Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There have been numerous media articles and posts about Russia using cyber attacks to manipulate the American Presidential elections, and it appears they were successful. The level of involvement of top Russian officials has not been reported, as of yet, but it appears to reach all the way to Putin. As expected, our President elect has determined these conclusions to be ridiculous, based on the fact that he doesn't receive security briefings every day. To many in the security business, this implicates Mr. Trump as a coconspirator, although no such link has yet been reported. The level of danger of this attack depends on many factors, so I would like to educate some of you on some of the basic doctrine in this area. In order for this type of attack to be effective, there are three basic conditions that must be met, and we will cover them from least important to most important.
First, and least important, is the capability to initiate the cyber attack. This requires an extensive cyber infrastructure, which is already in place in most advanced countries, that is accessible by the attackers. The world wide web already provides the basic framework for this infrastructure, and individual stations for the grunt work can be as simple as a smart phone or tablet, or as complex as a bank of computers. The more complex the set up, the more effective the attack. There must also be the necessary expertise available to establish the software to initiate the attack. In today's tech savvy generation, code writers are a dime a dozen, and code hackers are abundant. There must also be a will to initiate the attack, and, usually, a specific target or targets. The higher the motivation, the greater the effectiveness, whether the impetus is financial, political, or pathological. Russia easily meets all these requirements, but, then again, so do many other nations.
Second, and very important, is the defensive capabilities of the target/targets. Governments, by nature, are the least effective in protecting themselves from cyber attacks. The bureaucracy involved usually results in delay of implementation, resulting in obsolete software, uneven distribution, little inter-agency cooperation, and unskilled defenders. In America, those in charge of national security are usually political appointees, not experts in the field, and are therefore predisposed to failure. Often times, the security effort is more concentrated on political threats rather than infrastructure threats, including perceived domestic threats, rather than real foreign ones. This results in the misallocation of resources. Having Grandma take her shoes off at LAX is not nearly as important as keeping China out of DOD files, but that is where the money, time, personnel, and effort go. Along with outdated software and hardware, the talent necessary to develop effective firewalls and barriers is going to commercial interests, not national interests. Why take a job at 60K a year, while the boss makes 6 figures, when you can make 6 figures, and share in the boss's profit? Put simply, you can't fight any war, cyber or otherwise, if you don't have the best weapons available and the highly trained soldiers to use them.
Third, and most terrifying, is the nature of the target. The U.S. Government was not the target of this attack. The Democratic party was not the target of this attack. Hillary Clinton was not the target of this attack. The target of this attack was the American people, and they were ripe for the taking. With a free press that was more concerned with the bottom financial line than the truth, there was no honest broker to alert Americans as to what was happening. With a legislature steeped in partisan self interest and greed for power, there was no representation to protect Americans from what happened. With a populace that is divided in race, ethnicity, religion, politics, and affluence, the country became a perfect storm of propaganda attacks. No one voted for a candidate, but everyone voted against a candidate. This was a campaign of hate, pure and simple, and the Russians hit every button perfectly to ensure their candidate was victorious. The terrifying part is that about half of Americans WILL NOT ACCEPT the facts that every major security agency, both military and civilian, have published. NOT ONE MEMBER of the GOP has called Trump out on this. BOTH MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES are still steeped in their own self interest, and are giving lip service to the issue to protect themselves when their failures are recounted after the dust settles. The most important reason this manipulation was successful was that WE THE PEOPLE were receptive to it. Our hatred and distrust of each other made the deception more than just palatable. We found it down right tasty.

Friday, May 1, 2015

We are doomed to commit the same sins our fathers and grandfathers committed, despite our supposed enlightenment in the 21st century. The technology that was supposed to free us has merely succumbed to our darker nature. The ability to gain knowledge nearly instantaneously has not kept us from distorting that knowledge and filtering it to meet our preconceived notions. The unfettered flow of information has allowed calumny and propaganda to rule the world wide web. Net neutrality is a two edged sword....without a scabbard......in the hands of a child. This does not mean that swords should be outlawed, rather, that children should be taught to respect and use them properly, and we need to build a damned scabbard!

