him and give cover to those senators appearing to be on the fence. Judge Kavanaugh lied repeatedly under oath in the hearing as he did in previous hearings, but that doesn’t matter to the GOP or to their base. Our President lies daily, if not hourly. Lying is allowed now, as is apparently, sanctioned sexual assault and harassment. What scares me most about this man is not his rigid belief system or that fact that he’s obviously unable to be impartial. What really freaks me out is that the man is an angry, revengeful bully.

While spouting conspiracy theories and going off on Democrats, Kavanaugh snarled, “What goes around comes around.” Two commentators on MSNBC were discussing what that might have meant.  Of course, I can’t read minds, but I’m almost certain Kavanaugh was showing his internal thought process which was more than just wanting to get back at Democrats. He was leaking his utter disdain and disrespect for women, thinking something like this: “I’m going to get women back. They’re going to f%&*ing pay for what they’ve done to me.”

The man is a bully, through and through; that was readily apparent at the hearing. He WILL seek revenge against those who have had the audacity to question his supreme right to be on the highest court in the land. He’ll do any damage he can to the rights and freedoms of women.  I’m not sure what we can do at this point. At the very least, we need to show up big in November, but even that is looking less likely. It seems that the white male rage that Trump continues to stoke at his rallies is riling up his base and now the blue wave we’ve been hoping for is almost matched by a red one. Who owns your womb? Right now, you do. But it might not be for long. @blueravenartist

11th HOUR

11th hour

THE 11th HOUR

When it comes to our rights, it’s the 11th hour for women. We won’t even have had the right to vote for 100 years until 2020. The right to choose has only been possible since 1973. What’s important is to realize that this isn’t just about the right to choose whether to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. This is about the very fundamental right to have control over our own bodies.

Right now, with the Kavanaugh nomination, women are freaked and rightly so. Not only will he vote to overturn Roe v Wade, this man is a revengeful bully and he clearly has no real respect for women. Anyone with any degree of understanding of human behavior can see that clearly. This is a man who needs to be in control and feels entitled be so. If this man gets on the Supreme Court he’ll not be impartial, especially when it comes to issues impacting women. He will rule to wield his power because he can. He’ll rule to get revenge. I wasn’t happy with the Gorsuch nomination as he’s in the pockets of big business; but the thought of Kavanaugh as an arbiter of women’s rights is truly frightening.

It’s the 11th hour for women’s reproductive rights. It’s time we keep calling our Senators and try to keep this clock from reaching the darkness of midnight. @blueravenartist

COMPUTERIZED IV

computerized IV

I wonder about the future often.  How can I not? We’re creating it right now. I watch the day-to-day drama of the present playing out into the future moment by moment and like many aware artists, I’m caught up in attempting to use whatever abilities and platform I have to try to steer the collective conversation in a better direction.  However, sometimes I grow weary of the constant alarming chatter (to which I contribute, I admit because I AM alarmed.) But even though these are trying times, there are still amazing things going on in the world.

This morning I was reading about how two researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have deciphered a mouse’s retina’s neural code and used it to develop a prosthetic device to restore sight to blind mice. That means it’s just a matter of time before this will translate to humans.  Remember Geordie’s visor in ‘STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION’? The future is becoming more and more real every moment. So today I thought I’d post something a little different, a little more in keeping with what I most love to create. I’m fascinated with thoughts of how humans will slowly morph into cyborgs. As long as we keep evolving, there’s no stopping what technology will bring us. We might not have a visible motherboard in the front of our foreheads, but still… It’s fun to play with, don’t you think? @blueravenartist

 

Instagram/Facebook @blueravenartist