The Shame

This just in: “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre

Last night I had a dream.  I was some sort of Terminator-type guy and I was fighting off an alien invasion that was enslaving mankind.  In the end, I saved the world.  There was a brief celebration and then everyone turned against each other to see which of them would be the new leader and thus, the new “enslaver of mankind.”

At this point, I turned my back on the populace and walked away knowing I had accomplished…nothing.

I think the moral of the story is that the enemy is within.

Our government is in a shambles.  I can’t blame Trump.  I can’t blame the Republicans.  Why?  Because if we get rid of them, the “system” that gave birth to them will endure and thus…produce replacements that are just as bad.

What do I mean when I say “system”?

I think if I had to choose one issue…it would be the absence of accepted facts.

Pick any issue.  Let’s use tariffs.  I think we should know exactly why the tariffs are in.  We should know exactly how these affect our target (China) and our allies.  We should know how they affect us.  We should know how, as a tool, tariffs stack up against other options that may achieve the same goal.

We don’t clearly know any of this.

What about the tax cut that was passed?  What about immigration?  What about NATO or the Paris Accord?  What about Kavanaugh?  What about auto emissions? What about Net Neutrality?  What’s the impact of income inequality?  Can we do better with healthcare?

Suppose we knew exactly the impact and various solutions to these and many other issues.  We could then make good choices.  Perfect decisions come from perfect information.

This brings me to the title of this post: Shame.

The “Shame” is that we are completely able of finding the answers to these issues and making them public.  We are smart and capable.  We can do this.

But we don’t.

We don’t because people are “influenced” to turn the other way.  It could be “vote this way for me and I’ll vote that way for you” type of thing. It could be “I don’t’ want Trump to give me a nickname.”  It could be, my billionaire campaign contributor won’t back me if I don’t vote a certain way.”  Once influence, the fact are often hidden as they may contradict a desired action.

These types of influencers are what got a tax cut passed that is adding trillions to our debt so the extremely rich have even more money.  These types of influences gives us a circus for Supreme Court nominations where 90% of Kavanaugh’s history is kept secret even from the Judicial committee’s Democrat members and the FBI is directed to apparently “not find anything.”

What’s that you say, “We don’t know what the FBI was directed to do.”  That is true.  So I ask, “Why don’t we know exactly what the FBI was directed to do?”

We now have permission to lie.  We have permission to hate.  We have permission to ignore science.  We have permission to scam the tax system.  We have permission to ignore the plight of women and minorities.

And with this permission came an astonishing revelation:  We have been waiting all along for this to be okay. 

The most shameful thing of all is that the mirror has been turned towards us and the picture is not pretty.

That Shame may also be the hidden blessing.  I can pretend that my face is not dirty so long as you don’t make me look in the mirror.  When confronted with the fact…maybe I’ll decide it’s time to bath.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Please follow and like us:

My Recipe for Fascist Pie

This just inFascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

That sounds way more familiar than it should.  The question of the day is “How did we get here?”

The following is my own recipe for Fascist Pie

Ingredients…

  • 1 Cup of sifted, unlimited, anonymous, campaign contributions
  • 2 Handfuls of a gullible population
  • 1 tablespoon of greed
  • 1/2 Pound of propaganda machine
  • A dash of racism
  • 1 stick of Russia funded NRA
  • 3 chopped Evangelicals
  • A dash of anti-fact
  • 1 Orange (comb-over is optional)

Mix all of these together and them plop them into an oven set on “FEAR”.  Cook for one decade.

In short…you can’t make a pie with just an orange.  There are a lot of reasons we are becoming a Fascist nation and only one of them is named Trump.

Unlimited campaign contributions are probably the main ingredients here.  However, all this money would have no impact if we didn’t have a political party that willingly takes the bribes and then does the bidding of those that paid them, instead of those that voted for them.  This is a symbiotic relationship.  Citizens United would not exist without the Republican Party and they would not exist without unlimited finances from special interests.

Greed tells the Koch brothers that they need more money.  Greed of Republicans make them willing to take Koch money to pass a tax law that harms our economy. Greed makes Republicans take Russian money, via the NRA, and then not address gun control

Racism, along with Evangelicals are the special spices of this mix.  Both want America to return to some imagined White, Christian nation.  They don’t know it but they are acting as if a White, Christian, Fascist nation is what they prefer.

To keep the population at bay, they must be fed a steady diet of “don’t look behind that curtain in the corner.”  Fox News and the NRA provide this mis-direction.  For example:  If there is a mass shooting by a white guy…”send thoughts and prayers”.  If there is a mass shooting by a non-white then “Terrorism strikes the homeland.”  This sustains the racist and evangelical votes.  Trump tariffs are starting to hurt the economy so, let’s do a show about an ugly dog contest at a county fair.

