Where Do We Stand

A crime is a crime. Government out of control hurting the people is a CRIME, specifically IN AMERICA (as a world leader). The power was given to the people to ensure Government does not take its absolute power and corrupt absolutely (Sir Acton).

The other day someone posted that Antifa, the radicalized group, was going to steal the yellow jacket as their newest protest.

Upon looking into the what the yellow jacket protesters are saying (video), the message is people are sick and tired of so many years of corruption by the government serving only the few and ignoring the people. In other countries this would be seen in one way or another as this protest has spread to other countries.

The answer is not violence. Be smarter than that. The goal is proactive implementation.

Here in America this is seen in the escalation to epidemic proportions of health, loss of jobs, drugs and trafficked children used as sex slaves. Millions have been spent and still our numbers are soaring, until the last couple years. Major safeguards are being initiated, laws/initiative/task forces implemented, and criminals being taken down.

The use of government agency for political and financial gain is criminal. The suppression of REAL HELP for the people for personal or financial gain is criminal.

There was a shift in news reporting in the last 24 hours. Issues must stop being spun, marginalized and caught in the politics and personalities. We must deal with principals and not just personalities. The principals as defined by the laws of the lands. If the laws are wrong, then address changing the laws. Ignoring them is not an option in a just society. The focus much change to unjust laws. The upset is that crimes are being exposed, and people do not want to be caught in the middle of the spot light on the criminal mess.

The parts of the government for years pretend, with their sleight of hand, to say they help, while the kids, parents, people are sickened, weakened, kidnapped legally, trafficked, abused, harmed, erased and killed.

This is shown through the numbers of across the board in every industry the systemic government has their hands in. They want to prove their intervention is effective by skewing the numbers in their favor and burying the harm being done. 

One example is the number of foster kids trafficked is alarming and most of them are affiliated with foster care, yet most Americans turn a blind eye until it happens to them or someone they love.

The current criminal cases of state workers, court professionals and foster parents have been found to be abusing kids. These kids have feed the sex slave trade for decades. And many of those involved in child protection have sworn an oath of office to protect and serve. They are now, since the election Trump, been exposed and taken down. More and more crimes of missing kids, abusing kids, trafficking kids and killing kids is coming out in the news. There is more to the story and being able to connect the dots is becoming closer and closer.

The news is now filled with missing kids, trafficked kids, opioids killing kids, and so much devastation on the family. This is not new information. It’s just now being reported, and yes, the numbers have escalated. This has been a silenced. The escalation of public awareness started 2 years ago with the arrests consistently of trafficking and drug related crimes.

This last week there has been an increase of awareness of the common actions of courts locking up the trafficked kids now adults for crimes of stopping their abusers. The investigators have labeled these kids and adult survivors as harming or killing another individual, instead of defensive action to escape trafficking. When the trafficked fight back against their abusers, they have been jailed for long sentences by the courts. What messages does that send to kids and now adults trapped by their abusers: The criminals in this situation remain free. WHY? The traffickers and their Johns who are paying for sex abuse remain free, must have some warped protections hidden from the law. This is being exposed: lawyers, judges, state workers and other politicians that have benefited from this continuing industry. 
Released by DOJ December 2018. NY Welfare System Sting.

Here in Northern Virginia this is changing. All the agencies around Northern Virginia started to see a spike in local concerns and started talking to each other and started collaborating. Then they started task forces, off the books by stretching the current budgets. This ended up a two year pilot program put on by CNA and their panel reported the local results (CNA Panel Discussion: Trafficked Children in the U.S.) Across the country real criminals are being taken down right and left, exposed, and new ways to identify and deal with these situations are being taught.

This is changing. The trafficked kids are getting help (JustAskPrevention.org & HTINOVA.com). The Northern Virginia pilot program is having very positive effects. Fauquier’s commitment to education and education is excellent as evidenced by the 3 recent public community town hall meetings, the new programs coming into the schools, the training of first responders and the new town hall meeting in the new year.

The shift is happening where the kids that are victimized are identified, protected and getting help. Law enforcement and first responders are being trained to identify and work with victims and go after the real criminals. The laws are shifting to take down those hurting children. The long-standing networks that have systemically removed kids to feed this industry here in America with our own American kids while at home before being taken is finally being addressed seriously.

This continues in other areas, until we identify the damage and start implementing new ways to turn this around.

The schools have been so focused on testing scores to prove they are effective by reaching bench marks, are failing to teach kids to want to learn, to be educated and to be empowered. Thus, the rise of victims dependent on the state.

The medical system focused on protocols of test results and documented interventions of medication, surgery or behavioral modification, has fallen short since there are increasing numbers of chronic disease and other epidemics making us a very sick nation.

The legal system has its hands tied and is working outside the constitution and rule of law. All lines have been blurred. Guilt with no way to protect from false allegations, sanctuary cities protecting criminals, open borders with attacks on ICE doing their job taking down illegal crossings and criminals coming into our country to do harm.

The government has grown, and cannot be blamed. The government is a system filled with people. Some very good working very hard to make this world a better place, and then others abusing the loopholes and dark places to push their own agendas to benefit from the system. 

Between 1837 and 1869 he was known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The government is not here to resolve all the worlds problems or just give benefits to everyone. The government is a system there to serve, protect and allow the people to live in this representative republic function to its best ability. The dark blurred lines harm people, thus our forefathers established checks and balances to ensure the effort to prevent corruption. This is a process, and everyone must be diligent in their dedication to ensure our governmental system functions well and keep corruption at bay.

The good old fashion ideals of transparency, integrity, responsibility and plain old hard work are needed. Rolling up our own sleeves and dedicating ourselves to the projects we believe in. The idea that government must provide and pay for everything is the dangerous big government that will ultimately corrupt causing more harm than good. Victimization is the industry of this bloated government seeking to keep everyone sucking on the corrupt teat of the system.

STEP UP – night now locally with any of the issues that speak to you. Focus on positive action to fix the concerns we are facing. Work with your neighbors. Stop fighting the political spin. If you don’t agree with the current politics, then vote to change it at the next election. Right now, do what you can to improve your immediate community. The focus on Integrity, transparency, responsibility and hard work. Rights and freedom must be for all people, not just your group. 

Let’s stop fighting each other, and work together to find solutions to protect ALL PEOPLE, not just one group or another.

The yellow jackets are demanding that the people are heard and that the government is there for the best interests of the people, not the agendas of the few. The government is made up of people. Therefore, it should not protect and serve a handful of people with personal agendas and interests while they harm another group. Many try to stay out of the way and ignore the greater concerns to prevent involvement or harm heading their way. 

A crime is a crime. I support the President and all the agencies in the government that are not committing crimes against the people, the children and families. I support the CLEAN UP by the FIXER to put the brakes on this mucked up system.

The 60-year-old “ISM” video shows how people jump on the bad bandwagon for all the right reasons. Their shortsightedness or massive need to fix things, only makes it worse by drinking the ISM juice.

The hate feeds the corrupt government out of fear.

The positive actions to make things better by deflating the corruption and empowering the people. 

Each and every one of us want the freedom to live a good life, and each of us need not steal that from another to get it. That means integrity and responsibility to ensure our freedom and the freedoms of others. That means taking down the criminals that cross the line hurting and using others for their own gains.

See beyond all the spin.

This boldness in statement is dedicated to community, collaboration and action! Our point is to engage and provoke commitment to positive action in our country for a better and more empowered future.

Loophole of Ripping Children Out of Parents Arms (Crisis in American Families Part 1)

THE SOUND BITE THAT HURTS

The recent news this summer of 2018 set off alarms all around the country regarding 2000 “children being ripped from the arms of parents”, and the 200 children still trying to be returned.  In the news you have heard much about the “loopholes” that have let this happen.  You have heard the hate filled comments on both sides of the fense.  There is spin in every direction about this one, and this blog is not going there.

THE PROBLEM BEHIND THE SOUND BITE

THE SHOCKING TRUTH about Children being ripped from Parents arms

Where I am going is the concern regarding the numbers quoted numbers of today – 750 children per day beging taken from American Families in Family Courts.  To include the statements that over the last 30 years there have been 22 million children taken from American Homes.  Everyone wants to protect children and want to ensure they are not in harms way (unless they are a mad with some serious mental health issues).

