Friday, September 30, 2022

The American Republic Can Save American Democracy - by Gary Hart - A Continuing Discussion - Follow the Money...

Those of us who love fiction or movies have come to know the phrase, Follow The Money... But it is only in recent years that we've begun to really watch how "our" money is being spent... Yes, it is our money, each citizen who pays taxes knows that it is WE who pay for the government that leads our nation...

I became more personally involved when I began working with a capital budget for facilities at a local university... In most ways, problems arose because of mistakes made... but, sometimes, I wondered--why did some jobs get priority over other projects that seemed to go on forever...

But others turn out to be done on purpose...

 I could go on with video after video, but these are just a few of showing the scope and breadth of how criminals will find ways to defraud the government-- To Steal!

Still, there is one area of criminal shenanigans that I had not heard of prior to reading Hart's book... While, even at the same time, a similar action is being investigated for the long-held belief that China steals ideas from they are stealing back scientists with American knowledge by paying them large salaries...

But, could it be that practice also happens in America? Yes, according to Gary Hart! Think about it... Even though there is now an attempt to separate our nation, we, all of us, have much in common. That is, for example, the services we need performed for our safety and well being, such as the FBI and other environmental safety agencies that protect our physical lives... Then consider the interstate highways, parks, public research agencies, the postal service, to name just a few. All of these agencies serve ALL of us... So, why are some always trying to privatize them?

The first thing that pops into my mind is that we KNOW for a fact that public education has been sadly underfunded--all I ask of you who are reading these words is this--as you read, stop and think, which party has spoken out for programs that support the commond good of all people...

Hart is making what should be an obvious awareness by all of us, if we only had stopped to think about it... As the constitution was being considered for the first time, it was to these areas of common use that led them to develop the framework of our government. Otherwise, all of these facilities--areas of infrastructure would deteriorate, be forgotten and slowly disappear... 

And, I have to ask, how many of you--how many of our citizens who choose our leaders, even think about AND realize that it is OUR citizens, right now, that must decide what to do in order to keep America as it is for future generations! Frankly it scares me, especially when I see personal freedoms, fought for by many for so long are now being removed...taking us backward rather than forward in important areas that affect the common good of our nation. For, surely, what we have seen is that these issues have been used so blatantly as tools in and for political gain! While those same people do little if anything to care for the needs of all citizens...

Always allowing actions that are done to make money without regard to the future of our land--our lives--has led, as most people now see--a major shift in climate that can be proven to be because we have used materials such as coal, that have caused damage... And, more importantly, when we learned of that damage, we made choices to continue to make money, regardless of the future... How...Sad... A republic can not stand firm without the citizens of that republic accepting and making choices of what must be done to a democracy! For now and the future...

The Every Man For Himself idea may sound rugged or individualistic, but it soon devolves into cultural fragmentation and social clashes.

Isn't it obvious that we have reached that point?!

Hart notes that corruption can be in different forms other than what we commonly think of, such as theft, bribery or even murder. But it became more within politics as we saw and realized that some place their special needs or desires above the common good...By that broader definition, American government is massively corrupt. The army of lobbyists expands regardless of the political party in the White House or Congress.

Although interests are often about money, there is a difference between a small salary increase for an overworked nurse and the corporate profits and annual salaries for corporate executives...

Special interests are sometimes important, but if it goes to the point of being contrary to the common good, or is struck as "a deal" behind closed doors, and often is done at every level of local government all the way into the top! Then it really is criminal.

The incestuous corruption of republican government at all of these levels is compounded by two other factors: campaign contributions and the revolving door...

I have earlier spoke about my own concern about the solicitation of funds in order to fund political campaigns. To me, it is just plain wrong... Why should we, who pay the taxes in order to fund the government(s) be then harassed to pay for getting "our" candidate into office... Is selecting effective leaders really based only upon how much or little the amount of funds available for campaigning...?

Lobbying is a huge business according to Hart... That entire program has become so powerful it may be beyond getting it under control... And, supposedly it would be the voters who should make any changes needed to that process... Well, let's look at gun control attempts as an indication of this problem... We have still been unable to move some voters, especially of one party, even though military style guns, which are now legal, have been used to kill thousands of our citizens, including many of our children! Choosing more and lethal guns over people is just wrong...and we all know it... But how can we change things? 

Still, some changes have been made over the decades... But is it really necessary for we who are most concerned, the voters, to take such huge efforts to get something done that we all want? Clearly, indeed, corruption is behind everything when we have an issue that we all know is NOT for the common good, but cannot get support of those WE PAY to ACT for the common good.

Much public discontent and suppressed anger is due to the perception, and too often the reality, that laws are passed and high court rulings enacted to legitimize undemocratic systems at war with our Republic's principles and values. The Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, giving corporations First Amendment speech protection (namely, unlimited campaign contributions) stands as one of the worst examples of this trend.

Now we know why...and, need to think carefully about what or who works for the common good of the republic...

 So, what is "the revolving door?" It is the most powerful of interest groups who use the "revolving door." They (corporations) hire former officeholders, including elected officials and those who have held high level appointive positions to represent their interests.

Former elected officials have (the magic word in politics) access to their former colleagues. They can open doors, call upon old friendships, find time on their calendars, and, of course, wine and dine.

One recent report in the New York Times documented a significant number of senior officials in the US Department of the Treasure in the previous Trump administration who resigned after the 2020 national election and took up senior positions in some of the largest investment firms in the nation with a substantial increase of their personal incomes. They took with them not only access to old colleagues but also, more importantly, knowledge of complex regulations of the financial industry of crucial importance to those firms! This meant they knew how to take advantage of, or, circumvent the very regulations that former public officials had is all about money...

Steps can and should be taken. There can be statutory prohibitions against former elected and appointment officials from representing interests before Congress or regulatory agencies...

Hart presents more options to eliminate the deals that have been made over and over, not only sharing what should be confidential info, but also resulting in public officials depending on those favors to firms to be returned in political actions, favors or monetary contributions...

This last play of criminality--the revolving door--could not only save the government money, but would allow more access to high-level positions in corporations who did not have the benefit of what might well be called insider trading... or The Good Ole Boy Club in Action...