Gullibility is hard to under-estimate.  Here are 2 examples.  (1)George Bush is president and the gas prices are high.  Fox News reports that the president has no control over gas prices.  Then, Obama is president and gas prices are high.  Now Fox News reports that these high prices are the president’s fault. (2) Obama, the candidate, said he would meet with North Korea without preconditions.  Fox News blasted relentlessly for this.  Trump then says the same thing and Fox News praises him as a man of action.  In both of these instances, the gullible watched Fox News and nodded in agreement.

Note:  If you have not read 1984 in the last 10 years, I recommend you have another go at it.

The orange, Trump, is the cherry on top of the pie.  That pie would exist without him but it would not be nearly as perfect.  Trump is without shame.  He has a complete disregard for any facts that don’t suit him.  For example, right now, his new plan is to act as if Russia did interfere but what they really want is for Democrats to win.  Now, in front of the world, Putin said in Helsinki that he wanted Trump to win.  Today, the White House transcripts and video of Putin saying that have be wiped clean of Putin’s statement.  We all saw it but Trump is acting like it never happened.  Fox News will back him up on this and the gullible will nod in agreement.

The result is a big fat heaping of Fascism Pie.  If you don’t like it and would prefer something else…then change the ingredients.  Vote in November.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Please follow and like us:

Longing for yesteryear…

This just in:  Trump’s “Make America White Again” crusade has grabbed the world’s attention.

In Iran, they don’t post signs saying “Death to America.”  Instead, they just post pictures of the United States imprisoning 4-year-old kids taken from their parents at the border.

Fox News sides with the president saying that many of these kids will grow up to be gang members.

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Republican leaning organization, is forcing its outlets to air pro-Trump propaganda with regards to taking kids from their parent.

Trump called the immigrants and “infestation.”

But it was not always like this.

I grew up in a world where one of the main lessons of World History was that the United States is made up of immigrants.  It was something to be proud of.

On the Statue of Liberty is says,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

Yesterday, Trump wanted to only let in the elite.

In other words, it looks like we are no longer taking in “huddled masses yearning to be free.”  We only want college educated people that can code.

Now, when I say, “Look at what we have become,” I am really saying, “About 25% of all Americans are white supremacists and Trump has made this okay.”

It’s not only Trump, the Republican Party backs him completely.

So remember, when you vote this November, if you vote for a Republican, you are voting for Donald Trump.  You are voting for racism.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Please follow and like us:

You have 3 choices

This just in:  Racism, to me, is discrimination and/or belief against or about someone because of the color of their skin or their choice of religion/lifestyle.  That’s quite a mouthful but that’s what I get when trying to put a broadband issue into a single sentence.

Let’s simplify this issue and then see what we have.

Situation: A black man is more likely to be arrested for a crime than a white man.

Why is this?

I have 3 possible choices for you to consider…

Choice #1:  Black people are genetically predisposed to crime.

I want to state right up front that this is nonsense but…let me continue.

This option rests entirely on the idea that black people are inferior and there is nothing that can be done about it since this inferiority is at the DNA level. Their genetics give imbue them with traits that lead to crime.  These include: A predisposition to be lazy, to lie, to cheat.   They are not smart enough to make it through life abiding by the law.  Their DNA makes them take drugs at a higher rate.  They are irresponsible etc.

Genetically Predisposed says the racists are correct:  Black people are inferior because God made them that way.

Choice #2: Alien or unknown influence.

Maybe black people get arrested at a higher rate because some outside influence reached out and made them more likely to be criminal.  By “outside influence” I am relieving society of all guilt.  I’m saying, “It’s not genetics and its not society but rather some unseen and unknown force that is the cause of the black man being arrested at a higher rate than the white man.”

So, the people of Mars have reached out to their Earth experiment and said, “Let’s make black people inferior or more criminal and see what happens.”

Before I get to Choice #3, let me recap.  The black man is inferior because he is genetically created that way, or some unknowable influence is making him that way.

Choice #3:  Society

Suppose that black man is somehow held back by society.  He starts his life with a single mother that is unable to feed or clothe him.  He grows up in a neighborhood where crime is not only prevalent but an acceptable way of “getting by.”  His school is rundown and underfunded.  When he is old enough to look towards his future, he sees little hope for himself in a society that sees and treats him as an inferior.

Reason #3 says that the black man being arrested is our fault; that racism is our fault.

Someone will now stand up and say, “Hey!  That man had all the same opportunities that I had and yet I am not a criminal.  I worked hard and got an education.  He could do the same”

My response is, “You are wrong.  He did have opportunities but when you were choosing your college, he was trying to keep his younger siblings out of gangs.  While you were studying in school, he was home wondering where his next meal was going to come from.  When you moved to a nicer neighborhood, he was told that blacks were not wanted there.  When you applied for your job, you were interviewed by a white man…as was he.”

