Thursday, July 29, 2021

UPDATE 8/1/21: Miracle or Scam: A New Beginning for the GOP?

 by Gary Stamper CPC, MSIP, DSPS

UPDATE: 8/1/21

Scroll to the bottom after reading

So, Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink.

When he finishes his drink, the bartender asks him if he

would like another. Descartes replies, “No, I think not,”

and disappears in a puff of logic.

As I was pondering the recent astonishing turn-around of a group of Republicans who suddenly came out in favor of everyone getting vaccinated, I couldn't help but think of this old joke. I think these republicans all had the same instantaneous epiphany at the same time, suddenly and without warning, but it wasn't the realization that they had been wrong. 

Altruism? A sudden unexpected tug of compassion or empathy? Guilty consciences?  Wokeness?

In the words of Descartes, "I think not."

No, I think it was the realization that their unvaccinated constituents in Red States were dying at alarming rates from the new Delta Variant, and when they thought about how they would justify their position to their remaining constituents who had lost family and loved-ones to the new virus come election time, they realized they couldn't.

Adding to their gross miscalculation was the reality that their vaccinated blue neighbors' infection rates were at almost zero, and the anti-vaxxer deserters decided - in a amazing display of attempting to save their own asses - that they did not want die at that particular time on that particular political hill.

Was there an apology about their previous positions? Did they admit they were wrong or that they "changed" their minds? Not a chance. They came out and acted like that had always been their position.

This a desperate act of pure political cowardice delivered matter-of-factly, with little or no emotion, and yet I welcome it. I just have to call it out for what it is.

Don't get me wrong. Coming out in favor of getting the vaccine is better for almost everyone than not doing it and will ultimately save many lives (it's not so good for the hard-core right-wing cultists who haven't "changed" their minds), and those of us who actually care about our friends and neighbors should celebrate it as such.

You have to admit it's apparently already producing results. The Senate voted Wednesday to advance a bipartisan infrastructure plan, a critical step toward Democrats passing their sweeping economic agenda with17 Republicans and all 50 Democrats voting yes. While voting to advance the bill is not passing the bill, even advancing it is something that likely would not have happened without the support of the Republicans who changed their minds about the jab.

Is this good news? it depends on your perspective. From my perspective,  it would certainly appear that way to Post-Progressives, although much more remains to be done. To those in charge of the middle-of-the-road corporate Dems, like Biden, most definitely, even though questions remain about their motives and end-game. For hard-core right-wing extremists, white nationalists, and Trump, not likely on the possibility of passing an infrastructure bill as it increases Biden's re-election chance should he decide to run again.

But for Republicans like the ones who did the turn-around on the vaccines, it will depend on whether their usual voters believe their bullshit or not.

UPDATE 8/1/21: 

Amidst all the hoopla (myself included) about GOP Senate members suddenly doing a 180ยบ turnaround and urging their anti-vax constituents to get vaccinated (while a good thing) seems to indicate a softening of their hearts. A wise Facebook friend points out that "When the shit threatens to kill the majority of your support base, you try everything in your power to save them."

But why would anyone believe this "compassionate change of heart" is anything but a desperate attempt to keep a base? They've already proven by their past actions that they have no problem throwing their base under the wheels.

Equally abhorrent is what has become obvious around their sudden support of Biden's flagship campaign promise Infrastructure Plan. What is not being talked about in the mainstream media - or the corporate Dems - is that the sudden GOP support is a result of the administration's capitulation. In addition to cutting funding for the previously sweeping bill by 75%, federal spending on roads, bridges. and expanded broadband access will be paid for with unused Covid-19 aid funds - any chance we might need those? - and unspent jobless aid, among other sources.

Meanwhile, the GOP is quietly gloating as the modified bill benefits their constituents without cooperating on anything that threatens the party’s core constituencies.

What is it with Democratic non-existent negotiation and giving away the farm??

While Biden managed to at least win his bipartisan merit badge without betraying the Democratic base by bargaining away Social Security, the $550 billion infrastructure agreement is seriously deficient in many respects. 

Still, the president's campaign promise was that his deal-making prowess would enable the passage of bipartisan immigration, gun control, and health-care reforms - not a "mere" surface transportation bill. If the impending $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill does not pass, which is highly likely, then the bipartisan deal’s failure to prioritize progressive green investment will be gone, perhaps relegated to what continues to look like a very short set of future history books.

The infrastructure bill has not yet passed the Senate, let alone the House as DINO Dems Manchin and Sinema have both said they won't support it, and house progressives have said they won't support cuts to the plan. McConnell and 16 of his Republican colleagues only voted to “open debate” on the bill Wednesday. 

Stay tuned.


Gary Stamper CPC, MSIP, DSPP

Sunday, July 25, 2021

To Vax or Not To Vax, That is The Question, and Delays in Bocas Del Toro Pfizer Vaccinations

by Gary Stamper, CPC, MSIP, DSPS

With all of the virus misinformation (I'm being kind) from all quarters, and the extreme politicization and rampant conspiracy theories, I have been reluctant to get vaccinated.

I'm well aware that in the United States, a long list of diseases have been nearly eradicated by vaccines: diphtheria, polio, bacterial influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, and tetanus, among others. I'm definitely not an anti-vaxxer.


I'm also aware that pharmacological companies are notoriously well known for corruption and greed, lying, knowingly harming people, placing profits above people, and that they bribe (okay, so bribing is legal thanks to Big Pharma lobbying... it's still bribery through campaign donations). A quick internet search will give you an idea of just how rampant the problem is, and it's by no means limited to the pharmacological Industry.

So, my acceptance of something like the Covid vaccines is situational. It depends. Too many people - on both sides of this issue are sheep and blindly take their cue from their chosen leaders on both sides of this issue without discernment, but rather based on what they want to hear. Both sides, but not everyone.

Very early on in the pandemic, I started researching ways to boost my immune system. As much as possible, I've eaten a primarily organic diet for almost 20 years and have not had a cold or flu for ten years or more. I realized early on how important diet was to our health. I tried to stick to specific foods for specific results. At 76, I'm still not on any prescription meds, and when I see new doctors they are amazed because apparently, that's very rare for men "of my age."

What I call my "COVID-19 Immunity Building Protocol" (read about it here) seems to have served me well and kept me safe as I 
have successfully navigated a 5-day cross-country road trip, a temporary move to Texas (sometimes known as the Covid Capital of the U.S.), and an international flight and relocation move to Panama during the height of the pandemic with absolutely no repercussions - that I'm aware of - from the virus.

I'll be the first to admit that, with all of the above, I have a certain amount of what I'm thinking of as "invulnerability syndrome" (my superpower?).

It apparently comes from growing up in the Boomer generation, and it was said that boomers thought they would never die. (disclaimer: Strictly speaking, I'm not a boomer, I was born just before WWII ended. Culturally, I'm definitely a boomer). Many of us know differently now, but ingrained cultural customs, habits, and beliefs die hard.

I imagine I may carry natural immunity, as many do. Not everyone gets sick. Not yet, anyway, but with new variants like Delta, it's possible that immunity to one variant does not guarantee immunity to the next variant, and in a world where warming guarantees new variants and viruses (possibly contributed to by intentional "gain of function" experimentation where Murphy's Law reigns), this, and more, as I've written before, is far from over.

To Vax or Not to Vax

My vaccination quandary was solved this week by two new developments, but there are others as well.

The first was a reversal by a lot of Republicans that formerly held anti-vax views, including red-state governors, GOP members of Congress, and even (gasp!) Fox News' official new stance encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. Not all right-wing adherents agree, but one of the reasons the new position is taking hold is that the unvaccinated are now the primary source of new Delta variant infections mostly occurring in red states, the second reason my quandary has cleared.

In other words, their former position is now killing their constituents. 


As welcome as this turn-around in vaccine philosophy is, let's not forget that it's not out of their goodness of heart, but rather, knowing that it will be difficult to win elections as they're being blamed for the death of their constituents. How strong is this as a motivator? Alabama Governor Kay Ivy, who emphasized ten days ago on a visit to Birmingham that there's no need for an incentive plan to increase vaccination rates in Alabama, is now blaming the unvaccinated for the stunning increase in cases.

As Fox News hosts and anchors, GOP members of Congress, and other right-wing pundits were decrying the loss of freedom with vaccinations (they did the same thing with seatbelts, remember?), many were secretly being vaccinated, and even now refuse to disclose whether they've been vaccinated. It's not that they're saying "I haven't been vaccinated," it's that they have refused to answer when asked "have you been vaccinated?"

If the people who have spoken the loudest to discourage others to get vaccinated secretly got vaccinated (that's called hypocrisy), it's almost reason enough alone to get vaccinated. Right-wing anti-vaxxers, are you listening? Thinking?

