Friday, July 19, 2019

America: Love It or Leave It

When you hear or chant “America: Love it or Leave it” what do you think it means? What is love for America? Exactly what is the America which is being referred to? It’s a simplistic concept and not one without analogous situations to be considered.

A child may not love a parent for the actions and behaviors of that parent but leaving the household is fraught with dangers which might be as perilous as staying under the roof of an abusive parent. A woman with toddler children is not in a position to pick up and leave the abusive husband, boyfriend or other head of household with the children in tow. Similarly she would be remiss in leaving those children behind to face the wrath of the abuser. For her the solution may be to force the abuser out in the hopes that he would eventually go away.

Leaving the country into which you were born is not the solution for people who are not benefiting from the resources that everyone else get a share of. Being told to leave it if you don’t like it is the message of the abuser. They count themselves as the rightful owner of the house, the country, the community assets which they are magnanimous enough to share as long as their rules are followed. “This is MY house and as long as you are under my roof and eat my food, you will obey MY rules.” How many of you have heard that from your father? He was declaring My house: Love It or Leave It.

While he might very well pay the rent or mortgage and foot the food bill for the household, he doesn’t own America. Each and every person who took their first breath inside the national borders is a part owner of all the resources this land has to offer. Every person granted citizenship by an act of government is likewise a citizen and entitled to a share. Problem is there are people who don’t recognize the rights of others. All that matters to them is what they want. How convenient it would be if every person who disagreed with them would go away and not act against them?

The short sighted consequence of that exodus would be no one to work for them or buy what they have to sell.

The America that the powerful ones tout is not the fun loving peaceful land of plenty for everyone. The “liberty and justice for all” part of the pledge to the flag is denied to many people. For them they love the ideals this country is supposed to stand for and are willing to fight against the usurping class to make it the country it claims to be. Leaving is not an option. Leaving is surrender. Leaving makes it impossible to correct the deficiencies.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Rest is Yet to Come

As a Republican you may have not liked Barack Obama for a myriad of reasons. He was a Democrat (reason enough to not like him), he was black, he supported social funding that was to be paid for by more wealthy Republican people and corporations.

For the eight years of his Presidency and this year since, he has been disparaged as being a secret Muslim, not birthed on US soil, and for being the cause of racial tensions in this country.

While the first three attributes are intrinsic and indisputable, the latter three are conjecture, propaganda and most probably not true. Mostly he declined to dignify the accusations with any specific reply and went about doing his job, the job more Americans vote for than against. Twice. So what we have is accusations by pundits and conspiracy mongers about who President Obama is and what he did for (or to) the country.

Now we have a new person in the Office of President. What we know about him comes from listening to his own words effusing from his own mouth. We see his posture and demeanor, his praise and condemnation of specific people, and the nature of the people with whom he surrounds himself. We see the staff defections from the White house, we see the firings of his own cabinet level appointments, we see and hear the vitriol he shouts at his nearly bi-weekly campaign rallies.

Whereas, Obama was able to be positively judged by the character of his actions and policies, Trump cannot. In the absence of positive outcomes of any of his actions or policies he must stand before the choir and preach the Gospel of Donald and bask in the adulation of a few thousands of his loyal followers on a regular schedule. He must keep his message in the faces of those people lest they fall from his grace and turn away from his "church."

Donald Trump's rhetoric falls quite flat unless he denigrates an opponent and claim the pious position. In short, his gospel needs a devil or many demons to be the cause of everything wrong while he is the savior. Obama, Hillary, HER EMAILS, the biased FBI and DOJ, the Fake News. Without referencing them he has nothing good to say or report. He conveniently omits any negativity associated with him.

No mention of children being mistreated by ICE personnel. No mention of financial hardships he created with wild and poorly conceived tariffs. No concern for climatic conditions which have actually begun to manifest as wildfires, floods, tides lapping at the stoop of mansions-by-the-sea. The undoing of education, voting rights, consumer financial protections, air quality, water quality, and all around national infrastructure security. In Donald Trump's play book all of these negatives accrue to his greater score. When playing an endgame all outrageous acts are positives.

