This just in:  A retiring Republican, Corker, says that the White House is a Daycare center charged with taking care of our Baby-in-Chief.  I find this hard to argue against.

I just want to make a few points…

People are taking a knee at football games to protest police brutality against blacks.  They have said as much.  If you are confused about their motivations, ask them and they will tell you this is not about disrespecting the flag or lack of patriotism.  If YOU then say, “They are disrespecting the flag and are not patriotic” it is my opinion that you are a racist.  You heard a black man say “up” and you heard him say “down” because you wanted to create a reality that fits you.

I would love a tax cut…but first a few questions.  If you lower taxes, who gets the cut? (hint…the rich).  If you want to get rid of the Death Tax, who benefits?(hint…the rich).  Will the deficit go up? (hint…it will explode).  Will the American people get fewer services? (hint…if you mean less Social Security and Medicare then yes).  So, yes I want a tax cut but not the one being proposed by Trump.

On healthcare…Trump and the GOP want to take $800 billion out of healthcare and then pass what is left off to the states in “block grants” with the explanation that states can do a better job.  They should actually say, “We will take out a butt-load of funds and pass the crumbs that are left off to the states.”  They leave out that first part.  I would love better healthcare at a lower cost.  I am against poorer healthcare that is gutted to give $800 billion to the richest people in the country.

On North Korea.  I think Trump is trying to goad North Korea into a first strike so that he can go to war and claim self defense.  Trump is a draft dodger that wants to use nuclear weapons as therapy for his damaged psych and daddy issues.

On Iran.  Everyone agrees that Iran is in compliance with the agreement they made with the rest of the world.  Trump wants to pull out because Iran it feels presidential to his sick perspective of leadership.

On Las Vegas.  The White man being referred to as a Lone Wolf was in fact…a terrorist.  We don’t call him that because he’s not a Muslim.  The conspiracy theorists and pro-gun people…you are the real problem.  I watched an NRA guy on TV talk about how people want to defend themselves with guns.  In other words…if someone comes into your house and tries to take your stereo…you want to be able to shoot him dead on the spot.  Really?  There are people that feel like this?  I suppose there are.  They remind me of that kid on Christmas Story.  He has a fantasy about saving his family from bad guys with his Red Ryder BB Gun.  I think we have a lot of people with this fantasy.

On Russia.  I actually don’t care if Russia affected the last election.  I DO care that we are doing nothing about it and are going to allow Russia to impact the next election.

On the Truth.  Trump lies constantly.  Constantly.  I’m amazed that his followers will listen to him, knowing that he is lying.  They then filter out everything until they hear a lie that fits what they want to believe.  They then hold that up as evidence that Trump is making America great again.

I live north of San Francisco.  This morning, the air was virtually un-breathable due to local fires.  This quality of air is what Trump is doing to our air and water.  He has rolled back every environmental regulation he can find.

Trump is dangerous.

The people that vote for Trump are the illness that we, as a country, need to acknowledge.  We are racists.  We like war.  We like to hear things that support what we want to think is true.  Not all of us…but maybe 30%.  This is a big chunk of US.

We need to know they are there so we can confront them.  We can’t cure what we don’t acknowledge.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I’m seeing all kinds of stuff on Facebook about “Stupid people making this mass killing about politics.”  The implication seems to be that opportunistic vultures are using this tragedy as a prop to skewer the political party they oppose.

Sure, there is probably some of that.

However, this IS a political issue.  It shouldn’t be.  Gun Control should be a common sense issue that has no political opposition.  But it does.  Unlimited funds make one party pass laws that allow things like Las Vegas to happen.  Money causes one party to oppose even the idea of looking into the issue of gun violence.

The mass killing in Las Vegas is the direct result of the Republican Party being paid to support those laws (or lack of laws) that would prevent such an event.  There is no shortage of evidence that “Gun Control” is vastly more effective than “Thoughts and Prayers”.