"Hold on there just a second, Bubba", you say. "My Granpa didn't have no danged intergoogle like we have today. What sins you talkin' 'bout?" Your Granpa had newspapers, radio, television, and other media to reap and sow information. He had lies, damned lies, and political speeches. He had people trying to influence him and people he was trying to influence. He had men of power who manipulated the media to further their own agendas, regardless the effect it had on the masses. The sin he had was sloth. In his defense, rooting out the truth was much more tedious back then. A card catalog was much more time consuming than Bing or Yahoo search engines. Publications were fewer and less immediately available. Research actually required effort and the search root of the word. This difficulty is no excuse for failure to do the work. Many of the social programs available today were not available to Granpa, so, more often than not, those men in power could directly affect Granpa's standard of living, and even his survival. Granpa needed, and often did act to keep the politicians in check, but, when he was lazy, and let the politicians feed him his information, he often aided their calumny and damaged his own cause. The few who saw this propaganda for what it was did protest, and suffered public disparagement, arrest, and even death. (Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming). But the silent majority sighed, shrugged their shoulders and said "What can you do? That's politics." Snappy slogans and shiny campaign buttons are so much easier to deal with than facts and policy.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah" you say. "Peace, hope, love, dope......that crap don't fly anymore. We got the Arab Spring now, Bubba!" No. You don't. Some Arabs had the Arab spring, and you sat on your arse, cheered them on the intergoogle, then watched your nation let spring become winter through inaction and cowardice of political leaders. When a bully and a thug charged a police officer in Missouri and was shot and killed, his criminal partner ran to the media with lies and accusations. You bought the lies and accusations, despite numerous witnesses rebuttal of those lies, because you were too lazy to read the published grand jury reports. Because you were lazy, you cheered when the Attorney General and the President of the United States fanned the racial flames for their political agendas. Because you were lazy, and our leaders were debunked on the Missouri debacle, you did nothing when a minor criminal was killed by police in New York, or a 12 year old was shot for having an air pistol, or a political crony playing cops and robbers shot and killed an arrested criminal in custody. This is not just Baltimore's problem. This is not just a police versus black problem. It is not just about the ignorance of the GOP on environmental issues, or the Dems on Benghazi. It's not about Bush's stand on immigration or Clinton's erasure of emails. It is about the sloth of the American electorate.

Unlike Granpa, you have a magnificent tool that puts information at your fingertips immediately. There are some drawbacks. Granpa may have had a hundred or so cards to dig through to get his publications for the information he was seeking. With the intergoogle, you may have thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of items to scrutinize. This can seem daunting and lead to information overload, but all it takes to overcome this task is to discriminate in what you read. Unfortunately, sloth again rears its ugly head. Why look at facts when a meme can make you chuckle or is colorful and entertaining? The graphics are cool and the idea is visceral, despite the poor grammar or misspellings, so this guy must know what he's talking about.....right? IT'S ON VIDEO! I mean, they caught it on video, dude! True, the event was about 15 minutes long, and the video is only 45 seconds, but...it's on video! It must have captured the whole context.....right? Letting people feed us entertaining drivel is so much easier than actually doing the research.

As to research, there is some laziness in that as well. You need more than one source, and sources from different viewpoints. If you only use sources that support your viewpoint, you just become a forwarder of propaganda. Politicians count on people like you. (By the way, by "politicians" I don't mean Rubio and Clinton, necessarily. You don't think they do all this intergoogle stuff, do you? There are PACs and agencies that specialize in lying their asses off for these politicians.) Part of good propaganda is to co-opt the language, and this can only be done if the electorate allows it. When words like "awesome" become meaningless, it is easy to legitimize lying superlatives. It is not awesome that a transgender person is a campaign manager or a Republican. The fact that she is brilliant, hard working, successful, and effective is awesome. Her gender is like her shoe size; irrelevant. Her political affiliation is, at best, interesting. The fact that an amputee ran in a marathon is not awesome. The prosthetic technology can actually make that easier. What is awesome is overcoming traumatic injury, the horrors of war, and adapting to the technology to be normal again. Your lunch did not inspire awe and wonder. Neither did your cat. When you lower the standards of what impresses you, you make mediocre politicians seem brilliant, and ignorant and corrupt politicians seem acceptable. Preferring entertainment to substance is a critical indication of a decadent society. Bread and circuses served Casar well.

The bottom line? Technology has given you a hammer. You can use it as a door stop, or you can use it to build a better nation, a better community for your children and grandchildren. Don't let them look back and say "Why didn't Granpa use those tools to keep my world from being so dark and dangerous?"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Here it is, March of 2015, and we are still battling for the protection of the civil liberties of an oppressed minority, and that minority is the American business man or woman. (There are no transgender American business people.) These poor victims are under threat that they must do business equally with all Americans, even if their religious convictions make such equality a sin. The supreme court may say that they can not discriminate based on their religious belief, and that is just not........American. After all, America is a Christian nation. (Screw the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, etc. If they don't like it, let 'em live somewhere else.) Now, I'm not sure if we are a Catholic nation (the first Christians, you know), or a Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or Mormon or whatever nation. We can let Smith & Wesson sort that out later, just like Jefferson intended. None of our forefathers wore yarmulkes or turbans or head rags of any sort. Hell, if these people have something on their head and it doesn't say "John Deere" on it, they ain't no Christian!

Do not be discouraged, as there are still some heroes out there trying to protect America. As I type this blog, there is legislation pending in Indiana and Alabama that would make it legal for these Christian business men and women to discriminate. (Alabama has some real experience with these types of laws, so, trust me, this ain't their first rodeo. Ain't that right, Jim Crow?) Now don't go comparing this to that turbulent time in the 60s when people were standing in the school house door. Why, these laws would protect all the colored Christian business men and women as well, even if they ain't colored white! Don't worry about this becoming a segregation issue. These Godless heathens can live or go to school or worship wherever they want. They just can't shop in our stores! I mean, they have other choices, don't they? They chose to be gay or Mexican or whatever, so they can choose another store or restaurant or ballpark or hospital or police department, right? If they don't like it, their great great great grandfathers should never have come here from China or India or Persia or Arizona now, should they! These heroic legislators will have to battle those bleeding heart liberals, and Democrats, and educated people, and even the Constitution, but I'm sure they can find enough true believers to pass the legislation for their state, and celebrate with a large cup of KoolAid, so do not be disheartened.

Now some of you think these laws will be used to promote all forms of discrimination. Come on, people. This is the digital age! People would never do that. Why, we will ask right up front if you are a true believer or are you gay. (You know them gays can't be true believers 'cause they don't think like we do.) We will write the laws so they won't just single out them gays and other perverts, but will allow all manner of religious freedom in our choices of who we deal with. I know Jesus said "Render unto God, that which is God's, and unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's", but hell, that ain't what he really meant. We need Caesar......I mean, the government, to protect us! Our Bible tells us we should love these abominations, so we can't really do anything that might look hateful, therefore, we need the secular solution. (No, not the "final solution". Y'all are beginning to piss me off.) I mean, sure, we could actually live our faith, refuse to serve those we consider pariahs, accept the consequences without government protection, but, what the hell, we ain't saints or martyrs, ya know! That kind of stuff is for them Catholics and Muslims, ain't it?

In conclusion, I want all good, kind, God fearing Christians out there to be at ease. We have some brave legislators out there that will do our hating for us, so we won't have to ask for God's forgiveness. Why, if the law of the land says we have to hate, it ain't our fault! Is it?

Friday, December 12, 2014

It is the holiday season, and the air is full of ........something. I'm not sure. A Democratic Senator from California has just published a Senate report on CIA abuses of prisoners. What authority the CIA has to even hold prisoners is side stepped, as the prisoners were prisoners of war......sort of.....maybe.....we think. The report is over 500 pages, and uses extensive CIA reports as part of the evidence. Not to worry. It doesn't use all the CIA reports, just the "juicy" ones that match the Senator's position, so a good read is guaranteed. The report offers no solutions or even suggestions, but, hey, since when has our Senate ever come up with solutions to any problems within the last decade? Because of the use of only select reports, and the lack of constructive criticism, the report has been vulnerable to counter accusations by the CIA and conservative supporters of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the CIA. Mr Caywood would not be happy with such sloppy structure, haphazard research, and such an ambiguous conclusion. Poor writing in itself is enough to condemn this report, but there are some serious issues to be addressed because of it, and that may be the only saving grace of this missive.