In closing this article, I am reminded of the book by Mary Trump who shared about Donald Trump's father and his developing empire. You may want to check out my review of her book...

The question must be raised... together with the apparent well-known revolving door between the government and corporations, we--you and I--must wonder if there is anything possible to stop the seemingly endless fall of our democracy due to criminal actions?!

If we only have one method, then, my friends, when we do our research and decide on our voting choices, may it be to choose those who have demonstrated truth, justice and the "real" American way guiding these individuals. Check their backgrounds yourself and don't depend upon the lying ads that are often used by opponents. Even wanting to do too much of good things, is far more easily dealt with as time goes by, then to vote for and place those who choose/make their decisions on how much money and power they can gain by working for US... Yes, US... If politicians are making far more money than the least of our citizens, not because of their worth to the common good, but rather for how much they can make by working to divide and thus conquer America (the loss of democracy) may be inevitable--unavoidable!

Plan for voting activities right now. Be sure that you do your research... 

After reading this and other books, I am already beginning to believe that, although it is being used, religion has little if anything to do with the problems we really face. Lying, cheating, hating anybody against what they want, lacking empathy so that not even the murder of children is a force strong enough to break the ties developed over the years to ensure a financial security far beyond what the average person could ever make, just by making deals...or... making...steals... These actions are all not of God... vote for what they want to do in response to the country's needs.

Look to your children, your family... if you care about their future, you must consider making decisions based upon the COMMON GOOD OF ALL PEOPLE NOW LIVING IN AMERICA AS CITIZENS... FOR THEY ARE, INDEED, ALWAYS TO BE CONSIDERED EQUAL UNDER THE LAW OF THE LAND!

Vote for the future of the children you love

I recommend Gary Hart's book if you are looking for facts and actions for now and the future. It is short, but impactful...

God Bless,



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Thoughts and Highlights from Former Senator Hart's Essay, The American Republic Can Save American Democracy! His Truth is Marching On!


United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland 
10-21-2014 to 1-20-2017 
Vice Chair of Homeland Security Advisory Council 
6-5-2009 to 2-8-2011
United States Senator from Colorado
1-3-1975 to 1-3-1987

Hart's Essay gets to the heart of what has and is happening in America today. He admits he cried when he saw the insurrectionists moving through the Capitol, going into an office where he might have once worked long and hard hours...and then desecrating the Senate Room where all senators have gathered for so many years to discuss and act on issues that face America...

He, like so many of us, including President Biden knows that something is happening that has never happened before in America. There are those, incited by the former president, but, perhaps, led by many behind the scenes who want America to become a country led by an authoritarian... any man would do? And, perhaps, they even made the wrong choice...

Like Putin who is now attempting to take over Ukraine to merge under his presidency of Russia...

Like Italy whose new prime minister hearkens back to former Mussolini, a fascist regime. Will Italy soon start moving backward based on what seems to be happening around the world today...

Like Iran where women have taken to the streets, burning her hijab and cutting their hair... after the death of a journalist by a supposed group of "morality police..." who monitors dress code!
Will any chance of democracy 
soon be gone? Everywhere?

Certainly just one of the writers watching what is happening in America is Former Senator Gary Hart, in his short, but powerful essay, The American Republic Can Save American Democracy.

Can you recite the Preamble to the Constitution? If you can, you might be around my age--a time when Civics Class in junior high, if I remember right, was a required course, so that we could learn all about the Constitution of our United States...

Here is the current state of high school civics education:* Only nine states and the District of Columbia require one year of U.S. government or civics, while 30 states require a half year and the other 11 states have no civics requirement. Care to Know More?

Hart first hones in on the very important fact, which I agree with, that we have greatly decreased the teaching of Children About Our Government! Why? The referenced article closes with:
Moreover, low rates of millennial voter participation and volunteerism indicate that schools have the opportunity to better prepare students to fulfill the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. While this article calls for increasing opportunities for U.S. government, civics, or service-learning education, these requirements are only as good as how they are taught. Service learning must go beyond an act of service to teach students to systemically address issues in their communities; civics exams must address critical thinking, in addition to comprehension of materials; and civics and government courses should prepare every student with the tools to become engaged and effective citizens.

I have to ask, when was the last time that concern for public education was raised in America at the national level... Hart brings up education as the first issue related to democracy...our republic as a democracy...

Yet, "suddenly" the republican party has approached the issue from the opposite direction, in my opinion, than Hart does. There are rampant concerns for banning books, for instance, that teach something that a small percentage of Americans do not want to have available for children, in particular. Sure, there should be a concern, but when we were more able to trust our leaders, we placed that duty to educated teachers and administrators and School Boards choosing appropriate age-related books. Additionally, history, itself, has become something that many don't want to have taught--if it contains the truth!

Consider the slaves kidnapped from foreign lands to be sold to white land owners, the wars and loss of life of the indigenous peoples who were living across the national lands--prior to any immigrants even thinking about coming to this land... those were never mentioned or, if they were, it was not as a negative period of time for those humans involved! Indeed those individuals who were treated badly in history, are the same people who, today, are still being treated unfairly, or worse...

And most importantly, remember that under the former president's administration, there was little if any emphasis on public schools, but, rather, on private schools... I recall that, it seems at least a year into the new administration, the Secretary of Education acknowledged that she had never visited any of our public schools...

Now let's consider this from a political standpoint, for, in my opinion, that has to be behind what was started years ago, Deliberate Dumning Down of Americans... I've picked up just one of the books on the topic so will be sharing on that later... It is clear from the blurb for these books that somebody higher than local schools just might have been forcing decisions to be changed... Who was responsible? Who IS responsible, for sure this has only gained visibility of what was an ongoing plan of action...

Certainly, if the plan is to move toward fascism, disguised under the name conservativeness which seems to be happening across the world...then keeping citizens of those countries "dumb" is the best idea, right? If they don't know their rights under the constitution, then they will have no interest in getting those rights fulfilled... Further, if they have no knowledge of just how America was founded--that all men and women are considered equal--then the inclusion of discrimination against all non-white peoples can proceed...then they will have no reason to consider who and how the government is actually working...

