I-just-don’t-get-it headline of the day

I-just-don’t-get-it headline of the day:

“Nearly 180 Democrats support forming $12 million, 13-member slavery reparations commission”

I don’t care about the number of members in any federal commission. Many commissions are turned to boost egos and memorable change from the efforts is elusive, at best. The point of even discussing cash slavery reparation payments is box-of-hair dumb.

The fact there ever was slavery in this country is appalling. Period. Paragraph.

“We, the people…all men are created equal….” should say it all today, even though when the document was written, those words were understood to mean “We, the people (white men only)….”

Paying money to people whose great great grandfathers and great-great grandmothers were slaves does not undue the generations of abuse blacks suffered at the hands of white owners. A check from the government is a here-and-gone gesture made in an attempt to say, “Sorry that some of our ancestors used some of your ancestors as livestock. Here. Here’s some money snd let’s just let bygones be bygones.”

No. That’s not the answer. Some ills cannot be cured with money; some events in history are carved into history like a brand; some wrongs are lodged in the souls and psyches of the human spirit.

We don’t need a feel-good reparations commission; we need a different commission, a group of forward thinkers that have the wherewithal, the clout and the blessing of the federal government to create a pathway — a true roadmap — of equality for every citizen and m, yes, prospective citizen.

Equality. That should be the goal, equal treatment under the law, protected once and for all by the power of federal government. True, there are laws already on the books demanding equality for all citizens that are being blatantly ignored. While the commission is doing it work, every law needs to be reviewed as compliance should be enforced.

Equality is the goal, for minorities, for women, for all citizens regardless of skin tone, sexual orientation, religious preference, nation of origin, individual beliefs.

Total equality is an impossible goal; it is impossible to legislate thoughts, beliefs, visceral human emotions.  But that should not deter the effort to further strengthen the foundation of equality via reviewing and renewing the 1964 Civil Rights Act to reflect today’s realities.

No citizen — NO CITIZEN — in society, school, business or under the laws of this nation, should be judged by any measurement other than, to quote Martin Kurher King Jr., “…the content of their character.”

Regardless of law, regardless of educational efforts, there will always be bigots. Like the poor, every nation has its share of ignorant, prejudiced people who ostracize others they deem “not worthy” by standards foisted upon them from the cradle or learned through indoctrination and cult-speak.

You cannot legislate morality and ethical behavior, but you can legislate public behavior, set enforceable business standards against prejudicial treatment and educate the populous in the value of a diverse society.

Now, right now, is the time to reevaluate the existing laws and  ensure they are sufficient to move the nation into the next era of seeking improved equality … the united people of the United States.

Equality: An impossible concept to achieve, but a goal this nation is duty-bound to pursue.

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Everythig Is Political

1/22/2021

The 21 January story in the Washington Post caught my eye.  I immediately thought “Another dumb decision by some  bureaucrat.” My second thought was, “That person’s head should roll.”

I worked for the Navy for 32 years.  One to the Navy traditions is that managers must be held responsible for bad decisions.  It seemed like a simple thing to find the highest level person that decided to move the National Guard to a parking garage.and take action after a review of the situation.  It seems like something that could be quick and simple.

When it dawned on me that in the United States of America in 2021 nothing is simple. It’s all political.

For starters this story was reported by the Washington Post and on CNN.  For four years Trump has been brainwashing people to believe that everything in the Washington Post is “fake news” and cannot be believed.  That means 30% of the people in the country will not believe the story.  This leaves only the Democrats, the Independents, and Mitt Romney  to believe the story.

I must admit I was wrong once more.  Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy, rested after trying to overturn the last election, decided that it was time to blame the Democrats since they had been in power for a day.  Ok, let me cut him some slack – they have been in power for a day and a half.

Using our government’s official form of communications, Twitter, Mr. McCarfthy blamed Democrat Nancy Pelosi for ordering the National Guard into the parking garage.

I have never thought of Mr. McCarthy is a mental giant but surely he knows that the Secretary of Defense  does not report to the Speaker of the House and the National Guard is in the Department of Defense’s org chart.

To be perfectly fair to Mr. McCarthy, I am not sure Speaker Pelosi knows that the Secretary of Defense does not report to her.  After all she did call the Joint Chief of Staff to express her concerns about Donald What’s His Name having the nuclear codes. Fortunately, What’s His Name no longer has a football and only carries golf balls these days.