Politics matter.  Failing to pay attention to politics has results.  Pretending the politics will not affect our everyday lives is ridiculous.

Let me give you a few examples:

Healthcare:  The Republican Party wants to kick 25 million people off of healthcare. Why?  Because the Koch brothers have told them to get it done or they will dramatically cut back on campaign contributions.  Democrats are leaning towards universal healthcare which is used with great success throughout the world.  This matters.  This is politics.

Tax Reform:  The Republican Party has put forth a proposal that will give tax cuts to the rich while exploding the national debt.  Why? Money.

Environment:  The Republican Party is anti-climate change, anti-Green Energy and pro-fossil fuels.  Why?  Money.

We can destroy our planet.  We can give money to the wealthy while the rest of the economy is subsumed by poverty.  We can let infinite guns roam the streets in the hands of whomever wants them.

Or we can do something different.

Thoughts and Prayers are the lazy person’s solution.

I think right now is precisely the exact, right time to talk about how politics has caused the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

There are nearly 60 dead people in Las Vegas because of our Republican Party.  There is no other way to say this.

We can and should mourn the loss of life.

We can also start to take action; to do something that will prevent this from happening again.

Or…we can send our thoughts and prayers; pat ourselves on our backs for a job well done…and then repeat this exact same thing over and over and over again.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  When I was in college, the one major you could take that would nearly guarantee a good GPA was Political Science.  The reason for this was that it was incredibly easy.  While smart guys were taking Electrical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering…the football team took Political Science.

We are being governed by Political Science majors.

This trust of “small brains” cobbled together a plan, in secret, that will affect one-sixth of our economy.  They did this in a matter of days.  They did this without consulting medical experts, economists and their constituents.  They didn’t even bother asking the Congressional Budget Office for their assessment before trying to pass this bill.

What we got is the following:

  • A bill that only 17% of Americans want.
  • A bill that will kick tens of millions off of healthcare.
  • A bill that will devastate Medicare and Medicaid
  • A bill that allows insurance companies to discriminate against pre-existing conditions.
  • A bill that does ZERO to control costs.
  • A bill that takes over $700 billion out of current healthcare expenditures and redistributes that money to the wealthy.

So, the Republican Party came up with a bad healthcare plan.  I can’t blame them since they don’t possess the intellectual means of doing a better job.

However, their rationale for this plan seems a bit…like a lie.

They have two basic justifications.

  1. The first justification is that they promised to repeal Obamacare and they must do this so that they can fulfill a campaign promise.  This rings a bit hollow.  They must know that their plan is a disaster compared to the existing Obamacare.  They can’t possibly think that their constituents are thinking “I want you to replace Obamacare even if the replacement costs more, provides less coverage and kicks millions off of healthcare.
  2. The second justification is that by sending money to states instead of a centralized national plan, healthcare will get better.  They act as if this is a law of physics when in fact, it’s just words.  It’s as if I said,”stand over there instead of right here and you will find that an extra $20 miraculously shows up in your wallet.”  They will take $700 billion out of the plan and distribute what is left to the states.  By the way, the distribution will heavily favor the Republican States that vote for this plan.  California will get tens of billions less because they are a “blue” state.

I suppose we should break up our military and let the states buy their own tanks.  We should let states negotiate with North Korea.  We should let states decide if minorities should vote.  In  fact, we should eliminate the federal government all together since divestment of responsibility is a great cost saver.  <- This is the Republican position.

Now, we know these two justifications are wrong.  So, what is the real reason?

Simple….It’s all about the money.

The Koch brothers plan on spending a billion dollars on elections.  However, they have told the Republican Party that this money will not be spent unless Obamacare is replaced with something that saves the Koch brothers tens of billions in taxes.

That’s the reason.

In other words, the Republican Party is willing to destroy 1/6th of the economy of their country in order to keep donor money coming in.

Vote in 2018.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

This just in:  We’ve all been hearing rumors about Life In The White House under president Trump.  He throws fits, behaves childishly and is basically self destructive.  While there is plenty of live evidence suggesting this may be true, we can’t really be sure unless we are a fly on the wall.

I do have a vision in my head of what it looks like in there.  Here is what it is…

General Kelly, Chief of Staff (aka “The Nanny”):  “Donnie, take that out of your mouth!  You don’t know where it’s been.

Trump: “Awwww….you never let me have any fun.”

later….

Nanny: “Donny!  Get down from there this instant.  Don’t make me come over there or so help me….”

Trump: “All the other Heads of State get to climb on stuff.  Why can’t I?”

Nanny: “If all of the other Heads of State jumped off a bridge, would you?”

still later:

Nanny: “Who has seen the Donnie!  I can’t find him anywhere.”

Aide: “I saw him go into a closet with a telephone.”

Nanny: “God Damn it!  I told you people to keep an eye on him.  He’s probably talking to that Bannon kid; the one that’s been such a bad influence on him lately.”

still later:

Nanny: “Donnie, what have I told you about pulling the wings off of flies?”

Trump: “I knowwwwww.  Don’t pull wings off of flies.”

Nanny: “And what did I say about deporting 800,000 people that have spent their entire lives living, learing, loving and working as if they were Americans?”

Trump: “Don’t kick them out of the country and send them to a place that they no nothing about.  I never get to have any fun!”

Donnie throws himself on the floor and has a tantrum.  When that’s run it’s course, he gets up and fires a couple of aides.

still later

Nanny: “Donnie!! What’s this I hear you’ve been fighting with Kim Jong Un?”

Trump: “He started it.  He’s just a big Panda Head anyway.”

Nanny: “I’m putting you on a time out.  That means no Fox News for 2 days.”

Trump: “God Damn it!’

As you can see, General Kelly has his work cut out for him.  I wish him well.  My guess is that he’s not a Trump fan but sees his “nanny work” as a way to save our country from Donnie.

He’s probably right.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in:  I want to give everyone fair warning that you are being judged…by me.

I try not to…but it’s hard.

Since I can’t “not” judge, I feel that the best I can do is give you fair warning about how I interpret what you say.

Let’s start…

You say: “We are a nation of laws.  This is why DACA needs to end and we need to send 800,000 people back across the borders.”

What I hear: “I am a racist and am using the “nation of laws” idea to justify my not being a racist.”

 

You say: “All terrorists are Muslims.”

I hear: “I fear that my Christian beliefs may not be right but by squashing all opposition and painting them in a dark light, I strengthen my case that my belief in a certain quality of magic is the right and proper belief.”

 

I say: “Name just one thing Trump has done for America.”

You say: “Too many things to name.”

I hear: “I have no idea what to believe until I turn on Fox News (aka Trump TV) and listen to what they tell me to believe.”

 

You say: “LGBT rights are against the bible.”

I hear: “I am a little gay and I’m afraid that legitimizing it will make me all gay.”

 

You say: “Obama was an embarrassment.”

I hear: “Obama was a nigger.”

 

You say: “Voter ID laws protect our elections.”

I hear: “I don’t want minorities, the poor and the elderly to vote because they may not vote the way I want them to.”

 

You say: “Abortion is murder.”

I hear: “I can’t help but push my beliefs onto others.  This makes me feel righteous.”

 

You say: “Trump is not a racist.”

I hear: “If Trump is not a racist, then I am not a racist despite my actions and beliefs.”

 

You say: “We should take out North Korea.”

I hear: “I have zero understanding of the implications of war on the Korean peninsula but talking tough gives me a war-boner.”

 

You say: “Benghazi and Hillary emails.”

I hear: “Trump has given me nothing to brag about so I will resort to tearing down someone else so he doesn’t look so bad by comparison.  Bringing up Hillary shows just how far down the well of history I will reach to find something to use as a distraction from Trump’s latest scandal of the week.”

 

I think you get my point here.  That point being that you can hide from yourself but I think I see you quite plainly.

I may be wrong but I’m probably not.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

This just in:  “Close” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear detonations.

I don’t want to be a fear monger about nuclear weapons, but I think turning our backs on the idea of a nuclear war is akin to a gorilla turning his back to the zoo goers.  The gorilla ignores the people, therefore, they don’t exist.

Nuclear weapons aren’t like that.  They don’t care if you are paying attention to them or not. They are always there.

So…let’s talk about this for just a minute.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 13.5 KT.  This means it was about the same size as 13.5 thousand TONS of TNT.   It killed between 90,000 and 146,000 people.  Most of them in an instant.

Today’s biggest nuclear bombs are tens of thousands of times bigger.  Not twice as big.  Not ten times as big.  TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TIMES AS BIG.

Here is what happens when a bomb like this is used as a weapon.

A couple of things that matter: (1) size, (2) altitude at time of detonation and (3) terrain

The first thing is the fireball.  This will fry everything within its reach.  This relatively small and short-lived; maybe a couple of miles across and lasting less than 2 minutes.

The next is the percussion.  This is essentially an overpressurization that will blow buildings down for miles around.  First it blows away from the center of the detonation and then, realizing it left a big vacuum behind, it blows back towards the center.  Roads, buildings, bridges, hospitals, farmland…all of this will be blown away.

At the same time, there is the EMP or Electromagnetic Pulse.  This can be far reaching, especially with a high altitude burst.  It will basically fry everything that uses electricity. It doesn’t just make things turn off…if makes it so they are ruined and can no longer be turned on.  Your car will stop.  You phone will not work and if it did, the infrastructure that supports internet and cell phones will be gone.  Electric lighting will be gone.  The electric pumps that send water to your house will be gone.  In short….you will be back in the stone age.

Finally, there is the fallout.  The gift that keeps on giving.  If you somehow survive the initial high dose of radiation (first few minutes) the residual radiation will take much longer to tapper off.  It will kill you over time.  It will affect your unborn kids for at least the next generation.  It will poison your food, the crops and everything you touch.  Count on it being around for decades.

So…there you have it.  Nuclear Weapons are bad…M-Kay.

On a completely unrelated note…

Donald Trump, should he decide to launch a nuclear weapon, can do so without permission from anyone.  Once he says “go”, the weapons will be on their way to their targets in just a few minutes.  Almost immediately after that, his target of choice will return the favor.

Just sayin…

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  A bad night’s sleep makes Jim a Dull Boy.

Given the opportunity, I will sleep like a koala.  The need to work, eat and occasionally interact socially with others are the main roadblocks to this ultimate lifestyle.  A typical night has me tucked away for about 8 hours.  I like to toss and turn; always seeking the cool spot.  Interestingly, I also like to wake up from time to time and peek at the clock.  There is nothing as satisfying as seeing I have several hours of sleep time left to go.

This came to an abrupt end a couple of nights ago.

I stayed at a hotel with pillows made of drywall.

When I go to a hotel, I like a coffee pot and iron in the room.  A television is nice.  A bed is desirable but not mandatory.  I can easily sleep on a floor with a bath towel for a blanket.  When it comes to sleep….I’m a professional (or would be if I could get paid for it).

I do have an achilles heel.  I have to have a fluffy but firm pillow.

A Firm but Fluffy pillow represents a continuous function of “head height”.  Depending on my mood and sleep position, I can make the pillow thinner or thicker…by increments of microns if I want.  Since I spend my nights sleeping in every position possible, I need a pillow that can change to accommodate my needs.

A thin, hard pillow is the exact opposite of flexible.  It offers a single height; take it or leave it.  You can fold it or even stack another fhin pillow on top of it.  What you end up with is a step-function pillow scenario.  You can have a single height pillow or, by stacking, you can have a double or triple height pillow.  However, if you need a pillow height of 2.365 pillows…you are out of luck.

I can’t be the only person that knows this.  I can see all of my readers nodding in agreement thinking, “Jim is making a great point here.”

How can a hotel operator not know this.  I was at a brand new hotel.  They’d spent tons of money on carpets and beds.  As I checked in they told me about the new elliptical machine in the fitness center.  But they forgot about the pillows; apparently choosing the lowest bidder who used extra car seat materials to cobble together the thing stuffed into the pillowcase on my bed.

Alas….

Speaking of elliptical trainers….I have one.  Can’t use it because my back has apparently vetoed all things “not sleep.”

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I have back problems.  For the last couple of months, I’ve been doing great.  The secret is that I start every day with a 25 minute yoga routine.  I also do a lot of “core” work.  I do so much core work, I’m certain that I have a six pack….at least I’m fairly sure.  The problem is that my six-pack is hidden behind a protective layer of Popeye’s Chicken and Taco Bell’s Carnivore Platter.  My wife calls it my muffin.

I call it insurance against a Zombie Apocalypse.  You see, I read a book a few years back about a whaling ship that got sunk at sea.  This was apparently not an uncommon thing at one time.  When it happened, everyone would get into a life boat and try to see how long they could go before they started eating each other.  Inevitably, the captain lasted the longest.  Not because he was a leader.  He lasted because as captain, he ate better than anyone else on the ship and thus…had a protective layer of fat over his six pack.  This allowed him to stay stronger longer.

I see this as a potential edge when the world collapses into Zombie Apocalypse.  Food will be scare as Zombies are notoriously bad farmers.  As survivors go searching for food they increase the likelihood of a “zombie bite”.  My protective “muffin” will allow me to lay low, hopefully until Brad Pitt can find a cure.

So there you have it…

It’s not always about Trump.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Trump had a pep rally last night in Phoenix and I found it disappointing.  Trump didn’t disappoint.  He is who he is.  I was disappointed that there are so many people ANYWHERE, let alone in just Phoenix, that will applaud wildly at the nonsense he puts out.

As always, my struggle it to try and understand how and why people can see things so differently than myself. So, I decided to try and list what I like about Trump”s platform.  Forget Russia.  Forget the lying.  Forget his behavior.  What were his promises?  That’s what I’m after.

Let’s start with the idea of Populism.  This is basically telling the ordinary man that his problems are the result of some elite entity.  “You are not to blame…someone else is.”

I get this.  I’m constantly blaming the billionaire class for bribing Congress to act on behalf of Big Oil or some other “elite entity”.  So I suppose I am captured by the grand net of “populism”.

But what about other Trump Platforms?  I’m not talking about his behavior.  I’m talking about what he actually said he would do if elected.  Can I support those ideas?

Turns out, the answer is often Yes!

Let’s look at his 4 big issues:

Healthcare:

The promise is that we will all have better healthcare at a much lower cost.  Who would be against this?  Not me.  I’m all for better healthcare and lower costs.

What we got was a modern day version of The King Has No Clothes.  The Republican Party based its entire existence on their secret plan to Repeal and Replace Obamacare.  Turns out they were bluffing.  There is no plan and there never was a plan.  As for Trump, he just wanted a victory.  He didn’t care what was passed just so long as something passed.  He openly supported a plan that made things much worse.  He did this in “the blind”. I have yet to find any article that states Trump actually understands Obamacare or any of the alternatives put forth by the Republican Party.

Infrastructure:

The promise was $1 trillion dollars in infrastructure spending.  I loved this idea.  Not only do we need it but the timing is perfect.  We need well paying jobs and construction will provide those.  Interest rates are extremely low so we would be borrowing money for free.  The return on this sort of investment is generally considered to be substantial.  Conversely, doing nothing is going to cost us far more in the long run.  This is the one issue that has bipartisan support.

What we got is…nothing.  Trump has offered to let billionaires build roads that they would then own and be able to charge tolls on to recoup their money but that is about it.

Tax Reform:

The promise is that taxes will go down substantially and this will spur record economic growth.  Who wouldn’t like this.  There was also a hint that taxes would be simplified.  Love it!  Also, loopholes would go away.  About time!

What we got was a 1-page tax plan copied from an article in Forbes magazine.  Trump apparently read it and told his people “Get me something like this.”  Everything coming out of the White House tends to vastly reduce the tax rates of the very wealthy and does virtually nothing for the other 98% to 99% of us.  The only specific thing I have heard is that the tax cuts will spur economic growth up to between 3% and 6%.  These are big numbers.  The problem is that there is no specific plan and there is ZERO history of any tax cuts creating economic growth that lasts beyond the first few weeks after the cuts are put into place.

Immigration Reform:

The promise is that we will deport the criminals and protect our jobs.  Also included in this is protecting us from terrorists coming over with refugees.

What we got was a racist policy of protectionism.  Families are being torn apart in an attempt to show how tough we have become.  We are deporting tens of thousands of workers without a plan to fill the jobs left behind.  People of non-Christian faith are suddenly no longer welcome in our country.  Instead of protecting our borders, we became a nation of hate, racism and intolerance.

Other policies that I never agreed with right out of the gates:

Rebuilding our military:  This was just fear-mongering as Trump clearly has no understanding of our current military capabilities.

Stepping away from the Paris Climate Agreement:  This is nothing more than a nod to the largest donors to the Republican Party.

Stepping away from NAFTA and the TPP:  I never understood why; even when Bernie wanted to do the same thing.  No one has ever pointed out the downsides and the upsides to these two agreements, side-by-side.  All I know is protectionism and nationalism will cause our economy to wither on the vine.

So, I like some of it and I don’t like some of it.

I uniformly oppose the way Trump has handled all of it.

Which brings me back to my original dilemma: How can others see Trump so differently than I do?

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in:  Today, at the end of this post, I will make a prediction.

But first…

I have two book recommendations:

  • Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler
  • The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols

The first book explains why the economy does not always act like we think it should.  The second takes on the subject of our apparent growing disregard of expertise.  Anti-vaxers think they are right.  Climate deniers think they are right.  We swallow political nonsense when experts tell us the exact opposite.  I’m only starting the book and it doesn’t appear that the “why” is actually the topic but rather the “what”.  What is it that we are actually doing and does it matter?

I have a Netflix recommendation:

Watch Ozarks.  This stars Jason Bateman who is one of my favorite actors.  There is a lot of action and every character is well developed and odd in his or her own way.  This is a series and only has one season thus far.

On the racist page...

I was watching a black reporter interview a couple at a KKK event.  They said right to her face that she was less than them because she was black.  They quoted the bible to prove their point.  When she asked them if they thought they were racist they said, “no.”  See…this is the problem.  Racists don’t think they are racists.  They think they are right.

Still on the racist page...

Here is a pop quiz…Which political party is anti-muslim, anti-hispanic, anti-immigrants anti-“take care of the poor” and pro-“Let’s keep the black people from voting”?  Which party is this?

If you said “Republican”…then you get a gold star.  Now…if you are a Republican and reading this…you will either (a) deny the characterizations I just made or (2) justify them so as to make you “right” and therefore…not a racist.

The last bit of racist page…

Tearing down Confederate statues is NOT erasing history.  The Civil War will still be taught in our schools.  Movies will still be made about it.  However, we don’t need monuments to a rebel rising against our government with the intent of retaining the right to own people.  That’s all I have to say about that…

On the funny page…

This may not be funny to you but I’ve been laughing about it for a week.  On Reddit, someone asked the question “What is the worse thing that has ever happened to you on an airplane.  The following was one of the posts and the subsequent comments.

  • Poster: One time a guy died of a heart attack.  We were over the ocean so couldn’t land.  They just put a sheet over him and left him in his seat.
  • Commenter:  Didn’t they try to revive him?
  • Poster:  Yeah, but this guy was like….super dead.

I have been laughing at the idea of a guy being super dead all week.

On Trump…

Tonight Trump will lay out his plan for Afghanistan.  I have zero belief that this is “his” plan as he probably couldn’t find the place on a map.  Hopefully he relied on his generals.  I heard he reached this plan after careful deliberation with his cabinet…you know a group of people appointed to jobs because their sole qualification was they were grotesquely unqualified for the position.

Trump is also preparing to tell us in a few days that Iran is violating their nuclear deal.  The fact is that they are not, however, Trump has directed those around him to fabricate a case that says they are.

Why would Trump want the distraction of a fight with Iran?  He wants this because the best way to hide a needle is to build a haystack (Heard on Rachael Maddow).  Trump desperately needs us to be looking at something other than his racism and Russian affinities.

Now for my prediction…

Tonight on CNN, Paul Ryan will be holding a Town Hall meeting.  During this meeting I predict he will say the following two things, both of which are false:

  1. “Obamacare is in a death spiral”
  2. “The United States is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world”

Now, I will not try to convince you these are lies.  If you believe them then you are either (1) a Fox News watcher or (2) one of the people the author writes about in the Death of Expertise book I mentioned above.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

This just in:  I haven’t been posting much lately.  The reason is that given the current political environment, I tend to get wrapped up in politics.  However, it’s not much fun to poke at someone that is so easily poked.  Trump is visibly inept and any attempt by me to point that out is feeble compared to Trump’s own ability to do so.

However, I want to make a couple of points; points that focus on pity rather than critic.

I am of the mind that we are a fear-driven species.  Yes, I know I could argue love-based just as easily.  Perhaps the best way to look at what drives us at any given moment is to imagine a line.  At one end is pure love; at the other, pure fear.  We live somewhere between these two endpoints, vacillating back on forth, depending on the issue and confluence of inputs.

Where we are on this line determines our behavior (according to nobody but me.)

I’m also of the opinion that fear is expressed as anger and hate.  When I see those things, I know I am seeing fear and I feel pity for that person.

Let me give a few examples…

If someone is homophobic, it’s because they fear homosexuality.  My observations tell me that the more homophobic you are, the more you actually fear that you may be a homosexual yourself.  Since this is still a stigma…there is reason to fear it.

There are people that are very, very rich and continue to take actions to make sure they can get even more money.  These people are driven by the fear of never having enough.  Somewhere, early in their lives, they became afraid of doing without.  This created a neural pathway in their brain that is now like an old wagon wheel rut.  They can’t help but think they may run out of something.

People fear Muslims because the Muslim belief system is slightly different from their own.  This casts doubts on their own position.  “I’m a Christian and there are a ton of Muslims.  Suppose they are right and I am wrong!”

Immigrants!  People fear that these people will take away their jobs.  Digging deeper you find a fear that immigrants, seen as a lower caste, may actually out-perform native whites.  Therefore, let’s get rid of these immigrants.

Blacks!  How can a descendant of a slave be better than me?  The fear of this actually being the case causes people to protest with signs declaring White Supremacy.  I see those signs and I see fear; I see insecurity.

We fear the poor and push them away as if distance between us and them will keep us from become them or worse…them becoming us.  How dare a poor person get a free meal and then an education and then a better job than me!

There is another component to all of this…We fear and hate because looking in the mirror and admitting to ourselves that we are afraid is just too hard.  It’s much easier to blame our hate on something external.

Try this:  Go up to a racist and ask them why they are a racist.

Inevitably, you will hear, “I’m not a racist.  I’m a patriot” or some other such nonsense.

Racists don’t think they are racists.  They think they are right.

The mirror tells them otherwise….but it’s just too hard to look.

Up, up and away…

Jim