Friday, February 17, 2017

Judge Barons

The Judge-Barons had had enough. King John of Trump had been flaunting his absolute powers for too long. First, it was by royal executive orders. Then, he so ordained that his tweets were law. No more swamp. No more Federal bureaucracy. No more 'so-called' judges letting the kingdom sink into ruin. Sad. Now he had the power to make himself great again!

From now on the law of the land is: Trump tweeted it. I believe it. That settles it. If the snowflakes don't like it, they can go back to Mordor where they came from. Look it up. It's on a map I saw in a book somewhere. What's a book?

So, tweet by tyrannical tweet, Trump the Oblivious made the land free of reason and turned back the tide of liberal, whiney poor people stealing from the honest, hardworking pockets of defense contractors and the impoverished 0.0000001%, which pretty much included only King Trump and that hot Ivanka.

But the kingdom groaned under the weight of all that bad hyperbole. One Judge-Baron dared to defy King Trump by issuing a stay of tweeting, stating that the King's tweet was against The Law of the Land. The King just tweeted back, Oh. This so-called Judge-Baron, Robot is his name? What is he, a man or a... not man? Sad. He's just in the swamp with his make believe {Please deposit 40 million dollars for an additional 140 tweet units} Rules of Claw. Whatever. When the illegal Celts invade, and you know they will. It'll be his fault!

So the Judge-Barons rolled their eyes and wondered where this idiot came from, anyway. So they held the King down and took away his Ivanka until he tweeted the Magna Tweeta, thus insuring the rights of the people to be governed by the Rule of Claws, or whatever. King Trump was getting bored, anyway.

Go Judge-Barons!

Go Away

So the Trumpflakes want me to get out of America because I won't support President Trump. OK. Fair enough. Let's see. I can go to the Ukraine where my Russian maternal grandfather came from over a hundred years ago. Oops. That's where Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, bragged about spending five billion dollars to overthrow the Ukrainian government and installing a puppet regime that is hostile to Russians. It kicked up that whole civil war and stuff. Guess I can't go there. I'd still be in the American sphere of influence.

I could go to Poland where my mother's mother came from. Well, no. The US is pushing NATO power pieces through Poland to the Russian border. Not to mention major joint exercises in the Baltic Sea to counter all of that Russian aggression that they keep on doing within their own borders. Can't get out of America there.

Well, there's my father's heritage. English, Irish, Scott. Don't we have Trident submarine bases in the British Isles? And American service people all over the place? No fleeing gentle, stay at home, peace loving America there. Sorry. So far I just can't get out of America by going back to where I came from.

Hold it! My last green trump card! France! That's the last bit of my lazy, immigrant entitled, welfare defrauding, snowflake gimmy, gimmy-ing, freebie demanding, refugee ransacking relatives came from.

It seems that France doesn't have any American military bases there. How exciting! I can be kicked out of the Trumputopia for good. If only they could get out of NATO, the IMF, dollar hegemony, and the EU, they'd truly be out of the American sphere of influence. Gee, America just seems to be everywhere. Maybe the rest of the world should tell us to go home?

Sorry. Wherever I go up my immigrant family tree, I'm still in America's grasp.

Got any other ideas?

World Showcase

In the late 1960's Walt Disney approached Henry Kissinger about his EPCOT project. He was thinking of making a 'World Showcase' that would be like the International Village in the 1964 World's Fair. That was a place where different countries around the world could come and show themselves. Their cuisine. Their culture. Their humanity. Kissinger thought it was a great idea. It would be a way for Americans and other visitors to meet people from other countries and learn about their culture, their people, their politics, and their religion. It would open people's minds and hearts to the greater world. We're all the same, after all. It's a small world. Bring us your diplomats, your poets, and your philosophers. And your jesters, your dancers, and your musicians. Here we are with all of ours. Your friends and equals. Dance, jest, and sing alike, shall we?

I always felt disappointed that Russia wasn't one of those countries. China was included. But Nixon was negotiating open relations with China at that time so I guess that makes sense. Still. We have a lot more in common culturally with Russia than with China. I've since heard that Nixon wanted to open negotiations with the Soviet Union instead of China but Kissinger favored detente with China. Just think what that might have done had he opened the doors to Russia? What he might have accomplished? What we might have avoided and yet still avoid today? History always turns on the edge of a knife.

