The Shrew View: A Bad Dream For The Caravan.

My heart goes out to all the migrants from Honduras who have made the torturously long journey for better lives.  Traveling as a caravan would certainly bring more protections for those members who are most vulnerable to physical harm and manipulation by undesirable players, but aren’t there even greater risks to these people if the coordination of the caravans were done through deceitful means?

The ends are clear to me at this point.  The USA is to be viewed in the wider setting as a cruel nation, from its birth right to the present.  But let us not take our focus away from where the migrants of today have come…Honduras is a failing country and the examination of this fact will make it clear to all that an evil energy is working to create the same fate for the USA (Spoiler alert, it is not climate change!!).

I am not a “doomsdayer”.  I am a realist.  In fact I believe there is no Utopia in this world beyond my ability to live my life on my terms which is what we know as the “American Dream”.  You may think me foolish, but I believe that in this country there are criminals, homeless persons, and loners who are themselves actually living in their own Utopia…constructing a way of life that makes them happy on their own terms.  Others might look as these folks with pity and say that they must be helped, but we cannot construct a Utopian way of life for them because it would be our idea and not theirs.

This brings me back to the caravan.  In Honduras their is no “Honduran Dream” even though the government is a Democratic Republic.  The military coup of ten years ago set the stage for a constitutional crisis because, simply put, the beaurocratic effort to rewrite their constitution had no rules…no one could agree on how to begin the process!  The people of the country were not consulted because their rights are considered too limited!  And their Attourney General was not able to reconcile a civil rights process.  THIS IS WHY OUR FOUNDERS WERE SO INGENIOUS WITH THEIR PROCESS FOR THE US CONSTITUTION!!  Our Founders had the educated study of human history over thousands of years as their baseline.  We in this day and age refuse to take this into account because we want to only live in the present.  Learning from our past means to not repeat our mistakes and our Constitution allows for this practice.

Hondurans at our border have been sold a bad dream that they are now living as reality.  Who are the manipulators of this bad dream?  This must be the focus of discussion.  God help them…

The Shrew View – We Are At A Tipping Point!

RA house divided against itself cannot stand – Abraham Lincoln

Who are we kidding?  Neither the liberal left nor the conservative right have all the answers to our country’s problems at this point in time.  Have they ever?  Let’s be honest…The best answers come in the form of a small community working together in a non partisan manner.  And, if someone is not connected to and working against the community then we should consider that it may be by choice.   Families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, Rotaries and even sports offer opportunities to connect in a variety of healthy ways.  The only skill you need at first is curiosity.  Defined as a strong desire to know or learn something, curiosity can open doors to a stronger sense of belonging.  The best part about this is that you can belong to many different circles of community thereby finding your niche to make a positive impact.

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

I have a feeling that anyone who picks up a weapon to inflict harm on a community really knows down deep that they are not solving anything.  Like being totally on the left or totally on the right the answer to their problem leaves a literal hole that oozes pain, guilt, horror and disgust, all of which are the antithesis of curiousity and clearly the mask of evil.

Isn’t this evil what the extreme left wing Democrats see in President Trump?  And by the same measure isn’t this evil what the extreme right wing Republicans see in the extreme left wing Democrates?  When did Congress stop being a community for the people? Elected leaders must have the skill of curiosity to belong to their peer community no matter which side of the isle they are on.  The President is putting forward his ideas, but it seems as though Congress has no strong desire to learn or know how to debate and offer a compromise on the ideas.  And what is worse,  Congress has been modeling this behavior for far longer than I can remember.  Unfortunately our leaders of the next generation are not witnessing the intended function of Congress.

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Photo by rebcenter moscow on Pexels.com

I think we have reached a tipping point in this country.  Evil is showing its ugly face in unimaginable ways.  We must acknowledge its ability to reside amoung us and be curious enough to ask why it exists.  Only then can we learn together the path of the humble messenger that we all can become.  God help us…

Shrewd Awakenings: How Are You Using Centering Energy?

