KAKISTOCRACY

April 15, 2018

I thought the George W. Bush Administration was as incompetent as you could get: all those invisible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq…”way-to-go Brownie” as Katrina inundated New Orleans…the prescient deregulation of Wall Street in time to trigger a major recession just before leaving office…all high level achievements rich in unique political texture and reverb.

But we are now victims of a criminal syndicate that changes direction every few tweets, that no longer even tries to sound truthful and for whom survival and revenge are the daily diet of activity. Kakistocracy. After a decade of Republicans in state governments and the Congress pretending that less government spending is tantamount to holiness, they pass a huge deficit-increasing spending bill. Now the boss wants to take out some of that spending.

The syndicate boss first hates the PTT, now thinks he wants to get back in.

That same boss loves fellow syndicate head, Vald the Putin, yet finds himself needing to oppose same Putin in Syria because our national interests there are…what? Being tougher on chemical warfare than Obama? We’re gonna pull out our troops but feel free to bomb Syria whenever the boss gets upset? That’s good news for American soldiers and makes great TV which is high on the obsession list of the boss.

That same impulsive boss, who apparently reads nothing longer than a tweet or a screen headline on Fox News, is now monkeying with the international economy. He has never really had a truly profitable company with shareholders and a stock on the NYSE, so he may not realize what the stock market does and how it indicates overall corporate activity. Does he have any idea what a soybean or a caburetor is? Does he grasp the complexity of a modern industrial supply chain? Has he ever looked at the “Made in…” tag on all the products he and beloved First Daughter, peddle? Does he realize that the same Amazon he attacks all the time sells Ivanka Trump fashion and cosmetic products? Would any sycophant left in the White House dare point that out to him? I must admit that Amazon has ways of getting revenge. I just searched “Trump steaks” on their website. No Trump steaks to be found…but did find Trump for President t-shirts…and the very next product “Bull Shit Steak Sauce.” Some algorithm genius at Amazon is having a little private joke at the big boss’s expense and I suspect the Amazon boss could care less. The greater Amazon revenge is that Bezos could buy all the Kushner-Trump real estate debt and buildings, shut them down and take a little tax write-off for the next few years.

One recent report indicates that people working in the White House are afraid they might be duped into some criminal conspiracy. If there is ever a President Pence he is going to be chary with pardons because he will want to reinforce his highly polished image as a straight-arrow Christian, no pee tapes or pussy grabbing in his administration. Probably no pardons for those have drunk the Trump branded kool-aid. So far better to leave or plead guilty right away when the boss can still do you favors. We seem headed for the final, the ultimate Trumpian bankruptcy. It’s not just the brand and the money that are headed for the sewer treatment plant, it is the power of his Presidency.

My take on Paul Ryan is that he is leaving before there is a chance of an impeachment action in the House so he can be resurrected (that’s how those Christians see themselves I aver) as the voice of the loyal but honest Republican wing of the party. “I did my best and I so sorry that the boss did all those terrible things and then lied about it. I had no idea…”

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RUSSIA’S WHITE HOUSE ALLIE?

April 11, 2018

Today, April 11, the tweeter-in-chief, who also happens to double as the U.S. supreme military commander, threatened/alerted/warned Russia…here come the missiles in Syria.  If any Democrat had ever been stupid or attention-deprived enough to send such a message, the cries of “treason” would be 24-7 on Fox News.  If Trump hasn’t earned the right to build his tower in Moscow by now, then I think he may be out of negotiating options on that world’s greatest development plan.

TRUMP VS. FREE PRESS–WHY HE HATES BEZOS

April 5, 2018

There is a very clear and thoughtful description of why Trump continues to attack Bezos and Amazon…the Donald hates the Washington Post.

MARCH, GUN MARCH, AND OUR FUTURE

March 24, 2018

March 24, 2018

My wife and I went on the local March For Our Lives here in McMinnville, OR, this morning.  Several hundred people showed up in the rain and we wound through the center of town.  Numerous passing cars honked in support.  Two six-wheel pick-ups with fat white guys inside, flying the flag and big NRA banners, drove by.  They gave us the thumbs down.  No shots were fired.  It is tragic that flying the Stars and Stripes has now become a threat and a symbol of bigotry and violence.

b-frnka-lincIn passing the marchers glanced at Abe Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.  One marcher mused, “I wonder what Ben Franklin could say if he could see this?”

Private property…is the creature of society and is subject to the calls of that society even to the last farthing.  –Franklin

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  –Lincoln

There was never a good war, or a bad peace.  –Franklin

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.  –Lincoln

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.  –Franklin

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.  –Lincoln

Interlocuter after Constitution drafted: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Franklin: “A Republicif you can keep it.”

I wish this young generation of idealists and protestors the best.  They are up against a system at least as powerful and corrupt as the one that promulgated the Vietnam War. That was supposed to protect freedom from the communist threat, something about dominoes falling before dominos was just bad pizza.  Tens of thousands of people died in that war, some of them Americans.  Now you can buy underwear made in Vietnam, and those deaths were for what?

Right now trying to go against the American gun culture, the profitable gun and ammo business and their vocal lobbyist (the NRA), the reformers will have to expose, fight, out-smart and maybe even out-spend the gunners.  The gun culture in this land goes back to the 17th Century and the beginning of the genocide of Native Americans.  The shooter at Parkland High School came from a gunless family but he was in ROTC from age 11. That gun training was paid for with tax dollars.  Thanks to us.  For a portion of American males their manhood is closely linked to the caliber and penetration power of their guns. There are companies that make money selling guns and ammo, and if effective marketing requires political paranoia and race hatred, then that’s just business.  They are legally spared ever having to take responsibility for what those guns and that ammo does when loose in the population. So this nation is a leader in gun violence if you realize we have no openly admitted warfare taking place. Take the land from the Indians, sell more guns to the white man.  Progress can seem so slow…

Profit is destroying the planet and the best hope for other life on earth may be the extinction of our species.  People as a group seem unable to project into the future or control our collective greed.  The drive for profit is destroying the climate, oceans, land environment and over-populating the planet. In some nations birth control is still illegal.  Coupled with tribalism and the suppression of women, the earth is now in the grip of a toxic stew that threatens more wars, more fanaticisms and ever more destruction of our fragile blue marble.  Corporate and private profit now control most human activity.  The influence of the moneyed class spreads from financial centers all over the globe: Amsterdam, Brussels, Calcutta, Doha, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Milan, Moscow, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Zurich.  Several small countries now subsist on laundered money and the banks providing the service…from Monaco to Bahamas. Ships that are often uninspected register in Liberia so they can’t be forced to comply with safety regulations elsewhere.  While some billionaires try to do good in the world, the money system now dominates politics, environment, technology and life in all its aspects. The long term effects of neonicotinoids, plastic particles at sea, Twitter and Facebook, CO2 in the atmosphere, chemicals in the water, fertilizers leached from fields, antibiotics in rivers and in fish—none of this can be allowed to interfere with the all-important drive to make more and more money and let future generations clean up the mess.  The tin miners in Cornwall, the mad hatters with their mercury poisoning, the lead pipes in city plumbing, the endless string of self-inflicted deaths and destruction that business has perpetrated in past centuries—those can be excused by what was once ignorance, coupled with arrogance.  Now we have no excuses, just greed.  We know that long-term effects of new chemicals and products cannot be determined by simple lab tests.  And we know that corporations are driven to lie to insure the bottom line.  Yet people and their largely unregulated organizations go on trashing the world around us. “Where have all the flowers gone?”

SCOTUS has made two rulings that have undermined the future of the U. S.  They ruled that money is speech, meaning those with billions of dollars can buy more political attention and obeisance than any mere voter or group of voters.  SCOTUS ruled that corporations are persons, giving a profit-driven organization the same rights as a blood and muscle creature.  At the same time, the very nature of a corporation makes it immune to many of the limits that pertain to people.  Corporations do not have to die.  Corporations cannot be thrown into prison for deliberately stealing or killing people.  Wells Fargo stole millions from its customers.  Bernie Maddow is in the can but Wells Fargo’s still a free ranging bank.  So Purdue Pharma and their ilk invent new pain-killers that are also killers, lie about their addictiveness, corrupt the medical treatment system, make billions, kill thousands and walk away with the profits.  No drug company goes to prison. The drug companies and their medical shills are still in business.  If you or I had done anything nearly that egregious we’d be in prison if caught.

Go get ‘em Parkland students and your cohort!   My generation bequeaths you an earth in sad need of care and nurturing.  May you put us all to shame.IMG_0261IMG_0265IMG_0286

FAKE NEWS AND HUMAN EVOLUTION

March 9, 2018

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”   –Pogo aided by Walt Kelly

Has our species out-paced its ability to survive on this delicate planet?  Is our tech beyond our ability to adjust and control?

Scientists are calling for serious effort to study fake news and find out why it gets so much more popularity in social media than real news.
I can posit one reason: fiction can be made far more compelling and unusual than mere reality.  Lies can be so wonderful to believe, e.g. Trumptopian campaign promises that have no chance in real world.  Mexico will pay…

A oong-time friend and correspondent…we go back to elementary school…had seen the same article and sent this email as comment:
“…brings me to, once again, quote Jonathan Haidt – “We are playing beyond our design limits.”  If you need something to read, see his book:  “The Righteous Mind – Why good people are divided by politics and religion.”  It is a nice explanation as to how humans evolved as social creatures, and how we are now attempting to maintain a social order that goes beyond our evolved state.”

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

March 9, 2018

HAPPY LANDING

We hairless primates now find ourselves flying into the latest iteration of Cloud Cuckoo Land.  We have steel and aluminum tariffs to make America great again.  Most economic observers, pundits and advisors have warned Donald the First against such tariffs.  No doubt their warnings of financial disaster are not going to come true.  Besides Donald is a stable genius. Further, his loyalists—the only people he cares about—are not going to believe any economic stats anyway.  By now Donald would have won at least two Nobel Prizes in economics had not his earlier life been mostly dedicated to the perfection of his multiple bankruptcy technique.  The man is a self-proclaimed master of debt.

Meanwhile, Donald may begin to spend less time in the Oval Office and more time worrying about his original Trump Empire.  His debt and money-laundering syndicate is falling on hard times.  To have your name chiseled from a building in Panama City…how pathetic can you get?  And to have to rent thousands of square feet of office space in Trump Tower for a non-existent campaign operation…even more pathetic.  We hear from real estate experts in New York City that nobody wants to rent in Trump Tower…duh.

And this whole Stormy story…first there was no affair.  Period.  Lies from liars. Then Donald’s personal lawyer pays Stormy $130,000 to keep quiet. Through a shell company created for this express purpose. Those pictures of smiling Donald and Stormy…photoshopped?  Dirty tricks from the Clinton Syndicate? Now we see a hush agreement that does not have Donald’s signature, nor that of his alias in the case, which is all lies anyway right?  Yet the agreement requires Stormy to relinquish any emails, photos, video or other evidence she may possess of the affair that never happened.  Just being extra careful about perfidious non-facts that could be ginned up, right?  Now Donald’s personal lawyer gets a restraining order to continue to keep Stormy quiet about the affair that never happened.  Stormy’s lawsuit claims the hush agreement is invalid as neither Donald nor his alias ever signed it.  And here it gets mind-bendingly irrational.  Donald’s lawyer claimed he signed the agreement under Donald’s presumed authority.  If so how could Donald not know about it?  Yet the White House claims Donald had nothing to do with this.  So was Donald’s lawyer faking permission to sign for Donald? No wonder Sarah H. Sanders couldn’t keep her stories straight before the nattering nabobs of the press…who could possibly maintain a clear story about this tangled web of uncertainty.  Oh, and why would a lawyer, of any ilk, pay $130,000 of his own money to quiet a bunch of lies?  Does he honor, fear, love or simply worship the Donald…or is there another source of cash flow?  Putin? Some offshore godfather of whom we have not yet heard?  Finally, why not let her talk and then say she’s a bimbo…or worse?  Nobody still believes Donald is 1) straight-laced Christian,  2) loyal husband, or  3) resistant to sexual temptation.  Wouldn’t it be more in character for him to simply tweet that she was terrible in bed, a sad case, but as an older man he had to try educate her about technique…and then laugh it off?  Unlike so many victims from Cosby to Weinstein to the Donald she does not claim she was forced….  Could she possible know stuff that pertains to money or Putin or offshore properties or…? I hope she has good security and knows not to go near any nerve agents or other agents from Putinstan.

The finest part of all this buzzing: it keeps Donald in the center of attention and garner shim almost unlimited media coverage.  His reality TV show is the most compelling one ever produced…and nobody can imagine how this second season will end…not even Donald himself.  And Mueller ain’t talkin’…

Lastly, try to follow “ Mother Jones” and other investigative groups trying to unravel the Russia to NRA trails.  They’re gunning for the NRA’s alleged pro-America propaganda and funding.

BACK TO THE AGE OF PRINT

March 8, 2018

Click here for story by reporter who goes back to the print era, unplugging from 2018.

HOW DIGITAL TECH HAS INUNDATED US WITH NEWS, REAL, FALSE AND INCOMPLETE

March 8, 2018

Click here for story by reporter who goes back to the print era, unplugging from 2018.

PACKIN’ IRON AND PACKED WITH IRONY, MANY LAYERS IN GUN BIZ

March 2, 2018

It is ironic that the NRA strongly supported candidate Donald T-Rump, and he them…until now.  Just this week T-Rump began throwing around gun control ideas, some seemed almost rational considering the source.  So their guy turns on the NRA?  Don’t get too excited, T-Rump will change his mind,and the Republicans in Congress won’t.  Any new gun laws will have to come from states.

Further irony.  T-Rump has not only apparently muddled views on more or less guns and who could or should get them and whether cops need to obey the law in seizing guns…watch out, Prez is coming for your guns…so the hated moderate int he White House (Obama) has now been replace a man the NRA loves, and who loves them back, he swears, and yet he wants the police to come for the guns…

But there deeper, more painful irony, yet…having helped elect a presumably NRA lover, the NRA can no longer use (until this week) the paranoid panic that the Prez is coming for your guns…so their sales and profits are tanking.  Beware of what you want…an industry that preys on white fright, paranoia, muddle-headed patriotism and righting for allegedly personal freedoms, now finds itself with a friendly federal government and so the white-wing of American society no longer needs to buy three more AR15s per household…end of sales boom (click here to revel in sad gun sales report).  Bring back Obama, save the gun industry!

IS TECH USHERING IN THE NEXT DARK AGES?

February 28, 2018

Here a piece by somebody under 40 years of age who thinks tech is regressive.

Here is a strong sample paragraph: “Techno-bedsits aren’t an innovation. They are regression. An innovation is something new, untried, unseen. ‘Communal living’ is old. It’s something that’s recurred in every dismal, backwards age in modern history — and in that way, it’s a tiny example of a larger trend. Silicon Valley isn’t really innovating. It’s reinventing the past — right back to the ages of masters and servant, lords and serfs, peasants and nobles.”