09. February 2019 · Comments Off on How To Win the Presidential Con-Game in 5-Easy Steps · Categories: Humour, Sock Puppets

1. Find your marks. Look for a demographic with lots of emotional hang ups. These people are more likely to get behind a president based on his narrative no matter how incompetent he is. The key is to find a demographic large enough to win elections. If that’s hard to do, give yourself the Electoral College handicap by focusing on rural populations. Remember, through the current system, one voter in Wyoming has the electoral power of five voters in California.

2. Feed the Fire. Lock in your marks by keying in on their fears and frustrations. Tell them ‘things are even worse than they realize. Monger that fear. Sell it. Then tell them that you are their only salvation. That’s right, if you have the right marks, your audacity will excite them, encourage them… And keep it constant. Don’t give them a chance to think about it too much. Keep them emotional and your marks will become your “base”.

3. Act busy. The first two steps should be enough to win the election. Once in office, start making rapid changes. A steady stream of changes will give you and your “base” a list of “accomplishments” that will overwhelm the analysts and overload the media. Look for changes that won’t require a democratic process such as executive orders and bilateral trade agreements. The key here is to not overthink these changes. They don’t have to be significant or beneficial as long as your base can see their saviour signing orders.

Remember, if your base is big enough to put you in office, you won’t need to satisfy anyone else.

02. February 2019 · Comments Off on The Doomsday Clock And The MAGA Delusion · Categories: Uncategorized

Recently, a friend told me that things will get better… “They’re going to be rough for a while…” he said, but in the long run things will be better. I knew he was referring to the path that he thinks Trump has put us on… something I call the MAGA delusion. I don’t know what hard evidence he has to make this assessment, Honestly, I think he’s just hoping. His statement was so broad that there wasn’t really anything to grab, so I just nodded my head. It’s always good to hope. I could have asked for more detail on what he meant but I knew he would have picked from an endless list of stories in the expanding folklore of political rhetoric and I’m tired of chasing these stories down to the red herrings, misinterpretations and false claims that they so often prove to be.

In the meantime, back in Chicago, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just pushed the Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight for the first time since 1953. For those who don’t know, the Doomsday Clock is a symbol of scientific concern about the future of humanity. The closer the minute hand gets to midnight, the closer they think we are to our own demise as a species.

Of course, this clock is an abstract of collective opinion. An intentional consensus on risk and repercussion. So take it for what it is.

Now my friend has repeatedly stated that science is “just another religion” which of course makes it easy for him to marginalize, or even dismiss scientific concerns.

This is a fundamental difference between us. While he insists that scientists make claims about the truth, which I agree is a religious practice, I understand science to be a practice of approximation. So when a scientific theory is disrupted by new evidence, my friend qualifies that as a discredit… a case where the scientists claiming the truth were proven wrong, so why would we trust anything else they have to say? But from my perspective, viewing scientific theory as approximation, a disrupted theory is perfectly normal. It just means science is improving its approximation based on new discoveries, a sign that science it’s is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.

So for me, navigating across an ocean of emotional rants, half-baked conclusions, ingrained prejudices, insults and rhetoric the collective voice of scientific concern is the closest thing we to a North Star. I guess that’s why I’m more concerned about Trump’s idiotic stunts with nuclear powers around the world and his spitefully destructive policies on the environment (two things which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cite as the major reasons for the most critical alarm they’ve issued in over 60 years) than I am about… immigration.

I just wish more of the people I share this planet with were better educated.

02. February 2019 · Comments Off on A Rams Fan in Hostile Territory · Categories: Wiping Off Spit · Tags:

I grew up in the Los Angeles area in the 60’s when the Rams were the local team. But when I became a young adult in the 80’s they moved to St. Louis and for decades, my hometown didn’t have a team at all. So when the Rams came back to LA, it was great to have them back, even though I don’t live in there anymore… which is too bad, because being in the Philadelphia area during the 2018-2019 season has been kind of tough my allegiance.

On the upside, the Rams did make it to the Super Bowl. Now, I remember how excited the Philadelphia folks were when the Eagles got there last year, so it’s not like my excitement for a team making it to the Super Bowl is weird or inexcusable. But I sure as heck can’t find anyone out here to share a high five with, which I understand… this is Eagles territory but even more than that it seems like just mentioning the Rams out here triggers animosity that goes beyond typical rivalries.

First, there’s the bad call in the NFC playoff which has turned into a media frenzy that paints the Rams as undeserving cheaters despite the fact that they finished the regular season with the best record in the league and were tied with the Saints at 20 in OT when the call happened.

The other thing that makes this Rams homecoming so impossible to enjoy among the people I know here on the east coast is the general aversion to the NFL that’s been developing recently, especially among Trump supporters following the spat between Trump and players like Colin Kaepernick that dared to use their platform to protest injustice. Granted, many of my friends just aren’t into football… or sports at all for that matter. Many of my friends are artists and for some reason a lot of artists have a natural aversion to sports. But the Trump attitude toward the NFL seems to be a factor that turns paltry disinterest into viral disgust.

