Final Message for 2017

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As the minutes tick by during this, the last day of 2017, I would like to thank each and every one of my more than twelve hundred followers for being here and for standing by me through the years.  My interactions with you have been pleasurable, enlightening and fun.  I promise to get better about creating regular updates in the new year.

One of the most heartening things about 2017 has been the uprising of the resistance against the current presidential administration.  Seeing the millions of people across the country who have stood up against tyranny, lies, racism, bigotry, sexism, assault, other violence and injustice has been heart-warming. In addition to all of my followers here,  I now have more than 11 THOUSAND followers on Twitter, the majority of which consists of resistance members who are fighting for health care, an end to bigotry and racism, policies that will help assure we have clean air and water, and against the treasonous trump at every turn.  The strength and determination of these people is awe-inspiring. It is a good thing, and it helps me sleep at night, knowing that there are still people around who are fighting the good fight.

At this point in time, trump’s current demographic consists only of 32% primarily uneducated rednecks with no real understanding of research, fact-checking or the truth.  This is the lowest rating of any president in the history of America.  Even as he has taken away their healthcare, is screwing with medicare and social security, they cheer him on.  Even though the tax cuts for the middle class that he just implemented will result in even HIGHER taxes in a few years, they cheer him on.  Even though he lied about virtually everything that was in that tax bill, they cheer him on to their own detriment.  Even though he tries to take credit for things that he didn’t do…even though he lies every single day….they cheer him on….because that’s what ignorance does.   Sad.

In happier news, and on a personal note, I am at a very good place in my life right now.  I’m working hard, accomplishing a lot, still  in love and have plenty to smile about.  We had a fabulous Christmas.  John gave me a wonderful coastal vacation, which we will be taking in February, and I’m really looking forward to that.

Tonight will be the first time in years that John and I haven’t gone out to celebrate New Years, but we are looking forward to Ingrid’s spending the night with us.  I am cooking a Mexican feast, and John will be breaking open a VERY nice bottle of bubbly. Anticipating a great time.  We will be joining friends tomorrow on New Year’s Day, for brunch and fellowship.

On a final note, and I probably shouldn’t be writing this, but I am sending special prayers, love and healing energy to a close friend who is struggling right now…but not for long.   There is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel.  I love you, man.

Wishing each and every person reading this a special Happy New Year!  May you enjoy good health, happiness and love every single day.

 

 

Switching to a Plant Based Diet After 50

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Numerous empirical studies have established the advantages of eating a plant based diet over one that is heavy in meats and related saturated fats.  This is old news.  A “less meat, more plants” style of eating can definitely improve the quality of one’s life, and it is better for the planet.

I’ve been a part-time vegan, and full-time vegetarian for more than 40 years now, and I still hear people comment on my high energy levels, my  nice complexion and my abundant, full hair, which are all associated with eating in this way.  I often work from 12-14 hours a day, and still manage to cook whole meals, keep my house spotless, and go out dancing at night, when I feel like it.

In addition, vegetarianism is associated with higher levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut.  Additional research suggests that it also lowers the risk of heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

Vegetarianism Over 50

Can changing your diet to a meat free or low meat diet after age 50 still make a difference?  Absolutely, it can, according to experts. “It’s never too early or too late to embrace a healthier lifestyle,” says a leading cardiologist. “The benefits come quickly and continue to accrue with time.”

In one study, women in that age group who ate a mostly plant diet were 34 percent more likely to be free of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and chronic diabetes, 15 years later than women whose diets included more meat.

According to a study in the medical journal, Neurology, a  Mediterranean-style diet,  which is based on legumes,  produce, grains, and healthful oils, such as olive oil, is connected with better cognitive brain health in older adults. Those who favored fruits and vegetables in their diets, and who ate only minimal amounts of lean meats and fish, if any at all,  had less brain shrinkage—linked with a reduced risk of cognitive decline—than those who ate meat on a regular basis. Eating no more than 3.5 ounces of meat daily may also help prevent the loss of brain cells equivalent to about three or four years of aging, researchers say.

How to Make the Switch

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The beef and dairy industries have been allowed to thrive at our expense. Coverups of toxic situations weren’t report it to the public because they didn’t want to scare them! It’s time to put that fear into action for the sake of our planet and the lives of our children. As long as people continue to buy their products, these industries have the power and resources to fight reforms and pump money into the schools with educational propaganda. Let’s help the next generation just say NO to meat!