Yes, there are plenty of whites that grew up poor and made a success of their life.  This can also be said of some blacks.

But…We do not all have the same opportunities.  Life is not fair.  Some of us are smart and others, less so.  Some of us are tall and some are not.  Some are wealthy while others are poor.  Some are black and some are white.

Let’s look at it another way….A white man and a black man are going to run a 100 yard race.  They both have to run fast to win.  They both have to run the same distance.  They both had the opportunity to train and to learn how to run.   But only one of them has his shoelaces tied together.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

Please follow and like us:

I looked in the mirror and came away…disapointed

This just in:  Some things really get to me and others just roll off my shoulders, unnoticed.

I woke up this morning and checked my news feed and felt like our country is crumbling before my eyes as I stand by and do nothing – other than pound my chest via this blog.

There are three things that really bothered me in the news today, but first…I want to start with a quote:

“Every country has the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre

In short, what I am about to complain about is my fault.  Rather, its our fault.  It’s our fault because we allow it.   It’s our fault because we feel helpless.  It’s our fault because we do nothing. It’s our fault because we ignore it.  It’s our fault because we think it’s not.

Item #1:  Guns

I’m not going to make an argument about gun control.  I won’t because it won’t change a single mind.  But, I need to be clear…Without guns, the United States wouldn’t have 36,000 gun deaths a year.  I’m tired of hearing things like “We, in congress, will do whatever it takes to make this stop…even if it means sending twice as many thoughts and prayers as normal.”

We have gun deaths because we allow it.  We don’t need to pull triggers to be culpable in every preventable gun death.

Item #2: Religion

I don’t care if you are Christian, Muslim or belong to the Order of the Jedi.  The only thing I truly believe is that if there is a supreme being, it would either be (1) indifferent about us or (2) a total asshole or (3) deeply disappointed in the fact that we use religion like we do.

I think the Pope is a great guy.  I also think he has as much of a direct line to God as my Labrador.  None of us knows the will of God.  Those that tell you they do are just making a power grab.

The biggest problem with religion in the United States is that the same people that don’t think gun deaths are related to guns, also fear that Christianity is going to become a minority “belief system” in the United States.  They think that guy over there will convince someone to believe that he knows the will of God instead of the charlatan that is currently telling you that very same thing.  The biggest problem is that these people vote…in droves.

Item #3: Racism

In the last week, a lawyer went off script in New York because people around him were speaking Spanish.  Two dark skinned guys were detained by an ICE officer because they were speaking Spanish in public (both were U.S. citizens).  A black man was pulled over for not using his turn signal.  They noticed leaves on his windshield and said, “That looks like vegetation” and used that as an excuse to search his car.  Black people are being shot and threatened daily.

Historically, in our country, steps forward in Civil Liberties have always come by way of legislation.  Left to our own devices, we would still have laws that say, “You can’t eat here because the color of your skin if offensive to me.”

Living in a system where Civil Liberties are Legislated, allows me to pretend that we are not racist.  The racism is hidden because that type of behavior is illegal.

Now that we have a racist president, it has become okay to be racist again.  You can call the cops because there is a black man walking down “your” street.  You can call the FBI because a Muslim is talking into a cell phone in “your” mall.

So there you have it…my morning rant.

We don’t have to be country that puts up with any of this.  In fact, we were born into  the world were these behaviors would have been unthinkable.  I can’t see our Forefathers writing a Constitution that says: (1) Unlimited and unregulated guns will make us great or (2) To be a citizen you must first pledge allegiance to a Christian sect of your choice or (3) Only white people will have rights.

I you disagree with me, I’d love to hear about it.  If you agree, then I suggest you start doing something about it….Something like voting in November.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Please follow and like us:

It all makes sense now…

This just in:  I read an article a couple of days ago (N.Y. Times or Wapo) that said we shouldn’t keep trying to understand Trump voters.  Then it went on to explain why.

First, let me start with a short story.  I grew up in Wasco, Ca, population 7,000 in the 1960’s.  We had about 40% hispanics and maybe 10% blacks.  The rest were white.  I have fond memories of growing up in this small nest in the middle of nowhere.  Life was good.

Last year, Wasco made the list of the top 10 places in California that you don’t want to live in.  Crime was so high you had a 1 in 12 chance in being involved in a crime in a single year.  Years ago they had built a prison nearby.  The population surged  to about 25,000.  The demographics changed strongly in the direction of hispanics.  The last time I drove through, all of the stores had Mexican names.  It felt like I was in a different country.

I longed for my hometown to return to its Mayberry roots.  No crime.  Small.  Simple.

There you have it.  My little story.  I’m not blaming the prison or the Latinos or any other specific influencer for the change.  I’m just saying that it changed.

So, what about the story I read in the paper.

It basically said, “Trump supporters have noticed that the United States, is no longer a predominant White, Christian nation…and they resent this.”  It went on to say they support Trump because they think he will stop this.