Female energy at it’s core is Chaos.  Male energy at its core is Order.  These are opposing emotional energies, and no matter where you are on the LGBTQ or cis-gender spectrum, you can exhibit these energies in a variety of unhealthy ways.

What humanity needs is a balance which can only be found through centering energy…Christ knew this, Ghandi knew this and MLK knew this as have many others who understood the human need for freedom.

Government is not our friend in the quest for freedom because government is control inspired by men and women who are imperfect.  To expect that a government authority could administer an efficient program for all with equal results is impossible.  This is why government must be limited in its scope and why the individual must have maximum freedom to explore their unique potential.

The Enlightment ideas based on reason, individualism and skepticism did not occur overnight.  Influenced by 17th century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton with prominent promoters like Goethe, Voltaire and Adam Smith, the further development of these ideas formed the basis of our U.S. Constitution.  We could conclude that the Enlightment is the centering energy  for our government.

Are our law makers on Capitol Hill using centering energy?  I think many are not!  They take an oath to uphold the Constitution and yet all I see are the energies of order and chaos at work:

Chaos demonstrated by:

  • Identity groups causing disruptions
  • Women literally crying as a force to be reckoned with
  • A porous southern boarder
  • Out of control deficits and spending

Order demonstrated by:

  • Emigration that helps parties and not people
  • Equality of outcomes as a means to an end
  • People forming separate group identities
  • Media platforms pushing compliance of liberal platitudes

We must be very careful not to live enmeshed in these opposing energies.  Our binary form of government leadership only adds to this push-pull hysteria.  To balance these energies leadership must become more “enlightened” and model best practices of reason through understanding, skepticism within context and legislation honoring our inalienable rights.  And we the people must become more “enlightened” and model good works while loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Shrew U: Local Economy and Balancing Faith with Commerce

The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

In my last blog I stated that balance is a welcome state of being for humanity and very important for all facets of our lives. Because I am finding that certain elements in this country are ginning up much hostility toward capitalism, in this blog I would like to reflect on how we balance faith with commerce.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once upon a time in order for a new community to be established in the North American territories it needed a church and a pastor.  Faith was central to existence because life presented a multitude of hardships (One could argue that we still have many hardships, but that is a topic for a future Shrew blog).  Many of these communities still exist today with a First Parish Church in its midst.  Of course today most of these communities also have several other churches along with perhaps a Temple and even a Mosque.  Faith in God or a Higher Power can be a grounding influence for many people, and I believe that religious practice in communities is a key ingredient for goodwill among humanity.  The fact that so many faiths can co-exist in U.S. Culture today speaks volumes for our progress as a nation.

So which came first, faith practice or commerce?  I think this question is comparable to the chicken and egg hypothesis.  We know that Britain colonized America in 1607 at which point the North American resources became valuable to many markets (Again, exploitation of these resources is another great topic for a future Shrew blog).  In the very early days the settlers bartered their goods and services, no money was needed to support their basic lifestyles.  Indentured slaves and negro slaves were in full use by 1640 thanks in part to the Dutch who brought the first negro slaves…Britain benefited the most from this practice because new markets for cotton and tobacco amoung other things were expanding at great rates and new immigrants to America were smart enough to know that this work on southern plantations was less than desirable.  Moving ahead 50 years, the first paper money wasn’t issued until February 3, 1690 to pay for military action during the King Philip’s War (military personnel required payment to make their fight worthwhile).  By 1776 the British pushed American “free spirits” to their limit.  Because religious freedom was central to the impending free nation, British rule equated to Anglican hierarchical practices.  I find it interesting that it took 170 years for these European free spirited transplants to break away from Imperial bonds, but honestly that is what tyrannical control can do to people…dependence on the “Mother Land” is like clinging to your mother’s warm bosom.  It took tremendous personally inspired faith to fight for independence.

