Getting Out While You Can Call Yourself a “Smart Rat”

Stuff ends. Eventually, everything and everyone dies. Anyone who uses the words “forever,” “in perpetuity,” “to the end of time,” or any phrase or word similar to those in relation to anything human is clueless about time, death, decay, and entropy. Businesses, and in particular corporations, are designed to be easy to kill and for the killers to get away punishment-free.

Businesses often get shutdown to protect the people with the most money and power. The bigger the business, the more protection provided to the perpetrators. The people who did the work, created the products and services, produced the products and services, and who believed in whatever "mission" the business pretended to have get sacrificed. It's the way life in this country has worked for 200+ years, with only a few moments of interruption. Corporations whine that "employees aren't loyal these days." Interpret that to mean, "You people are too smart to buy into my bullshit."

Somewhere out there in the web is a reprint of a great speech Andy Grove (one of Intel’s founders) gave to a collection of business assholes where he explained why employees did not owe those rich and powerful men one ounce of loyalty. His recommendation to employees was to consider their employers as one of many possible customers and to treat their own careers as independent businesses. One absolute rule for the self-employed is to never limit your business to a single customer. Likewise, an employee who commits all of his output to an employer is destined to be disappointed and, probably, unemployment or worse. An employer deserves exactly the same loyalty as that employer gives to employees; nor more and probably slightly less.

In my 50+ years of employment, the majority of my past employers are gone. Now that McNally Smith College of Music has joined those ranks, seven of the twelve employers on my resume have vanished. One, ex-Fortune 100 Guidant is on record as Forbe's #2 "Worst Mergers in History." Another Fortune 500 train-wreak, Telectronics, would have resulted in criminal FDA prosecution if Clinton had been a fraction of the Democrat some mis-remember him being. Two of the small corporations on my resume were absorbed by larger firms; one for a profit and one sold for clip_image002patents and equipment. The rest just disappeared without a trace. Not a one of those failed companies were well managed, but the mismanagers were all grossly overpaid for their incompetence. Most of them were grossly over-compensated for blowing up the companies they mismanaged. The fortunes created by some of those golden parachutes could have solved Greece’s economic problems.

clip_image004Here's what I learned from my first experience, back in 1972, with one of those companies. My tech-mentor, L.A. (Arnold) Stevenson, a high school dropout/genius Air Farce-trained electronics tech who is still the hands-down best educator I have ever met, "The first rats to leave the ship are the ones who can swim." That lesson taught me that the day to start looking for work was the day I got hired to a new job. That habit really came in handy when I started my own businesses.

I didn’t stick around for the bloody end of any of the companies I worked for, but I got damn close in my first engineering job. The first time that company crashed, I stayed until I’d been asked to layoff every one of my techs and mechanics; then they laid me off just before Xmas (sound familiar?). Six months later, that company rehired me as a contractor which, eventually, turned into a management job. The next time their market collapsed, I was the first out the door; leaving my employees and friends with a little more job security and a big warning notice that “the end is near.” One of my best friends tried to stick it out to the bloody end and when he was laid off the Reagan economy was in full recession and there were NO tech jobs to be had in Nebraska. He died of a massive heart attack at 35 an unemployed year later. That was also a life lesson for me.

blame-cartoonA lesson I learned the hard way from two of my defunct small company employers was “Never invest more of yourself in a business than the owners (or the people who profit the most) are investing.” For the last 15 years of my career, I regularly turned down management positions because I know enough about myself to know that my loyalty to the people who work for me will override my common sense and I will violate this rule. I will try to drag a dead horse over a mountain, even if I see the executives sitting on the damn horse while I try to move it. The simple solution to that problem is to avoid horses/management altogether. I can’t “fix” me, but I can sure as hell put some fences around my options.

Another thing I learned from Arnold was that I never wanted to be an employer. Everyone who has ever worked for me did so as an independent contractor. I don’t need the responsibility, the people who have worked for me didn’t need to be trained to be dependent on me, and I have always been too interested in too many things to want to be tied down to one business model or customer base.

I worked, weekends and nights, as an independent contractor for Arnold and he paid me about 10x what I made on an hourly rate with my day job. He constantly reminded me that he was my sole customer and that was a bad thing. That spurred me into doing a lot of electronic design work which led to my first product “invention” and a royalty check that saved my family a few years later when I was laid-off and near broke.


The Best Society Possible

I’ve been a science fiction reader almost since I started reading, at least nine or ten, starting with comic books and continuing to this day. SF gives us some deluded hope that human society can evolve to something more decent than whatever toilet bowl we’re living in at the moment. It’s a delusion, obviously, but the Trekies can imagine humans might evolve into a society without superstition/religion, war, racism, and sexism, Star Wars nutjobs can keep living the silly fantasy that one fool with a spaceship could defeat the Death Star and the government with some magic powers and an oversized puppy, and a few of us can see what the world our fellow humans are really building will turn into. For me, Soylent Green pretty much hit the nail on the head as a realization of the best and worst I expect of human society and the end times of the Sixth Extinction. I don’t think the United States has a hope in hell of ever creating an assisted suicide system as humaine as the one in Soylent Green.

I know there are people who imagine happier futures than this one, but having grown up in a evangalistic family and mostly spending my life smothered in the superstitious Midwest, I’m not one of them. Using the smokescreen of religion to mask their vicious and greedy personalities, the 70-something-percent of Americans who are the core of America’s decadence would never allow a process or facility as decent and realistic as the suicide center in Soylent Green. We’re a nation that believes people should suffer to the last moment to allow the wealth-extraction system (aka American healthcare) time to completely transfer patients’ assets to the 1%.

The only gross error in the movie’s depiction of an assisted suicide facility is that in 2022 when the envionment is completely overwhelmed by human pollution, the lines in front of a building like that one would make opening day for Star Wars XXXXII look abandoned.


Is There Only One Reason the NFL Is Losing Fans?

nfl_attendenceLots of people, including fans, are wondering what is going on with the NFL’s lost fan base. According to the folks who care about this stuff, the NFL’s television ratings are down 7.5% for the beginning of this season. So far, there hasn’t been a change in the bottom line for the NFL’s primary financial source, overall advertising revenue, but it seems unlikely that will last. Papa John's founder and CEO and head-douchebag John Schnatter claims that the NFL players’ protests are keeping people away from the crap Papa John’s scrapes onto a pizza pan, while Greg Creed, Pizza Hut’s CEO said, "We're not seeing impact on any of that on our business." I can’t help think lots of failing mismanagers will start to blame their companies’ poor performance NFL players, since nobody wants to blame overpaid, under-talented and generally incompetent CEOs for much of anything. We elect Presidents, governors, and fill Congress with that kind of resume.

NFL comparisonSo, politics, as usual, gets the blame; although most of the people citing politics as their reason for giving up pro football aren’t bright enough to realize that the whole issue of the national anthem at the beginning of pro games was a political statement. Before 2009, nobody knew what NFL players thought about anything political because they stayed in their locker rooms until after the anthem was played. The Department of Defense spent $6.8 million between 2012 and 2015 on "paid patriotism," to try to pump up recruitment at all sorts of professional sports events. American flag displays, military honors events, reenlistment ceremonies, and a long list of military promotions became part of the NFL’s income stream. The players getting sucked into the opening ceremony was a political statement intended to inspire young people to imitate their heroes in uniforms. Some of the players involved in today’s protests are old enough to have been on the field when their voices wouldn’t have been heard about any political issue. So, one kind of pro-war and military/industrial complex politics is acceptable, but bringing attention to the discrepancy between how police handle people of color vs. white people is unacceptable? I guess you could say that protesting during the military’s taxpayer-funded recruiting pitch is protesting the military, but if that’s your argument we’ve got a lot bigger problems than most of us hoped.

nfl viewershipI’m not convinced that the player protests are the NFL’s biggest economic problem. Pro and collegiate sports are all seeing a drop in interest, but football has probably come close to running out its string. Younger people are, on average, less interested in spectator sports. The grandstands at many stadiums resemble Fox News’ base: 50-and-over. At this rate, the decline in the NFL’s fortunes may depend on the league finding other countries to sell their product. Outside of the US, “football” means something completely different.

Chronic_Traumatic_EncephalopathyIt’s pretty obvious from the latest medical evidence that any parent willing to subject a kid to the hazards of football is a long ways from a responsible parent. It’s not just pro players who have discovered football is a dangerous sport, college players are almost as badly damaged by the sport. It should be obvious that high school and Pop Warner football is just as risky, or more, because the “care’ provided by football coaches doesn’t become more cautious as you work your way down the sport’s ladder. This issue cuts the sport (and others) two ways: a declining pool of players willing to risk their lives for money and spectators becoming unwilling to be a part of a gladiator spectacle where they might witness one of their favorite players receive a fatal injury on the field.

nxgzzzadzlgz0ybbcix2Finally, there is the other side of the fans’ perspective on the protests. The NFL walks both sides of the road; supporting the players and berating them. Those of us who agree with the purpose and intent of the players’ protest are quickly losing interest in a sport owned by men and women who are more inclined to support Donald Trump and his band of angry racists. I have never been someone the NFL could count on for income from any direction, but I did watch a half-dozen or so games on television (at my local sports bar), including the Super Bowl, for a lot of years. Last year, I didn’t see a game including the Super Bowl. So far this year, I’ve sort of kept track of Colin Kaepernick’s employment status and as long as he can’t find a team with the moral courage to hire a man who is willing to sacrifice his fame and fortune for a cause, I don’t need the NFL.


Living in the 3rd World

The Nation recently published an article that beautifully explains democratic socialism, "After I Lived in Norway, America Felt Backward: Here's Why." The Atlantic Magazine published a story about a survey of Norwegians and US citizens and their acceptance of luck in economic inequality, "How Norwegians and Americans See Inequality Differently." “In Norway, people very much disapprove of inequalities that are due to bad luck. People in the U.S. are more willing to accept inequality, even if it reflects pure good luck for some and pure bad luck for others.” The UK's Independent reported, "Majority of Norwegians 'do not believe in God' for first time in country's history." A survey found that 39% of Norway's adults do not believe in gods, 37% do, and 23% don't give a damn.

You have to wonder if there is any connection between these different analysis of Norway? To me, it seems obvious that a declining religious base would influence the nation's respect for luck. Gods, luck, fate, and other hoodoo are the basis for a superstitious nation and superstition has always been the way the idle rich manipulate the working class into propping up their useless lifestyles. Russia is the current world leader in economic inequality; with 74.5% per cent of the nation's wealth controlled by the 1% of that country's population. Obviously, the characters currently in charge of the US federal government are jealous and are working hard to "catch up." For the rest of us, that should be a contest we oppose. However, the US superstition rate is much higher than Norway; with only 13% of the population being clever enough to select "none" when asked which boogieman they worship. Worse, the uneducated red states are home to the highest percentage of voodoo-chanting nutjobs and that isn't likely to change much in the foreseeable future.

So, economic inequality is safe for at least one or two more generations in the Home of the Timid.


Easy Useless Answers

My sister sent me a Facebook post with this video and a question, “This is very interesting, Would like to have feed back from you. I hope that we can agree to disagree on this subject. I would just like to know your beliefs. Calm cool and collected conversation.”

My first response was pretty poor, “Poorly explained options, DNA did not 'happen by accident,' it happened after billions of years of failed and partial failure natural selection experiments. So, this protagonist has a well-scripted set of misleading questions and jumps unprepared people with his propaganda routine. No surprise that their answers get him the answer he expects and most likely edited to refine. A more detailed explanation of Dawkins' position is found in The God Delusion, but this video isn't about obtaining rational opposition it's just an effort to demonstrate a cheesy debate tactic. It would be interested to see the entire input to this video, because it's obvious the editing was intended to direct the conversation in a very limited way.

“Since the whole God argument is so childish, most atheists don't put enough thought into religions' propositions to be good anti-superstition debaters. Logically, that would be wasted time. Dawkins has done so because the Big Three religions have become 'death cults' bent on destroying life on this planet to create a test for their various Armageddon stories. It's an admirable goal, but hyper-unpleasant because you have to listen to so much silliness. The whole 'something from nothing' argument is not satisfied simply by shamans' inventing a god and placing him/her/it in charge of creating something. That's just human arrogance to imagine that we can go "poof" and invent the answer to a scientific question with 1500 year old sheepherders' tales.

“We're currently involved in a pretty scary natural selection experiment, as a species. Just in the last 25 years, 75% of flying insects have vanished from the planet. That will have all sorts of effects on every species up the food chain, including humans. It's pretty obvious from the fossil record and even human records that lots of natural selection experiments have failed or been modified. That DNA is either lost or combined with surviving lifeforms. Did the gods screw up with those animals? If they can screw up something as simple as a butterfly, how did they manage to create an infinite universe?

“If humans are going to survive, we're going to have grow past superstition. If we don't, we certainly don't deserve any claim for love for our children and their children. Being the cause of the 6th Extinction in the name of religion is nothing to brag about.”

The question and the smarmy “interviews” stuck with me throughout the day. Mostly, I worked my ass off all day and a long history of going through these questions slowly came back to me. Thirty years ago, a philosophy instructor loaned me a book, Abusing Science, The Case Against Creationism, by Philip Kitcher (a UofM professor) that attempted to answer all of the questions posed in this video. It’s a terrific book and, oddly, still in print. The problem with asking about evolution and DNA, the origin of the universe, and the building blocks of life from a religious perspective is that the questioner already believes he has the answer, “God works in mysterious ways. We can’t know the mind of the maker. And so on.” The answers from a scientific perspective are all hyper complicated, requiring an education in astrophysics, biology, genetics, geology, and other disciplines. Abusing Science goes to those places and experts and obtains those answers, but most of us (probably all of us) are already involved in complicated and specialized lives and we’d have to spend a few days preparing an answer to these poorly framed and leading questions. Dawkins has presented several of these rebuttals, in case someone actually cares enough to hear them. Here is one, for example:

In 1957, my mother died of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). In 1957, medicine had no answer, no solutions, no options for someone even suffering from stage one hepatocellular carcinoma. Religion still offered the brilliant and perfectly useless, “God works in mysterious ways. We can’t know the mind of the maker. And so on.” Today, "people with early-stage liver cancers who have a liver transplant, the 5-year survival rate is in the range of 60% to 70%.” Religion is still stuck with “God works in mysterious ways. We can’t know the mind of the maker. And so on.” If religion was a valid area of thought, it would have evolved something useful, like medicine has done, by now. In fact, since Christianity has been around for about 1500 years and has accomplished exactly nothing of use to any human, other than becoming a highly refined money-making scheme for churches, televangelists, and assorted con men, generating wars and warriors for practically any political excuse, and a huge variety of inequalities and injustices.
That’s where religion draws its strength, though. Uneducated people who desperately hope for a magic solution to the problems of existence, survival, power and money are not attracted to the complexity of the real world. “God works in mysterious ways,” is a good answer for them because real answers require a serious effort to comprehend. People, as a species, are fairly lazy. Easy, useless answers are more acceptable to most people than reality.

A friend tried to justify some part of that position by saying, “That ecological disaster you referred to was caused by science.” No, it wasn’t. If we were a scientific species or even marginally led by scientific leaders, we’d have dramatically dropped the world’s population 50 years ago and the cliff we’re heading toward would be far more manageable. Religion and its bizarre interpretations of sheepherders’ gibberish squalls like a stuck pig when any attempt to slow down the world’s population gets any traction. Religion is the core to practically unsolvable problem in the world and will continue to be until something either ends humanity or superstition. I’d bet on superstition outlasting our species. It is core to our flaws. As Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Hoping for the end of life because some halfwit convinced you that you'll be in paradise after life is the ultimate absurd atrocity.


“We’re Not Nazis!”

A while back, I wrote about an encounter we had at a campsite in Wisonsin with a pair of Boomer Twin Citizens with an irrational committment to our present nutjub Republican President, “Trump-Colored Glasses.” Since they were doing all the talking, other than a few observations my wife or I made about the behavior of our nutty leader, the inference they were making (to me) was that they were mildly aware of the inconsistencies in their belief system and were more trying to convince themselves, than us, that they weren’t Nazis or Nazi supporters or colaborators. “We’re not Nazis,” the wife said in a fairly disconnected outburst.

So, what are you if you aren’t a Nazi? If you mindlessly, carelessly support a neo-fascist President and a cabinet and executive office full of the worst people in the country, can you still claim to be innocent of association and responsibility for electing and supporting those people? I don’t see how. If you selectively obtain your “information” from the least reliable sources (Fox News, Breitbart, and your drunk cousin for example) do you seriously expect adults and literate citizens to respect your choices and give you a pass for responsibility for the positions you have taken? Again, I don’t see how. When you have knowlingly put the stability and security of the nation and world at stake simply because you are upset that a well-educated President stabilized the economic freefall after your last collection of nitwits blew up the economy and handed trillions over to the TBTF banks without as much as a basic request for what they would do with the money, you don’t think you deserve to be called ‘rascists?” Good luck with that.

getupAs I’ve noted on a regular basis, one of the core principles of modern conservatism is “never having to say we’re sorry for being wrong, again.” It is amazing how little crap sticks to the people who have been wrong on every issue since we started banging the rocks together. I’m sure they’ll slither away from responsibility for Trump, too. Not with me, though. I won’t forget and I won’t forgive. As far as I’m concerned, you either learn from this massive and incredibly stupid mistake or you spend the rest of your life being a Nazi sympathizer, which is not far enough from being an actual Nazi to worry about. As someone said, “In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” You who voted for Trump and neo-Nazis who populate our House of Representatives and state governments are guilty and respnsible for the damage you’ve done. Go ahead, wear your swastikas in public. It’s not like we don’t know who you are. As usual, pseudo-conservatives will make a mess and expect the few of us who actually care about our country to fix it.


Trump-Colored Glasses

On a short camping outing this weekend, we met a couple from the Twin Cities who seemed to have a lot in common with us: the same camper, the same age, roughly the same education, and similar life and work experiences. The surprising major difference was that they are committed Trump fanatics. The guy wanted to talk about mythical “antifa” atrocities he’d witnessed while he was participating in Trump rallies at the state capitol. The woman kept chanting “You should listen to Donald’s whole speech in Poland. It tells you who he really is.”

I did that and, relatively speaking, Donald was reasonably impressive in his ability to read the Teleprompter without too much self-congratulation. However, he followed up that performance with Tweets demonstrating his usual insanity, "We will fight the #FakeNews with you!" over the moment when Donald tried to intercept President Duda’s wife who was on her way to acknowledge Donny’s wife. Apparently, he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to pat himself on the back because he followed that weirdness with “My experience yesterday in Poland was a great one. Thank you to everyone, including the haters, for the great reviews of the speech!” He was really proud of his reading ability, apparently.
However, my takeaway from the camping experience was that Trump’s fanatics are completely mesmerized with The Donald. They are somehow entranced with something about his personality. My wife speculated that many of these people had a “favorite boorish uncle” Trump reminds them of and that familial memory is the link that draws them to him. It’s a weird kind of charisma that loses most of us, but conservative white people appear to be drawn to it like moths. Like moths, they are totally uncritical of whatever it is that attraction is about.

One of the stranger things said that morning was the wife’s conviction that if Hillary had been elected we’d be on the way to war with Russia. I have no idea where that night terror came from and she wasn’t at all clear on its origin, either. I’d vote for “fake news” if I had to speculate.

We had our brief encounter the morning after the Las Vegas massacre, which made one of the morning’s conversations seem surreal in retrospect. My wife and I hadn’t heard the news about the shooting. The couple repeatedly talked about how sad they were that so many of us felt disconnected from our fellow Americans. I said that the fact that public places were becoming so dangerous thanks to the many nutjobs who feel the need to go everywhere armed isn’t doing honest conversation much good. He said, “we need to get the guns away from the nutjobs.” Obviously, that is the NRA’s distracting chant. It’s also a non-starter. I suspect the most sane people in the country are unconvinced that wanting to own a gun is an indication of sanity. The things people use guns for are the best indication of why they want to possess them: suicide, murder (mostly family members and friends), and fear. I don’t know where you would start if you decided to take guns away from crazy people. At least one in five US citizens experience mental illness in a given year. Where would you start in identifying who is “mentally ill” and who is just a pissed off son-of-a-bitch? Do you worry about the difference?

Among the things this couple used to justify their love of Donald Trump, consistency and rational thought weren’t on the list. They just desperately want Trump to be their fearless leader and don’t want to be judged on the merits of that desperation and irrationality, “We’re not Nazis!” Like most of that crowd, they absolutely hate President Barack Obama. They hate Hillary Clinton. And they absolutely believe nothing about those positions make them bad people. I came away from the conversation feeling even more like this is 1933 and that Canada probably isn’t even close to being far enough away from the United States when this all comes to a head.


What’s Truly Evil?

Immediately after I posted a link to “A Simple Solution to America’s Cop Problem,” an acquaintance wrote, “Wow, that's the most evil thing I've ever heard you propose.” First, I’d like to know what other “evil things” I’ve proposed. Second, I’d challenge the idea that this is evil in any way.

A nation that was so happy with bankrupting its citizens for medical debt that half of the 2016 voters elected someone who promised to return the country to the debtors’ indentured servitude we “enjoyed” before the ACA pretty much has a lock on evil. “More than a quarter of Americans say that someone in their household is struggling to pay medical debt” and that statement is from February 2017. Medical debt is the #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in the USA. And many Americans are happy with that statistic and the situation, apparently. I’d call that “evil.” In 2014, 40% of Americans were in debt for illness expenses. While the number of actual medical expense caused bankruptcies is often debated, for instance in Snopes.com, we all know it’s high and unreasonably, irrationally high. But the American Way is to never allow public interest to interfere with corporate profit, so we effectively don’t care. That is, also, evil. The Republican healthcare plan originally called “RomneyCare”—and renamed by the racist assholes masquerading as libertarians, conservatives, and other forms of fascism as “ObamaCare”—actually succeeded in reducing medical bankruptcies, so they want to get rid of it. Also, evil.

Leading Causes of Bankruptcy

crchart1If you are bright enough to understand that the nation is willing to let people with physically identifiable diseases and injuries die and be tortured on their way out with a middle-class wealth extraction system that bubbles-up a lifetime of savings and responsible behavior to the idle and destructive 1% investment class it should be perfectly clear to you that any help, sympathy, or compassion for mental health illness is so far past non-existent that it isn’t even imaginary. At best, pseudo-conservatives offer prayers and other superstitious hoodoo as substitutes for actual assistance after a chronically depressed person either breaks down and falls into the black hole of our incompetent and ruthless mental health system or locates the final exit. Cancer patients are expected to continue work through their chemo and radiation therapy to pay for their insurance and mental health patients are expected to rise above their failing brain chemistry and heal themselves. “Work or go broke and die” is the national healthcare motto. That is also evil.

