Why do you believe that?

Years ago, someone was arguing about religion with me. I didn’t believe his point and his argument didn’t change my views, however, my ideas and opinions about religion did change that day.  It wasn’t his argument that changed me, it was his challenge after he was finished that made me reevaluate all my conviction. He simply said, “Why do you believe what you believe?”

I took a long hard look at myself and my beliefs that day. I understood that I was unmovable in my religious beliefs and that it was like my feet were in cement, unable to budge. My problem was trying to figure out why. My convictions were all based on information told to me. None of them were based on experiments. None of them were truths I figured out through trial and error. All of my beliefs on religion were based on things that were told to me by people that I either trusted or loved. My foundation of beliefs was based upon their foundations. I was only “sure” because they were “sure”.

This is not a very good way to make important decisions and plans for your life. A person should not take these ideas as facts no matter the persuasion applied by the presenter. You must search for facts to validate these positions and if you cannot clearly prove them as true, you must remain open to ideas of the contrary. If you don’t do this with your beliefs, you risk building real truths upon untruths. Here is an example of that.

Suppose you believe to be a fact that God created the world in 1 day. (you cannot do an experiment to prove or disprove this idea.) You can then say that the Earth must be spinning at the same rate now as it was then. One spin equals one day so it must not be able to change. Since we now know that the Earth is slowing down, we must acknowledge that one or both of the facts above must be wrong. You now should see that you cannot build facts onto an unprovable idea as if they were all facts.

Are some of your beliefs based on untested ideas? Do you believe things wholeheartedly that really can’t be proved? That’s fine, but you cannot build facts upon them and pronounce that they must be true.

Let us admit that you cannot be against guns because God will protect us. You are basing a real fact, that we need protection, onto an untestable belief, that we can leave it up to God. What about if you believe something just because your parents and your friends believe it to be true. Can you disregard facts presented to you that prove you wrong based on things you assume your friends must know that you don’t know or understand? Hopefully the answer is no. Or, do you instead decide that you don’t know why or how your friends and family know these thing to be true, but they must be right and you can then disregard any facts to the contrary. That would be unwise.

Everyone should always be willing to listen to facts in order to adjust their viewpoint especially when your belief is based on anything other than facts.

 

Can you DRIVE someone CRAZY?

People go crazy everyday. It is not an unusual thing. People that go crazy are not always dangerous. When someone goes from normal thoughts and actions that fit into our society to thoughts and actions that do not fit in our usual way of living, we say they went crazy.  This”crazy” can manifest and show up in a number of ways.   It can go from extremely gentle (unwilling to even step on a bug) to a full on violent attack against everything. School shooters are in there, but so are crazy cat ladies.

My question is can people be driven crazy? I think yes. I think that the Post Office had the formula and the means to  change an average man into a raving lunatic. I think the fast pace and the extremely strict rules, teamed with bad management, caused some of the most well known mass murder situations in history. Is it possible our schools are doing the same thing? Can we say that the school system and educators bear no responsibility to the people that go crazy under their system?

If we start with the fact that society has agreed and implemented a mandatory school system. It is designed to teach all of our children and the fruit of this learning is success in our communities. Success in school equals success in life. That’s what our schools sell. They teach you and  test you and grade you in an effort to identify the best from the worst. Your order in the system among your peers, determines the potential for advancement. The highest go on to the best colleges granting them the best possible chances of success in life. The lower students, well, not so much. They will have to find a harder or more resourceful way to become successful.  The bottom few, the worst, the least likely to succeed, usually didn’t want to be there from the beginning. They usually fight the system mostly just to get out, but we tell them they have to get graded and attend anyway. It is the law. 

Why are we not obligated to find a way to teach the bottom few a way to succeed? Why is it always rejection, ostracization, failure and handed over to authorities, as the course of action? Why are we not forced to find new and unusual ways to bring these “losers” back into the fold and empower them with ways to make their oddities and limitations an asset, thus helping them to find a way to be successful?

These school shooters are not identified in the homes, they are identified in the schools. Yes the homes helped create the problem, but the problem manifests through their inability to succeed.