And so, the land of opportunity was born…Each man and woman sovereign to him/herself with inalienable rights and property protections.  Property of course also includes your business and ability to make money which involves a tremendous amount of creativity.  God created the Universe and we, as part of this creation, are inspired to also create .

I believe the best economies are local.  They reflect the community of people united with threads of purpose.  And many times they use the bounty of resources located in their region.  These communities educate their young, learn from their past, celebrate their better days, reflect on their challenges, honor Mother Nature and love life through a respectful relationship with their Creator.  A nation that respects a community’s innovation to thrive will reap the rewards.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Which came first, faith practice or commerce?  One definitely defines the other and in my dictionary faith defines commerce…Just look on the back of our currency! In God We Trust 🙂

I’m Shrewd: Somebody Has A Plan For You

Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.

Balance is implicit in the experience of wholeness for humans. There can be no doubt that male and female are identifiable characteristics for the basis of scientific theory in much of nature. However, science does also identify crucial differences in the natural order of procreation and therefor must consider these differences when recording data for more theoretical analysis. For instance it is a fact that approximately one out of every 2000 human babies are born with ambiguous genitalia. This ambiguity has many variations (visit childrenshospital.org for more information), and I would imagine that each of these babies have incredible challenges ahead in a society.

Beyond science, we humans need a connection to concepts of the human spiritual plain in order to inform us about our deepest desires and higher aspirations…These desires and aspirations are not found in science and therefor we humans must relay them and relate to them through a more metaphysical means. I think a good statement to reflect this is, “Somebody has a plan for you.” I would like to show how  this statement can be applied to the 3 core realms of consciousness:

  1. State
  2. Self
  3. Creation

1. State: The United States is currently experiencing a shift in cultural belief systems. No where is this more obvious than with the almost weekly coalition of demonstrators. We might notice that these demonstrations accrue as we get closer to elections. For the most part these demonstrations claim to be representative of a majority of “the people”, however I would classify them simply as public lobbyists – influencers who appeal to the media for attention rather than serve as individuals among a diverse group of thinkers perhaps on a civic board or commission. Personally, I serve on two boards and one commission and I find it to be very rewarding volunteer service in my community.

Singularly focused social action demonstrations are driven by outside agitators who envision a Utopia…”Somebody has a plan for you” in this sense means that the State (or governing authority) should be in charge of organizing all aspects of your life so that you will never want for anything. Balance is not achievable because it is slanted only toward State action.

2. Self: This word is very tricky to understand because what we are really involved with here is the ego. Ego pays little attention to community or spirit. “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “You have a plan for you” and the ego is driven toward that end. Confusion and indecision of your plan can cause tremendous anxiety and/or anguish. Living your personal “truth” is wrapped up with your desires and you believe that no one else in your life can ever know what you are going through. Balance is not achievable because it is focused only toward the one individual.

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3. Creation: This is the Devine nature of being. It has no ego and cannot be forced into anything except it’s authentic self. I can experience this authenticity when I paint a picture or design and sew a wedding dress.

Most religions exist because they attempt to piece together an experience to help the human translate what or who the Creator is. In this “piecing together experience” a doctrine is formed in order to allow the ego a way to transform into its authenticity and reach a spiritual plain. The “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “God has a plan for you” in which God is understood as the Devine or the Creator. In the United States the government has no influence on a religion except where secular laws may be concerned, and a religion has no influence on the government except for how an individual applies a faith based or goodwill approach to government policy and law. Balance is achieved because our Constitution’s Framers were mindful of this necessary inclination toward the Devine.

The Shrew Blog tries to maintain a perspective of balance as it considers the finer implications of social, cultural and theological influences in the U.S. Balance cannot exist without considering the polar opposite acceptance of the Male Principle (Order) since The Shrew admittedly understands more precisely the Female Principle (Chaos). It is my belief that the “Resistance Movement” is based on the Male Principle only because it chooses to use the State as a tyrannical keeper of order (in other words Socialism). The feminist “mask” is pushing for this order too because at its foundation is their equality with men which is far from being a balanced approach. To further complicate matters, the “Resistance Movement” has played on fears of racism, sexism and bias which are connected to the ego of individuals…Just witness how expertly maneuvered the resistance equation is: Complain, impose, blame => Socialist dominance by the few. And what is being resisted? Constitutional Liberty for the whole.

Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.

Next up: Why the local economy matters…

Shrew Brews: The Summer Sampler!

 

It is hard to believe that the middle of August is almost here! For me, this is a sign that my work with bridal gowns is beginning to slow down…This has been an incredibly busy season for me, but I have not forgotten to take some well deserved time off in my home State of Maine AKA Vacation Land.  I’d like to introduce to you some of my favorite summer brews and tasting rooms that I have found and visited in my precious time off 🙂

 

Light and refreshing, Bud has it right with their Bud Light Lime and Bud Light Orange and Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy.  At 4.2% ABV and with a fruity citrusy flavor, all are nice to enjoy on a hot muggy afternoon.  Personally, I cannot drink more than two of these at a sitting mostly because they are sweet (especially the Orange). But yes, they are very refreshing as stated earlier.  The Bud Light slim cans are easy to pack…Leinenkugel’s could learn from this 😉

 

Don’t forget to have a desert or small plate with your beverage >>>

Just off a busy corner of Main Street in Saco is a relaxing drinking space called The Lady and The Mench.  They serve plenty of local beer on tap, however the martinis are FABULOUS! I had the chocolate martini which had a Hershey’s Hug at the bottom…Delish :O

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Banded Brewing (formerly Banded Horn Bewery) in Biddeford is a definite place to make a stop.  Not only is it located in one of the historic mills, it also is positioned beside a great pizza place, gin distillery and ice cream stand.  My sampler on this day was as follows: Wicked Bueno 4.3% ABV (Mexican Style Larger), Breakfast Land 8.2% ABV (Imperial Stout with Palace Flapjacks, Harris Farm Maple Syrup and Tandem Coffee), Green Warden 5.6% ABV(Pale Ale with spruce tips), Resolution 10.5% ABV (Campaign inspired mixed fermentation ale).  I loved them all!! Oh yes, and they now serve a wee bit of food to have with these wonderful brews…I think that is because you’ll need to give your tummy some solids with all these liquids 🙂

 

Barreled Souls in Saco has a great variety of sours if you like those, but that’s not my thing.  This place has atmosphere though!  The barrel chairs are cool and there are plenty of games to play.  My group had a fun time on the table shuffle boards.  My favorite beer here is the Blonde on Blonde, 12.^% ABV. The flavors of apricot, peaches and citrus are pleasing. Also, a wee taste of any of their Dark Matters is a bonus!

 

While visiting Camden, Maine I came across this funny one…Porkslap Pale Ale, 4.3% ABV.  I loved the hint of ginger…It’s from New York though so I’ll try not to hold it against them.

 

Nice views of the lake and ferry from your table.  Please don’t feed the ducks!

A special shout out to my step son, Patrick.  He deals with beer sales in a specific region in Maine and the Frye’s Leap Cafe on Frye’s Island Sebago Lake is one of his accounts.  The Cafe held a special tasting of several regional offerings.  I tasted all except the IPA.  Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat, 4.2% ABV, was tasty dispite it’s play on the name.  Their barrel aged stout, 9.6% ABV, I found to be even tastier.  Otter Creek Ella, 5.2% ABV, was hoppier than what I would typically drink, but it was definitely worth a taste. And the Otter Creek Raspberry Stout, 4.5% ABV, was a bit sour for me, but the raspberry flavor was real nice 🙂

Can’t wait to see what the Fall flavors will bring for my beer binge!!

Shrewd Awakenings: On Representative Government

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In a Representative Democracy the people elect officials to represent them when creating laws and policies.  It burns me when I hear people leave out the “representative” part of our type of Federal Governance system.  It makes a very big difference in our core principle of government by, of and for the people.  Our Founders knew that if the Federal Government became a monolith then it had to be a system of many voices.  One person, one vote is not enough to counter tyrannical behavior from a perceived majority.  States, counties, towns, neighborhoods, on down to the individual…All have special needs and wants and all must have a way to ensure happiness at home where the responsible individual is productive in his or her own right.

I served a two year term as a City Councilor representing one of seven wards in a nonpartisan capacity.  Several things motivated me to run for this seat:

  1. The property tax rate in my city rose 18% in one year.  I witnessed the complete awe in my neighbor’s faces and we all wondered how such an oversight could have happened.
  2. I became involved in a bipartisan civic group that challenged this increase and we learned quite a bit about the proper functions as well as the dysfunctions of our city government.
  3. Having served as president of other organizational boards as well as chaired numerous church and civic committees, I was very familiar with democratic processes, never missing an opportunity to also participate in strategic planning workshops and community forums.
  4. With my children grown and my business running smoothly I had the flexibility to contribute my time to City Council demands.
  5. I wanted to be part of the solution instead of whining about the problem.  As they say, whiners never prosper.  Life long learners need apply!

As a councilor I then became more aware of how dysfunction at the governance level had occurred:

  1. Previous councilors who had my seat were not proactive about getting to know their ward constituents and businesses.  Communication was not a priority and therefor transparency was lacking.  It was no wonder that citizen apathy had set in.
  2. The long standing councilors had not read their governing manual which I discovered was outdated and in need of many revisions.  Had the Council been more educated about their powers, perhaps the City Administrator would not have been allowed to cross certain ethical boundaries (which he had done many times in my presence).  Council duty #1…Administrations always need to be held accountable!
  3. The “conservative” councilors who continually voted no to any type of spending also had no ideas about how to control spending, creatively raise revenue or educate themselves on our many cash reserves and how they could be used, nor did they ever probe the City Administrator about his ideas for raising revenues beyond direct taxation.  Our commercial base had become so small that the tax burden was placed significantly on home owners.
  4. All previous Councils blindly left their faith in city operations to a City Administrator who did not have an annual review process by the Mayor and Council.  This was another aspect of how the Council did not understand their power…Perhaps this was intended by the Administrator?
  5. Because of #4, this left a power vacuum.  The Mayor’s role became more controlling which set the Ward representatives up for political gamesmanship and subsequent dysfunction.  Please tell me how this works for constituents?

How many other cities are run like this and is it no wonder that Washington DC is in a similar mess?  Representative government only works when those who are elected know their functions within the governmental system.  This education begins at home as well as in our schools.  Communication and transparency are critical to having an engaged public.  When we elect representatives we must be confident that they understand their roles and responsibilities otherwise we can wind up with a vacuum of leadership ripe for dysfunction and control.  Is the United States headed in this direction?  Here are some of my observations:

  1. Congress seems oblivious to their responsibilities.  They are allowing the State’s to slowly undo federal laws and the Administrative branch to spy on its citizens.  Where is their oversight?
  2. Presidents can be too loyal to special interests.  Whether because of donor cash or partisan concerns, Constitutional protections for the nation as a whole are ignored by a passive Congress. 
  3. The press is complicit in political gamesmanship.  Reporting has become less factual and more based on hearsay and emotions which tend to keep the more astute public frustrated and disengaged…A sure way to continue apathy amoung certain voters.
  4. Civil protections are being reframed as special protections.  A public that is divided into categories conveniently focuses attention away from core values that unite people.  These core values are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Forgetting this principle allows the Constitution to be rendered ineffective and useless thereby creating a vacuum for tyrannical control.

In conclusion, I recommend that we must start to reframe “special protections” in a way that connotes faithful service to others.  Government cannot solve social issues.  Faith and service based organizations must do this work along side of their communities.  This is the real meaning of church and state separation.  How can we strengthen this very important message?  I will explore this in my next blog…