Even the Supreme Court has ruled that it has to be assumed that Parents will act in the best interests of their children, unless proven incapable.  This is why we have a constitution and the protections under that constitution to ensure that everyone is protected in court from all involved.

The problem that has surfaced in the last decade is that 1 out of 17 children that are taken are at seriuos risk of harm and abuse.  The rest are victims of a system that has failed our American Families.  Research has shown that children are the healthiest and the most successful when they are raised by both parents.  Yet the courts do not believe in 50/50.  Right there the situation is set up to who is the best parent and who is not.

PARENTS’RIGHTS.ORG is dedicated to protecting children by empowering parents.  In there article on The Corrupt Business of CPS – Working with over 300 CPS cases Nancy Schaefer, Georgia State Senate, 50th District (revised September 25, 2008)  conclusion is that “there is no responsibility and no accountability in Child Protective Services.”  The system has loopholes that have increased the problem and increased the numbers across the board since Walter Mondell (1974) and later Bill (& Hillary) Clinton (1997) Family Act strips parents of any rights of protection (like a terrorist) allowing the state to proceed with intervention plans of standard of care.  This means anyone, that does not follow their predefined plan of what should be done, is at risk of losing their children.

IMPACT NEWS‘ Article 2018 – 40% of American Families are at Risk reports “A stunning number of American children are subjected to at least one Child Protective Services investigation by the time they reach 18 years old. According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, almost 4 out of every 10 American children will experience some kind of social worker investigation into allegations of child abuse or maltreatment at some point in their childhood. (Source.)”  There is a large gap between the beginning of the crisis (health issues, proverty, conflict, and other crises) and when these families end up in front of the State in court.

ERASING FAMILY is “a movie that investigates family bond obstruction from multiple perspectives: Children whose moms or dads have been erased from their lives and siblings who can’t see each other. Part emotional roller coaster, part investigative expose, we follow the money to expose why loving moms and dads are erased from their kid’s lives by divorce courts. …The film will show how programs that encourage mediation and shared parenting which will prevent future childhood trauma, making divorce and separation less costly both financially and emotionally.” The complicated stories just looking for safe answers.

MEDICAL KIDNAP reports in their blog… – “Seventy-five percent of children being removed from their homes is due to “neglect.” But are children really being neglected, or is it the “opinions” of social workers that these children were being deprived intentionally of necessities of “adequate” food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision, when in fact, the family was just poor?”  The numbers are just shocking in this detaled report.

In the last 25 years we have learned how damaging Traumatic Abuse in childhood can be into Adulthood (and burden that falls on the state to carefore these damage children through their lives).  Thus, the state devised a system to effect children at risk into a standard of care that should result in declining numbers.  The problem continued when the statistics from the foster care system, so they put in place a speedy process to ensure removal of children into new adopted homes to bypass the trauma by securing the children.  Medication is used in over 50% of these cases.  Incentatives to the agencies, the professionals, the foster parents, the services and the adoptive parents to make options more successful in early intervention of children at risk.  The escalation of state services for more workers, more options and more money is a failing system that cost a tremendous amount of money and the results across the board continue to rise.

This is epidemic, and something has to be done.

ENCOMPASS INTEGRATED HEALTH DEDICATION

Life is going to happen.  When families can not find a solution to any problem that comes up, they get trapped in a spiral until we end up in crisis.  The current options when a crisis is to push through it hoping things inprove.  The truth is many times everything escalates.  The issue can be in any area of life to any class of American family: health concerns, special needs, loss of income, divorce or death, things tend to just get worse.  How long can we really go before we are in utter crisis? The old saying how many months until we would be homeless – 3, 6 or 2 years?  Some of these issues go on for 6 plus with no options or resolution before they end up in court.  A government social program will not resolve these issues.

Our goal is to develop resources, tools and referrals where families, as problems start to come up, find better solutions.

A healthy community is made up of healthy families.  Thus when a family has a problem, they need resources to find the best solutions as soon as possible.    Now if there is not a stepping stone in help, the situation escalates where the only option in the current system is to divide the family to produce what they call positive outcomes.  The real damage from this process is still unknown, and will come out in the next decade.

The old system does not work, and has failed families.  The new solution will be families working together with new innovative ways to provide the resources to navigate the different concerns facing families. 

We see the best option is to empower families during crisis to provide a path back to Integrated Health.

CALL TO ACTION

Parents have to avoid the HELL of having children ripped from their arms.  The LOOPHOLES have to be closed.  New bridges for families are required to resolve these concerns.  Hope it does not happen to you as a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or a friend.  Truly it is hell.  Thus, all the pilot programs and parents working on new solutions will find the answer they wish they had found when it happened to them. 

Solutions for Life Fallout – Anxiety & Panic in the Brain

10 YEARS TO DIAGNOSE!

Today mental health concerns take about 10 years to diagnose due short comings in our culture.  Public awareness has a fear of being labeled and many misconceptions around Mental Health.  There is a lack of education for the general population to understand and support Mental Health concerns.  The “Red Flags” for specific concerns are not part of the cultural knowledge, and patients fail to report early warning signs to their regular doctors.  Further the push to medicate for every symptom has left stacked medication side effects complicating what caused what, and how the best way to proceed forward.

With most things early intervention and prevention are your best options.  Without a place to dialogue about private concerns people keep many things to themselves or do not know what to share.   During this time there is confusion, denial, upset, guilt, blame and so any other concerns and fall out from delayed interventions.

The truth is we do have the power to educate ourselves, to support educating others and to build teams of resources that understand red flags for early intervention and prevention.

There are new ways to identify concerns early, and address issues before they become crisis.  Mental Health is changing.  Dr Amen is part of that change.  We are determined to be part of the process to coach options and build teams to make this transition to a more empowered approach to Integrated Health.

THE PLAN:  Build a team that works with you and find solutions for your life.

STRATEGIC ADVOCATES FOR HEALTH

The future of Integrated Health care is a patient centered team approach addressing all areas of life.  We are focused to this end.  This is why it is so very important to have a team that knows:

  • who you are,
  • your history,
  • your lifestyle,
  • your genetics,
  • your family,
  • your life trials,
  • your priorities,
  • what make you, who you are!

STRATEGIC REFERRED PARTNERS 

Dr Amen’s AMEN CLINICS has taken the hundred of thousands images of the brain to understand how the brain was physically working in regards to different diagnoses.  He began to establish patterns of brain activities and could put these patterns into different groups to help identify core issues and how to treat the issues more effectively.  Dr. Amen can not diagnose from his images, yet this process allows this to be part of the diagnostic testing to determine a patients diagnosis and ultimately the treatment plan for the patient.

This is revolutionary and empowering for so many patients.  These are real options where before it was throwing darts in the dark “ruling out” one disorder over another until finally a diagnosis is achieved.

Dr Amen’s approach to Panic and Anxiety is spelled out in his blog PANIC DISORDER TREATMENT (July 6, 2018).

THE BEST HOLISTIC OPTIONS FOR CORE ISSUES

Further, the current model of medicine focuses on alleviating health behaviors, concerns and pains through chemical control prescribing the drug of choice to provide the patient relief.  The concern is side effects, stacking of drugs and long term effects on patients that cause complex health issues down the road.

Thus, looking at core issues and simple holistic approaches encompassing all the possible options to ensure the best and easiest to address the bottomline concerns and restoring wellness.

An Intimate Chat About Depression & Anxiety with Dr. Daniel Amen & Tana Amen

EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF DR. AMEN:

“If you find ANTs are ruining your life and the panic attacks never seem to go away, Dr. Daniel Amen is considered a maverick in his field by reviewing brain scans to help treat psychological disorders. While most psychiatrists address symptoms, Amen Clinics seeks instead to find the root cause of your problem.

When enrolling with our clinic to treat your anxiety or depression, we first assess you by taking the following steps:

● We will begin by taking the time to explore your specific biological, psychological, social and spiritual influences.
● Next, we will perform neuropsychological tests to measure various aspects of your brain function.
● Then, we will perform two brain SPECT scans: one at rest and one during concentration
● Finally, we will order lab tests to rule out nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, toxicity, etc.—if deemed necessary”

EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO HELP WITH PANIC:

“What is the most effective treatment for panic disorder?

First of all, when you sense a panic attack is about to strike, follow these steps to take back control.

1. Stop and take three slow, deep breaths. Breathing quickly and from your upper chest triggers an adrenaline response when you instead need to breathe diaphragmatically.