The definition of torture is very personal. To some it is the physical infliction of pain, while others find a Miley Cyrus video unbearable. Regardless your definition, the word torture is powerful, and should not be bandied about casually. How does one define such a word? When does discomfort become pain? These are questions for people with more knowledge of law than I have. I can speak of my experience, through military training. I have experienced water boarding, and, in my mind, it is torture. You do believe you are going to drown, and the fear and panic is real. I have experienced electric shock, and although not as bad as water boarding, it is torture. The pain is tremendous, and the involuntary vocal and muscular reactions can be totally demoralizing. Sleep deprivation is often common for the American soldier in combat, so I don't consider that as torture. A belly slap? Hell, I've been hurt worse in normal physical training. There are psychological techniques we need in our interrogation arsenal, including inducing physical discomfort with stress positions, but there needs to be limits. We are not asking nicely. We are not being polite. They are enemy combatants, no matter how unconventional the war, and must be treated as such. They have the rights we agreed to with any international treaties we have signed concerning prisoners of war. Failure to recognize proper limits, as well as potential legal sanctions, will have consequences.

"These animals have information that could save American lives. We need to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get that information!" is a quote I have read and heard too many times, from the average American, as well as some so called national leaders. (You know who you are, Dick Cheney.) Do a little research, dick. Torture is seldom effective, and, more often than not, produces damaging false intelligence. You're using a hammer on a staple. But, for the sake of argument, lets look at the miniscule times torture does produce some form of useable intelligence. If that is enough to justify our use of torture, it justifies it for the Mossad, or the SVR RF, or any other country or even loosely organized entity or group. We say it is OK to use it on OUR diplomats, and OUR soldiers, and OUR civilians. Is this the precedent we want to set? Do we really want to put a bullseye on every American who travels abroad? I know.....I know..... this won't keep the animals from ISIS from beheading Americans, but, it will help us get allies to help us find and destroy these animals. The moral high ground is paramount in diplomacy. Banning torture has far more advantages than using torture.

Now, let's calm Mr. Jefferson down. Let's talk about the American character. We are a world power, although not as powerful as we used to be, and must deal with all other nations as such. We are a part of a world community, with subsequent rights and responsibilities. Our position in that community, and our ability to sustain that position, is dependent on the face we show the world. To be a leader in that community, our character should be above reproach. We must present a set of standards that show the true strength of a democratic republic. This does not mean we must always be perfect, as God knows we have plenty of problems at home and abroad. It means we must strive for that perfection. We must set the bar high, and do our best to reach it. We established a basic philosophy over 200 years ago, with some tweaking since then, that stated our philosophy. Let that be the mirror we use to judge ourselves. It is OK to make mistakes, and we certainly have done that, but we must recognize those mistakes and take steps to correct them. Pointing out the cracks in our foundation is not unpatriotic, but failing to repair that foundation, or to strengthen it is. Survival at any costs is not the American way. If we abandon our roots, we might as well be French, or Chinese, or Canadian. We certainly won't be American. True Americans find ways to support the nation without abandoning its principles.

Finally, on a personal note, let me take the Senator from California to task. My opinion of the report you published is of little consequence. It may contain facts, but does it contain the truth? I will never know, though there are some out there who do. Regardless the veracity of this tome, what made you think that broadcasting American security protocols to the world was a good idea? Are you insane, ignorant, or just so in need of political notoriety that you would compromise the national security in this way? You have effectively increased the risk for every American soldier deployed, every diplomat abroad, and just common Americans, wherever they are. I sincerely hope this choice you made was worth the risk, but I doubt anything substantive for the nation will come of it. I have no doubt you will gain from it, both personally and professionally. Then again, that was probably your purpose from the beginning.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Internet security has always been a hot button topic, and is usually associated with problems like identity theft or malicious software, or just plain nasty viruses. Most people give lip service to their personal security measures, assuming the novice is powerless against the dreaded "hacker", without even knowing what a hacker is. For the record, a hacker is a code writer. It is someone who is proficient at various machine languages, manipulation of those languages, and interpretation of those languages. They use these skills to intrude on established programs and affect some manner of change in those programs. That guy who always wins on Call Of Duty or Splinter Cell is a cheater, not a hacker. He couldn't write a line of code if his life depended on it, but he knows where to go to steal or buy a "hack". Hackers seldom hack for themselves. It is a business, and a very lucrative one. The hacker writes the code, but the real villains use it for some type of illicit gain. Because the villains can't hack, they attempt to adapt the purchased code to various media, with varying levels of success. That level of success is exponentially enhanced when people take no security measures, and the crooks count on that. Some people actually aid and abet the crooks in harming their friends, by a cavalier attitude and just plain laziness. Reckless and indiscriminate sharing and retweeting is like a hooker spreading a STD. (Some of you, and you know who you are, are just plain slutty in this context.) You really need to stop it, and here's why.

