Wednesday, May 20, 2015

turning it around

I am soooooo down on media and for someone like me who used to be a news junkie, that is saying a lot. But little by little media has turned into an agenda driven machine-- pick your station for your agenda.

The Waco gang war is a good example of why a lot of Americans don't want to watch any of the news programs. 

Because I don't watch much TV right now, I didn't know how the left was trying to use this to again rile up their base. I had no idea anybody would think that what happened between those bikers were anything like what happened in Baltimore and Ferguson. Some wanted to claim it had to do with how white cops see blacks or other whites and how they treat them differently but... based on Waco??? Come on.

How ignorant is the left or right wing media-- each only pushing their goals and using whatever happens to do it! What I think is it's not how ignorant, because maybe they aren't, but rather how desperate are they to make an issue out of whatever will suit their base. What they are evidently seeking is more racial resentment-- like there isn't enough now?

If you are on the road a lot, you have had your own experiences with biker gangs. Regularly they pass by our farm on the highway as this is one of the routes that bikers love to travel. Most are bankers or mechanics and blasting by on their Harleys for a feeling of freedom. It's not always the case and if you are familiar with the biker world, you don't ever wonder which is which.

One of the more interesting times we saw a lot of bikers on the road was coming back from Massachusetts and realizing there were a lot of bikers on the road. What we didn't realize is Sturgis was about to happen which is the kind of biker rally that draws in all types from retired executives to the real deal. They all descend on Sturgis for one of those big events. There are others but it's the big one. When you aren't doing something that irritates a real biker gang, they can be quite friendly and nice.

What went wrong in Waco was evidently a turf war. Gang wars actually are a lot of the killings in America but most are a shooting here or there and not all connected to motorcycles. Texas though evidently has been having some major gang disagreements for who controls what territory and that led to Waco. It had NOTHING to do with what happened in Ferguson or Baltimore for how the police handled it. They came there also with their gear ready for anything and some of the bikers were shooting at them as they shot back.

What the country does about such things is one of those places I have no answer. My answer though to a media gone amok is turn it off. Get news from newspapers and journalism sites. Go to places like VICE, John Oliver or some of the documentaries. For awhile skip the magazine sites. When they figure out that turning everything into a partisan rumble is not profiting them, they'll change what they do. Profiting themselves is all that really matters to them in the end!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

options or not

As I have said multiple times, I am a supporter of same sex marriage. I came to this point from being a supporter of turning all marriages into legal contracts, i.e. let churches say what's their definition of marriage but keep the government out of it. Essentially marriage anyway is a legal contract that the State puts in place to protect assets and weaker individuals. It has been changed through the centuries as to why it exists. Today it's for tax purposes, to give rights, and establish responsibilities if the marriage breaks up. At one time, I didn't think it mattered whether it was called marriage but came to believe it did.

The argument all along as been but what about polygamy? I've written on my view regarding this which is polygamy should also be legal if it's consenting adults. I recognize polygamy has been misused to force children into marriages with old men who can afford multiple wives and pushing out the young men from the community. That does not mean the state has a legal right to block two men and one woman from deciding they want to bind themselves together legally. To me, it does make sense so long as it's adults and no coercion is involved.

Then I read this as it is a hot button issue again as we are going to have our very divided Supreme Court weigh in on this with the religious right wing of it voting one way and the religious (yes, they are all religious as best I know it) left wing voting the other. Which could mean the right will win-- not necessarily to force states already allowing gay marriage to change their laws, but just not to make the whole country recognize it as a Civil Rights issue.

If you have read the article, you know that the community in which this family lives could easily have 8 adults and 3 children, but all the adults would either be related or some working for the others. What is suspect and being challenged by that neighborhood is the idea they could be a family-- a single entity the same as if they were all related by blood. Being related by love or even a binding contract that they have all signed, that doesn't work for those who want monogamy-- serial, of course.

So I would be in favor of making polygamy legal with the above caveat-- consenting adults. I also think polyamory is a real possibility for some people where a man falls in love with two women and would like to have a binding relationship with both-- not in that case legally but emotionally.

The irony of the ones who are against gay marriage or polygamy is that these relationships have existed all along. They are just hidden. So a couple have a very good friend who lives with them but the friend has no rights. Within the three, they know she does, but to the outside world, she does not. There have been famous combinations where that has likely been the case. Is the extra woman for the wife or the husband? Only they would know and it's really only their business. Except for legal reasons it can become important to the State. It gives rights. That's what these relationships are really all about once they become a contract.

They said they think the above case will fail and the 'family' will be forced from their home. The self-righteous ones forcing this may be on their own second or third marriage, maybe with multiple affairs along the way, but that's not the issue is it? It's all about looking right...

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?