2. Do not leave the area unless you are in real danger. To break your panic attack, you should stay and overcome your initial adrenaline reaction, showing yourself there is no reason to “fight or flight.”

3. Break your tunnel vision. When your fear sets in, you will quickly have tunnel vision and this will cause you to feel trapped. By looking slowly from side to side, you become aware of your surroundings and can begin reasoning that there is no danger.

4. Think of warming images and warm your hands. A visual cue can very strongly bring your focus off of any anxious thoughts you may have, so consider looking at pictures on your phone. Running your hands under warm water offers an immediate relaxation response.

5. Speak out loud in complete sentences. This will prevent you from hyperventilating and initially you will speak with short, blunt words, but as you gain control, you will also be able to express your emotions accurately.”

EVERYONE BUYS, EVEN IF THEY RENT!

Understandably, home ownership is daunting to many people.  For MOST people, writing a rent check is like hitting the Snooze button on homelessness.  Fear of equity stability, repairs, flooding or whatnot often keep people tithing to the Landlord.  However, what very few people realize is, even if they Rent, they are Actually Buying (just, not for themselves—for their LANDLORD!).  It is extremely rare to find a monthly rent that is Lower than the landlords mortgage.  Why else would one own rental property? 

Our current market is interestingly unique.  There is precious little inventory available, making competition for rentals fierce.  Often, it’s harder to Rent a home, than it is to Buy a home.  Think of it this way: When one sells a home, unless there are very unusual extenuating circumstances, the seller cares very little about who buys the home.  The deal is consummated, and the parties part company.  However, in a rental situation (especially when inventory is so tight), the landlord exercises greater and greater discretion as to who they will accept.  The rental contract is more like getting married, AND divorced, simultaneously!  The terms of occupancy must be spelled out, as do the terms of terminating the relationship. 

What many renters Don’t realize is, a LOT more of them qualify to Purchase.  There are new programs from VHDA (Virginia Housing Development Authority) and USDA (yes, That USDA!) that promote home ownership in rural parts of Virginia.  Also, there are VA and FHA loans that afford up to 103% of the purchase price, as well as buyers subsidies, that make no-money-down and moving-expense-free buying a reality. 

Debbie and I are offering VHDA-sponsored Homebuyer Classes beginning the end of April.  These classes feature six areas of home buying that often mystify and intimidate the first time buyer.  We will have professionals speak on the topics of

·         Personal Finance: how to most efficiently budget, spend, and save,

·         Credit and Credit Reporting: how to understand, contest, and improve your credit scores,

·         Working with a Lender: Fair Housing, and escrow and PITI (Principle, Interest, Tax, and Insurance)

·         The Role of the Real Estate Agent:  Buyer/Broker Agreements, Negotiating and Marketing

·         Home Inspections: “Life as a Homeowner”, How to find a qualified Inspector, Home Maintenance, and

·         Loan Closing: Preparing for the Closing Table, Closing Disclosures, and FORCLOSURE Prevention!

Because participants and graduates of this class realize a 33% reduction in over-ninety-day delinquencies, and FIFTY percent fewer foreclosures, as well as increased resale values due to greater knowledge on home care, some loans require participation in this class for loan approval.  Regardless, all banks look very favorably toward applicants that have taken this free class.  Watch this Space for information on scheduling! 

Lastly, if you have considered SELLING your home, or know anyone who IS considering selling, Debbie and I would be Most Beholden if you would reach out to us!  Allow us to put our brokerage’s 100+ cumulative years’ experience to work for you, utilizing the most modern and innovative marketing techniques in the industry!   

Our economy is booming, which is a mixed blessing for home owners.  First off, it’s SPRING, and houses are going to sell Very quickly this time of year.  The second advantage is, due to the inventory scarcity, it is currently very much a Sellers’ market.  If you have considered Upsizing or Downsizing, now may be the best time, because home values are up, but Third, the Fed has not YET adjusted the interest rates.  Houses sell FAST in this market, and at this time of year.  Acting soon may both realize current highs in the resale prices, while also capitalizing on currently historically low interest rates.  Consider: A $400,000 mortgage, at current 4.27%, equals both a monthly payment of $1,972, and a total repayment of $710,080 over the life of the loan.  Were the fed to raise the interest rate one point, that same $400,000 mortgage would go up to $2,214 a month, with a total repayment of $796,958! 

Debbie and I would Love to work with clients to find the right Rental unit, offer they our VHDA-sponsored Home Buying Course, assist them with finding your Dream home to Purchase, or find a Buyer for their current home! We are local to the Virginia Piedmont, Very Motivated, and have the horsepower to back it up! 

Beware of Resisting for the Sake of Resistance!

What makes living in Fauquier County special?  Why here, rather than Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford, perhaps Warren, Clark or even Culpeper (all fine counties, in their own regard)?  It’s a special blend of rural Piedmont, combined with culture and proximity.  What our county offers, and what we desire or require as a society, is a fine balance of development vs. conservation.  

Way back in prehistory, around about the early 1980’s, a Local Hero by the name of Till Hazel owned a bit of land on which he wanted to exercise his rights to develop.  It’s what he did.  Some say it’s in his blood.  This land was in the bucolic backwater of Gainesville.  At the time, the only thing there was an old floundering iron foundry and a handful of gas stations.  His parcel was adjacent to property that backed up to the Manassas Battlefield.  The time was right, the stars aligned, awareness came along and BANG!  Protesting his audacity became Hip.  Chic!  One was in the “In” crowd if they hosted benefit balls and protest lines.  Editorials flew like moths on an August night.  Socialites rallied to the defense of the Proud Memory of the United States Civil War (ironic, now, innit?).  Enough bad press was created to motivate the United States Government to step in and perform the theretofore unprecedented (and, as exercised, completely unconstitutional) act of seizing his land through Imminent Domain.  I put it to YOU; How many of you have enjoyed the lovingly preserved piece of battlefield known as Stuart’s Hill?  How many of you even know where it is, or that it exists?  

Yeah!, Victory!  Today, the Eternal Protection of our Heritage is damn near palpable, as one drives through Atlas Walk, to the Target, the Best Buy, the Lowes Hardware, to any one of the thirty or more Fine Dining establishments, perhaps to the Multiplex.  Or, maybe one zooms past all the aforementioned Progress and Development, over the eight lanes of Flyover, en-rout to the OTHER Multiplex, and Duluth Trading, perhaps to dine at Pizzeria Uno and a Golden Corral (Yum!), at Parkland Center, a shopping center actually CARVED from the Real Battlefield.  Aren’t we all so glad we railed and fought and defended the Honor and Memory of our Heritage??  

Let’s revisit an incident a few years later.  Same area.  Same argument.  This time, Disney sniffs around the prospect of bringing grand, first-class commercial development.  Hundreds of construction jobs, hundreds of perpetual jobs.  Good, secure, retirement-fund sort of jobs.  And people went ballistic.  “How DARE Disney even Propose to build an amusement park (An AMUSEMENT Park!!??) near our Hallowed Grounds of the Battlefields!!  How DARE they even suggest such a thing?!  They must be STOPPED!!  We must protect our Battlefields!! Just last month, Fauquier County buried one of it’s Favorite Sons, a Philanthropist and Conservationist who’s crowning achievement was the promotion of the Piedmont Environmental Council.  He was instrumental in the protection and conservation of the precious Heritage lands Disney was coveting.  

Well, due to the relentless media black coverage and endless hyperbole, Disney concluded that shoving prosperity and security across the table at an unwelcoming community wasn’t worth the bad publicity worldwide.  So they pulled out.  Again, “Yay!!” Victory for the “Conservationists”!!  Let’s remember that victory, as we sit in yet more bumper to bumper traffic.  The entirety of Dominion Valley sits completely, perfectly in the exact same footprint that Disney WAS going to occupy.  Aren’t WE proud of our efforts of Battlefield Preservation?!  Aren’t WE grand, having kept the commercial specter of Disney at bay?  Aren’t we glad we’ve kept that “Sprawl” from the doorstep of our precious Battlefield?  I wonder what the Late, Great Mr. Prince thought, as he drove past Dominion Valley.  Did he golf there?  Was he a member of the Club?  Was Dominion Valley REALLY the goal of all that Preservation of our Precious Battlefield?

Our county has, contrary to occasional belief, remained comparatively unscathed from this relentless urban sprawl.  This county does not know true, real, unmitigated sprawl of quarter acre lots across the horizon, far as the eye can see.  We have no Dale Cities, no Bristows, no Leesburgs, no Purcellvilles, no Centrevilles or Manassas Parks. 

There are things that we want for our county.  We want Libraries.  We want County-wide High Speed Internet.  We want spotless cell coverage.  Top-notch fire, rescue and police protection.  But we are rabidly protective of our rural nature.  How to achieve both?  How to receive revenue, but avoid the trappings of sprawling development? 

Revenue is a tricky thing.  It takes money to make money.  Consider this:  Let’s say we want to encourage industry.  We hear that Delphi Corporation wants to build and operate an automotive electronics plant in the Piedmont region.  Hypothetically, they are seeking a location for a one billion dollar factory.  They’ll employ 1700 people, and the county will realize a revenue stream of up to two hundred million dollars.  Sounds great!  Lots of employment, lots of revenue.  Alas, lots of families, lots of housing, lots of commuters, new schools, a new hospital, a fire house, shopping centers, and playgrounds and fast food and Starbucks and El Taco Bells.  Before you know it, the entire region becomes indistinguishable from Dulles Town Center (!).  Before you blink, that $200,000,000.00 is consumed and swallowed up in infrastructural support.  

A medium to large Data Center can easily represent a Billion Dollar investment.  The county Can realize construction jobs, real estate taxes, income taxes, and improvements to the surrounding infrastructure.  A Two Hundred Million dollar revenue steam is an easy realization from a billion dollar Data Center installation.  The Center will also improve local roads, power infrastructure, cooling water systems.  High Speed Internet naturally goes where Data Centers are.  Cellular communications infrastructure are automatically improved.  No, Data Centers do NOT employ many people in their continuing operation.  But that’s actually the point.  We receive the billion dollar installation, and two hundred million dollars in revenue, without having to provide the infrastructure that supports one thousand seven hundred families moving into an otherwise virgin area.  We may THEN take that revenue, improve our County Wide infrastructures, and we can THEN entertain Certain growth, Certain Select developments.  Imagine being able to exercise discretion and discrimination, being able to Elect and Chose which developments we Allow into our proximity! 

Yes, they are huge monolithic structures.  Some may object to them based entirely on their aesthetics.  Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but, if the LOOKS of a structure are Truly That much of a deal killer, the buildings could be mandated to look like Dairy Barns.  How the building is shaped, what color it is, is really irrelevant to the “ones and zeros” flowing into and out of the structure.    

But I beseech you all.  Please, PLEASE learn from Recent history.  For some reason, it seems our immediate reaction to any Development, Progress, Construction, or Innovation is Knee Jerk resistance.  Consider the public’s skepticism towards the innovative approaches to traffic control being proposed along Routs 15, 29, Broadview Avenue, and the Lord Fairfax interchange.  If it’s unfamiliar or new, we recoil in horror and doubt.  Believe me, if we summarily dismiss the prospect of “Clean” prosperity offered by Data Centers, we WILL suffer the eventual sprawl and congestion and housing and housing and housing and Burger Kings and Traffic and before you can BLINK, Fauquier County will become indistinguishable from Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford.  

And that’s not a Piedmont Horse Hunt Country I want to live in.  I’m a Realtor.  I could make a fortune peddling McMansions all across our county.  But at what cost, to what makes life here desirable in the first place?

When a Guilty Pleasure becomes a Public Nuisance

So, recently I drove down our bucolic and beautiful Crest Hill Road, for perhaps the five thousandth time.  Perhaps it was because it had been so long since I drove it in the middle of winter.  Perhaps it was because the VDOT had recently finished their aggressive mowing and trimming of the brush along the road.  Regardless, I was struck by the amazing, disgraceful, and disrespectful amount of litter along the road.  

Seeing all this litter brought back two very vivid memories of my youth.  The first, I was very young, perhaps five or six.  Mom and the five or six of us kids (often a revolving cast of characters) were driving home from Woodbridge to where we lived in Harbor View, near Occoquan.  My oldest brother nonchalantly tossed his soda can out the window.  My mother flipped her lid.  She stopped the car, and forced my then-twelve-year-old brother to not only pick up THAT soda can, but to walk in front of the car, with her flashers on, and pick up every piece of garbage he found for a quarter mile.  He was humiliated, and an impression was made on us all. 

Alas, the impression was deadened in me some years later by the effects of copious amounts of alcohol.  Fast forward to the spring of 1984.  Spring Break, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!  I, along with a bevy of high school friends, drove down in two cars.  One fantastic sunny early spring day, I was passenger in one car as we crept and crawled along A1A.  I upended my beer (yes, underage, yes, in a vehicle, YES, this was an entirely OTHER time), and casually dropped the can out the door.  Not three seconds later, the can smacked me in my head, and Very Large, gruff hands grabbed my shirt collar and lifted me out of the car!!  A burly face yelled in my rapidly sobering face, “LISTEN, Yankee!!  We BARELY tolerate you maggots down here At ALL!!  You litter in MY street again, and I’ll kick your punk ass all the way back to Virginia, where you Belong!!  Bravo, to my unknown hero!   

So, back in present day, and with a respect for not littering that has lasted to date, I determined to follow up and pursue the group that had ostensibly “Adopted” this section of roadway.  It was “Friends of Lake Athlone” (the lake around which we, and perhaps thirty other homes, lived).  After further inspection, I discovered the Friends of Lake Athlone had consisted of one elderly couple, who had retired to Florida some two years earlier!  I proposed to Debbie that we take that stretch of road over, contacted Warrenton VDOT, and put this ball in motion.  

The receptionist/organizer of the local Adopt A Highway program was very encouraging, and promised we could have a new sign installed after our second cleaning and servicing of the road.  We loaded up with reflective vests and some twenty orange trash bags, and were promptly met with relentless cold front after frigid air after light snow.  

This week, we were blessed with two glorious days, between bouts of sub teen zero temps and rain squalls.  We attacked the project, thinking we would perhaps complete half the road (one “Adopts” a two mile stretch).  After two days, we completed the first quarter mile of road, and are exhausted and sore everywhere.  While the remainder of the road is sprinkled with trash here and there, the first three quarters of a mile are right out of a third world country.  We gathered up EIGHT TRASH BAGS of garbage.  I learned a few things about human nature, and what I believe are motives for the horrible quantity of garbage right at the headland of Crest Hill.  

First, that there is a surprising similarity in the garbage.  This would indicate that either the same perpetrator is responsible for the garbage (a hefty achievement, tossing some ten CASES of beer out their window!!), or that we are rather predictable animals.  

Second, that the motive is secrecy.  Folks are stopping off at either McDonalds, 7-11, or Fosters on their way home, snatching up the guilty pleasure of their choice (hot dog, pizza, beer, burger, canned or fountain sodas, candy), scarfing them down in rabid desperation, then realizing even the trash, if left in their car, would betray them to their significant others or their families (“you’r CHEATING on your Diet??  You’re Diabetic!!”, or “you Promised you would quit drinking, or drinking and driving!!”)

Third, that familiarity breeds contempt.  We ignore and become contemptible of what we are around all the time, regardless of how beautiful it is.  

Forth, perhaps, is that once litter starts, it simply continues unabated and often accelerated.  I’m reminded of the old joke, “They never put up a ‘No Dumping’ sign, until it’s Too Late!!”  I’m afraid people just don’t think their wee tiny little contribution to the mess really matters or would even be noticed.  Also, I think (and HOPE) that, once cleaned, people will be more reluctant to BEGIN the process.  Who wants to be the First to cast that stone?  

Hopefully, in due course, we’ll find out that people are reluctant to litter on a Now Clean roadway.  At least, discouraged….

Our work on the road continues.  It will take Many days to complete our entire two mile stretch.  If you see us out on 647, Crest Hill Rd., tap the horn, wave, and know, We are Volunteers—NOT on Work Release!  😀    

Everybody Knew This Was Nowhere…..

Way back in 1969, Neil Young released a song and album titled “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”.  As the youngest member of a family growing up (at that time, in Woodbridge, then Haymarket, then ultimately Marshall in Northern Fauquier County), I heard that refrain sung, mumbled, grumbled, and shouted dozens of times.  There were Precious few attractions, restaurants, venues, and general overall “Things To DO” in Fauquier County then.  

Back in the early seventies and eighties, the Northern Virginia Piedmont was, frankly, Nowhere.  And that was a major appeal to my parents, and many other parents.   Much to the chagrin of so many adolescents, young adults, and teenagers.

Upon returning to Fauquier County as an adult, I realize the region has certainly Grown Up!  Contrast those languid, often boring summers and seemingly endless winters hibernating, with the amazing evolution of activities, attractions, events, venues, and entertainment the area offers today!  

These days, Virginia Gold Cup, is just ONE brief, passing event held at Great Meadows.  They offer events year long, including Polo, the best Fireworks in the tri-county area, and myriad other activities.  

Just last week, I had a completely unexpectedly appealing evening at the sprawling and hugely diverse Orlean Market.  They had excellent live music, a hopping bar, an excellent and extensive dinner menu, indoor and outdoor seating, a great, authentic old-time Country General Store and Market, and even a Gasoline Pump!  Rumor has it the venue is only going to grow and expand, offering rooms and event services!

One can spend DAYS travelling the now famed and world renowned Fauquier County Winery and Vineyard Trail.  I understand Pearmund Cellars has been voted the Best Winery in Virginia!  

When one pauses to consider the evolution and development of our smaller villages and hamlets, and the attractions they offer, one begins to realize that Northern Fauquier County has indeed “Come into it’s Own”. Warrenton, Deleplane, Orlean, The Plains, and Especially MARSHALL (I’ll dedicate an entire paragraph to Marshall–watch this space, there will be entire Blogs dedicated to Marshall!), are in the midst of a culinary and cultural Renaissance.  

The Plains has remained a “one-t-intersection-hamlet”, with only four stop signs, yet offers some amazing new dining and shopping.  With the advent of The Front Porch, and Happy Creek Coffee and Tea (and Bicycles!), Griasole, and the Benchmark Standby, The Rail Stop Cafe, The Plains is ever-refreshing and interesting.  It is a delightful place to shop, view beautiful architecture, and people-watch from any one of it’s cafes and restaurants.  

And as for Marshall!  To witness an historic village undergo a true awakening, a Renaissance without the pretense of Gentrification, is a truly remarkable thing.  Main Street in Marshall is rapidly becoming a mecca for new, innovative, world class dining.  With the imminent burial of all power and utility lines, as well as the renovation of over a dozen historic buildings, Marshall truly will be the one to watch!  There are too many fine dining spots, and exciting events and activities to list here in this blog.  Marshall is even getting a double decker BUS cafe!  I can (and likely will!) devote and entire blog to the next generation of Marshall.  

Horses, Racing, Touring, Dining, Dining, and Dining!, Shopping, Live Music!, Festivals, Hiking, Sightseeing, and more History, Heritage, and Culture than one can find in many States, makes Northern Fauquier truly a Bloom worth watching, and Very little like the culturally barren tundra our Fine Mr. Young sang about some fifty years ago.

Sure, it isn’t, and never will be, Metropolis.  And that’s why we love it here! 

The CLOUD Difference is that we not only are involved in real estate, more importantly its the people, their lives and the lifestyle within their community.

Working together ensures our communities and our lifestyles.  Please spend some time to be aware, be informed and take action with in your community.  Show up at hearings.  Read the paper everyday.  Be involved in your community events & groups.

THE CONUNDRUM of BALANCING PROGRESS with HERITAGE

Since time began, there has been a continuous and delicate balance between Development and Conservation.  The desire and need for expansion and accommodation drives humankind to discover, settle, grow, build, and prosper. 

Throughout the evolution of humans, the Adventurous Ones have ventured into the unknown, claiming new territory, fighting off threats, and staking claim to spaces to be Civilized and Developed.  Simultaneously, we have had Settlers, who have made the Known Areas bigger, more comfortable, with added amenities and safeguards, and developed societies and social norms. 

It has long been that precious area, between the Frontier and the City, that area that has been “Settled”, in the minds of those who came before any newcomers, that is often embroiled in Conservation vs. Development controversy.  What the Settlers of generations back call “Invasion”, and “Sprawl”, the newcomer often calls “Quaint”, or “Remote”.  And they are both referring to the SAME area! 

Perspective has a Very intoxicating and pervasive affect.  That same Settler may venture further afield someday, on an adventure or a vacation.  They “discover” a New place, and ascribe the same adjectives to that New area that the Newcomer uses to describe the hometown they ventured from! 

One’s perspective on a place is indelibly influenced and molded by the point at which they are introduced.  I spent almost two decades in Very remote parts of the world—places that are considerably different than they were when I arrived.  When I return for visits, I sit at a beach bar, and lament how things have Changed, how Built Up the place has become.  “They’ve RUINED it!!”, I lament to the guy sitting next to me.  Meanwhile, He’s thinking the place is just the Bees Knees!  So Remote!  So Primitive!  So Exclusive!  “Yeah, but, you should have seen it WHEN!!”, I say… 

The halted interchange at I 66 and Rt. 55 between the Plaines and Thoroughfare Gap, Way back when I 66 was installed, the proposed Buckland Bypass(s), The Old Town Warrenton Bypass-Bypass, Van Metre in Marshall, Leckner Fords Expansion, the list goes on ad infinitum.  Urban, and suburban sprawl, building, development, and “Progress” are the inevitable consequences of time, population, influx, discovery, and prosperity.  So often, and so easily, we fall prey to the hypocrisy of, “I’m Here now!!  We must STOP this insane Development!!”.   

Researching the recent developments on the proposals being bantered about regarding the traffic problems on the Rt. 29 corridor between Warrenton and Gainesville, I came across an article in the Washington Post about this.  Dateline, November 26, 2006. 

As I read online commentary regarding the recent (non)development about the proposals, I was reminded of an article from the News Optomist.  How do we avoid the seduction of adopting the all-around counterproductive N.I.M.B.Y., or “Not in My Backyard!”, not to be outdone are the B.A.N.A.N.A. folks—“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!”, who’s usual followers are C.A.V.E.’s—“Citizens Against Virtually Everything!” attitude? 

How do we accept, influence, control, and determine our own destiny?  How do we manage the inevitability of progress, yet avoid catching “The Tiger by the Tail” (can you Hear me, Gainesville?  Can you Hear me, Centreville?  Bristow?  Woodbridge?), being consumed by Crisis Response to a population and development explosion, one we have not Prepared and Accommodated for?  Equally important, how do we protect, promote, maintain and safeguard our Heritage Legacy, without becoming stiflingly restrictive (Hello, Middleburg!)? 

Our Heritage is a double-edged sword.  One that makes this area so attractive to newcomers, yet is at the heart of what we wish to preserve. 

I fully subscribe to a philosophy of Awareness, that Sunlight makes the Best Disinfectant.  I believe that we all, anyone that has a vested interest or concern for the beauty of our homeland, have an obligation to be as informed and aware as we possibly can.  Attend citizens meetings, attend zoning board hearings, petition your LOCAL government representatives.  Know what the issues are, be Informed about plans, proposals, and problems in the works.  We may not feel like we have much influence or impact, but if we neglect our God given and American Rights to Know about our public hearings, we acquiesce what real power we DO have.  It may not feel like much, but it’s even More valuable and important, as our impact may be minor.  What little we Can do must be fiercely guarded and exercised. 

I am reminded of my staunch position regarding two Major multibillion dollar global industries (that shall remain nameless) that I boycott.  On more than one occasion, they behaved in a manner that federal courts found criminal.  Their actions directly resulted in several deaths.  Their response and decades-long litigation has led me to refuse to ever purchase their goods.  My effect is admittedly infinitesimal.  Completely insignificant, in the grand scheme of things.  But it is ALL I can do, legally.  I Chose to exercise my rights to the Fullest extent of the law.  And because my influence and impact is so tiny, it is ever more important to ME that I exercise it. 

Daylight is the Best Disinfectant.  Be aware.  Be informed.  Be Concerned. 

Debbie and I, Chris Cloud, want to motivate the citizens of Fauquier County to attend Community Meetings, to know, be aware, and be informed of proposed changes to the slice of paradise we call home.  Whether you are for or against any proposal, the important thing is to be Informed!  We recognize the positive position we are in; one of being concerned with Limiting growth, rather than contending (as so many communities are) with contracting demographics and budget shortfalls.  We are blessed with opportunity.  With Prosperity.  

The CLOUD Difference is Debbie’s and my desire to facilitate decisions, either pro growth, development and expansion, or pro conservation, regulation, and throttling.  Our desire is to promote Educated citizens.  

We are available for collaboration and to discuss ideas!  

Child Trafficking Crisis – 2020

by Debbie Cloud

Early Childhood Trauma

The focus is on the Opioid Addiction that is front and center on the news. 

Child Sex Trafficking is on the rise across our country and around the world.  Currently Trafficking Rings are being broken up every day.   Gangs 101 says find two other people and start pimping girls. No one has realized yet that the children in your home have a window to the world where highly sophisticated gang members, criminals and other dangerous people come into your house through social media, befriends them giving the child what they want and need, and using coercive controls to steal your children under your nose using highly skilled efforts of fear, shame and threats against your child, siblings and parents. 

Child Sex Trafficking is up every year 500% and will surpass the Opioid Health Crisis by 2020.

Suicide is now up 45% and a major concern across our country.

FAMILY ALLIANCE is dedicated to address the trauma found in childhood (shown in the ACE Study) through Trauma Informed Interventions for Trauma Bonding & Moral Injury.  The goal is empowered children and families within empowered communities.  

EARLY INTERVENTION & PREVENTION

Everyone agrees the answer is early intervention and prevention of Child Sex Trafficking, Opioids, Domestic Violence, School Shootings and Suicide.   

The PROBLEM is how to get to the ones being victimized early enough to prevent the patterns of targeting and abuse. 

Just Ask Prevention.org (child sex trafficking) has determined that any trafficked child has five points of contact prior to being identified as trafficked.   Once they are trafficked they have 7 year survival rate before the danger of trafficking takes their life.  These children are not foreign.  They are American children sitting in your house on a laptop or smart phone.  They are promised the world, of all the things you can not give them. 

Once enticed out of their comfort zone, they are forced into the sex trade, drug addiction and other criminal activity.  They are used and abused until they have no use or are found dead.  By 2020, child sex trafficking will surpass Opioid addiction and death.  Trafficking was identified in 2017 to be in every Northern Virginia school studied from five years old and up,   It is in your neighborhood, and maybe your house.  The children trapped with these problems end up being dependent on the system for many of their needs for all their life.

WHAT CAN CHANGE CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING

The Real Question is HOW TO STOP Child Sex Trafficking?

The standard professions and agencies in place have some powerful models they are developing, yet the child has five points of contact before they are identified.  The research shows that to intervene with this population that has been kidnapped and forced to align with their abuser needs a different approach.

The government has had to remove more and more rights from parents trying to protect children.  Invading homes and taking children is only making the problem worse over the last decade. 

There are BETTER ANSWERS.  Yes, we need early intervention. 

The QUESTION IS:

How do we do that without Big Brother bypassing your constitutional rights and taking your children for protection before the Gangs do?

THE CORE ROOTS IS COERCIVE CONTROL

The known answer is early intervention and prevention when families are seeking help, prior to crisis of drugs or trafficking.  What is the common roots that sets up the victimization.

The steps are targeting, grooming and ultimately using power and control through psychological abuse, physical abuse, drug abuse and sexual abuse.

They trick victims.  Then keep victims by fear, force, threat, shame and abuse.

Families that face Coercive Control of Psychological Abuse end up being targeted by gangs, criminals and other dangerous individuals to include terrorists.  The face addiction, child sex trafficking and other criminal activity.  They are now trapped in a very dangerous world, with no way out.  No one has the tools to help them until its too late to prevent the damage.

The ones using coercive control are experts in how to prevent the children they are victimizing from reaching out.  Professionals have to be trained to spot who is under the influence of coercive controls.  Red Flags exist.

The core is early violent abuse to include sexual abuse against children starting in the earliest years of life.

THE RED FLAGS OF THE VICTIMIZED TARGETS

Do you know the Red Flags of Coercive Control?  And even more importantly do you know HOW to intervene safely? One wrong move can cost the child their life.

After years of research in the cultural concerns around family and crisis, prevention and the earliest of intervention is the best option to keep families from falling into extreme situations that ends up with serious interventions and long term dependency on government services, family devastation or death.  This complicated, multilayered, giant concern can be addressed with an added layer bridging the family communities with the right services.

FAMILY ALLIANCE CORE ISSUES

After speaking with thousands of survivors of abuse and crisis, and a full spectrum of professionals in almost every possible field of expertise, all agree that dealing directly with the under currents of what dis-empowers families, one or all members.  The goal would be to empower the family as a whole and each member within the community in order to prevent or at least intervene at the earliest point to to avoid extreme crisis and radical interventions.  This means healthy connections and healthy relationships.

COERCIVE CONTROL and other abuses are the CORE ISSUES found within the Child Sex Trafficking, and other serious crimes against children.  These are the early signals of disempowerment that gangs, criminals and terrorists are trained to target children and break their ties to their communities.

When an individual is not strong within themselves, they have a need that is sought to fill or resolve.  This is where predators and malicious personalities can hook people that are unaware of their own weaknesses.  Things start out fine and then slowly over time it changes into something else.

A person that was powerful over in their own wears down over time right becomes trapped, confused and dis-empowered.

FAMILY ALLIANCE SOLUTIONS

The truth is families are searching for help in almost every case.  The current system lets them slip through the cracks. The first responders and professionals need to be Trauma Informed to see the subtle red flags of early intervention.  By the time the children are in crisis, they have one foot in the grave.  Early intervention is not found in the  hospitals, addiction centers, or jails.  Breaking the cycle of runaways, addiction, incarceration, criminal activities, trafficking and death has to be the answer.

TRAUMA INFORMED COLLABORATION WITH THE SURVIVOR

This is done through education, awareness, early identification of first responders and professionals Trauma Informed and other evidence based programs that focus on long term transition for the child victims, families, and communities  recover from the coercive controls and the many associated abuses, one day at a time.

FOCUS

Domestic Violence Coercive Controls are known to be assaults on families putting youth at risk.

The addition and deaths of Opioids are front and center right now as a national crisis.  Not known by the public Human Trafficking numbers in the last years have risen so fast it will surpass Opioids within two years.  Sexual Predators are being exposed right and left.  The point in how do we not only deal with the crisis, but get ahead.

Realizing that the chains of are Coercive Control and stems out of Domestic Violence and other Trauma show to be deeply embedded in the current concerns, along with long standing culture denial and acceptance of predatory behaviors leaving populations vulnerable.

RELATED AREAS OF CONCERN 

OPIOID ADDICTION (National Health Crisis)

President Donald Trump Speech – Opioid Health Crisis (10-26-17)

White House Press Release (10-26-2017)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING (Crisis to Surpass Opioids Crisis by 2020)

National Human Trafficking Hot Line 888-373-7888

REPORT Crime – CALL 911 or Local NVA 703-246-4006

Just Ask Prevention (Child Trafficking)

 SEX ASSAULTS & RAPE (Silence of Victims)

National Sexual Assault Hotline or CALL 800-656-4673

Record Numbers Speakout

“A sexual predator is a person seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual contact with another person in a metaphorically “predatory” or abusive manner. Analogous to how a predator hunts down its prey, so the sexual predator is thought to “hunt” for his or her sex partners.” (google)

National Sexual Offender Public Website, Department of Justice

COERCIVE CONTROL (Bullying, Targeting & Psychological Trauma Bonding)

MOSTLY CLASSIFIED – Technology used for warfare since WWII to include nonlethal, deniability tactics and weapons to control enemy combatants.  Thus, not organic in mainstream research until the threshold of unintended consequences has come into the public sector.  NOW the gangs, criminals and others like terrorists use these same tactics, and the public has a huge disadvantage.

Domestic violence comprises a range of behaviors beyond physical and emotional abuse. Abusers often use violence, intimidation, degradation and isolation to deprive victims of their rights to physical security, dignity and respect. Evan Stark has been encouraging the use of “coercive control” to describe a course of oppressive behavior grounded in gender-based privilege. While all forms of abuse are about power and control, coercive control is a strategic form of ongoing oppression and terrorism that invades all arenas of women’s activity [not gender based] by limiting access to money and other basic resources. In addition, few elements of coercive control are currently considered criminal, or are only crimes when committed against strangers, which further complicates this issue within the context of domestic violence. (NY Gov)

Abusive Power and Control (Wikipedia)

What is Coercive Control? It is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away the victim’s liberty or freedom, to strip away their sense of self. It is not just women’s bodily integrity which is violated but also their human rights. (Cedar Network)

HATE CRIMES (Dividing Communities)

FBI Hate Crimes

“Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s Civil Rights program, not only because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities, but also because groups that preach hatred and intolerance can plant the seed of terrorism here in our country. The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year and works to detect and deter further incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with a myriad of community groups.”

Hate Crimes Reported 2016

Hate Crimes Have Increased in the Last Year (Washington Post 11-13-2017)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (The Silent War on Families)

National Domestic Abuse Hotline or CALL 800-799-7233

Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.”

Domestic Abuse Defined

Normal verses Abusive Behaviors

Who Will Help Me? (Legal Survey)

MISDIAGNOSIS  (Masked Complications of Chemical & Behavioral Controls)

Why and How Childhood PTSD Is Often Misdiagnosed

Misdiagnosis & Delayed Diagnosis

Missing the Diagnosis (Continuing Education)

Autoimmune Diseases Masquerading as Psychiatric Disorders – A Paradigm Shift

Dangers of Mental Health Misdiagnosis

Mental Health Misdiagnosis can be Dangerous

The common thread to each of these is the Coercive Control and are assaults on families putting youth at risk. The ODs and deaths of Opioids are front and center right now as a national crisis.

Not known by the public as of yet, though professionals know Human Trafficking numbers in the last years have risen so fast it will surpass Opioids within two years.

The point in how do we not only deal with the crisis, but get ahead of the epidemic. The question posed at Global Family Alliance is defining the early intervention that will change the wave of destruction.

Misguidance and Faux Outrage in the Age of Environmentalism

The recent bruhaha over plastic straws in California has finally motivated me to present my experiences and opinions on the matters of Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling in the Age of Environmentalism.  I have personal first-hand experiences that are a wee bit unique, and I have a few observations and ideas for being more efficient and less emotionally reactive to our environment.

I believe that we, as a society, a nation, a people, and a civilization Must advance beyond the outdated idea that sequestering our garbage is the solution to our problems.  Rather, I suggest that it is past time to modernize our ideas about consumerism, packaging, and recycling.  All the energy and resources we spend on recycling bins, specialized trucks, separating facilities, and processing plants is at best perpetuating a multi-billion-dollar INDUSTRY, one that Will safeguard and protect itself (as the monster that it is), and is at Worst little more than snarky, smug shaming and virtue signaling. 

When the concept of recycling was introduced back in the early 1970’s, “deposits” were introduced to pop bottles, and value was added to aluminum cans.  Reclamation centers motivated down-and-out folks to gather what would otherwise be considered litter.  What started out as a well-intended attempt to recover our ALUMINUM and lower the number of beer cans and soda bottles along our roads has morphed into a near-obsessive religion of separating and sequestering our metal, tin, aluminum, paper, cardboard (not the same thing!), plastics, glass, hair, lint, and soap scum (ok, I made that last one up…). 

I acknowledge that it makes perfect sense, to a degree, to recycle Aluminum.  Creating aluminum is extremely electricity-hungry and energy consuming.  So much so, that I present that we ought not focus So much on the recycling of aluminum, but rather the progression AWAY FROM IT.  Recent health studies have also indicated that aluminum in our food production may not be as innocuous as we once thought or hoped.  

Little Halls Pond, Exumas, Bahamas

I offer an interesting anecdote I had some fifteen years ago.  I was running Little Hall’s Pond Cay for Johnny Depp.  The island is roughly 50 acres, some 75 miles south and east of New Providence (Nassau) in the Exumas, Bahamas.  There is no grid to tie into—I generated our own electricity via solar, wind, hydrogen, a smattering of symbolic hydropower, and yes, backup diesel generators.  I designed, installed, operated and maintained the power system(s), as well as the rain catchment and seawater desalination (reverse osmosis) plants, cisterns, and water transfer system.  The water that came out of our tap had been ozone purified, particulate filtered, and finally Ultra Violet purified.  I could demonstrate that the tap water showed a dissolved solid mineral content of no more than 130 parts per million.  Evian and Fiji Water (Whuk! Ptui!!) has a dissolved mineral content of upwards of 860ppm.  Not to mention the enormous carbon footprint involved (but more on that in a moment). 

So, the Owner and a few guests were on island.  One evening, we were all enjoying a languid sunset down at the Lanai.  I noticed a member of the entourage standing with a confused look on her face and an empty Fiji Water bottle in her hand, gazing from one trash can to the next.  I hopped up, and told her, “Drop it in the can on the left”.  She did, and noticed all the paper products, dozens (hundreds) of other water bottles, and assorted trash. 

Johnny Depp on Little Halls Pond

She asked me about our garbage plan.  “Did we recycle?” “Oh, boy.  Here we go.” I thought.  I replied, “Well, we segregate our trash into three basic groups—Glass and Metal into one, Paper and Plastics into another, and food scraps into a third.”  “OK, but what is your recycling plan?” she asked.  “Well….  I take the food scraps, and compost them (as potting soil is precious and exorbitant down-island).  I crush the cans and bottles, and about twice a week we head out into 10,000 feet of water and dump them overboard, where they flutter into the abyss.  The plastic and paper, I recycle into SMOKE.” Needless to say, I suddenly found myself the centerpiece of a shit bouquet, surrounded by a dozen horrified Los Angeles starlets and cinematographers and sound engineers.  J.D. had heard it all before, so he was chillin watching the sun hit the horizon, hoping for the mythical green-flash. 

“You mean, you don’t Recycle these bottles?  You don’t (somehow) send them to the (nonexistent) recycling plant in Nassau?  You BURN them??  And you just dump the glass and metal into the OCEAN??” So, I told her (and them all), “First off, do you have ANY idea what it means to ‘send our recyclables to Nassau’?  Used to be, for a while, when we would have a barge arrive with supplies, we would fire up the backhoe, and load all the accumulated glass and metal and plastic and garbage onto the now empty barge and send it to Nassau for ‘Proper’ disposal.  Know what they did with it?  Soon as the barge is off shore (sometimes in deep water, sometimes in 18’ of water), they drop the front gate down, and shove the entire works overboard.  ALL of it.  Including the plastic!  I know this, because I’ve SEEN it, first-hand.  Know what happens to the rare bits that DO reach Nassau?  They get scooped up, taken to the landfill, and burned.” 

“Now, a word about our specific circumstance.  You flew into Nassau on a Private jet from Los Angeles.  You then boarded a 157’ private diesel-powered yacht and spent two days noodling down to this Private Island.  And I have to ship in, on a chartered barge from MIAMI, cases and cases of Inferior, Dirty, Plastic-tea FIJI water for you princesses to drink HALF of.  You leave the half-consumed bottles (bottles that were SHIPPED or FLOWN all the way from the Island of FIJI!!) all over the place. 

Our agent in Miami drives his Diesel Ford F-350 out to Costco, buys case after case of this crap, hauls it back to our chartered barge, where it is carried aboard.  It then floats all the way to Nassau, where it clears customs, continues down here to the neighbor’s island, where I rendezvous with it in our supply boat. 

I load it from the dock, into the boat, drive the twenty minutes back here, unload it onto the dock, load it into the diesel buggy, drive it to the warehouse, load it onto the shelving, pull it out for your arrival, stock all the minifridges on the island with this crap, all for you to waste half of it, then give ME grief for not RECYCLING the detritus of YOUR extravagance??  Seriously?”  (to his credit, JD was now chuckling at the diatribe, enjoying his sunset)

Now that I’ve gotten THAT off my chest, allow me to propose some SOLUTIONS and ALTERNATIVES. 

First off, we need to recognize Bottled Water as simultaneously the very best marketing campaign, and the best scam ever perpetrated against mankind.  One great, huge leap toward mitigating the catastrophic environmental shit storm the 16-ounce plastic water bottle has unleashed against the planet is a rather new consumer product brilliantly called “BOXED WATER IS BETTER”.  And it is.  In myriad crucial ways.  First off, is the packaging.  When you produce bottled water, almost invariably your filling plant is in one place, and the bottle manufacturer is in another, sometimes thousands of miles away. 