If you force someone into a system where they end up on the bottom, then reject them showing them they don’t belong. If you make them endure this failure day after day, with no end in sight. If you assure them of their worthlessness and finally give up and hand them over to the authorities. What do you expect will happen to them? If you drove them crazy like the Post Office, do you expect them to go to the hospital and shoot it up? How about the bank? No, they are coming back to the school.

Shame on you for thinking the answer is armed guards to shoot and kill them after you make them snap. Unless of course you think that the Post Office should have made conditions even worse and hired guards to kill anyone they drive crazy!

Finally, if you think that the answer is to ban guns from everyone but the guards, well, now I’m scared of you!

 

Violent Behavior

Imagine a young girl, maybe around 8 years old, she has a smile, a spring in her step and seems oblivious to her surroundings, only concentrating on her next class and the sound in her head from her favorite pop singer. Under what circumstances can you shoot her dead?  Is there any?

How about 2 boys? They are going to their next class racing each other as fast as they can walk, because they know that running is not allowed.  How about them? Is there a way you could twist up reality so that you could mow them down in a barrage of bullets? What if there was a gun to your head? What about for a million dollars? Think about it.

There is no circumstance a rational person can become a school shooter. None!

A normal rational person will give their life to protect others or draw themselves inward doing nothing. A rational person will never change and go what the hell and reject all their previous morals and do something so sinister like shooting children.

The person that can walk into our school and open fire on our children is sinister. We have made them that way. They will not obey our gun laws. They will not obey our rules. They will not obey us.

We made them! We rejected them. They have no place in our society. They can’t see a future. We feed them violent TV for an escape. Video games about killing fill their days. No one was home to make lunch or to enforce basic chores and rules. We took all morality teaching out of their lives. We empowered them with false hope and logic. We lied about everything.

 

The school was the turning point in their lives. The place where they had to come out of the make believe world in their head and intermix with others. They failed miserably, and everyone around them knew it. They don’t go to the bank when they snap and they don’t go to the Post Office for revenge,                                                                                 they go to the school.

 

 

Watch out, we made a lot of them.

Climate Change

It has been a beautiful winter. Ellensburg has had a few inches of snow during Christmas and a few dustings since, but no accumulation at all so far. It is 58 degrees out just past noon. It is still too cold and too early to rejoice. A warmer than usual winter here is usually caused by El Nino. I haven’t heard if this is a factor in our warm January or not, but everyone usually points to global warming for any unusual weather in any circumstance.

I consider myself a scientist and although I believe our activities are influencing the climate, I do not believe it is call for alarm. I watched as Lake Erie got severely polluted, then science and regulations, cleaned it back up. We will do the same thing for global warming changes. We will bring it back under control.

No, the sky is not falling.

Hibernation

I have been hibernating. I don’t like to go out much in the winter anymore and often I get to go long stretches indoors. I spent most of my young adult life fighting to stay warm in the winters. I don’t have to do that anymore, but the experience has heightened my enjoyment of warm and cozy during the cold weather season.

I have been immersed into an online game called Wurm. Created by Notch, the same person that brought us Minecraft, it’s a  very creative building game. It triggers the sweet spot in my brain that gives me pleasure when I create something beautiful, new or elaborate. I have been playing with “Crystlmalice.” She has a soft, beautiful voice and soothes the outrage that I usually show in these posts. I just can’t seem to get myself all worked up over politics and stupidity as I had been because of her friendship and Wurms immersive world.

Maybe I’ll be back to normal in the spring?

The MEMO

Some of the highest members of the FBI started acting like they were in the KGB. Instead of admitting that they were too opinionated to fulfill their duties, they attempted to push their views onto the American public. This appears widespread in the FBI and Justice system and everyone should be horrified. Even if this illegal activity helped your political view, are you willing to accept these types of criminal activities to rule the system? What happens when the injustice is against your views? What happens when the tables are turned? We do not want this abuse of power to exist and it must be found and prosecuted, or our highest governmental police force will be no better than the KGB.

What follows is the memo in it’s entirety.

January 18, 2018

To: HPSCI Majority Members

From: HPSCI Majority Staff

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose

This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §,1805(d)(l)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard—particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of—and paid by—the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

a) Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations—an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September—before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October—but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.

b) Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling—maintaining confidentiality—and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files—but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.

a) During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.

4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—“salacious and unverified.” While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.