When I thought about this…everything became clear.

People are not conservatives because they want to return to the past.  They are conservatives because they are uncomfortable with the future.

Trump comes along and promised to basically erase anything and everything that is not White and Christian.  He has lots of other loopy ideas as well but for those that fear change…he had them at “White and Christian.”

It turns out that race is a very divisive issue.  More than half of the Russian Troll Machine posts had to do with race.

So, to fear that we are becoming a non-white country seems to be a powerful thing for some people.

This is a fundamental part of their psyche.  You can’t argue them out of this rut because to give it up would be to give up what makes them who they are.

It’s not wrong to long for the past.  It is wrong to think you can turn back the clock.

You can’t because time only moves forward.

Long for the past but continue to look forward.

Why?

Because that is where the future is.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Please follow and like us:

And the Answer is…

This just in:  The United States has a very large population of uneducated racists that will believe anything they are told.

That is the problem.

Trump releases a memo that basically says, “Carter Page has been under FBI investigation for about a year because of suspected ties to Russia.”

Trump then holds this up and says, “See!  The FBI is biased against me!”

To me, this makes about as much sense as stubbing your toe and then screaming, “Carrots cause rabies!”

But people in rural America will only hear Trump and nod in agreement.

This morning, Trump tweeted about thousands of British that were in the streets protesting against their universal healthcare plan.  In truth, people were protesting that the government needed to spend even more to make the healthcare even better.

In short, Trump tweeted the exact opposite of what was going on because he wants to turn us against universal healthcare.  His supporters….they will nod in agreement that healthcare is bad…M’kay.

Trump is actively deporting people willing to take the most menial jobs; ignoring that we need those people to help our economy grow.

Trump only wants to bring in people that can take high paying job positions; ignoring the fact that they will be taking those from current citizens.

In short, he is kicking out low wage earners to bring in high wage earners and claims that this will create high paying jobs.  Jobs we don’t need as unemployment approaches record lows.

And yet…Trump supporters nod at his wise counsel.

This is a problem.

In a democracy, the people govern themselves.

In our democracy, the people are not qualified to govern themselves.  Unless, we consider counter-science to be something we want to strive towards,

Trump is not the problem.  Get rid of him and we still have 60 million people that think what he is doing to our country is a good thing.

This is sort of a bummer to me as I have no clear path forward from here.  Cut off the head and we still have a body rife with cancer.

Maybe the answer is not “get money out of politics” or “stop electing racists”.

Maybe the answer is as simple as “Improve education.”

The sciences matter.  History matters.  Economics matters.

Racism comes from entrenched beliefs in ideals that are demonstrably false.

Fix education and you may find that an educated population is, in fact, capable of governing themselves.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Please follow and like us:

Resist

This just in:  I don’t care about anyone’s opinion about things like abortion or gun control or food stamps.

I don’t care because I welcome the diversity of views.  Tell me about what you believe and I’ll respond and we can discuss the issues and hopefully come to learn more about each other’s position.  In the end, we may still disagree and I can accept that; thus, the harsh “I don’t care.”  In other words, when we are done, let’s both move on.

Trump is a different beast.

I don’t care about a lot of stuff he does.  I don’t care about the Porn Star thing.  In fact, I expect that.  I don’t care that he plays golf.  I don’t care that he watches a lot of television and is obese.

However, there are things he does that fundamentally threaten the world and my place in it.

I grew up singing “American the Beautiful.”  We were always on the right side of things.  We took care of the poor.  We stood against oppression.  We formed alliances that were mutually beneficial.  We created a huge military based on the idea that if we were too big to fight, there would be no fight.

We stood for human rights.  We led the way in pursuit of science and innovation.  Our economy was the biggest and getting bigger.

Our Constitution reigned supreme.  First Amendment rights were our crown jewel.

We took care of each other and saw ourselves as the Good Shepherd guiding the world with a soft hand.

Now that is no longer the case.

We have passed into the dark side of the moon.  A place where we shun logic.  Human rights outside of our borders are unimportant.  We won’t play with others, expecting them to bend to our will and then watch as they simply turn to others for leadership.

Internally, money is king.  Money runs the government, making the idea of “American Democracy” a global joke.

We break up families for no real reason other than it appears to give the president a boner.

We are alienated from nearly every ally that we’ve had for the last 100 years.  Even the UK hates us.

We justify things like lying, money laundering, fear mongering.  Even worse, we embrace hate, racism and religious targeting.

Our Constitution is worthless in the face of a president that ignores it and a Congress that supports him.

Now you have my attention.

Now I care.

What Trump and the Republican Party are doing is affecting my view of myself.

I can do nothing short of resisting.

Thus…I blog…while wishing I had a bigger soapbox.

Still, I feel better having resisted.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Please follow and like us: