The Killing of Bear #399

This just in:  Last night I was watching 60 Minutes and they had a segment on a nature photographer.  One of his favorite subjects is grizzly bear (tagged as #399).  Recently, the bear population was healthy enough that there is now talk about allowing some people to hunt bears.  The photographer said many hunters have told him they can’t wait and that they hope to be the one to shoot the famous #399.

I don’t get this.  It is so far from what I could consider as a “good idea” that it makes me feel like there are aliens among us; or at least a branch of the human race made up of gun-toting sociopaths.

The NRA recently had a convention in Texas.  The President and V.P. were both there.  In the President’s speech, he managed to anger both the country of France and the country of England.

Here are Trump’s views on gun violence as far as I can tell…

  1. If the violence was perpetrated by a non-white, then it is terrorism.
  2. If the violence happened at a school, then blame video games and arm your gym teachers.
  3. If the violence was by a white supremacist…silence.

Also, while the NRA convention was taking place, a breakfast place in Dallas put a note on receipts that portion of the receipt would go to organizations that support “reasonable and effective gun regulations.”  How did the NRA visitors respond?  With death threats; threatening to “shoot up the place.”  This…is the NRA…our very own, homegrown terrorist organization.

We’ve become a country where we can make stuff up to suit whatever fantasy we like.

For example:

  • Universal Health care is a government takeover of healthcare.  The facts actually tell a different story.  Countries that have universal healthcare pay much less for much better outcomes.
  • Guns are not the reason we kill each other with guns.  The facts say that we have the same rate of mental illness and video game addiction as other countries and yet…we kill each other with guns at a much higher rate.
  • Tax cuts for the rich will spur economic growth and create high-paying jobs.  The facts say that this economic policy (also known as trickle-down economics) is a failure 100% of the time.
  • Unlimited campaign financing is Freedom of Speech.  Actually, you can link the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United to the rapid fall of the Republican Party into a corrupt organization that profits by legislating based on the whims of their billionaire donors.

It’s getting to the point where nothing makes sense anymore.

However, there is hope.  Here is a…something created by the young daughter of a artist friend.

This is so cute I can’t help but have a positive outlook on our future.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

How would you spend your taxes?

This just in:  On 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago, there was a segment about a program at MIT where students invented stuff.  Combine this with stories we often hear about soldiers that come back from the Middle East, traumatized, and with no idea of why they were sent there in the first place.

This made me think, “If I were King, how would I spend my tax dollars.”

I thought I would offer up a few choices.

Let’s start with…

  1. Which would you rather do: (1) Pay no taxes and have only toll roads and private schools  or (2) Pay taxes to finance things that promote the public good?
  2. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) sending soldiers to Syria or (2) doubling the budget for NASA?
  3. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) sending soldiers to Afghanistan or (2) high speed transportation between cities and population hubs?
  4. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) Subsidizing the oil industry or (2) financing research into finding cures for things like Alzheimer’s or cancer?
  5. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) A military that is larger than the next 10 militaries put together (many of whom are allies) or (2) State of the art education that is available to all Americans, not just the wealthy?
  6. Which would you rather spend your tax money on: (1) Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico that can be defeated by a $20 ladder or (2) Universal healthcare that makes sure no one ever goes without healthcare and no one ever declares bankruptcy because of their medical bills?
  7. Which would you rather do: (1) Spend money on tanks and foot soldiers suitable for warfare as it existed 50 years ago but has no relevance to today or (2) Revitalize inner cities with the goal of every American being able to live free of fear with equal opportunity to the benefits of being an American (healthcare, education, freedom etc.)

And now one final one for my Republican readers (if there are any)…

Which would you prefer:  (1) a food program that makes sure no child in our country ever goes hungry of (2) allowing millions of children to go hungry because less than 1% of those on such a program are lazy?

There you have it.

Now…I have to run off and save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Choices

This just in:  I was in Miami Beach last weekend.  As I walked along a harbor, I was able to marvel at the super yachts lining the piers.  These are boats that can easily cost tens of millions of dollars.

The thought crossed my mind, “I wonder how many of these yacht owners took their multi-million dollar tax cut and turned it into jobs?”

The answer is zero, of course.

People and companies don’t hire people unless they need to.  They also don’t give pay raises unless they need to.

In other words, the tax break for the rich did nothing to increase wages or create jobs.  This is Economics 101.  If you don’t agree with this, then you lack education.  This is not “a matter of opinion.”  It’s a simple fact.

So, where did that tax break money go to?  Well, individuals bought yachts or nicer houses or new dresses.  Corporations bought back stock which served to enrich shareholders.  If you don’t own stock, then you missed out on this as well.

The latest Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republican Tax Bill is that it is going to bankrupt our country.  It is increasing our national debt by $1-$2 trillion a year…forever going forward.

Meanwhile…90% of American see no benefit.  None….

Eventually we will have to make some choices.  Let me list a few here…

  1. We can spend money on education. We can pay teachers living wages.  We can buy textbooks and computers. OR…we can let the very rich continue to buy yachts.
  2. We can maintain our roads and bridges.  We can invest in high speed transportation that brings labor into cities that are too crowded and too expensive to live in.  OR…we can continue to elect Republicans which are funded by groups like the Koch Brothers who are now making an additional $1 billion a year thanks to the tax break.
  3. We can create a healthcare system that is the envy of the world.  Or…we can allow income inequality to continue to grow so that for every $1 our country earns, $.99 go to the top 50 richest Americans…so they can buy more yachts.
  4. We can provide for Social Security so that our elderly don’t spend the last few years of their lives in poverty or as burdens to their children OR we can continue to believe the line that “Big Government is Bad” and thus continue to elect people that will govern to the needs of the rich.

These are the kinds of choices we face.  They are not new choices. They have always been there.

The right choice seems clear in every case.  The only roadblock is the Populist Agenda.  This is where someone with no educational background to support their assertion will tell you, “Vote for me and I’ll give you the best healthcare in the world and it will cost you nothing,” or “Vote for me and I’ll give you the biggest tax break in history and our economy will blossom with high paying jobs.”

Populism is basically promising people whatever they want to hear knowing that a large percentage will vote for you “just in case you really do know how to turn lead into gold.”

Populists are gullible and therein lies the problem.

Time for me to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim