Two Titles That Impress

Once in a while, a book comes along that I like so well that I want to have a hard copy to give to others. The first of these is the amazing “The Reducetarian Solution”. This is a collection of over 70 short and diverse articles written by distinguished authors and edited by Brian Kateman, the president and founder of THE REDUCETARIAN FOUNDATION. What’s so awesome about this outfit? Mr. Kateman had the brilliant idea of promoting “How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet”. No more all-or-nothing approaches commonplace in vegetarian and vegan circles, but a do-what-you-can approach. Wow! That’s so refreshing, especially for people like me that are adept at fabricating guilt, thanks to my Catholic upbringing. Deepak Chopra, author of Quantum Healing (and numerous other books), puts it nicely: “This book offers us a path toward a more ecological, sustainable, humane, and compassionate world while improving our own health and well-being.”

The second book I would like to pass along for your consideration is entitled Active Hope by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone. The subtitle reads “How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy”. I think the critical review from Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, puts it nicely: “Books about social and ecological change too often leave out a vital component: how do we change ourselves so that we are strong enough to fully contribute to the great shift? Active Hope fills this gap beautifully, guiding readers on a journey of gratitude, grief, interconnection, and ultimately, transformation.” The authors have considerable depth of know-how, and give us a Rx that overcomes feelings of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the circumstances our generation must face, if we hope to remediate our current crises.

Each of the above books are like a tonic that will serve us well. Enjoy!

Help save the planet and some money at the same time!

Next time your office chair plastic floor mat needs replacing, consider using a more earth friendly solution that costs less and lasts longer. I bought a 4’ x 8’ sheet of 3/8” MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard (<$15)), had the retailer cut it in half – one for my wife and one for me. I rounded the corners, beveled the edges, and sealed it so it won’t stain or absorb moisture so readily. I then give it two coats of paint in a color that works for the location of the chair mat.  Voila! Depending on what you use for a sealant and paint, you may wish to let it air out for a bit before installing it. The paint will probably deteriorate over time and use, and when it does, you can turn it over and you’ve a whole new side. So far, I’ve gone almost a year on the first side and VERY little wear has occurred. In the past, my plastic chair mats seldom lasted so long without cracks appearing, or worse.

I would not recommend burning this mat when the day finally comes – we have enough carbon hitting the atmosphere as it is (and I have no idea yet how long this mat can last because I anticipate being able to re-sand it, paint it again, and have yet another service cycle to enjoy). The half-life of this mat, when it comes time for disposal, whether whole or sawed into pieces, is likely WAY shorter than the plastics used in most office chair mats. You’ve just earned mega Eco-angel brownie point credits and saved some money at the same time. 

If you don’t have the tools or the convenience of a place to fabricate the mat and happen to live on the North Coast of the Olympic Peninsula in WA, I may be able to make one for you. I qualify the location as they’re heavy (a 4×4 MDF chair mat weighs around 32 lbs.), even as plastic chair mats are heavy, and I’m still looking for ways to ship economically. For locals, I simply deliver in my truck. Beyond location, I qualify my ability to make one for you on whether you’re inclined to compensate me for my time and materials, and I’m not otherwise engaged in other activities. 😉

Does caring about your neighbor make you a socialist?

It’s called the Golden Rule.  Every major religion and/or philosophy embraces it: 
do unto others what you’d have them do unto you.  It’s more than practical, it’s karma. 

The misguided among us would have you believe that there’s no place for caring about your neighbor in capitalism or the free market economy.  This is decidedly not the case.  In fact, a healthy, consuming neighbor supports capitalism and the free market by the very act of consuming.  Moreover, history has taught us over and over that capitalism and the free market require controls to keep it from self-destruction.  No, the real enemy of capitalism and the free market economy, and the thing that prevents our caring for our neighbor, is simply this: greed. 

This is, of course, no revelation.  We see it every day.  The “S” word (socialism) is the consummate evil (next to communism) in the American lexicon.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to call anything that limits acquiring “more” as being socialist.

Let’s take health care, for example.  The idea of everyone having reasonable health care is currently being labelled as “socialism”.   Really?   Is anyone suggesting getting rid of capitalism?  Or not paying more for a superior product or service?  Forgetting for the moment that most of the developed countries and economies in the world have adopted universal health care because it PAYS to do so (remember our healthy and consuming neighbor above?), and that the U.S. pays the most for the least beneficial healthcare among these countries, and that a constitutional argument could be made that there IS no freedom for the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness if you don’t have your health, why then do so many swallow this falsehood?  Simple, we have the consummate snake-oil salesman selling the theory.  If you tell the misguided (ignorant) something often enough, they will start to believe it. 

So the next time someone tells you that universal healthcare is socialism, gently remind them that it is nothing more than following the Golden Rule, and is an investment in promoting capitalism and a growing economy.  It won’t be easy or simple, but nothing worth doing ever is. It will require constant review of policies and adjustments to them, but it will be well worth the effort in every way that counts.