Last, It's obvious that the vaccines are working. The case rate statistics prove it. New cases, even in Blue states where vaccination rates are higher, are increasing, but at a much lower rate than Red states where vax rates are significantly lower. And almost all of the new cases in both Blue and Red states are limited to the unvaccinated. 

Getting Vaccinated in Bocas Del Toro

I'll take my chances with the vaccine. We can now see that getting vaccinated are much better odds than going naked, or unvaccinated .

The upcoming Bocas Del Toro Pfizer vaccinations have been postponed, with no exact date set yet. Hopefully, it will be here in late August.

This is due to recent storms, as some of the buildings in Almirante and Changuinola that were going to be used as vaccination centers are currently flooded.

Over 5,000 homes and 26,000 people were affected by ongoing storms and flooding in Bocas Del Toro. Isla Colon and Bocas town where I live has largely been spared from flooding... so far.

I intend to get my first shot at that time. I'm also doing it to protect others, a benefit that has been revealed in the U.S. over the last few months in the face of the new Delta Variant.

It's not that the Pfizer vaccine prevents one from getting the virus. it doesn't. It apparently lessens the severity of the virus with some people experiencing lighter symptoms , and some no symptoms at all, and that lightens the death toll and helps ease the strain on healthcare and the economy although people who have been vaccinated can still be infectious and still spread the virus.

I still contend that we're an impatient species that requires everything "on-demand." and that includes completely opening up everything right now. We need to get over that. Mask up, distance, and be careful until we get this under control. so we can pay more attention to the other threats facing us. 

We are on the Hero's Journey, and we are on it together.

The hero's journey is a common narrative archetype, or story template, that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and then returns home transformed.

It is imperative that we return transformed from the journey lest it be for naught, because of what we face as we "come home" to life after the pandemic. and the next hero's journey. 

The Pandemic (including the Delta Variant) is probably the most important issue facing us at the moment. Unless we get it under control - and soon - there will be no economic recovery, no next hero's journey. We must have as much economic stability as possible to prepare for the other issues that threaten us, each an existential threat by themselves, nevermind that they're all swoopping down on us at the same time.

We cannot do it divided, and it can't happen if we care selfishly more for ourselves than each other.

We must do this together.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

What Is an Integral Life Coach?

 by Gary Stamper

An Integral Life Coach uses Integral Theory - an emergent school of philosophy and more - that "seeks to integrate all of human wisdom into a new, emergent worldview that is able to accommodate the gifts of all previous worldviews."

The first time Newsweek wrote about life coaches, they defined the profession this way: “Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist and part rent-a-friend, coaches work with managers, entrepreneurs and just plain folks, helping them define and achieve their goals – career, personal or, most often, both.

"Integral Life Coaches are more holistic, complete, similar to the difference in looking at physicians trained only in western medicine and Integrative Physicians who are trained in multiple modalities such as Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and food as medicine"
An Integral Life Coach uses Integral Theory – an emergent school of philosophy and more - that "seeks to integrate all of human wisdom into a new, emergent worldview that is able to accommodate the gifts of all previous worldviews, including those which have been historically at odds: science and religion, Eastern and Western schools of thought, and pre-modern, modern and post-modern worldviews*."

Integrally-informed Life Coaches believe the more people that consciously acknowledge and work with all parts of themselves will become truly inspired, healthy, fun, and balanced, to change the world - and themselves - for the better! Integral Life Coaches are more holistic, complete, similar to the difference in looking at physicians only trained in western medicine and Integrative Physicians who are trained in multiple modalities such as Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and food as medicine, just to name a few.

In addition to Integral Theory, I also use cutting-edge Developmental models like Spiral Dynamics to ensure that I'm able to meet every client exactly where they're coming from, culturally and developmentally.

For a powerful, multi-media presentation on integral theory, click here.


Gary Stamper is a Certified Professional Coach and the founder and creator of Old Dogs New Tricks, a website that supports men in being compassionate badasses after they retire. He is also the author of Awakening The New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, a book about evolutionary consciousness and men's spirituality.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Are you “Partially” Retired? It May Not Be Enough.

 by Gary Stamper

Although retirement is definitely a life event, like turning 21, marriage, or children, it’s not really an event, it’s a significant process.

if you’re like most of us, that process begins with an influencer or a set of influences that start the process. There may be many influences that may kick off the process, some of which may include pre-retirement financial planning, the actual date of one’s retirement, or the question of “what do I do now?”