The economy is represented by an equation. There is an Equals Sign in the middle. When he says the economy is doing great, it means that corporate earnings and profits are up but on the other side of the EQ is labor costs are down. While a CEO loves such a bottom line, workers can't pay their bills and their lives go down in quality. Eliminating environmental constraints may increase shareholder value, but everyone else must live with the pollution.

Deporting people who have been in the US sometimes for decades may bolster his credibility for being tough on immigration, but they are people with families and lives built here. Tossing people out without considering the consequences leads to forcing vulnerable people back into the hands of oppressors from which they fled. The lives they fled are on the other side of that EQ Sign.

The Latin phrase ipso facto means the facts speak for themselves. The Trump Administration is so far into the swamp that in will never find its way out. It and the people who comprise it will need to be led out by the FBI and the DOJ but then only to face the actions they used to get them entrenched in the first place. Hundreds of indictment charges against dozens of people and businesses have already happened. Convictions and guilty pleas are fait accompli (French phrase definition - a thing accomplished and presumably irreversible.)

The propagandists can claim prior administrations were similarly criminal but the complete lack of legal actions against them belies that assertion. We have seen the tip of the corruption iceberg. The best is yet to come.

Monday, January 22, 2018

I'm Stuck in a Loop

I am stuck in a loop where the only things which seem worthy of being written about I've covered over and over in one post or another. Trump. Hunger. Non-employment. Inequity. A need for structural change in our economy. The neglect of governance for the needs of people.

I'll start writing on a "new topic" and within a very few sentences, I am back pounding on the same old theme. If it were a new topic and I got fixated on it (and not reverting to the old stuff) I could write on it for quite some time.

This is not one of them so I am stopping here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trumpian Deflection Gambit

Each day, Donald Trump awakens and begins his all-to-familiar Tweet session. His two themes are "what I did which is better than any man before me" and "what other people did that surely will deflect attention from collusion with Russians against the USA."

Both themes are in a perpetual state of failure. On the first theme, nobody who doesn't already support him like a cult leader is convinced to throw their new support behind him.

On the second theme, people who support him like a cult leader have decided they don't care about Russian involvement in US Politics because they have the President they wanted. They already exhibit a huge example of not caring. They don't care how many indigenous people had to be killed to keep the oil pipes flowing and their fuel tanks full.

People who #resist Trump and his cadre of fools cannot keep focused on the myriad of topics Trump puts out into the public square. There are so many items no one could keep track of them, even Trump himself.

It is good Robert Mueller doesn't have to follow up on every red herring Trump tossed out. He has already formed his agenda, knows who are going to be the ones potentially indicted, and when in the time line that will occur. The Trumpian Deflection Gambit may work to befuddle ordinary citizens, but a professional investigator and prosecutor such as Mueller will not become entangled in the hoopla stirred up by Fox News, et al, and Trump himself. He has the roadmap spread out before him and his staff and they only need to mark off how far they have come and which roads are not worthy of following.

Meanwhile the nation watches as Donald Trump sinks into his twilight world of contempt for everything good Congress the former Executive and the Judiciary ever did. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Politics and the Undiscovered Lie

In a recent meme shared by an extreme conservative FB friend, people were saying what ought to be done to a Muslim refugee who molested a child. The comments became quite graphic with the least being immediate deportation. Everyone neglected the fact that the vast majority of all molested children were assaulted by a friend of the family or an older relative. They were extremely self-righteous in their indignation. Now today we have men who many years ago engaged in what is known as the Undiscovered Lie. They lived the good life in the absence of public knowledge of what they did to someone's underage child.

Now today they are faced with the accusations and shame for what they did. Some men own up to the truth while others try to deflect and deny. Each of them has a singular guilt or innocence for which they will have to stand judgement.

The problem is when the man is a politician, there are political supporters who will vote for his candidacy knowing the preponderance of evidence which supports the allegations against him. They become enraged at anyone who points at the allegations and suggests he is not suitable to make decisions on behalf of a decent society.