Hell – after listening to many members of the House of Representatives speak,  I feel fairly confident that fewer than 10% of them know the Secretary of Defence does not report to the Speaker of the House.  Let me make one correction.  Since more women joined Congress after the last election, let me say now 15% of the Representatives know that the Department of Defense does not report to the Speaker. 

Since some of you might feel I am being a little hard on McCathy and Pelosi, I would like to conclude by saying that Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Mitch McConnell have outlived their useful service life and should be put out to pasture with Pelosi and McCarthy.  It’s  time for them all to develop an exit strategy if one of them  knows what an exit plan is.

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Democracy

Democracy

By George Smith

Democracy is a cool word: It means, simply, the power in government rests with the people.

Many people believe that to be true. Well, actually, the United States is a democratic socialist republic, which is akin to a democracy, but with more of a “friends with benefits” arrangement.

America in the most recent past was shaping itself into a plutocracy (government by the wealthy) and, the last four years, was leaning toward an autocracy (one person in charge). President Donald Trump, backed by his legislative allies and the Supreme Court ruling that corporations were ‘people’ and could spend as much money as they could afford on political candidates and issues, put into place a take-no-prisoners  form of government.

“My wish, my want, my way” was his unspoken Oval Office mantra.

Plutocracy, in its basic form, is inherently bad. It is the ruling of a government by the wealthy class. It is the government of the day in this nation, the government that is making decisions for you and me. Our government is ruled by rich individuals and corporations who push massive amounts of money into the political process in order to control it.

And control it, “they” do. It is a fact that elected federal officials spend more time raising money for their next political race than they do working for the citizens they represent. 

We have a distinct separation of the “common” folk in this country and the privileged class; a majority of those money-holders are making sure that the division between the two classes remains a vast chasm, an ever-growing chasm, with the economically middle and lower class perpetually falling lower on societal’s financial ladder.

During the past year, as COVID-19 devastated lives and the economy, the wealthiest citizens gained more wealth; new billionaires popped up like daisies after a spring shower.

The foundation of this country was laid by the mental, financial and physical labors of highly educated (for the time) men, all  landholders and relatively wealthy individuals who wanted to control their own destiny. The foundation was solidified by these believers in freedom joining forces with Everyman, all believers in the limitless opportunities this country had to offer.

Over the past 250 years or so, there have been shifts in the individual political power bases of the legislative and executive branches of government, but, mostly,  elected leaders tried to work together to ensure that the main principle on which this country took root — “…that all men were created equal…” and maintaining certain freedoms — were sacrosanct. (Women and people of color were afterthoughts then, and to various degrees, are still in that category today.)

Now, due to the philosophical divisions inside both political parties, and the amount of rabid anti-themism exploding from the “Far Left is Best” attack bullies of the Democratic Party and the ultra-conservative, “white-is-right” arm in the Republican Party, the gap between common sense and senseless partisanship is as wide as any time in our history.

The Republican Party is being held captive by a bevy of radicals (some newbies and some old hats trying to stay in power), a corps of Trumpuppet aginners elected on platforms of hate and division. These professional naysayers have pledged to run the country’s fiscal future and global standing aground rather than work for compromise on key issues: pandemic response, education, continued economic recovery, deficit and debt, hand-up funds for the nation’s poor and disadvantaged, the future of foreign aid, immigration reform and right-to-vote issues.

On the other side of the aisle, young representatives joined with long-time socialist advocate Bernie Sanders to demand reforms in climate change, gun laws, introduction of specific socialistic programs, open borders and equality — in human rights and opportunity, but even when the “right” has not been earned or is not fiscally practical.

No longer does the art of compromise have a prominent place in political discourse; the legislative miracles accomplished with Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Tim O’Neill are ancient history. President Bill Clinton, despite his personal problems in the White House, built a legacy of compromise with Republicans via the passage of the bipartisan welfare reform act and the bill that unregulated the financial institution (not the best piece of legislation to pass but it was a “compromise”.) Under Clinton, a “free-spending Democrat”, our government had its last budget surplus.

Clinton was not a political chameleon as many opponents charged, then and now; he was a civil rights liberal and a fiscal conservative…perhaps the last of that particular political species we will see in our lifetime. More of his ilk (politically speaking, not on a personal level) is needed.

In a positive political environment, Republicans and Democrats prosper, as both sides use compromise as a way to get at least part of the individual parties’  (and individual lawmakers’) agenda enacted. 

In today’s heated environment, which is a buttress of pettiness, rock-hard immovable stances on key issues and political division, rancor and bully-boy tactics is commonplace. Civility is something found only in a dictionary; bile and bitterness flows down the aisles of both houses of Congress like stagnant wastewater.

As a people, we are into using “labels” for individuals and ideas rather than looking  at different ways to build a coalition embracing different views to form the basis of compromise legislation.

The overall political picture is further clouded by deep-pocket lobbying groups and special interests that back candidates based on single-issue stances rather than what is the best pathway for the country.

In a word, the present political melting pot is a mess of unappetizing ingredients, heated over a coal-fire of personal dislike, whiney-baby rhetoric and further fueled by our elected officials afraid of being removed from office by a demanding constituency that puts short-term interests over long-term national gains.

Is it too late to stop the slide that could end up with America as a non-player on the global scene? It is not too late. We have a new start with this new president.

But with the specter of Donald Trump hovering over the landscape, with the festering divisions and red-hot political rhetoric heating up social media, with our present crop of ME-in-the-spotlight legislators, and with no way to get them out of the way sans term limits, the present is looking more and more like the future.

Only we, the voters, can change it. The question is: Do WE have the will, the courage, the determination to say, ‘Enough!”

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Poetic column

Poetic column

By George Smith — 1/18/2021

We know which way Trump’s cult leans
Mindless, brainless, feckless fiends
They believe all his lies
Breaking all rational ties
As they create regular chaotic scenes

What is awaiting ahead of us?
Do we still fight, scream and cuss?
What really lies ahead?
Will democracy be dead?
Any rational subjects to discuss?

We’ll see the future before too long
Let’s stand together and be strong
Learn from the past
Build our nation to last
Let’s make “rights” from all the “wrongs”

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CULT (definition)

CULT (definition)

By George Smith — 1/13/2021

* A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

“a cult of personality”

If you are a believer in the actions, deeds, musings and pronouncements of President Donald Trump despite his constant stream of lies, deranged attacks on enemies and allies, blatant examples of inciting his followers to commit unlawful acts, and being responsible for the failed efforts to control the pandemic in this country, you are a member of a cult:

If you are a politician and believe your livelihood , your freedom, and, your very life, is umbilically connected to supporting the president, right or wrong, you are a cult member.

If you see Trump as a messenger from God, sent to do battle with the liberal elements trying to turn America into a socialist nation, you are a member of the Cult of Trump.

If you see the president as being solely responsible for the uptick in the stock  market and refuse to recognize the steady growth in stocks since 2010, you are a cult member.

If you do not see a

systemic racist bent of the white establishment in the US, or acknowledge Trump actively encourages members of the white supremacy movement, you a card-carry cult member.

If you believe the president is an honest businessman, ignoring his six bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits from former business contacts, the shutting down of his foundation for misuse of funds, the close of Trump University and massive cash settlement with former students on charges of fraud and giving his cozying up to the world’s most abusive  dictators a pass, you are a Trump cultist.

Do you believe the president focused his attention and the immense power  of the federal government on attacking  the COVID virus and minimizing its effect on US citizens, or still believe the virus is a hoax and scientists are double-dead-dog wrong, you are a cult member.

And, if you refuse to denounce his fiery words on January 6 when he gave his followers tacit permission to “attack” the nation’s Capitol, leading to five deaths and extensive property damage…look in the mirror and you’ll see a member of Trump’s cult. 

President Trump incited an insurrection of citizens against the government because he could not accept the absolute fact he lost the 2020 race for re-election.

He will go down in history as a liar, an insurrectionist and the most corrupt president in the nation’s history.

Don’t be a part of that legacy. Make a decision to leave the cult…now.

Help save American by, first, saving yourself.

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Impeach But Don’t Convict

Impeach But Don’t Convict

1/10/2021

By Ron Munden 

I checked the news shows on several networks this morning.  All had Republicans and Democrats on air saying that President Trump committed an impeachable act on January 6, 2021. 

There were a variety of viewpoints about whether he should be impeached with only 10 days left in office.  The  “no” and “yes” answers did not break along party lines.  Those that said “no” said it was time for the country to move on.  Others thought it was important to demonstrate that the President of the United States is not above the law.

Senator Mitch McConnell has said that if the House impeaches President Trump the trial in the Senate could not start before 20 January. The Senators are on a needed vacation.

It appears to me the solution is simple.