The influencer can happen at any time and it comes in the form of cognitive awareness of retirement on both individual and relational planes, which hopefully inspires action. On both planes, there are internal and external dialogues, self-reflections, and meaning-makings that needs to be resolved before deciding on a course of action, with every person’s situation and experiences coloring the sense-making that needs to be done.

And while the meaning-making is different for everyone, the process remains pretty much the same. What can be said about the process is that retirement is a psychosocial process of identity transition and search for meaning, i.e., the creation of a new identity, which is triggered by the retirement process.

Self-Awareness and Adaptability

Using the criteria described above, we’ll look at two of the most important cognitive aspects of that meaning-making and we’re taking a very brief look at each from the very different but typical perspectives of (1) career-minded individuals who have held the same employment either with one company, or the same type of job with two or more companies, and (2), more entrepreneurial-minded individuals who have experienced many different types of jobs and employers and perhaps even been an entrepreneur or self-employed at several different careers and fields.

It only makes sense that those who have had the latter, i.e., multiple careers, will have likely developed more adaptability than the former, simply because they have had to adapt, which in turn allows increased self-awareness to rise as it’s needed. That’s basically a learned skill, especially as opposed to an assembly line worker who has perhaps spent the majority of their career doing the same thing over and over. That’s not to say one path is better or worse than the other, they are just different, and, in most cases, each allows its own results and consequences.

So what do you think? What else might be at play here? What about CEO’s of various sized corporations or owners of small businesses and entrepreneurs? How might that affect self-awareness and adaptability and why is it Important?

Traditional retirement planning has typically been all about financial planning with no attention whatsoever ever given to the psycho-social aspects of retirement. The assumption has always been as long as one has enough money, the rest will fall into place.

What we’re now seeing is that partial solutions to life changes just aren’t adequate or sufficient. That's where a Life Coach comes into play.


Gary Stamper is a Certified Professional Coach and the founder and creator of Old Dogs New Tricks, a website that supports men in being compassionate badasses after they retire. He is also the author of Awakening The New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, a book about evolutionary consciousness and men's spirituality.

Thursday, July 01, 2021


Here's a brand new addition to the "Eco-Art" series of drawings and paintings I've launched since my arrival in Panama:

Indigenous girl from the Panamanian Ngabe tribe.
Colored pencil on white bond paper

by Gary Stamper

The reality of moving to a new country is rarely what you imagine it might be in so many ways. A lot of new Ex-Pats have been disappointed by their choices, often because of their expectations. Some of the stories around that disappointment are sad and completely avoidable with a lot of homework, including visiting your choice of country before deciding to move there.

My planned exploratory trip in March of 2020 to Panama was cancelled because of lockdowns. Panama's reaction the virus was swift and decisive, a far cry from my home contry's response of denial. Panama closed their borders immediately, and by the time they reopened 9 months later, I was ready to go, exploratory visit be damned as I had done a lot more homework on Panama during the lockdown!

Having turned 75 in May of 2020 in lockdown, I knew I didn't want to continue working the way I had been. After all, wasn't time for me to slow down a bit, relax, and wasn't I headed for the Caribbean and some of the finest beaches in the world? The answer has been a resounding "Yes."

My main focus from here on is going to be my art. Those of you who know me well know art had been a major part of my entire life. I'm beginning a series of what I'm calling "Eco-Art" pieces on endangered species of Panama. The Many of you have seen my Scarlett McCaw (above with added copy) and my Loggerhead Turtle (below,also with added copy). Scarlett McCaws are no on Isla Colon where I live and Turtles are also endangered and all around the world. The purpose is intended to wake people up to the massive species die- taking place now

More recently, scientists at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded that: “Every day, up to 150 species are lost.” That could be as much as 10 percent a decade. -- link


We need to be paying close attention to species die-off. The loss of bees alone would likely eliminate our ability to grow food and would place humanity on our own endangered species list, but our greed tells us it's more important to sell pesticides than worry about the bees that are disappearing because of them.

I'm looking for a online source where I can sell my drawings and paintings that will allow me to tell the story about how human-caused climate change and greed is impacting these species and what it means to lose them. Ultimately, we are connected - one - and as I've repeatedly said:

"we are not the masters of this planet. We are but one experimental subset of a greater web of life and our time here has been short. The planet will be fine without us. The choice is ours."

Earlier Drawings of Other Endangered Species

Wolves, not found in Panama, but there are wild dog cousins

Cougars: North America, Mexico, Latin America, South America
along with their cousins, Panthers and Leopards

Habitat destruction and environmental pollution are the biggest threats to Ospreys

More to come