Statin Drugs in American Medicine

I came across this article the other day that I think you may find interesting:   One cardiologist’s mission to reduce statin use for cholesterol

One cardiologist’s mission to reduce statin use for cholesterol By Dr. Elizabeth Klodas High cholesterol? Here’s a pill. High blood pressure? Here’s two pills. High blood sugar? Here’s…

Unlike others, this doctor has a line of foods (Step One Foods) that supplement your diet and have been clinically proven to reduce LDL by an average of 24% without the use of statins.  This is huge for those who either can’t or won’t take statins due to the side effects.  Personally, I’m hoping I can simply change my diet sufficiently to accomplish the same results, but it’s encouraging to know there are options available that may make this easier.  This article is fairly brief, but I’ve never yet encountered a more concise explanation of how American medicine got to where we are today WRT (With Respect To) statins.  

The Elephant Journal continues to impress…

I recently subscribed to the ELEPHANT JOURNAL and this morning, in my daily feed, I found these two wonderful articles that I wanted to share with you:

The first of these is entitled “Crossing Paths: We Are Here to Awaken Each Other“.  I am very much inclined to believe that little happens in our lives by chance.  This article describes one such manifestation of that.

The second article (Elephant Journal only allows you to read two articles a day unless you subscribe) is entitled How Busyness Can Be Laziness (Think: Buddhist Ideology v Speed).  IMHO, this article captures a very important truth that is too frequently lost in the mad rush of our busy lives.  Enjoy!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

WorthyVisions is a voice that advocates the principles inspired by those opening words in the U.S. Constitution, “We the People…”, written by people who were themselves inspired by worthy visions.  At WorthyVisions we encourage policies that embrace fiscal conservatism along with socially progressive policies.

Some points we’d like to recommend:

* No one should have to go without healthcare, food, clothing, and shelter who is a citizen of the United States of American and willing to EARN their way.  That does NOT mean free rides; all able bodies unemployed persons would be expected to work 40 hours/week for the good of their community.  The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) of the 1930s might serve as a model, and other opportunities should be made available as needed.

* The minimum wage for people shall not be less than $15/hour OR sufficient to enable a person working 40 hours/week to live outside of poverty.

* Campaign Finance Reform  begins with overturning the Citizens United vs. FEC (Federal Elections Commission) which allows Corporations the same status as the individual WRT (With Respect To) campaign contributions.  I believe we’re now over 20 states of the 36 state legislatures needed for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

* The IRS will be reduced to a maximum of 100 people, or as close to that number as technology and common sense will allow, because the tax code will be replaced by a flat-rate tax.  Outsourcing to U.S. companies will be allowed to facilitate this conversion.  It will not happen overnight, nor will it be allowed to take an unreasonably protracted amount of time.

* The government will adhere to the separation of Church and State and abstain from dictating our morals and stay out of people’s bedrooms and homes.  Teaching morality is the job of religions and parents; a person who has reached majority may choose their own morals.  Jesus once put it nicely: “Render to Caesar the things that  are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.

* Marijuana will no longer be a Class 1 drug, the same as heroin.   For too many years, we have been incarcerating people whose most  violent behavior is to drool on themselves;  incarcerating these people and wreaking havoc on their families does NOT serve our communities or our country.    If we’re smart, we’ll continue to  legalize and tax it, thereby reducing criminal influence and obtain needed revenues.

* Prisons should self-sustain themselves as much as reasonably possible AND provide restitution to victims.  This is NOT anti-union; it is union neutral.  Prisons are for those who have violated the compact that we, as citizens, have made with  each other in sharing the principles laid down in the U.S. Constitution,  the Bill of Rights¸ and the golden rule adhered to by all known major  religions.  We should allow light manufacturing and/or services for profit in order to support the expense of incarceration and/or rehabilitation.  Prisons are unique, and unions will just have to deal with it.   For too long, the victims of  crime have been ignored, and the taxpayer is among the victims.

* English is the official  language of this country; if people can’t read it, they should not be allowed to vote.

* Social Security should not  be privatized and it should be grown to cover those in need.  How will that be paid for?   See Warren Buffet’s Congressional Reform Act of 2017 below.

FOREIGN POLICY

  • The United States does not exist in a vacuum, neither should it presume to play a messianic role in the affairs of other countries.
  • The security of the American people, and institutions needed to preserve it, is critical.  However, we should also seek collaboration with our allies, at every opportunity, to share this burden.

We support and laud the visions and hard work of dozens of worthy organizations that seek to promote these policies.  Among the principle tenets of the platform we support is Warren Buffet’s proposed “Congressional Reform Act of 2017″:

The BUFFETT Rule:

“We must support this – pass it on…

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE Ditto last line

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

I think we found where the cuts should be made!  If you agree pass it on, as I just did.

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

“I could end the deficit in five minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election”.

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven ( 7 ) took one ( 1 ) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure…

Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress ( past, present, & future ) participates in Social Security.  All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work…”

————————–

We welcome your ideas, energy, and support, to bring these ideas forward into the national dialogue.  We can be reached at bberardo@yahoo.com and bberardo.com.

Landscape1