The fact is, this country’s “mental healthcare” is an oxymoron, at best. You can peel back all of the suicide prevention advertising bullshit to find absolutely nothing behind those billboards. The fact is that mental health problems are not only ignored but criminalized in the US. We not only don’t care about people suffering with depression, neurosis, and psychosis, we want to make a profit from their misery. “Cure,” my ass. For most mental health patients there isn’t even a lick of hope for relief. Even the industry admits most-or-all of the prescribed medications and therapies are unproven to be in any way effective.

The other side of my proposal, which was written as a cynical science fiction “solution” to a problem I believe this country will never become adult enough to admit, was to “assist” cops in finding appropriate victims. Many US cities have turned their police departments into armed tax collectors, disguised as something else. Ferguson, Missouri, for example, has a police department the Washington Post described as a “plundering collection agency. (Please follow and read this link. If it doesn’t break your heart, you don’t have one.)” That police department so terrorized the citizens of the city to the point that any sort of police interaction could result in a citizen being hauled off to jail, fined for a variety of insane charges, tossed back on the street even further in debt to the city, fined into unemployment and homelessness, and harassed to the point that even a glance from a cop could result in a totally rational desire to run for safety. Which, of course, gave the cop justification for firing at will because everyone knows a person running for the cops must have committed a crime and probably scared the cop out of his half-wits.

Last year, suicide rates in the US jumped to a 30-year high. On average, about 40,000 Americans commit suicide every year and that number has been fairly constant for decades. That number is also pretty close to the fatality rate of a Vietnam War every year.

Citizens-killed-by-cop numbers are not accurate or complete because state and local departments do not report all police shooting information and some federal agencies, like the Border Patrol, do not provide complete information, but at the least police kill about 1,000 citizens every year. It’s pretty obvious that many cops would like to be free to kill a lot more people. With all of that as background, add to it the fact that millons more Americans have had about all of this life they can stand. If we’re not going to fix any of the country’s healthcare and policing problems, we might as well find a way to blend the two dysfunctions into the best stupid solution we can manage.

And that is exactly what “A Simple Solution to America’s Cop Problem” was all about. Do I think it’s an ideal solution? What? Are you stupid? Of course it isn’t ideal, but I’m just working with the poor material I’ve been handed. Likewise, do I think launching the world’s idiots into space in a marketing campaign like that described in “The Marching Morons” is the solution to the constant down-breeding of the human race that has been practiced in the flyover US states and most of the world’s various theocratic nations for the last 500 or more years? Well, maybe.


A Simple Solution to America’s Cop Problem

What we need to do is to get all of the country’s homicidal cops together with all of the depressed people. The country wants to get rid of heathcare, especially mental healthcare. It costs too much to waste time with people who don’t want to live anyway, right? Better to spend that money on Cadillac medical coverage for politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate executives than to waste it on people who only work for a living and suffer in quiet misery.

don't shootThink about the efficiency a few simple changes in police policy could create. For example, some people are currently decorating their vehicles, homes, and person with ineffive “Don’t Shoot” signs. That is simply the wrong message. Statistics claim that about 94% of people don’t want to be shot by a cop; or anyone else. In a country of 300M people, that leaves at least 15M non-random targets for murderous cops. So, instead of decorating equipment and people with unnecessary “Don’t Shoot” paraphrenalia, the people who want to be shot just need to take the initative and properly label themselves. That way, no “innocent” trigger-happy cops will have to worry about being second-guessed by their more ethical, courageous, competent, and intelligent fellow cops or the general public. “He was asking for it. Read the sign!” will be all the shooter/cop has to say to justify emptying a couple of automatic weapons into a kid or anyone else.

shoot-me-nowOf course, that doesn’t solve the problem of scared cops randomly firing off their weapons at every shadow, squirrel, noise, or innocent bystander, but it’s a start. Training cops to focus their attention on suicidal citizens shouldn’t be all that difficult. We just have to pass a couple of laws that prevent rookie cops (pretty much all of them, based on news reports of cop shootings) from stopping anyone for anything unless they are wearing a proper label and/or their vehicle is properly marked. States could sell “Just shoot me now” special license plate graphics, so cops can look up a victim on their computers before stopping and shooting someone. To prevent incorrect post-mortem second-guessing, mental health clinics could offer free “Just shoot me now” tattoos, since they’re not likely to be capable of providing any other kind of assistance. It would mean that everyone will have to more careful about whose car they borrow (or steal), but that’s just one cost of freedom we’ll all have to suck up and remember.

You’re-Eight-Times-More-Likely-to-be-Killed-by-a-Police-Officer-than-a-TerroristThe end result is that cops can more-or-less fire at will and the “more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent” depressed people will get what they want too.

A side-benefit is that the faux-Christians might argue that abortion really is a violation of the unborns’ suicidal rights, since even little kids will be able to wear “Just shoot me now” clothing; with their parents’ permission, of course (or not?). So, their little souls will be tossed into the Great Soul Soup and God will be satisfied that they had a shot at Eternity and threw it away. The faux-Christians will get to see lots of unwanted kids being born and get to cheer for the killer cops at the same time. Everybody’s happy . . . unless they are depressed, of course.

odds of getting killed by copsThe important thing is that nobody who wants to live will be getting shot by a “public servant.” Except in cases where the cop in question was hired by someone like Trump’s hero, Joe Arpaio. In special cases like that there will have to be an illiteracy exemption for the innocent cop who couldn’t tell the difference between “don’t shoot” and “shoot me now.”


Thinking Small and Growing Smaller

The United States once did really big things. For about fifty years, we were the inventors of practically everything significant in the world. In the late 1800’s, the United States created a land grant university system that educated children other than just those of the ruling class and created a middle class that drove the nation’s economy, it’s industry, it’s creativity, and its spirit. We created a public education system the rest of the world imitated and, then, improved on while we allowed ours to decay into a pre-prison system. We built cities that redefined urban living. We crossed the continent, first with railroads then with airlines. We electrified cities, then the countryside, and tied it all together with telephones and followed that with the Internet. We went to the moon dozens of times and sent astronauts there six times before 1972. There are branches of science that wouldn’t exist anywhere in the world without American curiosity. There are concepts of democracy, justice, and freedom spreading throughout the world, based on models the United States of America invented. We were the envy of the world.

Then we weren’t. To paraphrase Marlin Brando’s character in On the Waterfront, “We coulda been a contender.”

There has always been a primitive, superstitious character to citizens of the United States. After all, as another move character said about the American people, “We're all very different people. We're not Watusi, we're not Spartans, we're Americans. With a capital ‘A. huh? And you know what that means? Do you? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts.” All of which is true. And like mutts we’re naturally inclined to knock over trashcans and root through the rubble for a scrap of food or join a pack of other rejected mutts and go feral and become dangerous to everything around us. Along with getting “kicked out of every decent country in the world,” we brought with us a collection of religions that were clearly as insane and useless as the most dangerous ideas humans have ever invented. Today, those religions are driving the country to do smaller and smaller things in the name of money and power and under the pretense of doing a variety of gods’ will.

Take our prison system, for example. In the 1950’s, we decided to move our prison model from punitive to “corrections.” We still cynically call prisons “corrections facilities,” but they no long serve any part of that mission. Today, our prisons are slave-owning, for-profit corporations that drive some state’s legal system to create more and more “crime” to provide those corporations with slave labor. As a result, one of the most embarrassing big things the United States has done since the genocide of the American Indian is creating the world’s highest prison population rate: 724 of every 100,000 Americans currently resides in an American prison. Russia, a dictatorship and repressive totalitarian government, is a distant second to the United States.

