How to Win The War Between Good and Evil

No matter where you live, people may come for you in the night.

One unavoidable consequence of living in a free society based on fundamental, "unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is that some use their freedom for death, tyranny and the pursuit of dread. A free nation does not allow for freedom from risk, injury or annihilation. Human nature's dark motives inevitably seep into our lives, whether through totalitarian governments in a closed system or through corruption, injustice, or random violence within nations of cherished freedoms.

Free people and slaves, neither know safety.

The story of humanity is filled with men who come in the night. Families, mothers, fathers, and children, have witnessed the killers of dreams in all generations. It is one of our constants. We terrorize and kill each other. No matter how civilized, evolved or advanced we become, hatred peers in our windows, jealous of our comfort, made vigilant by growing contempt.

Loathsome motives never rest, nor soften, nor blink. They remain woven throughout the delicate fabric of this vulnerable global community. Advanced science, communications, government cooperation and commerce have unintentionally conspired in providing us with the sense that we have moved beyond chapters filled with senseless slaughter. We believe this not because it is true, but because we want it to be true. We want peace in our time because its possibility seems finally within our reach.

Perhaps it is. But perhaps, we are farther from it than ever before.

In roughly the past century, the same human endeavors that carried us to new levels of knowledge, comprehension and understanding also gave evil the diabolical tools to destroy lives, even millions of them, at a whim. Higher levels of technology do not equate to higher levels of wisdom or compassion, only to higher levels of ability, both wondrous and insane.

Yes, we live in times of war. But we always have. The relentless, exhausting battle between good and evil lies deep within our mind’s programming, with new versions and updates uploaded all too often.

Defeating the enemy will not win the war between good and evil. First, we must defeat ourselves. We must win over our own darkness and cast off the shroud of fright and ignorance thrust upon us by those who long for a hopeless world of despair.

We cannot continue to live under their morbid dictates or be defined by those who seek to end all the possibilities of today and golden promises of tomorrow. Instead we must reject the fear and hatred of our enemies. In the face of all threats, with gladness and gratitude, we must sacrifice, serve and save. We must go to places we dared not go before, places of risk, places of turmoil, places of suffering. We must go and be far more than “good” to win this immutable struggle. We must rise now and do the hard things, the brave things, the great things.

We stand at the precipice. Bloodshed floods the valley below and far beyond the horizon. To stop it, to win, we must make this a new kind of war, one not of good versus evil, but of our vast greatness versus evil.

"If You Smell Something, Say Something." Jon Stewart Passes The Baton To Us

Just before Jon Stewart signed off The Daily Show for the last time, he gave us a little instruction. It's already known as "The Bullshit Speech."

Here is what he said . . .

"Bullshit is everywhere.

There is very little you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bullshit, not all of it bad. General day-to-day free ranch is often necessary, or at the very least innocuous: 'Oh, what a beautiful baby. I'm sure he'll grow into that head.'

That kind of bullshit in many ways provides important social contract fertilizer, that keeps people from making each other cry all day.

But then there's the more pernicious bullshit, your premeditated institutional bullshit designed to obscure and distract.

Designed by whom? The bullshit talkers. This bullshit comes in three basic flavors. One: making bad things sound like good things. 'Organic all-natural cupcakes.' Because 'Factory Made Sugar Oatmeal Balls' doesn't sell. 'Patriot Act,' because 'Are You Scared Enough To Let Me Look At All Your Phone Records Act,' doesn't sell.

Whenever something is titled 'freedom,' 'fairness,' 'family,' 'health,' and 'America,' take a good long sniff. Chances are it's been manufactured in a facilitate that may contain traces of bullshit.

Number two, the second way, hiding the bad things under mountains of bullshit. Complexity, you know, 'I would love to download Drizzy's latest Meek Mill Diss.' - Everyone promised me that that made sense. - 'But I'm not really interested right now in reading Tolstoy's Itunes agreement, so i'll just click "agree" even if it grants Apple prima nocta with my spouse.'

Here's another one. Simply put, banks shouldn't be able to bet your pension money on red. Bullshitly put, it's, hey, this, Dodd-Frank. Hey, a handful of billionaires can't buy our elections, right? Of course, not. They can only pour unlimited anonymous cash into 501-c4 if 50% is the voted to issue to education otherwise they'd have to 501c6 it or funnel it openly through a non-campaign coordinating SuperPac with a quarter . . .  'I think they're asleep now. We can sneak out.'

And finally, finally it's the bullshit of infinite possibility. These bullshitters cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry. 'We can't do anything because we don't yet know everything. We cannot take action on climate change until everyone in the world agrees gay marriage vaccines won't cause our children to marry goats who are going to come for our guns. Until then, I say teach the controversy.'

Now, the good news is this, bullshitters have gotten pretty lazy. And their work is easily detected. And looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time, like an I Spy of bullshit.

So I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullshit, is vigilance.

So if you smell something, say something."

For Sale: Schoolgirls in Japan

Japan’s obsession with "JK" culture has taken a dark turn, with schoolgirls now offering themselves for “dates” with adult men. The US State Department flagged "Jyoshi Kousei" (literally "female high [school] student") or "JK" as fronts for commercial sex run by sophisticated criminal networks. This video reveals what happens behind closed doors, where schoolgirls involved in the rent-a-date industry reveal how they’ve been coerced into human trafficking.

"This problem won't be solved unless the adults who buy and sell disappear." 

Here's what the State Department said, " In a recent trend called joshi-kosei osanpo, also known as “high school walking,” girls are offered money to accompany men on walks, in cafes, or to hotels, and engage in commercial sex. Sophisticated and organized prostitution networks target vulnerable Japanese women and girls in public areas such as subways, popular youth hangouts, schools, and online; some of these women and girls become trafficking victims. Japanese men continue to be a significant source of demand for child sex tourism in Southeast Asia and, to a lesser extent, Mongolia."

For Sale: 50 State Legislatures

That's when ALEC - American Legislative Exchange Council - has its 42nd Annual meeting at which corporations and their lobbyists give prepared, written legislation to state legislators from across America. With the money from these lobbyists in their pockets, our state legislators return home with the corporate prepared legislation and create laws.

ALEC, the non-profit, corporate-funded organization that develops what it calls, “model legislation,” historically worked off radar. Thankfully, ALEC is now the subject of investigations and inquiries by several media outlets and the Bill Moyers' documentary “United States of ALEC.” It has also been shunned by major corporations (from to Wal-Mart) that previously paid for its initiatives. And as ALEC gathers its corporate and legislative “members” in SanDiego for their 42nd annual meeting, thousands of people are gathering in protest.

If you think ALEC has no particular political agenda, take a look at their list of Annual Speakers.

However, ALEC remains a defining force in statehouses throughout America. One report identified 466 ALEC bills that were introduced during in state legislatures during 2013 sessions. 

Today, ALEC remains an enormously powerful player in local American politics. Its influence is difficult to measure simply because the money it spreads to your elected officials pays for its own anonymity. No one involved wants you to know what is happening at these closed meetings, meetings at which your state laws are being written.

Fortunately, some state legislators propose that ALEC be required to follow existing lobbying laws, since they are quite obviously advancing the agendas of powerful, well funded special interests. In fact, the group’s 300-strong corporate members include some of the most high-profile in America: among them AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, UPS, Pfizer, Bayer, Verizon, and Koch Industries. “When a company needs a state bill passed,”writes Bloomberg Businessweek, “the American Legislative Exchange Council can get it done.”

Each state has "chairs" who represent ALEC. These leadership positions are held jointly by legislators and corporation representatives. Here is a list of "chairs" in your state.

Backpage's Answer to Credit Card Companies? Free "Adult" Ads For Everyone

Crime finds a way.

"Backpage is ballsy." That was the text I received this morning from "Marie," a working prostitute who is one of the women I interviewed for my book, "The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America." Like many of her brief texts, I didn't quite understand what she was talking about. I replied with a simple "?"

Her response was ecstatic. "Backpage isn't charging me anything to post ads anymore! Woohoo!"

Recently, Visa, Master Card and Amerincan Express each barred its credit cards from being used to pay for "Adult" ads on Backpage.comthe online classified-ad company that's become the center of a hard-fought battleground against human traffickingThe decision followed a request from Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Thomas Dart who said the site is used by sex traffickers. 

In response, has stopped charging users to post ads in its "adult" section all together. Until now, users could post free ads elsewhere on the site, but paid fees for promotions in the "adult" section, which receives thousands of ads for "escorts" every few minutes. This is the section where "Marie" posts her ads every day. 

On July 1, 2015, when Visa became the last major credit card company to bar its users from posting "Escort" ads, human rights advocates were cheering. "We commend these credit card companies for making it more challenging for traffickers to profit off of the exploitation of people," said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, a Washington-based anti-trafficking group.

In urging the credit card companies to refuse processing payments, Sheriff Dart wrote, "We have objectively found (sites like Backpage) promote prostitution and facilitate online sex trafficking. Institutions such as yours have the moral, social and legal right to step up on this pervasive problem and make a fundamental and everlasting difference."

But then made a simple determination: since no one can pay for "Adult" ads, why charge for them?

At this point, no one knows if will create a new way for users to post "Escort" ads. Some have suggested Backpage will give a boost to non-government, non-bank affiliated, web-based currencies like Bitcoin. One thing is certain, "Adult" ads account for a huge portion of income. Without them it could lose a substantial amount of traffic and advertising revenue. 

In an email to many of its registered users, hinted that the free adult postings may be temporary. "We understand some users have had difficulty posting over the last few days," said the email. "Sign up for a free account and enjoy posting free ads until the payment issues are resolved." Non-registered users received a similar email, this one instructing them to register for a free account using the promo code "FREESPEECH."

"Marie's" view on the issue is diabolically simple. "I pay Backpage. The johns pay me. I pay my dealer. Why are people f____ing with that?"

Coming to Grips With the "Lyme Dome"

This is the South Western edge of the "Lyme Dome," in Old Lyme, Connecticut. If you want to find the rest of this rock, you'll have to go to Africa.
It all started a few hundred million years ago when six continents crammed together to form Connecticut. With "Game Of Thrones" names like Avalonia, Gander and the enormous supercontinent, Pangea, these land masses eventually broke apart and moved away from each other. But, like that shirt you left in your ex's closet and the framed photo of the two of you in Fiji that's buried at the bottom of a box in your basement, each left something behind with the other.
The "Lyme Dome" was formed when Gander collided with Avalonia. Gander, through no fault of its own, was pushed beneath Avalonia. (I want to be clear on this. It had nothing to do with being weak. Maybe Gander was trying to allow Avalonia to discover itself and flourish.) This vertical piling of rock created the "Dome," whose core is now located in the village of Old Lyme.
When the continents began drifting apart (which can happen even after you spend two months of your salary in Fiji) Avalonia and Gander were both severed, with parts of each shifting east to form the European and African continents . . . while the rest of us got left behind (but not abandoned, according to my therapist) in North America.
Today, the majority of the Gander rocks that form the "Lyme Dome" in southeastern Connecticut, like the one pictured here, are found in Morocco and other parts of Africa.

After 400 million years, I guess I should let it go.