This week the House of Representatives should take up the question of impeachment.  I understand that the vote on impeachment could come as early as Wednesday.  Every Representative can cast a vote. This will let the voters know  whether the Representative supports Donald Trump or  the Constitution and the rule of law in the country.  By Thursday Donald J. Trump could be Impeached.

This would give Trump a slap on the wrist for trying to destroy democracy in the United States.

The Constitution does not specify when the Speaker of the House has to send the articles to the Senate so she should hold them as long as she wants.  She should hold the Impeachment paper.  Mitch has said that the Senate cannot take impeachment up until after 20 January so there is no need to clutter his desk with Impeachment papers.

If Trump is a good boy for the next 10 days she could decide to just never forward the Impeachment papers.  If Trump is a bad boy and acts up as expected by many, she could send the papers over after deciding if additional articles should be added.

The new Democrate Majority Leader of the Senate could schedule the Impeachment trial if required.  Let’s all hope that it will not be required.

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Cue funeral dirge

(Cue funeral dirge.)

The Republican Party, the entity associated with Ronald Reagan, the Double Bushes and Donald J. Trump, was jerked to Jesus January 6th, 2021 with the defeat of not one, but two, Republican senatorial candidates in the Deep South state of Georgia.

David “Pious” Perdue and Kelly “Billionaire” Loeffler were sent to the political showers by Rev. Raphael Warnock, an in-your-face black activist, and Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old progressive Jew who is an investigative journalist and documentary producer.

What-the-hell? is that all about? Democrats won? In Georgia?

Four words are the sole reasons for this stunning political upset, and the reasons the U.S. senate swapped from Republican to Democratic Party control. The four words: Donald Trump AND Stacey Abrams.

President Donald Trump did everything he thought he had to do to make sure the two incumbent Republican senators were re-elected. He verbally pounded their opponents, tweeted constantly about the race and how important it was to HIS  agenda (forgetting/ignoring he’s on his way out), made several appearances at rallies where he juiced the effort that indicated he was  promoting their candidacies and raised money he said would help their advertising efforts in the runoff.

Therein lies a big part of the problem. Trump does not know when to shut up, when to turn off his verbose tweeter and let nature take its course. He badmouthed the Democratic candidates to the point that some on-the-fence-sitters felt sorry for them and cast pity votes; at rallies he talked about the injustices he has suffered rather than concentrate on Perdue’s and Loeffler’s re-election efforts; he raised money, but a lion’s share went into his personal “campaign” chest.

The announcement in the weeks before the election that Loeffler had reached billionaire status, and that Perdue had become even richer during the economic downturn did not help their chances.

But, on the other side of the political equation, there is Abrams, who saw voter suppression ploys by the state Republican Party eliminate her chance to be Georgia governor in 2018. Rather than wailing and whining about that obvious injustice, she decided to change the system with her get-out-the-vote campaign. Her efforts resulted in historic voter registration and in turnout, which led to not only two Democratic senators from the state being elected, but also in the control of the U.S. Senate moving from the GOP to the Democratic Party.

Furthermore, by kowtowing to Trump’s whims and wiles, members of the party he most recently adopted, finds itself on the slippery slope to maintaining any national significance.

Do you see it? Do you see the writing in the Capitol rotunda?

There is no more Republican Party; it does not exist. There is the Party of Trump, and there is the other so-called Republicans who believe in fiscal responsibility and compassionate conservatism. Divided they have no concentrated power; working on opposite agendas, they are murmurs in a hurricane. Shrinking their base instead of becoming more inclusive guarantees – GUARANTEES! – they become an also-ran in any national discussion or election.

If you are a Donald Trump supporter, give him kudos for starting a new political party that will continue to have a divisive impact in isolated political races, but are mere noisy and noxious verbal flatulence in races and issues of national importance.

If you believe the Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election and the Georgia senatorial races, you are double-dead-dog wrong. Blame two people for that political miracle: Donald Trump and Stacey Abrams.

And all of those elements can be directly attributed as a big part of the reason his hand-picked candidates lost, and Democrats control the executive and legislative branches of government beginning January 20, 2011.

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President Donald Trump Ignores

President Donald Trump Ignores

By George Smith — 12/19/2020

1)  The sharply rising numbers of pandemic cases and deaths.

2) The disconcerting news about Russian hackers burrowing into various agencies’ computer systems and undermining the security of the nation.

