When you’re big in the music business, you have a whole entourage to handle your every need. There are light people and sound people and a manager and roadies to take care of your instruments and then the catering crew and someone for props; and the whole scene’s highly chaotic.
But if you‘re smaller scale and play the local scene, sometimes it’s just you and your instrument and whatever way you have to get the two of you home. I imagine my guy in the image, late, late at night, walking a few quiet streets to where he needs to catch a taxi or the subway or perhaps parked his car. He’d have his guitar in a case, I know, but cases can get so dinged up and ugly, especially if they’re covered in old back stage passes…I know, sentimental value, I get it. But for creative license and because I love the sheer beauty of musical instruments, my guy’s carrying his baby, bare, over his shoulder. Regardless…
There’s this special time after a gig, particularly a good one, where everything came together and the music really flowed. The crowd disperses and the band members are starting to go their own ways after having a friendly beer. The on-stage buzz has died down and you’re fried, but still slightly, subtly euphoric as you make your way home to get some much-needed shut-eye.
While you’re walking, your mind drifts from the high of the gig to a softer feeling, knowing there’s someone at home, sound asleep, but still waiting for you. And the two feelings merge and you have this quiet, private, perfect moment on that silent street, to take it in and savor. It’s a special time, after a gig, one worth saving…at least for the guy in the image.
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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 Trump has his way, 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.
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
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.
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Last December 5 Democratic members of Congress toured a remote tent city in Texas that’s holding about 2,700 immigrant teens between 13 and 17 costing roughly a million bucks a day. “It’s in a remote location on purpose so that the American people do not know what’s happening here,” said Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas. Rep. Judy Chu of California said, “We need to shut it down. It’s inhumane. It is a child prison. It has no right to exist.”
BCFS Health and Human Services, the contractor running the facility, told them that this one tent city costs taxpayers about $144 million bucks since opening. Set aside the inhumanity of the Trump administration’s immigration policies for a moment and look at it from a fiscal point of view. The U.S. has approximately 200 facilities holding some 30,000 immigrants on any given day. The combined budget of enforcement agencies was $19 billion in 2016 and it has only skyrocketed since. Think of the good that could be done with all that cash. Think of how much better off we’d all be if we got our priorities straight.
The inhumanity can only be set aside briefly. Immigrants tell of cruelty, illness and filth, and the night and day wailing of hungry children. They arrive after harrowing journeys seeking asylum and are held in overcrowded and filthy conditions. Some are in huge tent cities lacking adequate sanitary facilities. Some are still caged, sleeping on the hard floor with nothing but a metallic sheet where the lights blare 24/7 and they’re often dehydrated and don’t get enough to eat.
Even the death of little 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, who died in custody while waiting an hour and a half before receiving emergency care, doesn’t sway this President or the GOP-ruled Congress. As of June, at least 7 kids have died in border-control custody. Germs and viruses spread like wildfire in terrified, stressed-out victims who are cold, underfed and crammed into cages where they can’t even wash their hands.
Yeah, if it were their guns we were detaining and locking up, the GOP would riot. But since it’s just a bunch of brown people…no big. This needs to change. Progressives unite; push forward. Find me on Instagram/Facebook @blueravenartist
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
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 2020, 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
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.
But after 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. We’ve got to win big in 2020 and keep this clock from reaching the darkness of midnight. @blueravenartist
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We live in a time of chaos and confusion. We’re working against incredible forces and power that are trying to hold on to their domination over the rest of us, trying to hold on to their ability to use our labor and intellectual resources to add to their already obscene wealth. But we, the 99.99% outnumber them and if we just rally, we can overcome the unlimited resources that they use to spin reality to serve their own greed and avarice. If we each do SOMETHING, each little nugget of good will have a ripple effect. No matter what it is: posting accurate information, talking truth to friends, going door to door to support someone honest and true, protesting, calling representatives, showing up, and most of all, voting, we can swing things in another direction. Each little act combines with others to create a ripple effect that can eventually cause a tidal wave. If we all participate, we can create a tsunami. Friends, we need a tsunami to win this time. Get involved. Ripples in the multiverse. Let’s save the future.@blueravenartist @blueraventees
The GOP controlled Congress has lost all perspective, to say nothing of reason, logic, morals, integrity, and compassion. Sucked up into the black hole of their own self-gain, they’ve pulled off a pay-for-play scheme with their donors in the form of a massive corporate tax cut. Not only are they playing poker with the lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, they’re trying to slash and burn the whole immigration system. And don’t get me started on Russia, healthcare, or the environment. Now they want to allow restaurants to appropriate their worker’s tips. How freaking petty is that? How long till November 6th? Couldn’t come soon enough.
