Why We Will Never Make It.


This is an exchange I had on FB. I am taking out the other person’s name, but I have indicated the break in the two conversations. What a shame it has come to this.

Oh, well, problem solved. We will never get an infrastructure repaired because no-one wanted to follow the jobs. OK.
Are any of you familiar with the movie Serenity? Because there was a bit in it to explain River, and what she learned about Miranda. It was a booming society where people lived in peace, and the government decided to make them happy. So they filtered their air and their food with a combination of Pax (as in Paxil) with another ingredient, and everyone got so happy, and so somnolent, that they laid down and died, starvation and other things, because they had no will to do anything any longer. About ten percent of them, though, turned into Reivers, who would go about attacking ships, raping people to death, skinning them alive, and then eating them. It wasn’t until Mal and his people discovered this that the mistakes of the government that didn’t want to deal with the people that they just let them have to live this way.
In this case, though, the universe was so big that not everyone was affected, and it was repaired.
Unfortunately, it sounds like if this is true, people are not going to get up and do things for themselves – they don’t want any help that requires them to do anything for themselves – they will be happy to see the country die rather than make anything better. So those of us who remember what it was to work and make our own way are going to soon die of old age, and the rest will be killed off by having no health care.
Problem solved.

Comment I was reacting to:

Infrastructure would be a fabulous idea, but no one is entertaining it. I think that’s because many Congress members have realized something that has been slowly dawning on me this year:
People don’t want to go to the jobs. They want the jobs to come to them.
My ex’s grandfather, for instance, helped build the 5 Fwy. That required moving from Mexico to Canada as the freeway was constructed, depending on where his particular part of the construction job took him. He left his family behind in Fresno, going to visit them when he could.
My grandfather and father installed lighting in places everywhere from Pershing Square to the Coronado Bridge, at the Hollywood Bowl, in Red Skelton’s studio, in San Francisco and New York and points in between. They were management, so they got to come home to us in L.A. more often than most (and L.A. was booming, so many of the projects were there and they could drive home at night), but they often had to go away for weeks at a time.
My great-grandfather ran out of farming work in the Midwest and moved to Colorado, where my great-grandmother wound up running a boarding house for miners (My great-grandfather died making the trip). My maternal grandfather had his farm fail in Iowa and moved his family to Long Beach and then Pasadena (during the Great Depression!) and wound up becoming an accountant for a dairy. We have a ton of jobs here in California that people who are already here don’t want to do. Planting and harvesting our crops, for example. That’s probably no harder work (and much healthier) than digging coal out of the ground. Yet I don’t see a mass migration from West Virginia to California.
And the people who are going on about the manufacturing plants just need to get a clue. They have been replaced by robots. Their former jobs are as relevant to modern society as a blacksmith who repairs medieval armor. They need to learn how to do something else and move wherever it is those jobs need to be done. For instance, states with a lot of sun are figuring out how to harvest solar power, those with a lot of wind are looking to wind power, those with too much water–maybe they could figure out how to harvest water power or do something else with that water?
Lacking innovation, the willingness to move, and/or the willingness to retrain in another field, things are simply going to remain stuck between a 4-5% unemployment rate. (We were heading down to 3% in L.A. in April, and I think we’re even lower than that now with the entertainment industry booming again. We’d be doing even better if the Federal government would get its nose out of our tourism industry. There are “help wanted” jobs all over the place. They are simply part time and without benefits. Welcome to the Free Market.

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On a happier note


I realize I have written some really dark posts lately, sounding like someone going over the edge. There is a line of rage in me, and I have let it rip out.

But it is amazing what the subconcience holds, and apparently lets out while you are in deep sleep. I had a really enlightening dream last night. And so I write this.

If you are a teen, or college student, I say enjoy your life. Do what you want to do, and be as happy as you can. If you are still in high school, you have the right to do and see what all youthful people should do. If you want to go to college, I hope you do. I hope you find a way to enjoy everything, meeting and getting to know others of your age group. Go to dances, have parties, go to movies, go shopping. Try to stay up with what is going on in the world, but don’t let it stop you from being young. When you get to college, study hard, but have a good time. College is a wonderful experience for those who get to go. I did not, but I worked at a university for many years, managed to get a few college credits at the same time, and most of the work I did allowed me to interact with students. I even joined a couple of organizations that accepted me, even though I was twice the age of the students that were in them. I saw how much fun they were all having.

