Wednesday, May 06, 2015

coming up for air and what the---

Finished the rough draft of the book I began April 9th (or thereabouts) and have come up for air to look around. What I am seeing is very disappointing. Now I don't mean to say I didn't read the newspapers during that period of intense writing, but my problems were more involved with my characters and their issues than the country's. It kind of emotionally distances me from being all upset about my world. 

So now, here I am and it's tempting to start another book to avoid looking at what a mess the country seems to be in. And some of it definitely is Obama's fault but certainly not all of it. One big concern is the new treaty that Obama wants to fast track, a treaty that looks to once again sell off American jobs. Does anybody in government figure out that if you don't have manufacturing and real product jobs left in this country, there won't be salaries to pay for government? Don't bother. I know the answer. Most of them are so far removed from real life in America that they have no clue. Anyway if you have been following the talk about TPP, this is worth reading.

Once again the real jobs would be sold overseas, with treaties that don't benefit the American worker with equal trade agreements. I am disgusted with Obama. The sad part though is unless someone is willing to seriously consider Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who are both pretty far left, who out there won't do this and more if they get into the Oval Office?

Then there is Baltimore. I was not happy at all when I heard the Attorney General say she would bring charges against six police officer for social justice and added that for the young people hearing her words-- this was their day. I nearly spit out my coffee (okay I didn't) but social justice? That's not for her to determine but for legislators. If there is a question of civil rights, then that might go to the courts, but not the legal system, which is supposed to enforce actual laws. It was not up to her to charge someone and likely overcharge them as a way to stop a riot. Mob justice is not justice. Isn't it her job to make sure there is legal justice? She is young, eager, very ambitious politically and what she did made her quite popular with the black community and the far left. The middle in this country less so. She took all of two weeks to make this decision and says it wasn't too fast. She didn't care what it did to these police officer's lives. She made the charges so egregious that she is likely to end up looking like a fool because she wanted to be a social crusader, not a keeper of the law.

Here's the thing with these accusations of police overreach and all of them across the country. Some of these officers do deserve legal penalties without a doubt. Some situations are second-guessing the men and women on the street, who are doing a sometimes very dangerous job. They let someone go and they get blamed. They run them down and they get blamed.

Something is wrong with our police system when we see them beating up people with no excuse for it (happened in California to a white guy too); but Al Sharpton's suggestion, that the federal government take them over, is more wrong. Why do we have to listen to anything that man says? He drives me nuts and that hasn't changed with a loss of weight and a show on MSNBC, which I refuse to watch. He pushes himself into every cause possible and purely to aggrandize his name. Well, he has a reputation all right and it's as a show-boater, who doesn't care about the truth of any situation if he can get publicity from it.

And then there is this, which some might think doesn't relate to the issue above but in some ways it does. I read an article this week about why college tuition is so high. I won't post the link here, but it was in the NYTimes. Basically it said it's not that government is giving state universities less money. It is that they are top heavy with administrators-- highly paid administrators. The article showed how many they had before this horrendous rise in cost of a college degree started and how many now. It's definitely time the rest of us paid more attention to this. As it stands, the poor and the rich are the only ones who can go to college and not end up with a big debt when it's finished. With high interest rates, to go along with the high costs, they call that indentured servitude. This is wrong. 

With all of this though, the issue of racial and economic injustice, will anybody care long enough to do something real about any of it? The right just wants to end  government help for anybody but the wealthiest. The left wants it all and doesn't offer enough reason to trust them with more money. The middle, where I place myself, is tempted to drop out and quit caring.

Hillary Clinton won't be a help. It was Bill who gave us NAFTA, which it appears my mother was right about. It's not that trade isn't a good thing. It's that the trade bills we get always shaft the American worker. 

Oh, and I heard the other woman running as a failed CEO but a woman, who can fix the country's problems, Carly Fiorna talking on Glenn Beck the other day. For anybody who thinks she makes sense, check out her record as a CEO, the lady who never had a perk she didn't love and who damaged the two corporations she got her hands on. Oh yeah, she's a great choice if you don't mind more outsourcing and a lady who loves to live like an empress. 

Bernie Sanders would be a help on a lot of these issues for the workers, but can he win a national election? We might just find out as as far as I can tell, he's the only truly honest person running for the Presidency! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Religion and Politics

Recently I was reading how some Americans worried about JFK being Catholic. Religion should not be part of leadership in the country was the mantra back then. Amazing how things have changed-- especially within the Republican party. 

On the other side of the debate is a concern that runs deeply in the American psyche that a religion run amok is a danger and the reason the first colonists left Europe. But it's a rather schizoid philosophy in America as some admire the Puritans (religious power run amok) and consider its fundamentalist time of ruling a community as one to idealize. 

Barry Goldwater spoke of his concern of those who would use Christianity as their hammer:
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”
Goldwater was a conservative in the time where the word meant something. Not so much today. For many on the right, the belief is strong that America needs a theocracy. In the Republican party, its leading candidates for the primary are all religious speaking men. The loudest of these probably is:

Huckabee is Ted Cruz's nightmare

Should men like Huckabee, who spout a version of Christianity, that Andrew Sullivan named chrisianist, worry the rest of us, those of us who are not religious? The big concern is, I believe, the fact that what Huckabee and men like Scott Walker label as Christian has little resemblance to the words in red in the Gospels-- i.e. Jesus' words as others remembered them-- or God made sure they got recorded (depending on what you think about the New Testament).

So, what would it be like if a fundamentalist, who comes across as a populist and good old boy, one who claims that he gets all his wisdom directly from God, had real power? How would he use it? If many religious fundamentalists get their way, the nation might find out. Before, you are quick to say never happen, take a look at how that has impacted one religious college:

For me, the issue with Christians is not with those who believe in the Gospels, because anyone who has read the Sermon on the Mount knows it's very progressive and concerned for the poor. If Jesus was speaking today, in many of the churches that call themselves after him, they would toss him out or shun him. Today's christianist only knows the political Jesus, the one who would kill one person because of another person's sin, who would bring Armageddon onto the world based on not appreciating the 'wisdom' of someone like Michelle Bachmann.

I know she's not a serious candidate for the Presidency, but she makes money going around the country spouting off such nonsense. People like her are part of why so many religious people don't worry about climate change. They visualize a God who will punish those they want punished and fix anything that goes wrong. They teach others that is who God is.

Recently, elsewhere I wrote about the Third Commandment and how it's been misinterpreted. Bachmann's spiel above is just what I meant regarding it being forbidden to take the Lord's name in vain. She is making money doing it. Those who have a shallow understanding of any religion always go for the simplest possible meaning, but IF they saw it for what it was, they'd be a lot less prone to go around Pat Robertson-ing!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

it's how it's going to be

No surprises in Hillary Clinton's announcement that she is running. I think everybody knew from the time she resigned as Secretary of State that she was going to run. No surprise either as to the ones running against her when she gets the Democratic nomination-- and she will get it. There isn't another Obama out there to stop her.

Some Republicans, some perfectly nice people, will never understand why I'd say there is no way in hell that I'd vote for a Republican, not any of them. The positions they take make it impossible. I don't know how other moderates will see this but for the most parts moderates lean left on social issues and right on fiscal ones-- or the reverse. It's what makes them moderate-- being in the middle. There is no Republican running who is not extreme on social issues and unless they really don't matter to you, unless you don't mind endless wars on the cuff, there is no Republican, who could even be considered for the Republican nomination, who is remotely possible for me once it's in the race itself.

Those candidates from the right would make abortion illegal, turning it back to the streets. They would try to get in a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Mostly they don't believe in climate change or that we should do anything about it. On the environment, it's all determined by the $$$s, and we know who has the most of those to put into the mix. Pipelines that leak, no problem. They would privatize education, and do nothing to protect the middle class from the disappearing act that is being thrust on them by the destruction of unions. i could go on but don't need to. There just isn't a choice for someone like me, not when you listen to any of them on the issues.

I don't honestly know what we will get with a Hillary Clinton presidency. She is not my first choice, as I have said; but she is going to be it. Of all the Democrats, and that includes Elizabeth Warren, she has the best chance to be President-- and frankly the most chance that she'd do a good job. For people like me, there won't be a choice for who to vote in '16. That's a done deal. I am not happy about it and can't really understand why we don't have better choices from which to choose. But I am a practical woman, and I don't cry long over spilt milk.

The bigger challenge for our nation right now is how determined the right is to see Obama fail as a way to get the presidency in '16. If he is seen doing well with world and home affairs, then the argument to continue the course is greater. If they can make him fail, end up with another unwanted war, be sure the policies he wants are blocked and the economy here looks bad, it will literally help to stop her. I understand this is partisan politics, but it's also very detrimental for a nation that needs two parties wanting to see the country do well. It's our challenge for the next year and a half-- more than who wins the big prize.