There are different layers of security violations. Some, like identity theft, can affect us very personally, and have years long consequences, with substantial financial damage. Some, like a computer virus, may be temporary in nature, but cost us time and money. Some are far more insidious, but just as pernicious. "Phishing" scams are rather well known, and are usually easy to recognize if one is even slightly security conscious. Victims of these scams are the cavalier sops who believe "No one would want to steal my identity.", so they assume the bait is real. Phishing does not seek the one big fish, but the multitude of little fish. Those least able to afford the loss from these schemes are the largest number of victims. Even more insidious than phishing, is information mining, and that can be brazen, or incredibly subtle. In the digital world, information is gold. Properly smelted information ore can manipulate people, markets, societies and governments. The higher the grade of the ore, the richer the miners become, and the highest grade ore comes from those who volunteer information. Radio Shack, and other stores, have been brazenly mining information for decades, when they demand your name, address, phone number, and, now, e-mail address with every purchase. Every social media site you subscribe to demands information before you can participate. Usually these stores and social media sites just want common, and usually readily available, basic information, such as demographic type information. Relatively harmless to the individual, but a treasure trove to the business, which can sell that list to other miners. As the list is spread across the internet, the danger increases. Now we have moved from a simple mine shaft, to a veritable strip mine, with all the inherent environmental hazards that presupposes.

The old miner 49er is gone now. The real miners are corporate or even higher. A basic demographic is the assay these miners use to really gut the terrain. Now that they know who you are and where you live, they now need to know how you think, all your prejudices, all your vices, all your buying preferences and patterns, and anything that will aid them in manipulating you and your environment. "Why, in God's name, would anyone care what color my car is?" you ask. As a single question, it is pretty much useless, but as part of a psychological profile, it is quite valuable. When you participate in a social media application that says "What Game Of Thrones character are you?", you have begun to fill the ore bucket for these insidious entities. What fruit are you? What Shakespearean  character are you? What kind of cookie are you? A better question would be, "What kind of idiot are you?" (Yes, dear, I know that is rather harsh, and will offend some of my social media friends.) You may think this is completely harmless and just a fun game, but look at the questions these sites ask you. When a site says "What is your Steampunk name?" it asks for birthday information, initials, and things that can identify you. Alone, this isn't enough to do much damage, but add it to all the other crap sites you participated in, and you might as well invite a miner to come live with you for a year. Do you really think all these sites are separate?

"So I've given out some information, maybe a lot. (OK... a shitpot full) How can this be damaging?" A good question (and one you should have asked before you gave all that away). Knowledge really is power in today's digital age. Used expertly, information is a tremendous tool to manipulate markets. Amazon.com knows this. Google knows this. The NSA knows this. Think of the tip of the iceberg you have seen. Snowden, Arab Spring, the IRS targeting political opponents of the administration, are all indicative of what clumsy use of information can do. Sophisticated application of this technology can have world changing consequences, and be so subtle, that we would not see the changes until it was too late. In today's world, so much of our personal security, our civil liberties, and even our religious freedom are inexorably tied to the digital web. We must be better stewards of this environment than we are of the natural environment, or we will surely be condemned to a miserable life in both. Think before you post.

I have no doubts that someone, somewhere, with potential malice towards me, is reading this post. A key word has popped up in some database, either governmental or corporate, that will bring this blog to some entity's attention. To them, I say "PFFFFFFTTTTTTT!!!"

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I know many of you have read or seen other media about the tragic car accident that kills the young student, or family of three, or the old neighbor down the road. The drunk driver that caused the accident usually escapes unscathed, and is arrested for vehicular manslaughter, or equivalent crimes. If you look further, you see a record of numerous DUI infractions that were not prosecuted or dismissed with a fine. This is a driver that chose to drive drunk. A driver who chose not to get help with an alcohol problem. A driver who shows open disdain for the law and the safety of others. A driver who knows the system will let him continue this reckless behavior. A driver that used this system, knowing quite well that a fatal accident was eventually inescabable. The driver had family that knew this was going to happen. Friends, coworkers, and even brief acquaintances knew this was going to happen. No one intervened. Oh, there were recriminations, complaints and scoldings, but no action. "He/she is really a good person. It was just a tragic lapse in judgement."