Well, those bottles are made (at great environmental impact) over HERE, then loaded onto 18-wheelers and trucked all the way over …THERE.  Then filled, then trucked AGAIN to the distribution center, then to the point of sale.  Boxed Water boxes are shipped from the manufacturing plant to the “bottler” FLAT.  Shipped as such, they take up a Fraction of space.  A lifetime of boxes can be shipped on One truck.  Also, let’s not forget, these boxes are BOXES.  They are made of Paper (well, ok., wax coated paper, and a small plastic cap).  Also, as they are square BOXES, they take up 35% less space than bottles. 

In other words, you can fit 35% more product in the same space, or the same quantity takes up 35% less space.   And it’s cheap. 

Also, on the issue of Water and how to make the most of it, I would like to discuss rainwater catchment.  I find it completely comical that Americans consider rainwater catchment to be unsanitary, third-world, and generally “icky” (actual opinion voiced by a fellow Virginian).  We have this concept that as rain falls, it is somehow inherently contaminated by the sky, hits the ground, sinks to indeterminate depths in the ground where it is magically cleansed and purified.  It then sits in large underground reservoirs, just waiting for us to puncture its underground nirvana with a straw, and drink to our hearts content. 

The overwhelming majority of rain falls as nearly distilled steam, cleaner than almost anything we can buy.  Once it hits the ground, though, all bets are off.  There, it mixes, mingles, and melts with grease, oil, feces, chemicals, fertilizers, poisons, every concoction known to and from the depths of man.  It does seep through the topsoil and, hopefully, through at least ten feet of limestone where mmmmmost of these impurities are soaked up by the rock. 

Alas, we have very little way of assuring the quality of what we suck out of the ground.  And hence the chemical shitstorm of “treatment” we put our tap water through.  If we capture our water BEFORE it hits and mingles with all these nasties, we can Far better “secure the supply chain”.  Rainwater cisterns provide imminently BETTER water than treated municipal water.  This is a no-brainer.  I have LIVED on rainwater and reverse osmosis for over twenty years.  It is simply better in every way.

Another excellent example of innovative packaging is Daisy Sour Cream.  They have made award-winning improvements in their packaging, both from the prospect of environmentalism and product quality.  They have ditched the typical plastic tub, in favor of a squeeze package that sits on the lid, not unlike Heinz Ketchup.  However, unlike the conventional plastic ketchup container (the only thing innovative about that is that it sits on its lid), the soft sided sour cream package collapses as you use the product.  This keeps the remaining contents air-tight, and fresh as ever.  The finished, empty package is flat as can be, and weighs darn near nothing.  The concept that the younger generation will pay a minor premium for superior packaging is finally dawning on some producers!  

A horribly misguided indulgence that was originally promoted as efficient and environmentally friendly (!) is the Keurig.  Not since Bottled Water has a scam this destructive and wasteful been unleashed upon guilty consumers desperate to virtue signal and “feel good”. 

There are many problems with the Keurig.  First, the coffee sucks.  It just does.  The machines are notoriously impossible to effectively clean.  If you want your idealism smashed, I challenge you.  Next time your Keurig breaks and mmmmust be replaced (and we KNOW it will!), deconstruct the broken one. 

I don’t care how many times you ran Special Cleaner through it.  It WILL. BE. a Seething cesspit of mold and smegma.  These machines are filthy. 

Lastly, and most importantly, the pods are stupidly expensive (they remind me of buying printer ink), and they Never go away.  Billions of them now.  And millions more every week.  Filling landfills.  Piling up.  Forever.  These are SO bad, they are SO toxic, that John Sylvan, the inventor of the system has sued to distance himself from this Frankensteininan disaster he spawned.  He now spends his time and energy and money tithing and attempting to redeem himself to a humanity that will never forget his little contribution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

Fortunately, the Anti-Keurig has been around for millennia, is efficient, economical, imminently better for the environment, and produces literally the best coffee I’ve ever had. 

All Hail the Simple French Press, or Bodum.  Ours is stainless steel (I favor the stainless over the glass beaker-type, as those are fragile, in my opinion), and has worked flawlessly for a decade now.  And it’s CLEAN.  Simply boil a kettle of water, add three spoons of coffee, add water, and enjoy.

Now as for the whole ridiculousness of California banning STRAWS to “benefit the environment” (yeah, right).  Straws account for a whopping .002% of all plastic waste in our oceans and landfills.  Absolutely insignificant. 

“Well, oughtn’t we start SOMEWHERE?” one may ask.  Indeed.  But howabout somewhere that MATTERS?  Why must we waste time and energy huffing and puffing about something so insignificant?  Are we that desperate to “Feel Good”?  Or are we just too afraid to effect change that will make a Real difference? 

What’s my problem with the absurdity about straws?  First off, the statistic of “500 million straws used every day in America” is abject bullshit.  This unchallenged figure came from a bored nine-year old’s pet science project (mind you, not a “nine-year-old study”, but a silly little science project from a Nine-Year-Old Boy!). 

Also, fueling public outrage and faux concern was a viral video of a turtle with a straw up it’s nose, being saved by good Samaritans.  What’s more, the figure came from a handful of phone calls he made in 2011!  Now, discount this fine, in-depth scientific method or not, there are some irrefutable facts that are NOT open to opinion or interpretation. 

As much as 46% of the oceans plastic pollution is discarded, lost, orphaned fishing nets and equipment.  And much of that equipment goes on fishing and killing, all to waste.  Plastic water bottles, bags, and industrial dunnage make up the overwhelming majority of the rest of the pollution.  The aforementioned Boxed Water would go a far way to alleviating this pollution.  Especially when this leads to further acceptance and utilization of better, more efficient and biodegradable packaging.  It seems Public Acceptance is the elusive Holy Grail. 

In 1996, I sailed from Fort Lauderdale to New Zealand.  The trip took six months.  In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, aboard an 86′ Sloop, I drew the short straw (no pun intended).  Overboard I went, with diving knife in hand, to cut away the fishing net that had gotten tangled in the keel and running gear. 

The day was flat calm, the sunlight was brilliant, with rays of light that stretched off into the abyss.  The net was so long it extended down from the keel, and floated away behind the boat, out of sight in both directions.  Cutting it away took the better part of an hour. 

Having lived on private, completely off-grid and self-reliant islands for much of the last twenty years, I can attest to the practicality and efficiency of many forms of “Alternative Energy”.  I have first-hand experience designing, installing, maintaining and repairing solar, wind, hydrogen, hydroelectric, and diesel generators. 

I have found windmills to be woefully wanting.  They are loud, they are very high maintenance, and when they fail, they do so with enormous enthusiasm.  I’ve seen them fling apart, over a thousand-yard debris field.  And I’ve heard them whoosh whoosh whoosh day in and day out, to the point of distraction. 

Solar panels just…. sit there.  Silently.  Providing power.  Yes, I will acquiesce that, when the sun ain’t shining, usually the wind is blowing, and wind will blow at night.  So, I’ve long held that a pragmatic system does integrate back-up or supporting wind power.  But the Solar is, by far, the way to go.  This ought to be integrated into Everyone’s home.  It makes sense. 

A caveat about grid-tie solar systems.  We, Debbie & I, lived in the British Virgin Islands for a while.  They had no ability or means to grid-tie solar systems into their power grid.  The power costs were $0.24 per kilowatt hour.  Compare this to Virginia Powers rates of approximately $0.11 per kilowatt hour, that seems rather steep. 

However, take a gander at Saint Thomas.  Just ten miles away, they DO have solar grid-tie.  And they’ve promoted it.  So much so, that their grid had maxed out on panels.  They couldn’t take any more customer supplied power.  They were at capacity.  The panels stretched across the horizon, as far as the eye could see, and atop every single building.   

Now, this would sound like a Great thing.  Except for the insatiable nature of mankind.  The Virgin Island power company took the position that, “We don’t care HOW much power you people are providing.  WE aren’t going to EVER lower our budget, accept less money per month.  We will simply increase the rates; we WILL get the same amount of MONEY from you, regardless of How much power we actually have to Produce!!”

Their power rates are/were a whopping $0.44 per kilowatt hour!  And that was with acres and acres and thousands and tens of thousands of panels, across the horizon!  Ahhhhahahahaha!  Suckers. 

Don’t let THAT happen here! 

–Chris Cloud