Our one and only other big thing is our war machine, jokingly called the “Defense Department.” We have dedicated our national budget and our industry to creating more dangerous and powerful weapons of mass destruction, individual destruction, and everything in-between.

Neuroscience, without much help from government funding or the public, has plodded along learning more about how the human brain and it’s collection of chemicals, electrical systems (neurons and neural circuits), and molecular biology create the individuals we become or could be. Crime and war are two big things that neuroscience could have changed with just a reasonable amount of encouragement, but neuroscience, like evolution, terrifies the superstitious and, more importantly, the people who make bucket loads of money on crime, war, and religion. In fact, those three “special interests” are overwhelmingly the forces that prevented the United States from reaching its potential and will eventually undo the nation and the species.

The fact is we do not control our brains, our brains control us. The combination of chemicals, electrical systems, and molecular biology between our ears and in our gut are the things that control who we are. Knowing that and controlling it would allow us to be anyone we want to be; as individuals and as a species. The trillions of dollars the US flushes down the military-industrial toilet could have been used to get to the core of human conflict and resolve it. The trillions of dollars wasted on our punishment system could be spent on creating happier and more productive citizens, through education, science, and a shared desire to improve the quality-of-life for every person in the country and the world. We could have built a corrections system that enhances lives and freedom. That would have been a big thing, but we’ve devolved into a nation intent on punishing the poor for being poor and declaring war on everyone who won’t hand over their national sovereignty along with their natural and human resources.

The cost of abandoning big things (No, Donny. Your wall is not a big thing.) is that we become smaller as a result. Our world image has shrivelled to a tiny fraction of what it was in November 2016 and it becomes smaller by the day. Our self-image isn’t doing well, either. Fascists and neo-Nazis are symptoms of failure and self-hate, not power or superiority. You don’t set a goal of repressing others, stealing their resources and lives, and propping up yourself at the expense of everything from decency to intellect because you are free, healthy, and happy. Those are the goals of total failure. Those goals are so small, they reduce everyone they touch upon.


When Nothing Means Anything

It struck me, last night about 3AM, that the Age of Trump has proved something many of us hoped wasn’t true: that nothing means anything. Religion, decency, justice, honesty, fairness, truth, reason, and many of the institutions and people who represent those institutions have all been shown to be hollow and insignificant, thanks to the election and support of Donald Trump. There are all kinds of ways to take this sea change: ranging from fighting to restore America’s values to assuming that is a lost cause and going full nihilist. At 70, the fight is pretty much out of me, but I have to hope younger, better people decide there is some point in restoring moral values to our government and country. Otherwise, the American experiment is finished and it was a failure. Best case, the country collapses into disarray and becomes irrelevant. Worst case, we destroy life on this planet in an effort to prove one of the many insane religious scenarios that pollute our national discourse.

Trump’s assault on decency began the moment he entered public life, back in the 70’s. The Republican campaign against all of the values that Trump’s existence opposes has been going on a lot longer than my 70 years. Since the moment Teddy Roosevelt left office, Republicans have been scraping the bottom of the ruling class barrel for candidates and talking heads to lead their class war against working people and the poor. Starting with Taft and accelerating that movement with Reagan, Republicans have lowered the bar for what passes as “leadership” to the point where we now suffer Donald Trump. Personally, I don’t see much improvement in our future, but I tend to see the glass as half or completely full of sewage.

Religion, in America, has taken a radical turn to the right, which is not only traditional for religion (redundant, I know) but reason to doubt the sanity of anyone who still calls themselves a “Christian.” The difference between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity is the carpenter-turn-minister character: Jesus. Without Jesus, fundamental Christians are just Jews who hate Jews; unless the Jews are at war with the Muslims. Without Jesus, there is no charity, no humility, no generosity, and plenty of tolerance for hate, war, greed, and prejudice. Without the moderating words attributed to Jesus, Christians are unbounded by any rules other than to pretend to believe in their gods. A rational look at the lifestyles of the evangelicals and televangelists would convince any sentient person that the purpose of religion is to make a very small number of hyper-corrupt people very, very rich. Those people, not surprisingly, are totally behind Donald Trump and his obscene administration. The only interest they have in government is protecting their tax-exemption and Donald has no intention of betraying their trust; unless they actually begin to act like Christians. Not likely, though. Is it?

The country’s frayed and decaying justice system is taking a beating these days, too. Trump is praising cops who violate laws and act like the Gestapo he desperately needs to “reform” this country into the fascist model he imagines will make him fearless leader. Trump and the Republican congress are appointing judges who will set back civil rights, election integrity, and Sessions is reversing every half-progressive order Obama’s Justice Department issued.

There should be some kind of freedom in knowing that nothing matters. It doesn’t feel free, though. It feels lawless, dangerous, and unpredictable.


I don’t have the right to do nothin’

When I first saw this title, I assumed it was another illiterate person who didn't understand double-negatives. When I heard this kid, I realized he’s a lot smarter than me.


Humans School Halfwits

Ex-Stupid-State Govenor, Ricky Perry, crowned most-uninformed-ever Secretary of Energy by the most idiotic Republican President since Reagan, received a remedial scientific process education by Sen. Al Franken. I’m sure it didn’t take, since no other part Perry’s remedial education stuck with him.

Back in 2015, Texas put its poor voting decisions on parade in a variety of venues as half-human, half-weasel Ted Cruz pretended to be smart enough to comprehend a chart that clearly overwhelmed him with its simplicity. It really is time to start limiting red state access to the federal government.


The Wrong People Are Giving Up

When Barak Obama became President in 2008, morons like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Alex Jones, and the Marching Morons who listen to their chin dribble all threatened to leave the country; as if some other country would want them. Obviously, those people went no where and whined like the fluffballs they are for 8 years of economic recovery and mild attempts at restoring economic equality and an even milder form of justice in this declining nation. Who were they kidding? What 1st world country would want our no-talent, hate-jocks? In fact, unless you are among the rapidly shrinking minority of Americans with actual marketable talents, no other country wants American immigrants at all. Even our immediate neighbors, Canada and Mexico, are becoming picky about who they will take from their overly violent, uneducated, and clearly insane neighbor.

trump_rallyHowever, since none of those people contribute anything irreplaceable, most everything carried on as if nothing had changed. Other than carrying out the garbage and doing work better performed by immigrants, legal or otherwise, it’s not like Trump’s fans are big economic drivers or scientists or doctors or anyone who makes a useful contribution to the GNP or the national character. The only money behind Trump comes from the worst people in the world: trust fund brats and hedge fund gangsters and actual mobsters. The people who voted for Trump are, literally, the dumbest people in the nation, making a contribution to the nation’s GNP that is so insignificant that if they were to leave the United States, the country left behind would be greatly improved and the new nation formed of Trumpetes would be a large, powerless clip_image002Bangladesh. “The less-than-500 counties that Hillary Clinton carried nationwide encompassed a massive 64 percent of America’s economic activity as measured by total output in 2015.  By contrast, the more-than-2,600 counties that Donald Trump won generated just 36 percent of the country’s output—just a little more than one-third of the nation’s economic activity.” Trump likes to speak in terms of “winners and losers,” but he and his followers are classic losers by any standard of measurement and have been at least since G.W. Bush’s “victory” in 2000: Al Gore’s 659 counties contributed 54% of the GNP while Bush’s 2397 only kicked in a 46% share. Red states are consistent non-contributors to the nation’s economy in every 21st Century measure. In fact, the only area where red states have an advantage is in resource extraction. In other words, red states on their own would be competing on a level footing with South Africa, Russia, the Arab states, and parts of South America. The only criteria that matters in those economic activities are price; the lowest price/margins win.

The unemployed and/or completely dependent alt-right characters have definitely done damage to the people who have, traditionally, supported their enemies with everything from Social Security, Workman’s Compensation, Medicare/Medicaid, healthcare in general, and the science that has driven the nation’s economic success since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Now that everything from the National Park System to healthcare to bankster regulation to the environment is being attacked by the goons in the White House, a lot of people are wondering, “Is this actually my country?

Those who have come the US with the hope of joining a thriving economy are definitely questioning that decision, “Technology companies across the country said they did not support the travel ban, and the mood is dark across the California tech sector” It’s not like the whole country is attracting high-tech talent. The red states are giant antigravity zones, not just repelling non-white, non-native talent, but driving out homegrown high performers. Not only is the Trump immigration policy driving non-US talent to more welcoming nations, US talent often feels compelled to “immigrate” to the only place in the country that is overwhelmingly driven by innovation: Silicon Valley. Now, you have to wonder if home-grown talent will be looking for a “better world” elsewhere. It could just be who I know, but in the last month I’ve had conversations with two Boomer families who have to go overseas to visit their grandchildren: a pair of physicians permanently immigrated to Ireland and an engineer and a physician now calling Australia “home.”

clip_image003A good reason for the fear generated by Trump is his promise to “make American great again.” The people who are energized by this promise couldn’t make a contribution to make their own backyards “great.” The only job they could possibly imagine Trump creating for them would be as members of the Gestapo. The far right loves Trump, but they are otherwise useless, non-contributors to the nation’s economy or future. What else could they be hoping for?

At the other end of this high-output vs. low output America conflict will be both the people who leave and the people who decide to quit fighting for people who don’t appreciate the effort. If Trump saps that energy, you can safely assume the country will experience another economic crash, as the banksters and hedge fund gangsters leverage themselves into oblivion and the Marching Morons pretend to keep up by borrowing every penny they can borrow for their new cars, boats, big screen televisions, and the rest of the crap they can not afford and don’t need. This time, there won’t be a Barak Obama standing by to bail out the morons and regulate the criminals. In fact, the young people who might have been the people to take on that job, might just be watching the “fun” from Toronto, Sydney, London, or Berlin.


Big Whoop

New PictureIf you’ve spent more than 15 minutes on the internet in the last month, you’ve probably seen this idiotic ad. Don’t waste your time, the “Trump Prophet” is a wingnut hedge fund gangster who is using his once-in-a-lifetime guess that Republican Russians would scam the election and force Trump on the American public and the world. Big whoop.

A friend provided the best analysis I ever heard regarding why Trump would win, way back in August. “Half of every population has below average intelligence. Half of every population has below average education. Trump will win all of those votes. The only hope Clinton has is that one of Trump’s halves wil decide not to vote.” They all voted.

Of course this hedge fund crook is counting on our Congresscritters to be as stupid as possible and train wreak the economy in record time, with no real balance-of-power controls to stop Republican Russians and their plutocratic owners from having a drunken frat party with the economy and the shriveled remains of American democracy. It’s not impressive to realize that Republicans have crashed the economy every time they’ve been in power since 1968. What would be impressive would be finding a stone to hide your savings under until the economic tornado is done wreaking society. Good luck with that.


Surrounded by Christian Zombies

For several years, I would drive from Denver to Dodge City, pick up my father, and drive the two of us to Hutchinson, KS for the NJCAA Basketball national championship tournament. Kansas, if you aren’t familiar with the place, is one of the many states in the decadent US that ignores the parts of the Constitution it believes are “unnecessary” or intrusive: like the First Amendment. Even though the tournament is held in a public building and all of the schools involved are public institutions, every game is preceded with some nutball in a dress chanting an inane prayer to the assortment of gods—Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Evangelist, whatever—masquerading as “Christian.”

From my perspective, it has been entertaining to watch faux-Christians freak out about exposure to “radical Islam.” I’ve been surrounded by nutjob radical Christians who want to destroy the world as quickly as possible so they can find their place in that horrific heavenly choir sooner rather than later. Try to imagine this idiot’s rant, “Christians Need To Stop Being So Naive About Muslim Immigration,” from the point-of-view of an agnostic or atheist. This snowball’s terror is nothing but hilarious, “Can they not observe the differences in today’s world between countries dominated by Islam and Western countries founded on Christian and Enlightenment values? Are they not aware of the widespread problems with migrants assaulting women in Germany, one of the latest victims being the daughter of a European official, who was raped and drowned? Have they not heard about the sharia [sic] law courts Muslim immigrants have created in England and the schools where Muslim children are taught barbaric practices?” Any reading of European and American history would make this hysteria laughable. Every single complaint about Islam that she offers can be laid on the laps of the US and European faux-Christian imperialists; past and present. We are, after all, the nation that justified carpet-bombing highly populated cities in Iraq, a nation whose only crime was possessing lots of oil, as a “crusade.” We’re the nation willing to blow up wedding parties on the off-chance that someone on our “terrorist watch list” might be present.

While watching Christians freak out when they see Muslim women in burkas or bearded Muslim men in a coffee shop is entertaining, it’s also familiar. I get exactly the same creeping feeling around any superstitious group, especially when I’m surrounded by creepy superstitious people. All religions are cults and all religious people are irrationally superstitious, dangerous, and unpredictable. Once a person convinces themself that a god has chosen them for some damned purpose, anything can happen; usually anything awful. Most of my family is religious and superstitious; as is most of the country. “The survey found 42 percent of adults say they believe in ghosts, 36 percent say they believe in creationism, 36 percent say they believe in UFOs, 29 percent say they believe in astrology, 26 percent say they believe in witches and 24 percent say they believe in reincarnation, or that they were once another person.” We’re a nation of idiots.

2DC99A6A00000578-3289414-image-a-55_1445831355166For 60 years, all but my first 9, I’ve tolerated insane gibberish from almost everyone I knew. Finally, I’ve decided life is too short and painful to put up with more of this horseshit. If these people were parasite-infected zombies, supposedly it would be reasonable to protect one’s self from contamination. Since they are religious zombies, my only option is to do my best to avoid them.


Women Elected Trump and I’m Out

A few years ago, my oldest daughter complimented me by telling one of her friends that I was the most committed feminist she knew. I have two daughters of whom I am incredibly proud. One of my daughters things I inhibited her feminity by not encouraging her “girlyness” and the other is not particularly worried about how other people judge her. My goal was to provide my kids with the opportunity to become whoever they are; regardless of who I would like them to be. They are humans first, women second, and my daughters somewhere way down the line. What I think of what they do with their lives should only be my problem.

As a peripheral aspect of being the father of two brilliant women, I have been a regular contributor to lots of women’s rights organizations: from Planned Parenthood to the League of Women Voters to the National Organization for Women and practically every semi-related liberal group that asked me for money. The last 35 years have been tough on that commitment. Women elected Reagan, Bush I and II, Clinton, and now Trump. Women are the majority of the voting public and NOBODY wins a political office in the United States of America unless they convince a significant number of women to vote for them. 53% of white American women voted for Donald Trump in 2016, including one of my daughters. At 70 years of age I’ve decided it’s time for women to stand on their own two feet and own the mess they have created. I am, officially, out.

I’ve flagged all of the phone numbers of women’s organizations who have called for donations in the past and I’ll keep flagging them until they give up on me. Call it “selfish” or whatever derogatory term you can apply to my position, but I’m going to wait for women to figure out who the hell is on their side and who wants to put them back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, before I worry about their problems again. Trump, Pence, Ryan, Turtleman, and the rest of the Republican Party have fooled a substantial majority of women to take careful aim at their own feet and blow off all their toes. Who am I to stand in their way? I might get hit by a ricochet.

For most of my life, I’ve observed that often women are women’s worst enemies. The Phyllis Schlafy’s of the world are always trying to squash other women into high heeled subservience and I don’t see nearly enough women fighting back. So how is it my job to stand with the few women who give a damn about other women? I am a fuckin’ hermit and if I could get through a year or two without seeing another human I’d have spent the best year or two of my life. So, I’m out and you’re in the batter’s box. Don’t bother calling me to ask if I’ve had enough of this bullshit because you’ll know I back because you’ll be in control and the old, superstitious white men will be hiding in a closet; where they belong.


Don’t Fear Intelligence

In a recent interview, Steve Wozinak said, “There’s sort of a fear with artificial intelligence that machines could become so intelligence and versatile that they could totally replace a person so there wouldn’t be other jobs to go to, but that is so far off it’s an unrealistic fear at this stage. It would take decades and decades.” Being afraid of artificial intelligence is as far from my concerns as is humanly possible, I’m far more afraid of human stupidity: for example, Trump’s, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” gibberish.

Human, and especially American, stupidity has been on the rise for the last 40 years and, not coincidentally, superstition and “religion” are on the uptake. One of many recent studies, produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, summarized the facts, “In basic literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills, the new study shows, younger Americans are at or near the bottom of the standings among advanced countries.”

Two years ago, Fortune Magazine listed a few of the ways the United States is in decline: Economic Signs that America Is on the Deline. Republicans appear to worship the concept of economic inequality, but most sentient humans understand that poverty and freedom are incompatible. The USA falls below such powerhouse nations as Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Turkey when it comes to economic equality, in fact we have the fourth highest income inequality in the world. Libertarians rejoice! Crony capitalism has succeeded. We’re in the top ten in only one important category and we’re #1 there: we have more citizens in prison than any other country in the world. China isn’t even a close second.


Marching for Dimes

Remember the March of Dimes? When I was a kid, practically every cash register had a little plastic box with a picture of some poor kid in leg braces or lying in a hospital bed or some other pitiful, helpless situation with Jerry Lewis somewhere in the picture with his hand out. My wife absolutely hates the idea of the March of Dimes, which was mostly an organization staffed by millionaires’ trophy wives guilting working people out of their spare change. As my wife says, “If the millionaire class stopped hoarding their fortunes and spent a little of it on medical research or eliminating poverty or improving public education, poor people wouldn’t have to chip in their ten cents to keep the trophy wives occupied.”

Likewise, the Democratic Party is running its own March of Dimes these days. While the billionaire class buries the Republicans in dark money, Democrats are reduced to asking working people for spare change. They aren’t even good at that, so most of the regional and state Democratic candidates are reduced to buying email lists to beg for money all across the country. There is no Democratic National Committee as far as any sort of national organization is concerned. The DNC’s sole purpose in 2016 was to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States, all other campaigns be damned. As a result of hustling one of the two most disliked candidates in US history and taking a much undeserved vacation during the entire Obama presidency, the party lost more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures, governor's mansions and Congress between the 2012 and 2016 elections. The party, which had geared itself up to do exactly what it did in 2016 for 2008 when voters overwhelmingly rejected Clinton for Barak Obama, sat on its ass and did nothing to help local, state, and national candidates for 8 years. Now, there is no national Democratic Party organization and the US is close to becoming a single-party nation. There are plenty of role models to follow at the state level, all of those states are red and all of them are economically, educationally, and culturally disadvantaged. There is no example in the country of a state that has done better under Republican rule, but those Koch brothers’ servants don’t care. Their brains are washed clean.

This spring, Democrats had practically nothing to do with the money they stashed during the 2016 debacle and at three House seats were up for grabs: Kansas, Georgia, and Montana. The DNC did what it does best, ignored those campaigns until the March of Democratic Dimes managed to point out the weakness of the Republican opponents in those races. Still, the DNC didn’t raise a finger to help the last vestiges of Democratic progressive candidates fight millions of Koch dollars. I suppose the DNC is hanging on to its cash in case Hillary or another Clinton wants to run in 2020?


Stupid Watergate

All that needs to be, and should be, said about the train wreak pseudo-conservatives call the “Trump Administration.”

It’s Funny How A Big Lie Can Make Us All Kids Again

“When we were kids, we were all afraid of the dark. Then we grew up and we weren’t afraid any more. But . . . it’s funny how a big lie can make us all kids again.”

“Until the crowd knew that everything Trump said was a lie, there was no hope. The confidence man would always get the credit for saving the town.”


Facebook Page

2016 has taught me a lot of things, mostly through painful lessons I’d rather not experience again. Probably the most important lesson has been that “social media” isn’t very social and it’s a poor substitute for a free society’s functioning media. While living in small towns across the Midwest and West for 68 years I learned that “street smarts” and the “school of hard knocks” aren’t even close to an actual education. 2016 reminded me that “the kindness of strangers” quickly evaporates when the strangers form a mob. David Roth’s “crowd IQ rule” absolutely applies to the results of the 2016 election. Since the smartest person in a Trump chump crowd has a sub-100 IQ, that crowd IQ never had a chance of obtaining single-digit intelligence. I learned that democracy does fail when the voting public believes it can “vote itself rich.” I was reminded, again, that the majority of my generation was in favor of the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars and every piddily invasion scheme from criminals who make up our government and our military-industrial complex. The following generations will be no more intelligent, since the species appears to be downbreeding as fast as possible.

All my life I’ve watched “Christians” behave like Romans and the disconnect between their behavior. Their actions convinced me that all religion was a farce when I was 9 years old. That opinion has only been reinforced over the lext 60 years. I can’t tell fundamentalist Christians from fundamentalist Muslims from fundamentalist Jews from Satinists. You are all a pack of ethics-free, selfish, greedy, violent, miserable jackals who would and will eat your own children if you miss a couple of Happy Meals. Everyone of you pretends that resources are infinite and that one generation has the right to use and abuse all of the world’s resources, leaving their children to suffer the consequences, justifies that greed and selfishness with religion. I have no idea why you reproduce, but I know it is NOT because you love your children.


What’s Workin’ for You?

The more scientists learn about how human brains “work,” the less hope I have for the species. It’s not the scientists’ fault, they are the best hope humanity and the planet has. The problem is that our caveman, lizard-brain inherited qualities are often so incredibly self-destructive that it’s hard to imagine how the species will evolve into something creative and sustaining.

For example, on an NPR program yesterday, some nitwit from the right-wing “libertarian” propaganda machine with the pompus, Trump-style academic name the “Cato Institute,” debated a physician about healthcare. The NPR interviewer did manage to get the wingnut to admit that their philosophy is that “everyone deserves the healthcare they can afford.” To modifiy this obviously vicious and destructive philosophy, the went on in their usual way about how markets magically create affordable solutions (suicide options, I suspect) if they are allowed to operate “freely.” History demonstrates, repeatedly, that markets despise unrestrained operation and the rich work as hard as rich people are capable of working to find ways to eliminate competition, optimize profits and minimize the required effort to maintain the status quo. Libertarians, as much as they love to imagine themselves to be defenders of individual liberty, are defenders of the 1% and economic and social inequality. It’s their thing. As someone deftly explained forty or fifty years ago, “libertarians are Republicans with ponytails.” The physician in this debate, obviously someone who has spent her life trying to improve patients’ existence and doing actual useful work, had a strongly opposing opinion based on reality, practice in medicine (not mindless economic theorizing), and a life committed to doing something of value.

The end result for me was a reminder of the right wing’s babbler-in-chief, Sarah Palin, asking “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?”

Hope and change tie together closely. People who are easily “grossed out” are consistently conservative and afraid of change. Being afraid of anything tends to make us not only oppose change but to turn around and head back into whatever mess we were attempting to leave. In my lifetime, this country has had two (maybe two and a half, counting Carter) Presidents who were change drivers. Kennedy was assasinated in the early stages of reversing the country’s mindless drive toward becoming an imperialist empire and a force for world instability. Obama was handed an economy in freefall and a society on the edge of social collapse and, after doing a few of the things necessary to stop total collapse, was stopped in his tracks by a timid, backwards, mostly-white conservative voting block who elected a congress that was as regressive a group of uneducated, racist, lazy, entitled white men as you’d expect from a similar population. “Hope and change” were the polar opposite of what these voters and their representatives stood for.

My question to them would be, “How’s that hatey, scaredy, stupidy thing workin’ our for ya?”

With Trump in the White House, Republicans in control of Congress, and a solid majority of pseudo-conservatives in the Extreme Court, the country is heading as far from hope and change (for the better) as possible. In fact, we appear to be on a sled ride down a steep icy path toward a cliff with a pile of sharp boulders waiting for us at the bottom. Not as a country, but as a species.


A Great Moment in Comedy

I can't decide of Stephen's routine was funnier than the wingnuts' reaction to it. Seriously? You redneck, racist, homophobic, illiterate, superstitious morons think the rest of us should be upset that Cobert thinks you elected a treasonous, corrupt, incompetent clown? Get this ridiculous shit:

"What Steven Colbert did is called SEXUAL HARASSMENT. That's what this is. Sexual harassment is creepy pre-rapist behavior & that's why it's illegal. Steven Colbert has got to go but the libs are going to give him a pass all the while they demand bill o'rilye & others be ousted."

"Nice try, but still a fail. The 'Libs' are complaining that the right is acting exactly like what they bitch about, and accuse "libs" of doing. Words matter."

What a bunch of fluffballs.

Voting Blocks

We keep hearing about the Boomer voting block being some sort of daunting demographic that will stifle the future of the next century. The facts are that Boomers are a substantial minority, according to the US Census Department. Here are the real numbers as of May 2016:

  • 18 to 29 years         48,930,023    21.60%
  • 30 to 44 years         53,919,202    23.80%
  • 45 to 64 years         78,123,072    34.40%
  • 65 years and over   46,047,189    20.30%

20.3% of the potential voters in the 2016 elections were Boomers. 77% were white, which is a more important demographic, but one that is thankfully shrinking. 31% had a batchelor’s degree or higher. 25% had a household income of $100k or higher. Nationally, a little more than half (55%) of potential voters turned out for a 20-year low voter participation rate in 2016, about 18M fewer than in 2008.

What all this tells us, or should tell us, is that it wouldn’t take much effort for the 18 to 44 (Millenials and X-Gens) to overwhelm any voting capacity from the old white Boomer crowd. So, now those two generations need to get off of their mom’s basement couches and do some work.


Out of Patience

When I was a kid, in the 50’s, Eisenhower was President and Nixon was Vice-President (heavy on the “vice”). For a brief moment, John Kennedy was elected president in 1960, when I was twelve and assinated when I was fifteen. A marginal Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, followed that until he was chased from office (by actual Democrats) over his expansion of the Vietnam War. Nixon and his band of merry assholes and war criminals followed. After six and a half years and even more expansion of the war, Republicans stuck the country with Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller after Nixon and his VP, Spiro Agnew, were chased from office for corruption and various crimes against the nation. Ford was the 1974 version of Paul Ryan, with about the same lack of patriotism, with the same collection of corrupt corporate and 1% owners, and the same distain for justice and honor that has been typical of Republicans for my whole lifetime.

For an incredibly brief 4 years, a competent businessman, experienced engineer, a reasonable politician, and decent person, Jimmy Carter, was president. Carter made the politically fatal mistake of attempting to explain the situation Americans had placed themselves in with those years of  expansionist war, Republican, and near-Republican misnamangement (Remember the “malaise speech?”). Reminicent of the more recent words of Bernie Sanders, Carter told us, "In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns." He called American lack of faith in the country’s future, “a crisis of confidence.” The truth may set you free, but in Carter’s case it cost him the 1980 election to a Republican con man and a collection of right wing crooks and traitors who haven’t yet left the stage. Carter was right, though, the post-Reagan USA became one “defined by . . . what one owns.”

So, with our heads in the sand or up our asses we elected Ronald Reagan, followed by George Bush Sr., and the country drove itself off a cliff of international debt and some kind of weird celebration of anti-intellectualism and greed that resulted in a habitual deficit spending and a vicious love of imperialism and militarism. Twelve years of regressive, corrupt, and incompetent Hollywood executive and mediocracy—inspired congressional idiocy followed. Somehow, brainless and lazy Americans decided to convey political sainthood on Reagan instead of admitting that they’d been conned and the country had been robbed by the B-movie actor and failed California politician.

Bill Clinton could have been a Democrat, but he chose to be an “Eisenhower Republican” and he only moderated the government’s incompetence during his eight years in office. Even Republicans don’t like Republicans pretending to be Democrats and the last four years of Clinton’s administration was taken up with “did he or didn’t he” bullshit about Clinton’s blowjobs. Republicans tried to conjure up real impeachable crimes, but being Republicans their success was limited by their lack of competence and their own massive corruption issues. Clinton might have been an easy target if Republicans still had an intellectual base, but by 1992 every intelligent Republican had left the building and their space was filled by the uneducated, racist, tools of the Koch brothers we suffer today.

Then eight years of G.W. Bush and a bunch of Reagan and Nixon cronies finally led us to the Great Recession. Obviously, the Party of Borrow and Spend borrowed and spent to the tune of increasing the deficit every year while the 1%, the conservative media talking heads, and the Marching Morons pretended that was a rational alternative to Democratic “tax and spend” policies that at least attempt to pay for their policies. 2008 through 2010 were budget years where the federal government attempted to spend its way out of what looked like the Second Great Depression. I guess it sort of worked, but prosecuting the financial criminals, recovering their booty to repay the trillions they cost the country and world, and taxing the 1% would have worked far better. Barak Obama was more of a Democrat than the Clintons, but not enough more to convince the Marching Morons that democracy is better than idiocy or mediocrity.

Trump, of course, will be the worst of Reagan and the Bush’s combined. He had no skill as a “businessman” and his mental instability has led to a collection of right wing idiots in the executive branch who are guaranteed to make life miserable for working people. The best we can hope for now is that Republicans and the inbred 1% will be stupid enough to crash the country and the resulting chaos will break up the oversized and overarmed US military and not cause the insane religious right, who now dominate US politics, to fire off their own perverted version of Armageddon. Today, the world’s most pressing problem is surviving the end of the empire known as the United States of America.

So, I went through the Vietnam War years, watching my friends die, be mentally or physically disabled, and being alienated from my family and community because I wouldn’t “get onboard” with an immoral war. Again, I was on the opposite side of the majority during Reagan and Bush I’s reign of world terror and imperialism and again with Bush II. After spending most of my 69 years suffering with the incompetence of Republicans and the stupidity of Republican voters, I’m tired of it. I have no more energy or motivation to put up with 4 or 8 years of a pack of Trump morons than I have with chemotherapy and a long “fight” with cancer. In fact, the moral character of my country feels disgustingly like a cancer infection/infestation.