Bottom line is… after waiting for over 30 years for the Rams to appear in the Super Bowl, I now have no one to watch the game with and even just mentioning the game seems to incur mutterings of disgust like I’m showing an interest in under-aged pornography.

Shame on me for being a football fan from Los Angeles I guess.

02. February 2019 · Comments Off on The Bad Call · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Yes, I agree that the Rams defender, Nickell Robey-Coleman’s action prevented the intended Saints receiver, Tommylee Lewis, from catching the ball during the Saint’s last possession of the game. Technically, that IS pass interference. But I can also see that it wasn’t intentional. (I can already hear the ammo-clips being loaded) But seriously, it was a long pass, both players could see what was happening. Anyone who has ever played football knows that trajectories can be estimated in-flight. Bree’s threw a ball that was going to hit Lewis just a few yards short of the end zone and it was vital for Robey-Coleman to stop that run short. Being so close to the side-line the best option is to knock him over the side line which means he had to get there fast. Unfortunately, he miscalculated the timing and he hit the receiver BEFORE the ball got there. A more experienced defender would have noticed the ball wasn’t there yet and would probably have made an effort to play the ball instead.

I used to referee soccer games and I remember how intentions make a difference. Soccer and football, two sports that share common roots, are rough games and calling every infraction whether intended or not is an effort to bubble-wrap the players and it often interrupts the flow of the game. Still, if I was officiating the NFC championship game, I would have called pass interference anyway because it was such a critical play, but I would have chalked it up to sub-par defending not malicious intention.

So should the Saints be in the Super Bowl instead? Well, the teams were tied in sudden-death overtime and there was enough on the clock for the Saints to at least make a field goal so, I’d say the chances would be good, but it’s no guarantee. Anything can happen and as the Bears know too well, a critical field goal CAN be missed. So, do the Rams NOT deserve to be in the Super Bowl? Look, that call was a hard break for the Saints but the Rams DID finish the regular season with the best record overall… even better than the Saints by 8 points. Just because they caught a lucky break doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl.

I still remember when Argentina won the World Cup after eliminating England in the semi-finals when Deigo Maradona punched the ball in for a goal with his hand. The videos and photos show this infraction clearly and yet the hand ball wasn’t called. Maradona even admitted to it, calling the incident the “Hand of God”. And yet Argentina was allowed to continue toward the title while England was expected to pack up and go home. And this was a game between nations in a tournament that makes the Super Bowl look like a local tee-ball game. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches.

22. December 2018 · Comments Off on Trump’s Policy of Darkness · Categories: Economics, Environment, Politics

For two years I have been responding to enthusiastic ovations for Trump’s economic “policies” with the sobering reminder that it takes a year or two for policies to actually have a measurable affect on the economy and that the robust markets we’ve seen in Trump’s first two years have more to do with actions taken by Obama than those taken by Trump. That’s because the economy is like a large ship at sea that simply can’t stop on a dime. To avoid icebergs you have to make adjustments to the course, well ahead. And sure enough, now that the economy has had a chance to digest Trump’s line-crossing policies, we can see it starting to choke. I expect the ovations will soon subside and I won’t feel so compelled to respond to them.

But Trump’s assault on existing norms isn’t limited to economic policy. What happens is that economic performance is so easy to measure it makes it a popular focus for administrations riding on bull markets, in a sense saying “look what WE can do!”, the media reacts to that and the economy becomes the fixture of focus. But there are much larger ships out there. One of which happens to be the environment. On this ship, policies can take decades to have their effects which makes it hard for any four-year administration to measure and claim credit for improvements so the concern turns into a fringe issue.

This is unfortunate for a short-sighted culture obsessed with immediate returns because the environment overrules everything else, including the economy that takes things like natural resources for granted. If this ship is headed for disaster there won’t be anything a culture that realizes too late can do to reverse it’s course before throwing everything else into chaos. The lesson we need to learn here is that if we wait to actually see the icebergs it will already be too late to avoid hitting them.

And this is where Trump has been a far greater threat to the entire human race than any of his followers are willing to consider – because it’s not just a matter of steering the ship through a roll-back of environmental regulations, it’s also the fact that Trump is intentionally taking down the radars and early-warning systems that we need to see far enough ahead to avoid disaster.

Two years ago after Trump took office, Scientific American published an exposé of some of his earliest assaults, including orders to the scientific community within the government to basically keep quiet. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under direct orders from Trump, e-mailed staff to inform them that they may no longer discuss agency research or departmental restrictions with anyone outside of the agency—including news media.

The USDA has also dictated that their in-house research office, the Agricultural Research Service, would no longer release any “public-facing documents” including but not limited to “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content.”

A year later, Time Magazine published an article on the condition of the EPA website, which until Trump came along functioned as a feature of government transparency and public education. It was a view of the iceberg fields we can’t see yet. But since Trump took control, mentions of climate change have been removed and language that so much as hints climate change has been tweaked to avoid the suggestion.