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 one of his final speeches, 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
NO MORE HATE
We’ve always had haters. But in the last few decades we were beginning to evolve towards a more educated and tolerant nation. There were those in the media who helped that considerably. One of my heroes, Gene Roddenberry, showed people of color in places of power, something completely new that opened people’s mind to the reality that race is just a social construct. Archie Bunker showed us the ugliness and ignorance of bigotry. ‘WILL AND GRACE’ (the old one) showed us that gay people were just people. The LGBTQ community lost at least some of the fear of living their lives as their true selves and more and more of them were able to come out of the closet. As for the border and our friends down in Mexico, we didn’t give it much thought. It was a cool place to visit. The people were friendly. We were beginning to learn something that any evolved species eventually understands, that the color of one’s skin or their ethnicity or sexual orientation or gender are just attributes that make each person unique. People are just people under the skin.
Then came Trump.
Crimes incited by hate are rising steeply, according to a Justice Department survey of major cities. According to new data “hate crime totals for the 20 largest cities rose for four straight years to the highest level in a decade, rising 12% just last year.” One report found an 86% increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ people in 2017. Anti-Semitic incidents have increased dramatically, up 57% in just the last year according to the Anti-Defamation League. Ironically, other crimes like regular violent crimes and property crimes decreased.
Something changed and that something is the ‘leader of the free world’ who spouts hate and vitriol and bigotry at every turn. He’s made it okay for haters to come out into the open and flaunt their hate and even act on it. We need him out of office.
We’ve always had haters. But Trump is giving license to their hate and emboldening them to act as though their hate is justified and normal. We can’t let that happen.
Somehow, love must trump hate, no matter what we’re up against. Awake people unite; push forward. Save the future.
MORE POLLUTION IN WASHINGTON
The EPA’s announced plans to revoke its own 2016 rule that ensures protective standards for Washington’s citizens. This rule would pave the way for polluters to dump greatly increased amounts of toxic pollution into state waters, threatening communities, salmon, and orca whales that depend on clean water to survive. This is just another hand out to billionaire big businesses. “Today’s proposal by the Trump administration puts the health of the people of this state at risk by ignoring all of the important scientific work done by the EPA in developing these standards.” Jeanette Brimmer of Earthjustice
This is just one of a long line of attacks on environmental protections. In the battle between environmental polluters and scientifically—supported needs for stronger anti-pollution standards in Washington, the billionaires won…again. Sure, let the old, rich, white billionaires pollute or air and waterways. They’ll be dead before it impacts them. They don’t care about the rest of us of those who will follow. They don’t care about the future. That’s why we have to rally. That’s why we need to rise up and protest. That’s why we need to go blue in 2020 no matter what. Woke people unite; save the future. @blueravenartist @blueraventees
It’s once again Earth day, the one day of the year we stop to consider and honor the planet upon which we live. “The Earth is what we all have in common,” said Wendell Berry, who was, among other things, an environmental activist. The day we first received those amazing images from space, many of us realized that we all live on what my hero; the late, great Carl Sagan called the Pale Blue Dot. The more we learn about science and the universe, the more we realize how rare we are. The more we face reality, the better we realize that the Earth is our only home and we are exhausting its resources at a faster pace than the Earth can repair/replace them. On this Earth day, I hope our focus is on the actions we must take to save this planet for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and those to follow.
“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” John Paul II
We’re facing tremendous challenges, primarily short-sighted, corrupt, greedy politicians working against us solely to line their own pockets. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stand up to them and win.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
We now know for certain that climate change is here and is proceeding more rapidly than earlier predicted. We must act now and we must act in a big way. So let’s make this more than an Earth Day. Let’s make it an Earth Year, even an Earth Decade. We can do this. We have to. The future depends on it. @blueravenartist
Kirstjen Nielsen, the brain behind separating families at the border, had the gall to defend her department’s horrific policies before Congress. She refused to admit that DHS was caging kids, by arguing exactly WHAT constituted a cage. The Dems have repeatedly rebuked Nielsen’s support for the inhumane treatment of immigrants and have long wanted her ousted. This weekend they got their wish. After a meeting with Trump, she’s history. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin claims Trump’s killed Nielsen’s reputation for life. “She’ll always be known as the women who put children in cages. And you know what? They’ll be right.” I agree with him.