Any step you take will help, but the more plants and fewer animal foods, the better. Try these easy tips to help you design a plant-based diet:

  1. Up your vegetable and fruit intake. 

Even if you decide that you can’t give up meat altogether, increasing the amount of produce that you consume will help you develop a taste for plants, and can help you transition to a higher fiber food intake.   Gradually adding veggies in unexpected places, such as sliced tomato or avocado on toast, can help.

2.  Resign your plate.

Try filling at least half of your plate with grains, fresh produce or beans, and downsize your meat serving.  When you do choose meats, choose those lean cuts that are healthier.  Think of a stir-fry heavy on the veggies and grains with thinly sliced strips of beef rather than a big steak with a spear of broccoli.   Swap in chopped mushrooms or tofu for half of the ground meat you’d normally use in meatloaf, tacos, chili, or pasta sauce. Or try veggie-based dishes like burritos.

  1. Find your semi-veg style.

Even when you don’t eat a vegetarian diet every day, eating plant based meals once each week is a great way to start.  You can replace meat ounce-for-ounce with one of the new faux meats, such as Quorn or Fieldroast brands.

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Vegetarianism for Pain Relief

Because of the anti-flammatory aspects of a plant-based diet, many people who suffer from chronic pain have discovered the benefits of cutting meat out of their diets. Inflammation is a pathological condition underlying a number of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Diet provides a variety of nutrients as well as non-nutritive bioactive constituents which modulate immunomodulatory and inflammatory processes. Epidemiological data suggest that dietary patterns strongly affect inflammatory processes. Primarily the intake of fruit and vegetables as well as of whole wheat is inversely associated with the risk of inflammation.

In addition to observational studies there are also data from human intervention studies suggesting an anti-inflammatory potential of these plant foods. At the level of bioactive compounds occurring in plant foods, primarily carotenoids and flavonoids seem to modulate inflammatory as well as immunological processes. In conclusion, there is convincing evidence that plant foods and non-nutritive constituents associated with these foods modulate immunological and inflammatory processes. By means of anti-inflammatory activities a plant-based diet may contribute to the lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A high intake of vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat as recommended by all international nutrition authorities provides a wide spectrum of bioactive compounds at health-promoting concentrations.

A Different Kind of Christmas…

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I’m one of those well-organized Christmas people who files decorations away like library cards, keeping them neat and in order for easy accessibility the following year.  By this time, I usually have cheessecake made, cookies baked, bread baking, and the house spotless.  I have everything wrapped, and ready to go under a beautifully-decorated tree, and have usually hosted our annual Christmas decorating party.

Our granddaughter, Maya, came down from Seattle last year to join us, but is working two jobs this year, and won’t be able to make it.  We would have invited our dear friends, Peter and Toni, but they are preparing to marry and to go to Thailand on their honeymoon, any day now.  Our friends, Baranna and Eric have gone to Texas, and my daughter has pneumonia.  Ingrid has a 103 degree temperature, and my husband, John, is working fervently to get his final grades in by the end of the day….so I’m pretty much on my own this year, when it comes to decorating.  It’s ok.  I don’t mind.  I would have preferred the party, but my main concern at this point, is that my family is ok.

It’s three days before Christmas, and my first full day off in months.  Can I do it?

You bet I can!  I got up early this morning ,and have already started.  One step at a time, accomplishing what I can.  I have the Wood Brothers playing on Pandora….my current favorite station….and my fireplace is roaring.  The smell of cookies baking in the oven, is wafting toward me in the living room, and I have my daughter’s lunch simmering on the stove.

It won’t be the same as in years past, but I am happy just knowing that Ingrid’s temperature has dropped two degrees, that my daughter is improving, and that John is nearby if I need anything.

I can do this thing.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Oh, What a Tangled Web…..About Those Transition Team Emails…

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Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails during its investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.   I have a close friend who has been a constitutional lawyer for more than 30 years.  He and I had a long conversation about this issue this morning, and it seems that the Trump team is wrong.  My friend backed up his claims by quoting specific statutes that I do not have on hand, but according to him, nothing untoward took place in the attainment of those emails, and it’s going to be simple for Mueller to justify obtaining them.

Mueller followed the letter of the law.  Therefore, the Trump/FOX panic is yet another of the ridiculous attempted distractions that they’re so fond of.  At this point, only that tiny 32% of remaining Trump followers, the majority of which are uneducated,  are buying it. 

Among the materials obtained by Mr. Mueller were emails, laptops and cellphones for nine members of Mr. Trump’s transition team who worked on national security and policy matters.  Here is a copy of the letter itself, and if you read it thoroughly, I think you’ll find an interesting reveal at the end:  CLICK HERE

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have used the documents during interviews with transition team officials when questioning them about calls between Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the Russian ambassador in which they discussed American sanctions….only while they were being interviewed, they were unaware of the fact that Mueller was in possession of, and that he had already reviewed the emails.

Earlier in 2017, Trump appointed the top attorney at the office responsible for providing all the electronics and email accounts the Trump transition team used.  That attorney was Richard Backler.  This guy was a white collar criminal defense lawyer prior to his appointment.  He aided rich criminals in beating Federal convictions for  the firm of…..are you ready?….Bracewell and GIULIANI!!!

Anyway….so Trump appointed Backler, who assured Trump that he would not allow his organization (the GSA) to provide any of their emails to investigators.  Only problem was that Backler got sick and subsequently died.  Therefore, until Mueller’s team began asking Trump aides about the emails, they had no idea that he (Mueller) even had them, because they believed that Trump’s dirty guy on the inside was running interference for them.  Think about that one for a second. 

Trump and his flunkies thought their friend at the GSA had LITERALLY locked their emails away in a vault somewhere, that only he had access to.  They were wrong.  As a result,  everyone from the Trump team that was interviewed, had a false sense of security thinking Mueller didn’t know what he already knew.  They thought he was fishing, and answered accordingly.  They had no idea he was actually reeling them in.

Now, imagine the freakout that must have occurred in Trumptopia when they realized their cleanup person hadn’t actually erased the fingerprints at the crime scene!  EVERYTHING they believed they’d buried was already in Mueller’s possession in writing! 

The entire Trump orbit just realized that Mueller has a trove that entirely hangs them out to dry, AND brings them down for obstruction and lying to investigators! In other words, Trump appointed a Giuliani shill to protect him from Mueller, and then the guy died just as Mueller was honing in on him. (Trump)   Trust must be losing his mind….what little of it is left……and Jared Kushner must be in even more of a panic, because Trump’s transition told its team members that the emails were privately recorded, and they though they would be promptly destroyed right after the inauguration, but Flynn was already being investigated by the FBI before Trump even hired him.  

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  Trump, the President with the highest disapproval rate of any President in the history of America,  is in deep trouble at this point.  Let’s see how it all unfolds.

 

 

Fake News. Oh, Really?

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Part of donald trump’s strategy to divide and conquer, is to keep everyone and everything around him in chaos and disarray, creating distractions that will divert attention from the current Federal investigations that are being conducted into his misbehavior, both before and after the election.  There are sexual assault and rape allegations against him. Russion collusion allegations, misappropriation of funds, and many other Federal investigations going on right now.

At this point, trump’s followers only consists of a scant 30%, give or take, of the American population. In fact, no other President has ever sunk so low in popularity as the current one.  This demographic is largely uneducated, fundamentalists and generally not very bright, as indicated by their poor reasoning abilities, limited vocabularies and redneck proclivities.  They are very easily swayed, and rather than weighing actual facts, they turn to only trump-sanctioned news outlets for their misinformation.

One of trump’s most highly touted manipulative devices, is to attack what he terms the “lame stream media,” which calls him out for his many misdeeds.  If he can convince the rednecks that they are being lied to, they’ll follow him anywhere.  However, there are problems with trump’s claims.

Donald trump is the person who falsely propagated the following lies, or fake news.  The following list contains a number of his better known lies.  These things have all been debunked over and again, and are things that he placed in the news, which can be termed, “Fake news”.  Mind you, these things are but a few of many, many more lies this man has told.

 

  • 3 million illegal votes were cast in the election
  • Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK
  • Mexico is going to pay for his border wall
  • Thousands of Muslims cheered in the streets right after 9/22
  • He was against the Iraq war
  • The unemployment rate is at 42%
  • Crime is reaching “record levels” in America
  • Global warming is a Chinese hoax
  • Obama was born in Kenya

 

When I was younger, I worked for two different major news outlets. At no time, during that period of time, was  I asked by my editors to lie about any politician, nor any person in general.  I had to thoroughly research everything that I wrote, and like all major news outlets, my writing had to pass the scrutiny of my editors and fact checkers.  I had to empirically substantiate every single word that I wrote.  As a person with first hand experience, I can say without hesitation, that donald trump’s claims about the “fake media” or “fake news” are nothing but lies.

As Noam Chomsky pointed out in “Manufacturing Consent.” all of the major news outlets do trace back to a number of corporations, and each one has an Editor in Chief, who makes the final decisions about what does and does not appear in print.  Someone has to.  However, to make the claim that despite trump’s lies and bizarre behaviors, he is being discriminated against because of a biased news media is simply not true.  His negative behaviors are frequent, severe and are newsworthy.  I know that if trump stopped behaving like this, the news about his behavior would change drastically.

A Day at Cannon Beach

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Please enjoy my original photography from our trip to Oregon’s beautiful Cannon Beach yesterday.  It was a day to be reckoned with!   Best viewed with an enlarged screen and speakers on.  Music by Aaron Neville.

 

PS – The first photo, of the hummingbird, was taken at our home.  The rest of them were taken at the beach, and traveling to and from.

Fact

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FACT: Hillary Clinton didn’t sell anything to Russia. 9 government agencies awarded a Uranium mining contract to a company that included some Russian investors. They were allowed to mine US Uranium for use by the United States and Canada ONLY. Russia never got any Uranium.  This issue has already been investigated, and she has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Original Photography by Stacy Alexander – October 28, 2017 – Portland, Oregon

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Today. I went out and about with one of my cameras, and I managed to put it all together into a pretty decent slideshow that I wanted to share with all of you.  It’s nice being able to share my day in this way.

All original photography by Stacy Alexander – Copyright 2017 – All Rights Reserved 

 

This is the Time of Year that I Love Most

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I have always been an autumn person, even as a kid, I appreciated the relief that the cooler temperatures brought, and I embraced all of the fun autumn activities….the pumpkin patches…the bonfires…gatherings of like-minded people…music…fun.  This time of year has always symbolized good things for me.  This year is no different.  It is a stunning autumn in Portland right now. The trees have turned colors, just as they did when we lived in New England.  I’ve been taking long walks and meeting with friends, and moving ahead in life and in business….and in love….and things are going great in all of those areas…..so thank you to the blue skies and multi-colored leaves.  Thanks for the good feelings and the good fortune.  I am one happy woman.

Weep for Napa

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Yesterday, my cousin Billy’s house burned to the ground off Atlas Peak Road in Napa.  Today, my Aunt Gaylon called to tell me that the fire has almost reached the hill at the back of their house, and that she has evacuated.  My cousin and uncle remained behind to release the horses, should the flames reach the barn.  They are in grave danger, but she assured me that they have a plan.  There is devastation everywhere in the Napa Valley that I love, and my heart is broken. However, my own feelings are of minor concern right now.  My family is in danger.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the effects of global warming on temperature, precipitation levels, and soil moisture are turning many of our forests into kindling during wildfire season.  When are people going to listen to the gravity of Global Warming?  The ignorance of our current president is staggering, as he continues to eliminate the very climate regulations that are causing disaster after disaster in this country.  This is EXACTLY what Al Gore predicted would happen 10 years ago, yet the uneducated are still in denial.

As the climate warms, moisture and precipitation levels are changing, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier.

Higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier spring snow-melt typically cause soils to be drier for longer, increasing the likelihood of drought and a longer wildfire season, particularly in the western United States.

These hot, dry conditions also increase the likelihood that, once wildfires are started by lightning strikes or human error, they will be more intense and long-burning.

The costs of wildfires, in terms of risks to human life and health, property damage, and state and federal dollars, are devastating, and they are only likely to increase unless we better address the risks of wildfires and reduce our activities that lead to further climate change.

Wildfires are already on the rise

Wildfires in the western United States have been increasing in frequency and duration since the mid-1980s, occurring nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area, and lasting almost five times as long (comparisons are between 1970-1986 and 1986-2003).

Natural cycles, human activities—such as land-use (clearing, development, mining) and fire exclusion—as well as climate change can influence the likelihood of wildfires. However, many of the areas that have seen these increases—such as Yosemite National Park  and the Northern Rockies—are protected from or relatively unaffected by human land-use and behaviors. This suggests that climate change is a major factor driving the increase in wildfires.

What is the relationship between precipitation patterns, global warming, and wildfires?

While severe wildfires have been observed to occur more frequently and this trend is projected to continue throughout the 21st century, it is worth noting that not every year has an equal likelihood of experiencing droughts or wildfires.

Natural, cyclical weather occurrences, such as El Niño events, also affect the likelihood of wildfires by affecting levels of precipitation and moisture and lead to year-by-year variability in the potential for drought and wildfires regionally.

Nonetheless, because temperatures and precipitation levels are projected to alter further over the course of this century, the overall potential for wildfires in the United States, especially the southern states, is likely to increase as well.

As the world warms, we can expect more wildfires

Wildfire seasons (seasons with higher wildfire potential) in the United States are projected to lengthen, with the southwest’s season of fire potential lengthening from seven months to all year long. Additionally, wildfires themselves are likely to be more severe.

Researchers and modelers project that moist, forested areas are the most likely to face greater threats from wildfires as conditions grow drier and hotter.

Surprisingly, some dry grassland areas may be less at risk, but not because they would be flourishing—the intense aridity is likely to prevent these grasses from growing at all, leaving these areas so barren that they are likely to lack even the fodder for wildfire.  

A conflagration of costs

The economic costs of wildfires can be crippling. Between 2000 and 2009, the property damages from wildfires averaged $665 million per year.

In addition to the property damage they wreak, wildfires cost states and the federal government millions in fire-suppression management; the U.S. Forest Service’s yearly fire-suppression costs have exceeded $1 billion dollars at least twice since FY 2000.

The risk to property owners at the “wildland-urban interface” in California (more than 5 million homes in southern coastal California, the Bay Area, and north of Sacramento) is projected to increase with the increase in wildfires near these areas.

The environmental and health costs of wildfires are also considerable: not only do wildfires threaten lives directly, but they have the potential to increase local air pollution— exacerbating lung diseases and causing breathing difficulties even in healthy individuals.

Additionally, a counterintuitive aspect of wildfires—especially in the semi-arid southwest United States—is that when the rains do come, mountain forest wildfires increase flash flood risk in lower-lying areas in the days and months following the fire due to loss of vegetation and the inability of burned soil to absorb moisture (PDF). For example, residents in Arizona living along usually dry stream beds have lost property and life following such tragic and unexpected post-wildfire flash floods.

What can we do to address the threat of wildfires?

The global temperature is increasing and the climate is changing due to the greenhouse-gas emissions we have already produced, leading to a likely rise in the incidence of wildfires.

But it is not too late. What we do now has the power to influence the frequency and severity of these fires and their effects on us.

By engaging in mitigation efforts—creating buffer zones between human habitation and susceptible forests, and meeting home and city fire-safety standards—and by taking steps to reduce our impact on the climate, we can help to keep our forests, our homes, and our health safe.

A word from Ms. Tan

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The following is from Amy Tan:

I was shocked and dismayed to learn a few days ago that a friend I’ve known for years is an ardent 45 supporter. The realization that we are fundamentally and morally very different people was underscored when I was told her answer to healthcare was this: “If someone cannot afford health insurance, they should work two jobs, and then they will be able to pay for it.” What a simple answer! Hey, cancer patients, did you hear that? 
I have mulled over why she would say this. It’s significant, I think, that she makes millions a year. I think it goes along with the 45 belief system: that “America First” for many 45 supporters is “Me, first.” Their rationale is that they don’t want to pay for those who they perceive to be a burden on society. To them, people in Puerto Rico are not American citizens and thus, we should not provide too much assistance. Guess what? They are American citizens and we should help them as we did those in Texas and Florida. Under 45’s steering we are headed toward a Mockracy of what the values of this country used to be. Pack up the Statue of Liberty and send her to Puerto Rico.  
The 45 supporters have perverted the word, “Liberal.” They say it with a sneer, implying that Liberals are spendthrifts and flaky over “political correctness.” They think people are being too sensitive when racial epithets are thrown around and women are referred to as bitches and sluts. Liberals, they say, are concerned with non-essential issues, like polar ice caps melting versus the benefits of coal mining. They say: What’s wrong with turning national parks into privatized real estate? They think the answer to people who are struggling is a trickle-down economy, which has always served as the potemkin of the GOP’s false beneficence, proven to benefit only the wealthy.  
The 45 supporters can continue to mock “liberals” as soft on issues that they think are dragging down the country. I define Liberal as COMPASSIONATE. We are the compassionate people who believe “Me First” is the opposite of making America great. We care about everyone, now and into the future.  
   I cannot maintain a civil relationship with my friend, the 45 supporter. I could not bear to hear her mocking tone about liberal concerns, her disdain for those who need compassion instead of a second job to pay for healthcare.  
I know that some followers on my Facebook page are 45 supporters and may be offended by what I say. Perhaps you don’t follow all of 45’s Ideology. But if you do, please don’t bother to threaten to never buy my books. My answer to that is a hearty laugh. In fact, you definitely should not buy my next book. It contains a chapter on the morality of those who have bought into 45’s ideology. A 45 fan would hate it.