Too bad we couldn't have included both. Dance, anyone?

The Holy Revenge

So. In the highly charged political arena we live in today. In the multi world of information, lies, and prejudice. What does it matter? My country believes one set of prepackaged trash. There's no proof for any of it. No debate. No honest dialog between respectful opponents. Just the eagle vomiting up bits of propaganda into the open, upturned beaks of the citizens. And no loyal opposition. No-one saying, Why is that? Why's that?

And me? Am I propagandized? Probably. We all believe according to our conditioning. Though I pride myself on not believing anybody, not 100%. Or disbelieving anybody 100%. It's the ones who are not certain that beg to hold off on hostility. To wait. To see. To talk and try to understand the other, the not-me, the different.

People express shock that the citizens of Germany allowed the NAZIs to take control and commit the atrocities of WWII. But how were they different from us? Where do we question? Where do we demand accountability and question what we are told? Where is our indignation at what’s being done in our names?

And the certain? Those who are sure of what they believe and what they know and what they want? God save us from the confident man. That's from the Bible. Proverbs, though paraphrased. A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. Proverbs 14:16.

God save us from the confident man. The one who's sure. The zealot. The damning demagogue pounding out his righteous indignation and calling out for justice. The horror of the self-possessed. The Holy revenge. God save us.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shoes and Feet

So it's time to play the Russia card again, is it? OK ignorant Americanskis. Let's do a little thought experiment. First let's step into the wayback machine and go to 1989. Let's take that pregnant moment in time and make one slight adjustment. Let's tweak a parameter. Instead of the Soviet Union, let's say that the American Empire was the one that was bankrupt.

Gorbachev and Reagan were negotiating the dismantling of America. We had been allies in WWII, then, inexplicably, enemies during the Cold War. We had negotiated numerous anti-nuclear treaties in the interim. We had kept each other somewhat in balance. Now one of us had to go.

So, the negotiations commenced. We had to withdraw from NATO. Withdraw from our military bases in Asia, and quite a few in Europe. We kept some bases, but only those that were necessary for our own domestic security. Trade agreements had to be renegotiated. Borders redrawn. Mexico reclaimed parts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Texas became an independent republic, as did Alaska. Maine held a referendum and decided to stay in the US, though the vote to petition Canada for membership was close. Some regions formed semi-autonomous blocks, such as New England and New York. The Midwest. The South. Still a republic in nature but with far more autonomy to the states and with far less power to the federal government in Washington. We were going to concentrate on our own concerns for once.

And in return the Soviets agreed to maintain good relations with the former USA and to not take advantage of our weakened condition. The Cold War was ended, not won by either side. It was a mutual agreement. The Warsaw Pact nations would not move one foot west. This was to be a victory for peaceful cooperation. A model for the world.

And then, the aftermath. Almost immediately, the Russian Ruble became the world's reserve currency. There was chaos in Berlin, London, and New York. The western economy crashed. The dollar, no longer supported by US hegemony, became worthless. Widespread poverty spread over the former US protectorates. Russia sent in 'Consultants' to help America recover her economy and conform to eastern standards. In reality they were just carpet baggers picking the bones of a dying empire while placing filthy rich oligarchs over the valuable bits. The suicide rate was high, poverty high, what middle class that had existed was gone. There were the few filthy rich, and the rest. Not unlike the south after the civil war. We should have known what was coming.

And then. The Warsaw Pact, which rightfully should have been disbanded, started moving west. They accepted member states from parts of Germany, France, and Scandinavia. They built, or took over, bases there. As the old United States disintegrated into violence and poverty, Russia expanded its influence. They withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and placed nuclear capable missiles in Cuba. They engineered a coup d'etat in Alaska and placed a puppet government hostile to the US in Juneau. They built bases in Canada and Mexico along the border. And any time America objected or tried to do something about it, they cried 'American aggression!' and escalated their militarization of the western hemisphere. War games off the coast of New England and the Chesapeake Bay became common. Russian citizens were barraged with a daily warning about American interference and warmongering. 'The Americans are coming' was a war cry and tactic of fear mongering. The Russian public bought it. Lock, stock, and gun barrel.

Even something like America hosting the Winter Olympics was overshadowed by accusations of America invading Alaska. The UN, now a Russian puppet, went along with every Russian military campaign outside its borders, that's when Russia even bothered to consult the UN at all. They just invaded countries, butchered their people, and laughed about the cruel murder of their leaders. Half a million dead children in Latin America was worth it. They had the moral high ground.

But let's get back in the wayback machine and come home. Nothing remotely resembling this can happen. Not here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Political Discussion

On November 8th, 2016, the liberal left got our asses handed to us. So, as someone who leans that way, what should I take from this? What did I fail to do? How can I fix it?

Well, we're doing it now. We're talking.

This is an edited transcript of a couple of Facebook discussions I had with supporters of President Trump. In all cases, I asked a simple question: What do Trump supporters expect him to provide that the other candidates would not? I got some worthwhile dialog and some that ended abruptly. It is essential that we try to keep up the civil discourse between opposing sides if we are to make any improvements to our country’s undeniable problems.

I’d like to pose a question to Donald Trump supporters. And I mean this sincerely. What is it that you hope to gain? What do you expect your government to give you that they have failed to give you in the past eight years? What do you want?
I’ve seen plenty of sarcastic posts from both sides. Cracks about Trump and cracks about Trump protesters. I’ve written a few myself. But mockery doesn’t help. We call you names and you call us names. We insult you and you insult us. In the end we just antagonize each other. But what is it that you want? I assume that you want what is best for your family and your children’s future. So do I. You want what’s best for your community. So do I. You want what’s best for your country. Believe it or not, so do I.
I don’t want to deny anybody their rights. Not you. Not LGBTQ people. Not Muslims. Not women. Not Native Americans. Not blacks. Not anybody. And I assume you feel the same. Americans are Americans, whoever or wherever they come from. I want to join with those people who also want what’s best for their families, their communities, and their country. And ultimately, the world. So do you, I hope. So do I.
So please. What do you want? I’d really like to know.

One response:

He already accomplished it. He had no reason to run except for being a fed up American. So by winning he said what many people feel and that stands by what the people said when they elected him POTUS. No more main stream politics and media bias. Real change not smoke and mirrors and hey I am going to wipe my ass with my left hand because everyone else does… Stop illegal immigration… Secure our borders.

OK. I don't know of anybody who would disagree with that. But I'd like to see the president's plans. Illegal immigration is, by its own admission, illegal. But how is building a wall going to stop it? Isn’t that just treating the symptom? The question should be: Why do people want to come here illegally? If we take away that incentive, no one will want to come here. Oh, I’m not categorically against border security. Every country has a right to safe and secure borders. But if we have to build a massive wall, then something else is going on. What?

Some illegals come here for work. So, why do we employ them? If I can drive into town any morning in a pickup truck and hire some people to pick lettuce for the day and pay them $50.00 after 12 hours of work, no questions asked, I will do so. If I am required to check IDs, pay them minimum wage and deduct state and federal taxes, Social Security, unemployment and send them w-2's each January, then we can force people to do that without a wall. Of course, I hope you don't mind paying twenty dollars a head for that lettuce.

The outsourcing of jobs started in the Reagan administration. So it's been going on for five administrations, three of them Republican. If we were to roll back globalization, which seems to be dying all by itself, then, yes. There would be more Made in America products in Walmart. Our T-shirts would now cost seventy five dollars. We would have to go back to living like we did a hundred years ago. You’d have one set of clothing for everyday use and one going to meetin’ set. And you probably made those yourself. Maybe this would be a good thing.

I'm enough of a socialist to despise the obscene wealth of the .1% Robber Barons who wish to go all Downton Abbey on us. But I don't think stripping them of their wealth will be enough to give everyone a living wage. It would be better, of course. Nobody overseas would buy our products. But we could make our own green eggs and ham. Oddly, the sanctions against Russia had exactly that effect. Instead of punishing Russia, it motivated them to invest in their own dairy and vegetables. Russia is now the No. 1 exporter of wheat in the world. And it’s non-GMO. Europe is the one who suffered. As Homer would say, DOH!

So, I'd love to see Trump's overall plan. I wish him luck. Truly.     

One issue at a time and actually there are just as many countries supporting us because Trump is in office. There is always an opposing view… in the middle east.. lol Jon I don’t know too many people who have read as much as I have concerning the hatred toward America and it is deeper than you can imagine and has nothing to do with Donald Trump. I have an extensive list of titles I can summarize for you. The issues Trump is faced with weren’t created overnight.

OK. But you just brought up another issue. We were talking about illegal immigrants and job loss by outsourcing. Our reputation overseas is an additional topic. Do you have any comments on my comments above? For instance, the unintended consequences of barring illegal immigrants and replacing them with legal, properly paid and taxed Americans and the unintended consequences of relocating basically slave labor sweat shops overseas with OSHA regulated factories obeying our labor laws here? I'm not saying that those are bad ideas, just that we may find consequences that are hard to swallow. We may have to make a lot of changes to our way of life and our economic prospects. We should be prepared for that. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But our standard of living will necessarily have to change.

Regarding our image overseas, the Pew Research Foundation did a poll last year (2016) and found that, on an international level, the US is considered generally positively around the world, with unsurprising variation from region to region. However, Noam Chomsky quotes a different poll (WIN/Gallup) that states the greatest threat to peace and security worldwide is the United States. Not Russia, not Iran, not even terrorists. Us. We are now the bad guys according to this study. We went from the authors of the Marshall Plan post WWII, the country of the Peace Corp, founding member of the UN, and emulated abroad to today being the Evil Empire. And they are fighting back with the various security and economic alliances sprouting up around the world that pointedly exclude us and our Yankee Dollar. Bit by bit the rest of the world is learning to get along post Pax Americana. Some day we are going to wake up and the world is going to say, "No, thanks, America. We don't need you anymore." Shouldn’t that concern us?

The people I talked to in youth hostels in Europe a couple of years ago weren't hostile to me as an American, which might explain the Pew poll reading people’s thoughts about Americans, not the US. But they had stories of their home countries. I talked to a Libyan college student on his way home from school in Sweden. Remember Libya? The country Hillary Clinton destroyed and laughed about the impalement of its ruler? I wouldn't like any of that happening in my town, or anywhere else in the world, and would resent the country that did it, too. Do you blame them? We’ve pretended that International Laws don’t apply to us. When we do it, it’s OK. When Russia does it, it’s genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity! People around the world notice this. They’re not stupid.

Chickens eventually come home to roost. So, if there is so much animosity toward us overseas, what should we learn from this? How should we respond? Maybe a Marshall Plan for the countries we've destroyed? Vladimir Putin is now considered a hero around the world. Why? Because he stood up to us. He stopped the destruction of Syria and our propaganda machine went ballistic. The same thing with Iran. The same thing with Syria. And now we’re hobbing knobs with China in the South China Sea.

Post Script

Now that Donald Trump has been in office a few weeks, we’ve had a chance to see him in action. Some of what he’s done was actually started in the Obama administration. The immigrant ban, continuation of the border fence. Though Trump, in his usual style, made them grandiose and got the details wrong, resulting in confusion and Judiciary intervention. That doesn’t bode well. The corporate owned media has not helped. In misrepresenting what Trump says and does, it does as big a disservice as it did under Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. going back to when the media could actually stand up to Washington. Ellsberg, maybe? Or the Iran-Contra scandal? I don’t believe anything I hear in the western media unless it’s been confirmed by a trusted source.

But more than that is who he is surrounding himself with. Those people are really the ones in charge, since they operate their own intelligence agency out of the Oval office. What they chose to provide or withhold from the President shapes his actions. He’s got an education secretary that doesn’t know anything about education, an Interior secretary that never met a national park he didn’t want to frack, an Attorney General that is too far right for most republicans, and a Chief Strategist who gets his news from Alex Jones. The rest don’t sound too qualified, either. Though I am inclined to support Tillerson as Secretary of State. As a businessman, he’ll be more likely to want to make peaceful agreements with countries than to blow them up. And that’s something. Still, he is surrounding himself with people hostile to environmental concerns, renewable energy, civil rights, women’s rights, science, and education. Rolling back regulations sounds good. But the Devil is in the details. Will he roll back the Environmental Protection Act? The Food and Drug Act? The Jungle, anyone? This does not bode well.

But no matter what, it will take cooperation from all sides of American political life to fix these problems. Trump appears to be taking a ‘no survivors’ approach to leading. This may be alluring at first, but there is bound to be a backlash. Quick.

Jefferson said that a well informed electorate was essential to keeping our democracy. I am asking for constructive dialog. Sure, I satire Trump but I also satired Clinton. Public figures have to expect that. But I won’t insult Trump supporters since we need each other.