peripateticblogger.com

Thoughts on Events the Week of September 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 12, 2017

That’s our boy: President Trump pulled the Oval Office rug out from under Republican Congressional leadership not once but twice this week, begging questions, such as: what the hell he is thinking? Is he thinking? Does he even know how to think? To answer these questions, we must discern his motives.

First, as forecast, Ponzi pretended to repeal DACA, but delayed implementation for six months, giving Congress time to come up with a legislative solution. A not unreasonable approach, but one that allows him to claim to have done something, yet pushes all the responsibility somewhere else. Classic Ponzi.

You’ll notice, Ponzi Don didn’t even make the announcement himself. He sent Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to do the dirty work, which was also actually not a bad move. Sessions is the biggest xenophobe in Washington, so he probably had a boner behind the lectern while delivering the news. (Note: this is the same Ponzi who denied Catholic Sean Spicer from meeting the Pope, but let Sessions deliver the DACA bad news.)

Shortly thereafter, however, Ponzi pulled the rug out from Republicans in all branches by saying that if Congress wouldn’t fix DACA, he would, begging the question: what does that even mean?

Was there a motive? I don’t know. Maybe even Ponzi realized he had done something, finally, that didn’t sit well with pretty much anyone, even some reasonably sane members of his own base, so he had to backtrack.

Weirder yet, in a meeting with Congressional leaders of both parties to discuss the possibility of addressing three pressing issues – hurricane relief, a continuing resolution and debt ceiling increase – Ponzi stunned his fellow Republican leaders, and especially his Secretary of the Treasury, who he cut off in mid-sentence, and sided with the Democrats on all points. (The may have needed to clean the Oval Office rug after that one; surely more than one Republican present peed on it in surprise.)

In this case, there are a number of possible motives. Most likely, Ponzi had a tee-off time and didn’t want to miss it, so he took the quick out. Possibly, he was pissed at Republican Congressional leadership for being so incompetent; they are. Possibly, he decided he could work better with Democrats than Republicans because the Republicans are so divided they can’t agree on gravity. And just possibly, the meeting lasted so long that, with Ponzi’s short attention span, he lost track of which position was held by which Party and took a (wrong) guess.

Football: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners achieved a “quality win” against Ohio State in Columbus Saturday by score of 31-16.

“Quality win” in this case is a euphemism for OU opened up a big can of whup-ass on the Buckeyes in OSU’s stadium in front of 109,000 of their loyal fans. Well, there were 109,000 when the game started. By the end, there were only a couple dozen.

So, OU outscored Ohio State by more than two touchdowns, which covered the spread, since Ohio State was favored by seven and a half points!

I thought OU could win this game, but I also thought they could lose it. Make no mistake: these are two excellent teams from great programs. The hype obviously favored the #2 ranked Buckeyes over the #5 ranked Sooners, but the logic just didn’t add up.

OSU’s quarterback J.T. Barrett and OU’s quarterback Baker Mayfield had similar stats during their first games this season, over admittedly overmatched foes, but Mayfield only played for one half last week! Fine as Barrett is, the Sooners have the better quarterback, perhaps the best in college football, and OSU’s weak spot is their defensive secondary. It made sense Mayfield would light it up, and he did.

In Dallas Sunday night, my also beloved Cowboys beat the New York Giants, 19-3 in a mostly defensive battle, which is a good thing. Dallas’s defense has question marks, but they looked pretty good this night. Dak Prescott looked like he was experiencing some Sophomore Blues (Zeek Elliott did not), being frequently a little off target. Perhaps the game indicates Dallas can stay in them based on defense if the need should arrive.

Status of the States: When OU and Dallas win in the same weekend, I don’t pay much attention to states’ sorry governance. Besides, there was a hurricane to follow, again.

Coming Attractions: I wasn’t able to finish my review of Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. Almost finished. This week for sure.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 28

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 6, 2017

Our Dreamers: I say our Dreamers, because these approximately 800,000 young men and women, boys and girls who were brought here by their parents, who entered the U.S. illegally, are about as American as it is possible to be. Like the children on the Mayflower, they arrived with their parents to our shores without citizenship so their parents could begin a new life, and they have lived here for years, peacefully.

President Obama, through executive order – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – has allowed Dreamers to stay, and since DACA came into force, Dreamers have also lived securely and productively. They have gone to school, gotten jobs, paid taxes, served in the military and otherwise improved themselves.  On the whole, they have become model citizens. (One Dreamer even perished saving others during Hurricane Harvey.)

President Donald J. Trump wants to send all the Dreamers home, though they are already living in the only home they have known, some for many years. He has been tormenting Dreamers, and titillating his xenophobic base, about this since during the campaign. He will announce his “decision” next week.

As of this writing, the reporting is that Ponzi will announce an end to DACA, with a six month delay to give Congress an opportunity to act. That way, he will be able to declare it a campaign promise fulfilled and stick Congress with the responsibility. This may work, but it leaves these DACA children dangling.

Sometimes I criticize Ponzi Don for his heartless or selfish or incompetent actions, and sometimes I just want to smack him upside the head. This is one of those times.

North Korea: North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jung Un keeps working on nuclear weapons capability and insulting Ponzi Don, while Ponzi keeps threatening to use our nuclear capability and insulting Un, like a couple of childish schoolyard bullies, each without the slightest intention of actually fighting. It’s ludicrous.

Think about it. We all know what is going to happen here. Out of the few really lousy choices, we are going to live with a nuclear armed North Korea, just as we live with a nuclear armed Pakistan, unless or until China can be persuaded to do something about it.

Football: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners looked stronger than a bear’s breath beating UTEP, an admittedly overmatched foe, in Norman. But the Sooners looked crisp in execution at least two deep, boding well for the future. New Sooner Head Coach Lincoln Riley played lots of people, which was really smart, in my view. The game against Ohio State in Columbus next weekend should be a dilly.

But there was arguably a better football story coming out of Dallas, regarding my also beloved Cowboys. The teams cancelled the scheduled game between Dallas and Houston so the Texans could return to Houston to be with their families during Hurricane Harvey.

Ever the marketing and promotion genius, Cowboy owner Jerry Jones turned Thursday evening into a telethon to raise money for Harvey relief, throwing in a million dollars from the Cowboy organization (a real million dollars, Ponzi Don, not a specious promise), and raised another $1.3 million in call-in contributions. (The Jones family had already thrown in a $100,000 on their own.)

This shows why Dallas is America’s team, why Jones is the best NFL owner, why Texas is Texas, and why Ponzi Don is such a failure. (I just threw that last one in gratuitously.)

On the downside of Big XII college football, the University of Texas Longhorns looked like a dog’s dinner losing to Maryland 51-41. (But who’s counting? Answer: Sooner fans!) It will be a somber week in Dallas and Austin, I expect.

Status of the States: Texas is the worst state for putting such a sorry football team on the field, but also the best state, along with all the other states, for how it, and we, are responding to Hurricane Harvey.

Coming Attractions: This week, a review of Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 14

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 26, 2017

Charlottesville: The liberal reaction following the violent protest in Charlottesville, VA was a lot of overwrought political correctness and naïve expectations. The situation is more complicated and nuanced than that.

The word Nazi has been thrown around ceaselessly, carelessly and inaccurately. There were no Nazis in Charlottesville. Even our citizens who call themselves “neo-Nazis” are not Nazis. Nazis live in Germany, and there are very few, if any, left. Let’s put this word on the shelf except when talking about World War II

The protestors at Charlottesville were garden variety bigoted white supremacists. (That our president agrees with them, about which more below.)

An important thing for us to keep in mind about the protestors (and anti-protestors) is that their speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The violence that some of them engaged in is not protected, nor of course the murder of a protestor; that sure as hell isn’t.

These people feel they have grievances, and that their government has let them down. I empathize with this, up to a point. There was ample evidence to support this belief on the scene in Charlottesville. What kind of functioning, responsible government would allow people like these – with anger on their minds and hatred in their hearts – to walk around in public carrying guns?!