So, it’s hard for me not to ask the question… Why? Staying quiet about existing research doesn’t save any money, so why do it? Why would anyone intentionally blindfold the American people unless they intend to do something bad they don’t want people to see, such as risking the lives of millions if not billions of people for the sake of personal gain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. November 2018 · Comments Off on U.S. Constitution: Rules for Government · Categories: Analysis, Law, Politics · Tags:

I wish more people understood that the U.S. Constitution is not the top-level law of the land. In fact, it doesn’t even apply to the people at all. The top-level law that applies to the people is a completely different set of rules called the U.S. Code. This enormous set of laws is established and enforced by the government and applies to the people. In other words, the U.S. Code contains laws that WE have to follow. The Constitution is the reverse… a minimal set of laws that the GOVERNMENT has to follow… Not the people… the government.

So when hate speech is shut down by a private school it is NOT a violation of the Constitution’s 1st Amendment, because a private school is NOT part of the government and therefore NOT obligated to the Constitution. Nor is it a violation of the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment when a restaurant insists on a “no firearms policy” because the restaurant is NOT part of the government either. Same thing for bakeries and flower shops that reserve a right to refuse service based on bigotry.

So… when people advocate smaller government and more privatization they are effectively advocating a weaker constitution by shifting matters into private hands with no obligation to the rights established in the Constitution. The oligarchs won’t tell you this because the oligarchs want better control over you without interference from the Constitution.

Just, something to think about

12. November 2018 · Comments Off on Trumpian Delusions: Birthright Citizenship · Categories: Politics · Tags: , ,

Some politicians, including Trump have recently been suggesting that they can end birthright citizenship. Other’s say that would be a direct violation of the 14th amendment which says… “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

Trump has suggested that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is the escape clause based on the premise that illegal immigrants are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. This is ironic because it’s the jurisdiction of the United States that determines their legal status in the first place. In other words, the ONLY way they can be classified as illegal immigrants is if they ARE subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

I am assuming that Trump and his allies already KNOW how stupid their logic is but are hoping the American people are stupid enough to buy it. I hope that isn’t true.

09. October 2018 · Comments Off on Viral Memes and the Left/Right Delusion · Categories: Politics, Social/Culture, Wiping Off Spit · Tags:

Have a look at this ugly but viral meme…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve probably all seen this before… I know I have – enough to where I feel compelled to explain a few things for the sake of preserving our language and our national sanity…

First of all, let me just say that no one should be educating themselves with memes… This one in particular is a sock puppet denial of a traditional perspective. Which isn’t so much a problem in itself until you start using it to bash people who identify with the left because those people are using the traditional perspective not this viral nonsense.

The fact is, your teacher had it right (at least in the traditional sense) but they probably failed to explain it, so I’ll do that now. The big thing to note is that it’s not a question of how much government… It’s a question of how much representation. The sentiment on the left is that everyone should be represented, where on the right there is always a push to exclude people from representation. In fact, it’s the harsh exclusion of non-Aryan people that puts the Nazis on the hard right.

If you’re not so sure about this, here’s a fail-safe litmus test you can do with respect to a person’s attitude toward diversity. See how they feel about Jews, Muslims, blacks, Mexicans, atheists, homosexuals, immigrants or transgenders, for instance. If a person’s politics feature any kind of resentment or repression toward any of these unfamiliar demographics, it’s almost a guarantee that they identify with the right. Go ahead and try it. It’s pretty easy and of course the amount of government has nothing to do with that. In fact it can be argued that Republicans have created more government than Democrats as indicated by the massive debts the government incurs under Republican management. And when it’s the people who identify with the right that are trying to pass laws to exclude gay people from marriage or empower law enforcement to coral immigrants, it’s hard to imagine them as advocates of little government and big freedom.

So, I suppose I need to address the fact that the Nazis were socialists. Fine, but lets also remember that during the end of the Weimar Republic when the Nazis were rising to power though a democratic process, every opposition party in Germany was also socialist, if not communist. Bear in mind, this was the 1930’s when socialism was extremely popular among the working classes. Even in the U.S. it was difficult for any political faction to gain any traction without some homage to socialism. So it’s dishonest (or ignorant) to cite socialism as a difference when it was much more of a constant. The more significant difference was indeed the militant repression of non-Aryan people and again, that’s what puts the Nazis clearly on the right.

Another point to make about this idiot meme is that the top part erroneously implies that the left is more “liberal” while the right is more “conservative”. The terms, “liberal” and “conservative” refer specifically to the attitudes regarding change, not ideology. Whether or not one side is more liberal or conservative than the other depends on context, which is why the alignment is different in so many other countries. Some political analysts are pointing out that in today’s context, at least in America, the Democrats are actually more conservative than what we are currently calling the alt-right. No where is this more obvious than the alt-right’s attack on Democrats for supposedly defending the “deep state”. In this context, the alt-right is the liberal, even radical side. We can also look back on history and find the first Republicans referred to themselves as “Radical Republicans”.