Let's consider how the family is involved in relation to living in a democracy... Well, there really should be no difference for anybody, right? Yet, it is ONLY since President Biden took office that citizens from all groups of Americans have representation in the Cabinet of the President! Remember the old phrase as America was being formed... No Taxation Without Representation! And, indeed, that is how it should be... and had been...for many years. Yet, in MY lifetime so very much has changed!

AND, The Culmination, it seems, was to have a president elected that would do what needed to be done--the move toward White Nationalism, the rule of an authoritarian leader, and the loss of individual rights that were granted under a constitution which no longer is...relevant...

Slowly, insidiously, conservatives/fascists have invaded American politics... To Wreat Havoc through violence against any who oppose the conservative/ fascist white nationalism agenda.

And it might have begun in my lifetime, as teaching our young--all of those children who attended public schools during the last 60 years, we allowed to go without significant introduction to how to actually living and participate as a voting citizen in America... and learning sufficient information to ensure that they, with the rights that came to them as those who VOTED and placed our leaders into power, actually acted to on behalf of the entire nation, regardless of differences in those citizens...

The Preamble The U. S. Constitution

The Preamble We the People of the United States, in Order to form a

The Preamble We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Purpose of the Preamble • The Preamble of the Constitution establishes what the founding

Purpose of the Preamble • The Preamble of the Constitution establishes what the founding fathers wanted to do with our new government • It is like an introduction paragraph (states the purpose) • There are six goals established in the Preamble

“We the People…” • Popular Sovereignty – the people are in charge of the

“We the People…” • Popular Sovereignty – the people are in charge of the government • In 1787, there were 3,894, 000 people in the country • Currently, there are 308,794,894 people in the country

Goal #1 • “In order to form a more perfect union…” • This is

Goal #1 • “In order to form a more perfect union…” • This is the writers of the Constitution stating that the original government, the Articles of the Confederation, did not work.

Goal #2 • “Establish justice…” • All of the laws that are created under

Goal #2 • “Establish justice…” • All of the laws that are created under the new constitution must be fair and reasonable for all citizens to follow.

Goal #3 • “Insure domestic tranquility…” • Under the Articles of Confederation, the states

Goal #3 • “Insure domestic tranquility…” • Under the Articles of Confederation, the states were often in arguments with each other • With the creation of the new constitution, the founding fathers wanted to create peace within the new nation

Goal #4 • “Provide for the common defense…” • The new nation realized that

Goal #4 • “Provide for the common defense…” • The new nation realized that to be able to defend themselves, they needed to create a strong army and navy.

Goal #5 • “Promote the general welfare…” • The individual governments of the states

Goal #5 • “Promote the general welfare…” • The individual governments of the states needed to come together for the well-being of the country as a whole

Goal #6 • “And secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity…

Goal #6 • “And secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” • Posterity – descendants… children or future family members • Establish – set up or create

Gary Hart, I, and Millions of America Lament how America has been taken over by domestic terrorists who are using military style weapons to murder our children... This is NOT America. Yet, part of its citizens has been lied to, have been molded into a cult where they are willing, just on the word of one man, to attack our Capitol and scream out death messags to the vice-president, and those who were there in their "normal" duty of confirming the election of a new president. 

Now those same people are diligently working to attempt to overturn any future elections through one way or another... At the same time, hundreds are being arrested for their acts of insurrection.  How can those who now act in violence against their fellow countrymen, while claiming they are the only true patriots, ever be trusted to continue FREE and outside of confinement for their acts of treason against the nation. Surely the tide has turned...but how do we proceed...

Next Issue: Follow the Money Coming Next...

Still we can take heart...just as the Ukrainians fight for their freedom...Just as the women of both Iran and America now fight against the men who want to have them forever in subservience white supremacists now coalesced into a cult who follows a criminal, not being charged for all the crimes that have accumulated to his based upon past actions...


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

What's New Pussycat?! Shhh...It's a Secret - Kitty Confidential and Terrier Transgressions - (Pet Whisperer) by Molly Fitz!


Soooo, anybody who has been interacting with me for any length of time, knows that my most favorite relaxing novels are Cat Cozy Mysteries! And boy, did I find a new one! Even better, it's already up into the 30s of books available! As always, when I know there is a series, I immediately go for the first couple of books... I was hooked on the first! 

What's really nice, that, for now, there is lots of early publicity so that I don't need to do much more to talk about the story... First, below, is a book trailer--I love them all. But, I recognize that many writers can't afford to create one for each book... So, I hope you enjoy the synopsis, right within the trailer! Then next, the publisher provided a free video of somebody reading the first chapter from Audible Books! So, you'll learn enough to think about whether you, too, might enjoy this and the series...

Got to say, I love both main characters...The Cat and the human who happens to become his caretaker... Angie Russo is smart--she has a number of degrees to prove it...The thing is she just didn't know what she wanted to do with her even though she hated lawyers, she took a job as a paralegal, which turned out to be a glorified know, like, being sent out to get coffee! (This was a past-memory experience, so watch for more of Hashtag: Open Memoir...) 

Back to Angie and acting as the chief coffee provider... a reading of a will was scheduled and she was asked to make lots of coffee since all that were affected by the will was to attend... Trouble began when she had to use an old coffee maker... and was electrocuted! 

It was a Zap that resulted in her being rushed to the hospital...but, one that had done little physical damage and they released her--besides she was curious about whose will was to be read and how the firm was involved...

Nobody would have guessed that there was a cat at the reading of a will... Yep, you guessed it, that cat was to inherit the bulk of the inheritance!   
And here I thought the car trip wouldn’t be worth it,” that same unfamiliar voice chimed in, pairing the words with an unkind chuckle. “That was, paws down, the best entertainment I’ve had all week.” Finally, my eyes flew open, and I found a gleaming amber gaze watching me from just a few inches away. Wait… Why was there a cat in the office, and why was it on me? I struggled to sit up, but my limbs were still too heavy to lift on my own.
“Oh, honey,” that voice drawled again. “If you expect to keep walking, then you probably should have landed on your feet.” 
I let out a loud groan. I could feel the activity humming all around me, but the only thing I saw was the danged cat who was definitely intruding in my personal space right about then. “What happened?” I asked before coughing again. “I think the coffeemaker electrocuted you when you tried to plug it in,” Diane revealed. Her shaky voice made it obvious she’d been crying. I felt so bad that my clumsiness put her through that. 
“Oh, jeez. This one’s even stupider than the first. I’m really looking forward to living with her while the rest of the family figures out where to dump me. Such a pity. They don’t know greatness when it’s staring them in the face.” 
I moaned and attempted to lift my head to get a better look around the room. “Who is that?” I demanded.
Yes, as much as I usually prefer books to boys, I often find myself a bit twitterpated whenever Charles is near. That’s probably how I made such a colossal mistake in the first place… Now I’m being blackmailed about my biggest secret, the fact that I can talk to animals.--2nd book

“It’s me, Angie,” Mrs. Fulton said, squeezing one of my hands in earnest. “You asked what happened, and I told you about the coffeemaker.” 
“No, the guy who just called both of us stupid.” I wished I could sit up to see past this annoying cat, but he was the only thing that filled my vision in that moment. Of course, I had lots of questions about the coffeemaker and how such a tiny old appliance had managed to zap me unconscious, but the need to identify the unknown speaker weighed on me much more heavily. 
A cruel snicker sounded nearby. “I called you stupid, because you are stupid. Honesty is the best policy, the truth will set you free, yada yada, and all that other nonsense you humans like to say.” 
If I hadn’t known any better, I’d have sworn that strange, lilting voice was coming from the cat. Man, how hard had I hit my head when I fell? The cat leaned in so close that his whiskers tickled my face. His unnervingly large eyes moved frantically from side to side as if stalking some kind of prey. Oh, how I hoped I wasn’t that prey. I’d barely escaped the coffeemaker. If something sentient set out to hurt me today, I wouldn’t even stand a chance. 
“Did you… Did you really hear what I said?” the voice asked again, and again it really sounded like it was coming from the cat. Did he eat a tiny human or something? None of this made any sense. 
“Yes, I hear you, and I think you’re rather mean,” I answered with a huff, giving the best attitude I could, considering my prone position...
“Wow, you really can hear me,” the voice said again. “By the way, hi, I’m Octavius Maxwell Ricardo Edmund Frederick Fulton, and I have some demands.” 
I was having a difficult time keeping track of all the threads of conversation. I knew the partners were worried about me and about themselves, but I still couldn’t identify the mystery speaker or figure out what he wanted. 
“Octavius Maxwell… who?” 
“Honey, are you talking about the cat?” Mrs. Fulton asked, picking the tabby off from my chest. My straining lungs thanked her, and immediately I felt stronger.

Needless to say, Angie and...the cat...didn't have a good beginning to their, soon, new relationship! First, she refused to call him by his full name--after all, he was practically royalty, or it felt so, given the way he had been treated by his beloved friend...and now continued to demand...
And Angie, forget about anything or anybody demanding any more of being a slave to others than she was already doing...

So what in the world was she thinking when she asked--yes--asked to take the cat home with her?!!

Indeed, she was shocked when the cat told her that his owner was murdered...and that he wanted her to find out whodunit! Considering that the deceased was a relative of her favorite boss, she thought she should help...but, never, never, did she planned on becoming a prisoner of the murderer!
And guess what, I was just as shocked as Angie--and you know I love when I don't guess the villain! Kudos to the author... And that meant, I'm moving on to the next in series... 

Angie has an eye on a new legal beagle who just joined the law firm... Even though she usually loved to see and talk to him, when he showed up when she was thinking she was alone in the office, and discovered her talking to--Octo-Cat (the name Angie came up with much to the chagrin of the cat!)

And when she realized that he knew the two were actually talking, he didn't bother to be surprised--he saw it as--salvation for this troublesome murder case!
Strange--right?! So before long, she was taken for a ride and then following Charles to his home! Why was he kidnapping her? 

What she did not expect was a cute, but barking terrier jumping with joy to have company! And then to have Charles instruct Angie to talk to him!

Well, guess, what? Angie couldn't talk to the dog, no matter how she tried, he just kept on barking and wanting to play... She needed help from....Octo-Cat! Who quickly told her... to forget about it! Of Course!

“Sorry, can’t,” Charles answered while the Yorkie ran furious, barking circles around the apartment to convey his enthusiasm. “We need you to come with us.” I crossed my arms and eyed them both suspiciously. 
“Because we’re going to your house to talk to your cat,” Charles explained, grabbing Yo-Yo into his arms and clipping on the leash. 
To my house? Crud. Octo-Cat was definitely not going to like this. 
I opened the door to find Octo-Cat waiting for me with a rapturous look upon his face. “Finally!” he cried. “I’ve been so thirsty.” His expression quickly changed to outrage, though, when Yo-Yo nosed his way into the house and gave Octo-Cat a big, wet kiss right on the nose. Charles pulled back on the leash, then lifted the visiting dog into his arms. 
Octo-Cat shook with fury as a bead of drool dripped down his face and onto the carpet below. 
“Why would you do this to me? Haven’t I already been through enough today? First the fly and now a-a-a dog?” he spat out that last word as if it were the foulest curse word he could imagine...
Octo-Cat took a giant leap from the table to the counter, then sat with his tail flicking back and forth wildly. “Unbelievable,” he growled without so much as looking at me. 
I knew I was in the wrong here, but I also had no other choice but to comply with Charles’s wishes. If anyone else found out about my special ability to talk to cats, I’d lose my job, be made a laughing stock, and possibly have to move away from the only home I’ve ever known to start life over with a clean reputation. Hopefully Octo-Cat would understand that my hands were tied once I had the chance to explain a bit more. First, though, I needed to find a way to give Charles what he wanted. Once I did, the threat hanging over my head would be eradicated, and Octo-Cat could go back to being mad at me for the usual reasons. I grabbed a fresh bottle of Evian and a clean china tea cup from the cupboard. The cup came from the set we’d inherited from his late owner Ethel and was used for the sole purpose of offering Octo-Cat his daily libations. After presenting the fresh water to him, I made quick work disposing of the dead fly. He took one quick lap from the dish, then trotted off to my bedroom without so much as a thank you. “You’re welcome!” I called after him with a scowl. Jeez, it felt like no one appreciated me today. “So what now?” Charles asked, bending down to unleash Yo-Yo. “No, wait,” I cried, but unfortunately it was too late. The Yorkie immediately darted into my bedroom, barking manically the whole way. 
A dreadful hiss-growl-meow hybrid reverberated through the house, and a second later Octo-Cat appeared with his tail poofed out so large that it resembled that of a raccoon. “I hate you!” he screamed, tearing through the house as the dog gave chase. 
“Grab him!” I yelled to Charles, who made a leap for the rambunctious animal and missed. 
“Hey, Yo-Yo!” I called, racing back toward the kitchen. “Want a treat?” The Yorkie immediately turned in his tracks and trotted after me, releasing a joyous series of high-pitched barks. I reached into the fridge and grabbed a slice of lunch meat to offer him as a treat just as Charles managed to re-clip the leash to his collar. 
“Well, that was an experience,” he said with a weary chuckle. “I wouldn’t laugh if I were you,” I told him. “It’s going to take forever for my cat to forgive me now.” Charles stared at me in confusion. 
“If he won’t forgive me, then he also won’t help. Don’t you know anything about cats?” I grumbled, despite the fact that I hadn’t really known anything about them myself until a few months prior. He looked properly chastised as he hung his head and let out a giant sigh. 
“Sorry. What should we do?” 
“We aren’t going to do anything just yet. You are going to take Yo-Yo outside, and I guess I’ll go offer up my firstborn in a last-ditch attempt to get Octo-Cat to talk to me.” 
Charles began to smile but quickly retracted it immediately upon seeing the stone-cold serious expression on my face. “Uh, okay. C’mon, Yo-Yo,” he said, yanking the little dog toward the door.