The pressure has to be put on Congress to have real plans they put forth, not just no, no, no but something they see as helpful to the vanishing middle class, the poor, environment, education, and economics.  It is unfortunate that so many of those running, like say Ted Cruz, literally seem to have no idea about the real business of governing or even what government does. Strange, especially for someone who is a senator and is supposed to be so intelligent. Those want-to-be presidents though know what their fan base wants. They end up sounding more like the rightie pundits than leaders. So they are out there with those accusations and proposals to end programs that are needed or sometimes where the fed is not that involved. Facts. We need fact based leaders. It isn't what we too often get.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mellow Monday despite

Actually, I don't have much to say here but got tired of seeing the title showing up so negatively. I am not happy about Indiana but it does prove that the conservatives, who say they aren't about changing social issues to suit their religions, are not telling the truth. Whenever they get power, they go after their religious causes. Some may only vote for them based on economics but it's not all they will get.

I have often asked myself what makes Indiana as it is. It sets right between states that are either liberal or can go either way. Not Indiana. And this story says something about the mood that is encouraged there-- tormented for being gay in Indiana.  Here's the thing-- every single Republican candidate defended this law. What does that tell you about them and sharia law?

Overall though, it's not a time I have much to say about anything. I'm in a pretty mellow mood. Like everyone else, I was horrified by the co-pilot who deliberately flew a plane into a mountain to kill himself and 149 other people. But I am hopeful that the airlines will use this to change their regulations; so it can't happen again, as it's pretty obvious it has happened before.

One place I got into a debate about whether this guy was a psychopath (my take) or sociopath (the take of the other person). Both are levels of psychoses where the person doesn't have empathy for others and can commit criminal acts. It is a question of what level. My thought on the airlines is when a pilot signs up, he should lose privacy with his physicians. Sending a note to work with a guy who is psychotic is pretty much pointless. It's hard not to take what happened personally as we all fly or have loved ones who do. We want it as safe as possible.

Last night we watched Scientology-- Going Clear. It was well worth watching for human nature and how people end up following someone who has charisma but has decided to create their own ethics. Sociopath or psychopath either one fits L. Ron Hubbard. Egomaniac fits the guy who has taken over for him. Once people get into Scientology, it can be difficult to get out but it can be done.

The one political element to the film is how the cult got declared a religion which left it free to not pay taxes and to have donations be tax free. That means it now has many billions of dollars. How it's using that is uncertain as it does not appear that accountable. Of course, many, me being one, would end tax deductions to churches too...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

bummer of a morning after

It appears that Republican extremists, like Tom Cotton from Arkansas or the money backer behind many of these right wingers, Sheldon Adelson from the Nevada gaming casino billions, are going to get what they want-- a bigger war in the Middle East. They did all they could to keep Netanyahu in power but more than in power, locked into no solution for the Palestinian situation. War is very popular with some people-- not to mention profitable.

With Israel voting for a position that denies any hope for two states there, it isolates them also from Europe and some segments of the United States. Of course, the foxies probably are thrilled. They have some very mistaken ideas about the true cost of war as they too frequently are buried in rah rah talk.

Over and over I hear how in the 80s Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear power plants, and it worked. They didn't try again to rebuild. Of course, that was until Cheney/Bush convinced Americans they were secretly trying to acquire the capability, that most know Israel already has-- to build a nuclear bomb. There was no proof for that, but righties still claim it to be so. They don't need evidence. They are a faith based people, which is how they deny any climate change could be due to human actions. If you don't believe facts matter, you will believe anything.

So Netanyahu won... decisively and it looks like Israelis want war. Does that mean the US has to go to war with Iran to satisfy their desires? It won't be the same as it was with Iraq. It's a much more powerful country but who needs diplomacy when you can use bombs.

And back to the question fact based people always ask-- how do we pay for it? I know the foxie answer. They believed it with the other war that has increased our debt so greatly-- take it off the backs of the poor. The beauty of that plan is you can use their young adults to fight it too-- because you limited their chances of jobs anywhere else.

This was a depressing morning for anyone who does look at hard, cold facts. Rah rahs though, they are likely thrilled. :(

Update: When I wrote this, I thought afterward, maybe I am worrying for nothing. I came across the following this afternoon (3/20/15). Guess I am not the only one with that concern.

And here's an irony for you-- Obama evidently did a TV interview aimed at the Iranian people and was slammed viciously by the right wing leaders/pundits for daring to speak to them. Interesting that it was okay for the right to invite Netanyahu to address the American people on what our foreign diplomacy or war should be, but not okay for Obama to address the Iranians. Yes, I get it that they are the big enemy today, but they used to be an ally. Does any of this sound familiar?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Why do American states elect someone like this?

