Boy Am I Stupid

Of course, anyone reading this blog knew that a long time ago. Nevertheless, I just discovered how stupid I really am during the Trump-Clinton Debate on Monday night.

You see. I pay taxes.  I have been paying taxes for 50 years. I don’t like it. But I consider it part of my civic duty. An essential part of being a citizen. The price I pay for living in a free, wealthy society.

I know we need to pay for the military. For roads. For infrastructure. For food for kids who otherwise would not eat. For housing for poor people who have not had the good fortune I have had. For national parks. For the privilege of living in the “Greatest Country on Earth”.

Paying taxes , I thought , was a civic responsibility. I pay mine. You pay yours. We are in this together.

I was wrong.

From the debate:

“CLINTON: Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

“TRUMP: That makes me smart.

“CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.”

(To contrast, Clinton had an income of $10.6 million in 2015 and paid 34% in federal income taxes…$ 3,624,445)

Not paying your fair share is “smart”. Yes it is. If you have no concept of society, ethics and fairness. It is “smart” to let the counter worker at Wendy’s shoulder your load. To let the cleaning lady who scrubs out the toilet in Donald’s  penthouse pay your share. To let the cop and teacher and sewer worker and bus driver and airline pilot pay, but not you…well, you get the point.

Somebody has to pay taxes. And every penny that the “smart” guys like Donald Trump refuses to pay must be made up by people like me and you.

The Stupid Ones.

 

 

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Filed under debates, Elections, government, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Society, Taxes, Trump, United States, workers

Good News is No News

It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.

Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.

Some good news.

In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.

.https://www.rt.com/usa/326724-police-killings-usa-report/

The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Crime_in_2015_A_Final_Analysis.pdf

Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12%  of the population remains uninsured.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/sept/us-census-data-shows-uninsured-americans-drop

At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can  marry and serve openly in the military.

Gays in the U.S. Military Are Now Protected Against ‘Witch Hunts’

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages

The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2011/110525/twipprint.html

Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/02/health/teen-birth-rates/

In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.

http://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table

Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat

And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)

http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/big-surprise-cubs-favorite-win-2016-world-series

So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.

 

 

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Filed under ACA, crime, economics, Economy, Environment, gay marriage, gay rights, gays, government, healthcare, homosexual, Immigration, jobs, liberals, Obamacare, police, Politics, POTUS, Society, Terror, United States, US, violence

All Mouth, No Ears

I had someone who called himself “Joe Citizen” respond to my post about Hillary Clinton and why I am voting for her. Despite the fact that his post had some factual errors I found the most interesting part his final 3 sentences. They read:

“Reply or don’t reply. I don’t care. I’m not going to read it anyway.”

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/i-wont-vote-for-a-woman-potus/

This got me to thinking about the very nature of political discourse over the last 8 years. Not limited to the extreme right wing, but certainly manifesting itself there with alarming regularity. The attitude is one succinctly noted by “Joe Citizen”. It boils down to this.

I will talk. But I will not listen. I will state untruths and errors, but I will not accept facts , evidence or data. Mouth open. Ears closed.

We see this in the multiple investigations of Hillary Clinton. Every one has come up empty. All 9 Benghazi committees (8 run solely by the GOP) found no evidence of wrongdoing. No matter. Ears Closed. Regarding Clinton’s use of emails, the FBI found no wrongdoing (carelessness, yes) and stated so on page 57 of the latest released report. Ears closed.

There are just some people who will not open their minds to evidence or facts. They will not let evidence interfere with their preconceived notions or stereotypes. Like the little boy in the back seat of the car cupping his hands over his ears and whining “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you” to Mom and Dad.

Donald Trump implies that most or almost all Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals.The fact is that there are approximately 74,000 inmates in prison who are not US citizens.(And not all of these would be Mexican illegals) There are an estimated 11,000,000 illegal Mexican immigrants. Do the math. There is no evidence  to back up Donald’s claims. No matter. Ears closed.

Donald Trump claims that most blacks live in dire poverty when the actual statistics show that 75% of African-Americans are above the poverty level  in income. Not a great statistic. But a major improvement since the 1970s, when the numbers were hovering around 50%. No matter. Ears closed.

The “Hate Hillary” advocates have been crying over and over and over that Clinton or Obama or both issued a “stand down” order and prevented the US military from saving lives in Benghazi. 9 committees have said that is blatantly false. 8 GOP run committees found no evidence of any “stand down” order. No matter. Ears closed.

And the examples could go on and on and on. Obama born in Kenya. Global warming a plot by Al Gore. Bill Clinton responsible for 9/11. Saddam had WMDs. Hillary Clinton on Death’s Door. Obama created ISIS. Blacks hate cops. Etc.

It is one thing to have honest differences of opinion. And to have differing interpretations of events and actions. It is quite another to refuse to consider evidence and facts. Too much of the rhetoric from what used to be the radical fringe and is now personified in the Trump campaign is just plain false. But those who hold those views refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary.Ears closed.

I imagine these same folks were among the those who shook their heads in disbelief as Columbus sailed westward to find the route to the Indies. They were sure he was going to sail off the edge of the Earth. Of course, the educated “elites”  knew  (as did the ancient Greeks) the the world was round and not flat. But that knowledge would not interfere with the preconceived notions of the uneducated. Ears closed.

There are two methods for analyzing data and coming to conclusions. You can have your preset notions and stereotypes in place. And search and search only for the bits and pieces that support your preconceived ideas. Take quotes out of context. Take a line here and a line there from a report. Or in some cases, like Trump’s claim that hundreds of Muslims in New Jersey were rejoicing at 9/11, just make stuff up. You can ignore any and all evidence that forces you to reconsider your world view. Ears closed.

Or. You can have a point of view and seek to find all relevant data. To see if it fits. And then change your point of view as new evidence dictates . In other words, you can use evidence to develop a point of view. That is the scientific approach. Analyze new information and see how it fits. Adjust. Ears open. Mind open.

So, “Joe Citizen” and folks with his point of view don’t need facts. They don’t need evidence. They don’t accept anything that might contradict their stereotypes and prejudices.  ” I am not going to read it anyway”. And there are a lot of them. Which is why Donald Trump is the nominee for the GOP.

He is the perfect example:All Mouth. No Ears.

 

 

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Filed under Benghazi, candidate, Clinton, Congress, Democrat, Elections, Foreign policy, Hillary, immigrants, logic, obama, Politics, president, Republicans, Society, Trump

The Trump Scream

Edvard Munch created  a painting in 1893. A strange painting. A powerful painting. Titled “The Scream”.

 

http://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/collections_and_research/our_collections/edvard_munch_in_the_national_museum/The+Scream,+1893.b7C_wljU1a.ips

This painting depicts how I feel whenever I think of the possibility. The remote possibility that Donald Trump could actually be President of the United States.

I would not suggest that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is perfect. Far from it.She is flawed. Anyone who has been in public life for over 30 years is going to make a lot of mistakes. Unless the person sits on their butt, does nothing, and gets re-elected. But those who want to change things will create enemies. And make mistakes.

But no matter how flawed Clinton might be, she has actually done the work. As First Lady.  As Senator. As Secretary of State. To paraphrase from the musical “Hamilton”…”She has been in the room where it happens. Where decisions are taken. Where the sausage is made.”

Then I look at the “career” of Donald Trump. Given a few million. Blew it. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Loans from Russian oligarchs.Tax dodger. TV personality. Blatant liar. Racist. Nativist. Anti-Muslim. Misogynistic. Crude. Vulgar. Shallow. As Bloomberg, the former millionaire mayor of NY said at the convention: “I  am from New York and I know a conman when I see one”. So am I and so do I.

I feel like the non-gender specific person in the painting. Horror and wonder. Disbelief. Astonishment.

Horror at Trump, to be sure. But also horror at the 39-42% of the American people who plan to vote for him. The wonder that so many of my fellow citizens are either racist, or nativist, easily conned or just not paying attention.

Over 14,000,000 Republicans voted for a man who regularly and gleefully insulted other Republican candidates. “Little Marco”Rubio, . “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz,  Jeb Bush “the loser”, Kasich’s eating habits  are “disgusting”, Carly Fiorina “look at that face”, Carson cannot be “cured”, Rand Paul as a genetically defective son of Ron, Lindsey Graham is “one of the dumbest human beings” and so on and so on.

And that was just his fellow Republicans. The list is too long to for this essay.

14,000,000 Republicans said, with their votes, that this crude, vulgar conman should be President of the United States.

And in November, millions more will go into voting booths from Maine to Iowa to California to Hawaii and cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Millions. They would put the nuclear capacity of the US in his hands. They would put diplomacy in his hands.  They would put the power of the executive branch is the hands of a pathological liar and practiced conman.

When I look at the Munch painting I feel as though I am in it. Win or lose. It is not Donald Trump that causes me to scream. Win or lose.  It is not really the idea of a Trump president that causes me to scream. After all, we have seen his type of conman before.

It is the millions of Americans who will vote for this guy.Millions of Americans who will consciously choose to select this man as their leader. Someone  for their kids to “look up to”. The millionaire conman  who they think will help them.

Millions will vote for him.Let that sink in.

Now that is a reason to scream. AAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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I Won’t Vote for a Woman POTUS

Watching the first two days of the Democratic Convention has been inspiring and interesting. So many women and girls. People of different colors. Different ages. Different economic statuses. Kind of like the USA.

And the estrogen. WOW. As a human male I have to admit that I am a bit taken aback by so many women having power. All those female delegates. And female leaders. All very proud to be nominating and (hopefully) electing the first woman president.

Which leaves me on the outside looking in. You see. I won’t vote for a woman. I REFUSE to vote for a woman. Especially for president.

In 2008 and 2012 I refused to vote for a black man for president. For pretty much the same reason. I have known black men and boys. Some have been awful. Most have been nice. Some have been criminals. Most have been decent. And competent.

And I have known many women and girls as well. Some have been awful.Most have been nice. Some have been criminals. Most have been decent. And competent.

But I won’t vote for a black man or a woman. I take to heart the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said: I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

That day is here.

I will not vote for a black man. Or a woman. But I did vote for Barack Obama. Twice. And I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Not because of skin color or gender. But because he was and she is the best person for the job. Period.

In some ways, being singled out as the “first” black man or the “first” woman diminishes their accomplishments. They are competent, decent, hardworking, empathetic human beings. Excellent candidates. Skin color and gender should be irrelevant. Someday they will be.

So excuse me if I don’t vote for the first woman POTUS. I’ll just vote for the best person. Hillary.

 

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Filed under blacks, candidate, Clinton, Democrat, Elections, GOP, government, Hillary, liberals, neoconservatives, obama, Politics, POTUS, president, United States, US

Where There’s Smoke…..

There is an old saying: Where there is smoke, there is fire.

And over the years we have seen the Republican Party stir up a whole lot of smoke when it comes to Hillary Clinton. I am not quite sure why the GOP has gone after Clinton for over 25 years. What are the roots?

Could it be the fact that she was one of the assistants on the committee that investigated the Watergate break in? She was on the staff of the committee that discovered the complicity of Richard Nixon with the cover up of the burglary. Which led to his eventual disgrace and resignation.

Or was it her demand for justice for small children. The whole “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality. The GOP was somehow offended by the idea that all of us should be responsible for all children. That children are not ours to “own” and dispose of as we wish. That in civilized society we have  responsibility to ALL kids, not just children of the elites.

Or was it her support for equal rights for women? Maybe the concept that all Americans should have rights was threatening to the GOP philosophy of patriarchy. After all, it was not until the post WW2 era that women in some states could even sign contracts without hubby’s approval. And her support for the radical idea that a woman should control her own body! Perhaps the GOP was upset with her for that?

At any rate, over the years the Republicans have been constantly investigating Hillary. With tax dollars. Your dollars. My dollars. The attempt to find some law she has broken has become an obsession. And with so many investigations many people are convinced that she must have done SOMETHING illegal. Not sure what. But, where there is smoke, there is fire..

There is plenty of SMOKE. To recap.

The Whitewater investigation by Ken Starr.  Determined to find illegal activity by the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, in the land purchases in Arkansas. So they investigated. And investigated. Starr found nothing. And investigated. And investigated.Lots of smoke. No indictment for Hillary. No illegal activity. But lots of smoke.

Then, with the help of Linda Tripp, they finally got a young woman alone, without a lawyer present, in a Washington, DC apartment. And they got her, without a lawyer, to admit that she had oral sex with the president. That was it . That was the outcome of the Whitewater investigation. $80,000,000 in taxpayer money (That would be $ 115,000,000 in today’s dollars). Smoke. For their money..I mean, OUR money…  they got the most expensive blowjob in world history. Lots of smoke.

Then we have Vince Foster. A friend of the Clintons . Dead. Well, if he was a friend of Hillary and he dies there must be some connection ! Could not just be a suicide. Pretty suspicious that someone who knows Hillary Clinton happens to commit suicide. Smoke. She must have had him murdered. Smoke.  Why else would he be dead? Smoke. He had terrible secrets. We will never know them, because they are secrets. Smoke.  Although more than 40,000 Americans  commit suicide every year, he was the one who knew Hillary. Connection. Smoke.

Next stop on the smoke parade? The very high speaking fees. Why did she take so much money for speaking? Just because, when she left the White House, the Clintons had massive debts. Up to $12,000,000 in debt when they left the White House.  Debts from what? From legal fees defending those smoky accusations. Debts from defending themselves in the Whitewater affairs. The impeachment proceedings. Lot of debts. But for some reason, making a great deal of money is suspicious. Smoke. Did people want to hear her speak? Evidently. Otherwise why would they pay her to speak. Free enterprise? Nope. If someone else gets massive fees to speak, well, more power to him. But if Hillary commands massive speaking fees it must be related to some illegal activity.Smoke. Can’t put our finger on exactly it is, but it MUST BE something nefarious. Something fishy. More smoke.

Of course Benghazi is in a class by itself. Lots of smoke. Over many years. Mountains of smoke. Smoky Mountains of smoke. The first Benghazi investigation found no wrongdoing or criminal activity. But that can’t be right. So, the GOP have Benghazi 2. Smoke. Nothing. Benghazi 3. Smoke. Nothing illegal. Benghazi 4. Smoke. Benghazi 5. Nothing. Benghazi 6. Smoke. Benghazi 7. Nothing illegal. Benghazi 8. Smoke. But the GOP had to get to the bottom of this, so… Gowdy’s Benghazi 9. Smoke. Smoke. And nothing illegal. 800 pages of nothing illegal. BUT. With 9 investigations she MUST have done something. Otherwise why are they investigating? Smoke and more smoke. Benghazi 9 costs $30,000.000 in taxpayer funds. Money gone up  in smoke.

But, we got her now, boys ! Those emails. Those 30,000 emails the FBI scoured through. And the millions of email fragments they scoured through. Smoke. Or so the GOP FBI Director concluded. Hillary and her staff let about 20 POSSIBLE highly classified emails slip through. Smoke. Nothing illegal. Careless? Yes, a little bit. Illegal. No. Lots of smoke. Lots of tax dollars. Nothing but smoke.

So, now, the GOP want to investigate their own  GOP FBI Director. There MUST BE SOMETHING illegal. All  that smoke.

25 years of smoke. 25 years of innuendo. Investigation after investigation. All paid for by the taxpayer. Accusations. Never supported by the facts.  But all that SMOKE. So the average citizen says: Look,  where there is smoke, there is fire. She MUST have done something illegal. Right?

Where there is smoke there is fire. Sometimes. Or. Where there is smoke there is a smoke machine. Simulated smoke. They use them at concerts and movie sets. Looks like smoke. Seems like smoke. Simulates smoke. Acts like smoke. Cloudy like smoke. Must be smoke.

NOPE. Sometimes , where there is smoke…there is just a smoke machine. Manufactured to look like the real thing. An illusion. Set up and plugged in to fool people. Welcome to the Republican Party Smoke Machine. The 25 year old smoke machine. Spewing phony smoke. Spending millions of dollars on the illusion.

You can buy one for yourself. For less than 50 bucks. I think the GOP overpaid, don’t you?

 

 

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Filed under Benghazi, Congress, Conservatives, GOP, Hillary, Politics

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Fourth of July.

We all know the words….”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. From the Declaration of Independence. 240 years ago.

According to Tom Jefferson these are three of the inalienable rights all human beings possess. (He made a few exceptions in regards to “human beings” which we need not go into at time). In the Lincoln-Douglas debates Old Abe often referred to this phrase and included ALL men, even 0nes not recognized by Tom. A different time.

And anyone who listens to politicians today, especially those on the right side of the political spectrum, certainly recognize the call for “liberty”. Freedom ! Freedom ! Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from Obamacare. Freedom from big government. Ad nauseum.

So, we agree that all men should have life and liberty. Those rights are explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

But that third one? The pursuit of happiness? Seems like our modern right wing scholar/politicians are ignoring that third  “inalienable right”. Nothing new there. After all, they ignore half of the 2nd Amendment…the part about “a well-regulated militia”.

The idea that people should be able to be “happy” seems foreign to them. People should be free. People should be rich. People should be able to raise their kids as they see fit. People should not have to pay taxes. People should fight terrorism. But happy?

Happiness is just not part of the right wing equation when it comes to rights. Jefferson and the other men who voted to leave the British empire did so , primarily, because they just weren’t happy. And, gol darn it, they thought every man had the right to pursue happiness. That may have been a more radical idea than the right to life or liberty, which most people readily accepted. Happiness was one of the big three. Important enough to mention in the seminal document in US history.

Watching the “Make Him Fail” haters and the “Make America White…er..Great” chanters you would think that happiness is the last thing on their minds. I would guess that if all the terrible “liberals” like myself disappeared tomorrow it would not make a bit of difference. If all the soft, commie-loving “libtards” suddenly became invisible, it would not change a thing.

These sour politicians with their sour view of life would find something else to be angry about. The very idea of people pursuing happiness seems to bother them. They want laws about everything , from conception to birth to the grave. While they claim to want freedom, they really want to make sure others do not pursue too much happiness. Wipe that smile off your face and salute the flag.

They want to punish women who have sex. They want to punish people who smoke dope. They want to punish hardworking (illegal) Mexicans who are trying to make a living. They want to punish gays for..well.. being gay. Happiness is not in their Declaration of Independence.

I wonder what Jefferson would make of these folks. After all, he did write that we have inalienable rights, and AMONG THEM are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, he did acknowledge that those three were not the ONLY rights. He understood that we have many rights, some unwritten.

I suppose if he lived today he might consider the feelings  of the right wing politicians and add a fourth right. The right to be miserable. And I accept that people  have a right to be miserable. They have to right to emphasize the negative. To be nasty and insulting.

I just wish they would not exercise that right  on the rest of us.

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, government, heritage, liberals, neoconservatives, Politics, Society, United States, US

Lesson of Brexit

Much to the dismay of the leadership of the UK, the citizens of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Not by much. The vote was 51.8% in favor of leaving. A scant majority. But enough to overturn an established economic order.

Still, entire regions of the UK voted NOT to leave. Scotland was overwhelmingly in favor of staying joined (62%). London also overwhelmingly in favor (60%). Northern Ireland wanted to remain (56%). But the majority in the rest of Britain did not. And the majority ruled.

Link to map of voting:

No one knows the long term results of this separation. The pundits are having a field day. Mr Obama was sad. Fox News was joyous. As was Donald Trump. Doom and gloom and happiness and joy.

Some see this as a catastrophe for the economy of the UK. With repercussions throughout Europe and even the USA. Nothing investors fear more than instability. No one wants to put their money where it may be unsafe. Especially big investors. Will London cease to be the financial capital of Europe?

Others see this as a strike against globalization and free trade agreements. A strike for independence and freedom for the Brits. The end of the EU. A triumph of nativism and nationalism. Will the rest of the EU follow suit and secede, fragmenting Europe once again?

Of course, the Brits were never fully integrated into the EU anyway. They kept their own currency. They kept control of their borders, except for the flow of capital. And the Brits have always seen themselves as a nation apart (superior to? ) the rest of Europe.

So, what is the lesson learned?

For me the lesson is simple. Representative democracy is not a terribly effective system, but it is the best system human beings have been able to devise. Brexit is an example of what happens when elected leaders refuse to lead. They let emotions, rather than reason, prevail.

Brexit is a good  example of  “direct democracy” in action. A referendum. Letting the people decide. Absolutely idiotic. Referendums are emotional snapshots. They are not the way to make major decisions about longstanding relationships. Run a few more commercials and some people change their vote. Take the same vote next week and have a different result. Appeal to the anti-immigrant sentiment and the complexity of the issue becomes lost.

People are easily swayed by emotional and nationalistic slogans. Make the UK Great Again! Freedom from Tyranny! The EU is taxing us and we get nothing in return!

I can guarantee that most of the people who voted in this referendum know as much about the EU-UK relationship as you or I. Whether they voted for or against, how many actually understood the ties that bind the UK to the EU? How many actually understood the London financial markets and the effect on the pound and euro? How many knew the long  term effects on trading partners like the USA and China?  How many anticipated the slowing of growth over the next 10 years and how that will effect their jobs and income?

Put 10 economists in a tree and shake it. Each one that hits the ground will have a different theory of the effects of Brexit, with all kinds of “data” and predictions. And only one, perhaps none, will be correct.

So, how is the average citizen supposed to understand the complexity of this UK-EU relationship? He simply cannot.  So, he votes based on emotion.

This direct democracy is a failure. Because no matter which side of the issue you were on, the economists and politicians in Parliament and 10 Downing Street understood the issues much better. That is why they were elected. To lead. To make decisions. Not to pass the buck.

So, my lesson learned? We should never have a referendum on the law. Or other important issues. While representatives may not always represent us as we want them to, at least a good portion of them understand issues. And while they USUALLY act slowly, it is better than giving into the whims of emotion. (Think of the Patriot Act as the exception that proves the rule).

The lesson of Brexit? Stick to the awful system of “representative” government. It is still better than the alternatives.

 

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Filed under economics, Elections, Free Trade, Politics, Secede

Things I Don’t Care About

Some Americans seem to care about a lot of things that are really none of their business. And they often want to dictate and make LAWS about the behavior of others. Busybodies.

There are many things I care about. And some things I don’t care about. Here are some things I don’t care about.

  1. Your sexual orientation. I don’t care if you are straight, gay, bi, trans, multiple or none of the above or all of the above. Why should I ?
  2. Your surname. Is it Martinez? Warschowski? O’Flanigan? al-Muamar? von Sternum? Papadopolis? Jones? Takanami? Swennson? Dilorenzo?  Achebe? Sitting Horse? Chou? What does it matter?
  3. Where you were born. New York City, New York . Bumblefuck, Iowa. Oslo, Norway. Campeche, Mexico. Nairobi, Kenya. Xian, China. Mumbai, India. Who cares? Did you CHOOSE to be born in that particular spot on the Earth?
  4. Your marital status. Married. Divorced. Single. Common law married. Annulled. Multiple married. Group married. Why should I care?
  5. How much money you make. Are you a millionaire? A billionaire? On welfare? A day laborer? A silver spoon baby? ? Minimum wage earner? Retired and living off the government (like me) ?  Does your income impact me?
  6. Your skin color. Look at your arm. Is it White? Off-White? Pink? Black? Brown? Brownish? Reddish? Yellowish? Freckled? Does the color of your skin tell me anything useful about your personality?  Whether you are nice or mean? Smart or dumb?
  7. Your religious beliefs. Do you worship Allah? Or Yahweh? Or Jesus? Or the Buddha? Or nothing? Or Vishnu? Or the “Almighty Dollar”? As long as you don’t try to make others  worship what you worship, why should I  care?
  8. What bathroom you use. Do you use the men’s room? The women’s room? The handicapped room? What does it matter to me? As long as you use SOME bathroom,  please.  Just flush.
  9. What you do with your own adult body. Pierce it? Paint it? Tatoo it?  Fatten it up? Run it down? Starve it? Share it with the community? Keep it to yourself? Make babies with it? Don’t make babies with it? End it? It’s your body. It is the only one you are likely to ever have. It should belong to you and you alone. Treat it well. But it’s up to you.

So, I don’t bother caring about things that belong to you and you alone. I have plenty of my own things to care about.  Will my next batch of beer turn out ok? Can I finally get my golf score down to bogey golf?  Will I have to cut the lawn this week? Will Betsy find out where I hid the Hershey kisses? I have enough on my plate. Don’t need to care about everyone else’s personal issues.

And I certainly don’t want to make LAWS about them.

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Throw Down: The Donald vs. Bill

A Throw Down Between The Donald and Bill. With apologies to the cast of “Hamilton” and, well, everyone else with rapping talent. (You have to rap this out loud for full effect)

 

(Moderator)

How does a millionaire billionaire abomination

Win the Republican Party nomination?

He does it with a nasty attitude

He does it with rude, he does it with crude

He does it with bigotry, does it with fear

He tells the Tea Party what they want to hear

He’s Donald Trump the celebrity

The candidate for the G O P

 

Now the former first lady is his opposition

How did a woman put herself in this position?

She worked for the government along with her mate

New York Senator, Secretary of State

She took a lot of crap from multiple sources

In the end she proved she had the resources

To come out on top, she did not stop

She won the nomination, she rode the right horses

She’s the Hillary, the female hope

She’s Hillary, ain’t no dope, nope

 

(Enter Donald Trump)

My name is the Donald so just step away

When I start talking I got something to say

I whipped Little Rubio, took him right down

Stepped on Jeb, made him look like a clown

I’ll say anything, so I can’t lose

If you don’t believe me you can ask Ted Cruz

They are all losers and I am a winner

I ate those chumps for Sunday dinner

Yo…Is that you Bill?

 

(Enter Bill Clinton)

 

My wife is Hillary and she’s on top

She gets inspiration and she just won’t stop

She works all night, she labors all day

She’s always in the office, no time to play

She’s devoted, promoted and working is her tonic-ah

Why do you think I turned to Monica?

Whoa…sorry about that…

 

(Back to Trump)

If Hill wants to know what I am thinking

Here’s how her ship of state I’ll be sinking

Talking bout Bill, how she found him whores

And she must be a lesbo, that’s for sure

Hillary’s a maniac, Hillary’s a liar

By the time I’m done she’ll want to retire

She’s a pimp for Bill, a shill for the Street

She does nasty women stuff. She’ll be easy to beat

Nasty women stuff…she’s got cooties…..

 

(Back to Bill Clinton)

OK Donald you continue talking trash

But Hill’s gonna whip you, gonna kick your ass

It’s true that my life is far from perfection

Many ladies have benefitted from my affection

But Trump, you’re a chump if you think you get away

With talking that trash. I got something to say

I know I’ve done many things that I shouldn’t oughta,

But I never fantasized about my own daughter.

I may have bragged that Chelsea was a cutie

But you talked about banging your own kid’s booty

You is sick man…Really sick…..

 

(Back to Trump)

People like hearing all the things I say

Like rounding up Mooslims – sending them away

Keeping out the immigrant Mexican slime

By building a wall nobody can climb

I’ll be doing what the people say I oughta

Like shooting to kill at the Mexican border

One more issue, blown out of proportion

Put women in the bin if they want an abortion

The Roe v Wade don’t mean nothing to me

I’m the king who decides who‘s in jail and who’s free.

The people want a leader who preaches hate

Isn’t that what made America Great?

Black Lives Matter…but not to me….

 

(Back to Clinton)

Donald you are dreaming if you think you can

Undo all the good things we have in this land

Women have rights to control their own body

Even though you don’t know what they do in the potty.

Freedom of Religion – it’s the Bill of Rights , say,

So you ain’t gonna drive no Muslims away.

You can fool the fools and the Fox News sheeple

But you ain’t gonna fool the American people

Your message of bigotry is losing fast

Your words of hate are from a long dead past

People aren’t buying your denial of diversity

Go home. Build yourself another phony university.

Hillary’s got the moxey, Hill has the brains

Hill’s gonna bury you – I feel your pain’

You claim to be a financial wiz

Even though your businesses tend to fiz

I’m not trying to be a mean-oh

But who goes bankrupt running a casino?

Bottom line Donald, you are nothing but a brand

You live in a castle but it’s built on sand.

So…now…you know what you know….

 

(Moderator)

So now we’re back to the moderator

We won’t know, the results come later

You best take a moment of deep reflection

Cuz this is a monumental election

Either Donald or Hillary will be the next president

Either Donald or Hillary — a White House resident.

In November you’re gonna have to choose

One’s gonna win, one’s gonna lose

The world wants to know, who is going to be

The commander-in-chief of the land of the free

So…don’t be a dope..when you vote..think about it

A lot…then .. think some more

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Hiding Under the Bed

I have been reading a lot of history lately. The biography of John Adams. The biography of Alexander Hamilton. The story of the b-17 bombing of the Nazis during WW2.

Americans of the distant and recent past put their lives on the line. Whether they were right or wrong can be debated. Was Vietnam worth it? Was Afghanistan necessary? Was Iraq a proper response to 9/11?

Whatever your political philosophy it seems as though Americans have always stood up and faced whatever “evil” they needed to face. Even if some of that “evil” may be imaginary.

Until recently.

Over the last few years we have seen a new American emerge. This is the American of the political right wing. Just as American as you or I.  But Americans who have redefined what it means to be a “patriot” or a “citizen”

These Americans, unlike their forefathers, live in a state of constant fear. They are constantly horrified. Perpetually frightened.

They reject  the liberal FDR who, when faced with the most devastating economic disaster the US had ever known, responded by telling Americans, in his first inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is  fear itself”. A statement FDR repeated in 1941 in response to the Nazi menace.

They reject the words of another liberal president, JFK, who pronounced, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.

We might even try Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP, who said, ” Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Well. Not so.

Today, the entire right wing seems to be hiding under their beds, teeth chattering. To hear some of these new Americans talk you would think we are a nation of cry babies and cowards.

What are they afraid of?

Gays.

Transgender people using bathrooms.

Gays getting married.

People who want to take away their guns.

People without guns.

Women who want to control their own bodies.

Blacks.

Blacks voting.

Old people voting.

Anyone voting.

The government.

Muslims.

Foreigners.

Mexicans.

Atheists.

Teachers.

Gays in the military.

Black Lives Matter.

Communists .

Socialists.

Libtards.

Did I mention gays?

Perhaps we need to get these grown men out from under the beds. Be gentle with them. Pat them on their heads. Hold their hands. Tell them it will all be okay. Nobody is going to hurt them. No gays are going to attack them. No one is taking away their guns. Heat up some cocoa and give them a cookie.

The poor darlings are frightened out of their (half)wits.

Perhaps Plato said it best over 2,000 years ago.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.

 

 

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A Pot To Piss In

The United States of America  has, in its long history, faced a number of issues of  massive importance. The debate over the very founding of the nation and the separation of powers.  The issue of slavery, debated by Lincoln and Douglas and finally determined by war. The issue of Jim Crow. The woman’s suffrage movement. Civil Rights.Various conflicts between the federal and state governments.

I remember George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabama, pledging to deny entrance to young Americans of color. The federal government nationalized the Alabama National Guard  troops to move the governor aside. Momentous.

Now, we add to the list, the battle over bathrooms.

The greatest nation on Earth. The nation of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Reagan is facing another Constitutional Crisis.

To pee, or not to pee. That is the question. Shall the people of North Carolina be granted the freedom to pee in the toilet of their choice? Or should the iron hand of government compel them to pee in  approved lavatories? Shall freedom be taken away and driven into the night or shall all men, and women, and transgender men or women, be allowed to urinate and defecate in the restroom most fitting to them? Each to his or her own?

Can the great state of North Carolina demand a birth certificate as proof of one’s right to pee in a specific place?  Should the federal government join in and demand that all men, or women, or transgender men or women, have the right to eliminate in the facility of their choice? That, my friends, is the question facing America.

The intellectual titans of the USA, that beacon of freedom, are now engaged in a debate over the very hearts and souls of toilet bowls. To flush or not to flush? Put the seat down or leave it up?

Can you think of anything more humiliating or embarrassing than a government, whether local, state or federal, becoming enmeshed in where one goes to the bathroom? I can’t.

I know, sometimes major universal truths and rights are determined by small incidents. Does it matter where you sit on  the bus? Does it matter that a school closes it’s doors to you because of your skin color? Does it matter whether or not a baker has to bake a cake? I suppose it does.

At the same time, not everything needs to be a court case. Not every principle needs to be fought over . Sometimes we can let stuff slide. Even stuff that is wrong. Maybe a little perspective?

We are not talking about getting an education. Or a job. Or the right to vote. Or the right to dine in any public establishment. Someone just needs to use the toilet. Does the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and the United States of America really need to get involved? Is this an issue worthy of a Constitutional crisis? Do we need a “law”?

Do we have more pressing problems?

I am reminded of the first time I traveled to Guatemala. Early in the morning  I was watching some man walking past a side street in Antigua. He must have already had his morning coffee. He stopped, glanced around (he didn’t see me), and proceeded to urinate against the side of a building. Zipped up. Walked on.

Problem solved.

 

 

 

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Diversity: GOP Style

I was watching Ted Cruz pick a running mate. Even though he is behind in the polls and is very unpopular with Republicans. Not to give in to reality he chose Carly Fiorina. Who is even MORE unpopular with Republicans. That ought to do it.  I was persusing the “crowd” behind Ted and noticed the vast diversity of the GOP.

There were white men in brown shirts. White men in blue shirts. White men in red shirts. One white guy in a flannel shirt. White women. Old white people. Young white people. Old white women. Young white women. White gays (Ok, I made that one up).

How unfair to call the Dems the party of diversity. Just because Dems attract white people. And people of color. African-Americans. Young people. Working people. Hispanics. Women. Lots of women. The poor. The rich. The middle class. Gays. Not-gays. And so on.

I am here to expose the “lamestream media” and their characterization of the GOP as non-diverse. So, here goes. The GOP diversity on parade. The GOP base. In all its diversity.

GOP. Grumpy Old Persons

These are people, usually retired and/or working as greeters at Wal Mart. They spend no fewer than 12 hours a day watching Fox “news”. They know that the blacks are getting all kinds  of free stuff. They know that the Mexicans are raping children and living off Social Security. They know that Hillary Clinton was behind the attacks at Benghazi. It must be true. It’s on Fox.

GOP. Grab Onto the Past.

These folks want to go back to the good old days when you could beat the crap out of your  wife and kids and the government would not interfere. It was called “respect”. The days when darkies knew their place. When the US was the greatest nation on earth. That would be right before the Civil Rights legislation and Women’s Lib. Women stayed in the kitchen cooking..after working 8 hours for half the pay of men. Police were respected. Or they would beat you into respect. Either way.

GOP. Get Out Perverts

These folks sniff out perversion everywhere. They live for perversion. They thrive on perversion. And they want the perverts OUT. Period. Gays are perverts. Intellectuals are perverts. Abortion providers are perverts. Teachers are perverts.Unionist are perverts. Muslims are perverts. All god’s children are perverts! You want to find a pervert? Who you gonna call? The GOP.

GOP. Get Obama Psychotics.

Mental illness. A group psychosis brought on by a black man living in their white house. This group has an obsession with all things Obama. And they want him impeached. He is the “illegal” president. Obamacare is illegal. Obama is a Muslim, which is illegal. Obama is a communist. Which is illegal. This disease lasts 8 years . It must be allowed to run its course. No medication diminishes it. No amount of reason alters it. Facts and evidence have no effect on the delusion. Unfortunately for those afflicted it is followed by 8 more years of “Hillary Hysteria”. Wait for it.

GOP. Guys Obsessed with Penises

Never have so many been obsessed with so little. These are the tough hombres. Real men. Real men with guns. Lots of guns. Big guns. Little guns. Toy guns. As Freud said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but guys obsessed with guns are looney toons” And  I quote. The real men need to let it be known that they have penises. BIG ones. They can whip anyone’s ass. Except for transgender people. LGBT-types scare the bejesus out of these macho men. Because  they are also afraid that some some transgender person might sneak a peek. SCARY ! Now, speaking for myself, if I had a big one….oh..never mind.

GOP. God’s Own People

The strongest of the diverse groups in the GOP. They have god on their side. They do the work of god. God speaks to them, regularly. God tells them gays are evil. Women have cooties. Health care for the poor is wrong. Democrats are sinful. God tells them to smite their enemies. Or at least keep them from registering to vote. Evolution is the work of Satan. The end is near. The liberal teachers are turning your kids into gays. God tells them that violence in her…oops..his name is required. Purify America. Burn the witch ! Their god evidently never asked them to  read the New Testament.

So. There you have it. The diversity of the GOP. Many kinds of people. A great coalition. Although there is one strain of philosophical thought that ties them all together into one unhappy family. Misery loves company.

The GOP. Generally Old Pricks.

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Feel the Bern… Vote the Hill

The New York Primary is this Tuesday .  As a registered Democrat I have the right to vote. Usually by now the NY Primary is an exercise in futility, one candidate is well on his way to the nomination. And in the general election NY tends to be deserted by presidential candidates. They all know that NY is securely in the Dem column.

But this time it counts. So, for whom shall I pull the lever. Well, no longer. We used to pull levers, now we bubble in sheets. Like taking a standardized test in high school.

My heart belongs to Bernie. My philosophy is firmly to the left of Karl Marx.  OK.  Not that far, but I certainly side with the socialist mentality. I remember voting for Jesse Jackson long ago in another NY Primary. And I have voted for Ralph Nader . (But only because I knew the vote would not impact the final outcome of a Gore victory in NY). So I naturally gravitate toward Mr Sanders. I feel the Bern.

Then I step back and the more pragmatic side of my political sense takes over. Clinton is not that far from Sanders in her views.  She has a long, and I mean LONG,  history of being involved in issues that are important to me. She has more administrative experience, to be sure. She did run the State Department for 4 years. She is singularly uninspiring, true. But inspiration isn’t everything.

So, I will bubble in the bubble for Hillary. Why?

Pragmatism. She will stand up to all the crap that Trump or Cruz or Kasich (yes, Kasich still has a shot)  throws at her. There has not been one lie, half-truth, insinuation, aggravation and derogation (is that even a word?) that she has not had to deal with and deflect. Remember the illegal Whitewater land deals? Remember how she murdered Vince Foster? Remember how she recruited women for Bill? Remember how she sent top secret emails to our enemies? Remember how she sat by during  the attack on our ambassador in Benghazi and did nothing to help him?

Secretary Clinton was an effective senator for NY. She was a competent Secretary of State who had to repair our international relations after the Iraq debacle. Most of all, she has stood up to the vilest and nastiest attacks on any politician since Andrew Jackson. And survived. More than survived. Came out on top.

I don’t know how Bernie will stand up to the GOP /Fox attack machine. The label “socialist” and “communist” will be pounded out over and over again. His lack of experience in foreign affairs will be seen as a sign of “weakness” by the pundits. Every verbal slip will be magnified, distorted and linked to Karl Marx somehow. And the attacks WILL get personal. I am not sure he has the thick skin and killer instinct necessary to fight back. Obama did. Which is why the GOP hates him. And Clinton does.

So, while my heart belongs to Bernie I don’t think he is electable in the general election. I don’t care what the polls say. I have seen the GOP attack machine in full mode. It isn’t pretty.

I saw Muskie sabotaged by counterfeit letters. I recall the “Willie Horton” commercials which appealed openly to racism and helped sink Dukakis. I recall a veteran who risked his life in the most dangerous missions in VietNam, the swift boats into Cambodia. I watched  the GOP simply lie about his service and mount a “Swift Boat” attack on his integrity. I saw  the label of “communist ” and “socialist” and “radical Muslim” placed on Barack Obama. All good men. All attacked in the vilest of terms. Keep in mind,  the GOP is shameless. In the campaign they will say and do anything.

So, I will vote for Clinton. She has shown that she has the guts and intelligence to stand up to the most vile lies. She has been there for 30 years. And remains standing. Maybe Sanders could stand up to the nastiness, too. I don’t know. But I am not willing to take that chance.

So, while I feel the Bern, I will vote the Hill.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/

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Keep America(ns) Safe

Keep America Safe.

Protect us from the  (fill in the blank)… Muslims…Mexicans…terrorists…refugees…Syrians…

But never fill in the blank with “Other Americans”.

We hear this from candidates all the time. America is a dangerous place…for some. But not from Muslim terrorists or jihadists. The biggest threat to human life comes from our  fellow citizens. With guns. All kinds of guns. Easily obtained.

Forget about the few “mass killings” At churches . Or schools. They are simply a spike in the graph. The every day, under reported killing of people in the USA is the biggest tragedy not covered by the media. Or candidates.

Keep America Safe.

For some reason keeping Americans safe from other Americans is a very low priority, especially for the two GOP candidates. I give you Matthew 7:3 ” Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but ignore the log in your own?”. It is easier to point the finger at “the other” than admit to our own societal  and governmental failures.

Fact: On 9/11 a small group of  Muslim extremists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, flew planes into building that killed almost 3,000 Americans. The US government retaliated with a massive attack on Afghanistan and later Iraq. Americans wanted revenge and wanted to make sure that we would be safe. Keep America Safe became the mantra. Ever since then our legal institutions and domestic priorities  have taken second place to our military desires. Keep America Safe. 3,000 innocents killed.

Fact: Since 2002 over 200,000 American citizens have been murdered. (Not including suicides or accidents, which almost doubles the figures) Not by Muslim terrorists. Not by ISIS. Not by hordes of Mexicans or Guatemalans.  By fellow citizens. By other Americans with guns. 200,000 citizens murdered. . And this is not seen as a crisis worth talking about. By any of the candidates.

Fact: Since 2002 over 17,000,000 Americans have been victims of violent crimes. Murders, assaults, rapes. 17,000,000 Americans . That is  MORE THAN the entire population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia and Nebraska COMBINED. 17,000,000. And not a peep from the candidates.

Source:  http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

Not worth mentioning.

These Keep America Safe politicians don’t seem to equate America with Americans. To them “America” is simply a land mass with a border, not millions of people. A geographic entity. Uninhabited? Children living in inner cities? Not Americans. The homeless? Not Americans. Battered spouses? Not Americans.

Perhaps someday a moderator in one of the debates will ask these candidates why they outline no plans to keep “Americans” safe. Wouldn’t that be a good question to ask?

———————————–

Related information from the websites of the 4 major candidates. The 2 Democrats do touch on the issue of gun violence. The GOP candidates simply ignore it.

The Ted Cruz website (https://www.tedcruz.org/issues/) talks about defending our borders. and securing the borders. He wants to install a missile system on the borders of Russia and wage war on..well, just about everybody. (http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Ted_Cruz_War_+_Peace.htm )

The Donald Trump website (https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions ) talks about building a wall to keep out Mexicans.  And he wants 30,000 US troops to defeat ISIS. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/politics/donald-trump-30000-troops-isis/ )

Hillary Clinton is a little more nuanced in her views of keeping America safe. She wants a combination of military, economic and political actions.  War as a resort. But not the first resort. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/national-security/). And she has some specifics regarding  domestic gun violence. (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/gun-violence-prevention/)

Bernie Sanders seems to agree with President Obama’s current policies on ISIS and terror, in general. ( http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-isis/ )       Sanders stand on gun control is a little more complicated. He is for it, but does not go as far as Clinton. (http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-gun-policy/ )

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Carolina on My Mind…or in My Toilet

North Carolina just passed a law about using public bathrooms. I assume LGBT folks using bathrooms has become a statewide epidemic of sorts! While I usually don’t care what kind of genitalia anyone else in the bathroom is packing, I thought I better clarify some issues so I don’t break any laws. Or customs.

This is a copy of a letter I submitted to the Charlotte Observer.

 

Dear Folks. I am coming down to North Carolina this October to play some golf and am a bit concerned about the new bathroom law just passed. I guess I don’t understand it so maybe you can answer some questions so I don’t make a fool of myself. Or break any laws.
1. When I enter a restroom will I have to drop my pants so the attendant can see whether or not I have the proper equipment? If so, would you suggest boxers or briefs?
2. If I suspect the “guy” (or maybe not the “guy”) in the next stall is not really the “guy” in the next stall, should I dial 911 to handle the emergency?
3. Will I need to bring a birth certificate to verify that I was born with the right equipment and have not just added it later on a whim? Will a photocopy be acceptable? (I don’t want another Obama situation!)
4. Can I ask a fellow toilet user to produce his (or “her”) equipment if I suspect he (or she) may be hiding, or not hiding, something? Like a “citizen’s arrest”?
5. Are the public restrooms now clearly labeled: Men, Women and Other? And do you still have some labeled: Whites Only?
6. If my equipment is challenged by another “guy” will I have to appear in court and produce proper evidence?
Not being a lawmaker or a lawyer I am afraid that I might inadvertently make a “faux pas” by using an inappropriate facility.
I am really looking forward to heading into North Carolina. Up here in Yankee land we are dealing with unemployment, poverty, gun violence, high taxes, etc. It will be a real pleasure to relax in a place where the biggest problem is determining the sex organs of fellow facility users.

(signed) Joe Urban

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The Reagan Babies

When I was a tyke going to school in a medieval Catholic dungeon I learned about the Pagan Babies.

We would bring in our pennies on Friday and Sister Attila of the Holy Order of Terror would collect the coin. Our little coppers were going to be sent to some missionary in Africa to help convert the “pagan babies”. These little babies evidently had not gotten the word about the all-merciful god. Our job, as little Catholic babies, was to save them.

Whether the money actually went to Africa or to the Vatican I don’t know. Our second grade class did not hire a CPA to check the books. Maybe the load of coppers  went to fund  Sister Attila’s  “Bloody Mary” stash. Perhaps the pennies fed the local liquor economy. Either way, a good cause.

