Monday, August 14, 2017

Crippled America, Trump Presidency

Never forget who voted for Trump as president. Those who elected him. They are dangerous.

We should never give the ignorant, the greedy or the immature the vote. No matter their age. Yes, we do that. We did that in giving everyone the vote. But that's not even the problem. And not everyone has the vote.

Regarding the travesty in Charlottesville. No Mr. "President", you have NOT calmed our fears. But, nothing new there. Not when your calming message to us also is calming to those we all see as, or we should all see as, the enemy. As in this:

David Duke (American white nationalist, politician, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.):
"We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's what we voted for in Donald Trump. Yes he said we're going to take our country back. And that's what we're going to do."

Uh, no, dumbass. It's like John Oliver said on his show Last Week Tonight (you can watch it yourself here) recently about Neo Nazis and Trump and how Nazi types are like cats, "If cat's like you, it's probably because you're feeding them."

In deciding to be a Nazi type, a white supremacist, your rights end in your beliefs being contrary to America. We are a melting pot, not a separatist society. The rich and powerful have indeed divided us. We're working, fighting back, against all that. We don't need you making it even more confused and difficult to do what is right.

Germany, their hero's fatherland (in Hitler, and Germany...Germany who despise Nazism of any time), doesn't want you either. They at least matured into humanity. Try Iran, some country run by religion. You (and they) won't like it either though. Just consider yourselves outcasts find an island where you can vote yourselves off. Tear yourselves apart. Because we, don't want you. And it would seem in your ignorance, neither do you.

A Canadian friend and writer this weekend said America is misguided in thinking that hate speech is free speech. And she may have a point. We have gotten carried away with exactly what free speech is or should be. But we have to be very careful. Still, our extremism on freedom and free speech has indeed led us to allowing things that should be disallowed and has led to a segment of America who voted for someone like Donald J. Trump. And the Republican party, who have deluded themselves into their current dysfunctional and dissociative form.

Giving everyone the vote wasn't the Founding Fathers original intention. They gauged their intentions upon industry and land ownership, indications of an investment in America. That was the climate of their times leading into the industrial age. They also had an entirely different consideration of corporations. They had built in checks and balances for our government but did they fall down on protecting us from the future weight of modern economics? Or did we simply cripple their original intentions?

They understood the need for education and intelligence. When capitalism, greed, when big money of the size it is now, a size which they could have never imagined, supplants intellect and morality; when something they could imagine in religion subverting our morals and ethics, then you are in serious trouble.

We, are in serious trouble.

Elements of Economic Theory in the Founding

For the Founders, government has an extensive set of responsibilities that it must fulfill in order to enable people to exercise their right to acquire and possess property. There are three main Founding-era economic policy principles that make possible sufficient production, for rich and poor alike, of the goods that are needed for life and the pursuit of happiness.
  • The first principle is private ownership. Government must define who owns what, allow property to be used as each owner deems best, encourage widespread ownership among citizens, and protect property against infringements by others, including unjust infringement by government itself.
  • The second principle of sound policy is market freedom. With some exceptions, everyone must be free to sell anything to anyone at any time or place at any mutually agreeable price. Government must define and enforce contracts. Means of transportation must be available to all on the same terms.
  • The third principle is reliable money. To facilitate market transactions, there must be a medium of exchange whose value is reasonably constant and certain.
The Founding Fathers never wanted much of what we now have now to happen. According to Brian Murphy, a history professor at Baruch College in New York:

Early Americans had a far more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of corporations than the Court gives them credit for. They were much more comfortable with retaining pre-Revolutionary city or school charters than with creating new corporations that would concentrate economic and political power in potentially unaccountable institutions. When you read Madison in particular, you see that he wasn’t blindly hostile to banks during his fight with Alexander Hamilton over the Bank of the United States. Instead, he’s worried about the unchecked power of accumulations of capital that come with creating a class of bankers.

We got ourselves here and we continually shoot ourselves in the feet, making it hard to walk far enough to correct the disabling actions by those who benefit from them and do not want corrected. It is like we handed prisoners the keys to the prison and then allow them to lock us up, expecting them to do good by us. Many of which, do not have the right to vote, by the way.

It ain't gonna happen, it never does. Just like free markets without regulation do not function well and are harmful to far too many people. If we don't fix these things ourselves, if we don't take corrective actions, we will continue to see America heading as it is into a world built only for the wealthy and oligarchs.