America was given a last minute reprieve from default of our debt. After the sigh of relief, pundits and politicos will say "We knew it would be resolved. It's just politics, and that is how the system works." We still do not have a budget. Our government has, once again, "kicked that can down the road" (an innocuous phrase that I despise). This is not the first time this has happened, and it will happen again, in my opinion, come February 2014. The government did not fall. Our credit rating is still intact. No harm, no foul, right? Tell that to the small businesses that have failed because the government could not provide the services that THEY made businesses dependent on through heavy handed regulation. "Oh, you didn't get to go to Yellowstone? Well, that's no big deal. Go next year." I can't. I just spent the money I had saved for the last three years to take my family there this year, and that money was not recoverable. And, as a government employee, I have been working without pay for the last month, with no guarantee that I will receive back pay, so I've had to further deplete my savings to pay bills. My retirement IRA has tanked because Wall Street thought the market was about to collapse, so I guess I will have to delay my retirement a few more years, and hope the market recovers. It only took it about 5 years to recover from the last time, but maybe this time will be quicker. Oh....wait...February is just a few months away....nevermind. 

Many of you will say "It's the Republicans' fault! We need to replace them with Democrats!" or "It's the Democrats' fault! We need to replace them with Republicans!" or "My Congressman/Senator is a good person and an experienced politician. This was just a temporary lapse in judgement. I've always voted Democrat/Republican, and I will be loyal to my party. We can't let THEM get control of the government!"  Well THEY have control of the government, and THEY are the drunk drivers. They are careening through the Senate and the House, damaging civil liberties here, over regulating there, denting this article in the constitution, scratching the paint on this earned benefit, with airbags popping left and right. The most incompetent and dangerous Congressman or Senator is the incumbent Congressman or Senator. The record is clear, and these men and women are repeat offenders. A rank amateur would do less damage to this country than these self serving professional politicians. An opportunity is coming. Please do not vote for the status quo. I know it can be frightening to effect such a huge change, but, I fear our nation's future truly lies in the balance.  Let's not "kick that can down the road" again.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It's called "viral" for a reason. Much like a biological virus, misinformation, bias, and down right lies on the internet can lead to some serious maladies. In established media, it can lead to broadcasting hoaxes, (think Chinese pilots names), spreading propaganda, political manipulation, and abandoning the basic premise of good journalism. In social media, it can lead to national divisiveness, loss of friendships, and labeling one as an idiot for life. I will leave the press to police itself, but I do have a remedy for those ignoramuses that continue to post and share their vitriol based on inaccurate or skewed information.

Simple Tonic For the Uninformed is a relatively easy homeopathic remedy, easily concocted at home. The first ingredient, reason, is abundant in its natural form, but cultured reason may be more difficult to come by. Cultured reason does require some time and effort to procure, but it is highly effective, and is available from various education sources, to include the always reliable "researching the facts" source.

The second ingredient, knowledge, is easily gained, but it does seem to have a shelf life. Knowledge is also available from the "researching the facts" source, but it is relatively useless without the reason catalyst. Having knowledge without reason is much like buying an ice cream cone and just watching it melt, rather than eating it. Generally, the more knowledge used in the formula, the better, but that is assuming the knowledge is as pure as you can get it. Contaminated or outdated knowledge can ruin the formula.

The third ingredient, judgement, is perhaps the hardest to come by. Without good judgement, one can be a carrier of the virus, without actually feeling any of its symptoms. One may have reason and knowledge, but, without judgement as to what should or should not be shared , posted, or commented on in social media, one can spread the disease like the plague.

The final ingredient, heart, seems to be rapidly disappearing in today's culture, but it is still available to all of us. We are continuously offered heart from our parents, family, friends, clergy, and even through classic education sources. A good heart will know what is mean spirited and divisive, and what is constructive and enriching. Develop your good heart daily, and this resource for the tonic will never run dry.

The nice thing about the tonic is that it can be used by anyone. If you consider yourself a reasonable, knowledgeable person, and your passion demands you respond to a political, or religious, or social post, do so with compassion, not vitriol. Take a sip of the tonic, and you may find that silence truly is golden. To those of you who insist on posting racist, sexist, religious crap that you "shared" because you never had an original thought in your life, please take a big cup of STFU, and try to better yourself, rather than drag others down to your level.