The thing about these Pagan Babies living in Africa was this.

They were ignorant. They were hapless and hopeless. They did not know the truth. They were condemned to a life of squalor and prejudice and stupidity. We pitied them. We felt sorry for them. They knew only what they had been taught. Narrow minded . Ignorant. In the dark. What would  happen when they reached adulthood? How would this ignorance manifest itself?

Which brings me to their American counterparts. The Reagan Babies.

The Reagan Babies were brought up in the 1980s. They were brought up on the mantra that “government is evil” and “greed is good”.  They were told that poor people are poor because they are lazy. And the rich are wealthy because they deserve to be wealthy. They were told that labor should be cheap. Black people are criminals. Most of all, that working people should not have rights.

They were brought up to worship a god that demands obedience and fear. An intolerant, political god who builds hells here on earth for the “fallen” called prisons. And builds “wealth” by buying out real businessmen who actually build real businesses. Then stripping them and selling off the parts. A god that tells us that society is bad. People should not care for each other. The god of the Old Testament.

These Reagan babies have now become politicians. Roughly in their forties . They have achieved power. They want to destroy Social Security. They want to destroy the Civil Rights Act. They want to destroy unions. They want to destroy the concept of a public education for all. Most of all, they want to destroy the very idea of a “social contract”. And they have had some degree of success. The Rubios. The Cruzes. The Ryans. The Brownbacks. The Scott Walkers. The “young studs” of the Republican Party. The Reagan Babies.

We donated out pennies to save the Pagan Babies from ignorance . The Reagan Babies cannot be saved. They have been been taught a narrow view of life. They have been taught to embrace authoritarianism of “supply side” economics and an intolerance for the non-believer. They have been taught that the very concept of “society” is bad. No one is his brother’s keeper. They have come of age and now we are reaping the rewards of Reaganism.

The irony, of course, is that the Reagan Babies are supported by many of the very people they hold in contempt. Working Americans. Older Americans. True believers who  keep sending their hard earned pennies  (and votes) to the Reagan Babies.

Even as 2nd graders we would not have fallen for that scam.

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Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Any More

(In 2012 GOP Governor Brownback of Kansas pushed through the “Great Conservative Experiment”. Bringing the architect of the “supply-side” economics theory, Laffer, he proposed and got massive tax cuts for business and the wealthy, coupled with reduced public  support for the poor along with cuts to education. A conservative’s dream state. It was the experiment that would prove, once and for all, that “supply side ” policies were destined to be a great success…. They have been a massive fiscal disaster)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-kansas-gov-brownbacks-reelection-race-is-case-study-in-republican-party-shift/2014/07/30/3192d86c-1420-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article62557137.html

Aunt Em: I think she is finally waking up ! Dorothy, get up,  dear. Time to go to work.

Dorothy: Oh, Aunt Em. I had the strangest dream.

Aunt Em: Well, dear, time to get up and go to work in  the poultry plant. Those chicken wings don’t detach themselves.

Dorothy: Work? Chicken wings? Aunt Em, I don’t remember. I had the strangest dream that I visited a new land,  the land of Oz.

Aunt Em: Now, Dorothy.  You simply overslept. Now get your butt out of bed. We need the extra income.

Dorothy: But, Aunt Em. My dream. I dreamed I found myself surrounded by little men with little minds  and squeeky voices.  They were singing about “following the supply-side road” to wealth and fortune. But I kept going in circles. The road lead to nowhere.

Aunt Em: Oh,  that was no dream. That was the Knsas State Legislature, dear. Don’t you recall? They had to close all the roads except the ones leading directly to the chicken processing plant.

Dorothy: Then I dreamed I met a man who had straw in his head instead of a brain. He was silly and stupid. He flopped around and made no sense at all.

Aunt Em: Oh, Dorothy. That was the head of the Department of Education. Don’t you remember? The schools all had to close early because the state ran out of money for silly things like books and teachers. It is all part of the “great experiment”. It will be fine.

Dorothy: But Aunt Em, he didn’t even know what evolution was! And then I met a man who looked like a lion but was scared of everything. He cowered at the mention of the Wizard of Oz. Pathetic.

Aunt Em: You must mean the old Democratic Party. Oh dear, they certainly lost their courage.

Dorothy: Well, what about the man I met without a heart. It mean, he must have been part of a dream. A heartless man. No man can live without a heart, can he?

Aunt Em: Well, Governor Brownback came to town last week to proclaim “Cowboy Day” in honor of the ranchers who avoid paying federal grazing fees. There is no evidence that he has a heart.

Dorothy.: Then, in my dream,  we  walked all the way to the capital and saw this massive building. Covered with emeralds. And I went inside and saw the Wizard of Supply Side. He told me everything would be OK. Just keep working and don’t worry about the budget deficit. Don’t worry about school. Don’t worry about health care. It was final. He had spoken.

Aunt Em: Don’t you remember, Dorothy? We were going to take you on an ocean cruise across Kansas but the Lollipop Guild had taken away our lavish food stamp allowance. So, we went to see the Wizard for help. We DID go see the wonderful Wizard.

Dorothy: Well, what did the Wizard do?

Aunt Em: He told us to drop you out of 9th grade and get you a job. He told us that if you get sick you should “suck it up”. He said never ever use dirty words like”unions” or “climate change”. The great and powerful Koch had spoken.

Dorothy: Aunt Em, I am sick. My brain hurts. I need to see a doctor.

Aunt Em: Sorry, dear. We lost our health care when your uncle got fired for supporting abortion rights. You’ll just have to hope for the best. I am sure the Great Experiment will work itself out. Now, get on your bike and head for work. Those chicken parts are waiting to be sorted.

Dorothy: Look, Aunt Em !! A twister is coming right at us. A big one!

Aunt Em: Quick, Dorothy, into the storm cellar. … Dorothy! Where are you going?!

Dorothy hops on her bike with Toto in her basket and starts peddling frantically. Directly TOWARD the massive tornado.

Dorothy: Good bye , Aunt Em. I have my future to think about. Between living a decent life in Kansas and the twister, I like my chances with the tornado.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Doing The Mitch”

The GOP Senate, lead (?) by Mitch McConnell, has announced that they are refusing to consider any Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Obama. Even though the Constitution does require the Senate to “advise and consent” on judicial  appointments, they have decided that they will refuse to abide by this Constitutional requirement. They won’t even listen to Mr. Obama on the matter.

Why? Because President Obama has only one year left in his four year term of office. And in their minds that means that he should relinquish his Constitutional power. NOW! And relax .

At first I thought this was odd. But since the McConnell announcement I have had many experiences which have convinced me that his philosophy may be the norm. In fact, across America millions have now embraced  McConnell . It even has a name. “Doing the Mitch”.

Some examples:

I called 911 because a burglar was breaking into my house. The operator informed me that she was retiring in 7 months. She said she was not going to put my call though because she was “Doing the Mitch”. Why bother? With only a few months left to work?

So, I called back and finally got a 911 operator who took my call. (By now a truck had backed up to my door and a gang of burglars were loading up my furniture).

Finally a police car arrived and Officer Blarney got out. I was relieved. I pointed out the burglars ripping me off. He had a faraway look in his eyes. And rolled them. I begged for help.

“Sorry, sir”,  he said. “I am due to retire in 10 months. In the old days I might have done something,  but no longer.  I am taking my cue from the US Constitution. I am “Doing the Mitch”.  You’ll have to call the department and ask for some rookie to come out.”

Since the truck with all my worldly belongings was starting to pull away I took matters into my own hands. I dragged one of the burglars from the truck, but was then pummeled into a stupor by the other two. As I lie on the cold hard ground I managed to find my phone and speed dialed the local hospital (don’t ask why the local hospital is on speed dial). Thank god a young voice answered.

The ambulance arrived in record time, about 30 minutes later. To my horror the EMT had graying hair and a lot of wrinkles.As he looked at me lying on the ground I could feel his irritation.

“Look”, he explained. “I would like to help you, but the fact is that I am retiring in 9 months. I really don’t see the point in working any longer. The end of my term is almost up. It doesn’t seem fair to me to force me to do my job. I am “Doing the Mitch”.

Well, I finally crawled into the hospital and was given medical assistance. Sort of . Unfortunately for me I needed a couple bones reset. The good news was that the MD who saw me was new on the job. Great. The bad news was that the anesthesiologist was near retirement. “Doing the Mitch”. Ouch. That hurt.

So, there we have it. A nation of Constitutional scholars dedicated to “Doing the Mitch”. As I was recuperating in the hospital bed a nice old lady came in with a cake that someone had sent to me as a gift. At first I was a bit worried. So I asked her, “Are you near retirement?”.

“No”, she responded sweetly. “I have a year and three months left delivering cakes for the Kim Davis Kentucky Bakery”.

“Great, I’ll take the that cake” I blurted.

“Not so fast, dearie”, she glared. “Are you gay?”

 

 

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Speaking Ill of the Dead

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Evidently the ancient Romans did not know Antonin Scalia.

I have no problem writing ill of Scalia. He’s dead. He won’t read this. And if he did I could care less.

Scalia was not, as his supporters like to claim, the voice of “conservatism” on the court. More likely, he qualifies as the voice of the “reactionaries”. Those who want to return to an imaginary past. He was not, as his supporters claim, a “strict constructionist” devoted to the Constitution. He was, in essence, a “reactionary” devoted to the Articles of Confederation.

You may recall that the Articles of Confederation were the first plan of government after the revolution. It gave massive power to individual states and little power to the central government. It guaranteed no rights nationwide. It was an abysmal failure. It was because the “states rights” concept  failed so miserably that the Constitution was formed.

Scalia was more devoted to the Articles than to the Constitution.  Some examples.

In 2000, in Bush v Gore. Scalia sided with the 5-4 majority is overturning the Florida Supreme Court.That  Florida court had ruled that it was necessary to recount the Florida voted because under Florida Constitution and law a vote so close had to be recounted. The Florida Supreme Court wanted to get it right.

Scalia, siding with the majority, supported the very odd decision that counting all the votes fairly would impact negatively on the Bush campaign. The vote count was stopped. The right of the state of Florida to follow its own election laws was overturned by the SCOTUS.  Justice Scalia had a son who was in the lawfirm directly involved in the Bush appeal to the SCOTUS, which should have been a reason for his recusal.

Scalia opposed the right of citizens to health care under the ACA. He used a rather foolish broccoli analogy to suggest that the federal government had no right to implement any law requiring people to..well..do anything.  (Actually, Scalia was the prime target of a 2012 blog post on this matter….    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/scalia-and-the-broccoli-conundrum/)

Scalia opposed the rights of gays to marry. He took the position that only the individual states can decide on whether or not an adult can marry. State’s rights, ignoring the amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the laws.

Perhaps the strangest case ever for someone who claimed to be a “strict constructionist”  was the Citizens United fiasco. Overturning federal law to regulate money in politics. The decision basically created a new class of citizens, called “corporations”. According to Scalia, corporations had first amendment rights to spend money on candidates. No where in the Constitution is there any indication that the founding fathers sought to make corporations “persons” in the same sense as you and I are persons. this was a complete contortion of the reason for the Bill of Rights in the first place. To protect INDIVIDUALS from governmental power. Another example of Scalia claiming to be a “strict constructionist” and then ignoring the Constitution.

And, adding to this fantasy. A corporation called Hobby Lobby was granted “religious” reasons for not providing adequate health care to its employees. A total perversion of the meaning of the First Amendment. And Scalia was there. Leading the charge.

Scalia consistently refused to support individual rights. He opposed a woman’s right to abortion He supported overturning the Voting Rights Act. He supported the idea that individual states could deny classes of citizens certain rights. He was the most reactionary justice since WW2, perhaps since the Civil War. There is no doubt that he would have been very comfortable voting with the majority in the Dred Scott case. After all, slavery was a “state’s rights” issue.

So. I speak ill of the dead. But, in fairness to me, I spoke ill of him when he was alive. His death does not make his decisions any more palatable. The fact that he has passed from political power can only be seen as a positive step for individual rights. His loss is not one to mourn.

 

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The Smuggler

It was dark and chilly near midnight on the Texas-Mexico border. I had a tip that a smuggler was going to cross that night and I wanted to meet up with him. Do an interview.

(In order to maintain confidentiality all the names in this report have been changed. My name is Joe Urban but I call myself Luke. The smugglers name was Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. I will call him Jose).

Jose was driving a small truck. As it pulled up to the border  a customs agent stopped him and they talked. Jose shook the agent’s hand . The agent looked into his hand, slipped it into his pocket and waved Jose through. A bribe. A time-honored border tradition.

I followed Jose and his truck through the night on the long drive north. Sometime near dawn he pulled off into a small town and stopped at Eat Em and Weep Cafe. I went in and found him sitting at a corner table. Well. The only table. I introduced myself.

Luke: Hello Jose, I am Luke. The guy doing the undercover story.

Jose: I thought I was supposed to meet some gringo named Joe. And my name is not Jose,  it is Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. What do you want to know?

Luke: Why do you smuggle?

Jose: Because I like to help people. People have needs and I try to make their lives a little better.  It is my way of giving a little back to the world. And it pays good.

Jose rocked back in his chair and stared at the spiders crawling across the ceiling. He had a faraway look in his eye. The awe-inspiring, starry-eyed look  of a philosopher. Or a sleep deprived trucker. He continued.

Jose: You see. I bring to you North Americanos a little joy. A product that makes your miserable lives a little happier. What is wrong with that? Don’t you have the right to be happy like us Mexicanos?

Jose continues: You may think that you can get the same thing from Colorado. You think the best stuff comes from Colorado? Maybe. But no. Colorado cannot supply the entire nation. The law of supply and demand. Capitalismo!

Jose continues: You are thinking about your own internal supply. But my stuff is pure. Better. No extra junk thrown in . The best in the world. Why take  chance on some local supplier when you can have the best? Why take a chance when you know that my stuff has never killed anyone. Guaranteed pure. Uncut.

Jose continues: And you deserve the best. So I will continue to make the dangerous journey to El Norte. I will slip past the border guards..what?..oh, you saw me give him a bribe. Well,  I will continue the dangerous journey and bribing the border guards. It is worth it to see the smiles on the gringos faces when the delivery arrives.

Luke: Are you worried that President Trump will build a wall and and finally put an end to your smuggling once and for all?

Jose: No worry. My uncle Antonio Juarez Moctezuma Gonzalez owns 4 bulldozers. He plans to start a new business smashing into the wall each night at different places. He has already incorporated as “The Holes in the Wall Gang”.  We are ready.

So there you have it. A law breaking smuggler who justifies his actions by claiming to be a “public servant”. Another smuggler defying US laws. A disgrace to all. But the story has a happy ending for law-abiding citizens.

I followed Jose for hundreds of miles north as he drove through Illinois, Indiana and into Michigan. Finally the roar caused by his lack of a muffler, the black cloud of oily smoke  and sparks generated by a right taillight dragging on the ground caught the trained eye of a Michigan State trooper. He was pulled over. Caught. Nabbed.

When the back door of his truck was lifted , there was the contraband in plain site. BUSTED. Cases and cases of the illegal product. It would never reach the lips of addicted Michiganders.

“Crystal” bottled water from Mexico. Cases of it. In sealed plastic bottles. Direct from the bottling plant. Stenciled across the back of each case: Destination: Flint, Michigan. The jig was up. The uncut, super clean water was found before it could be delivered .

The troopers threw  the cases on to the ground and smashed the contraband into bits, Elliot Ness-style. They slashed the bottles and watched as the liquid gushed out onto the pavement. The pure, clean, fresh water flowed onto the highway. The good stuff. Just before he got in his cruiser and drove away I noticed one of the Michigan State troopers slip a couple bottles into his jacket. I couldn’t blame him. I figured he must have had kids.

 

 

 

 

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You Never Know

The idea that Trump or Cruz could be elected president is almost unimaginable to anyone with a…well…to anyone. They both have a long history of dishonesty and fabrication. So,  how could either of these two clearly incompetent men ever win that high office.

Well, as grandma used to say regarding just about anything . “You Never Know”.

After all. There are still people who…..

…are convinced that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. No amount of evidence  like a birth certificate, two Hawaiian newspaper notices or witnesses to his birth (I do believe his mother was there) will change their minds. Was he born in Kenya? You never know.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories

…believe that the Affordable Care Act allows the government to establish death panels. These death panels will decide if and when to execute you or me. I should live so long. Have the death panelists earmarked anyone for execution yet? You never know.   https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/clarence-avoids-the-death-panels/

…insist that Sasquatch is real. They know he or she is real because they have seen the videos. And videos, we have learned, do not lie. And for further proof, there is an entire industry devoted to Sasquatch paraphernalia. They couldn’t sell Sasquatch stuff if it wasn’t real!  There is even a Sasquatch DNA site. God, I hope I’m related ! I could be. You never know.      http://www.sasquatchgenomeproject.org/index.html

…deny that the climate is changing. Or, if it is changing , then human activity has nothing to do with the overall increase in global temperatures. Some of the more astute deniers point out that it still snows sometimes, which thoroughly debunks any “global warming” claims. If it was cold today how can the earth be warming up? This entire global warming hoax could be a plot by Al Gore to make millions! (Remember him? The guy who received 500,000 more votes for POTUS than GW Bush?)  Or is it a plot by COMMUNISTS?  The commies are still hanging around. You never know.        http://www.commieblaster.com/climategate/

…insist that Bill Clinton is responsible for 9/11.  ….http://wonkette.com/595179/its-official-bill-clinton-did-911

…are certain that Hillary Clinton refused to send aid to the American ambassador in Benghazi.    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261442/hillarys-benghazi-stand-down-order-exposed-kenneth-r-timmerman

…have been abducted by aliens. No, not all the Mexican/alien rapists that Trump told us about. Real aliens. The UFO-type. Weird eyes. Pointy heads. Pushed in noses. NO, NOT Trey Gowdy. Real aliens. Trey Gowdy…hmmmmm?             https://josephurban.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/157bc-pinhead.jpeg

http://www.ufocasebook.com/alienabductions.html

…will believe whatever they want to believe.   http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php

So, can Cruz or Trump ever be elected president? As frightening as it is…You Never Know.

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Sideshow Sarah Screeches for Trump

It is just too easy to make fun of Sideshow Sarah. About as challenging as rolling a ball downhill. Just sit back and watch. It is inevitable. And predictable.

Still, it was enthralling  watching Sideshow make her endorsement of the other huckster in the political arena, the Donald. The used car salesman extraordinaire. The man who is the master of the vague generality and the specific vulgarity.

You can find the Palin “speech” on Youtube, along with Tina Fey and the SNL version, which is more coherent. I recommend sitting down and watching with a 4 year old who can interpret for you.

As I said, making fun of Sideshow is too easy. So  seriously. Some things to think about.

1. This woman has been pulling in money for her PAC (SarahPAC) to the tune of over 1 million bucks a year. Her PAC is a way for the faithful Tea Party conservatives to funnel their hard earned cash to conservative candidates.

In the last filing for her PAC it was discovered that about 4% of the money was actually given to candidates. 4%. The rest is spent on various fundraising activities for the PAC itself, consultants and some luxurious hotel and travel arrangements. (When was the last time YOU stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City?)

From my point of view I think this is great. After all, taking money from the gullible right wingers and NOT spending it to elect right wingers is ok in my book. OKEY-DOKEY. Hopey-changey. Not to mention the boost to the economy by the purchase of $700 blouses, somewhat successful facelifts and something called “speech writing”. Really. $48,000 for speech writing. Someone actually writes those words ahead of time. But, if it wastes right wing dollars, I am all for it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/sarah_palin_s_pac_is_spending_more_on_hotels_and_travel_than_on_gop_candidates.html

2. This woman is stepping up to the plate and doing for Donald what she did for McCain. Ted Cruz must be jumping for joy. Well, maybe not jumping. Perhaps hopping. And not for “joy”. Let me try again: Ted Cruz must be standing on one leg and spewing less bile and invective than usual. After all, Sideshow Sarah has endorsed the last two POTUS candidates.  Ask President McCain. Ask President Romney.

3. And this one gets scarier all the time. WHAT IF? What if McCain had been elected by some fluke of the voting machines. And Sideshow Sarah had to take over the office of the presidency. What if she and her clan had become the “First Family” of the United States of America? Instead of two quiet young, well-mannered girls staying out of the limelight we would have Bristol and Track or whatever their names are? “Family values” on display.  Regular White House visits by the DC police department.

What if Sideshow Sarah was in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Or sat down with Putin to negotiate? What if? The more we see of her the scarier it gets.

So. She is back.  And not funny. An empty shell with a big PAC. The press will always cover her because that is what the press does. It covers “celebrities”. It covers disasters. It publicizes  the odd and crass rather than the normal and the classy. And the crasser, the better. An entertainer endorsing another entertainer. It looks like the Clown Car just got a new member. And if you think elections should be a serious event, it is not funny.

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Advice To My Black Son

Since today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I thought it would be appropriate to give some advice to my black son. Advice on how to live a long life in a hostile nation.

Problem is I don’t have a black son. Both my son and daughter are white. As is my wife. And we have a long history of ancestors who were also white. Quite a coincidence. Being white, there was never the necessity of having this little talk with him or her. But I digress.

To my black son or grandson. First, I will make some assumptions about you, most of which are not true.

You live in poverty (actually 73% of African Americans do not live in poverty, but the percentage IS higher for children and young adults)  http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/

Your parents do not own their own home (55% do not, but 45% do).    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883976.html

You will be  arrested for a violent crime this year . (about 1/2 of 1% of black youths will be arrested for a violent offense, so 99.5% of black youths will NOT be arrested for a violent crime)    http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261

You are most likely a high school “drop out” . (The drop out rate for African American males is approximately 7%, so 93% are NOT drop outs)    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16

Enough of statistics. And stereotypes. I want you to live a long and happy life. Keep in mind the following.

First of all you  have rights. The right to free speech. To drive. To assembly. To individuality. To be young. And to be stupid at times. To walk down the street. To carry a gun in some states. To use a cell phone.

My Rules for my black son. Listen carefully:

1. Take that last paragraph about your rights and forget it. Assume , instead, that you have no rights. Accept reality. Act like you have no rights. You will live longer.

2.If the police stop you in your car or walking be respectful. Don’t argue. Be polite. “Yes, officer. No,officer”. If you see the cops driving around in your neighborhood wave and smile.

3.Sew your pockets shut. So you cannot possibly reach inside them. Don’t carry a cell phone. Or comb. Or knife. Or anything.

4.Don’t be out after dark. If you are a friend’s house, call home and tell ma and pa that you are sleeping over. Do the same for your friends when they are visiting you at night. Don’t be out after dark.

5.Don’t go to places where you know drug dealers hang out. If drug dealers show up where you are hanging out, go home. Now.

6.If you are arrested for some reason say nothing. Nothing. If you are put in a cell do not talk to your cellmate. Be polite and ask for a lawyer. Say nothing.

7.Don’t wear bling. Don’t wear a hoodie. Don’t wear your cap backwards. Don’t argue with anyone about anything. Swallow your pride. Often. Regularly.

8.Act like you are a Jew in Nazi Germany. Pretend you are a foreigner with no rights.

Should you have to follow these rules? No. But in reality these rules will give you  a much better chance of making it to adulthood than the Bill of Rights. Or the Voting Rights Act. Or any other legal protections. Sorry, my black son, but that is reality.

As MLK, Jr hoped, someday you WILL be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin. But January 18, 2016 in America is not yet that day.

 

 

 

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I’ve Seen Enough

Against my better judgment I watched the January 14 “debate” of the GOP candidates. We really should not call  it a “debate”. More like a rant. Or series of rants. The moderators did not seem to know how to ask a question and the candidates obliged by not answering any. Still, it was instructive.

I learned, for example, that I have a higher tolerance for pain than I thought I did.

I also learned how wrong we liberals can be. I thought by now that the nastiness of Cruz and the ignorance of Trump would have disqualified them in the eyes of GOP voters. Seems that those are the traits most admired. Go figure.

Anyway, I am taking this opportunity to present a summary of the last performance as I see it. The candidates, from left to right on the stage.

Kasich. He stood. He shook his head. He looked sad and defeated. What am I doing on stage with these clowns?  He tried to talk about his accomplishments and ideas. No one cared. He shrugged. He’s done and he knows it. Born 20 years too late.

Christie. Buffoonery personified. His message was an attempt to out-buffoon Trump. Can’t be done. So, he came off as a small (I know, I know) replica of the master. He tried to insult  Obama by suggesting he would “kick his  rear end out of the White House” in the next election. Well, I guess. If he ever does rise in the polls his corrupt practices in in New Jersey will doom him anyway. There are people STILL homeless from Hurricane Sandy.

Rubio. 13 year old on speed. Besides looking like he should be home doing his homework (“Time to turn off the lights, Marcky”) instead of standing behind the podium all Rubio did was go bat shit crazy over Obama. A man obsessed. Obama Bad. Obama Bad.  Obama Bad. He even crossed over into Trumpland with his statement that Obama STILL wants to take away all our guns. ALL of them. Maybe when his voice changes he will run again. 2032?

Trump. The Donald. Same old Donald. “We need to figure this out” “We need to hire good people” “We need to make America great again”. ..”We need to kill the bad guys…””My Muslim friends..” “My Chinese friends..” ” I love the Japanese…” With friends like Donald, who needs….? The master of the Bleeding Obvious. The Master of saying NOTHING while pretending to say everything. I don’t want an old man who still  hasn’t figured it out.  A 68 year old body and a 16 year old mind. Singularly uncurious about the rest of the world.  BUT. He is the front runner.

Cruz. Every time I hear this guy speak I feel the urge to take a hot shower. With a good scrub brush. And plenty of soap. LAVA. He just oozes used car salesman… and not the good kind. Cruz is cynical and clever. I can appreciate that. Not once has he answered a question. Every question is an unfair attack on him and his superiority. The NY Times reports a fact. He attacks the NY Times. His minions are thrilled. The entire world is either good or evil. No  room for honest disagreements. No shades of gray. And underneath it all, we know he knows better. Not an ounce of integrity. Scary guy.

Carson. Carson answers all questions. Just not the ones asked. He also answers the ones in his head. The ones no one else hears. He reminds me of an old lady rocking in the corner half asleep. They nudge her awake. ” The Jews did it”. “Go back to sleep grandma. We’ll wake you for supper.” Carson just keeps showing up. Evidently his tactic is just to  stay alive long enough. It works for grandma. We keep feeding her. With this group, it just might work. Have to give him a solid “C” for creative use of the English language. Stringing together unrelated words,  phrases  and ideas into an incoherent mess.

Jeb. Still here. Like Kasich on the opposite side of the room Jeb actually attempts to discuss issues and ideas. He has not yet caught on. You can see the anxiety on his face as he tries to engage the others and the Fox moderators in some meaningful dialogue. Kind of like trying to explain to a group of three year olds that they should not shove spaghetti up their noses. You know your words are falling on deaf ears but there is nothing else you can do.  So you keep trying. And trying. And trying.

Finally, the most pathetic moderators yet. No incisive questions. No follow up. No stopping the candidates and making them explain themselves. A train wreck.

It is fairly apparent now that one of these bozos is going to be the standard bearer for the GOP. We can only hope that when they are confronted with Hillary or Bernie they will be exposed for the doofuses they are. We can only hope. At times like these I wish I were a Christian. At least then I could pray.

 

 

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