That was not why America was founded, nor was it how it was set up to run. We can make it work. If we can just wrest it away from those who control our money, who hoard it from us, and who manage our government to run for them and not those who it was originally set up to support.

This isn't the end. Unless we want it to be.

A brief word on a very current topic. I know this is offensive to some but...

We should teach evolution in schools. If you want the disingenuous belief so inappropriately balled "intelligent design" taught then it should be in an appropriate class, which would have a social or eschatological and not a scientific orientation and has nothing to do with science, other than as a counter to scientific thinking. We should teach science as the best form of thinking that we have because we should teach the best forms of human thought, not the worst and not just second rate forms as primary.

We should not remove memorials showing who we were and who we have been, we should simply place additions to them to explain and place them in context. If it is humiliating to some, reality should always trump ignorance, stupidity and mere belief whenever and wherever they go against it.

We are a heterogeneous country, not a homogeneous one.

It is sad and ironic that white supremest types love homogeneity in only some areas but celebrate heterogeneity in others. Especially since it seems quite obvious where the homogeneous ones are for them even in their being hidden and yet so reviled by them.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Is Our Human Condition Simply Out of Control?

I was watching Incendies (2010) the other day. I had really liked Sicario, both by director, Denis Villeneuve so I thought I'd check out his previous award winning Canadian film.

If ever you want example of the intellectual disease religion can bring to people, there's a good example of that in the film's initial murder which resulted from religious separatism. A separatism which includes the mores and tribalism that comes along with and from it.

Whether religion spawned tribalism, or the other way around matters little at this point, because it also now perpetuates it. Blended with the economics of reality for some, it is simply another cog in the wheel of humanity regressing.

Religion can be all fine and good, but it needs moderation... that is intellectual and informed practical application. That is to say, applying religion's teachings requires outright ignoring some of the more brutal and stupid tenets and statements involved within their convention (a custom or a way of acting or doing things that is widely accepted and followed) that its religious tomes supply, and demand.

If religion does not modify itself with humanity, it is a defective religion and therefore false in the face of Humanity. And reality.

The practical application of religion has gotten out of control many times, in many places, as it has now in the Middle East in obvious examples. As well as here at home in more minor cases. One has to understand that you are not so much then dealing with an enemy, but a people who are experiencing a kind of mental illness through a socially accepted system and a series of defective concepts and ideals.

They need saving from themselves.

It's not unlike a computer virus that begins to eat itself and brings its own system down. It needs to be cleaned up. It's not the enemy but a defective system that has become corrupted and needs its code and inherent governors brought back up to correct speed and action.

Yes, sometimes you have to kill people like this. As you would a rabid dog you stumble across in the wilderness. It's also just good to recognize that they have a problem, one that needs to be corrected and that they are not just inherently evil but misinformed, following their own best understanding of life through defective filters.

Normally I believe, humans want to be good. Want to be seen as good. Want to believe themselves to be doing good, to believe they are good and therefore what they do is doing good.

A little perceived good is good, but more seems better. Even more yet can be therefore be seen as even better, when typically it is simply outright destructive. And when it is destructive to others, it's easy to not see the damage, to rationalize it as "good". More therefore can be less. Just as a nightmare applied in typically human OCD fashion leads to a bipolar and excessive application.

Sadly the nightmare that this causes for some, can be felt as satiation and catharsis for its perpetrators.

And so it is left up to the rest of us to clean up this filthy disgusting belief system against non believers, or those who see reality over magical thinking. Magical thinking that has gone, as it is wont to do, horrendously awry.

The way out of this happening again and again throughout history is simply to lead ourselves into reality and proven belief systems and not simply belief systems conjured up by those in the far past, only to be interpreted by those in the present as the ridiculous and the murderous.

Still, we have new religious beliefs cropping up because we support these old beliefs and so new "prophets" believe they have an open door to come up with whatever crap they can imagine. As in Mormonism. As in Scientology. As is Conservative Republicans on the Christian right. As it stupidity.

We are not a stupid race. So why do we keep supporting belief systems that counter that? We need to get ourselves under control. And as things are going...we need to do it fast. Very fast. Before it's too late.

For far too many on a daily basis, it is already far too late.

Has this untethering of American from reality been brought to us courtesy of religions and the fantastical thinking required to believe them, for one to have faith?

We have seen this belief for many years in making excuses for people's religion and in America for having a diversity of religions and belief systems, that we should allow people their own delusions (if they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventist, etc.) because this is America and America means freedom. That's all great and good. However....

American politician and sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said:

"You're entitled to your own opinions, you're not entitled to your own facts."

And that, outweighs either our freedom, or our religions.

It is time we pulled back, that religions went back to their proper and private places, out of our schools, out of our government in order to allow true freedom in America once again and stop infecting both ourselves and the world in such a negative way in our delusionally believing we are doing good when we most assuredly are not.

IF we do not, the corrective action that is inevitably coming, will be far more severe than anything we can now imagine.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ireland Trip 2015 and Vacations

My birthday was August 30th and it's a banner year for me so I thought I should do something special. When I was four, we moved to Spain from Tacoma, Washington. Things didn't go well for us and my grandfather, my mom's dad, threw my dad out of the country. Long story end of marriage.

We ended up moving to Philadelphia to live with and around family. Grandpa had moved his family to Tacoma back in the 40s from Brooklyn. Mom picked up a new husband in Philly whom I never liked.

One day when she broke the news to us that she was going to marry him, we would have a new dad. I was still wondering what happened to the old dad and I don't know what my slightly older sister was thinking. Our mom was putting a happy spin on this marriage but at five years of age I begged her not to marry him. Something that proved to be prescient in time and she would grow to agree with. I had seen a side to him she hadn't yet seen although of her four husbands, he ended up lasting the longest. They remained married even after they mostly and permanently separated about thirteen years ago.

Suddenly we had a new baby and along with my older sister and new dad we moved back to the dreaded Tacoma with these new parts of the family. I wasn't happy. I had lost my dad, got a new one I didn't like, and a baby who was sucking up all the attention that used to be mine.

It wasn't long before my apprehensions about the new guy started to make themself clear. Still after having married my older brother's dad (who lived with his dad after a contentious divorce) and divorced him, then my older sister's dad and divorcing him, then my dad, then the new guy (in 1960), whom she divorced briefly for a year then remarried not once more but several times throughout their stormy relationship until he died about a year ago.

Mom always loved Liz and Richard Burton. Dick and Liz, my parents were not though there were some similarities.

In my lifetime I've been to Hawaii twice. First in 1978 with my first wife,  then again in 1988 with my second wife. In 1998 I mentioned going there to my third wife yet for some reason she would have nothing to do with it.

I grew up with my family visiting Canada a lot as Tacoma is so close to Vancouver, British Columbia, though mostly we took the ferry to Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island located in the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

Our Grandfather whom I mentioned before was my mother's father. He had traveled the world and after he retired would take the family on short day trips sometimes. We would take the ferry Princess Marguerite from Seattle to Victoria, and would get a cabin for the older folks to rest in. I have fond memories of those trips and visiting around Victoria and the world famous Empress Hotel which had hosted royalty and presidents.

In high school, I used to drive with friends up to Vancouver, BC to party. The pubs in Gas Town were the desired locations to try and get into even though I was around seventeen. I once got into the Gas Town Pub. My friend and I walked up to the counter and got very odd looks from the bartender. The guy on the door had stepped away and so we stepped in. I asked the bartender where the restroom was. He said that it's next door in the Gas Town Hotel.

I was incredulous but he convinced us it was true and I really had to go. So we went. When we got next door an old guy sitting at the desk was reading a paper. I said I needed to use their restroom and that the bartender had said they used theirs but he gave me a look similar to the bartender's and kicked us out. We went back to the pub but couldn't get back in. End of that party. However, we then discovered Third Beach at Stanley Park by just stopping people on the street and asking where the party was. But that's a story for another time and I suspect I've already told that story.

After I got married the last time we would travel sometimes because of her work training horses. Many interesting times back in the 1990s until we divorced in 2002.

Earlier this year my twenty-three year old daughter convinced me I should do something special for this birthday. My birthday is August 30th. My mother was born on that birthday of mine. I'd joked with her many times that God had planned for me, she was an accident. When in reality I think I was actually the accident.

My daughter had travelled Europe with a back pack several times. I along with her friend's parents had sent them for a high school graduation gift to Paris. I think she had got bitten by the travel bug. But then she had grown up with her mother and I travelling with her to horse shows for her mom's work. It was in her blood.

She backpacked with her accordion and hoola hoop, busking around Europe, making money to pay her way. She ended up in Iceland and loving it. Greece during the riots several years ago. Living in caves in Spain. But always returning to Iceland

When she first mentioned the Ireland trip, I was hesitant, but I wanted to go. See, I've been to Mexico a few times, Canada more times that I remember and Hawaii twice, all over the United States. But only one trip out of country and off the continent, to Spain as a child.

