Shock & Awe: a thought-provoking film about why we went to war with Iraq in 2003

As we await the next election, wondering how much to believe about everything our president says, not to mention the “evil media,” please consider watching an excellent portrayal of what actually happened in our country and our government after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Shock and awe movie

“Shock and Awe” (2017) is the true story of how two Knight-Ridder journalists and their editor, were the only ones who got the story correct leading up to Bush’s war with Iraq beginning in March of 2003. These journalists, Jonathan Landay, played by Woody Harrelson, and Warren Strobel, played by James Marsden, dared to question Bush and Cheney’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They set forth to sift through the chaos and official lies to uncover the truth, when no one else would listen.

As we all know now, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but the government got their war anyway. Thousands of American soldiers were wounded and killed in this campaign based on government lies.

I find this film particularly relevant in today’s world of lies, half-truths and simple stupidity from so many in government. The truth matters. Someone please explain this to our president in a way even he can understand!

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I’m beginning to dread a lot about Christmas…

Just saw my first Christmas ad last night. It must be time for my annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas piece, first published in 2009…

halloweenHere we are enjoying Halloween, and along comes the first of a future onslaught of  “holiday” commercials! Yippee! Yes, they can be subtle at first, but they are there. Look closely. They creep on to our TV screens like ghosts and goblins sent to disturb our mellow post-Halloween days. Panic sets in.

It must be my age. Each year I face the “holidays” with increasing dismay instead of the previous joy. The “holidays” make me tense and uncomfortable. Instead of childhood visions of sugar plums from my ancient past, I now feel dread, pure and simple.

The advertising is ugly. It does me in… Is it the good old American hard-sell or the nauseatingly sweet, happy families advertising anything you need RIGHT NOW? We all know this is pure fiction!

Christmas dreadWhy do the Hallmark ads bring a wee tear to our eye? Because we know they aren’t real. They try to capture a life we wish we had instead of the one we live now. And don’t get me started with those male fantasy commercials, where he buys her that one special piece of jewelry so she’ll fall into his arms for a night of amazing sex, suggesting not too subtly she’s nice for a price.

I admit, when Mike and I first met, we had a lot of fun going out to buy our first tree together. We were so happy to have someone to share ANY holiday with. But now it all feels so crass to me. The “holidays” have turned into a gigantic embarrassment. This tradition has soured.

I swear if Jesus came back and saw what’s being done in his name, he would slit his wrists. It has really turned UGLY. Pushy people fighting over parking places at the mall, really?

We decided to opt out years ago. Enough is enough!

Fight Hate with Love

Have you ever considered the power of hate versus the power of love? Which do you believe to be stronger? In a nation where it is not so unusual for parishioners to be shot down in their own church or synagogue because of their beliefs, this can become a serious dilemma. How many Jews have died for their beliefs in the history of mankind?

If I were the president today, I would recommend a day of reflection for our country, a day to reflect on how hate and violence have become far too common. We might also reflect on who we are as a people and who we aspire to be as a nation.

Hatefulness is not the way to greatness, for a person or a nation.

In this season of nastiness and negativity, better known as election time, stop and notice who the haters are. Who has the most nasty and negative ads to represent the way they see their opponent and their world? Stop and think about how this reflects on their character. We already have a nasty, negative president who apparently enjoys disparaging more than half of us for not supporting his policies or his way of running our country. Do you want others to join him in embarrassing us around the world?

peace symbol

Let us instead meditate on love and peace around the world. Peace for the families who have lost so much in this most recent act of hatred and violence. Peace to those who know not what they have done…

 

Sunrise Meditations, Number 1

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United we stand. Divided we fall. 

Hatefulness is not the way…

It cannot be more clear to me that our enemies are winning in this race to see how best to destroy our country. Russia and probably China (and who knows who else) would like to see us fall into division and disarray. They love to watch this president sow seeds of anger, hate and doubt. In his mind, everyone is responsible except for him, just like a child.

I have never seen such hatefulness in my country in my 63 years here. Hate begets hate. Violence begets violence, and anyone who knows anything about human behavior knows that blaming is a thoughtless and childish way of ignoring the part we each play in this destruction of our country.

There is no way Trump will be maturing anytime soon, so what are the rest of us to do about this cancer of divisiveness? Arguments have been made on both sides about “going high,” “going low” or standing up to the stupidity and lies we see daily. I have no answer except to say:

We all want the same things. I am certain of that. We do not want to end over two hundred years of American history, by descending into hatred and chaos.

Each of us must be honest, see what is happening here and choose a higher road than that of our president. If we don’t, hate and stupidity wins and we all lose.

Autumn in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

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We are having a warm lovely fall here in southern Colorado! We had our first snow in the Sangre de Cristos south of us a couple weeks ago, and then some weather in the 60s settled in to warm our winter-fearing souls.

The 60s are my favorite temperature, just right for sitting outside and observing the  many birds and quadrupeds that happen by our home. We have seen herds of deer and a couple coyotes walking by recently…

Road Runner

and the Road Runners come right up to our glass doors!

Frosted lavender bloom October 2018

Unfortunately that first hard freeze did a number on my first crop of lavender.

We have had such a strange summer season this year. The winter and spring, which are usually super wet, were quite dry through June, when the Spring Creek Fire hit this area, destroying over 108,000 acres and over 140 homes and other structures.

first view of Spring Fire Wed. towards Mt Mestas on June 27th

This was my first view of the fire as it emerged south of Mount Mestas on June 27th.

Fortunately in July the rains finally came, saving our area from complete devastation, but still for the 2017 – 2018 water year we received less than half of average precipitation.

Laura garden October 2018 before the snow

My brand new foothills garden did not like these ever changing conditions. It died way back in June, but made a phenomenal comeback with the 3.35 inches of rain we received in July! My garden is perpetually a work in progress. We are now waiting to get a bunch of red pavers to place in the lower level around the bird bath.

It gives me great joy to wander around outside and think about how Mike and my brother John worked so hard to help me realize this lifelong dream!

LOTTERY LOVE in the USA!

mega millionsWOW! I just heard one fun fact: Americans will spend $73 BILLION this year on lottery tickets! Coloradoans spend right around $100 per year, while the overall average spending in the USA is $223 per person. REALLY?           For a GREAT article on this topic go here. The numbers will astound you!

Next I wondered who spends the most on the lottery by income. There I found that some households earning less than $13,000 a year spend a shocking 9% of their money on lottery tickets. The lowest-income households in the U.S. on average spend $412 annually on lottery tickets, which is nearly four times the $105 a year spent by the highest-earning households, according to a recent study by Bankrate.com. And almost 3 in 10 Americans in the lowest income bracket play the lottery once a week, compared with nearly 2 in 10 who earn more than that.

“Lotteries have become an alternative mechanism of social mobility—a way of achieving financial success in an economy that’s increasingly bereft of those opportunities,” said Jonathan Cohen, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Virginia who’s completing his dissertation on American lotteries. “There’s an understandable belief that the economy is rigged and your best chance of making it out and getting rich is through the lottery, not through your job or savings.” 

At least in Colorado the lottery has invested more than $3 billion into protecting Colorado’s wilderness and wildlife by creating trails, parks, and also public school construction. That’s the only reason why I occasionally buy a ticket. No illusions of grandeur here  🙂

Local Talk by Me!

Mike on old tree up at build site 2014

MIKE NEXT TO ONE OF OUR FAVORITE TREES!

I would like to invite any of you who live here locally, to my presentation at the La Veta Public Library this Thursday at 2PM. My theme is “What’s it like to move here?” We can discuss the ins and outs of moving to rural Colorado, how passive solar works, and anything else that comes up!