I spent my 20s, helping out with the civil rights movements, and during the worst of Vietnam – and I drank a lot to help me get through it – but I met a lot of wonderful people from around the world due to my management of a merchant seamen’s bar. It was a good time in my life, and helped make me who I am today.

Please control some of the worst things that could catch you up. Don’t use drugs, though I personally have no problem with marijuana if you want to experiment with it, but don’t get involved in dealing it. Stay away from crack cocaine and heroin. They really don’t help, and can ruin your lives. Experiment with sex. I don’t think sex is a sin, and it is a gift from the deities. But respect your own body. Take all precautions, don’t be promiscuous, try not to get pregnant, or get a girl pregnant. Don’t get an STD. It could cause deep health problems later in your life.

The main point is enjoy yourself. You have a right to your life. You have a right to get involved in things that were much easier back when life was simpler. Not necessarily better, as I can attest to, but before life tries to get you caught up in silly things. There are a lot of really silly, non-compassionate, mean adults out there trying to make life difficult for you, and for your children. Be open-minded about everything, and learn what is worth learning, ignore that which is not.

I hope some of you will get involved in politics. I have loved them all my life, among other things, but they have played the most in my choices, good and bad, and have continued to love them. No, I am not happy with what is going on, but believe me, most of the bad is being caused by ignorant, tight-assed, stubborn folks who work against themselves. Don’t allow them to keep you from having and doing what is rightfully yours.

I love you all, and I want you to have the lives you deserve to have. So go out and do it, but try to get smarter as you go along. And then come back and fix the world some of us are leaving you with. Don’t get angry and give up. Remember that those of us who lived through the world of the 60s did not believe we would live to be 30. But most of us did.

Get wealthy if you can and want to, but don’t do it on the backs of those less fortunate than you are. Just try to learn how to give yourselves and your children a better world, but don’t let it rob you of the things you are entitled to, including having fun what you go along your paths.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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Friendships and non-friends


I continue to watch what is going on in this country, and in the world, under the trumpeter’s agenda. So I want to say once and for all.

I am 76 years of age. I have been involved in politics since I was 11 years old. I have moved thinking around as I learned things and grew up and watched changes. I went from being a republican to being a democrat, pretty much because the parties changed themselves. I remember well being a Republican in Democratic Texas; now I am a Democrat in a Republican Texas. Thing is, I haven’t changed – I have always been a liberal; I have always fought for the rights of others, and equality. I have been a christian, but there is no way I would identify with today’s christians. Nor do I identify any longer with any organized religion.

So, truth: I am ultra-liberal, and a Socialist Democrat. I believe everyone has a right to free healthcare and free education. That is about the limit of the old Socialist regime that turned into communism. And then died.

I believe every human being who ever lived was born equal to every other human being. I have never cared about the colour of skin, or what is called “race”. I have met human beings from around the world through my life, and I don’t consider a Swede as superior to a Jamaican. I do not consider a Ukranian as being superior to a Tahitian. I do not consider a Greek as superior to an Egyptian. And I do not consider a white American superior to a Native American, or a Latin American, or an African American.

I know that no child is born with hatred in its heart. They have to be taught. Remember the words from South Pacific: You have to be taught to be afraid of people’s who eyes are oddly made, of people who skin is a different shade, you’ve got to be carefully taught. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, you’ve got to be taught to hate; you’ve got to be carefully taught.

The big argument from a conservative generally includes that they don’t want big government. This is simply not true; every conservative really does want huge government – they just want it for themselves. Don’t mess with their Social Security Disability, or their food stamps, or their health care. And oh God, don’t even mess with the money for defense. Got to give defense billions and billions of dollars. And if to do that it requires taking benefits away from the opposition, then so be it. Just don’t step on their, the conservatives, benefits. They are entitled. And they want war, war, war.

So don’t ask me to be your friend. I will always respect your rights as a human being, but I will never respect your hatred for me, and my beliefs. It is enough that I have liberal friends that I have to debate with. But we will never call each other names, or try to shoot one another, or take anything away from one another. We are more likely to help out each other, even if our priorities are a little different. There are so many others who need help, and not every one of us agrees on which ones deserve the first help. I support Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection folks, the believers in global warming/climate change, the Native Americans, the tree huggers. I cannot afford to give all of them money. So I choose to give monthly donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. I hope to eventually support Habitat for Humanity and Disabled Veterans on a monthly basis. In the meantime, I give what I can. I live in assisted housing, and I have given away food, cigarettes, money, until I realized there were those who simply were using me. And I closed my “free” store. But if there is a fire, a hurricane, a tornado, a natural disaster, happening to anyone near me, you will find me sharing things – clothes, household goods, food, whatever.

I know there are people who take advantage of the system. They need to be weeded out, but when a wealthy person buys a farm just so they can get the tax advantages, I believe they are the ones taking advantage of the system. When people cry out about drugs like cocaine or heroin, I remember that it is the corporate styles who actually buy them, and then sell them to the downtrodden, just so they can keep them downtrodden.

So anyone who approves of that, don’t come to me to be your friend. I have enough friends who believe the way I do.

I ramble, I know that, but I think in my rambling, you probably know exactly what I am saying.

And if you support the trumpeter, you really are the person I most don’t want to know.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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War


We are headed into a new war.

Like many of you, I have been following what is going on in the US and around the world very closely. I have been a bit obsessed with World War II, and watching The West Wing. Think about it.

Why is Vladimir Putin so interested in our elections? What has General Flynn, along with Manafort and Bannon been doing behind the scenes? Why are these people so determined to get Donald Trump elected president?

While we Americans have spent the last eight or more years beleaguering our politicians about gas and oil, about racism and healthcare and leaching off the government, what have the money people, the corporations, the Kochs and Citizens United been doing behind the scenes? Trying always to make even more money, and taken down the middle and lower class of Americans. And, my guess would be, other free nations around the world. Drugs are being used at a higher rate than they used to be, and fewer and fewer people are trying to take any responsibility for themselves. They see only one thing – how do I get into that money and power situation.

Well, I think it is to take their minds off what is happening on higher levels of government and dictatorships and the daily grind of the common folks. What are we of use to them, other than to go out and shoot at other people, and kill one another off, while the generals and the corporate biggies rake in the money from the war machine, and get richer.

Also, if you look at wars through the ages, what has the United States suffered? We have been there in all the battlefields, razing their countries, destroying their cities, keeping it there so it won’t come over here. I think this is on the verge of being ended. With the war machine the world has now, and the firepower available to many – with troops being sent into Afghanistan, Syria, and other hot spots across the planet, we are already in place with many of the things needed to set this off. While we sit on our asses and watch it all and yell about it. Take the trumpeter’s speech to the Coast Guard graduates yesterday – what was he warning them about – how hard life is (also how badly he has been treated).

I don’t know what else to say. I as a liberal Democrat have done so much over the past 50 and more years to try to get people to be considerate and compassionate and to get along. So have many, many others. I am not alone out here thinking this. And we even have a new batch, and new generation or five, who are beginning to see this. But not nearly enough. The youth these days are more worried about keeping up with one another, and keeping their heads in their electronic ties to the world. Everyone is arguing their religious beliefs and their lot in life, and no-one is paying attention to the big picture. It has been a long time since there was even a war, and that was not even a real war. Korea and Vietnam have been the only true world fights in the last half century.

People are not even inclined to think about war. The Gulf Wars had no young men or women avid enough to join in. The last thing that spurred any kind of patriotism in this country was the downing of the Twin Towers. Lots of people signed up for things then. We didn’t even get into WW II until we were hit. America is as usual living in its cocoon it has built for itself, and is not going to wake up until lives are lost and damage is done. But in today’s climate, that will be too late.

What have you given up for your country lately? Well, get ready, because I think you are about to be asked for a lot more. I see the signs all too clearly.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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There is no God


WOW, did I ever have an epiphany this afternoon. I was sleeping so deeply, and as has happened before, I was dreaming about NASCAR. I do that a lot. I woke up about 2:45, and got up to go to the bathroom, but I was not quite ready to get up. So I laid down and cuddled under my comforter, and went into a sort of twilight sleep. And was suddenly awoken again with this thought.

There is no god.

What I mean by that is that there is no god who allowed the Hebrews to be taken into slavery by Egypt. There is no god that allows people to kill one another, in whatever circumstances. There is no god that allowed the Germans to murder six million Jews. There is no god that allows children to be exploited by others, or for women to be exploited and forced into prostitution, or for fires and tornadoes and earthquakes and drownings. There is no god who allows evil in any way.

A god was invented by different tribes of people, not all of them with the same god. But for some reason, there are people who have to have a god to explain where we came from. However, this planet and this universe and all the other cosmic bodies there are in the universe came from science. I have always believed in science, and been fascinated by it, but I was raised in a christian family who stuffed my head with fairy tales, and made sure I knew if I was not perfect, I would end up in hell.