The lengths the supporters will go is exemplified by this chain of events. Sean Hannity speaks in favor of alleged molester Roy Moore. Coffee machine maker Keurig pulls its advertising dollars from Hannity's Fox show. Keurig machine owners video themselves smashing their coffee makers in protest. Through the line of succession, these people are showing their approval of the act of sexual activity between a 32 year old man and a 14 year old girl.

They don't care what he has done. One delusional Evangelical Pastor even tried to point to the Bible to say what he did was alright. Apparently Conservative Politics trumps child abuse and sexual assault. What ever became of family values?

Roy Moore is running for the Senate. No surprises, as a Republican. With his name remaining on the ballot he will garner tens of thousands of votes even in light of his immoral activities. Some people will only recall seeing his name in the news but not why. Others will know exactly that he is accused of and vote for him any way. Millions of voters favored Donald Trump in this manner a year ago in November 2016. They knew his reputation and decided he exemplified their morality.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

AR-15 Frenzy

Gun sales are a fear-based enterprise. More so, the fear is irrational. People buy guns at a relatively steady rate based on the presumption of safety against crime and criminals. The statistical reality though is 3% of gun owners own 50% of the guns in circulation. This means the primary motivation for gun ownership is not protection but gun ownership itself.

The sad reality is half of the gun deaths each year are self-inflicted, suicide or otherwise. From those numbers one can deduce the instability of the persons who purchase even one gun. The second most common gun death is at the hands of a friend or relative, spouse or significant other. These are euphemistically labeled "crimes of passion". The least likely cause of gun death is being killed by a criminal stranger.

Strict Second Amendment supporters are wont to cite personal safety from crime and defense against a tyrannical government as their reason for stockpiling weapons.

There are three distinct categories of firearms; Handguns, rifles and semiautomatic assault weapons. While handguns are by far the weapon of choice by most owners, they also are the weapon of choice in suicides and domestic violence. Rifles are a natural for hunting and sport shooting. Semiautomatic assault weapons are the go to choice of the fearful citizen who is told the government is trying to enslave him. They are also the weapon of choice of the unstable American white male who feels aggrieved in some way, many times involving women.

Every time the fear mongers ramp up their rhetoric over the checking of backgrounds of prospective assault weapons weapon sales increase dramatically. Even accessories that are suggested for limitation or outright ban see a spike in sales. Exemplary of this assertion is the sales of "bump stocks" for the AR-15 which makes the semiautomatic firing rate into a fully automatic mode. After the Las Vegas mass shooting which left 59 dead and 520+ injured (he used bump stocks to maximize firing rate) bump stock sales to ordinary citizens who already owned AR-15s, jumped.

His firing rate was so high that the conspiracy propagandists such as Alex jones could not believe one man could have accomplished the level of carnage. Alex insists the death total is fake, there were more than just the one shooter and the government is behind the events to justify taking away assault weapons from honest law abiding citizens.

The shooter in Sutherland Springs, Texas was able to walk the aisles and fire 450 rounds before leaving 26 dead and being wounded by a man outside who had a rifle. The shooter was able to kill his grandmother-in-law. I knew there was a woman in his troubled life.

The bigger issue than who may purchase an AR-15 is the number of AR-15s hanging on the wall in gun shops which call out to troubled men like the legendary sirens of the sea. Buy me. Take me home. Stroke me. Give me love. The level of pleasure cannot be neglected. There is a level of orgasmic response at the rapid fire and kick which cannot be denied.

Then there is all the accoutrement. Tactical helmet and face shield, Kevlar vest, black pants and high laced boots. And most of all carrying the 15 to 45 magazines each lovingly loaded by hand. His was not a cosplay outfit to look cool at Comicon. It also was not merely a one-day outing to complete the outfit and firepower.

All of this lethal weaponry can be had for cash or plastic. While it is a very difficult task to monitor each and every purchase transaction, it is the availability of the product which drives the sales. Arms manufacturers should be discouraged or outright banned from making the weapons for public sale in the first place. Importation should be stopped too.