And that didn't go well for me at all. In fact when we were living in country the local cantina owner in Roda, Spain was always yelling, "Malo Nino!" (bad boy) at me for some reason. Reasons I'm sure I deserved. I'd deserved them in America, there was really no reason I would not deserve them in another country.

We have 8mm film of our life in Spain and later in Philadelphia. There is one of a banner of shamrocks hanging from our ceiling. My new dad was in that footage. The banner said "Erin Go Bragh!" Roughly, Ireland forever! He didn't much care for it. He always said he was English by ancestry and my dad was Irish. So you could see how it could be annoying to a new guy.

Now I'm getting to the Irish stuff.

So I grew up with that banner and the situation, always in the back of my mind. I would ask my mother about it growing up and she would just say that my dad's family was Irish. I was Irish. Though my mother's family was Czechoslovakian, I got tired of that part of my ancestry and the Irish side was just more flamboyant to me I'm sure.

In the late 1960s I heard a lot about the Irish "Troubles". By high school I started paying close attention to the news about Ireland. I was quite against what was going on there. People were dying. It seemed to me that England should mind its own business. If Ireland wanted them out, it should leave.

Of course there were other issues but the Protestant and Catholic ones were at the forefront. Reasonably many Loyalists wanted to remain a part of England, of the UK.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Conservatism vs Progressivism or Liberalism

He can't be serious. See: Donald Trump vows to slash funding for Education, EPA.
Why do conservatives as a group think ignorance is something to be proud of? Then again, they ARE already too ignorant to understand that conservatism is not a political stance or patty... as I've said so many, many times before. Iit is an action, a device, a governor on a position.

Why do conservatives as a group think ignorance is something to be proud of? Then again, they ARE already too ignorant to understand that conservatism is not a political stance or patty... as I've said so many, many times before. Iit is an action, a device, a governor on a position.

Basically what Trump and conservatives are saying in that is to just be stupid (which begins with ignorance and a lack of good education) and hand control over to your old, white dad. Gives us access to your wallets and let us take care of you in anyway we see fit, and don't have the knowledge to question us. Yes, that would be good for us, just do that.

As for the EPA, that's just stupidity. About Education, well, where does that stupidity come from? Conservatism, misapplied. How does i get to be misapplied, or even understood to be something to misapply in the fist place. I'd submit, because of fundamental misunderstanding in what conservatism is and it's purpose in maintaining a status quo.

Status quo isn't so great anyway. It means hold onto the best of what you have and do not allow things to get better. Only it also means, do not allow things to get better and if it happens, great, but implementing change to make it happen has to be done at a very slow, plodding pace. America was founding on change, not remaining the same. To keep things from changing too fast (yes, too fast change can be bad, and it makes it had for people to keep up), the Founding Fathers put into place in our government, control, checks and balances, and Governors, and therefore...governors.

The definition I refer to regarding a governor is the base for the term that also regards an individual in control, or more correctly (as we are Americans and are somewhat adverse to "control" or being or feeling, controlled) overseeing a group. A Governor of a State, for instance.

a: an attachment to a machine (as a gasoline engine) for automatic control or limitation of speed.
b : a device giving automatic control (as of pressure or temperature)

Maintaining a status quo by slowing or doing nothing, is a losing proposition that leads to dysfunction and in you believe in that as a political and actuary stance, will lead o confusion as to why it does not work. In such a case, being you "know" it works or is "the way" (almost in a religious sense, and when you consider how many Christians are conservatives, it explains a lot), and so you blame the only people you can see to blame: liberals\progressives (who are perhaps even trying to do what conservatives want in he only functional way available).

To remain the same requires change, a dance with reality. To truly maintain a status quo one, or a group, has to change to mesh up with ever changing reality to maintain that sameness. Consider, there are other "conservatives" in other countries (especially with religious zeal, think, Middle East, Iran, or even North Korea to go the other direction in several ways). So you are then using your dysfunctional ways against another country's dysfunctional ways and well, here we are.

There should not be a party of liberals\progressives and one of conservatives. There should be a progressive party and a conservative progressive party. Some conservatives may choke on their morning coffee in considering this, but that is the fact.

Why are we in such a state? Because there is a portion of our population who thinks that conservatism is a party to base an entire political belief system upon.

So. How do we get there?

Poor education.