Surprising to some, Trump sides with the violent white supremacy protestors, and he was willing to say so in public. There are two flaws to public reaction: first, it is disingenuously ex-post-facto. Trump has been, well, trumpeting his views for two years now. People voted for him in spite of, or perhaps because of, these views. It’s too late to take a dim view of them now.

Second, we can’t prohibit Trump from expressing these views. His speech is protected by the same First Amendment. If he wants to admit that he’s a bigoted, racist, that’s his privilege.

In fact, Trump’s views are shared by a large percentage of our population. He won 62,984,825 votes – 46.4% of the total – about three million fewer than Hillary, but in just the right locations to control the Electoral College.

Every one of Trump’s voters knew exactly what Trump is and what he stands for. Look around you. Almost half the people you see voted for Trump, whether they say so or not (many of them won’t admit it, especially to pollsters). This is not a “fringe.” This is mainstream.

These voters – uneducated, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, lazy, prone to violence, currently unemployable and many drug addled – remain a drag on our economy and our society. We must deal with them as best we can; they are our fellow citizens. But I’m damned if I can respect them.

Status of the States: I can’t even talk about the South right now.

Coming Attractions: Apropos of the Trump voters in Charlottesville, in the next week or two, I will review Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 7

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 19, 2017

North Korea: Two pouty little bully boys stood on either side of a line drawn in the dirt between them, threatening what they would do to the other if he dared cross over the line. For all the bluster and taunting, neither one of them would dare cross the line.

I’ve seen this scene in elementary school playgrounds countless times, and on a cable network news program last evening between presidents Un and Trump. The school yard antagonists looked more menacing and serious. The presidents looked absurd.

White Supremacist Rally: It was shocking, shocking to see a white racist march in the south get out of hand. Ponzi Don said nothing meaningful about it, and many have criticized him for not condemning the violence and urged him to do so. It doesn’t matter. Ponzi’s base doesn’t care when he is lying about anything, and they certainly wouldn’t care if he had condemned the violence, knowing that he would be lying if he did. Ponzi is that kind of a guy.

Diary Entry: Cynthia went to Phoenix for a day of medical tests on Wednesday and won’t be back home until Tuesday. The doctors read the results, threw her in the hospital on the spot, and cut open her skull to remove a marble-sized tumor from her brain the very next day. Unsettling stuff.

It’s gone now (the tumor, not her brain), and she is fine, but there are some hangover effects from having your brain rattled from the inside, and she will undergo various physical, occupational and speech therapies here at home for a few weeks.

Status of the States: Alabama gets the cup because of the three sorry candidates in the Republican primary to replace Senator, now Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. One of these un-worthies will doubtless win the seat eventually, and when he does, Alabama will win the cup again.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 31

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 11, 2017

President Trump: Ponzi Don has left Washington to spend 17 days at his golf resort in New Jersey. Having complained every time President Obama took a vacation, Ponzi claims this isn’t actually one. The man just can’t tell the truth even about the most innocuous subject. But what if he is actually telling the truth, and is undergoing social media rehab? Is there such a thing as Twitter withdrawal?

Congress: has recessed, sort of, but is staying in session technically to prevent Ponzi from making any recess appointments. What childishness, unheard of until McConnell declared total obstruction of President Obama in 2009.

Congress will be away for five weeks to avoid having to do any more failing. It is astounding how little these people work at our expense. All members and senators may not enjoy their vacations this fall, though. They’ve got some explaining to do to their constituents.

Given these absences from the national stage, I may become more casual about my own posting as well. There are, after all, things in life beyond criticizing our government. Though I don’t do it ordinarily, I may even watch some preseason NFL football.

Football: Some glimmers of light are shining over the dark ridge of the mountain of despair and longing that is football’s off-season. The Oklahoma Sooners have begun fall practice and the Dallas Cowboys have even played a preseason game, or which I watched about five minutes. ESPN said the Cowboys won, as if anyone familiar with professional football even keep score of preseason games.

Sudden Thought: In a perfect world, things can go perfectly wrong.

Status of the States: None of the worst states are not worth the powder to blow up, but let’s see how they each treats its congresspersons and senators during the recess. The one whose legislators get off easiest wins the cup. Meanwhile, I’m washing my hands of them all for a month.

 

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 24

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 1, 2017

Obamacare: Son of a bitch! Early in the week, I was depressed, demoralized, discouraged and distraught because the Senate approved a motion to proceed to debate on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.  All but two of the Republicans who said they would oppose their party’s bills caved like a house of cowards and voted Aye, including: Paul, Cruz, Heller (he’s toast), Capito, Lee and Moran.

Arizona Senator John McCain, alas my own personal senator, flew in from brain surgery to cast his Aye vote. I feared that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had succeeded in opening the cave of chaos, and dark bats would fly out and suck the blood from Obamacare.

McConnell did propose three odious repeal and replace bills in succession. Two were defeated handily. The vote on the third – the so called “Skinny” bill – looked like it might end in a tie, which Vice President Pence would be able to break and swing the vote to the Republicans. But lo and behold, Senator McCain cast the third No vote on this bill and dashed Republican plans dramatically.

Senator McConnell made it clear that he has had enough. Some people think McConnell wanted things to end this way, with Obamacare still in place but Republicans able to say to their voters that they really tried. Maybe, but I still enjoyed seeing McConnell get kicked in the balls on the Senate floor.

McCain is receiving “profile in courage” accolades for casting his No vote, but to me he is still the senile senior senator from Arizona. He could have ended all this drama two days earlier by voting against the motion to proceed. He risked letting things get out of hand by not strangling this Damien in its crib.

But, this is McCain’s last hurrah, so let’s let him go with honor, glory and self-satisfaction, just so long as he goes away. Now, about that junior jackass from Arizona, the aptly named Senator Flake. I thought he was beginning to smell the coffee, but he was like all the Republican hypocrites who voted for a bill they prayed would not pass. What leadership. What courage. What bullshit.

Loyalty: Ponzi Don confuses loyalty with servitude. This informs why he can’t attract good people, and has to suffer the mediocre sycophants he can.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions: Seems to have come up with a successful strategy for working with Ponzi Don – the “short attention span” strategy. To implement it, one must have no self-respect, of course, but that’s true of pretty much all of Ponzi’s cabinet and senior people. Session is hanging on and taking the humiliation until Ponzi gets mad at someone else and forgets him. It won’t be long now.

Anthony Scaramucci: Another possible strategy is the “monkey-see-monkey-do” strategy, which the Mooch has adopted. He acts as brazen and vulgar as the president, hoping that Ponzi will like what he see in himself. I don’t think Mooch is going to be successful, though (There’s no room for another Ponzi in the West Wing, only more sycophants. In fact, I think Mooch will take the record for shortest tenure on Ponzi’s team from Michael Flynn. Flynn served a little less than a month. I predict Mooch, who doesn’t take office until mid-August, will be gone before he officially begins.

The Mooch will still leave a legacy, however. Stephen Colbert now refers to Ponzi’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as the Kooch.

Status of the States: Kansas gets the worst state cup this week. Except for McCain, all the senators from all the worst states voted for the repeal and replace bills, but only Kansas Senator Jerry Moran indicated he would vote NO before dropping to his knees in front of Senator McConnell.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 17

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on July 25, 2017

Obamacare: Again this week, there was no vote on repealing and replacing the current healthcare law, known as Obamacare. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a good reason not to bring his bill to a vote: it is such a bad bill that even Republicans don’t even want to talk about it, much less vote on it. However, McConnell promises us a vote on some kind of healthcare bill next week, though he nor anyone else knows what that bill will be yet.

What presidential leadership looks like today: For the first four days of the week, President Trump proposed a different course on healthcare each day. In order: Pass a replace and repeal bill, whatever it is; Just repeal, and replace later; Just let Obamacare fail and Democrats will come us; Pass a repeal and replace bill, whatever it is. With leadership like this, how can Congress fail?

“Whatever it is” seems to be Ponzi Don’s mantra for a healthcare bill. Even so, Ponzi said this week that whatever it is, he won’t own it. Again, what leadership. Sorry, Ponzi, but voters, not you, decide what you and the Republicans own, and since Republicans control Congress and the White House, I’m pretty sure you will own it. If you try to sabotage Obamacare, I know you will own it.

The longer Republicans screw around, the more nervous voters are going to become, and the more nervous Congress is going to become, and the more changes to Obamacare are going to be improvements, not repeal or replacement, and at some point, the bill is going to look like what liberals want, i.e. a single payer system, or at least a very robust public option.

Déjà vu: Is it just me, or is the Russia scandal starting to look more and more like Watergate? I eschewed comparisons previously, but consider: Cover-up; Denial (Nixon: “I am not a crook,” Trump: “I haven’t done anything wrong.”); Resignations; Throwings under the bus: Lawyers and loyal aids fired; threats against the justice system investigators, the media and their own party.

If this stays on script, soon a prime investigator will be fired (Nixon: special prosecutor, Trump: special counsel), and then Congress will rise up… or not. It’s a pretty pusillanimous pack in charge there.

I don’t know when Ponzi will leave office, but here is a set of possibilities, in my order of probability:

1. He quits, ostensibly because his businesses need him: with his thin skin and fragile ego, when the opprobrium overwhelms the adulation, it will get him down.
2. He drops dead: Ponzi is old, he is overweight, he’s not healthy, he doesn’t exercise, his diet is fatty, and he is under a lot of stress
3. Impeachment: he’s guilty of a whole lot of wrong doing. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it, even his base.
4. Leaves at the end of one term. Ponzi is at best, or worst, a one term president.

Sudden thought: Tattoos are graffiti on the walls of the temple that is one’s body.

Junior: How many Russians have to be in a meeting for Trump family members to remember it? A bridge game full? A basketball team? A baseball team? A football team? A Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

The “P” word: At the end of the week, Ponzi Don started tweeting about pardons for his aids, his family and possibly for himself. Pardon is a word only used if you burp or are guilty of something.

Ponzi can’t pardon himself, and even if he did he would be admitting guilt, in which case he would be impeached or have to resign. I’m curious what Republican legislators (read elected officials) are thinking about what to tell their voters about this.

Diary Entry: When we returned from our trip to Yosemite, I wrote a review of our Airbnb apartment in Mariposa, CA, near the park, our first Airbnb experience. The next day, we learned that Mariposa had to be evacuated due to the forest fire razing the area. It would be ironic if after I wrote a positive review for possible future guests, the place burned down.

Status of the States: Alabama gets the worst state cup this week, because Ponzi Don signaled he has lost confidence in the state’s native son and Ponzi’s Attorney General. Duh! Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is perhaps the least qualified for his position of any member of Ponzi’s cabinet, and that is really saying something!
It’s not Alabama’s fault, exactly, that Ponzi appointed him to be Attorney General, but it is Alabama’s fault that it re-elected the bigoted cow part to public office for years.

 

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 10

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on July 21, 2017

Obamacare: I intend to call Obamacare by its informal name unless and until it is repealed, even though I know it pisses off many of its critics just because it is named after a black man.

On the surface, this issue seemed static this week. No votes were taken, nothing seemed to move much. Beneath the surface, however, were two strong, conflicting undercurrents. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying feverishly to garner votes for the senate version*, while actual senators were getting an earful of criticism of it from actual voters.

It was President Lincoln who said, “Man clings to nothing so tightly as a bad deal.” It amazes me how so many Republicans cling to this plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with such a terrible, horrible, no good very bad bill, which is so stunningly unpopular.

Think of the iconic image of the snake bending itself into a circle and eating its own tail. The Republican base only hates Obamacare because its leaders told them Obamacare is a disaster (with a healthy dollop of racism thrown in), and that their leaders would replace it with something better. Now many of the base, leaders fear, will be angry with them for not repealing and replacing Obamacare since they – the leaders – promised to, and because they – the base – believe Obamacare is so bad because their leaders told them it is so bad for so long.

Republican leaders are in a pickle, and it couldn’t happen to nicer guys. They can’t deliver what they promised, and in the meantime, Obamacare has become more popular, and the idea of repealing it in the ways Republican leaders have proposed is almost universally unpopular. I haven’t seen even a smidgen of support for the Republican bill, even from Republican leaders. They are laying lower than Brer Fox, and wishing the whole thing would just go away somehow.

There is a way out for Republicans. Just admit that Obamacare, while imperfect, is now working reasonably well after eight years of experience and refinement, and it is now worth keeping, and then work with Democrats on improving it. This was, after all, originally a Republican idea, introduced by Republican Governor Romney in Massachusetts.

I’m waiting for some more Republican senators to break ranks. It hasn’t happened yet, but it seems inevitable. We’ll see.

*Can this really be true? Can McConnell, whose home state, Kentucky, may be benefitting more than any other from Obamacare, really want it overturned, or is he just posturing? If he is sincere, it is a monumental betrayal of his constituents.

Sudden Thought: Pundits, lawyers and crisis management counselors who are admonishing President Trump to “get everything out on the table” must assume he is innocent. How sweet.

Diary Entry: Cynthia and I spent the week in the Sierra Mountains near and inside Yosemite National Park. The primary reason for the trip was to attend a wedding reception for one of our darling daughters and her groom. (Actually, the groom has been around for so many years we already considered him our son-in-law, and the wedding occurred months ago at the courthouse, with few witnesses. Hence the need for a robust celebration with family and friends.)

The reception was everything we hoped and thought it would be. It was billed as le Gran Amore Soiree, and it was. Best of all, we got to see many family members and friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in years, and among some of the younger ones, not since they were young children or babies.

On the side, we had a nice dinner with the groom’s delightful parents, an informal cocktail party with many of the happy couple’s closest friends, a day in Yosemite, and a day fishing. I scored a threesome – all three native trout species in the immediate region (brown, brook and rainbow), plus a rare hatchery rainbow.

Meanwhile, back home, the monsoon rains were frequent, and our garden is exploding.

Status of the States: Texas gets the worst state cup this week, due to the spectacularly exposed stupidity of its former governor, now Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry.

Perry condescendingly offered a reporter an “economics lesson” on the theory of supply and demand, and got it completely, 180 degrees backwards! Perry said, on camera, that supply creates demand. There hasn’t been anything so wrong since farmers in the dust bowl were assured that “rain follows the plow.”

Mind you, Perry was the most popular – based on years served – of any governor in Texas history. It speaks volumes about Texas that it elected this moron repeatedly.

Are we a Nation Divided and Polarized?

Posted in Politics and Justice by EloiSVM42 on July 5, 2017

Are we a Nation Divided and Polarized?

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The notion that we are divided is misunderstood. Like Siamese twins, we are bound together. We move forward or backward, happy or unhappy together.

We may be divided, in the sense that great numbers of us have very different opinions on many important issues. We may think the people holding differing opinions from us are misguided or even barking mad, but there is nothing in the Constitution that says how our opinions must be distributed.

I will tell you what we are, though. We are extremely unequal, and both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have a great deal to say about that.

There is great inequality in our wealth and income, and it has been getting much worse since about 1980. When eight people in American possess as much wealth as the bottom 50% of our entire population, it takes no brilliant economist or social scientist to see that something is seriously, seriously wrong. We are very near the point when history suggests countries are likely to experience revolution or collapse.

According to Thomas Piketty, the world’s foremost authority on wealth and income, the best long-term solution to income inequality is “diffusion of knowledge,” by which he means education.

But our education is itself extremely unequal. Wealthy students frequently end up in good private schools, but most of us go to public schools, which can vary in quality greatly, frequently along already existing income and racial lines, which is self-perpetuating.

What’s most disappointing regarding education is that many states have been starving education budgets for years. It’s almost as if some state leaders want to hold people in their unequal place by denying “diffusion of knowledge” to them. We elect these leaders. We can elect others with more positive priorities regarding education.

We’re all familiar with the inequality in our justice and penal systems. Minorities are disproportionately imprisoned. The problems are partly due to the education deficit, but also to unequal administration of justice. Again, this inequity is correctable.

Voting is unequal. Our “one person one vote” Constitutional guarantee is ignored and abused constantly, which is utterly inconsistent with our democracy. Some politicians scheme to deny the vote to those who might vote differently than they (the politicians, not the voters) desire.

A poster child of voting inequality is the Electoral College, a result of our Founding Fathers’ hedging their bet on the common man. After all, their new government was an experiment as yet untried.

The results, however, have been extremely mixed in the 21st Century. So far, it has given us our first black president by popular vote, and two presidents – one a disaster and the other trending that way – who lost the popular vote, but won in the Electoral College.

President is the only truly national office. It is the only office that can, and should be determined by a total national vote, with no intersession.

The election of U.S. Senators, though reformed over time, is grossly unequal today. Every state gets two of them, regardless of size. Our four largest states – California, New York, Florida and Texas – comprise a third of our population. Our four smallest states contain less than one percent. But each group has eight senators. This distribution of senators may have made some sense when the Constitution was written, when our population was 95% rural agrarian, but it is inexcusably unequal today.

Montana and Wyoming, for extreme examples, don’t have enough population to justify a single Representative. Each has one only because at least one is mandatory. Yet each has two Senators. As there are many more states with small to middling populations relative to small ones, rural populations are remarkably over-represented.

This was a compromise made at the creation, and I suspect it would be very hard to change any time soon, for the very reason it is a problem. It favors a lot of small population states, but impedes the will of the majority of the population. That’s not what representative democracy is supposed to do.

The U.S. House of Representative is more, well, representative, but it is susceptible to a particularly odious form of inequality – gerrymandering. This ploy warps voter representation willfully and radically. Both major parties are complicit in it, and the job should be taken from their hands.

Job opportunities are certainly unequal. Though the official unemployment number is low at present, many people, particularly those with less education, are disproportionately unemployed, and many people with or without some education are underemployed. Everyone’s wages have been stagnant for years. This is the crux of the sleep of reason that brought forth the monster that is Donald Trump (my opinion).

Now, here are a couple of very inconvenient truths that must be looked at head on if we are to correct inequality in the broader sense:

Globalization is a thing, and it will not change. So called sovereign state boundaries cannot prohibit it, and its overall thrust is too good for us to want it to stop, even if that were possible. The opposite of globalization is tribalism, a retrenchment into smaller, insular enclaves, which only breed greater fear and suspicion of “the other.” Tribalism is a hidebound, narrow minded way to live. Look at Afghanistan, Pakistan and place like that. No wonder people want to come here from such places.

Technology will go where it can go. As technology improves, it will be applied. This includes in the workplace, which means it will compete for more and more jobs successfully, reducing the demand for human workers to do them. Technology has replaced many, many more jobs than globalization.

Other jobs will be created, good ones, but not in the same numbers, and requiring more skills and training. If it were easy, anybody could do it, which means the easy jobs will go to the person willing to do it the cheapest…until he or she is replaced by a machine.

Access to higher paying jobs is not available to everyone equally, due to, let’s face it, intelligence, aptitude, training and prejudice. Many decent paying jobs required less education in the past, so more people were able to get a good job without as much of it. But those times have changed.

I can empathize with those who find themselves out of a job because the jobs left them, and we must do more to try to help them. People today need more education and/or training – technical education of some sort and support until they are able to up their game.

Others are simply not capable of competing at the current level of job complexity and competition. As Ron White said, “You can’t fix stupid.”

This period of a more competitive labor market and stagnant wages begs for more progressive thinking to deal with than we have been giving it thus far. It’s time to think about how to equalize income to at least an acceptable standard of living. There is no excuse for the income disparity we have today, and it is inexcusable to have Americans below the poverty line with so much wealth available.

How do we afford this, you ask? I’ll tell you how:

  1. By thinking about wealth and income more generously and compassionately and equally, not greedily. Our tax system should look almost the exact opposite of what it is today, with high taxes on the rich, a tax on wealth and extremely high inheritance taxes.
  2. By inverting our investment priorities toward education and away from a grossly too expensive military.
  3. By reforming our justice system so that the penalty for the same crimes are not only equal, but do not doom convicts to a life sentence-stifled opportunities and prospects denied.

Lest you think this rational addressing of inequality will be easy, consider where we are today – how greedy we have become, how punitive and how much we have downgraded and degraded education.

And lest you think that should such reforms be enacted all our problems would be solved, consider the new ones that these reforms would evoke, regarding population control, immigration policy, assisted suicide, and yes, death panels. (Spoiler alert: these things will happen anyway.)

Not everything is ever going to be exactly equal, nor should we want them to be. Mountains v. oceans, deserts v. tropics, cities v. towns. These and every other aspect of culture result in diversity that enriches us.  But the inequalities in education, income and justice are pernicious, and ludicrously beneath the richest, strongest and among the bests nations on earth.

 

 

Thoughts one Events the Week of June 26

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on July 4, 2017

Senate’s vote on their healthcare bill: Didn’t happen. Turns out you can’t perfume a pig. Enough senators objected to Mitch McConnell’s secret bill that the Majority Leader couldn’t bring it up for a vote, and kicked the pig down the calendar until after the July 4th Holiday.

I don’t expect its prospects to improve over the holiday, which is why McConnell wanted to have the vote beforehand. Senators are going to get an earful back home. I certainly intend to contact my own personal senator, the aptly named Senator Flake. (John McCain, the senior senile senator from Arizona is a lost cause.)

It is hard to imagine that McConnell really wants to pass this odious, unpopular bill now, especially since President Trump threw him under the bus over it this week.

What does “If we don’t get it….that will be OK, too” mean?: It means that Ponzi Don pulled the rug out from under McConnell’s efforts to pass his healthcare bill by signaling that he is distancing himself from senatorial failure, and is ready to move on to something else.

All the senators who have hawked “repeal and replace” care about it in one way or another, though, and I’m sure they were not happy as pigs in slop to hear Ponzi say that. To put it politely, I think Ponzi may have weakened the allegiance that Republican senators feel toward him. It’s every Republican for him or herself now. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Modern Day Presidential: Is how Ponzi characterized his use of tweets to reach the people directly. I don’t think so. The Twitter technology is modern enough, but the statements are often not presidential at all, modern or otherwise.

But, okay, if this is Ponzi being “modern day presidential,” then all his tweets are public statements from the highest office of the land, and by which he will be judged. Today, his base seems to enjoy them, but I doubt they will wear well.

Consider the tweet swipes that Ponzi took at the media this week. They were petulant punching down with gratuitous insults, innuendos of violence and blatant misogyny.

Consider how the modern day presidential pronouncement below will appear in history books in juxtaposition with the words of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Barak Obama. Sad

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” – President Donald J. Trump

Sudden Thought: Speaking of history books, Michael Flynn my go down as the next Benedict Arnold.

Separation of Church and State: The Supremes, in a 7-2 decision (religious wingnut Neil Justice Gorsuch dissented. He wants to turn the entire government over to the church) is permitting public funds to be used for a parochial school.

A shocking majority of the present Supreme Court doesn’t have the vision, or the grasp of history, that our founding fathers (mostly religious men) had about the importance of separating church and state. Europe separated the two centuries ago when it became clear that the war between the two was threatening to destroy western civilization, something Islam is trying to deal with today. This opinion puts us back to the Middle Ages, and to a degree contemporary Islam.

Diary Entry: The Goodwin wildfire is close, but no cigar. Though it is very nearby, we are no longer in danger of it. Also, the dew point reached 46 degrees. Again, close but no cigar. We need 55 degrees for the monsoon rains to begin.

Football: With a nod to The Wizard, one of my few actual readers, I report that the University of Alabama – Birmingham has reinstated its football program, which it dropped, briefly, as it turns out, after the 2014-2015 season, and has announced its schedule for this fall. Go Blazers! (Mine is from Brooks Brothers.)

Status of the States: Kansas gets the cup this week. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach heads Ponzi Don’s commission to find non-existent voter fraud. It is not Kansas’ fault that Ponzi appointed him, but it is Kansas’ fault that it elected Kobach Secretary of State, which gave him authority for voter suppression.

Kobach, in his role as head of the voter fraud commission, has asked all states to provide confidential voter information, but then, as its Secretary of State, has informed his commission that Kansas won’t comply with his own request. Such rich hypocrisy deserves recognition.

Coming Attractions: Wednesday, an essay on the question: Are we divided and polarized?