It would be easy to think what a yahoo-- Harvard degree or not. What a disgusting human being who loves war so much he is eager for another (on the cuff, of course as he also doesn't believe in taxes), but who elected this guy? Who are the Americans who wanted someone like this to serve in the Senate? Half this country is going way off the deep end with a desire for endless wars and ignoring any of their own elected government, with which they don't agree. Democracy??? What the hell is that!!!! Nothing to them. It's all about doing what they want when they want it and if the vote does not go their way, if they don't like the laws, scuttle them.

I try to think positive. Sometimes it's hard, but this guy, he's really something and he just led the United States Senate, many much older and more seasoned than he, to actually break a long held law, the Logan Act, one that calls what he did treason.  
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
 Basically we only do what we believe is right. To hell with a democratic vote. To hell with facts in any situation. We will undermine anything we don't like-- next President, even if it turned out to be a Republican, better watch out as this is all about law of the mob-- possibly led by the cutest and most radical guy/gal.

This reminds me when the yahoos armed themselves with their assault rifles and came from around the country to Nevada to help a rancher there stand off the federal government. Why did he need to stand off the government? Because he was unwilling to pay for leasing the land his livestock was using. Everybody else who uses rangeland pays the fees. It'd be like saying I want to rent a house that you own, but I won't pay you for the rent but someone who suits me better. Government land is owned by all of us, and it's to whom we pay the fees if we use it for camping or logging or putting our cattle on it.

Cotton fits with this crowd and that mentality. He's a tea party firebrand. Why Arkansans wanted him is maybe because he's handsome or he was in the wars Bush originated and that the right is still trying to justify (never by paying for them though with increased taxes). Some are cheering him today even though what he's trying to start would dismantle elected government for any power. I am guessing the voters responsible for this jerk want the government dismantled (other than the military, of course). These voters don't believe in democracy. They also believe in their own right to decide which laws they obey. 

This mentality is how Cotton thinks he's justified to try to scuttle a peace deal that he doesn't even know what it is. He is doing this to gain fame-- and he did. I am sure the right adores him right now. I won't be listening to Limbaugh today but he's doubtlessly salivating over this guy. Who (other than military contractors) knew anything about him before he decided to override our elected system of government (Obama was elected by millions more votes)? 

I am never shocked by a young idiot. But, more seasoned heads signed that letter. I can only ask why. Do they hate Obama so much that they would dismantle this nation? Do they want to rewrite all laws to suit themselves? Heaven help us if they get a President with that mentality. I can not begin to imagine how many wars he'll be engaging in while he continues to add to the debt. 

If there is no peace deal with Iran. If they continue to get a nuclear bomb to even themselves up with Pakistan and Israel, if the whole region explodes in war, does that profit men like this Cotton? So it would seem they at least believe. If he figures it out otherwise, it might be too late for the damage he has done. 

We had been warned about this by no less than Dwight D. Eisenhower-- a man who knew a bit about war himself. He believed in a strong military, but he said something about the risks going along with it.
   "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades."
This is where we are today when the more experienced heads in the Senate let this radical, with two months under his belt, get a mob action going that would undermine even Republican presidents if the left follows suit when they have a President who doesn't suit them.

Many Americans have congratulated themselves on electing those who don't respect the rule of law. Some of this has happened, not because there are so many who dislike government but because more than half our voters don't want to be informed and don't bother to vote. It's hard to say where this is heading, but it can't be good.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

when the good guys-- aren't

Do you want to get really mad at government overreach and viciousness? You know the kind of thing that takes you back to Randy Weaver in Idaho and David Koresh in Texas where the government acted like outlaws themselves in their zeal for nailing someone for something.

ATF has done this kind of attack and gotten dinged for it. Once in awhile it has broken into someone's home, guns waving. The owner figures it's thugs and starts shooting. Turned out they had the wrong address. Ooops sorry we just killed you when you didn't understand we were the good guys.

I wrote a book some time back called Her Dark Angel which went into how government can be. I know right now this is all about police and shooting too quickly; but the kind of thing described in the above article has happened and most of the time, we as Americans are clueless about it.

In Her Dark Angel, the hero had been coerced into working undercover. When he tries to explain to the heroine how this works, she is horrified as she sees the government as being the good guys. He sees it as not always that different from the ones they are trying to catch.

Often my books have those in law enforcement as being the heroes but frankly it's not always how it works and the story above reminded me a lot of my earlier book.