3) The more than 50 courtroom losses on his claims that fraud cost him his re-election bid.

4) The outcry on his pardons and commutations of convictions and sentences of key allies, all of whom were convicted or pled guilty to federal crimes.

5) The directives of his own Center for Disease Control for minimizing  COVID 19 effects and holding events that resulted in virus outbreaks.

6) Traditional preparations that signify the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy.

7) Shows no emotion in regard to the federal government acknowledging it still has more than 500 undocumented children separated from parents and has no idea where the parents are or how to reconnect family members.

8 ) How inappropriate his last-days-in-office actions are in regard to firing certain officials and replacing them with loyalists… to what end?

9) How history will view his erratic and toxic presidency, basking instead in the crazed loyalty of his base, a hodgepodge of white supremacy, neo-Nazi, militia and short-sighted fervent evangelistic conservative groups.

10) The basic reality of his situation: At noon, Jen. 20, 2020, Trump is no longer president. That is a reality he cannot seem to grasp.

See the pattern? If a situation does not fit into his picture-perfect mental image of what he WANTS his world to be, the “truth” does not exist.

Trump, and many of his Trumpuppets, are suffering from “delusional disorder”. It is a type of serious mental illness — called a “psychosis”— in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue.

This is Donald Trump, the 2020 version. Those that pledge allegiance to him, to his delusional view of the state of the union and the world, are complicit in the actions which undermine the safety and security of this nation and the health of its citizens.

Step back. Take a breath. Look to the future. And kick the hurtful delusions of this president to the gutter where they belong.

It’s a new beginning. Embrace it and smile about future possibilities to return to the light provided by a free, empathetic and loving nation that promises freedom and opportunities for all who reside here.

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CULT, MUCH?

By George Smith — 12/18/2020

Are you a member of or have your ever been a member of a cult?

Cult — a misplaced or excessive “admiration for a particular person or thing.

A typical cult has a charismatic, unaccountable leader, persuades by coercion and exploits its members, economically, sexually or in some other way.

The word cult can be broadly defined as “formal religious veneration,” “a system of religious beliefs and its body of adherents,” “a religion regarded as ‘unorthodox or spurious,'” “great devotion to a person or idea” as well as “persons united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure.”

Think about it: These general definitions could potentially include everything from Barbie doll collectors to so-called “Trekkies” and die-hard Elvis fans.

According to a book (“Cult Formation”) by psychologist Dr. Robert Lifton on the “glue” that holds cult together, three factors must be present in destructive cults:

1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.

2. A process [of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as] coercive persuasion or thought reform [commonly called “brainwashing”]. The culmination of this process can be seen by members of the group often doing things that are not in their own best interest, but consistently in the best interest of the group and its leader.

3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Liftin states, “The destructiveness of groups called cults varies by degree, from labour violations, child abuse, medical neglect to, in some extreme and isolated situations, calls for violence or mass suicide.

“Some groups that were once seen as “cults” have historically evolved to become generally regarded as religions. Power devolved from a single leader to a broader church government and such groups ceased to be seen as simply personality-driven and defined by a single individual.”

Tipton gives 10 warning signs of a potentially unsafe group or leader.

• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.

• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.

• Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.

• The group/leader is always right.

• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Now, take a deep breath. Are you or someone you know a member of a cult?

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Bottom-Feeders

By George Smith — 12/16/2020

 There-is-no-“bottom”-for-bottom-feeders headline of the day:

“Tucker Carlson Calls Jill Biden ‘Illiterate,’ ‘Not Very Bright’ and Says She ‘Can’t Think Clearly’ as He Continues Mocking Her”

Dr. Jill Biden has a doctorate in education. Carlson has a bachelor’s in advanced pencil sharpening or history, I forget which. He was rejected for employment by the CIA and moved into print journalism. He used to work fur MSNBC but couldn’t cut it.

A hardline Trumpuppet, he gets pleasure out of verbally gutting those he thinks are elitists snobs. This from a man who father was richly-rich and owned homes in La Jolla, California., Nevada and owned several islands. One of Carlson’s schools was a prep school in Switzerland. The country.

Rave on, B.A. Boy! Go ahead and pick on the FLOTUS-in-waiting, who has four degrees, a bachelor’s, two master’s AND a doctorate. While she is putting her stamp on the White House role and history, you’ll still be a petulant brat with a degree from a college few people have ever heard of, located in a state few people have ever visited.

Boolah! Boolah!

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