Sooo, who does the terrier belong to and why is Charles taking care of him? Well, it was rumored that Charles just might have been given the murder case--yes, a murder of the couple who loved and took care of the little terrier... Charles was representing a caretaker who had been accused of the murder of the pair--with a hammer!

Well, Angie had two thoughts: if she volunteered to help with the case, she might get to know her dream man much better... Plus, since he had already blackmailed her, she might as well try to help, especially since she did have a secret helper...a cat who just might be able to talk to the d-o-g! Angie was thinking she was going to pay bigtime for the favor of his help on another murder case... Especially when he made her promise that she would do anything he wanted! Yikes!

The mystery wasn't quite so difficult, except that the writer put in a twist that just couldn't have been foreseen even by a cat whisperer... But, little by little,  things started happening, one of which was that Charles absolutely refused to consider a woman who Angie was sure had done the deed! Either she was irritated that he wouldn't take her thoughts as valid... or she was jealous... either may be true, of course!

Angie has one flaw as an amateur detective, however. She seems to keep putting herself into the final confrontation with the killer... This time, however, she had learned from the first almost-disaster... And she not only had backup from her family and the police, but Octo-Cat was right there in the room when she began her interrogation, which soon became more and more heated! And, fortunately, Octo-Cat knew what to do...and did it! Maybe he should be called Techno-Cat?! LOL

In any event, I've moved on to the third book, but not as binge reading like I've done in the past... I've been watching Velshi and his Banned Book show as well as announced releases from other news programs...and have a "ton" of non-fiction reading which will need escapes from time to time...Molly Fitz--my hero--who will save me from allowing the nonsense now corrupting our daily lives to take me over into depression! 
Wonder what Octo-Cat would think of singer?!

I do hope you are all working to plan your vote as they advertise...apparently things have been changed so be sure to check out your local regulations... This is NOT a time to decide it's not worth it to get out and vote... especially in Pennsylvania, my friends... We have two of the worst liars running (Mastriano and Oz) who are running false campaigns against their opponents... How I wish that Freedom of Speech did not allow lying!!!!! in Political Ads, etc. Lord, help us from those who are using politics for their own power grabs!

God Bless 


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rascoe On Writing - Adieu Cam Rascoe - Until the Next Time You Visit!


Rascoe on Writing I find writing to be therapeutic; it helps to ease many of my hurts and pains. Revisiting and learning from times of torment, shortcomings, embarrassment and failure are easier for me through writing. I can sometimes share those experiences anonymously or take full credit for my triumphs and disappointments. It is a place that I can escape to when this world becomes too much; I love to take people there with me. An invitation is extended to you all to get lost in a tale with me. Often times the story being told you have already lived but come away with a different understanding of your plight after reading it. You can learn from anyone, even a fool. He can, at the least, teach you what not to do, but I know you’ve all heard that before. It’s true. I want to speak in many voices and from different perspectives so that we can all educate each other, about good or bad, right and wrong. I possess great faith, many sins and vices; Jesus I still love you dearly. For this reason I try to be responsible in my creation, I know that this will become increasingly important as my audience grows. This is my forum to be heard and I use these words as a vector to inject my take on this world and the next into the minds of the reader. Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter to me, just please share. Let’s discuss openly and honestly what it is we do, how we live, what we believe and the way we treat each other. The United States of America is the most culturally diverse place on this planet and for that I am grateful. We are separated not as much by culture and religion but by economic status. Tax bracket grouping, our nation is slowly becoming polarized, the haves and have not. The have nots have been growing in drastic numbers over the past twenty years but it seems that a change has come and for that I am also grateful. Do you agree? Disagree? Talk about it with someone, share. That is what writing is for me. I want to thank all of the great writers who have influenced me through their compelling works, encouraging and helping me to develop my own talent and voice. In particular I show praise to the great
Toni Morrison, in my eyes she was placed here to educate us all on how to put the pen to the

pad, amazing! Sula, The Bluest Eye--Love these works which have changed my life, thank you ma’am. Well, with all of that being said, I pray this is well received and I thank you all for your support. Above all, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the ability and enthusiasm to write with passion and responsibility always. Cam Rascoe
Favorite quotes
"If you believe and I believe... we can make the world believe!" "I believe in HIM therfore I believe in me."
Cameron (Cam) Rascoe
Writer, lover of literature, intent on serving humanity by sharing wisdom and lessons learned, through literature of his own. Writer born August 3rd 1973 Philadelphia, PA. A resident of Orlando, Florida for over two decades. Father of six, lover of sports, literature and cinema. Motivational Speaker. Studies at Virginia's College at Wise. Married to Katherine Rascoe. Lives in Ocoee, Florida

Cam, it's been wonderful having you here at Book Readers Heaven...and I look forward to having you back! By the way, the female soloist, is me singing...LOL--well, she sounds like me, if I were singing in this choir...

God Bless Your Words, Cam


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Talking with Cameron Rascoe, Author, Creator, Poet...Servant of God... And his Book, Restless for Retribution - Getting to Know Him!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all tried to get together 
and really learn about all those who are...different?

I am sooo excited to welcome Cameron (Cam) Rascoe to Book Readers Heaven!  Cam is a relatively new connection that I've made on Facebook through his group, "Rascoe's Group of Artistic Friends." 

Cam, I'm so happy to welcome you to Book Readers Heaven, to talk in particular about your book Restless for Retribution...

It was only recently that I learned that you were also an author, so I've been checking out all that you offer! I loved this book! So decided to contact you to learn more...

One of the first things I wondered about was your choice of the site for the book--Pine Hills, Florida. Do you have a connection to the location? Or, would you share how you happened to choose Pine Hills for this particular book? 

Spotlight Author!
I appreciate your encouragement and insightful suggestions.  
My interest was peaked and I would like to learn more about what you do. 

Most of the stories in Restless for Retribution were written prior to 2006. The stories are raw, I was just cutting my teeth and attempting to develop my writing techniques. That work, along with a short novel Losing Love While Longing for Lust was my first completed works of literature.

Pine Hills is a community near and dear to my heart. It was my refuge, helping me to temporarily escape the vices and abuse of my less than loving parents. Being a product of an addict and a convict made for a trying existence in my youth. Athletics saved my life. It was always a slow start, I was terrible my first year of playing baseball, football and basketball. Never owning a ball or having a father to play catch with stunted my growth as an athlete. 

By the second year in each sport I was an All Star. When the crowds started to cheer my name, I saw that had value. I no longer saw myself in my parents, I could be different from them... and I would be. Third year, MVP of the football league, starting center fielder for the state baseball team and a freshman elevated to the varsity basketball team after starting the season on the freshman team.

At fourteen I was offered an opportunity to play on a sixteen and under AAU basketball team that was traveling to Central Florida. This was my opportunity to escape my life of strife and start anew in the Sunshine State. We played tournament games all over the city of Orlando, the last being played at Robinswood Middle School in Pine Hills. I knew the school was close to my late Grandmother's home; I'd enjoyed an extended visit there a year earlier. Many tears I shed after practicing all summer with the West Orange High School football team and learning that I couldn't play because I was lacking my school and medical records. My grandmother's evil husband shipped me back to my hell the first opportunity he got. 

Now back, with my school records in my hand, I informed my AAU coaches that I would not be returning up north with the team. They protested, expressed their liability risk and threatened to call my parents. I invited them to call the prison, county jail or a rehab facility if they wanted to but I was not going back.

I worked all summer washing cars on a dealership lot to save the money for my trip. I hid my funds in a coffee can on the roof to prevent it from being smoked up. Heroine and Crack kills! It kills bodies, minds, dreams and especially childhoods of youth like Cam Rascoe--Me! Again, Pine Hills was my refuge, it saved me while helping me to find myself. I would go on to graduate from West Orange High and become the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the football team.

I still love Pine Hills for what it has offered me, unfortunately our beautiful community has deteriorated to some degree, drugs and crime. Sadly, my beloved Pine Hills is known more as “Crime Hills” these days. It breaks my heart... yet in my youth I did play my part.

Twenty-two years after becoming a resident, I penned another novel titled The Perils of The Peoples of Pine Hills, a fictional tale based on my junior year of high school. Offering encouragement and inspiration over social media provided me with a following and small fan base. Offers to speak poured in from people hosting relationship or religious conferences as well as educators requesting that I come in and speak to their classes. I gladly accepted. 

One teacher in particular struck my heart with her request. She taught at Robinswood Middle School. I met with her to go over the curriculum. Sparks flew, a family was blended and here we are twelve years later, happily married for over a decade. Just think, neither of us would have found the love of our lives if we weren't doing what we were called to do.

Doing What we are Called to do

I met the love of my life… 
doing what I was called to do.

My wife met the love of her life… 
doing what she was called to do.

Helping the children of their community
 is what brought together the two,

because they were obedient and true 
in doing what they were called to do.

A writer and an educator made a beautiful union
doing what they were called to do.

Six children gained new siblings 
to their hearts' delight
because Mommy and Daddy were… 
doing what they were called to do.

Two families fused together 
making one huge family unit only because
two of those most special people
 did what they were called to do.

A family tree was formed, 
new lineage born
 all from faithfulness to the call.

The Lord places a calling on our lives for HIS purpose and we are to comply with his wishes, in doing so you allow your blessings to flow. The love in my life is a great love that I thought I’d never find and it’s true. I never would have received such an awesome blessing if I weren’t… doing what I was called to do.

Well, readers, I hope you are beginning to see what I do and will agree when I tell you that I've asked Cam to consider being an ongoing contributor here at BRH. Cam...Keep thinking... Why don't you have a little talk with Jesus... LOL

In fact, you use many words that I've had to look up and consider how you've selected them. Take for instance, your title, Restless for Reparation... How did you arrive as that for the book title?

I am continually attempting to expand my vocabulary; the English language is a unique and beautiful tool. My most prized possession it an unabridged dictionary, gifted to me by my loving wife. I want to share what I learn in colorful yet educational ways. I don't do it often, only when necessarily beneficial to the story or lesson. No one wants to read a writer basking in his own intellectual glory. Who cares how many “big” words you know, if in the context of your writing, they have no true meaning. The title, “Restless for Retribution” came to me because I have felt the energy in urban communities after a horrible event occurs. Everyone is restless in their own way. People are confused, they are sad and inevitably mad! They don't want redemption; forgiveness is far from their angry hearts. They want revenge, retribution!

Ahhh, Cam, I, too, know that need, especially in the last years where hate has been so incited...yet, the same group refuses to even consider any laws to, for instance, stop the purchase of military-type assault weapons that are killing our children and citizens! What normallyh comes to mind is "Vengeance is mine, Saith the Lord..." but, I grow restless, too, as my years go by. I'm beginning to feel a little more patience since I've been able to get back to doing what I, just as you have, been called to do...and write about all of it... I KNOW God is in control; He is the Truth...and it will ultimately set us all free! But... sure wish it would happen a lot faster... Indeed many are restless...Some however, choose violence...and to me, that is so very scary that our children are being killed in schools, as you know... Let's take a moment to pray about it, can we?

Well, Readers, and Cam, you have now participated in A God Incident...(something that I had not previously meant to say...) Certainly He is listening to our cries and joins us in working toward peace and His Love!

I was interested in how you break down the book...As you indicated before, it sounds like you wrote this book in parts. Normally your books are short stories; however, even though each part could be considered a short story, did you work from the beginning to write a book...or did you write short stories, which then led you to merge as a novel?

When I wrote these stories I was just trying to find completion. Learning how to wrap a great story idea was something I was still learning. I started to bridge the stories and characters together. Geppetto: The Puppeteer Series and Restless for Retribution are certainly connected,but all of the stories are based in Pine Hills. That was the theme, tales of Pine Hills. I am a novelist but we live in a world where people have short attention spans and they certainly don't read for entertainment anymore. Ask a young person to read a paragraph and they see it as a punishment. I decided that I would always write short stories for my young readers who still loved literature. I wanted to give them adventure, a lesson and closure in less than thirty minutes of reading. I know that once I grab their attention, I can hold them through the climax and into the resolution which offers a lesson or spiritual message. Learning to shorten stories, trimming the fat has been valuable in my novel writing as well. I will always write short stories because it is such a rewarding exercise.

Crime is so high in Penn Hills that it is known for its crime, with warnings... Is this a reality, or does it have some basis for its nickname? Have you, or can you identify what the problem is and has there been any major effort to decrease the problem... Maybe even doing things like your book suggests...Musical Events? 

It hurts my heart to see the steady deterioration and decay of the once proud community of Pine Hills. Crime Hills is now the reality. Homeowners of the 1980's and late 90's have been replaced by renters and squatters who don't value the property on which they live or the neighborhood they are residents of. Property is no longer passed down to the next generation of a family, instead it is quickly sold or rented out to transient tenants. Drugs selling, use and abuse has been on the rise since the late 1990's leading to a drastic increase in crime over the past two decades. 

I have been living in a town over in Ocoee for the last dozen years and raised my family there. I don't want any of my six children to be exposed to the vile things I experienced as a youth. My decisions have been rewarded, each of my children are successful and good productive people in their own right. I write about and speak to the children of Pine Hills to offer motivation and inspiration, whether it be public speaking or one-on-one conversations. That event I wrote about is still a dream of mine. I would like it to be an annual event held in Pine Hills' own historic Barnett Park. It would be an annual event of healing and unity. It will come to fruition one day, God willing.

The book centers on music--first, by having a man that you call the Puppeteer, who promoted his ability to get them into a recording contract, and more... We might call him the villain. While Ras Cat Records, and, specifically Ras Cat is the lead character and savior of Pine Hills, even to the extent they called him the mayor, although they had no official position for him to fill. Actually what they were saying was that he was seen as the leader, and, perhaps, even savior... So, obviously, first, I figured you were playing the lead...and does that mean that you, yourself actually are a leader? In the community? In music, maybe? In church, maybe?

Yes, I am the Ras Cat. I was given that name in the early 90's by older men in the community because of the way I moved and things I did at a young age. There are many drawbacks to being born a product of an addict and a convict but there are great advantages as well. You gain independence early in life because you are forced to fend for yourself. Foresight, diligence, perseverance and patience are other attributes a difficult life can offer a young person. Life shapes and molds you into becoming a leader of your peers and sometimes your elders. I was dubbed the Mayor of Pine Hills in my twenties because I became a leader in my community, for good and bad, the youngest in charge. I formed a music group in the early 2000's named after an organization in Pine Hills. I hesitate to call them a gang, but they did some gangster things.

Mostly from one family, Double-O is what they called themselves, tattoos with a sniper's target each of them was branded with. Some of the younger members visited me and asked me to give them a ride to a studio. They were shocked when I got in the booth and spit a rhyme. The three of us stated making tracks and collaborating with other local groups and crews. We recorded a hand full of songs and prepared ourselves for the stage. One member was working on some solo projects and thought himself to be a front man that wasn't in need of a group. He went on his way, we parted amicably.

I talked to the older members of Double-O knowing that some of them possessed musical talent, not just felonies. I reshaped the group and we hit the studio and stage. We were joined by another Philadelphia native who was an extremely talented writer and vocalist. While producing beats, singing hooks and rhyming on stage with the group, I was hosting and throwing talent shows. 

I started managing comics while performing in a few sets myself. My Double-O Crew wasn't very happy about all the time I invested in the shows, but I never allowed anyone to alter my creative vision. 

Double-O started to falter because of members' extracurricular activities, drug use. Some members were influencing others and the party became all consuming. I felt like I was fathering grown men and the responsibility became too great. Booking studio time, producing every song, singing the hooks, writing the group's bio, marketing, promoting, booking travel and hotel stays got to be too much. I couldn't delegate much because I didn't trust anyone to get things done besides our youngest member whom I started the group with. We had a showcase in Atlanta, and we were rejoined by our original band mate for the shows. 

In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming to an end and I made a decision to force my group on stage for an additional set, bad move. The crowd responded but the AR's and promoters were not pleased. The representatives of major record labels in attendance weren't happy either. When we returned to Orlando, I slowly disbanded the group, producing solo songs for those who were serious but no longer holding the hands of grown men with too many felonies and vices.

While doing all of this I started writing. A poem of mine was published in a book “Quicksilver Under the Moon”. The poem was about my faith and deliverance prior to death “Yearning for the Light”. It was just an exercise, I wanted to give something to God, write something good. I was writing erotic stories and partnering with young female writers to write companion pieces to mine. I realized that everything I was using my talents for was serving this world and not the Lord. Writing that poem was a start to me serving God with my talents. I went on to promote, write, host and perform in a variety show featuring many artists I discovered or managed.

Hey, Cam! Interested in sharing your winning poem(s) here? BRH has hosted poetry from a lot of different people're welcome to contribute!

My grandmother fell ill and for three years I was dedicated to her health, care and finances. It was a very difficult yet rewarding time for me. The time spent alone with her was invaluable, lessons, wisdom, family recipes. The responsibility fell on my shoulders because my mother struggled to stay sober and most of our family lived up north. During this time of hardship and reflection I became more spiritual. I looked to God, and he offered me answers. I promised my grandmother that I would become a novelist and serve the Lord with my talents. When she passed and I took care of her final expenses I started my Quest to find my true voice.

Years later now, I understand that all that I did when I was younger prepared me for the valuable work God has for me to do today. I am proud to say that I am a leader at my home church, Quest Church! I attended, then was asked to become a member, later my wife and I became a Deacon and deaconess. I have since been elevated to Elder. Proud member of the Outreach Team, Mission Team, Event Team, I sit in on our Session Meetings and Council Meetings to help decide the direction of the church. I am heavily involved in our Food Distribution Ministry, loading and serving. We had a huge food drive yesterday, what a Blessing it was! Oh, the joy we receive when we give and serve. 

I will be taking to the podium in an hour at church to offer announcements about a celebration we are hosting next week to celebrate all of our first responders, law enforcement, fire fighters and medical professionals. Planning and organizing this event has truly been a joy. Our pastor trusts me to write, direct and usually perform in all of our skits and plays for Black History Month. 

I also play Peter in our Good Friday Presentation of “The Way of The Cross” depicting the crucifixion of Jesus and the events that surrounded it. As well, I am writing and directing our Christmas program and play this holiday season. It is a joy and a Blessing. It is a must that I serve God with what HE has Blessed me with. So grateful am I for the grace and mercy on my life, for the discernment the Lord has given me through my trials and the opportunity to serve HIM and HIS people. Now that I am doing what I am called to do, the Lord will grant me a greater platform.

Today's music industry is more cookie-cutter than ever and it is sad because the type of music they recycle over and over is filled with negative images and destructive behaviors. There is no more diversity and if you choose to offer a constructive message or heartfelt story in your music, you are not marketed or promoted the same. 

This is especially true with Urban Music. The “Conscious Rapper” offering his heart in his music is buried while the artist who follows the trend of negativity is elevated. This has been the case for decades now. When was the last time you heard a Hip Hop song on the radio offering a positive message or something we can grow from? There are many talented female artist that wish to share their life story or struggles but if she isn't talking about her body and all of the lewd things she can do with it, her record won't see the light of day. 

A young man sharing his struggles and solutions to his shared problems is no match for the tidal wave of “artists” encouraging kids to indulge in an immoral lifestyle, wasting every dime they earn (or take) and ingesting any and every substance that might get them high. Dreamville is a label that features many artists creating alternative urban music that feels good, offers lessons and provokes deep thought. Not all of their records are positive, sometimes they sing or rap about some of the same things, but they offer diversity in their music, and it is heartfelt. 

Instead of bombarding young people with the worst messages, why not allow them some variety in their chosen genre of music? Negativity sells and the bottom line is that it is always about the bottom line not the poison we serve to our youth.

Your words reminds me of a burden I have felt for a number of years--about the time that all of these reality shows started! It seems to me that there is no real guidance in promoting all of these programs that offer big bucks to the winner, while leaving out all of the wonderful talent that we had all seen. It has always seemed to me that this has created a false goal that should never really gather so many into thinking they can earn a spot in entertainment for any length of time... How I wish that the prizes would include scholarships to SCHOOLS or some other type of educational support...Being Rich really is not what I would want any child to strive for... Hey, I think you've written about that! Too!

And, in line with that, but also related to various stories in your other books, can you talk, I hope, freely and truthfully about how you feel about justice for Blacks as continuing to be spotlighted for anything and everything that could be called criminal in order to come after them--just because of race...

Things that bring you accolades and praise in youth often cause suffering in your adult life. Sex, a wonder filled joyous activity that you engage in as often and with as many partners preferably at the same time in youth, can be viewed as lewd and obscene acts in late adolescents. A childhood indiscretion is often an adult felony. 

Short and succinct...but I believe when you are talking to those young people you mention--for surely we are all children of the King--that you can tell it like it real words... Like in your books! Intriguing, but getting the point across...

From a reviewing standpoint, I've never been a fan of short stories. It is difficult to provide enough content to entice readers, while not covering the many topics that can be included in each story. I was therefore intrigued that you actually develop a theme under which your stories fit. I've already read A Mocking Tree... Each of the stories were fun to read--once I realized the title of the book... What I did was to include a definition of "mocking" to help explore the range of stories. So I was especially happy to see that in your latest book about irony, that you've added the definition up front to prepare your reader to read based upon your goal... Can you share about how you started "grouping" your stories. Was this your plan right from the beginning to publish topical stories?

Your suggestions and insight are invaluable to me; you always “get it”. 

Defining and setting a consistent theme are important when presenting a group of writings. There has to be a clear topic or purpose for them being published in the same book. With the “Mocking Tree” the focus was suspense, in each of the stories. A definition of mocking or to mock would have been helpful. That is why I offered the definition of irony for “Ironies”. “Restless for Retribution” was a series of Tales of Pine Hills. Writing short stories offers me great challenges when trying to offer a lesson or instructional tale in a limited space. It has helped me develop as a writer, saying more with less words. The goal is always to increase readership and help people to rediscover their love for literature. Everyone loves a great story, unfortunately people usually don't want to read it anymore, they want it spoon fed to them audibly and visually. My greatest joy is when someone tells me that they never read for enjoyment but one of my stories captured their interest and held it to the end of the story. This is why I write short stories of several pages and then others that are no more than a page or two. If I offer them a moving experience in less than twenty minutes of reading, it is highly likely that they will read another story that appeals to them in theme and tone. 

Cam will be visiting one more day, tomorrow, with his thoughts on writing... Do plan on stopping by!

God Bless,