So I, like billions of people, struggled with the major questions that billions and billions ask every day: why did that happen? We just need someone to blame it all on, and we look up at the sky and say it was god’s will.

All wars are caused by men. Whether it is Joshua holding his arms up and stopping the sun so the Hebrews could slaughter men (not a scientific possibility), or Hitler got too much power and used it wrongly, it is not any god’s fault. Even if you have ever read the Iliad and the story of Troy, and the gods and goddesses who worked that war, they are stories out of mythology. In fact, everything that has happened with the human race since the beginning of time, has been blamed on a god of some sort.

So as long as people look to what they believe is a god running everything, and that god does not agree with another god, there will never be peace on this planet, perhaps in any other civilization as well. The sooner people accept science as what rules the daily activities of humankind, the sooner there could be peace.

So, David and others I have had this conversation with, I apparently have finally learned why atheism is so widespread. Because too many have someone to blame it all on.

So there is no god. Just our spiritual, or non-spiritual, selves to blame, or to give credit to when we understand that we are the only ones who can fix things.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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God/desses and spiritual beliefs


I just wrote this in response to a posting by David Gerrold on Facebook.  I thought I would bring it over to my blog so it can get wider readership.  To my Facebook friends, you will be getting this twice, once in my response to David, and now because I have FB sharing for my wordpress blogs.

David, you have written some very profound things here. As a Pagan of the Celtic tradition, I can tell you that the God/dess I believe in is a Spirit, bears no body, nor no face, but lives around and in and through me at all times. I communicate with her/him, or him/her, in my own way, and every time I do anything that will affect others, and allow me to live with myself.

But I do believe in lesser gods and goddesses that rule parts of my life. Lyr is the god of the seas – I came from water, I am mostly water, and water will be the place of my eventual return. Lugh is the god of my creativity – my artistic and writing abilities. And Herne (aka Cernnunous) is the lord of the trees, or the one who works with Mother Nature, and are being destroyed even as I write this through ecological disasters.

The Greek and Latin/Roman gods and goddesses are/were very real to me. I believe that they did have some rule over the peoples of this planet prior to about 2500 BC. They were very much in evidence, including those whose names are Egyptian or Scandinavian, or with the various natives of all the lands of this planet. They were never cut off, even in the christian bible left them behind, picking up the exodus of Hebrews from slavery. This mythology did not rid every tribe from slavery, but the priests of the early AD years needed to try and get most peoples behind one belief, and thus picked and chose what writings they wanted to bring everyone to one religion – namely christianity. And they gave their god the face of the well-known, and renown, Rabbi of the earliest days – Yeshua bin Ioseph, who was wise and compassionate, and definitely human.

It did not work, it has not worked, it will never work. Because humans were not made to be automatons to follow one belief. And so long as there are conflicting ideas of religion or spirituality, more people are going to search for their beliefs in whatever they can find to believe in, or to match their beliefs already. And war will always be the answer to them because peace will never reign until a catalyst occurs that allows everyone to live within themselves, and with tolerance for everyone else.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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United Airlines


United Airlines raised a real shit storm when they decided to give their own employees four free seats. They went about the whole thing very wrong, and money will get their attention far better than people talking about it over and over. But let me point out one thing, not to excuse them for their actions: many flights for all airlines have been delayed all over the country because of the crazy weather. While people talk about the weather wherever it does not really concern them, it is when the results hit them that they start to see reality. Many planes were grounded, and with them, the employees – pilots, radio operators, stewards – were left stranded. Most of them had flown their absolute limits, according to FAA regulations. I have not flown anywhere since 9/11, but if I were to fly, I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that the pilots, especially, were not overtired. So all of the airlines have had to get their employees to other airports so they could get people off the ground and in the air. United gave thousands to one family who was stranded for a week, and missed their whole vacation while sitting in an airport – because there were no air employees to fly the planes sitting on the ground.

It was a real nightmare for the airlines, but folks who depend on the airlines to get them places faster and faster, do not stop to realize the stress and strain the airlines are under to get them there safely and on time. And they can do nothing to stop Mother Nature from having her way. Only We the People can do anything about that – and that is through being environmentally friendly to Her.

This does not leave United blameless for what they did to the doctor. I hope he gets recompensed for what happened to him. But it does at least give us a little more knowledge as to what the employees were undergoing at the time. We all live with stress these days, and we have to learn how to handle it.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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