Is Nielsen out because of her cruelty? Heck, no. Seems she wasn’t cruel enough for Trump who’s demanding a harder line and wants to reinstate the child separation policy. It’s insane that we’re debating whether it’s okay to cage children. But we are and it might get even worse.
Trump’s put WH adviser Steven Miller in charge of all immigration affairs. This empathy-challenged, right-wing extremist is instigating a coup to replace existing officials with those who share his inhumane views. He supports Trump’s threat to close the U.S.—Mexico border and was the architect behind using the kid-caging system as a scare tactic to immigrants seeking asylum. We might now be stuck with one of the most notorious anti-immigration hardliners in Washington. We wanted Nielsen gone, but in this administration, you have to be careful what you wish for. After all, we now exist in the “upside down.”
Trump’s ratcheting up his anti-immigration message as he looks towards the 2020 election. Sadly, his cruelty seems to be the most effective way to galvanize his supporters. After announcing Nielsen’s departure, Trump tweeted, “Our Country is FULL!”
Donald Trump, a wrestling fan, once staged a body slam of famous Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXIII to show his “toughness.” So here’s a cage I’d like to see. Donald Trump and the current wrestling champ in a cage match, locked in, like the kids at the border, scared and defenseless, fighting for his survival. I wonder what he’d think of cages then. Here’s to change in 2020. @blueravenartist @blueraventees
“Family Separation Is Being Compared to Japanese Internment. It Took Decades for the U. S. to Admit That Policy Was Wrong. ” TIME MAGAZINERead More
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.” Sinclair Lewis
Trump waved the proverbial cross, claiming he’s a Christian. He’s not. And at CPAC this year, the video of him wrapping himself around the American Flag went viral. The irony is staggering. The irony here is downright scary.
The Holocaust Museum in D.C. lists the early warning signs of looming fascism: Powerful and continuing nationalism. Disdain for human rights. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause. Supremacy of the military. Rampant sexism. Controlled mass media. Obsession with national security. Religion and government intertwined. Corporate power protested. Labor power suppressed. Disdain for intellectuals & the arts. Obsession with crime & punishment. Rampant cronyism & corruption. Fraudulent elections. Recognize any warning signs in Trump? You should.
He’s denigrated and attempted to control the press. Trump TV (FOX) is obsessively lies for him and tries to stifle sources that criticize him. He uses his position to take revenge on his rivals. He handpicked the man standing between him and the Mueller evidence and that handpicked man stepped in and pronounced Trump clear of committing any criminal offense, including obstruction of justice. Convenient.
As for collusion, the evidence right before our very eyes should be more than enough to establish guilt. Trump thinks it’s not a crime if you do it right out in the open. Trump thinks it can’t be a crime if you do it while rich and the President. As for the Mueller report? All we have is just more spin and brainwashing from the Trump propaganda team. Trump’s own apologist and lawyer, Rudy Guilianni, said the infamous, “Truth isn’t truth.” Trump, himself, told his followers: “Just remember. What you’re seeing and reading is not what’s happening.” And now, Trump’s claiming “complete and total exoneration.
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Orwell
Orwell 2.0 Big Brother is listening…
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 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 was the third year in a row the FBI has reported a steep increase and we know it’s increased from there. 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
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
March 8th was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations as International Women’s Day. Not all countries recognize or commemorate it, but in some countries it’s a public holiday. It’s a day to celebrate women and at times in certain countries, it’s an occasion for protest and demonstration for everything from women’s rights to ending hunger and poverty. In 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed March as Women’s History Month, calling on everyone to reflect on “the extraordinary accomplishments of women” in shaping our country’s history. Barack Obama, a supporter of women as equals for sure. Boy, do I miss that man.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is: ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.’ It focuses on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women. Another theme is #balanceforbettter, not only celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women; it is a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Right now, more women are running for political office than ever, breaking records in what’s become known as the “pink wave” of US politics. More women won in the 2018 midterms and it’s already showing in the policies that are being brought forth by the Democratic Party. Still, women only represent 19.1% of the House and 22% of the Senate. We need to change that.
Let’s join the pink wave in any way we can and ride it all the way to a blue tsunami in 2020. Women united; push forward. Save the future. @blueravenartist @blueraventees