It would be far easier to regulate and control the manufacture of the weapons as opposed to their sale. Similarly stopping the sales is far easier than stopping the purchase. We are talking several millions of buyers, several thousands of sellers and less than a dozen manufacturers.

There is no reason for the ownership of an AR-15 than to get a thrill of firing it and/or of mass killing with it. American society is so highly polarized and radicalized that some rational solution needs to be implemented before all the apparently random shooting event become aligned with each other and parts of our society topple like dominoes lined up for the Principle of Imminent Collapse to all knock down with the simple Nudge.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ipso Facto, Mr. Trump.

Ipso Facto. (the facts speak for themselves.)

Russian election interference. Trump-Russia collusion. Just a friendly "hail fellow well met." Treason at the highest level. Foreign state involvement in US democratic processes.  Depending on whether you are in jeopardy of Federal prison time or not, your opinion about what the evidence shows will be different.

There are dozens of men and women in the Trump Administration who made the transition from the Campaign who were intricately involved in the dialog with foreign agents to position Donald Trump as the President of the USA. It doesn't matter who approached whom. It does not matter whether the dialog was face-to-face, by email or go-between. It doesn't matter whether the outcome was substantive, abortive or incidental. The fact of the communiqué without disclosure, intentionally hidden or inappropriately omitted from the public record shows that there is influence between the foreign state of Russia, its leaders and oligarchs.

Donald Trump ACTS like an instrument of the Russian government, which essentially is Vladimir Putin himself. He can say nothing disreputable about the man. He fawns over the ability of the man to command his government, its bureaucrats and military.

By Donald Trump, Jr.'s own public statements a sizable portion of the Trump brand wealth is inextricably tied to Russian "investors' who lent the money that funds at least in part every Trump® endeavor. It will require the services of dozens of Forensic Accounts for months on end to isolate Trump wealth from Russian money.

When a businessman receives a loan for $50m on property valued at $25m and purchased for $8m, someone is the benefactor and someone is the beneficiary of a huge favor. Favors always come in two parts. The Favor and the Quid Pro Quo. An "investor" who has essentially no financial limit, lends his money to someone who has nowhere else to go, the payback is not the principle but the quid pro quo. In this case, the Russian investor expects US policy and economic access to be made conducive to their goals and objectives. They expect Donald Trump to direct US policy in directions favorable to them.

Whether or not Russian activities tipped the @016 Presidential election or and of the dozens of House and Senate seats in the US Congress or any of the State Legislatures... ipso facto!

Facebook acknowledges there were an "unknown" number of political ads associated with Russian accounts. Now who they were, what was said and how big the effort was is being walked back by the social media platform. Millions of Twitter accounts spontaneously mobilize with every anti-trump Tweet with Pro-Trump/Anti-Clinton posting.

Whether the activities of Russian or any other inappropriate apparatus tipped the election to Trump, there certainly was a strong attempt to do so. The ability of a few well connected individually to alter electronic voting results is well established. Then you have that exactly 4 of the "swing state" voter counts went uncharacteristically to Trump in the late hours of the election returns. Those same 4 states called Trump as winner by less than 1% and below the automatic recount threshold. Where paper tabulation was in place there were no such anomalies. Some states where there were Red dominated legislatures, the number of denied voters in minority Democrat precincts was higher than the number of votes Trump won by in that state.

One confirms the intent of others not by what they say but be what they do. Trump claims the media make up false stories about him even when there is video or audio transcripts to prove who is lying. Similarly, the media doesn't have to fabricate a story or create a spin when the man's personal appearances in front of his own audience show who the man really is. Ipso facto.

From his own fingertips we receive his daily dump of what is in his head. From the actual news coverage we see how he acts and that he thinks about the people of this nation. When he is acting the role of the insensitive jerk, we have that on tape. It is no wonder he is loath to record official telephone calls or require transcripts of meetings. The facts of the communication are far easier to deflect about and deny when we must rely on his staff's memory and attitudes about what they heard. Meanwhile watching him in action, watching is vacation and golf schedule, reading his own unvarnished words provides everyone with the undeniable truth. Ipso facto.